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Monday, 3 December 2012


There's nothing quite like the feeling of freedom once you turn off the suburban main roads with their traffic lights, fast food joints and car washes, and begin clocking up those country miles. Long, straight roads lined with gum trees, town names you've never heard of (pop. 457) and quaint, simple farm houses advertising sheep poo at the bargain price of $4 a bag.

The cares of everyday life seem to drop away in anticipation of a couple of days in the outdoors just living. That's how we felt after packing the car last Friday for a few days touring The Grampians, a breathtaking region and national park three hours north-west of Melbourne. The reason for the weekend away was to celebrate our second wedding anniversary (our first anniversary was spent at the beautiful Werribee Mansion).

After a quick stop by the Halls Gap tourist information centre on Saturday morning to confirm our driving route, we left the smooth comfort of asphalt for an adventurous forty-minute off-road journey to see historic Aboriginal sights and visit Mount Zero Olives, a biodynamic olive farm and cafe. With no one else on the road, it was like playing native-animal 'eye spy' - kangaroos and blue tongue lizards everywhere! 

The hundreds of olive trees surrounding the cafe gave it a real mediterranean feel, while the succulents, cacti and use of mixed materials such as iron, stone and wood reminded me a lot of our travels through the north-west of Argentina. 

Next we visited Mackenzie's Falls, the base of which are accessed by some pretty steep and treacherous steps and rocks, so I hauled myself there with a little more caution than normal because of the bump. 

On Sunday we took our time travelling home, stopping to collect tree branches to make a christmas tree, and we also managed to pick up a chest of drawers for the baby's room for $65 from an American Pickers-style warehouse. I could have spent hours marvelling at all the amazing stuff.

Friday, 23 November 2012


I've wanted to return to this space for some time, but haven't had the right words to bridge the gap between then and now. Maybe I still don't. But what I do know is that I want to record this - the feeling of wonder and gratitude as I sit on the couch each evening and feel our baby's kicks and movements in my belly. 

After finding out mid-July that I was finally pregnant again, in the last four months i've moved from being gripped with fear in those first twelve (plus) weeks, to gradual acceptance that we are actually having a baby. It's been a real lesson in living in (and enjoying) the current moment. Of course i'm still neurotic at times and worry if I don't feel the baby move for a while, or I eat something of questionable origin. But for the most part i'm embracing it all and moving through those emotions. 

I've been lucky, this pregnancy has been kind to me so far and i'm determined to make the most of this journey. At 23 weeks, i'm feeling and looking very pregnant, while internally i'm working through the inevitable shift in identity as I move from independent, feminist, professional worker-woman to being at home and responsible for a tiny human. It's big stuff. And particularly since I feel like i've never really hit my stride career-wise (I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!) it leaves an even bigger question of 'what next?'

But I need to accept that right now, I don't need to have the answers. I just need to take a deep breath and go with it. For myself, my husband and our burgeoning little family. The experience of the wise and awesome Rebecca Woolf of Girls Gone Child is a helpful reminder:

"People talk about losing yourself in motherhood, but I found motherhood was an amazing place to find myself"

Bring it on. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012


saltbush, succulent and rosemary from the garden
farmers market treats with the husband and peppermint tea
parisian holiday planning 

the perfect kind of relaxing winter weekend x

Friday, 25 May 2012


I have a pretty broad palate these days but I can't say i've ever been a huge fan of sushi. Even in Japan i'd devour a salmon steak or a plate full of gyoza before I'd choose the sushi or sashimi. I know it's probably akin to sacrilege.  

Tonight we took my family to a Japanese restaurant we near home, the place which challenged my ambivalence with the freshest sushi, sashimi, wasabi and ginger combo you've ever tasted. Okay slight exaggeration, but you get my drift. We were there for my mum's birthday and i'm very pleased to say she's sushi's newest convert too! We're a sad lot, I know.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Inward and onward

That old adage "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" has been my guiding principle in looking for the positives sans baby-growing. Since we won't be up all night changing nappies this July we're instead going to hop on a jet plane to visit some very good friends in London and do a bit of Europe (Yay!).

While it's going to be all sorts of amazing, unfortunately sometimes a few weeks of holidays on the horizon isn't enough to lift me out of the holding pattern that is waiting to be pregnant again. So i've spent a lot of time reading and navel-gazing in an effort to find fulfilment and happiness in the everyday, because no one likes a sad sack and let's face it, life's too short.

The last few books i've read and enjoyed on the topic are:

I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Conversations with Richard Bandler: Two NLP Masters Reveal the Secrets to Successful Living by Richard Bandler and Owen Fitzpatrick

At the suggestion of both my acupuncturist and a friend who had a great experience with it, I've also had a session of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). I went in with a healthy degree of skepticism given it's been largely discredited by science, however it has helped me to rationalise unhelpful thoughts and recognise how much our experiences of the world are shaped by the way we think. 

There were some areas of the NLP book I really didn't agree with (such as treating schizophrenics by 'going on a journey' with them - and in fact, believing it's wise to treat the condition with NLP in the first place) but there were some nuggets of wisdom, such as the idea that events are 'neutral' and gain meaning through the version of reality we project onto them. I've been finding this particularly helpful when dealing with the emotions of guilt and fear.

What about you, have you read any 'self-help' books that have really resonated? Or maybe tried some form of therapy or life coaching? 

Friday, 11 May 2012

A letter of loss

I've been debating whether or not to share this here; the vulnerability of these words exposing my fears and ultimately, my reality. But it's a reality that too many women experience, and too few share, so here goes...

Thursday 12 January, 2012, 7.20am

Despite that niggling feeling I had that you wouldn’t be there, today was to be the day we’d tell the world about you. My boss would know and we’d talk about maternity leave, the rest of Marcus’ family would know and I’d send my friends the happy message that all was on track.

But it wasn’t to be.

The biggest fear I’d had all along – a missed miscarriage – happened. All along I wasn’t concerned about the NT results or problems with the pregnancy, all I worried about was seeing that heartbeat and your wriggly web-like fingers and toes at the 12 week scan - the safe point. Increasingly at times I didn’t feel like this pregnancy was real, but I and others tried to brush it off as negative talk – and that’s not healthy for the baby. Maybe I need to give into my intuition a bit more; I think subconsciously I must have known you were no longer there.

As I read about miscarriage – a topic I tried to avoid because it scared the crap out of me – more spiritual people than me talk about losing a child. For us it’s the loss of what could have been; what was meant to be. Science tells me you were just a bunch of cells and on the ultrasound screen, that’s all you looked like. But you brought the promise of so much more and now it’s gone.

We tried to be pragmatic and not get ahead of ourselves, we didn’t buy anything for you or the nursery for fearing of ‘jinxing’ it. But we did imagine you in my swelling belly at upcoming weddings, beach days and housewarmings, gushingly telling people about you and the hopes we had. Those days are gone for now, but hopefully not forever.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Then the sun came out

Today I got to enjoy a beautiful day at home, courtesy of working until 3am on a website deployment. Sitting outside bathed in sunlight with the puppy dog by my side, I was filled with a sense of contentment and gratitude. They say 'it's the simple things in life' that make us happy; I think achieving this means giving ourselves the opportunity to really see and appreciate what is ordinary in our lives. 

I'm not always good at this but i'm working on it. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Healthy chocolate brownies

Mention sugar free or wheat free baked goods and you're not likely to make many new friends for afternoon tea. However I think these chocolate brownies are about to change all that.

These are seriously amazing, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of goodness. But let me backtrack a little. I went to my regular weekly acupuncture session last Friday thinking about what sweet thing I could bake for my grandmother's 90th on Saturday. And not only were some yummy brownie samples there for the taking, but all the ingredients were there as well - saving me an early morning trip to the supermarket (I have an aversion to that place but that's another story for another day!).

The recipe uses Loving Earth ingredients, but i'm sure that good quality substitutes would work just as well.


2/3 cup Loving Earth agave syrup
1/4 cup Loving Earth cacao butter (melted)
1/4 cup Loving Earth coconut butter (melted)
1 tbsp organic vanilla extract
3 free range organic eggs
1 cup organic almond flour (I used almond meal instead, works just as well)
1/2 cup Loving Earth cacao powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius.

2. Mix the melted butters, agave syrup, vanilla and eggs together until well combined. Add in the almond flour, cacao, baking soda and salt and stir until all the ingredients have come together and the mixture is smooth.

3. Pour the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 (ish) oven proof glass or ceramic dish and bake for 35 minutes or until the centre no longer jiggles.

4. Allow to cool in the dish and then cut into pieces and enjoy!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

90th birthday: a life well lived

This is my grandmother holidaying on the island of Giglio, Italy in 1972. She was 50 then, the same age as my mum is now. At the time, my mum was only ten years old, the youngest of twelve (!) children, and so was sent to stay with an older brother and his wife for a while. It may seem a bit cruel these days, but back then families were large, resilient, and everyone just had to get on with it. And no one talked about their feelings, of course. 

My grandmother became a widow at age 40, when my mum was just one year old. She never remarried. I love this photo because she looks happy and relaxed...I imagine she didn't get to indulge much with all those kids to feed and a small business to run. 

Yesterday we celebrated her 90th birthday, and while she didn't remember who we were (there are 36 grandchildren, after all!), she was as lucid as ever and quite chuffed that we we'd come to visit her with cakes, wine, balloons and nice things to celebrate her incredible life.

Here are the three generations at our wedding in November 2010. I feel very blessed to have a mum I can call my best friend and a grandmother whose story, and strength, still leaves me in awe.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

10 things to love about winter

Melbourne is currently in the grips of a cold snap, with incessant rain and howling winds the order of the day. 

But rather than lament the loss of balmy evenings, long sunny days and refreshing summer fruits, now's a good time to accept our predicament and look at the good things winter brings:

1. Snow
Granted it's not the first thing that comes to mind for many Australians, but if you can get there, a few days at a snow resort is a great way to enjoy winter. Even if you're not into snowsports, it's a magical place to be; marvelling at snow gums heaving under the weight of a fresh dump of snow, warming your icy cheeks with a good glass of red wine at a lodge or pub. It's good for the soul. Marcus and I spent a few winters living and working at Mt Buller so we try to get there a few times each season to snowboard and catch up with friends. 

2. Hot chocolate 
There's nothing quite like wrapping shivering fingers around a warm cup of delicious hot chocolate. Even better if there's a couple of marshmallows on the side. 

3. Slippers
I got a new pair of slippers recently - we now wear matching ones, from Kmart. Yes we are that cute. But how good is taking your shoes of when you get home, cranking the heater and sliding into a pair of slippers that feel like you're walking on clouds?!

4. Better fashion
Don't know about you, but Autumn/Winter is my preferred season for fashion. I love the options with layering, and wearing tights and boots and topping off the whole outfit with a loosely wrapped scarf. My favourite getup at the moment is wearing my new Country Road plum woollen jumper over a black Jacqui E dress (that I got from Savers for only $25, win!) with grey tights and black ankle boots. 

5. Rain on a tin roof
It doesn't need to be winter to enjoy this, but let's face it, the odds are better...and there's nothing like cuddling up in bed and drifting off to sleep to the sound of rain.

6. Fingerless gloves
Warm AND functional! For regular gloves it's got to be a snug fitting pair in leather. 

7. Soul-warming soups and hearty stews
As I write, my first beef stew of the season has just finished it's six hours in the slow cooker and is now cooling on the bench. I love how comfort foods like rich soups and casseroles warm up your body from the inside - they also freeze and reheat really well so are perfect for work lunches. 

8. Snuggling in front of an open fire
It's lovely to curl up in front of the gentle flames of an open fire and listen to the wood pop and crackle. Include a good bottle of red, some cheese and great company for maximum effect.

9. Winter solstice
In the depths of winter, the shorter hours of daylight can become a bit of a drag. Nothing like Northern Europe, sure, but it's still a bit depressing leaving and arriving home in the dark. Good news is the winter solstice marks the shortest day, so it only get's better from here!

10. Being stuck indoors
Sometimes it's nice to stay home and spend some time doing things you never find the time to do, whether that's reading, sorting out paperwork, or catching up on the latest episodes of Revenge.

Do you like winter? Anything else you'd put on the list? 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Finders Keepers: craft market mecca

I love a good market and had pretty high expectations for the bi-annual Finders Keepers market in Melbourne (Sydney and Brisbane events coming up!) but it honestly blew my mind with all kinds of awesome. 

There was art, stationery, jewellry, cool stuff for home, baby things, clothes and then the downright wish-I-thought-of-that clever. Like these vintage suitcase boom boxes:

Along the same theme was Rebound Books, who collect pre-loved and vintage books and repurpose them into notebooks , photo albums and book marks. Nifty, huh! 

But before I got stuck into the gleeful exercise of emptying my wallet on handmade wares, mum and I got amongst the throng of loyal food truck fans and experienced our first (amazing) fish taco from Taco Truck. It was everything I'd dreamed of and more. 

Man, I love Mexican food.

We bought lots of bits and pieces but honestly, the amount of good stuff there was overwhelming, making it hard to choose! There's something really special about buying at the source - it feels good to support emerging talent and know that your money is helping to grow small businesses, many of whom use sustainable materials. 

Here's a few things I bought:

Framed letterpress print by ask alice (check out her online store - free shipping Australia-wide!)

'Scrabble slogans' by The Super Cool (and they live up to the name - their stall was packed with people all day)

Wooden bead necklace by Stampel 

What about you, are you mad for a market too? Any preferred 'genre'? I tend not to discriminate...farmer's, vintage, trash 'n' treasure, plants...

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Hello, my name is Bridget, I'm 27 and I like tea + whole foods, dreaming big, and thinking about becoming a mama. I live in a humble little weatherboard in bayside Melbourne with my husband and puppy dog.

I reckon there's a good metaphor for life in sandcastles...goals and imagination build them, mighty and firm thanks to the trusty bucket and spade. As the tide changes and the waves lap beyond the shoreline, it may seem that all is lost...but really it's just the beginning of a journey of discovery and renewal. 

Previously I was over there. I do hope you'll join me here and stay a while.