Tuesday 31 March 2015


Love our comfy wide sofa and this is my favourite corner to cozy up,
 in front of a movie or read a magazine. It is also a perfect spot 
to look out our big window, see the rooftops and the sky!

“I almost always just follow my heart, ideas, instincts,” says Swedish photographer Ulrika Nihlén. “I am not a very competitive person at all. As long as I am happy, as well as those around me, I am satisfied.” So when she set up a family portraiture photography business, The Kiddo Collective, after discussing the idea with stylist My Matson when they were both on paternity leave, it was borne from wanting to create a new type of imagery. There’s a playfulness in their photos, while always allowing the children to take centre stage. While Ulrika was born and raised in Sweden, she studied photography in Paris after finishing school. For the past nine years she’s been living in Stockholm, working as a photographer with the occasional stints at teaching art. She loves working in the darkroom and using her Hasselblad when she can. “I cannot really say how I ended up here,” she says. “It’s been a bumpy, hard but fun road. Sometimes I look at [her son] B and I’m like, oh yeah right, I am a mum.”

1 As a child I used to wear… In the summer, biking shorts in different patterns. And last summer, 20 years later, I bought a pair for myself again. Black though!

2 My bedroom was… pretty messy. Filled with papers and pencils everywhere and the walls covered with paintings and drawings. When I got a little bit older David Beckham joined them on the wall. 

3 When I was a teenager I used to… go on my motorbike to the stable every day after school. I used to horseback ride every day. It was a thoroughbred horse and a totally crazy one, it is a wonder I am still alive. Though I was so much braver as a kid. At weekends me and my friends went out dancing in a pair of buffalo shoes and a very short skirt. 

4 After high school I wanted to be… an architect. However, I did not succeed with the last procedure in the test and I only did the test once. Thereafter, I fell in love with the camera but still I am dreaming of unfinished buildings in my head sometimes. 

5 A seminal moment was… when B had his first big laugh. That must be the best thing for everyone becoming a parent. You feel like you’ve won the Nobel prize or something. 

6 I never thought I would… have a nine-to-five job. Which I’ve never had (so far). 

7 I’ve learnt to… use Instagram. Late adopter, haha. I didn’t feel it was necessary at all but my friends pushed me so hard I felt like it was worth trying.  

8 I know… a lot of smart people and a lot of unnecessary stuff about old cameras and darkroom techniques. 

9 I share because… I love open-minded people. I just started my own IG because I never thought I would meet so many nice people. So many people say that this obsession with Ipads and smartphones will make us introverts. I now realise that it could become the opposite. People share and care so much out in the virtual world, it is amazing. 

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would… probably call somebody to join me; I do not like to eat breakfast alone!

image courtesy of ulrika nihlén

Monday 30 March 2015


We have wanted to create our own potato stamps for a while, and as Easter is fast approaching it seemed like a fun idea to create some bunting from some seasonal designs. 

As always, we grabbed what was to hand at home, which included some small potatoes. Ideally, larger potatoes would have been easier to carve and create more complex details, such as the rabbit footprints. Trying to cut out four paw pads on a tiny potato was a little tricky on our time frame. However, it all worked out well enough, and we had fun.

Potatoes - the larger the better
Cutting tools - we used a pairing knife and skewers
Chopping board
Acrylic paint
Cardboard - for the bunting

1. Cut your potato in half and cut out your shape. To make stamping easy, ensure the stamp design is flat.
2. Place the stamp design on a flat surface or tray of paint and print away.
3. To create the bunting, I hand-cut one shape and used this as a template to create more pieces. I will use twine and a stapler to join these together.

You can cut your potato in half and cut a section off, create your design and use toothpicks to reattach. See here.

images the indigo crew

Friday 27 March 2015


It has has been a while since we went deep into the heart of Centennial Park. It is so easy to get distracted by its circumference: the soft-land playgrounds and walking circuits as well as the coffee shop. But if you walk off the well-trodden path, you can find yourself in a stunning woodland that is almost deserted. A few weeks ago we went exploring and revisited some of our favourite finds from last year - a site where you can build forts out of large tree branches, a path past Lily Pond and into Lachlan Swamp, which is a boardwalk area through a cacophony of noisy hanging fruit bats. Nearby is a new addition too - the Centennial Park Labyrinth, an 11-circuit sandstone design based on one from the 13th century Chartres Cathedral in France. There really was something for everyone.

Thursday 26 March 2015


Denmark has built its history on design that celebrates simplicity and timeless style. The founder of Pierott La Lune is intricately entwined in the stamp that her country has and continues to make on the world. She is the granddaughter of furniture designer Børge Mogensen, and since 2013 she has been focussed on producing clothes under her childrenswear label. Emilie studied textile design at university in Copenhagen and lived and worked in India for several years liaising between Indian textile manufacturers and European design companies. After deciding to start her own business, Emile spent time ensuring she could produce clothes in a sustainable and socially responsible way. Her products are made from organic GOTS-certified Indian cotton and the wool is handmade in Bolivia under Fairtrade conditions, helping local women to support their families and educate their children. Emilie lives in Copenhagen and has just released Pierrot La Lune’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection.

What was behind the decision to start Pierrot La Lune? It has been my dream for many years to do my own line of children’s clothes. I needed a lot of things to fall into place before I was ready for take off. I needed to save up some money and I needed my kids to be older and more independent. 

What had you been doing previously? I am educated as a designer and worked with design for private people, making clothes for them. I also have been teaching design and fashion. 

What is important to you when designing children's clothes? The most important ideal I will never compromise on is the comfort must go along with the pretty look. Never would I make something too tight or too “adult” looking, kids must be kids and in my world they must be what we see not the clothes as the first thing, meaning the clothes should not take all the attention from the human being. 

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? I never think about that. In fact, I don’t think much about the market. I make what my heart tells me to make and what my creative impulse craves for and I seem to be able to reach a segment of customers who like this look. I want my line and brand to be truthful, authentic and loving in the atmosphere. If others do this as well I would be thrilled!  

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? The amount of positive feedback. I did expect a good response as I knew I was doing a good job but as much as it has been is really a gift. 

What is something that people often don't realise about your wares? That good-quality, sustainable production from the cotton plant to the consumer is bound to cost money. We should worry when clothes are too cheap, someone down the line is paying the price for sure. I understand that my line might be a bit expensive but the fact that every single person involved in making this line is paid well and have not been in touch with chemicals is important to remember. 

Where do you look to for design inspiration? Anywhere, mostly in India but also a lot in movies. I love movies and get a lot of ideas watching them as they can create a universe in a way I don’t find elsewhere in any other art. 

What do consider when dressing or styling children? I always strive to reach a complete look without styling too much. The art for me is in making them look natural yet with a certain harmony and touch to the colours and shapes they are. I like also to have an idea from an old film for instance and try to reach the look and then twist it with another little detail giving some edge. 

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? I love to hear when kids like my styles. When mothers tell me their Pierrot la Lune shirt is his favourite or she only wants to wear this dress, etc. I would love the children to feel beautiful because they are! 

What was the last great children's book that you read? My all time favourite book for children is Brother Lionheart by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. I loved it as a kid and I was so looking forward to reading it to my son. We finished it over a weekend some weeks back and he kept saying: “Mom, stop crying!” I kept crying while reading as the book just touches a place in my heart not many books or anything else seems to reach. Fantastic book! And it was playing a special role in my life while my parents got a divorce and I faced a difficult period in my childhood. 

images courtesy of pierrot la lune

Wednesday 25 March 2015


It was time to put the three-year-old's interest in Little Red Riding hood into some sort of context. She was given a doll when she was a baby, and more recently acquired an adventure cape which makes her look like the girl in The Brothers Grimm tale so a couple of weeks ago I tried to tell her the story. But I couldn't quite remember why the wolf was in her grandmother's bed or how it all came about. When I quickly consulted the internet and read that there was a hunter that I had forgotten all about, I knew I had to find the story and retell it properly.

However, finding the right version of Little Red Riding Hood took a little bit of time. We already have a collection of Hans Christian Andersen stories that get skipped over to the picture pages. A few weeks ago when we were reading The Snow Queen every night I only got to read about four pages out of the story because text pages weren't of interest. So Little Red Riding Hood had to be a picture book. But there needed to be enough story to engage her interest too.

After looking through a few versions in a nearby bookshop I found this version of Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Francesca Rossi. The illustrations are quite beautiful and not too scary, and the text is not too complicated, although it is long. It takes us about half an hour to read together. And as we have read it every night since she was given the book, we both now know the story almost off by heart.

Tuesday 24 March 2015


"We're renovating so I'm a bit fickle when it comes to a favourite room, 
it tends to be the most recently finished. Ultimately I'm going to say the kitchen, 
it's one of the biggest transformations and after living with just a battered old sink, with temperamental hot water, and a two-burner camping hob for over 18 months it feels like 
a dream to finally have kitchen we can all safely enjoy together as a family."

It has been interesting to watch the evolution of Marie Nichols from stylist extraordinaire to mother. I interviewed her for Daily Imprint about 7.5 years ago based on her portfolio but got to know her when she moved from the UK to Australia. While she was in Sydney for just over a year she worked regularly for Real Living magazine, while I was deputy editor, and I even cut my teeth styling by assisting her on a couple of photo shoots. She was always so focussed and organised yet clever and creative, as well as cheerful. While I’m watching Marie’s life as a stylist and a mum from afar now (via her Instagram feed), she seems to be colouring her role with all the aforementioned characteristics too. And it does not surprise me that, alongside her talented husband Simon, she has created some amazing kid-inspired projects in her home, including a giant abacus above their son Albie’s cot, and a cool graphic play mat.

Marie admits, though, that motherhood has been a big learning experience. “At the moment I think I’m in the middle of re-focusing, looking at how I’m juggling motherhood and work so that these early years don’t pass me by,” she says.

1 As a child I used to wear... clothes made for me by my Mum. Cute little dresses in sweet Liberty print fabrics. I like to think that if one day I have a daughter I may attempt to make similar for her. I know my limits, so it’s unlikely that I’ll attempt to add my own contributions to Albie’s wardrobe - boys clothes seem far too tricky!

2 My bedroom was... messy. My poor mum was always asking me to tidy my room. I developed a tidying technique that I still use to this day: get a big cupboard, shove everything it, and do not open the door unless absolutely necessary.

3 When I was a teenager I used to... really want to be a rebel, but my parents had bought me up a bit too well so I never quite had it in me. I always had a “need to achieve” and hated getting in trouble so I was a bit rubbish at the whole “rebel” thing really. 

4 After high school I wanted to be... working in a job that I loved. I always knew that I wanted to do something creative, and from the age of about 14 I was certain that I wanted to become an interior designer. 

5 A seminal moment was... moving to Sydney for 14 months. I’m a home girl. I’d never before been away from my family for longer than two weeks. Giving up my job at a magazine in London, renting out the home that Simon and myself had renovated and going to live on the other side of the world was “out of character”. However, it was by far the best thing that we’ve ever done. The experience was amazing for us as a couple, with Simon working alongside me. Without my family around he really became my rock. (He proposed while on a mini break in the Blue Mountains.) Creatively, I felt so inspired and it gave me a new confidence as a stylist and allowed me to further develop my own personal style. We fell in love with the city; I hold such fond memories of our time there and still miss it. We dream of re-discovering it all over again with Albie one day soon. 

6 I never thought I would... enjoy motherhood quite as much as I am, or at least not in the early days. I remember in those first few weeks, which felt like years, feeling so out of control and way out of my depth - two things that really don’t sit well with me: I’m a control freak. How was life ever going to resemble “normal” again? The fact is I don’t think life will ever resemble “normal again” when you become a mother, but you find a “new normal”. For me that took a little - *read, “a lot of” - adjusting to, but once I got there I realised that it’s a far better normal than the normal I had before. I’m just way more tired than normal!

7 I've learnt to... or I’m learning to - because I’m still new at this motherhood thing - appreciate the value of what it means to be a Mother. Something a friend said to me in passing just last week really struck a cord - we were drinking tea, having a catch up with three crazy toddlers charging around at the time so I forget her exact words - it was along the lines of “Sometimes we just need to take a step back and realise what a bloody tough but amazing job we are doing as mums”. She’s right, we don’t give enough credit to what it means to “just be a mum”.

I always wanted my children to have the same amazing childhood that I did. My mum gave up her career to give my brother and I the most amazing childhood. She always had time for us and was so creative and inspiring, childhood was really fun. I’ve always had a need to “achieve” and I thought that I was too selfish to sacrifice my career, that “just being a mum” somehow wouldn’t be enough for me. I’m discovering that achievements aren’t just measured by gaining a new client, or seeing a shot that I’ve styled on the cover of a glossy magazine. I’m learning to appreciate just how important and satisfying - if not a little frustrating at times - it is to be a Mum. There is nothing that makes me happier than teaching Albie a new word; seeing him wolfing down a dinner that I’ve cooked for him or when he calls me Mummy (or Mum-eeee as he likes to pronounce it). Mum-eeee is by far the best thing I’ve ever been called! I’ve learnt that motherhood changes how you look at everything. 

8 I know... that there is nothing more important in my life than my family.

9 I share because… “it’s nice to share”. (I’m finding myself saying that a lot at the moment!) Primarily, I share because when I’m working on a styling project, be it for a magazine or an advertising campaign there is always a brief to meet and a client to please. Online I can create and share whatever is of interest to me personally and in doing so create friendships with like-minded people. Plus, I get to have a nose into their lives too, which I love because I’m a total sticky beak.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would... like to say sleep, but the reality is that sleep would feel like a wasted opportunity so probably start one of the craft projects on my very long list of “one day I’ll…” Or write that book proposal that I’ve been procrastinating over for the past two years, although both would require longer than a morning so can I have a week please!

image courtesy of marie nichols

Monday 23 March 2015


We first heard about Lane Cove National Park a few years ago when one of our neighbours said they went camping there with their young children. It seemed like a great idea - getting your children to test-drive sleeping in a tent without having to drive for hours beforehand. We've been meaning to check out the parklands ever since, and finally got to it over the weekend.

It was a taster only, as the park has many features to offer, including a boat shed where you can hire peddle boats and kayaks. However, we wanted to get a sense of the scale of the place, and just spend some time hanging out in nature.

We took a walk through some bushland, saw many varieties of ducks and birdlife, and spotted a couple of Eastern Water Dragons. 

As we walked we collected various feathers that we found along the way, and was quite impressed with the colour and mix when we had a closer look at them when we were back home.

* Bike-riding in the park is popular. It's quite hilly in sections so suited mainly to competent riders, however, there were much smaller children's tracks too.
* There are plenty of picnic tables and areas to sit and have lunch, and be able to enjoy the surrounding bush.
* There's a boat shed with paddle boats and kayaks for hire, although it seemed closed for renovation when we visited.

images the indigo crew

Friday 20 March 2015


I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks to make for the children. I like to cook sugar-free where possible, or at least use as many whole foods as I can. I spied this recipe on how to make banana bliss balls by Kate Oliver a little while ago and last weekend I made an adaptation, using what was available in the pantry.

1 banana
Almond meal (I used LSA mix as a on-hand ingredient)
Slug maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180-degrees. Mash up banana with a fork. Add about 1/2 cup of almond meal. Mix. Add a slug of maple syrup (about 1/2 tablespoon).
2. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Makes 9

image the indigo crew 

Thursday 19 March 2015


There are so many great childrens brands coming out of Spain and Bobo Choses is one of them. It started in 2008 after Adriana Esperalba had a child and wanted to create a range of clothes that were surprising and fun. The first collection for Autumn-Winter 2009 The Englishman and the Sitting Bull became a huge hit and the brand has gained cult status. Underwriting its popularity is Adriana, who previously worked as a graphic designer. Her work and eye for the unexpected is evident in the hand-illustrated drawings on many of the collection pieces. Bobo Choses is also mostly made in Spain and the headquarters are in Mataro, about 50km north of Barcelona. So what’s next for Bobo Choses? “To keep surprising and having fun with the kids,” Adriana says.

What was behind the decision to start Bobo Choses? After becoming a mother I decided - with my ex partner - to create a kids collection, which was presented in Paris in 2008. 

What had you been doing previously? Art director at my own graphic design studio. 

What is important to you when designing children’s clothes? That they are surprising, comfortable, good quality and help you have fun!

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? All our collections have a storybook behind them, and all the collections are inspired by that book.

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? To be where we are right now.

What is something that people don’t realise about your wares? That 95% of our collection is made in Spain, and that each collection has 200 references.

Where do you look to for design inspiration? An important part comes from my childhood: movies, music, books and trips. And day by day there is some sort of input - something that you see and all of a sudden it becomes part of the collection.

What do you consider when dressing or styling children? Originality and comfort.

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? We want to become part of their childhood. As an adult you always remember your favourite tshirt or sweater - we want to become that one.

What was the last great children’s book that you read? Our book Monster Table Manners or Rules for Ghosts and Goblin’s Mischievous Behaviour.

images courtesy of bobo choses

Wednesday 18 March 2015


Put Me In The Zoo is a fun book that our son was given as a gift a few years ago. It was actually a well-loved hand-me-down. He enjoyed it and now it's the three-year-old's turn to be entertained by the story and playful rhyming words. If you enjoy Dr Seuss books, you'll probably enjoy this book too.

I had to do a little research about the author, Robert Lopshire as I thought he might have been a former or ghost name for Theodor Seuss Geisel, the man behind the Dr Seuss books. But while there are similarities between the way they write, and the style of illustrations, they are different authors.

Interestingly, when we read the book again the other night it also reminded me of Herve Tullet's books, which play on colours and shapes. 

The story is about "Spot", who wants to live in the zoo. He is refused and in arguing his case on why he should be allowed there he changes his spot colours. It has a similar moral tale to Dr Seuss books too - celebrating difference.

The book is classified as a beginner reader book, but it's suitable to younger children as well, who can guess which word will rhyme next.

images the indigo crew

Tuesday 17 March 2015


"This photo is taken in my bedroom right by the window, where I have taken 
so many special photos of the children. On bright days, the sun streams 
in bathing the wall in warmth - much needed in winter as our house
 is very old and thus somewhat cold."

Ali Dover has circled her way back to the interests of her childhood and adolescence and managed to turn them into a thriving business. She grew up in the Lake District, a rural area in the north west of England. “Weekends were spent climbing the numerous mountains or exploring the lakes,” she says. “At six we moved en-famille to rural North Yorkshire where I spent eight mostly blissful years running around in the fresh air or reading books.” Later her family moved to the town of Leamington Spa where she developed an interest in fashion and style. After school Ali planned to go to the London College of Fashion to study fashion journalism but ended up with a BA Hons in English Literature from elsewhere. “Some things never go away, however, and I eventually ended up in the fashion office at Tatler magazine followed by a stint in the production office at Vogue,” she says. But the fit wasn’t right and Ali left Conde Nast to travel to New York and spent a year in search of her next direction. 

It wasn’t until she returned to the UK and became pregnant that her path became clearer. She had three children: Billy, James and Lucy. After the birth of her youngest Ali became passionate about woven wraps. “The colours, textures, and the fact that I could keep her close - where she wanted to be,” she says. Her interest lead to an online shop selling baby slings but dissatisfied with the product shots she started to make her own so that she could style them too. Brands soon came calling, asking her to give their products her distinctive touch. “My ultimate dream back then was to have my own woven wrap brand one day, even though I couldn’t see how to make it happen; I find it remarkable to think I have achieved that, although I have a long road ahead of me,” she says. Ali is now working on two new wrap designs, and continues to photograph childrenswear for leading and independent labels.

1 As a child I used to wear… some fairly interesting ensembles. It was the ’70s so there was much cheesecloth, hand-knitted sweaters and many a pair of embroidered bell bottom jeans in my wardrobe.

2 My bedroom was… my flower power sanctuary in shades of lilac.

3 When I was a teenager I used to… go to the pub and drink Malibu and lemonade

4 After high school I wanted to be… editor of American Vogue.

5 A seminal moment was… Lucy’s birth, almost six years ago, where I discovered natural childbirth can be blissfully pain free.

6 I never thought I would… become a photographer!

7 I've learnt to… listen to my instinct - every time.

8 I know… that there is so much more I would like to know.

9 I share because… it builds trust.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would… de-clutter and then de-clutter some more - impossible to do with the littles around!

image courtesy of ali dover