Thursday, January 31, 2013

the school series : nesting

You know what has surprised me most about preparing Che for school? The nesting.

Much like I was during pregnancy, I am sorting and organising clothes, rearranging rooms, decluttering shelves and trying my very hardest to get to the bottom of the washing pile. I'm anticipating the adjustment period where free time is rare and, whilst my nights won't be sleepless, I know there will be a new kind of emotional exhaustion in our home. 

It's ironic, I know, because I'm not birthing a baby but sending my first-born off into the world. I suppose this proves one thing: the metaphorical cutting of the cord is just as powerful as the physical. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

summer : rhythm

Six weeks ago we fell into a beautiful summer rhythm and I don't want to let it go.

It began one morning in mid-December. I got up early with Poet and she stayed by my side as I boiled the kettle and squeezed lemon juice into water. Before long Che was in the kitchen too, inspecting the pantry and begging for pancakes. I looked at my desk with its piles of books, open diary and to-do lists; the scribbles illegible. There were emails that needed my attention and a deadline fast approaching but in that moment I was more aware of the children at my feet and the sun warming the house. 

"I think we'll go to the beach this morning," - an hour later we were swimming in the salty sea.  

We have taken the short drive to the beach at least three times a week this summer. Daniel and I have mastered the beach preparation regime - towel/umbrella/sunscreen/hats/snacks and I have congratulated myself more than once on the purchase of a big French market basket; the ideal beach bag. I have sipped coffee while dipping my feet in the water, watched Che overcome his fear of the deep and shrieked more than once at Poet; the little girl who tumbles with the waves.

The ocean has been my therapy this season; it has calmed me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. Many a morning I have swum weightless and looked back towards the shore, so grateful for the little family calling me in. 

This summer will be remembered for our beach jaunts -  a very contended mum and dad with our happy, sandy children. 

How has your summer been? And if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, what part of summer are you most looking forward to?

Poet wears Luna's Swimmers c/o Udder...currently on sale! There's 40% off the entire make-believe collection (including accessories) with the code: summersale. 

summer : a seasonal series

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the school series : the mamas talk.........

cherished moments with che, captured by tim 

This week is the last of the school holidays and come Monday I'll be a school mum. The transition has been on my mind for the past year but it was only yesterday, as I immersed myself in housework, that I realised......this is the beginning of a twenty year journey. And it's true; for the next two decades I will wash uniforms, pack lunches and demand a kiss and a cuddle before my children close the door behind them. 

Come 2014 I may be able to write a post about Kindergarten - how to prepare and what to expect. In five years time I'm sure I'll have enough inspiration and experience to compile a book. But for now I'm happy to bring you the stories of other mamas; those who have experienced the enormity of school life - the wonder, the routine and the exhaustion.

Ruth (aka Gourmet Girlfriend) is a mama to five boys and this year she'll have two in high-school,  two in primary and one in pre-school. When I asked her to share some advice she replied with a passionate email about slowing down, taking time and walking with your children.

"I call the first year of school 'the year of tears'. It's not uncommon to see regressions in behaviour as they learn to navigate the emotional and social roads of school. Be forgiving, they really are so very little!

Years ago, at a talk about raising boys, I listened to a man who truly believed in the importance of an ongoing conversation with your growing children. He said that maintaining an open and trusting conversation is the key to a healthy and enduring parent/child relationship. Most children, as they grow, will shy away from a face-to-face conversation and so he advised us to 'walk with our children'. It's about being side-by-side - equal. Whilst walking to and from school is a rarity my advice is to really make the time to walk with your children. The conversations and stories that naturally spill from your child are special and you will be able to listen, unhurried. I never ask questions that can be answered with 'yes' or 'no'. Some things I might ask:
  • Tell me something that happened in the playground that was really great.
  • Tell me something that was hard or upsetting about today.
  • Did you do anything for the very first time today?
  • What was your favourite thing about today?
One of the most treasured times of my day is when we all come together in the afternoon to talk, joke or to simply just sit. We set the table, enjoy a snack and a special drink and we make time to value each other, to value family. 

I hope my children will always come back to my table and share their lives with me, long after they have grown and left home."

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Last year Jay sent her first-born, Poe, off to school. She wholeheartedly believes in the importance of a gentle and quiet rhythm around school times.

"Five days in a row is a long time to be doing anything so to be navigating social situations, learning new and exciting things and paying attention to a teacher is positively exhausting. There really is so much going on at school and I found that Poe really craved (and loved!) the downtime of home. Having this space also gave him the freedom to discuss any issues he may have been having, often after 'acting out' first. 

After the first few weeks and perhaps even the first term it's not uncommon for your child to be grumpy and unreasonable. I found that Poe needed extra understanding, patience and nurturing from Scott and I. In retrospect it really is so amazing to see how your little one grows and develops throughout the year. It's just so beautiful and so much fun."

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Kate has three girls and this year her youngest, Pepper, starts school. The mere thought of Pepper in a blue checkered dress and black shoes is enough to have Kate short of breath and teary. Here's her sound advice:

1. New schoolies use the words 'everybody else' often. Everybody else has packets of chips and store-bought cookies in their lunchbox. Everybody else is allowed to wear their swimmers under their school clothes. Everybody else does ballet and has playdates after school. Everybody else.........

2. New schoolies will tell you stories that will make you so proud. They will grow up so much - academically, socially, physically -  between the time you drop them off and the time you pick them up.

3. New schoolies sometimes find their brand new world a bit difficult to interpret. I've always found it super helpful to volunteer in the classroom, to deliver extra bits of lunch at playtime and to go along to scheduled parent/teacher interviews.

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I'm so grateful for Nikki's advice. Instead of talking about the school child, she told me about what it's like for the school mum. She highly recommends reading Sarah Napthali's Buddhism for Mothers of School Children and counts it as an invaluable source for the first year. 

" I was unprepared for how overwhelmed I felt when finding my place with the other mums. I felt like I was back in high-school with the cool group, the arty group, the sporty group and so on. There I was, almost 40-years-old, and feeling like an awkward school girl! Halfway through the year I confessed to the other mums how I was feeling and it turns out I wasn't alone. And so, as I tell my children, the best way to make friends is to be one. At the end of the year I organised a morning tea to celebrate our first year, and it was wonderful.

Even though school life can easily become busy, it's more important than ever for mamas to maintain a practice for themselves - yoga, swimming, walking - something active to increase energy and create mental clarity. I also believe in pacing yourself, going slow. Don't feel pressured to say yes to every extra curricular activity and social event. Becoming part of a school community can lead to a busy life but it is possible to find balance and avoid total exhaustion for the whole family."

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Finally, I want to send you over to Rachael. She is an absolutely brilliant writer and her post "Fly, Little Chickie" is, in my opinion, one of her best. Take your tissues......

the school series:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

4/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Che: We took him to the movies for the first time and he was completely overwhelmed. Two days later, after lots of discussion, he said: "I actually really loved that movie." Process.
Poet: She sucks the salt water off her fingers.

I have a growing collection of beach shots from all our time spent ocean-side so this week I really enjoyed looking at portraits bordered with white, dusty snow. Happiest birthday to beautiful Josephine - snow flakes on her eyelashes, how utterly perfect / Amy's b+w captures of her girl (and a fabulous furry hat) / little Stanley looking absolutely fed up but absolutely adorable - classic photo album shot, this one / baby girl waving to the outside world, so very storybook / and finally, the portrait that stayed in my mind all week - the utter magic that is Gus and that glorious light.

Thanks so much to all of you who are linking up and spreading the word. Click 'read more' to link up for 4/52.





Tuesday, January 22, 2013

my little paris

Let me tell you a story.

When I first began thinking about a career as a writer I envisioned working in Paris. I had no grasp of the French language, still don't, but I wasn't going to let such a tiny, insignificant detail get in the way. My vision really started to blossom when I watched Before Sunset and became completely enamoured with that Parisian apartment (and its resident cat named Che, funnily enough). 

But then I fell in love, I fell pregnant, I became a mum. And as I walked the new path of motherhood I completely forgot about Paris; I left it behind without disappointment or regret. 

Five years later Paris came to me.

In October last year I woke one morning to the most beautiful email from Elsa of My Little Paris. She told me a little bit about the popular website and book; an insight into Paris' best kept secrets - like where to find a one-table restaurant, how to contact a fashion designer and the best private pool that you can rent by the hour. And then she told me about My Little Box - a "gift box" that is sent to over 50,000 subscribers in France and Belgium. Every month the team gather a gorgeous collection of limited edition items -  think luxury beauty products, fashion accessories, boutique stationery, art prints - and pack them in a decorated box ready to send off (from the heart of Paris).

Come February My Little Box will also contain a magazine - My Little World. And in it will be my words, translated into French, sitting alongside my photographs. I've been chosen as one of ten international bloggers/writers to contribute to this monthly magazine and I can't quite believe it. Professionally it's an absolute highlight and personally it's a really lovely validation. 

The first moral of the story? You get what you wish for (in an odd kind of way). And second? You never know who is reading your blog (it could be a magazine editor from Paris). 

Monday, January 21, 2013

the school series : 5 ways to prepare your child

I've always followed my instinct when it comes to parenting; meandering through those baby and toddler years with a little apprehension and a whole lot of hope (and not many parenting books). But now, as I step into the role of "school mum" I'm hungry for advice and reassurance and I'll read anything that crosses my path.

Thankfully Justin Coulson (dad to five girls with a PhD in Family Psychology - and yes, he's Tim's brother) offered to share his knowledge with me. I told him that I want to be completely prepared. More specifically, I want to know how to prepare Che. Here's what he had to say:

1. Prep the Practical - In the weeks leading up to a school's commencement it's a great idea to get some routine arranged around mornings and how they should run. Help your child acclimatise to the appropriate wake-up time, let him know what he needs to wear and how he needs to dress and practice being all set to go on time. Do a full-on dress rehearsal one or two days prior to school including packing lunch and bags, putting on the uniform - the whole lot. It reduces anxiety and it assures that everything is purchased, prepped and in position for the first day.

2. Take a Tour - Hopefully by now most children will have had an opportunity to visit their new school. If you have missed out visit the school the week before term starts. It's likely that the teachers will be showing up and most would be glad to give you and your little one a tour. Familiarity with the school environment can make a big difference on day one.

3. Create Courage - As parents we can talk to our children about what courage is and give them role models to follow. We can teach the value of doing hard things and being persistent. And we can equip them with the courage to 'try on' new ideas, new challenges and new circumstances.

4. Develop Discernment - Ok, I know that's a big word - probably one that your child has never heard before. But the capacity to discern what is good and makes us feel 'right' from what is less good, and makes us feel 'bad' or 'icky' is essential. Let's face it though, school is a place where a range of experiences will occur, some of which will be less positive than others. To some extend discernment comes from experience. But not entirely. With your guidance, preparation, and ongoing communication your children can will learn what to take in from their school environment and what to leave out. 

5. Maintain a Love of Learning - Our children are generally curious, inquisitive and excited to learn. However, we find ourselves at the end of the day exhausted, focused on routine and taking the shortest route to the pillow! It's often at this time that our children come to us with questions about ants, how cows are made or why the scissors won't cut through the coffee table. Our responses at this time might be directed towards giving the quickest and most convenient answers. But research shows that our children love to find out the answers for themselves, using us as guides and for support rather than an encyclopedia of knowledge. The best way to maintain their love of learning is to respond to their questions with enthusiasm and curiosity - even when you don't feel like it. 

Justin recently wrote a fabulous piece about cyber-safety for children...it's definitely worth a read.
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I think what I find most challenging about school is the influence that will, in one way or another, challenge Daniel and my parenting values. I'm guessing it will start with lunchbox contents and I'm expecting it to progress to television shows, toys, video games etc. I hope Che is curious, I trust that he knows what's right and wrong and I look forward to the discussions that stem from the playground. 

Mums, what did you find most challenging about the first year of school?

In the next few days I'll be posting some beautiful stories from school mums - emotional, heartfelt, you'll-need-a-tissue stories...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

3/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Che: sandy and sunkissed (you can see my silhouette and the ocean in his eyes)
Poet: she hides behind that golden curl

I'll admit that I am thoroughly enjoying all of your portraits. My favourites from 2/52? - Kandice's best friend/love and baby girl; nothing like a freshly bathed baby wrapped in a towel / Sarah's little blonde babes, especially the magic of the aquarium shot / it's so nice to see a Dad joining in....and how cute is little owl Naomi? / Clio photographed Mica in b+w - a timeless shot / I adore all of Dee's captures but especially this underwater shot of kiss-blowing Limi.

And I had to share with you...Jenny's belly from 1/52 is now a baby - welcome precious Marlow!

Quite a few of you have mentioned that one of the reasons you are doing The 52 Project is to improve your photography. First step? Turn your camera off auto and start shooting on manual. Need some help? Well, if you're in or around Sydney Tim Coulson and I are hosting The Creatives in May and July (one place left in May, a couple in July). I've heard really good things about Eyes Open for those of you who like learning online and if you're after a cute and educational poster check out this manual photography cheat sheetAlso, if you're interested in making your photos bigger on your blog I've written a step-by-step guide over here. If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them in the comments section so ask away!

To link up to 3/52 just click "read more"........




Friday, January 18, 2013

the school series : a giveaway

My love of stationery began at a young age. Every year, during the summer school holidays, I would eagerly anticipate the "school shopping day" where mum and I would get my stationery supplies. Once bought I would go home with a bag full of colourful "necessities" and arrange them all in preparation for the first day of school.

I'll admit that I'm rather excited about the opportunity to do it all again! I've been searching for great lunchbox options, beautiful colored pencils, the essential sunscreen and wipes and the all important wet-weather raincoat. 

You'll see that I've collected a range of products for back-to-preschool/school as well as some beautiful things for the mums - a spotty umbrella, a book to guide you and sweet smelling laundry products that make doing the washing that bit easier.

One winner will be lucky to receive the following, valued at over $550:

1. An owl bag tag kit from re sew cool. Assembled in Melbourne from (mostly) recycled fabrics, this little kit comes with everything you need to create an owl tag (made with love) - valued at $18

2. I adore the detail on the wings of O is for Owl - an 8" x 10" archival art print of an original watercolour and gouache painting by Rebekka Seale - valued at $19.50

3. Gina & May create the most delightful umbrellas and this lady bug design (with a wooden handle) is extra cheery for a wet day. Gina also creates vivid mouse mats to liven up your computer desk - valued at $79.90

4. The chances of things getting lost at school is pretty high so one word of advice every school mum has given me is "label everything!." Stuck on You have a range of Value Packs available for all your labelling needs (personalised with your child's name or your family name). The winner will receive a value pack of your choice valued at $49.95. 

5. I often swoon at all the goodness in lark and this beautiful bundle of back-to-school essentials is absolutely lovely. The woodland backpack, retro-inspired drink bottle, giraffe ruler, owl eraser/sharpener and pencil kit is valued at $70.

6. A story about finding your wings, Two Little Bugs by Mark Sommerset, published by Harpercollins, is the perfect book to accompany the school journey - valued at $19.99

7. I'm hopeless at drawing but regardless I find the practice to be rather meditative. These Lyra pencils from Dragonfly Toys are so lovely to use - the triangular shape ensures a comfortable grip and the colours are rich and vivid - valued at $35.50.

8. To make your laundry experience more enjoyable these Murchison Hume products - Garment Groom and Luxury Laundry Soak - work wonders - valued at $32.45

9. Make the school-drop-off-in-the-rain a little easier with this sweet polka dot raincoat from Quince. Winner will choose size - valued at $49.90 (Quince are currently offering 20% off full-priced clothing with the code: CHE)

10. Tori of Tabitha & Hugo handmakes a range of simple and sweet children's clothes and toys. These custom made number beanbags are a fabulous tool for young ones and can be used to learn numbers, make towers, add and subtract. Valued at $35

11. Justin Coulson (father of five girls with a PhD in Family Psychology) has just launched his book What Your Child Needs From You (yep, that's Stacey on the cover). It's a great read and I love Justin's realistic approach and conversational tone. Perhaps what I love even more is that you can pick it up, read a few paragraphs and learn a lot - endless hours of reading not required. You can read the first chapter by signing up for Justin's newsletter or find out more over at Happy Families. Book valued at $24.95

12. They look good and they stack and draw even better....these Playon Crayons (primary and pastel) from Studio Skinky are lots of fun - valued at $24

13. This slimline pencil case is handmade by Shannon of Rabbit and the Duck from printed cotton canvas and dark denim. Valued at $27 (but currently on sale for $10.80!!!)

14. Wot Not create natural products for the whole family and this sunscreen and travel wipes are essentials in my bag. Valued at $30.90

15. I can't wait to pack Che's lunch in his Goodbyn original lunch box. He likes to eat "bits and pieces" so the five compartments in this BPA, phthalates and lead free container will come in handy. Comes with a drink bottle and stickers to decorate from biome - valued at $35.95.

16. Winner will choose an organic underwear set by Nature Baby - the boat print OR the tulip print. In my opinion, a beautifully soft cotton singlet is like a hug (absolutely essential for school!) - valued at $39.90


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You can enter this giveaway a maximum of three times:
  • first entry - follow Che & Fidel (over there on the right)
  • second entry - popping over to Che & Fidel on facebook and hitting 'like' 
  • third entry - sharing this giveaway on facebook/instagram/your blog
Please leave a separate comment for each entry (if you can't see your comment please press the 'load more' option under the comment box) - open to Australian and NZ readers. The winner will be chosen by the random number generator and will be announced in this post on Wednesday 23rd January at around 9pm est.

Update : the random number generator chose #34 - Greer. Congratulations lovely!!! x

Best of luck!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the school series : counting down

In less than three weeks Che starts school. He is excitedly breaking in his school shoes every day whilst I am nervously ticking things off the list.

Yesterday he tried on his uniform, his sandy beach hair squashed by his enormous hat. He wore it proudly, stood tall in his new shoes and asked me, once again, how many more days till school. 

It's such an enormous transition for the whole family and I've been doing my best to consciously prepare (myself more than anyone). I've sought the advice and wisdom of some of the mums and dads I admire most and I'll be sharing their thoughts here over the next week or so. I also have a fabulous back-to-school giveaway organised and I'm collecting some yummy ideas for lunchbox treats.

For now, I'll continue to make this summer-before-school-starts Che's best yet. Earlier this week I took him out for sushi, we spent time in the bookstore and then we bought socks and cotton singlets (because a cotton singlet is like a hug, in my opinion). He's been to the theatre with Mama and today he's going on the ferry with Ommi. Every second day we've been at the beach and every afternoon has been quiet - reading, baking, resting. 

Whilst we make a memorable summer I am overwhelmed by the emotional tug of my first-born heading off to school. It's so very strong. Do you have a child starting school this year? 

photos taken by luisa on our daytrip to Brooklyn

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

studio 5

"You should step out of your comfort zone at least once a day," said a friend of mine recently. She rolled her eyes when I told her that once a day was far too frequent.

On Sunday morning I stepped into Studio 5 where I was photographing the spring/summer '14 lookbook for Quince Clothing. Daniel and I arrived early so with coffee in hand (The Grounds of Alexandria was just across the road) I took note of the light, the shadow, the colour. I stood for a good ten minutes, looking at the white wall in front of me, the cement floor below. I had one day to photograph five children, five babies and fifty outfits.

Whilst I have a very hard time calling myself a photographer (I was a writer first so I'll stick to "writer who likes to take photos") I'll admit that I thoroughly love the creativity involved with a studio shoot. In Studio 5 I was given free reign so I got to play with composition and props and capture smiles, frowns, daydreams and spontaneous bursts of dancing. I can't show you the final photos till September but I can tell you that I'm grateful for that day, two years ago, when I switched my camera from auto to manual. The challenge of learning my camera was well worth the reward that has come from taking photos - personally and professionally. Challenge is a good, good thing.

Many of you who have joined The 52 Project have mentioned a desire to learn to shoot on manual. If you're interested in a workshop, Tim Coulson and I are hosting The Creatives - two Sydney workshops in May and July (only a couple of spaces left). If you can't make it to Sydney, start with this manual photography cheat sheet and then take photos - thousands of photos. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Che: It was 38degrees at 7:30pm so we went to the ocean for relief. He noticed my camera; "Quick mum, just a few photos." I got it first go...and then he was gone. 
Poet: Fill the watering can, take it to the sand toys, dump the water, repeat (frilly swimwear mandatory). 

Goodness, you have all left me in awe. As I mentioned in an update of 1/52 I expected there to be about 40 or so readers linking up to the 52 project.....it seems I was wrong. Over 300 of you have chosen to take part and from what I can gather, you are all thrilled to be involved. The very essence of blogging is community and it's heartwarming to see it here. 

Every week I'll be choosing my five favourite portraits from those linked. From 1/52 I absolutely adored Ruby's painted portrait of her son Casper / Jenny's belly (I can't wait to see if there's a baby in her post this week) /  sur ma colline's nostalgic and moody shots of her children (so very French) / the way Jo captured the grey (her prose and her intention too) /  Sarah's three beautiful boys at the beach.

Artist Rebekka Seale is joining in on the project by photographing 52 people who are important to her, starting with her beloved Manley. Rebekka created a button just for this project and you are more than welcome to place it on your sidebar (just right click to save and then upload the image). The first button is 250px, the second is 170px. 



To add your blog for 2/52 just press the "read more" button below....the link is there.




Thursday, January 10, 2013

at the movies with pi

Daniel is a movie buff with an unashamed passion for film. Me? Given the choice I will always choose a Romcom; I like the happy/light/sweet guarantee - simple and uncomplicated.

We have a projector and big screen in our loungeroom so it's rare that we justify a trip to the cinema. But Life of Pi in 3D was a good enough excuse (it's regarded as the best 3D film since Avatar) so Mama took the kids to the library and the park whilst we went to the flicks - mid-morning, so sophisticated. 

I'll admit that I love the novelty of going to "the movies", I love buying popcorn and lemonade, i love switching off for a few hours without the distraction of a crying baby or a pile of dirty dishes.  Whenever the teenage attendant rips my ticket I remember all those faded pieces of paper in my wallet when I was younger - proof of a good social life, or so I thought. While we waited for the curtain to part Daniel and I talked about childhood trips to the cinema. My mum always brought popcorn and sandwiches from home. Daniel's dad always lied about his age or hid him in the back seat at the drive-in. 

As the lights dimmed and I put on those dorky glasses, I escaped into one of my most-loved stories (I always read the book before seeing the film adaptation). Life of Pi had me at the opening scene with its vivid colour and traditional Indian soundtrack. It's a mesmerising film and Pi, well, he's unforgettable.

Tell me, what's your favourite cinema memory? (I'm expecting first kiss stories!)

photo by daniel

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

summer : in brooklyn

photos by luisa brimble

Brooklyn is a little fishing town just north of Sydney, well-known for its oyster farms and river views. Whilst the marina, the local pub, the second-hand bookstore, and gallery/cafe lure tourists on the weekend, this pretty village is quiet during the week; the ideal time to visit. 

I've always thought of places like Brooklyn as perfect fodder for a story. Perhaps its the history, wrapped up in fishing nets and salt air, or the dynamics inherent in a small community where gossip runs rife. Dangar Island is just across the river; accessible only by boat it is inhabited by artists and recluses (and normal folk too). We plan to escape there sometime soon, to stay in a little cottage for a week or so (I'll be taking notes). 

Brooklyn is an easy drive from Sydney or, if you want to plan a little adventure, you can catch the train to Hawkesbury River. There's a great park for the kids just past the marina; a good hour or two worth of play.

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For good coffee in a beautiful gallery space pop into Hang - Nicole Ruiz Gallery. If you fancy a seafood lunch discover Life Boat Seafood's leafy courtyard, located right next to the marina.   

I've been reading the newest release from my very favourite writer, Lily Brett. If you have never read any of her work I would recommend starting with her collections of essays - all absolutely superb - New York, Between Mexico and Poland and In Full View (sometimes hard to find as new publications, try your library or second hand bookstores). Her best fiction works, in my opinion, are Just Like That and the brand new Lola Bensky

I adore Lily's sense of humour, her writing style and, most of all, the blur between her autobiographical work and her novels. She still writes with a pencil on paper...and has a fabulous way with words:

"She put the words into sentences and phrases with a peacefulness she rarely felt. She shifted semicolons and quotation marks with the tranquility of a Zen priest. There was a gratifying orderliness about reordering worlds and words. About placing and replacing vows, vowels and events."

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I'm wearing: hat by Gorman (last season), vintage top, brigitte balloon skirt c/o KissinCussin, fine heart ring in gold by babyanything, bella bag c/o elf, (10% off with code FIDEL) sasha shoes c/o elf (10% off with code FIDEL), mandala beads and bracelets from around and about. Poet wears top by kidsagogo, bloomers c/o udder and sandals c/o saltwater sandals.

I'll be creating a little feature just like this one every season. Next up? Autumn in Surry Hills (expect a cafe review, or three).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

summer : a giveaway to celebrate the season

A summer inspired pinboard; hues of yellow and blue, soft-to-touch cotton, linen and bamboo, embroidery detailing and simple design. 

Perhaps my very favourite giveaway yet, this collection of beautiful summery goodness is valued at over $1100AUD. A big thank you to those who have contributed, your generosity astounds me!


One very lucky winner will receive:

1. Peace by Elf - handmade in Bali from high quality leather, this light tan bag can be carried like a purse or worn across the body. Featuring bohemian braiding and beautiful lining it's valued at $150.

2. I'm a firm believer in good, quality shoes for kids and Saltwater Sandals are my first choice for summer. The very latest colour in the collection, these turquoise children's shoes are valued at $69 (winner will choose size).

3. Absolutely gorgeous reversible tree puzzle from Dragonfly Toys featuring spring on one side and autumn on the other. Standing at 70cm high it includes 52 pieces and is suitable for 5-8 years olds. Valued at $35.50

4. Rebekka Seale adores fresh blooms and "Golden Ranunculus" is testament to her love of vintage botanical illustrations. A lovely 5"x7" archival art print of her original watercolour and gouache painting, valued at $14.65.

5. What could be nicer than curling up in cotton and bamboo after a day at the beach? This Home Republic queen/king cotton and bamboo basket-weave blanket is oh so soft and rather stylish too. Winner will receive the blanket in the grey colourway, valued at $139.95. Adairs are offering Che & Fidel readers a 10% discount from their online store for the month of January. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer but available for discounted and full-priced items, the promo code CF10 is available till 31st January 2013. 

6. Little Tienda works with artisans in Mexico to create traditional clothing and homewares in a vivid colour palette. This cotton Grande Serape is the perfect beach blanket and the la flores dress is a bright and beautiful essential for every little girl (winner will choose size and colour) - valued at $148

7. Haveli Design uses hand block printing techniques to create simple and beautiful children's clothes. I absolutely adore everything in the collection, especially this Melon Jali Mexican Dress with its sweet flutter sleeves and delicate embellishment. Winner will choose size - valued at $38

8. A baby wrapped in the softest bamboo - one of the best things in life, I say. I used Aden + Anais bamboo swaddles for Poet; as a wrap, shade, blanket etc, a definite essential! These three swaddles are decorated in a blue and tangerine 'mela' print - valued at $44.95.

9. Babywearing in summer calls for a cool and breathable pure linen sling from Sakura Bloom. I use mine daily and highly recommend! Winner will choose colour (good luck with that!) - valued at $88.

10. Michelle and Emma are a mother + daughter duo from Bondi and they've worked together to create Ink & Stitch - a range of stylish 100% organic cotton bags. Lightweight and durable, each design features an original illustration. Winner will receive "femme" - valued at $36.

11. I love Love Mae and these bamboo dinner sets are gorgeous and practical (win-win). Winner will choose either the 'under the sea' or 'woodland critters' design - valued at $29.95.

12. Inspired by simple form and chaotic colour, BOXY is your summer jewellery essential. Handmade by Sally Jarmaine in a small studio amongst the trees, this block necklace titled "tumbleturn" is gorgeous - valued at $35

13. Ella Leach has created a fabulous Family Planner to help you stay organised for 2013. Featuring spaces for 6 names, a column for birthdays and anniversaries and a different print each month, this is a family must-have - valued at $30

14. I have a very soft spot when it comes to blue overalls, especially when worn by a baby in summer. These classic overalls are by Quince and valued at $38 (winner will choose size). Quince are also offering Che & Fidel readers 20% off full priced stock with the code: CHE

15. Che adores his tin tin pants and this feather print is the perfect accompaniment to the balloony design. Another fabulous piece from the Udder collection and valued at $45 (winner will choose size).

16. I couldn't have a summer giveaway without sunscreen, could I? This pack from Invisible Zinc includes 1 x Junior Clip On 60g, 1 x 4hour water resistant sunscreen 50ml and 1 x Face and Body sunscreen 150g. Valued at $71.90 (pop back here to read my review of natural sunscreens).

17. I adore eco store - for their natural products and simple yet stylish packaging. This range of baby care products is wonderful - gentle for littles and infused with the subtle hint of essential oils. This collection will ensure months of bathtime fun - valued at $100.

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You can enter this giveaway a maximum of three times:
  • first entry - follow Che & Fidel (over there on the right)
  • second entry - popping over to Che & Fidel on facebook and hitting 'like' 
  • third entry - sharing this giveaway on facebook/instagram/your blog
Please leave a separate comment for each entry (if you can't see your comment please press the 'load more' option under the comment box) - open to Australian and NZ readers. The winner will be chosen by the random number generator and will be announced in this post on Sunday January 13th at 9pm est.  

Best of luck!

Update : comments are now closed. The random number generator chose #295 - Carol @ Perennial .... congratulations!!! xxx

leaves illustration by Lan Truong

1/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Che: Evening walks to talk about his day....and everything this year will bring.
Poet: Ringlets, beads and floral - sweet little girl.

It seems that so many of you would like a link option to create a sense of community with this project. However, others have mentioned the fact that it may get a little 'busy' - not my preferred aesthetic. I'll see how this week goes and if I feel that the link doesn't work for me I'll start a page on my sidebar with a list of links.

It's been so inspiring to hear your plans for 52 in 2013...some bloggers will be photographing their children (one muma is photographing six gorgeous kids!), others are focussing on nature and a few girls have chosen to take photos of their partners. I can't wait to see a plethora of portraits. Let the link love begin.....

Update: Oh my goodness! I am in awe of the response to 52 and absolutely delighted to see so many beautiful faces captured. I estimated that about 40 people would be joining in, not the 188 of you that have! So, in order to keep the link up (it makes it so easy to visit other blogs) and to maintain the 'minimal' aesthetic of Che & Fidel, I've just added a 'read more' option at the end of the post. Till 2/52...

52 in 2012