Friday, December 23, 2011

And so this is Christmas...

So here we are again... Christmas Eve, the last working day for us for 2011. And my birthday. I have to thank Glenda from Amoena who breezed in and brightened my day with this delightful plate of goodies! This past year has been hard going for a lot of people. Floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and poor business conditions. In November nearly 100,000 full time jobs vanished in Australia. Very sad. And just today the poor people of Christchurch have been subjected to yet another earth quake.

How much more can these brave people endure. We have friends in the South Island of NZ and our hearts go out to them. And finally to all of our customers thank you so much for your support this past year. I am hoping that for all of us 2012 turns out to be a brighter, happier year ahead. Take care out there over the break and we will see you all on the other side of New Year's Eve. The shop will reopen on January 3.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Oh dear me.. the internet is good when it works!

This past week I have been tearing my hair out over our website shop. It crashed! Went away.. somewhere... not too sure but it is back now.

At this moment I need to thank Mark and a couple of our web friends, Jeremy and Clement for their help in putting it back. We are looking at developing a newer and better web presence in the new year. Stand by for that.

I am hoping that it is now working properly.. I have my fingers crossed. If you have any problems viewing or ordering then please ring us at the Boutique on (07) 3511 4222.

All the best


Thursday, November 10, 2011

At the 11th hour of the 11th day...

So at 11:00 tomorrow.. will you stop and remember that day the guns fell silent on the battle fields of World War 1 Europe? As a school girl in Victoria we would all stand to attention for 1 minute's silence to remember those who had fallen in the theatre of war. If you walk through a modern shopping centre these days you will be hard pressed to notice any change to the every day as the clock strikes 11 on the 11th day of the 11th month. At the Boutique we like to stop and remember.. although sometimes our customers are in a hurry and don't want to wait for that one minute. We understand that.. but it saddens us. My husband Mark's father saw service in World War 1 so for our family this is a big deal. If you see a digger selling poppies tomorrow... by one and wear it with pride!

Meanwhile here at the Boutique our new Juliette Mastectomy bra is going out the door fast. The bras feature French lace and we have brought in a small order that is literally walking out the door. Juliette is exclusive to Spirit of Life and stock really is limited. Available in a beautiful silver with pink roses. Interested.. then don't waste time on this one.


Monday, October 3, 2011

So now we're 10!

October marks the 10th birthday of the Spirit of Life Boutique. And what a journey it has been. At first I managed the shop for the original owners (Coloplast) and then 7 years ago this month Mark & I purchased it. It has been a trip full of happiness from being able to help our special ladies and also tinged with sadness as we lost a few along the way. Today we celebrated with a few special people including long time staffer Jen, breast care nurses, our extended staff in the form of Helen our long suffering accountant, Desleigh our book keeper and Monte our Google master. We also had a visit from our good friend Tim Nicholls MP. Tim has been a friend of ours for many years now and is always interested in the boutique and always quick to offer helpful advice. He is one politician to watch in the future.

To all of the crew who joined with Mark & I tonight.. than you so very much. We'll do the next one in 5 years!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I have been busy.. really busy!

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. The Boutique has just been so very busy. Our new Singlet tops and T shirts with built in mastectomy bras have been generating a response like I have never seen in all my years in retail. Since our last newsletters went out we have been run off our feet. We have taken all available stock from Amoena both here and in Germany.The beginning of October marks Spirit Of Life's 10th birthday and 7 years since I bought the boutique.

This has been an amazing time and I have met so many wonderful people from all walks of life who have come through the front door of the shop. To all our wonderful customers who have supported us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We intend to be here for many years to come to look after our special ladies.


Monday, August 1, 2011

I simply cannot understand the value....

Last Friday an old girlfriend was in town, so I spent a little time with her in the city enjoying tea and scones at a well known cafe. Just fabulous catching up. But when I returned to my little car... I just could not believe the fee to park. For parking in the city I was charged $26 per hour.. so for 1 hour and 20 minutes, $39.00!!! How on earth can a space in which to park your car cost more per hour than what a shop assistant earns in the same time?

It is outrageous and I can understand why people shop in the suburbs. Here at the Boutique our first hour for customers is free. Now that's hard to top!

Mark is still in shock... $26 per hour for a car parking space. Someones making a bucket load of money out of that. And train fares.. Mark took the train to the city and back the other day (he hasn't got a Go card) and it was almost $20 return.

And still the governments at both State and Federal level are in debt. What on earth is going on?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where did July go???

Well.. month's end and I am wondering where July went to. We have been busy designing, shooting, laying out and eventually printing our next newsletter. Look for it in your letterbox next week. Features some exciting new products and some specials. This month has seen Mark celebrate a birthday as well as daughter Christina who turned 28 last Tuesday. Hard to believe that I am the mother of a 28 year old. Anyhow.. envelopes to stuff so must get back to it.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Mark!

So another long time between posts. The days pass so quickly.

Today is Mark's birthday so we had a double celebration. Out to Dinner with our good friends Greg and Heidi for Chinese last night. And then this morning for breakfast with the family. Our daughter Christina is back from Sydney and is studying tourism at college. She will be working one day a week in the Boutique though... so good to have her back. The shop has been percolating along a little bit more busier than this time last year.

We have an exciting new range of fashion bras from Amoena coming in October. These will be in a range of C to G cups and feature a very special component designed to enhance comfort in Queensland's hot climate. I cannot say any more just yet.. but stay tuned!

Well .. Mark is back home with a chicken dinner so must fly.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last chance for mastectomy singlet tops.

Hi there ladies.. the year is whizzing by. Cannot believe that my pup Dorothy turns 10 today. Mark and I took her to the park for a cupcake as a treat. Just talking work for a moment; one of the most popular items we have ever had in the boutique is the new mastectomy singlet and T shirt bras from Amoena. We have bought the very last of these for our ladies and if you like them as much as most of our customers, then don't waste any time in getting yours. At this stage there are no plans for any more to be imported to Australia. You can see a video on them here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Well.. a man's got to do apparently.

These past 2 weeks have been very busy at the boutique. And also during this period Mark has been on a "journey of discovery" (his words) to Birdsville and back on his trail bike. I thought he was crazy, but with his friend Gregor they did their own Long Way Round out into the bush. Sleeping rough lasted one night... and then they started checking into motels. It's good to have him home again. As they say you don't miss the water till the well runs dry. If you've got the time you can read about his trip there and back right here!

Monday, April 25, 2011

ANZAC Day and the progress of womens' affairs.

Well today is easter Monday; but it is also Anzac Day. A time to remember the bravery of our service men and women who put it all on the line in conflicts all over the world so that we might live in peace today. And for a lot of those men and women.. they paid the ultimate sacrifice. These people literally died to preserve our way of life. A life in this country where we all have our freedom of political ideology, our freedom of religion and the opportunity to work hard and enjoy success. We must never lose this! And sometimes the enemies of our lifestyle live amongst us. I refer here to people who seek a better way of life for their families by coming to Australia and then fanatically opposing our egalitarian society. Last night I watched the ABC telemovie about Ita Buttrose and the Cleo story. As Mark said while watching it with me.. "Women have come a long way in the past 40 years.. it's great to have been here to see the change."

Of course not all women are fortunate enough to have an equal relationship with their husbands. I am sure that like me as you go through life you see men who treat their wives as subordinates. These men control "their women" to within an inch of their lives.

Fortunately most men in Australia these days see their wives and women workmates as equals... I know that is how Mark and I get on. It is a refreshing change to my mother's generation where married women had to resign from Government jobs such as teaching etc. Sadly in a lot of countries this is not so. Women are seen as possessions. They are not even allowed to drive a car! Talk about living in the middle ages.

The iron fist in the velvet glove of feminism must continue to bring pressure on these cultures until these women too see that they have the potential to be whoever they wish to be.

Congratulations Ita and Cleo. You have certainly played a big part in the many changes for the better in the lives that Australian women lead today!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon....

When I was a teenager, the Small Faces had a hit with Lazy Sunday Afternoon. All these years later I really got to experience such a Sunday afternoon. Today Mark & I joined with our good friends Allen & Lindy O'Grady for a quiet lazy late lunch at Moo Moos wine bar and restaurant in the city. Moo Moos were one of the many unfortunate business's that went under in the Brisbane flood. Now back up and running it just has to be Brisbane's best steak restaurant. Late last year Mark did some food photography here and it was he who introduced me to Moo Moos. If you're looking for a great place to dine.. you won't go wrong here. (Mark grabbed a picture of Lindy and me with the "Wall Street Bull" outside when we were leaving.)

Our newsletter sale at the boutique is flying along and we have been very busy at the shop. Remember our factory rebate on Amoena bras finishes on the 30th so with the Easter & Anzac day holidays there are not a lot of shopping days left in which to take advantage of this sale.


Monday, April 11, 2011

A new product and a new video!

Something a little more positive after my insurance company rant of last week. (Although I do have more to say about that!). I have just posted a movie to Youtube featuring our new mastectomy singlet top. Have a look here!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Like a lot of others... our insurance company ran away.

After the floods here in QLD, a lot of poor people found out that their insurance wasn't worth the paper it was written on. It's all because of the way the insurance companies determine the meaning of flood. Now my theory is that the water fell from the sky.. it's that simple. While our boutique itself wasn't flooded, we did have the issue of no access to the building and when we did get in we had no power or phones. Because of this we literally couldn't trade for around 2 weeks. Of course we had "Business Interruption" Insurance which we purchased through AON Insurance Brokers. The insurance itself was underwritten by Chateris Insurance.

After we were back to normal, we lodged a claim. On no less than 4 times, the loss assessors contacted us and asked for the same material to lodge our claim. Each time it was a different person... and the whole process started again. Sort of like trying to fix your phone with Testra.. only a lot worse. So today.. they advise us they have knocked back pour claim. Why? Because the problems we had were caused by flooding and not storm damage. Can you believe it??? The storms caused the flooding! To say that both Mark and I are shattered is an understatement and our hearts go out to all those who are also doing battle with these uncaring corporate bookies.

So it gives me no great pleasure to advise any fellow business owners out there to avoid both AON Insurance Brokers and Charteris Insurance at all costs. When it came to the crunch.. they were inefficient and couldn't run away fast enough. We are sure there are other bad news insurers out there. After all, birds of a feather flock together. But for our money.. avoid AON and Chateris at all costs if our experience is anything to go by.

Debra & Markl

Friday, April 1, 2011

In case you're wondering why we were closed ...

In case you're wondering why we were closed this morning ... the police came along and did a drug raid on One Park Road this morning! We and all the other tenants were "asked to leave" while the fire brigade cleaned out all the gear and the chemicals. It would appear that a man in his thirties with an office upstairs was to quote the police)"helping them with their questions". He is known around the area and this might send him away for a long time....

All is back to normal and we're back in action again!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An interesting forum

Our local Federal member of Parliament, Teresa Gambaro invited me and a lot of other small business owners to a small business forum to be addressed by Tony Abbott and also his opposition small business shadow minister. Around 150 people gathered at Bronco's club tonight where we had the chance to ask questions of the opposition leader and some of his team. Small business is the driving force of Australia's economy and Governments of all persuasions ignore it at their peril. Therefore it was pleasing to hear tonight that the conservative side in politics is understanding of this and the very special challenges that small business faces. Nobody goes into small business to get rich... you do it because you want to be in charge of your own life and in my case I truly want to help our special ladies. Teresa Gambaro is a lovely lady and I reinforced to her the importance of maintaining the external prosthesis rebate program that currently is in place.

Our new newsletter should be in your letterbox in the next few days and you will find our specials on Amoena bras in there as well as some other new and interesting products.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Windy Sunday reflecting on February

Another Sunday.. and it's windy here in Brisbane. Sunday is a day of taking it easy in our household. Mark usually takes me out for breakfast and then an easy day around the house follows. And we like to take Dorothy down for a walk along the river. Even though today was windy I enjoyed the walk.. as did Dorothy. And it's good to see the River Cats back again too. (Although there is still a lot of rubbish floating down the river)

Walking along is a good time to think about things and clear the mind and today I was thinking about February just gone. Slowly Brisbane is getting back to normal after the flood although a lot of people are still waiting for their insurance companies to get their act together. And at the Boutique we have heard some amazing tales of how people were affected and how they coped with the flooding. The human spirit is an amazing thing!

I have had Mark busy photographing some products in his studio for our April newsletter; which goes to print this week. We are featuring two new prostheses from Amoena. It looks good.. stand by! Also in February my dog Dorothy had to have surgery to remove a cyst from her head. My grateful thanks to Dr Allen O'Grady from Albion who took care of my baby for me. And of course as mentioned in a previous post, my uncle and aunt surprised me with a weekend visit from Melbourne. They are a delightful couple and we love their company so much. Many thanks John and Pauline.

Talk soon.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

There's nothing like family!

The past weekend was a really happy event in my life. My husband Mark had arranged for two visiting American motorcycle riders to stay with us for the weekend while they awaited the arrival of their bike from the USA. Imagine my surprise when the arriving "Americans" turned out to be my favourite Uncle and Aunt from Melbourne. They had secretly flown into town to spend some time with us. It was just fabulous.. they shouted us dinner at our local Chinese on Saturday night and it completely took my mind off the past few weeks dramas with the shop. There is nothing like family to cheer you up. John even helped trim a small tree that was out of control at home.
(Picture.. me with Aunt Pauline)

Thank you so much John & Pauline!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We're back with all systems normal!

Well, we're back. At last our phones are back to normal (yesterday) and we have a fully functioning boutique. So if you have lost or damaged your prosthesis in the flood or are due for a new one.. please call us and come in. We'd love to see you. On behalf of the staff here I hope you did not suffer too much in the floods; and if you did I hope the promise of better days tomorrow keeps you moving along.

Take care of each other. Here is a short video I made this morning about us being back.


Monday, January 17, 2011

This morning we lit a candle....

This morning at Spirit of Life we lit a candle in memory of those who perished in the floods and as a sign of support for those they left behind. To us the flood has been an inconvenience.. to others an absolute personal tragedy. We are lucky.. our power came back on at 10:20 this morning.. although Mark has had us running on the big back up generator he has at his studio. We have pulled down all the temporary lights and leads and we're almost back to normal. The good people at Telstra are trying to get our phones back for us.. although you can still ring is.

Our car park has been pumped dry thanks to the wonderful people from Balderstone and their huge truck mounted pump. We made a short video of the pumping and it is on Youtube here.

We're looking forward to seeing you in the shop soon and hope your life is slowly getting back to normal.


Friday, January 14, 2011

The flood.. our latest position

Today Mark & I managed to get to our shop. We had to park the car near Petrie Tce and walk... poor Mark hand carrying a 30KG generator. Thankfully our shop has not been inundated. The shop has no power or phones (because of the power loss) and the underground car park is full to the brim with muddy water. We fired up the generator and powered up Rambo's fish tank to give his filter and heater etc a quick run. We estimate that we will be back in business on Monday. If the power is not reconnected we will bring in a large generator that will give us phones, computers and limited lighting; but no air conditioning.

At least we will be able to trade. If you have lost or damaged your prosthesis in the flood, please call us Monday and arrange to come in for a fitting. We do have stock, but it is limited. Also car parking may be an issue.. so best to call ahead on 3511 4222. At this point I must thank our good friend Greg Cary from Talk Radio 4BC here in Brisbane who advised our customers on air this morning that we would be open on Monday. Thank you so much Greg.. you're a good friend indeed.

We have grabbed a few pictures of Park Road for you all to see.

Talk soon.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We make plans.. and God laughs!

Well the plan was to shift stock this morning as per my last blog. However.. our shop at One Park Road is an island. We cannot get into Park Road at all. At this point the Boutique has no water in it. Fingers crossed. So.. turned the car around and took some bread to a friend who is facing inundation and here we are at home.

Hopefully we will be back on deck and running on Friday!



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Floods!

Wow.. haven't seen this since 1974. Today (Tuesday) we have closed the shop early to enable us to get home. I will be in the shop for a short time tomorrow and possibly Thursday. The predictions are for a big flood here in Brisbane on Thursday.

Our flood plan is as follows:

1. If the river rises tomorrow as we are being told, we will be removing all of our stock and moving it to higher ground.

2. If there is a worse case scenario becoming real and the shop is submerged, then we will still be able to trade in a limited fashion from my home on Brisbane's North side. (Clayfield) We will advise if this should occur. Please note that should this unlikely event happen, we would ask our customers to please ring for an appointment as we will not be able to handle "walk ins" during this time.

To all of our customers who may be affected by this terrible event, we pass on our sympathies and best wishes.

Good Luck.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here we are .. day 1 and back in the harness!

So January 4 has arrived and we're back at work. We've vacuumed the carpet, cleaned Rambo's fish tank and we're set to welcome our special ladies. I hope your Christmas and new year has been good for you. And if you're one of the many thousands of people who have been affected by the flooding in central and western Queensland then our heart goes out to you. Mark & I made a donation yesterday on behalf of Spirit of Life and would ask that you do too if you're lucky like us and have not been affected by this weather event.

On a lighter note, our dog Dorothy gets a couple of dog toys under the Christmas tree every year. She unwraps them herself. Here you can see the video of her in action!

Until next time


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - 2011

Happy New Year to all of our special ladies. If you're nursing a hang over.. then I hope you feel better as the day goes along. I feel that 2011 will be a good year for all of us. I hope your dreams and wishes become a reality and that you enjoy good health, and give and receive love to all of those people who are dear to you.

We'll be back at the Boutique on Tuesday the 4th and look forward to seing you then.