Treat Yo Self for mental health

It’s the best day of the year!

But what is it?!?

All beautiful photos by Gold and Grit

Photos of people + photobooth are over here on this page

Treat Yo’Self Day comes from legendary show Parks and Recreation. If you’re yet to watch it, a) rethink your entire approach to life, and b) sign up to Stan and watch all seven seasons by sunset. Go. Then come back and read this.

First airing on 13 October, the Treat Yo’Self episode introduced a plot line for Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford, where they go out together to treat themselves on luxury products, eat delicious food and have cray spa treatments. But they end up taking Ben Wyatt, who’s recently heartbroken, and he ends up buying socks and a Batman suit. It’s adorable and hilarious. The idea is that caring for yourself can come in many shapes, but the act of doing it is important and connection while doing it, is event better. It’s the best day of the year!

Due to my love of Parks + Rec, I have enjoyed many a Treat Yo’Self day with friends, and decided this year to throw a BIG event to celebrate the idea of caring for yourself, connecting with others and living your best life. Teaming up with new mental health focused magazine – HappySad magazine – to launch their first issue, the event took shape. All funds raised were donated to mental health Charity Smiling Mind.

Everyone in the universe was invited – along with a bunch of wonderful vendors who were mostly able to donate their time and product for free so that the majority of ticket sales could be donated.

Held on Treat Yo’Self Day – Sunday 13 October – wonderful warehouse space Small Talk in Abbotsford was the perfect location.


Having a delightful day AND raising funds

Smiling Mind do lots of work with young people to build mindfulness skills and resilience because there is so much research to say that good mental health in young people has a flow on effect for mental health outcomes as an adult.

We chose them as our charity partner because their work is about equipping young kids through to adults with the skills to cope well with the ups and downs of life – creating good patterns for good mental health outcomes, rather than treating illness once it sets in. 

Visit their website


Launch of new mental health magazine

When Rachel – editor + publisher of HappySad magazine – asked me to write a piece in her new mental health focused magazine, I immediately asked her if she’d like to have the launch as part of our Treat Yo’Self event. It made all the sense in the world and was the perfect fit. Rachel and her husband Dan (a graphic designer) created a beautiful magazine – it’s a true to delight to one’s eyeballs – and the content is truly amazing, helpful and engaging. It’s honestly so lovely to know people who want to do positive things for their community. 

You can buy a copy on their website.



My heart was filled with joy when I asked a bunch of industry friends if they’d be involved. It’s nice to have friends, but it’s even nicer to have friends that will sacrifice a Sunday AND provide their expert services for free (or cost), to ensure the biggest donation possible for Smiling Mind. They all wholeheartedly said yes and the event was on it’s way.

Thank you to every single one of them – it literally could not have happened without them and I love them all dearly. You can check them all out below – click on the image to go to their website, should you wish to see more of what they do.


Treat Yo’Self is about doing things to experience joy, contentment and connection. Thus the event’s aesthetic objective was to create joy and make people feel energised and part of something truly special. It’s pretty safe to say that I went down a few gigantic worm holes on Pinterest creating this design – as well as  heading way way way down the rabbit hole of Google, researching joy (go check out The Aesthetics of Joy – Ingrid Fetell Lee’s work on the intersection of design and delight) and what science has to say about what improves people’s experiences.

Long story short – colour, movement, light, the right amount of space, inclusivity and immersiveness is what we came up with, and we set to work bringing a super joyful set-up to life for our attendees. A massive ceiling installation, bright flowers, scene-setting immersive entrance, warm lush textures and a whole bunch of colour, colour, COLOUR were the order of the day.

Thanks to massive legends Bangin Hangins for the entrance installation, ceiling installation and photobooth backdrop – the joy count would have been way down without you. And to Lydia and Matt from The Confetti Room for the epic balloon installations – one to border the DJ booth and the other to create a heavenly vibe at the caravan bar. 

Small Talk Event Space was the perfect canvas, with its industrial bones, careful interior choices, delightful tilt windows and brick walls. Dream! 

Come on in! Treat yo’ self!

 The immersive entrance by Bangin Hangins set the scene for a joyous day.


Cupcakes on arrival? Treat yo’self!

Don’t mind if we do! Torte By Mirjana’s creations look the part, and they taste event better than they look. Enjoyed by young and old, not a single cup cake survived the day. And thus I was unable to do my post-event/party ritual of flopping into bed exhausted (but happy) and watching Netflix while eating cake. 

Grazing table! Treat yo’self!

The classiest of grazing tables you ever did see! Thank you to the gals from Curated Events (Lucy + Tess) who smashed it out of the park, creating a central area for nibling on truly delicious cheeses, fruits, biscuits and goodies. A very popular place to be, with every mouthful bringing the joy.

Make-up, Massages + Mini Manis! Treat yo’ Self!

Who doesn’t feel great when they’ve jazzed up their nails, donned some glitter or been treated to a massage? Like DER! Having these activities as part of the event was non-negotiable, and they were probably some of the busiest activities of the day. We set up a waiting list system, where people put their names down – because there ain’t nothing treat-like about waiting in queues all afternoon. 

Thank you to the dream babes from The Distinctive Dame who worked tirelessly creating glitter faces and lips – creating radiantly happy peeps. And thanks also to 3 Minute Angels + Lan’s Mobile Nails for their work. 

Potato gems + delicious food! Treat yo’ Self!

Fat + Skinny Catering always bring the goods. The food, the personality, the sassiness. Creating a Potato Gem bar, mini burgers + chicken salad, they were a big hit with the crowd. There was even a mercy dash for an additional 5kgs of Potato Gems, after the first 5kgs were wolfed down in record time. 


What’s better for your wellbeing and mental health than creating things with your hand region? Look, I don’t know, but it’s pretty darn enjoyable, making things with one’s claws.

Happy Hands Happy Heart were kind enough to donate a gigantic amount of their terrific natural playdough, scented with essential oils. It was quite the relaxing activity, manipulating the dough into shapes and letting your mind rest for a wee while. These make GREAT gifts for kids, BTW. All free from plastic waste and made by the wonderful Emma. Scroll a bit further to see what else people made on the day.



Jazz up your jacket / head band / anything…

After the success of our first workshop this year – Jazz Up Your Jacket – we created a Jazz Up Your Craft area – where people jazzed jackets, totes, headbands, bags, even themselves! It was another hot spot on the day, expertly womaned by my right hand human, Stevie-Rae Winter.

Letter Writing Club

Have you typed a letter lately, using an actual typewriter? No? Well, we highly recommend it. Back in 2009 a friend took me to Letter Writing Club in Vancouver where I lived at the time. We bashed away on vintage typewriters and it was such wholesome fun (and a useful way to keep in touch with my loved ones here in Australia) that I fell in deep like with typewriters. My sister gave me one for my 30th buirthday the following year, and I named her Fanny. Fanny was present at Treat Yo’Self, captaining Letter Writing Club alongside with her sibling typewriters that I’ve acquired in the nine years since my first Letter Writing Club. And who doesn’t love receiving an actual personal letter in the mail? We provided envelopes and attendees wrote letters, addressed them, and we posted them off – to as far as Sweden!

PS Our typewriters are for hire AND we’re going to run Letter Writing Club in 2020 so look out type-lovers!

Music + Photo booth! Treat Yo’ Self!

What do you call a party without music and photos? A meeting. That’s what. Music is a powerful bringer of the joy and with DJ Daniel Toop of Griffin Alliance on the decks, it felt like the perfect song was always playing. This OBVIOUSLY included Mouse Rat classics ‘Bye Bye Little Sebastion (5000 candles in the wind)’, ‘The Pit’ and ‘Sex Hair’, with each being played at least once per hour. I mean, I was having the greatest time of my entire life, and you’re 5000 candles in the wind. If you do not understand these references, please return to paragraph one of this blog post and rethink your entire life choices. 

The GIF and photo booth was a huge hit, and really was a LOT of fun. Together with Bangin Hangins and Flos Botanical Studio  we created a knock out backdrop that created such fab photos. 

Mimosas! Treat yo’ Self!

As Tom and Donna say, ‘Mimosas? Treat Yo’ Self!’ And so we treated our guests to a Mimosa on arrival, conjured by the team at Miss Fizz Mobile Prosecco Bar. Casey and her team delighted the guests with her cute-as-a-thousand-buttons pink caravan, which we jazzed up even further with our Good Day Club custom graphic design bar sign, and The Confetti Room’s spectactular colour blocked balloon garland. How great does it look with the natural light glowing through it? A billion percent great is the correct answer. 

A donut wall is all part of the service for Miss Fizz, which was pretty popular too. Surprising, not really!

Plants, Posies + Puppies! Treat yo’ Self!

It’s the axis of delightful; puppies, plants + posies! Taking up the gorgeous sun filled courtyard at Small Talk, this area was full of good vibes and joy.

Plants stall + advice hotline by Plant Creepers


Plant Creepers held a plant stall, with rare and unique plants. They also provided lots of advice for all the accidental plant-icidal maniacs among us – because they love that shit. Turns out my Dad’s advice to use fly spray to get rid of bugs on your plants, is in fact terrible advice. Thanks to Allyson for bringing more plants into out lives!

Posy making workshop by Flos Botanical Studio

Our wonderful friends at Flos Botanical Studio ran posy making workshops all day, teaching eager beavers how to make a flower posy. They got to wrap their bunches up and take them home too, as a wonderful reminder all week of their Sunday well spent.

Pats with puppies thanks to Amazing Greys

And the wonderful Amazing Greys! What an organisation they are, helping greyhounds find new homes. They rescue, rehabilitate and re-home ex-racing greyhounds and greyhound x breeds. A bunch of their wonderful, passionate volunteers brought along some beautiful greyhounds, who lazed around, living their best lives, getting pats and hugs and treats all day long. I mean, who was really getting treated in this equation?!?

Round up

Thank you so much to the wonderful humans who spent their dollars and their Sunday supporting this idea of ours. As a result,we were able to donate about $2400 to Smiling Mind, so the team who made this happen are pretty pleased. This amount will help SMiling Mind reach more people and help more people become equipped to better handle life. 

Something I wasn’t excpecting was to get so much feedback that it was a much needed boost to many guest’s mental health. My aim was to have a fun day to raise also raise funds, and (strangely) it didn’t occur to me that people would also feel better as a result. To receive that feedback was truly moving and special, and we’re really proud of making a small difference in people’s lives. It now seems obvious that the day would be a boost for people, because we designed it that way, but sometimes you can’t see the forrest for the trees when you’re very busy organising a big event like this. 

Thank you once again to the team of vendors who made this happen. And to my own team – Dave and Stevie – I literally could never do this without you, so thank you forever!


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