Surrounded by tranquil gardens, this wonderful freestanding home boasts contemporary styling while sympathetically embracing its heritage. Sandstrom’s an entertainer’s delight, the traditional frontage opens to flowing interiors and outstanding outdoor space.
A house with a picket fence, leadlight windows, and a knockout established manicured garden. There’s so much to love about this tucked away gem in the heart of Mayfield.
Stunning private verandah, gorgeous feature hall entry, and three spacious bedrooms.
The kitchen is flooded with natural light thanks to the concertina doors, which open onto the sun-drenched North facing covered alfresco.
This home brings together the functionality of a family home with ease of creating a livable space perfect for entertaining.
A chance email from the Cancer Council which asked the question “What are YOU doing to help raise funds and awareness?” that Courtney had her “ah-ha” moment and knew she what she could do.
It was a magical day down at Dixon Park Beach today – friendly crowds, artisan markets and men wearing bright pink bras, while competing with each other for the best ridden wave.
Orchestrating all this is Courtney Bower, calmly keeping the day running smoothly all with a big smile and a cheerful hello.
Courtney is a regular at surfing competitions – her partner Marlenn Guihot is a keen longboarder. While they love attending competitions they always found themselves imagining the things they would do differently if they were to run an event.
Courtney’s mother, at 47, was diagnosed with breast cancer and this motivated Courtney to get involved.
But it wasn’t until one day, while reading an email from the Cancer Council that asked the question What are YOU doing to help raise funds and awareness? that Courtney had her “ah-ha” moment and knew what she could do to help.
Courtney and Marlenn have created an annual surfing event to raise awareness about breast cancer and generate funds and support for Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon.
They were actually on their way back from that same long boarding competition in 2015 when they came up with the name of the event – Tubes 4 Boobs!
“Its a fun name, but not in away to be taken as a joke,” Courtney tells us. “It’s all about raising awareness and starting the conversation.”
The event runs for two days, with short board comp on Saturday and the Long Board comp on Sunday. A fun crowd favorite is the lunchtime session where all competitors have to wear bras whilst surfing.
Tubes 4 Boobs target fundraising goal for 2015 was $10,000 – but incredibly that target was doubled with the event raising just over $20,000.
The target for 2016 was $20,000 and Courtney is hoping this target will be met today as well.
Ted Bassingthwaighte is the Toobs 4 Boobs top fundraiser and also the Digital Media Manager for the event, but he tells us, “Courtney is the spear head of everything for the day!” Courtney laughs, “Well you’re the feathers. Can’t shoot straight without feathers!”
“Its such a great day to bring the community together. All while raising funds and having a laugh,” Courtney tells us.
“And how is your mother doing these days?” We ask.
“She’s fine… She kicked Cancer’s butt!” Courtney happily replies.
This fun, popular and successful event is such an inspirational feat and the Newcastle couple are hoping to form a committee for 2017 to make the event even “bigger and better.”
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.
“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.
Meredith Lindsay has been the Principal of Carrington Primary School since 2013 and her focus here is on providing a broad spectrum of education.
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!”
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.
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.
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!”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.