Welcome!

Jennifer Douglas is a literary publicist who believes in the right of equality for all authors. With a vision of a world where positivity is the norm and negativity is long forgotten Jennifer works alongside authors creating a marketing and publicity plan that meets the needs of the individual.

With years of experience in publicity, public relations and the marketing industry, which includes working with Allen and Unwin and Palmer Higgs Publishing, Jennifer has become a well sort after reviewer. To work with Jennifer is to know you are working with someone who will not hold back on being open and honest about your book and its marketing possibilities.

Having undertaken many courses in writing and poetry over the years Jennifer has a vast knowledge in the field of writing and reviewing, being able to provide an efficient, effective and professional service. As a qualified Early Childhood Educator and a home educating mum with over 16 years experience, she has a passion for quality children's books and educational resources.

Having spent 6 years as the founder and managing editor of two magazines, Good Gabble and Rattling Reviews, Jennifer has an eye for marketing and sales, knowing what the consumer is looking for and how to reach them. She works individually with each client meeting their needs and the needs of their product. She has many years experience in critiquing websites, placing herself in the shoes of the consumer who is browsing. Many clients return time and time again knowing they will be receiving an honest, open and non judgmental review or critique. Jennifer prides herself on providing a friendly, non threatening and personal service. Her clients are able to contact her personally throughout the whole review process.


For further information on the services Jennifer offers please visit her website www.jenniferdouglasliterarypublicist.com. This blog is a review base only.




Friday, November 4, 2011

The Happiest Refugee, A Memoir - Anh Do

* As published in Good Gabble, Issue 22 November 2011






“A story of survival, loss, dreams and gratitude..........The Happiest Refugee a memoir by Anh Do touches the heart strings whilst having you crying with laughter” Jennifer Deaves

“Anh Do nearly didn't make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives on the seas as they escaped from war-tornVietnam in an overcrowded boat. But nothing – not murderous pirates, nor the imminent threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days – could quench their desire to make a better life in the country they had dreamed about.
 

Life in Australia was hard; an endless succession of back-breaking work, crowded rooms, ruthless landlords and make-do everything. But there was a loving extended family, and always friends and play and something to laugh about for Anh and his brother and sister. Things got harder when their father left home when Anh was 13 – they felt his loss very deeply and their mother struggled to support the family on her own.

His mother's sacrifice was an inspiration to Anh and he worked hard during his teenage years to help her make ends meet, also managing to graduate from high school and then university. Another inspiration was the comedian Anh met when he was about to sign on for a 60-hour-a-week corporate job. Anh asked how many hours he worked. ‘Four,' the answer came back, and that was it. He was going to be a comedian!”


I love memoirs..... the reality of it all, the journey of someones life, the uplifting bear all truth..... and The Happiest Refugee A Memoir by Anh Do did not disappoint. I laughed, I shivered with anticipation, I turned pages with hesitation and I was gripped by every word. I traveled with Anh as he loved, lost, fell and
conquered. I learnt of his culture, beliefs and his struggle in a country that he gives thanks to.

I knew nothing of this comedian who had graced my presence on television on the odd occasion but now I feel I know him personally. I know the boy he was and the man he has grown to be....the life he left behind and the life he now lives.... the family he loves and the tragedies that have unfolded. Via The Happiest Refugee Anh Do has become part of my life and left an impact that will change the way I view events in my own life in the future to come.

The Happiest Refugee A Memoir is more than a book, it is a cultural journey. It is a compelling look into the struggles and plight of refugee's and a war-torn country. As an Australian I take for granted how lucky I really am. Clean drinking water, food on the table, a car to drive, family, friends and open space to walk freely yet still I complain about the 'little' things in life. The Happiest Refugee gave me a look at life from a different perspective, making me realise just how hard some get it. Anh Do brings home the reality of life for people in other countries.... the desperation, loss, lonliness and desire for a better place to be. What would you do if placed in a situation likes Anh's family? This book has you questioning, realising and understanding the emotions and risks taken by refugee's, a situation I will never judge again but embrace as a dream by another for a world that is free from the hardships they endure.

In The Happiest Refugee Anh Do writes “ The boat was nine metres long by two and a half metres wide and there would be forty people crowded on board – immediate family, uncles ( including the two who had been in the camps for three years ), aunts and friends, including toddlers, babies and teenagers whose parents were too old or sick to make the journey. No belongings would be taken except the clothes on their backs, though everyone had been stockpiling food and water for months. There wasn't a lot but enough to last the week they expected to be at sea. Any leftover funds were swapped for small amounts of gold, the 'international currency', in the hope that wherever we ended up it could be traded for local money”

What those forty people went through just for a chance of a better life should never need to be experienced by anyone, especially children. Storms, rough seas, extreme heat with little shelter, hunger, thirst, pirates and the stench of petrol fumes and old fish combined with vomit and human excrement just added to their anticipation, fear, loneliness and loss of the loved ones they left behind. The Happiest Refugee had me considering human rights, fairness and equality in this world.

The Happiest Refugee shows the love of a boy for his family and his devotion to his mother. His appreciation for all she did for him and all she strived for..... a love for the women and mother she is. Still today Anh is devoted to his mother, helping her during the continuation of their life's journey together. Although Anh had differences with his father over the years as he himself grew into a young man, finding love and life as a family man, he remembered his dad and all that he had done to make him the man he was. He shows that it is possible to rise above differences, to mend the heartache, to forgive and forget and to love again. The Happiest Refugee is a story of family, unity, love and acceptance for each other as individuals who contribute to a team that strive for happiness for each other, and when the balance is tilted life continues to go forward on the road to recovery.

What Anh Do went through and what he has achieved with his life today shows that it is possible to rise above adversity. Anh shows courage, determination and gratitude for all his parents did for him, all he was offered in life and for the country he was given. Although life has thrown its challenges his way on occasions he has held his head high and, using his positive bouncy 'comedian' disposition, soldiered forward finding that
positive place for not only himself but those he loves.

Thank you Anh Do for sharing a little bit of your life with the world. Through The Happiest Refugee A Memoir I have found a new more positive and grateful outlook on life that I will take with me wherever I go. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to read this book and encourage all to open it's cover..... I guarantee you will be turning the pages whilst riding a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts.

Further information can be obtained at: www.anhdo.com.au

ISBN: 978-1-74237-238-9

Published by Allen and Unwin

review: Jennifer Deaves

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tucker's Natural Crackers




“Thumbs Up For Mr Tucker”

Fresh, wholesome, full of flavour and crunchy are all words that flew across the Rattling Reviews table as we discussed our experiences of trying Tucker’s Natural. From children to adults all were impressed with the gourmet and multi fibre cracker range, feeling that is was a snack or treat that was soft on the palette and
moreish.

Tucker’s Natural is a product of the Tucker family who have had over 30 years combined experience in the industry. Made in Australia their Natural Gourmet Cracker, Dessert Biscuit and Multi Fibre Snack ranges are 100% natural, handmade, yeast and preservative free. Sourcing only the freshest and finest local raw
ingredients the Tucker’s provide biscuits that are wholesome and flavoursome right down to the very last bite.

We tested our taste buds on the Capsicum & Feta, Tomato & Basil, Four Cheese & Chives, Caramelised Onion, Caramelised Onion & Cheddar and Rosemary & Rock Salt. These were tried with various different dips to suit the individual tastes. The shape and size of the crackers left an impression on our testers allowing for easy grasping and dipping. Those testers who were parents were especially impressed with the elongated biscuits as the thick bottom and thinner top allowed little hands to hold and suck the biscuit without dropping. They also felt confident in providing these biscuits to their children knowing they were providing a healthy snack alternative. For myself personally the fact that these biscuits are yeast free was a huge winner. Being allergic to yeast I know of the hardship caused by trying to find a suitable product that can be eaten by yourself yet served to guests whilst providing taste and appeal in appearance.






From biscuit to packaging we salute you Mr Tucker. With a clear viewing window and descriptive easy to read labeling Tucker’s Natural presents nicely on the shelf and is easy to find. The biscuits are packaged inside a clear plastic dish that is then wrapped in plastic seal to keep them fresh. The outer box is sturdy, coping well with transportation from shop to home. Upon arrival at our office all our biscuit packages still presented as new with no crumpling of the packaging or product. Tucker’s Natural provide clear information on what you, the consumer, are purchasing. We found they provided all that they claimed.

The saddest moment for us when doing this review was when we found that Tucker’s Natural could not be purchased in our local area Before realising this all reviewers where eager to make Tucker’s Natural a regular item in their shopping trolley with staff voting that Tucker’s Natural become a regular member of our weekly meetings. Our enthusiasm for trying the dessert range was soon flattened when we realised this would not be.

Then along came Sam Tucker announcing a solution to our problem.

“We will be selling our entire range direct online by the end of July at www.tuckersnatural.com.au,” says Sam “Our products are available in supermarkets and leading gourmet producers across Australia - if they are not in your local retailer please demand that they stock them”

Tucker’s Natural products can be mainly found in Foodland and IGA stores, with some independent stores becoming stockists. We would love to see all chains of grocery stores Australia wide supporting Tucker’s Natural. To Support Tucker’s Natural is not only to support a product that provides a healthy cracker alternative but is to also support the Ausbuy and Australian made logo.

Source more information on the Tucker’s Natural and buy direct by visiting www.tuckersnatural.com.au

review: Jennifer Deaves

Finlee & Me

* As published in August 2011 Rattling Reviews magazine



Based in Brisbane Australia Finlee &Me strive to “ source and provide lovely, useful things for both kids and mum's.

Finlee & Me is the brainchild of Angela, mother to Finlee. As a mother she fully understands the need for quality products that make mothering more pleasurable and invite exploration and development in our children. Sourcing products from both Australia and overseas Angela is able to meet the demands of the busy parent. Finlee & Me is a site that is inviting and welcoming, using a blend of natural and soft pastel colours that leave one feeling serene and relaxed, a place that as parents we often find hard to be.

We found browsing Finlee & Me pleasurable and easy. The layout is gentle on the eyes and easy to navigate. All required information is easy to access with clear terms and conditions and shipping details. Shipping worldwide, Angela provides clear payment details and shipping costs by weight.

The range of products at Finlee & Me is diverse, meeting the needs of parents with children ranging from birth to pre-school. For the parent on the go there is the backpack and lunch bag collection with clothes, blankets and snuggles to keep the little one comfortable. When bathtime comes around Finlee & Me have it covered with their range of baby care products and bathtime fun collection. When feeding a bib from the Bumbkins range will have your little one wowing all with their style. I was impressed to see an organic range of product and muslin swaddling wraps that provided colour and flare.

As a mother of a pre-schooler and a qualified child care worker I am aware of the importance of safe products for the under 5. I found Finlee & Me take the guess work and safety concern out of the quota when choosing a product, laying their stock out online for easy selection,with clear photographs and explanation.

Overall the quality of all the products we tested from Finlee & Me were found to be of highest standard and when put to the test by little ones met their often harsh yet loving treatment without failing. We can proudly say that we would recommend Finlee & Me as the place to go for your next online shopping trip. When you shop at Finlee & Me you know you are purchasing products that have been chosen with love, care and passion for the safety of your little treasure.






Mimi Organic Teething Rattle - Toys, Toys, Toys! Kids just love them but parents often stress about them. Finlee & Me have it covered, from the baby rattle to the early learning, the stay at home and the on the go, even the cuddly toy is not forgotten. What impressed me the most with the range of toys was the environmental consideration, vibrant colours and consideration of safety in design. We test ran the Mimi organic teething rattle and although at first I found the face a little daunting, having what could be seen as only one eye with a cross as the other, I soon warmed to the smooth touch of the wooden handle and the soft clear rattle sound. These rattles have a polyfiber filling with a Kool-Aid dyed felt outer. Made of high quality that is sure to last it is good to see that these rattles are hand washable in mild soap, allowing for easy cleaning and sanitising. This rattle collection retails at $17.99 each.





Balloon Ball - My 4 year old loved the balloon ball and even my older ones where in on the fun. We have had balloon balls in our household before but this one from Finlee & Me impressed me due to the expansion size. These material balloon cases are easy to use and provide hours of indoor, safe balloon fun. Simply place the balloon inside the material pouch, blow up and tie on the end. This produces a lightweight, colourful and appealing ball that will have children of all ages squealing. Best of all should the balloon find the mouth of your little one there is no pop and no small balloon pieces for choking. Cleaning is a breeze as the pouch is fully machine washable. Retailing at only $14.95 these are great placed into the cupboard with a bag of balloons for a rainy day or when visitors kids pop over. With a great range of colours and patterns there is sure to be one that appeals to all.



DIY Family Kit - Arts and crafts is something that all children love to get into. At Finlee & Me there is a diverse selection of items to keep all ages amused. From colouring with crayons, painting at home and art on the go Finlee And Me have it covered. We did a test run on the DIY Family Kit which allowed the whole family to get involved and create a little bit of themselves. This kit includes all one needs for creative fun - 7 blank dolls, 6 paint colours, top coat, 2 brushes, sandpaper and an instruction booklet, all presented in a natural material pouch. Smooth to touch and of different sizes to meet the fine motor abilities of the individual child these wooden figurines are very impressive. As a homeschooling family, who engages in daily activities that must meet the needs of a vast age range, this activity was a blessing as it could be expanded to meet age differences.



Dabbawalla Lunch Bag - Well what can one say about the Dabbawalla lunch bag but Wow! Even the teenagers were impressed and commented on its attractive cute appearance. We found these lunch bags to be of high quality with strong stitching and a quality zipper. They are of a good size that expand nicely when packing and provide two inside pockets and one outer pocket for those little bits and piece. The animal character presentation adds appeal to the younger audience and pazzaz for the older. Inspired by the legendary system of dabbawallas delivering homemade lunch to thousands of office workers in India these bags are fun, versatile and practical as a tote for lunch, snacks, toys or a change of clothes. Dabbawalla lunch bags are made from soft eco-sponge, an innovative neoprene-like fabric that has earned the rigorous Oeko-Tex 100 standard of safety in textiles, an ecological certification process that tests for over 100 harmful substances. The fabric is stain resistant and insulated to help retain food temperatures. These bags are machine washable in cold water. Retailing at $29.95 they offer quality for their money and will impress any child.
 
Finlee & Me can be found at www.finleeandme.com.au

Dick Smith's Population Crisis. The dangers of unsustainable growth for Australia.

* As published in the September 2011 issue Good Gabble



“We need to aspire to a world where every child is wanted and cherished, and can be well nourished and raised with a decent standard of living; where each one is created by choice, not by accident or coercion or because of a man's power over a woman” ~ Dick Smith.

In his book Population Crisis, The dangers of unsustainable growth in Australia, Dick Smith tackles the debate of Australia and global population growth. Using statistics, facts, figures, studies and good old fashion commons sense Dick Smith weaves his knowledge and lifetime experiences into a journey that opens your eyes and questions the future of our world.

“In 2011 the world's population exceeded 7 billion. Each year we add nearly 80 million people and by mid-century we will require twice as much food and double the energy we use today. Australia will be deeply affected by these trends - we have the fastest growing population of any developed nation. These are the staggering facts that confronted Dick Smith. They set him on his crusade to alert us to the dangers of unsustainable growth. They are the facts that have convinced him that if we are to ensure the survival of our civilisation and the health of the planet then we must put a stop to population growth, now.

As our cities continue their unrestrained growth, as we battle daily on crowded public transport and clogged freeways, and as we confront the reality of water and power shortages, Dick challenges the long-held myth that growth is good for us. But more importantly he offers ways for us to re-invent our economy, to reassess the way we live and to at least slow down that ticking clock. This is a provocative, powerful and urgent call to arms.”

I started this book not knowing what to think and without having formed an opinion. When I first heard the book was being published I was interested but promised myself I would not get caught up in media hype and controversy until I had read the book and been allowed to form my own opinion. Would Dick Smith be able to maintain my interest long enough to have me consider his options and make changes?

Dick Smith you have achieved. I loved this book. From the opening introduction to the final page it flows beautifully, filling the readers mind with not only Australian knowledge but world wide statistics and facts. Dick Smith makes points that are valid and true. He shows he is a man with compassion and good will for the future of not only his own grandchildren but children world wide. Yeah but he has money I hear you murmur. Dick acknowledges this in his book and confesses to his over consumption of goods and services. He accepts we are all human and acknowledges the division between rich and poor and the huge difference between the resources used by rich and poor nations. He discusses his current contribution to the world and his willingness to continuing to contribute. He challenges others who are wealthy to join him.

I loved the humbleness to this book. The recognition of all of us being equal and the support and respect of basic human rights for all regardless of race, religion or sex. Dick Smith is a true gentleman, who, through this book Population Crisis, has gained a new respect from myself. He is compassionate and respectful to others and their opinions whilst questioning their reasons, providing thought and consideration.

Before reading this book I briefly remember hearing mention in mainstream media of Dick's support for Australia bringing in a one child policy, this I did not find to be true within the book.

“ Personally, I do not support coercive control of population, such as China's one-child policy. I support giving women the freedom to control their own fertility; I know they will make the correct decisions, and eventually even men will come to see that family planning makes sense,” says Dick Smith.

He continues to write: “ Nothing in the population trends gives us reason to be relaxed. The question is not whether the world's population stops expanding but what will cause it – women having fewer children by choice, or a series of catastrophes that mean there are fewer women to have any children at all.”

In Population Crisis Dick Smith strikes a balance, leaving no issue unturned. His outlook on the way society views and treats our elderly is one that has been close to my heart for some time. It is about time that we, as humans, embraced our elderly for what they have still got to offer and what they have offered instead of seeing them as a burden on our society who, due to age, do not contribute.

“ We would be much better off finding ways to benefit from the wisdom and experience of older Australians, encouraging them to contribute their knowledge across business, community groups and voluntary organisations. There are a huge number of baby boomers due to retire in the coming decade or so, yet labour laws, insurance requirements and public attitudes do little to encourage their potential contribution. We vastly underestimate the contributions made by older Australians and treat them as a problem to be solved rather than a resource we can all benefit from, “ writes Dick Smith.

Whilst writing this book Dick Smith spent much time with many influential people, listening to their opinion whilst basing his own, collecting studies and weighing possibilities.

“In this case I have sought opinions from some of the smartest people in the world, and have benefited from the wisdom of those who in many cases have spent their professional lifetime investigating complex subjects,"  writes Dick Smith. “ All I can add is a small measure of commonsense and a dose of scepticism.”

At times he is opinionated but never naive. He is open and honest and knows that he has opened himself to judgment and controversy but he is realistic. Like all of us Dick Smith is a family man first and foremost and his love for his family shines through in this book. It is for the future of his grandchildren that he felt the need to speak out and voice his opinion in the hope that all would listen.

It is not very often that I am completely and utterly passionate about a message in a book but within Population Crisis I have found this. This is a book that should be a compulsory read by all, especially our politicians who have the power to make a change on our behalf. If you care about your children and their future, the future of their children and the future of our planet then I urge you to read Population Crisis, The dangers of unsustainable growth for Australia and find out what we, as a nation, can do to help.

Dick Smith has inspired me to make changes and left me wanting to read this book over and over, absorbing every word until I know I have got it right. He has definitely left a subject of passion in my heart as I source the further readings suggested in the back of the book.

“ For all my wealth, my aeroplanes and helicopters, I am never happier than when bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, or camping on some wonderful outback riverbank. Of course there is nothing wrong in aspiring to a better quality of life, but ask yourself how many of the modern-day gadgets we accumulate really bring us much lasting pleasure. Family, friends, community, good health and a sense of purpose remain the foundations of happiness, just as they always have. Our addiction to growth often takes us further and further away from these basics” ~ Dick Smith.

Published by: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 978 – 1 – 74237 – 657 - 8

review: Jennifer Deaves

The Power Of Good - Mark McCrindle

* As published in August 2011 issue of Good Gabble.




"This book provides many examples of the power of doing good works, the betterment conferred in so many different ways and, on occassions, leading to the saving of lives." ~ Tim Fischer AC - Former Deputy Prime Minister

“Seventy short, heart-warming stories of acts of kindness by strangers with contributions by prominent Australians, including comedian Jean Kittson, writer Peter FitzSimons, news presenter Tracey Spicer, Youth Off the Streets' Father Chris Riley, media personality David Richardson, Wayside Chapel's Reverend Graham Long, politician Pru Goward, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, and many others.”

The Power Of Good by Mark McCrindle provides a quick feel good pick me up, great for reading at times when you need a lift or as a reminder of the good things in life at the end of a tiresome day. The short story content allows the reader to grab a bit of positivity on the run or read from front to back in novel
style. I enjoyed this book but my attempt to read it as a whole left me feeling bored of the content as the stories seemed to become rather flat after reading a few in a row. I would have to recommend the 'grab a short story' reading format.

My initial questioning when reading this book was why it is full of stories by celebrities and people of high society. What about the everyday citizens? Of course this does not take away from the feel good message and recognition of kindness that this book celebrates.

For myself the most interesting part was the first chapter titled The Power Of Good. This chapter opened my eyes to facts and figures on studies done on media reports, random acts of kindness, Aussie character and global positivity.

As the managing director of a magazine that reports on all things positive it was interesting to read that a recent survey done by Australiapeaks.com found the 95% of people agreed that the mainstream media reports more on negative than positive news with 93% feeling that this gave the impression that there was more evil than good in the world. Statistics show that 86% of Australians say they have gone out of their way to help a stranger in need and 6.7 million Australians help a stranger regularly.

Motivation or reason for doing a good deed was also interesting with findings that 59% say they have done something nice for a stranger “just for the sake of being nice”, with 75.4% of those who haven't shown kindness for the sake of it say they would be prepared to should the opportunity arise. Lets hope this book
only encourages these figures to rise.

It is great to see a feel good book that celebrates those that take a little time to show compassion for fellow man and ask for nothing in return. This book is a true celebration of the good of man kind and will surely lift spirits and inspire hope.

The Power Of Good encourages all to leave their stories of good deeds online at www.thepowerofgood.com.au. More information on the book can also be found at this site.

ISBN: 978-1922665226
Published by: Hybrid Publishers

review by: Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trailblazing by Eric Anderson

 
 
 
America's first openly gay high school coach

At 25 years of age Eric Anderson was at the top of his league, coaching the Huntington Beach High School track team all the way to the top. He held high respect as a coach, engaging the trust of some of the best runners. His team worked well and his runners trained with eagerness. What happened when Eric came “out of the closet” showed that homophobia was a huge issue yet to be understood or accepted. What followed, in today's society, would not be acceptable, yet in 1993 very few supported  the gay movement for fear themselves of being labeled gay.

Trailblazing is not just a book about the trials and tribulations of being gay but one that gives thought to discrimination, bullying and mateship. It moves emotions and empowers. It shows the division of communities but the strength of friendship.

Eric Anderson had no idea what was going to happen when he came out as the first openly gay high school teacher. His team was quickly labeled the “fag team” and the respect he had worked so hard to obtain was soon lost to homophobia. But behind all the negativity and division were hearts of gold and friendships that were set in concrete. Rising above all the controversy, media attention and heartache  Eric's team showed true courage as they continued to hold their heads high and run to win. As threats continued and physical assault of team members followed, Eric fought for his rights as not only a coach but a mentor and friend. These young runners showed maturity beyond their years, courage and strength as they stood by their coach, accepting him for the man and person they knew. Trailblazing not only shows humans at their worst but shows the ability to rise above aversion, to believe, to understand and to care.

A message from author Eric Anderson:

I wrote this book in honor of my runners. When I came out of the closet as the nation's first openly gay high school coach I had no idea what was in store for me. Perhaps I should have, I lived in the heart of conservative Orange County, in Southern California. What I truly had not counted on, however, was that my athletes would also be victimized. Despite intense homophobia, and physical violence, these sixteen and seventeen year old boys stood and fought for their coach, and for a cause that they were not born into. Runners from other schools even transferred to join us. Together we pursued our dreams of glory on the track. The events are entirely true, and the quality of the young men I was so honored to coach comes through brightly. Best of all, the end will leave you cheering!

I hope you enjoy reading our story, and I hope that you also gain some inspiration to help you overcome struggles in your own life. And to my runners I must say THANK YOU. Thank you boys. Thank you for helping to make my dreams come true, and for giving hope to gays and lesbians everywhere!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being one who supports the rights of all to love as they find it I opened
the book with a mind that was already set in support, but not being sports minded or interested I did
hold hesitation, wondering if I could keep interest in the sporting topic it held. My hesitation was soon put aside as I became caught up in the emotions and battle for rights. This is a book on human justice and right to love. It  is a book that shows acceptance of one's self and that with a little bit of  belief in who you are you can conquer your worst fears and empower others.

Today Professor Eric Anderson continues his work with the gay community. He is known for his research on sport, masculinities, sexualities and homophobia with his work showing an increasingly positive relationship between gay male athletes and sport, as well as a growing movement of young heterosexual mens masculinity becoming softer and more inclusive. Professor Anderson also researches matters related to mens monogamy/cheating,  improving recognition of bisexuality, and the increased acceptance of young heterosexual men kissing. To date he has written eight books, many of them award winners and best sellers.

His book The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating is due for release in August. This is sure to have many talking as Eric says, “I basically say that monogamy fails, and cheating can be good for a relationship!”

Further information on Eric Anderson and his books can be found a www.ericandersonphd.com

review: Jennifer Deaves

A Man's World - Scott Sterling Photography

* as published in Good Gabble Newzine Issue 18 July 2011

Putting a touch of masculinity into his photography Scott Sterling focus's on a man's world. With a love of all things fast and furious Scott can be seen with a camera in hand at any car or sporting event, but of course there is also the softer side of Scott with nature and landscape balancing his portfolio.

To view Scott's photograph's online at http://scott-e.deviantart.com/ is to take an adrenaline rush ride. Captured in his photo's is the moment your breath is taken away by that one car as it zooms around the bend. You can feel the vibration of the ground, smell the petrol and hear the roar of the engine. Scott captures the shine of the gloss and the colour of the world of cars.





Then there is the more extreme. Your breath is taken away as Scott captures the daredevil stunts of the youths at the skate park or the burnout at the drag strip. All to much, take a break and feel the thrill of zooming your remote control car around the track beating others playing the same game.




“As time goes by” take a seat on the bench seat in this wonderful photo and relax, marveling at the wonders of nature. From waterfalls, to animals, cemeteries, churches and breathtaking landscapes Scott will have you dreaming of places to be.



“Photography gives me the opportunity to express myself through the lens, capturing the visions of myself and others I work with” says Scott. “I love nothing more than being able to pick up my camera and capture one of life's unexpected moments.”

Still working his full time career with Toyota Scott has just branched out into his own photography business.

“Scott Sterling Photography is growing at a fantastic rate.” says Scott.  “I couldn’t be happier with the support I have received from not only friends and family, but also people I have worked with and potential clients. A special mention to Lauri at LCR Photography, she has really been so supportive and her work is amazing, so that inspires me to better myself and my work.”

With the vision of opening his own studio in the near future Scott currently offers the services of photo and event shoots and prints that can be ordered on request. With no set genre Scott is  always open for any type of shoot and will always do his best to make sure that everyone involved leaves the experience totally satisfied.

Join Scott Sterling Photography on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ScottSterlingPhotography

article: Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Bracelet - Jaren L. Davis

* as published in issue 17 June Good Gabble Newzine

The Callister's were fortunate – they had a nice home, took great vacations, and had four wonderful children. But Karen Callister felt something deep inside her driving her to provide more. Not something material, but an experience – a life changing experience. And when a mother is on a mission for her children nothing will stop her. Road blocks appear, at times seeming insurmountable, yet she perseveres.
 

So it is that this family is blessed to visit a culture that might as well have come from another world, where they witness love, compassion, service, sacrifice and growth. Their own example alters the lives of those they touch, which in turn alters the course of an entire society. However, it is also a world with a dark past, one that threatens the Callister girls with kidnap and a life of drug induced slavery.

Based on the experiences of the author Jaren L Davis and his family The Bracelet is a fictional book that provides a thought provoking journey into our reasons for living, our interactions with others and the spirit world around us. It provides truth in its words and a cultural awareness that is often overlooked. Full of wisdom and insightful messages The Bracelet grabs the heart of the reader as they travel to a far away land with the Callister's.

As a mother I related to the character Karen Callister and all she stands for. Her desire for a better world for her children rings true in the hearts of most mothers. Her natural instinct to protect her children and carry them through life whilst allowing them to grow within is one that most mothers experience and struggle with daily.

With the use of flowing text and descriptive monologue Jaren L.Davis creates a women, and family, that takes a real life stance, enveloping you in their lifestyle, beliefs and good will unto others. The Callister's become infectious, with little Alice growing from a nine year old who received the bracelet to a young lady that
carries wisdom way beyond her age and instills it into your thought process's.

Within part one of The Bracelet the reader is taken on the journey with the Callister's, from the introductory to the family and their morals and opinions, to their travels to Cambodia as humanitarian missionaries, making small differences to those who are not as fortunate as themselves, whilst learning of a culture and belief
that is far from different to their own. It is during this part that you learn of the risk to the girls to the slave trade and the short period of time that little Alice goes missing whilst visiting Angkor Wat – a temple of spiritual power and wonderment. Although this part of the book could be seen as a little tense and unsure for
the Callisters, Jaren L. Davis is able to keep the rhythm relaxed and floating, providing a serene effect with lessons of devotion, understanding and enlightenment.

In Part two of The Bracelet the reader regroups with the Callister family back at their home were their life has taken on the grind of everyday normality. Alice, now aged 14, is still in possession, and wearing, the bracelet given to her by the monk many years ago. It is this bracelet that holds the connection to Alice and the monk,
who begins to visit her providing messages and lessons that are life changing, mystical and inspirational.

Part three is the part that I feel really put the lessons within the book into perspective and had me thinking about how they rang true to my own life and could be acted upon to complete my journey of oneness within myself and the universe. Within each chapter Jaren L. Davis interweaves 10 important messages of love, hope, empathy and strength that one can build upon within their dealings in relationships, nature, daily life and their interaction with the world. As Alice receives her messages and acts accordingly so does the reader, taking mental note of ones own life, past and present.

The Bracelet by Jaren L. Davis is beautifully present and aesthetically appealing, drawing the reader to a cover that invokes interest and intrigue. The use of photographic imagery on the cover helps one take the fictitious content and relate it to that of the world they live in. The printing of the cover in a glossy format that is soft to the touch enhances the pleasurable journey taken whilst one is engrossed in the words within.

The Bracelet can be purchased online at www.thebracelet.org

“We must maintain an active spirit in all we do. The mind functions such that whatever is thought is lived. Build strength and vitality in life; the energy will carry us to greatness.” ~ from: The Bracelet by Jaren L Davis.

review:  Jennifer Deaves

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pet Porpoise Pool - Coffs Harbour NSW Australia

A visit to the Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour NSW is more than just a day out, it is an experience never to be forgotten. Educational and invigorating it provides an up close and personal interaction with Dolphins and Seals that will touch your heart and bring close to home the therapy they provide.

To enter the gate is to enter a marine park that, although not large in size, provides a day of entertainment for the whole family. Hands on experiences enable connection with marine animals which include fairy penguins, turtles and fish. Every visitor is given the opportunity to be kissed by a seal or dolphin and get a dolphin fin shake. Professional photographers are on hand, with the opportunity to purchase the photo to keep as a record of their experience.



Twice a day ( three during NSW summer holidays ) visitors can experience a Marine Magic presentation which showcases the natural abilities of both the dolphins and seals. They are educated on the habitats and importance on the continued existence of these amazing animals. An undercover grandstand and wheelchair access is provided. After the show guests are encouraged to pat and play ball with the dolphins, whilst being supervised by a trainer.



For an extra cost the Pet Porpoise Pool also offers an up close and personal meet the dolphins experience. During our visit we were lucky enough to experience one of these sessions, which left us with a deep respect of the dolphin and seal species, an understanding and respect that will stay with us for a lifetime. This experience gave us the opportunity to enter the water with a dolphin and a trainer. We fed the dolphin, had a pat, played ball, threw a hoop, had a tickle and shook hands. The anatomy of the dolphin was explained, along with the care of the species and their habitat. A photo was taken as a momento, with one for each guest included in the price. Once out of the pool we were introduced to a seal, had a cuddle and a wave to finish the session.


For the younger child why not engage in a meet the babies experience. My young three year old was captivated during this 30 minute session where she was given the opportunity to touch a baby dolphin whilst she stood outside of the water. We threw a ball and hoop and shook hands. The general anatomy was explained, at the correct child ability. After playing with the dolphin we met up with a baby seal who played fetch and painted us a lovely picture which we were able to keep. Again photo's of the moment are provided. Truly a magical experience for the young.




Whilst enjoying your day you will need to eat. One of the good things about the Pet Porpoise Pool is the provision of a large grass area allowing you to bring your own barbeque lunch, relaxing whilst the children enjoy the playground. If the finances allow and dining out is more your style then why not relax in the comfort of the fully licensed Creekside Cafe, but take care as a cheeky peacock may decide your lunch is to his liking.





Our experience at the Porpoise Pool was breathtakingly amazing. We walked away talking about it for days. We learnt facts about marine life that we would never would have had the opportunity to learn. As a family we spent quality time engaging in an activity that was enlightening, fulfilling and environmentally educational. My little one cried as we left not wanting to leave her new found marine friends. We found service to be of high quality with all staff being friendly, courteous and eager to educate.




Before visiting the Pet Porpoise Pool I was concerned about the welfare of the animals that the park contained due to my beliefs in animals in captivity. My fears were soon put to rest. The Pet Porpoise Pool was originally founded in December 1969 by Mr Hec Goodall as a marine rescue and rehabilitation centre, and continues to provide a home for rescued marine animals that are not suitable for return to the wild. The environment of all animals is kept to that of as close to their natural habitat as possible. All enclosures are of  high cleanliness standard, with the animals welfare of high priority. Contact sessions with the animals are supervised and controlled. A high respect for these animals is evident. A link to WDCS ( Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society ) can be sourced from the site of the Pet Porpoise Pool.

Learn more about the Pet Porpoise Pool and their Marine Magic Experiences online at www.dolphinmarinemagic.com.au Definitely worth a visit when you are in the area!

article: Jennifer Deaves
photographs: Sam Lo Photography 

Inversion - Gary Fettke


One Man’s Answer For World Peace and Global Health




Inversion is not fiction, non fiction or a biography, it is a message. One man, Gary Fettke, has a concept that he is sharing with the world. A belief and an idea that he wants heard. Gary is a man with a passion for our planet. He believes that with enough determination and passion we can all alter the direction of our world, we just have to work together.

 In the introduction to Inversion Gary Fettke writes,

“I am a surgeon and a patient. I am a teacher and student. I am part of a family – a husband, a father and a son”

What he neglects to mention is that he is an author with a concept that has the thought processes of his readers ticking, grasping his idea and making changes, which, no matter how big or small, will make this planet a better place to be.

  Gary Fettke is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who resides in Tasmania Australia. At 22 he graduated from medicine and married. When he was 25 his first child was born, then another at 28 and 32. At 29 he was the youngest individual to pass his surgical fellowship.

  At the age of 37 Gary's career was turned upside down as he found himself not only a surgeon but a patient. Whilst operating his vision began to deteriorate, resulting in him undergoing urgent neurosurgery to remove a tumour from the base of his brain. This was followed by treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and learning to walk again. Gary soon overcame this setback in his life and returned to his surgical practice.

  Four years later, at the age of 41, he found himself undergoing a further neurosurgical procedure and another five days in intensive care. Once again this did not stop Gary, he returned to his surgical practice a few months later. Today he still has an 'ongoing' relationship with his tumour but does not let it get in the way of his life dreams and goals.

  As well as being a surgeon Gary is an environmentalist at heart. He has planted over 12 000 trees on a small farm whilst continually educating those around him on the benefits of trying to save our planet. Inversion One Man's Answer For World Peace and Global Health is only one of the ways Gary is spreading the word

   In Inversion Gary's message is loud, clear and simple: we just invert the way we look at our problems, on both a personal and world level. By inverting our process we begin to see problems as a whole, leading us to understanding the best way of approaching them. Gary challenges his readers to consider all aspects of  life – Religion, Media, Environment, Benevolent Dictatorship and Global Health.

 In his chapter 'An Action Plan' Gary writes “ Now is the time to look at the similarities that link us together, rather than the differences that push us apart. Celebrate the similarities, rather than the inflaming differences” and this is what Inversion One Man's Answer For World Peace and Global Health is all about, the unity and positivity of fellow man.

“We live on the same planet, breathe the same air – we are each other,” writes Gary.

As I read this book I absorbed every word. I listened and I thought. I embraced the logic behind a concept that, with a little bit of effort to begin with, would soon become part of  my everyday life. I asked myself how I could help Gary shout his message from mountain tops. If only we could get this message across to our media and politicians, get them to invert the negativity they generate into our society on a daily basis, invert the messages they portray and the negative actions they take. Inversion may be Gary Fettke's “attempt to alter the course of the juggernaut of chaos, violence and madness that is our world today” but through Inversion many will listen and become part of a movement that is making a change.

To read Inversion One Mans Answer For World Peace and Global Health is to become empowered to change the way you think and act in both your personal and professional life. Set out in an easy to read format I became so engrossed in the content that I found it hard to put down, completing the book in one nightly read. Inversion is beautifully present in hard cover, consisting of 127 pages. Lined pages are provided at the conclusion allowing the reader to note reflection points and list their own inversion, encouraging participation and action.

Grab a copy of Inversion One Mans Answer For World Peace and Global Health for FREE!

 Whilst writing this review I received an unexpected email from Gary Fettke which showed the strength of his compassion and desire to make a difference. Gary wrote:

Inversion - One Mans Answer for World Peace and Global Health is now FREE. *

Just thought that I would let you know about the book. Recently a young soldier was killed in Afghanistan - doing what he thought was right and proper to make the world a better place. He was the son of a close colleague of mine. It personalised a few things and after speaking with his father I feel that pushing the messages in Inversion further is something I can do.

Just do it through the web site which automates things and covers the postage.

Thanks,

Gary

  I urge all to grab a copy from http://www.onemansanswer.com/ and listen to what Gary has to say. Together we can make a difference!

“Let us stop reacting to yesterday and start building for tomorrow” - Gary Fettke

ISBN: 978-0646481814

review: Jennifer Deaves

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yeast Diet, A Natural Cure - Cookbook And Meal Planning

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine April 2011

In her e-book Yeast Diet A Natural Cure, Cookbook and Meal Planning, Whitney Frazier  introduces us to the issue of yeast within our system and the result of overload. She shows us how to plan a simple meal, bringing us back on the right track. Included within her e-book is a link to a free online Candida test that asks simple non evasive questions, only taking a minute to complete. Based on your answers you are given an indication of whether yeast is an issue in your life, allowing you to seek further medical advice, taking necessary action that could possibly change your life forever.

Showing symptoms of yeast overload? Keep track of these symptoms using the link that takes you to the Symptoms Tracking Spreadsheet. This tracker allows you to stay motivated, giving a visual progress of your control.

Weight loss whilst on the yeast free diet is often a goal of many. With this in mind Whitney has made the achievement of this goal easier to track. Her link to the downloadable Weight Loss Tracking Spreadsheet allows you to keep track of your weight loss, motivating you to keep on striving forward.

Included in the cookbook is a list of foods to avoid and foods that are ‘legal’. All meals are covered including dressings, mixes and sauces, with plenty of ideas for snacks. With bread being the biggest struggle for myself I was pleased to see recipes that provided alternative options and links to online bakeries who support the yeast free market, although at this current time this meets the needs of the U.S market only.

Whitney writes “A Yeast Free Diet takes some thoughtful consideration and advanced preparation. and that is why we created this book!”

As one who struggles daily to control my diet, in an society where most items have yeast or are yeast related, Whitneys book has simplifyed my life and put me back in control. Informative, easy to understand and follow and full of inspiring and tasty recipes Yeast Diet A Natural Cure Cookbook And Meal Planning has changed the way I look at food, allowing me to enjoy what I eat and stay in good health.

Available only as an e-book I would like to see this book also offered as a hardcopy. Although you can print the e-book I do not feel that having sheets of paper in your kitchen which you have placed in a folder or plastic sleeves is as easy to work from or presents as nicely as a hard copy book. I would have also liked to have been able to sit down one evening when the kids are in bed and all is quiet and absorb the informative information the cookbook contains, but then I am not one who is favourable of this new e-book technology, so all may not agree.

You can purchase an immediately downloadable copy of Yeast Diet A Natural Cure, Cookbook And Meal Planning by Whitney Frazier at http://www.theyeastdiet.com/yeast-diet-ebook.html. For a limited time only with each purchase you will also receive a free copy of Whitney’s new book ‘Yeast Free Crock Pot Recipes’.

Visit Whitney’s site http://www.theyeastdiet.com and sign up for her newsletter where you will receive regular free recipes to help you along the way.

Yeast Diet A Natural Cure, Cookbook And Meal Planning  is more than just a yeast free cookbook and diet plan. It is a wholistic program with easy no fuss steps to a healthy more happy you.

Review by Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Driver Fatigue Alarm

* As published in April Good Gabble Newzine

Driver Fatigue Alarm – A Micro - Sleep Warning Technology

A micro-sleep can kill in seconds!

With the Easter/Anzac Day long weekend happening this month many of us will be grabbing the opportunity to get away from home and take a well earned break. Come Thursday night many families will make the most of every hour they have and jump into the car straight after work for a long trip. At the end of the weekend many drive for hours in the rush to return home in time for work the next day. The tiredness kicks in but the adrenalin of the weekend takes over, placing us vulnerable to driver fatigue. The eyes feel droopy but home is only 5 kilometres away so the 'I'll be right' attitude kicks in.

Driver Fatigue is the silent killer. It can affect any motorist at anytime. You become restless, reach for the sugary food, feel the need for caffeine, turn up the music or wind down the window when instead what you should be doing is pulling over and taking a break. Statistics show that driver fatigue is a major factor in 20% of the annual road toll in Australia.


Common signs of drivers fatigue are:

§ Yawning
§ Restlessness
§ Heavy or sore eyes
§ Blurred vision
§ Slowed reaction
§ Poor concentration
§ Impatience
§ Not remembering the last few kilometres of your trip


Driver Fatigue Alarm is a micro sleep warning device that is worn comfortable over the ear, alerting the driver if their head tilts into a micro-sleep. It is available in both a vibrating model and a sound alarm, which also notifies the passengers of the driver's state of tiredness. The warning message enables the driver to take the correct action, pulling over immediately and resting.
 
Testing both Driver Fatigue Alarms I found them very easy to use, with operation being that of the push of one single button. They sat snuggly behind my ear, similar to a hearing device, without any fuss. The ear hook is a soft bendable rubber allowing for one handed application. They were both comfortable to wear and non invasive. I soon forgot I even had them on.
 
The alarm was also worn by a lady who wears vision glasses. She did not find it as comfortable as myself. She felt it was a little fiddly to attach and inconvenient behind the ear and when wearing her sunglasses, which are placed over the top of her vision glasses, the alarm could not be worn at all. This may be a consideration to those who wear glasses but should not deter from the purchasing of an alarm when fatigue is often an issue. The safety aspect of the alarm and the life benefit would be seen as far out waying the slight discomfort of wear.
 
I found a preference to the vibrating model as opposed to sound. Having sensitive ears I found the pitch of the sound alarm a little piercing but can see the benefits of this with all in the car being able to partake in their own safety. The vibrating model emits a harsh vibrate which definitely alerts you of the movement of the head. The sensitivity of both alarms can be adjusted simply by changing the position on the ear. I applaud Vision Of Innovation for providing variety in their product, allowing it to suit all needs.
 
The Driver Fatigue Alarm is a beautifully presented device that fits neatly into your glove box or console compartment. My initial reaction was that of Wow! What an amazing piece of technology, and this still sits with me today. Stored in a plastic padded box with a magnetic latch there is a place to store two sets of battery's, which are provided. The alarm runs on three watch batteries which may be purchased at most pharmacies.

Priced at the low price of $24.95 including postage the Driver Fatigue Alarm is a small price to pay for the protection of yourself and your family and friends. If every car in Australia had one in their glove box and it was worn by the driver at times of fatigue risk the fatality rate on Australia's roads would surely decline.
 
The Driver Fatigue Alarm is not only an asset to the traveller but suitable for those who need to be fully alert whilst working. Security guards, machine operators and truck drivers are only a few who may benefit from its use. It has been reported as being used by those who find themselves falling asleep in front of the television. Vision Of Innovation also mention the use of the vibration model during conferences and meetings.


Each alarm comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and a 12 month warranty. Delivery of the product is fast and efficient, with normal delivery taking 3 to 7 working days. Gift vouchers are also available.


Don't let your family become a micro sleep statistic of our roads this Easter long weekend. Order your Driver Fatigue Alarm today!


Telephone: 02 9715 5100



article: Jennifer Deaves


Saturday, March 12, 2011

ParentCraft, A practical guide to raising children well - Ken and Elizabeth Mellor




A breath of fresh air are the first thoughts that came to my mind when I had completed ParentCraft, A practical guide to raising children well by Ken and Elizabeth Mellor. Ken and Elizabeth present us with a parenting approach that acknowledges the importance of our job as parents and the challenges we face. ParentCraft empowers parents and builds 'feel good' emotions that make a job that is often not valued in society rewarding and easier to tackle.

  Full of practical information Ken and Elizabeth have high praise for parents and a bond with children and families that is highly noticeable in their writing. With more than 30 years experience the approaches within Parentcraft have been used time and time again, giving the reader confidence that these techniques are safe and easy and that they can provide the light at the end of an often dark tunnel. The scenarios used within the book not only put things into perspective but allow for clear clarity.

 As parents we never have all the answers and Ken and Elizabeth do not claim to have them either. The honesty, relaxed reading style and openness of this book leads for light but informative reading. For me, a parent of three ranging from 3 to18 years and a full time mum, the acknowledgment of parenting as an important job was one that was highly appreciated. It is far to often that comments such as “Oh, you are full time mum” or “ So you are unemployed, you just stay home and look after the kids” are generated toward us parents, leaving a feeling of lack of self worth amongst our 'working' colleagues. Not any more! ParentCraft is here, placing emphasis on the role of us parents.

“ We think parents have the most important job of anyone anywhere. Everything we do as parents influences the lives of our children and helps to shape them for the years to come. Through them, the future of the world is also shaped. So let's do a good job. Let's get it right. Let's do it together when that will help. And let's enjoy the process” write Ken and Elizabeth on page vii of the introduction.

Within ParentCraft Ken and Elizabeth acknowledges that each family as a whole, each child and each situation is unique. They do not suggest that one takes their book and uses it step by step as an answer to your parenting but instead encourage experimenting with their ideas, reshaping their suggestions in whatever way is necessary and making it work for your family.

  The parenting suggestions within ParentCraft are vast and practical, using guidance and love as the core ingredient. Ages and stages of children are included and taken into account, along with the patterns of childhood. As a parent who homeschools her children naturally and has a background in early childhood, having owned my own child care centre, I found the approach that Ken and Elizabeth use welcoming and refreshing. If we all took that little extra time that is suggested to work as a team, communicate clearly, pay active attention and balance the family dynamics then parenting and society would take on a whole different aspect.

 Another thing that impressed me about Parentcraft was the acknowledgment of the role of both parents and the importance of the biological family. In society today there are far to many children who find themselves separated from biological family for one reason or another. It is our role as the parent to find the means, when possible, to keep children in contact with those that are birth related. The affects of this may not initially be seen in our young children but can surely be seen as the child matures and grows into adulthood.

“ Our original families have profound effects on us. We are with them in our early years when our deepest foundations as people are laid. From then on, everything in our lives is either partly influenced or fully determined by our early experiences......” page 32

“......Together, biological parents provide many fundamental ingredients for their children. Separately, they each provide something unique that only a mother or a father can provide.” page 52.

In Chapter 14, Paying Active Attention, Ken and Elizabeth remind us that we have five senses that should be used to pay attention to our children. This wholistic simple approach has us tuning into our children, looking, listening, touching, tasting and smelling them. Through these senses we an truly become engaged in our children, knowing what is going on, and getting them to tell us what is going on.

“ …..We can get significantly different information and impressions from each of our senses, so we are well advised to become proficient in using all of them....” page 131.

 I love, love, love this book and highly recommend it. Refreshing, enjoyable to read, easy to navigate and full of love and praise for parents, families and children. A great resource for the parent who is just starting out to the parent who has been there for many years, ParentCraft with give you a spring in your parenting and have you looking at your children and family in a fresh light. Through ParentCraft, Ken and Elizabeth Mellor, introduce us to a wholistic approach to parenting that gives us freedom and control and a relaxed and practical guide to raising children well.

Available at: www.theawakeningnetwork.net

Reviewed by Jennifer Deaves

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From 'Little Hopes' Big Things Come - Melody Moon singer/songwriter

A simple life is how it has always been for Melody Moon and a simple life is the way she likes it. This simplicity, easy going flow and relaxed mood is what drew my attention to her music when I visit the markets in Torquay Victoria.

Growing up in Stoney Rise South West Victoria Melody's life was living in a solar powered volcanic rock house built by her parents with very little technology.

“I filled my days (or afternoons after school) singing and dancing in my room,” says Melody “I remember writing poetry about the bush and the stars when I was about 8yrs old, and writing love songs about the boys at primary school.”

As the years went by Melody's love of music continued to grow and as she approached her mid teens her parents found themselves shuttling her to Warnambool for singing lessons. Focusing on classical singing and broadway songs she was soon performing at school music nights and eisteddfords.

As the school years finished Melody took on an Advanced Diploma of Music Performance.

 “I began to sing more freely and became more and more comfortable with expressing myself, sharing my lyrics with my band and performing them- such an empowering experience” says Melody.

 After completing her degree Melody moved to Melbourne and became a dance teacher and children's entertainer as a fairy.

“I was having amazing experiences with all these new creative professions, but I knew I had to leave the city, to travel and explore myself. So I bought a Kombi and hit the road – just me, nature, and a guitar. This is when my true songs emerged, my own natural expression, my own style” says Melody.  

Melody's first album “Little Hopes” was recorded in the wet Victorian winter of 2010.

“I found myself in the city again and wanting to make the most of my time there. So I locked myself away in a friend’s studio in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and recorded my debut EP ‘Little Hopes’. My friends taught me how to record myself and I invited them all to come and sing on my song ‘A Place to Start’; about coming together as a community and making positive changes,” says Melody. “I also wanted to include nature on my CD, so I recorded some birds from the Otway forest where many of my songs were written. Oh and you might catch my kombi horn at the very end of the EP.”


The uplifting acoustic/folk/indie music of “Little Hopes” is sure to soothe a place in your soul. Transfixed in the moment my soul floats on a cloud of soft flowing music and Melody's lyrics of life, as they fill the confines of my own life. I feel my body flow to the rhythm as a tree flows to the breeze, my mind taken away from the constraints of its own space, being lifted to a clear oasis.

Melody Moon is currently touring nationally in her Kombi        (equipped with solar panels), brightening the day of others and spreading positivity, sharing her music and face painting at markets as Fairy Melody.

“From ‘Little Hopes’, I feel like my dreams are coming true. I’m learning that when I live from my heart, amazing things happen. I just need to do what makes me happy and leave the rest up to the moon!”  Melody says.

Learn more about Melody Moon, listen to her music and send her a message at:
http://www.myspace.com/melodyandthemoon

Melody’s album ‘Little Hopes’ can be purchased online at itunes.

aticle: Jennifer Deaves


Enjoying the serene sound of Melody Moon at Torquay markets

The Wonderful World Of Dogs - Candida Baker

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace” - Milan Kundera

  In The Wonderful World Of Dogs Candid Baker captures the heart and soul of the dog world. Full of short stories of the love between human and his best friend, The Wonderful World of Dogs shows a side of the animal we often over look. With each chapter being divided by a dog quote and with poems gracing the content, this book allows for easy bedtime reading, and is great for those moments when you have a lull in your day that you wish to uplift.

      There were times within this book that my eyes filled with tears and other times that I laughed so hard I cried. The courage and dedication of some of these amazing canines amazed me. As an animal lover and owner of many different species over the years I am accustomed to the wonders of the animal world but still found this book a refreshing reminder of the need for dogs within our lives and the blessing that they bring. It brought home the amount of times I have taken my beloved canine for granted and how important it is that I show her, each and every day, how special she is to my family.

 For many years animals have been shown to act as a large part of the healing process of humans. In The Wonderful World Of Dogs we read of Skippy who was found by her owner when they were both going through hard times, Skippy being ill and her new owner receiving treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation centre. The attention and will to live that Skippy showed gave her owner the love and courage needed to get through the tough road ahead. Together they bonded to provide each other with  unconditional love that heals.

There is also the story of Beckett, a rescue dog, who approached a man who was visibly upset as his dog was being given CPR. Beckett approached the man as he sat in the waiting room of the vets surgery and slowly slid his head under his hands and hid his face in the man's lap, showing the much needed compassion and understanding.
    
And then there are the messages our dogs give us that are to often misinterpreted or not listen to.

The Wonderful World of Dogs introduces us to Nenkin, a Collie mix, who warned her owner of the intentions of wrongdoing by a man who knocked on her door. Requesting to use the phone, as his car had broken down, Nenkin's owner was about to open the door when Nenkin threw herself at it barking and growling ferociously. This was not normal for her nature. Seeing this as a warning her owner did not permit the man to enter. The man moved on to the neighbours up the road who he gagged, tied to their chair and stole their car. By being in tune to Nenkin and listening to her message her owner was spared a terrible fate.



Within The Wonderful World Of Dogs there are many quotes and poems that rang true in my heart but none more than “Rules From The Dog Universe'

“When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop  to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Enjoy every moment of every day!
Everything is always ok in the end; if it's not, then it's not the end.”

                                                                   Anonymous

The Wonderful World of Dogs by Candida Baker is a  refreshing book that is devoted to the companionship of dog and owner. It tells of the positivity within our relationships and the compassion and devotion that some humans can show for another species. The unity and respect of human and animal, which is often tainted by the disrepect and hurtful nature of some, is show the recognition that it deserves.

  Recommended as a feel good, uplifting book that celebrates life at its greatest, The Wonderful World Of Dogs by Candida Baker is a personal journey into the lives of owners and their dogs. You need not be a lover of dogs in order to enjoy this feel good book but will surely be considering your relationship with the canine species by the time you turn the last page.

Available from Allen and Unwin: www.allenandunwin.com

ISBN: 9781742374253