Saturday, December 28, 2013


I love the colours in these images.  Boxing Day and a trip to Maroondah Dam.  One day, if there ever is such a day, if I come into money, I will seek out an artist who paints sky/cloudscapes which are like lying on the grass gazing at the sky.  I love clouds, of all sorts.  On this day it was the white to dark grey and all the shades between that I loved so, somewhat mirroring the dam wall.

One of my most loved people is going through a very tough time and I'm so very far away from her.  I love her so, and it's torturous to not be able to hold her hand through this process.  I am a fixer, by nature, I find it hard to not be able to manage situations, to help people find a way through, but there are things we sometimes just have to do alone.  My love is always with her, I'm always here, if I'm not there.  There are clouds here and clouds where she is, so we will focus on those things somewhat joining us and I'll try my best to help her through the rest of it.


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

Ella     At Nan & Pas.  Becoming a young woman, she's very composed (for the most part), a gentle soul.  Time is moving so fast.
Leila   Still my baby in many ways, but she is getting so tall and very elegant, not yet too big for morning cuddles in bed.  Christmas morning and the excitement of opening her stocking.

It has been challenging, at times, to get a weekly photo of the girls.  It shows how life changes as they grow and begin school.  When they are small you have nothing but time to focus on the smallest of their actions and generally capture them on film.  As they grow older it becomes harder to capture those moments and there can be a feeling that images are a little staged.

Most photos of Ella this year seem to have been of her reading, probably her absolute favourite pastime.  Leila is now an amazing reader, so expect more snapshots of her doing the same in 2014.

Thank you Jodi, for reminding me to take a moment to remember these small yet huge moments.  I love my family, my girls and am all too aware of how fast time is passing.  I will never enjoy a time in my life more than I am right now and these moments remind me of that.


Merry Christmas 2013 x

Saturday, December 21, 2013


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

Another school year draws to an end.  Leila's finished her first year and Ella her fifth year.  I can't believe next year Ella goes into grade 5, leaving only two more years of primary school!

A successful year in terms of academic achievement, social development and friendship groups.  Both girls go from strength to strength in terms of knowing their own minds, having a strong sense of right and wrong, great empathy for all.  Their reports reflected that they are focused, respectful and caring.  We said that whilst it's wonderful to be bright, to do well academically, it's even more wonderful to read how engaged they are, that they worry about others and take care of their peers.

We're now excited about all the extra time we have together during our summer holidays.

Sunday, December 08, 2013


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

Leila    Patiently waiting for her turn with Santa at our prep picnic.
Ella      With Santa and one of our dear friends daughters.  Ella is very popular with the younger children, which she loves.  As we discussed today, everyone loves friends who listen to them, make a fuss of them and who they have fun with.  She ticks all those boxes.


This past week was Leila's prep concert and they all did amazingly well.  The show was choreographed, no-one forgot their steps, they sang enthusiastically and Leila was one of a few children chosen to read a speech aloud to the audience.  We were so proud of her, so clear, confident and well spoken.  Behind the scenes she was explaining that her tummy felt all funny and her hands were shaky, but she hid that completely.

It's gorgeous to see not just your child, but all the classmates who you've come to know so well, also doing well, having gotten off to such a wonderful start of their long education journey.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


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

Leila    This cat of ours starts his days with love from all members of the family, but is especially peaceful with Leila.
Ella     A last one from holidays, just because she's so lovely.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Geoff had long wanted to go to Cambodia, seeing Angkor Wat has been something he's wanted to do since he was a little boy.

When our brother in law Paul died in June, at his funeral there were so many wonderful photos of the four of them together on various trips, within Asia, Africa and further afield.  They shared some amazing experiences, travel was a huge adventure that Cathy and Paul shared when they first met and they extended that into their family life with their children.

Just after Paul died, his son, our nephew, went to Cambodia for four weeks.  It was a trip he'd been planning for over a year, first committing to it before his dad even knew he was sick.  He'd raised over $2000 himself through various fundraising activities to give to a local family in Cambodia who he would assist in building their own home.  He completed extra classes at school in TEFL and would act as a teacher and mentor to young Cambodians during his stay.

The trip was challenging for him in many ways.  He had lost his father only a week earlier, and left behind his mother and sister to cope with those early days alone.  Paul, his father, was a determined man and took his commitments extremely seriously.  He instilled that same sense in his children and we all believed that Paul wanted Dan to go on the trip, to complete what he'd committed to over a year earlier, and to have fun in the process.

We booked our trip on a whim, because life is too short and we want to have those experiences with our children.  We want them to have vivid memories of a wonderful family life, together in our home, doing nothing in particular, and being lucky enough to see another side of the world, where they can truly appreciate the reality of all they have.

In SE Asia, life is lived on the street.  A huge part of it's appeal to me is that aspect of it and all that you see, not hidden from the public eye, but there right in front of you.  It can be confronting at times, but often those things that surprise you most are the things that you remember longest.  Mothers nursing babies, young children playing with nothing in particular, seemingly always laughing and pushing each other.  Their life seems simple but happy.  At times it's hard not to judge, many children are shoe free, very dirty, but always smiling and laughing.  The differences are so vast, between our everyday and the average Cambodian's everyday that it's too much to list here.  It made us thoughtful though, very grateful for all we have, or just the good fortune of living where we do, but also I felt how wonderful to share that with our children, to have the luxury of that travel with them, it was very special.

Monday, November 25, 2013


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

Ella      Showing a side of her that perhaps I don't often share on this site.  Ella is quite the comic and loves nothing than a silly voice,   accent and some physical comedy.  Here trying to escape from a tree at the Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider) Temple.

Leila     She can be equally silly, but is thoughtful too.  Here taking a moment to catch her breath away from the crowds at the Angkor Wat Temple.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


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

Ella      Preparing spring rolls to be deep fried
Leila    Wearing a necklace of snake beans

Both taken during our cooking course at Le Tigre De Papier in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


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

Leila    In a new Nan knitted bolero cardigan, the colour suits her perfectly.
Ella      Doing what she loves best at Nan & Pa's.

An emphasis on gorgeous shiny hair this week. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


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

Leila  On the lower branches
Ella    On the higher branches

Both girls enjoying an afternoon picnicing with some friends on a lovely Melbourne pre-summer day.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm feeling a little scroogie today.  Every year I've made a fuss of Halloween with the girls.  Last year was the first time we went out trick or treating, but that was on a pre-arranged route with kinder friends.  I have always dressed up, made crazy dinners and that kind of thing, but this year I feel tapped out of enthusiasm.

I conceded to buying some lollies if others come a-knocking, but seriously, we don't need more sugar in our lives.  I was complaining to Geoff about disappointing the girls, it's basketball practice, I have to make dinner blah blah blah I don't want to be a misery to which he responded, just be a parent and say no.

We're lucky, our girls are super reasonable and have never been prone to tantrums, but still I find it hard to say no and disappoint them, I feel ill at ease with just saying no without a really good reason.  The reality is I just don't feel like it and for some reason that makes me feel like a mean mum.  Stay tuned, tomorrow I could well be complaining because I took them and was peeved every moment!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I long dreamt of a life that was like this lady's, but almost two decades ago fell for a man who is very much urban in his outlook.  Choosing the man over the land every time, I've tried to scratch out the bits of the life I imagined in our little suburban block.

I don't know that I'll ever have a pantry full of bottled fruit and veg raised on our own land, but my version of harvesting whatever crop we have in season and in this case being able to squirrel some away for another time, that's my own version of self sufficiency.

Whilst admiring many of this man's pursuits, our life demands some a more conservative approach in terms of the money that this family brings in.  We want choice in where we live, in how we educate our children and having funds to repair that which needs repair, so adopt only the parts of this life which are realistic for us. For some it may not be enough, but for me it's combining the best of both worlds and allows me to live my little illusion while I sit and weigh my beans.

Monday, October 28, 2013


The garden is very productive right now.  The broad beans are always a success, this year particularly so.  I pulled our garlic yesterday as it was dying off at the top and the ground so wet I worried it would start to rot. The carrots, well that's but a fraction of what we have still in the ground, so sweet and crisp, I don't know I have ever cooked any as they are simply so good raw.

I have three tomatoes already in the ground, have had for the past month.  A black russian, tommy toe and San Marzano.  I will need to get the broad beans out before I can plant any more summer veg.  I'm considering another raised bed, as it would buy so much more production for us, but will have to see if Geoff can tolerate going more Mediterranean...  I'll be planting lots of basil again as we're still enjoying the last of our basil oil from last year, a huge success and such a delicious taste of summer in a single spoonful.  Eggplants, Zucchini and Peppers, some more Chilli.  Hard to believe it will ever be summer right now, as we're back into winter weather, but before long I don't doubt I'll be dreaming of cold nights.


I'm growing older and so is my family.  We register the landmarks in our children's lives, but the adults face just as many significant landmarks.  Geoff and I are both, we hope, only at the half way point of our lives, but we can't take that for granted.  My darling brother and brother in law were both taken too young at 53 and 51 respectively.

My father in law's next landmark birthday is 80, my mother and mother in law a few years behind that but 80 is the next milestone for them.  My father a little behind, next year a landmark 70 approaches.  My nephew has just turned 20, my other two nephews both just celebrated 17.

I celebrate a birthday soon and I'm not quite halfway through my 40's, but that's approaching too.  Life flashes by, it doesn't seem to slow as I get older, but in fact runs away from me even more.

On the weekend we celebrated two of our October birthdays, Ella's 10th and Dan's 17th.  Not all the family were together, but Geoff's parents, his sister and her children joined us for afternoon tea.  We had cinnamon teacake and lemon yoghurt & raspberry muffins.  We sat at the table for 3 hours and chatted.  We didn't put any wrongs right, we didn't discuss the hugest issues in life, we were just together and it was so nice.

My father in law was in high spirits yesterday.  He has Parkinsons and it is a depressive condition which challenges even the most resilient of individuals.  Yesterday he had us in stitches with stories of his time - pre my mother in law - working for NAB in Winton in western Queensland.  He reminded us of stories from his years growing up in Byron, paddling on boards out to the prawn trawlers, tossing up canvas bags to have them filled and tossed back, gratis.

It was a memorable afternoon, and yet the most simple of times.  The best memories don't always come from the huge moments, but from connecting over the small ones.


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

Balloon play.  Family over for an October Birthdays Afternoon tea which led to plenty of balloon play.  

Monday, October 21, 2013


Today is a day that has been long anticipated, in fact it has been years in the making.  Today Ella left for her first school camp.  Since she heard real talk of it back in grade 2, it's been a school highlight long anticipated and if we're honest, the cause of a little anxiousness.  As the year has passed, Ella has gained more confidence about being away from home, so I feel that we were well prepared for today.

We had a couple of nights in the past week where sleep was hard won, worries always appearing much more clearly in the quiet of night, but last night she slept well and today she was happy and excited.  In bed this morning Ella said Mum, I don't want you getting upset today, if you do you'll make me upset and then it will just be hard for everyone.  Duly warned I wasn't in the least upset, just excited about the wonderful time I'm sure she'll have.  I even made it easier for her to leave on the bus, in fact wishing herself away, but doing a silly dance on the footpath in front of all her friends so that she really WANTED to leave, NOW!

Can't wait to hear about all her adventures.


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

Leila  I'm not sure what to say, this was a pose she practiced in front of the mirror, before asking me to capture it outside...
Ella   If she's not drawing then she's reading, or she's writing, or she's listening to music.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Ella & Leila    In a week that has been all about our gorgeous Ella turning 10, a combined photo of the girls on the morning after the sleepover.  Beautiful girls both, Ella including her younger sister with her friends in all the sleepover activities with grace and genuine happiness that she was a part of it.  We're very lucky x