How to get a good night’s sleep – with scientific proof! ( kind of…)

It’s a never-ending topic of discussion among those of us who work in brekkie radio – SLEEP.

If only we could all sleep like the babies...

If only we could all sleep like the babies…

How much did you get last night? How DID you sleep? Were you woken up? Did you get to bed on time? For some reason, our sleeping habits provide an endless source of conversation and fascination.

Even if you have a regular job, the yearning for a decent night’s sleep is an all-too common problem. Finding the solution to achieving a good quality night’s shut-eye is like a search for the Holy Grail.

Well now I can offer some SCIENTIFIC PROOF that should help you on your way.

I use a FITBIT that monitors my sleeping habits with a graph. Basically it shows a blue graph that is interrupted by light blue lines when I am restless. Pink means I’ve actually got up and out of bed to go the bathroom or get a glass of water.

Here’s what happens when I use an electronic device – mostly my iPhone – before turning out the bedside lamp:

My sleep pattern last night

My sleep pattern last night

And here’s what happens if I read a book instead:

My sleep pattern after reading a book

My sleep pattern after reading a book


Books beat phones hands down.

I tried it again the following night and here’s proof:

Sleep pattern last Wednesday night

Sleep pattern last Wednesday night

You might think it’s obvious, but if you’re like me, you’ve heard the advice before and ignored it. Now I’m convinced the experts are right and I hope you are too.

So it’s simple – PUT AWAY YOUR MOBILE PHONE AND i-PAD and READ instead.

Happy sleeping!



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!


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.


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!