Monday, December 30, 2013


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

Sophie: On Christmas Eve as I tucked her in I said, "Father Christmas will be coming here tonight and leaving you some presents." Perhaps it was the thought of a 'stranger' entering our house as she looked at me clearly concerned and exclaimed "Noooo Mummy." The next morning, Santa was in her good books again after she discovered what he'd left for her... the '1001 Things To Spot In The City' book was a definite winner.

Grace: In her 'artistic zone' with the paint set that was at the top of her Christmas wishlist... or to be more accurate, "paints that have a highlighter pink in them".  Santa chose well and Grace was over the moon to find these in her stocking.

Joining in with Jodi

Just like that, we are here at the final portraits of the year.  I am so glad I persisted and now have 52 portraits of each of my girls and a whole series of memories documented.  Next year however, I have decided I won't be joining in every single week but instead, simply here and there when I feel like picking up my camera... 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


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

Sophie: Such a happy little soul with her wild mop of curls and beaming smile.  She makes me laugh every single day... if only I could keep her at this cute age forever (minus the tantrums perhaps)

Grace: My precious big girl.  She is very excited about the number of sleeps until Father Christmas comes... such a magical time of year for children.

Joining in with Jodi

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Rhythm Of Our Days: Meatball Wednesdays

Ever since we've been married, I've worn the 'chef's hat' in our household.  I've been the one to menu plan and to cook meals each night (aside from the odd meal out or the occasional take away dish).  And while I haven't minded, (especially now being a stay at home Mum), a few months back, I suggested Paul have a turn in the kitchen.

That meal turned out to be spaghetti and meatballs and ever since, every second or third week, come Wednesday night, I've rostered Paul on to cook.  Knowing I have a night off from making dinner is a wonderful feeling, but even more rewarding is watching our little ones help their Daddy prepare tea.

With aprons tied around waists and chairs to stand on, two girls are eager assistants.  One grates the carrot while one 'beats' the egg. And then, once the mixture is ready, a production line of sorts occurs with Paul shaping the meatballs, Sophie passing them to her big sister and Grace rolling them in flour. Watching this teamwork makes me smile.

Then, while the spaghetti cooks and the meatballs are left to simmer in the sauce, the music is turned up and the dancing begins.  With flour on the floor and endless giggles, there is a disco in our kitchen as the girls and their Daddy twirl around and show off their best moves.

When we finally sit down at the table together, there are always declarations of their dish being 'the best batch ever'.

On our 'meatball Wednesdays' there is always mess and more often than not a squabble between little ones trying to help... but there is always lots of laughter too... and that makes this precious little snippet of family life one I want to tuck away and remember always...

With the hot weather now here, I wanted to record this little snippet of our family life sooner rather than later, as I'm sure all too soon, 
our 'meatball Wednesdays' will evolve into a meal more suitable for this season, most likely  a meal cooked outdoors on the barbecue.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


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

Sophie: Toilet training is in full swing now that the hot weather is here... we've had success this week too thankfully...

Grace: In her cardboard mortar board at her kindy graduation.  Looking at photos of her first weeks back in February makes me realise how much she's grown over this past year at school.  Only two more days and she will be a 'big pre-primary kid'.

Joining in with Jodi

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Christmas Tree (Take Two)

On the first day of December, we excitedly dragged our Christmas tree out of the garage, opened our box of ornaments and let the girls have free reign over the decorating task.  Two days ago, we did the same all over again, only this time, with a new tree.

The first year we were married, with Paul and I set to host Christmas night at our house, we went Christmas tree hunting one weekend, only to return home empty handed.  Every single department store we tried had literally sold out.  I ended up buying a set of red baubles and silver stars and we decorated the jasmine bush on our patio instead, which still looked impressive and which thankfully still served its purpose as the designated spot under which to place all our family's gifts.

Over the next few Christmases, we never bothered to even try buying a tree as there weren't any functions at our house and we figured there wasn't much point.  However, when Grace came along in 2009, I insisted a tree was vital (even though she was oblivious to all the festivities and hype) as I wanted to establish even at that early age what I felt was a very important family tradition.  I ended up buying a cheap, twenty dollar one from Coles (even more of a bargain when it scanned up as thirteen dollars at the checkout).  It did it's job, but has always looked rather bare and unimpressive.  And while structurally it was fine, the more Paul and I have looked at it over the past week, the more we've decided it was time for us to buy something a bit nicer for our family... something that showed we valued this season a bit more than it appeared.

On Wednesday, the girls and I picked up our 'forever Christmas tree'... it is actually smaller than our previous one (although when placed on a little table, it is still my height), but it is more of a realistic pine needle look, with fuller branches that look attractive even when undecorated.  It is not too bulky to store, is easy to set up and isn't too big or fancy (which wouldn't suit our humble little home anyway).

We returned from the shops after collecting our order and set about transferring our baubles and ornaments from the old tree to the new one with the girls ferrying pieces back and forth to me. "Mummy... I like this tree!" exclaimed Sophie as it began to take shape. We selected a nicer position where it can be enjoyed night after night as our fairy lights twinkle away and we are all much happier with our smaller but definitely lovelier little tree...

Our old tree-top star doesn't fit our new tree unfortunately... I'm hoping I can get Grace to craft something.  
Grace also insists we need some tinsel but I'm thinking we may decorate our patio with that instead... I rather like an 'uncluttered' look.
Now to finish wrapping the last of twenty or so presents waiting for me in our study and to get the girls to help me arrange them under the tree...

Monday, December 9, 2013


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

Helping prepare tea with Daddy... I love the look of concentration on their faces as they focus on the jobs Paul has given them...

Joining in with Jodi

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our Advent Calendar And Slow December Days

I love Christmas and all the excitement and joy it brings.  However, the busy-ness, the crowds and the stress I'm not such a fan of.  Come December, I purposely try to keep our days as slow as I can. There are still catch-ups with friends, errands to run and food to buy and our calendar is definitely filled more than usual. But for the most-part we pass our days with time spent close to home enjoying Christmas activities and treats.

Last year, I put together a simple little Advent calendar for Grace and on Saturday night, I brought it out again and strung it up.  With my gift buying so close to being completed (just a few small 'finishing off touches' to pick up), I am looking forward to days spent baking Christmas biscuits, wrapping presents, crafting... and soaking up all the magic of this season, a season which feels all the more special when viewed through the eyes of little ones and enjoyed at their less hurried pace.

Each envelope on our Advent calendar contains a card with a special task for the day.  
Some are for Christmas crafts and cooking, others are for outings such as visiting Santa or the Christmas lights.  
A handful contain a small treat such as stickers, tree ornaments or a chocolate.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013


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

Two very different techniques for decorating our tree.  Sophie focused on pretty much one single branch, covering it with bauble upon bauble upon bauble.  Grace was more precise and methodical, taking her time to look for bare spots and trying to spread her ornaments around evenly.

Our tree looks very haphazardly decorated... and that's exactly how it is going to stay as the girls are so proud of their efforts and think it is perfect... and because of that, so do I.

Joining in with Jodi

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Every Little Bit Counts - My Breast Cancer Fundraiser

My fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation has come and gone for 2013... a small, intimate, high-tea style gathering with my closest friends.  It was an afternoon of pretty antique crockery, bite sized savouries and sweet treats and lovely company and I did all that I could to pay attention to small details for my guests.

Blogging has taken a back seat over the past few weeks as the lead-up to last Saturday was spent crafting, preparing food and tidying the house (with two little helpers in tow).  With a timeline of 'to-dos' for each day, everything was slowly checked off in an unusually stress-free manner.  When I finally put my feet up on Saturday night though, I couldn't help but reflect on how quickly the afternoon had whizzed by in comparison to the days spent getting things ready.

Every year, I have the same debate as to whether or not to host another fundraiser, knowing how much energy and effort is required.  However, reading through the Pink Ribbon Day campaign material and the heartbreaking stories of those affected by this disease, my decision is an easy one to make...

I do this for myself and for my two precious girls.. for my Mum and sister and friends and all the females in their lives... so that one day, the National Breast Cancer Foundation's goal of zero deaths becomes a reality...

I do this because every little bit counts...

All photos by me (with the exception of the place setting shot taken by my friend Maya)

Monday, November 25, 2013


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

Grace: She is definitely Asha's favourite member of our family...these two have been such good friends ever since Grace was a little baby.

Sophie: The frown and the pout which make their appearance right before a little fiery outburst or tantrum.

Joining in with Jodi

Monday, November 18, 2013


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

At a party on the weekend, I kept getting asked who the girls looked most like... "Grace is definitely you," they would say, "It's so obvious she's your daughter".  They were certain Sophie had my hair, but unsure as to who her features most resembled...

...I see myself as a two year old... I'll have to drag out some old photos to compare...

Joining in with Jodi

Bron's unique take on her portraits last week had me smiling...

Monday, November 11, 2013


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

Sophie: Playing out the back, cuddling up to her big sister... she has become Grace's shadow, copying her every move lately and always a compliant playmate...

Grace: As quick as she's growing, sometimes I forget just how little she still is...

Joining in with Jodi

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Rhythm Of Our Days: Saturday Market Stop

There is a slight chill to the air as we bundle into the car early on Saturday mornings, making our weekly visit to the markets to stock up on our fruit and vegetables while Paul is out bike riding.  It has become a ritual and one the three of us look forward to once the weekend arrives. At this time of morning, the roads are beautifully quiet and the journey we make with a Play School CD to sing along to or an Enid Blyton talking book to listen to is an unusually peaceful one.

We park the car, feed the meter and hold hands as we cross the street and begin to wander.  Clutching my shopping list, the girls follow a few steps behind me.  We stick to the same few sellers and over time, have come to know who offers the sweetest strawberries, the longest lasting lettuce and the perfect-ripeness bananas. We do a loop, collecting what we need, occasionally stopping at The Herb+Tea+Spice Shop, flower stand or secondhand wares seller Refound.  Our final port of call is to buy four of our favourite mini-cupcakes. Sophie is always after the pink lolly-topped version, while Grace chooses what she thinks looks prettiest on the day.

I love the feel of the markets at this time of day... no busy crowds and only a sprinkling of tourists... mainly locals doing their grocery shop as the stall holders begin their day.  It is a relaxed atmosphere with friendly faces and our hour browsing (in between making sure the girls aren't getting under people's feet) is for the most part relaxing.

On our journey home, we point out all the landmarks we've come to recognise... the Fremantle Prison, the 'church house', monument hill with its colourful flower beds, the netball courts, the golf course and so on.  It's become a bit of a game as we see who can remember what's coming up next. Occasionally we'll stop at a garage sale, call into an op shop or run an errand.  However usually, the girls are itching to get home and have fun with their Daddy.

By the time we pull into our driveway, Paul has long since returned from his ride.  I flick on the kettle and as it boils, begin to unload our bags and prepare morning tea.  It's a standard joke now that every single week, Grace tries to trick Paul, pretending we've forgotten to buy him a cupcake.  She thinks it's hilarious.

And then, with my tea poured, we all enjoy our delicious icing topped treats and get ready to continue on with our Saturday...

For the past few weeks, we have been enjoying the ceiling of everlastings in the market yard, part of the Under The Wildflowers upside-down exhibition... 
We are hoping to purchase a bunch to bring home when the display comes down and the flowers become available for sale.  
There are at least ten of the frames above currently suspended in the market courtyard... the effect is breathtaking.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Apple Blossom Pie - Dorothy's Recipe

Of all the recipes that have been handed down in our family from generation to generation, the one of my Nanna's I've always been especially fond of is Apple Blossom Pie. And so a few weeks back, as I flipped through my recipe books and came across it, I decided to recreate that little bit of history... I brought it as dessert when we had dinner at my Mum's one night and between four adults and two little girls, we devoured the entire pie.

Here's my Nanna's recipe (with my adjustments) for you all to try...

Apple Blossom Pie

1 baked pastry case (shortcrust)
2 large (or 3 medium sized) apples
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
pulp of 2 passion fruit, strained to remove seeds
½ tin sweetened condensed milk (approximately 200g)
juice of 1 lemon
yolk of 1 egg
1 level dessertspoon gelatine
juice drained from cooked apple made up to ¾ cup of liquid with apple juice 
1 egg white
pink food colouring
whipped and sweetened cream

Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a saucepan with the water and sugar and simmer until the fruit is soft. Drain the syrup away - reserve it for the 3rd layer, adding apple juice to make a total of ¾ cup of liquid. Add gelatine, stir well and set aside. Puree the cooked apples until smooth, add passionfruit pulp (I strained mine to remove the seeds, although the recipe did not state to do so). Cool. Once cold, place in pastry case and refrigerate. For the 2nd layer, combine the sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolk and lemon juice and beat in an electric mixer on medium speed. Spread over the apple and passionfruit layer and refrigerate. For the 3rd layer of apple blossom topping, wait for the fruit syrup/gelatine mixture to cool and become partly set. Add a pinch of salt to the egg white and beat until stiff in an electric mixer on high speed. Colour a pale pink. At the same speed, add the partly set apple juice and continue beating until thick. Pile on the pie and decorate the edge with sweetened cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I used a pre-bought shortcrust pastry case above.  However, this recipe definitely better suits a home baked one.  

Monday, November 4, 2013


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

Sophie: With hot weather this week, the good old slippery dip was hauled out again for some water fun. Minus a nappy, I managed to squeeze Sophie into the same swimsuit from the beginning of the year. She had a ball playing with her big sister and could be heard calling out 'my turn, my turn' repeatedly.

Grace: Mothering the little sheep she won on the fishing game back at the Royal Show.  Tucked carefully under her wing, she talks and tends to him.

Joining in with Jodi

These beautiful captures of Eulalie and Marguerite and Milina's three lovely photos all stood out to me this week...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


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

Sophie: Trying her hardest to blow out the candles on her birthday cake (this caterpillar creation was a near disaster when I forgot to put the eggs into the first batch of cupcakes I made).  She was a bit overwhelmed by all the faces at her birthday dinner, but very excited when it was 'cake time'... I still can't believe my baby is two!

Grace: My sweet girl was such a help over the weekend when Paul was away down south. When I got out of the shower on Sunday morning, she ran excitedly down to my room, telling me proudly that she had made her bed to help me out.

Joining in with Jodi

Christina's two cuties were among my favourite photos this week as well as Amber's sweet poppets...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Rhythm Of Our Days: Sunday Breakfast Treat

A sleep-in is hoped for on Sundays, yet never eventuates.  Two little girls wake and with giggles, pitter patter down to our room, one usually dressed as a fairy, the other with a doll or stuffed toy tucked firmly under her arm.  We linger in bed for longer than usual - there are snuggles, tickles and endless chatter.

Occasionally as a treat, we drive to our favourite little cafe for breakfast.  Our order rarely changes... three serves of poached eggs (one with bacon on the side), juice or hot chocolate for the girls, an iced coffee for Paul and English Breakfast tea for me.  Grace and Sophie keep themselves busy colouring in, drawing or playing a simple game like memory while we wait for our order (or the occasional Peppa Pig episode on Paul's phone if our little one is in an impatient mood).  We are never disappointed with our meals, leaving with full bellies after a delicious feed.

A breakfast outing is never complete without a play in the park afterwards.  Sophie is fearless now, following her big sister on all the equipment, launching herself down the tallest slide without the slightest hesitation.  A favourite is always the sand wheel which sees a joint effort to fill the bucket and set it spinning round and round to the delight of both girls.

We take a few detours as we make our way home.  Sometimes we follow the river and admire the boats and the people out on the water.  Other times we head around to the south mole, looking out at ships on the horizon or stormy seas splashing against the rocks.  Occasionally there is a stop at Bunnings if there are jobs to be done around the house or at an antique shop for me to have a quick browse if the girls are happy and able to be kept occupied for a tad longer.

Breakfast out as a family of four is never effortless or entirely relaxing with lots to bring 'just in case', little ones to keep occupied and two-year old tantrums to try and avert.  However, whenever we do make the effort to go out, we always arrive back home with our day starting on a lovely note - with us enjoying quality family time together with good food and simple pleasures...