Episode 11: Why We All Need Beauty feat. Angela MacDonald


Our lives, full of routines and habits, are so often about accomplishing something, moving us forward. And that’s good. But what, then, is the purpose of beauty? What use is something beautiful? Listen in as Kris and Hannah, joined by their good friends Ange MacDonald, floral designer and mastermind behind Joy Florals, discuss the ‘point’ of beauty, and how our rhythms can play a part in intentionally welcoming it into our lives.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may not be 100 percent accurate.

Episode transcript:

00:00:00 Hannah 

Welcome to The Rhythms podcast. My name is Hannah. 

00:00:03 Kris 

And my name is Kris. 

00:00:05 Kris 

This is a podcast about exploring the rhythms, patterns and habits that bring joy and add richness to our everyday lives. 

00:00:12 Hannah 

From daily habits to embracing the changing seasons, it's not about mindless routines, but patterns with purpose. It's about making something special out of something. 

00:00:24 Kris 

If you're someone who wants to move beyond just being more efficient or productive and instead find ways to infuse your days with small, familiar moments that matter, then you've found two new friends with the same goal. 

00:00:37 Hannah 

Every episode listen in as we share a reflection on the role of rhythms in our lives. Join our conversation as we unpack this idea further and then spend a moment with us considering how that rhythm could shape or add richness to our lives today. 

00:01:01 Hannah 

I'm not sure where you are right now, maybe sitting in traffic lying in bed, maybe prepping dinner or working at your. 

00:01:09 Hannah 

Desk. But I'm sitting in my living room and early spring. 

00:01:15 Hannah 

So if you can do this with me, and if you can't just go with me. Imagine peak outside your window. 

00:01:25 Hannah 

Notice the sun bit higher and the sky. Have you noticed how it's now sitting later at the end of the longer, lighter evenings? 

00:01:37 Hannah 

Enjoy some of that fresh air ruffling the hair at the back of your neck. 

00:01:42 Hannah 

Smell and observe the loveliness of nature. 

00:01:46 Hannah 

The new flowers, the new leaves on the trees, a dozen new little bunnies racing across the field. OK, maybe that's just me. I do live rurally. 

00:01:57 Hannah 

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the fresh green beauty of the new. It's hard not to be inspired, delighted, charmed by the loveliness. Literally springing up from the dirt around us. 

00:02:13 Hannah 

It's like the yellow trips I see outside my window right now are waving, grinning at me as they sway in the breeze. 

00:02:22 Hannah 

Now I know flowers, the breeze, the death, the new life we see in the trees throughout the seasons. I know they have a purpose ecologically. They're also just beautiful. 

00:02:37 Hannah 

Recently surrounded by the evidence of spring arriving, I've been thinking about beauty. 

00:02:44 Hannah 

Philosophers, authors, artists, designers, inventors, and ordinary people like me have engaged in wondering and dialogue about the purpose of beauty for hundreds and thousands of years. 

00:03:00 Hannah 

I recently attended a series of seminars titled Matter Matters, where we were asked to consider this for ourselves. 

00:03:09 Hannah 

Amongst quotes from well known thinkers, philosophers and artists, I loved hearing the perspectives from others sitting in. 

00:03:17 Hannah 

The room. 

00:03:19 Hannah 

They commented things like how beauty brings us into the present, the here and now. It can literally stop us in our tracks. 

00:03:30 Hannah 

Beauty uplifts us, opening us up to 1. 

00:03:34 Hannah 

And death. 

00:03:35 Hannah 

The lines. 

00:03:38 Hannah 

But what does beauty achieve? 

00:03:42 Hannah 

What does it produce? What youth is something like a beautiful piece of art? Maybe you think this is a silly question, but isn't it asked by our society? That's so often obsessed with production success, efficiency, hustle. Getting stuff done. 

00:04:04 Hannah 

But of course, beauty is not concerned with measurable outcomes. 

00:04:14 Hannah 

Beauty requires no accomplishment, no justifiable use. So often our routines, our habits, they're about accomplishing something about moving us forward, about growth and achievement. 

00:04:30 Hannah 

And those are good things. 


But the world. 

00:04:34 Hannah 

Also gives us the gift of simple beauty, true beauty that isn't about producing but just enjoying. 

00:04:46 Hannah 

And our lives, they need that too. 

00:04:50 Hannah 

Space for beauty to be present. 

00:04:54 Hannah 

In awe and wonder. 

00:04:58 Hannah 

Think about something beautiful that struck you and has stayed with you. It could be a piece of art, a floral arrangement, an expression. 

00:05:06 Hannah 

On a loved one's. 

00:05:07 Hannah 

Face a piece of music, a meal, a thoughtful gesture from a friend. There's nothing like something truly beautiful and how it. 

00:05:16 Hannah 

Makes you feel. 

00:05:19 Hannah 

That's a feeling we'd bottle if we could, right? 

00:05:23 Hannah 

Instead, we purchase the art, or in many cases of print, download the music to our phones. Vow to have fresh florals in our home, regularly buy the book, snap a picture, because in that moment we know that beauty is good. 

00:05:42 Hannah 

For our souls. 

00:05:44 Hannah 

And we want. 

00:05:44 Hannah 

To create more space for it in our lives. 

00:05:50 Hannah 

And I want that for you too. 

00:05:53 Hannah 

And that's why our lives can only be made-up of efficient, productive habits and routines. That's why our lives also need the familiar loveliness and beauty found in rivets. 

00:06:17 Kris 

Alright, Hannah Spring has sprung officially, my hay fever has kicked into second gear. What's it like over at your house? Cause you've got trees and flowers and things everywhere. 

00:06:28 Hannah 

Yeah, it's lovely. Definitely. Yeah. My family are suffering a bit from hay fever as well. But yeah, there's more like evening walks happening. Like I sort of seen a matter of action. There's bunnies flipping everywhere. And this week was the first sighting of ducklings. So it's happy days around here. 

00:06:48 Hannah 

It's a beautiful time to be alive. 

00:06:50 Hannah 

And we're talking about beauty this episode, why it's an essential part of our lives as human beings. And so there was someone I knew we had to have part of this conversation, a very good friend. She's also a listener. 

00:07:03 Kris 

Our very first guest. 

00:07:06 Hannah 

Our very first guest, she's our good friend and she's a listener of the show. 

00:07:10 Hannah 

So Ange is the mastermind behind Joy floral design. You might know her from Instagram at enjoy florals. 

00:07:19 Hannah 

So welcome back. 

00:07:21 Ange 

Hello. Hello. Thank you for having me. I'm thrilled to be chatting with you guys today. So thank you for inviting me on. 

00:07:28 Kris 

Can I? Can I ask you? And as a florist in springtime, do you have hay fever? And how do you manage? 

00:07:35 Ange 

Thankfully, I do not suffer from hay fever. 

00:07:39 Ange 

Thank goodness. And nobody in my family does either. 

00:07:40 Kris 

Oh, OK. 

00:07:43 Ange 

So that's great. 

00:07:44 Kris 

Well, they're very lucky. 

00:07:45 Hannah 

Yeah, cause I say you obviously don't just receive the flowers and arrange them in beautiful ways like you have quite a green thumb. You're growing a lot of your. 

00:07:54 Hannah 

Own flower I am. 

00:07:55 Ange 

And that's something new that I've just. 

00:07:56 Ange 

Started doing actually so. 

00:07:59 Ange 

Yeah, at the moment. 

00:07:59 Ange 

My living room looks a bit like a green hill, so that's seedlings everywhere. 

00:08:04 Ange 

I'm trying to keep the humidity and and and. 

00:08:07 Ange 

Yeah. So there is new growth flowers. 


Ohh wow. 

00:08:10 Ange 

All around me at the. 

00:08:10 Kris 

Moment. Is there anything in particular that you're growing that you're really excited? 

00:08:15 Ange 

I am very excited about Dalias. 

00:08:19 Ange 

Which is what everyone seems to be talking about at the moment. 

00:08:21 Ange 

So yes, I'm growing a. 

00:08:22 Ange 

Few of those from seed, and I'm also growing roses, so I'm keeping an eye on them at the moment. Just went out to check them today and had to had to get a few a feeds off the off them. So now is a good time to be checking roses by the. 

00:08:34 Ange 

Way because the new shoots are coming. 

00:08:37 Kris 

For anyone growing roses out there. 

00:08:39 Hannah 

Yeah, I might need to get some advice from you and because we want to start growing roses in our place, we're doing some changes to the house. We wanna get all English cottagey and I feel like roses are going to be important. So. 

00:08:49 Ange 

Yeah, you. 

00:08:50 Hannah 

Good. They're very low maintenance. They're fine. People say they're not, but they're easy. But you, if you don't know edge, hopefully you're picking up that she is an amazing floral designer. Or is that the right term for? 

00:09:03 Hannah 

You. Yes, yes. Yep. 

00:09:05 Ange 

You can call me in it. 

00:09:06 Hannah 

Amazing floral designer. You're in the business. Really. Angel of making environments beauty. 

00:09:12 Hannah 

Well, so we wanted to talk to you a bit about it. So why don't you tell us about yourself about you, about? 

00:09:18 Hannah 

Your work? Yeah, sure. Well, I love. 

00:09:21 Ange 

Telling people what I do because I honestly I always get. 

00:09:25 Ange 

The best reaction? 

00:09:26 Ange 

Anytime I tell someone that I'm a florist, I can literally see. 

00:09:31 Ange 

The muscles in their face soften and I and they always. 

00:09:35 Ange 

Get it? Ohh. 

00:09:36 Ange 

That must be so nice. 

00:09:39 Ange 

It's everyone says it every time and I. 

00:09:41 Ange 

Just love it. 

00:09:43 Ange 

And so. 

00:09:45 Ange 

I should have a. 

00:09:46 Ange 

Disclosure statement in here so obviously. 

00:09:50 Ange 

Working with flowers is something that I do a lot and I think most people probably imagine me in a workshop with this flowers all around me all day long. It's so lovely and pretty, which it is. We're about 20% of the time and the other time it's running a business and cleaning buckets and sweeping floors and dirt under my fingernails. So it is a messy kind of beautiful. 

00:10:10 Ange 

Which you know that nature it's it's very raw. 

00:10:13 Ange 

Yeah, and unhinged. So yeah. 

00:10:16 Kris 

That's the thing about like creating something though, where a lot of people see that 5% of like the outcome of something beautiful and creative. But there is so much messy like of that 95%, like even just kicking off into the show, we had about three or four false starts. We were just trying to figure out like. 

00:10:26 Ange 

That's right. 

00:10:36 Kris 

Because we've got three people now figure out our dynamics and our show intro and like 90% of the work is done before the record button gets. 

00:10:46 Kris 

That and that's that's that's the process of creating something. It's like really messy and really difficult as well. Sometimes you get those little blocks and then do you do you find that you get stuck, you get like the florist equivalent of? 

00:11:01 Ange 

Riders block. I do. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think the best thing for me, I know now. 

00:11:06 Ange 

If I get stuck. 

00:11:08 Ange 

I just need to get out in nature. 

00:11:09 Ange 

And I need to. 

00:11:09 Ange 

Go for a walk and. 

00:11:10 Ange 

I'm always inspired if I just go for. 

00:11:13 Ange 

A walk. There's always a piece of. 

00:11:14 Ange 

Foliage or a colour in the. 

00:11:16 Ange 

In the bushes that. 

00:11:16 Ange 

I'm like ohh yes. So yeah, so I I do get that often and I'm often redoing things. 

00:11:21 Ange 

Like what you might see. 

00:11:23 Ange 

On Instagram has been designed in a certain. 

00:11:26 Ange 

Way and of. 

00:11:27 Ange 

Us or, you know, but I might have designed it 2. 

00:11:29 Ange 

Other ways before that. 

00:11:31 Ange 

Just I quite like to. 

00:11:32 Ange 

Finish the finish. Things a. 

00:11:34 Hannah 

Bit you're finding and making beauty amongst mess and chaos and ordinary things, and I think that that's something that I've started to understand as I've kind of been like looking at this topic further to prep for this episode. 

00:11:50 Hannah 

Is beauty is. That's where we find it is like in the ordinary mundaneness and the messy and even in the like, bitter. Crazy. Not so good. Beauty can be found there as well. And you're making it there. 

00:12:04 Kris 

It's so it's more obvious around spring time. I feel like because it's when the light starts to appear more like where you get that beautiful golden hour light and everything just feels more beautiful in the spring and the summer because it's just so like light and open and. 

00:12:19 Kris 

You start seeing the landscape more. That's not so dreary and dark. There's something about the winter seasons switch around day and you get, like, different blooms come up and different flowers and different crops and all sorts. 

00:12:32 Hannah 

I used to actually hate spring because so I was an early childhood teacher and the wind winds children up. I mean, probably wines are so like, doesn't it? And so. 

00:12:40 Ange 

Oh yes. 

00:12:43 Hannah 

Wellington in the spring. So windy. 

00:12:47 Hannah 

And the winds very helpful in that season. But it was very difficult as a teacher. And so I used to hate spring. It was my least favorite season and I love all the seasons. But but I had maybe three years ago I was going for a an evening walk. I'd obviously just been daylight savings and I was going for a walk in the evening and it was just beautiful, like the perfect temperature was the golden hour. 

00:13:09 Hannah 

The view where I live is just. 

00:13:11 Hannah 

Miller and I actually had quite a spiritual moment, really, of realizing like, oh, my goodness, how lucky am I to be in this moment? And ever since then, I've loved. 

00:13:20 Ange 

Well, I love that. 

00:13:22 Ange 

Spring. There you go. 

00:13:24 Kris 

So bouquets are like one element of your business, Ange, but you have recently gotten into another market which is wedding florals and I, I find that interesting because we're talking about beauty is it's not just about the physical beauty of the flowers, but you're actually part of a really beautiful day. 

00:13:43 Kris 

For a lot of people and your flowers, add to that. What is it about being a florist and being in a part of those? 

00:13:51 Kris 

Beautiful days that you love the most. 

00:13:53 Ange 

Yeah. So that's right. So I've moved into doing. 

00:13:57 Ange 

More wedding work. 

00:13:58 Ange 

So working with couples and I just love this aspect of the business and hence my shift towards that being more heavily weighted now. 

00:14:07 Ange 

So yeah, I love. 

00:14:08 Ange 

Building a connection with a couple, so when they first reach out to me about doing their flowers and I absolutely love hearing about their day. 

00:14:15 Ange 

And all. 

00:14:16 Ange 

The little things that they've already got planned and. 

00:14:18 Ange 

And so I love sort of getting to know them because often I get to. 

00:14:21 Ange 

Know a couple. 

00:14:22 Ange 

Over over a period of maybe, you know, 12 months. So there's a lot of back and forth, maybe a coffee, that kind of thing. So I end up building like quite a nice little relationship. And then I get to be present on the happiest day of their lives. And it's my favorite thing. I used to get really nervous about turning. 

00:14:38 Ange 

Up with the. 

00:14:39 Ange 

Bridal party flowers in the morning and now I just. I turn up and. 

00:14:43 Ange 

Everyone is just in the best mood. The vibe is at an all time high. Everyone is just love and happiness, and you can just sense it when you walk into the room and they're often getting their hair done or their makeup and chatter going around. They've got mums and aunties there and everyone's just together and they're so excited and there's so much anticipation in the air. 


Full of. 

00:15:03 Ange 

And then I bring in these flowers. 

00:15:05 Ange 

And everyone you know, marvels at the. 

00:15:08 Ange 

Flowers and and. 

00:15:11 Ange 

It's just such a wonderful thing to be a part of and you know, and then I get to congratulate them and and then I go to the venue and I set it up and I'm the. 

00:15:19 Ange 

First person to see what. 

00:15:22 Ange 

You know the tables are going to look like and what that what the arch is looking like. So I actually get to see a lot of it before the bride or groom actually does or anyone from the wedding party. 

00:15:31 Ange 

I'm sorry. 

00:15:32 Ange 

It's like I'm I'm. 

00:15:33 Ange 

A little fairy that goes in. 

00:15:34 Ange 

And I tinkle things around. And then I just. 

00:15:36 Ange 

Leave and yeah, so I just. 

00:15:37 Hannah 

Love it. I feel that envious of you because I love like beautiful environments and how those make a person feel. And so it sounds like that's where you spend a lot of time and adding to it. But I would love your take and I hope that you're not going to hear this. 

00:15:53 Hannah 

In a negative way. But when I think about like the flowers at a wedding or just, you know, OK, that's been delivered just because or sympathy or whatever it is, as I've been thinking about beauty and the purpose of beauty. I'm like, what is the purpose of the flowers at a wedding? 

00:16:09 Hannah 

Are they? Are they just to be beautiful? And when they say, are they just to be beautiful? I I think I'm becoming convinced that that is enough, you know, for something simply to be beautiful anyway. And that's everything I'm wondering. I'm dying to hear your take on this. 

00:16:26 Hannah 

Edge, sure. So I think. 

00:16:28 Ange 

When we're looking at, I guess. 

00:16:30 Ange 

Beauty. It helps to. 

00:16:31 Ange 

I guess give some consideration as to what beauty. 

00:16:34 Ange 

Means and you know the beauty is in the eye of the holder, so it's different for everyone, right? And I think flowers are one. 

00:16:40 Ange 

Thing and yes. 

00:16:41 Ange 

They are beautiful, naturally, like they are, pleasingly, they're aesthetic and the colour and you know, they come in a rainbow of colours and they smell amazing. And that is sort of one thing. But I think the beauty. 

00:16:55 Ange 

That I get to see on a daily basis is the meaning behind the flowers. So for example, you know someone who is sending a grieving loved one a bunch of flowers. 

00:17:07 Ange 

It's the flowers are beautiful. Yes, definitely, but. 

00:17:11 Ange 

The meaning behind those flowers is you. 

00:17:13 Ange 

Know someone is thinking of you and they love you and you know their thoughts are around you and their prayers and things and or it could be like a celebratory bunch of flowers and. 

00:17:23 Ange 

It's like a nice. 

00:17:23 Ange 

Reminder to the recipient that, yes, my family has been such great support and you know they're acknowledging this. 

00:17:29 Ange 

Big moment for. 

00:17:30 Ange 

Me. So I like to look beyond the. 

00:17:32 Ange 

Beauty that I see and actually like look for the meaning and obviously with a winning there is just so, so many beautiful aspects that are happening in one place. And I just think that the flowers are just there to just like enhance it all and they they just create this beautiful like. 

00:17:48 Ange 

Intimate setting which I think. 

00:17:50 Ange 

You know when you sit down at a nice table at a wedding and there's, like, flowers laden. 

00:17:53 Ange 

It just it's. 

00:17:54 Ange 

Warmth and it almost brings out conversation because you. 

00:17:57 Ange 

Just feel so. 

00:17:58 Ange 

Comfortable like this is such a beautiful place to. 

00:18:01 Ange 

You know, spend time with loved ones. I was going to say there's a quote that I read from a theologian, theologian. 

00:18:09 Ange 

How do I say that? 

00:18:10 Hannah 

Theologian. Yeah, theologian. 


Hey, legend. 

00:18:12 Ange 

Eugene Peterson and he says beauty is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend. 

00:18:23 Ange 

And I just love that so much, because if I think about beautiful moments, you know, in life, a lot of them are cloaked. 

00:18:30 Ange 

In in mystery and things that we don't fully and like, for example falling in love for the first time, like how? 

00:18:36 Ange 

Do we understand? 

00:18:37 Ange 

That, but it is such a beautiful thing or the birth of a child, or a star gazing at a Galaxy like these are all really beautiful things. 

00:18:46 Ange 

But all these things quite. 

00:18:48 Ange 

Literally move us. Whether it's like tears of joy. 

00:18:52 Ange 

Or, you know, they might move us into laughter or an embrace with someone. So there's almost like this ripple effect that happens when you introduce this, this mysterious kind of beauty, I guess. And then that propels people to respond. So I suppose what I'm saying is that if you shift away from, like, beauty being something that's exhibition or something that we look at or. 

00:19:14 Ange 

Say I guess in front of us with our eyes and we start to think of it as what's the meaning behind this beautiful. 

00:19:23 Ange 

Object or gesture or whatever it might be. You'll find that I think it's often quite raw, and it's not actually ever curated, and nature is like that. And flowers are like that. Their stems are never straight, they're always non perfect. And you know another good example might be if you've ever like sacrificial. 

00:19:44 Ange 

Yeah. So if you've seen someone give an elderly person like a sponge bath or something, that's not a beautiful thing to see. But it's the act itself. The meaning is actually so beautiful in that moment, if you've. 

00:19:58 Ange 

Ever walked past the. 

00:19:59 Ange 

Room with a closed door and a mother is in there singing like a lullaby to her child. It's never pitch perfect, and you often don't remember the words properly and you're mumbling through, but the act in itself is just such a beautiful thing to witness. 

00:20:15 Ange 

Yes, just in, like generosity or any kind of active kindness as well. But like a baby being born, it's it's a painful thing and there's often screaming or bodily fluid, but it is probably the most beautiful thing anyone will ever witness. So yeah. So it's just, I guess, a different sort of take on beauty. So going beyond. 

00:20:34 Ange 

What we see? 

00:20:36 Ange 

And looking at what is the meaning behind what I'm seeing? 

00:20:40 Ange 

In this beautiful thing.