these winter days

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

photos by Gui Jorge

These winter days have been so nice. The weather has been absolutely perfect; bright blue skies beckon us outside and we're usually at our local park by 9am. We have been spending so much time outside, mostly because Clementine is at an age where she has energy to burn. If we stay home for too long she very quickly destroys the place and undoes any of my efforts at housekeeping.

Speaking of, the husband and I dropped off another carload of things at the op shop last weekend and it's amazing what a difference it makes. I love the resulting feeling of space, and the fact that it takes half as long to clean up. For the first time ever, we actually have empty drawers. Incredible! Also incredible? Our heater. This is the first Sydney home I've lived in that isn't an absolute freezer come winter. For our apartment's many faults, it is quite toasty and for that I am grateful (especially because that heater becomes an air conditioner in the warmer months).

I have to say, it's totally shallow but I've been quite enjoying dressing Clementine in winter clothes. There is nothing cuter than a toddler all rugged up in bonnets and scarves. Seriously. She's such a lucky girl too, because her grandmother has been spoiling her with handmade accessories that are to die for. It'll be interesting to see how we handle the challenge of dressing for actually cold weather, when we're in Canada later this year. It will be Clementine's first experience of true winter, and my first cold winter in 5 years. I think one of these might be in order.

This week we're seeing friends, working on a very cute sewing project and planning another newborn shoot. When my husband and Clementine get home from the grocery store, we'll settle in for the night. Chicken congee for her, and miso-curry pumpkin (from this favourite cookbook) for us for dinner. Later tonight I'll have a bath (my muscles are achy from chasing a toddler all day) and then we'll watch Masterchef and eat ice cream. Have a good night everyone!

repurposed hot water bottle cover

Friday, July 18, 2014

This week, I took some time to shift things around a bit to give myself a sewing space. By putting our big, bulky printer in the closet, I freed up enough room to leave my sewing machine on a desk in our main living space. All of my sewing supplies and fabric are still in a chest of drawers in the hall, but at least now I don't have to also haul out my sewing machine any time I want to work on a project.

I have a few things on my 'to make' list, but I decided to warm up with something super simple: a hot water bottle cover. Inspired by The Crafty Minx, I cut up an old (holey) sweater of mine to create this cozy cover. I love how it looks and feels like I'm cuddling a favourite sweater; absolutely perfect for this blustery day we're having.

Hope you all have a very happy weekend!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I don't mean to sound like a broken record here (and it's a refrain that I seem to be hearing from a lot of bloggers) but goodness it's hard finding the time to write, and I'm missing the blogging of yesteryear. In any case, I have a few spare minutes before Clementine gets home and there are lots of bits and pieces I'd like to share. This week I am:

  • pretty sure this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, closely followed by this
  • planning to take the leap and launch a photography website in the near future
  • excited that Liv has teamed up with Blog Society to host a makeup workshop
  • speaking of workshops, my friend Stella is running the best named workshop ever: Manifest Like a Mofo
  • determined to make this for Clementine, even though I've never knit a sweater before and I am terrified
  • finishing Wild, and wondering if the movie will be any good
  • thinking that both Wild and The Rosie Project (which I recently read) are as good as everyone says
  • grateful that I signed up for this course since the sniffles are back, grrr
  • so sad and disappointed that I can't be at my bestie's wedding next weekend, why does Australia have to be so far away?
  • loving Bon Iver's new song
  • laughing over the fact that my husband and I are now sleeping with separate blankets, but we're both so much warmer!
  • glad that I listened to a recommendation from a friend and watched this wonderful movie
  • needing wanting this bag
  • giggling over these jokes (#2 is my favourite)

one year on, part two

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As promised, here is part two from our family photo shoot with Gui Jorge. Clementine and I changed into more casual outfits halfway through the shoot (because I'm indecisive), right around the time she was going crazy trying to jump head first into the water. A lot of wrangling was involved, but Gui and Michaela made it work and the resulting action shots are some of my favourites.

This weekend, I'm planning to print and frame a few of these to add to our collection. I confess that I'm a bit worried that our place is beginning to look like a shrine to Clementine. There are so many photos of her hanging on the walls, resting on the bookshelves and decorating the bedrooms. How do you guys deal with family photos? Do you practice restraint when it comes to decorating with family photos, or do you go wild?

one year on, by gui jorge

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm so happy with these photos, and so happy with our life right now. It's not perfect (whose is?) but it's lovely nevertheless. And having these beautiful images to document it all, well that's just the cherry on top.

I wanted to do this shoot to celebrate Clementine's first year, and as always, Gui and Michaela have blown me away with their talent. They were there 2 weeks before Clementine was born, and 2 months after. They got some sneaky shots of Clementine when she was a cheeky 8 month old and a couple of months later as a part of my sling diaries. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have photographer friends, and I honestly feel so grateful for all these memories captured. Gui and Michaela are just so damn good at what they do, and such a pleasure to hang out with.

As an aside, I realise that these don't really look like family photos; they look like Gaby and Clementine photos. That's because I don't share pictures of my husband online (he's a private kind of guy) but there are some very sweet captures of the three of us that will soon be framed and hung on our walls. There were so many images I wanted to include here, so later this week I'll be posting part 2.

p.p.s. You can see all the photos Gui has taken of our family by clicking here.

a year

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My what a difference a year makes. You can expect to see many, many more photos from our latest shoot with Gui in the coming days. Consider this the preview.

sydney maternity photographer: vanessa

Friday, July 4, 2014

Last month, I travelled up the coast to photograph my friend's sister in law. We shot at Bouddi National Park, where the conditions were wild and windy. But 38 week pregnant Vanessa didn't complain at all, not even as we hiked through the mud. She was a trooper.

I have to say, I was a bit nervous about this shoot as we had to do it at noon on a very sunny day. As any photographer will tell you, these are not the most ideal conditions. That said, it was good for me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, and I'm quite happy with how the photos turned out.

p.s. more photos from Bouddi

markets & meal planning

Monday, June 30, 2014

Back in the day, I used to be quite disciplined about meal planning. I would plan our dinners one or two weeks at a time, and my husband and I would do one big shop on a Sunday afternoon. Now that we live near a supermarket (and now that I'm significantly less organised than I used to be...), I find myself winging it every night. My current system goes something like this: it's 2pm, I start wondering what I should make for dinner tonight. I hem and haw, flip through cookbooks and peruse pinterest before finally choosing a recipe and heading to the grocery store. This "system" wastes so much time, energy and money each week and it's been my intention to do something about it for a while now. Just this weekend, I finally got around to it.

On Saturday afternoon I sat down with a cup of tea, notebook, pen, stack of my favourite cookbooks and my notes from Whole Food Kitchen. I started by assigning each night of the week a theme. I ended up with:

Monday: Mexican
Tuesday: Indian/Asian
Wednesday: Italian
Thursday: casserole/crockpot
Friday: pizza
Saturday & Sunday: wildcards

I then went through each of my cookbooks jotting down the recipes I use most often, and their corresponding page numbers. I kept in mind that it's winter, and stuck with meals appropriate for this time of year. When spring rolls around, I'm planning to change my nightly themes and compile a new list of favourite recipes. Armed with my new list, planning this week's dinner was a matter of simply filling in the blanks. The whole process took me around an hour, and it was actually quite enjoyable.

With this week's meal plan in mind, we moseyed over to our favourite farmer's market early on Sunday morning. While I bought our produce for the week, my husband took Clementine to a sunny patch of grass where she could run free. It was the perfect place to sit, drink coffee and eat breakfast while not having to worry about Clementine destroying anything (restaurants and cafes are pretty much out of the question at this point). She was super interested in the ponies who she kept calling woof, so we paid for her to have a ride. Much to my surprise, she got quite scared once the pony started walking. It was cute while it lasted though.

I'm feeling optimistic about this new approach to meal planning. My goal was to keep it simple, and I think I've done that. I'll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, my friend Stace has also written a post on meal planning, which you can read here.

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