Review: Roaming Cow Yogurt

I’m a sucker for gorgeous packaging. So when I spotted the new Roaming Cow yogurts at Woolworths yesterday I couldn’t resist trying it out.


Roaming Cow Yogurt

I was very impressed. I tried the vanilla this morning and it had such a lovely real vanilla flavour. I’m getting a bit sick of watery, fake, meh vanilla yogurt so I was very happy to see real vanilla beans throughout the Roaming Cow one. It had a great texture, not watery at all. Not as thick as Greek of course, it’s lower in fat.

In a word: real.

I served it with slightly thawed blueberries, bran flakes and quinoa puffs. Could have passed it of as a dessert to any friends not previously introduced to chocolate mousse.


serving suggestion.


Open House Perth

Something highly wildly inspiring happened in Perth last weekend (3rd and 4th of November 2012). Open House Perth!

We has an incredible time running around the city checking out our beautiful buildings from all sorts of angles we’ve never seen before.

We were one of the very luck few to get to the top of the Central Park tower (St George) which offered incredible views over the city from Fremantle to Joondalup, and equally incredible winds. Batman makes it look so easy perching on skyscrapers… its all an illusion, that cape would make quite the wind sock I’d imagine. It’s just not practical.

I have a newly re-inspired appreciation for Perth’s architecture and have spent the week spending a lot of time looking up. We don’t have much compared to the “big” cities, but what we do have is rich in history and beauty, you just have to investigate. Like most good things in Perth, you have to dig to find it.

I love that Open House Perth not only included landmarks but also the design studios behind them. As a urban planner /soon to be designer (ok ok its a few years away), I was constantly letting out little sqeals of excitment over seeing the beautiful working spaces our city offers for the industry. Hassell in particular was very exciting to see because I one day hope to call that space my own.

Have a squiz at the photos I took over the weekend here and let me know what you think.

Cannot wait for next year.

Follow up posts to come, perhaps one on my work space at 140william Gordon Stepherson House.

Zig Zag Festival, Kalamunda

This Sunday marks the annual Zig Zag Festival in Kalamunda.

Its a great festival because all of the kids activities are free (and they are great too)!

11am til 8pm Sunday 28th October 2012, Stirk Park Kalamunda.

I’ll be there dishing our gory fake wounds to the chidren (cuts, buises, burns and other gruseome things) all without pain or payment required.

My Mum will be there also togive you a taste of Art Jamming. Never heard of it? Its your chance to throw some paint at a canvas or create something delicate and pretty without any “art teachers” or “rules”, freedom! Perfect for those with a deep seated love of art but without the time/money/organsiation to go to art classes or have supplies at home (no clean up either!). Art Jamming is free too!

Also, its farmers market day too so you can get your fruit and veg AND a knife wound and come out smiling.

Come and check it out and have fun in the beautiful sunshine (blistering heat).

Photos of the frivolities to come next week :)


You’ve been “tagged”

Last night at the Revelations Perth International Film Festival ( we saw a documentary entitled “Vigilante Vigilante”, a very urban bio of a few old fellows known as ‘scrubbers’ who dedicate their lives to the vigilante style removal of graffiti and the artists and writers protecting their work. Instead of cleaning it off they have decided the best method of combat is to paint over all of the graffiti with silver paint.  Confusion ensues as the lines between public service and disservice are blurred. There is no doubt that these people are nuts and are obviously making the problem far worse than it needs to be and look.

I found the documentary quite frustrating because I really don’t care about scrubbers, sure they are bizarre and pretty ridiculous but humans are very odd and I have come across people similar here who really do believe that they are doing a good thing when they are way off track. It’s interesting, but a short story. I think I got the point of the film very quickly and then my mind moved on, because graffiti is something that as an urban designer/planner I have pretty strong feelings about. The documentary really focussed on these scrubbers and not on the issue  as a whole, the creators of the film are supporters of all forms of graffiti and quickly washed over the general view of their art form to continue being misunderstood.

I love urban/public art, graffiti, anything that brightens, activates, or creates feeling of community ownership and interest. I know that some, especially the older people in the community, find the style of graffiti a bit intimidating but I think that is just a function of where it all began. People have different tastes and history. We have just come back from a week in Melbourne and am newly re-acquainted with how interesting, artistic graffiti can be and how it really contributes to space.

However, I absolutely DESPISE tagging.  It is juvenile, overdone, boring and ugly. How can you argue that it is a form of self expression when every bored teenager looking for a way to look cool is out there is grabbing a paint can and scribbling his/her name on things? It’s not expression when all of them look the same. Sure, I’m not expert on tagging and I’m sure there are many subtle and important differences in wrist control, shape and style but it’s not a bit enough difference to stand out in the crowd.

I am all for self expression; stickers, posters, caricatures, pattern, shapes, whatever, but your ‘tag’ does not express you. Look I’m not an expert at looking cool, in fact I am quite the opposite, but I remember what it was like being bored and trying to fit in. This is exactly like smoking behind the sports shed.

As someone who spends much of her time, energy and passion in creating beautiful places, and community spaces and infrastructure it is a stab in the heart when some board 16 year old comes along and scribbles on it.  Buses, in particular, really piss me off. Using a key to scratch your name into the perspex/glass, looks like crap and no one can read it or recognize it as your handiwork. There are many places around in the city and suburbs that are crying out for an injection of their community contribution; blank walls, roller doors, footpaths, driveways etc. Some places are inappropriate, private houses, cars, public art installations, trees, pretty bridges… you know, things that matter or people generally agree look ok.

It’s all about respect, and that’s why people hate graffiti so much, it’s a demonstration of lack of respect for what exists. Think about it before you get your spray can out and express yourself in a way that people can respect you back and for god’s sake, get a bit more creative and express yourself in a way that looks awesome and puts all your boring idiot schoolmates to shame.

Perth – The City of Cranes

Wondering why they are digging up the footpath, why the skyline is scattered with cranes, why their are trucks in the Perth CBD again?

I’ll try and keep you in the loop.

Follow my Pinterest board – Perth, and when news releases/projects get approved or announced, I’ll put a link to them so you can be in the know and the envy of all your friends.

I’ve only just started so if you see something and its not on there let me know and I’ll add it!


Muddy Fingerprints

Its Walk the Zig Zag time again!

The theme of this years Festival is “Forests”, because it is the United Nations International Year of Forests, one of my favourite topics!

The structure will be similar to my Sustainability Discovery Trail from last year, however this year we will be focussing on getting people out in the bush, the barriers, the risks, and protecting the environment from all those heffalups!

I have used our friend Captain Planet as structural inspiration… here he is (just in case you forgot about the hair)

The activity stations are themed; Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Heart. At each station there is something to play with, look for or have a go at. When you complete an activty or find the hidden object you get a stamp.

Once all activites are completed the lucky participant will “graduate” as a certified Planet Explorer (ready for adventure in the bush) and be presented with a badge of honour. (obviously I wanted “Planeteer” but the powers above decided it was better not to be sued by Captain Planet)

I am currently playing around with the activites and their information boards, have a look and tell me what you think! Its all a draft at this point so its all subject to change (especially formatting). I welcome any ideas you have.

I kept it a bit simpler than last year, less reading and more action because I wanted to incorporate more hands on activities which meant less time for reading. I dont want it to be too drawn out becuase it needs to be short enough for people to do as they walk past. If its too big of a time commitment people won’t hang around. Hopefully it will engage the adult audience in the same way despite having less interesting things to read. I’m trying to make it more ‘give it a go’ than obvious learning. Last year I observed that it was too easy for kids to stand back, not touch anything and (semi)engage from a distance. Fair enough too, the activities mainly involved looking into the bush from the path. This year hands will be muddied!

To gage its effectiveness I’ve designed some that involve getting your hands in the dirt and others which are more passive so we can see the differences in response and involvement.





Our water suplies are running out.

This figure is from the Water Corporations document ‘Water Forever – Towards Climate Resiliance’, 2009:

Experts are predicting the next world war will be over water….. a war over water within my lifetime (lets be generous and give me another 65 years). We could look back and say that we didnt know, but it wouldnt be true.

I am a firm believer in human ingenuity and its very likely that technology will come to the rescue yet again and dirvert us from the path of disaster. However, this doesnt mean that we should all just sit around twiddling our thumbs and waiting for all those incredible scientists and engineers to work it out on our behalf. Our excessive water use is causing a problem right now, just look at the Murray Darling Basin as just one of thousands of examples. Plus, I think it would be pretty great of us to give these great people a bit more time to work the problem out, this will undoubtably give us a better solution.

We are already looking at alternative supplies; pipes from wetter neighbours, recycling, desalination etc.

“Over the next 50 years, it is expected that existing surface water and groundwater sources will comprise an increasingly smaller portion of public water supply. As the climate dries the focus of new source development will continue to favour rainfall independent sources such as recycling and desalination.” (Water Corporation, 2009)

Climate change is a major consideration. Through a process being dubbed “future proofing” organisations are planning how to adapt to the changing climatic conditions. I find it so interesting that we have moved the focus from stopping climate change to adapting to it. So new “rainfall independant” sources are appearing more often in strategic planning documents for water supply.

A hugely popular one both in the Australia and internationally is desalination.

Wiki ->

In my opinion desalination is not the most elegant of solutions.I believe that sustainable solutions work with the existing natural cycles. Are we solving a problem by creating another?  How will its greenhouse gas emissions be managed? (an issue which caused climatic change and the reduced rainfall which led to the need for desalination.. )

Pwer supply (peak oil, coal industry decline etc) have been a pressing issue for quite some time and research and development focussed on this issue is far more advanced than the industry for water supply. So it is possible that it is far enough ahead to be able to solve this issue pretty quickly once desalination and the like kick off. Although the economic considerations seem to drag and holds back great technology because they are not cost effective (a very valid concern).

Perth’s Kwinana desalination plant is wind powered, although they could have easily gone with non renewable power and i’m guessing it probably would have been cheaper. Great work though :)

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of Western Australia) did some very extensive investigations into the environmental impact of the proposed desalination plants in Perth. The EPA’s document “Southern Seawater Desalination Project – Water Corporation, Report and Recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority” of October 2008 states:

“The EPA has concluded that Environmental Quality Objectives can be met subject to the proponent complying with the recommended conditions which provide for the identification of trigger levels, monitoring, reporting and contingency measures. The EPA considers the effects on biota including marine mammals and benthic habitat relating to the construction of the intake and outfall structures should be limited in area and duration, and best practice design and management measures should minimise impacts.”

The EPA also supported the Water Corporations proposal to offset the native vegetation removed to built the plant and the damage to a conservation catergory wetland, and bestowed on them a long list of regulatory conditions.

The social impact which was not considered by the EPA of the location on a pristine beach which has high community value was mentioned a lot in the public consultation. I don’t know how much that was considered, I will atempt to find the planning decision (either the Town of Kwinana or the Western Australian Planning Commission). However either way, a desalination, no matter how urgent, will be placed on a beach close to a city – this will always cause the community some loss.

It seems unnecessarily ugly and disruptive in my opinion.

People need water (of course) so I’m not disputing the fact that we need to face this issue. I believe that we shouldn’t give up on being able to make real changes in the way we use the water we have!

We can use water as close to possible to its source (to avoid treatment, infrastructure and evaporation) by installing water tanks on all houses, developing using awesome water sensitive urban design techniques (follow up post to come on this!), standard water efficiency for our stuff, developing water recycling technology etc.

We can make it beautiful, elegant, and engaging instead of grey, damaging and boring. The solution for the long term has got to be something that mimics nature.