Tuesday, January 31, 2012

from the city: all the bright lights

On Sunday morning we drove over the Harbour Bridge and into the big city - Che's first taste of urban fun. He knew there was a surprise in store but we didn't mention the amount of surprises - just let it play out in the slow pace that you take when kids are involved.

Exciting times included:
  • sleeping in an inner-city hotel
  • adventures at the Australian Museum 
  • homemade picnic in Hyde Park (while listening to three brothers beat out Beatles tunes)
  • chatting to every.single.person in every.single.elevator (we're a friendly bunch)
  • overwhelming wonder at the colour and chaos of the Chinese New Year Parade 
  • feeling oh so lucky when a performer from said parade gifted Che with a flashing smiley face badge
  • late night swim in the rooftop pool
  • watching late night fireworks from the rooftop pool 
  • the smoothest, most wonderful coffee
  • underwater fun at Oceanworld (while I attended an editorial meeting)
The experience was fabulous, albeit exhausting. Daniel summed it up when we got home: "What a relief, we didn't lose anyone."

Happy Year of the Water Dragon! Blessings of good fortune....

from the river house
from the farm
from the mountain house

Photos by Daniel and I. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2012."

From behind, from above.

Che: Sooking on a tree stump. "I want to be alone."
Poet: Sorting out the washing. She's got curls!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Yesterday my Dad turned 60 which means he's officially in "popa-land." Like most Grandparents he is now eligible for a seniors card which gets him a train ticket to the city return (plus all-day transport on ferries, buses, trains) for only $2.50. But a day trip in Sydney is nothing compared to what he's got planned for February. In a few weeks time he's off on holidays with my mum. Just the two of them, the Range Rover and the camper-trailer. An east-coast road trip in the summertime. 

My Dad's a pom (we moved to Australia in 1986) - he's a mechanic by trade (restores vintage cars) and worked wonders on my very first vehicle - a 1978 mint green Triumph. He's the best gardener I know and pretty damn good at fishing. His favourite dessert is a jam and cream sponge cake so that's exactly what I baked him, an exact replica of this one. All fluffy, light and sweet. Delicious.

Happy Birthday Popa! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Family Calender (a giveaway)

'Organisation' seems to be the 'it' word for 2012. I find it pretty easy to keep on top of the kids' schedule. Poet eats, sleeps and rolls. Che goes to school, swimming, dance class and the occasional party. However, life keeps getting busier and I know if I have a small tribe, a family calender with be a necessity. 

Ella from Ella Leach Designs would like to give away 5 of her 2012 Family Calenders to Che & Fidel readers. All you need to do is leave a comment and pop over to 'like' Ella's page if you're on facebook. I'll draw the winners this Saturday 28th. 

Good Luck. Get Organised!

Update: Comments closed. The Random Number Generator chose #38 Star faerymother, #17 Bungalowgirl, #9 Sophie, #3 Kate (the random number generator obviously saw your hand!) and #58 Candice. Congrats ladies! Email your postal address to: jodiclairewilson@yahoo(dot)com(dot)au.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2012."

This week, portraits of the every day.

Che: I often find him on his bed in the day - quiet time with books. Perfection.
Poet: Six months old and her first food - mashed banana. She gobbled it up. 

first day, second year

I wasn't nearly as emotional as last year, but as I drove him to Montessori I did start thinking about next year. Next year he'll wear a uniform, meet new friends, have a new teacher, spend more days at school than at home. I may have cried (just a bit). 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

eye check

So it turns out that Che isn't one of those children that has a fear of medical appointments. Last year when we took him to the dentist, he was pretty excited. Earlier this week, when we took him to the optometrist, he literally counted down the hours. 

I wasn't too concerned about his eyesight but there are quite a few serious eye issues in my family so I wanted to get the all clear. The optometrist was a rather serious guy who had no choice but to lighten up when Che started talking. Because, when he was asked to name the pictures on the screen, the result was pure comedy:

"Fish, flower, dog, duck."
"Dog, duck, fish, flower."
"Small duck, dog, flower (or maybe it's an arrow), fish."

The 'small duck' got me, who would have thought he would use adjectives in the eye test?! That's my boy.

And the result? Exceptional eyesight. Che's reaction? Pure disappointment. "I wanted glasses!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

cheesymite anyone?

I fondly remember eating cheese and vegemite sandwiches at school. It must be the Australian school lunch staple! I often send the same sandwich with Che to Montessori (on rye and accompanied by a nut-free muesli bar, a boiled egg, fruit salad, a carrot stick and some sultanas). But sometimes there's no bread in the house, we're all out of cheese and I don't have time (or the inclination) to make a trip to the shops. It's then that the freezer and it's bounty of treats comes in handy. You see, I always have a few of Bakers Delight's Cheesymites tucked away for the occasional disorganised morning - and they make the very best lunchbox treat.

Bakers Delight treated us to a bundle of Cheesymites and some delicious loaves of bread this morning (the Cape Seed Loaf is my favourite and is particularly good with honey!) As a bit of a trade they have asked me to spread the word. You see, on Australia Day (next Thursday) Bakers Delight are giving all their customers a FREE Mini Cheesymite Scroll to celebrate our country and the quintessential Aussie treat. All you have to do is wander into your local store - you don't even have to make a purchase. Fun fun, win win.

They have also given me 4 x $5 Bakers Delight gift vouchers to giveaway. Just leave a comment with your name and email and I'll draw four winners this Sunday 22nd. 

Update. Comments closed. The Random Number Generator chose #2 Katrina, #6 Sarah, #15 Sammie and #20 Maxabella. Congrats ladies....enjoy your Bakers Delight treats!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2012."

Summer inspired snap-shots to capture the essence of the season.

Che: "Watermelon, watermelon, I love you love watermelon."
Poet: Tummy slumber after her first ocean swim.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Poet's Quilt" by Maggie and Sparrow

Kathryn titled Poet's quilt "Grey Teal" after the bird and the prominent colour combination. She sent it to us just before Christmas, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and I kept it that way till Christmas morning. I opened it with care and devoured each and every patch, admiring the careful piecing together of colours, patterns and textures. 

The best part about opening the quilt was realising that one of the vintage fabrics chosen by Kathryn (the one with the girl and the cat in that last photo) is featured on a vintage doona cover that Daniel's sister used to have on her single bed. She's all grown up now so it's been passed onto Poet. It's serendipitous matchy-matchy and I love it. 

This quilt will stay with Poet forever. Right now she likes to chew the edges (consider it a compliment Kathryn!) but I hope that one day, when she's older, she'll trace the patterns with her fingers and cuddle up in its softness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sapling - organic baby goodness + giveaway

Things I love about Sapling:

  • birds on a branch - always a gorgeous motif
  • green owls
  • perfect for lovers of whimsy
  • soft organic cotton
  • organic vegetable dyes
  • affordable!
  • designed in Australia by a passionate Muma
Poet was lucky enough to receive a bundle of Sapling goodness from designer and creator Peta Stinson and now you have the chance to win some too. Sapling is giving away one pack of baby clothes (the winner gets to choose a boys, girls or unisex pack) - all you need to do is 'like' Sapling on facebook and leave a comment here with your email address. If you would like an extra entry you can blog about it in your space (link back to the post in the comment section). The winner will be drawn this Sunday the 15th.

Update: Comments closed. The Random Number Generator chose #50 - Christie

I got to chatting about organic cotton, beautiful designs and the word 'sapling' with Peta...

What inspired you to create Sapling?
Peta: We have always tried to use organic and sustainable products where possible so when we had kids we naturally turned towards organic products and clothing.  We found it quite difficult to find cute organic baby clothes that were printed with organic dyes, we thought it was pointless to buy organic clothing that had chemicals infused into it from the use of chemical dyes.  So, we decided to come up with our own range using 100% certified organic cotton and printed with 100% organic vegetable dyes (which means our organic fabric isn't hurt by the nasties in regular chemical dyes). We also noticed that many existing organic brands out there were quite expensive, and we wanted to create something that was accessible for everyone (and cute too!).

How did you come up with the name?
Peta: Funnily, it was the only name that popped into our heads.  I guess it sprung from the images of earthiness, green goodness, new life, and of course...babies.

Describe your products in one sentence...
Peta: Safe, pure, whimsical and fun.

Why organic?
Peta: Keeping our range organic was very important to us.  We did a lot of research before we had children and discovered that babies skin is really very sensitive.  It's also quite thin and much more porous than ours which means their skin absorbs things quite easily. An incredible amount of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are used in the regular production of cotton.  Not to mention all the chemicals and nasties that are used in the dying and print part of cotton production as well. We didn't want all those nasties rubbing up next to our babies skin, so we made the decision to use organic cotton where possible.  The only hard part was find a brand which also used organic dyes!

Read more about organic cotton

Where to from here?
Peta: We already have some more lines in the making.  We should have our 'essential' range out in February.  These are easy mix and match pieces with gentle patterns and colours.  We also have some very sweet little dresses and bloomers coming out in Feb, so stay tuned....

Monday, January 9, 2012

we live near the ocean

We count ourselves pretty lucky to live up the hill from this little spot. We aren't all-day beach-goers (my fair skin isn't particularly suited to this summer sun) but we like to go for early morning or early evening sojourns where we putter and swim. 

Yesterday, when the screams were becoming a little persistent and Daniel's and my patience was wearing thin, we headed to the sand and the salt, thankful for the open space. I got to wear my new hat (love it) and, when it came time to swim, I dove into the silence and relished in the buoyancy (and the personal space).
Poet wears lace romper c/o Sapling (a Sapling interview and giveaway will be posted tomorrow)

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Georgia inspired me to take a photo every day this year. That's 366 photos (more, actually, because one photo is never enough). I''ll blog a portrait of the children once a week, hence 1/52. I could post a photo every day but that would be adding another job to the list and frankly, I don't need the pressure.

I take photos to illustrate my words. Writing will always be my chosen art but I find, when I'm writing professionally, that sometimes the deadlines, editorials and all-day-typing turns the creativity into a chore. A sad truth. I like composing a story through an image. Light flares are nice too.

One thing I've learned about taking photos - you only get better if you take your camera with you wherever you go. 

Poet is teething and likes to chew her toes.
Che cut his toe after a vigorous game of tennis.
The foot theme was unintended.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

from the river house: the pace

We are still infused with the holiday pace. Lazy mornings, long breakfasts, gentle walks, afternoon naps, long reading sessions, copious amounts of tea. It's a pace that requires little planning and therefore hardly any thought. 

On our way up to the river house we stopped off at Morpeth for some sourdough and a coffee. We spent a few hours wandering the (partly) cobblestone high street, perusing antiquities and taste testing honey and ginger beer. Hard work.

From there we drove, zig-zagging through the country, spotting cows on the hillside, tin shacks near the road. Over the river, across the bridge, and at the foot of the Barrington Tops we found our abode, a house built in 1850 complete with a full commercial kitchen, exquisite bathrooms, to-die-for views and ripe grapes on the vine. 

We drove into the closest town a few times - sampled the coffee, checked out real-estate and discovered the church op-shop (oh the vintage sheets!). Not a day went by when I didn't think about living deep in the hills, cushioned by quiet. I think, like many of you no doubt, my dreams of settling in the country with a cottage and a little bit of land are constant. But that dream won't come to fruition for me just yet. And that's ok.

I'm remembering the wise words of a friend...bloom where you're planted. I'm going to take them with me, right through 2012. 


Top photo by Daniel, the rest by yours truly