Sunday, December 29, 2013

it's time for a change

I don't think I've ever been on the cusp of a new year and had so much happening around me. Some of it has been in the pipeline for months now, a lot of it was only confirmed a few days ago. It's exciting, daunting and challenging and I'm embracing it - because it's the best thing I can do.

2014 is looking to be good. Very good.

This is the final post I'll write as "Che and Fidel". In a few days time the name of this little blog will change. It's time for a fresh start and a new path and I can't wait to share it all with you. I'll explain everything when the new blog launches but I wanted to let you know that if you do visit here, you'll be redirected to a new address, even though you'll be seeing the same page (and yes, all six years worth of blog posts will stay). Complicated? Completely! Lucky I've got an amazing tech guy doing all the behind-the-scenes work for me.

Sending blessings over the land and across the seas......for a happy, healthy and abundant new year. 

Jodi x

Saturday, December 28, 2013


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

Che: warming himself in the sun, giggling uncontrollably as I tickle his belly (with my toes).
Poet: a special ice-cream treat at Mama and Popa's house

2 children, 52 weeks, 104 photos. 

I think the beauty of this project is discovered in retrospect; when you look back and realise that regardless of how fast and busy the year was, there were so many little moments that were quiet and precious and memorable. They mean so much more to me that the big events because they're honest reflections of everyday life.

At the start of the year I promised myself that I would take as many candid portraits as I could. I wanted to take the time to be in the now, observe the moment and, if possible, capture it on camera. There were many moments that never made it into this space; but the 104 that did, they are pictures I will always cherish - because they tell our story. 


Congratulations, friends! 52/52 is quite an achievement. I'll be back next Sunday with 1/52...will you be joining me?

Saturday, December 21, 2013


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

Che: tired, exhausted and hot but still, the fairy lights intrigue.
Poet: standing in my childhood bedroom, admiring herself in the mirror.

Portraits imbued with a festive touch (and matching pouty lips). 

I'm going to keep this post simple - I'm tired, there's lots of Christmassy things to do and time away from the internet is much needed. I'll be back next week with 52/52 and then.....well, come early January you'll notice some significant changes in this space; changes that have come from months of planning and redesigning. I'll explain the full story soon but rest assured, the essence of this blog will stay the same, even if it looks very different. 

I hope you and your families have a beautiful, heartwarming Christmas. May it be simple and joyous; a celebration of togetherness and gratitude. Thank you so much for everything you have shared throughout the year - your encouragement, advice and beautiful portraits. 

In love and Christmas light, Jodi x

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

52 | the ones that got away

To be honest, I didn't have time to go through all my 2013 photos and pick a few "outtake" portraits. But curiosity got the better of me so I strolled through the year and subsequently saw these photos in a new light - a very nostalgic one. 

I have no idea why these shots didn't make it into 52; obviously other portraits were more meaningful to me at the time. Sometimes I get caught up in the beauty of the shot, at other times I choose a portrait because of the moment I captured or the emotion it conjures. 

Looking through these outtakes and all the shots that made up 52 this year....well, I'm just so grateful that I persevered. I'm proud of this project.

ps. thanks to Claire for suggesting this "outtake" idea...

Monday, December 16, 2013

mother + child | gaby + clementine

Last week I had the privilege of documenting Gaby and Clementine's babywearing journey. Early morning at the beach; milky light and alabaster skin. 

Looking through the photos there was one word that kept coming to mind: touch. Little feet touching arms, little hands clasped to a singlet, a protective hand pat, pat, patting a squishy baby bottom. Babywearing - mother and child entwined. 

I suppose now is a good time to mention that I'm available for pregnancy and family photos throughout 2014. If you're interested I'd be delighted to hear from you...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

twenty-two | practicing simplicity

Every Wednesday night I go to a yoga class - it's my mid-week reprieve, an opportunity to find space, rediscover patience and gain perspective. To begin my practice I lay with my legs up the wall in viparita karani, my arms wide, my eyes closed. And I let myself soften into the floor. My entire sadhana (spiritual practice) last week was about softening without effort. My teacher's words resonated so strongly:

"...if you had to stay where you were for 10 more breaths, what would you shift so you could be comfortable? What would you change if you had to stay here for 100 more breaths, or a lifetime of breaths?"

She was talking about being in an asana but she subtly hinted at the practice of life, too. What a beautiful question to pose to mothers; the women who live that role for now and forever - for the next 10 breaths and the next million.

What can you shift so you can be more comfortable, so the experience can be more enjoyable? 

Those words have been circling my mind since last Wednesday, coming to the forefront just when things start to get challenging. And I've shifted many things to make space and create opportunities, to quell tantrums and see things for what they are (and not what my emotions make them out to be). My experience as a work-from-home mother has benefited greatly as I've found a new way of integrating work and writing into family life - a very small change that has made a significant impact on my productivity, creativity and happiness. 

So: shift and change things around so you can be more comfortable. 

Take time this week to lie with your legs up the wall, if only for five minutes. Close your eyes, let out a few sighs and be still. It's one of the most rejuvenating practices you can do. This week we all need it more than ever. I hope you find a few minutes of calm amidst the crazy. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the greater good : a giveaway

gorgeous apple papple (as seen in Poet's room), pirum parum and bug-like Hatschi hooks

"I heard Batman talk about 'the greater good' while the kids were watching cartoons one day. I think all mothers are modern-day superheroes, doing our best to serve 'the greater good' as we nurture our families and juggle day-to-day life." - Kirsty Frank, owner of The Greater Good.

One of the best things about blogging is the mothers I've met; the women who have created small businesses to satisfy their own dreams and support their growing families. I started chatting to Kirsty a few months ago when she was in the midst of planning her new venture. She has a passion for the quirky and colourful and firmly believes that children's toys, clothes and decor should be child-like without compromising quality. She has sourced an collection of products from a range of international artists for her online (soon to be bricks + mortar) store, many of whom haven't been stocked in Australia before. 

She has collated a selection of beautiful products - decor, soft toys, storage and lighting. I really appreciate her taste; she has a penchant for muted hues and classic pieces and knows how important 'practical' is for the family home. My favourites? - the bell garlands, coat rack city (hang it at your child's height to encourage independence), hessian sack with pom poms and super size colouring page (which would have been my dream come true as a child). 


The winner of this giveaway will receive a $100 voucher to spend in store. To enter just leave a comment telling Kirsty and I what your favourite toy/item was as a child. The reader who leaves the most amusing/beautiful/memorable story wins (no essays required!).

So you can spend and purchase before Christmas, I'll draw the winner on Wednesday 18th December at 8pm (comments will close at 7pm) and Kirsty will get the package in the mail soon after.  

Best of luck!

Comments now closed. The winner is #44 - Ally. What a story! Email me at jodiclairewilson @ and I'll organise your voucher. 

Kirsty is just starting out and really appreciates your support. Perhaps if you're on facebook you could head over to The Greater Good and 'like'? 


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

Che: goodness, what a masculine stance. 
Poet: on tip-toes as she looks out the window.

I'm getting a little nostalgic now. Only two portraits to go and then we're back to the beginning. Claire had a great idea earlier this week and I'd love to bring it to fruition. We were talking about all the portraits that got away; the ones that weren't chosen because others seemed more fitting. So, on Wednesday, I'll be writing a post titled: "52 / the ones that got away" - there'll be a link, too, so feel free to add your own post. 

I'm excited to tell you that the "52" button for 2014 is currently being designed by melbourne-based artist The Paper Pinwheel. It features muted ocean-inspired colours and a touch of distinctly Australian flora. I'll be able to share it with you in the next week so make sure you leave a little room on your sidebar.

You may have also noticed that I'm currently running a giveaway to win a $200 voucher to Minted - a company that creates beautiful photo cards, art prints and personalised stationery. It's open to readers worldwide so feel free to enter...perhaps it will be one way you can use some of your 52 portraits.


I adore Yellow Finch's perspective and I especially love these shots - especially the piano portrait! / I love everything about these portraits; happy faces, warmth and that blanket / I wholeheartedly understand the "need to get the last sip" determination / I always love a diptych and I especially like the 'railing' perspective in these portraits / and finally, haircut time - always cute (and a little bit funny!). 

Friday, December 13, 2013

minted : a giveaway

this is a sponsored post

Photo prints and personalised stationery - a few of my favourite things. 

This year I've made an effort to imbue messages with a personal touch. The kids and I have been painting stars for Che's classmates and I've printed merry & bright cards for friends and family across the seas. In this age of jpegs and emails, a handwritten note (sealed and stamped) is a welcome gesture.

I've long admired Minted for their work with independent designers and their commitment to quality so when they approached me about a giveaway I was more than happy to oblige. Think of the company as a platform for indie designers the world over, a welcome step-up in the often overwhelming online world.

"Minted crowd-sources design and art from a global community of independent designers, then sell their best designs as fine products such as stationery, wall art and decor...every time a product is sold the artist receives a commission. "


The winner of this giveaway will receive a $200 voucher to Minted. 

To enter just leave a comment telling me about why you love personalised stationery and what you would buy if you won. Perhaps some personalised watercolour lotus cards to use in the new year (see mine above), a personalised notepad (particularly useful for school mums) or birth announcements, art prints, kids art journal (great idea!) etc......

This giveaway is open to readers across the globe. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section - I'll answer there. The winner will be announced in this post on Wednesday 18th December at 5pm.

Best of luck! 

Comments are now closed. The winner is #71 - Vanessa. Best of luck with your 2014 business ventures. Beautiful stationery is the perfect motivation! 

If giveaways aren't your thing feel free to use the code CHEANDFIDEL for 10% off site-wide.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

summer : a seasonal series

pom pom Australian natives that match my header / rich, summery prints from bohemian traders

Our visit to Bali slightly threw my seasonal series but I'm happy to say I'm present once again, observing nature's shift outside the window and beside me as I walk. Sunlight comes early and leaves late; there's so many opportunities to be out and and about and yet we always retreat to home come midday - the sun is scorching. The gums that tower at the back of our house are a blessing in summer (a curse in winter) and right now they are shades of grey, tan and green; subtle tones in bright, white sun.

We are eating lots of cucumbers to cool the blood, sipping ice water and making salads to accompany our evening meals. Amidst it all we're preparing for a Christmas that is so different to the ones depicted in most of our books. In comes as no surprise that Che and Poet adore Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle; an adaptation of the birth of Jesus set in the iconic Australian landscape. 

Che has been asking about snow and why we never have it for Christmas. Isn't it a enormous concept to grasp; that one side of the world is at the beach and the other side is huddled around the fire. A good lesson in opposites and a beautiful reminder that our world is, indeed, vast and wondrous.

This weekend, the last before school breaks, we'll be making Christmas cards, choosing, chopping and carting home a tree, decorating with joy and sitting back to admire the inevitable wonkiness of real pine. 

Cheers to a balmy summer!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

motherhood : to give you need to receive

theresa and mason (such a beautiful, wise little face) - early mornings at the beach

Thank you for your (often brutal) honesty on my "third baby" post last week. It was interesting to read such varied opinions; some of you found the third baby an easy addition whereas for others it really was/is hard, hard work.  

The most humbling fact of all is that I have no idea what my experience will be. There are so many factors involved; most of which I cannot control. Having a baby is a giant leap of faith - yes, there will be challenges but the rewards are of the greatest and most blessed nature. 

I wholeheartedly believe that my fears are valid, and I know that regardless of if and when I fall pregnant with a third those fears will probably be more profound. Nothing a bit of "letting go" can't fix, though. It's interesting that even in this phase of thinking-about-having-another-baby I come back to the words that I have heard during my first two pregnancies; the words I share three times a week in my yoga classes: the essence of conception, pregnancy and birth is surrender. And the same goes for motherhood. Being a muma is one big lesson in surrender because we really do just keep giving, letting go, and giving some more. It's not always graceful and we often resist but at the end of the day we realise - surrender is the only option.

It's universal law that you need to receive a little in order to give a lot but that equation is never very balanced for mothers. Last week I stayed in Sydney for the night by myself - the first time in four years(!). And it was glorious! I caught the train into the city, found a little table at a cafe in The Strand Arcade and had beautiful coffee and an amazing haloumi salad. Whilst there I people watched, enjoyed Nina Simone playing in the background and marvelled at the fact that I didn't need to help, console or reprimand anyone (or share my food). Then I shopped, had a mani/pani, caught the bus over to Manly and went to my work Christmas party where I danced till 1am (for the first time in about 6 years!). The next day involved breakfast at a cafe, a ferry ride, coffee with my brother, some Christmas shopping and a late afternoon train ride home. 

When I walked in the door I felt like I'd been away for a week. It felt like I had been given a brand new dose of patience (thank goodness for that). Whilst away I promised myself that I wouldn't feel guilty for the indulgence; I deserved the break and I needed it - for my own wellbeing. I realised that I need to, on a regular basis, surrender to the urge to have me time. And if I do, everything else will be a little more balanced and much more possible. It might be a night away or an hour in a cafe, a yoga class or a solo swim in the ocean. Regardless of what it is I know it needs to be a regular occurrence; an opportunity I'll embrace before I travel the road of pregnancy, birth and babyhood again.

Years ago, when I worked in a bookstore, I met a mother of a toddler. For Christmas she had been given a handmade voucher from her husband which said: "Once a month, every month, for the next year, this voucher entitles you to a day by yourself, a lovely lunch out and a new book." So every month I saw her, alone, and watched as she relished her time spent perusing book shelves. An idea, perhaps? 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

haiku winners and gift suggestions

bursting with excitement for the "Chriiiiimas Holllllldays"

...otherwise known as a very random Christmas-themed post. 

Firstly, haikus. Let's just say that you're an eloquent and rather poetic bunch. I loved reading through all the giveaway entries and I must admit, those three-line poems really did spark the Christmas spirit within. A few of my favourites included:

#8 - jobungalow
We put our heart in
To the gifts that we create.
Thanks! With love from us

Celebrate the King
born - a silent, wordless babe
the good news for all.

#48 - Olivia
She asked for beauty
"Be that beauty," they whispered
and her wish came true

#91 - Rachel 
Pavlova lusting
leaves jolly hips less trusting
Rudolph is amused

A red dust toddler
Only sees 'beach' in a book
Get excited, little one

But the contributors were unanimous with their votes and the two very deserving winners are:

Eucalypt and pine
hot music of cicadas,
I'm full to the brim.

#21 - samantha
Sounds of their laughter
echo through our sunlit home
Now, the house is warm.


I've ummed and ahhhed about creating a Christmas gift guide and with all my procrastinating I've realised that it's only two weeks till Christmas and time is, most definitely, running out. 

Breathe. It all becomes a little too much at times, doesn't it?!

A lovely design featuring beautiful products was out of my reach so I have simply listed some gift suggestions below. There are products that I've purchased for the children this year as well as gifts that they've been given in the past (and some that I've added to my list of "maybe, one day, I'll keep it in mind"). You'll notice that many of the links go to my sponsors but this is, in no way, a sponsored post. 

Without further ado...
...and now it's cup of tea time!

I hope you find this list helpful. Tell me, what are your children getting for Christmas?

Monday, December 9, 2013

early mornings

a refreshing sea palette; just what I need right now

I've been talking about working from home a lot lately. People seem interested to know what it's like and I admit, most presume it's easy. In the scheme of things it is the easier option but I would never describe it as 'easy'. It's a bit like motherhood; a constant juggling act where you do, at times, dodge the unpredictables.

For the past week or so I have been rising early to get a few hours in before the kids wake up. It's a productive time and I'm thankful that the words flow easily and I can tick a few stories off the list before breakfast.

This morning was a little different, though. I met Gaby and Theresa at the beach for a photo shoot for the next instalment of The Sling Diaries (it's fun being on the other side of the camera! You can see my diary entries here). Both girls wore their gorgeous babes in silk and linen and we talked about the crawling stage, lack of sleep, travel plans and house prices. It was a beautiful way to spend a morning; socialising, taking photos and soaking in sea air - all before 8am! It got me excited for those days post Christmas when Daniel, the kids and I will head down with our umbrella and beach paraphernalia and while away the holidays. 

For now it's back to work..then school pick up, afternoon tea, dinner, bath, story time, tea, a bit more work, bed -

I can't wait to share photos of our morning....a beautiful muma and her babe, little hands and little toes, a backdrop of ocean and seagrass. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

twenty-one | practicing simplicity

Living a less-distracted life : observe your children at this busy time and respect that Christmas is both magical and overwhelming for them.

My children are usually quite difficult on Christmas Day. And I wholeheartedly get it. The anticipation and excitement in the lead up is huge; they've slept lightly and risen early. They seem to experience the full range of emotions: elation, happiness, delight, disappointment, anger and sadness. 

Early on in this parenting gig, Daniel and I decided that we would only have one celebration on Christmas day. Going from one set of Grandparents to another was just too much with a baby in tow - it made it stressful and exhausting, despite the fact that it was only a ten minute drive between houses. It's one of the best decisions we've made - both for the children and us (and our Christmas sanity). But still, emotions are high and patience is low. 

In retrospect, my expectations of the children have been unrealistic around Christmas time, especially when it comes to gifts. You see, I want to teach them gratitude but I also want them to be honest. There's a part of me that expects them to absolutely love their gifts and be so very grateful for them, regardless of the fact that they get more presents on that one day than they do for the entire year. We keep it simple but still; they are surrounded by new toys and books - they don't know where to turn.

This year, if need be, we'll stop whatever we're doing to make sure our day is enjoyable. Presents have been kept to a minimum to ensure the overwhelm isn't too great and if I sense the onset of a tantrum I'll know it's time to step away from the crowd and seek a bit of quiet and one-on-one time (cue: reading books in bed with full bellies). 

For us, the days after Christmas are always our favourites. We spend easy mornings at the beach, snack on left-overs and schedule a siesta every afternoon. There are no plans and no expectations; always a relief after the height of the busy season.

So: recognise that it's an overwhelming time for your children. If you make it easier for them you make it easier for yourself, too. 

ps. a few readers have asked what presents the children are getting. Are you interested in a post about lovely, simple gifts I've found along the way?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

garden fairy

...and the dressing-up phase begins.  


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

Che: a very quiet moment (ISO 100, f1.8, 1/640)
Poet: she's got fire in her belly and determination in her eyes (ISO 100, f2.2, 1/640th)

Another unplanned diptych that may just go down as my favourite of the year. Summer light in the late afternoon/early evening; Christmas hues of eucalyptus green and a hint of red. I've fallen hard for the canon - so many possibilities. 

Look back through your photos and you'll notice; you captured a portrait of the seasons, too. Where colours changed, clothes got lighter/heavier and the light threw yellow, blue and green. 


I loved the colours in Clio's portrait; matte black against hues of cool green and blue / little Chloe and a magical background / silhouette's always please me and this one of Nico is so sweet with the sheer curtain / again, I'm besotted with the colours of the landscape against the bright pop of children's clothes; opposites, just like these brothers / and my friend Claire, always capturing the most stunning scenes; depth and light and beauty. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

on having a third baby

For the past few months Poet has asked me, almost every day, if there's a baby in my belly*. I always reply: "Not just yet..."

You see, I have a lot of fear surrounding the idea of another pregnancy. It's a new-to-me fear; one that has come as a bit of a surprise, especially considering my love of being pregnant, giving birth and tending to a baby. Just the thought of a first trimester is enough to make me want to wait a good while before planning for another little one. It probably doesn't help that three times a week I'm teaching pregnant women; yes, the beautiful belly and joyous kicks are enticing but the exhaustion, nausea and heat is a constant reminder: pregnancy is hard work and always demanding. 

I talk about fear a lot in my prenatal classes; I come straight out and ask my students what they're scared of. There is always a wide range of answers: fear of pain, tearing, loss of independence, lack of sleep, birthing an unhealthy baby, not being able to breastfeed, not knowing how to tend to a newborn, etc. Once the fears have been recognised we work on letting go of them. Sometimes it takes months.  

For me, there is also fear about the reality of life with three children. Most parents admit that the jump from two to three is a big one - you really notice it because, quite simply, you're outnumbered. I'm also worried about having a newborn and getting Che off to school, the cost of a growing family, how I'll balance work and motherhood and the imminent and everlasting mountain of washing (a frivolous worry but a worry all the same). 

There's a part of me that feels selfish for having these fears, especially considering the amount of women who experience much heartbreak to fall pregnant and carry to full term. Regardless of my worries I'm grateful for the opportunity to wait and accepting of the fact that, at the end of the day, nature decides if and when.  

If you have more than two children, did you find the jump from two to three overwhelming? I've also been thinking about the age gap conundrum - if I leave it much longer will the gaps be too big? Maybe I should just let go of worry and see what happens...

*on discussing another baby with my parents a few weeks ago my Mum was genuinely disappointed that I wasn't already pregnant. "Oh," she said. "I thought you would have been working on that in Bali." 

Monday, December 2, 2013

the school series : the younger sibling

Christmas stars found just outside the school art room

At drop-off and pick-up time, school playgrounds are full of younger siblings getting to know the swing of things.

When your first-born starts school the entire family starts school with them. Family life and the school routine merge and the pre-schoolers, toddlers and babies get carried along for the ride. Breakfast is often hurried, afternoon naps are interrupted and Peppa Pig is the replacement for mum's attention at homework time (a necessity and nothing to feel guilty about). 

For our family, the start of school has been one of the biggest changes we've experienced. It really rocked me for the first few months; in retrospect I was grieving the loss of spontaneous days and having difficulty accepting the reality of a strict routine. Not one to gracefully embrace change, I  was very reluctant to face the truth; school is now a significant part of our lives, for this year and (at least) the next twenty.

It was only yesterday, as Poet and I took Che to his classroom, that I thought about her experience this year. School life is such a novelty for her; it's exciting, loud and intriguing. She has adapted so well to routine - she's embraced the opportunity to sneak into the classroom (more times than I can count) and has enthusiastically participated in every activity that we've been invited to. She has her very own bank book for school banking day and she waits at the bottom of the stairs every afternoon to hug Che. 

For a while I felt sorry for her; having to make the journey to and from school twice a day. But that was all my stuff - it never bothered her in the slightest. Whilst I don't want to get carried away I know that when it's her time to start school, she will be ready. Oh so ready. 


Come January I will be expanding on the school series; collating thoughts, advice and practical tips for those of you who are about to embark on the journey. If you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer them!

Tell me, do you have a child starting school next year? If so, how are you feeling? If you want a book to help ease the transition, I highly recommend "Starting School"

twenty | practicing simplicity

I'll give Halloween a miss but I wholeheartedly believe that Thanksgiving should have a place on the Australian calendar. A national day to pause and give thanks for our blessings? What an honour that would be.

Gratitude hasn't always come easily to me but I now recognise it as something that enhances my every day. It provides me with perspective; it allows me to see what I have instead of getting caught up with what I don't. Practicing gratitude is an integral part of practicing simplicity.

Today I am grateful for:

happy children who are so excited about "Chri-mas holday"
the trampoline
a delicious roast (and the even-better leftovers)
doting grandparents
the promise of many mornings at the beach
freshly cut roses
health and energy
an understanding partner
a new book

So: share what you are grateful for; it will put everything into perspective. I look forward to reading...

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).