The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Monique Easton

Blogger, Chief Flower Enthusiast and owner of The Flower Drum, Holly Hipwell has seen her business grow at a rapid rate. Between early starts, workshops, weddings, shop fronts and styling, she’s had to work on setting aside time to find balance and relax – even if that’s when she’s "unconscious"!

Holly Hipwell, in bloom.

Talk us through a typical day in the life of Holly Hipwell.
Every day is just so different! Every morning I wake up and think – I wonder what’s going to happen today?!

Some days its an early (5am) trip out to the flower markets to source beautiful blooms for the events scheduled, or sometimes just for research to talk with various suppliers about what kind of blooms are being flown in from overseas, or local gems that are about to come in to season. Each trip to the markets makes me feel full to the brim with happiness…the senses are definitely overloaded with colour, fragrance and of course the hilarious banter between the farmers & wholesalers. I love to think of it as some kind of VIP club where we all get into mischief while most other people are sound asleep!

After the market it’s back to the (home) studio to prepare all the florals and dive into the creative process.

On other days, I like to start my morning with a coffee up on the headland in avalon, watching the waves and chatting with the regular crew that visit each morning. There’s a very inspirational bunch of people that live around here, so the conversation is always uplifting. After that I usually head back home to work on emails, quotes and designs for upcoming jobs. I travel into the city a few times a week to meet with clients at venues and run through concepts. I also spend a lot of time on the road sourcing props. I think I spend more time driving than a taxi driver!

How do you unwind?
For me, my brain is always on the job! Thinking about designs, dreaming about flowers…the only way I can truly be relaxed is if I’m unconscious! Ha!

Whenever I have the chance, I take time out to…
Read. Usually at nighttime if I try to read – I will get through about 2 pages before falling asleep. A real daytime indulgence is sitting in the sun reading a book. I love reading cookbooks too!

How important is downtime to you?
Essential. Rest is so important in this industry because we work such unusual hours. I love a nap, I call it “filling up the sleep bank!”

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday morning?
If I’m not bumping out an event from the night before, then I am down in Avalon having a coffee or Whale Beach Deli having breakfast. Then I love to head home with the newspaper and sit in the sun.

Where’s Sydney’s best kept secret for downtime?
My house!

5 songs on your downtime playlist?
I never usually listen to music to relax – music always makes me feel like I have fireworks and butterflies in my stomach. I keep music for fun and I can happily enjoy silence.

What are you reading right now?
“How to cook a tart”.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
The Brothers Bloom.

Best vacation spot for downtime?
Vacation?? Never heard of it.