Jodi is part of the original blogging community before social media crept in, writing from when she first became a mother and continuing as her family expanded. She purposely chooses to live a simple life on the Central Coast with her husband Daniel, and three children Che, Poet and Percy, aged nine, five and 21 months, while documenting it in words and photographs on her blog Practising Simplicity and through her self-created 52 Project. Find out more about Jodi in our latest Meet the Mama interview.
You’re a photographer, writer, blogger and yoga teacher. How do you meld all these jobs together with being a mum?
To be honest, they all complement, and ultimately enhance, each other. I studied journalism at UTS straight out of school and once I had graduated I attended my very first yoga class. My first teacher is now my mother-in-law (yoga literally changed my life!) and within six months of attending her studio (The Yoga Collective in Terrigal) I decided that I wanted to become a teacher.
I did my yoga teacher training in the hope that I would teach yoga classes and write freelance (because back then, making a regularly living from freelance writing work was a hard task). But then, I fell in love and fell pregnant with Che and I was a new mum at 23. I went back to teaching pre-natal yoga when he was three-months-old and a little while later I started blogging.
That was early 2008 when the blogging scene was an entirely different world to what it is now. It was around that time that I started getting into photography and in 2011 I did my best to learn manual, shoot regularly and ultimately improve my photos. I was teaching pre-natal yoga, writing freelance for magazines and blogging. My second child Poet was born in the middle of that year and soon after I was approached by a few small Australian clothing brands who wanted to sponsor the blog. So four careers just naturally came together and somehow, it just works.
You started the 52 Project in 2012 as a way of capturing memories of your kids at least once a week, and lots of other photographers and bloggers have joined in. Has it helped you to take more photos of your kids?
I think more than anything it has given me a deadline every week and that’s helpful when I’m busy with work, homelife etc. That said, I’ve been so slack with the printing side of things - it’s one of my new year resolutions to finally get those files into books (an expensive exercise if you want to do it on quality paper). I do have weeks where I’m not inspired and I don’t want to shoot but the best way to start shooting again is to plan a little adventure and take my camera with me. Inspiration can always be found again. I’m happy to shoot anywhere on the Coast - beach, bush, street.
Describe a typical week for your family. How do you balance everything?
I don’t balance anything, it’s an eternal juggle! Firstly, I don’t believe that kids need to be enrolled in every activity under the sun. My eldest does drama and my daughter does dancing - one class a week is plenty. I’m a big fan of free play and no schedules! In regards to the domestic side of things, if I have a busy work week then the house is a mess...there’s no way around it.
Who’s in your village to help you as a working mother?
I’ve got two very doting sets of grandparents who live close by and they help out enormously. That said, I work early in the morning, late at night and sometimes while Percy is playing at my feet. I only send my kids off to preschool when they’re three but occasionally I’ll have a friend of ours (who specialises in craft-based babysitting!) to come and watch the kids for a few hours while I work at the library.
Why did you decide to raise your family on the Central Coast?
I was born in England but my parents moved here in 1986 and they’ve been in the same house ever since. I’ve stayed because it just happened that way and let’s face it, it is a lovely place to raise kids. We found a new home earlier this year, just seven days before we had to be out of our previous home. We’re still renting, on the cusp of buying but just waiting for the right time. We’re very much homebodies so we spend days pottering at home, visiting the grandparents and swimming in the ocean. Our current neighbourhood is beautiful for families - lots of beautiful, easy walks, a sweet little park and a beach. Pretty lucky, really.
That said, Daniel grew up in Melbourne and we both love it there and as he works in the film industry, his entire career is city-based so a move may be on the cards in the not so distant future, as my firstborn gets older and high school is on the horizon.
Where are your favourite places to eat out on the Coast with your kids and for date nights?
We rarely go out with the kids but when we do we’ll grab pizza from Hungry Wolves in Terrigal. And for date night there’s only one option - Bombini in Avoca!
Where do you like to take the kids during the school holidays on the Coast?
Our first stop in the holidays is the library - we stock up once a week on novels and picture books. The library usually has a really great kids holiday program too but you have to book in early.
We often go scootering in Terrigal, swimming at the beach or spend time with the grandparents. We’ll usually squeeze in one movie visit too but all in all we like to keep the activities simple and free. Early mornings at the beach with a coffee in hand and then home for lunch, an afternoon nap, a movie and some craft/baking/playing in the garden.
Favourite Things on the Coast…
Beach: Little Beach, The Haven, Bateau Bay.
Store: Piccolo Pear.
Childrenswear label: My friend Emma makes sweet vintage clothes and accessories from her fabulous fabric collection Hazy Jane.
And one of my dearest friends owns Precious Little in Terrigal and that’s my go-to for beautiful baby gifts, quality childrenswear and sweet toys.
Place to get coffee: Glee at Erina Heights.
Go-to family meal: Fish and chips from Darron’s Seafood, Pizza from Hungry Wolves or Indian takeaway.
Way/place to exercise: Long walks around the neighbourhood.
Any other Central Coast businesses you love?
My friend Katherine is a wonderful photographer. She’s photographed me a few times and was there for Percy’s birth. You can find her over at Lamb Loves Fox.