Inheriting a green thumb from an aunt, Helen has always loved cultivating ornamental and productive plants. Her current favorites are fiddle leaf figs, succulents, gardenias and hoyas, and both her terrace and her home are bursting with well-tended greenery. Helen’s concern about the use of industrial chemicals and the destruction of the natural environment, as well as a keen interest in self-sufficiency, led her to complete Permaculture training with its founder, the late Bill Mollison. Her Permaculture Designers’ Manual reads: ‘Helen, may be way be easy, Bill’ and it is this message that she shares with readers who want to create a better life and a better planet, one plant at a time, through her blogs. Helen has also hosted an easy listening radio show in which she helped bring listeners tips for making their gardens beautiful and studied how to grow and use medicinal herbs.
With gypsy blood and an eye for real estate, Helen has lived in three countries and bought and sold five properties, creating lush gardens at each. After completing her Permaculture study, she built a fire-resistant home that included its own water tanks, septic system and raised vegetable gardens as well as productive trees including feijoa, Chinese pear, lemon, orange, kaffir lime, mulberry, lemon myrtle and black sapote (chocolate pudding plant), on the NSW mid-north coast. Today she is transforming a reserve behind her home near Byron Bay into a tiny piece of sustainable paradise. Helen advocates for organic pest control and ran a local campaign against the use of glyphosate (Roundup). She is a student of Darren Palmer’s Interior Design Institute.
Slow Movement Advocate
Helen is the author of two books: SOS: Sex Optimism and Surviving the 21st Century (HarperCollins) and The Slow Guide: Sydney (Affirm Press), both of which are held in the National Library system. In the first, she shares how to do anything better, from finding a date to throwing a party. In the second, she revels how to enjoy the popular city through its gardens, handcrafted goods, restaurants, markets, arts and music, in a non-hurried way.
Wellness Editor & Counsellor
Helen Hawkes was one of the first Australian journalists to cover the now US$4.2 trillion wellness industry. It is the area of self-care, including slowing biological ageing and using the power of the mind to enhance well-being, that has always interested her. She holds a Professional Certificate in Food & Nutrition Coaching from Nature Care College Sydney and is, herself, a pescatarian. Rather than rely on the medical system to fix ills, Helen has sought to empower readers with information on nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress reduction and detoxing that helps them live a healthier, happiness life.
Helen has worked as the Health Editor for Vogue Australia, Better Homes & Gardens (where she also wrote a regular eco column) and Life & Leisure and LUXURY at The Australian Financial Review. Her wellness work has also appeared in publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, the Australian Women’s Weekly, Good Medicine, SHE, the New York Times magazine (Australia), Marie Claire and GQ. Helen also holds a Diploma of Individual, Couple and Family Therapy from Uniting Care, and is a certified life coach with the American Union of NLP. She is proud to have contributed to The Black Dog Institute’s Journeys With The Black Dog. In 2019, Helen was invited to attend the Global Wellness Institute’s conference in Singapore as an international press delegate.
Freelance Features Writer
It’s hardly surprising Helen’s affinity for property, as well as a head for figures, has led her to writing about wealth. Her columns and blogs have appeared on sites for clients including QSuper, CommBank, Downsizing.com.au, and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Early in her career, Helen also covered entertainment, interviewing celebrities such as Stevie Wonder and Johnny Depp, and covering A-list events. She worked in London for five years, including on the show business desk of the Daily Mail. Helen has also delved into investigative journalism, writing ground-breaking pieces on children in detention, the plight of parents of murdered children and British orphans who came to Australia as part of the ‘Oranges and Sunshine’ tragedy.
Helen has always owned dogs, including mutts, Corgis, and West Highland White Terriers. Her current muse, Edward Bear, is a Labrador-cross who has lost 10kg and conquered an anxiety disorder under her love and tutelage.
More About Helen
If you'd like to learn more about Helen, visit HelenHawkes.org