Sister Girl.

Melissa made it her mission to nourish the community and help create a healthy environment to heal and grow in.

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Arriving to have a cup of tea and a chat with Melissa Histon, we are greeted by two bounding pups – Carlos and Jadie. It’s 3pm and school children are lining up to give their favourite neighbourhood pups a pat and a scratch through the decorative iron fence.

“Carlos and Jadey are a bit famous around here!” Melissa says as she lets us in. “A lady from the neighbourhood found Carlos when he escaped one day, she brought him home of course, but not before taking him out to lunch!”

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We are welcomed inside Melissa’s gorgeous home at The Junction and she tells us that taking her dogs for a walk up to Bar Beach is one of her favourite things to do when she isn’t blogging, coordinating and event planning for her business –  The Sista Code.

Another of her favourite things to do is to travel. “I love to immerse myself in other cultures – really get to feel their way of life,” she tells us. “I just got back from an amazing trip around the UK.”

Although Melissa travels extensively, she has been a Novocastrian at heart ever since she moved from Canberra to Newcastle when she was 10 years old.

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Melissa was operating a successful photography business in Newcastle when her passion for travel and culture led to an opportunity with 3 Angels Nepal, a human trafficking rescue program.

Working as the stills photographer on location for a documentary, Melissa was to embark on a photographic and personal journey, documenting the harsh realities of life for women and girls in Nepal.

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When Melissa returned to Newcastle from this particular trip to Nepal however, she admits it was hard to forget about what she had witnessed and to continue on ‘life as normal’ back home in Australia.

“I knew I had to do something – I had to do my part to start helping lift up the women of Australia and the women of the world.”

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This is when she started The Sista Code, a growing community with a mission to make a difference.

Melissa made it her mission to nourish the community and help create a healthy environment to heal and grow in.

The code is simple:

  1. Support and uplift other women
  2. Celebrate the wins and successes of other women
  3. Lead the way – inspire other women and be inspired by other women
  4. Love you and love others
  5. Have fun and enjoy your life
  6. Laugh often and heartily
  7. Be happy – strive to raise your baseline level of happiness
  8. Pay-it-forward as often as you can
  9. Be open-minded
  10. Let your beautiful self shine without apology

And Melissa is certainly living up to the code – from organising local fundraisers, to furnishing women’s refuges, to building houses in Nepal with Habitat for Humanity.

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The Sista Code raises funds through it’s own charity arm Got Your Back Sista, which primarily focuses on helping women and children become emancipated from domestic violence situations, and from there helping them to be nurtured and healed.

It’s not hard to be inspired by Melissa’s work and passion. If you are reading this and thinking about what you can do to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud – we have a suggestion:

Melissa is currently rallying the Villagers of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley to join her at the upcoming  1000 People 1 Voice Event on September 3, 2016 at Hunter Stadium.

“Its going to be a great day! Great entertainment for families, a kit full of vouchers, a shirt and a drink bottle – things like that,” Melissa tells us. “It’s a real community event and best of all the proceeds all go toward furnishing two new local crisis centres for women and children.”

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“It’s all about being the best person you can be – uplifting, inspiring other sistas and sharing the love!”

Villager Property are passionate about our community and are determined to support the villagers and vibrancy within it.

An Adventure in Apothecary

A journey through this establishment takes you from drinks that taste like life in a glass, to food in bowls that feel like a hug from Nanna.

Villager often grab lunch at Apothecary Kitchen on Tudor Street.

BTW it’s a cafe – not a compound chemist.

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People walk in and around this Hamilton Cafe like you casually walk around your own home.

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Most give a smile and nod to Ben, the owner.

“Hi Ben – a few packages today,” calls the Postie.

“Morning Ben,” says a local, stopping by for her porridge.

“Hey Ben!” Call 2 small children and their baby-wearing mum as they come in to collect the weekly compost bin from the kitchen.

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Originally from Perth, Ben came to Newcastle with his partner Kate many years ago,and have since become much loved locals.

Ben and Kate raise five children in the family friendly community of Hamilton.

 Ben founded the ever-growing Hamilton Running Dads group which has competed in many local events and serves to be a community for like minded local fathers.

Their lucky kids, along with Ben and Kate, are up early every Sunday morning – crates in hand – to pick the weekly stock from the Newcastle Farmers Markets.

“I think it’s really important to support the locals and to know where our produce comes from.”

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Loves local?  Yep. Locally loved? Definitely.

Working his way through a tourism degree at a local establishment, it was in hospitality that Ben found the opportunity to reach people, create things and design a life that was authentic to him.

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Being a father of a busy family, he is passionate about the importance of healthy, affordable meals.

But being Ben, the cafe has a twist – which is where the “Apothecary” comes in.

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Originally, local apothecaries’ concoctions of herbal remedies were sought for medicinal help, a precursor to the modern science of pharmacology.

But with the power of food and nourishment, Ben is taking the name “Apothecary” back -right here in Newcastle.

Ben’s kitchen creates magic food.
Healing food.

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Food that is alive.

Lactococcus lactose and Leuconostoc mesenteroides cultures are the centre of our kitchen,” he tells us.

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A journey through this establishment takes you from drinks that taste like life in a glass, to food in bowls that feel like a hug from Nanna.

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Bubbling Kombucha made from a huge gut loving 4 year old scoby, is flavoured with lemon myrtle this week but the next batch will be whatever seasonal produce Ben has invested in.

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Bens custom Ginger beer and Kombucha dispensery

The homemade ginger beer, that bursts with sweet earthy comforts, comes from a ginger ferment made right in the shop.

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Housemade Ginger Beer Ferment

The yoghurt that adorns the oats for breakfast is cultured from the “waste milk” from the previous days coffee froths.

The compost is collected weekly for a local community garden.

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Vegetarian curry

The left over buttermilk from the creme fraiche goes into the next days vegetarian curry.

A symbiotic harmony.

Experiments being tinkered here, boundaries being pushed there.

An  Apothecary Adventure.

To find out more about local life in Hamilton and Newcastle, visit Villager Property to start living the life you love.