Leah Franklin

Australian plant based chef + entrepreneur

S2 Ep68

Leah Franklin

Listen and subscribe on Spotify and  Apple podcasts (itunes) 

It is such a joy to welcome Leah Franklin to the show this week. Leah is a plant based chef and entrepreneur from Mount Gambier Australia, a mum to 3 girls, and grandmother of 5.


From an early age, Leah had dreams of becoming a mother. She recalls the time in year 10 when students shared what they would like to be when they left school, and Leah said 'a mum'.


When she met her husband and got around to living that dream, it was everything Leah had hoped and more. Leah was enjoying life as a full time stay at home mum.

After almost 22 years, Leah's marriage started to break down. She was struggling with an eating disorder which she fought hard to overcome. It was during this time that Leah also found a plant based lifestyle - vegetarian at first for her health, however she soon educated herself into the treatment of animals and found that an ethically plant based life was what she felt compelled to live.


Once her marriage did finally end, it was at this time that she faced some of the most challenging times of her life, transitioning from a married woman with security, to a single mother of 3 girls with no job or financial safeguard.


Thinking of the things she was good at, Leah dug deep, literally, and turned her love of gardening into a business, Serenity Home and Garden Care. She bought a $1000 ute advertised on the side of the road and returned home to her girls to announce her new venture. The next 5 years saw Leah not only pour her love into the gardens of Mount Gambier, challenge the gender stereotype of the gardening industry at the time but she developed some incredible bonds with her often elderly female clients.


When her body told her it was time to give up the lugging of chainsaws and hours of gardening, Leah turned to her other love, cooking. It was through mixed experiences of being a vegan in Mount Gambier, thought she could improve the food choices for people who lead this kind lifestyle. Thus, Just Frank was born. years on, her business, and her health are thriving, AND she has almost paid off her home loan as a small business owner.


Later in life, Leah has dealt with the identity shift of becoming an 'empty nester' and the different emotions brought on by becoming a grandmother. Leah shares openly and honestly today, and I am sure you will, as I have, appreciate it greatly.


Mount Gambier residents may know Leah as the face behind Just Frank plant based treats and meals, but today you will find out there is so much more to this inspirational, kind and determined woman.


***Please be aware this conversation contains discussions around an eating disorder, mental health issues, birth trauma + grief.***


Find Leah on facebook / instagram

Podcast website / instagram


If you would like to chat about any aspect of a plant based or vegetarian lifestyle (in a non judgemental environment), Leah would love to hear from you!


If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here


Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast


I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!

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Thank you!

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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.

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Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast that's a platform for mothers who are artists and creatives to share the joys and issues they've encountered, while continuing to make art. Regular themes we explore include the day to day juggle, how mothers work is influenced by the children, mum guilt, how mums give themselves time to create within the role of mothering and the value that mothers and others place on their artistic selves. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and a mom of two boys from regional South Australia. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the show notes. Together with music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our lively and supportive community on Instagram. The art of being a mum acknowledges the Bondic people as the traditional owners of the land, which his podcast is recorded on.It is such a joy to welcome Leah Franklin to the show this week. Leah is a plant based chef and entrepreneur from Mount Gambier Australia, a mum to 3 girls, and grandmother of 5.

From an early age, Leah had dreams of becoming a mother. She recalls the time in year 10 when students shared what they would like to be when they left school, and Leah said 'a mum'.

When she met her husband and got around to living that dream, it was everything Leah had hoped and more. Leah was enjoying life as a full time stay at home mum.

After almost 22 years, Leah's marriage started to break down. She was struggling with an eating disorder which she fought hard to overcome. It was during this time that Leah also found a plant based lifestyle - vegetarian at first for her health, however she soon educated herself into the treatment of animals and found that an ethically plant based life was what she felt compelled to live.

Once her marriage did finally end, it was at this time that she faced some of the most challenging times of her life, transitioning from a married woman with security, to a single mother of 3 girls with no job or financial safeguard.

Thinking of the things she was good at, Leah dug deep, literally, and turned her love of gardening into a business, Serenity Home and Garden Care. She bought a $1000 ute advertised on the side of the road and returned home to her girls to announce her new venture. The next 5 years saw Leah not only pour her love into the gardens of Mount Gambier, challenge the gender stereotype of the gardening industry at the time but she developed some incredible bonds with her often elderly female clients.

When her body told her it was time to give up the lugging of chainsaws and hours of gardening, Leah turned to her other love, cooking. It was through mixed experiences of being a vegan in Mount Gambier, thought she could improve the food choices for people who lead this kind lifestyle. Thus, Just Frank was born. years on, her business, and her health are thriving, AND she has almost paid off her home loan as a small business owner.

Later in life, Leah has dealt with the identity shift of becoming an 'empty nester' and the different emotions brought on by becoming a grandmother. Leah shares openly and honestly today, and I am sure you will, as I have, appreciate it greatly.


Mount Gambier residents may know Leah as the face behind Just Frank plant based treats and meals, but today you will find out there is so much more to this inspirational, kind and determined woman.


***Please be aware this conversation contains discussions around an eating disorder, mental health issues, birth trauma + grief.***



If you would like to chat about any aspect of a plant based or vegetarian lifestyle (in a non judgemental environment), Leah would love to hear from you!


If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here



Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home layout. It is such a pleasure to be here.

Thank you for having me on the show. Yeah.

And I got to point out that you've got some delightful traits here for us, and you are an amazing vegan cook

wouldn't be me. If I didn't have that. You tell us what you've put up? Well, I've got some Biscoff KitKat. And I've also got some Biscoff rocky road for you today. So

that's having a big moment. It's

massive. Yeah, and I don't only make maybe three things with it. But it's so well received, and everyone loves Biscoff if you haven't tried it, I'm gonna have something you need to try it. So yeah. Oh, man.

But do you find people that eat this that aren't vegan or vegetarian? They can't believe that it's actually being?

Yeah. And but believe it or not, at that about 80? We've done a bit of market research, Tony from metros sort of, you know, filled me in here and there. Yeah, that approximately 80% of my customers aren't vegan. So it's like, it's across the board. And, and literally, if you don't tell anyone, it's vegan, they wouldn't have a clue. So I promote that it's vegan slash plant based. But it appeals to everybody. So which is fantastic. Yeah. That was just like lifting the remnants in my back. There's a bit there to eat.

So how did you first become interested in veganism? What was

the say, when I was 30. And I'd had my third daughter, I was unwell. And when I say unwell I was it was nonspecific, like, I was just felt like rubbish, probably ate a bit of rubbish. I had all sorts of tests and nothing came back with any particular disease or chronic condition. had chronic back pain, body aches, all the things went into hospital had a had a bit of an exploratory on my lady bits. And I remember coming out of the anesthetic, and the doctor said, Well, you're good for another 10 Kids, there's nothing going on in there. And I said, Okay, so what's happening? And he said, Well, we call this nonspecific pelvic pain, so we can just start off for you. Because it's because it's cyclic, we can, we can just give you a hysterectomy, and we'll take everything out, and you'll be all good to go. Which, which back in the day back then, which was 1995 was probably happened a lot. They just don't we just take everything out. And that'd be good. Well, we know now that comes with a whole host of other problems. So I said, just give me a minute, you know, so I think I might just take I'll just take 12 months, and let's just see how I go. And I'll try a few conservative things myself. And he said, Okay, but you know, you know, this referrals for 12 months, so you know, I said, okay, so went away, I started off just taking all the junk food, a lot of chips, drink a lot of coke, you know, just the standard things that people have to call that out first. Then I took red meat out. And that made a huge difference year information. And back then, I mean, I keep I'll keep saying through this back in the day, and I know it's not that long ago, that we're talking 2526 years ago and a lot has happened since then a lot to come to the fore about gut health and you know, inflammation in your body. Yeah. And I didn't know it was inflammation then but once I took red meat out of my diet and dairy I'd always had a bit of a an issue with dairy I'd as a kid I if I ate ice cream always got a belly ache or I remember throwing up at several like school Fairs and things like that because I drink this massive milkshake. Great, yeah, come out. Of course, lactose intolerance wasn't a thing back then you didn't know anything about it. So I took those red meat and dairy out. And I just felt amazing. Within probably two, three months, I just all my pain went away my back pain was so bad. But if I got on the floor of changing nappy, I couldn't stand up, I have my then husband would have to get his arm and help me off the floor. So that that was that. And so I left in chicken and fish. And I, I kept going with that for a while. And then something funny happens when you start to then do a bit of research around. You know, what, why is that making me feel awful, that I started to then come across things more of an ethical nature around factory farming and things like that. And I was literally mortified. So I was vegetarian for quite a while. And then took out the eggs and all the things and, and of course, back then, it was like I joined a cult. My family didn't understand my my birth family didn't understand my dad, your dad listened to this, I'm not knocking him. He just he knows he used to make all the jokes about you know, or that hasn't got a face and that hasn't got a face if I was eating anything. And he always made fun of me. And I said him to stop that stop, you know, I get really offended and but I learned to just let that wash over me in the end. And thankfully now I don't have to explain myself anymore. Because, you know, look, now, the world's evolved to catch up with you caught up with me. I'm not a freak show anymore. I can actually just ask for a vegan option. And no one laughs or no one questions what I'm talking about. I know what you're talking about now. Yeah. And, and I'm sure people that aren't vegan now. If they're, you know, younger, they probably can't imagine a world where people had no concept of what I was talking about. If I if I went somewhere and asked, can you serve that without this and that? And it was like, what?

Yeah, like I finally been, like not eating meat. Probably. I'm gonna say maybe 12 years. And even in that time, you'd ask people in restaurants or what's in this stock when what's in, you know, often their body and bones and stuff. And the people be like, What do you mean? And whenever we went to Melbourne, or Adelaide, no worries at all. It's like the country's charm. Yeah. Yeah. But now it's just so my it's,

it's, it's crazy of I've watched it and it's like, just warmed my heart. Because it's how my business started too. It's my business started. Basically, when I met Rob, and Rob's as far from vegan as you could possibly be, say, I live in a house with him, him there and me here. And you know, we're just completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But we make it work. And that's how my business started. Because I was tired of going to a cafe, and he could get something and I couldn't get anything, we couldn't go together. And both have something. So I just thought, I think there's something, something there. So that's how it started.

And like you said before, 80% of your customers, certainly Metro vegan anyway, so it's just things are amazing.

Regardless, it is beautiful. And for someone who says, I'm not sure if I'd like it, I've don't eat vegan foods. If you've never eaten a banana, you've never eaten so Tanner's. I'd like to just name off our 1000 foods that are vegan, they're accidentally vegan, if you just want to put them in that category. I mean, and vegans just it's in inverted commas. It tends to make some people shy away from trying something. So yeah, sometimes you need to change the language, which the diehard vegans don't like. But I, my philosophy is if we can get 80% of people eating less meat in a week, it's going to make more of an impact than 20% of the population only being vegan and the rest not doing anything. So if you add that all together, I think it is going to make more of a difference. So I'm all for incremental changes, if that's what you need to do, but definitely more plant based meals is the way to go. And being

accepting of people like I feel like the hardcore, it's like it's my way or the highway, sort of off putting. Yeah, that's that's sort of sad. It's like it's alienating to Pete yet.

I want to educate, not alienate, I want to I want people to be able to say to me say anyway, because people know why they should. They don't know how they should. Yeah, that's what I think I think people need to be shown how to do it or, or have some tips on because I take it for granted that everyone knows how to cook something without meat, eggs or dairy. But it's not if that's what You've been brought up with and that's what you've done your whole life. Yeah, that's it's hard to know. Yeah.

I remember when I started work as a first job I had outside of my family when I was not eating meat at me, and the girls will operate, what do you eat? Like everything else except for me. Like, it was just people couldn't get their head around that there is other things in

the world, everything that doesn't come from animals. Like it's just. Yeah.

And that was only 10 years ago. Yeah. It's just Yeah. It's a funny thing, isn't

it? Is it is, but it's, it's coming along? Yes, the fastest growing social justice movement in the world.

So. And I think too, because of this whole focus on the climate to show the meat industry contributes so much to that, you know, the US so much water, they the emissions from the cows. And actually, someone told me the other day, that the biggest consumer of fish in the world is the meat industry, because they catch the fish to feed to the cows. And I don't think many people would know that. So this is the first time you're hearing that, and I hope you feel shocked. You're shocked desire was, look, it's important. We

could You could sit here all day and talk about the statistics on some things, you know, it's terrifying, really. But there's no excuse for not knowing any more. We've got the internet, Google it. It's not, don't don't shoot the messenger. You've got your fine if you really want to know. It's all there.

And once you know some of the stuff

from listening, and not if you've watched any of the documentaries, you can't unsee it either. So yeah. So yeah, off my soapbox now. It's a great, it's a great topic. And I like those conversations peacefully with people. I don't. I'm not here to have an argument. And I and I've been targeted many a time at a at a dinner where someone knows I'm the I'm the vegan at the table. And you know, it doesn't happen very often. But it has happened to me before where I've sort of been baited, if you like, and goaded into a. And I just put my hand I'm sorry, I'm not I don't, I won't debate it. This is where I'm at with it. And you can do your own research. But I'm certainly not going to have a stand up argument with anybody.

Yeah. And I think sometimes that says more about the person that's doing that, but they hear that they're feeling insecure about their choices, and, and it's coming out in that way. But yeah, I people used to say to me, people still do say to me, if we're out for tea, and they're eating meat, and they're like, oh, sorry, we're eating this in front of you. I'm like, You do what you do. Like I've never judge anyone names. So you know, if you want to eat it, you eat it, that's fine. That's up to you. I'll do my thing. You do your thing. And, you know, for feeding to get such a bad rap, you know, make somebody like a joke on social media or, you know, best way to start an argument and barbecue invited vegan, you know, like all this sort of rubbish. It annoys me people that don't choose not to eat animals, I think the most kind and caring people you'll ever find. Definitely,

definitely. And there's always those figures and I'm doing the right Yeah, but there's always those Christians too. There's always those everything is yeah, it's it's the person not the cause. Yes, that is so true, right? That person. If they weren't vegan, they would be something else. They'd be an extreme something else. Yeah. So it's unfair to label all vegans as extreme because we're not. We just want a better world. I guess. I started it for my health. And that's why I went forward with it. At first, but once I knew, I knew so

I was talking to someone the other day actually, he started for the health too, and then discovered more and more and same thing that ethical side comes in.

It's very interesting. It is an interesting topic, but yeah, yeah.

So tell me

more about your business. What sort of products are you making in your business and and what's your sort of most popular?

Well, the snickers Cup, the snickers cup? I do digital invoicing so I can tell in my program, what's the biggest seller and which outlet sells the most and whatnot and snickers four to one of everything else. Close second are the Biscoff rocky roads coming along? Quite quickly behind it, but the granola bars are probably set canned, and I've, I've packaged those now, I'm not a fan of the plastic, but due to the health regulations, I have to have them in packaging at in the shoes of things, fridges and things like that. And at this point, there's no other option that's come up, you're working on lots of different options that are a bit more, you know, compostable, compostable. So that will be good. But I've got the packaged granola bars for different outlets now. And they're proving to be really popular because people can pick them up and throw them in the bag, and you know, take them to the gym or whatever. So that's really good. But my range of granola is amazing. It's, I mean, it's like mine. But the sales speak for themselves and the feedback that I get with my package granola, and the original Dayton Arman has been around for seven years now, that was my original one that I took to the markets when I started to do the markets. And I haven't changed the recipe at all, it's stayed the same. And I'm passionate about the same recipe, rub off and jokes with me, and any says, oh, you know, you know, go and get that recipe and, you know, you probably should write that recipe down or, and I'll say something about an ingredient who was so go and check your recipe. So it's not actually written down. He says, how does that work? I say because I know, I just know, I know the recipe. I've, I've scaled that one from, you know, six little bags that I used to take to the market to you know, I make 20 2300 gram bags in one batch of each flavor. So you know, the bowl has gone from, you know, the business can't see but it's gone from this to I've got these massive big stainless steel balls on the bench, you know, that I'm super, super proud of my granola, I'm proud of all my products. I'm really proud of my products. I've gone into sweets, but it didn't start like that it started with savory meals. That's how it started. But it's just evolved into sweets and, and most of them are, you know, whole food, sweets with, you know, not massive amounts of sugar or anything like that little bit of sugar in the chocolate. And then it was my youngest daughter who was vegan for some time and she just said to me one day she said mum, she said I love all the healthy stuff or the you know, air quotes again, the healthy you know, super wholesome stuff. But she said I'm craving something rubbish. something sugary, something she she's the she was the one that got me to start with the donuts. Yeah, she said I just would love a doughnut that's vegan, but it's oozing sugar and you know, all that decadent stuff. And I sit on it goes so against my grain. She said no, ma'am, but, but maybe that's what people would like. And I went oh, like it was like a cheddar arm up behind my back. Please, please. So I relented and the donuts went gangbusters. Yeah, they were just couldn't keep up with cheese, which would call me every second day. Um, random doughnuts. Doughnuts. And yeah, I had my whole bent kitchen bench was just wall to wall doughnuts, you know, laid out, you know, steaming, you know, calling and I was icing and getting them into containers and labels and taking them back down to shoes apples and, and, and my daughter's gone. See what I'm talking about? Mom? Okay, you're right. So then, you know, I've got I've got a few lines that aren't the wholesome type. But you know, people love those as well. So there's a place for both. Yeah, but I will always always focus on the whole food. You know, the really decadent or the decadent, healthy lines. And I'll always have some decadent, not quite so many lines. But it's the balance. Yes, exactly. Balance. Yeah.

So you you make it all here, nothing gets made anywhere else will perish. And with oh, he saw with

these two hands. Yeah. And I thought and I thought and had it suggested to me many a time that I should scale the business and, you know, do more and send it to more places and get it out there more. But I'm a real people person. And I I don't know, maybe it's cutting off my nose to spite my face because I'm sure the business could be much bigger. But I I want it to be my two hands. And I want to I like to hand deliver my things, you know, go down to Metro and Tony and I'll have a hug and stand out the back and talk about the meaning of life. And yeah, we talked for five minutes about just Frank and you know what she's doing there and then and then we go Want to other things and, and I love that. And if I don't if I don't do that I'm just in the kitchen by myself. And that's quite isolating at times, just to be by yourself, you know, with your own thoughts. And when you're an anxiety sufferer like I am your own thoughts aren't always the best thing to be with by yourself. But yeah, I love to get out. And sometimes if I'm lucky, I'll I'll sit in the cafe and I'll see somebody eating my food, which is like, blows my mind every time I'm nearly eight years down the track and to see someone with a plate with my food on it, enjoying it with their coffee. Yeah, it's us to have to pinch myself. It's pretty awesome. It is pretty awesome. It's pretty awesome.

I love that. So you do have some of your products do go to Adelaide when you go to Adelaide.

With Yeah, take a I've got a cafe in West Croydon up there. Joy flora, and beautiful Mark. He he supports my little business and his customers love my goodies. They're completely different to what he has there. So yeah, he's he's always flicking me a message saying when you're coming next, I need some more. Or if my girl was at home, they'll take they'll take him. They've just taken a delivery back this weekend for him. So he claps his hands. He says, Yeah. And he has to ration it out. Like yeah, keeps it keeps it in his cool room. And he just puts out a couple at a time because he says he wants them just buy it all. And then I don't know when you're coming next. And freight so expensive. It's just, it's just ridiculous to probably cost me $40 To send him a box, and you lose that personal connection is so cool. Yeah. You say, Yeah, I love it. I love going up there and seeing him and we have a have a certain. And again, talk about the meaning of life. And I don't know, I just seem to attract these really deep people. And you don't talk about the weather. We talk about other stuff. And I love it.

You love it.

So you've also had a gardening business in the

past? I have, I have and a lot of people don't know that. And what a contrast from this to that. So in 2009, after 22 years together, my husband and I separated. And I've been a stay at home mum for you know, probably 16 of those years and had done paid work in that time. But I've always we made a we made a very firm decision together when we first had children that I would stay home. And he would go to work very traditional. Probably the feminists now would be like, What the hell? What century are you from, but we loved it. We absolutely loved it. It was that whole, you know, he had well, he'd call me he was he at the time he was a rep on the road. And he would call me and he would say I'm going to be home at 530. So 530 on the dot, he'd walk in the door, he'd go straight to the bedroom get changed, and I put tea on the table, the kids would all come in and it was our family times that we'd sit down and talk about our day and it was the highlight of the day. And you know, he had come home to the fire was going and he quite often comments on it's just so nice to walk inside and the kids were laughing and laundry they were laughing every day. And mum wasn't either. But it was a very traditional in air quotes, you know, that kind of situation that we had and we just we both loved our roles. So, when we separated I thought what am I going to do? So I was offered a part time job which I was happy to take and we agreed when we separated on a 5050 split which we discussed at length and we were both happy with that situation we were freehold so we just decided who was having what car and I'm making it sound very cold and emotionless. But you know, I think we can probably you can probably gather that it wasn't like that. But for the purposes of just saying how it was. And we had also we'd been in the house for 20 years so it was very firmly a family home and and when we bought the house there was no garden there was nothing so we I'd spent the majority of that time building the most beautiful if I do say so myself, it was just a magnificent garden with big trees and you know, it was gorgeous. And my ex husband wasn't a big fan of gardening on that scale. So it was agreed that I would buy him out of his share. And he would he would then go on and and do whatever he needed to do with that then the girls would then stay in the home as well. So That's what we agreed to say. We got the finances sorted. We, we got a solicitor each for the purposes of paper signing, not for arguing. And he went off and sign his and I went off and signed mine. My solicitor highly encouraged me to take him to the cleaners basically, and take more than what we'd agreed upon. And when I, when I said to him, No, I'm not doing that. And he, he said, Well, I can't believe you're gonna do that cuz you are entitled to more. And I said, that's what we've agreed to. We've worked together to build what we had. And I said, No, my girls are watching. And I want to be able to look at my children one day, and then look at me, and no, I didn't take their dad to the cleaners, because there's no need for that. And I just didn't want to do that. So we settled and, you know, did our thing.

I went off to the bank, and made an appointment and sat down with the, the male bank person, you know, stated my case, I had a part time job coming up, and I had more than more than, you know, like, I had more than what I needed to, you know, do what I needed to do. And he flipped through his papers. And he said, All I can see, you know, I can see your husband's name here as the financial contributor. I mean, it were the house was jointly owned, but he, he was the one that, you know, his name was on the finances and things like that. And he said, I can't see. Can't see here anywhere where you know, you've done too much. And, you know, you'll need to, because, because stay at home, mother was not only raised the children, yeah, the next generation of taxpayers, if you like. So he said, Well, I said, Well, I've got part time work. So and it was, you know, like, for me to pay his share out was, you know, it wasn't a massive, it's not like I was I was asking for the whole amount. Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah. And he said, Well, you need to, you need to go out and get full time work. And you'll need to do that for 12 months before, we will look at the fact that you can actually contribute to your repayments. So, I mean, I'm reparable about that. Now, when I look back, and every time I think about it, it makes my makes me so angry. But at the time, I understand they had to, they had to know they were going to get their money, I get that. So I walked out of the bank, devastated and devastated. It's probably an understatement. But turns out that because of time, my husband didn't want to wait. So he ended up buying me out. But he he got he got approval medically, he got overnight approval, he bought me out, paid me out the whole thing, the whole thing was settled. So my girls and I moved out, got a rental. And the only way I could get the rental because I had no rental history was to pay six months rent upfront. So out of my share of our settlement, I had to take $8,000 and pay for a house for us to live in for six months. And then I thought, well, what am I going to do for work now? Because you know, if I'm going to buy a house, eventually I'm going to need full time work. So I thought I have no idea what I'm going to do.

Say, when one day I was driving along, whatever new and I saw this, little youth parked on the side of the road, and it got me thinking I thought what am I good at? Well, I'm good at cooking, and I'm good at gardening. And there, that's the extent of my skills, really. So I thought, right, so anyway, I went back, I drove back to the UK, and I got the guy's phone number and I called him up and I made an offer and it was it was like a $1,200 unit nothing. I got it for $1,000. So I called up my girls and I said I need someone if I come home. I need to pick someone up and come back and help me pick this caravan. They're like, what the hell man? What are you doing? And I said, Well, I've just bought this little unit. I'm going to throw my gardening tools in it. And I'm going to try and get some gardening work around town. And they said a rodeo. Okay. So I got the you took it home threw all my tools in and at the time I lived. You know, we live in a colder SAC and Father Brian Ashworth lived at the end of the cold reset for the Anglican Church. And him and his wife were walking past and then I said oh, what are you what are you doing here? And I said, Oh, well um, I didn't know what I was going to do for a job. So I'm going to see if I can get some gardening work. Ah, well, we've got some things down here that we need doing. They had like a terrorist garden, and he couldn't get up anymore. The steps to do the gardening, so they got me to have a look. And I said, Yeah, that's great. I'll come down to your wedding and mow your lawns. And, of course, big congregation at the Anglican Church isn't. So Brian told someone and that person told someone and before I knew it, I had six or seven clients. So I thought, well, I probably need to get myself a an accountant to sort out all these 1000s and 1000s of dollars that I'm going to make. that I needed to, I needed to get tongue in cheek for sure. I needed to sort my finances out. So I invested an accountant and I went to the accountant, and we're going through all my, my things. And he said, so watch this lump sum of money that you've got sitting here in the bank, which was the settlement from the house. And I said, I Well, that's my, that's my settlement. And he said, Well, why is it sitting here in the bank? He said, You know, you would probably really should be doing something with that. And I said, Well, I wanted to buy a house, but the bank have refused to give me any money. And he said, Well, that's interesting. He said, Have you sought the services of the financial advisor? And I said, No. And he said, Well, Marian Kilsby, she's just around the corner. at MITRE, she said, You, you need to pop around there and have a chat to her, she'll be able to help you out. And I said, Ah, you know, Jennifer really want to do that I'm pretty broken by that. And I just don't want to be refused. Again, I'd rather just sit the money there. And I'll just see what happens. It's a nice, and I think she'll be able to help you. So I made an appointment with Marian, I'd never met Mary. And before I got to my appointment, and I had, I remember having a hanky stuffed in my pocket, and I was walking my eyes, I just didn't want to have to go in there and, and go through this again. So she called me in, got to walked up the hallway and got to the door. And she stopped at her door to sort of, you know, flag me through and she looked at me, she could see I'd been crying. And she said, what's wrong. And I said, I, you know, I'm just broken by all this. And you know, I just didn't really want to have to go through this whole situation with the bank. And she kicked the door shut with her stiletto heel, she pushed a box of tissues across the table. And she said, that'll be the last time we're going to cry about this. She said we've got some work to do. So we we spent the next hour going through everything. And she said, Nope, she said, look, let's let's get your house, she said, have you seen something you're like I see I have I've seen this beautiful house that I would like to buy. And it's not huge. And it's you know, it's an older home. And I really, really love it. And it's just I probably didn't realize at the time, but it was a similar style to the home that that had been married to her money, it was just a bit smaller. But the layout was literally exactly the same just minus didn't have the big family room, and I didn't need that anymore. So she said, Well, you go and get yourself an inspection. And this is the amount that I think we'll be able to get for you if you want to go and borrow some money from the bank. And I said, Are you are you joking? She said, No, no, she said, off you go. So I booked it. I booked an inspection at the house and went through the house by myself. I didn't take the girls, I just thought I just need to do this in case in case it all comes back to bite me. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up about it. Had a look. Went back to Marian and I told her about it. She said if you go and make an offer, go make an offer on it. So I made an offer. And we did a bit of that was in forwards and put the offer in, gave that to Marian and she called me that night and she said well, you've got phone approval from the bank.

And like I literally dropped to my knees. And I said, Don't tell me you're not joking. I said what are the chances of this all going sour? And she said, it's probably not. It's it's for real. And you know, I think I think you'd be right. So back to the real estate agent and my loan was approved and I bought my house. So that's how the gardening happened. And the gardening just grew and grew and grew. And it got to the point where I couldn't keep up anymore by myself. So I employed someone that didn't end up end up working out because you know, it wasn't quite the right person. And by then my body was pretty broken. I was I mean I was wielding chainsaws and you know, I my husband, my ex husband called me up one day and he said, he said someone's just come back to work and told me they saw you on wheel street with a chainsaw cutting the limbs off an overhanging tree on the footpath. That's right. What are you doing? I say, Well, I'm trying to earn a living here. He said, My goodness. He said that's a lot. And I said yes, a lot. But I did that for almost five years. And my customers were when I look back on that my customers were I really struggled with empty nesting. And my customers were my people. They were my family. They were I go Mostly for the elderly, mostly elderly women who were on their own. I had a few beautiful elderly gentleman as well. He lost their wives. And almost every gardening, like I booked, I booked an eight hour day. But probably six hours was working two hours was cups of tea. Yeah. So I mean, you can't can't garden for an 85 year old without having a cup of tea at the

end and connection for them as well.

I had one particular lady who used to wait on the footpath for me to come, she was coming at a certain time. And she would, she would wait out for me. But the bonds are built with those customers. Where was everything for me, they were they were like another family, it was the best. So yeah, I did that. And then my body started to break. And my GP at the time was one of my very, very dearest friends. And she kept saying to me, Leah, you just cannot keep doing this. I had neck issues, I had shoulder issues, my back was virtually broken. And I just kept going and going and going because A, I didn't want to let my people down. They were I just couldn't let them down. And I didn't know what else I was going to do for a job, or now had this mortgage, which wasn't huge. But I used to have, I used to wake up in the night in a hot sweat. And I used to lay there and like I'd wake up startled. And I'd think and I'd be crying. And I'd say to myself, You are totally responsible for this mortgage on your own. Like there's, there's no one to bail you out. Now, like I said, it wasn't big, but just that, like when you've been married for so long. And you've always got that person next to you. If you know if something happens, you've you've got them and you can feed off each other and get through it together. But when you when you're doing it by yourself and I was doing Need I say or hesitate to say man's a man's job. It was a male dominated business that I was working in. I did find out once there was a crew of gardeners who have more than one vehicle around town. That one Christmas one of their Christmas shows they had they were making bets on how long it would last in the business. They were laughing Ah at my at the fact that I was doing it. And they were making taking bets as to how long I would be in the business. So but anyway, five years ago, five years. So yeah, that was that was seen, well offered, I would have thought that would have upset me when I was told that. And I was told by another gardener who was at that Christmas show. And he came back to me and he said that we said you wouldn't you should have heard them. I thought it would have made me sad, but it actually infuriated me. And it drove me to work even harder. And it's probably how I broke myself. Because I'm like, I'll show you Yeah, and then and then now, you know, I had a lot to prove I had a lot to prove to myself and to the fact that it was a male dominated industry that I was working in. And at that time, I was the only female out there doing it. And I think that's why I appealed to the female, the elderly females that I worked for, because I think they felt safe. I had the keys to a lot of gates and gardening sheds and and I often wouldn't tell them I was going to be there I'll just open the gate and walk in knock on the door. So I think they felt safe me wandering around the yard. And yeah, you know, it was a different a different thing for them rather than having a guy No offense to the guys. But yeah, I think it's just a fact

very, very reasonable to say. Absolutely.

So my body was telling me it was time. And I had been sharing recipes on my Facebook page just to my friends, you know, I made this and, and it's funny a memory came up the other day. And it was funny how many people would say Oh, well, that's really nice. And then I'd write I'll share the recipe with if you like, and someone would say, Oh, yes, please. And then someone would go, Oh, me too, please and meet it. And it just went from two people asking for the recipe to you know, 789 people and then I started a blog. So I had a blog and I'd share my recipes on the blog and that that grew. And then I thought, Ah, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to do a little trial. I'm going to make some morning teas and I'm going to take them to a couple of places for free. And I'm not going to tell them they're vegan. And I'm just gonna say so Marian from modest home loans was one I messaged her and I said hey, Marian, you want to be part of a little trial. Just want to bring in some morning teas for you. So off, and I just want to see how they use and mortgage real estate was the other. So I did that for a while and they're like, ah, that's amazing. Yeah, where were you know, it was no one no one could tell. And that's good. Then I then I started making morning teas and advertising them on my Facebook page that I would deliver to workplaces. And that went really well. Then I thought, Oh, that's cool. Maybe I could make a menu. So I made a menu. So it was a three course lunch. So it was a snack, a main and a dessert. And I made a different menu every week. And people could order from the menu. And they would, they would pay me in cash when I got there, or they could direct deposit and, and I just put them in my car and I would drive them around. So I registered my kitchen and got all that past and started that. Now I was working. I was working four days a week in my gardening business from 630 in the morning to whenever it was dark was when I backed the youth back into the driveway. Fly out of the year on a Thursday night jump in the shower. check my emails to get all my how many people were going to order I'd literally do an all nighter and I kid you not I would I would work and you asked my girls, the couple that were still home. I would work literally through the night to four or five o'clock in the morning. Have quick sleep, jump up, pack all the orders up. And Friday was delivery day. So I'd work Friday morning, throw everything in the car and 11 o'clock and deliver everything. Well that just got out of control. Like you got to be careful what you wish for. So that so then I cut Thursdays out of my gardening business. So it was manage Tuesday, Wednesday gardening, Thursday, Friday menus. That group started doing markets on the weekend. So it was Monday, Wednesday gardening, Thursday, Friday, Saturday preparation for a Sunday market. And I was just working I was working 18 hour days every day. So it was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday gardening and getting out of the ute, throwing all my dirty clothes in a pile having a shower, getting dressed and then straight into the kitchen. It was ridiculous. Yeah. And it wasn't long before. My not only my physical body, but my mental health just did a spiral when I can remember the day that it happened. It was like a, it was an actual moment that I remember, this is out of control, and I can't keep doing it. But then, then I just don't know how to put it into words. I'd built these businesses from scratch. And I still get really emotional about my gardening business about letting it go. Because the process of letting something go that you built from scratch. And that was a crutch for me through some of my darkest moments after my marriage breakup. And I couldn't just give these people to somebody else.

Yeah. You had a real relationship, didn't you?

Yeah. And Mike can bless his heart. He said, You know, you've got a sellable business here. Let's let's value the business. And because I had one, I bought a beat up all year, but I upgraded to a near New to our highlights that I paid cash for. I had a trailer built from scratch a great big trailer with all the toolboxes and I paid cash for that. And I was so proud of what I've built. And my ex husband was proud of me too, you know, he, he, he was really proud of what I what I what I built and how I pulled myself up and got back on my feet. And I said to my accountant, I can't. This is exactly what I said to myself, I can't give I can't sell my people. And he just looked at me and he said, I know what you're saying, but, but this is a sellable business. I said I can't sell my people. That's the bottom line. I understand that I'm probably throwing money down the drain, but I can't do it. I said I can sell all my plant and equipment. But I need to find homes for my people. So I hand picked other gardeners that I knew. And I had a couple of guys that had often helped me throughout the years. And if I had a really heavy job that I couldn't do, I call up these couple of guys who are friends to this day. They're just the most beautiful men. And I rang them and I said, Hey, how many people can you take on because I've got this lady and I think she'd really suit you. And I've got this gentleman who's got a big lawn so your ride on mower would be really cool. And between us, we worked it out. They took they took this one and that one and I took I met them there and introduce them to these people. I couldn't I couldn't it took me it took me 12 months to ease myself out of the business and and it wasn't until I knew everybody was okay. That I let it go and I still kept to to Alienware I was doing just Frank full time and I was in the full swing of it. I had two beautiful women that I kept that I just couldn't let go. And I knew one sadly was not going to be with us for a long time. So I kept her to the end. And the other lady I eventually left Got it because I just couldn't keep doing it. So that was how I got out of gardening.

That's massive, isn't it? It was it's a real big, almost grieving process. It was that 12 months, I'm moving through those stages.

That's huge. And my partner now Rob, he, he held my hand all the way through. At first, he was a bit like my account, and he's like, just sell it, let it go. And he saw how many meltdowns I had. I said, I can't and it won't matter how you how you explain it to me. I just can't do it. It just meant it. Just it was like it'd be like selling my mum. Yeah, because that's who they were to me. They were just, you know, beautiful, beautiful people, and I couldn't do it. So I sold my plant and equipment. And that was easy. Yeah. It was easy, but But I worked hard for those things to that I partnered with those and I swapped the Toyota Hilux for a little Holden Combi van that I had signed, written with just Frank emblazoned all over the site. And I had a different vehicle to sell a different thing. So yeah, and it just grew. She's apples and matrei. I cannot speak highly of for the support they've given me Tony from Metro was the first person to put a hand up and say, bring it in here. We'll have it in. I took my first products in there. And she's apples. Yeah. There have been amazing they. They let me do they just give me free rein. Yeah. I know. That probably sounds if they they'll listen to this. And they'll be like, Yeah, we pretty much do. I mean, I just I just went in the other day and spoke to Raleigh and I said, Hey, Raleigh. I've got he handles all the all my granola on the shelf. It's his department. I said, Hey, Raleigh, I've got a new product coming that's that I want to put on the shelves. It's not not refrigerated. It's a do it. Like a make it home mix in a bag? Yeah, cool. Let us know when you bring it in, we'll make it make a space on the shelf. I mean, how good is that? Yeah. I mean, they're just, they're just that my biggest supporters, and they support so many small businesses in our community. You can ask for more than they can. Yeah, that's fantastic, isn't it is it is I'm so grateful. And as I said, Tony has been a mentor as well. She's mentored me through some break down moments where I've said, I don't know which way to take this, you know, maybe I'll just throw it all in on it's too much. And she said, just take a minute, just scale it just take out the things you don't want to do. You know, she's, she's sat there and talked me off a cliff a few times. And she doesn't need to, she probably wonders why haven't come in lately, but to have those chats, but I've I think she's taught me a lot about how to manage things. And don't let things get out of hand, don't do things you don't want to do say no, when you need to say no. And I'm pretty good at that. Now. Yeah,

that's a big thing, too. For women, but also people that are really highly sensitive energetically, you are, because our first instinct is to just please go yes, no worries, I'm gonna do that. And then you think about afternoon, Oh, crap, how am I going to do it, and then you burn yourself into a hole to satisfy other people. So that is a big thing to be able to say that.

And you know what, I'd be lying. If I said it also wasn't an ego thing. Yeah. Because, of course, if people love your stuff, and they want it, you just want to keep on giving, giving, giving, giving, because he would I feel would I be to say, you know, no, I don't want you to showcase my product, you know. And if I was 20 years younger, maybe I would have scaled it, maybe I would have, maybe I would have found the right person to help me and I would have scaled it. But you know, I don't want to do that. Now. I want it to be me. And I love and I've contained it now. You know,

you've made it manageable for you to keep maintaining

what you're doing because I was going to burn out for sure. And I saw that and my mental health was suffering big time. And menopause is a bitch. Let me tell you menopause is nearly bought me unstuck. Anxiety was like it hit me. You know, I thought menopause was hot flashes. And that's really all I'd seen my mum go through. Yeah. And yeah, when it when it hit, it was a bitch. And it nearly took me anxiety was mean, Rob will tell you I used to. It kept me in the house. Yeah. And when I was when I was delivering meals, I would I would get all my deliveries lined up ready to go. And I would quite often have to call him because we didn't live together then. I would quite often have to call him and he would. He would literally have to talk me step by step out of the house, to the car. And to the first place once I was at the first place. I was fine. But actually leaving the house and I think it was a bit of impostor syndrome, as well. I think I was like it, I was fine while I was cooking it was fine while I was getting the orders off my website and you know, my emails and all the things, but once it came to actually coming face to face with the people I was like, Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are? With your name written on your car driving around, pretending you're somebody you know people think you do these things and oh, wow, that's so cool. She's, you know, got this successful business. They really have no idea what goes on. In your mind sometimes. Yeah, because it's not it's not all what it appears on the outside.

I want to go to a point where you you talked about being an empty nester. So you have three daughters. I do, obviously they're not living in your wetsuit.

I have two in Adelaide. So my eldest and middle daughter, Cassie and Mia. They're both in Adelaide. And I had Georgia here and Matt cambia. Thank Good. Thank goodness, one of them stayed. I yeah, I don't, I totally understand why they've, you know, gone. Mia went off to uni when she was 19. And and I remember driving my husband I had had separated not long before. And I can't swear because he swore when he said it to me, but I can't swear on here, can I? So we were so we we made a pact with each other when we separated that we would always parent Well, together, we would continue to parent, our girls were 2119 and 14 when we separated. So they weren't babies. But it's still it's still impactful on the family unit. No matter what age they are. But I guess a little bit easier when they're older. They they knew things weren't great at home. So the writing was on the wall. But we We vowed that no matter what happened between us, we would we would still do our best to parent with the first 12 months were a bit bit rocky while everyone navigated and there was a lot of hurt and the normal things that go on in in a breakdown. But we wanted to drive me to uni ourselves together. So what who does that who separates from the husband then gets in a car in a confined space for five hours and drive somewhere? You can't get out. But you can just open the door. It was quiet. Let's just say it was quiet. So we drove her up to Flinders, and we took her in and it was orientation day and all the things and we, you know, took her up to her room and we got her settled and then it was time to go. Well, me, Cassie, Cassie had moved out that Mia was the second one. Cassie was still in town that me was the first one to move away. Say I was I was such a hands on mum. I'll stop short of saying I was a helicopter parent because I don't think I was a helicopter parent. I've actually asked my girls since that terms been thrown around. I've said to my girls, do you think I was a helicopter parent? I said no. But I just was there. I was just there. When I was needed. I was there and sometimes probably when I was not needed or not wanted I was there. But it was it was gut wrenching to leave her there. And we walked out of we walked out of the building. And we were walking back to the candidate like I was sobbing. I was sobbing and he was walking behind me. And he knew what kind of Mama was say, you know, he probably shouldn't have said it. But he said, What's wrong with you? And I turned around, I said, you know what's wrong with me? And he said, Oh, I don't know why you're crying. I'm actually not fucking dying.

Well, it's a long way from Adelaide to make me when you're just looking out the window. You're not speaking to each other because I never spoke. I never spoke to him all the way home I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I cried. I cried all the way home and I probably cried for the next week, because I knew I knew she wasn't coming back. I knew once she went to Adelaide and she found her new life. She wasn't coming back. And that's okay. That's okay, because that's what they're meant to do. And, and we're meant to let them spread their wings and fly. But nothing prepared me for, for how I was going to navigate that myself. And because I'd been such a hands on Mum, I didn't know who I was. And I think even when, when our marriage was nearing the end, I could see the writing on the wall, like, you know, the oldest one starts leaving the house a bit more. So you've got to, and then the next one starts to go. And we had a, we had a five year gap between our middle daughter and Georgia. So say, they the two were gone, and Georgia was still home a lot. And then they'd come back. And you know, things ebbed and flowed. But the times when it was just Georgia and, and my husband and I, I remember, I could feel it, I would look, I would look around and I could feel the anxiety and I was looking around, I was thinking like, I'm doing the movement, no one can see me, but I'm doing the movements. Now. While I'm telling you, because I can tell you that it makes me anxious, because I could see it coming. And the panic. And for anyone that knows me, well, I had an eating disorder. Around that time, sort of maybe maybe four years before we separated. And I think it was, I think it was the struggle of me trying to find myself. And I didn't know who I was I had I had, I didn't have anything else yet. I mean, I didn't have I hadn't made it. I didn't have a career. I mean, I've been an Avon rep for 15 years, I sold Avon. And that's how we saved that extra bit of money. And I worked at spotlight part time for a few hours here and there. But I've never I didn't know who I was apart from being someone's mom, someone's wife and someone's mom. So when I when I actually was present in the moment, and I could see it coming. I was literally panic stricken. What the hell am I going to do with my life? And I looked across at my ex husband bless his heart, and I thought we hadn't worked on our relationship. We didn't do these date nights that people do now. And we didn't have holidays by ourselves. We had one night out a year. And that was for our anniversary. So we did. We took holidays with our children. I mean, we took our kids on a honeymoon because we had to before we were married. Yeah. So we took the kids on our honeymoon. So when we dropped me off and came back, I, my marriage had fallen apart. My daughter had just left and gone to Adelaide, which I'm not, I'm not blaming her. I'm just saying this was a huge thing to get happened all together in my life. My eldest daughter have moved out when once I bought my house and moved into it, she moved out it was and she was ready to do that she was probably going to do that anyway. So I moved into my new home with with my middle daughter, my youngest daughter, well, then, my middle daughter went to Adelaide and I came back. And it was it was Georgia and I in the house. And that was fantastic. Because we shared some wonderful moments together. But I just didn't know what was going to happen next. I had no clue what was going to happen. And Georgia had a boyfriend and so she was out of the house a lot. And man a man did I have to do some soul searching in those times. There were like, you know, have you ever cried that guttural kind of cry? You know, there's the kind that it hurts every part of your body. And it's that, that I remember sitting in front of my fireplace on my little stool that I had there. And it was just Yeah, I was empty. run dry? Didn't I just didn't know how I was going to go to the next bit.

That you did, though? I did. Yeah,

I did. And all these, you know, there's, you look back and you think of all the people that you think you did it by yourself, but no one does it by themselves. No one does it without little things that happen, you know, Marian, with the the finances and my accountant. You know, people like that who you just he just steered you a little bit in that direction. I had a had a wonderful mentor while I was gardening and Rolton he mentored me, he taught me off mini cliff when I was because it was it was hard being in that industry. And he supported me. You know, he supported me and his wife, Kate, they were just amazing to me in that time. And they you know, I was often on the phone to him having a spoke about something and I remember one day he said to me, Leah, he said, he said this is this is hard for me to tell you. He said you need to take your big girl hat off and you need to put your business hat on. He said you need to get your tissue out of your pocket, wipe your eyes and straighten yourself up and you need to get back to it if that's what you're going to do. And and it was hard to hear because I was because you know I had my my little girl hat on the inside. And that was what was driving me was my little girl heart. But I had to I put my little girl hat there. The Big Business Big Man business heartening because I was dealing with the men out there. Yeah. And my little girl hat wasn't gonna cut it. Big life lessons they were because I, I mean, you know, and trust me to, I don't just do things in half, I never do. So rather than just ease myself into life on my own gently, I'm now just going to rip off all the band aids and I'm going to throw myself into that, you know, gotta get a chainsaw. And I'm gonna change my Lego to cut so Yeah, no worries. Yeah, no, I did. And I'm going to, I'm going to change mine. Mine flat tire out there on AB flat when I get stuck and, you know, got bogged, got bogged, and had to get someone to come and help me out of the matter. I could do a whole podcast on that. Listen stories in there, but I did. I did. But yeah, you've

done some massive stuff, haven't you? Do you look back on that and feel really proud of all the stuff that you've done? If you've achieved this stuff?

Yeah, I do. But it's still. I still have terrible self esteem. Yeah, after all, that I still don't feel good about myself. And I still, I still struggle terribly with impostor syndrome. Terribly with that, you know, I have to pinch myself. And, and people think a comment on Facebook is like, you know, I put a post up yesterday about my, my famous veggie burgers. And so many people have commented on this thing, though. My favorite thing, though, my favorite thing. And look, I was reading them last night. And I'm thinking, are they talking about me? And you think you think that you read that? And it's an ego trip? Because everyone's telling you how good Yeah, but I'm looking at that. And I actually had to go back through some old stuff. And and remind myself that I did do that. Or like the Neil deliveries, I have to remind myself and it's only if it comes up in my Facebook memories. And I go into Robin, I say, how was I doing that? And gardening as well. And he said, I remember. I don't even know how you did it. He said you just I was on autopilot the whole time. But yeah, when I look back, I think you know, I wasn't well, when I left my marriage. I was still quite unwell. I was my I was very underweight, very underweight. And that could have gone either way. Like I could have taken that work on and literally killed myself doing it because it was pretty physical. But I somehow I found it, I found it in myself. I'm divine intervention, call it whatever you will. I got on top of it. And you know, I don't consider myself to have any eating issues anymore. And eating it, like an eating disorder. It's not about the food. Yeah, anyone that knows anything about it, ya know? So

it's just the vehicle which manifests just be any vicious. How could be alcohol can be gambling, it could be drugs. Yeah. Be exercise. Yeah. Anything? Yeah.

Because I've had I had that all the comments, you know, why don't you just go home and start eating again. You know, you'll be fine. I'm like, Well, I wouldn't think that what a great idea. Well, yes, oh, well fell apart. And my kids had to witness it. If i Girls witnessed that, and I'm not, you know, talking about regrets and things. If I could go back and change anything. I wished my girls hadn't seen that. Because I lost time with my girls too. I was fighting for my former life. Come on this time with them.

And I guess having them there too, might have

what it did, it was it was it was all of it. You know, it was all that kept me going and I think I think all these achievements in my life since particularly since my marriage ended. I've always not not watching in a way that they're supervising but I've always known who's watching and I've always wanted to be a good role model for my girls. I've always wanted to be to be able to show my girls that I got up every time I was down I got back up. Yeah, yeah. And I continued to get back up Yeah. I said I don't do things in house. But I got and and I tell them you know, you can do anything. You can do anything.

Good for you want to give your heart or your mind saying

we just do what we do. Right? No.

I come from a family of fighters, you know, my, my mum and dad, this can be okay. If you weren't, I might go into detail. I come from a family of fighters. My, my parents both had, you know, quite traumatic childhoods themselves, you know, things that happened in their lives. And I've it's obviously not spoken about much because that's the generation Yeah, but I know, I don't know all the details and the the strong people, you know, they've come through those things and my sister as well she's had her own mental health battles, you know, like me. And she's stood up and said, Not today, Satan. She's gotten on with the show, and I'm super, super, super proud of her for how she's gotten on with her life, too. So, you know, I've had had that around me, but I think it's, I think it's from a mom's perspective, I always knew my girls were watching on. And like I said, I just didn't ever want to, I want to show them strengthen. You know, I wanted to be able to look back and say, and I didn't want to miss. I didn't want to miss anything. I didn't want to miss being a grandparent. Yeah, I mean, imagine if I hadn't fought and I just lost my battle with that. I would have missed all of this. And they missed out too. They missed, you know, how many phone calls I get during the week. And hey, mom, or, you know, it can be for advice, or it can be, you know, just when they're having a moment, you know, and I'm so blessed that I still have my mum. Yeah, I had my mum and my dad in very good health at a dad's 86 and mums at one. And I've got so I've got my parents on this side. And I've got my now got my grandchildren. I've got three beautiful grandchildren over here. And I have, it's an interesting place to be, because I'm in the middle. And I'm, I'm helping mom and dad with this. But I've also had the absolute blessing of being able to call my mom and say, Hey, ma'am, you know, when I was really unreasonable when this was happening, I'm sorry. I didn't realize I didn't realize. But shit. It's happening to me now. And man, I'm sorry. I understand now why you were like that, or why? You know why that happened? Because and I know a lot of people don't have their mums. When they get to the point I met with grandchildren, they don't have their mums. And my heart hurts for those women who don't have the mums to say that too. But I'm just lucky. And I do it. I do it. Because it's important to me to be able to tell my mum that I understand now Mum, you know, I get it. And and I'm proud of you mum for it for the way you got through that or you know, whatever. And mother nice to do lock horns. Sometimes she's the only one she's still feisty. We're about that as family though. We got more sometimes that we are lucky that I've been able to tell her.

That's lovely and fit. Like, my my pop passed away. Almost a year ago, he was 94 for my boys to have their great grandfather. Like I just kept saying to him, You are so lucky to have a great crowd. Oh, yeah. Like not many people get to have, you know, I just wanted to impress that upon them. Yeah. Well, while they had him, you know? Well, I think I have that relation. Yes.

Oh, definitely seen? Definitely. And I look on, you know, I could probably still pick on mum and dad for bits and pieces of things. But you know, we, we will all work with the tools we've got. Yes, we absolutely is no instruction manual. I know that's thrown around a lot that thing, but it's so true. It is. And I tell my girls now that they're parenting themselves. I say that to him. And there's, you know, I say to them, you know that feeling you get here in the pit of your stomach. That's called your gut instinct. And you need to trust it every single time over, over your friends over sometimes your partner if you've got a gut, say got this I don't want to get troubled is the medical profession. They have their place. But I've seen to answer magazines. And you know what, when I look back on all the times, I didn't trust it. I was right every time. Every single time. There's I don't think there's a time that I wasn't right about trusting my gut. And I got myself into some, you know, terrible situations at times because I just went ah, I'm sure this will be fine. It wasn't fun. It was never fun. And yeah, probably go back. You can't honor that. I told I use that for them. I say to them, trust it. Because most of the time, you'll be spot on. Because you just know you know your own babies. So

yeah, that's it. No one knows your children better than you do. them. I did it I find it incredible the amount of stories I hear, like through so Sure media mums who weren't listened to? It's like, even now, you think, haven't we evolved enough to know? You know, obviously medicine has its place? Absolutely. But to be able to just don't know. I don't know. I hear

what you're saying. And even as women, imminence women off, you try you try getting an appointment, or you try getting into see about a women's issue or anything like that. I'm not going to go into into that. But anyway, it's it's a catastrophe, the system is a catastrophe. And, and I'm not surprised more women don't die. Because of it. Yeah, that's so and I'm sure it happens to men too. If there's any men listening, I'm not. I'm not saying it's, you know, but I can only speak from a woman's perspective because I'm a woman. So I can just say from my experience, I think it's a catastrophe scary.

Yep.

When with your butt, okay, you've said in the past, haven't you girls, you know, always, you're conscious of them, you know, they're always watching in your role modeling. Do you feel like that even now, when they're, you know, moved away, and growing up that it's there watching how, you know, you run your business authentically. And you've had the chance to, you know, upscale it and do whatever, but you're sticking to this. What's important to you?

Probably, I mean, to be perfectly honest, I'm most often think that not even looking. They're so busy with their lives. But but every now and again, they'll come up with a somewhat, we have a Facebook chat. And we have all versions of that we have the family chat group, which is the three girls, their partners, and my partner, then we have the three girls and meet, I'm sure they have a private one of their own that they discussed things that I want to talk about with me. Well, I know they do. Then we have all the versions. So I've got Mara and Cassie, I've got Cassie in Georgia, I've got Georgia and you don't I mean, someone's birthday, and you just want to talk probably maybe we got to check the names really carefully. But every now and every now and then I'll get a message from someone, or they're in the group or out of the group. And they've noticed something. And it makes me cry. Like, there's such beautiful human beings. And they just say the most beautiful things. They're so supportive. They're so they're so proud. They're proud of both their dad and myself. But when they when they say it, almost, I almost feel undeserving of it. Yeah. And it shocks them if they if if they do something like that, or they say something nice and I react that way. So why why does it upset you Mimosa just feel so undeserving of, of their, of their love and care. They're just such beautiful humans, they really are. And I and I do think they see what I'm doing. Because they tell me they're proud. They see it, they see what I'm doing. Or if I get down on myself and I say something in front of them. They remind me they'll say, man, look at what you've done. Like you've run these two successful businesses and like I'm, I'm literally a breath away from paying my house off. It's I can I can touch it. It's happening very, very soon. And they'll they'll say, but you did that yourself. And, and as I said, you don't do anything useful if you've had help, but I haven't been employed by anybody else in that time. Yeah. So I've created these two businesses and and I've done that. And that's, if I think about that, that's big. And that shows them that, although I've had I've had my partner support, you know, here now, I've done that part of it myself. And they've they've watched me come from being a crying mess, literally when it first all started to you know, have stood up and, and got on with the show. And I'm and I think they're great. The product is a great thing for them to see from their mom. I think particularly from their mum.

Yes, yeah. And then growing up in that era where there was the traditional role. Yeah, you know, if anyone was going to go out and earn the money was the Dad Yeah. So to have their mother achieve this, you know, that's, that's massive. And it just gives them that confidence that you know, you don't need someone you don't need to be married or a partner of someone who's bringing in money for you. You can go out and do it yourself.

Which is huge. And I didn't I mean, it's not like my mum didn't work. My mum worked from the time I went to school my mom worked for so long. I didn't see it. Yeah. But it's what I wanted to do. Yeah. And I remember having a discussion on the humanities floor at Grant High School in year 10. And you know, you're all standing around on What's everyone doing? You picking your subjects and all that. And, and I didn't realize it was going to be such an embarrassing topic. But everyone was saying, oh, you know, what are you going to do and someone was going to be a teacher, and someone was going to be a pharmacist and did it at air and, and I sit on, it came around to me, and I said, I just want to be a mom. And like, it was just this deathly quiet because even then, it was an unusual thing for someone who knew 10 to say they wanted to just be a mum. And it was just, you know, air quotes again. Yeah, just be a man. And they said, oh, and I said, Yeah, I can, like, I just want to have the house with the fence and the whole thing. And it's, it's truly all I saw for myself. Yeah. Very ambitious.

What do you think that came from what you said, your mom,

I don't, I don't want to. If my mom listens to this, I don't want my mom to think that she did anything wrong. But my earliest memory as a child was and truly is my earliest memory. And it's really emotional for me is when my mom dropped me off at kindy. Standing it was the head like a, this is how vivid it is. They had a like a cement box that covered the gas meter. And I was and I stood up on the gas meter box held and held it held on to the front fence and I was screaming for my mom she was I can see her walking to the little green Maurice mana that we had, and her getting in the car and leaving me there, which everyone did. And when I left the kids at kindy it's not like she did anything, you know, horrible. And I was out, I was just wanting her to come back. Come back and update. Don't leave me here, ma'am. And I was beside hysterical. And back then. I didn't know what I was wearing. That's how vivid it is. I haven't seen a photo. It's just like, it's like a trauma to me. And I had this beautiful little dress that mom had made and a hand knitted cardigan with buttons down the front and mum used to pin a hankie on the outside with a gold safety pin. And I had my hankie pinned, and I was tugging at my hanky, and she's driving off in the car lift me at kindy. That's my earliest childhood memory. And I think it's stuck with me. It's just stuck with me. And I, and I just never wanted my kids to feel like that. And I know it was a moment, and I'm sure once mom left, and they took me inside. I mean, I don't even remember anyone coming to get me that's I just remembered that. But I'm sure I was fine. I'm sure once I got inside, I was okay. But that sorry for me that that may wanting my mum, I didn't want my girls to have a moment of that. So for me, and and Tony and I spoke about it very early on, he was in full agreement with we that was something we chose together to. I just wanted to be home and I wanted to raise my own children, um, and I locked horns many a time because Mum, mum would say, I will, I'll come and you know, I can come and take them and do this, or I can come and do that. I said, I want to do it myself. And I remember having a big argument with them. When he said you and your bloody independence, it shifts me. And I said, Mom, I didn't have my children for someone else to have them. I want you to be a Nana. But I don't want you to I don't want you to take them and parent them. I don't. I don't want that. And that's how I that's how I chose to be a mom. It's what I wanted to. It's what I wanted to do, you know, I did the and we didn't have much money. It came with sacrifices, because we, you know, it was back when I make it sound like it's back in the ice age. But it was it was a different it was a different time. It was a different time. I mean, so, so much different to now we had, we got paid in an envelope, you know, the money came in a pay envelope, and it came with a pay slip, you know, and we had an exercise book, and Tony would come home on a Friday night with the pay. And we'd get the kids off doing something and we'd sit down, open up the book now. And this is when you paid all your bills you drove you got into cars. I remember doing that with we went to the bank and you paid your house payment. The house payment was just a number of $100. So we'd sit down we'd put all the cash down and we'd sit together and it's like okay, so 100 for that 100 there. The telephone bills $44 If you put everything out to put it in a little envelopes. Got $60 left, that's going to pay for the groceries, anything to do with candy or anyone need clothes or that was that was everything. So when I wrote my shopping list, we can't get the chocolate biscuits and I grew all my veggies from scratch. All of them. I had a we had a big backyard. I had a massive veggie patch. And Tony was Italian and his mum. I mean they were just amazing. They what they didn't gray. Yeah. So she My parents grew veggies too. So between all of us, we all you know, we all were self sufficient. Tony's dad also used to work at the abattoir. So he used to kill all their meat. And this is before Well, before I went vegetarian, but even so we had meat eaters in the house, they they quite often would kill a pig or a sheep or something and bring us around a heap of meat that went in the freezer. But I grew in our grave 50 tomato plants at once and make all my own Persada and yeah, and all the girls, snacks and cakes and biscuits are all cooked from scratch. Didn't not not only could I not afford it, it's it's what I wanted with my day. Yeah, we didn't have we didn't have YouTube to watch or we didn't have Netflix, or we had two channels late and channel two wasn't much to choose from TV actually went off the air. Like it didn't start till 10 o'clock in the morning or something

and I took the test pen at night when they're closing this day. Yeah,

yep. So So you also couldn't entertain your children with tablets. Yeah, there was no such thing. So you know, you'd get them at the table painting or they'd stand up at the bench I had blue aprons for them and because there was a five year gap between the first two and and the last one that the oldest two would stand up at on chairs at the bench with a little aprons on and they'd help me make biscuit they put the fork marks on the biscuits or make the bowl or you know, I mean the days were full by the time I did all that and we had cloth nappies and no it was a competition between me and the neighbor as to who had the widest nappies on the line and I one by one great soaking soaking nappies and rinsing nappies and all those things. They took time it was though the days were full. Yeah, literally was a full time job. Yep.

We've talked about your identity, sort of shift, you know, when the guilds moved, yeah. Because you so strongly wanted to be a man when you became a monk. Was it? Was it what you thought it was gonna be? Or did you was did you sort of your idea? It was it was mostly it was to

everything. Yeah, right. I wanted it to be. Yeah, it was. It was everything and I and I'd be lying if I said it was like that every day.

Yeah, yeah, there's always ups and downs. Because there were,

there was many a day, sitting on a nappy bucket in the laundry with the door shut sobbing into my own arm. While while I could hear the kids laughing out there, you know, there was many a day and I had horrible postnatal depression with my second baby. I had a planned C section she was breech, and they she wouldn't turn say 10 days before her due date. I had a C section. I was partway through her had had an epidural. So I could be awake for it. But they were partway through, bring her out and the epidural wore off. And at that time, it was it was up on the Hill Hospital. And it was a teaching hospital. They were 13 Student midwives in the theater. And I could see my reflection in the theater light. I could see the screener. Oh, it was it was the worst. It was the worst. So they had a head out. And I got I started to get feeling back. And And I'm saying I can feel that I can feel it. And I was starting to panic. And Dr. Foy is saying remember Dr. For you at all, Dr. Boyce saying no. It's just the you can feel the sensation. I said, No. I can feel it. I can feel it. And I was like I was starting to arrive. Oh, God. He's saying can you keep that? Can you keep that woman still? And so like I said, What had happened is the epidural had had blocked but she hadn't blocked the nerve she was laying on. So once they moved her the it just it hadn't worked in that particular spot. Oh my god. So I've got this gaping wound. And I've got complete sensation. So my last memory that they got her out and they put her on my chest thinking that that would calm me down and I'm just pushing her off, you know, so she they grabbed her and lost my last memories, then putting the air hose down my throat while I wasn't out and I'm like I was clawing at it trying to get out. Anyway, I woke up in recovery and all was good.

Sorry, I had a big reaction to that because I had zerion and I felt that I didn't feel the pain that you feel but I could feel everything and it scared the shit out. I just did not enjoy it horrible. It was either now I'm feeling goosebumps. Sorry. No, I should have warned you. Yeah, no, that's all right. Yeah, that's a horrible story. I'm so sorry. I

mean, they ushering all the once they realized it was serious, it was for real. Like she's not pretending like as if you would like it was bullshit. absolute bullshit. Don't listen to a woman and she's brilliant, but it wasn't them that I thought it was bullshit. It was once I got a bit stronger in the years later. I'm like, that was bullshit. Yeah, because you should listen to me the first time and not worry Well, I would it was wasn't April Fool's Day, by the way I wasn't, you know, it wasn't a joke. But I knew, I knew they knew I was serious when they started ushering all the midwives out and like, ya know, everybody out and Tony had to go out so it was, you know, they put me under and, and then I woke up. I woke up and everyone had already handed my baby around. You know, it wasn't it wasn't it was in that time where that stuff wasn't sensitive either.

Maybe students stay with you. They went into a little room didn't

No, no, no, no, she she she was in the room. But once they got me from recovery and took me back to the room. Yeah, the baby was me. It was already in the room and family were there and they had already passed around. And because I because it took me a long time to understand why I got postnatal depression cuz I didn't get it the first time. Yeah, yeah. But when I look back, I felt robbed. I felt wrong because I had to have a C section. Yes, I had a fantastic vaginal birth the first time so I just assumed that I was gonna be able to do that again. And she was nine pounds one so I thought well, I heaps of fun. Really. I'm gonna get this one out because she was a lot smaller. But you can't plan a breach. I mean, she just wasn't she was a footbridge. So she had one leg straight and one arm up over her head and went down the side. So she was all over the shot. And if one legged come out first, it was going to be a bit of a catastrophe. They said, so anyway. And then following that, like breastfeeding went, Well, I loved breastfeeding. I mean, I know. I know. There's mums that don't like it but loved it, love, love, loved it. That went well. Then when I got discharged from hospital, I got a urinary tract infection and had a reaction to the antibiotics. And I'm talking a urinary tract infection where I was walking around with an ice cream bucket. Because I literally couldn't get to steps without feeling like I had to pee and I was paying blood and it was pretty hard. So once I got the antibiotics, right, that started to clear up but me it was 10 days old and postnatal depression hit like, like a sledgehammer. Like I was in the fetal position in the laundry on the floor. Just asking for my mom, I couldn't don't don't even give me a baby don't even hand it to me because I'm not interested in even looking at looking at her plus, I had a toddler as well. So my husband called my mom and my mum came in and mum said You know, you've got two kids to look after here, you need to pull yourself together. And, and that was the right thing to say in the moment for mum. But it's probably not what I needed to hear. I wanted, I think I wanted mum to say. And again, I don't want them to think that she did anything wrong. But I think I wanted them to say it's going to be okay. It's just going to be okay. So they're not calling the GP to the house. And anyone that knows Dr. Krause Doctor class came, she was whispering. And I'm like, I'm sobbing and she's whispering so to hear her had to stop crying. And she's kneeling at my feet. And she's got her hands on my knees and and she's, you know, tapping me and she's talking me through it. So I end up back in hospital for seven days. And no visitors just just me and the end the baby and family could come look at the girls and had Cassie and Tony could come but no other visitors. And they sent me she was a clinical psychologist but she was specialized in postnatal depression. So, I've got, I've got my A C section, I've got my urinary tract infection. I've got these these boulders on my chest that are just squirting milk everywhere you feel like a piece of shit. And they send me this blonde blonde bombshell. She walks in and she's stunning. She's got she's got the she's got it all going on. And I'm like, What the fuck. So you think you are not going to be able to help me in any way. Anyway, she was the best thing that ever happened. And I use skills that she taught me then as I still use them today. You know, like, reverse to do lists, you know, you're right, you're right you to do list. But you add the things on at the end of the day that you also did so that you feel like you really achieved at the end of the day. She also taught me she taught me to write a to do list with two things on it, get out of bed and feed everybody. That's it. That was all all I had to do when I went home was get out of bed and feed, just feed everyone, nothing else. And that got me through because I realized who they really were the two, the only two things I needed to do and the most important things and yes, she was amazing. I saw her for quite some time after just doing a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy and just you know how I was talking to myself and I those things and yeah, she got me back on my feet. Yeah, looks are deceiving. She looked amazing, but she had some great skills. Yeah, I know saying that was just how I felt in the moment. But I remember thinking that I remember thinking what? Yeah, what could you send me everyone the actual opposite to exactly.

But as far as being a mum, I just, I just loved it. I just loved it. You know, I didn't like it every day. And it wasn't a reflection on my girls, I loved my girls every day, you know, there were days and plenty of milk downs, but in the, the essence of being a mum, I loved it. And I loved. Yeah, I loved. And I just I tried so hard. I remember being very conscious of how I parented my girls, and tried so hard to get it right. And I didn't always because there's no such thing as a perfect mom, or a perfect human being for that matter. But I did my best. And, you know, the, the, you know, for me the the biggest evidence that I that we as parents got something right, is watching them as adults is, is watching them as functional human beings in the community. And hearing other people that have interacted with them tell you that they're beautiful people, or that they did something for them, just out of the goodness of their heart and how amazing that was. And I don't know what to tell the girls when I hear that. Yeah, but I quite often do. And it just,

you know, tear up

my mom and I have a stray dog syndrome, we call it where we take in people. And we rescue people. Yes. And my mum, like we never knew who was going to be at our Christmas table because Mum and Dad did Meals on Wheels. And they often picked up a stray along the way and we'd love them all. But that's mum and dad were like that. And I think, you know, I was a bore witness to that through my life. Yeah. And I was rescued the animals as a kid, I bought the bird home that had been, you know, clawed by a cat or, you know, whatever. I bought lots of things home that had to go back. Because we couldn't keep more than something

you can't walk past something and not do something

and not who wants to do that with worms.

Yeah, you're in the wrong spot could go back into

nails.

I know this, you're gonna get eaten up eventually. Because that's the cycle of life. But I feel like you gotta give them a crack. Yeah, you gotta give me exactly what I think you should have seen

me and my gardening business. You know you if it was an early morning, mow

all the snails. Pick them all up all of them. Yeah.

And I had one customer saw me doing one day and she actually she actually told me off, she said, So you're putting them all back. And I'm gonna put snail bait over there. So we you do what you need to do when I'm gone. But I can't run them with my lawnmower. I'm sorry. And I would spend ages because sometimes there's 3040 Snails going across the lawn at seven o'clock in the morning. Now Leah would have to pick them all up in the bucket and put them all over there. That's just me. But that's it was it's yeah, it's not. For me. It's not what my girls have achieved in their work life or, you know, they've all done amazing things. It's who they are as people who they are as human beings and and now that I've watched them parent and they all parent, I've got two that have human babies and one that has had beautiful cat babies. And that all she parents, those cat babies, just like they were here human babies. And they're just they just have beautiful hearts. And um, that's what I'm proudest of. Yeah, I think Well, we did something right to make them to give them that start. They can choose to do whatever they want to do with that, but they've certainly gone on and you know, continued on with that, which makes me happy.

Yeah. I love that. That is wonderful.

There's one point about it that blindsided me when I became a grandparent for the first time. Yeah. And I realized, probably just to say it now. Yeah. So when my first grandchild was born, all my mum friends that had already become grandparents had sent you just wait, you just wait. You're not going to believe how amazing it is. And I knew it would be amazing. But nothing prepared me for not only how amazing it was, but the emotion had bought up. For the end of an era for me. Yeah, right. And I never ever thought about it. Someone should write a book. Maybe Maybe I'll write a book. But when when she came home from the hospital, and they, they, because COVID hit pretty soon after. So once we got through that, and I was able to then go to the house and be a part of it. I couldn't stay. Because it because it wasn't my it wasn't my turn. It wasn't my baby. Yeah. Yeah. And that was, that was heart wrenching. And I don't know if that makes sense. But it was I knew I knew. I mean, it wasn't delusional. I knew she wasn't my baby. Right? Yeah. But the last time I'd been hands on with a baby, they were my babies. And I got to witness the whole journey. And all I wanted to do was witness the whole journey. But when the realization came that I had to go home, and I couldn't witness the whole journey. It broke my heart. Yeah. Yeah. Because I wanted to watch. I wanted to watch my daughter, parent. Her daughter. Yeah. And I couldn't I couldn't watch it all. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. So I found that really hard. Once I got once I once I realized, and I, and I sort of went through my own emotions. Yeah. It was fine. Yeah, he right. No, didn't expect it out that day. No, it's not.

It's all this excitement and happiness. And but it literally is an it is a defined end of, you know, one year at the start of another year, and all the the emotions and they're involved in that transition. Yeah.

Because if you can picture to, like, I've got my two hands up facing each other, if you can picture. This was this is my daughter, and this is me. And we're facing each other. Yeah. When when your children have their own children, they turn, they turn around, and they face a different direction. Yeah. And she's still they still turn back. And they're still. I mean, we're, we're very close. We're all very close, I get a lot of phone calls, and I get a lot of sharing and all the things I don't miss a thing. But it's different. It's it's like, okay, well, it's a definite, it's a it's a transition. It goes from, what it's just you, it's just the mother and the daughter. I think maybe it's particularly with mothers and daughters, I would imagine, to, it's now it's now well, you're there, and they'll they'll come to you when they need you. But But you literally have to just stand in the background. And you only get to be a part of what you're allowed to be a part of. Yeah, that makes sense. And like it was a very generous, I'm not making it sound like, you know, they're very inclusive and share so much. I mean, FaceTime, I get FaceTime. And I get all the things and it's amazing. But you really you only get to be a part of what that will enable you to be a part of or what time allows you to be a part of because you're not hands on all the time. That was a really big. Yeah, they were big realizations and very emotive for me. I'm and I'm a very feeling person. I feel deeply. And that was not something I expected to feel at all. Yeah, that's

that's a really good point. Yeah, that's a really good point.

And you want to be there? Oh, yeah. Like you light up? No, it's not. And I don't mean to tell them what to do. Because they're doing amazing. But just to be just to be there. Again, part of the party for finding your identity again. Yes. Well, now, I have to learn what a grandmother is because I've never been a grandmother. So I have to learn what that means and how I navigate that to how it works for me, but most of all, how it works for them.

Yeah, it's always things you don't think I was like, I'm thinking of that. Oh, great.

I'm not making it sound like life is a series of lessons.

Yeah. And he's always evolving and changing in your learning all the time. You

know, you think you think puberty, childbirth, menopause, you think maybe there's just the three men let me tell you, I've, there's there's been a million of those and you just think, okay, are we there yet? Please, I don't need any more details with this one. I know I could be I could. You know, I admire some people for their care and easy, free and easy attitude and they can just You just move on. I'm not that person. Because I feel I just feel everything exactly. And I have what I have to feel it. And I have to go through the whole process to understand it. And if I can't understand it, then I struggle. But once I can understand it and and you journal about it or read a book about it, then I can. Yeah, I'm good. I'm good to go.

Do you mind if we talk

about the shared experience we had with decluttering? No, not at all. Yeah, it's interesting. As I over the long weekend, no joke would have been 15. Garbage bags full of clothes. Plus, for more, just probably 20 to five more now that I've given to my mom and my sister. And the emotional experience of going through those clothes. I just thought my husband laughed at me because I every now and then I have to break and I was in tears. He's like, What are you doing? I'm

like, that this was the when I had the baby. This is what I was, you know, all these boots. Huge,

much stuff. And I can't believe the amount of stuff I had stickerless the amount of stuff I had. But yeah, would you mind sharing the experience you had

doing that? So I've got a massive wardrobe, but I had a lot in it. And I'm not a hoarder. But I hold on to things that mean something to me or for whatever reason. Anyway, my oldest daughter, Cassie Blissett. And Hart said, when I come home on the long weekend, why would you want me to help you clean out your wardrobe? I said, Sure. Let's do that. And I'm pretty sure Mia was going to be a part of it too. But she had to fly back a day earlier. So she was had already gone home. But as it got closer, I was backpedaling. And I was saying to her, ah, look, honestly, I'll be good. I'll just do it when you're gone. Because I think we're going to run out of time. It's you know, like, want to spend more time with Ali and you know, all the things. She said, I'm not going to make you but I'm happy to do I really love doing that. Anyway, we all end up going to bed. That's her little boy who end up going to bed and we thought oh, now's a good time. So we she said look, let's just take everything out and we'll throw it on the bed. So we took it all out put on the bench. He said you just pick up each item and I'm not going to pressure you just do whatever you want it well some things were an absolute that's got to go that's got to go and I had no problem with those. And then there was a so we had it that's got to go pile. We had a might try that on and just see pile. And then we had a definite that's not because I really love that. So the definitely not going things. Cassie was color coding. And because that's her. She was colored. She she she was a bit visual merchandiser for JJs for many years. So she's got it. I think she was color coding all my clothes as they were going back in the wardrobe. We did we got that all done. And it was some of them. I was holding up and she's shaking her head before I even made her mind up. She's going No.

So I took her lead and got rid of it. So then we've got we've got that done. And she she pulled the door closed and the walking robe and I had all my dressing and hang up. And she said, for God's sake, how many dressing gowns does one person need? And I said, Well, that one's my winter one because I like that color. And that one's my winter one because that one collects cat here. Well, now that the cats are outside and don't come inside anymore, I can wear that one. And this is my summer one that short is my summer one that's long. And this one's one that Georgia brought me back from Thailand. And this one's one that you guys bought me for Mother's Day and I can't bear to part with it. She said what about and she said okay, so pick your favorite long one and pick your favorite short one. And I said, like took me ages. I just couldn't. I ended up narrowing it down. And we did that. And she said, What about this skanky? Oh, green thing here. And it's not it's it's just a short telling dressing gown that I absolutely love. And she said, I think I gave this to you. Like years ago. She said, I think we were still I think your dad was still together when I had this. And I said, Yeah, that's right. And I couldn't I could feel the emotion coming up. Yeah. And she said, Well, you don't you'd can't possibly need that now. And she was she didn't realize that I was getting emotional about it. She said you can't possibly need that. Now you got all these other ones that are much nicer. She said, Oh, that's nice, but it's not that nice. And I said I just like to keep it because it means something to me. It's sentimental. And she said I don't I don't understand. Or I just burst into tears because I don't think I understood it myself. And I said to her I think I think it's one of the last connections to our family life. I said because I remember you wearing it when we used to sit in the lounge around Fire. We were watching TV all together, the five of us together. And she said, are really, ma'am. And I said, Yeah. And I said, and you know, I said, I know it's a funny thing to say, but sometimes I put it on. If I'm feeling really flat, I'll wear it. Yeah. And it makes me think of a view. And, you know, it's not like I miss my sight. Like, I want my husband back, saying that it's the vehicle. It's the unit. It's the family unit. And they weren't all bad times. There were some really good times in there. And we wouldn't have been together for 22 years. I said, sometimes I put it on when she said on. And she said, I wished you just said that I wouldn't have pressured you. And I said, Well, you didn't really pressure me, I said, but I would like to keep that one. So then she just lovingly picked it up, and she just hold it back on the, on the coconuts, and I've kept it and you know, probably I may not ever wear it, you know, but I like to, I like to have it because that's what it means. But yeah. How, like how emotion fueled, is addressing again, like, it's crazy. And I didn't realize until it looked like it was gonna go. Yeah. And it's the one warning item that I kept. It's the only thing I kept that that made me really emotional. I got rid of so many. I mean, I don't know how many garbage bags you said, but I think I had eight. I got it all went to the shop. And yeah, and I was I was happy to see them go. Just an add on to that. My beautiful partner. He's He's so hands on when it comes to helping with things. And the next day, I went back into finish off things in there. And I had all the bags all lined up. And he said are how much have you got left to go? And I said, I've just got a couple of things to finish. And I'd really like to take them all together when I'm finished. And he said, Well, how about I just laid all these in the car and take them. And then when you finish the others tomorrow, you can take them and I said Ah, but I really I really am selective about where I want them to go. Because I know where I know which up shop I want them to go to and everything. And he said, Oh, that's right, I can do that. I'll just do that. And I said, ah might just wait till tomorrow. And then when I'm finished and I was trying not to make a big deal. But I will say could see he just wanted to help. And I'm thinking oh, he just wants to help. So I said, Okay, all right. Well, you do that. I think I was a bit huffy. When I said it. I said to you just you just take them then. So he loaded them all in the car. And when he got them all in the car, I thought, I've got one last reason why maybe he'll just bring them all back. So when at the end, I said, I just want to take a photo of them all together. So I could send them to Cass and show her how I ended up. And he said we'll take a photo of him in the car. So I looked at the car, and I said it's not quite the same. And so I just came back inside. So he drove off. And I watched him. Like I watched him drove off and I sat there sobbing on the bed. Because I wanted to do it. It was it was closure for me to do it. And I wasn't going to take anything out and keep anything but it was just closure for me. When he came back. He could see I'd been crying. And he said, what's wrong? And I said, I didn't want you to do that. I wanted to do it myself. And he went anyway, sadly, we had a bit of an argument about it. Because he said you should have made it clear. And I said Well, I'm not going to spell it out like you're five. I said I didn't want you to take him and there was a reason. And he was heartbroken. He had he got really emotional too. He said I wouldn't hurt you for the world. And I said, I know that. And I know you didn't do it to hurt me. And maybe I should have really explained myself. But I said I feel like that's been ripped away from me. And I haven't had a chance to close it. But I got over it the next day, but it was so yeah, so powerful.

Yeah. Oh, yeah, I can really I can understand that. Because it's like that last, it's that last act of letting it go. You know, I did that when I put my stuff in the in the funny bin thing. And as I was driving away, I was just bawling. It's like I I wanted this stuff to go. So it's not like oh, yeah, I get that. It's just that. I know that part of my life is truly gone. Yeah, that was exactly

what it was. Yeah. Because I had I had other things in there too, like, like yourself that, that I can tell you when I bought them and where I was and all the things and they had meaning. And that's why I wanted to select where they went. I wanted to see where they went. Yeah. And I wanted to be responsible for where they went, Jeremy I wanted it to be me that did it. And and even though he came back and said exactly where he took them and I believe that he did you know I'm not saying that. I just wanted to do what like you did drive away and if I needed a tear I needed a tear and I probably want to do it by myself.

Yes. Oh, yeah, I did. My mom was here. Yeah, it's yes. Yeah. And yeah, it was like some of the stuff. I laughed. I thought why if I still got these and then I'd be going oh, I know what I still got this because you know, it reminds me of this. This particular time in my life or whatever. And some things I was so happy to let go of Yeah, I didn't even think twice like you know how you say when you picked it up my daughter said that being before it sort of lifted. I was like oh what am I stupid that for whatever but then other things.

Some things are just definite. There's no and even the keepers some things would definitely always keep it even if she said no. Now we say well, I love it. I actually love this and I love wearing it. I feel good when I wear it. So I'm keeping it.

I kept stuff that I'll never wear again, but the sentimental value years sentimental like that. Like you're not I don't. I don't my husband would say I'm a hoarder, but I don't think I'm a hoarder. But I think important to me. Yeah. So I've got these jumper jumper that my Nana wore, than I used to wear when I was a kid. So I've kept that I've got a little drawer now we're off. Yeah,

I've cleaned out keepsakes. I don't want to pay. Yeah.

And yeah, so many things I gave to my mom and my sister because I didn't want to part with. I'd like

to still see them in my life. Yeah, so you know where they are. Lovely. But no

pressure. I say no pressure. If you don't like it, you know, obviously, but I don't

see I can live with that. Yeah, I can give it to someone and say, Look, I'd like you to have it. And if you feel like getting rid of it, just get rid of it. Yeah. Because once I've left it, they're not it's out of control, then yeah,

you just want what happens? Yeah. You know, I'm gonna sign him. You have to keep that? Yeah, no,

no, no. And I say that to my girls, like I've got, you know, I've got a couple of big tubs of things of my mum and dads that are from their grandpa from my grandparents or from their parents that are out there all wrapped up in some, you know, probably probably some valuable things maybe. But I've shown my girls where they are and what they are. And I've explained what they are. And I said to them, I'm keeping them because it means something to me. Obviously, when I'm gone, I won't know but do not have an ounce of guilt. If you need to take the whole box to the shop. Because they might not mean anything to you. It's another generation or Yes, so don't seem cool. I just don't want them to be saddled with that guilt that that people feel when Sr. But someone gave that to me back in 1927. And I don't want to part with it. It probably doesn't mean anything to them. You know,

she found that that reminds me of when grandpa passed away when we're going through his stuff. And you'd find things What the hell is he kept this for? Now? It's obviously very good reasoning.

He was more of a hoarder. My Dad Yeah, my dad's got.

Yeah, but you know, there's a reason for Yeah, no, yeah. And I sort of felt a little bit like, I should keep this because he was important to him. But then the end of the day, I thought I can't keep everything. There's just so much stuff here. And as it was I took boxes of stuff that I hadn't even done anything with. They're just sitting there because I just couldn't bear to let them go. Yeah, but you know, over time, that might change. You know, it's only been coming up 12

knots. I think, I think from what I saw of Rob's situation when his mom passed away and we we cleaned her house he bought we bought a heap of stuff here and a lot of we had a garage sale or we gave it away or whatever. But there's some stuff that we kept in the shed. Yeah, and bit by bit some of its gone. Yeah, over time. But it's time and I've said that to rob my my parents, there'll be things that I said prepare to clear out half the shed to make room for it when I have to do it for my parents. And I said and over time, I'll whittle it down. But in the moment I'll it'll be a part of them and I'll have to hang on to it. I just won't be able to part with it. So you just have to bear with that. I think that's a it's a process that is part of the morning. I think it is part of the grieving it's it happens stage by stage as you go through.

Yeah, absolutely.

So what's worse, I'll put all the links to all your socials but we're what's Where do you Where are you most active is like Instagram or Facebook. Where do you like people to get in touch with?

I loves Instagram Stories. I've had to cut down my Instagram stories because I think I

love your story when you're going from Yeah, but

I think I put too many. I think I put too many slides. I'm like I've I do whatever you lost, share them like I'm doing it. But yeah, but people's eyes glaze over. I'm sure that I can probably swipe past most of those, you know, it's who I am.

That's the thing. Yeah. Do you do what you like, and then everyone else can sort themselves out

I love I love Instagram stories because I feel like I'm a loves telling stories. So I like I like that part of it. I mean, I'm I'm on Facebook and Instagram. So that's pretty much pretty much all I'd like to blog again. But yeah, I don't know. I'd like to blog about so many things. And I've come back to Facebook several times and told everyone Hey, because because I might sometimes I'll write something that's nothing to do with food. It's a life thing because I'm deep in and I like all that sort of stuff. And people love it. Yeah, like, like the response I get from people. I get it. I'll get private messages from all of them. And then I'll come back straight after and Okay. Ah, seems like people really liked that. I'm going to do more of it now like i and publicly announced I'm doing it, then I don't do it. Because then again, I get that whole. Well, really who wants to hear about my grandparenting journey? And how I feel about that? Probably no one, but I think I can see, but I can see who my audience are like that three and a half 1000 people, but I can see how many of them are my age demographic. Yeah. And probably at a similar life stage. And even if they're not, what's going to happen to them do see, it's probably worth talking about. So I often think of doing that. And I think maybe we'll have a separate blog, and I think I want to just do it there. Yeah. If people don't want to, they can scroll by Yeah, that's it, isn't it? Don't read it. If you don't, if it's not your thing, don't read it. Then I feel bad because I've got men in there. And I think I'm always going to speak about women's things. But I'm a woman. yet. I don't know how to talk from a man's perspective. They can start their own blog if they wish

I you know, this whole thing with social media. It's like you can think too much about

Yeah, I think just do what yeah, maybe I should stop overthinking at you.

Yeah, sorry. I'm pointing and everyone else like complete themselves. Yes, what I probably say, because sometimes

I feel like sometimes a topic comes into my head, like, like talking about the grandparent thing. And I think I'm gonna write so much about that. Yeah. And, and like a couple of things. I said that you see, you hadn't thought of Yes. Because you haven't had that experience yet. I guess I also don't want. I don't want to get on there and tell a story like that. And people think, Oh, is it does it seem like a wind but anything my stuff sounds like a winch. No, doesn't sound like I like I like to just sharing it a deep feeling or a thought, you know, I really, I really enjoy that. That's how I connect with people. And I think it gives people other people permission to share the same vulnerabilities that I share.

I'm very, I'm very, very for that. I think that we don't talk enough about stuff. When it comes to mental health issues.

I am all about that, like just

got to talk about, because the more we talk about it, the more we talk about it, and it just grows on itself. You know, it becomes not a stigma thing that we're all too scared to mention. It's part of life, and more people would have it than wouldn't mass.

You know, it's just gonna say that. Yeah. And I don't anyone that mocks anyone with any kind of mental health issue, mild, severe or otherwise needs to have a look at themselves because it's debilitating. And as I said, people, like, out there, I'm one of the most bubbly, you know, like, that's the thing. It's easy. And I'm not putting that on. I'm like that when I get comfortable. Yeah. But I'm, if anyone's seen the not so great side of me as in, you know, they've, I've not been my best self and my best behavior are probably don't feel comfortable with them. Because when I because when I truly feel comfortable with someone, I'm the most loving, giving, thoughtful, deep, sharing person you could ever meet. But I have to feel comfortable. Yeah. And if if I've got my guard up, I can't be myself. I can't give the best of myself. So it isn't it. And it's sad that I can't do that. But I can't pretend either. I'm very transparent.

So I can understand so what's, what's in the future for jazz? Frank? What's here?

Oh, if I could claim me. I mean, I'm a grandparent. Now. I think, man, just Frank will, it will be there as long as you know, I can. As my body will stand there and do that as long as people wanting my, my goodies. I'll keep doing it. Because I really, I really love it. And just a little side note to that, I think. I think my business also grew from the perspective that it's we're not empty nested. My just Frank family became the people because that's how I show my love. So I show I love people, I cook for them. If I care about you, you can be sure you're gonna get some food because that's how I look I just add even and it's probably why I want it to be my two hands because anyone that buys my food, you can be guaranteed I love what I do. And I'm usually listening to something amazing while I'm doing it might be a Formula One podcast because I'm a massive fan. Oh my god. Oh, All right, folks, let's not get started that was talking about David Ricardo said the whole thing said I just My heart breaks for him and I and he's such a such a. He's such a beautiful character on on track like he's in the paddock. He's just so loved there. I can't believe that haven't given him a seat. I can't believe it. Just yeah. But anyway, that's another podcast. I'll be talking to you later about that. Next week after the Japan Grand Prix. We'll have a chat about that. Yeah,

yeah. So I wouldn't do that. You know, what, you're, it's you it's literally us.

It is, and, and my family. My my girls were grown on home cooking. And that's that was part of when I started the business. I just wanted to, like I wanted to keep cooking for other people. I couldn't. I literally stopped cooking when I have done nested because when I was looking when when there were no children around, it was hard to cook for one. Yeah. So I just cooked something random for myself. But I stopped baking, I stopped making all these beautiful things that my kids used to have, of course, then the girls went through there were watching our Wait, man, we can only have two biscuits, not the whole jar, you know, whereas back then they gobble them up, not have to make some more. But yeah, that's, I mean, so anyone, anyone listening that buys my food for my family. That's, that's why I do it is I love it. I love it. And I'm meant to, someone told me once it was actually Maurice Dickens from I said to He wants us I can't keep up with like the range of stuff that I've got. And he said, narrow it down to your pick your top five, and narrow it down to that. Now also anyone that's listening that sees how many products I have out there, I think I think there's about 35 different things that I make and counting. Because Because Tony, Tony Verona so so she would message me say we're the shelves that their mother hubbard shows up there, we need some more goodies. She doesn't she doesn't order, it doesn't tell me what she wants. So I just go, right, had this idea. I reckon that fudge that they would be great dipped in chocolate with more chocolate drizzled with grated chocolate on the top. So then I'll just come up with the 35 goes to 36. So I've got and of course, I have to put all these in the computer for my invoicing system. So I can see how many there are. So I just keep using my imagination and making new things.

So on that all the recipes are your own, that you tweak or people come up with. Yeah,

you asked Rob, they're just things that I come up with come in there. And he'll say, so what are we making today? And I'm not sure yet. Not quite sure yet. And most of them aren't written down, which I've just started to document them. Sorry, for because what it is, it is pretty funny. If you're not, maybe you're going to sell your business one day. But one day if I'm going to sell the business, and I and and someone says okay, so what are you selling up sell what's all in here? It's all in my head. They can't sell that. And besides that, I mean, if I don't sell the business, and my girls want to do something with it, I'm going to give it to them. And they might decide to do something with it. And I need to have them written down. So I've just started to do that. So yeah, so if you buy something, and I mean, actually, having said that there are the things that I package are written down. But like these things aren't written down. So if you do happen to buy the rocky road, and it tastes different one day than the next Can I tell you a funny story. I just sent the Biscoff rocky road to Adelaide. And when I was cutting it up ready to box it I realized I hadn't put the almonds in. Ah, so I rang. I message him and I said I've boxed it all up and it's on its way but just be prepared. There's no harm in doing this. I think it's because everyone was home and I had had my kitchen door shut and I was working in there but I could hear everything going on. I'm like I just want to get this done because I want to get back to being with the family. There's no elements in that one. There's extra biscuits because when I was mixing I thought I don't know what's going on. He doesn't seem like there's enough. So I had an extra biscuit. So it's really crunchy but just not with almonds. Sorry about that Adelaide. So yeah, so I'm not sure what's next. Um, I'm just doing what I'm doing. Loving doing what I'm doing and while people are still wanting me to do it, I'll keep doing it. That's awesome.

Would it be fair to say, I'm just taking the liberty here? There's anyone that's listening that's interested in veganism or vegan lifestyle. Would you be happy to chat? 2%?

And as I said, very, I'm very, you know, fluid with all of that I, everyone's got to start somewhere. I mean, I didn't go vegan overnight. Yeah, it wasn't a cold turkey thing. So I get the transition. And I can certainly give people plenty of tips on how to add, just add a few meals or I mean, there's no end of recipes out there. Yeah, I mean, you've just got a Google vegan curry, vegan anything. And you'll find some recipes. But yeah, I'm more than happy. And if anyone wants to talk about the ethical side of it. I'm pretty passionate about that topic. Yeah, I just don't. I just don't go there a lot. Because not everyone wants to hear that.

Yeah. But if someone wants to, you will share 100% Yeah, absolutely.

I'm always open to that inbox me, you know, my phone numbers on all my products on the label. So call me message me whatever.

I need say, Yeah, of course, I'm

always and I've done a fair bit of that over the years, I've done a, you know, talk to a lot of people about that kind of thing. I mean, I've, I've wanted to get back to doing another talk at the library at some time. It's something like that would be fun. Not necessarily about that, but maybe a cooking, you know, like a cooking demonstration where we can just casually chat at the same time. You know, I know the library's open to that. So that's if that's something that's interesting to people and they'd like to do that. Perhaps give me a yell or comment on your on the podcast post or whatever. And yeah, we can organize that too.

That's awesome.

Well, thank you so much. I've really loved it. love chatting with you. And thank you for your honesty and your openness and your vulnerability. It's just been such a joy chatting with you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much to thank you for your goodies which have made a hole in

we can take the rest time if you're lucky you have your everyday thanks, Alison. Thank you