Jan 14, 2017

REALLY excited about this…My Shinning Life with Leonie Dawson

I was introduced to Leonie's way of planning when I was at a really low point. I had realized at the age of 47 that I'd never drive through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in my hair (apologies to Marianne Faithful). I enrolled in a course at a Women's Centre to try and boost my creativity and get back on track.

The lady who ran the workshop was a big believer in Leonie Dawson's books and style, and she shared with us some of the ideas she was using in her own workbooks, while we were busy making art and talking about life.

I Googled Leonie right away and I began listing the 100 things I would like to do and what I had learned and what I had let go of, in the year before. I grabbed the digital books and filled them out. Then I began to realise that by writing these goals down, I was committing to them, and they began to become a priority.

Since using Leonie's books I have enrolled in my Master's degree, had a paper published, completed NaNoWriMo, travelled to Scotland (a life long dream) and embraced my creativity again, just to name a few!! I have also let go of some people, habits and other stuff that weighed me down.

It's really easy to use the pages you are interested in and discard the pages that don't interest you. This year I plan to make art on the pages that don't interest me.

This year I have the print book of My Shining Life and I'm really EXCITED to get going and embrace life at 50!!!

I will leave it here and let Leonie show you a little more:

Look inside the 2017 Shining Year Life Goals workbook!

Leonie Dawson is a mentor to women wanting to create + grow massively successful and heart-centered creative + soulful businesses. She is also an author, retreat leader, visual artist, mama and guide for the tens of thousands who receive her free Shining Biz + Shinging Life eZine each week. Visit her website at LeonieDawson.com & grab your free copy of the Biz & Blog Star Workbook!

This post contains Affiliate links at no cost to you, that help me support my blog. Thanks. 

Jan 11, 2017

Embrace - Movie

My Story: 

I am the sort of person who lives in her head a lot. My body is the vehicle which carries my brain around. It's also useful for giving hugs and picking up my grandkids for a cuddle. But I don't think about it much. This has a negative consequence, in that I don't remember to eat or drink water, sometimes I don't remember to stop eating, I take a while to realise I am hot or cold or tired and uncomfortable, my body is in stress and I don't notice as quickly as some people might.

It also has a positive benefit. I have never been on a diet. I wear what I want, even though people have commented on it, it doesn't bother me. I don't spend much time looking in the mirror, and I'm just as comfortable going for a swim with the grandkids as I am going to the pictures. Since I am very fair, I have learned the hard way about covering up, because I had two basal cell carcinomas removed from my face, and I was a bit self conscious about having stitches in my face, so i guess I am like most people in that way.

But my weight has gone up and down from too thin to obese over the years due to medication, depression, or other health conditions and I still take photos with my family. I make the same comments as most people such as "Gee I'm a bit fat - should do something about that", but I have never been on a diet in my life, I don't have weight goals or targets - and I found out that is quite rare.

Honestly, there have been a couple of times that people have said quite unkind things to jerk me out of this way of thinking, and sadly it has mostly been from women. Here is one such example:

 Last year, I volunteered for a research project that someone was conducting in my home state. I quite often do that, as I find the interview questions interesting. This was about an object, I won't discuss the details too much as I may give away the researcher. Anyway, I answered the interview questions, and the researcher began to take my photo with the object. It seems straight forward - look up now, smile, turn this way or that. But after a few shots I knew things weren't going well. I can sometimes be quite awkward and the photographer wasn't making it any easier, making me perch on the edge of a stool, turn my head forward and my body side on. I was getting very uncomfortable, while being told to "relax".

Then, when I was ready to give up, came the words, " I know it may be a bit uncomfortable to sit like that, but as a photographer I know tricks to make you look slimmer".  Look -  that may not have been the actual words, but I was basically being told I was fat. I know this person has conducted feminist research in the past, so it astounded me. If  I was uncomfortable before, now I was also self- conscious. The photo shoot was hot and I was very distracted, I just wanted to leave. As soon as I left, I ran out and I just wanted to cry. I had thought it was going to be a fun exercise but it turned out to be horrible.

Taryn's Story:

Taryn’s before-and-after image (2013) has been seen

by over 100 million people worldwide

Your body. Create global change.

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn’s crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.
At home in Adelaide, Australia, Taryn Brumfitt is a wife and mother of three. But internationally, she is a highly recognised body image activist whose powerful message has reached over 100 million people worldwide via traditional and social media. After receiving more than 7000 emails and messages from people all over the world, Taryn realised that there was a global body-hating epidemic and felt compelled to find answers.

EMBRACE is told from the point of view of Taryn as she traverses the globe talking to experts, women in the street and well-known personalities about the alarming rates of body image issues that are seen in people of all body types. In her affable and effervescent style, Taryn bares all (literally) to explore the factors contributing to this problem and seeks to find solutions.

After 24 months of travelling, interviewing, production and post production Taryn and the Embrace team have created a film that is relevant, relatable, highly engaging - but above all, life changing.


“A powerful, and important film. Beautifully executed and just so so imperative for girls and women everywhere.”


World Premiere
Sydney Film Festival, 12 June 2016
In competition
Transmission Films – Australia & New Zealand
Gathr Theatrical on Demand – North Amercia
Technical Specs
Running time (US): 90 min
Shooting format: HD
Production completed: April 2016

Production Info

Produced Southern Light Alliance, and the Body Image Movement

Financed with the assistance of
Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation

Filmed in
Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Austria
and Dominican Republic

From Director Taryn Brumfitt:

EMBRACE is a social impact documentary, which explores the issue of body image. 
The project has been supported by nearly 9000 Kickstarter pledgers who responded to a fundraising trailer I released in 2014, which has now had over 25 million internet views.  We have also had support and from Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation, philanthropists, businesses, celebrities and thought leaders.

The inspiration for EMBRACE came about after I posted an unconventional before-and-after image on the internet in 2013 that sparked a media frenzy. The image, which embraces body diversity, was seen by over 100 million people worldwide and led to hundreds of interviews and articles. But I soon realized how restrictive 4-minute TV interviews, 800 word articles and 140 characters on Twitter can be. This issue needed a louder voice on a bigger platform, so the idea of creating the documentary EMBRACE was born.”


Screen Australia
South Australian Film Corporation

In association with
Transmission Films

Southern Light Alliance

Body Image Movement

In association with

Written and directed by
Taryn Brumfitt

Produced by
Anna Vincent
Taryn Brumfitt

Executive producers
Timothy White
Mathew Brumfitt
Nora Tschirner

Film editors
Bryan Mason
Lindi Harrison ASE

Director of Photography
Hugh Fenton

Composer - Benjamin Speed
Songs by - Jude Perl and Dallas Frasca

Bettina Hamilton

Post Production Supervisor
Elene Pepper

Victoria Cocks

(in order of appearance)
Taryn Brumfitt
Mathew Brumfitt
Mia Freedman
Stefania Ferrario
Professor Marika Tiggemann
Dr Fardad Forouzanpour
Jane Langton
Ricki Lake
Amanda De Cadenet
Melinda Tankard Reist
Nikiah Seeds
Jes Baker
Dr Linda Bacon
Jade Beall
Renee Airya
Turia Pitt
Harnaam Kaur
Nora Tschirner
B. Jeffrey Madoff
Nigel Marsh

Book & DVD:

(Contains affiliate links at no cost to you, but supports my blog.)
Get the book or dvd from these retailers here:


Jan 4, 2017

Beck Valley Books Reviewers Choice Awards for 2016

Our wonderful tour reviewers cannot wait to share their top picks from 2016 with you all.
So many awesome reads could be posted here today from so many amazing authors but we can only post the Top 10 Favorite Books and the Top 6 Favorite Series that have been chosen, go here to enjoy all our 2016 tour books.

Here we go.....
Celebrating the Beck Valley Books Reviewers Choice Awards for 2016
(for Reviewers SERIES Choice Awards for 2016 scroll down)