Tag Archives: beach life

Handcrafted Australian Raffia Beach Bags – Island Twist and Shout Your Style

Jeanny Oaks from Island Twist in Lord Howe Island

Coming from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, when did you come up with the idea of making raffia accessories?

It all came about when one of my oldest Island girlfriends Amy asked if I would be interested in creating a clutch style beach bag for her store, The Miles Away Company in Brisbane. I was heavily pregnant with our first Daughter at the time and so, after many crocheted and pulled apart designs later, the Cockleshell Clutch was created!

Cockleshell Clutch

Cockleshell Clutch

What is life like on the beautiful Lord Howe Island?

Island life is without a doubt the best life a person can live. I was born and raised on Lord Howe, and it wasn’t until I became older that I realised how lucky I was. To be able to run around in bare feet, snorkel off pristine beaches straight onto beautiful coral reefs, and go fishing for the best, fresh fish around, it is the most amazing place to live.
When our Daughter was born, she and her Great Grandmother Joyce were the oldest and youngest ladies on the Island, it made living there a little bit more special.

Jeannie Oaks from Island Twist

Jeannie Oaks from Island Twist

Tell us about the name of your label “Island Twist”

My Husband Nicholas actually came up with the name Island Twist!

When we were brainstorming names for the business he came up with Island Twist after watching me crocheting with the raffia. Using Raffia to work with is a bit different to wool, and I need to twist it in order to make it stronger and easier to crochet with.

After many years working on the Island’s freight ship the ‘Island Trader’, it reminded him of bringing in the lines on the ship and coiling them up when they weren’t in use. Originally we were going to have our logo as a ship’s anchor with coiled rope around it, but decided to go for the more Island tribal look of the spiralling Twist.


Please tell me about the fabrics you use in your creations – any specific fabrics and colours that you love to work with?

I love working with raffia as there are so many ways to make beautiful bags with it. I can use it to make smooth surfaces or I can use it to create textured looks. It also makes for a stronger bag with a natural look which a lot of people like. I only buy the highest quality raffia to make bags, and in doing so am able to source it in a multitude of colours which helps create pieces with a *Pop* of colour.
My lined bags are lined using my favourite fabric called Island ‘Savannah’ Print by Donna Wilder for Fabric Traditions . With it’s palm and blossom background it always reminds me of my Grandmother’s gardens with her Kentia Palms and bright red and pink Hibiscus.
I also love using bright fabrics to give my more natural looking bags a bright splash of colour. From the outside they look calm and natural, but on the inside they are a rainbow of colour! (check out the entire collection of straw beach bags )

Handbags Beach Bags

Handbags Beach Bags

Who or what inspired you to create this collection?

When I created the Cockleshell Clutch for The Miles Away Company, I was so happy with the way it came out that I decided to experiment with other handbags styles.

Not long after I started walking around the Island with one of my handmade creations, the Island Handbag, I started getting a lot of people asking me to make them one as well! Then I started getting special requests, Large Beach Bags, Tote Beach Bags and Beach Purses  and as they say, the rest is history!
What started by making bags for friends was quickly picked up by some of the Island’s store owners to stock in their stores. The Beach Boutique was the very first to stock my Cockleshell clutch after the owner Vicky saw one that I had made for my friend.

What are your target markets?

My products have a really broad range of end customers which is great. My bags and clutches can be used by ladies in their 20’s – 30’s, Mums, or even Nannas!
I did aim them towards an Island style of living as we don’t tend to use handbags as much at home, but we do need bags to pick up our mail, meet a friend for lunch, or pile the beach towels and swimmers into to take them to the beach.
The casual and natural look of my bags makes them easy to take pretty much anywhere, on the Island or anywhere in the world!

Can you describe your collection using 3 words?

Natural, Casual, and Unique!

What is your favourite piece of the collection?

My favourite piece is the Island Diamond Beach Bag. It fits everything in it and when I take my Daughter to the beach it comes every time.

large beach bag

Diamond Large Beach Bag

When did you launch?

In January 2014, a month before my Daughter’s birth. After finishing work to prepare for Mummyhood I realised I needed to do something else that could base me at home while I looked after her. This turned out to be the perfect job!

Jeannie little apprentice

Jeannie little apprentice

What is next for you?

I am looking forward to expanding my range into Homewares. I have many ideas in my head that haven’t made it to fruition yet, and I would love to design a range of Tablemats, Coasters and Utensil bags. I am currently working on a design for a Cutlery Bag to take on BBQ’s, an idea put to me by my cousin Amy, who is an Island Mum with a family of 4 who hates having loose cutlery in her BBQ basket!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

When creating patterns using the crochet method, WRITE DOWN YOUR PATTERNS AS YOU GO! The biggest mistake I made starting out was not writing my patterns down and then trying to remember them in vain when I was asked to make the item again!
And experiment, a design that I might not be so keen on usually turns out to be a favourite on my Facebook blog amongst my followers!

Is there any big WOW that you would like to share with us?

My Wow moments are always when I hear the wonderful feedback from customers and end customers about my handmade bags.  When I hear how much they appreciate the time and effort it takes to make them all by hand, it makes all those hours crocheting, sewing and beading really worthwhile! Seeing a tourist walk past me with one of my bags in tow was certainly a great moment, but being asked to sell them through Aquazy.com certainly is up there as well!

Where is your favourite beach and why?

I am torn between two!

The Lagoon on Lord Howe has the most amazing views and was a place where my late Dad and I frequently went down too and sat with a beer watching the amazing sunsets we get in the Summer. With a Southerly view of our Mountains, Lidgbird and Gower, and the Northerly view of the North hills, it is a very special spot to sit and just unwind for a chat.
Ned’s Beach on the Western side of the Island will forever hold a special place in my heart as that is where my Husband and I had our Wedding day 2 years ago.

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

Jeannie Oaks Wedding in Lord Howe Island
Jeannie Oaks Wedding in Lord Howe Island

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“Fred, If you get knocked down, put your head up and keep walking, there are better things yet to come your way” – Garry Petherick – Dad.
“Keep your head up, and keep your heart strong” – Ben Howard

What is your favourite colour?

Turquoise, the colour of our beautiful Island waters!


Seahorse Silks – Smooth Scarves and Resort Wear from Mother Nature

Robyn Boothey Beach Photography

1.When did you come up with the idea creating image printed beach dresses?

A couple of years ago. I was doing architectural photography and wanted to do something different.

2.Is beach photography your secondary passion?

Photography is my passion. It is a beautiful world. Photographs don’t have to always be printed on canvas and hung on a wall.  Printing on fabrics is just a different way of displaying an image.

Beach Photography North Cottesloe WA

Robyn Boothey taking photos in North Cottesloe, WA

Beach Photo Margaret River, WA

Robyn Boothey taking photos in Margaret River, WA

3.Why did you choose the name Seahorse Silks?

I started as Images Clothing, but friends who know more about marketing than I did, said it is too generic. If someone googles “Images” and “Clothing” too much will come up.

Many designers use their own names but Robyn Boothey just doesn’t cut it. After tossing around many ideas and receiving a resounding NO to “Rich Type of Resort Wear“, a girlfriend came up with Seahorse. Inspired by my love of the sea and horses. There was already a seahorse.com, so I took the advice of the lady who designed my logo and gift boxes and added silks on the end.


Seahorse Silks Beach Dresses

Seahorse Silks Beach Dresses

4.Why do you prefer silks and chiffon fabric?

Whether it’s 100% silk or 100% polyester I believe it has to feel good. Silk feels wonderful against the skin. It does feel luxurious and it is actually a bit tougher than most people think.
But I am not against the polyester fabrics. The latest ones are very good. They drape well and wash and wear like a rag which is great for travelling.  Whatever the fabric, it must feel good. The first step to looking good, is feeling good.

5.Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

Easy – Mother Nature

6.What are your target markets?

I like to think Seahorse Silks beach dresses can be worn at any age. I just want to make a few things for people who like something different and appreciate the uniqueness of what I am doing. I take large orders on request too, so that broadens the possibilities.

7.Can you describe your collection using 3 words?

Mother Nature’s Masterpieces

8.What is your favourite piece of the collection?

Probably my Prussian Extra Large Scoop Scarf. I wear it as a sarong in the summer and wear it to death as a scarf in the winter.


Blue Pareo

9.When did you launch?

I started fiddling with this a couple of years ago, but was working full time and couldn’t devote much time to it. I only really got serious in the middle of last year. Launch is not a term I would use – we are more “plodding along”.

10.What is next for you?

I haven’t got to “next” yet.

11.What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

Probably “Don’t do it!” Ha ha.  Someone said to me at the very beginning “If this was easy – everyone would be doing it.”  And that is very true. It’s not easy. Mind you, I knew absolutely nothing about fashion, fabrics, printing, pattern making or any of it when I started. So, it has been a huge learning curve.

12.What are the challenges you faced when launching your new products?

My biggest challenge was knowing absolutely nothing about what I was doing.  From garment manufacturing to internet “stuff”. SEO’s, meta descriptions etc still does my head in.

13.Is there any big WOW that you would like to share with us?

I guess what has struck me is how the colours of nature suit so many people.  I have found that I can take an image, make something and it will look good on so many different people.

The regular ideas of what colours go together, what suits different age groups, skin tones etc seems to go out the window if you stick to what Mother Nature has created.
For example, the Red Hot image kaftan looks great on young, old, fair, and dark. I have a friend who wears hers with bright coral leggings and looks fantastic.

Red is absolutely NOT my colour and yet I have one of the jersey dresses and it looks really good.  I’ve seen the Crystal Wave scarf on a fair skinned blonde and an olive skinned brunette and it looks great on both of them. I have just decided to go with Mother Nature – she always gets it right.

14.Where is your favourite beach and why?

So very many beautiful beaches all over the world and I haven’t even been to half of them. We are blessed here in WA with some truly gorgeous ones. Too hard to pick. I love them all.  I adore the colours and patterns of the water.  I love the way it changes every day.


Avalon in WA

Avalon in WA

15.What is your favourite personal quote?

Don’t know that I have one.  “S*** Happens” is appropriate in a lot of cases :).

16.What is your favourite colour?


Australian Romantic Beach Getaways for Valentine’s Day – Capturing Hearts and Creating Memories on

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Windswept stretches of sand, the perfume of a salt-scented breeze, and the melody of the surf combine to make the beach the perfect place to reconnect with loved ones – especially on Valentine’s Day. But if you want to give Cupid a little extra help this year, consider one of these gateways destination, and do not forget to pack in your suitcase a colourful beach dress, a nice piece of designer jewellery and a pair of comfortable flip flops.

Romantic Beach Getaways NSW

Australia has many romantic destinations to offer love birds of all ages. And, the coast lines of New South Wales are amongst some of the most captivating.

The Tweed region in New South Wales is one of the most romantic. It boasts some very long, quiet beaches; perfect for a romantic stroll. Watch the world go by and maybe a few Dolphins and Whales too. Possibly the ideal setting to propose to your soul mate. Head on down to one of the many licensed clubs for a celebration or to simply have fun with the one you love.
New South Wales is also home to the sensational Tweed River. Although not a traditional romantic break, hiring a houseboat to explore the river can be a cosy little getaway for two.
Jervis Bay is another gem of New South Wales, and is surrounded by some astounding natural beauty. Jervis National Park and Booderee National Park will captivate the imagination, and provide a superb backdrop for a romantic picnic or adventure. Maybe even let out a little bit of your wild side in the wilderness.

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay


Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay

Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay

Blenheim Beach Jervis Bay


View of Blenheim Beach in Jervis Bay

blenheim beach jervis bay view

View of Blenheim Beach in Jervis Bay

Romantic Beaches in QLD and SA

The beautifully tropical Palm Cove, Queensland is an ideal quiet romantic setting to escape with the one you love. Plenty of down time to frolic and soak up the settings and some romance. Forget your troubles underneath a palm and discover eachother; getting lost in time. A little bit of luxury against the backdrop of a Barrier Reef Island. What more could you ask for? Well, luxury spas and award winning restaurants maybe.
In Southern Australia lies Victor Harbor, where you can enjoy the perfect view of one of nature’s most romantic creatures-the penguin. With their pure hearts, they mate for the long haul and are utterly devoted to their beloved and their offspring. A beautiful example of romance and sensational scenery; a dream Australian getaway for any couple.
It is clear that Australia is a true destination for romance and New South Wales is a gem for couples getaways. Whether it’s romantic holidays or just a weekend break, couples are truly spoilt for choice.


Squidinky – Emma Trenberth Artist Celebrates Australia with Beach Art

emma trenberth australian artist

When did you come up with the idea of beach paintings?

I starting painting and drawing these things as a child, documenting things I found on the beach. Painting beach things has evolved over time because the beach is a big part of my lifestyle. I am really just painting the things that are around me, the creatures in my local environment.
A lot of these sea animals are linked to various memories of the beach combing adventures, from my childhood.
I also like painting beach things because they have beautiful colours and are often interesting textures and shapes. There is also a never ending supply of inspiration for beach inspired paintings.

Why did you choose the name Squidinky?

I have a bit of a fascination with squid they are very quirky little creatures. They swim backwards, and produce their own ink. I like that squid are a sea animal because that represents what I am doing, as well as that they produce ink which makes me think of art and pen and ink sketches.
“Squidinky”-I wanted one word that was quirky and represented both the sea and beach art.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations? Who or what inspired you to create this collection?

I get a lot of inspiration from beach combing. I have been known to pick up little dead fish and prawns off of the beach and bring them home to photograph or draw. I also like to snorkel. I get a lot of inspiration looking at the different shapes of fish and types of weed.
At times I will also tag along with others fishing, for the purpose of observing reef fish and squid swimming in buckets.

What do you believe is a key element in creating a good painting?

I tend to make the composition of my pictures really balanced. I also really like that quality in other peoples art work. I think a lot of the art works that I am drawn to have a contrast in textures as well as colour.

What is the best part about working with acrylics?

I specifically like acrylics because they dry quickly and I can paint a picture while I’m inspired by it. I use specialist sign writers’ acrylic. I love that I can just keep painting this helps me keep my idea fresh. Acrylics are also very bright and vibrant.

How long have you been painting for?

I have been painting and drawing since I was a child and never stopped. I come from quite an art rich environment because my father is a wood carver. So, creating things and experimenting with different materials just seemed normal to me.
I think that I was lucky because I was never discouraged from painting even when I painted horrible wonky looking things on the walls.

How has your style changed over the years?

My style is getting more confident and free. I used to worry a lot about trying to make things look really realistic. I’ve since decided that more interesting things evolve in their own way if I just paint things how I think they should be and forget about how people might be judging my work for not being perfect.
I realised you can’t be true to yourself and have your own style if your too busy trying to be like everyone else.
I’m using a lot more techniques now. I like splashing paint around and creating paintings that have a life or energy about them. My previous paintings were quite static in comparison.
I am really enjoying the freedom of being a bit more modern and creative.

Can you describe your collection using 3 words?

Bright, honest, Australian

What piece of your collection has been inspired by Australia Day?

I have created a piece specifically for Australia day. Capturing the essence of enjoying a day off of work at the beach. It is called “kicking back at back beach” .

Where would you like to see your business in the next 12 months? What is next for you?

I’d like to look at expanding my product line in the future – perhaps making some gift cards or printed coffee cups.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

You need to do a lot of research. Selling things online can be a lot of work. You really need to think about what people will want to know about you and your product.

Is there anything you would recommend for designers starting up to avoid?

The best advice I’ve heard is “don’t doubt and undervalue yourself”. If you undervalue and under price yourself, buyers can think that your product isn’t worth anything.

Where is your favourite beach and why?

Lipson cove, it is absolutely pristine with squeaky white sand and Aqua waters. It is a great place to go for a barbeque or a beach day.

Lipson Cover Jetty Beach

Lipson Cove from Rochelle Berryman

What is your favourite personal quote?

‘Be who you are and say how you feel because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind’. – Dr Seuss

What is your favourite colour?



Life’s A Beach, Just Kick Back and Enjoy Your Beach Activities

beach activities

Beach activitiesWhat Beach Activities Are There?

You may associate the beach with activities like Volleyball, Swimming and Surfing. All of these are very active activities. But, fear not, there are lots of less intense choices. You might prefer to kick back and enjoy sunbathing, a leisurely walk along the beach or perhaps a good old BBQ. Continue reading

Beach Photography Tips

Beach photography

Photography of Tamarama Beach – Australia

Now it’s summer you are bombarded with images of blue seas and white sand, models in bikinis and people mid-air during various water sport activities in their training swimwear. Yet it seems impossible to take these shots yourself. Here are a few tips to bear in mind next time you’re due to hit the beach: Continue reading

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Top 10 Accessories for Your Beach Holiday

Beach Accessories

Beach accessories

My dad is a wise man, he always taught me that when flying abroad always make sure you’ve got your passport, ticket and money; that way you can get anywhere in the world. That being said, we all have a much longer list of what is ‘necessary’ for our holiday so what are you going pack for your beach holiday? Here’s our list for the top 10.

10. A good book – I love nothing more than to relax on the beach with a book. You have a lot of time to get your teeth into a big novel on holiday. Perhaps it’s time that book you got for Christmas stopped gathering dust on the shelf and came on an adventure with you.

9. Surf board – if you’re going to a surfing hotspot then having your board is vital, along with some sport swimwear that will withstand the ride! Continue reading

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The History of the Bikini – The Evolution of Swimming Suits

history of bikini

history of bikini

Many women have been lucky to grow up in a world where bikinis are commonplace and no rules or societal pressures have forced them to cover up. However, when the bikini first arrived it caused a lot of controversy and people had to campaign to wear it. Continue reading

How to get a safe tan in your hot bikini


How to get a safe tan in your hot bikini

Ask anyone from outside Australia what they think of when they picture a ‘typical Aussise’ and they will describe a person living on beautiful white sandy beach, a big smile on their face and of course an absolutely amazing flawless tan. For many Australians the latter is the case, however at what cost does the tan come with? Can you enjoying wearing a hot bikini and sunbathe safely? Continue reading