Category Archives: New Release

Opening our eyes and hearts to refugees

Do you know that Refugee Week has been observed in Australia for over 30 years?

Refugee Week is celebrated annually in mid June, incorporating World Refugee Day on June 20.  This is a time when Australians can acknowledge the contributions that refugees and asylum seekers have made to our country, and also for us to learn about the challenges many refugees face as they re-establish themselves and their communities in a new land.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is “A World of Stories” – reminding us that each refugee seeking safety has their own story of why they left home, and what they had to do to find safety. Readers who want to learn, and understand, the current conflicts and refugee situations will find these stories powerful and enlightening:

First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrant and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In the tradition of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes this collection of mini biographies celebrating the achievements of some very special first-generation immigrants and former refugees.  From musician Yo-yo Ma to scientist Albert Einstein, from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to tennis champion Martina Navratilova, this collection of high achievers span different ethnicities, religions, and professions.  And despite the America-centric title, many of their contributions have impacted / benefitted the entire world.  First Generation also offers a powerful reminder on how a safe environment, personal freedoms and educational opportunities help people realise their potential.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

In Viet Thanh Nguyen’s mind, the experience of becoming a refugee – unwanted where they come from, unwanted where they go to – brands you forever.  He explores this idea in the eight short stories that comprise The Refugees.  These are not stories about escaping war, nor even about adapting to new cultures; they are simply stories of love, loss, memory and family – melancholy stories seen through the prism of the refugee experience.  Viet Thanh Nguyen is a respected academic who has become a literary star since winning the Pulitzer Prize (and several other awards) with his first novel, The Sympathizer.  The Refugees is his first collection of short stories. 

Stepping Stones: a Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr

Canadian writer Margriet Ruurs was inspired by the art of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr to create this book – they didn’t know each other and had never met, but managed to collaborate despite the distance between their two countries, and the political turmoil in Syria.  Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who live a happy, peaceful life in Syria until war comes.  As bombs fall ever closer to their village, Rama’s family flees with only a few belongings, travelling overland and across the seas until they find a safe, new home. Nizar Ali Badr’s distinctive illustrations are made by arranging multicoloured stones – into characters and scenes with surprising levels of emotion and humour.  Stepping Stones is an excellent way to introduce the topic of war and refugees to young readers.

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah was a young teen when he confided his dream to his English teacher: he wanted to tell his story of growing up in Iraq and Syria, and of his family’s journey to safety in Canada.  He noticed that his fellow Canadians knew little about the situation in the Middle East, and wanted to challenge those who wanted to define his family only by their experience as refugees.  Eight months later, Abu achieved his dream with the help of his teacher, Winnie Yeung.  Homes is a gripping first-person account of growing up in a war zone.  The horrors of war are interwoven with ordinary childhood pursuits in a way that shocks the reader – flying kites with cousins among bombed-out buildings; playing with shell casings in the street – yet Abu’s childhood is not without love, or fun.  

I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See by Giles Duley

Giles Duley is a photojournalist who is best known for documenting the long-term impact of war.  Despite losing both legs and an arm during an explosion whilst on assignment, he has continued his work as a photographer, reporting the stories of refugees not to evoke pity, but to encourage empathy and to inspire change.  I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See is a record of the refugee crisis in Europe during 2015/6.  Giles Duley travelled through Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, through the Balkans and to Greece and Germany, to retrace the journeys of people forced to flee their homes in the Middle East to seek safety in Europe.  Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai

In We Are Displaced, Malala Yousafzai uses her considerable public profile to highlight the issue of displacement – people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution or natural disaster.  This is a much more widespread problem than most people realise – happening all around the world, affecting more than 68 million people, mostly women and girls. Starting with Malala’s own experience of internal displacement within Pakistan while escaping from Taliban rule, we are introduced to eight other girls, from countries as diverse as Yemen, Syria, Guatemala and the Congo, and their stories of displacement and disruption (and often discrimination as well).  These accounts are powerfully personal, confronting, and ultimately hopeful, as these resilient girls rebuild their lives in new communities.

The top books that can help us slow down

Balance. Apparently we’re all meant to find it, embrace it and have it all of the time. The problem is, when we are busy it just ends up being yet another thing added to our ever-growing to do lists. The slow movement is one that isn’t new. There are cultures around the world that do not embrace being busy and rushing about and certainly don’t consider the idea of being stressed as a badge of honour. When we slow down we can take time to reflect on what’s important, see the bigger picture when we have problems, and find things that truly make us happy. 

In a effort to help you find a moment to yourself we have scoured the internet and collated a number of great books that all discuss the notion of slowing down. So pour yourself a cup of tea and find somewhere comfy to sit for five minutes for a readyou never know, it may be just what you need. 

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver

In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. Through these pages you’ll learn how and why your body interprets constant rushing as a ‘stress’, how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight or disrupting your sleep, why you feel tired but wired and how to identify if you have adrenal fatigue, whether stress might be behind your sluggish thyroid, how daily stressors may be affecting your sex-hormone balance and contributing to issues such as PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite and how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush. This book offers real solutions to restore your health, so that you can stay productive, healthy and energised in today’s world. Don’t let it take a health crisis to wake you up to change the way you’re living and get to the heart of what’s driving your rush, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that you love.

The flourish formula, and overachiever’s guide to slowing down by Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton reveals a simple yet comprehensive process that will help you slow down and accomplish and savour more of what is important to you. Courtney shares eight powerful mindset and mind-body techniques to help you break out of the “busyness fog” so you can contribute your unique professional and creative gifts and thrive in your personal life. The Flourish Formula is a bit of a self-care manual that every overachieving woman should read. Every page offers fresh insights about how to lean back before you can lean in. 

It’s about time by Valorie Burton

Our culture makes it so that even the most organised and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. On top of that, many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse. No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. In It’s About Time, you can unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm, the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Ostro by Julia Nishimura

For some of us the way to slow down is not by sitting still, it’s by doing something…something meaningful. If you’re one of those ‘active slow downers’ then Ostro is for you. Since launching Ostro online in 2014, Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. As an Australian of Maltese descent and a fluent Italian speaker, who is married to a Japanese man, Julia and her food represent everything that is good about modern Australian eating. She deftly brings together a broad range of cuisines and culinary influences using the very best produce on offer. This truly is good food, made by hand. Julia guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, clearly explaining the processes and demystifying the reasons behind them. She also shares plenty of simple, flavourful salads and one-tray bakes for days when time is scarce. Baking and desserts, too, needn’t be overly complicated – as Julia shows us, some of the best go-to recipes are the ones passed down the generations. But we also need the odd show-stopper on standby for special occasions! This is simple food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Slow down, take your time and enjoy it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself, nor did she want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her — and what didn’t. this is a great read. You can check out Gretchen’s other work here

The Art Of Simple by Eleanor Ozich

This book has the potential to be life changing. I read this in a day and absolutely loved it. When Eleanor Ozich moved to the outskirts of the city with her husband and young family she set about enjoying a much calmer way of life. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, Eleanor found herself with more time and energy to appreciate her family and friends and the natural beauty that surrounded her. In this, her third book, Eleanor shares recipes and ideas she has embraced in her quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals you’ll find practical ideas to declutter your home, get your children to sleep and bring order to your day. There are also instructions for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, which promise to cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment. The author of My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table, in this book Eleanor unlocks the secrets to a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy!

Interior design and decoration books that will inspire your inner stylist

When the weather gets colder and the days shorter, there’s nothing more satisfying than being inside, snuggled in your favourite chair under a woolly blanket with candles flickering and a good book to read. While this may feel super cosy for those of us here in chilly Melbourne, on the other side of the world the heavy throw blankets are being boxed away, velvet cushion covers changed to lighter linen counterparts and fresh cut flowers popped into vases as the joy of Summer looms close.

It’s fun to change up your home a little each season and look to nature for inspiration for colours and textures and the occasional gem. Changes don’t have to be expensive or dramatic (so you can put down that paintbrush and roller), sometimes it’s just moving the furniture, a new fragrant candle or piece of art that can make a world of difference.

We’ve been devouring the latest books on interiors and have come up with a great list of our favourites. So make yourself a cup of tea/ glass of rose/mug of hot chocolate and settle in for some inspiration. 

The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. Firstly, Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature, botanical prints and pictures, and the cycles of the natural world. Display reveals Hans’ passion for creating vignettes that showcase treasured pieces, while Colour presents his favourite earthy palette, which provides the perfect muted backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials; scuffed wood, frayed rope, beaten metal and bare stone. Finally, Hans shows how to use Fabrics to bring warmth and softness to any interior. In the second part of the book, The Natural Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look.

It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton

Interior fulfilment can be fleeting. Linen cupboards crash from a ten to a two in a blink and couch cushions need to be eternally fluffed. It’s Beautiful Here attempts to capture the moments of domestic paradise without making the mistake of thinking they are permanent, but hoping hard they might be. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Megan Morton let’s us peek into the abodes of the people who have by luck, chance or determination nailed that ever elusive interiors je ne sais quoi. From Paris to New York and even Adelaide, we meet a motley crew of renters, Barbie Dreamhouse owners and accidental interior heroes and learn that a beautiful home doesn’t rest on great design alone it’s shaped by the people who live there. One of our team attended Megan’s Styling masterclass and has all of her books on her coffee table so we know you’ll just love this title too.

The Foraged Home by Joanna Maclennan

Anyone can create a beautiful home by foraging, and salvaging what they find. Whether a box of rusty nails or a disused armchair missing a leg, discarded objects can be restored, recycled or repurposed to fill the home with personal style. Artful interiors are born from curiosity, creativity and imagination, yet many of us fail to see a potential curtain rail in a bamboo stick or a hidden kitchen worktop in an old carpenter’s bench – let alone knowing where to find such objects. Presenting the techniques and philosophies of a wide spectrum of experienced foraging homeowners, this book showcases unexpected and inspiring interiors from all over the world, from an upturned boat in France to an Australian beach house. Such diverse locations each demand a different approach to foraging and, as a result, each home has a distinct sense of style. In an era when self-sufficiency, living off grid and saving our planet have never been more important or appealing, The Foraged Home will provide guidance and inspiration for all those looking to go beyond the world of mass-produced flat-packs.

Homebody by Joanna Gaines

In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instil in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

More Style, Less Stuff. Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style you love with the fewest possible items. You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to. In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honours your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you realise your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices.  A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.

Restoration House by Kennesha Buycks

Restore peace and joy to your home as you create a space that gives your loved ones a comfortable place to connect. In Restoration House, designer and lifestyle guide Kennesha Buycks shows you how to curate and decorate your home (even on a small budget!) and create mindful spaces that give life to all who enter. How many times have you felt discouraged as you scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest at impeccably styled home decor that your family would destroy in moments? Designer and decor aficionado Kennesha Buycks is here to help you love the home you have and design spaces to welcome others.Home is more than a mere space to be filled with pretty pillows and beautifully ordained walls,” Kennesha says. Restoration House is about creating a home filled with places and spaces where people can feel secure, connected, revived, and renewed. Restoration has been a consistent theme and message throughout the lifespan of Kennesha’s blog, Restoration House Interiors. Now she guides you to create a more mindful, peaceful, restored home while finding joy in the process.

Three Birds Renovations by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin Cayless, and Lana Taylor

We love Three Birds. So much so we have completed their course, pre bought their book and watched every single one of their renovation videos (you can binge watch them here). When best friends Erin, Bonnie and Lana ditched their corporate careers to start Three Birds Renovations, they were rookie renovators with big ideas. Today, with many incredible house transformations under their toolbelt, they’re a power trio turning neighbourhood ugly ducklings into swans. If you lust over images of beautiful homes but feel stuck when it comes to your own space, these ‘birds’ have your back. The book is packed with gorgeous details from their projects, friendly words of encouragement and more than 400 reno tips to help you avoid budget blow-outs, manage trades and timelines, and style without stress. Whether you’re starting small or going all-in with a whole-home reno, this is destined to become one of the most useful books you own. Turn your reno dreams into reality!

Enjoy!

Celebrating amazing women through books this Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mum or not, the world of literature celebrates women from all backgrounds and all with different storylines. We have rounded up six stories that we think will amuse, inspire, resonate and enlighten this Mother’s Day. 

Pop on the kettle and make yourself a cuppa because we think you’ll want them all. 

200 Women by Ruth Hobday

Famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. Women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits, this landmark book is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and ask them what really matters to them. All two hundred women were photographed against the same background and asked the same five questions. Their answers reveal truth, wisdom, and inspiring stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional, each woman shares her unique replies to questions that reveal a human being’s deepest motivation, happiness, sadness and hope. With responses that range from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength, inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many people are fighting for basic freedom and equality. It’s a book that confirms what we already know – there are no ordinary women.

Diary of A Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe

The #craphousewife movement calls to unite all mothers who, like Jess, sometimes feel they are not perfect. Being a crap housewife is a badge Jess wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of crap is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about gourmet family dinners eaten together over the table, and tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off? This is a fabulous, funny, down-to-earth book, The Diary of a Crap Housewife, as Jess writes honestly about her cooking, mothering, career, botox, family and many other #craphousewife interests.

In Pieces by Sally Field

Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door’ to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-winning ferocity and depth of her role in Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzla Carlson

Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life (you can click through to her original book here). Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have you Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special. But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

We were trying to write about this book but came to the conclusion that  there was no better way we could write about Lily Allen’s story. We think the blurb she has written herself is perfect.  

So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.

Say Hello by Carly Findlay

Say Hello is a forthright, honest and rousingly triumphant memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly. ‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often cast as the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skin that they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of my story – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’ This honest, outspoken and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.

Enjoy!

The most gift worthy coffee table books this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner so it’s time to find a little something special for the mums in our lives. One thing that is always a delight to receive, but something they never seem to buy themselves, is a fabulous coffee table book. We have rounded up some of the most glorious ones recently released on interiors, fashion, space and history so that you are bound to find one to treat your mum.

Imaginarium by Sibella Court

This is a sumptuous picture book of style and design inspiration from award-winning Australian stylist Sibella Court. Imaginarium is a glorious coffee table book of images that reflect the things that inspire and motivate this interior stylist, historian and globetrotter. Immersing you in a world of travel, nature, interiors, art, oddities and curiosities, Imaginarium will open your eyes to the world around you and fuel your imagination for your own creativity, design and adventures. Themed by colour and featuring more than 300 beautifully shot and curated photographs, Imaginarium is the ultimate picture book for lovers of design and interior styling, and anyone looking for fresh ideas or inspiring daydreams.

A Tree In The House by Annabelle Hickson

A Tree in the House is part guide for the aspiring home florist, and part celebration of rural life in sync with nature. Annabelle Hickson provides stunning ideas and instructions for flower installations and arrangements, covering beautiful, seasonal bouquets, flowers for friends, table and overhead arrangements and flower arrangements for special occasions. A Tree in The House celebrates the joy and simple, natural beauty flowers bring to the home, every day, with a focus on foraged and locally and seasonally grown plants. Interspersed throughout are gorgeous snapshots of Annabelle’s picturesque rural life. A Tree in the House is a stunning ode, in words and pictures, to flower arranging, and is as much an aspirational window into rural life as an inspirational guide to creating beautiful, simple arrangements.

Anti Glossy by Patrick Remy

Capturing contemporary trends and forecasting the look of the future, this dazzling anthology collects the work of the most cutting-edge photographers working today. This volume is an essential compilation of the most important photographic trends of the age of social media and digital publication.

The interaction between photography and fashion has always been compelling – how can artists balance commercial viability against their own creative vision? Anti-Glossy collects some of the most innovative photographers working in the field of fashion, exploring the way new media is influencing the direction of photography for print.

As the notion of the “fashion photographer” becomes less distinct, the industry is benefitting from the talents of artists whose influence leads the genre into a multitude of surprising, often shocking, directions. In this collection of new fashion photography, full-page colour and black-and-white photographs represent an incredible range of styles and techniques.

From the evolving vision of masters of the form such as Juergen Teller and Glen Luchford, to the ironic work of Sebastian Kim, to the challenges posed by young female voices like Annemarieke Van Drimmelen, Charlotte Wales, Sarah Piantadosi, Joanna Piotrowska, and Karen Knorr. The photographers featured in this exciting collection represent a cutting-edge trend in all its diversity. Paris-based author and editor Patrick Remy has selected over twenty photographers from emerging talents that hold the prospect of creating enduring fashion images and influencing the cultural and style trends of tomorrow to established figures exploring new directions.

Off The Grid by Dominic Bradbury

Recent advances in technologies and home-generated renewable energy have made building away from urban and rural infrastructures more practical and affordable than ever. This survey of the world’s most innovative off-grid homes reveals the cutting edge architecture and technology that is enabling us to escape to some of the most extraordinary natural environments on the planet. All of the houses featured in this book are fully, or almost fully, self-sufficient in terms of energy, water and, in some cases, food. Architecture and interior design expert Dominic Bradbury reveals how each architect has made everyday living in these wild and natural settings a rewarding and tempting reality. From snowbound cabins in the far Northern Hemisphere to coastal retreats that can only be accessed by boat, the diverse projects collected here show the innovative ways in which architects and their clients are tackling extreme climates, remoteness and construction challenges to enable a new way of life that is both liberating and sustainable. The imperative to reduce our carbon footprints and refocus on renewable sources of energy is having a profound impact on our domestic lives. This fascinating survey demonstrates that creative architecture, design and technology are redefining the possibilities for leading a truly rewarding and responsible lifestyle.

Space Utopia by Vincent Fournier

This unique collection of photographs features over ten years of collaborations with the most important space and research centres in the world, resulting in a one-of-a-kind story of the human race to the stars.

Vincent Fournier’s visionary photographs provide an imaginative look at space exploration by merging fantasy with reality in images of rockets, other worldly landscapes, research facilities, and cosmonauts. To produce these extraordinary images, Fournier has collaborated with the world’s major space centres and astronomical observatories, including NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency, and the European Southern Observatory. Readers are given access to confidential locations and projects such as the NASA SLS rocket. Fournier’s artistic vision creates a unique look at the history of space exploration, from the early Sputnik and Apollo programs to the future Mission on Mars.

The images invite us to focus on our perceptions of space and time. Fournier questions our past and future utopias–what are our expectations for the future and has the future already happened? The evocative images document and archive while also exploring humankind’s myths and fantasies about the future. 

As It Was by Heather Cremonesi

The iconic black-and-white photographs of Hamburg-born photographer Frank Habicht (born 1938) reflects the spirit of the Swinging Sixties in London. In the 1960s, the conservative postwar years in England gave way to a period of upheaval, with a younger generation dreaming of an unconstrained life, one full of free love, peace and harmony. On the streets of the British capital, Habicht began photographing the profound social and political changes that were underway. 

Habicht, who has lived in New Zealand since 1981, has produced photographs for many international magazines and newspapers, such as the Guardian, Die Welt, Camera Magazine and Twen. His photographs were recently exhibited at the Barbican in London, and he has made portraits of music and film greats such as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Jane Birkin, Christopher Lee and Vanessa Redgrave.

Enjoy!

The best books exploring Art in 2019…(so far).

Art can be an intimidating and mind boggling form of expression as an artist attempts to take us on a journey and share their view of society with us. While some people can stand in front of a painting on the wall and stare in wonder and awe, others crumple their brow in complete confusion. 

Today we are sharing some of the best new titles on the market that attempt to uncover the secrets of the art world.  So settle in, make yourself a cup of tea, and prepare to broaden your understanding of the mysterious world of art.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now by William A. Ewing, Holly Roussell

We hurtle together into the future at ever-increasing speed – or so it seems to the collective psyche. Every day and every hour, human civilisation expands, evolves and mutates. While we frequently lapse into celebrating the individual at the expense of the group, in science and art, at work and at play, at home and in transit, we increasingly live the collective life. Civilization shows how contemporary photography, notably art photography, is fascinated by, and attempts to decode and communicate, the way we live today. This landmark publication is accompanied by an internationally touring exhibition produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography – a global cultural event for a global subject. Civilization is presented through eight thematic chapters, each led by breathtaking imagery and accompanied by essays, quotes, commentaries and captions to provide a deeper understanding of its theme. Visually epic and ambitiously popular in approach, it will reach out beyond the boundaries of the photography world to connect with audiences worldwide.

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour by David Coles

Did you know that the Egyptians created the first synthetic colour; or that the noblest purple comes from a predatory sea snail? Throughout history, artist pigments have been made from deadly metals, poisonous minerals, urine, cow dung, and even crushed insects. From grinding down beetles and burning animal bones to alchemy and serendipity, Chromatopia reveals the origin stories of over 50 of history’s most extraordinary pigments. Spanning the ancient world to modern leaps in technology, this is a book for the artist, the history buff, the science lover and the design fanatic.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up by Claire Wilcox, Circe Henestrosa

In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and entirely individual way of dressing made her one of the most photographed women of her time. Specially-commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits alongside her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images taken in her lifetime.

Tate: Colour A Visual History by Alexandra Loske

Prepare to unravel the rainbow with this amazing colour history and discover the story of colour through the significant scientific discoveries and key artist’s works over 400 years. From Isaac Newton’s investigations through to Olafur Eliasson’s experiential creations, this stunning book documents the fascinating story of colour with an extraordinary collection of original colour material that includes charts, wheels, artists’ palettes, swatches and schemes.

“In 1704, the scientist Isaac Newton published OPTICKS, the result of many years of researching light and colour. By splitting white light, Newton identified the visible range of colours, or the rainbow spectrum. In OPTICKS, he built a colour system around his findings, and he visualised this system in a circular shape, making it one of the first printed colour wheels. The influence of Newton and his followers, combined with the invention of many new pigments as well as watercolours in moist cake form, had made painting with colour an exciting occupation not just for serious artists but also for a much wider audience. The colour revolution had begun.”

Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding, Kendrah Morgan

They entertained Mick Jagger. They have connections to Albert Einstein and Ned Kelly. Their local admirers are a who’s who of artists, writers, film makers, politicians and celebrities. The impact of Mirka and Georges Mora on Australian food culture and the art scene has been remarkable. Arriving from Paris in 1951, these bon vivants brought colour and flavour to local society and the culinary landscape. Their apartment in Melbourne’s centre became a hub for the bohemian set, and their cafes and restaurants brimmed with food, sex and art. Mirka’s distinctive paintings and drawings were a vital part of this heady mix. Launched in the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday, Mirka & Georges- A Culinary Affair gloriously illustrates the Moras’ extraordinary story. With classic French recipes from the couple’s eateries and home kitchen, photographs from family albums and from inside Mirka’s studio, as well as Mirka’s vibrant artworks, the inimitable personalities of these epicurean pioneers leap out of these pages.

Pattern Design by Elizabeth Wilhide

Throughout history, patterns have come in countless permutations of motif, colour-way and scale. Yet what all have in common is the regularity of repetition, that insistent rhythm that animates a flat surface with a sense of movement and vitality and gives it depth. Evident in the arrangement of petals on a flower head, the branching growth of stems and vines, the spirals of a seashell – pattern is inherent in the natural world that surrounds us. Powerful and transformative, pattern has an irrepressible joie de vivre. With more than 1,500 illustrations of patterns from all ages and cultures, Pattern Design is a visual feast. This comprehensive compendium is arranged thematically according to type, with chapters on Flora, Fauna, Pictorial, Geometric and Abstract designs. These broad categories are supplemented by in-depth features highlighting the work of key designers from the rich history of pattern-making – such as William Morris, Sonia Delaunay, Charles and Ray Eames, Lucienne Day and Orla Kiely – along with sections detailing the characteristic motifs of key period styles from Baroque to Art Deco.

Enjoy!

The Best Science Books of 2019 (so far)

I love Popular Science as a genre – having a science background myself, I am passionate about encouraging everyone to have a better understanding of science, and of becoming more aware of its place in everyday life.  I also love anything that shows off the quirky nerdy humour that I know many scientists and engineers have!  The best science books often combine in-depth research, stranger-than-fiction facts and a cracking narrative  – here’s the pick of the recent crop:

Humble Pi: a Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker
Matt Parker is a mathematician and a comedian, and he uses both skillsets to great effect in Humble Pi, a book about the maths that is all around us – and what happens when you get it wrong. The stories range from trivial and quirky (such as posters where the cogs won’t turn) to potentially deadly (wobbling bridges and NASA disasters); and Matt manages to highlight the funny and entertaining side in all of them. Humble Pi subtly celebrates the importance of maths to science and engineering, without depressing readers about being “not good at maths”.

When the Dogs Don’t Bark: a Forensic Scientist’s Search for the Truth by Angela Gallop
Angela Gallop has had an extraordinary career as a forensic scientist. In over 40 years, she has worked on a string of high profile cases that made significant advances to forensics and criminal law.  When the Dogs Don’t Bark is her memoir of how science has helped to uncover the truth behind some shocking crimes.  While the sensational details showcase her amazingly analytical mind, Angela is also keen to educate her readers about the risks of relying on forensic evidence too heavily.  When the Dogs Don’t Bark will appeal to fans of True Crime and police procedurals, while its level of technical detail should engage science buffs. The Guardian newspaper also considers it an essential resource for aspiring crime writers!

The Wisdom of Wolves: How Wolves can Teach Us to be More Human by Elli H. Radinger
Wolves get pretty bad press in many cultures, and Elli Radinger is out to show everyone that they are not as Big & Bad as we’ve previously heard.  Drawing on 25 years’ of observations, The Wisdom of Wolves describes the social structures and behaviours of wolf packs and shows how similar they are to human societies.  The stories of how the entire pack helps to care for their young and their elderly; how the grownups teach their young to play; and how key decisions are made by females and the elderly, are heartwarming and offer surprising insights into kinship and parenting.  


Why Can’t We Sleep? by Darian Leader
Sleep.  It is a human necessity that has become a luxury in our busy world – so much so that there is an ever-growing industry helping us get the quantity and quality of sleep we want/need.  Why Can’t We Sleep? is a timely examination of this hot topic – weaving together a history and critique of sleep research, with neuroscience, psychology, and the social, cultural and economic significance of sleep.  This is psychoanalyst Darian Leader’s complex, intelligent, yet highly readable story on how and why humans sleep.

Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
Guns, Germs and Steel is a hugely influential book that helped to establish Popular Science as a genre.  Jared Diamond examines why some civilisations are more successful than others, in terms of wealth and political power, despite no inherent advantage in genetics or intelligence.  He theorises that the tools of success are guns (superior weapons for military might); germs (Eurasian diseases weakening local populations, making them easier to conquer) and steel (advanced technology facilitating imperialism) – and that they all arose from environmental conditions that allowed early adoption of agriculture. Drawing together ideas from history, geography, economics and anthropology, Guns, Germs and Steel offers compelling theories and surprising insights into the development of societies.

Influenza: the Quest to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History by Dr Jeremy Brown
The deadliest disease in recorded history was the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed up to 100 million people worldwide.  A century later, scientists are still searching for a cure – and an understanding of why this strain disproportionately affects young, apparently-healthy people.  Dr Jeremy Brown uses the Spanish flu pandemic as the starting point of his history of our fight against this ubiquitous yet still deadly virus.  Readers are swept along by this tense mystery/thriller as we begin to understand the high stakes involved – the ‘flu’s ability to spread widely and mutate repeatedly still cause thousands of deaths each year, with widespread social, political and economic consequences, and yet there is still no “bullet-proof” cure or vaccine in sight.

The Funniest Books of 2018

After last week’s blog post about the most heart wrenching books released (you can read it here – be warned, the authors went straight for your heart strings) we thought we’d liven things up a little for you and share the funniest books released last year. 

We have collated our top six, but if you want more recommendations head over to our facebook and instagram pages where our followers have suggested their all time favourite funny books. 

Let’s dive in.

Springfield Confidential by Mike Reiss, Mathew Klickstein and Judd Apatow

In celebration of The Simpsons thirtieth anniversary (what the!!!), the show’s longest-serving writer and producer offers a humorous look at the writing and making of the legendary Fox series that has become one of the most revered artistic achievements in television history.

Four-time Emmy winner Mike Reiss, who has worked on The Simpsons continuously since episode one in 1989, shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family ever. Reiss explains how the episodes are created, and provides an inside look at the show’s writers, animators, actors and celebrity guests. He answers a range of questions from Simpsons fans and die-hards, and reminisces about the making of perennially favourite episodes.

In his freewheeling, irreverent comic style, Reiss reflects on his lifetime inside The Simpsons which is a personal highlights reel of his achievements, observations, and favourite stories. Springfield Confidential exposes why Matt Groening decided to make all of the characters yellow; dishes on what it’s like to be crammed in a room full of funny writers sixty hours a week; and tells what Reiss learned after traveling to seventy-one countries where The Simpsons is watched (ironic note: there’s no electricity in many of these places); and even reveals where Springfield is located! He features unique interviews with Judd Apatow, who also provided the foreword, and Conan O’Brien, as well as with Simpsons legends Al Jean, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, and more.

Lose Well by Chris Gethard

This is a laugh-out-loud, kick-in-the-pants self-help narrative for anyone who ever felt like they didn’t fit in or couldn’t catch a break. Comedian and cult hero Chris Gethard shows us how to get over our fear of failure and start living life on our own terms.

Let’s face it: we all want a seat at the cool table, a great job, and loads of money. But most of us won’t be able to achieve this widely accepted, black-or-white, definition of winning, which makes us feel like failures, that we’re destined to a life of loserdom. That’s the conventional wisdom. It’s also crap, according to comedian and cult hero Chris Gethard, who knows a thing of two about losing. Failing is an art form, he argues; in fact, it’s the only way we’re ever going to discover who we are, what we really want, and how to live the kind of life we only dreamed about. Setting flame to vision boards and tossing out the “seven simple steps” to achieving anything, Gethard illustrates his personal and professional manifesto with hilarious and ultimately empowering stories about his own set-backs, missteps, and public failures, from the cancellation of his Comedy Central sitcom after seven episodes to rediscovering his comedic voice and life’s purpose on a public access channel. With his trademark wit and inspiring storytelling Gethard teaches us how to power through our own hero’s journey, whether we’re a fifteen-year-old starting a punk band or a fifty-year-old mother of three launching an Etsy page. In the process, he shows us how to fail with grace, laugh on the way down, and as we dust ourselves off, how to transform inevitable failures into endless opportunities. It might get a little messy, but that’s exactly the point. Because the first step in living on your own terms is learning how to lose well, and more often than not, the revolutionary act of failing lets us witness firsthand what awaits us on the other side.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

This book was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Buzzfeed, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The Millions, InStyle, Bustle, BookRiot, and Southern Living. 

In Look Alive Out There Sloane Crosley returns to the form that made her a household name in really quite a lot of households: Essays! It’s a brand-new collection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity. A thin coat. More of a blazer, really.

Fans of I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number know Sloane Crosley’s life as a series of relatable but madcap misadventures. In Look Alive Out There, whether it’s scaling active volcanoes, crashing shivas, playing herself on Gossip Girl, befriending swingers, or staring down the barrel of the fertility gun, Crosley continues to rise to the occasion with unmatchable nerve and electric one-liners. And as her subjects become more serious, her essays deliver not just laughs but lasting emotional heft and insight. Crosley has taken up the gauntlets thrown by her predecessors–Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris–and crafted something rare, affecting, and true.

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

We thought we’d pop in a novel for you too…because we saw someone on the tram reading it and she was laughing so hard she had to put the book down and get a tissue to wipe away her laughter tears! 

Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbour. Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she’s been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now. When Karolina Hartwell, a gorgeous former supermodel, is arrested for a DUI, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear, and the tabloids pounce. In Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. But she quickly learns Greenwich is a world apart and that this comeback needs a team approach. So it is that Emily, the scorned Karolina, and their mutual friend Miriam, a powerful attorney turned stay-at-home suburban mum, band together to not only navigate the social land mines of suburban Greenwich but win back the hearts of the American public. Along the way, an indispensable ally emerges in one Miranda Priestly. With her signature wit, Lauren Weisberger offers an alluring look into a sexy, over-the-top world–and proves it’s style and substance together that gets the job done.

Just The Funny Parts by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg

This is not your typical funny book but one we know you’ll want to read. 

Just the Funny Parts is a juicy and scathingly funny insider look at how pop culture gets made. For more than thirty years, writer, producer and director Nell Scovell worked behind the scenes of iconic TV shows, including The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, NCIS, The Muppets, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which she created and executive produced.

In 2009, Scovell gave up her behind-the-scenes status when the David Letterman sex scandal broke. Only the second woman ever to write for his show, Scovell used the moment to publicly call out the lack of gender diversity in late-night TV writers’ rooms. “One of the boys” came out hard for “all of the girls.” Her criticisms fuelled a cultural debate. Two years later, Scovell was collaborating with Sheryl Sandberg on speeches and later on Lean In, which resulted in a worldwide movement.

Now Scovell is opening up with this fun, honest, and often shocking account. Scovell knows what it’s like to put words in the mouths of President Barack Obama, Mark Harmon, Candice Bergen, Bob Newhart, Conan O’Brien, Alyssa Milano, and Kermit the Frog, among many others. Through her eyes, you’ll sit in the Simpson writers’ room… stand on the Oscar red carpet… pin a tail on Miss Piggy…bond with Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy… and experience a Stephen King-like encounter with Stephen King.

The Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillipps

This one is for those of you that are one if the 1.6 million Busy Phillips’ followers on Instagram. This is a collection of humorous, autobiographical essays from actress and breakout star of Instagram stories, Busy Philipps. Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to know and love, dealing with everything, from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother and famous best friend.

Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humour, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humour and her willingness to bare it all.

I’ve been waiting my whole life to write this book. I’m just so grateful someone asked. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it?’ 

Enjoy!

Books that will tug at your heartstrings

Books have the ability to evoke amazingly strong feelings amongst readers. While we love finding books that make us laugh so hard we snort out our cup of tea, it is the sad books that can take you by surprise and before you know it you are swept up in an emotional rollercoaster that you just can’t get off (sometimes the thought of closing the book for a little while to gather yourself is just too harsh…because if the character had to go through it, then so must we).

Brace yourself, last year a number of authors went straight for our heartstrings and tear ducts. Here are our favourite tear jerkers that were released. 

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help—Priscilla Johnson—and begs her to come home with them as her son’s nanny. Priscilla’s presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca’s perception of the world as it does to stabilise her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently. Written with the warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, Rumaan Alam has crafted a remarkable novel about the lives we choose, and the lives that are chosen for us.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the story behind the picture is worth a thousand more. 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE. In 1931, near Philadelphia, ambitious reporter Ellis Reed photographs the gut-wrenching sign posted beside a pair of siblings on a farmhouse porch. With the help of newspaper secretary Lily Palmer, Ellis writes an article to accompany the photo. Capturing the hardships of American families during the Great Depression, the feature story generates national attention and Ellis’s career skyrockets. But the piece also leads to consequences more devastating than he and Lily ever imagined and it will risk everything they value to unravel the mystery and set things right. Inspired by a newspaper photo that stunned readers throughout the country, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of ambition, redemption, love and family.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. It’s hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Technically this was released in 2017, but it is a wonderfully moving book that we just had to share it with you. Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things- husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman and trophy wife. But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less. A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his lounge room. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose. Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead – and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

If your life fell apart, could you start again?

Maggie Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her, with a handsome boyfriend and a promising career, until an accident on what should be one of the happiest days of her life takes it all away. Lying in hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing family secrets, heartbreak, and the possibility that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an unforgettable love story about finding joy in the darkest of circumstances.

So Much I Want To Tell You by Anna Akana

Okay, full disclosure, this book was actually released in 2017 but it is such a powerful book that we just had to include it. 

From Internet sensation Anna Akana comes a candid and poignant collection of essays about love, loss, and chasing adulthood. In 2007, Anna Akana lost her teen sister, Kristina, to suicide. In the months that followed, she realised that the one thing helping her process her grief and begin to heal was comedy. So she began making YouTube videos as a form of creative expression and as a way to connect with others. Ten years later, Anna has more than a million subscribers who watch her smart, honest vlogs on her YouTube channel. Her most popular videos, including “How to Put On Your Face” and “Why Girls Should Ask Guys Out,” are comical and provocative, but they all share a deeper message: Your worth is determined by you and you alone. You must learn to love yourself. In So Much I Want to Tell You, Anna opens up about her own struggles with poor self-esteem and reveals both the highs and lows of coming-of-age. She offers fresh, funny, hard-won advice for young women on everything from self-care to money to sex, and she is refreshingly straightforward about the realities of dating, female friendship, and the hustle required to make your dreams come true. This is Anna’s story, but, as she says, it belongs just as much to Kristina and to every other girl who must learn that growing up can be hard to do. Witty and real, Anna breaks things down in a way only a big sister can.

Enjoy!

The Most Inspiring Books of the Past Year

Stuck in a rut? Looking for a new direction? Not quite on top of those new year resolutions? It’s okay. We’ve all been there. It’s with this in mind that we have rounded up our picks of some of the most inspiring reads from the past year to help you recharge your optimism batteries. So sit back and relax, you’re in good hands.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have. Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward. From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next? In this wise and layered book, Leigh talks intimately with people who’ve faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead finds strength, hope, even humour. Leigh brilliantly condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear and grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness. Along the way, she offers an unguarded account of her own challenges and what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows. Warm, candid and empathetic, this book is about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have.

Year of Less by Cait Flanders

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realised that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy, only keeping her from meeting her goals, she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less documents Cait’s life from July 2014 to June 2015, during which time she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, petrol for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt. What started as a simple challenge quickly became a lifeline, however, as Cait found herself in a number of situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realised why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol and food—and what it had cost her, for so many years. By not being able to reach for any of her usual vices, Cait changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

In 2015 poet and writer Nina Riggs was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it metastasised later that year. She was thirty-eight years old, married to the love of her life and the mother of two small boys; her mother had died only a few months earlier from multiple myeloma. The Bright Hour is Nina’s intimate, unflinching account of ‘living with death in the room’. She tells her story in a series of absurd, poignant and often hilarious vignettes drawn from a life that has ‘no real future or arc left to it, yet still goes on as if it does’. This is an unforgettable memoir leading the reader into the innermost chambers of the writer’s life: into the mind and heart, the work and home and family, of a young woman alternately seeking to make peace with and raging against the reality of her approaching death. 

The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky

Silicon Valley is full of start-up success stories; every day stories emerge of a new company with the potential for a billion-dollar valuation and plans for global domination. But what can we really learn from these stories? How many of these start-ups are genuinely successful in the long term? When nine out of ten start-ups end in spectacular burnout, how can we ensure our own success story? While most books and press focus on the more sensational moments of creation and conclusion, The Messy Middle argues that the real key to success is how you navigate the ups-and-downs after initial investment is secured. It will give you all the insights you need to build and optimise your team, improve your product and develop your own capacity to lead. Building on seven years’ of meticulous research with entrepreneurs, small agencies, start-ups and billion-dollar companies, Scott Belsky offers indispensable lessons on how to endure and thrive in the long term.

Big Potential by Shawn Achor

In a world that thrives on competition and individual achievement, we are measuring and pursuing potential all wrong. By pursuing success in isolation – pushing others away as we push ourselves too hard – we are not just limiting our potential, we are becoming more stressed and disconnected than ever. In his highly anticipated follow-up to The Happiness Advantage, Achor reveals a better approach. Drawing on his work in 50 countries, he shows that success and happiness are not competitive sports. Rather, they depend almost entirely on how well we connect with, relate to, and learn from each other. Just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of human potential – performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability and health – is influenced by those around us. So when we help others become better, we reach new levels of potential, as well. Rather than fighting over scraps of the pie, we can expand the pie instead. Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. Big Potential is what we can achieve together.

Let us know which books have inspired you the most. Head on over to our facebook or instagram pages and join in the conversation. 

Enjoy!