Love your little heart out.

Category: Personal

Little Rein

Reine re(i)-ne\  Latin “queen” Rein: Wise/ Ruler. The name Raina (Slavic, Czech, English, German, Polish, and Russian) is the female version of Rein. The name Reine (Scandinavian) and the name Rien (Dutch) are variants of Rein.

From the moment this girl was born, there was a strength and fire in her that couldn’t be questioned.

At 2.52pm on Tuesday the 28th of June 2011 we both struggled for consciousness – me bleeding out, she born drowning and fighting for breath. At that point there was a sense of emergency. No one said anything but everyone in the room started moving quickly and silence fell over us all. Whisked out of view, I craned to see blood vomiting up from her lungs and resuscitation. At the same time I started to spiral. A sharp pain grew from my shoulder, a black haze crept in at the corner of my eyes and  all of a sudden, the caesarian anaesthetic wore off. It was, perhaps, a moment of truth for both of us.  Minutes later, I held her in my arms, her strong heart beating under my touch.

That night she slept in a crib beside my bed with her twin. After that she insisted on being close and comforted, her skin on mine, never out of reach.  She grew fierce and sure of what she wanted – in all ways with an air of authority, of knowing and independence.

So, if asked what my daughter is like? I’d say: She’s witty, she’s head strong, in charge and untamed. She’s a little girl whose spirit lives up to her name. 


Inca Rein


Joie de vivre

In honesty, I may have had post-natal depression following the birth of the twins. Who’s to say whether or not it was that or simply the relentless lack of sleep, the headaches, the devastating deprivation that every mother knows or the ensuing madness of it all that got me down.

At times I felt desperate. Mostly I felt threadbare. Often I was close to tears.

I love my children but I didn’t imagine it to be like this.  The heartbreak at losing all sense of self, time, space, creative freedom, physical identity, emotional stamina as well as being forced to breach all personal limits resulted in an extraordinary, all pervasive, overwhelming fatigue.

There were of course, tender, redeeming moments in all of this but I have to admit that almost every day felt like a fight to breathe. For the most part I have my beautiful partner Hamish to thank for so much. He, whose love cleaved me from many a dark place, shall forever remain my saving grace. It is he, the ritual delight of strong black coffee, reading Rilke and Borges, new study and family support, that got me through – helped me to reclaim a too-long-absent  joie de vivre.

The way forward?

Health comes first. As many of you know I’ve dabbled a lot in raw vegan or semi-raw vegan food and so my intention now is to eat a high raw diet and focus on redressing nutritional depletion before anything else. I’ll document my raw food journey here and continue to seek out those things, often the small things, that give me delight, that make my heart sing.

DSCF5796 DSCF58121001531_10153017512090104_1324927425_n1. Fresh rosemary form the garden 2. Flax crackers with sesame and sunflower kernels (gluten, flour, dairy, sugar free) 3. Me (High quality cotton Japanese lace top from Vintage Junkyard – Check it out)

Recipes to come.


The end point, a goodbye

This will be the last COLOURBASH post. After a little over a year of tracking the progress of our children and our lives, it’s time we bid a farewell and said our goodbyes. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve loved the life it has taken on of its own and am grateful to all of you – many of whom I know personally – that’ve followed.


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1. Little Things To Sew 2. Pax today 3. Goodbye 4. Favourite drink right now: hot water and lemon 5. Hame today 6. Inca today 7. Icy morning 8. A certain light 9. The dearest friend 10. Baby love 11. Hello/ Goodbye


Deux fois deux

Two years ago today,  I was admitted to hospital knowing that I wouldn’t leave until the twins were born. Already two weeks overdue, they weighed heavily on my body, pressing hard against my lungs. The problem was that they were badly positioned and weren’t, we were told, going to be born naturally. The risk of Pax’s umbilical cord prolapsing was high and if I went into labour we’d have to act quickly or one, if not both, might suffocate. It was a long week. We waited on an emergency caesarian list and it felt like we were bumped from one day to the next until one afternoon when the strain of it all got to me and I openly wept with anxiety and anticipation. The next day, on June 28th 2011, my platelet levels dropped significantly and at 2.51pm and 2.52pm they were born. Pax first, Inca second.  Deux fois deux, 2 X 2.
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An ode…

In lieu of mother’s day, to those women whose gentle nurturing meant more to me than they’ll ever know:

To Danny’s Mum, I can’t remember your name, who brushed my hair ever-so gently in her Paris apartment. You, who treated me like her own and smothered me in kisses – a 14 year old girl away from home and all alone. I will never forget you.

To Ricardo’s Mum – this time in London –  again, away from home. You with your Latin American love, your black bean soup and sweet honeyed tea. I was 15, and you were a goddess to me.

To Nannie Fredrikson, in Sweden as a student. You who took me in, fed me and said that, as a matter-of-fact, I was beautiful. You who had more courage and more strength than I had ever seen. When I met you, you were wheelchair bound. Today you are walking. You made me believe that anything was possible.

To my grandmothers whose love and generosity were exceeding. You who played warfare with me in the river in winter, you who would draw with me in the park under the trees.

And of course, to my mother. For everything you are and have been. You who would also thank each of these women for being there for me, in your absence.

To the women whose gentle nurturing meant more to me than they’ll ever know and whose tenderness has been imparted to me – I brush my daughter’s hair, tell her she’s beautiful, smother her in kisses and hope that one day, when she’s alone and away from home, another mother takes her in her arms and makes her up a big cup of sweet honeyed tea.

34417_10150300653845104_8158954_nMamma and me

The light of grace…

“I feel the same way about solitude… It’s the light of grace for me. I never close my door behind me without the awareness that I am carrying out an act of mercy toward myself.” 
― Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

I don’t know about you but there are times that I feel a little world-weary. From this comes a desperate need to be alone – as if seeing someone on the street is akin to being stripped bare and  left vulnerable, lame. To accomodate this mood, I tend to retreat for a while, not because anything in particular is wrong but because it is a form of sanctuary. It is here that I cater to another world, an inner world. Here what feeds me isn’t poetry and art, conversation and connection, complexity and nuance but the clear outlook of the open sky and the golden plains.


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Eyes wide closed

 Music sings to this little soul. Enraptured so, this boy plays with his eyes wide closed.

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Being as in love with you as I am…


Valentine’s day? I don’t need a date to remind me of my love for you. It is ever-present, ever-ready, always there. You are the face I look for in a crowd of strangers, the smile I seek and savour, the arm around my shoulder, the knock I wait for at my door. You are my partner, my lover, my best friend, my future – a way to coexist as one half of the other.

Gustav-Klimt-The-Kiss-Detail-6774-1Gustav Klimt – ‘The Kiss’

If not love, then what?

‘…I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
 I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

– Pablo Neruda, sonnet XVII


These kids fight. I mean, really fight. They bite each other and tear at each other’s hair. They hurt each other with great and pre-meditated force. It’s brutal. Most of the time, they want the same thing at the same time, your full attention and uncompromised free-reign. Then, within it all, is something else. Something more present, more tangible and ever-ready: a loyalty stronger than any other, forgiveness that is ernest and overflowing and a closeness that is incomparable. If this isn’t love, then what?

The lonely bones

An ominous sky and a palpable sense of foreboding stalked us as we drove in towards the Warrumbungle National Park. Thick with smoke and ash, it screamed a warning we ignored. While we didn’t know it at the time, the fire had breached its lines of containment and was continuing to burn toward the Newell highway – the way we had driven in not too long before. As we got closer and closer to our property, a dark hush settled over the landscape – a quiet we had never heard before from the bush; a lifelessness we were witnessing for the first time. Where once there was dense scrub, the earth stretched before us like a dark moonscape. I’m not sure what I felt then. I think I was in awe. It was not until later, when we begun our walk in, that I was overcome by a sense of extreme horror. ‘I smell death.’ Dad said as he turned from the wind to avoid the acrid smell of rotting animal flesh.

There was nothing left of the house. The fire had certainly been thorough.  Amidst the ash and cinder, not much really remained. The roof lay on top of the waste like a grotesque reminder. ‘Once,’ it taunted, ‘…a house stood here.’ And the valley? Soot carpeted the ground like a falling of black snow. In a strange way, in the late evening light, it was beautiful. Lain open and bare, the scorched tree trunks were now all that covered the mountains – the lonely bones of what used to be.

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During the few days we were there, some incredible stories emerged. One man survived beneath a tarpaulin with a cup and a barrel of water for two hours as the fire raged above him. He was burnt but physically okay although when we saw him we got the impression that he would never be the same. He slept in the other room of the house where we were staying but woke fitfully, screaming in terror. Another told the story of two horses who survived by rushing into the dam as soon as the ash rained down. It had been their habit to wash off when they were dusty and it had saved their lives. It seemed to be that amongst the people who had lost everything, there was an incredible sense of hope and optimism. It was the strength of the human spirit that was on display, where people gathered and united as a community, happy that no one had died and grateful for what little they had saved. In my parents, it was the grace of their concern for the wildlife that moved me almost to tears. The first thing they did was buy hay and birdseed for the traumatised survivors – to spread on the land so that they could feed.