The Interior Designer, a Cushion Tosser

The Interior Designer, a Cushion Tosser

When the film industry portray an “interior designer” images of Martin Short as Franck Eggelhoffer, the neurotic designer from Father of the Bride II come to mind. Designers’ are often portrayed as people who are egocentric, expensive and who spend their day going around say “darling” and throwing cushions around. This description could not be further from the truth. A qualified interior designer is a mine of information, contacts and your money saver. They are your co-ordinator, designer, creative thinker and budget controller. Certainly not terms generally seen as associated with the profession.

So what does an interior designer do? They take the needs of individuals, families or companies and blend aesthetics with function within the constraints of the space and budget. They ensure form and function meet, let’s be honest what attracts you to a book in the first place is it’s cover, and this is the same as the space you live in or work in. If you feel good in a space you will use it or luxuriate in it.

By using an interior designer you can:

  • Maximise the use of your space, ensuring all areas are used efficiently and effectively
  • Save money by preventing costly errors
  • Save money as they often have access to trade prices
  • Access to materials and fabrics that the majority of people do not have
  • Have a list of trustworthy and quality tradespeople, they can be a one stop shop
  • Complete your brand image for businesses by continuing it into your work space
  • Increase work productivity and subsequent profit by ensuring ergonomic work spaces are created. A happy work force means a happy bank balance
  • Make sure you are not contravening any Building Code or Australian standard. For eg did you know that with any new office fit out that the minimum size of any door is 850mm and that egress points must have a walk through area of 1500mm. Probably one rule that most people are unaware of is the maximum distance anyone can travel to an exit is 20m without contravening the fire exit rules. Heaven forbid your were to have a fire and you did not meet these conditions, then you or your company would be liable
  • Make your makeover relatively pain free and save your relationship.

An interior designer is a person with a multi-faceted set of skills who improve the interior of buildings, the living and working spaces of people and ultimately their comfort and/or productivity. Oh yes and they do toss a few cushions around.

Zucchini spaghetti and almond mayonnaise salad

Zucchini spaghetti and almond mayonnaise saladIt’s the vibrant colour and freshness that keeps me happily consuming lots of fresh living foods. Just look at this photo, how beautiful it is!

Your body is a temple, worship it and keep it ticking along efficiently with foods it can absorb and utilize easily.

And it is easy – come along to a raw food workshop and I will show you how!

PS: that is raw zucchini as the base not spaghetti!

What can children do in the Holidays?

For other than HSC students, the end of the year means not only a break from school but also from tutoring. Yet most parents feel a little insecure about such a long break and worry their child will fall behind in the New Year. They often want to schedule some tutorials during the break (not such a bad idea) but still feel anxious about all that free time. So as a tutor, I often get the question – what should they be doing in the holidays?


The answer is surprisingly simple. The two most important activities for developing literacy skills are reading for pleasure and keeping a journal. Reading widely and reflecting on experiences in a journal are habits that lead to better literacy and lifelong learning.  And the long Christmas break is the perfect opportunity to start developing these habits.


Forming Good Reading Habits



My daughter reading her new book

Even 4 year olds can Read for Pleasure

Most parents foster the habit of reading from a young age by reading to their children at bed time, and encouraging them with their home readers. There is a point however where children are expected to read independently and this is often when the habits die off.


If you have a Primary aged child, support all their reading and reward them for functional reading (lists, instructions, recipes etc)  as well as reading for pleasure.  Keep them excited about reading by going to the library regularly but also give books as presents, read the weekend papers and let them buy and trade magazines and comics.


If your pre-teen or older student has become a reluctant reader then reinforcing the joys of summer reading – long lazy days spent with a book or any other reading material – can help to put them back on track Enjoying reading is the key and if they are used to reading in the holidays this will make it easier for them to tackle the large quantities of reading required for the HSC. And the good news is that seeing you read is the best model they can have – so enjoy your holiday reading without guilt!


Holiday Journals



It is one thing to model good reading habits however few parents feel competent to help their children to write. A holiday journal or diary is a great place to start and encourages students to record not only their experiences but also their reading. Reflecting on what they read and making judgements on what they like and don’t like helps develop analytical and essay writing skills – so definitely a worthy activity for primary and middle school students. HSC students can also get a lot of benefit from journal keeping and many subjects require this skill.


As well as journal writing, again encourage young students with lots of functional and personal writing – such as cards, lists, menus and letters and emails to relatives for Christmas.  Using the PC there is no end to the writing they can do they can keep a photo-memoir complete with captions – another good literacy skill.  But the pen is still the best and easiest way to record thoughts ( and still necessary for exams ) so keep your child interested in handwriting by giving them  a nice new journal and Smiggles pen for Christmas and watch them go!


So to keep your child on track for the New Year just keep them reading and writing and enjoying it. It really is that simple. (But you may want to lose the Wii remote and use the iPad for reading only!)


Written by Christina Greenlees


Images minor editing by Sharleen Newcombe– Advanced Education Solutions Like us on Facebook


Christina is a former teacher of English and Drama and a freelance writer.

She is one of our English tutors specialising in the HSC and creative writing.

Road Trip Raw food tour

I just got back a week ago from a road trip I took for a Raw food workshop which was the business part of my trip and followed it up with a RAW Cafe’ tour holiday!

We don’t have a dedicated raw restaurant or cafe’ here in Sydney so I had to travel to Maleny and Burleigh Heads.

Raw Key lime pie

Delicious and Healthy!

I visited 3 raw food cafe’s and 2 Eco villages to see how people in a community manage to get along together.   Both places were in beautiful locations but both places had one thing in common…….  people!  No matter where we go, it comes down to how we get along in groups to make things work.

See you all at the next monthly IBN!



Cheers! Here’s to good health!

What beautiful sunny weather!  Encourages us to get outdoors and move, walk, garden and socialise.   Help your spring energy levels by drinking vibrant energy giving green smoothies.

Green Smoothies

Blend all raw living fresh ingredients together with some filtered water and enjoy!  The sweet fruit taste dominates and the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body.

Use Special Stuff Everyday and Save

My client was dismayed! Her 1934, delicately painted, fine bone china afternoon tea set was worthless…not because it was poor quality but because she had failed to use it. We were de-cluttering her attic and she decided the tea set inherited from her Uncle could be sold, but upon inspection, the antiques expert advised that it was full of star cracks and would disintegrate once filled with hot beverages. To stay useable, fine bone china needs to be used. By storing it for “good” she had denied herself years of pleasure using it and several hundred dollars from ultimately selling it. The saying “Use it or lose it” is applicable to more than fitness; it can also apply to our possessions.
We have expensive dinner sets, wine glasses and cutlery, which we “save” for special occasions.  For twenty years I hung on to a set of glasses that were a wedding gift. Several years ago the ordinary kitchen glasses needed replacement and I decided not to purchase new ones but to commission the “special set” for everyday use. The whole family commented how nice they were to drink from.
Using “special” items we already own, rather than making another purchase, saves more than our hip pocket.  The environmental cost of purchasing duplicate items for “good” and for “everyday” is worth considering. And then there is the issue of space. A recent survey by the Australia Institute revealed that one in eight Australian families have moved house in order to accommodate their “superfluous stuff”.  Although retailers may wince, one simple step towards de-cluttering your cupboards could be to start using your “special” items for everyday and in doing so make every day more special.
Using quality items means simple pleasures are enhanced. A cup of tea is nicer from a fine cup than a cheap clunky mug. Of course there is always a risk that in using it, it may be damaged, broken or become worn, but you will have had the enjoyment of its use on a daily basis. So I have now resolved to use the special for everyday; as the ad says “because I’m worth it”.  So what beautiful items are lurking in your cupboards that are crying out to be used?

Sue Blake is a Professional Organiser who seeks to give ideas and inspiration to help others become better organised. for more information go to

Package Holiday or Independent – What is the best deal?

Package holiday deals sound amazing when you see them advertised on T.V. or in the newspapers, but often they are very difficult to secure at that bargain price on dates you want to travel and are they really as great a deal as they first appear?

The packages usually include as a minimum airfares and accommodation and then there are the additional items that may or may not be included.  These are: transfers, meals (1-3 per day), drinks, resort facilities and activities or special shows etc.  It is important if you have quotes from a few different travel providers or websites that you clarify that they all include
the same items so you know you are comparing apples with apples.

Start your own research by getting prices on the basics of airfares and accommodation options and see how that compares to the package price.  It is always worth checking with the resorts direct as well as websites and agencies that specialise in your destination. Then look at the cost for adding on any meals that may have been included and see if there is a significant price difference to the package price.

I have had a personal experience recently where to just add breakfast for a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 10 was going to add $600 for 7 days.  This was for a resort in Vanuatu and the four of us actually ate out with large cooked breakfasts for $40-$50 per day (so only spending around $300 for the 7 days) and we could try out different restaurants/cafes each day or prepare our own in our room (warm chocolate croissants and local Tanna coffee – yum!).

The same goes for lunch or dinner options that can be included in the all inclusive packages.  You have to way up if you want to be committed to always eating in your resort or want the flexibility to try other places.  Also, do you want 3 large meals every day or perhaps you prefer just 2.  These all need to be considered before you book & pay for something you may not actually need.

It is also worth looking at the transfer options as well.  You can often save quite a lot on these if arranged independently.  The hotel you book with can offer options and costs and you can easily find out on-line the cost of taxis, shuttles, busses etc available at your destination.

These costs all add up and the more you can save on getting there and staying, the more you have to spend doing fun things when you get there (or on some retail therapy).

Sometimes the package deal on offer is truly a bargain and you should snap them upquickly – but just do a bit of checking before you do to make sure!

If this research sounds all to hard and time consuming – Contact Us Now for assistance:

Fresh Raw Living Fruits!

Vibrant Fresh Fruits

Spring is almost here!  Warmer weather encourages us to eat more juicy, energising fresh fruits.   Our bodies are ready to let go of heavy winter foods and start moving again, creeping out of hibernation and greeting the sun.

Fresh raw living fruits are full of life giving minerals & vitamins to hydrate, feed  and heal cells helping us spring into the day!

Tips for Property Investors

1. When looking to invest talk to real life investors rather than sales people.

2. Know your borrowing capacity and research various states rather than staying in your own area or postcode.

3. Surround yourself with ‘like minded’ people when building your property portfolio

Travel Insurance – What is the best Policy?

Travel insurance is a very important part of any holiday (particularly when going overseas) and the saying “If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel” is certainly a very valid one. You just don’t know what can happen once you are on the road and with the natural disasasters we have witnessed in the past few years causing massive travel delays and disruptions, the fine print of policies certainly need to be read well so you know exactly what coverage you have.

With that said though, the cost of travel insurance does seem to have sky rocketed in the past years which means shopping around to find an affordable policy that covers your needs has become more of a challenge.

We personally have a very comprehensive policy through our ANZ Platinum Visa card that only requires us to spend $250 on any part of our holiday before we travel, so airfares, hotels, car hire – whatever to do with our holiday and the policy is activated to cover all 4 of us.

So, check if you have any insurance cover with your existing credit cards or it could be worth joining up with a card that has a travel insurance policy to save some money when you next travel.  Please check that the cover these cards come with is comprehensive enough for all your requirements.

Other places to research for good value is with any other companies you already have car, home, contents and health insurance policies with as you get discounts for having multiple policies with many companies.

There are a number of comparison websites that allow you to put in the areas you will be travelling to, for what period you require cover and all the inclusions you require and they do all the hard work for you searching the most suitable policies available.  As always, you need to ensure you read any policy carefully before signing up so you have complete coverage for your requirements.

Let me know your travel insurance tips or experiences?

For more information contact us now at or Phone: 02 8850 4908

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