Super woman – Lou Kenny

Super woman – Lou Kenny

Lou is one of the intrepid women who got close up and personal with nature in our new brand video.

Lou is an Australian girl who had a huge career as a young model in the 80’s and 90’s. Since then she has enjoyed a later life renaissance modelling in both Australia and Europe where her natural good looks are in demand.

In her post for us Lou shares the changes that have occurred over the course of her life and shaped the independent women she is today.

The foundation of my adult life is family, modelling and yoga….

But my early life centred around my mother and her passion for the sea. She and I would spend long hot days together down the coast at Easter before hitching up the van and heading back to the leafy north eastern suburbs of Melbourne where we lived.
It always puzzled me that we lived so far from the coast, so when the opportunity came along to purchase my first property, (following a major international tvc) I knew exactly where I wanted to be. This was back in the 80’s when house prices were under $50,000!

I was luck that modelling allowed me the freedom to juggle the other priorities in my life, which were; gaining a sociology degree, becoming a mother to two beautiful children and after that opening my own modelling agency.

Along the way I began to dabble in theatre and yoga which lured me to teacher training in my 40's. So when my 20 year marriage ended, I was well prepared for the next phase of my life. My children and I relocated to the Victorian felt like a homecoming.

In my 50's my modelling career has reignited and I am now working at a level I could have only have dreamed of when I was younger, with agents in London, Germany, Paris and Zurich.....I must confess I plot my schedule as often as I can, around King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard gigs when they are touring in Europe. (ha - yes - my son Ambrose, is a member of this band).

So now this empty nester (who has had a song written with that title) is making the most of each and everyday......with turning 60 on the horizon for me, I am now planting seeds for my future, aiming to inspire not retire!

Working with endota..

After returning from a 6 month stint in London, the endota job was perfectly timed. But more than that, it restored my faith in the industry at large.

From the day of the first fitting, the communication was easy and the scene was set for an adventure in some of Victoria’s most scenic wilderness.

Over 2 days we filmed in locations many people never get to see, let alone experience: Stevenson's falls, Lake Elizabeth, Halladale Point and beyond.....I was so intrigued and excited to be part of this mini film, which was demanding but alive with sensory highlights.

To prepare for the shoot, I taught yoga at the beach in early light, had a swim, coffee and visited the farmers market before heading down the coast to meet the crew at the Forrest pub for dinner.

Next morning, we were up at 4.30am for hair and makeup, to begin filming at first light at Stevenson's Falls. Our two days involved hiking, swimming, playing and falling into bed early only to be woken by the sound of birds and ocean tunes.

I became firm friends with Anna (the younger girl in the shoot) and at every spot we jumped around, did handstands, cartwheels and yoga. Quite simply feeling alive and reconnecting with nature.

I believe being an empty nester is a time to truly find yourself. Following being a single mother, daughter (both parents deceased) and wife (now separated) I am now experiencing a freedom so vast, that to not embrace it would not be an option.

Living confidently & ageing consciously

We’ve interviewed three of our most influential endota women to reveal some of their personal insights on how to live confidently by celebrating your age. Our very own endota spa founder Melanie Gleeson, our Head of Education Helen Robb Lacey and Bowral spa owner Liane Shields share their discoveries, beliefs and wellbeing rituals.
What are some of the good things about getting older?

MG: Experience. A life well lived. A clearer perspective. Knowing and accepting myself. The joy of being comfortable in my own skin is one of the loveliest things.

HRL: You feel confident in your own skin, you don't care as much about what other people think of you. You embrace how you look as you know how precious life is and to be healthy is a gift. You know that true beauty is about loving yourself all of yourself, imperfections and all!

LS: I think being older is lovely because you become more self-assured and relaxed with who you are and what your gifts are to the world. If you are living with this self-acceptance, living your purpose and according to your values, life feels more peaceful.

How has your view of the world changed as you age? What have been the major shifts?

MG: I have become more empathetic. More forgiving. Less judgemental. I now believe that for the most part, we are all here doing our best to live a life full of love and experience for the betterment of ourselves, families and communities.
HRL: You know that time is precious and you condition yourself mentally to stay in the present moment and not waste time with thoughts of the past and the future.

How have your priorities changed?

MG: Family, children and health. Making sure I take time to replenish myself so I can be there for others. Live my life to the full. Wellness and self-care are no longer views as a treat, rather an essential part of being my best.

LS: Having seen so many lives change permanently in an instant I try to make sure that I live each day in a way that does not leave space for regret.

In terms of self-image, do you feel better about yourself as you age, or are you harder on yourself?

MG: Much better about myself. More content with who I am. More grateful for all the blessings and challenges life has presented.

LS: That is a hard question. In many ways I am much more comfortable in my skin than I was, but then when I was young I was not very comfortable in my skin at all. I would like to say I am comfortable with ageing and I am, but it is important to me to age 'consciously' and gracefully for that to continue.

How do you feel about the changes to your body, your face, and to your mind?

MG: Interested. I like to see how I am aging (or not). I think our minds play an enormous part in how we age. Thought, word and action must be aligned, both positive and hateful. I like learning new things and having new experiences. Keeps me alert and my love of learning keeps me youthful.

HRL: I love and embrace the changes to my body, face and mind. I embrace that as you age you will always be challenged to grow and keep developing. The wisdom of Age is the true gift and I cherish that. My face and body is a reflection of my life lived so far. I wear both like a badge of honour.

When you were 21, do you remember what age you thought was old?

MG: I do recall my cousin calling my Dad an old fossil (when he was probably in his 40's).

HRL: At 21 I thought 50 was old and I am now 50 and I don't feel old at all!!!

LS: 40 was definitely old, not really old, but old!

What do you consider old now? Do your kids think you are old?

MG: If I had to pick an age, say over 90, but really I think it's a state of mind and state of health (very interlinked). I see 70 year-olds full of vitality, happy and involved in the community.
HRL: My parents are 89 and 94 and they continue to face life head on and grow mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. They are living a full life and accepting every challenge. They just keep growing! In appearance they are old but I don't think of them as old. They are living every moment! I don't think my children see me as old. Not yet.
Have you become more health conscious as you get older?

MG: Absolutely. Health of mind, body and spirit are now integral parts of life that I no longer neglect.

LS: I have always been very health conscious and I still am. I am aware now that the consequences of not taking care of my body are more than they used to be. It doesn't have quite the same resilience and forgiveness it once did!
If you knew you only had 1 more year to live [but you’d be perfectly healthy], what would you do?

MG: Spend every moment with my loved ones. Making sure I tell them everything they mean to me and any wisdoms I can pass on. Holidays. Sitting together. So many cuddles with my boys. Making memories. I am getting a bit teary writing this one.

HRL: Live on my farm, have family and friends over, beautiful food, good books, great music, beautiful views, walks, meditation, grow my flowers and vegetables and lots of animals. Enjoy life and my loved ones.

LS: I would stop more, smell the flowers more, listen to my family more, I would have long cups of tea and equally long walks with people that I love.
What do you do to keep fit/active?

MG: Yoga, hanging out with my beautiful boys, walking, guided meditation, time in nature and fun times with friends and family.

LS: My favourite way to be fit and healthy is to exercise in nature. I love to walk my dogs (with a friend is best), bushwalking, cycling or doing things in the garden. When life does not allow that I am at the gym and enjoying time to myself.

How much time do you give expressly to yourself in a week? [sleep doesn’t count]

MG: Two hours minimum.

HRL: One hour a day.

LS: I make sure I have time between dropping my kids to school and starting work most days. I use this time to exercise or have a tea with a friend. I make sure I have a long bath at least once a week and I spend at least 5 minutes every night with my journal to reflect on the day and to centre myself before going to sleep. Once every 2-3 weeks I book myself in for a treatment at the spa.

Who is your all-time favourite pop icon?

MG: Stevie Nicks

HRL: Sade

LS: George Michael

What is your version of ageing consciously?

MG: Health and happiness. Being blessed with loving relationships and having the energy to do all the things I love. Regular LED facials and healing treatments. And of course, using endota skincare xxx

HRL: Embracing every decade, having a healthy diet and a good skincare routine, facials every month, sunblock from a young age, dancing and making sure you make time to feed all aspects of yourself every week - emotional physical, mental and spiritual

LS: I want to continue to live a life that I love and am proud of. As I age I want my impact on the world to be soft and gentle yet strong and powerful. I would like to continue to build on that. I have no plans to have surgery or fillers. I would like to be an older person who is comfortable in her skin and in her life and for there to be beauty in that.

Living confidently & ageing consciously

The Marnin Women at Work

We’d like you to meet the amazing artists behind the designs featured on our endota spa collections.

At the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre at Fitzroy Crossing in WA, the women at the Marnin Studio create pieces and prints sought by buyers from across the country. Their deep connection to the land and incredible knowledge of native flora and flora can be recognised across many of their designs. Artists create block and screen prints and handmade dyes which are then used to produce a range of beautiful textiles on silk, cotton, linen and wool.

Beginning a collaboration with the Marnin Women in 2014, we have featured their designs on our endota spa Organics™ & Colour ranges and more recently, on our new Christmas collection.

We’d like to share their stories and designs with you.

Meet the Artist: June Smith

Meet the Artist: June Smith

My name is June Smith and I live in Bayulu community near Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. My language group is Gooniyandi. A long time ago I worked at Go Go Station School (now Bayulu School) as a Teacher's Aid, teaching sewing to grade one students with some old people. This was my first job. I've worked at the Bayulu Store and as a cook for a while for the old people. I started working on screen-printing with Cherry Smiler and some other ladies on silk screening at Bayulu many years ago. I came to work for Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre several years ago as part of the art therapy programme where I went back to sewing again.

I create designs and make them into block prints and screen prints on silk, linen and cotton. I also create local bush dyes and dye silk, cotton and wool. I like working at Marnin Studio because I can relax and ease my mind to do the things that I love. I feel happy with all the women around here and getting creative. I would love to see more women coming to be involved, especially the younger girls.

Meet the Artist: April Jones

Meet the Artist: April Jones

My name is April Jones and I live in the community of Bayulu near Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. My language group is Gooniyandi. I worked for a very long time at Mangkaja Arts Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing, painting on canvas. I moved to Port Hedland and Broome to teach language at TAFE and then later I moved back to Fitzroy Crossing to teach at Karrayili Adult Education Centre.

In 2007 I came to Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre Art Therapy Studio to learn sewing and how to make curtains. In 2014 I started working with Marnin Studio learning how to create block prints and screen prints, which I use on paper, cotton, linen and silk. I really like working here and I like to be creative. I feel good and happy coming to the studio and proud when people look at my artwork. I enjoy painting bush tucker including echidna, emu and turtle.

shop the Marnin Women Christmas Collection
An endota Christmas with Diana Miller

An endota Christmas with Diana Miller

The festive season is a time for love and celebration. To capture this positive spirit, we asked Byron Bay artist Diana Miller to create designs for our special Christmas collection. We’ve also asked her to share her inspiration, her story and of course, some of her own special festive season secrets.

Who or what inspires your paintings?

I couldn’t say that I am ever inspired by just one thing. My subconscious is continually gathering and storing visual information as I interact with the world, taking in my immediate environment. I also tap in to how I am feeling, what colours are finding their way into my studio. I am inspired by shapes in the landscape, found material, collage, influential contemporary artists and always my personal experience. I will often paint about something relevant in my life or as an emotional response to something.

Are there any other Australian artists you’re currently following?

YES lots! And all of them use colour really well!

I am currently obsessed with the work of Catherine Cassidy. I adore how free and gestural she is with her paint and how she composes her picture frame with these incredible quirky abstracted shapes and wild colour combinations. Emily Besser from Sydney has been a favourite of mine for a while. Her use of colour, quirky shapes and the way she arranges things is just incredible. She makes jewellery too and I own a fave pair of earrings by her. I think she is just super clever. Then there’s Sally Anderson who recently won the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship. I first saw her work with Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane and fell in love! Amber Wallis who is with the same gallery was actually one of my lecturers this year at art school (Byron School of Art) and I have been a massive fan of hers for years. I also love Syliva McEwans work for her pared-back palette, gestural mark-making and effortless style! Then I can’t leave off Miranda Skoczek who I have admired for a while and still follow avidly. She uses a very colourful palette that I find mesmerising. I bought a painting by Elizabeth Barnett this year so I need to mention her too for her exquisite paintings of room interiors. Then I also follow James Drinkwater and find him and his approach to his work fascinating.

If I asked you to name your three favourite artists of all time who would they be?

They would have to be Gustav Klimt, Van Gogh and Elizabeth Cummings (though I have only known about her since living in Australia).

Do you find living in Byron Bay inspires your creativity?

Yes. How can it not? It is such a beautiful place to live and there is a special energy here that you can’t ignore. Plus, there are just so many artists and creative people doing their thing here it is hard not to be inspired by all that is going on around you. As far as the landscape goes for me visually it is more the red dirt, the rich earth and the trees of the hinterland that get my creative juices going. Of course, there’s nothing better than an ocean swim to nurture your entire emotional being.

Have you always been an artist or did you transition to full time painting from some former life?

No, I trained as a graphic designer at the start of the 90s, and worked as a designer in London for a number of years and then here in Brisbane for a few years until I had my babies. It was then that I started painting again (back in 2004). I made the switch from graphic designer to artist in 2013 and have been working as a full time artist for the past 3 years.

Have you always been an artist or did you transition to full time painting from some former life?

Art has the ability to lift or change mood. Are your paintings informed by your own mood?

Absolutely. I can’t really separate my mood from my work. It invariably infiltrates. Even though my work is mostly abstract the work always evokes some kind of mood/emotion and that is because whatever I am feeling at the time seems to find its way in. It’s not easily definable and hard to articulate how it happens but every painting has a mood of its own.

Do you have periods of super creativity and others where nothing comes easily? Or are you constantly inspired?

It really comes in phases and waves and is usually related to what else is going on in my life, how good my health and energy levels are and how motivated and creative I am feeling. This is probably the biggest struggle as an artist, having to ride all the waves and still be able to make work. When you are in a funk or your creativity is tapped out it is very easy to paint nothing for days on end as you just seem to go around in circles. Sometimes on those days I find its better to just sit and look at work or journal or do some collage. Or clean the studio (again!). Other days it will be like the heavens and stars have aligned and you merely have to drag a few colours around and suddenly you have a masterpiece. It’s really weird. We all want those divine moments but they don’t come around all too often. I would love to say I am constantly inspired but it’s not always the case. I am a mum as well so I look after my family, cook, clean and do the shopping and often these daily tasks detract from living in that creative zone. You have to learn to be able to dip back in and it’s not always that easy.

How do you put your own spin on Christmas decorations?

As long as there is no tinsel I can cope. Lol. I am not much of a decorator myself and I prefer to leave the Christmas decorating to the kids. We have a huge tree that they adore dressing up every year. I have collected their little decorations that they’ve made since they were little and these are still my favourites on the tree. I don’t really have any decorating tips (except to keep things simple), but we do have one family Christmas tradition and that is writing up silly name tags for everyone that is coming for the Christmas meal. The kids like to come up with the most silly names they can for each person

Give us three words that best describe you/your life

Creative, Family, Fulfilling.

What are you wishing for this Christmas?

What are you wishing for this Christmas?

I am going home to South Africa to see my mum and family this year for Christmas, so I am just wishing for lots of love and laughter. And maybe some new paintbrushes :)

shop the Diana Miller Collection