I really never thought we would get a pool. It was a childhood dream of my own to have a swimming pool in the garden, but it remained just a dream. My kids really wanted one and while we had room for it, I just didn’t see how we could make it work. We just finally made the investment and as the pool gate was hung on its hinges, Melbourne turned up the heat. We got two full days of splashing before the temperature dropped again, but that was enough for me to see how this will be the summer for creating beautiful childhood memories right in our own backyard. It is going to be an open door policy here. I want to be the home filled with friends and laughter this summer. I am expecting lots of kids coming over to spend the day in our little rectangle of aqua water, so I want to be prepared to keep them happy with healthy snacks.

 I tested out my summer treats on the twins and they both loved these little pots of deliciousness.

The great thing with the Black Swan Greek Yoghurt is that while it is great on its own, it goes well with many ingredients. It is so versatile for these little treats, you can choose whatever flavour of preserves you want! The possibilities of what you can create are really endless. I had mine with apricot jam and blueberries and a slice of toast.

The twins decided they wanted strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. They aren’t super adventurous with their food.

I am excited to see what lovely preserves I can find at the local markets and create all sorts of flavour combinations that I could never find in prepackaged yoghurt tubs! These are easy to make and have in your fridge, just get some half size mason jars with lids, put the jam on the bottom, then fill up with the yoghurt and top with fresh fruit, seeds or whatever you like and seal to make easy single servings of yummy snacks.

Bring on summer, it is going to be delicious!

*inspired by Black Swan*

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3D Mini Me Update!

3D mini-me from Officeworks

I have arrived! Well, my 3D Mini Me has been delivered that is and she (I?) is (am?) so cute! I am so impressed with the level of detail on this 10 cm 3D printed version of me. The advice to wear bright colours including my lipstick was excellent as the colour rendition is slightly more subdued on the figure than in real life. There is no mistaking it though, the 3D mini-me is me… a thoroughly modern portrait of me. After letting my Mini Me enjoy our new swimming pool, I have carefully re-packed her into the box, which looks exactly like a mini version of the scanning booth and am sending myself to Portland, Oregon for Christmas to a dear friend.

3D mini-me officeworks

If I could, I would fold myself up into the box and go, but this is the next best thing. Christmas holidays really remind me of what I miss most as an expat and that is time spent with family and friends. I hope having my Mini Me will be a reminder of how much I wish I could bridge the miles. While my flights home might always be to Los Angeles and Virginia, this time I can go directly to my friend’s front door in Portland. Can’t wait to see photos of Mini Me enjoying the holidays with my friend’s family. For a chance to win your own 3D Mini Me to send to a loved one this Christmas, see Officeworks’ Facebook post for details. Competition closes this Sunday (20th) so hurry before you miss out!

Brought to you by Officeworks.

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There are many plans that I have for Within The Keep, but the overarching trait of them all is that the project must continue beyond the pop-up gallery that happened in Melbourne this past weekend. The work is important and needed for girls to tell the world what to see in them. If you were not able to come by and see the show, here is a small vision of opening night…


Over the holidays, I will be building a custom gallery site to host all the pictures, the various events and plans for the future of this work. In the coming days, while I work behind the scenes, I will be compiling the existing English word list into as many languages as possible and then inviting girls all over the world to submit black and white portraits (either self portraits or portraits taken by parents) on Instagram, captioned with three chosen words in their own native language as well as the hashtags #ShowYourWords and #WithinTheKeep to be included in a live, automatically updating, worldwide stream of girlhood, self-defined!

When I say as many languages as possible, I mean it! Here is Clover for example…Playful. Daring. Clever. in Welsh!

#showyourwords #withinthekeep

Please share with your friends and family all over the world to let them know that just like the problems girls face are universal, this project is not limited to my local area. I will be travelling for this and have plans to bring this to as many as I can, but until I get to your area, know that you and your daughters can be involved now.

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  • Breanne - I just love love love this. I may need to get some portraits of my younger cousins at Thanksgiving this week and have them pick their words to submit on my IG (public).ReplyCancel

Spinach and feta cauliflower mash : SesameEllis.com #borntocreate

I find it easy to be creative on a daily basis. For me, it is essential to a happy life. I photograph my world and I write my thoughts, sharing both in blog posts and books. Those outlets are how I get through routine days as well as how I come to terms with change. It all comes naturally and in a way, I feel like I was born to create. The Mr and I have a lot of conversations about how I am the creative and he is the practical on in our life together. I don’t think that people have to be one or the other. There are many ways to be creative and his way comes out in the kitchen.

The funny thing is, the hardest part of cooking for me is being creative. I just don’t naturally know what flavours go together like I know what colours in an image will work or what words I need to tell a compelling story. That is why the kids and I are pretty simple eaters. We eat a lot of dips with crackers and veggies. I love that for morning tea while I am working at home. Hummus and carrots is Kieran’s favourite combination. I use guacamole as a spread in wraps with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomato and cheese which Clover will happily eat every day. They are easy to make for snacks and lunches with lots of flavour. Since our days are filled with cricket and soccer, playdates and so much more after school, I am always looking for quick food that is also good for them.

My kids love dip and fresh veggies : SesameEllis.com #borntocreate

While looking at the spinach and feta dip that I was serving up with fresh capsicum one afternoon I wondered what if I thought outside the tub so to speak? The flavours we love are already in the dip, so why not use it for something else. For once, I let myself be creative in the kitchen and it paid off! I came up with a really yummy dish. Now we have another option besides pasta, potatoes and rice for summer dinners and I am excited to keep creating!


Make your own easy cauliflower mash : SesameEllis.com #borntocreate

brought to you by Black Swan

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