On the Coast Families / Christmas Edition / Dec23 Jan24

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Welcome

Inside

We’ve never been ones for New Year’s resolutions and a few years ago one of our aunties told us about how she likes to start each year. She writes down five things in three categories: 1) things I’d like to keep in my life, 2) things I’d like to remove, and 3) things I’d like to introduce in.

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Coffee with a Coastie – Luke Grant

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DIY Fashion fun with the kids

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The Gift of Reading

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Coast Community

As the end of the year approaches, we begin to look back on our 2023 list and while we may still have a few things to work on ‘adding in’, we are so incredibly grateful for what is there. For our family, the festive season will be a little different this year. We lost two amazing women that ultimately lead to a ‘changing of the guard’ and brought a serious reality check of our own mortality. And yet at the other end of the spectrum we had the privilege of welcoming our littlest angel, a baby girl in July. With so much happening in the world that is out of our control, the one thing we can control is our attitude for gratitude. I once read a quote, “A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”, and this is definitely the theme of Christmas this year. Coasties, we’d like to thank you for sharing your year with us and we hope that whatever Christmas is to you, it fills your heart with warmth and joy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us xxx See you in 2024!

Tanzie & Luke

11 Protecting your family’s future

12 Male pre–conceptual care – is it really necessary?

14 Self–care: How to create and maintain healthy boundaries Art Director/Editor Tanzie Carpenter tanzie@onthecoastpublications.com.au

Cover image One Million Canaries Photography @onemillioncanaries

Production Luke Carpenter luke@onthecoastpublications.com.au

Imagery ingimage.com and freepik.com

Publisher Tanzie Carpenter / 0414 611 851 Luke Carpenter / 0405 449 339 trading as On the Coast Publications ABN 52 212 212 482 PO Box 3251, Bateau Bay NSW 2261 For advertising enquiries advertising@onthecoastpublications.com.au

Contributors Sam and Jordi Woods, Jessica Sanford, Simon Tarrant, Diana Arundell , Selina Chapman, Louise Hurley, Henry Mason, Lisa Ruth, Harriet Blannin–Ferguson, Cathy Spooner, Dr Nicholas Altuneg, Alexandra Wilson, Georgia Spencer, and Sarah Tolmie. onthecoastpublications.com.au

For article contribution enquiries tanzie@onthecoastpublications.com.au

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17 Nurturing body image resilience in your child

18 Chinatown Shenanigans 20 Keep your breastfeeding journey on track during the festive season

22 How do you trade a busy culture for connection?

24 Vision: The unsung hero of your child’s education

27 Complex PTSD: A new way of understanding trauma

28 Navigating the seas of change: the art of formalising property settlement after separation and why it’s so important

30 Matters of life & love WARRANTY & INDEMNITY Advertisers and/or advertising agencies upon and by lodging material with the Publisher for publication or authorising or approving of the publication of any material INDEMNIFY the Publisher, its servants and agents against all liability claims or proceedings whatsoever arising from the publication and without limiting the generality of the fore–going to indemnify each of them in relation to defamation, slander of title, breach of copyright, infringement of trademarks or names of publication titles, unfair competition or trade practices, royalties or violation of rights or privacy AND WARRANT that the material compiles with all relevant laws and regulations and that its publication will not give rise to any rights against or liabilities in the Publisher, its servants or agents and in particular that nothing therein is capable of being misleading or deceptive or otherwise in breach of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974. The views expressed in On the Coast – Families are not necessarily those of the editor or publishing staff. While every effort has been made to insure accuracy of the information in this publication, no responsibility will be accepted by On the Coast – Families. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

Read our previous articles at onthecoastfamilies.com.au @onthecoastfamilies DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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INTERVIEW WITH LUKE CARPENTER

coffee

Coastie WITH A

LUKE GRANT

PERSONAL COACH AND PROUD WIRADJURI MAN Welcome to Coffee with a Coastie. I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Luke Grant, personal coach and proud Wiradjuri man, about mental health, exercise, and his own journey. We talk about the positive impact he sees physical health playing in the role of someone’s mental health. As he strives to help men over 30 regain control of their health, so they can live a life of purpose. I feel a big part of why we do what we do, is due to the events throughout our life’s journey. Can you share some of your story from growing up in Kyogle, to losing your father at 9 and how this has shaped you to become the person you are today? Kyogle was a little town I grew up in, that was only two or three thousand people and that included the outskirts. My father was a professional footballer and back then they didn’t go overseas when they retired. So, when my dad finished up in 86 or 87 we moved to Kyogle. I was born in 85, so I was only one or two when we moved. He took on the role of captain coach for the local team. But he was more than that, he was a solid community man, bringing the community together. Always picking people up for training and being involved with all the local raffles and stuff. So losing my father at nine was huge. I know other people are in harder situations than me, but my dad was a very important part of my life. I remember always being with him and emulating him. I always wanted to hang out with him. With Dad being a professional rugby league player, all I ever wanted to do was play rugby league because of him. Watching him do what he did for the community shaped and programmed me to be like that. I am who I am today because of him. I think there’s science behind being shaped as a child subconsciously from zero to nine.

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ON T H E C OA S T – FA M ILIES

On an Instagram post you write, It’s 5:40am at Shelly Beach, you were checking the surf, and you’re approached by a First Nations man, who you engage in a conversation with. You showed him empathy towards his struggles and asked him if he had a plan to kill himself and he says he does. You then go on to say, how approaching these situations was taught to you in mental health training. Can you share how to approach someone you feel is not ok? You know life’s sometimes all about timing. This guy obviously for some reason was meant to be introduced to me that morning. When he approached me, I felt like there was something not right. I had already done a fair bit of suicide prevention work with Yerin and when I

Creating the confidence to be able to ask for help yourself does come from within, but it’s also about creating the space for it as well think back it just come out so naturally, I said something like; hey man, are you planning on hurting yourself or going to kill yourself, and he admitted he was. I don’t know how he was going to do it, but

he said he was planning to go do it right now. It’s very confronting and very hard to do, but probably the most powerful thing you can do. Just always show empathy and you have to stay with them until they get help, like an ambulance or a family member or something. You can’t try to talk them out of it, don’t try to give advice and don’t try and be the expert. Just be the listener. You created Waluwin, a free 6–week movement for mental health program for First Nations people. Can you share more about this? After running a 12 week online program called Yerin Fit when I was working with Yerin, I wanted to create something online that included the movement side of things, along with other things like connection to country, connection to family and mindfulness practices. Having an aspect on overall health and wellbeing all in one place that people can do online. And at the time I was training James, another indigenous man who knows all that space and runs an IT recruiting company up in Newcastle. We just brainstormed a few different ideas and created it. It took a while but the program itself goes for six weeks and every day you’ll get a text message in the morning with a link that you press on. It’s structured Monday to Sunday where you’ll do movement one day and mindfulness another. The idea of it is


environment, out in the open, around a fire, nothing better really. Yet you don’t need a group like mine to be able to do that. Have the confidence to go to your mates and say, let’s go have a camping trip, let’s go talk about our s%^t. That needs to be normalized, and for that to be normalized, there needs to be more things like my men’s group and The Shaka Project. There needs to be heaps more.

to be a better human and I feel like it’ll do that for you. Sometimes it’ll just be a quick little check in or a prompt for you to reach out to family. We’ve had feedback where family members haven’t spoken in two years, and they’ve now reconnected. You’ve also created a men’s fitness group targeted at men over 30. Can you share what this group is all about and the impact it is having? I created Waluwin and the men’s group all on the basis of some of the stuff that I’ve gone through over the last few years. I’ve lost two close cousins to suicide. And those two deaths are really the main reason I started the men’s group. On the basis of trying to help men through the trauma that I have experienced with those two deaths, which really rocked me. The men’s group started as a little sidekick and now it’s going strong. It’s turned into something a lot more than a sidekick. It’s so rewarding watching the men change. When I get them at the early stages and they either haven’t been in the gym for a very long time, or just starting out, and you get to see their aura change over time. It’s so rewarding for me. It is my job, but I don’t call it a job because, it’s so rewarding to see them change. Then you see their wives at the school drop offs and they’re saying hi to you even more so, because their husband’s happier and more present. The training’s great, but that stuff and the text messages of

gratitude I get, is where it’s at for me. I’ve personally reached out for support and feel so much better for it, though it took me many years and to be honest, the exposure to the amazing people I’ve had the privilege of sitting down and chatting with, like yourself, that has made me feel it is ok to seek help without feeling wrong about it in some way. What more do you feel can be done to help normalize men seeking support? That’s a big question. We’ve got more suicide deaths in men than we’ve ever had, yet I feel we’ve got the most amount ever of psychologists and psychiatrists, it’s crazy. Creating the confidence to be able to ask for help yourself does come from within, but it’s also about creating the space for it as well. I don’t believe there’s enough space out there for men to open up and to be able to help themselves in that way. I’ve got my thing, where I use movement, breathing, ice baths and all that stuff to help men. But another huge thing that I can never ever do enough of, but it’s just really hard to coordinate everybody, is to go away overnight. We did a night out in the stars and it was so powerful. I’ve done it a couple of times now, it’s part of our men’s group program. Though like I said, it’s hard to get everybody together as everyone’s got commitments. But when we do there’s some stuff out there that happens that potentially could save lives or if not make the person better for a very long time. Opening up in front of men in a non–judgemental

Is there anything you wish more people understood about the connection between physical fitness and mental wellbeing? I can only really talk from the physical side to the mental side. I’m not a yogi or a guru in any other space. For me when I see people getting stronger in the gym, it leads into their life on the mental side of things. They’re very much connected. I believe if you’re physically well, you’re mentally well. I’ve seen it time and time again, from when I owned my gym, to training over 2,000 people, what I’ve always noticed is if somebody is getting stronger in the gym whether it be on the bench press or running or wherever it be. If they can see results, they mentally get stronger and make better food choices and become more present for their family. They start having better conversations and opening up more. I see the confidence exuberate from them, all from becoming stronger and fitter. So my advice is don’t start Monday, start today. If you’ve been putting something off, do it right now, there’s no better time. All we have is right now. We can think about the past and the future, and plan and reflect, but right now, it’s all you can control. It’s the most important part. Should you or someone you know need support, please call: Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78 13 YARN – 13 92 76 You can also find support services online at www.ruok.org.au/findhelp

I want to thank Luke for the impact he is having on the community. If you would like to find out more about Waluwin, go to waluwin.com.au or you can see what Luke is up to with the men’s group on Instagram – @luke.grant.coach or reach out to Luke email – luke@waluwin.com.au or mobile 0414 615 853

ence! Driven to make a differ Luke with Luke Grant

Be sure to scan the QR code or go to coffeewithacoastie.com.au to hear the full conversation where I talk to Luke about: • My Indigenous welcome • Growing up in Kyogle and the challenges of moving to the Central Coast • Accountability and training • Mental challenges after having to quit Rugby League due to injuries • Daily rituals and much more… This interview had to be edited for readability and length. DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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VIBRANT CONCEPTS

DIY FA S H I ON FUN

s d i k e with th BY SAM & JORDI WOODS

Did you know a child’s personal style can start to show through from a very early age?

Regardless of how a child identifies, below we have a really fun, educational and “hands on” activity to do with them to help nurture their personality and personal style that can result in a better understanding of what they like to wear, why and what to buy them. In our previous articles you may have read about “Vision Boarding” and creating your style words as an adult – the concept where you go online or search through magazines to collect images of styles you like, looks that inspire you, accessories, textures, colours and also gather words that best describe your personal style

WILL NEED WHAT YOU ard Sheet of paper or cardbo Scissors Glue Pens/pencils/textas Old magazines

and personality or how you wish to identify and be seen. As this is one of our most successful “styling tools” we use with our clients we thought it could be fun and helpful to adapt this concept for your little ones. This activity we have for the youth in your life is quite similar to the concept we use in our business however, this adaptation is much more hands on and tactile!

Glitter/sand/ribbons etc – anything tactile that your child likes that can be attached to your paper/ cardboard

HOW Get ready to create a fashion fun mess! Lay down your sheet of paper or cardboard and allow this to be the basis of your fashion collage. Get your child to give you any photos that they like of fashion, flowers, shapes, colours, things that are tactile, colours they find appealing, fabrics they like, ABSOLUTELY anything that makes them happy or they resonate with! Glue all the elements down and collage their personal style findings. Ask your child for words that describe them i.e fun, bold, quiet, happy, gentle and write these words down on the collage. Pay extra attention to these words as they will give you an understanding of them. For example, if your child says they are quiet and gentle, chances are putting them in loud, colourful, bold prints will not align with their little style, you would be better opting for prints and colours that are softer, more subtle and not too over the top. Also look at the colours they choose that

Print outs of images found online Coloured squares Printed paper Fabric scraps

they like; they may not be the colours you like, but these are what they are drawn to – so listen to what they are showing you. Once you have let your masterpiece dry, you can hang it up in their wardrobe and when they go to get dressed, you can help them or let them create outfits that look like the board they created. By doing this you are encouraging their inner beauty and individual personal style to show through. Giving them the confidence to feel comfortable in who they are! It is also a great idea to take a photo of your child’s collage, that way, when you are shopping you can use it as a guide to buy what they like. We hope this exercise is a way for you to connect with your little one, do some school holiday craft and start to understand why they like the clothes they like and may not always want to wear what you pick out for them. Vibrantly yours, Sam & Jordi Woods x

Understanding styling and fashion is one thing. Having a super natural flair for making everyday people look incredible is another. Once you’ve met Sam and Jordi Woods, it’s hard not to catch their infectious passion for dressing to match your own lifestyle, personality and charisma. Through their consultancy ‘Vibrant Concepts’, Sam and Jordi have transformed the lives of thousands. Let Sam and Jordi show you how to look and feel fabulous everyday at their Style Studio in Erina – learn the art of illusion dressing, colour matching, styling, translating fashion trends and savvy shopping with their unique VC Signature Styling Systems and services that are truly personal and really work! To contact Vibrant Concepts phone 0425 221 676

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ON T H E C OA S T – FA M ILIES


The Gift of

g n i d a Re BY JESSICA SANFORD

Enchanting and inspiring Children’s books to fill Christmas stockings this year. 1 In the early 90s Jimmy Baxter and his mum arrive in a country town in rural NSW. When Jimmy’s mum struggles with her depression, Jimmy must find ways to survive. Being Jimmy Baxter, by Fiona Lloyd is a gently funny yet powerful coming–of–age middle grade novel about surviving the odds, unlikely friendships and the magical music of Elvis

2 My Epic Dad! Takes us Fishing! is the third hilarious picture book by Dani Vee about an enthusiastic dad who loves taking his kids on adventures, but things never seem to go as planned. Despite the calamities, everyone always has fun in the end!

3 Harley and the Stars, by Angela Molony, is a simple story to help children and their families say goodbye to their pets. Beautifully illustrated, the book is the sweet story of Harley’s full and happy life as he changes and grows old.

4 A Stockingful of Sadie, by Lana Spasevski, includes three Christmas stories. In each one, Sadie bakes festive treats to share, but when the outcomes are not what she bargained for, Sadie must find ways to save the day!

5 Can You Find Santa? By Axel Scheffler, is a colourful lift–the–flap board book. It’s Christmas Eve and Reindeer can’t find Santa! Little ones can raise the easy–to–grip felt and delight in the pictures they uncover as they help with the search.

[ONE FOR THE GROWN–UPS] Now you’ve got the kids sorted, stretch out with this entertaining cosy mystery.

7 Girl Detectives Just Wanna Have Fun, by Philippa Kaye. It’s 1984. Hairstyles are big, skirts are short, and Birdie Mealing just wants to have fun. Then her uncle disappears, and Birdie goes from music teacher to amateur sleuth, dealing with suspect politicians and a mob boss, on her hunt for the truth.

6 Filled with 60 family–friendly recipes and fun activities, My Family Kitchen, by Tommy Pham, is a cookbook the whole family will love. Ask your youngsters to join you in the kitchen to discover the joy of cooking and sharing food with family. Jessica Sanford is a writer living on the Central Coast. She has a passion for literature and writes fiction and non–fiction. Jessica was the winner of the Wyong Writers’ 2021 Short Story Competition and has also been longlisted for the Furious Fiction prize. She’s currently working on a novel set in rural NSW. https://jessicasanford.com

wishing you a

Visit us at the Central Coast Christmas Fair 2023 Sunday 3 Dec / 9am – 2pm Mingara Recreation Club

CHRISTMAS

BIG GIVEAWAYS ON THE DAY

Thank you for sharing your 2023 with us! DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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C o a s t COMMUNITY Narara Ecovillage is a sustainable, intergenerational residential community on the Central Coast. We asked Founder, Lyndall Parris, to tell us a bit about how it works for families. Dave and I – retired from our careers in accounting and engineering – are living the good life in this Intentional Community. My grand kids, Zinn (12), Cam (10) and Clem (5) live here too. People of all ages choose to live at Narara Ecovillage because they want to know their neighbours and be neighbourly. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything, but having such intentionality means that we are committed to working through issues relating to the common–good decisions for our community. We say: Out in the community, it’s about the ‘we’ and in our homes it’s about the ‘me’. There are currently 200 Nararans, 60 of whom are children. About 110 are living here, with another 90 or so building their homes over the next few years. In the meantime, they are getting to know their future neighbours at the various events we regularly hold, just as our visitors can do as well. Children in the ecovillage attend all types of schools and some are homeschooled. They learn to interact

Gosford

with adults of all ages and cover topics like bush regeneration, seed raising, growing food, building and so much more through both conscious and unconscious assimilation. Ride sharing during school term is easy, and scheduled, and some parents swap meals so that they can share food preparation efficiently. Also, there is always the wholesome, fresh food produced in the ecovillage and sold through our Coffee Cart that can fill–in at the times when home kitchens need to switch–off. During school holidays – a time that tests parents as they balance their workload with children home all day – I have seen pooling of resources and energy here at the ecovillage so that each family has more chance of achieving their commitments, while their children have fun. Play dates happen regularly and automatically, parents don’t need to continually access their schedules and make calls to other parents. The kids’ games are simple and imaginative – up a tree, on a dirt pile, making, designing, collecting from nature and the materials hanging around, and of course, riding their bikes and various ball games. They settle

into patterns of sharing and there is comradery and friendship. Our Aim, work–shopped and agreed to by the whole community, is to nurture a resilient and inclusive intergenerational community that inspires collaboration, innovation and fun; to live with kindness, aware of our interdependence with others and the natural world; and to learn and demonstrate ways to thrive within the earth’s ecological capacity, drawing on Indigenous wisdom and fostering

regenerative environmental, social and economic practices. There are many aspects to our Aim that we would like to share with our wider neighbours on the Central Coast, so that you can join in with our exploration and search for a different way of living.

Our Coffee Cart is open from Tuesday to Saturday and our website includes details of events, including our monthly Open Day – www.nararaecovillage.com

Gosford

Your local team of financial specialists • Superannuation Advice • Financial Planning • Retirement & Estate Planning • Aged Care • Portfolio Administration • SMSF Get in touch today (02) 4325 0884 morgans.com.au/gosford Morgans Financial Limited ABN 49 010 669 726 AFSL 235410 | A participant of ASX Group.

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DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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COASTAL REHAB HUB

BOUNCE BACK from Breast Cancer Online program HELPING MORE COASTIES BOUNCE BACK FROM BREAST CANCER

B

ounce Back from Breast Cancer (BBFBC) is a premier online program founded by leading Cancer Rehabilitation OT, Kate Perkins. Women around the globe can now recover from breast cancer faster, stronger and full of energy from the comfort of their homes, following the launch of revolutionary guided online breast cancer rehabilitation program Bounce Back from Breast Cancer. Central Coast Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist and Occupational Therapist, Kate Perkins, witnessed the struggle of many of her patients to access onsite cancer recovery services during COVID–19 isolation and vowed to help as many women as possible by developing a ground breaking new program. With a mission to support women in their journey to reclaim their physical and emotional wellbeing post– treatment, BBFBC offers a holistic and personalised approach to recovery. “Our approach is evidence–based and extremely personalised, which is what makes it so powerful and unique. Participants experience increased energy levels, improved posture, correct movement patterns and optimal lymphatic function. It’s so rewarding to see so many women come out the other end of their treatment

KATE PERKINS Founder & leading Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist (OT) & Lymphoedema Therapist

stronger than before their diagnosis.” explains founder Kate Perkins. BBFBC leverage’s contemporary research and best practice methods to deliver bespoke rehabilitation plans that cater to the unique needs of each participant. This integrated approach ensures that recovery’s physical, emotional, and psychological aspects are addressed, facilitating a comprehensive healing journey. Kate, the founder of Bounce Back From Breast Cancer Online Program (BBFBC), is a renowned professional in breast cancer rehabilitation. With her extensive experience and empathy, she has dedicated her career to helping women reclaim their lives post– treatment. Her deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by breast cancer survivors fuels her passion for providing personalised, holistic rehabilitation programs that cover physical therapy, nutritional guidance, and psychosocial counselling. “I have always known there are women who just don’t have access to the type of

services I provide and find it very difficult to recover from cancer treatment, with loss of strength, movement and energy,” says Perkins. “Cancer patients are a particularly at–risk group and many struggle to access regular onsite rehabilitation services, which made me even more determined to help women wherever they are and whatever their circumstance, so that every woman has the best chance of a full and fast recovery.” What sets BBFBC apart is their dedication and commitment to their participants. Their expert team of healthcare professionals have an in– depth understanding of breast cancer survivors’ specific challenges. They strive to provide a safe, nurturing environment where women can rebuild their strength and confidence.

Find out more www.bouncebackfrombreastcancer.com Kate Perkins runs her successful and popular clinic for face–to–face consultations and highly effective OncoLaser™ Therapy in Erina. Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions 5/30 Karalta Rd, Erina NSW 2250 www.lymphaticsolutions.com.au

Leading Central Coast private practice, Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions, developer of the unique OncoLaserTM system using MLS Laser, offer patients a premium and comprehensive allied health rehabilitation centre, providing high quality services to aid in quicker and more effective physical rehabilitation recovery from surgeries, cancer treatment, sports injuries and other conditions.

TM

02 4312 7033 / 5/30 Karalta Rd Erina NSW 2250 www.coastalrehabhub.com.au

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O N T H E C OA S T – FAM ILIES

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Protecting your family’s future: IS YOUR FAMILY’S INSURANCE COVER KEEPING PACE WITH THE RISING COST OF LIVING? BY SIMON TARRANT In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged within family finances – the widening gap between rising mortgage values and the often–stagnant default insurance cover provided by superannuation funds, which in many cases is the family’s only source of wealth protection. Growing financial responsibility, such as mortgages, marriage and children, means the financial impact of illness, injury or death poses significant financial risks for families, especially when your family is reliant on your income. The rising tide of property prices (and mortgages) Australia has witnessed a dramatic surge in property prices in recent years. Factors such as low–interest rates, increased demand, and limited housing supply have contributed to this trend. According to the CoreLogic Home Value Index, property prices have experienced double–digit growth in various cities across the country. While this may be beneficial for homeowners in terms of wealth accumulation, it also means that the average mortgage value has increased substantially with Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) reporting in August 2023 that the average loan size for owner occupier dwellings in NSW has risen to $722,132. Superannuation default insurance cover: falling behind As property prices continue to surge, many Australians find themselves with mortgages that far exceed their life insurance coverage provided by their superannuation funds. This misalignment poses a major financial

risk for families. In 2022 Deloitte Access Economics reported in their publication “The Future of Insurance through superannuation” that almost 10million Australians have at least one type of insurance (Life, Total Permanent Disability [TPD] or Income Protection) provided through superannuation, with an average sum insured for both life and TPD of around $136,000 and $4000 (per month) for income protection.

unable to provide income education expenses medical costs.

This insurance provides a safety net for individuals and their families in the event of unexpected circumstances such as disability or death. However, these default policies have not kept pace with the soaring cost of living currently being experienced throughout Australia.

2. Consider additional coverage: in cases where your current insurance falls short, individuals should consider purchasing additional insurance coverage to bridge the gap. These policies can be tailored to meet specific needs and provide the necessary financial protection.

Many Australians are unaware that the default life insurance offered by their superannuation fund may not be sufficient to cover their outstanding mortgage and ongoing livings expenses, creating a potentially perilous situation for families who rely on this insurance to safeguard their financial wellbeing.

3. Seek professional advice: Consulting with a financial adviser can provide invaluable insights and strategies into the most suitable and tax effective policies for an individual’s circumstances. Protecting your wealth in this stage of life is complex so it is crucial you speak with a financial adviser before committing to a decision.

The importance of adequate coverage Insufficient life insurance coverage can have devastating consequences for families left with large outstanding mortgages among other financial commitments. In the event of a tragedy, loved ones may find themselves struggling to maintain their homes and meet their financial obligations. This can lead to forced sales, upheaval, and financial hardship at an already difficult time. Things you need to consider when assessing your level of insurance cover include: the elimination of your debt (mortgage, car loans or even credit cards) provision for daily expenses for you and your family in the event you’re

Closing the gap: steps toward adequate coverage 1. Regular Reviews: It is imperative for individuals to regularly review their insurance policies and assess whether their insurance coverage aligns with their current financial situation.

If you would like to discuss your wealth protection strategy, please contact Simon at simon.tarrant@morgans.com.au or via (02) 4325 0884 Morgans Financial Limited 1/6 Burns Cres, Gosford NSW 2250 morgans.com.au/gosford

Simon Tarrant (AR: 001270872) is a Private Client Adviser at Morgans Financial Limited (AFSL 235410 / ABN 49 010 669 726). Simon is passionate about creating quality financial strategies that are tailored and customised to a clients’ lifestyle, financial goals and risk profile.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken, Morgans Financial Limited makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. The information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without consideration of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any decisions, you should consider the appropriateness for your personal investment objectives, financial situation or individual needs. We recommend you see a financial adviser, registered tax agent or legal adviser before making any decisions based on this information.

DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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Male pre–conceptual care – IS IT REALLY NECESSARY? BY DIANA ARUNDELL

R

esearch is confirming that the health status of BOTH parents at the time of conception can have a significant impact on the future health of the baby. Once the sperm and egg have combined, the genes of the baby are locked in, so the health of both the female and the male parent pre–conceptually is significant and can impact conception, live birth rate and the health of the offspring later in life. In Australia, our children are getting sicker. There have been significant increases in asthma, overweight/obesity, autism spectrum disorders and the quality of the health of both parents at conception may be a contributing factor. Reality is that men contribute 50% to the genetic composition of the offspring and almost half of fertility issues experienced by couples include a male fertility factor, yet there are no guidelines for male fertility health. Many men may not be infertile as such but ‘sub–fertile’, meaning there are factors affecting the quality and/ or quantity of their sperm. Sperm are highly susceptible to oxidative damage and that can occur due to poor diet and lifestyle choices. These choices, as well as environmental factors, can contribute to difficulty in conceiving, miscarriage and can increase risk factors of the offspring developing certain diseases later in life. Trans–generational inheritance has been observed in both mouse models and human studies. Smoking, toxic exposure, advanced age, obesity and medication use have been associated with low birth weight, congenital heart issues and an increased risk of infant cancers and neural tube defects. The current guidelines to assess semen parameters are the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines 2010. Up until that time, the semen analysis parameters were based on the WHO guidelines from 1999. The benchmark or acceptable figures for sperm health used by WHO and consequently fertility doctors, are based on the lowest 5th percentile of men. When it comes to making babies, is the lowest 5th percentile of healthy sperm really good

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enough? How about aiming for the 50th percentile for semen parameters, to aim for the healthiest possible pregnancy and life birth outcome. We are talking about making human life here after all. Another interesting factor to note about the WHO semen parameters is how sperm health has decreased between 1999 and 2010. (see table below) This suggests that male fertility is declining and from a health perspective we need to be asking why semen parameters in men have dropped so much in a 10 year period, rather than just moving the goal posts of what we accept as viable or healthy. We need to be identifying why men’s fertility health is dropping and what we can do to address these issues, so things don’t continue to get worse. Assisted reproductive medicine such as IVF, IUI etc is a modern, medical miracle which has given the gift of children to many couples who otherwise would not have experienced parenthood, however some couples who are classified as ‘sub–fertile’ or ‘unexplained infertility’ may be shuffled down a very expensive medically assisted fertility path prematurely. 4–6 months of pre–conceptual care can not only improve chances of a natural conception but also improve success rates of IVF and

other assisted fertility treatments due to improved overall cellular health. There are many diet and lifestyle choices that can improve semen parameters in men. If you are thinking of conceiving, why wait for 1 year after ‘trying’ before looking into what can be done to improve male fertility? Pre–conceptual care ideally needs to start 6 months prior to conceiving. Sperm takes 72–90 days to mature before it’s ejaculated so the effort that is put into a man’s diet and lifestyle now, will be reflected in his fertility health after 3 months. This is also why if a repeat semen analysis needs to be done, it should be 3–4 months after the first one and there is no point in retesting if diet/ lifestyle changes haven’t been made. For something to change, something has to change. Pre–conceptual guidelines for the males: Stop smoking – even 1 per day, including vaping. Active, passive and 3rd hand (in clothing/curtains etc) smoke affects reproductive health. A child born to a male smoker is 4 times more likely to develop cancer in childhood. The earlier in life a male starts smoking is linked to an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) of their sons.

CHANGES IN SEMEN/SPERM PARAMETERS 5th lowest percentile used in semen analysis in australia Parameter Volume Concentration Progressive Motility Normal forms

WHO 1999 2ml 20million/ml 50% 14%

WHO 2010 (5th edition) 1.5ml 15million/ml 32% 4%

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Avoid alcohol – Limit to 2–3 drinks per week and none for older men. Consider a white spirit such as gin or vodka in plain mineral water with fresh lime. Not sugary soft drink mixers. Reduce weight – eat more vegetables, eat less sugar and processed food, move your body. Sperm of obese men display a different epigenetic profile when compared to lean men. Obese fathers have children with a higher risk of insulin resistance, obesity and sub–fertility. Reduce stress – Stress hormones can impact reproductive hormones. Mouse model studies have shown the stress response can be passed on to offspring. Try ‘insight timer’ App for guided meditation and mindfulness daily, exercise daily, yoga, screen–free time, 8 hours sleep, do things that make you happy, speak with a counsellor if you feel stuck. Reduce dietary and environmental toxic exposure at home and at work – Phthalates, Bisphenol A, pesticides and solvents etc have been shown to increase risk of childhood illnesses in offspring including asthma and learning difficulties. Glycosphates in pesticides can reduce sperm motility. Reduce exposure to chemicals/plastics, chemically laden personal care products and pesticides. Support detoxification pathways if necessary and eat organic

where possible. Don’t heat up/store food in plastic. Choose glass or stainless steel water bottles. Minimise caffeine – limit coffee to 1 cup or less per day and avoid caffeinated soft drinks and ‘energy’ drinks including ‘pre–work out’ supplements as these usually have high amounts of caffeine, sugar and artificial additives. A 2016 study showed that pregnancies conceived by men who drank more than 2 coffees, teas or sodas per day before conception were 1.73 times more likely to miscarry compared to men who drank less. Reduce electromagnetic field (EMF) and Wi–Fi exposure – keep laptops and phones away from laps and pockets. Keep the scrotum cool – wear boxers, cool down after exercise, wear loose clothing. Especially important for chefs and cyclists. Eat more vegetables – In 2016 the CSIRO conducted the largest fruit and vegetable survey in Australia and found that only 15% of men met both fruit and vegetable guidelines. How much do we need? 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit. (See table right) Eat a rainbow at every meal. At lunch and dinner aim for your plate to be 80% vegetables/salad plus good quality protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, legume, tofu and healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and seeds, nut butters).

Selenium, zinc, vitamin C and co–enzyme Q10 – are important nutrients for sperm health and suboptimal levels can affect sperm count, motility and morphology. Selenium rich foods include: sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, mushrooms, eggs, pork, chicken, tuna, salmon, squid. Zinc rich foods: pumpkin seeds, salmon, yoghurt, oysters, chicken, cashews, red meat, almonds, tahini, Vit C rich foods: Berries, yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables. Consider practitioner prescribed, evidence–based nutrients and herbal medicine to enhance sperm health parameters. CSIRO 2016 STUDY 4 out of 5 Australian adults are not meeting daily fruit and vegetable requirements of 5 serves vegetables and 2 serves fruit 1 serve vegetables equals – • ½ cup cooked greens • ½ cup beans, peas or lentils • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables • ½ cup corn • ½ medium potato/sweet potato • 1 medium tomato

For further information or to make an appointment, please visit avocanaturopath.com.au 0410 465 900 | naturopathdiana@gmail.com Diana Arundell is a university–qualified naturopath and consults from her Avoca Naturopath clinic. She has a special interest in fertility, digestive health, immune function and hormone health. She was a nutrition lecturer at Macquarie University for 10 years, and is currently a student at the Zulma Reyo School of Consciousness.

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DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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are: e l fto– Ccreate SHow and maintain healthy boundaries Sometimes life’s stressors are overwhelming. An important part of looking after ourselves that is frequently discussed is self–care. Often self–care can be lumped in with selfishness or self–centeredness that is to the detriment of others. Self–care is neither of those. Self–care is focusing on our own social–emotional–wellbeing so that we may also meet the needs of others. Self–care can include fun, enjoyment and connecting with others or ourselves. It can be as varied as our individual needs. As a psychologist, I feel one common integral aspect of self–care are healthy boundaries especially when it comes to

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BY SELINA CHAPMAN

family dynamics and relationships. There are many interpretations and it depends on how that looks for each of us. Exactly what are healthy boundaries? Well, they are most importantly NOT barriers. We all need barriers to protect us from threats, and sometimes we keep them around long after that threat has gone. In time our once protective shields can become fortresses that not only keep danger away, but can also keep us in, away from opportunity for growth and experiencing meaningful change. An example could be around “toxic” or difficult relationships. Healthy boundaries are like buffer zones, or breathing spaces. They’re not too rigid and solid that they cannot adapt and end up keeping us isolated. They are not so porous that every emotion within

our environment hits too close to home. Ideal healthy boundaries are ones that keep us emotionally safe, mentally well and allow connections in our relationships and interactions with others and ourselves. Healthy boundaries can be felt as well as being seen. It can be feeling safe and secure, allowing opportunities to explore personal growth, saying no, saying yes, being comfortable in our own skin, recognising our needs emotionally and mentally and meeting those needs even if we fear possible negative repercussions or judgments. Such as giving time limits on phone calls, or time spent at functions or choosing to attend or not. Healthy boundaries need to be created and maintained. They need to be able


to change as our needs change. It may also take practice to become adept at understanding what we need and how to build our buffer zones. It can be essential to have healthy boundaries in our relationships. Often, we can get swept up in the drama of others or feel dismissed because someone else’s problems might be “bigger”, and our voice is not allowed to be heard. Those toxic dynamics may feel oppressive or evoke feelings of anxiety. When this happens, we can feel isolated, alone, and unworthy. We can close our minds to alternative views, opinions or even our own needs. Dr Marsha Linehan developed a therapy approach called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). The concept of dialectical thinking means that two opposing or perhaps conflicting sides or views can and do co–exist. This involves changing from the closed way of thinking to an open one, and yes, it takes practice. Imagine we have someone sitting alone on a see–saw. What happens to the see–saw? Gravity states that the side that is heavier must go down and the other side then goes up. If we are in a

relationship, conversation, or interaction with someone, it can be like the other person is the heavier (or dominant) one on the see–saw. So, if their side goes down, we must go up and vice versa. In DBT this is a closed way of thinking. It can be characterised by ‘must, or ‘should’ or ‘but’. Such as ‘I am usually so capable of looking after myself, I should be able to do everything by myself”. Dialectical thinking states that two opposing thoughts can be experienced at the same time. Let’s revisit the see–saw. The dialectical see–saw has a buffer zone or healthy boundary in the middle. This time when one side is occupied and it goes down, the other side can be whatever it needs to be. It can go down, or up, or stay neutral in the middle. This open way of thinking is characterised by ‘and’ or ‘sometimes’, for example, ‘I feel upset when my feelings are dismissed, and I can validate my own feelings when others don’t’. Let’s have a practice at what it may feel like to have a healthy boundary. Next

Often self–care can be lumped in with selfishness or self– centeredness that is to the detriment of others. Self–care is neither of those time you feel those dismissive thoughts or feelings, whether they stem from outside or within us, notice they are there and take a moment to pause, breathe and self–validate dialectically. Such as, if we say no to a social event and get negative comments in return, we could say, ‘They feel what they feel, and I can feel what I feel”. We can all struggle with closed thinking, and practising building our healthy boundaries can be a core component in our self–care routine.

Selina Chapman is a psychologist at The Hearts and Mind Collective in Wyoming, works with all ages seeking empowerment and support. Selina says, “Seeking support for mental health can be about maintaining wellness as well as having extra help as and when we need it.

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NURTURING BODY IMAGE

I

n a world that bombards our children with unrealistic beauty standards and distorted perceptions of what a healthy body actually is, it’s crucial that we, as parents, play a pivotal role in helping our little ones build body image resilience. From the language we use to the examples we set, we contribute to shaping our children’s perception of themselves, their body and the world around them. Here’s my comprehensive guide for fostering body image resilience in your children. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE a) Be mindful of the language you use about your own body. Allowing your children to hear you say that you “hate your cellulite” or “hate your thighs” or that you “need to lose weight to get rid of your tummy” is going to teach them that having cellulite, rolls, big thighs and a big tummy are something bad and needs fixing. In reality, these are all parts of a normal body, a healthy body looks very different from person to person. b) Reframe the language you use around food. Avoid attaching moral labels like “I’m being good” when you eat salad or “I’ll be naughty” when you have chocolate. Food is food, it has no moral value. c) Steer clear of demonising or glorifying specific foods. Instead, teach your children that food is on a spectrum that ranges from very nutritious to less nutritious, rather than having a label of good and bad or healthy and unhealthy. A bag of chippies are not a bad food when they’re part of a diet that mostly contains quality protein, starchy carbs, healthy fats, fruit, veg and plenty of water.

resilience

IN YOUR CHILD BY LOUISE HURLEY

d) Refrain from commenting on the size of your child’s body and instead focus on what their amazing body does for them, like swim, run fast, dance, etc. If your child needs motivation to move more, then focus on the benefits of movement like getting stronger and faster, rather than changing the way their body looks. Recent research has shown the impact of such comments on body size, creating unnecessary pressure and fostering body dissatisfaction later in adolescence and adulthood (Berge, et. al. 2014; Dahill, et. al. 2021).

promotes body positivity and diverse representations of a healthy body. Encourage open discussions about the unrealistic standards often perpetuated on social media platforms. EDUCATE ABOUT MEDIA REALITIES ED Equip your child with the critical skills to analyse media messages. Discuss the prevalence of filters, AI images, edited photos, and misleading before and after pictures. Teach them to question the authenticity of images and understand that beauty comes in various forms, unaltered and unfiltered.

BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL Children observe and absorb everything around them, especially from their parents. If you constantly engage in diets or use exercise as a way to burn off the food you’ve consumed, your child may develop the same tendencies. Embrace a positive attitude towards your own body and demonstrate healthy habits rather than restrictive behaviours. DEFINE HEALTHY Educate your children on what it truly means to be healthy. Move beyond the narrow concept of “skinny” and highlight factors like normal blood pressure, cholesterol levels, good heart health, mental wellbeing, sound sleep patterns, and overall healthy bodily functions. This holistic approach fosters a positive view of health that goes beyond physical appearance. CURATE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSURE The impact of social media on body image cannot be overstated. Be vigilant about what your child consumes online. Guide them in curating a feed that

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From the language we use to the examples we set, we contribute to shaping our children’s perception of themselves, their body and the world around them LEAD BY EXAMPLE Demonstrate a healthy relationship with your body through your actions. Exercise and nourish your body for overall health rather than solely focusing on changing its size or shape. Emphasise the importance of self–care and self–love, cultivating a positive environment for your child to learn from. To sum it up, this part of parenting is HARD, but building body image resilience in our children is vital and is a continuous process that requires intentionality in our language, behaviour and their environment. We can shape our children’s perceptions by fostering open communication, setting positive examples, and promoting a holistic understanding of health and beauty. By implementing these practices, we can empower not only our children, but also ourselves, to navigate the complexities of body image with confidence and resilience. Louise Hurley, owner of Strong Mums and the Body Resilient Mum podcast is on a mission to help mums to return to exercise safely and realise that they are so much more than what their post–baby body looks like, at any stage of motherhood. Find out more at www.strongmums.com DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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Chinatown

s n a g i n a n e h S

A DAY OF LAUGHTER AND DUMPLINGS WORDS BY HENRY MASON PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA RUTH

Sydney’s Chinatown, a bustling and colourful corner of the city, is like a treasure chest of surprises waiting to be explored. The vibrant streets are lined with tantalising aromas, colourful lanterns, and the promise of adventure. But it’s not just a place for adults to savour the flavours of Asia; it’s also a haven for my two little lady explorers – a 7 year old daughter and a lively toddler, seeking fun and excitement. So, we grab our chopsticks and get ready for a day of laughter, dumplings, and surprises. Upon entering Chinatown, we’re immediately greeted by a sea of red lanterns that seem to defy gravity. They hang from above, like a magical canopy, and whisper stories of the Orient. It’s as if they’re saying, ‘Step inside, young adventurers, and let the fun begin.’ And so, we do. As we meander through the lively streets, the kid’s eyes grow as wide as saucers, filled with wonder and anticipation. Chinatown’s narrow alleys are like mazes leading to hidden gems, and children love a good mystery. We discover a fabulous toy store that has it all, from classic kites to the latest gadgets. The toys on display are so enticing that even the grown–ups can’t resist. Who can say no to a remote controlled dragon? Of course, one of the greatest pleasures of Chinatown is the food. For us, Chinese food is tasty and fun but for the kids, the culinary delights are nothing short of an adventure (PSST! Don’t forget fortune cookies – kids adore them and they make for great family fun and laughs – I’m still waiting to meet a “Tall Dark Stranger on a train”. Moreover

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my wife would like to meet her). Beyond the main drag, we discover distinct pockets of Asian cuisine. Strolling around Pitt and Goulburn Streets, we find ourselves in the heart of little Thaitown, where the air is filled with the fragrant scents of Thai delicacies. And if we wander over to Pitt and Liverpool Streets, we find Koreatown, a hub of Korean culinary delights. Sussex St is known as Little Indonesia. Not sure where to begin our gastronomic journey? When it comes to old school Chinese cuisine, The Eight’s Yum Cha is already a local legend, and Emperor’s Garden is renowned. However, we found ourselves at a favourite dumpling house, and the kiddos can’t contain their excitement. My eldest takes her dumpling order very seriously, even arguing with Dad over who gets the last prawn dumpling. It’s a hilarious sight to behold as this tiny food critic debates the merits of each dumpling as if it were a matter of life and death. ‘More soy sauce and chilli, please, Dad!’ becomes the battle cry of the day. But Chinatown isn’t just about food; it’s about the quirky and colourful shops that line the streets. We stumble upon a store filled with lucky bamboo plants, trinkets, and curiosities. I convince the kids that these bamboo plants are magical and can grant wishes. (No doubt creating future psychic trauma.) My eldest picks out her own lucky bamboo and whispers her secret desires, giggling she does so. ‘I wish for a pet dragon!’ she exclaims, causing us to burst into laughter. Subtle. As we continue to explore, we’re serenaded by the enthusiastic cries of street performers. One musician plays an exotic Asian string instrument, and

there’s even a music festival flanking Darling Harbour this evening. The place is buzzing. Suddenly, we hear the thud of drums and clashing cymbals. Dragon dancers! Kids love the dancers in a dragon costume and my 7 year old prances around behind them, much to the amusement of passersby. Who knew that Chinatown would bring out the little performer in her? It’s a delightful spectacle that fills the streets with excitement and adds an exotic touch of colour. After our delightful culinary journey, we decide to head to the nearby Chinese


It’s a hilarious sight to behold as this tiny food critic debates the merits of each dumpling as if it were a matter of life and death Garden of Friendship, a tranquil oasis located near Darling Harbour. This beautiful garden offers a serene escape

from the city’s hustle and bustle. As we meander along its winding paths, my toddler and I can’t help but marvel at the elegant koi fish gliding through serene ponds and explore the hidden gems of Chinese culture. But the real fun for the kids begins behind Chinatown, where water fountains invite playful splashes and laughter. These fountains have been a beloved attraction for families for ages, providing a refreshing oasis on hot days. We also find amusement here, adding to the excitement. In the end, our day in Sydney’s

Chinatown is an adventure filled with laughter, scrumptious dumplings, and exotic surprises. As we leave the area, my children are clutching their lucky bamboo plants and waving goodbye to the red lanterns that welcomed us. Chinatown works its magic, leaving us with memories of an unforgettable day filled with joy and, of course, the hope for pet dragons. Chinatown is not just for grown ups who like food, it’s a funky precinct where anything is possible, and that’s what makes it such a special place for families and children to visit.

NATOWN & FAMILIES FIVE FAST FACTS ABOUT CHI

HISTORICAL HAVEN: Sydney’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in the world, with a history dating back to the 19th century when Chinese immigrants settled in the area. It’s not just a place to eat; it’s a living museum of rich cultural history. FOODIE PARADISE: Chinatown offers a culinary journey through Asia, with restaurants serving dishes from China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and more. For families, it’s an opportunity to explore diverse flavours and introduce kids to new cuisines.

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LIVELY FESTIVALS: Throughout the year, Chinatown hosts vibrant festivals, including the Chinese New Year celebrations. The streets come alive with parades, performances, and dragon dances, providing endless

entertainment for families. Psst! Don’t forget the vibrant Night Markets. HIDDEN TREASURES: The narrow alleyways and quirky shops in Chinatown hide countless treasures waiting to be discovered. You’ll find unique souvenirs, trinkets, and curiosities that make for great keepsakes or gifts for the little ones. FAMILY–FRIENDLY FUN: Chinatown is a family– friendly destination with something for everyone. Whether it’s exploring the bustling streets, the fun fair behind Chinatown, indulging in delectable food, or participating in impromptu dragon dances, it’s a place where kids and adults alike can let loose and have a blast.

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Keeping your breastfeeding journey on track during the festive season BY HARRIET BLANNIN–FERGUSON, MIDWIFE, CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH GRADUATE challenging if you have a young baby. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of packing and traveling, it’s absolutely reasonable to consider staying home. You can express your concerns to friends and family and suggest joining them virtually, especially in cases where there are strained relationships or health issues. You shouldn’t feel guilty about prioritising your family’s wellbeing.

Did you know the incidence of breastfeeding issues increase during the holiday and festive seasons? This busy time of the year can be incredibly hectic, especially for new parents who are breastfeeding a young baby. In many households, the breastfeeding parent often takes on the responsibility of planning gifts, meals, and travel to see family and

friends, which can lead to disruptions in breastfeeding and pumping routines. In this article, we’ll explore some valuable tips and insights to help you navigate the holiday season while prioritising your baby’s needs and maintaining your breastfeeding relationship and milk production. TRAVEL Traveling during the holidays can be a

MAINTAIN YOUR BREASTFEEDING OR PUMPING ROUTINE The key to ensuring adequate milk production is consistent milk removal. Try to stick to your baby’s usual feeding rhythms and be attentive to their feeding cues. Hot weather means babies feed more frequently. Breastmilk is not only food, but water too. It nourishes your baby but also provides crucial immune protection during a season when they may encounter more people

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and illnesses. When away from home, seek support from your partner, friends, or family to find quiet and comfortable spaces for feeding or pumping without interruptions.

time for relaxation. If you need to pump, make sure to bring your pump with you, and plan ahead with an cold esky to chill and transport your precious milk to your destination.

EAT, DRINK, AND REST Breastfeeding requires a significant amount of energy and time. Prioritise self–care by making sure you get enough rest, eat nutritious meals, and stay hydrated. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your partner or loved ones to ensure you are taking care of your own wellbeing. Delegate planning, prepping, and hosting responsibilities to others whenever possible.

BE PREPARED FOR CRITICISM Sad but true. Unfortunately, not everyone will be understanding and supportive of your choice to breastfeed. While many people will encourage your efforts, some may have critical or negative comments. Be prepared to handle criticism gracefully and confidently. Consider rehearsing a few respectful or even humorous responses to deflect negativity. Coping with criticism is an essential skill that can help you enjoy the holiday season without being affected by unwanted comments.

WATCH OUT FOR HERBS THAT CAN AFFECT MILK PRODUCTION Holiday foods often contain ingredients like sage, peppermint oil, and parsley, which can potentially reduce milk production. Be mindful of your consumption of these herbs to prevent any adverse effects. TRAVELING TIPS Bring healthy snacks and stay well– hydrated with plenty of water during your travel time. Include breaks for breastfeeding or pumping, as well as

Breastfeeding during the holidays can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to share special moments with your baby. By staying comfortable, avoiding overfull breasts, planning for feeding or

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your partner or loved ones to ensure you are taking care of your own wellbeing. Delegate planning, prepping, and hosting responsibilities to others whenever possible pumping in various settings, and being prepared for criticism, you can ensure a positive and fulfilling breastfeeding journey during this festive time. Remember that your wellbeing and your baby’s comfort are most important, so make choices that align with your needs and preferences. Enjoy this holiday season with confidence, knowing that you are providing the best for your little one.

Harriet is a mother to three little boys, a Registered Midwife with a Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health and on her pathway to sitting the IBCLC exam in 2023. Harriet has been in the world of midwifery for the past 12 years and loves to offer her knowledge and wisdom on all things pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting. She loves providing in home consultations to the families across the Central Coast, and in clinic appointments at Motherhood Matters in Sydney. www.thebreasthelp.com.au

DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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Sure, there are aspects of this that won’t ever change, I mean there are 5 of us in our house and we all have physical and emotional needs that must be met on a daily basis. That is a full–time job! But I’ve been asking myself this year; how do I create space for connection amid this busy world? I’ll start by sharing a little story. I had woken up with the worst kind of migraine. The ‘you don’t get out of bed for nothing’ kind. Instantly I felt (outside of the pain) the inconvenience

of it all. I had a college class on that day, an assessment to submit, I had a long list of to dos and I had promised my daughter, in amongst all of that, that I would be at her weekly school assembly. I was trying to reason with myself that another hour of rest and some medication would keep it at bay just so I could get it all done. Sound mad right? At the time, it was an automatic response. I had been pushing and stressing myself into a twisted and wound–up version of myself and I couldn’t even see how I got there. I kept saying “I don’t feel stressed” and I didn’t believe I was past my point of overwhelm because I was living from a state of low grade stress. The kind that just simmers along in the background and we keep ticking away like lemmings.

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So often we hold on to so much, for so long. The busy schedules of sports, dancing, tutoring and therapy. Running the household, running your own business, going to work, and dropping the kids to school. Thinking about how

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The migraine passed and so did a week or two, but nothing changed on my end. I went straight back into life as it was. Sure enough, another migraine came along and this time I listened. My body had enough… either I trade my doing focused behaviours or I keep repeating this cycle.

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You can hardly blame us for being swept up in the culture of busy. It surrounds us in our every day lives, life is busy and I’m struggling to find any parent who can tell me otherwise.

BY CATHY SPOONER

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How do you trade a busy culture for

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to pay the next bill, why your kids keep getting sick, the doctors appointment you really need to book and how you’d like to lose some weight. Throw in the added pressure to keep your marriage healthy, catch up with friends, do play dates and try make the most of family weekends. So here began the crusade to trade the busy culture for connection. I must say it’s been harder than I thought busting this hustle mindset and I’ve fallen off the bandwagon many times. But I’ve learnt a few things about this process, and myself.

It feels like a lot because it is. Busy culture is normalised and accepted in society, and we almost don’t know how to do life any other way Prioritising is essential. Our lists and responsibilities are massive and some

of those things just can’t be changed. But we can compartmentalise them and work out our priorities. We can’t do it all. We can’t be everything to everyone. We need to draw a line somewhere. Anything above the line is a priority, anything below is valued but can wait. My personal tip: everything above the line should be about half the quantity of below the line. This means your priorities have space and time. Switch off the outside and tune in to you. A huge part of the busy culture is the external noise and expectation. What is everyone else doing? What is expected of me? I should be doing a, b and c. Allow yourself to be led by your internal compass, what feels right for you and your family? The noise and influence outside of us feeds the busy and doing mindset, turn that down and turn up your own inner guidance. Be intentional with your time. We get to choose how we spend our time. We need to use it wisely and with those we love. We won’t remember things; we will remember moments. Aim to swap those below the line things with intentional connection. Let the washing

sit unfolded for days if it means you and the kids go for a picnic. Make sure you clock off on time at work so that you get home for pizza and movie night. The small things matter most. Let go of your cape. We all think we truly can do it all and we take on way more than we can accomplish (hence the to do list that never gets to zero). Then, when we are overwhelmed, we can become resentful. There aren’t any medals being handed out at the end of life, if you’re doing it all and are unhappy, then something needs to shift. It can feel hard to break the mould that society has built around us, but the busy culture isn’t doing us any favours. We need to be okay with missing out and things not getting done. We need to find what feels good and aligned for us, not what we “should” be doing. We need to choose another way. Cathy Spooner is a Certified Women’s and Motherhood Coach, Counsellor, Author and mother to three. She is a Mental Wellness and Neurodivergent Advocate and supports women to help reconnect with their true self. Individual, group sessions and courses available. @cathyspooner_

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VISION: The unsung hero of your child’s education

BY DR NICHOLAS ALTUNEG

The end of summer signals the return to school, and parents are diligently checking off lists: uniforms, stationery, and packed lunches. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle, there’s one crucial item that often goes unnoticed — your child’s eyes and vision. School kids need an eye test at the beginning of every year. Here’s why ensuring your child’s vision is essential for their academic journey. The vital role of vision in learning Vision significantly influences your child’s ability to learn. Approximately 80 to 85% of the information they absorb is received through their eyes.

assuming everyone sees the world in the same way that they do. Unfortunately, more than 411,000 children in Australia have difficulty with clarity of vision, with near or far–sightedness being the most common. Many more children with 20/20 vision suffer from visually related learning difficulties due to binocular vision anomalies or visual information processing disorders. Traditional school or preschool screening tests often miss over 90% of vision problems. Standard child eye exams typically focus on how clearly a child can see, focusing on improving clarity of vision and checking for eye disease. These exams often fail to assess the complexities of vision if they don’t consider how the eyes function or how the brain interprets visual information.

Impaired vision can become a potential barrier to their learning and, if left undetected, can affect their academic performance and confidence in the classroom.

The silent challenge Imagine this: your child is sitting in a classroom, trying their best to focus on the teacher’s instructions. However, they’re quietly struggling because they are mixing up letters, the words are moving on the page, or they keep losing their place when they read. Instead of complaining, they adapt, squinting or straining their eyes, believing this is how everyone experiences the world.

Overlooking vision problems Many children adapt to vision problems,

As parents and educators, it’s not uncommon for us to misinterpret these

Surprisingly, 1 in 4 children of all ages have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school.

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silent struggles. We might think the child is being difficult, inattentive, or simply disinterested in learning. The truth is that these behaviours often stem from an undiagnosed vision problem, despite the child’s best efforts to cope with it. Could my child have dyslexia? Suppose your child is under performing academically relative to their ability. In that case, they either have dyslexia, a visually–related learning problem or a combination of both. Visually–related learning problems are often mistaken for dyslexia, as many symptoms appear similar. Dyslexia is a difficult label because many potential causes could be associated, and a lot of investigations need to be made. A visually–related learning problem is easily diagnosed and treated by a Behavioural Optometrist. It could save time, energy and money exploring areas that may not need to be investigated. What signs will I see? Most children don’t report visual problems because they assume that everybody else sees or feels the same way that they do. If the board in the classroom is blurry, if the words move on the page, or if they get sore eyes or headaches when they read, they assume this occurs for everyone else in the same


situation and don’t think to complain. If you observe any of the following behaviours as a family member or an educator, then we would recommend the need for an eye examination: Loss of place reading or needing to use their finger as a guide. Letter, number or word reversals. Postural changes such as getting very close to the page, covering one eye, turning the head or fidgeting while reading. Difficulty sustaining focus or attention. Frequent squinting, excessive blinking or eye rubbing. Confusing words that look similar. Difficulty remembering what they read. These symptoms are just a few of many. The role of behavioral optometry Behavioural Optometrists, who specialise in the connection between vision and classroom learning, can pinpoint and address subtle yet significant vision problems related to both visual function and visual information processing.

The link between vision and achievement Research and clinical studies underline the strong connection between academic achievement and visual abilities. Seeing is a mental process that involves interpreting shapes, distances, colours and controlling movement. To excel in school, your child needs clear, stable and confident vision. Optimising their visual function will give them the best chance to thrive academically. Treatment options for learning–related vision problems Behavioural Optometric treatments, such as training lenses and vision therapy, can significantly enhance your child’s ability to process visual information efficiently and improve visual recall. These treatments have shown remarkable success in enhancing school performance and can be tailored to individual needs. The impact of lenses on classroom learning Correctly prescribed lenses can make a substantial difference in the classroom. They not only correct sight but can

Vision significantly influences your child’s ability to learn. Approximately 80 to 85% of the information they absorb is received through their eyes also be prescribed for specific purposes, such as reading, crafts, or computer use, to enhance function in these areas. Additionally, glasses alleviate issues like poor focus and eye imbalance, improving overall comfort and performance. Prioritise your child’s vision As a parent, your child’s wellbeing is paramount. Taking the time to schedule an eye test with an experienced Behavioural Optometrist is a small effort that can yield invaluable insights into your child’s eye health and readiness for their educational journey. Boost your child’s self confidence and ensure they are well prepared for the classroom challenges. This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general eye health topics. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care professional prior to incorporating this as part of your health regimen.

Dr Nicholas Altuneg is a Behavioural Optometrist who has been working on the Central Coast for almost 30 years. He is the co–founder at Eyes by Design, which is in the Kincumber Centre. Appointments can be made by phone 4369 8169 or online at www.eyesbydesign.com.au

DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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Complex PTSD: A NEW WAY OF UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA BY ALEXANDRA WILSON (AMHSW; CSW; MAASW; BSW USYD)

Complex PTSD has been attracting increased attention in recent times, and understanding this mental health condition can help us understand the brain and mental health recovery in important ways. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised Complex PTSD (or C–PTSD) in it’s 2019 revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD–11). C–PTSD is being increasingly recognised by medical professionals as an explanation for chronic and persistent mental health symptoms that can be difficult to treat. Imagine you have been through some really tough stuff in life. Not just one traumatic event, but a series of them. Maybe it was an abusive relationship, a difficult childhood, or even being in a war zone. These experiences leave a deep impact, and that’s where C–PTSD comes into play. Really stressful situations cause reactions in our minds and bodies. Your heart might race, you might feel anxious, or you can’t sleep well. That’s your body’s way of handling stress. But when someone faces ongoing trauma, their stress response system can react in unpredictable and intense ways. The onset of C–PTSD symptoms can occur across the lifespan, typically after exposure to chronic, repeated traumatic events and/or victimisation that have continued for a period of months or years at a time. Research into trauma has shown the considerable impact of relational experiences in childhood. Experiences such as absent or inconsistent warmth from caregivers, lack of secure and consistent attachment to caregivers, and/or lack of emotional validation from caregivers can contribute to C–PTSD in later life.

Symptoms of C–PTSD are generally more severe and persistent in comparison to PTSD. Exposure to repeated traumas, especially in early development, is associated with a greater risk of developing C–PTSD rather than PTSD. In C–PTSD, people experience not just the usual symptoms of PTSD (like flashbacks, nightmares, and avoiding reminders of the trauma), but also other difficulties. Feelings of intense shame or guilt, having a distorted sense of self, or finding it hard to trust others are very common with C–PTSD. It’s like the emotional world gets all tangled up. One of the main things about C–PTSD is that it affects how someone sees themselves and others. Sufferers may start feeling like they’re fundamentally broken or unlovable because of what they’ve been through. This negative self–image can impact their relationships, making it hard for them to connect with others in a healthy way. With C–PTSD, the ‘injury’ is inside the mind, but it is real and deserving of attention and care. So, how can people heal from C–PTSD? Well, therapy is a big help. Talking to a therapist, someone trained to unravel those emotional tangles, can make a world of difference. Therapy can come in many forms — some people find comfort in traditional talk therapy, while others might benefit from things like art therapy, where they can express their feelings through creativity. A particularly effective therapy for C–PTSD is dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), which focuses on building emotion

Mental Health Access Line (Central Coast): 1800 011 511 Lifeline: 13 11 14

regulation and mindfulness skills in both group and individual therapy sessions. Supportive relationships are very important too. Having friends, family, or even support groups where people can share their experiences without judgment can be incredibly healing. It’s like having a safety net, knowing there are people who care and understand. Self–care also plays a huge role. Healthy habits like regular exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep can make a surprising difference. It’s like giving the body and mind the strength they need to cope with the challenges that come their way.

With C–PTSD, the ‘injury’ is inside the mind, but it is real and deserving of attention and care And let’s not forget about mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Learning to be present in the moment, taking deep breaths, or practicing meditation can help calm the storm inside. It’s all about finding what works best for each individual, because everyone’s journey to healing is different. Healing from C–PTSD isn’t a linear process. It’s more like a roller coaster ride! There might be ups and downs, good days and bad days. But with the right support, patience, and understanding, people can learn to untangle those emotional knots and move towards a healthier, happier life.

Mindful Recovery Services: www.mindfulrecovery.com.au or (02) 4660 0100

Alex Wilson is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and Director of Mindful Recovery Services and the Central Coast DBT Centre, providing psychological treatment and support for adolescents and adults. Alex is passionate about dispelling myths about mental illness,and is highly skilled in dialectical behavioural therapy. She is an experienced public speaker and provides consultation to other professionals on managing difficult behaviours in teens. Alex lives on the NSW Central Coast with her partner, 2 young boys, 2 goats, a bunch of chickens and a cheeky puppy named Axel.

DEC 2023 / JAN 2024 – ISSUE 127

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Navigating the Seas of Change: THE ART OF FORMALISING PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AFTER SEPARATION AND WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT BY GEORGIA SPENCER

The breakdown of a relationship can be an emotionally taxing and confusing time, leaving couples grappling with feelings of disappointment, stress, and even anger. Amongst the difficulties of separating, there are crucial legal matters that demand consideration. Georgia Spencer, Solicitor at Orbell Family Lawyers (located in Erina), takes a deep dive into the importance of getting your affairs in order as soon as possible and documenting your property settlement. Love, they say, can move mountains, but when love fades and a relationship crumbles, the aftermath can be tumultuous. Amidst the emotional whirlwind of separation, it’s easy to overlook the practical steps that ensure a stable future. Formalising your property settlement after separation is a crucial step in ensuring you and your children have stability and certainty for the years to come.

FACT: A verbal or simple written agreement is not legally binding, no matter how amicable you and your ex are. Ensuring you formalise your property settlement with what is known as ‘Consent Orders’ is essential to protect your future. Let’s explore five reasons why this important step can pave the way towards a secure future:

Enforceability

Certainty In the tangle of post–separation life, a beacon of certainty can guide you through your darkest hours. Formalising your property settlement with a Financial Agreement or Consent Orders offers that very beacon. These documents ensure that your former spouse can no longer raise future claims against you, granting you peace of mind and a clear path to embrace your new chapter, without any doubt or worry about the past.

Asset Protection Picture your hard–earned assets as delicate petals on a breeze; without proper protection, they may scatter to the wind. It’s crucial to be aware that oral or written agreements, regardless of sincerity, lack the legal fortitude

to shield your assets. Whether it’s an inheritance, a new property, or even a life–changing lottery win, without formalising your property settlement, your ex–spouse may seek these be added into the assets to be divided between you. It is incredibly important to finalise your settlement to safeguard your assets and your future.

Formalising your agreement empowers you to hold your former spouse accountable. An ironclad settlement, backed by the Court, grants you the authority to enforce the agreed–upon terms should your ex–partner falter. A legal document ensures that justice is upheld, and your interests are protected.

Transfer Exemptions In the realm of property division, a saving grace awaits those who seek the path of formalisation. By having a Financial Agreement or Consent Orders in place, the transfer between spouses of Real Property (think the matrimonial home), as well as motor vehicles, becomes exempt from stamp duty (or transfer duty). Formalising the property settlement can save you tens of thousands of dollars of stamp duty which would otherwise be payable.

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Adjusting budgets, updating estate plans, and revisiting investment strategies can help solidify your financial future and create a roadmap for the life you envision. Acknowledging that closure is a gradual process can be empowering. Healing emotional wounds takes time and self–compassion, so surround yourself with a supportive network and take small steps towards rebuilding your life.

Time Limits The Family Law Act sets clear time limits for formalising property settlements: one year from divorce for married couples and two years from separation for de facto couples. Delaying this essential step requires seeking the Court’s leave, an elusive favour granted only in rare circumstances. Embrace the present; act promptly and secure your future. Formalising your property settlement provides with your certainty, security and hope for tomorrow. As you embark on this journey of transformation, remember that protecting your future is an act of self–love and strength, for you and your family.

By formalising your property settlement, you create a solid foundation for your emotional healing and growth. It provides closure and allows you to embark on a new chapter without the burden of unresolved financial matters. As you navigate the seas of change, seeking professional legal advice from an experienced family lawyer can make the world of difference. A seasoned family lawyer can provide insights tailored to your unique circumstances, ensuring that your settlement aligns with your best interests and protects yours and your family’s future. Beyond the legal aspect, another often–overlooked aspect is revisiting your financial goals post–separation.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. The information contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

If you would like further information in regard to this article or your family law matter in general, please contact us. Mention this article when you call to receive a free 15–minute discovery call with one of our experienced family law solicitors. Phone: (02) 4314 6080 info@orbellfamilylawyers.com.au orbellfamilylawyers.com.au

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e v o l & life

Matters of

BY SARAH TOLMIE

Dearly Beloved

I can understand the potential to become a Christmas grinch – it takes a lot of energy and giving out at a time when it is the end of the year, and the beach is calling. Yes.

diversity. There is nothing like your family to bring out the most intense emotions, responses and reactions. Families really do bring out the best and worst in us. It is the best relationship skills training ground ever.

And then, when I look at what is happening in the world, with Ukraine and Russia; and with Israel and Hamas, I can’t but not feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life we have possible in our peaceful and beautiful country. My mind thinks how blessed and lucky we are to have our families, be safe and be able to be together. There is little I can personally do to bring peace to the world on the scale it needs, and yet, what I know I can do is treasure and maintain peace inside my family, which is my world. The Christmas message is about peace and love. Peace on earth can begin with your family and our immediate relationships. I find it amazing how in one family, there can be such difference and

READER QUESTION: “I get very stressed around the Christmas and Holiday period. Being on the Coast, all our families on both sides spend a lot of time with us. It’s a lot of entertaining and managing cousins of various ages, let alone the adult siblings, it can get a bit wearing. I secretly wish they’d all stay home. Am I being a Christmas grinch?”

If you can create, sustain and enjoy acceptance, harmony and diversity in the arena of your family life, then that is the energy and expectation you bring to meet the outer world. If you run from your family encounters – even conflicts – if you feel or experience non–acceptance or exclusion, these will be painfully repeated experiences in the outer world. What we learn is what we live and create. Look at our world right now! How is peace on earth possible? Bring peace, diplomacy, compassion, forgiveness – and joy, celebration and love – to your family and community interactions and I believe the world will have the best chance to change.

When we can master our family dynamic maybe we can get the grass roots of change underway in our own microcosm, and we will all be playing out part to affect the macrocosm, helping to combat wars, racial intolerance, bigotry and discrimination a global scale. As we hear the Christmas carols and the prayers for peace on earth, and Happy New Year, my plea for you is to play your part, and strive for peace in your family. Remember your common unity and deeper connections. Bring love, gentleness, tact, respect and great listening, and a good amount of humility and humour. Resist your Christmas Grinch and welcome your family with open and generous arms and do all you can to live and love and laugh together, like the world depends on it. Happy holidays. Happy families. Much Love and Peace, Sarah x

Sarah Tolmie – Life & Love: Sarah is a marriage therapist, life and love and relationship coach, end–of–life consultant, an independent and bespoke funeral director and holistic celebrant. She provides holistic care, mentoring, guidance, healing and transformation for individuals, couples and families at their most important times of life and love – at end–of–life, in love and relationship, and in ritual and celebration. Sarah has a series of online courses – “Creating a Miracle Marriage. Online Course for Couples” and “How do you feel? Using the intelligence of our emotions to heal and be whole in Life and Love and “Landscapes of Life and Love and Loss. Traversing the pathways of dying, death and grief”. To find out more, visit www.sarahtolmie.com.au

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