Tag Archives: Drawn Outdoors

Happy New Year

1 Jan

Wow, 2014 crept up pretty quickly. I wasn’t really expecting to be watching fireworks and sipping bubbles quite this soon, but there we were last night, with the rest of Sydney sitting by the harbour, picnicking and bathing in the spectacular fireworks that Sydney New Years Eve is famous for.

Sydney celebrates New Years Eve exceptionally well. Take one of the worlds prettiest harbour cities, add gorgeous summer weather (except for the 10 minute freak rain shower) and top it off with one of the world’s best fireworks display, and you have a Sydney New Years Eve.

If you don’t have a party to go to, if you forget to plan something huge, then all you need to do in Sydney is head on down to the harbour foreshore. With around 2 million partygoers lining the harbour’s edge, every vantage point becomes a huge multicultural communal celebration farewelling the old and welcoming the new.

When all the fun and games are over, it’s a great time to think and take stock about the year that was, and the year that will be. I love making resolutions, I’m generally not so great at keeping them, but my heart is in the right place. This year I’ve decided to keep it simple, just three resolutions that are hopefully very easy to keep. I’m thinking of them in a purely selfish way, something for my mind – blog more (not hard given 2013’s very ordinary effort), something for my heart – reach out and contact old friends, organise those catch ups and basically see more of people, and something for my body and soul – get out into nature and visit as many National Parks as I can (I would love to visit all of the National Parks in NSW one day). While they are resolutions that are purely for my own improvement, they are also definitely things that I can and will share.


Most importantly I hope that 2014 brings laughter, love and happy memories. Cheers to the new year!


It’s time…

28 Nov

Hello blog world, I’m sorry I’ve been neglectful, REALLY neglectful.  It’s been well over a year since my last post, and while I have missed you, I was getting a little obsessive and needed a little break, which turned into a big break, and then I had a serious thought about whether I really wanted to come back or not, and well, here I am, tail between my legs, hat off, ready to reacquaint myself and get back into it. Surprise!

So much has happened in the time I’ve been away, and it would be boring to re-hash it all, so I won’t, regardless to say little people have grown, gardens haven’t and, well, life does move on, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast.  Memories wane – I had to re-set my password, but then some things you just never forget, like the cathartic feeling of typing out a post and pressing the publish button.

Yes, they have grown, the Drama Queen and Daredevil sharing a "love drink" because they are way too cute sometimes!

Yes, they have grown, the Drama Queen and Daredevil sharing a “love drink” because they are way too cute sometimes!

I would love to say more, but will save it for later.  For now it’s just “Hi”.  I’ve been putting this off for way too long.  Drawn Outdoors is back online.


Are you a Babe?

22 May

Of course you are!  But what I want to know is do you have a burning desire or a little flicker of hope to run your own business? I did, and Bizness Babes was the course that has helped me start the little spark of fire under my dreams.  Now I’m paying it forward just a little.  Here is a post written by the Brisbane facilitator of Bizness Babes, Samantha Jockel.  Bizness Babes have asked all their graduate bloggers to post this in their blog, and I’m so happy to be able to spread the news.

Business … do I really have what it takes?

Ever found yourself asking this question? For most people this is where it begins and also where it ends.  What sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest is not that they have ideas but they actually DO something about them.  That is it.  One tiny thing can take you from stay-at-home-mum to business entrepreneur, leading a ‘choose your own adventure’ life you only ever dreamed of.

My name is Samantha Jockel and for the last five years I have been a stay at home mum and business entrepreneur. It has been the most exciting, scary, fulfilling, frustrating and ultimately awesome time of my life.

I started contemplating the idea of business seven years ago when I was thinking about having children.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and leave my kids but I also knew I would need more stimulation than looking after a baby.  I have always been an ideas person with my fingers in many pies but just hadn’t made my own pies yet.

I decided I had to come up with an idea which could work with a baby in tow.  My background was social work and community development and my superpower was making things happen.  From a random thought in my head one day and a few encouraging conversations came my first business called Biddy Bags.  

Biddy Bags merges the skills and abilities of crafting nanas with the design ideas of young fashionistas to create stylish, nana-made ethical products.  Refer to www.biddybags.com.au for more info.

From setting up and managing Biddy Bags I learnt that I LOVE business and have spent the past three years experimenting with lots of the different potential I see in the market.

I currently run a large facebook page, sell products and services at markets, co-founded two social enterprises and run a consultancy business.

What I have learnt about running a business is that it is not about having a great idea as much as it is about a willingness and love of learning. 

As Richard Branson said: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming”.

I truly believe you can do whatever you want if you can be bothered the secret of business success is that it’s not necessarily about talent or a great idea but a desire to learn and grow and an ability to work hard. 

What excites me the most is not what I have done but what I am yet to do.  As a stay at home mum you are in the perfect position to experiment with small business and see if you have the ability to learn, create and work hard in business. You too can choose YOUR own adventure, live YOUR dreams and be in control of YOUR own life.

Three years ago I was lucky to be offered a job working with a social enterprise called Bizness Babes.  Bizness Babes supports and empowers stay at home mums attempting to give business a go.  We run free training programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and have had over 400 women come through our program since 2006.

Some graduate Bizness Babes businesses include Sunny Mummy, Peppermint Magazine, Home Life Simplified, Seven Cherubs, Gregarious Peach, Greensacks, Maternal Instincts, Kiss it Better Bags, Seven Canaries, and the Karma Soap Company 

The great thing is that YOU could add your name to that list.   We are currently taking applications for our next round of courses.  In order to be eligible you need to meet a couple of criteria outlined in the application form.  Our Small Business Development Course is free to women who are unemployed, underemployed or marginalised in some way (see the FAQ on our website).

You can find out more about Bizness Babes and apply for our courses online at www.biznessbabes.com.au

Like our facebook page www.facebook.com/biznessbabes for regular updates, networking and inspiration.

And remember you are always in the position to CHOOSE your own adventure!!!!

And thank you Bizness Babes for not only making my business planning easy, but also making today’s blog post so easy!


Woo Hoo! One year old today

9 May

One year ago I sat down at this computer desk, at a very similar looking but different computer and tapped out my first blog post.  Drawn Outdoors the blog was born!

I’m just a little bit proud of the achievements I have made in the last twelve months, they’re only relatively small in the bigger scheme of things, but most have been significant first steps into previously untested waters for me.  A bit of faith, a bit of inspiration and a lot of hard work, and I am well and truly on my way.  If I could have predicted the future, I would have thought that this blog would have started out like a burst of Sydney New Years Eve fireworks, and then kind of faded away in the haze of smoke that was left in its wake.  I wasn’t sure that I would still have things to blog about, how I would find inspiration and ideas, and even if anyone would read what I was writing.

Fortunately I was wrong.  My daily page views are steadily increasing each month, and I seem to be enjoying blogging more with each post that I write, this is my 88th post, so by the end of May I will be well and truly into triple digits.  I am constantly amazed that my most read post has had over 1,000 views, and that it was this one

What have I achieved, what happened this year and where to from here?? Is it time to make a new blogging year to do list, re-write some aims and objectives and set the bar just a little bit higher? Hell yeah!  It’s time to dream bigger, better and in every colour of the rainbow!

Drawn Outdoors’ first year saw births, deaths and marriages.  We had hospital stays and holidays, and an incredibly huge amount of rain!  At least the weather is my prevailing excuse for the lack of activity on the Drawn Outdoors courtyard.  Drawn Outdoors has attracted a few clients, I’ve dusted off the drawing board and designed some fabulous gardens, though still not ours!  As I said, baby steps, but at least when I prepare my tax return this year I’ll be able to show a very modest income!  Significantly I graduated from the Bizness Babes program, and blogged about it here.  Without these wonderful women and fantastic program I don’t think I would have had the nerve to start down this road.

As for the rainbow coloured dreams, as the Daredevil will be heading off for a day or two of childcare soon I’ll suddenly be presented with the luxury of time.  Time that will be used to grow my business, improve my blog and take the next step and start to develop my website.  With the extra time I’ll be able to start to market Drawn Outdoors and find clients rather than waiting for potential clients to find me.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll actually finish my business plan, rather than continually “improving” it!

I know that this year I’ll be taking bigger steps, confident strides, and there is a possibility you might even see some running and jumping, though dancing might be more my style.  Bigger things are in store, better things down the track.

Happy birthday Drawn Outdoors!  Thank you for reading, I hope I have informed and entertained.  At the very least I hope I have made you smile, think and feel inspired.  I hope you’re really starting to feel drawn outdoors!


Am I Mad May???

1 May

Thanks to the wonderful Bizness Babes for this little piece of motivation to kick off May

A post a day in May.  Am I crazy? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? The answer is probably yes to both, but who doesn’t love a challenge.

This month is the first birthday of the Drawn Outdoors blog.  There’s a lot to celebrate.  I wasn’t sure how long I would last, how much I would enjoy it or even if anyone else would enjoy my inspired ramblings.  I have survived, have loved my blog and grown with it over the last 12 months.  The best news is that it appears there are a few people out there who enjoy it too, and my page views are gradually increasing as each month passes.  For this I am grateful as it provides me with a small sense of purpose and motivation to keep on going.

To celebrate the last twelve months and to kick off the next twelve I’m challenging myself to a post a day for the month of May.  I have some great ideas for posts.  Some may be very short, just a photo or an idea, others might provide a bit of inspiration, information or just some light reading.  I’m not sure that it will be the easiest way to celebrate, but it will be fun.

I’m also linking up with Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May project. It is such a perfect way to recognise the great things I have going on around me.  I don’t think I’ll post my sentences daily, but save them up for a weekly happiness update.  If you’re game, you can come along on the happiness ride.  No need for a blog, a pen and paper will do.  Check out the project here.

31 posts will be a lot, I might  need a little inspiration, so I’m throwing it out to the universe, what do you want me to write about?  Is there a burning thought or question you would like addressed?  Is there something you’re interested in or think that I should be interested in?  Leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

One down, 30 to go, wish me luck!


Back to the books

6 Mar


I am amazed at how tech reliant I have become. So much of my life seems to revolve around what I need to e-mail, research, or communicate on line. But what happens when mother nature strikes? In this case literally, and your portal to your online world is zapped?

Sydney has been experiencing some very un-summery weather, and for about a week we had some very impressive electrical storms. Unfortunately it seems that both our computer and router were fried in one of the storms, and we’ve been without them for about two weeks now. Frustrating and inconvenient? – yes! The end of the world as we know it? – no way. An opportunity to reconnect with an old school way of doing things? – Definitely!

I’ve talked about going slow before. You can refresh your memory here. The difference is that last time it was voluntary and this time it is an enforced tech-out.

I have had to come up with some creative ways to get plans finished, prepare quotes and research and select plants. I have a fantastic library of books, and the lack of computer has given me the opportunity to open the bookshelf doors and reacquaint myself with these old friends. I had actually forgotten about some of the books, so it was like a little walk down memory lane.

Some of my books were bought while I was travelling, some when I was at University, and others were gifts. It was the books that were gifts that bring back the best memories. My Mum has given me a mountain of landscape books over the years, she knows me well. She also has a great eye for books, and having been the wife of an architect and mum of a landscape architect she’s learnt a few things about design over the years. I’ve spent a bit too much time flipping through the books she brought back from the US, or the gorgeous Australian Garden Design book she gave me a couple of years ago, but it was the Collection of Australian Wildflower Illustrations that made me stop and think.


Mum and Dad (or should I say Santa) gave me this book for Christmas when I was 10. Long before I was a landscape architect, before I think I had even considered it as a career choice. I remember spending hours flicking through the pages and savouring the delicate water colour illustrations. Could it have been this book that started me down the path I’m following? Could it have sown the little seed that has grown into the garden of my life?



I’m quite enjoying my tech exile for the short term, my books are keeping me company, and reminding me of my roots, but I can’t wait to re-discover the convenience of the world at my fingertips.


No more nevers

17 Jan


Happy new year! I have finally given up the procrastination for my first post of the 2012. Yes, it has taken me a while, but the new year is bit busy around Drawn Outdoors HQ, not only do we have the fun of celebrating Christmas and New Year, but it’s also Mr Perfect and then the Drama Queen’s birthdays in quick succession. (I also have a really good excuse, in my quest to embrace our new christmas technology, our Ipad ate my blog post!)

Because of the number of celebrations, I love the new year. Not only is is a time for family, friends, food and fun, but it’s also a time for new starts, setting new priorities and making resolutions. Whether you’re planning to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier or just smile more, it’s a time for taking a bit of a look forward and back and readjusting a little.

We have a new outlook around Drawn Outdoors. It’s been inspired by my lovely Drama Queen. I’m not sure why, but she has been turning into a bit of a negative nelly. More and more often I was hearing the word never. “I’ll never have chocolate again!” or “I’ll never ever play with my ponies”. Basically her world was becoming a bit too doom and gloom for my liking, so we made a new rule…

No more Nevers

Instead of never we’ve turned it into “I can’t wait”. Now we get “I can’t wait to have chocolate again” and “I can’t wait to go to the beach”. Not only are the words different and more positive, but they come with a smile instead of a scowl. I think it has actually made a huge difference to her general outlook.

The good news is, that between the rainy days that this Sydney summer has served up, the Capricorn birthday routine of choice this year has been beaches and pubs. Mornings spent in the sand sun and surf (well as much surf as a Sydney harbour beach can serve up) and evenings relaxing in a beer garden with family and friends… I’m hoping this tradition hangs on for my birthday!

In celebration of our new philosophy, happy new year and I can’t wait until my next blog post!!! Why don’t you join us in our quest to eradicate the nevers.


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