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The green, green Grampians

After our obligatory Melbourne food-coffee-shop-art fest, the three of us bundled into the car and meandered our way to the Grampians via the picturesque Great Ocean Road, Australia’s answer to Big Sur.

I recently came across the Japanese term shinrin-yoku, literally “forest bathing”. It refers to the recommended practice of visiting the forest for health benefits, both physical and mental. Nothing could be truer and articulates so perfectly the effect even a short trip out of the city does to us. The sharp fresh air, the quiet punctuated by only the gentle sounds of nature, letting your eyes settle on wide open spaces and distant horizons. It’s interesting that out there, one can experience true silence and true darkness, perhaps giving our senses the natural rest they need.

Ironically I write this whilst staring at my laptop screen in a bustling cafe, bass-heavy Lauryn Hill blasting from a speaker into my left ear, cars whizzing by on my right, and the barista is doing that thing they do where they bash equipment together really loudly for some reason or other. (Someone help me out here – what are they doing?)

But this is the reality of our everyday. So maybe tree-hugging shouldn’t be a term reserved for altruistic environmentalists alone, it might do us all some good. I’m convinced it does.

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Great Ocean Road with 2.1 humans

I gotta admit, I got onto that plane kicking and screaming on the inside, thinking that this was a very very bad idea. Why would I want to be a sleepless, frazzled new parent somewhere other than in the comfort of my own home.

Insane levels of sleep deprivation and the sudden transition from full-time professional to mother of a tiny being was wreaking havoc on my brain and sense of self. Well-meaning people, parenting websites, numerous books urged me to try all sorts of “fixes” and “routines” resulting in additional stress, making my nerves even more ragged and the tears fall faster.

This trip was in fact the antidote I needed. Every day was different by necessity, routine was out the window as we literally strapped Alexa to our bodies and got outside. We loved it and she loved it! It didn’t matter what we did, there wasn’t any secret magic except for enjoying nature, the act of exploring and simply connecting with one another. Taking the time to notice and drink in the trees rustling in the wind, waves crashing on sandy beaches, the changing colours only sunset can bring, the warmth of my beautiful baby in my arms, the gentle rise and fall of her tummy as she sleeps, placing a little kiss on her tiny lips.

Bells Rapids

bells-rapids-15bells-rapids-1bells-rapids-24bells-rapids-26 bells-rapids-8bells-rapids-25 bells-rapids-29bells-rapids-28 bells-rapids-30bells-rapids-18 bells-rapids-31 bells-rapids-34 bells-rapids-36bells-rapids-39bells-rapids-38 bells-rapids-40The last long weekend here in Perth called for a quick dose of red dirt and eucalyptus, and a moment of much needed self care. Time to shut that laptop and forget about the mountain of work emails, and just enjoy the zamia palms swish past my legs and watch the sunset tint the smoke-filled sky wondrous colours.

And better than that, time to spend with friends who think it’s a great idea to follow a sign that says “Goat Walk” and proceed to practically rock climb up the side of a hill, friends who agree that appropriate hiking food consists of chocolate and coffee, and friends who accept you as a complete package and help you remember that you’re kinda alright.

Thanks guys. I think you’re kinda alright too.

White Elephant beach cafe

white-elephant-cafe-1 white-elephant-cafe-2 white-elephant-cafe-3 white-elephant-cafe-4 white-elephant-cafe-5 white-elephant-cafe-6 white-elephant-cafe-7 white-elephant-cafe-8 white-elephant-cafe-9It’s amazing how much you notice the weather change during the drive down south. We embarked from Perth on a 39 degree Celsius day and I’d packed four sundresses, a pair of shorts and a bikini. Thank goodness I threw in a cardie at the last minute! Searingly bright blue skies were replaced by muted grey clouds, and unforgiving rays of sun made way for a nippy breeze that surely raised goosebumps!

Breakfast at The White Elephant was tasty and unfussy. A lovely view of the waves constantly lapping against Gnarabup beach was the perfect accompaniment to my bacon and eggs on toast. The coffee too was just right. As their sign recommends, if you look out onto the ocean and look left you will notice a formation of rocks that resembles an elephant’s head side on with just a tiny stretch of the imagination!

Alas, the water was way too icy to take a dip. But fret not, we’ll definitely return to this spot on a future road trip.

White Elephant beach cafe / Gnarabup Rd, Gnarabup WA / Mon-Sat 7:30am – late / Sun 7:30am-10pm

Boranup Forest

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Located just south of Margaret River township, take a detour off Caves Road onto Boranup Drive to find yourself amongst these mighty karri trees. It is the perfect place to breathe in the fresh, crisp, eucalypt-scented air unique to our gorgeous and blessed country. Interestingly, rather than being peacefully quiet the place is bustling with the sounds and calls of birds and insects accompanied by the constant swishing of slender branches high up above.

If you’ve been lucky enough to take a trip even further south to Pemberton or Walpole to experience the gigantic and awe-inspiring karri forests down that way you may wonder why this community of trees is almost dwarfed in comparison! Boranup Forest was completely logged around 100 years ago and these trees are the regrowth! Another fact that makes this lively reserve unique is its proximity to the coast. This is the farthest west that karri trees grow and hence our closest location to admire and soak in this atmosphere.

Lucky us 🙂

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Shake it off

comptoir-protea-9 comptoir-protea-11comptoir-protea-6 comptoir-protea-3 comptoir-protea-1 comptoir-protea-5comptoir-protea-12comptoir-protea-4 comptoir-protea-7 comptoir-protea-8 comptoir-protea-10Wearing – Comptoir des Cotonniers dress (similar), Senso shoes, Pigeonhole hat

A trip to Margaret River was just what the doctor ordered. Pure sunshine on my face and a healthy breeze whipping through my hair. Sometimes we just need times of solace, to introspect, to heal and tend to our own hearts. This is a simple outfit, a few of my favourite things, fuss-free and comfortable.

Up, up & away

hot-air-balloon-8motifThe winds have welcomed you with softness.

The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.

You have flown so high and so well,

That God has joined you in your laughter

And set you back again into the loving arms

Of Mother Earth.

– The Balloonist’s Prayer, Anon.

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