Blowing away the cobwebs

Blowing away the cobwebs

There are days when only an ocean beach will do. Which is why the Munchkin and I have come to this place.

The waves crash and roll. There is a bitter wind – strong and biting –  but we are well rugged up.

The Munchkin plays with the waves. He’s sure to get wet again, but today we have come prepared.

It has been hard to let go… all those crazy dreams, the 4am ideas, all that hard work.

I take off my beanie and let the wind blow through my hair. I stare out to sea.

My ears are stinging, but it feels good – like it is clearing out all the corners of my brain… sweeping them clean, readying them for what is next.

When the pain in my ears becomes unbearable, I pop my hat back on and call to the Munchkin, “Five minutes!”

Soon we are walking back to the car, the wind driving sand against our bodies so hard that we have to walk backwards to stop it hurting our faces.

I take one last look at the ocean and drink in its power.

I will be back soon.

Today I am grateful.

Goodbye dirtgirl. Goodbye Leaf.

dgw Leaf field shot LR

Twelve months ago, on an icy cold morning, I took these five kids, a couple of mums and a photographer to our local school.

I shared in their wonder as they explored the leaves and chestnut shells in the paddock. Later, as they put together their journal pages with the craft materials we had prepared, their enthusiasm and creativity stirred in me incredible happiness and pride. The previous year’s work seemed so worthwhile. I dreamt of children all across the country enjoying a similar (albeit warmer) experience, as they played with their own scrapbooks.

But alas, it was not to be… despite some fantastic reviews, the dirtgirlworld scrapbook did not fire the imaginations of retailers, the media and parents in the same way that it did those five children that chilly day.

And so, after much discussion, soul-searching and more than a few tears, dirtgirlworld and I have decided to part ways when our licence agreement expires at the end of August. I will also be closing down Leaf as a business at this time.

It seems I created products for a world the way I’d wished it to be, not the way it really is.

Unfortunately, we live in a world surrounded by plentiful goods, and yet our current business models mean that every day we exploit our planet and our people in order to enjoy them. Producing and distributing products locally, ethically, sustainably AND competitively is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for a micro business like Leaf.

Then, in our efforts to provide these goods that (supposedly) create a perfect life for our families, we (myself included) too often choose the easier option – to just entertain our kids, rather than truly engage them. We are just too busy. It is far simpler and less stressful to occupy them with an iPad than a conversation… the TV than a craft project. And most kids will happily accept the bright lights if that’s what’s on offer!

I have done all I can through Leaf to fight against these forces, but it is now time to focus my energy elsewhere. Of course, I will always admire and support people like my friends from dirtgirlworld, who continue to fight this battle against consumerism and environmental degradation, by educating and engaging our kids.

So has it all been worth it?

My bank balance may say no, but the rest of me screams a resounding YES!

As I look back to that day when I left my corporate job four years ago, it is heartening to review all that I have achieved. I am simply not that person any more… And that is good!

I have been blessed with so many amazing new relationships, achievements and experiences that I cannot possibly call this venture a failure. It is merely part of the journey – albeit a difficult one.

I’ve learned to become the mother I always dreamt of being, and the Munchkin will carry the benefits of that for the rest of his life. For this reason alone, it has all been worthwhile.

I have discovered passions and strengths that I did not know I had – and that I’m itching to share with the world.

At the moment, I do not know exactly what is around the corner, but I trust that by closing this door, another will soon open.

Having now earned my stripes as an entrepreneur, I hope to use my experience and knowledge to help others fulfil their own dreams and build a happier, connected, more sustainable world.

I might even get that blog going that I’ve been talking about for the past year or so.

So where to from here?

Well, I still have a warehouse full of awesome products, looking for good homes…

So rather than spending all your dollars on yet more cheap “stuff” at the upcoming toy sales, please take advantage of our amazing clearance sale, and bring some joy and meaning into the lives of some kids (and adults) around you.

I’ll be posting some fantastic offers during the coming weeks on our blogFacebook page and through the Leaf e-news. Or check them out now at the Leaf Online store… All stock must go!!!

It is not possible to thank enough all of the wonderful people who have supported me, believed in me and inspired me during this time, especially my incredibly patient (and gorgeous) hubby who has stood by me all the way, but I will try…

Thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

Today I am grateful!

Table LR copy

Sand City

Nature's treasures from the sea.

I love school holidays – the sleep ins, the relaxed mornings and especially the adventures with the Munchkin.

Today, after catching up with some friends at a cafe, we went to the beach.

After exploring the rockpools for a while, we head for the shore.

“I’m making a sand city”, calls the Munchkin as he runs straight for the water’s edge. “OK”, I call back, “just don’t get wet!”

I know it is an exercise in futility, but it feels like the proper ‘Mum’ to do. While the sun is out, there is no warmth in it, and it’s an hour’s drive home.

“Come join me Mum”, he calls. I don’t really feel like making sand castles, and I certainly don’t want to kneel down in the cold, wet sand. I have other things on my mind and I’d really like some time to myself.

“I’ll look for treasures for your sand city”, I tell him, and wander off up the beach.

And such treasures… driftwood, shells of all shapes and colours, sponges, sea-worn gumnuts, a piece of bone and loads of other unidentified goodies.

One by one, I admire their delicate beauty and formation, before taking them to the Munchkin to adorn his creation.

“This one’s a window”, he says as I hand him a shell. He quickly finds it a place. “Ooohhh, that bone makes a great cannon” – and so it goes…

Secretly, I’d hope he’d stop and admire each item like I have, but instead he busies himself with building and decorating.

I pocket a couple of items to take home to photograph. I will return them another day.

It is soon time to leave, and I drag the Munchkin away. Of course he does not want to go, but it is getting late and we have a long drive home.

We are halfway back to the car when I realise something is wrong. I stop.

“Can I please go back and get that bone Mum?” he pleads. I am hesitant, but the look on his face tells me he has taken it all in.

“OK”, I reply, and he runs off to fetch it.

Today I am grateful.


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Hi, I’m Cath

Cath Connell

Creating my amazing life one tiny moment at a time. Bringing the Hubby, a Munchkin and about a dozen tomato plants along for the ride.

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