Lifestyle

Lifestyle knowledge, covering a diverse range of topics and interests with ideas and insights to help you get the most out of life!

“It is not where you are from, but where you are going that is important.”

–Robert Ian Bonnick

Natural born entertainer Robert Ian Bonnick aka RiB has had an enviable career and glamorous life rubbing shoulders with the famous and elite. He danced for M-People, Womack and Womack, recruited for Madonna, and modelled alongside Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Eva Herzigová. Travelling the globe, hosting events for the world’s biggest stars—a lucky life one would assume. But luck was not the catalyst for his success—instead adversity was his ally as an artist.

Rob started out with almost NOTHING. He suffered a tumultuous childhood, abandoned to an orphanage before his first birthday. For the next 18 years at the orphanage, Rob was faced with a choice. Would he choose to reflect and follow the path of fellow orphans who ended up in jail or dead, or instead choose to step into his greatest potential as a human being?

In his first memoir Soul Survivor, Robert shares his exploration and study of what connects, inspires and motivates us as human beings.

The book relates Robert’s philosophy on adversity through what he calls ‘the five keys’ and relates the lessons of 20 years studying with some of the best educators and thought leaders on the planet. The sum of his experiences provided him with the opportunity and purpose of finding ways to bring together vastly different groups of people by inspiring them to learn more about themselves and each other.

Written with humour and humility, the book has much to offer anyone seeking a constructive anchor for the adversities which touch us all.

BE Journal asked Robert: How to Redefine and Adversity and Unleash Creative Potential

I’m becoming more and more aware that growing up in two orphanages for eighteen years gave me the key to unlock the door to discover my purpose and thus unleash my creative potential. For example, if my purpose is to inspire people to realise that it’s not where you start in your life but where you are going that matters. Despite all of the incredible things that you can achieve in your life—it would all be for nothing unless you learn to accept or love yourself. Finally, to support diversity and inclusion wherever I go. To celebrate what makes us unique whilst bringing us; people of different ideologies colours and views of life, together around our humanity creating greater compassion for one another in the process.

If all the above is true (which it is)….then l had the perfect start!

I experienced what it was like to be the youngest of eighteen children at any one point in time in an orphanage and be subjected to racism, classicism, bullying, fellow peers being killed and beaten. I know what it’s like to suffer major identity issues and challenges; for twelve years I identified with caucasian values and appearances even though I am 6 ft 3 inches tall black man of Jamaican heritage. I know what it’s like to fail to recognise the beauty of my own people, unless they had caucasian features. To have people say things like “oh you sounded like a white guy on the phone” and “I don’t like black people but you’re alright” and being proud of that! Then realising this was all due to my failure to accept myself.

I had the opportunity to study over two decades, self development and human potential with some of the most well known thought leaders in the world. This allowed me to understand the process not only of embracing who I truly am but who we truly are too regardless of race, colour, and ideology then, as a Keynote Speaker, Coach and Trainer, how to bring others into this same state of awareness as well.

I had the opportunity to mix with celebrities and high profile people to realise we are all truly the same—in that we all have our specific challenges in life to overcome… if we choose to. I became a successful, model (working with Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Eva Hertzigova and Christy Turlington), worked with Madonna, danced for (Womack and Womack, The Word – Channel 4, M-People), Actor (I Guastafeste—the Italian Candid Camera) Night Club promoter (one of the venues I was heavily involved in was voted number three in the world), As an athlete (played basketball for England and National League and in Europe), more recently, speaker, trainer, author and family man.

As a result of my upbringing learning how to meditate and all the lessons I learned along the way with through the support of some extremely charitable people, I found five keys:

1. Get Yourself A Dream or better still A Purpose

2. Accept where you are today (You Can Change it)

3. Visualise, Visualise, Visualise to the point of Insanity

4. Overcoming the Speed humps of self-sabotage

5. Surrender–Timing

When I followed these, I have always satisfied the innermost desires of my heart each key of which I go into detail giving you a chance to road test for yourself in my book.

As a result of what many of my fellow orphans passed on to me, I created three fundamentals truths which I always live by and have always served me well. 

1. I never forget where I’m from. 

2. I never forget who helped me to get where l am today.

3. I always give back where l can without the expectation of gaining anything in return.

Connect with Robert via: robertianbonnick.com or @robertianbonnick

Soul Survivor (New Holland Publishers) newhollandpublishers.com

Fashion has evolved over the centuries to reflect cultural emphasis and interests, reflecting the materials and manufacturing techniques of the time. Today, we have wearable technology and greater access to renewable and sustainable materials—both consumers and designers are keen to embrace ethical fashion that is responsible and innovative. But, despite the movement for ‘Kind Fashion’ much of the world continues to stock and swathe themselves in clothing made from animals—and antiquated practices and cheap production demands continue to support less than ethical treatment of people and animals in the industry.

It’s important to note that some of us buy for function rather than fashion. Outdoor clothing brands are particularly good at aligning performance with ethics as their customers already have a deep love and awareness for nature. Engineering wearables for Winter fashioned from natural fibres like merino wool or technical layers made from recycled materials (plastics and coffee waste are some examples of this). That means the options exist but the people lack awareness which is also a matter for campaign. Rather than fur coats, hoods, boots and the like…adventurers can pack cruelty-free alternatives, many of which can be more efficient at keeping you warm, wicking away sweat, repelling odour and water, dry faster and require less care.

Other factors influence our choices, price point is an obvious one but we are also heavily swayed by branding and celebrity which we identify with. Anything worn by the Royals is sure to sell-out within a day of public exposure, likewise labels for brands that have clear messages or ambassadors also help to represent the values we align ourselves with. Understanding this incentive is key to creating a demand for cruelty-free clothing, for elevating standards in sustainable fabrics and responsible manufacturing methods/means.

Indeed, this is the focus of a new campaign against fur initiated and endorsed by fashion elite. The designers and influencers are stepping-up to end animal cruelty and tip trends toward Kind Fashion.

Guest contributor Elise Burgess from FOUR PAWS Australia explains…

Compassion in vogue: How the ethical fashion movement is extending to animals

The rise in ethical fashion has progressed leaps and bounds over recent years, with fashion-conscious consumers leading the charge towards a future where we can have our smart-cut blazers and feel good about it too.

As part of this ethical fashion trend, major fashion retailers and brands are increasingly recognising their responsibility for the welfare of animals, choosing animal-free materials or making demands about animal welfare for their supply chains.

Last month, major global online retailer ASOS, which has 12.4 million active customers worldwide, announced that it is banning the sale of silk, cashmere and mohair products, having already banned fur and materials from threatened or endangered species.

A decision which is on trend.

Over 890 huge fashion labels including H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have also committed to fur free policies through the Fur Free Retailer global program, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item. 

But this isn’t the 80’s, I hear you ask, isn’t fur ‘over’ anyway? Shockingly no.

To this day, millions of foxes, minks, rabbits and raccoon dogs are brutally farmed and slaughtered for their fur. 

In fact, the global fur trade sources 95 percent of its fur from animals who are forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms. Animals trapped in these cages are denied any natural environment or the ability to express their instinctive behaviour.

At the end of their short lives, their death—by electrocution, gassing or by having their neck broken—is as cruel as their keeping.

What’s more, some animals used for fur such as foxes, have been selectively bred to produce extreme levels of excess skin and therefore, more fur. As a result, these poor foxes suffer from heavily folded skin, severe eye infections and badly malformed feet.

In April this year, horrific images from a fox farm in Finland showed animals locked in tight cages who could barely move due to all their excess skin. In the wild, polar foxes would normally reach a weight of roughly four kilos but due to deliberate breeding for the largest possible amount of fur, these animals instead reach a weight of up to 20 kilos.

While it may seem like a US or European issue where the winters are far colder, here in Australia you can still find fur being used in fashion. Lots of fur trims are available in our shopping districts on jackets, fur vests, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys. Which is why in 2018, it is so important for Australians to show their support for fur-free fashion and products.

This can be as simple as not buying fur products or fashion items such as jackets or gloves with fur trim, or better yet, supporting Australian fashion retailers and brands who have committed to being fur free. Not sure if it is FUR or FRIENDLY? Check out the Fur Free Retailer list.

FOUR PAWS Australia is the Australian representative of the global Fur Free retailer program, and after listening to what compassionate Australians are saying, we want to help local brands and consumers be a driving force for global animal protection in fashion.

To find out more about fur in fashion, check out FOUR PAWS Australia.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Singapore’s award-winning wildlife attraction celebrates its 45th year since it first opened in 1973 with a new, illuminated multimedia night walk on the wild side that promises a sensory feast for visitors.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, unveiled Rainforest Lumina – the first such seasonal event to be staged in Southeast Asia – in a special preview event.

From 1 July 2018, a one-kilometer stretch within the zoo’s tropical rainforest will awaken the senses as visitors walk through 11 different zones and meet the Creature Crew, a group of unlikely heroes who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure along the paths of their enchanted world.

Created by award-winning multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory and set up with careful consideration to minimise disturbance to the park’s animal collection and native wildlife, Rainforest Lumina will take visitors on an immersive journey as they encounter interactive and mesmerising installations and uncover a side of the zoo that has never been seen before.

See the rainforest in a whole new light

With the overarching theme “We are one”, Rainforest Lumina seeks to drive home the message that humans, animals and nature are inter-connected, with each having a vital role to play to sustain life on earth. The transformation of the Singapore Zoo into a magical landscape of lights and sound, coupled with the interaction with the Creature Crew, will take guests on the spellbinding journey that will spark inspiration at every turn and nurture empathy for nature and wildlife.

Tomorrow’s Pioneers

Opening as one of the world’s first “open-concept” zoos, the Singapore Zoo started with a modest collection of about 300 animals. Today, the Singapore Zoo welcomes 1.9 million visitors each year and is home to over 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, of which 34 percent are threatened in the wild. The Zoo has also been successful in breeding critically endangered species and has established itself as one of the best zoos in the world, gaining worldwide recognition.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, said, “We have been redefining experiences and storytelling since the Singapore Zoo opened its doors to our first visitors in 1973. We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses and we wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience. Rainforest Lumina is an interactive and illuminated night walk that leads visitors on a multimedia-enhanced journey designed to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.”

“It has been a great collaboration between Moment Factory and Wildlife Reserves Singapore as we developed a new, unique multimedia experience for Singapore Zoo guests”, said Mr Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager, Lumina Series, Moment Factory. “Rainforest Lumina is the latest addition to our Lumina series and is inspired by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s mission and the zoo’s unique landscape. Rainforest Lumina uses interactive elements, projection mapping, lights and a soundscape to create an immersive attraction that will allow guests to rediscover the zoo at night and to reconnect with nature in a magical way.”

Ms Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Attractions, Entertainment and Tourism Concept Development for the Singapore Tourism Board said, “We are excited to support the Rainforest Lumina as part of the Singapore Zoo’s 45th anniversary. The Zoo, which has won several regional and international accolades, is an iconic attraction in the region for both visitors and Singaporeans. Its constant software enhancements play an important role in refreshing our diverse offerings and enhancing Singapore’s appeal as an attractive tourist destination with new and varied experiences to look forward to with each visit. We hope the Rainforest Lumina experience will attract even more visitors to the Zoo during this special season.”

Mr Barclay adds, “Beyond being a multimedia attraction, the deeper message of Rainforest Lumina is a call for everyone to come together to protect and preserve the wildlife we share our planet with.”

Singapore Zoo is set in a rainforest environment, its world-famous “Open Concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to more than 2,400 specimens over 300 species, 34 per cent of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. To better meet the healthcare needs of its animals and working towards its aspiration to become a leading global centre of excellence for veterinary healthcare and research, a purpose-built Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre was set up in March 2006.

Annually, approximately 1.9 million visitors enjoy experiential learning journeys at the 26-hectare award-winning Zoo—part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority. Rainforest Lumina is a seasonal attraction which runs nightly from 7.30pm – 10.30pm.

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York City and Paris. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Los Angeles Airport, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Toyota, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Madonna, Royal Caribbean and locally, Changi Airport.

If you need a good reason to venture outdoors this winter, consider ‘whale watching’ along the coastlines of South Australia.

Some of the best opportunities for whale watching in South Australia are at Head of Bight on the Nullarbor (far west coast of South Australia) and in Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula where Southern Right Whales gather to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in our winter time.


The South Australia Whale Centre have developed guidelines to ensure appropriate care is taken to protect these endangered giants as the popularity of this pastime continues to grow. Here’s their advise on Whale Watching the RIGHT way….

What makes whale watching in South Australia unique?


Southern Right Whales give birth in as little as 5 metres of water therefore come very close to shore and if undisturbed can stay in residence for 3-4 months nursing their calves until they are big and strong enough to make the long migration back to sub-Antarctic feeding grounds. This makes land-based sustainable whale watching available to everyone just 1-hour drive from Adelaide!

Migration and Conservation


Southern Right Whales feed in Antarctic waters in our summer before travelling an incredible 3-5,000kms to shallow, warmer waters off Australia, South Africa, South America and New Zealand southern coasts.

Whales visit Encounter Bay between May and November each year to give birth, nurse their young, mate and socialise. Females and their calves reside in nursery areas for up to 3-4 months.
Females are shown to have site fidelity and often return to calving and nursery grounds they have used in the past. When calves are born they average 4-5 metres in length and weigh about 1 tonne.
 Female adult Southern Right Whales can grow up to 80Tonnes and up 18metres long.

Southern Right Whales are classified as an “endangered” species under the Australian Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. Australia is the winter home to around 2,500 of the 15,000 or so Southern Right Whales remaining worldwide; still a small fraction of the estimated 60,000 – 100,000 that existed worldwide prior to whaling. Protection of the whales and their habitat in Encounter Bay is critical for conservation of this species.



Other Whale Species


Whale watcher also frequently see Humpback Whales at various locations across the Fleurieu Peninsula during the winter months from May to October. They are also migrating north from sub-Antarctic feeding grounds, but their destination is the warmer more tropical waters of NSW, QLD and WA further north.

Resident populations of both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins also reside at various locations along the coast including Victor Harbor and can be frequently spotted from Granite Island and The Bluff in Victor Harbor.



Sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines


The South Australian Whale Centre promote sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines to protect public safety and ensure that whales keep returning to our waters into the future. Whales are very sensitive to noise pollution and can leave an area if disturbed by loud and/or fast moving boats, other vessels and aircraft such as boats, jet skis, planes and drones.
There is a Jet Ski Restriction Zone in Operation around Victor Harbor from 1st May to 30th September.


The Encounter Bay Restricted Area adds further protection for Whales in Encounter Bay by restricting boats from approaching whales closer than 300m.

Planes and remotely piloted aircraft (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal at all times.


For the latest whale sighting information across South Australia visit the South Australian Whale Centre Sighting Log or call the Centre on (08) 8551 0750.

From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.

The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.

The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.

“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”

Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”

Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.

The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.

“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”

The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.

“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”

The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.

“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”

The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”

“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.

Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.

Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…

Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge