Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sunday Mail South Australia column: What do you want to be when you grow up?

So what did you want to be when you were growing up?

I asked my friends this very question over Twitter and received answers as varied as they are themselves. My friend Ally wanted to be a ballerina. With pierced ears. Phoebe wanted to be a bus driver. Jo wanted to own a pet shop purely so she could walk around with a parrot on her shoulder (as you do). My mate Molksy wanted to be a forensic psychologist. Actually he just wanted to be Quincy.  Thalia wanted to be a rock star. Anthony wanted to be a superhero. Meanwhile EJ wanted to be on Neighbours so badly she moved to Melbourne when she was seventeen and spent her days loitering around the street where they filmed in the hope of being discovered.  Back then EJ called this “being enthusiastic and ambitious”.  Now she calls it “being completely delusional and a little tiny bit stalky”.Continue Reading

The Ultimate Girly High Tea – Final tickets on sale now!

We’ve sold 200 tickets. And now, thanks to the Sofitel (and their willingness to reconfigure the room!) we are releasing a final 50 tickets to the Ultimate Girly High Tea on Sunday 1st May from 10am – midday at the Brisbane Sofitel Hotel.  The purpose of the event is to raise money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund (to help all those people who were impacted by the floods and Cyclone Yasi).  But the day is also about celebrating the resilience of Queensland women.  So if you’re partial to a lemon tart (and, let’s be honest, who isn’t?) — come and have high tea with us and some of our favourite Australian women.

This is your chance to meet and chat with:

Therese Rein (entrepreneur)

Mia Freedman (

Frances Whiting (The Sunday Mail)

Jessica Rudd (Campaign Ruby)

Kate Morton (The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours)

Paula Joye (editor of

Caroline Overington (senior journalist at The Australian and author of Ghost Child)

Carolyn Donovan (former model and author of Chooks In Stilettos)

Rachael Bermingham (co-author of 4 Ingredients)

Anita Heiss (Manhattan Dreaming)

dale spender (author, speaker and founding member of  Second Chance – a fundraising organisation for homeless women)

Shay Stafford (former Moulin Rouge dancer and now author of “Memoirs of a Showgirl”)

Tara June Winch (Swallow The Air)

Juliette Wright (founder of

Danielle Crismani (founder of Baked Relief)

Kate Hunter (Mosquito Advertising)

Robin Bailey (97.3FM)

Alex Bernard (4BC)

Erica Bartle (Girl With A Satchel)

and the lovely  Emily Jade O’Keefe (Triple M)

Tickets are $130 each or $1040 for a table of nine. Click here for more details

All proceeds go to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Sunday Mail South Australia Column: Why I’m Loving Adelaide …

Adelaide, you have put me in something of a difficult position. I’m a Brisbane girl. A Queenslander. And I’ve been engaged in a love affair with my home city for nearly 39 years.  Sure we’ve had our ups and downs (like the time I turned up at a favourite café only to find it had been turned into a 7-11) but I’m not bitter. Okay, I’m a bit bitter. But real love is about the big picture.  Sitting on the veranda of a Queenslander watching a thunderstorm roll in. The first bite into a Bowen mango.   A cricket match at the Gabba in the squinty white heat of summer.  The artistic enclave that is West End.   The State Library.  The bistros and bars on Little Stanley Street.  Martinis at The Bowery.  The feeling we shared– standing shoulder to shoulder –after the floods washed over our homes like ocean waves over sandcastles.

By rights I should be there now, scraping mud off walls, ripping sodden carpet out of bedrooms, delivering furniture and household items to those in need.  But I’m not. Like a fair-weather friend, I packed up and moved to Adelaide for 12 months. A work opportunity meant I left when my city needed me most. But that’s not the worst bit. The worst bit is this: I, um, really like it here.

So there you have it. I’m cheating on my hometown. Awkward.

Of course when I announced to family and friends that I was heading south, the responses were mixed. Want to know what people from other cities really say about Adelaide behind her back? Course you do. There were the inevitable serial killer jokes (distasteful sure but don’t shoot the messenger …).  Others warned the city was cliquey and that making friends would be a challenge. Then there was my brother who offered the insightful, “Adelaide – where it’s either really hot or really cold and never in between.”  But then what would he know?  He lives in Melbourne. And then slowly, slowly talk turned to the wineries, the food, the festivals, the markets. “Must-see” place names were being scribbled on paper and shoved into my pocket:  Henley Square, the Central Market, something called Womadelaide.  Writing buddies enthused about the Adelaide writing community, championed by the talented and generous Sean Williams.  Others whispered about Maggie Beer. “I’ve heard you can visit her farm,” one friend enthused. “But promise you’ll wait til I visit.” Yet another made me pinky swear I’d call on a Providore in Aldgate and some organic markets in Stirling.  I listened to everyone. Wrote down everything.  But still I didn’t get it.

And then we arrived in Adelaide.  And now I do.

There is a little bit of magic in this city.  An artistic feel. A creative bent. If Adelaide were an actor, she would be Cate Blanchet.  Beautiful. Elegant. Unpretentious. A chameleon.

My friends ask me, “So what’s Adelaide like?” Where do I start?  Perhaps with the food.  I had some of the best dishes I’d ever tasted within the first few days of stepping over Adelaide’s threshold.  A simple but mouth-watering steak sandwich at G.G’s Café.  A blue cheese and bacon risotto that would bring you to your knees at Roger Peters in Dulwich.  And a calamari salad which nearly ended my marriage when I refused to share one bite.

What else?  Less traffic. Cheaper parking.  Fewer malls of chain stores. More delis.  And City of Churches? Try City Of Children.  I’m not sure there’s a more kid-friendly place in this country.  The abundance of toy libraries and community childcare centres and parks all make Adelaide a parent’s dream.  And then there’s Adelaide’s bold ban on plastic bags that admittedly took me by surprise. I stood at the counter of a corner store in Dulwich and waited for my three items to be bagged. The cashier smiled. I smiled back. The cashier smiled again but this time as though he suspected I might suffer from a mental illness.  Eventually it clicked.  The rest of the country could do well to follow your lead.

But make no mistake, my first fortnight here hasn’t been all ponies and rainbows.  Your rental market with its 0.8% vacancy rate is enough to give a newcomer nightmares. As does that not-actually-a-roundabout  thing on Fullerton Road outside the Brittania Pub. Whatever it is, I have my heart in my mouth every time I drive through it.  And if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure I understand this city’s fondness for fake grass backyards. Please explain?

And while you’re trying to win me over to the benefits of a Brady Bunch plastic lawn, you can also tell me where to go. Literally.  What is the quintessential Adelaide experience? What should be on my must-do, must-see, must-explore list for this year? I’m keen to hear your thoughts.

As for Brisbane, no doubt the homesickness will kick in eventually. Because I love Brisbane. Always will. It is, after all, my home. But Adelaide – you had me at “Hello”.


International Women’s Day Event @ All Hallows

I flew up to Brisbane yesterday to do a fabulous “Women With A Voice” event at one of my favourite schools – All Hallows.  I joined the Sunday Mail’s Frances Whiting, The Great South East’s Sofie Formica, Girl With A Satchel’s Erica Bartle and 97.3FM’s Robin Bailey to talk about our careers in the media with 500 high school girls from across Brisbane.  The girls were inspiring and I loved every minute of the 3-hour event.

Many of the girls were interested in The Girl Most Likely film …. the website to go to is




Find Your Tribe on

Just to keep you in the loop — a column on my book Find Your Tribe featured on Mamamia today where you can also share your thoughts on what you wish you’d known in high school. Click here to read more  Find Your Tribe

Sunday Mail Column for Sunday 6 March 2011: the Ultimate Girly High Tea

The Way We Live For Sunday 6 March 2011

I have never met a lemon curd tart I didn’t like. Which is good news because they’re on the menu for the Ultimate Girly High Tea on Sunday 1st May at the Sofitel Hotel.

When the floods hit Queensland, you may remember I joined forces with Kate Eltham, CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre, to do something to help. First up we organised the Writers On Rafts competition where we raffled off dozens of authors from across the country to local book clubs and writing groups.

Now our attention has turned to the Sofitel’s famously lavish high tea of ribbon sandwiches, lemon curd tarts, pistachio macaroons and scones piled high with jam and cream – all in the name of raising money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund!  The Ultimate Girly High Tea is all about that delicious food plus bubbly, girly gift bags and the chance to chat to some of our favourite high-profile women.

Like who?

Like entrepreneur Therese Rein, website editor and journalist Mia Freedman, co-creator of the 4 Ingredients phenomenon Rachael Bermingham, the Sunday Mail’s own Frances Whiting, best-selling authors Kate Morton (The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden), Jessica Rudd (Campaign Ruby), Anita Heiss (Manhattan Dreaming), Caroline Overington (Ghost Child) and Kate Hunter (Mosquito Advertising: The Parfizz Pitch) plus Triple M’s Emily-Jade O’Keefe, 97.3FM’s Robin Bailey, Girl With A Satchel blogger Erica Bartle, model and author of Chooks in Stilettos, Carolyn Donovan and many more.  And me.  I’ll be flying back from Adelaide to MC the whole event (and to steal your lemon curd tart when you’re not looking).

So if you’ve always wanted to meet Mia, chat to Fran or Therese or have a book signed by Kate Morton – this is your chance. They’re under instruction to table-hop and chat with as many guests as possible. And let me tell you, the Sofitel is pulling out all the stops to make this an extraordinarily girly affair.

We have just 200 tickets on sale – so get to it.  Think of it as an early Mother’s Day gift for yourself.  The Ultimate Girly High Tea is on Sunday 1st May from 10am-midday at the Sofitel Hotel. Tickets are $130 per person or $1040 for a table of nine.  Go to or call 07 3842 9922 for more details.

Finally, I wanted to let you all know this is my last column for the Sunday Mail as new, exciting changes await you next week.  Since I started this column in July 2007, I’ve had nothing but amazing support from readers as together we explored life, love, loss and everything in between. I cannot express my gratitude enough to all of you for that support, especially the compassion you showed me following the loss of my daughter Georgie.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have survived those first few months without you all.

As for the First Sunday Club – it will be continuing. We have a new home on The only change is in our name. We’re now The First WEDNESDAY Club. Click here to read about FITE – our charity for March.

See you on 1st May.