Dental avoidance OR How Time Flies – New Year’s Resolution Update


It’s more than THREE MONTHS since I last posted a New Year’s Resolution update – my, how time flies!

A VERY belated check up...

A VERY belated check up…

That was also brought home by an embarrassing visit to the dentist this morning. As I lay back in the recliner chair, I noticed a newly designed courtyard outside the facing window of the surgery. It’s a pretty white-pebbled and ferny space; a pleasant distraction from the painful work going on inside one’s mouth.



‘Gee, you built that quickly,’ I remarked. ‘That wasn’t here last time.’
‘Ah, no, it wasn’t that quick,’ said Christine, looking at me as though I was one snag short of a barbie. ‘You haven’t been here for two years.’

TWO YEARS? Are you kidding? I felt like I’d been woken from a coma. Usually I visit the dentist every six months like clockwork. It occurred to me two weeks ago that I hadn’t received a reminder notice for a while, so made this appointment without being prompted. I thought maybe a year at most had passed – probably less than a year – so I was staggered to find out it was in fact, more than TWO YEARS. How slack! Or was I sub-consciously avoiding something I dislike intensely?

The ‘time whizzing past’ concept also reminded me I haven’t posted a New Year’s Resolution update for more than three months. As I said in the last update all those moons ago, I was beginning to find them repetitive to write on a WEEKLY basis, which meant they must have been boring to read, so decided to take a short break. Which became a longish break…

Now it’s definitely time for an update, so here’s how those resolutions are looking nearly five months down the track:


(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – HA, HA, HA and HA! Hmmm… yes, I was starting to fall off the wagon at the end of six weeks and things haven’t improved since. To be honest, I ate a Crunchie bar for breakfast this morning. So NOT GOOD. I love the concept, though, and would like to tackle this again, but on a less extreme level.

Regardless, I will keep eating The Muesli for breakfast most days – except when there’s a Crunchie Bar lying around.

I felt great (and lost weight!)  when I gave up sugar, but there were too many treats I missed – sharing chocolate with my daughter while watching a DVD, buying a fruit bun down the street while doing the food shop and ICE-CREAM.

Crazy Sexy Diet

Crazy Sexy Diet

Now I’ve come across a new diet – which includes a lot of GREEN JUICE – and I’ll share that with you next week. It also involves some tips from the Crazy, Sexy Diet book by Kris Carr, which is well worth a read.

After much research, I’ve even bought a whiz bang juicer and will give you the low-down on which is the best on the market and why, next week.



(2) Not to play I-Phone Games – I failed on this one too. I went through a downer-patch in Feb/March and resorted to playing games as a mind-numbing way of blocking out the bad stuff. I suppose it’s better than taking drugs.

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March – And again, I laugh. Not because I failed, but because I COMPLETELY FORGOT this one. I have managed to clear a mass of paperwork piles from the floor, but the desk still looks like a tsunami’s hit.

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week – At last – a tick! YES!!! For a short while I was inspired by my new trainer, Ross, who I Blogged about. Then Ross left for another gym, so now I’m doing classes instead. Which I like. In fact, this week I have been to a Spin Class (stationary group bike-riding) three times already. Yay, me. It helps to combat that sugar addiction.

Give smoking the chop

Give smoking the chop

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again – Another tick. Big back pat. It really does get easier all the time. Especially when you pass the one-year mark. This is my biggest achievement and even though I was slightly tempted on a recent girls’ night, I stayed strong.

I don’t think I’d be surviving as many spin classes if I was still a smoker and the financial saving is also a huge bonus.


So overall, I’ve scored two out of five. Which doesn’t say a lot about my willpower. Or are New Year’s Resolutions pointless? Did you make any this year? Have you stuck to them? I’d love to hear your stories in our comments section.


Why I feel like a drug cheat – New Year’s resolution update

I feel a bit like Lance Armstrong today. It’s Tuesday – my day of reckoning – where I have to ‘fess up to how I’ve fared in the past week as far as my New Year’s resolutions have gone. And quite frankly, it’s all about the sugar. I’m aspiring to be like Emma the Guru (who hasn’t had a lolly in SEVEN years) and Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar, but next to these role models, I’m a failure.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Some say that Lance Armstrong showed little emotion or remorse when interviewed by Oprah Winfrey about his drug-cheating scandal. Not me. On this level, we’re fields apart. I’m lying prone on the floor, beating my fist to the ground and vowing to change my wicked ways. You see, last week I confessed to eating a Choc Top at the Gold Class Cinema.


This week I have sinned not once, but THREE times!! Which means I have completely failed in the first of my five resolutions – to quit sugar – or at least stick to the ONE LINE RULE of not consuming anything above five per cent sugar.

Connoisseur chocolate icecream

Connoisseur chocolate icecream

It must be something to do with me watching movies. Because the second time I fell off the sugar-free bandwagon, I was watching a movie at home with my daughter, Veronica, when she pulled out a tub of my favourite ice-cream. Connoisseur Chocolate Obsession… I watched her enviously as she devoured a bowl and after that, couldn’t get the image out of my mind. Knowing all the while that very tub of ice-cream was only metres away in the freezer, begging me to try some. So I relented. BIG TIME.

I thought I’d grab the tub and just eat a few teensy, weeny mouthfuls, but that turned into a glutinous gorging spree and I finished the whole bucket.

Jersey caramels

Jersey caramels

Then it got WORSE. Veronica had also had friends over to celebrate the end of school holidays so she’d put together a lolly bowl. After the ice-cream, she pulled out the leftovers and there, tempting me viciously, were my most treasured of all lollies – jersey caramels. My much adored, dear-departed Grandmother and I used to share a packet when she took me to the movies as a child. Well, I thought, done my dash with the ice-cream, may as well go the full hog. So I did.

The third sinful moment came when, the next day, I was down the street buying the kids a bakery treat for afternoon tea to mark the first day back at school and that smell of sweet, fresh bread sent my hunger pains into overdrive. Another treat I’ve really missed on this sugar-free caper is the fruit bun. Dried fruit is very bad. But I’d lasted a month, so for my reward, I bought one and gobbled it up while traipsing through the supermarket aisles. Couldn’t even wait till I got home.

As for my other resolutions – not playing I-phone games, exercising at the gym at least three times a week, not smoking and tidying my office – all big ticks for this week. In fact, with exercise, because of my new trainer, I’m going great guns. Maybe that’s why my body has weakened this week with the sugar thing?

Scoops Gelato and Yoghurt Bar -  Acland Street, St Kilda

Scoops Gelato and Yoghurt Bar – Acland Street, St Kilda

But I do have some good news for all the anti-sugar campaigners out there, searching for substitute treats. I found a beauty down Acland Street, St Kilda on Sunday. I was prepared to go without when the family opted for an afternoon ice-cream, but then I spied a sign – sugar-free natural yoghurt!!


Sugar free yoghurt with Stevia

Sugar free yoghurt with Stevia

I bought a tub and it tastes AMAZING. So good, I have planned to cover a story about a shop in Acland Street this afternoon so I can pop back and get some more. This is the best sugar-free discovery I have made yet! Ice-cream has always been my weak point, so now, I may just have found a solution to satisfy that craving.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you a better report card next week.



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!


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!