Saturday, December 29, 2012

the 52 project

In late 2011 I started thinking about a portrait project. I was in awe of Georgia and her 365 photos of the year; even more enamoured with the thought of a hard-cover printed album at the end of it all. But I know what I'm like, and I knew that a photo-a-day would fast become a chore. From the beginning I wanted to create something that was rewarding and achievable. I loved the idea of taking a portrait of my children each week, capturing an expression, an emotion, a gesture. 

52 weeks later and I have 104 portraits; photos that tell the story of Che and Poet's year. It's quite overwhelming to scroll through the weeks and see such growth and expansion. I think my favourites are the unportraits; the ever-gorgeous top-knot, the hesitant boy on the edge of the pool, the twiddling of toes (a family trait). 

While some weeks I had a number of photos to choose from there were times when I spent late-Saturday afternoon taking photos (in preparation for my Sunday deadline). I often smiled at the unity of the portraits when they came together, especially the gaze, the blue, the bubbles, the polka dots, the light and the connection. This project was perfect for improving my photography skills, for understanding when to stand back and observe and when to engage. I learnt a lot about the light in my house too - its softness and its colour and how it changed with each season.

Mostly, I learnt about the importance of memory keeping. Because honestly, this year felt like 22 weeks, not 52. It was abundant but quick, a brimming blur of routine, school, work, play, love, life and sleep. And I'm so grateful I stopped to capture the little people amongst it all. I dog-eared a page in Happier At Home a few weeks ago and it seems apt to share it with you. Gretchen Rubin says:

One night, as some friends and I walked out of our book club meeting, I said, "Lately I've been feeling very wistful. Childhood is speeding by so fast. It's such a cliche, but it's true."

"I know exactly what you mean," one friend answered. "Whenever I get annoyed by the mess stuck to our refrigerator door, or about having to keep a stroller in the hallway of my apartment, I remind myself that these are the good old days."

"Yes," I said. "Now is the time to appreciate it."

As I walked in the door of my building, I thought, yet again, of how much I wanted to make my home a haven of comfort, warmth, and tenderness. We were in the rush hour of our life now, and everything was moving so quickly, and every day seemed so crowded - more reason to remember to slow down, stay patient, take photographs, and play Hide and Seek.

When I look at the photos I took throughout 2012 I see real life in still life, our busy weeks encapsulated in one moment. Memories that made up our year.


I'll be posting my first portraits for 2013 on Sunday, January 6th. If you are joining in, here's a button (created by the ever-so-talented Rebekka Seale) to place on your sidebar. You can link it to all your "52" posts or you can link to Che & Fidel - I'll leave it up to you. The first button is 250px wide, the second 170px wide.

Just one question: would you like me to include a link icon at the bottom of each 52 post, so you can leave a link to your blog?


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

Che: Waiting for her (she's smelling the daisies).
Poet: Waiting for him (he's chasing the ducks)

And there we have 52 (104) portraits, one for every week of the year. Pop back later today for a little summary of 2012. I'll also be posting the beautiful "52" button in a few different sizes for those joining in throughout 2013.

Poet's shoes c/o Saltwater Sandals

Saturday, December 22, 2012


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

Che: Lazy afternoons reading in bed. I see so much of Daniel here. 
Poet: Completely mesmerised by Sunny and Scout - featured in Lou's announcement

You may have noticed the beautiful "52" button over there to the right. The lovely Rebekka Seale created it for me, and for you. Next Sunday I'll post a few different sizes so, if you are joining in for 2013, you can place it on your sidebar too.

The first 52 for 2013 will be Sunday, January 6th. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012


And just like that it's Christmas time.

2012 has been abundant - with opportunity, travel, growth and love. I'm wandering into the festive season feeling incredibly content and overwhelmingly blessed.

Thank YOU, for coming here, reading my words and leaving kind thoughts in return. I hope your celebrations are heartfelt and meaningful; peppered with decadent feasting, the clink of glasses and at least one skewiff paper hat.

Festive blessings lovely ones; may your Christmas be safe and joyous.


Favourite captures of my favourite people (top photo by Tim).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

last day

This morning, as I filled his water bottle and packed his lunch, I remembered so clearly the first day when I cried into his little box of grapes and rice crackers. 

We were quiet on the drive to school today and when it came time to get out of the car and walk up the path I saw his sadness. For the first time in months he held my hand instead of running ahead; like he wanted it to last for as long as possible.

We've come full circle and the end is just as momentous as the beginning. At his graduation last week he cried during the photo slideshow. "I just have so much love in my heart for Montessori," he said. Indeed, Montessori pre-school has been a seamless extension of our home - a nurturing place for him to grow and learn; to the beat of his own drum. 

I'm so proud of him and his big, big heart. I'm so sad that this beautiful journey is over.

...and now I'm crying.

Monday, December 17, 2012

summer : gratitude

On Sunday evening I stood in the kitchen at 5:30pm, took one look at the mess and ordered everyone to get in the car. The ocean beckoned and I was so grateful for its pull; an opportunity to escape the humidity and end-of-weekend routine, a chance to wander and run on the sand.

There is no denying the heavy heart of our world right now, the universal sadness evident in news reports and candle flames. 

This Christmas, as we prepare to gather and celebrate, we do so with gratitude - for who we have, not what we own. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


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

Che: Sitting outside the laundry, wondering what to do next.
Poet: At the rock pool, running in and out of the water, holding her little hand high. 

Che just received his once-a-year hazyjane delivery - two pairs of vintage cotton pants in size 5 (he also has two pairs in size 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4!). Poet wears sweet bloomers from udder

Thursday, December 13, 2012

summer : notes from my naturopath

At the beginning of every season I drive over the hill to visit my naturopath. She lives in a country cottage that borders a small river; chooks, ducks and geese call the garden home. I usually spend an hour with her, sipping chamomile tea while she talks about a seasonal diet and nature's medicine.

Summer, she told me, is all about the heart - strengthening and protecting this vital organ. It's the season for laughter, the time where we dance to music and celebrate outdoors. Imbued with happiness, it's the season of love (no wonder so many babies are born in spring!). 

The sun is vibrant in summer, incredibly energising, but we must be wary of its bite. Our diet should include bitter foods to cool the blood and to ultimately cool our body. These include:
  • cucumbers, lettuce, pears, grapefruit, celery
  • dairy - especially fetta and yoghurt
  • coconut, in all its forms
Other seasonal suggestions for a delicious and healthy diet include:
  • stone fruits in their rich shades of crimson and orange - peaches, nectarines and apricots are tonics for the heart
  • a fresh fruit and vegie juice is always a good thing (I'm currently drinking cucumber, carrot, ginger, apple and celery)
  • meat eaters should gravitate towards more seafood in summer (there's a lovely recipe for wild snapper here)
  • to aid digestion at night I drink a pineapple, ginger and mint juice just before dinner - strong, sweet and spicy 
  • lemon tea is perfect for summer to refresh and to cool -  try lemon myrtle, lemongrass or lemon verbena. 
Of course, with the warm weather comes the mozzies and I'm all for using a natural repellent. Burning lavender, or even rubbing some lavender oil around your window frames, keeps the mozzies and flies away. But be mindful that rosemary attracts them. Did you know that rosemary should always be planted on the hottest side of the house? - when the sun hits the leaves an oil is released which produces a vapour that ultimately cools the area. A trick the Ancient Egyptians used, apparently.

For bug bites try a little calendula oil dabbed on the skin or ice and aloe vera gel to cool and soothe. 

spring : notes from my naturopath

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

counting down the days

I'm wrapped in a cardigan and scarf tonight, listening to the chorus of rain and crickets and frogs. It's surprisingly cold here at the moment; strange to be wearing woolens and simultaneously admiring the Christmas tree (that sweet pine scent). 

I'm counting down the days, and the stories, till December 21st - the final deadline before Christmas. Then I can switch off and step away, make peppermint bark and wrap last minute gifts. Perhaps we'll go to the carols, perhaps we'll sing at home. Celebrations will be small and cheerful, beautiful people and good food.

Whilst the excitement of Christmas is building; all that wondering and anticipation rising, I'm also feeling the end-of-year lull that calls for early nights. I adore Christmas but I also love those days just before New Year where, with full bellies and happy hearts, we lounge around the house reading new books and snacking on leftovers. 

What are your Christmas plans? And if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, do you think you'll be blessed with a white Christmas?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

summer : 3 natural sunscreens for the whole family

I grew up with the "slip, slop, slap" slogan emblazoned on my mind. Summer was a blend of pool days and balmy nights, bubble-o-bills and Sunday afternoon barbecues. We always had a big pump bottle of sunscreen in the laundry and we'd cover ourselves in it on those 30+ degree days. Then my brother and I would run barefoot across the asphalt to the neighbour's pool and swim till we were wrinkly and exhausted. 

Che and Poet have both inherited my milky white skin and I'm absolutely vigilant when it comes to sun protection. We only go to the beach in the morning or late afternoon, they always wear a hat and I prefer to dress them in light long-sleeved clothing than lather them in sunscreen. I've also been reading a little about the importance of good fats in your diet; how they can help build up natural sun protection in the skin. Coconut oil is getting a good wrap for an alternative to sunscreen but I'm not completely convinced just yet. And of course, we must be mindful of the importance and beauty of the sun and Vitamin D - absolutely essential for health and well-being  Most health professionals recommend 20 minutes in the morning sun each day without protection. 

I always carry a bottle of sunscreen in my bag so I've been looking into the best natural products available. Here's my favourites, tried and tested (and perfect for those with sensitive skin*):

Soleo Organics : touted as the most natural sunscreen in the world, Soleo Organics is made in Australia from organic and all natural ingredients according to Naturopathic principles. There's absolutely no nasties in this lotion; it's active ingredient is 22.3% zinc oxide combined with a lovely combination of beeswax, macadamia nut oil and roman chamomile (to name a few). Soleo is completely water resistant, 30+ spf and contains organic botanical extracts to moisturise the skin. $26.60 for 80g 

Invisible Zinc - Junior Clip-on : I'm pretty sure a beach-going muma designed this bottle. Perfect for attaching to your keys, bag or pram, this sunscreen offers the UV protection of Zinc Oxide without any chemical UV actives or parabens. It's low irritant and feels good on your skin - 30+ spf. $19.95 for 60g

Wotnot : 100% good for you, this broad spectrum protection is one of many fabulous products from this Australian brand (I love their facial wipes). Wonderfully natural, imbued with the scent and holistic properties of organic beeswax and aloe, Wotnot is smooth and gentle on the skin and perfect for little ones. However, it's not waterproof so you do need to reapply after swimming - 30+ spf. $25.95 for 135g

If you're looking for light summery clothing for children I highly recommend Hazyjane's vintage pants, kurta tops, dresses and hats from Haveli Design and linen and cotton goodness from Kokonor

*of course, if you do experience skin irritation from sunscreen, you should stop using it immediately. Most sunscreens aren't suitable for babies under 6 months of age - always check the bottle for recommendations. 

summer : a seasonal series


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

Che: Wrapped in a serape, watching the children play on the sand below. 
Poet: She watched the big kids from afar; so many squeals.

*if you came here earlier today you may have noticed different portraits to the ones I have here now. A lovely American reader pointed out that wearing an Indian headdress is offensive to their sacred culture, hence why I took the photo down.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


wabi-sabi: the Japanese aesthetic that embraces the flawed, incomplete and ephemeral.

Underplayed beauty is so appealing, is it not? The delicacy of a pot amongst wilting vines, the deep green rosemary sprouting from the wooden stalk, vivid blooms above the muted ground. 

At this time of year when the conversation turns to gifts I am often stuck for suggestions. Apparently I'm incredibly hard to buy for; I'm an idealist with a very clear idea of what I like and what I don't. In retrospect the best gifts I have received are those imbued with the thumbprint of their maker, the patina of age or the essence of nature; a handmade teacup with the grooves of the potter, an old mirror, a succulent plant in a vintage pot. Last week a friend gave me a collection of vegetables and herbs from her garden; their roots wrapped in damp paper towel, their stems tied with string - the perfect gift. 

I always favour tradition over trend. I prefer colours that I see outside the window; those that appear naturally and then fade -  olive green, smoky grey, unbleached white and I like to bring them into the home. Right now there are five shells lining the balcony rail, dried herbs hanging from the kitchen window pelmet and lilac hydrangeas on the table. I light a beeswax candle every night to smell the sweet, clean scent and watch the wax soften and melt. It's all simple decoration, placed with intention. 

Wabi-sabi is simplicity but it's also being mindful of what you buy and recognising what you already have. It is the ultimate lesson in sustainability - to mend and make do. I first came across the concept of wabi-sabi in a design magazine years ago. I tore the article from the book and placed the dark, filmic images in a box for keeps. The pages are frayed and the author's name is long gone, but here is a little excerpt:

"The word 'wabi' literally translates as poverty. It looks to remove the concern about material things, of having 'stuff'; to find a balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get in finding freedom from things. 'Sabi' acknowledges simple realities - nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect."

Che, in his innocent ways, unknowingly practices a little wabi-sabi. He gathers ephemera, round stones and fallen gumdrops and he carries them in his pockets. He places them on his bedside table, arranges them for a while and then they disappear, only to be replaced by a petal, a shell, a stalk. 

Wabi-sabi doesn't have rules; it's born from intuition. Do you have any wabi-sabi ways?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

quince clothing : artistic collaboration

this is a sponsored post

Two years ago, when Daniel and I took that leap of faith, we had hopes of working together on creative projects. Whilst I am a dreamer, and a good one at that, there was a small part of me that really questioned the possibility of such an endeavour.

Taking risks makes my heart beat a little faster; but then I get to experience the beautiful work that is collaboration and it all makes perfect sense. Earlier this year Daniel shot this short film for Quince Clothing. Come January he will be making another and I'll be alongside him with my camera, taking photos for the 2013/14 children's summer range. 

Jodie, owner and designer of Quince Clothing, is an inspiring woman. Mother of four children - Ella, 17, Augusta, 9, Solomon, 7 and Celeste, 2 - she and her English husband became insta-parents five years ago. All-of-a-sudden she was attempting to navigate the child/tween clothing dilemma, looking for quality fabrics and beautiful prints but not finding anything that was just so.

She started making clothes but soon realised that she thrived on designing them - Quince was conceived from a wonderful blend of necessity and passion. The family-run company is based in Sydney and has stockists dotted around the globe. Inspired by fabulous pattern and determined to create clothing that is both beautiful and durable, the range (size 0-16) is fun and contemporary. 

Augusta, Solomon and Celeste are the faces of Quince, real-life inspiration they help choose fabrics and model every range. Jodie admits that whilst the lollipop-payment is losing currency, she takes their suggestions on board and often integrates them into the design. 

Right now Jodie is juggling the demands of motherhood and Quince, harbouring dreams for a new maternity collection and hoping to make a tree-change with her family. Whilst early mornings and late nights are her norm, she is embracing the fun of it all (and looking forward to a festive break).

The current summer collection is inspired by salt air and classic sea motifs; perfect for the Australian summer. Quince is offering Che & Fidel readers 20% off full-priced stock with the code: CHE. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

the creatives | a photography and writing workshop

A few months ago, on a rather ordinary day, I received three emails. After the general hello and introduction, each email asked the very same question: "Would you consider running a photography/writing workshop with Tim Coulson?" I just couldn't ignore that kind of serendipity..... 

I'm giddy to announce that Tim and I have created a one-day workshop to inspire the storyteller within you. Together we will share what we know about photography and writing; how we document experiences, the importance of intuition and the technical aspects involved. 

We'll spend the day chatting about the following:
  • recording the experience - why and how Tim shoots (why he never orchestrates his subjects) as well as some tips for shooting on manual
  • emotional shooting - how to connect with your subject and get amazing photos in return
  • gathering inspiration and observing moments - why I love writing and my note taking process 
  • threading words together - how to engage the reader, share your thoughts and eloquently express ideas
  • the experience - a live shoot using your new-found photography and writing knowledge - find the story and document your experience 
  • theory - how and why we choose specific shots, creating a sequential story and writing to bring it all together
  • q & a - we're happy to answer all of your questions (about photography, writing and blogging)
The Details:

This is a workshop for people passionate about documenting their everyday; those who want to improve and broaden their photography and writing skills. 

The workshops will be held in Sydney (location to be confirmed) on the following days:

  • Friday, 3rd May 2013
  • Friday, 26th July 2013

We'll meet up at 9am and work together till 6pm. A decadent lunch and afternoon tea will be provided, as well as drinks and pick-me-up snacks. To reserve your spot email me -

Hopefully chat to you soon...........


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

Che: "Mum, I'll be the sun and you are the earth. Move around me in circles but don't get too close, you'll burn!"
Poet: circa 1968? No, it was taken in 2012, promise.

For those of you joining the 52 project in 2013....I've commissioned illustrator Rebekka Seale to create a beautiful "52 - a portrait a week" button for you to place on your sidebar. It will be ready at the very end of December, just in time for 1/52. 

Tell me, are you joining in next year? If so, are you excited?

Friday, November 30, 2012

summer : a seasonal series

The humidity arrived right on cue; with it came the cicada's song and the stormy nights.

Summer is the most nostalgic season of them all - a cycle of ocean swims and hammock siestas, too-hot-to-sleep nights and backyard water fights. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing a few posts to celebrate the season including a review of my favourite sunscreens, notes from my naturopath and a collection of my favourite recipes, books and destinations.

In all its bohemian beauty, summer is here - equally joyous and frustrating (don't let the mozzies bite!)

What is your most treasured summer memory?

spring : a seasonal series

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

experience | document

In the current issue of Little One Baby there is a story, written by me, about the importance of recording childhood. Whilst researching I spoke to a bunch of creatives who, in their own unique way, document the milestones and the tantrums, the birthdays and the weekdays. 

I worked on and off for a few months on the article - emailing, interviewing, reading, writing, editing. I spent a few days before deadline threading it all together and while the story flowed I really struggled with the ending. How was I going to wrap it all up? It took an afternoon of making tea and hanging washing to find the right conclusion. 

It's rare for me to imbue a story with my personal beliefs but I couldn't let this one pass without sharing my opinion. You see, it's a beautiful thing to document childhood; to take a photo a day or one a week, to write innocent phrases in a notebook and create a journal of the years. But perhaps even more precious is falling into the experience, leaving the camera and the phone and the pen behind, and really being here, now. Making memories, not documenting them. 

The very essence of blogging is documentation - recording thoughts and experiences to prompt conversation. After five years in this space I understand how essential the balance is. It's so easy to look through the lens, observe the moment, capture it and mentally repeat: " for the blog." It's even easier to get swept up in the net momentum where daily posts and lengthy comments compete with real life. Blogging is a wonderful medium for communication, conversation and inspiration. For the writer and the reader it can also be challenging, exhausting and make-believe. 

I often step away from this space for a little while, simply because I need a break. I do the same with my camera and my phone - as the day outside beckons, I leave without them. As a writer I know I can always rely on observation and retrospect; often I see things clearer when I recall. 

I have no plans to leave....I just wanted to share my experience; the lessons learned. There is someone who is saying goodbye though. Leigh has been such an inspiration in the past few years as she has navigated her readers through witty, passionate posts about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing and cosleeping. I wholeheartedly understand and respect her decision. Blessings Leigh....x

Saturday, November 24, 2012

garden 2 plate

On the fringe of Bouddi National Park, just across from the water, is a somewhat simple cafe complete with open verandah and abundant herb garden. Garden 2 Plate beckons with its back-to-basics food; locally grown at just-around-the-corner Green Gate Farm. 

Dictated by seasonal produce, the small yet enticing vegetarian menu changes daily. Expect bagels, burgers and sourdough, an array of organic fresh veg and homemade accompaniments. If you're a keen gardener you can take home herb seeds left by local green-thumbs and if you're just interested in the coffee, well, it's definitely worth the visit. 

Garden 2 Plate is just what the coast needed; an authentic, rustic cafe with the very best of food intentions.

Design aesthetic: overgrown village shack   Coffee: locally sourced, strong, superb

Sydneysiders....Garden 2 Plate is only 20 minutes from Palm Beach (by ferry) - the perfect family outing. I highly recommend the quesadilla with beans, cheese and spinach, salsa, sourcream and jalapenos (and a side of organic greens from the garden). 


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

Che: Within moments of arriving he was submerged in the water; ten minutes later he was shivering and blue. After chasing Daniel along the beach he rested on the warm rock wall.
Poet: She stole the marmalade toast from my plate and tried to get away. 

Marmalade toast is one of my favourite morning treats. If you and your household love it I highly recommend you read Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10 labour tips for dads

One of the best things about being a writer is seeing your work in print. A few weekends ago I sat down for toast and tea on Sunday morning and opened up The Sunday Telegraph's Body + Soul liftout to see my words in a half-page feature. To me the article represented a blend of two careers - freelance writing and pre-natal yoga teaching. 

Over the years I've taught hundreds of pregnant women and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting their birth support partners - dads-to-be, mums-to-be, grandmas, sisters, aunties, best-friends. The role of the support person in labour is so very important, perhaps even essential to a positive birth experience. Put simply, a labouring woman is at her most vulnerable; she needs to be supported by someone she loves and trusts - a confident, prepared partner.

Over countless classes I have seen dads-to-be transform within a few hours - from the fearful man to the "I'm going to catch my baby!" father. I teach birth workshops from a real and very honest perspective; I share simple and practical techniques. And it works. 

It was such an honour to share my knowledge (and the wisdom of others) in a newspaper that reaches such a broad demographic. A few of you requested I publish it below you will find the original version. Enjoy!

Labour Tips For Dads

Supporting a pregnant woman as she labours is a privilege but it can also be a confronting and emotional experience. Pre-natal yoga teacher Jodi Wilson offers a step-by-step guide to labour and suggests practical techniques to assist in the journey towards birth.........

1. The Estimated Due Date

Due dates are an estimate at best. Being 'overdue' can be a highly emotional experience. Most women will start to internalise in preparation for labour; stay home in their 'nest' and seek comfort and quiet.

Be mindful that anxiety and stress will not induce labour but gentle encouragement, humour, sex, acupuncture, a brisk walk and a good cry may.

2. Early labour

Adequate and continual support during labour can significantly reduce the need for medical intervention and that support begins with the very first contraction. Early labour can last for hours or sometimes days.

"Resting is essential in early labour to ensure she conserves the energy required for active labour. Be gentle with her, keep her calm and offer her water between contractions." - Lauren Horton, Doula at Singingbird Birth Support.

3. Fear of the Unknown

First time mums fear the unknown and second-time mums fear the known. As labour progresses it's easy to become overwhelmed by the hours and challenges that lay ahead. 

"The best way for her to stay present is to focus on her breath. Encourage her to mentally repeat 'let' as she inhales and 'go' as she exhales," - Mardi Bell, Director of Yogaways.

4. Active Labour

During active labour, when contractions come regularly every two to three minutes and last for 60-90 seconds, movement is encouraged - swaying, squatting or walking. Some women like firm massage on the arms, back and thighs.

When it comes to massage don't be concerned with fancy technique - but keep in mind that you may be doing it for hours at a time. If she doesn't want to be touched, stay close and offer encouragement.

5.  The Mental Challenge

Remaining positive is incredibly difficult, especially if labour is long. If she begins to doubt herself and her ability, acknowledge that the job of labour id hard and suggest a different position, a shower or a bath - water can bring welcome relief.

When you notice that she is losing confidence look her in the eye and say: "You CAN and you ARE doing it."

6. Surrender

We control so much in our lives and yet no-one can control the birth journey. The essence of birth is surrender - letting go of expectations, relinquishing control and literally going with the flow.

"My partner Terry wholeheartedly believed in me and my body's ability to birth. His support encouraged me to surrender and let my body labour - because it was going to do it anyway." - Lena Tarasenko, mum to Harper and Sonny.

7. The Sound of Birth

Forget the Hollywood scream, labour sounds deep and primal and can be described as a roar or a moan. Sound is one of the most powerful techniques a labouring woman can use - it lengthens the exhalations and soothes the nervous system. 

If she is feeling self-conscious about making sound go ahead and join her. There is a neuro-muscular connection between the mouth and the cervix, the throat and the birth canal - if she keeps her mouth open and soft her cervix and birth canal will do the same.

8. Intervention

Regardless of preparation there are some circumstances where intervention is necessary and accepting it can be challenging. However, intervention can sometimes assist towards achieving a natural birth.

"We hoped for a drug-free labour but when we realised that Kesh was regressing we accepted our midwife's recommendations for an epidural. We very quickly learnt the importance of surrendering to the birth journey. Roo was born eight hours later and I exploded with joy, relief, ecstasy and love," - Tim Coulson, proud new dad.

9. Transition

Transition is when the cervix is nearing full dilation and the contractions are very close together. Often women experiencing transition will display a range of emotions - despair, sadness, confusion, fear and anger - often directed towards you. Never take it personally.

"Stay with her even if she tells you to leave. Use loving words, remind her that she will be holding her baby soon. Breathe with her, embrace her." - Lisa Richards, Independent Midwife at Bella Birthing.

10. Birth

When she feels the urge to push she has reached second stage. Baby is ready to descend into the birth canal and pushing commences with the next contraction. If all is going well you may, depending on er position, have the opportunity to catch your baby.

"If you are interested in catching your baby it should eb discussed with your partner and her caregiver during pregnancy. At the time of birth listen to her needs and acknowledge her requests as they can change at any time."  - Lisa Richards.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the rock pool

For the child who lives on the Australian coast, the rock pool is a place where memories are made.

It's so close to the ocean, yet so far from the waves. A protected pool where little friendships are forged and beach toys are shared. Regardless of the weather, young families flock here, lured by the promise of an easy, carefree day. 

This morning we took Poet down to the water; grey skies and big surf didn't deter. She let her feet sink into the sand, followed the stream of salt and waved to me as I scaled the rock wall, capturing her adventure from afar. 

For the next few months we'll take our towels, beach baskets and snacks to the rock pool. The car will be full of sand, we'll loose the keys at least once and I'll wonder where on earth I put the sunscreen. We will visit a multitude of beaches, some close, some far, and indulge in the blessing that is the Australian summer (and the sleep that naturally follows salt, surf and sand). 

Monday, November 19, 2012

the wholefood kitchen

In the past few months I've been taking a few steps to change the way we eat. Necessary steps for health and well being.

When Daniel and I first moved out together we lived in a tiny fibro beach shack. The kitchen was small but sweet - glass jars held lentils, nuts and rice, the fruit bowl was always full, we lit a candle in lieu of the fluorescent light above. I would spend most nights at the yoga studio so I cooked our evening meal in the afternoon - dhal, vegetarian curries, pesto pasta.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the way we ate back then. I prepared food in a considered and calm way; because I had time. Now time is minimal and the fussiness of a five-year-old has significant affect on what I cook and how I cook it. The 'easy' meal has become the 'regular' meal and whilst we always eat well, we can eat better.

In the past few months I've been collecting a few books and seeking inspiration within - Super Natural Cooking, Feeding The Whole Family and Wholefood for Children. I've learnt a lot from these passionate authors who, in their own way, are encouraging a whole approach to shopping, cooking and eating with awareness. But my greatest inspiration has come from Heather's online workshop The Whole Food Kitchen - a gift from the lovely Steph. Over the past eight weeks I have received an abundance of what I would call 'gentle kitchen guidance'. There are stories, advice, a whole food checklist and a plethora of recipes that never, ever daunt me. I feel like it's been the perfect foundation for my own whole food kitchen and I highly recommend it if you're attempting to wander down a whole food path.

So what does our new kitchen look like? Well, there's only wholegrains, there's still meat and dairy (organic) and there's a little sweetness too (moderation is such a good thing). The biggest change has been the exploration of new recipes and new ways of incorporating plants into each meal; we're all for a plant-rich diet - good for the body, the wallet and the planet. Perhaps the most surprising revelation in regards to Che's palette has been the power of texture - often it's not the taste of vegies that disgust the child but the texture of them. Che will eat raw carrot  but the moment I blanch, cook or roast it he turns up his nose. Hence we always have some fresh greens and raw vegies on the table and I make fresh juice most days. 

Of course, there is an ongoing food debate no matter what your diet involves. Raw is good, raw is bad, meat is good, meat is bad, sugar is poison and dairy will make you fat. Sheesh! Factor in a picky child, a baby, perhaps an intolerance or two and you have a full-time kitchen dilemma. Finding enjoyment in that scenario can be challenging. My advice? Take it slowly, be open to suggestion, buy wholegrain over white (bread, flour, rice) and remember that baked beans on rye toast is a very, very good meal (so is boiled eggs, pikelets and a "taster plate" - perhaps some cherry toms, cheese, crackers, celery, carrot sticks, raisins). 

Do you have a whole food kitchen? If so, what's your advice for those wanting to change the way they eat?

If you're seeking wholefood inspiration I suggest you visit Nikki, Meagan and Natalie. For a poetic take on food, visit G. And if you really like the look of that wood fire oven above, consult popa, via me!