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Bondi 2026

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Pressed Love Passion Project

Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen.
The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

POPPY LOVE (FOR 2 of my favourites)

Kate O'Connor

"Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen."

The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

This was actually one of the first pressed-love projects I ever made. It's for two very special friends of mine (husband and wife) who are two of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I haven't used their names, (in case I get in trouble hehe), and so as to respect their privacy. But as a man who has served in the Army for many years here and overseas, and as a wife & partner who supports his every move, I am eternally grateful to have them and their strength in my life as a constant source of inspiration.
The way they both (in little and in big ways) support our country, reminds me always that work can be so much more than a paycheck – but also about honour. I know that they, like many service men and women are slightly horrified to be exalted for what they consider to be 'every day work'. And also, I think that because he enjoys his work (or at least some of it!), he somehow feels that any sacrifice is maybe justified or less honourable. Which I do understand.
Even more importantly for me, though (with the honour in their work being obvious [at least to those of us that can barely comprehend what a-day-in-the-life-of-you might be like]) is the way that they honour one-another. The way they both light up when you see each other makes my heart always SO happy. 
The way they respect our country and one another is a little bit awe-inspiring, but I think what most makes me happy about them both is the way that respect bubbles over and flows to every aspect of their lives. Like the multiple dogs they have rescued. And the kids I suspect they will adopt (so that one day I'll walk in to their home with a family of ten children and 85 dogs).
I think that in the Armed Forces there can be a lot of waiting. For information to be shared, for announcements to be made, for posts to be over (or begin), and for moves to be made. That ambiguity can easily crush people in other scenarios, but I watch and see that often anyone connected to this world of service finds a patience and a gratitude in small moments of happiness that others don't as easily find. Time shared together is more special.
I have a Kate-ritual where at the start of each day I think of something to be grateful for. And at the end of the day I find one tiny moment of happy that I can reflect on and treasure. Today, I am grateful for every small and large sacrifice our service people and families make. Never have we been more lucky to be in a country that knows only peace. As the sky turned a stark pink at the dawn service this morning at North Bondi, I happily watched a beautiful big chocolate labrador dog walk along the beach with rosemary under his collar. To think that so many families in the world can't keep their loved ones fed or even alive makes me think of how lucky we are to have happy, well-fed pets (let alone to walk our streets every day with no fear of danger or war). 
Thank you both, for teaching me that you can CHOOSE happiness and choose respect in every aspect of your life (including as a guide in your work-life), that true love most certainly does exist, and that you can pretty much survive anything if you hit it with the right attitude. I know I don't see you all the time, but you're stuck with me for life.
K
xxx

"HONOUR THE SPACE BETWEEN NO LONGER AND NOT YET". – Nancy Levin


FUN FACT!
Few flowers played such an important role in religion, mythology, politics, and medicine as the Poppy. The red Poppy is the traditional flower of remembrance for Europe and North America because of its ties to World War I and II, whilst Chinese and Japanese flower experts recommend the Poppy for couples because it means a deep and passionate love between two people.


WITH KINDNESS [HYDRANGEA-BOMB for PEN]

Kate O'Connor

"Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen." The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

"Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen."

The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

– PEN –
[WITH KINDNESS]

Ok. So it's the holidays and this one is for my mum (Pen). My brother and I have called her Pen for YEARS and I didn't realise until a couple of weekends ago (when we were at a family dinner and chatting about names) that the only person who use to call her Pen before us was my beautiful Grandpa (a true rockstar of a man, and the ultimate gentleman slash all-round-heart-warming-good-human-being). 
Since being a teeny-tiny munchkin, I can totally remember her teaching us that "all you have to do in this life is leave it a little bit better off than you found it". And if that's the case, she could pretty much put her feet up and be a total B-I-T-C-H (or "witch-with-a-b" as she would say haha) for the rest of her life; and she'd still qualify for the "I've left it better off than I found it" tick of approval. She does this in all areas of life, but especially in her work.
She is a generous soul and is a Speech Pathologist with true heart. If I walk through the local shopping centre with her and a patient's parent sees her, she'll stop us to tell me how lucky I am to have her as a mum. Running your own business isn't always easy, and I know most years she's worried she won't have enough clients – a totally ridiculous fear as she always has them coming out of her ears. 
She is my ultimate role-model in how kindness in business can serve all for the better (your business, self and clients alike). She is truly respected and gains true results, but does so with care, grace, positivity, humour, kindness and warmth. She's one of the few people I know that still LOVES their job and I'm willing to bet it's partly because the kindness she puts into her work is reflected back at her. 
You know how people talk about the butterfly-effect and how one small change or action can effect SO much? That's kind of what I was thinking about when I made this artwork. I'm sure she's had lasting effects on thousands of her patients in ways she'll never even know.
I am extraordinarily grateful to her for all she has taught me, and for her constant, unwavering support. To be honest, I used to worry that I was a people-pleaser at any cost, but in the last few years especially, she has taught and reminded me that putting a smile on another's person's face is my superpower – not my kryptonite. That genuine relationships make the world go round, and that I don't necessarily have to approach things like other people to get results in my own Kate-way. I'm grateful for her kindness and for the way she's taught me that kindness a strength, not a weakness. 
Happy Holidays Pen. We love you! (but hopefully you already know that).
K
xxx

"NO ACT OF KINDNESS IS EVER WASTED" – Aesop.


FUN FACT!
The pink hydrangea has gained popularity globally, but especially in Asia. They have many meanings, but generally translate to "you are the beat of my heart".


WHOLE-HEARTED [LOVE FERN for JO]

Kate O'Connor

"Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen." The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

"Everyone you meet has something to teach you if you listen."

The TOO NICE "Pressed Love Passion Project" serves as a 'shout-out' to colleagues, friends, experts, craftsmen, and brands (from near and afar) that bring their work and dreams to life with PASSION. An artwork is sent to the feature as a thank-you for their inspiration. 

– JO –
[Wholeheartedness]

Have you ever seen that movie "How to lose a guy in 10 days" with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey? In it, Kate's character (a magazine columnist) buys Matthew a "love fern" in one of her many attempts to 'turn off' her potential suitor, Matthew (an ad exec who's out to prove he can win any girl in ten days). If he was to let the "love fern" die, it would be a sign that he also wasn't paying enough attention to their relationship, and wanted their love to die. Sometimes (as a nod to the film, which is from 2003... but still pretty hilarious) I buy my friends love-ferns, and this LOVE FERN is for you my Jo.

As a friend, she is the most dependable, constant, rock of a woman. We've been talking lately about people who come into your life for reasons, seasons and lifetimes – and I'm grateful that she is one of the beautiful lifetime friends that I am so lucky to have in my life. And at work, she has the exact same tenacity, resilience and dependable qualities that she has as a friend. She is loyal, steadfast and faithful. She constantly works more than her fair share in the office, and I think it's largely because of her dependability. She truly has a work ethic second to none – sometimes working until she falls in a heap. I genuinely don't think she has the ability to do ANYTHING in life in a half-hearted way, and it's one of the things the I love most about her. She's the friend who throws herself into life with all she's got, and work is no different. I'm not always sure where she gets all her energy from, but I'm grateful for it, and for her huge huge heart, that she shares with everyone she meets. 

I once read an article about dating (because I'm either hopelessly romantic, or romantically hopeless... hard to say hehe) by Mark Manson which was about the "FUCK YES OR NO" theory. As in, why would you EVER accept any "greyness" in your life? So the theory was that if you didn't have the "FUCK YES" I want to do this feels, and/or if you weren't receiving any "FUCK YES I really like you" signals form your potential partner, you shouldn't go there. The theory definitely hit home with me (the article is from 2013 I think but I still remember it) – but I think it applies to more than just the fun (?!) world of dating and matters of the heart. It definitely also applies to work as well... I've never understood why anyone would do a job unless they wanted to do it really well or unless it made someone happy.  

SO thank you Jo, for the whole-hearted way that you work. Thank you for the whole-hearted way that you holiday, love, adopt, rescue and offer your friendship. 

A here's cheers to all the people that do what they do with all their hearts. 


K xxx

 

"WHATEVER YOU ARE, BE A GOOD ONE". – Abraham Lincoln


FUN FACT!
The Maidenhair Fern is used medicinally by Native Americans.
Uses include
 treatment for rheumatism,in a lotion for bumblebee and centipede stings. The Navajo people also smoke it or take it internally to treat mental illness.