Category Archives: BLOG: The Duchess of Charlestown

Why I refuse to take a #NoMakeupSelfie

Just a 'little' makup Image by Shesarii at

Just a ‘little’ makeup
Image by Shesarii at

There’s something really quite wrong about this ‘No Makeup Selfie’ craze that’s been doing the rounds. I have a big problem with it.

I’m not really bothered by the fact that it was meant to raise cancer awareness (and it didn’t), nor do I care that most people out there have cheated by using Instagram filters or they still wore just a little makeup (ultimately they can do what they like)…

The problem I have with this whole phenomenon is the comments people make when someone posts a No Makeup Selfie: ‘You’re just as beautiful without makeup!’ ‘I wish I looked that good!’ ‘Stunning!’

Let me explain.

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The writer who doesn’t like reading

I don’t like reading.


Yes, that’s right. I think it’s time to come clean with you all and admit that I’m a writer who doesn’t like reading.

So when I saw this week that the UK Telegraph published the list of ‘100 novels everyone should read‘ I decided to set myself a goal: I would read every one of the books on that list before I die.

4 books at home

Our bookshelf at home has 4 of the 100 on the list – seems like a good place to start!

I then did what every person does when they see a list like that and counted how many on the list I’d already read.

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The Blog Hop – why I write and other notes about writing

It’s time to do my very own ‘Blog Hop’ where I answer 6 questions that reveal my writing process and why I write. Kel from the Naughty Corner of Social Niceties posted her blog hop last week and kindly passed the baton to me.

I’ve also nominated three of my favourite bloggers (and favourite people, come to think of it) to do the same.

It's Blog Hop time! Image by Dean McCoy at

It’s Blog Hop time!
Image by Dean McCoy at

1. Why do I write?

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What’s the one thing you’d do…

…if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

You may have been asked this before. It’s the type of thing that’s asked at the beginning of motivational business conferences as the ‘icebreaker’. Or it’s written in curly font with butterflies on a meme shared around Facebook getting one million likes and comments such as ‘so true’ and ‘luv this’.

But have you ever taken a moment to sit back and think… what’s the one thing you would do if knew you wouldn’t fail?

Do it now. Think of an answer!

Then I’ll let you read on.

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Purple pirates solve the clues (my appearance on ABC Treasure Hunter)

Last weekend I learned that if you mix up the letters to ‘Weak anteater girth’ you get ‘Heritage water tank’. And not just any old heritage water tank. It’s the water tank at number 10, Summit Street, North Lambton.

Let me explain.

Last Saturday, me and my writing group buddy Margaret Jackson (who blogs here at Marg’s Slices of Life) were invited into the ABC Newcastle radio studio for Treasure Hunter with Jenny Marchant. It was our job to solve the clues – with the help of some very clever listeners – and navigate the ABC car around town in search of the elusive red envelopes.

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Rooms without windows can make you crazy

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My boss says, ‘Although I can’t see out any windows, I can sense when it’s suddenly dark outside.’

No, we’re not in gaol. We’re at work. And unlucky for us our office is completely disconnected from the outside world. That’s right, whoever designed our part of the building forgot one crucial element.


So it makes us rely on our other senses. Feelings about cloud cover. Sounds of light rain. Smells of fresh flowers opening in spring while we’re stuck inside slaving away at our desks.

It reminds me of Alcatraz, the former US prison in San Fransisco Bay. Some of the worst criminals in the United States lived out their days in the prison blocks on that island. Solitary confinement, deaths, horrific riots… it all happened at Alcatraz. The cells are small, dirty, cold and dark, with very little natural light. When you visit you feel its sordid history and it sends chills up your spine.

Imagine never seeing natural light. Image by David James at

Imagine never seeing natural light
Image by Nicolas Vollmer at

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Back to the daily commute

Everyone hates traffic right? The words ‘daily commute’ send shivers down spines. People dread traffic jams; they bang their head on the steering wheel, blast their horn in frustration and tear actual chunks of hair from their head.

Traffic sucks.

Well, not necessarily. Over the past 8 months I actually grew to miss it. Call me crazy, but in my experience ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone’ can even apply to the daily commute.

Is it possible to enjoy the daily commute? Image by Peter Blanchard at

Is it possible to enjoy the daily commute? Image by Peter Blanchard at

You see, Prince G was born in August last year and I gave up work for 8 months. I gave up meetings, documents, difficult stakeholders, staffing issues and cake. I didn’t use a desktop computer for more than half a year (nor a desk come to think of it). And I also gave up driving to and from work five days a week.

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