The Countdown to the School Holidays

The clock is ticking down to school holidays here’s what some of our NHM 

Mummas have planned. 

BASIC SLOW FUN

Beth Shannessy has said her family don’t have the means for expensive activities at the moment which is true of many but she’s mentioned that basic activities can be just as good like family walks, bike rides, painting boxes, kicking the ball around the yard, walking around Blackbutt and having a picnic. Also what about cooking in the kitchen with your kids? I know it’s a little messy but pizzas and other simple things are fun and cakes are great with mandatory spoon licking!

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CHOO CHOO

We have a light rail now in the city Mummas it might not go far but it’s big, shiny and red and it’s pretty fun to jump on and off so check it out. Also Teresa Brauer mentioned her family favourite is to take a train ride to Warnie’s Railway Cafe and Wyong Milk Factory. 

If you’re up for some boating fun too, honestly the ferry to Stockland isn’t a bad option and there’s a new playground there too! 

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SCHOOL HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS

So maybe you’d like your kids to enjoy something different these school holidays try something new?


Rhubarb Jam School Holiday Workshops 

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If your children have heaps of energy it’s a great idea to channel that and what better way than through one of the awesome Rhubarb Jam School Holiday Workshops.

Their workshops encourage all young people to be super CREATIVE, CONFIDENT and COLLABORATIVE in a safe, encouraging environment. Young people become strong COMMUNICATORS while WORKING AS A TEAM.

They’ve got different length workshops, during which they work towards putting on a production, with the emphasis placed on the PROCESS OF CREATING. At the end of the week, participants perform in the production they have produced!

Your children are grouped by age with a maximum of twelve per group and will experience drama, dance and singing in separate sessions throughout the duration of the workshop. They will also be involved in creation of sets and costumes!

Are you ready to ACT SING and DANCE your way through an ALADDIN themed show? We are! And we’d love you to join us at Kotara South these SCHOOL HOLIDAYS.

8-12 July. Creative Kids vouchers accepted check them out here

www.rhubarbjam.com.au

Family Picnic Spots 

Teresa mentioned Paterson that looks really beautiful, Debbie Dye also chatted about the Watagans perfect for bush walking and exploring. Also check out

Snowtime in the Garden 

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Our kids so loved building slow men last year and ice skating as well as enjoying amazing food with the family. This year you can glide on a giant ice skating rink, slide down a mega ice toboggan and build a snowman in our man-made Snow Play Zone.

Enjoy awesome rides, which include our Super Slide, 25 metre Ferris Wheel, speedy Swing Chair and traditional Venetian Carousel. Plus, roving entertainment, hearty food and warming beverages.

This year they’re adding a Snow Cave! The walk-through snow cave will be filled with Arctic creatures and even falling “snow” several times a day.

Other Snow Fun Snow Fun 

Many Mummas have expressed a wish for their babes to see snow for the first time possibly at Barrington Tops, Canberra, Falls Creek or elsewhere.

Traffic Park 

Newcastle Traffic Park at The Newcastle Station in Newcastle where the babes can learn all about red lights, green lights and the road rules in a fun, safe environment. 

Encouraging less screen time and more active but enjoyable learning

My ‘Little Unicorn’ Lilly developing a love of books from an early age

My ‘Little Unicorn’ Lilly developing a love of books from an early age

With new research out saying young children should spend no more than one hour in front of a screen per day I’m so happy to see my little Lillian developing a love of literacy early.

I remember some of the most magical times I spent with my parents was at night reading. They were super busy and hard workers like myself and my partner, always on the go but that was a time when I delighted in having their attention all to myself.

Just recently Lilly has been encouraged in her literacy journey by The Little Unicorn. It stood out as apparent, not only when I read her Story Park App updates about what the Little Unicorn’s have been up to but also at home when she runs to the bookshelf gleefully and brings them to me yelling ‘book, book’.

Each day she spends at The Little Unicorn they have been reading a different book during Story Time and families have been encouraged to share the books they enjoy at home so the children can relish reading them together.

One of their favourites is ‘Dear Zoo’, the children seem to love it because they can react to the animals in the book emulating the sounds each animal makes and repeating the names. Even as a child I can remember enjoying reading books that encouraged the participation of the reader as Mum and Dad and I would look to seek out a certain character or a reoccurring theme.

I’m so grateful to have Lilly introduced to a love of literacy early, books have been a huge part of my journey and continue to shape my life today. From Spot the Dog as a baby to the Magic Faraway Tree to Shakespeare and beyond I’ve loved every part of my literacy journey and I hope Lilly does too.

To find out more about The Little Unicorn and the role they can play in your child’s early education go here.

BECOME A MUMMA CHEF WITH COURTNEY FROM MASTERCHEF

Courtney Roulston  from series 2 of Masterchef

Courtney Roulston from series 2 of Masterchef

So I’m awful in the kitchen, Uber Eats was basically the best thing that happened to my world, not my waistline but anyway. Bec is on the other hand quite the little entertainer so she was excited to delve into a show with Courtney.

In this show you’ll learn how to whip up the perfect steak with an incredible sauce. Grab some dishes to take to a BBQ that with wow your friends. If you’d like a meat free night we have that sorted too. Amazing substantial soups for winter and you’ll also be adding avocado mouse with cocoa to your repertoire within no time and your friends will wonder how you got so clued in, enjoy Mumma Chef! 


Books That Will Enrich Your Child's Life

NHM Mumma’s incredible book ‘Where Are You Most Beautiful’

NHM Mumma’s incredible book ‘Where Are You Most Beautiful’

I don’t know about you but I find reading to my children at bedtime one of the the best parts of the day. The multitude of to do lists melt away and we are present together engaged in the beauty of books. Old fashioned, turn the pages books. You can revel in the fun you can find in each page and chat about life and the message the book is passing onto us to help us live a better life.

We have loved adding ‘Where Am I Most Beautiful’ to our bedtime routine. A book by local Mum Jasey Stanley about finding the beauty within yourself through your actions and your beautiful heart and empathy and love for others rather than just through external things like how you look in your dress or what your hair looks like.

If you’d like to support Jasey and her quest to build our children’s self esteem go here.

Here are some other books that I love reading my little girls:

  • All I See Is Part Of Me

  • An Awesome Book

  • Beautiful Oops!

  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

If you’d like to hear Jasey talk about her book check out the NHM-I GOT IT FROM MY MUMMA Self Esteem episode below.

To Live Free From Violence is a Basic Human Right

Mel Histon from Gottacha Back Sister

Mel Histon from Gottacha Back Sister

What are some possible red flags that could signal a man who is seemingly perfect and 'the one' might be capable of violence down the track?

How to identify those relationships when they become apparent for you, your friends or even your teenage girls. If you find yourself in a violent relationship how can you get out and how can you get your kid’s out safely with Melissa Histon from Got Your Back Sista

Matthew Carney from Baker Love Lawyers also discusses AVOs and the flow on effect legally of domestic violence from the child's prospective, the mothers, in regards to keeping safe and the impact it will have on any property settlements or other matters after you leave the relationship.

What is Normal as Far as Your Child's Speech is Concerned?

NHM Mumma Lauren Haskins from A Growing Understanding

NHM Mumma Lauren Haskins from A Growing Understanding

Bec's little girl Gracey didn't talk til three years of age! How did she rectify that as a Mum and make her youngest bub a perfect speaker. Also speech milestones, what they should be saying and when and red flags to look out for that indicate you need to seek help with their speech. Listen to our NHM-I GOT IT FROM MY MUMMA Podcast below to learn all about your child and their journey with speech development.


We're joined by the super knowledgable and entertaining Lauren Haskins head Speech Pathologist at A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology. If you’d like to WIN a consult with Lauren go here.


YOUR CHILD AND THEIR SPEECH

Understanding the steps to take when embarking on your speech pathology journey can be daunting. Perhaps you have noticed that your child isn’t speaking as clearly as their peers. Maybe your child has just been diagnosed with a language delay, and you start to question “what is my next step?” Luckily, with the right support, advice and information; navigating this tricky time can become simpler.

Within this article, I will break down the steps to help you understand your child’s development needs, find the right speech pathologist for your family, assess your funding options, and ensure a successful path when it comes to the growth of your child.

Step 1. When Should You Seek Help

We all know that children develop at different rates, but there are some milestones that can guide a child’s development and help us understand when they need additional support. Speech Pathology Australia has developed several resources and guides relating to communication skills across the early years of childhood. These guides, including the Communication Milestones Poster, provides specific skills that your child may achieve at certain ages ranging from 12 months to five years.

In addition to understanding the specific milestones relating to communication skills, you may also consider seeking a speech pathologist if:

  • you or other people are having difficulty understanding your child

  • people think your child is younger than they are because of the way he speaks

  • your child is being teased or showing frustration because of the way he talks

  • your child is using fewer words than other children his age

  • your child stutters

  • your child’s interactions or play seems unusual or inappropriate

  • your child is struggling with reading or writing

  • there is a diagnosis that could affect speech or language such as hearing loss, auditory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder or developmental delay

Communication and language challenges can have a widespread impact on a child’s life. It can affect their academic performance, be socially isolating, and impact their choices in adulthood. It is because of this that early intervention by a speech pathologist is not only recommended but can have a significantly positive impact on their daily life – now and in the future. 

Step 2. How to Choose a Speech Pathologist

Choosing a speech pathologist is perhaps one of the most important steps when it comes to securing the right support and pathway for your child. Sure, you can jump online and see what Google brings up. But while independent research is advised, it can often present an overwhelming number of choices, making this step that much harder. So, the question remains, how do you know which speech pathologist is right for your family, and will offer the right services to help your child grow? To find the answer you need to ask the right questions:

Are you certified?

It is important to find out if the speech pathologist you are looking to see is, in fact, certified. In Australia, speech pathology is a self-regulated profession. However, Speech Pathology Australia has established a certified membership program that sees professionals within the industry undergo rigorous training and professional development to sustain the title of Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP). What does this mean for you? Basically, this certification ensures that you and your child are working with a speech pathologist who will practice within an ethical and evidence-based framework, and is an eligible provider for services under Medicare (for Chronic Disease Management and other eligible allied health items), private health funds, and other schemes including Helping Children With Autism (HCWA), Better Start for Children with Disability, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Are you child-friendly?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing if a speech pathologist works well with children is something that will help you to feel at ease. While many speech pathologists claim to “work with children”, observing how they actually do this will give you the best insight into their services and methods. Is the therapists on the floor with your child? Are they trying to understand your child’s interests? Is your child having fun? Does your child seem willing to interact with the therapist? If you can answer yes to these questions, then chances are you’ve chosen the right speech pathologist who will help your child grow.

Are you experienced and do you understand my child’s challenges?

A good therapist should know what kind of treatment is best for your child. In addition, this treatment should be based on research. The bottom line is that the therapist should appear to know what he/she is talking about. Finally, you should feel comfortable with the amount of experience this therapist has with children like yours.  Some additional questions that may help you decide if the therapist is experienced and knowledgeable in early language intervention are:

  • How much of your caseload is made up of children like mine?

  • Can I talk to some other parents who you have worked with?

  • What treatment do you recommend and why?

  • What’s the evidence that supports these recommendations?

  • Where can I learn more about this kind of treatment?

Do you work with the family and educators to ensure the best results?

The best speech pathologists are those who will work with you, as well as your child, to develop the right therapy, activities and resources to support growth in a variety of contexts (at home, school etc). They understand that the time spent with your child is limited, and because you are an incredibly important part of your child’s life, you need to be involved in the intervention and play a major role. The right speech pathologist will be able to work with you to develop your skills so you feel confident delivering ‘treatment’ throughout your child’s day.

When it comes down to it, you want a speech pathologist who is respectful of both your child’s needs and of yours. According to Speech Pathology Australia, they should be someone who:

  • Observes: takes the time to discover what is important to the parent

  • Waits: gives the parent time to talk about what is important to her/him

  • Listens: responds to what the parent says to show he/she has been heard

Step 3. Understanding Your Funding Options (including NDIS)

Now that you have chosen your speech pathologist, the next step is to get your head around what you can do to pay for the number of therapy sessions and assessments that have been recommended. Your speech pathologist will be able to provide information on the various options, but it is always a good idea to have a basic understanding of what is available.

The main programs available for funding speech pathology services are as follows:

Medicare – Chronic Disease Management Program (CDM)

Speech pathologists can work with your GP to provide therapy under a CDM plan. The Chronic Disease Management scheme is initiated by your GP, and is available to children and adults with Chronic Care needs. People with Autism are automatically eligible for the CDM because an Autism Spectrum Disorder is considered a chronic condition. The Medicare rebate is available for five sessions of Allied Health therapy, including Speech Pathology, per calendar year.

Please note that CDM plans can only be used for Individual therapy sessions. The CDM Plan does not provide funding for group therapy sessions. Click herefor more information.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

If you choose to see a speech pathologist that is a registered NDIS provider, you could access individual and group therapy services under a specific plan implemented for your child. There is an eligibility criteria that you would need to assess, and if your child meets the criteria you can ask to become a participant by completing an Access Request Form.

If your child is aged between 0 and 6 years of age, there is a specific service called Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) available. The ECEI approach supports families to help children develop the skills they need to take part in daily activities and achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life.

To find out more about the NDIS you can call their helpline 1800 800 110 or visit the website: www.ndis.gov.au

Private Health Fund

Rebates for speech pathology services may be available through your private health fund. You will need to determine the rebates with your health fund provider prior to commencing the service. You will also need to check with your speech pathologist that they are an eligible provider for your health fund.

Please note that you cannot claim a Medicare rebate and a private health insurance rebate for the same service. You must choose which rebate they are going to claim for a service.

Step 4. Defining Your Role in the Speech Therapy Process

The final step in your family’s speech pathology journey is understanding the role that you will take. Parent involvement in the speech therapy process is extremely important when it comes to achieving the best outcomes.  For most children, seeing a speech pathologist once a week isn’t enough time to develop language skills. But if you work together with your child’s speech pathologist, you can play an active role in your child’s intervention by:

  • helping set goals for your child

  • describing daily activities and routines

  • learning strategies that you can use at home that will build your child’s communication skills

  • reporting changes and progress you see in your child

  • determining next steps with the speech pathologist

By working together with your child’s speech pathologist, you become the primary person delivering the therapy, and the speech pathologist functions as your coach and consultant, ensuring the best results possible.

As the name suggests, A Growing Understanding offers services that are centred around growing the understanding of not only children, but for those who care for and support them – you. As your child grows and develops during their speech pathology journey, we will support you and help you develop the right skills to assist them at home and during your daily routine. We will also provide information and advice that can be passed onto educators and other family members, and ensure that growth occurs across a variety of contexts.

Why Facebook is ruining friendships...

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My reasons for joining the Facebook world were fairly valid I thought. Our family had recently moved out of Sydney and so this was a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. Instead of trying to remember to individually send pictures of kids to family members, one quick upload and they could all see. Great!

I really feel lately though that there is so much weight on Facebook and I guess the ‘ethics’ around it. If you haven’t commented on a friends photo of their child’s first day of school, or you forget to click ‘like’ on a funny status update of another friend, are you now considered not as close to that person? Will that person be offended?

I first started noticing this a couple of years ago. Life is crazy busy (as it is for everyone) and I find myself not on Facebook as much as I used to be, especially in my breastfeeding years. I constantly miss updates from close friends and when I catch up with them in person and ask ‘what’s been happening?’ I really mean it! But I noticed when I did stop scrolling through Facebook as much that I couldn’t keep a lot of the older friendships I had. That’s sad isn’t it!? I certainly don’t blame anyone for this, and I also don’t blame myself. In the past two years, having not been on my phone as often has been refreshing. I’m flat out during the day and to be honest the last thing I feel like doing at night, if I get a chance to sit, is scroll through my phone.

A really positive thing is that not having learnt about my friends lives from Facebook, means I’m more inclined to catch up with them personally, and we actually have things to talk about! I remember a while ago catching up with friends and everyone knew what everyone was up to before we’d even properly chatted.

Anyway, a few thoughts there, but isn’t it a funny world we now live in!

PODCAST RELEASE: HOW TO BUILD YOUR CHILD'S SELF ESTEEM

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It's so important in today's day and age to build our kids self esteem but how do we do it?

Our NHM- I GOT IT FROM MY MUMMA Podcast below will guide you through how to do it but here are some pointers.

IT BEGINS AT BIRTH

  • A healthy self esteem begins at birth, when we care for our children and look at them lovingly they feel as if they’re worthy of care and love

  • Spend quality time with your child and show them affection daily

ACHIEVENMENT

  • When it comes to praise, don’t just give it to them when you feel they ‘achieve’ something praise them randomly just for being them and affirm that you love them just as they are

MISTAKES

  • Tell them it’s ok to make mistakes because everyone fails and makes mistakes it’s part of growing and development

WHAT IF THEY’RE BULLIED?

  • Don’t try to fix it immediately and seek out the bully to punish them, it may make your child fearful that they can’t be honest with you about their life in the future for fear you could make the situation worse. First, sit with them listen, ask how they feel and validate those feelings then be considered in what action to take if any.

CHALLENGES AREN’T ALWAYS BAD

  • Has your child had a challenging time at school? If they get through it with your help it’s actually good for them it will help them deal with adult life and all it’s complications in the workforce and beyond.

BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL

  • Don’t put yourself down in front of your children or beat yourself up for making a mistake

  • Praise yourself from time to time and show yourself some love

In the Podcast below we also chat to Jasey Stanley Author of ‘Where are you most beautiful’ a book aimed at building your child’s self esteem from an early age. To win a copy go here.


BABY STEPS, getting active again after kids

Smile, It doesn’t matter if you reach your toes

Smile, It doesn’t matter if you reach your toes

When I think of how fit I used to be honestly I can’t even comprehend it. After I finished my radio shift PB (not personal best, pre baby) I used to pop off for a 10-14KM run BEFORE Crossfit and sometimes get a yoga session in later that day. Keep in mind I worked on a Radio breakfast show in the morning then was ‘on-email’ through the day but life now does not mirror that in the slightest.

Now my children 1 and 3 and my several jobs take up the lion’s share of everyday. Even though I’m a yoga teacher and have been doing that for 15 or so years (don’t count) I still need to remind myself to breathe. I refuse to use any Strava or running apps because I’m pretty sure Ants on the App would have times that bettered mine. I run slower, less and less often, I only get to yoga a couple of times a week and I do so much less than I used to. The moral of the story is however, it’s ok. You are a mum, honestly I don’t know how you do it, it is in fact the toughest and most gruelling job ever, harder than any work out! So be patient with yourself as I have been with myself, don’t get to judgey and ease back into what you can do when you can do it. You’re a loving mother who cares for little humans daily and that makes you more beautiful and ANYONE on instagram.

No screen time for kids under 2

Summer and Lilly enjoying the great outdoors

Summer and Lilly enjoying the great outdoors

The World Heath Organisation has issued a warning to parents that children under 2 should have no screen time whatsoever while children from 2-5 years of age should only have an hour a day.

The WHO says screen time in these early stages can stunt your child’s mental development, cause further sleep issues and encourage too much of a sedentary lifestyle.

RIGHTO but what about when you go to the Dr and you have a baby and a toddler or 3 children and you need to stop them going crazy for your own mental health and the wellbeing of everyone else around or when mummy needs to make a super important phone call but she has children crawling all over her and it’s super difficult. The i Pad or i Phone has saved me many a time but we get the message loud and clear, for the good of our kids it should not be an ‘all the time’ thing.

Little Steps Towards a Big Future

Little Lilly

Little Lilly

Often I hear Mums chatting with their friends as I do with mine about the transition of their babes from 5 days at home to a couple of days with an Early Education Centre or other care so I thought I’d share our experience so far.

It seems like a long time ago now I first dropped little Lilly now just over 1 year old to The Little Unicorn Early Education Centre for her first day of an early education. There were tears and we were both sad not to be together for three days a week but I knew she would find friends and discover a world of learning, possibility and get a good feed (I’m a loving mother but the worlds worst cook).

I’m happy to report over 6 months later, it is so beautiful to see her running to the door tri-weekly, smiling in her educators arms and having fun playing with her new friends. Her speech has developed amazingly and I’m so excited daily when she repeats words and surprises me with new ones she’s learnt. I love our time together and feel so blessed to have healthy beautiful children but we are truely blessed too to have educators who care for our children like we do and work hard to help them develop the skills they need for life and years of learning ahead. I also love the amount of craft and beautiful artwork we see her create daily, it fills me with joy to see it hang on my walls but not have to clean up after it when I already have seven million baskets of tiny clothes to wash.

I feel like sometimes it’s nice to take stock of just how blessed we are and how beautiful life truely is. For those following along at home I’ll be doing tri-monthly updates on Lilly’s progress.

PODCAST RELEASE: Mother's Day Celebration, Your Role As A Mum

Bec and her 2nd baby Gracie

Bec and her 2nd baby Gracie

How did your life change when you became a Mother? Bec and Sarge talk about that moment and how they mind mum life. They also speak to their own mothers Maree and Inga about Mothering their children; advice they have for other mothers, looking back do they feel they made any mistakes, what's the most important thing to do as a mother and how they think their daughters turned out? A celebration of #Mumlife.

PODCAST RELEASE: Abortion

We as mum’s are super respectful of mothers and whatever decisions they make in respect of their family and their own health as well as the physical and mental heath of their families.

This episode delves into the decision to have an abortion.

We delve into one mother’s honest account of deciding that her family was enough.

She had struggled with mental heath issues and so had her husband and when she fell pregnant at a time when she already had two small children and just felt like she was getting her life and her family's life on track she made the decision to abort. What was that process like for her? What support did she get from others? Did she have any regrets? How is her family coping now. 

Easter Hat Parade

Alright you crafty mums… inspiration! Easter is almost upon us and I’ve been seeing a lot of posts for the Easter Hat Parade. Thankfully, I am not required to make any hats this year, mainly because Easter has fallen within the holidays! Woohoo! However, there are plenty of mums out there currently crafting, brainstorming or stressing about what hat to make.

Are you a Pinterest mum who makes all the others jealous of your skills? Are you the last minute mum who sits up all night the night before finishing the hat? Or are you more like me and remember the morning of and send last year’s hat from the older sibling?

Come on everyone, help out your fellow mums and throw up a picture of your creations, whether they be this year or last.

Happy Easter!

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PODCAST RELEASE: Make Up Mumma

Are you like us and just slap your make up on in the car? It’s time to get schooled in make up by the best Dean Blaq from The Boys Hair and Make Up Studio. You can also WIN a $200 Gift Card from Stockland Greenhills, the best place to go to replace everything in your make up collection go here to win, you can also win a makeover from Dean Blaq!

There is so much in this podcast you have to check it out below but some key points are:

  • Watch out for expiry dates, there’s a little jar on the back of your product don’t go beyond the 12 or 24 months prescribed

  • Don’t pump your mascara, it traps air in and makes it go feral

  • Primer isn’t necessary unless you’re going to an event

  • BB Cream is fantastic

  • Get a good daytime and night time moisturiser

  • It’s ok to shop at Target, Priceline and other cheaper retailers if you search for the right brands

  • Get samples of expensive products before you buy them and make sure they fit your skin first and you’re not allergic to them also that they wear well

Dean Blaq from The Boys Hair and Make Up Studio, Mayfield

Dean Blaq from The Boys Hair and Make Up Studio, Mayfield

Stockland Greenhills is your one stop make up shopping destination with Mecca, David Jones, Price Attack, Priceline and Target

Stockland Greenhills is your one stop make up shopping destination with Mecca, David Jones, Price Attack, Priceline and Target

PODCAST RELEASE: How will a religious education affect your kids?

Religions commentator John Safran

Religions commentator John Safran

Going to a Catholic girls school myself I often wonder how it affected me throughout my life generally and also later in life. This week we’re joined by religious commentator John Safran to discuss how religion in schools affects kids. We also look at religion itself, the positives and negatives and its entwinement in our culture and inability in some respects to seperate the two. We discuss the outcome of George Pell’s recent legal case and the reactions surrounding it.

LISTEN via the link below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your Podcast App