I stumbled across a beautiful line of gifts in David Jones today by a company called Seedling , my heart jumped as soon as I spotted them.

In their own words;

“Seedling is about giving children the opportunity to explore, discover, grow and create. We aim to encourage their natural instinct to get involved and ask plenty of questions, designing products that help children to develop basic skills and inspire their unique creative ideas.
Our products are not ‘paint by number’, but rather the tools and templates to discover your own ideas.
Seedling products are imagined, designed and created in New Zealand, encompassing a variety of interests and skills from drawing, gardening, sewing, science, imaginative play, painting, model building and plenty more. With their old-fashioned edge, Seedling products also encourage kids to spend quality time with adults in their lives, learning important communication and relationship building skills.
There are Seedling products to appeal to a range of ages and interests making them the perfect gift inspiration.
Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Seedling has a small design team who imagine and create each kit individually. All Seedling kits are lovingly assembled by hand by our team, who pay extra attention to detail and using quality components from all over the world. We use recycled and recyclable materials in our product design so our unique packaging is friendly to the environment.”
Some of my favourites include –

They are beautfifully made with quality materials, and presented in such a fun, colourful way that I can’t imagine that any child wouldnt gasp upon sight.

A gorgeous gift to encourage exploration, creativity and self expression.

I love giving activity based gifts, I’m well known for my “experience” gifts and generally I stuggle to find ones suitable for younger kiddies. Actually, why are we still talking about kids, I’d love one for myself!

They range from about $15-50 depending on the size and complexity of the project. A selection are available at David Jones, otherwise can be purchased on their online store . Talk about incredible branding, stunning.


Link: Exercising In Nature Twice As Good As Gym For Mental Health: Study | The9Billion

See Article. by Mandy Adwell on 10/31/2012 – The9Billion.

“A stroll through the park or a run through the woods may be twice as good as exercising in the gym, a new study has found.

Professor Richard Mitchell of Glasgow University polled nearly 2,000 physically active people in a Scottish Health Survey, finding that the only time exercise lowered the risk of poor mental health was when it was associated with a natural environment.

“There was around a 50% improvement in people’s mental health if they were physically active in the natural environment, compared to those who weren’t,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph. “These aren’t serious mental health issues, more struggles in general life, things like mild depression, not being able to sleep, high stress levels or just feelings of not being able to cope.”

Michell adds that he was not surprised by the findings that natural environments are better for our mental health, but he was surprised by the drastic difference in numbers. His biggest conclusion is that doctors, planners, and policy makers need to make sure they are doing what they can to promote and protect our natural environment.

One walk or jog a week is sufficient as far as giving your mental health a boost, but more than that is obviously even better. If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, whether from your job or other factors, adding this into your schedule may yield some worthy results.

Do you exercise outside frequently, or are you more loyal to the gym?”

Image CC licensed by Tony Fischer: Path through the trees


Social Cities – bringing people together in urban areas

Social Cities – bringing people together in urban areas

“The ‘Social Cities’ report recently published by the Grattan Institute shows that whilst Australian cities have paid great attention to making cities more sustainable and productive they have neglected the ‘social’ aspect of cities and the need to create places for social interaction. Single households are on the rise in Australia creating more lonely and isolated Australians, the report outlines the need for design solutions to provide more places for social connection within communities. Social connections and interaction is beneficial to overall mental well-being.

“Social connection is becoming more widely recognised as an important goal in the design of streets and the architecture of  buildings….”

The report reviews the role of various types of spaces including public and private spaces in neighbourhoods, streetscapes, building typologies and edges. Also covered in the report is the various forms of investment through various types of projects that can be undertaken by governments, organisations and individuals to improve social connections such as community events, walking groups, pop-up parks, pavement connections to parks and public art.

Many various organisations such as Australian Institute of Landscape Architects are appealing to governments (local, state and federal) to invest in places for social interaction.  Kirsten Bauer, President of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) is concerned that many of the parks in Australian suburbs are underfunded, lack facilities and are poorly maintained.   “They are important places for communities to gather and for neighbours to meet. They provide peaceful settings to relax and find solitude as well as important ecological values . It is vital that there is adequate investment in parks across Melbourne so that all communities can enjoy these benefits” said Kirsten.

Public open space, parklands, public spaces and public infrastructure are critical to the health and wellbeing of the community. These places embrace cultural, social and age differences and provide the common ground for reconciliation, social engagement and recreation for our communities.  “Parks are a vital part of Melbourne and play an important role in knitting communities together.” Kirsten said.

Download the Social Cities report” (from World Landscape Architecture)