Archive for the ‘Style’ Category

La Belle au bois dormant…

July 17, 2013

My inspiration for ‘once upon a time….” themed charity event this Spring – La Belle au bois dormant (“The beauty sleeping in the wood”) by Charles Perrault, 1697



Frock Swap

July 11, 2013

frock swap m

We will remember them…

April 25, 2013

I think of my grandfather who served in WW1 – I remember him as a child gazing upon an unfamiliar face, etched with the markings of time and tragedy and later as a woman through his memoirs which my Uncle published a few years back. He passed on when I was only young – leaving a small inheritance which helped through my university studies – I honour him and the legacy of freedom that he left me….


Today we celebrated Anzac Day in our new community of the South Burnett.


Then onto the races at Wondai!




“At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”

Good Friday

March 29, 2013

Hot cross buns, children scurrying about the garden hunting for brightly coloured chocolate treasures, family camping trips, luncheons and more…..yes it is Easter!


For many today marks the start of one of our favourite national holidays, the long awaited four day long weekend. With the heat of summer passed, it is the perfect opportunity for camping in the great outdoors and taking a well-earned break to spend time reconnecting with family and loved ones. For many it is also an opportunity for personal reflection and a beautiful time of spiritual refreshing.



It seems inherent in our humanity, the tendency to get disconnected, not only from others, but from ourselves and the values and truths we hold to that can sometimes be buried under the onslaught of life. How often is it though that the concerns we think so important are often no more than a clever marketing gimmick to draw our energy and focus away from the those things that really matter – love, kindness, peace, joy patience, loyalty  respect for self and others, quality time with loved ones, contribution & service, freedom from fear and through love and forgiveness, freedom from the heavy burden of broken relationship. These are elements of our humanity that connect us all. For those of us who are weary we can find restoration in the message of Easter, in the opportunity to give our burdens to one who is stronger than us, to a friend who is always waiting for our invitation to place his footprints next to ours on our journey through the sands of time.


À bientôt Cara Luncheon

March 28, 2013

The invitation read:

Please join me for luncheon, @ UrbanPantry from noon
Send me off in style, wear something to make me swoon


Maree looking fresh as a daisy in her 1940’s floral ensemble (check the hair do in the group photo below) – she looked sensational. Maree and met only recently at the Chamber Philharmonic Cologne @ St Paul’s. I spied this amazing looking woman emerging from Mehfil’s just before the concert with friends. She wearing a fabulous outfit and we struck up a conversation during the interval.



Megan channelling Jackie O here – I just love this outfit and those little accessories really make it! Megan and I met on a few occasions before becoming friends last year. It was however a moment as we crossed paths at the lights on the high street (corner of Ellenborough and Brisbane) when she really caught my eye. I thought to myself she looks sensational! Then she came into Cultiver a little later, we struck up a conversation and the rest, as they say is history! Ok you may be starting to think I am a style stalker….


This is my dear friend and colleague Figen who is setting the trend for girls in scarves and will no doubt soon launch an online fashion store to address this growing demand!

small table

Natalie what was Figen saying?


Monica sporting a fabulous new dress from Cue – the colour and style suit her so, so well! Mon has been a fabulous colleague to work with and has helped me on many occasions with her compassionate and professional insight.

big t 2

Everyone together – from left Maree (check the hair), Karen, Jan, Helene, Monica, Kerri , moi, Agnes (then back row) Figen, Natalie, Megan and Donna). Well nearly everyone, there were friend who wanted to join us that couldn’t make it and I know they’re thoughts were with us. We’re also missing Cassie who had just popped next door to Mortgage Choice to take care of some very exciting business. Not even out of their honeymoon year, Cassie still in law school and this young couple are already purchasing their first home. Cassie has been doing work experience with me and has been my right arm on Thursdays! An exceptional young woman always immaculately presented, she will do so well in all she puts her hand too.  It has been a true pleasure to mentor her.

Beautiful mother daughter team Wendy and Lisa, the wonderful proprietors of Urban Pantry in the high street, hosted our luncheon today. Since they set up camp in the the Top of Town, Urban Pantry has become my favourite spot for café with friends. Their personalised and heartfelt service is simply wonderful. If you haven’t dropped in, give yourself a treat and stop by for a piccolo!

Simply said, I was swooned off my feet…

A well tended life….

March 14, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with a friend for tea in our garden. It’s a magical little place and brings me such joy to share with others. Since the summer rains everything is fresh, green and brimming with life, I have all sorts of seedlings springing up, beans, tomatoes, herbs, flowers and more. The kookaburra’s have been making themselves right at home on my garden chairs, the perfect little perch from which to scan the garden for treats and all sorts of critters abound.


I listened to a Ted talk by an inspiring young man recently. At only eleven years he spoke with eloquence and with a certainty that I am sure not only captivated his adult audience but gave many pause to reflect and consider their own lives. Many of us might recall being asked the same question as a young person, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Even for myself at this moment with a lifestyle change in the wings, people ask me, “What will you do now?” I feel the same though as this young man, the question for me is not what I want to do rather it is what I want to be…..and my answer is no different to what is has been – I want to be happy, healthy and a live my life to the fullest.


In his frank discussion about life young Master referenced a concept known as therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC’s) that he was proactively incorporating into his own life to create health and happiness. Dr Roger Walsh who coined the phrase described eight areas or TLC’s that can lead to wonderful outcomes for anyone who would take the time to invest in them. Whilst the eight areas he mentioned are all concepts that I value and invest into on a weekly basis, I decided to research this concept further. TLC’s have been found to have fantastic affects on 100% of people, the vast majority of practitioners however, across disciplines, prefer to prescribe medication. About 10% were found to encourage patients to engage in TLC’s in order to improve their lives. Not co-incidently those who recommended TLC’s  also practiced TLC’s themselves!


So you are probably wondering what are these TLC’s? Well as Dr Walsh notes TLC’s are nothing new, they are just practices that have perhaps fallen by the wayside of a society in rapid pursuit of the perks of modernity. They include spiritual connection, exercise, nutrition & diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation & stress management and contribution & service. Not only are most of these fun, they are also mostly free! So why not make some time this weekend, perhaps you’ll brew a nice pot of green tea and sit in your garden and write an old fashioned letter to a friend.

vintage mail

Is there a yoga class you’ve been wanting to try? A friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, why not invite them for a healthy, home-made lunch with a big rainbow salad. Take your kids out for a bicycle ride and have a little picnic in the park! Perhaps you want to start a journal where you can begin to jot down your thoughts? Is there a meditation group you want to join, or a spiritual journey or community you want to reconnect with?


It’s simply a matter of slowing down, reconnecting with the wisdom of ages past and beginning to tend the garden of your life. I know what helps for me is being around others who are also gently tending a life well lived.  Like an established garden, a life of value takes time and energy to develop – one must sow the right seeds in order to reap the benefits but with time and the passing of the seasons, you will begin to enjoy the fruits of your labours and will discover the joy of making  a safe space where others can also come and find rest.


A day in the life of vintage treasure hunters

February 19, 2013

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

A friend mentioned recently that she had come across a vintage haunt in a posh suburb in Brisbane with fabulous finds. I looked up those in the area and found three. With a common love of vintage treasure hunting and being overdue for a proper catch-up, Megan and I decided to make an outing of it. Megan and I met twice, once over vintage bicycles and the next over vintage fashion. We then discovered so many other things we had in common and have become good friends.

We got off on time as planned (which was impressive for us both) but soon discovered navigation might be an issue (no GPS or UBD) but this was quickly remedied by a visit to a tech shop on the way.


Despite assistance from our new TomTom we somehow got onto the Clem tunnel and ended up on the other side of the city to where we were headed. Given we were in the area we decided to look for an op shop listed at Ascot. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it but stopped to pick up some peaches for morning tea. I then cleverly I missed my footing on some steps and tumbled elegantly down the stairs on platform heels on the way back to the car.

We decided to head back toward our destination posh suburb, another trip via Clem and parked down a side street. The street had limited signage so we stopped in at a realty and were given the wrong directions. Ah the perils of vintage treasure hunting in unfamiliar territory! After tramping up and down the high street of posh suburb with one small umbrella in pouring rain, both stumbling along on heels and me with sore knee from the tumble and a cut and grazed hand, we found one of the three listed right near street where we had parked. Books only!

We went back to the car and I was feeling quite forlorn. Megan suggested we try some haunts near the city on the way home as a plan b. I had been there before without a huge amount of luck and wasn’t really feeling up to any more walking in the rain. Poor Megan probably didn’t know what to do with this party pooper. As we drove on though she  just chatted away and the gentle presence of a good friend reminded me of why we were on an outing in the first place. I snapped out of my pity party and determined to have a great day no matter what – even if we didn’t find any good haunts, the most important thing was that we enjoyed a beautiful day together! Well we arrived at the plan b location and secured a park right near the spots we wanted to visit. Whilst the first two didn’t turn anything up, the third and final spot was a goldmine and both of us found some lovely pieces.

vintage treasures

Having satisfied our sartorial appetite it was then time for lunch and we enjoyed delicious vegan fare in West End before heading home. Our trip back was filled with the beautiful tunes of ABC classic FM, the rain softly falling and shared stories of treasured friends, places that we had been and those we still dream of.


The journey of success

February 11, 2013

True entrepreneurs are driven to serve as much as they are called to lead

– Jonathon Fields


I was most inspired by this quote recently. It made me think of a few awesome people I know and ponder that the level of success that they are currently achieving is a direct result of their genuine love of serving people. I did a little google search on Fields and found an article he wrote on the topic. We so often get things topsy turvy in life – as dream chasers we want the results, but sometimes do not realise the foundational principles which underpin success.

Adding value to the communities in which we live and contribute is the common feature of all great leaders, no matter what level they operate and with or without the label. Inspiring leaders are in fact always the greatest servants and this is why we follow them – they call out the best within themselves and in doing so they call forth the best from us. Respect and compassion for others and a commitment to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunity are the hallmarks of great leaders.

The path to success brings with it a great sense of accomplishment but it also adds great responsibility. Whilst this may give one pause, it is the person that we grow into as we pursue these dreams that can give us the greatest sense of personal achievement. For in conquering the mountains, we conquer our fears and insecurities…. indeed we conquer ourselves when we reach the summit and know deep within “I can do anything I put my hand to!” Keep striving for your goals, never give up, for in the journey there is great joy!


12 minutes per month to change your life

January 9, 2013


There was a very interesting documentary on SBS recently called “The Truth about Exercise”. The study tracked the progress of the participants over a month using scientific testing. It was based on research which now shows that  high intensity training for just three short, sharp cardio bursts of 20 seconds each three times per week can change the way your body metabolises fat and utilises blood sugar. HIIT gives the heart a nice intense rev up and there can be no more excuses about not having enough time! So consider incorporating HIIT into your fitness schedule this year. So who’s keen for a run?

A beautiful Christmas in the mountains

December 30, 2012


We have spent a wonderful few days over Christmas in the mountainous Granite Belt. Our family own the old boulangerie in the French inspired village of Amiens near Stanthorpe. The lovely little village was developed in the years following  WW1 after servicemen were resettled in the area. It one of my favourite places to visit where I can find rest and think of the gentle reprieve and solace our forefathers would have found in this  beautiful place. With minimal passing traffic one is enveloped in the serenity of lush alpine pasteurs dappled with granite, grazing donkey and doe eyed cows that gently wake you up in the morning as they slowly amble past the bedroom window. Crisp mountain air cools everything down and it is easy to loose track of time lazing under the willow in the garden, reading, writing or just enjoying a snooze. The milder temperatures also lend to abundant birdlife – parrots, rosella, cockatoos, magpies, cheeky little willy wagtails and finches that flitter about.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner party with our French hostess and new friend Claudine, a neighbour from up the road. A stroll to say hello to the goats before dinner led us through an orchard of figs, olives and plum trees covered in ripe, ruby red fruit – yum and it didn’t take much encouragement to get the bush poetry, Irish ballads and song flowing freely after dinner. Christmas and Boxing Days were full of family, music, laughter and all the festive trimmings. I could not think of a more enjoyable way to spend Christmas and find myself refreshed and ready for a new year.