Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

Friday, 31 October 2014

Photography Basics... Linky Lovin' Friday {31st October 2014} // Photography

photography tips for beginners
The image above was taken in March 2010 and is SOOC (straight out of camera, no editing). It used to be my header for the blog way back when!
This week for Linky Lovin' Friday I wanted to share with you a bit of a round-up of what I consider to be some of the best photography basics articles that I've found around the web. These posts are awesome for beginners, and are also great for those who need a refresher or reminder of certain things.

One of the things I love most about photography in this information age is the fact that I can learn about photography at any time of the day or night. There is so much information available on the web these days, for photographers of all skill levels, there's really no excuse not to be soaking up as much of it as you can.

Having said that, it can be overwhelming because of the amount of information out there, so the articles I've linked to today are the ones I've found are written really well and in an easy-to-understand manner. No matter how much I think I know, there is always something more to learn, and I hope you get as much from these articles as I have.

Photo Basics: Master Your Camera's Shooting Modes - The blog Improve Photography is a relatively new find for me, but it is one of the best ones. Jim writes as if he is sitting down next to you, with his camera in hand, explaining everything in the easiest-to-understand way. Since discovering his blog I've spent hours going through the archives and I know I will spend many hours more on there! If you're wanting to know what the different shooting modes on your dSLR are for, then you need to read this article before anything else.

I discovered the Weekend Photographer back in 2012 when I first started to make a real effort to shoot in manual mode. I had a basic understanding of the exposure triangle but nothing I read made it as clear as these three Back to Basics articles I found there:
Back to Basics: Shutter Speed
Back to Basics: Aperture
Back to Basics: ISO

A layman's guide to depth of field: how to check and affect sharpness like a pro
 - Depth of field is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot in photography, and this article does a really great job of explaining it in simple language that anyone can understand.

11 Easy ways to make a portrait stunning - The title of this is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to take your portraits up a notch then try a few of these easy dos and don'ts.

10 pro tips that will work in any genre of photography - The number 1 tip in this article is to Keep it Simple, and I couldn't agree more. I've been guilty of trying to get all fancy with composition and lighting, yet when I look back at my photographs, most of the best ones are often also the simplest.

10 Common mistakes made by new Photographers - If you're wondering why your photos are just not looking quite right, then chances are you're making one of these mistakes. It's a longer article but well worth the read to help you fix some of things that annoy you most about your photographs that you just can't quite put your finger on.
beginner photography tips
{Image nicked from Maxabella's first post in the series, here}

Photography for beginners - I've mentioned this in a previous Linky Lovin' post, but if you're looking for the ultimate in beginner photography tips then look no further than Maxabella's excellent series. She covers everything that the beginner photographer could possibly want to know, all written in her trademark friendly, relatable style. If you want simple, easy-to-grasp tips for improving your photography all round, then bookmark that link, like yesterday.

Sometimes I think about writing posts about the things I've learnt about photography and my own hints and tips. Then I take a short stroll down the information super highway and see how many people have already done it, and way better than I could hope to, and I know I don't need to.

What I can do is save you the time of trawling through page after page of information and just find the best stuff for you. And that's what I'm going to endeavour to do, by bringing you a few more photography-specific linky lovin' posts when I gather enough links to warrant it. You can also check out my photography board on Pinterest to see what else I've been reading.

I hope you enjoy these links and get something out of them. If you know of any awesome photography websites or tips/tutorials I should check out then please hit me up with the links in the comments.

Continue reading...

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Conversations with Colour: Toddler Talk // Life

This week I'm finally going to join in with the gorgeous Josefa for her monthly Conversations linky. This month the theme is Conversations with colour, and Josefa has written about the choices we make as parents and AFL team supportership (is that even a word? I have no idea. But anyway...).

When I think of Conversations with Colour it makes me think of interesting conversations. Conversations with life, with maybe a few swear words. Conversations that make you laugh out loud and go a million miles a minute.

It's no secret that I'm a talker. If you've ever met me in the offline world then you know that I could talk underwater if need be. I've always been a talker. And it's not a nervous talking thing either, where people feel the need to talk to fill empty space in awkward or new situations. I am a grade-A, barely-pause-to-take-a-breath, Chatter Box.

I've been this way ever since I learnt to talk. I come from a long line of talkers, so it's not surprising. I've long since grown accustomed to the jokes and digs sent my way in regards to what I think is a very handy habit to have. I can have a chat with anyone, and if need be I can just keep talking until something more interesting comes along for the listener to do. Don't even get me started on how much I talk when I've been drinking!

So it makes sense that my daughters are inheriting this trait from their Mother. Zee, at only 15 months old already has quite an extensive vocabulary. Unlike Punky, who was quite slow to start talking, Zee has benefited from having a Chatter Box big sister and is already busting out the two syllable words and stringing up to 3 together at a time.

Of course the 3 words that she strings together just happen to be "let it go" but we won't dwell on that. She also loves to tell me to "Go! Go!" when we are stopped at traffic lights, thanks to Punky's incessant yelling of it every time the car slows down, and thanks to swimming lessons her favourite thing to say at the moment is "ready, go!".

People are quite shocked to learn that she is only 15 months old when they hear her talking. She is an incredible mimic and will copy most things, with perfect pitch and intonation. She never shuts up and wanders the house babbling and talking to herself non-stop. It's such a relief when she goes to bed.

The real laughs come from Punky though. She is at that stage where she is like a little sponge, soaking up everything she hears, and then parroting it back to you. I've had to really start watching what I say after overhearing her call her Barbie a little bugger, as well as hearing her say "There's pucking one" after I'd muttered under my breath about there always being one person who doesn't move while driving! Bad Mummy!

The cutest is when she says things that you just don't expect to hear a toddler say, and you wonder where she got it from. Like exclaiming how delicious her play tea was the other day, or when she told my sister last night "It's so great to see you!" when they were saying goodbye.

My favourite is when she tells me how "bootiful" I look when I get dressed in pretty much anything, or when she tells me that she loves me so much, or "to the moon!". When I hear her say these things to me it forces me to try and see myself through her eyes and it's a very interesting lesson she has to teach me.

Perhaps the funniest though, and most awkward is the fact that she can't quite pronounce the 'f' sound yet. It's not a huge deal, because there aren't too many words that she is trying to say that begin with that sound. Except for two. And when she says them in public it makes people double-take and give me funny looks.

Because she has replaced the 'f' with a 'p'. Which means that when she asks "Mummy, you finished?", it comes out as "Mummy, you pissed?". Or if she's talking about fish, it sounds like she's talking about piss. It's absolutely hilarious to be honest, and Mum and I have (not literally) pissed ourselves when she has said it at family night.

I've been trying to make an effort to record her talking because I really don't want to forget how cute and funny she sounds. Pretty soon she'll be speaking perfectly well and my memories of her funny talking ways will fade. The magic of the modern age means it's easier than ever to capture these precious moments, and I know in years to come we'll both get much enjoyment from re-living her funny little talking ways.

Do you have video of your kids talking as toddlers? Did your kids ever struggle to make certain sounds when learning to speak?

Continue reading...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Strawberry Thief // Photography

Continue reading...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas #giftorium // PR // Life

Please see disclaimer at the end of this post...

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about taking the girls in to the city to meet Hi-5 and how I was proud of myself for doing something with them by myself after avoiding it for so long. Well 2 Fridays ago, just 3 days after that first city outing, I upped the stakes and took them to the city by myself again. On the train. A train ride that takes an hour and a half ONE way! And we survived!

All it took was a bit of forward planning and a couple of backpacks filled with toys and everyone had a great time on the train. It was both girls first time to travel on one and I think they both enjoyed it. Punky was a little unsure of it all when we first got on, but she soon warmed up and really enjoyed seeing all the people and stations.

Our destination for this trip was Town Hall station, followed by a short walk to the Sydney City Myer store on George St. We'd been invited to an Australia-first Christmas shopping experience, created by the lovely peeps at Myer.

The Myer Giftorium is everything you would expect from a dedicated Christmas shopping space and we certainly weren't disappointed. The minute we got off the lift Punky started exclaiming "Woooow, it's so pretty!" and was mesmerised by all the Christmas glitz and glamour.
Reading on the train, just like Mamma used to do!

The place was wall to wall Christmas, with everything from sparkling Christmas decorations, to every toy you could imagine for kids, to unique and interesting gifts for every person you can think of. There was roving magicians and musicians, face-painting, personal shoppers, and demonstrations of some of the amazing toys on sale.

Punky had the best time playing with a remote-controlled dinosaur while we waited in the face painting line, and almost caused a few minor accidents playing with the speedy remote-control car. Let's just say I won't be letting her get behind the wheel any time soon as her driving skills left a little to be desired! Good thing she's not quite 3 yet and we have plenty of time before it's an issue!
There was no other choice for the face painting but Frozen!

The girls had a great time looking at all the Christmas decorations and picking out a few special ones to put on the tree this year. They also really loved checking out the toys, especially the giant Lego and Duplo displays. I was hard pressed stopping Zee from tearing the whole thing down to be honest.

I'm definitely keen to return to the Giftorium sans kids so I can have a proper look and choose a few gifts for the people on my list. I saw quite a few things that will do nicely and make some special people smile.

Myer was nice enough to give all the bloggers that attended a $50 voucher to spend on the day, and while part of me wanted to spend it on the girls, the other part felt that I really should be rewarded for tackling the city and the train with the girls on my own, and so I spent most of it on a funky new watch for myself, and the remaining amount on a bribe for Punky (a pair of Princess Sophia princess shoes).
Clockwise from left: I plan to get Dave a new wallet and have it monogrammed (which is free!); how cool is this personalised Little Miss picture!; the watch I treated myself to {image of watch taken from Myer website here}

The bribe worked and Punky was super good for the rest of the excursion. After we'd had our fill of the Giftorium we headed downstairs to the parent's room so that I could extract Zee from her soaking wet clothes (note to self: don't leave child unattended with drink bottle) and let them run off a bit of steam chasing each other around the room.

We then headed back to the station to grab some lunch to eat on the train and it was so much fun watching Punky's awe at the big city around her. At one point, while we were standing across the road from the Queen Victoria Building, Punky pointed to the sky and told me about how "berry, berry, berry, berry big" the buildings were.

The train trip home was uneventful, Zee couldn't resist the motion of the train and fell asleep within 5 minutes. Punky was also a little worn out I suspect and was content to sit on my lap and watch some TV shows on the iPod.

We had a really great (although exhausting) day and I am definitely going to make more of an effort to do stuff like this with the girls again. Christmas was always my most favourite time of the year when I was a kid, and I think we might have to make it an annual tradition to go in to the city each year and visit the Myer Giftorium.

I can highly recommend checking out the Giftorium if nothing else than for the experience of being surrounded by all that Christmas cheer. There's a little something for everyone there and I'm sure you'll also come away wanting more than a thing or two yourself!

Have you visited the Myer Giftorium yet? Do you enjoy the traditions and excitement around Christmas and the subsequent shopping opportunities or do you avoid it like the plague?

Disclaimer: We were invited to the opening of the Myer Giftorium by the lovely people at Kids Business and Myer, and were gifted a $50 voucher to spend on the day, as well as a SodaStream Play machine and goody bag. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Continue reading...

Friday, 24 October 2014

Linky Lovin' Friday {24th October 2014} // Blogging

It's Friday again and you know what that means folks! Time for me to share some of the bits and pieces I've enjoyed reading around the interwebs this week. It's just a super quick one as I have been crazy busy looking after a teething small toddler and toilet-training big toddler. I'm not sure which is worse to be honest as both are an absolute nightmare! If you've got any tips on how to entice a reluctant toddler to poo on the toilet I am all ears!

We've most definitely hit that time of year when everyone is starting to think about the C-word (Christmas you dirty buggers!) and all the end of year merriment is ramping up. I'm pretty sure I've we've only got one weekend of the year left that isn't booked solid so it's going to make for an interesting and dun couple of months!

I've still got a couple of openings for family photo shoots if you're in Sydney and want a few new nice photos to give to family for Christmas. If you're keen, or you know someone who might be, please send them my way or shoot me an email to

And now, on to the linky lovin'...

Sydney Mum risks possibility of third son by The Thud

I know a woman with five boys (and when I say “a woman”, I mean my cousin, but again, anonymity). People speak about “She Who Must Not Be Named” in hushed, incredulous voices, for fear Lord Voldemort himself will strike them down with a terminal case of willies.
I loved this post by Lauren at The Thud. I'd not read Lauren's blog before someone shared this post of hers on Facebook, but I plan to head back and read more after this. Zee was barely born before we had people asking us if we would be trying our luck a third time to get a boy. Ah no. If we ever decide to go back for more it will be because we want a baby, not a boy.

When people read what you write by Tamsin at Kiki & Tea

These conversations are often harder to have than writing and publishing the piece. It's easy to bare your innermost thoughts to strangers, it's far harder to open your mind to your friends. To have someone look into your eyes as you confess these things.
Why is that?
I could totally relate to this piece by Tamisn. It's always slightly weird to have someone I know personally well mention to me that they've read my blog or something in particular that I've written here. I mean, I know a lot of my friends and family read the blog, but it's in kind of an abstract way, if you know what I mean. And despite the fact that it's absolutely lovely to know that they are reading it, it's sorta weird and awkward at the same time, as I always feel much more comfortable discussing certain things in words on my screen with you, than in person, face to face.

Image stolen form the post linked below...

Why your husband isn't doing you any favours by watching the kids by A Mother Far From Home

Because my husband is every bit as responsible for our children as I am. He’s not doing me a favor by watching our kids, he’s simply fulfilling his role as a father.
I remember having this kind of conversation with my good friend Kel once, when Punky and her A were still quite young, about the fact that it shouldn't feel like the father of our children is doing some kind of good thing by looking after their children, they are just doing their job, the same way we are. This is a great post, and if you've ever felt like your partner is doing you a favour by looking after the kids while you go out, or someone has said how nice it is for them to be doing that for you, remember this post and the fact that it's not a favour, the kids are just as much their responsibility as they are yours.

Is it time to get over ourselves? By Emily at Have a Laugh on Me

NEWSFLASH: It’s not always about you so get over yourself!
LOVE this post by Emily (and I apologise now Em that I haven't had a chance to get over and leave a comment. Yet!). It's so damn true. I know I have been guilty in the past of doing this exact thing, but I have been slowly learning to indeed get over myself and learn this most valuable of lessons.

Now that you have your weekend reading list, go have a squiz at these lovely ladies words and come back and tell me which ones you've enjoyed, and if you too find it weird when people in offline life talk to you about something they've read on your blog.

Continue reading...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Toddler Food Ideas: Eating off the floor // Laughs // Parenting

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a toddler not asleep, must be in want of food.

If you are/have been the proud owner of one or more toddlers then you will certainly understand the truth of the above sentence. Toddlers have an insatiable appetite. Whether it's from the constant movement and noise making or the effort it takes to drive their parents to absolute distraction, toddlers need food. 

And lots of it.

I'm pretty sure scientists are getting close to definitive proof that toddlers burn more energy than the sun in a a 24-hour period.

No sooner have the small ones awoken then they are demanding food. A drink bottle of cows milk for the big one, a lazy feed of Mummy milk for the smaller one. As soon as the milk has been consumed it's on to the biscuits. The biscuits are merely a stop-gap measure to allow Mum to get out of bed and get her head together, ready for the day. Sometimes I'm allowed to pee by myself and even get the jug boiling before they are beating down the bathroom door, demanding breakfast.

Depending on how close I've gotten to making myself a coffee, breakfast can be anything from toast to porridge to yoghurt and muesli. I'm not very creative or functional before about 11am and the consumption one mother-flippin' HUGE-ass coffee, so the kids have learnt to take what they can get for this meal without arguing.

They know Mummy needs her coffee like a hater needs his hate, and the big one has even started bringing me make-believe cups of tea & coffee at random intervals throughout the day. Usually just after I've lost my shit for some random reason. I take it as a sure sign that it's definitely time to boil the jug for the twentieth time and actually make and drink another cup of joe!

Lunch and dinner are interesting affairs when you have toddlers. I hardly ever bother slaving over elaborate meals for them because a) I've never slaved over elaborate meals for anyone and I sure as shit ain't gonna start now. And b) because whatever I feed them is going to mostly end up in their hair, on their clothes or on the ground anyway, so why bother with elaborate anything!

The big toddler, now that she has become proficient at using cutlery and sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time, usually does a pretty good job of getting most of the food in her mouth. Unless that food is yoghurt. Then it's on like Donkey Kong and she deliberately turns the spoon over just before it reaches her mouth and it ends up all over the bench.

I've recently come to realisation that this spoon technique is really just a ploy to get as much of the damn stuff on the bench as she can, to then facilitate finger painting in it. So now, as of last week, yoghurt is banned until she can learn to eat it properly. If she wants yoghurt from now on she has to go crying to Nanny who buys those fancy squeezy pouches of the stuff because she is not getting it from me! I got enough crap to clean up without a tiny terrorist deliberately adding more!

The small child hasn't quite progressed to using cutlery as yet, and is still firmly in the finger food/being spoon-fed stage. Most of the time I try to give her stuff that she can feed to herself, because feeding a toddler who only wants to open her mouth a few millimetres at a time is extremely boring and ain't nobody got time fo' dat!

When she is spoon fed I've started to give her a spoon of her own so she can practise and I reckon 3 times out of 10 she actually manages to get food from the bowl into her mouth via the spoon. The rest of the time it falls down that gap between child and high chair tray, where it then becomes squished so well into her clothes that it almost becomes part of the pattern.

The smallest toddlers favourite game at the moment though when imbibing finger food, is to sweep her hand from side to side across the high chair tray and launch as much food as she can off the tray or plate and on to the floor around her chair. I must say she has really perfected this technique over the last few weeks and were starting to see her get some real distance with her morsels.

At this stage I'm fairly certain that about 75% of the food she is served is ending up on the floor, if my calculations while sweeping and/or vacuuming are accurate. At any rate, I'm starting to think that I have been going about feeding the small child the wrong way.

For no sooner have I gotten her out of the high chair and gone to pull the older toddler down from the roof (exaggeration of course, but not by much!) then the younger toddler is happily sitting on the floor beside the high chair eating the aforementioned launched food.
Oh Joey. This is how I imagine Zee in the future!

Now if I were a better mother I'd scoop her up and deposit her a safe distance away while I clean the area and remove all food scraps to the nearest trash receptacle, but I'm not a better mother. (You know what's coming next, don't you?!).

I figure it's far easier to let her hoover up the food she has dropped in her own special way, and then come along afterwards and get anything she's missed with the actual hoover. Why should I break my back picking up all the food she's thrown on the ground when she is quite clearly not done with that, and I can just let her finish her meal there?

Hygiene, some of you might answer. But I say "immunity building" to that! Due to her improvement in food launching skills, there are times when food is spread so far and wide that I miss a piece here and there and it's not until a day or two later when I do a full back-room sweep that I come across it. If she hasn't beaten me to it that is!

The way I see it, if she can chow down on some random piece of day old toast that I've missed and still be fine, then she can sure as heck eat the food she's dropped from the meal she's just "finished". She's happy, I'm happy, and it cuts down on the time I have to spend cleaning up the food.

It's a parenting win in my books!

I'm starting to think that maybe I should just drop all of her food straight on the floor as soon as it's ready and be done with it. Why bother with this eating in the high chair charade when we both know that eating the food off the floor is what it's really all about for her. And when she's done she can simply move on to the bits and pieces that the big toddler has dropped from her lunch and I can sit and drink a coffee in peace without a tiny terrorist begging me for more food!

Seriously, who needs a dog when you have toddlers?!

How do you/did you find the experience of feeding toddlers? Is it a universal toddler thing, this joy of throwing food during a meal and then eating it off the floor afterwards, or have I really given birth to something genetically closer to a dog than a human child?

Linking up with those glorious Lizards of the Lounge today.
Continue reading...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My First Family Photography Shoots // Photography

On the weekend of the 11th & 12th October I did my very first paid family photography sessions. It was nerve-wracking and exhillirating all at once. I blogged about it last week, and today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite photos from the sessions.

Ann and her lovely family were first up on the Saturday, and we headed to Macarthur Park in Camden, NSW, an absolutely stunning part of the world and well worth a visit if you have the time.

I then headed over to Woolwich Pier on Sunday to meet with Emma and her 5 gorgeous girls for some fun (and photos!) in the sun. Both families made it so easy for me, they were the perfect subjects to photograph and I had a great time!

sydney family photography

western sydney family photography

natural light photography in sydney

family portrait photographer sydney

family photography in sydney area

family pictures

professional family photos

outdoor family portraits

If you live in Sydney and you're interested in booking a shoot with me, please check out my website at and send me an email to
You can also find me on Facebook here.

Have you had any family photos taken lately? What's our best tip for making the day go smoothly?
Find me here:
Continue reading...