Five More Minutes

Five More Minutes

Five More Minutes

Words by Julia Lorent

My mother was amazing.

When you look upon her life and what she was able to achieve it truly highlights something many people forget; adversity doesn’t have to define you. 

She was strong but didn’t really know it. With six children, including a daughter who was intellectually challenged, she needed to be. Mum was a lot of fun and enjoyed a good laugh. Life was hard in our house, but because it was filled with so much love and laughter; these became sacred bonds- unbreakable. 

This family of mine is etched in humour and support; we are there for each other, we argue like hell, but we love each other very much. Interestingly, all of us have careers focussed on helping others. I believe this is a legacy my Mum would be very proud of. 

Not many people I know have the relationship that we have; it often draws comment from those we know.

It is 100% because of our parent’s influence. A football team of kids would be carted from sport to sport in the car, and if anyone was in need, my parents were the ones to help people out. Material possessions were of no importance. 

Tragedy smashed through our door uninvited at age 46 for my mother and our family when the love of her life (my dad) died. With six children, no income, no life insurance and a broken heart; times were beyond tough. My mother was a strikingly beautiful lady; very Nigella-esque but without the sexy mannerisms. The next tragedy was the disconnection with her married friends. Husbands were hitting on her, and she became a perceived threat, she was often blamed. The womanhood did not support her. 

These were all tragic events that saw her trying to be very strong and support six grieving children who lost their dad.

It must have felt incredibly unfair. We all had our individual and collective issues about the sudden and unexpected loss of our father; totally overwhelming and insurmountable. She also had an intellectually challenged daughter who had bouts of intense violence and a system that echoed back with no help or answers whatsoever. There was just no help. Here was a woman trying to make sense of her own life, grief and heartache then depression while wondering the whole time what the hell she did to deserve it.

But somehow we got through it, not unscathed, but through. Even when we were at our lowest, our mother’s love and support kept us together.

Her one true friend and companion were cigarettes; she thought they got her through; it was her time out, her thing. While she always had intentions of QUITTING, they too turned on her. She was diagnosed with advanced Lung Cancer. She QUIT instantly, but it was too late. I try not to overthink about it because it fills me with sadness that when her friends should have been there for her, the only friend she could trust was her cigarettes.

It is very sad and breaks my heart to this day. We loved her deeply. 

We all ended up with a very strange sense of joint humour, which often bubbles up when tragedy strikes. It is what get’s us through, and we have our parents to thank for this. Dark humour can be an excellent tool. I wish we recognized it at the time. I wish we told her more how damn strong she was, acknowledged her more and just had five more minutes.

Only 5, how good would that be?


My partner Colin was definitely the love of my life.

Rather good looking, Colin worked hard, fun and very kind, he wanted to travel and work overseas, he, we, had big plans. He loved my mum, and she adored him, my whole family did. 

Colin came from a home with an abusive alcoholic father who used to bash his mother frequently until Colin was old enough to threaten that if he did it again, there would be consequences. Brave. 

Colin loved a drink and a smoke, and by all accounts, he was a normal healthy 25-year-old young man. Until that day, 26 November, when he passed away from a blood clot to the brain due to damaged blood vessels caused by smoking.  

There were no goodbyes, it was sudden, totally unexpected and such a waste of a life.

It is just wrong, he was 25 years old. I still feel so cheated. I never got to thank him for saving me so many times after my dad died or another family tragedy. I was so angry, angry with him for smoking – angry at the cigarette companies – angry at the world. He was always going to quit before he turned 30. That day never came.   

We had this incredible once in a lifetime connection.

He felt like home and was safe and my dearest, most absolute best friend. I miss him every day. If I only had five more minutes to chat with him about life, about what happened today or ask him how his day was…

Little did I know that this would not be the only time I would be what I call the – Hidden Victims of Cigarettes.

Anyone that has experienced the crippling anguish from losing a loved one knows how close it can come to derail your life. Instead of letting my grief beat me, I decided to channel it into helping others fight their own demons. For the next two decades, I would leave no stone unturned to find answers in helping people with addiction and practices, with no judgement. For the judgement of others is too harsh a force to be reckoned with. The result has been a career forged in helping others, and it has been successful. I think people understand I don’t judge and I have the skills to help them navigate a better life. 

I am the founder and principal practitioner for Melbourne Quit Smoking Clinic, Melbourne Clinic of Hypnotherapy, and The Savvy Changemaker.

Neuroplasticity, CBT and Hypnotherapy combined with a full range of therapies have formed the spine of a full offering to help people and seeing people step through their tragedies, their ideologies to form new confidence and health. 

When I see people flourish and live a beautiful life, full of authenticity and richness because of the work we have achieved together; it is the biggest reward I could ever ask for. 

The lives of those who love you are worth saving, not just your own.


Addictions steal our loved ones away, leaving them craving five minutes in a lifetime of longing. Torture of the heart is tragic. We never think we are hurting those we love by relying on outside substances to cope. This can be behaviours, cigarettes, drugs and food. We have within us the ability to change, and no one needs to be alone. 

2020 is the year you give back five minutes, if not for yourself, then for those you love and who love you. 

To get in touch with Julia, contact her on + 61 412 810 078 or email

Visit her site for more information about her services.

Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




Changing and Creating Change

Changing and Creating Change

Changing and Creating Change

by Ponderings Radio

Changing and Creating Change

Words by Melissa Griffiths

We all want to change something in society; however, often we forget that we must change ourselves first.  

If you look to other people in the world who have created monumental change like Gandhi, you realise that they must have had some inner shift emotionally, mentally and spiritually, which enabled them to succeed. 

As Gandhi rightly said, “We must become the change we want to create” and if you can realise the true meaning of this then you become more powerful than you think you are.

I know from my own experiences over the last few years; you have to work on yourself continually; re-evaluate where you are at and how you are going on your journey in life. You also have to take time out to be yourself, rest the body and recharge your batteries. 



Learning to be comfortable with change and changing yourself is not an easy thing to do sometimes.  

It is essential to understand this. Any pain you go through as you change or when things become uncomfortable, you will realise it is worth it; because you will recognise the result will be a better version of you. 

People like myself creating perception change in society toward transgender people do so in many different ways. I continue to share my story on social media through a variety of ways. Using positive quotes to demonstrate a point I am making or sharings aspect helps. Also by writing in the media or speaking on radio or tv or at an event has enabled my message to educate others about the challenges we face as well as how to respectfully treat transgender people in the workplace whether they are transitioning or already have transitioned. 

Being able to talk at various events such as the National Employment Solutions Conference about transgender from all angles and other associated subject matter like advocacy, bullying, leadership and mental health has enabled me to get a broader understanding of the challenges workplaces and society faces. This helps to stimulate change more positively and respectfully.


I know that anyone who creates change will always encounter some form of resistance. 


However, with resistance, it can, for the most part, be overcome. When people are prepared to listen, they often recognise that it may only be their unconscious bias creating resistance. They realise the change you are advocating for in society and the inclusivity you are building.   Also, be prepared to show how your change will make workplaces or society better, as this will go a long way towards your goals to be successfully implemented.


For tips for employers for a transgender person transitioning in your workplace and to find out more about Melissa you can visit and her podcast


Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Does 2020 Spark Your Joy? Pondering Fearlessly With Karen Brooks

by Karen Brooks Ponderings Magazine

Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

words by Karen Brooks

It seems appropriate to raise the spectre of the decluttering dynamo, Marie Kondo – someone who inspired an unparalleled cleaning frenzy – as, Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. 

The truth is whether you “Kon-maried” your home or not, over the last twelve months it’s been almost impossible to declutter our hearts and minds as social media and the news are filled with stories more likely to raise despair, angst, anger and frustration. Whether it’s the appalling state of our politics and politicians (and not just in Australia), where not only have humane policies and platforms been belittled and trashed by a variety of leaders and media commentators as “woke”, “lefty” or the product of “inner-city elites”, but climate science has been turned into something akin to a religion/faith which you either choose to believe in or not. 

Just when you think it cannot get worse, as our country burns and lives and livelihoods are tragically destroyed, the Prime Minister goes on holidays offering, as he is wont to do, “thoughts and prayers.” 

What saddens many people (and it breaks my heart) is how denialism, inhumanity, lies and complacency have not only become normalised, but entrenched in our politics and sections of the media and thus cultural conversations, causing huge ideological rifts in families, communities and the nation. 

Remember the adage? Divided we fall.

As the year draws to a close, it’s more important than ever to try and carry over whatever positives we can wrest into 2020 – a year that signifies balance and clear vision – seeing the “truth” of a situation. 

If there’s anyone who has come to exemplify truth and “de-cluttering” the fabricated information we’re being fed, who has cut through the BS, exposing those who wilfully peddle it for what they are, it would be Greta Thunberg, wouldn’t it? 

Described as a “lightning rod” for the climate change movement, Greta is that and so much more. She’s an ardent, positive, no-nonsense voice in a world filled with mainly old white men proffering lame excuses and outright lies, despite the evidence around them and which many of us experience on a daily basis, insulting us all in the process.


This young woman has united people across the globe. Using protest and affirmative action, she’s inspired us to shake off inertia and use our voices, our presence – digitally and physically. 

Greta has reminded us of not only of the power and passion of youth, put the conservative older generations on notice, but our own clout. Whether it’s climate change, Indigenous, LGBTQI and women’s rights, gun violence, political and corporate corruption, the overwhelming importance of the arts and a free press in any society, we’re no longer content to sit by and bear witness to our freedoms, rights, our future being trashed, ransomed and sold.

Contrary to our politicians’ insistence that they represent “quiet Australians”, they’re exposed. They don’t and never have: they represent self and shareholder/corporate interests. 

This is why, more than ever, we need to raise our voices – together. Instead of emphasising our differences as our binary-minded leaders do, telling us we’re either left/right, hetero/homo, religious/non-religious, city/country, pro/against climate change (which is ridiculous – are you pro or against a cancer diagnosis?), believer/non-believer, PC/unPC, refuse to be categorised and aspire to demonstrate we’ve far more in common than they allow. 

Not only will uniting and collectively acting and demanding change spark some much needed joy, but it’s our only chance to show we care; to shore up a brighter and clearer future for 2020 and beyond. In other words, as Greta illustrates, we must be the change we want to see. 

Happy New Year. 


Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




EIGHT Wacky Fads That Should Never Come Back

EIGHT Wacky Fads That Should Never Come Back

EIGHT Wacky Fads That Should Never Come Back

Words by Jasmin Pedretti

Okay, so these actually happened. Before Tik Tok and flossing, our human race got into some pretty bizarre stuff.

It’s amazing what the world can obsess over. We have collated the eight most absolutely wacko fads of all time for your amusement. 

1. Death 

Death might seem morbid nowadays, but during the Victorian era, it was all the rage. People wore brooches made from their dead loved one’s hair and skeletal remains. Cemeteries were the perfect spot for a picnic, and it was fashionable to catch tears at a funeral with a glass vile so that when the tears evaporated, they could stop mourning. The discovery of Egyptian Pharaohs saw the upper classes host parties where guests would watch a mummy get unwrapped and disintegrate when it came into contact with the air. Because what else would you do at a party?

  1. Fasting Girls

Based on how bizarre the Victorian Era was, it’s no surprise some young girls claimed they could survive without eating and were an exhibit display in public.

 3. Flagpole sitting

By the mid-1920s fads became a little more fun, if you consider standing on top of a flagpole for extensive periods “fun”. Who knew this was even possible? 

  1. Dance till you die. 

Okay maybe not till death, but dance marathons during the Great Depression were taken very seriously. I guess when times are tough, why not dance till you pass out to make some extra coin? 

  1. Leg paint

During World War II, the manufacturing of nylon stockings stopped because the money went towards the war effort. It became popular for women to wear “leg make-up” to create the appearance of nylon stockings. Nothing could stand in the way of a woman and her style!


  1.   Phonebooth stuffing

Whoever thought it was a good idea to stuff as many people as possible into a phone booth was clearly bored. Somehow, this claustrophobic nightmare caught on and became a huge fad in the late 1950s. 


  1. Hunkerin’

Thankfully, by 59′, phone booth stuffing was old news and was replaced by hunkerin’. Considered by authorities as preferable to the previous craze, people hunkered for hours in random places like car roofs and around campus, wherever people gathered. Apparently, it helped you get to know each other and talk peacefully about issues such as politics.


  1. Banana peel smoking

This is known as the biggest hallucinogenic hoax of all time. The Berkeley Barb published a recipe in 1967 claiming that inhaling dried banana peels would get you high. This became an actual thing, even though the feeling of “tripping” was just a placebo effect. 

These quirky crazes are a testament to either the random stupidity or wild imagination of humanity. If we can gain anything from this history of nonsense, it’s that a group of people will enthusiastically follow any impulse if it becomes popular enough.

They might be peculiar, pointless and often life-threatening, but fads are the ultimate vehicle that bonds all walks of life from all over the world.   


Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

Words by Montanna Macdonald

You may be familiar with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. But have we all heard about Marita Cheng, Cyan Ta’eed and Melanie Perkins? 

These three women are Aussie gals slaying the game in the tech world. With bright, innovative futures ahead of them, today we will ponder, support and celebrate these awesome chicks doing beautiful high-tech things. 

Marita Cheng 

  • Did a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Melbourne;

  • Designed a company that provided messages on phones to help manage drug prescription schedules, winning the best undergraduate business at the University of Melbourne. 

  • Partnering with fellow engineering science students, Cheng Founded Robogals in 2008 while studying. Robogals is now an international student-run organisation empowering women to study engineering, providing workshops, robotics competitions and exhibitions. Robogals is sponsored by the likes of Australia’s Department of Defence, Telstra and Modern Teaching Aids. 

  • On Forbes 2018 Worlds Top 50 Women in Tech. 

  • Founder and CEO of Aubot, the start-up robotics company, designing robots for people to log into from anywhere in the world where their robot needs to be. For example, for children with cancer who need to attend school and disabled people to attend work. 

  • Google-funded Cheng to study at Singularity University, where she Co-Founded the app Aipoly in 2016, assisting blind people by helping them recognise objects using their smartphone.  
  • Has done two TEDx talks, and so much more! 

Melanie Perkins 

  • A Perth girl, Melanie studied Communications, Psychology and Commerce at the University of Western Australia. Perkins left university to create her first company, Fusion Books. 

  • Fusion Books is an online design software made to create and print professional-quality yearbooks. This led to Perkins next big ‘Unicorn’ that would take over the world, Canva. 

  • CEO and co-founder of Canva, the online publishing tool for graphic design, saying goodbye to InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. 

  • Melanie is one of the world’s youngest CEO’s leading a tech start-up like Canva, that is valued at over two billion dollars. 

  • Melanie fought for investors in Canva, with some of the first being Hollywood celebrities Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. 

  • Canva is used by millions of people worldwide in over 150 countries, and all started with her first business, Fusion Books, in her mum’s lounge room. 

Cyan Ta’eed 

  • Creative Melbourne girl Cyan Ta’eed co-founded the tech giant Envato in 2006 with her husband at 26 years old from her parent’s garage

  • Envato is essentially an online marketplace where you can buy and sell creative digital content and designs like graphics, stock videos, music, templates website themes and more. Envato now has millions of users worldwide. 

  • Envato is the 88th most trafficked website in the world (according to Alexa), and over 48 sellers on Envato have earned over $1 million. 

  • Envato’s revenue was 16 per cent to $134 million in 2017-18, with both Cyan and her husband Collis making the fourth place in the Financial Reviews “Young Rich List”, agreeing to be on this list solely to make women entrepreneurs more visible. 

  • The “tech titan” also founded the new innovative Instagram website-building app Milkshake, and Hey Tiger, an ethical and incredibly delicious chocolate brand.  

Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

10 Things You Didn't Know About Roald Dahl

by Ponderings Radio

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

We all know Roald Dahl, the prolific author, and a true ponderer of childhood imagination. 

Whether it be befriending a giant, turning into a blueberry, escaping witches, living in a peach or using telekinesis to make objects dance, Dahl created a marvellous timeless world transpiring from paper, and tv screens, to hearts. 

What was your favourite Roald Dahl novel? I’m indecisive, trying to decide between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda is not an easy gig. 

Maybe you can instantly think of your favourite? There are plenty to choose from; Dahl wrote 49 of them! This includes children’s novels, poetry and even contemporary adult fiction like the ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ found in his previous works Kiss Kiss and someone like you…didn’t know that, did you? 

The Times names Dahl as one of the “50 Greatest British writers since 1945”, and this is an understatement in my belief, I think he should be number one British writer of all time. Not everyone can write a story about turning your cranky grandma into a giant using homemade medicine, then shrinking her until she disappears and bringing joy to the family that she’s gone. True art. 

A mind like this must come from someone with an exciting life, so, let’s ponder on the ten things you didn’t know about Dahl’s life. 

  1. Roald Dahl wrote movie screenplays! 

Dahl is not just your average joe blow author, he also wrote screenplays for movies like ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, and the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’. Not only did he write screenplays, but he had excellent TV success with his stories, such as being featured for a six-episode season on the award-winning US series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ for ‘Tales of The Unexpected’. Watch below one of the famous episodes, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, which aired on April 13 1958.

2. Roald Dahl was a World War II air force pilot, and an MI6 Spy! 

Dahl enlisted in the Royal Airforce at 23 years old, and in September 1940 he received severe injuries after his Gladiator plane crash-landed in the Western Desert. He later took part in the Battle of Athens, and then was sent to Washington to become an MI6 spy. What is even more fascinating, is when providing intelligence for MI6, Dahl worked along with partner Ian Fleming (aka, 007 creator), and both of them used their spy experiences to help Fleming create the James Bond 007 series! 

And for some comical adult themes, well here’s a little insight into possibly what Dahl was up to as a spy… 


3. Roald Dahl has a history of women. 

Roald Dahl was a ladies man, a tall, handsome spy, who loved children and could write, I mean, you can’t blame him. But, Roald did settle down, he married Oscar-nominated Hollywood actress Patricia Neal in 1953, and they were married for 17 years, and had five children. Neal found out about an on-going affair Dahl was having with her friend Felicity Crosland who she invited to their abode in Great Missenden, and the rest is history. Dahl and Neal divorced in 1983, and later Neal termed Dahl “Roald Dahl the rotten”. Dahl then went on to marry Felicity Crosland in 1983, the same year he got divorced from Neal! Ouch. Dahl remained married to Felicity until his death in 1991. 

4. Roald Dahl has an interesting family tree, with both fame and tragedy. 

In tragic circumstances, Dahl at a young age lost both his sister and father to illness. His sister Astri Dahl died of appendicitis, and his father Harald Dahl died of pneumonia. Later in life, Dahl’s first daughter Olivia died at age seven from measles, and his son Theo was severely brain damaged at four months old when his pram was hit by a taxi, resulting in built-up fluid in his cranial cavity. Also, his first-wife Patricia suffered from three burst aneurysms and strokes when pregnant with their fifth child Lucy. On a positive note, Dahl’s daughter Tessa Dahl grew up to be a wonderful actor, and her daughter Sophie Dahl is now a famous model, designer and author.  

5. Dahl helped pioneer a new medical treatment to help his son and children around the world. 

Roald Dahl worked with Stanley Wade, a toymaker, and Kenneth Till, paediatric neurosurgeon, to create the Dahl-Wade-Till valve, which was a cerebral shunt to drain fluid from his son’s brain and prevent blockages. This valve helped his son Theo and over 3,000 other children around the world with hydrocephalus.  

6. Dahl helped save Patricia Neal’s life. 

When Patricia Neal suffered from three burst cerebral aneurysms in 1965 when pregnant with her daughter Lucy, Neal was left blind, unable to talk and walk. Roald Dahl would not let this ruin Neal’s life and put her on a hardcore routine back into health. As a result, Neal learned to walk again, talk again, and with so much success, she got back into acting and received an Oscar nomination in 1969 as the best actress in a leading role for film ‘The Subject Was Roses’. 

7. Cadbury inspired Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory! 

Roald Dahl as a child went to Repton Public School, and while there the Cadbury chocolate factory nearby would let the students taste test samples. With an avid love for chocolate, Dahl’s experiences as a child led to the creation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Also, Dahl’s postman’s name was Willy Wonka. 

8. Roald Dahl has a Marvellous Children’s Charity. 

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (previously the Roald Dahl Foundation) was created in his honour by his wife Felicity after his death in 1991. The charity helps over 21,000 seriously ill children and their families at any one time around the UK. Each year, the Dahl family gift 5% of Roald Dahl’s worldwide royalties from his work to the charity, equalling around $850,000 donated each year. 

9. This may not come as a surprise, but Roald Dahl was a prankster. 

Dahl’s 1984 memoir ‘Boy: Tales of Childhood,’ reflects on all sorts of devious things Dahl got up to as a child, including the great mouse plot where he and his friends put a dead mouse in a gobstopper jar in cranky Mrs Pratchett’s lolly shop. He also put goat poop in his “ancient” sister’s fiancé’s smoking pipe. 

10. Matilda was a devil child and Ms Honey was a gambling addict. 

In the early original drafts of Matilda, Matilda Wormwood was a “wicked child” causing havoc at school and helped her teacher Ms Honey out of a financial pickle by ‘fixing’ a horse race. Roald Dahl admitted in 1988 in an interview that after writing several chapters, he decided he got it all wrong and re-wrote it. Matilda was the last children’s novel Dahl wrote before his death in 1990. 

Oh, and I wouldn’t be a true Dahl fan if I didn’t play tricks on the readers…here is an eleventh fun fact for you.

11. Roald Dahl was a real-life BFG; he was six-foot-six!

Does the Thought of 2020 “Spark Joy” For You?

Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year. Remember the adage? Divided we fall.



We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag




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