Thursday, February 28, 2013

From 21 To 31

My birthday is only five days away, and so a bit of self-reflection has been going on in my head lately.  About a month ago, as I sifted through the contents of the keepsake boxes hidden away at the top of a cupboard, I stumbled upon some notes from my friends’ speech at my 21st birthday celebration ten years ago.

Reading through what they'd written however and looking at the photo above of the fresh faced, sun tanned 21 year old girl at her party, I can't help but wonder where 'that girl' has gone...

My friends talked about my adventurous spirit and busy social life.  They described me as a perfectionist who had schedules and lists for everything, 'typewriter' handwriting and who put a lot of thought into all that I did.  They said I was dedicated to my waitressing job in Fremantle which I fit around my uni studies, was a beach lover, loved all things blue, always had perfectly painted nails in some pearly hue, jewellery coordinated with my outfits and refused to change my boring mobile phone ring tone.  Reading about the qualities they thought characterised me brought lots of memories flooding back.    

Since then, the past ten years have been such a decade of change for me.  My fun loving, bubbly persona has given way to a more nurturing and serious side. I'm more homebody than social butterfly these days.  I’ve become a wife and a mother.  I've experienced several hardships (which have made me a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser).  I've developed firm beliefs, values and ideals.  I've experienced great joy and great sorrow.  I've worked hard.  I've travelled. I've made a home for my own little family.  I've achieved goals.

Underneath however, I hope I’m still the same thoughtful, sensitive, talkative girl they described. With such changes over the past ten years, it makes me wonder what the next decade has in store…


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Point And Shoot: Party Time

The weekend just gone was uncharacteristically busy for us, a rather jam-packed one with two birthday parties for two special little cousins to attend.  Saturdays and Sundays are usually fairly low key in our home, made up of an early morning bike ride for Paul, a few errands and jobs, a simple family outing such as a picnic breakfast by the river and some relaxed pottering around the house and garden.  However, while we were all fairly tired when the end of the weekend rolled around, we had fun and loved every minute celebrating with family and friends.

On Saturday, we celebrated a first birthday party which was the perfect combination of a casual backyard atmosphere, pretty decorations and a beautifully decorated cake.  A shade shelter was set up with a sandpit and water table underneath to keep the little ones happy while the adults enjoyed delicious morning tea treats.


Sunday we headed to the Stirling Miniature Railway for a sixth birthday party.  It was a fantastic family venue with a fully shaded picnic area situated in the middle of the train track circuits. The adults took turns doing a loop with the little ones who all had a ball riding on the steam engines over bridges and through the tunnel as the engine chuffed its way along.

Sophie was just as infatuated with the trains as she was with her baby cousin... seeing these two playing peek-a-boo with each other was truly adorable.

After our weekend of parties and our typical quiet Monday at home, it will be a day of rest and recuperation for us today.  Grace is tucked up in bed congested with a cold and I think Sophie has a touch of the sniffles too... time to put on my nurse's hat...

Linking up with Lou's Point And Shoot

Saturday, February 23, 2013


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

Grace: So many snapshots taken to get this one I loved.  My happy, fun-loving girl with a mop of wild curls just like mine

Sophie: Investigating her 'spot' on the sole of her grubby little foot... it never ceases to fascinate her

Joining in with Jodi

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Home Office / Guest Bedroom Plans

I like beginning the year with a good tidy and cull, starting things fresh with a relatively organised space and good habits that keep our home life running that little bit smoother as the weeks progress.

About a month ago, I decided I could not put things off any longer in our study.  It had become so much of a dumping ground that the floor was barely visible and I'd taken to keeping its door shut most of the time to hide the mess.  It was an embarrassment, but something I nevertheless kept pushing aside to the bottom of my endless ‘to-dos’… a project hanging over my head, causing ‘metaphorical clutter’ as Gretchin Rubin describes in her book ‘The Happiness Project’.  And so, fed up with being unable to locate anything, something inside me snapped and one Sunday afternoon back in January, I stopped procrastinating and began to tackle my mammoth task. 

Since then, HUGE progress has been made.  Not only can I see our carpet once more, but furniture has been shifted around, heaps of no longer needed items have been tossed and our existing pieces are all set to be listed on Gumtree so that our combined home office and guest room transformation can shortly (fingers crossed) begin.  Over the past weekend, my focus was on the built in wardrobe in our study.  I emptied it out completely, found new homes for things such as winter jackets, Paul’s old motorsport suits, a picnic hamper, boxes of keepsakes and our Christmas tree and managed to pretty much halve the contents of what we had.

At the same time, nights have been spent pouring over interiors magazines for inspiration and browsing on Pinterest for ideas.  It's been a long process but finally, I have a vision for what is set to become our combined home office and guest room.

I'm picturing a light and bright room with a combination of white and natural timber furniture, bed linen in a myriad of blue and white prints, shelving for child friendly access to craft supplies, baskets for textural interest, a pin board to display all things inspirational and a low maintenance indoor plant to add a splash of greenery.  A filing cabinet will double as a bedside table for guests and artwork will be simple but thoughtfully chosen.

Progress is slow in our home, but it is finally happening…

Image #1 Red Brick  Image #2  Remodelista
Image #2 (clockwise from top-left)  
Image #3 Tinkerlab

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homely Snippets

A few homely snippets from these parts today…

Over the past few weeks, as part of my night-time wind-down ritual, I've been reading a chapter or two from my current book of the moment 'The Happiness Project'.  However, there's also a stack of books currently piled up on my bedside table which I'm desperate to delve into.  Some were much loved Christmas gifts, others are titles I've recently treated myself to.  I'm trying hard to read them slowly one by one and to take in all that each has to offer, free from distractions.  I think it might be time though to mix things up with a fiction book perhaps...

As part of my ‘leave no stone unturned’ de-cluttering and sorting frenzy, I whipped up some visual labels for the girls' toy storage crates today.  Labelling things neatly makes me feel so organized and is one of the aspects I loved about having my own classroom back when I was teaching.  Sophie and Grace both have some toys stored like this at the bottom of their wardrobes which I drag out and rotate often. 

The throw draped over my lounge above is the cosy and ever-so-soft one I’ve ordered from Wallace Cotton… my friend lent me hers so I could see if the colour was suitable before I ordered my own.  I can’t wait to snuggle under it as the cooler autumn weather approaches. 

Yesterday I let Grace loose with some paint and asked her to cover a page in flowers for us to use as wrapping paper for our baby cousin’s first birthday this coming weekend.  It will look amazing when we package it, although part of me wants to keep this painting for myself now… maybe we'll have to drag out those paintbrushes again tomorrow when Grace has a non-kindy day...

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I've been extremely frustrated with my photography skills (or more accurately my lack of photography skills) this week.  Shot after shot has been either blurry or too dark.  However, while the two photos I've chosen this week aren't brilliant artistically, they stood out to me among the collection I'd taken because they seemed to capture my girls so well...

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

Grace: Deeply engrossed in a favourite book.  Those long eyelashes a pretty feature of her sweet little face

Sophie:  Such an expressive, animated little one.  In this photo, I can picture so vividly how she will look as a little girl

Joining in with Jodi

Friday, February 15, 2013

Adjusting To Kindy

When I sent Grace off to kindy for her first day last Friday, I never expected that I would spend so much time myself thinking about our new journey.  That I would feel tired emotionally after a week and have nervous knots in my stomach on the days when Grace wasn’t at home.  Today, after leaving a teary Grace with her teacher, Sophie and I met my cousin and her little girl for a coffee and a play at the park.  Having a distraction was good and kept me from re-playing over and over in my mind the image of Grace sitting by the teacher’s feet, her little shoulders hunched over, eyes misty and a sad expression on her face.  On the way home for lunch, I decided to lift my spirits and stopped in at a gift shop to treat myself to a scented candle.  After smelling several, the one I was drawn to was the ‘De-Stress’ blend which I thought was quite fitting.

Kindy has been such a new experience for my big girl.  She’s never been to day care.  Never spent long periods of time away from myself or Paul.  Never had to deal with feelings of worry and separation and uncertainty which are consuming her little overactive mind at the moment.

I know it’s early days.  I know that once she gets used to her routine and becomes familiar with her teachers and classroom and makes friends that this period will fade away.  But for now, I can't help but feel a little bit heart broken as I farewell her and walk home each day…

The lovely orange rose above is one of a bunch given to me for Valentine's Day yesterday by Paul
 - he also spoilt me with a surprise dinner at a favourite restaurant 

Saturday, February 9, 2013


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

Sophie:  Yoghurt covered lips, gazing out the window, mesmerised by the mudlarks and honey eaters in the garden as she eats her lunch.  Those tight curls at the back of her head have been springing out from behind her ears all week due to the heat and humidity. 

Grace: My big girl and her 'first day of kindy creation.'   I felt sad when the teacher told me there had been tears at lunchtime, but as we walked home yesterday and chatted about her day, Grace insisted the tears were simply because she was exhausted.  "I was just SO tried Mummy," she told me.   

 Joining in with Jodi

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Raspberry And Coconut Loaf

A long time has passed since I’ve shared a recipe here, mainly due to a long time having passed since I’ve tried anything new really.  Today I decided to whip up this Raspberry And Coconut Loaf for afternoon tea and thought I'd share the recipe with you all.  While the large quantity of sugar isn't exactly to my liking, I figured one piece couldn't hurt and so after we all devoured a slice each fresh from the oven, I froze the other half of this loaf for another time when the urge for something sweet hits...

Raspberry And Coconut Loaf

1 ¾ cups desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups coconut milk
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ⅔ cups self-raising flour
1 cup frozen raspberries
icing sugar, to serve

Combine coconut and coconut milk in a large bowl. Cover and stand for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 170°C. Line base and sides of a 7cm-deep, 10.5cm x 20.5cm (base) loaf pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.  Using a metal spoon, stir sugar, egg and vanilla into coconut mixture. Sift flour over coconut mixture. Gently stir until combined. Fold in raspberries.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and slice. Serve toasted, if desired.

Photography by Steve Brown for Taste

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Few Blogs Inspiring Me Lately

Today I wanted to encourage that community spirit of blogging and share with you some of my favourite spaces to visit… blogs that inspire me, that draw me in with stunning photography or that captivate me with beautifully woven together words…

Claire is such a positive, encouraging and honest blogger whose attitude for ‘living a full life’ is infectious.  Tales of her days with the adorable Ella and Ryder are ones I can relate to so well and the way she shares her journey of motherhood is always inspiring.  I am so glad to have crossed paths with such a lovely soul who is now someone I consider a dear friend…

Maya’s is a blog I only discovered a few months back.  Covering house tours, DIY projects and other interiors related topics, reading her blog allows me to indulge in my love of decorating in a format that is professionally written and yet completely down-to-earth at the same time.  If you’re a fan of home decorating and lifestyle magazines, be sure to visit Maya’s space…

Lou’s blog never ceases to amaze me with its stunning photos and each and every time I read her posts, I find myself wishing I knew how to use my camera more easily in manual mode.  A professional photographer, Lou has that way of capturing moments, expressions and personalities so beautifully and each post of hers leaves me eager for the next. 

The blog of professional organizer Annie is another recent addition to my reading list, but one whose posts I've found so helpful and inspiring during my recent de-cluttering mission, that I'm slowly working my way back through them.  Annie blogs about organization in the home, creating a serene space, decorating ideas and tips for maintaining a simple, stress-free way of life.

I first discovered Claire’s blog when we were both pregnant the year before last.   Since then, I’ve delighted reading about the way she has embraced motherhood  – I find her attitude and her approach heart-warming and her space is one that always feels welcoming to her readers.  Her posts highlighting simple daily pleasures are among my favourites, reminding me to stop and appreciate such moments in my own world.  

Lately, I’ve been thinking more consciously about what goes into and onto my body.  Kristy’s blog is one that shares achievable ways for doing both naturally with a whole stack of healthy recipes, beauty products and ideas about living a healthier life.  Her photography skills are also amazing. 

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with these gems above, but if not, be sure to stop by their corners of blogland and say hello…

Image #4 Photo Credit:  Helynn Ospina via Em Design Interiors
All other images above are by the authors of the correspinding blogs

Saturday, February 2, 2013


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

Grace:  On the long weekend, as I sorted through the contents of our walk-in-robe on my de-cluttering mission, I pulled down the box holding my precious wedding dress and let Grace try on my veil.  I used to love doing the very same thing with my Mum's wedding dress when I was little. Watching her examine the delicate lace and beading with such care made me smile...

Sophie:  A sweet pose by Sophie waiting to go for a swim, turned into a shot of her losing it within the mere seconds it took for me to reach for my camera.  Our little one is very fiery and strong-minded indeed and tantrums have been daily occurrences lately, usually due to her frustration at wanting to do everything her big sister does.  


 Joining in with Jodi