Do you love the sound of Stephen Fry’s voice?

In 2015 our family embarked on a ‘big red road trip’ from Darwin in the north of Australia, down to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. It was 1,500 kilometres with just me, my husband, our two kids… and Stephen Fry.

And when I say Stephen Fry, I mean we listened to a Harry Potter audio book narrated by Stephen Fry. Sadly, he wasn’t in the car with us. Though even if he wanted to come there wouldn’t have been room, what with the tents and the eskies and the lilos and the sleeping bags and every other essential you need on a getting back to nature road trip.

Hour after hour, kilometre after kilometre, Stephen talked us through the Australian outback. Often as we pulled up at majestic landmarks – Kakadu, the Olgas, Uluru, Karlu Karlu – we would all look at each other and taciturnly agree to stay in the car until Stephen finished the particular chapter we were on. I don’t know if we were sadder when the trip ended or the audio book finished.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I heard that Stephen Fry was one of the narrators on the new audio version of the tenth anniversary edition, The Life You Can Save. If you haven’t heard of it, The Life You Can Save is Peter Singer’s landmark book about how we can all be doing our part to end world poverty. Don’t take my word for it though. Check out what Bill Gates says about it – “A persuasive and inspiring work that will change the way you think about philanthropy… and shows us we can make a profound difference in the lives of the world’s poorest.”

Having different celebrities narrate different chapters of the book is such a great idea. As well as my favourite voice ever, Stephen Fry, there is also a chapter narrated by Kristen Bell. For those of you who haven’t watched The Good Place yet, get to it – super funny. Kristen plays the role of Eleanor Shellstrop – a morally challenged character and an absolutely inspired choice to narrate a book on ethics.

And guess what? You can download a copy of the audio book – or the ebook if for some reason you want to read it yourself rather than have Stephen Fry read it to you – for free.

And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better? For every time the book is downloaded before the 31 December, US$1 is donated to The Life You Can Save.

Download your copy of either the audio book or the ebook of The Life You Can Save from here. You’re welcome.

September 2017: Give your birthday to make them smile at Christmas

Through my job I am lucky enough to have met a gorgeous colleague who lives and works in the Côte d’Ivoire in Africa. She has been out to Melbourne twice and it’s been lovely getting to know her.

This year Doris was recognised at work for a charity she has set up, ‘Gift your birthday’. People pledge their birthdays to the charity, and instead of presents their family and friends donate money or goods. The ‘Gift your birthday’ organization then arranges four events each year to pass the money and goods on to people in need in Côte d’Ivoire – orphans, handicapped children, those living with ill health or in poverty.

Doris visited Melbourne for the second time in September and spent a fun day with our family – bbq breakfast Aussie style overlooking the water and the city views, fiercely contested soccer match (turns out Doris loves her soccer as much as my son loves his), stroll through the local market, all topped off with ice cream in the sunshine.

Lots of fun and also a great opportunity to hear more about the charity Doris has set up, her motivation and her experience.

As a result, our September donation was made directly into the bank account of ‘Gift your birthday’. The money goes towards their last event for 2017, the ‘Make them smile for Christmas’ campaign. The event aims to provide 150 children who are handicapped or living in difficult conditions with Christmas presents, as well as equipping the canteen of a local centre in Côte d’Ivoire.

Our pale blue dot is definitely a kinder place thanks to people like Doris.