Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tales of traveling socks


Hey you guys, happy new month!!

Today, amongst a million other things, I cast off a pair of socks. The last pair of socks from our trip. Which made me think about those four pairs of socks that I knitted and the where's and the when's and the how's.

Back in July, just before we left home, I agonised over craft projects; What would I make? How much yarn could I fit in? What would happen if I ran out of yarn? And what would I do with the finished projects?

After a while I decided that socks were the solution. A pair of socks usually uses less than 100 grams of yarn so they are a small project and therefore very portable. Socks can be simple pimple or all kinds of intricate. And the finished product can be worn straight away. Yay!

So I wound a few balls and the night before we left Melbourne I cast on the pair above. I like to have the socks actually started before I go through the security check ins at the airport just in case they hassle me for having sharp pointy things in my carry on. They never have though.

I knitted that top pair in Israel and took the photo in the first Airbnb we stayed in in London. I wore them all the time in England after that. Summer hey?!

I Raveled them here.


The next pair I cast on in England and knitted most of them at Spoonfest. At Spoonfest I discovered that I am more of a soft, woolly type of person, than a knife and axe type of person.

A few people came up to me and said they wished they had brought their own knitting or crochet but they didn't, so I knitted while they all chopped and carved.


I finished the second pair in Tuscany.


I've Raveled them here.


I cast the next pair on on the train trip from Florence to Roma, knit them in Roma and then cast them off in Crete.

These socks were so very simple and quick to make and I think they'd be a great project for someone wanting to try colour-work. I really love them. In fact I love them so much that I think I have to keep them and not give them away to a friend as I had planned.

I've raveled them here.


I'm most excited about the next pair because I bought the yarn to knit them from Loop London. I have a whole blog post planned about our pilgrimage to Loop, hopefully I'll get to it soon. Just know that it is as cosy and gorgeous and inspiring as you've imagined.


Virtually as soon as we walked in the door Miss Indi spotted the yellow Socks That Rock yarn and begged me to knit her a pair. I love how cheery it makes that pile of gorgeousness look.


It took ages for me to get going once she'd picked the pattern. I think that was partly due to the fact that the pattern I was following was written for socks that are knitted from the cuff down to the toe, whereas I knit from the toe up to the cuff. And also I find that there is a point in cable knitting when the pattern just clicks and makes sense, for some reason this one took a few repeats to get there.


But after that beginning bit where I had to concentrate like crazy - I knit them everywhere. I knit them on a boat, by the beach, in a cave house, by the pool, I could even knit them after a few shots of raki!!


Ahhhhh how I loved living in a cave house. (Except for the bit where we had to throw the toilet paper in the bin after use, ew!)


I cast those sunshiny Greek Island socks off today. My farmer boy was in Ballarat with Indi at the orthodontist and I should have been planting seeds but instead I was squooshed up to a sickly Miss Pepper on the couch while she watched a movie. Good Mothering + the last few rows of my knitting = win-win!

I've Raveled them here.

Tomorrow I'll darn in the ends and hand them over. I'm excited to move on to a new project, but at the same time a little sad to see another part of our adventure ended.

I think I need a quick and chunky project next.

So how about you?
what are you making/baking/creating/growing?

I hope your October is oh so awesome!!




ps I saw my first snake of the season today in the rhubarb patch. Not happy.
ps It's 11pm and one of Indi's friends just came in to thank us for our hospitality. So sweet!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


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so they know we are home


we missed this


shakshuka with our eggs and tomatoes 


practising her spoonfest skills


making a magic wand


We're home!

And it's the strangest thing but most of the time I feel like we've always been here.

Even though we've been away for three whole months, even though we've walked the streets of London and Rome and Paris and Tel Aviv, even though we've seen the Mona Lisa, we've shopped in Oxford Street, we've stayed in an Airbnb right next to a blue domed church in Santorini, and even though we got lost in a down pour in Sienna, now that we're home - we're home.

Everything is so easy, so comfortable and so familiar. I know exactly where the toilet is even when it's dark, I don't have to search for the cutlery drawer, the washing machine automatically uses the setting I like and I get to sleep in the comfiest bed in the whole world.

Our home smells like the forest that surrounds it, like the fires in the cooker and in the lounge-room and like the laundry that I've just hung out. (I can't tell you how relieved I feel that our home does not smell like a dead mouse in the wall or like mouse wee in the pantry like I'd feared, phew!) Our home is ridiculously quiet. Quieter than any other place we've been. If you close your eyes and listen carefully you might just hear the sound of the bore water pouring into the house dam, the song of a bird calling to its mate or the hum of the fridge. Home tastes like the shakshuka Miss Jazzy made over the fire last night, like a long waited for farmer Bren coffee and like juice made from everything we can find in our overgrown garden. Home is familiar, it's part of me.

Home feels like we've never left her.

But every now and then, usually when I'm doing the most usual thing, our adventure comes rushing back to remind me. I'll be knitting the last few rows of a pair of socks when I suddenly remember the kitchen of the Tuscan villa where I first wound the wool and cast on. I'll be walking to the door to let the dog in when I'll trip over a bag of damp bathers from the swim we had in Hong Kong just hours before we left for the airport. I'll catch sight of Miss Indi's I love Italy pyjama top and remember the cute little shop we bought it from in Rome. And I'll look at my instagram feed and see that someone has liked a photo of an impossibly beautiful beach we swam in on the Greek island of Crete.

For those split seconds I am back there, I am hurrying to wind the wool to get out of the cook's way, I am floating on my back in the warm pool in Hong Kong looking at the sky and wondering how long it'll be before I swim again, I am hurrying the girls up in the souvenir shop so we can go and eat yet another spaghetti pomodoro and I am running over the burning hot sand and jumping into the deliciously cool water of the Mediterranean sea.

And then I'm back home getting another log for the fire.

Does that make sense? I apologise if it's a bit mooshy. I have a horrible cold and I feel like my head is filled with marshmallow.

But I do look forward to blogging a bit more regularly now that we're back. I'd love to fill in some of the blanks from the last three months and if that fails then I'll be happy to record this time of landing and finding our feet and moving forward. I'm a tiny bit considering a photo and a paragraph post a day in October, but with going back to school and two birthdays and all the planting and weeding, I'm not sure that would be so wise.

Nevertheless, I will be seeing you soon.

I hope you are happy and well and loved.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fabulous Florence - the advertisements


Ciao bellas!

I hope you are traveling well my friends.

I cannot thank you enough for all the thoughtful, kind and lovely messages you sent me after my last post. Sometimes I can't work out why I feel the need to publish my blogs to the world, and that post reminded me, big time. Instead of feeling judged I feel supported and understood and I feel very grateful indeed. I have a feeling that I'll be reading back over those comments several times in the next few weeks.

Bringing you guys along with me to Tuscany was a wonderful idea, I'm so glad I did. Now would you like another glass of wine? Or some bread for your pasta sauce?


OK so in my last post I mentioned that while I was slowly losing my mind with all the what's and why's and if's, my girls were sitting across the table from me writing advertisements for Florence. Because we're traveling during school time we've been trying to set them writing and reading and art tasks to complete occasionally. I'm afraid their maths might be a bit neglected though.

I like it best when they can all work on the same thing and then share it with each other at the end.

The Florence ads were to be written in their journals. First they had to brainstorm all the things they could include; places we'd been, things we'd seen, people we'd met, how they'd felt, any history they could remember...and then turn them into pieces of writing that would encourage other people to visit Florence.

They were to write them quickly so we could get to the pool and still be back in time to make dinner.

I love how every time we do something like this, each of them comes up with something so different even though we all experienced the same thing. It really makes me feel like School Of The Word is a valid thing.

So are you curious? Would you like to read what our girls wrote?


OK, since you asked so nicely, here's Indi's...


Have you been thinking of taking a trip somewhere this summer?
Are you wondering where to go?

No matter the circumstances, I can guarantee that Florence/Firenze is the perfect place for you!

Florence is one of the biggest cities located in Northern Italy. The weather in summer-time is hot, there's music playing everywhere you turn and the architecture is insanely beautiful.

My family of five spent a week in Florence while on a trip around Europe this summer and found ourselves amazed by everything in this fantastic city.

An easy way to find accommodation in Florence is the Airbnb website. The website gives you a range of options of where to book and enjoy your stay to the fullest. We lived in a beautiful apartment with the most incredible view of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's oldest and most famous bridge. We all agreed it was our best view yet.

My family of five ranges in ages from seven to 44 and there was most certainly something in Florence for everyone.

We enjoyed wandering around the sites with no plan at all, and we also loved the few things we planned and booked; which included a cooking class where we had the opportunity to make our own pizza, pasta and gelato from scratch and enjoy a lovely meal with our class afterwards.

One of the highlights for me was the food. The food in the city was simply wonderful and everything you could hope for in Italy.

We found ourselves overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and constantly felt like we were living in a postcard or a movie.

The Florentines were wonderful and accommodating and mostly spoke good English.

From the food, to the street art, to the buskers and the amazing gelato and even the sound of the Italian language, Florence was an unforgettable experience for us all.

We visited for one week, which we found was a perfect amount of time to see everything that we wanted to see.

Summer school holidays are peak season for tourists, so I would suggest considering a retreat to Tuscany, Florence's outskirts and beautiful country-side, when Florence gets too crowded for you.

Whether you have a family, are on your honey-moon, or are just looking for an adventure this summer-time, Florence is the place for you!!


And Jarrah's;


I highly recommend visiting Fabulous Florence.

The amazing views to the amazing food.

The walking distance from out of town to in town is quite a lot for kids to handle, so I recommend staying somewhere as close as possible to the sites.

For dinner I would suggest pizza or pasta, and for desert gelato. But look out for the enormous piles of gelato because they have gelatin in them.

For breakfast there isn't really anywhere for simple muesli, or bread or toast, so I would recommend going to your local super-market to get supplies.

As for sites, you should visit the Pitti Palace. It is a good walking distance from town and it is very interesting and fun and from the top of the gardens there is a great view of Florence.

As for shopping, there are usually people set up all over town selling junk so watch out. Some are a bit pushy. But there are good shops for kids, teen-agers and grown ups. It does not matter what age you are, you will find something.

Finally, overall I had a great time in fabulous Florence and you will too.


And Pepper's;


We woke up in Florence, had breakfast and went somewhere but Dad didn't tell us where we were going. We ended up in a cooking class. We signed our names on sheets and started cooking. First we put flour in our bowls and mixed in egg and made dough. Then we made and decorated the pizza and cooked it and ate it.  Yum!

You should come to Florence and make and cook pizza too.

The few things that they didn't mention that I'd like to include to remember - the 104 steps up to our apartment, the ridiculous queues for the Duomo (Bren called it the Dolmio), the organic gelato (watermelon was the best but no-one was brave enough to try the red-wine flavour), the buskers on the Ponte Vecchio, the pick-pocket test, the fabulous farmer's market, the leather market, the empty piazza where we practised our cart-wheels, the paper marbling, that time me and Bren drank cocktails while the girls ate gelato and ran around a fountain in a piazza...

Big love to you guys, I hope you are feeling happy and healthy and inspired.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Five go away together

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I hate the thought of people reading what I am about to write in their homes and thinking it sounds silly. People who dream of travelling in Europe, who long for beautiful views and gorgeous climates and new experiences. But my reality is my story and I feel the need to write the words that go with how I’m feeling now. If you choose to read along I hope you understand that I’m not ungrateful, just a bit tired and emotional.

We’ve been on the road for two months now and somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten the meaning behind this trip.

We’re sitting here, all five of us, at a long wooden dining table in an old stone house in Tuscany. Bren is sewing up Big Ted’s newest holes, the girls are writing articles advertising Florence to the world and I’m wondering what I need to do to get that creative buzz that will lift me out of this flat place I’ve fallen into.

I’m also trying not to tap too loudly so I won’t disturb the girls, and I’m trying to block out the music and chatting from next door. I’m trying to forget for a moment that my mum just texted me and told me she had a difficult day with her dad. I’m trying to ignore the fly that is buzzing around my head, and I’m trying to stop myself from putting a stop to this whole session and suggesting a visit to the pool instead.

So what are we doing here anyway?

Are we showing the girls the big wide world? Are we spending time exploring as a family while the girls still can and want to? Are we collecting inspiration for our own home? Are we getting as far away from our home as possible so we can see it with fresh eyes? Are we just simply tasting, smelling and walking our way around bits of Europe? Are we setting our girls up to be so far behind in school that they lose confidence? Or are we taking our girls out of the system and allowing them to be part of the School of the World? Are we spending money that would otherwise be used to fix up our house? Are we filling the girls up with different cultures and memories? Are we making the most of an opportunity? Are we making choices and taking risks? Are we just simply just escaping another dreary, dark Daylesford winter?

Travelling with three children is intense and wonderful and exhausting.

Watching our children’s little faces as they turn the corner of a street and are confronted with the most incredible church is priceless. Listening to their little voices pointing things out to each other, and thinking about the way that they seem to gobble up the history and culture is extraordinary.

But then having to deal with the meltdown at the other end is exhausting. Having to make decisions that will please everyone is not always possible. And making a plan that will keep those three children of three very different age groups engaged and involved is a challenge.

Which brings us to our week in Tuscany. Our first week out of a city in what feels like weeks.

Our plan for this week is to slow down, to discover the countryside, to catch up on some reading and writing, to make a plan for our last few weeks on the road, to stay a bit still and to work out how we are all feeling, what we all need and how we can arrange that.

But it seems that a terrible night of no sleep, on a mattress that has already been replaced, combined with our first morning off in I don’t know how long, has filled me with more questions that solutions.

At least the girls have some great pieces of Florence writing in their journals and Big Ted is all stitched up.

Ugh! Enough! Pool time.


PS. Yesterday I saw a snake.
PPS. I’m pre-menstrual as you may have guessed.
PPS. Blogger and flickr are giving me such a hard time with the spacing on this post and the hosting of my photos that I've decided just to give in and let them win this time. Ugh!

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