The First 24 Hours

Two years ago, at about this time of day, I was sitting in the back seat of my dad’s car, trying not to cry. Mum was collecting a letter from my GP. She had instructed me to get myself to Emergency (with a bag packed for admission) after she finally sent me for a chest x-ray. 

I had known something was wrong for a while, I had been coughing for so long. 

I had no idea that I had a severely enlarged heart, and was in such a bad way. 

It was a long night in Emergency. Mum and dad went home after a couple of hours, knowing I wasn’t going to be seen for a while. 

I then sat by myself in those excruciatingly uncomfortable plastic chairs for the slowest hours of my life. I had my vitals taken and a doctor saw me briefly twice I think, then it was back to the chairs. I can remember the doctor saying the word severe to me repeatedly. Severe + heart = me quietly freaking out. 

After about 7 hours in the hell chairs, I scored a bed in Emergency, around 1am. I don’t think I slept at all, as I was worried and it was busy/noisy. I had my sketchbook with me, so I passed some of the night  drawing. 

The next morning I was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit. I can’t remember now who first said heart failure to me. I think it might have been “Dr Severe”… it didn’t really matter,  I had no comprehension of what heart failure meant. 

I remember feeling glad to finally be in hospital, which was kind of odd. 

After I was settled into the CCU, I had a big ol’ shudder-y cry – I was so tired, sick, and overwhelmed. Michelle was my nurse that morning, and she ROCKED. She was so supportive and lovely.  (Nurses are πŸ₯‡.)

Then she stuck my guts with a needle and gave me some tablets, and I peed, and peed, and peed and peed, and peed and peed, all day long. Now I wish I’d counted the number of times I went to the toilet! It was CRAZY! I basically just walked a loop from my room (literally their windowless storage room, as the ward was so full!) to one of the bathrooms and back again. 

By that evening, I got moved to a single room. I am so grateful for that. It allowed me to get heaps of rest and have visitors without disturbing anyone else. Bonus, there was a bathroom directly opposite my room! 


That was two years ago, 27 April 2017. 

I’m stiill here. 


Annette x 




I might write more about my hospital stay tomorrow.

It was Friday, and it was good.

Hello there, Easter break! 

Today I spent some time with a couple of top notch friends of mine, in one of my favourite places. 

Coffee and conversation. 


This haven of stylish serenity. 

The beauty of looking up.

The older I get, the more I find myself defaulting to spending the bulk of my time (outside of work) at home, alone. 

That’s no complaint, FYI. I’m not lonely when I’m alone. I am an introvert by nature, and now I’m also a person with a chronic illness, so I need lots of rest and downtime. 

Today reminded me how good, and bolstering, time with friends can be. 

When you spend time with people who know and love you, you can say the things you need to say, without fear or shame. You can tell the truth about your victories and disappointments, and chat about how beautiful the weather is. 

We got to do all of that today. 

I also got to visit this painting, which lives in my friend Suzanne’s beautiful home in the Dandenongs. 

Being asked to create something scared the bejeezus out of me. It took me months to work up the courage to attempt anything. Imposter syndrome is real, people! I got there eventually, and I loved seeing this piece again today. 

Friendship is kind of like painting. 

They both take time. 

They require inspiration, a little bit of magic, and more than a little courage. 

Decisions need to be made – to play it safe or take risks – to choose new colours, to see the beauty in unexpected combinations. 

We get to decide how we want to express ourselves, we may even dare to colour outside the lines! 


In these terms, I have been developing the art of my friendhip with the lovely Suzanne for two decades now. 

Suzanne is one of the best people I know. Fact. 

She is trustworthy, welcoming, generous, thoughtful, compassionate and loving. 

She appreciates books, art and music.

Her key-lime cheesecake is out of this world! 

Suzanne is a sister I choose. I have a few of these chosen sisters, each one a true gift in my life. 

A year ago, Suzanne got married, giving me a bonus buddy in her hubster Ron. 





That’s a good Friday. 



Annette xx 





Seven Six Two

Seven six two. 

Not the number of the bus I used to catch to my job back in the 1980s.

Not the number of times I’ve written a blog post in bed, though #goals. 

Not, with apologies to the classic rom-com, 762 insights into my soul. Not a garnish either! 

Just three little numbers. 




Small, but by no means insignificant. 

Truth be told, they are hugely significant to me, because I have, for the first time in my adult life, stuck to a savings plan over the last three months. I haven’t dipped into it, or skipped a week because I wanted to buy something. I have been resolute! 

As a result, I have $762.99 in my savings account. 

It’s a small total, yet it’s mighty. 

By the end of April, 27 sleeps from now, I’ll have cracked the $1,000 mark. 

Upon that glorious day (or soon thereafter) I’m going to take that moula, saunter into my bank like a self-made “thousandaire”, lay that sweet cash down before the teller and say “let’s put a dent in my credit card balance, shall we?”. That’s the fantasy. I might do it online. Either way, it will be a glorious day! 

Can I get an amen? Or a non-denominational/non-religious holler of agreement, a girl power high five, a hells yeah?! 


After four months of regularly siphoning a portion of my hard earned dosh into a separate savings account, I am about to chop my debts in half! 

No recriminations about the past; coulda, woulda, shoulda; none of that. Heck, a few years ago I was crying over not being able to afford mayonnaise. I’m in greener pastures now.  

I’m going to squish that credit card debt like a bug this year. That, and more. I have goals, oh yes I do. 

Seven six two. 

Small yet mighty. 


Celebrating our wins and our self-sufficiency is super important for the single ladies I reckon. 

Mostly I just quietly bumble along in life, working my part-time job and feeling thankful that I am quite the Jedi when it comes to the frugal arts. 

Getting close to this goal, putting a big dent in this debt, makes me so PROUD of myself. 

Yep. Chin up, look what I did, proud. Assume superhero stance, wind machine on, proud. 

I’ll keep you posted on my progress! 


What goals are you chipping away at this year? 

Would you like to crow about some small numbers or small changes you’re making? 

Be my guest! The comments are open, and braggers are most welcome. 


Yours frugally, 

Annette xx 


Look for the light


Have you seen the Officeworks ads promising the best prices on back-to-school supplies? 

They remind me of going to high school at the end of the summer holidays to collect a heaving brown paper bag of  exercise books, rulers, pens, and textbooks. 

Nothing made me happier than labelling everything and getting myself organised for another year of learning. 

I would diligently clean my school bag, and pack my folders, books and my carefully selected pencil case stuffed with new Kilometrico pens, sharpened pencils and an eraser that hadn’t yet been used, and I was in heaven! 

Such good memories. 

Yes, I am a lifelong stationery nerd!! 


Tomorrow I go back to work, and though I won’t be packing Kilometricos, I have that same sense of a new chapter beginning. 

I don’t have a school bag to pack, but I am organised. 

There are trays of tomatoes, capsicum and garlic roasting, which will become a pasta sauce for tomorrow’s lunch. 

My wardrobe has been culled and sorted and my shoe rack is summer sole stacked.  

I’ve checked the weather forecast, so I have an idea of what I’ll wear. 

It’s been 22 days since I drove to the office, but I think I remember the way there. 

I’ve checked through my prep list and it all seems straightforward and comfortingly predictable. 


The reality is though, none of us have a clue what lies ahead of us. 

We ‘pack our school bags’ and hope for the best. 


Today I heard about a family facing a massive, out-of-the-blue challenge. My heart aches for them. The uncertainty they’re facing is every family’s worst nightmare. 

Every day, the rug gets violently pulled out from under people. It may be a relationship breakdown, a horrible car accident, job loss, a feared diagnosis, any number of things can bring you to your knees in an instant. 

It happens to good people, to shifty people, people we know and love, people we dislike. 

While some people are suffering, others are celebrating joyous milestones – marriages, new babies, recovery from addiction, book contracts, unexpected provision. 

It happens to good people, to shifty people, people we know and love, people we dislike. 


So how do we live in this kind of world? 

How do we cope in a world that can wound us profoundly or lift us to incredible heights on any given day? 

Honestly, there’s no snappy answer to that question. 

All I can offer is a simplistic metaphor, which I readily acknowledge comes from my limited and privileged life experience. 

We do what we can do – we keep going, and we prepare. 

We pack our bags, we carry our textbooks and we fill our water bottles. 

We learn and change. 

We share what we have. 

We offer shelter and support. 

We rest. Regroup. Seek counsel. 

When fortune smiles on us, we should accept it joyfully, knowing that the sun shines on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

We celebrate, we share our good news, and we keep going. 

When we get knocked down, we must let other people in. We find comfort as we entrust ourselves into the loving care of those who rally around us. 

We need to put hands and feet to our love, knowing that those we are comforting now may well be the ones offering us a helping hand in days to come. 

It’s not so simple to live as it is to write about it, not by a long shot. 

We should still strive towards it, regardless. 

I hope we do. 

More importantly, I hope I do. 


Look for the light. 


Annette xx



Summer Daze

Hey, hello, howdy!

Welcome to my first blog post for 2019 – will it be one of barely a dozen, or one of many? Nobody knows!

What I do know is that I am deep into my summer holidays, with another week to go.

So far I’ve done pretty much nothing except lob around at home, Christmas celebrations aside.

Isn’t it funny how Christmas seems so long ago already? Time is a such a weird bendy thing.

I received some fabulous books for Christmas, and an unexpectedly fierce summer cold and cough from my sweet nephews.

I’ve been coughing and spluttering for about 10 days, it’s been kind of gross. On the upside, I’ve been able to rest lots and take naps and drink loads of orange juice. I am still coughing as I type this, but my ribs don’t ache anymore.

Back to the great books – thank you to my sisters and sister-in-law – I absolutely loved Kon Karapanigiotidis’ The Power Of Hope.Β As you may know, Kon is the founder of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne and he is a human rights activist, lawyer, an amazing vegan cook and an incredible storyteller.

The things that stood out to me most in the book are Kon’s unquenchable passion and his vulnerability. He writes straight from the heart, detailing the sacrificial work ethos of his migrant parents, his lonely university days, how the ASRC came to exist, and his desire to be a father. I can’t recall a more candid book by a male author.

I highly recommend this book to you. Thank you Kon. You rock.

I’m not a maker of resolutions. Are you?

I don’t buy into the “new year, new you” crapola that absolutely saturates media around this time of year. I don’t see the need to start a new year weighed down with a list of lofty expectations as long as my arm. I figure I made it through 2018, no radical course adjustments necessary.

Things I definitely do NOT resolve to do:

Weigh less

Talk less

Be less

Take up less space!

Hmm, ever noticed that resolutions seem to have a diminishing theme? Yuk.

What I would like to have, just as I wanted last year, is more creativity. I’ve decided that Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day challenge is a simple way I can engage my creative eye this month. Four days in, and I’m killing it!

Holidays always means loads of TV watching for me. I unashamedly love TV!

I just binged the wonderful Marie Kondo’s latest series on Netflix. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

She has such a great spirit about her, don’t you think? I found, even with the language barrier, it feels like she’s really non-judgemental and genuinely wants people to live calmer, happier, tidier lives. She gets the undies folding a bit wrong, but one person can’t know everything!

That’s pretty much my holiday wrap up so far. I do hope I’ll get a few fun activities in before I head back to work, maybe some painting or sketching and a nice lunch out somewhere? We shall see!


Keep noticing the ordinary, extraordinary things won’t you?

I was bringing my rubbish bin in a few nights ago and noticed my overgrown lawn was putting on a show. Popped the bin away, grabbed my camera and spent a few minutes taking photos – of a beautiful weed. Glorious! Did you know that dandelion means lion’s teeth? Neither did I! I can see why though.

How does something so fragile hold its form? Hmmmm, maybe there’s something in that for all of us.

Here’s to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, and to the coming of autumn!

Tell me how your summer is going.

What did you get for Christmas?

Favourite read of the summer so far?

Are you pro-Kondo?

Much love,




PS: This is an unsponsored, friendship based announcement!

I would like to give a shout-out to Bron of Real Mum Style, and promote her upcoming Body Confidence + Wardrobe Happiness workshop for Melbourne peeps. It’s coming up in March, and I think it’s going to be a corker. Bron doesn’t do formulas and rules for dressing, she does confidence and fun!

Bron is a wonderfully colourful, fully down to earth, positive vibes giving lady who decided she was sick of talking shit about herself and her mum bod, so she stopped!

I am pumped about this upcoming event, and there are only a handful of tickets left. More info on Bron’s Instagram (or if the effing link will work)Β here!

December Happenings

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the old song assures us. 

By this stage of December, there’s grumpiness and stress and festive wonder aplenty; or is that just me? 

In a week’s time my annual leave starts and I am counting down like a pumped-up six year old counts down to Santa’s annual visitation.  

This week I had medical appointments and expenses that totalled more than 50% of my weekly wage. 

I was unbelievably rude to an Australia Post employee. 

I was so grumpy and sweary at work on Wednesday that my boss called me from Canada yesterday to ask me to keep myself nice(r). 

Sheesh. Welcome to Grinch city, population 1. 


Last night was family pizza night and it was rowdy and fun and a lovely break from the Scrooge-y spirit that’s been hovering over me. 

Being around little kids is such a tonic, watching my wee nephews squeal with delight as they do laps of nana’s house on little cars is noisy, life-affirming stuff. 

Hold a baby, give your niece some books to encourage her artistic streak, eat pizza with your parents. 

Get a leg hug from your nephew. Aaahhhhh that’s better. 


Today, I woke before my alarm, and my morning coffee was utter perfection. 

Today I can acknowledge that a big part of what made the start of this week so shitful was another round of medically induced talk about my body, and how there’s too much of it. 

Today is my last working Friday of the year. Thank goodness for that. 

Today is a good day for blogging from bed, easing into the weekend and making a list of things I’ve got to get done before December 25th rolls around. 

It’s a good day to appreciate Gemma Correll’s artistic talents.  

It’s a good day, because we get to live it. 

Help me keep the spirit of Scrooge at bay. 

Tell me something that’s good about your day. 


Annette x


Burgers! Beta Blockers! Books!

 Picked up the makings of burgers for dinner, and refilled a few scripts for sustaining life. 

The burgers were cheaper, and tastier! 

I’m grateful that I can manage my health with medication, low sodium eating, and my trusty pacemaker on board. Though dropping $105 to refill four scripts (of the seven I take) is not ideal, it simply is what it is. I need my meds. I am super fortunate to have family helping me with the expenses having a heart condition adds to the weekly budget. 

When I’m not throwing back or doling out my tablets, or flipping burgers, I’ve been busy reading lately, and loving it! 

I’m on a bit of a female empowerment kick at the moment, learning lots and appreciating how many incredible women are writing books that educate and encourage others. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Women Kind, a book about the power of women supporting women, mentoring, and the changes made and still needed in the corporate world. Dr Kirstin Ferguson started the #CelebratingWomen movement on Twitter in 2017, profiling hundrends and hundreds of ordinary women doing extraordinary things from all over the world. 

Once I’ve finished Women Kind, I’ll move on to Speaking Out by Tara Moss. I’m hoping Tara will give me some clarity around the big issues I want to dig into here; feminism, body image, self love and more. 

I’ve also got Clementine Ford’s Boys Will Be Boys, though I might save that one for my summer holidays, as I think it will be another intense read, just as Fight Like A Girl was. 

Thank goodness for writers! 

And thank goodness for punsters. Saw this on Instagram and simply had to share it! Thanks @artexplorers11. 

 Have you read any good books lately, or heard any good puns? Do tell! 


Annette ❀️