The Sunrise Swimmers

Nearly two years ago I loosely started a project as a way of reconnecting to a city I hadn’t called home for a really long time. All I knew is, it would involve a camera and the ocean. As time went on this delicious project evolved into The Sunrise Swimmers. It’s something I’ve put my whole heart into, and next month this collection of portraits, seascapes and stories from the early morning swimmers of Newcastle’s iconic, Merewether Ocean Baths is launched. My solo exhibition is supported by Olympus and will be on for 7 weeks at Newcastle Library, and along with it, a limited edition book.

Am I excited? You betcha. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of this project and to have met so many wonderful, wonderful people because of it. Connecting with community is something that is incredibly important to me, and through this project I’ve done just that. Tapped into the most wonderful, sea loving community of people, while being able to tell a tiny part of their stories. Yep I’ve loved every part of it!

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To register for tickets (it’s free, yay!) for both the exhibition and book launch event. Please clickity click here.

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Time for a seasonal siesta

It’s time for a seasonal siesta.

But before I draw the curtains and pop open the prosecco. I just wanted to thank you  lovely readers, for coming along for the ride. Whether you are a long term reader or just bouncing in for the first time. In a world where there a gazillion web pages to choose from to read, I truly appreciate that you’ve taken the time to stop by here.

See you in 2018 for more posts on simple connected living.

(or instagram if you are want to say hello over the blog siesta period 🙂

Between the pages

 

Italy, it’s woven into my heart beat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I needed to go back and to find a piece of my heart. It was still there where I knew it would be, I just needed to go back and find it again. 

Rejoin the jigsaw.

 

Seventeen years it took me to get back to Italy. Seventeen years that had been filled with life, a deliciously full life, but now it was time to go back. This time I would be returning not alone as I had done in previous times, but with a family. My family that was ready to embrace all things Italian.

And weave a little of Italy into their heart beat.

 

Sticky buns and spices

With three days to go until Cinnamon Bun Day, I thought it might be a good time to refresh the sourdough starter and stock up on some of those all important spices, cinnamon and cardamom. A whole day designated for sweet nordic baked goodies? Yes indeed.

Over the blogging years I’ve done quite a few posts on variations of these delicious little morsels. If you are new to cityhippyfarmgirl.com and are keen to give them a try, or perhaps need a refresher on how to twist or bake them. There are a few posts to choose from.

How to twist your kanelbullar, and my favourite recipe can be found here. 

The Challenge of the Sea

 

I had set myself a goal. Swim through as much of winter as I could. As long as I got further into the year than I did last year, I would be happy. If I managed to get to Spring? Ah yes, that would be a cracker of an achievement indeed.

Each year that I’ve set this goal, I’ve gone just a little bit more, a little further into the depths of winter. Solstice, no problem. July done and dusted, and then August? I danced the joyous awkward dance of someone with freezing numb wet feet.

Now if I could get to August, surely I could get to September swimming in the cool water oceans wilds?

Surely.

With a determined glint in the eye, and so I did. I swam through winter and straight into spring, and now that I’ve done it once, a precedent has been set. The challenge has been marked. This is something that I’m not sure I would have been able to do if I hadn’t been doing my sunrise swimmers project.

Having this connection to these wonderful people I think has helped me find something that I wasn’t even aware I was looking for.

Life Skills

A few years back my small boy had one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across. Seriously this man was incredible. Along with keeping the kids up to speed with all the normal school curriculum, he used to throw in a few extras like a regular Dance Party, and Life Skills with Mr P. While I’m a huge fan of any dancing in a regular day it’s the Life Skills one that stuck with me. How it worked, was he wanted to teach the kids some of the things that he wished someone had taught him when he was a kid.

Pretty simple right? The kids loved it. They hung on every word he gave them and with the stories that were told, my son placed his young teacher a little further up onto his complete and utter hero pedestal. Was their parent support? You betcha.

Fast forward to now, and lately I’ve been thinking about my own life skills I’m passing on. Some are formed by osmosis, and others I have to make a concerted effort to make sure they are taught. For me making time for this important. It doesn’t always happen at the time I would like, but it’s still important.

While there aren’t set lists, (besides knowing your food, cooking, growing, reading and how to swim of course.) Those small moments in the day can often create huge amounts of opportunity for spontaneous life lessons. Things that come about after a conversation being had, an opportunity that’s jumped out, or perhaps it’s just something that might have been thought of as we are trucking along one day.

Different environments present different learning possibilities and while I would love to be showing my kids how amazing building your own rocket stove is, or the consequences of damming up a small body of moving water, for the moment I have to work with what I have.

There are so many things to be learnt in life, and I know I’m not ever going to even begin to cover them all. How could I when I’m still learning myself?

What’s important for me is cultivating an environment for questions. Eternal curiosity, creating big and little things, reading, making stuff, and always growing something. By doing this, hopefully it all just continues to build from there.

To those teachers whether within a school or life teachers who make learning exciting,  passing on lessons in fun accessible ways, making kids/people just want to know more, are gold. Bloody gold. While I can’t replicate Mr P, I can offer my own version of lessons in life skills, and with that I’m hopeful those steps are something that my kids in turn will be able to build up from.

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What’s on your list for necessary Life Skills? 

How to have a conversation?

How to open a can without a can opener?

What kneading dough until smooth looks like?

Manners?

Knowing what to do when there is nothing to do?

What to do with mushy bananas?

How to take a pallet apart?

Public speaking?

How to sprout things?

How to light a fire without matches?

A Cacophony of Thoughts

Ponders, musings and rather ignited thoughts. That’s the state of things round these parts at the moment. I’ve flitted from one topic to another in an effort to write a post this morning. With thoughts dancing all over the shop, I suspect it’s just easier to run with what I really have in there.

Unordered, and certainly not perfectly word formed. Not this week anyway, today I’m not going to project that into a calming post. Instead a cacophony of words and thoughts in a stream of conscious writing style. I’d love to have your thoughts on any of them that might resonate, (or feel free to add your own- obscurities most welcome, or maybe you’ve had something you’ve been mulling over during the week that really could use an airing.)

WIKIPEDIA: In literary criticismstream of consciousness is a narrative mode or method that attempts to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind.

 

What’s your story? (Not what do you do, because that’s one of the most tiresome question surely.) But what’s your story? If you were free to describe yourself to a stranger in written form, what would you write? How do you define yourself when there are seemingly no parametres? 

What is freedom? How do you speak of freedom? What does it mean to you? For each person depending on their circumstances that answer is going to vary of course. But for you…what does freedom mean for you? Are you free? (I took quite a long time to get a wobbly answer for this one.)

Is challenging yourself a curious human trait, that other animals simply don’t do, because they don’t need to? Why do some people challenge themselves mentally, physically, creatively and others, this will be of no interest what so ever. An easy contentment with what they have surrounding them… Why rock the boat unless you have to?

Creativity and silent gender narratives, how do they impact your life? Can you put a price on your creativity if it’s to be sold? How do you speak of your creativity and all its many facets? Own it, or a little apologetic? Why?

While it truly has been a cacophony of thoughts the last week, it’s been a good thing. I’ve liked the challenge, the why’s, the push, the questioning, the pondering, and it’s certainly caused a rejig of a few things round here.

For that I’m grateful.

 


Stream of conscious writing is also great method for unlocking some of that creative goodness, that on occasion can get a little stuck. No rules. No time frames. Just get in there. 

 

 

 

For the love of a good book

With school school holidays round these parts recently, while I’d like to say I ripped through a couple of books in two short weeks, I, err, didn’t. However I have puttered through a handful of them since the start of the year and am always open to other suggestions, (even if it takes awhile to get to them.)

The last weeks I haven’t even bothered opening a book because The Handmaids Tale happened. Have you watched it? Did you blitz through it in a haze of tightened stomachs, and firmly held breath? Of course you did, that’s how everyone seems to have been watching it. If you haven’t I highly recommend hot footing to your local streaming service and get viewing. I. can. not. recommend. it. enough.

But for now, it’s back to the books.

On the ever-increasing wobbly tower of must have books by the bed side table…

The Summer Book- Tove Janssen

Lombardia

Speaking Out- Tara Moss

Truly Madly Guilty- Liane Moriarty

Humans of New York- Brandon Stanton

First we make the Beast Beautiful- Sarah Wilson

How not to Die- Michael Greger

Womankind Magazine

Earth Garden Magazine

…and of course a few a others

 

Any suggestions? What else should be added to that pile?

What are you reading at the moment?