Sunday, 29 April 2012

feast, forty, a fantastic find and some fakes

As I was heading to the Growers Market, I passed this beauty overlooking the river, I gasped, wood shingles, a combustion fire, a little garden and a bay window, I swooned and made sure that the whole family witnessed such a find (and you lovely people). Oh and at the market I managed to score a 10kg+ box of cooking tomatoes for $10! That's right people, that's less than a dollar per kilo and they look awesome and they are chemical free and local, Woo and I have grand plans; more kasundi, more bottled tomatoes and to hunt down the best tomato relish recipe ever (I believe I have already tasted such a relish, but unfortunately the creator wasn't too sure on what recipe they actually used). 
As I mentioned we had planned on Curry Fest at Woolgoolga but rainy weather kept us away, so what were we to do but have our own Curry Fest. It was the usual suspects, our family and Woo and Eno's family but we also had Libby and Zephyr over as well, what a treat. And yes it was amazing, as it always is and yes we ate far too much and yes we even finished it off with an orange and almond cake, just to be sure. 

Now, I totally understand that you may have a slight guffaw at what I am about to tell you but please, hold yourself together, this is very serious and excruciatingly painful. Just as Libby arrived, I greeted her, took hold off her curry and then stepped down to reconnect Ilo with Libby and Sephor, as I stepped I entered the world of clutter that I had been trying to ignore all day as I raced around cooking and cleaning (inside). I stepped with all my might and bare feet into Ilo's ukelele that was leaning against the steps, I stepped onto the metal open back tuning peg, it really, really hurt, but hey Libby just arrived, I continued with niceties and then went to the bathroom and reeled as I saw how there was a 2-3cm square of my foot pad flapping about, holding on by one edge and it was deep, eek. Still keeping calm, i bathed it in tea tree and water and then Scott administered the bandaid, we didn't realise that Libby was a nurse at this point! All was kind of well, I was limping but all fine. 
Hmmmm painful injury by ukelele, hmmm, not really one to brag about, pretty random really. 
Unfortunately, it did get really really sore as the night progressed, so much so that my attendance at Mary-Anne's party was only quite fleeting and I was quite distracted by my foot most the time I was there, so no dancing to great music, and no to making the most of a very sheer and quite revealing gold  dress, I went as Beyonce, albeit a very vague/poor/half-arsed attempt. For those keen eye and long term friends out there, you may very well remember this little number from our famous 'Sexy B*#ch' party, way back when, well before children. 
All the photos in this blog have been doctored using a variety of effects using this great free website called Pic Monkey, people out there with iphones probably already do this, but we don't have one, so it was fun to play around with. 

Mary-Anne as Axl Rose and her sister Robin as, hmm, not sure really. 
Nicole as a Bjork, such a great costume, the swan was magnificent
Scott as Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. 
These two were amazing, Rick and Eli as Lead singer from Poison and Eli as Madonna. They were quite unrecognisable as their own selves and made such a great entrance.  

Thursday, 26 April 2012


a little afternoon tea party for Scott, complete with Matthew Evans ye oldey appley cake, yum.
As I mentioned in my last post it was difficult leaving some special friends in Sydney, those friends with years of knowing, of love growing stronger, of trust, of joy. So it was really lovely to return home to an email from 5 Church St inviting us to a secret night, drinks and food on them, what could it be? With little digging we found out it was Steve's, one of the awesome people who make this place happen, birthday. It was a great (and late) night with a real sense of being enveloped into the community. The beautiful pack of children playing and laughing outside was pretty awesome and everyone was really relaxed and delighted to be there. It was a night of random conversations in the kitchen, discussing exciting plans for the place and finding connections in unexpected places. 
No, it wasn't like having my dearest friends with me but it was still really nice.
Ilo, Scott and Chris getting their busking on
Last night we squeezed into Amy's place for a mexican feast, complete with fancy dress. Beans, nachos, sangria, mulled wine, pickles, fetta, two separate red cabbage and carrot salads as one is never enough and some delicious apple, crunchy coconut cake. sweet.
And a couple of pics from Joelle's 40th. Photos courtesy of the amazing Steve. 
This weekend we have a Mary-Anne's 40th, dress up is any top 40 star from the last 40 years, hmmm, not sure what to go as yet, Cyndi Lauper, Bjork, Beyonce, hmmmm. Scott is also running his bluegrass workshop and starting to film another filmclip for one of his songs. We also hope to go to Curry Fest in Woolgoolga, should make for some interesting pics.

Monday, 23 April 2012

a few steps back

Now, where were we? On a delightfully brisk, windy yet sunny afternoon in Bardwell Valley,  we embraced and welcomed the greater majority of a very special family, Edie, Oscar and Ruth, what a beautiful sight to behold. Smiles and squeals of delight as we looked into each others eyes and held each other tight, ahhh, a sigh of relief. Edie and Poe delighted in their matching haircuts and after a gentle start, were squealing with delight as they laughed, chatted and bounced around on the trampoline. Oscar, Ilo, Ruth and I, forgo all niceties and got down to the hard stuff "How are you?", in that very special way close friends do, we had so much to catch up on. So it was until we could no longer ignore the icy wind, the setting sun and time catching up with us. Fortunately Ruth and I had hatched a plan, by pure coincidence we were both about to have our first child free night, on the same night! So we righted any possibility of a wrong by spending it together with the beautiful Jen, but more about that later. 
Oh such dear, beautiful friends, they just slid right back into their easy and delightful friendship, these two together warmed by heart. 
These gorgeously colourful kids caused more than a few heads to turn in town, so beautiful. We met up with Lily, Saul and Jen for a not to be missed feast at Mamak, oh my goodness, so delicious. Again, it was so easy and fun, delighted chatter and laughter echoed throughout the streets. Saul, upon seeing Poe wanted an immediate debrief on Poe's experience at Circus Oz and who his favourite people were, he then followed up with recounting a very 'amusing' game they had played last time we were down, in particular the name Poe chose to use at the time, which was quite phlegmy sounding and would encourage a slight spray of saliva when pronounced, yes hilarious. 
And then home for a sleepover, cubbies were made, robbers were played, music listened to at an alarming speed, oh my goodness it nearly felt like there wasn't enough time to fit everything in. 
Once the kids were asleep we had the pleasure of sitting by the gas fire, drinking some really delicious red, eating an apple tart with coconut ice-cream and enjoying being in the company of Jen and Rod, I guess for me it also felt like there wasn't enough time to fit it all in, luckily, I had one more night up my sleeve. 
The next day we stopped into Potts Point, to James' parents place, which he and Manu (my beautiful brother) are housesitting. Scott and I walked into their unit and were immediately assaulted by the views, crazy city/harbour views wherever you looked, I had to avert my eyes. Above is just one of the many amazing pieces of art that decorate this space. With hungry children to feed, we whizzed down the lift to Fratelli Paradiso, it was pretty delicious, I had this gorgeous spaghetti, chilli, lemon, breadcrumb dish and shared some panzanella. Yum. Poe and Ilo after so much playing and stimulation with Lily and Saul, were not at their most relaxed, so the meal was not really savoured as it deserved. Scott and James however did managed to talk about what they needed to do the following day to finish up the filmclip they are making for The Mid North, see below for a sneak peek, it is looking so great, can't wait for it to be finished.

A little respite for me at my parents, while Scott spends a couple of days in Sydney. Here is Poe and Ilo checking out Phil's aqua culture/aquaponics set up. 
As Poe, Ilo and mum were all a bit sniffly, mum suggested I do some op shopping by myself, yes, solo. So with my arm twisted firmly behind my back I did some trawling. It was an unusual experience to really get in there and dig through stuff, rather than the usual focused on stuff but aware of children approach. I ended up with a whole heap of great fabric, a Johnsons dinner ware set and my most favourite find....the beautiful Jodi and her gorgeous kids Poet and Che. Jodi is the extremely talented human behind the blog Che and Fidel, one of my most favourite blogs. Funnily enough we have met before at the very same op shop, Jodi's local. Anyway, it was so lovely to have a chat and hear more 'behind the scenes' tales about her life and especially her trip to Tasmania, can you believe she was in the warmth of the Matthew Evans kitchen, drinking delicious tea and eating delicious food, sigh. Oh and to gaze upon Che and Poet, two awesome little humans, pottering around in their second home was very sweet. Jodi, we are looking forward to having a proper catch up next time we are down, enough of this random running into each other business. 

This has been a ridiculously long post, sorry about that, will speed it up a bit (nope, didn't happen, you have been warned).
Saturday afternoon, I bid a heart wrenching farewell to Ilo, Poe, Scott and mum as I headed to Sydney (from the Coast) for a night out with Jen and Ruth, then a sunday afternoon seminar with three amazing people. I felt quite emotional heading to Sydney, I knew that Ilo would be fine/great with Scott, but it still pulled at my heart strings. I was feeling conflicted, I liked the idea of it but the reality was a bit more difficult. But I had strict instructions from Scott to enjoy myself, soak up the nourishment and love from Ruth and Jen and make sure you drink some nice wine and definitely have dessert. So, by the time I had arrived at Jens I only felt slightly displaced. It was lovely hanging out with Lily and Saul, playing ball, scaring them on the trampoline and then looking through old photo albums.
The night with Jen and Ruth was just what I needed, we went to Agape, a really delicious organic restaurant in Botany, we drank delicious wine, ate scrumptious food and we talked and talked, we talked from our hearts with years of love supporting us, a few tears were shed, but it felt so safe and so beautiful, thank you, thank you beautiful friends.
The next morning after a little sleep in, I headed over to Newtown to meet a new little human, Elsie is her name and as you can see, she is pretty sweet. Robin and Stewart are Elsie's awesome parents, she chose very well. As most of my friends have at least one child, it was lovely to bear witness to these new parents, figuring their way with so much love and adoration in their hearts. Even though Elsie was only one week old Stewart had already framed many pictures of her around the place, I couldn't believe it, super efficient and enthusiastic, oh the love.
 Are you still there? I wouldn't be surprised if you have fallen asleep by now, drool pooling amongst the keys. And here we are at the Growing Healthy Children seminar, held by Jude Blereau (a wholefood advocate, my favourite cookbook author, I have all her cookbooks, food splattered they may be and have given her books to most of my friends, so much so that we refer to her just as Jude, an always absent friend), Holly Davis (she started Iku wholefood) and Dr Rosalba Courtney (an osteopath, naturopath and acupuncturist). Needless to say it was really great, confirming and inspiring. Jude spoke largely about the importance of organic wholefoods, less snacking for children, meeting the hunger with substantial meals, rich bone stocks, less carbohydrates and, my favourite the fact that at this stage in their lives FATS are more important than vegetables, yes you read right. These fats are essential for supporting the immune system, obviously we are talking about those beautiful fats found in organic butter, cream, sour cream and coconut. Fats help make the vitamins in vegetables more obtainable, helps to fit infections and protect and pad the organs. So go forth and put organic butter on your children's vegetables, organic cream on their breakfast and lashings of sour cream on everything.

Which brings us to Holly Davis who spoke about the wonders of Lacto-fermented probiotic foods; kefir, labne, sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, fish sauce, raw dark chocolate and herrings, to name a few. She explained the benefits of eating such food and drinks to promoting the growth of healthy digestive flora throughout the intestine, increasing the nutritional value of foods, how the beneficial bacteria helps us absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods and quite frankly the list goes on. I have dabbled in the past with yoghurt kefir and have recently been give a kefir drink starter from Cass, I have made yoghurt before, sauerkraut with my sister but now, now I am very excited, especially with the way she simply 'lacto ferments' most vegetables with total ease.

Rosalba Courtney spoke about how childrens health problems are changing, looking at the increase in allergies, asthma, ADD and autism. From here she looked at how there is a lot of research showing that simple things can make a huge difference- being around nature, reducing exposure to chemicals, relationships, connecting with parents and the community, wholefood diet and correct breathing (ensuring that your children breathe out of their nose rather than their mouth can, along with the other factors make a huge difference).

We then shared a delicious afternoon tea, chatted with others and exchanged delight. I then set off for my parents, feeling warmed, warmed with friendships and an ignited passion. I was very excited to see my family.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

forward lurch

Scott's birthday cake from Ilo, Sidney, Poe and Ziggy
Yes, well, just as you were settling into our Sydney trip I thought I would mess everything up by skipping forward in time to today. Today is a great place to be and this particular today included a fair amount of just about everything (you know of course by saying 'everything' I mean a few random things, probably around 10 or so, everything does sound better though). Awake at 6, to greet the day, not by choice and not by children but by the need to go and set up the market stall. 6 is especially hard when you go to sleep at 1, this time by choice and not by children. 
Last night Scott AND I, went out together, to a party that started at 8. Those parents amongst us have surely gasped and most likely passed out at the thought and quite frankly I wouldn't blame you, when was the last time you went to a party that started at 8, in the evening? We had a very good reason though, we were attending the lovely Joelle's 40th and what an affair it was.  To get really dressed up and get to hang out with my love and lots of other lovely people, with no children around, lots of music, alcohol, a crazy amount of delicious food laid out on a sumptuously decorated long table, delightful and amusing conversations followed by dancing in the lounge room -uh huh, dancing, inspired by the moves Steve had been delivering around the place, the lounge room was soon full of smiling and delighted dancers, it was a real and very different treat. It was definitely very removed from our day to day reality, very adult and really conjured up memories of a time before children and I guess a glimpse of a time somewhere into the future (the distant, distant future).
I can hear you shuffling with discomfort in your seats, WHERE WERE THE CHILDREN? Well, we took Poe over to Woo and Eno's at bedtime, for a sleepover and Ilo came with us and slept on Joelle and Steve's bed, a sight that brought back many a warm childhood memory for me. So, there you go, children accounted and cared for. But gee, truth be told, I did miss them, I missed Poe as he slept in a home just metres from ours and I missed Ilo at the party even though he was in the next room, I guess this was because this party was so removed from my life as a parent. I ate slowly with conversational breaks, I got to kiss and cuddle Scott a lot, I got to dance with other adults and I got to catch up with people and break through some layers rather than sitting with surface chat. It was a fun time. 
Now where was I?
Markets. Had another lovely day at the Bellingen Community Markets, chatting with lots of people and selling some of my wares. While I was doing this Scott was enjoying his 41st birthday (yeehaa) by hanging out with Poe and Ilo and playing at Roots Records for International Record Store day and at Vintage Espresso (there is a pic on their facebook page of Scott). Together from our craftiness we made enough money today to cover rent and food (a big stock up shop) for the week, we were pretty chuffed by that. 
We also made the executive decision to keep Scott's birthday going for the whole weekend and probably into next week sometime, as today there wasn't much space to indulge him, cherish him and celebrate him, the way in he deserves.
Here are some of the new tops that I made for the markets (by 'some of' I mean 'some of', i.e. not all of the top, just the middle bit or the lower edge, just keeping you intrigued really). 

Next post, be prepared to be flung bottom first into the past, that deep murky world where so much lingers, for (trumpet call) the rest of the Sydney trip. Believe me I can feel the anticipation from here.  
There are also no guarantees that I will resume my usual mundane, brief and less rambling text, beg as you might. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

bit by bit

I was intending on doing a whole big catch up post about our trip but then realised that I wouldn't be able to focus on some very special bits as much as I would like, so i decided to take it slow and just show you bits of our trip, bit by bit. I will however say that time spent with a few very very very special friends, warmed our hearts, nourished our souls, dried some (namely my) tears and made leaving all the more difficult.
After a day of rest at my parents we began the whirlwind Sydney tour. First day, first stop Dangar Island, to visit my sister. 
Suriya has recently moved to a new home on the island and it is pretty sweet, complete with more day beds that you could ever want (which I guess is probably the right number), and sweet sweet corners of utter beauty. It is lovely to see her aesthetic sprinkled perfectly around the home. I particularly love this outdoor room with magical views of the river. After much playing in the park she gave us a quick tour of the community garden her and her partner have been setting up on the island, it is amazing what they have achieved, complete with handcrafted stone retaining walls.

Next stop Campsie to the welcome embraces of Gary, Sarah, Stella and Mira. We landed devoured an amazing lunch and homemade "chocolates" (carob), fed the chickens, laughed chatted and squeezed in heartfelt and beautiful conversations and a bit of guitar playing, so time efficient. So deliciously easy. 
From there we went to a farewell for Matt, Lisa and Otis at Alexandria (yes we are still on day one!). Matt is heading off on a great adventure with the Caravan of Comics to New York, Vermont, Toronto and Chicago while his amazing partner Lisa and awesome child Otis head to India to hang out with Lisa's sister and her daughter for a month. Do you need to read that sentence again? How exciting and awesome is that, go you three. They then meet up in America somewhere and hang out together as a supreme family unit. 

Phew and then we drove back to our old hood to the warm and welcoming embraces and smooches from our old neighbours and beautiful friends, Tracey, Vince, Remy and Jenna. It was here we exhaled, we fell about on couches, laughed with glasses of wine in our hands and dined on more delicious food. Unfortunately even though this is where we were based and spent most our time I failed to take any photographs. Shocking. I checked and double checked but no. I think the problem was that I was just to relaxed and to busy being squeezed, nourished and loved, and quite frankly photos really wouldn't do that justice. Thanks beautiful ones for always welcoming your home to us, it is truly amazing.
The next day I was very fortunate to get some extra special cuddle time with this new little person, Lenny. Welcome little one. And amongst all that cuddling I had some lovely chats with Ollie, Morgan and delightful snippets from Lulu and Iris.  

As soon as we were able we hurried into Tempe Op shop and found this wonderful 'gift' a vintage magnetic  play set, really sweet and lots of fun. I also found a great pair of jeans/pants complete with some red trimming, putting it that way, hmmm they really do look better than they sound, I have been wearing them lots. After a couple of days I realised that they were Queen pants, this great designer in Melbourne, whom I have coveted pants from before but have never been game enough to splurge. Thanks Tempe Op shop. 
Is that enough for now? I hope so. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

my love

a great photo but sadly not a wedding photo they are in a box somewhere.
On the 11th of April, Scott and I quietly celebrated 8 years of being hitched. 8 years, woohoooo, what an adventure it has been.
I love the dance we dance, how together we have faced so many challenges, delights and crazy times and have still managed to come out the other side even more awesome and closer than ever before.
Thank you my beautiful darling, thank you for standing firmly by my side as we go on this journey together, thank you for your love, support, inspiration and 'humour'. Thank you for our beautiful children and for being such a wonderful parent. I just love and adore you more and more and more. Oh and you are totally hot and you still make me go weak at the knees, yep, I am pretty damn lucky. xxxxx

Friday, 6 April 2012


We are away visiting my parents and having lots of delicious sleepovers with friends for the next week and a bit. In the meantime check out The Workshop. I am lucky enough to be involved with this new art co-op that has started in Bellingen, very exciting with lots of possibilities. And remember the awesome Heart Parenting course that Scott did? Well Jen and Rod have been talking to Jo Field and she will be running one in Sydney (hooray!). It will be held on the 28th- 29th April and 5th- 6th May (will confirm these) 9 -4.30, at Currambena Primary School, 205 Longueville Road, Lane Cove. Please let me know if you are interested and I can forward you more details, it is an amazing course, not just for parents but for all humans!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


On Saturday afternoon we were invited to Vic and Katie's for an early dinner. They live about 15 minutes drive out of Bellingen at Raleigh, their sweet little home is perched on a hill and as you sit on the front and back verandahs you look out onto bush, rolling hills and a massive sky. Being in this space and having this kind of outlook always unsettles Scott and I, it is wondrous, it is expansive to our minds and bodies and it evokes dreamlike gazes. We often discuss this with friends in town and those out of town, how do you make the choice, in town or out of town? 
The stillness and space does enchant and beckon us and we often give it a lingering glance but then we weigh up our options and resettle back into our dream of being in town. A couple of the biggest things for us in our 'in town' decision is the beauty of being able to walk or ride nearly everywhere along with the idea of showing how it is possible to grow most of our fruit and veggie needs on a suburban block, yes there are other factors but I think these two are the biggest. But that's not to say we won't occasionally let our minds wander and then we will again, stop, discuss and reflect.
Scott, Vic and Katie have formed a lovely friendship, cemented by late nights, music and wine at The Lodge. Scott is not shy in admitting that he has a man crush on Vic, based largely in the magic he weaves with his words as he writes songs for his band Trunk Road. As a family we definitely feel embraced by them and it was really wonderful spending time with them at their home. We were also joined by Chris, the ukulele/harp/piano/guitar player with Trunk Road and his wife Susie as well as Kym Pitman, singer and fiddle player and her partner Frank. Needless to say the porch was put to good use; what is a porch for if not to jam.  
Oh and the light, sun setting on the hills, filling our space smeared with that golden light. Unfortunately I don't feel like I quite captured the magic of that light but it was fun to play with.
Poe and Ilo, filled egg cartons with fallen flowers, built fairy homes, snacked on wild raspberries, laughed at the noises passing cows made, had wheelbarrow races (remember those, you know when you hold someone's legs and they walk on their hands, extremely amusing), joined in the jam, rolled balls down hills, blew bubbles and let their little spirits soar. It felt like a really magical evening, when everything just flowed so effortlessly. 
Katie and Vic's home is quite simple and small in layout, but is absolutely perfect, you really wouldn't need to do anything to it. I am saying this as we are looking at homes to buy and are fascinated by how spaces in homes are laid out and how often the layout doesn't seem conducive to easy living, socially or environmentally, this is definitely one of the best and one of the simplest by far. An open and connected dining, lounge and kitchen with the bathroom off a very small hallway that leads to the two bedrooms. From the kitchen is the back porch, from the loungeroom the front porch, ahh simply perfect. 
It is also scattered with so many beautiful treasures from their many trips around the world, their stories are also delicately spiced with such travels.