Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Forty-Six and Forty-Seven {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
sydney family photography
{Punky - Forty-Six} She was not impressed that I told her off for putting her fingers on the lens of my camera. This was taken just after the meltdown.

portrait photography in sydney
{Zee - Forty-Six} Always looking to get one up on Punky, she can't resist shutting the door in her face when she gets the chance...

sydney portrait photography
{Punky - Forty-Seven} I love how patient Dave is with his girls, especially when he is teaching Punky how to draw new things, her favourite activity.

sydney photographer
{Zee - Forty-Seven} ... but despite the antics, she really does love her big sister, ready at the sound of her name to play and be led astray in to all kinds of mischief!

and linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Four Things I've Learned about Parenting {In Four Years}| Parenting

things I've learned about parenting

Four Things I've Learned About Parenting {In Four Years}

Yesterday my baby girl turned four. FOUR! How did that happen? Where did the last four years go? When did she stop being a toddler and start being this amazing little girl? Some days it feels like only yesterday that she was born, and other days, well, let's just say those days are looooong!

As you do when your child has a birthday, you start to reminisce on the years gone by, and I realised Punky turning four means that I've now been a parent for four years. And while there will always be something new to learn, I've certainly learned a few things in those four years.

So what have I learned? Read on....

4. That bastard, Murphy, is ALWAYS right!

Murphy's Law states that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. I'm pretty sure he wrote that in regards to parenting, especially newborns! When it comes to life with children, you learn pretty fast that nothing is predictable and everything will go wrong at least once. I've always prided myself on being prepared for anything, and I approached motherhood no differently.

I always had a fully stocked baby bag, with lots and lots of spare clothes. I'd been warned that whatever you think will be enough, won't be, and to always pack more than you think you'll ever need. What I didn't think I would need was spare clothes for me. And so it was, Punky's first Christmas Day at a mere four weeks of age, I found myself driving home from our friends house in nothing but a bra and underwear, after Punky projectile vomited two boobs worth of milk all over me and my friend's lounge and floor.

Lesson learned? Always pack spare clothes for the baby AND you!

child with blueberry3. It's possible to feel every human emotion in approximately 0.12 seconds

The emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood is a seriously wild one. One moment you'll be tearing your hair out, crying tears of frustration, and the next moment your heart will be filled to bursting with pure joy at something those little monsters have said or done. I was seriously amazed by how quickly I could run the gamut of human emotion, from despair to joy, anger to amusement, irritation to love. It's enough to make even the sanest of us feel off-kilter and I doubt things will change much as the kids get older! Heaven help me when they are teenagers!

2. You'll hear the strangest things come out of your mouth (and theirs!)

Not once, in all of my preparations for becoming a parent, did I one day think I would say the line "We don't eat tissues". Or that I would be asking my 22-month-old to "please stop licking your sister". This is just the tip of the iceberg of strange things I've said in my four years of parenting.

And then there are the strange things that come out of the mouth of my big girl. All sorts of questions, and the most interesting justifications for things. But the funniest of all so far has to be the time, a few weeks ago, when she came out of her room a couple of hours after going to sleep, telling us her tummy felt funny. We told her to head for the bathroom and followed along. In between her moans and sobs she still found time to stop and say "Look Mummy! A millipede!" before spewing in the bathroom 2 seconds later. It seems not even a gastro belly is enough to stop this girl from marvelling at her favourite bugs!

photo of child running

1. The days are long but the years are short

I really didn't get this saying before I had kids. Now? Oh man, I understand it in ways I never thought I would. Some days feel as though they will never, ever end! They just go on and on in an endless stream of nappy changes, screaming children, cleaning and despair. It really does feel, especially on the hard days, that you will never see a light at the end of the tunnel ever again.

And then suddenly? Your eldest child is four and you realise that all you did was blink and it had happened. All of those never-ending days of teething and crying and tantrums are long gone. And you start to realise, that even on the days when your four-year-old is back-chatting and having major attitude, these days will go past so quick and you'll be looking back and missing them and wishing they'd come and visit and mess up your house one more time.

What have you learned on your parenting journey? What's the weirdest thing you've heard yourself saying?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Forty-Four and Forty-Five {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
{Punky - Forty-Four} While it's not the 5 acre property they used to have, the backyard at Nan & Pop's still has plenty of flowers and other lovely nature things to keep my outdoor girl happy.

{Zee - Forty-Four} Dreaming of escape? Or wanting to drive?

{Punky - Forty-Five} I'm always so impressed by how kids can make seemingly uncomfortable positions look as comfy as curling up in bed on a rainy, winter morning.

{Zee - Forty-Five} Revenge of the little sister. Yes, Punky is under that washing basket. And Zee couldn't have been prouder of herself!

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Top 5 Ways to Ready Your Home for Summer | Lifestyle

This post written in collaboration with Fort Knox

5 Ways to Ready Your Home for Summer

The older I get the more I seem to enjoy the colder weather and dislike the warmer weather. But I can't deny, there is just something special about summer. The weather has turned warmer, beaches are buzzing and there is an upbeat vibe in the air.

It's a time for BBQs with friends, sitting in the balmy evening air, the smell of the barbie lingering, nursing a nice cold drink. It's magic! Summer also means longer days and more chance to get outside with the kids and head down to the river for a paddle as the sun goes down. I really do love it.

Summertime also means Christmas here in the southern hemisphere, and with that in mind, now is the perfect time to start getting the house summer-ready. The number one job on my list is sorting through the endless piles of clothes on our "laundry lounge" and packing away all the winter ones. I was starting this laborious project the other day, and it got me thinking about the other things I need to get done around the house in preparation for summer (and holidays! Tafe is almost done!). So I've written a little list of the top 5 things I'll be doing to get the house in shape for summer and Christmas.

1. Self-storage

If your home is cluttered with items that aren’t currently being used, it’s a good idea to look into self-storage. I'm really keen to get a small home studio set up once I finish tafe and the only way to do that is to clear out the spare bedroom. The junk room. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the stuff that we have in there, that we don't always need but aren't quite ready to get rid of and I'm seriously considering some self-storage. I'm thinking that self-storage can declutter our home and my mind after the hectic year we've had. Fort Knox offers a range of self-storage facilities to suit a variety of needs.

2. Prep fans and air-cons

High temperatures often bring about even higher tempers – especially if sleepless nights are involved. Keep your cool by dusting your home’s ceiling and pedestal fans before you turn them on – nobody has time for allergic reactions! When your fans are in use, be sure to encourage fresh air flow by cracking open a window or two. However, when it comes to the air-con, save electricity by shutting all doors and windows. It's also a good idea to clean the filters of your air-con too. Dave did ours just the other week and it's amazing the difference it has made, and also put off the need for getting a serviceman to have a look at it!

3. Pack away the winter woolies

Like I said at the start of this post, now is the time to pack away the winter clothes to make way for the summer ones. Not only does this clear space in your drawers and cupboards but it makes it so much easier to work through the washing pile if you don't have random jumpers and trackies in there. It's also a good way to see what you do and don't have in the right size for the small people in your house. Kids seem to grow at a rate of knots and I know I'm going to need to buy Punky new shorts and t-shirts for this summer, as it feels like she's growing a foot virtually every night at the moment!
Summer is for swimming in the river and making sandcastles!

4. It’s never too late for a spring clean

Some people like to scour their entire home the moment spring hits. Others (read: myself) tend to shift around a few books and dust a few blinds and say their yearly clean-up is all done. While it’s tempting to avoid, spring cleaning can actually set you up in good stead for a more relaxed and organised summer. No matter what time or season you decide to start giving your home some TLC, you’ll notice the positive impact on your mood and living conditions right away. I've had to put off any real cleaning this spring because of my Tafe workload, but I intend to take advantage of the couple of weeks between finishing my course and the girls going on holidays from preschool to get the house in some kind of clean order again.

I'm going to start with the bedrooms by vacuuming and sorting out wardrobes. Then move to the bathrooms and kitchen area. Dave has been making plans for the backyard and we've recently had a couple of trees removed, something that makes dealing with the the ones that are left a lot easier! We're going to make sure all the remaining trees are trimmed and gutters are free of leaves and debris to prepare for storm season.

5. Switch to appropriate bedding

Avoid waking up overheated with the wrong sheets on your bed. Switch flannel blankets and quilts with light-weight sheets. Dave has already pulled out his "summer sheet" as he calls it, and I'm etting to the point where I really can't deal with the winter-weight quilt for much longer and I'll be pulling the summer-weight quilt out soon (well, as soon as I get a chance to find the damn thing!).

While it takes a little effort at first, I've learnt from experience that getting the house in shape for summer is truly rewarding. Even more so when you can flop on the lounge at the end of the day with a nice cold glass of something and admire all your hard work!

Have you done your spring cleaning yet or are you a little (a lot!) behind in it like me? Do you do anything special to get your home ready for summer and Christmas?
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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas {Spotlight Christmas Launch} | PR

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

A couple of weeks ago I was very excited to head in to the city for a morning spent exploring all things Christmas! The lovely people at Kids Business had teamed up with the awesome peeps at Spotlight to help them launch their Christmas range at Spotlight stores in Australia.

I love going to events like this, because not only do I get to indulge my love of Christmas stuff for a few hours, but I also get to catch up with all the lovely ladies of the blogosphere. It's a win-win for everyone, Spotlight get to showcase their awesome new Christmas wares and christmas-themed craft supplies, and us bloggers get to do what we do best, take photos, post to social media and talk each other's ears off!

Spotlight Christmas Launch

From the minute we walked through the doors of the Centennial Parklands Dining Room we were smacked in the face with a fistful of Christmas cheer. In a totally good way!

The room looked so good, with beautifully decorated Christmas trees everywhere and tables set up with endless amounts of Christmas-themed products. We were able to go from table to table, checking out the new Christmas merchandise and road-testing the products with Christmas crafts and activities.

The Christmas fabrics were absolutely beautiful, and can be used for so many different types of Christmas-themed sewing projects, from Christmas stockings to new Christmas clothes. If you're in to sewing them you should totally make sure you get yourself down to your local Spotlight store and check out the full-range.

If you're looking for some inspiration, or are keen to make your kids some personalised Christmas sacks then make sure you pop over to Style for a Happy Home and check out Dannielle's tutorial. She made these personalised sacks for my girls and I can't wait for the girls to wake up to them on Christmas morning!

Spotlight has something for everyone

As well as the wonderful crafts and projects on show for adults to do, there were lots of cool things for the kids as well. I must admit, despite the fact that I didn't take the girls with me, I spent quite a lot of time checking out the kids projects and crafts, especially the DecoArt station which had these really cool wooden owl kits to paint and make.

The lady at the stand was so lovely and helpful, and she sent me off with a bag full of the owl kits after I told her how much my Punky would love making them. I wasn't wrong, and the look of excitement on Punky's face when I pulled out a couple of kits for her to paint was priceless.

She spent a good bit of time painting her owls and making them just right, and the girls have spent hours playing with them since. I still have a few more sets left and I think I'm going to get some Christmas coloured paints and glitter for the girls to make some as gifts for their grandparents this Christmas.

Spotlight Stores have everything you need this Christmas

Overall I was really impressed with the quality and range of Spotlight's Christmas stuff and I will definitely be heading to my local store to pick up some more things to put together for our Christmas decorating this year. If you're even a little bit crafty I highly recommend you do the same, you won't be sorry!

Are you a crafty person? Do you love Christmas and all of the decorations that go with it?

Disclaimer: I was a guest at the Spotlight Christmas launch. As always I only ever post about things that I love and think you will too. I was under no obligation to post about the event.

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Forty-Two and Forty-Three {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
{Punky - Forty-Two} This kid loves to paint. She loves anything creative and artistic actually. She's always happiest when she's got some paint, pencils & paper.

{Zee - Forty-Two} I can't get enough of her cute little legs, especially in these colourful leggings. I find myself taking more and more photos of her legs as they are fast losing their chubby toddler-ness and growing in to strong little girl legs, with nary a roll in sight!

{Punky - Forty-Three} This kid loves bugs as much as her Dad, and when they found this little worm/caterpillar-thing in the front yard she just had to show me her new "pet"!

{Zee - Forty-Three} Despite the fact that she seems to always be in constant motion, my little one still loves to come and give me snuggles on the lounge, especially when she's not feeling the best. Today, she had a temperature and was very out of sorts, waking up from her nap after only 10 minutes crying. The only option was for the nap to continue on my lap. I'm gonna miss this when she's too big to sleep on my lap anymore.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Forty-One {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
family photography
{Punky} This draw is supposed to be home to all of the shoes. But sometimes the rubber snake finds it way in there too!

family photographer
{Zee} Obsessed with stickers. That's the only way to put it. If she finds some stickers she will be covered in them in 30 seconds flat!

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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Cockatoo Island {Sydney Harbour} | Kid-Friendly Sydney

Cockatoo Island Sydney

Cockatoo Island {Sydney Harbour} Kid-Friendly Sydney

Cockatoo Island is one of those places that I had heard so much about and have always wanted to visit but for some reason or another never got around to it. Now I have, and I tell you, we can't wait to go back! It's definitely one of the most child-friendly places in Sydney.

Over the long weekend we packed up the girls and hopped on a train (or three) to make our way to Circular Quay. From Circular Quay we jumped on a ferry and after a quick trip (which the girls absolutely adored!) we arrived at the beautiful Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.
what to do in Sydney with kids

fun stuff for kids in Sydney
Cockatoo Island has been everything from a penal establishment to an Industrial School for Girls to a Naval Dockyard and shipbuilding facility. Now though it's a beautiful space that has been opened up to the public for recreation and relaxing.

There is much to do on the island. There are numerous spots for picnicing, you can camp (or even glamp!) or book a stay in one of the many apartments and cottages available. You can play tennis, take a self-guided history tour, hire a boat, swim and relax in the sun. There are a couple of cafes and also licensed bar, perfect for unwinding after a day of sunshine.
child friendly places in Sydney


We spent most of our time sitting in the shade, enjoying the view and letting the kids play. We wandered through two of the tunnels and the girls had a great time making lots of loud noises as we walked through them!

Cockatoo Island: Not just for the kids

Our visit to the island was a brief one, and we are keen to get back and spend more time enjoying what the island has to offer. The adults also have plans to head back for an overnighter, sans kids, and enjoy the camping facilities and bar.
kid friendly things to do in Sydney

sydney for kids

Getting to Cockatoo Island

Part of the fun of visiting Cockatoo Island is getting there, and nothing beats a ride on a ferry for getting the excitement levels of the kids up! All 6 kids loved the ride, and were hanging out the windows the whole time.

Punky couldn't pull herself away from the side of the ferry and insisted on spending the entire trip standing by the rail, watching the city rush by and marvelling at the speed we were moving and the vast amount of water all around us.

Cockatoo Island is free to visit, and the ferry trip was $24 return for two adults from Circular Quay. Kids under 4 are free on Sydney ferries and trains. If you pack a picnic lunch (which we did) it ends up being quite a cheap day out.
places to visit in Sydney with kids

We had such a fun day and I couldn't recommend Cockatoo Island more for a day out in Sydney with young kids (just make sure you get your 2 year old on a good day. If there is such a thing!).

For all you need to know about Cockatoo Island and it's facilities you can find their website here.

Have you ever been to Cockatoo Island? What other places do you like to visit around Sydney with kids?

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Monday, 19 October 2015

Blogger Bootcamp {Week Two} | Blogging

Blogger Bootcamp with Talk About Creative - Week Two

Week two of the 4 week blogger bootcamp that I'm participating in on Facebook saw us talking all things Google Search and discussing ways we can improve our blogs and their search rankings. We spoke about the need for making sure that the pages of your blog are being read properly by google, and what we can do if they're not.

One of the most important things in making sure Google can read your blog properly is checking things like H1 & H2 (heading) tags (Dana has a great blog post that explains what h tags are here), meta titles and descriptions, and also the img alt tags used for the images we insert in to posts. It sounds like a lot of tech gibberish when you write it down like that, but Dana did an excellent job of explaining it all for those of us who aren't so up on the tech side of blogging.

SEO doesn't have to be hard

I'm limited in what I can and can't do on Blogger, but it's been invaluable knowledge that I will carry with me in setting up my photography business website properly. Making sure that I tag things correctly and choose and use the right keywords is another valuable lesson we learned. I'm quickly discovering that SEO doesn't have to be so daunting!

We were each given a report on the top ranking keywords for our sites and the results were interesting. We also discovered where to look on Google Search Console (webmaster tools) to see what content keywords are listed and how significant they are on our sites.

Doing small, simple things when you first create your post can save you a lot of work down the track and ensure that your post pays dividends in google's search results. If you want to know a lot more and how to do it then you should definitely have a look around the Talk About Creative website and blog. Dana has heaps and heaps of informative, helpful blog posts that will get you on the track to SEO success. I recommend starting with this post here.

Guest blogging is important and can help your rankings

The final things we spoke about is the importance of guest blogging on blogs with a similar theme to yours. A massive bonus is if they are happy to also include the link to your website (or a specific page on your site, even better!) with a follow link. This will make Google think that you are a person of influence and also help your rankings.

There is still so much more to learn and even more that I still don't quite understand, but Dana is doing an awesome job of helping us all along and answering our questions.As I mentioned last week, I'm lucky enough to be doing the 4 week blogger bootcamp in exchange for writing about my honest experiences with the course.

Do you include H tags in your posts? Are you as crap at on-page SEO optimisation as I am?

Linking up with One Mother Hen and The NEW Multitasking Woman

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Ten on the Tenth {Documentary-style Family Photography} | Photography

I posted on my facebook page yesterday about how I've been having a bit of an internal struggle when it comes to the kind of photography I want to do once I "properly" start my business next year. I enjoy creating beautiful traditional family portraits, but what I really love is a more documentary-style of photography.

The thing that I have always loved about photography is it's ability to capture a moment in time. Most of my favourite photos of my girls are not the ones where they are looking and smiling at the camera, being good little models, but the photos of the little things and ordinary moments that make up our days.

I'm in my last term of Tafe, we finish classes at the end of November. Then all that's left before graduation in May next year is our exhibition, which is also next May, but for which we have to make our final image selection before the end of term. 

Our final major assessment is putting together a portfolio of 10 images that showcase our skills, what we've learned, and our personal style. I've shown some of the long-list contenders in my portfolio to a couple of teachers now and have gotten completely different feedback. Photography, like any kind of art form, is subjective. People project their own personal experiences and emotions on to every image they view, and so what moves one person won't necessarily move another.

It's much the same with teachers. They can tell you what images of yours are technically good, but whether or not they actually like the image comes down to their own subjectivity. I'm struggling between choosing photos that are technically good, and choosing photos that showcase the kind of work that I really like to do.

It's something that I really need to figure out quick smart because we have less than 4 weeks to make our final selections and then get them printed and matted to the required standard for assessing. It's a big, hard job, and I can only hope that I find the perfect balance between what is considered technically good, but that also showcases my own personal style and the kind of work that I really enjoy doing.

Until then, here are 10 images I shot on the 10th of October. It was a day we spent at home, not doing much at all, just relaxing and taking it easy. This more documentary-style of images is what I most love to shoot, and I hope you enjoy them...

black and white photography

photo of Elsa from Frozen

documentary photography

family lifestyle photography

kids photography

sydney family photography

family photography in sydney

documenting family life

creating memories with photos

sydney documentary photography

What kind of photography do you enjoy? Do you prefer a more posed style, or does the documentary style appeal to you?

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