Dear Dorothy….

Dear Dorothy....My son is starting school next month and I think I’m more nervous than he is! I don’t know anyone at his new school and I’m worried that I’ll be the odd one out. I’m really shy and not good at making friends. What if the other mums don’t ask my son over because they don’t like me?


Your eldest starting school IS really scary. I cried every day during my firstborn’s first week of school! It’s such a big step, but it’s a great adventure too.

Here’s the thing – every other mum standing outside that classroom at 3pm has been the new mum at school too. They know exactly what it’s like to stand there feeling unsure and nervous. I bet that one of them will say hi to  you and start a conversation, but if they don’t, there’s nothing to stop you giving them a little smile and introducing yourself. “Hi, I’m …. , today is my little boy’s first day.”

And the beauty is that in a week or two your little boy will come home full of stories of friends that he’s making, and that gives you a great chance to talk to his new friend’s mums and set up playdates. You’ll be making new friends at the same time as your son!

But if you find it too hard to just go up and introduce yourself, talk to your son’s teacher and ask him/her to introduce you to his new friend’s mum after school, I’m sure she/he would be happy to help.

Good luck!

dorothy nada

Do you have a question you’d like to ask dorothy? E-mail them through to


Leigh-ann, the face behind dorothy nada, is a qualified counsellor with a background in individual teen, group, and family work specializing in addiction work. The advice and information given here is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but should not be taken in lieu of professional advice. I accept no responsibility for the actions of readers based on the advice given.


Review….Everybody Rise. Shephanie Clifford.

everybody rise

The blurb….

Everybody wants to belong.It’s 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and glamorous. At 26, bright, funny and socially anxious Evelyn Beegan is determined to free herself from the social-climbing mother who propelled her through prep school and on to the Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at social network site People Like Us, aimed at the elite, she befriends glamorous queen bee Camilla Rutherford and steps into a promised land of private schools, regattas, second homes and the society pages. Evelyn soon finds the lure of belonging intoxicating and starts trying to pass as old money herself.Her lies start small, but with her lawyer father being investigated by a grand jury, and with money and class colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice, Evelyn’s position on the rickety social ladder begins to shake. After every rise must there be a fall?In the bestselling tradition of social-climbing tales told by an outsider such as The Great Gatsby, The Devil Wears Prada, Prep and Gossip Girl, comes this extraordinary debut novel by Stephanie Clifford.

What I thought….

Everybody Rise centers around Evelyn who is on the outskirts of a world of lake houses, fish knives and prep schools. An alumni herself, Evelyn seeks to use her collegiate contacts to make a splash at her new job – membership director at People Like Us, an elite facebook-esque website.

Evelyn is not particularly likeable, which I always find difficult in a novel. She scorns her mother’s social ambitions, but has her own. Evelyn has no real sense of herself – we see her standing back at gatherings, weighing up her worth and standing in rank order of all around her. Reading ‘Everybody Rise’, you just want to shake Evelyn and tell her to grow into herself a little and appreciate what she has around her, but her insecurity is not endearing. I don’t feel like I was sitting on the sidelines acting as her cheerleader, more than I was skimming through pages muttering to Evelyn ‘just grow up already’.

Everybody Rise is entertaining in the way that going to the zoo is (without the cute factor) where you are looking in on the lives of a different species and marvelling at their idiosyncrasies.

I did grow fonder of Evelyn towards the end of the book, and found this an easy story to follow. There is definitely a place for nice, straightforward novels. You know where you are headed and there is a comfort in that predictability.

I gave Everybody Rise a 7/10.


(Book supplied by Hachette NZ)

On the flag….

We’re all getting a bit sick of the whole ‘change the flag’ debate, but I’m adding my two cents worth.

Four-promo(I won’t even touch on my opinion that the four choices are both uninspired, and uninspiring.)

I’m against changing our flag – I have both patriotic and financial arguments against the change, but my biggest argument against changing the flag is the process.

There has been a complete lack of consultation with the New Zealand public in this issue, and a few public meetings really don’t cut it in this circumstance. I resent the way that these inordinately expensive referendums are taking place. $26 million in this economy when we are so far in debt (and sinking) is profligate at best. I think that there is a (not-so) subtle manipulation happening. Requiring the public to rank their preferences for a new flag asks the voters to buy in – to make a choice and select a new flag before deciding if a new flag is on the cards. There is a condescension inherent in the process, and that rankles.

(The conspiracy theorist that usually lays dormant deep within me is also whispering in my ear that the flag debate is a useful distraction by the incumbent government to displace attention from another hot topic on the table at the moment….the TPPA. )

I find myself in a bit of a quandary with this whole situation. I’m a passionate advocate of the democratic process and I have very strong memories of my Mum telling me that if you choose not to vote, then you are negating your right to complain. I’m struggling a little because I don’t want to vote for any of the final four new flag options when I don’t believe that we need a new flag, but I believe in taking part in the democratic process. I’m left with little choice – I can effectively select a flag in which I don’t believe and give life to the lie that ‘New Zealand has chosen option (insert flag number here)’, or I can not take part in the referendum and lose out on my chance to have a say. I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point, but I do know that there are many who are in the same position as I am and I am interested to see what the outcome will be.

What are your thoughts?

Mini Reviewers take on…The Great White Man-Eating Shark

The Great White Man Eating SharkThe blurb:

Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey.

Norvin is a very good actor, but rather plain. In fact, he looks very like a shark, and more than anything, he loves to shoot through the water like a silver arrow.

But his cunning plan to clear the water at Caramel Cove badly misfires . . .

A brand-new full colour Early Reader edition of this charming story from the CARNEGIE-winning and HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN AWARD nominee author Margaret Mahy, with illustrations by Jonathan Allen.

My Mini Reviewers:

Our little panel of reviewers comprises the following:
Mr 7: an avid reader with an enormous imagination.

Miss 5: a beginner reader with a taste for the dramatic.

Mr 4: loves being read to – the sillier, the better.

In the interests of full disclosure, I feel it is necessary to advise that our panel of mini-reviewers are being paid for their time in chocolate. (To be fair, their mama works for less)

The result:

(marks on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst book we’ve ever read, 10 being the best)

Mr 4: This book was quite long for my littlest wriggle-bum. He and I snuggled up and read it over several sessions and I wasn’t sure how much he was following it….until our next library visit when he was determined that the only book he wanted to get out was one on sharks. I think he’s got big plans in mind for this summer! I asked him what he thought of it and he said it’s the best book in the whole wide world. Big praise! Mr 4 gave ‘The Great White Man-Eating Shark’ 9/10.

Miss 5: This book really appealed to our little girl’s wicked side. She giggled her way through it and practiced her shark imitations in the bath for days afterwards. She gave it 9/10.

Mr 7: He took this book to bed one night and read it in one sitting. It’s aimed at a perfect level for him – capturing his imagination with a little bit of naughtiness, but still retaining that innocence. I asked him who he thought would like ‘The Great White Man-Eating Shark’ and he said anyone between the ages of 4 and 25 who isn’t afraid of sharks. He gave it a 10/10.

Mama’s opinion – I loved reading this book with the younger two and discussing it with Mr 7.  It’s such a funny tale, with lots of opportunity to discuss ideas such as sharing and not crying wolf, and it’s so lovely to see books by such a wonderful author as Margaret Mahy being enjoyed by younger generations. It’d be a great stocking stuffer for Christmas!


(Book supplied by Hachette NZ)

Dear Dorothy

Dear Dorothy....I have a 16 year old son and he has asked if his 15 year old girlfriend can spend the night. I don’t know what to say to him! Help!

Confused Mum

Dear Confused Mum,

Tricky situation! My first point is that your son’s girlfriend is actually under the age of consent, so if you allowed her to sleep in his room, you’d be facilitating him possibly engaging in an activity which could lead to him being charged and carrying a criminal conviction as a sex offender. (You can check out more information on the age of consent here.)

Once your son’s girlfriend is over 16, however, it’s up to you to decide what you are comfortable with in your home. If you decide that you are ok with them sleeping together under your roof, then it may be worth having a chat with the girlfriend’s parents and finding out their thoughts on the situation.

Good luck!

dorothy nada

Do you have a question you’d like to ask dorothy? E-mail them through to


Leigh-ann, the face behind dorothy nada, is a qualified counsellor with a background in individual teen, group, and family work specializing in addiction work. The advice and information given here is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but should not be taken in lieu of professional advice. I accept no responsibility for the actions of readers based on the advice given.

5 favourite pins August 2015.


I’m such a fan of pinterest and can while away hours planning rooms, crafts, gifts and outfits….all online.

Here are a few of my favourite pins from the dorothy nada pinterest boards.


I love this wall! I think it’s peaceful and inspirational at the same time, and if my husband isn’t careful, the next time he goes away for work he’ll come home to this painted in our bedroom!

pin 1


This is actually the most pinned of all dorothy nada pins and it’s easy to see why…a century of iconic, amazing chairs!



This little boy’s nursery is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I’m in seriously love with the use of black, combined with the gorgeous animal wallpaper, copper pipe clothes hanger, and stack of books including Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo…this nursery is almost worth having another baby for!

pin 3


I’m a ‘tidy-on-the-surface’ kind of girl. Look behind any closed door or drawer in my house and you’ll find stuff that needs to find an actual home. I’m in awe of those super-organised people. I want to be like them when I grow up!

pin 45.

This work space is pretty special – the use of a corkboard wall adds texture and interest, and it definitely feels like a space you’d want to work in.

Home Story
Home Story

You can find the dorothy nada pinterest page here:


On Caitlyn Jenner…

I have to admit that when the news broke that Bruce Jenner was going to become a woman, I was skeptical. I thought it was a far-fetched rumour. Obviously, time would go on to prove me wrong, and I’ve watched her transition with interest.

The first note I’d like to make is that, watching the HUGE outpouring of support for Caitlyn and her transition has been heart-warming, although the cynic in me has wondered why we are so quick to vocalize our support for a celebrity when there are so many people struggling for support in our LGBT community closer to home. I have wild hopes that Caitlyn Jenner will work as a trailblazer, and the follow-on effects of her very public transition will include a more accepting society in general.

I’ve watched the first two episodes of ‘I am Cait’ avidly – at first out of a voyeuristic inclination, and then out of curiosity and interest.

My hesitations pre-‘I am Cait’ centred around the idea that Caitlyn Jenner was being hailed as the epitome of transgendered people, when she was coming from a background of huge privilege, and her journey has been (in many ways) much more supported and much more cushioned than that of other people in her situation. I love the way that this has been addressed in ‘I am Cait’, and to see Caitlyn’s realisation of the same.

I have watched her new friends talk about the ‘pink cloud’ and how Caitlyn’s apparent self-centredness and blindness to how she is treating those who have known her for years is all a part of her process. We are left with a sense of Caitlyn almost an adolescent, with that strange combination that we all carry at that point in our lives of being so totally sure of ourselves, and so completely out of our depths and learning about ourselves and the world all around. I am so impressed with how the series is panning out so far and will definitely be watching further.
My final thoughts? Here’s what I’ve concluded: if I had waited 65 years to live a life true to my essential being, I’d probably be a little self-centered about it too. AND actually…I come from a ‘normative’ gender story and a ‘normative’ socio-economic story, and as such, it’s really not mine to commentate this issue, but to sit back and learn.

Have you been watching? What are your thoughts?