Look… whales!

Yay – it’s whale migration season.  I love this time of year.  The possibility of seeing a whale or two breaching close to shore on their way north.  Or hearing via the bush telegraph that there are some whales visible and racing down to the beach with the kids to have a look.  Or a mum and baby taking shelter in the harbour – magical.

Last season I was doing a yoga class at the beach one morning and a whale breached offshore.  The sun was shining, we were feeling good and it felt like it was there just for us.

We haven’t seen any whales this season yet, but we do wake up to our own private little pod each morning.

Happy whale season everyone.

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You are a writer and an artist

I said to my four year old daughter, after picking her up from pre-school yesterday, that I had to do some work that afternoon.  She said, “ok mum, cos you’re a writer and an artist”.

I was stunned.  My little girl was able to tell me what I am, while I’m still daring to dream that I can make that a reality.

I really got that it is all about declaring who you are and being that.  So…

Who I am is a writer and artist.

What I do is write about my passions and life and create images of my family, friends and life around me.

What that gives me is an incredible sense of being fulfilled, an ability to spend time with my children and loved ones and to be present to how incredible my life is.

So simple really.  Declaring who you are and then being that, and living with integrity – being your word.

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy and what I want my life to be about.  What I want to leave the world with, the contribution I am to people and the planet.  Perhaps that’s for my next post.

Sometimes it takes a 4 year old to make you realise what you are, because they seem to know already.

All images taken with my iPhone 3 with Instagram or Shake-it-Photo apps.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Yoga, family and inspiration

Last year I met an amazing woman who inspires me with her grace, gentleness and power.  She is someone in whose presence I feel like I can achieve anything.  Who she is is committed to an extraordinary life, not just for herself, but for her family, her friends and humanity.  And she is pure love, despite having experienced the most unbearable heartache in her own life.

I am so happy to have met her, to have shared almost a year with her before she moves on to a new life in another country.  I am proud to call her my friend.

Najla Ammouri is a yoga instructor, and life coach and she asked me to take some photographs of her yoga class and some images of her and her beautiful son.  It was an absolute privilege to record these images, and given my last blog post, especially those of her and her son in the last rays of autumn sun.  Here are a few images from our shoots.

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The oldest mum rules

Well, on Mother’s Day, anyway, and so it should be!  It is really all about her.  And so it was in our family this year.

Mothers Day was spent with my family, my Mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her kids.  We sat in the sun at her house for brekkie and laughed and talked and enjoyed a sumptuous feast prepared with no help from the oldest mum, despite some objections.  On the menu was: smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and lemon; fresh, warm croissants with various sweet toppings; fruit salad with yoghurt and rhubarb compote; sausages for the kids and to top it off, freshly brewed coffee and bubbly and orange juice.

No photos – we were all too busy eating.

We also presented Mark’s mum with her 80th birthday album.  At her party we had all the guests (family & friends) bring a story, letter, poem, memories and photos to contribute to a “This is your Life” style album.  Combined with the photos from the day, we put together a book of memories.  I think it could have been one of her best Mother’s Day gifts ever.

                    My beautiful mother-in-law enjoying her album with her son.It was also a day to remember my mum who died 7 years ago.  I miss her mostly on these days, when her absence is felt by me, and my girls.  They never met my mum as she died while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.  But I speak of her often and so they know her in some small way.

       My mum with her first grandchild (my sister’s son) not long before she died.I looked through old photo albums while preparing this blog post and was surprised at how few images there are of me with my mum.  There are plenty of shots of me on my own and with my younger siblings as they arrived, but very few of the two of us.  That made me sad and realise that I need to make an effort to make sure that I have more shots taken of me with my girls.  So they will have them long after I am gone.

                                                           Me and my mum.Those family photos are my most precious possessions, especially now that mum is no longer here.  So, I urge you all to make sure you get someone to take a photo of you with your kids today!  And tomorrow.  And one day soon, book in a session with a professional photographer.  And take shots of your kids with your mum (and dad).  But don’t stop snapping away.

My daughter and her gran.

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For the love of books

I love books, I really do.  Reading is such an important and lovely part of my day.  It usually only happens for half an hour before bed time, but man, I so look forward to it.  Reading is like a warm shower or a walk in the sun, it’s my little escape as a parent.

Reading has always been part of my house growing up – lots of books and book shelves.  Mum was an art teacher with a degree in fine art so we had beautiful art books as well as every variety of fiction.  I married a man who came with baggage – mostly books, and now my home is filled with books and the girls love to read or be read to.

Rachel is on a mission to complete the Premier’s Reading Challenge asap!

The library is one of our favourite places to visit.  There are always way too many books on my list, and often fines to pay.  As much as I love the online library catalogue and managing my account, I sometimes wish there was a “beam me up Scotty” library service that had the next book on your list materialise in your microwave  or something.  I’d also love the library to keep a record of all my borrowings.  I have been too lazy to write them down.  I’d love to remember how many books I’ve read this year and what they were.  There must be an app for that!

And now that I have a Kindle (thanks Dad), I would really love my library to have an electronic book loan service.  Did you know that books out of copyright can be downloaded and kept for free?  Wuthering Heights was my first electronic book.  I love Wuthering Heights.  LOVE it!  Must charge the Kindle and read it next… again.  One great thing about my academic, literary minded school, was all the classics we had to read.

My book reading tastes waver but generally I like: “slightly in the future” science fiction; autobiographies; espionage; thrillers; recipe books, a good saga, various non-fiction,,,  I’m not really into historical novels, tear jerkers or chick lit (ok, maybe a bit).

Recently I’ve loved

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – disturbing but I could not put it down.  Mockingjay, the final book, was disappointing I thought.

Open by Andre Agassi – wow – the most brutally honest and moving autobiography I have ever read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – although I knew about the brutality and racism of the American south at the time, this book opened my eyes to the strength and tenderness of the people who lived there.  It reminded me so much of my time living in South Africa in the 1980’s.  So many similarities.

The Quilt by Susan Wiggs – a beautiful story about letting go and moving on as a mother drives her daughter across the US to take her to university and deals with the loss of her child and finding a new role.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel – The last of 5 in the series.  It was tough to get through and it took 2 attempts, but I wanted to finish it, and I have.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – an inspiring look at how to be responsible for our life and our own happiness.

Carla Coulson (various books) – an Aussie who changed her career and her life as she moved to Italy, then France and is now a successful fashion photographer.  Beautiful images and words.

I would love to hear what you are reading – I’m looking for my next book (after Wuthering Heights that is).

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Ugh, my Dad is fitter than I am!

This is something I’ve suspected for awhile, but only really admitted to myself recently and seriously, it’s a little tragic!  And no, he was not a teenage father!  Today is his birthday – Happy Birthday Dad – and although it is not a significant one, he recently passed a milestone.  He is currently trying to convince me that counting backwards is the new hip thing.

He is a fit and dedicated man.  His weekly fitness regime includes 3 visits to the gym, walks, cycles and golf (lots of it).  I mean LOTS of golf, and both national and international competitions to keep the handicap very low – 3 or is it 2 now?  And he eats well, although he does have a sweet tooth.  Wish he’d passed on the exercise, rather than the sweet tooth gene to me.  Thanks Dad!

The only reason I am happy that he lives thousands of miles away in the English countryside, is that I don’t have to openly demonstrate the fitness void between us.  And really, I’m not unfit – I do Pilates once a week, walk 4 times a week and… hmmm… eat reasonably well.  But I am blessed with being tall – thanks Dad (I mean it this time) so overindulgence is more easily distributed and hidden.  But apparently from the age of 40, we women put on a kilogram a year.  So I really do need to up the exercise regime.

I really am grateful that he takes his health seriously, because it has not been without its setbacks.  He is already young at heart and his wonderful partner of nearly 20 years, Susan, inspires him to keep young in body too.  And that is fabulous for me, my brother and sister, and for his 4 gorgeous grandchildren.

With my girls

With his four gorgeous Grandkids

With my eldest daughter

Happy Birthday Dad, I love you.


All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.