Tips for green house renovation by Denby Dowling

Denby Dowling is an interior designer specialising in new builds, renovations and additions. Denby and her team design, build, renovate, restore and create unique, custom-built homes and space. 

Here is her tips for a green house renovation

Tips for green house renovation by Denby Dowling

1. Find the right designer

Easier said than done, right? I chose to work with Denby Dowling because      aesthetically, I love her work. But just as importantly, she is as passionate about sustainability as I am. 

I throw a lot of constraints at Denby, and her solutions and ideas are always creative and gorgeous. As far as the architecture goes I finally found Paul Adams from Fairweather Homes to work with after liaising with seven architects, who all said “NO, couldn’t be done”. Paul finally said YES it can!!

2. Objectives and standards

Every custom home-build or renovation has goals, and every project will require some of those goals to be compromised. Before you start building your green house, make a list of your standards. What are you willing to compromise on and what are you not?

Your goal may be for all the materials you use to be recycled. But maybe you’re willing to compromise for sustainably sourced and manufactured materials, when recycled materials aren’t available. (This was one of my compromises with the Impossible House.) One of my “no-compromise” tenets is not to use any new concrete.

 3. Provide visual direction

 This can be a physical bulletin board, a Pinterest board, or a concept folder where you collect images and articles that inspire you and reflect your vision, in terms of both aesthetics and sustainability. A mood board gives your designer a solid starting point.

 When I first hired Denby, I started a Pinterest account and shared it with her, not only did that give her a really good idea of what I like, I had fun dreaming about what my home will end up looking like.

4. Be savvy

There’s a lot of hyperbole and a lack of transparency when it comes to sustainable building. Many materials seem sustainable at first, but when you look deeper into the sourcing or manufacturing, the story is darker. For example, you may find out that your renewable bamboo lumber is covered in a synthetic finish or your terrazzo floor is held together by toxic glue. 

Some vendors label their products “green” but don’t actually know or share their sourcing and processing. Transparency is key in buying actual sustainable building materials. Don’t take the suppliers at face value. Ask for information and supply-tracing. 

5. Source locally

Use your local vendors, furniture makers, artists and artisans. Avoid mass produced “factory” items. And remember, recycling and upcycling is best.

6. Talk to your local council

Most city councils are beginning to adopt sustainable practices and will go out of their way to support your sustainable home project. Along those lines, I’d like to give a shout out to Sydney’s Inner West Council – Australia’s most progressive council, in my humble opinion. 


A man and woman sleeping well, Tips to sleep well, Thrive E magazine Issue 7

Quality sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a good diet, as its deprivation or disruption can have negative effects on hormones, exercise performance and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk. Top tips for better sleep.

Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity have been declining. However, the incidence of sleep issues has increased since the pandemic, with all its associated fear and uncertainly, upheaval, restrictions and lifestyle changes according to experts.

It’s a problem everywhere, across all age groups – it’s being called `coronasomnia’. It’s very real and very widespread.

COVID has given us many reasons to lose sleep but the huge changes in routines and the decreased activity for many people due to restrictions has led to a veritable pandemic of insomnia or other sleep disturbances.

It’s a problem everywhere, across all age groups – it’s being called `coronasomnia’. It’s very real and very widespread,” says Angela Drake, a UC Davis Health* clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, who has treated sleep disorders and is trained in managing insomnia without medications. * UC Davis is a renowned Californian academic medical centre:

Insomnia was a problem before COVID-19. Now, from what we know anecdotally, the increase is enormous.”

Says Kimberly Hardin, a UC Davis Health professor in the Internal Medicine Department, co-director of the sleep centre and the director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program: “COVID-19 is causing a huge amount of anxiety for so many people.

People worry about jobs, about their kids being home, about getting sick. There’s a lot more anxiety, fear and depression – and those can cause insomnia.

Some top tips for making your ZZZZZs achieve an A-plus:

1. Increase bright light exposure during the day

According to leading sports scientist Rudy Mawer writing for Healthline (, your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as the circadian rhythm.

It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep,” says Rudy.

Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.

2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening 

There are several popular methods you can use to reduce night-time blue light exposure. These include:

  • Wear glasses that block blue light.
  • Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
  • Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
  • Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights two hours before heading to bed.”

3. Cut down on the caffeine 

Caffeine promotes alertness by inhibiting chemicals in the brain that promote sleep and, especially when consumed late in the day, it stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.

It is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and reaches peak levels within 30-70 minutes. Its effects can then last three to seven hours, but it may take up to 24 hours to fully eliminate caffeine from the body, according to Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation:

If you want to get your sleep on track, quit the caffeine after midday,” she says. “If you can’t come to terms with cutting out coffee after that, try substituting it with the decaffeinated variety.

4. Don’t consume alcohol to excess, or late in the day 

A sleepy woman holding a glass of red wine, trying to sleep, Sleep Well, Thrive Issue 7

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down,” says Danielle Pacheco, writing for the US Sleep Foundation, medically reviewed by prominent sleep physician Dr Abhinav Singh: 

Alcohol has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but the consumption of alcohol – especially in excess – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration. 

Research has shown sleepers who drink large amounts of alcohol before going to bed are often prone to delayed sleep onset. 

5. Nip napping in the bud 

An “power” nap may refresh and give you more energy to get on with the rest of your day. However, if you make a habit of it, or are a poor night-time sleeper anyway, daytime snoozes can confuse your internal clock and you may struggle to sleep well at night.

It’s also recommended to sleep and wake at consistent times – your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.

6. The magic of melatonin 

A woman sleepless during bedtime, Sleep Well, Thrive E magazine

Often referred to as the sleep hormone, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland and is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and helping to orient the circadian rhythm.

Melatonin can be produced externally in a laboratory, most often sold as a pill, capsule, chewable, or liquid. A medical grade melatonin tablet, Circadin, once available only on prescription, is now available over the counter in Australia for people aged 55 and over.

Talking with a doctor about melatonin and sleeping problems can help reveal whether a person has a medical condition, such as sleep apnoea.

7. Marvellous Magnesium 

Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. 

It can be taken orally in powder, tablet or capsule form, in oil form massaged into the skin, or used as bath salts – a common type is Epsom Salts.

8. Keep it moving 

Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to enhance all aspects of sleep and health. In one US study, in people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. 

9. Avoid sleeping pills and sedatives 

According to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel – – drawbacks of these drugs include daytime sleepiness, failure to address the causes of sleeping problems, and the “rebound” effect. After a stint of using sleeping pills or sedatives, falling asleep without them tends to be even harder. 

10. Improve your sleeping environment

Quality, comfortable and clean mattresses, pillows and bedding (collectively known as sleep hygiene) are fundamental to good sleep. Good sleep is more likely if your bedroom feels restful and comfortable. 

11. Avoid late might eatings 

A man eating a slice of pizza late night while watching a movie can affect his sleep, Sleep Well, Thrive Issue 7

When we eat late at night, especially a large and/or rich meal, the muscles that digest and metabolise food have to keep working when they should be resting, according to dietitian Kate Watts, for Cone Health, a private, not-for-profit, healthcare delivery system based in the US –

Try to leave at least two hours between your last meal or snack and bedtime. If you often have night-time heartburn, stop eating 3-4 hours before lying down.

12. Relax!

A man taking bath before going to bed can help in sleeping, Sleep well, Thrive Magazine Issue 7

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia and other sleep issues. Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, meditating, deep breathing, meditation and visualisation. 


A woman in a white stress standing next to paintings on a blue wall, Thrive E Magazine

In the fight against climate change and reduction of emissions, what can we do as a society to aid the cause. 

Apart from a fundamental shift in collective thinking – as evidenced by the growing number of people who seek to be more socially responsible and live sustainably, to care for this planet and its future – we need to design smarter and more efficient buildings, retrofit existing houses with technology to reduce energy and water use and, of course, we need to reduce waste.

The implementation of sustainability principles as part of the interior design process is a rapidly growing concept in Australia and the need for sustainable environment is an obligation, rather than a will, in order to survive.

My role as a sustainably focused interior designer is not only to recycle, upcycle and re-use pre-loved furnishings, it is to encompass bespoke designs, advise on and incorporate materials, fixtures, fittings and finishes which meet with sustainable design practices and “green” codes (a vitally important role when it comes to green builds and renovations). 

Our practice helps clients to realise that living, building, renovation and/or updating in a green manner is not so scary, costly or unobtainable. 

Opting to “go green” is an accessible process for all these days for those who want to live in a healthier home, work in healthier offices – which in turn are kinder to the world we live in.

So, what are the first steps when considering “going green”? 

1,2,3: research, research, research! 

Don’t just listen to the hype or take direction from those who only want to make a fast buck by jumping on the sustainability bandwagon.

It is important that you gain some knowledge to set your own personal goals in the process of realising your green dream.  

As you would for any design project, create a concept/mood board or Pinterest page which helps you see your vision on paper/screen. Concept boards are a great way to communicate the direction you wish to go, to all the people involved in the project, whether it be an architect, interior designer, builder, solar and/or water expert, or any trades person for that matter. 

Subscribe to Renew, which provides expert, independent advice on sustainable solutions: www://

A contemporary green home case study: The Impossible House

A blue chair with colourful curtains beside a red table lamp, Thrive E Magazine

The Impossible House dares to ask the question, can a green house really be as gorgeous and as affordable as any other designer home?

Laura Ryan is a finance professional who dared to dream about sustainable living since her early childhood.

Her vision to renovate a tiny heritage-listed worker’s cottage in the inner Sydney suburb of Newtown has since moved on to be a major undertaking, with many obstacles. 

These obstacles, however, have not hindered Laura in her quest to challenge outdated views surrounding sustainability.

“The idea that being sustainable means you can’t shower for three days, or there is no heating and poor lighting is rubbish!” she says.

Laura’s home will have all the usual creature comforts, be well designed, beautifully decorated and will reflect her personal style. 

Perhaps what doesn’t come to mind when considering a green home is a colourful and effusive interior design, with eye-catching wallpaper, beautiful furnishings and designer fixtures, fittings and appliances. 

“I want to challenge the stereotype that being green is daggy,” she continues.

“I want to host dinner parties where people compliment me on my exquisite decor, not my incinerator toilet. The Impossible House is about proving that the `impossible’ is actually quite possible.”

Another goal is for this project to be replicable anyone. 

“To that end, I need the cost of this renovation to be on par with that of any renovation of a similarly-sized, comparable house.

“Thus far, there has been much trial and error involved in the Impossible House project. I’ve learned a lot along the way. So here I am, writing about my mistakes, in the hopes that others won’t repeat them.”


A man receiving botox is the new aesthetics boom, Thrive E Magazine, Issue 7, Health and Wellness Magazine

The losses, upheavals, restrictions and comprehensive lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic have resulted in an unexpected outcome – a surge in demand for cosmetic medical treatments.

Flying in the face of a sharp downturn in many industries and businesses since the COVID crisis, a surprising new trend has emerged. 

Over the past year, Australians have been flocking to receive non-surgical cosmetic medical treatments such as Botulinum toxin (anti-wrinkle) and dermal filler injections – the most sought-after procedures – laser skin resurfacing,  intense pulsed light (IPL), non-invasive body contouring and general laser treatments to enhance their appearance.

The Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) – the leading representative body for medical practitioners practising non- or minimally-invasive cosmetic medical treatments in Australasia – recently conducted a member survey that showed an unprecedented surge in clinics seeing new patients seeking these procedures in the last 12 months.

According to the survey, there has been a massive 41.5 percent increase in new patients who have never previously had aesthetic treatments.

According to the CPCA survey, there has been a massive 41.5 percent increase in new patients who have never previously had aesthetic treatments.

The survey attributes the top three key drivers as: 

  1. An inability to travel, leading to more disposable income
  2. More time available due to working from home 
  3. A general dissatisfaction with one’s appearance after staring at it for collective hours on video calls such as Zoom (also known as the Zoom Boom effect)

Other factors include social media influences and a general desire to improve appearance.

While, individually, our College’s members have noticed an increase in new patients requesting non-surgical aesthetic treatments, we had no idea that collectively this figure would be so high,” says CPCA President Dr Michael Molton, Principal Cosmetic Medical Doctor/Senior Medical Officer at Adelaide’s Epiclinic.

I personally have seen new patients facing unemployment who are applying for new jobs and getting back into the workforce, seeking these treatments. 

The great thing is that while these procedures enhance someone’s aesthetic appearance, they also contribute significantly to their psychological wellbeing.”

“It’s also wonderful to see the message getting through that these procedures are cosmetic medical procedures and should be performed by trained and experienced health practitioners.”

The CPCA provides education, training and ethical practice standards for its Fellows and Members, who are required to have relevant training and experience as prerequisites for admission to the College. 

Members are required to keep abreast of the most up-to-date, relevant information and latest medical and scientific advances. Overall, the key role of the CPCA is to develop and maintain the highest standards in cosmetic medicine.

Dr Micheal Molton

“With a level of uncertainty still lingering, whether it be financial or health concerns due to COVID-19 and potential lockdowns, there seems to be an ever-increasing shift towards non-invasive procedures, which are considered lower-risk than invasive surgery,” says Dr Molton.

“These procedures offer a wide array of aesthetic enhancement benefits that are effective, time efficient, with little to no downtime and achieve great results that are almost instantaneous.

“Travel restrictions have also resulted in many people reinvesting this money in themselves. Many of our patients have decided that money spent on self-care is money well spent.

The inability to travel has meant more time and more funds for patients to invest in treatments – and let’s face it, looking good is synonymous with feeling good.


A woman receiving botox is the new aesthetics boom, Thrive E Magazine, Issue 7, Health and Wellness Magazine

Of the doctors who responded to the survey, 65 percent have found that patients are more frequently requesting multiple treatments per visit.

An overwhelming 75 percent of patients are requesting a combination of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers in the one treatment, with the next most common combinations being Botulinum toxin/dermal filler and Botulinum toxin/threads (each 8 percent), Botulinum toxin/body contouring and skin resurfacing/threads (each 4 percent).


Botulinum toxin is an injectable muscle relaxant, commonly used to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the surface of the skin by relaxing muscles beneath, for instance across the forehead, between the brows or “crows feet” around the eyes. 

Dermal fillers are a gel-based treatment injected into the skin. The gel imitates a naturally occurring substance within the body – hyaluronic acid (HA), a sugar molecule that exists naturally in almost all living organisms. 

Threads (aka thread lift). Instead of removing a patient’s loose facial skin surgically, a cosmetic surgeon places temporary sutures (threads) under the skin to “stitch up” portions of it to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the face. 

Non-invasive body contouring is an umbrella term for fat dissolving and skin-tightening procedures that involve the use of devices that harness various types of energies, such as ultrasound, radiofrequency or cryolipolysis (aka “fat freezing”), to achieve a shapelier, more toned-looking body in multiple sessions. Many people choose these over surgical procedures such as liposuction as they are minimally invasive and have minimal downtime.

Skin resurfacing involving laser is designed to reduce facial lines and wrinkles and skin irregularities, such age spots, scars, acne scars, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, enlarged oil glands and warts. This technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a type of light therapy used to minimise or remove age spots, sun damage, freckles, birthmarks, varicose veins, broken blood vessels on the face, rosacea and hair on the face, neck, back, chest, legs, underarms, or bikini line. IPL is similar to a laser treatment. However, a laser focuses just one wavelength of light at the  skin, while IPL releases light of many different wavelengths, like a photo flash.


Darkside of a fairytale, Thrive E-magazine Issue 7, Health and Wellness Magazine

Princess Mary’s best friend and bridesmaid seemed to have it all. Just goes to show the veneer is just that.

She was the fairytale bridesmaid, supporting her best friend as she married a European crown prince, in a ceremony watched by millions around the globe.

Amber Petty’s life from the outside looked magical indeed: she was variously an executive at Mushroom Records, had “dream” jobs in magazines, was a contestant on Celebrity Survivor Australia, and a co-host of a breakfast radio show in Adelaide. 

And then of course there was That royal wedding in 2004, when Tasmanian Mary Donaldson became Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, wife of the future King, Frederik.  

However, behind the scenes Amber’s life was tumultuous.

Magazine colleagues tried to use her for “Mary gossip” to write salacious stories. Her love life fell apart so dramatically that she found herself fearing for her life (more than once), and the toxic pressures of life working in commercial breakfast radio became unbearable.

The icing on the proverbial cake came via a “gotcha call” set up by her radio co-host. 

At that point, Amber was forced to put herself under the microscope to find out why she kept attracting so many smiling assassins. And, perhaps – more importantly – why she’d allowed them to stay.

She began a decade of inner work and soul searching, her discoveries from which are gems peppered throughout her first book, This is not a Love Song, with the aim of helping those who have found themselves in similar situations.

“I know of so many people stuck in a mental and spiritual crisis, with trauma repeating in their lives, unable to break the cycle,” she says.

“I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’ve been able to learn some valuable lessons that I hope others might benefit from.”

Following are extracts from This is Not a Love Song.


In the early 2000s, Amber’s best friend, Mary Donaldson, left Australia to pursue her relationship with heir to the Danish throne Prince Frederik, who she’d met during the Sydney Olympics:

Things between Mary and her new Danish man progressed slowly yet steadily over the next 12 months. The long-distance courtship continued, with Frederik making trips back to Australia to spend time with her. 

There was no reference point for me to get my head around how life might look like if Mary and Frederik went the distance. Well, there was, but I found it too scary to think about. All I had was my intuition that he, a man from a very different world, appeared sincere and that their connection was growing at a natural pace.

A year or so later Mary decided to leave for Paris. It made perfect sense. She and Frederik needed more time to be in each other’s company. With the media in Australia on high alert it was no longer feasible to meet in Sydney. Nor was it in Copenhagen. Paris was the perfect (and romantic) stepping stone.

Mary smiled sweetly, tenderly, like a mother being gentle with her child. She knew I meant it – it was my way of saying I was struggling. And I was. I truly was.

The night before Mary flew out, we organised farewell drinks at one of her favourite pubs in Woollahra – a small gathering of her closest friends. The two of us made a pact to leave together so we could say goodbye privately. I’m not going to lie, I bloody hated that party, but I did my best to put on a brave face. 

The truth was I was happy she’d found love, she deserved it.

At the end of the night we made our excuses and headed off. There was a lot of hugging and well wishes, with a few friends promising to look after me (the child), while she was gone. 

I felt dumb and sulky standing among everyone clinking Coronas and chardonnays, bidding final farewells, while Jamiroquai’s Space Cowboy played way too loudly. Heading towards Oxford Street, it felt somehow surreal. And unbelievably sad.


This comes from a chapter called Playing in the Dark, when Amber was hosting the SAFM breakfast show in Adelaide with Dave “Rabbit” Rabbetts. At the time, Amber was in a relationship with a man named Travis (not his real name) whom she met while filming Celebrity Survivor in 2006.

Over nearly six months of living there, the pool water kept mysteriously turning Kermit green – no matter what I did or how many times I called the local pool guy to blitz it with chemicals.  

Darkside of a fairytale, Thrive E-magazine Issue 7, Health and Wellness Magazine

I saw photos of a young blonde on his phone which he insisted were taken between cameras rolling on a locally made TV show he was working on. 

There were photos of a woman naked from the waist down, asleep on a couch, apparently sent to him by a “d**khead mate”. And still I let him stay. Even worse, I continued to share a bed with him.

I thought by trusting Travis when we came to Adelaide I had a chance to be proven wrong. I tried to convince myself that somehow I was more in control now I had a job and a house with my name on the lease. But I was kidding myself. All I was doing was enabling both of us. 

Fears of humiliation buzzed like a fly around my head every single day.

Finally, after another call to the police and Travis taking off to stay “at a mate’s house”, I decided I needed help. I didn’t know what his limits were anymore. 

I chose the Big Radio Boss to tell my secret to because, while he was the person I wanted to impress more than anyone, I also knew he was tough and I needed someone to be alert on my behalf. To know if something happened to me that he would be aware. He could testify. He could get justice for my family.

I made one more bad decision before calling it a day with Travis. A month after my hotel stint, in which time Travis had gone to stay with a “mate” after I made it clear I was sharing the truth about us to my boss, I allowed him back home. His tears and pleading and begging for one last try had worn me down. It wasn’t long before we were up to our old tricks.

I came home early from work one Friday to find Travis’s computer open and still on. It was sitting near the front door recharging. I couldn’t help myself. I refreshed his screen, revealing the last website he’d been on. It appeared to be a dating site – a nasty one called Red Hot Pie.

As I waded through the long list of relationship items most women wouldn’t have put up with, I chose Red Hot Pie to be most outraged about. When I confronted Travis, we ended up in a Once Were Warriors style clash. He punched me hard in the stomach with a clenched fist.

One second I was standing, feeling his spit on my face as he screamed “You f***ing crazy b*tch, stay away from my things”. The next I’m in the foetal position gasping for air, terrified it was never going to come.

Travis didn’t come for me again that day and I think I went into shock over what had happened. A functioning shock where I could still show up for work and be playful and fun – but I was a shell. I didn’t know how to process so I stayed quiet for a week or so. I didn’t even know how to tell him to get out of my house. I didn’t know who I was dealing with. I didn’t know people like him. But yet, here I was.

The months that followed felt like the calm after a terrible storm. Once I left the station for the day, I’d spend most of my time alone. In silence.

Soon the loneliness was replaced with something more urgent, more aggressive. At night I would lie in bed thrashing back and forth like an addict going cold turkey.

My anxiety was so bad I could hardly breathe. I would claw at my bed sheets and pillows, wanting to rip them apart. It was like I was trying to get outside of myself or away from myself. Away from the feeling I didn’t understand. I hated the world and I hated that I couldn’t find any joy. I couldn’t hold any sort of gratitude.

I chose to get professional help to find out if what I was feeling was depression. The thing was I knew, on my dad’s side, mental illness (and suicide) was a thing. A very real thing. It’s how he lost his mother. It’s how she lost her father. So maybe, I thought, there was a chance, this might just be my time.

I made an appointment to see a GP with the sole mission of admitting I was scared. I was dreading the appointment. 

“What can I help you with today?’” the doctor asked once I’d sat down. Suddenly I felt like someone had just turned the MCG lights on in my head, like I’d look up and see a packed crowd in the grandstands staring down, waiting for my reply. 

He wanted me to know he’d been going to a :healing energy centre” and suggested I look into it. “I think you’ll like it. It’s spiritual, like you.”

This side of him was what had made me fall in something with him back in Vanuatu. Reading his text, I remembered what it was about the two of us, once upon a time before hell.

Darkside of a fairytale, Thrive E-magazine Issue 7, Health and Wellness Magazine

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the healing centre. All I knew was one door had shut and I needed to open another – fast. It wasn’t a case of hoping to bide my time so I could ride through my rough patch and feel good again. I couldn’t remember when I’d genuinely felt good but if you’d asked me when I started feeling worse it began when I left Julian, shutting the door on pain and running. Back when I was 27.

It was time to take back my power. Although it would not come without a fight.

This is Not a Love Song by Amber Petty is available from Booktopia, all good bookstores and


Kindred Spirits, Delta Goodrem, Thrive E magazine Issue 7

The Sydney-based label behind the Fashion With Heart initiative, We Are Kindred, has become synonymous with romantic, “Bohemian luxe” floral dresses and jumpsuits, metallic mesh slip dresses and silk blouses.

It was founded in 2013 by sisters Lizzie and Georgie Renkert, who together have more than 30 years’ experience in fashion. 

Kindred Spirits, Delta Goodrem, Thrive E magazine Issue 7

Lizzie, a former magazine editor (including the glossy monthly Madison) and TV host (Project Runway) has known Delta Goodrem for many years. Georgie studied fashion and has years of experience in design, buying and production.

The sisters wanted to find a way to make a difference and decided to support the work of Delta’s Foundation. Fashion With Heart was conceived.

Working with Delta to create these beautiful scarves has been a dream,” says Lizzie. “We are so fortunate to have our health and wanted to find a way to give back in a meaningful way.

Working with the Delta Goodrem Foundation and being able to contribute to the wonderful work the Foundation does sits perfectly with us.”

We know our loyal Kindreds will be thrilled to know that every dollar spent on these scarves will be donated on their behalf to do good.

Known for bespoke floral prints, delicate detailing and a touch of Bohemia, We Are Kindred has developed a cult aesthetic, taking inspiration from nature.

We Are Kindred has a head office and flagship boutique in Sydney’s Paddington, and a thriving e-store.

For more information about Fashion With Heart and to buy an exquisite scarf, please visit


Heart of gold, Delta Goodrem, Thrive E magazine Issue 7

Singer, songwriter and actress Delta Goodrem’s life was changed irrevocably after suffering Hodgkins Lymphoma at 18. Having battled and beaten the cancer, one her greatest dreams has been to repay the help she received and love and kindness shown. This has now been realised with the launch of her own Foundation. Delta talks to Thrive.

In June 2020, Delta Goodrem launched the Delta Goodrem Foundation which strives to spread kindness, hope and support for those facing illness, hardship and inequality. 

The Foundation launched with a lead collaboration with St Sydney’s Vincent’s Hospital and The Kinghorn Cancer to help fund medical research in cellular therapy for blood cancers and auto-immune diseases. 

Cellular therapies uses a patient’s own cells as treatment. It has the potential to transform bone marrow transplantation and cure many types of blood cancers and other diseases as well as help to fight infection and increase immunity. 

The goal of the Delta Goodrem Foundation and St Vincent’s Hospital partnership is to bring together their lab research and patient trials along with their international collaborations to rapidly advance therapies and interventions that will alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide afflicted with malignant and auto-immune diseases.

 For more information visit:

Delta also recently collaborated with longtime friend Lizzie Renkert, co-founder and director of Australian fashion label We Are Kindred, to launch the Fashion Heart with Heart initiative: 

At the heart of the campaign are exquisite scarves, all proceeds from sales of which will go to the Delta Goodrem Foundation.

I am forever grateful for the care and kindness that I received at St Vincent’s during my own cancer treatment. The doctors and nurses were my angels, and the hospital is very close to my heart. 

Here Delta talks exclusively to Thrive magazine:

Q. How did the collaboration with Lizzie Renkert and Fashion With Heart come about and what inspired the idea of scarves being at the centre of it?

Lizzie and I have been friends for many years. Recently she shared an idea to collaborate, and I was very inspired by her and honoured that she thought of the Delta Goodrem Foundation. 

We began developing the idea further, decided on scarves and then went through the creative processes of deciding fabrics and designs.  

Heart of gold, Delta Goodrem, Thrive E magazine Issue 7

Q. How has the campaign been going?

The collaboration has been a terrific partnership – everyone has really loved the scarves. It has been very meaningful to be able to combine fashion and the Delta Goodrem Foundation to help support cutting edge cellular therapy research at St Vincent’s.

Q. Your support for St Vincents Hospital and Kinghorn Cancer Centre, as well as cancer patients overall, has been nothing short of stupendous. What has driven you all these years to maintain such dedication?

I am forever grateful for the care and kindness that I received at St Vincent’s during my own cancer treatment.

The doctors and nurses were my angels, and the hospital is very close to my heart.

I am committed to giving back to St Vincent’s, the doctors, nurses, and patients going through treatment in any way that I can.

Q. Congratulations on your recent number 1! You made quite an impact at Australian Fashion Week singing your hit in that spectacular dress. Which brings us to the tour in September/October. Can you give us a “preview” of what concertgoers can look forward to?

The concert will be a mixture of new songs from my Bridge Over Troubled Dreams album along with favourite songs from throughout the years. 

Delta has announced her Bridge Over Troubled Dreams headlining arena tour throughout Australia and New Zealand in September and October 2021. $1+ GST from every tour ticket purchased is being donated to the Delta Goodrem Foundation.

Tickets are on sale now. For more information visit:


Kindness. Its the new KPT, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

The world has changed irrevocably over the last year. And the importance of showing kindness and empathy has never been a greater key performance index (KPI) in life and business, writes Lee-Anne Carter.

Isolation is an absolutely mind-blowing scenario – there is a reason as an extreme form of punishment people are sent to isolation.

And as a result of Covid 19 many of us have experienced just how punishing it can be. 

There is no negating we have been under extreme duress, unprecedented stress from so many angles. 

Many of us losing livelihoods, not to mention recreation space, routines, sleep, time alone – or on the flip side having too much time alone – and I have not even touched on the incredibly distressing loss of loved ones, or not being able to be there for loved ones. 

Anxiety has approached us at every turn and no-one really knows when or how it will finally, truly be over. 

But when did it turn adults, some adults I should say – but professional adults no less – into cyber bullies?

It would stand to reason that the past year has been a time to support, to reach out, to assist each other, to put differences aside and opt for understanding, no? 

So, it was with real dismay that I recently noticed something that I had not witnessed before on a networking business platform. 

Some of the comments became – for want of a better explanation – pure vitriol. Some were pushing political agendas or extreme viewpoints but most were taking people part for no seeming reason other than they did not share opinions.

One participant in this flurry of negativity had re-posted a column from a newspaper writer, deriding the author (who is a friend, but that is not the point) who had written a very obviously tongue-in-cheek piece, which I found spectacularly funny and en pointe. 

But the re-poster had, it seems intently, set out to shame them in no uncertain terms. 

I wanted to wade in and clarify. Actually I did, then promptly deleted my comment as I did not want to exacerbate the situation. 

But it has sat with me that someone could be so scornful, and downright bullying, to personally attack in such a format. For what? For writing a humorous piece that they did not see the humour in? 

In another thread of discourse, a personal attack on someone else’s opinion resulted in a not so thinly veiled insinuation of them belonging to the [Nazi] Brownshirts – actually, the Brownshirts were mentioned so it was not even veiled! 

The comments section of a business connection platform – and of course personal connection platforms – are not meant to be a personal battleground. For discussion, discourse and even dissent, yes. For personal attack? Never.

Are people truly not aware of how damaging, and destroying this kind of behaviour can be? At any time, let alone in this time frame, when isolation and fear is creating a veritable Pandora’s Box of mental health issues, where the slightest thing can tip someone over the edge of that very thin precipice they are balancing on? 

Anxiety has approached us at every turn and no-one really knows when or how it will finally, truly be over. But when did it turn some adults into cyber bullies?

Before Covid 19, one in five people globally suffered from anxiety. Social anxiety media became a term as people experienced social anxiety for not measuring up, and initiatives such as the Washington Post’s launch of the s(ad) blocker, which allowed people to receive only positive news, were already being established, such was the need. 

I am not of the ilk that I cannot tolerate differing opinions. I actually have an issue with how non-resilient we are becoming as a society, and how so few voices can drown out so many with just a well-aimed phrase, such as “racist” or “religious” or “sexist”. 

What I am saying is that there are ways to comment, to have a discussion, to argue a point, to have one’s side of the story heard – and bullying, attacking, disparaging or calling someone names is certainly not it.

I live by the adage: “I disagree with what you say but will fight to death your right to say it.” (Attributed to Voltaire, generally). 

Kindness has recently been touted as the newest key performance index (KPI) for forward-thinking companies. It is a measure of tolerance, empathy and emotional intelligence which is the new biggie for businesses globally, and one we will be hearing a lot more of. 

This new focus on kindness and optimism has been fuelling a range of positivity movements, to empower people, to reach out and re-connect, to feel good about themselves.

When freedom of thought and opinion is gone, there simply is no freedom. And when kindness and empathy are eradicated, we simply cease to be human (the kind anyone wants to know, that is!).

In this current world of distress and instability, there is much to be said for tempering reactions with positivity and kindness. 

You do not know what anyone else is dealing with, and it should not matter – kindness costs nothing. 

As UK TV presenter Caroline Flack, who took her own life last year aged 40 [a coronial inquest found she had done so after an “exacerbation and fluctuation” of ill health and distress] posted in an incredibly heartfelt message: “In a world where you can be anything – be kind.”

Kindness is the new KPI, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Australian born journalist Lee-Anne Carter is an editor, storyteller-writer, creative director and trend forecaster who for nearly nine years was Swarovski’s Head of Global Trend Intelligence, Marketing and Communications, based in Austria. Now based in Marrakesh, Morocco, she has launched the Creative Soul agency, specialising in creative direction, trend analysis, consumer insights and consultancy.


Mindful ways to stress less , Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Wellness guru Lee Holmes shares her top tips for taming the beast, quickly and naturally.

Over the past year, one thing that’s exponentially increased, along with the use of the phrase “unprecedented times”, is the global experience of stress.  

In a nutshell, what is stress?

Well, your adrenal system performs various functions, including producing the stress hormone cortisol. While cortisol has a terrible reputation, it’s needed it to keep us alive. Without it, people from the Paleolithic times wouldn’t have run from tigers, and hipsters in Bondi now wouldn’t run from dairy (sorry not sorry).

Cortisol is essential for regulating blood sugar, metabolism and cognitive function. The problem with cortisol, like most things, is when you have too much of it. Chronic cortisol can send your body into overdrive, weakening your ability to function daily, impacting your immune and digestive system, as well as your hormones. Stress can also negatively impact mental health.

I believe that relieving stress is a daily practice. While there are so many things out of our control, empower yourself to control what you can. We can be present, go slow and do something every day to manage our stress.

Some of my favourite ways to manage stress are with mindfulness activities:

Thrive Issue 6, Mindful ways to stress less

Walk it off

I believe walking is one of the most therapeutic exercises you can do for mind and body. I try to start every day with a walk. If I’m alone, I’ll try point out to myself things I can hear, smell, feel and see. 

I can listen to the wind rustle the trees, smell my neighbour’s new banana bread, feel the ground beneath my feet and see leaves on the floor. This exercise awakens your senses and keeps you in the present. 

If you’re in a moment of stress while at your desk, doing this activity sitting down will only take a few moments and is a great way to bring yourself back to earth.

Do a scan

It’s easy to hold tension in lots of places in the body, including the shoulders, neck, jaw and abdomen. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and like my body is stiffening because of it, I love doing a body scan meditation.

While there are beautiful body scan meditations on various apps, here’s a basic version. With your eyes closed, think about your feet; each toe, the back of the foot and then your ankle. 

Slowly focus on each area, moving up the body until you reach the top of your head. If you feel the tension in a specific body part, visualise that tension and then let it go.

Get to the guts of it

If my stomach ties itself up in knots, I’ll do a simple tummy massage, which is excellent for relieving stress and anxiety and muscle aches and pains. You can read all about self-stomach massage here:

Using oil in the Ayurvedic practice of “abhyunga” can also help to get deep into the muscles and promote relaxation.

Based on your personal Ayurvedic constitution or dosha, you can read more about Ayurveda here in my book Eat Right for Your Shape – – various oils can be used to balance the body:

Vata Dosha: sesame, avocado or almond oil

Pitta Dosha: olive, coconut or ghee

Kapha Dosha: flaxseed or sesame 

Tridoshic Oil: Jojoba oil

2-minute stress less activities 

When you’re in a rush and need some calming down stat, the following are great to bring you back to the present and calm the stressors:

Box breathing: Exhale completely through your mouth. Then close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale completely through your mouth, for a count of 4. Hold for 4 seconds at the bottom, and then repeat. 

Tense and release: Tense all of your muscles for a count of five, and then release.


  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but over-consuming caffeine can wreak havoc on cortisol levels. If you do drink coffee, I recommend having one coffee a day before midday. Great alternatives to coffee are home-made chai teas, dandelion tea and herbal teas. 
  • Another tip I encourage you to do is switch off your social media a few hours while you rise in the morning and before bed to help you wind down. 
  • To regulate blood sugar levels, and monitor your stress, nourish yourself throughout the day. Are you looking for foods to elevate your mood? Check out some options here:
  • I recommend seeking guidance from a health care professional, and getting support from trusted friends, family or loved ones, too.


About the Author 

Mindful ways to stress less, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Lee Holmes is a clinical nutritionist (Adv. Diploma of Integrative Nutritional Therapeutics), yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, founder and blogger at and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health. 


There is a time to provide advice and offer an opinion – especially if asked – and there is a time not to. Don’t be too quick to offer unsolicited advice, as it can cause offence or upset. If on the receiving end, reacting harshly to it can equally cause friction in your relationship with the “advisor”, whether a family member, friend or colleague. How to navigate giving and receiving advice.

We all have those moments in life when we are placed in a situation where family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and even strangers will provide you with unwelcome advice. 

People who repeatedly give unwanted advice can be well-meaning … nonetheless, there are times where a deeper, more personal issue of validation or power might be a factor. 

I feel I’ve had my fair share of that over the years – how to have a baby, how to raise a child, where to send them to school, how to provide the best nutrition, where I should invest money, how to treat illnesses or how to cope when you are “just having a bad day?”. 

It can be tempting to react harshly [to unwanted advice] but you may find yourself being classified as the “damager” of relationships. Self-control and a clear script can lead to the best and most graceful response.

People who repeatedly give unwanted advice can be well-meaning and genuinely want to help. Nonetheless there are times where a deeper, more personal issue of validation or power might be a factor. 

It can be tempting to react harshly [to unwanted advice] but you may find yourself being classified as the “damager” of relationships. Self-control and a clear script can lead to the best and most graceful response.

At times, learned childhood behaviour when people were at their loudest to gain attention can cause an eternal need for it. Further, a chronically stressful or unsupportive environment where a person may have felt unheard can cultivate a sense of self-worth around the ability to influence the actions of others. 

I’ve always found it interesting to explore a) what motivates people to provide advice and b) how the recipient responds. Many times I have seen a split or change in certain conversations if part of the family/friend group continually provides unwanted advice. As a consequence, this can cause relationship breakdowns.

Nonetheless, there is hope for both parties involved. It’s all about a touch of awareness and empathy towards each other.

To the person who loves giving advice – do you notice that at times, because you have gone through a similar situation before that you might be able to add valuable insight? Great!

Responding to unsolicited advice is an art form. However, learning how to master it is imperative to protect your self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing. Take a step back from the situation and consider how you can respond from a thoughtful versus reactive place, you can turn unwanted advice into a learning and growth experience.


  1. How is my friend/family presenting emotionally? Are they angry, upset, irritated, anxious? Make sure the recipient is in the right headspace to process the advice or advice can be misconstrued. 
  2. Is this the right time to provide advice? Might I be best to just sit and listen today? Sometimes the best advice to give is a good ear. It’s amazing how much cognitive processing and solutions are found through listening along with fostering a culture of respect.
  3. What is the best way I can deliver my advice?  How has it been perceived in the past? 
  4. Why do I feel I need to give advice? It’s important to take stock over the intention of why you want to share; or are you just providing an opinion? Are you yourself feeling vulnerable or not being heard in your own life?  When life gets tough, it can become easy to project our unhappiness or personal dissatisfaction on those close around us.


  1. Take time to assess the situation both from a physical sense and an emotional one. Stand up straight, take 10 deep breathes and try to collect yourself. You can even nod to the advisor while you are trying to process the words and regulate your body and heart rate.
  2. Provide some empathy and put yourself in their shoes – why do they continually give advice? Are they lonely? Are they not being heard in their own lives? Building a good defence against this is realising that everyone has an opinion – you can’t take their ideas about your life personally. 
  3. Create an honest, firm and assertive response strategy which highlights how you feel about the advice: “I’ll think about that”, “good idea”, “I’ll consider if that’s right for me”, “that’s an interesting opinion, but I prefer to do it this way”, “Thanks. I’ll try to look into it.” If your words don’t seem to send a strong enough message, you may need to limit your contact with such people. Proactively communicating a boundary around further advice can let them know that you’ve heard them and appreciate their input without using a potentially damaging narrative around not valuing their help.
  4. If you feel really stuck about how to act gracefully in these situations or find yourself feeling very stressed out, ask others how they respond gracefully when those situations arise.
  5. If all else fails, stay silent. If you can’t respond with grace, then just don’t respond.
  6. Be sure that you don’t reject all the advice you hear. Just because you weren’t looking for help doesn’t mean someone’s suggestions aren’t useful. Further, be thankful and open. You never know – they may have a good point you haven’t considered. 

Dr Natalie Flatt, co-founder of Connect Psych Services, is a Doctor of Psychology and passionate about making a shift towards positive mental health. Natalie has extensive experience in both academia and solution-focused intervention to assist with anxiety, stress management, relationships, and workplace conflict.