A New Year

Hello Blog Buddies!

As Melbourne teachers ready themselves to return to work tomorrow, I thought I would celebrate the occasion with a nod to the new year...

There is nothing like the 'fresh page' feeling of a new year. I love the notion that we all get to 'start again' on New Year's Day. How wonderful! I personally prefer to set goals rather than resolutions, simply because the word resolution just seems a tad inflexible to me! I also think that having too many immediate goals can precipitate failure so I always start with just a few. After a bit of thought, below are three of my personal goals for 2017.

Number 1: Enjoy my weekends.
As a teacher, often the weekend can be eaten away by classroom preparation. In the past, I have spent Sunday evenings feeling guilty about all the things I hadn't completed for work, and thus ruining what would otherwise be a lovely evening. I plan to no longer do this!

Number 2: Celebrate the little things.
The older I get, the more I find myself working towards a simpler lifestyle. Finding joy in the day-to-day running of your family as well as celebrating milestones... any milestones (no matter how small) helps me focus on the positives in my life. I plan to do this more often.

Number 3: Live better with less.
I have come to the conclusion I have too much 'stuff'. (Actually, I think we pretty much all do!) This year, I plan to streamline some of my belongings and organise items I do have in a more orderly fashion. I plan to do this over a period of time.

So as the first month of the new year slips by, how are your goals travelling? Have you written a list? Have you ticked of any goals yet or are you still enjoying your holidays? Let me know...

And finally, with a farewell wave to Michelle Obama, I will take her lead and choose hope as my global goal. As she said in her final interview as First Lady, 

"... Because what do we have if we don't have hope?..."

Christmas 2016

Hello Blog Buddies!

Can you believe another Christmas is upon us?

As we all plan Christmas feasts and brave the Christmas crowds at shopping centres, I find myself pausing to think about our family Christmas traditions and how we celebrate the season in the southern Hemisphere...

Having spent several Christmas Days in the cold and snow in both England and the United States, I know that many of my Northern Hemisphere friends can simply not comprehend how Christmas would feel like Christmas in Australia. Let me share some of my family traditions, and assure you that, it does indeed, feel festive here...

My parents emigrated from England to live in Australia in the early sixties, so as a child, I remember British customs and traditions were a staple in our home. Things such as oranges in the toe of your stocking, a tin of 'Quality Street' chocolates that seemed to last forever, 
The Kings College Cambridge Choir was the only 'real' Christmas music (according to my mother,) and whether it was one hundred degrees in the shade, by jove, 
we would have a hot roast turkey dinner, 
(even if it meant we were all sweaty puddles by the end of it!) 

I grew up with images of snow and 'the cold' on Christmas cards and television shows. This was promoted as being the only way to 'have' Christmas but I am sure my Southern Hemisphere friends will agree that a 'warm' Christmas can be loads of fun too. 

In my home, we had our stockings from Santa that were placed at the end of our beds and in addition to the oranges, would always contain chocolate gold coins and a chocolate Santa. 

Santa would also bring us presents such as books, stationery and games. We could open these presents as soon as we woke up, but the presents under the tree could not be opened until we had all eaten breakfast and the dishes had been done. 
(Which, as a child, seemed like an eternity!)

When it comes to festive food, there are some things I simply can not do without if I want to really feel like it is Christmas. Every year, in December, my mother and I would make several 'batches' of shortbread to wrap and give as gifts to family and friends. My mother would also always make the Christmas cake and the pudding for Christmas Day. 

Marrying into another family means adopting their traditions as well. My husband's family always have prawns on Christmas day, so this is now something we do. A close family friend always bakes her traditional German 'Stollen' which she always generously gifts us, and this too, makes my Christmas complete.

(Source: Australian Women's Day Magazine - The Queen's First Christmas Message 1957)

After the traditional hot lunch with all the usual trimmings, we would play silly games and always watch the 'Queen's Christmas Message'. If we watched one movie over the festive season, 
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' would be the one I would make sure I watched... I always make sure I show it to my students every year as well. When my daughter was young, we would watch it every year on Christmas Day.

An Australian Christmas is very different to the one our Northern Hemisphere friends enjoy. I love seeing the beautiful cosy photographs of wintery decor on my instagram feed, but having grown up in a beautiful country where I can go for a swim in a pool on Christmas Day, I can honestly say it still feels like Christmas here too.

What are your family traditions at Christmas time? Which ones can you simply not do without?

Merry Christmas!

What Technology Should We Take?

Hello Blog Buddies!

On a recent holiday to New Caledonia, I was trying to decide which technical devices I should take (if any) with me. After a discussion with my husband we decided on a couple of options. But it did pose the question, what technology did we really need?

Now, before you collectively waggle a finger at me and suggest a holiday is a time to 'unplug' and remove yourself from technology, I would like to add here, that I also debated at great length about which books to take with me. This in itself is one of the reasons technology 'wins' in many families. Rather than purchase books about our destinations, we all save the trees, (and the weight) and refer to websites for 'go to' tourist spots and historical facts. Kindle converts would argue that very point here as well. (As I currently own many books that I am yet to read, I have to say I packed a couple of paperback novels.) 

Google maps versus the incredibly difficult-to-fold-back paper maps, is often discussed before embarking on foreign shores. My younger friends are 'all about' electronic maps, but I have found on several occasions, that no wifi equals no idea. So I don't think you can rely solely on your phones for directions... just yet. 

Museums and tours sometimes offer podcasts you download directly to personal devices once you are in the premises. The recordings can be paused and rewound which is a wonderful service to those of us with small attention spans... but perhaps not such a great service for people looking for a way to pass their time as a Volunteer History Expert.

Technology for creative and family history purposes is also a valid reason to pack up the plugs. I really enjoy taking and editing photographs and I do find this a relaxing process. I used to have to do this with chemicals in a darkened room. Now I can do it on my couch whilst 
watching reality television. Families can now create visual memories to share and enjoy with 
the tap of a screen.


So what tech did we end up taking? Well, my husband and I both took our phones, ear-phones for music and podcasts, and we also took our iPad. We primarily just used the iPad for researching what we would do the next day. We did not take a laptop... nor a Kindle-like device. I also took an extra battery charging device for my phone which I found very useful. 

So what technology do you find yourself taking on a holiday? Let me know!

Women Who Create - Karina Dyer

Hello Blog Buddies!

A 'Celebrating Women' blog post is well over due...

I would like to introduce you to Karina Dyer who is the business owner of 'Personalised Style'.
I met her at a 'Girl Bosses' event and was quickly taken with the passion and enthusiasm she generates from her work. I have experienced the service Karina's business offers and I can tell
you it is a fun and illuminating process! You quickly discover what you do and don't like
regarding fashion and clothing. Karina expertly identifies what will, and won't, suit your
body type and your lifestyle.

What is truly unique about this service, is that it can all be done from the comfort of
your own home. Digital images arrive in your email account and you complete the process via a telephone or Skype conversation with Karina. I can also state that the process was extremely non-threatening or personally intrusive. Karina's personality and conversation skills made
the our phone call seem like I was sitting down and having a chat over a cup of coffee with
a good friend... How fabulous!

Read on to find out more about this delightful, and creative lady...

                                      (Picture source: Provided by client)

        Hi Karina...Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions today. Can we start with a little bit about your background, the type of business you have and the circumstances that brought you to creating ‘Personalised Style’?

Many years before Personalised Style came to life, I completed my advance training at the 'Australian Style Institute' and became a Personal Stylist. From there, I ran my own Personal Styling Business, which I loved. What I quickly noticed however, was so many women wanted, and needed, a Stylist to help and teach them how to dress specifically for their own needs. Often their location, lack of time and/or budget was holding them back.

I just felt that this seemed a little unfair. This became even more apparent, after being present with my clients in a dressing room and then watching them walk out and then look at themselves in a mirror. So often they would burst into tears... all because they had never realised that they could look and feel so good. I believe that every single person deserves to feel this way! It shouldnt matter if you dont have a large budget or your location holds you back from shopping, or your busy lifestyle won't allow you the time to get out and go shopping... you deserve to look great and feel amazing! Its your right!

So with this motivation in mind, 'Personalised Style' was born. It is a place for women to shop, to be styled by a Personal Stylist in a 'Shopping' and 'Styling Session', or to be 'Styled Online' across all areas of Australia and New Zealand. 

Myself and my team of Stylists are here to help, guide, and teach our clients how create outfits for themselves that flatter and suit them. We are here to teach them how shop with confidence, to put their best foot forward and to create an image of themselves that they are proud of, and that they love!  We want to help our clients look and feel great about themselves, every day!

                              (Picture source: Provided by client)

Do you work from home or have you set up an office away from your residence? 
Please describe an average day at your place of work?
As a mum, and a business woman, I am very lucky to be able to work from home, and I have created a business that allows me to do so.  My office is in our home - right at the front of the house, so it is away from the rest of the family space  It really is my little haven! My husband is a 'Handy Man', and that is exactly what he is - very handy! He created a gorgeous space that is just for me. It is a perfect place to let my creative side 'go wild' and it’s also a place that I am able to really concentrate! 

Each day is completely different for me. With 2 young boys, (5 and almost 3) every day is a little unpredictable. I am lucky that my youngest still has a sleep during the day, so when he is asleep, and my eldest is at Kinder, I make sure I am super productive with my time!  A lot of my work is done once the boys have gone to bed at night or before they get up in the morning. 

(Picture source: Provided by client)

What do you perceive to be the pros and cons of working for yourself?

The pros are defiantly that I am able to spend time with my boys! I have been lucky enough to witness all of their 'firsts' and to teach them new skills as well as listen to their very strange conversations... and everything else that pretty much goes with being a 'stay at home mum'. 
I am able to decide for myself when we can go away for a holiday or start some days 
later than usual. I suppose it really comes down to the flexibility and lifestyle that working
 from home can provide.
The one thing that can be difficult when working for myself, is that there isn’t an 'off switch'!  For the type of person I am, this isn’t too bad, because I love being busy, and I 
also love growing. So I am always researching, learning, and networking simply because 
I love to. It would be nice to sometimes to be able to 'leave work' and come home and 
not think about it until the next day.  

(But... I would probably get bored... so I don’t think I could ever work for someone again!)

(Picture source: Provided by client)

What tips do you have for achieving a healthy home/work balance in your life?

Be 100% present! Whether it is your family and friends or your work... make sure you are 'there'. You can’t do it all, all of the time. Something or someone is missing out if you try to. It took me a while to get to this point because I thought, if I can accomplish everything, I am being incredibly productive. But it turns out I was actually just waisting my time, and nothing was getting done properly. So for me, when it is work time... it is work time. When it’s kids time, the phone and computer are put down and I am with my family.

(Picture source: Provided by client)

Is there any advice you wish you had had before you started on your business 
adventure that you could share with us today?

Oh I don’t think we would have enough hours to listen to what I wish I had known before starting my own business! (Laughing) One piece of advice I would say, however, is the importance of networking. For me, I am naturally a shy person, but in saying that, I am also confident (and knowing how to dress with confidence certainly helps with that) and I have learnt that stepping 'out of my comfort zone' is where the magic happens. Attending networking events is so good for you, your business and also for your confidence with business! 

The other advice I have would suggest is don’t overthink everything! Go for it! Launch it! Publish it! Don’t wait until you have every single thing perfectly in place, because you can always find something that you want to improve or alter, but once you have launched your business, your direction or target audience might change anyway! So just go for it!

Finally, the most important piece of advice I have for you is to be kind to yourself! You are doing an incredible job, and there are people out there who genuinely what to help and support you on the way to success. Stop comparing yourself to others... be you and don’t even bother trying 
to 'fit' the norm. It won't do you or your business any good!

 I know you have helped many women with ‘Personalised Style’ … please can you tell me why you love helping the clients you do.

I love giving people confidence! Some of my clients include new mums who are getting back into the workplace or women who have been out of the workplace situation for several years. I love seeing their faces when they walk out of that change room, wearing something that they would never have picked out, and they come out taller, happier, and so much more confident! I have witnessed my clients walk out to that mirror, and look at the first time with the biggest grin on their faces because they never believed that they could look that good or feel that good about themselves! Sometimes they don’t want to get back into their own clothes! They buy them, then and there, and wear them out of the shop! 

My clients often send me their 'after' photos along with their stories about what has changed in their life because of their new found confidence. They feel like they can take on anything. I love the messages I receive from ladies who attended their children's birthdays, formals or weddings. I hear about the compliments they received - It is beautiful and I love it!  

To see these gorgeous women create a happier and more confident life as well as achieve their goals, is simply incredible!

(Picture source: Provided by client)

Can you highlight a few of your favourite products and recommend any ‘best sellers’ 
on your website?

Well my favourite service is our 'Shopping' and 'Styling Sessions'. This is where I take my clients shopping and style them for 3 hours and I teach them how to dress for their personality, budget, lifestyle, shape, age and help them find their own style. This is where the real magic happens! I visibly see my clients feel fantastic after the shopping and styling session!

Our other popular service would have to be my styling memberships. This is where I create 'digital outfit images' for my clients so they can simply purchase the pieces in stores, or online if they can’t make it to the stores.  I am always so excited when I send their monthly images to them! The best seller is our 'Essential Style Plus Membership', which includes a style consultation with a Personal Stylist over the phone or Skype, a 12 month Styling membership, and also our incredible Style Guide, which goes through  all the different cuts of clothing that suits and flatters them.

Women, both in history and in the present day, constantly inspire me. Do any particular women inspire you? If so, who and why?

I don’t have someone in particular, because I have so many women in my life who inspire me, through motherhood, business and my personal life. My clients also constantly inspire me. Each one of them decided that they wanted to make a change their lives. They wanted to learn and they wanted to feel better about themselves. They inspire me to continue to grow and to always give them the best of me. I think it is so important to surround ourselves with positive people who inspire us. They make us happy, they give us drive, and we are all better people for it.  xx

(Picture source: Provided by client)

Thank you so much Karina for sharing your thoughts with us. 
It has been lovely getting to know you.

If you would like to contact Karina for more information or to ask about her styling packages you can email her HERE

Or to look at her beautiful website, please click HERE

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