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Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

By Renae Failla

He’s a Computer Science University Student, specialising in Artificial Intelligence, a Real Time Analyst, an avid reader, game player, ‘The Beast’ in the final year of his high school’s theatre play of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and he is also my brother – Josh.

But more importantly and less talked about, he’s also a Dungeon Master in the game Dungeons and Dragons. 

 

Now from an outsider perspective looking in Josh recognises that to many “…all we are really doing is rolling dice and talking with funny accents,” but it is much more than that, it’s about creating a dialogue. 

 

As we sat at the family dinner table, Josh provided me with some insight about the game and all the effort that goes into being the ‘Dungeon Master’ – with Mum interjecting, reminding us that “Sometimes people prefer doing that than studying.” Our discussion, in an immensely condensed version, went a little like the below. 

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

It’s important to note my legend of Technical Terminology if your knowledge of the game stems from the little snippets that are shown in Stranger Things (referenced in the YouTube video above) – much like myself.

 

Technical Terminology:

Party – the group of people playing the game

DND – Dungeons and Dragons

DM – The Dungeon Master

Twitch – A streaming platform for gamers

Skeletal Dragon – a dragon who was killed and brought back to life

Paladin – The paladin is one of the character classes in most editions of the game

Wizards Of The Coast – Creators of the game

 

Why do you believe there has been a resurgence in the game and what do you attribute this to?

 

The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons (DND) has been largely due to the increased media exposure that the game has had over the years. Since it’s advent in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, the game has been featured in shows such as Freaks and Geeks, Community and more recently Stranger Things.

Each of these brings new eyes on the beloved game. Wizards Of The Coast, the current manufacturers of the game, have also reached out to the creators of these shows and manufactured modules (short playable stories) that work within their created worlds. 

 

Prominent members of pop culture have also come forth and publicly announced their love of the game, notable figures here include Joe Manganiello, Stephen Colbert and Vin Diesel. Compounding this was the creation of streamed DND in the form of visual streams on Twitch and YouTube as well as in purely podcast form.

This phenomenon was started by a group of nerdy-ass voice actors calling themselves Critical Role.

Comprised of 9 actors all recognisable from video game and anime series, the Dungeon Master (DM) Matt Mercer, is well known for voicing the character McCree in the Overwatch series. Since Critical Role these types of shows have been cropping up more and more, all fueling this resurgence.

 

What is Dungeons and Dragons? Can you tell us a simplified version of how the game works?

A simple version would be, the DM thinks of a story they would like to tell, this could be a pre-written official module from Wizards of the Coast, the likes of which include the Curse of Strahd, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Storm King’s thunder or the DM could think of a story all on their own, with their own cities and characters. Once the story is decided, the group will get together and create characters. The Player’s Handbook explains the bounds in which characters can be created (races, classes and backgrounds). The characters will then play through the story, this could take weeks or in many cases span years of regular meetings to complete the story.

Give us an example of a scenario/event that has happened in one of your games?

There have been many moments over the years that have been notable, I think one that stands out was when I was playing a Dragonborn Paladin (Zylas) and the party was fighting a skeletal dragon. The dragon had an ability that causes those looking at it to become so frightened that they cannot move closer to it or look at it for too long. This means that much of the party was unable to effectively attack it. Zylas was not affected by this because as a paladin he could not be affected. He maintained the attention of the dragon and with the power of his god infused in his strikes to deal more damage he was able run up the back of the dragon and crush it to the ground nearly dying from the amount of damage that he took throughout the battle, he fell unconscious and was saved by his party’s artificer Cassandra.

Who invented the game?

Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, it was first published by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and was originally 3 pamphlets, the combat was based on an older game from 1971 “Chainmail”. The game was revamped in 1989 with 2nd edition DND known as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Then Wizards Of The Coast (WoTC) bought TSR in 1997 and since then a few editions of the game have come out with the current edition (fifth edition) releasing in 2014.

What is the underground appeal and why did it become popular? What do you love most about the game?

I think the fact that the game is so free form with the DM being able to think up any scenario for the players, keeps the game fresh for existing players and intriguing for new players. The story can involve the party brawling with some ne’er-do-wells in a bar to doing the bidding of omnipotent gods. Also being able to attempt absolutely any action in any scenario makes the game diverse and branching. For example, if I was fighting a bear in a cave I could try to collapse the cave to get away, fight the bear head on or even try to tame the bear. These all might have varying levels of success and none of them can really be considered the “correct” option but all of them are viable.

If I wanted to start playing now how would I do this? Where can I find the rulebook and a party to play with?

 

There are a few ways you can try to find a party, there are online Facebook communities that are always starting new games both in person and online. Another method is to look on the Roll20 site who facilitate both playing and looking for groups. You could in theory play with someone from the other side of the world. If you aren’t able to find a group through one of these methods you could also get together a few friends and DM a game yourself, see how it feels, there is a free module that has been published by Wizards Of The Coast called Lost Mines of Phandelver. I’d recommend reading and running that module for a group and you will find your groove. 

 

There are many free resources that are available to new and existing players such as DND Beyond which is a site (by Wizards of the Coast) that allows a user to make a character using any of the standard races and classes with purchasable expansions should that be desired. Otherwise you could purchase the core books Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide and Monster Manual at Zing or any of your local gaming shops. If you are hard pressed to find them, they can be ordered online but if you can support your local shop then definitely start there.

 

To join the Dungeons and Dragons movement and to become a Dungeon Master like Josh, you can source your own party and use the Lost Mines of Phandelver as a starting point.

 

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From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

By Cassidy Krygger

It wouldn’t come as a  surprise to you when I tell you that 2020 has been one of the craziest years in recent memory. 

But on the brighter side, this year has given us more than a Global Pandemic. It has gifted us the time to explore our more creative side in isolation. From baking sourdough bread to crocheting baby blankets and even making fabric face masks, people seem to be crafting now more than we have ever seen in the 21st century. Our hidden talents that have been buried under the weight of the modern world have been discovered in our solitude. And the benefits of it are plenty. 

Crafting and finding ways to be creative is one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to relax. 

From counting stitches, mixing colours and following patterns, our minds can quickly stop racing and start concentrating. The repetitive process of crafts such as knitting and crochet has been likened to relaxation techniques such as meditation. According to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill when over 3,000 knitters were surveyed online, more than half responded that they feel ‘very happy’ after knitting and many of those that did it more often report a higher cognitive functioning. And crafting isn’t just good for your mental health, it can also benefit your bank balance as well.

Millions of people have lost their jobs throughout the world during the COVID-19 crisis, and many creatives are finding ways to put their hidden talents to good use. 

Traditional physical markets may be closed for the foreseeable future but online shops such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Etsy have become the perfect place to sell. And online business is booming. According to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, Etsy sales grew by 100% in April 2020 and sellers from around the world sold over 12 million handmade face masks with sales from the masks alone totalling over USD $133 million. 

Etsy is  a female-dominated world with 86% of sellers on Etsy are women. Silverman told marketplace.org that on Etsy “One woman with a sewing machine from her home can create a global empire.”

So with millions of people around the world feeling the mental and monetary benefits of becoming professional crafters, will this trend continue once the pandemic ends? 

Or will the lure of modern busy-ness overtake us yet again? Only time will tell, but I for one hope it continues. Power to the woman who can take her imagination and turn it into an empire. 

References: 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4276/030802213×13603244419077

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

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The Ghost Lights of Australian Nights

The Ghost Lights of Australian Nights

Written by Montanna Macdonald 

Paranormal Investigator Craig Powell recalls the time he witnessed a Min Min light in the dead of night. 

“There is the old wives tale, hundreds of years ago, you know you don’t follow the Min Min lights, or you will get lost. But you wanted to, everything in your body was telling you to follow it, go towards it, see what it is.”

You may have heard of the spooky Australian folklore about the Min Min lights around the campfire, in Aussie shows like McLeods Daughters, Slim Dusty songs, or maybe you have witnessed this hair raising phenomena yourself. With hundreds of sightings around Australia for thousands of years, perhaps these lights are not a myth? 

 

Often reports of Min Min sightings are in outback regions of Australia at night. 

Witnesses report a silent circular fuzzy light, quarter the size of a full moon that dances in the dark sky. They claim these balls of glowing light can appear in colours of white, yellow, red, green and even blue, with an edge that looks like a swarm of insects. 

The erratic nature of a Min Min light is what often frightens those who spot one. Known to suddenly divide into two lights and appear like headlights in the distance, then frantically looking to move closer, further, up down and around the horizon. Some claim that Min Min lights have followed their movements as they drive, then disappear. And, as the old folktale goes, those who follow the Min Min light often never return. 

This mystery has been around for thousands of years, Australia’s First Nations people say these lights have appeared more frequently since settlement. 

It is unclear when sightings began, and due to the oral traditions of these indigenous stories pre-settlement, there is not a substantial amount of written evidence of sightings and indigenous names for these lights. Aboriginal studies researchers such as Larrakia man and Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, Dr Roman, have found consistencies in light descriptions among Indigenous communities. For example, the lights being like snakes, which could be connected to the Indigenous belief of the rainbow serpent, and that they have a ‘guardian role’ on sacred sites. 

The name Min Min was adopted in 1918, named after the small Min Min settlement and Hotel in between the two Northern Queensland towns Boulia and Winton. The story goes that a stockman was riding his horse down the Kennedy development road past the now burnt down Min Min Hotel when suddenly a light appeared above the graveyard that was behind the premises. Boulia is now a major tourist hotspot for Min Min sightings.

photo credit Boulia Shire Council

These lights are not just in Boulia; there are sightings predominantly on fine winter nights among the Channel Country of South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and in the Kimberleys in Western Australia.

The lights have been spotted all year round, including above seashores. Not only in Australia, but similar mysterious lights have been seen in Saudi Arabia, called Abu fanoos. Similarly, global folklore lights exist, such as ghost lights, ignis fatuus, the Celtic will o’ the-wisp, Mexico’s brujas, South America’s luz mala, phantom lights and fairy lights. 

Paranormal Investigator Craig Powell shared with Ponderings his own Min Min light experience when on a field research trip in the notorious NSW Pilliga Forest.

This is what Craig had to say:

“This light appeared, but the light started pulsating, and it would get really bright, and it got really dim, and then it would start dancing around through the bush. At one stage the one light broke into two lights. They would change colours from like a bright white to an orange type colour. It would look like it would come down the gorge towards us, and then it would look like it was heading back away from us.

So we sat there, and we watched these two lights dancing around the forest. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen.

If we go out on a night hike, we travel that route during the daytime hours, so we get our bearings, and know exactly what points we want to stop.

You take yourself back to the daytime where we were sitting, and you think well what’s down there? And it was like a big cliff so these lights would’ve been coming up halfway up on a cliff.

You think about it; there is no way a possible person could get to that position, especially at night time, it was really odd. The light seemed to disappear at one point, and then we just continued on our way back to camp.” 

Now it wouldn’t be a mystery without a few hypotheses. 

What is a Min Min light? Can it be debunked with a scientific explanation, or is this phenomenon a conspiracy of the unexplainable?

In different Aboriginal legends, the Min Min lights are elders protecting the country. First Nations people in the Channel Country don’t regard the Min Min lights positively, but also not harmfully. 

Conspiracy theories for the Min Min lights also include you guessed it…aliens, UFOs and ghosts. However, polymath and neuroscientist Professor John Pettigrew has several hypotheses. 

Bioluminescence from birds, insects and fungi is a possible theory. 

Still, no one has ever caught or observed these proposed organisms maintaining the intense illumination and circular shape of a Min Min light. Another is burning marsh gas, which is a well-known phenomenon causing what is called the will o’ wisp, but this natural occurrence lacks the shape, height and brilliance of Min Mins. 

The most probable theory is the Min Min lights is a refraction phenomenon, otherwise called an inverted Fata Morgana; a mirage. A Fata Morgana is where light in the day can be reflected from a hot ground layer of air, like when you see the sky reflecting on a hot road when driving. 

Similarly, an inverted Fata Morgana mirage is where at night, a temperature inversion can occur, where a cold ground layer of air can refract light due to a gradient increase in refractive index, meaning the light can appear above the horizon. It can travel over the horizon for hundreds of kilometres with possible magnification, reduced dispersion and dissipation. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Natural atmospheric light and human-made lights like headlights can cause phenomena. 

Pettigrew in 1992 made his own Min Min light. On a cold calm night, he drove his car 10km North of his camp where it is not viewable from the campsite. As the headlights were on, campsite observers confirmed via radio the headlights were causing phenomena with the characteristics of a Min Min light. When the headlights were off, the light also vanished. 

A Fata Morgana mirage is also common overseas, where sea cliffs in Ireland can be seen clearly in the middle of the North Atlantic sea, even though they are hundreds of kilometres away from their location. 

Documentary filmmaker Don Meers created the critically acclaimed AustrAlien Skies series, with the third 2019 film dedicated to the “Search For The Min Min.” This documentary is a must-watch, exploring the varying theories with balanced scepticism and in-depth research. Don also appears to catch the Min Min phenomena on camera. 

When Ponderings asked Don about how it felt to finally catch a Min Min light, he said:

 

“We were on location for many days, staying up through the night, camera-ready, resting and filming through the day. So you can imagine it was quite exhausting. By the time we actually saw the light, it was like a rocket taking off. It’s an instant hit of adrenaline after many nights of nothing. Your brain just goes into overdrive.” 

 

Don believes the majority of sightings are explainable, being misidentified causes like distant headlights or mirages. Still, he also explains:

“Temperature inversions need specific climate conditions to manifest. One main factor is that they can usually only happen in winter and surrounding cooler months, and because of climate change, scientists are noticing a significant drop-off. So I think that they can explain a lot but not all and that more research is needed. I think there are a lot of plausible explanations for Min Min lights, but there is still an outlying percentage that is unexplained as yet.”

 

You can watch the series across the major streaming platforms including iTunes, Google, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more. 

 

The Min Min lights remain one of Australia’s biggest mysteries, and whether you are the sceptic, the witness, or the mystically minded, remember, if you ever find yourself in the Australian wilderness in the dark, you won’t find the lights, they find you. 

Some extras: Want to listen to the Slim Dusty Song? Click here

 

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To Be Human Is To Be Musical- We Ponder With Allison Davies

To Be Human Is To Be Musical- We Ponder With Allison Davies

words by Kate O’Donnell 

 

This month we pondered with the wonderful Allison Davies. 

 

Safe to say this interview left the heart full and the mind is buzzing with new information and some life-changing insights.

 

Allison Davies has this extraordinary ability to draw on her extensive knowledge of music, the brain and all of its mechanics, and present insights in such a way, that even the really big revelations of brains and behaviour is easy to digest and becomes common sense!

 

Professionally, Alli is known by many as a registered music therapist, her work with understanding brains and behaviours, neurodiversity, inclusion and her creation of the Brain Care Cafe. 

Growing up listening to Blues albums and Rock and Roll, Alli’s first words were out of a Fats Domino song. 

 

Music has always impacted her life, but it wasn’t until she was a neurologic music therapist that she truly understood the relationship between music and the brain.

 

It turns out, the information our brain gets from music, and the stimulation is far greater than you probably imagined. Relaxation music is not what you thought, and fast-paced music blaring on your road trip could encourage a lead foot and speedy driving—not joking! The mind boggles.

Allison davies Ponderings magazine
photo credit: ponderings magazine

So what is the essential aspect people NEED to understand about music and helping the brain?

 

According to Allison, it is critical to reclaim our musicality and to understand that to be human is to be musical. 

 

“Our brain is a musical organ.

We are all musical.

We are all driven by rhythm. 

All experience melody.

We all have voice and vibration.

 

We need to understand this. To feel and believe that we can use music in our homes, in our classrooms, and by ourselves strategically and therapeutically and in ways that will help us and support us.

 

Too often, we are led to believe that we aren’t musical. When it comes to music, there is no right or wrong. You can’t sing out of tune unless you’re singing someone else’s song. YES! Shower closet rock singers unite! There is hope for us all!”

ponderings image guitar shot
photo credit: ponderings magazine

Now more than ever, anxiety is peaking, mental health, exhaustion, and dysregulation is on the rise in epic proportions. The struggle is real. 

Why?

 

“Our brains were not designed for a fast-paced, expectation dense, highly structured, modern, Western, rushed world. No humans, no brains have had this kind of environment in the last 100 years.”

 

Alli’s expert advice: We need to pull back. If we use ISO and the current COVID situation as an example.- although it’s been a stressful and angsty time, with a lot of survival mode for a lot of people, simultaneously- our brain has had a break. We’ve been rendered choiceless and forced to pull back. Pulling back from information, back from sensory overload, back from too much socialising- this is the stuff our brain health depends on.

Allison davies Ponderings magazine
JAX Tyres for Ponderings
There are a lot of things we could be doing more of for our brain to function at it’s best. 

 

Allison very successfully runs the Brain Care Cafe. More than a membership, the cafe is a library of brain care strategies and a community committed to making progress on their own brain care.

 

Allison defines brain care as “more of what helps the brain run and less of what shuts it down.”

 

In our daily lives, there are a lot of things we could be doing more of for our brain to function at its best. The Brain Care Cafe focuses on 12 pillar specifics that are really important for our brain. Each week Alli delivers a brain care strategy. There is an activity that will help the brain to regulate and function at its full potential. This Cafe is a library of brain care strategies. These are mostly musical based and all things we can be doing in our daily life, everyday anxiety management. 

 

photo credit: ponderings magazine
But it’s not just music therapy and a string of other titles and boxes that Allison fits into. Connection is key. From her picturesque sanctuary in Tasmania, Alli shares her thoughts and processes regularly on Instagram and Facebook. The landscape is intoxicating. Nestled amongst 40mt high gumtrees, you will find her bush bath. Complete with flowers, platter and a cheeky glass of wine this is the bath Mother’s Day dreams are made of! (swoon). When Ali shares a post, it feels like you are listening to a friend- and creates this beautiful space where you find yourself asking similar questions and parallel pondering!

It was no surprise when we asked our Ponderings question Treehouse or Cubby House that Alli chose Treehouse. Hands down.

https://www.instagram.com/allisondavies.com.au/
https://www.allisondavies.com.au/instagram/

Instagram Ponderings leaderboard

Tasmania – #thebarn TAS

 

Quirk factor: an award-winning converted barn

Just minutes away from cultural and culinary attractions in the CBD, you will feel like you are spending a night on a luxury farm. The young super hosts that own the property are also the architects behind the renovation with 1820s sandstone detailing kept intact.

With all the essentials and basic necessities for cooking, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of the home.

Marie stayed pre-COVID-19 in March 2020 and commented on the personal nature of the space as well as the extra special finishing touches

“Beautiful property tucked away in the middle of the city. Set up to feel like our own personal, special space straight away, a bottle of champagne on arrival!”

#thebarn has received 463 reviews and a 4.91 rating.

So there is a clear common theme within our collection! We hope you and your so enjoy our list of the quirkiest and most likely the most unique Airbnb stays around Australia and would love to hear if you get to try any for yourself. Leave a reply below.

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What Do Peter Hitchener, Chrissie Swan and Debra Hutton Have in Common? They give a sock!

What Do Peter Hitchener, Chrissie Swan and Debra Hutton Have in Common? They give a sock!

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

The recent COVID19 outbreak has had a devastating impact on those who are vulnerable in our community, and an Aussie family business is meeting the challenge with generosity so powerful it will blow your socks off. 

The business is Underworks, and the name of the game is undies and socks. However the crisis facing our homeless is no joke, and with organisations like Foodbank and The Salvos getting on board to assist with distribution, hopes are high that the public will get on board using social media joviality to spur donations. 

Dave McNamara, the CEO of Foodbank Victoria, recently assisted with food distributions to the COVID impacted towers in Melbourne, Victoria. McNamara says;

Since the COVID-19 crisis began the demand placed upon the hundreds of charities we support every day has been unprecedented. In the last couple of months, the number of people seeking assistance is up 78% – many of them have never had to ask for help before. We’re preparing for the chilly times ahead, knowing that anyone can make it through winter with a full belly and warm feet. Thanks to #IGiveASock we’ll make sure no one gets left in the cold.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

So what do the celebs have to say?

Well, when we read the list, it was no surprise, many of these inspiring humans are committed continuously to rolling up their positive impact sleeves.

Peter Hitchener OAM– adored news presenter and journalist

I hope you will join me in posting sock pics to your social media, with the hashtag #igiveasock and tag @underworksaustralia and @foodbankvictoria. Then Underworks will donate an item of essential clothing on your behalf. Let’s do our bit to support this fantastic initiative!

Chrissie Swan– bubbly and beloved television and radio presenter

It’s time to sock it up! @underworksaustralia @foodbankaus and @salvosau have banded together to make sure a pair of socks gets onto the feet of a person experiencing homelessness for every #igiveasock tag they count on Instagram. Just take a pic of your socks and make sure to use the hashtag #igiveasock – 20,000 hashtags = 20,000 pairs of socks to those in need. Let’s do this!

Debrah Hutton – magazine editor and esteemed media personality

People needing assistance from @foodbankaus is up 78%. What a tragic stat. Until July 31st for every silly sock n’ thongs post/story tagging #igiveasock @underworksaustralia will donate an essential item of clothing to @foodbankvictoria. It’s cold; its winter, let’s lift and help those in need.

#igiveasock Don’t you?

Anyone care to join me?

Sarah Tiong, lawyer, recipe architect, chef and finalist from Masterchef Australia

In recent months the number of people seeking assistance from Foodbank is up 78% – many of which have never had to ask for help before. Until July 31st for every silly sock post/story tagging #igiveasock @underworksaustralia an item of essential clothing will be donated to @foodbankvictoria to distribute to those who need it most. Let’s help them.

Mishel Karen, teacher, media personality and MAFS star

Australia has just over 116,000 homeless people, with one-fifth of them being youth. Can you help me raise awareness until July 31st?

Plug your socks and thongs – or whatever vibe you’re wearing on your feet, and a pair of socks will be donated to someone who Homeless is in Australia. I want to help make a difference for vulnerable people. We can all do our bit to help. I’ve experienced how lifechanging a helping hand can be for people in need.

Ty Frost, Smooth FMs morning announcer and master of chill

I’m lucky to be in a warm studio playing feel-good tunes with my comfy socks and a mirror ball. I’m happy to be supporting Underworks who are on a mission to raise awareness for the need for critical personal items amongst the homeless and those sleeping rough in our community.

Here’s how you can help Ponderers! 

Post a silly sock pic on your social media account using the #igiveasock and tag @underworksaustralia and you’ll be

donating a pair of socks to an Aussie in need. It’s that simple!

Jump over here for more details: https://igiveasock.com.au

 

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Australian Goodness From Inverleigh to Byron

Australian Goodness From Inverleigh to Byron

So just what is the Ponderings Happiness Tested Shopping Guide? 

To pass the Happiness Test, our recommended products must pass some stringent testing. It must spark joy, be ethical and also if it is Australian Made – it gets a big tick. We buy the products (we are not paid or given anything – a firm rule.) True endorsement, no strings attached. If it doesn’t tick those boxes, it doesn’t get featured. 

We like to know the story behind the products and the quality must be HIGH! As a fourth generation business owner, and a candle company owner in my previous life I understand the importance of Australian small business economy. It’s the kind of inspiring stuff that creates BIG business when supported.

So here we are! This month we have some beautiful products. 

  • This find was an absolute joy – Seed and Sprout

    Sophie Kovic has the inspiring business Seed and Sprout, an enviro dream of home goodies. We went for the dishsoap, rubbish bags, scourers and dishcloths.
    The packaging is sustainable luxe and as for the products? These will be ongoing household purchases.

    The dishsoap comes in large tablet style and just keep going, no suds as this is really friendly and yet glassware come out like it had gone through a sparkling dishwasher.

    Coconut husk scourers, these fall apart slightly but don’t be fooled they just keep going and are very effective. Not only do they work beautifully but they are great to go straight in the compost afterwards. Biodegradable, ethically sourced.

    Dishcloths- these are like any high quality supermarket brand however once finished you put them in your compost! You can use these knowing you wont be contributing to tonnes of toxic plastic waste produced each year in Australia!

    The rubbish bags that aren’t plastic- now this was cool. Biodegradable, plant based rubbish bags, please, thank you and yes.

    We have never purchased cleaning products and got excited. Something very aesthetic and geting back to nature about this goodies. A big tick from Ponderings.

Seed and Sprout Pondeirngs

Willow and Sea is the beautiful brainchild of Teaghan Barnard.

If you love the ocean and enjoy functional art, you will as impressed as we were.

From bowls to coasters, serving trays (our fave) and chopping boards Willow and Sea is the perfect addition to your table as a feature or a beautiful gift for someone.

“When she is not creating, you will find her exploring the Otway National Park, soaking up the sun along the Great Ocean Road or planning her next overseas adventure. All of which you will find are expressed through her art.”

https://willowandsea.com

  • The Beach People

    Up-cycled denim styled towels and a beach boho fantasy. We saw the Instagram feed and were in heaven. Sisters Emma Henderson and Victoria Beattie invented the Round Beach Towel and the rest is history. Beautiful beach inspired brand with ethically sourced materials.

    From duvets to picnic baskets, this is the stuff of Summertime daydreams.

    The fabric of this towel bundle is soft, absorbs well and you want to wear it not use it. Pure decadence. Functional and cool. Most definitely got the happiness tick of approval.

    If you can’t get to Byron, bring a little bit of Byron to you.

https://thebeachpeople.com.au

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Robert Gordon

This month we tried their new candle range.

100% Australian Made Candle, made with a natural soy wax, in beautiful hand painted Australian Made Canvas Latte vessels. The tote bag was a gorgeous touch and this blend of ripe fig and passionflower, pathchouli and bergamot was beautiful. Coming from an ex-candle maker, this blend did not disappoint and is one of the nicest I have tried.

The best part? Once you are finished you have a mug x

‘Around thirty years ago, Robert ‘Andy’ Gordon walked into a ten by eight foot tin shed, picked up a lump of clay and turned his potter’s wheel. The ‘Pack Track Pottery’ was born. But the story and inspiration for Robert Gordon dates long before 1979 and a rickety home made studio.

Andy’s mother, the renowned Australian potter June Dyson, set up her studios in 1945. June formed a formidable partnership with her husband Colin who became the company’s business director. It was June’s second son Andy, who showed most interest in ceramics, helping out in the studio from his early twenties.

  • INIKA

    I first discovered this brand whilst holidaying in Byron Bay, a die hard makeup wearer I often find many natural foundations and concealers too light and not long lasting enough. Until now. The lightness and coverage is inriguing, gentle and dewy. I also purchased the powder finish for a longer wear all day.

    A convert, this brand is outstanding. The products are good for your skin, long lasting and more than a few comments from others and I have shouted its fabulousity from the rooftops. Slightly on the higher price scale, a little goes a very long way. So per unit works out the same as any other chemist brand.

    INIKA Organic is 100% Australian owned, 100% plant based and 100% animal cruelty free, this has a tick of approval.

    https://www.inikaorganic.com

  • Ok so its pretty obvious why this hit the attention button! Sleep pillow, filled with glorius herbs and essential oils ready to pop under your pillow.

    Hello friend! These come in a range of heat packs as well as bath tea bags and the packaging is beautiful. Made in Geelong, Botanical Wellness goodies are available to purchase through Whole Body Health and Wellness, Ocean Grove and Geelong.

    Home

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Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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