Monday, 26 October 2015

My current favourites

My favourite things and obsessions of the moment...

1. The delicious sugar rose candle from the MOR essentials collection. I stock it in my store (shameless plug) and on our last shipment I brought one home. It's on my desk at the moment and it gets lit every time I'm working in my office. Subtle and sweet, it's my new desk essential.

2. Chella ivory lace highlighter - I got this in a Bellabox several months ago and have used it every single day since! It's such an amazing product and I will totally purchase another when mine runs out (my current one is definitely running low). I use it under my eyes after I've put foundation on and it completely covers up any bags or shadows. It's a really soft pencil, so it goes on very easily, then I just blend in with my finger, it only takes a couple of seconds to do, and I've stopped using concealer, opting for the Chella highlighter instead. It's definitely my new favourite beauty product! 

3. Gold accents - I'm so in love with gold things at the moment and two of my lovely friends added to my little gold collection for my birthday recently.  A new Kate Spade stationery kit and lovely gold bowls from Kikki-K were very welcome birthday gifts. They currently have pride of place in my office!

4. New face cleanser and face scrub by True Essentials. I picked these up a few weeks ago after my last lot (which I wasn't 100% happy with) ran out. Originally I chose them as they are Australian made and don't test on animals. After just one use I was thoroughly impressed. I really like the light feeling of it when I'm using it and the fresh feeling of my face afterwards. It's quickly become a staple in my skin care routine and I will definitely purchase again!

5. My Fitness Pal App - My friend Emma has been using this app and she told me about it over breakfast one morning. I downloaded it to have a play and it very quickly became a daily obsession! You enter in some basic details about yourself and your goals and you're given a calorie/ kilojoule limit for the day. As you enter in your meals and exercise it tracks and compares to your quota to help you keep on track :) The app does a range of other things and can be incorporated with things like Apple Watches and Fitbits, but I just use the basic exercise and food tracking.

I'd love to know your favourite things of the moment... leave me a comment and let me know!

xx Miss Ali

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Fresh sheets

There are few things in life more glorious than the feeling of fresh bedding! Sunday is my fresh bedding day and this evening I'm beyond excited about it as I have a brand new bedspread from Morgan & Finch that my beautiful mother bought me for my birthday.

We changed it all this morning after we got up and I've been looking forward to climbing into it all day!

White covers are always my preference as they make our bedroom look lovely and light. This cover has a gorgeous textured pattern all over and I'm totally in love with it!

It's finally time for me to head off to bed with a book! Goodnight lovely readers! 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Happy Monday. Sunshine and tea.

Happy Monday lovely readers, 

The sun in shining, the morning is beautiful and I get to spend a short but peaceful time sitting in my sun-filled dining room enjoying some fabulous tea before work. Here's to a gorgeous week ahead! 

xx Miss Ali 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Beautiful Tuesdays

Today I gave myself half the day off and with it a couple of treats.

This morning I had a beautiful breakfast with a friend, we sat and talked for hours, consuming multiple cups of tea and chai lattes. It's been a while since I've had a catch up with her, so it was nice to just sit and be with her for a while. It's amazing how old friends just fall back into place and pick up from the moment we left off. We don't see each other nearly as much as we'd like as jobs and life in general gets in the way.

I've had some time to sit and read. I usually have a combination of books on the go at any one time, I try to make sure there is a bit of variety in what I'm reading and usually have a novel and a business/improvement book going together. My current business book is Work Smarter: Live Better by Cyril Peupion, which Matt gave me for Christmas last year. I've only just managed to start it, but I'm definitely enjoying it so far!

After breakfast I took myself to the shops for a little stroll. I didn't have anything in particular I needed, but I'm a sucker for a bit of window shopping. While I was there I picked up this fabulous water bottle from Kikki K. The gold detail in it fits perfectly with the other gold things I have on my desk, so it found a new home very easily!

I also popped in to the ABC shop to get the new season of Downton Abbey! I don't watch this (or any) show on TV as they are released as I'm never home when things air so I always wait until the season is released on DVD to binge watch every episode in one sitting! This little gem is out waiting by my TV so I'm not tempted to put it on until the weekend!

Over all, it's been such a fabulous Tuesday I almost want to take the rest of it off too! Alas, work is calling!

Wishing you all beautiful Tuesdays!

xx Ali

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Winter sun and birthday parties

Today we've got the most beautiful sunshine. It's such a nice change from the cold weather we've been hit with since winter began. Winter sun is the best, everything glows, the flowers in our backyard lift their heads and warmth spills over you when you find a sunny patch to rest in!

We spent the day at our friend's place to celebrate the first birthday of her adorable son. We ate delicious food, met some lovely new people and had fun with the kids. 

Now we're back home and I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon in a sunny corner with a cup of tea and a book. No work for me today. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The things you notice...

I'm sick... again! I'd been on a good streak for a while, but alas, my lungs have disappointed me again and I'm back in bed waiting impatiently to get better.

There's something about spending the entire day sitting in bed that gets you noticing the things in your bedroom. I totally love our bedroom, we have a gorgeous bay window that gives me a great view outside, a super comfy bed that I adore and a walk-in wardrobe that has lots of shoe space. But after looking at it all day I keep seeing little things that I'd like to change. I think a little redecoration is in order once I'm better!

Stay tuned!

xx Miss Ali

Friday, 22 May 2015

May Bellabox goodies


Yesterday my Bellabox for May arrived! I'm loving having this little box of goodies delivered to my door each month, it's always exciting to get packages in the mail and it's even better when the contents is a surprise!

The above photo shows this month's box of samples, my favourite being the highlighter pencil from Chella. It's been super easy to use and takes no time at all!

I got another sample of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula cream - not a huge fan of this brand. I like my face creams unscented and I didn't like the feeling of the day cream the last time they gave us a sample.

The Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil has been great (I used it this morning) and I will definitely be using it again.

Time to spritz some of that Impulse perfume sample and get to work!

xx Ali

Friday, 8 May 2015

Workday Plan B

I'm a big list maker. I always have been, even as a child I liked making lists. I would note down the somewhat insignificant things I would be taking on holiday with me. I got a lot of satisfaction from ticking them off as I put them in the bag and again when we packed to come home. As an adult, my list making has evolved slightly and I always have a weekly and daily to-do list of tasks I need to achieve. 

This system works well for me, I know what I need to get done, it allows me to prioritise, and over time I've learnt to divide my weekly list up over my working week so each day can be productive. 

Yesterday, however, my list was thrown out the window! Imagine my dismay as I sit down at my computer with my list and get greeted with this screen just as I start up for the day! 

That's right, my trusty computer called in sick to work! There went all my computerised work for the day. Luckily my lovely Dad will be able to sort it out for me over the weekend. In the meantime, I was looking at a wasted day.

That's when workday plan B kicked in. There's always a list of things that need to get done that never make it on to the daily and weekly list as they're lengthy, difficult or not important enough. For me the thing in the back of my mind all year has been my costumes at the dance studio. They've been a mess for ages. No idea what's been in what box and so hard to find anything when we need it. So yesterday when my original list became non-achievable I headed over to my studio for a day of costume sorting. 

It's always been so worthwhile for me to make a list of what I need to achieve, but yesterday's computer malfunction could have easily seen me waste that day in front of the TV, instead, my little back up list saved me - turns out it's worthwhile too! 

Are you a list maker?  

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

5 tips for working from home!

Several times a week I have blocks that I work from home. Sometimes it could be a whole day working at home, others it could be an hour or two before going to the shop or the studio. It's taken me a while (with lots of trial and error) to get into the swing of working at home in such a way that I'm the most productive I can be. Here are my tips if you're finding work in your home office is filled with distractions...

1. Have a designated space, but make sure that space is right for your task. 

One of the bedrooms in my house has been made into my office. It's got everything I need for work; a nice big desk, lots of lighting, candles, bookshelf, computer etc. I love it but sometimes it's not the right space for me to be working in. Sometimes I would find myself sitting for hours but achieving nothing. This made me realise that some tasks are better achieved curled up in my reading chair or on the dining room table with a laptop.

When I have uni lectures to watch, I prefer to sit somewhere comfy like the couch. A desk isn't needed as all I'm doing is listening and watching, but I find if I attempt to sit in my office, I get distracted by other work. It's too easy to press pause on a lecture when you study by correspondence.

2.  Plan your time

If you know me at all, you will know that I am a big advocate for the physical paper diary. My busy life gets mapped out on the page and I can be sure of what needs doing and what needs to take priority. Now a paper diary might not be right for you, but there a lots of options of electronic organisation using a phone, tablet or computer. Find one that works for you. Use colour, It helps! I'm also a fan of post-it-notes and have a selection in my desk drawer.

It's important to schedule your time. Make a list of the jobs you need to complete, then prioritise them. I'm a big fan of doing the most important thing first, that way when you get to the end of your day you can be sure that you completed at least one important thing. This can still be used even if you only have an hour to spare for work.

When you're working for an extended period, don't forget to plan in some breaks, which leads us to our next tip...

3. Take time for breaks

If you don't set yourself break time you will end up less productive. It took me quite a while to realise that sitting at my desk for 4 or 5 hours would not let me get 4 or 5 hours of work done. If I didn't plan breaks, I didn't take them. I would get about 3 hours in then find myself getting distracted. I'd click over to facebook or would move on to less important tasks to fight the boredom.

On a day when I'm working from home I will allow myself a couple of hours work in the morning and plan a break around 10:30 to stop and walk away from the work. I have some tea or play with the dog for a little while then head back to my office with a fresh mind. I do the same at lunch time and in the afternoon. The fresh mind makes for a much more productive session. Even if you're only working for 2 hours, a break in the middle to stretch your legs and refresh your mind works wonders!

4. Keep your work area tidy and surround yourself with the things you need

This rule matters to me a lot. Clutter makes me fidgety so I like to have a clean desk before starting whatever work I have to do. If I've been lazy the evening before and not tidied up after myself, I make sure I tidy before sitting down to work. Keep all your necessary things close by so you don't have to get up and wander around, and set your area up ready for your task.

For me, this means my desk is clear of clutter and has whatever task out that I'm planning to tackle. My work mobile is on my desk, along with my diary, which is usually open at the week we are on. A pretty candle is burning, my tea and water are both on my desk and I have pens, highlighters and post-it-notes within reach. I also need lip balm and hand cream (both are kept on my desk).

After a task is finished. I like to clean up before moving to the next one as it usually involves different paperwork or books.

5. If you're hungry. STOP AND EAT!

When I'm hungry, all I can think about is how hungry I am. This is not a productive mindset to be in, tasks drag on, I find myself staring out the window and my mind just wont focus on the work at hand. If you get to this stage, give yourself permission to stop. Step away from your desk and grab a quick bite, then when you return you'll be refueled and you can completely focus on the job at hand!

What do you do to make working from home more productive?

Monday, 30 March 2015

Happy Monday

Happy Monday, lovely readers!

Wow, it's been over a month since my last post! That four weeks certainly flew by. This week is set to be a super short one with the Easter long weekend happening from Friday. How could Monday not be a happy one when it's the start of a four day week!?

Usually I look at these weeks with a little extra stress (attempting to fit all the work into less days), but this year I refuse to give myself more stress than is necessary. My shop will be closed for 4 days, my dance studio will be in holiday mode and I'll be on the mid-trimester break at uni.  I plan to switch off work mode for the full weekend and spend it at home with Matt. We have some half formed ideas of doing up our spare room, which I'm rather excited about.

How will you be spending your Easter weekend?

These little Easter gifts are going out to my Elite Dance students this week!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

My first Bella Box!

On Monday I received my first delivery from Bellabox (Happy Monday). It was like getting a little surprise gift in the mail because although I knew it was coming, I didn't know what was inside. Bellabox sends out this little treat monthly that has a selection of sample beauty products inside for trial. 

I'd been thinking about signing up for a while, as I figure its a perfect way to get to try new products (especially products that I might not have otherwise looked at). This months haul included:

1. Essie Nail Colour: I got the colour 'Fashion Playground' - a lovely soft green

2. Bioderma Hydrabio Serum: a hydrating moisturiser

3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel: for hydrated, healthy skin

4. Chapstick Natural Pawpaw: One can never have enough lip balms and this is one I haven't tried before

5. Aveeno Daily Moisturiser: This month seems to have a bit of a focus on moisturiser (yay)

6. Kérastase Paris Nutritive Nectar Thermique: This is a leave in hair treatment to protect from heat. I plan on giving this baby a go before I straighten my hair next time!

I paid $10 for my subscription for Bellabox (though I think it is usually $15 as I took up a special offer) and it seems I have the option of opting out at any time. I'll give it a go for a few months and see what little treasures I get to test out!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Welcome Poppie Lane!

I've spent the last three days in Sydney visiting the trade fairs for new stock for my shop. What an exhausting, but fabulous time I've had. This year Matty chose to come down with me as he missed out last year, it was handy having a bag holder/driver/idea bouncer on hand.

I found a bunch of great new things for Dancestuff and I'm so excited to get them in store, but I also found a whole heap of other items that I just couldn't resist and I'm super keen to get in, too. So I've created Dancestuff's sister store: Poppie Lane.

Poppie Lane will house all the fabulous gift and home ware that doesn't relate to my Dancestuff customers, I can't wait for it to all come in!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Happy Monday

Happy Monday lovely friends!

This morning it was so very hard to get myself out of bed. I didn't have a particularly good sleep, so when the alarm told me to get up I contemplated staying in bed for an extra half hour. After reasoning with myself I just forced myself out of the covers and into the kitchen to make tea. What good was that extra half hour actually going to do for me anyway? -  I was already awake.

My tea was delicious, as always (Twinings Irish Breakfast) and I had some quiet time to sit and think about my busy week ahead. I took a moment to listen to my guided meditation and made a conscious decision to put my bad sleep behind me and make sure today is a Happy Monday (as all Mondays should be).

Mondays for me this year are insanely long. I do a full day alone at my shop, then head straight to my studio and teach several classes, effectively making it an 11 or 12 hour day. So this morning, instead of pressing snooze and laying in bed dwelling on all the things I have to do, I made myself get up.

I've blocked out a little bit of personal 'time off' during the week that I can look forward to and I'm choosing to ignore the fact that I left my lunch at home (I might just have to take myself to the yummy French Patisserie down the street).

How will you make your Monday happy?

Happy Monday!
Love, Ali xx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Poolside afternoons.

It's Sunday afternoon. I'm finished work, there's beautiful sunshine and I'm enjoying a relaxing afternoon by the pool! 

It's certainly nice to be able to pause for a couple of hours. I have a crossword, some fluffy puppy company and my new favourite hat (which you may recognise from my January favourites). This is definitely a lovely lazy afternoon! 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Miss Ali's Favourites for January

This is a few days late in posting, but I thought I'd let you know of my favourite new products and things that I found myself loving and using in January.

1. Diary - So you know I'm big on using a physical paper diary. I simply couldn't function if I didn't have it. I get mine made each year through Personal Planner, who do a fantastic job. I changed the layout of the inside of my planner this year and I'm totally loving it. They have lots of pre-done designs, or you can upload your own design. I designed mine with all my little reminder words on the back.

2. The Vera Wang 'Lovestruck' perfume - which was given to me for Christmas by my beautiful friend, Mel. It's such a beautiful, feminine scent and I've been using it a lot. It also came with a body wash and moisturiser in the same delicious scent!

3. Twinings 'Prince of Wales' tea - Technically this isn't new, since I've had it before. But it's lately been given a new place in my tea schedule for the day. I'm loving this one at night time at the moment, I have it after dinner, when I'm sitting down with a book.

4. Forever New Summer Hat - I've wanted one of these hats for so long, and I'd just never found the right one... Until I stumbled upon this baby! It has the perfect amount of floppiness for lounging by the pool and I just love it. I also got it on sale (which makes it just that much more exciting).

5. 'Friends' boxset - This is one of those shows you can watch again and again. It never gets old and it's always funny. I'm currently on a Friends binge, working my way through the series. I got this boxset on sale for $89 and it has all 10 seasons in it!