Saturday, June 30, 2012


one. hypericum berries and lisianthus
two. my new top, lovingly created by Jay from and the trees

This past week I've been as flighty as they come so I indulged in a bohemian-inspired top and blush-hued blooms. Perhaps I have been day-dreaming about balmy summer weather and watermelon and mint juice. Just maybe that's been the best cure for days upon days of work and a general energetic lull.

When I turned the calender over to July this morning I realised that wishing winter away was neither necessary or beneficial. So this afternoon I basked in the soft light that's been hiding for a good week now. We ate pancakes for breakfast and homemade pizza for lunch. Tonight we'll have an early one and wake a little more ready for the week ahead. 

And when I really do pine for summer stories I'll visit a dear friend and remember that soon, it will be our turn. 


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

Che: Oh sweet boy, you're back from months of uncharacteristic behaviour. Grounded.
Poet: In her presence it's hard not to smile. So we smile - big. 

We're halfway through 52...which means we're halfway through the year. Eeeep! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

green monster juice

About six months ago my vegie-loving four-year-old refused to eat his greens. And while he's happy to eat raw carrot, tomatoes and the occasional cob of corn, anything leafy has not passed his lips.

I'm all for encouraging children to eat a variety of foods but I don't like the idea of the dinner table becoming a battlefield. 

So...I've been sneaking spinach into bolognaise and trips to the local fruit shop have been a brilliant excuse for fresh juice. But while the joy of watching him sip orange/pineapple/celery/ginger juice is wonderful, the cost is not.

My naturopath has been encouraging me to buy a juicer for about a year now. And I've been umming and ahhing about buying a juicer for around the same time. It just seemed to be another expense and it got pushed further and further down the list.

But when autumn hit and with it came sniffles and lethargy I decided to find a really good juicer. One that kept the enzymes and nutrients in the juice and created minimal waste from the produce. Hello juicepresso!

Every morning for the past three weeks we've been enjoying fresh juice and we love it. The best bit? Che has been having a daily dose of fresh kale and baby spinach in his green monster juice (I also add orange, kiwifruit and apple) and I am one happy muma. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

at the workshop

Popa's workshop is much like his potting shed; overflowing with collected bits and bobs. The industrial theme is a little more prevalent though - spanners instead of shovels, oil instead of dirt. But just like Popa grows things in his garden, he gives new life to things at work. He restores old cars; beautiful vintage rides. He can take the shell of a Jaguar and turn it into a prize-wining piece of art. He sources the oddest of engine parts from all over the world and if he can't find what he's looking for he just makes it himself.

My dad doesn't buy a lot of new. Instead, he scours and collects and often, he makes-do. It was a lesson instilled in him during childhood - the second-youngest of five in an English working-class family. 

I love that he's encouraging my children to think the same way. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


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

Che: He declared it a wonderful day because (in order of wonderfullness):
1. We got to visit Popa
2. He got to go on an extra long bike ride
3. He got to eat a cinnamon donut hatching a plan. A mischievous one by the looks of it. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

glorious winter

And with the winter solstice our days begin to grow longer. Although, I really do love having dinner on the stove at 4pm, making that five o'clock chaos a little more bearable.

Right now my working days are punctuated by cups of tea (I'm loving natures cuppa organic ceylon and clipper teas herbal infusions - peppermint, chamomile and nettle) and the occasional square or two of chocolate. Inspiring projects are bubbling away around me, projects that are dream-come-true. I'm collaborating with talented creatives and I feel, for the first time in my career, that this is most definitely right and overwhelmingly good.

When I need to step away from the words I wander on slow walks and photograph true winter. When you start to take a lot of photos you begin to judge scenes by light. And winter has the clearest, whitest light of all the seasons. It's fresh and clean and pure. Innocent, even. 

My days are full right now, brimming. In between work commitments there's a first birthday to organise (!) and the never-ending muma tasks that, at times, are too many to contemplate. Every day, I bellow: "Put your socks on!" 

Far too often there are bare toes tapping the floorboards. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

birth culture

My beautiful friend Natalia gave birth to her daughter, at home, in the water, last September. Natalia recently told me the story of her rich Aboriginal culture and the rituals surrounding her birth and she's given me permission to share it here, with you. 

In her inspiring words:

"...When I went to the Coorong, Murray River, for my first visit I knew I wanted to sit in the dirt with the Aunties and weave. Weaving is a girl's right of passage into womanhood - once you learn to weave you are ready to fall pregnant. I got to weave only a few stitches but within less than a month I was pregnant with Estelle. 

The first time she touched the earth was on this mat. Made by one of the master weavers from our tribe - Ngarrindjeri - down south. Her feet were dusted with earth from where our dream story began. The flower on her back was made by my mother from Pelican feathers. The women originally made them to sell to the "tourists" (treasures made by the exotic other) - it was the only item they had to trade which ensured they could stay "in country" and not be removed in the assimilation policy. 

After making placenta prints (tree of life) my placenta was encapsulated. The umbilical cord we dried in a spiral (the spiral is the symbol for women) and wrapped it in a placenta print with a copy of my story "Returning to Country". I then bound it with paperbark and twine and buried it in country. The women from my culture have buried their babies' placentas and umbilical cords for years.

I felt a strong connection to the land when I visited my ancestral country for the first time. I also felt deeply saddened by the fact that I had grown up detached from my heritage. In a way I felt lost from my soul's song. I wanted Estelle to be born into that connection and know what it is to be connected to her people and the land. I want her to know belonging and not to have to spend a good part of her life, like I did, in search of it. 

I felt privileged that my Aunties and cousins embraced my choice to do this for Estelle. It was a powerful move to realign my life with my culture." - Natalia

Photo by Jane

Monday, June 18, 2012

at home with...

The beautiful Charlotte Rivers from Lottie Loves has posted a little feature on my home today. Enjoy a sneak peek into my abode...

Daniel slammed down the brakes of the car a few weeks ago when I squealed at the sight of a dolls house sitting out the front of a garage sale. It was $20 and a dream come true. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


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

Che: Tree-climbing elf.
Poet: She rumbles and tumbles but rarely does she cry. 

I'm a little overwhelmed by your enthusiasm for this project. Thank you! And of course I'll keep posting. For those that asked...yes, these photos and captions will become a book at the end of the year. Tamara and Lou have jumped on-board too. So should you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

sakura bloom sling diaries - communication

It was grey, wet and windy so we rugged up for a quick dash to the fruit and veg barn. I always wear Poet in the sling when we shop, so I can chat to her as we walk the aisles, sneak her grapes to taste-test and show her the world from up high. 

That's the beauty of babywearing - the opportunity for her to observe and learn from the rituals of the every day.

I wear the simple silk sling in amber.


*note the overt sibling rivalry with the bubble blower turned lightsaber?! Hmmmmmm

Luisa dodged shopping trolleys and rain-drenched shoppers to get these shots. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

we gather here

The 95-year-old cottage across the road is up for auction. I wandered over there a few weeks ago to inspect the junk pile out front and I accidentally (luckily) got invited inside. Upon entering the kitchen I found my new table, patiently waiting for me. It has the patina of cutlery scratches and teapot burns. It came with a story, a good one, I think. 

I lit a beeswax candle for our first meal together. It didn't take long for Daniel and I to notice the two empty chairs. A bigger table requires a bigger family. There's two more spaces to fill (but not just yet).

Photos by the ever-lovely luisa who couldn't quite believe that we drink juice from jam jars.

Monday, June 11, 2012

him and i

Around this time last year I was full-bellied and waddling and my almost-four-year-old was holding my hand as we explored. We used to talk, the two of us, about the baby. He always knew it would be a girl.

I remember feeling elated about the imminent birth and yet underlying the excitement and anticipation was a true sadness. In late pregnancy I already missed the time that I would spend with my boy, my first-born, just the two of us. It hurt to think of just how much his life was about to change and just how much I would change, as his muma.

Of course, with change comes growth, and there was very little sadness in those first few months of Poet's life. But since his half-birthday, as he journeys closer and closer to five (!), I have noticed an enormous shift in his little being. 

Because there's one foot in four and one foot teetering at the big school gates. And me oh my it's overwhelming.

My gentle, intriguing chatterbox has discovered determination and assertion. Good traits for school life. Now, more than ever, he needs that time with me, to amble around the garden and pick lemons and climb trees. 

My truth? I need that time with him. To nurture his little self, to chat about why the tree fell down, to plan the baking of jam drops. To be there, with him, and only him. 

School next year - I can't talk about it. Not yet. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


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

Che: Hiding from the camera, discovering the scariest of shadows
Poet: Her first cold -  snotty-nosed and red-cheeked yet still giggling with glee

I'm unsure whether I'm going to continue posting these portraits every week. Are you bored yet? Perhaps you're a little tired of looking at photographs of my children. Please, do tell...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Q & A - preparing for a VBAC

Last week in my pre-natal classes I discussed two words - determination and doubt. And I posed the question: "do you doubt that you can birth your baby naturally?"

The three students who admitted out loud, without any hesitation, that they were doubtful, are all preparing for a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC).

Please note than I always use the term 'caesarean birth' instead of 'caesarean section' or 'c-section'. I think it's really important to acknowledge that it is a birth and not just a medical procedure.

There are two types of women who actively prepare for a VBAC.

1. A woman who had a scheduled caesarean birth and never experienced labour. This may be due to, for example, a breech baby, pre-eclampsia, high-blood pressure, placenta previa or the health of the baby etc
2. A woman who laboured, possibly as far as full dilation, but for a range of possible reasons ( foetal distress, failure to progress, de-flexed head etc) couldn't birth her baby vaginally.

Wrapped up in the doubt of those that had a scheduled caesarean birth is a fear of labour...fear of the unknown, something so common to first-time mums. For those who have laboured and are attempting a VBAC there's a looming hurdle awaiting them. For most women in this situation, that hurdle is daunting. They know, deep within, that in order to achieve a VBAC they need to move past that moment in their first labour where, for one reason or another, it was decided that a caesarean birth was necessary. 

And so, like I say to my students each and every week, it is the mental preparation that is essential. Because the mental challenge of labour is often far greater than the physical challenge.

Here is my advice, in simple dot form:

  • remind yourself that this is a new baby and a new birth experience. 
  • if you are feeling angry, disappointed or traumatised about your first birth experience you may want to consider seeking help from an ante-natal counsellor. Your GP or midwife will be able to refer you. Ultimately, you can only prepare for a second birth once you have made peace with the first.
  • if you feel guilty, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself.
  • think about who you want at your birth. Choose people who you wholeheartedly trust. Remember, you will be at your most vulnerable and transparent, you want support from those who have the utmost faith in you and your ability to birth
  • talk to your support people about your fears. Talk to them about your determination to have a VBAC. Tell them what words you want to hear in labour. (If you are a support person and you notice that doubt is creeping in, quietly tell the labouring woman: "you CAN and you ARE doing it)
  • do your research. Find a midwife or obstetrician who wholly supports your journey towards a VBAC. 
  • create a sankalpa (positive affirmation). Yogis believe that a sankalpa that is repeated daily and never shared will always be realised. Use simple language and repeat it to yourself in moments of fear or doubt, or when you are feeling most connected with your baby. An example of a sankalpa could be: "I will carry my baby to full term and birth calmly and confidently."
  • acknowledge your fears and doubts
  • commence a regular yoga practice. The best preparation you can do is regular preparation. I find for those who already have children it's really important to go to a yoga studio for that space - where you can connect and be with your unborn baby without the need to look after your other child(ren). Recognise that it's your time
  • why is prenatal yoga so powerful? Well, within weeks of starting a practice you will notice that you understand your body a bit more. When you become more aware of your body you have more faith in its ability to birth.
  • remind yourself that your body, your breath and your baby are one. 
  • your unborn baby is comforted by your heartbeat, vitalised by your breath
  • as you breathe, mentally repeat 'let' as you inhale and 'go' as you exhale
  • when you begin to doubt, remind yourself that you are determined
  • when you become fearful, remind yourself that you have faith
  • remember all those women that have birthed before you. So much wisdom.
  • remember that you are nature - and nature never ever adheres to a clock
  • labour cannot be controlled, only experienced. You cannot 'do' labour, you just have to 'be' in it
  • don't write a birth plan - nothing in life ever goes according to plan. Instead, create a birth intention
  • know that the very essence of birth is surrender - surrender to where your body and your baby takes you
  • *next week I'll write about sound in birth. Sound, I believe, is the most powerful technique you can use in labour.
If I have learnt one thing after close to five years of teaching prenatal yoga it is this: you just never know where your birth journey will take you. And so, I say to each pregnant woman that crosses my path - surrender and accept. 

So what is it like to experience a VBAC? I'll let Sarah, one of my students, tell you....

Q: Why did you have a caesarean birth with your first child?
A: Finn was posterior facing (spine on spine) with a deflexed presentation (his head was tilted backwards instead of having his chin tucked in). My obstetrician suspected that he would be born via caesarean birth but I was insistent that I go into labour. I was induced (my membranes were ruptured at 41+3 weeks) and I laboured for nine hours with little or no progress. We agreed to go ahead with the caesarean birth.

Q: How did you feel about Finn's birth?
A: I was absolutely devastated. I had put such a lot of effort into preparing for the birth with a Calm Birth course and yoga classes, that when my experience differed so much from my carefully written birthing plan, I was at a complete loss. After the birth I was euphoric, of course. A son! My beautiful baby boy! But later, I found it too hard to even tell people that I hadn't managed the perfect, natural birth that I had wanted. It took me a long time to start appreciating my happy, healthy baby as the end result of my pregnancy, rather that what I saw as a 'failure' to do the one thing that we, as women, are designed to do. 

Q: Did you always want to attempt a VBAC with your second child?
A: Yes! My research started when Finn was only a few weeks old. I spent hours on the internet finding out if such a thing was possible. I had never heard the term VBAC before, but was soon quoting success stories and statistics to anyone who would listen.

Q: What did you do to prepare yourself for a VBAC?
A: My preparation was largely emotional rather than physical. I needed to accept that Finn's birth was just that, a birth, not a disaster. I spent my time thinking in a constructive way about every possible outcome, and decided to face each eventuality with acceptance. I learnt and practiced skills to help cope with the challenges of labour and delivery but I didn't plan. I wrote nothing down. I just decided to let it happen. I thought about what it would mean to me if I needed to have another caesarean birth - I was determined to be happy with my new baby, regardless of how she arrived.

Q: What were your fears and how did you overcome them?
A: My main fear was that my OB would insist I have a caesarean or claim that I wasn't a suitable candidate for VBAC. I spent hours leaning forwards (or on all fours) to avoid a posterior facing bubba! I prepared myself before each meeting with my OB so I could calmly decline his offer to schedule a date for my baby's birth. I booked a course of acupuncture to help labour begin spontaneously and I listen to my friends' VBAC success stories. I was happy for them and hopeful for myself.

Q: How were you feeling when you went into labour?
A: Amazed! I spent a couple of hours being not-quite-awake, then a little while wondering why I was awake, then I realised! Spontaneous labour! Success! Half the battle already won! I kept it to myself for a time, then woke up my husband and told him we were on our way. That was when the feeling of disbelief started.

Q: You had a really supportive midwife with you - how did you affect your experience?
A: My midwife was amazing. She was so calm and welcoming, and completely unconcerned by the fact that I was an "attempted VBAC" - as it said on my admission papers (very encouraging!). She asked us if we had a birthing plan and was beautifully accepting of our straight forward "No!". She was of the view that a woman's body knows how to deliver a baby, so was happy just to observe and support. She could tell I was ready to push before I could, and was happy to let me be without any interference. She didn't mind that I was on all fours on the floor and encouraged me to accept what felt right when it came time to delivering my daughter, even though I had chosen an 'unconventional' position. (My OB was most displeased when he arrived. But hey - he wasn't doing the hard yards!).

Q: How did it feel, to birth Meg in the way you had intended?
A: I was stunned when the moment came to deliver her. I had been expecting the orderly to arrive at any minute and wheel me off to theatre. I can clearly remember the midwife putting on her gown and gloves and my husband asking her what she was doing. "There's going to be a baby born in here in a minute, I'm just getting ready." We looked at each other in disbelief, it was such a surprise! The feeling, when my baby girl was passed to me, was out of this world! (...and hilarious - the cord wasn't long enough so I couldn't hang on to her and had to give her back to the midwife - all very slapstick!). I still couldn't believe what had happened and it felt so good when other midwives came in to congratulate me on a successful VBAC.

Q: What is your advice for women who are planning a VBAC?
A: Don't plan it. Prepare for the fact that it might happen, but prepare equally for the fact that it might not. But do try. Be strong when you are talking to your OB. Listen to advice but decide for yourself. And enjoy your new baby, regardless of how he/she is born. 

I would love for the comments section to become a bit of a discussion board. If you have any specific questions for me, I'm more than happy to answer them. If you have had a VBAC, or are hoping to experience one, I'd love to hear your story. I do ask, however, that all comments are respectful and, if possible, kind.

I have been asked if I'm going to write about preparing for a caesarean birth - yes, most definitely. 

Now is also a good time to remind you that I am not a midwife, medical practitioner or birth educator. I'm a yoga teacher, mother and journalist. My stories are informed by my own experience, research and the blessing that has been the meeting, teaching and learning from my pre-natal students. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

oh hello winter

For the past week I have chased my children around the house with a tissue. And so, it came as no surprise, that Daniel and I woke today with sore throats and heavy heads. 

Winter is here.

The past few days have been grey and windy and we've been cuddled up inside, cringing at the coughs and splutters of little beings. Mind you, they don't seem to mind that much. They're snacking on vegemite toast and mandarins and watching a little too much tv. 

Thankfully our neighbour has a lemon tree bearing an abundance of fruit so I've been making lemon and honey tea to soothe the razor blade throat. I've taken a liking to black tea with ginger and honey too. Vegie soup with garlic and black pepper is on the stove for a late lunch - a bit of spice to clear the chest.

In between writing what may be completely incoherent stories I have been watching new life unfold. Roo was born last week, the end of a wonderful pregnancy, the beginning of a blessed life. Tim wrote Roo's birth story today and gosh, it's a powerful one. Their birth journey, as a family, encompasses the unknown path of first-time parents - the raw, primal, exhausting, confronting, wonderful, joyous experience that changes you, forever. 

Tim and Kesh, I'm so proud to know you, so inspired by your story. Little Roo, you have chosen well. Welcome, precious one, to this big world. It's all the more beautiful because of you. x

Sunday, June 3, 2012


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

Che: He's been sick most of the week with a cold. His new friend came as a surprise in the mail, a welcome gift.
Poet: Miss Expressive. Always enthusiastic. So excitable. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

behind the scenes: tamara erbacher

Whilst we wandered around inner-city Melbourne, Tamara took photos and Daniel subtly filmed. I love this very French-inspired perspective of the photographer at work.

PS. Can you find this heart in the film? It's there, I promise.