20 Questions with Kylie Meeks: Sun-kissed Gypsy Spirit and Founder and Owner of Conscious Craves Raw Food.

Last year I worked on a feature film in Perth and through a new friend I made on the film I found out about Kylie who was doing amazing things with raw, plant-based foods and had single-handedly created a successful and growing (and legitimately healthy) product from very humble beginnings.

When I finally got to meet Kylie, it was obvious to me why the products have been such a success. What struck me the most about her is her knowledge of and complete passion for what she is producing. On top of that she is a very cool chick with this complete 70s free-spirit vibe. I noticed that everything she does is done with complete conviction and passion and with such natural joy. 

I had such a great time hanging out with Kylie and getting to know her story. What a fantastic journey this blog is taking me on and the incredible people I am getting to know! 

C: Where were you before you moved to the area and what initially brought you here?

K: I am a true blue Californian girl. I first came to Australia in 2008. I travelled and worked on the east coast. In 2011 a little thing called love and fate brought me to the beautiful and magical Southwest.

C: How long have you lived in Yallingup?

K: Going on 5 years! Wow that sounds crazy when I say it out loud! My partner at the time is a Perth raised gal, she didn’t waste anytime introducing me to ‘The land of love’ aka Yallingup. I was blown away by the natural beauty and energy of the region. I don’t think I went back up to Perth for an entire year! I guess it was love at first sight! Not to mention is was a mini mecca of health and wellbeing which is a must for the type of lifestyle I choose to live.

C: What in your opinion is the best thing about living in the South-West?

K: To me the best thing is the natural beauty and purity of the land, ocean and air. You can truly create a life of simplicity and wellness here. It’s an easy place to surround your self with like-minded health conscious people or enjoy days of solitude in nature finding balance and creativity within.

C: Since you’ve been here what are the biggest changes you have noticed in the area?

K: I own a natural food business so my mind is very focused on observing the community and their choices in regards to health and wellbeing. It’s been so awesome to watch the people of our community over the last 5 years embrace a more healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of awareness here and it really drives me in what I do and motivates me to continue creating food that people not only love the taste of but also are benefiting from!

C: What sparked your interest in wholefoods? 

K: One of my best friends Karinne who is 10 years older than me first introduced me to wholefoods and creating a more natural lifestyle for myself when I was 18. I soaked up the knowledge like a child and became obsessed with living a pure life! Growing up in America in the 90’s was hard for any kid. Fast food, artificial colours, refined sugar in literally EVERYTHING, preservatives and much more bad stuff filled the bellies of most of me nd my friends. Sometimes I wonder how I am still alive at 27! HAHA I realised the suffering that many people in there 20s onward were facing and I am pretty convinced that much of disease is to do with lifestyle so therefore I aimed to eliminate anything unnatural in my life. I am a pretty extreme person so at 18 I went cold turkey and flipped my life upside down (in a good way!) I realised how much I cherished life and instead of feeding myself harmful unnatural foods and using harmful products on my body I wanted to give myself the best possible. I was fortunate to have a great influence in my life who made me want to be the BEST version of myself and for that I am forever grateful!

C:  How long did it take to get Conscious Craves from conception to where it is now?

K: I moved to WA in June and the business was up and running in July. Remember in the last question I answered and said that I am very extreme? Well here is the proof! I have travelled many places and worked many different types of jobs. Taking every opportunity the universe threw at me! Worked on multi-million dollar yachts that belonged to the worlds wealthiest cruising around the Caribbean, bartended at a surf camp in Africa, bussed tables in one of Southern California’s top restaurants at the age of 14, worked at my parents restaurant from the age of 8, gave the little girls in my neighbourhood skateboarding lessons at 16. I could go on and on! The point is that I knew I wanted MORE, I wanted a job that satisfied my inner most being. I wanted a job that truly benefited others. I wanted to create something for myself. Looking back I see now that I was destined to be an entrepreneur.  

C:  Over the weekend you opened your first shop at The Shed in Abbey – how was the experience of having a shop and will it tempt you to open another or a chain of shops?

K: YES! This amazing opportunity came my way when The Shed Wholefoods market opened in Abbey (between Dunsborough and Busselton) The Shed consists of 12 permanent shops inside an old engineering shed. I was asked if I would like to bring Conscious Craves into the equation. Here we can sell bulk wholefoods, natural grocery items and of course the whole range on Conscious Craves RAW food snacks! For now The Shed will be our main wholefoods outlet. Next year we will open our new factory and wholefoods grocery store in Dunsborough. Very exciting stuff to come!

 

 

 

C:  Apart from Conscious Craves what are your other passions?

K: I am an extremely passionate person with many different passions but at the moment my focus in to continue to spread the word and expand with Conscious Craves, focus on retaining a balance in my personal growth through meditation, yoga, exercise and of course love. In the near future I plan to venture into my next big thing ‘Conscious Kidz’. CK will be a non-profit organization teaching kids the benefits of growing your own food, eating a natural pure diet, and creating foods. My vision is to start on a small level by running fun Conscious Kidz workshops at The Shed once a month and then eventually start working with schools.

C: What drives you in your work?

K: OPEN MINDS! I love meeting people who are open for change and open to bettering themselves in every possible way. Mindfulness and awareness can do amazing things for people and can open so many amazing doors if you allow it!

C: Tell me one interesting fact about yourself.

K: I love gardening in the nude!

C: How do you like to relax?

K: Hiking, Bush walks, beach walk/runs, creating yummy food, yoga, meditation, gardening, building, watching good films, spending time with my partner and family and hanging with my handsome Rottweiler Brutus!

C: What do you think has been your greatest achievement?

K: I feel that creating my life to exactly what I want it to be is my greatest achievement. I feel so blessed to live the life I love and to constantly have the awareness and ability to continue to create what I want. It’s hard sometimes in a world where success and happiness are based around materials and the amount of money you make. Once you break free from the attachments that are holding you back from living the exact life you want you can truly experience freedom.

C: What is your craziest or most interesting travel experience?

K: Traveling to Africa at 17 was probably the most eye opening experience, teaching me about simplicity and cultural awareness. The most exhilarating and vulnerable experience was when my cousin and I took a solo mission on a dingy from the main land to the small island off the coast of Panama where my dad lives. Twenty minutes into the boat ride one of the craziest storms of the year came through! I seriously thought my life was over! Neither of us having much experience getting a small boat through an open stormy ocean we eventually beached ourselves onto a small island until the storm passed! Shivering and shaking we sat there for 4 hours, getting back to my Dad just before midnight! Seeing my dads face after experiencing that was the most incredibly safe feeling I have ever experienced!

C: “If I could I would love to trade places with… because…”

K: A snake, just for a day, I love snakes!

C: Who is your greatest style influence or inspiration (local/international)?

K:Justin Beiber- LOVE those Drop Crotch pants! haha

C: How would you describe your style?

K: Tom-boyish but still fem with a slight swag Haha! This is a really funny question. I don’t really try to follow any style in particular. My whole life I’ve always been a tom-boy. I still really dislike dresses or anything too girly with the exception of super tight skinny jeans.

C: What is your greatest indulgence?

K: My greatest indulgence would be the sunshine and nature! I am a child of the Californian desert, which is probably another reason why the universe brought me to the southwest.

C: What is the one item you can’t live without (apart from mobile phone!)?

K: Tooth brush, pretty obsessed with brushing my grill!

C: How would you like to be remembered?

K: I would love to be remembered as someone who inspired others in a positive way!

C: What is the one word people would use to describe you?

K: Passionate.

 

Margaret River Gourmet Escape - Fraser Gallop Estate, Wilyabrup, WA 2015

For a second year, I was privileged to be able to take photos for Dorothy and Nigel Gallop for their Margaret River Gourmet Escape 2015 functions. Guillaume Brahimi was again a highlight of the weekend with his three course long lunch on the Friday and Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine spoke about the Fraser Gallop wines.

Renowned London food critic, A.A Gill interviewed Marco Pierre White at the Saturday afternoon Soiree and there were more than a few 'fangirl' moments from some very excited audience members.

 

Hadleigh Troy from Restaurant Amuse in Perth also returned to create the incredible canapés for the Soiree. Honestly with events like this to kick off Summer I can tell its going to be pointless to even try to diet!

Marco Pierre-White and A.A Gill:


20 Questions with Dunsborough's own Myles Pollard - actor, writer, producer, South-West Ambassador and ruggedly handsome Style Icon.

This fortnight I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interview the talented actor/Dunsborough local Myles Pollard for our 20 questions! Personally it was an exciting experience too. Its well known to many of my nearest and dearest (including my partner who just raises his eyebrows and sighs pitifully at me) that in my younger years, I may or may not have had one or two (dozen) daydreams about being Tess McLeod (the main love interest of Myles' character Nick) and riding off into the sunset. And now he is on my second all time favourite TV show, Home and Away - my first being McLeod's Daughters of course! 

Born and bred in WA, Myles has a longtime love of the South-West, having spent many years surfing here. Now a very proud local he divides his time between Dunsborough and Sydney where he films Home and Away. He runs acting classes, is a writer and producer, CineSnaps patron for the CineFest Oz Film Festival in Busselton. He is a father and husband as well as being a tireless champion promoting the region.

Myles graduated from NIDA in Sydney and made his name in the popular TV show McLeod's Daughters (he received a Silver Logie nomination at the 2003 Australian TV Week Logie awards for Most Popular Actor for his role as Nick Ryan in McLeod's Daughters). He has an extensive acting career and some pretty darned impressive roles in film and TV, including Phelan in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Phil De La Salle in Underbelly; World War 1 soldier Archie Barwick in the documentary, The War That Changed Us and Bruce in Looking for Grace, a film to be released in September this year. It has been selected for screening in the main competition section of this year's 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

However it is his relentless effort to bring to life the movie Drift, written and co-produced Tim Duffy, and to film it in the South-West that cementes his role as a true ambassador for the South-West region. Myles co-produced the film, was one of the two main characters along with Xavier Samuel and convinced friend Sam Worthington to take on another of the main roles. The result was exactly what he spent seven years working towards - a surfing film for surfers, by surfers that showcases the landscape and natural beauty of the region he is so clearly proud of. 

This true South-West Ambassador and ruggedly stylish man is a true icon for the local community. he is making a very real impact on developing the the region's creativity and style and promoting it to the international scene.

 

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C: Where were you before you moved to the area?

M: I was in Sydney, living in Cronulla.

C: How long have you lived in Dunsborough?

M: Since Christmas time 2011.

C: What initially brought you here?

M: I finished up shooting Drift in the South West and just decided to stay.

C: What in your opinion is the best thing about living in the South-West?

M: The natural environment. Its such a beautiful part of the world. I love my surfing, fishing and outdoors generally. People are laid back and easy-going.

(As Nick Ryan in McLeod's Daughters.)

C: What are the biggest changes you have noticed in the area in terms of style?

M: I miss the small local feel that has been replaced in some areas by the inevitable "buy-up-bigger" business. Things have become slightly homogenised.

C: How did you get into acting and what would you be doing if not acting?

M: I auditioned for the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and got in. TV, theatre and film gigs came soon after that. In another life I'd like to give professional sport a go. I loved playing Aussie Rules and cricket.

C: When you left Drover’s Run in McLeod’s Daughter’s for Brazil and were presumed dead in a remote helicopter crash, were you aware of how many female hearts around Australia had broken? Not mine by the way – friends of mine… 😳

As WW1 Soldier Archie Barwick in  The War that Changed Us


As WW1 Soldier Archie Barwick in The War that Changed Us

M: I was well aware of the show's popularity when I was shooting in S.A. Friends of mine were in Brazil at that time and emailed me to say they were watching me on TV speaking Portuguese. There were many tears shed over the years by fans especially when Claire died. Its nice to know people warmed to the characters.

C: How do you manage the East/West coast commute now you’re on Home and Away?

M: Its difficult being away for long periods although the working schedule is pretty hectic so time goes pretty quick. I try to bring my family with me as much as possible when working even if its only for short stints.

C: Professionally what area are you planning to pursue - acting or directing/producing?

Myles and co-star Xavier Samuels in  Drift


Myles and co-star Xavier Samuels in Drift

M: I'll always continue to act but I'm really interested in the directorial side of filmmaking too. I'm actively pursuing it and hope to shoot a short film I've written and will direct in the South-West next year.

C: Tell me one interesting fact about yourself.

M: I hate fennel!

 

C: What drives you in your work?

M: I love getting better at what I do. I enjoy being part of a team, creating and collaborating.

C: How do you like to relax?

M: I love watching AFL (West Coast Eagles), catching up on current affairs (especially watching The Insiders on the ABC), taking really long walks in the bush, camping and fishing.

C: Apart from your family, what do you think has been your greatest achievement?

M: Producing Drift was a real achievement. It took 7 years to get up and was met with many obstacles. It was daunting taking on so much responsibility with so little producing experience.

C: What is your craziest or most interesting travel experience?

M: I travelled solo to North Sumatra over a decade ago to surf some remote breaks. It involved travelling on a big ship, then driving overland Nias (Indonesia) in a dodgy car on dangerous terrain and then island hopping in a small speedboat to finally arrive at an Atoll called Asu that until only 60 years ago was inhabited by cannibals!

C:  “If I could I would love to trade places with… because…”

M: I would have loved to trade places with Felix Baumgartner who broke the record for the highest parachute jump from the stratosphere because that would have been ridiculous.

C: What is your greatest indulgence?

M: Massive bag of mixed lollies, huge glass of cold milk and back-to-back Game of Thrones.

C: What is the one item you can’t live without (apart from mobile phone!)?  

M: TV remote.

C: How would you like to be remembered?

M: As someone who gave it shot and lived with a glass-half-full attitude.

C: What is the one word people would use to describe you?

M: I'll leave that to others.

Words by Caitriona Jones
Photos courtesy of Marquee Management

 

 

20 Questions with Cheese-Maker and Official Superwoman Alana Langworthy

I met Alana when I first moved to the area and was immediately drawn to her fun and warm personality. I've since discovered that not only is she an incredibly kind person, a wonderful mother to her two little children and loving wife, she is a domestic goddess, accomplished winemaker, savvy business woman and now artisan cheese-maker. To top it all off the girl is a style-fiend - our friendship was officially sealed over a mutual love of Marc Jacobs bags and Helmut Lang and any girl who rocks a pair of Helmut Lang leather shorts is a friend of mine!

Her dedication to bringing artisan, locally made, high-quality organic cheese to the region is quickly being recognised and the cheesery is already a destination on the region's food and wine trail.

Yallingup Cheese Company is located at Windows Estate Winery at 4 Quininup Road, Corner Caves Road Yallingup and is open seven days.

 

C:  Where were you before you moved to the area?

A: We had been living in the Clare Valley, South Australia.

C: How long have you been in the region?

A: We've been here 4 ½ years now

C: What initially brought you here?

A: My husband and I were both working as winemakers so essentially work in the wine industry.

C: What in your opinion is the best thing about living in the Margaret River region?

A: The lifestyle!!! It’s perfect for raising a family with the beautiful beaches, glorious weather and it is a great wine region to boot! 

C: What are the biggest changes you have noticed in the area in terms of style?

A: Now that there are more young families based here, there is a shift toward practical, yet stylish casual dressing. Think lots of skinny jeans, striped tee’s, ballet flats and sumptuous wool jumpers for winter!

C: Tell me one interesting fact about yourself: 

A: I played National netball for 4 years during university!

C: When and where in your life have you been your happiest?

A: Anytime I'm with my husband and children!

C: What drives you in your work?

A: To produce beautiful products from our vast array of glorious products, whether it be wine or cheese.

C: How do you like to unwind? 

A: With a glass of wine and/or massage!

 

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C: What has been your greatest achievement? 

A: Definitely my family.

C: What is your craziest or most interesting travel experience?

A: Moving from a year living in NYC to Coonawarra in rural South Australia. I lived on long island in NYC making wine and then took a job working as a vintage winemaker in Coonawarra. I flew back and immediately drove to Coonawarra where I was shown to my ‘accommodation’ for the 6 months (a converted old office with a stall toilet and partitioned bedrooms). Luckily it is where I met my now husband……….I don’t think I would have stayed had I not seen his photo on the fridge that afternoon!

C: “If I could I would love to trade places with ..."

A: ... my husband because I swear he gets it pretty easy sometimes and it would be nice to have the ability to switch off from the kids as fathers seem to be able to do better than mothers!

C: Who are your inspirations (local and international)? 

A: Victoria McClurg of Barossa Cheese Co who is a single mother of one making the most wonderful cheeses in the Barossa. She has got the knack for cheese production, branding and marketing like no other cheesemaker!

Kim Kardashian which sounds strange but aside from her overexposure and massive derriere, she is an exceptionally driven woman who is not afraid to go out and get what she wants and she single handily made reality TV mainstream which is no mean feat!

C: Who is your greatest style icon or influence?

A: My Auntie who always looks chic and effortless.

C: What is your greatest indulgence?

A: Facials at Empire spa!

C: Anything in your life you would do differently?

A: Nope!!!

C: Anything you wouldn’t change?

A: Everything. I like it just the way it has panned out so far!

C: What is the one item you can’t live without?

A: My Chloe ballet flats. They are super comfy and I can always find them as they are bright watermelon in colour!!! 

C: How would you like to be remembered?

A: For pushing the boundaries and being a good role model for my kids

C: What is one word people would use to describe you?

A: Tireless


Alana wears: Frank and Eileen 'Barry' shirt; Joseph black leather leggings (available at Adam Heath Boutique Dunsborough); her own shoes; Alexander McQueen necklace (Emma Buxcey Design); Huit 8 Paris camisole.

Matt Preston

I was watching @MasterchefAu the other night and remembered how very lucky I was to be able to photograph the truly lovely Matt Preston (@MattsCravat) last year at the Fraser Gallop Estate Margaret River Gourmet Escape Soiree. Matt was interviewing the equally lovely Massimo Bottura (@massimobottura). Matt was such a gentleman and had an impromptu jam with the beautiful singer of the evening. These are some of my favourite photos of a man whom I only met briefly but who really impressed me with his friendliness and humility.

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