Publishers of books that change lives

Finch Publishing Manager’s pick for a great Christmas gift

Finch Publishing Manager’s pick for a great Christmas gift

The Grass Was Always browner

Sacha Jones in costume and ready for a performance

Sacha Jones in costume and ready for a performance

Girls born in suburban Sydney in the 1970s were rarely called Sacha, particularly girls who aspired to be Russian ballet dancers.  Although having the wrong head, feet, and body for ballet, thanks in part to drinking too much Nestle’s pink milk and sugar-laden homemade lemonade, Sacha’s determination to be a prima ballerina saw her push through and against the odds succeed in becoming something of a dancing star, surprising no-one more than her legendary dance teacher – an actual Russian – Mrs Tanya Pearson (Mrs P). This is a hilarious memoir of growing up in 70s suburban Australia and of big dreams …that sometimes come true.

a memoir by Sacha Jones

The Grass Was Always Browner –

 

 

 

 

 

‘Jones delivers her story in a refreshingly upbeat tone, laughing loudly at herself with equal insight and humour, and refusing to sink into self-pity even as she describes the often-cruel rigours of the ballet world she is so desperate to succeed in – all on a breakfast-only diet (plus cake and laxatives on Saturdays).’
Review from Massey University, NZ

Available Now at all good bookstores and online.

 

Welcome to the wonderful, slightly-out-of-control world of Mandy Nolan.

Everyone has an Aunty, girlfriend, Mother or Grandmother who deserves
to be introduced to Mandy Nolan’s world this Christmas.

What I Would Do If I Were You

What_I_would_do

As a stand-up comedian, an artist and a mother of five children ranging in age from toddler to teenager, her on-stage accounts of her family life have entertained audiences for years. What I Would Do If I Were You is a hilarious collection of stories centred around Mandy’s chaotic and dysfunctional family – and her attempts to be like the perfect, ideal mother she knows exists … somewhere. Whether it is trying to revive her children’s dying guinea pig, coping with their Face­book friends, explaining the dangers of sex and drugs (while hoping desperately they don’t find out about her own wild past ), battling against head lice or struggling to regain her own disappearing self-identity, Mandy will make you laugh while also sighing with recognition. A must read for all harried mums!

‘Yikes! It’s rare to come across writing that’s so brutally honest, so magnificent, so hilarious!’  
Amanda Keller, presenter The Living Room, Channel 10 and Jonesy and Amanda in the morning, WSFM 101.7

‘…Mandy Nolan’s honesty is stunning. This book will twist your heart inside out and then have you roaring with laughing a moment later.’ Fiona O’Loughlin, stand-up comic


Boyfriends

boyfriends-weve-all-had

Boyfriends we’ve all had – Mandy Nolan

I will never forget my first love letter. It was a moment that opened me to the possibility that I could be the object of someone else’s desire. I was 11 years old. It was simple, strangely poignant and obnoxious, all at the same time. It said:

 ‘My name is William Sommerfield.
I wear white. I have seen you on the bus.
If you don’t go with me
You can get ******.’

In Boyfriends We’ve All Had (and Shouldn’t Have) Mandy Nolan turns her acerbic wit onto boyfriends past … and no one escapes her observations. From the needy besotted drip to the brooding unavailable bad boy, from Mr New Age to Mr Moody, Mandy has seen them all come and go in her quest for Mr Right. This is a hilarious and revealing look at the emotional, pot-boiling mess and angst of romantic relationships.

It’s wicked. Sometimes touching. But always funny. And did we mention wicked?
You have been warned …

‘Mandy Nolan is an irresistible force of Mother Nature – smart, ballsy and scandalously, uproariously funny. She can also write like a dream.’ David Leser, journalist

‘I have learnt more reading two chapters of Boyfriends than I have from the joy of sex, the Karma Sutra and 40 years of Penthouse Forum combined. This book should come with a warning: “contains truth”. – Tex Perkins


Home Truths

Home Truths by Mandy Nolan

Home Truths – Mandy Nolan

Following hot on the heels of her successful and wickedly funny What I Would Do If I Were You and Boyfriends We’ve All Had (But Shouldn’t Have), comes Home Truths, a laugh-out-loud examination of home renovation  by comedian Mandy Nolan. For anyone who has ever dreamt of owning, building, renovating or perhaps bulldozing their home, this collection of witty insights and reflections on what makes up a ‘home’ will be compulsory reading. Enjoy’s Mandy’s unique take on all things home building and decorating: the number of cushions a bed can handle, the social-status enhancing swimming pool, the his and hers bathrooms, the joys of Christmas shopping with your partner, the taps and tile dramas and the never-ending discussion of where the dog is actually allowed to go in the newly landscaped backyard…

 ‘Eat a donut, drink a coffee, read this book… now there’s a perfect day.’
Glenn Robbins, comedian and actor

ALL MANDY’S BOOKS AVAILABLE NOW

What does your poo say about you? Find out in Holistic Nutrition

What does your poo say about you? And more ways to make you healthier and happier in
Holistic Nutrition

SHINE – What does it take to create a World Cup winning team? Some great support people – Angie Bain, Wellbeing Manager

Angie Bain, Wellbeing Manager (joined the Diamonds in 2013)

Lisa’s (Alexander, coach of the Diamonds) holistic approach to player welfare is one that is shared by counsellor Angie Bain. The pair had worked together 15 years previously and stayed in contact since, often chatting about how they could better support the wellbeing of players they worked with. Angie’s wide-ranging career had seen her work with a range of different sports from state to international level, and she had been involved with netball for many years. It was while she was working with one of the ANZ Championship teams that Angie noticed that she had to deal with the fallout from increasingly stressed players, to the point that their training and competition performance was being impacted.

Angie Bain - Wellbeing Manager, The Australian Diamonds

Angie Bain – Wellbeing Manager, The Australian Diamonds

‘Many of their stressors related to transition,’ said Angie. ‘Players starting to move  interstate  to  join  a  different  team,  living  away  from  home,  relationship issues  based  on  relocating,  financial  issues,  balancing  their  netball  career  with study or work, questioning where they are at in their life, and where netball fits now that they’re a little bit older, transitioning in and out of the Diamonds. Netball is basically a fly-in, fly-out lifestyle now, which has its own unique set of demands and challenges. Lisa and I were talking over the first year of her national coaching role and she started to see similar things at that level.

‘Lisa went away and did some research with her players to find out what the key services were that they needed to be successful. Wellbeing came out as the main theme – they wanted to be supported as people, not just as players.’ Twelve months later, Angie was appointed as the Diamond’s Wellbeing Manager, with a brief to build personal relationships with the players and their families, learn about their lives away from netball and give them tools to help deal with the stresses involved with being an elite athlete. Although Netball Australia started the role on a trial basis, it was quickly recognised as being of vital importance to the players.

Shine Cover FinalAngie’s first contact with the Diamonds squad came during a camp in 2013. She said, ‘I was quite intimidated by being in the Australian environment to start with and thought it would probably take three to six months to build up some level of trust. But they started having conversations with me straight away, they were just ready and yearning for someone to talk to about all the other important stuff in their life that has an impact on their netball.’ With her role limited to just four hours per week, phone calls and emails with the players and franchise wellbeing managers are Angie’s main methods of communication until she can see them on a Diamond’s camp or tour, where she can speak with players face to face. She fits in around their other commitments making time to chat with them over a quick coffee, during a bus trip or in a more structured and private session.

Find out more about the making of this successful team in SHINE – The making of the Australian Netball Diamonds

What I Actually Think of the Paleo Diet – Kate Callaghan

Our author Kate Callaghan responds to an article in the recent Body + Soul publication. To read the full article go to this link here Body + Soul.

Here is an extract of the blog that Kate has recently posted in response to the article.  If you would like to read the full response here is the link to Kate’s website.

These are some of the questions that Kate was asked – and here are her responses in full.

Kate Callaghan talking about the Paleo Diet

Kate Callaghan

What is your opinion on the Paleo diet?

If implemented appropriately to ensure all nutrients are acquired, and it is tailored to the individual, I think it can be a wonderful way of eating. It also has the potential to heal, or at least manage, many health conditions, and can be a great option for those needing to lose weight.

Note: I actually prefer the term “ancestral eating” as opposed to “paleo diet”, as I don’t think we need to go back as far as paleo man to get a good idea of what we should be eating. I talk about this at length in my book “Holistic Nutrition: Eat Well, Train Smart & Be Kind to Your Body”

 

What are some of the benefits and some of the dangers of the Paleo diet?

Benefits

Encourages the consumption of a range of fresh vegetables and fruit, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre

Encourages eating locally and seasonally, which means more nutritious foods, kinder to the environment (less transport required), and supports local producers

Avoids unhealthy packaged and processed foods that are devoid of nutrients, such as cakes and biscuits

Avoids foods that can be problematic for many people, such as gluten-containing grains, legumes and dairy products

Encourages the consumption of ethically and appropriately raised animal products,and encourages the consumption of the WHOLE animal (including organs and bones), which is less wasteful, and more respectful of the animal (and more nutritious – which I talk at length about in my book, as well as how to prepare them in a tasty way!)

Is not a “one-size-fits-all” – the Paleo diet/ancestral eating is more of a template, which can be tweaked to suit the individual. For example, some people will do better with a low carb paleo diet, while others will need to increase their carbohydrate intake to help them feel their best. I discuss different strategies for specific conditions (such as PCOS, HA and menopause) in my book, Holistic Nutrition

Encourages people to not fear unrefined fats (such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil), which are essential to our health (hormone health, brain health, gut health, and cellular integrity, to name a few)

Is a highly satiating diet (thanks to the fat content)

Encourages the adoption of different lifestyle practices that are biologically appropriate, and health-promoting, such as lifting heavy things periodically, walking in nature, making time to play, incorporating stress management techniques and ensuring optimal sleep

Dangers

If not implemented appropriately, there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies. For example, many people who start on the Paleo diet will only consume the muscle meat of animals, and neglect the organs. By doing so, they are missing out on some amazing sources of vitamins and minerals

Many women who turn to a paleo diet tend to cut out all carbohydrates (including root veggies and fruit), which can cause issues with their menstrual health and fertility,especially when combined with high intensity interval training (such as CrossFit). This is something I really delve into in my book “Holistic Nutrition” which is now available for sale. Check it out!

Some people see the paleo diet as an “eat meat all the time” diet. If we look historically at what our ancestors ate, most of them had a very plant-based diet (some getting up to 150g of fibre from plants, which is about 5 times the recommended intake of today). While animal protein is a wonderful source of nutrition and should be included as part of a wholesome diet, it’s not necessary, or even healthy, to have every meal of every day.

Something called “bulletproof coffee” has become quite popular in the paleo community. This is coffee blended with coconut oil (medium-chain-triglycerides) and butter. Many people choose to have this in place of breakfast. Unfortunately, while completely fine to consume during the day, this drink is really lacking in vitamins and minerals. Replacing a whole meal with it could increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies

Eat well, train well and be kind to your body

Is there any validity to claims that we need to “eat like our ancestors”?

Absolutely! But I don’t think that necessarily means we need to go back to the Paleolithic era. We could simply look back at what our great grandparents were eating, and draw from their experiences

Whether we go all the way back to the Paleolithic era, or our more recent ancestors, we need to focus more on what they did NOT consume, rather than what they DID. What our ancestors did not consume were unhealthy “foods” such as refined sugar, refined grains, and refined and highly processed oils.

What they also have in common is that they were all free to chronic disease, despite having greatly varied diets across the world.

There is the argument that we should not aspire to eat like “paleo man” as the lifespan was quite short, however we need to take into consideration WHY their lifespan was short – was it their diet? Or was it perhaps that they did not have access to life-saving medical facilities? For example, if they cut themselves quite badly, there was no antibiotics or medical treatment available to help them heal. This cut could then become infected, which could be fatal. They were also exposed to the elements a lot more – unlike the comforts of our modern day homes.

Find out more in detail in Kate’s book or via her website blog.

Liz Ellis – A player profile from SHINE

LIZ ELLIS

When Liz Ellis reflects back on the profile of netball in the early days of her elite career, it is with utter disbelief that things could ever have been that bad. ‘It’s mind-blowing,’ she said. ‘I’m someone who certainly continues – ad nauseum – to champion the fact that netball deserves more recognition, but I have to acknowledge that when I first start playing for Australia, we’d have a press conference and only our parents would turn up. Now, the press turn up!’

Liz Ellis Player Profile from SHINE

Liz Ellis – Cheeky and always a perfectionist

LEADING THE TEAM

In 2004, Liz was awarded the Australian captaincy – as a natural leader, it was a dream come true. The role of the captain in netball is something that not a lot of people fully understand. ‘There’s certainly an on-court aspect to it that probably doesn’t get talked up as much as, say the cricket captain’s does,’ she said. ‘Because they’ve got more time to set their field and that sort of stuff, whereas we have to react that much quicker and have to communicate things in the heat of the battle, so there’s a bit more urgency to it.’The other side of the coin is the off-court aspect and the captain’s role in promoting netball as a sport, which is something Liz had already started to develop a passion for through her media work. ‘There’s the publicity aspect to it. You need to have someone who presents well because netball is still struggling for a foothold in the media,’ she said. ‘There’s a lot of work that, as a player, you don’t see your captain doing. Media calls, press conferences, meetings with the coach, meetings with support staff – suddenly you end up with a lot more asked of your time.’

LEAVING A LEGACY
Liz wanted to ensure that she left a legacy to the sport from her time as captain. She wanted to institute a few key changes to the way things were done to make the experience more exceptional for players who came after her. She also wanted to instil an understanding of the privilege and importance of representing their country.‘At the end of my captaincy, I started up the captains’ necklace. It was a real, rock-solid, concrete thing that could be passed from captain to captain,’ she said. I wanted the captains to understand that they were part of something bigger. It’s really nice now to hear Laura Geitz speak about that now because there wasn’t really any recognition of that when I was captain.’The other change she made was arranging for a past player to come along and
present the team dresses to players about to make their debut for the Diamonds. ‘To me, that was really important because when I got my uniform, it was given to me in a bag!’ she remembered.
‘You didn’t get a sense of the history or the pride and the culture of the uniform. Other sports talk about that a lot. I wanted someone to come in and speak to the players and say, “This is what it means to me.” It’s hard work trying to work out the logistics. Sometimes we were on tour, so we called on Norma [Plummer] to do it. To me, it was something I was really proud of, and would like to see continue.It’s really important that the players know where they’re coming from so they get a sense of where they want to take the uniform to.’While these traditions were important in building the culture of the team, early on in her captaincy, Liz was presented with the opportunity to do something really groundbreaking that would benefit the current and future generations of elite players. She recalled, ‘I got a phone call from one of the girls saying she’d met the head of the Australian Workers’ Union. She’d treated him as a physio and they got talking. He was floored by the conditions for netballers, especially for a sport that was on television.’That was Bill Shorten and as the new national captain, Liz was the person to speak to him and help netball make its first real steps into the professional era.

Find out more about Liz Ellis and the other Netball greats, past and present in SHINE Available Now!

How to encourage children’s play in a digital age

A little boy learn everything from the internet

Dr Kristy Goodwin in Raising Your Child in a Digital World gives parents the strategies to enable your child to safely navigate the digital age.

Here are just some of her ‘At a Glance Techno tips

Encourage balance play – Children need to play with both traditional and technological toys. They need a full range of play experiences that includes a balance between time spent indoors in virtual worlds and time spent in the real world.

Evaluate marketing and advertising claims – especially about products or programs that claim to be educational.

Make unstructured play a priority every day – unstructured play is not wasted time. It’s critical to our child’s development.

Focus on the child, not the toy – whether it is digital or a traditional toy, the child needs to dominate and control the play experience.

Provide a variety of play experiences – Children need opportunities for imaginative and physical play

Prioritise green hours (even on wet days) – provide and timetable opportunities for outdoor play.

Let children experience boredom – It’s one of the greatest experiences we can give them. Empty spaces in time enable children to explore and learn in creative ways.

Be careful about what information you (and your child) disclose online – internet-enabled toys pose serious risks to children’s privacy. Think carefully about using these toys with children and about what personal information you disclose online.

Find out more in her book Raising Your Child in a Digital World

How to manage your kid’s screentime this holidays

Dr Kristy Goodwin

According to children’s technology and development expert Dr Kristy Goodwin, if you worry about the amount of time your children spend staring at a small screen during school holidays you are not alone. Dr Kristy says many parents are concerned and confused. Deciding on the right amount of screen time and the appropriate level of access to touch-screen devices, mobile phones and video games – as well as issues of addiction and cyber-safety – are just some of the ‘digital dilemmas’ facing modern parents.

Dr Kristy says the amount of advice circulating for parents is overwhelming, contradictory and, more often than not, inaccurate. Author of  Raising Your Child in a Digital World, Dr Kristy, has made it her mission to give parents peace of mind by arming them with facts, not fears about what young children really need to thrive in the digital world.

“However, rather than fearing or banning technology, we should aim to create healthy digital habits in our children. The technology is here to stay so we have to show our children healthy and helpful ways to use it so it doesn’t derail their development. Technology is changing the ways young children learn, develop and play. We can use the available research to leverage technology to meet children’s developmental needs, help them learn and minimise any potential harmful effects.”

“Here are a few things I say to parents about what children need to thrive in a digital age.

“The early years are vital for a child’s optimal development. Eighty percent of brain architecture is established before a child is 3 years old and 70 per cent of this development can be attributed to the experiences they encounter. Digital technologies are shaping this process.

“Developing brains and bodies need simple things. Also called ancestral parenting, the way our grandparents parented is an ideal model.

“Supporting healthy tech habits can involve:

  1. Being mindful about how we use technology with or around our children – they are watching and absorbing our digital habits (the scientific explanation is that kids have mirror neurons and are actually wired to imitate)!
  2. Ensuring that screen-time doesn’t interfere with children’s seven basic needs (especially their sleep, play, movement and relationships).
  3. Establishing boundaries around how, when and for how long technology can be used in your family by creating a ‘family media plan’ – this can be a formal, written document or simply a conversation about how technology will (and won’t) be used with our children.
  4. Set firm boundaries and use web-filtering software to limit what your child can access – there are increasing reports of young children (as young as 8 years) accessing and sharing pornography, violent and scary media.
  5. Balancing their screen-time with their green-time in nature is critical for their nervous system and their brain.”
Book by Dr Kristy Goodwin

Raising your child in a digital world

Raising Your Child In A Digital World is available at bookstores

 

 

 

 

 

“Important and compelling reading’

Review of Transformation: Turning tragedy into triumph (Dr Tim Sharp, ed) by Annette Marfording, Radio 2bbb FM

On 24 May the ABC evening news reported the shocking new statistics about youth suicide, with deaths from suicide surpassing road deaths in many regions of Australia. In this context, the new book Transformation: Turning Tragedy into Triumph makes for important and compelling reading. The book is a collection of twelve personal stories of tragedy and trauma suffered by their authors, and importantly, of how the writers managed to turn their lives around and now spend their lives motivating others to do so, too.

Dr Tim Sharp

Dr Tim Sharp, editor, Transformation: Turning Tragedy into Triumph

Some of the contributors’ names will be known to you, others will not, but each of their stories is profoundly moving, informative and inspiring. At the end of each, editor and Director of the Happiness Institute Dr Tim Sharp analyses and lists what can be learned from it.

Contributors include Lana Penrose, who overcame extreme depression and whose book The Happiness Quest I reviewed on this program about a year ago; Ingrid Poulson, whose estranged husband killed her father and her two children before killing himself; Jean Paul Bell, one of the founders of the Clown Doctors; Wiradjuri man Joe Williams, a former rugby league player for South Sydney, Penrith and Canterbury and now a professional boxer, who overcame his problem of alcoholism and drug addiction rooted in depression; and Dr Tim Sharp, the editor of the book and Director of the Happiness Institute, who for the first time in his life reveals his own struggles with depression.

The stories of three contributors struck a particular chord with me:

Sam Cawthorn was the Young Australian of the Year in 2015. His life was profoundly changed when a major car accident left him Sam Cawthorn quoteclose to death, without his right arm and with a permanent disability in his right leg. He begins his contribution with the words ‘Pain is inevitable; misery is optional.’ A very important guideline for living, albeit one many of us don’t think about often enough. Here are another two important passages from his contribution, which I found very thought-provoking [read out from middle p 11 and p 12].

Petrea King is the founder of the Quest for Life Foundation, which offers support for people living with cancer, depression and other traumas. In her essay, she tells of how her life came unstuck while in Assisi, suffering from leukaemia which the doctors had told her she would soon die from. And here is the passage which was central to me: [read bottom p 36-7].

Finally the story of Allan Sparkes, a former police officer based in Coffs Harbour, recipient of the Cross of Valour, the highest award for bravery, and of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. He writes about central incident

(Un)happy Mother’s Day

When Mothers’ Day isn’t a happy day …

Mother’s Day is celebrated the world over as a day of remembering mothers; their love and their goodness, their kindness and their sacrifice. Breakfast is made by little fingers and served in bed, complete with wobbly, hand drawn cards and presents carefully chosen. Yet, as we rapidly approach Mother’s Day on Sunday, I am very mindful that for many women it is not a day of celebration and good feeling, but one tinged with complex feelings.

On a day that society tells us we should be feeling joyful, many women are met with feelings of loss and disappointment.Two mums talking The reasons for this may be many. For many women, the day may serve as a painful experience of grief and loss as we mourn a mother who has passed away, whether it be yesterday or ten years ago. The experience of missing our mother and longing for her presence may be felt on any day, yet on Mother’s day is reminiscent of something more primitive, a deep ache that no words can soothe.

For others, Mother’s Day may herald the arrival of loss and grief borne not of death, but of estrangement. Disconnection and unresolved issues seem especially poignant on a day where we are expected to feel a sense of belonging. The celebratory nature of the day can be hard to reconcile with a maternal relationship that is fraught with tension, is already stretched tight by the strain of toxic interactions or has been neglectful or abusive.

For many other women, Mother’s day is a day where they may be reminded of unfulfilled desires, of wombs that wait to be filled, of arms that remain empty of a baby. Of the memory of children who have passed away, now so painfully absent. The loss of a mothering dream feels especially powerful on Mother’s day.

And for others the day may simply be awash with unfulfilled expectations of validation and recognition of all that we do as mother’s. I am reminded of a conversation I once had with a mother whose children and husband had simply forgotten that it was Mother’s day. As she lay in bed waiting for the breakfast that never arrived and the presents that never appeared, her sadness was overwhelming. Eventually she got up, got dressed and continued with the day. As she loaded the washing machine, picked up the shoes from the floor and continued with the hundred other unseen tasks of motherhood, her eyes welled with tears on what should be a day of happiness.

The question for many women on Mother’s day is not how we celebrate it, but rather how do we survive it? On any ‘special’ day, whether it be Mother’s Day, Christmas day, birthdays or any day where there is an expectation of connection with family and celebrating our sense of belonging with each other, how do we navigate the uncomfortable feelings that may arise?

I have no perfect answers. I am reminded however of the wisdom of a young woman whom I saw in therapy for a number of years and for whom Mother’s Day evoked many of the above feelings of loss.

She consciously chose to rewrite the story. She created new rituals on Mother’s Day which helped her navigate the hours from sun up to sundown. She filled the day with self kindness, surrounded herself with others who felt like family (yet weren’t biologically related to her) and she celebrated the lessons she had learnt from being mothered and from being a mother herself. She survived the day and by sunset some of the angst she had carried into the day had lost its sting.

This may not work for all and there’s something to be said for hanging on by the skin of your teeth and just waiting for the day to end. But if our Mother’s Day story is one tinged with pain, sadness and disappointment, perhaps we can reflect upon ways to create new rituals and make new meaning of a day which, thankfully for some, comes just once a year.

Republished with the kind permission of Leisa Stathis. View her original blog post at: http://www.leisastathis.com.au/becoming-a-mother-blog/when-mothers-day-isnt-a-happy-day

Leisa is a social worker and qualified family therapist with over 20 years experience. Her book Becoming a Mother aims to help and reassure new mums and guide them through the first early, challenging days.