Tuesday, July 30, 2013

learning from my opposite

a lovely gift from tinyfolk - a house that inspires hours of play

Whilst pregnant with Poet I constantly reminded myself that I had to let go of my birth experience with Che because second time around it was going to be different - I was birthing a different baby. Not once did I consider that the same rule would apply to parenting.

When Poet was about 18-months-old she started to really assert her independence. She is all fire and quirk; she's fearless, quite demanding and rough with affection. She is my opposite and she's taught me that while consistency in parenting is important, honouring and respecting the individual child is essential, too. It's one of the most humbling realisations that I've had as a parent; never presume you've got it under control because when you do, your two-year-old with throw her head back, let out a raucous laugh and then look you in the eye and say: "No!"

There has been so much intellectualising of parenting lately; there are a myriad of labels and countless news articles explaining "how to". It can be so overwhelming and to be honest, I often think it's unnecessary. Right now I'm accepting the fact that sometimes, it's best to surrender to laughter instead of keeping a straight face. 

Daniel and I have had to let go of everything that worked with Che and go back to basics, right back to the beginning. As we wander the windy toddler path we teach right from wrong once the giggles have eased. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

winter : haiku

I should probably start by apologising for taking so long to announce the winner of the winter giveaway. Truth be told, life has been slightly chaotic and I wanted to set aside a good few hours to sip tea and read haiku. It was such a treat to scroll through the entries - you're a talented bunch and I really appreciate you bringing your creativity to this space.

I chose ten of my favourites and sent the list to each of the brands who had contributed to the giveaway. They emailed me with their favourites, which included:

#106 - Angela
"Cocoon me" he says,
my heart swells as I wrap him
safely in my love.

#144 - Jane
Now we turn inward
Slowly, softly waiting still - 
Life blooms underneath.

#66 - Lucy
Crisp, frosty morning
Snuggly cuddles warm my soul
Babies bundled near.

#8 - Anna
Please remember me
eating all these tangerines
winter dusk is come

But there was one poem that really captured the essence of winter in the most simple and innocent way. Written by a five-year-old named Chilli who, whilst sitting around her family table in Tasmania, pronounced syllable for the first time and learnt all about its meaning. The next day she wrote this:

The wind whistles here,
Blowing a gale all around,
Then it starts to rain.

Congratulations, little one. I hope haiku helps you to celebrate each and every season.


If you're interested in introducing haiku to your children I highly recommend Today and Today, Zen Shorts and Zen Ties. If you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments section. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

six | practicing simplicity

the end of the jetty / a moment of solitude

Living a less-distracted life : come back to your breath.

How often do you stop to feel yourself breathe? I'm presuming your answer is "not often enough" - and that's ok. 

If you watch a baby or young child breathe, they do so with their whole torso; it rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation. It's called a whole body breath and adults don't do it enough. After childhood, when we begin to experience stress, it's quite normal for us to revert to short, sharp breaths into the chest. Ideally we need to breathe into the belly - a deep, nourishing inhalation followed by a long, releasing exhalation. 

Breath awareness is one of the most effective relaxation techniques. Simply observing the breath has the power to bring you into the present moment, to the here and the now. When you start to become aware of your breath you begin to notice its quality - light or heavy, smooth or jagged - and from there you naturally become more aware of your body. 

It can be quite confronting to stop and realise that you've been running on auto, that your breath is shallow and your body is tense. But I promise you that it doesn't take long to establish awareness; to make it an essential practice in your day. You can do it right now - mentally repeat "let" as you inhale and "go" as you exhale. It's also a beautiful way to settle before sleep, encouraging your breath to move down into your belly, letting go of your day and any unnecessary thoughts. 

So: inhale and exhale....become aware of the rise and fall, ebb and flow. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


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

Che: He gave me 10 shots before he ran off to play with the neighbours; bright winter sun on a day cold enough for a scarf (and he needs a haircut).
Poet: We have arrived at two - "No" and "Miiiiiiiiiine" have been the words of the week. 

Following on from the discussion about capturing the child's beloved belongings within a portrait, I've been thinking about the idea of home. I usually capture close-up portraits of the children but this week I'm going to work at stepping back, capturing them in their home - the photographer just passing by. 


This week the happy, colourful shots over at Airstream Family made me smile / Free of fever and looking absolutely adorable in a corner of light - little Saul and his mop of curls / I love Harper and Finn's expressions; so honest / Possibly the best silhouette-by-the-ocean shot I have ever seen...and I can't go past a pouty, sleeping babe / and finally, a sketch from a dad besotted with his girls. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

roses - $6 a bunch

Who knew that a $6 bunch of supermarket roses could become so many things....

Table decoration, a trigger of childhood memories and subsequent reminiscing; "he loves me, he loves me not," ingredients for pretend tea, the inspiration for a portrait, the perfect prop against crinkled linen, windowsill installation.

There really is beauty in the simple things...and the simple things are not expensive. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

five | practicing simplicity

curled up on linen, wearing mismatched socks and pants that were once full length

Living a less-distracted life: tune out, switch off.

I spend a lot of time on my laptop; it's a necessary part of my work life and it's also where I indulge in a little creativity - writing, editing photos, seeking inspiration. But lately, as I've had deadline after deadline to exhaust me, I've made a conscious decision to stay away from the computer and its long list of distractions.

Steering clear of the laptop gets me out of my head - quite literally. I stop thinking and start doing. I'm more aware of my body because I'm moving it, taking strides, stretching skyward. I use my hands differently too; instead of the monotonous tap, tap, tap, I hold a littler hand in mine, I touch salt water and sand, I massage the earth whilst gardening and ground myself in the best possible way. 

By switching off I find clarity; creative inspiration and much-needed perspective. 

Read the series : practicing simplicity 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


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

Che: Plane, car and Astro Boy in Japanese; this week's beloved possessions.
Poet: Walking the sea wall on her birthday, the salt wind whipping her hair.

I unintentionally created a sequel of 28/52. I also wanted to create an example of portraits without faces; they are still such honest captures of my children. 


This week I adored Leah's captures of a journey; rich with the warmth of a summer road trip / Elie and his colourful blocks, a beautiful childhood moment / Logan in mid-summer; so sweet / Saskia wrapped in wool and bathed in light / and Matilda and George - in black + white, all the way from Scotland. 

Friday, July 19, 2013


trying out her new wishbone bike / reading to Poet; a tiny eyes doll complete with a top knot, a pocket dress and leather buckle shoes.


Late last night you lay on my chest and cuddled in - we stayed there till you fell to sleep. I was reminded, so vividly, of our meeting two years ago; for the first two hours of your life you clung to me, eyes wide, taking me in. It's one of my most cherished memories - getting to know you, trying to fathom that you were actually here, my dark-haired, cherub-lipped girl. I hope you cuddle in on every birthday eve, just so we can reminisce. 

Happiest birthday, Poet Winter. We LOVE you! x


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the school series : the amateur school mum

beach visits on a whim - the beauty of school holidays

The first six months of school have been a little like the first six months of motherhood. I've been the amateur, tentatively walking a new path, questioning my ability and my decisions. Whilst my days are not dictated by the cries of a newborn they are most definitely controlled, to an extent, by the school bell.

Documenting my experience as a school mum seems relevant to this space and so it's with all honesty that I say it's been harder than I anticipated. This brand new phase of parenthood has been a little confronting and it's definitely taking me time to adjust. Che is thriving - I'm so grateful for his enthusiasm and happiness. But me? Well, generally I've found it all a bit overwhelming. 

When you become a school mum you automatically take on a whole new list of responsibilities - life gets significantly busier. We were a few weeks into the school year when I realised that this new level of busy was now my normal. It was then that I vowed to keep things simple; easy afternoons, no extra curricular activities, slow, spontaneous weekends. Even so, there's been a fair few weeks where I've wished for those pre-school days when we were a little freer.

When your first-born starts school you grieve the end of one journey as you attempt to embrace another. There's a period of transition that can be a little rocky; you step into a new role and place yet another hat on your head. It's only now, in retrospect, that I understand what the transition phase was all about. Amidst the strict routine of the school week I was establishing a rhythm so that I could, in my own way, feel grounded and settled in my new role. 

I spent most of 2012 wondering how Che was going to cope with the changes - not once did I think it would be me with the issues. Parenthood is so humbling.  

Read the whole story : the school series

Monday, July 15, 2013

four | practicing simplicity

my bedside table essentials - styled by stef

Living a less-distratced life: recognising that my phone is one big "beeping" distraction.

Take a moment to visualise a bunch of parents and kids at the park. Now visualise a bus full of commuters making their way into the city, coffee drinkers at your local cafe, people waiting in line at the supermarket. There's a lot of phones in that picture, isn't there. 

The smart phone has introduced so much convenience into our lives and, rather ironically, a significant amount of distraction, too. Many of us jump to look at the screen as soon as we hear a beep or a bling, we make notes, take photos, play games and get a real time look into everyone else's lives (filtered in every sense of the word). 

I'm guilty of it - quite guilty in fact. My phone is just a small version of my laptop; whenever I have it with me I'm basically carrying my work load around. If I take it into the bedroom at night and have it on my bedside table I'm spending the night next to a little device that omits some rather nasty energy. It also means I wake to distraction and work every morning - my phone is not the first thing I want to see when I open my eyes. 

This week I purchased a little clock that now sits on my bedside table. It has numbers and hands and an alarm. It doesn't omit harmful energy, it doesn't light up, it doesn't remind me about work, it doesn't send me messages and it can't take photos. It's plain and quiet and simple - it fits in nicely with my collection of bedside essentials. 

So: spend some time away from your phone, find a replacement clock for your bedside table, turn of some of your notifications and embrace the opportunity to be in the present moment - without distraction. 

Read the series : practicing simplicity 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


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

Che: His winter has been about two things: a spiderman onesie and long lego building sessions (usually wearing the onesie whilst building the lego).
Poet: Flyaway hair and rolled up denim; so happy on the shore.

It's been a quiet week around here as I tap, tap, tap on the keyboard, trying to meet a huge deadline. Working from home is always interesting; life goes on around me as I escape into a bubble of emails, interviews and stories. I'm not the nicest person to be around at times like these but thankfully my three besties excuse my bad behaviour. 

How has your week been? 


Reading blogs is always a welcome break from monotonous work. I wish I was throwing pebbles into the lagoon like this sweet boy / or hiding in a field of daisies like Lily / warming in the winter sun with these cuties / chasing these furry bundles across the sand / or spending my time lakeside like Bespoke - water like glass. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

winter : a giveaway to celebrate the season

illustration by Rebekka Seale / design by Emily from Daily Smudge and em & jon design

This, the final in the seasonal giveaway series, is a collection of beautiful products to inspire creativity and prompt warm, slow days. There's a little bit of everything here; woollens for your child, decadent beauty products to nurture your skin, handprinted linens for your bedroom, wholefood cookbooks, art supplies and that Riviera blue cast iron French Oven. 

One winner will receive the following, valued at over $900:

1. Handknit fisherman's jumper made with organic wool from Nature Baby. Available in three colours and a variety of sizes, this classic knit is beautiful (and has very necessary pockets - always a good thing). Winner will choose colour and size - valued at $64.95

2. Cozy plus sleeping bag from aden + anais. Made from aden + anais' signature muslin, this sleeping bag has bottom and side zippers for easy changing and eliminates the need for blankets; ensuring baby stays warm and sleeps soundly (fingers crossed). Winner will choose colour/pattern and size - valued at $69.95

3. Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely skincare products including busy bee balm and body lotion.  Made with organic honey, orange and mandarin essential oils, these products are sweet and soothing - valued at $54.80

4. More from the bees! An absolute essential in my home, these beeswax tealight candles from QueenB create a beautiful golden light and help to purify the air - valued at $19.95

5. Jess from Hello Milky creates beautiful handprinted designs on cotton and linen. This set of 2 pillowcases features tiny gold dots on charcoal grey 100% cotton. Printed by hand using non-toxic, eco-friendly inks and valued at $76

6. Purdey Bonnet by Dover & Madden - a handmade 1970s-inspired ski bonnet featuring a bubble design and the possible addition of earflaps, available in size 3months-36months. Winner will choose colour and size - valued at $41

7. Early stART Woody Crayons from Micador. We love these chunky crayons (with jumbo sharpener) - perfect for little hands - valued at $15

8. Stockmar Watercolour Paint from Dragonfly Toys. Ideal for transparent painting, the colours tones have been chosen so that they can be mixed to yield all intermediate shades without losing their brilliance or intensity - valued at $64.50

9. Floral notecard set by the ever-lovely Rebekka Seale. Three 5" x 7" cards featuring prints of Rebekka's floral paintings. Printed on heavy, matte card stock with rounded edges, each card comes with a brown kraft envelope - valued at $13.50

10. Yes To products - free of all nasties and voted PETA's Best Cruelty-Free Cosmetic company for two of the last three years. Winner will receive Yes To Cucumbers Milk Cleanser and Yes To Carrots Intense Repair Hand Cream - valued at $29.90

11. Three cute packs of seeds from sow 'n sow including: trio of herbs, poppy and forget me nots. Each pack comes with a sweet envelope - the perfect little gift to send via snail mail. Valued at $28.90

12. Megan Morton's brand new book: I Love My Room. A beautiful collection of children's rooms to inspire (could be used as a baby name book too - there's some great names in there) - valued at $49.95

13. Every winter kitchen needs a little cast iron and this Chasseur 24cm round 3.8L casserole pot in Riviera blue is pretty perfect. Valued at $209 from Kitchen Warehouse.

14. Petite Kitchen by Eleanor Ozich; a fabulous winter "simple eating" cookbook inspired by tradition, whole foods and gathering with family - valued at $30.

15. Vintage French egg basket by Bayside Vintage - practical and so beautiful - valued at $85

16. Lhami - completely natural and organic, I absolutely adore the eucalyptus balm (so good on the chest and soles of the feet to beat winter colds) and the coconut body oil to add to a hot bath or slather over dry winter skin - valued at $44.90

17. The Moth - an arts and literature magazine and The Caterpillar - stories, poems and art from kids. New and original publications from Ireland - valued at $14

18. Seasoned - a wholefood winter cookbook full of homemade goodness by Julie from Cinnamon Girl - valued at $30


Entry to this giveaway is a little different to how I've done it in the past. This time it involves creativity in the form of haiku - a Japanese style of poetry that celebrates nature. 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. A beautiful example:

"The field wren,
searching here, there, everywhere - 
has she lost something?"
- Issa

And so, to enter all you need to do is write a haiku poem about winter. 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 poem with the most votes wins. 

This giveaway ends on Thursday 18th July at 9pm. 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 (even if you are currently basking in summer).

Best of luck! 


Monday, July 8, 2013

in my kitchen

my kitchen aids - styled by stef

There is an onslaught of fancy (exorbitantly expensive) kitchen gadgets on the market and almost every cookbook I pick up requires at least one of them. Do we really need advanced technology to cook good food? No, definitely not. 

I've been scouring my local op-shops for hardwearing, good quality kitchenware. It's hard to find but occasionally I stumble upon a gem. A cast-iron pot is a treasure I discover once a year, sometimes the wooden utensils are in abundance and at other times I return home with nothing. When I pop into little boutiques I'm drawn to tea strainers, handcrafted spoons and textured linen.

My essential kitchen ingredients include:
  • ginger - in tea to boost the immune system, with fruit & veg juice to revitalise and a pungent addition to an Asian-inspired meal.
  • fresh herbs - I've just planted my essential herbs after neglecting them for a fair few months. I love society garlic (you can eat the flowers, too), flat-leaf parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives and mint. Aesthetically pleasing and an absolute kitchen staple.
  • wooden utensils - I have a jug full of them in all manner of shapes and sizes. Some are stained with the red of tomatoes, others wear the burn marks of a rushed cooking session.
  • beeswax - I light a candle in the kitchen each afternoon/evening; it sees me through preparing, cooking, eating, cleaning, contemplating.
  • eggs - preferably from mama + popa's chooks who roam through the herb patch, these beauties are a meal in themselves and taste best when gooey and met with toast soldiers. The ultimate comfort, they truly make a fluffy batch of pancakes, a celebratory cake, a hearty quiche.
  • loose leaf tea and a pretty strainer - a necessity for a tea ritual and therefore a necessity in my life.
  • honey dripper - because swirling golden honey from the jar onto hot toast is one of life's simplest pleasures.
  • a tea spoon - with a curved handle it happily sits on the side of the teacup in case a little more stirring is required.
  • big handled scissors - for cutting herbs and flowers stalks.
  • sea salt + pepper - enough said.
  • garlic - always organic because nothing else compares, it's probably best when roasted with dutch cream potatoes; or sautéed with onion and bacon; or when it infuses good quality olive oil, or.....
  • lemons - for a citrus-inspired roast chook, or sprinkled over steamed greens, with cream cheese for delectable cake icing or with ginger in that immune-boosting tea mentioned previously.
  • linen - absorbent and soft to touch, linen pretties the kitchen setting (thanks to small batch for my glorious aqua dish towel) 
  • berries, fruit or flowers - bought, gratefully received or found, a touch of decoration on the windowsill completes the scene.
What are your kitchen essentials? 

three | practicing simplicity

Living a less-distracted life : spend 15 minutes a day completing a chore (particularly one I've been putting off).

I'm revisiting a New Year's resolution/good intention here.  

I'm not the Type A personality who succeeds in practical thinking and organised doing. I'm the person who acknowledges a task needs to be done, mulls over it for a good while, adds it to the list and comes back to it later. Unfortunately it doesn't take long for the list to become a burden and so, before long, those little chores amount to one big, irritating distraction.

What is most enlightening about this "15 minute rule" is the realisation that all the chores I've been putting off actually don't take that long to complete. They are far more daunting on the page and in my head than they are in real-life. And so, every day I set the timer and work on a task; I am focused, determined and hence I work efficiently. 

Most of the chores I've been working on have saved me time in the long run. An organised kitchen cupboard means I don't have to spend five minutes finding the lid for the pyrex dish. A tidy pantry ensures the right ingredient can be found without any shuffling or rearranging. Cleaning the children's wardrobes means there's a place for everything and everything is in its place.

So: set the timer on your phone, work for 15 minutes and get rid of all your distracting chores. 15 minutes a day, one-by-one, tick, tick, tick.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013


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

Che: watching the ocean; high tide at sunset.
Poet: her love affair with roses continues (she pulled off all the petals about 2.6seconds after this photo was taken.)

I have really enjoyed scrolling through your three / 52 posts; admiring delightful faces, beautiful aesthetics and precious expressions. I chose my three favourites based on the way they made me feel, the way I was reminded of split-second moments when I looked back on them. 

I've been thinking of ways I can capture a portrait without taking a photo of a face or a gesture. There is so much more to our children than the way they look and move. What about the books they love, the toys they play with, the food they eat (or don't eat!). If I consider what Che and Poet will love most about looking through their portrait books when they're all grown up, I'm pretty sure they'll be ecstatic to revisit their beloved collections of 'things'. And so, whilst the concept hasn't quite been refined just yet, I'm hoping that in this next half-year I'll be able to capture portraits of the children, their environment and the little world they create for themselves - their knick-knacks, gathered ephemera and treasured belongings.


There's a beautiful quality to this collection of portraits, starting with Theo in b+w; that belly, those little fingers / Evita and her rippled reflection / Chloe hides behind a lace curtain; adore the sepia blur / Otto mischievously hiding under a straw hat / and Anaru, the ocean and the sky - the perfect winter-on-the-beach shot. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

winter : rock pool

In stark contrast to the oyster farms, the winter rock pool is bright and, quite literally, shimmering. 

We all went down to the beach this week and come midday Che and Poet were immersed; splashing and shrieking. After days of relentless rain it was with sweet relief that I lifted my face to the sky and let the sun warm me to the core.

This is mid-winter on the east coast of Australia; wetsuit-clad kids waiting for waves. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

winter : oyster farms

The view from the carriage is always beautiful, especially when the train weaves around the Hawkesbury River, past tiny fisherman cottages, derelict sheds and humble tinnies. 

Early Saturday morning the rain was bucketing and the fog was heavy. It made for an eerie yet mesmerising picture. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

three / 52

three favourites from The 52 Project

Che - 3/52 : this sunkissed capture represents the summer before he started school - a warm, happy, carefree few months
        - 15/52 :  basked in autumn light at the breakfast table; he sits here most mornings and chats to me
        - 20/52 : nearing winter and whistling as he walks; I can hear him when I look at this shot

Poet - 8/52 : I adore her happiness and joy; it's such a common sight and yet I haven't captured it very often this year
         - 10/52 : I love the drama in this shot; ironic consider it's a one-year-old telling me she needs an apple
         - 18/52 : straight from a storybook, I hope I always remember the way she walked up the path, stopped, and smelled the rose

We are halfway through the year and as I try to comprehend just how fleeting it has been, I find comfort in the 52 portraits I have captured. As I look at the photos together I see a story - of their childhood and my motherhood. I'm grateful.

Monday, July 1, 2013

two | practicing simplicity

winter blooms at my local florist

Living a less-distracted life : de-cluttering my inbox.

I'm so passionate about de-cluttering my physical space but when it comes to the virtual I'm just plain slack. I'm embarrassed to admit that last week my inbox was bulging with 20,000+ emails. There's a few reasons why:
  • I never deleted unwanted emails
  • I read emails on my phone and promptly forgot to reply, hence they just sat there
  • I didn't have an allocated "email" time and therefore dealing with the 50+ emails a day was never a priority
I'm treating my inbox like a cupboard that's too jammed-packed with "stuff" that I can't even close it. I'm deleting and sorting and making good intentions to stay on top of it all by doing the following: 
  • I'm allocating two times a day to check emails, ultimately limiting the distraction of an email here, an email there
  • I read the email, reply and then file/delete
  • if I don't have time to reply, I mark the email as "unread"
  • I've unsubscribed from all companies who send too many emails (once a month is acceptable, three a week is not)
So: de-clutter your virtual letterbox, it's somewhat satisfying.