Thursday, February 28, 2013

autumn : a seasonal series

In March the air feels cooler, softer
Leaves turn crimson red
Then when they flutter to the ground
We make a pile and tumble round
Some fall on baby's head.

We plant some bulbs, a daffodil
They hide till Spring, so dark and still.

- Jane Godwin, All Through the Year

The leaves haven't turned yet but we're waiting, waiting.

I have a soft spot for Autumn. It's the humble season, an opportunity to slow, nurture and nourish. Last night the cool came, right on cue, and we gratefully said goodbye to the humidity that had been lingering for weeks. It's almost time to slip into long-sleeves and carry a cardigan - just in case. 

Soon there will be a box of fine new-season apples to eat and I'll happily line the kitchen windowsill with picturesque pears. I'll start to close the doors and windows early, light beeswax candles, and settle in. My seasonal menu is homely and inspired; pumpkin soup, chicken stock, jeweled rice, apple turnovers, pear and ginger cake. There will be chai; almond milk infused with spice, and I'll think of the ashram as I stir. 

Autumn is for gumboots and slippers, tea and good books. I need a few interesting reads for the next couple of months, what do you recommend? 

For those of you ready to embrace the light and newness of spring, there's a seasonal series just for you. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

summer : farewell

Oh summer, you've been exceptional.

Last year as we wandered into autumn we kind of felt like we'd been cheated. We'd had a wet, cool summer and there just weren't enough days spent in the sun. But this year made up for it. Regardless of the heatwaves, fires and most recent monsoon-like rains, we been spoilt with memorable beach days, lazy afternoons reading/napping and many an alfresco dinner. Sand has made its way into every crevice of our home and we've eaten copious amounts of mangoes, blueberries and peaches (and garden salads, woodfire pizzas, ice-cream). 

Now the light is fading from golden to a softer, cooler yellow. Change is upon us...of the seasonal kind.

Thanks so much for following along with this seasonal series. I find it comforting to recognise the season, document  it and then reminisce. For those of you in the North; I know many of you have found photos of frolicking beach babies a little hard to bear but rest assured, spring is on its way. I look forward to scrolling through your abundant summer posts when I'm in the depths of winter. 

There is always the opposite...

Saturday, February 23, 2013


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

Che: Everyone told me that kindergarten prompts really significant growth spurts. I just wasn't expecting him to look like a 15-year-old so soon. He wears hat c/o toto knits and super-soft peace tee c/o paul & paula
Poet: The anticipation of bubbles - pure joy.

Last week was all about the boys so it seemed only fair that I document my favourite portraits of girls and sisters this week. Starting with this filmic capture of Daisy and her bedtime bubbles / I've been following the bump each week and now Lucy Elle is here and she is beautiful / I love the perspective of these shots / fine little elina, what a sweet soul / biet with attitude - priceless!

Now that Che is at school five days a week I'm finding it difficult to capture as many photos of him, simply because of the lack of time. He also has a tendency to get fed-up quickly so this week he gave me "10 shots" and he counted the shutter every time I took a photo - talk about pressure! I find the best way to take his portrait is to engage him in conversation, ask him questions that can't be answered with a 'yes' or 'no'. I'd love to know what you find most difficult about taking your portraits each week....

To link up for this week just click the blue button and follow the prompts....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

summer : the last weekend

Ever since school started, Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning.

This afternoon a tired little boy will walk in the door. I'll treat him to pikelets with jam and cream and while he eats I'll remind him that for the next few days we don't need to do anything or go anywhere. 

As we teeter on the edge of summer, with monsoonal weather the norm, I'm noticing the quiet anticipation of autumn. I'm wanting to bake and roast food and gather good books for quiet afternoons. The perfect activities for rejuvenating weekends.

What are your weekend plans?

photo: poet at the library, che reading Richard Scarry on the balcony, waiting for a dawdler 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

inspired by : colour and keke

Shadow box shelves and herbs in glass jars, roots 'n all. 

A while ago I decided not to buy any new magazines; I had a pile awaiting me and I was feeling a little uninspired by all the same-same houses and slightly lacklustre stories. But then last week my mum passed on a recent copy of Inside Out magazine (along with art aprons for the kids and a batch of still-warm cheese muffins) so I hatched a plan to sit on the balcony and flip through the pages, uninterrupted for all of ten minutes. Imbued with colour and new ideas the issue was lively and fresh - the perfect introduction to Melbourne-based artist Kirra Jamison.

Kirra lives in a warehouse style home and, as the article states, she's managed to create a "colourful and organic" space. She has considered every surface, carefully curated her collection of artworks and then added a little plant life - succulents, wild flowers, branches abundant with purple blooms.

While the colour in her home is intriguing it's her kitchen that I kept returning too. Clip-top glass canisters, Japanese pottery and a baby pink teapot are a lovely representation of her aesthetic. But then there's her love and adoration for good, wholesome food and the people that cook it. As a little side project she has created you found keke, there she posts a recipe at a time; documenting the cooking, gathering and tasting experience. My favourites? 'Love fern' paella (oh that kitchen!) and Mullum Market Stack - an education in cactus. 

My own kitchen is receiving all my attention at the moment as I meander the long and sometimes confusing wholefood path. I'll be adding to the story soon but in the meantime I'm searching for cast-iron frying pans, glass storage options and yummy linen, of the small batch variety. 

"inspired by" is a new little series for me, I hope you like it.

top image from inside out, bottom two images (of Poppy's home) by kirra jamison

Monday, February 18, 2013

poet's room : complete

A while ago I read an article about a couple who had just renovated their little cottage. "We lived in it for three years before we even drew up any plans," they said. "We really got to know the house before we changed it."

Here's my rental/small scale/move-rooms-around version of that story.

Shortly after Poet was born I moved Che out of his room and into the office. Poet moved into Che's old room and the office became a trestle table between the lounge room and the kitchen. It worked for a few months...until I decided that the small floor space in Che's new room wasn't conducive to grandiose lego cities. 

One day I woke up with a plan and changed it all around. It took about a week and in that time a fair amount of 'stuff' sat idle in the hallway, awaiting my attention. But it's all done now, everything is in its place and, most importantly, the children 'fit' their rooms. 

I wanted to keep Poet's room simple and sweet. I've used a colour palette of rather muted tones - lavender, dusty-pink, mustard and grey, and chosen items for their handmade/heirloom appeal. It's a really lovely room to be in; cosy and comfortable. Most importantly it's helped as we transition Poet from our bed to hers (I'll be writing a co-sleeping post in the coming weeks for those who have emailed me and asked). She sleeps in her room during the day and goes to sleep in there of an evening (I hear her little feet tap on the floorboards as she makes her way into our room about 11pm each night). She plays really well in her space; she can reach the shelves, empty-fill-empty-fill-carry the baskets, and is quite happy to lie on the bed reading a book (for about two minutes). 

I've listed the main items below because I expect a few of you may ask where I got them from. If I haven't mentioned something just ask in the comments section and I'll answer you there.

Poet's room was also featured on the very lovely A Beautiful Mess can read a bit more about our home over there. 

From top to bottom: Paris Map Print by Famille Summerbelle / Red Riding Hood and Pigtailed Friend by Alimrose / Pink Rabbit on Wheels by DwellStudio / Poet's Quilt by Maggie & Sparrow / Handprinted linen doona cover by Hello Milky / Little Boy Steiner Doll by Dragonfly Toys / Stars and Moon mobile by Made by Mosey / "Poet" name sign by Knock Knock / Apple Papple by Fine Little Day / Rabbit Night Light by Lark / Stacking Rainbow by Dragonfly Toys / Matryoshka Dolls by Little Red Caboose / Luna by Udder / Linen Rabbit by Tiny Happy / Oobee by Maze & Vale / pregnancy portrait by Tim Coulson / confetti beads by BOXY

Saturday, February 16, 2013


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

Che: aka Astro Boy - I don't think he has ever loved "downtime" quite as much as he has this week. It's been absolutely essential.
Poet: I know she looks like me but goodness, I can definitely see it in her serious gaze.

This week my favourite portraits featured boys and brothers! I think this is Ronnie's best capture this year, her three boys waving at their Nan / little River is bathed in light (and I can't resist a good pair of overalls/dungarees) / Zila's boys are handsome and hilarious / Arlo and Munroe always make my heart sing...and I especially love the outtakes / "Mister G sat on the wall" - swoon!

Whilst it's not a conventional portrait as such, Sarah Humphreys has just released "Boy Wonder" - it's delightful and features my very own gorgeous boy.

Can't wait to see your captures for this week....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

with love : a "made by mosey" giveaway

Nothing quite like a bit of handmade love on Valentine's Day. 

Melbourne based artist Madeleine Sargent of Made by Mosey creates handmade pieces for the home and nursery and she's been ever so generous in offering one of you a selection of colourful goodies. The winner will receive:
  • single hot air balloon designed to float gently in your desired space. The balloon is made from a mixture of new and vintage cotton fabrics and stuffed with a corn based eco-fill. The basket is created from hessian and embroidery thread. Winner will choose colour - valued at $95
  • a hankey cushion - a super sweet mix of old and new, based on a panel of vintage hankies. Made from 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton, each pillow comes with a 100% recycled P.E.T insert - winner will choose colour - valued at $90
  • a delicate feather garland featuring eight handmade feathers hung from braided cotton. Measuring 2metres in length and valued at $100.
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 everyone, this is an international giveaway! The winner will be chosen by the random number generator and will be announced in this post on Thursday 21st February at 9pm est.  

Best of luck!

Update: comments closed. The random number generator chose #201 - Flourish. Congratulations Danielle, Lotus is one lucky little baby x

Monday, February 11, 2013

bamboo river

The rain was heavy last night and it lulled us all to sleep early. It wasn't quite as endearing at 4:30am when rivers of water began to flow into our garage. Today has been a long one. 

By 6am most of the water was mopped up, the washing machine was onto its second load and we were drinking tea and eating marmalade toast...not all bad. We talked about the 'stuff' that we keep stored in the garage, the things we don't use but should keep, attachments. There are piles of novels read long-ago and I'm wondering what to do with them all. They say a house without books is a home without soul but I'm pretty sure we don't need a library to justify the goodness in this abode. Still, I can't resist flicking through past reads and finding that paragraph, the one that made me stop and consider and take notes (the everyday luxuries before-children).

This afternoon I'm drinking my fourth cup of tea, counting days on my bamboo/cotton calender (it's soft and delicate like rice paper) and lounging in comfy clothes. Tonight I'm going to make chicken with ginger, garlic and tamari and later on I'll bake banana bread. Tomorrow? Pumpkin soup and humble summer broccoli pasta will hopefully get me through the list of work, over twenty stories long (three deadlines are overlapping this month).

I hope your week is turning out to be a good one.

me, in a tea-induced daze, wearing everyday yoga gear including knit bolero c/o pantheia.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

little warrior

Daniel and Che often go for a late afternoon walk; an opportunity to explore and to talk. Sometimes Daniel takes his camera and I get a little peek into their world. 

My little warrior has grown so much since Blackbird

cape and mask by udder, bow -  handmade with a stick and some string. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

little treasures : made by hand

"I finally surrendered - to him, my heart, my fate - and off I went to live in Paris with a man I barely knew." 
- Pia Jane Bijkerk, My Heart Wanders

On Valentine's Day 2012, Pia and Romain welcomed baby Laly into the world. In the first few months of her life she was bestowed with gifts, handmade treasures from around the world: felt slippers, knitted cardigans, vintage smocks, a hand-stitched bear with movable limbs. Pia was full of gratitude for her friends and family and the heartfelt presents that had been sent her way. She wanted to say thank you but a card or an email just wouldn't suffice.

"Then, one night while feeding Laly in the wee hours of darkness, this book you will hopefully soon be holding in your hands appeared in my mind..." 

The book is Little Treasures : Made by Hand or Petites Tresors : faits a la main (the book text will be in both English and French) and Pia is self-publishing it. An internationally acclaimed stylist, Pia has written, styled and photographed 200 pages in her unique and much-adored aesthetic (think delicate items from nature, a muted colour palette, intricate details). She features over 50 handmade gifts and has included some simple how-to guides for items that she created whilst pregnant with Laly, like the fabulous giant paper wallflower kit

Pia has reached out to the creative community in the hope of raising the money needed for publication. She's on pozible and her project ends on Laly's first birthday - just four days from now. She's oh so close to her target and has listed some gorgeous, if you would like to own Little Treasures and ultimately support and celebrate handmade, make a pledge


Since Pia announced her project I have been thinking a lot about the treasures in my life. I still have my very first pair of Mary Janes, the fine gold necklace and St Christopher's medal (patron saint of travel) that my Nan placed around my neck when I left England as a two-year-old, the silver charm bracelet that my mum created whilst travelling through 26 different countries in her early twenties. 

I would absolutely love to hear your story. Tell me.....what are your little treasures?

images courtesy of pia jane bijkerk


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

Che: We had planned an ocean swim to celebrate his first week of school but the sand was covered in seaweed and the water was full of lice. Here he is - tired, disappointed, angry. Fish and chips soothed the pain.
Poet: She will spend the next few years walking past this fence and into the playground...and before we know it it will be her turn. Patience, little one.

Flicking through your portraits this week was like wandering through hundreds of family photo albums, each with their own stories and quirks. It began with newborn Olive in her cotton nightie - welcome darling, you're going to be spolit by those three big brothers / ...and then my heart melted at the sight of precious Elizabeth - oh! / it is so nice to be privy to moments of connection. I love this shot; so very cinematic / sibling love is like no other; riley guides lyla with the utmost care / and mel has five beautiful children who she will photograph once a month, I like her style.

I really loved reading through your comments last week. I'm thrilled that so many of you are turning your camera to'll reap the rewards, I promise. To link up for this week just click below.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


straw, leather, string, linen, petal, leaf, stalk and wax

If I lift my gaze from the floor I am met with simple vignettes in summery hues. My eyes rest here for a while before they return to Poet, and the trail of knicks knacks she leaves in her wake.

The accomplishment that comes from tidying and rearranging is short-lived when you're a mum. You clean only to look around and find that it's all been turned upside down again; a slapstick comedy routine of sorts. 

When Che was younger I used to take him to a Steiner playgroup where we would bake bread, sing songs and sit under a towering liquid amber sipping chai. It's one of my favourite memories from his toddler years and the experience really inspired my parenting. I remember the teacher, a wise woman in her sixties, encouraging us to sing as we went about the housework. "You want to encourage your children to mimic you, help you, and they will if they perceive it as a happy task," she said. 

I can so easily fall into the habit of "tsking" as I clean - it's not exactly the sweetest song. Over the last few days I have been more mindful though and my little shadow has started helping, as if on cue. Poet's favourite job is emptying the dishwasher but she's rather partial to mopping up spilt water too. Yesterday as I wiped down the windowsills she was beside me, doing the same. 

        Cleaning with children is not efficient work; it usually takes twice as long and often requires enormous amounts of patience. Encouraging a five-year-old to pick up all the lego can easily be the most frustrating task of the week. However, I'm mindful of the roles we all play in the home. Responsibility is important - we all contribute to the mess, we should all contribute to the tidy-up. 

This week, as I tentatively stepped into the role of "school mum" I was met by three new words. The first was "ipod," followed closely by "pocket money." 

So tell me, do you encourage your toddler to clean up after themselves - to pack away toys and put their shoes/coat/bag in the right place? Do your older children have set chores and are they rewarded with pocket money? If so, what's the going rate?

update: I've just been informed that Che & Fidel has been nominated for the Best Family & Kids Blog over at Apartment Therapy. If you have a spare minute I'd love your vote....please.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the school series : the first day

"Few sights are as touching or emotionally overwhelming as that of our child releasing our hand and walking off to the classroom on the first day of school. The pre-school years are over. Our responsibilities shift and we find ourselves beginners once more. Raising schoolchildren proves to be a radically different experience from tending our under fives. Amateurs once again, we face a new stage of motherhood each time one of our children starts school." 

And so on Monday morning I hugged him tight, told him I was proud and that I loved him so. He walked happily into his classroom; the beginning of a journey.

To be honest it was easier than I expected. I only cried a few tears and they were, most definitely, happy ones. Che? He was prepared, excited and full of wonderings, a beautiful place to be. He is in a small class of 16 students and his teacher is bright and bubbly and fun - the very best kind. 

Come Monday afternoon Che ran to Daniel and I and hugged us both. Before we could say a word he stood proud and said: "I loved it!"

But it's what he shared on the way home that will stay with me forever.

"Mum, the Year 1 girls are so beautiful and they do really beautiful craft projects. They walk beautifully too."

To all of you who left such heartfelt, reassuring and encouraging comments in the lead-up to school - thank you, they meant the world.

I'll return to this series in a few weeks time. Whilst I don't plan to share a lot about Che I will talk a little bit about my new role and how I'm navigating the 5-day-a-week routine (without much drama, I hope).

Saturday, February 2, 2013


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

Che: He flies the nest tomorrow; his first day of school...(wings by wittlebird)
Poet: Cheekiest little girl I know

Did you know that Ash is only ever photographing her daughters in the early morning? It makes for such a fresh perspective / Holly's little Queenie Valentine looks darling in her vintage gown; an old-worldly capture / Sweet little Sage turned one - peepo beautiful girl! / I love the sincerity of Little Smith (must be the knowing of a big brother) / Each week Catherine takes a portrait of her two beautiful girls - I love the light and long limbs in these shots.

So....we're five weeks in - what have you loved about the project so far? 

To link up for this week just click below...