Saturday, 21 December 2013

Toys for Nauru..

As Christmas has been getting closer, and the low level hum of panic started to turn in to a roar, I have taken some time to step back, have a reality check, and get things in perspective.
While we are far from wealthy, and most weeks I count every bean to make it to the next pay check, I know we have it good.

I live in a safe secure house, with no threat of violence or persecution.
My children live in a country where they have access to education and health care.
We can sleep at night, knowing that we are safe, and will wake in the morning, still safe.
My heart can barely stand the thought of me or my loved ones being so unsafe and scared that we have to leave our country, face perilous journeys to seek asylum in a foreign country. And once there being treated like criminals, or worse.
It breaks my heart to think of anyone being treated this way.
And ashamed that my own country, instead of welcoming and protecting such vulnerable people, locks them in such inhumane conditions.

So this Christmas my children will be getting less presents than usual. And they'll be OK.
We'll be sending some, via Sarah Hanson Young, to the more than 100 children currently in detention on Nauru. Read more here:
and here:

And if you want to know more about how to show support to refugees visit Welcome To Australia here:

I hope your Christmas is a safe and happy one, spent exactly how you like (or as close to it as possible!)
Jo xx

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Not So Ugly Duckling..

When I was a little girl, one of my favourite stories was the story of the Ugly Duckling. I had an audio book of it, a tape and book to read along with. I knew that story inside out and back to front. I listened to it over and over. I loved that little cygnet, I wanted to pick him up, snuggle up and tell him he wasn't ugly. I hated the animals and people who were mean to that little bird. I felt like I was the Ugly duckling and all the mean words and blows were inflicted on me. And when that little cygnet finally blossomed and realised that he wasn't ugly, he wasn't even a duck but in fact was a beautiful swan, I never failed to feel a little skip of joy. ( I was an imaginative and melodramatic child!)  
Throughout the years that story stayed with me, in the little corner of my mind, popping up when I'd least expect it.
 Throughout my teens I felt like the Ugly Duckling, the odd one out. The little bird that didn't quite match. But I forgot about the Swan.

Years later, I was in a friends shop. One of those old style second hand furniture and knick knacks shops where treasure really can be found. And there in a dark corner I spotted it. A gold painted frame. It was a dark painting, hard to see the details and in need of a clean,but the swan was what caught my attention, it was like she was glowing, leaping out of the painting. Of course she came home with me.

The first swan.

And that's how it started. two weeks later I was in one of my local op shops. And there on the wall, was a Vernon Ward print of two swans. 

A bit worse for wear, but still lovely.

Now I don't know if you are a treasure hunting op shopper and have felt this before, but I had one of those moments of excitement, mixed panic and a dash of killer instinct.  Where you spot something across the room, something that you MUST have. It feels like you're in slow motion, you're eyes are locked on your prize, and you walk/run towards it, hoping no one realises what a treasure is amongst them, hoping you're not going to have to elbow someone out of the way.  And when you get your hands on it, you look around with a grin from ear to ear, expecting everyone to be impressed with your efforts.  But their not, because to them it was just a picture hanging on the wall.

Since then, I've gathered together a bevy of Vernon Ward swan prints, and every time I look at them, I'm reminded of that little duckling, who despite feeling like he was the odd one out, became the beautiful swan, the one who everyone admired.

And you,
Do you collect? 
Do you have a story from childhood that still echoes into adulthood?
Jo xx