Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda

Happiness is overrated. Want to know why?

What would you say if a child came up to you looking sad?

You will reach out to comfort them. Instinctively, we know it is “not ok” to feel sad. It is kinda hardwired. I bet most of us have been conditioned to believe that feelings such as anger, sadness, and frustration are “not ok”.

And I will admit that I have been quite taken by “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

For a long time.

And this is what I have learnt.

Fear is a faithful friend. It is always with us. It is what keeps us safe. It will never go away. It is also the reason we may get angry, sad or frustrated. So if I am really mad, I know that something important to me has been taken away from me and I fear that I will not get it back.

Fear serves another purpose that is hugely powerful. I believe fear is omnipresent so we can fly.

Remember when you got that really BIG WILD idea?  Fear was probably right beside you, saying…

“Oh, now that is stupid.”

“You will never be able to pull that off”

“People will laugh at you.”

Know that thought? And I am sure you would have learnt/ read that we could just replace that with “I can do it”.

There is another way. Which is to say, “yeah, it does sound stupid. I may not be able to pull it off. And yes, I may fall flat on my face.” So who can I talk to about this idea? How can I take this forward?

And the most important question to ask yourself is “Why is this idea important to me?” “What about this idea is getting me so excited?”

The answer to that question is the secret held deep inside you that drives everything you do, the choices you make and is that light that guides you telling you what “feels” right and what “feels” wrong.

It is your closest friend. The one you sit beside when they are sad. Just sit. Listen. Hold hands. Treat your fears as your friend. They are.

When you feel sad, mad or just plain frustrated, imagine your friend has arrived. Do what you would do with a friend. Sit with them. Listen. Let go of your judgment for a bit. Go outdoors. And wait until your heart opens up and you understand why it is.

On the Beach 1

On the Beach 2

Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Social Agenda

Shopping, Farmers, Local, Artisans… crazy foolish people striving for a better world

To live with an open heart… like a child. Unfettered. Simply curious. Innocent. And compassionate.

Well that bit, maybe not always 🙂

We are a crazy bunch. Some of us that is.

As a HR Director, I was constantly tracking for what is out there…. tripping with excitement about some of the wonderful stuff people were experimenting with to help people live life large. Be in tune with what they value. And partner with leaders and teams to do stuff that will create the environment for people to do their best work.

I loved it. I was also restless. Wondering what else was out there.

I fell into making soap a year or so ago…. and I think I keep falling deeper because it allows me to be curious. It makes me think about what I buy, from whom and when.

So if I was to Get off the dance floor for a bit, and be an observer, what would I see?

I would see me getting a bit tired of large organisations like J&J, P&G, Unilever seduce us into buying stuff with the promise of whatever it is that was seductive.

I would look at the guy standing at his stall in my local markets. Like, I would slow down, and linger. Appreciate the work that went into getting up early in the morning loading the car and putting their soul into making their space look inviting. They are just plants. These are the ones though that even I cannot kill.

This I know to be true.

Orchids from marketSucculents from markets2

I would watch myself spending a bit more time with stall holders; getting to know them. Just curious. How do you make this. What is it about and then get pulled into their world for just a bit… Like Lindy Lawler who makes these beautiful pieces and tells a beautiful story that I can never say the same way. All I know is that there is a sense of abundance that is celebrated through her work.


Sometimes though, I have to get a few things from a far away land. Ghana is where my Shea Butter comes from. Kwabena, who is the Managing Director of the company based in Adelaide, works with women’s co-operatives that work in the Zabzugu – Tatale district in Tamale located in the Northern part of Ghana. Traditionally it has been the women who go and pluck or gather the shea nuts. The women sometimes have to travel as far as 17 kilometres on foot and carry bags in excess of 40kgs on the heads whilst carrying their children on their backs.


It is the same story with Neem Oil, where my dear friend introduced me to Agrocel, an organisation that works with the farmers to get us beautiful cold pressed Neem.

So here I am. Grateful to be surrounded by many many people who love me. Doing stuff that I am not ashamed of saying that I am not an expert in the domain. That I am learning. Having fun. And maybe, bringing some abundance into a few moments when people read the stuff I write or buy something to pamper themselves or a dear one.

Inspiration, LIfe

Call me Stupid

It was about 14 years ago that we decided to make the move from Vadodara, a small city in India to Sydney. I was HR Manager with a very large engineering conglomerate. It was a great job, one where the VP of the business was continuously challenging me to do stuff way beyond my comfort zone. When I told him I was going to Australia his response was typical. “you need to get your head checked”.

And he gave me this book called Hope for the Flowers. It is about the foolish caterpillar who keeps “leaving” what he is doing in search for “what else is out there”…

it is getting dull

and then he realises he needs to hang upside down for a while. And then he will become a butterfly and fly.

Ahem. I am still waiting 🙂

And I wonder what I will find.

I know no different. I quit working a year or so ago. “It was getting dull”. I felt like I was missing out on life. The life that was possible.

I don’t know that it was conscious at the time that I was taking on the role of a change agent… helping the management team work through a request from our transgender employee who wanted to use the female toilets in our offices. In my head it was simple. Be honest. It is a legitimate request.

I managed a big move of our offices from a dingy stuffy building to an open beautiful building… more space, more meeting areas, plenty of parking.. I thought working through the issues is the way forward. It was tough moving forward surrounded by a couple of men who wanted to be heroes. I didn’t know how to play power games. The move which could have been a celebration felt like a battlefield.

These men were hugely successful in their careers. And here is this midget saying lets invest in becoming effective leaders. “What?” Start with those folks in the middle first. We talked about having a great culture. How about we measure whether our people are engaged? “Convince everyone else, and then I am on board” says my boss.

We got there. We measured engagement. We talked about it. We got people to understand it, take action and measure again. And we got traction. We started investing in our leaders. And yes, the executive team got on board. And we had the most amazing conference where the executive team participated in a world cafe where the entire organisation got talking about how we will get to where we wanting to get to.

“It was getting dull”.

So I quit… that was 11 years later. “What would it be like in a Not For Profit Organisation”… that is what I wanted. Now who would want me? “I was too corporate and would not want to get my hands dirty”… Someone was game. Thank you!!! So I had this awesome short term job where I become acquainted with an organisation that works on the toughest social agendas with no security of income, reliant on government funding on a short term basis and quickly realised that there is plenty to do in setting up and plenty more that someone else could do much better than me.

So another corporate job. They measured engagement and had not looked at the results. So that was easy. Lets understand this, act on it, measure it again. Lets invest in ourselves for a bit too. “You are asking us to do a leadership program?” “We have done plenty of those. I don’t want to go into another one and sing.”

And we did. There was no singing. There was plenty of real talking. A year or so in … “This is unlike any program I have done….”

“It is getting dull”.

Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Soaps, Social Agenda

Craftmanship – Creative Confident Explosive

I continue to be astounded by the craftsmanship that is so alive and thriving in this day and age… surrounded by appliances, machines and all things that automate our lives to make it easier and at the other end you find people painstakingly sewing a beautiful dress for a two year old…. or making a terrarium in a tiny glass jar that becomes a beautiful pendant.

My hubby is so eager and enthusiastic whenever I describe to him these little timber trays I have imagined I must have to present my soaps.


So here, in Vadodara, I asked my Dad two days ago if there is a carpenter near by who would make me these trays. And I was really surprised when he said yes.

We walked down to this humble shop 300 meters down from our home.

I was looking around as we walked and noticed this broken clay pot on the road ….

Having grown up in India, I am very familiar with the clay pot that is in many households, even rich ones. It keeps the water cool and I think it is healthy too. The clay would act as a natural filter I imagine.

I notice it with fresh eyes now. Perfectly formed, impossibly thin. Some one has made millions of these possibly not pausing to recognise the talent he or she has…

At the shop, we are describing what we want… we choose teak and I give the dimensions… Dad kept challenging them and insisted that we see some samples before commissioning 30 pieces. “Bring the soap here, so we can test it. ”

Clearly, my father has a lot of faith in my ability to measure 😉

Back home, I give the soap to Dad. He looks at it. He has his feet up on the sofa. After a while he says, “Yes, these dimensions will work”.

Ahem. It is a new found skill after all, so I guess the incredulous realisation that I can measure accurately is well founded!!!

I walked down to the shop later that afternoon to see the two prototypes Mr Smartie created for me. He was so excited to see me… “here they are”, grinning from ear to ear.

I loved them. I had my iPhone with me because I wanted some pics.
“Can I take a pic of you to share the story?”
“No” he says. “Why would you want that?” ”
Can I just take one of your hands while you are working on these?”
“No. You might cut off my hands then, like the people who worked on the Taj Mahal”.

I burst out laughing. “Do I look like Aurangzeb!!?” I retorted, laughing!

It wasn’t even Aurangzeb.. I forget the history lesson 😉

Any way, no photos of the craftsman then.

I do have photos of the trays and of course I had to see how these looked with soaps in them.

I took those along to Mr Smartie so he could see what he has created….

“Ah, these are soaps?”
“And you make them?”
“I take some milk, add lye, mix it all up with oils and voila!”
“And you send them overseas?”
“No, I make them overseas.”
“How much do they cost?”
“I will bring you one. I have one of these – pointing to the clay & loofah one.”
“Yes, that is the nicer one.”
“Bring two” This was a guy standing next to Mr Smartie.
“We will try them and see how they are” … unabashedly mimicking a good lather up with the soap!
Yes, Sir




Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Skin care


Yesterday we were scheduled to be at Palm Beach Markets. So all packed up we headed up at around 8 am driving through some rain. We arrived to find there were no stalls at where the market was meant to be. It was cancelled. And of course, I had a number I could have called at 7 am that would have told me just that 😉 Details. So we headed out to the Boathouse, our fave place and indulged our senses… it just has a sense of abundance with loads of flowers hanging out off baskets, vintage baskets and trunks and the most stunning timber pieces. A nice leisurely breakfast, a bunch of the most glorious tulips and roses and we headed back home to the rest of our long weekend. Image Last night I was looking at these tulips and wondering how they hold their own and find their own unique way to stand in the vase even after being cut. They are just gorgeous and I love how each stem takes its own path…. Image So where am I headed with this story? Sometimes you have to wander to get to where you want to be 🙂 A few days ago I finished my 2 kg pack of Raw Honey so needed to get some more. I found Ambrosia at our local farmer’s market and paid $13.50 for a kilo. Image   I also wanted some bee pollen, royal jelly and bee propolis to add these to my Shea Butter & Coconut Oil… create some magic, shall we? I headed down to GoVita where I found this same Ambrosia Organic Honey for $19.50. Right next to the Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen etc… And decided to look around a bit. The prices of Royal Jelly and the Bee Propolis vary from about $7 to about $27! And I found it strange that you can get Honey from the farmers but the the other stuff is “owned” by the pharmaceutical companies. Uh Oh! So we are back to where we began…. Coconut Oil is a miracle, so is Shea… and Honey. If it is raw, organic, it retains all its therapeutic benefits. So I am back here. Banaban   With the simple Coconut Oil, Shea Butter & Raw Honey. I will whip up a very indulgent, deeply nourishing, vitamin bursting goodness hair mask made with just these 🙂

Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Skin care, Soaps

Artisans… passion, reality and what is in between :)


Artisans are a wonderful community. Passionate and in love with life, the joys of creation. 

A little bit delusional too.

Like, we dream. And then there is the reality. 

O, I have created all this stuff. What shall I do with it? Is there a practical use for all this stuff? Like all these pieces of paper I am hoarding because something may get created from it?

Then, there is a flurry of stuff to get what you have created out of the door. 

Like, going to markets. Talking to other artisans. Being on FB!!!!!

I stumbled on making soaps a little more than a year ago, and then went to my first market about six months ago, because my hubby, Dad, Mum, sister, friends, cousins, trespassers could not possibly use all that I made. 

So I went to a market, which believe me is TOUGH. You wake up at about 3 am. That is if you have been able to stop all the activity in your head mocking up how your stall will look and how you will talk to your customers & visitors at your stall…. then by the time you finish, you are still on a high figuring out what you could change, what you would do differently, blah blah. O stop please, any time now!

So hubby dear (to save his own weekends) coaxed me to jump online. So I built my own website, started a Facebook page, found a gorgeous online directory and online communities who are so warm, welcoming and supportive of budding wanna be Artisans…

And hence started the online business…. works like a charm…. my Paypal on my phone goes “cha ching” and I race to the computer who has ordered what!! Simple pleasures!!!

Then, pack the goodies, print off a label on “Click & Send” and deposit it with the friendly girls at my local Post Office. 

Until now, it is going to become so much dearer…. hence this post… please support us by signing this petition, so Australia Post can continue to let us compete with the big guys… 


Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Skin care, Soaps

Playful Goats, Milk, Soap

I am part of a truly wonderful community of soapers. They handcraft soap, research ingredients and generally have a lot of fun. Mostly this group is utterly supportive of each other.

I have now been making soaps for about a year. What initially started as a hobby has now become a passion. The caterpillar in me is totally out to play. And what I seem to chase the most is getting stuff to make soaps straight from where it is “born”.

And so, when I found Shelly, I had to go and see her goats and get fresh, raw goats milk and see what happens, really 🙂 I totally was not expecting a bunch of playful, naughty kids prancing about the land, wanting to follow their “mum” into the house and wanting to play.


When they saw me, they wanted to suck my thumb, nibble on my tee, laces … whatever they could get their mouth on!!

This is Lacey. I was talking to Shelly and she started biting me. “You are biting me dear” I said to Lacey. She stopped and proceeded to try and get under my legs! OML. They are the most divine, beautiful, playful things I have ever seen!


And here is the one month old slipping on the pile of hay she clambered onto! This is what her mum says about her “Oh that’s Blue Brook Kalamitty! & yes she’s full of mischief but very affectionate  Her mum is the 2nd highest milk producing British Alpine in Australia at the moment – so not only gorgeous but hopefully will give me lots of beautiful creamy milk too”Image

So I got about 15 litres of this divine goats milk and brought it home. It is frozen, which is perfect for soaping because when you add lye to the milk, it heats up. This is what it looks like with the lye gently and slowly added to the frozen milk.


It looks so creamy and intensely lick-able! You absolutely cannot!!

This beautiful creamy mix is then blended with virgin oils and raw shea butter, cocoa butter to make soap.

Yesterday I felt like it was a “roses” day so this was my soap with rose essential oil and rose buds on top.


This morning, I wanted to make something warm, spicy & citrus-y. So I chose clove and orange essential oils.


So here is the soap… swirled with some cacao powder on top and then textured! Smells beautiful!


If you would like some goat milk soap, you can get some on my website!