Saturday, November 30, 2013


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

Che: the biggest daydreamer I know. Here he is on the way to the school's Christmas concert (ISO 800, f1.6, 1/800th)
Poet: she has all-of-a-sudden embraced all things fairy and pretty. I'm kinda liking it (ISO 800, f1.6, 1/5000th)

Friends, after these portraits there's only four to go. Can you believe it?


There was an abundance of inspiring portraits this week; testament to the way you have all developed an eye for seeing and capturing an emotive, beautiful image. I chose the following because, quite simply, they are joyous.

This image is rather unforgettable - that window, her face, little pink shoes! / Katie captured Sophie and Henry in natural, candid moments; these photos are imbued with a sense of nostalgia / one of my favourite portraits of the year - Elsa dancing in the kitchen / colour, light and bubbles; summer is just around the corner for Poppy and Tully / and little Owynn; snuggled under a handmade quilt, his little legs in supta buddha konasana (I mentioned this yoga asana here - it's a brilliant pose for rest). 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

walking with poet

She's a walk three steps, take five back, kind of girl. A mountain of work is waiting at home and I have to constantly remind myself not to utter the words: "hurry up". 

I've started tying her hair in a messy bun and all of a sudden I see the girl and not the toddler. Almost two-and-a-half, she has fire in her belly and a big, generous heart. Her cuddles are tight and her kisses plentiful. And as for her chin mudra; she has obviously inherited the the yogi gene. 

Our seven minute walk took an hour today. 


I hope your weekend is a good one. I'll be teaching and writing and (hopefully) taking a walk along the beach. See you on Sunday morning with 48/52 (we are so close to the end!).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

worth the wait

family photos by alexandrena parker, tim coulson and tamara erbacher / the frames I had been searching for / hydrangeas from the neighbours' gardens

Earlier this year I had the priviledge of walking the streets of Surry Hills with renowned stylist Pia Jane Bijkerk. Along with Gaby, Luisa, Steph and Sophie, we wandered in and out of hidden boutiques and warm, bustling cafes; a gaggle of women chatting under umbrellas. It was grey and wet and reminiscent of a winter's day in Amsterdam; apt considering Pia had spent the past few years living there (on a houseboat!).

We talked about a lot of things that day - motherhood, creativity, photography, birth, food, collecting, curating - but there's one conversation that has stayed with me, one that I've mulled over and subsequently treasured. We discussed slow-consumerism at length, our desire to buy quality over quantity and really love what we bring into our homes. It is to: 

...consume and purchase with absolute mindfulness; 
never settling for something that will 'just do' but waiting, waiting, for the right one to come along...and knowing that it will...

It was an apt discussion, considering I'd already spent eighteen months searching for the perfect picture frames. Our collection of family photos was growing and I wanted to display them above our mantle...but as hard as I tried, I couldn't find anything that was quite right. I'd looked in op-shops, visited my local framers more than once and trawled online stores but alas, nothing. You see, I wanted frames that would be around for years; solid and well-made they needed to be both simple in design and aesthetically pleasing. I wanted a natural timber frame, an off-white matte and a back that was easily removable for when I felt the need to change the photos. 

A few months ago I was scrolling through instagram when I spied some beautiful frames in the background of a friend's photo. One message led to another and I finally discovered the frames online at Corban & Blair. They were exactly what I had envisioned and to make the deal even sweeter they're a carbon neutral product (the timber is sourced from renewable plantations in New Zealand). 

It's a nice feeling to wait for the ideal purchase and then admire it every day (especially when it holds precious family memories). And perhaps it feels so good because I have also experienced the opposite; buying things on a whim only to regret it later. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

on naming a baby

a sweet little tag that came with a recent scarf purchase

When teaching pregnant women it's expected that the topic of baby names will arise. Lucky for me it's one of my favourite topics! I'm always delighted when my students start the discussion and even more honoured when they ask my opinion.

During Antonia's photo shoot last week we chatted about their preferred names. Pregnant with a boy after two girls, they only had a few names on their list*. They agreed with most people - boys names are hard!

We took a week to name Che. When I was pregnant we had a name chosen (I won't divulge) and as soon as we looked at his face we knew; he really wasn't that name. And so we ummed and ahhed for a few days, trying out a few different options. "Che" had been floating around on our list since early in the pregnancy and six weeks before he was born I bought Daniel a book called Loving Che. We had talked about a wanting a name that meant growth and life but we ended up choosing Che because it means "friend" in Argentinian, it has a beautiful sound and because it was the name of the cat in my favourite film. But then, when Che was about 18months old, I was reading a book about South America and within its pages was the meaning of "Che" in the ancient Mayan language. "Che" means "tree". We had it right all along.

We pronounce Che with a hard ch. Most people presume it's pronounced shay so when he was younger I would always say: "It's Che like Cha," hence he got his nickname, Che Che. It's definitely stuck, so much so that he often introduces himself by saying: "Hi, my name is Che Che."

As for "Poet", well, we just always loved the sound of it and the fact that it was a 'word' name. We expected much more criticism than we've ever received; most people adore it! We call her Poe for short and Poet Winter (she was born on the full moon in mid-winter) when she's in trouble. And since she's arrived, I've met or come across both boys and girls named Poe, Poet and Poetry.

I think the more children you have the harder the name game becomes. You kind of have to match the name to the baby's siblings and that can get tricky. Tell me, do you love talking about names? What are your children's names and why did you choose them? Do you have a secret list tucked away in case another baby comes along?

*little Archer (beautiful, strong name) arrived late last night. Photos to come!

Monday, November 25, 2013

a "thank you" giveaway

giveaway design by Em of the daily smudge and em & jon design

As we journey towards Christmas we embrace the season of gratitude. And so it's with the upmost thanks that I announce this giveaway; a collection of beautiful gifts for two of my readers. I really appreciate the time you take to visit me here; I've come to love the sense of community, the connection and the conversation. I admire the way you share your thoughts in your comments; always honest, never nasty. And for that I am incredibly grateful. 

The first collection of goodies, valued at $640, includes:

1. A6 fez journal set by Corban & Blair. The exquisite debossed cover featured patterns reminiscent of hand-carved wooden screens found in Turkey and Morocco. Plain pages make this the ideal book for note taking or travel documentation. Valued at $31

2. "Flip" the penguin is part of the Udder collection; made from 100% handprinted and hand-dyed cotton. Valued at $65.

3. A simple take on the classic time-teller, this gorgeous watch from The Horse features a walnut band and rose gold coated stainless steel case. Leave your phone at home and wear a watch instead! Valued at $129.

4. The newest addition to the Boxy range, "King Tide" is classic and beautiful; neutral tones with a hint of sea blue and silver. Valued at $35.

5. A gift that grows! This four pack of Billy Buttons from Sow 'n Sow is the perfect little gift to send in the mail. Each pack features a festive illustration and comes with a recycled envelope. All you need is a stamp. Valued at $29.95.

6. A beautiful soft-textured embroidered dress from Read + Bell; featuring white on white embroidery on cotton it's the ideal everyday summer dress. Valued at $85.

7. A Lilya tassel scarf that will accompany you through the seasons; bright and cheerful with the sweetest details. Valued at $99.

8. Woolpets kits from Dragonfly Toys are the perfect opportunity to learn needle felting and create a sweet little gnome for play or display. Valued at $25.50

9. Floral top and bloomer set from Bondi-based Printebebe; wear together or separately, a perfect addition to a little girl's wardrobe. Valued at $66.

10. A Christmas cherrywood stationery pack from Doodlebug; featuring simple, beautiful designs on wood sources from renewable forests and plantations. Valued at $25.

11. The Esther Dress in melon from Fabrik - the perfect Christmas Day dress featuring pintuck yoke and filly sleeves. Valued at $49.95.

....and the second collection, valued at $790, includes :

1.  A5 fez journal set from Corban & BlairThe exquisite debossed cover featured patterns reminiscent of hand-carved wooden screens found in Turkey and Morocco. Plain pages make this the ideal book for note taking or travel documentation. Valued at $47.

2. Cute as can be Billy Bear cushion cover by Hello Milky. Handprinted on 100% linen, it's the perfect addition to a child's bedroom. Valued at $36.

3. Leather Tuberose Tote bag from Lilya featuring contrast cream blanket stitch and a removable wallet. Valued at $249. 

4. Christmas cherrywood stationery pack from Doodlebug; featuring simple, beautiful designs on wood sources from renewable forests and plantations. Valued at $25.

5. Automoblox s9 police cruiser from Lucas Loves Cars; includes a removable roof and little people who sit inside. Valued at $55.

6. The Kantor Top in tangerine from Lilya. I adore this top; floaty, classic cut, stylish. Valued at $149.

7. The Crafty Bundle is a genius idea and this collection impresses. A box of beautiful, handmade pieces by three Melbourne designers. Valued at $89.

8. Kid Nature Poplin Sunhat by Nature Baby. Lightweight with a full brim it's the ideal summer accessory. Valued at $29.95.

9. Made from the softest of soft bamboo, this pink pinny from Doodlebug is the sweetest little dress, featuring a bird print and wooden buttons. Valued at $54.95

10. The Greater Good is a brand new online store that stocks a collection of contemporary homewares. I adore these Jall & Tofta hooks - perfect for the hallway or children's room. Valued at $39.95

11. Lhami is a local company that makes beautiful organic beauty products. This lemon myrtle hand and body lotion is light and nourishing and smells divine (and very natural!). Valued at $19.95.


Entry to this giveaway involves creativity in the form of haiku - a Japanese style of poetry that celebrates nature and the seasons. There are up to 17 syllables in a three line haiku poem; 5 on the first line, 7 on the second and 5 on the third (or 5, 3, 5). A beautiful example:

"So many breezes
wander through my summer room:
but never enough."
- Issa

And so, to enter all you need to do is write a haiku poem about Christmas. I will nominate my favourite 10 poems and will send the list to each brand featured in the giveaway. They will then nominate their favourite and the two poems with the most votes wins (the first winner will get first choice, the second winner will receive the remaining collection of gifts).  

This giveaway ends on Tuesday 3rd December at 8pm. I'll announce the winner in the days following. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section - I'll respond there as soon as I can. 

This giveaway is open to readers across the globe. I can't wait to read about balmy Christmas' on the beach and snuggly celebrations by the fire!

Best of luck! And thanks again.

Comments closed!!!!!!! Winners will be announced in the next few days x

Gifts will be sent direct to the winners from the brands involved. I will contact the winners in regards to sizes, colour preferences and address details. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

nineteen | practicing simplicity

hydrangeas in abundance in my neighbours' gardens 

Living a less-distracted life : admit that you're tired and reclaim rest.

I know, I know; motherhood and rest rarely go together. We are a weary bunch, aren't we, running to and fro and round in circles. Despite our exhaustion we just keep going because we have to. 

Perhaps it's more pronounced at this time of year as we take a sharp inhalation and deal with the plethora of to-dos that accompany the festive season. My diary is quickly filling up with deadlines, the end of school term is fast approaching and I am completely disorganised in regards to Christmas. Yes, it's overwhelming and if I'm honest, there's just no time for early nights and afternoon kips right now. 

Che is tired, too. I kept him home from school on Friday for a rest day and he lulled about reading books, watching a movie and building lego. There was a part of me that wished I could do the same thing; ignore all the necessary chores and emails and just lie in bed; rejuvenating and being kind. I know I need it but I can't see it happening anytime soon. And so I started thinking about quick rests; little things I can do that will restore and revive. I mention them in my yoga classes all the time and yet applying them to my every day takes a little more discipline. But you know what, they work, and sometimes they're more beneficial that a deep day sleep (I usually wake up groggy and cranky and that is never good!). 

Next time you're feeling weary, try one of the following:
  • drink water. It's usually at around 4:30 that I experience a slump and unfortunately it coincides with dinner prep. So every evening I stand at the kitchen window and drink a big glass of water. Within ten minutes I have the energy to get through the dinner, bath, bed routine.
  • get outside. I've taken to lying on the trampoline and purposefully taking a few deep, nourishing breaths. I then let out loud sighs (much to the family's delight). Fresh air - always good.
  • lie on your bed with your feet together and your knees out wide. This position is called supta budda konasana or reclining butterfly pose. If you feel that it stretches your groin too much just place a pillow or rolled blanket under your upper thighs. In this position become aware of your breath and focus on your exhalation for a few moments - you'll notice you start to grow heavy and soft and relaxed. Then, count your breath backwards from 27. "I am breathing in 27, I am breathing out 27, I am breathing in 26..." When you get to 0 start to awaken your body by wriggling your fingers and toes. Get up slowly and carry on with your day. This is also a great practice to do with older children. First, choose an item to place on the belly - a feather, a small teddy, a paper boat - and then encourage them to watch and feel the feather/teddy/boat rise and fall with the rhythm of the breath. 
  • close your eyes whilst breastfeeding. I understand this isn't always possible if you've got more than one child but when breastfeeding my two I made a point of lying down to feed at least once a day. I'd put my phone away, get really comfortable and close my eyes. Sometimes I would sleep, sometimes five minutes of shut-eye was enough.
So: recognise your exhaustion and take five minutes rest. Consider it self-care. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

photography | antonia + family

I teach a pre-natal yoga class every Wednesday night and last week Antonia came along. It was the eve of her due date and as she flowed from one asana to the next I watched as her cheeks flushed pink and her exhales became gentle sighs. Braxton hicks or early labour - we weren't sure. After class we walked into the carpark and I mentioned that I had a new camera. If she was still pregnant the next day, perhaps I could take photos of her belly. 

This shoot was last minute and exactly what I wanted for my first family photography session. I didn't want to think (or stress) about it too much. I let the little blue-eyed girls lead the way as they ran up the beach and into the rock pools; giggling and squealing and splashing. When the air got cold and goosebumps appeared we knew it was time to go home.

Antonia, Glenn and the girls are still waiting for baby. 


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

Che: first out the door and off to a local film festival (ISO 3200, f2.5, 1/250th)
Poet: reaching, reaching (ISO 100, f2.2, 1/320th)

Perhaps it was fate but only days after I wrote this post Daniel and I found an almost-new Canon 5D mkiii online for a good price. We ummed and ahhed and finally took the leap. The gf1 will still be the camera I carry around each day but the canon...well, it's time to start taking photos on a professional level; for pregnant women, families and businesses. 


Oh Audrey, you have the sweetest face and bed hair / little Penny on the train; pretty as can be / quite serious but always gorgeous, Maile / portraits by Jane Mabel always impress / and Grace and Tom - oh my, Ali is one talented photographer. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

due date

Yesterday was Antonia's due date with her third baby. She has been coming to my pre-natal yoga classes since she was 15weeks pregnant with her first child (now 5!). We met at our local beach in the early evening and I took photos while she walked on the sand; her hips swinging with the weight of her baby. So close, so close.

I'll share more photos from this shoot next week.

Monday, November 18, 2013

scenes in black and blue

/ discovered at the laundry door; sandals with the buckles still done up, a handful of pebbles and a few weeds.

/ another candid shot of him reading. I could create an entire series.

/ the most beautiful package I've ever received, clothes from une belle Ã©poque. I waited two days till I opened it. I really appreciate thoughtful little details.

/ my favourite cup; it holds just the right amount of tea (I always leave the teabag in).

/ the seventh book in the Buddha series by Tezuka. He's getting the eighth and final book for Christmas. 

/ the very last drop of juice (our current favourite is orange, carrot, kale and ginger).

/ my current love affair with b+w photography continues. There's a lot I like about this shot; patterns on clothes, afternoon light, one of my favourite scarves drying on the line. But most of all, I love that I captured the children at play. There's 3years and 9months between them and there have been times when I've really noticed the big gap. Lately they have been playing (and fighting) with joy; giggles and raucous laughter ensues.  

scenes in spring
scenes in ginger and green
scenes in blue 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

eighteen | practicing simplicity

Living a less-distracted life : when things get tough, come back to the simple.

At around this time every year I go through a phase of reflection; thinking about what has happened and how I've changed. It's like I need to evaluate before I move into the season of celebrations and resolutions.

For a number of reasons, 2013 has been a tough one for me. Nothing particularly shocking or sad, just busy, busy life and its challenges. And I don't think I'm alone in my struggle. Perhaps it's mothers the world over who are confronted by lack of time, growing children and pressing situations. In retrospect, this year has been so hard because it's been overwhelming; I've taken a lot on and sometimes it's been too much. There's been moments of regret and sometimes, shame; those not-so-nice things that stem from busyness and rushing and stress.

But in the midst of it all, I've also had the opportunity to stop and realise that it's not how I want to live and it's not how I want to raise my children. So, I'm prioritising myself and choosing to simplify life. That word, simplicity, has been a constant for me this year and I embrace it because it's good for me. It's good for my mind, for my body, for my home and for my family. It's what I come back to when things are getting out of hand. So what does it mean? For me, it's: 
  • making boiled eggs and soldiers for dinner even if the kids have had the exact same meal for breakfast 
  • leaving the mess of the house and going to the beach for an hour, even if a deadline is looming
  • saying 'no' more often and not feeling guilty about it
  • accepting that we live in a family home that is both messy and beautiful (and will always be messy and beautiful)
  • admitting that the internet is a major distraction and I need to be mindful of how it seeps my time, energy and patience
  • going to bed early, regardless of how much work needs to be done
...and the list goes on. 

Overall, being mindful of the present moment is perhaps the biggest factor in simplifying my life. It is the very essence of yoga; not getting caught up in what has been or what's to come, but being in the here and now, aware of how I'm breathing, what I'm thinking and the words I'm using. I don't do it all the time and yes, it's hard to maintain but I wholeheartedly believe it is good for me and subsequently, good for my family.

So: stop, take a deep breath, come to here and now and focus all of your energy and awareness on what you need to do right now. Simplifying is doing one thing with awareness instead of 10 things mindlessly. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013


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

Che: when he daydreams he has a habit of blowing air into his cheeks. (ISO 400, f1.7, 1/160th)
Poet: she must take a bag with her wherever we go. Also, she has really long legs. (ISO 100, f1.7, 1/500th)

Since writing about my camera, I (actually it was Daniel's idea) thought it might be helpful to post my camera settings with each portrait. It gives you an idea of the three main factors when shooting manual: ISO, aperture and shutter speed. You will see over the next few weeks that ISO is either 100 (for outside) or 400 (for inside) and my aperture usually stays at 1.7 (I sometimes go up to 2.2 if it's a really sunny day). Shutter speed is the element that changes the most, going anywhere from 1/100th (for a dark space) to 1/4000th (when shooting in midday sun). This may sound like gobbledygook but I'm hoping to post a little more about manual settings in the next few weeks to assist those of you who want to learn more about shooting on manual.

Also, apologies for this late post. Our internet has been off since a wild storm on Saturday night so I'm currently using my phone to post this. I'll be back to posting my favourite 5 portraits next week. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

...a big thank you

...and then the lotus flower opened; ephemeral beauty

I am sincerely thankful for your meaningful comments on yesterday's post. So often it feels like I'm writing to a largely silent crowd and it's difficult to gauge how my words are being received. Subsequently, self doubt creeps in which is when I start questioning my ability as a writer and blogger. But it's in those phases of doubt that I come back to my intention and it is plain and simple: write what I want to read.

So I do, I write about simplicity, raising a young family, living consciously and meaningfully, seeking and documenting beauty, expressing gratitude...and how difficult it all is to maintain. I'm so happy to tell you that the essence of this blog will stay the same. As for the changes? Based on what every single one of you said, you're really going to like them.

The subject of sponsorship came up a few times and I wholeheartedly understand that it isn't for everyone. I get it. But I'm also proud of the way I integrate sponsors into this space and I enjoy working, one-on-one, with each of them. What shocked (and delighted) me the most was the way many of you expressed your thanks for the presence of sponsors. It's good to know that you trust my judgement and appreciate my recommendations. I will continue to work with small businesses and creatives who share my ideals and values. I'll also continue to decline offers from big companies because whilst I may shop with them I don't feel that they need to be endorsed or promoted here.


Before you click away...close your eyes, place your hands softly in your lap, take a deep, nourishing inhalation and then let out a gentle sigh. Come to here and now and observe your breath, if only for a few moments. Carry on with your day. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a small favour...

the first lotus flower I'd seen in real life. I almost fell into the pond whilst taking this photo.

Spending time away from this space gave me the perfect opportunity to put blogging into perspective. Subsequently I've been inspired to make a few changes and I'm happy to say that they're currently in the works.

I've never asked you before but I really would like to know...what posts do you enjoy reading? And why do you keep coming back to Che and Fidel? I know leaving comments is both time consuming and tricky (especially if you're reading this on your phone whilst breastfeeding!) but I would really appreciate what you have to say. Perhaps you might even like to introduce yourself because I'd love to know more about you, too.

Thank YOU, so much. 

read + bell : a bohemian giveaway

The bohemian aesthetic really does compliment motherhood. Since my pregnancy with Che there have been a few staples in my wardrobe that have, quite literally, seen me through the seasons; white peasant tops, floral dresses, patterned scarves. Made from cotton, easy to wear and to wash, they are cool in summer and can be layered in winter. The "floaty" factor is always appreciated; tight and clingy just doesn't feel right anymore. 

It's always a pleasure to promote and work with brands that I genuinely appreciate - for their values as well as their products. Read+Bell is one of my favourites. 

Tory Read and Anne Bell are the creatives behind Read+Bell; an ethical fashion and homewares label inspired by the colour, energy and spirit of India. "Ethics are really important to us so we travel to India each year to work with businesses who are still using traditional artisan techniques, such as block and screen printing, to create our pieces. This in turn keeps these crafts alive and provides employment, especially for women in remote villages," says Tory.

Both women revel in the opportunity to shop the bazaars in India and chat with the local artisans who create their pieces. Vibrant colour is a feature of the label, as is the fine white embroidery evident on many of the dresses and smocks. "Our gorgeous range of white cotton pieces are hand-embroidered in the "chikan" style in Northern India. This style of embroidery provides a soft, rich and organic finish."

The winner of this giveaway will receive a $150 Read+Bell gift voucher.

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment telling us what you love about bohemian fashion and/or styling. Tory and I will choose the winner based on the best little story you can tell (no essay required!). Comments will close on Tuesday 19th November at 8pm and winner will be announced shortly afterward.

Best of luck!

Comments closed!!!!!! The winner is #43 Nikki - congratulations!

You can also follow Read+Bell on facebook and instagram - readandbell

Monday, November 11, 2013

bali | design

It's easy to miss the details in Bali; there's so much colour and noise that honing in on the subtle doesn't come easily. For me, hiding behind a camera made the details clearer and it was the little things - door frames, lamps, hanging plants - that inspired. 

In Bali almost everything is made by hand and it's evident in most spaces; bamboo, teak, stone and grass combine to, quite literally, create a home. I enjoyed the blend of heavy and light, of vibrant and subdued but most of all I loved the handwoven features - oh the baskets! If only I could have brought them all home. And the plants! In Ubud, green sprouted from stairs and walls and cracks in the pavement. Plants grew from coconut shells and chipped terracotta. Bali's aesthetic is very wabi-sabi.  

ps. can you find Che?