For my sister on her birthday

When I was four years old, a funny little baby came to live with us. My parents said I could name her whatever I wanted, and because I desperately wanted a dog, I named her Fluffy. Her birth certificate says ‘Sonia’, but we all still call her Fluffy, even at 30.

2015/02/img_5644.jpgFluffy was a screecher. It’s a wonder Tutti didn’t chuck her out a window. She screamed like a banshee morning, noon and night. I can still remember sitting on the green, foam, modular lounge, wrestling with baby fluffy as she pterodactyl-shrieked like a maniac, arching her back as if possessed. Even then, I loved my little sister. ‘There, there, Fluffy,” I soothed as I peered into her pink, furious face. “There, there.”

2015/02/img_5643.jpgFluffy has always been quite uncoordinated. She was never going to excel at any sport that required the catching of a ball (though come to think of it, neither was I). But she has been blessed with the most astounding creative spirit. I think the word for it is accomplished. She can sew like a master. She makes incredible clothes and hats and beautiful children’s toys; she is a brilliant and quirky illustrator and a wonderful writer to boot. If you have never seen the impressive body of work that is her Nun and Crocodile blog, then you ought to. Now. Run, don’t walk!

2015/02/img_5645.jpgWhen Fluffy could first talk, she called me Little Mummy, and I always took great pride in my role as older sister, to look after her, and out for her and give her advice and a bit of tough love. Sometimes you need someone to tell you to shut up. I am very good at that. And I credit myself with gifting Fluffy with her very own spirit animal. The Honey Badger. Honey badgers are fierce. They are the most fearless creatures in the world. They are crazy. They do not give a shit.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 1.08.42 pmI have always thought Fluffy was better looking than me. She is definitely more photogenic and has an enviably thin waist. I’m not even sure I have a waist.  But I have never, ever been jealous. I am quite proud of that fact.


Here is Fluffy, today, on her birthday, wearing a necklace I made for her.

Anyway, all that’s left to say is Happy Birthday little Fluffy. I have no doubt this next decade is going to be spectacular. Being in your 30s is the BEST. Until you turn 40. I hear 50’s good. Sixty’s the new 40 apparently. According to some of the ladies over at Advanced Style, being 80 is AMAZING!



Ceci xx


Sisters, reunited

A couple of days ago, my dear sister Fluffy arrived from London (where she lives) to celebrate her impending 30th birthday in Sydney.

2015/02/img_5485-0.jpg We’ve always been really good friends, but when I was 10 I clearly begrudged her for having the cute-factor that got her out of trouble at every turn. A point I made quite clear in this letter I penned to Tutti.

2015/02/img_54831.jpgDear Mummy, I’m very sorry although it was not all my fault. You have to understand that whenever you shout at Sonia or me, you always use my name or stare at me during a lecture so I feel blamed for everything. I feel parents should treat old & young kids the same. To try and make you forgive me I have tidied my room and used my best writing paper in this letter. I also hope that sometimes you won’t fall for her (Sonia) cute act as I know that in being 6 years she is cuter than me anyway. Sorry about the writing. Love, your misbehaved daughter Cecily Anna B.
P.S. I think the threats you give sometimes are mean.


Everyone, meet Fluffy

Happy Friday one and all!

Today, I’d like to introduce my sister Fluffy. I’ve explained before why my 28 year old adult sister is named after a dog (a cute, frivolous, fluffy dog) but what you probably don’t know about her is that she has a lot of other names as well:
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What we wore to my wedding…

Dear Reader,

I wanted to tell you the story of my wedding day today – of how my incredibly talented sister Fluffy was our couturier, designing and making my wedding dress and Tutti’s dress, and her bridesmaid dress (and a dress for my superfluous crazy-bridesmaid – who not only insisted on walking first up the aisle because she was worried Fluffy’s Amazonian stature would block her out of the wedding photos, but also decided she wasn’t getting enough attention at the reception – so started breakdancing).

But I have had such a busy week that I don’t have the time. So what I will do, is leave you with a little glimpse into what we wore on this truly fun and fabulous day.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend! x


Tutti, wearing a Fluffy design – the fabric is 85% metal.


Tutti and The Guru



Me. Looking thoughtful.


And for once, not making a face at the camera that makes me look completely special.


With my gorgeous and talented sister, Fluffy


Tutti, Matty, Me, The Guru, Fluffy.

Except for the top one, all photos by Nadine Saacks


The Guru and the Photoshop Fail

This is a story about the day The Guru, (who as well as being an enlightened spiritualist also happens to be a very talented graphic designer), took his photoshopping talents a step too far. You see, it was the night before he was about to go to Bali for a holiday with Tutti and Fluffy, and he had only just realised that his passport had expired. Yes: it had expired That. Very. Same. Day.

Now, while everybody knows that it is actually impossible (read: IMPOSSIBLE) to get a new passport turned around in less than 48 hours, The Guru had no doubts that he would be on the plane on time. Why? Because one of the philosophies that he lives by is that ‘What you believe, you create’ – and The Guru believed with every fibre of his fluffy-haired being, that he would be boarding a plane to Bali the following afternoon, with a renewed passport in his hand.

So what did he do? Did he:

a) Pray
b) Make sure he had all the correct passport renewal forms filled out?
c) Go straight to bed so he could be up bright and early, the second the passport office opened?

Answer: None of the above.

Instead, he stayed up until 1am, manically photoshopping his passport picture.

To this day, we will never know why The Guru tried to photoshop himself. It was a moment of vanity. Or perhaps insanity. Probably, it was a combination of both. But we do know two things.

The first, is that this is what the Guru normally looks like.

Friendly. Fun. You would never cross the street if you were passing him late at night. He doesn’t even walk like a normal person, he half-bounces, half-floats, and as he does so, he emits rainbows and a warm golden light and sweet chirping birds flit behind him in his wake.

The second, is that by the time The Guru was done, he looked less like Paul Bennett, and more like Paulina la Frou Frou, a strange, poe-faced tranny who works nights at a cabaret probably called The Pink Poodle or The Fabulous Fanny.


You will not be surprised to hear that when The Guru got to the passport office the following morning, the very second the doors opened, the officer took one look at him, one look at the pink-haired, slim-faced creature in the photograph, and with a smirk said, “No mate, this is not gonna cut it.”

But does the Guru think for a minute there’s even a small chance he might not get his passport? Of course not. One of his other life philosophies is to ‘Act As If’. (Which is much the same as What You Think, You Create). So, with his curly silver mullet flapping softly behind him, he flew out the door of the passport office, and into the nearest post office to have a new picture taken.

Unfortunately, it was raining that day. And so the Guru’s glorious mop of shining curls were damp, and flat, and sad and dejected. They refused to be fluffed. Add to that the strain of a clock ticking down just a few hours until he was due to board a plane with his family, and all the panic, the madness, the worries of the world were etched on The Guru’s normally glowing face.

Now, if you saw someone who looked like the Guru in his actual passport photo, you would cross the street. In fact, you would probably run, screaming.

This is what he has to live with for the next 10 years.


This is what the Guru would look like if he was 175 years old and wanted for criminal activity.


From this:

To This




Now I won’t tell you the whole story, because one day the Guru will tell it in full, in his book, which promises to be a future bestseller. But what I can say, is that just 3 hours later, he had his new passport in hand, and was happily boarding his flight, as scheduled. As expected.

Which just goes to show that a little bit of optimism goes a very long way.


The Goat

The story goes that the day I was born, my paternal grandmother called the labour ward to ask how my dad was feeling.

You see, The Guru, unable to manage his weak constitution, fainted onto the floor into a limp, sodden heap, just as I was emerging into the world.

My mother, the one who had so heroically endured the 14 hour labour, was left to fend for herself as nurses tended to the Guru and his pallid unconsciousness.


The Guru and The Goat

When I was old enough to talk, The Goat insisted I call her Nanny, since ‘Grandma’ made her feel old. As Tutti became less and less enamoured of The Goat over time, largely in part to being constantly judged by her fierce beady eyes, antagonistic asides and passive aggressive tsks and sighs, ‘Nanny’ became ‘Nanny Goat’. Before long, we were referring to her rather less endearingly, as simply, ‘The Goat’. We still do, though never to her face. The Goat recently celebrated her 95th birthday.

I can thank The Goat for a few things:

1. She inspired in me my love of nature. I am fascinated by it. I love animals, and plants and unusual insects. (Not cockroaches though. They can all go to hell.)

2. She inspired in me my hysterical fear of nature. Bats that swoop and bite with venomous consequences. Rats that nibble your foot off in your sleep. Magpies that peck your eyeballs out. Sharks that try to rip you to shreds the second you dip your toe in the water. Kangaroos that punch you in the face and kick off your head. Trees that kill. At least, that is what I was led to believe, thanks to a book she gave me for my tenth birthday; a book called Australia’s Dangerous Creatures, featuring every Australian Creature you can imagine (ALL of them Dangerous) and the various, violent and gruesome ways they had dismembered, disembowled, beheaded, and devoured innocent people. I’m not sure the nightmares have ever stopped.


She looks like such a sweet old lady! Little do those pigeons know!

3. She inspired my love of playing piano, and told me wonderful stories about my grandfather, her husband (who tragically died a few months before my parents married) who was a brilliant, self-taught Jazz Pianist. I always try to channel him when I’m indulging my musical side. The Goat once said to me, with a disappointed sigh, “It’s such a shame none of my grandchildren inherited any musical talent.”

5. She taught me the facts of life. Some background: Every year until I was about 16, Tutti, The Guru, Fluffy and I would get up at 3am and drive from Sydney to Brisbane over about 16 hours (listening to an audiotape of J. R. R Tolkein’s The Hobbit all the way). The Goat lived in Brisbane, with my Great Grandmother, in a sprawling, ramshackle tinned-roof house, where we were lulled to sleep at night by the soothing lullaby of a possum being brutally murdered by the carpet snake that lived in the roof.

One particularly hot Queensland day, we all went down to the public pool for a refreshing swim. I was about 11 years old, so I didn’t pay any attention to the man at the pool wearing ‘budgie smugglers’. Except, by The Goat’s reaction, he wasn’t carrying a budgie, it was more like he was packing a Sulfur-crested Cockatoo. The Goat turned to me and, in all seriousness, said, “Just remember darling… Big ones hurt.” I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but ‘big ones hurt’ has since become a Bennett family catchphrase. It can be applied to absolutely anything.

She is an unusual woman, The Goat.


The laughing Goat. Photography by The Guru