REBECCA MORSE: “They grow up so fast. It happens in the blink of an eye.”
Rebecca Morse is co-host of SAFM’s breakfast show, Bec, Cosi & Lehmo. She has a degree in Journalism and started her media career at the ABC, where she was named SA Journalist of the Year in 2005. Rebecca is actively involved in community and charity work, as a proud Ambassador for Kickstart for Kids, the Animal Welfare League, the Premier’s Reading Challenge, Uniting Care Pancake Day and the Port Adelaide Football Club, She is married with three daughters, Grace, Milla and Frankie and an adopted dalmatian named Henley.
They grow up so fast. It happens in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday they started school.
All these well-worn cliches about how fleeting childhood is are sadly true.
We have one child out of school. And I was more emotional on her last day than I was on her first. She’s an adult now, and predominantly needs me for my credit card and Uber account.
You may be reading this while pregnant, your child may be a toddler or just about to start school. You may be thinking this is a world away from your experience. But mark my words, this time will sneak up on you like an electric car my friends and you may think of me and say “Ahhhh, she was RIGHT.”
I found it very hard to pin my daughter down during her last week of school, she was so busy with friends, events and studying for her exam (yes, exam singular, how the world has changed from SACE in the 90s). She was not vibing Mum getting all up in her grill with a motivational speech.
I considered communicating my message via Snapchat or TikTok but in the end I decided to write her an old-fashioned letter…
On your first day of school you were only four years old. You were so little you could hardly carry your big blue backpack. Your hair was long and curly and your little nervous face was shiny with sunscreen.
You didn’t cry when I left you in your classroom. But I did.
I’m sorry the last two years of your school life were in Covid times, I know this means you and your friends missed out on many experiences you had worked towards and deserved. I can only hope this made you more resilient and has given you greater perspective.
I’m sorry for all the times I yelled in the background while you were talking to your class on Zoom.
Last night you won an award for your leadership. Your whole family was bursting with pride when we heard your name read out.
You’ve always been a leader. You’ve had to be, as the eldest of three girls and with the long hours we have worked, I know and appreciate that you have always had a lot of responsibility and independence, so to see you recognised for those skills makes us incredibly proud, and relieved to be honest.
I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure in Year 12 and I’ve learnt that me saying I’ve been through it and it was fine is not helpful nor constructive. I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t know what to say to make it better.
Please don’t put too much pressure on yourself over your final results, I know you can’t see it now but they will not define your success in life, we know you have done your best and that is all we have ever asked of you.
Your future and career will take so many turns. You will face setbacks and it’s how you deal with those disappointments that will help shape your character.
Today as you head off to your last day of school your long curly hair is now short after you cut it off to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, your empathy is one of your greatest strengths.
Enjoy today, relish every moment with your friends and your teachers, be good and don’t wreck your uniform as I’d like to hand it down to your sisters.
I love you,
When she finally read it she cried and I got a quick hug before she raced out the door with her boyfriend.
And she ignored my advice about the uniform, she’s repurposing it into some sort of schoolies haute couture, as all the kids are doing these days. At my expense.
But I hope some of it sinks in. Mainly the bit about how proud I am of her. Because when I said that all I’ve ever asked of her is for her to do her best, equally that’s all we can do as parents. Our best. And hope that we’ve equipped them to survive in the wild.
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Hi Josh & Cat!
Chances are you’ve seen one of Comedian Josh Hawkins’ viral social media posts clocking up the likes and shares on Instagram. The internet just cannot get enough of @hijosh…and neither can we!
For the uninitiated, Josh is the rad-dad and funny-guy who’s basically made a full time job out of recreating his baby daughter’s milk drunk facial expressions on the gram, garnering not thousands…but millions of views.
The same guy who’s the comedy genius behind The Bachelor and Married at First Sight lip reading videos that have just about a million shares a minute across social media when the shows are airing and —in between all that— is also an everyday dad of two and loving husband to wife Catherine, who he says makes it all possible!
We chat with Josh and Catherine about their recent move to Adelaide, how life has changed since welcoming a second baby girl into their lives, and just how many of Josh’s jokes Catherine never lets see the light of day!
You guys moved from Sydney to Adelaide in 2020, how has that transition been and how does Adelaide compare to Sydney life?
The apartment below where we were living in Sydney started doing renos and it was so loud that we packed up all our things and two weeks later we were in Adelaide! (No mucking around here) and oh my goodness we are SO GRATEFUL that we made that call seeing what’s happened in Sydney this year.
Apart from missing our friends, we’ve had no regrets! Sydney is beautiful but complicated. Adelaide, well she is just so practical haha. We are closer to family here and have a backyard now, win win! (Do I need to mention Adelaide being the third most liveable city in the world?! It’s those beautiful Malls Balls).
You’re a dad of two now, how has life changed since adding another little person to the brood?
Daddy of daughters! Crazy to think just 3 or so years ago I’d never been more single in my life. Now I’m married, 2 kids and moved interstate, wild times.
Initially after having the second baby, I bonded more with our first child because I was looking after her while my wife looked after the new one and recovered. That was a really special time to get closer to her. And yeah, I think it’s just widened our capacity to love another little human being!
Your wife Catherine and daughters Billie and Bobby all feature in your hilarious content… do your kids often provide you with the most random comedy gold?
Billie, our two-year-old, is just a funny kid! When you have a kid, you assume it’s like every other kid but quite often she does something and I think “you’re totally trying to make me laugh right now!” That’s her personality, full of joy, quirky and funny. So, I guess like any parent it’s inevitable that I share my kids and family on social media and I can confidently say that people only follow me for Billie content now!
A little birdie told us that former Bachelor Matty J helped you land your wife, Catherine! Tell us about what happened!
Matty J’s involvement is twofold. Catherine and I met because I was doing Bachie Recaps on Instagram during Matty J’s season and Catherine and her housemate would watch the recaps. One day she replied to one of them and that’s how we met.
But more specifically, after a few months of us getting to know each other as friends (so mature) I asked her out on a “romantic date”, she reluctantly agreed. For me, I had one shot to “romance the heck out of this girl” otherwise we would’ve just stayed friends forever. So I went all out! I organised for her to get a text message from Matty J and Laura (who I’d never met by the way); it was a video of them wishing Catherine a happy first date and that I was such a catch… and it absolutely set the tone for the rest of the night. And hey, here we are with two kids, so it worked! Thanks Matty!
Catherine, does Josh run his jokes past you? Have you ever binned any of his gags that will never see the light of day?
He generally runs most things past me, and I give it the final approval. There are only a few things that will never see the light of day, like his idea to play the character of a baby in the womb. Josh filmed it, we both watched it back and were like nah, no one should ever see this!
I’ve become more involved in Josh’s content. I started off as a fan, now I find myself doing it all; props manager, hair and make-up, quality control, choreographer, caterer, I often film things for him and, if you’ve ever seen his ‘Married at First Sight’ lip reading videos, all the best jokes are mine 😉
Catherine, we spied on Instagram that you have an incredible singing voice – when’s the album release? 😉
Fun fact, I never really enjoyed performing! I love music but writing and performing don’t really do it for me. I love finding talent though so in Sydney I was teaching singing and I loved that side of it, finding someone with talent and helping them grow in it. For now, I’m resolved to being a lover of music at home with the family.
Josh, how long does it take for you to land all those IG trickshots really?
Ah yes, the first viral video of me throwing things into other things. Let’s just say I was very single back then, had oodles of time on my hands. It was absolutely a waste of time and I have no regrets. It’s 20 percent skill, 80 percent patience.
Rate your top trash reality tv series from top to bottom
Oh gosh! You know, our very first conversation on Instagram was about the trashiest reality TV shows we’d ever watched.
At the moment Survivor is at the top, then Love on the Spectrum, we got pretty into SAS Australia, Matty J’s season of The Bachelor (#ripbachie), not even gonna rank MAFS.
And at the bottom of the pile, the trashiest reality TV ever made was a show called “There’s Something about Miriam” and “Dance you’re A** off” which was axed after one episode. Worth a Google!
Let’s talk Christmas! What are your plans for Christmas this year? Any fave family traditions?
This will be our first Christmas in our own home! No plans just yet but all the family live within 3 minutes of each other so I’m sure we will see them lots.
We don’t have a Christmas tradition yet, but we did start a New Year’s Day tradition where we wake up just before sunrise, find an amazing spot near the beach and cook pancakes. We might’ve missed the last few years because of newborns but we are keen to bring that one back!
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The Gentle Sleep Specialist
WORDS: Miriam Weir
Tara Mitchell is one of Australia’s leading infant and toddler sleep consultants, helping literally thousands of families through one of the toughest experiences parents can go through: sleep exhaustion.
You don’t have to be a parent to know the effects of sleep deprivation on your body either – the negative effect on your mental and physical wellbeing can be felt after just one night of bad sleep. Compound this by weeks, months and sometimes years and you can imagine the state of sheer and utter desperation Tara can sometimes meet clients in.
To say she is in some ways both marriage counsellor and mental health practitioner would not be too much of a stretch either – the stark reality of being a sleep consultant can mean seeing marriages on the brink or mothers in the grips of severe postnatal depression. It’s not a job for the faint-hearted and Tara has had to develop her own brand of strength and resilience to take on the massive responsibility of being the last resort for some parents.
“I think sometimes people love the idea of being a sleep consultant – but the reality is you have to be prepared to feel like the survival of someone’s marriage is in your hands,” Tara says of the job. “It can be incredibly confronting – you definitely have to be mentally fit to literally show up for desperate mums and dads and give it your absolute all….if you fail that client, you have taken away their hope – and that is sometimes all they have left.”
And this is all before we’ve even touched on the impact of sleep – or lack of it – on infants. At its worst, insufficient sleep can inhibit the amount of growth hormone released – and for babies between 0-12, this impacts the biggest growth period of their whole life. Increased cortisol – the stress hormone – is also produced with ongoing sleep deprivation. Cortisol acts like adrenaline – so it’s a hard cycle to break, and why tired babies seem to resist sleep.
It’s a feeling Tara knows all too well, having gone through the harrowing experience of extreme sleep deprivation with her firstborn, Scarlett, back in 2014.
A qualified Paediatric Nurse, Tara has long held an affinity with young children, having worked extensively as a nanny while studying. After 6 years in the field as a Paediatric Nurse, Tara became a mum – envisioning play dates, coffee catch-ups and walks in the park. Reality had other ideas however, with a severe milk intolerance and reflux responsible for little Scarlett enduring several hospital visits due to weight loss, unexplained rashes, UTI’s and diarrhoea. It wasn’t the sunny start to motherhood Tara imagined, and after three months of severe sleep deprivation, things turned as soon as Scarlett’s sleep needs were addressed: she fed better, her weight increased and her tummy settled. As Tara puts it, “our family was thriving, not simply surviving.”
This life-changing experience stayed with Tara and when Scarlett turned six months she trained to become a sleep-consultant and the Gentle Sleep Specialist was born.
The ‘gentle’ part comes from the common misconception that you need to use ‘cry it out’ or ‘extinction’ methods to make changes happen as quickly as possible. “All babies are supported through verbal and physical reassurance as required,” explains Tara. “Though that won’t mean your baby won’t necessarily cry – it is a normal part of the change process for babies to cry, so there may be a few bumps in the road for the first few days. All the methods we use and knowledge we have supports babies to better settle,” she explains. “The best outcome is to create a new feeling of certainty and security but with sustainable and healthy sleep habits.”
Support and consistency are key themes that run through Tara’s methodology. One of the few silver linings to the various state lockdowns means clients have had the ability to commit to the program and break some of the habits we as parents inevitably find ourselves in, such as pram-rocking and long-drives in order to get a baby to sleep.
Tara opens up spaces on her program once a month for babies and bi-monthly for toddlers to ensure “the most personalised and affordable sleep program available.” She also does zoom meetings with mothers groups, and runs regular Q&A’s on her Instagram @thgentlesleepspecialist. Her accessibility and authenticity has made her highly in demand, with clients all over the country and as far Europe and the USA.
With a belief that all children are capable of sleeping well and can develop healthy, sustainable sleep habits, it’s not hard to see where Tara’s success – and her motivation lies. “Getting sleep sorted makes for happier children and stronger families,” she says. “It can be demanding, but ultimately – giving the gift of sleep to families is hugely rewarding.”
Tara’s Top 5 Tips to Troubleshoot Sleep Issues
1. Awake times: Observe general age-appropriate awake times.
2. Sleep pressure: Ensure that when your infant is awake, you keep them stimulated to stay awake so they keep their appetite for the sleep ahead. If your little one gets drowsy or dozes, this may cause a second wind and make settling harder.
3. Sleep associations: If you use external props to help your little one to fall asleep, they may need these to go back to sleep. Allow them to understand that where and how they head off to sleep will be the same when they wake.
4. Structuring feeds (with flexibility): Head towards feed, play, sleep, but don’t be too caught up on set feed times.
5. No nap caps: It’s rare that capping naps or waking babies to be on set schedules works. Sleep promotes sleep!
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Rohde’s Eggs | Happy Hens, Free Range Eggs
Whether they’re scrambled, poached, hard boiled or runny, we all have different ways we love to eat our eggs… but what most of us have in common is wanting those eggs to be laid by happy hens.
Hens with room to stretch their legs.
Hens with space to scratch their claws.
Hens with freedom to flap their wings….and maybe even shake a tail feather or two!
And Rohde’s hens sure have that! In fact, we’re convinced chooks from the Rohde’s farm have more personal space each day than most mums do.
Life on the farm
At the Rohde’s farm, chook life sure is sunny side up, with hens free to peck, roam and lay to their hearts content, with density (that’s how many chickens live in a certain amount of space, for the uninitiated) at 1,500 hens per hectare. If you do the maths, that’s 6.5m squared personal space for each chook!
The legislated ‘free range’ density is a whopping 10,000 birds per hectare, which means Rohde’s chickens have a heck of a lot more room for foraging, dust bathing and just generally being happy little chickadees, without feeling like there’s no room to flap and flounce about.
Life really is blissful for the hens who tuck into the grain grown on the farm and lay in spacious, comfortable conditions in a modern facility which is carefully monitored. Conditions are so good that the Ruradene Farm is the only free range RSPCA Approved farm in South Australia!
The Rohde’s Farm Story
Rohde’s have been producing Free Range Eggs for more than 50 years in the pristine rural surrounds of Tarlee, 80 Kilometres north of Adelaide on the edge of the Clare Valley. Local SA farmers, Ian and Jill Rohde started their egg empire in 1957 hoping to provide a supplementary income to their farming business.
Since then, the business has continued to grow from 40,000 chickens in 2002… to 80,000 in 2021! Ian and Jill’s son John and his wife Ange have taken over the business that now produces about 55,000 eggs daily; eggs that are all graded and packaged on farm, before being distributed. That mighty effort accounts for one out of every five free range eggs produced in South Australia!
Proving the old adage that birds of a feather flock together, the third generation of the Rohde family are now heavily involved, with two of John and Ange’s children, Brooke and Martin also working in the business full time.
Rohde’s Eggs are the only egg producer accredited by the RSPA Approved Farming Scheme in SA which highlights just how important animal welfare is to the family behind the farm. Their goal is to produce the freshest and tastiest eggs from happy and healthy hens.
Rohde’s Eggs Caring for Community
The team behind Rohdes Eggs are always working towards becoming more environmentally friendly across all parts of their farm, investing in solar panels and continuing their pledge to plant 500 trees per year. With regular donations to Kickstart for Kids and Foodbank South Australia, the farming family are committed to giving back to their community, as well as trying to source as many supplies and infrastructure from local businesses, keeping SA great!
So next time you’re deciding whether to fry up a frittata or an omelette, cook a quiche or a cake… if you choose Rohde’s Free Range Eggs… rest assured, you’re making an eggcellent choice!
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MEET: Monica McInerney, Author of Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat
Adelaide raised Monica McInerney has over a dozen successful adult novels under her belt. The kind of well known, best selling, page turning novels that we’ve all heard of, probably read most of and definitely recommended to our book club. Now it’s our kids’ turn to enjoy the magical storytelling Monica weaves with her words, with the release of Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat scheduled for November; a summery tale about a young girl, a cat called George and an enchanted wishing stone.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Monica about Marcie Gill, her inspiration behind delving into the children’s middle grade genre, and how nostalgic memories of growing up in SA informed some of the settings in the book.
1. You have a dozen adult novels to your name, but this is your first book for children, tell us why you decided to delve into the kids (8-12 years) genre?
I am the proud aunt of 18 nieces and nephews and have been writing stories for them for years, in between my adult novels. One of those short stories planted the seed for Marcie Gill. That was 8 years ago – this story has been a long time in the making! I can also vividly remember the feeling of reading as a child, falling under the spell of stories, especially those that mixed real life with magical happenings. I wanted to recreate that feeling for myself as a writer. It’s such a thrill to now share Marcie’s story with young readers.
2. What inspired the story of Marcie Gill?
It started with the character Marcie herself – an earnest, determined 10-year-old who wants to fix everything. Two moments from my own childhood also played a part. I’m a lifelong cat lover and always wanted a pet with the magical qualities George has in the story. A line I found in my Grade 1 school report of 51 years ago also sparked ideas. My teacher wrote: “Monica is extremely interested in everything.” It not only made me laugh (I’m still overly curious) but it became a perfect character trait for Marcie too.
3. What messages did you hope to convey to young readers through the story?
Firstly, I hope young readers are swept up in the fun, friendship, family and magical adventures in the story. But underneath that, I hope it gently explores ideas of kindness, patience, love, family loyalty and the importance of dusting yourself off after a setback and trying once more.
4. How different is writing a story for kids to writing one for adults?
In many ways, it isn’t different at all. In my adult novels, I try hard to invent characters who are fully-rounded, with flaws as well as good points. I love to include plenty of plot twists, surprises and lively family scenes. I also love to describe beautiful settings. I wanted Marcie Gill to have all of that too, with the fun addition of magical scenes. I had a smaller canvas to work on wordcount-wise, but I still did dozens of drafts. I was also lucky to have the expert guidance of my Puffin Books editor Mary Verney. I learned there’s no time for backstory in a children’s book – the story needs to take off from the very first scene or the book will be left abandoned.
5. South Aussie illustrator Danny Snell illustrated the book, we’re a south Aussie publication so we love this! Did you have a strong vision for how you wanted the illustrations to look or did Danny just get creative in bringing the characters to life?
My publisher showed me several possible illustrators’ portfolios and I immediately chose Danny. I love the warmth and personality of his drawings. I happily left him to read the story and create his own look for the characters. I think he’s done such a beautiful job. The illustration of Marcie hugging her Gran breaks my heart. I love the one of Marcie and George the cat reading the newspaper together too.
6. We know you grew up in the Clare Valley in SA – did you bring some SA nostalgia/memories into the storyline/locations of Marcie Gill?
I definitely brought in all my memories of hot Decembers in South Australia! I don’t name it specifically, but I picture Snorkel Bay on the Yorke Peninsula, a four-hour drive from Adelaide. Two of the characters also live in the Adelaide Hills. My dad was the Clare railway stationmaster, and as kids, our family (my parents, six brothers and sisters and I) would stay at railway beach houses around SA. I have a clear memory of walking past seaside caravan parks during those holidays, looking in enviously, imagining the fun of staying in a caravan. (Impossible with a family of nine, we would have needed a fleet of them.) The Snorkel Bay Caravan Park grew from that wishful thinking.
7. Can we expect to see more Marcie Gill adventures in the future?
Yes! I had so much fun writing the first Marcie Gill that I’m writing a second book right now, and already have ideas for a third…
Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat is published by Penguin and is available from all good bookstores from November 2.
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Meet Sonia from Mumma’s Own, Adelaide’s first Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner
When Naturopath Sonia Tzerefos’ was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband thought they were pretty well prepared for the next challenges life would bring. They just didn’t realise how big the challenges that presented themselves were going to be.
“My husband and I had been living overseas for a number of years and had decided to return home to Australia to start a family. On returning we had our daughter who was of course ‘perfect’ and I began my journey into Naturopathy. It was when we had our son that our world was turned upside down.
Initially I didn’t know what was happening, everything about him was just so much more difficult than it had been with our daughter. People kept saying things like ‘he’s a boy, they’re harder, he’s fine’. But mother’s instinct knows best and I wasn’t satisfied with that”.
Just before he turned 3 years old, Zac was diagnosed with Autism.
“When we did finally get the diagnosis it made me cry and feel relief all at the same time. Finally I knew what we were dealing with”.
At this stage, Sonia’s business, Mumma’s Own, was still very general. Sonia was treating a variety of illnesses with Naturopathy, but wasn’t focussing on anything in particular.
Once Zac was diagnosed that all began to change.
“I threw myself into my son’s therapy. I was treating him Naturopathically with nutrition and supplements and I was determined to have success. Slowly but surely our son went from a 3 year old boy with no communication or speech, would melt down multiple times per day for hours on end, who was constantly distressed and made it virtually impossible to leave the house… to a little boy who was calm, had developed some speech and was starting to communicate, was affectionate, making eye contact and suddenly going to the supermarket wasn’t such a stressful exercise.”
Sonia knew she wanted to share this success with others, so shifted the focus of Mumma’s Own and started treating children on the spectrum and their families.
Adelaide’s first Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner
“I trained to become Adelaide’s first GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Practitioner and implemented this nutritional protocol within our family before starting to use it with my patients. The results were mind boggling, with many of Zac’s therapists asking what it was that I was doing.
Since then the way I practice has completely shifted towards gut health and nutritional healing first and foremost. Gut health has a huge impact on our overall health and can be the difference in how we’re feeling and how we manage our day to day lives.
Some of my patients started following my protocols and changing their children’s diets with a few following The GAPS Diet, but for those that couldn’t, I tailor made nutritional plans that would work for their family. Kids were improving and parents were thankful that they could see things changing.”
Mumma’s Own offered healthy nutritional recipes the whole family could enjoy but still addressed their individual health concerns. Watching her patients have success over and over again led Sonia to release the Mumma’s Own 6 Week Gut Reset Program.
Working with children on the spectrum
“Working with my families who have children on the spectrum, they’re experiencing the same things I have experienced and I have the unique perspective of totally understanding what it’s like when you’re unwell or are struggling with a child that’s either unwell, has Autism or is living with some other type of disability. There were times when I just couldn’t see clearly and thought that things were always going to be hard and I was never going to have a ‘normal’ life.
I’m here to tell you that things can change and they can get better. Our own experience of what is ‘better’ will be different, but when you feel like you’re at your lowest point there’s no way but up.”
To join the Mumma’s Own tribe or for more information on the Mumma’s Own 6 Week Gut Reset Program:
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