Newsletter Jan 2022

Christmas pop-up stall on 18th Dec 2021

Happy New Year! by Dr. Bibiana Chan

Our ‘Welcome Back Pop-up Stall’ on Sat 11th December (outside Little Giant Roaster Café at 525 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby) was a huge success. The CFS team handed out a total of 20 FREE Petal-it-Forward Bouquets. The Rosie Posies were sold out in the first two hours. Our Christmas Stall on Sat 18th December was also well received. We made a record sale even on a very hot summer day! Thank you to our wonderful supporters. The net proceeds will take us a long way to host the 2022 series of Creative Workshops by Young People for Young People’.

I am very grateful for all those who attended the 2nd AGM on Sun 5th Dec. We all agreed to focus on the CFS Core Business in 2022. We will run a marketing campaign to promote the CFS Subscription Plans: Corporate or Home . The net proceeds will fund the CFS Traineeship Program ‘Help Me Grow’! There will be no pop-up stall in Jan but we will host a special Valentine’s Day Pop-up Stall on Sat 12th Feb. outside Little Giant Roaster Café from 9 am.

In the Member’s Corner, there are some ‘Infograpics’ prepared by McKayla. They were posted on the CFS Instagram on 4 Jan. We have since received some encouraging feedback. I shared the importance of a shift of mindset from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I THINK I CAN’! If you have an idea or a photo you would like to share with us, please drop Bibi a line on If you would like to find out more about the CFS Traineeship Program – HELP ME GROW , click here.

These are the photos from the Dec Creative Workshops by Young People for Young People!

If you would like to purchase a DIY Succulent Terrarium Kit for a loved one or a friend as a present, order online here !


Flower of the Month

by Dr Bibiana Chan


Dahlia is a genus of tuberous plants that are members of the Asteraceae family; related species include the sunflowerdaisychrysanthemum, and zinnia.

Picking a favourite dahlia is like going through a button box. As well as coming in a rainbow of colours, dahlia flowers can range in size from petite 50 mm lollipop-style pompoms to giant 400mm “dinner plate” blooms. Most varieties grow to 1.2 -1.4m tall.

Dahlias love moist, moderate climates. Though not well suited to extremely hot climates, dahlias brighten up any sunny garden with a growing season that lasts around mid-summer through the beginning of winter, 

There are 42 species of Dahlia within 14 groups. Based on the type of flower, dahlias can be classified as the following types: single-flowered, ball, pompom, cactus, semi-cactus, collarette, fimbriated, waterlily, decorative, and miscellaneous.

If you have 47 minutes to spare, check out this YouTube clip ‘Dahlia Full Tour’.

Otherwise this 12 minutes footage of ‘Dahlias – Volunteer Gardener’ may make you fall in love with these elegant and beautiful blooms. It has certainly won me over!

Dahlia is named after the Swedish 18th century botanist Anders Dahl, who originally declared the flower a vegetable, as the tubers are edible. The Dahlia is the official flower of both Seattle and San Francisco. Dahlias can be found in nearly every colour except blue!  Breeders are still trying to create a dahlia with beautiful blue blooms. The flowers are also known as “valley flowers” because the word “dahl” is similar in sound to the Swedish equivalent of the “valley.” Dahlia are sometimes called the “Queen of the Autumn Garden” because they bloom longer than most of the other garden plants. Garden Dahlia (Dahlia pinnata) is Mexico’s national flower.   

Generally, dahlias convey the meaning of ‘finding inner strength’, which roots back to the plant’s ability to withstand harsh conditions. Other common meanings of dahlias are standing out from the crowd and remaining graceful since their beauty and elegance is undeniable. If you know anyone who is experiencing a significant change in life, Dahlias are the perfect flower to express support, good luck, or congratulations since they mean embracing positive changes. Other meanings include commitment and honesty. Thus, if you want to let someone special know that you are committed, then Dahlia flowers are worth considering. The flower invites positive energy, and this means embracing kindness and love for others. Red Dahlia flowers are a known symbol of both strength and power. Because of that, you can give them to a sick or recovering friend as a get well soon gift. Red dahlias are also ideal gifts for someone who is about to embark on a new professional career or a new milestone in life. Some believe that it is a representation of diversity due to the wide range of available colours of Dahlia. I think Dahlias represent very well all the CFS values: creativity, support, community, resource, growth, recovery!   

Bridal Bouquet featuring Dahlias.

Jan Virtual Creative Workshop by Young People for Young People

Make Your Own Succulent Terrarium Workshopby Bibi & young CFS members. Register today

Date: Sat 29/1/22 Time: 1230 to 1330

Venue: online via Zoom

McKayla co-facilitating Terrarium Workshop with Bibi
Terrariums made my past workshop participants

Partly funded by Willoughby City Council. Send Bibi an email if you have any questions.:

A ‘Christmas Bell’ floral arrangement

Orange Alstroemeria is one of my favourites
A small vase with Alstroemeria & Kangaroo paws
Close up of a white bloom
Large heads of Dahlias

Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan



Peperomia (radiator plant) is one of the two large genera of the family Piperaceae. Most of them are compact, small perennial epiphytes growing on rotten wood. Peperomias usually grow in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, though concentrated in Central America and northern South America. Peperomia flowers typically come in yellow to brown conical spikes.

Peperomia in ceramic pots

Peperomia are great beginner plants. The leaves come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and textures—with over 1,500 species of peperomia recorded. These leaves are similar to succulents which can store water. They will thrive on relatively high humidity and medium to bright indirect light. Be aware that growth will be much slower under a lower light situation, and the plant will need less water. Thus, don’t overwater your Peperomias! Variegated Peperomia plants will need more light than their all-green cousins since they don’t have as much chlorophyll to nourish them from the sun’s rays.

People often asked me whether indoor plants can be grown outdoor! In Nature, there is no such thing as indoor plant! All plants grow outdoor! If you take your Peperomias outside in the summer, put it in the shade to avoid direct sunlight!

Another tip for indoor plant is to let the soil dry out between watering. If the leaves and stems still feel firm and the potting soil still feels moist, leave it for a few days before watering. Peperomia varieties with thicker, waxier leaves are more succulent like and can go longer between watering sessions.

To check whether your plant is due for a drink, you can always use a chopstick to gently poke holes into the soil, but being careful not to stab the roots. This will also aerate the soil and allow the water to reach all parts of the roots. Then water slowly and thoroughly.

Another tip is to replicate their native tropical environment: provide plenty of humidity. If you live in an arid climate, you can use a pebble tray to boost the humidity level. Or place your plant in the bathroom with high humidity levels.  However, Peperomia are fairly forgiving plants, and yours may do just fine in drier air. These plants are used to growing on rotting trees and other wood, they are also accustomed to fairly dry and erratic growing conditions. This is why many Peperomias are succulent in nature.

Peperomia is very easy to propagate.. Remove the lower leaves from a stem, keeping one or two mature leaves at the top and at least one node on the stem to stick in the soil. You can then stick these cuttings directly in moist potting mix, and they will root in a few weeks. Many of the stemless types, like the ripple peperomias, can also be started by leaf cuttings similar to an African violet. Check out this link for more information:

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Recipe of the Month

The Aussie ‘Rocky Road’ Slice

Recipe provided by the Mundays, paragraphs by Bibi

This Aussie dessert should just take minutes to make! It appeals to many of us leading a fast-pace modern life. I read a friend’s Facebook post sharing a simple Rocky Road recipe: Marshmallows (white & pink), red frogs and whatever nuts you like, then smother in milk chocolate (or dark chocolate). You’re good to go!

This no-bake slice recipe will be great to get the family involved as a bonding exercise! It may become messy, it’s almost guaranteed, but that’s part of the fun. This reminded me of the first Aussie Christmas I spent at a Beach Mission at Bundeena. I helped at the kitchen and learnt to make all kinds of Aussie desserts! To add a bit of Christmas flavour, just add a little bit of red & green  Glacé cherries (to replace the red frogs)! If you like to add some texture to the ‘Rocky Road’, Desiccated coconut will do the job.   You may like to package your Rocky Road in a cellophane bag, tie the bag with a nice ribbon. Then you will have a home-made Chrisie Pressi. Try this recipe now and by the end of 2022, you will have mastered this recipe!

Interesting facts about Rocky Road Slice

The Rocky Road desert was invented in Australia in 1853. It was created as a way to sell confectionery spoiled by the long trip to Europe. Locally foraged nuts, as well as cheap chocolate were mixed in to disguise the spoiled ingredients. The name Rocky Road derives from the ‘Rocky Road’ that the travellers had to take to the Gold Fields.

Here are some tips to make your perfect Rock Road:

1.    The key to making Rocky Road is to have everything prepared before you melt the chocolate. Otherwise, the chocolate may begin to set, making it lumpy and difficult to combine with the other ingredients. 

2.    Nuts  – peanuts, roasted but not salted, are very popular. You can use any nuts of your choice. If you prefer it to be nut free you can substitute with a sweet biscuit/cookie, broken into small pieces. 

3.    If some water, even a very small amount, gets into the chocolate when it is melting, it will transform from a smooth, flowing mixture to one which is thick and grainy and not able to be used for this recipe. 

4.    As always, for the best result it is important to use good quality chocolate. Choose one that you enjoy eating – it will make all the difference.


1.     Make sure that your ingredients are prepared for the Rocky Road before you begin to melt the chocolate. Place the coconut, quartered marshmallows, peanuts and halved glacé cherries into a large bowl. Line a 18 cm x 13 cm (7 inch x 5 inch) slice tin with non-stick baking paper. 

2.     Start by melting chocolate in the microwave but it’s very important not to let it get too hot. Heat it in 30 second burst making sure to stir well between each one. It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes.

3. Add your add-ins marshmallows, peanuts and cherries and desiccated coconuts all go in now and mix it all well.

4. Tip it into a lined loaf tin then place in the fridge to chill for about an hour.

5. Cut it into slices you can store it in the fridge or wrap it and give it as gifts.

Book Review

by Kim Wilkins


This is an easy-to-read American novel with race as its central theme. Female twins grow up in a small Louisiana township where the population for historical reasons is populated by light skinned African Americans.  Both whites and dark-skinned African Americans are regarded with suspicion.

At the age of 16 the twins run away together but then separate leading very different lives – one passing herself off as white, the other very firmly involved with dark skinned African Americans.  Who has the happier life?

The author explores several themes: among them American racial bigotry, mother-daughter relationships and big city American life versus rural life.  Despite the heavy themes, Bennett manages to write an entertaining, easy to read and often humorous story with well-developed characters.

The only criticism I have is the constant switching between the time periods and between the characters is not always smooth.  The book is about 360 pages. was published in 2020 and was a New York Times best seller.

Bennett is African American herself. This is only her second novel and she looks to have a promising future as an author. If you want a book which is an enjoyable read and has a lot to say, this is for you.


Ingredients (if you prefer not to use a handful of this and that):

  • 400 grams good quality dark chocolate
  • 200 grams good quality milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, 
  • 1/2 cup pepita nuts, 
  • 1 cup pink & white marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup glacé cherries
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

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The! first Harmony Day was launched in 1999 by the then NSW MP Dr. Peter Wong. This was an initiative in respond to Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech at Parliament describing how Australia being ‘swamped’ by Asians.  According to the 2016 Census, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Mandarin came first as the most spoken language other than English.  Eighty-five per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia (check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website for more details).

From the Desk of Bibi


I hope your 2022 began on a positive note! However, I wish you would never get a positive COVID-19 test result. Last month I shared some thoughts about reflecting on the past and making new year resolutions for 2022. I wonder whether you have already set some goals for yourself, and feel enthusiastic about embarking on some new projects!

I woke up on 1st Jan 2022 only to find out that I was at a department store at Chatswood at the same time of a COVID-19 positive case, courtesy of Service NSW. I shouldn’t be too surprised as the daily positive cases shot up to 35,000 on 5th Jan. I’m sure most of you would know someone who unfortunately became one of the statistics. For me, the consolation is I took the first opportunity to receive my COVID-19 booster jab when the interval between the 2nd and booster vaccination was reduced to 5 months.

Talking about grabbing the opportunity offered to you, I also went to Port Stephens to be close to Nature at the first opportunity. I left Sydney for Regional NSW on 1st Nov 2021 when travel beyond Greater Sydney was once again allowed. I was glad I looked after my own mental wellbeing having facilitated a total of four Virtual Succulent Terrarium Workshops during October – the Mental Health Month. I practise what I preach!

Have you ever faced challenges in life that pushed you to seek other opportunities?  Have you turned down offers to start something new because you are scared of upsetting the status-quo?

I have! I was never a born adventurer, but I am a quick learner! I learnt early on my path to become a mental health advocate that I have to reframe difficulties into challenges.  The moment I talked myself into embracing challenges, I could comfortably take myself out of my comfort zone! It is very interesting to see how this change of mindset helped me overcome challenges. When I look back at the years I spent pursuing a PhD, it was like climbing Mt Everest! A positive mind set definitely helps. This video clip of the children’s book The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper about a little train engine climbing up a steep hill to deliver toys to the children. (Skip to 7:00 minute for the last chapter if you have read the story before).  

It sounds simplistic when I said it was just a shift of mindset, but it could absolutely make a big difference in how one tackles the challenges ahead of us. While preparing for this issue, I looked for some useful references to share with you here, I found a few which you may find interesting:

1.       How to overcome self-doubt and turn it into an advantage: Verywell Mind Podcast on self-doubt

2.       Take one more step when faced with challenges:  TED Talk on ‘Turning Challenges into Opportunities!’

3. Once you’ve found your opportunities, how do you set goals to make your dream come true? This article on SMART Goals may be a starting point for you.

4. One of the values featured in the CFS logo is ‘Growth’. Check out this link to read more on ‘Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset’.

In my previous life as a Speechie (speech pathologist), I often set long-term and short-term goals for my little clients (usually between 2 – 10 yrs old). I broke down a complex task into ‘chewable small steps’. That would ensure each step is Realistic enough to be Achievable! The goals in my session plans were also very Specific (targeting one particular language/speech task such as using 2-words: Action and Object) and Measurable (counting the occurrence of the target behaviour) within a set Time-frame (usually 3 months). The rest of the plans were made up of the fun activities to provide an optimal environment for the target language to happen! When a friend commented that how well I relate to the participants during a Virtual Terrarium Workshop, I told her my years of practice as a Speechie paid off! Many of the skills (e.g. establishing rapport) are transferrable.       I hope you have a few spare moments to check out the links I shared with you here. Keep well and stay SAFE! If you would like to share your thoughts (photos or text) at the “Member’s Corner”, simply send me an email:  

Enjoy whatever you are doing wherever you are! 


Covid-19 the many ways it has affected us

By Carol Sudul

 The grandmother who hasn’t seen her grandchildren for seven months.

The grandparents overseas who haven’t seen their newborn granddaughter who has now turned one years old.

The people who work in the city have now been working from home for the past 18 months.

The business in the city and suburbs who have had to close during lockdown and now struggling to pay the bills.

Your relatives couldn’t fly overseas to see their dying loved ones.

I was talking to a man who was on the Princess Cruise Ship.  He was one of the first Australians to get COVID-19. Now 2 years later, he is still suffering from it.  He said it has been one health issue after another since he got COVID-19.  This made me think we keep looking at the COVID-19 case numbers, Public Health Order on restrictions, have we ever pondered about the effect on our daily life? Have we forgotten about the ones who are still suffering from this virus or worse the ones that didn’t make it?

As bad as COVID-19 has been, not a day goes by when I am not grateful for this lucky country I live in.   The country which hasn’t had the huge number of deaths as some countries. It all makes you think about what and who is important to us and how we need to enjoy what we have.

econd shop has a sign saying wanting full time or part time staff.  Some even say to start immediately.

An open peony
How to deal with disappointment 1

How to deal with disappointment 2
How to deal with disappointment 3
How to deal with disappointment 4
How to deal with disappointment 5
How to deal with disappointment 6
Glow-in-the-Dark terrariums

Community Flower Studio Logo Explained

Community: CFS is a community to support young people facing mental health challenges.

Creative: CFS hosts events to unleash young people s creative talents.

Resource: CFS provides members with resources to enhance their wellbeing.  

Support: CFS  offers support to members to develop their potential.

Growth: CFS fosters a growth mindset which is helpful in dealing with challenges.

Recovery: CFS sees recovery as achievable and a journey to cherish.



Website: Mobile: 0412 613 073

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Address: 10-12 Clanwilliam St., Willoughby, 2068, NSW, Australia.