Archive | July, 2012

A woman feels her sexiest at 28?

25 Jul

A study of British woman has found that women feel their sexiest at the age of 28. Yes, I know, British women! But it’s probably about right. We probably look our best (but don’t realise it) in our early twenties and then later in the decade have the confidence to actually feel sexy.

This, however, wasn’t the case for me.

In my early twenties I was fat. I’m talking huge! I was only big for a couple of years but because your early twenties is spent going out and having fun, there is way too much photographic evidence of my stress-eating than I’d like. I got a really demanding job and to cope with the pressure I ate everything in sight!

Now, I have been asked to be on a TV commercial for a weight loss company that helped me lose weight and they wanted ‘before’ photos. I am going to bravely post one…


I was the fattest I’ve even been at this, my sister’s wedding and funnily enough a few years later I was the thinnest I’ve ever been at my other sister’s wedding. Where are those pics? So my early twenties were spent stressed, working crazy hours and EATING!

Then, when I was 28 I was heavily pregnant with my first child so feeling sexy wasn’t on my radar then either. I was flat out getting out of a chair, lugging myself around and trying to reach my feet to put on shoes. Not sexy at all!

It’s taken all this time for me to really embrace the feeling of being sexy. I am 36. And I have to say it has a lot to do with being fit and happy and being in a great relationship. The great relationship is key for me. Because we’ve been together for 14 years we know each other really well. All that early awkwardness and insecurity is completely gone. That’s when a woman feels sexy…when she feels happy and secure, not when she is a certain age.

So hats off to the British. Enjoy your youth. I can tell you from Australia that feeling sexy can happen at any age!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down (or the poisonous egg)…

21 Jul

This is my son Philip. He was born with food allergies. His allergies were so severe that he started projectile vomiting my breast milk from day one. Still I persevered. “Breast is best” I was told by doctors, midwives and family members. Except my son was allergic to my breast milk. I felt guilty and ashamed when I gave him his first bottle of formula but if I hadn’t he could have died.

This week I have received good news. While doctors still don’t know how or why children are being born with severe food allergies (one in five) they do think they have come up with a way to help children grow out of these allergies. And it involves feeding the children small amounts of the ‘allergen’ to help their body recognise it as a food as opposed to a poison.

We are lucky enough to attend the best children’s hospital in the city and they suggested this to me a year ago. I was reluctant. But they kept on saying that not only does he have to eat the foods he isn’t allergic to (including peanuts) he also has to start eating small amounts of the foods he is allergic to to help him grow out of them (egg and tree nuts).

The first step was skin prick testing. His reading for his egg test has consistently reduced so they gave me the go-ahead to feed Philip a piece of cake or a small biscuit each day, containing no more than two eggs in the recipe.

At first he got stomach cramps but this was an improvement on the redness, hives, swelling, coughing and difficulty breathing we had previously seen. So I kept giving it to him as often as I could.

Over the past year Philip has gone only being able to tolerate one or two bites of a cake with egg in it to being able to finish a whole piece with no itchiness or discomfort whatsoever.

For the first time since he was diagnosed I feel hope.

I don’t think he’ll ever be able to eat a piece of pavlova but I’d like for him to be okay enough to live a mostly normal life and not worry that a bite of the wrong food could result in his instant death.

He will be retested in December and I am praying that his skin prick test for egg will be even better. The scary thing is that as his egg allergy improves, cashews grow worse. Cashews are so deadly to him that doctors won’t even do a food challenge for him. The skin prick testing is bad enough – the dot with the cashew oil on it spreads across his entire arm and is unbearable.

And cashews are so delicious. It doesn’t make any sense. He can eat peanuts, macadamias and almonds but cashews (and probably pistachios because they are in the same family) could kill him.

Oh well, at least we have some progress.

And don’t forget to watch and share this amazing Australian allergy documentary at


Mortgage your house and see a movie

19 Jul

When did movies become so expensive?

I love going to the movies but to take my family of five it costs as much as a small car. And if we want to eat while we watch the movie…it costs as much as a much larger car.

I love going to the movies. I even love kids movies. My favourites so far are Toy Story, Alvin and Ice Age. I love that children’s movies are made for the parents as well.

But it’s just so expensive.

For us to see a movie it costs around $80. And that’s if we don’t select the 3D option. I don’t even wear my 3D glasses in those movies. They hurt the bridge of my nose.

In fact, heaps of family activities that I always dreamed of doing with my children are expensive. Have you gone bowling lately. It cost over $100 for two games. Are the pins made of gold? And those over-priced hot chips. Are they truffle-oil infused?

Perhaps the bowling arcade I chose was too nice. When I was younger bowling was a cheap activity and everything was a little worn and slightly old (including the chips) but we had a blast. Now I am covered in cold sweat, wondering how I’ll trim my grocery budget to make up the money I have spend on this family event.

I actually have to save up money ahead of school holidays, just so we don’t get stuck at home every day. When I was little we lived on five acres and our backyard was the best adventure playground you could imagine. Our backyard now is just big enough to fit a clothes line, a trampoline and a storage shed.

Local parks? Yes they’re okay but activities like this are weather-dependent and the past few months haven’t been the best when it comes to playing outdoors. Gumboots anyone?

So this Sunday we are spending half of our weekly grocery budget on a movie, snacks and lunch and I’ll do my best do enjoy it. If I’m going to spend the money I may as well enjoy it. And I’ll be bringing all our leftovers home. We’ll be needing them!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Start to worry if your airline starts handing out bottles of water!

12 Jul

It’s never a good sign when you’re at an airport and an airline starts handing out bottles of water.

There I am standing in what I thought was a priority line for frazzled mothers when I noticed that the line I had been escorted out of was moving a lot faster than my ‘priority’ line. We’d been standing waiting for quite a while and my mum’s knee was starting to hurt. The kids were starting to squabble and my back was aching.

A very well-groomed girl started making her way down the line, handing out bottles of water. My stomach dropped. We were going to be here for a while.

When she got to me I pointed out that my special line wasn’t actually moving and the general line was. Through several layers of foundation and some super bright red lipstick she explained that my Brisbane to Sydney flight was experiencing problems and they’d have to manually check us in, but only for this flight, like the fact that other passengers wouldn’t be affected would make me feel any better.

I looked down sadly at my three children. During this entire working holiday I’d been a picture of perfection. I’d been a regular Mary Poppins. I was all fun and laughter. I hadn’t snapped at them one. Now, calm mummy was gone. She’d been killed by a computer glitch.

Taking deep breaths I knelt down and started playing with them, determined to pass the time productively (by colouring in). It was great until I lost feeling in my bottom and had to stand up to restart the blood circulation there.

They really should lace the water with sedatives. My stomach was in knots. What if we were stranded here? I’d already passed a family lying on the floor covered in blankets. Would I survive an experience like that? Could I be a stranded passenger calmly catching some sleep on the filthy airport floor? I think I’d be more like the irate passenger demanding they find me a flight, or a hotel.

They, another very pretty lady (with very drawn on eyebrows – is all that make up really necessary) came up to us and said they’d move us to the front of the queue because we had kids. At first I was elated but when I looked up at the faces of the other passengers I realised they were having none of it. They didn’t give a stuff that I had three kids with me. They were first! Who the hell was I to cut in?

I smiled an apology and received several versions of ‘stink eye’. I broke eye contact with the angry mob and concentrated or sorting out our bags and not losing a child in the crowd.

Walking away with my head down in a proper gesture of contrition we headed to the nearest toilet, followed by the nearest coffee stand, before settling down to wait at the gate (the flight would be delayed by nearly an hour).

It wasn’t the best flying experience I’ve ever had but what’re a few hours between capital cities compared to other much worse travel horror stories?

Still, with kids, it’s always going to be hard to travel. Or in the words of the very hung-over gentleman standing behind me in the line…”Thank fuck the fucking kids aren’t here with me or this would be fucked!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!


We CAN save Darrell Lea!

12 Jul

Australia, this is a call to action.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

Power to the people!

We CAN save Darrell Lea.

Darrell Lea is an iconic Australian company. Not only does it contribute to the economy, it sells THE BEST chocolate and confectionary in the country, if not the world.

All you have to do to save this delicious company is to THROW A DARRELL LEA PARTY WITHIN THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS!

Think about it.

Just go to your local Darrell Lea shop (I am blessed to have one at my local shopping centre) and buy all your favourites…peanut brittle, soft eating licorice, strawberry fudge, peppermint fudge, chocolate covered peanuts, caramel snows, giant jaffas, giant freckles…

Then, invite all your friends and family over, lay everything out, take a photo, Facebook and Tweet it and then hit it and hit it hard!

Eat like there’s no tomorrow. Eat like no-one is watching. Eat for the good of Darrell Lea, for the good of this country, for the good of this amazing company that has been there since I was a little girl and could cease to exist as in be gone FOREVER!

Oh my God, Rocklea Road, need I say more?

It’s the only show bag I buy for myself at the Easter Show each year. And what will Christmas be without some bilbies and white frogs in the kids stockings?

My husband’s birthday is next week and I am planning to transform his celebration into an Ode to Darrell Lea and I will Facebook and Tweet the event accordingly.

Father’s Day…buy Dad the special bag full of treats. Hell, buy him two!

We CAN save this amazing company. We MUST save this amazing company.

I urge you to join in this movement. You will never be more proud, you will never have more fun, you will never feel so full!

Hang in there Darrell Lea…we are coming to your rescue. Stuff our weight. Consider it an enjoyable momentary lapse for the greater good.

Australia needs Darrell Lea.

Jo Abi isn’t and never has been an employee of Darrell Lea or any affiliated organisation. She is merely a devoted consumer who is devastated at the prospect of it ceasing to exist. Even though she doesn’t go there as regularly as she should, just knowing it is there whenever she wants a treat is enough. She says, “Let’s PLEASE save Darrell Lea”.


I LOVE Masterchef in Italy

11 Jul

I LOVE cooking shows and Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules are always religiously watched.

Masterchef in Italy is just AMAZING. Being Italian, a food lover and a lover of reality cooking shows I am in absolute heaven. I’m loving all the pizza and pasta they are cooking. As an Italian mama I pride myself on my pizza and pasta and I think I make it better than anyone. But I’m not an adventurous cook. We eat pizza and pasta most weeks but with the same sauce and toppings. When it comes to kids, you make what they like and what you know they’ll eat.

I will give the offal and anything with squid ink a miss. When I was little my mum did fry up chicken offal with onions and olive oil. I liked it then but I can’t imagine eating it now that i know what it is.

Italians love food. And everyone loves Italian food. It’s hearty, filling and comforting. It’s easy to cook and easy to share. It tastes better the next day. It rocks.

We’re mid-way through Italy week and I am HANGING for them to start cooking some Italian desserts. Tiramisu, biscotti, custard, cannoli…I would love to see them attempt sfogliatelli but I’m not cruel enough to wish this on them. It takes years to perfect. I’ve never attempted them myself but I know where to buy the best.

There aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week to eat all the food I want.

Low carb diets have never worked for me. But give me a slice of pizza with fresh salad on the side or a scoop of pasta and I’m in heaven.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

My son falls asleep with the TV on – mummy fail!

9 Jul


My first born got the worst of me.

When I had Philip I was in shock. It had been an emergency caesarean and instead of enjoying my first days of motherhood I was sore, completely clueless and in shock. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

I loved him immediately. I wasn’t depressed. I just didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

Whenever he cried, I buzzed the nurse. Whenever he needed a nappy change, I buzzed the nurse. I was hopeless. I lay there feeling like a car crash victim expecting everyone to do everything for me. It was horrible.

When they told me they were sending me home, I thought they were joking. I didn’t know how to look after a baby. All the books and articles I’d read were forgotten. How do I get this body suit over his head?

I limped out of the hospital, watched as my husband spent twenty minutes figuring out how to strap him into his car seat and I didn’t say a word the entire ride home.

Philip (8) is still my most difficult child and it’s my fault. Giovanni (4) and Caterina (3) are perfect because with them I knew what I was doing.

Philip can’t fall asleep unless the TV in his room is left on.

Giovanni and Caterina are asleep minutes after their bedtime story is read.

Philip calls me several times a night for water/nightmare/random thoughts.

Giovanni and Caterina rarely wake up if at all.

Basically, Philip’s bedtime ‘routine’ is appalling, an exercise in what NOT to do and Giovanni and Caterina could star in an educational video about how to get your child to sleep!

So when I was on Ten Breakfast this morning discussing lullabies and the importance of bedtime routines, I was basing my advice on Giovanni and Caterina. Philip needs a major intervention but every time I attempt to correct his bedtime routine I give up. Sometimes I get as far as to get him to sleep with the TV off and just a lamp only to have him wake up screaming in the middle of the night. All that calms him is the TV on low volume so he doesn’t feel like he’s alone.

Philip slept in bed with us frequently between the age of two and four. It was a struggle to get him out. We wanted our bed back but when he’d wake in the middle of the night our exhaustion always won and in he’d come.

We thought he’d grow out of it but he didn’t. I spent a month trying to get him to stay in his bed all night and often ended up in tears and too tired to think the following day. That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea of putting a TV in his room, just until he got used to it.


My sister has a new baby and she often asks me how old Philip was when he finished breastfeeding, started walking and started sleeping through the night. I honestly can’t remember. It’s all a blur.

Tonight I’m going to start weaning him off his TV and this time I won’t give up.

Off with the box!

Here I am on Ten Breakfast. A fun chat but please forgive the hair!


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