Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspiration: A visual feast - the beautiful fusion of contemporary dance and fashion

I absolutely love the stunning flower form results of this collision of contemporary dance and fashion. Created by Fashion Film magicians Nick Knight of SHOWstudio and Tell No One, this fashion film was created for AnOther Magazine's SS11/12 issue.

It is almost as beautiful as watching real blooms unravel and reach for the sun!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do bling & ballet go together? Of course they do!

Over the last few months we've been busy creating the branding, print materials and web site for Starfire Jewellery by Shweta Agarwal. This weekend sees some of her stunning diamond creations being worn by the ballerinas of the Queensland Ballet at the Swan Lake Gala tomorrow night.

I'm looking forward to frocking up and enjoying an evening at the ballet... it is sure to be a visual feast with plenty of bling and graceful beauties!

Branding and website created by visure

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Change your behaviour & improve your life with a roll of some cleverly designed dice...

I am always looking for ways to be a better human being, spending valuable time reading lots of interesting books and trying to think of ways I can connect with those around me. Problem is, with so much to read/do/remember and so little time to do it all, I really do struggle sometimes.

For this reason I have added these very cool dice onto my 'wish list' from santa (A better list than the one suggested by 'GiveEmThis' featured in yesterday's post)... They are DiceForChange and are a beautifully simple and playful reminder to introduce new routines and actions into my life.

With the Eco, Kindness and Wellness Dice I'll be prompted to 'walk or cycle to work today', 'hug someone today', 'Think positive today' or best of all 'Slow down today'. There's the very tactile wooden variety or the apps versions you can buy via the itunes store.

The dice are designed by the very inspiring 'creation studio' Creative Heroes in the Netherlands and join a suite of other products including Drive - a game designed for young visually impaired gamers. Love your work Creative Heroes!

Image © Creative Heroes

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A useful(???) website to help your Christmas shopping this year?

This morning I came across a rather timely new website GiveEmThis which has had me both intrigued & feeling a little uncomfortable at the same time. The site promises to help me work out the perfect gifts for those closest to me with the simple click of a button. For anyone who's feeling time poor at the moment it does seem like the perfect solution doesn't it?

With GiveEmThis, all you have to do to create your gift shopping list is simply select a friend from your facebook list, hit a button and the website analyses said friend's every click, comment, 'like', and piece of personal information to create a list of 'right' suggestions.

I thought it rather important I experiment a little and so began my short stint at stalking...

First off, I was intrigued to see what the perfect gift would be for me - especially useful as I have no idea what I want from Santa this year! I'm sad to say that the 'right' suggestions in my opinion were really all 'wrong' and I'd probably be offended if anyone who really loves me gave me items from the list. And my favourite suggestion - Junket Rennet Tablets - ummmm?? I had to look these up and found they are tablets to make easily digested milk foods. Really makes me wonder what I've been searching and clicking on???

Not overly blown away by the suggestions for me, I thought I'd try my best friend to see if the website was any better at stalking her. At seeing the results I nearly fell off my chair with laughter. The top suggestion was a very lovely book on Celtic Tatting. If you know who my BFF is, you would know how far wrong this would be as a 'perfect' gift... but then again it makes me question - does she have a secret thing for Celtic Tatting and has been hiding it from me?!

You can see how this website can play with your mind!

So as we fast approach Christmas and hit the 1st of December tomorrow, may I suggest that rather than stalking people with the latest technological tools, perhaps simply ask your loved ones what they would like for Christmas? Better yet reflect on what you know about them and think of something creative.

Then again... maybe it's time to just accept that technology and the data know best and simply get those seemingly ridiculous gifts that your friends secretly desire!

Let the count down to Christmas begin...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pondering life + health on a friday...

I'm taking a little time to ponder on this rather warm friday afternoon - after all it is the 11/11/11 !

Generally life is brilliant. Though I have to admit the life/health/work balance is a little out... only emphasised by the persistent cold I've endured almost all week! So as I sit here on my very solid Aeron chair I see that there may be a very effectively designed alternative to merge the work+health aspects of my life... voila the Kickstand desk.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A very special tree house design - I want one!

I just saw this amazing mirror tree house on Treehugger and would so dearly love to be able to hide out in one! They are now available to make your own with TreeHotel handling the construction...   See the full story at Treehugger.

What a beautiful way to be a part of nature... now I just need a good spot for one!
Design by Tham & Videgard Architects. Photo by Peter Lundstrom, WDO.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An amazing result for the Kizuna Fundraising Exhibition!

Having just returned from a trip to the US, I was ecstatic to hear from Eba at Hanasho about the immense success of the fundraising exhibition I mentioned in my last post.

An amazing total of $10,579 was raised through the sale of the donated artworks, drinks at the artists event and through cash donations....

Eba and the team behind the event are truly inspiring!!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Art exhibition for kids effected by the Japan Earthquake

I'd like to let you know about the fabulous Kizuna Exhibition appearing at Hanasho, West End for this week only.

The exhibition has been organised by Eba - owner of Hanasho, to raise much needed funds for children effected by the horrendous earthquake in Japan earlier this year. 100% of the sales will go to Ashinaga. Ashinaga are constructing the Tohoku Rainbow House to provide emotional and educational support for orphans in the area.

There are some brilliant artworks which have been donated by more than 30 artists, including a typographic one from yours truly. 

It would be great if you get along to have a look and perhaps pick yourself up a beautiful new artwork that keeps on giving.

KIZUNA Fundraising Art Exhibition to Help Japan
1 - 6 August 2011
‘Artists Night’ Thu 4 August 6:00pm - 8:30pm
‘Kizuna mini Concert’ Sat 6 August 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Venue: Hanasho Flower & Art
235 Boundary Street West End - opposite West End Library
For more details, please see the KIZUNA website.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An evening with Dr Lois Frankel...

I shared an evening with a wonderful group of women at the launch of the new book Women on Top lastnight. A book about the life journeys of 13 successful business women revealing their biggest challenges and strategies to overcome them. 

I'm very proud of my long term mentor and 'second mum' Kerry Azar, who features as one of the authors alongside Dr Lois Frankel. For more than 12 years, Kerry has supported me and pushed me to try things I never thought possible. We all need people in our lives to help us reach our full potential. For me, to have been fortunate enough to have met Kerry fairly early on in my career, has been an incredible blessing. Through her business New Duende, Kerry is now coaching local and international leaders reach their full potential.

The theme for the evening was connections. The idea that success is all about nourishing relationships, always remaining positive and giving freely. 

As a branding specialist, to hear Dr Frankel express the importance of building your own brand, really resonated. Quite often I speak to my clients about the brand of 'them'. Not the company or product's brand, but rather the brand of 'I'. Dr Frankel's concept of success lies in building, refining, and selling your brand. 

If you haven't already thought about yourself as a brand, try spending some time reflecting on how you would like to be seen in the world... you might even have fun refining brand YOU!

For further inspiration ensure you add these two books to your library

Dr Lois Frankel & I with her new book

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Kili experience has been published in Latte Magazine..

I received my copy of Latte Magazine today and am so excited to have had my experience of Mt Kilimanjaro and fundraising for Kids Helpline profiled in a double page spread.

My fundraising buddy, fellow designer and climber extraordinaire, Synthia and I are both looking for the next charity challenge... in fact Synth has signed up to cycle through Cambodia to raise money to help create better lives for Girls in the Congo forced into Prostitution in Feb next year and I'll likely be doing something equally as exciting later in 2012... will keep you posted!

There are a few people who were edited out of the article and I'd like to make a special mention about them... Inspired Adventures who were amazing in their support of us as well as Ugees owner Charlton who so wonderfully allowed us to hang our artworks in his cafe at west end for weeks and continued to support us through donating his tips! There are so many people who supported us, I hope you know how much we love you!!!

For now, I hope you enjoy reading the article!
Read the article by clicking on the image...

Pedalling for delicious smoothies...

I absolutely love the concept behind The Smoothie Cycle... repurposed bicycles and blenders put together to create an energy efficient and fun blending experience! My Strawberry, apple mint and ice smoothie was divine! Perhaps my pedalling effort made it taste even better as I'd had to work for my treat?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Now part of a global community of creative thinkers for social good...

After hearing from its founders from international design firm IDEO at the recent ideas festival in Brisbane, I was inspired to join the community of change makers at openIDEO. 

openIDEO is a a place where thinkers from all walks of life can contribute ideas and solutions, thoughts and reflections on a range of issues or challenges.  I'm looking forward to being a part of this great community and learning from thinkers from all over the world.
Do you see yourself as a creative thinker? Whether you're from a design or business background, or something else altogether and simply want to check out what's happening out there, you can read more about openIDEO at the website:

A worldwide community with a common goal - to contribute ideas and create solutions for a range of global issues.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An incredibly awe-inspiring human being with a sense of humour!

Can you imagine what life would be like if you could no longer speak? I simply cannot comprehend it and yet film critic Roger Ebert handles his disability with grace and humour. Watching this really made me reflect on how fortunate I am to have the use of all of my senses.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Enabling employee excellence and inspiring innovation

Research shows that rewarding employees for tasks won't ensure great results... This interesting presentation challenges old thinking and shows how companies need to design new ways for their employees to excel. Can you see this way of thinking benefiting your business or venture?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's never too early to make a statement...

This little girl isn't afraid to think differently and to get her message out to as many people as possible. Imagine what she'll be doing as an adult if she has the tenacity and courage to do this at the age of seven!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Creating a deliciously healthy business...

This brilliant business idea shows you just how you can create a sustainable business which not only is profitable, it also helps people eat healthy while providing opportunities for disadvantaged people with job opportunities... Wouldn't it be great to have this here in Australia?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spotlight on an amazing human being: Aimee Mullins

I first came across TED at the Design in Daba 2005 conference in Cape Town when it's creator spoke about his website The great thing about this site is that it is filled with amazing people who are creating, questioning and pushing the boundaries.

A recently published talk by a Aimee Mullins is one I really wanted to share with you. She shows how she has embraced design to not only be a functional part of her life but also an outlet to create conversation to express her very unique self. Amy not only is a record breaking athlete, a model and activist, she's also one of the most joyous and inspiring people I've heard speak.

listen to her talk at

Photography by Nick Knight sourced from

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helping Japan

A few great examples of putting creative skills to good use... these artists and designers have put their hearts into raising money for Japan after the devastating earthquakes of recent times...

Artwork by Pomme Chan

Artwork by Rob Dobi

Friday, April 15, 2011

A pretty cool use of mobile phone technology

Have you ever considered how it would feel to be unable to smile? To not be able to express joy with the simplest facial expression? To essentially become an outcast in your community because of the way you look?

Back when I was in Grade 3 my best friend had a cleft lip which she had been lucky enough to have operated on when she was little. Her scars were her main concern, but to me she was just a pretty girl wanting to fit in with all of the other 'normal' kids.

Memories of my friend immediately came to me when I saw pictures of similarly effected Tanzanians while flying back from Africa to Australia last month. The big difference for people with this condition in Africa is that much of the time they are bullied, sometimes rejected by their parents or worse can die of malnutrition because they can't eat properly.

The inspiring thing to me was that these people, many of whom are young children, are being given a second chance at being part of the community through mobile phone technology. As you may or may not know, Africa has been using mobile technology to provide access to money in lieu of bank accounts since 2008. Essentially a text through money transfer technology can be shown to a wakala (street stall agent) to receive the cash. Perfect for a country like Tanzania that lacks accessible banking infrastructure for the majority of people (who typically earn less than a dollar a day).

And to see now how the design of such a simple system which utilises cheap, accessible mobiles to help patients with fistula (a devastating and isolating childbirth injury) and cleft lips and palates is nothing short of inspiring. An organisation called CCBRT is now using the Vodafone M-PESA technology to quickly transfer money to ambassadors who have identified a patient. This helps get the patient to Dar es Salaam to have an operation and their new life can begin.

Have a look at the CCBRT website to see what else they are up to...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kids with a bright future...

During my time in Tanzania, I was privileged enough to spend a few days at the School of St Jude, Arusha. This is a school which has been created literally from the ground up by a very inspiring Australian woman called Gemma Sisia. Her mantra - Fighting poverty through education.

Prior to our time at St Judes we saw many of the public schools in our travels through Moshi and smaller villages in the Kilimanjaro region. In these schools most classrooms have up to 100 kids trying to learn from a single teacher (if their teacher has actually decided to turn up that day). These government-run schools are poorly resourced and really quite depressing, evident in the fact that you often would see kids walking in the middle of day and out of school. Later I found out this is because they would have walked for possibly several hours to get there, not had anything to eat all day and so they would be on their long journey home perhaps to fetch some water for their family. Incomprehensible!

The contrast was immediate on our first steps inside the first campus of St Judes. The first thing that hits you are the immaculate grounds and facilities provided for the students (the school would easily compete with many of the top private colleges and schools in Australia). And then our first glimpse of the kids. I have never seen so many beautiful, happy faces. These kids absolutely love being here! And no wonder - it  is such an amazing school!

In a matter of only ten years, Gemma together with her many supporters, has built a school which has grown from three students, a single teacher and one building, to an impressive three campuses. These cater for lower primary, upper primary and high school with 1500 students, of which 1000 are boarders.

The kids we got to speak to, work with and play with, all have one thing in common - they come from the poorest families in Arusha and competed against more than 20,000 other children to be accepted into the school. Every single one of them is incredibly driven, intelligent and has a sparkle in their eye. These kids will be the leaders of Tanzania in years to come I'm sure.

The story of the school is incredibly inspiring... have a look at their website here to be truly blown away...

And the final highlight was getting to meet the little girl a small group of us sponsor. Irene wants to be a scientist, loves Giraffes and is very shy!

To see more photos of our St Jude's visit my travel blog...,_tanzania.html

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We came, we climbed, we conquered...

Wow, where do I start in trying to put into words the incredible experience we had on the mountain. I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly but what I experienced was so much harder emotionally, physically and mentally than I could ever have imagined. It was also the most incredibly rewarding and awe-inspiring thing I have ever done.

As we flew into kilimanjaro and saw the summit of the mountain level with our plane, to say I felt a mild twinge of panic would be an understatement!!! I had to ask those around me if they too were slightly FREAKING OUT???!!!

(the somewhat daunting view from the plane-in 5 days time we'd be attempting to be up on top of that thing!!!)

For four days we worked our way gradually closer toward Kibo which was to be our base camp. Camping was actually quite pleasant given we would arrive at camp to our tents all ready and hot water on the boil. Our entourage consisted of 54 porters (many of which we only saw at the beginning and end of the 8 days), 6 guides, 3 cooks and the 17 of us. These guides were to become our brothers or kaka in swahili and were absolutely amazing!

(Romley, our very open hearted kaka who took such care of us all)

The first two days were relatively easy (though poor synth was battling with a twisted ankle) and it wasn't until the third day that a few girls started to really feel the altitude starting to kick in.

(getting closer)

By day three one of the poor girls had thrown up 17 times (later this was determined to be an allergic reaction to her dioxin anti malaria medicine) and another two struggling with nausea. Luckily, throughout the trip I was able to avoid any nausea and only had the sniffles and some breathlessness. I'd like to think that my acupressure wristbands helped me avoid the nausea (lorraine I have you to thank for getting me onto those super things) and perhaps also that I was the only one not taking diamox also had something to do with it.

On day four we had a rest day at Mawenzi Tarn, a rather beautiful campsite near a green lake which is at the base of Mt Mawenzi (which happened to be our water supply). I'm so grateful we had this day as it really helped us all prepare for the summit attempt. We climbed Mawenzi on the morning of our rest day and got to 4500 metres. Our guides were really happy with us as they said people who make that point usually have about a 95% chance of making it to the summit. Even more exciting for me was that I got to see and touch snow for the first time!!!

(Synth & I before our practice up Mawenzi where we got to the snow line)

Next stop-base camp. This walk proved to be really challenging. Partly due to the fact that the landscape turns completely moon-like with nothing but grey dust for as far as the eye can see. It felt like we just kept walking and walking and walking. We passed a plane crash site which was sad-5 people had died in the crash two years ago. Once at Kibo we learnt the best news ever-we had been upgraded to the huts rather than having to be in the tents. With the raging winds and freezing cold we were all very grateful to be able to dress standing up and to prepare for our big ascent. We had an early dinner and tried to get some sleep as our departure time was due for 11.30pm.

After having woken up with a raging headache and trying to eat something (I'd lost my appetite two days ago), we rugged up and set off. Within the first half hour I mentioned I had a headache to our lead guide, Honest, and could I have some aspirin... the next thing I knew I had my pack ripped off me and they stripped some of my ten layers off me saying I was over heating. I was also assigned a guide who was then by my side the whole way.

It took us 7 hours to get to the first point which is Gillmans Point. How I got there is really hard to say-the time is a blur and I really just kept going by repeating my mantra over and over, breathing deeply and taking one step at a time. I found myself drifting in and out and finding myself trying to sleep walk. Every time I'd get into a rhythm my eyes would close and next thing I'd have my guide's face in mine saying 'no sleepy sleepy' with a gentle slap of the face:) He would continually encourage me, gently push me from behind, force feed me water-whatever it took to keep me going. He was an absolute legend! When we got to the first peak, the pure relief made I think almost all of us break into tears. And it wasn't over yet!

(sunrise over Mawenzi and Kenyan plains)

After watching a stunning sunrise and a twenty minute rest, we started off again for the summit. To be walking on the crater rim through snow, ice and screet was an adventure in itself. After 2hrs we had made it... What a feeling... We really were on top of the world.

(Synth and I feeling very relieved at Uhuru peak)

Once up there, the desire to sleep hit hard. I tried sneaking in a snooze once we got back to Gillmans Pt but my guide wouldn't have a bar of it. After only 15 mins of rest we were told to descend. This was even more challenging and something I really didn't expect. We virtually had to ski down the screet for approximately a kilometre. Half way down my knees gave out. From there it was de ja vu from our last day at Milford Sound two years ago (Troy I was thinking of you and laughing to myself in between the tears from the pain) The rest of my descent I had to lean on two guides and go down straight legged-not fun!!!!!

The other shock to follow was that we couldn't stay at the camp and had to eat, pack and set off for a 5hr hike. Enough to make you weep!!! Finally when we made it to Horombo camp (and again we were super lucky to get upgraded to huts) we were finally able to absorb what we had all achieved.

16 of us had made it to the top. Some had made it even though they were absolute zombies and barely conscious. To see how my team mates made it against all odds makes me so proud to have been part of our group. The team spirit and support through the whole trip really made it something I will never forget.

To finish off my kill experience I had an ambulance ride for the last section of the walk. My knees were so bad in the end that I think the guides figured I'd take 4hrs rather than 2 and suggested I make use of the emergency evacuation fees I'd paid in my fees... I gladly accepted:)

And then it was over... 8 days without a shower, going from 28 degrees to minus 16 and back again, all finished off with the best dance of my life to our porters and guides Mt Kilimanjaro song.

Mt Kilimanjaro conquered!!!

(Romley leading our rather large team in the Kilimajaro song)

I will post all photos to my travel blog and will add the link shortly... Keep an eye out for it...

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The day has arrived...

I am writing this as we await our departure from the Hotel Nakuru in a small village in Tanzania 3 hrs drive from the Kili starting point. To say I have butterflies is an under statement and after seeing the mountain on our flight into Kilimanjaro and just how HUGE it is, the whole team are feeling anxious, excited and so looking forward to starting our journey.

The trip so far has been amazing. After a very long trip here (36 hours of traveling, 3 planes, several hours at airports, a two hour long (tedious) checkin process in Bangkok and 3 girls' bags not arriving until 10pm lastnight) we're all fully rested and doing the last of our packing.

Yesterday a local villager took 5 of us around the village and we enjoyed all of the beautiful smiling kids who followed us and played hide and seek with our cameras. The people here are full of joy and have wonderfully open hearts. Looking forward to the 3hr drive we are about to start as the street life is very colourful and sites quite amazing.

I am loving being home in East Africa and just can't wait to be underway.

Will post upon our return... crossing fingers and saying lots of prayers for us all to have a safe climb:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Inspired Adventure Blog - The Kili Climb

You can also view the blog which will be updated by the team supporting us during our climb at:

The lead up...

Well with less than two days to take off, it's been a busy time with my trip to Hawaii last week and some final preparations!

The packing has begun and a final visit to the K2 tomorrow will see the last of the equipment purchases (its incredible how much gear we need for the extreme temperatures which may range from anywhere between 29degrees at the rainforest floor to -24degrees on summit day at 5840 metres).

The trip will see us climb for 5 days to reach the summit, then descend for less than two before heading back into Arusha. Once we have had a day to recover we will then spend a few days with the kids and teachers at the School of St. Jude. As Synthia, her sister, friend and myself are sponsoring a little girls school fees and her teachers wages we will get to sound some time with her. Her name is Irene and her family are one of the many impoverished families in arusha. We will get to see where she lives and meet her family which will be amazing.

Once we have helped out at the school, we will enjoy a 5 day safari into the Serengeti and ngorogoro crater before heading to Zanzibar for some final r&r. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my photos with you...

And what this trip is all about:
As many of you know, the charity we have been raising money for is kids helpline who provide phone and online support for kids all over Australia. They answer many thousands of calls a day and will be able to train more counsellors with the money we've raised.

We received word from kids helpline this week saying that our group has raised more than $89,000 for kids helpline... It's been a long few months of hard work by all and it really is worth it.

Well that's it for this post... Next tine I'll be saying jambo!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad