What I’m watching, reading & listening to

You guys how ARE you? Like really? I am EXHAUSTED. Like I have hit some sort of an emotional and mental capacity and am feeling truly out of it. I think the whole back to school stuff is hitting hard for me this year – so much change and new stuff to get my head around to then support the girls who have all this new stuff and change going on…wowsers!

Our mornings have completely changed from a semi-relaxed start meander up the road to setting alarms and getting out of the house for the bus about 90 minutes earlier than we used to. There’s been tears and fears from everyone. I was saying to Rob this morning about how tired I was and how starting High school (again) has been exhausting for me. We were talking about how to brings back all the stuff you had from your own experience – right back to the forefront again (mostly good) but all those feelings of newness, of being out of your depth and comfort zone, all those school things – the social stuff – it has all come rushing back to both of us.

All I’m saying is this has been bigger for ME than I thought it would be! A couple more weeks and we will be into the swing of things, but for now it’s been a before 9pm bedtime for me pretty much every night. I know. Rockstar.

Thought I would share some of the stuff I have been listening to, watching, reading over the past few weeks and month or so I guess – I always love getting recommendations from people for this stuff so please add your own in so I have somewhere to go to next. I am really trying to to stay off social media when I can – truly it is such a time waster and I find myself lost in stories for way too long. So I have been reading when I can, turning that TV off and turning the tunes on. It makes such a difference to productivity and connecting in real life with our loved ones. Sometimes I yearn for a pre 2007 life where computers had to be on to get online. You feel that too?

If you are looking for a really good playlist to have a listen to when you drop the kids off and you want to feel like the complete opposite to a Mum, might I suggest some of these songs? This is a playlist I created called DANCE LIKE A MUM when in fact, I dance the complete opposite to a Mum when I listen to it. My brother got me onto lots of these tunes over Christmas when we turned his pool in suburban Wahroonga into some kind of day club. I fucking love some of these songs so much and they will always remind me of this summer.

And if you are looking for some other good music my friend Ruth who is a huge jazz lover created a great playlist on Spotify to have a listen to. It’s great.

I have also been listening to Matt Corby’s new album to – I bought Rob tickets to his show in Canberra in March for our wedding anni. We are staying two nights down at Hotel Hotel which is no longer Hotel Hotel. I am very excited about that – two nights kid free! Loving this album though.

Have also been watching a few things here and there – movies and Netflix stuff.

We just finished off Season 2 of Friends from College which I loved. Great show – funny, short episodes and easily smashed out in 2 nights. We binged on this.

We are way behind on this one…but FINALLY started season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale last night. Such a powerful show…last night we got 2 eps in and hooley dooley I think it’s going to be good.

Like everyone else in the world we also watched the Fyre doco on Netflix which was a crazy watch. Loved it.

And at the very end of our holidays we actually managed to get on a date! I know! And we went to the movies and saw Bohemian Rhapsody which I loved. I think it’s out on iTunes and the like best week…as is A Star is Born which I missed and am keen to watch. We also watched Crazy Rich Asians which was great fun. I have read all those Kevin Kwan books and loved them all and I thought the movie was a great spin off.

And I have been keeping up the reading (kind of) except I keep falling asleep at 9pm so not really but have managed to read these 3 books since my last book update. You can read the full reviews and star ratings on them on my Instagram hashtag #babymacreads but they were all great reads. It feels SO good to be reading again – I really hope that I can keep it up.

Normal People Sally Rooney
The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
The Girl on the Page John Purcell

You can enter the code 15YEARS at checkout at Booktopia until the 13th February for free shipping as well. Get reading people and put that phone down!

But I’d love to hear from you…what have you been doing that you would recommend to the rest of us?

Listening to?

Got any tips for staying off the phone and being engaged in actual real life and real people that you care to share? Hold onto that holiday feeling? Please share!


  1. Ok, I hope this works because I tried commenting on your biscuit post but every time I submitted it deleted!!!

    Anyway, I love these kind of posts.

    I listen to a lot of music that reminds me of my teenage, pre-Mum self after school drop off. I know that The Dune Rats, DZ Deathrays, Skeggs & the like are not making music for people like me but man, I fucking love it. Even though I know I’m no longer a teenage stoner I just feel like that music brings me back to myself 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I had to stop reading so much non-fiction & switch to some lighter stuff. So I’m reading Fried a Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe & listening to the audiobook of Just Eat it which is about ditching diet culture.
    I also listen to a shitload of podcasts. Chat 10 Looks 3 being my fave.

    As for staying off the phone, well I deleted my Insta app before Xmas & haven’t looked back. I know you can’t do that because of your business so maybe use the screen time function on your phone. I was using that last year & found it really helpful. I still use the downtime part so each day I can’t acess most things on my phone between 8pm & 6am. I hate my phone but also know it’s become a part of my life so I try my best.

    And hang in there with the school stuff xx

  2. The first year of high school can be hard! So much new stuff, parents have a
    “lesser” role than the student and though term 1 can be a grind, things somehow get better in term 2 👏. Having Maggie start kindy makes it a double whammy and my heart goes out to you. Keep doing what you’re doing – early nights, music and books – it all helps 🤞

  3. A Star Is Born I can’t recommend highly enough!
    Get yourself a glass of prosecco, a box of tissues and watch once the kids have gone to bed.
    I’m a writer/marketing manager currently on mat leave, and was feeling so cranky and out of tune with the creative, pre-kids part of myself. The part that loved to read books and watch wonderful films and imagine and do!
    That movie pulled me right out of my funk. It will make you feel all the things, good and bad!

  4. I am totalling feeling the “firsts” emotions, except mine is fast forward a few years from you. My eldest daughter (20) has just headed off to Bali with a girlfriend on her first holiday alone as an adult and my second daughter (18) has just informed me that she would love to do a semester of her Uni course in London *insert sick feeling to my stomach. I know, we totally want to bring up these kids to tackle all the adventures head-on so what am I feeling this for!! but I can’t help it. Lots of sleepless nights of scenarios running through my head. Motherhood is one crazy ride, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. I love these kind of posts, just like a quick catch up with a girlfriend.
    I spend too long on my phone, not long enough reading and hardly ever listen to music. God how depressing does that sound.
    Hang in there, it will all get easier and when it finally starts to all feel normal and you have some semblance of normality it will be time for the next big change. I’m trying to convince the control freak part of my personality that coping with the unknown/unexpected/time racing ahead stuff is actually my normal life and I’ve still got some control. I know it’s all out of my hands and all i can do is buckle in, hang on and try to keep my eyes open while I enjoy the ride.
    thanks for the book recommendations
    cheers Kate

  6. Oh so much recommendy goodness!

    I read 9 books in January and they were all crackers – my favourites were Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (it’s a whole book to live by – so beautiful,) The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton who was wrongly imprisoned for 30 years on Death Row, such an amazing read! The other standout was Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly based on a true story of 3 women during WWII – also fabulous.

    We’ve really got into shows with subtitles, not least because you have to really watch and don’t get distracted by phones etc. Just binge watched all 4 seasons of the French spy drama – ” The Bureau” and it’s amazing.

    Still listening to Jonathon Van Ness’ Getting Curious podcast – such a variety of interviews. The latest ones with Jodi Piccoult and Jamila Jamil were fabulous!

  7. What a huge start to the year. I hope the new “normal” beds in soon for you all. Such a huge year of big firsts.

    I have tapped into taking some time to listen, read and watch this January too. Some favourites:

    A friend shared this Rufus du Sol remix played on BBC1 early last year. I have had it on repeat. Its been a great soundtrack for getting housework done! 2 hours of seamless awesome.
    (hopefully you tube links are allowed?) https://youtu.be/pOfZUfhDrfw

    I have just recently finished the Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton. It’s a quick light and lovely read with lots of likeable characters. I really enjoyed it.

    I am now onto book 2 of the Outlander series. I have been keeping up to date with the television series, so it’s nice to go back and read the story with greater detail. Plus Jamie!!!!!!

    If you haven’t seen Counterpart on SBS I also highly recommend!! It had me hooked from the start.

    I am also obsessed with Masters of Flip.

    I have heard great things about Crazy Rich Asians, I must try and see it, thank you for the recommendations Beth.

  8. Just discovered Friends from College – so good. Check out The Cry on abc….less lighthearted but a good watch.

  9. You might want to check out my year 7 life on iview. The participants were given cameras to document their experiences
    The moth podcast on itunes is great listen

  10. Gosh Beth, getting out the door 90 minutes earlier that normal is crazy. Hope you are going ok now. We are finally back home after dropping both of our older boys at boarding school in Brisbane this year – Tom in year 9 and Harry year 7 and off for his first year away. We left Brisbane on 30th January and finally made it home yesterday – 9th February after being stuck at McKinlay in North West QLD due to the devastating floods that hit the area.

    Home now with only one child – Clancy who has missed the first couple of weeks of school, our Governess is stuck in Longreach due to the floods so looks like I am the Cook and the Governess until she arrives.

    Best get myself over to the schoolroom and figure out what we need to do tomorrow. It is like having an only child, so quiet and sad. Harry seems to be loving school though so that helps. Hang in there and I really hope you find your groove soon. I know how busy you are.

    Recommendations: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – listened on Audible and it was amazing.

    My fave podcasts are: Two Fat Expats, Mamamia Outloud, This Glorious Mess, No Filter. Have also listened and loved on Audible: Winging It by Emma Isaacs, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, Crazy Rich Asians.

    Stan: Absolutely LOVED The Bold Type – there are 2 seasons
    Netflix: Currently watching Gossip Girl (a little late to the table on this one, very teen boppy but loving it because it is set in NYC). The Good Place, Grace & Frankie. Have a great day xxx

    • Darls I watched you stuck there – meant to comment! Hope everyone is ok up there – what a devastating
      loss for so many. Life on the land is cruel. Thanks for sharing – hope the teaching goes well! I can only imagine how quiet it would be with 1 kid – that will be us when maggie is older I am sure! Lots of love to you x

  11. Claire Smith says

    Hang in there Beth. The only guarantee as a parent is change. I will have 3/4 living away from home this year but there still seems to be quite a bit of parenting to do what with phone calls and visits and lots of supporting when needed. I have always been a fairly hands on parent and lo and behold that still applies even when they fledge. A little overwhelming occasionally but the greatest compliment they can pay me is that they still want to discuss their lives with me.

    Have you watched Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix? It is a wonderful cooking show and the perfect evening viewing as I dont go to bed all agitated as i do after watching crime drama or similar. Ditto Monty Dons French Gardens.

    So wise of you to go to bed early, it makes everything the next day a bit more managable!

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