Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Lights off in Melbourne for Earth Hour 2008. I hope you can join in wherever you are.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Songs that soothe my soul

I am big on reminicsing and there isn't a day that goes by when I'm not thinking of a time or a person from my past - be it yesterday or last year. I never let go of things, feelings, loved ones.

Last week I mentioned my desire to dance on the train platform, music's been on my mind more than usual of late. We have music on constantly at home. Geoff is a great consumer of current music and keeps me up-to-date, I don't agree with all his choices, but I love that we're aware of what's going on although it's not really top 40 stuff. So many people seem to stay stuck at a certain point, musically, and never move to new things. I do still love the old stuff though and have had a nostalgic fest of late. I thought I'd share some of my faves with you. It was also inspired somewhat by the sweet Lindsay and the gorgeous post she did for her man on Valentines Day.

"Driftwood" by Travis
This song makes me think of 505 Clive Court, Maida Vale where Geoff and I lived in London for 4 of our 5 years, our home. It makes me remember the flat, our life at that moment in time, the colder days and nights, the darker weather, so many candles, sweetness.

"High and Dry" by Radiohead
When Geoff and I had only been together two weeks, 13 years ago now, we went away for a weekend to Lorne, High and Dry was playing on the radio as we were weaving our way down the Great Ocean Road. We went to the Lorne pub for dinner that night (before the trendy makeover) and he asked me what I'd like to drink. When I responded a shandy he hesitated and said "here's the money, I don't do shandy".

"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" by Sarah McLachlan
This album, probably unlike any other, is the most powerful for me, instantly transports me to Canada. I was about to turn 25 and there for the second time, involved in the most intense love story of years standing with a gorgeous Canadian whose life I still follow to this day. When I think of this album it's always night. I think of riding the train to the stop near the Science Museum to meet him from the Greyhound bus from Banff. I remember him crying at night and I feel, now, the greatest of regret. I feel almost 15 years younger just thinking of it.

"There's No Need to Argue Anymore" by The Cranberries
Same as the album above, same stay in Canada. Staying with my friend Michelle Mallich in Burnaby, drinking wine from a two litre flagon on the floor in her loungeroom, talking all night by candlelight. She was an amazing woman, I've lost touch with her and have tried to reconnect - I don't know where she is now.

"Easy" by Faith No More
Was a song on the jukebox in the kitchen area of the Fort Mason YHA in San Francisco. I was there in 1993 and was travelling with a girlfriend I'd met in Montreal earlier in the trip. Christelle and I hooked up with some others, Merve, Laurent and Magnus and we'd sit and talk forever in the kitchen. The jukebox had this song on and I'd managed to get it to play it for a penny rather than a dime, I played it over and over.

I don't feel sad thinking about these things, but I certainly can feel melancholy. I have a need to understand and know things, it's not intelligence as in learning, not that kind of desire, it's a connection thing. I need to understand why I feel a certain way about things and why I still think about the things I do and it frustrates me that I don't know myself better. These are all good songs though, I think, even without the associations - have a listen.

No Ordinary Giveaway

Can't believe I completely forgot to let you all know about the most amazing giveaway ever. You have the chance to win the most beautiful, well crafted, too too cute doll, custom made just for you! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by the 30th.

A week or more ago I mentioned a review the babyccino site kindly did of my lala dolls, remember? Well I also agreed to make one custom doll for a lucky person who would be chosen at random simply for leaving a comment on the post about it. Soooo, what are you waiting for, how easy could it be??

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Borrowing a word from Leslie and just because.


Ella loves letters. She is asking how to spell everything around the house and our current favourite game is eye-spy, great for learning your letters. When Leila went for her nap today and we knew someone was dropping by with something for us, she asked how to spell the words for sure, but the writing is all her.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You CAN have too much chocolate

Leila snuck two mini chocolate eggs this morning while we were distracted by Ella's more serious hunting. Ella didn't have chocolate until she was about 2 1/2, Leila is half that age and managed to down two. It's now almost 6pm and she has slept only half an hour all day - next time I think we'll wrestle it from her.

The hunt, which I LOVE preparing, is over quickly - our big girl is too clever, I think next year I'll have to over rather than under restimate her intelligence. We made clues (left by the Easter bunny) and with each clue was a few pieces of a homemade jigsaw. Once all the clues were collected and she had all the jigsaw pieces she put it together to lead her to hers and her sister's Easter surprise. I just love it, love the anticipation of Ella and knowing, or more hoping, that these memories will stay with her forever in the same way my parents made similar memories for me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Nose Bleed

Funny post name, funny photo, you'll figure out what it's all about after reading more.

We have been out in the front garden the whole day spreading mulch and river stones, cleaning up, replanting, it looks great.

Leila loves to play in her pram, she climbs in and sits there surveying the surrounds very happily. At one point in the afternoon Ella wanted a turn in the pram and when she went close to Leila "something" happened. Ella said "Mum Leila made my nose feel funny" but she wasn't upset, crying, more just relaying, I said something non committal like "you're alright, never mind". A few minutes later Ella screams "Mum, there's blood". I turn around and Ella's hands and face are covered, I mean covered, with blood and it's running out of her nose and seemingly her mouth - although I think one ran into the other. We laid her down, pinched her nose, Geoff got tissues which we plugged her nose with, cleaned her up, cuddled, sat on the couch, ate chocolate and all was well again. You know what happened, apparently our gorgeous blonde one, our 14 month old baby pushed her fingers up big sister's nose and gouged inside them causing a rather severe nose bleed. What more can I say??

Boogy Woogy

I would have taken photos to share but as we were all dancing in our underwear/nappies I felt perhaps they were a little risque.

Do you recall the Seinfeld episode, the one where Elaine unwittingly humiliates herself at a work Christmas party? It turns out that everyone cleared the floor when she started dancing and the tag line was "but I love to dance". Last night the girls and I were dancing, in a state of undress, in my bedroom with some tunes from itunes playing. Our playlist of four songs worth of frenzied dancing, in case you're interested was:

Digital Love by Daft Punk
Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John
Layla by Eric CLapton
Sound and Vision by David Bowie

After four songs I was completed knackered but felt amazing while it lasted.

It was a dancing day yesterday. When Geoff and I were on the train platform going to work yesterday morning I had his ipod on and was listening to Digital Love. I don't wear those little earplug headphones well, I must have funny shaped ears as they just don't stay in. Geoff recently bought some new headphones and they have little silicon funnel shaped things on the earpieces so they really fit inside perfectly and it's complete surround sound. We were waiting on the platform and I wanted to listen to that particular song. It was a cool morning but the sun was streaming down and completely dazzling. I felt good, the music was just what I wanted to hear and I so wanted to dance on the platform, I mean full on dancing. I would have, except Geoff would have died of embarassment, I so wish I had though. It was a moment that I wanted to seize and perhaps it sounds silly that dancing in a strange situation in front of dozens of strangers was seizing the moment, but for me life was so sweet in that single moment. Do you know the feeling I mean when you travel, when you have no time commitments, when you can be where you want when you want, that feeling of invincibility that we wish we could keep in our every day life? The feeling that means you want to go on travelling forever to keep a hold of that feeling? Yesterday morning, in the sunshine, listening to that music I was flooded with memories of so many things in my life that had made me feel good, it all washed over me and the dancing, that was the outward manifestation of that joy. As it was I just jigged, to myself, it felt good and I embarassed no-one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have three older brothers, the nearest to me is 9 years older. I feel that I was brought up closer to an only child than to a child with siblings. When you have that much of an age difference you don't play or socialise with your siblings in the same way. Perhaps the difference in sex played a part as well. By the time I was 10 my nearest brother was already 19 and you don't share a great deal in common, the gap is too great.

When I became the parent of two girls I wondered if I'd know how to manage them. A friend of mine who is one of 5 lost her only sister (who was 31 at the time) to leukemia four years ago, she told me that there's nothing like a sister and that I was very lucky to have two girls and for them to have each other. She, and other friends I know, have actually grown up as friends to their siblings and have gone to pubs together, done the things I have only done with friends. It's a strange concept to me.

Although there is 3 years difference between our girls, they have loved each other from the start and it seems to have just found its own balance. Ella is an extremely patient, generous, loving and giving child, Leila is the lovable larrikin and the cheeky one. Leila may be 3 years younger but she most definitely pushes her bigger sister around - it's quite something. I've had to have talks with Ella about her not letting Leila be the boss!

Watching them this afternoon, Ella tickling her sister and Leila laughing so hard I thought she'd be sick, I realised that for the most part they will just figure things out themselves. They start with a foundation of love, they will be taught respect and hopefully that leads to the like of a sibling similar to that which we hold for our dearest friends. I know they say you can't choose your family, I can only hope that if my girls could the choice would still always be each other.


I saw these gorgeous little fellas on the babyccino site and had to make some for ourselves. You can't see very well in the photo but the sprouts, less than 24 hours later, are already sprouting - very cool. I have to get more eggs today to make more heads!

Can you have too much of a good thing?

I think not!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The days are racing by

(Top picture is of a cow "full of milk" and the bottom two are the mummy redback spider and her baby below)
and I'm measuring them by just how fast it seems Ella is changing. 12 months ago school wasn't even in my head and now I'm realising just how quickly this year is going and how much I'll miss her when she's at school. It's wonderful for her, exciting, a new chapter, but as with all parents facing sending their first children off to school, it's tinged with fear and sorrow too.

I feel she's so much more of a girl these days, she is learning more from sources external to the family than I'd imagined she would - it's not a bad thing at all, just a surprise to me. She now knows her alphabet not just in terms of rote, but in terms of recognition as well and can spell out words she sees. Her drawing is also a big measure. I thought we'd stay in the childlike drawings she'd always done and yet really only in the last two weeks, drawings are becoming more identifiable and "realistic", for a child at least. I have framed a few of her early ones, but I'm now having to secret away her best ones for more framing. How do you choose though? I have tried to keep the most special of pieces, but gosh, she's prolific and adding in kinder and all the lovely works they bring home from there (including decorated cereal boxes which start to take up a lot of space), but it's getting crowded in our already storage challenged house. Anyone have any clever ideas for keeping their childrens work safe? Maybe an art folio?

(Ella's on the left, the cute one, Leila's the baby above her and I'm the crazy looking on on a skateboard to the right!)

(This is an angry guy from the Australian Biggest Loser (I know, I know)

(This is my favourite, my gorgeous Ella, a self portrait. Why is it this completely naive pictures are so appealing?)

I really truly extremely want to be like Lola

Photographer: Ella Hargreaves

Inspiration: Charlie and Lola 4 episode 1

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Feeling famous in my own street tonight

My girls have been outed today and I tell you I couldn't be more thrilled with this review. It really just makes me feel giddy they look so good! Heads up too, keep checking on the babyccino site as next week they're running a giveaway with one of my dolls (custom made for you) as the prize. You will just have to log a comment on the post and wait and see!!! How can you resist?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hot Buns

I'm not religious, at all, so Easter holds no significance for me apart from the fact that it's time to make hot buns. I'm afraid I can't remember where I first found the recipe, it's been in my book for years - for some reason I think it was a recipe I picked up in Waitrose while we were living in London. I must check out that mag, Waitrose Food Illustrated, I used to really like it but haven't bought it in years - since we moved back here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Doll News

I mentioned some news, it's small fry but something I'm excited about. A customer, the same one whose lovely feeback I posted, well she recommended my dolls to a lovely product/parenting site that they should review my dolls... and they are! I think it's going to be tomorrow London time so I'll be sure to post the link this Tuesday afternoon. As a result this weekend has meant sewing time in this house so the shop is updated before it comes out - in case people go nuts! I've posted in b&w - mean I know - but I want you to check out the shop when the girls are there and be surprised at all the colour!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More Afternoon Fun

We usually get into the silly stuff late in the afternoon, when I'm vulnerable. I couldn't possibly show you the photo of the painting Ella did on me - far too close up, too many crinkles are obvious.

Work day so brief posting. I have exciting news to share about my dolls but will do so over the weekend when I have more time.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

When one spoon isn't enough

Not a pretty picture I know, but it pretty much sums up my day.

Leila now wants to use cutlery, in fact after the first few mouthfuls she won't open up for food unless it's on a spoon she's in charge of. One spoon is not enough - she wants one in each hand and invariably one falls on the floor, hence the spare third. The mess, yuck. I know that it's to be expected, the learning encouraged, but arrrrgh! Ella was so neat and as I'm realising more and more, so compliant. It's terrible that it's a characteristic that's enviable, but gosh, I never realised until now how terribly well behaved she was/is. That's not to say that Leila is naughty, she's just full on, all the time. I think the only moments when Leila stops are when she's asleep - otherwise she's looking for mischief.
She's also a climber, as I've mentioned before, but now it's everything. She's discovered the kitchen table and is constantly climbing and standing in the middle of it. Ella's constantly calling "Mum, lala's doing the wrong thing" which is code for standing on high piece of furniture. It's also the outside table - she hasn't fallen, yet, but it's a long way down. I've had to stack the chairs, out of the way, so she can't get them, which is a pain when the only adult at home during the day wants to sit down.

At 5 it felt like the only thing keeping me going was being able to have a glass of red - I got the glass out ready and the bottle had been finished - completely forgot, in fact have no recollection of drinking it. That's not because I was in a drunken haze, must have been Geoff. So, I held on until 6 feeling guilty about opening a "good bottle" on a Tuesday night, but then the need overcame me. I used a good glass though, which made me laugh. I shared a similar story another time with my dearest friend Kate and she had a similar occurence herself about the same time during a long drawn out house renovation. The only difference in out situations was that Kate also couldn't find a wine glass and had to drink a good bottle out of a coffee mug!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Girls Everywhere

I have a little production line going at the moment and am feeling inspired. I sold a doll to a lovely woman in California recently and she said the loveliest thing after receiving the doll "I just wanted to share with you the impact your doll has had on my daughter. She's close to being one year old and obviously to young for a doll, but I set the doll on her bookcase for her to look at everyday. She smiles at it and calls it "baby." Baby is one of her first words next to bye bye. We say good night to it every night and she'll call for it everytime she wakes up from slumber. So precious!!I hope you sell more of your exquisite dolls. I've told my friends about your workmanship and kindness, so don't be surprised if you get more sales!"

I'm not sharing her comments with you to brag, but to share with you how wonderful it made me feel. She included a photograph of the doll in her new home and honestly, I couldn't have been prouder. As much as the little bit of pocket money is nice, it's the thrill of someone appreciating the dolls that I find so inspiring. This same lady went on to order another doll for herself and an extra outfit for the original one. Not only that but the next day two more dolls sold to another person who turned out to be her best friend. Those girls are now also on their way to the US and I hope they're received as warmly.

To those who don't know me well I come across as extremely confident and in many ways I guess I am, dealings with others, communication in general and such. In terms of self belief though, I'm quite fragile and don't tend to believe my own good press. I don't know why, at almost 40 years of age I still struggle to understand myself - how crazy is that.

So, dolls, they're on the table, in the kitchen, my bedroom - all over in various states of creation. I hope they find happy homes the world over.

Blondey Blonde

was 14 months old yesterday and what a monkey she is. Latest favourite game is chasey as she now has legs that run and a game that really makes her chuckle but me fret, the dizzy game spinning around in circle until you fall down hitting whatever you're standing next to. Favourite instrument - xylophone, favourite book - Look and Learn Animal.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

So so sorry...

A dear family from our kinder community are suffering the greatest of losses. The loveliest of couples with three lovely boys lost their fourth child, a 4 month old baby daughter, to a terminal illness yesterday. I can't imagine how one would survive such a loss, but all our love and thoughts are with them as they face the first few days without her.