Art or scribble? An act of necessity fills a hole in the wall…

Sometimes we have no other choice than to complete something at the last minute. This is NOT always a good idea. For example, finishing a book. It’s never going to work if you try to rush the writing process. But when it comes to art, sometimes being under the pump can lead to all manner of inventiveness.

A sneak peak...

A sneak peak…

This is my way of justifying the canvas that hangs in my office right now. You see, we had a photo shoot scheduled at our house last weekend. At the last minute, I realised I’d forgotten (for more than a year) to create a masterpiece on the white canvas on my easel that was SUPPOSED to fill that giant, gaping blank hole on the wall behind my desk.

When I realised on Friday night that the photographer was due in less than eight hours, plus I needed to sleep, I got my skates on. Anything would be better than a blank canvas, right?

How to finish a painting and make it acceptable in under two hours? I decided three simple rules would do the trick:

1. Keep it simple.
2. Stick to one colour
3. Make it abstract.

And voila! Here it is.

Frameless and simple

Frameless and simple

It isn’t going to win any awards and some may think it looks more suited to the walls of a kindergarten, but I was just pleased I managed to match the colour of the new office accessories I’d found at Officeworks and Typo in St Kilda. The teal green pen holder and box set are from the Martha Stewart range and create a lovely fresh look against the white walls and desk.

Sunlight through the attic window casts a dappled glow...

Sunlight through the attic window casts a dappled glow…

Of course, the right beams of sunlight streaming through the attic window also help… but you can’t start analysing about what it all means. The doodles aren’t meant to represent anything. No, they’re not weird insects or phallic organs – just swirls, lines and curly things making for something that kinda works for the room.

Try it yourself – it’s always fun to let your creativity loose and see what you can come up with.


Just what the doctor ordered… (Or What Fletch made. Best. Biscuits. Ever.)

So the Easter holidays came and went in a flash – where does time go when you enter that rarified holiday zone where deadlines don’t exist and school lunches don’t need to be made?

All too soon we’re all back at work and the kids are back at school. But now I’m working at smoothfm on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show, that all-vexing dilemma of what to put in the kids lunch boxes is no longer mine. Lucky me!

Fletch, bless him, is doing a sterling job catering to the families needs and I was very chuffed to come home from work yesterday to find he’d even been baking, so as to avoid giving the kids the mass produced chemical-filled products for lunch. Definitely a five-star Dad.

Honey Oatbars

Honey Oatbars

These biscuits, which are made from my Grandmother’s original recipe, are a bit like muesli bars, but even better. They’re also like a version of an Anzac biscuit, so it’s a timely recipe given April 25th is just about on our doorstep.

They are so delicious, a fresh batch rarely lasts in the cake tin for more than a couple of days. I also took a tub of them into work two weeks ago and they vanished in a flash.

So given the Honey Oatbars massive popularity, I thought it only fair that I share the recipe with you. You might want to whip up a batch for yourself just in time for Anzac Day. (FYI, I always double the quantities)


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon of honey
150g butter

Combine oats, sultanas, flour, sugar and coconut in a basin. Melt butter and honey in a small saucepan, then mix into the dry ingredients until the mixture clings together. Press evenly into an oven tray. Bake in a moderate oven (180) for 15 – 20 minutes until golden. Cut when hot, but wait until cool to remove from the tray.

Slightly burnt but still popular...

Slightly burnt but still popular…

See – very simple, but VERY yummy! Now my only problem is that the kids think Dad cooks better Honey Oatbars than me. Seriously? Just because my last batch was a little over-cooked? They were still popular….

But I have to agree. Anything cooked by someone else ALWAYS tastes better! Thank you Fletch.


Look who’s been chosen to represent us in LA and why they need our support

Christmas single 'If you want a Happy Christmas'

Christmas single ‘If you want a Happy Christmas’

I’ve got good news and bad news – but mostly good news.

So let’s start with the good news… The talented musical trio, THE PACIFIC BELLES, have been chosen to represent Australia in the upcoming World Championships of Performing Arts in LA. They’re a brilliant act who some of you may remember, also starred alongside Fletch in the making of a Christmas song last year, which proved a hit in the UK.


Now the bad news is there’s a chance The Pacific Belles might NOT be able to take up this opportunity of a lifetime – and it all comes down to sponsorship. Like athletes who need support to compete on the world stage, so too, do our most talented performers in the arts arena.

The official World Championships of Performing Arts celebrates its 18th year, in July this year and is universally cited as the one-and-only official global event for performers and entertainers both amateur and professional. It’s pretty much the Olympics of the Performing Arts.

A talented trio

A talented trio

Each year, more than 75 scouts and national directors scour the globe for outstanding talent to take part. More than 75,000 applicants from 50 countries auditioned to participate in this year’s event, which will be staged in West Hollywood.

But taking part is an expensive venture. I spoke with singer and PACIFIC BELLES manager Laura Monaghan about how they’re going about trying to raise money through a POZIBLE crowd-funding project. Jump on board and help if you can by going to this link:

Q: How did the Pacific Belles come to be chosen to represent Australia in the World Championships of Performing Arts?

LAURA: Last year we were very lucky enough to be asked to be the support act for Tyla Bertolli from The X Factor. We got to perform at her single launch for her song ‘Burn’ and she suggested that we apply to be contestants in The World Championships of Performing Arts. Tyla is also a scout for WCOPA, she took part last year and did really well from it. We thought it was a huge opportunity so we auditioned, 75,000 applicants from 50 countries later we got picked!

Q: How did the Belles form as a group and why the fascination for music from yesteryear?

LAURA: The Belles have been performing together for nearly a year now, we formed after I (Laura Monaghan, Manager and soprano singer) set it up and auditioned for other girls to sing with. I grew up with a love and fascination for the 1940‘s and old Hollywood. The Andrew Sisters and Doris Day are my all time favorite. The two other Belles are also obsessed with the fashion and the music of yesteryear and we love the glamour. We joke that we were all born in the wrong era!

Q: Why doesn’t the organisation that picked the performers fund the trip to LA? 

LAURA: Obviously we wish that whole trip was funded but I think that WCOPA rely on sponsors to keep the event going each year. We are currently looking for Aussie brands that would benefit with some international exposure to sponsor us. We would love to be sponsored by a make up or vintage clothing brand.

Q: How important is it to you and the Pacific Belles to go to LA?

LAURA: It would mean the world for The Pacific Belles to get to go to LA and perform in front of industry professionals. The whole experience to be apart of such a huge competition “The Performing Arts Olympics” as they call it will be amazing. I am extremely proud with how far The Pacific Belles have come in a year and to be asked to represent Australia doing something we love would be an honour.

Help the PACIFIC BELLES  savour the sweet taste of success

Help the PACIFIC BELLES savour the sweet taste of success

Q: What do you hope to achieve by competing?

LAURA: We obviously hope that we will do well from the competition and that we’ll bring back at least one gold medal for Australia. I think that would be an achievement enough. Although saying that we have our fingers crossed that our trip to the states could open a few career doors for us too.

Q: Why did you decide to go ahead with a ‘Pozible’ crowd-funding campaign?

LAURA: As well as a few main sponsors we need to raise some money for the expenses of the trip and crowd funding seemed like the way forward as we have a lot of support from our friends and family and also fans. Pozible is a really easy to use fund raising site and offers rewards for pledges. We have rewards from just $10 and every little bit helps but we can’t believe it – someone has already pledged $1000 to have us perform at their event!

Q: Is the fund-raising campaign a lot of work?

LAURA: Yes, it is a lot of work. We can only hope we reach our target of $10,000 on Pozible. We have decided that in return for your pledges we are going to give back to the community. When we reached $2000 we performed at an Age Care home. Next milestone $4000, we will go and perform for children at a children’s hospital. These are our most rewarding performances. The other day we met a lady who was 102 years old! We’re also planning a fund-raising event next month.

Q: What are your long-term goals for the Belles?

LAURA: Our long term goals for The Pacific Belles are to keep spreading our sound around Melbourne and to tour Australia. We also hope to record an album with a jazz band, perform our show on a larger scale and visit other countries – LA being one of them!

We wish the PACIFIC BELLES all the best with their fund-raising. Don’t forget, go to this link if you can help – every bit counts!


How to get a beach body without going to the gym or taking a holiday…

It’s been a gloomy old week in Melbourne. Weather-wise I mean. Grey and wet all the way, which leaves one feeling like you’re stuck in the middle of an endless English winter.

A bleak week in Melbourne

A bleak week in Melbourne

Work-wise it’s been a different story. I’ve had a fantastic week. I’m settling in at smoothfm and starting to feel a little less like the new kid on the block.

Tropical paradise

Tropical paradise

But with my new working hours and this dismal weather, I’ve started to hanker for a bit of sunshine. You know that feeling, when you start to fantasize about a holiday in a tropical island paradise?

Just looking at this picture makes you feel warmer, doesn’t it? You can feel the sun on your skin, the sand between your toes and the smell of sea-salt in the air.


I'd like to look like this please...

I’d like to look like this please…

I’m also missing my regular gym work-outs and feeling a bit on the pale, bloated side. I did actually manage to summon up enough energy to make it to one gym class earlier in the week because the name appealed. It was a ‘Beach Body workout’. What could be better, I thought? A workout, plus I’ll start to feel all lithe and summery – fabulous!



No such luck. There was a lot of sweaty, hard grunt-work but in the end, I realized it would take about a hundred such classes to transform the white flabby shape in the mirror. However, the ‘beach body’ concept stayed on my mind and I started to think up ways to make this happen without all the hard work…

No one wants to look like an Oompaloompa

No one wants to look like an Oompaloompa

And then it came to me in a flash. Of course! All I needed was a bit of fake tan and I’d instantly feel slimmer and more summery! I’m not talking about some horrible orange smudged on goo – more like a light frosting of summer – an elegant, subtle tan that leaves you glowing instead of marching around town like an Oompaloompa.

And so, for your benefit (and mine!) I’ve given a few products a test run to help steer you in the right direction.

My fave product for a gradual glow

My fave product for a gradual glow


1. DOVE Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion.

This is the best of all the gradual tanning lotions I’ve tried. It’s easy to apply, dries relatively quickly and doesn’t streak Use the ‘Normal to dark skin’ colour for the best results.

Price: 400ml – $11.57 (larger bottle pictured)

Rating: 8/10



Duwop body foundation

Duwop body foundation

2. Duwop Body Foundation.

You used to be able to buy this from specialty cosmetic store Mecca, although most recently I purchased this online through Amazon. This is a great product for when you get ready for a special night out and realise your legs look like white sausages. An instant remedy, but also washes off so no lasting benefits. Use a sponge to apply and it’s not too difficult to achieve an even finish.

Price: $24 – 120ml

Rating: 7/10


Pure Tan instant bronzer

Pure Tan instant bronzer

3. Pure Tan Instant Bronzer

Like the Duwop Body Foundation, this is an instant fix for white skin. It also comes with a handy applicator mitt, however, it’s a little more streaky to apply. It still works, but takes a little more time than the Duwop. The other difference is that this is a more translucent liquid, leaving a more natural finish, whereas the Duwop can look a bit like heavy, pasty foundation if you apply too much.

Price: $23.95

Rating: 6.5/10

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze gel

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze gel

4. L’Oreal Sublime Bronzer gel

This is a favourite of mine for a deeper, lasting tan. It should be applied the day before a special event and it helps if you have a friend or partner who can cover the back region. It leaves a glowing, natural colour that lasts for about a week and is the closest result to a natural tan that I’ve found.

Cost: $16.76 150ml

Rating: 9/10


So there you have it. How to get a beach body without going to the gym or taking a vacation. It’s the quickest, cheapest way to get a holiday-pick-me-up and beat those summer-withdrawal blues. I bet you’re feeling better already!


Did you know the way you type TEXT MESSAGES gives away your AGE?

So you’re at some funky cafe and trying to impress the crowd with your new hipster glad-rags and aqua-glass reflector aviators, sipping on your skinny chai latte with a double twist of lemon and sending all your besties text messages about your social plans when a crowd of young dudes swan past, stare at you scornfully and shake their heads with derision….

Why, you think? Surely I don’t look too old for these super-tight Sass and Bide jeans? Surely they can’t see my wrinkly neck under my carefully draped designer scarf? No honey, that’s not the problem. IT’S THE WAY YOU ARE TYPING YOUR TEXT MESSAGE!!!

Granny texting

Granny texting

Ah yes, listen and learn, oh youth-aspirational aged ones. I have been given this pearl of wisdom from teen son who gave ME such a look when we happened to be out recently IN PUBLIC. You see, I was holding the phone in ONE HAND and texting by using my FOREFINGER on the OTHER HAND.

Don’t you get it? That means you are OLD!!!! Yes, smart phones came out well past your youth years so you need to stare at the screen and tap those letters carefully for fear of making a mistake because you really don’t want to put on your reading glasses.

One-handed texting - DUrhhhh

One-handed texting – Durhhhh….


If you are young, you only use ONE HAND when texting. Because you are cool. Because your eyes are perfect. And because you are SO thumb-efficient you could enter the Olympic sport of thumb-texting tomorrow and blitz it on behalf of Australia, scoring gold medals all the way home.


If you are NOT able to text with one hand, using your dexterous thumb, then please hide your backward texting style in a shaded corner where so you won’t embarrass those you are with.

Thumb-typing is the way to go

Thumb-typing is the way to go


I am sure you will be eternally grateful I have passed this knowledge on to you. Now you really CAN pretend to be young without spending a fortune on Botox, driving a convertible and buying those over-priced label-bragging jeans. I just saved you a fortune.

If I was REALLY cool, I’d say, ‘You’re welcome’ before you say ‘Thank you’, but I’m not, so I won’t.


Don’t get sucked in by this latest weight loss gimmick… (like me)

I’m a bit embarrassed to write about this because I can’t believe with all my knowledge about diet fads, tricks and rorts, I actually succumbed to this one. But I thought I should share this with you, in case you are tempted like me, so that you can learn from my stupid mistake and save your hard-earned cash.

Chatting with a friend a few weeks ago, the topic of conversation veered onto weight loss and exercise. Lou is doing well with a jogging regime and one of those NIKE bracelets that monitors how far you run and how many calories you are burning. And then she revealed another weight-loss ‘secret’ – a brand of chewing gum called REDUCTA.

Reducta Chewing Gum

Reducta Chewing Gum

Lou swore by it as a means of curbing those hunger pangs and helping to shed kilos. I was sold. A personal recommendation is always going to make me jump on the bandwagon of any diet quick-fix, because, hey, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Forget the rule – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is promising something painless that doesn’t involve exercise, I’m there.

Off I rushed off to the supermarket, only to be shattered to find the shelf empty. SOLD OUT?? Well, that only proved Lou’s point, didn’t it? It MUST be the new miracle wonder drug if so many people were snapping it up.

Reduce Hunger and snacking!!!

Reduce Hunger and snacking!!!

I haunted Coles daily and harassed the manager until finally, a new batch arrived. I didn’t even balk at the cost. This box of a mere THIRTY pieces of gum is TWENTY-EIGHT DOLLARS!!

Full of promise, with its bright blue and yellow packaging, it vowed to ‘Reduce hunger and snacking.’

On the back, further information explained how this magical gum would also help reduce meal portions and appetite. All you had to do was to chew two pieces of gum half an hour before meal times. Or any other ‘danger’ periods where the chocolate urge might strike…

For me, that’s just about any time of the day, so I quickly chomped through an entire packet in record time.

All chewed up...

All chewed up…

Maybe it’s just me, but I felt not even a teensy, eensy bit LESS LUNGRY than usual. In fact, I probably ate more cake and chocolate than I usually do.

Disappointed, I wondered if it was just me and decided to do a bit of online research. I then found another website that reviews diet fads, called ‘Diet Pill Examiner’, which completely trashes the gum’s claims. There’s a host of reviews from other suckers like me – all agreeing it’s a complete waste of money.

Now I realise why Lou was REALLY looking so trim. It was the exercise and better diet regime that did it – as it will every time. At most, this ridiculous gum was probably having a mild placebo effect for her and that is all. Hopefully I have now learnt my lesson that looking for an easy option to help lose a few kilos is always a waste of time and money. This week, I’m just going to up my quota of spin classes at the gym instead.



My first week at smoothfm

This past week has been a whirlwind, to say the least. So many new experiences, my head is spinning. A new job, new sleeping hours, a new gym and new work buddies. It’s all great and I’m loving it, but at times it can feel a little over-whelming.

My new role is news presenter on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show at smoothfm. I also enjoy a chat with Mike when we take a look at the traffic and talk about what’s happening in and around Melbourne.

My new newsroom at smoothfm

My new newsroom at smoothfm

This first week has brought back memories of when I first started reading the news at Channel Ten – the butterflies in the tummy, the adrenalin rush and the fear of making a mistake. You see, just as it is for anyone starting a new job, there’s a steep learning curve. Except that most of you don’t have to risk mucking up in front of thousands of people…

The week hasn’t been without its hiccups, but ninety-nine per cent of the time it’s been fantastic. I’ve loved working in news again and the immediacy of radio is brilliant. Best of all, it feels completely natural and comfortable to be reading news live to air again. That bit hasn’t phased me at all.

Mike Perso

Mike Perso


The biggest plus is that everyone I’m working with is absolutely lovely and supportive. It’s like they’ve all absorbed the vibe of the whole station – chilled and positive. Mike himself has been delightful and welcoming and I’m in awe of his seamless and relaxed delivery on air; juggling interviews, competitions, music and the challenge of working with a radio newbie like me!


As for the newsroom staff, they couldn’t have been more helpful if I’d paid them a million bucks each. There’s been a lot of new technology to absorb and me and technology don’t usually get along well at first so anyone teaching me, requires a LOT of patience. Which is why I have to thank these amazing people from the bottom of my heart:

Nova news presenter Matt Smithson

Nova news presenter Matt Smithson

smooth fm journalist Bronte Coy

smooth fm journalist Bronte Coy

Journalist John Michael Bric

Journalist John Michael Bric

Putting a bulletin together really is a team effort and I’m very lucky to be working with a group of such talented writers and operators. I’m also very much looking forward to the time in a couple of weeks when apparently – they keep telling me – the button-pushing bit will have become second-nature.

My new office

My new office

When I started at smoothfm last week, the person I was assigned to ‘follow’, who was going to teach me the ropes, was the super-talented Pip Mooney, the on-air newsreader I’ve replaced. Pip has chosen to take on a new role in the corporate world for family reasons so was more than happy to share her knowledge with me before she left.

Pip Mooney

Pip Mooney

Watching Pip at work was mind-boggling. The speed at which she completed her work, the high level of her capabilities and her professionalism on air made me wonder how I could ever fill her shoes. Again, like the rest of the team, her patience in explaining all the processes was infinite and much appreciated.

Also a great personality, I was sorry we weren’t going to be working together for longer when she left last Friday.

There’s a couple of other ‘thank yous’ required here. My new starting hours mean waking up at 4.30am, so I’ve pretty much dropped the ball on the domestic front this past week while I focus on my new job. (Because I also very much welcome an afternoon nap to get me through!)

As a result, Fletch has taken over the running of the household – even to the point where he did most of the home prep work for a family gathering on the weekend to celebrate his OWN birthday! (And our daughter Veronica’s as well.) AND he hasn’t complained about the alarm going off at 4.30am. Or making school lunches.

A birthday double

A birthday double. (And no, I didn’t bake the cake…)

So thanks a million, Fletch. Your support means everything. I promise to start looking inside the laundry again soon. Really, I promise!