Author: Kirsty Fields

Eat, Drink, Connect

Thanks to Sally Eberhardt for this story published in the Redcliffe Guide May 2022 issue.


Come and celebrate being a woman in business, relax, and make new connections over a deliciously decadent Long Lunch and a glass of bubbly in great company.

At the Ladies Who Long Lunch May event at Tempest Seafood Restaurant, you get to call this fun and friendly experience ‘doing business’. Set right on Scarborough Harbour, Tempest offers waterfront dining and the freshest seafood to enjoy while you bond with some other fabulous females.

Created by Kirsty Fields, Creative Director of Social Ocean, and Jo Stevens, founder of The Zen Zone, the Ladies Who Long Lunch is for women wanting friendship, who need to take time out for themselves, and are looking to make genuine business connections.

Kirsty Fields said this event is for every woman who recognises the importance of self-care and the social impact of spending time with others who inspire, support and re-energise them.

“We understand the type of women we’ve designed this event for. We know who they are because we are them.”

“As business owners, we mainly go somewhere that educates us or advances our business. It’s refreshing to have an opportunity that includes fun and frivolity.”

Running your own business is stressful and it’s important to surround yourself with positivity.”


“Running your own businesses is stressful and it’s important to surround yourself with positivity,” Kirsty said.

Building relationships is the basis of success for businesses according to Jo Stevens.

“There will be plenty of time to mingle, and networking is a great way to build connections,” said Jo.

Kirsty and Jo both feel strongly that younger women should be encouraged to consider a business pathway. One of the highlights of the Long Lunch is the empowerment panel with a Q&A session featuring three young female entreprenuers.

Thos special guests are landscape architect Eva Porter (owner of Porter Designs), founder & marketing strategist Belinda Boyce (owner of Matchsticks Digital), and student journalist Alayna Fond (president of UQJACS).

As Jo said, “Ladies Who Long Lunch is about bringing women together to network, connect, have fun, eat great food, and enjoy a wine or two!”

Spoil yourself a little!


View details of upcoming events here.

Follow Ladies Who Long Lunch: Facebook | Instagram

Cleaning Up Clontarf

Originally published in The Road Ahead Feb-Mar 2022 magazine. Written by Jessica Wilson.


More than 2.8 tonnes of rubbish was collected by “Waste Warriors” in Clontarf (Ningi Ningi Country) as part of a 100-day program to reduce litter in the region. Love our Clontarf 100-Day Litter Campaign founder Les Barkla said the initiative was a community response to a growing problem.

“I have a Facebook community group called Pristine Peninsula and I noticed two of our Waste Warriors, Phil and Sue Johnson, were picking up a horrendous amount of fast-food packaging and other listter within a 2km radius of a fast-food chain,” Mr Barkla said.

“They were filling a 240-litre council rubbish bin a week with mostly takeaway packaging.”

Mr Barkla created the 100-day campaign with the support of Waste Warriors, the community, local, state and federal governments and local businesses.

“The Redcliffe Peninsula is a unique area as we’re 80 percent surrounded by water, so all the litter on streets ends up in Moreton Bay or Hays Inlet, which is a very sensitive ecosystem for turtles and dugongs,” he said.

“We designed the campaign to bring about education, awareness and behavioural change around litter and actually keep it out of our waterways.”

More than 100 volunteers participated in the campaign which focused on litter hotspots including Snook Street, where the fast-food chain is located, and the Clontarf Beach State High School.

“Local businesses sponsored electronic message boards with anti-littering messages. We had quite effective roadside sign vigils and 40 street sponsors cleaning up their local streets,” Mr Barkla said. The result was a 45 percent reduction in rubbish during the 100-day period and more than 15,000 litter items diverted from local waterways.

“On Snook Street alone, we picked up nearly 11,000 pieces of littler over the 12 weeks,” Mr Barkla said.

“The major items we picked up were 4,500 cigarette butts, which is a major issue for roads, followed by fast-food packaging.”

Mr Barkla said people who threw litter from their vehicles rarely saw the impact of their actions.

“They think their one cigarette butt won’t  make a difference and don’t understand that it will take five to 10 years to break down,” he said.

“When you equate what we picked up on Snook Street to annual period, it’s about 50,000 pieces in just 1.6km stretch of road.”

Mr Barkla said the fight against litter was ongoing despite the campaign’s success.

The campaign doesn’t end now the 100 days are over and we’re putting pressure on the government to actually make changes,” he said.

“All packaging needs to be 100 percent compostable or it’s not going to get better because a litterer doesn’t care whether an item is made from recycled material, they just throw it out the window anyway.

“We’re just a community of 60,000 people and just a small part of the state, but I’m a strong believer in communities driving change.”


Read the report here.


BIG group at Launch



Find out more about Pristine Peninsula:

Join the Pristine Peninsula Facebook Group

Follow the Pristine Peninsula Redcliffe Facebook page

See how Social Ocean supported the Love Our Clontarf Campaign

Love Our Clontarf Campaign Report

LOC social media campaignThe Love Our Clontarf 100 Day Litter Campaign, undertaken on the traditional lands of the Ningy Ningy people, was a litter baseline study and litter reduction campaign held across 100 Days at the beginning of 2021.

The campaign focused on a targeted litter hot spot in a 2 kilometre radius of the McDonalds Clontarf, Redcliffe Peninsula.

At the campaign launch in January, acknowledgement of the Ningy Ningy Peoples – the traditional custodians of the land on which we gathered – was made by campaign Founder Les Barkla. Paying respects to our Elders past, present and emerging, Les also stated that this campaign was all about respect for this land and these local waters, as the ancestors cared for them for 20,000 years.

The Redcliffe Peninsula won numerous Tidy Towns Awards in the early 2000s. Today that level of respect has been lost, as has the connection with land and waters. This has been backed by statistics showing 8 billion cigarette butts are littered every year and 8 million litter items are tossed every day in Australia (Keep Australia, 2019).

Providing raw data to show stakeholders that littler is a serious terrestrial and marine environment issue for this littler hot spot and for the Redcliffe Peninsula. Redcliffe is surrounded by 80% waterways with sensitive marine ecosystems and official Marine National Parks.


Key Data:

Litter was reduced by 45% at the Snook Street audit site over the 12 weeks of audits using various litter awareness and education strategies including social media campaigns, digital sign board located at the audit site, campaign signage around the area, local media coverage with sharing of online content by key stakeholders.

If adequate litter enforcement strategies and resources were available, these 10,952 litter items would have potentially brought in $2.8M in fine revenue based on the now current minimum Litter Fine of $275 (risen in price at 1 July 2021).

Snook St litter
During the 100 Day Campaign 15,706 items of litter were collected from 12 audit sites. Many more items were collected by informal contributors in other locations outside the suburb of Clontarf.

The Report:

The Love our Clontarf 100 Day Litter Campaign Final Report (click to download) includes:


How Can You Help?

Cigarette butts statistics
444,000 cigarette butts are littered per square kilometre annually (Do The Right Thing Campaign – Keep Australia Beautiful, 2019).

Actions since report completion:

Delivery and discussion with Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Karl Winchester (Division 6 Councillor for Clontarf), meeting attended by fellow area Councillor Sandra Ruck,

Delivery and discussion with State Member for Redcliffe, Yvette D’Ath MP,

Delivery and discussion with Federal Member for Petrie, Luke Howarth MP.

Actions taken by stakeholders since report completion:

Stencilled footpath messaging for concrete walkways around the Redcliffe Peninsula designed and delivered by the Moreton Bay Regional Council Environment Team. Installation commenced December 2021 with further roll out due in the in the first quarter of 2022.


Media & Acknowledgements:

“Community-Driven Campaign Calls for Action on Litter” by by Jessica Wilson – RACQ Road Ahead Magazine, Feb/March Issue 2022

2021 Community Spirit Awards Finalists by ABC Radio Brisbane Community Spirit Awards – 8 November 2021

Keeping Clontarf clean, one item at a time” by ABC Brisbane Breakfast Broadcast – 26 October 2021

Report calls for action on litter” by Kylie Knight – 8 September 2021

“Labour of Love” by Kylie Knight – Dolphins News, 15 May 2021, page 19

“Fight to stop littering goes on” by Kylie Knight – Dolphins News, 5 May 2021, page 2

Students join war on waste” by Jodie Powell – 14 April 2021

100 Day campaign to reduce litter begins” by Kylie Knight – 29 January 2021

Find out more about Pristine Peninsula:

Join the Pristine Peninsula Facebook Group

Follow the Pristine Peninsula Redcliffe Facebook page

See how Social Ocean supported the Love Our Clontarf Campaign

Instagram Images, Pixels, Sizes for 2024

Instagram image sizes for traditional square posts haven’t changed. However, the introduction and updates of features over time now allows images other than squares – or cropped to be a square – means you can use a variety of screen sizes now.

Changes to video content and video features allows you to design content in different pixel sizes too. And it means you can keep up with platform changes overall, if you set your templates up ready to use.

In the last couple of years, IGTV became Instagram Video. Video is now widely known as Reels. Squares were out, rectangles were in, but squares are kind of back because they’re easier!

Using a visual platform like Instagram, we want our pictures to look great! Better than great. We spend time taking photos, designing images and make our own templates to make this as fast a process as possible for us – and our customers. When a new feature gets introduced, we only need to adjust templates and continue creating pictures easily.

Use our 2024 Instagram image sizes (below) to make sure your published posts are looking sharp.

Enter the pixel sizes into Canva’s custom sizing or create your own digital templates with Adobe or other software.


Here are the latest Instagram imagery sizes.

Instagram Posts:

Static Instagram images, the ones you see as squares on your profile, have three different size options. Each will display as a square on your profile, but when viewed individually will zoom in and out as required to showcase the size. The three sizes are:

  1. Standard square photos or images should be 1080 pixels x 1080 pixels
  2. Horizontal photos or images should be 1080 pixels x 566 pixels
  3. Vertical photos or images should be 1080 pixels x 1350 pixels


Instagram Profile Image:

This is main Instagram image that will be seen in more places than your own Instagram Profile.

Your Instagram logo image should be a square with 360 pixels x 360 pixels minimum. At Social Ocean we use 400 x 400 pixels for clarity.

If your logo isn’t already a square shape, ask your designer to provide you with an option that will fit inside a square. This will be handy for all your social media profiles.

Or make your own. Put your logo on an all white background – centre the logo to a solid white square shape – leave plenty of white space around the edges of the logo. This is what lets you zoom in and out when working inside the logo uploading tool.

If you have a personal brand, read our great tips on how to select your personal profile photo on our blog 5 Profile Photo Tips.


Instagram Stories Sizes:

Stories are available to be seen via the profile image on both your Instagram and Facebook business accounts if you have them synced.

Whilst clickable content on your Instagram Story isn’t clickable via Facebook it’s still a smart idea to have them synced. Doing this means you are creating more content across the two platforms without more work! Who doesn’t want to do that?

Stories artwork for Instagram or Facebook platforms use the same size. You may have other repurposing opportunities for other digital platforms. Although they aren’t great for wide viewing like on YouTube.

Your Instagram and Facebook Stories image should be a tall rectangle measuring 1080 pixels wide x 1920 pixels tall.


Instagram Reels Videos:

You can stitch together still images, graphic designs and videos to create Instagram Reels. Once you have the elements you need you can create a Reel via the app on your phone.

Your Instagram Reels image and video should be designed as a tall slim rectangle with 1080 pixels wide x 1920 pixels tall.

HOT TIP: Text you want to read for specific sections of a Reel can be added to your design before transferring to your phone, and ahead of in-app Reel building. Add the text to each of the designs you want to see it on in the design software or app you use.



If you need help to create or update your social media images for Instagram or any other platform check out our Graphic Design options.

Don’t forget to read great tips on selecting your profile photo here: 5 Profile Photo Tips.

5 Fab Indoor Plants For Your Office

Did you know indoor plants create healthy environments where people flourish? Many people enjoy living and working in green spaces, and like having indoor plants around. But is there more to it?

The answer is – YES! They look amazing! And there are many proven scientific health benefits about indoor plants. Here’s what research tells us about some of the benefits living and working with indoor plants.


🌿 Indoor Plants Improve air quality

They are natural air-filters! Plants absorb harmful toxins in the air while releasing oxygen into the workplace.
A cleaner more invigorating work environment will lead to better employee health.


🌿 Reduce your stress

Even if you love where you work, sometimes stress is unavoidable! University of Sydney (UTS) research found that offices experienced the following benefits:


🌿 Plants may boost your productivity and creativity

One of the Fab 5 indoor plants may turn out to be the best cubicle-mate you’ve ever had. Many studies have found that plants in the workspace increases productivity and creativity.
And creative blocks are no joke! Whether you’re out of ideas or stuck on the same one for a little too long, office plants can provide inspiration.


🌿 Plants can help attract talented people

Did you know that 50% of employees have no natural light in their place of work?

Also, one in five people said they have no natural elements in their office, whatsoever.
That means that a lot of us are working in a dark, lifeless space, which if you ask me, doesn’t seem like an appealing place to be.

That’s why there is an upward trend of potential employees taking the physical space into consideration when searching for new opportunities.


Surround yourself with plant wellness and go green in your workplace! Why? Because they are a great investment!

But, I can hear you say: What if I don’t have a ‘Green Thumb’? How do you know which plants will survive? Which plants are best for me and my workspace? You most likely don’t have an indoor plant expert beside you! So I’m here to help you choose the right plants to freshen up your office space.

Here are the ‘Fab 5 Indoor Plants’ that will make you the envy of your colleagues once installed in your office.


Zanzibar Gem
Zanzibar Gem

1. Zanzibar Gem

(Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Almost the perfect plant. Tolerates low light, low water and even drought. You can neglect this one and it will still bring you joy by always looking healthy.

Often known as the ‘clean air plant’, the Zanzibar Gem is the perfect office plant, for work or home.

To keep it contained for any space, prune it. But, if left to its own resources; it will spread its wings, filling a much larger space than the top of the planter pot.

Keep this one dusted so the foliage is able to show off its beautiful shine.



Pothos Ivy
Pothos Ivy

2. Pothos Ivy

(Botanical name: Epipremnum aureum)

The Pothos Ivy has three main varieties. ‘Golden Pothos’, the ‘Neon Pothos’ and the ‘Marble Queen Pothos’.

Lack of airflow does not affect them much and so they thrive in indoor spaces. They also live for a long time without the need for high light.

The more light they have, the more water they will need. So keep them away from strong light (window or artificial) and they will be easier to maintain indoors.

Their colour will change into a dark greenish shade with less light.




3. Sansevieria

(Botanical name: Sansevieria trifasciata)

Also called ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’. It is a sturdy and bold spiky looking plant and requires very little maintenance.

It tolerates low humidity, low light and low water.

There are over 70 varieties, but the most common are:
‘Superba’, ‘Golden Hahnii’ and ‘Sansevieria Twist’. All come in various sizes and are slow growing.

This indoor plant puts up with any environmental condition you can dish out! Don’t overwater this one.



Janet Craig
Janet Craig

4. Janet Craig

(Botanical name: Dracaena deremensis)
Janet is a great girlfriend to have. She adapts beautifully to any office or home conditions. With her dark green cluster of strappy foliage and is naturally shiny and lush. Its cane-like stem structure can also be propagated without the need for roots.

Keep the leaves clean by wiping them off with a damp cloth. Janet Craig poses as a remarkable office plant and you should invite her to move in with you right away!




Try planting a bowl of succulents for your desk

5. Succulents

There are too many varieties to list here, so I will give you the general rules about keeping succulents. They are a desert plant, which thrives on sun and little water.

So do not try to keep a ‘cute’ succulent on your desk if there is no direct sunlight reaching your plant. No need to overwater, a small amount every month should do it.

‘Now you know about the Fab 5 fine-looking, almost no effort indoor plants. Go and surround yourself with plant wellness and go green in your workplace. It’s worth the investment’!




social ocean blog line


Special thanks to Guest Blogger Elaine Tunn. Elaine is the CEO of Interior Plantscape Association (IPA) and has kindly written this article for publication on the Social Ocean blog. The IPA is a professional association representing the growing indoor plant hire and maintenance industry across Australia and New Zealand.

If you need assistance from an indoor plant expert, reach out to one of the IPA members or the association directly via the links below.


Website | Facebook | LinkedIn

5 Projects To Build Your Community

Creating Intellectual Property (IP) in a business is incredibly important. Your IP helps to both stand out in your market, and result in making money. But making money is generally an outcome of first building community and trust.

So how do you go from having an idea – creating the IP – to selling that idea and bringing money in?

What’s more, if your market is flooded with similar solutions and there’s lots of messaging about your topic, where do you start?

Start with building your community. A community can exist in different ways: online or offline, geographical, industry-based, have broad demographics or a refined private or niche identity.

Initially building a community from clients, networking and industry connections, contractors and suppliers, friends, referrers and collaborators makes sense. It’s also easier as these connections will already know your capabilities and trust you.

What they all have in common, is that they collectively make up your community already. You don’t need to seek them out – but you do need to formalise how you communicate with them. That might be digital communications like email, or as simple as posting regularly on social media.

Importantly if something happens to a part of your existing community, and engagement or support seems low, it’s likely you’ll maintain the others and they’ll pick up engagement according to your activity.

A communication strategy is key for you to sell in the future. It’s also an excellent way to mass-communicate information, education, support, offers and awareness. Adding names to a “list” is a portion of the marketing mix that is generally put in the too hard basket, and therefore becomes an untapped resource to many businesses.


Five Projects

Here’s five small projects to launch to help build your community further. They all offer a way to formalise and grow the “list” of contacts, let you create mini strategies to practice communication, and build on (and expand) your supporter-base outside of those you know.

Each one of these ideas can introduce simple technology to capture information from your community if you haven’t done so before. This can turn any of these projects into a new community group to connect with as a smaller group, or move them to your wider, broader community.

If you used all five of these projects, you’ll have impactful outcomes and cater to a variety of interests.

  1. Create a freebie
  2. Start a pop-up Facebook group
  3. Run a short-term challenge
  4. Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop (online or in person)
  5. Run a private bespoke event offering membership


  1. Create a Freebie

Creating freebies are perhaps the easiest of the lot! Sending your freebie out via a sign-up scenario means you capture an email address as a minimum.

Popular freebies include E-Books, webinars, podcasts, tools like calculators, discounts, printables or mini versions of a service/product like an audit or consult.

Save your work in easily accessible formats e.g. PDF files, downloadable Zip folders or links to hidden pages. Creating hidden pages on your website, giving access to a reader after they submit contact information allows you to communicate with them in the future. It’s also preferable to users wanting to download your freebie.

If your item is designed for at-home printing, consider what countries the user may live in. For example the USA still uses Letter page sizing. You may want to provide freebies in multiple sizes for this purpose.


  1. Start a pop-up Facebook group

Pop up Facebooks are a great idea to contain a small group to WOW new people to your community, service them with some education or access to freebies and a supportive community. It also allows you to entertain them, provide great service from you or your team.

It also provides a closed area for you to market directly to them.

The key to success with Facebook groups is brand-relevant visually appealing and professionally structured content. Your time and effort needs to go into the group before it’s populated, allowing you to turn up Live instead of the stress of daily content creation. This is never fun!

Don’t delete your Pop Up group once the original purpose has run its course. Reuse the group repetitively, as you’ll find those who valued it the first time (plus those who may not have given their full attention, or needed better timing), won’t leave of their own accord. That allows you to add to your group quarterly or half-yearly with a membership number that impresses the viewer.



  1. Run a short-term challenge

Short-term challenges can be great fun and you can pick up new fans or followers with savvy social campaigns when you run them.

In terms of building community online, challenges or short term activities draw fast interest and allow new fans to learn new and interesting details about you/business.

Just like any other campaign you run, lead-in time is everything! Promote it for a few weeks organically before day 1 to maximise numbers. Your email communication should be short, sharp and clear across the time of the challenge with your own example included each day.

Having people sign up to your challenge means you can communicate with them each day of the challenge and really expand details about what everyone needs to do. It also lets you add key information that participants need to know – as well as giving you cross-promotional opportunities.

Think hashtags for engagement, cross-platform participation with Instagram posts and Stories/Reels, and entertainment all the way.

Remind participants with scheduled email campaigns. Create these elements in advance so participants are reminded daily. This is really important as they may have signed up to your challenge some time back so will need reminders before it starts.

Selecting daily winners from participants is a great draw card, as is a collaborative challenge.

You can also run a short-term challenge in a Facebook group – or create a Pop Up Facebook group for this purpose.


  1. Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop

We run small but low-priced workshops regularly. The feedback we receive from clients is that they enjoy and appreciate an intimate gathering of like-minded people.

It allows for a personalised approach, but also allows you to maintain a low budget in areas including venue, catering and print/marketing collateral requirements.

To secure the number of guests you need, follow an event plan rolling out over a 10-12 week period.

This is an ideal time frame to rollow out and publish a variety of events marketing information. Start immediately after you launch ticket sales and continue through to the date of the event.

This allows you to run one per quarter as part of a regular onboarding process. And don’t forget, this event could be a digital event with video conferencing or Live video in a private group setting.



  1. Run a private bespoke event offering membership

If your event charges premium options only, then a bespoke private event is more likely to hit your target.

Along with allowing a higher price point, bespoke events generally offer an impressive location, experiential features, and membership options as part of the bonus package and are a big hit with women in particular.

Think retreats – spiritual or corporate in nature – providing elements that may be perceived as difficult to organise in a day to day circumstance, or that may be considered luxurious.

Include ticketing add-ons and offer varied pricing structures. Snagging guests early means you could sell out quicker with “early bird” options. And providing higher price tags for a distinct purpose are attractive and could include things like a VIP gift bag, meet the speakers or special access to additional experiences on the day.



The activity of community building can be a quick flash in the pan experience, that doesn’t take long for the audience to decide that you’re worth hanging around. But as part of a strong content marketing strategy it’s inevitably a long game and requires patience.

However, delivering on engaging activities that show reward or results to your community members are marketing activities a company can undertake for longevity. Yes it takes a long time to build a huge list. But once you’re in the hang of it and you include it in your activities, and regularly include your database, you’ll see the results.


It’s important to note these ideas are based on social media or events activities. These are areas of specialty at Social Ocean, and we get excited about helping clients create unique events, allowing them to start or continue building community. Check out our event services for more details about that.

Combine online activities with face-to-face events for a highly successful mix, that will assist in building your list and create raving fans!


social ocean blog line


Armed with over 20 years’ experience in the event management business, Kirsty Fields has co-ordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. After a successful career in sports, she embraced modern marketing and promotional techniques.

Her passion for training clients in social media, digital marketing and branding has been combined to present her multi-award winning business Social Ocean a bespoke events marketing agency.

Kirsty’s experience in event management and coordination, and the small business space, backed by her passion for marketing, makes her an ideal source for all things related to events, small business, marketing, social media and branding.

You can find a list of podcasts Kirsty has been featured on, on our About page.



This article was originally posted to the Words of Bek blog as a Guest Blog in 2019 by Kirsty Fields. Words of Bek is the namesake website by Writer/Author Becky Paroz for her book by the same name. The article has since been updated for currency to this publication.



To follow along with Social Ocean, and for regular tips and tricks, join them on:

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Strawberry & Mint Gin Cocktail Recipe

Gin Cocktail Recipe

This cocktail recipe is for a delightful drink we recommend to make in bulk and in advance for a big gathering.

It’s the recipe for the most popular cocktail from Ebony’s 21st celebrations. And has also made an appearance as a quick and simple refreshing drop at the end of a long day.

It reminds us of our travels through the Middle East, where you get minty cool refreshing drinks just about everywhere.


What you need aka the Recipe:

To serve, we used a large drink canister with a built in tap which holds up to 10 Litres. If your container is smaller, reduce the liquid amounts in the recipe, at least by half.

Prepare the fruit infusion on the morning of your party. Typically you’d be using this cocktail for an evening event, but to maximise the flavour of the strawberries and mint, infuse them into the alcohol in the morning or as early as you can on the day of your party.

It only takes a couple of minutes to do, but you’ll be glad you did it.


Early morning infusion:

Step 1: Remove the top leaves of the strawberries and roughly cut them into chunks. There’s no limit to how many strawberries you can add.

Strawberry tip: We used 2 large punnets. If you plan to serve your cocktail with a ladle you could add more strawberries. Drink canisters with taps on them don’t allow for the fruit to pour through. Adding fruit into the glasses for guests, before they add the cocktail is a great idea to get extra fruity goodness in each drink.


Step 2: Tear the fresh mint by hand. It’s really important you don’t chop the mint with a knife. By using your hands, you’ll bruise the mint leaves more allowing the flavours and oils to infuse easily (and more of them). Don’t discard the stalks, include all parts of the bunch of herbs in your drinking canister.


Step 3: Add the sugar.


Step 4: Add the entire bottle of gin.


Step 5: Get a wooden spoon and stir. Stir all the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.

Stirring tip: If you are unsure if the sugar has dissolved, you should no longer hear the sugar granules against the glass at the bottom when stirring.


Step 6: Leave to sit in a safe place until the party starts. Put a cloth or lid on your vessel to keep flies and bugs out of it.


Strawberry and mint infusing in the gin

Our mix infused for at least six hours before the party started. During the remaining time, we’d be setting up the party space and other cocktail. We’d also by buying ice to add in to the drink canister to cool it down for serving.

The ice doesn’t need to be added into the cocktail if serving during cold weather if your soda water and diet lemonade has been refrigerated.

If individual glasses will be served with fruit by ladle, adding ice to your mix of the glass makes your drink look great! We roughly added a quarter of a bag of ice – standard petrol station sized bag – when adding in the lemonade and soda water as ours hadn’t been refrigerated.

Our party was in July – the middle of Winter in Queensland – so the ice was needed to cool the soft drink added on the night. Due to lots of catering fridge space was at a premium, so we hadn’t refrigerated it. During Summer the ice will cool the liquid just as successfully, but the drink is not as nice or refreshing at room temperature.


Just as the party is due to start, add your 2 litres of soda water. We used the cheapest home brand option from the grocery store. Our original recipe has been altered through practice. It was changed to include the lemonade instead of soda water only, as we reduced the amount of sugar added for infusing.

We realised that the sweetness of the lemonade is necessary for a perfect balance. If you intend on using soda water only, because you think you should reduce the percentage of sugar used, you’ll find that you’re cocktail is a little flat. We’ve tested this out! You will need to add a full cup of white sugar to the strawberry mint and gin for infusing (at least) to get the balance of sweetness perfect.

All you really need is pretty glassware to serve your drink in, and a friend to “Cheers!” with. Enjoy!

8 Awards Season Tips

Business Awards Season is such an exciting time in your life, journey and path to career success. Being nominated for an award confirms and builds your confidence of what you get out of bed to do each day. It’s exciting!

The benefits of participating in awards season is constant. You have the ability to leverage awards for years to come!

I’ve won significant awards throughout my career and made it to Finalist shortlists in others. I still reference these milestones – or leverage them – as they provide excellent social proof of your skill set and business capabilities.

The truth is people don’t get nominated for awards, become a Finalist or Win awards without first doing the work. Although it seems many people reap the benefits – they didn’t submit a piece of paper and get a piece of crystal for nothing.


Is congratulations due to you?

If you’re one of the people who’s name appears on a shortlist right now – congratulations! Congratulations on submitting an application or for your nomination (or both). You deserve it. You should be proud. But most of all, you should be letting the world know about it.

For those of you who are savvy enough to have had help with writing your applications, I also applaud you for making that investment. You are likely to understand what a wonderful marketing/PR opportunity a Business Award can be for your career and the business.

Once your name gets printed on the ballot paper, so to speak, there’s a list of other actions you should do to support the nomination. After all, the judges are not likely to have heard of you before reviewing your submission. Depending on the Award system, there will be further steps the judges will take.

They’ll like do their research. Complete their due diligence. Look for project evidence or social proof. Particularly for Awards presented by Industry Bodies, Professional Associations or a National level. These trophies aren’t given out like lollies! A submission is not always going to be the only contributing factor in the decision process.


Winners of the Stormwater Queensland Award for Excellence in Policy & Education, 2018.

Popular Voting

Business Awards with public voting, have a certain level of randomness. Not only is it important you nominate for the right category, but you’ll need to communicate to your community your participation to help get people to cast votes for you.

A lot of people won’t do any – or very little – research before voting for the popular categories. Yet you can put effort into checking off my tips below to turn random selection into educated votes. If you’re participating in one of the popular vote Awards programs like Ausmumprenuer you can help yourself get those Votes in!

Plus, you want to make sure judges are seeing how wonderful you are as they decide who gets their vote. This is on top of those random community casting votes with the categories they don’t have anyone they know listed.

Show us and share with us the proof your application isn’t a fluke – turn up online!

Below are 8 top tips of just some of the many I follow/do myself. Make sure your digital footprint has your best foot forward:

✅ Your website About and Media page

When was the last time you updated your About page or Media section on your website? Keeping these pages up to date with the very latest details is important. With your website potentially being the hub for judges to confirm what they’ve read about you, it’s important.

Be sure to reference projects you may have featured in award nominations. Having a client area, gallery or blog to promote this information, is great way to show this off. By adding this type of detail you can show off #allthethings you do that impress others.

Speaking with a judge from the International Stevie Awards, I was reminded that nomination can have as little as 3-5 minutes judging time. What this means is, if you don’t include further evidence of why you should be a successful nominee that’s all the time you’ll be given. Including an evidence document listing the points where further information can be reviewed is key. And your website is the obvious place for that to be stored.


✅ Services or Products page

Highlight your capacity for good and problem solving with your service/product information on your website. With new interest in you and your business, this is a great time to expand the details of your business. Remember new visitors or Followers aren’t aware of your history or how you help others. Share this information as though you’re talking to a brand new audience – because this is what is happening for you.


✅ Write some articles

Have you written any blogs from your own experience or expertise? Do you have some half-written articles, sitting unpublished or as a draft?

A blog is an excellent way to support or highlight your activities. It also serves to educate your community if you’re writing simple helpful information. Which is a great service alone. Engage a copywriter if you need help to polish it off.

Hint: we have an excellent copywriter who can assist you! Get in Touch with us about that.


✅ Audit your profiles

Give your personal profiles a thorough Audit. Including the social media profiles you keep private.

Review memes and funny questionnaires on your social media feed. Look through who’s tagged you on shared posts, as well as checking privacy settings of mobile uploads and photo albums. You can delete any of these items or consider opening business related posts from private to “Public”.

Social media profiles with cover photos are a good spot to use business branding without being sales oriented. And it doesn’t annoying your private connections with too much work chatter. Use an image that aligns with your branding,business name, services or products.


✅ Update profile photos

Choose a fabulous smiling profile photo of YOU on your personal profile is important. Even if you aren’t a fan of showing your face on private social media profiles. During the awards season – if not always, is easy enough. I recommend a great smiling photo all the time! But if you are only going to use an image of your face during this period of time, make it a great one.

People feel connected to you, and can you by looking at your profile photos. When judges are looking for evidence of your work, they can look in all sorts of places. Put your best foot forward by looking good all over the place!


✅ Brand your content

Write engaging content that has branded imagery is going to show your business off well too. Forget mass-produced memes and quotes. Create them yourself, or get help from a graphic designer!

Use your work, services or products as the base to create your own social media artwork. You can do this easily by adding branded font to your photos. Or take your own quotes, catch-phrases or business language and make your own #quoteoftheday.

Hint: we have an excellent designer who can assist you! Check our design services here.


Sample of a series of branded images created after being named as a finalist in the 2019 YAwards – a business awards event for women.

✅ Post about nomination items

Think about what samples you mentioned in the nomination process. Talk about these and others that are similar throughout the period of judging in your content strategy. Discussing those examples that are relative to the categories you’re nominated for is clever. The trick is not to mention the awards connection at the same time in these posts. Put them into your posting schedule as though you were due to talk about them.

The fact you’re up for an award is great and you should be talking about it. But specific posts talking about award nominations is another type of post (see next tip). Leaving out mentions of your award participation can be as clever as including it.


✅ Talk about your nomination

Talk about those Awards! Use promotional material from the Awards like the logo, event listings and use them yourself. Add photos to share how blessed and excited you are! Also mention the work you’ve been doing to get to this point of success. When you share your wins, or how it feels to take part, or how humbled you are to share the stage, people get engaged in your journey. Especially if/when you make it to the shortlist or Finalist list.

Give us #allthefeels about you in this Awards program.


As you draw closer to the business awards announcement day, put in place a new social media campaign. This should be all about promoting your inclusion in the awards line-up. If you aren’t feeling confident in how to create a specialised campaign, book in for a social media workshop with our team to help you.

Good luck to all our friends, clients and connections who are currently nominated. I’ll vote for you where possible – and look forward to seeing how you go for the rest of the year.

Work smarter (not harder) on your socials

It’s no secret: if you’re in business, you need to be social. And we don’t just mean networking and events (although they’re super important) – we mean being social on social media.

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming though and Peninsula Life caught up with marketing specialist Kirsty Fields from Social Ocean who shares with business owners her best tips to reaping the rewards of social media.

Social Media is a foundation of business marketing. We use it to communicate, promote, engage and build relationships with our customers.

Its trick is that it’s all in the name – social media – it’s meant to be social: fun, entertaining, engaging and interactive. So how can you be these things with a business? It will look different in
your business to another regardless of your niche or industry.

The good news is that finding the balance to be social, whilst using it with a holistic approach to marketing doesn’t have to be confronting, confusing or pushed to the ‘too hard’ basket.

Use my top tips below to find the sweet spot of your branding with a social tone that your audience will be attracted to, whilst driving traffic to your website.

Smart phone with Instagram

1. Spotlight people in your business

Clients always tell me they don’t want to show their face. Practice your smile in the mirror and just do it! Those who love your brand want to engage with you, so let them. If you have staff, share that spotlight around and include them in your stories and photos.


2. Guide content with your calendar

Look at what’s ahead each quarter as you’re likely to be inputting dates in this timeframe. Make note of events, promotions or activities that are on. Identify which ones you can leverage and set deadlines to write blog content to stand out from the crowd. Repurpose your blog on all platforms.


3. Fill gaps with industry dates

If you don’t host events or promotional campaigns, you can use industry calendars or social media dates the same way as using your own business calendar.


4. Batch produce content

Set aside a couple of hours each month to write and schedule content or add to a spreadsheet for reference. Being persistent with social media is a game-changer! Layer batched content with photos and videos to add the fun in. I often see businesses focusing too much energy and budget on it instead of working it into their communication processes and overall strategy.

Social Media thought leader


Kirsty Fields is Creative Director and Owner at Social Ocean, a marketing agency specialising in social media training for business owners and corporate events.

Harnessing social media for business from the very beginning, her passion is training clients in social media, event marketing and branding and seeking out unique event opportunities to promote her clients’ businesses to their communities.

Multi-award winning event manager, Kirsty writes blog articles to motivate and encourage business owners to use social media and improve and leverage promotional opportunities at events. In July, she was named as one of eight Female Thought Leaders by YMag.

Social Ocean was recently named one of 100 Federal Government Small Business Digital Champions project participants.



Social Ocean is everywhere online! Find them where you like to hang out the most: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.

Original article published in Issue 12 of Peninsula Life, September-October 2019. Peninsula Life magazine is a dedicated publication for the Redcliffe Peninsula, Queensland.



Kirsty Fields has over 20 years experience in the event management business. She has coordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. As an eager student of modern digital and promotional techniques, she has expanded her business into new areas of marketing expertise to offer her clients. She offers many types of workshops to help train companies in social media, digital marketing and branding, and can provide training to accommodate anyone.

YMag caught up with her to interview her for their issue featuring their Female Thought Leaders of 2019.

Below is the full unpublished interview with Kirsty Fields.


YMag – When did you start your business?

KF – My business evolved after a friend contacted me to ask if I could assist the professional teaching association she volunteered for, with their state-wide conference management. That was in February 2017. I was in shock after losing my job as a marketing manager at a private college which came from government changes in tertiary education fees. It was a pretty messy situation and I was still processing it all. At the same time, my husband was in the middle of negotiations for a job in Texas, USA – so I wasn’t actively job hunting. The thought of taking up a job when we were thinking of leaving the country didn’t sit well with me.

Assisting with conference management required me to have my own ABN and as a result of that process, my business was launched. I knew that there would be the inclusion of social media in my business after years of using it for business purposes, though it was quite unclear what it would look like. That was how Social Ocean started.


ANZ Stadium
Kirsty Fields at ANZ Stadium (Sydney), attending the Stormwater Australia National Awards, where she was representing Queensland as a Finalist in the Policy and Education category.


YMag – Why did you add events and social media services?

KF – Prior to my marketing management role I was a relations manager at the largest rugby league club in Queensland for eight years. I’d helped initiate, build and manage their digital and social media accounts to communicate with our National followers as well as players and families. Our platforms became integral in communicating with them about events on and off the field, weather, and so much more.

We tried out a variety of digital communication points to serve our fans and stakeholders. As a volunteer-based community however, it was easy for us to identify their potential as a marketing tool.

I was using Facebook from when it first launched, it became second nature to me. I had MySpace and various other accounts in my uni days, but nothing for business. Using Facebook specifically as a business tool was certainly not the intention or initial design.

I feel in love with the ability to ‘meet’ and reach others online with social media. But more than that, it because a way for me to sell tickets to events, invite people to support philanthropic activities and move them emotionally.

One year, I’d sold hundreds of tickets to a national rugby league game that had an extreme weather forecast. We had to scrap the event entirely as we weren’t able to bus the teams in due to flooding. Thanks to social media, we contacted thousands of fans preparing to travel through extreme conditions to watch their teams play. In less than 90 minutes, we’d been able to spread the word at three various levels of the game along with multiple other partnering sites who rallied to get the word out. It’s unfathomable to think just how many people will see your message.

It’s this passion and realisation of it’s power to assist business owners relay their message online, that meant I just had to have social media as a focus in my business.

Social media is also a key tool in Events Marketing. If you’re running an event – regardless of where, when or why – you must have an online presence for that event even if the event has no charge.

The events side of my business itself has been something that’s come naturally to me. I started managing events in the late 1990s and, with through career changes, my events experience also put me in a position to assist my employers along the way.


YMag – It sounds like you’ve been involved with lots of different event experiences, what are some of the most memorable ones?

KF – In 2016 I worked with the Queensland Police Service to launch a public campaign at a local sporting event. On the day we had police puppies, horses and the highway patrol cars all kitted out – combined with State Ministers, the Police Commissioner and various other government officials. It was a memorable occassion.

I enjoy providing clients with a different perspective. One of my client’s seminars are always held at a local pub, so guests can have a steak lunch with jugs of beer, allowing them to network more casually. Another client now has a successful trade component to their quarterly confrences, which has increased their revenue and built ongoing professional partnerships.



YMag – Tell us about your workshops. What kind of programs do you offer?

KF – There’s different formats to my workshops, depending on the audience. I could be in a room full of managers from a franchise or particular industry or speaking at networking groups or conferences.

I run small group workshops a couple of times a year on various topics of social media and event planning. At the moment my most popular workshop topic is Content Creation. It’s where we sit in a quiet space and extract the business information from within you to recognise your original detailed content, ready to present online.

This year Canva, Instagram and LinkedIn are really popular too. Business owners are realising there are special techniques – hacks even, I love that word – they could understand to amplify their efforts in connecting with or attracting others.


YMag – Who are the people you work with in workshops?

KF – Most workshop attendees are sole traders in start-up and initial building phases of business. Having an intimate group scenario improves their comfort level as well as giving them a new opportunity to connect with their next collaborator or referral partner. Their incomes are yet to support outsourcing, but they are aware of the importance of activity online to create awareness and start new business friendships and collaborations.

I run my own events, just how I’d coordinate conferences, seminars or sales events for clients – bespoke in content and design.


YMag – What makes you passionate about what you do? What’s your Y?

KF – There’s something deep-seated in me about showing others that they don’t have to be rich financially to be rich in knowledge.

Further from that though you can have lots of knowledge, but I don’t believe everyone needs to “know it all”. I want to share with others what knowledge will be helpful to them, to make a difference in their businesses to help them succeed instead of overwhelming them with #allthethings. Let’s use what we need – not just what’s hot for a minute.

Every one of my client’s success, is my success.

There’s also something special about looking at the faces of those people who are attending events. They are there to inspire, educate and motivate themselves.

Corporate events can be different than coordinating “fun events” like weddings, engagement parties or 21st birthday parties. There’s almost always a strong educational element with workshops, seminars, trade expos and retreats. Though I attend a lot of events I always learn something new.

With my own events, I set a target for my delegates and guests to have more then one “light bulb moment”. I call it a “light bulb moment” because you see in the faces of these people when it happens – their eyes becomes wider and brighter, and it’s often joined by a smile. It’s a physical identifier to me that we’ve hit the mark – and it’s a priceless moment to me!


Plans for the Future…

My goals for the future are based on what I’ve learnt as a business owner. The first year was tough and I certainly couldn’t have survived without a second income in the house, but it taught me how to build a professional audience of my own, establish a referral network, connect with like-minded peers collaboratively and build a business from $1000. for 2019/2020, I’d like to show others how having a few dollars can create maximum impact and generate what success means to you.

My immediate goals as one of the 100 Small Business Digital Champions businesses from around Australia is to kickstart two online programs. One will support businesses with social media, and the other will support those looking to build their business using events. Social Ocean will be undergoing a digital transformation to support these programs and allow me to reach a national audience.

I don’t think I’m prepared to become an author – working with social media is always changing – so, by the time I published something, it’d be out of date. However, I have template booklets in the works. These are perfect for time-poor business owners who struggle to put time aside at the computer to plan their content.

It feels like a distant dream still, but I’d like the template booklets to lead into a social media planner for marketers, social media managers and business owners. There just isn’t one that combines social media with a great diary – it’s something I find myself searching for every November and December without success. I’d love to hear from other business owners if that’s something they feel would be useful.


An edited version of this interview was published in Issue 09 of YMag (July 2019).