Seven tips to help conquer sleeping problems…

When I first started working at Smoothfm on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show nearly two months ago, I was a teensy bit concerned about how I’d adjust to a new sleeping regime to accommodate my working hours.

Night owl at work

Night owl at work

In the past, I’ve always been a dedicated night owl. Whether it’s been working on my novel well into the small hours, or socialising with friends, it was a rare night when my head would hit the pillow before midnight.

Now I get up just after 4am. Yes AM. Which has meant a serious mind shift in the way I think about sleep.
I can’t afford to go to bed ‘when I feel like it’ anymore. Not that I mind, because I love my new role at Smoothfm, but sleep becomes more difficult when you know it’s something that HAS to happen or you’ll pay the price the next day.

Trouble sleeping?

Trouble sleeping?

I decided to do some research to work out the best way to get a good night’s sleep on whim without taking sleeping tablets.

The last thing I want to do is become dependent on Stillnox or Valium. I need to be sharp as a tack when I clock on – not muddling through a drug-induced haze.


Knowing that about two million Australians also face sleep issues, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. I think I’ve nailed it. And that’s because I often need afternoon naps now – especially if I’m heading out that night. Sleeping in the day in the past would have been impossible and now it’s a breeze. Here’s how:

For afternoon naps, I wear socks. It helps with the cozy factor. And if it’s a really cold evening, I might wear socks at night too.

No coffee after 11am

No coffee after 11am


No coffee after 11am. Preferably only two cups max a day. Then only a cup of tea AFTER an afternoon nap if heading out that evening and in need of a boost.



Exercise is essential. If you give your body a good workout, you will naturally feel inclined to hit the sack.

Swisse Sleep vitamins

Swisse Sleep vitamins


Natural sleeping vitamins, like these from Swisse, really do help! Plus they contain magnesium, which helps alleviate the risk of cramps that can occur at night if one has consumed alcohol…




Tapiz Chadonnay

Tapiz Chardonnay


I find a couple of glasses helps in the sleeping stakes. Some people say they wake up more in the night if they drink wine, so this tip may not suit everyone, but I find it helps enormously. Not EVERY night, of course… And it MUST be good quality wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine.


Tim Winton's latest novel, Eyrie

Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie


Reading is a brilliant way to get to sleep. I challenge you to go to bed, even when wide awake, and not feel sleepy in less than half an hour after reading when all snuggled up in bed. Of course, if it’s a particularly engaging book or a thriller, this might not work, so if you REALLY need to sleep, pick up something more challenging – with difficult vocabulary and philosophies – and it’ll do the trick in no time.



THIS is the tip I think works the BEST. It’s not particularly clever the way I found it – through a simple Google search – but no one had ever mentioned it to me before which is why I want to share this.

Guided Sleep Meditation

Guided Sleep Meditation


Keep in mind I am NOT one of those vegan, yoga, mediation types – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’m just not one of them. I’m more of a busy, easily bored, attention deficit-disorder, A-type personality, so when I first came across this, I admit, I was quite skeptical.

BUT IT WORKS! And I guess that’s also why there are more than ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND hits on the You Tube version. I also like that it’s made by a couple of blokes called ‘The Honest Guys’. So it must be honestly good, right? You can play it on your iPhone or iPad and no, you don’t have to look at the screen.

Although I admit, when I first played it, I found the moving and exploding star pattern in the unending galaxy at the beginning of the clip quite mesmerising….

A mesmerizing galaxy of stars….

A mesmerizing galaxy of stars…

Anyway, a calm male voice – almost monotone – will guide you through a few simple breathing and mind techniques to help you relax. The effect is almost hypnotic. I’m always surprised when I hear something new I haven’t heard before – meaning I’ve never heard all of it because I usually fall asleep within five to ten minutes. I find it particularly helpful for afternoon naps. The only danger is that I’m now so reliant on it, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to sleep without my iPad again?

Who cares – it works!

Happy Sleeping. I’m off for an afternoon nap now. Nightie night.

A New Bible For The Music Industry – Welcome To The Jungle

Singer Gary Numan

Singer Gary Numan

When I arrived to interview author and lawyer Andrew Watt, he was on the phone interviewing Gary Numan. Does the name ring a bell? Yes, THE Gary Numan – the iconic British singer credited with being the pioneer of electronic music in the late 70s and early 80s with hits such as  ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’.
You see, Watt is the wearer of many hats. A full-time lawyer at Gibsons Solicitors, he’s also a man engaged in a long-time love affair with the music industry. This led him to write about music for the Monash University student newspaper when studying law and it’s a passion that’s never let up. Which is probably why he’s also a teacher of music business education at JMC Academy in South Melbourne. And he STILL writes articles about music and bands.

You’d think that would be enough on anyone’s plate, but no, Watt decided he needed another project two years ago when he began teaching students at the Academy.

Lawyer, author and teacher Andrew Watt

Lawyer, author and teacher Andrew Watt

‘I felt that there was a real gap in the market in that there was a lot of theoretical material available about copyright and contract law, all of which are important, but there was a disconnect between the theoretical learning and the day-to-day practice in the industry,’ he said.

A hefty tome...

A hefty tome…


And that’s how the idea for his new book was born. Called Welcome to the Jungle, it’s a hefty tome that is fast-becoming recognised as THE go-to-book for anyone who needs to know anything and everything about being a part of the precarious music industry.


‘I thought this was an opportunity to talk to people who are at the coalface of the industry about what they do and how they do it and how the industry is evolving. Because it is a very fast-moving industry as we’re all very well aware,’ he said.

Promoter Michael Gudinski

Promoter Michael Gudinski

Just flipping through the pages of the book gives you some idea of the types of music heavyweights Watt has included in his pet project. Names like Michael Gudinski, Michael Chugg, John Watson and Michael Coppell, to name a few, have all shared their experiences to help others navigate a career path in the industry.

All up, Watt completed more than NINETY interviews!!

While most of his students have a passion for music, Watt says most aren’t sure what role they’ll play when it comes to careers. ‘That’s a good thing,’ he said. ‘Because there are a lot of accidental careers. If they go into it thinking the only thing they want to be is a manager, or work at a record company, they might be missing the niche that suits them best. Very few people leave school and think, “I’m going to be a music supervisor.” They discover publishing, they discover that they have a flair for music in film or TV and they find themselves in that area.’

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle


Keeping up-to-date with technology and social media is also a very important message in the book. ‘There’s a whole chapter on digital music marketing,’ he said. ‘There was no such thing ten years ago. Back then there might have been a department called New Media, but now you have individuals who specialise in social media for music marketing or viral marketing.’



‘New technologies are changing the way the industry works all the time,’ he said. ‘Although having said that, never lose sight of the fact that the essence of the music industry is connecting the creators of music with the consumers of music. It’s just the means and the methods by which people do that, that are changing. At the end of the day it’s still about musicians and their audiences.’

Of the successful working professionals Watt interview, he says an undying passion for the industry is a common element they all share.

‘There is a unique attitude and passion that comes with working in the music industry. Whether it’s the live or recorded industry. You can’t teach that passion. You either have it or you don’t. You have to help the students apply that passion and make the transition from being fans to contributing members of the industry.’

Author Andrew Watt

Author Andrew Watt

And that’s what this book is all about. Watt describes it as an anecdotal textbook. So if you’re thinking about getting into the music biz, this will be essential reading. Even those who don’t want to work in the industry will find the stories and interviews with the larger-than-life characters that dominate this world, an entertaining read.

Watt is also holding workshops about the industry across the country, so if you’d like to attend, here’s the details:




To celebrate the launch of Andrew Watt’s music business textbook, Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia, Andrew is holding a series of Workshop events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne running from 10am to 4pm. 

 BRISBANE: Saturday 28 June

JMC Academy, 75 Grey St, South Brisbane

 SYDNEY – Saturday 5 July

JMC Academy, 561 Harris St, Ultimo

MELBOURNE – Saturday 12 July

JMC Academy, 171 Bank St, South Melbourne


The Workshop presents an overview of the Music Industry in Australia, targeted at students studying Music Business Courses, artists wanting to understand the industry and young industry aspirants wanting to get a foot in the door


$95 inc GST (each registrant receives a free print edition of

Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia RRP: $55)

In addition please note that as part of the course fees, attendees will be given a workbook

and several other useful information documents 


Workshop bookings can be made at

Or if you’d just like to purchase a copy of the book, here’s the link:


Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia

is available for sale now at




40 is the new 30 UNLESS… – The new fertility awareness campaign

I’ve often run around proclaiming 40 to be the new 30 – more out of ageist vanity than anything else – so it was a slogan that very much caught the eye when I spotted it on the wall at the gym recently.

40 is the new 30

40 is the new 30

The gym bathroom is a popular advertising venue...

The gym bathroom is a popular advertising venue…

The ladies room at the gym is a popular advertising spot and glancing around, I found a range of these ads covering most of the walls – apart from the odd deodorant campaign.

But on closer inspection, it was pretty obvious the old familiar saying wasn’t designed to prop up the egos of the over-40s. Rather, it was spruiking an important health message – one I’ve often said needs much greater attention in the community. (See an earlier Blog I wrote in November last year for more personal details. )


Perhaps someone was listening because now the state and federal government health departments have combined forces to get the message across to women in the public domain.

You see, when you get to my age, you find many women around you who weren’t given this message and now it’s too late. There used to be a common misconception that it was all good and dandy to easily fall pregnant in your forties, and that’s not the case. In fact, regardless of age, ten per cent of couples struggle with fertility. At 32, your fertility declines, and then after 35, your chances of conceiving fall dramatically.

As the main poster message says – Fertility IS Ageist!!

Fertility is Ageist

Fertility is Ageist

As I wrote earlier, I’m also well aware that this is a highly sensitive and complex issue. I don’t wish to offend anyone who is an older parent – if you’ve made it work – fantastic. I’m just saying – if you’re like I was in my late 20s and think you have all the time in the world – think again. Look up the statistics and decide whether it’s really worth waiting.

And congratulations to our health authorities who are finally doing something about the issue. If you’d like to know more, just visit the fertility website.

Check out the website

Check out the website

After all, babies are pretty fabulous. I’m lucky enough to have had two and wish everyone as much joy with parenting as ourselves.

Tom as a newborn. Photo by Fletch

Tom as a newborn. Photo by Fletch

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!


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!





So you want to live in a Penthouse? Interior design with knockout style.

Toni Giannarelli in her new apartment

Toni Giannarelli in her new apartment

Ever thought about ditching your house and that high-maintenance garden for the simplicity of inner-city apartment living? Interior decorator Toni Giannarelli wanted such a change and moved into her stunning Freshwater apartment in Melbourne a little more than a year ago.



It’s a spacious penthouse with floor-to-ceiling-windows in almost every room, offering breath-taking views of Melbourne and the city’s iconic landmarks.

A spacious living room

A spacious living room

Look one way and there’s all of Flinders Street and Federation Square…

A Melbourne perspective

A Melbourne perspective

…then to your right and there’s Rod Laver Arena, the MCG and grand old Government House.

Government House and the MCG

Government House, Rod Laver Arena and the MCG

It’s a stylish, fresh, modern interior which uses light tones, mirrors, silver and chrome to achieve its look of Hollywood glamour. But it wasn’t always the way. When Toni first moved in, the apartment walls were painted in dark colours, so she had it all re-done.

‘I wanted white to open up the place,’ said Toni ‘And the mirrors everywhere open it up even more. You get angles from the city reflecting in the mirrors which make it look even bigger.’

There’s a wonderful abstract painting of a grand piano in the dining room, which Toni cleverly placed at the opposite wall to the entrance, so you see the painting’s reflection when you first enter the room and can appreciate it again when seated at the table from the opposite direction.

The dining-room - look in the mirror...

The dining-room – look in the mirror…

...It's the Grand Piano painting!

…It’s the Grand Piano painting!

The Hollywood feel is also brought about by the artwork – especially the piece in Toni’s study, based on the most famous female Hollywood icon of them all – Marilyn Monroe.

‘I commissioned the paintings from a friend of mine who owns Tutti Interiors. She has them commissioned by overseas artists who live in colonies,’ said Toni. ‘I just sketched up a few ideas and asked them to base the paintings on these and it worked beautifully.’

The Marilyn painting

The Marilyn painting

Toni in her office

Toni in her office

Toni’s office is a work of art in itself, with a mirrored desk, cordless lamp and monochrome rug.

Similarly, the kitchen is decked out with minimalist trimmings and attention to detail.

The kitchen

The kitchen

In fact, it’s the attention to detail throughout the apartment that gives it its edge. Here are a couple more snaps, which are self-explanatory.

A corner to reflect...

A corner to reflect…

More than just a mirror...

More than just a mirror…






A coffee table with class

A coffee table with class



Corner table

Corner table






Toni’s taste hasn’t always focused on a modern look. Her last home was filled with antique furniture and knick-knacks. ‘Because I had an antique, timber look in my last house, I really wanted to go with a completely different design,’ she said.

‘Something more contemporary. Fresh for Freshwater,’ she said with a laugh. ‘And you can add colour to the room with accessories, like I have in one of my daughter’s rooms with the Missoni cushions. Overall, it’s a minimalist, clean look. It’s great not to have all those ornaments around which were just dust collectors.’

The Missoni edge…

The Missoni edge…

The third bedroom sticks with monochrome tones and again, mirrors to open up the room.

Third bedroom

Third bedroom

Design details

Design details







Toni’s bedroom is likewise bright and breezy, with a wide-screen TV attached high on a structural column.

A breezy bedroom...

A breezy bedroom…

Details I love include Toni’s use of a decorative tray to store and display her perfume collection…

A scent for all seasons...

A scent for all seasons…

…and the elegant chaise lounge lying outside the bathroom entrance, which beckons enticingly.

Lounging about...

Lounging about…

The ensuite itself is as big as the main bathroom.

An all-white bathroom

An all-white bathroom

So how has the change from a home with a garden, to living in an apartment been? Toni describes it as liberating. ‘I love it. There’s less maintenance and I still have a garden on the tenth floor with nearly an acre of land, a pool and BBQ. And there’s the promenade at Southbank. Plus the security gives me peace of mind.’

As I was leaving, I noticed one collectable that came from Toni’s last home that she wasn’t able to give up. It’s an antique clock that was commissioned by the city of Paris for the capital’s annual art show back in 1890. It’s the one designer nod to her past. Given its exceptional beauty, it’s a completely understandable inclusion!

Parisian Antique clock from 1890

Parisian Antique clock from 1890

As for the modern pieces, many were sourced from stores including Missoni Homewares, Kings Furniture, Luxe By Design and Philipp Starck.

If you’d like Toni to help you with any interior design advice, you can phone her on 0420 830 083.