A Night To Remember – The Book Launch for MAKING HEADLINES

My eBook, Making Headlines

My eBook, Making Headlines

Today, it’s exactly three weeks since the Book Launch for my eBook MAKING HEADLINES and life has been so crazy since I let it loose on the world, that I’ve only just got around to Blogging about the actual night.

Prior to the launch, I wrote a post about my indecision as to whether I should hold a party or not. Post-party, I can say without a doubt – I am absolutely thrilled I went ahead with the night and will hold it dear as one of the most significant events in memory.

Yep – that’s a big statement, so let me explain. To me, it was a celebration of a project that I was passionate about. So much so, that despite having many major hurdles and doubts along the way, I saw it through to the end, allowing it to absorb a huge part of my life.  The ultimate goal was to have the book published, so I could share this story with the world and hopefully provide a tale that would engage, entertain and also offer a few insights into an unusual world. To have the book be given the tick of approval by a major well-respected publisher – Harper Collins – is, for me, a major achievement and something well worth celebrating. On the night, everyone who is an important part of my life and who was able to be there, turned up to celebrate with me and the room was filled with the most wonderful, supportive energy. So many people commented on what a happy evening it was – and that’s exactly how it felt for me too.

Hotel Brighton

Hotel Brighton


The venue, at HOTEL BRIGHTON, was perfect, with the upstairs function area providing a classy and intimate environment – as well as fabulous food and service. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to host a private function! There was also a screen so we could show my Book Trailer.


Big thanks to everyone for coming and helping to make it such a special occasion. Especially to my dear friends Brigitte Duclos and Mitch Catlin who took on the roles of MC and interviewer respectively, making it much a more entertaining night than if I’d been up there in front of everyone on my own!

Brigitte Duclos and Ann Peacock

Brigitte Duclos and Ann Peacock

Mitch Catlin and me in matching polka dots!

Mitch Catlin and me in matching polka dots!

As well, a huge debt of gratitude to our friends and Fletch’s NEIGHBOURS fellow cast members for coming along and helping garner media support  – and for hamming it up beautifully for the cameras. Here are some of the best shots from these wonderful people:

Jackie Woodburne, Stefan Dennis, Gail Easdale and Natalie Bassingthwaigthe

Jackie Woodburne, Stefan Dennis, Gail Easdale and Natalie Bassingthwaigthe

Stefan Dennis and Fletch

Stefan Dennis and Fletch

Fletch and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Fletch and Natalie Bassingthwaighte







A shocking read! Gail Easdale, Jackie Woodburne and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Gail Easdale, Jackie Woodburne and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Stefan Dennis and Fletch

Stefan Dennis and Fletch

Here’s some of my speech from the night, along with some photos from the evening:


“I could never have come this far without the help of an incredible writing teacher and she’s here tonight. Thank you SO much to Olga Lorenzo from the RMIT Writing course. Olga taught the Creative Writing unit and I studied with her for three years. I could not have finished this book without her invaluable input and guidance.

Olga is also herself an acclaimed and brilliant writer and has her second novel THE LIGHT ON THE WATER coming out in a few weeks, (TODAY!) so congratulations Olga – I can’t wait to read it.

Olga Lorenzo and me

Olga Lorenzo and me

A big thank you as well to all my fellow students at RMIT who gave me valuable feedback during work-shopping sessions in class. In particular, to my friends that grew from that course to develop our own writers’ group – to Ann Bolch, Lisa Bigelow, Kaye Holder and Clare Strahan.

An extra special thank you to Ann Bolch who also worked as the first editor of the completed manuscript and did a superb job. If you ever need a good editor, Ann is exceptionally talented and very, very wise.

A congratulatory hug from Ann Bolch

A congratulatory hug from Ann Bolch

Lisa Bigelow and me

Lisa Bigelow and me

As well as the Writer’s Group, two of my friends and my sister took the time and effort to read early drafts. Thank you to Jill and Rick Molinsky for your encouragement and support.

Also a huge thank you to my dear, wicked, gorgeous, talented, close friend, Rochelle Nolan, who is sadly no longer with us. Rochy was always my biggest supporter, read an early draft of the book and pepped me up whenever I was feeling negative about my writing. I wish she could have been here to see the book in its final published form. I miss her every day.

To my dear friend and stepsister, Sian Prior, another superbly talented writer, who inspired me to take up the RMIT PWE course in the first place.

To my wonderful friend and author Ellie Nielsen, who also not only encouraged me to take up the RMIT course, but inspired me with her own book ‘Buying A Piece of Paris’ and then invited me to that very apartment where we shared what was ostensibly a writing sabbatical but also involved plenty of champagne in the work-shopping of ideas, lively conversation and literary debate.

Ellie Nielsen, Michelle Van Raay and me

Ellie Nielsen, Michelle Van Raay and me

To special friends who were always there with love and support – to Julie, Brigitte, Andy and Mitch – as well as all my friends who came on the night.

Anne Peacock, Libby Ross, Andy Webster and Julie Milnes

Anne Peacock, Libby Ross, Andy Webster and Julie Milnes

Steve and Ineke Carey with me in the middle!

Steve and Ineke Carey with me in the middle!

Fletch, Tania Gogos-Wilson, Jen and Ross Wilson

Fletch, Tania Gogos-Wilson, Jen and Ross Wilson

Margaret Zita and Maryanne Gianarelli

Margaret Zita and Maryanne Gianarelli

Nick Holland and Aki Kotzamichalis

Nick Holland and Aki Kotzamichalis

To my work colleagues at Smoothfm; to Jane Elliot for her help on the publicity front and to Mike Perso, for his amazing and enthusiastic on-air support.

Mike Perso and me

Mike Perso and me

Tanya Simpson, me and Jane Elliot

Tanya Simpson, me and Jane Elliot

Nova's Matt Smithson, Sophia Lazarides and Matt Thomson

Nova’s Matt Smithson, Sophia Lazarides and Matt Thomson

THE SMOOTH TEAM - Program Director Pete Clay, Lauren Saylor, Mike Perso, me and Ty Frost

THE SMOOTH TEAM – Program Director Pete Clay, Lauren Saylor, Mike Perso, me and Ty Frost

Ty Frost and me

Ty Frost and me

To my former news-reading partner, Mal Walden, for understanding that NO character in this book is based on him!

Mal Walden and me

Mal Walden and me

Present and past co-hosts!

Present and past on-air colleagues

To Harper Collins; for agreeing to publish this work; in particular, Mary Rennie for going above and beyond in managing to take this book to the next level from its original draft.

To my parents and step-parents; Mum and Ken, Dad and Margot, for their never-ending encouragement and support.

Me and Dad (John Hansen)

Me and Dad (John Hansen)

And lastly, to my immediate family – my husband, Alan, and two children, Veronica and Tom. I am very much indebted to you all for putting up with my absences while I was holed up in my office, writing. For understanding that when I disappeared into ‘Book World’ I should not be interrupted.

To Alan, for his patience and love throughout; to Tom for actually reading the first few chapters and proving to that me he will one day be the best writer in the family; and to Veronica for finding great words to replace the rude ones.

My beautiful children Veronica and Tom, with Tom's gorgeous girlfriend Carrington Hannah

My beautiful children Veronica and Tom, with Tom’s gorgeous girlfriend Carrington Hannah


So that was my night of nights! Again, thank you to all who came and to all who have since bought the book online. Thanks also for the continuing social media support. If you forgot to post something on social media on the night, please retweet this Blog to help get word out about the book. The more it sells, the more chance I have of it being printed as a hard-copy book!

My eBook, Making Headlines

My eBook, Making Headlines


For those wanting to buy a copy, MAKING HEADLINES is available on iBooks and Amazon AND Google books.

And for those interested in enquiring about a function at HOTEL BRIGHTON, phone the wonderful Grace Eddy, Functions Co-ordinator, on 9596 3244.


The horror of VCE – Teens under pressure

It’s the toughest time of year for VCE students who are right in the middle of exams and facing intense pressure to do their best. I remember it myself like it was yesterday and now I’m watching my son Tom go through the same ordeal. But is it the same? Is it worse for students these days because competition to get into tertiary courses is more fierce or is it all relative?

Tom studying

Tom studying

With so much media focus on how difficult a time it is for students, I thought I’d try and get some answers from some teenagers themselves. That can be hard – particularly with young men – so I decided to take Tom (who has just turned 18) out to lunch, along with my sixteen-year-old nephew, Jesper, who is facing Year 10 exams, to ask them first-hand how they are coping. Which they found highly amusing…

Out to lunch with Tom and Jesper

Out to lunch with Tom and Jesper

Here’s how our chat went.

JEN: Jesper, you’re going through exams right now. Is it intense?

JESPER: I think it’s pretty low key because it’s not relevant to my VCE score. It’s the last year where it doesn’t count. And the subjects I’m doing now, I’m not doing next year, apart from English, so it doesn’t matter so much. I can just cruise through.

Jesper ponders his future

Jesper ponders his future

JEN: Have you got an idea about what you want to do after school yet? Is there a lot of pressure to make up your mind early on?

JESPER: There is a lot of pressure with teachers asking you what you want to do. For me, I think it will be interior design. Or maybe… no, I think interior design.

(I’m very impressed he knows already!)

JEN: And Tom you’re right in the middle of Year 12 exams. How are you finding it?

TOM: It’s a pleasure to be here. (heavy sarcasm and comedic tone) Jennifer, great question firstly, and thank you again for having me here.

JEN: If you’re going to be a politician, you’re going to have to stop the avoidance tactics and learn to answer the question. Oh hang on, no, you’ll be a great politician… So HOW ARE YOU COPING with the pressure of exams?

TOM: Another good question. No, it’s a lot of pressure. These are last exams I’ll ever do at school. Lot of people make you feel like you’re whole future is hanging in the balance when you go into those exams, so yes, a lot of pressure. You’re hands shake a bit when you’re writing answers sometimes, so a decent amount of pressure.

JEN: You told me about one of your mates who was so terrified before an exam that he couldn’t even face being near his friends before walking in to the exam room…

TOM: Yes, one of my friends had to go off into a classroom to be by himself and try and calm down. Then he came outside the exam room where we were all huddled, having a chat, and my friend took himself into a corner. His hands were together his head was down his eyes were closed and it looked like he was praying. So he looked very stressed.

A lot of kids are also really exhausted from studying so much. They put pressure on themselves to do well. And there are a lot of stories about kids having problems with their parents – not getting along at all. The parents want them to study harder and get so angry that a couple of boys have run away from home.

JEN: And how have your parents been?

At least Tom can manage a smile!

At least Tom can manage a smile!

TOM: Just atrocious. I’ve detested every second I’ve spent with them. (He’s smiling, so it’s okay…) No, in all seriousness, they’ve been good. Very reasonable expectations – not too much pressure. Although occasionally when I come downstairs to have a break and I’m at the table eating, my mother will say, ‘Gee, study’s going well,’ which is perhaps a bit unfair. Especially at 10.30 at night.

JEN: I’m sorry. I think I said that when I came home after being out so thought you’d been taking it easy all night. Sorry. Jesper, let’s get back to you… (and avoid Tom’s home truths- ouch!) Jesper, when you hear Tom talk about Year 12, does that worry you or do you think you’ll be fine?

JESPER: I think I’ll probably be more relaxed. I’m probably not the brightest kid out there, but at least I know what I want to do so I can focus on that. (He is very bright – and modest!)

JEN: And you’ve got better social skills which is a huge plus.

Taking time out

Taking time out

JESPER: Yep, a relaxed Libran.

TOM: Does he? Meaning I don’t?

JEN: No, I wasn’t comparing him to you. Just saying that he’s better with people than your average bookworm academic-type. He’s a charmer and that will be a huge plus when he’s persuading clients to take on his interior design work. (much laughter)

TOM: Well, you can’t study for that.

JEN: No, but Tom you’re a charmer too. You have heaps of friends! What are you all planning to do after your last exam to celebrate?

TOM: Just go back to a friend’s house and have a quiet cup of tea and biscuits while we recount stories about school then go home at 9pm and go to bed and have a nice relaxed time. (more laughter)

JEN: Right… So is there much excitement about the end being near?

TOM: Yes, I just got a message from Ted on the way here – a group chat – saying only ‘Nine more days, fellas.’ We’re all looking at the calendar. I have a countdown clock on my computer till the final exam so it will be a fantastic feeling when we finally finish.

JEN: And what do you want to do career-wise?

TOM: Be a stay-at-home parent.

JEN: Oh nice. So how many grandchildren will I be having?

TOM: I’m looking at between 17 and 21.

JEN: So you’re planning to move out of home?

TOM: I’m planning to live with my parents forever.

JEN: You might need to get a job to feed that many tiny mouths.

TOM: Both my parents are in the media so I’ll be fine.

JEN: I think you should be in the media.

TOM: Ah, thanks, Mum!

Jesper offers Tom some advice on their radio show together

Jesper offers Tom some advice on their radio show together

JEN: And I think Jesper could be in the business too.

TOM: Well, this is where Jesper and I want to announce our new radio show together. Actually it’s a podcast.

JESPER: Yes, we’re going to be stars.

JEN: Okay, but can you just get through exams first?

BOTH: Sure.

JEN: Then you can be stars. Thanks guys, Good chat. Now get back to the books.

Well I think that went quite well. A few stories about the rigours of Year 12, but ultimately I think Tom’s coping brilliantly. I’m incredibly proud of the hard work he’s put in consistently all year and the marks he’s already achieved.

Good luck Tom for the last two exams next week!

But while it’s been a tough year for VCE students, it’s also been hard on the parents.

Now I’m working on the More Music Brekkie Show with Mike Person at smoothfm, we’ve been chatting all year about both having sons in Year 12 and what we are all going through. Good luck to Will as well!

And while our sons will be letting of steam at the end of it all with SCHOOLIES, we thought it was time to give the parents a special celebration to mark the end of a tough year as well.

So that’s why we’re organising a ‘PARENTIS’ night – next week. If you also have a teenager studying VCE, you can join us AND be in the running to win a trip to India! – See more at: http://www.smoothfm.com.au/station/smooth915/show/mike-perso#sthash.bfBSW3rh.dpuf

Getting in shape – how ALINTA THE GURU has convinced me this is the BEST way

On the NEVER-ENDING quest to be healthy and lose weight, I’ve recently signed on with a new personal trainer and she is INSPIRATIONAL!

Her name is ALINTA WILLET and she is one very cool lady. And super fit.

Alinta Willet

Alinta Willet

In fact, Alinta is so inspirational, I now refer to her as ALINTA THE GURU when I chat about her wonderful fitness tips on air with Mike Perso on the SmoothFM More Music Breakfast Show.

I decided to go back to the gym because I knew if I didn’t commit to working out WITH SOMEONE ELSE on a regular basis, I’d never have the will power to do it on my own. And I was about ten kilos overweight… Early morning radio is not good for the waistline!!

Alinta is 33 years old and has been a personal trainer for about 18 months.

When she hit thirty, Alinta felt it was time for a career change. She’d been working in the hospitality industry for a long time and the lifestyle was taking a toll.

A lightbulb moment!

A light bulb moment!

After suffering some health issues of her own, she was inspired by a girlfriend to take up weight training and had a….


‘I thought this is great and everyone should be doing it. I became quite passionate about weight training. IT’S THE HOLY GRAIL!  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it before and thought it was amazing.’


REALLY??? When I heard this from Alinta three months ago, I was skeptical. You see, I’d returned to the gym out of a feeling of necessity and duty – not because I thought it would be the answer to my prayers.

Turns out, Alinta has helped me to make some big changes to my body and I am starting to see what she’s talking about. Everything she has been saying is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT and makes complete sense.

In a nutshell, here are the benefits of weight training, according to Alinta The Guru.

Training with Alinta

Training with Alinta

  1. Body toning
  2. Anti-ageing
  3. Weight loss is easier because muscle burns fat
  4. Positive thinking
  5. Less stress
  6. Mental and physical discipline
  7. Can overcome back pain
  8. Body strength
  9. Improves overall health
  10. Decreases blood pressure
  11. Improves sleeping



Alinta’s enthusiasm is infectious too. She really does LOVE her job and our chats during the work out sessions make the time spent at the gym fun as well. Here’s how our conversation about weight training went:

JEN: SO tell my why I should work out?

ALINTA: There are SO many benefits from weight training. Not only does it make you stronger physically, I believe it makes you stronger mentally as well. It’s a discipline. As well, you are pushing yourself to your limits each time. If you manage to get through a tough session, it’s a good feeling and you feel like you’ve achieved something. It’s a win! The more wins the better. Each workout is a win.

JEN: Have you been able to see results with your clients?

ALINTA: I’ve been getting some great results. Nothing makes me happier than when clients come to me and say they don’t have back pain anymore or they’re losing the weight they want to lose. It’s why I do it – it’s so rewarding.

JEN: Do you ever get bored?

ALINTA: No! I love what I do and being able to change people’s lives for the better. That’s my mission in life. To help as many people as I can to become stronger, fitter, healthier and happier.’

(See? I told you she was a wonderful person!)

JEN: How does weight training help the body lose fat?

ALINTA:  Lifting weights helps to build fast twitch muscles that raise your metabolism. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. There’s also the afterburner effect of exercise that can last for as long as 38 hours after your workout.

(I really like this point – that more muscle burns more calories – even when you’re NOT working out!)

JEN: What about the risks of becoming too muscle-bound? As a woman, I don’t want to look like a beefcake…

ALINTA: You won’t! It would take an enormous amount of hours to look like a body-builder. I also tailor individual programs for each client, so everyone’s workout is different. You can’t have a cookie cutter gym program for everybody.

JEN: One thing I love about working out with you is that you also manage to fix tight spots in my neck or back that are causing me problems. Do you do that for everyone or am I special?

ALINTA: Well, you are special but all the workouts are based on structural balance. That means it’s important to fix any structural abnormalities for any individual. Once your body structure is better, everything else will follow. Another reason why I love weight training so much is that I used to wake up with chronic neck and back problems every day before I started training properly and now I don’t get that at all.

JEN: What are the other health benefits?

ALINTA: Strength training does so much! It decreases blood pressure, improves heart function by increasing arterial function and decreasing inflammation. It also improves hormone levels by helping to eliminate oestrogen – which means less cancer risk and lower body fat.

It can also help if you’re trying to have a baby! Working with weights improves reproductive function.

Weight training can enhance the nervous system and gene pathways, with new evidence emerging evidence that shows how weight lifting prevents ageing by rebuilding damaged tissues. It also leads to better brain function and coordination of movement.

Jen: Cool! So I’m going to be stronger, brighter, younger, healthier AND smarter??

Alinta: Sure! And that is WHY weight training is the HOLY GRAIL!

Me and Alinta

Me and Alinta

So you can see why I’ve been converted! Since training with ALINTA THE GURU, I have lost more than five kilos and feel much healthier and more toned than I have for years. Nor do the sessions every get dull, as Alinta changes my program about every six weeks.

Alinta also has plenty of clever tips about healthy eating. And drinking! But this Blog is long enough already, so let’s save that advice for another chat.

And if you’d like to work out with ALINTA THE GURU, here’s her details. Get ready to feel fantastic!

Alinta's business card



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!


My new best friends at work and who I like best…

A friend to rely on...

A friend to rely on…


**NEW TIP ** 

Adding on to yesterday’s Blog about which products rate the best when it comes to dry shampoo – a great tip from my friend Lisa. She says she can’t use any of the dry shampoos listed below due to the chemicals, but she’s found a fabulous alternative. It’s cheap and easy to buy – BAKING SODA!!!


When you start a new job, it’s always nice to know someone has your back. There can be challenging moments and sometimes you just need someone you can rely on.

Like recently I’ve discovered with my new job at Smoothfm. (which I absolutely love) One of the trickiest challenges is getting out of bed at 4am. If you haven’t had enough sleep, you might press the snooze button once. Or twice…

But if you hit it twice, then getting ready for work – fixing hair and make-up plus sorting a presentable outfit – means a race against the clock. Panic sets in. Drastic measures are needed. Can you call someone to help? And this is when I discovered my new BEST FRIEND.


YES – there is NO time for hair washing at 4am, believe me. And if there isn’t time to do this the day before, the only chance you have of looking half-decent is DRY SHAMPOO.

I love it. I love it almost as much as my GUIDED SLEEP MEDIATION video, which helps me get to sleep in the first place. (see last week’s blog)

No matter what your job, I’m sure, like me, you have mornings where you’re time-poor and stressed about trying to look your best. So after nearly two months at Smoothfm, I’ve had a chance to road test five different varieties of dry shampoo and thought I’d bring you my verdict on what works best.

Schwarzkopf Dry Shampoo

Schwarzkopf Dry Shampoo

1. Schwarzkopf Dry Shampoo

This is one of the cheapest varieties around – on sale right now at Priceline for a mere $7.19. But sometimes it’s true to say that you get what you pay for. I found this to be the least effective brand of the five tested. It took several full-on spritzes all over the head to see any effect and my hair felt pretty dull and lifeless as a result.

Verdict – 4/10




Rockstar Dry Shampoo

Rockstar Dry Shampoo

2. Rockstar Dry Shampoo

This was second most expensive dry shampoo I tested, retailing at $16.95 at Hairhouse Warehouse. This has a pleasant fragrance, and lifts the hair a little, but the results are only about three-quarters as good as you’d hope. It works, but your hair still doesn’t feel completely clean. It might be the look rock stars are after – slightly grungy – but I don’t think it holds up in a professional workplace.

Verdict – 5/10

Pureology Dry Shampoo

Pureology Dry Shampoo

3. Pureology Dry Shampoo

At more than $33, the Pureology brand can only be bought at selected hairdressers and is the most expensive of the varieties I tested. I had high hopes for this one. Pureology is the most wonderful product when it comes to shampoos and hair treatments, but unfortunately their dry shampoo did not live up to expectations. The spritz from the can isn’t very powerful and while the scent is divine, it still doesn’t feel like it completes the job. It almost gets there, but runs out of steam at the finish line.





4. Klorane Dry Shampoo

This costs about $13 and can be brought from Priceline and most supermarkets. This is a good quality product that comes out of the can with a more forceful blast than the previous brands listed. It’s definitely more effective although I’m not too keen on the scent – it’s a bit like a toilet deodoriser…





Batiste stays ahead of the pack...

Batiste stays ahead of the pack…

5. Batiste Dry Shampoo

This is the second cheapest of the brands tested and is definitely the winner in my book. It can be purchased from most supermarkets for between $9 and $11.

The spray from the can is powerful and effective, giving good coverage in minimal time. Its only downside is the scent, which is a bit sickly sweet, but on the plus side, that dissipates not long after application.

Which is just as well, because otherwise, it gives a great result with fresh bouncy hair in an instant that can be easily re-blowaved and styled into a fresh look that will fool anyone into thinking you’ve spent hours at the hair salon.

Verdict – 9/10


So there you have it- your complete guide to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dry shampoos. Now you can thank me when lying in bed tomorrow for that extra half hour…




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.

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.


How to get a beach body without going to the gym or taking a holiday…

It’s been a gloomy old week in Melbourne. Weather-wise I mean. Grey and wet all the way, which leaves one feeling like you’re stuck in the middle of an endless English winter.

A bleak week in Melbourne

A bleak week in Melbourne

Work-wise it’s been a different story. I’ve had a fantastic week. I’m settling in at smoothfm and starting to feel a little less like the new kid on the block.

Tropical paradise

Tropical paradise

But with my new working hours and this dismal weather, I’ve started to hanker for a bit of sunshine. You know that feeling, when you start to fantasize about a holiday in a tropical island paradise?

Just looking at this picture makes you feel warmer, doesn’t it? You can feel the sun on your skin, the sand between your toes and the smell of sea-salt in the air.


I'd like to look like this please...

I’d like to look like this please…

I’m also missing my regular gym work-outs and feeling a bit on the pale, bloated side. I did actually manage to summon up enough energy to make it to one gym class earlier in the week because the name appealed. It was a ‘Beach Body workout’. What could be better, I thought? A workout, plus I’ll start to feel all lithe and summery – fabulous!



No such luck. There was a lot of sweaty, hard grunt-work but in the end, I realized it would take about a hundred such classes to transform the white flabby shape in the mirror. However, the ‘beach body’ concept stayed on my mind and I started to think up ways to make this happen without all the hard work…

No one wants to look like an Oompaloompa

No one wants to look like an Oompaloompa

And then it came to me in a flash. Of course! All I needed was a bit of fake tan and I’d instantly feel slimmer and more summery! I’m not talking about some horrible orange smudged on goo – more like a light frosting of summer – an elegant, subtle tan that leaves you glowing instead of marching around town like an Oompaloompa.

And so, for your benefit (and mine!) I’ve given a few products a test run to help steer you in the right direction.

My fave product for a gradual glow

My fave product for a gradual glow


1. DOVE Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion.

This is the best of all the gradual tanning lotions I’ve tried. It’s easy to apply, dries relatively quickly and doesn’t streak Use the ‘Normal to dark skin’ colour for the best results.

Price: 400ml – $11.57 (larger bottle pictured)

Rating: 8/10



Duwop body foundation

Duwop body foundation

2. Duwop Body Foundation.

You used to be able to buy this from specialty cosmetic store Mecca, although most recently I purchased this online through Amazon. This is a great product for when you get ready for a special night out and realise your legs look like white sausages. An instant remedy, but also washes off so no lasting benefits. Use a sponge to apply and it’s not too difficult to achieve an even finish.

Price: $24 – 120ml

Rating: 7/10


Pure Tan instant bronzer

Pure Tan instant bronzer

3. Pure Tan Instant Bronzer

Like the Duwop Body Foundation, this is an instant fix for white skin. It also comes with a handy applicator mitt, however, it’s a little more streaky to apply. It still works, but takes a little more time than the Duwop. The other difference is that this is a more translucent liquid, leaving a more natural finish, whereas the Duwop can look a bit like heavy, pasty foundation if you apply too much.

Price: $23.95

Rating: 6.5/10

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze gel

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze gel

4. L’Oreal Sublime Bronzer gel

This is a favourite of mine for a deeper, lasting tan. It should be applied the day before a special event and it helps if you have a friend or partner who can cover the back region. It leaves a glowing, natural colour that lasts for about a week and is the closest result to a natural tan that I’ve found.

Cost: $16.76 150ml

Rating: 9/10


So there you have it. How to get a beach body without going to the gym or taking a vacation. It’s the quickest, cheapest way to get a holiday-pick-me-up and beat those summer-withdrawal blues. I bet you’re feeling better already!


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!





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!