How we should look in licence photos…

My last driver’s licence photo was taken seven years ago when I was heavily pregnant with my third child. I wasn’t a the kind of woman who ‘glowed’ in pregnancy. I was the kind of woman who ‘puffed’ with pregnancy. Consequently, even though my large tummy was nowhere near the frame, everyone could tell that it was a photo of a woman whose tummy bounced off her thighs during uphill climbs.

So, when my renewal notice stated that a new photo was required – because they are now issuing new licences with whizz bang secure identity thingies embedded in them- I was happy because now was my chance to update the photo.

On the bad side,  I was approximately 20kg heavier in the last one than I am now. However, I was also 7 years younger, which created quite a dilemma. My new photo will reveal that I am now back to my normal size post baby, however, I have also developed wrinkles, tired skin and grey hairs at an alarming rate since having children.

This poses the question, which is better: rounded youth or slimmer maturity?

Anyway, I did as instructed by the RTA officer and did not smile when the photo was taken. There is even a sign that prohibits smiling during the photo taking process.

Consequently the photo on my new licence is hideous.

If it was more attractive it would be a mug shot.

On the good side, my grey hairs are well camouflaged amongst the blonde by the flash that had me walking into walls due to temporary blindness for five minutes afterwards.

On the bad side, my pupils are smaller than pinpricks and could lead any police officer viewing it to suspect that I am a long term, habitual crack head.

On the good side, there are no wrinkles on my face because my crow’s feet only come out to play during smile time.

On the negative side, I look like a career criminal who has just been charged with a crime that carries a life sentence of cleaning toilets with a toothbrush. My toothbrush.

My husband and I discussed my new photo and when I asked why no one is allowed to smile he said, ‘because the police want to be able to identify you when they pull you over, and make sure that the holder of that licence and the driver are the same person. How many times have you smiled at a cop who has pulled you over?’

It was a good theory. Certainly one worth investigating, which lead me to consider what types of facial expressions would allow the licencee to be identified quickly, depending on the situation.

The ‘was that a ‘Stop’ sign or just ‘Give Way’? What’s the speed limit around here’ expression.

aa confused


The ‘in no way did I break the law’ expression:

aa bill clinton


The ‘Yes, I knew it was a 50 km zone and I was doing 55’ expression.

 aa barack

The ‘OMFG was that a speed camera I just flew past?’ expression.

 aa janet

The ‘No, Officer, I wasn’t texting while driving’ expression.


 aa emoticon


The ‘I’m really, really sorry Officer. I promise not to do it again,’ expression.

 aa golden


And finally, the ‘my bosoms are too big for this tiny top, and my lips are so big and red’ seduction expression.


 aa sexy


So, as you can see, the current licence photo protocol leaves a lot to be desired. It could be improved considerably by allowing people to have a range of facial expressions on their licence so as to accurately reflect that person’s expression at the time of committing an offence. What a pity they don’t have a suggestion box at the RTA.


The Art of the Selfie…

As many will know the Romance Writers of Australia hosted their annual conference in Sydney recently. It was amazeballs, so wonderful to catch up with friends and meet FB friends face to face for the first time. It’s a highlight to attend the workshops and learn from talented authors and editors, but the social activities are also pretty cool. Especially considering that a 6.30pm time slot for my kid’s parent teacher interviews now constitutes a ‘night out’ for me.

For the last two years I have roomed with my buddy, the gorgeous and supremely talented Dana Mitchell. Last year we took a selfie at the Gala Awards dinner. It was a bit dark in there, but let’s just call it ‘atmospheric’. The kind of lighting that flatters everyone.


So this year, we decide to take a selfie in our room.  Firstly, let me show you the view from our room.

view roor

This is not our original room. This is the room we were upgraded to upon check in. Yep, we went from the Ibis to the Pullman, with a complimentary drink from the bar while they transported our luggage over. There was no way in hell we were going to inquire as to why, just in case they realised that they had made an error and we were, in fact, not upgraded.

Thank you Ibis and Pullman. Accor, you rock.

Okay, night two of our stay. All dressed up ready for our publisher dinners. Let’s take that selfie.

What a good idea! Two Generation X mums attempting to record a moment for posterity. It can’t be that hard, surely?

dark selfie 3

Oh, you know, that’s a little dark. I don’t think the flash went off. Let’s try it again…


Hmmmm, I still didn’t see the flash go off. It should have just about blinded us, shouldn’t it?

A moment’s thought about flashes and selfies…

Maybe the flash doesn’t go off when you do a selfie, because, you know, the camera thingy is facing the opposite way.

The penny drops.

Oh! Of course! The flash faces the other way, it will still go off but will light the other side of the room, not us. That’s why we can’t see it.

Yeah, that makes sense.

I know, let’s turn the camera around and estimate where we are in the frame so that the flash will illuminate us instead.

What a great idea. My god, we are sooooo clever.


Awww, shit! That didn’t work either.

Break into hysterical giggles because we just took a selfie of a lamp shade.

Here, let me try something….

dark selfie 4

Awww, shit! I just took a photo of myself. Fark!

Break into more hysterical giggles.

I should stress, at this point that neither Dana or myself had been drinking anything other than tap water. We can’t even blame our gumbiness on alcohol.

I know, let’s just move into a lit area of the room.

Yeah, that sounds great. Good thinking.

roomies 2 2014

Oh, thank god for that! This selfie stuff is exhausting.

Break into further hysterical giggles.

Night four- Gala Awards Dinner night. The night were romance writers let their hair down. Time for another selfie in our gladrags.

Shit, how did we do this again?

Let’s stand in the same spot as last time and hope for the best.

roomies 2014

Yay! It worked. We’ve so got this down pat, now. Let’s try one from near the curtains. It’s a nicer backdrop.


001 (2)

Awww, shit! What happened there?

Stupid camera.