The Womenfolk Series: Meet Nicole McDonald – On Living a Creative Life


Nicole with one of her most popular designs

Welcome to my new series for Womenfolk: Inspirational Women. This series is about profiling women who are doing great things in their lives – be it with their careers, their family or their creativity. My hope is that through this series of profiles, you will find someone that resonates with you and gives you that little spark or push you need to do that something that you’ve always wanted to do.

First in the series is my gorgeous sister-in-law Nicole McDonald; the creative force behind Eco Collective Aus: Handmade In Australia with Love & Sustainability. Nicole makes a range of leather handbags, clutches, backpacks, iPhone and iPad covers, wallets and belts. Her creations are all made by hand, in her home on the Gold Coast.

The leather she uses is vegetable-tanned as opposed to chrome-tanned. Chrome tanning uses harsh chemicals to prime and dye the leather. Vegetable tanning uses barks, leaves and rind to tan and colour the leather, so it is much kinder to the earth and ultimately much better for the customer, as they are not carrying a bag that emits harsh chemicals, next to their skin.

Nicole first completed Certificate IV in Shoe Production and Design at RMIT in Melbourne, when her first child was a baby. Her intention was to design and make sustainable footwear, with a European aesthetic. Nicole is originally from Switzerland so is heavily influenced by European fashion and did not want to create clunky, heavy ‘hippy-style’ footwear. Her vision was very clear so she set about researching the most sustainable products, ranging from leather, glue and thread for sewing. [Read more…]

👣October 15 – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day 💔


Image courtesy of

For all the families out there that have lost a baby, October 15th is a day dedicated to you and remembering the babies that we have lost. 💔

It is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was founded in America but every year it is growing and is fast becoming an international day of remembrance. This is because the pain of losing a baby is universal.

Too many families suffer their grief in private because our culture does not provide a forum for the grief that comes with a miscarriage, still born child or infancy loss. It is too terrible to talk about, more than any other type of grieving, this is shunned. It is extremely isolating and sadly, friends and families remaining silent compound that isolation. [Read more…]

10 Ways to Banish the Overwhelm

I drew this when I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It soothed.

I drew this when I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It helped me escape and soothed my pain.


Never before have we lived such comfortable and affluent lives. Australia has the third highest average wealth in the world, behind Switzerland and Norway.  We make up 0.36% of the world’s adult population but account for 3.78% of the world’s top 1% of wealthiest people. (source)

But this comes at a cost, on many levels. The African proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ still remains, yet the village has gone. Everyone is out working, or taking their kids to gymnastics, swimming, athletics, scouts, karate, football, cricket. Or volunteering in the class room, on the sports pitch or up at the school. Or preparing for dinner guests, kids parties family get togethers…it never ends.

There’s no doubt we have very full lives. Often too full. So full, in fact that many of us feel that our day to day lives have become an avalanche of events and we are like a pack of hounds chasing our tails in a frenzy of FOMO confusion. (FOMO, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out). [Read more…]

Give Yourself Something Worth Celebrating!


The end of the financial year never really had much significance for me; June 30 meant checking the letter box for my group certificate and making an appointment for my tax return. But I was reflecting on the fact that half the year had gone by (and so so quickly) and I realised that if I didn’t stop and consider things, the rest of the year would disappear without warning. I didn’t (and don’t) want to get to Christmas 2015 and think to myself ‘damn, I wished I checked in to see how I was travelling’.

Of course, I can say that now. Now that I’ve done it. I pulled out my lined journal that I wrote my goals in for 2015 and had a little look-see to check on my progress. What I found was very illuminating! [Read more…]