Photographing the essence of a kindred spirit


Meet Chantal

You never know when you’re going to meet a kindred spirit. For me, it was at school pick up. My son started prep last year, with a little girl named Sophie, and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her mother Chantal. Chantal is inspired to help people live their lives authentically, with passion and in a way that helps them glow inside out, from healthy thoughts and food.

Recently I was excited and honoured to take photographs for a magazine article that Chantal was writing, and Chantal chose one of my favourite places in Brisbane to be photographed- the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens- Japanese garden. We started our shoot with a Japanese tea party and centred ourselves so that we could capture both the beauty of the location, and the relaxed and spiritual nature of Chantal. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did taking them- here are a selection of my favourites.


Chantal has kindly provided some delicious recipes which she has created- you can purchase the doTERRA oils through her website.

Chantal Roeloefs

Rosemary, Toasted Pepita and Spelt Breadsticks :

Makes about 60 sticks
– 5 Tblsp of pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
– 4 Tblsp of olive oil
– 750 gm of spelt flour (and a little extra for kneeding the dough, shaping up the breadsticks)
– 2Tblsp of dried yeast
– 1 young tender stalk of rosemary leaves, very very finely chopped
– 5 drops of dōTERRA Rosemary Oil
– approximately 350ml of warm tepid water (enough to get the dough to the right texture)
– small dish of olive oil with some sea salt to brush the sticks before you put them in the oven.

Lets get cooking :
Dry fry the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over a low to medium heat for about 2 minutes, tossing regularly, until lightly browned or toasted. Grind the seeds with a Tbsp of olive oil, into a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle (or grinder).
Sift flour into a bowl, add the seed paste, yeast, rosemary, rosemary oil, and then mix in enough water to form a soft but not too sticky dough. Knead vigorously on a well floured surface, then cut the dough into 30 pieces (I cut the ball of dough into 2 – then those 2 into 4 – then those four into 4 – then 4 again, and again…till they are the size to make a decent breadstick). Roll each piece of dough into a 15-20 cm long rope.

Lay the dough sticks on 2 large, oiled baking trays (or baking paper), spacing them slightly apart. Brush lightly with the remaining olive oil, and cover loosely with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for about 20 mins, or until they have risen a bit. Remove the tea towel or plastic wrap (and honestly most times i don’t bother about this rising process…. they work out great.)

Bake breadsticks in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees celcius, for 10 -15 minutes. The sticks should be a little golden brown at the edges.
Put a few breadsticks in an airtight container and use within 24 hours. Pack the rest into a freezer bag, or plastic container, and seal and freeze for up to 6 weeks. Take out a few at a time as required. They don’t take much time to thaw. Great for picnics and lunch boxes !

 Smashed Avocado with Lemon Oil :

1 x avocado
4 drops of dōTERRA lemon oil
celtic or himalayan salt
black pepper
(1 drop of dōTERRA black pepper oil – optional)
Halve the avocado, and spoon the flesh into a bowl, and smash it with a fork. Add 4 (or a few more if you want it very lemony) drops of dōTERRA lemon oil, a good pinch of salt, and a good grinding of pepper to the avocado and mix through.

Top some sour-dough toast (I used a spelt sour-dough) for a yummy breakfast or snack.

Other optional toppings on top of lemony avocado toast:
– Goats Cheese
– Tomato and finely sliced basil (try with dōTERRA basil oil)
– Soft Poached Egg with shaved/ grated parmesan

: Thai Noodle Dressing ::

3 x Tblsp Fish Sauce
3 x Tblsp fresh lime juice
150 ml coconut cream
2.5 Tblsp palm sugar – grated, or cut into really small pieces – ready to dissolve into dressing
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 Tblsp finely grated ginger
handful of mint leaves
handful of coriander leaves
1-2 drops of dōTERRA ginger oil
2 drops of dōTERRA lime oil
1 drop of dōTERRA lemongrass oil
(finely cut chilli – optional – to taste)

Put oil dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until the palm sugar dissolves, and the ingredients are infused with each other.

Use this dressing over 150 grams of softened mung bean vermicelli noodles (softened in boiled water for about 5 minutes – then drained of water), and toss through about 12 cooked prawns.

If you enjoyed these recipes, subscribers to Chantal’s website receive a complimentary cook book!

If I can be of assistance with helping you update your profile picture for your professional or personal social media accounts, please don’t hesitate to contact me at




no rain no flowers

No rain, no flowers

no rain no flowers


May your week be filled with sunshine, no matter the weather. Photograph taken today at the Parks Alive festival in the Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Australia.

Photograph donated to the Chapel Hill State School Silent Auction by Katische Haberfield

Chapel Hill State School Fete

There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back to the community that supports you and your family.  Which is why I am excited to announce my Gold sponsorship of the Chapel Hill State School Fete this year. I’ve donated three of my hugely popular Autumn leaf photographic canvases from the ‘wonderment’ collection to the silent auction. Visit the auction site here to place your bid. 100% of the proceeds go to the school, this year the goal is to upgrade and improve the playgrounds and sporting fields at the school to meet the demands of the growing number of students (up 30% over the past few years).

The three photographs up for auction are:


“Fifty Shades of Autumn”. Photograph taken in Stanthorpe.

Inner Glow

“Inner Glow”

Photograph donated to the Chapel Hill State School Silent Auction by Katische Haberfield

“Suddenly I see”

Be quick- place your bid today! The auction ends September 4th at 10:00pm.

The fete is on Saturday 5th September- details can be found here.






Good Grief.

good grief


I spend a lot of time helping people cope with grief as a result of death.  Grief is seen as the nasty stuff that accompanies the loss that no one wants; the death of a loved one.

But have you ever thought about good grief? This is the grief that accompanies happy changes in life; like your child graduating from school, or moving to a new job.

Rob Bell introduces the concept in a recent RobCast (episode 24- available on iTunes). I was introduced thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert who interviewed him in a recent Magic Lesson’s podcast.

I am empowered by the concept of good grief. It simply says, that the reason that we feel resistant to change, even happy change, is that we have, if we really take the time to investigate, a sense of loss. So in the case of good change- like your child moving to high school instead of primary school, the loss you feel is real. It’s just not really spoken about. You’ve spent seven years getting to know the school, the teachers, and you’ve developed friends.

But you’re excited that your child is moving on in life and happy about the new adventures that they will have in high school. So why the tears at graduation? It’s your body’s way of reminding you that you feel attached to the school, and the way of life that you have been accustomed to. When you actually acknowledge this, and take the time to grieve (appropriate to the circumstances), then you can move forward with relish.

The same concept can be applied to your new job. Look back at the great times you had, the results you accomplished, the new colleagues you met, and shared both the good times and bad times with. Take a moment to really savour it. Feel the joy, and the sadness. Then exhale deeply.

The future is ahead of you and it’s exciting!



step into the light

always step into the light

step into the light


Image taken at sunset at Cotton Tree, Sunshine Coast, Australia.  Available soon at email for details.

Morning inspiration

Many people die at twenty-five, but don't

Be like the man on the stand up paddle board at sunrise! Don’t let life’s upsets get you down. The water will not always be smooth, but ride the waves anyway.

Image captured this weekend at Alexandra Headlands, Queensland Australia.



Image taken this weekend before sunrise at Alexandra Headlands.


Grief Altar

Talking to children about death

This Saturday is ‘Dying to Know Day’, organised by The Groundswell Project which aims to promote resilience and wellbeing in response to end of life issues and to encourage people to build their death literacy.

As I am passionate about exactly this, I decided to take the opportunity to share with you some ways that you can help children cope with their grief by understanding death. I have practical experience in this area, and what is written below is the result of my learnings in helping my children come to terms with the death of their Pa, and also as a result of the advice that friends have been seeking when confronted with the loss of their own parents or grandparents.

I hope that you find some help in the information below.

Talking about death always feels uncomfortable only because we’re not used to it. It’s something that we hope we will never have to do, despite the fact that we know it is inevitable. The best thing you can do for your children it to be open and honest about your understanding of death. Tell them what you believe and know for certain, but also let them know what you are not sure about.  The most important thing to communicate to them is that yes death is sad, but it is a natural part of life. Everything in the world is born and then dies.

Importantly, acknowledge their sadness and don’t try to stop them from expressing their grief. We all deal with things differently.

Depending upon the age of your children you might like to do the following:

  • Read them a picture book about that touches on the topic of loss and grief. Ask you local bookstore owner or librarian for recommendations. Here’s an example of a book which is great in helping understand why grandparents die.

Click on the picture of the books to be taken to Purchasing through this link may result in a small affiliate payment, however, I would recommend these books irrespective of my affiliate association.

This is a practical workbook which children can use to remember their loved one.

Although typically used for separation anxiety in relation to divorce, or starting school, the same concept is applicable to the separation anxiety that children feel when someone dies.

  • Create a shrine for the loved one who you have lost. This does not have to be religious, however, can incorporate religions icons if this is helpful and meaningful to your child. I have a photograph of my father and it is surrounded by tea light candles and incense burners. The children have added their collection of precious rocks and crystals to it. We light the candles and incense each night.

Grief Altar

  • Be open with your grief. Cry in front of them because it lets them see that expressing emotion is a natural and normal part of life.
  • Plant a seed in the garden. Water it and watch it grow and bloom. Watch it also and acknowledge when the plant’s life is over and it has gone back into the ground.
  • Find a photo of the loved one at various ages in their life. Show them as they grow and mature and talk about the fact that although their body changed, they were the same person all along.
  • Allow them to draw pictures of them with their loved one, or to draw how they are feeling.
  • If you are worried that your child is experiencing extended grief, and is not coping, please find a grief counsellor in your local area. They are trained and specifically help you with this.

The video below is by Caitlin Doughty and she explains how to talk to children about death, especially if there has been coverage in the media about the death of children through school massacre, or terrorist acts. Please note the video is NOT for children- for parents. If the video image is not present, please reload the page in your browser.

This video is for children. It is Sesame Street- helping Big Bird understand that Mr Hooper is never coming back. He died.


Please share this blog using the social media icons below, as you never know who might need this right now.

Transformational travel

Transformational Travel Part 3- Chasing the inner light

Transformational travel


If there’s one thing that I love in life, almost as much as photography, it’s TED talks. So today I’d like to share some words of wisdom from someone who I admire – Steve Fraser. Steve is an internationally acclaimed landscape photographer.

You might think that taking photographs is a simple task, and that those who are earning great incomes out of this would continue to be inspired by what they find. It’s harder than it looks and it is no surprise to me that Steve believes that photography has many life lessons to share.

In the following TED talk, released today, Steve explains how his travels to seek the most beautiful locations and moments in life have transformed him, and provided many great lessons that we can apply to life. (Please refresh your browser if the TED Talk image does not appear)

To summarise:

  • Getting out of bed is the biggest challenge when you want to be at your location before the sunrises, and it involves a four mile walk in the dark just to set up.

“There is no prize for staying in bed”.

  • Waiting: Photography requires waiting and patience. The right light at the right time transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.
  • Bring your own unique perspective to each shot. Capture something unique by looking deep within and examining how you want to see the scene before you.

“We get trained to follow the rules, to apply the principles and to stay within the guidelines. And all of that helps us to achieve mediocrity”.

  • Make sure your perspective is constantly challenged by the people you meet- it will affect your life and your images positively.
  • On disappointment:

“Sometimes the moment just doesn’t happen…These disappointment are just a test. The reality is that disappointments will come, we can’t avoid them, but it is how we respond to the test, how we are able to move on from that, and how we learn from that matters.”

  • Perseverance means that eventually you will pass the test.
  • Risk is not a negative.

“Breathe, let go and take a risk. Risk is an essential part of life… my best personal moments come from when I step out and take a risk“.

  • Chase the Inner Light. Look for a sense of significance, of making a difference, of belonging.

“What I’ve come to learn is that this dream that I have of chasing colour, and of finding the illusive light, has to be about more than my images….And working with people who are the poorest of poor…. has brought colours into my world than I could have never imagined.”

Go on, swim out towards that shadow.

You can follow Steve Fraser here. Please share this blog with someone who might also be inspired.