During the winter I decided to start a series on our favourite places in Sydney.  Places we go and feel right at home.  Yesterday we visited one of those places with some friends – the Australian National Maritime Museum.  We are so lucky to have this gem of a museum right in our neighbourhood.  It is by far our favourite family membership.  You might not know just how much there is on offer there on a regular basis.  For starters, it serves as our playground on a rainy, cold  or miserably hot day.  There is a great new play area for little ones and always an interesting exhibit or two.  My kids have loved just wandering around the museum since they could walk.  The don’t ever seem to get tired of it! But Sundays are our favourite days when there is an arts and crafts room open called Kids on Deck.  We spend hours upon hours in that room.  My daughter could spend the whole day there and many times when I had a new bub she did!  It is contained, supervised by nice and helpful staff, and a great place to relax or catch up with another mum while your little one is amused and happy.   Kids on Deck also runs during the school holidays – a lifesaver!

And if that is not enough, the Museum brings in performance shows during Family Sundays and school holidays.  We always go more than once to the point my kids can recite the lines!  And if you don’t know about it, the Mini Mariners program is the best.  It is a special program for kids that runs on Tuesdays and some Saturday mornings.    It is free for members (such a great deal!) and lasts about 45 minutes.  We went so often that we got to know the staff and it is always so nice to go to a place where friendly people know your names.

So without any plans on Sunday we headed off to the Maritime Museum.  We were lucky in that it was Family Fun Sunday which means there was a great circus performance, face painting and of course Kids on Deck.  We watched the circus show where a fabulous trapeze artist entertained the crowd and then got all the little ones doing there own circus tricks.  Hula hooping seemed to be my daughter’s trick of choice. And of course we spent hours in Kids on Deck making light houses, fancy hats and badges.  The bonus was the face painting.  If my little ones are like yours, they are not leaving without an elaborate painting on their little cheeks.  All in all I think we were there about three hours and no one wanted to leave – except for the fact that lunch was calling.  And we didn’t even actually enter into the museum, tour the ships or climb the lighthouse.  There is that much to do!  It is also one of my favourite places to take photographs.  The boardwalk, city, water and sunshine – to die for!

It was such a great Sunday spent not very far from home. If you haven’t been to the Maritime Museum lately I encourage you to check it out soon!  Stay tuned for our next favourite place!

two girls at the maritime museum in darling harbourhoola hooping in darling harbour at the maritime museumface painting at the maritime museumface painting at the maritime museum

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We’ve have had such a freezing cold winter (at least freezing for Sydney!) that a day of sparkling sunshine was such a treat last week.  No puffy jackets, hats or scarves needed as we headed to the park on a Saturday afternoon.  Even though I take at least one photograph everyday, it had been weeks since my camera had seen the outdoors.  My favourite time to take pictures is in the middle of the day with bright sun that sparkles off the tops of my kids heads. I often feel like the light is a projection of their sweet, sometimes crazy, and unique spirit that shines so brightly that it can’t help but spill out on a sparkly day.  My daughter is very into her baby dolls at the moment so she and the favourite of the day did a little modeling on our way to the park.  I love the way my daughter dresses herself these days.  Somehow she makes the craziest outfits work.   If I were to wear them I would indeed look crazy!  But her – she pulls it off every time. On our way home, my son wanted a bit of the camera action too.  By then we were approaching sunset and the light was softer and and a bit rosy.  Fitting for his sweet spirit!

And that is August’s installment of my “4 on 4” series which simply means posting four images on the 4th of the month from the month before.  I love blog circles like this and being able to connect with photographers with different styles from different countries.  So please continue along the circle to see Jina’s blog post for this month. Thanks for reading!

Brown haired girl in gorgeous sunshine photographbrown haired girl with baby doll in sunshinebrown haired girl and sunshineLittle boy in Sydney at sunset

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  • Allison your children are beautiful! I love that you embrace the direct sunlight where most tend to shy away from it!ReplyCancel

  • Shauna Hargis

    Love your images! Your use of light is awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Zelena Rose (Zelena Hatcher)

    I love your use of light and how they just seem to glow.ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous images. And I love how you aren’t afraid to take on the high noon sun! For some (completely naive) reason, I had no idea that you had freezing cold winters in Sydney!ReplyCancel

    • Allison

      Thank you so much Jeanne. And cold is all relative!ReplyCancel

  • Denise

    So great to see that the sun still shines so bright in the middle of Winter. Great images of your children. The ones with your daughter and her little doll will be some you’ll cherish when she grows up :).ReplyCancel

I thought it would be fun over the winter to do a little series on some of our favourite kid friendly places in our neighbourhood and beyond.  We live in Pyrmont – just a short stroll over the bridge to the CBD and the large tourist destination that is Darling Harbour.  To some, that might mean that we sacrifice a cozy, neighbourhood feeling – a sense of belonging that is often associated with living a bit further out or in the suburbs.  It might indeed mean you have to search a bit harder for places that make you feel at home, but they are definitely there.  We’ve lived here for over five years now and I love that we have so many places that feel like home.

Hands down though is our favourite place is Cafe Kebo on Harris Street.  The owner is Steve who my kids adore and the rest of the staff are just as great. Kebo has been our go to destination for about four years. I was hooked when on my third visit Steve knew my name, my daughter’s name and what coffee I liked when I walked in the door!  The quality of the coffee is what got me in the door for the third time, but it is the friendly five-star service that has kept us loyal customers for so many years.  The food is cooked in the kitchen on site with hot breakfasts and delicious muffins, fresh salads, soups and sandwiches for lunch.  The babycinos are complimentary and come with the required marshmellow – which seems to be disappearing in so many places.

My kids definitely think Kebo is an extension of our lounge room.  They have their own specials they order, favourite places to sit, and Steve always has a game or two on hand for his Fun Friday Challenges.  Right now they have a crush on a huge stuffed dog that is guarding the cafe and if he is not around, they are busy tormenting a poor fish in his fish bowl in the back of the cafe.

As if all of the above is not enough, Steve implemented a texting and account system a few years ago when my kids were much littler.  A lifesaver for this mum as it meant I could text my coffee and food order when I left the house and when I arrived at the cafe, it was ready and waiting.  And as long as there was money in my house account, I didn’t even have to stop to pay.  No waiting in line with a crying baby or a curious toddler.  That alone made me never look at another cafe unless Steve for some reason was closed.

Kebo is such a part of our daily life, I thought it would be fun to do a casual photoshoot.  It was a cold, wet day when we stared snapping and we finished up on a day with a bit more sun.  I love how these images show how much my kids love their special place at Steve’s cafe.  Who wouldn’t love a barista that delights you with extra marshmellows, and let’s the steam wand cover you with magical smoke? Steve puts a smile on their face and mine on a daily basis.  The only sad part is that Steve is off on an adventure at the end of the year.  We’ll unfortunately have to find a new cafe to call home.  But until then – you can find us at Kebo!

Kebo cafe pyrmont

kids at Kebo cafe in PyrmontKebo cafe pyrmontKebo cafe pyrmontkebo cafe pyrmont20150707-DSC_9594-1kids having coffee in Pyrmontkids at Kebo cafe pyrmontKebo cafe pyrmontKebo cafe pyrmontKebo cafe pyrmontboy with babycino at Kebo cafe pyrmont

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Recently I joined a group of talented photographers from around the world with the goal of sharing images with each other and our readers.  One of the monthly posts is a “4 on 4” which simply means posting four images on the 4th of the month from the month before.  I love blog circles like this and being able to connect with photographers with different styles from different countries.  It’s still one of the things about the internet that amazes me.

For this month, I decided to post four images from a day when I did a little experimenting with low light.  I LOVE looking at photographs that are taken in low light but it is not something I usually do. As a child photographer, I tend to gravitate to shooting in the beauty of our Australian full sun.  I love surrounding kids with the angelic type light you can find here in Sydney. It adds to my desire to capture the essence of how amazing these little creatures are that we bring into the world.

However, every once in a while I want to try something different. And winter lends itself to experimenting indoors.  So one afternoon I decided to capture some low light images of my son watching tv during rest time.  It was not this dark in the room, but there was some hard light streaming through a slit in the window shades.  To capture images like this, I metered (or exposed) for the brightest part of the scene which results in throwing everything else into shadow.   I always feel that capturing everyday images when there is very little light is so tricky.  But when captured this way they turn the mundane into beauty. Most of these are edited in a slight to heavy matte finish and I love them.  Hope you do too!  And please follow along the circle to see the amazing work of wedding photographer Lisa Lacroix.

little boy resting drinking bottlelittle boy restinglittle boy restinglittle boy resting

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  • These are beautiful Allison!! I think you’ve got the low-light thing down!ReplyCancel

  • You have beautiful work, Allison! It is good to practice something out of the comfort zone every now and then. The last photo really resonates with me.ReplyCancel

  • Ooooooooooohhhhhhh!!!! These are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful pictures, Allison!ReplyCancel

  • Denise

    I think these are wonderful! These will mean more and more as the years go by :).ReplyCancel

  • I am passionate about indoor/low light/storytelling images. These are great! And might I also say that I love your bedspread. Those colors and patterns are sweet!ReplyCancel

  • I love how you embraced light and shadow here!! Beautiful images :)ReplyCancel

Yellow – that was colour assigned to the month of June in my color blog circle of talented photographers from across the globe.  This was my second month working with a colour scheme. Once again I procrastinated a bit as working with a theme is something that is a bit out of my element.  I am a reactive photographer meaning that I love to watch the scene unfold around me – snapping what catches my eye.  When I thought about yellow and this city that I love, I instantly thought of the Sydney ferries and Luna Park.  Bright yellow beacons in the bright blue water.   Winter school holidays were upon us and we had planned a trip to this iconic amusement park – perfect!  Lots of yellow inspiration to be found there.

That morning it was freezing cold and a bit overcast. But we headed out early to our neighbourhood wharf anyway. I absolutely love that ferries are a mode of transportation here in Sydney.  We arrived at Luna Park right when it opened so we were rewarded with no lines which is a big plus with little ones.  The kids had an amazing time.  Luna Park is rather small but somehow we managed to stay until almost sunset – riding all the rides, eating fun carnival food and watching the entertainers. Cotton candy is called fairy floss here – I love that! It is amazing to have this iconic Sydney landmark just across the harbour.  And I captured plenty of yellow images to boot. Hope you enjoy the selection below. And please follow along and view the amazing work by my friend Angie.
Sydney FerryKids waiting on Sydney Ferryriding the ferry in Sydneylittle girl with fairy flossboy eating fairy floss

kids at luna parkriding the carousel at Luna Parkthe sydney ferry and harbour bridge

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  • I am so glad you are joining us on this color adventure! These are great!ReplyCancel