Netflix_logo.svgNetflix came to Australia in March after being in other countries for years. It seems to be new and wonderful to those of us who don’t have cable TV, and I’m sure we’ve all heard our favourite UK and US vloggers, bloggers and friends talking about watching something on it numerous times.

I signed up and I’m part way through my free trial month. There are new films, TV shows and documentaries being added daily because let’s face it, at the moment we probably don’t even have a quarter of the titles on offer that other regions have.

I thought I’d have an occasional natter about things I’ve found in the catalogue, maybe you’ve seen it; maybe you have thoughts on things I should watch next.

Rita-Danish-Series-Netflix-1-12-15Rita is the first international (Dutch) TV show I’ve watched on Netflix.

Rita is in her element when in front of a classroom full of teens. However in her personal life she just can’t keep her ducks in a row. There is some adult content so probably not great for young teens, but for the older teens and adults with a sense of humour, you’ll be barracking for Rita by the end of the first episode.

The opening sequence is of Rita, (played by Mille Dinesen) smoking in the toilets and adding to the graffiti on the walls of the stall. This not only sets the tone, but gives us a quick snapshot of the character.

I snort-giggled at least five times in the first ten minutes, and I quickly worked my way through the two seasons available.

The cast is incredible and I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Lise Baastrup (Hjordis).

I give Rita a 4 out of 5 star rating.

Have you seen the program and if so, what did you think?


Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda compares the book and film version of Tomorrow When the World Began by John Marsden. I must say, that I (MDP), enjoyed the movie version a lot.



I read this one when I was in high school and swore that I would never bother with the Tomorrow series again. English classes have a lot to answer to for killing reading passion.

Seven teenagers head bush, and on their return to civilisation they realise the enitre region has become the epicentre of an invasion of Australia. They decide to slow down the enemy and take back their town.

Back then, I didn’t have the world knowledge to visualise the imagery, and the themes went over my head. Now, however, I get it. I no longer hate the unapologetic way that Marsden brings a country town atmosphere to the setting, and the fair dinkum Aussie-ness of the characters.

Yes, the book is now dated by 20 years or more, but the struggles are still relevant. It includes themes of love, fear, and the primal urge to survive, which are timeless and give Tomorrow, When The War Began a level of relevance, regardless of the decade. An Australian teen classic!

Paperback, 304 pages

Published June 1st 2006 by Scholastic (first published 1993)

ISBN 0439829100 (ISBN13: 9780439829106)



The film opens with Ellie recording a recount of her experiences. It then moves on to aerial shots of outback Australia with Steer by Missy Higgins adding an authentic ambience to the shot. Ellie working the property with her Dad certainly highlights the contrast between innocence and survival.

The movie has been updated from the book with the inclusion of contemporary technology such as mobile phones and videos. Filming was done across New South Wales, including places like Port Stephens and the Blue Mountains, which is exactly how I pictured it while reading.

The casting is as I imagined it, though I am not entirely sure if actor, Deniz Akdeniz, thought he should act the way he did, or if he was directed to do so. It just seemed off.

The storyline gallops along and there are no fatty bits to be trimmed. The adaption by the director, Stuart Beattie, is respectful and authentically brings the spirit of the book to life. They hit all the high points and, thank goodness, some of the more gruesome elements from the book are just a flash on the screen.

As mentioned before, the soundtrack is also pretty catchy with Jet, Wolfmother, Missy Higgins, and quite a few other great Aussie acts adding our flavour to the score.

It looks like there are plans to make the second book, The Dead of Night, next. I just hope the casting, script adaption, and location shoots can be lined up to bring the world John Marsden created to life.


Cathy and Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights

Clementine and Joel – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Gomez and Morticia – Addams Family

Navarre and Isabeau – Ladyhawke

Clark Kent and Lois Lane – Superman


hazel and gusBel

Booth and Brennan in the TV Show Bones

Hazel and Gus from the book The Fault In Our Stars

Kat and Patrick in the film 10 Things I hate about you

Beckett and Castle from the TV Show Castle

David and Maddie from the TV Show Moonlighting



veronica and loganAmy

Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV)

Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers – Women of the Otherworld series (books) and Bitten (TV)

Logan Echolls and Veronica Mars – Veronica Mars (TV and movie)

Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo – Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire (books and TV) – *sniffle*

Daine Sarrasri and Numair Salmalin – Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series (books)



Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl

Ezra Fitz and Aria Montgomery from Pretty Little Liars

Wily and Felicia from Valentines Day (The Movie)

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games

Tobias and Tris from Divergent



elizabeth and darcyKrista

Stan and Wendy : South Park (TV Show)

Beauty and The Beast (Disney Movie)

Edward and Bella (Twilight Book Series)

Nastya and Josh (Book: Sea of Tranquility-upper Teens)

Elizabeth and Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) My favorite version of this story is the movie starring Kiera Knightly



Hazel and Gus – The Fault in Our Stars, book and film

Maggie and Seth – the film, City of Angels

Buffy and Angel – the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Shrek and Princess Fiona – the Shrek movies

David and Keith – the TV series, Six Feet Under




hal and loisJoelene

Lofty and Tonker – Monstrous Regiment

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy – Pride and Prejudice (BBC mini-series and book)

Katchoo and Francine – Strangers in Paradise

Cassel Sharp and Lila Zacharov – Curse Workers trilogy

Lois and Hal – Malcolm in the Middle



Perfect ChemistryLisa

Alex & Brittany – Perfect Chemistry

Grace & Sam –  The Wolves of Mercy Falls

Violet & Jay – The Body Finder

Cassie & Ky – Crossed

Mia & Adam – If I Stay


I borrowed this one from Bolinda online borrowing through the Brisbane City Council Libraries and read along with the paperback. Dennis Olsen narrated this book and did a fabulous job of transporting you to Liesel’s side. The intervals of accordion music added a nice touch.

suzak_bookWe’re all so used to the atrocious tales of the mistreatment of Jews in Nazi Germany: concentration camps and pure evil, and usually told from the point of view of a victim. Our narrator is Death. Yep, you read that correctly, Death–busy guy in those years.

He tells us what he witnesses while observing the life of a German girl, displaced by circumstance. She is brought up by people who do their best to counteract injustices, even if they can only help a few people.

Liesel is just a girl, and yet she is so much more. She hungers for knowledge. She gets on with life and books help her travel on her journey with courage and chutzpah. There’s perhaps a little Liesel in all of us who treasure our books.

I was charmed, amused, engaged, enraged, and brought to tears by this beautifully crafted story written by Markus Zusak.

I’m getting goosebumps just watching the trailer. I couldn’t stand it if they haven’t done the original justice.

Audio book link

Paperback, 584 pages

Published November 1st 2013 by Picador Australia (first published January 1st 2005)

ISBN 1743515863 (ISBN13: 9781743515860)



Now I knew this would be a tearjerker of a movie thanks to the book, but the big mystery would be if the director, Brian Percival, could do justice to Mark’s book.

In short, the answer is YES! The visual element adds to the story in both beautiful and horrific ways.

The casting is perfect, from the narration of Death by Roger Allam, to Sophie Nelisse as Liesel Meminger. It completely matched the vision in my mind. This may have been because I had seen the trailer before reading the book, but I was convinced nonetheless.

Admittedly, some of the more graphic parts, such as some of the more horrific treatment of prisoners by the Nazi soldiers, were left out of the film, but I don’t think it would have added to the emotional impact. If anything, it would have lessened it with shock value, rather than allowing the story to flow.

I will definitely be watching this one again, because under all the tragedy and emotional turmoil, there is a heartfelt and solid story of strength, survival. and beauty.

Verdict – If you’re short on time, watch the movie. If you’re in the mood to be moved, pick the book. Either way, you’re not going to lose. Just make sure you have the tissues on hand.

‘Tis the season… To chill out.

SPARKS_ALL i WANTWe’re about to have a scorcher summer and a hotter than Hades holiday season.

I’m not really a jolly old soul when it comes to hitting the stores and dealing with so many people in a small space. I usually need to decompress and relax after hearing Jingle Bells for the millionth time. Here are five seasonal things I consider to be the big guns to surviving Christmas.

What things do you do to calm down after a hectic trip to the shops at this time of year?

Are there any Christmas things we should know about to help us chill out even more?


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