A Haiku and a birthday

Just another day

Or is it?  Someone’s birthday

Did they remember?

They did, so many of you did.  Thank goodness for facebook prompts!  Love Facebook!  And I’m sure you would have remembered anyway.

I received oodles of lovely texts, emails, facebook messages, even a few phone calls, and can you believe it, two old fashioned, sent in the mail, birthday cards, with a stamp and everything!  Thank goodness for family.  And three fabulous hand delivered cards – two of them home made.  Thanks girls.

There would have been one from my mum too if she were still with us.  Aren’t mums great at that kind of thing.I was so spoilt with gifts from some gorgeous friends and my family.    And we had my favourite feast for dinner – bubbly, prawns, smelly gooey cheese, pate, sun dried tomatoes, grapes, prosciutto, smoked salmon and yummy figs.

Click here for our fig recipe.And no one will miss me coming in these boots!  Rain at school pick up… Bring It On!

I’d like to mention that I share my birthday with Elle Macpherson, and although we have some things in common, she is much, much older.

Mostly as the birthdays arrive faster each year, I am grateful for what I have: for my family and friends most of all.  Thank you all for making my day so special xx

 All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography

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Reap what you sow

A little while back, Mark and I thought about the kind of parents we wanted to be and what we thought was important for our kids.  Not some formal debate, more a chat over a wine or two!  For those that read my first blog post, you will remember I wrote about wanting our girls to see us living a life that inspired us and we were passionate about.  And not just based on what we did or said but who we were being – how we actually lived our lives.

One of the things Mark is passionate about is vegetable gardening.  He has always wanted his own vege garden and after visiting our friend’s allotment near Ascot in the UK, he was determined to make it happen.  We have had a vege garden at home for 5 years or so, and we have had varying degrees of success with veges and herbs.  But then an opportunity came about a few years back to be involved in the local Council Community Garden  – a joint initiative between the local Council and Cancer Council NSW.  It is the Cancer Council’s first Community Garden and part of their ongoing strategy to encourage a healthy lifestyle, stress relief and community involvement.

Mark was hooked! 

There were a few reasons for us getting involved in the Community Garden:

  1. The girls seeing their dad follow his passion and being committed to something
  2. The opportunity for the girls to learn about where their food came from and going a little way to being self-sustainable
  3. It was also very important to us for the family to get to know and be involved in our local community
  4. Both my and Mark’s parents have had cancer, and cancer took my mum’s life 7 years ago, so the Cancer Council’s involvement had special meaning for us.

Mark has been the deputy chair of our local Community Garden and he and the team have  been working on this project for a few years now and although it has been open nearly a year, the official launch happened recently. 

Although he is not the chair person, Mark was the official MC and made a speech on behalf of the garden. It was a fabulous morning attended by members, friends and family, the local Mayor, various Council officials, Cancer Council NSW and ABC TV.

The kids were kept occupied painting bed numbers for the plots.I am so proud of Mark for seeing this, at times frustrating, project through.  It is his stress outlet at the end of a busy week – his time.  Such an important thing for him and for our family.

And here is a before picture just so you can see what has been achieved.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Can I still call myself a coffee snob?

I love my daily morning coffee.  But I’m not an addict, I have just one, after I’ve dropped the kids, and maybe had a half hour walk, all on my own, planning my day.  A latte, skim milk, no sugar – mmmmm.

It used to be at a cafe or a quick takeaway, but when I realized that added up to nearly $1,000 a year.  So, I have reverted to the home made drink.  I buy some good ground coffee.  I would grind my own but the grinder is on strike.  I use my Bialetti stove top bought in Milan and lugged around Europe when I was a 20 year old back packer.  I warm the milk and use a small plunger to froth it.  Delicious.

I know a bit about coffee.  In my past life in advertising agencies I had three coffee clients at different times in my career in the UK and Australia.  I learned a lot about coffee production, and how to make the best cup at home.  I tasted so many beans, blends, and drinks to confuse and enlighten any taste buds.

But here’s where I’ve started to worry.  I’m not one for hot drinks on a hot summer’s morning, especially after a walk.  So I crossed to the dark side… iced coffee.  Hmmm.  Where does the coffee jury stand on this?  I would have thought that was a coffee snob no-no.  But, I like it!  I justified it by still making the espresso shot with my stove top and using good coffee.  But here’s where it gets really dodgy.  Today, all in a hurry, I used instant!  Aaaahhhh.  And the secret is, eeeeek, I’m not sure I could taste the difference.  I’m probably just tired and it is Friday.  But I might have to try it again to be sure!And here is a photo of my kids, just so I can remind myself why I love them so – especially after the tantrum filled morning we had.  Perhaps I need another coffee!

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Sunday Funday

Lately we’ve been mooching around at home on the weekends, unless we’ve had specific plans to meet friends or visit.  How it often goes is Mark and I try to get some work around the house done – sorting, gardening, cleaning, etc.  The kids tend to whinge, whine, shout, cry and generally do anything to get our attention.  We all get frustrated and think how much we can’t wait for Monday to arrive.

Pretty sad, so we have changed our tune and we are making it a priority to plan some family time and activities and get outside while the weather is still … reasonable.   Hence, a little while ago Sunday Funday was born.

We had promised Rachel a reward for her efforts at school last year and she has been reminding us.  So, a few months late we gave her some options and she chose mini golf.  I’m sure her uncle and grandpa are very proud!  No matter how much we made the museum look attractive, she wasn’t interested.  We thought that was very strange for our nature and science loving girl.  But we realized the motivation for mini golf was as much the treat at the café afterwards as the golf itself. Little does she know there is a shop at the museum – shhh. The rain held off and we headed out.It was a reasonably quick game, and Rachel had a bit of accuracy.Bianca had more of a hockey-golf technique, and couldn’t be told… anything!  But we all had fun.

We are all looking forward to more Sunday Fundays – a lot to live up to!All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

What is your passion?

Recently someone asked me why I love to take photos, specifically of people.  There are many reasons:  to express myself, to create a record, to meet people, to have fun, to see something in a new way, to create a piece of art.  But I think what inspires me most, what makes my heart sing most, is to capture a connection.  A connection between me (my camera) and my subject, or between the subjects I am photographing.  I love seeing the sparkle in the eye, or the intimate moment between siblings or parents and their children. 

In this chaotic world, our family and friends are the things we can count on, the relationships that are strong.  No matter what our financial, work or health situation – the connections between us are what matters.  That is very true for us right now as our friends have been there for us as my husband rides the storm of this difficult job market, and that means more than anything to me.

So that’s why I love to take photos – to record those connections and to provide that for others.  I love to document my life and to document it for others – for their own enjoyment and for their kids and their grandkids. And as I said in my first post, I love the feeling of creating something that means so much.

So, connections – that intimate, moment between family, friends or even strangers, that shows our humanity and our vulnerability, and our strength.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Old Favourites

I have this habit of taking a photo of things that are not really worth keeping anymore.  Maybe they are old or damaged or I just don’t have a need or space for them.

To be honest, I struggle to throw things out.  I have a desire to be zen, but the genetics to be a hoarder.  I’m not talking rats in my front yard, but throwing things out, decluttering, etc., hmmm, tricky!  I blame my mum!  Sorry mum!

So taking a photo to replace an item is perhaps the first step to moving forward!  However, some things get photographed, but the next step doesn’t quite happen – sigh!

These are my favourite shoes.  No, not heels!!!  My Product Red Little Red Riding Hood Converses.  LOVE them.  As you can see they are well worn, with holes and falling apart.  This is not a result of poor quality but of true love.  They have been worn every cool or coolish or cold day since I bought them a few years back.  I really want some new ones, but it’s just finding the right pair.  Maybe the Chuck Taylor Marimekko’s.  But I’m just not sure I can part with them.

Am I the only one?All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

On Being a Perfectionist and Taking a Risk

I always wished it was a blessing, but, really, it’s not, well, not entirely.  Sure it has me constantly want to be good at things, to want to strive to be the best, but in reality it often has me paralysed to act.  Perfectionism is that elusive thing… to be perfect is impossible.  And each of our ideas about what it is to be perfect are so different anyway.

I remember my daughter’s pre-school teacher tell me that she wasn’t really giving things a go at school because she hated not getting it perfect!  Her advice to me was to demonstrate doing something, and it not being perfect, and that being ok.  Just to do your best, whatever the result.  Hmm!!!  I want to be a good example for my girls – an inspiration.  And it really doesn’t matter what I do, but rather who I be about it.  That means I could DO anything.  It could mean going back to full time office work, it could mean being a full time stay at home mum, or it could mean following a dream – my photography dream.  What matters is that I live my life passionately without regrets and without compromise.  This is the gift I want to give to my girls.

I love taking photographs – I always have.  I love taking photos of my family and friends and seeing their smile – the smile that brings back that moment.  The smile when someone sees a fabulous image of their kids, being themselves.  The smile when someone loves how they look.  The smile of gratitude that finally they have this beautiful image of their whole family, or just their kids, or just them, or them and hubby.  I love that feeling that I have created something that means so much, that might not otherwise be recorded.

But despite how much I love it, the self criticism has often had me stopped.  That little voice that says, yeah, ok, but …  And the buts are big.

I can do better

Other people are better

I need more equipment

I need a better logo (any logo)

I need to know more!!!!

So, I don’t go for it and I don’t put myself out there and I don’t try.  So I don’t risk anything.  And I feel frustrated.  And keep talking a good game without acting!

But, I’m bored, of myself!  So, i say to myself, “do what you love, just start.”  You can’t please everyone, you only need to please yourself and have the respect and support of those that matter to you.   A US wedding photographer I admire, Jasmine Star, talks about the importance of being herself, and that that will either attract or repel people, and that’s just fine – perfect in fact.

And in the words of the guru Dr Seuss,  “Be what you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

So, I start my blog, finally.  With things not quite ready, with more to do, with ideas in my head, but with a passion for this to be a vehicle to make my dreams come true.  Don’t let your fears stop you for too long.  Life can be a blank canvas and the sky is a perfect sun kissed blue today.  And that makes me laugh, because I procrastinated (this post wasn’t quite right) and it’s cloudy today!

Blue SkyAll content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.