Meredith’s Hive

Meredith’s goal in her principalship is to effect positive change and enrich the children’s learning experience with music, art and entertainment.

Arriving at the Carrington Primary School you will notice many bees around the grounds. Not the kind that will sting you though – the kind that will encourage you. 

“Our mantra here is to be a learner, be safe, be respectful and be kind,” Meredith tells us.  The happy little hive here have embraced the bee as their mascot.

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“Its lovely, the students often make and bring me little bee gifts. The students with the most bee cards at the end of the month gets to have morning tea with the principal,” she continues.

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Meredith Lindsay has been the Principal of Carrington Primary School since 2013 and her focus here is on providing a broad spectrum of education.

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Meredith grew up in Kurri Kurri and briefly lived interstate as well as in Sydney, eventually returning to Newcastle with her husband and three children because, “It’s just too nice of a place not to live here!”

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Always a high achiever, Meredith was drawn to management early in life – starting her career with Drake Employment in Sydney, it wasn’t long before she was the Manager of her team at only twenty years old.

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Returning to Newcastle Meredith worked with Park Royal Hotels and after what she calls, “brutal training in service and management,” she was promoted to Manager there within three years also.

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After her children were born, Meredith decided to attend University to gain her Teaching degree. She would take her small children along to uni with her and they would sit diligently throughout lectures, which turned out wonderfully for both Meredith and her studious children, “My youngest daughter could read and write by four years old and coincidentally she is at uni now!”

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When asked about her transition from teacher to principal she replies, “ It was through a lot of hard work and dedication.”


Meredith’s goal through her Principalship is to affect positive change and enrich the children’s learning experience with music, art and entertainment. 

“High engagement in activities means the kids love to come to school,” explains Meredith. “I want to expose them to these things because you don’t know what you like until you are exposed to it.”

Meredith has programs for students to regulate their own behaviour and learning – the children have personal learning goals which promotes self driven learning.

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“I have built my Principalship on kids respecting themselves, the community, the environment and their goals,” she adds.

Since her appointment, Carrington Public School has achieved their best NAPLAN results to date and the growth rate in Grades 3 to 5 has been well above state average.

“21st Century learning is about critical thinking and problem solving,” Meredith tells us. “ I have an open door policy for all staff and students – but I urge them not to come to me with a problem, but with a solution.”

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The school embraces such programs as a Chess Club – with which they are about to represent the school at semi-finals; Coding Club for young IT enthusiasts; craft; didgeridoo lessons; yoga and stretch classes for all interested students at lunch times and a student managed vegetable garden and chicken run.



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Giving is a strong value that Meredith and the school also work towards and part of that is to raise money, “We are raising money this week with the Art Exhibition on Thursday night. I want to show the children that you can make a difference through giving, though art and through music. That way they understand that they have the power within them.”

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When we asked Meredith what she does to relax and have fun, she smiles, “I am an academic at heart and I really do learn for fun. I guess I am most happy with a cup of tea and a research paper.”

A keen interest in health, nutrition and food science is another of Meredith’s passions. 

“I am quite known around the staff to always encourage everyone to eat their fresh fruit and veggies,” Meredith laughs as we discuss the school’s Swap It healthy eating program.

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“I really do love the community here at Carrington, we really are just like a little village and I don’t think I have ever met a more supportive and inclusive community.”

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Love where you live? Contact Villager Property and discuss with us today how you can live and love local. 



In Sofia’s Kitchen

“We all have differences, but hey, lets embrace them! ” Sophie says in her bubbly tone.

Writing and Education are a large part of Sophie’s calling, but true to her own heritage – so is excellent food.

From the time Sophie Stokes was 7 years old, she was in the kitchen with her Greek-Australian relatives preparing treats to serve to her large family and many friends.

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For Sophie, this inclusive and vibrant environment ignited a passion for both food and learning, a passion she still follows boldly today.

We were lucky to be invited when Sophie recently held a large get together at her home showcasing her cultural culinary prowess; Sophie hosts with a broad, engaging smile and a warmth to her welcome as though you are family.

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With a background in Early Childhood education, when it came time to send her own girls off to school – Sophie elected to home school them.

“My thing is creative education, I call it Imagination Activation!” Sophie explains. This took the family around the world, making travel journals, discovering new cultures…  with a fair dose of learning in the kitchen too.

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8 years ago the family moved to Newcastle for work and university opportunities for the children, and have found the city so versatile, multicultural and beautiful that they absolutely love living here. Not to mention the great foodie options for Sophie!

Recently, Sophie’s children completed their homeschooling and it was time for a new chapter.

“It was time for me to have a new impact on the world,” she tells us.

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In 2015 Sophie donated some resource books to Mebaya Orphanage in Tanzania, to help them establish their education programs and the orphanage invited her to come to Tanzania to assist.

While in Africa, Sophie was speaking with Elina Karamelina and was discussing the resources the Tanzanian children had – often donated books in English about Santa and snowy winters.

After this talk an idea was born.

“It was a spur of the moment conversation with Elina really and 8 months later we were publishing our own children’s book,” says Sophie.

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Kula Chakula is Hungry! was created to honor the cultures of the children in Africa and also as a celebration of the languages spoken locally and in surrounding countries. The book is written in Swahili, as well as English and Greek.

The book has had a wonderful response with African educators loving their new resource.

“Actually, I just shipped a whole box of books to Athens for an art conference there and I am so excited that Greek children will be learning about the Swahili language and African Culture too,” Sophie tells us excitedly, “and I have been honored to do a few readings of the book in local Newcastle preschools too.”

“We all have differences, but hey – lets embrace them!” Sophie says in her bubbly tone.

Writing and education are a large part of Sophie’s calling but, true to her own heritage, so is excellent food.

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This led Sophie to start food blogging at In Sofia’s Kitchen, a journey of hospitality written through recipes and adventures. The success of this blog has led to a cookbook, In Sofia’s Kitchen: Mediterranean Flavours Down Under, which is launching in Newcastle on November 26th, in true Sofia’s Kitchen Style – with lots of friends, food, culture and celebration.

Sophie would like all to feel welcome to attend the launch if you would like to pick up a copy and enjoy some of the tasty samples like these on offer.

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And what is next for Sophie? So much!

A new multicultural children’s book is underway being published in both English and Norwegian (thanks to her Norwegian illustrator) and Sophie will be working on another cookbook and cooking workshops.

“I’m looking forward to the continued journey – delighting families and friends through food and hospitality,” Sophie tells us.

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Served up to you by Villager Property – because Home Begins Here.

 

Mayfield Antiquity

“I want brides to be able to bury their head in their bouquet!” Melanie laughs.

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A coolroom warbles away in the back of the private studio, filled with the heady scent of roses, the beauty of a garden and the sound of pop ballads jamming from inside.

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“The acoustics in the coolroom are fantastic!” Melanie grins. “When I prep a bouquet, I pump up the music and sing LOUD. There’s Whitney, Bryan Adams… they all help the job get done!”

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We are visiting the private studio of Mayflowers Vintage Florist – home of the vintage tea cup posy.

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 Ben’s sister, Melanie Stewart, tells us how she opened Mayflowers Vintage Florist four years ago, “With $20, a teacup collection and some Mother’s Day orders!”

Now a booming fulltime business for Melanie, we take a look into her passion for everything pretty.

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An advocate for the use of seasonal blooms from local growers, she loves supporting the local flower farms and believes that the best smelling flowers are ones produced naturally, at the right time of year.

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“I want brides to be able to bury their head in their bouquet!” Melanie laughs.

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“Floristry is to paint a picture with flowers, it is an art and every florist has their own form of expression, their own style,” Melanie explains.

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Melanie’s expression is to blend her lifelong love of flowers, with her ever-present passion for everything vintage and Victorian.

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Melanie’s Nan,had a magnificent garden, where a love for foliage and colour was ignited, while her Aunty May further fuelled the flames sending exquisite bouquets to young Melanie home every sunday, via her Grandmother Ethel-May.

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Its a beautiful botanical nod of the head that the business is called Mayflowers.

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And the vexation for vintage?

“It started with a pink Victorian jug that Mum displayed in my room as kid. I would take it out of my room and she would bring it back in. It grew on me eventually, then I became an antiques addict too.”

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Studying Naturopathy and Aromatherapy while working in Glebe, Melanie would purchase a special tea cup set each week from various second hand and antique shops.

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“Each cup is specially picked, some are from the late 1800s while others are unique gifts, like sets from people as they went off to war in the early 1900s,” Melanie tells us as we take a look at her extensive collection, cups adored with Remember Me and Think of Me sit lovingly on display.

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“I love roses, and Queen Anne’s Lace is gorgeous to work with,” Melanie tells us when we ask about her favorite bloom. “Also, garden Carnations have a wonderful smell if they are the heirloom variety.”

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Being in this industry, Melanie has come to know and love many of her clients, “Grooms return each year to buy a bouquet on anniversaries – clients have become friends as I get to collaborate for their special occasions.”

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Melanie recently provided a tea cup posy to be displayed in lieu of a casket spray.

“A lovely local family had been buying tea cup posies from me for four years for their Grandmother. Last week I was honoured to complete her final bouquet.”

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Melanie’s passion for everything vintage and anything blooming is alive in every corner of her bright smile. Her love for her craft and the community that she serves is infectious.

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“I’ve been in Mayfield for sixteen years now, we have raised four children here and its just beautiful,” we are told as we ask what Mayfield living is like. “Not only is it a great place to live but its rich in history – obviously something that I appreciate!”

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“The old homes, the architecture, the community and the remnants of an old orchard here and there. It really is a place with a rich history and an exciting future.”

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To learn more and love a life you love, contact Villager Property. 

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Calm & Connected

Home should be a place you retreat to. Unwind, savour life.

Home should be your sanctuary.
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A place to retreat, unwind and savour life.
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Away from the stresses of everyday life.
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In the lakeside suburb of Warners Bay, in the quiet neighbourhood of Vennard Street, sits a home that has incorporated these values.
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Through tropically inspired landscaping, a gated entry invites you into the retreat of this home.
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As the large verandah wraps around the house, it leads up to decking – a spot to entertain  by the cabana.
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A hot tub bubbles away, drinks line the bar, just perfect for entertaining.
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Or perhaps,
finding peace on a Sunday afternoon while the palms sway in the breeze.
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The outdoor areas flow seamlessly with the interior. From the formal entry at the front;
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To the sliding glass doors and open servery from the rear family room.
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The formal dining room and kitchen catch gorgeous afternoon light, these alongside the living area create a gorgeous open space; perfect for engaging the whole family and guests.
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Space for the family to breathe…
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The four bedrooms all feature built ins, and windows overlooking the gardens or the elevated views.

The master bedroom features an ensuite and walk through robe; A parents sanctuary.

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All the features are here to accommodate the family.
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Double garage for 2 cars plus extra space for storage.

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Two living areas for that extra sanity is required…
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A view to the backyard, verandah and decking from the family room,
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and all in a quiet locale close to schools, shopping centres, Lake Macquarie esplanade and parklands.

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This bright and uplifting home is waiting to be embraced and enjoyed.
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A Culture to Create In…

“There are no guarantees – with art, life, business – none. But that consistently pushes me to get to the next step”

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It’s no secret that Newcastle is a hyper-creative community: take a walk around our own Darby Street from our eagle’s nest at the Newcastle Art Gallery to the public art installations along the street (including the giant headphone sculpture), all the way to the Community Garden across the road from Villager Property A scene full of painting and design.

Villager caught up with local artist Jess Kellar to talk all things Newcastle art scene.

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Jess runs Jess Kellar Art from studio  754 in Hunter Street. A large warehouse where a community of Newcastle creatives can each work their respective magic.

“The best thing about our studio,” says Jess, “is the view from the rooftop, where I am most of the time, working on my latest projects.”

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Local girl Jess has always had a passion for creating and feels lucky to be a Novocastrian where such a passion could be nurtured.

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She has had shows at Cooks Hill Gallery, exhibited at Lane Cove Gallery, The Royal, Muswellbrook Art Prize and recently performed and collaborated with Hannah Bertram at Newcastle Art Gallery for the 2016 Dust Project.

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“Newcastle is a vibrant community for artists,” Jess tells us. “There are a lot of creatives here: from musicians to designers, architects and artists. We are all in a very supportive and understanding space where we all just give it a go.”

Through writing for the Newcastle Herald, Jess has been able to work closely with many musicians in Newcastle. She is also the resident “live artist” for Groovin’ The Moo.

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Jess has worked with Arts Health for MS patients holding workshops and has also branched into “bio-art”, spending time with scientists at HMRI and producing collections from this experience which hung in the hallways of John Hunter Hospital.

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Jess’s style is high energy. When painting she uses strong rich colour and high contrast. In her sketches of Newcastle, the deep charcoals contrast with pure whites.

“Neutral isn’t my specialty,” she laughs.

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While already quite accomplished, Jess is finishing her Bachelor of Fine Art at Newcastle University and was recently the recipient of the 2016 William Fletcher Foundation Scholarship.

And in the true spirit of a Villager in our community she pays this forward by mentoring High School students in many of Newcastle’s public schools.

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“There are no guarantees with art, life, business. None. But that consistently pushes me to get to the next step.”

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The next step for Jess, working from her studio at 754, is to follow her passion in sketching and interpreting the city of Newcastle. The Rooftop Series is a timely project for the city and we are super excited to see the completed works.

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To learn more about living in the creative community of Newcastle – contact Villager Property

 

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