Tag Archives: Eco-fashion

365 Places: Manik Organik

Day 57: Manik Organik, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Today I write about a favourite haunt close to Paneeda View, Manik Organik.

Manik Organik is a great spot, offering delicious whole foods from the cafe, natural skin care, alternative health therapies, arts, dance and cooking classes and our favourite form of tropical torture – yoga.

There were three types of yoga classes on offer while we were here – Bali style, Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow. We did the Bali and Hatha classes and enjoyed both, for different reasons. The Bali style was quite different to other classes we have done in the past and the first class was very challenging. The second class was a bit easier, finding that our bodies were willing to stretch a bit more. Mangku was also a wonderful teacher and we promised him next year that we will be better. He is also a traditional Balinese Hindu priest and healer – here is some information from The Power of Now Oasis Yoga website.

Jero Mangku comes from a long line of traditional balinese hindu priests, his life is truly an offering. He began teaching yoga over 5 years ago, and is certified by the School of Sacred Arts here in Bali. He always brings strong elements of Joy, Peace, and Harmony as well as Effort and Discipline into his yoga classes. Drawing from a deep knowledge of spirituality, body work and a life of practice, his classes are very popular with locals, expats, and tourists alike.

Here is Mangku in some pretty amazing poses.

Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com/
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com/

What we found was really nice way to spend a morning was to go to yoga class and then tuck in some yummy breakfast from the cafe. Here is a picture of the fruit and muesli plate – delicious!

© Tracey Benson 2014
© Tracey Benson 2014

Given we are already planning our trip for next year, it looks like some more yoga will be in store – the challenge will be making sure we keep going once we get back to the cold of Canberra.

365 Places: Violet Town

Day 39: Violet Town, Victoria, Australia

Today’s post is about a place that we only visited briefly last year – to check out the locally famous market. The Violet Town Community Market is held every 2nd Saturday of the month and there is a bevy of local produce and arts and crafts.

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52846207@N04/8074997719/
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52846207@N04/8074997719/

We went with a couple of friends, who I met through working with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation. One friend was Sue Walker, the writer and director of the recent sell-out play Turning Tables.

The Violet Town Community Market website says:

Founded in 1978 this thriving community market supports local groups and is renowned for its focus on sustainable living principles – remember to bring your own bags.

Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au/
Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au/

Violet Town is situated on the Hume Highway, which is the inland highway between Sydney and Melbourne, and sits at the foot of the Strathbogie Ranges. It was also the first inland Victorian town to be surveyed.

The explorer Major Mitchell Thomas named the site of the township Violet Ponds, impressed by the host of native flowers growing round a pond alongside which he camped. The Travelmate website says:

Although the name has since undergone a slight change, the town retains much of its original village atmosphere. The village has grown round Honeysuckle Creek and the floral theme is enhanced by such street names as Primrose, Lilac and Tulip.

The town itself is an important centre for ballooning, gliding and sky-diving and is the gateway to the scenic routes and horse-riding trails of the ranges which also boast a number of herb and deer farms.

Railway Hotel. Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au
Railway Hotel. Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au
Cowslip Road. Image Credit http://violettown.org.au/
Cowslip Road. Image Credit http://violettown.org.au/

So if you find yourself on the highway on the 2nd Saturday of the month, drop into Violet Town, have a great coffee and take some time out to look around.

365 Places: Bellingen

Day 29: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, we wandered over to Bellingen, a lovely village about 20 minutes south of Coff’s Harbour.

It is known for being a beautiful location as well as having a vibrant arts community. The Visit NSW website says:

Referred to as the creative hub of the Coffs Harbour region, Bellingen is also home to the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival (held every year around August). Within the Bellingen community are a number of writers, artists and musicians: imbuing the area with a dynamic creative energy.

One of Bellingen’s claims to fame is that it was one of the locations for the book and film of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.

Image credit: The Guardian
“I dare not hope, and yet I must that through this deed I gain your trust.” Image credit: The Guardian

It is a lovely place to talk around, just to soak up the creative atmosphere. The main street of town is lined with quaintly restored old shop fronts that have been converted into quirky designer stores, organic cafes and fresh food markets.

We had lunch at a great local cafe/bar – 5 Church Street. The food was excellent and we also had a delicious juice – apple, ginger and mint. 5 Church Street uses local, organic and biodynamic ingredients where possible in their food and you can really tell – my veggie burger was just divine, as were the chunky fries! The burger had lots of caramelised onion, freshly grated beetroot, greens and carrot, with a big chunk of grilled halloumi – you really can’t beat a veggie burger made with organic ingredients.

Here is a quirky map from the 5 Church Street menu, showing some of the local suppliers:

Coff's Region Map - Image Credit: 5 Church Street
Coff’s Region Map – Image Credit: 5 Church Street

The other place that is worth visiting is the old Butter Factory on the outskirts of town. Here you will find a number of galleries promoting local artists, a gorgeous homewares shop, a leather-craft shop, massage therapy and a cafe.

For more, you can also check out Martin Drury’s Photo Essay on Bellingen.

Help us make 200 followers: it’s still the w’end in some parts of the globe:

Yesterday we hit 500 likes on our travel site www.geokult-travel.com .

We are really excited to share that we almost have 200 followers. We would love to make this milestone this weekend,  so if you haven’t already checked out the site, drop by and say hi. We would really appreciate it 🙂

We write articles and present photo essays on all sorts of topics related to travel, culture, food, adventure and sustainability.

You can also contribute articles to Geokult Travel.

If you drop in and love what you see, please tell your friends ❤

Profile: Vintage Creations

A few weeks ago in my post Idyllic Canberra Sunday, I mentioned that I found a stall at the Old Bus Depot Markets that makes bags from recycled leather jackets – Vintage Creations. The bags cans be worn 6 different ways, which is really cool!

The following weekend I purchased one of these beautiful bags as a birthday present to myself. Leisa the designer, made me a bag, specifically designed to carry my laptop and an A4 folder. This is because I wanted a bag that was suitable for work as well as a bag that would be versatile when we travel.

There is something special about having a bag that is hand-made from recycled materials, eco aware and designed especially for you. The bags are really practical which I love – lined with waterproof material, so you can carry a water bottle, and lots of pockets so you can organise your gear.

I was really happy with the result, and as you can see from the pictures, the bag is very versatile, offering many ways to wear if differently. The front cloth panel is also interchangeable, so you can completely change the look of the bag so it can complement your wardrobe.

When we were at the stall, a number of people already with Vintage Creation bags, dropped in with friends, who then bought a bag for themselves. My colleagues at work have also been admiring my new bag, and seeing we are a tribe of sustainability fans, I am sure I will see some of my team mates sporting new bags soon.

Leisa also gave me a discount in return for writing about her bags, which I am more than happy to do for products and services that I support.

365 Places: Launch

Over the past few years, I have watched with great interest friends and fellow artists who have created visual diaries from taking photographs of their everyday life and themselves. Many of these projects have been shared on Facebook and other social media channels, making the experience as a viewer immediate and intimate. I also love the Day in the life of series of books as they create a create sense of time and place.

One of my favorite projects is the Rock a Day for my Creativity project by friend and artist Jo Tito. Her project demonstrates a commitment to being more creative and to having focus and discipline as an artist and writer. What is really wonderful, is that now three years later, Jo has amassed a great collection of images, stories and rocks, that she continues to use and build upon in her art practice. Another source of inspiration is Maria Popova’s statement that “every city needs a love letter” in her Brain Pickings article, A Love Letter to the City about artist Steve Powers.

Christmas greeting card featuring Sutton's Beach, Redcliffe, Photographer: Murray, J.
Christmas greeting card featuring Sutton’s Beach, Redcliffe, Photographer: Murray, J.

365 Places is a dedication to geographical connections to place through storytelling. It is an exploration of where I have been and where I would love to go. 365 Places is probably the most literal project I ever created that relates to place, as in the past, there has been an overriding  theme that connects the project to other ideas – e.g. Big Banana Time Inc. and Fauxonomy.

This project, like Jo’s is intended to make me accountable as a writer and artist who works with ideas of identity and ‘place’. Also, like Jo I need to set guidelines for time – 1.5 hours maximum per day. However, I can’t wait for the 1st January 2015 – this project will start on the 20th April 2014, coincidentally my parent’s wedding anniversary. My first post is a tribute to them, the place where they made their first home together and my first home – Redcliffe.

Every day for one year, I will bring you a story about a place, sharing with you why I think it is special and unique. If you have any special places you would like me to write about please contact me and I will write you a story.

The images will either be our own, contributed by readers or from Flickr Commons and authors will be attributed. At the end of the project, we plan to publish a book about this journey.

Places visited so far

Check out the page 365 Places for a complete list.


Twilight Markets at New Acton

It is not often I venture to the New Acton precinct on the weekend, as I work there during the week. What seems to be evolving in this architecturally designed, trendy urban locale is an eco savvy, fashion conscious and foodie vibe. New Acton is situated close to the Australian National University, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive, making it a handy place to visit while seeing some of the capitals cultural and educational centres. The Nishi Building also hosts the Palace Cinema, which screens many international and art house  films. All in all, New Acton is a pretty groovy place to hang out.

This weekend two markets were on at New Acton – Forage and Hustle and Scout.

The Forage was held  through the paths and grassy areas of the John Avery Gardens and Kendall Lane. (behind A-Baker and The Parlour Wine Room). Their website states that the goal of the forage is “to create a unique, fun, and community vibe where everyone feels welcome. Aesthetics that reflect a raw and earthy feel with a rustic edge will differentiate the forage from any other food market or event in Canberra.”  This was the first event for the forage and plans will see them popping up at different locations around Canberra.

There were a few stalls with organic baked goods, mainly sweets, some selections of wines and a large group of people were queued for pork belly rolls. We didn’t try any of the fare at forage as our main objective was to check out the fashion and jewellery at Hustle and Scout. Perhaps at the next forage we will focus on the gastronomic goodies.

Hustle and Scout was fun and fabulous with lots of designers, sustainable and eco-fashion, recycled and up-cycled fashion and a broad selection of jewellery. There was also models mingling in the crowd, which made the event seem very accessible. Ordinarily fashion is not really my domain (beyond shoes, handbags and jewellery) , but my love for recycled and up-cycled products is slowly revealing a eco-fashion diva. What was also really nice about this event, was that the fashion and accessories were not just for young people, there was a wealth of options for the not so young fashionistas.

Some of my favourites included:

  • Honey Bee had some stunning jewellery made from etched stainless steel. the designs have been influenced from a range of cultures and retro styles. I particularly loved some of the earrings that incorporated Arabic patterns and design. Also the material is very light so wearing large, dangly earrings won’t weigh heavily on your ear lobes, a nice feature of these pieces.
  • Pure Pod has emerged as one of Australia’s largest ethical fashion brands and is considered to be a pioneer in the ‘Eco & Sustainable’ fashion industry. Pure Pod’s ethos focuses on sustainability, ethics, caring for the environment and humanity. They pride themselves on using talented Australian crafts people and keeping local fashion industry thriving. Even better, their products are 100% ethically Australian Made. I fell in love with the “Wise Old Owl” design and will be talking to Kelli soon about ordering one of these fab frocks made from organic cotton blend.
  • Middlemost had some wonderful quirky items – have a look at the image above. I bought the cutest handmade card with a picture and come cat earrings. They specialise in creating clothing, accessories and cards made using vintage and recycled fabrics, with each piece being a handmade original.
  • The Darling Sisters specialise in gorgeous retro chic – they also have a shop called “Darling Central” in Gold Creek Village, near the George Harcourt Inn and the Cockington Green miniature village. At the markets, they had some lovely books on hair styling and makeup, I nearly bought the hair styling book and then remembered that I am completely lazy when it comes to hairdos.

This is just a small sample of the fabulousness at the Hustle and Scout market. I look forward to seeing what happens next with this wonderful event.