Short and Sweet Update!

That’s going to be me too – lying around at the farm!

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” 
~ L.M. Montgomery

After far too long in the city I’m heading home this morning.

Home to our farm in the Byron Hills.

Home to greenery and fresh air and quiet nights and mornings filled with birdsong.

Home to music and writing and journalling and playing with my new YOM 2019 Planner.

Home to baking and swimming and digging in the garden and walking on the beach.

Home to farmers markets and my favourite cafes.

I can’t honestly tell you how that makes me feel. There isn’t an adequate word for what home feels like. It’s happiness and a giant hug and freedom and comfort all rolled into one.

I hope you can find a little of that feeling for yourself today or sometime soon,

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

Waking Up In My Own Bed

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.” 
~  Ransom Riggs


This morning I woke in my own bed.

Outside my window the birds sang. Dawn crept golden into the soft grey sky. Our dogs were pressed up against us, both of them awake and staring quietly at Ben and I as if they couldn’t quite believe we were real.

Is there anything more delicious than to be home after travelling and to see everything around you as if for the first time?

I meditated in my favourite spot, outside on the veranda beside Ganesha. After which I made a mug of tea and strolled through my early-morning garden; re-acquainting myself with everything, breathing in the cool fresh air, filling my ears with birdsong and the shrill of the cicadas, getting the feel of the place in my bones, grounding myself in home.

Today is a day of household chores and farm chores. Of settling back in. Of finding our rhythm again.

It feels as if we have been away forever, so I guess that means it has been a good break. Still, I’m grateful to be home again. I’m brim full of ideas and enthusiasm, and I’m ready for the year ahead. Can’t wait to share it with you!
Biggest love and hugs, Nicole ❤ xoxo

The Turn In The Road Where My Worries Fall Away

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“Though a lifetime of listening to the music of the world has passed, even now the tone of the rain on the roof of my home is the sweetest sound I have ever heard.” 
~  Kensi Brianne Smith


We’ve been up in Brisbane this past week, and it’s been full on.

I’ve had doctors’ appointments and the sorts of things to attend to that can only be done in the city.

I’ve held space for friends and clients who have suffered tragedy and tempest.

And we’ve been elder caring.

Ben’s mum is old and increasingly frail, although stubbornly independent, bless her. She’s at the age where suddenly she needs help with everything: shopping, cooking, home maintenance, paying bills – all the things she has done so competently for the entirety of her life. But we don’t mind at all. We love her, and she is family.

Still, it’s stressful, and we worry constantly about her.

Yesterday finally we packed up to drive home to the farm.

There is a place we come to, just over the border between Queensland and New South Wales, where I unfailingly begin to unwind and feel better. City and suburbia fall away and at a turn in the road the highway is suddenly blanketed by cane fields and farms with a backdrop of dusky crags.

The tension leaves my body. I sigh audibly. A sense of relief creeps over me.

Many of our friends from the Byron Shire experience the same thing; that falling away of worries as we move into the encircling arms of the ancient volcanic rim that cradles our homes.

How about you? Do you have a place in the journey home where suddenly you feel better too? I’d love to know.

Hugs and love from all of us here at the farm, Nicole xx

The Tawny Family Shows Off Baby!


“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.”
~ Shel Silverstein


We have a family of Tawny Frogmouths that nest in the teak tree outside our kitchen window every year. They are nocturnal creatures, and seldom seen, so I always delight in having them in plain view.

During the day Tawny Frogmouths camouflage themselves by lifting their heads, staying very still, and trying to pretend that they are part of a branch.

After a big storm about a month ago they abandoned their nest, and in the unseasonal heat that followed the youngest fledgling baby was unable to make it back up to the tree where the family was roosting and took up a position in the shade of one of our machinery sheds, pretending to be part of a wheelbarrow. (Great info here on what to do if you find a fledgling Tawny out of the nest.)


Very cute, don’t you think? We kept an eye on her, and Mum and Dad came down to feed her each night until she was ready to fly back to a higher position.


After another big storm here at the farm (that knocked out our power and internet for almost a day) we went for a walk and found Mum, Dad and the eldest baby perched on fence posts in the deep shade of the coolest corner of the house paddock. The oldest fledgling was up above, in one of the trees and I couldn’t get a good picture of them!

The baby has gone from a little white ball of fluff to something that very closely resembles her adult plumage colours. She’s still adorably fluffy though, and I keep finding her soft downy feathers on the ground, which I’m keeping to make another talisman.


Mum looks so cross with me for getting close, and I still kept my distance so as not to frighten them. That expression in her eye! They are a fine family, don’t you think?

Apologies that the pictures are not especially crisp. They are taken on my iPhone from a distance, and my dodgy eyes are still not all that crisp themselves, making photography a little more of a challenge than usual. Still, I am making great progress with restoring my vision, and I’m hopeful that my sight will continue to improve.

Sending hugs, love and a cuppa your way, Nicole <3 xoxo

(PS – in case you’re not sure, a cuppa is a good cup of tea!)

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Day 9 – Oracle Card Challenge

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
~ Sarah Dessen


Home and Heartland

Today’s question will mean different things to different people, so work this according to your circumstances. For some people this activity will be about home – where you live, and your home environment. For others it will be about your heartland – a project dear to your heart, your happy place when you are spending time doing this thing.

If you feel that you need direction in both areas, do this activity twice. Once for each situation.


Here’s what you need to do.

Take your crystal, and complete this short guided meditation:

Hold your stone in your cupped hands, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. Bring white light into your body until you feel peaceful and calm. Then bring white light into the crystal too. Allow yourself to connect to the stone. You may feel it tingle, or visualise a colour in your mind’s eye. When you are ready, open your eyes. Keep your stone near you, and hold it when you write.



Now shuffle your cards, while silently asking the question to yourself ‘What do I most need to know about my home?’ or ‘What do I most need to know about my heartland?’

When you have shuffled the cards and they feel ‘done’, select one card using the method that feels right for you.

Place the card face up in front of you.

Clear your mind by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath in and then out. Open your eyes again. Take a minute and look at the picture.

no peace like home

What stands out for you today? Is it an image or a colour? Is it a number or a word? What are your first impressions? What thoughts come into your mind?

Write these down in your journal.


Now let’s go a little deeper. What feelings or words does this card evoke in your mind when you think about the card and its images in relation to the question ‘What do I most need to know about my home?’ or ‘What do I most need to know about my heartland?’ Take five minutes and write some stream-of-consciousness thoughts down. Don’t censor or judge them. Trust the process. Draw a second card for clarification if you need to.

Finally, read back over what you have written.

This is a good activity to come back and add to over time!

Much love, and I hope you’re enjoying this challenge, Nicole xx


Quiet, Tea and Dogs

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“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbour — such is my idea of happiness.”
~ Leo Tolstoy


I’m finally home at our little farm house after a very successful retreat.

But it was full on! I worked around the clock to support my students and to hold space for their journey and transformation.

I’m beyond tired, but in the way of happy exhaustion rather than broken by overwhelm and illness.

Today I’m gifting myself quiet time, garden walks, acupuncture, a good coffee and lots of cuddles with Ben and the dogs. No work for me. No screen time. I need a few days to come back into flow with the outside world after being so deeply immersed in the spiritual.

Here’s my best medicine for a weary soul…

And I hope you find some time for yourself today too. Lots of love, Nicole xx

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Watching The Afternoon Fade to Grey

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“On this road
where nobody else travels
autumn nightfall.”
~ Matsuo Bashō


Late yesterday afternoon I wandered through the back garden, and then up the hill toward the old orchard behind our house.

My word for the year is ‘home’ and I truly allowed myself to feel into that space yesterday.

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Close to the house a basil plant has self-seeded from last year’s bumper crop. It has flourished with neglect while I have been away and then unwell. It made me so happy to see its broad soft leaves and vigorous growth.

The guava is laden too, and perfumes the air with a heady fragrance that reminds me somehow of passionfruit. I’m looking forward to making some jam and perhaps a chutney with the fruit. I ate one straight off the tree, warmed by the sun and perfect. It was a luxury for the senses.

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The sky turned from bright blue to pale, degree by degree.

The air cooled.

Birds called to one another and sang their evening songs.

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Harry and Bert, exhausted from their mad games and running around, sat on the freshly mown lawn waiting to accompany me back to the house.

They were both so happy to have played and to have kept me company. Nurse Bert seems pleased that I am finally out of bed and well enough to venture out again, although he has been incredibly patient with me.

He couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off his face!

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And so the night slid softly across the sky, the sun set behind the hills, and the first stars winked out.

I filled myself up on it all, and it was good.

What a magical place to call home!

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Misty Morning Wonderland

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“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
~ Henry David Thoreau


It’s so good to be home.

The dogs and I went for a very early walk. We have six new calves and the unseasonably warm weather means that our paddocks are lush with dewy grass, and the dam is still full.

Closer to home the guava tree is groaning under a new crop of fruit and our lemon tree is also so heavy with fruit that some limbs are touching the ground. I can already taste the guava cake and lemon butter I will make with them.

Friends are arriving today, and then we will be off to Bluesfest.

But right now Ben and I are off to the Mullum Farmers Markets to stock up on some local goodness.

Did I mention it’s so good to be home?

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My First Morning at Home Again!

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“There is a kind of magic-ness about going far away and then coming back all changed.
~ Kate Douglas Wiggin


Hello, beautiful friends!

So, here I am, back in Australia once more. Can I admit to being a little misty-eyed when my husband Ben pulled up outside Brisbane International Airport to pick me up last night, and I spied two madly grinning dogs hanging out the car windows waiting to greet me?

I am so tired. To look from the outside, all I have to show for my time away is a mountain of dirty washing, a serious supply of tasty Philippines dried Mango and notebooks crammed full with ideas, plans and action-steps for the months ahead. But so much more than that has transpired. I’ve been able to reach a place of clarity about what matters to me, and where I want to place my attention. I have met some amazing people and made new friends. While I am exhausted from all of this living, I am also thrilled to have been able to adventure at all!

It has been an emotional few weeks. As I took a boat ride in Cebu on Thursday, the cool salt water peeling off the sides of the outrigger in plumes, I had just as much salt streaming down my face in the form of tears of gratitude. Honestly, there have been so many times in the past few years when I wondered if a trip like this would ever be possible again, let alone solo. There is nothing like the prospect of death to make life taste sweet and to make you hyper-aware of what really matters.

Thanks to the care and efforts of others I have coped fabulously on this trip. I’ve also managed myself and my illness mindfully. I parented myself to do things such as miss the welcome drinks and opt for an early night instead so that I would be fresh for the next morning’s work. There were adjustments and accommodations to be made in order that I coped. That’s okay. I do that anyway in my life here in Australia.

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Meanwhile here at home I have 3247 unread emails to attend to (I should NOT have turned on my work computer in a post-midnight bout of jetlag-induced insomnia), and innumerable phone messages and mail to sort. I have blog posts to write and students to attend to, and calls to return.

And I will get to all of it. Eventually. If you are one of the 3247 emails, or the 271 facebook messages, please be patient. I have triaged you all in the middle of the night, and will contact you in order of urgency.

But first I am going to focus on what matters most.

This morning my attention is on my little family, whom I missed with all my heart. After endless yes-I-am-really-here-now cuddles with Nurse Bert who can’t quite believe that I am home and who keeps checking in with his nose or paw on some part of my body every few minutes, I am heading out with Ben and Cafe Dog for some breakfast and a proper Australian coffee, made with fresh milk and espresso and a whole lot of barista magic.

After which we’ll do a few city-based errands and I’ll make one important visit before packing the ute to head home to the farm.

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Do you remember me telling you about Liz, who was recently diagnosed with end-stage ovarian cancer? My friend Liz arrived home to Australia on Sunday, and was admitted to hospital early last night after collapsing at home.

Luckily I was up and awake at 1.30am when her husband rang to let me know. Liz and her family had a wonderful holiday in Hawaii – the most magical holiday they have ever experienced – and everything went incredibly well. But Liz used up the last of her good days making those special memories. Scans have revealed that the cancer in Liz’s brain is causing problems that can’t be fixed, so it looks like she will now remain in palliative care as her doctors think she may only have days left to live, based on her rapid downhill progress in the past 24 hours.

No regrets, she told her husband as they were taking her off in the ambulance.

No regrets, he told me, when we talked for hours last night about life and death and getting your priorities straight.

Today I need to see my friend, and say goodbye.

So, you see, everything else can wait just a little bit longer.

I’m feeling just a little teary and heart-sore this morning.

And something else…

I am so filled up on life. I am so grateful for every single breath, every single moment, every single connection.

It’s precious and fragile, this crazy journey we are on. Dig deep, my darlings. Find your own heart-path and live a life that matters to you. No regrets. <3

Green Grass, New Mums and Other Exciting News

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“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound…
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

~ Wendell Berry


We are home.

My technology is finally upgraded, downloaded and working. Touch-wood that all computers and phones shall now be hassle-free. But it took so much time and energy to make that happen. Days and days worth of time. I was relieved to climb into the car and finally be on our way back to the farm.

There is a place the highway comes to as we return from the city. The land moves suddenly to a flat expanse, with the mountains at our back. Ahead of us stretch lush cane fields. Farms of tender grass and fat cattle. Thick green belts of trees and birdsong.

Every time we get to this place we breathe out. The stress of the city falls away. We take a deep breath in again. The tension melts away. Almost home.

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We travelled home with our headlights holding the road and stars above us in the deep black sky.

Tired, we tumbled out of the car at journey’s end and went straight to bed, comforted by the call of owls, the croak of frogs and the chirp of crickets.

What a joy it was to wake in our own beds. But more was to come.

The grass in the front paddock is thigh-high and luscious from the heat and summer rain. To have paddocks full of grass is a beautiful thing when you are a farmer. The cattle are fat and content, and Daisy Mae has borne us the first calf of 2016 – a stocky little male who is playful and curious, just like his mum was at that age.

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There is so much more to explore, and today I will do my best to get some decent pictures of Daisy Mae and her calf. Let me know if you come up with a good name for him!

I’m off to the Farmers Markets now to catch up with friends and to fill my basket with fresh produce.

Did I mention how good it is to be back home?

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