All posts filed under: Family

Teen Party Mania

A FRIEND RECENTLY hosted a 16th birthday party at her home. Planning was military. There would be no alcohol and she and her husband hired three burly body guards to check guests at the front entrance. Several adults were also on hand to peruse the periphery of the property checking for opportunistic gate crashers. The costume party was by invitation only and sixty young guests were expected. The hosts admit to being control freaks, so they covered every eventuality. The police were informed about the party beforehand, as were all the neighbours in the quiet, upmarket Brisbane street. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing did, for a while. The teens enjoyed dancing and enjoying each other’s company, seemingly content to enjoy the hired disc jockey’s music and act like 16-year-olds. Things turned rather suddenly. At around 10pm, the first fleet of taxis arrived and out spilled teenagers – many of them with bottles of alcohol and clearly under the influence. By now there were around 60 imposters milling around the street. Next, they began scaling the …

Shopping with a Tween

  SHOPPING WITH A TWEEN has me befuddled. Perhaps what has me so confused and dazed is the fact that not so very long ago, I could go shopping for my little princess and she loved everything I produced. She actually wore it – even wore it out. My two sons were the same. No fuss, no bother. Such easy to please children, I’d smugly think. So grateful and uncomplicated. And then my daughter turned 11 and things changed. She became what is commonly labelled a ‘tween’. Not quite teen, not quite girl. An ‘in between’. Suddenly the cool factor crept in and mom’s offerings weren’t so appreciated anymore. So, deciding it was time for mom and daughter to connect, for her to display a little independence, freedom of choice and maturity, the two of us embarked on what I’d romantically labelled ‘a little bonding retail therapy’. Perhaps I could also nudge her out of shorts and T-shirts and into feminine little sundresses. Oh how wrong I was. After the first half hour I had …

Long Journey Home

FROM A BOYHOOD in WA to a new life and family in London, Julian Leigh has finally brought it all together in the Sunshine Coast hinterland of Queensland, Australia. The view from Julian and Gillian Leigh’s Maleny home is striking. In the distance lie the Glasshouse Mountains, a smudged charcoal outline that contrasts starkly with the rolling green farmland in the foreground. A stately Morton Bay fig draws the eye to the front garden and a lily pond completes the serene picture. The tranquillity is momentarily disturbed as Gillian arrives with a horse trailer, spilling children and dogs while apologising for a pony club meeting that lasted a tad too long. Julian emerges with a firm handshake and cheery “G’day!”, looking every bit the farmer. Shortly afterwards, a friend delivers a chocolate cake for our afternoon tea and the realisation grows that the setting is not the only attraction — it’s the genuine friendships, lack of pretence and sense of community that draws people to Maleny. The town on the Sunshine Coast hinterland is just over an hour …