I’ve moved on, it’s not you it’s me

April 14, 2011

HI there, my blog is now at


love to see you there


December 14, 2010

Hi All,

In the fine tradition of What I Wish I Knew, my wonderful missus, Allie, gave me this fantastic card for my birthday today. (43, you cheeky thing for even asking!) On the inside it said “Thanks goodness we all get better with age.”

I can’t stop wondering what Bill & Hillary would say they wished they knew in this photo, so I thought I’d throw it open to readers of my newsletter, blog, facebook and spam.

The best thought from Bill and the best thought from Hillary wins an advance copy of What I Wish I Knew about Motherhood when it’s out in 2011.

Please submit all answers on my blog here

Hope you’re almost over the line for 2010.

Very plenty bestest



What I Wish I Knew about Cancer: Part Ii

December 6, 2010

I’ve finished my interviews for the Cancer book now, and there are some heavy and yet wonderful chats are ‘in the can.’ (That can’t be the right expression, but there you go.)

Talking with these amazing people has led me to be incredibly grateful for how ridiculously lucky I, and my whole extended family, have been healthwise. There’s been a lot of cuddles for my wife and kids and lots of silent thoughts of “Thank you God, Fate or whomever is responsible for my good fortune.”

The book will have all the quotes from my interview with a bloke called Warrick Try, but I wanted to pass on a text I got from him about a week after we spoke. Here’s his story and the text.

Warrick Try, 68, partied pretty hard into his thirties and smoked until he was 50. Then, six years after quitting cigarettes, he started feeling a little breathless but thought it was ‘old age creeping up’. Then some X-Rays after a skiing accident revealed he had cancer which had almost closed off his right lung. At the time Warrick had a wife and five children – the youngest being only five – so it was a very traumatic time. He had an operation to remove his lung was removed and it seemed to have gotten rid of the lung cancer. Since then, however, Warrick has cancer of the bladder, cancer of the prostate, cancer of the eye and several malignant melanomas – and gotten through them all.

In December last year, he was having one of his regular check-ups and it was discovered that his PSA levels had risen – his prostate cancer was back – and a course of chemotherapy was recommended.

Warrick decided to get his body as fit as possible to help his chances of getting through the chemo well. He joined a gym for the first time, changed his diet, and improved his whole lifestyle. In an amazing turnaround, Warrick quickly saw dramatic changes in his body shape and fitness, and his PSA levels got lower and lower. In his latest blood test it’s down to 0.001 – almost undetectable – and for the first time in twelve years the doctors have pronounced Warrick Cancer free.

Is this guy tough as nails or what?

His quotes in the final book are all great, but I wanted to share this text that he sent me.

“G’day Marty. Forgot one thing ‘When cancer is first diagnosed, some people start to die almost immediately, others start to live. The choice is yours.'”

I used to be signed up to one of those quote sites that send you this sort of stuff in your email every day, and now I get messages like that from real people. In this case, someone I’ve met personally who has kicked cancer’s arse four or five times now.

I love my job!

What I Wish I Knew about Cancer part II

October 19, 2010
I’ve started interviewing people for the cancer book and I, as always, am getting way too much great material to fit in a book. So I thought I’d send some of the full answers out to you all.
Please read on to hear what Ursula Harvey wishes she – and those around her – knew. Feel free to send it on to friends who might be in the middle of their jousting with the disease.
I wish that other people knew it was okay to laugh with you when you have cancer.
I wish I knew that people can say the most dreadful things when they are nervous, and cancer patients make people nervous. One friend commented after my second op that I had “now been gutted like a fish.”
I wish other people knew that it’s not okay to ask really personal questions, general rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t ask a non cancer patient then it is NOT okay to ask someone with cancer. For example, the wife of a guy who worked for my hubby asked casually “So do you still have a cervix?” Seriously! WHY! What has that got to do with ANYTHING?!!!
And a cab driver was chatting away and when I told him I had Ovarian Cancer asked: “So did you have to have radiation in your vagina?” and went on to question me about sex, radiation and wouldn’t it affect a guy’s penis.
I wish I knew that it is NORMAL to be scared!
I wish I knew that being positive does not mean denying reality. Denying reality is saying “I am not in pain.” Being positive is saying “I am in pain but hopefully tomorrow it will be better.” Being positive is looking for the blessings amongst the adversity, not denying the adversity.
I wish I knew how to tell people that it is HARD when they tell you to “stay positive.” That same person who said that will probably go home and cry coz I have cancer. But I’m not allowed to cry, I have to “stay positive”. Come on give me a break, no give me a friend who will cry with me, and then help me fight.
I wish people knew that it is okay to cry! Let is all out, then put on your big girl panties and fight.
I wish people knew that when you have fought a really good fight and have lost, that it is okay. You did your best! It is up to us now and we will continue the fight when you are gone.
I wish people knew that listening is the best gift you can give someone with cancer. Listen to them talk, listen to the hurt, listen to the silence, just be there and listen.
I wish I knew how to be me again!
I wish I knew fewer people with cancer.
I wish I knew which of all the supposed anti-cancer lifestyle choices where true! Protein good. Protein bad. Be vegetarian but eat fish. No be only vegetarian. Be lacto ovo vegetarian (whatever that is). Be vegan. My fave, eat a healthy diet – but there are so many contradictory healthy diets!
I wish I knew how much it would hurt when people I loved and cared about dropped out of my life when I was diagnosed. I guess they figured I had reached my use-by date.
I also wish I had known what a blessing it was going to be in the long run, few people get to find out who their true friends are but I did and they will be treasured in my heart always.
I wish I had known how precious my life is to me!
I wish I knew what to do with this second chance at life.
I wish I knew if I will ever get the chance to see my children graduate or play with my grandchildren one day.
In May, Ursula Harvey and her hubby celebrated one year of her still being around. They went to France, had lunch in the Eiffel Tower celebrated her being alive!
Now you get my dilemma with these books. What do you cut out?
Very best

What I Wish I Knew about Cancer

August 24, 2010

Buon Giorno
Firstly let me admit that a “call for entries” is a really pathetic way to get back into my facebook page, but my time in Italy is still clinging to my brain, and it is for a bloody good cause. A really good bloke by the name of Gary Bertwistle, who I first met through the speaking circuit, is one of the guys who started a thing called Tour de Cure, which – for the 3 people in Australia who don’t know – is a massive  cycle ride that happens every year to raise money to cure cancer. Last year they rode over 1400km from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and raised over 1.6 million dollars. No kidding. Well Gary has asked me to do a version of my What I Wish I Knew series for the Tour as an education piece and fundraiser. What I Wish I Knew about Cancer will be given out to school kids and families along the way, and we’re hopefully going to sell it in a few places (not announced yet!) to raise money for the tour.
Anyhoo, those who’ve been on here for a while will remember that a great friend of mine, Danny Francis, died of mesothelioma this year so this couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Needless to say I’m pretty thrilled with the idea, so I’ve said yes but now need to gather up people for the book as quickly as possible.

So: Dear Blogreader, Facebooker and Spam Tolerater,

Do you know anyone who has survived cancer and would like to pass on some of their hindsight as to how they did it, or what they’d do if they had their time over again?Is there anyone in your life who is currently battling the disease and would like to have a chat?Do you know anyone who works with cancer patients who might like to talk with me? Thanks very much for your time, I promise normal service (i.e. a regular bit of banter and blathering) will resume as soon as possible.

All the plenty much bestest

Curse You Peter FitzSimons

June 27, 2010

There I was, happily enjoying the chaos of a wonderful family holiday in Italy. All 20 and a half (my sister has one on the way) of my extended family eating, drinking and arguing like idiots together with a gorgeous Umbrian backdrop – see below for the view from my window.
And then Peter Fitz goes and totally spoils it by sending me an extract from his latest book, A Simpler Time. As always with Fitz it’s funny, human, and blisteringly well written. The annoying part is that this piece is incredibly poignant and personal. It’s about his own family, in particular about his Dad.
I was looking forward to the second week of banter, and now it all has this much deeper meaning and significance. Now I just know I’m going to have one too many reds tonight and tell all my family I love them.
Curse you, thank you Peter FitzSimons.

Click the link below to have a read, and enjoy

A Simpler Time Extract

What I Wish I Knew about Work/Work/Life Balance

June 17, 2010

How out of whack is my life? I’m about to head off with my extended family to Italy, twenty-one of us in a Villa in Umbria, and this morning the whole thing seemed like a right pain in the arse.

Even more delicious irony when my last blog was all about the benefits of heading off with my wonderful wife for a weekend away to the Hunter Valley. And now I realise I haven’t done a blog/newsletter or anything for 6 weeks while I’ve finished off my next book, What I Wish I Knew about Motherhood. I can’t even achieve work/work balance.

To get the new book sorted, I’ve done 91 interviews in 41 days. I’ve met some incredible mums, and a few of equally inspiring stay-at-home dads. But that’s all I’ve done with my time on this earth for 6 weeks. Again I left it late, had to work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, and the book was still 4 weeks past deadline to my patient publishers.

So to compensate, and to follow my usual pattern of lurching from one extreme to the other, tomorrow I head off on a 5 week trip to Italy and the UK. (Of course, I had planned to take my laptop just in case.)

As I packed this morning, got the travel insurance, international license, blah de blah de blah, all the travel arrangements felt like just another to do list. Then into my inbox comes a recent TEDx speech by Nigel Marsh, author of “Fat, Forty and Fired” and “Overworked and Underlaid” (Cracking reads. Profound, thought provoking and very, very funny. As Molly would say, “Do yourself a favour.”)

Nigel’s talk – it’s only 10 minutes, I don’t care how busy you are, even you can spare that long – is all about work/life balance. It was just what I needed. I’m now looking forward to my trip, I’ve vowed to ignore the laptop beast for the two weeks in Italy, and I can’t wait to spend some time with the other 3 people I share an address with. You know, my family.

Have a look, I’m sure you’ll get a laugh and a new perspective too.

All the plenty very bestest


What I Wish I Knew about Inside vs Outside (and a perfect word)

May 2, 2010

My last blog about the website for cheaters was picked up by the Sydney Morning Herald – a very big thanks to Peter FitzSimons for waving it in front of the right people. (Click the image and have a read, it has a different, way more judgmental and obnoxious ending which I’m pretty pleased with)

SMH 02.05.10

Anyway, I just wanted to share two responses I had emailed to me directly within hours of the article appearing.

The first, Kate in Newport said “Thanks very much for coining the term ’emotional consumerism’ for this rubbish. It perfectly sums up how so often we seek to fix things that are inside by changing conditions that are outside. And this never, ever works.”

The second was someone living in Los Angeles who wrote “Yeah, he’s everywhere over here that guy. They have a word for him here that we don’t really use often back home, but it absolutely perfect. ‘Douchebag'”

Thanks everyone who sent their support. Go find some time to be with your loved ones. It’s Sunday and I’m blogging, time for me to do the same…

All the very bestest


What I Wish I Knew about Cheating

April 22, 2010

I read this article in the Sydney Morning Herald a week or so ago, and I’ve been waiting for the bile to die down so I could write about it without swearing. It’s about a man who’s setting up websites around the world to enable people to cheat on their partners.


Noel Biderman, of http://www.sleazyparasite.com.au (not sure if that website is correct)

So rather than rant and rave – I’ll save that for comedy and speaking gigs, they love it when I curse there – I’ll just tell a quick story and leave a quote.

For my 40th birthday my brother and two sisters gave my wife and I a Red Balloon voucher for wonderful weekend away in the Hunter Valley. Even more importantly, Mum and Dad offered to chip in with a “babysitting coupon” so we could go without our two boys aged 3 and 6. A few weeks ago, I finally organised the time off and we had a wonderful two days away. I am now 42 years old.

As we planned for the break we realised this would be our first  in over five years. We talked about all the other things we’d squeezed into that same period of time. We’d moved back to Australia, found a house, I’d gone back into advertising, got a book deal, had a second child, changed jobs, finished my first book, had it be a bestseller, ran screaming from advertising, started comedy and corporate speaking again, had our first child start school, had both kids in hospital, finished my second book. How could we not sneak in a lousy weekend holiday? We really, really really needed a break!

I think the key lesson for us was that there was never going to be a free weekend that just “miraculously appeared” and made it easy to get away. We just locked it into the calendar, and worked liked dogs before and after.

Just like it used to be

When you do get away, it’s amazing how quickly you slot back into the way you used to be. By the time we’d driven the three hours from Sydney to the Valley, we were starting to feel like “Allie and Marty” and not “Mum and Dad”. We have some friends who talk about how things used to be “BC” (Before Children) and we could see what they mean. We were slower, calmer, gentler.

We pulled up at our accommodation for the weekend, a gorgeous, secluded little place called Wilderness Lodge has only has four suites, and – just what we wanted – is a couple of kilometres away from the main touristy area. It’s also in the middle of an expansive Olive grove, and incredibly peaceful. We spent the afternoon doing nothing much.  (stop it! get your mind out of the gutter) We had a huge spa bath in the afternoon – just because we could – and as we lay back Allie said “Isn’t it luxurious to lay back in a bath without a toy shark sticking into your bum cheek?” I said “It’s brilliant to be able to do a wee without a three year old coming in asking something like “Are pterodactyls herbivores or carnivores?”

As we talked through the afternoon, we noticed that a typical conversation went like this:

“Isn’t the scenery here lovely? You really could be in Europe with the hills covered in vines and the olive trees. Remember that trip to Italy we had when we live in England? I miss that.“

Instead of this:

Isn’t the scenery here lovely? (Connor take your fingers out of your brother’s nose) You really could be in Europe (Elliot, beans are not lightsabers) with the hills covered in vines and the olive trees. (Finish your lunch or no ice cream) Remember that trip to Italy? (Boys, stop it.) we had when we live in England, (Right no ice cream for anyone) I miss that.

The next day, we went for a huge three hour walk and it was the best time of our weekend away because we walked, we looked at the stunning vineyards properly not from a car at 100km/h and (drum roll please) we talked. We spoke, to each other and no one else, for almost four whole hours. We hadn’t done that in five long years, except for those sporadic dinners when you’re so happy to be outside the four walls of your house together you end up ordering that second (sometimes third) bottle of wine and not remember exactly what you talked about anyway. It felt so natural, so easy, so just-like-it-used-to-be “BC”. It reaffirmed our commitment to each other and reminded us both why we got hitched in the first place.

Cheating on my wife, with my wife.

I may be playing amateur psychologist (when has that ever put me off), but I think if only more couples made time to have weekends away like this, those idiotic websites like the one above would never get off the ground. If we spent less time being addicted to the getting, we’d be able to enjoy the having.

It’s rare I find myself quoting Miranda Devine, but luckily it’s only a quote she uses in her column today from CS Lewis

”If you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned person for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them.”

As a writer it annoys me to admit it, but I couldn’t have said it better myself.

What I Wish I Knew about the All-Pervasive Facebook

April 17, 2010

Every now and then at a gig you get someone shout out “You are REALLY funny mate.” or something like that. And you have to love them because they really think they’re helping.

Last night I had a similar thing, but she was very discreet and did it on facebook. My first FB heckler! Had people at tables with laptops watching me, and one of them was quoting me on facebook, and signing up as a fan of my What I Wish I Knew facebook page, while I was on stage. Awesome. Love it.

Then after the speech, as they were packing up I heard someone say “I’d better pack the camera upstairs or Bill the techie will unfriend me”. She meant that Bill would be annoyed.

Don’t you just love an evolving language?