DSC_8761PIN ITIt was an incredible moment in my life, sitting at that warung in the middle of the filthy bustling hub of KUTA, Bali. It was a moment where I could almost physically feel myself standing on the line between the life I used to live, and the life I live now. Two lives that couldn’t be more different, yet somehow here they were, running head first into eachother. There I was, sitting in the same warung I had eaten in so many times with my best mate and my (then) boyfriend after big nights on local booze and beach parties. The familiar sensation of tropical sweat on my skin (and rolling down my spine), the same food I’ve always loved and eaten with absolute delight, the same music we always listened to – Indonesian pop tunes that were the soundtrack to that old life of ours – a life more carefree and irresponsible than the one I live now.

It was so familiar, yet so different.

Here we were again except my then boyfriend is now my ex-husband, and whilst he was sitting across the table from me again, our conversations are different now. He is still so much of the man I fell so in love with but he is also a difficult reminder of one of the most wonderful and most painful times of my life. My best friend, who would have always been there with us, passed away three years ago and her absence was loud in the moments of silence between us. In her place in this unlikely trio is Bo. A beautiful reminder of all the good that we created during those years living in Java and escaping to Bali for wild and wonderful weekends of absolute indulgence. This little human somehow both encouraging me to stand with one foot in either world, and shovelling icecream into her little face with the other.

There were so many beautiful encounters with old friends from old lives while we travelled the island of Bali. I often found myself in conversations about our past lives as if an entire lifetime hadn’t passed in the years in-between. There was never any use pretending that any of us were the same people as we were before. Lives have gone on, for all of us. We have all been irrevocably changed by what happened that last year Bo and I lived in Indonesia – yet somehow we are still the same regardless. Finding ourselves in the same places, laughing about the same things we were laughing about the last time we were together, telling stories of old friends and their lives now and how wonderful so many of those changes have been. Life keeps on rolling on for all of us, lapping now against different shores.

My desire to return home to Indonesia was palpable. I have been terribly homesick for the place for many years now, homesick for the family I left behind, homesick for the food and the culture and the depth that it brought to my life. The fact that Bo needs to be connected to this land has never been lost on me and to return, whilst not to where we lived (as I’m not there yet), but to the country – was important, for both of us, moving forwards. Bo had the opportunity to spend time with her grandmother, her father and to begin to reconnect with a culture that will always be running through her veins.

We were lucky enough to travel for part of the trip with my sister and her family and for the rest of the trip with my beautiful friend Emma and her gorgeous kids. Emma wrote a beautiful post complete with spectacular pictures about our trip keeping track of all the great places we ate and stayed and the things that we saw.

I took a thousand photographs and ate amazing food and more than anything in all that space and nostalgia I reconnected to a part of myself that I thought had been lost. The start of the book I’ve always known I will write was finally penned to paper. It’s amazing the power of a place that has such intense meaning to you – the sharp pang of inspiration it brings, suddenly words appear where before there was nothing but space.


From reunions with old friends and family to days spent on permaculture properties like the beautiful Kul Kul Farm – from Kuta to Ubud and the little village of Lotunduh which we called home for most of our trip – we rode motorbikes and drove around the countryside, Bo balanced between my knees, the heat of the sun on our noses and the wind in our hair. I was reminded the power of familiar smells, tastes and sounds and the intensity of the memories they bring.

The photographs from Indonesia will come in several parts. This is just the first. The stories of the people we love and the people we miss. The others, will come later.

This trip, like any trip, brought the parallels between emotional growth and development and travel and exploration closer and closer for me.

Living for me is about changing, growing, healing. Being challenged emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually and nothing does that for me more than travel. But having travelled for so many years and wandering so far has always meant that I feel as if I belong nowhere and yet everywhere all at the same time.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett


  • November 24, 2015 - 1:54 pm

    bebe - another beautifully written post – I don’t know what it is, but they resonate so strongly – looking forward to reading more.ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2015 - 7:28 pm

      Sash - Thank you so much. That is such a kind thing to say xReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2015 - 3:36 pm

    Helen - Very excited to hear you have started a book! It would be great if you could share some of your favourite or inspirational books. I would be interested to know some of the books that have shaped your outlook, as it is very inspiring.ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2015 - 7:29 pm

      Sash - I read an awful lot – it would be a lovely exersise to put together the books that have inspired me most, it would be a long list! I’ll get onto it! :) xReplyCancel

DSC_2582PIN ITI grew up being read to every day. As soon I could read I devoured books, throwing myself head (and heart) first into book after book and there I have stayed… completely immersed in the words and tales of others, for most of my life. One of the greatest treats of parenthood has been discovering children’s books that are not just lovely and magical but spectacular literary masterpieces. There is this Oliver Wilde quote I’m often reminded of when I read to Bo, ‘if one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all,’ and I feel it’s never more true than when reading with children. We read books a thousand times over, so it’s essential that the book is nothing short of wonderful.

Bo and I spend at least a few hours a day telling wild and wonderful stories, reading books, talking about characters, and tracing our fingers over the beautiful illustrations of the books we love most.

With a gift giving season almost upon us, I thought I would share with you some of our favourite childrens books – whilst we absolutely adore the classic Aussie tales of Mem Fox and the more gorey of the traditional nursery rhymes – beautiful new books are being published by exciting new authors and illustrators all the time. Books that perhaps you haven’t heard of or had the pleasure of discovering just yet. And whilst I’ve never been much for gift lists and recommendations – books are always something worth buying and delighting in and giving to the ones we love.

Because nothing keeps on giving quite like a good book.


1. Amazing Babes (w: Eliza Sarlos /i: Grace Lee)

Bo got given this book for her second birthday by her Aunty, my big sister. This book is all about Amazing Babes – cover to cover portraits of some of the most influential women in social change and positive transformation in modern history – from Malala Yousafzai to Frida Khalo. It’s a book that celebrates women who had the ingenuity, steely determination and creativity to initiate great change in the world – giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about their stories and honour their incredible achievements.

‘I want to never lose the EXCITEMENT of possibility,
Like Gloria Steinem.

I want to be inspired,
Like Tavi!’

A wonderful little celebratory dive into history for girls and boys, big and small.


2. Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes (w: Nicola Davies/ i: Emily Sutton)

I have one of those kids who just needs to know how everything works and I am one of those people who actually doesn’t know. Which is where books like this little beauty comes into play – teaching both of us about the world around us, through amazing facts, gorgeous pictures and just enough information to help answer some of those ominous toddler ‘whys’ that stump me on a daily basis.

‘Right now there are more microbes living on your skin than there are people on Earth, and there are ten or even a hundred times as  many as that in your stomach.

(Don’t worry! Although some microbes make you sick, the ones that live in you and on you all the times help keep you well)’

Great analogies, gorgeous illustrations, easy to understand science and enough depth and interest to feel like you are actually learning something (because… you are).


3. What do you do with an Idea? (w: Kobi Yamada/ i: Mae Besom)

For any of us who have ever needed the inspiration to trust and nurture our own creativity and ideas (even when no one else seems to believe in them) – this is a book that will do just that. It’s a lovely little story about a child who has an idea, and as the child’s confidence grows and develops, so does the idea. It’s a beautiful way to explore the concept of ideas and thoughts with little people too and the illustrations are really very special.

‘But then I realised, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. It’s ok if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.

I decided to protect it, to care for it…’

The perfect book for anyone who has ever had an idea.

DSC_2622PIN IT4. This Moose Belongs to Me ( w+i: Oliver Jeffers)

Cute, funny and just the right kind of off the wall, is the best way to describe this sweet little book. Teaching quite a complex lesson – the fact that none of us can truly every own another living thing; not matter how much we may want to – in the quirkiest way of all.

‘He hadn’t always owned a moose.
The moose came to him a while
ago and he knew, just KNEW
that it was meant to be his.

He thought he would call him Marcel.’

We love Oliver Jeffers books; perfectly balanced with words, gorgeous pictures and always the most delightful surprises – This Moose Belongs to Me became a fast favourite in this house!

DSC_2602PIN IT5. The Little Gardener  (w: Emily Hughes)

To call this book magical would be perhaps the greatest understatement I could make. This book is the most wonderful book I’ve read this year. It’s perfectly poignant, it shows the value of working hard, it helps to remind us that we are connected to each other and to all living things around us and it has the most intricate beautiful illustrations – in short, it’s an absolute work of art.

‘This is the garden now.
And this is it’s gardner.

He doesn’t look like much.
But he means everything to his garden.’

It is the most beautiful gift to give to anyone. Every family should own a copy.


Enjoy x


  • November 23, 2015 - 5:11 am

    Claire T - Thanks for this lovely list. I only know one of these so I am off to add them to my online wish list for Miss Six.ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2015 - 7:27 pm

      Sash - some lovely stories in there for miss six! xReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2015 - 6:10 am

    Jo - Hi Sash. We love books and haven’t heard of any of these, so really appreciate your list! The Amazing Babes looks particularly interesting. And the little Gardener. My 4 yr old little boy loves Horton hears a Who, which is one of the lesser known Dr Seuss books with a bit of an existentialist spin. If you haven’t read that one, it’s worth checking out! xReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2015 - 7:27 pm

      Sash - we love horton hears a who – my all time fave dr seuss is ‘the lorax’ love the environmental message :) ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2015 - 6:26 am

    Dale - Perfect timing!ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2015 - 7:28 pm

      Sash - I have so many more! Might do another post next week! :) xReplyCancel

DSC_1520-21PIN ITIn 2011 I married a Muslim.

To do this it meant that as a secular Australian I had to renounce my secularism and had to embrace the Islamic faith by becoming a muslim myself. I was 10 weeks pregnant with Bo – which of course was illegal in the country I was in, being out of wedlock, in an islamic village. On the day I became muslim, I sat in a Masjid (mosque) with two leaders of the faith and I had to recite several passages of the Qu’ran. I was asked several times if I was sure I wantd to make this decision, I was also asked several times (very gently I might add) if anyone was pressuring me to make this decision – but of course my answers were yes, and no. I was there on my own accord (of course). I did this not necessarily because I loved the faith but because i loved the man I wanted to marry – but I would not have done this had I not believed in the faith itself. I read a translated version of the Qu’ran. I worried over the decision that I was making – knowing the state of the world that we live in. But at the end of the day, the decision was not a difficult one.

I lived in a strictly Islamic village for more than three years. I walked into that village with all kinds of misconceptions of what it meant to be muslim and I left realising how wrong our system of judgement truly is. In all of my time living in that village the only time I ever heard of extremist attacks or terrorism was on the news – and I tell you the locals were more shocked and saddened by this than any traveller you could meet. I lived the life of a free and independent woman. Whilst I came across some certain quirks along the way – I was able to overcome these with a witty tongue and a good sense of humour. I was accepted as a western woman with western ways and I was never discriminated against because of my secular beliefs. It was more than two years into my time there that I became a muslim (on paper) and after such I was never forced to do anything at all. I was respected for my respect for the faith and my choice to continue to practice my secular faith by not going to the mosque and not praying to Allah. I was respected in my differences as I respected the locals in the faith that was such a gentle thread that held the community together. I was pregnant during Ramadan and so did not fast but had I not been, I probably would have. The Islamic religion is full of a lot of beauty and is built upon very similar foundations of every religion in the world. A foundation of respect, of love, of forgiveness and morality.

A mosque neighbouring a church is not unusual in Indonesia. In fact, I know of several towns in central Java where there is a mosque and a christian church next door to one another, and never a problem has been reported. I have sat outside of such a place and watched almost simultaneous services take place with the upmost respect between them.

I’m not sure exactly why we live in a western culture that is so hell bent on Islamaphobia and my heart goes out to muslim people living in western countries during such difficult political times. My ex husband just moved to Australia and my heart goes out to him – as I know his prayer schedule will be more difficult now working in a world that does not reconginse his religion, that he will have to face judgement and discrimination in areas of his life that he does not deserve. He is a peaceful muslim man, his faith is very personal to him and it is never outwardly projected into the world. It hurts my heart that he (and all those that we both know and don’t know) may be finding difficulties during this time.

We know that with terrorist attacks occurring around the world, terrible things happening this week in several different countries – that more often than not this becomes a debate around religion – fuelling the already racist machine that is the Australian media.

I find that my heart hurts for the people who have lost loved ones, for the people who have been hurt, for the lives that have been lost and for the lives that have been irrevocably changed and damaged by the terrorist attacks all over the world at the end of last week. We live in a state of great discontent and together we must hold together and try to live without fear. but my heart hurts equally for the muslims of the world who right now are facing further discrimination and potential danger – as they always do in the wake of such attacks.

Let me remind people – a muslim person is a person first, every muslim I know denounces any and all acts of terrorism in the name of their faith and has deep empathy for those who are suffering.

Let me remind people that true faith, whatever that may be is a way of understanding what can often be a difficult and painful world to live in.

Let us not let these acts of violence tear us apart. Let us not let these acts create the disharmony and the international mistrust that they aim for. Let us band together and push back. Let us together demand a more united front against terrorism, where no matter our race or our religion, no matter our background or our heritage, no matter our god our our science – we stand together as one. As human.

Let us remember that faith, like hope… is an anchor in a continually changing world. Whilst I do not have a great personal (religious) faith of my own – I have great faith in the human race. Faith that gives me hope that we can overcome the terrible divide that we have created for ourselves.

Faith that we can come to remember what will always be true.

We are stronger together.

  • November 16, 2015 - 5:09 am

    bebe - a lovely post, Sasha, and very relevant and timely.ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 5:24 am

    Dan - beautiful postReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 5:46 am

    didin hartojo - thank youReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 6:28 am

    kim - Thank you for your beautiful words. They are much needed.ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 7:27 am

    Dale - So true.ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 7:41 am

    Paul Heaslip - A lovely and moving thought provoking message. Thanks Sash!ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 10:22 am

    Reannon @shewhorambles - It really angers me that those who cause pain, harm & chaos in the name of religion taint the views of those who don’t. Why do we not hear about all the great things that are happening within religion instead of all the bad?ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 1:42 pm

    lisa thomson-the great escape - This is very enlightening. Thanks for the important share.ReplyCancel

  • November 16, 2015 - 7:02 pm

    bron - well said, sash xReplyCancel

  • November 17, 2015 - 3:39 am
  • November 17, 2015 - 12:29 pm

    Stephanie - Oh, thank you so much for this post. I was married to a Muslim man from Senegal. I never converted nor was I asked or forced to. My time in Senegal was beautiful for many reasons, but one of them was seeing how peacefully Christians and Muslims coexisted and respected one another. There has been so much anti-Muslim and anti-refugee language in my town and state this week, and it’s so disheartening.ReplyCancel

  • November 21, 2015 - 8:51 am

    supernashwan - Do you find that it is social media that is really extreme on the Muslim side of things and not so much the main media? I mean there are always going to be people that go on discussion bits and will pose the “Anti-Religious” side of things for a sake of an argument, but I don’t really see the hate in the media as such? Although it must be said I rarely get time to read the paper or see the news!
    I do find social media is a lot of forward with ridiculous ideas because people are just out there trolling for the hell of it. This is where I see most of the troll, anger fuelled or straight ignorant remarks about everything. Personally I don’t know anyone under the age of about 50 that are anti-Muslim, maybe there is a real undercurrent I don’t know about. I guess it is fair to say I work in a fairly educated environment with friends from vast backgrounds so maybe its just not present.

    A question for you Sasha. Do you still practice anything from the Muslim faith? Is there something particular that you have taken from that and chose to institute into your life on a regular basis? Also on the flip side, is there anything in your time of practicing that faith that you felt limiting?ReplyCancel