Why Fletch is in the dog house…

Even after centuries years of marriage, I sometimes still have cause to look at Fletch in amazement, shake my head and say ‘Really? Seriously? I mean, you REALLY, even now, still don’t GET me?’

I mean, he couldn’t understand me, could he? Not when I only find out LAST NIGHT that while he was swanning around at the British TV Awards last week he met and had a photograph with MR BIG. Yes… THE Mr Big, of Sex and the City fame. AND he FORGOT to tell me!!!

Mr Big (aka Chris Noth) and Fletch at the British Soap Awards

Mr Big (aka Chris Noth) and Fletch at the British Soap Awards

How in a zillion years could you forget to relate such a momentous meeting?

Me, who has always been such a HUGE Sex and The City fan. Me, who has the entire box set of every series, who adores Sarah Jessica Parker, who aspired to be my own version of Carrie and who obsessed over Mr Big for years?

Not even a phone call on the night? He could have passed the phone to my fantasy beloved and we could finally have had a REAL conversation??

Seriously peeved. But that’s fine. He can have a ball, kicking up his heels with the rich and famous in London… because I can make my own fun. And I will. I’m heading off to a winery now for a VERY long lunch. Let’s see how that goes….

(And yes, I have AGAIN failed to stick to my Blogging schedule as today was SUPPOSED to be Fashion Friday Blog, but I needed to vent. In fact, I think a signature of my Blogs will be the footnotes at the end of each story, explaining and justifying WHY I haven’t stuck to my own Grand Plan, yet again. And again. Well, the art of rationalisation is something to be admired, isn’t it??)

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men… I had to find out where that saying actually came from this morning as I sat down to explain the irony of my GRAND PLAN gone wrong. Turns out it was from way, WAY back – from a poem by Robert Burns, called ‘To a Mouse’, that he penned in 1786.

The Grand Plan

The Grand Plan

Yes, on Tuesday I put a Blog out to the world, declaring how organised and reliable a Blogger I was going to become – with different themed stories for each day. And while I stated clearly I was never intending to Blog EVERY day, I had hoped to keep to the schedule for…hmmm… well… I guess, at least a week or two.

But NO, let’s just kick that plan to the ground and stomp it into smithereens on DAY ONE shall we? Why not, dear stomach? Why not take on a terrible bug that makes me so ill I can barely move from my bed? Thank God I was at least well enough before it really took hold, to get to a hair colouring session with Linda, (who I Blogged about last week), because God knows she’s so booked up I might not have gotten another appointment till Christmas…

Then I came home and fell in a heap. With legs heavy as lead, I collapsed into bed and you don’t want to know the rest. Suffice to say it involved the bathroom and it wasn’t pretty. And then I slept. And slept.

The irony being that I WAS going to write about healthy stuff today – Thursday being my self-appointed Blogging day for fitness, recipes and diet tips – but who am I to dish out advice, feeling like this?

I will offer one piece of advice though. Earlier in the year I blogged about trying the ‘Sugar Free’ diet. Which, on my terms, meant I was allowed to eat anything that had five per cent or less sugar, plus wine. (in moderation!) I was proud of myself for lasting more than six weeks and I felt great. But since ditching this concept, largely due to laziness, I reckon the old bod has taken a turn for the worse. Not only in terms of putting on a few kilos (AGAIN!) but in terms of general well-being and feeling good about the world.

Chocolate bullets

Chocolate bullets

And you know what? Just before I got knocked down by this tummy bug, I had a MASSIVE chocolate binge. Yep, a few layers from a block of Cadbury Crunchie chocolate topped up by half a pack of these little buggers. Chocolate bullets. And they hit their target. Not long after, it was all downhill.

See? Sugar really is Sweet Poison. I’m getting back on that health kick thingie pronto. I must make another plan…




Doesn’t anybody use the phone any more? Plus my latest Blog Plan…


Conversations beat text messaging

Conversations beat text messaging

I was thrilled to see a girlfriend’s name pop up on the mobile this morning and very much enjoyed our half hour chat. Especially as it’s been a bit of a bugbear for me lately that people just AREN’T making the effort when it comes to communication.



We lead such busy lives, that often it’s easier to just send a text or an email. But nothing beats a REAL conversation. Dry words on an electric device just don’t carry the same depth and meaning and can often lead to mis-communication.

Take this example last week when I received a text message from a girlfriend in the UK after she spied Fletch making an appearance on a TV show over there.

‘No email, no text. He just turns up on Loose Women. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be Okay.’

Wow – my eyebrows to nearly hit the ceiling. My first reaction was – ‘Of course, she’s joking.’ But what if she wasn’t? What if she was genuinely offended we hadn’t let her know Fletch was heading over there?

Texting can lead to miscommunication

Texting can lead to miscommunication

And that’s the problem with text messages – there’s no TONE in them. We can’t hear the sarcasm, the dry irony, the jesting voice – and that’s where the miscommunication comes in. Luckily in this instance our lovely friend was OF COURSE joking, but it did give me cause for a few unsettled moments until we  clarified the issue.



Likewise, I’ve been told by a few friends lately that I need to be a better blogging communicator – that I need to have a BLOG PLAN so that readers know what to expect from this website. They want a clearer picture of what’s coming up on which day.

Point taken. I get that. And especially as you may have noticed some new advertising at the top and bottom of these posts, I’m aiming to put in more effort to make this magazine-style Blog a more professional venture.

A promise to my readers to kick off with – I vow NEVER to allow POP-UP advertising on this website. I abhor those.

I can’t promise to post a Blog every day – (even Fletch thinks that’s overkill) – but I’ll try to stick to a certain theme or topic for each day of the week. So the Blog Plan I propose is this:

MONDAY – A feature interview or opinion piece on a topical issue

TUESDAY – A light-hearted look at life or a family story

WEDNESDAY – Beauty tips or a review of the latest products

THURSDAY – Health forum, dietary advice and recipes

FRIDAY – Fashion review and Internet shopping tips

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – Most likely rest days, but if I’ve been to a fun social event, I’ll post pics here and call it The Social Pages.

SO that’s the plan. Stay tuned to see how it pans out. But right now, isn’t there someone you need to phone?

IKEA Survival Tips

Ikea Richmond

Ikea Richmond


If you’re anything like me, then the mere thought of visiting that massive maze IKEA, leaves you reaching for the whiskey bottle. I’d rather watch Tony Abbott attempting a Baywatch sprint along the beach in his budgie smugglers than go anywhere near the place. (Actually, that might be overstating it a tad…)


Past experience has taught me that you never escape IKEA in less than two hours, by which stage you’re tearing your hair out with frustration after getting stuck in the maze that is its furniture display area, fighting through harried crowds of similarly frustrated customers, then arriving home with a load of junk you never intended buying and swearing you’ll never go back. It’s even worse than trying to shop at an Aldi supermarket.

Fletch with fellow Neighbours actors Saskia Hampele

Fletch with fellow Neighbours actors Saskia Hampele

With Fletch being in the UK, I decided to freshen up his office to surprise him on his return. (It’s okay – he’s on a plane now so won’t read this before getting home.) After much research, the best option for a new rug – taking price, size and colour into account – was… sadly… IKEA.

A bit unfair when you think about it. He flies overseas, swanning around presenting prizes at the British Soap Awards while I get stuck with a visit to IKEA.

But the desire to renovate was stronger than my IKEA-phobia, so I decided not to let the place defeat me. I’d make a cunning plan and come out tops.


And GUESS WHAT? The plan actually WORKED!! I managed to get in and out of that vast wasteland of consumerism in FIFTEEN MINUTES. I was very up myself about this record-breaking feat, so tweeted the fact and was met with a big reaction – meaning LOTS of you guys related to the trauma of an IKEA visit. So I thought it best to Blog my tips to help you all when you next take the plunge.


1. Do your research before heading to the store. Jump on the Internet and work out which items you need and write down the details. Then phone the store to check they are in stock.

2. Do not take small children with you.

3. Wear runners – not heels – you need to make some quick crowd-busting moves.

4. Try to plan your trip mid-week when fewer customers will be vying for attention from sales staff.

Try NOT to go through the showroom

Try NOT to go through the showroom

5. Accost the front-of-store help-person on arrival to verify the location of the goods you’re looking for. If you’re in luck, you can TAKE A SHORT CUT and head straight to the MARKET HALL section, by-passing the entire furniture display area. This will save you at least half an hour. I was in luck yesterday as all I needed was a rug.

6. If you can’t see your item immediately, accost another sales person to help you otherwise you’ll waste precious time wandering around.

7. DO NOT STOP to look at any other items that grab your attention. They are NOT on your list. STICK TO YOUR LIST.

8. When you have all your items, head to the self-checkout service section, which is much, MUCH quicker than queuing for a checkout assistant to process your purchases.

Sprinting with a load...

Sprinting with a load…

9. Sprint to the car so that hopefully you will make it out of the car-park in under an hour, which means parking is FREE.

10. Congratulate yourself on being such a smart, efficient shopper and head home for that whiskey.

See – you can actually visit IKEA without having a nervous breakdown!!

The old stained rug

The old stained rug


And what a difference the rug made to Fletch’s office. Just over a year ago, we’d rearranged rooms and somehow, he’d ended up with an old faded, stained pink rug that used to be in Veronica’s room when she was little. Well past it’s use-by date…


Fletch's new rug - on sale for just $149

Fletch’s new rug – on sale for just $149


What an improvement! A clean, cream rug to lighten up a dull space. And it was on sale too.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, that is a spare bed in his office. Just in case he’s in the doghouse or snoring too loudly. A girl’s got to be prepared…


Dental avoidance OR How Time Flies – New Year’s Resolution Update


It’s more than THREE MONTHS since I last posted a New Year’s Resolution update – my, how time flies!

A VERY belated check up...

A VERY belated check up…

That was also brought home by an embarrassing visit to the dentist this morning. As I lay back in the recliner chair, I noticed a newly designed courtyard outside the facing window of the surgery. It’s a pretty white-pebbled and ferny space; a pleasant distraction from the painful work going on inside one’s mouth.



‘Gee, you built that quickly,’ I remarked. ‘That wasn’t here last time.’
‘Ah, no, it wasn’t that quick,’ said Christine, looking at me as though I was one snag short of a barbie. ‘You haven’t been here for two years.’

TWO YEARS? Are you kidding? I felt like I’d been woken from a coma. Usually I visit the dentist every six months like clockwork. It occurred to me two weeks ago that I hadn’t received a reminder notice for a while, so made this appointment without being prompted. I thought maybe a year at most had passed – probably less than a year – so I was staggered to find out it was in fact, more than TWO YEARS. How slack! Or was I sub-consciously avoiding something I dislike intensely?

The ‘time whizzing past’ concept also reminded me I haven’t posted a New Year’s Resolution update for more than three months. As I said in the last update all those moons ago, I was beginning to find them repetitive to write on a WEEKLY basis, which meant they must have been boring to read, so decided to take a short break. Which became a longish break…

Now it’s definitely time for an update, so here’s how those resolutions are looking nearly five months down the track:


(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – HA, HA, HA and HA! Hmmm… yes, I was starting to fall off the wagon at the end of six weeks and things haven’t improved since. To be honest, I ate a Crunchie bar for breakfast this morning. So NOT GOOD. I love the concept, though, and would like to tackle this again, but on a less extreme level.

Regardless, I will keep eating The Muesli for breakfast most days – except when there’s a Crunchie Bar lying around.

I felt great (and lost weight!)  when I gave up sugar, but there were too many treats I missed – sharing chocolate with my daughter while watching a DVD, buying a fruit bun down the street while doing the food shop and ICE-CREAM.

Crazy Sexy Diet

Crazy Sexy Diet

Now I’ve come across a new diet – which includes a lot of GREEN JUICE – and I’ll share that with you next week. It also involves some tips from the Crazy, Sexy Diet book by Kris Carr, which is well worth a read.

After much research, I’ve even bought a whiz bang juicer and will give you the low-down on which is the best on the market and why, next week.



(2) Not to play I-Phone Games – I failed on this one too. I went through a downer-patch in Feb/March and resorted to playing games as a mind-numbing way of blocking out the bad stuff. I suppose it’s better than taking drugs.

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March – And again, I laugh. Not because I failed, but because I COMPLETELY FORGOT this one. I have managed to clear a mass of paperwork piles from the floor, but the desk still looks like a tsunami’s hit.

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week – At last – a tick! YES!!! For a short while I was inspired by my new trainer, Ross, who I Blogged about. Then Ross left for another gym, so now I’m doing classes instead. Which I like. In fact, this week I have been to a Spin Class (stationary group bike-riding) three times already. Yay, me. It helps to combat that sugar addiction.

Give smoking the chop

Give smoking the chop

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again – Another tick. Big back pat. It really does get easier all the time. Especially when you pass the one-year mark. This is my biggest achievement and even though I was slightly tempted on a recent girls’ night, I stayed strong.

I don’t think I’d be surviving as many spin classes if I was still a smoker and the financial saving is also a huge bonus.


So overall, I’ve scored two out of five. Which doesn’t say a lot about my willpower. Or are New Year’s Resolutions pointless? Did you make any this year? Have you stuck to them? I’d love to hear your stories in our comments section.


Double Agent Linda Chisolm

This was going to be one of those ‘Inspirational Life Changes’ stories – you know, where I interview someone who has dived into a radical career change mid-life and made a ripping success of it all.

But in this instance, that’s not really the case. You see, horse-riding champion and hair colourist extraordinaire Linda Chisolm IS taking a new direction in life, but she’s also going to continue working in the salon. So it’s really an ‘Inspirational Life Juggling’ story – a case of combining careers, rather than ditching one for the other.

I first met Linda about eighteen years ago when I was working at Channel Ten and moved from Nunawading to the Como building in South Yarra. I stumbled into a hair salon across the road and found Linda, who was not only a brilliant colourist, but we got along famously. So even though it was very convenient having Linda so close to work, as soon as she left for a new salon, I followed. And I’ve been following her ever since.

Linda ONLY does COLOUR – no cutting, primping, curling etc… and that’s probably why she’s a master at her craft. I reckon she also makes a damn fine therapist with her ability to dish out pithy, down-to-earth no-nonsense advice when you thrust one of your dramas under her nose for dissection.

I also love the fact that she’s rarely impressed by celebrity. While she’s got a long list of famous VIP clients, she’s never a name-dropper and has been known to refuse to work with certain celebs if they prove to be difficult clients. She just couldn’t be bothered.

I asked whether she was nervous, colouring Kylie Minogue’s famous tresses many moon ago. ‘Not really,’ she said. ‘I’ve worked all over the world and people are people. They’re all the same – they just want to look nice.’ Simple, but true.

Linda at work

Linda at work

Linda is a little unusual in that she didn’t want me to photograph her working AND she doesn’t want me to mention the salon where she works. That’s because she’s not looking for new clients (being the best colourist in Melbourne) as her diary is chockers and she doesn’t need new people pestering her for a dose of hair magic.

The other reason Linda doesn’t want me to advertise her talents is that she’s cutting back on hours to focus more on her greater passion – HORSES.



This new gig Linda’s taken on is quite obscure. The fact that it’s SO unusual meant I had to write about it. Although when I first suggested to Linda that you couldn’t find two professions further apart – horses and hair – she rightly corrected me. ‘There’s some similarities between the grooming of horses and people. There’s products, plaiting, lots of washing!’

But don’t get the wrong idea – Linda’s new role doesn’t involve horse grooming. Instead, she and her partner, Stefan, will be importing top-end horse trailers from the United States. (See, I told you it was obscure.)

The opportunity arose when Linda spotted a huge gap in the horse trailer market. ‘We’d bought a couple of Australian-made ones and we weren’t happy with them. Not with the fit-out or the finish or the options. So we started looking in America and we bought our first one and through that, became dealers for the American brand. Which is Trail Rider Trailers,’ she said.

Linda and Stefan researched many companies overseas and Trail Riders came out on top. ‘They’re the best built in the field, offering the biggest range of options. It’s also a small, family-owned business and the trailers aren’t mass-produced so we knew we’d get good workmanship. They do a fantastic job and are happy to customise.’

Trail Riders Trailers - the high end of the horse trailer market

Trail Riders Trailers – the high end of the horse trailer market

A decent sized kitchen and dining area

A decent sized kitchen and dining area

Linda has been riding horses in events around the country since she was a child, so has a pretty good idea about what people are using and what’s on the market. She says it was hard to find trailers in Australia that offered simple luxuries like an oven or even a toilet.

Sleep in style

Sleep in style



As for sleeping quarters, the Trailer Riders bed is five-star compared to what’s on offer from other brands. But Linda says not all her trailers are as ritzy as this one we’re looking at. ‘They can be very high-end or not so high-end. But it’s the quality of the fit-out that makes all the difference. You can customise the size to whatever you want, that’s legal in Australia, which is 43-feet long.’

Royal Retro trailer

Royal Retro trailer

The range of options you can put in these beauties is astounding, including a washing-machine, electric fireplace, a ceiling fan – all sorts of options Linda says you just can’t get in Australia.

Even a toilet!!

Even a toilet!!

Now she’s the envy of her horse-riding friends. ‘I usually get a big WOW when they walk in,’ she says with a smile. ‘For a horse-person, these trailers are heaven. Everything is in the right place and it’s a great ride with fantastic suspension. You spend a lot of time and money on your horse going to shows, so you want to be comfortable. It becomes your holiday, your pastime. Most horsey people don’t head off to Bali for two weeks. They go to a national show and it’s their life-style.’

Linda reining

Linda reining

On top of colouring hair and marketing her new horse-trailer business, Linda also competes at events. ‘I do a sport called reining,’ she said. ‘It’s a discipline that started in America. The reining horse is known for its ‘sliding stop’ and its ‘turn around’ and spin,’ she explained.


‘They’re manoeuvres that came from when horses worked with cattle on ranches and they’ve been exaggerated for the show ring. You ride in a pattern and unlike dressage, it’s all at a canter. Or a lope, as we call it in the western world.’

Apparently it’s a huge sport internationally and is growing in popularity in Australia. ‘It’s very big in America of course, and Germany, Italy and we’re now a sport that’s involved in WEG. That’s the World Equestrian Games.  I think it will become an Olympic discipline eventually.’

Linda winning Reserve Champion at Werribee

Linda winning Reserve Champion at Werribee

Linda’s been ‘reining’ for about seven years now and has won several awards – one about two months ago in Werribee. ‘It’s a difficult sport,’ she said. ‘Much harder than I thought it would be! Like any horse discipline, you’re always learning and working at it. It’s more difficult than it looks as it’s a one-handed event.’

ONE-HANDED?! Jeez… then I’m guessing Linda has a pretty good connection with her horse to ride with such control.

‘Ah, you need a horse that’s really broke’ she laughed. ‘My horse is gorgeous. His show name is Red Hair and Freckles. He’s definitely up there with my favourites.’

With so much going on (selling trailers, reining competitions…) I was most relieved to hear Linda wouldn’t be ditching her colouring job. (PHEW!!) ‘I love my hair, I like my clients,’ she said. (YAY!!) ‘It might get a little tricky, juggling both, but I’ll manage.’

If you’d like to contact Linda about these impressive horse trailers, you can email her at


and check out the trailer website at:

or she has a Facebook page, for updated news – just reference Australian Horse Trailers and LIKE it!!

Salon Golightly, Prahran

Salon Golightly, Prahran

And just in case you want to TRY to get a hair colour appointment with Linda, she works at Salon Golightly in Prahran. (Now she’ll kill me.) Good luck….

Salon Golightly: 175 Greville street, Prahran
Ph: 9533 9966



Why this is something you should add to your Weekend TO DO list…


It’s pretty simple really. If you go along to the Cambridge Studio Gallery in Collingwood anytime between now and June 1st, you’ll be a winner in more ways than one.

(1) You’ll get to see a brilliant art exhibition by famed painter OTTO BORON. 

(2) Your visit is very likely to help the BUILD FOUNDATION in their mission to help underprivileged children in Cambodia.

(3) You may possibly BUY a piece of art that will be a wonderful investment – and if you can’t afford one, then a raffle ticket for just $10 may end up sending a masterpiece your way.

I was asked along on Wednesday night to officially ‘open’ the ART FROM THE HEART Exhibition. Set in the light and airy Cambridge Studio Gallery, I was mighty impressed by Otto Boron’s collection. It’s easy to see why his work has been highly acclaimed over the years, winning many awards including Otto being named Victorian Artist of the Year, twice.

Cambridge Studio Gallery

Cambridge Studio Gallery

Kanyaka Ruins - $1300

Kanyaka Ruins – $1300

This exhibition is bold and expressionistic; a combination of images ranging from portraits of children in Cambodia, to derelict, deconstructed buildings abandoned in Australian rural landscapes.

I think you can see a touch of Cezanne, Picasso and even Fred Williams influences in some of these pieces and I truly believe they will make for a great investment, because they are so modestly priced.



Termite Landscape, Northern Territory - $3500

Termite Landscape, Northern Territory – $3500


Territorial Geese - $3500

Territorial Geese – $3500

Reflection - $3500

Reflection – $3500

Children of Cambodia - $4500

Children of Cambodia – $4500

Rice Carrier - $1200

Rice Carrier – $1200

Robert Lee, President of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria spoke on the night, highlighting Otto’s achievements and explaining how Otto’s work, with its strong textures and images, presents an often-poignant view of the world.

I was delighted to meet with Otto on the night and learn we had a couple of things in common. One – we’ve both worked in TV. Otto was in fact head scenic artist at the ABC for twenty years. Two – like Otto, I also prefer working with oils when I paint. And he gave me a couple of great tips about texture too. (This will only interest any aspiring artists out there – but if you like working with a palette knife, Otto says he has a better idea. He buys firm but flexible plastic strips from Bunnings – in the paint section of the store – to get thicker strokes. I’m heading there tomorrow.)

Robert Lee, Otto Boron and me

Robert Lee, Otto Boron and me

He might be into his seventies, but this Italian-born painter (Otto migrated here in 1959) is still as productive as ever. He says his ability to paint quickly comes from the pressures of working in the TV industry. Ah ha! I get that…

Not only exceptionally talented, he’s also a generous soul. Fifty per cent of all works sold will go to the BUILD FOUNDATION, helping disadvantaged children in Cambodia.

Otto’s daughter, Tania, is part of the BUILD FOUNDATION which began five years ago. Headed by Mark O’Connell, it started out sending volunteers on trips to Cambodia and is now involved in a five-year-project, which is halfway to completion. The project involves the building of a Community Development Centre, which includes a medical centre, classrooms, vocational training building, a library and agricultural areas.

Tania Boron and Mark O'Connell from the Build Foundation

Tania Boron and Mark O’Connell from the Build Foundation

What’s really impressive is how much BUILD has been able to achieve – funding all this through its own fund-raising efforts. Congratulations guys, for doing such an outstanding job – changing the lives of so many people for the better!

And congratulations to Otto Boron and the Cambridge Studio Gallery for putting together such an inspiring exhibition.

Now, here’s the artwork you could win if you buy a raffle ticket before June 1st. So for a mere TEN DOLLARS you could win this painting, worth $1600!!! Get along to the gallery and put your hand in your packet for a worthy cause.

'Rundown Farm Shed', the painting in the raffle, worth $1600

‘Rundown Farm Shed’, the painting in the raffle, worth $1600

Cambridge Studio Gallery
52 Cambridge St
Collingwood Victoria 3066 Australia
Hours of operation:
Wednesday – Saturday
11:00am – 5:00pm
(03) 9486 0169






Some people don’t believe she’s REALLY my Mum

When I tell people my Mum rarely drinks, never smoked, doesn’t swear and often goes to Church on Sundays, people raise their eyebrows and question where I came from. Okay, so I don’t smoke anymore, but really, I’m not THAT bad!! We just do some things differently…
Regardless, we spend a helluva lot of time together because our families are close and Mum and my wonderful stepfather Ken, do an enormous amount to help out on the home front. They even walk the dogs for us when I’m strapped for time. (I know – I’m spoilt.) When the kids were very young, they’d have sleep-overs at Grandma and Papa’s practically every Friday night so Fletch and I could have a social life. (Again, yes, very spoilt…) And if Mum babysits, I often arrive home to find the ironing all done. (Okay, I’ll shut-up now…)
But I also have siblings – two older brothers and a younger sister – so most of the family get-togethers involve lots of relatives with aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and fabulous, noisy mayhem. So the one day of the year I get Mum all to myself is when I take her to the annual Crown Mother’s Day Lunch. It’s always a very special day and we both feel very lucky to be included.
Mum and me heading off to Crown

Mum and me ready to head off to Crown

This year’s event was at the uber cool Mr Hive restaurant at Crown’s Metropol Hotel. Ken even drove us in – bless him – so we didn’t have to bother with parking or a taxi.
Mr Hive Restaurant at Crown

Mr Hive Restaurant at Crown

As we walked out of the lift, you could hear the buzz from the restaurant – the place bursting with excited conversation as we arrived – everybody trying to get around to as many people as possible before we took our seats. The room looked stunning, each table adorned with a beautiful floral arrangement.
Host Ann Peacock

Host Ann Peacock

As always, Crowns’ General Manager of Public Relations, Ann Peacock was there, stylishly dressed and greeting everyone with a warm smile. Knowing what Annie was going through, with her mum, Susan, battling cancer, I knew it must be a tough call. It was the first time in sixteen years I’d been to the lunch and not caught up with Susan. For Annie to see everyone there with their mums and not have her own by her side must have been bloody awful.
Yet still she took to the podium and made her annual Mother’s Day speech. Bravely, she spoke about her Mum’s ordeal and what Susan and her family were going through. Every year I take a tissue to this lunch because something emotional happens and I’m a big sook. But this year I wasn’t alone. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when Annie finished and was met with a standing ovation. She spoke with grace and dignity, her words of love and pain, direct and honest. God knows how she didn’t fall apart… I’m betting she’s inherited a good dose of her mother’s strength.

If there’s no greater love than that of a mother for her child, you can imagine the feeling in Hive over lunch – all these mothers with their children – to whom they have given so much love and support, enabling their kids to get to where they are today – it’s a pretty powerful vibe.

Jules Lund with his mum, Judy

Jules Lund with his mum, Judy

Here’s a photo collection of some of the mums and their sometimes famous off-spring – starting with radio host Jules Lund, whose mum was giving him an earful over his new piercings – all part of an on-air dare. Jules has promised Judy he’ll have them removed as soon as possible. And yes, there is also one just under his lip – it’s not clear in the pic.

Brigitte Duclos with her mum, Shelia.

Brigitte Duclos with her mum, Shelia.

Jane Kennedy and her mum, Jill

Jane Kennedy and her mum, Jill

Heloise Waislitz and her mum, Jeanne Pratt

Heloise Waislitz and her mum, Jeanne Pratt

Patti and Lauren Newton

Patti and Lauren Newton

Andrea Moss and her mum, Diane John

Andrea Moss and her mum, Diane John

Lauren Phillips with her mum, Liz Coningsby

Lauren Phillips with her mum, Liz Coningsby

Tania Buckley and Janine Minnici

Tania Buckley and Janine Minnici

Tim Campbell and his mum, Heather

Tim Campbell and his mum, Heather

Anthony Callea and his mum, Santina

Anthony Callea and his mum, Santina

We were lucky enough to be on the same table as the delightful Anthony Callea and his partner, Tim Campbell – both famous and talented in their own right and a gorgeous couple. Mum wanted clarification though – she couldn’t believe Santina was Anthony’s mother. ‘She’s far too young!’ Mum exclaimed.

A highlight of the day was hearing Anthony and Tim sing together, along with leading vocalist Susie Ahern – a truly spine-tingling moment. And when Anthony sang ‘The Perfect Fan,’ for his Mum, the tissues came out again and there was another standing ovation.And then there was another standing ovation…

And then there was another standing ovation...

And then there was another standing ovation…
I could relate to that song. My Mum has always been my perfect fan, as most mothers are of their children – whether they’re in the public eye or not.
I was part of an acting workshop recently where some of the students revealed stories about traumatic childhoods where they were abused by their parents. Shocking stories that made me sad and angry. And also very, very grateful. I have only ever known huge love and support from my Mum. I remember when I first started reading the news and Mum would phone me almost every night to tell me what a brilliant job I had done – even when I hadn’t.
Dessert anyone?

Dessert anyone?

Before we knew it, it was time for dessert. Whoa – now THAT’S what I call a dessert! That’s one thing Mum and I DO both share – a love of sweet treats.
As we tucked in, I looked around the room at all the other mums and felt quite smug. There were lots of other lovely mothers there, but quite frankly, I know mine’s the best of them all. It’s just not debatable.
(Love you, Mum. xxx)

My Shitty Day

I had a shitty day yesterday. (And no, Mum, I’m not using bad language.) It WAS, literally, a shitty day. One of those days where a small mess becomes a bigger mess and the time spent trying to solve the problem snowballs into a big pooey debacle.

Rise and shine - Lola's the first out of bed

Rise and shine – Lola’s the first out of bed

It started when I woke up early to make school lunches. It was particularly icy and the air was  crisp. When I let the dogs out of the laundry and opened the dog-door so they could go out and do their business, I noticed a particularly strong whiff slicing through the chill. For a moment, I wondered whether they’d stashed some of their dinner from the night before under a laundry basket, but quickly realised it was a more potent odour… Surely not? They were well and truly toilet trained…

Lola – she’s the black and white fluff-ball – backed up against me, wiggling her bum on my leg, then rushed around under the kitchen table before heading outside.

The stench grew stronger as I walked back to the kitchen. Then I glanced down and saw why. Lola had left a long streak of runny poo all over my tracksuit pants. EWWWWwww!!

Being a furry canine, Lola comes with an additional health problem. If her bum isn’t regularly trimmed, it means toilet issues can cause matting and the like – stuff which I generally steer well clear of and leave up to Fletch to handle. Today, I wasn’t so lucky. He was on an all-day studio film shoot and when I checked out her rear end – it wasn’t pretty.

First problem – get rid of my icky trakky daks and stuff them in the laundry trough. Apply super large quantities of washing powder and stain remover. Second task – phone Fletch and ask for pet-care advice. I was hoping the answer would be – ‘Take her to the dog groomer or the vet.’ NO SUCH LUCK.

Turns out she’s booked in to the dog groomer’s TOMORROW. ‘All you have to do is put her on the washing machine and get out some cotton-wool balls, use warm, soapy water and scissors and deal with it,’ said Fletch. REALLY?? I’ve had two kids and handled a zillion shitty nappies, but a messy dog’s bum is a whole other matter. But it had to be done. I was worried Lola might not be able to actually relieve herself if I didn’t take action and she was starting to look poorly.

I think I procrastinated for at least an hour, agonising over how to do the whole procedure, before finally tackling the task. Gloves. Black clothes. Gas mask. Well, no, I didn’t actually have a gas mask but wished I did.

Then just as I was about to perform poo surgery, I found ANOTHER streak of runny brown goo all over the carpet under the kitchen table. Yep, Lola had left her mark there as well.

Originally I’d planned a day of writing on a film script. This was fast disappearing down the crapper. Now the carpet ALSO needed urgent work. But Lola first.

Ready for surgery

Ready for surgery

I found the best way of keeping her comfy and to stop her wriggling was by placing her favourite sheepskin rug on top of the washing machine. It was vile, but out of the love for my little Lola, I persisted – nose permanently scrunched and gag reflexes in full throttle. Finally, mission accomplished!



The carpet wasn’t so easy. Using newspaper and Chux super wipes, I removed the excess muck and then followed through with a thoroughly USELESS carpet cleaner spray.

That took about an hour. The stains remained. Then I tackled them with warm soapy water and had far greater success. But having gotten out the vacuum – a task in itself – I decided to do the rest of the house – because once you’ve actually got the thing out you may as well use it. More time chewed up.

Lola laughed - she didn't have to clean the mess up!

And all she could do was YAWN…


And while the hours whittled away, Lola just sat there and yawned. Really, she didn’t care at all about the massive workload she’d bequeathed. A shitty day for me but just a dreamy dog’s life for the rest of the canine troops. Life’s a bitch, really.

In my next life, I want to come back  as a dog.



Sitting pretty

Sitting pretty





A feel-good story involving wine and validation

My friend, Bronnie, contacted me after I ran a story last week – ‘The BEST Chardonnay in the World’ – to say she’d ordered a case of the Tapiz wine and was LOVING it.

The BEST chardonnay in the world!

The BEST chardonnay in the world!

Phew. I was relieved, because, YES, I did make a pretty big statement, saying it was the BEST Chardonnay in the world. I’m no wine expert, but I am an experienced chardonnay drinker so felt compelled to share my discovery – especially because the story involved tracking down the liquid gold from London to Argentina to Melbourne.

But when friends take your judgement on board and invest in a case of wine, you feel a huge sense of responsibility. What if they hate the stuff and blame you for promoting it? What if you start losing friends by the droves and making enemies? Taste is highly subjective, after all. Awkward… Thankfully, in Bronnie’s case this didn’t happen and the story she shared made me feel doubly good about running this story.


When Bronnie went to sample her first bottle, she couldn’t find a corkscrew. And yes, the Tapiz chardonnay is sealed in the old-fashioned way, with a cork. So she asked her next-door-neighbour if she could borrow one, and in doing so, offered her neighbour a glass of wine.

As they both savoured their first mouthful and Bronnie declared it a winner, her neighbour asked where she got it. Bronnie said it had to be ordered and it wasn’t cheap – it was $27 a bottle.

‘I don’t give a f***. I’m ordering a dozen!’ her neighbour declared.

(I’m not allowed to swear in my Blog – my Mum reads it…)

What's left in the cellar...

What’s left in the cellar…

SO THERE!! At least two people in the world agree with me that this is one very special wine. I’m just a tad concerned that Victor and Sylvia haven’t ordered enough in their first shipment. I mean look at what’s left in their cellar? Now that the word is out, this lot is likely to go in a jiffy.


Which reminds me, I’d better get on the phone right after posting this so I don’t miss out!

If you’d like to try the Tapiz chardonnay, or any of their other varieties, just contact Red Barrel Importers of Fine Wine by email at


OR the company’s new website will be operational shortly at  www.redbarrelwineimports.com.au

OR phone Business Manager Sylvia Scalia on 0407 881 188.