Tuesday, April 30, 2013


What a lovely bunch you are! Thank you for your good and kind and considered comments on yesterday's post. Belinda's formula sounds just perfect - two days for taking care of the business/admin stuff, two days for creating and making, and a fifth day for seeking inspiration or "filling the well," aka Julia Cameron.

Last night I let myself go off piste for some play. Bumpy dots, or dotty bumps. Do you like them? They're not hats (yet) so I guess that's something!

I'm working away in the background on an exciting project. Those of you who were here this time last year may remember my Very Bloggy Morning Tea in aid of the Cancer Council. It was such fun, and such a success, and this year I'm going for it again, only bigger and better. There'll be guest bloggers, cuppas and sweet treats galore, and a fabulous giveaway that you won't want to miss. And guess what? You're ALL invited!!!! 

Stay tuned. If you're on Facebook, make sure you hit 'like' over here to stay updated.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Balancing Act

Last night, after I sent off another bunch of recipes and photos, I had a little pinch-me moment. I'm actually earning money doing something I love. I sat down on the couch to finish off a hat I'd begun earlier that day and it hit me again - I'm creating a business, albeit a tiny-incy-micro one, doing something I adore.

And this was all at the end of a week in which I returned to my day job after a nice little long-service sabbatical. (Oh, boy, didn't that fly!) And there it was again. I've long held a notion that I'd like to live my life with a variety of 'jobs', using different skills and surviving on a multiple stream of income, rather than throwing all my energies into climbing a single career ladder. These are early days, and nothing's in stone yet, but it's starting to come true.

But there's a side effect when something you love becomes something you do for work. For as much as I am loving cooking and knitting, taking photos, and knitting some more, a part of me has lost the love for it all. I can't remember when I last wandered into the kitchen to bake something just because. Now it's all, "Could this become a recipe? Should I write it down and photograph it just in case? How could I adapt this to make it more family friendly?" I walked past my cookbook collection the other day and it was like I had just noticed it was there. Oh, that's right, there are books!!!! That I can cook from!!! Just because!!!

As for knitting, this time last year I was whipping up hats and cardigans and jumpers and leg warmers for my babies and my friends and my friends' babies.  Good grief, I think I may have even knitted something for myself! There was a time not so long ago that if you knew me and you had recently given birth, a handknit would arrive wrapped and ready to wear. My Ravelry page was being updated on a fortnightly basis, it seemed, with new projects! This year that's just a fantasy - even my own girls are wearing Target hoodies, poor deprived little urchins, because every waking knitting moment is taken up with the hats. THE HATS!!!!!

Oh, my goodness, my own children don't even have hats for this winter...

The eternal balancing act. I'm not talking about the work/life juggle - I gave up on that one a long time ago. I'm talking about the serious/fun balance. The because-I-have-to/just-because balance. 

So tell me, when a hobby becomes work, admittedly wonderful, delightful, oh-so-grateful-for work, how do you keep the love alive? And where do you squeeze in time for the just-because?

Sunday, April 28, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Lola: In the morning sunshine.
Pearl: Her dummy came out reluctantly for the photo.
Stella: First thing each morning, she's by my bed.

Previous 52 portraits here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


:: Love love loving it freshly cut.

:: Thrilled by how much better they taste smashed up with some buttery leeks.

:: Transforming them into little bags for little hats.

:: Wondering if they'll ever turn red after little hands picked them too early.

:: Enjoying chillier days that require extra, very brightly coloured layers.

:: Marvelling at how it keeps coming back no matter how much I cut it and eat it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Lola: "Mum, can I sing you a song I made up? It's about numbers and it goes on forever."
Pearl: Favourite word this week - 'disgusting'. "That's DISSSSSgusting."
Stella: After assuring us she'd just play in the sand and wouldn't be swimming thank you very much, she couldn't help but run through the shallow water, giggling.

Previous 52 portraits here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pork Belly and Mango Salad

The way I see it, if you have a piece of pork belly lying around, the only option you have is to cook it and to eat it. More often than not, the pork belly I cook is turned into some variation on the Sunday roast - hearty, filling and warming.

But there are people in the world who take this fatty, rich cut of meat and give it the summertime treatment, a la pork belly salad. I've seen it done with green papaya and green mango. This is my "you can't buy a green mango in the Southern Highlands" version using the last of the ripe summer fruit. Green herby leaves and a sweet, sour dressing make you feel virtuous and true. Crunchy crackling and sumptuous meat bring you right back down to earth, sighing smugly as you go.

You can find my full recipe here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The hour or so we live from the coast is enough to limit the amount of time we spend there. It's just not something we do very often. But whenever we get there, as we did this week on a visit to a favourite aunty, I find myself wondering if the beach might suit us more than these rolling green hills we currently call home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Lovelies


It has been a busy, but steady, transition into this new school routine. Here's a smattering of lovely from the last week of term:

1) Jupiter Girl and her sister.
2) Autumn at last.
3) First game of soccer, and she got the first goal plus another for good measure.
4) Pearl's manicure doesn't get in the way of all that baking.
5) My Stella is forever picking posies, and she carries them wherever she goes.
6) I bought myself a little treat from Christina's shop. People comment on it every time I wear it.
7) My baby out with her baby.

We are out and about this week with some school holiday trips and lots of visiting with friends. I'm hoping for slower, sunshine-filled days. Wishing you all a lovely week x

Saturday, April 13, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Lola: She's hatching a plan to bury lots of bones in our garden and invite all the neighbourhood dogs for a "sniffing contest".
Pearl: This afternoon she asked if we could watch 'The Wizard of Boz'.
Stella: Equal parts sweetie-pie and stubborn, all week long.

Previous 52 portraits here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tiny Pixie

The first in the Typically Red Tiny range for newborns, the Tiny Pixie, is available by custom order in the shop now. One size, seven colours, unquantifiable cute.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Today began at a civilised hour - there was a 7 on the clock - which is amazing given that in the last week we've said goodbye to daylight savings and hello to big girl beds. Not that it mattered as I had visits from all three of my girls in the night, so it was a broken one to say the least. Wednesday is a preschool day so there are three girls to wrangle into slippers and dressing gowns, three to negotiate breakfast with, three to talk into clothing and shoes, three lunches to pack and three little lunches (but only one crunch'n'sip). Three backpacks with three changes of clothes. Three hats in case the sun comes out, three jackets in case it gets cold - and you can guarantee both will be required. Three drink bottles to find and fill. Three heads of unruly wild curls to brush. Three hairstyles to discuss and action.

In amidst it all I try to make myself barely presentable with a quick shower, clean clothes, a smooshing of moisturiser and some mascara to make my pale, pale lashes look less translucent. A cup of tea if I'm lucky. Breakfast very occasionally. Today I tried to get clever and put a pot of milk on to heat thinking I could get some yoghurt happening. I watched the thermometer between wiping down tables and wiping down noses. It hit 90 and I turned off the flame and walked away to shout some orders.

I filled the car with girls and bags and made the trip into town to preschool, leaving one kid in tears and another on the verge, racing away before it all became a flood. I hit the road to Goulburn for a last-minute catch-up with a lovely Canberra friend. It was a window before I was tied down with school holidays and before she gave birth to her second baby, and we grabbed it to sit in the sun and drink coffee and talk. I ignored my massive to-do list and the fact it was the last day in three weeks with all my children out of the house, and just sank into all the loveliness that comes from time with good friends.

On the return trip, I remembered the milk on the stove.

I picked up my pair, their cuddles and love making everything that's ever happened anywhere to anyone completely worthwhile. We drove on to collect their big sister from school, and beamed with golden sunshiney pride as she showed off the award she won at assembly "for being a focused and hardworking student." Bless.

We raced home to change some shoes and throw crackers and bananas in a bag (and tip two litres of sour milk down the drain) and raced out for soccer training. I scrambled for cash to buy the requisite socks and shorts in time for this Saturday's inaugural match. Little sisters got bored and started clawing at each other. There was screaming. The sun got lower and the temperature dropped. We finally returned home and shovelled easy food into little faces while I prepared and cooked a couple of recipes that have to be photographed tomorrow. Babes were bathed. Dishes were washed (in the sink, of all places - our dishwasher is on the blink). Stories were read and lullabies sung.

I look at the to-do list which isn't shrinking. I try to ignore the overflowing washing basket, the crumbs under the table, the ring around the bathtub. I think how lovely it would be for one of these weeks to chance along and I wonder how it's all going to come together. But at this time of night, when my girls are sleeping and all is quiet, I look at an award taking pride of place on the fridge door. I catch a glimpse of a messy scrawl of preschool paint on a piece of cardboard and notice the row of Ps across the top. P for Pearl. I remember the loveliness of sitting in the sun enjoying uninterrupted conversation. I thank God that every day isn't Wednesday. And I know it will be OK.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Photo Stuff

That there is a photo of me and my three taken late last year by my good friend Briony (of Catch Photography in Brisbane). Photos of me are thin on the ground, photos of me with my girls scarcer still. I guess that's the lot of the one who holds the camera in the family. I was recently asked to provide a profile photo of myself for a PR thingo. I wasn't able to because I just don't have any. I don't love being photographed, I admit. And I've put photos of myself on this blog, oh, about three times now. Recently I was interviewed on film for a Cancer Council promo. That took me so far out of my comfort zone, I can't even tell you. And when I pop it here on the blog - and I will soon, I promise - I will hardly be able to stand it. Time for someone to get over herself (in all her approaching-middle-age glory!)

Anyway, in a similar but different vein, I thought I'd share some of my favourite photography blogs, or blogs I love especially for the photos. 

An absolute favourite is Flannery O'Kafka. Glasgow-based Andrea has lots of kids who are conveniently very photogenic. That Hugo! She shoots portraits and kids fashion editorials and just lots of beautiful images. Moody and often dark and always beautiful.

Lamb Loves Fox is a 365 project with beautiful little Lamb as the main subject (her just-born baby brother Fox will no doubt be joining in soon). I don't know what it is about these photos but I just love them to bits. Gorgeous kid, gorgeous light, stunning intentional composition. Inspiring stuff.

Tahnee of Milk Please Mum has been seriously practising her photography. Her blog is living proof of the amount of photos she takes and the quality of them. She has launched her own business - how exciting! I found this shoot she did of the lovely folk at Lemon Rhodes quite inspiring. The way she captures the stuff going on around the subject reminds me of another amazing photographer.

And finally, Malt Memories is brand new to me, but my goodness. Would you look at this? And these? They're like stills from an arthouse film. I can't wait to see more.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Maple Bacon Pumpkin Oh!

Can you call it a salad if it's got a great big slab of bacon in the middle? I say yes, especially as the weather cools and sliced cucumber just won't cut it anymore. I hear the maple syrup/bacon combo is big in North America. After putting this hearty little dish together, I can see why.

I used to make a yummy salad of diced pumpkin, spinach, red onion and pine nuts. This is like the no-nonsense version of that one. The pumpkin is roasted in wedges with the skin on. Onion is roasted too, all rustic-like with the nubby ends still attached. There's maple syrup in the dressing and on the grilled, glazed bacon. And crunchy pumpkin seeds finish it all off wonderfully.

The perfect autumn salad for the week after the clocks go back.

My recipe can be found here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Lola: She cried fat wet tears this morning recounting her dream in which Stella fell down a deep, deep well.
Pearl: At last, she and Stella are in their big girl beds. And if that wasn't exciting enough, Pearl is nappy-free all night long. Tiny champion!
Stella: When it's her turn in I-Spy, she always has the same go - "I spy with my little eye something beginning with...Mummy." Is it Mummy? "It's Mummy!"

Previous 52 portraits here.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Easter jimjams made from vintage flannel sheets using a tried-and-true nightie pattern from this book.

Fairy parasols made on our trip to the park using twigs, fallen leaves and a few silly dance moves.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


There's a park in the centre of my old home town. It does springtime beautifully and autumn even better. It's famous for its duckpond and the swing sets. Many a childhood afternoon was spent playing there. It was the site of weekend picnics, of festivals and festivities and, like most of my peers, the location of one of my early forays into under-age drinking (on a Saturday morning, no less!). I wonder how many of those teenagers have returned with their own children years later to watch them hover precariously on the edge of the pond, frolic in autumn leaves, pluck marigolds from the manicured garden beds, get drenched at the fountain and maybe lay a sloppy one on a cute boy beneath a big old pine tree.


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