✈️ Gift her a holiday to Bali with The Last Paradise by Di Morrissey.
Grace has the perfect life: a job she loves, a beautiful daughter and a rich, successful husband. But one night, when their world falls apart in a shocking disaster, Grace suddenly sees what she couldn’t admit – her marriage and her husband are a fraud.
With the life she knew in tatters, she takes an assignment promoting the launch of a unique luxury hotel, hidden in a stunning, untouched oasis in the heart of tourist-crazed Bali. Here, Grace gathers the strength to take charge of her world. And, inspired by a woman’s story from long ago, she discovers a path to a future she’d never dared to imagine…
⌛ A jump back in time to 1930s Hungary with A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved.
Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now Illy’s mother has gifted her a curious notebook, its pages a mix of personal story and mathematical discovery, recounted by a woman full of hopes and regrets.
Inspired by a true story, Miriam Sved’s beautifully crafted novel charts a course through both the light and dark of human relationships: a vivid recreation of 1930s Hungary, a decades-old mystery locked in the story of one enduring friendship, a tribute to the selfless power of the heart.
☘️ Transport her to the fantasy land of Swan Island and the enchantment of ancient Ireland with Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier.
⭐ Short-listed for Aurealis Awards Best Fantasy Novel 2020
Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. While she and her brother are competing for places in this band, they are asked to go undercover as travelling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.
Their mission is to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship. If the harp is not played at the upcoming coronation, the heir will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into turmoil. Faced with plotting courtiers, secretive druids, an insightful storyteller and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realises an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the realm. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision – and the consequences may break her heart.
🐢Let mum get lost in a novel packed with family, friendship and feminism with Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel. It’s also the perfect book for mum to share with her book club. Read the first chapter here.
Eleven-year-old Allegra shuttles between her grandmothers who live next door to one another but couldn’t be more different. Matilde works all hours and instils discipline, duty and restraint. Meanwhile, free-spirited Joy is full of colour, possibility and emotion. She is riding the second wave of the women’s movement in the company of her penny tortoise, Simone de Beauvoir, encouraging Ally to live her ‘true essence’. And then there’s Rick who lives in a flat out the back and finds distraction in gambling and solace in surfing. He’s trying to be a good father to Al Pal, while grieving the woman who links them all but whose absence tears them apart.
Allegra is left to orbit these three worlds wishing they loved her a little less and liked each other a lot more. Until one day the unspoken tragedy that’s created this division explodes within the person they all cherish most.
When Alice Love surfaces from a strange dream to find she’s been injured in a gym, her first concern is for her unborn baby. She’s desperate to see her husband, Nick, who she knows will be worried about her.
But Alice isn’t pregnant. And Nick isn’t rushing to her bedside. She is a mother of three going through a bitter divorce.
Alice has lost ten years of her life – and she wants them back.
Florence Saint Claire is a loner. Albert Flowers is a social butterfly. Good friends who think they know each other.
But, somewhere between who they are, and who people think they are, lies The Best Kind of Beautiful.
Award-winning journalist and author Frances Whiting brings her renowned warmth and empathy to this witty and gentle novel about bringing out the best in each other.
💒 The world’s favourite storyteller weaves a stunning tale in The Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel.
The Deveraux family were among the most important members of 1920s San Francisco society, and the wedding of their daughter, Eleanor, to wealthy banker Alexander Allen would be the highlight of the social calendar. The wedding, held in the family’s magnificent mansion, was everything they’d hoped, and Eleanor’s dress was a triumph. Designed by one of the most famous fashion houses in Paris, it was exquisite in every way. But the dream life was about to come to an end, along with the most perfect honeymoon in Europe, when Alex received news of the Wall Street Crash. It seemed that the family was about to lose everything . . .
In the years that followed, the Deveraux lived through periods of huge social and political change. What brought them together was the beautiful wedding dress, first worn by Eleanor, which remained a family heirloom and continued to hold a special place in the hearts of a family desperate to survive the turmoil and changing fortunes of the times.
Or you (or the kids) can create the story yourself! I Love My Mum Because by Petra James & Alissa Dinallo is a customisable, interactive book that can be personalised just for your mum!
Draw, decorate, colour in, count, spot the mum, make a butterfly (or two) and then present the book to your mum for any special occasion: birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day … or just because.
We’ve also got some extra printable activities here.
🎨Gift your mum a journey into the power of being her own best friend with The Art of Self-kindness by Rebecca Ray.
This book is for you, the one with sensitivity as a super-power, though you’re still learning to offer it to yourself. You, the first to share a kind word with others even when you’re not gentle on yourself. You, known for your generosity but who forgets to give to yourself. This book is in your hands now because it’s time to befriend yourself.
Dr Rebecca Ray is a writer, speaker and clinical psychologist. She invites you into the practice of self-kindness as the bravest of human art forms. Cast aside the bullet-point lists or assembly instructions in favour of self-care that seeks flow over force and progress over prescription. Come on a journey back to yourself through the art of self-kindness.
🦑Invite mum on a spiritual quest with first, we make the beast beautiful by Sarah Wilson.
In first, we make the beast beautiful, Sarah directs her intense focus and fierce investigatory skills onto this lifetime companion of hers, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism her own experiences.
Sarah pulls at the thread of accepted definitions of anxiety, and unravels the notion that it is a difficult, dangerous disease that must be medicated into submission. Ultimately, she re-frames anxiety as a spiritual quest rather than a burdensome affliction, a state of yearning that will lead us closer to what really matters.
Practical and poetic, wise and funny, this is a small book with a big heart. It will encourage the myriad sufferers of the world’s most common mental illness to feel not just better about their condition, but delighted by the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life. Read an excerpt from this insightful book here.
💥Or share a counterintuitive approach to living a better life The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. Drawing on academic research and the life experience that comes from breaking the rules, Mark Manson is ready to explode that myth. The key to a good life, according to Manson, is the understanding that ‘sometimes shit is f*cked up and we have to live with it.’
Manson says that instead of trying to turn lemons into lemonade, we should learn to stomach lemons better, and stop distracting ourselves from life’s inevitable disappointments chasing ‘shit’ like money, success and possessions. It’s time to re-calibrate our values and what it means to be happy: there are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, he says, so we need to figure out which ones really matter.
From the writer whose blog draws two million readers a month and filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humour, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a welcome antidote to the ‘let’s-all-feel-good’ mindset that has infected modern society.
4. Gifting a book is like gifting a set of new skills!
🍅There’s no better skill right now than the skill of growing your own food! The Edible Garden Cookbook & Growing Guide by Paul West is the perfect toolkit for mum to start her own veggie garden.
Paul shares practical gardening advice, with guides on building a no-dig garden, composting and keeping chooks, and an A-Z guide of the veggies that are easiest to grow. There are also more than 50 of Paul’s favourite family recipes – simple, produce-driven dishes that are bursting with freshness and flavour. And then there are ideas for fun food activities to do with your community, whether it’s hosting a pickle party or passata day, brewing beer with some mates or whipping up a batch of homemade sausages.
The Edible Garden Cookbook & Growing Guide is a celebration of real food and vibrant community. It will inspire you to grow, cook and eat with those you love – and find real meaning along the way. Grab three free recipes from The Edible Garden here.
🥗And then she can turn her veggie-growing skills into vegetarian meals from the new edition of Community by Hetty McKinnon.
⭐ Short-listed for ABIA Illustrated Book of the Year 2015
Community moves salads firmly to the centre of the plate, injecting colour, life and flair into everyday vegetables, and showing you how to achieve exciting flavours and hearty main meals with simple, nourishing ingredients. These are the kind of recipes you will want to share with your family, friends and neighbours, time and time again.
Originally released in 2014, Community became an instant classic and favourite in kitchens all over Australia and around the world, creating a community of salad-lovers who are passionate about cooking and sharing vegetables. In this revised edition, Hetty shares 20 new recipes and some of those readers’ stories – with accompanying interviews and beautiful imagery – to give the book back to the fans who made it such a phenomenon.
🥂 Or gift her the skills to consume yummy meals (with a cheeky beverage) and still feel great with Eat, Drink and Still Shrink by Michele Chevalley Hedge.
Like you, Michele Chevalley Hedge wants to be able to eat delicious food, enjoy the odd glass of wine and still feel great. In this book, Michele draws on all the latest research and her many years’ experience as a nutritionist to provide a solution that works for the average busy person who wants to be healthy.
The sheer amount of nutritional information available nowadays can be overwhelming. But if we’re not eating well, we feel the impact in every part of our lives. Not only can a poor diet lead to weight gain, the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it also adversely affects our moods, our ability to sleep well and our energy levels – in short, everything we need to function well in this modern age.
So, what’s the answer? Certainly not deprivation; all the science tells us that ‘diets’ (especially the extreme, yo-yo variety) don’t work. What the science does show is that eating a balanced diet of nourishing wholefoods – with the odd treat thrown in – is your ticket to ageing well, a lean healthy body, a sense of vitality, abundant energy and better brain function. Get a free recipe for burrito cups here.
📗 If she’s not read the book, then she needs to read the book…it’s been described as ‘life-changing’ by the New York Times! The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was turned into a major motion picture.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and it is her first act of book thievery.
So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
Award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
🚸Bragging rights are in order for those who have read the book AND watched the series. Give mum the book that inspired the hit HBO TV show, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
⭐Short-listed for ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015
Parents behaving badly…a tragic accident…or murder? What isn’t in doubt is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with: witty, noisy and passionate. She remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. But perfection is often an illusion. Jane is a single mum with a mysterious past who carries a sadness beyond her years.
These three women, all with children starting at the same school, are about to tell the little lies that can turn lethal…
📘Now a BBC TV show, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is a stunning book that is perfect for mums who love historical fiction.
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways…
Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?
Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense…
👗 This beautiful novel is now a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth. Let mum read The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, then she can watch these amazing actors bring it to life on screen!
Tilly Dunnage has come home to care for her mad old mother. She left the small Victorian town of Dungatar years before, and became an accomplished couturier in Paris. Now she earns her living making exquisite frocks for the people who drove her away when she was ten. Through the long Dungatar nights, she sits at her sewing machine, planning revenge.
The Dressmaker is a modern Australian classic, much loved for its bittersweet humour. Set in the 1950s, its subjects include haute couture, love and hate, and a cast of engagingly eccentric characters.
The major motion picture also stars Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, and extras from the author’s hometown of Jerilderie.