A day in… Noosa (part 1)


Our A Day In… series gives you a sampling of our favourite destinations, across some of the most-loved locations in the world. You can let our itinerary take the lead and enjoy your very own carefully curated one-day retreat, or choose your own adventure by picking out a few special stops along the way. 

Having just returned from a recent holiday to Noosa (which also happens to be my hometown), I’m so excited to share with you some of my favourite things to do, see, eat and experience…! I’ve split this post into two just so I can feature ALL my favourites (of which there are many), but don’t be surprised if part 3 gets published in a matter of months…!

With love, Vic xx



8.00AM: Eumundi Markets + bookstore, breakfast at Bohemian Bungalow

No visit to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a trip to the Eumundi Markets. Held every Wednesday and Saturday morning, it offers everything and anything by our locals, from farm-fresh produce to fashion and jewellery, artists and artisans and massage and music.

Allow at least an hour to enjoy a meandering walk around the markets, sampling local treats and finding little gems to take home with you. Make a point of seeking out one of the wonderful reiki and massage therapists, and book in for a 30 minute session in a private tent to set your day with the right intention.

Afterwards, duck across to the Berkeleow Bookstore across the road which offers a wonderful range of new and second-hand books for you to peruse, as well as beautiful gifts and homewares. You can then take a short walk two blocks up to the Bohemian Bungalow for a coffee and breakfast, drinking in the gorgeous eclectic decor whilst enjoying your new reads.


11.00AM: Noosa Flow for Pilates + Green Juice at Jimmy Fox

Claire and her wonderful team at Noosa Flow have created something truly special in the heart of Noosaville. Having transformed an old accounting firm into a pristine-white, greenery-filled Pilates studio, with magical views out to Noosa River and the world below, you can’t help but feel hit by a wave of calm each time you step through its glass doors.

Claire’s classes are nurturing, all-inviting and geared towards to mindfulness, kindness and self-care, but don’t be fooled by her sweet intonations – she makes sure you feel it work in all the right places.

Allow 50 minutes for all of the classes on their schedule, and if you feel the need for refreshment afterwards, Jimmy Fox downstairs do a mean green juice.


12.30PM: Pack a picnic at Belmondos, then lunch at Cafe Le Monde

Before making a visit to the beach, head to Belmondos Organics just around the corner in Noosaville to curate a picnic for your afternoon hike to Mount Tinbeerwah. They have a beautiful and diverse selection of fresh organic produce as well as delicious savoury and sweet treats made by their sister cafe VanillaFood in Noosaville. Bring a cooler bag and stock up!

One of the classic institutions of Noosa, Cafe Le Monde is the perfect spot to stop for lunch – although better known for its burgers and cocktails, it has changed its menu in recent years to accommodate the health-conscious and those with dietary concerns. They have a great range of gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as a bountiful stock of fresh Noosa Pressed Juices. It’s a great spot for people-watching, and quick access to the Main Beach only metres away.


3.00PM: swim at Little Cove + gelato at Massimos

If you’re keen for a little sunshine and some stunning views, then it’s time for a short walk up the hill to Little Cove, the first sandy beach past the main strip. It’s an ideal spot to relax, watch the surfers take on the waves around the point, and enjoy a completely protected swim with minimal waves.

Some of my favourite memories have been made at this spot, and I am at my happiest dreaming of swimming in these turquoise waters, looking up at the endless blue skies and the lush green gums lining the shore. If you happen to travel there in April, you may be graced with the annual migration of blue butterflies that come in their thousands, fluttering overhead and out to sea – a breathtaking sight.

Once you’re ready to hit the road, double-back and make a quick pit-stop at Massimos. Their gelati defined my teenage trips to the beach, and their Ferrero Rocher gelato and Mango sorbet are life-long favourites. Don’t miss it!


5.00PM: Mt Tinbeerwah sunset + packed picnic

Mount Tinbeerwah is the nearest mountain to where I grew up, and cuts a striking silhouette, even in comparison to the unusual mountains that define the ranges of the Sunshine Coast. It offers 360* views from the gazebo that sits at its pinnacle, from the coast (Noosa, Coolum and beyond) to the hills (Eumundi, Cooroy, Pomona).

The best time to visit is around 5pm just before the sun sets, but keep an eye on the time – the sun dips quickly and although the path up and down the hill is short and beginner-friendly (allow for a twenty-minute round trip to the gazebo and back), we recommend taking a torch and wearing sensible walking shoes.

If you get there a bit earlier, it’s a lovely spot for a picnic with the delicious treats you collected earlier in the day from Belmondos Organics, either in the gazebo or on the rock escarpment surrounding – the breathtaking panoramic views are so worthy of a linger.


Stay tuned for our Part 2 of this story in the new few weeks! If there is a particular suburb you’d like to have featured on our blog, please drop us a line at hello@holistichq.com.au – we’d love to hear from you! xx

HOW TO // Create Your Own Self-Care Spa Ritual

This week has been trying for this sensitive soul. Juggling two careers, interstate travel, long work days, and the difficulties of house-hunting had all banked up until the dam of stress within me was at breaking point. Something had to give.

Perhaps ‘give’ is the key word here. At times of stress, what do we sacrifice first? We pull back on things that nurture us, that bring us joy. We sink our energies into external priorities – the ones that prove our worth, that provide for others, or that help us reach the next peg along the fence. We don’t think about how removing our foundations (ie. what makes us feel good – this can be as simple as good food and rest), might fracture our headspace and lead to a breakdown.

And so we give to others, but we somehow forget to give to ourselves. I’m always taken by how lovely and deeply soothing it is to perform the ceremony of taking a long, hot bath, and often ponder why I don’t make a point of ritualising it once a week. Well, why not? There is no reason why you can’t create your own self-care spa ritual at home, anytime you feel like you need to give a little bit back to you.


  • Scented soy/beeswax candles
  • Epic playlists
  • Essential oils
  • Epsom Salts
  • Face / hair mask
  • Body lotion / coconut oil
  • Flowers / green plants
  • A good book / magazine
  • Dry bristled body brush/mitt
  • Fresh towel, robe and slippers

Your ritual is your own; you can design it however it makes you feel best. The following are some suggestions that you might like to include; you can mix and match these depending on your mood or occasion. Allow yourself to immerse completely into the moment – acts of love towards yourself are so important for self-esteem, confidence and physical renewal.


  1. Set some beautiful candles around your bath area, taking care that they aren’t set up anywhere where you might knock them over. Soy or natural beeswax candles are better than paraffin wax for both scent and being environmentally friendly. You could use an array of small tealight candles, or one large fragrant candle to scent the room – don’t forget to dim the lights or use natural light to keep the atmosphere soothing.
  1. You may prefer silence and solitude to help clear your mind, but sometimes a bit of me-time calls for some ethereal music to help soothe the soul. I’ll admit, I’ve had some curious selections over the years (I was once renowned for playing Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Still’ album in the bath during times of stress, so no judgement here), so just find something that stirs your spirit and pop it on. If you want to play tracks using your iphone but don’t have a speaker, you can angle your phone in a tall glass and the sound will amplify easily.
  1. Whilst running your bath, add ½-1 cup of Epsom salts (you can buy these cheap from any supermarket or chemist), and 5-7 drops of your preferred essential oil. Epsom salts, otherwise known as magnesium sulfate, are a great way of increasing your magnesium levels, as well relaxing muscles, decreasing stress, even preventing migraines and muscle cramps. You can select your oils depending on your mood – eg. lemongrass for energy, lavender for relaxation, or rose for self-love.
  1. Use a dry bristled body brush or mitt to slowly brush your still-dry skin from your feet and hands towards your heart, working in long strokes along your legs, torso, back and arms. Avoid your décolletage and face, as the skin there is too delicate. By brushing away dead cells and stimulating blood circulation, you should feel invigorated as the blood is encouraged to the surface of the skin. In doing so, you’ll also reduce cellulite and increase lymph function which spurs your natural detoxification process. To well and truly shake off the old, take off any remnant nail polish and make-up with appropriate removers.
  1. A small posey of flowers or a green plant adds something special to your sacred space, and are often a pleasure to meditate on whilst relaxing in the bath. Moreover, there have been numerous independent studies which demonstrate that keeping interior plants can reduce stress and improve wellbeing – even improving cognitive function. You could even take petals from a rose or calendula plant and scatter them in the bath, both of which have healing properties for the skin.
  1. Before hopping into the bath, hold your hand in the water for 10 seconds to check the temperature, and make sure you have a fresh towel, bath robe and slippers handy for when you step out. If you can, clear the room of any sundry clutter and put your day’s clothes in the laundry. It sounds pedantic, but a clear room can help you achieve a clear mind, too.
  1. Pour yourself a cup of herbal tea to keep nearby, or even a well-deserved glass of champagne! This is your time now, so do whatever helps you to relax. If you don’t mind wet pages, a good book in the bath is an outright treat – travel pillows keep the neck supported and dry easily, and keep a small towel nearby to help with damp hands. Now is a good opportunity to put on any hair or face masks you wish to use, to allow the time for them to sink in and work their magic.
  1. Focusing on the breath is a beautiful meditation, taking a slow, deep breath down into the belly and letting it expand into the sides of the ribs, and exhaling completely as the ribs slowly knit back together. You could meditate on the intricate details of the petals and leaves of your flower posey, or observe the silent flicker of the candle flame as it dances quietly on the bench. Or, close the eyes and let your ears sit just under the water, slipping out of hearing range of the rest of the world. An added bonus – the Epsom salts in the water are fantastic for promoting a healthy scalp and creating volume in hair, so swish your hair around a little to let your follicles reap the benefits.
  1. Give yourself a bit of bath-time love by massaging your hands and feet (assuming your feet aren’t too ticklish!). Rub your thumb slowly across the palm of your opposite hand, squeezing fingertips between index and thumb. You can also softly pinch the webs of your fingers to access trigger points that will help you to relax. Similarly, with your feet, gently rub the base and tops of your feet with your hands, squeezing the tops of your toes, the arch of your feet and webs between toes to access trigger points.
  1. Once you feel that wave of calm settle over you, and the bath water turns luke-warm, it’s time to step out once more. Use the towel to give your skin a gentle pat-down, and whilst your skin is still damp, apply your body lotion or try a thin layer of coconut oil to lock moisture in. Use a warm damp cloth to remove the rest of your mask, and apply a face oil and cream to keep the skin soft. Put your robe and slippers on, blow your candles out and go enjoy the rest of that champagne on the couch. Ahh. Xx


Fear not, we haven’t forgotten you! There’s no reason why you can’t create your own spa ritual in the shower, every day. Here’s a few ways you can create your own stand-up spa experience:

  • Use essential oils as part of your routine by adding a few drops to the floor of your shower and letting the scented steam rise and fill your senses.
  • Keep humidity-loving green plants like peace lilies, orchids or ferns in your bathroom to beautify your space and improve your mood.
  • Close your eyes and meditate on the sensation of water drops on skin, slowly moving under the spray to feel the water hit your shoulders, head, back and chest.
  • Create your own essential oil-infused Epsom salt scrub to use in the shower to invigorate your body with the benefits of magnesium sulfate – keep an eye out for the recipe on the blog shortly!

HQ MUSE // Stacey Irving, Stacey Leanne Massage


Our gorgeous friend Stacey Irving has joined our HQ team as our resident Massage Therapist, specialising in remedial and relaxation massage, as well as trigger point and pregnancy.

In her words, “It is my belief that touch and connection have an incredibly powerful impact on our physical and emotional states, relieving muscle tension, soothing pain, improving circulation and even treating certain medical conditions. It also brings about a sense of calm and quiet that is so important in all our lives.”

We asked Stacey five little questions to help you get to know your new favourite masseuse a little better…

1. What’s your favourite things in your market basket?

Chickpeas… really, is there anything they cannot do? Delicious dips, curries, roasted as snacks – the list goes on…

2. What would you request as your last meal?

Contrary to the previous question – a whole bowl of chocolate coated ginger…. bliss!

3. What’s your version of a lazy Sunday?

Friends, pots of tea, laughter, silly conversations, deep conversations, trees, hugs (with friends or trees), naps.

4. What’s number one on your bucket list? Do you see yourself fulfilling it?

Stop feeling too intimidated to be friendly to strangers! People of Melbourne, let’s chat on public transport, when in lines at the store, when waiting for our take away coffees.

Will I fulfill this dream… yep, one awkward smile/chat with a stranger at a time!

5. When does time stand still for you?

Lying in the afternoon sun after being inside all day – I swear it heals the soul ❤

You can book in for 1 hour or 30 min massage with Stacey by contacting her directly at staceyleannemassage@gmail.com – she’s available for sessions at her home in Brunswick or for mobile massage across Melbourne’s inner city suburbs.


Finding your Bliss in the Yarra Valley – The HQ Getaway Retreat Diaries

HQ Getaway July 2015Rainforest walks. Beautiful vegetarian meals. Roaring fireplaces. Pilates, yoga, massage + meditation. Life-changing conversations. Seriously – it doesn’t get much better than this.

DAY ONE // An hour’s drive outside of Melbourne can quickly feel like you’ve been whisked a million miles away. After a short pitstop in Healesville, dropping in at the Healesville Organic Farmers Markets and the very lovely Harvest Cafe, we arrived at our home for the weekend – the beautiful Amarant Retreat, set in the lush temperate rainforests of the Yarra Valley. 

The three-level building, nestled into the hills amidst dewy ferns, towering gums and mossy rocks, provided the ultimate haven from the chilly Winter mists (it also happened to be the coldest weekend on record this Winter!). Our hearts and bodies were warmed the moment we stepped inside – toasty warm fireplaces, orange and lemongrass essential oils burning, and heated floorboards greeted our frozen feet.

After settling in, we got cozy by the fireplace and set our intentions for the weekend under the guidance of Alice of Intent Mind, and got to know our little company of bliss-seekers. Friends firmed up fast as we completed our first Pilates class and a sunset bushwalk, and were cemented around the beautiful vegetarian dinner provided by our master Chef, Laura.

We completed our first day with a Yin Yoga session in the Celestial Room, and start to wind down peacefully with some guided meditation, before finally curling up in our cozy rooms upstairs and letting the blissful feelings settle in.


DAY TWO // The melodic sounds of the Tibetan singing bowl awakens those who haven’t already risen early for morning meditation and yoga downstairs. A truly lush breakfast is served up – Sunday porridge cooked with fresh dates, oats, cinnamon, lemon peel, almond milk and coconut cream. Topped with pecans, local berries, flax oil and vanilla bean honey, we have to just about stop ourselves from licking the bowl.

After a vigorous Pilates session with Victoria, we break off to start our sessions – full body Swedish relaxation massage with Stacey, or one-on-one life coaching with Alice. Those waiting their turn enjoy a leisurely afternoon of creating vision boards, flicking through pages of inspiration to find the images that resonate with their heartfelt dreams.

Dinner in the evening is a hearty winter forest mushroom risotto, served with walnut and green leaf salad and truffle oil. The dessert blows minds – chocolate avocado mousse topped with fresh local berries, cacao nibs and maple syrup. We roll into the yoga room for a restful and restorative Yin Yoga session, resting our legs against the wall in a supported shoulder stand and feeling the worries of the world float away. In the quiet cocoon of darkness, by the flicker of candlelight, we finish our session with a collective resounding OM, sharing an unspoken connection that will live on well beyond these three days.

DAY THREE // We rise early before the sun and wander down to the Celestial Room, where we gather our bolsters and blankets, and sit peacefully in lotus pose, finding our breath and stillness in the moment. Gently, we are guided through a morning meditation, awakening to the senses of our body and mind before opening our eyes to a brand new day.

Laura has already been busily cooking in the kitchen, and has prepared us yet another delicious breakfast. The recipe cards in our goody bags come in use for the Bliss Ball making demonstration led by Abby, who shows us how to make decadent chocolate orange bliss balls from scratch. As the girls squeeze in their final massage and coaching sessions, we take in the cool mountain air on the verandah and thank our lucky stars for finding this truly special place. It feels like home.

The dates for our next HQ Getaway are already booked in at Amarant Retreat! If you’d like to join us for our next HQ Getaway (Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January 2017), please drop us an email at hello@holistichq.com.au and more details will hit your inbox ASAP xx 

With love,

Victoria and Abby signature

Aminjirah Resort: Koh Tao, Thailand

Amanjirah Koh Tao

>> THIS HAS HONESTLY BEEN the most paradisaical stay here on the island. We start most days with fresh tropical fruit and black coffee on our little wooden balcony sitting over the cliffs, looking out across the sea to the longtail boats and miniature islands.

The resort staff are sweet-natured, quietly good-humored and humble, and we’ve welcomed their discreet interruptions as they drop in to serve our meals out on our private deck. Every dinner we’ve had so far has been a sensory overload, full of spices, sweet and sour.

Waking up each day at the resort is blissful. Wrapped in soft white sheets under the floating sky of translucent netting, we listen to the gentle putting of the dive boats as they strum across the waves towards the bay, and the hum of dragonflies and frogs as they stir in the garden below.

My favourite moment was yesterday as we sought out a massage along the main beach. The place we chose was full so they directed us along to the next little hut, smaller and darker than what we had in mind. However, they washed our feet in frangipani water and led us through to the little balcony on the beach, where the sun was setting gently above the horizon. The lovely local women giggled as they stretched and kneaded our tight bodies, and we looked across at each other and smiled as we realized we had found our perfect moment.


Aminjirah Resort, Koh Tao.
Ko Tao, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani, Thailand
+66 77 456 044