Five Tips for the New WordPresser

I am New to Blogging…. this article has some great tips and learning material for any newbie. So here it is I hope this helps you out too.
The world of blogging is vast…. lets learn it slowly!

The Daily Post

Each week, we’re beyond fortunate to have thousands of new people join the community. (Hi there, and welcome! You’ll find cold beverages right next to the hot tub under the disco ball — make yourself at home!)

In our Community Pool feature — an open discussion thread for questions and feedback that runs each and every Monday — we often see comments like these:

“I’m new here and I’m not sure about x…”

“I’m a baby WordPresser and I’d like to know how to x…”

“I just started my blog last week and…”

Being new isn’t always the most comfy feeling. Here are five tips to help you gain confidence and get situated as you embark on your new blogging habit.

1. Establish your identity: get a Gravatar

Your Gravatar is the little photo of you that appears by any comment you make while logged into…

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Easter Schoold Hoolidays: Re Discovering Victoria Astralia

These School Holidays we had some visitors from overseas, two of my uncles and their families came for a visit.  And this was the perfect opportunity to show them and our kids this part of the world.  We live in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia.  It has been quite an adventure during these school holidays as we discovered victoria again.

During school holidays we covered the

  1. Chesterfield Children’s Farm
  2. Phillip Island Penguin parade & seal rock
  3. Mornignton- Dromana beach, Arthur seat lookout & Red Hill Sunnyridge Strawberry farm (we got to pick our own strawberries)
  4. Mt Dandenong- Sky High, Maze & Sassafras
  5. Melbourne city Eureka tower viewing deck & “The Edge”
  6. St Kilda- Luna park
  7. Daylesford & Hepburn Springs (spent 2 nights)

Kids were really happy to see and do so much these holidays!

I will write more in detail about all these places we visited later….  for now here are some photos….  I really like Daylesford as you can tell:)


As I mentioned I will write more about each of the places we visited later when I get a bit more time 🙂

Easter Holiday fun

How I Turned My Passion Hobby Craft Into An Online Business

Why online a business you ask?   Well for me it is able to offer the flexibility I am after with my two kids, work when I can, wherever I want to (so it depends on the sort of work hobby).  I love to see the world and be able to travel, so an online business where I don’t have to be going to work to open a shop and  I can do my “work”  from wherever I am is ideal for me.

These Days anyone can start their own business with a little or no help from others.  We have a vast amount of helpful tools and websites available on the internet to do that.  All we need is some time…

Kookki Designs is my hobby turned business.  You can visit my Etsy shop for a bit of a look!

My goal was to do something that I had control over while being able to give my time to my family.  I wanted to do something that felt right in my heart to earn some money to support my families growing needs while having enough time to travel and see the world with my kids as well as teach my children the values I believe in.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”-Steve Jobs

A bit a bout my online business

I design and create a wide range of jewellery and accessories for kids, women and men to suit any occasion including weddings. Each piece is made in my home studio in Melbourne, Australia. The range of products I make include cuff-links, earrings,  necklaces, pendants, rings, hair clips.  Each piece is made at my home studio in Melbourne, Australia.

My Home Studio

Many of us living in the developed countries have most basic things that humans “NEED” and much much more, I have always treasured the priceless moments in my life are that became beautiful memories later.  With my jewellery I capture one’s memories in the form of a place, a person,  word/s etc.  I get to spend time making this wonderful item for some one special with so much care.  I can be rewarded with knowing that my item can give someone that warm fuzzy feeling called happiness.  Not only giving something special is rewarding for both parties giving and receiving,  it will also mean so much more purely for the fact that the time and effort spent in getting something really unique handmade especially for a loved one.

Kids Photo Jewellery
Kids Photo Jewellery
Kids Photo Cufflinks
Kids Photo Cufflinks

That is exactly what I love doing with my jewellery where I help people either freeze a moment in their life like a birth of a child, a wedding or to create one of a kind super special gifts for the ones they love. The fact that I am able to let someone feel such a strong feeling like pure happiness or appreciation (by receiving of giving something that no words can convey) is truly a rewarding and emotional privilege.

At Kookki Designs my favourite designs are the one’s I create for someone with much meaning behind it.  Whether it is a special photo of a person or a place or a scan of their kids drawings or a special saying for their husband or wife (to be) or a parent.  These are the ones that I get a real warm fuzzy feeling about my self.  I feel in doing what I do I manage to remind ourselves that we are simple creatures that enjoy simple pleasures of life and if we support each other we can make this world a better place keeping the harmonious balance on this planet.  I take my hats off to the Etsy community that is building in numbers.  Most of the Etsy sellers are following their hearts and using their talent to help them live the lives they believe they should.

Personlised Jewellery

By Having my own  Etsy store I get to treat every person that comes to my shop and contact me with love and care with my goal of making the world a happier place (while being able to be an old-school mother to my children).

I love what I am able to do with my jewellery and I sincerely hope I get to make your moments extra special by capturing them in a wearable accessory which will give you a warm fuzzy feeling every time you see them.

“There is an undeniable happiness one can obtain by making someone else happy.  That is what I call rewarding!”- Shani

Here is a guide to starting your very own online business with my experience selling handmade jewellery

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Photo Challenge Wall: French Wall stories

French Walls that tells stories….

Here are some photos of walls taken while in France with an iphone.   Sadly I have lost all my other amazing wall art photos  taken in Melbourne Australia along with  all other photos I have ever taken with my digital DSLR since 2005 (yes including all my children’s new born pictures) in a hard-drive accident.   I only have these photos taken by  the iphone left from my travels which is not much, but I still get to enjoy some memories when looking at these:)

I love old walls, they must have seen so much that we can not even imagine…  Especially these ones in France where the history is so colourful compared to many other places.

Photo Challenge Wall!

6 Tips for going Shopping with Toddlers

Who knew going shopping needs tips? Well it can be a mission going shopping with your toddlers, trust me I know first hand!.  I’ll get straight into it…. Below are some tried and tested rules that I have for  myself.

Have A Stroller Handy
Have A Stroller Handy

Rule 1: Do not forget the stroller!!! If you have a Tot that complains about his/her tired legs when having to walk, it is a life saver to have your child strapped in the stroller as you walk around inside the shops.  They can be kept entertained by giving them a toy to play with, hanging clothing items, women paying attention to them and of course you playing peekaboo here and there.  It is also easier to keep them in a stroller if and when you decide to try on clothing.

Rule 2:  Have toilet breaks for older potty trained Tots.  Well generally 1st one being at home just before you leave.   Do not forget to ask and get them to go after a couple of hours shopping when you see an opportunity, even if they say they may not need to go 🙂  It’s better that they go in a toilet than having to do a marathon run to a toilet when they can’t hold it anymore.

Happy Shoppers
Happy Shoppers

Rule 3:  Get them involved in the shopping fun.  Listen to their questions and answer them, tell them what you are looking for, and ask them questions as well.   This will let them know what you are doing at the shops which can help them stay calmer and understand whats happening a bit better.  This way you can turn shopping into an educational learning experience for them (as with anything you do) which will make the whole shopping activity into a bonding activity where your little one will feel like you are listening to them and are spending quality time with them (which you are!).

Rewarded with a healthy snack for good behaviour

Rule 4: If you want to reward them with a ride for their good behaviour (or just because you do), do this activity at the very END when you are about to leave the shops to get back in the car.  It is also a good idea to prep them beforehand,  saying if they behave well during shopping they will be rewarded with one ride.  Rewarding can work miracles, now the reward does not have to be a ride or a food item it can be a positive praise for behaving so well, yes it also works if not better because they feel so proud to hear that mummy/daddy thought so highly of their behaviour and that may work next time too (fingers crossed).  we sometimes stop at a play ground or have a healthy snack as a reward and generally they work well.  Be careful of those shopping center rides and buying reward toys, if they get used to that habit they can work against you as you go past those items.  It is always good to keep varying your rewards to avoid possible tantrum situations.

Babyccino Break
A Babyccino Break

Rule 5:  What works well with my children is breaking the trip up with little breaks where you spend some time with them changing the scene  a bit.  May be a little babyccino stop, or a little play stop.  Of course set the limits before you tell them to go have fun at the play area,  that it is a 15minute play session and that when you finish your coffee we are getting back in the stroller for another walk.   As long as you prep them well the resistance you get from them will be less.  If you hear them complaining remind them what you mentioned earlier and say that was the rule.

Rule 6: Stick to your rules (most important rule for a parent to adhere to!!).  If you told them you are going to put them back in the stroller after you finished the coffee do it.  When kids know you are serious and you keep to your word they respect what you say and listen to you.  If you are going to give into their demands then you will always have to put up with tantrums and feel tired and exhausted at the end of it.


But there are times when your child is absolutely tired and none of these rules work.  If all they want to do is cry and throw tantrums it is better off getting that tired little person to have a nap and postpone the shopping trip to another day when you know they will be well rested.   But  if you must go shopping on that same day do it after giving your little one time to have a bit of a rest, it will make such a positive impact on the whole shopping experience for both the parent and child.

I hope this helps you handle that (sometimes) dreadful trip to the shops with your little bundles of joy.   Just go with your gut feel, no point in making yourself or your child get stressed out over shopping:)

ONE Launches #PovertyIsSexist Campaign to improve the lives of women worldwide

We can overcome world poverty if everyone in this world opens their eyes and hearts…..



“It’s about time someone said it. Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender. Unlocking the full potential of girls and women wouldn’t just transform their own lives, or even their families’ – it could help end extreme poverty for good”. – ONE

“Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender”. I often think about those words. As an American woman, who is healthy, educated and has been blessed with amazing opportunities to see the world, I wonder what my life would be like if I’d been born somewhere else. Like India or Chad or Afghanistan.  Would I just be a number?

The more I see and learn about the world, the more I realize that life is unfair in…

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Melbourne Museum with kids

Museums can be fun when you go to see something your kids are interested in.

A couple of weeks ago when I asked my kids if we should go to the museum, my 5 year old daughter was very excited, and she said she had always wanted to go (which was the first time I’d heard her say, but any way… that’s kids for you! ).  My 3 year old son was not so thrilled and watching his sister’s excitement intently not quite sure whether to copy her or not but as we spoke to him more about the things he might see at the museum such as lions, dinosaurs and bones he progressively got exited.  I knew he might get a bit bored at his age especially being a typical boy looking at things without having to run around can bore him quickly, so I was sure to make a mental note to take the stroller with me.

So we wanted to go to the Melbourne Museum which is on Nicholson Street on the city fringe.  Now if you are driving there is 4hour parking on the Nicholson Street ($3.70 per hour) Or Museum underground parking ($20 for 2 hours+ check their rates for current pricing).  Callum my 3 year old, kept on asking if he will see animals, and I explained to him the animals we see at the museum are not alive, the live ones are only at the Zoo.  But it was puzzling him how can he see animals that won’t move.  So this was an interesting concept for him and was looking forward to finding out the answers to all his questions once he gets there.

We chose to go on a Wednesday around 11.30am so it was nice and quiet for us and plenty of parking on the road.  A packed lunch only consisting with fruits and almonds (the whole packet of almonds were consumed by Callum:)).  Entry for kids under 12 were free, adults had to pay $12 each.  As we approached the ticketing area of the Museum, as soon as you entered through the sliding glass doors, we were greeted with a scene created from under the sea using real stuffed penguins and other sea creatures.  This was when both kids got very excited.

Under the sea
Under the sea

This undersea scene captured kids’ attention and helped them get a bit of a feel of whats in store inside the museum.  My daughter Anisha (5) pointed out how the school of little fish had formed a large shape of a fish, and that amazed me how she could see that (something even I didn’t pick up on).   Museums are a great place to discover and educate our children about many things.   For me I found it put me in that zone where you are ready to learn and the place felt like a large open book with pictures and real specimens you just walked through it reading and talking about things more in detail.

So once we got the tickets, we entered the animal section of the museum, which showcased a massive skeleton of a blue whale, a dinosaur walk, a under water walk and plenty of stuffed animals and insects from all parts of the world for us to wow at.  We got to know a lot of new facts about animals.  There were also a lot of “staring” at and taking things in moments with Callum especially when he saw a big stuffed Polar Bear and a Panda.  There was enough to see and do  we ended up spending more than 2 hours in this part section alone.

Blue Whale Skelaton
Panda and other animals from Asia
Anisha’s favourtie butterflies and other insects

So after the animals we had a little break at the Kid’s Zone where there were lots of fun activities for kids to do including a puppet theater, while parents could get a bit of a rest sitting down watching the kids play.  Then we enjoyed our fruity and nutty lunch at the end of a walk in the Museum forest.  After that we felt we were ready to leave the museum for the day, it was a lot of walking and taking in a lot of information for one day.  This time around we didn’t get to explore the other sections of the museum which covered the First People and Human Mind and Body.   Which means we have to go another time to cover these other sections and spend more time at the Kid’s Zone (as requested by my kids).

Kid’s  Zone
A puppet show for mum

It really is wonderful to watch your children learn new and exciting things.  What a great day out it turned out to be.

One of the most Beautiful villages in France, Roussillon

I think I left my heart in Provence, a beautiful place

One of the most beautiful villages in France, Roussillon.  

The village and the Ochre trail boasts breath taking hues of ochre- reds and yellows.  Set  in the southern edge of the Plateau de Vaucluse, Roussillon is really a pretty hilltop village you would want to spend an afternoon or a day just taking in its beauty.  Tip, also beautiful to see the colours in the  setting sun.

Red Hues Of Roussillon

The Ochre Trail that is just a few steps from the village is mesmerising  The ochre-red hills amongst the deep green pine forest is truly worth a visit.  We went with our then 11 month old and 3 year old toddlers, and they loved the colours, and the red sand that coloured their hands.

The Ochre Trail : with my then three year old daughter
Look at the colour
Hilltop Village of Roussillon
Roussillon Ochre Trail
Views From The Ochre Trail

This brings back such wonderful memories…..  Provence is one of those places I would not mind going over and over again.

Where is that place  for you?

Hamilton Island AKA Paradise For A Family Getaway

Ok, most of you would agree, when you have kids, life can get a bit crazy.  As kids grow older, the daily routines, weekend sports and other activities drains you right out.  You really need to have a break once in a while to re-charge your batteries.  If you live in Australia there are plenty of places you can getaway for a short break with your kids.

If you are looking to get away from the rat race, and have toddlers,  you probably have dismissed Hamilton Island as one of the places you can enjoy with little kids.  I know I did and had been delaying the idea of going to Hamilton Island till the kids had grown older.  A little bit of information about Hamilton Island; it is set in the Whitsundays in Queensland Australia.  It is has a tropical climate being near the equator.  Another great fact is that it is located near the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach both of which are breathtaking natural wonders of the world.

Last year we were feeling really drained and exhausted so my husband, Raj, decided he would just book 5 nights on Hamilton Island for a break since we had not had the chance to go on a decent family break in over two years.   Dates were booked for November Melbourne Cup weekend.  Our kids turned 5 and 3 just before November, the 3 year old being Callum, who usually can not sit still for too long, made me a bit nervous.  I was afraid maybe we will be disappointed going to a beautiful vacation destination with young kids and spoil it for ourselves and in doing so, waste the money which we no longer had easy access to.  It scared me a bit, that we will not get our “money’ worth” so to speak. Hamilton Island is not necessarily a cheap place for a break (transfers plus accommodation can add up to the same cost of an international trip),  but we took the risk and did it any way (our style).

As usual, closer to the date of our holiday, I started doing some research to discover there are a few activities for kids to do on the island, but doubted my shy 5 year old would want to be involved in doing some of these activities that required them to be doing things without the parents.  So still with a huge question mark over my head, we set off to Hamilton Island.

Anisha Having a look at the map of Whitsundays
Anisha Having a look at the map of Whitsundays

We also took the long way around to get there.  Flying into Mackay airport from Melbourne we had to take a 2 hour Shuttle bus to Airlie Beach ferry terminal, upon which we missed the ferry by 5 minutes and had to wait another 2 hours for the next ferry to Hamilton Island.  I was a bit worried about this long day of travel (10 hours+ in total) where we had to use 5 different modes of transportation (car, Plane, Bus, Ferry, Golf Buggy).

Our long wait at the Airlie Beach Ferry terminal
Our long wait at the Airlie Beach ferry terminal
Callum enjoying the Ferry ride to Hamilton Island
Callum enjoying the ferry ride to Hamilton Island

I shouldn’t have worried too much because the kids enjoyed it very much, they were very excited and really took all of it in with a smile. Even the long wait at the ferry terminal with very limited entertainment choices (which was none) was met with a smile.  The Ferry terminal was pretty new and just consisted of a small cafe that had nothing much left and a small souvenir shop.

We left our home in Melbourne at 6 am and eventually arrived at our accommodation at Hamilton Island after 4 pm. Hamilton Island has a range of accommodation available to suit different demographics but they can be a bit on the expensive side compared to other locations in Australia.  We found the most reasonable deal with Whitsunday Apartments (self catering apartments) which is ideal for a family.

Our spacious 1 bedroom apartment
Our spacious 1 bedroom apartment
Cockatoo visits on the apartment balcony
View from the apartment (every apartment had this view)
View from the apartment (every apartment had this view)
Low tide exposing the reef-view from the apartment

It was a very spacious apartment with a balcony overlooking the breathtaking Catseye Beach.  We were impressed, with this 1 bedroom apartment (good start!).  There was plenty of space for a family of four with a large bedroom with a king size bed plus a separate bed/sofa, a living area, a dining area and a good sized kitchen if you wanted to cook some meals at your leisure.  We didn’t cook since there were so many places to eat out including a fish and chips take away.  The number of great restaurants that offered kids meals for free was also a bonus.

So while we were there, we really got to experience what Hamilton Island had to offer.  There were pools all along the Catseye Beach that were available to all guests staying at this resort island.  The pools proved to be a hit with our kids.  They spent hours and hours at the pools (yes.. every day).  There are  so many great activities to talk about… so let me list the activities we enjoyed that I think are great for families with younger kids

  1. The many pools you can use on the Island
  2. Catseye Beach walk during low tide- get closer to the coral reef where you can see schools of fish swimming right past your feet
  3. Free Snorkel hire- Snorkeling the reef fringe to see beautiful corals and colourful marine life including turtles
  4. Free Catamaran hire
  5. Free kayak hire
  6. Turtle Discovery cruise (only $15 per adult and $10 per child under 12years)
  7. Exploring the tropical gardens and discovering new plants
  8. Wildlife- when walking around in the evenings you see birds (that make human like loud noises) and even wallabies
  9. Kids free activities like face painting, jumping castles etc (check resort schedule for times and days of the week)
  10. The wildlife park
  11. The Golf Buggy rides (free if your accommodation gives you your own one)
  12. Late evening live music played near the pools and marina
  13. Simply relaxing on the beach or near the many pools (BYO your favourite book)
  14. Eating out there is a kids eat free program at most restaurants and great fresh seafood to be had
One of the many pools for kids to enjoy
One of the many pools for kids to enjoy
Low tide walk in the sea
Low tide walk in the sea
Reef restaurant- the salmon dish was amazing
Reef view hotel restaurant- the salmon dish was amazing 🙂

As well as many other activities on Hamilton Island including Mini golf, Bush Walking, Quad bike racing, Art classes, Bowling, Sailing, Fishing, Cruises, Jet skiing, Fitness classes (free for guests) and Open air cinemas to suit all ages. Plus loads of opportunities to take up on that well deserved relaxing time for the parents. Be sure to have a look at the brochure you get at your accommodation which has a time table for all the activities mentioned above.

Discovering new tropical plants
Discovering tropical plants
Relaxing walks along the marina in the evenings

The trip I treated with caution turned out to be a great one and ever since we got back, Hamilton Island has become one of our “must go again” destinations.  As we discovered firsthand Hamilton Island is a family destination as much as it is a destination for couples.

I would love to hear your Hamilton Island stories or any other similar experiences.  If you would like to know more about something I have mentioned above or need more information on certain things I have briefly spoken about please let me know.