Lights, Camera Action in Geelong

Lights, Camera Action in Geelong

Montanna Macdonald

Montanna Macdonald

Journalist Ponderings

As safe COVID-19 practices draw more Hollywood actors to Australian shores, the Geelong region is just one of many booming cities with film industry potential. 

With an abundance of opportunity for major film productions, the Geelong region’s future is looking promising. Some previous Geelong film sets include Mad Max, the Dressmaker, Paper Champions, not to mention multiple streaming service shows like Netflix’s show Rostered On and teen series currently filming on the Surfcoast, Surviving Summer.

The arts and entertainment industry is struggling with restrictions on gathering, events, and tourism globally. Still, funding resources and COVID-SAFE film production in Australia is an exciting avenue for future filmmakers, jobs, and encouraging investment back into the arts and hearts of Aussie towns. 

A new foundation in Geelong called the Geelong Waterfront Film Foundation is paving the way for encouraging filmmakers to produce in town, with tax deductible funding and grants available for film production in Geelong. A game changer in an entertainment industry that is battling through a pandemic. 

Ponderings met with Executive Director of the Geelong Waterfront Film Foundation, Belinda Lyle, for an interview to discuss the exciting opportunities, resources and support for local emerging artists the Foundation can provide.

What does the Geelong Waterfront Film Foundation want to achieve in Geelong? 

“A group of local stakeholders are now working to create an environment in which a sustainable local film and TV industry are possible. With diverse and impressive natural landscape Geelong is destined for the screen. Urban areas, semi-rural landscapes and beautiful coastline see Geelong and surrounding as an ideal area for filmmaking. Let’s establish a filmmaking hub with a framework in place to make it easy to film in the area!” 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

What is Geelong Waterfront Film? 

 

“Geelong Waterfront Film (GWF) is set up as a Foundation, in which once adequately funded via local investors, backers and the community at large will assist filmmakers financially should they choose to film in the region.”

“The brainchild of the Foundation, Geelong Accountant Mr Patrick Rowan, found when producers currently come to the region, they are usually looking for ways to raise completion of finance for final production. As an Accountant, he was often approached to recommend investors. Establishment of the Waterfront Film Foundation allows investors to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Foundation which in turn can be a grant or investment to those filming in the region.”

How does Geelong Waterfront Film support local emerging talent in the region?

“GWF is committed to supporting local and emerging filmmakers, creating another funding stream for them. Through its financial support, the Foundation allows for more diverse voices to be heard as this could mean the difference between a film being made or not. This extensive project now also has a newly established board consisting of various artists and Geelong professionals. 

What achievements has the board managed so far?

We have a small grant from the City of Greater Geelong to establish a database of people in the industry. There’s so much talent in Geelong – experienced and emerging filmmakers, directors, lighting & sound engineers, actors, – post-production experts, we are continually surprised with who’s coming out of the woodwork.”

“We want people to be able to come to Geelong to film and know there’s expert talent here to help with the production. The evolving database will help point people in the right direction.”

“In the BIG picture, GWF wants to host the Waterfront Film Festival, think Cannes and Sundance – red carpet and limos – all on Geelong’s stunning Waterfront. This would certainly attract international attention. Wheels are in motion for local film awards and the criteria that must be filmed in the Geelong region. This is a chance to showcase existing and up and coming talent.”

Belinda Lyle, Executive Director GWF.

Belinda Lyle, Executive Director GWF.

 If you are an actor or an aspiring filmmaker, how can you get involved?

 

  • Sign up for the Industry database. It costs $20 per annum to set up to be listed on the website database. Your talents are also promoted through WFF’s social media. It’s not only actors and filmmakers – anyone involved with the industry can sign up to the database!

 

  • Member-only events are planned for down the track offering networking opportunities. 

 

  • There are also opportunities for businesses to get involved with sponsorship. 

 

  • We also run several working committees if anyone wants to be involved with the project. 

 

  • Film-buffs and people interested in the arts can also sign up as a “Friend of Geelong Waterfront Film” for $20. Tax-deductible donations can also be made to the Foundation. 

 

The future of film in Geelong is an exciting avenue for jobs, emerging local talent and tourism, and we look forward to watching this space! To find out how you can support- jump over to: https://www.geelongwaterfrontfilm.com.au 

 

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The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

Photo credit Jarrad Seng | Words Kirsten Macdonald

It’s hard not to pull the lever on the floodgate and release a stream of adjectives to label and describe the flow, ebb and tide that is Danielle Caruana- or Mama Kin as she is affectionately and professionally known. 

There doesn’t appear to be a spectral envelope, no single point or sentence to adequately describe her. There’s no denying the lady is a muse, and so I found myself stumped. There was only one remedy; I pressed play on our sound system in the garden, got my hands deep and dirty in the soil and planted seeds, tending to our veggie patch. 

On the last day of Summer listening to her soulful music, I stopped to sip a well-earned gin and tonic and smiled, remembering exactly who Mama Kin reminds me of! Polyhymnia. 

Yup, I’m on the money. No waxing lyrical here, listen to Mama Kin’s song Rescue (loud) and then indulge in her TED talk or refreshing live performances on Youtube; you will nod and maybe shout me the next round. Yes, I know, I resorted to the Goddess trope, but if you are into ancient mythology- you hear me. 

There’s an intimacy and directness to Mama Kin’s music, poetry and storytelling. Her coppery voice, combined with blues + roots music climbs right into your heart like a bloody ladder. 

She’s an impressive person. Nominated for ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album, she’s a WAM Award-winning TED Talking, and Philanthropic Musician.   

We ponder with Mama Kin.

Often, online performances from artists from their home feel very intimate and connective as an audience, but as the musician, is it difficult to get immediate biofeedback?

I’m not sure I’ve adapted yet, to be honest. I dip my toes in here and there, but I mostly find that what calls me most right now is very up close and immediate. I am more interested in who I am in my own community, with my immediate family and friends. My sense of pace has changed considerably. 

I have lost all romantic notions about travelling around endlessly chasing gigs, and I’m looking for something I can do from home. I have always wanted to write a book! So now I am dabbling, with huge encouragement from my kids and partner. 

I still want to connect with audiences and people in general, so that is the question I am asking myself- How can I connect with the wider world in a meaningful and viable way, while staying connected to home?

 

“They are completely different platforms. I don’t expect the same from one as the other. One is quick and has very little attachment to it. I like their differences. They compliment each other.”

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? 

In my fantasy land I wake and then meditate, maybe some pranayama, chanting, stretch and then go for a walk and a swim before coming home, making a juice and feeding the chickens, all before the rest of the house has woken. At this stage, I would then sit myself at the spotless kitchen table and do creative writing for 30 – 60 minutes. 

In reality, it is a bit of a rolling thunder. Most mornings, I wake and scan my body for where it is at and what I might need to do to kick start it into shape to meet the demands of the day. I then shuffle out to the kitchen and check my phone, I wish I didn’t do that first, but to be honest, I generally do. 

I love not having the phone in my bedroom through the night (except if my kids are out), but I still haven’t broken the habit of waking up and checking it first. Recently I have been trying to get straight out of the house for a walk and a swim in the Woodtichup Bilya (The Margaret River). I then come home and make my juice. I am usually mustering my 14-year-old son into whichever activity he needs to be up and happening for that day while simultaneously checking in with my email world. I am homeschooling my son at the moment, so our lives are fairly tethered to each other. It is kind of like being grounded; it is super grounding. 

 

I squeeze in work in between the cracks of what he needs from me, I squeeze in writing and singing, walks with my dogs, catch up with friends and visits with my horse; I squeeze it all in around him. Right now, he is my key focus, and it feels like a rare and fleeting gift, and I am so pleased I have the perspective to see it for the incredible opportunity that it is.

 

If you had one question you could ask a sage ancient mother what would it be?

 

I think I would like to know how to realise my ultimate potential while still holding space for the people I love, being fully present to them, and helping them realise their own potential.

 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

“My mum told me never to stop trying. I understand that she means to keep the drive alive in your mind, body and spirit. Embrace life fully with curiosity and wonder. I see that in her, and she is 87 and spritely as a teenager!”

Your contribution to the Music Industry is astounding! Can you tell our readers in a sentence the vibe of the The Seed Fund?

The Seed is a philanthropic fund set up to support emerging Australian artists and arts workers. In its 15th year now (wow), we have distributed well over 1 million dollars in funding and initiatives. Our cornerstone initiative is the annual Future Makers: Management Workshop, where we bring together 30 self-managed and managed musicians for a four day live in deep-dive intensive.

Your music, events, The Seed, Ted x talk etc., the list seems both inspiring and endless. What is next for you? 

My biggest love is the power of storytelling. I’m fascinated by narratives and the power they have to shape the banks of the rivers that they flow through. I love fiction. I love the power of prose. I’ve enjoyed playing with storytelling through songwriting, and now I think I am ready to dabble in longer form! 

Sometimes I would like to create a multidisciplinary theatre piece. I would really like to create a conversation series around obstacles and narratives, but I feel under-qualified. It is just what I am naturally drawn to. So, in summary, I think I’d next like to write a work of fiction that explores narratives within narratives. Hmmm sounding a bit like I have no idea what I am doing, but I am pondering over scraps of clues.

What is your favourite song to perform? What does it mean to you?

Oh, you’re asking me to pick my favourite child! It depends on my mood. The one that springs to mind right now is a song I co-wrote with an artist from America, Aaron Embry, which I recorded on my We Two Thieves project with Emily Lubitz and Dave Mann. The song is called Only For You, and I LOVE the sentiment and the harmonies in it. There is a section that builds and builds, and I can’t sing it without my heart swelling and a huge smile erupting across my face. 

The song is about being loved and embraced by the natural world around you, and when the harmonies kick in, I feel that universal hug resonate, vibrating love in my whole being.

We love your TedX talk about taming “David”, your inner Tyrant. Sharing your story and inner workings, your “David” was vulnerable, empowering, insightful, and so bloody relevant! (not to mention the perfect balance of raw and funny!) We applaud your “surrender muscles” and honest account. (readers scroll to the bottom for the TedTalk) 

 

How is David now?

 

David is a wonderful passenger and a terrible driver. He is a brilliant navigator and can pack the car within an inch of its life. He sometimes tries to convince me to let him drive, sometimes he even tries to execute radical coups to have me forcibly removed, but I know better, and I remind him that I’ve got this, and I need him to stay right where he is, and could he please pass me a drink.

 

What would you be doing right now if not playing music?

 

Well, I am not playing that much music, so what am I doing? I am homeschooling my son, writing small works of fiction, doing some local creative collaborations, preparing my 18-year-old daughter to leave home, trying to learn more raw plant-based meals. I’m in a creative lull of sorts, and I like it.

 

If COVID19 had a theme song, what would it be?

 

Strange Girl by Laura Marling. The album dropped soon into the first lockdown in WA, and that song became a love song to this time and each other. Once the regional borders opened my daughter, and I went on a month-long road trip and that song, and album, was the soundtrack to that trip. I will forever remember her golden hair flicking in and out of the window as we sang along to I love you my Strange Girl, my Lonely Girl, My Angry Girl, My Strange…”, as we rode the white speckled black ribbon through the red dirt country. Heaven.

 

Treehouse or cubby house?

 

Teepee… so I suppose cubby!

 

Check out more of Mama Kin and her latest release on Spender, called Are You Listening available on all streaming platforms. Additionally, this collection of story vignettes which accompanied the release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuYCFpzEE4M&t=10s diving deeper into the Listening journey.

www.mamakin.com
www.mamakinspender.love
www.theseedfund.org

PS- her song -Rescue- can someone in the Netflix series industry please use this song as a theme? Waiting patiently….

 

Note for the non mythology geeks- (unlike yours truly): Polyhymnia was an ancient goddess, a muse often depicted as pensive, eloquent, wise and meditative-Polyhymnia, the goddess of lyric poetry, sacred music, song, and study the stars, geometry and meditation. 


On behalf of Mama Kin: In acknowledgement of  the Wadandi / Pipelmum traditional custodians of the country upon which I live, love, learn and create. I pay my respect to their elders – past, present and future – and thank them daily for their age-old custodianship of boodjara, and their ongoing generosity and trust in sharing their culture, kinship and language with us all. Always was, always will be.

 

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Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

We ponder with Netherlands native and Geelong’s newest addition to the style scene- Maartje Hartveldt.

 

Scandinavian influence on design, and its persistent popularity make it more than a cultural trend we infuse, copy and paste – but rather an enduring aesthetic that appears to really resonate with those seeking simplicity, elements of nature, light and refuge. Rising to popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s Nordic clean line interiors have a philosophy behind the style. We caught up with Maarjte Hardveldt from MH Interior Decorating to ponder the intrigue of Scandi design and renovation decisions. 

  

Why do you think the Scandi Style has grown so popular in Australia?

I feel that the Scandi look really reflects the Coastal Lifestyle here in Australia. You see many Scandi styled homes with BOHO influences, a beautiful mix with a true Coastal Vibe.

What are your favourite aspects of the style?

Besides light and airy, the Scandi Style is also characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, bringing this overall feeling of serenity and relaxation to the space. I love the neutral colour scheme, the whites, the use of lots of natural fibres, the clutter-free aesthetic and clean lines.  

In your field of expertise, how important are ambience and aesthetic when creating space?

These two words are equally important when designing a space. Ambience determines how you will feel in a space, so think about lighting, for instance. I am a big lover of dimmable lights, so you can play with the mood and create the right atmosphere for every occasion. The aesthetics of a space is really the heart whilst designing as that’s the overall style in which you consider balance, shape, colour, pattern, scale and use of material.   

When undertaking renovations, particularly new structures within the house, kitchens, bathrooms etc.- what do you look for in a tradesperson?

That’s a very good question and from my experience in all those years renovating in The Netherlands and Australia, I think tradespeople should be very good at their job. People sometimes don’t consider an essential skillset- Listening! Is your tradesperson a good listener, and do they have an open mind? Being willing to go beyond what they know and visualizing with an open mind focussed on quality will get the best result. 

How can people create simplicity and get that minimalist vibe in cohesion with making a space that reflects your personality?

First of all, I would recommend to see the space as a white canvas and draw up a floorplan in which you choose statement pieces of furniture rather than having too many pieces that will take away the minimalist feel of the space. 

Make use of the natural light, choose muted colours, wood accents, natural fabrics, textures and fibres, greenery and always consider the less is more approach. 

By adding photos of people you care about or moments captured in a photo, grouping your treasures in a cabinet, add your favourite flowers, put some of your best books on display and use a scent diffuser with your favourite smell, you can reflect your personality without ‘destroying’ your new beautiful, cohesive minimalistic space. 

 

What is the most common mistake people make when doing a room upgrade or changing the space?

I guess not looking at the space as a whole but bringing in details they like without considering all elements together.  

What is the first thing people can do to make the process of changing a space less daunting?

My biggest advice would be to start with a mood-board, so you have an idea of what style you like and consider how you want to make the room to feel. 

Key questions you should ask yourself are:

 How will the space be used? 

What are the practical needs? 

Who uses the space, when is the space used and what activities will happen here? 

Set a budget and identify where the most significant impact can be made, so where is it important to spend money and work out to save money. 

Consider what already exists within the space that can be upcycled, repurposed, and decluttered throughout this process. 

Research product prices, check out the portfolios of those you are considering, ask for quotes, make a renovating/decorating plan, and start the exciting adventure.   

My biggest advice would be to really consider The Story that you want your home to tell about you, your family, and life; stay true to your own personal treasures. Sometimes you see these amazingly styled homes, but they lack personality. 

 

‘An interior is the natural projection of the soul’ – Coco Chanel.

so I believe that your home should be a reflection of yourself.

 

What is your background in design and what lead you to design now?

 

My background is basically working for a High-End Dutch Fashion Designer in Amsterdam for over a decade, in which I have been infused with design in general. Every season, creating a new Catwalk Collection always with a meticulous balance between materials, texture, colour, pattern, and shape. Besides this career in the Fashion Industry, I was renovating and styling houses. Creating a collection or creating a space feels very similar as it’s all about completing the puzzle, metaphorically speaking.

To find out more about Maartje and her renovation journey, head to:

insta: mh_interior_decorating (Maartje Design Solutions)

http://www.mhinteriordecorating.com.au

https://mhinteriordecorating.com.au

If you are looking for excellent Cabinetmakers who are open-minded, innovative and quality- go no further than ICM- Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong.

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Musical Queen Lizzy- The Treasure Of Kyabram

Musical Queen Lizzy- The Treasure Of Kyabram

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

A small town often holds within it a treasure. Humble treasure in the form of a person.

Golden humans who go beyond care and into a level of compassion and dedication that fills hearts. In a world that can often feel self-serving and lonely, this kind of treasure is vital. Why? Because when acts of kindness and kinship enter a person’s life for no other reason than the recognition that they need a little help- it changes lives. In Kyabram Victoria, Liz Dillon is this treasure. 

  

Liz is a vocal and performance coach and the founder of The Gift. The Gift started as a passion project to help raise funds to support local people living with Cancer. It is now a fully teamed Charity that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars alongside community bonding through social events and fundraisers. She is humble and whilst I know she will cringe at this article’s title, she is a Queen of hearts for many people. (She’s also very funny) Liz has been the heart and soul for many aspiring musicians in the area and according to locals has been a life support for many burgeoning artists.

 

How do you unwind and reflect?

Reflection- well, it’s funny you ask; my daughter and I recently pulled up at a new set of traffic lights in a town we tutor in, and she said how much she didn’t like them ( the new lights). I said, “I like them…it gives me time to reflect” she looked at me frowning, and I smiled. I reflect every moment I get to pause. 

These lights are on our way home, and I usually drive solo. I get to these lights, and if they are red, they remind me to breath and reflect on the day.

 

How do I unwind? – Look, I don’t think I actually ever do completely. Music is a huge part of my day; I often turn to it as a distraction for what else needs be done. ( best procrastinator in the world). Classical music does take me to the closest level of relaxation and unwinding. -And Gin. 

Knowledge is powerful. Do you have a gem of wisdom you now know that you wish you knew when you were younger? Something you want young women could know too? 

Many things- why stop at one? 

That I am worthy. Yeah ….. we are worthy, and talking about periods is normal. Whoops, that was two.

Your incredible dedication to the town of Kyabram extends well past the town boundary and into hearts everywhere. Your pursuit of musical education and joy through Dillmac entertainment, as well as The Gift, is more than a smidge inspiring. What part of you spurs you on to lead on these projects? Has this always been a part of your personality?

That’s hard to answer simply because I find all these things to be just a normal part of life. Shouldn’t everyone do this? YES – every town needs a Gift. 

Every child should have access to an education in music and charity begins in the home….(that’s what my  mum always said- I used to think it meant our home as a kid.) 

My mum taught me about charity and empathy. Whether she knows it or not, I wouldn’t be doing what I do with the Gift if it wasn’t for her. My mum is charitable and still, at 81 years old, gets out there supporting the community. We did meals on wheels together for a few years that really opened my eyes to a different part of our community.

But what drives me to keep going with the Gift?~ just the people. Their stories. Their fight.

Why should families have to drain their life savings for expenses associated with everything cancer brings? Why can’t our community pay for that? So we do. Our community does that. And otter towns help too. We raise funds all year. And it helps. It’s a gift. 

My music. It was my Saviour. Always. I couldn’t have gotten through school without it. Through life so far without it. I see the joy, feel the joy it brings to not only the amazing humans we have at Dillmac but their family, friends and us tutors.

I think this deep heavy ( wrong word ) feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear and see the kids perform. And I cry – ha! Yeah, I cry a lot from pure joy and such great pride. And admiration and even still a bit of disbelief that this is my life and these kids can do this.? Music and these amazing beings. So lucky. So privileged.

This month we are looking at the practice of Hygge – the Danes have it down like a boss. What is your ideal cosy corner? What would it look like? 

So much comes to mind. My constant go-to is, of course, my family. They are my comfort zone. But I am my own cozy corner. Wow. Did I just say that? 

I just love to be alone. Not always, but I enjoy my time being alone. I’m never lonely when I’m alone.  I feel safe. There are a few certain people in my life that I feel the same whilst in their company. I can count them on the one hand. My corner would be my family, my five on the one hand – music and a month of Sundays.

If you wrote a letter to Cancer, what would the first sentence say? 

 

Dear Cancer. I hate your stinking guts. 

You make me vomit; you are the scum between my toes. 

Liz 

( letter from alfalfa to Darla – little rascals) 

 

If I had a chance to write two?

 

Dear Cancer 

How does get @#*ked sound?

Liz

 

I took that chance and wrote two.

 

What are you reading right now? 

Honestly? My new timetable for work …. three weeks it’s taken me. No time for reading until the term is well on its way, and then I have a pile of books to catch up on. A pile. All survival stories. Surviving against the odds. 

What is your favourite way to celebrate your successes in life? 

My husband and family are my successes. They are my happiness. I celebrate life with them whenever I am with them. Alive for many days- but dead once. 

Who are you listening to right now? 

At this time of the year…everything. We are picking songs for our students to learn. But I always revisit, no doubt – Baby Animals and Pink.

Moulin Rouge the movie version, She used to be mine from Waitress (Sara Bareilles singing it, not the musical version ) and Jagged Little Pill – the musical and the whole album, ( yes Alanis Morissette’s music in a musical ) 

They- by Jem ( who are they – ), ok stopping now. 

Best sad song?

Everybody Hurts- the REM version is good, but the Corrs version, wow! Need a cry? Get on it! 

Most romantic?

The Story -Brandi Carlile – 

Feels like home -Chantel Kreviak 

Even when I’m sleeping -Leonardo’s Bride. 

When it comes to romance, you can not stop at one…

What is that musical Earworm that gives you the shits, but you sing to it anyway? 

Anything ABBA

What is the song that gets you moving? 

Dance wise…omg, not a dancer, but… I love a private jive to ~ I Will Survive!

Treehouse or cubbyhouse?

Never treehouse afraid of heights. Thinking about a balcony in a unit on holidays weakens my knees and stomach… so much so it nearly makes me cancel every time and just book the ground floor! So cubby house for sure! And now I play in the cubby house with my grandkids,… well I would if I could fit in it. 🤣

What do you love about living in a country town? 

Easy -My family. And the community spirit. Anytime someone needs help, this community will rally…. all small towns do the same, but I’m in this one …so yeah, it’s the best. I’ve done Melbourne and Sydney. Regional is the best kick out the rest, and around the corner really means around the corner.

If you want to listen to Liz’s Playlist- click here; we compiled her curation in our Music Playlist for the month. 

Thank you to our sponsors Australian Skin Face Body- click here to find out more about them!

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The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

Fancy a cosy corner or a warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness? 

If you love an ambient pub or fireplace chats with warm cookies and great company- there’s an excellent reason! It’s a Hygge vibe. 

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland and Denmark take first and second place as the world’s happiest countries. What’s the secret? Quite possibly Hygge! According to the Danes, our northern counterparts; Hygge- pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh is a Norweigan word that falls under a cultural category, meaning -a hug without the touch. 

For the linguaphile -the word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy”. Hygge stems from hyggja which means “to think” in Old Norse. Hygge is built from the Old Norse word hugr which later became the hug which means the soul, mind, consciousness. 

Meik Wiking is an expert and author of The Little Book of Hygge. According to Meik Wiking, the practice of Hygge is charming, cosy, wholesome but with a sprinkle of sinful snacking like chocolate. 

“Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to the cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight”. 

Ponderers, there is even a Hygge cookbook – ( I ordered it, and the recipes are most certainly sinful) Click here to check it out  Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge.  

How do we achieve that fuzzy feeling of Hygge? 

Well there are so many ways to have a Hygge moment or make time for Hygge, but the fundamentals according to Meik are; 

1) Light! Ambient light. Ever wondered why the Scandi style is so focussed on lighting?

The design aesthetic and colour temperature are essential to creating Hygge. Candles are also HUGE; the Scandi countries are the largest consumers of candles in the world. We have some for you here – the wonderful folks over at Angel Sent Candles have a Hygge range and they’ve shared them with us at www.shop.angelsentcandles.com

2) Presence- get off the phones and be in the moment! 

3) Pleasure-

Think cakes, pastries, hot drinks and lollies! Here’s the link to that book again if you didn’t see it already- Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge  

4) Equality – We over Me

Sharing is caring. Share household chores. Share attention and listening. Share your love for those around you.

5) Gratitude-

 

Take it all in; this might be as good as it gets.

 

6) Harmony,

 

We already like you, no need to mention your achievements or the current political environment. You get the drift.

 

7) Comfort, cosiness, blankets,

 

Take a break and relax. But Hygge is humble and slow, not expensive. Ugly warm socks and homemade cookies are more than acceptable vs champagne and heels. Simplicity and modesty are crucial components.  

 

8) Truce-

 

No drama and a sense of belonging will ensue. No topics of tension and arguments must be put to one side. 

 

9) Togetherness,

 

Build a narrative, play a board game. Do you remember the time we…? Oxytocin is released when we are physically near someone, its called the hug hormone, so Hygge away! Cooperation, trust and love are the buzzwords here. 

 

10) Shelter,

 

This is your tribe and a place of peace and tranquillity. 

 

Sounds wonderful right? 

Every home I have lived in; the first thing I needed was a cozy corner. Always. I love nothing more than snuggling up in my favourite chair, pooch at my side, a candle burning, a cup of herbal tea, soothing music and if it’s winter- that fireplace earns its keep. 

So after reading Meik’s book, I decided to introduce the family to Hygge night- Sunday evenings would be dedicated to pure Hygge-ness. 

We rolled out our new Harry Potter Cluedo game, put the earlier made cookies on a plate, made some dutch cocoa, grabbed some comfy blankets, pillows and dimmed lighting all topped off with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Phew. It was pretty magical. A cringe-worthy moment of wholesome indulgence. 

I was very tired, so I snuggled in on the couch with the bunch and watched on picking broccoli seeds and enjoying the merriment. It was beautiful. 

Then the dog farted- no one had explained Hygge to him so totally not his fault. Kind of ruined the vibe. When I looked at the aforementioned hound with a raised eyebrow, he stared at me right back; I imagined a Seth McFarlane Brian Griffin-Esque voice “stupid humans.”  

Have you got the Hygge vibe?

Check out our Pinterest curation of all things Hygge and the video below for further awesome ideas. Go to app.ponderings.com.au to get the Hygge links or check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

We partnered with Angel Sent Candles – here’s their new Hygge range of candles. 

PS- 

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.” 

https://worldhappiness.report

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Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Mayor, Committee Chair, Advocate, Mother, Businesswoman, Consultant and Author, amongst other delightful discoveries- this reads like an à la carte menu of achievement. However, amongst the glaring lights of success, it is the sunny, fresh-faced honesty and integrity that has you standing in the shine that is Stephanie Asher. 

Many describe you as being very positively driven with an abundant flair for leadership- did you have someone in your life as a child who inspired you or a role model you believe influenced these aspects? 

My parents were career-focused and managed to balance their work ethic by providing my sister and I with a happy and healthy childhood, which I consider the ultimate privilege.

My dad has always been incredibly focused on values and the importance of a society founded on sound moral values. At the same time, my mum is extremely social and managed the connection between work relationships and friendships very well. I learned a lot from them both, and I’m grateful every day for their emphasis on a good education.

 The leadership aspect probably comes about because I see solutions quite easily and over time, I’ve learned to voice them and own them. As Rosanne Barr said, “As a woman, no one is going to give you power, you have to take it.”

Do you believe a growth mindset is a skill someone can learn? 

If that means a focus on abundance rather than a fear of scarcity, absolutely. And once learned, it’s so important to keep remembering – to bite down on that panic that we are not enough and that we may miss out.

There is a huge sense of freedom and confidence in shifting from the marketing-driven ‘need to compete’ to a spirit of generosity and appreciating that there is actually plenty for everyone. 

If you could only use three words to describe your perfect day; what would it be? 

Sunny, active and fun.

Have you had a crisis that transformed into a valuable learning experience? 

Probably more than I’m prepared to put in writing! Travelling alone to Europe on a one-way ticket four days after turning 21 was filled with challenges and mini-crises, but the year away backpacking was life-changing. 

One example was arriving in Nice late at night to no accommodation, and my plan to sleep at the train station was foiled when it closed at midnight. I ended up sleeping (with one eye open) on the beach, which was vaguely terrifying and decidedly uncomfortable as it’s not sandy! Learning to survive through challenges provides inner strength.

What is a habit in people you find irksome? 

I’m fascinated by people, and I find that the most irritating traits can also be funny. But sniffing is annoying and licking a knife is disgusting and more than a bit dangerous.

 What are you reading right now? 

 The Gina Rhinehart biography by Adele Ferguson.

 Favourite movie of all time? 

 

I have the memory of a sieve with movies, but seeing Watership Down as a kid had a major impact on me, not least because the music was so powerful. All-time faves are probably Zoolander, Happy Gilmore and anything Monty Python because I laugh out loud every time I think about particular scenes. 

 

What inspired you to write The Footy Lady, and if you could choose one resonating memory from this experience, what would it be? 

A mutual friend connected Sue Alberti and I, and we clicked at our first meeting over coffee. Sue’s life story is so colourful, so dramatic and such a powerful demonstration of the power of grit and resilience to transform lives. It was impossible not to want to write about it! The unexpected aspect of being Sue’s biographer was the inspiration she provided to me personally about never giving up. It is a message that is so important to women, in particular, as we face many hurdles and a lot of them are invisible. Sue literally keeps showing up despite constant knockbacks, and she is always flawlessly groomed and brings a beaming smile. My resonating memory is of Sue’s beautiful smile and wicked sense of humour. She is a winner.  

Favourite genre of music? 

 

My taste is so eclectic it’s ridiculous. I grew up with dad rocking our Saturday mornings with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Diamond, The Fifth Dimension, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. I then spent my teens and 20s in Melbourne’s live music venues being a ‘friend of the band’, had a housemate for seven years obsessed with 70s metal and now my daughter is valiantly educating me with current artists. Having said all that, I do have a soft spot for 60s soul.

I feel as though you have a solid collaborative and progressive impact on Geelong and district, which is positive at least and in a dignified way that gives a flourish of class and excitement. This kind of cohesion in a council once described in less favourable ways is inspiring. The legacy seems to have changed course significantly- in light of this, what do you believe is intrinsic to happiness and productivity in a complex workplace? 

 

Thank you for your very kind words! Be assured that I don’t work alone; I have a great group of councillors around me who are part of that shift to professionalism and collaborative spirit.

For happy and productive workplaces, I believe acceptance is really important – acceptance of other people, different views and new ways of doing things. I always distinguish between tolerance and acceptance because tolerance has a condescension about it, whereas acceptance is kind and generous.

A sense of fun is also mandatory wherever I spend significant time and effort – if you can’t have a laugh, it’s not worth being there.

Professionally speaking, accountability is critical. I manage large people-centric projects as a consultant, and high-performing workplaces are focused on getting things done and clear accountability. When people know their role and the timelines associated with tasks, they can function more effectively. Opacity and incompetence go hand in hand.

Treehouse or cubbyhouse and why? 

 

Both are hugely appealing, but I’d opt for a treehouse for the view and the perspective. And the birdsong!

 

What message would you like us to ponder?

 

 It made a huge impact on me when I chose to embrace uncertainty in life. At 27, I chose a career as a consultant and set up my own business. As a female, I could see the challenges ahead with trying to have a family in a permanent corporate role. The alternative – uncertainty – has the benefit of flexibility and freedom.

Having moved from Melbourne to the surf coast 20 years ago, I have a non-local perspective, and I suspect it’s my city upbringing that allows me to see how regional areas can struggle with change and lack of certainty. 

Once we accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive and exciting, there is the chance to then look at what we can influence and what we can’t. Fighting change usually means missing out on the opportunity to control that change. 

My observation is that the people of Greater Geelong are starting to see the benefits of managing change well. So many people say Geelong has great potential and I believe that if we continue to work together to manage our regional growth in a sustainable way then we will realise that potential. 

It is such an amazing region – I call the Bellarine ‘the best holiday place to live’ – and I am confident we are all of a similar mindset that we want to prosper at pace, but in a gentle and sensitive manner.

To find out more about The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Geelong, Ms Stephanie Asher- (her well earned title, eloquent don’t you think?) head over to: 

https://geelongaustralia.com.au/councillors/article/item/8d540963de6a0dd.aspx

https://geelongconsulting.com

Click here to get your copy!

Bought to you by Stephanie Asher- Susan Alberti- The woman from the working-class suburbs has battled boardrooms, cancer, diabetes, open-heart surgery and shed 59 kilos—half her body weight—on the road to recovery. She has stared down adversity and prevailed.

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