Saturday, August 29, 2020

Working from home tips: Brooke Simmons, Pursuit Communications

"When I decided to start my own PR agency 12 years ago, the space that was “my office” was a corner of the family dining room with a desk behind a screen for “privacy”.

It was, at the time, sufficient, but I knew it couldn’t be a long term solution. We moved shortly after and I then upgraded the space to a former bar area. (Translation: another corner of a dining room, but slightly larger).

The new space felt more like a “space” and I was determined to make it work and I did, with thanks to my parents. But there were distractions and it wasn’t until I purchased my own place and had a dedicated room to finally close the door on, at the end of the day.

Working from home in whatever space you have can have its challenges beyond the “space” you’ve allocated." - Brooke Simmons

Here are Brooke's top three tips:

1. Use the time you’d normally commute to read, catch-up on news, or exercise 

(if you’re well enough!) catch up on personal emails. Be productive with this time.

2. Start at your regular time

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should slack off. Show your employer how productive working from home can be!

3. Dress comfortably but appropriately

I can’t stress this enough on my “at home” days, I still dress my top or bottom half, so if on the odd chance I’m called to a meeting, all I have to do is change into a nice blouse or get out my jeans into a corporate pair of trousers.

Brooke Simmons is the founder of Pursuit Communicationsa full-service public relations, social media, event & influencer management agency. GENERATING PROFILES AND AWARENESS. SUCCESS IN MOTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Friday, August 28, 2020

Exercise your mind

 "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." - Joseph Addison

Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with exercise - for the mind and body!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Working from home tips: Jamie-Lee Kay, The Other Straw

 Mindset is everything, in whatever we choose to do. Jamie-Lee Kay's working from home tips are all about getting your head in the right place... 

1. Get rid of negative emotions

If you are suffering from stress or anxiety, it's a great time to start practicing yoga and/or meditation to help change your relationship with negative thought patterns. These practices can help shift your perspective to lean towards positive thoughts and emotions, and as a result, lead to greater productivity and motivation. There are many great apps available to help get you started. My personal favorite for meditation is Headspace and for yoga, Glo.

2. Challenge yourself

If you have some spare time up your sleeve, then consider up-skilling. From SEO, to social media marketing there are so many (free) courses available online to help challenge your capabilities and skills. 

3. Limit your time on social media and reading the news

Hearing so much dark news can be really exhausting, and take a toll on your motivation and productivity. If you can, allocate daily, set times for scrolling social media and reading, watching the news.

Jamie-Lee Kay is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Other Straw - a social enterprise replacing single-use plastic straws with reusable, ethically-made bamboo straws. Connect on Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram

10 books you must read

The older my children get the more I think about what wisdom I can impart on them, which will help them most throughout their lives. Whilst I don’t have all the answers (and probably never will), fortunately there are plenty of others who have been down life’s path and have plenty of wisdom to share. Where does one find this “life advice”? In books of course! I’ve read a few in my time, so here are a few of my top picks so far*. 

*Disclaimer: There are many, many more I would recommend, but these ones deal with the big (but often common) topics, which I hope will answer many of their questions about life.  


1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason 

I hate math. Throughout high-school I always struggled with the subject, and by the time I did my Higher School Certificate the teachers and I were at peace that I just needed to do the level of math which would allow me to pass my final exam. And so began my studies of the subject, Maths In Society. This was one of the best things to happen in my last year of high school (after my first boyfriend, for different reasons of course…). I learnt how to do my tax, accumulate compound interest, build a house, calculate distance, and so much more useful stuff than substituting a bunch of letters for numbers (known to everyone else as Algebra). The Richest Man in Babylon is the perfect book for people like me who “don’t do figures”, but need to know what happens if you don’t take care of your money (spoiler alert: someone else will take care of it for you, usually by swindling it out of you). Written as a series of stories and parables, this book is packed with life lessons, but remains engaging and entertaining from beginning to end. It’s a story… about money. 

2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert 

This non-fiction book intimately details parts of Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey as an author/artist. There are so many gems in this book, and I guarantee everyone will get something different out of it. The key take-aways for me were Elizabeth’s confirmation that you don’t need to use your art as a career. It’s completely ok if it’s something you do on the side (as often as you can), whilst the bills are paid by waiting tables or doing whatever you need to do to get by and still create. This really resonated for me, because for years I have seen my writing as an all-or-nothing pursuit. Society suggests if you can’t make money out of it, why bother, right? Wrong. When you love something and feel compelled to do it, then do it. Even if you have to support yourself in other ways until you “make it” or so you can continue to do it “on the side”. As soon as we attach money to making art, our motives change. We start to pre-empt what people want – what’s “commercial”. This is where fear kicks in. Fear of being rejected, fear of not being able to make enough money from our art to support ourselves, etc. Remove the fear, and we’re free.  

3. A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

The book everyone (especially Australians) should read to understand the adversity people experienced and resilience they demonstrated. We’ve come a long way over the last century, but the irony of the title demonstrates this man’s gratitude - despite the hardships - for his experiences and “life lessons”.

4. The Diary of Anne Frank

Everyone should read this book at least once in their lives. Ideally as a teenager, then as an adult, to get two completely different perspectives of how Anne and her parents dealt with an incomprehensible situation. 

5. High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that way by Brendon Burchard

This book changed my life, because it changed my perspective. I’m a big believer that the “lens” we choose to look through in life (and yes, it’s our choice) completely influences our experience within the world. 

6. Getting Things Done by David Allen

David Allen’s brain works in a completely different way to mine. His systemic approach to organization and productivity is on another level. Packed with case studies, actionable frameworks, as well as inspiring quotes, this book will set a rocket under your backside. Biggest take-away for me was making decisions about activities. They don’t all need to be done straight away, but decide what, how, when and move on.  

7. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin 

This charming book documents Gretchen Rubin’s “epiphany” on a bus one rainy afternoon, to dedicate a year of her life to a Happiness Project. Every month she selected a different theme: Boost Energy, Remember Love, Aim Higher, Lighten Up, Be Serious About Play, Make Time for Friends, Buy some Happiness, Contemplate the Heavens, Pursue a Passion, Pay Attention, Keep a Contented Heart, and Boot Camp Perfect. Gretchen is an avid reader, and The Happiness Project bursts with inspiring ideas, anecdotes and beautiful quotes, which will encourage anyone to create their own Happiness Project, even if just for a week or a month. 

8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book is often described as the first “motivational/self-development style book. Drawing on stories from renowned “successful” people such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and many others, this book details a number of different strategies these people employed to get where they did. Whilst money is often the motivation for many of the actions suggested in this book, these principles could easily by applied to any area of life. 

9. Success Habits by Napoleon Hill 

Written in the same engaging style as Think and Grow Rich, Success Habits is delivered in a radio-program style (originally a series of radio talks delivered in Paris, Missouri), or like a collection of short lectures. Packed full of gems derived from personal anecdotes, delivered in a conversational style, this book brims with inspiration and motivational advice on every page. 

10. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (or in fact anything by Du Maurier)

It’s impossible for me to pick a “favourite” Daphne Du Mauier book, but Rebecca is a fantastic introduction to Du Maurier’s style. Du Maurier has an innate ability to create atmosphere and suspense from simple things, such as birds or an apple tree. Her character development is on-point, as is her approach to dialogue and the relationships that evolve between her characters. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. 

What would make your Top 10 Book List? I'd love to know - comment below...

Monday, August 24, 2020

Working from home tips: Rashida Tayabali

Rashida has been working from home for over 9 years, and has some fantastic insight to share into staying focused and productive in a home office environment. Here are her top 3 tips:

1. Become a serial monotasker 

Focus on one task at a time, complete it and move on to the next task.

2. Leave your phone in another room, turn it to silent.

3. Only write 3 things on your to-do list (in order of priority) every day 

Choose 3 things on the basis of which one when complete will give you the maximum gain. This avoids the tendency to choose easy things over more difficult ones.

Rashida Tayabali is a copywriter for female entrepreneurs helping to reduce their content stress and overwhelm, and give them time to focus on their business. Learn more at

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The magic of reading...

"I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book." - J.K. Rowling

 What's next on your reading list?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Working from home tips: Bronte Cresswell, Dash of Milk

Working from home. You either love it or hate it. For some it's been an easy transition, for others, one of the biggest challenges of 2020. The challenges of working from home often stem from the environment you are working from (or trying to!). The type of work you do, coupled with other variables such as family, home office (or lack of), and technology can make or break the Working from Home Experience. We've connected with some experts for our latest blog series featuring tips about working from home, because chances are working from home is here to stay. 

Bronte Cresswell from Dash of Milk shares her top tip below: 

The hardest part of working from home for me is distractions resulting in lack of productivity, so when I write my to-do list I add time-frames to them, such as inbox cleared by 9:30am, client social schedule drafted by 11:00am and lunch at 12:30pm. This makes sure I can track exactly how I am going and makes sure I don't get behind!

Bronte Cresswell is the owner and director of the Sunshine Coast based social media agency, Dash of Milk Agency Connect at @dashofmilkagency. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Three reasons why audiobooks will change your life

I first started listening to audiobooks as a kid: nursery rhymes, Mr Men, Paddington – all the best stories.

As an adult, audiobooks were challenging…cassettes players became defunct, and an average-length audiobook on CD required a stack of CDs – not conducive for lugging around when travelling or exercising.

Enter smart phones, then Audible. What, you mean I can download this whole book onto my phone?! GENIUS!

Suddenly, as a mum of small children, audiobooks became my world again – when I was folding the washing, when I was vacuuming, when I was exercising, hell, even when I was breastfeeding in the middle of the night! I went through a period where I was driving and spending a lot of time in the car, and audiobooks came to my rescue again.

Over the last few years, I’ve read and listened (but mostly listened) to over 50 books a year. Last year was my record: 71 books!

Can you imagine what consuming that many books can do to your life?

It’s life changing.

Jim Rohn once wisely said, “read all the books”. And thanks to audiobooks, I’ve made a fair dint!

Here are my top reasons why audiobooks will change your life:

1.  Audiobook are great for people who can’t, or don’t like to read
My husband has never enjoyed reading (weirdo! Love you, Honey😉). A couple of years ago I put on Jane Harper’s The Dry on our annual car-trip north to see the rellies and he was hooked! We even sat in the car for a bit longer when we arrived home, just so we could listen to the ending!

Poor eyesight, dyslexia, or other reading difficulties can make reading slow and difficult for many people. Even if you’re simply a slow reader (like me), audiobooks allow you to fully immerse yourself into a story without worrying about the frustration of how long it’s taking you to get through the book.

2. You can listen anywhere
Thanks to the invention of the smart phone, and wireless headphones, you can:
-Listen to an audiobook in the bath
- Listen to an audiobook while cleaning (it certainly makes cleaning a more rewarding activity!)
- Listen to an audiobook while driving
- Listen to an audiobook while exercising (nothing like a gripping novel to keep you running for a few more minutes!)
- Listen to an audiobook while travelling (tough this year, but they a life-savers on long car trips).

3.  You can learn as you listen
Audible has an abundance of books in any genre for you to choose from. Escape to another world with a fiction book, or put boring hours of driving or exercising to good use by learning a new skill, brushing up on history, or enhancing your personal development.

I personally adore audiobooks so much I also narrate them professionally. 
Check out the latest audiobook I have narrated for Audible, Tell Me Why by Australian author, Sandi Wallace. Tell Me Why is the first in the Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series (yes, there are 3 more once you devour this one, as I did!). Also available on Amazon as hardcopy or e-book. This series is Aussie rural crime fiction at its best!

If you live in the US or UK and you’d like a free copy, drop me an email to Likewise if you’re seeking a professional narrator for your next release, get in touch – I’d love to chat😊