The Art and Madness of Falling in Platonic Love

3 Aug

Do you know Carolyn from Champagne Cartel?

You bloody well should. We started with a mild Facebook/blog comment here and then, which propelled swiftly into pen pals. When we finally swapped phone numbers it felt as though we’d known each other forever and now I consider her my friend.

My crazy, nutty, funny, clever and generous friend.

In fact, it a bit freaky because sometimes I wonder how it’s possible that I can have so many similarities with one person…. could we be twins?

Anyway, I asked if she’d do me a guest post, and I got something even better.

Check her out….


I have taken to falling madly in love with new friends lately. Oh, I love the old ones too, of course, they’re like those smelly old ugg boots that live in your cupboard and get dragged out in winter to schlep about the place with us – mmmmm, comfy.

But old friends have heard all my jokes. They know my stories. They are wise to my hackneyed old shtick.

But that ‘new friend’ smell just can’t be beat. New friends are full of potential. They haven’t smelt your farts yet, and they don’t know about that disgusting thing you did on Year 10 camp that you only let slip three times after way too many G&Ts.

And these days I fall totally, helplessly in love. But not in the rudey-dudey way. Just beautiful, soft, keep-your-tongue-to-yourself ladylove. And I reckon that’s even way more fun than falling in the sexy love.

Here’s how I see it:

A) Falling in platonic love with new friends: excited banter, drinking wine, compliments (I love your hair; no, I love your hair!), funny text messages, laughing, cocktails, dancing in bars, selfies, slightly self-conscious hugs, more laughter.

B) Falling in potentially sexy love: excited banter, drinking wine, flirty text messages, laughing, waxing your legs, waxing your lady garden, plucking your eyebrows, curling your lashes (like he would notice, seriously), worrying about your breath, buying condoms, sexing (including doing that thing you don’t really like all that much but do with him anyway because, you know, he’s so nice), washing sheets, worrying about whether he’s getting back with his ex or whether he’ll call or whether his mother will think you’re a whore.

I think I’ll take option A please, Larry.

And there is something delightfully refreshing about making women friends when you’re – ahem – of a certain age – don’t you think? There’s none of that bullshit competition that everyone pretends isn’t there when you’re 23. Is she prettier than me? Was he looking at her? Was she talking about me in the toilets? I’ll never have an arse like hers…

us at Kidspot... ten drinks into our bromance.

Us at Kidspot… 10 drinks into our bromance.

My latest ladylove experience has been to totally fall madly in love with my host here, the delightful Danielle Colley. I met her in Sydney at a Kidspot blogger bash, and although I already liked her cyberself a whole lot, we experienced a magical romance that night – fuelled largely by tequila and a very hot pantsuit.

But I think she’s amazing. As, clearly, do you because you’re here reading her blog even though she has let some shmo on here you’ve never heard of. And I think I’ll be her friend for a very long time – even though she does have a better arse than me.

If you made it to the bottom of this post, that means WE should be best friends too! Please come visit me at Champagne Cartel so we can hang out and I can talk about your arse.

the kind of delights you will discover with the Cartellians.



Portrait 365 : 208 – 214

31 Jul
Portrait 365 : 208 JoJo


“I overcame my fear of singing in front of people. People say the more people there are the easier it is, but it’s not true. If you can only see the front row, or if you can see everyone, it’s hard for me. I just walk out and pretend I’m just talking to myself.”



“I’m just proud to be going to yoga this morning. It’s a miserable day outside and it’s would be easy to stay home. It’s good to get out and about.”




“I created the first internationally new played sport in the 21st century – Segway Polo. I was the captain of the New Zealand team. I found out that Steve Wozniak, Victor Miller and Ang Lee would get together and play it casually in LA, but as the sole distributor for Segway in New Zealand we sent an audacious challenge to those guys for the world’s first Segway match. We had not even played yet, but they came, and we drew. Now it’s an international sport.”

This was one of those stories that just kept getting better!



“I’m proud that I sailed around the world, it was a hell of an adventure.”



“I’m proud of my two kids. They’re 3 years old and 10 months old.”

“Wow, I’m proud you got to work on time.”

“I’m not. I’m late!”



“I’m about to head off on a 6 week European trip by myself. I’m 35 years old and I’ve never been to Europe. In fact, I had never been overseas at all until I went to Thailand for my 35th birthday.”



“My first UltraMarathon was a really big deal. 60 hard kilometres and I ran my best run ever. Kokoda was also challenging; it was raw, and it oozed history. It was cold, and it was muddy but it was so rewarding.”

Obviously, Di is insane.




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Navigating the grey zone, and pear and date muffins because cake.

29 Jul
Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

My step mother came over for lunch on Sunday. Technically, she’s my Dad’s ex-wife but she’ll always be my step mum.

When D Man asked me who she was it was kind of hard for me to explain so we entered into the unchartered territory of ‘STEP…’.

The easiest way for me to explain was by relating it to us, and our family and it felt very alien and surreal.

“If Daddy was to marry someone else she would be your step-mum.”

It sounded matter of a fact enough coming out of my mouth, but it tasted like a dusty tumble weed rolling over my tongue, and yet a little monkey somewhere banged a drum that made me squint with one eye as my sphincter clenched.

But that’s what a step-mother is.

We’re all doing really well though, thanks for asking.

Finding a rhythm and slipping into a groove. The kids are fine mostly, nary a blip. Weekend visits are surprisingly easy, except for that one time…. the day I forgot Ratty.

The very first blog I ever wrote was about that Rat and his place in the family has probably heightened rather than lessened over the years.

Ratty has traveled more extensively than some adults I know and Boy and Rat have never spent a night apart….But in my rush to get out the door for a Daddy sleep over night Rat was left behind.

I could blame the 4 year old because technically I gave Ratty to him to carry to the car, but you really can’t trust a four year old to take responsibility for something so important.

D Man eating pear and date muffinBy the time we realised the smelly old Rat was left behind, I was on my way to dinner with friends. You see dropping your kids off is great in many ways, but a little bit quiet and lonely in others so I’m also finding my new groove.

That’s not at all bad.

I’m on my way to dinner when I get the call that Ratty was not in the bag and not in the car, and, and, and…..

No Rat.

It kind of broke the top off something I’d screwed down pretty tight. Tears blurred my vision as I drove through the dark, and I brushed them away as fast as they came worried about my mascara and arriving at dinner looking like a Zombie but then suddenly I couldn’t keep up with them, so I just let them roll. Bloody smelly old, bunk eyed rat.

But they weren’t really tears for the Rat.

But I guess we all know that.

pear and date muffinsAnyway, I’m keeping busy, like usual, so when we had a play date recently I thought I’d whip up a batch of something to offer the guests. We’ve also been rocking them for breakfast.

I had some squishy pears in the bowl and I thought I’d make some low sugar muffins sweetened with those bad boys.

This is so easy because you chuck it all into the food processor and you’re on your way. Sort of.

 Pear and Date Muffins

What you will need :

  • 2 over ripe pears, smooshed with a fork
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 125 g dates, chopped
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 50g choc chips, or chopped dark chocolate (optional)

pear and date muffins

What you will need to do : 

Pre-heat over to 180C. LiPlace your muffin cases in your tray.

Core your pears and whack them into the food processor and whizz them up. Throw your flours, sugar and baking powder in and then add your milk, eggs and butter.

Take the bowl off the processor and stir in your dates, choc chips and walnuts, and spoon your mixture into the muffin cases.

Pop into the over for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.


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.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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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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