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


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.