Friday, May 31, 2013

winter : a seasonal series

fallen leaves on a city street / bare branches, new moss / star camellia

Come 4pm I journey around the house; closing windows and blinds, lighting pillar candles. I gather the wool socks that have ended up in various rooms and I return them to little feet that don't seem to care about the cold.

Our house is beautifully cool in summer and terribly cold in winter. The open-plan, big windows and filtered sun rally against us as we settle in for the season. Over the years we've learnt the importance of wearing layers, closing doors and blocking drafts. Tea drinking is vital and soup is a staple.

It doesn't snow here and we're lucky if we get one frost but the leaves still fall and the crisp air lingers. Whilst we spend mornings and late afternoons bunkering down, come midday we are out and about; soaking up rich winter sun that warms to the core.

I've almost come full circle with this seasonal series and it's been such a blessing to stop, witness and document seasonal changes. I know that one thing is for certain: each season comes with its own rituals that we embrace, gratefully so.

Northerners, happy summer to you! As we venture into the dark, you move out into the light. Here's my summer series, just for you. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Seven years together.
We've come a long way, baby.

udder - a "cabin fever" giveaway

Cabin Fever by Udder; an autumn/winter collection inspired by nature. Violet meets red, mustard and grey; batik, check and spot merge with hand-drawn illustration and embellished brooches. The cuts are loose and balloony in keeping with designer Fliss' signature style - whimsical, quirky and playful. 

Handmade and hand dyed in Fliss' studio in Bali (you can read more about the sustainable practices here), Cabin Fever is a unique blend of Balinese aesthetic and European styling. I particularly love the soft cotton scarves, art smock-style Evie Dress, cartoony Arti Pants and classic Carter Trouser

Cabin Fever is the perfect sequel to Make Believe - both collections are testament to Fliss' ability to balance (juggle) art and motherhood, inspiring the rest of us as she goes.


The winner of this giveaway will receive a $120 Udder gift voucher. 

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment and answer this question: "When cabin fever sets in, what's your favourite thing to do with your children?" Fliss and I will choose a winner based on the best little story you can tell (no essay required). Winner will be announced in this post on Wednesday 5th June at 9pm.

You can currently pre-order the Cabin Fever collection and get 10% off with the code pre10. Follow Fliss' journey on her blog and keep up-to-date with her of facebook (she's at 985 likes, will you get her to 1000?) 

comments closed. The winner of this giveaway is #34 lili n folks. Your cabin fever remedy sounds rather lovely x

Monday, May 27, 2013

the seasonal home

"Home is not simply a mark upon a map, anymore than a river's just water. It is the place at the centre of the compass from which every arrow radiates and where the heart is fixed. It's a force that forever draws us back or lures us on. For where the home is there lies hope...and the future waits and everything is possible."
- closing quote from an episode of Call The Midwife

In the past few weeks I've made changes in each room; home has shifted with the seasons in subtle yet essential ways. Two pairs of gumboots sit near the front door in lieu of sandals; scarves and raincoats have replaced beach baskets and sunhats on the coatrack. Each bed now wears flannelette and mohair and wool. 

Whilst the balcony is definitely looking bare and wintry, the kitchen is abundant with muted colour. Pears and apples and pumpkins grace the fruit bowl, oats are favoured over museli and a pillar candle offers ambient light in the evening and early morning. 

I've been thinking about the way a home morphs and expands to fit the growing needs of a family, how baskets fill with blankets and shelves disappear beneath towers of books. In the six years we have been here I have re-arranged each room, making space for both practical and aesthetic purposes. I've added and subtracted in a bid to refresh and rarely have I spent a lot of money; wabi-sabi is my constant inspiration. Changing the way things look ultimately affects the mood of the home; our little abode is currently telling a winter story of warmth, cosiness and early nights. 

What seasonal changes do you make in your home? 

Next week I'll be working with stylist Stefanie Ingram on a little series about creating beautiful vignettes with simple, everyday items. I hope you'll pop back to see what we come up with...  

Saturday, May 25, 2013


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

Che: Begging to play battleships on the iPad. 
Poet: In the winter garden, cake crumbs on her lips (bonnet by Dover & Madden, cardigan by babaa). 

We are so close to winter now; the light has changed, the shadows are darker, the chill has arrived.

My friend Tim messaged me a few weeks ago after he'd spent a good while clicking on your portrait links. "There are some incredible people taking part in your portrait series. They're unknown to me but I love their work." In a few days time Tim and his beautiful family will fly north to spend five weeks in the UK and Europe. He's shooting a wedding in country England and he's hosting his rather famous The Nursery in London on June 19th. If you're in or around London and want to learn more about shooting on manual, engaging with your subject and taking better photos, I highly recommend it. You can read my review of The Nursery here and if you want to book, go here


I met beautiful Tara when she attended The Creatives and since then I have been floored by her photos. This shot of her son, Ba'il, is unforgettable / Beautiful children in a loving home (regardless of the misery of a virus!) / I adore Victoria's portraits; the light, mood and composition / blue eyes, green eyes; windows to the soul / oh beauty! - magical light behind these brothers. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

whole family rhythms - an autumn/winter giveaway

shaved beeswax / beeswax candles / cinnamon playdough / little hands and a wax turtle (walnut shell)

I started reading Meagan's This Whole Family in 2008, shortly after she birthed her son, North. Since then I've followed her parenting journey with interest; I've been inspired and informed by her regular and heartfelt posts. 

As she navigated the first few years of parenthood she found comfort in the concept of rhythm and embraced the teachings of Steiner education and gentle/attachment parenting. What makes Meagan unique is her ability to express her experience and opinion in a warm, inclusive manner - I've returned to her blog time and time again when I needed a little guidance in regards to family rhythm in my own home. It goes without saying that I was delighted when she shared her latest project with me:

Whole Family Rhythms are a series of monthly and seasonal guides created and designed to help you maintain a steady rhythm in your home. The rhythms include unstructured, child-led play both outdoors and indoors; early childhood stories and finger puppet plays; weekly bushwalking themes; daily art, handwork or creative projects; holistic baking and cooking recipes for the whole family as well as weekly caregiver meditations and projects for families of all ages and sizes.

When I asked Meagan why she wholeheartedly believes in the importance of rhythm in the home, she responded with words that have stayed with me ever since: "I am ever-inspired by my little ones and the way they live in each moment with very little regard for the past or future. It's so very difficult for us as parents to protect the magic and wonder of childhood. Modern and Western ways-of-life create schedules, endless to-do lists and a constant sense of multitasking that often feels unavoidable. My hope is that being very clear about our family values and then translating these into strong rhythms for my children, I am also creating a strong rhythm for myself - empowering me to slow down and to be present, calm and authentic for my children."


The winner of this giveaway will receive:

The Whole Family Rhythms Autumn and Winter Guides as well as one of each for a friend (valued at $116).

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment telling us about your very favourite winter pastime. Meagan and I will choose the winner together based on the best little story you can tell (no essay required!). Winner will be announced in the post at 9pm on Wednesday 29th May.

You can read more about the seasonal guides over here, pop into Meagan's blog here, or follow her on facebook (she always shares fascinating articles/films/recipes). 

Best of luck!

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is #55 elflyn - congratulations, your Sunday mornings in winter sound divine! x

Monday, May 20, 2013

the wishing well

a wishing well in our neighbour's garden / tree dahlias with their delicate, slightly shaggy mauve petals that fall almost as soon as they bloom

For the next few months I'll precariously juggle the work/parenting role as deadlines overlap and children run circles around my desk. It happens at this time every year and for at least four days a week I'll sit at my computer, a hot water bottle on my lap and a cup of tea nearby; an attempt to keep warm and comfortable as I wade my way through a long list of editorial. 

Right now I'm working on a feature about international flower trends and I've happily discovered a beautiful world of blooms and botanicals. Urban florists are buying farms to grow their own flowers, and greenery, once an afterthought, is now the hero of the bouquet. The bright young things of the floristry world are creating a cacophony of colour and texture with homegrown and seasonal flowers; a balance of style and sustainability in the prettiest of vases (or old jam jars).

It's romanticised, I know, but I've always loved the idea of working with flowers; arranging tissue paper peonies next to baby hydrangeas and muted grey/green leaves. Imagine an odd collection of buckets, jars and jugs, coiled twine and linen ribbon, brown paper wrapping and hand drawn cards. I'm forgetting the early morning market runs, bookkeeping and tight delivery schedule but still, the picture is appealing, no?

Whilst a bunch of hand-picked lavender or supermarket daisies make a pretty vignette, I'm still enamoured with the the idea of learning a little floristry from a professional. I'm wishing and hoping that somewhere soon a little one-day course pops up and I'll happily indulge in a day of flower arranging. 

Do you have any tips for flowers in the home? Or are you happy with a bunch of herbs on the kitchen windowsill? If you had the opportunity, what profession would you indulge in, if only for a day?

Saturday, May 18, 2013


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

Che: He can whistle now and so he does, every day.
Poet: Before we leave the house she always needs a hat, some beads and a basket. She fills the basket to the brim; crayons, a doll, finger puppets, blocks, a wooden rabbit...

I've spent the past few weeks searching for a printing company to create my 52 book from 2012. From first glance at their mission statement Artifact Uprising impressed: "...inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell on."

I've decided to print a book of Che's portraits and one of Poet's, so they each have a photo-journal of their year. I'm also going to print a 104 page book that features both their portraits; a family coffee table book to treasure. When it comes to collating the photos, choosing the cover and waiting for the hard copy to arrive in the mail...well, that's when I feel really grateful for taking a photo-a-week, every week, in 2012 (I'll keep you updated with my progress).


This week I loved the dishevelled but endearing little cat (and her little brother) over at Blackbird has Spoken / a boy and his balloons - a simple scene so reminiscent of joyous childhood / Roland chasing cats - he is adorable / innocent faces and cosy hand knits, Amelia and Baden, beautiful youth / and a strawberry-stained beauty - Eve and her halo. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

star leaves

The sky really is that blue and it beckons us from the house, even when we're in the midst of a late, buttery breakfast.

The trees are shedding to bare winter branches; they drop star leaves that are collected and gifted at school.

A little elf girl carries a red apple in her hand but she only ever eats half (evidence of said habit can be seen in the second last photo).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

the birth of a mother

"The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail - when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred." - Joy Kusek

I was in my late teens when I witnessed a beautiful conversation between an old man and a young mother. I was behind the counter in the bookshop where I worked when the mother of three young children attempted to balance the trolley, the shopping, a conversation with the cashier and calm her crying baby. The gentleman was trying to walk between the trolley and the bookshelf and the mother turned to him and apologised profusely which is when he held her hand, looked her in the eye and said: "Don't you ever apologise, you have the most important job in the world." She cried. Such powerful validation.

Happy Mother's Day to my own mother and to all mothers. We walk this privileged path together x


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

Che: Pixelated glasses and his shirt on backwards (his choice).
Poet: She will only sit in her pram if she's eating.

I was thinking about my portraits this week and considering what I really wanted to capture throughout the year. Of course I want to photograph their changing, growing faces but I also want to be able to look back and be reminded of stages and quirks. I want to remember the week that I struggled to get Poet to sit in the pram, the week that she walked from the shops to home, a journey that took us well over an hour (it usually takes 20minutes). This portrait of her is representative of a transition - from pram to foot, one more step towards independence.  And Che, on Friday afternoon I asked him if I could take his photograph while he was wearing his new glasses. "Tomorrow morning, ok mum?" And so, on Saturday morning he sat on the chair and we talked as the shutter clicked. It was only when I was editing the photos that I noticed; his pyjama shirt is on backwards. "I like it this way," he says.


Last week we welcomed a new little person into our neighbourhood...sweet Elke is divine! Over the next few weeks I'll deliver gifts of homemade meals and sweet treats and in return I'll get newborn cuddles (nothing quite like them) / Amber captured Harper and Finn in pure autumn, I adore these vibrant portraits / Honor in the dunes - picturesque / Sleeping Beauty and her gold, sparkly crown, I wonder what she's thinking? / and The Night Bakery captures a still, quiet moment - so very precious. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

scenes in blue

/ watching the water journey from the mountain to the sea. I'm etching a new relationship with him, standing my ground while we hear about what so-and-so is allowed to do/watch/play/eat. It's so easy to give in but with persistence and gentle explanation he understands. I think it will always be challenging to have him question family rhythms and values but I recognise that it's an integral and healthy part of development. Ebb and flow.

new pixie boots c/o the horse and a billowy dress c/o Lilya (worn here, too).

/ late afternoon light on the Hawkesbury River Bridge (overlooking beautiful Brooklyn).

/ early morning view over Manly Beach. Daniel and I stayed at The Sebel where I marvelled at the pure white (no grubby fingerprints!) towels, big bath and plush pillows. Staying at a hotel is such a rare treat.

/ there she is, on the edge of light and shadow, sand and water. I can see the spark of the two-year-old; she's rough and tumble with affection, defiant and gorgeous. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

gathering with creatives

photos by tim

Friday was a beautiful affirmation for me; an opportunity to be thankful for community and creativity.

I've always believed the creative process is an organic one and so it was apt that The Creatives workshop unfolded intuitively; it became so much more than the sharing of notes and advice. The conversation was passionate and honest; we talked about photography, words and documenting life - precious, imperfect life. 

I revelled in the opportunity to gather with these gorgeous women, most of whom I had 'known' for years. I taught them in the best way I know how; connecting with them, leading them through gentle yoga poses, encouraging them to be present and grounded. I observed their process; the spark of story ideas, the consideration of new photography techniques and perspectives.

Over lunch the conversation turned to family and then, as we walked to a little Sydney beach, we took notes with our cameras and spoke of integrity, good intentions and simple pleasures.

Nurturing creativity - it's essential and yet, do we do it enough?

A heartfelt thank you to the nine women (and three babies-in-bellies!) who came on Friday. Belinda, Steph, Tara, Anna, Belinda, Jessica, Corrie, Meagan and Ali - it was lovely to meet you.

Tim and I are hosting one more Sydney workshop on July 26th. We have a few places left - email me at for details

Saturday, May 4, 2013


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

Che: In his own beautiful, light-flared world. 
Poet: She stopped to smell the roses.

Daniel and I spent just over 24 hours away from the kids this week. We drove to the city without the need to negotiate or bribe, we went out to dinner at a lovely restaurant and enjoyed a meal that we didn't have to share, we skipped bathtime, bedtime stories and the inevitable q&a time that comes right before sleep. And we realised that regardless of the perks, we would have preferred to be home, in bed, with two little people snuggled between us. 

Twins Maggie and Elisabeth were born at 26 weeks gestation and after months in NICU they are now home in "the hut" - a cottage in Tasmania that overlooks an abundant garden and vast field. It warms my heart to finally see these strong, brave and beautiful girls' faces amidst all the other portraits / I only know Sunny and Scout from their mama's blog but I'd say these portraits capture their personalities perfectly / Outside - finally! Jane Mabel captures her children as the seasons shift / Dipping her toes in the spring water - little Penny is delightful / and rainbow children - sigh. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

getting to know you

 bare toes, salt water / my favourite skirt is made from the most delicate cotton; it's started to tear but I'll wear it till it's threadbare

I've learnt a lot about my self in the past year or so, not because of any drastic change but more as a reflection of every day life. There's moments where I catch myself in the midst of washing dishes or chopping vegetables and I think: "Why didn't I realise that earlier..."

When I became a mum at 23 I was, in retrospect, a very young girl; unsure of so much yet willing to open my arms and my heart to the biggest and most life altering change. Six years on and I feel a little more grounded, a little more confident and yet, I question so much, wonder what will happen next, hold my breath when really, I should be exhaling.

There's been moments in my career where I have considered giving up writing as a profession. I've received emails criticising my work that weren't intended for my viewing, I've been heart-breakingly edited (with red pen), so much so that I questioned my ability and turned from the page, unsure whether I would return. 

Tomorrow I'll stand in front of a group of women and share what I know about words. How to thread them together, how to write with conviction and honesty. But I'll also talk about fear and doubt and the rather scenic route to understanding your intention and placing it, confidently, on the page.

I'll take photos too, and so will they. Because every story needs a picture.