April 23, 2014

52 Weeks of Gratitude: a wrap up for 2013, so very late! and those missing weeks!

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

Step away from something just that bit too long and it's hard to go back, right? Finally I'm taking a plunge back to move forwards and wrapping up my 52 Weeks of Gratitude adventure for 2013 (I know we are a good 4 months into 2014!!).

It does seem an age ago since my first ever blog post back in 2012, and to my first gratitude post back in September 2012 when my family was in the midst of very difficult times, my dad's health was at it's worst, and I wanted to find a way to find joy and hope in each day.  I needed to find a way to stay  grounded and connected to life, to recognise and appreciate the ordinary moments that make our lives extraordinary (a much used expression I heard again today in the heart-warming movie about time).

My gratitude jar next to my bed holds a smidgen of a whole years worth of wonderful moments captured in images and treasured scrawled notes stuffed tightly in. A jar bursting with gratitude that guarantees a smile whenever I close my eyes and dig deep to find a small moment from my life.

I made a commitment to a year of gratitude because I wanted to give myself that extra push to stick with something that made a lot of sense to me, and that I thought was really something quite powerful. And it has made a big difference (in a subtle way!). What I've also come to realise was that the point wasn't to complete something at the cost of everything, and whilst I had set myself a goal of one post per week, as the end of 2013 neared life got busy, I was spending many hours in front of the computer for work, and more time hanging out with friends in real life. And thus I found I had less desire to update my blog.

But the point was in life away from the blog I was continuing to practice gratitude, noticing moments, looking around me and capturing beauty with my camera and remembering words spoken by others and taking life in with an open heart.

It is with this open heart that I say thank you all for reading and being part of the ride.  It has been a  huge pleasure.

What this space will be from here, I'm not sure. Random posts from time to time I imagine as I continue balance the time to write and document life whilst living it.

Love natalie x

images: scouting for leftovers, botanical gardens, wellington, nz / farm details, murwillimbah / cycling in martinborough, nz / surry hills, sydney / hand dipped beeswax candles made by me / exploring waterloo, sydney / barracuda, christos triolkas, red wine and calamari, inner-city cafe, wellington, nz. 

February 06, 2014

Seasonal fruit tart

Isn't this the sweetest fruit tart you ever did see. A delightful market find on a road trip around the North Island, New Zealand, Dec 2013.

November 14, 2013

An island holiday

A few months ago, at the tail end of Winter I went on a spontaneous holiday to Great Keppel Island with friends from down south in chilly Melbourne.  I've had the photos for this post ready for ages, but no words, so I kept waiting for a moment that felt right to write so I could hit publish. On this rainy night at home and in a week where words aren't flowing about the present moment, it felt like a good time to look back over happy holidays snaps, write something and share them with you. 
We spent four days tucked away on our island holiday and spent our days walking barefoot on sand, swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear water, making sandcastles and exploring different parts of the island. Nothing to achieve, nothing to rush towards, just the simple pleasure of living in the moment. 

It was so nice to spend such quality time with Emma, Matt and Finn again. Living miles away from each other we don't get to catch up that often and when we do it's usually only for a few hours or a day at the most. It was delightful to have days instead of hours together.  We didn't have to rush to madly catch up on all the news, instead there was more time to play, and be and laugh whilst conversation flowed.

And of course we spent a great deal of time eating, reading and sleeping. We made simple meals of eggs, fish, tomatoes, leafy greens, rock melon and papaya. It's amazing how good simple, wholesome food is when you slow down to really experience each mouthful. 

Each night after a cup of tea and a few squares of chocolate I curled up in my large tent on a wooden platform with my book and read until the generator was switched off precisely at 10pm and all was dark and quiet again on the island. Bliss!

November 06, 2013

44 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love. 

A few simple things I'm grateful for that made a week of mostly being stuck in my head, that bit lighter. 

A classic drink on warm days,  water, a good squeeze of lemon and a few sprigs of mint. 

Girls, Season 2 watched, or more accurately, inhaled, over a very short duration of time. 

Morning sunshine on our front verandah. I love sitting at the front door, sun creeping higher in the sky, birds flying from palm to palm,  slowly waking to the day.

Waking on Sunday morning to hear the news that there was a new baby in the world, and he was 8 pounds 8 ounces and named Ruben. Congrats to my beautiful friends Emma p and Matt! And of course to Finn, as he is officially now a big brother. 

A visit to West End markets in Brisbane. What an awesome local market. Stall after stall of good looking fruit and veg, fresh juices, and other foodie delights. It had a real community buzz, people taking time to stop and chat, to smile and draw you in to being a part of the market community.  

 And under the shade of a gorgeous fig tree live music played whilst people enjoyed what I hear is seriously good coffee!

And for my mama and papa and big sister.

52 Weeks of Grateful linking up with Kylie at Octavia and Vicky.

photos: lemon and mint water / morning sunshine on my verandah taken earlier this year in May. 

October 30, 2013

42 and 43 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love. 

Serenity and peace in the small town of Mullumbimby.  My sister and I took a quick trip to visit friends on the coast and spend a night in a peaceful abode in nature.

Mullumbimby continues to grow on me each time I visit. It's a beautiful town, but given the choice I've often opted to head to the coast around Byron Bay. Slowly this is changing. I'm noticing the energy and beauty of the surrounding hills and space around Mullumbimby and dig the feeling of the place.   Heck, there aren't that many places where you have a Day Spa right in the middle of town that feels like your far away in a tropical rainforest. The massage was bliss. If you're in the area I suggest you spend a few hours relaxing at The Kiva Spa.

And on to the peaceful abode. Simon and his wife, Susan (who was away in Bali) have a beautiful property with self contained accommodation next to the main house. Simon was welcoming and warm, the place, beautiful and serene and exquisitely decorated.

Simon shared his intentions of the space as a retreat for people to reconnect with themselves and the earth; his love of the natural world; the garden he has spent hours planting and caring for; the kookaburra's and his work as an astrologer.

We drank cups of tea on the verandah, read, ate and crawled into bed. The sound and smell of rain was my companion as I drifted off to sleep.

Before we left Simon shared an image he'd sensed when he first met me. I'm not going to share the exact details (sorry folks!) but it linked in with the incredibly strong feeling I'd had the night before pottering around the kitchen. A feeling of being incredibly grounded and a sense of coming home to myself.

A weekend of people, places and experiences I am very grateful for.

52 Weeks of Grateful linking up with Kylie at Octavia and Vicky