22 and a hump

Hello outside world! 

Upon consulting my calendar, it appears that it has been 22 (and a hump day) weeks since a whole slew of Melbourne folks, including me, started working from home and staying home more than usual. 

That’s a long time! Deep in the second trimester of growing a human in your guts kind of time, yeah? 

It seems both entirely normal and still surreal to be connecting to the office computer network from the small desk in my bedroom. I haven’t enjoyed a face to face chat with my workmates since early March. 

I mostly wear trackies and a hoodie or stay in my pjs as I read and send emails, arrange settlements, chase things up for the sixth time, and chat to clients over Skype and FaceTime. Who knew it was so easy to seem semi-profesh while wearing uggboots? Throwing a colourful scarf on is my no. 1 video chat hack. 

I think I’ve felt all the feelings in the past 22 weeks, from fear and loneliness to gratitude and moments of peace; and every adjacent emotion. Thankfully I’ve mostly been able to cope with it all. 

I like to pop outside mid-afternoon and see what the sky is doing. 

This week I discovered jasmine exploding over the back fence. 

I look up, take photos, say hello and thank you to the grocery delivery guy, check the letterbox every couple of days, and do the dishes before they pile up too high. I make the bed, most days! 

My oldest friend in the world and I have silly text chats and long phone conversations which range from uproarious laughter to the deep and meaningful. 

Today, my dad called me to make sure I have had the faulty airbags in my car replaced. Bless him! Get yours done if you haven’t, dad says so. 

I’ve misplaced my cooking mojo. It will return I’m sure. If you’ve got a great (vegetarian) pantry staples pasta sauce recipe, hit me up please. 

When I’m not working, you’ll mostly find me under this colourful blanket watching something on Netflix, Stan, SBS On Demand or Disney Plus. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Hamilton. How good is it? 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 from me. 

I hope you’re keeping well, especially my fellow Victorian readers. 

We can do hard things! 

Keep going. Stay home as much as you can. Wear that mask. Wash those hands. 

Run your kids ragged in that one hour of exercise off the premises. 

Call an old friend and have a laugh. 

Read a blog you haven’t read for a while. 

Comment on someone’s Instagram feed. Spread some nice thoughts around. 

Return to an old album you loved, or a book that’s special to you. 

Most importantly, have flexible expectations around how you get through this exceedingly odd and challenging time. 

Baked beans on toast for dinner is 100% okay, and a delicious source of fibre. 

Home schooling hiccups are okay. 

Throwing in the towel (temporarily) is fine. 

Having a good week, fab. 

Dragging yourself through a bad week? Know this, you’re not alone. Have a quiet cuppa on the back porch. Text a friend for support. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your pals who live alone. Just a text or Instagram ❤️ reminds us we’re not alone. 

Keep going. 

I believe in us.  


Annette xx 


PS Comment at will, I love it when you do. 

How are you? Tell me how things are in your area. 



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 




Ordinary Days, Joyful Days

Good morning. 

I like that turn of phrase, it gives the day a chance doesn’t it? 

I’ve been pondering finding moments of joy in the midst of ordinary, even boring days. The kind of days can see you in the car, ferrying kids to 10 different activities, or at your desk at work willing knock-off time to hurry the heck up, or days at home, when there are dishes to do and floors that really need a good vacuuming. 

Doesn’t seem like there’s much joy to be found there does it? 

That’s where the fun starts! 

I’m a fan of turning up my “noticing” dial and making my eyes, brain and my sometimes manky attitude, seek out something that brings a smile to my face. This morning I was reading something about curiousity, and I think it is a wonderful practice in life – to wonder, to daydream, to seek out more than the day might seem to hold at first glance. 

Here’s one of those moments from last week, given the meme treatment.


Some incredibly unfashionable coloured and textured glass, an old pasta sauce jar filled with water, stray label stickiness and all, and some morning light. 

This was my view as I mooched in bed recently and it could have been something I looked right through, or didn’t even notice. But, because I have my noticing dial up, I saw something special in the colours and the light and decided it was worth noticing, appreciating and capturing. 

When I was away recently, the combination of the super sinky bed and unfamiliar surroundings meant I didn’t sleep very well. I snapped this photo at about 4am, while I was listening to a podcast. This lamp has such great lines and the textures and shadows really appeal to me. 

Small things, even things that are an annoyance, like not being able to sleep, can become joyful moments if we tune in to them. 

Can’t sleep? Snap a selfie!! (This was taken in the sinky bed.)

I often take a quick snap my paint palette and it reminds me of the day I bought it, trawling the children’s craft section of Spotlight, not wanting to spend too much money because “I’m not creative like this, I can’t paint”. 

Ha! Guess who was wrong about that? 

My curiousity takes my turned-up noticing dial and does a victory lap around the garden. 

Nyeh, nyeh, we win, they singsong. 

I’m so happy they’re winning – my life is much richer for their presence. I think, at least for most of us, they are by invitation only qualities. Even if you’ve got a positive disposition like I do, you can crank up your noticing dial to the joy setting, if you want to. 

Little things – a jar of water in pretty light, a well-used light pink paint well, can make me feel such big things. 

And big things can too.

I feel wonder, power, promise, and endless possibility when I look at the sky. 

It makes me feel small, yet tall as well. Grounded. 

I mean, just think about it, wherever you are right now, there’s sky above you. Can you see it? 

And there’s sky above me too. 

It’s the same sky. 

Some days the sky it is clear, some days it is moody and filled with clouds, but every day, if we take the time to look up, to notice, there it is again.

It’s the same when we level our gaze at what’s around us. 

Right now I can see a drawing my niece did for me (of the Frozen snowman), I can see a photograph of a tropical flower, which I bought on a holiday many years ago, I can see a cane bound chest of drawers that belonged to my grandmother. I see my sketchbook and my new slippers. I see scarves and a poster from Frankie magazine, and just by noticing, and listing those simple, everyday things, I’m smiling. These things, and the memories and people attached to them, bring me joy.  

Would you try something today? 

Turn up your noticing dial, and see what happens. 

What’s right in front of you, that can bring you joy? What’s above you, or beside you? 

If it sparks something, please let me know! I love it when the comments section gets busy, that always brings a smile to my face.  

Dialled up,

Annette x 



Where’s my favourite place? It’s here, at home

This month I’m doing better than ever keeping up with Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day challenge.  Do you play? If you don’t know about Chantelle’s amazing blog and this photo challenge, have a look here for all the info.

I’ve just checked on Instagram and 4,551,500 photos using the #fmsphotoaday tag have been shared there. That’s a LOT of people snapping and sharing, and I’m part of it! (My #sundaybakingsunday tag has 296 photos, which is AWESOME! Only 4,551,200 to reach Chantelle’s lofty heights!)

Maybe I’m doing better because I’ve downloaded Chantelle’s very first app, which is called Little Moments. You can buy from iTunes. You should totally download it right, now – it’s okay, I’ll wait…. oh, at the moment, it is only available for iPhone users, but I think its popularity will mean the Android fans won’t have to wait long. Got it? Super cool isn’t it?

Anyhoo, this actually isn’t an advertorial for Chantelle – she’s doing quite well without my dedicated, attractive, smart but numerically intimate readership’s help. But please download her app, and join in, it’s awesome fun!

Today’s photo prompt has me pondering something larger than just snapping a photo and sharing – and as a blogger, when you ponder, you hit the keyboard.

The prompt for today is HOME. Such a simple word. One we use everyday, many times a day, a place we retreat to, dread cleaning, want to run away from, share with people, feel alone in; home is the keeper of our memories, the place where we first experience family life and so much more than merely bricks and mortar, windows and weatherboard, or paint colours.

According to my trusty Dictionary app, one of the definitions of home is ‘a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates’.

That just about perfectly sums up my home. It is truly the place where I’m flourishing. Not in styling, though I do love an eclectic smattering of cushions or a neat stack of magazines. For me, home is where my soul flourishes. It is the space where I am 100% myself.

When I’m away, even just for a few days, this is the place I long for. I think it is why I don’t have a passport. I love to be at home.

I love that my home is my place – this is where I cook, watch TV, think about my life, entertain, pull up the drawbridge, and create. Home is where I can be still, or have a good cry, it’s where I bust out dance moves in the kitchen, it’s the place where my #favouritehuman comes to visit and hang on the couch with me. It’s the home with the dishes piled up in the sink, and my rag-tag collection of spices is overflowing on the counter.

Judged physically, my home is no beauty queen – the walls shake and shudder on a windy day and the floors creak, there’s cracked plaster, breezy spots in every room, a carport with a leaky roof and occasionally a small plant grows up through the brickwork in my bedroom. It isn’t insulated, or painted a beautiful colour, in fact it’s kind of dowdy and ‘retro’ – but it is my home, and I love it.

My home reminds me of that great definition of how can you tell if you’ve been loved in The Velveteen Rabbit – the fur is a bit scruffy, there’s only one eye left… you get the picture.

With the rise of social media and the cultural phenomenon of sharing so much of our lives online, there are millions and millions of pixels floating around between our devices, depicting perfectly plumped cushions on taut linen sofas or oozy velvet chaises with cable knit throws, styled to look utterly effortless. We all know they’re primped and photoshopped, bulldog clipped or taped into place, ‘vignetted’ almost to the point of being completey soulless (especially if the images come from stylists or magazines) – yet we seem not to be able to release ourselves from some very limited notion of what a home should look like – at least if anyone but our eyes are going to see it. I think that’s both understandable, culturally, and kind of sad. Our homes should be as diverse as we are, not as stock standard as cartons of milk. Homes are alive and dynamic, houses are static. I want to live in a home, not a photo-shoot ready set!

Anyone remember learning this song at school –

Little boxes on the hillside

Little boxes made of ticky-tacky

Llittle boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same…

My house might be boxy, but there’s nothing ticky-tacky here, except for the dirty kitchen floors!

The photos I’ve taken today are not painstakingly styled or edited – I turned a cushion around, and moved the sugar jar slightly to the left from where it was, but that’s about it. (I think I’ll share some more of my snaps on Instagram this afternoon and tag them #verbsathome.)

This is my home. This is my life. I’m typing this post wearing trackies and a windcheater (people from the 1980s will know what that means). I’m wearing slippers and my washing machine is beeping that it has long ago finished the load of laundry I put on earlier.

This is my life. It’s not an exercise in glamour or styling, and my home certainly isn’t about trying to impress anyone. There are plenty of glossy, shiny places where you can find that kind of ‘inspo’, if that’s your bag.

I love Real Living magazine as much as the next girl, but this is Real Life.





What is it about home that is so potent?

A term I picked up from Dr Phil many years ago (yes, I like Dr Phil – deal with it!) is the idea of everyone needing a ‘soft place to fall’. Granted, he’s usually talking about people – how children need their parents to act as their soft place to fall, or how that operates in a marriage, but for me, I see my home as my soft place. I know we like to idealise family as an all-encompassing hugfest, but it isn’t like that for everyone – so we create soft places in our friendship groups, or in who we choose as a life partner, and I think we can translate that to our homes.

I know my home can’t literally hug me – but I do feel a real sense of comfort here – it’s my place, my things are as I want them to be, I can see memories, things that tie me to my grandparents and reminders of special occasions. There are cards from blogging girlfriends I’ve ‘met’ but never seen on my bookcase. I have photos of family and a notice board I’m filling with bits and bobs above my desk. I have a space to paint and draw, which I love. My pillow has the shape of my head smooshed into it. I know which drawer is for socks, where the forks are, and could probably pull tinned tomatoes from the pantry blindfolded.

The more important stuff of home is etched in my mind’s eye too – the time I flopped on my bed after a terrible day at work and sobbed and sobbed, the happiness of sharing meals with friends here, hurriedly tidying up before my dad calls in for a cuppa and a computer lesson, the peace that I feel when I just sit on the couch, thinking about my life and who I am, and how when someone compliments my home’s ‘style’, it truly feels like they’ve seen inside my heart and they like what they’ve glimpsed.

And the best thing about home is that, even after this building has been razed to the ground, I’ll still be at home, anywhere I am, because home isn’t where the heart is, for me, home comes from what’s in my heart.

Are you flourishing at home? I’d love to hear about it. What brings you joy there? Got a photo to share? Pop it up on Instagram if you like, tag it #verbsathome and add a tag that describes your soft place to fall.

I better hang that washing out now, it’s almost photo-shoot time!

From my home to yours,

Annette xx