Sunday 26 May 2013


"A portrait of my husband and our marriage, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Richard: was rocked by a high cholesterol diagnosis this week. We make mostly healthy choices and have been working towards a more mindful whole food and seasonal diet over the last few months. Clearly, we've more work to do.

We: plan on growing old together.

Last week, was a rather emotional one for me. This beautiful image captured by Lisa made me smile, I reckon a hot cup of button tea would do wonders to warm the heart and soul :-)

Participating in the 52 Portraits series led by Jodi at Che & Fidel. You can view all of my weekly portraits by clicking on the button in the sidebar.

Belinda x

Wednesday 22 May 2013

E&J on Facebook

I've finally done it!

Elsie and Joan is now officially on Facebook and I have to say, I'm loving it so far. It's a little more informal, a bit like hanging out in the den as opposed to sitting in the good lounge. 

I hope you'll be inclined to pop on over for a Hot Toddy or a cuppa, watch a few new Park's and Recreation episodes. BYO uggs. (Can you tell it's getting cold here?!)

You'll find the Elsie and Joan Facebook page here or via the new button in the sidebar. 

Belinda x

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Treasure hunters

We hit up Sydney Antique Centre on the weekend. It's been around in one form or another for decades. I've been wanting to visit, FOREVER. I could have spent all day there, I do love a good treasure trove. I don't even need to buy anything, I just love looking at all of the things. I did about four laps of the whole place, each time spotting something new, so many stories in that place.

The Little one and her buddy George wandered around wide-eyed playing make believe, asking a million questions and charming the staff. Rich, well he's a patient man that husband of mine.

We went looking for a dresser/drawer for our master bedroom, we didn't have any luck finding one but we did come home with a beautiful old globe. 

Average photo but you can see he's looking right at home!

Do you love hunting around antique stores? What kind of things are you always on the lookout for?

Belinda x

Monday 20 May 2013

We have today

There are moments when you're reminded that life is a fragile gift, that everything can change in an instant. 

Last week, an Australian couple, Kathreen Ricketson and Rob Shugg drowned in Western Australia while on a family working holiday with their two gorgeous children. I was so saddened upon hearing the news reports and tragic circumstances, then I started to see the story reverberate across the blogging community. Kathreen was a blogger, a book author, an artist and champion of the creative community.

I received news on Saturday morning that a much loved colleague, an unconditionally kind, generous, gentle man, father, partner, son, brother had passed suddenly. It's still so hard to believe. 

My heart aches for their families. How to cope when life suddenly tilts in a completely unexpected, unimaginable direction.

It sharpens your perspective. We live in a free country. We have a warm, secure home. We have access to education. We have choices. We have each other. We have a beautiful life, RIGHT NOW. 

I think Rachael said it better than I ever could, "we cannot see around is what we have."

Belinda x

* A trust fund has been set up for the children of Kathreen Ricketson and Rob Shugg, you can find the details here if you would like to donate.

Sunday 19 May 2013


"A portrait of my husband and our marriage, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Richard: prefers lemon juice and sugar on his pancakes, crunchy peanut butter on his toast, ginger beer to ginger ale, and cold pork pies over most anything else as a snack. 
I forgive his peculiarity, for they are part of what make him a richly charactered individual. *

We: have had a special visit from George the Giraffe this weekend. He is The little one's Kinder friend. Each child at school has an opportunity to take George home for a weekend, then share the tales of adventure with the class the following week. She has taken the responsibility of caring for George and making sure he has a great time, very seriously.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series led by Jodi at Che & Fidel. You can view all of my weekly portraits by clicking on the button in the sidebar.

Belinda x

* Taken from our favourite Edward Monkton book, A lovely love story.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Desert island playlist

Triple J is celebrating the twenty year anniversary of it's annual Hottest 100 music poll with a one off 'Hottest 100 of the last 20 years' countdown. It got me thinking, if you were exiled to a desert island and given a choice of a ten song playlist to take with you, which songs would you choose?

I'll admit, this question is enough to send me into a mild panic. How could you choose only ten? And would it be wise to not choose your very favourites. You'd have to listen to those ten songs, only those ten, forever more. Would they end up sending you mad? Would listening to them over and over eventually destroy that which you loved? 

I asked Rich. He stared at for me for a moment while I watched his brain explode behind his eyes at all the possibilities. Then, an incredulous reply that he'd need to spend at least a week with his entire music collection to even come close to choosing ten. Even then, he thinks it impossible.

For the sake of a bit of fun, trying really hard not to over think it (SO. MANY. SONGS) here's my desert island playlist:

I reckon this list could serve me pretty well as I went crazy in the coconuts.

What songs would make your desert island playlist?

Belinda x

* Photos from a sailing trip on our recent holiday. We were willingly stranded on a tiny island in the Great Barrier Reef, free to snorkel and explore. The BEST day.

Sunday 12 May 2013


"A portrait of my husband and our marriage, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Richard: has a childish great sense of humor, being around him generally means you'll be laughing, alot. It's one of the things I love most about him. 

We: got pretty lucky in the kinfolk department. Enjoying Mother's Day lunch at this fantastic vegetarian restaurant in town.

I loved this quiet, precious moment captured last week.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series led by Jodi at Che & Fidel. You can view all of my weekly portraits by clicking on the button in the sidebar.

Belinda x

Friday 10 May 2013

Don't dream it's over


I'd like to introduce my lovely friend Wendy McDougall. Wendy is a professional freelance photographer and has been using her powers to capture the most incredible images for over thirty years.

Wendy started out as a music photographer in 1979, and spent the next fifteen years or so recording some of the country's most iconic bands during what became "the defining era of Australian Rock & Roll". Hello, ultimate dream job! 

She has since branched out into photography for film, television, theatre punctuated by portraits, documentary, photography for books and producing her own art projects.

Wendy & Doc Neeson, in the 80's.

Wendy has recently launched a Pozible campaign to bring many of the photographs she took in the 80's on film, into the digital realm.  I recently had a few hundred family photo's scanned for my Nana's eightieth, it cost me over $400. This process is expensive! Wendy needs about $7,000 to get over twenty years of rock & roll history scanned and archived for posterity. She has to reach the minimum target of $4,500 in order to receive any of the pledges at all.  The great news is she's on her way, but she needs help!

To me, a photograph is absolutely priceless. It tells us so much without having to say a single word. They are important and worth saving, so that the story is passed on.

There are a range of pledges to suit your budget and Wendy's offering some fantastic incentive rewards, so please do pop on over take a look and support this very worthwhile endeavour to preserve our history.

Wendy's "It's only Rock & Roll but I like it" Pozible campaign has a deadline of the 19th June. You can find it, here.

Belinda x

* Blog title refers to The Australian National anthem, of course.

Make everyday count

Ok. So it's been two whole months since I went to the Big Hearted Business conference. Two months since I promised to tell you all about it. Two months of processing what I took away, working out what it all meant to me, and facing up to some pretty big decisions.

When I first read about the Big Hearted Business conference via this TDF interview, my heart skipped a beat. Firstly, I too am completely enamoured with Clare Bowditch. She is a genuine, talented, beautiful lady and I'm a fan. For those of you who've also seen her play live, you'll know that she has a way of inviting you in. But mostly, it was because in my heart of hearts I'm a creative. I work in a corporate field, I'm pretty good at it too. But fell into it and progressed in this career largely due to my work ethic, and quite honestly, the money helped too. More than a few times over the years, I've wondered what could be possible if only I could spend more time on creative things that truly inspire me.

I knew the conference would be something special but I agonised about whether to go for about a week. It was in Melbourne so I'd have to travel down for it. I'm creative, but can't say I'm an accomplished crafter, maker, singer or artist, would I be way out of my depth? Finally, after listening to me go on and on and on about it, Richard agreed to join me for the trip so I wouldn't feel so intimidated by being interstate alone (BEST husband). At least I could come home to him in the hotel each night and tell him all about it over dinner. I held my breath and registered.

Boy, I'm glad I went. I'm so grateful I got to be there, it was an amazing experience. Not least of which because of the other people I met. Everyone I spoke with was so open to meet and share and support each other. There was a real sense of being a part of something really special.

Clare and her team pulled together a wonderfully balanced two days that included practical right brain business tools and advice, yoga and crafternoon bursts, music, good food and an incredible list of speakers to share their personal experiences with us. Creatives who are doing what they love and have built successful businesses out of it.

Darren Rowse from Problogger shared the story of his trip to Tanzania, I can see why he is such a success, he is a fantastic communicator and a born entrepreneur. I also really loved his philosophy that fundamentally businesses should aim to save the world, to make it better. 

Maybe I've been living under a rock but I didn't know of Melbourne based comedian, Catherine Deveny. I was uninitiated and she blew my hair back with her unapologetic, passionate stance on - just about everything! She spoke to us straight from the heart, about her experiences and lessons learned. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. STAND FOR SOMETHING. INVEST IN YOURSELF. Written in capitals, because that's kind of how she talks. She's right.

Another wonderful discovery was Rachel Power. I found what she had to say really moving and powerful. To give yourself permission to be creative, that creativity connects us to each other, to the planet. That creatives who don't listen to their inner voice wont be truly happy and, it can even make you sick.

"Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

I mean. That is IT for me right there.

We were lucky enough to have blogger Lucy Feagins from The Design Files speak about some of the secrets to her enormous success. She had loads of fantastic, practical advice for us bloggers. I was inspired to spend more time nurturing my space here, finding time to post more regularly, get to know my community better. Aside from all of that, I just admire her a whole lot. She has an amazing work ethic and drive, she is savvy and so very talented.

Another speaker who was a real treat for me was Pip Lincolne. Blogger, author, editor, columnist, crafter, contributor and general all round generous, kind and amazing woman. If you have not come across her blog or instagram or facebook page, do yourself a favour and check her out. Your life will be sunnier with her in it, I promise you that. I loved her reminder to be on the look out for clues around you, to notice the happy moments that inspire you. Push yourself, be proud, aspire for an interesting life, prioritise your health, your creativity, contribute to the world. She is a real advocate of this emerging 'culture of we' and the shift back to the importance of community, something that I've been thinking / reading ALOT about lately.

Kemi Nekvapil, Jane Martino, Isobel Knowles, Natalie Harker and Clare herself all gave absolutely brilliant sessions too. I'd recommend following the links to find out more about each of them. To learn more about Big Hearted Business, there is a fantastic website and mailer that I'd recommend joining to receive weekly inspiration bombs from 'creative business heroes', you can also sign up for the waiting list for the 2014 BHBC.


That's a fair chunk of words right there! Thanks for bearing with me, it was important to me to record my thought process and inspiration as I stand at this fork in the road in my life. I'll share more about my future plans when the time is right.

But even more importantly, I wanted to share these messages with you. So many of you are creatives too. I really believe in supporting each other, sharing, encouraging and championing (a word?) each others success. Technology makes it possible. Our blogs, our connections are giving us the ability to find freedom in choice. Many of you are already doing it. It's so exciting, don't you think!

Did I mention that I also recorded a track with Clare Bowditch at the end of the conference. A Nick Cave cover, in a beautiful old church with television cameras. Not even joking. Kind of a life-long highlight. I may have mimed some bits but I was a bit emotional so I let Clarebo and the rest of the ensemble get the high notes while I mouthed the words through a big fat teary smile.

This is my BHBC graduation ring, kindly gifted by Polli. It gives me superpowers.

I would LOVE to hear from you on this. Are you doing what your passionate about? Did you find it hard to even know where to start? How did you manage to prioritise YOU amongst all of the other important things?

Belinda x

Sunday 5 May 2013

What a wonderful world

Auslan Tutorial - What a Wonderful World from elsieandjoan on Vimeo.

Those of you who have been following along for a while, may remember that my parents are deaf

This, is my beautiful Mumma. She made this video on the spur of the moment. My cousin, a primary school teacher is planning on teaching her students to sign this song for their upcoming Mothers Day concert. She asked for help on the latest signs and out of the blue, Mum records this on her computer. Needless to say, we were all floored when we saw this arrive in our inbox.

I was especially emotional as I've always thought that if ever there was one reason I wished my parents could hear, it would be to share my love of music with them. And now, here was this clip of my Mum singing a song, in Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Co-incidentally, the same song Richard and I danced to at our wedding reception.

It wasn't meant to be shared outside the confines of family and Mum was pretty mortified at the idea of anyone else seeing it. But I managed to convince her that it was too beautiful to keep to ourselves.

So now I'm sharing it with you. I hope you enjoy it. 

The Little One and I have watched it a few times now, she loves learning the signs and has quite a few of them down. Perhaps you'd also like to use this as a tutorial and teach your kids too!

Belinda x


"A portrait of my husband and our marriage, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Richard: put me onto homegrown artists The Preatures this week. This tune fills my heart with sunshine. Like he does.

We: are happily making the most of this Indian Summer.

Last week, I discovered this cutest little character. And, while I think every photo taken by Claire is utterly magical, this portrait is perfect beyond words.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series led by Jodi at Che & Fidel. You can view all of my weekly portraits by clicking on the button in the sidebar.

Belinda x

Friday 3 May 2013


We went on our first proper family holiday last week. From the moment the Little One wheeled her bag through the airport terminal, I knew it was going to be a fun week, filled with many firsts.

She laughed and cheered, hands in the air, during take-off and landing as if she was on a roller coaster. Her excitement was contagious and we landed in tropical far north Queensland with the widest smiles.

It's such an incredible part of the world. I love Queensland for the space, the Queenslander architecture, the incredible richness of the colours. The scenery takes my breath away. I've found I'm most drawn to the tropical climates, not for the humidity (hello heat rash + bad hair) but for the jaw dropping beauty and drama in nature. I felt the same way about Hawaii, too.

We had an amazing week, making special memories and enjoying our days together. A week of adventure, with precious time to soak up our surroundings, explore and dance on the beach at sunset.

My cup was filled, some perspective and clarity gained. I can feel the universe pushing me now me to take action.

This photo was taken by the Little One during one of our morning strolls. Poor Richard, every time he turns around I've got the camera pointed at him these days!

Belinda x
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