Wednesday, May 04, 2016

mother + maker : sheree from little noggi

I know I'm not the only one who, upon becoming a mother, discovered a profound desire to create. Inspiration flourished and yet free time was virtually non-existent. Irony, it can be so cruel!

When Che was two I discovered a Steiner playgroup in a cottage at the end of my street. It was there that I met Patricia, a creative matriarch who let me in on the secret; the only way to fulfill creative pursuits whilst mothering small children is to make them a priority. In other words; do what makes you happy, the rest can wait. Perhaps it wasn't a secret so much as a permission note. I took it home with me, tucked it away for safe keeping, and got on with writing and taking photos.

Sheree Steele, Founder and Designer of Little Noggi, is a mother by day and a maker (and milliner!) by night. Motherhood inspired her utterly unique collection of handmade hats - beautiful, practical headwear that is nostalgic, sustainable and purposeful. I chatted to her about her initial inspiration, the creative process, her zero-waste studio and her everyday life.


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

simple living isn't always pretty

Moving house is eye-opening for the minimalists among us. Because when your belongings are laid out before you and you have a pile of boxes six-foot high in your loungeroom, you soon realise that "minimalist" is not an apt title for you. Not at all, not in the slightest.

The sorting and packing and subsequent unpacking has had me thinking a lot about simple living, family living and frugal living. Are they all the same? Most definitely not. Can you create your own version of the three that serves you well? Yes, yes, yes!

The past few years have been a two-steps-forward-one-step-back road to simple living and I must admit, it's something that ebbs and flows depending on the seasons, my mindfulness (or lack there of) and my work load. Because simplicity does require time and awareness, as does sustainable, ethical, waste-free, frugal living. You have to constantly check yourself, observe your spending habits, consider the implications of your purchase and figure out the best way to stretch the leftovers in the fridge.

And then there is, of course, the tug of war between aesthetics and practicality. It's a dilemma that's fuelled by much of what we see outside the home; gloriously styled shots coming to us in droves via social media. And the way those photos effected my perspective on this new home has been confronting, to say the least.

Essentially we have bid farewell to a home that provided me white walls and the most marvellous light but offered little in the way of storage or ease of living. Now, we make a home where storage and space abound, where there's a double sink and a pantry and a utility room that can house all the dirty washing and yet-to-be folded clothes. But the window frames are a 90s hue of teal green and the carpet in the children's room is a similar shade. Before we moved in I was all glum about the fact that it just wasn't very pretty. But then my friend Steph, ever so lovely and wise, told me that she doesn't particularly like the look of her home but she loves the way she lives there. And last night, as I cleaned the kitchen and looked out towards the front door, I revelled in the sense of space and ease that this home has already provided us. Within these walls is a soft, welcoming energy; there's a sense of happy and good and right. There's room to move, (to dance!), the bath is big enough for all three kids,  there's a big white wall for us to project movies on to at night and a jacaranda tree in the garden that is fit for climbing (and will be an absolute picture come September).

Needless to say, the work of family living is easier when you have a home that is practical. And while it may not look like my ideal, it definitely feels right.


Sunday, May 01, 2016


"A portrait of my youngest children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Poet: she's found her favourite place in the garden, in the limbs of the Jacaranda 

Percy: our last afternoon in the old house....and a perfect shadow.


Monday, April 25, 2016

moving on

This post is brought to you from a house almost-packed-up. We're sneezing a little more frequently than usual (I'm inhaling eucalyptus and peppermint and eating extra garlic to make sure the dust doesn't trigger any sinus reaction) but in-between the sorting and packing and decluttering we're still finding time to keep it light hearted.  

Until last night. Last night really wasn't fun.

It began with Poet sneakily drinking a little too much of my fermented ginger beer. I could hear her tummy gurgling all afternoon so when she woke at 10pm complaining of a sore belly I grabbed the bucket and some towels (not yet packed!) and hoped it wasn't going to be an all night affair. Thankfully she made it to the bathroom each time but still....on four different occasions there was gentle encouragement, fastidious hand washing and back rubbing once back in bed. 

Accompanying the soundtrack of vomiting was the yelling and screaming and thumping of our next door neighbours who like to host parties every few weeks. Suburbia really can be charming, can't it. Last night was definitely loud and they were still going strong at 2am. Mere minutes after I had put Poet back to bed for the fourth time I lay down on my pillow, attempting to focus on my breath and not Highway to Hell, when all of a sudden the window behind the bed was smashed and I jumped up to find big pieces of glass on my bedside table and shards all over my pillow. 

Yes, a party goer thought it would be a great idea to hurl a candle holder towards our house and straight through the bedroom window. 

Daniel was seething, I was shaken and the neighbours were equally mortified and apologetic. Stupid, stupid boys.

We were just so lucky that no-one was injured (Percy was right next to me in the bed)...It could have been a very different story. I ended up calling the police and making a formal statement (at 4am, in my pyjamas) because if it prevents it happening again, then it was worth it.

Needless to say it was a sleepless night and when Poet bounced into bed with me at 6am declaring "I'm all better except for one little bit of sick left," I begrudgingly got up and had tea with toast and jam - two servings before 7am.

Daniel and I are so relieved that we're moving on. This little house has been beautiful - light-filled and warm and enveloped in salt air (sometimes it's so strong that it feels like you've dunked your head in a steam bath). But it's also quite exposed, the ruffians that pull up to the park nearby at night are unsettling and, well, the neighbours leave much to be desired.

It's time to move on. We're ready and rearing to go.

ps. the new neighbours are retired and keen to share a beer once a week. Suits us!


Sunday, April 24, 2016


"A portrait of my youngest children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Poet + Percy: she's his little mother, carting him around wherever she goes. As you can see, he hates it (ISO640, f2.2, 1/5000)

Apologies for posting so late these past few weeks. I'm hoping once we're settled in the new house I can re-establish blogging routines. Till then...


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

embrace the new

Upheaval is imminent and as we pack boxes, navigate the chaos and attempt to maintain some semblance of rhythm, I'm reminded of the similarities between moving house and having a baby.

Yesterday Daniel was going through the film he took when I was in labour with Percy. There was a clip of me sitting on the bed, staring at the wall, looking mildly unimpressed. I was annoyed, agitated and impatient. I recall so vividly the moment - knowing that all the days of early labour; my waters breaking, hospital monitoring and hospital transfers were really just the beginning. My baby was close but the true, hard work of labour hadn't even started. It was a mentally and emotionally challenging pace to be in, to say the least.

Right now is similar - the brand new house is so close but the hard work of moving must come first. No lavender spa baths just yet!

I've been nesting though, thinking ahead and considering where things will go and how we'll live within four new walls. I popped into my friend Vanessa's house yesterday and collected one of her Deluxe Abalone Sets, perfect for letting go of the old and bringing in the new. Serendipitously, she plucked a card from her collection to place in the set and it so aptly says: embrace the new.

"The Deluxe Abalone Set is about bidding farewell and saying hello. It's about creating space to invite something better in. Elements to help you both clear and embrace."

It seems only right to follow on from my singing-to-the-universe-in-the-backyard-at-dusk with a little energetic cleansing. We get the keys late next week and first on the agenda is an official invitation for all the good. And then? I think I'm going to tackle the kitchen first - move everything over in washing baskets in the car (I keep a pretty minimal assortment of kitchenware) and set it up, pantry and all. It'll be good to know that I can make a cup of tea without rifling through boxes when it comes time for that lavender bath. 

Any tips that make for a smooth move? Please, tell me all of them! 


Monday, April 18, 2016

home sweet home

We move house next week and as of 10:30am this morning, we know where we're moving to.

The road to this next house has been a long one...there's been many house inspections, a ridiculous number of forms filled out and days spent waiting for phone calls...waiting, waiting. It doesn't surprise me that this new house came up because another one fell through nor that we first inspected it at 9:30am this morning and it was ours within the hour. It ended up being easy and perhaps I was waiting for that all along.

Of course, it's not ideal, but it's north facing with big windows and floorboards, a leafy garden and a big bath. The bedrooms are proving to be a bit tricky - the main bedroom is huge and the second bedroom is tiny - so it looks like the kids will have full reign of the main and we'll squeeze (with 60cm to spare) our king bed into the little space #tinybedroomliving.

Between now and then there's work to do. But I can't tell you how good it feels to know where we're headed.


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