The View From 48: the party edition

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

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

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

Hill Family circa 1976

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is (hopefully) a long game. 

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

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

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

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


Annette x 

Christmas Honours

Christmas Eve is upon us! You know what that means… only about 36 hours until the Boxing Day sales lunacy begins, and hot cross buns go on sale. 

I was one of those “whoops I forgot something” shoppers who ventured out this morning to pick up another bottle of pesto, a different shape of pasta, bread rolls and additional chocolate (the last item being the only one not connected to Christmas feasting). 

As I wandered back past the supermarket, I said hello to a lovely older gent who caught my eye. I don’t think it was Santa, but he did tell me, with a glint in his eye, that he was recently awarded an OBE. 

With impeccable timing, he then announced it was for being Over Bloody Eighty. 


Gosh I want to be like that when I’m OBE. Twinkle in my eye, witty line at the ready. And great legs! 

I told him all I’d managed was an OBF, and I was pleasantly relieved when he picked forty not fifty. 

That kind of interaction typifies what Christmas can be for us once the thrill of writing letters to Santa and counting down sleeps passes us by. 

I always try to balance the frustration I feel when people seasonally lose their ability to navigate car parks, with smiling at people, letting a person with less items than I have in my basket go ahead of me at the check-out, or stopping for a quick chat and a laugh with a twinkle-eyed octogenarian. 

Two days ago, as I stopped for a coffee in David Jones, I decided to pay for the coffee of the next person to sit down. I can’t remember precisely how the lady I made the offer to described it – impressive, or something like that, but the thing is, it isn’t really. 

It was just a cappuccino and a yoyo biscuit. 

And it wasn’t “random”, it was deliberate. Can we retire “random acts of kindness” please, and make them every day acts? 

We can forget how simple it is to be kind, especially if we let all the shoulds of the “most wonderful time of the year” overwhelm us.

Isn’t that kind of backwards? 

Isn’t Christmas about stopping to chat with a fellow traveller – goodwill to all style? 

Isn’t it about togetherness with those we love, and those knowing, phew, we made it through another year glances we exchange? 

I think it is. 

I don’t know a single family where anyone storms away from Christmas lunch because there were only three side dishes, or just ham and prawns, and not ham, prawns and turkey, or the cranberry sauce was store bought. 

If anyone in your family does these things, please have them contact me for a much needed arse whipping seasonal adjustment.

This Christmas, I know people who are nursing recent and raw bereavements, and not-so-recent but still raw grief. 

I know people who won’t be with the one they thought they would wake up beside every Christmas morning.

I know parents navigating tricky shared custody issues, and those for whom the idea of family togetherness is enough to have them booking last minute tickets to Hawaii. 

I also know people filled with Christmas joy, celebrating as families for the first time, beloved babes in arms. 

There are those who will be seeing loved ones they miss like crazy all year long, and then there are all the in between folks, busy making salads tonight, chopping spuds and basting hams, checking on the pav and wrapping gifts at midnight after everyone’s in bed. 

Wherever you are on the spectrum, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, even if Christmas isn’t your jam. 

I want to wish you the sweetness of fond memories of past Christmas mornings with loved ones gone too soon.  

I wish you strength as you “keep calm and Christmas on” in front of the kids. 

I wish you friends who will text you, and say, I’m thinking of you babe, and who will bring you leftover pav on Boxing Day. 

I wish you joy as you enjoy (or endure) the obligations that tomorrow brings. It’s just a few hours, and if it’s too much, I wish you the strength to remove yourself from anything that isn’t good for your soul. 

I wish you quiet moments, and signs that they’re still with you, and yep, I even wish you great presents. 

That’s allowed, right? 

Merry Christmas my friends. 

Festive love, 

Annette xx


PS  Please rock, paper, scissors for designated driver duties before anyone picks up a glass in celebration, and take your time on the roads. 





My favourite human

Isn’t it nice when you get to have a lovely day? 

Today I arranged to get away from work early so I could hang with my favourite girl for the afternoon. 

To the untrained eye, I was babysitting my niece, so my sister could do some stuff on her own, but really for Miss M and me, it was chance to hang out and have fun. 

She’s getting so tall, she’s up to my chest already and shows no signs of slowing down. She’s funny and creative, cheeky and a little bit sneaky, traits I fully endorse. 

Being with her makes me happy. It’s not what we do, it’s just being wth her that I like. I liked helping her pack a little bag of textas and paper so that she could draw while I devoured some lunch. I enjoyed walking to the coffee shop around the corner with her, and holding her arm before crossing the street. Playing a guessing game about her friends’ names. 

Simple, happy stuff. 

She zeroed in on the macarons in the coffee shop cabinet. We practically inhaled them. Yum! 

Chatting easily. 


Miss M

Snakes and ladders. We had to make a die because it wasn’t in the box. I beat her fair and square!

Behold, a hand crafted paper die!

Air hockey on the iPad. 

Watching a movie together. 

Emmet, you nailed it. Everything is awesome. 

“Person who is surfing on lots of fish.”

What I liked the most about today is that in just being together, she taught me something, and I taught her something.

She taught me that if I want my flowers to look real I should overlap the petals. 

Flower by M

I taught her how to play Solitaire and how to draw a cube. It’s all about the three sticks, FYI. 

She was right!

A simple, lovely, heart filler-up of an afternoon. 

How was your day? 


Annette x