What Is Narrative Therapy? | Introducing TMC’s New Counsellor, Bronte!

Hi there! As an ACA registered Counsellor I pride myself on being the best listener you will ever meet, and I’m pretty good at puns to boot! My main focus is the way our life stories are formed by society, by others and especially by ourselves and how to reverse the effects of a negative story told one too many times. I have a strong counselling framework rooted in a combination of Narrative Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but believe the most important part of a therapeutic relationship is trust. As I am accredited by the Australian Counselling Association I constantly undertake training and development to broaden my skills and understanding and adhere to strict guidelines to ensure quality support. Now, onto the fun stuff!

A counsellor’s guide to narrative therapy and “shakin’ off” a negative story just like Taylor Swift

Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that takes our lived experiences and stories and uses them to feed new ways of thinking and being. It is a modality that is centred on the way the world around us shapes our own personal views. Think about it, in our day to day lives we get a lot of verbal and visual feedback from those around us. Sometimes we can brush off that snide comment or sideways glance. Other times those small interactions can create a lasting internal story of self-doubt and inadequacy, often feeding into a larger story that we have been telling ourselves for years. This is our internal negative narrative and if left large and in charge it can build until it saps our self-worth.

Even celebrities are not immune to a negative narrative! They, just like us mere mortals, face the feedback of friends, family, society and themselves. And they, just like us, can re-story that negative narrative. A prime example of this is the transformation of Taylor Swift from a girl with a “Bad Reputation” into a woman in charge of her own story and career. So, inspired by the absolute BOP that is T-Swifts song “Shake it off” here is a run down of catching that negative story and reclaiming your own narrative. Let’s put our personal reflection hats on and get down to this.sick.beat.

“ That’s what people say, mmm hmm”

Much like T-Swift – I’m sure many of us have experienced others talking about us and been given societal labels. She goes on too many dates but can’t make them stay, but maybe your story is one of being a failure, being not good enough or just generally sucking as a human. The first step in pulling a Swiftie is knowing when our internal narrative is becoming a problem. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • When something goes wrong what do I tell myself? am I a failure? Is this something I ALWAYS do?
  • When something goes right what do I tell myself? It must be a miracle? About time I did something right? Or is it a case of yay I did it again?
  • Are you a player who is going to play? A Hater who is going to hate?

Did answering these questions make you squirm and feel a bit bummed out? You and me both! But looking at the stories we tell helps us identify if we tell them too much and too often. It helps us decide if we truly agree with these stories or do we want to shake it off and tell a different story.

“And that’s what they don’t see mmm mmm”

On the topic of telling a different story, sometimes when that negative narrative is too loud, alternatives can be hard to see on our own or completely unseen by others. While me may be bit incompetent in one area of our life we might be AHMAZING in another. Taylor Is lightning on her feet and you might be too! This where narrative therapy shines in helping us explore alternate stories, times where there has been an exception to that not good enough story we hear constantly. And when we start seeing more than one story and living life through multiple stories that’s we really start to reclaim our own narrative.

“Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake I shake it off, I shake it off”


Want to book in with me? I’d love to have you! Click this link to book online for in person or online appointments.

I can’t wait to meet you!



We’re Moving!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hello everyone! we have some exciting and amazing news! We are moving to Paddington on the 18th November 2019!

For all clients that are planning to see Amy from this day onwards please come to this new location!


Address: Top floor, 189 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington 4064

Opening hours: Currently, opening hours will remain the same, however, keep an eye out as Amy may be increasing to 4 days per week in office.

Parking: There are 3 on-site parking spaces at the rear of the property and plenty of 2hr street parking (dependent on exact location).

Bus Services: There is a bus stop immediately outside the property catering to routes 61, 375 and N385


We apologise for the very short notice, however, this was a very fast-moving process. If you have any concerns or queries please feel free to give us a call on 0451 060 764 or email on hello@themindfulcollective.co

Also, please be aware that we will be gradually decorating and furnishing the premises over the next few months.

We are surrounded by some amazing local businesses, so take a chance to venture out from the clinic and explore the area!

See below for a map of our new location. Click on the map to open up google maps to explore in more detail.

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It’s Brisbane Pride Month 2019!

You may or may not know it, but this month is Pride month! Bec Johnson, who was appointed Brisbane Pride president earlier this year, has announced that Brisbane Pride has partnered up with Queensland Health this year, making this year’s theme focused on Mental health!


She went further, stating that “A lot of events during Pride month are focussed on wellness, Queensland Health’s message is ‘making time for you’”.


Bec being a big advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ+, sistergirl and brotherboy communities, has stressed that festivals such as this one will be an opportunity to help individuals feel more connected and feel a sense of belonging. These groups tend to feel a higher rate of isolation, discrimination and exclusion. Events like these play a pivotal role in creating a safe space to express oneself.


Open Doors Youth Services has also announced that they will be hosting “A Week of Wellness”, holding back to back events for a whole week surrounding wellbeing. These will primarilly be aimed toward LGBTIQ+ young people and families!


“Fair Day” includes the famous Brisbane Pride march and LGBTIQ+ focused stalls and entertainment, as well as a “chill out zone” this year. Proudly brought to you by the Queensland AIDS Council. The ‘chillout zone’ will include free mental health support for eventgoers and discussions on how to strengthen your mental health!


Brisbane Pride started in 1990 as a means to organise social gatherings and events within the LGBTIQ+ community. The first event started as a small march in the streets of Brisbane and ended on Musgrave Rd in South Brisbane. It has never been smooth sailing through the years for the LGBTIQ+ community, for example, the gay panic defence was only abolished in 2017! These events aim to celebrate the diversity we have in our community and to educate others about who we are. They look to bring people together and recognise how far we have come as a community and as a society as a whole.


So a little homework for our readers today! Go out and celebrate the Brisbane pride festival! Whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bi, trans or any one of the many other fabulous groups under the LGBTIQ+ rainbow. Brisbane Pride month isn’t an exclusive event! It is an inclusive one! Invite your straight friends along! And remember that the theme this year is mental health and wellbeing! A simple “are you okay?” is all you need to start a meaningful and beneficial conversation!


There is so much happening this Pride month that you can’t help but go out and celebrate the diverse community that Brisbane is!


FEATURED EVENT! : from our very own talented Tayla!

Sep-28 CandleLight: Here We Queer X Brisbane Pride:

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Candlelight is a space for LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy people to gather and share their stories on coming out, accepting themselves, and embracing queerness.

This event prioritises listening, sharing, and understanding. Coming out and embracing our shared experiences is an invaluable part of recognising our own identities, and the agency we have in controlling our stories. Candlelight also invites heterosexual, cisgender folk to join us to listen quietly to these stories with understanding and acceptance. We invite people who have embraced their queerness for years, and those who are still questioning and learning, to speak and be heard in this inclusive safe space. Free entry. Wheelchair accessible.


Some other amazing big events happening this month include:

Sep-06 Pride Connection & Belonging Dinner: This event will be hosted by 2Spirits for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community! A dinner with some great tunes and food provided!


Sep-08 Rainbow Families Waterslide Pride Party: This event is aimed towards the families of LGBTQ+ members, particularly kids who might identify somewhere on the LGBTIQ+ rainbow. The event will help fund new childcare and health service resources!


Sep-08 Same Same Weddings Expo Brisbane: Hosted at the Brisbane Powerhouse, this free wedding expo is aimed for all those LGBTIQ+ couples out there looking to get hitched!


Sep-08 Sister Funk: In the mid-1990s, Sister Funk was a monthly event for women to dance and party the night away! This year at Brisbane Pride the event will happen once again with great line up of female DJs right here in Brisbane!


Sep-14 Rainbow Story Time: Another event hosted by Rainbow Families Queensland! Rainbow Story Time will be held at Brisbane Square Library and will be a reading of some great LGBTIQ+ themed stories on family, community and friendship. This event is great for kids under 5.


Sep-15 Drag Storytime at Brisbane Square Library: Another Story Time hosted by Rainbow Families Queensland! But this time with Drag and sequins!


Sep-19 PRIDE Sessions Ft Alfie Arcuri LIVE: As a part of the ‘Fair Day’ Launch party, Alfie Arcuri, the winner of the Voice 2016, will be performing live and unplugged!


Sep-20 Story Bridge Pride Lights Up: On this evening the story bridge will be lit up with all the colours of the rainbow!


Sep-21 Pride Rally & March: It’s the big one! The pride rally & march! Get your boots on and walk the streets of Brisbane flying the rainbow flag!


Sep-21 Brisbane Pride Fair Day Chillout Zone: Don’t forget to make time for yourself and head to the Chillout Zone and learn how you can strengthen your mental wellbeing!


Sep-21 Pride Fair Day 2019: Pride fair day will have some fantastic LGBTIQ+ focused stalls and entertainment! Proudly sponsored by Queensland Health!


Sep-21 PROUD (Official Brisbane After Party): You have got to have an after-party to any good festival! At this one, pop princess, Samantha Jade will be performing live, releasing her new single!

Evie’s Second Birthday Event

If you would like to come along, head over to our Facebook page and purchase a ticket!



We had such a hilarious time celebrating with you last year, so we are doing it all again for Evie’s 2nd birthday.

Evie has enjoyed a big, exciting year (as you can probs tell from our insta stories).  A standout moment was becoming trained and accredited Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs Australia!!

Hosted by The Mindful Collective, the event looks to fundraise for OneGirl, a charity which aims to educate girls in third world countries, specifically Uganda and Sierre Leone. All ticket sales from Evie’s big day will be donated to OneGirl. There will food, dogs, good vibes and over $3000 worth of raffle prizes!!


9.30am-11.30am, August 4th


Sunset Dog Park, 30 Monoplane St, Ashgrove QLD 4060


Ticket Pricing:

Silver: $5 for 1 raffle tickets and a gift bag
Gold: $10 for 3 raffle tickets, a gift bag
Platinum: $20 for 8 raffle tickets, a gift bag
There will be delicious pupcakes and cupcakes for purchase! We ask for these to be prepurchased so we know how many to order!
Cupcake Price: $5.50
Pupcake Price: $5.50



Don’t forget that we have over $3000 worth of prizes! The tickets will include a certain number of raffle tickets, which you can put towards a prize of your choosing! You can throw it all into a single prize or diversify your risk (a bit of business strategy there 😉). The current amazing prize sponsors, as it stands, includes:

Not only do we have this but everyone will get a gift bag filled with local goodies and vouchers! From awesome businesses like:


If you would like to come along, head over to our Facebook page and purchase a ticket!


We hope to see you there!!




I don’t have a dog but I do love them, is this event for me?

Absolutely!!  Come along to cuddle someone else’s dog and enter the raffle!!


My dog is often scared and unpredictable around other dogs, should I bring them?

In the spirit of safety, this isn’t the event for them.  We would not recommend bringing them along to a big dog park packed with excited humans and puppers.  We would recommend bringing them to seek further training (perhaps even with the team at Therapy Dogs Australia – they do more than just therapy dog training) to help with their anxiety.  It would be great to have them next year!!


Where can I sneak a coffee and bathroom break before/during/after the event?

There are many amazing places close by; however, the closet would be Banneton Bakery on Waterworks Road.


Are there minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Anyone under the age of 16 needs an adult accompanying them as Evie’s party is in a public dog park and we have absolutely no control over the dogs and people who are using the park at the same time.


What are my parking options for getting to and from the event?

Parking and access to the park are available on Monoplane Street and Barnett Road.  Please see the Translink website for current public transport options.


What should I bring into the event?

Your mates, your doggos and a printout or screenshot of your ticket to claim your raffle tickets!


How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Contact Nikita on 0451060764 or hello@themindfulcollective.co



The Mindful Collective and other local businesses involved in Evie’s 2nd Birthday Party do not accept responsibility and cannot be held liable for injuries, illness or other negative outcomes caused during this event.  This public event is being held in a public dog park and the team have absolutely no control over the attendees, their dogs or dogs and people who are using the park at the same time.  Please be very mindful of your children and pups during this event.

A Mindful Chat with a Hardworking Mum

I was honoured to get to know Chloe through our personal self-care course not too long ago. She is an inspirational mother of three who is kind enough to share her self care journey and tell us how she manages to incorporate mindfulness into her life. Being under the pump as a working and studying mum, she has spent the last few years on a journey of self-discovery and learning the many skills of self-care.


What does a day in your life look like?

I am a mum to two and a step-mum to one (ages 12,14 and 15) so my day generally starts with getting the kids ready in the morning…the normal things…showers, brekky, lunch prep, feed the tribe of pets and school runs. I am a Service Manager for a disability organization which is where I spend 8 hours each weekday (I love my job). Afternoons are school pick up, and 3-5 days per week I will exercise depending on kids’ activities, dinner prep, homework and family time. Then most of my evenings are usually spent studying.


We would love to hear about your mindfulness/self-care journey! What helpful changes have you noticed along the way?

One of the biggest things I took away from my journey was learning to identify my values. I have always been a goal driven person, however, focusing on my values gave my goals greater meaning and also gave me a great sense of fulfilment.

Throughout Amys personal self-care course, I implemented a lot of non-negotiable self-care habits that I have continued to use. My favourite is the non-negotiable bedtime of 9:30 pm. Prior to the course, my sleep habits were very irregular, and I’d allow the pressure of Uni assignments to keep me awake long into the night. I now have a study schedule to keep me accountable and in bed by 9:30 pm every night.


How do you apply a self-care perspective to fit self-care into your life?

Over the last 3-4 years, I have been on a big journey of self-care and self-discovery, the most important lesson I have learnt is that no-one will (or can) take care of me as well as I can take care of myself. I am useless to those around me unless my own cup is full. Self-care is non-negotiable and while it is easy to lose focus on yourself, you need to be aware of this and learn how to refocus and recharge your own batteries. I’m a busy mum with a demanding career and Uni life so I understand how easy it is to say ‘oh I don’t have the time’, but you know what…you’ve got to make the time!


Do you meditate? If so, what anchor do you prefer and why?

Meditation is still something I am working on! I find it super difficult to switch my thoughts off however I do practice mindfulness constantly throughout the day. You’ll often find me ‘daydreaming’ or looking like I am lost in my own world, this is me taking in what I am feeling and why, or considering a decision/dilemma deeply prior to reacting.

There are times, however, when I just know that I need to meditate. I have a couple of good apps on my phone that will help guide me through a meditation. I find these useful as I can really focus on their voice and guidance instead of getting distracted by my own thoughts.


Which stress-busting tools have you noticed work well for you?

There are times where I prefer being alone in stressful situations. I’ll pop my earphones in and listen to a podcast that has absolutely nothing to do with anything occurring in my life at that moment (usually something strange like ‘Was Atlantis real” or breakdowns of iconic world history events). Then there are times where I just need to be with my tribe. Whether that is my family, my best friends or the crew I train with. Just being around them and not necessarily talking about what is happening will automatically have me feeling a lot more relaxed.

I also take deep comfort in using essential oils and crystals.


Who inspires your self-care and why?

Independent and honest individuals, such as Amy-Kate, who take full responsibility for their own lives, thoughts and actions. It is so easy to blame those around you for your own mistakes, decisions and thought processes but surrounding yourself with humans who hold their destiny in their own hands is very inspirational. I am a big fan of people like Louise Hay also. I love that she was able to turn her life around by simply taking responsibility and control over it, and then share that knowledge with others. She is definitely one of my biggest inspirations.


How do you stay motivated to care for yourself?

Feeling cared for feels so damn good! That is my motivation! I have occasionally dropped the ball. I’m not perfect. However, I take notice of how I feel at that moment of not being cared for. Whether it be that I didn’t get enough sleep, I ate something I knew I shouldn’t have, I have one too many drinks…I make sure I really feel that feeling and then compare it to a happy and cared for version of me. I am a big believer in consistency! Nothing in life will remain how you want it too without consistency and it only takes one little bit of complacency to lose it. The most important goal I work towards daily is to be a better version of myself than yesterday.


Have you seen a therapist? If so, what did you learn about your self-care?

It takes a tribe, right??? I am lucky enough to have many professionals around me to keep me on the right path.

As required, I have a Chiropractor, Acupuncture/Chinese Herbalist, health & fitness Coaches, ENAR therapist, Life-coach and Nutritionist available to keep me accountable. I would not be who I am today without the assistance of these individuals.


How does social media fit into your self-care perspective?

Social media is a tricky one. We often hear about all the negative effects of using social media however I believe by following influencers related to your goals and journey, it can be quite therapeutic. I tend to only follow people or pages that encourage holistic approaches to health goals. People that are non-judgemental and promote services/advice diversely are important to me as no two people are ever the same. I think when used in the right way, social media can definitely assist people on a health/self-care journey.


Share your thoughts on values-centred living.

Throughout my journey with Amy Kate’s course (“Your Personal Self-Care Course”), focusing on my values was a very positive and self-awakening experience. As previously mentioned, goals are huge for me, I cannot function on a daily basis without goals. Focusing on my values, however, really realigned my goals and reminded of what is important, and more crucially, what is achievable (self-confessed overachiever over here 😊)

For example, being grateful daily is an important value of mine, however, running on minimal sleep and caffeine due to staying up late working on a Uni assignment leaves me feeling grumpy, snappy and short-tempered throughout the day. I then also have a family to care for and a service to run. I am not displaying gratefulness at all while exhibiting these negative behaviours. To be truly grateful for what I have and those around me, I need to first be grateful to myself and my own abilities. I cannot expect my mind or body to function at an optimal level if I am not taking care of it.


Chloe, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey with us! You’re a real life mindfulness champion! As a Psychologist, it shatters me to see how many wonderful women end up in my treatment room because they haven’t been taught how to care for themselves, nurture themselves and value themselves. Chloe is a great example of someone who works hard in her life, and is doing it amazingly! She applies some great mindfulness and self-care principles to keep herself moving in the best version of herself! We do have another “Your Personal Self-Care Course” coming up in just two weeks! So if you would like to learn some vital skills to care for yourself then head over to https://themindfulcollective.co/online-courses/

Putting Pen to Paper with Gratitude Letters

When was the last time you thanked a friend, classmate, colleague, or relative for something nice they did for you? This month at The Mindful Collective we’re all about gratitude and thankfulness – there’s nothing that makes us happier!


Today I’d love to chat with you in more detail about writing letters of gratitude, and the further evidence of benefits they can provide. While there has been a great deal of research conducted over the years on the positives of writing-oriented gratitude activities (think daily gratitude lists, journaling, and the like), there wasn’t much in the way of data regarding sustained gratitude letter-writing. Until, that is, a recent study out of Kent State University (Toepfer, Cichy & Peters 2011). The investigation examined the effects of gratitude letter writing over time, relating to several components of subjective wellbeing.


The study looked at:
1. Gratitude;
2. Happiness;
3. Life-satisfaction; and
4. Depression.


Participants in the study were asked to write three letters of gratitude to three different people to express their appreciation. The letter writers were instructed to be reflective, expressive, and to write from a positive point of view, and to avoid falling into the trap of trivial “thank you” notes often associated with gift giving (did anybody else’s parents force them to do this after every birthday and Christmas?!). The results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increases happiness and life-satisfaction. Significant findings supported much of the previous research in the field, and showed new evidence that gratitude letter writing decreases depressive symptoms. In fact, happiness was shown to have a cumulative effect after each letter was written – now that’s a snowball effect we can get behind!


Now it’s your turn

We know that gratitude is an incredibly important virtue, emotion and practice; however, the most exciting research finding on gratitude so far is that we can build it – like our muscles! We want to help you do this and that is why we created Your Letters of Gratitude. A gorgeous pack of 13 postcards designed especially for you to put pen to paper and write your very own gratitude letters. You might choose to write to your mum, your neighbour, a teacher or mentor. You might choose to write them all at once, once a week, or spread out over the year. Whatever you decide, this is YOUR gratitude journey and we are so happy that you have chosen to take the first step!


Get Your Letters of Gratitude HERE!


Toepfer, SM, Cichy, K & Peters, P 2011, ‘Letters of gratitude: further evidence for author benefits’, J Happiness Study, iss. 13, pp. 187-201.

Dear Body

Nicole Yarham

We live in a world where comparison is the norm.  We compare our jobs, our hobbies, our weekend events, our holidays, our friends, our incomes and more shockingly our bodies.  Most of us struggle with, or have previously struggled with, body dissatisfaction, poor body image or body comparison in some way, robbing us from leading a life full of joy. This needs to stop.


Australia’s National Eating Disorders Collaboration defines body image as the perception that a person has of their physical self, but more importantly the thoughts and feelings the person experiences as a result of that perception.  They believe that there are four aspects of body image:


1. The way you see yourself (Perceptual)
The way you see your body is not always a correct representation of what you actually look like. For example, a person may perceive themselves to be fat when in reality they are underweight.  How a person sees themselves is their perceptual body image.


2. The way you feel about the way you look (Affective)
There are things a person may like or dislike about the way they look. Your feelings about your body, especially the amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction you experience in relation to your appearance, weight, shape and body parts is your affective body image.


3. The thoughts and beliefs you feel about your body (Cognitive)
Some people believe that they will feel better about themselves if they are thinner. Others believe they will look better if they develop more muscle.  The way you think about your body is your cognitive body image.


4. The things you do in relation to the way you look (Behavioural)
When a person is dissatisfied with the way they look, they may employ destructive behaviours such as excessive exercising or disordered eating as a means to change appearance. Some people may isolate themselves because they feel bad about the way they look.  Behaviour in which you renege as a result of your body image encompasses your behaviour body image.1


With this in mind we can clearly see that as we begin to compare ourselves to others we risk affecting our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. We can easily become fixated on trying to change our body shape and get caught up in feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.  This can lead to a heightened risk of developing an eating disorder or poor body image and body dissatisfaction as we engage with unhealthy practices with food and exercise in hope of alleviating these negative feelings.


However we need to remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to body shape or appearance.  Yes that can be hard to accept, however challenging the acceptance of our body shapes and limiting the comparison of ourselves is a crucial step towards feeling positive about our weight, shape, size and appearance.1


Having previously suffered from an eating disorder, body acceptance has been a real challenge.  I find it hard at times to love myself, limit comparisons and accept my body – imperfections and all.  Therefore I decided that something had to change.  I needed to change the way I viewed and thought about myself as well as my negative self-talk in order to have a positive effect on my thoughts, emotions and behaviour.  For that reason I decided to write a pledge not only for myself, but for all women struggling with poor body image and body dissatisfaction in hope that it would remind us to accept our true selves.


Dear Body,


I’m sorry I’ve treated you unkindly and poorly in the past.


You were never a problem.


I’m sorry for letting what other people think colour my judgment of you.

There is nothing wrong with your size, your curves, your scars, your flaws, your stretch marks or you.


I know you are subjected to comparisons, daily put downs and even put through pain in hopes of looking like the people on my Instagram account or Facebook newsfeed. However, it’s not your job to look “pretty” because you’re good enough already!


So this year instead of working against you, I will work with you.


Instead of going on crash diets, skipping meals, binging on junk food and sacrificing on exercise and sleep, I will try to keep you healthy and happy.


I know our relationship in the past has been very unstable, abusive and at times irrational and crazy but I promise to love you and be more thankful for all that you do for me and allow me to do.


I promise to take responsibility for why you might be feeling unwell, sluggish, lethargic and rundown and not lay the blame unfairly on you.  I promise to invest in self-care and treat you to the occasional massage or pedicure.


This year I promise to remind you daily that you are good enough and full of worth.  And when I look at you in the mirror I promise to silence your haters and look at you with loving eyes.


I will stop taking out my stress on you by abusing you through my lifestyle choices.  I will cherish you, stick up for you, encourage you, motivate you, celebrate you and embrace you because whether we like it or not, we are in this together – daily – every day – for the rest of our life.


With love and gracious kindness,




Take some time today to appreciate and celebrate all the amazing things that your body does for you and let these mindful words empower you to accept yourself just as you are.  Then take some time to practice self-care and say some loving words to yourself as you learn to work with your body rather than against it.


References (check them out for more information):


1. National Eating Disorders Collaboration. 2011. Body Image Fact Sheet. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nedc.com.au/files/logos/Fact%20sheet_Body%20Image_2013.pdf. [Accessed 22 February 16].

Love Food, Hate Waste

– Nicole Yarham

Food waste. It’s a topic that makes us feel uncomfortable because deep down we all know that we are guilty of it.  Not only does food waste cost you, it also costs our farmers and our environment.  In fact each year the average Australian household wastes over $1000 each on food, filling up almost half our bins. ¹ And globally, we waste 4 million tonnes of food each year, which equates to 8 billion dollars.  If we knew that this wasted money was enough to cover a month’s worth of groceries or 6 months of our electricity bills, then why do we still waste it?


At times we might cook too much food and be unaware on how to store leftovers safely or use them up efficiently.  Alternatively we don’t check the cupboard or fridge before going shopping, fail to stick to shopping lists or let hunger pains lead us to purchase more than we need at the checkout.  More so, busy schedules lead to buying takeaway meals at the last minute rather than cooking food that is available at home or we mistakenly throw out food before the use-by date leading to increased landfill.²


When food rots in landfill, it gives off a greenhouse gas called Methane which is 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car exhaust.² Therefore if we were to make a conscious effort to stop food waste, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.


So who are the main culprits?  Unfortunately it is us, the young consumers.  Which means it’s up to us to start owning our actions, increase our mindfulness around how we buy and use food and make a conscious decision to make a positive impact on our planet through a few simple steps.


Waste Not – Your Action Plan ³


At the Shops

Shop Smart.
Plan meals, check your cupboards, use grocery lists and don’t shop while you’re hungry! (This can help avoid those impulse buys!).  Buy items only when you have a plan for using them and wait until perishables are all used up before buying more.


Buy exactly what you need.
If a recipe calls for two potatoes, don’t buy a whole bag.  Instead buy loose produce so you can purchase the exact number you’ll use. Extra points if you bring your own reusable shopping bad to avoid using plastic bags and further contributing to landfill.


Buy funny-looking produce.
Many fruits and vegetables are thrown away because their size, shape or colour don’t quite match what we think these items “should” look like.  However these goods are still perfectly good to eat. So grab that knobby potato, bent carrot or dwarf tomato. Once peeled and chopped it will still provide the same flavor and nutrition for a wholesome meal.


Look at the marked down section.
If you know that you can use certain fruit, vegetables or meat that night for dinner, check out the marked down section of the supermarket.  Not only will it save your back pocket, but you will be using up food that might otherwise be tossed. Tip: Old fruit and vegetables are perfect for soups, stews and baking! So grab some overripe bananas for that perfect banana bread J


At Home

Practice FIFO.
It stands for First In, First Out.  When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back.  This way you’re more likely to use up the older things before it expires.


Monitor what you throw away.
Choose one week in which you write down everything that you throw out on a regular basis.  See what changes can be made to your purchases or habits to avoid this wastage.


“Use-it-up” Dinners.
Instead of cooking a new meal, look around in the cupboards and fridge for leftovers and other food that might otherwise get overlooked.  Make a meal out of it.  Scramble it with some eggs, bake it in a quiche, use it as pie filling, make a soup out of it.


Eat leftovers.
Take it to work the next day or freeze them and save them for later when you’re in a rush and need something nutritious quickly.


Invest in quality storage.
Purchase some quality air-tight containers to store your chips/cereal/crackers/rice/pasta/flour to help keep them for longer.


Preserve produce.
Use soft fruit for smoothies or jams, black bananas for cakes, wilting vegetables for soups, stir-frys or juices.


Donate what you won’t use.
If you have canned goods that you know you won’t use then donate it to a food kitchen before it expires so that it can be consumed by someone who needs it.


Rather than tossing food scraps like skins and wilting vegetables, start a compost pile in the backyard and convert food waste into a useful resource.


If we all make some small changes together we will be able to waste less food, save our back pockets and make a positive contribution to our community.


After some more information?
These websites contain some amazing tips, strategies, educational tools, local events and recipes to equip you on your quest to reduce food waste.




References (check these out for more information)

1. Youth Food Movement. 2016. Spoonled. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youthfoodmovement.org.au/spoonled/. [Accessed 31 March 16].

2. Foodwise. 2016. Food Waste Fast Facts. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/food-waste-fast-facts/. [Accessed 31 March 16].

3. Love Food Hate Waste. 2016. Hints and Tips. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/hints-and-tips. [Accessed 31 March 16].

The Real Definition of Success

From a young age we are told that success is a tangible thing; something you work toward and achieve. Success is something I felt I achieved throughout my schooling life. Completing an assignment, getting a good grade, getting into a sporting team, a dance team, getting the part I wanted in a play. Success was easy. But what no one ever told me, is that that is not what real success is about. This is going to sound like a cliché, but success isn’t achieving, it is being happy, and it has taken me many years to see this. That is not to say the two things are mutually exclusive, an achievement can make you happy and that is a success, but waking up in the morning can make you happy and that success is just as valid.


For years after leaving school I felt like a failure, I started uni, but I never finished it. I jumped from one job to another like I was jumping from sinking ship to sinking ship, trying to bail out the water until I finally started to drown. I thought I was failing because I wasn’t good at my job, I wasn’t smart enough or fast enough. I watched everyone around me sleep, eat, work repeat and I was constantly falling behind. I thought I was failing because I wasn’t good enough, but really I was failing because I wasn’t happy enough.


In 2011, I was diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder. Living and dealing with this knowledge has been one of my greatest challenges and one of my true successes. That may sound like an odd thing to say, but after quitting work for close to a year, struggling with depression and crippling social anxiety, I have started working full time as a retail assistant. For someone else, being 25 and working in retail mightn’t seem like much, but I ENJOY my job. I don’t dread work every day. I don’t dream up ways to avoid turning up the following day. I go to work, I come home. I eat, sleep, work, repeat. And that is my success.


I feel like in today’s society contentment has become synonymous with complacency, but for me, contentment is my greatest success.


So basically, what I am saying is that success is not the same for everyone. Don’t let someone else’s definition of success limit you, and don’t let it push you into somewhere you don’t need or want to be. Your definition of success can change over time, and it is never too late to revise your own idea of your own success.


I will leave you with one of my very most favourite cliché quotes:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

– John Lennon


Sara is a crazy cat lady from Brisbane. When she isn’t writing, Sara is a professional window dresser and a cushion aficionado. Sara loves dancing and show tunes and is officially the youngest old person you will ever meet.