Favourite Five…Gizmos and Gadgets

Gadget: A mechanical contrivance or device; an ingenious article(source: The Macquarie Australian Dictionary)

Five reasons why gadgets make great gifts:

1. The right gadget for the right job (and the right person) can solve a problem and enhance our lifestyle

2. Gadgets can make boring or difficult jobs fun

3. For many men, half the fun of a gadget is setting it up, learning how it works and what it can do

4. There are so many gadgets around that you’re bound to find one to suit everyone – from a gardener to a techie, a cooking or wine enthusiast or a sportsman/woman.

5. You can never have too many gadgets! 

FREE DELIVERY on all Gadgets purchased from Friday 28/2/2014 until midnight Friday 7/3/2014. 

Use Coupon Code GADGET in the Coupon Code field when you place your order.  

1. Camera Duo Lens (Quick-Clip Camera Lens) $39.95
A Smart Phone camera lens designed to capture macro and wide-angle shots
2. Hubpad USB Calculator and Mousepad $29.95
This handy Hubpad is a calculator and mousepad in one.
3. LED USB Fan Clock $34.95
Stay cool and keep a track of the time when working at your computer.
4. My Music Mini Speaker $24.95
A small, light-weight speaker that allows you to listen to music anywhere – perfect for traveling. 
5. Weather Station with wired sensor $49.95
Monitor indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, as well as time and date with this stylish weather station. Also includes an alarm with snooze function. 
What’s New:

Favourite Five Customer Comments for this week…

Each week we’ll continue to post some of the lovely comments we received from our customers. Here are five of our favourite comments for this week:

1. “We thought your online store was awesome and will definitely use it heaps for gifts! We will tell lots of people about it.” Jana B, N.S.W

2. “A wonderful and attentive dealer who got the pen I was looking for and stayed in touch till it came to me in a timely fashion. Fellow Americans take note, one of the few (and the one with the most I’ve seen so far) international shippers of the wonderful E+M wood pens!” Greg H, Battle Ground WA, USA


3. “I received my order safely – very happy with my purchases and have recommended your site to several of my friends and family!” Renee B, N.S.W

4. “Thank you for your updates and friendly service” Kerry G, N.S.W

5. “My order was delivered well packed. Thank you for the great service.” Jasmin L, Adelaide

Read more feedback here

Have you received great service from a particular business this week?

Favourite Five Customer Comments for this week…

Each week we’ll continue to post some of the lovely comments we received from our customers. Here are five of our favourite comments for this week:

1. “Very happy with the purchase and more importantly, the service”. Phil W, N.S.W

2. “My order arrived the next day and in good condition and everything was great. 5 out of 5 and thanks for the fantastic human service.” Alex N, N.S.W.
3. “I received the products in time thanks. All were of a high quality. The leather duffle bag was lovely – 5 out of 5.” Dorothy M, W.A
4. “Thanks mostly for arranging the parcel to be delivered promptly. These days it’s the biggest problem with online ordering. Still it’s cheaper than traveling, parking and queuing in lines! I purchased 5 items as separate gifts and they were all received in order and enjoyed by their recipients. I rate all the items 4 out of 5.” Mary B, N.S.W

5. “The gifts were very well received, especially the thumb waterer. A definite 5 out of 5!” Michelle H, N.S.W

Unique garden gift idea – Thumb Waterer $24.95

Do you think bricks-and-mortar stores offer a better level of “human” customer service than online stores?

How to beat the Back to Work Blues – Part 2

This is the second installment of tips in our How to Beat the Back to Work Blues series. This week we look at being a team player, communicating well, looking after yourself and more…

7. Be a team player
Who doesn’t want to work with a team player? The key is learning how to get the best out of everyone you work with, not just those above you. Quick says it’s all about “360 degree management. Don’t play politics but do learn how to work well with those above you, next to you and more junior to you.” It also comes back to having the right attitude. You want to “Be the person people want to work with because they’ll sing your praises even before a promotion is up for grabs”.
8. Communicate
This point is particularly relevant for bosses. Amanda Johnston, psychologist for organisational health expert, Konekt advises that bosses should keep a close eye on their staff, especially in the first couple of weeks after returning from holidays by:
• Reviewing their workload and assisting them to prioritise what needs actioning most urgently.
• Discussing activities and issues at regular catch ups (no matter how brief).
• Asking and listening to how their employees are feeling and what’s been happening. Really LISTEN to their answer.
• Acting – follow through on your promises to a staff member.
• Sharing information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures; clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities.
• Showing employees they are valued and implementing schemes to recognise good work, such as employee of the month.
• Providing responsibility and accountability that make employees feel like they have ownership and control of their work environment.
• Cultivating a friendly social environment.
It’s also important that employees know they don’t need to deal with stress on their own and seek support from others. “If you begin to feel stressed, discuss this with your immediate supervisor or manager to make sure they’re aware,” says Konekt psychologist Kit Underdown. “That way you can work together to develop strategies to manage any stressful situations as they may arise.”
“Recent research conducted by Konekt (the Konekt Market Report) shows that around 12 per cent of reported workplace-related injuries are psychological injuries, such as stress, anxiety, depression and adjustment disorder. So it’s important for employees and employers to have strategies in place to address these issues early.”
9. Re-evaluate your work space
“The end of the holiday season, when workers return to the office, can be the toughest time of the year for employees and this is often evidenced in a significant drop in productivity levels – something that can have a lasting impact on a business,” says Psychologist Fred Cicchini from leading corporate health management organisation, Injury Treatment. Often it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference in our well-being.
Your working environment has an impact on your attitude and productivity at work. The amount of space you have to work in, the location of your desk, the comfort of your chair, the temperature of your office and environment and how much natural light you receive are all factors in your health and well-being at work.
“Offices that give employees flexibility to work in a number of environments, such as an open plan space which includes traditional desks, ‘café’ settings and sofas, helps ease the transition back to work and Australian businesses are embracing these offices more than ever before,” says FDC Construction & Fitouts Managing Director, Ben Cottle.
Ben explains that “There has been a huge rise in companys requesting these futuristic open plan spaces. Australian businesses are seeing the value that comes from providing employees with multiple connectivity points and allowing them to have the ability to work from anywhere at any time in an environment that appeals to them”.
Examples of these ‘lifestyle workplaces’ can be seen in FDC Construction & Fitout’s  recently projects for the CBRE office, located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, as well as the MBA award-winning Treasury Wine Estates Main Office in Melbourne. These fitouts feature open plan spaces, lounge areas, conferencing pods and traditional private desks, which give employees the option of transitioning between spaces. 
If you can’t convince your boss to remodel your office, then try some other solutions: 
  • Are you happy where you’re sitting? Maybe your desk gets the hot afternoon sun, or you don’t get any natural light. If you’re not happy where you are, request to move – there’s no harm in asking if it makes you more comfortable and productive.
  • Clear your desk out. This is not just a tidy-up – grab a bin or a large plastic bag and remove everything off the top of your desk and out of your draws. Be ruthless about what you put back, especially when it comes to paperwork. Ask yourself, are there any files or folders that could be archived or stored elsewhere to free up some space? How much stationery do you really need? Also review the layout of your draws – is everything in best place?
  • Don’t limit the tidy-up to your desk, get other colleagues involved – re-organise communal cupboards and spaces and get their advice on what would make your working environment more user friendly or aesthetically pleasing. Do cupboards or other pieces of furniture need to be moved? Would a couple of pot plants or new artwork on the walls soften your environment?
  • Chair check – how comfortable is your chair, really? A comfortable chair that is set up correctly for you is paramount to avoid any back and neck strain. Any niggles or discomfort will be particularly apparent when you return from some time off, so pay attention to your body in the first couple of weeks after your holiday. “The Konekt Market Report shows that 60 per cent of workplace-related injuries are musculoskeletal, so it’s vital to make sure workstations are set up ergonomically,” advises Konekt’s Mary Vetere. “In addition, taking regular breaks, moving around and stretching are important to help prevent such injuries.”


10. Look after yourself
• Get a good night’s sleep to reset your body clock so you can get back into your old routine and get out of bed earlier to get to work.
• Make time for ‘you’ so you don’t’ feel your life is all about work. This helps to keep your mind and body ‘sane’. “The time and the way you do this may need to change when you return to work, but it is critical that you still make time for it,” says Amanda Johnston. “It also gives you something to look forward to each day, and this can assist you to get through some of the less pleasant aspects of life.”
• Exercise – A healthy body is linked to a healthy mind that will cope better with stress.
• Eat well – Same as above. Try to avoid stimulants where possible. Excess caffeine or nicotine can make you feel anxious or on edge.
• Drink plenty of water – Our bodies function better when we’re hydrated.
11. Get organized
• Make an effort to have your first weeks back as organised as possible – Your calendar or diary should be your best friend in the first two or three weeks. “Whether it be lunches, travel to and from work, or even what you’re wearing for the day, effective time management regulates your tasks and reduces the uncertainty of not having enough time to complete the task required,” Amanda explains. “Plus it allows for ‘time off/relaxation’ periods.” You can also use your phone to set regular reminders until you’ve established your routine again.
• Plan something enjoyable – This could be a get-together with friends, a weekend away or even your next holiday. “It’s important to have pleasurable activities to look forward to,” Amanda says.
12. Take regular breaks
• Move your body – Especially during the day when you’re at work. Get up out of your chair to have a stretch or walk around to keep the blood circulating and mind alert. “Micro-pause breaks and postural reversal (e.g. stretching to the opposite posture of what you have been doing) can help you stay fresher and more energised for longer,” explains Konekt’s chief ergonomist, Mary Vetere.
• Get outside – Get out of your office for some sunshine and fresh air. Rather than eating at your desk, eat your sandwich in the park or go outside to grab a coffee.
Image from www.market-my-practice.com

Thanks to our contributors for their wise words and advice:
Kym Quick is the CEO of Clarius. Clarius’ Candle brand provides IT staff to both the private and government sectors in Adelaide, and recruits across more than 20 major occupation categories. www.clarius.com.au

Kym Quick, CEO of Clarious Group
FDC Construction & Fitout is a privately owned Australian company that was established in 1990 and is fully owned by the management team. Specialising in commercial construction, interior fitout, refurbishment, technologies and mechanical services, the company’s projects span the nation. FDC continues to develop its portfolio of high profile clients and industry relationships using a customer-centred work principle. www.fdcbuilding.com.au
Konekt was founded in 2003 and is the largest private sector provider of organisational health and risk management solutions in Australia (listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Konekt Ltd – ASX: KKT). Their focus is on helping organisations keep their workforce safe, minimise the impact of workplace injury, rehabilitate or redeploy injured workers, while meeting regulatory and compliance obligations.
Konekt solutions are delivered by Konekt’s national team of allied health professionals, servicing all Australian capital cities and major regional centres. The team is comprised of industry experts who are capably supported by leading edge technology, delivering sound, proven and secure services. www.konekt.com.au

How do you stay upbeat at work after returning from holiday?

Favourite Five Customer Comments for this week…

Each week we’ll continue to post some of the lovely comments we received from our customers. Here are five of our favourite comments for this week:

1. “Very much appreciate all the trouble you went to and thank you for wonderful customer service.” Eileen A, WA

2. “I received my order quicker than I had anticipated and the service has been excellent. I will rate the product 5 out of 5 – good quality and something a little different. We will definitely use your online store again, very efficient and great range of gifts”. Valerie D, N.S.W.

Image from www.pac-coast.co

3. “I received my parcel and what great products they were! Very original, and very fast shipping. Very happy with my purchase. I’ve found my new place to get gifts from now on 🙂 and you provide a great service as well and got back to me straight away via email. definitely rate a 5 out of 5 :)” Leah H, Qld
4. “Oh my goodness, your service is amazing.” Robyn G, VIC
5. “I love your website. I have a family member who is so hard to buy for. I received the Bedol Water clock and rate it 5 out of 5 and I will be purchasing again from you.” Janette D, SA.
How long would you expect to wait for an online order (purchased in Australia) to be delivered?

Our Favourite Funny Valentine’s Day Cards

There’s nothing like a humorous Valentine’s Day card to make your loved one’s day. Here are a few of our favourites…

 Image from www.pleated-jeans.com 
What’s the funniest Valentine’s Day card you’ve ever received?

The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts

Ten gifts he’ll love this Valentine’s Day, Friday 14 February

“Love puts the fun in together, the sad in apart, and the joy in a heart” – Unknown

Home-made sweets treats would have to be a very close second to a gift or a nice meal on Valentine’s Day.

Whilst we can’t help out with the nice meal, we can definitely help with the gifts (check out our Top Valentine’s Gift Ideas list here), as well as the home-made sweet treats.

We reckon your Valentine would love these Trio of Tea Infused Macarons, Chuck-Berry tea Cupcakes, and Rose with French Vanilla Marshmallows.

SPECIAL OFFER: Free Delivery on all orders received this week 

To receive free delivery on your order, simply enter Coupon Code VALENTINE in the Coupon Code field when you place your order. 

This offer is valid from Sunday 9/2/14 until 5pm Sunday 16/2/14 and can’t be used in conjunction with other offers, or redeemed for cash. But please feel free to forward this offer onto your family and friends:)

What’s new:

Our 20 Favourite Valentine’s Day Quotes

Some gorgeous Valentine’s Day quotes that might give you some inspiration of what to write in a Valentine’s Day card…

1. “Trip over love, you can get up.  Fall in love and you fall forever.” Author Unknown

2. “Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.” Author Unknown
3. “What I need to live has been given to me by the earth.  Why I need to live has been given to me by you.” Author Unknown
4. “Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.” – Jim Gaffigan
5. “True love stories never have endings.” – Richard Bach
6. “Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.” – Swedish Proverb
7. “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights.  If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”- Erich Segal

8. “Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.” – James Thurber, quoted in Life magazine, 1960
9. “For twas not into my ear you whispered
But into my heart
Twas not my lips you kissed
But my soul” – Judy Garland

10. “Falling in love is so hard on the knees. ” Aerosmith

11.  “Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.” – Voltaire
12. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” – A. A. Milne
13. “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton
14. “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz
15. “Today is Valentine’s Day – or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day!” – Jay Leno
16. “Romance is thinking about your significant other, when you are supposed to be thinking about something else.” – Nicholas Sparks
17. “They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.” – Bil Keane
18. “We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” – Mother Teresa

19. “You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen
20. “Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones

How to beat the Back to Work Blues – Part 1

Are the Christmas/New Year holidays now a distance memory? Chances are you’ll now be back at work and trying to get into the pre-Christmas routine of early-to-bed, early-to-rise, getting the kids ready for daycare/school, etc, etc…


If you’ve just started back at work (lucky you!) or have been struggling to master the 9-5 routine over the last couple of weeks, read on for some great tips on how to beat the back to work blues…


1. Get motivated


This tip will really set you up for the year ahead – don’t be the ‘passenger’ in your life this year, be the driver! Clarius CEO, Kym Quick, advises the mantra for 2014 is to “get motivated, get a plan and get involved! It’s the beginning of the year and time for you to make a fresh impression on the boss. The best way to do that is to return to work motivated and rearing to go”. Having the right attitude is paramount for success this year – in your career or personal life.

Image from www.veenav.com


2. Identify goals and plan for the year ahead


The next step is getting organised. Kym Quick says, “Meet the boss and get a plan. You want to spend your time doing what the company needs you to do so make sure you have a work and development plan for 2014”. The advantage of having a plan is that is that it “gives you tangible goals on which to develop skills and capabilities. It’s also a great way to get motivated because it focuses your efforts and time investment…it’s not just about measuring and monitoring your performance, it’s about getting on the front foot, showing initiative, support and involvement with your colleagues”. Quick also suggests that we should “Set private goals too. Over time these will develop into public victories and keep you focused and motivated”.



3. Get a mentor


No matter where you are in your career, everyone can benefit from having a mentor. Young or old, there’s always something new you can learn from someone else. The Clarius Recruitment Group have identified that sadly, “only half of Australian professionals have a job description and KPI’s and even less (21 per cent) have a mentor to help iron out career cricks”. Having a mentor can offer another perspective, help open your eyes to new possibilities and take you career to the next level. Don’t underestimate what you could learn by becoming a mentor yourself. “Get a mentor, be a mentor. Everyone has something to learn so identify someone you admire and ask them to mentor you. And show leadership by being a mentor for someone coming up through the ranks behind you”, says Quick.


4. Be a problem solver – Focus on the solution, not the problem
Every workplace has a ‘negative Nancy’ – just don’t let it be you! Whilst it’s not always easy to remain positive at work, challenge yourself to quash those negative feelings this year. Rather than presenting your boss with a problem, try to identify a solution (or solutions!). Quick says, “Managers don’t want to deal with the same problems they had the previous year so if you can convince them you’re the person to lighten the load you’ll be in their good books from the get go. Once the goodwill seeds are planted, get serious about your efforts for 2014 by meeting with your boss to plan your contribution and development needs for the year.” However, it’s important that you “Help out, don’t suck up. Put your hand up and help out. Whether it’s a request by a colleague, boss or someone from another team. Be the source of advice and inspiration,” advises Quick.
5. Lean a new skill
This will keep you feeling fresh and challenged in your role, and may even open the door to a new opportunity, promotion or even a new job. Quick believes that learning a new skill can help you stand out from the crowd, “In the current challenging business environment, employers are looking for people who can multi-skill while still being specialists.”
6. Identify your priorities and focus on them by setting timelines
There will always be too much to do in our working and personal lives. The trick is picking your battles and identifying what’s really important to you. Quick says it’s important to “Apply critical thinking to the way you work. This will help you improve practices and even save the company money – what boss wouldn’t love that!” Quick also believes it’s just as important to set timelines. “Don’t procrastinate. Having a deadline helps you manage your time so you can take on more responsibilities or free up time to up skill.” The quicker you achieve one goal, the quicker you can move onto the next! 
Thanks to our contributor, Kym Quick for her wise words and advice:
Kym Quick is the CEO of Clarius. Clarius’ Candle brand provides IT staff to both the private and government sectors in Adelaide, and recruits across more than 20 major occupation categories. www.clarius.com.au

Kym Quick, CEO of Clarious Group

Sweet Treats for your Sweetheart: Trio of Tea Infused Macarons

I don’t think there are many people who aren’t familiar with the deliciousness of macarons. They do have a bit of a reputation of being hard to make, but this recipe demonstrates that it’s possible (and not that hard) to make them at home…

Trio of Tea Infused Macarons
  • 300 g almond meal
  • 300 g pure icing sugar
  • 220 g egg whites, at room temperature
  • 300 g castor sugar
  • 75 g water
  • Red and yellow food colouring
  • 1/2 tsp of powdered egg whites
1. Line 4 large baking trays with baking paper.
2. Divide egg whites into two metal bowls of 110 grams each making sure each bowl is scrupulously clean.
3. Combine almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and blend for 10 seconds, then sieve into a large bowl.
4. Gently heat castor sugar and water in a non-stick pan. Once all the sugar has dissolved, increase heat to a rolling boil and add food colouring. Make sure the mixture is darker than you think it will need to be! Keep heating until the sugar syrup reaches 118°C.
5. When the sugar is nearly at temperature, add the powdered egg whites to one half of the egg whites and start beating on medium speed until very soft peaks form. When the sugar syrup is ready increase the beaters to high speed and start pouring down the side of the bowl, making sure the syrup doesn’t hit the beaters.  Whisk until warm.
6. Add the other half of the egg whites to the almond meal and icing sugar mixture and combine. Add the meringue, using a large spatula to combine the two. Keep folding until the mixture resembles molten lava. Divide the mixture into two bowls, one with 2/3 of the mixture and another with the remaining 1/3. To the larger bowl add a few more drops of food colouring to darken the mixture.
7. Put a piping bag with a large opening at the end into a tall jug or vase and scoop in the macaron mixture. With the bag pointing directly down pipe the macarons onto the prepared trays spacing evenly. Using a sieve, sprinkle one half of the darker macarons with cocoa and the other batch with a green tea powder. Preheat oven to 135°C.
8. Leave macarons to set until a skin forms on the top. Test this with a fingertip – if the macarons are still sticky leave a little longer. This may take from 1/2 an hour to an hour depending on the day. Place trays in preheated oven and bake for 15 – 16 minutes. The macarons should have risen to form “feet” at the base and be firm and crisp underneath.  If they are still sticking to the baking tray, return to the oven for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool completely on the tray.
9. While the macarons are cooling, begin preparing the three tea-infused ganaches.
10. Before piping in the ganache pair the macaron halves into equal sized pairs.  Dust one third of the macarons with pink shimmer confectionary dust. Using a piping bag top the flat side of one of the macarons with ganache and sandwich with the other half. Fill the cocoa dusted macarons with the Spiced Chai dark chocolate ganache, the pink dusted macarons with the Rose and Vanilla Tea ganache and the green tea dusted macarons with the Green Tea and Jasmine ganache. Once assembled refrigerate for at least one day and serve at room temperature.
11. Filled macarons will keep for 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Ganache flavours:
Spiced Chai Dark Chocolate Ganache
  • 2 Dilmah Ceylon Spice Chai tea bags
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • 75 g whipping cream
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 30 g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1. Chop the chocolate and place into a small bamix bowl and process until it is in fine crumbs.
2. Open the tea bags and place contents into a small saucepan with the whipping cream.  Heat the cream to boiling point and pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate crumbs.
3. Stir with a plastic spatula until combined and leave until warm but not hot. Using a handheld mixer add the cubed butter a few pieces at time and whip until the ganache is at a piping consistency.
Rose & Vanilla Tea White Chocolate ganache
  • 2 Dilmah Real Rose and Vanilla tea bags
  • 65 g whipping cream
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds
  • 30 g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1. Chop the chocolate and place into a small bamix bowl and process until it is in fine crumbs.
2. Open the tea bags and place contents into a small saucepan with the whipping cream.
3. Heat the cream to boiling point and pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate crumbs.  Add ground cardamom and stir with a plastic spatula until combined and leave until warm but not hot.
4. Using a handheld mixer add the cubed butter a few pieces at time and whip until the ganache is at a piping consistency.
Green Tea and Jasmine White Chocolate Ganache
  • 2 Dilmah Real Green Tea and Jasmine tea bags
  • 65 g whipping cream
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • Green food colouring
  • 30 g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1. Chop the chocolate and place into a small bamix bowl and process until it is in fine crumbs.
2. Open the tea bags and place contents into a small saucepan with the whipping cream and food colouring.
3. Heat the cream to boiling point and pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate crumbs.  Stir with a plastic spatula until combined and leave until warm but not hot.
4. Using a handheld mixer add the cubed butter a few pieces at time and whip until the ganache is at a piping consistency.
A: Macarons and Macaroons are two different things. Sydney chef Adriano Zumbo explains that “a macaron is characterised by a dome-shaped biscuit made of egg whites and almond meal, hard to the touch with a chewy interior. A macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut and often dipped in chocolate”. So yes, there is a difference.
Thanks to our friends at Dilmah for sharing this beautiful recipe with us. Dilmah is a family‐owned Sri Lankan tea company established by Merrill J. Fernando, the first tea grower to offer his tea, grown, handpicked and traditionally made, directly from the origin. www.dilmah.com.au