My new job at smoothfm

I’m good at keeping other people’s secrets but not so much my own. Which is why the past few weeks have been difficult – knowing it was likely I’d be starting a new career path very shortly and not being able to tell many people about it.

Thank goodness all was signed and sealed last Friday and then just yesterday, the lovely Luke Dennehy from the Sunday Herald Sun, ran this piece in the Confidential column, explaining all…

Luke Dennehy's piece in the Sunday Herald Sun

Luke Dennehy’s piece in the Sunday Herald Sun

That sent off a wonderful chain of events, resulting in a busy day for myself on Twitter and Facebook and answering all manner of texts and emails. How lucky am I to have so many friends and associates who sent on all those fantastic messages of support! Thank you everyone!

To add to the above article, I would like to say that, yes, it has been great to work on other creative projects over the past few years, but lately I have also been missing that buzz you get from being involved in day-to-day news. So this opportunity at smoothfm couldn’t have come at a better time.

I love the immediacy of radio and the frequency of the updates at Smooth, means I’ll be bringing listeners the most up-to-date information possible. I’ll also be working alongside Mike Perso who’s extremely experienced and I’m sure will help me through my L-plates phase on-air, so that’s very reassuring.

I’m replacing the lovely Pip Mooney, who is leaving to spend more time with her young family and take on a new role as Media and Communications Manager for Lifeview Residential. Good luck, Pip! You’ve left big shoes to fill…

It really feels like this job is ‘meant to be’. My first official day on air will be March 31st which is exactly the same date I started at Ten many years ago, so I think that’s a good omen. I’ve honestly been a Smooth listener for some time now so to be offered a job with them is just fantastic.  I love the music they play and the positive vibe that Smooth generates.

I’m not normally an early morning person, so that will present a few challenges I’m sure, but I’m so excited to be starting this job that, for the first time in my life, I’ll be looking forward to getting up early!

There are also a couple of other bonuses. One – I won’t have to make school lunches anymore. YAY!

No more news hair!!

No more news hair!!

And Two – I won’t have to wear a full-face of heavy make-up and worry about a single strand of hair being out of place while I deliver the news in the morning. Phew.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be any less professional in my news delivery. It’ll just be easier wearing a ponytail!

So tune in on Thursday when Pip is going to guide me through my first on-air radio news delivery and then I’ll be taking over solo from NEXT Monday.

And I’ll keep you updated here with how I’m faring with those early starts… Wish me luck!


A horror review plus discovering Blog Lovin’

It’s a wonder we get anything done on weekends at all. I mean, there’s so much reading to be done. First, there’s the Saturday newspapers and all the extra lift-outs featuring your favourite columnists, like Wendy Tuohy at the Herald Sun. Also from the Herald Sun, Anna Byrne’s fab fashion overview never fails to give me the shopping bug and I can’t put the paper down without scanning  Leigh Paatsch’s movie reviews. Plus I’m a big fan of The Age Weekend mag.

Wolf Creek 2Special mention goes to Leigh Paatsch  this week for his line about John Jarratt’s performance in the newly released Wolf Creek 2. I can’t remember when I last read such a beautifully scathing sentence: “As for John Jarratt, watching him reel off his repertoire of guttural grunts and wince-worthy wisecracks is like being trapped on a crowded train next to a drunk, disturbed circus clown.” OUCH.

Having seen the movie myself at a special preview screening last Wednesday night, I can’t say I felt as strongly about Jarratt’s performance. Neither would I agree with Paatch’s half a star rating for the movie. Yes, Jarratt’s performance does seem slightly ill-fitting in some moments with it’s comedic bent, but on the whole he is a terrifying and believably insane  serial killer.The movie itself does artfully manage to create nail-biting suspense and definitely delivers on the believable gore and vicious torture front. I’d give it two and a half stars.

John Jarrat as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek 2

John Jarrat as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek 2

Just for the record, horror is not my favourite movie genre, but I have a teen daughter who IS a big fan, so I succumbed to pressure and went along. Veronica loved the film and completely disregards any negative reviews, firm in her belief that the genre of horror does not win the respect it deserves. Each to their own.


But I digress. Back to all that weekend reading I was talking about… As well as newspapers, I’ve just discovered a fantastic Blog site that encompasses all the most popular Blogs in one spot. Called Blog Lovin’, this means you can quite easily whittle away a couple of hours in front of your laptop without noticing. Dangerous stuff. But highly entertaining. So if you’re on the look out for some new and entertaining reading, check out Blog Lovin’. You can sign up so you receive regular updates from your Bloggers without trawling through the internet too. So there’s a time saver for you to boot. Sort of…

Blog Lovin'

Blog Lovin’

(Thanks to Martine Harte, creator of Blog for the great tip.)

Happy reading!



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Who will be my first Guest Blogger?

So here comes the next phase in the life of this Blog – and I couldn’t be happier! Time to ramp things up a notch and bring you stories from Guest Bloggers – sources who are far more qualified than me about particular topics.

My first Guest Blogger, former beauty and fashion editor at the Herald Sun, Carolyn Palliardi, will be posting her first story tomorrow. And it’s (excuse the pun…couldn’t resist) a BEAUTY!! Yep, Carolyn has discovered the HOLY GRAIL of skin care creams and you’ll find out all about it tomorrow.

Co-founder 808 Dude - Carolyn Palliardi

Co-founder 808 Dude – Carolyn Palliardi

The Best Beauty Products Tried and Tested

The Best Beauty Products Tried and Tested

You may remember reading about Carolyn in a Blog I posted last week, introducing you to her new range of grooming products for teen boys – 808 Dude. Carolyn continues to work as a freelance writer and her fascination and knowledge of beauty products is endless – whereas mine is more skin-deep… She is also the co-author of the book The Best Beauty Products, Tried and Tested.



Not only will you benefit from Carolyn’s expertise, her contribution will give me more time to pursue my other writing projects – including a film script – more about which I will share with you in the near future.

Welcome Carolyn, to the team at The Official Website of Jennifer Hansen!




From Page 3 Girl to Sensible Saffy

Our daughter, Veronica, turned 18 just over a week ago. It’s quite a milestone that deserves a Blog.

She made quite a splash when she arrived in the world, our baby daughter. Born on her father’s birthday, it was the best present I’ve ever given Fletch. By just nine months old, she was a Page Three girl in the Herald Sun.

Veronica - a natural water baby

Veronica – a natural water baby                                                Photo: Craig Borrow

I was as proud a mum as any could be. We took her to swimming lessons, Gymbaroo and Mini Maestros to ensure she got the best start in life. Who knew what hidden talents might surface?

My chubba-bubba - pretty in pink

My chubba-bubba – pretty in pink

I also spent a fortune on baby clothes in pink, florals and more pink, because the cuter she looked seemed to help compensate for the sleep deprivation we were suffering.

While adorable by day, she was a monster at night who refused to sleep through. Several times we made the call to book in to ‘sleep school’ only to have her perversely start sleeping right through that very night… as if she’d heard our phone conversation earlier in the day. So we’d cancel our booking and OF COURSE, she then instantly returned to her screaming ways. Arghhh…


Veronica and Tom

Veronica and Tom



But we struggled on through and then went for baby Number Two. When Tom arrived, Veronica was delighted to have a sibling to play with. There was a bit of rivalry in the early stages, but generally speaking, Tom and Ronnie have always been great mates. Thank God, Tom was a good sleeper!






Rock chick child

Rock chick child

As it turned out, Veronica had probably been screaming at night because she hated the clothes I was forcing her to wear. As soon as she was able to speak, she made it quite clear she DETESTED pink. And anything ‘girly’.  And Barbie Dolls. EWWWWWww…  Bratz dolls however, were an obsession.

I wondered whether her leaning towards the ‘rock chick’ look was a warning sign for the teen years. Perhaps we were in for more sleepless nights as she transformed from monster-baby to night-life-loving-teen-from-hell??
As a child, I found her resilience and sensible attitude startling. There was a bullying incident in Grade Five. I was only made aware of this through another child and a teacher, as I hadn’t noticed her being upset at home. Frantic with worry, I asked her if this was happening and whether she was okay. She shrugged and said, ‘I’m okay, Mum. Maybe they’re just not my kind of people?’ Wow. I wish I could be like that when people are nasty. A good lesson to take on board. Thank you, daughter.

Year Seven art award

Year Seven art award

Still, I was prepared for the worst as she moved into senior school. God knows, I hadn’t been an ideal teenager, so I probably deserved to be put through some angst after making my Mother suffer. But, strangely enough, the early teens were very peaceful. In Year Seven, Ronnie shone in the art department, taking out the art prize for her year group with a stunning butterfly painting. She also won ‘Most-improved’ in netball.


Veronica never took to bush-walking...

Veronica never took to bush-walking…

In fact, her most rebellious streak came out when we forced her to join us on bush walking treks while holidaying in the Grampians. Bush-walking wasn’t her thing… Check out the face! You can imagine the complaints. Long and loud.

Perhaps she was missing her friends in the city? Because while she wasn’t a wild child, she loved a party.



Ronnie's 14th Dracula's birthday party

Ronnie’s 14th Dracula’s birthday party

Veronica’s birthdays have always been cause for much excitement. A different theme and in particular, a special cake, every year. And while she’s not a fan of the Twilight book and film series, (much more a Harry Potter devotee) she opted for a girls’ night out at Dracula’s Theatre Restaurant for her 14th birthday.

By the time she turned 16, there STILL hadn’t been any traditionally bad teen behaviour. No missing in party-action, no lying about being somewhere else, no skipping school and no vomiting from over-indulgence with alcohol. I was starting to get concerned. This wasn’t normal, surely?

When we renovated her bedroom, I suggested we now remove the 70-odd Bratz dolls on her mantelpiece and put them upstairs in the rumpus room. Or in storage. Sixteen is definitely too old for dolls, right? ‘NO WAY!’ she said firmly. ‘They are staying where they are.’
‘But honey, what if you get a boyfriend and bring him home and he sees all these dolls? Surely he’s going to think that’s a little odd?’ I really was trying to look after her own interests here.
‘No, Mum,’ she said. ‘I don’t play with them any more, but they’re my collection and I want them to stay. And if a guy came over and said something critical, I’d dump him.’

‘Okay,’ I said. How could you argue with that logic? While mystified by her passion for dolls, I couldn’t help but admire her determination to stand by what she likes and not succumb to my concerns about potential peer group judgment. I love the fact that she doesn’t care what others think.

And she was going to parties. We’d had plenty of chats about boys and alcohol and she told me other young people were drinking. ‘But don’t worry,’ she said. ‘I hate the smell of alcohol and cigarettes. I’m never drinking or smoking.’

I’m sure I detected a faint suggestion of smug superiority in that comment and the accompanying look she gave me. Regular readers will know I used to smoke and so I credit myself with being such a bad example, I’ve shown my daughter how NOT to behave. Yes, it really started to seem like I had my own version of Saffy, from the TV series Ab Fab in my own home. She was enjoying her seat on the moral high-ground. Which was fine with me.

Butter Beer smile

Butter Beer smile

Some of my friends were doubtful. ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ they’d scoff. ‘They all drink at that age. You’re kidding yourself.’ As far as I knew, the closest she’d come to grog was knocking back an alcohol-free Butter Beer from Harry Potter World when we visited Universal Studios last year.

So the next time I picked Ronnie up from a party, we pulled up at a traffic light and I said, ‘Honey, I know this seems silly, but can you blow your breath in my face just so I can be sure you haven’t been drinking?’ After a HUGE roll of the eyes, she complied. Nothing. Clean as a whistle.

THEN she said, ‘But there is one thing I did that was a little bit bad.’

I nearly slammed on the brakes. Shock, horror – perfect little Saffy had sinned?? I tried to hide my excitement. What gorgeously wicked deed was she about to confess? Perhaps she’d pashed and groped some young bloke in the bushes? Maybe she’d even smoked a joint?

‘What did you do, what did you do?’ I asked, desperate to know and trying to look stern.

‘Well…’ she said, glancing at me sheepishly. ‘I drank four cans of soft drink.’

Really? Is that ALL? Seriously??  I have to admit I was a tad disappointed. But I maintained the facade and whinged something pathetic about dentist bills. But Bless Her Cotton Socks. I am indeed blessed. I’ll take a soft drink addict versus an ice addict any day.

Year 11 formal

Year 11 formal


Last year there was a Year 11 Formal and for the first time, I saw how she had truly grown from an awkward teen into a beautiful young woman. She chose the dress. Not too short and no revealing cleavage, mind you! She’s much classier than her mother.






And then, two weeks ago, she was just as gorgeous at her 18th birthday party. And still not a drop of alcohol has passed her lips. As for the party, now that’s another Blog altogether. (I’ve got some great tips about teen parties!!) But for now, I just want to say ‘Happy Birthday, Veronica, and thank you for being the most wonderful daughter a mother could wish for. I hope one day I’ll grow up to be as sensible as you.’

Ronnie at her 18th birthday party

Ronnie at her 18th birthday party


Time to Disconnect to Reconnect

Do you ever get the feeling that social media is taking over our lives? That you can’t function unless you’ve checked your Facebook account, sent out your latest Twitter update and Blogged something event-worthy in your life and ALL that’s BEFORE getting out of bed?? Or maybe you’re a complete social networking addict, like a friend of mine who carries two I-Phones to juggle her separate business and personal accounts?

Juggling social networking

Juggling social networking

As reporter Kate Jones wrote in an excellent opinion piece in the Herald Sun today, it makes you wonder how our kids are going to turn out when so much of their interaction is electronically based… Will they understand the ‘ancient arts of handwriting and conversation?’

Which is why I was drawn to this media release which landed in my email system, titled:


Social September is an initiative sparked by Bianca Venuti, daughter of famed entertainer Maria Venuti. While she admits she’s a huge fan of social networking, Bianca says the time has come to ‘switch off’ and do it for a good cause.

‘We love using social media, but also believe connections and conversations in the real world remain invaluable,’ she said. ‘Social September takes us back in time to experience the benefits of good ol’ face to face interactions with the people in your lives.’

Maria and Bianca Venuti

Maria and Bianca Venuti

The latest statistics show Australians spend one in every five minutes on social media. So  Bianca wants us, alongside a host of well-known Aussie celebs, to come up with fund-raising ideas that will encourage people to ‘switch off’ and get together IN PERSON (remember how to do that?)  to raise money for The Reach Foundation.

Reach is a really good fit for this cause. Because by ‘switching off’ and actually communicating with each other in a face-to-face setting, we feel a whole lot better about ourselves and life. And Reach is all about helping young people improve their self-esteem, thereby inspiring them to achieve. Both Social September and Reach recognise building relationships face-to-face  is crucial in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. So turn off that digital technology and start talking!

Bianca says she’s got a couple of specific plans in mind for herself. ‘I’m pledging to Disconnect by leaving my phone in my handbag (particularly in social settings), and Reconnecting – by hosting an Italian cooking lesson to catch up with friends I haven’t seen for ages.’

But she says people are free to choose to disconnect in whichever way suits them. ‘We’d love everyone to get on board in a way that makes sense to them. I can’t wait to see the reconnect event ideas people come up with!’

I think I’d like to play a REAL game of Scrabble with someone, instead of Words With Friends. Any takers? Maybe a fund-raising scrabble tournament? Hmm… this could be good.

The Trust

The Trust

Social September is being launched tonight in Melbourne at The Trust Bar. I think I’m going to have to pop in just to see if anyone dares pull out a mobile phone.

If you’d like to get involved, register at and spread the word. That’s where you can also learn more about specific events taking place. For each $75 raised, one additional young Australian can be invited to a face- to-face Reach program.


Some of the inaugural Social September Socialites include Adriano Zumbo, Laura Dundovic, Maria Venuti AM, Danny Clayton, Sam Burgess, Sami Lukas, Joshua Horner, PJ Lane, Trevor Ashley, Zoe Sheridan, and Joe Avati.