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“I want to stare death in the eye”: why dying inspires so many writers and artists

<p>It may seem paradoxical, but dying can be a deeply creative process.</p> <p>Public figures, authors, artists and journalists have long written about their experience of dying. But why do they do it and what do we gain?</p> <p>Many stories of dying are written to bring an issue or disease to public attention.</p> <p>For instance, English editor and journalist Ruth Picardie’s description of terminal breast cancer, so poignantly described in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/424646.Before_I_Say_Goodbye">Before I say Goodbye</a>, drew attention to the impact of medical negligence, and particularly misdiagnosis, on patients and their families.</p> <p>American tennis player and social activist Arthur Ashe wrote about his heart disease and subsequent diagnosis and death from AIDS in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/698054.Days_of_Grace">Days of Grace: A Memoir</a>.</p> <p>His autobiographical account brought public and political attention to the risks of blood transfusion (he acquired HIV from an infected blood transfusion following heart bypass surgery).</p> <p>Other accounts of terminal illness lay bare how people navigate uncertainty and healthcare systems, as surgeon Paul Kalanithi did so beautifully in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25899336-when-breath-becomes-air">When Breath Becomes Air</a>, his account of dying from lung cancer.</p> <p>But, perhaps most commonly, for artists, poets, writers, musicians and journalists, dying can provide <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733900-the-violet-hour">one last opportunity for creativity</a>.</p> <p>American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak drew people he loved as they were dying; founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, while in great pain, refused pain medication so he could be lucid enough to think clearly about his dying; and author Christopher Hitchens <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Hitch_22.html?id=H6nbV6nLcWcC&amp;redir_esc=y">wrote about</a> dying from <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/oesophageal-cancer.html">oesophageal cancer</a> despite increasing symptoms:</p> <p><em>I want to stare death in the eye.</em></p> <p>Faced with terminal cancer, renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote, if possible, more prolifically than before.</p> <p>And Australian author Clive James found dying a mine of new material:</p> <p><em>Few people read</em></p> <p><em>Poetry any more but I still wish</em></p> <p><em>To write its seedlings down, if only for the lull</em></p> <p><em>Of gathering: no less a harvest season</em></p> <p><em>For being the last time.</em></p> <p>Research shows what dying artists have told us for centuries – creative self-expression is core to their sense of self. So, creativity has <a href="https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/04/18/grief-creativity-together/">therapeutic and existential benefits</a> for the dying and their grieving families.</p> <p>Creativity <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jocb.171">provides</a> a buffer against anxiety and negative emotions about death.</p> <p>It may help us make sense of events and experiences, tragedy and misfortune, as a graphic novel did for cartoonist Miriam Engelberg in <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780060789732/cancer-made-me-a-shallower-person/">Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person</a>, and as <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=MkcGiLeATe8C&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP2&amp;dq=%5BCarla+Sofka+and+Illene+Cupit+(eds)++Dying,+Death,+and+Grief+in+an+Online+Universe:+For+Counselors+and+Educators,+Springer+2012&amp;ots=vdXYa_3cvU&amp;sig=Od3eQ4A7_hadLwgIn4liIEoyo5c&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q=%5BCarla%20Sofka%20and%20Illene%20Cupit%20(eds)%20%20Dying%2C%20Death%2C%20and%20Grief%20in%20an%20Online%20Universe%3A%20For%20Counselors%20and%20Educators%2C%20Springer%202012&amp;f=false">blogging and online writing</a>does for so many.</p> <p>Creativity may give voice to our experiences and provide some resilience as we face disintegration. It may also provide agency (an ability to act independently and make our own choices), and a sense of normality.</p> <p>French doctor Benoit Burucoa <a href="https://www.cairn.info/article.php?ID_ARTICLE=INKA_181_0005">wrote</a> art in palliative care allows people to feel physical and emotional relief from dying, and:</p> <p><em>[…] to be looked at again and again like someone alive (without which one feels dead before having disappeared).</em></p> <p><strong>A way of communicating to loved ones and the public</strong></p> <p>When someone who is dying creates a work of art or writes a story, this can open up otherwise difficult conversations with people close to them.</p> <p>But where these works become public, this conversation is also with those they do not know, whose only contact is through that person’s writing, poetry or art.</p> <p>This public discourse is a means of living while dying, making connections with others, and ultimately, increasing the public’s “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29402101">death literacy</a>”.</p> <p>In this way, our <a href="https://www.thegroundswellproject.com/">conversations about death</a> become <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-end-9781742752051">more normal, more accessible</a> and much richer.</p> <p>There is no evidence reading literary works about death and dying fosters <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumination_(psychology)">rumination</a> (an unhelpful way of dwelling on distressing thoughts) or other forms of psychological harm.</p> <p>In fact, the evidence we have suggests the opposite is true. There is plenty of <a href="http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg/arts-and-palliative-care-dying-and-bereavement">evidence</a> for the positive impacts of both making and consuming art (of all kinds) at the <a href="http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg-inquiry/Briefings/WWCW.pdf">end of life</a>, and specifically <a href="https://spcare.bmj.com/content/7/3/A369.2">surrounding palliative care</a>.</p> <p><strong>Why do we buy these books?</strong></p> <p>Some people read narratives of dying to gain insight into this mysterious experience, and empathy for those amidst it. Some read it to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html">rehearse</a> their own journeys to come.</p> <p>But these purpose-oriented explanations miss what is perhaps the most important and unique feature of literature – its delicate, multifaceted capacity to help us become what philosopher <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/martha-nussbaums-moral-philosophies">Martha Nussbaum</a> <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2026358.pdf?seq=1">described as</a>:</p> <p><em>[…] finely aware and richly responsible.</em></p> <p>Literature can capture the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/apr/01/londonreviewofbooks">tragedy</a> in ordinary lives; its depictions of <a href="https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2016/08/12/martha-nussbaum-on-emotions-ethics-and-literature/">grief, anger and fear</a> help us fine-tune what’s important to us; and it can show the <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Love_s_Knowledge.html?id=oq3POR8FhtgC">value of a unique person</a> across their whole life’s trajectory.</p> <p><strong>Not everyone can be creative towards the end</strong></p> <p>Not everyone, however, has the opportunity for creative self-expression at the end of life. In part, this is because increasingly we die in hospices, hospitals or nursing homes. These are often far removed from the resources, people and spaces that may inspire creative expression.</p> <p>And in part it is because many people cannot communicate after a stroke or dementia diagnosis, or are <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/01/how-do-people-communicate-before-death/580303/">delirious</a>, so are incapable of “<a href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691628554/last-words">last words</a>” <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Final-Gifts-Understanding-Awareness-Communications/dp/1451667256">when they die</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps most obviously, it is also because most of us are not artists, musicians, writers, poets or philosophers. We will not come up with elegant prose in our final days and weeks, and lack the skill to paint inspiring or intensely beautiful pictures.</p> <p>But this does not mean we cannot tell a story, using whatever genre we wish, that captures or at least provides a glimpse of our experience of dying – our fears, goals, hopes and preferences.</p> <p>Clive James <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/01/clive-james-poem-story-mind-heading-obivion">reminded us</a>:<em> “There will still be epic poems, because every human life contains one. It comes out of nowhere and goes somewhere on its way to everywhere – which is nowhere all over again, but leaves a trail of memories. There won’t be many future poets who don’t dip their spoons into all that, even if nobody buys the book.”</em></p> <p><em>Written by Claire Hooker and Ian Kerridge. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-want-to-stare-death-in-the-eye-why-dying-inspires-so-many-writers-and-artists-128061">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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5 tips to help ease your grandchild back into school mode after the holidays

<p>Most children in Australia are going back to school in just over a week. Children experience a <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/children-australia/article/selfreported-perceptions-readiness-and-psychological-wellbeing-of-primary-school-students-prior-to-transitioning-to-a-secondary-boarding-school/C86DEA7A6CD20AAF29C26C6947A01F7E">mix of emotions</a> when it comes to going to school.</p> <p>Easing back after the holidays can range from feeling really excited and eager to concern, fear or anxiety. Getting butterflies or general worry about going back to school is <a href="https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/school-stress.html">common</a>.</p> <p>Among the <a href="https://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/ch2-outline.pdf">biggest worries of preschool children</a> are feeling left out, being teased or saying goodbye to their caregiver at drop off. Concerns of <a href="https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/childline-annual-review/">school-aged children are about </a> exams (27%), not wanting to return to school (13%), and problems with teachers (14%). Some feel lonely and isolated.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/publications/youth-survey/1326-mission-australia-youth-survey-report-2019/file">main concerns</a> for teens are coping with stress (44.7%), school or study problems (34.3%) and mental health (33.2%).</p> <p>Not thinking about school until it is time to go back is one way to enjoy the last week of holidays. But for some, this can make going back to school more difficult.</p> <p>Supporting parents, children and young people with back-to-school challenges can help reduce negative school experiences using the below steps.</p> <p><strong>1. Set up a back-to-school routine</strong></p> <p>Create structure about going back with a <a href="https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/age-6-12/mental-health-conditions-in-children/anxiety/tackling-back-to-school-anxiety">school routine</a>. Be guided by your knowledge and history of what best supports your child during times of change and transition.</p> <p><a href="https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/school-learning/school-homework-tips/morning-routine-for-school">Set up a practical chart of getting ready</a>. You could include:</p> <ul> <li>what needs to be done each day for school like getting up, eating breakfast, dressing</li> <li>what help does your child need from you to get ready?</li> <li>what they can do on their own? (Establish these together).</li> </ul> <p>The first week back can cause disruption from being in holiday mode so don’t forget <a href="https://childmind.org/article/encouraging-good-sleep-habits/">healthy habits around sleep</a> (<a href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/physical-activity-exercise-sleep-screen-time-kids-teens">around 9-11 hours for children aged 5-13</a> and 8-10 hours for those aged 14-17), <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">exercise</a> (around <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">one hour per day</a> of moderate to vigorous physical activity <a href="https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/nutrition-fitness/physical-activity/physical-activity-how-much">three times a week</a>) and <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/food-and-your-life-stages">diet</a>.</p> <p>Having <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">consistent bed and wake-up </a> times helps too. The National Sleep Foundation <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/plan-ahead-start-back-school-bedtime-routines-now">suggest starting two weeks</a> before the first day of school to set sleep routine habits. But a week beforehand will help get your kid on their way.</p> <p>In some way, parents go back to school with their children. Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If you can’t in the mornings, arrange the evenings so you can give as much time as your child needs, especially during the first week.</p> <p><strong>2. Talk about going back to school</strong></p> <p>Most children deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school. They have insight into their school experiences, so find out what worries them by asking directly.</p> <p>You can offer support by normalising experiences of worry and nerves. <a href="https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-deal-with-school-anxiety-no-more-distressing-goodbyes/">Reassure your child</a> the feelings they have are common and they will likely overcome them once they have settled in. Worries and courage can exist together.</p> <p>Depending on your child’s age, you can also try the following to help:</p> <ul> <li>early years/pre-school – write <a href="https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2018/08/free-social-stories-about-going-to-school.html">a social story </a> about going to daycare or school and the routine ahead</li> <li>primary years – set up a <a href="https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/professionals/learning/trkpp6.pdf">peer-buddy system</a> where a peer or older child meets yours at the school gate or, if neighbours, kids can go into school together</li> <li>secondary years – establish healthy routines as a family. Support each other around <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-parents-and-teens-can-reduce-the-impact-of-social-media-on-youth-well-being-87619">technology</a> use, sleep and <a href="https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/going-to-school/Pages/tips-starting-school.aspx">schoolwork</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Help create a sense of school belonging</strong></p> <p>A sense of belonging at school <a href="https://theconversation.com/many-australian-school-students-feel-they-dont-belong-in-school-new-research-97866">can affect</a> academic success and student well-being. Parents can facilitate positive attitudes about school by setting an encouraging tone when talking about it.</p> <p>Also show an interest in school life and work, and be available to support your child both <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10648-016-9389-8">academically and socially</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.webmd.com/special-reports/kids-and-stress/20150827/stress-survey">More than half of the parents in one survey</a> said homework and schoolwork were the greatest drivers of stress in their children. When parents are more engaged in their child’s schoolwork, they are better able to support them through it.</p> <p><strong>4. Look out for signs of stress</strong></p> <p>Research suggests <a href="https://www.webmd.com/special-reports/kids-and-stress/20150827/stress-survey">parents can miss stress or anxiety</a> in their children. Parents can spot stress if their child (depending on age):</p> <ul> <li>is more clingy than usual or tries escape from the classroom</li> <li>appears restless and flighty or cries</li> <li>shows an increased desire to avoid activities through negotiations and deal-making</li> <li>tries to get out of going to school</li> <li>retreats to thumb sucking, baby language or increased attachment to favourite soft toys (for younger students).</li> </ul> <p>If these behaviours persist for about half a term, talk to your classroom teacher or school well-being coordinator about what is happening. Together work on a strategy of support. There may be something more going on than usual school nerves, like <a href="https://lens.monash.edu/@christine-grove/2018/01/18/1299375/no-one-size-fits-all-approach-in-tackling-cyberbullying">bullying</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. Encourage questions</strong></p> <p>Encourage questions children and teens may have about the next term. What will be the same? What will be different?</p> <p>Often schools provide transition information. If the school hasn’t, it might be worth contacting them to see if they can share any resources.</p> <p>Most importantly, let your child know nothing is off limits to talk about. <a href="https://www.heysigmund.com/school-anxiety-what-parents-can-do/">Set up times to chat</a> throughout the school term – it can help with back-to-school nerves.</p> <p><em>Written by Christine Grové and Kelly-Ann Allen. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/5-tips-to-help-ease-your-child-back-into-school-mode-after-the-holidays-129780">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Synonyms to use that will make you a better writer

<p><strong>Put it in writing</strong></p> <p>Good writing is considerate of its audience. You want to think about your reader and consider the best way to get your message across to them. Even in the digital age, the right word elevates your writing and the wrong one drags it down. If you’re writing in a business context, you want to make a good impression and come across as professional. You want to be efficient, but not overly dry. While keeping your writing clear of grammar and spelling errors is a given, you’ll also want to use words that avoid cliché and relay your message with aplomb.</p> <p>You’ll also want to avoid these overused words that make you sound boring.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “a lot”</strong></p> <p>A lot is a descriptor that skews ultra-casual. If you describe your background by saying, “I have a lot of experience,” or convey your aptitude with “I have a lot of ideas,” you come across as too laid-back and imprecise. Laura Hale Brockway, at Entrepreneur, offers 32 alternative synonyms for “a lot.” She offers descriptors like “a great deal” or “a copious amount” as a stand-in for the informal term. Choose a synonym that elevates your message and offers precision like “myriad” or “several.”</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “fine”</strong></p> <p> “Fine” is a rejoinder to questions about either quality or physical health. However, it’s become so common that it now means “OK” or “average.” If you’re writing in a business setting or descriptively, “fine” seems polite, but there are other options that can get specific about what you’re describing. A simple synonym is “well,” as in “I’m feeling well.” You can also use synonyms like “exceptional” or “skilful” to describe quality. If you do mean “fine” in the sense of passable, use “mediocre” or “average” instead.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “very”</strong></p> <p>Very is a qualifier that’s often overused. How many times have you peppered emails or business communications with this word? Have you ever written “I’m very excited about the upcoming project” or “Your work is very good?” Eliminate “very” unless it adds necessary and real meaning to the idea you describe. If it’s important then use synonyms for “very” like “remarkably,” “substantially,” “emphatically,” or “profoundly.” Otherwise, using “very” adds sloppy imprecision to your writing.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “great”</strong></p> <p>Great is a superfluous term that often shows up in place of “yes” or “good” in written writing. It’s a shorthand term that conveys enthusiasm but has become so common that it’s lost its nuance as a descriptor. Consider more precise words like “choice” or “breathtaking” to describe a state of being or an object’s quality. Here are some more options from Daily Writing Tips like “deluxe” and “favourable” that get closer to the idea you’re trying to convey. Looking for more great synonym options for words like great?</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “crazy”</strong></p> <p>Using “crazy” (or “insane”) is common, but it’s an imprecise way to express what you really mean. Katie Dupere at Mashable explains that the term is insensitive and makes light of mental health issues. The term is also far from what you mean to say. Look carefully at what you’re actually trying to convey when you write, “The midterm was crazy” or “The project was insane.” It’s best to stay away from casual idioms in formal writing. You also want to stay mindful about how such terms could affect your reader. Consider words like “busy,” “intense,” “erratic,” and “wacky” as synonyms. Let the idea of what you truly want to convey be your guide.</p> <p><em>Written by Molly Pennington, PhD. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/12-synonyms-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest.</em></a><em> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine</em><em><u>, </u></em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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Don’t like spiders? Here are 5 reasons to change your mind

<p>Australia is famous for its supposedly scary spiders. While the sight of a spider may cause some people to shudder, they are a vital part of nature. Hostile reactions are harming conservation efforts – especially when people kill spiders unnecessarily.</p> <p>Populations of many invertebrate species, including <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297742805_Quality_not_quantity_Conserving_species_of_low_mobility_and_dispersal_capacity_in_south-western_Australian_urban_remnants">certain spiders</a>, are highly vulnerable. Some species have become extinct due to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07916-1">habitat loss and degradation</a>.</p> <p>In dramatic efforts to avoid or kill a spider, people have reportedly <a href="https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/4448093/huntsman-spider-sparks-four-car-crash/">crashed their cars,</a> <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/man-tries-to-kill-wolf-spider-with-a-blowtorch-but-sets-apartment-on-fire/news-story/13ba250e2d8a58658b6c2960d69bd815">set a house on fire</a>, and even caused such a commotion that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-03/wa-police-called-out-for-man-trying-to-kill-spider/10683454">police showed up</a>.</p> <p>A pathological fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia, is of course, a legitimate condition. But in reality, we have little to fear. Read on to find out why you should love, not loathe, our eight-legged arachnid friends.</p> <p><strong>1. Spiders haven’t killed anyone in Australia for 40 years</strong></p> <p>The last confirmed fatal spider bite in Australia <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/spider-facts/">occurred in 1979</a>.</p> <p>Only a few species have venom that can kill humans: some mouse spiders (<em>Missulena</em> species), Sydney Funnel-webs (<em>Atrax</em>species) and some of their close relatives. <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/spider-facts/">Antivenom</a> for redbacks (<em>Latrodectus hasseltii</em>) was introduced in 1956, and for funnel-webs in 1980. However, redback venom is <a href="https://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/pages/doc.aspx?dn=GL2014_005">no longer considered life-threatening</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Spiders save us from the world’s deadliest animal</strong></p> <p>Spiders mostly eat insects, which helps control their populations. Their webs – especially big, intricate ones like our orb weavers’ – are particularly adept at catching small flying insects such as mosquitos. Worldwide, mosquito-borne viruses <a href="https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-animals-that-kill-most-humans.html">kill more humans</a> than any other animal.</p> <p><strong>3. They can live to an impressive age</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/PC18015">world’s oldest recorded spider</a> was a 43- year-old female trapdoor spider (<em>Gaius villosus</em>) that lived near Perth, Western Australia. Tragically a wasp sting, not old age, killed her.</p> <p><strong>4. Spider silk is amazing</strong></p> <p>Spider silk is the <a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-what-are-spider-webs-made-from-and-how-strong-are-they-91824">strongest</a>, most flexible natural biomaterial known to man. It has historically been used to make bandages, and UK researchers have worked out how to load silk bandages with <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adma.201604245">antibiotics</a>. Webs of the golden orb spider, common throughout Australia, are <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/golden-orb-weaving-spiders/">strong enough to catch bats and birds</a>, and a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2012/jan/23/golden-silk-cape-spiders-in-pictures">cloak was once woven</a> entirely from their silk.</p> <p><strong>5. Their venom could save our life</strong></p> <p>The University of Queensland is using spider venom <a href="https://imb.uq.edu.au/article/2017/07/taking-bite-out-chronic-pain-new-spider-venom-treatment">to develop</a>non-addictive pain-killers. The venom rapidly immobilises prey by targeting its nervous system – an ability that can act as a painkiller in humans.</p> <p>The venom from a Fraser Island funnel web contains a molecule that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-02/funnel-web-spider-venom-could-help-protect-brain-stroke-damage/10959032">delays the effects of stroke on the brain</a>. Researchers are investigating whether it could be administered by paramedics to protect a stroke victim on the way to hospital.</p> <p>Funnel-web venom is also being used to create <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/technology/funnel-web-venom-the-bees-knees-of-natural-pesticides-20160516-govvss.html">targeted pesticides</a> which are harmless to birds and mammals.</p> <p><em>Written by Leanda Denise Mason. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-like-spiders-here-are-10-reasons-to-change-your-mind-126433">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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Why board games are booming

<p>Board games are booming. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/25/board-games-back-tabletop-gaming-boom-pandemic-flash-point">Article</a> after <a href="https://time.com/4385490/board-game-design/">article</a> describes a “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/25/board-games-internet-playstation-xbox">golden</a> <a href="https://attackofthefanboy.com/articles/the-golden-age-of-board-games-continues-to-get-better-every-year/">age</a>” or “<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2017/07/31/bored-digital-games-join-board-game-renaissance/476986001/">renaissance</a>” of boardgaming.</p> <p>In Germany, the home of modern boardgaming, the industry has grown by over 40% in the past five years; the four-day <a href="https://www.spiel-messe.com/en/%22%22">SPIEL trade fair</a> this year saw 1,500 new board and card game releases, with 209,000 attendees from around the world.</p> <p>What is it about board games that attracts people, and what emerging trends can we see in the latest releases?</p> <p><strong>Social, challenging, real</strong></p> <p>Four main elements make board games enjoyable for families and <a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/">dedicated</a> hobbyists alike.</p> <p>Firstly, board games are social; they are played with other people. Together, players select a game, learn and interpret the rules, and experience the game. Even a mediocre game can be fun and memorable when you play it with the right group of people.</p> <p>Secondly, boardgames provide an intellectual challenge, or an opportunity for strategic thinking. Understanding rules, finding an optimal placement for a piece, making a move that surprises your opponent – all of these are enormously satisfying. In many modern boardgames, luck becomes something that you mitigate rather than something that arbitrarily determines a winner.</p> <p>Thirdly, board games are material – they are made of things; they have weight, substance, and even beauty.</p> <p>Hobbyists speak of the tactile joy and sensual delight of moving physical game pieces, and of their appreciation for the detailed art on a game box or board. Some go to great lengths to protect their games from damage, even “sleeving” individual cards in plastic to protect them from greasy fingers, spills or wear.</p> <p>Collectable Monopoly sets and other <a href="https://www.workandmoney.com/s/valuable-vintage-board-games-32b5423591a94861">vintage games</a> can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.</p> <p>Finally – and this helps to explain the enormous volume of new releases each year – board games provide variety. Beyond “the cult of the new” lurks a desire to have the right game for the right situation – whatever combination of gamers and strategic depth that might require.</p> <p>The game’s theme matters, but so do the mechanisms of its play, as well as the game’s expected duration. Like authors, <a href="https://www.boardgamequest.com/top-10-board-game-designers/">game designers</a> such as Pandemic creator Matt Leacock attract a following of fans who enjoy the style of games that they produce.</p> <p><strong> ‘Escape room’ experiences</strong></p> <p>To meet the demand for variety, designers look for new elements to offer in their games. “<a href="https://nonstoptabletop.com/blog/2017/6/17/tear-up-your-cards-legacy-games-explained">Legacy</a>” style games – where players customise the game as they play it, writing on the board, and discarding rules or game components – create a one-off, individualised variant of a core game. They also invite a group to play together over several play sessions, modifying “their” game throughout the experience.</p> <p>That can feel confronting to those of us who grew up protecting our games from “damage”.</p> <p>If writing on game pieces is confronting, the <a href="https://boardsandpawns.com/2019/05/11/the-complete-list-of-exit-the-game-series/">Exit</a> game series, by German couple <a href="https://opinionatedgamers.com/tag/inka-markus-brand/">Inka and Markus Brand</a> is even more so.</p> <p>These small, inexpensive games aim to replicate the experience of an “<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_room">escape room</a>” experience by providing the players with a series of puzzles to solve together, as a cooperative activity. To solve the puzzles, however, players must literally destroy the game – cutting up cards, tearing objects, folding and gluing and writing on them.</p> <p>Board games are not fading away in the digital world. They are booming.</p> <p>There’s a lot to be said for these low cost single-play games, which build communication and teamwork skills and – like real-world escape rooms – provide an opportunity for friends and families to work together to solve a common problem.</p> <p>For those who would like to be able to retrace their steps, or to pass a game on to friends, the <a href="https://www.spacecowboys.fr/unlock-demos-english">Unlock!</a> game series takes a different look at the escape room genre by using an integrated app to provide clues and answers.</p> <p>This ensures that the game itself is replayable, even if the players do not wish to revisit the same story.</p> <p>Like Exit games, the Unlock! series offers creative opportunities to combine different objects as part of solving the puzzles, but adds occasional multimedia elements and uses the various properties of a smartphone as problem-solving tools.</p> <p><strong>Real boards, digital play</strong></p> <p>For people who enjoy solving puzzles, there are many other new games that combine <a href="http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/digitising-boardgames-issues-and-tensions/">digital technologies</a> with the components and feel of a board game.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/239188/chronicles-crime">Chronicles of Crime</a> puts players in the role of police detectives, who must travel to different locations to interview suspects, consult experts, and conduct searches.</p> <p>Similarly, <a href="https://detectiveboardgame.com/">Detective</a> sets players to solve a series of crimes. In this game, however, it is not enough to simply learn who committed a crime, it also must be proven by the chain of collected (and registered) evidence registered by players on a custom website.</p> <p>These games reflect the broader development of a small group of games that use digital tools to add new features to board games.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286927/one-night-ultimate-super-heroes">One Night Ultimate Superheroes</a> uses an app to run the game, taking on an administrative role that would otherwise have to be performed by a player.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/the-lord-of-the-rings-journeys-in-middle-earth/">Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth</a> uses an app to speed setup, set game maps, resolve rules and track the players’ progress, streamlining and simplifying play.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/185709/beasts-balance">Beasts of Balance</a> – a simple, dexterity-based stacking game – uses an app to create a story world which brings the tabletop animal figures to life and encourages players to stack different figures to continue its narrative.</p> <p>These digital tools add variety to the range of boardgames that are available. More than simple battery-enabled games like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_(game)">Operation</a>, they provide new ways to interact with the game material and mechanisms while still supporting the sociability, intellectual challenge and tangibility so enjoyed by players.</p> <p>Physical board games aren’t going anywhere, but apps add exciting new possibilities to this play space.</p> <p><em>Written by Melissa Rogerson. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/board-games-are-booming-heres-why-and-some-holiday-boredom-busters-128770">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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5 funniest words added to the dictionary in the last decade

<p>Language is used to decipher the world in which we live, and that world is ever-changing. So are the words we use to describe it. Dictionaries keep track of words that are important enough to make the cut, including the seemingly strange ones that are culturally relevant at a certain point in time. In the past decade, some of those words have been downright funny. Why? Elin Asklöv, a language expert at Babbel, explains it’s because “we have a feeling they’re made up, and it’s funny to see them in a serious context in a dictionary, when in reality, all words are made up.” Here are a few recent additions to some very serious dictionaries that might surprise you – and make you giggle.</p> <p><strong>Meh</strong></p> <p>In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, it can be tempting to shorten your words, especially when writing online. Social media has a big influence on language, according to Asklöv. Meh is essentially the verbal equivalent of shrugging. It might sound surprising that such a meh word was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but Asklöv isn’t surprised. “A lot of the words they’re adding come from informal settings, like through social media,” she explains. “It then travels to other types of media, gains popularity and becomes common enough to be added to the dictionary.”</p> <p><strong>Twerking</strong></p> <p>Merriam-Webster, which added this word in 2015, defines twerking as “sexually suggestive dancing characterised by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks especially while squatting.” That may be the least hip way to describe twerking, says Kevin Lockett, author of The Digital Handbook 2020. But despite the clinical definition of the dance that was popularised by Miley Cyrus, Lockett gives kudos to the dictionary for including the word at all. After all, even though it seems like a silly thing to put in a formal book of language, twerking has – for better or worse – been culturally important to an entire generation.</p> <p><strong>Bromance</strong></p> <p>This word melds bro and romance to encapsulate “a close non-sexual friendship between men,” according to Merriam-Webster. Bromances are categorised by back-slap hugs and exchanges of “I love you, man,” with the emphasis on man. Asklöv points out that from a traditional gender-role perspective, the concept of a bromance is comical – and maybe a bit mocking. Right or wrong, that’s because it characterises a close relationship and emotions that men typically (or, rather, stereotypically) don’t show. But once a bromance is official, men can let their friendship flag fly.</p> <p><strong>Coot</strong></p> <p>This word has two meanings: an aquatic bird and an eccentric old man. The nature of the bird – small and unassuming – has been adopted to describe an older person of simple manners. But it’s usually used in conjunction with the word crazy, so it’s not quite as innocuous as that definition may sound. If you see such a person talking to himself near the coot pond, don’t worry – he’s just a crazy old coot. Although this word has been in existence since the 15th century, it was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014.</p> <p><strong>Scrumdiddlyumptious</strong></p> <p>You might be able to guess what this word means, but let’s see what the experts have to say. “Extremely scrumptious, excellent, splendid; (esp. of food) delicious” is how the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. This word was first used by novelist Roald Dahl and popularised in <em>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</em>, and it was added to the dictionary in 2016.</p> <p><em>Written by Isabelle Tavares. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/12-funniest-words-added-to-the-dictionary-in-the-last-decade?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em> our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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Have yourself a merry DIY Christmas

<p>Christmas doesn’t have to be all about spending big! How about a little homemade charm with your decorations this year?</p> <p>December often brings a financial and environmental strain. Christmas trees, wrapping paper, decorations. It all adds up both financially and also for the environment. So why not make some of your own Christmas decorations and put your DIY skills to use during the most expensive and unsustainable time of year?</p> <p>Here is an easy 'Christmas tree' that you can build using some cheap products found at your local hardware store. The end result can be as big or as small as you like (therefore not taking up valuable space in your lounge room!) and can be easily packed away for next year!</p> <p>It's as simple as buying a sheet of MDF, some plumber's pipe in a variety of sizes, spray paint and a few Christmas baubles in your chosen colour scheme.</p> <p><strong>Step 1</strong><br />Firstly, paint your MDF backing board. Buying a good quality spray paint will make the job easier and improve the look of the end result. Rustoleum is self-priming, and comes in a variety of metallics and on-trend colours. It is readily and affordably available at Bunnings Warehouse. We have chosen basic matte black and white for the background. It is quite easy to just paint a block colour, however we have chosen to mask the board up and paint stripes to give our finished piece a little more dimension. Start by painting the entire board white and then mask and paint black over the top. Remove the masking tape before the paint dries!</p> <p><strong>Step 2</strong><br />Cut the plumber’s pipe into pieces with a small handsaw, and spray paint with whatever colours you have chosen. Metallic gold and silver work really well here, but you can also use sea mist green, which pays homage to Christmas foliage beautifully.</p> <p><strong>Step 3</strong><br />Using a hot glue gun (also available at hardware stores), adhere the piping to the backing board in the shape of a tree and fill some of the pieces with Christmas baubles. You can go crazy with the colours or keep it totally neutral! We are still scarred over letting children trim the Christmas tree in years gone by, so stuck with a neutral palette.</p> <p><strong>Step 4</strong><br />Finish with your favourite decorations. For fun and a bit of extra colour, we added a deep burgundy velvet ribbon. You could also add small LED lights, or other trimmings to your tree. You could hang it on a wall, lean it on the mantle, or stand it in the corner of your room, ready to lay gifts at its base!</p> <p>It's that simple. Easy, sustainable, DIY Christmas. Happy festive season!</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the easy DIY steps.</p> <p><em>Written by Jane Frosh. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/have-yourself-a-merry-%E2%80%93-diy-christmas.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Hidden women of history: Neaera, the Athenian child slave raised to be a courtesan

<p>The ancient worlds of Greece and Rome have perhaps never been as popular as they presently are. There are numerous television series and one-off documentaries covering both “big picture” perspectives and stories of ordinary people.</p> <p>Neaera was a woman from fourth century BCE Athens whose life is significant and sorrowful – worthy to be remembered – but may never feature in a glossy biopic.</p> <p>Possibly born in Corinth, a place where she lived from at least a young age, Neaera was raised by a brothel-keeper by the name of Nicarete.</p> <p>Her predicament was the result of her being enslaved to Nicarete. While we don’t know the reason for this, we do know that foundlings were common in antiquity. The parents of baby Neaera, for whatever reason, left her to fate – to die by exposure or be collected by a stranger.</p> <p>From a young age, Neaera was trained by Nicarete for the life of a hetaira (a Classical Greek term for “courtesan”). It was Nicarete who also named her, giving her a typical courtesan title: “Neaera” meaning “Fresh One”.</p> <p>Ancient sources reveal Naeara’s life in the brothel. In a legal speech by the Athenian politician and forensic orator, Apollodorus, the following description is provided: “There were seven young girls who were purchased when they were small children by Nicarete … She had the talent to recognise the potential beauty of little girls and knew how to raise them and educate them with expertise – for it was from this that she had made a profession and from this came her livelihood.</p> <p>“She called them ‘daughters’ so that, by displaying them as freeborn, she could obtain the highest prices from the men wishing to have intercourse with them. After that, when she had enjoyed the profit from their youth, she sold every single one of them …”</p> <p>The occasion for the passage from Apollodorus is a court case that was brought against Neaera in approximately 343 BCE. Neaera was around 50-years-old by the time of her prosecution, which took place in Athens.</p> <p><strong>Trafficking and abuse</strong></p> <p>The circumstances of her trial are complicated, involving the buying, selling, trafficking and abuse of Neaera from a very young age.</p> <p>Piecing together the evidence from Apollodorus’ prosecution speech, which has come down to us with the title, “Against Neaera”, it transpires that two of her clients, who shared joint ownership of her, allowed her to buy her freedom around 376 BCE.</p> <p>Afterwards, she moved to Athens with one Phrynion, but his brutal treatment of her saw Neaera leave for Megara, where circumstances caused her to return to sex work.</p> <p>Further intrigues involving men and sex work saw Neaera eventually face trial on the charge of falsely representing herself as a free Athenian woman by pretending to be married to a citizen.</p> <p>The charge of fraud was based on the law that a foreigner could not live as a common law “spouse” to a freeborn Athenian. The fact that Neaera also had three children, a daughter by the name of Phano, and two sons, further complicated the trial and its range of legal entanglements.</p> <p>While we never discover the outcome of the trial, nor what happened to Neaera, the speech of the prosecutor remains, and reveals much about her life. Unfortunately, the speech of the defence is lost.</p> <p>We do know, however, that the man with whom Neaera cohabitated, Stephanus, delivered the defence. Of course, he was not only defending Neaera – he was defending himself! Should Neaera have been found guilty, Stephanus would have forfeited his citizenship and the rights that attended it.</p> <p>Stephanus had a history of legal disputes with the prosecutor, Apollodorus. He also had a history of being in trouble with the law. For example, he had illegally married off Phano – not once, but twice – to Athenian citizens. Shady “get rich quick” schemes motivated such activities, and it seems that Stephanus was adept at using both his “wife” and his “daughter’ for bartering and personal profit.</p> <p>Another accusation revealed during the trial alleged that Stephanus arranged for Neaera to lure men to his house, engage them in sex, and then bribe them. And while Apollodorus provides no evidence for such a scam ever having taken place, judging by Stephanus’ track-record, it does not seem implausible.</p> <p><strong>Remembering Neaera</strong></p> <p>Reading through the long, complex and damnatory speech of Apollodorus, we risk losing sight of the woman at the centre of it. Caught amid petty politics, sex scandals, and personal vendettas is a woman who becomes peripheral to the machismo being played out in court.</p> <p>Yet, somewhat ironically, this is the only ancient source we have that records not only Neaera and the life she was forced to lead – but the life of a hetaira from infancy, girlhood, middle-age and, ultimately, past her "use by” date.</p> <p>Had she not been taken to court as part of the factional fighting of ancient Athens, had she not had her reputation annihilated so publicly, we would have never known about Neaera.</p> <p>Were it not for Apollodorus and his ancient version of “slut-shaming”, Neaera’s story would have been lost.</p> <p>But it hasn’t been lost. Somewhere, amid the male rhetoric, her story endures. Unfortunately, her voice is not preserved. All we can read in the speech, “Against Neaera” are the voices of men; her prosecutor and the witnesses he calls to the stand.</p> <p>Ironically, these testimonies and accusations - so casually introduced in ancient Athens, but received so differently today - emphasise the inhumanity of the sex trade in an antiquity too often and too unthinkingly valorised.</p> <p>The document known as “Against Neaera” is the only record we have of this (almost) hidden woman. It prompts us to remember. And it’s important to remember Neaera.</p> <p><em>Written by Marguerite Johnson. Republished with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/hidden-women-of-history-neaera-the-athenian-child-slave-raised-to-be-a-courtesan-126840">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Natural history on TV: how the ABC took Australian animals to the people

<p>Most of us will never see a platypus or a lyrebird in the wild, but it’s likely we’ve encountered them on television.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10304312.2019.1669533">Our new research</a> looks at the vital role early ABC television played in making Australian animals accessible to audiences.</p> <p>In the early years of ABC TV, there was very little locally produced animal content. When animals were on the small screen, they were usually imported from the BBC.</p> <p>Foremost among the imports was David Attenborough’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918481/">Zoo Quest</a> (1954–1964), following the young naturalist’s exploits in Guyana, Borneo and Paraguay collecting live animals for London Zoo.</p> <p>Zoo Quest was formative in the development of natural history television. It launched Attenborough’s career and established many of the cultural conventions of the format: the authoritative and intrepid male narrator venturing to exotic places in search of animals being their wild selves.</p> <p>For Attenborough, the thrill of showing animals in their natural states gave the show “<a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=1lHs8bTVh8oC&amp;pg=PA8&amp;lpg=PA8&amp;dq=%22the+spice+of+unpredictability%22&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=PHg_-HorBL&amp;sig=ACfU3U2rfkJS_gutZ9keb76WpQ2Ogzn7Iw&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwid_7WvyK7lAhVDuI8KHVWSDJEQ6AEwAXoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=%22the%20spice%20of%20unpredictability%22&amp;f=false">the spice of unpredictability</a>”.</p> <p><strong>From the farm to the bush</strong></p> <p>The initial strategy for local animal content by ABC TV was to use familiar radio techniques – panel talks and natural sounds – and just add pictures.</p> <p>Junior Farmer Competition, for instance, was a successful radio show. When it moved to television in 1958, live cattle, sheep and poultry were brought into the studio and competitors were asked to handle them before the cameras.</p> <p>This show was a remarkable experiment in visualising a radio format – but it didn’t last. The logistics of wrangling livestock in a TV studio proved too difficult.</p> <p>During the 1960s, the ABC began screening locally made wildlife shows. Wild animals were no longer somewhere else, in Africa or South America: they were all around us.</p> <p>Wildlife Australia (1962-1964) was written by ornithologist and radio broadcaster, Graham Pizzey and produced with the CSIRO. The series took viewers into unique Australian environments, and explored the native wildlife in these habitats.</p> <p>Other shows offered variations on this theme of an emerging environmental nationalism. Around the Bush (1964) starred naturalist and educator <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/green-before-it-was-fashionable-20070912-gdr373.html">Vincent Serventy</a> out in the field; Wild Life Paradise: Australian Fauna (1967), was filmed at the Sir Colin Mackenzie Sanctuary (later Healesville Sanctuary) and offered content about what made Australian animals unique.</p> <p>As recurring references to Australia in these titles suggest, these shows were determinedly national. They often represented animals as living in “the bush” or “the environment”.</p> <p>This early reference to “the environment” framed it as a zone where nature and culture interacted – usually with bad outcomes for nature. As early as 1962, audiences were invited to look at animals as both fascinating and vulnerable.</p> <p>Animals and their habitats were framed as in need of public attention and concern in order to limit human intrusion and impact.</p> <p>While nature conservation movements had been around since the post WWII period, they often focused on preservation of scenic sites for human pleasure. This early environmentalism gave <a href="https://www.mup.com.au/books/defending-the-little-desert-paperback-softback">conservation a more political edge</a>. It valued nature in its own right and questioned development at all costs.</p> <p><strong>Dancing Orpheus</strong></p> <p>Probably the most groundbreaking early natural history show made by the ABC was <a href="https://aso.gov.au/titles/tv/dancing-orpheus/">Dancing Orpheus</a> (1962).</p> <p>Celebrated for its visual and technical prowess in capturing the secretive superb lyrebird, the most powerful scene showed a cock bird performing its elaborate courting display. The narration by John West offered scientific explanation, but the focus was on the extraordinary aesthetics of this pure natural expression.</p> <p>Dancing Orpheus was celebrated not just because it captured a rare and beautiful lyrebird performance, but because it also showed the emerging power of television to make remarkable Australian animals visible to audiences.</p> <p>Dancing Orpheus was one of the catalysts for the development of natural history television at the ABC, which really took off with the watershed series <a href="https://beyondtheestuary.com/fire-and-water-vale-charles-ken-taylor-poet-filmmaker-1930-2014/">Bush Quest with Robin Hill</a> (1970).</p> <p>Bush Quest featured the artist and naturalist Hill observing and sketching the wildlife of central and coastal Victoria. It established a new audience for Australian wildlife, breaking with earlier presentations of the remote bush or outback.</p> <p>Bush Quest cultivated a new environmental ethos in viewers increasingly aware of nature’s fragility.</p> <p><strong>An ongoing legacy</strong></p> <p>The ABC’s Natural History Unit was created in 1973. This small unit produced a suite of top rating programs that publicised a huge variety of Australian animals, way beyond the usual kangaroos and koalas.</p> <p>Its watershed moment was the internationally acclaimed series <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4590316/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Nature of Australia</a> (1988). Nature of Australia offered audiences an experience of national identification and pride based on our remarkable natural – rather than cultural or military – history. It put nature at the heart of definitions of national uniqueness.</p> <p>Early natural history television on the ABC showed audiences animals and places they didn’t even know existed, and explained natural processes in ways that were accessible and engaging. It also showed audiences how vulnerable these animals and habitats were to human actions and intervention.</p> <p>Natural history television on the ABC didn’t just make animals entertaining: it implicated audiences in their lives and survival, a significant factor in building environmental awareness.</p> <p><em>Written by Gay Hawkins. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/natural-history-on-tv-how-the-abc-took-australian-animals-to-the-people-125221">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Queen Elizabeth celebrates stamp collector society’s 150th anniversary with a grin

<p>Queen Elizabeth was in her element as she visited the Royal Philatelic Society to celebrate its 150th anniversary.</p> <p>Philately is the study of stamps, postal history and other related items. The Royal Philatelic Society, according to this Instagram post by The Royal Family, aims to “promote the science and practice of the study of stamps as well as maintain collections of stamps”.</p> <p>The Queen is an avid stamp collector herself, as she has a collection that’s estimated to be worth AUD $189,291,500 NZD $199,885,605 and had a huge grin on her face as she was shown around the new building.</p> <p>Her stamp collection, according to<span> </span><em>Telegraph UK</em><span> </span>includes a rare Mauritian stamp valued at AUD $3.7 million NZD $3.9 million and the stamp went on display for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.</p> <p>She opened a new headquarters for the society, which is the oldest in the world. The Queen also met with architects, administration staff, supporters and young collectors who are busy working hard to keep the tradition of stamps alive.</p> <p>The nearly 93-year-old wore an eye catching sea blue coat dress with contrasting navy velvet trip by her personal dressmaker Angela Kelly. The look was accompanied with a matching hat.</p> <p>Angela Kelly has revealed a number of secrets from her 20 years of working with The Queen and is the first tell-all book to be sanctioned by her Majesty. The book is titled<span> </span><em>The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe</em>.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the Queen enjoy herself at the Royal Philatelic Society.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: Instagram <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5VN1P8H6Dn/">theroyalfamily</a></em></p>

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What I learned as a hairdresser in a war zone

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I don’t think my life is much different from anyone else’s, except that I decided to be a hairdresser in a war zone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I first arrived in Kabul, I felt like I had been transported to biblical times – only most of the people had guns and I only had my scissors. It wasn't until I spent time in Afghanistan that I learned how powerful my trade of hairdressing was. The minute I pulled out my scissors and cape, I felt like the most popular kid in class – everyone wanted a haircut or colour.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">People like to think that because women are covered, they are plain – no makeup and hair undone. Let me tell you – that is the opposite of the truth. I have always gone that extra mile with my own hair and makeup, but these women made me look like a Plain Jane.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One lady told me how she drove 12 hours over the Khyber Pass to Pakistan – dodging the Taliban the entire way – just to get foils and a good haircut. The Taliban had forced the salons to close and a few had gone underground. I was stunned at the risk these women took just so they could have their hair done for a wedding party – a custom that had always been a strong part of the culture but was now against the law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was when I walked into that first salon that I knew there was no turning back. I was going to do something for my sister hairdressers. I realised that hairdressing was a fantastic portable skill, one that was perfect for Afghanistan, and one that could give women choices and a way to feed their family.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This was a skill that could be done in or out of the home, and it would be a sanctuary for women only. No man could control – or even step foot into – the salon. It would be such an empowering place for the women to be free.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Opening the Kabul Beauty School was one of the most rewarding but difficult things I have done in my life. In the beginning, when I was working with so many young Afghan women at the school, I felt so overwhelmed by the traumas that each of these girls had endured for so many years. But on the other hand, I saw the strength and power that each of these young women seemed to have been born with.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was horrified when I heard about arranged marriages at the age of twelve, how so many had to flee their homes for years due to the Taliban, and about those who had to stop going to school in fourth grade because of war. I was amazed at the core strength of these women.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I never had the intention of being a writer, but I always wrote. I kept daily notes and journals so that my head could purge some of the information it was gathering each day. Often, I felt that I was on overload, I was out of my comfort zone, I was out of my element, and each day, I was listening to a new and difficult story that one of the girls needed to share.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The more I wrote, the more I began to understand that these women didn't need my pity, that we really are all the same. Like them, I am a woman, I am a mother, and I am a daughter. When I realised that, it all came together and the fun began. When I stopped looking at them as poor, tragic Afghan women, and instead as women who had gone through lots of stuff and who now wanted to move forward – just like most of us – everything changed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I decided I wanted the world to see these beautiful women as I did. I wanted them to be more than a news clip or a sound bite. I wanted the world to see them through my eyes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Afghanistan is a complicated place, and so when I left, I felt shattered. I had really thought that I would spend the rest of my life in Kabul; I never saw myself moving back to the United States. I missed the girls and my old life so badly, and spent the next few years grieving the loss of my Afghan family.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because I didn't want to let go of Afghanistan, the only way I could keep it close was to keep writing about it. I told my agent that I really wanted to write another book, but this time I wanted to write fiction. I wanted to write happy endings. I figured if you put it in writing, just maybe it will happen in real life. Also, I had to prove to my kids that I wasn't a one-hit wonder.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I have learned so much about myself while writing my five books. I’ve learned that I am a storyteller first and a writer second. I love the process of developing a book. I love how the characters come alive and become your best friends, and how some turn into people you never want to see again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Writing is my best therapy, it is my best friend, it is a true companion.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deborah Rodriguez’s new book, The Zanzibar Wife is available now (Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99).</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Deborah Rodriguez. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/what-i-learned-as-a-hairdresser-in-a-war-zone.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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How to hold a successful garage sale

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clearing your home of clutter or old and unwanted items is an important task when you’re planning to sell or move house, but it can be also be a great way of simply freshening up and re-organising your home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you hold a garage sale after the clean up, you also have a chance to make some extra money and have a fun day with family, friends and neighbours. If you don’t know where to start, the key is planning and preparation. Here are our five tips for a garage sale.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Decide on a date</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Choose a Saturday or Sunday, three to four weeks ahead. You need time to collect, clean up, arrange and price items. By deciding on a date in advance, you also have a deadline to work towards. Make sure the date does not clash with any major local events or sport activities, and that helpers are free to assist on that day. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Start Collecting </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Begin sorting through your home for goods you are willing to sell, including everything you want to get rid of. You will be surprised - your junk can be another person's treasure. Remember, though, that some items may need to be cleaned or repaired to ensure a good price. It’s important that you tell as many neighbours, friends and family as possible that you are having a garage sale, as they may have some items they want to sell and may be willing to help out on the day. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Spread the word</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Advertise in your local paper two weeks before the day, but don’t forget to use social media (many neighbourhoods have their own Facebook pages) or websites such as gumtree.com.au. Facebook has recently launched its ‘Market’ in Australia aimed at helping people find things for sale locally. Ask local shops and supermarkets if they allow signs in their windows, and consider community notice boards.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also place signage on the corner of your street and main road, either the evening before or early on the morning of the sale. Often your local real estate office will be able to help you with the supply of pointer signs because agents are frequently asked to help their clients with garage sales. Remember to keep all signs and advertisements brief - the day, date, start and finish time and your property address is all that is required.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Be prepared </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make sure all items are clearly priced with stickers before the day. Keep pricing simple – saves having to do a lot of adding up on the day. Have plenty of change available, including small change and notes. Money belts are useful for collecting cash or you can use a till as long as it is never left unattended. It is also a good idea to have a calculator, pencil and paper, bags, boxes and newspaper to wrap valuables. And don’t forget to have drinks and seating handy for you and your helpers – it can be a long morning! </span></p> <p><strong>5. On the day </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t be surprised if you find serious buyers knocking on your door an hour or two before start time. A good ‘official’ starting time is 9am, so that visitors won’t disturb you too early. During the day, remember to keep your house locked at all times, and ensure you have a secure place inside your home to put cash as it accumulates. State a clear finish time so people are not coming too late in the day. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the sale has finished, donate leftover items to a local charity. By being prepared you will be able to relax and enjoy the day, ending up with a clean house and a little extra cash at the end.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Stewart Bunn. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/how-to-hold-a-successful-garage-sale.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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Princess Charlotte’s striking resemblance with fellow royal

<p>Princess Charlotte has often been compared to her royal family members – some say she bears a striking resemblance to her father Prince William, while others believe she inherited her looks from her grandmother, Princess Diana.</p> <p>Now, a new royal has been pointed out as Charlotte’s lookalike.</p> <p>28-year-old cousin Lady Kitty Spencer is Princess Diana’s niece and a cousin of Prince William and Prince Harry. Spencer is Princess Charlotte’s first cousin once removed.</p> <p>Over the weekend, Lady Kitty shared a throwback photo of herself riding a horse in 1992.</p> <p>“Lexus Melbourne Cup here we come!! Channeling my inner jockey since 1992!” she wrote on the caption.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4UNWWHheix/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4UNWWHheix/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Lexus Melbourne Cup here we come!! Channeling my inner jockey since 1992! 🐎 🏆 @lexusaustralia @flemingtonvrc #MelbourneCup #MelbCupCarnival #LoveCupWeek #ExperienceAmazing</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/kitty.spencer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Kitty Spencer</a> (@kitty.spencer) on Nov 1, 2019 at 1:15am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Fans were quick to notice the Lady’s striking resemblance with Princess Charlotte.</p> <p>“Gosh you look like Princess Charlotte here,” one wrote.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw72MZGlW5P/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw72MZGlW5P/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal)</a> on May 1, 2019 at 2:31pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“So cute!! Princess Charlotte looks like you!!” another commented.</p> <p>“Beautiful and like Princess Charlotte,” one added.</p> <p>Another photo that Lady Kitty shared from November 2018 from her first day at school also had fans pointing out her similarities with Princess Charlotte. “I thought she was Charlotte,” a fan wrote.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BqexQAQhkBd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BqexQAQhkBd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">First day of school 🤓 #tbt</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/kitty.spencer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Kitty Spencer</a> (@kitty.spencer) on Nov 22, 2018 at 3:22am PST</p> </div> </blockquote>

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Celebrate Christmas like a Royal

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the holiday season approaches, many of us will be busy buying presents, testing out Christmas recipes, and organising festive feasts for our loved ones, so it’s only befitting to ensure you host an impeccable dinner party.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zarife Hardy, Director of the Australian School of Etiquette, shares her etiquette tips and reflects on some royal traditions so you can celebrate Christmas as the Royals would.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Royal Family have traditionally spent Christmas Eve together at the Queen’s country home, with the grandchildren putting the finishing touches to the tree. Holiday rituals in the royal household today come from ways of celebrating popularised by Queen Victoria herself. Some of these traditions have become the accepted way we celebrate Christmas nowadays.</span></p> <p><strong>Royal traditions</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Royals will lay out all their presents in the drawing room, opening their gifts on Christmas Eve. The Monarch’s gifts are unlikely to be pricey, as the Royals tend to buy each other jokey things. At 8pm, a candlelit dinner is served, with the ladies in gowns and jewels, and the men dressed in black tie. While it is a formal affair, it is also a wonderful opportunity for the families to catch up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the morning of Christmas Day, a full English breakfast is served before everyone attends the traditional church service. Afterwards, they return home for a turkey roast with all the trimmings, before gathering to watch the Queen's speech at 3pm. In 1840, the Christmas Day menu for Queen Victoria and her family included both roast beef and a royal swan or two. Today, the staff can put their feet up, as the family insist on serving themselves their own buffet supper.</span></p> <p><strong>Dos and don’ts</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reflecting on these traditions, there are some key etiquette learnings that trace back to Queen Victoria’s days — many of which Queen Elizabeth II still likes to follow today.</span></p> <p><strong>Here are some tips to properly prepare you for the holidays:</strong></p> <p>1. Send Christmas cards. Most people enjoy receiving cards and Queen Victoria was a huge fan of the Christmas card.</p> <p>2. Be a gracious guest. If you have been invited to someone’s house for lunch or dinner, show your manners: be on time, bring a gift, don’t drink too much, and know when to leave.</p> <p>3. Always greet guests at the door. Be the perfect host — greet your guests at the front door, introduce them to everyone, and have plenty of food and activities. Do as much preparation as possible the day before so you can enjoy the celebrations with your guests.</p> <p>4. Be generous but don’t get into debt! You don’t have to spend a fortune on gifts — it is nice to give something small to everyone, particularly the children. If funds are limited, bake cakes or biscuits, and present them in a festive gift bag or tray.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Royal Family doesn’t gift expensive items, rather they like to give each other gag gifts. Prince Charles was once given a white leather toilet seat but found it so comfortable, he now brings it with him on all overseas tours.</span></p> <p>5. Show gratitude even if you don’t like the gift. Keep in mind that the person took time to think about you and select something he or she thought you would like.</p> <p>6. Have fun at the office party but don’t forget where you are. It is never okay to drink too much, tell off-colour jokes, or get too close to other colleagues.</p> <p>7. Spend extra time with children or grandchildren. Be prepared to remind them of all the manners you have taught them — it’s easy to forget during the chaos of Christmas.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">8.. Don’t forget your thank you cards. Make sure to send a written acknowledgement to all who have given you a gift, hosted an event you attended, or done something special for you. Most importantly, enjoy every moment — Christmas only comes once a year, so be kind, be generous, be grateful.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Zarife Hardy. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/celebrate-christmas-like-a-royal.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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Royal rift: Prince Harry confirms conflict with brother Prince William

<p>Prince Harry has publicly confirmed there is a growing rift between he and his big brother Prince William in a remarkably stoic documentary. </p> <p>The Duke of Sussex hinted there was a strained relationship with his elder brother in a new doco about he and his wife, Duchess Meghan. </p> <p>British journalist Tom Bradby asked the royal if there was any truth to reports of rifts with his brother. </p> <p>“Umm... part, part of this role and part of this job and part of this family being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably, stuff happens. But look: We’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers — and we’re certainly on different paths at the moment,” he said. </p> <p>“But I’ll certainly always be there for him as I know he’ll always be there for me.</p> <p>“We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy.</p> <p>“But I love him dearly and the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But as brothers, you have good days, you have bad days.”</p> <p>Filmed across South Africa, Angola, Malawi and Botswana, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told the British news anchor the impact of navigating through life as a “modern” royal couple. </p> <p>Duchess warned against marrying “H”</p> <p>The Documentary featured Duchess Meghan admitting life over the last year has been “hard”. </p> <p>“I don’t think anybody could understand that. But in fairness, I had no idea — which probably sounds difficult to understand here. But when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friends said to me: ‘I’m sure he’s great, but you shouldn’t do it, because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’”</p> <p>“I, very naively because I’m American and we don’t have that there, (said) ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense! I’m not in tabloids!’ I didn’t get it. So, umm... it’s been complicated.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">'As brothers you have good days, you have bad days'<br /><br />Prince Harry says the 'majority of stuff' written about his relationship with his brother William is 'created out of nothing' and adds: 'I love him dearly' <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HarryAndMeghan?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HarryAndMeghan</a> <a href="https://t.co/GWs5KfuovM">https://t.co/GWs5KfuovM</a> <a href="https://t.co/bW7GVALZR6">pic.twitter.com/bW7GVALZR6</a></p> — ITV News (@itvnews) <a href="https://twitter.com/itvnews/status/1186028606557958145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 20, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“Can you put up with this? Can you deal with it? Can you manage it? Can you continue with it? And what happens if you can’t?” Bradby asked.</p> <p>“I’ve said for a long time to H — that’s what I call him — it’s not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life,” she said.</p> <p>“You’ve got to thrive. You’ve got to feel happy.”</p> <p>“I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried, but I think what that does internally is probably really damaging. The biggest thing I know is that I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it’d be fair, and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile. But I don’t know... I’m taking each day as it comes.”</p> <p>Prince Harry says he won’t be “bullied into playing a game that killed my mother”</p> <p>The Duke of Sussex, who is an outspoken mental health advocate talked about managing his mental health despite the media scrutiny. He also touched on his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a tragic car accident in 1997. </p> <p>“It seems to be that you are under a lot of pressure. I don’t know if there’s a little bit of worry about your wife being under the same pressure as your mother was under... You’re living in this goldfish bowl, the interest is huge, the pressure is great — do you want to talk me through the last year, and where your head is at?” Bradby asked Harry, who told him he’d “hit the nail on the head.”</p> <p>“I will always protect my family, and now I have a family to protect. Everything she (Diana) went through is incredibly raw, every single day — and that’s not me being paranoid, that’s just me not wanting a repeat of the past. If anybody else knew what I knew, be it a father, a husband, anyone, you’d probably be doing exactly what I do as well.”</p> <p>On dealing with the media, the royal said: “It’s management, it’s constant management. I thought I was out of the woods, and then suddenly it all came back. Part of this job, and part of any job, means putting on a brave face, and turning a cheek to a lot of the stuff. But for me and for my wife, of course there’s a lot of stuff that hurts — particularly when the majority of it’s untrue.</p> <p>“But all we need to do is focus on being real and being the people that we are, and standing up for what we believe in. I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mother.”</p> <p>The new documentary comes amid news the couple is planning on taking a six-week break from the spotlight and royal duties.</p> <p>A royal source told<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/" target="_blank"><span> </span>The Sunday Times</a>: “The Duke and Duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time.”</p> <p>It’s understood they will fly to Los Angeles next month for Thanksgiving with Meghan’s mum, Doria Ragland. </p> <p>They will then return to the UK to spend time with the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family at Sandringham for Archie’s first christmas. </p>

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Budget ways to dress up your home

<p>I want to expand on that post, by showing you that when it comes to the finishing touches in your home, budget can be beautiful.</p> <p>There’s nothing better than decking out your home without spending a lot of money, and below I’m going to tell you which pieces of decor and furniture you can skimp on that are still incredibly stylish.</p> <p><strong>Lamps<br /></strong>Mood lighting in a space is super important, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money here. You have my full approval to spend around $60 on a table lamp and under $150 for a floor lamp. With table lamps, opt for varieties with a large base and shade. They’ll take up more space on a table, which means more visual impact.</p> <p>The one thing to look out for with floor lamps is sturdiness. Some cheaper floor lamps can have unstable, wobbly legs (especially tripod varieties). So give your lamp a shake in-store to make sure it’s well grounded. </p> <p><strong>Art prints<br /></strong>I’m a big fan of investing in original art from local artists when decorating a living room, for example. But if you’re dressing a spare room, hallway, office or other room that you don’t spend a tonne of time in, a cluster of budget art prints is the way to go. </p> <p>There are tonnes of online stores that sell prints for around $20 or $30 each (quote art is still on-trend and I love it). Buy four prints, pop them in some cheap IKEA frames, and hang them in a line down your hallway. Instant update for under $200 total. </p> <p><strong><u>Bonus tip:</u></strong> Canvas art is usually priced really well too, it’s light as a feather, and makes a big impact for minimal spend. </p> <p><strong>Mirrors<br /></strong>If your budget is tight, cheap mirrors are the way to go. The beauty of the more affordable ones is that they’re smaller and lighter, so they’re easy to hang using velcro Command hooks or similar.</p> <p>If you want to make a big impact with your mirror, consider four smaller square mirrors hung on the wall in a grid. It’ll take up the space of a much larger mirror, but without the price tag and hassle of hanging something so heavy. </p> <p><strong>Stools<br /></strong>I usually say that anything you sit on should be invested in, because comfort is essential. However, stools are the exception. The truth is, you won’t spend a lot of time on the stool itself (15 minutes while having a tea or coffee), so you don’t have to spend hundreds here.</p> <p>To ensure sturdiness, though, go for a metal bar stool that comes in one piece. That way, the legs won’t wobble and you don’t ever have to worry about it falling apart underneath you. Pop a cushion on top if you need some extra comfort.</p> <p><strong>TV unit<br /></strong>The TV unit is one of the furniture pieces I always advise clients to skimp on if they’re on a budget. This is because you generally don’t even look at it when watching TV, and it’s not a piece built for comfort. It’s literally a rectangular box that elevates your television off the floor.</p> <p>I suggest you go cheap here and save your money to spend on other items. There are TV units on the market for under $70 that come on wheels and still have cavities in them for your DVD player, stereo or set-top box. </p> <p><strong>Hall table<br /></strong>I love a hall or entry table inside the door of a home. It’s a great place for dropping keys and mail. And if nothing else it gives you a space to decorate! The good news is that you can go cheap here too.</p> <p>The one thing to be careful of is not sitting anything too heavy on a hall table. The height of a hall table means that it’s already quite fragile. Cheaper versions often feature thin legs. So either secure it to the wall so it can’t topple over, or ensure it only holds light decor that won’t smash should it get knocked over.</p> <p><strong>The moral of the story<br /></strong>I like a home to have a mix of new and old, pieces you’ve splurged on and items you’ve gotten for a steal. It makes your space feel more well-rounded and personal. So don’t be afraid to go cheap when you need to. It saves you money and then you can invest in more costly design elements that really matter!</p> <p><em>Written by Chris Carroll. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/budget-ways-to-dress-up-your-home.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Where is Da Vinci’s $450m Jesus painting?

<p>A highly anticipated exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s works at the Louvre is set to open on October 24.</p> <p>Nearly 120 of the Italian artist’s most famous art pieces will be brought together with <em>Mona Lisa</em> at the Paris museum to commemorate the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of his death.</p> <p>However, with less than two weeks to go before the show opens, there are doubts as to whether the popular <em>Salvator Mundi </em>– the first Leonardo to be found for more than a century – will be featured.</p> <p>The painting, which depicted Jesus in Renaissance dress, emerged as the world’s most expensive after it sold at a 2017 auction for US$450.3 million to Prince Badr bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>The painting’s whereabouts is currently not known. New York art historian and dealer Robert Simon claimed he had heard that it was “being kept in a secure art storage facility in Switzerland” as of months ago, while <em><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-10/da-vinci-s-450-million-masterpiece-kept-on-mbs-s-yacht-artnet">Artnet.com</a> </em>alleged it was stored on a superyacht owned by Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.</p> <p><em><a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/salvator-mundi-set-to-be-a-no-show">The Art Newspaper</a> </em>went further to claim that the <em>Salvator Mundi </em>will be “a no-show”, given that the museum had yet to secure the approval for the loan four weeks prior to the opening.</p> <p><span>A spokeswoman for the Louvre told the <em>Observer</em>: “I confirm the Louvre has asked for the loan of the <em>Salvator Mundi</em>. We don’t have the answer yet and thus, don’t have any further comment.”</span></p> <p>The painting’s authenticity has also been called into question. It was initially attributed to the “school of Giovanni Boltraffio”, a student of Leonardo’s, before it was upgraded to “a work by Boltraffio” in 1958. The piece was only authenticated as “an autograph work by Leonardo” in 2011.</p> <p>Several experts have challenged the attribution, with some <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvator_Mundi_(Leonardo)#cite_note-nytimes.com-85">claiming</a> the painting was a “studio work with a little Leonardo at best”.</p>

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How I survived an online dating scam

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By the time Jan Marshall, an online dating scam victim from Melbourne, realised that ‘'Eamon Donegal Dubhlainn" did not exist she had already lost $260,000 in life savings, become isolated from her family and friends, and was spiralling down a dangerous path of self-loathing and isolation. It wasn’t until she stopped blaming herself that she was able to turn it all around.</span></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> spoke with the anti-fraud ambassador to talk about her experience, her long road to recovery, and how she’s now helping other Australians to avoid making the same mistake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It took only 72 days for Jan to fall prey to an international romance scam but years to come to terms with what had happened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2012, 62-year old Jan moved from Brisbane to Melbourne for work and to be closer to family. She was looking for companionship, someone with whom she could explore Victoria, when she decided to try online dating for the first time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jan joined free dating website Plenty of Fish and almost immediately she was approached by a man called “Eamon”, who was posing as a lonely engineer from the UK.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I didn’t have a lot of experience with online dating, and I certainly didn’t have the awareness that people would be out to get you. So I took it on face value and I responded to the initial declarations of interest and affection and eventually love,” says Jan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through emotional manipulation, the scammer started to earn Jan's trust and worked his way into her heart</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, he would reveal intimate details about himself, laying the groundwork for Jan to do the same. Then talked about what they liked and didn’t like, their interests, passions and previous relationships. Above all he made Jan feel special and loved.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By the time he popped the question, ‘Would you marry someone like me?’ I said yes,” Jan admits. “And that’s exactly what they want to do, they want to get you into that state because they know that when you’re in that state they can manipulate.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her scammer was persistent, too. He would email and message Jan at all hours, and this left her sleep deprived.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eventually he managed to isolate her from family and friends. “They get you to the point where you don’t have any control. If there’s anybody out there who’s trying to warn you—and I did have friends who were trying to warn me—they [the scammers] are pretty skilled at separating you from those people. And whether you like it or not you just retract,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By the time Jan realised she was part of an elaborate financial scam it was too late. She had already lost $260,000. Jan was told the money was for business ventures in Dubai and Europe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was always supposed to be a loan, and that I would get the money back,” Jan explains. “When you are in love with them you trust them, you are generous to them, you want them to be happy, and when they raise issues with you, you help them. The same way you would with any family member.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It wasn’t until that man broke contact with me that I realised it was a scam.” While Jan reported the incident to Victorian police, who eventually traced the scam back to Nigeria, she says she doesn’t expect to ever see the money again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Luckily I was working at the time and that enabled me to deal with some of the financial issues but I still am not able to recover financially from that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was retrenched from my job, so I spent about 14 months unemployed. I had to borrow money from friends. I got hardship money out of the little bit of super I had left, and that got me through, and I’ve since started another job. But there’s still credit card debt and tax debt,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many of the people I’ve spoken to talk about the fact that financially they can never recover.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the official ambassador for ACORN, a police service that tracks and investigates online crime, Jan is hoping her story will prevent others from making the same mistake. She has also set up a blog, Romance Scam Survivor, dedicated to the cause, and launched a support group and meet-up for victims and vulnerable individuals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Going public with her story was challenging at first, says Jan. “Initially like many others I really blamed myself. You think you have done wrong, and the attitude of society is that you’ve allowed yourself to be tricked.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What I realised as I researched scams and what happens in scams is that actually I’d been manipulated by professionals—skilled professionals—and it’s much, much more than a trick. It’s deliberate and criminal fraud,” Jan says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So coming to terms with that helped me to realise that it wasn’t something that I had done, and when I understood how the scammers worked I was able to turn it around from blaming myself to starting to speak out about it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year, the ACCC received 2620 Australian reports of romance scams, with a total of $22.7 million lost in online dating fraud incidents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However experts say the figures are a gross underestimate, as many victims are too embarrassed or reluctant to report scams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Romance scams continue to cause significant emotional and financial harm to the community. We know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard in a statement released earlier this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nearly one in four of the reported romance scams started on social media, particularly Facebook. However, online dating sites are also popular with con artists.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If online dating sites don’t have advice about safe dating practices, then consumers should carefully consider whether those sites have their best interests at heart,” Ms Rickard said.</span></p> <p><strong>Protect yourself online</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Never provide your financial details or send funds to someone you’ve met online.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided as scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Be very wary if you are moved off a dating website as scammers prefer to correspond through private emails or the phone to avoid detection.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t share photos or webcam of a private nature. The ACCC has received reports of scammers using this material to blackmail victims.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Mahsa Fratantoni. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/relationships/how-i-survived-an-online-dating-scam.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au. </span></a></em></p>

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