30 Jan 2014


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I reach for the same straw yellow bowl and  the same worn wooden spoon.  Flung over my shoulder is a tea towel in muted natural fibres that will soften further with time and use. Quality tools majestic in their simplicity that I will turn to for many years to come. Familiar and predictable, they have grown to be part of this space. I thumb through floral tinged cook books bursting with awe inspiring photography but after bathing in their ways for a time I return to the recipes of my Mum, my Grandmothers and even my Great Grandmothers.   There is a calm in the sameness of it all.

With a familiar recipe chosen I start my kitchen dance. It's a gentle and timeless practice that grounds me; in my day, in my home, in my world.  When all around is a whirligig of too much, too loud, too fast, there is strength and peace to be found in the simple alchemy of butter, eggs and flour. It is a way to extend a hand to a friend, welcome a new baby, to stir love and time and words that sometimes can't be said into something sweet and heartwarming.  A collage of simple indulgence, familiar rhythms and home.

Steph x

Olivia from little flourishes creates timeless products steeped in Australiana and resonating with her strong environmental and ethical philosophy.  Each beautiful, contemporary design is locally produced and uses natural, organic fibres. She produces eco conscious baby ware including butter soft blankets and wraps inspired by the magnificent Australian flora and fauna. I adore the bachelor button and flannel flowers wrap and can envisage many afternoon naps in the shade on the Australian black neck stork blanket.  Timeless and sturdy homewares in robust linen add another lovely dimension to her collection. The Queensland firewheel tablecloth would be a perfect way to imbue a Christmas table with nature's beauty and the thirsty natural linen tea towels grow more beautiful with time and use. Olivia's muted palette and botanical designs would bring a certain simple beauty to any home.

25 Jan 2014


"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou - She has replaced her concentration tongue with a concentration "fish face". 
Remy  - He's been out of sorts for the last little while. The world just seems a touch overwhelming for him as the little boy slowly emerges from the baby.

Steph x

I loved Piper all wrapped up and sweet, inquisitive Fletcher.

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

24 Jan 2014


connecting - We have been having dinner earlier lately and involving everyone in the cleanup afterwards. We're making time for a simple board game or puzzles after our meal and relishing this gentle time together; a new family ritual. 

nourishing - The heat has been quite oppressive so I've been keeping a crystal jug of water in the fridge laced with fresh mint, lavender and lemon. 

reading -  Revisiting an old favourite, Calm and Compassionate Children and being guided by the author's serene ways as we begin a more structured, busy part of our lives.

playing - With longer days we've been spreading floral sheets on the lawn and threading foraged blooms with needle and cotton.

creating -  Large rectangles of cotton voile are being cajoled into a few simple summery maxi skirts. 

nurturing -  Cat stretches in the morning are easing my troublesome lower back and new organic cotton sheets are helping me to sleep.

growing - Little jars are lining our kitchen bench with sprouts; such a wonder to observe each day and delicious in our salads. 

listening - Saying the words out loud...and believing them, "She will be fine".

May your weekend be restorative and beauty-filled.

Steph x

22 Jan 2014

school - the emotional

I've been all industry and practicality as we count down the final days until Bijou starts school.  She will embark on such learning adventures of this I am sure, and am incredibly grateful for. But she will no longer shadow me as I walk through my days as she has done these five years. My heart can't help but be heavy.

I have always been mindful however to shield her from my inner torment and have shown her nothing but excitement and positivity about this new chapter.  With gentle conversations I have hoped to prepare her emotionally for her adventure.

These ideas were passed onto parents when I was teaching and with the shoe on the other foot I have found my old ways reassuring and helpful as we prepare for that very special first day. I hope something speaks to you too.

  • Although speaking positively about school is important try to be mindful not to build up expectation and feed excitement too much.  It is simply the next step in growing up and creating too much positive tension can often be overwhelming to little ones. Or alternatively, disappointing when school doesn't quite live up to all their rainbow coloured ideals.
  • Read books about starting school and have gentle chats about how the characters are feeling. Your child may voice their own concerns when walking through school life in stories. We particularly like, Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker.
  • Talk your child through what a day will look like. Treating a day at home like a school day complete with morning tea and big lunch, outside play and quiet afternoon activities can be a fun way to rehearse all the practical things like opening lunch boxes, not eating all their food at the first break, going to the toilet etc. It can also calm nerves as a mental map of the day is filed away.
  • Practising morning routines in the weeks prior can also make the transition much smoother for everyone.
  • An early bedtime the night before may help to offset the inevitable early rise on the big day.  Try to create a gentle, slow morning with adequate time for a good breakfast and a visit to the toilet.
  • On the big day, if possible avoid inviting other family members. It is an incredibly special occasion but most classrooms barely contain the twenty-five or so children, so imagine its groaning with fifty parents, siblings and grandparents. 
  • When leaving, try not to linger too long. Stay calm and reassuring and although it is emotional try not to cry in front of your child as this can cause confusion and anxiety (I will be wearing my dark sunnies and summoning every drop of willpower). If your child becomes distressed your teacher will be at your side to help and the best thing (and yes, the hardest!) you can do is to leave calmly. We always contacted parents when their child had settled which was most often only minutes after their departure. Never sneak out to avoid tears but tell them it is time for you to go and that you will be back to get them in the afternoon.
  • Enjoy all that is this exciting new chapter. I'm going to try my very hardest. 
Steph x

Other school posts: 

21 Jan 2014

worry dolls

Worrying comes easy to some. Tiny shards of negativity slowly pile up like Jenga bricks and should they let them, come toppling down in a dramatic symphony of tears and tantrums.  Others sail through life's peaks and troughs without so much as a backward glance and march forward into the future without baggage.  Me, I tend to walk the fence between the two.

On a good day I embrace life with all its quirks and roll along in time with it. Then, when the conditions are ripe; fuelled with late nights and too much caffeine, I can slide down into a swamp of sticky, all consuming negativity.  I've found that simply getting on with it seems to be the best way for me to haul myself out of the dark; to show no hospitality to these thoughts with my industry and send them packing.

The Guatemalan people believe that tiny, colourful dolls can ease a whirly mind.  By passing your worries onto these little friends and placing them where you dream, they will relieve you of your burdens during the night and generously carry them away.  As worries are more often than not unpleasant thoughts that we choose to wallow in (and scenarios highly unlikely to unfold)  I like the simplistic thinking of this.  It really is such a beautiful and whimsical way of simply saying, "let it go". And one I have found very powerful for my honey girl....and me for that matter.

Steph x

We made some tiny worry dolls as we explored the colourful culture of Guatemala. Using small dolly pegs we wrapped embroidery thread around them and secured with craft glue, then added woollen hair and simple features.  We whispered our worries to them and placed them under our pillows and let their quiet magic soothe our troubles.

18 Jan 2014


"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou - A tired little tiger.
Remy  - It's all about trains at the moment.

This week I loved the essence of childhood;  overalls and a tyre swing, and sink baths.

Steph x

17 Jan 2014


connecting - leaving the vacuuming and the folding and getting down on the floor with my little people, those tasks won't mind waiting another day

nourishing - the babies are still requesting porridge for breakfast so we're devouring it with seasonal stone fruit, coconut milk yoghurt, maple syrup, chia seeds and a tiny sprinkle of cardamom for it's body cooling properties

playing - the weather is warm and the foot paths are covered in dandelions so I've been picking them and stewing them in the dye pot.

creating -  in the morning sunshine my girl and I have been making a little herb tea garden,  and secretly hoping the fairies will come and visit

nurturing - burning sandalwood, ylang ylang and orange oils to strengthen my spirit; the warming aroma encourages confidence and positiveness as we embark on new adventures

growing - my hair

listening - my body is protesting with crunches and creaks; I'm responding to it by concentrating on my posture

How has you week unfolded?

Steph x

16 Jan 2014

school - the practical

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Each morning she crosses off another day on her calendar with a pink felt pen; twelve more to go until she starts "big" school.  And although I'm trying my hardest to ride on the coat tails of her excitement, the clutter of emotions I feel causes the lump in my throat to rise. I duck into the pantry lest she see my tears and gently breathe my way back out into the world. Practice for the big day no doubt.

So while my unruly mob of feelings do their best to form an orderly line I am gathering thoughts of practicality.  As a teacher of Prep and Year 1 children for many years I am heartened that "preparing for school' is something I know well. And the quiet business is reassuring me.  Here are some organisational ideas for getting little ones ready for school (and settling Mumma):

  • Label absolutely everything with your child's full name. Yes, that means underpants and each sock and shoe. We use these colourful  iron on clothing and sock labels which are incredibly soft and flexible, and are washing machine and dryer safe. I also love that they use lead free, child friendly inks. (For the purpose of this post I omitted Bijou's surname)
  • Make sure your child can open their lunchbox with ease as well as any packets of food you're providing. Simply snipping off the corner of bags and straw wrappings can make all the difference to a hungry and  sometimes overwhelmed poppet. We labelled Bijou's kindy lunchboxes with these cute labels last year and after constant use and washing they are still going strong.
  • Choose a bag that can comfortably fit their lunchbox, drink bottle, library bag, homework folder and a spare change of clothes. And check to see if they can open it by themselves and retrieve what they need. A simple bag tag makes theirs easily identifiable especially if the bag is part of the uniform. Trying to find  your belongings in a sea of green school bags can lead to a emotional meltdown for a tired little person.
  • An easy to open water bottle that doesn't leak is a must...as is lots of water.
  • Keep books safe by choosing a waterproof library bag. Your school's librarian will thank you for it.
  • Encourage independence and maximise play time by purchasing Velcro school shoes. Learning to tie   shoelaces properly is a complex skill and one that doesn't need to be mastered in the very first days. The learning curve is steep enough for everyone so go gently.
  • Pack an afternoon tea snack for the walk or car ride home. When that bell rings in the afternoon they will be ravenous!
  • Get your child involved in all the choosing and labelling to really help them identify their belongings and feel a sense of ownership.  
I would love for you to share any practical things that smoothed the transition for your child (and you!).

I was thrilled to be contacted by Stuck on you to review some of their products as we have long used and loved their labels. Stuck on you is a family owned company producing colourful and  hard wearing ways to keep track of children's things. Made in Australia they offer an enormous range of high quality labels, drink bottles and lunch boxes that you can personalise with your child's name, favourite colour and a myriad of designs (including allergy aware icons). With a brand philosophy centred around service, quality and design their products are not only tough but lots of fun and would be a wonderful way to prepare your child for school. For the month of January the lovely people at www.stuckonyou.com.au are offering free shipping with the code TBW14. 

Steph x

14 Jan 2014

simple play

We packed light for our little farm getaway; a few sets of clothes, some treasured stories, watercolours and little notebooks,  and plans for adventure. A handful of play animals were tossed into the boot at the last minute yet they never saw the light.  Our days were graced with simple play.

The babies drew from the environment around them as they would choose a toy from the cupboard at home. With each new day they would swing open the doors of the natural world and peruse its offerings. A gathering basket holding an abundant and eclectic collection, or perhaps a simple net and old jar. Clutching rudimentary tools they dug holes, scraped away dirt and created new landscapes for their play. Watercolours were at hand for tetchy times when all needed to ground and calm for a time - nothing quite soothes a befuddled soul as swishing colour about. And we taught them the enchanting art of cloud reading filling the sky with fluffy elephants and mermaid tails.

Wriggly little worms in dirty hands, water filled gumboots and feathers. Active bodies and enquiring minds. Fresh air, sunshine and leaves. Happy beings.

I think we might head somewhere green today...

Steph x

11 Jan 2014


"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou - Making birthday wishes.
Remy  - Finally I have found him a proper hat; he adores it.

Steph x

I giggle every time I see little Alba with her blue embellishments and Owen lost in play is just beautiful.

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

10 Jan 2014


connecting - what with bags and babies I haven't held my beloved's hand while we're out and about for what seems like forever. It has become a habit and changes need to be made.

nourishing -  savoury crepes have been gracing our table; easy, delicious and nourishing. All boxes ticked.

playing - giggles and Guess Who with my girl.

creating - finishing off the arms on my Tiny Tea Leaves cardi in a delicious shade of earthy yellow. This weekend promises rain...and hopefully tea and knitting.

nurturing - morning coffees are taking their toll so I'm trying hard to stick to my hot water with the juice of half a lemon when I wake in the morning.

growing - I can't quite believe I've kept my indoor garden alive this long. I've followed my Mum's simple instructions of half a cup of water every day and it's worked!

listening - I heard "Hands" by Jewel on the radio and it's simple message has haunted me all week; I am saddened but inspired.

Steph x

9 Jan 2014


We planted these olive trees not long after we brought her home. Muslin wrapped and quiet she smelled of marshmallow, cornstarch and new dreams. The air clung to us and the haze around was reminiscent of a Tuscan summer;  as we chipped at the dry earth we hoped this would be an omen for their growth.

Yesterday she turned five and the trees bore fruit for the first time. And like with any birthday, nostalgic meandering was ever present. We watched baby videos together and laughed at her straight legged crawling and bubbling speech. Old friends were spied in the corners of photographs and melodic stories were told. Oh how that jet haired babe has grown.

It seems she has mirrored the growth of those olive trees. Quiet and slow one moment and after Spring rain all leggy and willowy. With gentle pruning, nourishment and care we have cajoled their branches and guided their growth but for the most part they have reached for the sky despite us. Ultimately they will choose their own form, as will she.

All we can do is love her - unconditionally, playfully, fiercely and wholeheartedly. And she will grow.

Steph x

7 Jan 2014

our world - guatemala

Although my beloved and I have tread many soils on this planet, our knowledge of geography is scraggy and incomplete.  Borders, capital cities and surrounding seas elude us and we hesitantly thrust our fingers at the globe in search of answers to Bijou's myriad of questions.  It is a puzzle left incomplete;  gathering dust for too long.

The arrival of a beautiful, hand crafted doll * from Guatemala encouraged us to sweep away the cobwebs and further create a home of enquiry and learning, for all of us.  Guatemala was located on the globe and we set about gathering resources to deepen our understanding of this colourful place.

Some books were borrowed from the library while other ones* were carefully chosen and purchased to begin a reference section on our bookshelf.  Together we marvelled at photos of the textiles; the jewel colours, hand embroidered by the woman with a baby slung across her back.  We tasted homemade tortillas and created tiny worry dolls for beneath our pillows. All the while we talked of homes and the families within them.

One day we will take our babies on adventures across the seas but for now we hope to fill them with glimpses of far off lands, different cultures and ways of day to day life.  To ever so gently peel away the innocence and open their eyes to not only the beauty and majesty of this planet but also the suffering. And in doing so, empower them with ways to extend a hand to their fellow man.

I wonder where our travels will take us next...

Steph x

* our colourful lady was a gift from a beautiful friend

* Abuela's weave is a heartwarming story of a young Guatemalan girl and her Grandmother. It explores pride, perseverance and the colourful textiles of the country and was a gentle way to introduce our babies to new cultures.

6 Jan 2014

fence posts

I used to run. Some days my body and mind clicked together like a perfect puzzle and I ran without concentration or determination; a natural fluidity.  On others, when my legs heaved through cement and my lungs burned for sweet relief I would focus on fence posts as I passed them. With the rhythm of each pounding step I would pant, "to the next post, to the next post" until my body crossed the illusionary finish line.  And then to the next one, and the next one until my weary body made it home. Ever motivated by small challenges I devoured the sense of achievement and the breaking down of one sometimes overwhelming task made it all the more manageable.

After the whirl of Christmas and all its presenty, chocolaty ways and the packing up of a completed year, I feel I have temporarily lost my day to day "fence posts". Kindy days, swimming lessons, fruit and vegetable box deliveries and the like all played their part in laying out a week and keeping it hemmed in and somewhat orderly. But with these activities having ceased for a time I have found myself wandering aimlessly and at times without grace from daily task to task. My week has burst at the seams and as I survey it's jumbled contents I often question what day it is.

For now I am surrendering to the languid ways of this time of year but as the fervour of seasonal celebrations and new year preparations subsides I look forward to uncovering this year's fence posts. Those tangible events in a week that provide rhythm and momentum to my steps. Points in time to work towards or lull about after.  I am anticipating more time in the kitchen and the garden and hope to carve out little moments to nourish my creative self. And with my baby girl starting school this year I will be endeavouring to make time for creating together. Tell me, what are your "fence posts" and do you flounder a little without them?

Steph x

4 Jan 2014


"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou - Entranced by her reflection as she helped Papa wash the car.
Remy  - Immersed in his very own musical world.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

3 Jan 2014

the apple tree

Barefoot and bare chested they sat together like two old souls. Lanky grass, fading sun and a dry wind. As we worked a tangled vegetable garden they crunched apples, their shoulders all the while touching.  She held a tiny brown seed up to the sky and declared in absolute certainty, "If I plant this seed, an apple tree will grow."  And with that a  pot was found, some lifeless soil scraped from the dry earth and this little seed plunged deep into his dark new home.

We thought of adequate seed preparation, soil quality, the inevitable lack of (or over) watering and the many years it would take before it bears fruit - we thought with logic.  She thought of sprouting life, tyre swings on strengthening boughs and finally crisp, red apples - she thought with hope. Pure, no doubts to hinder, energising, motivating hope.

With another year upon us it is time to dust off old dreams and set them straight for the days ahead. I am going to tread new boards this year and explore wild and wiry places. And I want these adventures to be light filled not clouded with negativity and defeatism. I want to awaken to possibility and chance and wonder; to breathe a little more "apple tree philosophy" into my day.

She believed the tree would grow....and it did.

Steph x