Sunday, July 28, 2013


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

Sophie:  At her little cousin's birthday party where the farm animals came to visit, Sophie finally made progress with her fear of anything cute and cuddly.  Seeing as all the animals were being 'swaddled' in blankets, I asked her if she'd like to hold a 'baby'... my choice of phrasing appeared to work and she was happy to cradle a little guinea pig in her lap while she fed it a carrot stick... a big change from her face of fear back when we visited the animal farm at Denmark...

Grace: Ever the gentle animal lover.  She took a shine to a little white chicken and while the other children requested to hold the usual fluffy rabbit and guinea pig favourites, Grace had eyes only for her little feathered friend.  It sat happily nestled under her scarf while she lovingly held it.... a real 'mother hen'...

Joining in with Jodi

Last week kite-flying Theo and Coco were among my favourite shots, as well as sweet little Finn... welcome to the world darling boy...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Halfway Through Kindergarten

With term three starting this week for Grace, we are halfway through the school year...well into the routine of early morning starts, the packing of lunchboxes and the ironing of uniforms.  Chatting yesterday with a friend over morning tea made me reflect on our journey so far, on my feelings and beliefs about educating little ones, on how we've grown as both a 'kindy kid' and a 'kindy parent' and on what has been great and what has made me sad...

Becoming a 'school Mum', I was very conscious of taking off my 'teacher's hat' and of slipping into my new role without any preconceived opinions.  Despite coming from a background in education however, everything has felt quite new to me standing on the other side, especially not having been in the classroom myself for several years now.  In many regards, kindy has been different to what I'd expected and from conversations with fellow parents and teaching colleagues, I'm not alone in my perceptions. Standards have shifted, expectations seem higher these days and there is more pressure from various influences.  I'm sad that it feels as though there is less of the 'free play' and time for creative expression, with a lot of the work hanging in Grace's classroom clearly linked to learning outcomes.  And while there have been many fun experiences such as pyjama days and teddy bear's picnics, our introduction to school life has felt quite full on.  Long days from 8.50 to 3.10 are the norm. Concepts once seen in a year one classroom are slowly filtering back into pre-primary and kindergarten.  Formal portfolios of work and reports are expected.  

On the positive side though, kindy has provided Grace with wonderful experiences... the chance to socialise with peers of her age, to form little friendships, to become more independent and to begin to develop her literacy and numeracy skills all while settling into the routine of school life.  Finding Grace's jottings around the house with 'words' made up of actual letters, her name scrawled on anything and everything and hearing her role play 'teachers and students' with Sophie and her toys truly makes me smile.  Hearing her make remarks like, "Mummy, I know another word that starts with the 's' sound! Snail!" and seeing her practising skills she's picked up in class make me excited for all that Grace has grasped already and for all the wonderful learning adventures she has ahead of her in the coming years.

And while the house is a lot quieter on the two days my sweet girl is at school (three days on each alternate week) and while Sophie spends a good portion of the morning asking me 'Gace?  Gace?', I often find myself looking over at our empty kitchen table where Grace is normally found engaged in some creative activity, wondering what it is she's learning about, hoping she's having a good time and looking forward to hearing all about it as we sit down after school together over afternoon tea, sharing snippets of our days...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Tale Of 'That' Treasure Chest

I don't normally write consecutive posts quite so close together, however a little while back, I promised you all I'd share the story of my beloved keepsake chest 'one day'. This evening, on the fourth anniversary of my Dad's passing, I figured it was a fitting day to write about it...

I can clearly remember my seventeenth birthday.  Several weeks before it, I had stumbled across a cute, metal treasure chest of my Dad’s.  With its smooth rounded top, studded detailing and simple design, I fell in love with it immediately, begging Dad to let me have it.  He refused and a battle erupted between us.  In true self-absorbed teenage fashion, I couldn’t fathom his unreasonableness and viewed his stance as stubborn.  Not one to express his feelings in those days or to share with me just how precious that box was to him and why, we found ourselves at loggerheads and didn’t talk for a week. 

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered my Pop had made that lovely chest by hand.  It safely held his Dutch war medals, the ribbon from his navy hat and the intricate buttons from his uniform, pieces so very precious to my Dad having lost his father at the age of fifty (when he himself was still very much a boy at only eighteen).  That keepsake box was special to him because of the memories it contained and the connection it held to a loved one lost far too early.

And so it is that years later, history has repeated itself and the same treasure chest has found its way into my possession, the war memorabilia it held having since been passed on to my aunty.  When my Dad passed away on this day four years ago, and we later began the heartbreaking task of sorting through his possessions, the one thing I wanted to inherit more than anything was that treasure box.  Not because I still longed for it the way I did as a seventeen year old, but because I now understood… I understood all that it symbolised and why my Dad had been so unwilling to part with it.  I knew he would want me to have it.  

Sitting on the bookshelf in our living room, today it holds my keepsakes of my own Dad’s…the key ring he carried with him every day, an East Fremantle Football Club pin, a few of his rings and several of his dinky cars (collectibles by now I’m sure but purely sentimental to me). 

Every day, I walk past that much coveted and much admired treasure chest, feeling the cruel irony that after our battle way back in my teenage years, I can now say it is mine. 

Today, I’d trade a thousand of those chests, if only I could have my dear Dad here with me again…

Today is the fourth anniversary of my Dad’s passing, a day which I carry with a heavier heart than previous years, 
harder now that more and more has happened in my life that my Dad has sadly missed out on being a part of…
One of my favourite posts I've ever written was the one from this day last year, where I shared what happened on the day my Dad died -
it somehow captured how deeply I miss him, how much he was loved and my effort to live a life he'd be proud of... 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


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

Grace:  This capture is so reminiscent of her lately... hair wild and unbrushed, sitting at the kitchen table at various times of the day, drawing or creating.  Her pencil grip is more conventional now than the old fist hold she used for so long, her illustrations so much more detailed and imaginative.

Sophie: Out of sorts today as her cold has freshened up yet again... sickness has been never ending here this winter.  All week, she has carried around those two keys, adding them to the collection of what she calls 'treasures' which she drags around... a rock, a gemstone, a pom-pom and now, those keys.

Joining in with Jodi

Last week I smiled at Sash's darling little Bo - the description of their morning porridge ritual was equally as endearing as the gorgeous trio of photos.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Beauty Of Books On A Winter's Afternoon

We've had a real wintery few days in Perth this week with blustery winds and rain pelting down, followed by icy cold days which have seen us unwilling to brave the outdoors and instead forced us to retreat to the warmth and cosy-ness of our home.  Being the second half of holidays after what has been a busy school term, quiet days have been welcomed all round... indulging in the luxury of a few slightly later lie-ins, rediscovering the excitement of old forgotten toys, baking treats for afternoon tea together with my girls and my favourite winter pastime - curling up with a collection of books and whiling away the afternoons.

One gem we've been enjoying this week is the lovely Claire Chadwick's book 'So Many Sounds'. It has been part of several afternoon reading sessions enjoyed by the warmth of our heater and is a great 'read-aloud' which combines cleverly chosen words and eye capturing illustrations.  With Grace's passion for 'creating' (especially when the words 'paint' and 'glitter' are involved), yesterday we used Claire's book as a jumping point for an art activity, working on a fireworks inspired painting using pipe-cleaner stamps (an idea from Juggling With Kids).

Another book we've been enjoying is 'Ten Little Wrens' by Elizabeth Honey which we recently borrowed from the library, a uniquely Australian counting book incorporating meat pies, gum leaves and lamingtons. While Grace enjoyed the story and the counting aspect, I was enchanted by the stencilled illustrations. We followed up this book with a related art activity using a wattle stencil, sponges and acrylic paint... perfect for a rainy afternoon 'trapped indoors'.

These are the days I enjoy most at the moment.... filled with simple pleasures such as reading with my little ones and getting involved in art activities - both of which give us opportunities to spend quality time together, to be entertained by a clever story line and to be inspired by a world beyond the pages of a book...

Sunday, July 14, 2013


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

Sophie: A moment of cheekiness again... this time caught red-handed hiding under the kitchen bench, nibbling on a block of chocolate Paul had forgotten to put back in the pantry the night before.  She knew she'd been sprung and burst into tears after I took this shot...

Grace: Having fun in the backyard with Daddy and Sophie.  A messy bun has been her hairstyle of choice lately and her 'new' hand-me-down vest has barely come off all weekend.

Joining in with Jodi

Last week I smiled at sweet birthday fairy Piper (and the contrasting footwear of two friends) and Em's champion sleeper Elke...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our Simply Styled Ensuite

I was chatting recently to a friend about how the one thing that bothers me with our house is how 'unfinished' it is... how after eight years, walls waiting for artwork to be hung on them, shelves and sideboards in need of styling and chairs begging for new vibrant cushions all frustrate me.  All those little bits and bobs that make a house a home really.  And while we've come a long way with renovations and furniture, it's these little touches that I'm eager to add to our place, the pieces that tell a story... our story.

I do realise that decorating a home with such authenticity and with meaningful pieces doesn't happen overnight, as it's all of a family's experiences, travels and memories over time that will add character to any dwelling.  I also realise that the process of decorating a home is an ongoing one with tastes and needs constantly changing.  So, taking my friend's advice, I've decided not to focus on all that is yet to be completed, but to instead be happy with all that HAS been achieved, all the rooms that look 'lived in' and all the parts of our home that make me smile.

Aside from needing new curtains, our lounge room is fairly cosy, Grace's room is definitely well decorated and Sophie's nursery is finished (although about to gradually go through a transformation into more of a toddler room).  I can also say I'm happy with our ensuite...

Being such a small space (so small that taking any decent photographs to share with you all was near on impossible), my plan was to keep things fairly simple and uncluttered and neutral coloured.  I made a soft, billowy curtain out of some sheer material to hide the ugly security screen, changed our towels from blue to ones in a latte shade and have kept the top of our vanity as clear as possible.  As for artwork, I initially intended to go with a larger piece in black and white, until I came across an old painting packed away in a box which we'd bought from The Rocks Markets on one visit to Sydney.  It's a small piece, but somehow, it's enough size-wise and its pop of green adds just enough colour to the room.  I also keep a vase of greenery filled with lilly-pilly branches from our garden.

Do you have parts of your home that are still 'unfinished'?  Or do you have one of those 'lived in homes' that I'm desperate to achieve?

Sunday, July 7, 2013


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

Two 'last minute' photos that seem to somehow capture the personalities of both our little girls so well...

Joining in with Jodi

Last week, sweet Matias feeding the pigeons and Bron's trio and their carnival party shenanigans made me smile.  However, the one shot which truly stood out for me was this little ballerina.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Project 52 - Favourites At The Midway Point

Keeping up with this project as on some weeks been challenging.  However, halfway through the year and with already such a precious collection of moments and memories captured and with such changes and growth evident in both my girls, I'm so pleased I've kept going.  Following Jodi's suggestion and choosing three favourites was not easy but here is my shortlist for the first six months of this year...


8/52  The 'spot' had to be included. I love Sophie's inquisitiveness and curiosity in this shot, such strong personality traits of her at this age.  That freckle of hers continues to be a source of cuteness... a few weeks back as I was driving up and down the carpark at a shopping centre, impatiently trying to find somewhere to pull into, I remarked, 'There's no spots, Mummy can't find a spot'... Glancing in my rear vision mirror, I saw my little one pulling off her sock and replying, 'Spot! Spot!' pointing to her sole as if to say, 'Don't stress mum, I've got one right here you can have!'  Precious.

15/52  I love the gentleness of this shot... the cute sailor hat, the clutching of her 'baby' and those sweet little facial features...

24/52  This photo captured so much of our little one... her abundance of cheekiness, that grin, her ability to go from clean to filthy in a millisecond, the way she smiles with her whole face and her adorable personality...


5/52  Being able to see and touch her mama's wedding dress was so special for us both.  Her excitement as she tried on my veil and ran her fingers carefully across the intricate beading on my dress was so heart warming and such a beautiful mother-daughter activity...

14/52  This shot remains one of my all time favourites of my big girl... her sweet little face matching her delicate nature... she really is such a 'Grace'...

17/52  Our trip to Denmark saw Grace in her element among her beloved farm animals... her gentle way and fondness for animals so very clear in this photo...

Here's to another six months of memory making and moments I can capture and 'bottle up'...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Slowing Down During The Winter Season

Here in Perth, we’re smack bang in the middle of winter. While we've had minimal rainfall and stormy weather, the days have shortened, temperatures have dropped considerably and personally, I’ve found myself settling well and truly into a ‘hibernation phase’ as I procrastinate more than usual, cross fewer items off my to-do lists and spend any time at home comfortably in my ugg boots.

Back at the start of June, I read the winter chapter of Sara Avant Stover’s book ‘The Way Of The Happy Woman’. In it, she talks about listening to our bodies and trusting what they need at this time of year. She describes us becoming more introverted and quiet and ‘lazy’. At the time, I couldn’t see the connection between her words of wisdom and my own life, but as winter has progressed, I’ve realised this pattern is definitely characteristic of me.  Grey skies and cooler temperatures often leave me feeling uninspired and wanting to do little other than curl up by our heater with a book or my laptop.

Taking on board Sara's suggestion to use the winter season for deep rest and rejuvenation, I’ve decided to go with the flow at the moment…to expect less of myself and to use these months to slow down and engage in reflection.

Today was a beautiful winter's day.  After a quick grocery shop and a few chores were completed, Sophie and I took Asha for a lovely midday walk to soak up the sunshine.  My little one sat in the stroller enjoying a sandwich while I spent time really soaking in my surroundings, taking note of the beauty in things as simple as crimson tipped gum leaves by the side of the road and camellias growing in neighbour's gardens. The warmth of the sun on my back was gloriously comforting.  On the return leg, we collected a bunch of Geraldton Wax and some Grevillea and once home, after popping Sophie down for a nap, I made myself a bowl of soup with my homemade chicken broth followed by a nice hot cup of tea.    Simple winter pleasures that added such sprinkles of happiness to my day.

Do you find yourself slowing down in winter too?  Do you embrace it or look for ways to boost your energy levels and productivity?