The 2017 House Rules contestants. Photo courtesy Channel Seven.
I rarely watch reality television; a few episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras here, some Location, Location, Location re-runs there. I’ll even have a stake in the office Bachelor sweep. But there’s nothing I enjoy, or become as addicted to, as House Rules. In our family, it’s a yearly ritual. My mum and I have watched the show from the start, analysing every episode and becoming armchair stylists as each room is uncovered. Last year, despite saying he would “never watch that crap”, my dad started watching. He even cried when the boys saw their renovated house and, of course, when they won.
Tessa has just a few months to live. So she compiles her bucket list, her To Do Before I Die list. Number one is sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.
I’ll admit, I avoided that book about a girl with cancer. You know the one? Okay? Okay. I watched the movie and, I know I’m the odd one out when I say it wasn’t really my thing. I definitely had a hangover of that movie when I started Before I Die and I was wary. Was this book going to make me roll my eyes too? (Yes, I know that probably makes me heartless). This was a tough book to read and not at all something I could consider enjoyable, but it did make me think and sometimes that’s the best outcome from any book. Read More
I’ve always been a cautious person. Reluctant to bend the rules or stand out from the crowd. Unsurprisingly, I’ve taken this tip-toe approach when it comes to my bank balance too. Well, mostly.
I was lucky enough to have parents who supported me financially until I moved to university. I know many people who weren’t in the same position and I’m forever thankful they allowed me to escape any money worries while I was still in high school.
But instead of splurging when I became the controller of my own financial destiny at 17, I was even more cautious. Going into uni, I had a set figure I’d deposit into savings each fortnight and a strict budget. Whenever I considered buying anything which wasn’t essential (books, clothes, a nice dinner out off-campus) I’d spend ages weighing it up.
On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father’s Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner’s obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, all gathered for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth, players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.
The heartbreaking case Helen Garner explores in This House of Grief is one I’d really only known the barest details on. I vaguely remember the initial news reports, but living in Queensland I’m sure something closer to home soon took up the headlines. While we studied part of the media coverage at university, various legal appeals were ongoing and there seemed to my memory no definitive outcome. Was this a tragic accident or the most horrific and unthinkable murder?
This post will probably make me sound like a big grump, but when it comes to choosing books I try to avoid reading series as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of positive things about reading a series. If you love the characters, you get to revisit them over and over in new and exiting situations. In recent years, it has also been the ‘blockbuster’ series which have been made into seemingly endless movie adaptations.
I’m very late to the podcast party, but I’ve become ridiculously obsessed. I listen to my favourite podcasts when I’m doing housework, putting on make-up, driving, or just lounging around. While I listen to quite a lot of podcasts, these few are my absolute favourites and, if you’re also new to the podcast game, they each have dozens of episodes to catch up on. So pop those earbuds in and get listening.
In a small Vermont town, an old man puts a piece of land up for sale, igniting a firestorm of protest from the local Abenaki Indians, who insist it is an ancient burial ground. To appease them the developer looking to buy the property hires a ghost hunter, Ross Wakeman. Ross is a suicidal drifter desperate to cross paths again with his fiancee, who died in a car crash eight years earlier. But after several late nights all Ross can lay claim to discovering is Lia Beaumont, a skittish, mysterious woman who, like Ross, is on a search for something beyond the boundary separating life and death. Thus begins Picoult’s enthralling and ultimately astonishing story of love, fate and a crime of passion.
Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors for a reason: every single book she writes challenges my world view. Her books explore euthanasia, racism and white supremacism, the Holocaust, and whether you can sue for medical emancipation from your parents. But Second Glance was perhaps the most challenging of her books for me because it asked me to believe in the paranormal, something I’ve always relegated to the realm of fiction. Read More
I’ve always been a people pleaser. I want everyone to like me, to think I’m nice despite the personal consequences. This has been exacerbated by my anxiety over many years and I’ve spent more time than I want to calculate stressing about what others think of me. But things are going to change. Read More
I’ve never been one for horror films. I’m the easiest person to scare and until last year, the creepiest movie I’d watched was The Others. But scrolling through Netflix one evening, I decided to watch Carrie. After all, I’ve read the book. Yes, I still may not be a seasoned horror fan, but my enjoyment of this film definitely sparked an interest. Then someone suggested American Horror Story, a show I’d heard of and thought “yeah, like I’ll ever watch that”. Oh, how wrong I was. Read More
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
One of my earliest memories is of trying to draw a picture. I don’t remember what I was drawing, just that I was so frustrated because I couldn’t translate what was in my head onto the page. It was just a bunch of squiggles. That was the first time my perfectionism clashed with my creativity. Over time, perfectionism won and convinced me I wasn’t a creative person. I ended up a professional writer, yet I still believe I’m not creative. I weave words together almost every day, but I still don’t think my factual writing makes me a creative person. Big Magic made me look at things in a new light.