Sydney-sider, writer, foodie, artist, stylist and head-over-heels-in-love sourdough Artisan. 🖤
I have been baking serious amounts of sourdough since 2008 when a simple loaf of bread, from a small Parisian village, forever changed the way we do ‘home’.
By day I am a Brand & Communications Manager in online retail. I write, design and hustle with manufacturers to do what I love – make things beautiful.
By night and on the weekend I blog, paint, bake, renovate, garden and… sourdough, over and over again. I still smile every time a loaf comes out of the oven and I have a deeply personal ‘Mama-Sourdough clock’ that ticks away on the inside when a friend is making sourdough. I intuitively know when their starter will need feeding, when they should be making dough and eagerly anticipate when their bread should be coming out of the oven.
I have hacked sourdough to the max and made it more difficult than it needed to be. Sourdough has been a magical love-affair that has woven itself seamlessly into our lives.
The home where all this takes place is a 1970’s cottage that my husband and I renovated from the front fence to the back with everything in-between. It only took 10 years… But we did it ourselves and had great fun!
We have a train line across the street instead of neighbours and a colossal backyard filled with fruit, veges, lawn and a detached dining room also inspired by our trip to France. Our ‘Loft’ is an oasis in the middle of a regular, rapidly expanding (with-no-back-yard) suburb in Sydney.
I studied film and TV waaaaay before YouTube was born, have had several pieces of writing published including a children’s book and gained a certificate in Songwriting with one recording to my credit. I haven’t played the piano however, in more than a decade. #lifegoalstogetbackinto
What I have done in that time is make sourdough. And lot’s of it. 😉
I am mildly obsessed with anything French or European – food, music, subtitled movies, decor, documentaries, photography… and mixing it with modern life in Australia. I make some pretty smashing food and have put together a thousand pretty table settings easily, with things I have at home.
In our home, we have a special travel tradition. We bring back ideas, recipes and cultural traditions from our holiday experiences to weave into our everyday life, rather than collecting trinkets or souvenirs. So… it’s a mixed household here!
Between myself and my husband, we have large Australian family. 8 siblings, 7 in-laws, 16 nephews, 4 nieces, 1 nephew-in-law, 3 nieces-in-law, 5 great-nephews and 3 great-niece’s. Our home hosts the two of us usually, but when our family gets together, it can be many. Our biggest home-catered endeavor was a homemade pizza party for 40 people. We shared dinner at a long garden table in our backyard. And… it was fairly easy. We prepared 18 pizzas the night before so that for the party – we simply set the table, loaded the oven and feasted together.
I want to show you how you can do these things easily too.
Beautiful Living often isn’t instant, but it can be and it can also be easy and above all… beautiful. It is a natural gift for me, but doing things the easy way hasn’t been.
What was easy for me for many years, was to strive or if it was too hard, opt-out. In the past, I’ve been overwhelmed, anxiety-ridden and bound by a need to have things perfect. I falsely thought a perfect and beautiful home meant I was both of those things too. I hid stress and anxiety behind immaculately placed cushions and freshly cleaned floors. All the while, those cushions caused anxiety when they were left out of place, and my fresh floors were no longer clean the moment guests arrived.
I pushed myself to do more than I needed to; thinking somehow it made everything more authentic, more beautiful.
However, being stress-free is a massive part of making beautiful living easy: living with peace, joy and ease for you and those around you. Over many years, I got so exhausted I permanently took the other option – I gave up. I thought my life might not ever look beautiful again. But to my surprise, when strength and peace emerged deep inside from being content without perfection, I no longer needed life to be that way on the outside. It was a great freedom and I was liberated to enjoy making life beautiful the easy way. I hope to share some of that journey with you too.
Today, there are still cushions in my lounge room, the same ones as before! But now when they move or get bung out of shape, I am OK. It’s not a reflection of me anymore. It’s a whole different perspective: cushions and other ‘things’ exist for the pleasure of those entering our home, and are not a representation of… me.
If anything is a source of stress or expectation when hosting, I guarantee, visitors will feel like they are the source of stress and won’t feel welcome. I was mortified to realise guests did not feel comfortable when I wasn’t comfortable. When I saw that, I changed my priorities.
People will not remember the cushions they dislodged while sitting on your couch, but they will remember if they felt at home. I want guests to be more relaxed in my lounge room than they are in their own.
I make the same bread, serve the same people, our family is still growing and I still make the table-setting beautiful. I’ve just changed the way I see it and reinvented some processes around it so that it’s beautiful living ~ just made easy.
“If you’re going to own it, make it, do it, use it… It may as well be beautiful.”
Julie LawrenceJuly 2, 2021
Hi, I just want to say that I love what you have written here, very honest and I can relate to a lot of what you have experienced. I am a kiwi living in London, for the past 20 years. I too love making sour dough bread, it was a thing that I decided to take up during the first lock down. I’ve just decided to give it another go, and sadly my loaves were quite flat, that is how I came across your blog, trying to work out what went wrong 😭😆
Anyways, congrats on being so successful and I wish I was even a little bit like you!!
Keep safe xx
Mary-JaneJuly 4, 2021
Thank you for such a lovely comment beautiful woman! I hope all is well with you in the UK at the moment. Were you able to sort out why your sourdough bread was flat? I have another post coming this week that may help you with it. I’ll inbox you when I publish it xx
Mary-JaneJuly 4, 2021
BTW Everyone has flat sourdough at least once!!! It took me 18 months to get a decent loaf when I first tried it. So you are officially part of the sourdough ‘in’ crowd! Welcome!!🤗 It won’t take you 18 months to crack it. I promise! If your sourdough starter is mature and strong (doubling within 3-8 hours) try my no-knead sourdough recipe. It has all my hacks built into it and is designed to specifically avoid flat loaves. It’s a non-traditional way of making sourdough but it works and is super easy. Also, make sure your flour has 12-13% protein. It will make a world of difference.🖤