Portrait 365 : 202 – 207

25 Jul

  I had quite a few knock backs this week; more than usual.

My schtick is to approach people and explain to them who I am and what the Portrait 365 project is and then I ask if they’ll be my portrait of the day.

Mostly people run a hand through their hair, or smile a little nervously and say sure, but if they hesitate for more than a few seconds I give them an out and say it’s totally their choice. I know once these words are out I’ll lose them but I don’t want anyone to do it if they’re not comfy with it.

Funnily enough, the anglos are usually fairly keen and I find that other cultures are more hesitant. Are anglos bolder, less reserved?

It’s an interesting question.

Anyway, I’ll keen photo stalking anyone interesting and see what other questions pop up.

portrait 364 : 202 Rohan

“I wrote and performed my own cabaret show at the Perth Fringe Festival. I’m a performer, I’ve always been a performer. I was on a reality show called “I Will Survive” and I was the third runner up. That sounds so much better than 4th place.”






Portrait 365 : 204 Anisa

“I parked in the disabled spot because there was no other spaces. I feel like I should go and move my car but I am 9 months pregnant with two other children and I feel pretty disabled.”





Look at that attitude!!!



“I would usually say I’m so proud of my children, possibly my greatest creation, but today I doubt that.”

We had a bit of a hectic play date.

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Portrait 365 : 194 – 201

19 Jul



“I play Santa every year and one year a kid told me that they should sack every other Santa because I’m the only one with a real beard.”




“I packed my bags and traveled around the world for a year and a half. I came home with a broken foot after a paragliding accident in Columbia. I broke up with my guy and began jumping off cliffs to feel empowered; then there was an earthquake. It was time to come home.”



“I’m a child psychologist and I’m nearly finished my 7 year PhD in the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. It’s all about belonging.”

That never changes, I think.

L'il Bee

L’il Bee



“I met my wife in London and she fell pregnant within one month. Two weeks prior I had told a friend that i would never marry or have kids. We moved to Australia and got married. Two years later we had another child and I’m in love with all of them.”




“I’m so proud of my little 14 month old boy. I’m so proud that I created him. It’s the best.”



“You know, if you renew your library books online you won’t get a fine?”

Yep. Fined again.



“I used to be an engineer in the construction industry but it didn’t make me happy, so I became a photographer. I specialise in time lapse photography and I tell stories through pictures.”

You can check out Filippo’s amazing, mind-blowing, inspiring work here. He’s traveled to places I’ve only dreamed of and told stories that touched my viscera through images. Seriously, click his link. It’s like wow on steroids.

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Is there an elephant in your bedroom?

17 Jul

sexy 2 Did you know that getting it on is really good for you?

I mean Zumba is ok but the horizontal rumba kicks its arse all day long.

Sex boosts your immune system, can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, makes your hair shinier, and can help battle the effects of mild depression and anxiety.

With sex being the most awesome multivitamin in the world, we should be banging the be-jesus out of each other all the damned time, but the fact is, most of us aren’t doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

I can’t speak for everyone, because I have no idea what happens to a large majority of couples once you add kids, sleepless nights, endless housework, a dash of resentment, and regular exhaustion, but of the ladies I speak to candidly and regularly about sex,  almost all of them complain about the same thing.

The most physical they feel like getting with their partner is punching him in the face….. no, not really (maybe, sort of), but they don’t feel like giving him one either.

I’ve written before that I reckon rumpy pumpy is the tie that binds you as a couple, and if you ain’t doing it those shoes left laying in the lounge room, and the putting the washing beside the laundry hamper really start to get on your tits. Basically, if you’re getting regular intimacy (read : schnuggles and schtooping) you’re more grounded as a couple.

Less easily pissed.


That’s a fact.

If the intimacy element of your relationship is slipping, it doesn’t take long to become a whacking great elephant in the room. You’re avoiding each other, feigning sleep, maybe you’re even ‘doing it’ just to make the other person happy…. that’s a bit awks… Obligatory sex?


Remember my old buddy Isiah McKimmie, the sex therapist? She’s started up a new program called Juicy, Sexy, Love.


I was so pumped (not a euphemism) when I heard about it that when she offered my peeps a free crack at her introductory program I jumped at the chance because if you get onto this stuff early enough it can be a game changer for your relationship….as in, save that shit from going south-er-er.

Know what I’m saying?

Juicy, Sexy, Love. discusses the importance of intimacy as a couple, but it also delves into the other stuff, the really important stuff that will help your love life…… the stuff like -

Loving yourself.

Valuing yourself.

Feeling sexy and sexual and worthy of love and pleasure.

Remember that stuff?

That shit can be hard when you’re nipple deep in the daily sludge.

Isiah talks about the balance in your relationship. The balance of respect, the balance of power. You see sex isn’t just about the beast with two backs.

90% of love making is in your head, so if the planets aren’t aligning, you ain’t feeling the va-va-va-voom.

Anyway, the program itself is not open yet, but Isiah has given you peeps access to her 3 Keys to a Juicy Relationship, so you can suss it out and see if it’s something you think you can benefit from.

3 Keys to a Juicy Relationship is a three part video series, with little ‘play sheets’ so you and your partner can work together to reconnect, and rekindle your spark.



  • You’re ready to take action to improve your relationship and sex life.
  • You know that there are two people in a relationship and you have to work together to make it work.
  • You want to feel happier, more confident and have more energy.
  • You want to argue less and love more.
  • You’re willing to invest 8 weeks into making your relationship awesome.
  • You’re worried about what will happen to your relationship if things don’t get better again soon.


  • You want someone else to do the work on your relationship for you.
  • You want to blame your partner for what is happening in your relationship.
  • You’re not willing to set aside time to make your relationship better.
  • You’re having multiple, long-term problems in your relationship (we suggest you seek help through coaching).
  • You want to leave your relationship.

** This is not a sponsored post. I’m just a big fan of sex and shiny hair **

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Happiest girl in the world.

15 Jul

the holsbysI just got off the phone to renowned Australian anthropologist Dr Stephen Juan (hello shameless name drop).

We’ve spoken a few times of late and we usually speak business for 5 minutes and then spend 40 minutes talking about all things life, love and anthropology (today we also touched on chocolate; you know the big topics).

There are few people that you instantly connect with, but I can safely say I think he’s a truly interesting and remarkable human. I look forward to making up an excuse to contact him again as he’s one of those people that you feel happier for having spoken with them.

That’s a gift.

He was telling me why he feels he’s the happiest guy in the world and in the folds of his tale were numerous wonderful things that had happened to him over the course of his life, and Stephen attributed them to luck. Of course, as an observer, I can see that his hard work, and kind deeds and sunshiny energy has drawn wonderful things his way and it got me to thinking about me…. you know, cos it always comes back to me.

I have had so many fantastic experiences in my life. I have traveled far and wide, and had adventures that many will only ever dream of. It wasn’t a big deal, I just explored with a thirst for adventure and immersed myself in situations. Some were ridiculous, sure, but most were wondrous.

One of the things that Stephen said made him truly happy was thinking about how many people loved him.

Isn’t that cool?

kiki and mamaJust this morning on our way to school D Man was asking me who loved him.

“I do.”

“Who else loves me?”


“And who else loves me?”


“And who else loves me?”


“And who else loves me?”……

This went on until I really couldn’t think of another person who loved him.

Even family members overseas that haven’t seen him since he was a babe.

Even Mr Fluffy Pants who is actually probably ambivalent before D Man gives him breakfast and downright disinterested after.

Anyway, two times in one day is not a coincidence in my book, but a poke in my eye for me to sit quietly for a minute and think about all of the people who love me. I decided I would go beyond the obvious, like people whose butts I wipe, or I cook food for, but into the greater spectrum of people who send good juju my way because they care.

There was actually quite a long mental list, new friends who I’ve met online through this crazy business called blog who actively send me love, old friends who I may not have seen for a while but when we get together the love feels just the same as it always did, and then there are those special people who when they hug me and they beam their love directly into my heart from theirs like a bolt of rose coloured lightning.

Family near and family far, and family not related by blood but because we chose each other, and chose to adopt each other permanently into our lives.

So much lovely love.

If I was to measure my happiness in units of love radiated at me, then I really am very lucky.

I have to say that’s a happy thought.

Someone who loves me dearly, with whom I have had many adventures, and misadventures, with took these beautiful images of us recently. She put a little blog up on her site if you’d like to see the whole series. Check us out here.

Anyway, take a minute to think about who loves you because that shit really warms the cockles of your heart.

Be happy, lovers.

Life is short.

danielle colley


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Portrait 365 : 184 – 193

9 Jul

Bumper crop this week….. met some cool cats, heard some cool stories and had a birthday and a mama visit all in the middle.



“I used to be a professional boxer but I had to stop a year and a half ago because I’m just getting too old. And I’m busy running  my kids around and working so I’m just flat out.”



“Mechanics aren’t mechanics because they want to fix cars. Mechanics are mechanics because they want to build big engines and race cars at the track.”

D Man and Nana

D Man and Nana

“When I was 13 my Nana gave me a piece of advice. Love all, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.”



“I was in the army for 21 years but I got out because I was getting old. I have a bad back, bad knees, flat feet and I went deaf, otherwise I enjoyed it. I miss the big bops toys and the commeraderie.”




“When I was 8 years old my Dad died but I feel like he’s always beside me in the bad times, helping me to keep going. He taught me to be humble and to treat people with kindness.”
I’ve met Emma twice now and fallen in love hard with her cool range of jewellery designs, in fact, I wore her wish bone necklace for months on end. You may remember it from some of my pics. You can find her at Recreational Studio on FB and here.

Nana and munchkins

Nana and munchkins




“I went to Costa Rica as a volunteer tagging and tracking turtles. I went on this white water raft tour and I just loved the guide. I bought his kids some tee shirts from here to send over but I never sent them. I feel terrible about it, but at least I never told him so he’s not expecting it”



I didn’t shoot anyone on my birthday but Kirsten Cox came and shot my family. Super lucky to have someone so talented on my team!  I consider her my family.




“I’ve just been in the jungle in East Java, I was just hanging and surfing this incredible wave. It was a secluded home stay with a Muslim family during ramadan. They didn’t expect me to follow it too!”



We didn’t speak the same language, but we smiled at each other a lot. That was enough.


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A letter to me on my 38th birthday

7 Jul

me on my 38th birthdayDearest You,

I know you wanted to cancel your birthday this year, but there are some things that you just can’t finagle no matter how much of  control freak you are.

Time is marching, no?

Firstly, I want to take your mind back to your birthday last year. I think this last 365 days have potentially been the biggest, craziest, most momentous of your entire life. You’ve had amazing, life altering moments in previous years, but when you look at this whole year, no wonder you’re feeling raw.

Your highs have been stratospheric and your lows have been deep and dark and sometimes they’ve happened simultaneously leaving you wondering if you’re going crazy, but you’re not. You’re just experiencing life with all of your marrow and you know what?

It may always be this crazy, or it may chill out, but you’ve got this.

You’ve always said that you’re only given as much as you can handle. I have no idea if it’s bullshit, but it’s certainly something to remember as your little legs are paddling like crazy under water and you’re all calm on the surface.

Just don’t stop paddling, dude. You’ll be fine if you just keep paddling.

Your life looks so vastly different from a year ago and that’s ok. Ok?

Your life also looks pretty different to how you imagined it would. And that’s ok too.

In reality no one’s life really looks like they imagined it would, maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse, but it’s definitely different, because we don’t have crystal balls and we can’t predict how things are going to turn out.

the holsbysI want to tell you something really important so I need you to really listen carefully to me when I say, relationships end all of the time.

It’s sad, and it’s difficult, but it is not a failure on anyones behalf. Lord knows, you tried to make it work. There is no point looking back and bombarding your brain with ‘what if’ scenarios because the only thing to do is move forward, and you have plenty to look forward to, my girl.

You need to take stock and look at everything you have achieved in the last 6 months and really start to believe in yourself. You are creating the life you want to live…. not you can, not you might -


So, stop comparing yourself to others, just worry about what you’re doing and focus on what you want. Your energy is spent much better that way.

Stop caring what people think about you. It’s none of your business what they think. You’re putting yourself out there, so they’re going to form opinions of you, that’s the nature of what you do, but just remember that the real you, the whole you, is much more than this brand and you know who you are. Don’t forget who you are.

And you’re alright. You have a few more laugh lines, and a few more grey hairs, a few more internal scars but all in all, you’re alright.

You have a phenomenal network of people who love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. People like to help. People like to feel useful and needed, allow them that gift, whilst receiving yourself.

Anyway, I want you to know that I love you. I’m sometimes unkind to you, but I’m going to try to be more patient and caring with you because I forget that you’re just doing the best you can.

Have a really wonderful birthday, lady. May this year shine sunny rays on you and yours and may all of your dreams become realities in the palm of your hand.

All my love,

Danielle xxx

holsby 38th birthday


Photos by the awesome Kirsten Cox. Check out her other work here. 


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Mama Bear

4 Jul

mamma bear There are few more influential women in your life than your mum. Whether your relationship is amazing or appalling that single connection can shape so much of who you are.

In this regards, I am blessed.

I know a lot of people think their mum is cool, but they haven’t met my Mum. No matter what hair brained scheme I ever had, my mum always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and not to live small.

I was the kid whose friends wanted to hang with my Mum… in fact, they still do.

The mother of my childhood was a statuesque style queen.

I used to think she was a cross between Annie Lennox and Sheena Easton. She liked cool music, cool clothes, parties, dancing and she had great hair (except for the Laura Ashley period which I’m not allowed to talk about).

As a single mum she’d take me most everywhere with her as a kid and I loved being privy to the adult world, pretending to be asleep at parties but secretly watching the grown ups dancing, smoking, kissing and living it up. As a result I suppose I grew up kind of fast, but I personally think my trajectory in this department was set because of the type of person I am.

I couldn’t wait to be a grown up…. that said, I also slept in my mum’s bed with her for years. Partly because my bedroom was chronically messy, but mostly because I loved spooning up with my Mama in the night and feeling her warmth next to me.

She liked it too.

I guess my growing up process got fast tracked a little when I was about 13 and Mama started getting headaches. Not just any old headaches but real whopper doozies. Her eyesight went blurry and things started getting scary so they did some tests on her.

Initially everyone feared a brain tumour.

She had all the symptoms, but they couldn’t find it so she went from our home in Coffs Harbour to Sydney for more extensive testing.

mum and II was a sensitive kid, hence being a sensitive adult I guess, and I was devastated that I couldn’t make my mum better. I remember holding her hand and massaging her head trying to take her pain away as she lay on the bed in tears.

Alas, I was just a kid, and she had something happening inside her that was beyond our control.

The thing about my mum is she is the most vibrant, fun, and fun loving person I know. She is wise, she is spiritual and there ain’t much that could shock her.

I’ve always been able to tell her all of my sex, drugs and rock’n’roll stories and more that once I’ve heard her say -

Danielle, did you have to tell me that????

But I do. Because I can. And that’s a gift.

I hope one day my kids like me as much as I like my mum. I hope they turn to me when they have sensitive and painful scars to share, or deep fears that they want soothed.

Over the years many of my friends have adopted her as their own, and now the people she lists as her dear friends range from 18 years old to 90. She spans the ages because she is open to everyone- Open minded and open hearted.

She can cook a mean feast and she can drink up a storm and she has so many wonderful qualities that define who she is.

Multiple Sclerosis is not who my mum is. Her illness does not define her. It’s an aspect of her life just as much as all of the wonderful things and she had often said MS has been a teacher that has taught her valuable life lessons.

My mum is fun, and loving, and silly.

My mum is gentle and fierce, and fucking brave.

She is also an unbelievable Nana. She reckons these little stinkers have given her a new lease of life.

If I’m half the women she is when I grow up then I’m gonna be a whole lotta awesome.

mum and I


Thanks for coming to stay with me, Mama. Can you babysit tomorrow?


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Portrait 365 : 174 – 183

29 Jun

Been a mega week here for me so we’re a little late on this, but I figure you guys are pretty understanding about life and shit getting in the way of good intentions…….



“My life has been easy and I’m happy. Now I’m travelling for 5 weeks as I just finished university in Italy. When I get home I will get a job as an optometrist.”
He was wearing great specs when I spotted him but he whipped them off when I shot him.




How did they keep such a straight face???



“I moved to Lismore from Brisbane to go to uni and that first year was really hard. I was so broke that I often had to choose between food and a bus ticket. Now I work for Microsoft so it’s all good.”



“I love kids but I never had children. I knew my husband couldn’t have children when we married. He was a wonderful artist, my husband. His name was Frederick Nolte and he was just about to paint John Howard for the Archibald when he got sick.”
A chance meeting in the supermarket with a lady who just wanted to chat to my kids gave me a real gift.

Santhy & Waes

Santhy & Waes

“Do you spell Santhy with an X?”
“Yeah, you can.”
“But how do you spell it?”
“With an S.”
“Let’s spell it like that then.”



“I’m really proud of my talent to understand kids and their ability to make anyone happy. I am about to do my HSC but then I want to get into teaching.”

Doctor Doll

Doctor Doll

We took Ratty who has sore eyes to the Doll Hospital but sadly we were turned away because our medical insurance wouldn’t have covered the treatment required…. such as hand sewn eyes that we would have required surgery paid for by the hour.
Mummy will be fixing Ratty’s eyes herself.

DJ Lance Rock

DJ Lance Rock

“Dancing and listening to music is AWESOME”



My little winter owl.



“Moving here from the States was something big that I’m proud of. I moved here for my girlfriend. It’s hard being away from my family though. They’re back in California.”



“I set my own expectations for how I live my life and I’m living by them.”
I love Atong. Amen sister.




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Baby nightmares and Spiced Pumpkin Soup

26 Jun

spicy pumpkin soupD Man was a late talker so when he cried out in the night I just had to guess it was a nightmare and rub his nappied butt till he drifted back off to  the Land of Nod.

You can tell by the cry if it’s just a ‘Mama, come give me some sugar’ moment, or a true night terror.

Whenever it was blatantly the latter I’d wonder what it is a toddler has nightmares about?

Not so much mystery with the Kikster. She’s a talker, my girl. I guess some apples fall pur-ty close to the ol’ gnarly motor mouth mama tree.

She has quite a few bad dreams, say, a couple of times a week and they range from calling out things like “go away!” or “stop it!”, and then rolling over, no intervention required, to full blown terror and needing loads of calming, stroking, and cooing.

She dreams of sibling violence which she describes through sobbing tears.

“D Man.(sob) Bit.(sob) My.(sob) Finger.(sob) Go away, D Man!”(sob, sob sob. Coo, coo, coo.)

“D Man. Pushed. My. Back. Kiki fall over.”

Big sobs. Huge.

You know those dreams where you dream your partner has slighted you in some way and you wake up cranky with them?
Sometimes I’m glad she’s trapped behind bars so she can’t commando roll across the hall in her pink flannelette camoflage pj’s,  slip soundlessly into his room and commit acts of revenge unbeknownst to me as I hunker down on the couch with a glass of wine as big as my head and a bowl of ice-cream as big as my arse.

You may think it sounds far fetched (the commando roll, not the size of the wine) but she’s a feisty one and a sleeping sibling is easy pickings.

It’s not all domestic aggression that takes up space in her nocturnal dreamscapes, however. She also gets prehistoric hysteria, or prehysteria.

We spend a lot of time talking, exploring, examining and discussing dinosaurs during waking hours in this house so it’s not a great leap to discover they penetrate her impressionable subconscious.

“Dinosaur. Ate. My. Teddy.”

“Dinosaur. Chasing. Monsters.”

Trying to explain the relationship between extinct dinosaurs and non-existant monsters to a sobbing two year old at  3A.M. is not really worth the effort so we’ve done a spot of bed hopping of late.

I used to be all “Oh no, never let the stinkers into your bed or you’ll never get rid of them” but you know, schnuggling up with a child that’s clinging to you for comfort, drifting off with their feather soft hair tickling your nostrils, waking up with sharp little toenails digging into your cheek, it’s is all part of the gig.

And I kinda like a stolen cuddle.

It’s comforting to wake with a sleepy warm kid because it’s winter and I never think of utilising my hot water bottle. They’ve gotta be good for something, right?

Another way to keep mega warm sans hot water bottles or sproglets is spicy soup.

Not in bed.

That’s weird, unless you’re that way inclined, in which case I recommend a water proof mattress protector because this vibrant soup will stain the crap out of your mattress.

spicy pumpkin soupSpicy Pumpkin Soup

What you will need : 

  • 1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder.
  • Fresh coriander, for serving
  • natural yoghurt, for serving

What you will need to do : 

Whack it in a pot minus the coriander and yoghurt.

Simmer till it’s mushy.

Wazz it in the food processor.

Serve it. Sprinkle it with coriander and drizzle it with yoghurt.

You’re welcome.




spicy pumpkin soup



Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

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Portrait 365 : 167 – 173

20 Jun

I’ve just realised that I’m 5.5 days away from being half-way through this project. I’m possibly jumping the gun by writing this spiel but I’m such a blurter….

I have mixed feelings about reaching this point.

Kind of relieved, because it’s been a bit of an epic journey but I’m also mega proud. I wasn’t sure if I’d stick with it, but I have, and if I’ve stuck it this far, right, so it’s just the same amount again (give or take.)

I’ve met some lovely people, suffered rejections and been inspired and moved, and I’m only half way.

And I’m getting better at it, which was the whole point of the whole shebangalang, right?

The more people I talk to the more I realise that everyone is amazing. Everyone makes dumb decisions, and everyone has epiphanies, and extraordinary ordinariness and ordinary extraordinariness exist hand and hand quite comfortably.

Anyway, for those of you that take the time to let me know you love this project, thank you.

I love it too.

It’s taught me as much about myself as it has about others.

Thanks for getting it.





“I am happy, but happy isn’t what I thought it would be.”
Ana and I met in mother’s group when our now 4 year olds were just weeks old. We decided we would never go back to mother’s group because listening to those chicks whinge sucked ass. Instead, we’d walk, talk, drink coffee, tea and wine, and we helped each other through that first year. Life, work, moving all got in the way and today we rectified that. I hope she knows exactly what I mean when I say that some people are just like a warm slipper.



“I think there’s hope. There’s always hope.”
Michael and I had just met at the latest Overhaul Wellness Day, and we were talking about life and love. I believe there’s hope. I also believe Michael is a wonderful optimist.

Fairy Sparkle

Fairy Sparkle

“A photo? But I haven’t even done my hair!”
“What’s something you’ve done that you’re proud of?”
“I received an OAM last week for Voluntary Service to children in hospital.”
I first met Fairy Sparkle a few years ago when I was writing a television series that I never got off the ground. I was so intrigued by her balance of eccentricity and business nouse.



“I’m loving my new necklace. I just got it today and it’s made from up cycled tee-shirts. My son bought it for me for my birthday.”
“Cool! How old is your son?”
“21 months”




My other heart. She melts me.



“I’d tell a young man to forget about the moment you are in now. Start to look to the future and the experience of older people around you. Get to know your family…That was lacking in my life. And write a diary.”



“I’d tell my 15 year old self to focus on health. I wish I’d done that sooner.”


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