Tag Archives: beach holidays

Handcrafted Australian Raffia Beach Bags – Island Twist and Shout Your Style

Jeanny Oaks from Island Twist in Lord Howe Island

Coming from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, when did you come up with the idea of making raffia accessories?

It all came about when one of my oldest Island girlfriends Amy asked if I would be interested in creating a clutch style beach bag for her store, The Miles Away Company in Brisbane. I was heavily pregnant with our first Daughter at the time and so, after many crocheted and pulled apart designs later, the Cockleshell Clutch was created!

Cockleshell Clutch

Cockleshell Clutch

What is life like on the beautiful Lord Howe Island?

Island life is without a doubt the best life a person can live. I was born and raised on Lord Howe, and it wasn’t until I became older that I realised how lucky I was. To be able to run around in bare feet, snorkel off pristine beaches straight onto beautiful coral reefs, and go fishing for the best, fresh fish around, it is the most amazing place to live.
When our Daughter was born, she and her Great Grandmother Joyce were the oldest and youngest ladies on the Island, it made living there a little bit more special.

Jeannie Oaks from Island Twist

Jeannie Oaks from Island Twist

Tell us about the name of your label “Island Twist”

My Husband Nicholas actually came up with the name Island Twist!

When we were brainstorming names for the business he came up with Island Twist after watching me crocheting with the raffia. Using Raffia to work with is a bit different to wool, and I need to twist it in order to make it stronger and easier to crochet with.

After many years working on the Island’s freight ship the ‘Island Trader’, it reminded him of bringing in the lines on the ship and coiling them up when they weren’t in use. Originally we were going to have our logo as a ship’s anchor with coiled rope around it, but decided to go for the more Island tribal look of the spiralling Twist.


Please tell me about the fabrics you use in your creations – any specific fabrics and colours that you love to work with?

I love working with raffia as there are so many ways to make beautiful bags with it. I can use it to make smooth surfaces or I can use it to create textured looks. It also makes for a stronger bag with a natural look which a lot of people like. I only buy the highest quality raffia to make bags, and in doing so am able to source it in a multitude of colours which helps create pieces with a *Pop* of colour.
My lined bags are lined using my favourite fabric called Island ‘Savannah’ Print by Donna Wilder for Fabric Traditions . With it’s palm and blossom background it always reminds me of my Grandmother’s gardens with her Kentia Palms and bright red and pink Hibiscus.
I also love using bright fabrics to give my more natural looking bags a bright splash of colour. From the outside they look calm and natural, but on the inside they are a rainbow of colour! (check out the entire collection of straw beach bags )

Handbags Beach Bags

Handbags Beach Bags

Who or what inspired you to create this collection?

When I created the Cockleshell Clutch for The Miles Away Company, I was so happy with the way it came out that I decided to experiment with other handbags styles.

Not long after I started walking around the Island with one of my handmade creations, the Island Handbag, I started getting a lot of people asking me to make them one as well! Then I started getting special requests, Large Beach Bags, Tote Beach Bags and Beach Purses  and as they say, the rest is history!
What started by making bags for friends was quickly picked up by some of the Island’s store owners to stock in their stores. The Beach Boutique was the very first to stock my Cockleshell clutch after the owner Vicky saw one that I had made for my friend.

What are your target markets?

My products have a really broad range of end customers which is great. My bags and clutches can be used by ladies in their 20’s – 30’s, Mums, or even Nannas!
I did aim them towards an Island style of living as we don’t tend to use handbags as much at home, but we do need bags to pick up our mail, meet a friend for lunch, or pile the beach towels and swimmers into to take them to the beach.
The casual and natural look of my bags makes them easy to take pretty much anywhere, on the Island or anywhere in the world!

Can you describe your collection using 3 words?

Natural, Casual, and Unique!

What is your favourite piece of the collection?

My favourite piece is the Island Diamond Beach Bag. It fits everything in it and when I take my Daughter to the beach it comes every time.

large beach bag

Diamond Large Beach Bag

When did you launch?

In January 2014, a month before my Daughter’s birth. After finishing work to prepare for Mummyhood I realised I needed to do something else that could base me at home while I looked after her. This turned out to be the perfect job!

Jeannie little apprentice

Jeannie little apprentice

What is next for you?

I am looking forward to expanding my range into Homewares. I have many ideas in my head that haven’t made it to fruition yet, and I would love to design a range of Tablemats, Coasters and Utensil bags. I am currently working on a design for a Cutlery Bag to take on BBQ’s, an idea put to me by my cousin Amy, who is an Island Mum with a family of 4 who hates having loose cutlery in her BBQ basket!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

When creating patterns using the crochet method, WRITE DOWN YOUR PATTERNS AS YOU GO! The biggest mistake I made starting out was not writing my patterns down and then trying to remember them in vain when I was asked to make the item again!
And experiment, a design that I might not be so keen on usually turns out to be a favourite on my Facebook blog amongst my followers!

Is there any big WOW that you would like to share with us?

My Wow moments are always when I hear the wonderful feedback from customers and end customers about my handmade bags.  When I hear how much they appreciate the time and effort it takes to make them all by hand, it makes all those hours crocheting, sewing and beading really worthwhile! Seeing a tourist walk past me with one of my bags in tow was certainly a great moment, but being asked to sell them through Aquazy.com certainly is up there as well!

Where is your favourite beach and why?

I am torn between two!

The Lagoon on Lord Howe has the most amazing views and was a place where my late Dad and I frequently went down too and sat with a beer watching the amazing sunsets we get in the Summer. With a Southerly view of our Mountains, Lidgbird and Gower, and the Northerly view of the North hills, it is a very special spot to sit and just unwind for a chat.
Ned’s Beach on the Western side of the Island will forever hold a special place in my heart as that is where my Husband and I had our Wedding day 2 years ago.

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

Jeannie Oaks Wedding in Lord Howe Island
Jeannie Oaks Wedding in Lord Howe Island

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“Fred, If you get knocked down, put your head up and keep walking, there are better things yet to come your way” – Garry Petherick – Dad.
“Keep your head up, and keep your heart strong” – Ben Howard

What is your favourite colour?

Turquoise, the colour of our beautiful Island waters!


Beach Sports – Sand, Sea and Fun

surfing in Australia

There are so many beach sports to enjoy, and around the world new beach sports are discovered and adapted all the time. 

In addition to traditional beach sports such as Beach Volleyball, Beach Soccer, Surfing, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, there are others that originate from, and are commonplace in different countries.

Foot Volley

The Brazilian beach sport of Foot Volley is a prime example. This sport involves playing an adapted style of Soccer with a Beach Volleyball net. Foot Volley originated in Brazil, and it is a free flowing, faced paced beach sport. Although Foot Volley dates back decades, it has only become well known and played around the world in more recent years. The rules are very similar to Soccer, but the teams are usually much smaller, between 2 and 5 per side. This is due to the skill involved and required space etc to make the moves. It is quite a difficult sport, and not really recommended for novices.


Footvolley – Source Ilfattoquotidiano.it

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball is a great beach sport to play with friends and family, and generate some healthy competition. It is also a great sport to help you make new friends at the beach. The rules are quite straight forward, and if you have reasonable co-ordination and some upper arm strength you will make great shots across the Volleyball net. If you are a little more ambitious, you may be caught diving to make a shot or leaping to play defence.

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

If you are a more ambitious player, or just want to look great and support your assets whilst whipping up a storm, then Pepper Swimwear make superbly stylish and durable Beach Volleyball bikinis .

Pepper Swimwear Beach Volleyball Bikini

Pepper Swimwear Beach Volleyball Bikini

Other sports bikinis with adjustable straps are also available to provide enough chest support for all your althetic activities.

Beach Soccer

Beach Soccer is pretty universal. It tends to be popular amongst traditional Soccer fans, as well as beach enthusiasts. Playing on sand adds to the difficulty level, and care needs to be taken to avoid twisted ankles and injuries. This is particularly important with youngsters, you may even wish for ankle guards to be worn. Creativity and speed are key aspects to being a great Beach Soccer player.


Surfing is perhaps the most well known beach sport, and it can be very difficult and dangerous. From Australia to America and even parts of the UK, there are some superb surfing spots around the world. It is essential that you have the right equipment and some training before entering lively waters. Never surf in waters you don’t feel confident in, and ideally swim with a buddy for safety purposes.

surfing in Australia

Surfing in Noosa – photo credit Bernard Jean

Having the right gear doesn’t have to mean looking like a human penguin. You can wear rash guards with surf bikinis. And, there are some great designer pieces out there, like this stylish piece by Sueno Swimwear.

surf bikinis

Surf Bikinis from Sueno Swimwear

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is considered a more accessible version of surfing. Participants use large buoyant surf boards to stand on, and a long oar. The oar is used to navigate the waves. The buoyant boards will ride the smallest of waves for beginners, but can also tackle pretty big waves for the more adventurous types.

stand up paddle boarding

Stand up Paddle Boarding – credit to Bernard Jean

There are numerous other water sports to be enjoyed, including jet skiing, water polo, banana boats and water skiing. Each has a different level of difficulty and involvement, meaning there is something for everyone.

Many other sports can be played on the sand aswell. Including Beach Cricket, Frisbee, Beach Tennis and Baseball. Some are informal, and a great way to keep fit and spend time with loved ones. Others can be more competitive, but less intensive than more traditional beach sports, thus broadening their appeal.

Whether in the water or on the sand, competitive or for fun, there really is a beach sport for everyone.

CharmByIA – Turkish Jewellery Has Found a New Gem

Aysin from CharmByIA

Would you tell me a little about how you came to be designing and making jewellery?

We are doing this business together with my sister. After leaving our jobs that were totally different from making handmade jewellery, we decided to turn our hobby into a business. Previously we were just designing and making jewellery for ourselves and friends. We are still doing it for fun, but since it is now a business too, we consider the discipline necessary.

designers of turkish jewellery

Aysin and her sister from CharmByIA

Why did you choose the name CharmByIA?

My sister and I are designing and producing the jewellery, beach accessories and beach cover ups together. Therefore, we blended our names with our key product line to create the brand name. So, the IA is from the first letters of our names, Aysin & Isin.

When did you launch?

We have opened our first online shop in December 2013 on a US marketing website. And, we have launched our shop on Aquazy.com in October 2014.

What are your target markets?

Our target market is International shoppers of all ages. We have jewellery for kids, teens, men and women. A key part of our target market is people who like unique designer jewellery, and those who are interested in history and Anatolia.

Can you tell me a little about the philosophy behind your creations?

Whatever the object and gemstone used, the item should be esthetically pleasing and have a modern look in the end. We usually try to do simple pieces, so that people can wear it daily, and for any occasion.Using authentic ornaments that have meaning and a story is what we enjoy using. We buy our material from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

CharmByIA Handmade Jewellery

CharmByIA Handmade Jewellery Collection

Who or what inspired you to create this collection?

There is no specific person who inspired us. But authentic and historical items, like Ottoman Jewellery and Anatolian designs inspire us.

turkish jewellery

Anatolian and Ottoman Turkish Jewellery

Can you describe your collection using 3 words?

Unique, Simple and Sophisticated

What is your favourite piece of the collection?

It is hard to choose one since all of them are created with care and love. We love the bracelets and necklaces with Ottoman and Anatolian pendants which have an historical story.

Some jewellery designers like to make their jewellery in collections and tell a story. Do you take this approach when designing a collection?

The collections that we use Ottoman, Anatolian and Turkic designed items all have a story. We try to give information about them in our descriptions of the products. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world. It’s well known for its jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. The bazaar has been an important trading centre since 1461. Today, it is a gorgeous place for jewellery, gemstones, Ottoman and Anatolian ornaments. We source materials for our jewellery from the Grand Bazaar and each charm has a meaning and a story behind it.

Where would you like to see your business in the next 12 months? What is next for you?

We are constantly setting goals for increasing the number of sales, quality of our photos, and doing more investigations for materials to be used for future collections.
Next step can be launching our own website, but we do not have a plan for this in the next 12 months. Increasing our sales in our current shops is our main goal for this year.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

Online marketing is something different, I think the most important thing is to find your target market and define your niche market. Your photos should be stunning, and your descriptions should be very clear and descriptive.
Getting found in ‘browse’, is another important issue, so the titles and tags should be accurate and descriptive. There are a lot of information, blogs, and websites on internet about these, you should read all these and try to apply it to your business.

Are there any big WOW moments that you would like to share with us?

When we get a fabulous review from a customer we are so pleased and say WOW…

Where is your favourite beach and why?

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have the most beautiful turquoise waters and sandy beaches. My favourite is the Blue Lagoon in Fethiye which is located at the meeting point of the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas.
It is a secluded sandy bay, and the beach itself is a pebble beach which is an official Blue Flag Beach, frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travelers and tourism journals.

Blue Lagoon in Fethiye Turkey

Beautiful Beach in Blue Lagoon in Fethiye Turkey

Blue Lagoon in Fethiye view Turkey

Behind the trees in Blue Lagoon in Fethiye Turkey

Blue Lagoon in Fethiye - Turkey

View of Blue Lagoon in Fethiye – Turkey

What is your favourite personal quote?

My personal quote, especially for creativity is:
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

What is your favourite colour?

Black. But, we also like to use turquoise and coral in our jewellery.

Australian Romantic Beach Getaways for Valentine’s Day – Capturing Hearts and Creating Memories on

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Windswept stretches of sand, the perfume of a salt-scented breeze, and the melody of the surf combine to make the beach the perfect place to reconnect with loved ones – especially on Valentine’s Day. But if you want to give Cupid a little extra help this year, consider one of these gateways destination, and do not forget to pack in your suitcase a colourful beach dress, a nice piece of designer jewellery and a pair of comfortable flip flops.

Romantic Beach Getaways NSW

Australia has many romantic destinations to offer love birds of all ages. And, the coast lines of New South Wales are amongst some of the most captivating.

The Tweed region in New South Wales is one of the most romantic. It boasts some very long, quiet beaches; perfect for a romantic stroll. Watch the world go by and maybe a few Dolphins and Whales too. Possibly the ideal setting to propose to your soul mate. Head on down to one of the many licensed clubs for a celebration or to simply have fun with the one you love.
New South Wales is also home to the sensational Tweed River. Although not a traditional romantic break, hiring a houseboat to explore the river can be a cosy little getaway for two.
Jervis Bay is another gem of New South Wales, and is surrounded by some astounding natural beauty. Jervis National Park and Booderee National Park will captivate the imagination, and provide a superb backdrop for a romantic picnic or adventure. Maybe even let out a little bit of your wild side in the wilderness.

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay


Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay

Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay

Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay


View of Blenheim Beach in Jervis Bay

blenheim beach jervis bay view

View of Blenheim Beach in Jervis Bay

Romantic Beaches in QLD and SA

The beautifully tropical Palm Cove, Queensland is an ideal quiet romantic setting to escape with the one you love. Plenty of down time to frolic and soak up the settings and some romance. Forget your troubles underneath a palm and discover eachother; getting lost in time. A little bit of luxury against the backdrop of a Barrier Reef Island. What more could you ask for? Well, luxury spas and award winning restaurants maybe.
In Southern Australia lies Victor Harbor, where you can enjoy the perfect view of one of nature’s most romantic creatures-the penguin. With their pure hearts, they mate for the long haul and are utterly devoted to their beloved and their offspring. A beautiful example of romance and sensational scenery; a dream Australian getaway for any couple.
It is clear that Australia is a true destination for romance and New South Wales is a gem for couples getaways. Whether it’s romantic holidays or just a weekend break, couples are truly spoilt for choice.


Sydney Beaches – Our Top Five

Tamarama Beach

Sydney has some of the best beaches in Australia, and we have selected our top five. Each has their own special offerings, that make them desirable destinations, and attributes to Australia.


Tamarama Beach

View of Tamarama Beach

Tamarama beach Sydney is the most dangerous patrolled beach in New South Wales.
Popular with surfers due to intense waves. It has a small shoreline, and is not always safe for swimmers. But great for testing out your new surf bikini or boardshorts.
It has impressive cliffs and scenery, and can be ideal for bbqs and peaceful picnics. Tamarama tends not to be over popular with families due to the intense waters, so can prove to be a peaceful getaway or the perfect surfers hang out.


Maroubra Beach

Maroubra Beach, Source: www.surfspotsmap.com

Maroubra beach Sydney is the second Aussie beach to be named a national surfing reserve, and is also a great place for beginners to grasp the waves. There are local experts who can even provide help for novice surfers.
It is very popular with experienced surfers due to its consitently good waves, and large size.
It can be a great beach to hang out with friends, as its not as hectic as some of the more popular tourist beaches.
Families love Maroubra beach due to the rock pools, playgrounds and picnic areas.
If you are a fitness fanatic, you may enjoy the free outdoor gym equipment next to the beach.


Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach Sydney is one of the most iconic. It is a very popular tourist attraction, and has much to offer. The surf is very good, but so too are the eateries, shops and culture on offer.

It is very popular year round, and busy throughout the day, its certainly a place to get your new fashionable bikini noticed.
Bondi beach offers great costal walks and a great place to relax. There is ample beach space to engage in a few beach sports with family and friends too. Or, if you prefer, set up a game of Volleyball. The perfect time to try out a pepper beach volleyball bikini.
The open air cinema is a great way to catch some entertainment but still soak up the rays and beach atmosphere. With all it has to offer, no wonder Bondi is one of Australias most well known beaches.


Coogee Beach

View of Coogee Beach

Coogee beach Sydney has a great coastal path, and the walk from Bondi to Coogee is a popular scenic walk. You can relive the Art Deco era at The Ritz Theatre. And spend your time snorkling the clear waters at this marine reserve beach. If you are a little more ambitious, then delve deeper and explore with scuba gear. You never know what wonders you may find. The versitilty of Coogee beach means it will suit families and surfers alike. And with the marine reserve status and excellent coastal paths, there is something for adventurers and scenery seekers alike too.


manly beach

Manly Beach source: www.manlyaustralia.com.au

Manly beach Sydney is often considered a relaxed beach. But, don’t be fooled by this reputation, there is still plenty to do. There is the ferry ride around the harbour which allows you to stay dry whilst exploring the local delights. Peaceful sunbathing and paddling can easily be enjoyed at Manly beach. For those looking for a bit more excitement there are lots of water sports to enjoy. Manly beach is a brilliant place to learn Paddle Boarding or Kayaking. If you fancy some refreshments or a bite to eat, there are many great restaurants and bars along Manly Wharf.

Whichever beach you choose, you can be sure that Sydney offers up something special, and you will have memories to treasure for years to come.




Beach volleyball bikinis

Sports Bikinis

Moeloco flip flops collection

Moeloco flip flops




Why You Should Go To Sydney This Summer to Show Your Bikini Body

summer holidays
sydney holiday

Spending your holidays on Sydney beaches

Summer is approaching in Australia and temperatures are on the climb. Europe, however, is closing in on winter. Whether you are in Australia already or looking for a break from the coldness of winter, Sydney has loads to offer for a fantastic holiday! Continue reading

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Summer Holiday Time and Family Holidays – Soak Up Some Relaxation

Family holidays

A trip to Sicily for your family holidays

We all deserve a holiday, and when the time comes, we all want a place where we can escape the daily grind and relax. A summer holiday is always a welcome event. And, if you have a family, then enjoying family holidays together can create lasting memories. It is the people in life, not the things in life that are important. However, getting the appropriate swimwear,  clothing and accessories can boost the enjoyment of any holiday. Continue reading

Beach Holidays and Your Blissful Beach Essentials

Beach holidays

Beach holidays

There’s nothing worse than getting to your beach holidays destination and realising you have forgotten something crucial, especially when planning a fun-filled day at the beach. This is where your ‘Blissful Beach Essentials’ list comes in.  When embarking on your trip to the beach there are a few fundamentals that need to be taken into consideration.  When leaving for the beach, make sure to follow this list to make sure nothing is forgotten and enjoy that blissful day at the beach! The perfect outfit has to be the ultimate beach essential, with a stylist bikini that you feel comfortable in, being top of the list. You also need a nice cover up to go over the bikini for going to and from the beach in, as well as a comfortable pair of flip-flops. The kids also need their children’s swimwear and, possibly even a spare pair of clothes in case of any mishaps. Continue reading

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Top 10 Accessories for Your Beach Holiday

Beach Accessories

Beach accessories

My dad is a wise man, he always taught me that when flying abroad always make sure you’ve got your passport, ticket and money; that way you can get anywhere in the world. That being said, we all have a much longer list of what is ‘necessary’ for our holiday so what are you going pack for your beach holiday? Here’s our list for the top 10.

10. A good book – I love nothing more than to relax on the beach with a book. You have a lot of time to get your teeth into a big novel on holiday. Perhaps it’s time that book you got for Christmas stopped gathering dust on the shelf and came on an adventure with you.

9. Surf board – if you’re going to a surfing hotspot then having your board is vital, along with some sport swimwear that will withstand the ride! Continue reading

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Best Beach Holiday Destinations

Best beach holiday destinations

Best beach holiday destinations

About this time of year you may be just starting to knock the dust off your ugg boots and shake out the creases on last season’s jumpers. Maybe you’ve even dragged the heater out from underneath a pile of miscellaneous objects in the back of the cupboard where it got shoved with glee last September.

This is also the time of year where images of endless, sundrenched beaches might keep interrupting your thoughts and circling around in your brain. To help give you some ideas of beach holiday destinations, here is an edit of the best beaches that you want on your winter bucket list. Continue reading

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