January 2014

Q&A with … Samantha Wills

Samantha Wills embodies her own brand

Samantha Wills

She’s one of the few brand owners who also make for the most stylish of ambassadors. Samantha Wills has taken her bohemian-luxury brand global, and is expanding into products beyond jewels.

In an exclusive interview with Three Quarters Full, Samantha speaks to me about her business, the wanderlust lifestyle she shares with her captive social media audience, and what she has in store for fans in 2014.

You’ve just launched a new mantra bangles range, and you include affirmative mantras on many of your pieces. What inspired that approach?

We get such an overwhelming response every time I hand write beautiful quotes, so I thought it would be nice to wear beautiful words. So we created the Beautiful Mantra series from there.

What is your favourite piece with a mantra?

I like the ‘Live This Moment’ because so often we wait for ‘when something happens’ or ‘when this falls in to place’ and we wait and wait and wait – but living is right now, so it reminds me of this daily and I think that is important.

What has resonated the most with your customers?

The entire collection has had a huge response! So much so, I went straight into designing a new collection of them after their first day in the market!

You are not only a style icon, but also a great example of a healthy approach to life. How important is it to you think positively, and how has that helped you in your own personal growth?

That is very lovely of you to say – thank you! I think the concept of ‘thinking positively’ is very easy to say, but when you are having a really shitty day, or one of those weeks where it seems like EVERYTHING is against you, thinking positively is sometimes impossible. What I have learned as I have gotten older is that the moment will pass. I find great comfort in knowing that this challenging time you are in right now will not last forever. But you have to just sit it out, weather the storm – and most importantly – acknowledge that it might be really uncomfortable and painful – but it will pass.

Live this moment by SW

The SW Beautiful Mantras collection includes necklaces

When I interviewed you last year, you acknowledged that engaging in social media can be difficult sometimes. I.e. you can have an “off day”, just like everyone else. How do you deal with those moments?

The beauty of platforms like Facebook and Instagram is that you can post media and comments that are positive and give shine to others – it is not about body language or tone, which are hard things to conceal when you are having an off day.

What can you share with readers about an overall healthy approach to life? E.g. diet and exercise, and self-pampering.

I love anything with sugar in it! And in my 20’s, I didn’t think twice about eating as much of it as I liked. I think I approach my diet differently now – mainly for internal health and also to ensure you are mentally focused. Sugar and sweets are now on-occasion foods. I really try to eat well and as old school as it sounds, drink loads of water – this is an incredibly different approach than I took in my 20’s! As far as self pampering, in NYC, ALL nail salons have masseuses in them – this is genius. When you are waiting for your polish to dry, you can pop into the chair for a 20-minute massage, I see this as the perfect self pampering treat!

What does an average Samantha Wills day look like?  

My average day revolves around design, creative briefs, shooting content, creative planning, marketing and social media calendars… the time spent on each changes pending what is going on at that time, but they are the basis of my job. The PR & promotion of my job I try to condense into set days and in blocks, media interviews and shoots, shooting for my blog, or in stores – pending on travel and location, this is a little hard to manage!

What advice do you live by?

Find out the things in life that make you happy and make conscious efforts to do more of them!

Who inspires you?

My boyfriend Will inspires me – he has an energy for life and for saying yes to the most last minute of adventures that makes me live my life a different way. Since I met him, I feel like I get much more time out of my day and fit a lot more adventures and experiences in.

What advice do you give to people who see you as an inspiration and are pursuing creative pathways?

Persistence. It is going to be hard, and some days REALLY hard. It requires persistence, and patience and saying yes to every opportunity (in the early days). I used to have a sign on my desk that said luck is where preparation meets opportunity…. Opportunities usually come at the most inconvenient of times, so always be prepared – do whatever you need to do.

Find out the things in life that make you happy and make conscious efforts to do more of them

Can you share a favourite recent moment that took you by surprise?

I went to an Australia Day party in NYC this weekend. It was hosted by Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness. I have always known their reputation for being incredible humble and down to earth, but meeting them in person left me walking away feeling like a better person. It is really hard to describe, but they are such warm, caring & invested people.

What’s coming up for the SW brand?

SO MUCH! 2014 will see handbags launched (in stores July) & SW Eyewear (in stores October) and lots of exciting things in between!

The Incidental Muslim is out now

If someone told me 10 years ago that I’d be writing about wearing tracksuits pants under my netball skirt, and how Hollywood was my first love, I’d have said …. well, something most likely very sarcastic before retreating to a quiet corner to indulge in a DVD commentary while eating a bag of fun-size chocolate bars.

In any case, my book is out now as an e-book and in print direct from Amazon. Soon it will be in bookstores and also more widely available as a print online.

The Incidental Muslim by Amal Awad

With thanks to …

I’d just like to give a shout out to the people who have been incredibly helpful in setting up this website.


Craig Ashley Russell at Next Big Thing for guiding me through the process of setting domain names, URLs and all the other fiddly things you have to do make a website operational.

Jaaved Khatree – your assistance with templates and the like has been invaluable.

Sally Mousa – the logo you designed for my website is beautiful. Thank you so much for creating this for me.

Learning to ‘Sync Within’

Years ago, when I was in search of meditative ways to make change in my life, I came into contact with Kerstin Fehn. I was amazed by her approach to growth – through guided visualisation, she opened up my mind to different ways in which you can reach goals.

It was more than that though. There was something harmonic and peaceful – yet powerful – about the way her meditations worked. It perhaps helps that she is an intuitive soul, and you feel like she’s tuning into your energy. It’s no surprise she’s in demand for intuitive readings, where she focuses on helping a client create the change they desire.

I spoke to her about how she helps people in her Sync Within practice, where she practises hypnotherapy as well as a unique form of guided visualisation.

Sync Within

What is your business about in a nutshell?

Guidance, meditation and hypnosis.

You do hypnotherapy – can you explain what this is?

Hypnotherapy is moving past your conscious mind and your self-criticism and allowing changes to take place at a subconscious or deeper level. Basically it’s a solution-based therapy, as opposed to a conscious talk therapy.

Can you help people understand the issues they’re dealing with?

As a hypnotherapist, it depends on what level of change that person wants as to whether I would do that, or whether I’d refer them to having a psychotherapist or psychologist treatment first. There are a lot of psychologists and psychotherapists who do hypnosis as a combined package. I’m specialising in the change itself.

So you can uncover what and where they need change?

What I can do is uncover what they need, and that Sync Within process, in an analytical way going through the phases, uncovers where the problem’s lodged.

Now if it’s in their past in their mind, in their memories in a significantly painful way or with a mental condition, then I would refer them on to someone who specialises in that, like a psychologist or a psychotherapist. However, if it’s habit, change with a normal state of mind, I can definitely treat that.

Someone with a psych background would probably use a lot of regressive therapy; there’s also progressive hypnotherapy. Most practitioners are good at doing both.

I offer a solution-based therapy that’s progressive. Because of my background of having been an intuitive consultant for almost 20 years, it means I’ve also seen a lot of people stuck in their patterns that can easily be exchanged for productive patterns. They have to want the change. Most of the time it’s not necessary to go backwards, to regress. Often it’s just a change that’s progressive.

What of a client has come to you needing to understand the past?

That’s okay if it’s progressive at the same time. So a hypnotherapist will unlock that and bring it forwards. Sync Within can look backwards to the degree of what is there, but not be immersed it. So it doesn’t bring up your fears and your pain from the past, it just acknowledges them. Sometimes that’s enough. Also replacing it, so not just looking at it.

The common problems are behaviours. Most people have difficulty moving on from a relationship where they’ve invested more than the other person. So they get stuck in a pattern of feeling unworthy, low self-esteem and just plain confusion because there’s no communication. So most of the problems are communication based.

The other side of the coin is, not that that just affects their relationships, but it also affects what they dare to do in their life. So often people will pigeonhole themselves, or society’s values will pigeonhole people at a certain level. So it’s about self-belief, that’s what keeps coming up.

And in relationships and career, and anything in the world really, we can’t change what’s going on around us, but we can change how much worth we give ourselves and therefore open up consciousness and receive more. Basically take the blinkers off. That’s why I believe in progression. People need a bit of help believing in themselves often.

The common problems are behaviours. Most people have difficulty moving on from a relationship where they’ve invested more than the other person. So they get stuck in a pattern of feeling unworthy, low self-esteem and just plain confusion because there’s no communication. So most of the problems are communication based.

Is it about having courage as well?

It is very universal, we are very hard on ourselves. In the 80-90s there was a big move forward, with the idea that you can have anything if you try hard enough. That’s the most recent belief or value that’s societal-based, and that is where people feel low self-esteem if they haven’t achieved certain things by certain ages, for example. It’s also in your family and your culture, but across Western society, there’s a big drive to setting in and achieving goals.

Hypnotherapy in those days went towards that. So you’d have people like Anthony Robbins, who’s still inspirational, but it’s not all about that.

These days what we’re learning is that it’s actually really important to open up compassion for ourselves.

There are other people. One example is Oliver Lockert, French hynoptherapist. He does humanistic hypnotherapy and I’m influenced a lot by that. So it’s taking power for yourself internally, but it’s based on acceptance of yourself and not just pushing forwards.

Do they develop techniques as a result, which equip them to deal with the world?

It can do, that depends on the person and their awareness. That’s why hypnotherapy is based on being specific for, not just the problem, but a good hypnotherapist will make it specific to the person, their level of awareness and where the problem is lodged in their awareness.

The kind of person who enjoys having a wide awareness, for example, will enjoy having tools they will be able to apply to different areas of their life.

Is Sync Within tweaking mainstream hypnotherapy?

Mine would be a visual instead of neuro lingusitic programming, it’s actually neuro visual programming, using various visual archetypes that have been distilled from a vast amount of well-tested theories and knowledge out there.

But it’s actually multi-sensory, and I’m finding that my method is just one of many emerging methods. I think it’s the way people are going.

The idea is that they add layers to a new goal or a new set of values, but make it easier to integrate into the subconscious mind and have the subconscious mind accept them, because archetypes, vision, sensory input is the language of the subconscious part of the mind. So they provide a template, Sync Within provides a template to enable it to work easily.

What of the skeptics?

Hypnotherapy has been tested. The effectiveness of hypnosis has been tested and there are results available. Even though it’s value and belief changing, it doesn’t rely on believing in this method because the effects have been proven.

The idea is that they add layers to a new goal or a new set of values, but make it easier to integrate into the subconscious mind and have the subconscious mind accept them, because archetypes, vision, sensory input is the language of the subconscious part of the mind. So they provide a template, Sync Within provides a template to enable it to work easily.

How important is intuition in this process?

Hypnotherapy is the deeper level, and then there’s other levels. Creative visualisation is a lighter layer. Sync Within’s not just hypnotherapy, it’s actually also using creative visualisation, which is a conscious mind-based affirmation system, and some people respond better to that.

So that depends on the person. And so my intuition, when something comes to me, we work with my intuition and the client’s intuition to find out the scope of the problem. So intuition’s important with it to understand how to use it, but the actual method itself is results-based from past results. It’s not all intuitive, it’s actually based in solid background.

How many sessions do people generally require?

It depends on the person and their problem, and how deep-seated it is. With something like quitting smoking, that can be done in one session. Because it’s often more effective to replace negative habits with positive habits in one go, because the sub-conscious mind, and the conscious mind together, will feel that it’s been done. Whereas something that is progressive, for example confidence and self-esteem, sports and job performance, these sort of issues are best off being worked on over a series of therapy.

So can you actually change someone?

You can’t change someone. Deep-seated values won’t change. And you’re always in control because hypnosis … now the humanistic, more progressive, modern hypnotherapy is in between these two for effect, because sometimes it helps to do something consciously and sometimes subconsciously. But the person is put in control.

Whenever you’re in hypnosis, you are in control. A hypnotic trance is very similar to when you’re just about to fall asleep in front of the television for example. You can let yourself drift off or, if you needed to get up and get a glass of water, you could easily get out of that yourself and walk off.

And that’s what you can do with hypnosis as well. So people think they’re asleep but they’re not. It’s pre-sleep.

And creative visualisation is lighter than that even, it’s just different variations of relaxation, but always working with the person.

In Sync Within, why I use colours and textures is because people will remember more easily than a string of events. Music works like that too, it can help you remember things. If you remember a song that was around when you were a child, you remember events from that time. Smells do that, too.

I’m bringing in aromatherapy to it as well, and music. But there are certain beats in music that produce a level of receptivity in your brain. Some people fear that though on its own.

The new style of hypnotherapy is not about mind control only, it’s actually bringing mind, body and heart all in together, and spirit. So that you’re acknowledging. It’s profound, and it’s profound changes, but a lot of it starts with self-acceptance, and then what goals come out of that.

Do you feel responsibility towards the client?

Yes, very much, and a lot of the hypnotherapy, the initial session we do is free because it gives people a chance to know what hypnosis is. It builds up trust together and rapport, but also sometimes that may be why people take a little longer and others don’t, because they have to be able to trust themselves as well to accept it.

You can contact Kerstin through her website or follow her on here or here.



Samantha Wills’ beautiful mantras

I’m not very fashion conscious, but I love jewellery. In particular, I have long been a fan of Samantha Wills’ bohemian luxe style. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha for The Vine and an inflight magazine, and so I remain a bit of a fan girl.

My first SW pieces were a set of gold bangles my best friend bought me for my birthday several years ago, with various lucky charms. I still use these to this day.

But last year, I bought a rose gold messenger bangle for myself, and the same one for a beautiful friend. On the outside it says: “Be strong be confident be irreplaceably you”. Inside it reads: “Because you are magical”.


‘Be Strong’ messenger bangle in gold by SW

It’s a lovely talisman, a reminder for the days when you feel very small and stagnant.

Samantha has now released a new set of mantra bangles and I really want one to pair up with my magic messenger one. The only question is: which one to get? There are a variety of empowering statements, and they are also available as necklaces. I quite like the reminder to “live this moment”.


‘Dance in the rain’ in gold by SW (Beautiful mantras)


‘Live this moment’ in rose gold by SW (Beautiful mantras)

Review: Imagine by Lydia Ievleva

Imagine book coverThe full title is ‘Imagine – Using mental imagery to reach your full potential’, and it had me at the colourful cover. The author is Lydia Ievleva and her credentials are set out with the ‘PhD’ after her name.

Ievleva covers everything from mindfulness to using mental imagery to chart a new course for your life. This, she argues, helps to break bad habits and patterns. Interestingly, she includes a section on creating a “soundtrack to your life”. Music has an impact on our health and wellbeing. I’m in total agreement with that.

It’s actually an easy read, but it’s long and dense. Importantly though, it’s designed to be a practical guide that can be read out of order if, like just about every cyberwebs user, you have a slowly receding attention span.

I’d recommend this for those who dig guided visualisation meditation, or find themselves manifesting using colour and the like.

Find out more about the book here, and Ievleva has a blog here.

Review: The Happiness Trap Pocketbook

The Happiness Trap PocketbookLast year, Dr Russ Harris and Bev Aisbett released ‘The Happiness Trap Pocketbook – An illustrated guide on how to stop struggling and start living’. It’s a simplified version of Harris’ international bestseller The Happiness Trap.

I love the title. It’s one of those book titles that has the extraordinary outcome of telling you what the book is about, while making you want to read it. That is hard to get right.

The pocketbook is a bit simplistic for me – it literally has cartoons in it – but I think it’s perfect for the time poor who need a bit of a kick in motivation on occasion.

See here for more information on the books.

Find your balance

Blackmores stress less campaignAs a long-time health writer (mainly in trade), you’re exposed to a variety of well-being offerings and, sometimes, you really click with a brand on a personal level. I’m a fan of supplements, and while some don’t subscribe to their potency, I do, in the same way I dig aromatherapy essences, mists and the like.

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that Blackmores is targeting stress. The tagline is none other than my personal (albeit unofficial) motto for life: find a balance.

I don’t like stress, in the same way most reasonable human beings don’t. But as Blackmores points out, your stress levels can make you ill. I usually feel it in the gut and my digestion suffers. And my head feels like there’s a bag of cats fighting in it. And my sleep becomes rubbish.

So. I am pumped to try out the Digestive Bio Balance (which tastes very much like a fruit tingle) and the Multi supplement – Sustained Release Multi + Antioxidant. And there is also a Sleep Sound Formula that makes my heart sing in anticipation.

Basically, Blackmores’ offerings are a stressed-out supplement-lover’s dream. Like being let loose in the Wonka factory when you have a predilection for chocolate.

The new element to its stress campaigning is a survey – you can  assess your stress at Blackmores’ website, an exercise that in itself is useful if you’re trying to figure out why you let the bag of cats in.

The allure of a new you

web-affirmationcreator-insideAnyone who knows me knows that I love affirmative thinking. There are some days when all you can think is “all of the cheesecake”.

But mainly, you should create positive thoughts. And on that note, here I am talking about being positive all year round at Aquila Style:

“Recently I came across a set of books that deal with creating your own “happiness”. One of them is Affirmation Creator by Frances Verbeek. I am sometimes weary of products that capitalise on wellbeing, but this one was a practical and inexpensive way to create affirmations. It’s essentially there to be used and not read; an action pad that will help you “create a head full of empowered, loving, peaceful beliefs”.”

You can read the whole piece here.