Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Jellyfish in Byron Bay

The non-hipster-mum-on-a-budget guide to Byron Bay

I’ve lived in ‘the Bay’ for about 15 years. That means I’m nowhere close to being a local… never really will be, but my kids are born and bred (they’ll just have to cop their mum being called a ‘blow-in’ – yawn).

I love it here, but have to deal with almost daily slandering of the place from colleagues and family who live in surrounding towns.

One relo called it ‘Nimbin by the sea’ at Christmas lunch… but I wasn’t sure if he meant it as a criticism or compliment, because the dude was actually from Nimbin himself.

I get why some people loathe it – it’s expensive, it’s busy, it’s a bit of a scene… but it’s not all of those things all of the time.Read More

Billy B Brown

Books my six-year-old loves

So, Miss Five is no longer and Miss Six is.

She’s starting to read on her own and I’m often asked what she thinks of my books…Read More

Anti-Princess Club

Measuring success

Let’s call him ‘Artist One.’

We were chatting a while back about what I considered the success of someone we’ll call ‘Artist Two.’

“Artist Two’s work is amazing,” I said. “Artist Two is winning loads of awards,” I said. “Artist Two has tens of thousands of followers on social media,” I said.

Artist One narrowed his eyes. “Yes, but Artist Two drives a beaten up Holden.”Read More

Anti-Princess Club

Is it too strong to say ‘anti’ princess?

Phew. It’s been a busy month.

I’ve done a lot of interviews including national TV and radio spots, I’ve written blog posts for the likes of Mamamia and Kidspot, and been the subject of several reviews. I’ve started compiling the media mentions and appearances here if you’re keen to go through them.Read More


Anti-Princess Club book launch

What a whirlwind of a night.

The Anti-Princess Club was officially launched at Mary Ryan’s book shop in Byron Bay (my home town).Read More

Colleen McCullough

Remembering Colleen McCullough

One of my greatest privileges while working in newspapers was to write obituaries.

At some rags, the obits are palmed off to cadets, not seen as ‘real’ news, especially in small towns where the subjects aren’t exactly famous.Read More


Why I write

Woman with a QuillAlways Josefa started this ‘blog hop’ a while ago, in which a whole heap of bloggers answer a few questions about why they write.

Zanni from My Little Sunshine House posted her response here and ‘hopped’ to me.

So, here goes:

What are you working on?

Finalising the editing of my four kids’ novels due for release with Allen & Unwin next year.

A few poems – this is new for me. I’ve actually been a little possessed by poetry for the past month. I’m planning on entering a poetry slam in a few weeks. Will post more details as the date nears. Eek.Read More


It’s never too early to read

It seemed silly, but on the day my daughter was born I read to her.As she gurgled away in the hospital bassinet, I read aloud Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.

It was Fox herself whose advice was ringing through my head as I read to my hours-old baby.

“I beg you all to read superb books aloud to your children! Begin on the day they are born. I am very serious about this: at least three stories and five nursery rhymes a day, if not more, and not only at bedtime, either.” – Mem Fox.

Fox has a book called Reading Magic that talks all about the impact reading aloud to children has on their emotional and intellectual development.

Read it yourself and you’ll realise why I risked sounding like a crazy person reading to my newborn in the middle of the night in the maternity ward.

My daughter is now three-and-a-half and loves books.

We’ve moved on from picture books to easy readers designed for primary school-aged children (truth be told, I think she likes the lengthier stories because they prolong bedtime).

It’s not so much about education for us (although that’s a fortunate side effect). It’s about bonding.

In an era where screens suck so much of our attention, reading a ‘real’ book is an activity that forces you to cuddle, talk and connect.

My greatest joy now comes from seeing my daughter reading to her 10-month-old brother.

And I can hardly wait for the day my children will be reading novels written by their own mother.

A few months ago I was asked to write this piece for a local newspaper but it never ran, so I thought I’d publish it here so it wasn’t wasted.





Getting to know you

Hi there, and welcome to my new blog.Read More