Saturday, July 27, 2013

Balayage is the most perfect of mama hair colour solutions.

It's casual enough to look un-fussy, while still being a little bit on-trend. But the best bit is that it can be entirely accidental.

Until this week, the last time I sat in a colourist's chair was in September last year.

Before kids, I would submit to a colourist's magic every 6-8 weeks, without the blink of an eye. Post kids, it's just too hard. Too expensive. Too time-consuming. Too self-indulgent.

I realised I was far-too-frequently saying "Thank God for this balayage trend. It's the saviour of mothers."

Really, what I was talking about was nearly 12 months worth of re-growth.

So, after nearly a year of hairdresser absence, I decided to get it properly done. The price physically pained me, of course. But it's so shiny! So soft! Unfortunately,  I was almost completely unable to capture it, as you will see for yourself, but for what it's worth, I am loving my new hair.

In other news, I had a CT scan of my face a couple of weeks ago as part of this whole pneumonia / bronchitis / asthma / sinusitis thing that has rendered me useless this month, and learned that I have a broken nose. Yep. A nose that was broken at some point in the past that did such a pitiful job of repairing itself that it grew a whole extra bone spur into my sinus drains, collapsing them, explaining the recurrent infections.

I'm staring down the barrel of 40 years old (well I'm 36) and the last time I recall anything coming into contact with my nose I was 14, at a high school softball tournament, and walked straight into the practice swing of a team-mate. How about that? I've always thought my nose to be a bit off. Now I know I'm not seeing things.

Anyhow, if you're a mum, with limited hairdresser time, budget or tolerance, I highly recommend going the ombre / balayage route. Low maintenance is key.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


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

I ventured outside to discover Roc had set up a 'beach control' station from the back verandah. He was on a deck chair, binoculars at the ready, beach hat and shirt on, surveying the back garden 'beach'. He had his watch on so he would know when it was time for lunch, apparently.

Hame. Making me pipe-cleaner rainbows in the early morning to "have a breutiful day, mama"

As always, joining in with Jodi.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The road to less - part 3: the linen cupboard

We had 17 beach towels. 17. SEVENTEEN! What is with that?

We also had a stack of sheet sets for a bed that is now the guest bed, cot linen for cots no longer owned, bassinette linen from nearly four years ago, too many face washers to count, and towel sets missing vital pieces.

I pulled it all out, worked out what I truly thought the bare minimum could be, and donated the rest.

This makes me happy. Satisfied, actually. I like to see progress.

I can see what we have. There is space, which is like a big deep slow breath in. Nothing is squashed in, nothing will tumble out. Everything in its place. No more, no less. Enough. 

(Except I still think we have too many beach towels. But with a pool in the back garden, weekly swimming lessons, trips to the beach, and water play, I'm keeping them for now to see how we fare in the warmer months)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kids live here

A few weeks ago one of my regular blog reads - Tahnee from Milk Please Mum - posted something that made my heart sing. She is part of a project called Kids Were Here, a group of photographers who capture the detail and evidence that children were indeed enjoying their spaces.

I think it's brilliant. Not just because their photography is obviously breathtaking, and meaningful, and loaded and emotional. But because it celebrates the joy, cheekiness, delight, fun and simplicity that comes with childhood. 

And then the beautiful Gaby, from This Little Port, showed her real house and her real spaces this week - yet another sign!

Children create chaos and mess; of that there is no doubt. But the images took my breath away. I saw childhood through a child's eyes, instead of through my own house-cleaning weary ones. 

In the spirit of ceasing being a cranky cow about the state of this house, I decided to take some inspiration from this project in the hope it might help me loosen up about mess, to stop cleaning, and to start playing. So for the past week, I've been snapping away, capturing memories of what my home is like when it's filled with two boisterous boys doing what they do best.

I LOVED IT! I highly recommend it. A slight shift in perspective was just what I needed.

So, here it is, in all its glory, evidence that kids live here - in my home, in my heart - in all its messy, misplaced, imperfect chaos. Beautiful, isn't it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


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

My Hame.

Roc, slurping the last of his 'warm' chocolate.

Looking for their wishing coins.
I've been sick with pneumonia for the past fortnight, and T's parents have been saviours. I don't know how I'd have managed if they didn't do the kindy runs, bring us food, entertain the boys, and drive me to medical appointments.

I was starting to feel more human this weekend just passed, so to thank them, we took them out for a lovely leisurely breakfast at Harvey's, one of our favourite spots.

The boys were so excited about going out for a "gwown up" breakfast, they insisted on wearing their "work shirts". They fill my heart, those two darlings.

Joining in with Jodi.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A life anniversary

Every year, at this time of year, I feel overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. And the older I get and the more time passes, the more I feel it. I feel my mortality more now that I'm a mother, I think. Life isn't about me, anymore.

On July 14 2001, I had a really big operation. One that saved my life. One that took a team of surgeons 17.5 hours to complete.

My face was cut in two, my tongue cut away, my jaw sawn in half, and my throat opened all the way to my behind my left year. And when that was all stitched and pinned back together with screws and pins and plates, the back of my neck was opened up from midway down my skull to that point on your upper back where you rub when your shoulders ache or a headache begins.

I nearly died. I really nearly died.

But I didn't. I had to learn again how to swallow. How to talk. How to walk.

Anyone who has had an experience like this, I am sure will understand this post.

Above all, I am grateful. So grateful for modern medicine, for skilled surgeons, for rehabilitation, for wonderful nurses, for access to healthcare that is exceptional.

I am grateful for T, who was unwavering. Who refused to let me set him free the night before the surgery because I didn't want him to be forced to give up his dreams and his future because the person he fell in love with as a teenager might become quadriplegic for life.

He held my hands, stared me in the eyes, and told me that a life with me in it was the life he wanted, however it came, whatever it brought, and that he'd push me wherever I wanted to go until I took my last breath.

He slid a wedding band over my finger, even though we weren't married yet. For me, from that moment, we were. Bound to each other for life. Our hearts intertwined. In sickness or in health. We knew we were. We didn't need a witness for it to be true.The formalities came later.

I am more grateful than I can ever articulate for my beautiful boys. My miracles. The two most amazing people I didn't dare to hope for. Who changed me. Who have taught me more about life, love and myself in the past 3.5 years than the previous 33.

I am grateful for my beautiful life. My truly blessed, beautiful life.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't shake the feeling that I've wasted it somehow.

I know how self-indulgent and ridiculous that sounds. I do. Of course it's not wasted. I have love. I have children. I have food and shelter and warmth. I have family and friends. I am happy.

But yet, there it is.

My survival was against the odds. I know that sounds incredibly dramatic, but it's true. This was the second time.

Why am I so lucky? Why was I spared? What is it that I'm supposed to do? Have I missed it? Did my 'purpose' present itself and did I miss it? How will I recognise it if it appears?

I'm worried I've failed to reach its potential. I'm worried I haven't made the most of it. Or that I won't.

In my rational moments, I am happy to concede that actually there is no higher purpose. An amazingly skilled team of medical professionals were able to fix the problem. As simple as that.

Unfortunately I tend towards the emotional more often than I care to admit, and probably spend too long pondering these questions.

So this year, I am going to stop with the introspective guilt.

I am going to stop thinking that a perfectly ordinary life isn't enough. Because it is.

I am determined to stop wasting time and energy being cross or silly about things. I want to be brave enough to stop being sensible all the time and throw caution to the wind every once in a while. To follow my heart. To celebrate life. To stop and enjoy simple moments and take pleasure in the everyday.

I don't have all the answers, but I do have gratitude. And love. And I have my perfectly ordinary life that I nearly didn't get to have.

I don't need to change the world. I just need to make the most of mine, of ours.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why I crave simplicity

At a time when many are celebrating their career successes with new cars, big homes, the latest technologies, designer threads, expensive dinners out, nannies at home, and luxury holidays abroad, I feel myself being pulled in the opposite direction.

It's at this junction in life - right now when it would be easy to reward hard work with bigger, better, best - that I feel compelled to slow down, calm down, live sensibly and discover that a life with less stuff means more of the things that count.

Money comes and goes. Fourteen hour working days have a limited lifespan, before their frightening toll becomes real. Years pass by in the blink of an eye. I don't want this to play out in the pages of our life. I don't want us to be trapped into a life that is unsustainable and unhealthy.

I don't know precisely what it was that kicked it off, but I do know that spending less, owning less, making conscious decisions, and enjoying more is at least part of the answer.

I have so many ideas, dreams and plans. The decluttering continues. I've successfully pared back some key areas in our home: the kitchen, the bathrooms, the linen cupboard, the boys' toys and books, and my clothes, shoes and accessories.

I've donated a huge amount to charity, mainly via - you can search for items that are needed urgently and respond with anything you have that fits the need, or you can list your items and wait for a charity to contact you.

I've found it remarkably easier than I feared. I have barely hesitated over a single item. I have certainly felt cranky at times - at the wasted money particularly - but the harsh truth is that the money is already gone. The best thing we can do is to not repeat the same mistakes again.

Ask me if it's still as easy when I get to the boys' clothes. I get very sentimental over those. They are such reminders of just how much they've grown, of things they've achieved, of adventures they've had.

I predict areas like the garage, under-the-stairs, and the spare room cupboards will be laborious, but I think that's where I'll get the greatest sense of satisfaction. Imagine, we might even be able to get two cars into our double car garage. Who'd have thought!

Once the first full declutter is achieved, new habits will need to be reinforced. Rules will need to be applied, and regular clear-outs will form part of the rhythm of our lives.

I hope that by eliminating unnecessary stuff, the maintenance, cleaning, thinking, shopping, and and time associated with it is eliminated too. I hope extra time means less hurry, less stress, less pressure, and more enjoyment.

I dream of a little veggie patch, despite having the world's blackest thumb.I dream of a gentle and slow rhythm and ritual to our days. I dream of continuing to create days, months and years that build a beautiful childhood for our babes. And I dream of raising children who understand that things and love are not one and the same.

I feel inspired. And that feels good.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet Dora the Explorer!

The Cerebral Palsy League is a pretty incredible organisation; one I've been lucky enough to work with professionally for nearly four years now. And this year, we've seen it from the other side too: they've helped us out so much with Hamish - providing therapies, advising us about equipment, and being a brilliant sounding board.

Every year, they have a big family event called Picnic in the Park, held in Brisbane, and it's great. There's live entertainment, winter sunshine, loads of activities for kids, Paralympic talent spotters, celebs, and more.

This year, it's on Sunday 28 July at Roma Street Parkland, and they are again putting on two free official Nick Jr Dora the Explorer shows. Free! I know!

But even better, there are three personal 'Meet Dora' opportunities up for grabs.

If you are like me, with little people who LOVE Dora, make sure you enter for a chance to create some amazing childhood memories for them.

You can enter here:

And even if you don't win, there are still two free shows on offer, so please put this fantastic event in your diaries.

Cerebral palsy is the most common disability in children in Australia. It affects 1 in every 400 children. And CPL supports thousands and thousands of Queenslanders with therapies, services, art programs, respite, after hours school care, personal care, music and theatre, and so much more.

Please feel free to tell your Brisbane-based families and friends about this :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

three / 52

My three favourite photos of each of my boys, from this year's 52 project, this year so far.

3/52: This face. It's sweet, soft and innocent. He has always had such deep blue eyes, and I love that this photo captures them.
14/52: Joyful. Always joyful. He finds delight in the simplest things.
22/52: Bubbles. That he blew himself. A huge deal for this little angel, who gets through each day with a smile, even though some of the things we take for granted are so much more difficult for him to achieve.

8/52: Even superheroes have to sleep. This one runs on all cylinders, all the time. Sleep inevitably comes.
18/52: Infectious. Hilarious. Excitable.
26/52: Serious. He's listening to his teacher here, awaiting instructions before he dives in. Mature beyond his three years, he invests so much effort into his days. He concentrates, learns, and tries so hard to do things correctly.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The road to less - part 2: the bathroom

It's funny; I'm so careful about what we put into our mouths, making conscious decisions about chemicals, additives, preservatives and processing, yet I haven't made that transition to the products we slather all over our skin.

I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet last week. It was a motley collection of old tubes - half squeezed, makeup well past its best, baby potions and lotions no longer needed, old medications and plasters, and enough hair products to fill a salon. Can I point out how hilarious this last point is, given I have had neither the time nor inclination to visit a hairdresser in nearly eight months.

Perhaps even more fascinatingly, for someone who's nails are brittle and short, and who has absolutely no skills in applying varnish, I have a dizzying array of nailpolish. I wonder where they all came from? I've kept some of course; I secretly dream of being the kind of girl who changes her nail colour as regularly as her outfits.

Before, I had a cupboard under the sink that was full to bursting, with products I neither needed, used nor even knew were there. I had also purchased a three tier drawer set to house the other ESSENTIALS that didn't fit beneath the sink.


Appalling. The rest was so embarrassing I couldn't bear to share.
Now, my beneath-the-sink is enough. More than enough. There is even room for a fully kitted out travel bag of toiletries that is ready to pack at a moment's notice (for all those glamourous last minuteweekend getaways, of course....).

I tossed an appalling amount. And carefully edited the rest. My flimsy three basket drawers are no longer needed in here and have been relegated to serve the rest of their days as garage storage.

My decision now is to be far more conscious of what I purchase when the current items reach their end. To think carefully about ingredients and purpose. To whittle my basics down to a few, fabulous, products that provide only what I need.

How I'm feeling

I know I'm only two rooms in to a large house and garage, but I'm feeling really good about getting rid of excess. I feel immediately lighter. Things stand out more when there is space around them. More space, means more calm. Less stuff means more room. And more room means more of the things that really make us happy; family, fun, friends, and time.

I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to fill the spaces up again. In fact, the opposite is true. I can not wait to get rid of more. Last night, I sorted my bedside table drawers - all that's in them now is what i'm currently reading, an eye mask, and some hand cream.

And, just now, in the time it took to boil the kettle for a soothing cup of tea on this dreary morning, I tackled my shoe collection and halved it. At least halved it, actually. It feels fabulous.

On the other hand, I suppose I can't help but feel appalled, ashamed and even a little bit angry.

How did I end up with so much stuff? Why did I ever think I needed it? I feel rather alarmed at amount of money spent on things we don't need, the wasted time shopping for it, cleaning it, and finding it when it's adrift in a sea of stuff, and more than a bit conscious-stricken about the lack of thoughtful purchasing.

I feel like I'm seeing things entirely differently. The balance has shifted. I'm enjoying the journey.

Monday, July 1, 2013


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

Swimming lessons. Every Monday.

Roc. This kid can really swim. Properly swim.

Hame. This one can too. He has a habit of taking off on his own when the teacher has her back turned, sending my heart into my mouth each and every time. It's like he's compelled to; he loves the water so much. I'm so thankful he is able to swim.
Half way through the year with Jodi's amazing project.