I want to be a rock star!

For a little while now (since my book was published), I have become 'that groupie chick' and everyone wants to hear a sordid tale of my dalliances with rock stars. But, truth be told, I think I was chasing them around because deep down I wanted to BE one of them.

Probably my first real femme crush was on Joan Jett, but I loved her because I wanted to BE her. Hell, I still want to be her. Fancy being a global anthem! Pat Benetar was okay for a while but she was a bit rabbity and angst ridden.. And then there was Blondie. She was just so sexy it made my eyes bleed....she was the archetypal bombshell! I couldn't aspire to that because I was not a bombshell, I was a pimply, dorky teenager.

Then out of nowhere, along came Madonna.....uber star....Queen of Pop. She had the goods. Overt sexuality, irreverent Catholicism,  trouble, big mouth and she, like me, was narcissistically ambitious. When Madonna Ciccone  burst onto our eighties radars, I was in a state of rock and roll tonic-clonic seizure for almost a year, planning ways to become her. I teased up my hair, wore crucifixes, tried to sing and dance in front of my mirror at home where I was dazzling and even did a few stints on the school stage with my band....Our first song was 'Save the Broccoli' because we wanted to be edgy and make a statement with our music too. Such  vegan political activists!

Then, being lucky enough to grow up in Australia, we were sent a school-girl rock icon from hell in the form of Chrissie Amphlet, fronting The Divinyls. Madonna was soon forgotten because I was a dark and tortured little rocker and I looked like shite in a midriff top.

For years Chrissie was my hero, even after a bingle in the ladies loos in Kings Cross some forgettable evening in the late eighties..... I am still proud of my on-the-table Chrissie Amphlett impersonation, screaming 'All the Boys in Town!' until the kids tell me to shut-up.

I really did miss my calling. I should have been a rock star and sometimes I still entertain the dream that I might have a second wind and give it a shot. Madonna's still cooking.  Joan Jett can still swing a guitar. Forty is the new thirty. There might be a market for mature aged rock chicks....and soon. So I'm getting out the purple fringed boots and the comb and the fluoro lip gloss. If I am telling my daughter that she can be anything she desires with a little belief and hard work....then I should put my money where my mouth is.

I want to be a rock-star......I sure know enough blokes who could be my backing band!!! I'll be way funkier than Susan Boyle and reach out to an audience of women who, like me, go completely mental every-time  'I love Rock n Roll' comes on the radio while we break out the air guitar. ROCK ON SISTERS! It's never to late to rock and roll........(I'll just have to up my dose of calcium supplements for the dodgy knees!)

To my daughter......

I have four sons....and one daughter. For many years I had been content to be the mother of rambunctious boys. I liked the energy and being a bit of a tomboy myself helped as I kicked around a soccer ball and frollicked in the surf with them. When I was pregnant a third time, strangers would stop me in the street and look pensively at my two boys and say ' Gee I'll pray for you that you get a girl this time.' It was a far cry from the archaic view that boy babies were better. But I was always offended. I liked having boys. I really did and I didn't feel that I needed a daughter to complete the motherhood thing.

My third child was another son. And I was relieved because I had no experience of little girls and the idea of buying a Barbie Doll completely freaked me out.

And then, many years later with a new man in my life, I fell pregnant again and straight away I knew I had a girl on board. I could 'feel it in me waters'. The whole pregnancy was different and somehow more calm. After a thirty-six hour labor I had my daughter in my arms...all nine pounds of her and I looked at her and she looked at me and immediately peed all over me. I'd been christened.

As she grew up, I found myself wanting to buy the frilliest, prettiest dresses and embraced my inner princess. But she was having none of it. She is nine now and still won't wear a dress. Sometimes having another little woman in the house is overwhelming. We are so alike it can be cyclonic when we disagree. She is clever and willful and beautiful. She dreams big and has such a wonderful sense of humour. I do get frightened for her sometimes because this world can still be a scary place for girls. There are monsters out there and whileit's probably a better time to be a woman than any other in history, we've got a long way to go before women can feel safe, without the constant battle to 'prove' ourselves.

She now has a little brother as well and is surrounded by great men who are, along with me, the strong and loving bows from which she will fly as a bright arrow.

I love her so much and because she is so like me, it feels sometimes narcissistic. But she really does 'complete me'. The bewitching mitochondria lives on....my feminine bloodline.

I wrote this article today about the advice I will give as she is ready to receive it.

Fish and Bicycles......

Now I don't want to sound sexist but I've been pondering this question. Do we really need men? Live with them, live without them, or do away with them altogether? I admit that does sound a bit sexist but stay with me on this. Scientists have announced that they can make sperm in a laboratory. This monumental breakthrough has not even made the headlines...it can't get past the male editorial barrier and let's face it - it's the sort of news that might create a general panic. Synthetic sperm can be made from embryonic stem cells! When I try to discuss this with friends they invariably scoff that it's probably just scientific hype or make jokes like 'I bet it would taste better, too. It could come in all sorts of flavours!'

But jokes aside what would it mean to the human race if women could pick up some sperm from the local supermarket (free turkey baster thrown in)? It would certainly make the blokes a bit nervous. I think it would settle the battle of the sexes once and for all and throw our society very quickly into a state of matriarchy and would that be such a bad thing? Men could do all there warmongering on Playstation and let us settle international disputes the way they should be - with words. Because all the development psychologists tell us that women have better linguistic skills. The drama in Israel would not be happening if women were in charge. That's a fact.

If we were running the joint the way the Bonobo monkeys do, we'd make love not war.

It's an interesting situation....of course this synthetic sperm has not yet been used to create a human child....but if and when they do make a synthetic baby....well......it's something to think about. It could make men redundant but a world without Brad Pitts and George Clooneys would be a little bit bland. While we all know that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle - it's still nice to have them around. We don't need men....we simply like them....like chocolate.

My Quest for Eternal Youth

A year ago I was rolling in the thick swamp of a mid-life crisis. When I was little I wanted to grow up to be….well….me. But not the me I saw then. The me I wanted to be was beautiful, rich and famous with a loving husband and a handful of perfectly cherubic children. I was on the wrong side of forty and hadn’t quite become that queenly figure I figured I would become! I was turning grey, my eyesight was going and my knees had all but packed it in. I was at the age where women begin grasping for quick fix renovation jobs – sucking out tenacious fat, lifting things that began to slide irrevocably, tightening the seams and pumping Spakfiller into all the deepening facial crevasses. But I was pathologically afraid of knives, syringes and all things pointed (including knitting needles and sharp words). I didn’t want to look like a plastic alien. I wanted to look healthy, vibrant and feel that way too.

After a lifetime of sloth and champagne, I was starting to panic!

This led to a mind-boggling chase for the natural fountain of youth. The sure-fire anti-ageing diet and the most dazzling array of supplements. Here is a run-down of what I tried and what I learned.

There is an old adage that as you age you must choose between the body or the face, the reasoning being that the plumper you are, the more youthful the face. There might be something to that when you compare Nigella Lawson to some vegan marathon junkie. But my research has shown that this is not necessarily so.

Some studies say that a reduced calorie diet and an extremely lean bod are more healthy than carrying some extra weight. Others say the opposite. A diet high in protein or a diet high in carbohydrates? All meat. No meat. Raw. Caveman. They all have their advocates and success stories. 
I tested all the diets over the last year, looking for a perfect fit and here are my findings.

Atkins/Dukan – good for fast weightloss, bad breath, constipation and you end up with a guilt complex every time you see an animal.

Raw Food Diet – this one strangely messed up my insides. My stomach was not cow-like enough to process so much fibre. Gas. Bloating. Pain. And the juicer exploded from hard labour.

Vegan – Pleasant enough until I discovered an allergy to legumes and soy. Stomach blew up like a hot air balloon. Good for the soul, though.

The Grapefruit/egg diet – induces heavy despondency when you hate eggs and grapefruit. Torture.

It was actually hard to maintain any fad diet and none had any lasting effect.

Instead I designed my own with the best of all of the above and came up with the Sensible Diet….lots of raw fruits and vegetables, some organic lean chicken and fish. Only occasional low gluten grains like quinoa, millet and brown rice. The occasional sneaky good red wine and a few squares of darkest of dark chocolate.
It was a good idea but my willpower was/is crap. I was fine with the chocolate and wine….not so much with the others, particularly when the family was chowing down on pizza.

I looked into the super supplements that are supposed to reverse the process of ageing. I had handfuls of dehydrated pellets known as Goji berries and tipped Maca powder into my almond milk shakes. I swallowed lots of Co-Enzyme 10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, African Mango powder, Noni juice (which sounds kind of rude) and many other whacko concoctions. I bought instant eye-fix buzzing wands. Lip plumper. B.B Creams. And I just looked the same every day. No change.

And then I went on a holiday. Weeks and weeks of traipsing about idyllic beaches. Eating whatever I wanted. Walking along the seaside. Lying in the shallows like a seal. My children were suddenly those cherubic creatures I’d dreamed of and my husband and I fell deeper in love like we were on a second honeymoon. I didn’t give a single toss about diet, exercise or supplements. I wore no makeup and never went near a hairdresser or beautician.

After nearly two months of that, I had lost all my excess weight, had more energy, slept better and when I looked in the mirror I realised I had lost about ten years along the way.
That changed my attitude and I realised that there is no magic potion. The key is in me. I just need to love myself as I am, enjoy my life and my family and forget all the bullshit that the diet and beauty industry feed you. You can’t live on a holiday but you can fake it. It’s all in the attitude.

Moderation. Some good exercise, fresh air, some good food, some bad, some wine, some chocolate. Make love. Play with the kids. Take a deep breath. Meditate. Not necessarily ‘om’ deep and meaningful meditation. Just a walking along a bush-track or a water-way does it for me. 

When you keep stressing about the food you should be eating, the triathlons you should be sweating in, you give yourself wrinkles and indigestion. Cortisol, the stress hormone, equals stored fat.
It’s not always easy and I’m out of whack a fair bit but I have discovered the secret and when I remind myself of that….the flab melts and the lines smooth….

There is nothing more beautiful than laughter and an inner serenity.

Now, when people ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I say –  I wanted to grow up to be me. And I did it! I'm her. Me.....and loving it.

Rich vs Poor

I've been rich and I've been poor and rich is better!

There are people in the world who really don't care about money but I am not one of them. While I wouldn't put money ahead of love....it runs a very close second. This desire to be filthy rich stems from having been dirt poor for a lot of my adult life. Being a single mother for twelve years meant that I had to work two, three, four jobs. I cleaned houses. I took in ironing. I worked as a receptionist, a drama teacher. When I scored a job as a housekeeper at Kerry Packer's compound, I got a taste for the finer things in life. Wandering around the estate of the richest man in the country will do that to a girl. At night I went home to my cockroach infested unit in Bondi and dreamed of living in a waterfront mansion with some-one to clean up and cook for me. Now I have a lovely husband to do that for me! But still no waterfront mansion.

Tomorrow night I will be putting my lotto ticket in (100 million...yum). But I've got a sneaking feeling that I won't win. The odds are stacked against me. I actually would rather earn the money because then I'd feel I truly deserved it. I've been poor enough to steal toilet paper from the library loos. I've been rich enough to splash out on a facial and that's about it so far.

I wouldn't be a greedy bitch if I was filthy rich. I'd share. I'd support charities. I'd help out family and friends. But I would also buy an Aston Martin and a condo in my beloved New York. I'd probably botox that line out of my forehead. I'd definitely spend up at Tiffany and Co. A yacht would be nice.

It's nice to dream but in the meantime, I will need to look down the back of the sofa to find enough coins to put in that lotto ticket.  


Today I am thinking about friendship. Yesterday I caught up with a girlfriend I hadn't seen for more than twenty years. She hadn't changed a bit. If anything she was more beautiful, more fun and it was truly as if no time had passed. That's a real friend. When you can take up a thread of conversation after twenty years without missing a beat, you realise how much 'time' really is an abstract concept.

Friends are those who share the deepest belly laughs and feel your pain as their own. They are people you can drop your guard for. In life, you'll meet a lot of people but when you find a real friend, it's like stumbling across buried treasure.

To the wonderful friends in my life I say thank-you. You are the lifeboats that keep me afloat when I feel like sinking and buoy me up with your insane cackling.

Friends. The family I get to choose. Much love. xxxxxxxx

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