Joanne had lived decades of frugality. But when she filed for divorce she was shocked to learn just how rich she was.

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Joanne never knew about the property portfolio her husband had built, while he constantly made her cut basic costs. (Image is generic, not part of the portfolio).Source:Supplied

WHEN 63-year-old Joanne* decided to leave her marriage, she visited a lawyer so she could understand what percentage of the couple’s assets would belong to her, post-divorce.

The marriage had been good in the early years, as both Joanne and her husband worked hard and raised their family. But, the later years were fraught with difficulty as they drifted apart and had constant arguments which led to domestic violence

Joanne, who lives in Queensland, Australia, said her husband led her to believe they were hard up for money and she struggled with the household budget to feed the family. …


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Journalist and author Libby-Jane Charleston

If ever there was a ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ tale to tell then I’m about to tell you a big one: my sister and I were both diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day.

In different states, just one hour apart.

Although with me in Sydney, Australia and my sister in Perth, Western Australia, we have had vastly different experiences.

I hope that raising my voice and using my position as a journalist will not only help save the women who come after me, but that changes can be made to the cancer screening system I believe has flaws. …


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Sex was strictly frowned upon in the early years of King Henry VIII’s reign — unless you followed certain rules. In fact, there were so many rules regarding when and how often you could have sex in Tudor England, it’s a wonder anyone was able to have any fun at all.

Some of the outlandish laws put in place in 16th Century England were apparently necessary, so that people would not be compelled to indulge in those awful “vices.”


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Princess Margaret was one of the most colourful and popular of the British royals. She was witty, brash and, as the “royal spare” she was allowed to run wild in ways her elder sister could only dream about.

If there’s one thing that most people remember about Princess Margaret, it’s that while she had a reputation for being difficult, she was also apparently very entertaining — and, at times, downright rude.


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The true story behind fairy tale ‘Snow White’. Source:Supplied

Many of us grew up with the fairy tale Snow White: the beautiful princess, the evil stepmother, seven dwarfs, a poisoned apple and a handsome prince who saves the day and proves that love will conquer all.

It began as a rather macabre tale by the Brothers Grimm … until Disney took over the storytelling and made the story as saccharine and wholesome as could be.

For example, in the original fairy tale, the Queen wants proof that Snow White is dead so she requests the hunter bring her Snow White’s internal organs. Why? …


The drama of children’s parties were overshadowing any kind of celebration

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Even choosing the cake turned into a drama (Picography)

When my twins turned seven, we had a small party at home with a handful of their friends.

It was a classic 1970s party with fairy bread, homemade sausage rolls, Twisties and soft drink. There might have been some watermelon too, but 10 years ago nobody rolled their eyes at a junk food feast.

In the aftermath of the twins’ party, one so-called friend refused to speak to me for a very long time. My crime? I didn’t invite her son — a child my kids hadn’t seen in three years because they live far away. …


Your kids have enough friends, they only have one mother

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Libby-Jane sons, Sydney

The job of parenting is incredibly complex. You love your children with all your heart but there comes a time when you have to exhibit ‘tough love.’ You need to discipline them so they get a grasp of boundaries that we all must fall within throughout our lives. You might find yourself torn between wanting to be a ‘fun parent’ that your kids adore, as well as the all-wise adult they can turn to when times are tough.

But what you don’t need to be for your child is their best friend. You already have friends. They already have friends. What they need from you is to be their parent, and this is particularly important as they go through adolescence and need a parent to help guide them towards adulthood. …


Who’d have thought you could learn anything from “difficult teens!”

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Two of Libby-Jane’s sons, Sydney

Parenting three teenage boys involves much frivolity and bucket loads of patience. When they were younger, people would often tell me, “You have your hands full!” and I’d reply, “I’m so lucky!” Sure, there are tricky times and arguments, both meaningful and meaningless.

Overall, it’s a truly fascinating time of life to witness that transition from boy to man…even though, as a friend once told me, “Having adult children is very challenging, it’s just something you don’t think about until you are suddenly faced with kids that are taller than you, telling you to shut up!” …


How to raise “tender boys” in this new, tough world.

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Libby-Jane’s sons at Bondi Beach

I love the idea that girls and women are as strong, vibrant and powerful as any male. Yet as the mother of three young boys, the Girl Power push that has been around for quite a while allows me to ponder the role of gender and our perceptions of strength and beauty.

What if boys were seen as being less than manly? Do people applaud boys being soft and gentle in the same way they applaud girls being strong, confident, boisterous and full of life?

If you peek past the sports, the wrestling and the wild testosterone, my boys are not your average little men. They do not always behave how society expects them to behave. When they were 13, my twins loved to sit quietly on the lawn and read, play in a cubby house built for toddlers, delight on spending time baking cakes (not only licking the spoon!) and they actually enjoy shopping. …


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Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester, was one of Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite ladies-in-waiting. But the two went from friends to enemies over an incident in 1578 that was so serious, it made the Queen’s blood boil and saw Lettice banished from court for the rest of the Queen’s life.

But what did Lettice do to incur the Queen’s wrath? It was all over a love triangle; 16th Century style. Lettice infuriated the monarch by secretly marrying the man many believed to be Elizabeth’s one true love, Robert Dudley.

On learning the news that the two had wed, the Queen was heard to yell at Lettice, “As but one sun lightened the Earth, she would have but one queen in England,” before smacking her across the ear and sending her away from court forever. …

About

Libby-Jane Charleston

Journalist, author, poet, mother of 3 boys, history lover Twitter @ljcharleston

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