Ordinary Days, Joyful Days

Good morning. 

I like that turn of phrase, it gives the day a chance doesn’t it? 

I’ve been pondering finding moments of joy in the midst of ordinary, even boring days. The kind of days can see you in the car, ferrying kids to 10 different activities, or at your desk at work willing knock-off time to hurry the heck up, or days at home, when there are dishes to do and floors that really need a good vacuuming. 

Doesn’t seem like there’s much joy to be found there does it? 

That’s where the fun starts! 

I’m a fan of turning up my “noticing” dial and making my eyes, brain and my sometimes manky attitude, seek out something that brings a smile to my face. This morning I was reading something about curiousity, and I think it is a wonderful practice in life – to wonder, to daydream, to seek out more than the day might seem to hold at first glance. 

Here’s one of those moments from last week, given the meme treatment.


Some incredibly unfashionable coloured and textured glass, an old pasta sauce jar filled with water, stray label stickiness and all, and some morning light. 

This was my view as I mooched in bed recently and it could have been something I looked right through, or didn’t even notice. But, because I have my noticing dial up, I saw something special in the colours and the light and decided it was worth noticing, appreciating and capturing. 

When I was away recently, the combination of the super sinky bed and unfamiliar surroundings meant I didn’t sleep very well. I snapped this photo at about 4am, while I was listening to a podcast. This lamp has such great lines and the textures and shadows really appeal to me. 

Small things, even things that are an annoyance, like not being able to sleep, can become joyful moments if we tune in to them. 

Can’t sleep? Snap a selfie!! (This was taken in the sinky bed.)

I often take a quick snap my paint palette and it reminds me of the day I bought it, trawling the children’s craft section of Spotlight, not wanting to spend too much money because “I’m not creative like this, I can’t paint”. 

Ha! Guess who was wrong about that? 

My curiousity takes my turned-up noticing dial and does a victory lap around the garden. 

Nyeh, nyeh, we win, they singsong. 

I’m so happy they’re winning – my life is much richer for their presence. I think, at least for most of us, they are by invitation only qualities. Even if you’ve got a positive disposition like I do, you can crank up your noticing dial to the joy setting, if you want to. 

Little things – a jar of water in pretty light, a well-used light pink paint well, can make me feel such big things. 

And big things can too.

I feel wonder, power, promise, and endless possibility when I look at the sky. 

It makes me feel small, yet tall as well. Grounded. 

I mean, just think about it, wherever you are right now, there’s sky above you. Can you see it? 

And there’s sky above me too. 

It’s the same sky. 

Some days the sky it is clear, some days it is moody and filled with clouds, but every day, if we take the time to look up, to notice, there it is again.

It’s the same when we level our gaze at what’s around us. 

Right now I can see a drawing my niece did for me (of the Frozen snowman), I can see a photograph of a tropical flower, which I bought on a holiday many years ago, I can see a cane bound chest of drawers that belonged to my grandmother. I see my sketchbook and my new slippers. I see scarves and a poster from Frankie magazine, and just by noticing, and listing those simple, everyday things, I’m smiling. These things, and the memories and people attached to them, bring me joy.  

Would you try something today? 

Turn up your noticing dial, and see what happens. 

What’s right in front of you, that can bring you joy? What’s above you, or beside you? 

If it sparks something, please let me know! I love it when the comments section gets busy, that always brings a smile to my face.  

Dialled up,

Annette x 



The View From 48: the party edition

Yesterday I was at my niece’s 8th birthday party, and my mum had pulled out a photo of our family on my 8th birthday to show me, and the (other) birthday girl. 

The photo was of my dad’s parents, my parents, my older brother, my younger brother and moi, taken on my 8th birthday, exactly 40 years ago. 

As you can se, I was rocking long light brown hair, (is that a Bay City Rollers tee? I can’t quite tell) a denim skirt, long white socks, and fabulous red Mary Janes. Check out my mum’s shirt – epically cool 70s! My dad is wearing a singlet because he was, and is, a bit of a rebel! He knew eye-rolling and tut-tutting would ensue, so he rocked that singlet quite provocatively. God I love that man! 

Hill Family circa 1976

The quite fuzzy photo doesn’t include either of my sisters (both now in their 30s), as they weren’t born then. 

They were standing in the kitchen at the party yesterday, one with her baby boy in her arms, and one hosting her daughter’s 8th birthday party. 

As I showed the photo to my dad, it occurred to me just how long this adulting caper can go on, if we’re lucky. 

I looked at my dad looking at that photo, seeing himself as a 38 year old father of three. When that photo was snapped, he and mum had been married about 13 years, he was a successful builder, he barracked for Essendon, and both his parents were alive. 

Standing in the kitchen today, dad is 78 years old and happily retired, his parents have both been dead for decades, and he’s the much loved father of five, and a loving, involved, shit-stirring grandfather to eight. 

His laugh is the same. It’s the best sound. 

Life is (hopefully) a long game. 

Families go on and on, down the generations, from our grandparents then parents being children, to becoming young adults, then newlyweds, buying their first home, and along we come – first child, second, third, fourth, fifth. 

Work gets busy, then worryingly slow; there’s sickness; family holidays; stressful times; happy times; and night after night of sausages and mashed potatoes; mountains of laundry; family get togethers; scraped knees; cousins; ageing grandparents to care for; the children grow up, then move out, and on and on it goes. 

I felt so privileged to sit in my family home on my 48th birthday, with my parents, my sisters, and two of the next generation of our family, amidst noise and squeals and all those pink presents, at my #favouritehuman’s 8th birthday party. 

Pass the sausage rolls dad, we could be here a while.  


Annette x 

Everybody needs a wingwoman

Every morning (well, almost) this week I’ve been getting up and heading straight to my art desk to do a pretty well-known writing exercise called “morning pages”. I was reminded about morning pages when I re-read Craft For The Soul by Pip Lincolne last weekend. 

The idea of the exercise is that you get up and before the day gets going, you write three pages, longhand. Three pages of whatever comes to mind, it’s not for publication, it’s not a productivity tool, or a to-do list, you just write. This can seem very strange but usually something interesting comes from it. 

For me that’s been reflections on the view from 48. You can check out my last blog post for more on that. In a nutshell, I’m turning 48 in about 42 days (I haven’t had coffee yet so my mathematical abilities are even shakier than they usually are) and that has made me think about how I got from there to here, what’s helped, what matters, stuff like that there. 

One morning this week, instead of writing, I drew a picture of my earliest memory, and shared it on Instagram and Facebook. It was me, wrapped in a towel, warming myself up in front of the Vulcan heater, after a bath. I wasn’t happy with the squareness of my towel ensconced shoulders, so I drew myself again. 

Little me. Damp hair. I like her.

In my morning pages this week, I’ve noticed that I’m circling around some of the anchoring issues in my life – adoption, rejection, acceptance, encouragement and self confidence. I’m still ruminating on those topics, so I won’t go into detail here, yet. I was talking with someone on Facebook a few weeks ago, and that late night conversation has really got me thinking about what I can be doing to light the path for others, based on my own experiences. Thanks Nat! 

In that spirit, on Wednesday I decided to declare #wingwomanwednesday on Twitter and Instagram. 

Clearly my peeps aren’t that active on Twitter, but they ARE on Instagram. 

Soon enough, there was a lovefest in progress, with people giving virtual high fives to women they appreciate here, there and everywhere. It was SO RAD! 

As people saw themselves tagged, they replied, and joined the party, sending more love out to more of their gal pals. 

LIFE GOALS!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Did hundreds of people get on board? No. 

Does that matter at all? Hell no. (World domination takes time!)

If only one person had seen my post and tagged one girlfriend, a girlfriend who might have been having a super shit day or feeling a tad lonely or was just having a mundane Wednesday afternoon, and she saw herself tagged as someone’s wingwoman, and felt appreciated and loved, then DROP THE MIC! 


I believe that encouraging acts like these are utterly essential in life. 

Utterly. Essential. 

I certainly would not be who I am without them. 

The view from 48 – it’s a long, winding path lit by torches of encouragement that kept me going, and continue to do so. 

When I ponder the most powerful force in my life, it has to be encouragement. 

I think I’ll make one small change to this hashtag for next week, it’s got to be #wingwomenwednesday because it takes a village, right ladies? 

Thank you so much to those who got into the spirit of my first foray into mass encouragement. Your words of affection and love for each other buoyed me up this week. 

And remember, you don’t have to wait until Wednesday to encourage someone! 

With love, 



The view from 48

Good morning friends. 

This is my (slightly idealised) view, 48 days from turning 48. I’ve taken some creative license and brought us into autumn, because let’s face it, autumn is the most magical of the seasons. 

48 days from now I will turn 48. I like the symmetry of that. 

Recently, I’ve been pondering how I got here, who I am and what’s shaped me. Ive been wondering what markers along the way have been most significant, and perhaps more importantly, whether there are worthwhile and transmittable ideas, processes or unshackling posts that I could point out to others. (Does that sound ridiculously arrogant? I hope not.) 

48 isn’t 50, it’s not a Hallmark sponsored milestone, but it is what’s cresting in front of me. 

It’s a long time, isn’t it? 48 years. 

Not compared to the planets or the stars, or even the trees in the nearby hills, but for a person, it’s a good stretch of  days and nights, of summers, autumns, winters and springs. It’s a lot of Christmases and birthdays. It’s a hell of a lot of Monday mornings! 

Will I write 48 daily posts? I’m not sure, I kind of doubt it, though I do have the time at the moment. 

What I’m hoping is that by making a concerted effort to both reflect, and to scout what’s ahead, I might stumble across some things that help me join the dots. 

I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that the truest, best changes in our lives, the really important work of the soul (ugh, sorry about that!), happens not on the mountain tops, but germinates slowly, incrementally, often without us having much awareness of what’s going on, in the every day, in the mundane. 

There’s no mapped out plan for the next 48 days, there are no draft posts waiting in the wings, but I do want to tell you some stories. 

No matter how SnapChatty the world becomes, I think we still need stories. Stories and questions. 

Let’s find out. 


Annette x 


This is me, 49 days from 48. 


A Casual Casualty

What’s the old saying… it was fun while it lasted? Well, at least it was profitable, and there were some good moments.  

I’ve become a casualty of working casually. 

Just one shift this week, then after a quick conversation and a couple of text messages, my ability to pay my rent in three weeks is thrown into doubt. 

No, that’s not the whole story, but it’s where things stand right now. 

I have not been happy in my current/former job for a while. I don’t do well with a “one rule for us, one rule for you” mentality. I don’t do well with conflict and blame, and I definitely do not do well with not typing everything I want to about it right now, but I should show some restraint. 

I’m not totally surprised, the writing has been on the (internal) wall for a while, I just didn’t expect the ink to dry so quickly once I voiced my dissatisfaction.  

It is, of course, my employer’s prerogative to immediately cut the cord, that’s what being a casual entails. 

And so, I’ll be dusting off my CV this week, updating my SEEK profile and putting on my thinking cap – a very jaunty crocheted number – and considering what’s next. 

Here’s what I know about me and work: 

I love working in teams, and I enjoy solving problems. 

I love creative industries and I want to do something more with my skills and time than simply bolster my employer’s bank account. 

I love a typo free document, I love a full stationery supply cupboard, heck I even enjoy refilling the stapler! 

I am an administrator, and I am more than that. I am a creative thinker. 

I’m great with words and I can create great blog content for your business. 

I care about details. Spelling and grammar still matter. 

Social media can be a great business tool. If your organisation’s Facebook page has tumbleweeds blowing through it, I’ll notice. 

I believe honesty actually is the best policy. 

I’m unafraid to speak my mind. My point of view is just as valid as anyone else’s. 

Being the new girl in a work environment is daunting but I’m up for the challenge. 

If I get really stressed, I will cry. It’s just salty water, I’ll regroup quickly. Stress responses don’t mean I can’t master the task. 

And even with this door closing, I know this: I’m a great person to have on your team. 


Have you ever been a casual casualty? 

Do you believe in dream jobs? 

What’s your top tip for finding rewarding work? 





The Serial Sessions

Podcasts are the new Netflix don’t you think?

There seem to be eleventy billion podcasts out there, right? I doubt there’s a topic you could Google that wouldn’t have a podcast dedicated to it, from cat hair braiding, to Oprah’s spiritual teachings, to modern art, to eavesdropping on one of my favourite rad ladies BabyMac chatting with her neighbour ‘Over the back fence’ (check it out here).

I’ve noticed in the past few years that people love to keep their ears full – listening to music, audio books, and now podcasts. I don’t think it’s good to keep your ears full all of the time, because then you never get to enjoy quiet times; like listening to the birds as you go on your morning walk, or the dinging of your tram as it trundles along. Occasional earbud-produced noises as well as natural, environmental noises can both be great.

Of the eleventy billion out there, the podcast that utterly captivated me last year was Serial, produced by the clever team at This American Life.

Last season, the Serial team investigated a murder case, which resulted in the conviction of Adnan Syed. From the Serial website:

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

I was absolutely hooked from the first episode, and knowing that I was listening to an investigation into an actual case made the experience seem both voyeuristic and like CSI was coming to life in my car as I listened in the library car park.

The host of the how, Sarah Koenig, is an experienced journalist and investigative reporter. Her handling of the subject matter was respectful, curious and I thought, balanced. Plus, she has a GREAT radio voice, and the production quality of the podcast is top notch. Podcast listening takes a little getting used to, with its pauses and quirky music, to me it is well worth persevering with.

Since the first season of Serial aired, Syed’s legal team has won the right to appeal certain aspects of the original trial, which is extraordinary! Podcasts can be powerful.

One of the things I like about the format is how it’s the antithesis of a good binge watching weekend, unless you are prepared to wait several months to jump on the bandwagon. Serial airs one episode per week, and follows one story per season.

It’s a slow unfolding, rather than a wham bam thank you ma’am kinda deal, and I found that really appealing and a little frustrating. We’re so used to RIGHT NOW aren’t we, to spoilers and nicely wrapped up endings.

So, all of that, brings me to this, Serial is BACK!

Season 2 began this week and I am already ALL OVER IT. There’s quite a bit of all caps action in this post isn’t there?

I’m a tad excited. I may have downloaded the first episode at midnight on Thursday, and listened to it immediately.

This year the Serial team has decided to follow a story that has made headlines all over the world. It feels like the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster; a military thriller replete with national security concerns, negotiations with terrorists, and at its centre, a young, perhaps foolhardy soldier named Bowe Bergdahl.

Direct from the Serial website:

In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.

President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier’s parents at his side. Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory. 

Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.

Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.

You can download the first episode here and subscribe, sign up for newsletters and updates there too.

To share the love, I’ve decided to start a Facebook group for other people who might get a bit ALL CAPSY about Serial season two.

You can make your request to join the group, which I’ve nattily named The Serial Sessions by clicking right there. Go on, I’ll approve you in a jiff.

I haven’t sorted out the format of the group yet, there could be weekly live chats and there will definitely be ‘oooh, I didn’t see that coming’ moments. You might find great links on the back story or the latest insights that you’ll want to share.

If readers can have book clubs, why shouldn’t podcast listeners have chatty clubby Facebook groups?

It won’t be a ranty political space, unless the story merits that kind of discussion, which we’ll conduct respectfully. It won’t be a shouty, meme dropping space either. It’s a clubhouse where enthusiasm, curiosity and manners are paramount. Serial lovers of the interwebs unite!

Are you in? I’d love to see you there.

Click here to join the Facebook group, and don’t forget to download and listen to episode one this weekend.

All of a sudden I’m craving a bowl of Corn Flakes, go figure…..

I am in countdown mode for episode 2 already.

Yours in ALL CAPSY excitement,



Not brought to you by #MailKimp  : )


Creative Contentment

Good morning. How are you? Got yourself a coffee and a comfy seat? Great, me too.

As I made my coffee this morning I thought about what I need to have a day that’s enjoyable and recharges me.

It’s pretty simple – I need coffee and paints. (Okay, I like an almond croissant too, you got me!)

Realistically, I need shelter and my fluffy dressing gown, I’d like my couch and something in the fridge I can turn into a late lunch… but if I pare it back, a cuppa and a way to create is what really turns me on these days.

As I haven’t posted a 52 Paintings update for a while, and now that The 100 Day Project is over, I wanted to share some of this weekend’s #creativeplay with you. This is my version of BabyMac’s luscious home and garden photos.

Breakfast of champions


Arrows & Stripes


Abstract Geography


Flowers & Vines


52 Paintings

And it wouldn’t be a weekend without a little Saturday sketches action.


So, what do you need to relax? What recharges your batteries?

If you can count decades since you’ve reached for a colouring pencil or a paint brush, if you’re convinced you have little or no artistic talent – I’d like to throw down a creative challenge.

Disengage your “busy, adult” brain for about 20 minutes, grab yourself some art supplies and just doodle, draw, create, trace, sketch. Look out the window and draw the colours you see. Look at the latest thing you picked up at the op shop, and see if you can get a vague likeness on paper. That’s what this rose is.

The biggest challenge is to say no to your inner critic or any whisper that drawing, creating, simply playing is a waste of time. It’s not. That I can promise you.

It makes me so happy.




So there you have it, a little creative progress report, from me to you.

Have a great Sunday. Let me know if you need some pencils or watercolours, I’m happy to share.

Yours creatively,

Annette x