Is there anything more powerful than a girlfriend gathering? Whatever the subtext of the get-together, I always walk away feeling lighter and smarter, revelling in the wisdom of the female mind. I had two such opportunities recently: a 50th birthday weekend away and an annual book club.

At the weekend away, we were a group of girls brought together by our love of the birthday girl. Her sister had planned a marvellous overnight stay on the Mornington Peninsula complete with a yoga session and a laughter workshop. Cocktails and dinner followed with the opportunity to chat and exchange our latest goings-on.

Similarly, the book club comprised a group of girls brought together by our commitment to the charity we were raising money for and our love of books.

What both gatherings had in common was the inclination to share with one another what makes life easier, simpler or better or in today’s parlance, life hacks. I’ve been so delighted by the impact of these hacks on my routine, what better way to honour them than to share them and spread the word:

  • Starting the day with a green smoothie (blend spinach, celery, cucumber, an orange, 1/2 banana & water- makes two portions) believe me, I rolled my eyes with this one but after two weeks on the regime (actually four times a week is as much as I can bear) I’m feeling lighter and oh so virtuous adding more green veggies to my diet;
  • Food delivery service ( Google it – there are two that have cornered the market) – who hasn’t suffered decision fatigue about dinner? This service eases the load with new recipes each week delivering the exact portions you require; I am a tad concerned about all the packaging they use which is stated to be recyclable and have inquired about returning the large cardboard boxes for re-use but alas they allege it isn’t possible atm;
  • Maintenance tips: remove makeup and clean your face with Micellar wipes – they feel great against your skin and actually remove the grit of the day; Klorane dry shampoo and Keratherapy grey root concealer spray– maximises the time between hair washing and colouring both of which I find an irritating waste of time;
  • Podcasts worth your while:
    • Israel Story: beyond politics, religion and the conflict, incredible stories are told about the messiness and complexity of Israeli lives;
    • Chat 10, Looks 3: it’s like you’re eavesdropping in on Annabel Crabbe and Leigh Sales’ friendship that includes cooking tips and book and film reviews;
    • Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History: events in history that were either misunderstood or ignored now revisited with his curious and probing intellect;
    • The Moth: themed storytelling told without notes or prompts – quality can vary but on the whole fascinating;
    • More or Less; Behind the Statistics: challenges those stats you hear that seem crazy and usually are;
    •  and most recently, Call Your Mother (repeat with a Brooklyn accent) – two female Jewish journos discussing the messiness of being a Jew, a parent and most entertainingly, a Jewish parent interspersed with fabulous interviews of Jewish “celebrities” topped off by a call to the mother of one of the journos with an amusing question;
    • The Squiz – both a podcast and an email in your inbox every morning at 6am summarising the previous 24 hrs of news in an entertaining and irreverent manner.

And the most significant hack of all? Understanding that we all struggle with the juggle. We all agonise over whether we’ve made the right decisions as we’re pulled in different directions. Being able to share, commiserate with and support each other informs us that far from being alone, far from the curated images we’re barraged with, we are all flawed and trying to do our best. Sometimes our best falls short. Our girlfriends embrace us nonetheless.

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Liora Miller
Liora Miller is the managing editor of Jewish Women of Words. She is also a project manager at an independent school in Melbourne. She’s the mother of three, usually healthy, opinionated children. In a previous life she was a political adviser and costs lawyer.

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