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Happy New Year! Happy New Goals!

Hello Blog Buddies!

Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you happiness, health and opportunity.


Generally speaking, I am not a fan of New Year's Eve. I think I have reached an age where staying up late, simply to stay up late, has lost it's lustre. (Yes, ...I really am getting old!) I do, however, love the 'fresh new start' feeling of New Year's Day. Cracking open a brand new diary or calendar and transferring over all the birthdays and celebrations to come throughout the year, is something I look forward to doing every new year.


Writing down goals (I personally prefer these to resolutions) is always a great way to refocus  your thoughts and help you to get excited about new beginnings. I like to include some 'lofty' goals along side my realistic ones... (I don't want to set myself up for complete failure!) I also like to break my goals down into categories such as personal and professional. Again, this just helps with making the goals seem a bit more achievable.


Once you have a few goals in place, I feel that writing an action plan as to how you are going to reach your goals, is also key to ticking them off. Without the steps to work on, goals can sometimes just drift out of focus, especially when the newness of the year has dissipated. Scheduled updates and 'check ins' of your goals is also a great way to keep on track as well is an opportunity to alter or tweak your original goal.


I hope you all enjoy a safe and fun-filled 2018! 

Did you write down any goals for 2018?
What will you be focusing on this year?



Beautiful Bags

Hello Blog Buddies!

I wanted to share with you a brand I have recently been introduced to called VT Thai who create a stunning range of hand-crafted bags and baskets.

(Photography: The Polka-Dot Apple)

Using only local Thai suppliers and artisans, these beautiful bags are created by hand and can take up to a month for each to be completed.

(Photography: VT Thai)


Locally sourced materials such as water hyacinth straw, rattan, bamboo and seagrass are pre-prepared for weeks before they are woven by hand into these stunningly beautiful creations. Local residents are employed and supported to create these small works of art that showcase workmanship, pattern and design.

(Photography: VT Thai)


Traditional methods, passed down from previous generations, are used and relied upon to produce these unique and highly practical bags and baskets.

(Photography: VT Thai)


(Photography: VT Thai)


The natural fibres provide unique texture and colour. These fibres can sometimes be dyed to provide a larger range of colour combinations to mix and match with.

(Photography: VT Thai)


I personally appreciate how the variety and range of bags appeal to to a wide age group of women. As a 'mature' woman, I think the bags suit the Australian casual lifestyle beautifully, Additionally, and my younger colleagues have also expressed how much they love the line, texture and styles of bags available.

(Photography: VT Thai)


I was fortunate enough to receive one of VT Thai's beautiful bags and have found it to be the perfect workplace bag.

(Photography: VT Thai)


My gorgeous 'Vipha' Wicker Bag is beautifully made and easily fits all my personal items as well as my iPad, comfortably. The linings differ from bag to bag and are 
also beautifully crafted. 

(Photography: The Polka-Dot Apple)


As you can see, the bag is quite spacious and the inclusion of small pockets is always handy for smaller objects that can so easily be lost at the bottom of a bag.

(Photography: The Polka-Dot Apple)


(Photography: The Polka-Dot Apple)



The styles range from larger, everyday bags...

(Photography: VT Thai)


... to this smaller, delightful clutch.

(Photography: VT Thai)


For more information about VT Thai, their products and sales inquiries, please visit 
their website Here

You can also find VT Thai's beautiful Instagram account Here


Winter Favourites

Hello Blog Buddies!

The temperature has certainly dropped here, in Bayside Melbourne. Whilst cosy afternoons with a  drink in front of a fire, are lovely, sometimes you need other things to lift your mood during the colder months. I would like to share with you all a few items that have helped me to enjoy the colder weather, rather than suffer through it with chattering teeth...


Melbourne, Australia is well known for being the city that has four seasons in one day. This Winter, whilst we have not experienced much rain, the sun has been out, resulting in the air being extremely cold. The chill factor has certainly increased this year, so here are a few things I have been enjoying over the past couple of months that might brighten your Winter days.


First up... fingerless gloves. I have loved wearing these this Winter. I have a range of colours and designs and find I don't spend the day taking them off and putting them back on again like I did with 'standard' gloves. I currently suffer from cold hands, so this has been the perfect solution. (You can also type and use your phone whilst wearing them... Yay!)


With the nights closing in so early during the Winter months, I find candles add a cosiness and warmth that helps to make the dreary nights more bearable. During Winter, I tend to lean towards the citrus, vanilla and cinnamon scents for general 'staying-in' ambience. 


If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't... please do!) you will have seen I received some Tanya Burr Cosmetics in the mail recently. As a more 'mature' lady, I find Tanya Burr's cosmetic range beautifully packaged, thoughtfully considered and lovely to use. The products are really pretty and the price range is also appealing. Her various ranges can be found on the Feel Unique websiteand they deliver to Australia. I have been particularly enjoying her illuminating powders to add warmth and highlight to my face. The two pictured here are called Warm Bronze (below) and Peonies Please. Both are beautiful.


I have already raved about formula in the the lipsticks Ms Burr has created, so I was keen to try a matte liquid lipstick from her range. (This warm, pinky colour is called Martha Moo after her ridiculously adorable dog.) It too, is a lovely product that dries matte and is not at all tacky like some liquid lip colours tend to be. It also has excellent staying power... a winning combination. 

I have also been trying the Bouriois Radiance Reveal Concealor which has had high praise for 'under-eye-brightening'. As someone older than most You-Tubers spruiking these products, I am always wary that products can now enhance my "fine lines". I am happy to report that this concealer worked wonderfully well on my skin and absolutely brightened my under-eye area.
 This shade is 01 Ivory


I would like to give a quick shout out to one of my favourite flowers at this point. Camellias rate highly for me (as mentioned before) as they bloom in the dead of Winter... when you really need a flower. They are there to brighten your dreary days when most of the other flowers are hiding. They always remember to remind us that Spring will soon be here. 

And speaking of nice things to look at, I would like to mention how much my husband and I have been loving the series 'Suits.' A work colleague recommended it to me after I mentioned I needed a new show to watch with my husband. My personal highlights include Donna's sass, Lewis' visual humour, Rachel's wardrobe, Jessica's voice, Mike's eyes and well... everything Harvey. (*sigh*) The storylines are action packed and the banter is fabulous. The fact it is set in New York makes it even more perfect. I highly recommend it. 
(Available on Netflicks in Australia)


So there you have it. A few of my favourite products along with how I have been passing the long evenings at home. I hope you have been keeping warm!


What do you enjoy doing during the Winter months?


For the Love of Books

Hello Blog Buddies!

It is no secret that I am a certified 'Book Lover' so I thought I would share my passion in a post...


I grew up in a household where books were treasured and loved. My Mother was an avid reader and she and I would spend hours discussing books, both when I was young as well as when I was an adult. Her book collection was vast and she was constantly asking my father to 'put in another shelf' somewhere. These shelves ran around doorways in my childhood home. 
When people saw them for the first time and made comment, my Mother's standard reply was, 
"We are very 'Book-ish' people..," which was often delivered in a tone that suggested 
if you weren't, ...there might be a problem.


As a child, I was read to by my Mother every evening. I feel I must clarify here, that even as I grew up and was an independent reader, she still read to me and shared books she had enjoyed as a young girl. I would read my school assigned book to her whilst she prepared dinner, but then we would read a carefully chosen book together at bed time.


As a teacher and educator, I simply cannot stress the importance of this. Parents often think that because their children can read by themselves and are no longer under the age of ten, they don't need to read to their children. I would like to suggest otherwise. Whether my Mother was aware of this, or she just innately knew, I don't know, ... but by reading good literature to me each evening, I was hearing complex sentence structure as well as increasing my vocabulary on a daily basis. This of course, helped me become a better student at school as well as a better conversationalist. 


My Mother also knew that books could be expensive, so she became very adapt at finding good books at secondhand book shops. (The Laura Ingalls book, above, still has the 10c price on it's cover) This actually made the books more interesting to me. Sometimes, 
we would talk about where the book might have been and how lucky we were to have 
found it sitting in a dusty corner, waiting for us.


As a teacher, I ensure I read out loud to my class every single day. I have yet to teach a class that doesn't enjoy this. In fact, "If we hurry up and clean the classroom quickly, we might have time for a quick chapter..." will always ensure a classroom will be tidy in record time! This current generation may not have the opportunity to develop a love of the feel of a book that I have. I love the tactile experience of a book... the smell of new pages... the feel of high gloss paper found in coffee table books... which is something my twenty-something daughter, who is an avid reader, does not seem to possess. Her argument, (which contains practicalities) is that she can take fifteen books with her on a trip in one electronic device... and her back and shoulders will thank her for it. Not to mention, when she moves, (unlike myself) she does not have to struggle with the heavy boxes of books that have followed me around the world!

 

The printed word is evolving and information is so much more accessible than it was. Electronic books are arguably environmentally more viable but I currently prefer to read a paper version. I think I struggle with e-books because my printed versions feel like friends. I can show you books that helped me escape difficult times and made me laugh when I never thought I could again. I have travelled to places and gained new friends, all because of books. When I visit people's homes, I often ask to see their book collections... (I think you can tell a great deal about a person by the books they read!) I also use books as a decorative item. Books can be found all over our current home, sitting on tables and propping up photos, and I like it that way. 


Instilling a love and passion for books with a child helps to install a love of learning. I still like walking into a room with a wall of books and feeling the rush of excitement I get when I see a book I would love to read... You can't beat it.

I dear friend recently reminded me of a simple quote by Thomas Jefferson in 1815 which is;
"I cannot live without books." I hope to impart this passion for books to the children I teach and I hope parents continue to read to their children long after they can do it for themselves.


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