My Unscripted life `23

December: Entry Two

Maybe it’s just me. But New Years Eve just doesn’t ‘float my boat.’ New Year’s Eve, with its glittering promises of fresh beginnings and resolutions, is often hailed as a time of celebration and optimism. However, a significant number of people, myself included, harbour a dislike for this seemingly festive occasion. The reasons behind this aversion are diverse and often rooted in personal experiences and societal expectations.

One prevalent cause of disdain for New Year’s Eve is the overwhelming pressure it brings. The transition from one year to the next is accompanied by societal expectations to reflect on the past year’s achievements and set ambitious resolutions for the coming one. This pressure to evaluate one’s life, coupled with the often-unrealistic expectations that accompany the resolutions, can lead to stress and anxiety. Many individuals find themselves grappling with a sense of inadequacy as they compare their achievements to others, creating a recipe for discontentment.

Another reason for the dislike of New Year’s Eve is the sense of finality it carries. The year’s end serves as a stark reminder of time passing, and for some, it accentuates unmet goals, unrealised dreams, and missed opportunities. The introspection that comes with the turning of the calendar can evoke feelings of regret and disappointment. This reflection can be particularly challenging for those who have experienced personal setbacks or faced unexpected challenges during the year.

Furthermore, the emphasis on grand celebrations and extravagant parties can make New Year’s Eve a source of discomfort for introverted individuals or those who prefer more low-key gatherings. The pressure to engage in social activities and conform to the societal expectation of exuberant celebrations can leave some feeling isolated or out of place. The fear of not having elaborate plans or not meeting others’ expectations can contribute to a sense of alienation during what is supposed to be a joyous occasion. 

For me, it’s simple. It’s just another day to me. I don’t go to NYE parties. I can count on one hand the amount of NYE fireworks I’ve been to.

In conclusion, the dislike of New Year’s Eve is a complex interplay of societal pressures, personal reflections and individual experiences. While many embrace the occasion as a time for renewal and celebration, it’s essential to recognise and respect the diverse perspectives that exist, acknowledging that not everyone finds joy in bidding farewell to the old and welcoming the new.

December: Entry One

“So this is christmas”. I bet you can hear the dulcet tones of John Lennon singing this to you can’t you. I love Christmas, absolutely love it, but for a different reason to most of you. I love it because on Christmas Day I am a birthday girl. I wait all year to celebrate everything on one day.

I put my tree up during the final week of November. Usually I don’t, I wait until the 1st of December, but this year was different. The street I live in had its outside lights up and it gave me the enthusiasm to get started. I did make a subtle difference though. While my actual tree was the same, I changed all the decorations.

In my whole time with my late husband, we had ornaments on the tree with meaning. We bought a new one each year. The Australian flag. A frog (if you know you know!). Baubles with specific dates on. People’s names. Mother/daughter ones and more. It was time for these to be packed up. It was time to start a new.

Off I went to the shops and bought baubles, tinsel and lametta. I went back to traditional. There are a couple of odd ones on there too. I call them my London reminders. I have a red bus, red telephone box and red post box. There is also a tardis and a Waterford Times Square Ball from 2015 as well as a ‘Bah Humbug’ bauble from my late aunty Sally. That’s been on my tree every year since I got it. 

So, what’s different you ask? The tree is not full of memories. The tree is full of me.

Note to self: lametta gets everywhere!

November: Entry Two

No more rugby

Ever since 2006 when I watched Shane Webckes retirement State of Origin game, I have been hooked on rugby league. Wherever you land, that’s who you support, people would tell me. Instantly that made me a Brisbane Broncos and Queensland supporter. That’s not forgetting the green and gold of Australia too. In answer to your next question dear readers, yes I have the jerseys, t shirts, scarves….and so on! Did you really think I wouldn’t?



But after the loss of Mark, I lost the enthusiasm for NRL. I watched the odd game on the iPad, but I really struggled to get the ‘get up and go’ to actually go.

2019 was the year I lost Mark. Dealing with other issues took up my time.

2020, I won State of Origin tickets, so I went with 2 friends.

2021, I went to one game but didn’t enjoy it.

2022, I didn’t go to any games.

But here we are now firmly ensconced at the back end of 2023. This was the year that I got my mojo back. My enthusiasm returned and thank you @brisbanebroncos for encouraging that mojo to return with your finalsperformances. I made it to 2 games during finals season and was very glad I did. I even treated myself to a @gambarohotel night too!

I’m sitting here in November with my NRL love firmly reignited and it’s gone, yes, it’s gone. NRL is off the radar until March 2024. I feel like I should be wearing a black armband for the next few months. How will I cope? What will I do?

I’m going to have to keep wearing the t shirts (I have a few). Watch some old games (like I don’t do that already!) and countdown til season starts. Saturday 2 March 2024…. only 125 odd days to go…. nope. Not counting at all….


November: Entry One

Retrospection: Is It a Good or Bad Thing?


I watched a TV show on the streaming service Stan. The show was called ‘The Long Shadow’ and was about the case of the Yorkshire Ripper. When I sat back after and looked at all the times Peter Sutcliffe had crossed their radar, it made me wonder why they’d missed him. Then you examine closely. Overworked coppers. No computers. All information handwritten on index cards and cross checked. Assumptions made about evidence. In retrospect, it’s very easy to see where it all went wrong. It made me think about how easily we judge things, especially in retrospect. That was how the topic became November Part 1 – Unscripted Life.

Retrospection, the act of looking back and reflecting on one’s past, is a topic that has fascinated philosophers, psychologists, and individuals alike. It can be argued that retrospection is neither inherently good nor bad; rather, its value depends on how it is employed and the perspective from which it is viewed.

On one hand, retrospection serves as a powerful tool for personal growth and self-improvement. Individuals can learn from their mistakes and build on their successes. It provides an opportunity to gain insight into behaviour, motivations, and values. This self-awareness can be a catalyst for positive change, fostering personal development, and helping individuals make better choices in the future. It can also play a crucial role in the process of emotional healing. When people reflect on past traumas or difficult experiences, they can come to terms with their emotions and find closure. In a sense, retrospection can be a therapeutic and cathartic practice.

On the other hand, retrospection can have negative aspects when it leads to rumination and dwelling on the past to an unhealthy degree. Excessive retrospection, or what psychologists call “overthinking,” can be counterproductive. When individuals look back on the past and excessively dwell on past wrongs and grievances, it can strain relationships and hinder forgiveness and reconciliation.

So, is it good or bad? it is a practice that holds both positive and negative potential. Its value depends on how it is used, and the balance individuals strike between reflection and dwelling on the past. When done in moderation and with the intention of learning, growing, and healing, retrospection can be a powerful and constructive tool. The key lies in finding a healthy balance in using retrospection as a means of self-improvement and understanding rather than a path to perpetual regret or anxiety.


October: Entry Two


Following on from the last personal ‘unscripted life’ post, there are still some things I would love to do. These are a few of what are still on my bucket list.


Buy a VW Kombi and travel Australia.

I have always loved Kombis. Why? I don’t know. I have a romantic notion of being a Grey Nomad and travelling. I may be a single woman alone, but I know that I have the confidence to do it. 

Hot air ballooning

I’ve watched both my parents take a hot air balloon trip and it’s something I have always wanted to do. Whether it is that it seems so peaceful, so restful…I don’t know. But I’d love to do it. I’d love the flight to be over Glasshouse Mountains. My favourite view

Have a flying lesson over the Glasshouse Mountains

This is an “in honour of Mark” wish. He always wanted to have a flying lesson but there were several factors that got in his way later in life. It was one of those things he wished he’d done earlier but never did. So, at some stage…I’ll do this for him.


Run onto Suncorp leading the Brisbane Broncos out!

I have loved the Brisbane Broncos since landing in Queensland back in 2005. State of Origin 2006 was my NRL introduction and that’s it, I was hooked. I’m a Broncos member and have been for 17 years. I attend as many games as I can. A bucket list for me, is to run out the team for a game. Seriously, who wouldn’t!

Interview some of the cast of The Handmaids Tale

I have been privileged to interview Burton LeBlanc, makeup artist of The Handmaids Tale, but I would love to interview cast. I would love to talk to Joseph Fiennes about what makes a villain. I’d love to talk to Ann Dowd about the different sides of Aunt Lydia and how she makes that transition look so easy. I would chat with Bradley Whitford about hero versus villain; Who is Commander Lawrence? I’d talk to OT Fagbenle about his role as Luke and how he focused on the role of losing a wife and daughter to Gileads regime.

Attend one of the Band of Brother’s Symposiums 

Band of Brothers has been a passion since I was a first watcher in 2001. While it is an amazing show, my passion runs deeper. I like to know about the real people of Easy and the families behind the soldiers. What are their stories? Who were they, both before and after the war.  I like to read the books of authors and historians who knew the paratroopers, had that deeper insight. But most of all, I’d love to attend a symposium and just listen to the stories. I’d love to shake the hands of those I now consider friends on social media and introduce myself. (You know who you are).

Write another book

I have too many ideas, but I’d love to write another book.  It’s getting those first words down and then I know that I’d be off and running.

There are many other things I am sure I could think of, but these are the ‘off the top of my head’ ones. But the main thing to realise is that life is way too short. This is not a dress rehearsal. So eat the cake. Buy the shoes. Have fun. Live your dreams. Enjoy life.

October: Entry One

Have you ever heard of a ‘bucket list’? I have often wondered why it’s called that, but it is a list of all the things you’d love to do, money no object. I wrote one a few years ago, well, a lot of years ago now if I’m honest, and managed to tick some things off. I had a variety of things. Places to go, things to see. But I had more materialistic things on there too.

Go to Sydney

I had always wanted to go to Sydney. See the Opera House and Bridge. I distinctly remember a long drive down the highway (before it was a lot smoother and quicker than it is today!) and turning the corner at The Rocks District. Seeing the Opera House did not disappoint.

Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Another one of my “I’ve always wanted to…” things and I’m proud to say I did it. The day was dreary, so I know if I ever go back, I’d like to do it again, but I loved it.

Tour inside the Opera House

This was something special. Inside the house is exquisite. The architecture is something else!

Stay in a posh hotel

When we were in Sydney, we had a deal for The Shanghai-La. WOW, was this an upmarket hotel. It had Opera House and bridge views, dependant on which side of the hotel you stayed. The bed was turned back nightly, we were given vouchers for the roof-bar. It was a beautiful place.

Be in the passenger seat of my brothers EVO as he drives the Nurburgring

For the many years my brother has been going to Germany, I’ve always wanted to go round the track with him. It’s something that gives him so much happiness that I wanted to see it for myself and understand the passion. It took one lap and I completely got it. The thrill, the excitement, the camaraderie with other drivers, meeting old friends, making new friends. The list is endless. I ended up doing two laps with him but now have a bigger issue. I want to drive it with Lee teaching me.

Walk the sunflower fields

My late husband bought me sunflowers every week. I knew that Queensland housed some beautiful sunflower fields and I wanted to seek them out. When 80,000 sunflowers are there for you to walk through….its a special feeling. Thank you Kalbar Sunflower Farm

Own a king size bed

We had moved house and were now living in Eatons Hill. I had always wanted to own and sleep in a king size bed. Our bedroom there could house a king size bed, all the bedroom furniture and a sofa in the room. I lived my king size dream for some years and hated having to sell it.

Have a dining table for 8 people

Same house, more space. I always through my life had small dining tables. Ones fit for 4 people and occasionally 6. I wanted an 8-seater. I’m ashamed to say it was a case of “I want…” We bought a stunner of an 8-seater with a matching sideboard. I filled that table regularly with people too!

Glass Art from Tina Cooper glassware

Allow me to explain that Tina’s glassware is unique, and hand blown. These are not factory pieces. They are not cheap. Everyone is slightly different, and she works on themes. I have always wanted a piece of her work for almost 15 years. When I turned 50, my present from my dad was a piece of Tina Cooper’s work from her Sunrise collection.

Bucket lists are not always about expensive trips. Sometimes it is as simple as a bed or a table. But bucket lists should always be about the fact that life is short and needs to be enjoyed. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. If you get the chance to tick something off your list….do it.

September: Entry Two

I love reading. There is not a day that goes past where I don’t read something.  Every year I do the Goodreads book challenge which encourages my reading. I’ve talked before about which authors I read, but what I’ve never talked about is reading outside your comfort zone, something I am a strong advocate for.


There will be those of you reading this that love romance novels, mysteries or maybe horrors. Have you ever thought of reading maybe a social commentary book? Something political? Maybe an autobiography of someone you’ve always wondered about?

Stepping outside of your comfort zone allows you to grow and learn. There’s an old saying that ‘life begins outside your comfort zone’ and that’s very true. I used to have a set of about 8 authors I loved all around the thriller/female fiction genre. Now, it’s very different. I read fiction, thriller, horror, biographies, military history, history, social commentary and so much more.

My knowledge has grown because of expanding my reading and I’m more aware and questioning of the world. I don’t take anything for granted. The other thing I like to do is review books. I don’t review everything I read, just ones that I particularly enjoy or may have made me think, stretched me out of my comfort zone.

Reviews are not always received well, especially if someone disagrees with the premise of the book or your thoughts on it. Unfortunately, that happened to me recently. Someone disagreed with my review and the book, and removed theirselves from my friendship circle. I haven’t changed, it’s just a book.

It is a shame when people do not accept that others may have differing views. We all need to open ourselves up to the world and the different ideas on offer. 


September :Entry One

What a week we’ve just had! Well, if I’m honest, the fun started the prior week, when we discovered a leak. Yep. We had another one. This time it was outside and in the front garden. When you spot a pool of water in the grass and it hasn’t been raining, you know somethings up. There were 2 leaks from the stormwater pipe which meant digging up the concrete and lawn. The front garden is currently a huge pile of dirt, but the leak has been fixed.


This week just gone:

Monday: Its been an exciting week that started Monday with a nail appointment for me. Yes, I’ve turned into one of those women who loves to get their nails done. I cooked up a nice stir-fry lunch for us both too.

Tuesday: The man of the house was 74. I arranged to take the birthday boy to breakfast at The Edge Restaurant in Montville. 

Its so called because it’s on the edge of the hinterland with an amazing view.

Wednesday: Insurance assessor day today. Waiting to hear what they say! We headed out on Wednesday night to see The Equalizer Part 3 starring Denzel Washington. We’ve had a few cinema trips lately.

Thursday:  Now this was my day. I took off from the Sunshine Coast driving down the highway towards Brisbane. First stop…North Lakes for a bit of retail therapy. Then off to lunch with friends. Then my treat to myself. Staying overnight at Gambaro hotel. Then my final treat…Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm. Gambaro Hotel is across the road from the stadium and a very luxurious stay. I was also upgraded and gifted complimentary breakfast. I drove back home to Buderim. Today is “wings day” at Sunshine Brewery so I knew my lunch plans!!

Saturday: No plans for today so its chores day. Washing, changing beds, the usual!!

Sunday is Father’s Day. Now I don’t usually do anything for Father’s Day. It’s not something my dad believes in and the commercialisation of it all drives us both mad, but I plan to keep it simple. Bottle of wine and I’ll cook a Sunday roast. I may even make a dessert too, who knows. We can have an afternoon movie matinee and that’ll be perfect.


August: Entry 2

For those of you that have followed my personal blog, you’ll know that back in late June, Dad and I came back from Surfers Paradise, to find water where it should not be. Namely dripping down walls and through ceilings!

We followed that discovery with 96 hours of non-stop humidifiers and fans and then we had to wait til the builders could start on 17 July. Dad and I made sure that the rooms were cleared for the builders and within 2 days the job was done. 3 days if you count the electricians on day 3.

As we now sit in the second week of August, the repairs have come to an end.

  • My bathroom has been repaired, repainted, cleaned and spruced up with a beautiful canvas and plants.
  • My brothers’ room has been repaired, repainted, new carpet laid, cleaned and spruced up with new pictures on the wall.
  • The 3rd bedroom has been made into a music room and catch-all room.
  • My dad now has the queen bed in his room and has splashed out on new carpet. He has different pictures on the wall and one up in his bathroom.

During all of this, my bed broke and I ended up with my brothers’ double bed in my room. It’s been a switch all around with the beds, so we’ve worked hard taking down and reassembling them all. But now it’s all done. All because a rodent chewed a tiny hole in a pipe in the loft….

August: Entry 1

I wasn’t sure what to write about this month but this seemed to come naturally so this is what I thought I would talk about. When you lose someone, there are a lot of platitudes dished out by people, one of which that I have heard time and again is about “moving on”. Everyone is well meaning but moving on….really?

Let’s straighten one thing out before I go any further. I won’t ever move on. Moving on insinuates that I should pack him up and  leave him and his memory behind. Not happening in a million years and neither should it! But recently I asked myself this. Why does moving forward feel right, feel natural, all of a sudden?

The catalyst for change was down to a wedding ring. Arthritic hands meant I had to remove his wedding ring. While I still have that physical item, that memory, it’s not in my visual sight 24/7 anymore. I also took down his hat and packed that away. I moved some ornaments around and put some different things up. I put more of my limited edition NRL pictures up. I removed a photo of him with Gordon Tallis as he was at his sickest and we were literally holding him up. I never liked that photo. I replaced it with a great one of us from Universal Studio’s in 2002.   

Memories are still there, they will never go, but they’re not in my visual sight all the time. It’s as if I have packed away those memory in a box in my brain too. They’re now filed under “don’t need them all the time” as opposed to “don’t want to forget them, don’t touch them”. I know I won’t forget them. It just took me a while to comprehend that and allow for that.

Life moves on post-loss. It has to. New things happen and brand-new memories are made post loss. They have to be. It’s the nature of things. It doesn’t make the old ones any less valuable.

So, my takeaway message is, you will never move on but you will move forward. It may happen in months or years, but no matter the timespan, it is whatever is right for you. For me, 4 years is the magic number.

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Take it from a girl who knows. 

July: Entry 2

Good restaurants

Restaurants, pubs, RSLs, cafes. But how do you define the good from the bad, the absolutely wonderful from the mediocre. Let me tell you about where I live. I’m on the Sunshine Coast, about 9km from Mooloolaba and an hour’s drive down the Bruce Highway from Brisbane.  Here are the places that I recommend near me:

Best parmi`s

Chancellor Park Tavern – While most other taverns serve the great Aussie parmi, this place just does something extra special with theirs. The parmi is bigger, crunchier, and as a result much more flavoursome. There are a heap of options too.

Best ribs

I love ribs like the next man. I don’t care whether they are short ribs, half a rack, full rack (ok, a white lie there, has to be a full rack of ribs!), but I love ribs and whatever tasty sauce they put on them. Beerwah Hotel seems to just nail it. The meat barely needs to be touched by the fork and it falls away from the bone. The sauce is something special too. The taste and thickness are just perfection.

Best steaks

Dad loves a steak. He’s had steaks in many places, but none live up to the standards of Brightwater Hotel. When I asked him what it was, he said…good cuts of meat, never any gristle or fat, cooked exactly as requested, high in flavour and well, perfect.

Best pizza

Takeaway pizza is mentioned and of course, you’ll always think Domino’s or Pizza Hut. However, if you live anywhere near a  Peppers Pizza, try them. Trust me when I say, you’ll never eat at Pizza Hut or Domino’s again.

Peppers is 5 minutes’ walk from my house so very convenient for me. The menu is fantastic. Normal pizzas. Gourmet pizzas. Schnitzels, salads, chicken nuggets, potato wedges, chips, garlic bread, desserts and drinks. Every single pizza can be tweaked to meet needs and the nicest thing…they remember you. Most of the time now, as soon as I say ‘joanne’ they tell me my order and ask if I want the same as last time. Service – impeccable. Food – divine. Locality – perfect.

Best breakfast

Café Venice (Look them up on Facebook!)

I’ve been to many breakfast places over my Australian years but quite often, menus change, and you find favourites disappear. I don’t know about you, but when I go for breakfast, I want breakfast. Not some egg on toast. Not a croissant, but breakfast.  I like the full works and for this, Café Venice has never disappointed. They do a Gladiators Breakfast which consists of mushroom, hash brown, sausage, bacon, beans, egg, tomato and toast. It’s a respectable $25. The best thing about it though, is its consistency. It’s always great!

There is nothing worse when you have a meal out somewhere, than getting home hungry or never wanting to go back somewhere again. These places are just a few of our locals. 

Here’s a few more that I recommend:

il Vento review

Ricks Garage

Savvy Squire

Hope that you enjoy these recommendations. 

July: Entry 1

Recipes and food

Anyone that knows me, knows that I had a reputation that I could burn water and only cook a salad. Yep, that’s true. 

It was always the case in the Hattersley house that the man of the house cooked. He loved to cook, and I didn’t. So, it was a great deal. He cooked. I set the table and cleared up afterwards. Everyone happy

Toward the end of his life and afterwards, my cooking skills started to change. I was taught a few things by the master of the house. I saved loads of recipes on my iPad and the game was on. Salads (though nice!) won’t cut it. I started cooking more.  Every year on my parents’ birthday they would come over and I’d cook dinner. They chose what they wanted, and I did it. 

Now the kitchen is my happy place, who would have thought I’d say that? I love cooking and to be honest, I love to ‘wing it’. I rarely use recipes; well, I use the core elements of the meal recipe but that’s it. I like to tweak a recipe with different herbs and spices.

The no-pastry quiche was a recipe that I saw on Facebook. I saved it and tweaked it to include what I wanted. My brother in law Mick was eating it quicker than I could make it. The Shepherds Pie recipe is one handed down to me from someone special. He always made it and tweaked the recipe to make it spicier. Then the recipe was mine. 


My no-pastry quiche:

The ingredients are:

6 eggs, a cup of milk, 2 slices bread cut into croutons, 3 rashers of streaky bacon diced and then anything else you want in it. I have peppers, grated carrot, onions, mushrooms, the bacon and croutons, and anything else you fancy. Nice strong cheese for sprinkling on top.


Fry up a handful of diced bacon (streaky is tastier) and croutons (any bread will do), then put them aside. 

Chop up whatever you want in the ‘no pastry quiche’.

Mix the bacon, croutons and all other ingredients together in a bowl. 

In a separate bowl mix a cup of milk and 6 eggs. 

Then add that to all the vegetables you are putting in and make sure that it’s thoroughly mixed through. 

Put into a loaf tin and cook at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.

I check it at the 15-minute mark and at that time I add grated cheese to the top.  You’ll know it’s done when a skewer/knife comes out clean. This can be eaten hot or cold, nice either way.

My Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients: 1kg beef/lamb mince. Potatoes for topping. Grated cheese for topping. Whatever you want in it. (I use carrots, mushrooms, peas, peppers, onion) 2 sachets of shepherd’s pie mix. Tabasco sauce and tomato purée.

Peel the potatoes for your topping and boil them until they are suitable to mash.

Prep all your veg and put them in a large saucepan.

Cook your mince in the frying pan. When done, transfer to saucepan with veg.

Mix up 2 shepherd’s pie packet mixes and add tomato purée and Tabasco sauce to taste.

Once you have this liquid mixed, pour over the mince and veg and put on stove.

Bring this to a simmer and keep stirring. If you need to thicken it, add some Bisto gravy.

Once thoroughly cooked and veg have been cooked to your taste, put your shepherd’s pie filling in your dish. I use glass Pyrex dishes usually.

Mash the potatoes and cover the top of the pie.

Put some cheese on top (your preference) and cook for 40 minutes at 180 degrees.


Put a tray under your dish so if the gravy overspills, you’re only washing a tray and not scrubbing the oven.

Remember to check at 20 minutes.

When I make my Shepherd’s pie, I make enough for one to eat for dinner that night, 2 for the freezer, and if there is some mince left over with no mash, I freeze that too. That works well with extra veg and rice as a stir fry, for a quick and easy dish.

So there you have it. Two recipes for you and well, just call me Nigella!! 

Entry 2 for June

I was laid in bed a few nights ago, well June 5th to be exact. Yep, I’m one of those people that can remember dates easily! Anyway, while I was laid there, I started to think about how the next day was the day I’d become an Australian. It was 14 years ago, on Queenslands 150th birthday. (See, I told you I remember all these dates/times).  

Then my eyes drifted to a photo on the wall, and I realised that there were a few dates creeping in through the next months. I was about to have my 4th citizenship anniversary without him. I was about to have his 4th birthday without him. This year will be my 5th birthday without him. This year will be my 5th Christmas without him. I realised in that split second, that right then and there, life really seemed ****! Then I started thinking.  As much as all those things made life feel awful at that moment, other things since then have relit a spark, made me re-evaluate life.

I have completed 2 writing courses with exceptional marks. I published 3 books, including one ghostwritten one. I got myself all the equipment (new laptop and iPad) to make sure that my writing can be done anywhere I am. I built a website and have written for that since 2020. The website has gathered me a bunch of new friends and contacts and some amazing interview experiences. I got myself some freelance writing work in 2020 and that’s still going strong.  I set myself up in a new life in Buderim.

And you know what I thought?  I used to say…I hope my man would be proud. I don’t have to say that anymore. I know he would be.

Entry 1 for June

Why did I start writing a WidowLife blog? Let me tell you. For new subscribers that may be aware, I became a widow in August of 2019. I lost my husband of 25 years to myasthenia gravis which is a rare disease that only 1 in 2000 people suffer from. He was sadly part of the 0.3% to have a severely progressive form of it and despite all treatments he went downhill rapidly.

I started to write about being a widow not long after he passed. It was my way of being able to deal with the complex emotions that you suffer on this path. So why do I write it down and share it? The reason I share about my WidowLife is simple. It’s so that others know (a) that they aren’t alone and (b) what sort of things they might have to deal with. I distinctly remember dealing with issues and emotions myself and wondering “is this just me?” and “is this normal?”

WidowLife was born. What started as an article has blossomed into several different areas. I’ve told my WidowLife story. There are articles relating to ‘after a loss’. There are currently two pieces of writing about ‘Moving forward.’  There is a fact sheet called ‘Dear Friend of a widow…’ – this was devised to enable a widow’s friends to understand how best they can assist their friend. I have included book reviews for those that I consider helpful and of course, my WidowLife Blog.

The blog looks at something different every month. So far this year we have looked at those first days of widowhood; funerals; asking for help; friendships and why some leave and how hard to fight for friendships in widowhood.

WidowLife is a tough and sometimes lonely road. If by writing about it and posting it online allows just one person to gain something from it, then I am happy.

Entry 2 for May

May 6 would have been my wedding anniversary. I know what some people say about continually looking back in dates, but anniversaries are special. This is the date that 2 people became 1 couple. We chose the 6 May as it was the most convenient Friday at the time. It gave us the week before the wedding to get everything ready, have the wedding on the Friday and then disappear for 2 weeks honeymoon. This year would have been 29 years married and over 30 years since our first date.

While I don’t do anything special on my anniversary, it’s always there in the back of my mind. Memories of the day. Getting ready with my mum, stepdaughter, mother-in-law Sheila and sister-in-law Lin. My mum telling my brother to go and get Mark from the pub where he was having a last drink with his best man Des. My mum ribbing my brother as he wore trainers and not shoes with a suit. My dad refusing to tell me his suit colour until the day, determined to keep it as a surprise. Our first dance to ‘Hello Again’, and as they say, the rest is history.

After you lose someone, life has to move forwards. It’ll never move on; I don’t believe you ever can. There are too many memories and thoughts to move on from. But life can move forwards as you take the memories with you.

Life now is different. Life now is with Dad. Regular little trips away. Breakfasts or meals out every now and then. Watching old movies together, and some new ones. Life will never be the same again, but it is my life, and it is what I make it.

Entry 1 for May

Last Friday I was busy. Busy being nil by mouth and preparing for surgery. Not a nice thing to have to do. I had a right hemithyroidectomy, or in layman’s terms – the right side of my thyroid removed. While the day of surgery was pretty painless thanks to the local and general anaesthetic that I had, the following two days (this weekend) were pretty grotty. Feeling better each day now. Sore throat, occasional soreness when swallowing, can’t move neck as well as normal…. other than that,…. 🙂 more about this on the Cowdens blog at the end of the month.

In other news this month, Madhatterpress celebrated its 3rd birthday. For 3 years this little website, started originally to display the odd poem, has been ticking over. Since then, I’ve gained many friends as I have been writing about Band of Brothers. I’ve honed interviewing skills over the years. Character pieces, poetry, stories, book reviews, film reviews, travel blogs and so much more have been written allowing me to practise so many different styles of writing.

(L) Captain Sobel (R) Actor David Schwimmer

Entry 2 for April 

When you talk to most people about Band of Brothers, about their favourite member of 506, you’ll hear names like Dick Winters, Bill Guarnere, Donald Malarkey, Buck Compton and more. While I have respect for every member of Easy Company, there is one that I am inquisitive about. That person is Captain Herbert Sobel.

Of course, we all know the perceptions of him from the series Band of Brothers, but is that what he was like, in real life? A quote from Buck Comptons book tells us “It’s been said that Sobels contributions moulded Easy Company into the formidable fighting force it came to be.” Major Winters and Cole Kingseeds book says, “One of the reasons that Easy excelled was undoubtably Captain Sobel.” We all know that while Winters had the respect of E company, Sobel had the authority and used that authority to train them. It’s been said that Sobel was an impossible man to serve under, volatile in nature, complex in life.

My question is this. Is this how Herbert Sobel always was, and if not, what made him that way? I want to find out more about him. Who he really was? I’d love to speak with his family and get some background. I’d love to speak to anyone who has any knowledge/history that might help.

That’s my aim, my plan. Find out everything I possibly can. I aim to get exploratory on Captain Sobels life, loves and everything in between. I have written a character piece which will form the base of my new piece, but I am convinced there is more to him. Captain Sobel deserves the respect, and I would like to try and make sure that happens.


Entry 1 for April

What I write about ‘Band’.

I am often asked about Band of Brothers and why I write about it. Let me start with the sorts of things I have written and then I’ll explain why. I’ve written character pieces, articles, book reviews, reviewed events, written poetry and analysed the TV series. By far, the most rewarding part of writing about this group of soldiers, is the interviews I have been privileged to do. I have interviewed cast, veteran’s families and writers.

Why I write about Band.

Writing about Band, gives a unique insight into the paratroopers of 506E. The 10 part HBO series, way back in 2001, was where my initial interest started. While I watched the series I found myself intrigued. Who were these men? What made them sign up for their country knowing they may never come home? How were they prepared for what they were to face? Were the men portrayed on Band actually like that in real life? I had so many questions and started trying to find ways to answer them.

Answering my questions. 

In order to answer all my questions, I started researching. Reading the original Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers text was my starting point. From then it snowballed. I read all the books I could lay my hands on. I wrote character pieces, looking at these men in a little more depth. I rewatched the show and did a deep dive into the episodes, reviewing them a little more closely. I wrote articles. But by far the most poignant and revealing research were my interviews. I have interviewed three veterans families, four cast members and two writers. These interviews are the pinnacle for my Band of Brothers work. They provide an insight into not only the veteran that fought so gallantly, but also the family behind the veteran. I have been privileged to complete these interviews and hope to do more in time.

Sharing my Band of Brothers writing.

The Band of Brothers community is large and stretches far and wide across the globe. The show had a massive impact and many discovered a love of history that they may never have realised they had. Many Instagram pages are devoted to Band of Brothers, and I am delighted to call many of them friends. I share my own work that is published on my website. The links are posted across my social media and available for the Band of Brothers community to see. Sharing history is part of making sure the legacy of these men continues. 

Entry 2 for March

Do you ever want to do something and find you’ve ‘gone off it?’  You can’t get back into a book that you started. Maybe you started writing something and the inspiration has left you. That seems to be me lately. Not what you want to hear from a writer I suppose.

I have a new book that I’m trying to read, I’m one chapter in and the brakes are on. I have two articles that I’m trying to write. I have a character piece from Band of Brothers that just needs to have it’s first words on paper.  But it has all come to that grinding halt.

One thing I have been working on is my next character piece for The Handmaids Tale. It is one of the major characters, my word count at almost 5000, it’s a big piece and should be finished soon.

So, what have I been doing this week? I’ve been doing chores that I’ve been putting off. A major one was a wardrobe clean out. It’s been all about being ruthless. When did I last wear it? Does it still fit? Is it likely to ever fit or am I clinging onto a dream? I was ruthless to the tune of 2 black bags. Once I had cleared out, I had room to put a few items back in the wardrobe that I had left elsewhere. The Queensland origin shirt made its re-entry as did a couple of Broncos tops. After all, it is the footy season.

When you look at it like that, maybe my attention is redirected.  Maybe it’s the rugby. 2 games. 2 wins.

Entry 1 for March

The Handmaids Tale: Why I write about it

When I write about something, I have to have some vested interest in it to start with. It might be writing about a historical event or person. It might be writing about something that has happened to me personally. But with The Handmaids Tale, it was a whole complexity of how’s, what’s and why’s that when combined together, tell you why I write about it.

I had heard a lot about The Handmaids Tale (THT) from its inception on TV back in 2017. However, I didn’t get to sit and view it until around 2020. Thank you who had them all for me to binge watch. I started at series 1, episode 1 and off I went.


So, what was it that encouraged me to write about it. The answer to that is simple. Everything.

The story lines.

The dystopian setting.

The brutality of the treatment of women.

The subjugation of women.

The removal of their children.

The characters and their interactions and complexities.

How the women dealt with the atrocities that were thrust upon them.

Writing about all of these different things allowed me to critically analyse what I was watching. But apart from a critical analysis of what I was physically seeing and how it was perceived, it also allowed me to look at the direction of the show as well as the cinematography. Analysing the show allowed me to look at how the juxtaposition of Serena and June was used in later series, with June being free and Serena being incarcerated.

Combining all those things together allowed me to see I was not just watching (and writing about) a standard weekly TV show. I was watching something special. Something raw and interesting. Could it happen? Author Margaret Atwood tells us that everything in the book has already been an event in history. Has it happened? Is it happening?

Birth rate decline is discussed in a study in the Lancet from July 15, 2020, who tell us, “With widespread, sustained declines in fertility, the world population will likely peak in 2064 at around 9.7 billion, and then decline to about 8.8 billion by 2100 — about 2 billion lower than some previous estimates”. Certainly, food for thought.

Entry 2 for February 

Welcome to the second personal blog of February. Last time we looked at my first book. Now, we are having a look at my children’s book.

My adventures with Bruce came together incredibly fast. The boy in it was based on someone I knew. It enabled me to hear the words and picture the character as a whole rather than just words on a page. The story came to me overnight and I started to write. I didn’t stop writing until 10,000 words later when the book was finished.

A short ten chapter, easy read story, on a little boys quest for a friend. The hero of our story has a  best friend but he lives too far away. All our hero wishes, is that  he had someone closer that he could play with.

This story teaches you to not only to be careful what you wish for, but a few life lessons too. Learning how to gain trust from his parents, is just one of them.

I am often asked if Bruce is coming back. I did debate writing another ‘Bruce’ adventure, and still may in the future. There would be a different child in it though.

Bruce is  available now on Amazon and costs just over $5. Grab a copy for the child you know, or the child in you. Don’t forget to leave me a review too.

Entry 1 for February

“Ramblings of a Forty Something Widow’ was born back in 2019. My husband was sick and due to his illness and needs, I had given up work to care for him.  During the quiet times of the day, I needed to fill my time and took on a writing course.

Writing was something I’d always done, but now, as things in life became more difficult, the writing gave me a focus. I  had three sections on my course. Scoring high distinctions in the first two sections made me realise I was on the right path. Sadly, my husband did not live to see the final result come in. It was a 3rd high distinction.

Now on my own, I used my writing as my distraction. I’m not a talker about feelings (I get that from Dad) so my works went on paper. 35 poems later, they went to a publisher. ‘Ramblings of a Forty Something Widow’ was now alive. With sunflowers on the cover, it was published on October 30, 2020.

Of course poetry is not a big seller, and a new writer does not sell well either, but I am proud to say I did sell and still sell a few here & there. I have sold in the States, the UK and here in Australia. Does that make me a worldwide selling author?  It’s out on Amazon now. It’s just over $5.

Buy a copy. Support a writer. Tell  your friends. Don’t forget to leave me a review on Amazon too.

Entry 2 for January 

I am one of those people that rarely watches TV, but when I do, it has to be something worthwhile. The Handmaids Tale, The Pacific and Band of Brothers are great examples. I need shows to grab me from the start, but aside from that initial interest, there has to be something deeper.

The Handmaids Tale – I had heard of the TV series and the book but I was at a point in life, where there was a lot going on. Roll forward a few months and I started to play catch up. If I said I binge watched the show, well, that would be an understatement. I watched the three series that were on Stan and then (impatiently) waited for series four on SBS. I watched series four and most recently five and I loved it.  I caught up literally too, by reading the book by Margaret Atwood and the follow up entitled The Testaments.  Since then, I have been reviewing the book and the series as well as starting character evaluations. Looking at something like this encourages critical thinking and analysis, something that can only serve to improve my standards.

The Pacific – It took me two watches to get started with The Pacific. I have completed a character piece and reviewed the book that started it all by Eugene Sledge. My plans are to continue this in the same framework as my Band of Brothers section. Character pieces, interviews, book reviews, examination of the episodes and more.

Band of Brothers – I have always been a non-traditional girl when it comes to movies. I’m not a romance, comedy or rom-com kind of girl so it was no surprise that this hit home in such a strong way. Having Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg at the helm of this show was always going to add something special to it. I watched again, and again and again. Since my many re-watches, I have read the autobiographies of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Books tell you some things, but I always felt there was more to know.

I have ‘unpacked’ the episodes and examined them. I looked at them critically – what did they show me? I’ve done character studies. I’ve reviewed many books on Easy Company. But the most beautiful and gracious thing of all, is those who have granted me their time to chat for an interview piece. I have interviewed writers, cast and veterans’ families.

Each of these sections are shows I enjoy tremendously. Two of them are true stories, one (Handmaids) is not. Each of them has different qualities and as a writer, it’s my job to look at those qualities and share my work.  While doing this, I have learned so much, made many friends in the process and continue this with pride.

In February – we will be looking at the two books I have had published. What they’re about. A little about why they were written and more. 

Entry 1 for January 

Welcome to Madhatterpress and 2023. Where did last year go? It seemed to fly by. Well….2023 has a schedule to keep. There have been some slight changes to things so here’s what’s happening.

On the 1st and 3rd week of the month, a Personal Blog  lands on the website. The personal blog has been given scheduled topics relating to the website, plus of course I’ll add in a little about me and what I am up to.

On the 2nd week of every month, the new   WidowLife Blog 2023  arrives. Topics will be discussed every month. Widowhood is a lousy path to walk. If we can help even just one person by talking in our WidowLife blog, then we’ve done something good.

On the 4th week of the month, my Cowden Blog 2023 lands on Madhatterpress. I’ve been asked why I share this. My answer is simple….it’s rare and by rare, I mean 1 in 200,000. Educating about it and advocating for it are my primary objective. And staying well, of course.

On the 13th of every month, all subscribers will get a monthly email. I hate when my inbox gets full, so I promise that you get one a month.

Next personal blog is all about why I focus on three particular areas and write about them. On the 18th, we will be finding out why Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaids Tale is one of my favourites. We’ll also find out my plans for my ‘The Pacific’ section on the website. We’ll also talk about Band of Brothers and why it means so much to me.

With all work that comes from Madhatterpress, whether it be an article, story, poem, or an interview, what I will always guarantee you is that it will be real, raw and honest.