Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Portable Office

I mostly work from home, but also work at the 10thousandgirl shared space once a week and then at random places on an ad hoc basis when I just need to get out!

This means I have to have all my important stuff together so I can do what I need to wherever I am.

Some people are very minimalist. I am not one of those people.

I am visual - I need paper.
I need lists I can see and schedules that are in front of me.

So here are the items that make up my portable office (and yes, sometimes I am really daggy and I cart them around in a wheelie case - it was not sexy enough to photograph for this post.):

Phone & Headphones

I love listening to podcasts on the go and the headphones are also good for handsfree conversations.


I gave up on my internet dongler because it really was hopeless! Now I just quickly check and send emails from the iPad if necessary.

 Laptop & Mouse

I don't like the mouse on the laptop so I always have my wireless mouse on hand. It is especially helpful when I'm fussing around with excel spreadsheets and jumping between different programs.


I cannot live without my planner. It has all my important information in it and its where I schedule and prioritise what is going on in my week.


Blog Planner

Since I created my own blog planner I wonder how I survived before! It helps me plan what posts should be ready when and keeps it altogether and clear for my chaotic mind.



While my diary keeps me on track I use my notebook to scribble out plans and details of the projects I'm working on. I prefer paper first and then I put things together and edit on the computer.

Pencil Case

It makes such a difference writing and planning in colour with nice pens as opposed to just boring old blue or black ink. That's why I carry around my pink polka dot pencil case. It holds all the important writing and work tools including:
Coloured markers
USB stick
Post its

So, that is my portable office!

Do you lug around as much as I do or are you much more minimalist or digital??

Make it as you wish SSSs!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week In Review: 21 - 27 July - Tissues, Tea & Tantrums

Three things happened this week that made me look at my life and reinspired me to make the important things happen. You don't know what is around the corner so every day is an opportunity to start afresh and to push through the barriers that arise. You owe that to yourself.

My Step-Aunt passed away after a battle with a degenerative disease. Sad and horrible and I feel so much for the family and my stepdad that remain. But I hope she is in peace after her long battle.

I found out that a girl I went to high school with died leaving behind her 9 year old daughter. She was my age - 31. Waaaay too young. Shocking and tragic.

Then I was sick with the flu, which in the grand scheme of things isn't huge, but the things that come up when you are lethargic on the couch are. You have time to think. To marinate in the difficult things that come up. You can't hide in your busy-ness. Doubts, fears and emotions come up. I was beating myself up on the things I hadn't done. Where I hadn't reached. What hasn't been accomplished.

I was forgetting about the intangible inner journey I've been on to get me where I need to be. I guess I needed to go through these uncomfortable feelings to push me forwards.

So while I didn't get a lot finished, I did accomplish a few things:

Sunday roast for one of my favourite birthday girls (I kept away from human contact and hid behind tissues)
Created a winter routine
Formulated a health challenge - I'm ready to rock my fitness again after the flu and holiday hiatus
Spoke to my Daddy-O - he's coming back for a couple of months towards the end of the year
Watched the masterchef finale while eating toast
Wrote 11 Ways To Do More With What You Have for 10thousandgirl
Cancelled a bunch of catch ups and meetings as I wasn't fit for public consumption
Played around with business stuff
Booked car in for pink slip
Met with fab business girls in coffee shop
Received a business coaching session

What is inspiring you to move forward SSSs?
Make it as you wish
Arienne xo

Saturday, July 28, 2012

8 Tips For Going On Retreat

What does the idea of going on retreat evoke for you?

A sense of stillness? Being? Growth? Laughter? Learning? Time? Silence? Connecting? Fun? Awe? Gratitude?

For the retreat I went to recently it was all of the above!

When Kimberly Wilson announced a year ago that she was running an Art & Yoga retreat in Paris & Provence, I was in.

She had me at "I'm.....Paris". So much so that I was the first one to book in (Eager much Arienne?!).

I had a year to plan and organise the trip and I had so many ideas about what I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to connect with Kimberly after following her blog for years and doing a couple of ecourses, I wanted to have inspiration, soak up the French atmosphere and meet some wonderful people.

Going on retreat can be daunting. You don't really know what to expect, you are in an unfamiliar place and you don't know who you'll be going through the experience with. Hopefully you'll have picked something you resonate with so you'll be with like-minded people!

Here is a list of 8 things that will help you to prepare for and on on retreat. Enjoy :)

1. Set an intention

I had numerous intentions, so to make sure I captured them all and infused them with a greater chance of happening, I sat down in a sunny spot and wrote down everything that came to mind. I jotted down what I wanted to have, do and be during the 10 days. Then I took it one stage further and visualised the situations and feelings I wanted to have.

Voila! Intentions set. I did this about a week before I left and it made me even more excited to get there.

2. Let go and have an open mind

Once you've set your intentions let your pre-conceived notions fly away during the retreat. The intentions will be manifesting themselves in your subconscious so trust them to happen.  You could miss some amazing unexpected opportunities and situations if you are holding on too tight to how things 'should' be. Having an open mind will help you absorb and experience all that you need to.

3. Take pictures of the memories

So many things are happening - the people, the activities, the new surroundings - what can you do to help you remember them? Take pictures! You don't want to be constantly snapping away in lieu of actually experiencing the moments, but it is soooooo nice to have pictures of the little and big things that left an imprint. You'll be happy you did later.

4. Engage with others and connect

You will be surrounded by an array of amazing people who on some level are just like you because the retreat resonated enough for them to make the effort to come too. Engage, interact and ask questions. You might find a new friend, business partner or mentor. People are magic.

5. Time for self

Don't forget that this retreat is for you. There may be a lot of sessions going on or people you would like to engage with, but don't forget to take some time for yourself as well. Peace and solitude can go a long way. You need time to digest and absorb your new experiences and learning so make sure you have some alone time each day.

6. Note your Lessons/AHAs each day

Listen up Savvy Shes! This is especially important. Write down 1-3 of your insights, lessons and AHAs at the end of each day. This helps to compound learning and bring it further in your life. It is also a way to share with others what you got out of the retreat when they ask.

7. Be present. Let go of everything else

You are at the retreat, not at the office or at home. Be here. Let go of all those normal distractions of what needs to be done 'back in real life'. If you have to, write it down and then forget about it until you go home.

8. After the retreat

Stay connected with those you connected with. They've had a memorable shared experience with you. I handed around a sheet that everyone put their details on which I collated and emailed to everyone.

One of the wonderful retreaters (Thank you Ms C!) handed this quote out to the rest of us:
On returning from retreat...
Be gentle with yourself as you return to your life after retreat. Accept the people, the problems, the joy and discomfort. Also, accept your annoyance, impatience and judgment (about yourself and others). To bring the spirit of your retreat to your life means to accept whatever comes up, not that each moment of your life will or should be henceforth serene. Welcome back to the world! Marc Lesser, Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less
Above all enjoy the experience!

Kimberly is running another French retreat in 2013. Check it out here

Have you been on a retreat SSS? What was the experience like? What tips would you have for others?

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The London Wrap - Part 2

In honour of the upcoming London Olympics (and because unfinished business makes me wake up in the middle of the night), here is the long overdue continuation of the summary of my October 2011 London trip. Click here to read The London Wrap Part 1.

WESTFIELD SHEPHERDS BUSH: Being from Australia, I am of course familiar with the Westfield shopping centres. I have to say this one in Shepherd's Bush took the cake. Massive stores with impressive store fronts and all the favourites - Zara, H&M and Topshop - they even had a Boost Juice there! Tatiane and I shopped...a bit...okay...quite a bit!

PRIMARK: Fun clothes, super cheap. Primark's Website
BRIXTON ACADEMY: Famous place for concerts and gigs - we ate Subway in a dodgy area before hand. Website

COVENT GARDEN: What's a trip to London without visiting Covent Garden? Nothing really, so we did! There were restaurants, markets, easy access to the Seven Dials shopping area and Soho.

BENIHANA: Growing up we were lucky enough to live in a wonderful 5 star hotel in Bangkok (thanks to Dad's job). Unfortunately we didn't really appreciate what restaurants we had until we were older and had to pay for restaurants ourselves! Benihana is an upscale teppanyaki restaurant that we loved because they threw food at you. It was wonderful to be able to experience it again.

TRADER VICS: Same goes for Trader Vics - a tiki bar/restaurant - whose founder is credited with creating the original Mai Tai. Get ready to spend a long time perusing the cocktail menu and you can't go past their ribs. Yummmmmmmmmm!
MONMOUTH COFFEE: If you love coffee, you need to Monmouth. Enough said.

LEICESTER SQUARE: We pretty much only visited Leiscester square to get discount show tickets. There are lots of ticket outlets there in and above the Tube stop. They really seemed the same in terms of availability and pricing.

STOMP: What a show!!!! Definitely recommend it. If you've seen Tap Dogs, or are a fan of anything with rhythm and beats this show will impress. The whole thing has no speech, no music but is sooooo engaging. Stomp Website

WE WILL ROCK YOU: A tribute to Queen to a story line written by Ben Elton. We got fantastic seats to the show - about 8 from the front - awesome to sing a long to. Website

RICHMOND PARK: Deer in the city?! Yes, there are deer in Richmond Park. Luckily we got to see some in the vast greenery. It was a lovely walk and I took lots of pics of the beautiful surrounds.

KEW GARDENS: Those who know me know I love (adore!) flowers, so Kew Gardens were a must. I have to say October wasn't the best time for some flowers as they weren't in bloom (oh, that pesky cycle of mother nature...). It was great to spend the day walking on beautiful grass and seeing wonderful kept gardens. And then a plant tried to kill my sister.

GORDON'S WINE BAR: Its the oldest winebar in London. Very busy, we ended up sitting outside, but the inside looked beautifully cosy with nooks and stone walls.

BAKER STREET: I've always had an interest in Sherlock Holmes. Especially more now with the super intelligent BBC versions. I didn't make it inside the residence, but it was enough to see it from the outside!

OXFORD STREET: Shopping galore. Shops, shops and more shops...

TATE MODERN: I've been wanting to go here for years and I finally made it. There were some great exhibits and I spent a few hours there. The gift store was great!

BIG BEN: It really is pretty. Even though it is just a clock with history...

TOWER BRIDGE: Okay, I think I'm not the only one that thought Tower Bridge was London Bridge. Seriously, which one is more impressive?? 

PROUD CABARET: We went to their halloween session and had a dinner and show package. We, the audience had to come dressed up as well which was half the fun. Well worth the visit and I'd love to go again!

Writing this I realise we did A LOT! But managed to balance it with some fabulous down time. We also went to Bath (which I love, love, loved!!) and visited Stonehenge. There is so much to see in London and would love to go back (too bad my sis is coming back early 2013!).

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