Compendium: form and function

January 4 2017

About seven years ago, I worked with a smart, gorgeous woman who was the epitome of ‘put together’. There was never a hair out of place, she was always presented immaculately, she had perfect handwriting and was an absolute delight inside and out. (The only element that made her human was she kept a pair of slippers under the desk to rest her weary feet from trekking about in stilettos!) I was in awe of her polish. While there will be some elements I’ll have no chance of emulating (the neat handwriting, *ahem*) one essential accessory that pulled the togetherness together so masterfully was a compendium.

What’s a compendium?

Sometimes referred to as a folio, compendiums are typically shaped to hold A4 documents but also have pockets with space for a pen, business cards and other office essentials like a tablet or phone. They are a one stop shop station for your work needs (if your work involves meetings and writing things down).

At my next job after working with the exquisite lady I described above, I shouted myself a brand new compendium and for the last six and a bit years it has been an absolute staple of my working life.

Office Luxury or practical necessity?

Arguably, a leather, possibly designer, compendium is a luxury. But there is no accessory I’m carrying more as I hustle between meetings and often also buildings. My compendium holds:

  • my notebook, which is easily replaced when full
  • any loose papers or print outs I may have,
  • business cards,
  • a couple of pens,
  • in the zip up section I always have a few tissues stashed as well as
  • some $ (in case a regular meeting becomes a coffee meeting),
  • a tea bag or two (because I’m a tea snob),
  • a couple of sticks of gum,
  • there is spot for my phone and
  • somewhere I can stash my staff card/lanyard.

It zips up, so nothing falls out and I have a little extra confidentiality around my notes which can sometimes be important in my role. As if this weren’t argument enough, it also gives me that highly-desired feeling of having my sh*t together.

Because it has everything I need, I don’t need to take my handbag if I’m going to a meeting offsite, gives makes me feel more lets-get-to-business. I’ve also gone compendium-in-hand to interviews in the hope of making a polished first impression. (Got the job! Both times!)

Clearly, I have big compendium love.

Once upon a time, it was really tricky to find compendium that ticked all the boxes in terms of being quality, practical and stylish enough that you were happy to be glued to it 40 hours a week. Not anymore! A bunch of fantastic options have come to the market!

Here are 11 options I love right now:

Oroton Melanie Saffiano Compendium

Oroton Melanie A4 folio in bright red, $88.50 (down from $295!!!) Also comes in navy in this saffiano finish which doesn’t scratch! Golden! Mine is nearly identical to this, I’ve had it two years and it’s still looks great! I am also a firm believer that red is the colour that goes with errrrything.

Oroton Melanie Pebble Compendium

Oroton’s Melanie a4 folio again, in the pebble finish in ROSE GOLD. $88.50 (also down from $295!!) also comes in gold, white and black. And has a bunch of fabulous accessories like luggage tags and briefcases and totes. Clearly I am obsessed.

Kikki K Compendium

Kikki K’s gothenburg a4 compendium in black, $120. This has leather trimmings but is not leather. Kikki K seems to change up their range fairly regularly.

Jonathan Adler Compendium

Jonathan Adler via Officeworks, $20. A great economic option!

Hunt Compendium

Hunt A4 Compendium in tan, $195. Like that this one includes an iPad sleeve! Also available in black.

ETSY Compendium

This hand-stitched compendium is from Etsy brand CPScraftStudio comes in a range of sizes including A4 (not pictured) for $164.30.

Luxury options

Louis Vuitton Compendium Pouchette

Louis Vuitton Pouchette, $850. This is more a pouch than a compendium but expect will serve the same purpose. I *almost* excluded it on the basis of LV describing it as ‘for the modern man’. You know. Cause a lady can’t carry a pouch!?

Smythson Compendium

As luxurious as they come: Smythson’s Wilde A4 Zip Up Writing Folio is made from Alligator and will set you back £4,695. Not even joking.

Personal Touch

Love that these options include monogramming!!

Smythson Mara Compendium

Smythson Mara A4 Zip Writing Folder in Magenta, 40% off at £297. Monogramming extra.


The Daily Edited Compendium

The Daily Edited offers their compendium in stone (pictured), black and midnight navy for $229.95. This also is in the scratch-resisten saffiano leather. Love it.

Treat Yo’self OR a great gift!

My parting thought is that beyond treating yourself to an accessory which will quickly slay it’s price-per-wear value, a compendium also makes a fabulous graduation gift or promotion present. It’s a great farewell gift for a colleague headed to a new role, and also a great work-appropriate congratulations.

So that’s it! Do you use a compendium? Know someone who does? Want one yourself? Want all of them including the $10,000 one? Are you also thinking that if you can afford a $10k compendium you probably don’t need to be at work in the first place? I welcome ALL of your thoughts below! 

p.s. This post is not sponsored but really should be, given my excessive compendium feels. I will always tell if you if my content is sponsored, and seemingly also when it should be.

2017 in a word.

January 1 2017

Happy New Year lovelyites! It’s a new day, a new dawn, a new year of possibilities that I’m sure we’re all busting to make the most of. So whats the best way to turn intention into action?

I’m going to be controversial.
You will not make 2017 awesome by setting goals.

Stay with me! Most of us, myself included, have been taught over the course of our lives that goal setting is the way to get things done. However, there’s an increasing body of thought that says  very particular or rigid (especially ‘SMART’) goals may constrain us more than they enable us.

How could a specific goal possibly be a bad idea?

Specific goals are useful when the circumstances are static… but when was the last time you were able to perfectly predict a sequence of events? The research has shown that when life throws us even the slightest curve ball, it can become impossible to meet our ambitiously-set, specific, measurable, achieveable etc etc goals. The result: disappointment, that heavy feeling of failure, embarrassment all of which can set us back rather than propel us forward.

Even if circumstances do enable us to meet our super specific goal, sometimes specificity itself can create tunnel vision and close us off to other possibilities and options which may be even better than the original plan.

What’s the alternative?

The last subject I studied in my Masters was on career planning and transitions and we had one message drilled into us above all else: while having a super specific plan can mean setting ourselves up to fail, the exercise of planning is absolutely useful.

Taking the time to think through possibilities, options, aspirations and desires makes us better equipped to adapt to change, recognise good opportunities and bounce back when things don’t go the way we hope.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, we should still work through planning, but the outcome shouldn’t necessarily be a plan.

… But we all want something tangible right? Something to give us direction and keep us on track. Me too.

Enter Dr Jason Fox


Dr Jason Fox and his pirate beard. Pic nabbed from DJF’s about page.

Dr Jason Fox describes himself as a ‘modern day wizard-rogue’ (don’t let that put you off!) who has little time for ‘motivational rah-rah and pithy business cliches’. His business is genuine motivation and leadership and for the last few years he has been encouraging people to find one word to serve as a ‘fuzzy beacon’ for the year ahead. NB: DJF is far from the only person encouraging the adoption of ‘one word’ but he’s the person who most helped me embrace the concept so I’m making him guru.

Just one word?

Yes. One big, contextual, umbrella-word to help give you direction. Dr Fox (coolest dang name around) likens our lives to a quest – one where we are all aiming to develop, better ourselves and find meaning. If that life or quest was in a book, and you were to take a step back and look at the chapter of 2016, what would the them be? What do you want the theme of the next chapter to be?

Unlike a goal or a resolution, a word can’t be broken. A word can grow and adapt with you and a guide, a reminder, an intention, a promise.

In 2013 Jason’s word was Kingly which to him meant ‘things like ‘stepping up,’ ‘taking responsibility’, ‘serving others’, avoiding petty gossip, being magnanimous and growing a beard (among other things)’. In 2014 he chose Prime. In 2015 he chose Pirate which he said ‘conjures the qualities of the opportunistic explorer. Commercially focussed and savvy, pirates are also jolly and buoyant. They drink rum and look after their mates.’

So as is clear from Dr Jason Fox’s own choices, the word doesn’t have to be a super serious one, but it does need to be distinct and meaningful to you.

My 2016 word

Last year, I chose the word Actualise. I’ve never had any problems dreaming up ideas… my issue is with the follow through! I chose Actualise to keep me on track to getting it done, turning plan into reality, making the rubber hit the road, and bring things from idea into action.

For me, having a one word to remind me what I was trying to achieve was helpful in big scenarios like deciding whether to take on a project, and small situations like when I was hesitating over the way forward on any particular day. GET IT DONE, LADY. It was also great to have friends keep me on track and reward me for staying true to my word, I had a couple of ‘great actualising!”s and ‘you actualised the shit out of that’ which made me swell with pride and propel me forward in a way that achieving any single likely would not have done.

Jason’s tips for choosing your word!


1) Rush it – the value is in the reflection, remember?

2) Anchor it to outcomes – we’re on a quest not a mission and the purpose is to enable your path to flex and change.

3) Care too much about what other people think – it’s your word, don’t be afraid to be bold, risky or risqué.


1) Test it – run it by the people who you want to keep you accountable. Do they see something you missed?

2) Make it fun for your friends – the people around you have a big impact on your world. Your word is a social trigger. ‘Make it easy for them to hold you accountable to your meaningful intent’.

3) Chose it a word that makes you a bit uncomfortable – get out of your comfort zone!


Get uncomfortable and make some magic! Pic source.

I’ve taken these tips from Dr Jason Fox’s far more comprehensive, lol-worthy and excellent posts here (2014) and here (2015), they also contain stories about other people’s words to inspire some more. DJF also recorded this video at the end of last year with three and a half mins of tips on finding your own word:


Choose (your Word) wisely from drjasonfox on Vimeo.

What’s next?

Once you’ve got your word Jason suggests choosing three projects per quarter that help put your word into actions. Projects because they are more about action and learning and doing on your quest rather than an aspirational, rigid goal. Three because one would lead to procrastination, two would make you feel as if you’re constantly dividing your time, so three.

I’m working on my 2017 word and I wholeheartedly encourage you to join me! I’m wanting 2017 to be a year where I build on foundations laid, take things to the next level, share what I know and give back. I am peculating on a few words and will report back when I’ve landed one!

What do you want the theme of your next chapter to be? Have a word suggestion based on my descriptors? Love to chat further in the comments! Here’s to a bloody great year! 

2016, a love list.

December 31 2016

2016 had some rough moments, a quick glance at social media will show you it’s a year many are hoping to forget and for valid reasons. But I can’t join them. Because despite some challenges and sad spots, 2016 was great to me. So with determination to recognise the good when it comes you way and more than a sprinkle of nostalgia I’m sharing some of the things that brought some sparkle to my year.

In no order whatsoever, these are the things I loved this year:

  • My Lean In Circles, who gave me a safe space to look at my life and determine what was working, what was not, and keep pushing myself.
  • Seeing my friends who have become mums, and are becoming mums, blossom into these even more loving, more giving creatures. While none of them start with – or will every have – all the answers, their love for their tiny people have shone a path to follow and it has given me so much joy to see the joy their beebees have brought and continue to bring to their lives.
  • These schnoodles! The little one joined us in February and despite the big one trying repeatedly to resist her charms, he now loves her, perhaps even as much as we do.

    Archie Boo and Sadie Sue, saying goodbye to me through the fence.

    Archie Boo and Sadie Sue, saying goodbye to me through the fence.

  • These people, who came together entirely in the aim of fostering diversity and inclusion and amazed me by how quickly our time together felt like coming home.


    The wonderful people of the Diversity Practitioners Association who this time last year I (mostly) didn’t know, and now count among my most favourite people.

  • Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara. Va va voom lashes.
  • Leina Broughton, the brand (and the great team behind it) and more so the lady. For not only creating gorgeous frocks that I love to wear, but inviting me behind the scenes and giving the opportunity to learn a great deal about myself.


    Will the amazing Leina Broughton

  • My day job, which I not only love but feel entirely privileged to do. I remain in a constant state of reminding myself not to take for granted what a super privilege this is.
  • Europe. My word, she’s got some pretty. Spending two weeks cruising around with my long-lost-husband was absolutely two of the best weeks of the year.


    Pics from our European adventures! From L to R, top to bottom: Nice, Venice, Monaco, Venice, Lake Bled in Slovenia, Milan, Hallstatt in Austria, Nice and Lucerne. Oh the loveliness!

  • Bloggers, who despite all the reasons not to be, are largely a wonderfully supportive, giving, open and lovely bunch. I feel so grateful for the kindness shown to me by other bloggers this year and to call myself part of this community.
  • My mum, who never tires of my jibber jabber in our daily chats, continues to offer me a safe spot to leave my worries, dyes my hair (yes!) and made and brought me chicken soup this week in the midst of man-flu-ing.


    Me and The Mumma

  • Finding more and more women who are fighting for women. Sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly, but all resolutely committed to achieving equality.
  • The Jacarandas this year! Gosh they really dazzled me!


    2016 Jacarandas

  • The Chat10Looks3 podcast by Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales. Every time a new episode pops up (new episodes are entirely reliable in their absolute inconsistency) I am overwhelmed with joy. I recommend starting from the beginning if you are yet to enjoy the loveliness and lols of Salesy and Crabb.
  • This guy, who after 11 years still cracks me up every day.

JS and AS <3

  • Astroturf! We replaced some non-growing grass with some astro and it’s bloody great!
  • Walking out to King Island from Wellington Point. It is one of my favourite (and only) ways to enjoy the outdoors.


    The walk to King Island from Wellington Point at low tide. Perfection.

  • The women I call my friends who never cease to amaze me with their courageousness and compassion and lols.
  • Frocktober! The fun! The frocks! And experiencing the amazing generosity that went along with it as we bandied together to do some good for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.


    The frocks of Frocktober!

  • You. Last and most of all, you. Who visit the blog, join me on facebook and instagram and have offered your wisdom and encouragement and well wishes and have made me feel confident and brave and propelled me forward. I am so grateful for the support you offer me, and hope in 2017 I can give some of that back to you in this little corner of the internet we occupy together. You absolutely rock my world.

I’m going to head off and transform my *still* man-flu infested self into a party-worthy dame (we are going to a wedding this afternoon! On NYE! I have been excited for months, nothing is keeping me from this event!) and leave you with my most sincere thanks for all the ways you lit up my 2016 and my most bedazzled and love-induced wishes for a great 2017 for us all.

The gift I’m most looking forward to giving this Christmas

November 19 2016

love gift giving. It is a natural extension of shopaholicism (a thing, without doubt) and the quest for finding a gift that is *just right*. I take great joy in shopping for my loved ones and finding thoughtful ways to show them how much they mean to me.

But this Christmas has already been a little different, because the gifts I’m most looking forward to giving have been shopped for with love… but I don’t know the recipients.

I am participating in Share The Dignity’s #itsinthebag campaign, encouraging women to take a handbag they no longer use and fill it with essentials (and a couple of little luxuries) for a woman who’s put the needs of others ahead of her own this Christmas.

Share the Dignity’s amazing founder Rochelle Courtenay explains why this campaign matters

“Let me tell you WHY we Share the Dignity with the #itsinthebag. I was told of so many stories but one that sticks out the most in my head is this one… 

A woman who had turned to a domestic violence refuge for help and happened to be there on Christmas day, she had two children and NOTHING. This handbag was hers, given with love, received with LOVE.

She cried upon receiving it, throwing it over her shoulder, feeling it and commenting on how kind people were. She looked into the bag and started crying, she now had a toothbrush and a hairbrush things that mean so little to us, but to her it was so important. After going through the bag she also discovered a Rockmans gift voucher, she was overwhelmed with emotions, really crying because someone cared enough to give her this gift. The lady waited until her kids went back to school and she headed to the big sales, well she found a great dress and felt a million bucks. She then headed off to a job interview and got the job!!

This bag, this gift changed her life in so many ways.”

A life changing gift is the sort of gift I want to give this Christmas!

So over the past month and a bit I’ve been collecting little bits to make up two bags. I didn’t have two handbags I was ready to part with, so I bought two newbies from Collette on sale (super versatile options there!). A snapshot of what’s going in the bags I’m gifting below:


What’s going in the bag: (most of) the contents of the two bags I’m putting together for Share The Dignity’s #itsinthebag Christmas campaign!

Bag collections have JUST opened, if you want to pull together a handbag (or two, or three) for a woman who could do with an act of kindness, you have ’til December 3 to get your bag to a collection point!

Share the dignity have put together this handy guide of ideas for bag contents:

#itsinthebag quick guide

#itsinthebag quick guide

And some beautiful printables are available on their website to include in your bag.


#itsinthebag printable

Words for all of us.

Are you participating in #itsinthebag this year? Is there something else you or your family do at Christmas time to help those less fortunate? Love to hear the ways you are sharing kindness in the comments below!