ProBlogger2014 – what a weekend that was!

My first ProBlogger conference is now officially over, but I know I’m going to be spending many days sorting through all the FEELINGS and information that was #pbevent.

I met some great people, including a few ace bloggers I’ve connected with online over the past few years. I got hugs from #Pipsters I’ve known since this whole blogging adventure began. I enjoyed myself, I felt challenged, I cried – which is hardly surprising to most of you who’ve been here before I’m sure, I laughed, I felt at home and all at sea…

I know this for sure. I am 100% glad that I took such a big risk, with a four week old blog, and bought my ticket.

This advice sums up the conference for me:

Best advice of #pbevent
Best advice of #pbevent

So I plan to keep trying, to keep blogging, to be authentic in whatever I post here….. and that’s about all I can tell you for now.

Thanks for liking my many Instagram posts and tweets this weekend.

Abnormal programming should resume shortly.


Annette xx


ProBlogger – the schlepping was so worth it!

Tonight I am blogging from the Gold Coast, where I’m attending the ProBlogger Training Event, which is being hosted at the very swanky QT Hotel.

I’ve met, hugged and shared chats and champagne with a group of awesome girls that I know through Blog With Pip, fabulous bloggers from Queensland, from Western Australia, from the middle of Straya, from further afield than that… it’s been a huge day.

I came face to face with Eden of Edenland in the airport toilets and my bloggy pals and I jumped Mrs Woog at the QT Hotel lifts this afternoon. How I did not get in that group selfie I still don’t know. I got a hug though!

And as I retired for the evening, having enjoyed margaritas and catching up with blogging friends, I met this lovely lady in the lift.

It’s going to be a HUGE weekend, I hope my brain is ready for all the awesome information that’s on offer. I know my heart’s ready for all the cool bloggers I’m going to meet and be inspired by.

Look out for lots of photos and snippets on social media, and I may use the #pipsterbomb hashtag for a bit of fun, photo bombs, hug bombs, the good stuff.

Goodnight from the GC.


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


5 things I’m loving, over a cuppa

Isn’t it lovely to receive an invitation from someone? Even if it is as simple as why not come over for a cuppa on Friday, there will be loads of people popping in and out, it could get noisy and clattery, but it will be fun and there may be scones or a slice. Well of course, I was quick to RSVP in the affirmative.

So the day has come, I’m thinking about who I might find here and who might find me.

I’m off to a tea party at Pip’s place. Loads of bloggers will be there, how fun!

I’ve got my intro ready in my head – hi I’m Annette, I’m from Melbourne and I’m a newbie to blogging. My blog’s name is I Give You The Verbs. I’m often found writing about whatever thoughts pop into my head, and I hope you’ll stop by soon. You’ll find an ode to my bed there, reflections about being in a season that makes me feel vulnerable, a story about where you can buy happiness, a crazy tale of mugs on the run, and loads more. It’s a fun, irreverent place and I’d love to share it with you. Like the Dilmah man says ‘Do try it’.

We’ve been asked to bring something a little unusual to the gathering, a smattering of things we’re loving right now. A top five to get the conversations flowing.

Without further ado, here are mine.

1. Generosity

I am LOVING that I seem to have stumbled into a group of people (all these other bloggers around me) who are so gosh-darn GENEROUS. Times are a bit tough at Verbs HQ, as I’m currently looking for work, but I have been almost (but I would never use that word in this context, because I know what the word means) literally lifted up by people’s kindness and encouragement.

From people’s comments on the blog that have made me smile, sigh or cry (the good kind of tears), to the Coles truck pulling up outside the door, receiving a note and a recipe and a gift, a sweet card with a red cross parcel or one with a box of chocolates, I am seriously blessed by this community. Thank you so much. Love that!


2. A new (old) blanket

The other day I was visiting the parental units and I was saying that I’m finding my place a little chill-some. I’d just helped my mum stuff a blanket back into her linen press (quite a feat) and then she decided that the blanket would be a good gift for a chilly child. Score! It’s a gorgeous woollen blanket doing a bang-up job of keeping me from turning the heater on quite so early in the day. Love that!


3. Cook books – via the library

As I have a lot of time on my hands, I’ve been hanging at the library regularly (great views, free wifi) and borrowing loads of cooking books. They’ve just been renewed for another month of flicking through, oohing and aahing, scribbling down notes, trying new recipes and inspiring me to cook myself warming, delicious meals. Love that!

4. Tea!

I’ve been a dedicated coffee drinker for my entire hot beverage drinking life – the Milos of my youth notwithstanding. This week, just a few days ago I thought, I might try a cup of tea. And guess what? I liked it. So I see tea adventuring in my future. I don’t like flowery, fruity teas, I’d rather eat a delectable crumble if I need a hot fruit fix. So for now it is a wee box of Liptons, which I am enjoying. I knew my whistling red kettle was more than a kitchen prop. Love that!

5. Blogging

Last but certainly not least, I have to say that I am loving this blogging caper. I’m really enjoying the community that has come up around Pip’s great blogging course. I am convinced you’ll hear this elsewhere at the tea party, but Pip is a brilliant, giving teacher and if you’ve got a blog that’s a bit sad or saggy or lost, or just the inkling that you’d like to explore blogging, I say lay your money down and get ready for the ride of a lifetime. It’s SO GOOD. I promise you. There’s a July intake, so get on it people.

As for my blog, I really find it incredible that people are coming back, week after week, to read what I write. Not because I think my writing is dodgy, no siree Bob, but because there are so many blogs out there. What that tells me is that we can all have a place, and find people who like our style, want to hear our ponderings, ramblings or musings. Maybe someone who reads my blog here for the first time, will pop by I Give You The Verbs again, and find something else they like. Love that!

So that is a quick hit of just five things I’m loving right now.

The party seems to be winding down, I think we’ve drunk Pip’s entire tea supply dry and the scones and slices were so delicious, they’re all gone too.

What’s great about these kinds of parties is once you get home, you can check out everyone’s blogs from the comfort of your couch. I’d love to see some of you again, and I’m sure to be finding new blogs to bookmark after such a lovely party.

Thanks for having us Pip!


Annette x






Hunkering Down & Keeping It Real

I’m a Melbourne girl, so I have to start with the weather – it is super windy, rainy, and cold, and feels like winter has seriously landed! The solstice seems to have acted as a starting gun, not the midpoint of the cooler months. I’m hunkering down, grateful to have a fridge and pantry that can see me through many days too nasty to venture out into.

Now, to more interesting things (I hope).

I’ve been pondering something since I’ve started this blog, and though I don’t have a neat 3 step plan or solution worked out, I thought I’d write about it, and see what you think too. Here it is in a nutshell:

When people write blogs, or books, or magazines, or do interviews on TV; whenever people hit ‘Publish’, it puts a snapshot of who they are out into the world.

As a baby blogger, my snapshot is still in the dark room, developing and coming into focus. I can see the outline of what it can be, this blog, but it is very much still in its chemical bath, under red lights.

Since starting this blog I have been so encouraged by the amazingly community that has come from the awesome Blog With Pip groups I’m part of (next intake starts in July – sign up via the link!). Without this group of women around me, urging me on, I don’t know that I’d have any momentum, or readers! When people from outside that fabulous group read my blog and comment, it blows my mind… am I getting beyond reading my essay at the front of the classroom? Really? Amazing stuff.

I feel like somehow, virtually, and spilling over into the face-to-face world, I have stumbled upon a group people forming a really fun, cute cheer squad and doing amazing hand-clappy, robotic-arms, tumbling routines, and chanting “Go-oooo Verbs!”  That is some kind of feeling. Wow.

I’ve also seen a lot of us being challenged by the ideas we hold around being  ‘good enough’ and whether we have anything to add to the blogosphere (we do!), whether we’re delusional to think anyone will read our words (we’re not!), or appreciate our art, or crafty endeavours, or agree with our points of view. To all those questions, I say this, I’m hitting publish anyway! I hope you are too.

There are challenges a plenty, from coming up with something interesting to write about on a regular basis (or irregularly, there’s no ‘rule’), to the ways we engage on social media, how much of our lives we share, what we choose to share, how we deal with negative feedback, or no feedback (that’s the worst, so if you read a blog and enjoy it, please take a minute to leave a comment!).

Then there are technical challenges – coding, widgets, themes, gobbledeegook that I still don’t understand at all, but for me the main thing is to write. To sit here at my desk, type my words, read over them, give them a tidy, and then hit the publish button.

What I know for sure is that I don’t want to be a blogger that isn’t recognisable in the real world. I really, really don’t.

Here, and in my Blog With Pip community, people tell me I am encouraging and clever and lots of other lovely, blush-y things – things that I need to hear and that boost my confidence, especially in a season that’s peppered with struggle and rejection in finding paying work. I have needed this group so much. That’s why it gives me so much joy to encourage and cheer other Pipsters on. Go girls!

And I am those things, I love to encourage people, it is kind of my life’s mission I reckon, and I love that I can think creatively, and write, and engage with people online and make people laugh and ponder stuff. I love those aspects of my who and do.

BUT they are not the whole picture. They are the snapshot.

I can be cranky, judgey, too quick to speak (and definitely to quick to comment online), rude, impatient and well, frankly, unforgiving. I have issues! We all do. Some of us keep very short records, which is admirable, and some of us lug around our emotional baggage in tattered archive boxes or faded suitcases.

I want this place, where I give you the verbs (god I love my blog’s name), to be somewhere you can come for a laugh, to read something I’m thinking about and maybe think about it after you’ve read it, to see what I’m baking, to hear about my obsession with my #favouritehuman (my niece), and most of all, to have a chat about whatever is going on in your world.

What I don’t want is to build on online persona that is some kind of facade I have to remember to keep up. I’m not saying this as a way to duck my head, peep out from a Lady Di fringe and seek compliments, truly I’m not – I am saying that I am encouraging, and clever, and quick witted, and I can be a cranky pants and a person who has uttered mean words I wish I could take back. I am a single gal, a daughter, a sister and a friend – someone who has had ups and downs in life. I am all of the things. I am working actively on some of the less appealing qualities I have in my archive box, and some of them are marked ‘DO NOT DISTURB”.

So, whether you are an L-plates, still in development blogger like me, feeling your way, or an experienced and got-it-going-on blogger reading this (eep!), heck, basically, if you are a person in this world; juggling home life, work life, friendships, family dynamics, illness, relationships, finances, the highs and lows, I want you to know that you are welcome here, in whatever state you find yourself.

Drop in, leave a comment, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram and say hi, I’m having the best day ever, or just coasting, or I’m having an absolutely shit day. We’re in this together.

This is not my place, this is OUR place.

If it’s just me tap, tap, tapping and nothing else, the publish button becomes kinda redundant.


What’s on your mind today? Who do you want to be? What’s in your archive box? How’s the weather?

Let’s chat.


Annette xx


How an empty mayonnaise jar brought me undone….

Isn’t it funny how on a bad day, seemingly small things can send you into a tailspin?

When I used my last egg and scraped the last mayo out of the jar this week, the abyss opened up, and I was a mess.

Is my cupboard bare? No, it isn’t. There’s good stuff in there. Stuff I can easily turn into simple, tasty meals. But on Thursday, there were no more eggs, there was no more mayo – and I knew I did not have enough money to buy both, and wouldn’t have, for at least two weeks. I’m unemployed at the moment, so money is tight.

It is a confronting thing to realise you can’t afford basic things, items which Toby from The West Wing (god I love that show) calls ‘the everyday things, the 99 cent things’. The things we take for granted, like eggs, and mayonnaise.

As the last shell went in the bin, I cracked too.

People sometimes say that there’s no kindness left in the world, or that it is hard to come by. Some days that seems true, some of us just don’t have our eyes open to see it, but I can tell you, Thursday was not a kindness-free-day for me.

In my increasing agitation, I took to the keyboard, to vent about feeling sad, stuck and vulnerable. Not a public broadcast, a conversation in a group of people I felt pretty sure I could trust. The group I chose was the one I’ve been spending the most time in lately, my Pipsters. From here in Melbourne, and in far-flung places from Spain to England to America, these awesome ladies, my homies, my Pipsters PICKED ME UP with the tap, tap, tapping on their keyboards, and created a safe space where I could talk about feeling humiliated by my lack, and frightened of not getting through the next fortnight.

They encouraged me, empathised with me and didn’t gloss over what I was saying, which is so important when someone is having a shit day. Let the person in Shitsville say it is shitful. It is. Don’t rush to “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”. We all know it will.

What the temporary residents of Shitsville need, what I needed, was listening ears and compassionate hearts.

Boy was I in the right place. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

There were so many tears, and as I sat at my desk, talking in real time with people, feeling the support and solidarity, reading about how other people have been in my shoes, I was being broken open, my emotional pressure valve hissing and spluttering out the worries of the week.

It may sound utterly bizarre to you (it does to me) but blogging is bringing battered old passions to the surface, it is causing me to be more open, authentic and vulnerable, with the people I am creating an online community with, and with myself…. it is strange, and sometimes painful, but it feels exhilarating too. Being fully alive isn’t about feeling only good things. Neither is blogging!

After I’d been chatting with the Pipsters for a while, I felt a bit better, then a lot better, and so, so tired. All that crying takes it out of you. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. Nothing had changed, but I was no longer weighed down with worry. I was buoyed by people sharing ads for jobs they’d seen and thought I’d rock at, there were links to sites that might help, people shared mayo recipes requiring only two ingredients, people encouraged me, people SAW ME, unvarnished and broken, and not one person turned away, or blithely told me to ‘get a job’ or that what I was feeling was invalid. That’s priceless stuff. Human stuff. That’s community.

Today I can write this from a totally different mindset than the one I was stuck in two days ago. Today’s tears are of gratitude. I am not ashamed of my tears. They are softening me, inside and out.

This week I learned a new lesson about what I’d term humiliation – a feeling I despise with all my being.  Maybe what I know as humiliation – a deeply painful, confronting and devastating state of mind and soul, holds within it a chance to be more authentic with people, more vulnerable and ready to say, I need help. Try saying that, even in your mind, I need help. It’s not easy is it?

And yet, we all need it. I need help. You need it. Your sister, your dad, the guy on the bus, the shiny people on magazine covers, who we’re supposed to worship and believe ‘have it all’, the crafters, the ‘successful’ folks we admire and maybe envy a touch,  even them – we all need help every now and then. Maybe not every day, maybe not to buy eggs or mayonnaise, but sooner or later, Mayonnaise-Gate happens to all of us.

How GRATEFUL I am that when I was ready to say, even just from the ‘safety’ of my computer, that I needed help, that people were there to listen and to encourage me. That was the help I needed most on Thursday afternoon. Help to be honest, help to be vulnerable and let my emotions out.

Can I exist only in the virtual world? No I can’t. I need my flesh and blood friends too, I need to trust them when the chips are down (or gone!), as I do in the good times. I am undone by friends who demonstrate their love in ways that resonate.

Some cheer my efforts at blogging on, or remind me that Don’t Stop Believin is my ultimate theme song.

Some friends do this with their words, their care, their support and encouragement, their precious time.

Some do it with groceries, or a supermarket voucher.

Some  give me money that I know they could have used to buy their own eggs and mayonnaise.

I have friends that take the time to read and comment on my fledgling blog, or come over with pizza.

The yet-unmet-friends who spoke life into my situation this week, wow, thank you.

The pal who asked me how I was on Instagram, and I decided to tell her the truth, which resulted in us having a great chat, she’s sending help. I’ve never met her.

One yet-unmet-friend from Blog With Pip, who sent me a message on Friday asking me where I live, is dropping off help this afternoon.

A lovely friend took me to dinner, paid for my meal, and a second glass of wine, and helped me out, again.

The friend I met in a West Elm store, who I’m enjoying getting to know, said she’ll buy me a coffee next week.

There’s no hierarchy involved. The friends who offer practical support aren’t ‘better’ than the friends who offer a listening ear and words of encouragement. They know that, I certainly know it. We all play our part.

Sometimes we buy the eggs, sometimes we listen and send virtual hugs.

What I’ve learned this week is that kindness isn’t at all like mayonnaise – it doesn’t run out when the jar is empty.

In fact, sometimes that empty jar is a portal to an outpouring of kindness that lays you flat with gratitude.

That’s why I’m not about to stop believin’. Even when mayonnaise makes me cry.

mayo jar




Annette xx