Lately I’ve been…


I haven’t written in a while. Who knew life without a job could feel so busy?

How are you? Well? Happy? A bit snowed under? 

Here’s a little update on what’s been happening lately. 

BIG NEWS first, I was asked to contribute an article for the Uniting Church magazine, Crosslight, as part of anti-poverty week, which was last week, and you can read it here. My first freelance piece. Hooray! I’m so fancy I even organised myself an ABN. Let the empire building commence! 

In the ongoing search for other paid work, I’ve been a bit miffed by a few silly HR people. I’m sure the two I encountered are the minority, but geez, I copped stupid questions and a lecture-y tone from one, and had another lurking in my peripheral line of sight while I was part of a group interview. She then berated the standard answers to the dry as chips questions we were asked, without even introducing herself. Not cool. Not cool at all. 

I went to a fantastic bloggers’ meet up last week, hosted in my ‘hood at Our Little Caravan. I was a bit grumpy when I got there, I needed caffeine, but I perked up and the morning turned into afternoon as we chatted blogs, life, apologising for no reason, feminism, careers, craft and all of the things. 

Inchmeal Cafe 👌🏼


It was FANTASTIC to meet new people and see newish pals again. Such great ladies, and such a pretty, crafty shop and cafe. Yay for that! Put Inchmeal Cafe on your must-visit list if you’re in Melbourne’s south-east, and enjoy browsing through the gorgeous handmade wares while you’re there. 

I’m off to the op shop again today, where I’m involuntarily volunteering. My red apron is super snazzy and the people I’m working with are fun and friendly. I’m finding treasures and sharing them on Instagram using the hashie #opshoptreasures. Yesterday I found baby helmets. True story. 

I’ve snagged a pile of books which I’m looking forward to diving into, and I scored myself a groovy scarf yesterday. Yay for op shops! 

People have started talking about Christmas, a lot, shoosh!! Not ready to see the end of another year quite yet. 

Spring is swinging wildly between ferocious winds and rain and beautifully mild days. Go Melbourne! 


Kindness continues to come knocking, and on Saturday I met up with an Instagram pal, Lisa, who gave me a beautiful calendar by one of my favourite artists/illustrators, Lisa Congdon. Thank you Lisa! 

Artistically, I’m in a bird phase, which is fun! Can’t believe I’m almost up to day 300 of my daily sketching project for 2017. Chirp chirp!! 

That’s about all from me, I hope that you’re enjoying spring or autumn, wherever you are. I confess I’m already looking forward to autumn again, especially when I see amazing photos of fall foliage on Instagram. Happy sigh. 

In the meantime, here’s to blue skies and counting our blessings. 

Later ‘gator, 

Annette xx

A Day With My Tribe – Voices2015

Yesterday I got to spend the day with some of my favourite folks. Most of them are, technically-speaking, strangers to me, yet we are a tribe, a gang, a diverse, talented, amazing bunch of people who have one super cool thing in common. 

We are bloggers. 

Each year Kidspot runs a great blogging competition, which brings creative people from all around Australia together. 

I’m still feeling a bit punch-drunk from all the energy of the day, and I know I can’t remember all the amazing people I got the chance to chat with, but to all of them (to you!) I have a common message – thank you. Thank you for being who you are, for your words, your images, your positivity, your passions. Some of the ladies I chatted to yesterday even knew this blog, and told me they liked what I do… that makes me a #Voices2015 winner! 

Delicious food!


Pip signed my book!

I had a GREAT day. The best thing wasn’t the range of speakers, or the goodie bags or even the gorgeous venue and food, it was the people I got to laugh and talk with. I came away from the day feeling so FULL and so encouraged. 

With Zoe from A Quirky Bird
  We are #creepybloggers
Blogging brings me joy


Blogging is beautful, because bloggers are beautiful. 

We do what we do for you, the people who take the time to read our words and join our conversations. You’re the only prize I need. 

Annette x 

Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala Awards

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Kidspot Voices Of 2014 Gala Awards, which was held at Sketch on Central Pier in Melbourne’s beautiful Docklands precinct.

Melbourne was looking glorious yesterday, we’re having a fabulously warm, sunny weekend.

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Melbourne’s Docklands

I confess I am befuddled by Melbourne CBD’s growth in that direction… how can there be more city than there used to be? Sheesh, I feel old! I have childhood memories of going into the city for lunch at the Coles Cafeteria with my grandma, and going to the zoo on a red rattler train. I think I need a good lie down.

Anyway, I digress… nothing new there.

The first thing to do when responding to an invitation to a fancy affair is to find a great +1/date. I signed up my friend Sharon from Sharon’s Bigg Life before I even checked if she was free, and lucky for me, she ‘cleared her schedule for me’ (yes, she actually said that!).

So the day arrived, and I was in a lather – quite literally, I’m blaming menopause for that – as I tried on outfit after outfit yesterday. Wrong skirt, too much leg, not enough something, aarggh! Enough, I said. Just be yourself. After I’d piled up loads of options on my bed, I settled on some great pieces I recently snapped up at ts14plus, and teamed them with my favourite shoes, also from ts14plus. Quite the poster girl, nay brand ambassador, am I! Ha.

Off to Docklands Sharon and I went, and before you knew it, we were swanning past a talking Ford Territory and into the gorgeous event space. And what could be nicer than being greeted by Pip Lincolne? She’s so ace.

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Sharon and Pip and I. 

Hooray for bubbly on arrival. Name tags secured, we checked out the space.

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That’s my kind of welcome. Thanks Kidspot!

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Sunset by Ford!

There were maybe only three or four gents in the room – lucky them – but it was the diversity of lovely lady bloggers that really made me happy. There were tall bloggers and short bloggers, mums, non-mums (what’s the ‘correct’ term for us? Anyone?), professional bloggers, hobbyists, up-and-comers, legends, young bloggers and more *ahem* mature bloggers (I count myself in that demographic), lean bloggers and rounder bloggers (me again), extroverted bloggers who worked the room, and bloggers who you could tell were a bit more introverted (that’s me too).

The buzz in the room was great, phones were out, selfies galore were being taken and the food and wine was going down a treat.

Sharon and I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending the gorgeous Rita, who is a Canadian sweetheart/firecracker who followed true love all the way to Melbourne, via Rome. You can read about that here on Rita’s lovely blog. Hey Rita, great to meet you!

I also got talking to Quett, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Olympus booth at #pbevent earlier in the year, and faster than you could say shutter speed, he whipped out his phone and was showing me his new blog! Hooray, another convert to blogging!

Quett’s blog is called The Subconscious Manscape, and here’s his blog’s first post. I think his blog is super cool. I was telling Sharon (and anyone else who’d listen) that Quett doesn’t have blood coursing through his veins, he’s powered by liquid enthusiasm. I love that! People with light in their eyes and animation in their voices, they’re my kind of peeps (and by the way, those people can be introverts or extroverts, neither has a monopoly on passion).

It was great to meet bloggers who I’ve only communicated online with, I’m looking at you Josefa, to share squeezes and chats with some of the awesome chicks I’ve met at other events, or through Blog With Pip. I even got my smiling face on the KidspotSocial Instagram feed. Woo-hoo!

I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the venue, the DJ (Stefanovic-esque ‘awards’ music notwithstanding), the awards, the people, and being served by friendly staff, who proffered bottles of lovely libations, and carried tray after tray of delicious morsels my way all night long. That’s the way to this blogger’s heart.

The ultimate highlight of the night was that it was about celebrating blogging in all its forms. I found it so inspiring to be in a room filled with people who share a common passion.That passion, whether we blog about style, motherhood, technology, photography, our lives or love of craft, is to get our words out there into cyberspace, hoping to find people who we can connect with, befriend, learn from, be useful to, share our observations about life with and inform and entertain. That’s the heart of blogging, plain and simple.

Well done Kidspot team! Thank you so, so much. I’m so glad that I got to be there last night.

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The goodie bag was so good!

Tell me a blog you love in the comments (not your own!). Why do you love it? How did you find it? Spill!

Annette xx


Week in review – Darth Muffins, an art gallery visit & a bloggers meet-up

I’m trying something new today, in the mode of Beth from BabyMac, Naomi from NaomiLoves, and plenty of others I’m sure, and presenting for your enjoyment a bit of a photographic week in review. (You’ll notice a lack of home styling, roses, amazing camera work and puppies and small children, that’s just the way I roll!)

On Tuesday night I went over to Green Park Dining in Carlton for a bloggers’ meet-up. There are plenty of groups for all kinds of peeps on Facebook, and I’m in a few blogging groups.

The fabulous, wine-loving Nicole from SeekingVictory organised this meet-up, and it was great to see some of my Blog With Pip pals, as well as meet some other local bloggers, and eat, drink and do what bloggers do best, talk, talk, talk! And yes, there were plenty of selfies…. you can check the happy snaps out on Instagram – #melbblogmeet.

I’ve been exploring the cafes around my new workplace, looking for the best coffee and service. I was quite surprised by this sign as I waited for my latte one morning…

I had no idea that Darth Vader was into baked goods! (Squint if you must!)

Darth Muffin!


Yesterday I fulfilled an Instagram wish I posted about seven weeks ago – back then I was daydreaming about having a bit of extra cash and declared that I’d spend it on undies and coathangers. Being on unemployment benefits means there’s often not enough cash left over after rent, food, bills, to buy even simple things like these. (That’s only one of the reasons why I get a bit cranky when people go on about ‘dole bludgers’ – those people have no idea how difficult it is to keep your head above water on less than half the minimum wage!)

Joy is found in small pleasures of life just as much as it is in big things, don’t you think? A great element of this year’s enforced frugality is that I have a renewed appreciation for small things – a ripe avocado, a great cup of coffee, new coat hangers and undies!

Now that some of my days are ‘work days’ and some are ‘days off’ I think I’m going to renew my practice the meditative art of the al fresco latte.

I’m in love with the colours here, the saucer, the table, the crema. Divine! And the sky was so blue on Friday. Lucky, lucky me.

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I am a huge fan of photography, and some of the images in this exhibition of Australian feminist photographers are so beautiful and arresting. It was lovely to sit in the quietness of the gallery, just drinking them in.

These are my favourites.

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Amazing, don’t you think? The photographer is Anne Ferran and the images were shot in the 1980’s, using Ferran’s daughter and her friends as models.

Something about these images is so enigmatic. These are the first two of five tableau-like scenes entitled Scenes of Death of Nature.

Today I’ve been enjoying a new creative pursuit of mine, painting. I moved my little desk into the window, and enjoyed a few hours lost in colours, water effects and just being in the moment. I’m calling this one Colours No. 1.

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So that’s a few of the things I’ve done this week, working, eating and drinking, socialising, painting, appreciating the sunshine and rhythm of my days.

I hope you’re enjoying your days too.

What has the highlight of your week been?


Annette x




What NOT to pack for ProBlogger 2014


Hard to believe that in just one week, I will be sitting in a room with 549 other bloggers, listening to the first of many sessions at ProBlogger Training Event 2014. The training isn’t para-military, it’s a conference for bloggers, pro and pro-schmo alike.

As the event draws closer there are a multitude, nay, an avalanche of posts on what to pack/what to wear, on stepping out of your comfort zone, using social media to connect with people at the event, and tips on the best ways to tease tantalise your bloggy friends who couldn’t make it with all the best bits of advice, wit and selfies from the bar via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

There are two topics that I haven’t come across in this plethora of pre-PB-postage:

one for the blokes on what they should pack/wear. Yes, there are bloke bloggers, hello Nathan at Smarter Happier who has shared a joke about this with me on Facebook, and of course, among others, Mr Darren Rowse, the original ProBlogger.

Fellas, if you read this, please say hello in the comments, and at the event.

The other post I haven’t seen is what NOT to pack.

The blokes will probably spend 4.6 seconds considering what to pack (fashionable men’s style bloggers excluded), and maybe, for some, if they have loving, ‘you can’t wear that ratty old thing’ partners, they may even get some ‘help’ with their suitcase shenanigans.

Some of the ladies, on the other hand, seem to be in a pre-conference frenzy of shopping, beauty appointments and fretting about what’s hot and what’s not for conference wear. That’s heaven to some, and hell to others. I confess I’ve spent time thinking about these very things, but I will not let them dominate my brain! I’m too excited about the fact that I’m going to my first #PBEVENT. Cannot wait! By the way, my brows and I are now conference ready.

Gorgeous gals of blogland, I beseech you – be YOURSELVES, be comfortable, be bright and bold or beautiful in beige, but please don’t miss your flight because you’re worrying about whether you should have packed that extra pashmina. I recommend that you read one to three of those ace ‘what to pack’ posts, from the style bloggers you love and trust, and then just do it. And while I’m sure I’ll admire a fab tunic or a swishy skirt, I’m MUCH more interested in your inner fabulosity than your carefully curated capsule wardrobe.

So, here comes the ‘take away’ – a bloggy term I’ve learned because Darren’s always banging on about being useful to your readers – it is this, pack light, pack well, then forgetaboutit and focus on the break from the everyday routine, meeting great people, the learning, and hopefully, the sunshine.

To wit, here are my top 5 things NOT TO PACK for #PBEVENT, or for any other conference you’ve got on the horizon:

  • Your worries about being ‘good enough’. Just don’t do it. To yourself, or anyone else!
    Don’t bog yourself down being a Fretsy McFretson. You’ve got a golden ticket, you’re going, you ARE good enough!
    By the way, the ‘good enough’ thing doesn’t really exist outside our heads. Did you know that? Good news, right?
  • A head full of stats, for the purpose of knowing where you sit in the pack. Now I know that stats are valuable, especially to the pros, but I’m really talking to my peeps here – you know who you are, my fellow newbies who are thinking about how little their readership is, how they haven’t done X, Y or Z with their blog yet, how underwhelming their writing is… just STOP that shit! Refer to ‘good enough’ above, outside of our heads, nobody else is thinking about your stats when they meet you.
  • The wrong laptop lead/charger/business cards. A couple of weeks ago, my 76 years young dad called me up because he was having a problem with his laptop. He’s a newbie to the internet and this is his first ever computer, so I’ve been helping him learn the basics of the web, from what Google is to how to save stuff into his Favourites list, and he’s all over it. Anyway, he couldn’t get his lappy to plug into the power lead because, unbeknownst to him, my SISTER had used her lappy in his office and not taken her lead away when she finished. So there we were like cavemen holding a BlackBerry, trying to work out how the hell the lead for ‘his’ laptop suddenly would NOT FIT into the lappy. It was tres Twilight Zone.
  • Negative Self-Talk I am absolutely sure that there will be bloggy information and conversation which I cannot fathom at the conference. It is bound to happen, as I’ve only been blogging for six months. I literally have no clue about how to use Google+, let alone harnessing the power of SEO, monetising (which I still say is one of the STUPIDEST words ever invented) or 90.5% of the technical talk that goes on around blogging. My strategy when this happens – I’m gonna wave my arms in the air like I just don’t care. I might do that to ask a question in a session, or just to have a ‘gosh isn’t this amazing’ hallway dance moment, but I will not be going Negative Nancy on myself because I’m a learner. Every single person in the universe didn’t know stuff before they knew it. Darren Rowse once DID NOT KNOW WHAT A BLOG EVEN WAS. Read that sentence again. Got it, okay then? Moving on…
  • Excess Baggage. I’m not talking about your luggage here, I’m talking about the stuff that we lug around with us in our heads and hearts, the everyday stuff, your schedule, the kids and the bazillion activities which you ferry them to, that problem at work, your money woes… you know the stuff. Hear me well – I am NOT saying you should get your Pollyanna on, I hate that crap. There will be moments for us to have awesome D&M chats with our blog buds, and they’ll be much needed. Just don’t bring that extra load with you, don’t claim that extra baggage at the carousel. The truth is, it will still be there when we get home. Take these days to exhale, to sneak in a walk on the beach, to go for a run, to skip a session to lay by the pool… don’t let your blog be the only thing that gets something out of the conference.

So there are my TOP 5 TIPS on what NOT to pack for a fabulous #PBEVENT.

I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to being in sunny Queensland next week. If you happen follow me on Twitter @theverbsblog you’ll see that I’ve already become besties with QT Hotel!

And if just one person (okay, okay, half a dozen) comes up to me at the Stingray Bar, or at breakfast, or between sessions, and says they read this post and liked it, or they know of my blog, I might just faint! I love it when people ask me if I’m that Verbs girl. Why YES I AM! I may not ever be a pro at this blogging business, but Imma gonna carpe diem the bone marrow out of these days in the sunshine with 549 bloggy buddies – and ultimately they are the only ‘things’ I need to have with me! This means YOU! We are what makes our blogs great, so though there will be information and tips and stuff I know I’ll be able to use, I’m looking forward to meeting the bloggers I’ve read for years, the bloggers I’ve met online and the bloggers I haven’t yet heard of!

See you all in a week!

Cue the happy music Mr Sound Guy, I vote Starship – We Built This City!


Annette – the Verbs girl xx


Blind dates for bloggers

As the alarm went off, I thought, ahh, it’s blind date day! So I bounded out of bed, got myself gussied up and headed off to the epicentre of coffee and consumerism in my hood, to meet not one, not two, not three, but four lovely ladies – ladies who I had chatted with online, but never seen or spoken to. I was a bit nervous, I don’t mind telling you. Deep breaths girl, come on.

Thanks to the amazing Pip Lincolne, our esteemed blog school leader, den-mother, technical support whiz and personal cheerleader, I decided to put an invitation out to Melbourne #blogwithpipstudents to get together for a coffee (or tea). I was worried people would think I was a weirdo, but hands shot up and we agreed on a place and time.

So, I approached the meeting point and saw Sarah, looking like someone waiting to meet strangers, we said hello and grabbed a seat and lo and behold, there was Julie, Michelle and Julie striding towards us like a band of lifetime besties. Gulp! With hellos and cheek kisses and laughter about the location of the actual ground floor (sorry about that girls), we made our way to a cafe to settle in and get to know each other.

Phew – nobody seemed like a lunatic (well, maybe I am a little bit loco) and we got ourselves situated and had a great morning. Conversation flowed freely, we mock debated the supremacy of coffee versus tea (I let the tea lovers think they walked away victorious, but you and I know the truth) and it was so interesting to hear a group of women with one commonality – Pip’s blogging course – discover other common likes, passions and experiences.

Here’s how I knew I was really at a bloggy catch-up…. the emergence of a super cute crochet square!

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photo (10)


I am so glad that I pushed past my usual introvert-y ways to organise to meet these great ladies – I hope you’ll take a moment to check out their blogs, which I’ve linked above, because I’m a super technically gifted blogger now (I’ll be stuffed if I’ve gotten any of it wrong).

I had a crazy thought after we’d posed for these photos – maybe we’ll be someone’s bloggy heroes one day – like the fabulous ladies of Mrs Woog, BabyMac and Styling You or our own, super fabulous mentor Pip! Hey now, a girl can dream can’t she!



L to R: Me, Sarah, Julie H, Michelle (thanks to Sarah from Zinc Moon for the group shots)

L to R: Me again, Julie G, Julie H, Michelle


Thanks so much for today girls, I had a blast. I think I did alright for my first blind date. Call me, okay?

Annette  x



Getting to know you… the speed dating sessions

name tagPicture this. A crowded room, people with name tags on milling around, some full of confidence because they’ve been here before, some nervously shuffling in their toe-pinching shoes, all hoping to make a good impression and maybe a lasting connection. Drinks are nursed, or thrown back hastily – acting as tiny glass shields against stomachs full of butterflies and the urge to bolt. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a suave guy in a designer blazer and Italian loafers – and you think, what the hell is he doing here – shouldn’t he be throwing back cocktails with George Clooney and a harem of lovely ladies, while the sun sinks over Lake Como?

This sends you into a tailspin of re-thinking your outfit and cursing yourself for not wearing the third option you tried on, even though now that you’re in the room, it’s far too late for that. This is who you are, and how you look, and you’re praying to the gods of vodka, lime and soda, that you’re not the only one who feels like this. 

This is kind of how I feel about blogging – like I’ve stepped into a crowded bar full of clever, fascinating, technically proficient folks who have no trouble with Google Analytics or creating an Instagram hashtagging frenzy overnight… and I can’t help but feel like a crazed fangirl with no right to be in the room, let alone to be wearing a sticky name tag saying, Hi, I’m Annette from I Give You The Verbs.  How did I get into this bloggy pseudo speed-dating scenario? Where are the exits again? What is this fantasy I have about becoming ‘one of them’? And what does that even mean anyway? Gulp.

For me, it’s about finding a place where I can write, and I’m not sure I know much more than that at this stage. I’ve been doing a fantastic online bloggy course with Pip Lincolne – blogger, smile maker, author and lovely lady extraordinaire. She’s really helping me work out why I’m typing this sentence, and the next one.

There’s a heap of us tinkering away out there in cyberspace and asking so many questions that I’m astounded Pip’s head hasn’t blown off – we are crafters and makers and writers and we are spread all over the globe and it’s amazing to be in the company of so many creative souls. It is also really great to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with buttons and pingbacks and plugins, oh my!

So this is my way to segue from wow, look at this cute cake I made into, hi I’m Annette and I’d like to chat about stuff. There are topics I’ll probably orbit around – my obsession with IKEA, my love of graphic bed linen, adoption, coffee, architecture, Melbourne, family, what it’s like to be a single girl in a couples world…. who knows where we’ll end up.

I hope you’ll indulge me if I babble a bit initially – being in this space is kind of nerve wracking for a newbie. I think it’s time for another drink. Oh no, Italian loafer guy is looking my way…. gotta run!