Weekly Update: The best of my New Year Resolutions…


Now coming to the end of January, I look back at how I’ve progressed with my New Year’s Resolutions and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Some have been tougher than others, and I’ve used the holiday break as an excuse for not fulfilling some – but generally speaking, I’m improving. This blogging caper does help enormously too. It makes you accountable – even in a teeny weeny way.

So let’s do an update and I’ll share what I’ve learned along the way.


(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet. (which is not eating products that contain more than 5% sugar)
Even though I confessed in Sunday’s blog that I finally broke my sugar fast on Saturday night while watching a movie at the Village Gold Class Cinema and devouring a Choc Top, I’m going to stick with this one. People have asked why, and I have to say one of the main reasons is how I FEEL. I feel happier and healthier and have loads more energy than ever before. That’s why this is the BEST of all my New Year’s resolutions. It really HAS made a difference. I’m not absolutely certain if it’s kicking sugar, or just that (touch wood) life is pretty good right now, giving me a more positive outlook, but I have a hunch it’s got more to do with the sugar business.

I also love the up-myself, smug feeling I get when standing in the supermarket queue with all those rows of sugar-laden chocolate bars staring at me, begging me to buy them. ‘Ha!’ I say to them. ‘Don’t even THINK you can tempt me! I KNOW you are evil and I am strong enough to resist you!!’ Juvenile, but fun. Empowering.

Chocolate protein balls

Chocolate protein balls

Emma the Guru’s recipe for chocolate protein balls has also been a big winner this week. I just LOVE them and they are now my regular afternoon treat. Just one… most days… Plus I managed THREE alcohol free days – a first in many weeks.



More food updates to come, so stay tuned. But I don’t get a tick for this resolution this week because of the Choc Top moment.

(2) Not to play I-Phone Games

Yes, all good here. A big tick this week.

EXCEPT… that I found a new replacement addiction. I did mention it in a previous Blog, but I’m now going to reveal the evidence. It’s quite brave of me really, because I know many will condemn me for being a complete nerd…


2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

It all started when Veronica asked for a puzzle as one of her Christmas presents. She wanted something more challenging this time, so chose a 2000-piece puzzle. And after Christmas, she invited me to help her put it together. Like most teenagers, she lost interest not far into the game as it proved a tad more challenging than she’d expected…


Stage One...

Stage One…

Except that the rumpus room table was now covered with a barely completed puzzle and I couldn’t bear to pack it away until it had been conquered!

And so the fun began… It became an obsession. I’d start with thinking, ‘I’ll just finish off the parrot’s beak,’ and before I knew it, it was TWO AM!!!


Stage Two...

Stage Two…


Fletch was becoming quite annoyed. I was neglecting the family and household chores – scurrying away upstairs any moment I could to put this damn thing together.  ‘See – the cockatoo is done!’ I’d squeal with delight. He didn’t get it.



A puzzling mess...

A puzzling mess…

Nor was the family pleased I’d covered the floor with pieces. The jigsaw was taking over our lives. But I did love the fact that being up in the rumpus room meant I spent more time with Tom who would be watching sport or playing Play Station with friends while I puzzled away. Every time I fitted a piece, I’d shout ‘YAY’, to which he had to shout back ‘YAY!’ It was a wonderful bonding ritual.

Stage three...

Stage three…


One kind friend suggested my obsession was a reflection of what was happening in my life. That I was figuring stuff out in my head while doing the puzzle and piecing together elements in my life that made sense. I liked that one. I’ll run with that.



Stage Four...

Stage Four…


I think Fletch was more concerned I was regressing into a second childhood. But wait – I found evidence on the internet that doing jigsaw puzzles is wonderful exercise for the brain and makes people incredibly smart. Which means I am now a genius. Cool.



The missing link...

The missing link…


As I neared the end, one missing piece from the Toucan’s beak was driving me crazy. I knew it HAD to be green and black with a stripe in the middle – surely not that hard to find? But no, many a lengthy search proved fruitless… I worried the makers had stuffed up and sold me a puzzle minus a vital finishing piece…was my mission pointless???




Then, at two-thirty in the morning, I thought I was done, but STILL the piece was missing. The anxiety was torturous. I had to get to bed!! An easel with newspaper underneath to protect the carpet was next to the table. I shoved it aside and shook out the paper – and SWEET JOY – the missing piece spilled on to the carpet in all its glory. Victory. My mission was complete. Ahhh….

Picture perfect!

Picture perfect!


(3) To tidy my office before the end of March.

It’s an on-going, eternal nightmare, but I get a BIG TICK every week till the end of March. The best thing about this resolution is that it means I try to clear away a little bit off the desk each day. So progress, yes, even though it’s just tiny steps.

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week.

I did it! I actually got to the gym THREE times PLUS I have enlisted the services of a new personal trainer – Ross Sheridan – who I began work with on Friday. And you know what? If I hadn’t made an appointment to meet him on Friday, I doubt I would have made it to the gym. Hence the value of personal trainers. I really do need to be accountable… Still, very up-myself for making it to the gym three times. A big tick.

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again.

The best part about this resolution is that it really belongs in last year’s resolution basket, and I am pleased to report, it’s SO much easier this year than last year. So, if it’s of any help to smokers out there, it DOES get better. I also suffer much less from smoker’s envy in social situations, which is fantastic. Another big tick.

Overall, checking the scorecard – that’s four ticks out of five this week, so I’m pretty happy.
Until next week!


New Year’s Resolution Update – plus a drinking debate


Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself. WHY? Why would I tell you I’m going to post weekly New Year’s Resolution updates? How stupid. Does anyone actually stick to their resolutions? I must say, with a couple of those declarations, I DID add the disclaimer – NOT during holidays, so I can let myself off the hook until this week, but seriously, I am NOT doing well so far.

I also have mixed feelings about a very positive step I took today. I’ve signed up with a new personal trainer – Ross. He’s a lovely man – very encouraging and patient. I know he’s patient because I promised to email him last SEPTEMBER with my health background, with the view of starting way back then… But I’m lazy. And life happens. Work commitments and travel got in the way, and then I injured a glute muscle trying to climb over rocks in the Grampians, so I kept putting it off – until today.



So I AM proud of myself that I had a meeting with Ross this morning and am booked to begin on Friday. All good. What’s NOT so good is Ross’ take on my resolutions. He clearly thinks I’m appalling when it comes to alcohol consumption. He’s happy with my sugar-free mission, but when I proposed that MY RULES also allowed me to drink wine four nights a week, he practically choked on his whistle. Eyes popping, ‘Four?’ he gasped. ‘You drink FOUR nights a week?’


‘Well that’s what I’m aiming for,’ I said. ‘I think three alcohol-free days is pretty good, isn’t it?’ Clearly not. Ross needs to meet my friends.

‘No,’ he said firmly. ‘Have you any IDEA how much sugar is in a glass of wine? You should only drink ONE DAY a week.’

ONE DAY? Is he kidding? But then, Ross gave up alcohol eighteen months ago – purely as a health challenge – and he likes being pure so much, he’s continued. I don’t think that’s on my agenda. I enjoy wine – especially chardonnay. A good chardonnay is like liquid gold to the palate – in moderation, of course.

Hmmm…. this could be a challenging relationship. Our views on drinking are dramatically opposed. But, maybe – just maybe – this is what I need?

Next stop - Dan Murphy

Next stop – Dan Murphy


Regardless, I didn’t tell him my next stop after the gym was to pop in to Dan Murphy’s to buy a present for my hairdresser (Grey Goose Vodka) and to refill Fletch’s beer supplies. Friends often pop in at our place and there’s nothing more embarrassing than an empty fridge. Oh yes, I also picked up a couple of bottles of chardonnay…

But let’s get back to that resolution update. Here are my pathetic results from last week:



(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet. (Which means not eating anything that contains more than 5% sugar.)
This is the only resolution I ALMOST get a tick for. While the THREE alcohol-free days rule doesn’t apply during holidays, I still managed two alcohol-free days, so I’m feeling okay about this one. Ross might not be impressed, but I am.

Yoplait yoghurt

Yoplait yoghurt


I did, however, have one major disappointment with this resolution, and it was by accident. I was helping myself to a serving of yoghurt for afternoon tea, when half way through, I thought I should ‘double check’ the sugar content, even though I was sure I’d already done that and I was fine.


BUT, this flavour – apple pie – comes in a six-pack and I discovered the sugar content I’d read was for ANOTHER FLAVOUR!!! Damn!! The apple pie yoghurt ended up being 7.4% sugar, so inadvertently, I’d stuffed up.

SO I get a cross for this resolution this week, but I will persist.
(2) Not to play I-Phone Games

I get a big, fat cross here too, because I played Baker’s Game – a form of solitaire – on my I-phone one night when I was finding it hard to get to sleep. It’s a bad habit I know – relying on an I-phone to get to sleep – but I blame Fletch. He won’t let me read (even with a reading light) while he’s sleeping because he says it wakes him up. Very selfish of him really, so I say it’s all his fault. But yes, I still get another cross…

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March

This is an easy one. I have weeks ahead of me to get TICKS till the end of March! I am making progress though. Albeit slowly…

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week
This is a tricky one as the disclaimer on this resolution, was “except for when on holidays”. Overall, I was NOT on holidays for half a week, (last week)  so it’s awkward to assess… I DID do a spin class this morning, but no, that’s only one visit to the gym for the whole week, so really I probably deserve a CROSS. Damn. It’s hard with the kids on holidays to find the motivation…

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again

I get a tick here too, although I did willingly chase the smokers outside last night to stand near them and inhale their second-hand smoke. But I did NOT actually smoke a cigarette. Second-hand fumes don’t count. Another tick, thank you!

Overall, checking the scorecard, that’s only TWO out of FIVE. A poor result.I am taking myself off for time out in the naughty corner. I will attempt to pull my finger out next week. Promise. Surely with Ross on side I can do better? How are you going with your resolutions? I’d love to hear stories from someone else who’s finding it tough!

ONE WEEK ON – Have I Kept My FIVE New Year’s Resolutions?

So it’s ONE WEEK since I bared my soul and told the world my FIVE New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, even the embarrassing admission that I really had to give up playing time-wasting games – like DRAGONVALE of all things – on my I-Phone…. (Can someone else out there please confess so I don’t feel like a total loser!!)

To keep myself accountable, I promised weekly updates – which I’ll do until I feel I’m beyond temptation and have conquered my issues, or that I’ve broken so many of them, I have no choice but to thrown in the towel.

Here’s how the past week went:

(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine)
– to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet.
So far so good. Despite all the temptations at this wonderful holiday location, Lorne, I have not eaten ONE lolly, cake, biscuit or ice-cream. The family haven’t been any help whatsoever – continuing to order muffins and crepes in front of me… so much for support. Just an hour ago, they bought smoothies and I was hit with a huge case of food envy. It was driving me nuts, so I relented and ate two pieces of sugar-free dark chocolate. Which is not great as that just perpetuates the craving for sweet treats. At least it wasn’t REAL chocolate!

I don’t think I’ve necessarily lost weight, but that’s not the real goal. Emma Dumas, the queen of the anti-sugar campaign (see Blog post December 19) insists the weight will come off, but says the health benefits are more important.

I will persist! And yes, I get a tick for keeping to my ONE LINE RULE diet for the first week of the year.

Forbidden Fruit...

Forbidden Fruit…

(2) Not to play I-Phone Games.



DAMN! I sort of broke this resolution yesterday… When I say ‘sort of’, I mean I didn’t play a game on my I-phone, but I DID play a game on Fletch’s I-pad!! So definitively, I did keep my resolution, but specifically – in terms of playing electronic games – I broke the rule. What happened is that Fletch had gone out on a VERY early morning photo shoot. When I woke, I noticed his I-Pad was on his bedside table, so I reached for it, to check the weather forecast. Unfortunately, I hadn’t deleted the Dragonvale game from his desktop, (as I had with my I-phone) saw the Icon, and without thinking, opened it and started playing. Naughty, naughty me!! A big bad cross for breaking this resolution. I will now go and delete the game from his I-Pad. Sorry.

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March.
Well of course you know I’m on holidays, so that just isn’t going to happen this week, is it????

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week.
The disclaimer on this resolution, was “except for when on holidays” , so again I can give myself another tick for this one without thinking. Although I have done a decent bush or beach walk every day while here, so I think I’m doing okay in the exercise stakes.

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again.
I really gave up smoking last year, but there were several occasions, maybe half a dozen? – (alcohol was usually involved) where I DID light up. I don’t want to have even ONE hiccup this year. So far so good. A big tick for Resolution Number Five in Week One.

Overall, checking the scorecard – that’s four ticks out of five at the end of week one. And I only played Dragonvale once. I promise. But next week I’m aiming for five out of five. After all, it’s not like I’ve set the bar extraordinarily high… How have you done with your New Year Resolutions this week? Let me know – I’d love to hear your stories.

Are You Planning To Give Up Smoking? Tips That Helped Me


When cigarettes had brand names...

When cigarettes had brand names…

So we’re only a couple of hours away from welcoming in 2013. I adore New Year’s Eve and last year we celebrated with a ripper party at our house that went till the wee hours of the morning. Friends brought kids and the sunroom area was awash with water from screaming tikes running wet from the pool through our midst.  I’m sure I stayed up extra late, knowing that once I went to bed, it was all over. Smoking, that is. Yes, my resolution last year was to GIVE UP SMOKING.



Most people who know me didn’t think I could. I’d tried many times before and when the last time didn’t work for me, I declared, ‘I’ve given up GIVING UP.’ MY theory was that there was no point. Smokers would always be smokers – that the urge would never leave them, or me. What mostly happened when I gave up is that I became shockingly cranky, stacked on weight and then ended up taking it up again six months later. So what was the point?

I wasn’t what you’d call a chronic smoker. Mostly I didn’t have my first cigarette of the day till the afternoon. It was a ‘reward’ – a time for some ‘time out’ with a coffee after a hard morning’s work. Even if I hadn’t worked hard. And while I might only have smoked half a dozen cigarettes a day, smoking with friends while drinking, meant the number would increase rapidly. It was a treat – an indulgence.

Smoking while reading Jackie Collins

Smoking while reading Jackie Collins

I’d smoked regularly since I was eighteen, although had choked on my first cigarette at around fifteen. Then most of the men I dated smoked too, so it was easy to keep puffing away. Here’s a trashy picture – at 26, in Italy with Fletch, caught reading Jackie Collins while puffing away in bed. Ewww… but sheez, I loved it.



Then there were the parties, and yes, I’m sure I thought I was glamorous, not knowing how much other people recoiled from my stench.

Big hat party

Big hat party

Did I really think that hat worked? And the cigarette?

Did I really think that hat worked? And the cigarette?









After we had children, I managed to hide my smoking from them until Veronica was about nine. When I thought she was asleep one night, I sat outside and was inhaling deeply when she burst through the back door, pointing at me in horror, saying ,’Mummy! You’re smoking! Oh no, did Daddy make you do it?’ Well of course I had to say, ‘Yes, naughty Daddy! He made me! But I’m giving up tomorrow.’

But I didn’t give up ‘that’ tomorrow all those years ago. And I was nagged and hounded by the kids ever since to give up. Fletch had also struggled with giving up smoking and gave up a few months before me, around October 2011. I hated him because he even made it look easy. But he did use nicotine patches. I promised back then I’d give up after the races, which then turned in to New Year’s Eve.

I knew this time was more serious than other attempts. For many reasons, but of course, the most important has to be for yourself and your health. But for those of you considering giving up – it’s not going to be easy. I did find it hard and I still find it hard occasionally. But there are things you can do to lessen the pain. So here are my tips for giving up:

(1) Buy this book or the CD version. It’s called How To Stop Smoking (and stay stopped for good) by Gillian Riley. I’m not a huge fan of self-help books and usually find them dull, so I bought the CD version and listened to it in the car. I’ve read several books about giving up smoking (including Allan Carr’s) and I think this is the best. It has the most practical approach and it’s not a gimmick. It doesn’t try to fool you into believing there’s one ‘easy’ quick solution. It spells out that you ARE going to find it hard, but tough luck – live through it and endure it, because that’s the only way to beat it. But it does also have some very valuable advice and ideas about how to deal with an addiction. It takes a deeper psychological approach which makes a lot more sense to me, than any form of hypnotherapy or tablet taking.

The best tip from the book is to make a list of all the reasons you are giving up. Then, Gillian says you must always give yourself permission to smoke. But before you actually do, you must read your list and accept you are giving up ALL those incredibly important things – before you light up. That makes it much tougher.

The CD version of Gillian Riley's book 'How to Stop Smoking'

The CD version of Gillian Riley’s book ‘How to Stop Smoking’

Elusion electronic cigarettes

Elusion electronic cigarettes

(2) Buy some electronic cigarettes – not with nicotine filters. I bought the Elusion brand, and while I don’t advocate using these all the time, as that reinforces the notion that smoking IS fun, it’s a good prop when you feel you’re about to break and reach for a cigarette. Basically, you inhale vapour which fulfils that need for something to fill your lungs – even though it’s not nearly as satisfying as the ‘real thing’.

(3) Keep plenty of sugar-free chewing gum on hand. It gives your mouth something to do without absorbing mega-calories.

(4) For the first few months, avoid friends who smoke a lot. This is hard, but I found a lot of my smoker friends really want you to take it up again. You get lines like, ‘Oh, go on, have one! You’d find it easy to be a social smoker!’ And you know they do it because smokers love company and it makes them feel better about their bad habit. But I still get smoking envy if we’re out to dinner and a few of the gang go outside to have a puff…

(5) Make a list of the reasons you are giving up (as suggested by Gillian) and review it regularly. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator.

(6) Remember that if you light up, that cigarette will be the first of hundreds more. It won’t just be ONE.

(7) If you DO break your resolution to give up because of an emotional upset or peer group pressure, or the lessening of will-power under the influence of alcohol – don’t beat yourself up, but get back on the ‘giving up’ band wagon straight away.

And yes, I have broken my resolution several times during the year – but not often, so overall I’m pretty proud to say that I HAVE given up smoking. But this year, one of my resolutions will be to re-affirm my GIVING UP SMOKING vow and to listen again to my Gillian Riley CDs. I hope I can get through 2013 without breaking once. And let’s face it, isn’t it great not to have to wake up to THIS the next morning?

A great reason to give up

A great reason to give up


Happy New Year and my 2013 bring all of you strength with your resolutions and many wonderful surprises!