Suddenly I was right back in the midst of it …



I don’t know why it happened … tiredness, full moon, hormones, sick bubbas, not enough time to myself … some / all / none of these? … but last week I slipped for a few days back to a head space I haven’t been in for a while.

It started with tiredness. Crippling tiredness – falling into bed as soon as the girls were in bed tiredness.

It spiralled down into unreasonableness … a loss of perspective … an overly emotional-take on everything … checking social media every 27 seconds.

It was when overwhelm, my old nemesis, appeared one morning as I made breakfast and became aware of that familiar feeling of 1000 computer tabs being open in my mind that I realised something was not Quite Right.

I did what I try to do often when I feel the impending gloom: I pretended everything was ok. Actually, more than ok. I wore bright lipstick and put on a new top which made me feel a bit like a Parisian. I hoped by feeling a bit fabulous that I could convince myself out of the rut.

A friend at school told me I looked French and I was chuffed and pleased that my plan was working.

I got back to the car and was exhausted.

Because pretending is exhausting.

And I was reminded of Glennon Doyle-Melton’s brilliant words:

People who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don’t need help.”

And you’re probably now going to say, “I wish you’d called, I would have helped if I’d known”, but you DID help. Knowing that I could call you, THAT helped.

And you know how I didn’t reply to your message for 15 days? By not getting the shits with me, THAT helped.

And by holding Lulu for a few minutes in the playground, for picking up my keys for me, by giving me a wave across the road, for listening to me while I railed about the boxes and the mess at the house … all THAT helped.

All those little acts of kindness, of normalness, they helped ever so much.

So did sleep – lots of sleep. So did the not cooking for a few nights. So did heaving my worries up to my Angels for them to watch over. So did imagining closing all those open tabs in my head. So did praying and listening, playing chants, and reading old favourite books.

And just as the fog descended, it lifted. I should know this by now. I do intellectually but in the midst of the fog it is hard to trust in the weighted overwhelm giving way to energy and lightness. But sure as day follows night, it does.

So, for those of you who may be in the midst of a stormy time, please know this.

For those of you who love someone who is in the midst of it, please know this too.

I don’t know if that would have helped me to read last week – some minutes it would have, others not so much … may this reach you at the right moment, and may you enjoy the warmth of the sunshine again soon xoox



I need your help … I’m looking for a Mum and her child(ren) … you might know her?

I need your help … I’m looking for a Mum and her child(ren) … you might know her? 

Someone who has been courageous and determined and is ready to share her story.

Maybe it’s you? Maybe it’s your friend?

Why? Well …

I’m rallying The Manly Daily to write an article for Post Natal Depression Awareness Week which is coming up next month (13 to 19 November).

I am championing them to show the many faces of PND – a Mum, her partner, a Dad, from the eyes of a doctor or counsellor, a friend … a gathering of experiences so that people who are going through PND can see that they are not alone, of how common it is, of how many faces of PND there are.

I want to keep breaking down the stigmas around mental health. Of showing that PND can happen to anyone, of the various guises it can take, and that there is hope and help out there.

The good news? They are on board!

The exciting news? I am looking for a Mum who is happy to share her story and be photographed with her kids for the paper.

I think you might have someone in mind as you’re reading this? Maybe it’s you, maybe it is a girlfriend or sister?

I know this is scary; it is vulnerable stuff, it is revealing and scary … every time I post my mind still goes into chatter-overload.

But here’s the thing … it’s worthwhile. Each time I doubt what I am doing, I think back to me on my darkest days and know that I wish I had had these words to read.

Please get in touch by Monday 17 October so that I can put you in contact with Ali (the journalist at the paper).

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I haven’t disappeared I’ve just been …

… quiet.

The words haven’t been flowing … and I am learning to trust in the ebb and flow, the different seasons, the time for talking and the time for reflecting, and so I’ve been trying to honor that … while also feeling a bit guilty because I feel like I dropped off the face of the earth without explanation, and I love being on here and sharing and hearing back from you.

So here’s the thing, here’s the plan … I’m taking the next few months to delve deep into the Zim Zum Motherhood … to get the basics sorted (yeah, like registering my business name and sorting out accounting) and to work on some really big, audacious projects which have been simmering away.

I want to get back to my writing, to sharing, to being vulnerable and reflective because that is what I really really love … and I am trusting in the Law that if you’re doing what you really really love, then everything else will flow. It’s the Constitution.

I want to get consistent with my sharing – a daily Instagram and FB of what I’m up to, a weekly blog of what is happening, and building up to a regular email of juicy goodness to keep us Mummas connected and going through the messiness and magnificence of it all.

By the time school goes back in February (I’m not wishing time away, I promise!!), I will have a beautiful new program of workshops to offer you, soulful amazing collaborations to unveil, as well as a range of gifts and products to remind us all that us Mummas are unique and oh-so-special, but never-ever alone.

So, that is my plan. The Zim Zum Motherhood Manifesto.

I am now accountable to you, lovely Mumma. You can hold me to it – and celebrate with me as I get the wheels in motion and see things coming to fruition. Now is when The Zim Zum Motherhood really leaps and sees where things go. I’m setting intentions for big things.

And why the sudden energy and vigour? Well, today is a Milestone Day. I have 8 hours to myself as all the girls are at school or in care. 8 glorious hours dedicated to my work. This will be happening twice a week from now on, and so for the first time since I launched my blog and the Zim Zum Motherhood I can really commit regular time and energy to it … while of course balancing that with honoring when it’s all just not flowing. It is hugely exciting. Magnificent, actually.

Thank you for your patience and support as always – it’s gotten me this far, and I look forward to what’s ahead. To the next stage … (that was a deliberate misquote of that corny line from American Pie which I always always get wrong).


FOMO is real – Photography Workshop this Sunday


It’s the final countdown … props are being primped and polished, prompts are being finessed, challenges finalised … yes, this Sunday The Zim Zum Motherhood presents our Photography Workshop with photographer extraordinaire Bree Hulme.

What will we be up to? Bree tells me that we will be exploring how you can use photography to express, explore and excite your creativity … mix that with a meditation, a uninterrupted cup of tea, delightful Mummas, and you have yourself a beautiful 3.5 hours of Sunday afternoon.

And it’s not too late to be part of it … there are a final couple of tickets to this small and soulful gathering available at

ZZM A4 Poster A4-BH

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The Accidental Creative – Guest Blog by Bree Hulme



I still find it a shock to describe myself as a photographer. A profession that is inherently creative. It is a shock because I never saw myself as a creative person. I didn’t excel at art or music, in fact I am pretty sure at one point in my early schooling I copied a friends music exam and was told at auditions that perhaps choir wasn’t for me. I was a good student, a great student even, I studied and I studied well. I played sport, did debating and public speaking. And, whilst I dabbled in photography in high school, it was just a passing hobby, and not something I pursued.

I entered university and completed a bachelor of psychology, and then a masters on Psychology and I started my career as a psychologist. Photography was still a hobby, but I didn’t pursue it, I just took photos and enjoyed making albums and putting up photos from our trips in our home.

After we were married, we moved to the USA for my husbands work and I was unable to work for 6 months whilst I waited on my visa. I thought this would be a blessing, a chance to discover that creative side of myself , so I bought some blank canvases and paints and made a couple of lame attempts at this thing called creativity. It didn’t stick, it didn’t feel authentic and I ended up volunteering and then working in Psychology again. It re-inforced that I wasn’t creative. I was academic.

Then there was the arrival of my first child. And suddenly, for a non-creative person like myself, I found myself at the centre of creation. I was part of the most amazing creation, that of a human being. And I wanted to document every day of his life. Every waking moment. Every sleeping moment too! Because as a new mum, those sleeping moments were as celebrated as the awake ones.

Just before my son was born, my husband bought me my first digital camera, and suddenly this photography hobby was a huge part of my everyday. Not only did I have this amazing little human to document every day, I had immediate gratification for my craft. No more waiting until I finished the roll of film. No more waiting whilst I sent the film off to be developed.

I did a couple of courses and I was overwhelmed with everything my camera could do, so I kept it on Auto for years. Because after all I wasn’t the creative type and I was learning a new career – being a mum.

But as the years passed I became dissatisfied with my photos. I had ideas in my head about how I wanted my photos to look and I wasn’t achieving that. I told myself, well that is because you aren’t creative. You are academic. You are a book person, not a creative person. But I thought well I could take the bookish-person approach to photography and learn to at least take my camera off auto. And so I did a few online courses and learnt about my camera. I began to see my photography going to a new level and people started to comment on my lovely photos and how good my camera must be.

I joined Instagram and discovered a whole new world of photography. I discovered photography challenges like Fat Mum Slim. Challenges that made me push outside of my comfort zone, pushed me into the realm of editing my photos, and I began to see my visions come to life.

More friends and family told me that my photography was great, that I took beautiful photos of my kids, and that I should pursue my photography more. Instagram friends praised my work and heaped praise on photos I took of my kids our life, our world. I took some courses, watched YouTube, and I learnt more and more. I took the leap into shooting in RAW, and then I did a workshop with my photography idol and that was the tipping point.

I took the leap. And I hung my shingle out for my photography business. Within months I was no longer a hobbyist, and within a year I was working 40-50+ hours a week, shooting and editing and running a business. It was a lot, too much and there wasn’t a lot of joy left in me after 40 hours in front of my computer editing.

So I pulled back a little, decided to work smarter not harder. Made sure there was time for my children, my husband, and for creativity.

Creativity is now part of my everyday. After a session I am on an adrenalin high, a creativity high. Whether it is taking a new approach to a session, trying something new, a new prop, a new location. There is always something new to create. I was always sure I would be a mother. But a creative – not so much. I am an accidental-creative. An accidental-photographer. And I could never go back.


Join Bree and Clare on Sunday, 18 September for an afternoon exploring Motherhood and Photography through meditations, discussions, challenges and sharing.

Tickets at:

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Oh how we sang!


What happens when 7 Mummas get together on a Sunday afternoon for the first ever Zim Zum Motherhood Creativity Workshop?

Good Stuff.

We talked about Motherhood. This journey of twists and turns. Of the loneliness. Of the connections. Of the unexpected. Of the importance of hearing what each other has to say, because it is so often not what we thought it would be.

We talked about Creativity. That we often say “I’m just a Mum” but that Rob Bell reminds us we Mummas are the ultimate creators. That this act of ultimate creation so often cracks us open, and brings forth a new sense of ourselves. That creativity seems to be a magical force – a momentum, a positive force, a place of communion with our children.

We talked about Singing. And song. Of this very ancient tradition. Of the connection to our Mothers, and Grandmothers and people across time and lands as we sing lullabies to our teething bubbas, as we croon to the delight of our toddlers, as we introduce our Littles to our old favourite tunes and enjoy learning theirs, as we go about our daily work whether in a tent or hut or house.

We meditated on the patchwork quilt of Motherhood which we are weaved into.

We were reminded that we are each so unique and special but never, ever alone.

And we spoke about poo. Because, you know, it makes us Mums giggle too.

Margaret Plummer (International Opera Super Star, home from Vienna for a holiday) led us in reflecting on the place song plays in our lives and warm up exercises (which is where the brilliant quote about hoo-haa’s was heard!).

And then we sang. OH DID WE SING!

We were bloody brilliant I have to tell you. And Margaret will tell you. And she Knows. She sings for a living.

We sang You Are My Sunshine, and it was the pure joy.

Who knew 7 voices could be so tangible? So present. So strong and supportive of each other. It was like a hammock emerged in the space between us and we were all held in that net of sound and love.

It was addictive – we sang the song again and again. Reluctant to break the spell.

Eventually we wound down. The tune was over but the air around us continued to vibrate and glow.

As the afternoon turned to evening we wrapped things up and left lighter, expanded, connected and rejuvenated having experienced and bathed in the power of singing, the power of Motherhood, the power of topping up those proverbial cups.

And poo jokes – yes, the power of poo jokes too.


Photography Workshop – just launched!

Sometimes I take great photos. Sometimes I take really really crap photos. Like this. And this. And that.
You’re the same, right?
We take photos every day: our kids, our meals, our holidays, our lives.
We have thousands saved on our phones … hundreds on Instagram … we see, like and comment on dozens each day.
How can we harness this act to bring more creativity into our awareness? And bring more mindfulness to our experience of Motherhood?
We’re going to tackle these big questions and learn to take magnificent photos with the gorgeous Bree Hulme and Clare Foale at The Zim Zum Motherhood’s next Creativity event.
When? Sunday, 18 September, 2-5.30pm
Tickets are now available:
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The Zim Zum Motherhood presents The Creativity Series – Event 1: Singing With Margaret Plummer



It has become apparent to me that there is a Trinity which is vital to my living well: Curiosity, Creativity, Courage.

These concepts just keep showing up again and again in my life. And when I follow them Things Go Well.

I love the idea of a Trinity – that there is no one right answer, that life is not black and white, right and wrong; that it is not Us vs The Rest as so much of life tells us at the moment. But that there are options, that we all have differences, and that we can find similarities too, and work out what works for us by mixing and matching.

I love as well that these 3 ideas all start with C – the first letter of my name, which somehow feels meaningful and important.

And also that they help me to C … see … really See.

Courage means to live from the heart, to drop out of my head, to let go of “shoulds” and responsibility, to turn down the volume on ego’s voice.

Creativity is doing things which light me up; which take me into that vortex where joy exists and time flies, where you look at the clock and 3 hours has passed and you could have sworn it was 10 minutes. It is the stuff of Big Magic.

Curiosity is … this magical, subtle means of exploring life. For a couple of years I was fixated on Finding My Passion. Which is quite a big ask. I would bang my head against the wall because I didn’t know where to start. And so I got a sore head but not much else. Then I came across a brilliants idea: Elizabeth Gilbert writes of following your curious: just letting your mind wander, of allowing an adventure unfold, in pursuing something which intrigues you. It might go nowhere, or it might be … amazing.

These ideas are now central to how I am living my life, to how I am exploring Motherhood, and so I am delighted that The Zim Zum Motherhood presents The Creativity Series.

This will be a number of workshops for us Mummas to take a couple of hours to ourselves, to share our journey of Motherhood and to also explore the ideas of courage, creativity and curiosity through singing, through photography, through dance, sewing, floristry and other wonders over the coming months.

Bookings are now live for our first event in the series:

I will be lead the group through meditations, discussions and ideas around Motherhood before Margaret Plummer (Mum, Opera Singer extraordinaire – home from Vienna for a holiday, and kindly taking time to be creative and courageous and curious with us) will then lead us in song.

You don’t have to be able to sing. You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You do need to be ready to laugh and to open up, be prepared to the feel joy and to delight in the time together.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

2pm – 5.30pm

Queenscliff (near Manly, on the Northern Beaches)

$75 early bird – before 25 July / $90 after this date

Book your ticket at







Trembling hands and Kate Mulvany


The curtains open to a crowded scene in a bar.

The men are bearded. The women wear bright lipstick. Dresses are vintage, flowing, bright. Jeans are tight and rolled once or twice.

Many faces are familiar from … oh, what was that one called? You know? With the … oh, I’ll remember.

Conversation buzzes, kisses are exchanged, the banter is jovial, supportive.

The mood is united, energised.

Something great has just happened.

That Something Great was Kate Mulvany’s Philip Parsons Lecture last night at The Belvoir Theatre as part of The Sydney Writer’s Festival.

“A Lecture” does not do justice to the brilliance, the emotive magnificence, the story-telling divineness, the grand-but-pared-back hour which unfolded.

I went in to the Theatre with high hopes and was moved to tears, to laughter, to applause and standing ovation. I came out and my hands were trembling; I was so blown away by hearing one of my heroes speak.

I can’t tell you what Kate said because it was an hour dense with brilliance – so I implore you to head to The Belvoir’s website and read the transcript of the speech.

What I can tell you is another story about Kate Mulvany.

About how she became a hero to me.

It’s a story which starts almost 18 months ago and which I started writing shortly after, but which I didn’t quite know how to weave. Until last night. But first the story …


JACK stands before the SUN. The SUN looms tall and majestic above him. JACK can hardly look at the SUN’s face as he glows so radiantly.

JACK: I did it!

SUN: Well? Why have you come here?

JACK: Oh, Majestic Mr Sun. It’s so lovely to finally meet you. My name is Jack Hare and I have – my goodness, you’re big – I have travelled through earth, air, fire and water to face you. Well, not face you, so to speak, because … Well …

SUN: I’m ugly.

JACK: No! No, you’re not ugly!

SUN: Then why are you squinting at me?

JACK: Why, because you’re radiant sir. You’re absolutely glowing and my eyes aren’t equipped to take in the spectacle. You’re certainly not ugly, sir.

SUN: Really? I always thought I was.

– Masquerade by Kate Mulvany, based on the book by Kit Williams


I don’t really like theatre – plays … I find actors tend to talk in really loud, overly masculinely-deep voices with a funny kind of English accent thrown in there too. This observation has been formed across many productions, companies and continents, and is not a ridiculous generalisation.

So it was unexpected to find me at a play as part of the Festival of Sydney in January 2015. More unexpected still to find Simon there – he makes me look like a theatre-lover in comparison to his disdain for the stage. And to find us both enthralled by what we saw.

I think the best way to tell this story is to share with you the letter I sent to Kate Mulvany – the Playwright responsible for the play we saw that night:

16 January 2015

Dear Kate

Amazing, amazing, amazing! My husband and I just spent a precious child-free night at the Sydney Opera House and it was …

Well, the stars aligned – my Mum gave me the article from the SMH to read shortly after Christmas and I said “yes Mum” and popped it into next year’s diary … where I found it on Sunday as I waited for a retreat to start (seriously, kid-free time is a rare commodity!) and was so so very moved by your story and Kit’s story and the poetic, wonderful weaving of the two that I went online instantly to book tickets for me and my theatre-hating husband.

The stars further aligned: I got tickets, had money on the credit card to pay for them and could find a babysitter.

Only – with two minutes until the curtain rose (or rather, the Moon rose), my husband pointed out that the tickets were for tomorrow night .


And yet the stars continued to align: there were seats, we got them and then … the Show. 

And that brings us back to … amazing, amazing, amazing! 

The story, your weaving, the characters, the music, the humour, the sadness … it was inspiring, it drew the audience closer together – we clapped, we cried – as the final lights came on, the lady next to me checked me for streaky mascara! It was uplifting, it started conversations and thoughts. 

My theatre-hating husband loved it – he joined in my elated chatter and reflection as we left the Opera House on a buzzingly hot January night.

And I gave thanks for the stars aligning a thousand times over to bring me here tonight – a step and a support as I travel a long and winding journey to achieving my first publication – a children’s book called “Magnificant Me”.

And I wanted you to know that tonight you made hundreds laugh and cry and come together – because as a writer I can think of no greater achievement or accolade – surely that is an amulet in itself.

With enormous gratitude and blessings,

Clare Foale


So, I hand wrote this letter because I HEART hand written letters, and I sent it off to Kate, and I thought that is where the story would end.

But then … one day I flicked on to FB and a new message alert popped up.

And it was from her. Kate Mulvany!!

Clare! How totally totally totally weird! I just sat down to send you a message and you popped up! I received your beautiful letter a few days ago, and I can’t tell you how much I needed it right at that moment – right in the middle of a shitty week. It made my heart swell and I have to say I even cried a little. I’m so thrilled Masquerade resonated with you. It truly means the world to hear that, and that your ‘theatre-hating hubby’ loved it too! Phew! I can’t wait to hear more about your own adventures as a writer – please share! Good luck with it all. Sending all my best wishes. And thank you, again, infinitely for taking the time to write. Your letter now sits on a shelf of Masquerade memorabilia, next to a small hare and a big silver heart given to me by the Black Sea Gentlemen! XXX

Holy fringoli!

Cue hands trembling – Kate Mulvany seems to have that affect on me!

To think that my letter made a difference and made it on to the Playwright’s shelf of memorabilia … hands trembling, heart fluttering stuff.

And since then? We have exchanged a few messages, Kate has always been interested and encouraging of everything I am doing; generous beyond belief.

And then last night as part of her Lecture-so-much-more-than-a-Lecture, she mentioned in passing that established Actors and Writers and Directors had a part to play in supporting those entering the arena, those getting started. And I wanted to stand up and shout, “She actually does that! She is That Person to me!”.

But it was a Lecture so I kept my composure.

Instead, at the end of the evening, as we were down having a drink, Kate walked past and I tried to catch her eye to say hi, but it didn’t happen and I thought that I was being a little silly to think I could talk to her on a night like this.



Well …

A dozen people wait around the bar, chatting and trying to catch the barman’s eye.

The Star of the Show carries a bunch of flowers almost as big as she.

She is greeted and congratulated by everyone she passes.

She takes time to stop, to kiss, to chat to everyone.

As she turns to walk, the over-sized flowers bop a woman in the back. Apologies are exchanged.

The woman asks if she can buy her a drink.

The Star graciously declines.

The woman takes a chance, takes a deep breath and whispers in The Star’s ear: You need to meet my daughter-in-law, Clare Foale.

The Star’s eyes light up with recognition of the name as Clare Foale rushes forward, stumbling over her boots and words.

Clare: Kate, hi. I’m Clare Foale. My hands are shaking – that was so so so wonderful. I loved it.

Kate: Clare! It’s so wonderful to meet you.

They hug. Yep, hug!

K: How are you? How is your writing going?

C: Oh my! My writing? It’s going brilliantly – I’m still blogging and hoping to do more. I’ve just started a group for Mums to get together and talk about the grittiness of life.

K: How brilliant! What’s it called? How many Mums do you have?

C: The Zim Zum Motherhood … there are 10 of us so far.

K: Zim Zum?! That’s amazing!

C: Uhhhh – suddenly star struck by the enormity of the moment, words elude her. Uhhhh. It is so wonderful to meet you – I will leave you to your night. Thank you for everything.

K: Keep me posted. Bye!

C: Uhhh, ok, of course I will!

I think it went something like that. We may have also spoken about Quantum Physics, the Lecture or the (brilliant) colour of her lipstick. Or we may not have. Seriously it was such a rush that I can’t actually remember much of it.

Just that it was an amazingly affirming, energising, joyful moment. Kate seems to have that affect on all she touches.

Truly hand trembling stuff.

What could be better for Mother’s Day?



Are you looking for a present for Mother’s Day which is thoughtful, creative and nourishing for the beautiful Mama in your life?

Or are you that beautiful Mama looking for something to suggest to your kids and partner?

The Zim Zum Motherhood is a chance to share and delve deeper into the journey of Motherhood in a small, supportive group of likeminded Mums over 4 weeks.

We will reflect on the beauty, the struggles, and the meaning of Motherhood through honest conversation, readings, meditations and exercises.

Where? Queenscliff – near Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches
When? Wednesday, 11 May for 4 weeks – 7.30 – 9pm
Cost? $150 introductory offer – with 5% of the course fee to be donated to Dalwood

Email to enrol