chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Category Archives: my passions

do you have a wee *hobby* + passion you’ve forgotten about?


This week an old love of mine snuck itself back into my line of sight.  Photography, in particular – documentary photography.

It was while snooping through op shops and garage sales that I nabbed a Polaroid camera ($10) and two great Time books on documentary photography and light and film ($3 each).  I love reusing objects that still have oodles of life, and getting a bargain is close to my heart at the moment.  So it was win, win all round.

And it got me to thinking……why did this fabulous hobby and passion of mine (which brought me a lot of joy) ever leave my line of sight?  How do we forget what we love, little pockets of hobbies – passions tucked away.  Archived, but for what?  A rainy day, for later, for when theres more time?  Tucked away because they’re silly little frivolities, we run out of time, other things become more important?


I reckon the universe is full of people that have fallen out of love with their hobbies + passions.  Full.  Where are you at:

  1. You are totally in touch with your passion – hobby, and live it – its in your life and brings you joy!
  2. You’ve fallen apart from your hobby – passion – the thing you love to do.  You know what it is, but you’ve fallen apart.  You’d really like to get back together though.
  3. You are struggling to answer this because you can’t even remember if you used to love doing something.  Please don’t panic, lot’s of people have passion amnesia.
  4. You remember vividly what you used to love to do, but it’s just been SOOO long it feels a little silly to bring it out and dust it off now.

To be honest I’ve spent ALOT of time hanging out at two, three and four.  And am just starting to breathe in one.  So take heart, all the stages are natural and normal and part of a lot of peoples experience.

So the questions is, did you love doing something when you were younger that you left behind?  When you were a junior, teenager, young adult.  What was it, how did it make you feel, how did it make you turn up to the world?

Oh and if you happen to have a wee voice that natters “don’t be so ridiculous, you were 12 the last time you sang in a choir, pirouetted, painted, baked, road a horse, jazz handed your way through a routine, ran across fields with a compass, collected stamps, listened to bird calls, played tennis etc. Don’t listen to it.  Just don’t!  That voice would be most happiest if you were locked in a dungeon with some cheese, crackers and water.  It is not interested in you shining.

So take a trip down memory lane, ask old friends, family, look at old photos………..what were the things you used to love doing that brought you a big fat juicy smile.  You don’t have to do anything straight away with what comes up – what you remember………..the first step is just connecting back in to what you love.

I’d love to hear whats in your archive of passions + hobbies.  








How to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’

Truth be told I’ve been trying to get my mojo to sing loud and proud for an age, to middling success.

To get things hip hop moving along I spent a couple of days at the first ever Blogcademy in New York city.  It was hands down one of the best things I’ve done to move my ideas forward in a really long time.  The BEST.  I think I may have a choir of mojo about to sing Hellalujah.  It got me thinking about how we get our mojo’s to sing…..I’ve jotted down some ideas at the bottom of this post if your needing a wriggle on.

Two gloriously affirming days hanging out with 29 other fabulous bloggers at the direction of three superstars of the blogosphere (and all things individual expression) Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet and Kat Williams.  And lets not forget the superstar of photography Lisa Devlin.

I was plunk in the middle of a master mistress class and it was amazeballs!

The alchemy of hustle is all about living your joy and passion on your own terms and these women were rocking right out on that, they are alchemical hustlers in the truest sense of the title.  They are tap dancing on the head of their passionate reason for being, and it is a glorious site to behold*.  Unabashed, unadulterated full expression of self with the added bonus of making a very successful living from it.  Is there no other holier grail than that?  Well for me there’s not, its my life’s work.

The workshops style and delivery were perfect for the way I learn.  Informal, packed with awesome content (from lessons learnt, tips, the basics, what works, what doesn’t etc) and with loads of space for Q&A.  I came away learning SO MUCH about all things blogging and how to make my blog  fabulous.  I am inspired with a game plan = ignited.  And unexpectedly I learnt about the power of really living my mojo, singing from my own voice full time (not part).  Over two days I soaked up the authentic voices of our teachers and it unconsciously washed over me and settled into my psyche.  Seeing somebody else rocking it out prompts your subconscious to say “hey, why not join in”?

The other surprise gem has come from the community that has sprung to life and that is continuing to grow.  A big nugget shared was the power of community, collaboration and support and the life these bring to our work, ideas, inspiration and selves.  It’s the relationships that make the difference.  I am loving being a part of this community.

Blogcademy graduates on a high after finishing the workshop. Photo taken by Femke Leemans.

So if you’d like to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’ you could try a few of these:

  • get clear about your joy/passion, what you want to do.  this is a good read if your a bit murky.
  • feel more, think less
  • get your vision up where you can see it, it helps keep the main thing, the main thing.  I wrote about how to make a vision board here
  • start dabbling or dive right in, there will never be a perfect time (because there is no such thing as perfect) there is just now
  • build your community – meet other like minded peeps for fun, inspiration and ongoing support.  Veronica Varlow who attended Blogcademy wrote an awesome post on how to build community here
  • get some steer and support on how to make it happen, I just found out about this fabulous woman/firestarter.  want more than just a book/online resource?  a life coach can be an incredible resource for creating change or a mentor could be your thang
  • make self care a priority, good food/sleep/balance/water/friends/fun are all part of the equation
  • learn from the best, ask questions from those that have done it……soak it up (trust me it is priceless gold to be in conversation with people who are successfully singing from the top of their mojo’s lungs – see Gala, Nubby and Kat’s links above).
  • be yourself, its a fruitless task being anybody else

What gets your mojo singing loud and proud?

*My description of these fabulous woman may to some sound a tad gushy, it is not.  I write with authenticity and honesty on the things and people that genuinely inspire and motivate me (and shining a flood light on powerful woman is a good thing, I feel).  Seeing individuals doing their thing/joy and being truly themselves is powerful, it is a massive agitator of change and enhancer of mojo happiness. I found that out this weekend in bucket loads.

learning a new craft

I found myself learning something new tonight.  And it was FUN.

At first I stumbled with clumsy fingers and an out of tune brain.  I felt like a fish in roller skates.  Progress was slow but leapt to a dazzling pace after encouragement and guidance from our fabulous teacher.

I’m working with a bunch of great peeps at the mo and I joined in on their monthly craft night, where the talented Genevieve teaches all who are interested how to crochet.  Yes you heard right, crochet.  In a pub.  Balls of yarn, hooks and budding crafty enthusiasm nestled in amongst pints, hot chips and great banter.

I managed to master single stitch.  Okay master could be seen as a slight embellishment, but Im proud of my wee length of string.  I shall take on a new stitch next month.

In the blink of an eye I went from not knowing how to do something.  To knowing.  I went from ‘this is really hard’ to ‘this is fun and easy’.  And in addition to the fun and connection, I got a timely reminder about the incredible capacity we each hold to try and learn things we don’t think we can do.  Okay so it was crochet, not open heart surgery…..but me thinks the principle holds true for pretty much anything.

finders, keepers and creators of bespoke joy

Im a lover of bespoke creativeness, of inspired artisans that dedicate their working life to their passion, to their craft. So I revelled in my visit last night to the Finders Keepers Market. Oh there was MUCH revelling.  I’ve been nibbling round the edges of my desire to earn a crust from my creative genes for awhile now.  I look at those that do with a little envy, truth be told.

The market was a wonderful dose of inspiration….and I felt like a kid as I squished through the bustling crowd to peer onto the tables laden with delights.

getting my child on and loving it….in one of TMOD’s headdress party hats (which I bought)

A friend and I did a  *little* shopping.  And I am ridiculously excited about the arrival of my hand made to order Marque shoes (in shell blue) crafted by the lovely Marina (they are my official 4oth birthday present to myself).  I also had a mini splurge on BESPOKE letterpress boutiques stationery, I love there wares.  There was just so much too see, so I took a few snaps…

There was music, food and wine all around as you mooched and shopped = heaven.

beautiful sparkly lights

The things we love to do – where do they come from? My love of food.

The things we love to do – where do they come from? My love of food.

Have you ever thought about why it is you love the things you do, and where it is they come from?

Why is it that your passionate about music, food, cooking, craft, travel, movies?……..whatever it is your into.  Awhile back I got a little curious about why I was creative, and wrote about it here.  In closing that post I wrote “I know exactly where my love and education for food comes from – my uncle Anton.  And thats another story”.   Well this is that other story.

I rank great food up there with the best experiences life has to offer, food is a total utter joy.

A food memory that STANDS OUT is from Anton’s kitchen (cooked somewhere between 11 – 15 years ago). What I love about this memory is not only the extroadinary taste, it was how the dish converted me from “Ewww I don’t want to eat that” to “Oh my god I think I am in love, is there any more?”

The dish was fillets of fish coated in cajun spices served with a salad of – soft leafed lettuce, sliced banana and passionfruit dressing (pure fruit pulp).  I cannot tell you how incredible it was, my writing could not do it justice.  It was sublime.

Heres Anton, the great man himself with my ma (their brother and sister)

This dish introduced me to two fundamentals of cooking which I have followed ever since; 1. the art of simple food done extremely well, and 2. certain foods are meant to be together, there union is alchemical, magical (and there not always foods you think would make good bed fellows).

Anton led me into many food related firsts – My first restaurant dinner when I was a teenager (he introduced me to restaurants and how to ‘be’ and eat in them).  My first taste of olives (I can still remember the restaurant, the table linen and the vibe of that lunch and it was 19 years ago).  My first introduction to good wine and to oysters.  He got me my first job in restaurants where he was the Maitre’d and where I learnt the trade and the business of food.  An industry through which I made great friends.

Anton's Christmas Eve Dinner Party 2011 - Main course: Hapuku (NZ fish) with broad beans and pomegranate on a bed of Israeli cous cous with roasted courgette and red pepper

I’ve attended countless dinner parties at his table where his food and settings are legendary.  He is seriously gifted, one of those people that were born to cook and entertain.

Anton's table setting at the annual christmas eve dinner, 2011

I’m sure I grew up with taste bud’s that were ready to love food.  Though undoubtedly Anton’s influence and my exposure to his passion and his incredible food, has deepened and educated my passion and love.

And his bold flavour combinations remind me to try something different every now and again.  To take a taste risk which may have you falling in love all over again just from the chew off a once loaded fork.

dancing in the dark

dancing in the dark

Last night I danced in the dark for an hour and a half.  With alot of other people.

I danced like nobody was watching, because they weren’t.  I lost myself in the dark with the beats and accompanying rivulets of sweat coating my limbs (think Niagra).  I went all animalistic, booty wiggling, pogo dancing, head swaying, hand clapping crazy .  And I absolutely loved it.

I love to dance, always have……the beat starts* and a pair of possessed shoes take over my feet and I go all James Brown**.  I seriously do.  It’s like, “hello meet my other self – the repressed child who grew up in a commune with no tv or radio whose at her first disco”.  And last night I remembered how good I feel wiggling and bouncing and shaking, and letting that crazy child out.  I slammed the dance floor with ridiculous moves and zero concern for how it looked (Will Smiths’ Wild Wild West a particular triumph).  I didn’t have to awkwardly smile to friends maintaining eye contact while flinging myself around (which I have always found a tad awkward in usual dance scenarios).

Now where did all this take place?……a mate and I went along to No Lights No Lycra.  The official blurb – ‘A monthly dance jam in the dark, for those who love to dance while no one’s watching.There is no light, no lycra, no teacher, no steps to learn, no technique, just free movement. NLNL is a space where you can completely let go, shake out the stress of the week, and lose yourself in the music and the physicality of your body. NLNL is a daggy, non-pretentious place to completely be yourself.’

Pitch black when you enter the room, the eyes quickly acclimatise.  And yeah, you can see peoples shapes and their movement (so theres no flinging into each other) but not enough to care.  There were a few Blue Light Disco moments with paffy tunes which sent my limbs into a static revolt, and a few fellow dancers who inflicted flash from taking a hundred photos of themselves.  These are small irks in an otherwise triumphant sweaty, joyous haze of dare I say it boogying*** madness.  And all for $5.00!

My ultimate love is being in a mosh pit getting lost in the music, buzzing off the energy of the crowd.  It is the most europhic high I’ve ever had.  And no, this wasn’t exactly the same…..but it was a bloody close cousin and alot easier to get in and out of.

My current thang is to get back in touch with my body and prise back my mojo from who or what ever stole it, lights or no lights.  My body and brain loved letting go.  Highly recommended way to spend an hour and a half.

I shall be going again.

* not any beat, my feet have particularly strong taste buds when it comes to tunes that make me want to get up off my thing

** I am not comparing my dancing prowess to the master of movement, think metaphor.

*** I cringe at its use, but it feels appropriate

The things we love to do – where do they come from?

The things we love to do – where do they come from?

I’m supercharged curious to explore and live a life filled of the things that I love to do; my passions – food, words, art, change.  On my journey to building that life I have become a little bit of a ‘curious George’…….exploring other peoples passions and how they live them, as a hobby or career.  Some have passionate extravaganza’s of lives crammed with doing what they love, work for them is utter joy.  For some its in the hobbies they have…….and others just haven’t got the joy in yet.  Lives lived from expectation or a disconnection to what lights their loins (but thats for another post).

Recently I’ve been wondering – ‘where do our passions come from’?  Since I was a wee tot I’ve been a creative being.  From my junior days I’ve loved drawing, words and food.

little me at kindy

I’ve never really thought about where my love for these things came from.   Well until recently when I had a Poirot moment and landed my first clue – my mother.  My mother makes things with her hands, and she has done this for as long as I can remember.  She creates and makes crafts.  She is a master crocheter, excellent knitter, doll maker, felter…..makes body products, bags, clothes, homewares……the list goes on.

Mum (Denise) is a little cottage industry, she sells at craft fairs, to work colleagues and takes special orders, and she’s always out and about looking for retailers to stock her wares.  And when I think back it has always been like this.  I remember as a kid when she crocheted bikinis and sandals and sold them to bring in a bit of extra money.

mums handy work - crocheted bikini

When I phone home mum is always making something, crafts sprawled out over the lounge floor, it’s always been part of my memory of her.  And she does all of this as a hobby as she has a full time job.  She just loves to make, and I guess its a sort of therapy……a way to chill out, relax and unwind.  I remember her saying that sometimes she has to make herself do some crafts, but its always been around.  They have a unique life long relationship; mum and her crochet needle.

my first holy communion crocheted dress (matching crocheted umbrella out of shot)

Recently she made beautiful hand crafted gifts for a friend of mines future bambino.  I wanted to give something special and ma delivered in spades.  Theres so much love and care that goes into her work, it just shouts ‘FEEL THE LOVE’ through its double stitched felt lining that you cant help but have a little bit of my mums joy in making it, rub off on you.

bubba shoes made by ma

Its no wonder that I am creative.  Its in my genes and has clothed my every childhood move.

ma's handiwork, a maori costume for school

Creativity has been a presence in my life pretty much from day dot due to my ma, but until my friends baby parcel arrived I’d never made the connection.

me and mum

No, we don’t share the same aesthetic or creative practices but the ‘artisan’, ‘craftsman’ the ‘maker and creator’ are definitely energies we share.  And sure they were developed and influenced as I grew up and studied art and design, but the origin of my passion, well that seems to be from closer to home.  And as I forge my own business made up of doing the things that I love I realise how much of an influence mums life long hobby and resulting ‘cottage industry’ has had on me, without me even realising. Well until now.

My love for words…….well Im curious to explore that, but I know exactly where my love and education for food comes from – my uncle Anton.  And thats another story.

It makes you wonder where your passions spring from, not for any other reason than curiosity and a deeper connection to why we tick tock the way we do.  A bit of history always helps pave the future brightness.

Thanks mum.

the glorious ritual of doing nothing

the glorious ritual of doing nothing

Today is the start of a week off.  The routine of work doesn’t get a look in for nine days.

To kick start proceedings I sat down with a trusted friend – my weekend papers along with a cup of earl grey tea (oh and a chocolate croissant. damn you incredible Argentinian family bakery for only being 2 minutes from my house).  Any who.  After the Monday to Friday routine of doing and being and talking and seeing, where time is your own but not, I love nothing more than to read the papers and stretch out like a fat cat in the sun with unguided, unrestricted time and reading material.  To me the act of carving out expansive time where nothing is required from you, where you do exactly as you want is the gentrified older statesmen of rebellion.  Some would see it as lazy and self indulgent, I see it as an essential medicinal pause in an otherwise action orientated, noise filled do do machine of a world.   Rebelliously pulling out of the slip stream of our constructed lives to just ‘be’.

It is a ritual which I have performed countlessly over the years and which brings much pleasure.  I enjoy and require a fair amount of cave time, time out from doing, talking, being and seeing.  Clocking off allows me to recharge and gives me the beans for another round of playing nicely with others.

The Italians have a saying “dolce far niente” – “the sweetness of doing nothing”.  And this is a personal religion to which I am a slavish devotee.  I have no aversion to action, to doing, to turning up to the world, but not 24/7.

We are surrounded by rituals, in religion, sports, societal rights of passage (ie: turning 21), business…..the list goes on.  I love the rituals we create for ourselves the ones we grow into which help us navigate the world and celebrate whats important.  The ones we share (or shared) with love ones that bind us together and give us a sense of belonging.

Im curious to hear about other peoples rituals……..created or inherited from family or friends that bring you joy and a deep connection.  That help you navigate your world.  Do share…..

the weekend in review: food, friends, an awakening and a near death experience

Friday night a friend and I enjoyed the delights of the Eathouse Diner in Redfern (I recommend).  I read loads of good things about it and loved its fun look, affordability and tasty blackboard morsels.  We shared a Pork Terrine served with a cranberry pickle onion combo, which I have to say rocked.  I followed up with Wagyu Corned Beef and Colcannon and we couldn’t help ourselves and went splitsvilles on a delightful old school Banana Split.  Washed down with two glasses of pinot noir.  Much girl chatter ensued and it was nice to be some place new, in a suburb I haven’t explored much.  It was nice to be out on a Friday night.

pork terrine goodness at the Eathouse Diner

I wake up Saturday morning and I am ungrounded, there’s mind chatter, work going through my head and a dose of unease……..argghh!  I reclaim some grounding by getting my house in order (I start cleaning at 7.00am!) and telling myself to think about work when I go back Monday morning.  I head off to visit a friend and meet her beautiful bambino (baby energy is so very grounding). Mother and I skip off for a great little brunch at Angel in Freshwater; my corn fritters, bacon and relish hit the spot.  And a good catch up natter was had.

a heavenly brunch stack at Angel

After visiting my favourite store in Freshwater, John and Ginger  I head up the coasts Northern Beaches and smooch through design and curio stores in Newport, Avalon and Palm Beach with the obligatory stop at Whale Beach (love the place).  Reminds me a bit of home.

glass parrots from 'John & Ginger' (sorry pic is a bit out of focus)

Sunday I rise at 6.45am.  I spend the day working on my business particularly my finances, there is not alot of pleasure derived from this exercise.  I motivate myself by embracing the future satisfaction I will feel at the completion of the tasks, this works.  I plan a trip home with many anticipated catch up’s pencilled and little trips to favourite places dreamed.  I talk to family.  I call some old friends.

And what was the awakening you ask? I fully woke up (as in stopped sleep walking) to the fact I NEED NEW and DIFFERENT in my life, alpronto.  It’s been brewing for awhile, but this weekend I got it good.  I’m going stir crazy with the sameness of parts of my life.  I courageously ponder on what brave acts I’m going to perform to create change.

Oh and lest I forget the near death experience – I nearly killed a child, and no I’m not joking.  A skateboard holding, ‘cap to the side’ wearing pre teen who couldn’t be bothered to use a crossing (over a four lane major road) comes from nowhere and the first I see of him he is just about to run in front of my car. Literally. I have a heart attack. Slug the horn. Slam breaks and come to a total stop.  I swear alot while glaring at said individual.  Kid has stupified freaked out grin on face and I think the need to change his pants.  I thank god, regather and drive on.  My adrenals are super charged. I’m surprised I don’t need to change my pants.