Hello! It's been a while, I know. Last week was one of those weeks where I felt as though I didn't have much to say... so I thought it best not to say much at all!
I was hoping the start of a new week would bring with it a new mood... but so far, not the case. Boo hoo!
I just thought I'd pop in with a few photos from our weekend. We had a quiet weekend catching up with family, enjoying fish and chips by the waters edge and taking the dogs to the beach for a swim. The weather is so gorgeous here at the moment. We are trying to make the most of the outdoors while it's still cool enough... I can't say I'm looking forward to the sweltering heat of Summer. To me, this time of year is perfection.
Posted by one claire day at 08:44
This weekend my sister Stephanie came to visit for a late lunch. The weather was glorious, so we moved the dining table onto the front verandah where we could enjoy early afternoon sun streaming in through floor-to-ceiling shutters.
I scattered the table with glass bud vases containing dried blooms and foliage. (When I buy fresh flowers, I usually keep any blooms or greenery that dry beautifully. Our home is filled with branches and dried stems - there's something so beautiful about the muted tones and papery texture of decayed plant life. And the cost effectiveness is a total bonus!).
It was perfect seafood weather, so I sent Paddy to the fish monger and he returned home with a bag full of fresh, local seafood which we prepared into the most delicious soup - a classic french bouillabaisse. We used a Donna Hay recipe which was really simple and easy to follow. Not to mention healthy and delicious!
3 Tablesoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 leek, trimmed and sliced
1 medium red chilli, seeded and chopped
10 saffron threads
1 tablespoon boiling water
400g can peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 cups fish stock
500 g snapper fillets, cubed
2 x 300g raw sand crabs, cleaned and cut into 6 pieces
12 medium raw prawns, peeled, tails intact
8 scallops in half shell (ours were without shell)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
Heat a large saucepan over med-high heat. Add the oil, onion, fennel, leek and chilli and cook for 6 minutes or until soft and golden. Meanwhile, place the saffron threads in a bowl, pour over boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, saffron (and liquid) and stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the snapper, crab pieces, prawns and scallops to the broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir through the parsley and serve with croutons. Serves 4 as a main meal.
Posted by one claire day at 15:26
A friend recently asked me, upon viewing this instagram snap shot, how I manage to "make everything look so magic". I was flattered by her generous compliment and it got me thinking again about personal style - in particular, my motivations for photographing and documenting this little life of ours and how I choose to present it here in this space.
I am a visual person... a romantic one at that. I love to collect and curate beautiful things; treasures, trinkets, found objects, photographs, the list goes on. Nothing pleases me more than arranging things 'just so' to create a scenario that is both aesthetically pleasing and evokes a sense of enchanting nostalgia. I realise that I admit this at the risk of sounding insubstantial, materialistic and pretentious... but as I get older, I feel secure enough in myself to know that there's no point in apologising for who I am. It is in my blood. I see it in my family... it's right there in the generations of women that came before me.
My innate desire to present things beautifully obviously influences how our life is portrayed here. Despite the fact that I may, at times, unintentionally lead you to believe otherwise - the life I lead with Paddy and Eulalie could, and should, be described as a rather ordinary one. We live in a suburban town that sustains itself on heavy industry and the blue-collar worker (Paddy being one of them). We have a mortgage, credit card debt, a leaky roof and a half renovated bathroom. We are not tidy people and the washing up has never been our priority. Some days I don't shower until late afternoon and I have been known to wear the same outfit three days on the trot. The last time I went to the hairdresser, she politely informed me that my last appointment was seven months ago (I am ever grateful for this ongoing balayage trend!).
Anyhow, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that we lead a very ordinary life. Some days it looks pretty, other days it's a war-zone. Sometimes it's happy... other times less so. Sometimes, for whatever the reason, our eyes close, and the magic around us goes unnoticed. Other times, our eyes open wide to seemingly ordinary scenarios of the everyday that suddenly present themselves in the most extraordinary forms.
For instance: just a stones throw from our house, along a busy main road, is a vacant block of land that I drive past at least twice a day. It borders on the dodgy end of town and backs on to the city's main domestic airport. The allotment is surrounded by a hodge-podge brick wall, built recently with the obvious intention of trying to replicate a crumbling stone wall from era's past. The allotment is rocky, uneven and completely overgrown with weeds. At first glance, it's not the most inviting environment to explore, and so, every day I would drive straight past without giving it a second thought.
As our family of three drove home from an evening grocery run last week, we passed the vacant allotment as the sun was lowering itself onto the horizon and casting the most spellbinding golden light.
No longer did I see a derelict, overgrown allotment and an unattractive brick wall that reeked of 'replica'.
I saw gold dust being scattered across fields of blushing, velvet-tipped feathers. I saw childhood dreams and endless summers of frolicking through hazy meadows. I imagined life in sepia tone - the beauty and simplicity of yesteryear. Under the cast of a golden glow, that wall became real to me. I imagined initials, hearts and cupid's arrows being carved into the crumbling stone and treasure-box-time-capsules buried along it's perimeter. I imagined first loves perched upon it, their interlocked ankles dangling over the edge as they watched the sun go down. I delighted in the thought of small children dragging sticks across the textured surface as they skipped along in joyful laughter. I saw a field of dreams.
When our hearts and eyes are open to the possibilities... magic exists all around us.
My introductory blurb, in the top-right side column of this blog, describes this space as 'snippets of our lives - both the magic and mundane'. And although the mundane doesn't take center stage in this online diary of mine, make no mistake - it certainly lives here! I'm starting to realise that sometimes life is about finding the magic in the mundane. That these two opposites can co-exist.
That we can all live a life less ordinary.
Posted by one claire day at 06:00
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of taking some family photographs for my beautiful friend Carla and her husband Anthony, who have just welcomed a new baby boy. Little Darcy joins gorgeous big brother Chase... and me oh my... what a sweet little family of four they make!
Twelve-day-old Darcy certainly lived up to his namesake - he was a complete gentleman the entire morning, right up until the last couple of shots when he seemed to have had enough of my lens in his face. Fair enough, Mr. Darcy.
I've never really done anything like this before. I was a little nervous at first, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. I'm really pleased with how the photographs turned out, so I'd thought I'd share a few of my favourites here with you.
P.S - Cluckety cluck cluck!
Posted by one claire day at 19:38
...did my baby girl get so big?
Despite all the photographing, the consistent documenting, the precious time I'm so fortunate to be spending with her, at home, every single day.... why is it that I still sometimes feel as though I've missed it all?
I'm trying to remind myself to be here and now. Present. Every day.
P.S - I think this one is going to be tall. Just like her Dad.
Posted by one claire day at 10:46