Thursday, December 1, 2016
One thing we've both noticed since moving to this new town is how much we miss the sea and the salty breeze from the east. As the last, humid days of spring rolled around, the days gradually grew longer and the impending summer heat could be felt radiating from the earth in blurry waves. In the evenings, tall storm clouds drifted up from the south, floating low and dark over this riverside town.
The temperature tends to soar before the storm breaks, reaching the high 30s (that's in the mid to high 90s for you delightful northern visitors). The bonus for the brief half hour or so following the rain (providing there was no hail) is that puddles rapidly form, making the best wet playground for Love to slosh, skip and splash in the potholes of our quiet cul-de-sac. Most days I need to hide her bright orange gumboots when she naps, otherwise she'll insist on wearing them, and only them in all her birthday suit glory (cute bum, though).
This month Love taught me that yoghurt makes for a sweet moisturiser, if you don't mind the stickiness. Which, unfortunately I do. There's always a risk leaving her unattended with a small tub of yoghurt for even a second as it will usually end up smeared in creamy patches across the table, oozing down her arms in gloopy drips. On the plus-side, she smells amazing and usually enjoys a shower afterwards. Downside? She usually picks the most inopportune time to up-end her tub, like when we're getting ready to leave the house and she rarely wants to dress post-shower so I often find myself dripping naked chasing a dripping naked toddler as she runs, screaming hysterically from room to room.
We managed to visit the coast every weekend, staying in our old beach house. We attended a relaxed beach wedding together, which was a treat for me as I'm usually the photographer, rather than a guest. After the ceremony, I drove Love to a nearby headland and she fell asleep in my arms as the sun was setting over the mountains. Sunset is my favourite time of day in the spring time; a celebration of nature and light, warm air and hopes for the summer. I especially love the Christmas colours. Deep hues of red with the natural greens one can find on any coastal headland or beachside forest on the Mid North Coast.
I spent one night apart from Love this month when I travelled to Brisbane for a live show (Kooza by Cirque du Soleil). Though I felt the beginnings of a cold, I rested in every available moment, enjoyed Korean barbecue with my company, drank tea and allowed myself to sink into my seat, absorbing every colour, light, stunt and musical note from the live performance and band. I'm grateful I went and the reunion on my return? Well it was the perfect way to begin summer.
What are your traditions at this time of year? Are you ready for Christmas?
Saturday, November 19, 2016
I cannot recall the exact moment, it was more a gradual build up over time. There were a period of months there when the little things started to transform into more foundation-rocking ones. Love, the perceptive little girl that she is, noticed the subtle changes in our behaviour long before we did. For us, it took more than twelve months before we came to the realisation that something quite serious was happening.
Without intention, we were in an unhappy place in our relationship. The lighter, candid moments seemed lost in a sea of darker ones. It was easy to lose myself for a while. To lose myself was to imagine myself set adrift to feel what life could be like in a different place.
I moved to a new town, closer to my work and started a new chapter. I gave myself to this new life decision. Love and I endured sickness and late night hospital visits as her little body battled new exposure to different illnesses.
I lost sleep but still I pushed myself to try harder. I created a plan to improve my body, mind and soul.
Love and I painted as the morning sun filled the sky with golden, buttery light.
I purchased a kindle and downloaded some books from my ever-growing list of titles. I decided I would actually set aside time to lose myself in the digital pages several times each week.
I set aside hours every week to be with nature. We hiked to a waterfall, sat in the park beside a giant serpent-like river; surfed at sunset and dined on a rug on the shore. We explored rock pools together, climbing over shell creatures, whilst trying not to disrupt their salty ecosystem.
I picked up the camera and thought about the composition of my images. I searched for the light and found myself bathing in it daily. I played with shadows.
I began running again, this time my regular beach jog was substituted for a lap around a horse race track after sunrise or before the night air settled. I joined a gym and worked with a former professional athlete to create a plan to strengthen my tired muscles.
I commenced yoga classes and brought my attention to my tiny joints, my belly-breathing, engaging my core and accepting every thought and sensation, watching each come and go, like gentle waves rolling in a vast ocean.
And without realising it, the reverse process began to occur. Somewhere, bobbing along in my lonely sea, I noticed the familiar flutters of happiness begin to wash over me, like a warm energy.
I was relaxing. I knew I would be happy again because I could feel it already.
I'll admit that I felt lost for some months before things began to come back into focus. I have a renewed appreciation for all that is present in my life.
I feel as though my passions have been reignited and burn more powerfully than before.
The greatest gift I could afford myself was time and distance from external pressures. I removed self-imposed labels and focussed on what I wanted, rather than what I or others voiced that I should not be doing.
I manifested positivity through meditation, positive self-talk and basked in my accomplishments.
I remembered to look back only so far as I needed to see that I was making the changes I wanted to see around me and within.
I made plans for our future. Flights. A new adventure in a foreign land, one I have not visited in 16 years. A land filled with wondrous landscapes, hills, valleys, mountain streams, great lakes, meringue-topped peaks and sunburnt deserts.
For the first time in a very, very long time I am free.
Together with my sweet girl, we will travel across oceans on our next adventure.
Love is all we need.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Love | 2 years and one glorious month
Hello there friends,
I'm still here. I took a little break but I'm back now. I went away for a while, tried something out, something vastly different to my norm. I processed the change in my surroundings and within myself and now I'm here to share. Most importantly, I feel like I have gained a greater appreciation for all the elements in my life that make up my very being.
I can be still and notice the air; the taste of spring as it rolls around my tongue and fills my belly. In the past month I have visited waterfalls, danced with mountains, stretched with golden sunrises, greeted the new moon and wondered at the glistening array of stars emblazoned across the night sky.
Some of you, particularly my tribe, may have noticed my absence more than others. I assure you that I am ok. I just needed time and space to breathe. To recentre and be still.
I look forward to this story unfurling in the coming weeks. You're welcome to join me.
I'm glad you're here.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Outdoor Winter Shoot - I'm looking to collaborate with other creatives for this exciting project!
- Make up artists
- Wedding dress stockists and/ or designers
- Other beautiful clothing, accessory and homewares designers
Email for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
In exchange for your time and creative flair, I'm offering a free photographic portfolio to share your business - gain exposure and showcase what you can do!
Models: Please email recent photo.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Her new sweet ride- It's a secondhand hiking pack for toddlers, a necessary purchase as she has outgrown the Ergo baby. For now she seems keen to sit and watch the world as we rock her up sand dunes and through the Australian bush.
Yesterday went something like this... Up before 6am, washed two loads of washing, poached pears for her and made fluffy pancakes with a delicious pear, cinnamon and currant syrup for the both of us as her papa left for work before 7am.
She painted (her tummy and legs mostly), then we walked Coco on the beach (translation: Coco watched on as Love ran into the sea and rock pools fully-clothed). We saw a friend and his two older daughters at the beach, who weren't that keen on Love demolishing their sand sculptures.
Following the beach, Coco dog didn't want to get in the car, then she hid underneath it because she didn't want to be hosed, then Love didn't want to get out of the bath until I convinced her to help me to bake a cake (or was it the other way around?).
Next, Love sat on the kitchen bench transferring almond meal into raw eggs as I tried to demonstrate 'like this, sweetheart' and encourage her to 'watch mama, Love'. Eventually the cake made it into the oven and I used two towels to wipe batter from Love's sticky fingers before I made pasta for lunch and Love enjoyed her next bath, which was necessary to remove the cake batter dreads and pasta sauce finger paint.
I put the third load of washing on as salty, wet, sand-covered ghost dog returned home, then washed the dog, greeted husband and enjoyed (two!) slices of moist orange and almond cake with half a cup of tea.
Next I continued packing in preparation for the big move. Love started to do that extra-cheeky thing she does just before she passes out so I whipped her into the backpack with the 'buh-bows' (bubbles) she requested (demanded) and hiked over the headland. She whined a little and proceeded to flick bubble mixture all over the back of my head and arms. Not to worry, I completely fudged the bubble recipe (3 parts water : 2 parts detergent : 1 part corn syrup?? I think Sesame Street lied...) then the kicking and whining stopped (she fell asleep).
Mama reheated her tea for the umpteenth time and went to bed with half-filled boxes littering the kitchen and wet washing still in the machine.
Living a blessed life by the sea. Trying to make do with the mere 24 hours in every day... #amiright?
Saturday, April 16, 2016
When I first started my blog around six years ago, I imagined making it big in the food blogging world. I passionately cooked successes after failures and documented my favourite recipes on Sea and Salt to share with the world. At the time I felt trapped in a job where day after day I felt no spark but was too frightened to leave. In every spare moment I was trawling the internet, feeling inspired by Aran Goyoaga from Canelle et Vanille, Molly Wizenberg from Orangette, Ashley Rodriguez from Not Without Salt and of course, Julie Powell's expired blog The Julie/Julia Project made even more famous by a certain movie...
In retrospect, I can see how many others shared the same dream. That doesn't mean mine was any less important to me but it certainly did make me feel that this space was some how diluted in the world of food dot coms. This feeling was compounded by the reality that I tightly held my fears close and the idea of navigating out of the darkness seemed unobtainable as those fears had become so frighteningly comfortable.
I eventually did move on from that exhausting career with the support of my partner and the possibilities that fell before me seemed to awaken my silent potential. To describe that inspired feeling I would say it felt like I was more open to change, more open to love (including self-love) and open to nurturing my small ideas into something more tangible. I began to meditate, practise yoga and manifest the things I truly wanted to learn and achieve. We even started our own business, Sea and Salt Photography.
As my life has changed, so too has this space. The evolution of Sea and Salt has grown from food blog to travel blog-come-family blog and more.
What it has always been is a space to share my creative writing, thoughts and personal photographs. To date, my most viewed post is my recipe for baked camembert cheese with honey, followed closely by the posts I have shared over the years containing my most honest writings on trying to conceive, parenthood, the odd giveaway I share (funded solely by myself) and one particular creative piece I wrote about a Hendrick's gin and tonic (not surprisingly, it also contains a cocktail recipe)...
This space will continue to change as I collaborate with other creatives on a new venture to help connect with others in new and exciting ways. Sea and Salt continues to grow because I face my fears head on, I lean into them with hope and gratitude for the freedom and lessons I experience along the way. Surrender and be open to new possibilities. This is my mantra.
To those of you who have commented and visited over the years, thank you.
Thank you for the words of encouragement and support. Thank you for sharing your own stories and thank you for being here.
It means the world to me.