Category Archives: Inspiration

Finding Equilibrium

Talina Edwards Profile Pic


When the Parlour team asked me to be a part of this inspiring series of Letters to my younger self, they posed a few questions I could reflect upon. The BIG question that is always asked is about work-life balance, and the answers are as elusive as the quest for the holy grail… So, this sets the scene for my letter, and I realised that as I was composing this, I was also tuning into my future self to give me the advice I need to heed right now.


Dear younger self, Continue reading

Know the way, go the way, show the way

Ripple Effect, Leadership, LBWR, Ballarat

Hello there! How’s the new year treating you so far? Hope you’ve got off to a good start, and had a chance to have a break and some time for reflection about what your dreams are for 2016! I’m really excited about the year ahead, and this is for a number of reasons, and today I want to share one of them with you! I love improving myself and my business, and this year I’ll have an opportunity for some big personal and professional development with the Leadership Forum (Leadership Ballarat & Western Region) by Committee for Ballarat. Here’s how they explain the program:

Leaders Forum is LBWR’s leadership program for emerging community leaders. Participants explore the possibilities for the future of our regional communities. They:

  • Connect with a diverse range of people and established leaders to explore ideas.
  • Listen to others, learn from them and reflect on their own understandings.
  • Experience practical situations to help understand major issues affecting our regional communities.
  • Think laterally, examine issues systematically and find creative solutions.
  • Question what leadership means and develop their leadership style.
  • Broaden their understanding of how they can lead in their community to achieve positive change.
Samantha Davies and Talina Edwards Small Business Entrepreneur

Samantha Davies awarding me the ‘Peter Davies Scholarship’ for the Leadership Forum for 2016

Continue reading

It’s all about me…and sharing the love! (Liebster Award)

Talina Edwards Liebster Blog Award

So, my blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award! Thanks so much Louise! Which means you get to know a bit more about me on the blog today! (Feel free to change channels now…or if you’ve ever wondered where my name came from, read on and you’ll get to find out the answer)!

Some people may think of this as an annoying chain-letter scenario, but I think it’s a lovely way to get to know one another a bit better, and to link up with fellow bloggers. Louise has posed the following ten questions for me (there’s some great ones here – thanks Lou!). And if you’re interested in checking out the questions she answered, see here. (I love her response to number 9!)

1. Where does your name come from?

I get asked this a lot! I used to say my dad “made it up” but he once corrected me explaining that they didn’t sit down and try to invent a different name for me, but it intuitively came to him whilst my mum was pregnant. As though I’d communicated to him that my name would be Talina. (Some people think it this is a gorgeous story, others think it’s a bit hippy-woowoo! Either way, I love that my name is unique!)

2. What are you most afraid of?

Fear of failure! I’m a hard-working perfectionist who’s always strived for high-marks. I’ve been learning about creative-courage, embracing vulnerability, and I am improving this mindset…I hope!

3. Why do you go to work every day?

Because I love helping people create spaces (homes, workplaces, etc) that they love! I also love running my own Architectural Practice – working both in and on the business! And I love being a role model for my boys – that whether male or female, we all pitch in to do the housework, and we can all have careers which follow our dreams.

4. Who is the one person that makes your heart stir?

These days it is a three-way tie! I wish I could say it was my beloved partner, but the reality with young children is that they’re high on the list too!

5. Black & White or Shades of Grey?


6. Do you have a special family recipe to share?

This is one we made up last summer – healthy, sweet, cold, gluten-free, vegetarian, nut-free, (refined) sugar-free, and pretty yummy! It also featured in lovely Brigid’s book “Gorgeous Green Smoothies“.

Mint Choc-Chip Ice Cream:
2 frozen bananas (peel and chop before you freeze)
Big handful fresh mint leaves
½ cup frozen spinach leaves
Pinch of stevia (or other sweetner of your choice)
Small handful raw cacao nibs or dark choc chips
– Blend & enjoy! Our thermomix does this in a few seconds ;o)

7. Funniest moment in your life? 

Surely it’s not a good thing that I’m struggling to remember the “funniest” moment… I’m trying to recall those times of uncontrollable laughter where your belly aches. I know there has been many moments, but I can’t remember what they were, or which was the funniest, or why! Hmmm… the kids make me laugh often, seeing Ross Noble live was side-splittingly funny… I’ll have to get back to you!

8. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

As a LEO, my first instinct is to say a cat. To be able to laze around all day and have snuggles, be fed and cared for by loved ones, be able to have reign over my kingdom, and to be very particular about achieving my high levels of comfort (padding round and round until my cosy spot in the sun is just right)…

9. What do you hope to achieve with your blog?

I suppose I have a dual purpose. I want to help inform and inspire others about the world of sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes….but I also want to share the stuff that’s important to me too so you can get to know me (and my values) a bit better also.

10. Earth, Wind or Fire?

What about Water and Air? I love all the elements and what they stand for…hence “elemental design”. But I guess my answer is ‘Earth’, as my whole philosophy is about health of the planet, health of the people, and health of the wallet (affordability) too!

Did you learn something new about me?

And now, drum roll please…. my nominations are: 

Renae Barrass Interior Designer Extraordinaire

Liz Cummins Landscape Architect at Bricolage Design

Aldona Kmiec Award winning photographer

I LOVE the work these fabulous ladies do (and their blogs that share some of it with us!)

I could easily have picked a handful  more nominations – it was so hard to narrow it down!

Your 10 questions ladies:

1. Why is Design/Art important to you?

2. What is your favourite colour?

3. What do you love most about this time of year?

4. What are you currently listening to?

5. Have you spent an extended period of time overseas, and if so, where did you go?

6. Who inspires you?

7. What’s your most popular/favourite blog post (of yours)?

8. What is your simplest pleasure?

9. What/where is your favourite space to be (indoor or out)?

10. What are you most excited about today?

I’m looking forward to reading their answers, and getting to know them a bit better! And I wonder what questions they’ll ask their nominees… I hope you check them out too :o)

Charity begins at home: an alternative giving guide to help ‘save the world’

Charity Begins at Home. Blog Post Talina Edwards Architecture Sustainable design Ballarat

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ ANNE FRANK

[UPDATED 01.12.14]

Well as the year draws to an end and with the smell of Christmas is in the air already, it engages our spirit of generous giving to loved-ones… But I do hate the over-spending and over-consumption of so much non-ethical and non-sustainable “stuff”!  But this post is not a gift guide (you can find one of those here or here), THIS is about extending our generous spirit beyond our loved ones, to our wider community… to help out others at this time of year too.

Here’s some little ways that don’t have to cost much (if anything!) that might just make a big difference to someone, and if that doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, then perhaps you’re missing the point of the Christmas season. ;o)

Show Gratitude

This is the cheapest and easiest one! Just taking the time to say thank-you and letting someone know they are appreciated. You can tell them face to face, send a gift-card, post a comment publicly on social media… Taking this time to be thankful not only brightens someone else’s day, it will improve your wellbeing too!

Partake in Random Acts of Kindness

One of my favourite films of all time is Amelie! If you don’t know it (I highly recommend it!), it is a quirky art house film set in France, about a woman who does cute, odd little things to help influence the lives of the people around her, for the better.  If everyone was a little more kind, imagine the world we could be living in! Some like to see this as “Pay it forward” – or Good Karma – that the kindness you show others now, will be returned to you in a time of need. Maybe you could pay for a coffee/meal for the person in the queue behind you at the cafe, or fill up a parking metre as you leave, donate blood, let a car in front of you in a traffic jam, offer babysitting to parents, walk a friend’s dog, pick flowers from your garden to take to an elderly neighbour….  there are hundreds more ideas online if you’re stuck.

Volunteer Your Time

More than a third of Australian adults are already involved in voluntary work – are you? It also happens to be International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 on December 5th, and the theme for this year is “Make change happen: volunteer“. Helping make a difference in your community at a grassroots level is what it is all about… just by helping in a small way, you are in fact helping to change the world! Often giving your time, is more valuable than giving your money.

Donate with ‘Shout For Good’ App

I first heard about the ‘Shout for Good’ App at the Big Hearted Business Conference, and thought it was such a fabulous idea  – by changing the way we donate to charity in the age of the smart-phone. It is so easy – when you shout yourself lunch, how about donating the same amount to a favourite charity. With a tap on our phone it is that easy! No more being hassled by cold-callers asking you for your bank details for recurring monthly donations to the big charity organisations. Check it out here.

Support a Crowdfunding Campaign

I must admit, I’m quite a fan of supporting these. It is a very different feeling to say, giving money to the Guide Dogs or Oxfam – and please don’t get me wrong, of course each and every charity is worth supporting and I have given to these organisations many times, but I do love that with “Crowdfunding” you are supporting a person or a cause or a big idea that you feel more connected with. You can support, and share in their journey,  and more often than not, you  also get a “reward” because you’ve helped kick in the funds upfront toward capital for their project – so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. I’ve loved receiving some artwork, a CD, or knowing that a tree’s been planted all due to some very worthy ‘pozible’ campaigns. Two that are close to my heart at the moment, and still really need your help, are firstly, a local art and design collaborationCollidescope  where a total of 22 Ballarat visual-artists and fashion designers are working together to create wearable-art as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival – but this is much more than just ‘fashion’! It is about celebrating creativity, community and collaboration! I’m fortunate to know many of the amazing creatives involved in this project, and I can’t wait to see the outcomes. Please see more here.

The other fabulous initiative that you may have heard about isThe Nursery Project‘ by two inspiring local creatives: blogging-royalty and author Rowan Anderson (Whole Larder Love) and his partner – photographer/blogger/cook “the lunch lady” Kate Berry. You may know that they are passionate about simple, wholesome, healthy, down-to-earth living, eating sustainable, and growing your own food and making it from scratch. I love their philosophies and share *most* of them (but, err, as someone who eats predominantly vegetarian, I must admit,  I’m not quite so fond of the raise/hunt/butcher and eat the WHOLE animal – as sustainable as this scenario is!). They “want people to get their hands dirty, minds thinking and bellies and hearts full”. They’ve chosen the Daylesford area for the location, noting “We’re also basing The Nursery Project a short drive from one of the unhealthiest regional cities in Australia – Ballarat – where food and lifestyle choices are at their worst. It’s here that we hope to encourage some positive change.” If you can, please do something to help change this fact, by finding out more here.

UPDATED 01.12.14: I felt compelled to add an update to this post, as I overlooked another fabulous fundraising initiative that is dear to my heart. My lovely friend Gemma is currently in India, working as a pro-bono architect on a very special project which is renovating and building pre-schools for children in the slums of Ahmedabad. This a very big-hearted project, to help improve the lives of these families, by providing well-designed buildings which have adequate light, ventilation, and sewerage (a rare luxury in these parts), which will be used for education, vaccination, and for the community. The project is also very much about affordable eco-architecture, with a big emphasis on reduce, re-use and recycle. I spent time in Ahmedabad, on a four-month stay in India back in 2006, and when I was there I wished I could do more to help… now I can. Please click here to read more about ‘The Anganwadi Project‘, and if you can help contribute a few dollars, know that it will be making a big difference to many lives.


I’m sure you’re already giving generously to others in your own unique way, I just thought I’d put a few more ideas out there. I think this is especially important to set a good example for kids at this time of year – that it is not about receiving gifts from Santa, it is about giving to others.

And in this spirit of giving, I want to show my gratitude to all of you – my wonderful family, friends, clients, colleagues, consultants, supporters, readers, fellow-bloggers, creative tribes-folk, followers and “likers”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Without all of you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing! 

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!