15 Fictional Couples That Accurately Depict Married Life

I can vividly remember the first time I watched Judd Apatow’s, This Is 40, my husband of just over one month had bought it home from Video EZY with some Thai takeaway and a bottle of red. The film follows married couple Pete and Deb (who you may recognise from Knocked Up) as they both enter their 40th year of life. Once the movie finished we looked at each other and laughed, a smug little pitiful laugh, for these two people had clearly gone so wrong at some point in their marriage and had ended up with all sorts of issues. We laughed and laughed and I felt sorry for them both but at the same time happy for myself, that I had obviously been wise enough to choose a far better-suited life partner.

Fast forward to five years later when I find myself lying dead on the couch on a Friday night after I’d finally gotten both of my kids to sleep and my husband had gone to bed when I saw that the movie had just been added to Netflix, so I put it on…. and here we are hours later with 15 Fictional Couples That Accurately Depict Married Life.

Pete and Debbie – ‘This Is 40’


“Let me clarify first by saying that I think the first time I watched this movie as a newlywed I was totally delusional about what marriage would actually be like. Years of devouring every romcom in existence had me convinced that it was going to be like a Norah Efron movie, and sometimes it is but a lot of the time it’s not and This Is 40 takes place in one of those times when it’s not. Pete and Debbie fight a lot, about very realistic things; money, kids, Pete taking forever on the toilet because he’s actually playing games on his iPhone. There’s miscommunication, they hide things from each other in order to not stress the other one out, they argue about whose music taste is better… it’s a stressful year with a lot of challenges and really what you see is two people who are just trying to do their best to survive. What annoyed me most the first time *SPOILER ALERT* was the ending. After they spent the whole movie fighting they just made up so easily, it seemed so unrealistic. Now I’ve realised it’s not, they love each other and they want to stay together and be happy again so they choose to get over it and move on.” Alex, 30, married 5 years.

Phil and Claire – ‘Modern Family’


“I would definitely say Claire and Phil Dunphy from Modern Family! I’ve always said they represent Josh and myself! Claire is the bad cop and Phil’s the good cop in their parenting styles which is so realistic! Plus he’s the dad that constantly tries to be cool and impress his kids when Claire is the stern mother that mostly looks at her husband like he’s a big kid himself. They love each other, they love their family and are constantly in situations that truly reflect what family life is like! Well, at least what Josh and my life is like anyway haha.” Sharday, Channel 9’s The Last Resort, in a relationship for 6 years.

“Growing up I imagined that my marriage would be like the relationship between Seth and Summer on the O.C. As a married adult, I would say that it is much more like Claire and Phil from Modern Family. Claire and Phil always seem really real and relatable. I can be a stresshead and want to control things and my husband is a comedian and can be like one of the kids sometimes, but he makes me laugh every day and together we get through what life throws at us.” Cassie, 28, married 6 years.

Jim and Pam – ‘The Office’ 


“I think Jim and Pam seem the most realistic because they are portrayed as a regular couple who work 9 to 5 jobs and fight about real things. They had a regular wedding and aren’t like the other ‘perfect’ couples on tv. Also, the way they began their relationship seems the most realistic as they were friends first and showed their awkwardness when they realised that they liked each other” Eilish, 17, single.

“Jim and Pam are a great example of a really good marriage, they always have each other’s backs, they care so much about the other person being as happy as they possibly can be. They have a few problems in the later series but they do everything possible to make it work and when Jim holds Pam in the carpark before heading back to Philidelphia and it flashes back to there wedding… I can’t write anymore because I am crying now, there’s just so much love there.” Alex, 30, married 5 years. 

Bob and Helen Parr – ‘The Incredibles’


“I think Bob and Helen portray a realistic marriage in The Incredibles. From the start, it is clear they have chemistry and love each other. Even though they fight over things like kids, jobs and life. They still love each other and work through there issues while saving the world.” Kevin, 31, married 5 years. 

John and Jenny – ‘Marley & Me’


“When I was growing up I thought that marriage would be like The Walsh’s relationship on Beverly Hills 90210. Now I think that Marley & Me is a more accurate description as it shows the different stages of a relationship, a loved-up couple in the beginning and then babies. It’s not always perfect. I remember there’s a scene when the husband comes home from work. From his car, he can hear the kids crying and see that the mum is tired and cranky. He turns the music up and doesn’t want to get out of the car. I think that scene is really funny, my husband has done that.” Chantal, 43, married 20 years. 

Monica and Chandler – ‘Friends’


“I’m going to go with Monica and Chandler from friends because I love the development of their relationship, starting from strangers, becoming friends and then falling for each other. In an ideal world, I think that is the most perfect way to end up together. Plus they have arguments and learn about each other every time through the process of fixing what they’ve done wrong to one another.” Ashleigh, 23, in a relationship.

“Monica and Chandler were always so good to each other, even during their fertility issues, financial problems, and other big things that could break up a marriage, they always stuck by each other and got through it.” Jasmine, 24, separated.

“Monica and Chandler love each other so much, they’re friends as well as a couple, he’s always making her laugh and they work well as a team to get through life.” Cassie, 28, married 6 years.

Cindy and Dean – ‘Blue Valentine’

Michelle Williams as Cindy and Ryan Gosling as Dean in BLUE VALENTINE

“I think Cindy and Dean in Blue Valentine had a realistic marriage until it all went downhill. The couple from Up have a pretty realistic marriage as well.” Zac, 25, single.

Allie and Noah – ‘The Notebook’


“The Notebook celebrates the depth of their love in its portrayal of the couple as they age together in the nursing home, with Noah keeping by her side even when she can’t remember their many years together.” Danielle, 28, single.

Amy and Jake – ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’


“I think Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta have a realistic relationship and they are friends for a long time before they get married which I think is really important.” Amber, 22, in a  relationship for 6 years. 

Ben and Katie – ‘The Story Of Us’


“When I first got married at 20 I thought marriage was going to be like The Young And The Restless or maybe The Bold And The Beautiful! After almost 30 years and two marriages, I would say it is definitely more like The Story Of Us, sometimes happy, sometimes trying, exhausting and definitely a work in progress!” Kelly, 50, married 20 years.

“The Story Of Us is heartbreaking and I cry every time I watch it but I love it so much. It is such a realistic depiction of a marriage. Ben and Katie are so in love and have so much chemistry, you just want them to work so badly, but they have so many arguments about, well pretty much everything that you question whether or not love is enough of a reason to stay together.” Alex, 30, married 5 years. 

Eric and Tami – ‘Friday Night Lights’


“I think that Coach Taylor and his wife Tami represent marriage well on Friday Night Lights because they have their struggles and but they always get through it together.” Christopher, 30, married 6 years.

“Coach Taylor and Tami Taylor are an accurate portrayal of a realistic happy marriage. They share a deep love but both make mistakes. They sometimes act stubborn, pigheaded and even selfish (ok that’s mostly Coach) but they are willing to admit when they are wrong and put the required effort into making their marriage work. They aren’t the perfect TV couple; they fight and get mad but when they kiss and makeup they make you believe in true love.” Lauren, 31, married.

Frankie and Mike -‘The Middle’


“Before I was married I thought it would be like Ray and Deb from Everybody loves Raymond but after 20 years I’d say it’s more like Frankie and Mike from The Middle. It is just so true to real life, the house is not perfect, the kids have 3 different quirky personalities, even their dining table has a missing chair and they never bothered getting another one and just use a lawn chair instead.” Brett, 45, married 20 years. 

“The Middle is realistic. Frankie and Mike are a real example of two supporting parents trying to raise a family, living within their means, having the things they need but also with some of the wants. Through the bad and good times, they really are true best friends first and then husband and wife, that honestly shows their strength as they take on things TOGETHER!! It’s raw and real.” Rebecca, 35, married 10 years.

Molly and Arthur Weasley – ‘Harry Potter’


“I grew up with Harry Potter so from a young age I was able to understand their relationships dynamic, they were who I saw as ‘true love’.  I’ve always modelled my parenting around Molly, and my husband and I have a very similar dynamic to them. My biggest dream in life has always been to be a stay-at-home-mum to a big family, I guess that’s the biggest thing that I identify to Molly with.” Jayde, 23, newly-wed. 

Dave and Julie – ‘Packed To The Rafters’


“The issues they faced on the show were always realistic to that a non-fiction couple would face. But it was the way they dealt with them. Sometimes they communicated with each other well to solve their issues, other times they turned to their friends first for advice before going to each other. This sometimes caused more problems than the original problem! They fought on the show, they showed their vulnerabilities. They showed how relationships are not perfect all the time and that there can be elements of doubt.” Paula, 34, married 5 years.

Deb and Ray – ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’


“I think Ray and Debra show what married life is really like, they love each other but clearly get frustrated with each other. Plus they deal with real-life issues like the in-laws.” Dawn, 59, separated. 

“Everybody Loves Raymond shows a really good example of marriage with Ray and Deb. They bicker about relatable things like kids and money but there are a lot of nice moments between them when you get to see just how much they love each other.” Kevin, 31, married 5 years.

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10 Super Easy And Affordable Halloween Costumes

Regina George From Mean Girls

Get in losers we’re going shopping… for the easiest Halloween costume of all time. All you need is some scissors and your outfit is complete!

Regina George, Mean Girls, Easy Halloween Costume

Carrie Bradshaw From Sex And The City

I’m just going to go ahead and confess that I already own this outfit because it’s cute af and I went through a real Carrie phase in my early twenties when I decided to embrace my natural curl. If you want to pay homage to the original style queen, this is the easiest (and cheapest) look to imitate.

Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City, Easy Halloween Costume

A Contestant From The Bachelor

If you are looking for an excuse to pull out that formal dress that’s been collecting dust in a garment bag at the back of your closet, then here it is. Add a single rose and you’re an instant Bachelor contestant.

The Bachelor, Easy Halloween Costume

If you lose you rose in the middle of the night, simply smudge your mascara and you’ve got yourself a new costume…

Rejected Bachelor Contestant, Easy Halloween Costume
Rejected Bachelor Contestant

A Contestant From Bachelor In Paradise

Continuing on from the rejected contestants theme, this one is just an excuse to have a cocktail in your hand all night. If you already own a bikini, you can steal a rose from your neighbours garden and this costume is pretty much free (especially if you find a hot real-life bachelor or bachelorette to keep your cocktail glass full all night).

Bachelor In Paradise, Easy Halloween Costume

Where’s Wally

Looking for a way to hide from that creep at the haunted house who won’t leave you alone? There’s no way he’ll be able to find you in this nostalgic costume.Where's Wally, Easy Halloween Costume

Edna Mode From The Incredibles

Think you can get a more stylish costume than Edna Mode, fashion designer extraordinaire and go to super suit engineer?

Easy Halloween Costume

In the words of Edna, you can’t darling, it’s impossible! So here’s how to pull it together.

Edna Mode, The Incredibles, Easy Halloween Costume

Amy Shark

If you adore Amy Shark as much as my four-year-old does than this costume is perfect for you.

Amy Shark Easy Halloween Costume

Oscar, the brains behind the Amy Shark costume.

Rosie The Riveter

Show the world that you’re a badass feminist with this super easy but very effective Rosie The Riveter costume.

Rosie The Riveter Easy Halloween Costume

Holly Golightly From Breakfast At Tiffany’s or Madeline Martha Mackenzie From Big Little Lies

The cutest and most comfortable (because it’s basically pyjamas) costume in the world was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Reese Witherspoon made it her own some 56 years later in the epic finale of Big Little Lies. Whether you are a fan of Audrey or Reese this costume is just so ridiculously easy to pull together, with a classic oversized white shirt, a mask and earrings that can be purchased on eBay or Etsy.

Breakfast At Tiffanys Easy Halloween Costume

Fries Before Guys

Hoes before bros.

Uteruses before duderuses.

Ovaries before brovaries.


This girl gang costume is bought to you by Kmart! The fries costume is now available for just $12.00. Add a polaroid of your ex and you’re ready to go.

Fries Easy Halloween Costume

Happy Halloween!

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We Asked Survivor Contestant Ziggy, Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About The Show… And Boy Did She Deliver!​

I am a huge fan of Australian Survivor! I love it, but I also have a lot of questions about it. At least five times an episode I turn to my husband with a question that he, of course, does not have the answer too. Determined to have these questions answered I reached out to my favourite past contestant, Nicola ‘Ziggy’ Zagame.

Ziggy winning immunity on Australian Survivor
Nicola ‘Ziggy’ Zagame and Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia.

Ziggy entered Australian Survivor Season 2 in 2017 and was a contender right from the get-go. Being a former Olympian meant that she possessed the physical and mental ability to go all the way to the end. Her gameplay was strong, winning individual immunity twice and spending a gruelling two hours searching through mangroves in the dark to find a super idol. All of these epic wins proved that Ziggy was a huge threat so as the game goes, she was voted out, coming in at 6th place, and earning a coveted spot on the Jury.

TWN: You and Henry were my favourite contestants last year. I thought for sure you were going to win, especially when you got your hands on that super idol. Were you scared while you were in the mangroves looking for it? 

Ziggy: I wasn’t really scared in the sense of the water etc., I was scared that I wasn’t going to find anything and that I’d have to go back to camp with nothing, and that would not be believable at all!

TWN: What happens when contestants get their period on the show? 

Ziggy: Tampons are allowed, but these are kept at camp and are just as exposed as anything else on the island. Let’s just say that that time of the month wasn’t great.

TWN: Why do the female contestants seem to have no body hair this far into the show?

Ziggy: I had laser hair removal about 7 years ago now, so that’s why I didn’t have hair myself and I know a few of the girls in my season had it too. I think maybe the girls with hair just hide it quite well and it isn’t shown as much on TV as viewers would think. There were certainly some hairy pits out there but I never noticed it watching the episodes myself.

Ziggy and Luke celebrating on Australian Survivor
Ziggy and fellow contestant Luke Toki.

TWN: What was the hardest thing to go without? 

Ziggy: The hardest thing I thought was going without a roof. Honestly, it rained a lot and the simple comfort of having somewhere which was guaranteed to stay dry was something I missed. Our clothes, shoes, bags etc., were constantly wet and it was really hard just having no escape from the weather.

TWN: How many outfits are you allowed to take in?

Ziggy: You are allowed to take the clothes you are wearing, plus 5 extra items. So that in total accounts for about 11 items of clothing.

TWN: Are there toilets for the contestants?

Ziggy: There is no ‘toilet’ but there is an area that you go to, to do your business, more like a hole in the ground I would say. But in the middle of the night, it is sooooo dark out there that you’d never find this location so anywhere has to do haha.

TWN: Do you get inductions before challenges so that you don’t hurt yourselves? And was injuring yourself something that you were concerned about, considering that you are an Olympian? 

Ziggy: You get the challenge rules explained to you in a bit more depth and some of those rules were set for safety reasons. I was not concerned about being injured at all, I love the rough and tough of challenges and putting your body on the line!

“I love the rough and tough of challenges and putting your body on the line!”

TWN: How long does it take to film Tribal Council? 

Ziggy: Soooo long… we have no concept of time as we never see any watches or clocks. It’s especially long if there’s a re-vote or something, then tribal can certainly take over an hour or two, and the rocks we sit on are soooo uncomfortable!

TWN: When you got to the Jury Villa did you get to contact your family and did you get your phone back?

Ziggy: No we didn’t get to contact our family until after the final tribal council and we were only allowed a 3-minute phone call to one person, so I chose my now husband but the call was so quick. We didn’t have our phones, internet, TV, radio or anything which connected us to real life in the Jury Villa at all, as we were still in the game and no outside influences were allowed. We got our phones when we were on the plane flying home!

TWN: How long is it between filming ends on the island and the actual Winner Reveal?

Ziggy: There was about 3.5 months in between… a very long time for the final two to have to wait.

TWN: What was the first meal you had when you got home? 

Ziggy: When I landed my boyfriend had a fresh cheeseymite scroll for me which was incredible, and I landed in the morning so then met my parents out for brunch at my favourite cafe… der… haha typical me, I had a coffee, smashed avo, halloumi and bacon. [If you follow Ziggy on Instagram you will know that she is a BIG fan of Brunch]

Life after Australian Survivor
Ziggy enjoying a post Survivor brunch with fellow contestant Michelle.

TWN: Does everyone get really sick after food rewards?

Ziggy: Yes.

TWN: Did you ever feel anxious around the time of eliminations? Did you take things to heart or were you just in the mindset of, “it’s just a game?”

Ziggy: The game really plays with your head as you are living in that world and can’t escape it. I would get nervous but really excited before tribal council. It was a weird limbo/surreal kind of feeling. I never took anything to heart as we certainly celebrated good gameplay and blindsides, but I was definitely in it to win it, so I was nervous going into tribal as I didn’t want to be blindsided.

TWN: Aside from missing the outside world, what was the hardest thing about being on the show? 

Ziggy: I think the physical discomfort was the hardest part. Infected mosquito bites, being cold, wet and hungry constantly was tough

TWN: I saw that there were quite a few contestants at your wedding earlier in the year. Are the friendships the most important thing that you took away from the experience?

Ziggy: Yes definitely! The bonds you form with other contestants are quite special as we have an experience in common that no one else will truly understand. I have made some great lifelong friends, and even those who I may not stay in heaps of contact with I know we will have that bond for life. I also just have great memories from the time on the island… waking up on a beautiful beach as the sun is rising and living off the land was so so incredible. The stars at night time were amazing too. So many awesome memories!

Peter, Jarrad, Henry dancing with Ziggy at her wedding after Australian Survivor
Peter, Jarrad and Henry dancing with Ziggy at her wedding.
Fellow contestants Lachlan, Mark, Michelle, Samantha and Henry join Ziggy at Coogee Beach after Australian Survivor
Fellow contestants Lachlan, Mark, Michelle, Samantha and Henry join Ziggy at Coogee Beach.

TWN: Who would you like to see win this year? 

Ziggy: I would like to see Sharn win this year. She has nearly been eliminated so many times but her communication skills and acting non-threatening is impressive.

TWN: Finally, what have you been doing since the show ended? Have you gone back to fulltime training or has the show taken you down a new path? 

Ziggy: I actually retired from competitive water polo after the Rio Olympics in 2016 so when I applied for Survivor I was no longer playing in the National Team. I haven’t really changed my life at all after Survivor. I love my life, so my intention to go on the show wasn’t for fame or to open up doors for anything in particular. I have gone back to work and am doing normal everyday stuff again and love it! I have since gotten married and am enjoying time being at home and being able to spend weekends with friends and family.

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 5.53.55 pm
“I have since gotten married and am enjoying time being at home and being able to spend weekends with friends and family.”

Australian Survivor airs on Channel 10 on Monday’s and Tuesday’s at 7pm.

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“My Tinder Romance Almost Ended In Tragedy”

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Lucy had just decided to rejoin Tinder, the 29-year-old single mother had been taking a break from dating to focus on her study and was now ready to get back out there.

It didn’t take long for her to find a match. Ben was a 30-year-old salesman and like most guys Lucy matched with, he was attractive, he surfed, he appeared to have a lot of friends and had just bought his first home.

“I was so excited when we matched! He was so cute and he looked like he had his life together. I am really picky when it comes to choosing guys. I have to think about what is best for my daughter Eva, I was looking for someone who could provide stability and Ben looked like he had that.”

Ben asked Lucy to coffee on the first weekend she had free. The date went well, Ben was smart and funny, he spoke a lot about his family and even footed the bill. Lucy was impressed by him and he was very taken with her, messaging her to ask for a second date as soon as she left.

“I was happy when I got the text. So many guys play games, even if they like you they will wait to text you. After that first date, Ben messaged me all the time. He’d just ask how my day was going and how Eva was, he seemed to be genuinely interested in our life. I have dated so many players in the past so honestly, the attention from Ben was refreshing.”

The relationship developed quickly, Ben wanted to see Lucy all the time and she made it happen as often as she could, considering she had joint custody of her daughter.

“It had only been two months but I felt a real connection with him.”

“Ben was keen to meet Eva, but I was in no hurry. I’ve only introduced her to one guy in the past and when it didn’t work out I decided I wouldn’t do it again until it was really serious with someone.”

Ben opened up to Lucy in a way that no other guy ever had. He told her about his recently deceased sister and his strained relationship with his father.

“It had only been two months but I felt a real connection with him, he was so into me. He even told me that he liked me so much that he hoped he’d never do anything wrong by me. At the time I thought that was really sweet.”

On the night of his birthday, Ben invited Lucy out to dinner with his closest friends and colleges. She figured it was a big deal and dressed accordingly.

“I had a new red dress that I’d been saving for a special occasion. I got ready, dropped Eva off with her Dad and then caught an Uber to the restaurant. The dinner was lovely, his boss talked to Me for most of the night and told me that I was all Ben talked about at work.”

Ben was acting strange but as Lucy had never seen him drink before she assumed that he was just tipsy. They headed to a bar after dinner.

“We were at the bar for about an hour when I left the group to go to the bathroom, on the way back I bumped into an ex-boyfriend at the bar. Things had ended amicably with him so we had a quick chat. While he was talking I heard a loud crash from outside where my group were sitting. I left my ex and went outside to see what had happened.”

Ben had seen Lucy talking to her ex and assumed she was flirting with a stranger. The loud crash was a chair that he had thrown at a wall in a fit of anger. Security arrived shortly after and escorted the group out.

“I was trying to talk to Ben but he wasn’t making any sense. He was just mumbling and seemed distraught. I was really worried about him, I hadn’t seen him act that way and I was afraid something was wrong with him. I thought if I could just get him home safely, he’d feel better and we could talk properly.”

Alarm bells began to ring in Lucy’s head in the Uber on the way back to Ben’s house.

“We were almost back to his place when he offered our Uber driver ice. I was so disgusted and confused, I didn’t actually know if he had any ice on him or if he was just making a sick joke. I asked him if he had taken something and he said no but at that point, I started to feel pretty uneasy.”

Things started to get worse when they made it back to Ben’s house and that’s when Lucy made the decision to message his roommate.

“I didn’t want to leave Ben alone at the house. He was talking about his dead sister and pacing back and forth. I decided that I would just wait with him until his roommate got home.”

Lucy got her phone out to check the time and that’s when Ben lost his temper again.

“He threw his phone at me and started screaming at me, swearing and calling me awful names. I called him an idiot and went into the lounge room to get my bag. I was getting scared then and just wanted to go home straight away.”

She was almost at the door when she heard the sound of glass shattering in the kitchen.

“I went to walk out but then I thought that he’d hurt himself and I couldn’t just leave him there. I felt a bit sick in the stomach going back in there but I needed to see if he was okay.”

“When I walked into the kitchen I found Ben surrounded by glass, he looked at me and then threw another glass on the floor. I was so scared, he looked like a different person, he definitely was not the guy that I had started to fall for. I could see that he wasn’t hurt so I turned to leave again but he grabbed me. He picked up some detergent and sprayed it all over his hand, I was so confused, I had no idea what he was doing. He pulled at my arm again, this time tighter, I kept trying to pull away but he wouldn’t let me go. By this stage I was terrified and shaking, he let go of my arm for a second to pick up his lighter. At first, he pretended to try to light his hand on fire and then he grabbed me again. I just kept thinking the whole time that I wish I had of left when I had the chance. He pulled me closer and then yanked at the bottom of my dress, he pulled the lighter to it and it started to burn. He was trying to get it to light up but the detergent that he’d spilt on it earlier had made it damp.”

At that moment Ben’s housemate arrived home. She ran into the kitchen and pulled Lucy free from Ben’s grip. She held her hand and took her straight to the Uber that she had caught home.

“It all happened so quickly, the next thing I knew I was safe in the Uber. I cried the whole way to my Mum’s house. I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me. When I got there it was 2 am and I was a mess but I felt so relieved to be away from Ben.”

Lucy’s Mum encouraged her to go to the police and report Ben.

“My Mum wanted me to press charges then and there but all I wanted was to have a shower and go to sleep, I told her I’d think about it and went home.”

“I knew it was wrong and against everything that my family wanted me to do.”

Over the next week, Lucy went back and forth with what she should do.

“On one hand I had my mum and sister wanting me to press charges, but on the other hand, I had Ben messaging me constantly, asking for another chance. He was acting so sweet again like he was when we met and I started to feel crazy like I’d dreamt that night. He really had me starting to think that I was overreacting. He even had his roommate message me and tell me that it wasn’t normal for him to act that way. In all honesty, all I wanted to do was go back to him, and pretend it never happened. I knew it was wrong and against everything that my family wanted me to do but they didn’t know him the way I did.”

“It wasn’t until the following weekend that I made my decision and cut off all contact with Ben. I spent days thinking about it and going over everything that had happened, I knew that I wasn’t overreacting and that Ben was trying to manipulate me. I blocked him on social media and asked him to never call or message me again. I didn’t press charges because I didn’t want to put myself through all of that, I just wanted to focus on my daughter and move on.”

Six months have passed since Lucy met Ben and she is yet to return to the dating scene.

“To be honest I am pretty hesitant to date again. I have Eva to think about and it is just so hard to know if I can trust someone. You read all of these stories about other women in dangerous situations with men and you think to yourself, ’that would never happen to me’ or ’I would have done this differently’ but I’ve come to realise that you can’t judge a situation until you’ve been in it yourself.”

If you need support or advice regarding a situation that has left you feeling unsafe call 1800RESPECT to speak to a trained counselling.

3 Podcasts We Can’t Stop Listening To

Australian True Crime

Australian True Crime is a podcast by Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb about, you guessed it, real crimes that happened right here in Australia. I have been a fan of Meshel since her radio days at Nova 106.5, she is bloody hilarious and intelligent to boot. Pair her with acclaimed crime author and journalist Emily Webb, and you’ve got a crime podcast powerhouse.

Each episode offers something new, whether it’s diving deep into a true crime story, or interviewing an expert. My favourite episodes so far have featured Narelle Fraser, an ex-police officer who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As well as discussing what it’s really like to suffer from PTSD, she also recounts some pretty hectic stories from her time on the force.  I also highly recommend episode 42: ‘The  Family’, about a female cult leader in the 1970’s who convinced people to give their babies up for adoption.

True Crime is not usually my genre of choice (because I am a huge scaredy-cat) but Meshel and Emily’s genuine intrigue in each case is palpable. Each of these women offers a unique viewpoint as co-hosts, Meshel with her career in the media and Emily with her extensive experience with crime, starting in London where she transcribed undercover police tapes. If you’re ready to tap into your inner amateur sleuth and test your investigative skills, you can download Australian True Crime now on iTunes and Spotify.

Australian True Crime Podcast

Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard

Whether you’re like me, a big fan of Dax Shepard’s acting, improv, and general adorable disposition or, if you’re just looking for a refreshingly candid podcast that features a tonne of A-List stars, then you can’t go past Armchair Expert.

Each week Dax and his producer Monica Padman interview a high profile guest. Although, there is nothing ‘Hollywood’ about this relatively new podcast, recorded in the room above Dax’s garage which features a wall-less bathroom and exposed wiring. Often the guests are friends of Dax’s and the conversations are so honest that it feels like you are eavesdropping on a personal conversation. He goes into everything from their upbringing to how they really feel about success and even rejection. Nothing is taboo, Dax often discusses his struggle with substance abuse and the role that AA now plays in his life.

If you are in a relationship then you absolutely have to listen to the first episode where Dax interviews his wife, Kristen Bell. The interview takes place midway through a pretty petty argument and the whole thing is so damn relatable! The episodes that follow are just as enjoyable to listen to and therefore, very easy to binge, especially when they feature guests like, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Rogan, Mila Kunis, Jason Bateman and many more. Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard is available to download now on Spotify and iTunes.

Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard


I’ve saved my favourite until last here because I am such a big fan of this podcast that I don’t even know where to start. Shameless calls itself ‘The Aussie pop culture podcast for smart women who love dumb stuff’ and my god are they right.

Shameless is hosted by Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews, two super smart journalists from Melbourne. Each episode is a dissection of the events that transpired in pop culture throughout the week. They cover everything from The Bachelor, to Instagram, to influences, to actors, even sports stars, basically anything that sparked the media’s attention in the week that was. Zara and Michelle’s well-considered perspectives make for incredibly interesting content and take the conversation so far beyond ‘who wore it best’ and ‘who’s dating who’ that it delves deep into important issues regarding sexism, equality and race.

If you come for the gossip, you certainly stay for the witty back and forth between two friends that is so genuine that it’s like sitting at coffee with your own besties. Understanding their fans eagerness to get involved in these conversations, Zara and Michelle have taken Shameless to an interactive level, creating a Facebook group called ‘Shameless Celebrity Gossip’. In doing so they have created a place where smart women (and men) can have thoughtful conversations about everything celebrity, reality tv, fashion, and more, without being judged. As a Kardashian loving, Bachelor obsessed, university student/mum it’s a dream come true.

I love every episode so it is hard to recommend just one but, if you are across the ‘Bachelor Bully Saga’ then you need to listen to the episode, ‘It’s time to talk about the Bachelor villains’, available now on iTunes and Spotify. Shameless is a small independent podcast so if you love it, make sure you subscribe and share.

Shameless Podcast

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Head to our Instagram @thewritenownet to enter.

Good luck!

“The Diagnosis I Didn’t Know I Was Searching For”

“All of a sudden everything went black and I couldn’t feel my legs. I just knelt to the ground, I couldn’t do anything.”

You know that feeling you get sometimes in the afternoon when you are so tired that you could rest your head on your desk and fall asleep in an instant? You know the one, your eyes are heavy and you can’t concentrate because 80% of your focus is on keeping them open and the other 20% is on the clock, counting down the seconds until your next break. Now imagine feeling like that ALL THE TIME. For Isabel Cybulski, the struggle to stay awake was a feeling that she knew all too well.

Isabel Cybulski’s struggle with extreme tiredness began in high school.

In high school, she would become so tired that within minutes of the class beginning she could already feel her focus shifting to the enormous task of keeping her eyes open.  Eventually, she became so distracted by the sleepiness that she was unable to concentrate in class and had to withdraw from her OP subjects. When it came to the weekend if she had to decide between attending a party or staying in bed, the choice was an easy one to make, bed. Concerned for their daughter’s wellbeing, Isabel’s parents sort advice from their family GP.

“My doctor put my symptoms down to anxiety and depression. The diagnosis made sense to me at the time. I chose to stay in bed, rather than go out with my friends and I was just so tired all the time.”

Isabel’s doctor prescribed her antidepressants. She was hesitant to take them at first but happy to have an answer and a possible solution.

“The antidepressants did nothing so I just carried on and eventually accepted that this feeling of constant tiredness was just normal for me.”

A few years later Isabel’s symptoms worsened and once again her education was put on hold.

“I was studying a Bachelor of Nursing at university but again I was having such a hard time focusing. Eventually, I had to pull out of the course. It was devastating. All I have ever wanted was a career in medicine and I knew I was capable of it but my body just kept letting me down.”

After pulling out of university, Isabel went to work in a Real Estate office as a receptionist where her symptoms continued to plague her.

“Every day was a struggle to stay awake. I was okay when I was busy but as soon as I had completed all of my work the fight to stay awake became unbearable. Multiple times a week, I would have to leave early to go home to sleep.”

It all came to a head one night when Isabel was out at a club with her friends.

“I arrived at the club and said hi to my friends, I went to the bar to order my first drink. All of a sudden everything went black and I couldn’t feel my legs. I just knelt to the ground, I couldn’t do anything. When I came to, my friends took me home. From that point on I began to feel really depressed. I had a great group of friends and a really supportive family but I still just wanted to be in bed most of the time. The real problem though was at work. I have a really strong work ethic and take pride in working hard but I just wasn’t able to get through the day.”

“I’m so thankful to my parents for supporting me and encouraging me to seek a diagnosis.”

With the support of her parents, Isabel quit her job and decided to finally get to the bottom of the problem that had been haunting her for so long. She continued to meet with her GP and psychiatrist.

“At first my psychiatrist suggested that I might have ADD, however, when he discovered that I suffered from sleep paralysis and hallucinations, he went down a different path and referred me to The Wesley Hospital Sleep Disorders Centre to participate in a Multiple Sleep Latency test.”

It took two separate trials for the doctors to reach their conclusion but eventually, Isabel was diagnosed with Narcolepsy. According to the Mayo Clinic, Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep.

“I was actually so happy when the doctor told me what was wrong, I just burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that after all of this time, I finally had an answer.”

The symptoms caused by Narcolepsy often impact peoples work and school performance. It is not known what causes Narcolepsy though a majority of patients have low levels of the chemical hypocretin. Other suspected causes are autoimmune reactions or an inherited genetic fault. There is no cure but the condition can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

“I started on medication a month ago and I haven’t looked back. I have a new job at a busy cafe. I still get tired but like anyone, it’s after a hard days work or a Netflix marathon. I’ve even re-enrolled into university, I’ll be starting a Bachelor of Science in the new year.”


“I guess what I would say to anyone else in the same situation is if you think there is something wrong with you, just don’t give up, keep going until you get the answer that you need.”

For more information on Narcolepsy see visit the Sleep Health Foundation.