The scales, the mirror and the waistbands of all my winter clothing are joining forces with my three cups of morning coffee to tell me something. It is time to move again.

I can’t do my best work with a weak body nor a cloudy mind.  I personally find that running builds my strength both physically and mentally and when I return from a run, I am filled with new ideas and motivation for my photography and blogging. Something about the rhythm of the run unlocks inspiration and ambition deep inside my soul.

A few months back, Officeworks tasked me with picking up an old hobby, sticking with it for a two  month period, and then report back on how it has impacted my life by actually making it a priority each week – I chose running with the reason being that I wanted to run like I used to.

I decided that if I do not commit to a program again, track my progress, and have people hold me accountable, it isn’t going to happen. The first time I learned to run, I did it in private – I still like to run alone, but this time I will have you on the virtual sidelines.

So every morning I have been putting my Garmin Vivosmart HR Activity Tracker on after my shower and getting started. If I am sedentary during the day, the device buzzes with a simple message, MOVE! Three times a week for at least an hour, I run away from home. At this point it is actually mostly really fast walking. I have made you a little video to get you motivated for your own hobby.


If you can’t run, I am challenging you to pick up a hobby that you have abandoned. The point is to spend our free time doing something good and then reap the benefits, like focussed energy and work/life balance. It is time to upgrade our downtime and that means committing to something that moves your soul.  I have picked up and stopped many hobbies in the past – anyone remember my weaving phase?  Running, however, is one I now wish I made more time for.  With my blog and my kids, I would often use the excuse that I had no ‘time’ to make my hobby a priority in my life, but truth be told I wasn’t making the time for myself.

I have given myself a head start as I started training for this back in March as I needed to build up my stamina. Also, if I did not just start, then I would continue to find excuses. According to the fitness tracker (available from Officeworks), I have clocked up a staggering 80 kilometres already! That is like running from Melbourne to Geelong, and while I am not quite seeing it on the scales, I keep telling myself that muscle weighs more than fat.

A slight head cold sidelined my progress for a week and I must be super careful as I have asthma, so anything that affects breathing is a legitimate reason to stay home. That said, I am convinced that recovery from the cold truly began the morning I put my running shoes on and met a friend in the neighbourhood to get back out there. It might have been half the distance and a bit slower paced than normal, but being outside & heading down to the bay is therapeutic for me. The combination of conversation and fresh air cut through the mental fog and I am back running my business easily today!

Have you taken any steps to upgrade your downtime?

Tell me about rekindling your lost love of something or the new hobby you have discovered. I want to hear what is making light in your life right now!

This blog is in partnership with Officeworks.


share tweet pin email

When I was growing up I don’t remember ever hearing that I could do anything. It certainly was not a common refrain. My parents were very supportive and I was coming of age when Sally Ride took to space, literally showing how women could not only smash through the glass ceiling, but keep on going right on out of the earth’s atmosphere. My father made it possible for me to learn photography by paying the costs of film processing and my mother taught me by her beautiful example how to be a mom. No one ever told me that I could be a photographer when I grew up but no one said that I couldn’t either. They just supported me along each and every step forward and all the setbacks. Through my hard work, experiments and years of learning, my parents showed interest and offered encouragement.

a ballerina swans on the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney -
Now that I am still working everyday to continue working as a photographer and raise my own children, I see that there has been a shift in the culture. Kids today expect that they can be or do anything. And they expect it as soon as they want it.

a ballerina swan on the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney -
Modern day media has contributed to an interesting environment in which to raise children. Like digital photography with the camera set to auto, success is seen as immediate and easy to get. Overnight sensations are seemingly everywhere. I have started to wonder, where are the stories of the hard work and dedication aimed at our youth? Where can they find the stories to prove that sticking with something when it is hard will be worth it?

Gemma on the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney -
I’d never deny my kids their dreams and I certainly want them to feel like they can do anything, I am just searching for others to reinforce what I know to be true. It takes years of hard work, dedication and perseverance to become an overnight success.

Xenia on the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney - SesameEllis.comOn the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney - SesameEllis.comOn the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney - SesameEllis.comOn the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney -
Last winter, Gemma and I had a chance to head up to Sydney to spend a day on the set of filming for Dance Academy. The return of this story in such a big way from TV to the cinemas is in itself a testament to hard work and believing in your dream. Also actually seeing how many people are involved working long hours for so many months to produce something that runs just a couple of hours at the most is eye opening for anyone and I am glad that Gemma was there to experience that behind the scenes. The storyline of Dance Academy itself will be something for kids to look to for further encouragement in putting themselves out there again and again if they want something enough. It is not sufficient for kids to simply believe in themselves. They need to keep pushing and working towards their goals even when that means they have to work around real life.

Miranda Otto on the set of Dance Academy The Movie in Sydney -

We, as parents, have a big job raising this next generation and it always helps when pop culture supports us with a strong message as well.

Dance Academy opens on the 6th of April.

This post made possible by Nuffnang and Dance Academy 

share tweet pin email

These two are off to meet a modelling agent tomorrow. See if they want to give posing a go for someone other than their mom!

So we did some grungy film inspired fashion stuff in the studio. I love shooting different things on occasion. And I miss film all the time. There is only one photo in this little collection that wasn’t made with the Lensbaby Trio 28 lens. Can you pick which one it is? More on my journey of photographing happiness with this new lens in a few weeks!

share tweet pin email

I’m on the down slope side of my forties and suddenly I am finding the life events my friends and peers are sharing on social media are less joyful. There are fewer new babies and barely any engagements. Too many of my friends are sharing their updates on chemotherapy treatments and surgeries. I have decided to face my fears of pain and “what if” to stay as healthy as I can for the people I love. Yesterday was mammogram day. I will not sugarcoat it for you… Double Ds are painful to squash. Add to the size, very dense tissue and you have secondary angles, additional images and a pretty extensive follow up ultrasound. This morning I feel like my boobs got into a street fight and lost.

But I did it. Official results on Monday, but I didn’t get any indication that there were thing to worry about. So ladies, please look after yourselves. The soreness will fade and leave you with just the peace of mind of either knowing all is fine or that things were caught early.

I’m doing this for me, my family and friends, but also in memory of Rachel. I’m getting off my ass and getting over my fears because of Alix and Jennifer and Sara and Emma and Angela and all of the other strong women I know who are showing me how life is really done.

While we are postponing, life speeds by. – Seneca

share tweet pin email
  • Patsy Rowland - You have become such an inspiration to so many and me included. Of course, I have known you for a very long time, but I am so glad I can take this journey with you. Love, Jenn’s MomReplyCancel

I have been asked by two clinets from years ago if it was possible to find the files from their sessions. I was doubtful as I have never been known for my cataloging prowess, however, I thought I would dig out the old drives from storage and give it my best shot. Yesterday, I not only found both of the sessions (GO ME!), but an entire folder of baby Gemma that was from a long dead point and shoot camera.
Baby Gemma and her equally baby parents.
I was enraptured with the babyness of it all for at least an hour. I don’t get sad over the passing of time, just something more like wistful. I miss that time, but I don’t pine for it. I am truly happy to be here with the twins who did not even exist then as well as the awesome young lady that baby has grown up to be.

I do think Alec misses his brown hair though.

share tweet pin email