child's play

Sweet Nourishment: a tasting workshop for kids...

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A few months ago, I was having a chat with my daughter Laly about the amount of sugar in snack foods, and what she calls “treats”. She loves to snack, and I’m fine with that as long as the snacks are nourishing. We got talking about why there is so much sugar in these packaged snack foods, and what the difference is between a nourishing treat and one that is, well, the complete opposite.

It’s a hard concept to explain to a 6 year old! That’s when I got an idea: Children (and us too!) learn so much through experience, so I suggested we make time on a weekend to create a nourishing treat tasting platter and she was so excited, she began brainstorming about all the foods we could put together! It went from being a ‘boring’ conversation to planning a visual feast!

Soon after, I attended one of my friend Emma’s events, which was in collaboration with a beautiful new local waterside café called The Galley. Emma is a renown naturopath with a passion for food. The Galley team was celebrating their arrival into the neighbourhood and wanted to share some of the wonderful dishes they offer on the menu, their focus being on fresh, seasonal ingredients. It was a beautiful sampling experience, with Emma sharing her incredible knowledge and passion for nutritious, delicious food, introducing us through our senses to the 5 best foods for cleansing during the spring season.

That’s when the next idea struck me: in collaboration with Emma, we could share the nourishing treat tasting with other children, creating a fun, interactive workshop! She loved the idea, and within an hour discussion we had nutted (perfect pun!) out the details. So here there are!

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If you have a child between 6-10 years old and live in the Inner West of Sydney or beyond, and want to empower your child to make healthy eating choices, we would love you to join us!

It will be on Saturday November 24, from 3-4:30pm at Emma’s beautiful clinic, Studio You, in Balmain. 

In between Halloween and Christmas, this is a great time to teach them what it means to nourish their mind & body through food, and to learn the difference between healthy sweets and damaging ones. They will be sampling all sorts of delicious treats, and you will both come away with your senses filled, empowered and ready to enjoy the approaching festive season in a nourishing way!

 You’ll find all the details here, please click to find out more and place your booking.

Here’s a little more info about Emma & I:

Emma Sutherland - Founder and director of Studio You, an integrated clinic supporting kids to thrive and grow into healthy adults. With over 15 years clinical experience working with families, Emma is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Emma is mum to 6 year old Sophia.

Pia Jane Bijkerk - As well as being a published author and photographer, Pia has worked as a food stylist for publications around the world, focusing on taste, colour, texture and nourishment. Her passion is to connect people to their creativity and intuition through her work. She loves working with children, creating interactive workshops that ignite creativity through play. Pia is mum to 6 year old Laly. 

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I LOVE creating interactive, intuitive workshops for kids, and I can’t wait to host this one with Emma. Hope to see you there! Let us know if you have any questions.

With Love,

Pia xx

It's All Up From Here! podcast is now live...

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I’m so thrilled to let you know about this collaboration, it’s something that I’ve been working on in the background for the past 6 months and here it is…

Welcome to Season One of the It’s All Up From Here! parent podcast, hosted by radio producer/presenter + ex-youth worker Shona Smith, alongside me, Pia Jane Bijkerk. This is a refreshing, unscripted & honest podcast opening up discussion on issues and topics of today, with the focus to bring back the fun to our parenting.

What I love about this is that both Shona & I have very different parenting styles, backgrounds & personalities - while Shona is effervescent and knowledgeable, I am, well, the heart wanderer: travelling along my parenting path led by my intuition & creativity. We are very good friends, and this collaboration came about after many wonderful discussions. I found I walked away from our conversations feeling uplifted and empowered to be on this wild parenting journey. There was so much great information shared. And after hosting some parenting workshops together in Sydney in 2017, we soon realised a podcast was in the making…

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Shona’s passion is to bring the joy back into parenting, for so many of us who feel overwhelmed and pressured to ‘get it right’. And my passion is to live wholeheartedly, guided by intuition. In this podcast we come together with honesty, openness and reality, without the bells & whistles or smoke & mirrors of social media. In fact, that is the topic of one of our upcoming episodes.

 This is Shona Smith! I love this photograph - it captures the humour, joy and warmth she brings everywhere she goes.

This is Shona Smith! I love this photograph - it captures the humour, joy and warmth she brings everywhere she goes.

Each time Shona uploads an episode, I’ll post it here on this page, but you can also subscribe via Apple Podcasts and Whooshkaa. Without further ado, a very big welcome to It’s All Up From Here! Bringing the joy & heart back to parenting.

With love,

Pia xx

Festive Season Reimagined by Pia Jane Bijkerk

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I’m delighted to let you know that my new publication, Festive Season Reimagined is at the printers and will be ready for shipping from October 29!

For those who don’t already know the journey of this book, I wrote the beginnings of it in 2016 and released it as an ebook which was titled The Everyday Alchemy Festive Guide. It was in response to my deep yearning to move through this time of year in a very different way. I was tired of feeling drained by the frenzy of the season, with all the rushing around, consuming, and the general expending of so much valuable energy. This year I decided to embark on creating my own printed version as I had a lot more content to add to it since I'd learnt from another 2 years of experiencing the festive season in this new way. Would you like to see some of the inside pages? Here is a sneak peek…

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Here is some insight into the contents…

“In this beautiful 80 page handbook, author + artist Pia Jane Bijkerk has created a visually inspiring & intuitively formed anthology of ideas for those among us looking to connect deeper as the year completes its cycle, no matter where we live in the world.”

I created this book for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and essentially, for the child within. It will open up a path of discovery in finding  fresh ways  of experiencing the festive season with great joy  and a sense of renewal, without stimulating  over-consumption and stress. Nature has always been the foundation of all that I create, and you will notice this among the pages. This is one of my favourite new images for the book…

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As with all books I create, this one is highly illustrated, combining my photography, stories and sharing ideas of my own as well as those from creative souls around me. I’m releasing a small eco-conscious print run which I am printing locally.

It will retail for $30 AUD, but I am making the first 50 available now for pre-order at a special price of $25. The book will have a soft launch at my next speaking event at the Turn Out fete at the Locomotive Workshop in Everleigh, Sydney on October 27, where I’ll be speaking about the power and importance of intuition in our lives. I’ll be signing books at the event, so for those who have pre-ordered, you can let me know you’ll be at the event and I’ll have your copy available. For those who are not able to come along to the event, you can still pre-order with shipping, and I’ll send it off to you on November 1. It is also available for independent retailers, just send me an email if you’d like to purchase them at wholesale.

And for Patreon members, all receive a 10% discount code they can use across my website for the duration of their patronage. For those not yet a member, you can find out more here.

Thank you to all who have supported me in this project over the last couple of years, through purchasing my original ebook, sharing my work with your own social media networks, and becoming part of my patreon collective to enable me to keep creating freely and wholeheartedly.

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I’ll spread the news on social media over the next 2 weeks - lifting my hiatus while I release this into the world. I’d love your help in letting people know about it, so if you would share it on your social media and friends, I’d be so grateful. This is a book I have produced independently, which means I rely completely on us as individuals to share it, purchase it, and support it any way we can. I would love to be able to continue making these types of work and in the future I’d love to grow the collection to include work by others.

Okay that’s it from me for now. Let me know if you have any questions!

With Love,

Pia xx



Issue Two: Happi.Kidz photo feature...

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In January this year I was commissioned to create another feature story for the next issue of  Happinez magazine's Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images that express how animals can give strength to a child's life, not just in literal terms, but spiritually. What I love most about shooting for Happinez is the creativity involved in coming up with unique ways to represent ideas  - rather than selling products or a look, it's all about ideas. As is our way of working together, I came up with a few ideas based on image editor Albertine van den Brink's brief, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email and then got to work bringing the ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that once again, my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Otis, was chosen for the cover.

There was much to make for this shoot, creating four completely different sets. But I had another wonderful assistant, this time it was my dear friend Kaspia's beautiful sister, Lisa! Who is also the mother of Otis. Both her boys came to the shoot at my house, and they were such a delight - between these awesome young boys and Freya from my last shoot, my reluctance to shoot kids has been lifted...

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If you'd like to see all the photographs from the shoot, and learn more about the creative processing, I have composed two patron-only posts on Patreon:

1. giving patrons the opportunity to ask any questions  - nothing is off limits - to be able to dive deep into the creative process involved in each shot creation, along with a video compilation of some of the behind the scenes of each photograph. 

2. the idea of animal totems & spirits, and how their power can enrich your everyday life - relevant for both children and adults - how to ignite confidence, courage, love, and more. 

The magazine is out now in The Netherlands. Thank you to Lisa, Otis, and Marcel for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here and here.

Credits:

Producer,  Prop Designer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Lisa Taylor
Backdrops from Major & Tom
Model: Otis Taylor

Laly sings Liferaft, written by Sydnee Carter...

The other day on instagram I posted a snippet of the lullaby Laly sung to me the other night. I asked her if I could record it on my phone to share with you and she said yes. So I took a video of it in the dark, and Romain extracted the sound so I could share it with you here. 

This is a song I've been singing to her for the past few months. Every year or so I learn a few new songs to sing to her at night. I rarely sing traditional lullabies, instead I've chosen songs that I absolutely love - songs that have beautiful messages she can carry with her throughout her life. When I was pregnant with her 6 years ago, I learnt the words to these songs and sung them to her when I was relaxing in the bath, the heaviness of my body relieved in the gentle water; and kept singing them to her at night all these years. At bedtime, she chooses one or two songs for me to sing, but lately she's been wanting to sing them herself. 

The song list that has remained  strong for the past 5 years has been as follows...

Birds by Emiliana Torrini
Sunny Road by Emiliana Torrini
The Sweetest Gift by Sade (which we call "The Moon Song")
Dreaming My Dreams by The Cranberries (which we call "The Dream Song")
Angel Standing By by Jewel (which we call "The Angel Song")

And in between those I've made up a few of my own that she chooses ("Silver Star", for example, and a song called "Slaapa Slu" which my Mum used to sing), as well as some French ones (including "Dodo, l'enfant Do"). 

This one is a new one we've added called Liferaft, by young Australian singer & songwriter Sydnee Carter. I hope you enjoy Laly's version (lyrics below)...

Pick me up,
hold me in.
I am broken,
I'm nothing.
I am weak,
not strong like you
still need your hand
to make it through.
Oh darling, can't you see?
You're the lock
and I'm the key
and in the dark
when I am blind
you'ld be the like {we sing: You'll be the light}
I will find. 
And for you I would be
the life raft in the sea.
And for you i would be
the life raft in the sea.

Pick you up,
hold you in.
If you're broken,
let i begin. {we sing: Then I'll begin)
You're not weak,
you are strong.
Just take my hand,
and hear my song
you'ld be the like {we sing: You'll be the light}
I will find. 
And for you I would be
the life raft in the sea.
And for you i would be
the life raft in the sea.

xx

PS and here is Sydney Carter singing it herself, so beautiful. 

 

Happi.Kidz photo feature...

 ...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from  Mineralism  in Glebe.

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from Mineralism in Glebe.

In June this year I was commissioned to create another story for Happinez magazine, this time for their children's edition called Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images to show the benefits of various crystals for children. I came up with a few ideas, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email - the image editor for the magazine - and then got to work bringing my ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Freya, was chosen for the cover...

 ...garnet necklace made by me, using  Tinctifolia  hand-dyed silk ribbon.

...garnet necklace made by me, using Tinctifolia hand-dyed silk ribbon.

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My dear friend Kaspia assisted me on the day, offering not only her talents as a stylist but also props from her incredible collection, including clothes & textiles from far away lands. Freya, who is half Norwegian and half Australia was my gorgeous model for the day - it was her first time modelling and she was amazing. Freya is Kaspia's niece, and along with her lovely mum Ragna, and Kaspia's eldest daughter Paloma, we had a great day on set in my home...

 ...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from  Tinctifolia .

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from Tinctifolia.

 ...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from  Mineralism , Glebe.

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from Mineralism, Glebe.

Here are a couple of the behind the scene shots for you as I know many of you love to see how I work...

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The dining table was removed to make room for the set, the light in this part of the house is beautiful. 

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The magazine is out now in Holland. I'll post some more behind the scenes shots on instagram in coming days. Thank you to Kaspia, Ragna, Freya and Paloma for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here

xx

Credits:

Producer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Kaspia
Props from Major & Tom, Mineralism, Kaspia's Caravan, Tinctifolia
Model: Freya Gilmour


 

How to be reflective at such a busy time?

 Left: our home at dusk, after dinner and little one is asleep. Sparkling wine I poured myself at dinner time has now gone flat and slightly warm. Right: the sky after a huge rather frightening electrifying storm, the clouds parted and the light that came through was breathtaking.    ...................................................................................................

Left: our home at dusk, after dinner and little one is asleep. Sparkling wine I poured myself at dinner time has now gone flat and slightly warm. Right: the sky after a huge rather frightening electrifying storm, the clouds parted and the light that came through was breathtaking. 

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In my new Festive Guide, I wrote how I've learnt about the importance in December to spend time reflecting on our personal journey over the past twelve months...

"This is the time of year to reconnect with ourselves to inspire peace, joy and a sense of renewal. It’s a time we are most open to the universe, instinctively connecting to earth and cosmos. It’s a grounding time, a time of becoming more aligned with ourselves through this openness and connection, creating conscious internal wisdom." The Everyday Alchemy Seasonal Guide, Festive Edition, page 15. 

Meanwhile the activity all around us and media screams: "buy buy buy, be busy busy busy, do do do, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop!" 

So how can we reflect at such a busy time, without adding to the busy-ness? 

In the ebook I share a number of beautifully creative ways to open to reflection, and this week I had another wonderful idea that came to mind and which I've implemented in our home, and I want to share it with you today.

It started with the simple act of writing a list of events that have happened over the course of the year. I usually do this in my journal, but this time I wrote the list on our chalkboard so we could all read it. And as I looked at the list, I realised there was much more to add - not just events, but new skills that we've each developed this year, and life lessons...

 Left: enjoying fresh organic cherries now in season! Right: the original list of big events to reflect upon.   ...................................................................................................

Left: enjoying fresh organic cherries now in season! Right: the original list of big events to reflect upon. 

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So I thought what would be great is to have a big sheet of paper that we can all write on over the month of December, to create a kind of map of what we've each encountered over the year as individuals and also as a family. Each of us can add to it whenever we think of something that was significant to us, and for Laly she can also add to it with drawings. At a glance, when we are sitting on the couch or going about our daily activities at home, we can reflect on the year's events, giving the space needed to let these moments be honoured and valued...

And it's not just about the 'good' stuff, or the happy/pretty stuff. Because there are life lessons and goodness (=value), in all. So for us, I've included the pneumonia I had in January, which was a huge deal for us, me being in bed for weeks on end, bringing up so much again about not having any extended family help at challenging times, but showing our resilience and connectedness as a couple; Laly having her tonsils and adenoids out, another huge event for us, after years of health issues and trying almost every single alternative method on the planet to reduce the size of her tonsils without operating. In the end it's exactly what she needed, it couldn't be avoided and again, as a family just the three of us, we did it, she recovered and is thriving. 

And our trip to France and Amsterdam! An adventure we have worked hard to make happen for five years, each year faced with new obstacles. But not this year. This year, it all came together. Laly met her French family for the first time, and I got to spend time with my friends in Amsterdam who I had been longing to connect with and hug again for all those years. 

What I realised is that with each event, there come achievements, new skills, and life lessons to also honour. So on the paper, there is room for these too. 

Perhaps you'd like to create something similar in your home. The above prompts will help for significant milestones in your journey to come to mind. If something comes to mind but you don't think it's significant, still write it down, as it might be revealed later why that is significant and has come up to the surface from your sub-conscious. And most importantly, not to get stuck on what the paper looks like! Let it be messy, it doesn't have to be a work of art (I'm writing that as a message to myself as well, letting go of the way things look and focussing on how they feel). 

I'd love to know how you're going with your reflections, if this is a new-to-you tradition at this time of year that you are introducing, inspired by the Festive Guide, or if you're allowing more of it in. 

Also to keep in mind, it's not about focussing on what we haven't achieved this year that we thought we would, but what we have achieved. Because there is value in all of it, even if we can't yet feel it's value, it's there, and taking the time to reflect will deliver that valuable gift to you and open you to the new opportunities that await you in the new year. 

Happy reflection time, mes amis

xx