Pink Waves

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.

earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-65

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.
earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-78

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.

earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-41
Courtney and Marlenn

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.
earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-72
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.”

earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-3
Volunteer Ann and Courtney

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.

EARTHLYIMAGES boobs for tubes PHOTOBOOTH EARTHLY IMAGES_-97.jpg

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.

earthlyimages-boobs-for-tubes-photobooth-earthly-images_-85
The boys all in their gear!


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!”

tubes.jpg
Courtney and Ted before the presentation today.


“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.”

Villager Property – Community, Style, Local, Real Estate – Home Begins Here

Going once, Going twice…

Leon turns work into fun and entertainment; bringing a smile to the crowd and a sold sticker to the signboard.

During his previous career as an agent in commercial real estate, Leon Axford attended his first auction. Watching the excitement build and the energy circulate around the crowd – Leon knew he had found his calling and pursed his dream.

leon-axford_-5

Leon is now the director of his own company Axford Auctions and calls up to 500 Auctions a year; covering residential, commercial, industrial and retail real estate.

“Calling auctions is my only calling.” Leon testifies.

leon-axford_-3

Asking Leon what he brings to the Auction scene, he replies enthusiastically with a big grin “I’m a creative person, and I like to bring my own flair to the auctions I call, a little joke here, a story there…”

Leon turns work into fun and entertainment; bringing a smile to the crowd and a sold sticker to the signboard.

leon-axford_-7

Fun is not only vibrantly running through his auction style, but his personal style as well.

A snappy dresser, we are yet to see Leon wear the same pair of socks – spreading smiles with an array of happy accessories.

leon-axford_-6

Leon is working exclusively with Villager Property, complementing our marketing campaigns to deliver beautiful style with exceptional and consistent results.

leon-axford_-9

For example, last Sunday Villager Property held 3 Auction properties in succession and all three were successfully sold; a testament to an exceptional team!

leon-axford_-10

“There are two types of bidders I see a lot, those that test the water with their toe and slowly wade into the water… and those that jump right in straight away! Its all good fun though!” Leon tells us as we wander down Darby Street.

But if the water is as nice as a Newcastle Beach then all that matters is that you go wet, really!

Home begins with Villager Property – Buying or Selling? Give us a call. Click here for details. 

 

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.

14372460_1819840598234711_6889302233023050404_o

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.

14525168_1825305571021547_1401007210114470306_o.jpg
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.

14361299_1819841811567923_7713811891955840128_o

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.

untitled
Source: Exousia Publishing

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.

static1-squarespace-com

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.

14372100_1819839678234803_7702308769370058838_o

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.

14379984_1819844531567651_3765485428490459494_o

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.

14362524_1819841851567919_5723329829803813486_o

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

 

Brain Sports with Dr Gardner

A local rugby player had suffered concussion during a game and was ready to play again the next day, when an MRI conducted by Dr Andrew J. Gardner changed the course of his season.

“Another Concussion on-top of a concussion can be serious,” Dr Gardner tells us. “Its all about managing risk versus benefit.

A local rugby player had suffered concussion during a game and was ready to play again the next day, when an MRI conducted by Dr Andrew J. Gardner changed the course of his season.

“Another concussion on top of a concussion can be serious,” Dr Gardner tells us. “It’s all about managing risk versus benefit. The player made a full recovery and is very thankful for all the treatment we’ve done with him.”

blog-4

This situation is part of Dr Gardner’s daily work life: working full-time as a Clinical Neuropsychologist, the co-director of the HNE local sports concussion clinic and also contracted to be the consultant for the Australian Rugby Union’s Concussion Advisory Board.

img_2020

From junior teams through to professional players and then post sports career, Andrew is focused on looking after the welfare of athletes.

“I have started my own business, Neurogard,  which delivers pre-season baseline and post-concussion neuropsychological assessment for athletes of all ages and sports.”

blog-12

Andrew grew up in Teralba then attended the University of New England in Armidale to complete his Bachelor of Psychology, followed by completing his Doctorate in Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology) at Macquarie University in Sydney and finally returning to Newcastle to complete his PHD in the School of Medicine and Health at the University of Newcastle.

Andrew’s thesis for his PHD on the acute and cumulative consequences of sport’s concussion in semi-professonal rugby players won the prestigious award for The Most Outstanding Dissertation for 2011 from the National Academy of Neuropsychology in the USA – the first and only time the honour has been awarded to a student outside of North America.

Dr Gardner’s academic excellency, among numerous other prestigious awards, has seen him gain fellowships to Harvard Medical School, where he was able to gain incredible contacts within the field of traumatic brain injury research.

blog-6

“The best thing about Boston of course, is getting to see my Red Sox play!” Andrew tells us as he shows off his screen saver of his time in the box seats at Fenway Park and points out “The Green Monster”.

blog-2

“I was only just yesterday watching the Red Sox win their 6-5 victory over the Yankees,” he says as he quickly replays the win on his desktop, the excitement still new. “I may have been yelling – just a bit!”

blog-7

 “I’ve always been involved in sports, from playing to following the games,” Andrew tells us. Although his love for sports has been rivalled by his drive for academic success.

“In 2008 and 2009 I was playing Premier League Bowls when I had to make the decision to quit playing and focus on the transition into full time academia,” Andrew says, “and that can be a hard thing to come to terms with. It forces you to redefine who you are.”

Andrew understands the importance of a sports career and helps players and patients through tough journeys when they have to give up a career early due to injury and rehabilitate their life.

This continues to drive him to sit up until the early hours some nights researching and working.

“I can sit up most nights, I just get lost in it,” he tells us. “I love what I do and believe I have these skills and this passion for a reason.”

blog-5
Andrew’s itinerary is full of upcoming speeches he will be giving at high profile conferences around the world; papers and books he is writing; all the while continuing to develop his research into problems associated with sports concussion in athletes.

Looking at his extensive list, we ask how he manages the complexity of his commitments and he assures us it is with ease.

“My job is also my hobby, only I get paid to do it – but if I wasn’t… I would be doing it anyway,” he smiles. “I’m meant to do this.”

Andrew’s genuine character, enthusiasm and passion is revealed as he speaks about the wonders of the brain. For Andrew, his field is his calling – his patients and players are in safe hands.

blog-10

Dr Andrew J. Gardner will be one of our guest speakers at Meet The Villagers on September 22, 2016 where everyone is invited to join in the fun to hear 6 speakers with 6 mins each to talk about their field of expertise. All funds raised going to charity. For tickets click here. 

Proudly brought to you by Villager Property 

The Elements at Hillcrest

Nature never goes out of fashion; so earthy slate was chosen for the kitchen and bathrooms, while exposed timber beams connect you to the surrounding bushland.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-26

30 years ago, an architect had finished drawing up a large formal design for 1 Raymond Street, Speers Point when the owners started researching pole homes.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-18

They began exploring the idea of incorporating exposed beams, texture and and layered living; much like the surrounding hillside – and they knew that this is what the home should reflect.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-30

Nature never goes out of fashion; so earthy slate was chosen for the kitchen and bathrooms, while exposed timber beams connect you to the surrounding bushland.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-24

The front balcony and cleverly placed windows ensure a view of the blue shimmering lake sparkling below.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-48

Like the branches of a tree, there are 4 levels that layer warm family living areas with quiet nooks.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-20

From the welcoming formal entry hall to private areas like the rear sunroom and ground floor rumpus room.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-9.jpg

Wide open spaces with beautiful views over the suburbs and lake; no matter your mood – you’ll find your space here.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-41

Sounds of laugher and games from the in-ground pool float up to the northerly al-fresco balcony;

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-34

while the song of whip birds, rosellas and lorikeets rings out from the treetops beside the windows.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-45

Inside, a fireplace in the living room invites you to sit beside it in the colder months listening to records, while keeping the dining loft warm for entertaining.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-22

The kitchen will never be bare when there is a productive vegetable garden downstairs, fresh pumpkins, herbs and greens at always hand.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-4

And a view like this from the kitchen window –  yes please!

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-49

A large room used as a study on level 2 has built in library style shelving, and views direct to the treetops.

The rear sunroom would be perfect for a studio space with direct access to the backyard and the current owners once used it as a perfect little sanctuary for their pottery sculpting.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-11

The landscape gardens include formal hedging of gardenias, fresh vegetable garden, shady paved garden dining area, whimsical pond, and flower gardens with winding paths – a garden for each season.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-2

All 3 bedrooms enjoy a view, of either the gardens or the water.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-32

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-23

The master bedroom features 2 walk in robes, an ensuite and exceptional lake scenery.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-14

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-16

A home that is full of light, music, texture and nature; a home full of life; all the elements are at play here for you to a life in your element.

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-44

To learn more about this Raymond Street, Speers Point property: head over to Villager Property 

1 raymond st speers point blog   jpg-29

Centrally Speaking

Sean Blakemore is abuzz with momentum – there’s a bright smile on his face and energy in his step. Rightfully so, because there’s a lot for him to be excited about.

sean grandview-21

Sean Blakemore is abuzz with momentum – there’s a bright smile on his face and energy in his step.  Rightfully so, because there’s a lot for him to be excited about.
sean grandview-6
Sean’s wife recently gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Edie and while taking on the role of new Dad, Sean is also taking on the sole ownership and management of Central.

sean grandview-23

Sean opened Central in October 2014 with a business partner, building the furniture, designing the special touches of the interior and ensuring that the rich history of the building (a former church, theatre and cinema) were all reflected.

The authenticity of the building has kept it warm and inviting.

sean grandview-20

Central may only be 2 years old next month but this isn’t a new passion for Sean. Hospitality and adventures are kind of his jam.

sean grandview

For 10 years Sean worked at Custom’s House on a year on / year off basis, using his time off to backpack and work his way around Europe and North America.

sean grandview-22

“I spent a while working at Planet Hollywood in Piccadilly Circus, which was great. I got so much inspiration and experience to bring back home,” Sean says as he creates one of his speciality teapot cocktails.

“It was all a great big mixed bag of experience – it makes you grow as a person.”

Back in Newcastle, Sean is happy to be apart of a strong community where he is a well known local.

sean grandview-36

“I grew up in The Hill, went to school here and played rugby for South’s alongside Ben.”

sean grandview-32

You will see Sean making the most of the convenient inner city lifestyle: scooting around town travelling from home to Central, the beach and all around Newcastle on his Vespa.

Nowadays, when he is not spending time with his new daughter, Sean is working hard at Central, which is now home to a cafe in the front foyer, restaurant and bar inside – an amazing venue for live events and functions.

sean grandview-29

“We ensure all our produce is sourced locally: from the fresh ingredients in the kitchen, to local wine from the Hunter Valley and an exclusive range of craft beer from Matilda Bay Brewing Co.”

“The building here at Central just begs for live entertainment, and thats something I’ve always done here is to remain true to the building and the local community,” Sean tells us proudly. “I just love the buzz of the place!”

sean grandview-14

Villager property are holding an event at Central 145 later in September, click here for more details 

Mark Hughes- A foundation of Support

There are many reasons to love the Newcastle community, but Marks story reminds us of the incredibly supportive environment in which we live.

It’s a sunny August morning in Hamilton and we’ve stopped in to catch up with Mark Hughes.

We have a chat about beanies, gratitude, the Kokoda trail and a magic ball.

Mark Hughes Blog_-3

There are many reasons to love the Newcastle community, but Marks story reminds us of the incredibly supportive environment in which we live.

Mark grew up in the town of Kurri Kurri before moving to Newcastle to play for the Knights. He now resides in the beachside community of Merewether with his wife Kiralee and their 3 children.

“I love living in Newcastle,” Mark says. “It really does have that big community feel.”

Mark played for the Newcastle Knights from 1997 until 2005, and played for the NSW State of Origin team in 2001, thus making Mark a celebrated Novocastrian.

After seeing a doctor about recurring headaches, in 2013 at the age of 36, Mark was diagnosed with brain cancer. An emotional journey that brought his family and community close together, banding for support.

Mark and Kiralee subsequently began the Mark Hughes Foundation. The foundation partners with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), raising funds to help find a cure for brain cancer. In January 2016  The Foundation appointed a Brain Cancer Care Nurse within the John Hunter Hospital.

“The Brain Cancer Care Nurse is focused 100% on the brain cancer patients at John Hunter Hospital,” Mark informs us. “A great support for patients to have a nurse that is committed to their condition.”

Mark Hughes Blog_-2

The Foundation has raised over $250,000 through the MHF Beanies for Brain Cancer fundraiser, hosted the Magic Ball with over 600 local participants, organised charity auctions, received donations from numerous local families and businesses and has even had Paul “The Chief” Harrigan going on the national TV program Im A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! to win $50,000 for the cause.

The response from the community is a massive source of inspiration for Mark, Kiralee and the MHF who work tirelessly to offer support for brain cancer patients and their families.

Sitting on the sunny deck of Mark’s Hamilton office, we talk about the importance of the foundation, “Our biggest goal of course is to find a cure – but we are also aiming for more awareness of brain cancer,” Mark says. “Brain cancer is the biggest killer of people under 40 – more than any other cancer – and we need more attention to this in the media and more funding for research.”

Mark Hughes Blog_

Mark and 17 others recently completed a Kokoda Trail “Coast to Coast” challenge: riding 130kms from the Northern tip of Papua New Guinea to the track, trekking the 100km trail and then riding another 70kms to Port Moresby.

“It was physically and emotionally challenging – yeah it was hard,” said Mark, “but I was also inspired to be with those 17 others and raising $150,000 for the foundation.”

13532872_513311918854504_2838298302675195045_n
Mark Huges on the Kokoda Trail. Picture by James Brickwood for Fairfax.

Since beginning his journey with brain cancer, the overwhelming story of support for Mark and the Foundation is what really stands out.

The Newcastle community, and national community too, reaching out with assistance and funding.

Mark Hughes Blog_-4

Here at Villager Property, Mark’s foundation is very important to us, especially for our Villager Rod, who donates $500 from every sale commission (currently totalling $3,000) to MHF in honour of his nephew, a young brain cancer survivor.

“We have great support from the community,” Mark tells us, “and I do tackle every day as it comes – but I am very lucky and I am very grateful.”

www.villagerproperty.com.au