Smoking hot, or not

There are a fair few photos of me around the house. Do I love looking at myself? Probably.


So here I was, happily looking at myself the other day, when a nasty question invaded my serenity.

“Oh, DANG,” I thought, “Should I remove those (numerous) photos of me smoking (in my past life) and hide them away from the ogling eyes of the tiny people?”


Previously – i.e. in a time before my current role where I wile away the hours scrubbing skid marks off undies, combing nits out of hair and scraping two day old porridge from bowls – I used to be quite the gadabout.

I think I imagined myself rather akin to Lady Brett Ashley, a character from my favourite Hemingway novel, Fiesta (or The Sun Also Rises). She was a wonderfully sexually liberated gal and very glamorous. And it was the 20s so of course she, like everyone else everyone in the novel, was continually and heavily smoking. As I did in my 20s.

I bloody loved ciggies back then. I used to smoke morning, noon and night. My favourites were the late night ones, propped at the bar with a strong man* and even stronger drink.

*That bit isn’t true, many of my boyfriends back then were actually quite feeble.

Me smoking. In London. Photo taken by Irena Kenny.
Me smoking. In London. Photo taken by Irena Kenny.

My love affair with the darbs had to end one day and it did when I fell pregnant with my first little mate. I’ve had a couple of sneaky ones in the years since on the rare nights I am out with people who smoke and I can bum one. But it’s not the same. It’s pretty hideous actually. And frankly I’d prefer not to end up with some awful lung-related illness.

But back to the photos. Yeah so there’s a couple of me smoking.

Do I erase all evidence of this filthy habit? Or do I leave them there and come up with some awesome life lesson to attach to them?

Or should I be more troubled about the photo that reveals a poorly scrawled fake “I love Warren” tattoo on my upper-boob, taken as a Valentines Day gift for said-Warren, the husband? (BTW thanks foxy friend and beautiful photographer Karin for a crazy-fun afternoon taking those shots. We smoked a lot that day!).

What do you think? What inappropriate photos do you have that give you pause in your capacity as responsible parent?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I now believe it is not, but as a hard core smoker for 30 years ( started at 13 quit 3 months ago after massive fear for my health! Funny how it takes the fear of taking someone’s life ie your growing baby or your own life to finally let the evil ciggies go!) so this my friend is a tough one…. But to be honest it is part of your life journey and we all learn from the mistakes in life that we make, lessons are learnt in all we do right , done to the limitation of hard core boozy nights and long gone days of a bloody good rave ( god i loved the summer of 89

    • Thanks my darling friend, wise words indeed……ill show you my boob on wednesday when we catch up 🙂 hahaha

  • I remember THOSE days!!!! I say get rid of them. They only make you look ridiculously glamorous and to a 4 year old who will eventually be 14 she doesn’t need to even remotely think it looks cool. I am sure the reason I smoked was because my mother smoked. She recently died – emphysema with a nice dose of congenital heart failure to boot, oh and don’t forget the blindness caused by smoking related macular degeneration. Who needs that I say? xx

    • Wow Sal, thank you for a very eloquent comment. I am so sad for you about your mum. Awful. Also you’ve highlighted something I hadn’t thought of, about looking glamorous smoking, I was looking at it from the other angle (that it’s good to show that you’re human and that we all make mistakes). BUT I certainly don’t want to be a smoking role model to Miles and baby Elroy!!! Thank you! xx

  • Weren’t they just the best things? Well except they were slowly killing us!! I’d probably take them down, but then again it’s part of who you were, and now you’ve turned a corner, they’ll find out one day – but what about when they are teenagers, now that’s a tricky one. You forgot the ‘after action’ ciggy! 😉

  • It’s tough because what Sally said is true – you do look glamorous and gorgeous in those pics (although I’m sure when the boys are big enough to know what those words mean, they wouldn’t dream of thinking that about their mum – ewwwwwwww, therapy, anyone?).

    I think we have to remember we are operating in a completely different environment than we were back then. Pressures to smoke were everywhere, whereas now it is more the exception to the rule. Not that we can relax about the evils of smoking just yet, but I reckon we’ll need to worry more about our kids posting naked selfies to the internet or taking drugs we haven’t even heard of yet than smoking. How’s that for a cheerful thought?

    Sally, I’m so sorry you lost your mum to this awful beast. My darling mum smoked most of her life and I always worried about that with her too. She gave up about 10 years ago and has amazingly suffered no ill effects from it (yet, touch wood). I am aware of just how lucky she (and therefore her family) is.

  • That photo is hot!! Leave it up there… Just tell Miles that ‘back in 50’s’ no one knew smoking was bad for you… now we know better. Hopefully he won’t focus on the maths not quite working out.

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