Wellness and Happiness: The Next Built Environment / CSR Frontier (Updated)

Quick thoughts as I’ve just been re reading Martins’ blog and thinking through the field of health and well being in the workplace. There are so many factors that can influence employee wellbeing and productivity . Probably the easiest of these to get right and tackle first is that of the physical environment in which they work …. Seems like a no brainer before any nutritional or psych interventions – let’s get the building right so that it encourages and embraces and develops employee wellbeing ….. Creating spaces conducive to creativity , individuality , team working , communication and innovation … Ensuring we don’t forget to bring the outside indoors – after all we humans thrive around our natural environment – it’s scientifically proven that we recover faster , concentrate better and can be more creative with a natural view and with plants around us …. (For more on biophilia check out ‘last child in the woods ‘)

fairsnape isite

Update 27/10/14:  The International WELL Building Institute launched the WELL Building Standard Version 1.0, as a publicly available standard which focuses on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the built environment, at the inaugural WELL Building Symposium in New Orleans. The WELL Building Standard v1.0 can be applied to new construction and major renovations of commercial and institutional buildings, tenant improvements, and core and shell developments.

In addition, Ann Marie Aguilar Arup, has become the first international WELL Accredited Professional (AP), able to support and facilitate certification of projects against the new WELL Building Standard®.

…. original post …

Salutogenesis – a term we should become familiar with.

It describes an approach that focuses on factors that promote human health and wellness, rather than on factors that prevent disease and ill health (I am indebted to my partner Prof. Soo Downe for introducing me to this concept from the world of childbirth and…

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Sydney to Byron Bay 

Hi there. So far I have only taken you from Melbourne to Sydney which was only the first leg of our debut family Aussie roadtrip . So here goes . I will aim to recap on the next leg of our journey which took us from Sydney to Byron Bay via a couple of pit stops in Old Bar , Kempsey and Nambucca Heads. 

We left Sydney at 2am , bundling the sleeping kids into the car and driving through the night up the legendary Pacific Coast Highway ( A1 heading North)  . Our first stop was timed nicely to watch the sunrise at Old bar , a coastal town in NSW in the city of Greater Taree , around 315 km North of Sydney . 

Our route to Byron Bay


Sunrise at Old Bar
 Following on from a quick pit stop , toilet break and piece of fruit and top up of coffee we started on our way again in the search for a brekkie stop as our driver was craving smashed avo  on toast or a full English by this point … 

We stumbled upon Kempsey , a small town on the Kempsey river , really quaint and intriguing so we parked up and looked for a cafe , but at 9am on a Sunday we were out of luck . We took a half an hour break for the kids to play on the playground whilst Adam and I stretched our legs and took in the beautiful views of the river and planned our next stop ! 

After a bit of discussion we decided to keep going to Nambuca Heads – so armed with the audio book ‘Matilda , by Rohal Dahl ‘ we drove on. 

Driving into Nambuca heads we were excited to see a lovely Nambuca Boatshed and cafe open and inviting . We quickly parked up and went over to enjoy a hearty breakfast of fruit , pancakes and bacon and eggs ! We sat beside the river, swans, pelicans , fishermen, beautiful mangroves, on their shaded veranda that ran all the way around the cafe.. 



From where we were seated we could see signage for The Gulmani boardwalk . We decided to explore a it whilst we were there and break up our drive so we headed off on the 3 km long Boardwalk that followed the river, past mangroves through a park, giving good views all the way along of Pelicans , mangroves and fishermen . It’ was really easy walking and great fun for the kids as plenty to see along the way. The walk took us right down to a V-Wall where families paint rocks, and fishermen toss in their lines . The water was a crystal blue/ green and so clear that the kids were fish spotting all the way along the boardwalk . This was the perfect restop and break from our long car journey . 

We walked back and continued on our way in the car straight to Suffolk Park . Just before Byron Bay , it was fast approaching 3pm as we pulled into our Rainforest Retreat , our wooden cabin home for two nights …. Quiet , emerged in nature and basic ( just the way we like our holiday homes 😃


Melbourne to Sydney 

Firsly sorry for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks . My family and I used the school holidays to get on the road and experience a bit of Australia on our first family roadtrip out here .

Our first roadtrip was a fairly simple journey int he sense that we did not go off into the ‘outback’ but we headed north from Melbourne to escape the colder weather and to explore the coast and hinterland between Melbourne and Noosa.

As a family we have always sworn by night time driving  departing at around 2am after all of the family have had a few hours kip and hopeful that after a couple of chapters of a good audiobook the kids would drift off back to sleep , awaking at there destination . This works really well when travelling in Australia as the distances are so vast .

Melbourne to Sydney (approx 9 hrs) 

There are pros and cons to driving through the night . The pro being that the kids slept so little need for constant toilet breaks – the cons being that there is not much to see other than huge trucks and the occasional service station .

Upon arriving in Sydney we were welcomed by our gorgeous friends who put us up for a night and with whom we were able to explore a bit of Sydney . Huge thanks to the Bells !!!

Manly bay to Sydney Harbour 

First trip out was to Manly Bay , lovely funky bay with a great friendly feel about it . Time for a quick strong flat white at a lovely little Swedish cafe FIKA kitchen and then off to catch our ferry across to Sydney harbour to take in some of the views, sights and treats that the harbour has to share .


Ferry route from Manly Bay to Circular Quay
The ride on the ferry was a treat as we passed all of the stunning bays Sydney has to offer . The excitement of a ferry ride for the kids was great and travelling on a big ferry took me back to my childhood days crossing from HK to Kowloon on the star ferry ( only without the bowl of noodles ) .

As we approached the harbour with the Sydney Opera House in sight I can understand why there is such a fascination in this city by the sea . The Opera House must be the most referenced case study of Biomimicry in design designed in 1956 by Jorn Utzon and taking the shape and form of a huge seashell. 

Arriving in the harbour with five hungry kids we ventured towards the well known Rocks to find some food and a spot in the sun . The rocks is just Up from Circular Quay – a historic area of the city with colourful markets , cobble streets and tourists a plenty . It has a lovely charm about it so easy to see why it is so popular.

We stumbled across DARE , (DARE stands for Delicious and Responsible Eating so expect a range of tasty, ethical, allergy-aware, and chemical-free snacks ) and spent the next couple of hours enjoying the food , beer , music and sun. What a treat !!!

Manly Bay to Shelly Beach 

Beautiful weather again so decided to venture out to Shelly beach . We had the kids armed with bikes and scooters and briskly walked along the promenade of Manly beach  to Shelly Beach. It was fairly busy with families and people of all ages along the promenade to the sheltered Shelly Beach . Along the way there was a beautiful Fairy Bower Baths-Triangular in shape and the southern most rock pool on the Northern Beaches. Had it been a warmer day we could have all swum , paddled and played here in the lovely pool protected from the ocean waves. Arriving at Shelly beach we treated ourselves to well earned banana bread and coffee from The Boathouse. 

We sat and watched the world go by , kayaks coming into the beach , swimmers training in the sea, and a few snorkellers having a good look around under the water – and then got stuck in with the kids making a sandcastle city from our coffee cups and banana bread boxes . 

Here is a brief write up of the fun we had on weekend notes Shelly Beach Day trip

Take time to start the day well 

If you are like me and not traditionally ‘a morning person’ but have since having kids become a morning person due to the kids waking at the crack of dawn . Best solution for me I have found is literally ‘If you can’t beat then join them …. ‘ 

I try to wake up before them and have a strong morning routine I stick to to prepare me for a positive day . 

Here are the steps I follow that I have picked up over time that help meget in shape for the day ( in a short amount of time ! ) 

1. Tongue scraping … A tip and practice from Ayurvedic practice and one that definately has benefits. This ancient practice helps to stimulate the internal organs through energetic connections with the rest of the body, improve digestion by increasing your sense of taste, and cleanse the body by removing Ama (toxins) and bacteria from your oral cavity.

2. Oil pulling … This is a daily mouth gargle (I use sesame oil but coconut is great too !) . I do this whilst I am turning on the shower and starting to prepare for my next steps . Oil pulling is well known in ayurvedic tradition to ‘pull’ the bacteria , fungus, mucus and toxins from the mouth. It must not be swallowed . 

3. Coffee body scrub . Exfoliate using left over coffee grains . The key is the exfoliation and light massage . Always work in long strokes towards your heart starting with your feet . Rinse well under a warm shower and finish under cold water ( … It’s invigorating 😉 

4. Post shower oil : I use warm coconut  oil to massage into my skin again from feet towards the heart … Long smooth firm strokes .

5. Have a hot ginger and lemon water drink . 

6. Sit comfortably and practice five rounds of kapalabhati yoga breathing .. Great way to wake up your body . 

For a great demo of this breath visit this YouTube clip Kapalabhati breathing technique

Wake and feel strong and positive for the day ahead . This is a simple 20 min routine that you can adapt to suit you that will help you feel energised and positive about the day ahead. 

The veggie patch takes shape ! 

After clearing away the mountains of tomato vines over growing the veggie garden I was left with a bin full of green waste to be picked up the next day and a bowl full of underripe green tomatoes !

Seemed a shame to see them go to waste so I thought a spicy green tomato chutney would be great with a bit of cheese or a tasty curry. So I prepared the tomatoes washing and slicing them in halves and had a nosey online for a green tomato chutney recipe . In the end I kind of made it up as I did not want to include any sugar and didn’t want to have to go to the shops so I used what I had in the cupboard :

Recipe on recipe yum A bowl full of baby green tomatoes (halved )

A cup of sultanas

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

2 cups Apple cider vinegar (braggs – the good one !)

2 cups of chopped brown onions

4 cloves of garlic (finely grated )

One red de seeded red chilli

I added all of the dry ingredients to. Large pan and fried in a little coconut oil then added the cider vinegar brought it to the boil then left it to shimmer stirring frequently .

The end result –

green tomato chutney with a kick !


Week 4 last box before our road trip ! 

Picked kids up from school and we all went straight to fetch the veggie box . They think it’s hilariously exciting collecting a box from outside a house – sneeking a peek inside to see what’s in store for the week ahead . Before even getting home two apples and a mandarin  had been gobbled up by my fruit bats ! 

So first up is to bag the leafs for salads , roast some veggies for the week ahead and see if there is anything remaining that will be a challenge this week ! 

I’ll be back shortly once I’ve unpacked all of the goodies and have done my prep work for the week ahead;)

Week four challenge : lots of parsnips and brussel sprouts ( and a hubbie who doesn’t eat either !)

This week seems very easy to use up all the veg to accompany kids meals , to mash up in a tomato based pasta sauce and to use as toppers for salads … But what can I do with the Brussels and parsnips to make them enjoyable for my other half ? (And maybe even tempt the kids !) 

After searching and reading and looking in my cupboards I opted for an easy roasted winter vegetables with miso . So easy and so delicious … Here’s a sneak peak (recipe to follow ) along with feedback from the tasters later on today 😉 

miso roasted winter vegetables

Week four recipe : magical miso veggies 

Simply grab your choice of winter seasonal veggies and prepare them by chopping them ( halves for Brussels) and nice chunks for parsnips and carrots and beetroot . 

Spread the veg across the bottom of a large oven dish cover with a generous sprinkle of kosha / Himalayan rock salt and coat with a good few glugs of organic sesame oil . Place in the oven to roast whilst you prepare the miso dressing  

Miso dressing 

1 tbsp white miso 

1/2 cup boiling water 

1/2 cup sesame oil 

1/4 cup red wine vinegar 

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

A good squeeze of raw honey   

Add the hot water to the miso and mix well – then add all other ingredients and whisk together (taste and see if it requires more vinegar / honey to suit your taste ) 

Remove the veg from the oven and pour over the delicious dressing …. Then grab a bowl and eat as a stand alone meal or as a side . 

Feedback from tasters : yum … !! He didn’t notice the brussel sprouts ! I thought they tasted great . For an extra quick chop up a red chilli to add to the miso before pouring over the roasted vegetables 

Week 3 in the swing of it ! …

This week when tackling the veg box it didn’t seem such a chore . I took delight in preparing the veg as soon as I brought the box home … Bagging the green leaves and pre roasting the root vegetables and squashes ready for the week ahead 


week three organic fruit and veg
Week three challenge : pak choi and third week of celery 

I love pak choi but was conscious that this would be more difficult to introduce as a veg for the kids . In an attempt to use some in the children’s meals i finy chopped the white part of the vegetable and added it to their chicken korma whilst the greens I stir fried with ginger and garlic for a tasty topper for our kitchary for Adam and I . 

Celery is a tough veggie for my two little people . They are not find of the taste so often find myself hiding it in sauces which is a real shame . 

In stead of making a traditional soup with the celery this week I opted for a raw celery soup with a kick . 

Easy to make by blending celery , coconut water , half an avocado and some cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice . It was delicious and went down a treat for the adults in our family . 

raw celery and avocado soup !

Week 2 organic box gets tricky ! 

Hey there … Delighted to have picked up this weeks organic box and to have the treat of scrumptious apples , bananas and kiwi fruit in addition to the usual vegetables .  


Week two challenge : abundant greens ! 

Ok – so this week seemed so much easier at the offset upon viewing the veg but let’s not forget the aim of the challenge / to use all veg and not waste any ! 

So when faced with celery with quantities of green leaves – I started to wonder how I could made use of this leafage . 
Week two tips : 

Use all of veg including the leaves  !!! 

After a bit of research online I cut off all of the beautiful leaves from the beetroot and celery and bagged them separately in the fridge along with the fresh spinach leaves . These were then used these throughout the week in salads in addition to or in place of usual spinach / lettuce …. Delicious and I would highly recommend celery leaves with a mustardy dressing whilst the beetroot leaves went well with spinach mixed with a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing – or a balsamic .

Pre Roast some veggies each week 

Chuck a few favourite vegetables in a big oven proof dish and roast them with olive oil and salt . 

Do this early in the week and store in the fridge to be used as salad toppers for lunches / dinners through out the week . 

 I used these in salads but also to add to Dahl for a quick healthy lunch or evening meal for Adam and I . 

Let the Organic box challenge begin …

Week One 

the organic box challenge

So excited today when I collected my first organic box here in Bayside Melbourne from a resident in Beaumaris who provides a drop off point to the local organic farmers green gully organics

Awesome veggies that I am looking forward to cooking and preparing in new and interesting ways and sharing a few snippets with you . 

I’ll aim for one post a week focussing on the weeks challenge with a few tips and the occasional recipe ! I may fall a little behind so keeping checking the site for updates . 

Organic boxes are great if you have the time and motivation to cook with what you have rather than buy to cook and the great plus is that you will be eating seasonal veg and fruit . 

After yoga this morning I went to collect my veg box and was delighted with the contents including pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, Carrots , potatoes to name a few .  

Week one Challenge –  Cabbage  ! 

In order to get started I thought I had best tackle what see as the toughest veggie in the box – the cabbage . Awesome superfood containing vitamin K , vitamin C , folate and fibre but one that often reminds people of an over cooked odd smelling vegetable . 

So to start with today I split the cabbage in half and used half to make  an awesome sauerkraut and the remaining half went into a delicious light , zingy salad ….. Just the tonic after my mornings work ! The salad I discovered from ‘in erikas kitchen ‘ http://www.inerikaskitchen.com/2012/01/superfoods-month-raw-cabbage-salad-with.html?m=1

It’s really simple and easy to make . I have inserted the recipe from erika below . I topped my salad with chopped almonds but this could be topped with fish or chicken of your choice for a fuller protein rich meal . 

cabbage salad recipe by ‘in erikas kitchen ‘ 

Week one recipe 


1 head green cabbage, quartered and cored

1 large lemon (regular or Meyer)

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

 salt and pepper to taste


With a sharp knife, slice the cabbage into very thin shreds. You can use a mandoline for this step, but it’s hard to keep the cabbage quarters together, and I always end up making a huge mess. I’ve gone back to the knife.

Put the shredded cabbage into a large bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice over the cabbage. Add the olive oil and a good dose of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Let the cabbage salad sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, just long enough for the acid and salt to start wilting the cabbage. Toss again before serving.


Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Yield: 6-8 servings Share

Enjoy !
Week one tips : 

Preparation early on … The key to cooking from an organic box in my experience is to be prepared . Here’s what I’ve started doing to make the week a bit easier : 

  • Roast vegetables like squash / sweet potatoes early on in the week to make a lovely soup to be stored in the fridge for the week 
  • Oven roast some veggies with tomatoes to make a good old tomato sauce for kids for pasta 


Welcome to my Bmindful blog . Here is a little about who I am and why I am writing , hope you find something useful here you can share with others and enjoy for yourself .
I’m an experienced Project Manager and Mum to two beautiful children Georgia and William and wife to Adam . I love life , people , laughter , kindness and aspire to bring about change for the better in both professional circles and family life . 

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious priviledge it is to be alive – to breathe , to think, to enjoy, to love …’ Aurelius

Read more about my story on my about me page …