Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Sometimes the best gifts are those we can enjoy quietly together, after a swim at the beach to wind down before our afternoon nap. Wilderness by Hannah Pang is a colourful children's book with illustrations by Jenny Wren. I adore the name Jenny Wren, it reminds me of my childhood watching the Blue Wrens and Jenny Wrens fly about the garden from my grandparents verandah on their old dairy farm.
I was visiting the lovely store, Lily & Sapphire, in Coffs Harbour on New Years Eve with Love. She was very interested in a tea set, much like the one at home however, this book caught my eye.
We don't usually purchase gifts on a whim but this one seemed like the perfect book to read with Love on New Years Day, at her current age of two years and four months.
She is beginning to learn the names of different species of animals beyond Old MacDonald's Farm and with her vocabulary growing every day, she is already forming sentences, which I understand (for the most part). Now she can say 'narwhal' and I'm pleased to share that I learnt something too. Did you know, for example, that the tooth of the male narwhal, the unicorn of the sea, grows into a long spiralled tusk which can exceed more than three (THREE!) metres (9 ft)? I know I'd swim into all sorts of trouble with a tusk like that! When we flip the book open to the page with the narwhal, Love extends her arm and makes bubble noises, it's quite adorable.
If you are looking for a gift for a toddler, books are usually safe options, especially those with pop-up pages, with little cardboard flaps and not a battery in sight.
Wilderness - An Interactive Atlas of Animals, introduces over 100 animals in their various habitats all over the world.
If your little one shares a love for the natural world, this is sure to bring a smile to their face as they turn each luxuriously thick page filled with colourful habitats and wonderful creatures.
I'll be sharing other gift ideas and activities for little ones over the course of 2017 and would like to hear your suggestions.
*This is not a sponsored post.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
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.