Fa la la la laa, la la la laa { Christmas 2016 }

The kids and I arrived home from Australia just a few days before the start of December. It made it easier to leave the sunshine knowing that A. my husband was at the other end and B. that I could spent December in Christmas preparation. Last year we didn't have our house yet and were living in temporary accommodation so I missed doing some of the things I love. So prepare I did. I hit the stores and added a few things to my collection (which levi had limited to two boxes and is now three...opps). I decorated here, there and everywhere. I also baked lots this year. I did snowballs, clementine cake, chocolate covered pretzels, coconut mousse cups, gingerbread and I had a cupboard stockpiled with various christmassy treats. And we spent each weekend doing something Christmassy and Canadian. We picked our tree (a true highlight, yes we know it is HUGE), enjoyed the ward Christmas party (amazing food), had a little party with a few friends over to get into the holiday spirit, went to Sugar Moon Maple farm and enjoyed seeing the snow and eating pancakes in a log cabin, skated at Halifax's outdoor skating oval and watched the Stake outdoor live nativity pageant. It was all wonderful.

Fit for the Town Square { Christmas 2016 }

I have always longed for, dreamed of, imagined having a huge Christmas tree. When we bought an artificial one in Australia I was adamant I have one that touched the roof. So obviously when I move to Canada, the land of Christmas trees and I have myself a landing with a cathedral ceiling I am going to make my own dreams come true, right? Yes, that is the correct answer.

Home Sweet Home { Return to Oz }

My trip to Australia was a whirlwind of family and friendship, sunshine and surf, love and memories. It made me homesick for the very place that I was, grateful for my culture, my heritage,  my birthplace and thankful that it will always be home, that I can always go back and find comfort and confidence in my roots. It also made me appreciate my new home too. It's easy to think that the grass is greener at home when you have conflict with the new culture you are assimilating too. But the clarity I had was of the ways that Canada has shaped me for the better, the changes in who I am because of this new and wonderful culture and excitement for all that is to come in our time here.

Off to Market we Go { Return to Oz }

What I wanted most when I returned home to Oz was time with my family. It's what I miss most about living abroad and what I pine for in the hard moments. It's likely that no amount of time would ever be enough but my heart certainly got a good dose.

Friends for Life { Return to Oz }

To us, Nelson Bay is heaven in earth. Just a quiet town with water all around, picturesque beaches and a pace that whispers .. it's okay, just slow down. We were very happy there for the five beautiful years we called it home. Part of what made it so wonderful for me was the beautiful friendships that I formed. Mainly through Finley. He was my ticket to meeting some of the most wonderful women I have ever known and forming some forever bonds. He too was lucky enough to find his own little tribe. It was so sweet watching him reacquaint himself with his little buddies, they all really have a wonderful affection for one another. They did see each other most days for three years running, so the bond is most definitely there. 

Fun in the Sun { Return to Oz }

We all definitely got a good dose of vitamin D while we were home. The sun shone almost every day and the days that didn't, the rain came down hard and furious, just like in my nostalgic dreams. Nova Scotia rain sets in and drizzles, in a whole year we only heard thunder once and I can't remember even one time that it beat down so you could feel it. The familiarly of that sun and rain was like putting on an old worn jumper (but it my case more like taking it off!) and I felt like my old self, though noticeably changed too by the past year. 

Cousin Connection { Return to Oz }

One of the best parts of my trip home was seeing my children reconnect with their cousins. Finley remembered them all well and quickly returned to the fun and games, especially with Tristan and Hendrix. Primrose however was only a tiny 5 month old baby when we left, so really this was everyone first encounter with our little miss. She was besotted by them all and fell in love quickly. Her and Tristan formed a beautiful little bond and Cierra and Taylor were the perfect, dotting, fun cousin/aunties I hoped (just like Naomi was to me). Bindi the dog soon became as dear as a cousin too!

Apple of my Pie

Apple picking feels like a Nova Scotia rite of passage. There are apples galore here, u-picks all over the place and lots of apples trees just along the side of the road. One cool thing I saw this year was that once winter comes, any apples that don't get picked or fall off the tree look like ornaments perched up in the branches - very cool, and yes at first I thought people had literally put ornaments up in the tree : ).

Unimpressed Children and Leaves

Fall in Nova Scotia is truly breathtaking. The seasons are a magical thing to experience and fall has to be my favourite. We only caught the tail end when we arrived last year so I waited with baited breath for this years show and it did not disappoint. Magical colours everywhere. What better backdrop to capture my beautiful children, against their will... well they started out pleased to be there but a few minutes in they were over it. I suppose they aren't being paid so I can't complain. So I give you 'Unimpressed Children and Leaves' by Jade Catton.

Pass the Pretzels

Blanche is brilliant. She should be known as Blanche THE Brilliant. One of the many reasons I love her is her commitment to throwing a party, an authentic party...no detail unthought of, no store unsearched, no hours unworked to create the real deal. I was lucky enough to attend the fourth and final Nova Scotia Oktoberfest party, which has legend status for authentic German food (handmade mind you by Blanche herself) and Blanche getting fairly drunk with 100% of the guests present being mormon - what a combo! This year did not disappoint. My favourites were the pretzels and fries. I bow down to you Blanche, queen of throwing a party xx

Blueberry Heaven

The seasons give rhythm to life in Nova Scotia. In the winter you nestle down into life at home, catching up on projects and enjoying the warm fire while snow falls out your window. Spring brings rain and flowers and you and the world feel renewed and fresh. In summer you catch every ray of sunshine that falls, making the most of the magic and then fall comes with it's fresh evenings and changing colours.

Peter and Potter { England Part 3 }

The third and final stop of our grand England tour was the Lakes District. The landscape began to change as we travelled north, water appeared, lakes and inlets with hills on either side, so different from the Peaks but with the same vibrant green and views full of character. 

Our accommodation was right up the street from Beatrix Potter's house with a beautiful view right over Esthwaite Water. The grounds were lovely and we spent some time having fun on their playground before heading into the local village Hawkshead. The village is beautifully kept and lively with Peter Rabbit and all of his friends peeking out of every shop window. The buildings are all white with black trim and the cobblestone streets lead you to treasures down every lane and around every bend. We stoked up on food for the night and headed home to enjoy and evening of reading and rest. 

Untamed Beauty of the Peaks { England Part 2 }

Wow. England is truly beautiful. And the Peaks District is a sight to behold. We left London after a glorious three days of city living and drove 3 hours north to the Peaks, all hills with fields of green boarded by stone walls as far as the eye can see. The green is vibrant, the roads are extremely narrow and the life is quaint and picturesque. 

House numbers aren't really a thing here, it's more of a 'go up the hill, turn at the tree and you won't miss it' style of locating things, so after some back and forth and the spotting of a fallen sign we located our accommodation at Cressbrook Hall, nestled among the most beautiful rolling hills dotted with sheep. We stayed in a lovely cottage on the property and spent that first afternoon exploring the grounds before heading out for a true English Pub meal. The White Lion in Buxton was all we had hoped for, with a roast and Yorkshire Puddings we couldn't be happier. 

To London to Visit the Queen { England Part 1 }

We felt a little crazy to be skipping off to England for 10 days with small children BUT being Australian and knowing the horror that is 25 hour long flights, a 6 hour direct flight felt like an opportunity too good to miss. And it was good...so good. How I love London. I came to London as a 20 year old and crammed my days full of the sites. This time was very different, the kids force you to slow down and with the slower pace we had some of our most memorable experiences. 

Little Doll

This treasure of ours. Primrose is 15 months now and is on the go! She has almost mastered walking this past week. She has been cruising since before she was 1, but a pigeon toed foot has been tripping her up and she has just figured her way around it. Her crawl is impressively fast so she also hasn't seen the need. My affinity for putting dresses on her made her develop a spider crawl on hands and toes as to avoid getting caught up and she can move fast! Like everything else in her little life she exhibits impressive perseverance. She has a will of iron and it can take some tricky resourcefulness to distract her from anything she has set her mind on, be in taking bows out of her hair or climbing anything and everything. 

Jade of Green Gables

I couldn't have imagined a more perfect way to spend my 32nd Birthday than four whole days on Prince Edward Island - home of Anne of Green Gables.

My devotion to Anne is deep. My Dad was the first to introduce the story to me at 9 years old with the VHS for my birthday (I only just discovered that it was a shorter version and I hadn't seen parts of the full movie. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad!) From there I read the books and my life was changed, I was changed. The story and the girl had a profound impact on the person I was to become and her world became the world of my dreams. And here I find myself, in my very dreams.

Cattons and the Lokers Take Nova Scotia!

There's nothing like having friends like the Lokers! We have managed to maintain a 13 year relationship over the seas and far away from one another, so it is an amazing thing to be only a two hour flight away now. With summer fast approaching the Lokers decided to visit us in Halifax for 10 days and the planning begun. We decided to spent half of the time in Cape Breton, the north part of Nova Scotia and the rest in Halifax and enjoying home and the Lake. 

A Hike on your Birthday

How fast the years past. I can hardly believe both Levi and I are in our 30's now. Not that either of us has any problem with getting older. Levi, being the old soul that he is, actually often has said he feels like he is nearing his 'true age'. But time does pass and this June Levi turned 35. 

Elder Renlund in New Brunswick



We had a wonderful opportunity last Sunday to travel from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Sackville, New Brunswick to hear the newly called apostle Elder Renlund and the President of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Gong and their wives speak. I had only ever heard an apostle speak in person when Elder Oaks came to Sydney when I was 8 and at a Christmas devotional when I visited Utah when I was 18. Both felt like very distant memories and I was excited to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord again and gain all I could from the experience. 

The One Off, Weekend New Yorker

There were lots of reasons that Levi and I wanted to experience life abroad but one of the main draw cards was the opportunity that is would give us to travel. Australia really is very far from the rest of the world and for me to jump on a plane for an hour forty five and spend the weekend in New York felt unbelievable! It gave a completely different flavour to the trip than my previous travels. I really just wanted to soak in the city, catch up with my girlfriends and eat great food without worrying about seeing or doing it all. Success on all fronts! I had an amazing time and felt the magic that is New York. 

It's Fun to be One

Our sweet Rose turned one yesterday. She was none the wiser to the occasion but she did love the singing, balloons and extra attention that we all showered on her. We started the day with one of her favourites, pancakes and strawberries and then went for a walk to check out if we can swim in our lake yet – a yes from Finley, who went straight in but a no from the rest of us who sat and watched on. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with temperatures rising to 27 degrees (which feels really hot to us now that we are Canadians). It was a great day to be outside and Primrose spent lots of it practising her stair skills on the deck, digging in the dirt, playing on the trampoline and eating flowers – a new favourite activity of hers. If this girl is free to explore and can take breaks for snacks, she is very content.

Fit for a Prim


I love creating my childrens' bedrooms. I remember when I was a little girl how much pride I took in my little space, I loved to line up my favourite things, stick things on the walls and sketch out how I would move furniture and make my perfect room. I took so much joy from glow in the dark stars on the roof, getting to have my own fish in my room and I can very clearly remember when my parents painted my room blue for me and hung up a princess canopy over my bed. I really loved my room! I even got to live in there with my husband for 18 months, but that's a story for another post! So maybe it is the nostalgia of my own childhood room that gives me to the desire to create beautiful spaces for my own children. To give them a little of the magic that I felt.

Mexican Ship in Harbour

Last week a Mexican tall shipped docked in the Halifax Harbour and we got to go aboard! We went after church as it was the last opportunity we had before it left for the next leg of it's journey. I think we caused as much stir as the ship it's self, I'm not sure if the Haligonians aren't use to seeing people dressed up, or if they thought we were celebrities but we attracted lots of looks and attention - it was a bit weird! Anyway the Ship was incredible, so beautiful, clean and well maintained. They had Mexican music playing and the crew looking incredible in their finery. The kids and I went again the next day to see the ship off and the crew climbed the masts, standing regally as the ship took off, it was very cool to see. My friend Blanche was with us, she is Mexican and it was beautiful to see her pride for her country and the beautiful display they put on.

Four of Hearts

Our boy turned four! And quickly asked 'when will I be five?' He knows that turning five means big school and in his mind, the immediate overcoming of the difficulties of childhood. He often says 'when I'm five i'll be able to do that' or 'As soon as I'm five I try it'. But four he is and four he will stay, for at least one more year. On the day, he woke to his very own trampoline in the front yard which Levi had set up the night before. Fun for the whole family, we have all been loving it! We celebrated the day with bunting and balloons, a trip to the Discovery Center to see a real TRex skeleton, his favourite dinner - pesto pasta, a digger cake and some skype calls from little friends on the other side of the world. He was also lucky enough to get to pick his own presents from family in Australia, he b-lined for Paw Patrol section and couldn't be happier.

The Prologue

My memories before children feel distant and hazy...I recall time, there was definitely more time and sort of an endless, uninterrupted freedom - right?? But you can hardly appreciate all that until you are on the other side. Life was fun and lovely, busy and full, but that longing for a baby of our own gradually grew stronger. By the time I was pregnant we couldn't wait for our little person to arrive and embark on the next phase of life with us. That first pregnancy was full of excitement and anticipation. Waiting and dreaming about what was to come. 

I'm very lucky that one of my dearest friends also happens to be an incredible photographer at Images with Love . She took these pictures for us at the pituresque Macadamia Farm near our home. Shayla and I styled up a picnic and she worked her magic capturing all those beautiful emotions we felt waiting for our little bundle to arrive. 

Christmas with the Lokers { Christmas 2015 }

It was a dream we thought wouldn't be granted for years, but fate had other plans and we got our Christmas in Ontario with the Lokers! It was epic and wonderful, everything we could have hoped for and more. The best thing about being with Jen and Stew, is just that, being with them. It's all laughter and fun, exchanging of ideas and opinions and great experiences and conversations. As with our other times together, it all takes place in the context of an exciting schedule. 

What was exciting for us was to see a family we love in their home setting. We got to participate in the annual Loker family Christmas Eve skate. We all skate like Australia's but we had lots of fun! Followed by a hilarious ugly sweater party with a highly competitive secret Santa gift grab. We were whole heartedly embraced and had a wonderful time. 

Christmas Day was literally filled with gifts. Jen is the ultimate gift giver, she's Santa really and every item (and there were many) was thoughtfully considered. We had a beautiful day with Jen and Stew's immediate families and then an incredible dinner with the extended Loker family again. 

The rest of our time in Ontario was a blast. We spent time at Jen's parents cottage, saw how farming is done in the snow, tracked down delicious german pretzels and had a wonderful NYE at a beautiful house that felt like it sits on the edge of the world (the lakes really are that big!). 

It was a Christmas like no other and we loved it.