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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.