When Exisle Publishing asked me to review PUG I wondered whether it was a children’s book, a book for Pug owners (the dog breed) or, something else.
What I found was it was something else entirely!
The author (apparently, no ordinary Pug) hopes that through sharing his or her thoughts with the reader, they are inspired to be happier, more optimistic and live a more fulfilling life. Did I find this to be true as I turned the pages and read on?
Yes, I did! PUG’s message – translated through the wise words and delightful illustrations of Helen James – opens possibilities for the reader to take positive action in 29 encouraging and insightful short teachings.
This colourful book is perfect for a central location in your home, on the lunchroom table at work or a gift for someone who needs a boost. And, the most wonderful realisation is that this book will be enjoyed by all age groups.
If you are looking for a daily or weekly focus, know you could be doing something different or better and don’t know what that is or you want to benefit from the wisdom of one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, this book is certain to inspire and delight.
I recently did a short talk at a FIFO family event in Perth. The energy in the room was high and children were very excited with all the activities that were happening. A perfect place to share tips and tricks to support parents.
Being Separated by Work, is a minefield of stress triggers for parents and children. Approaches to keep you and your children as stress-free as possible are outlined in video and handout below.
I recently did a short talk at a FIFO family event in Perth, (hence why there are so many children running across the stage!)
In the video below I will share with you the systems and processes that have worked for my clients and our family over the years.
Keeping to a set routine when Separated by Work is challenging. Every family has different needs and every working away roster has unique demands. Yet having a plan and being organised will decrease the overwhelm, and you will be better able to cope with the day to day tasks and responsibilities.
When Exisle Publishing asked me to review this cookbook I did wonder how I would evaluate a book filled with recipes. Cooking is not my favourite thing to do, however, I do adore fresh ingredients and eating wholesome and delicious food!
When I received The Adriatic Kitchen, and began to thumb through the pages it became apparent why Barbara Unkovic is a multiple award winner. The look of this book invokes feelings of a well-loved must have in any kitchen. I felt drawn into the Adriatic as she expertly shared her passion for writing, her love of her father’s homeland, short stories about each recipe, and the delightful recipes inspired by Croatian cuisine and local produce. The book’s sections are by season, and with each recipe I was taken to the place or people it was inspired by – like foraging for wild grapes for the grape jelly or the kind man who bought along a rotary hoe to till the potato plot so there were home grown potatoes for the leek and potato soup.
Thankyou Barbara for a cookbook that is easy for busy people to use and inspires cooking with fresh seasonal and local food. After trying a few recipes, I was surprised how much I enjoyed preparing the food, (remembering cooking is not my favourite thing to do!) The walnut coffee slice was amazing. The Almond Biscuits and pancakes with chocolate sauce are so easy and delicious. The Gnocchi and apple and cinnamon cake are to die for!
The Adriatic Kitchen won’t end up at the back of a cupboard or draw – my copy will take pride of place on my benchtop, and will be used often. I highly recommend you get a copy for your benchtop too – only $14.99.
How timely. Here I am wondering how I will ‘fit it all in’ and the first page I flicked to was page 18, a story of one of their friends, in her forties, who was going to University and was considering whether to keep going!
As I continue to turn the pages I am blown away by three things –
How relatable, real and motivating their stories are
The quality of humour (who doesn’t like a book that makes you laugh out loud?)
The simple, yet effective, 15 minute strategies, experiments and tasks
After reading about all the mindset gremlins (and nodding through most of it) I came away with a renewed sense of I am good enough, I don’t have to be perfect and there are 250 ways to wash dishes – so maybe my way isn’t always the right way!
Thank you, Emma, and Audrey for a book that reminds us we are good enough, we are not on our own, we don’t have to always be right and it is never too late!
I highly recommend this book, over many other life and time managing books, as it will gently, systematically and encouragingly direct you to ditch the overwhelm, get unstuck and begin living the life you love.
Get your copy now or want to know more – RRP $29.99
As you enter the shops and see the isles filled with exercise books, pens and pencils; pass the shoe stores and notice that black and white shoes have taken over much of the floor space – you realise that back to school is fast approaching.
Apart from the cost of purchasing school supplies, there is a sudden realisation that madness is fast approaching – before, during and after school activities, homework expectations, uniforms to be constantly cleaned and pressed, and making sure there is enough food to prepare and pack!
My eldest is 21 years old and my youngest is 9. I have had many years of getting it wrong, getting it right, and most years it is a bit of both! Here I share my top 18 tips to support you being better prepared and be more productive this upcoming year.
Plan and prepare to avoid chaos. This includes weekly schedules, lists and weekly meal and shopping plan. Create a flexible routine that works for your family – from waking to bedtime.
Have a central calendar in the house that all family members have access to with events written on it that are coming up.
At least a couple of times a week make double the evening meal and freeze half for those nights when you run out of the time or enthusiasm to cook.
Make time to bake each week.
Make lunches and get uniforms ready the night before. We all think we will get it done in the morning, but sometimes it is just such a rush and adds so much pressure when trying to get you and your children ready and out the door!
Have bags packed and checked ready to go the night before (including the hat).
I think it’s never too early to give children some responsibility –tasks that you know they can complete for their age and abilities.
Give children checklists – good for parents too!
It is the perfect time to have conversations with your children when driving around with your kids in the car. They can’t get out or walk away!
Take weekly time out for you to de-stress and reward yourself.
Get proper sleep so you have the energy each day needs and avoid getting run down and common illnesses.
Eat well to feel good and keep up. Feed your kids well to keep them healthy and calm.
Remember to breathe – sometimes we just need to stop, take a couple of deep breathes and then proceed.
Keep at least one day free on a weekend to relax and have fun with your family.
Be kind to yourself.
Ask for help when you need it!
30, 30, 30 and 30 every day! 30 minutes for quiet time for you, 30 minutes listening to your children with enthusiastic interest, 30 minutes for your partner and 30 minutes making sure you have cleared your day and are prepared for tomorrow.
Get up each morning with a grateful affirmative attitude and a desire to meet all challenges with a smile.
As parents, we are constantly creating, re-inventing and re-shaping whilst keeping up with all the demands and challenges of each day. Creating routines and being organised will keep everyone on the same page and help you make sure you go to bed each night feeling a sense of peace and achievement – well most days!
What can you do differently this year to make your school and work weeks run smoothly?
I was asked recently by Exisle Publishing to review Here Be Dragons. It says on the cover, “A parent’s guide to discovering purpose, adventure, and the unfathomable joy of the journey.” I did think to myself, “not another parenting book!”
I got to about page three and, to my delight, couldn’t put it down.
It wasn’t like any other parenting book I had read or reviewed. I loved what was different. It is written by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh – from how they met, how they developed as people together and apart, and how they met each challenge once they became parents. I found it to be an honest and personal insight into both parent’s experience and how they felt about it and dealt with it – and is full of humour only parent’s would appreciate!
I felt a part of Annmarie’s and Ken’s lives as I turned the pages and could relate to their many experiences; as well as how they had overcome the tough times.
What stood out for me though was how they described real issues faced by all of us once we become parents –
How mothers are judged differently to fathers.
Working through career goals and meeting the needs of your children.
Who does what, when.
How imbalanced it can be – and that is perfect.
Getting the right people around you.
Weathering each storm, knowing it will pass.
Then it is all tied nicely together at the end with a section of topics and questions for discussion as you examine your own ‘story’.
I highly recommend Here be Dragons for parents of any age children. Whether it is for reflection, guidance or amusement – this book has it all.
Christmas is a special time of the year filled with joy and reunions – with parties to host and attend, guests and visitors to catch up with and gifts to exchange. Not to mention the shopping trips, planning and preparing, holidays, getaways and day trips to enjoy.
Christmas can also be extremely stressful, exhausting and challenging – for kids and parents alike. Sometimes getting everything done so that the big day is ‘perfect’ can end up leaving you drained and your children filled with agitation.
To beat the blues and have everyone enjoying the season to its fullest, here are some approaches to keep Christmas as stress-free as possible for you and your family.
Firstly be aware of the signs of holiday stress in your children. Signs of holiday anxiety can include –
Tears for seemingly minor reasons.
Nervous behaviours such as nail biting and ?hair twirling.
Physical complaints, such as stomach-aches, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea.
Regression to younger behaviours – bed wetting, eating with hands.
Withdrawal from friends or siblings.
Any behaviour that your child doesn’t normally do could be a sign of Christmas anxiety.
Helping family members, especially children, cope with holiday stress involves knowing their personalities and limits. As their parent you are the expert in this. So when the anxiety hits, take a breath and a step back, and consider how you could best manage the situation.
Here are some of my suggested stress management tips for your family –
Take children out of the spotlight during Christmas events at relatives’ or friends’ homes if they are feeling uncomfortable.
Combine parties and get-togethers to reduce the time you spend partying.
Stick with the routine as much as possible. Keep stressful holiday shopping and eating out to a minimum.
Start preparing for Christmas early to avoid holiday anxiety.
Ask your children what makes them feel better. Do they wind down with music, reading, spending time with you or playing with their friends, brothers or sisters? To help children calm down at Christmas, encourage them to do what they love often.
Make sure your children and you are eating nutritious foods, drinking lots of water, and getting exercise and time outside – a antidote to holiday anxiety.
Talk to your children about traditions and spirituality. If you have traditions, explain why they’ve stayed in your family. That sense of knowing why things are done this way will bring a sense of calm.
Bring a favourite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal (or other age appropriate familiar thing) if you’re staying with family or going away over the holidays. A bit of home always helps to be more relaxed.
Cope with your own holiday anxiety. The less holiday stress you feel, the more relaxed your children will be.
Volunteer at a charity, kids’ hospital, community centre or a cause (big or small) that is meaningful for you. Volunteering at this time of year brings a sense of contribution, satisfaction and involvement – and as the whole family gets involved there will be a moment where you all feel a connection to the true spirit of Christmas.
Lighten the mood with funny movie marathon days, park afternoons and cozy chats with hot chocolate treats – just getting out or staying in having fun together and laughing to let go of any built up stress.
Remember that with all its sparkle, expense and lists – the point of Christmas is togetherness, laughter, sharing, connecting and love. I often like to think of a word to represent my Christmas time. This theme keeps me on a calm purposeful course without getting caught up in the hype of shoulds, coulds, must haves and must dos. This year my word is appreciation.
I have just reviewed two books for Exisle Publishing and want to share what I thought with you all. It is rare that I come across books that I think should be in every family home. These two tick all the boxes! They would both be excellent gifts for your family or friends, and I know I will be getting a few copies as Christmas presents. To find out more click the links below under each review.
The Art of Mindful Origami
I loved The Art Of Mindful Origami from the moment I saw the cover and picked it up. Upon opening you notice that it is dedicated to experiencing each moment fully, and I could feel this concept oozing from the books pages.
There is a simple, yet powerful, synergy – the combination of understanding, colouring, folding and creating, which certainly promotes a calm and focused mind, as the author intended.
I found that Dr Richard Chambers combined the art of origami and mindfulness in such a masterful way, and each project is supported by a story about the piece to be made and mindful practice suggestions. I really liked the way it was easy to understand the explanations and exercises – even my 9 year old was hooked. It is a very nice touch providing paper, that has beautiful nature pictures on it, to use for each project, as well as paper to mindfully colour in and use to make the origami if you choose.
I highly recommend this book for all that need support setting time aside to engage fully in the moment, or to use as some great fun activities to do as a family around the table.
The cover of Australia: Illustrated lets you know you have just picked up a book that will be in your family for quite some time. It is a hard cover, with a material type feel that says, “This book will become a family favourite.”
Tania McCartney has created a book that inspires discussions in the readers – big and little. As you open to the first page you are met with words describing Australia – big, beautiful and diverse. I can tell you that this is a good description also of this book; it’s content and the beautiful illustrations.
What I liked most was the colours, the engaging dialogue, and how I felt inspired to either find out more or go to visit some of the places after reading it. I felt it acknowledged how diverse and multicultural we are – yet so very Australian. As my son and I flicked through the pages I said that there was so much we were yet to see, taste and experience in our own remarkable country. We also spoke about how different one end was to another.
Our family is Separated by Work (we are a F.I.F.O family) so this book was extremely useful for us as it shared information and pictures of where ‘Daddy’ worked and gave lots of points to talk about with Dad next time he rang.
I know every family would treasure this book in their home, and have many fun and exciting conversations whilst exploring Australia through the pages.