Join Amber Lawrence to support The Change Angels, July 24th

Amber Lawrence will be the star attraction at The Change Angels’ Live Band Karaoke fundraiser for the Child Protection Unit, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick 

Friday 24th July 2014, 7.30PM  at Coogee Diggers. Buy tickets HERE. 

The award winning singer songwriter and reigning 2015 CMAA Golden Guitar Female Artist of the Year is lending her support to volunteer fundraisers, The Change Angels.

Although Amber Lawrence is preparing for her national tour she will squeeze in a performance to help The Change Angels raise over $20,000 for the Child Protection Unit.

“I just couldn’t refuse to join The Change Angels at their Live Band Karaoke fundraiser to support the Child Protection Unit”, said Ms Lawrence. “The fact I will be singing with a Live Band and not a karaoke machine on the night is a bonus!”

“The statistics are so worrying, with one child dying every two weeks as a direct result of assault in Australia and one in three girls and one in six boys experiencing some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18″.

change angelsThe Change Angels is a volunteer organisation that  works tirelessly to promote child protection with the hope that that they can make a difference in the fight against child abuse and give children the chance to  grow up in a safe and loving environment.

Through their fundraising activity The Change Angels help support the talented and dynamic team in the Child Protection Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, through two programs that directly impact children who’ve been abused and neglected.

Money raised at the LIVE BAND KARAOKE NIGHT on Friday 24th July at Coogee Diggers will help support therapy groups for children and young people who have been sexually abused and also support groups for their parents.

These groups offer a safe place where children and parents deal with trauma in a friendly, non-judgemental environment.

Children and young people learn they are not alone and are listened to and understood by other children, young people and trustworthy adults.

In addition to the program for children and parents, the Occupational Therapy program helps to rehabilitate children in care, whose development has been impaired through the trauma of severe long-term abuse.

Deanne Dale, Clinical Co-ordinator of the Child Protection Unit is incredibly appreciative of the work that The Change Angels do and how their support can help the lives of those people she works with.

“We work at the coalface with some pretty horrifying cases, but we stay strong and focused on supporting the children, young people and their support networks throughout the ordeal”, said Ms Dale.

“We treat children from newborns to 16 year olds and offer them medical treatment, counselling support and ongoing care throughout the crisis of trauma and beyond. When people like The Change Angels come along to support us we feel uplifted and so very grateful. They have already raised over $18,000 for us so far and are committed to raising another $20,000 for us at Live Band Karaoke”, said Ms Dale.

Tickets are selling fast and sold out last year. Ticket price of $75 includes food and one standard drink with all profits going directly to the Child Protection Unit. Tickets cannot be purchased at the door.

Buy your tickets HERE. 

McGrath Coogee, Platinum Pre School and The Manildra Group are the generous sponsors of this event which would not be possible without their support.


Wondrous World of Charlotte

Wondrous Ink’s beautiful personalised children’s books offer group discounts

Calling all mothers groups, infant schools, child care centres, book clubs and playgroups!

Wondrous Ink’s group buying discount gives up to 40% discount on orders of over 10 books, so it’s a great way to club together to buy special presents for all the family,  all your friends’ kids or for fundraising activities for your school, nursery or playgroup.

Now every child in the class or group can have his or her own personalised Wondrous Ink book!

Simply contact Wondrous Ink with your order details and they will get right back to you.

Wondrous World of Charlotte

The Wondrous World of Charlotte

Prince George

The Wondrous World of Prince George


Bessie, BlueBelle and storytime “in the flow”

Just posted on Wondrous Ink Blog, an interview about storytime and life on the road with my gorgeous friend Bessie Bardot and daughter BlueBelle. An inspirational read for all parents.



A recent news story on the USA’s Today Show revealed how party plan and direct selling is skyrocketing with the advent of social media and giving mums the opportunity to create an at-home direct sales business and make big bucks.

Scott Morrison’s new families package is likely to throw part-time working mums into a spin in terms of child care subsidy, with a minimum working hour requirement to get any sort of rebate.

So many mothers are now looking for alternative, home-based arrangements that allow them the flexibility to work, while also being at home with the kids. Direct Selling is one of the most popular solutions.

And with ever increasing child care costs and lack of places, many mums are simply unable to go back to their previous employment and looking for alternative opportunities. Direct selling (which incorporates Party Plan) offer mums huge flexibility and financial opportunity while reducing their need for child care.

Direct Selling is now a billion dollar industry in Australia with companies like PASH Australia leading the way. Direct selling now encompasses all sorts of products and services from cookware and appliances to sensual products.

Jo Karabin is Founder and MD of PASH Australia, a company that sells lingerie and sensuality products. PASH has now been in operation for over ten years, evolving with the industry as a whole.

“Party plan is no longer simply about direct selling”, said Karabin. “It has evolved hugely over the years with the digital era and we do things like webinars, online training, online direct sells, social selling, social connection of national network in real time and YouTube”.

“We have a small army of women, mainly mums, who have found a rewarding, fun and fulfilling way to earn extra money, while being around for their family”, says mum of two Karabin.

The DSAA (Direct Selling Association of Australia) estimates the direct selling industry to almost $1.7 billion, with over 475,000 agents working (mainly part time) with various direct selling organisations.

A report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 90% of direct sellers are women working part time, and tend to be under 45 with 65% of the industry aged between 25-45 years old.

The industry is on the up and up and companies like PASH are constantly looking for more consultants to join them.

For more information on direct selling go to and for PASH Australia go to


For more information about PASH Australia or interview with Jo Karabin, please contact Sophie Cross



How to live a less toxic life

No matter what you do, where you go or how you live your life, unless you’re living under a rock in the middle of nowhere, it’s pretty hard to avoid toxins.

Our daily lives are full of them. They’re in the atmosphere, in our food and drink, cans and bottles, in our toiletries, cleaning products, furniture, clothes, house paint, drinking water and even in our computers. We actually even make toxins ourselves through our own stress!

These daily chemicals safe or are thought to be linked to issues such as lower IQ, cancer and reproductive problems and could well play a part in all sorts of illnesses. We simply don’t know what their effects are.

We’re actually exposed to toxins from within the womb, from chemicals that travel across the placenta and into the foetus. These chemicals can be known toxins such as mercury, lead and BPA (found in plastics) or other unknown toxins that we simply have no idea we’re ingesting.

In ABC’s Catalyst programme last week, Dr Maryanne Demasi investigated the chemicals found in everyday products. This

She particularly looked at how toxins can affect or disrupt our endocrine system, our hormones, which are essential for development. Even low levels of chemicals can affect brain development at a very basic level.   No one actually knows what these do to our bodies and chemicals in things like packaging, apart from toxins such as BPA are largely unregulated…it’s a scary thought.

Sarah Wilson, who was interviewed about how she has tried to reduce the toxicity of her daily life through “cleaning” the way she lives, said that it’s a minefield, but that she simply tries to adopt a cleaner approach to her everyday life: This means using fewer cosmetic products, trying to use single ingredient toiletries where she can, avoiding canned foods and plastic containers, shampoos, conditioners and toiletries that contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). She has also changed her cleaning products to use more natural alternatives, such as natural grease-busting oils.

Interestingly the blood samples of Dr Marianne and Sarah Wilson had similar levels of endocrine disruptors, which seems to prove that while we can do what we can, we just simply have no idea where the chemicals are.

As Sarah says, just try to make a difference. “The less guff you have in your life, the better it can be”. She feels better for it and simply feels like her life is “cleaner”. (See her how to choose toxin free cosmetics here)

And we can all do that. It’s not too hard. According to One Green Planet, there are many ways we can reduce toxins in our lives.

They include some of the following:

  • Use a botanical/natural insect repellents or essential oils like Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender and mint.
  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home – things like orange oil, eucalyptus and tea tree oils are great.
  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing – you can use a couple of drops of an organic essential oil instead.
  • Switch over to natural brands of toiletries and cosmetics – you simply do not need to use chemical products on your face and hair!
  • Find time to meditate, disconnect from your busy life and de-stress
  • Buy and eat organic produce as much as possible
  • Avoid processed foods — remember that they’re processed with chemicals to make them last longer and look better
  • Wash fruit and vegetables in filtered water to remove most of the residual chemicals.
  • Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG
  • Remove any metal fillings from your mouth if you can, as they’re a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist.
  • Use a water filter on all your taps (even those in your shower or bath)
  • Avoid “topping up” at the petrol pumps – do one big fill to limit the number of times you’re exposed to petrol fumes

While taking these measures won’t completely eliminate chemicals from your life, it will reduce them. It’s doing something and the more you can do, the better. Educate yourself. Do what you can. It simply makes sense and we have to start somewhere!

For more information see the following sites:

Written by Sophie, published on

Cartoon Black and White

Meet Sir Chris, the inspirational Rocking Horse Man!

Rocking Horse Man Crafts Old School Toys To Give Philippine Prisoners New Hope

Chris WoolcockThis week I came across a truly inspirational man. Chris Woolcock is an Australian master craftsman, whose carved wooden rocking horses have received international acclaim and now fund what he calls “his most important work” – teaching his skill to prison inmates in Bilibid prison, Philippines.

Chris sells his beautiful rocking horses to clients all over the world. They have become collectors’ items, family heirlooms and exhibition pieces, having been displayed in London and New York, with one of his prize pieces currently on show at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. He has even been the subject of Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize.

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Chris started his career at an early age when he learned the art of woodcarving from his grandfather and developed a lifelong love of making wooden toys.

On leaving school, Chris trained to become a teacher and while working in a primary school in the early 1970s, he had a group of children who needed specially built toys. With few resources available to him, he decided to make his own educational aids for handicapped children on a small commercial scale. Some time later he then went to the UK and taught disadvantaged children in the East End.

Chris’s award-winning, exquisite rocking horses are the epitome of classic, timeless toys. They are pieces of art in their own right and a mark of a true artisan.

His passion is more about teaching and passing on his skills than taking acclaim for his pieces. In Australia he runs classes on making rocking horses for would-be craftsmen/ women people interested in learning a new skill.

When he started his own business, Woolcock Toys (which then became Renaissance Rocking Horses), in 1982, he employed handicapped and special needs people as his way of giving back to the community and helping those in need.

Following a trip to the Philippines, Chris embarked on his most important teaching assignment to date: teaching prisoners in Bilibid prison life skills to give them a craft and new hope for the future.

Chris has been teaching in maximum security prison, Bilibid for almost three years. He spends on month in three “inside”, teaching prisoners the skill of woodcarving.   He built his own workshop in the prison and uses the sale of his rocking horses to fund his teaching.

He has now rented a small house for himself and loves the different life he lives in the Philippines.

“I travel by tricycle each day to work, through wonderful green countryside. It’s not overcrowded or polluted like Manila and there are lots of open spaces, chickens, ducks, goats, caribou and even turkeys wandering around! Mango, coconut and banana trees line the streets and the food is cheap and fresh.”

Chris’s secretary, Liezel and her father, a retired soldier, also work in the prison with Chris.  She and her family move into his house when Chris is in Australia:

“Liezal’s mum has started a garden in the yard. Soon we will have chickens, although I said no to getting a pig”, laughs Chris.

The inmates at Bilibid really appreciate Chris and take a huge interest in him, which can be a little awkward at times!  “It’s sometimes embarrassing when I am in the prison”, says Chris. “I’m treated like royalty and the boys cannot do enough for me and call me Sir Christopher!  They carry my bag and have the slightly uncomfortable habit of holding an umbrella over my head when I am outside!”

But his work is incredibly rewarding and he is very fond of “his boys”:

“I simply love what I do”, says Chris. “I enjoy my work, love sharing my talents and simply get a kick out of giving my boys (the prisoners) a new start in life, through skills remission on their sentence and a trade qualification.”

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All Renaissance rocking horses are made from first (furniture) grade, knot free, New Zealand Radiata Pine. The wood comes from well managed forests, independently certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.

To find out more about him and his work and view the current selection of rocking horses, go to


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Inspirational woman: Sarah Wilson

Sophie Martin:

Love Sarah Wilson – see interview for Ere Perez’s blog…

Originally posted on Naturally Beautiful:

The lovely Sarah Wilson is one of Australia’s best-known media commentators in the health, health living and beauty fields; as well as being a journalist, author and magazine editor. In her twenties, Sarah was a restaurant reviewer and editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. She was also the host of the hugely successful first series of MasterChef Australia and face of Lifestyle You.

Following her diagnosis with autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, Sarah began to look at different ways to manage her illness. These ways included following a toxin free, sugar free diet as well as reviewing her attitude to health and exercise. Sarah’s books, IQuitSugar and I Quit Sugar For Life have been a huge success and spawned a successful business,  including a series of cookbooks, which she manages with her Sarah Wilson blog and media work, while cycling and hiking in her spare time.

You have a pretty crazy schedule with and your media…

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Five easy activities to keep you fit, healthy and in shape

Originally posted on Naturally Beautiful:

Not a fan of the gym? You’re not alone, but suffering from “Gymphobia” doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit and in great shape! Harvard Medical School’s special health report says the following five easy (and economical) activities can help you get and stay in shape and lower your risk for disease. They’re suitable for any age or fitness ability, you can do them anywhere and they don’t cost a fortune in monthly gym membership or personal trainers.

  1. Swimming. This is known as “the perfect workout” and if you live near the sea, pool or sports centre, then it’s an easy one to do. Why is it so good: According to Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, the buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. Research finds that swimming can improve your mental…

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Create your own “red room” experience with PASH

This weekend sees the launch of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, starring the oh-so-sexy Jamie Dornan (who apparently doesn’t take his clothes off enough in the film).

The book was a roaring success and gave women all over the world permission to explore the less ‘vanilla’ side of sex, even if it was only in their own mental fantasy world! Nothing wrong with a bit of fantasy, we say.

While not tipped to be quite as raunchy as the book, the film is bound to bring out a desire to explore the boundaries, which is a great thing and we hope that women will be inspired to try new things and bring out their inner sensuality.

PASH, Australia’s leading sensual products retailer and party plan company has a new range of official EL James Fifty Shades of Grey products for all you women keen to discover your own red room experience, which is really exciting and we certainly anticipate selling a lot more sensual products, love toys and accessories in the coming months, as Aussie couples spice it up!

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What better excuse to stock up on your bedroom props and have a little fun with your partner, because spicing it up in the bedroom and adding some props, surprises and sensual body treats can only be GREAT for a relationship, not matter what stage it’s at.

Here are our top five products to get you Fifty Shades ready:

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey leatherette studded mask – $14.95
  2. Playful in Pearls – Pearl Satin Whip – $29.95
  3. Fifty Shades of Grey Massage candle in scintillating lotus fragrance $19.95
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey Silk Ties $14.95
  5. Fifty Shades of Grey Silver Pleasure Balls set $41.95

What are you waiting for. Get steamy and create your own “red room” experience ;)