Sunday Sunshine

It’s my favourite kind of Sunday – no plans, nowhere to be, no need to watch the clock. 

There’s room for musing, so here we are. 

This morning, after a sleep in, I listened to a long podcast. While that was playing I gathered up clothes, I stripped the bed, and chased dust bunnies around the bathroom floor.

Windows got flung open; sunshine and fresh air working their magic. 

There are clean sheets out on the creaking Hills Hoist, in July! They might not dry completely, but it’s simply lovely to stand in the backyard and look up at a cloud dotted blue sky. 

I noticed these buds and it made me think about how things just keep going, and growing. 


Vines find the sun, that’s in their DNA. If there’s not a tree to climb, they’ll climb a fence, or a house or a rock. Nothing stops them from being what they are, or from going where they’re destined to go. 

Up and over. 

Up and out. 



We can feel so stuck where we are sometimes, but really, everything is in motion. 

Seasons, clouds, priorities, vines – they all evolve. They’re alive. 

The podcast I was listening to earlier reminded me of what the vines and buds showed me, life isn’t stagnant.

Like the vines and seasons, we are made to create, to grow, to tip our faces towards the sky. 

Even in the permanence and predictability of winter turning to spring, the way it unfolds is never the same. 

Thinking we can predict outcomes or know the future based on the past, it’s never going to work. And it can be so exhausting. 

Do you think that vine knows specifically where it is going to go ahead of time? 

I doubt it very much. 

I think it knows that it’s going to go up. 

Maybe up and over, maybe across, maybe slowly, maybe quickly… but it’s all upward growth, even when it’s snaking between fence posts, getting splinters. It’s growing. 

Perhaps permanence and unpredictability nestle side by side, longing for us to accept them both. Could they? Could we?

Keep growing my friends, and tip your faces towards the sky today. 


With love, 

Annette xx 



Stuff, Stuff, Stuff & Nonsense

We’ve all got stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, every day stuff, every now and then stuff and stuff we’ve forgotten we own. So. Much. Stuff. Today I decided to wrangle the stuff, stuff, stuff and nonsense in my bathroom. 

The first thing I discovered was that the shelves in my bathroom cabinet have an almost limitless depth and a Tardis like capacity for holding bags, tubs and containers filled with stuff. 

And dust. Cough. 

Duly mortified by the state of my cupboard, I wheeled this Tardis-Extension-Unit into my bedroom and proceeded to disgorge the contents on to my bed. It wasn’t pretty. 


Necklaces that I haven’t worn in years, which I remember jamming into a plastic bag maybe six months ago and then instantly forgetting; binned. Why didn’t I just throw them out then? I’m a mystery. 

Earrings that weren’t even fashionable when I bought them 10 or 15 years ago; binned. Sweet relief. 

Tubes of mystery beauty products I’ve never used; binned. 

Ear syringe supplies; binned.  

Lipsticks from boldest red to a ghastly hue called “Heather Shimmer”; binned. 

On and on it went. 

As I sorted, I began to feel embarrassed. 

Why did I have ALL. THIS. STUFF? Drawer after drawer of USELESS CRAP all neatly jammed into my exceedingly small ensuite. 

A completely forgotten hair straightener, which I think I used three or four times. Binned. 

Every mini hotel bottle of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, plus all the combs, sewing kits, shaving kits, and soaps that I ever got within 4 feet of, binned. 

I think I found about half a dozen mini tubes of toothpaste. I kept those, they’re handy! 

Old nail brush, out it went. 

Old hairbrush, gone to the great salon in the sky. 

Loofahs, manky nail files, dental floss I bought before we’d ever heard the name Barack Obsma… all tossed in the trash. 

One bag. Two bags. Three bags. 

Then I started on the tub of almost empty, almost full, almost gave me a migraine, almost endless varieties of shampoos and conditioners I’d squirrelled away under the bathroom vanity. Down the sink and then rinsed out, out they went, bottle after bottle. 

Four bags. Five bags. Six. 

That feeling again. Embarrassed. A bit ashamed of myself for not realising how much stuff I’d accumulated, quietly, stealthily. 

I often roll my eyes at the hoarding habits of some of my nearest and dearest. Don’t worry, I’m not going to out any of you! Today I thought to myself, I’m cut from the same cloth. Ahem. This is awkward.

Eventually, my Tardis-Extension-Unit stood empty, dusty and defeated. I may take it apart altogether or give it a good wash then use it to hold art supplies, but it will never go back in my ensuite! 


Three empty drawers and all that remains from the contents of my TEU. I have had the woven basket under the cotton buds for years and years. I love it, but I don’t need it. It hasn’t gone in the bin, yet. 


Just one of the bags I filled, knotted tightly and toted out to the rubbish bin today. I don’t wear make-up more than a few times a year, yet I still had all this STUFF, taking up valuable real estate in my small house. That leaves me scratching my head. 

All that remains, of the make-up at least. It’s more than I need. 


Things have such a hold on us, don’t they? 

Some things are precious, tied to special memories or people we love. Some things tied to such memories are still plastic crap that we imbue with value they’ll never have. You’d think the difference would be clear, wouldn’t you? 

As I went through those drawers today, I picked through a silver bag of pretty pink boxes. I scooped those boxes up during my first stay at a four star hotel. I’ve done that three times now and I’m not even 50. Talk about well travelled! 

That hotel stay was an indulgent treat to myself many Christmas Eves ago. I don’t need that sewing kit to remember it, or to recall the view of the city and the river shimmering at night, or the cocktails I drank with a girlfriend in the dimly lit, glamorous bar. As they say in the classics, I’ll always have Melbourne. 

Logically, I know I don’t need things to hold memories, but that silver bag of pink boxes, adorned in fancy cursive script with the hotel name have languished in a drawer for many, many Christmases. Not anymore. 

I want less in my life. I truly do. 

Less excess, less stuff and a lot less nonsense. 

Less time spent organising belongings that don’t serve any purpose. 

Less discarded lipsticks and long forgotten earrings. 

Less books I’m no longer interested in.

Less almost discarded stuff. I seem to be quite good at phase one of decluttering. 

{Note to self: make sure the bags of clothes that recently moved from hangers to bags under my bed actually leave the premises sometime soon!}

Less shoes. 

Less stuff without value. 

I want less. 

And I want more in my life. 

More breathing space. More ease, more physical space in the limited space that I have. 

More room for simply being, for making art, for welcoming friends, and for my sweet young nieces and nephews to spread out when they visit. 

More kitchen bench space so I can cook more good food with less sodium. 

More of what matters. 

I want more. 


Maybe the trick is being less attached to, and more mindful about, the stuff and the nonsense of life. 

I know this for sure, I won’t be on my deathbed wishing that I still owned a lipstick called Heather Shimmer or a plastic comb from a fancy hotel. 

I’ll never be a streamlined, monochrome, does-anybody-actually-live-here minimalist, but I’d like to get closer to that end of the spectrum than I am right now. 

Are you a master of de-cluttering? Teach me your ways. 

What’s your theory about the sewing kits and shampoos? I’d love to know. 


Annette x 




Top Drawer Mysteries

Something has me mystified. 

Life has many existential questions that have been pondered down the ages… 

What are we doing here? 

Why is the sky blue? 

Where do we go when we die? 

Does anyone know the secret to not spilling something on a white top? 

I’d like to add a couple of my own big questions to this list. 

Well, more than a couple, but I’ll try and stay focussed. 

Why are my top drawers harbouring items that are clearly past their prime? 

In my wardrobe, the top drawer is where my undies live. (Turn back now if you must, dear reader, I will understand.) 

In my grandmother’s chest of drawers, which now lives next to my bed, the top drawer is home to my pjs. 

Both these receptacles of everyday attire share an odd habit. They refuse to let go of anything; well, not without one hell of a fight. 

Were I to go to either top drawer right now, I know that I’d find holey undies, undies with frayed seams, pj pants whose elastic has changed its metabolic composition, threadbare sleep tees and other former garments that have no business taking up precious space among their newer, fully intact neighbours. 


Why aren’t the holey undies and decades-old pjs in the bin? 


I did a month long clear out of my wardrobe at the start of 2015 and culled a massive amount of clothing. You can read about my #hoistthehangers adventures here, here and here

The first thing I did was take every single item out of my wardrobe, and hang it on the trusty Hils Hoist. It nearly collapsed under the weight of everything I had stuffed in there! Over the next month, I ditched almost half these hangers. 

2014-12-30 15.49.58

I remember counting my undies collection and being utterly stupefied by the total. 

I had FIFTY PAIRS! (Why is it that we call underpants pairs? So many questions!) 

Who needs that many pairs of jockettes? 

Not me. 10 would be admirable, 14, more than sufficient, but 50, that’s over six weeks’ worth, without doing any laundry…. ay carumba. 

I culled from 50 down to a still ridiculous 30 if I remember rightly. 

You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now. 

As I type, I am wearing undies with a severely tattered waistband. The culprits survived the 2015 cull, but they probably shouldn’t have. They are from Target. They are light grey. Got ’em in a five pack. 

Directly in front of me, there is a pile of freshly washed, folded clothing. At the bottom of the pile, there is a pair of pj pants with the elastic literally hanging out of disintegrated waistband, and at least two pairs of undies that have seen better days. Yet there they sit, waiting to go back into my top drawers. 

Mysterious stuff. 

Will I ever conquer the top drawers? Or ditch the things still hanging in the wardrobe that I don’t wear? I want to, at least I think I do. So why don’t I? Why haven’t I? 

Maybe my grandma’s chest of drawers is imbued with her Depression Era hoarder’s spirit? 

Stuff. We have to own it, not the other way round. 

For now, I think I’ll try the one in-one out strategy, which means two pairs of holey undies and two formerly intact pj pants need their marching orders. 


Have you solved the mystery of your top drawer? Tell me how you did it, please! 


Annette xx 



Valley Girl

I had a dream this morning that I was walking into a valley, initially spacious and green, dotted with wildflowers. 

As I walk, the terrain changes around me. 

Less vegetation, less colour, less of what’s familiar. 

The air is thicker, sometimes it’s harder to breathe easily. 

The sky is, as always, above me, sure and true. 

I am still in the valley. 

I see some of the path ahead, but not all. It curves away from me. 

Just keep walking. 

The sky changes. 

I hear only the wind, my heart beating in my ears and my breath. 

Where am I headed? 

Just follow the path. 

I walk. 

I am in a valley. 

Somehow, as you can on dreams, I become the valley. 


When I wake up, and see a valley indented into my forearm, where the sheets have left their mark, I wonder for a few moments about my dream. Can a person become a valley? 


I get up, I paint my valley. Purple hued hills in the distance, the path, the changing terrain. 

My valley. 

My path. 


While I Was Sleeping

When my alarm set that Taylor Swift groove going at 7.44am today (I know, that’s late for some of you) I thought, you better be here soon Joe. 

Joe the electrician arrived after the allotted 8 – 9am hour, fixed my dodgy lights toot sweet and left me up, dressed and caffeinated, when I really wanted to still be smooshed up in a yellow sheet sandwich. I đź’› you, bed. 

A load of laundry had swooshed itself clean while I waited for Joe to arrive, so I lugged my basket into the morning’s sunshine and pegged that out, ON THE HILLS HOIST if you don’t mind, then came inside and flopped on the couch to watch CNN. 

I started thinking about croissants while Wolf Blitzer (best name ever) filled me in on the US election countdown, and it occurred to me that the US version of a croissant was only moments from my grasp.  


By the time I’d watched, and actually grasped some of the latest twists and turns on WestWorld, I was ready to reclaim my forfeited “day off” sleep in. 

As I drifted off, I had the coolest animated show going on inside my eyelids, bright white lines wriggling and dancing on a midnight blue backdrop, making houses, then shooting arrows, then dogs with Bowie lightning bolts running across their sweet faces, then morphing into pinwheels of fireworks. That had me falling asleep with a smile plastered across my tired face. 

While I was sleeping, my sweet, generous friend Krissy dropped off two boxes of garage clear-out artsy treasures for me. I am so excited about what I can create with all the goodies she left on my doorstep. Thank you Krissy. 


What’s the best thing that’s happened while you were sleeping lately? 


Annette xx 

Keep on dreamin’

Today while I was sprinkling Italian herbs over my baked beans on toast, I had this thought: 

It wasn’t that having baked beans on toast for lunch was bumming me out, I quite like them. 

They’re filling, but they’re not my dream! 

I was in unconscious meme creation mode because I was reflecting on a blog post I’d just read. You can read it here

In the post, Sonia spoke about how chasing her dreams had left her feeling wrung out recently, and how she wisely took some time out to simply enjoy a day without the pressure to fulfil the dream bearing down on her. That’s my interpretation of what she wrote anyway. 

Sonia, I totally believe in you!! Dream on, girlfriend xx

Then, not for the first time, I read a question online from someone asking how long it took others to reach a certain level of engagement in their blogging, and with no disrespect to the questioner today, as I’ve read the question multiple times before, I wanted to shout at my iPad screen. 

I might be spectacularly out of touch, but every single time I see or hear this question, from someone who is clearly an adult, I’m genuinely astounded. 

This question, whether it’s framed around blogging, or career advancement, or success in your chosen creative field seems so strange to me, and my response is usually in the form of my own question:

What is it that has some of us believing in the false notion of overnight success? 

That’s not a thing. It sometimes looks like a thing, but it isn’t. 

Let me say that again, overnight success isn’t a thing. It’s not real. It won’t happen. (Just call me the dream crusher!)

Like perfection, it’s a false god that too many people seem ready to fall down before. 

These false gods aren’t benign though, chasing the idea of perfection or of instantaneously arriving (whatever that means!), can drive a person loco. 

Dreams are great. I’m pro-dreams. If you’ve got, you know, actual talent in your dream field, you’re well on your way to making your dream a reality. 

You will need some other stuff in your dream realisation kit; like patience, skill, perseverance, resilience, and perhaps controversially, I believe you also need time away from dream chasing. 

Let’s say your dream is to be an Olympian. (#Rio2016, I’m so on trend!)

To fulfil that dream, you will need to train hard, for YEARS and YEARS! 

You’ll need to sacrifice and persevere, you’ll need to be mentally strong, you’ll likely have to come back from injury, you’ll probably have to hold down a day job while maintaining your training schedule. 

I hear Olympians have family and partners and friends, so you’ll need some time away from training to remain connected to those people. 

You may put in 100% to achieving your dream, for years on end, then get a virus or something just before the selection trials. You may not make it. 

Back to the drawing board, or gym, running track or pool, you can always try again in four years. 

Dreaming takes commitment, and courage. 

I am contemplating opening an Etsy shop to sell my art, and having someone place an order seems like a pipe dream right now. Even so, it’s something I want to pursue. 

Before that first order comes in, there’s a lot of practical stuff to do, like source card stock, fight off imposter syndrome, set up the shop, fight off imposter syndrome, stock the shop with art that takes time to create, put a price on my art, fight off imposter syndrome, and so on. 

I’m scared to do it, but I want to do it anyway. 

I might fail, it might be crickets once the shop opens, but I am going to try. 

Dream on dreamers! 

But dream with your eyes open. 

Dream with great people around you, who support your dreams, while keeping you connected to the real world. 

Dream BIG, armed with the knowledge that all good things take time. 

Remember, overnight success, like perfection, is not a thing. 

My advice for all you dream chasers, be like my favourite character in Pretty Woman (not Vivian!), strut down the streets of your life, head held high, sharing this wisdom with the world… 


Sweet dreams, 


Annette x 




Question Time

Good afternoon people of the interweb. 

Today, I have a question for you. 

How do you feel about asking questions? 

Are you first with your hand metaphorically up in life’s classroom, waggling for acknowledgement, or are you slumped in your seat, not sure you’re understanding what’s going on, but determined not to ask a “dumb” question? 

Have you thought about what’s behind your questioning style? That’s my invitation to you today. 

When I said I had a question for you (singular), I actually meant I have many, many questions. 

I like questions. They help me clarify my thinking and learn things. 

Here’s a bunch of questions, about questions, for your consideration: 

Do you feel hesitant or confident about needing to ask a question? 

Do your questions matter? 

Does it make you feel vulnerable to ask questions? (If you’re a femal reader, do you think men with questions feel any vulnerability?)

If you do feel hesitant about asking questions, can you pin that down to anything specific? 

Did some fool (#sorrynotsorry) along the way in life hush you and tell you your questions don’t matter? Or that they’re annoying or unnecessary? 

Are you sick of my questions yet? 

I’m a big believer in the power of questions, and of questioning things. “Just because” has never satisfied me as an answer. Ever. Never will. 

Something I’ve noticed (again) lately is how apologetic women sometimes seem around asking questions. 

“Sorry, I know it’s a dumb question but….”

“Sorry to ask but…”

“I know I should know this already, but…”

“Can I just ask, sorry, I was just wondering…”

That makes me ponder this question: have you ever heard a man begin a question with an apology, or a sense of feeling like he’s intruding or taking up someone else’s space? 

Not likely, right? 

Hmmmm, let’s just let that marinate for a minute. 

Men with questions. Women with questions. 

Both totally legit, right? 



While I was checking my Facebook feed today, I saw that several people had posted photos of an American newspaper’s front page which had a banner headline about Hillary Clinton making history as the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. Whatever your political views are, that’s big news. 

The accompanying front page photo was of her husband, Bill Clinton. 

I have questions about that. 


Questions are crucial to my sense of self. I only know myself as well as I do because of the questions I’ve asked, and had to answer. 

Questioning isn’t always easy, I have been shooshed many, many, many times in my life. 

The messages I received along the way, implicitly and explicitly, told me that grown-ups’ voices were more important, that men’s voices were more important, that my questions were annoying and somehow were evidence of a character flaw. Good girls don’t interrupt or ask questions. 

I even fell into the trap of shooshing myself. How insidious is that?

Gradually, very gradually, I decided to allow myself to question. The pep talks I had to give myself around those questions were often tearful. What a terrible and tragic thing that is, to even deny yourself the right to ask a silent, internal question. 

Questions can be straightforward and simple, or they can be potentially seismic in their impact. Questions can stump you, shake you and free you. Questions don’t always have readily available answers. Sometimes they do. 

A few paragraphs ago, I said that questions are crucial to my sense of self. I’d go so far as to say that questions are crucial to yours too, whether you’re a hand waggler or a seat slumper. 

My parting question for your consideration today is this, would you consider questioning your approach to questions? 

Oh, and just one more thing before I sign off, my last question for now, I promise. 

Do you believe that your voice, and your questions matter? 


It does. They do. 

You do.




Annette x