Sunday, December 1, 2013

On the first day of Christmas...


When I was a little girl, the last week of November was a torturous time. I would anxiously spy on the clock, waiting for the days to tick by until finally it would land on the first day of December.

I had decided that day would be the start of my Christmas campaign, a festive assault on my poor, unsuspecting family.  I would pester Dad to cut a branch from the lone pine tree on the banks of our little creek and stand watch like a little general making sure it was as close to Hollywood-perfect as possible.  Let's just say it wasn't always the most beautiful but that's often the case with real stuff.

As Mum pulled the box of Christmas decorations down from the top cupboard in the spare bedroom I would eagerly wait below, arms outstretched, ready to accept the treasures. The box would be haphazardly packed with a hotchpotch of trinkets: tiny glass-like ornaments, snakes of tinsel, a little straw angel.  I would diligently dress the tree as it sat politely - my most supportive Christmas ally - between the piano and the wood heater, calling for help to place the angel on top of the highest branch. 

The following weeks would be filled with festivities. I remember fossicking through the cupboard for my favourite John Denver Christmas record; thumping out Silent Night on the piano as the daily house soundtrack; sitting on the verandah podding fresh peas with my dear Granny; and deeply inhaling the welcome smells of plum puddings boiling away while apricot sauce, laced with brandy, warmed on the stove. 

To be honest, not much has changed in that years since that little girl has become a (mostly) fully-formed adult.  My heart still bursts when the crackling record player fills the house with old carols and friends drop into our family farm for a Christmas tipple.  I adore buying thoughtful presents for my family and dear friends, having an woozy afternoon nap after overdoing it at Christmas lunch and packing my bag for our annual Boxing Day roadtrip to the beach.  

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.  We have 24 days to go my dears! Silver bells...  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pier Crushing.


Lately I've been overcome with a dream to build a pier on the weir just a stumble down the road from my homeland.

I would ride my bike down, with a cushion and a book in its basket, and laze about with one foot dangling in the water.

I would walk along hand-in-hand with a friend and then cheekily push them off before diving in myself.

I would strap a kayak to the top of my car, mosey on down and carefully plop it in the water - jumping in for an afternoon glide.

I would pack a picnic basket with gooey cheeses, champagne and a sounddock and listen to Fleet 
Foxes at dusk.


I would, truly I would.

If I build it, will you come?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Roadtrips with The Paper Kites.


This afternoon I hit the highway only a whisker ahead of peak hour madness, smiling happily as the busy roads, sneakily sandwiched between city housing blocks, slowly gave way to sweeping views of bright green, undulating lands. 

As I zoomed along the highway the sun sprayed shades of yellow, burnt orange and fiery pink across the landscape, changing hues with each passing minute. 

I saw frame after frame of country goodness: cows lolling on the banks of dams, no doubt seeking respite from the warm springtime day; bales of silage tightly wrapped in mint-green plastic and lined up in neat rows across the paddocks; and a kamikaze cockatoo that swooped cheekily, and somewhat stupidly, across my windscreen to reach the other side of the road and, perhaps to take a peek at some freshly killed roadkill. 

All the while this beautiful new album States by The Paper Kites shared my journey.  From the first bars I knew this lush, atmospheric collection with its understated, lilting melodies and (good) lazy riffs would be my perfect roadtrip companion.  It didn't disappoint. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Invitation.



It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.


(pic via the yard, thanks to Sarah Capper for the reminder!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Overgrowth.



Overgrowth is an ongoing collaboration between photographer Parker Fitzgerald and floral designer Riley Messina.  


I'm crushing on all of these beautiful photographs and limited edition prints have just gone on sale.  


Overgrowth will be exhibiting in Japan beginning 11 September 2013. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Home is Where You Park It.



In July 2011, Foster Huntington left his job in New York City, bought a VW Canagon and hit the road with the hope of "addressing the voice in the back of my mind that was constantly saying there was more to life".

For the past two years Foster has been travelling around the US and he started taking photos of vans and other campers that he came across in his travels.

“Not until experiencing something for myself can I really appreciate it. Call me thick headed, but it’s been true about autumn in New England, sex, and most recently, camper vehicles, or as I call it, van life. I purchased my Syncro with no prior knowledge of van life. Operating on the assumption that I liked the freedom and exploration offered by living out of a van, I committed to trying it out. A handful of interesting people’s stories of the road reassured me that it was the right thing to do. Ships of the open road are hard to understand when you’re not sailing them. Now that I am sailing my own, I have grown to appreciate the breed of adventurers they attract and the vehicles they drive."

Foster is releasing his second book, Home is Where You Park It, in March 2014 and he has launched a Kickstarter project to fund it. 

It has one more week to hit its target - go on, hitch a ride! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A camping we will go...


My extended family goes camping regularly - at the beach over summer and in the country hills in autumn over Easter.  It has been a constant in my life and one of my great joys.

Since 2010, when I made a deliberate decision to live a life full of happiness and adventuring, 'GO CAMPING' has stayed at the top of my various to-do and dream lists.

I know tents and hole-in-ground loos are not for everyone.  But you can also camp in huts and cabins and chalets and modernist boxes in forests.  For me, 'camping' and the urge to constantly do it has become more than falling asleep in a contraption made from poles and canvas (which I love like nothing else); it is about welcoming a different space - involving deeper breathing, an open mind and an adventuring heart.  It's travelling to somewhere different to your home and surrounding yourself with nature.

I find it bemusing how much hunting, fishing, canoeing, adventuring, mountaineering etcetera have become the latest 'thing' when, for country people, they are quite literally a daily reality.  But I also just love it, because the logos and designs and endless photographs of hills and streams and mountains are so freaking rad. And I'm a sucker for that and movies like Moonrise Kingdom just make my little heart swell and my chest puff out with pride and excitement.  Whether it's aspiration or inspiration or complete fantasy, I don't care - as long as more people make it out of the city streets and into the country hills then it doesn't matter what inspired them to do it.

I'm off to the High Country today to begin my slow breathing/adventuring sojourn.  I can't wait to pack up my little car on the weekends and head for the hills.  A camping we will go, a camping we will go!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Calm Before The Clearing.


I've been in a funny transition period.  A period that has lasted for, um, about 7 years.

I had such an idyllic upbringing that just meandered along so beautifully until my early twenties.  Of course it wasn't all sandcastles and margaritas - I fell in and out of love, lost and re-found friends, won prizes and criticism, left home for the big smoke where the cycles were again repeated in new territory; I had a healthily undulating life.  But it wasn't horrid or hard to the point where I questioned things in a dramatic sense.

And then tiny threads started to pull and come apart.

My seas have been gathering a bit of confidence, and over the past seven years they've been sneakily dishing up the curveballs.  For the first five years I'd been sailing through like a pro - deftly navigating an unexpected swell; brushing myself off as the lines tightened my sails; adjusting my sou'wester when the rains hit a little harder than before.

But, as we know, an ocean storm slowly gathers confidence, building to a squall.  And I've been in its sights.  This little pocket is tossing me around ferociously, like a final spin cycle.

I keep imagining the clearing; just when you think you've had enough, that you cannot possibly take another hit, it just stops. The skies clear, the seas flatten out and the sun comes bounding out from behind the clouds. You realise you're alive.  Just.

I'm finally accepting the messages-in-bottles my ocean keeps sending and I'm going to chase some longheld little dreams.  And, as a result, this heartfilled space and my Instagram life may start to slowly chart a few different courses, I hope you'll come along for the journey.

First up is renovating the sweet bungalow (read nearly-falling-down shack) at Little Oak.  I'm heading up the highway in a week's time to get started.  I've been planning this for a few months but I'm a little shocked that the time is nearly here. When I was living in Los Angeles three years ago I wrote a 'dream bio' and one of the lines was: 'Frances splits her time between her inner-city Melbourne apartment and a bungalow at the bottom of the fruit orchard on her family farm'.

I'll share the other bits of my dreaming as they become realities. Or not.

Ahoy there me hearties.

(pic by Fanny Latour Lambert)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

European Summer 2014.


I always get nervous when I am locked into something.  It's so strange because I am generally so organised, I'm a strategist in my working life for <insert your fav curse word here> sake. 

But I've always been a bit funny about it.  I like spontaneity, I get bored a bit too quickly.  Except when it's booking exciting trips to Europe which I have just done over the weekend.  Lock me in as tight as you want, baby.

Six weeks in Europe (Kent, Biarritz, San Sebastian, Avignon, Santorini, London, Paris) thankyou very much.  2014 is already looking super swell and bright. 

(I took this pic at the Musée d'Orsay in 2009. I looooooove this room.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The World is Round So I'll Go Round.


I've been listening to the wonderful Oscar Lush's debut album on this sunny, springtime day.  
It has only just been released but I'm predicting big, exciting things for this young lad. 
Well worth a purchase at only $10, team. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Smoochy Weekend.


Let's get romantic this weekend.

I'm in full decorating mode - my Brunswick haven is being wallpapered this morning and I'm busy Dymotaping anything that looks lonely.

I'm also about to book my flights to Europe for next July/August.  Yahoooooooooo!

Bisous.

A few recent loves...
Have you checked out The Brainery Store yet?
This engineer has engineered the most incredibly brilliant dream travel life ever.
I'm digging these works by Thomas Barbèy.
In celebration of my apartment decorating blitz I just ordered one of these special address stamps.
I want this entire Joie collection for summer. 

(pic: 'The Last Kiss' - WWII soldiers say goodbye to their sweethearts)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ink Monsters.






I'm very much into this beautiful series by Fanny Latour Lambert in collaboration with Marcello Barcelo called Ink Monsters.  Oh, yes.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Me and You and Everyone We Know.


Today I'm going to have a quiet day before an evening shindig.
A spot of gardening.
A swim, a splash.
A luscious few hours in bed (and perhaps a little catnap) watching Me and You and Everyone We Know made by this amazing woman.
Oh, Miranda.
Have a beautiful day, munchkins.

(pic: Romina Shama)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Assembly by Osamu Yokonami






I've written before about my love of Japanese photographer Osamu Yokonami's work. He recently released a new collection of images, Assembly, that are truly beautiful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ballerinas and Knives.



Ballerinas and knives.  What a combo. This is terrific.

In the artist's (Javier Perez) own words:

A ballerina, whose pointe shoes are extended by a set of sharp kitchen knives, dances and twirls insistently until reaching exhaustion, fighting to maintain balance on the lid of a grand piano set on a stage.  The theatre with its red velvet warm lighting, resembles an oversized music box.  The camera turns around the dancer revealing the opposite side of the room: an empty and painfully bare theatre.

The ballerina appears as an eerie figure expressing effort, sacrifice and pain in her strive for perfection.  Both fragile and cruel.  Initially shy and hesitant, her steps become more and more emphatic, menacing and not exempt of violence, scraping and cutting into the delicate surface of the piano with her sharp pointe shoes. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Friends.


We spend our lives searching for love.

We use terms like 'my better half' and 'you complete me' to try and explain the incomparable feeling that comes with falling in love.  The only way for us to explain the ferocity of the feelings is to say that until that person walked into our lives we felt like we were missing a limb, that we were semi-transparent, that we were only half a person.  The love we feel for a partner is extraordinary.

And yet, it is not always our partner or our family members with whom we share our most private thoughts, our secrets, our hopes and our dreams.  They are not the only ones who hold us in their arms, cheer us from the sidelines, and hold our needs and desires at the forefront of their minds.

Sometimes, so very often, it is our friends who hold the fort.

Lately I've been questioning, well, pretty much everything. Most specifically my friendships.  Whether it's healthy, and even safe, to rely on a non-partner for the big stuff.  But then I think of these extraordinary men and women who I'm surrounded by - these magnificent creatures who know when to answer the phone, when to drop everything and arrive on the doorstep, when to say 'no, you're not ok, what's wrong?' and when to just say nothing.

I think of my oldest friend and our ocean-like friendship and that no matter how long it's been and how far out the tide goes, we always end up coming back to each other's shores.  I think of my closest ally who has been my platonic 'other half' since high school who I know I will grow old with like Hilary and C.C from Beaches (or more likely Blanche and Dorothy from The Golden Girls) - hopefully sitting on verandahs and sipping tea or scotch/gin.  I think of her husband - my workshopping partner-in-crime, my fellow fantasist and a constant ear.

I think of my dear college girlfriend and how we take it in turns to be fragile and strong and how freeing it is to be able to revert to the emotional state of an 18-year-old without fear of judgment.  I think of my sidekick/old housemate who always knows exactly the right thing to say whether it's supportive or critical and who has been a silent partner in all aspects of my life for the past half decade. I think of a darling new friend who was 'just there' in my weirdest hour weekend of need, who just makes everything shiny with her directness and mindblowing energy (and hair).

I think of the rush of excitement I get when I reconnect with an old friend or when I meet a new unicorn who blows my mind.  I think of the friends with whom I have regular bare-it-all dinners, my walking buddies and my dancing buddy. I think of my friends with whom I talk politics and internet-crushes and those who I debate over booze-laden dinner tables.  I think of the friends who I can crawl into bed next to on Sunday morning with cups of tea and the paper and those who I jump in a car with for spontaneous adventures.

I believe that our friendships can complete us and fulfil us as much as a romantic relationship, just in very different ways.  I love that some of my gang know and love each other and some have never heard of nor met each other.

Mostly I just think about how very lucky I am, even in the darkest hours, due to a lovely ring of special ones who make each moment just that little bit more magical.

(pic by Annie Griffiths for National Geographic - shot at a thermal spring in Montana in 1997)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Springtime.


It's the first day of Spring.  New life is about to begin.  And, hopefully, some new shoots will bloom in my own little life.

(pic by the wonderful Corey Arnold)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vantastic.


Do you know that feeling when you meet someone and you just know that they're a good person?

Kate Ulman oooozzzzeeees goodness.  In person and on the pages and screens through which so many people know her.  She is just, quite simply a good egg (by the by, I'm giggling to myself right now as Kate has a farm full of chickens).

She is the wonderwoman behind the beautiful blog, Fox's Lane which documents her adventures of running her farm and business Daylesford Organics with her husband Brendon, and their utterly gorgeous three girls.

Kate has just released her first book, Vantastic, and it's pretty freaking fantastic.  Full of craft and colour and family and ideas for how to live and authentic, loved-filled life.



Monday, August 26, 2013

What Maisie Knew



Oh, this little girl seems like a bit of a heartbreaker. That face! I'm looking forward to seeing this.  Vampire Eric and Ms. Moore - what more could we ask for?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Unicorn Weeks.

Hello you guys.

It's Friday. Phew. We made it.

My week started rather normally and uneventfully on Monday and then ramped up to become a really, freaking full on bubble of insanity.

But in the midst of the madness there were these shining moments:

On Tuesday night I went to my dancing class.  I'm going to be doing this shit in November.  Swinging my hips like a boss on stage.  I hope.

Wednesday was devoted to a lady dinner, an open fire, important decisions about eyewear and a statement from my unicorn friend Jacqui "I put myself in the front row" that became everyone's motto for, well, life.

The Moth took over my heart on Thursday night.  I was reminded of my deep love for the violin and was surprised to learn that Madga Szubanski's dad was a Polish assassin.


Last night I also had a dream where I was in my funny little car with my bestie Little One and it wouldn't start.  We were happy though. And there was an item of food but I can't really recall it...

Tonight I went to see Tavi talk at the Melbourne Writers' Festival with galfriends including the mindblowing Bridget and the magnetic Jordan.  She was very, very awesome.  And by she I mean all three of them.

Tomorrow had better bring it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time's a Wastin'.


The days are slipping by.

I cringe every time I respond to someone who asks how I am by saying "I'm really good but BUSY."  It's so ridiculous to look back over the past months and beyond and realise that I've been constantly repeating that phrase.  Over and over again.  And then, before you know it, it's been a year.  A year of busy-ness.

And it's not just me, everyone seems to be so freaking busy.  I find myself constantly turning my diary page to the next month to book in a dinner with a dear friend or a weekend away with another.

It's actually really hard to not buy into the societal norms, we are so encouraged to over-extend ourselves, to be everything to everybody.  Leaving very little time for our own self.  And after so many years of working like a maniac in corporate workplaces I still find myself constantly overworking and being constantly available all the time.

Lately I've been trying to get less busy.

It's a process but I'm getting there very slowly.  Today I woke up with morning birds and jumped on a train to my country home; it was my second country train journey in a week - so lucky, I am.  I listened to Sal Kimber and Liz Stringer and The Tallest Man on Earth as the wattle trees and deep green paddocks rushed by before I picked up a car and hit the highway.  My journey took a whole day and it's not even finished.  A journey that I could have replaced with an hour and a half flight.  But that would have been boring.

The slower route is so much sweeter.  A hopeful signal of days to come.  Slow days that can only come about by our individual choices.

I'm making the choice gosh darn it, I'll keep you posted as I go, ok?

A few recent loves...

Your heartstrings may also be tugged by this beautiful little ditty by Lucie Thorne.
I took the pic above in the forest near Whole Larder Love's place when we went mushrooming. His ladylove hellokateberry has just launched a new blog, Lunchlady, and it is pretty darn brilliant.
In keeping with my Iceland obsession I read Hannah Kent's debut novel Burial Rites over the past few days. It's bleak and utterly beautiful.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mia Dyson.


Mia Dyson is unbelievable.  I'm currently listening to one of my favourites as it blends seamlessly with the rain drumming on my rooftop.

Hey you guys.  Happy Friday.
xo

Oh, and p.s. this acoustic version is also equally rad.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wilderness Dreamin'.


I want to run away from today.  I'd like to lace up these boots and run into the wilderness, far away from everywhere and anywhere.  To be alone, for a while.


I'd like to swim in waterfalls and sleep next to dying flames.  To watch the stars for entertainment and breathe in the cold, night air.

A dream for another day.

A few recent loves...

Cate Blanchett looks like she's going to be amazing in Woody's new film Blue Jasmine.
Stephen Fry talks honestly and beautifully about the contradictions of loneliness.
Megan Washington's cover version of this Australian classic is pretty awesome.
Check out these 40 inspiring workspaces of the famously creative.
This list of 27 underrated things about being in your thirties is comforting. And funny.
Tom Thum is a a bit of a superstar.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gallerie L'Orientaliste.





So darling Sarah has a darling mum who happens to have a darling Melbourne shop.  Venturing through the doors is like entering an old-world treasure trove, full of history; Gallerie L'Orientaliste specialises in ethnographic jewellery and antiquities. 

She is opening a special exhibition of her latest designs and creations this weekend - Saturday 10 August and Sunday 11 August between 11am and 5pm.  

Gallerie L'Orientaliste 
495 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy VIC 3065
Ph: 03 9489 9473

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jessica Tremp's Iceland.





So, holy wow.

Melbourne photographer Jessica Tremp went to Iceland and I wish I went with her.  I have been a wee bit obsessed with visiting this wild country for quite a while and am determined to go sooooooon.

In the meantime, however, I have these incredible images to whet the ole appetite.

Check out Jessica's entire Icelandic series on her blog: part one, part two, part three and part four.
www.jessicatremp.com

Friday, July 26, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ballet.



Last night I hurried into the State Theatre night to see Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake performed by The Australian Ballet and basically floated out.

I go to the ballet a couple of times a year and every single time I am transported.  I imagine eras when the ballet, theatre and opera were the social playgrounds of the aristocracy who would arrive in their furs and dripping with diamonds.  They would have names like Heston and Marguerite and sip martinis in red-velveted foyers.

There is so much respect in ballet - for the theatre with its ornate beauty; for the dancers who are just utterly breathtaking; for the orchestra (I love how they stamp their feet to set off the crowd's applause when the conductor takes his or her place); and for each other as audience members (I have never heard a mobile phone go off during a performance).

This contemporary version of Swan Lake is one of the most stunning ballets I have ever seen. The dancers make it look just so effortless, but anyone who has tried to lift a chubby kid further than their waist can imagine how hard they must have to work to make it look so easy.

I was reminded to visit the Behind Ballet blog and stumbled across these beautiful short films made by The Apiary.



As I was tinkering around the blog and clicking on random links I read one piece of info that tugged on my sensitive heart.

Yesterday, Friday 28 June 2013, was my first night-at-the-ballet for 2013.  It was also the five year anniversary of the death of great Russian ballerina Irina Baronova who I worked with eight years ago as a very young book publicist.  I adored her - she was one of the most intoxicating people I have ever met and her face pops into my mind at the most random times.  I can still hear her voice.

The year I met her, 2005, was the year I went to my first ballet.  I have been hooked ever since.

I'll never forget visiting her Byron Bay home and being slightly confused as she bent right down in front of me, trying to focus her failing eyesight on my feet.  When I confirmed that they were indeed a little 37 she excitedly went to her cupboard pulling out pair after pair of vintage Ferragamos and piling them into my arms.  She could no longer wear them and was going to throw them out if I didn't take them, she said.

I love having physical reminders of such a beautiful woman and a legendary artist.  I've been thinking of Swan Lake this morning and remembering Amber Scott's pirouettes but imagining dear Irina's young face spinning around instead.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Zealand.


I've been wanting to visit New Zealand for quite a while.  And I'm about to book a trip for later in the year.  I cannot believe I haven't visited before, it's actually utterly crazy.

Since I've had it on my 2013 list I've been fossicking about for tips and places to add to my 'to do' list.  I've discovered and have fallen so deeply in love with the work of Melbourne-based photographer Brooke Holm - you can see her NZ snaps in all of their glory here and here.

I've also been watching Jane Campion's Top of the Lake and looooooving it.  It's like a modern-day Twin Peaks; Elisabeth Moss is terrific.

I can't wait to pack a camper full of travelling goodies and hit those roads.  To the mountains!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wilson's Prom.





I've been going through some pics that I hadn't had a chance to download and file including this little batch.  I went hiking in Wilson's Promontory on the southeastern tip of Australia in April and it is one of the most beautiful places in the country; just utterly stunning.

My dear friend Loz (in the top pic) and I dreamt up plans for sailing in and day-hiking. For 'one day' but a real one day, not an imaginary one day.