To have and to hold – or not?

Thinking, thinking...

Thinking, thinking…

Writing a book is a bit like a pregnancy.

Often you think about it for quite a while before you get on with it.

Then there’s the long gestation period, the hard work you put in trying to make it the best it can be, and finally, the long-awaited arrival of your carefully nurtured baby.



Birth of a book

Birth of a book

With the actual birth, there can be debate about the best way for this to happen. A c-section or a natural birth? An epidural or go natural?

Likewise with publishing, there are also plenty of options. However, it’s becoming more difficult to have a book produced in hard copy – REAL PAPER –  with publishers unwilling to take risks on untested authors.


\With the eBook business booming, it would seem more and more established publishing houses are moving with the times and looking to the internet for success. Whether you like the book or not, E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey made it’s incredible leap to the top of global best-seller lists – selling more than 125 million copies worldwide – starting off life as an eBook.

Of course authors have choices. If you can’t find a publisher, you can always opt to self-publish – whether it be hard-copy or online.

Making Headlines

Making Headlines

For myself, while I’d love a hard-copy version of my own book MAKING HEADLINESto have and to hold – it seems for the moment, I’m going to be marching forth into the world as a new author – waving the PLATFORM PILGRIM flag.

(Thanks to my ever-encouraging writer friend Lisa Bigelow for coming up with that innovative tagline!)

Yes, thanks to Harper Collins Publishing, I am about to become a Platform Pilgrim. My eBook will be launched on Thursday, February 4. And that’s because I would much prefer my book be given the tick of approval from a recognised publisher that has a wonderful heritage as Australia’s oldest and one of the most respected companies in the business, than do this on my own.

Sure, in the long run I’d love nothing more than to have a REAL book in my hands – but for the moment, I still consider my eBook to be an achievement of which to be proud.

And LOOK, it’s already listed on the Harper Collins website and you can pre-order!!!

Harper Collins website

Harper Collins website

Yep, and it even costs less than a cup of coffee!!

My biggest dilemma with becoming a Platform Pilgrim was deciding whether to host a book launch or not. Would people think it was over-the-top and silly – given they couldn’t leave with a signed copy of the tome itself?

In the end, after much debate with Fletch and friends, I have decided to go ahead and have a party. After all, it’s the end of a VERY long and arduous road and I think I deserve to celebrate my baby’s birth.

Harper Collins have also kindly agreed to provide ‘Book Samplers’ on the night of the launch, so guests WILL leave with a couple of chapters in a small printed mini-book, as a taste of what’s to come in the novel. So yes, there will be REAL PAPER given out on the night.

It’s taken many years AND tears to finish MAKING HEADLINES and I am so delighted and relieved that it is finally making its way into the world. All up, it’s more than eight years since I started thinking about this project. Now that’s one helluva long pregnancy.

Bring on the champagne!

A champagne moment

A champagne moment




The Year That Was – the highs and lows of 2015

It’s always a nostalgic time. The last day of the year inevitably leads to reflection about the year that was – dreams won and shattered; friendships rekindled and lost; unexpected joys and tragic lows.

I know it hasn’t been a great year for many and I’ve also had my fair share of sad times, but I’m going to take pause to put on my Pollyanna hat for a moment and try and celebrate the highlights.

Before going down that path, I want to pay tribute to two people no longer with us. It’s my way of keeping their memory alive.

Rochelle and me

Rochelle and me

I can’t say ‘goodbye’ to 2015 without sharing one more memory of my dear friend, Rochelle. Her passing was such a massive shock and her loss has been so hard to come to terms with. That sadness will stay with me and our friends who all miss her so much, and will do for years to come. Only two years ago we had a New Year’s Eve party at our place and of course, karaoke was a part of the evening. Rochelle blew everyone out of the water with her version of the Adele song ‘Someone Like You.’ It was a heart-wrenching and poignant rendition and the only moment in the night where everyone stopped to listen. Singing was just one of her talents.


We thought about having another New Year’s Eve party this year but I’m not quite ready for that yet. Maybe next year.

Nic Jacobson

Nic Jacobson


And then for my son and his friends, just over a week after VCE exams finished, their schoolmate Nic Jacobson was tragically killed in a car accident. The school community rallied around Nic’s parents, Laurie and Jane and his sister Marni. Unspeakable sadness. Inexplicable loss and devastation. Tom had been at school with Nic from Prep through to Year 12. Our hearts go out to Nic’s family and you will forever be in our thoughts.



Before those tragedies, there were happy times. Afterwards too, although those days are also tinged with a sense of loss as you try to remember the special moments and be grateful for what was and then to live in the moment, knowing how precious and short life can be.

So for now, I’m going to focus on the highlights that made the year special – some planned, some unexpected – but all bringing light and some joy to temper the sadness. Here’s my Top Ten for 2015:

  1. Wedding Anniversary holiday on the Greek Islands. I Blogged about this so you can read back if you want to learn more!
  2. Drinking my Porn Star cocktail

    Drinking my Porn Star cocktail

2. Continuing to work at Smoothfm 91.5 with Mike Perso on the More Music Breakfast Show. 

Mike Perso and me

Mike Perso and me

3. Being nominated for an ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Award). I didn’t win, but just to be nominated was a huge thrill.

The Smooth News team

The Smooth News team at the ACRAs

4. Fletch celebrating Neighbours 30th anniversary after starring on the show for 20 himself. That was one helluva party at the Carousel!

Fletch and me at Neighbours 30th party

Fletch and me at Neighbours 30th party

5. Daughter Ronnie starting out in the hospitality industry and doing really well. Now working at WILD HOLLY and loving it – although I don’t think she’s allowed to do THIS any more!

It all started with licking the bowl...

It all started with licking the bowl…

6. Starting back at the gym – training with Alinta and getting fit again.

Training with Alinta

Training with Alinta

7. Tom finishing Year 12 and doing brilliantly with his VCE score – not to mention winning the RUSDEN House leadership trophy… He says I shouldn’t mention this because it’s bragging but quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. WELL DONE TOM!

Tom's winning year

Tom’s winning year

8. Finishing my novel MAKING HEADLINES and preparing for next year’s book launch.

Making Headlines

Making Headlines


9. Performing at the Starry Night Ball with Fletch – helping to raise funds for the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation – and fitting into my silver hot pants – thanks to Alinta!

Starry Night ball

Starry Night ball

10. Ending the year by hosting a family Christmas at our house with everyone happy and healthy!

Our Christmas tree - mostly decorated by Ronnie!

Our Christmas tree – mostly decorated by Ronnie!

A testament to the great Christmas we had – I don’t even have one group photo because we were all having so much fun, no one remembered to take a picture or think about posting a social media snap even once. Now that’s living in the moment.


The horror of VCE – Teens under pressure

It’s the toughest time of year for VCE students who are right in the middle of exams and facing intense pressure to do their best. I remember it myself like it was yesterday and now I’m watching my son Tom go through the same ordeal. But is it the same? Is it worse for students these days because competition to get into tertiary courses is more fierce or is it all relative?

Tom studying

Tom studying

With so much media focus on how difficult a time it is for students, I thought I’d try and get some answers from some teenagers themselves. That can be hard – particularly with young men – so I decided to take Tom (who has just turned 18) out to lunch, along with my sixteen-year-old nephew, Jesper, who is facing Year 10 exams, to ask them first-hand how they are coping. Which they found highly amusing…

Out to lunch with Tom and Jesper

Out to lunch with Tom and Jesper

Here’s how our chat went.

JEN: Jesper, you’re going through exams right now. Is it intense?

JESPER: I think it’s pretty low key because it’s not relevant to my VCE score. It’s the last year where it doesn’t count. And the subjects I’m doing now, I’m not doing next year, apart from English, so it doesn’t matter so much. I can just cruise through.

Jesper ponders his future

Jesper ponders his future

JEN: Have you got an idea about what you want to do after school yet? Is there a lot of pressure to make up your mind early on?

JESPER: There is a lot of pressure with teachers asking you what you want to do. For me, I think it will be interior design. Or maybe… no, I think interior design.

(I’m very impressed he knows already!)

JEN: And Tom you’re right in the middle of Year 12 exams. How are you finding it?

TOM: It’s a pleasure to be here. (heavy sarcasm and comedic tone) Jennifer, great question firstly, and thank you again for having me here.

JEN: If you’re going to be a politician, you’re going to have to stop the avoidance tactics and learn to answer the question. Oh hang on, no, you’ll be a great politician… So HOW ARE YOU COPING with the pressure of exams?

TOM: Another good question. No, it’s a lot of pressure. These are last exams I’ll ever do at school. Lot of people make you feel like you’re whole future is hanging in the balance when you go into those exams, so yes, a lot of pressure. You’re hands shake a bit when you’re writing answers sometimes, so a decent amount of pressure.

JEN: You told me about one of your mates who was so terrified before an exam that he couldn’t even face being near his friends before walking in to the exam room…

TOM: Yes, one of my friends had to go off into a classroom to be by himself and try and calm down. Then he came outside the exam room where we were all huddled, having a chat, and my friend took himself into a corner. His hands were together his head was down his eyes were closed and it looked like he was praying. So he looked very stressed.

A lot of kids are also really exhausted from studying so much. They put pressure on themselves to do well. And there are a lot of stories about kids having problems with their parents – not getting along at all. The parents want them to study harder and get so angry that a couple of boys have run away from home.

JEN: And how have your parents been?

At least Tom can manage a smile!

At least Tom can manage a smile!

TOM: Just atrocious. I’ve detested every second I’ve spent with them. (He’s smiling, so it’s okay…) No, in all seriousness, they’ve been good. Very reasonable expectations – not too much pressure. Although occasionally when I come downstairs to have a break and I’m at the table eating, my mother will say, ‘Gee, study’s going well,’ which is perhaps a bit unfair. Especially at 10.30 at night.

JEN: I’m sorry. I think I said that when I came home after being out so thought you’d been taking it easy all night. Sorry. Jesper, let’s get back to you… (and avoid Tom’s home truths- ouch!) Jesper, when you hear Tom talk about Year 12, does that worry you or do you think you’ll be fine?

JESPER: I think I’ll probably be more relaxed. I’m probably not the brightest kid out there, but at least I know what I want to do so I can focus on that. (He is very bright – and modest!)

JEN: And you’ve got better social skills which is a huge plus.

Taking time out

Taking time out

JESPER: Yep, a relaxed Libran.

TOM: Does he? Meaning I don’t?

JEN: No, I wasn’t comparing him to you. Just saying that he’s better with people than your average bookworm academic-type. He’s a charmer and that will be a huge plus when he’s persuading clients to take on his interior design work. (much laughter)

TOM: Well, you can’t study for that.

JEN: No, but Tom you’re a charmer too. You have heaps of friends! What are you all planning to do after your last exam to celebrate?

TOM: Just go back to a friend’s house and have a quiet cup of tea and biscuits while we recount stories about school then go home at 9pm and go to bed and have a nice relaxed time. (more laughter)

JEN: Right… So is there much excitement about the end being near?

TOM: Yes, I just got a message from Ted on the way here – a group chat – saying only ‘Nine more days, fellas.’ We’re all looking at the calendar. I have a countdown clock on my computer till the final exam so it will be a fantastic feeling when we finally finish.

JEN: And what do you want to do career-wise?

TOM: Be a stay-at-home parent.

JEN: Oh nice. So how many grandchildren will I be having?

TOM: I’m looking at between 17 and 21.

JEN: So you’re planning to move out of home?

TOM: I’m planning to live with my parents forever.

JEN: You might need to get a job to feed that many tiny mouths.

TOM: Both my parents are in the media so I’ll be fine.

JEN: I think you should be in the media.

TOM: Ah, thanks, Mum!

Jesper offers Tom some advice on their radio show together

Jesper offers Tom some advice on their radio show together

JEN: And I think Jesper could be in the business too.

TOM: Well, this is where Jesper and I want to announce our new radio show together. Actually it’s a podcast.

JESPER: Yes, we’re going to be stars.

JEN: Okay, but can you just get through exams first?

BOTH: Sure.

JEN: Then you can be stars. Thanks guys, Good chat. Now get back to the books.

Well I think that went quite well. A few stories about the rigours of Year 12, but ultimately I think Tom’s coping brilliantly. I’m incredibly proud of the hard work he’s put in consistently all year and the marks he’s already achieved.

Good luck Tom for the last two exams next week!

But while it’s been a tough year for VCE students, it’s also been hard on the parents.

Now I’m working on the More Music Brekkie Show with Mike Person at smoothfm, we’ve been chatting all year about both having sons in Year 12 and what we are all going through. Good luck to Will as well!

And while our sons will be letting of steam at the end of it all with SCHOOLIES, we thought it was time to give the parents a special celebration to mark the end of a tough year as well.

So that’s why we’re organising a ‘PARENTIS’ night – next week. If you also have a teenager studying VCE, you can join us AND be in the running to win a trip to India! – See more at:

Getting in shape – how ALINTA THE GURU has convinced me this is the BEST way

On the NEVER-ENDING quest to be healthy and lose weight, I’ve recently signed on with a new personal trainer and she is INSPIRATIONAL!

Her name is ALINTA WILLET and she is one very cool lady. And super fit.

Alinta Willet

Alinta Willet

In fact, Alinta is so inspirational, I now refer to her as ALINTA THE GURU when I chat about her wonderful fitness tips on air with Mike Perso on the SmoothFM More Music Breakfast Show.

I decided to go back to the gym because I knew if I didn’t commit to working out WITH SOMEONE ELSE on a regular basis, I’d never have the will power to do it on my own. And I was about ten kilos overweight… Early morning radio is not good for the waistline!!

Alinta is 33 years old and has been a personal trainer for about 18 months.

When she hit thirty, Alinta felt it was time for a career change. She’d been working in the hospitality industry for a long time and the lifestyle was taking a toll.

A lightbulb moment!

A light bulb moment!

After suffering some health issues of her own, she was inspired by a girlfriend to take up weight training and had a….


‘I thought this is great and everyone should be doing it. I became quite passionate about weight training. IT’S THE HOLY GRAIL!  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it before and thought it was amazing.’


REALLY??? When I heard this from Alinta three months ago, I was skeptical. You see, I’d returned to the gym out of a feeling of necessity and duty – not because I thought it would be the answer to my prayers.

Turns out, Alinta has helped me to make some big changes to my body and I am starting to see what she’s talking about. Everything she has been saying is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT and makes complete sense.

In a nutshell, here are the benefits of weight training, according to Alinta The Guru.

Training with Alinta

Training with Alinta

  1. Body toning
  2. Anti-ageing
  3. Weight loss is easier because muscle burns fat
  4. Positive thinking
  5. Less stress
  6. Mental and physical discipline
  7. Can overcome back pain
  8. Body strength
  9. Improves overall health
  10. Decreases blood pressure
  11. Improves sleeping



Alinta’s enthusiasm is infectious too. She really does LOVE her job and our chats during the work out sessions make the time spent at the gym fun as well. Here’s how our conversation about weight training went:

JEN: SO tell my why I should work out?

ALINTA: There are SO many benefits from weight training. Not only does it make you stronger physically, I believe it makes you stronger mentally as well. It’s a discipline. As well, you are pushing yourself to your limits each time. If you manage to get through a tough session, it’s a good feeling and you feel like you’ve achieved something. It’s a win! The more wins the better. Each workout is a win.

JEN: Have you been able to see results with your clients?

ALINTA: I’ve been getting some great results. Nothing makes me happier than when clients come to me and say they don’t have back pain anymore or they’re losing the weight they want to lose. It’s why I do it – it’s so rewarding.

JEN: Do you ever get bored?

ALINTA: No! I love what I do and being able to change people’s lives for the better. That’s my mission in life. To help as many people as I can to become stronger, fitter, healthier and happier.’

(See? I told you she was a wonderful person!)

JEN: How does weight training help the body lose fat?

ALINTA:  Lifting weights helps to build fast twitch muscles that raise your metabolism. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. There’s also the afterburner effect of exercise that can last for as long as 38 hours after your workout.

(I really like this point – that more muscle burns more calories – even when you’re NOT working out!)

JEN: What about the risks of becoming too muscle-bound? As a woman, I don’t want to look like a beefcake…

ALINTA: You won’t! It would take an enormous amount of hours to look like a body-builder. I also tailor individual programs for each client, so everyone’s workout is different. You can’t have a cookie cutter gym program for everybody.

JEN: One thing I love about working out with you is that you also manage to fix tight spots in my neck or back that are causing me problems. Do you do that for everyone or am I special?

ALINTA: Well, you are special but all the workouts are based on structural balance. That means it’s important to fix any structural abnormalities for any individual. Once your body structure is better, everything else will follow. Another reason why I love weight training so much is that I used to wake up with chronic neck and back problems every day before I started training properly and now I don’t get that at all.

JEN: What are the other health benefits?

ALINTA: Strength training does so much! It decreases blood pressure, improves heart function by increasing arterial function and decreasing inflammation. It also improves hormone levels by helping to eliminate oestrogen – which means less cancer risk and lower body fat.

It can also help if you’re trying to have a baby! Working with weights improves reproductive function.

Weight training can enhance the nervous system and gene pathways, with new evidence emerging evidence that shows how weight lifting prevents ageing by rebuilding damaged tissues. It also leads to better brain function and coordination of movement.

Jen: Cool! So I’m going to be stronger, brighter, younger, healthier AND smarter??

Alinta: Sure! And that is WHY weight training is the HOLY GRAIL!

Me and Alinta

Me and Alinta

So you can see why I’ve been converted! Since training with ALINTA THE GURU, I have lost more than five kilos and feel much healthier and more toned than I have for years. Nor do the sessions every get dull, as Alinta changes my program about every six weeks.

Alinta also has plenty of clever tips about healthy eating. And drinking! But this Blog is long enough already, so let’s save that advice for another chat.

And if you’d like to work out with ALINTA THE GURU, here’s her details. Get ready to feel fantastic!

Alinta's business card



Finally, an announcement….

It’s hard to believe it was more than a year ago that I wrote a Blog explaining why I’d be taking a blogging respite. If you’d like a re-cap for all the reasons why, you can take a look here:

Otherwise, let’s push on, because I have an announcement.


Yes, I needed that Blogging break to get it finished.

That it’s finally being published is extremely exciting because it’s been a dream of mine since childhood.

Right now I am extremely time-poor as it’s my last week to work on the FINAL edit of the manuscript. A laborious and challenging task but also thrilling because the light is at the end of the tunnel.

I’m going to write more about the writing process and what changes are happening in the world of publishing down the track, but for now, this is just a quick post to give you a sneak preview of the cover of my book.


Making Headlines

Making Headlines

It’s a work of fiction – completely made up – about a young television reporter named Rachel Bentley who aspires to be a newsreader. You see, working as a TV reporter has it’s challenges but aiming high leads to a whole minefield of explosive scenarios.

Rachel’s path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn’t help either. Not does the emotional impact of reporting on life’s daily tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them. Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?

You’ll have to wait to read the book to find out of course!

I’m delighted MAKING HEADLINES is to be published by HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHERS who are Australia and New Zealand’s oldest publishing house and arguably, the most respected.

My book will be available online as one of the Harper Collins Impulse books from late January, 2016. Stay tuned for more info and an exact date soon….





My Night at the ACRAs – Australia’s Radio Awards

(Otherwise titled,  Are superstitions are rubbish???)

Sometimes I think I spend too much time looking for ‘signs’ – the sort of indicators that something you’re either hoping for OR NOT – will or won’t happen. My adored Grandmother – who lived with us while I was growing up, probably helped instil this.

Some superstitions she taught me you might know – like throwing a dash of salt over your left shoulder if it spilled, avoiding the number 13 and not walking under ladders. One you might not know is to make sure that the first word you utter every month is RABBITS. I’m not exactly sure why, but Grandmother insisted it would bring you good luck for that month if you did.

Having said RABBITS on the first of this month, this weekend just past was the perfect time to put that theory to the test.

I was heading up to the Gold Coast for the annual ACRA awards – the Australian Commercial Radio Awards – because by some miracle – I’d been nominated for an award. Even more surprising was the category – Best Newcomer in metropolitan radio. Nothing better than being called a ‘Newcomer’ when you’re over forty! (cough, cough…)

 It WAS a genuine surprise because I hadn’t entered myself – instead our show’s producer – Lauren Saylor – had thrown my name in the mix – going to the trouble of filling in the forms and finding the right audio segments to make up an entry – all unbeknownst to me. So a VERY big thank you to Lauren. The first I knew of it was waking up to a host of congratulatory text messages on a Sunday morning a couple of months ago.

Apart from being part of a group Logie win for a news story, I’ve never been up for an award of any kind in my life (let’s not count school stuff) so I was naturally very chuffed. Of course, after the initial excitement wore off, the self-doubt set in and I started to tell myself there was no way I’d win – but hang on, I’d said RABBITS so maybe there was a chance???

On the day, I looked for signs. The pigeons were cooing when I woke up. Tick. The taxi driver who took me to the airport had SMOOTHfm 91.5 on the radio. Tick. When I arrived at the Hilton Hotel at Surfers Paradise, they had me in Room 13. NO WAY. They changed it for me and I thought, smugly, FOUR signs! Rabbits, pigeons, music AND the right room number!

I even managed to get into my dress after months of dieting and didn’t spill any makeup getting ready. TWO more ticks.

The dress fits - phew...

The dress fits – phew…

 We arrived at the awards ceremony and the room looked fabulous – all neon lights and beautifully decked out tables, all the guests in the shiny best.

The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

I walked through the room brimming with confidence, We met up with friends and posed on the red carpet. Along with some of the interstate news readers we happily smiled for the cameras.

The Smooth News team

The Smooth (with two from Nova ) News team – Ron Wilson, Michelle Stephenson (Nova) , Steve Blanda, myself, Matt de Groot (Nova) Glenn Daniel

The very, very, VERY back of the room

The very, very, VERY back of the room



But then I walked into the room, looking for my table. And walked and walked… So far, until I was right at the back of the room. Literally. There was a blank wall behind me. I don’t think there was a worse table position in the entire room. And that’s when I knew rabbits was wrong…

Why would they announce a winner who took three hours to walk to the stage?



Kate Mason and me

Kate Mason and me



I was also sitting with another Smooth nominee – the very talented Kate Mason who was up for Best Music Director.






Ty Frost and me

Ty Frost and me



And luckily the entertaining and fabulous Ty Frost was on hand to make sure we kept ourselves ‘nice’ as the long-list of awards was read out – helped along by the very talented MC efforts of actor Stephen Curry.




So when the winner of Best Newcomer was announced – Triple Ms Paul Gallen, I wasn’t surprised. But I was also hit by a realisation.

Just because I didn’t win the award didn’t mean the SIGNS had been wrong. I WAS a winner. I’d been nominated for a NATIONAL award at the ACRAS.

Whatever the outcome, that is indeed something to be proud of. The signs had been right all along. So I had a brilliant night celebrating, but managed to be well-behaved enough so that I could wake up the next morning with a smile on my face and take a lovely walk along the beach at Surfers Paradise. Now that’s a win, whichever way you look at it. 🙂

On the beach at Surfers Paradise

On the beach at Surfers Paradise

The Hardest Goodbye…

It’s hard to believe I took a break from Blogging more than a year ago to finish my book and now it seems timely to re-start the engine. While I do have some good news about my book, I’m going to save that for another day.

Instead, I want to pay tribute to my dear friend Rochelle, who we farewelled with a special service yesterday. The hardest goodbye of all…

To Rochelle’s family, to Russell – her partner of 19 years – and to all her friends, my sincerest sympathies. We all feel her loss so deeply.

Many subscribers to this Blog will remember Rochelle as the beautiful model who posed for any Fashion Posts we covered and I have so many happy memories of those times we spent together. I was also glad to have so many lovely photos of her that we could use for the service to remind everyone of her stunning smile that could light up any room in a flash.

Rochelle modelling evening wear

Rochelle modelling evening wear

Order of Service

Order of Service


Hundreds turned out yesterday for Rochelle’s farewell that was held at Brighton’s Baptist Church. So many people came that the church was overflowing with crowds spilling on to the street. She would have loved that.

Inside the Order of Service, Rochelle’s partner of 19 years, Russell, told of how much he loved Rochelle and how much he will miss her.

Russell's tribute and speakers

Russell’s tribute and speakers

The words below are from the tribute I read at the church. Along with several dear friends, we stood side by side to talk of our love for Rochy, shared stories, tears and many hugs.

And finally said Goodbye….


Writing is something Rochelle and I both loved. Telling stories and finding the right words to express ourselves. Which also meant lots of swearing and being outrageous. We even started our own writing workshop. A couple of other writers joined us. Some came, some went but we were the two main-stayers.

Which is why I have to apologise to Rochelle that this tribute I’ve written isn’t really up to scratch. That’s because I haven’t spent enough time on it. I had the time on the weekend. I could have spent hours. But I kept putting it off. And I know why. Because to write a farewell tribute to your dearest friend means they really have gone and that finality is something I still find so terribly hard to accept. Rochelle IS irreplaceable.

Rochelle and me

Rochelle and me

SO many shared emails which I now treasure and have spent hours collating so I can still hear her voice. At writing classes, teachers bang on about how important it is to ‘find your own unique voice’ Rochy had that instantly. A writing style that was direct and heart-wrenching with her own unique cutting-edge, wicked sense of humour.

Rochy spent several years working on writing her own book. Titled AnonyMS – it was a play on words that also incorporated the letters MS, as a reference to that disease which she so hated.

I went to hospital with Rochelle for the first of her monthly transfusions and shared the journey when she was on the road to being diagnosed.

It was a very painful time for her and one she documents in her book. I hope one day I will be able to, with Russell’s blessing, help collate the chapters we have together and have her book published in some form or another.

It was not long after her diagnosis in 2009 that I told Rochy I’d be going to LA and Vegas for a trip marking a film launch – a project I’d been involved in for some time. After going through such a rough patch – learning she had MS – Rochelle spoke longingly of how she too would like to visit those places.

When I look back on our friendship and see how much Rochy bought to my life, I will be forever grateful I was able to do at least one thing in return. Thanks to film producer Bobby Galinsky, we were able to make arrangements to include Rochelle on this trip and by God, it was indeed the trip of a lifetime.

With friends Chris Veitor and Krista Vendy in LA

With friends Chris Veitor and Krista Vendy in LA

We were both convinced we were MUCH better looking in LA, so armed with that boosted confidence, we took the town by storm and wreaked havoc. We teamed up with our good friend Krista and called ourselves the Three Amigos. So many adventures and great memories. As soon as we came home, we promised each other we’d do it all again.

Lunch at The Ivy with Krista in LA

Lunch at The Ivy with Krista in LA

Rochelle even wrote a poem about it:

I know our trip was one from the vault

The parties and fun times

We had were a jolt

From reality of the every day shit

To living the high life with the filthy rich.

Not so different to where we are now

But our journey continues, to that I will vow

If I ever make it somewhere better than here

You’ll be at my side grinning ear to ear

Friends take each other from bottom to top

And I’m so glad we’ll be each others

I like that a lot xxx

There was so much we had in common that bound us together – as Rochelle described in an email, we were ‘besties’. Although another time, after seeing the musical, AVENUE Q, she described me as her BAD Ideas Bear, meaning I was the one who led her astray. Yeah, maybe, but I think she liked it.

Rochelle modelling for the Blog

Rochelle modelling for the Blog

Our common interests included a love of Rose gold jewellery and clothing, fully-oaked chardonnay, movies, Oscars, music, writing, books, karaoke, singing and champagne. It was Rochelle who named our favourite bubbly Moet and Hansen in my honour. I will forever call it that.

Rochelle was my biggest supporter of anything I did. She was one of only a few friends who’ve read the book I’ve written. She also came to Women Of Letters in the audience to support me when I delivered a challenging speech last year. She even presented me with a hand-written letter on the day, where she described me as ‘the bravest girl in the room.’

Not so brave today…. But how wonderful to have a friend who gives such positive and unconditional love and support.

Other friends of mine who met Rochelle – who are here today – like Sam, Julie and my sister Jill – also loved getting to know Rochelle – each saying the same thing – because she’s such a genuine person and doesn’t judge people.

Rochelle was so talented on so many levels. Her writing and her sharp wit for starters. Beautiful too – inside and out. She was a regular model for my Blog and shone in all the photographs – some of which you will see in the photo tribute shortly. What a smile and so photogenic.

She was a superb singer – the only one in the room when we had a karaoke night that people would actually stop talking for and listen to her sing – she was brilliant.

I saw the movie PAN on Sunday with my daughter. Peter’s mother leaves baby Pan on the doorstep of the orphanage with a note telling Peter to never lose faith, that she will see him again ‘In this world or another’

Rochy WILL always be in my thoughts in this world and I know later, when it’s my time, we’ll see each other in that OTHER world – wherever it is – a land where they only serve charonnay; where Tim Curry is singing at a Vegas-style party amid cats and laughter.

In one of her recent emails to me Rochelle finished up with saying ‘Love you dear friend of mine, till the end of time.’ Ditto my darling.



Get me to the Greek Islands

Given my last Blog post was so very sad and I’m still feeling blue, I decided to cheer myself up by re-visiting one of the happiest times I’ve spent this year – when Fletch and I visited the Greek Islands in late June.

We’d planned this holiday for about two years.  A trip to the Greek Islands to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I’d been trying to get back ever since my time there was cut short more than 25 years ago (more on that later…) and this time around I wanted to make sure the adventure would be perfect.

Heading out to dinner in Mykonos

Heading out to dinner in Mykonos

Naturally, I was concerned when we began hearing about the terrible crisis facing the Greek economy about a month before we were due to leave.

Protests over the economic crisis in Athens

Protests over the economic crisis in Athens


Those fears heightened in the last few weeks with friends and relatives warning us – ‘Ooh, you’d better take heaps of cash. You could get stuck if you can’t use the banks.’



‘Make sure you watch your wallets. There’ll be a spike in petty crime if people can’t get their hands on money!’

‘What if the country can’t afford fuel and the planes stop flying?’

But while the problems caused by the Greek economy on a global scale are enormous, from a tourist’s perspective, there’s little to be concerned about. Taking extra cash isn’t difficult. Being cautious about personal security isn’t too much of an effort. And while I doubted international airlines would ever stop flying, if they DID, I couldn’t think of anything better than being stranded on a Greek Island!

So we packed our bags and jetted off. We landed as the Greek parliament was facing the tough decision about whether to accept new austerity measures or leave the Euro. When we arrived on the island of Santorini, it was a hot topic of discussion on the streets and dominated the BBC news, which I watched in our hotel room.

Santorini sunset

Santorini sunset

Outside, the island remained largely unaffected. A huge number of cruise ships visiting the islands helped buffer the impact of the banks being closed with hundreds of passengers disembarking with pockets full of cash to spend on shops in Fira and Oia. One jewellery store owner confessed they were also lucky to enjoy tax free breaks from the government that meant during the peak holiday season they were literally ‘raking it in.’

One smaller store – where I bought some locally made silver earrings – asked for cash instead of credit card, saying they knew cash flow would be an on-going problem, so wanted to build up their reserves.

Rallies in Athens were building and long debates were thrashed out in parliament as the tourist islands maintained a ‘business as usual’ attitude. The only indications of concern about the diminishing cash flow came from the increasing number of shops putting up ‘sale’ signs, with most traders also telling customers they’d do a ‘special price’ if they paid in cash rather than with a credit card.

Fletch - climbing to the top of a mountain to see the ancient city of Thira

Fletch climbing to the top of a mountain to see the ancient city of Thira

We did the usual ‘touristy’ things – climbed hundreds of steps up a hill to the ancient city of Thira: visited beach clubs with black sand: explored the ancient ruins of Akrotiri and indulged in a cocktail or two…

Perhaps the only side effect for locals was that there were slightly less tourists staying on Santorini, which for us, meant queues at tourist attractions were shorter.



Fletch was happy as there weren’t too many tourists to get in the way of his shots – photography being his passion.

Fletch taking photos

Fletch taking photos

And we definitely had no problems booking a ride on a sailing ship which took us took us to a volcanic island, hot springs and dinner on board as we drifted into a stunning sunset.

View from the Thalasa sailing ship

View from the Thalasa sailing ship

Some restaurants and bars let us know they weren’t able to get the same type of fresh produce they’d normally stock because of cash flow issues. They said some suppliers wouldn’t sell fresh food and veggies unless they were paid on the spot.

Again, not a major problem. Although it did create one embarrassing situation for me when I ordered a cocktail. No pineapple juice they said, so you can’t have a pineapple daiquiri.

‘That’s fine,’ I said. ‘What else would you recommend?’

The waiter muttered something then returned with a delicious passionfruit flavored concoction.

‘How lovely!’ I said to Alan. ‘It’s called ‘Born a Star.’

He laughed out loud. ‘No, you heard wrong,’ he said. ‘It starts with a ‘P’!’

Ah right, I stood corrected. PORN STAR was the name of my cocktail… And a mighty fine choice it was.

Drinking my Porn Star cocktail

Drinking my Porn Star cocktail

A week later we took the ferry over to Mykonos where again, even as the situation in Athens intensified, all appeared to be smooth sailing for the tourism industry.

We spent says by the pool at the beautiful Cavo Tagoo Hotel and the days passed all to quickly.

The infinity pool at Cavo Tagoo

The infinity pool at Cavo Tagoo

We arrived in Athens a day before a major rally was being held in front of the country’s Parliament House and again, the Greek economy was the hot topic of conversation. Overall, the locals we spoke with supported the government’s position of staying with the Euro – feeling that to be on their own would only lead to disaster. Others were weary of talking, merely shrugging their shoulders and saying ‘It can’t get much worse than it is now.’

Dinner on Mykonos

Dinner on Mykonos

Everywhere we went, café and hotel workers greeted us with overwhelming enthusiasm. They were delighted that any tourist would turn up at a time of crisis to spend their cash in support of their coffers. I have never felt such a warm welcome in any country before.

At one point, there was talk I might do a live cross to a TV brekkie show and I was taken back to a time in the late ’80s where I was visiting Greece for the first time. As a keen young journo I’d given Channel Ten my itinerary, and sure enough, they called me in to report on a horrendous heat wave that claimed the lives of more than a thousand people. I got the call late at night just after I’d arrived on Mykonos and as a result, never even slept in my hotel bed. And I’d been trying to get back for a ‘proper’ holiday ever since.

Enjoying the sun...

Fletch getting arty with his camera…

So while I would have been happy to have reported on the financial crisis, part of me was also relieved that this time – more than TWENTY-FIVE years later – I could finally enjoy a holiday in Greece.

On a final note, I didn’t manage to get the time to hop on one of Athen’s tourist attractions that bought a smile to my face every time it rattled on by – the ATHENS HAPPY TRAIN. But it looked like a lot of fun and I think that right now, Athens needs all the tourists it can get. So hop on board folks!

The Athens Happy Train

The Athens Happy Train




Apologies, dear Readers…. a Blogging respite is required

Dear Reader,

Thank you for following my stories over the past couple of years – it’s been a hoot! And this is not really a farewell – rather an ‘au revoir’ – meaning ‘until later’.

Cracked by Clare Strachan

Cracked by Clare Strachan

You see, last week I attended two book launches and was very proud to see these extremely talented women, who I am privileged to call friends, stand up and make speeches about their books.

And yes, you should buy and read both. The first I went to was for Clare Strachan, launching her book for young adults – CRACKED – and the second was for my step-sister Sian Prior, for her book – SHY – a memoir.

They are very different books, but both beautifully written and engaging. I am not going to attempt to give you a book review as much has already been written in the media that does the books better justice than I could.

Shy by Sian Prior

Shy by Sian Prior

For Sian’s book, for example, see these links to read more:

Age (Saturday) review
Sunday Age review
Readings review
Booktopia review
Struggling to write...

Struggling to write…

But at these book launches, it hit me like a tonne of bricks…. If I didn’t slow down and pay more attention to my OWN novel, it will never see the light of day.

I watched the movie ‘JOBS’ – about Steve Job’s life – the other day and one quote struck a chord and stayed with me:

‘Be as simple as you can be. You will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life will become.’

And so that is what I am going to do. You see, now that I’m working at smoothfm, on the Mike Perso More Music Breakfast Show, the time I spend on creative writing has become even more limited. And precious.

Hence something has to give. And it turns out the Blog is that thing.

So until I can’t help myself and HAVE to write to you about something, I am signing off until this book is finished. THEN I will really have something to write about!


A new line of New London Jeans for winter

New London jeans

New London jeans

A little over a year ago, I wrote a Blog about a new brand of jeans I’d discovered – titled Cool jeans for REAL WOMEN – how New London Jeans found a gap in the market


Brighton Lifestyle, 15C Church Street, Brighton

Brighton Lifestyle, 15C Church Street, Brighton

Now, given I’d already shared my enthusiasm for the brand with you, I really didn’t expect to visit the topic again. That is, until I popped down to Brighton Lifestyle in Church Street, Brighton, a few days ago and saw the latest range for winter from New London.

Yep, they’ve done it again. Well, I thought, I can justify ONE new pair, can’t I? Except then I started ‘trying on’ and found three I absolutely loved. Which led to a phone call to my lovely friend Rochelle who agreed to model for me so we could show you what’s available. I also had a chat with Claire Alexander (Sales and Design Director, Chris Alexander Agency) about her inspiration for this season.

But first, here are some highlights from the New London range modelled by Rochelle. The jeans are topped with pieces chosen from the range at the Brighton Lifestyle store. Details below…

Brown 'Hyde' velvet jeans

Brown ‘Hyde’ velvet jeans

New London Brown ‘Hyde’ velvet jeans – $149.90
Orange camisole by Cream – $149
Pretty in Pink cream sheepskin jacket – $169.00

Close up Hyde jeans

Close up Hyde jeans fabric

Black 'Hoffman' style jeans

Black ‘Hoffman’ style jeans

New London black ‘Hoffman’ style jeans – $149.90
David Barry puffer vest – $145
Lime green Ping Pong top – $95

Denim studded 'Notting Blue' jeans

Denim studded ‘Notting Blue’ jeans

New London denim studded ‘Notting Blue’ style – $149.90
Shirt by Cindy G – $169.90
Beads by Cindy G – $45

Detail from pockets of the 'Notting Blue'

Detail from pockets of the ‘Notting Blue’

Close up of the Brown New London 'Ramsey' casual cargo jeans

Close up of the Brown New London ‘Ramsey’ casual cargo jeans

Brown New London ‘Ramsey’ casual cargo jeans – $149.90

Grey cord New London jeans

Grey cord New London jeans

Grey cord New London jeans – $149.90
Ping Pong polka long cardigan – $129.00
Cream camisole in khaki – $55.00


The most popular denim in the new London range - the 'Stoke' style

The most popular denim in the new London range – the ‘Stoke’ style

The most popular denim in the New London range -‘Stoke’ style – $149.90
Black faux leather sheepskin jacket by Pretty In Pink – $169.00


Speaking with the woman behind many of these wonderful styles, Sales and Design Director for the Chris Alexander Agency, Claire Alexander, she told me how keeping the range as a ’boutique’ brand gives them a point of difference in the market.

Sales and Design Director, Chris Alexander Agency - Claire Alexander

Sales and Design Director, Chris Alexander Agency – Claire Alexander

New London jeans aren’t sold at major department stores or online. But they’re jumping off the shelves at niche boutiques, being snapped up by women who want jeans that are funky and fit well – without feeling like they’re wearing their daughter’s jeans that are cut WAAaaayy too low…

This season’s range of styles is her favourite.

Jen: So tell us about the new winter range. How does it differ to last year’s?
Claire: This winter range is more comprehensive. There’s more to it than last winter. There’s more fabrication…

Jen: What does THAT mean?
Claire: Well rather than being purely a denim brand, we’ve evolved to use a range of fabrics. So due to customer demand, our tag line is ‘We fit you and your life.’ So rather than just denim for casual wear, we’ve also got moleskin brush cotton fabrics, the velvet, printed velvet, pleather with stretch, so slightly dressier styles as well.

(Brighton Lifestyle didn’t have this style, so we’re using a shot from the brochure to show you the ‘Pleather’ style.)

Pleather pants

Pleather pants

Jen: Why use ‘pleather’ (man-made leather) rather than the real deal?
Claire: It’s machine washable which makes them very popular! I’ve tested my own many times – they’re great!

Jen: And the price point has stayed the same as last year?
Claire: We’ve tried to own that type of price-point for our customer, so it’s within their expectations. This means a lot of our customers might also then buy two pairs, or try on belts and tops which we have just started producing as well. We don’t break the bank.

 Jen: What’s your favourite style for this season?
Claire: I have two that I absolutely live in all the time The Bowen style is great. We call it a 3-D style because it has an insert panel in the leg making it really comfortable. It’s also in a two-way stretch denim which is a nice mid-weight and the vivid blue is really popular. The other is the Lambeth I’m wearing today. (see Claire’s picture above) It also has an elastic waist so it’s really comfy!

New London 'Bowen' in royal blue denim

New London ‘Bowen’ in royal blue denim

So there you go. A fantastic new range of jeans for this winter. Check out the New London website at:

…to find the nearest stockist near you, or visit the Brighton Lifestyle store at 15C Church Street, Brighton.

New London brochure - Winter 2014

New London brochure – Winter 2014