Drawbridge Days

Sunday is quite possibly my favourite of all the days, because Sundays are my drawbridge days.

Here are some of the reasons why…

The first cup
The first cup
Insta update
Insta update
Perfectly Pink
Perfectly Pink
Get your tickets here
Get your tickets here

There’s usually baking going on, and I love to see what other people are making and tagging #sundaybakingsunday. Thanks for joining in and sharing your pics with me. Some of you are VERY clever in the kitchen!


The paints come out.

Hey Girl... I like your shape
Hey Girl… I like your shape

The TV might stay silent for a few hours, or I might dive right in and catch up on shows I’ve missed during the week.

The heater is probably on, I’ll rearrange the blanket I’m snuggled under and read some favourite blogs. This morning I got a chuckle from this post on Baby Mac, and I really enjoyed this post on Bird And Fox. How cute are those earrings?!

Sunday is a great day for blog reading, don’t you think?

Later in the day, I might watch a movie. (I just noticed the double 53s, spooky!)

Dan In Real Life
Dan In Real Life

There’s usually a pile of dishes in the sink, or laundry to fold; a door to throw open for some fresh air, or sheets to change. Even these mundane tasks are enjoyable, because I do them (or not) whenever I please.

Perhaps that’s the key to my love of Sundays – no deadlines, no obligations, it is a day for me, where I can just be.

My introverted soul adores, and craves, this time by myself.  Sometimes I’ll venture out, but more often than not, by Saturday afternoon, you can hear the clanking of the chain and cogs as I call ‘drawbridge up’ on the outside world. It’s not that I don’t like the world, it’s just that I want to be in a world of my own for a bit. It’s a cosy, quiet, creative world, and I like it here.

Are your Sundays social days or drawbridge days? Do you read any blogs on Sundays? Do tell, I’d love to know.

Yours in pjs,


The joys of renting

I’m a happy and house proud renter, most of the time.

You’ll never see at Today Tonight special about ‘horror tenants’ featuring me – well, actually I hope you never see any Today Tonight or A Current Affair stories, because those shows are utterly bogus advertorials and fear mongering outlets, masquerading as ‘current affairs’ shows. I call bullshit on those. Utter bullshit… but, that’s not what I want to talk about today, dear reader.

I’ve been renting since I was about 19, so I’ve had my fair share of successes and abject failures. The very first place I moved into was a house in Burwood, where I lived with two young gents who hailed from Wangaratta (that’s smack bang in the middle-ish of country Victoria for those unfamiliar with local geography). I found their ad for a third roomie via a Uniting Church service – it wasn’t a website, I had to call them up – this was back in the dark ages before the internet, when people had record players and used pay phones.

So, on my first day there, the lads took me out to the low side fence and shared with me the secret to living together, happily ever after. I can’t even remember their names, so let’s call them Billy Bob and Jimmy John shall we. “See that?” queried Jimmy John, pointing to the footpath, “that’s Burwood”. Ah! Genius. “But see this?”, drawled Billy Bob, pointing to our scruffy lawn “This is Wang”. Apparently we were living on the edge of some kind of space-time-geographic continuum where suburban Melbourne merged with country Victoria, by sheer force of will.

I didn’t live there for long. All I really remember is we ate a lot of snags, and Jimmy John used to ride his bicycle from Burwood to the Mornington Peninsula and back every Saturday morning, then crack open a beer upon his arrival home and lay sweaty and spent on the couch for a while.

And that house in Burwang (?) is where I discovered that Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue were actually THE SAME PERSON. I bought the single of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ and when I popped it on the record player, the voice that came out was dead set Rick. I had it on the wrong speed and took great joy in playing it at both speeds for visitors – Rick / Kylie / Rick / Kylie. Mind blowing stuff.

Oh, record players are old fashioned machines where you put a big kind of vinyl CD on a turntable and then you pop the needle carefully on the outside of the first groove and the record spins right round baby, right round. If that’s not crystal clear, then feel free to hit up Google!

So I ventured into renting in Burwang, and since then I have lived in Wheelers Hill and Mulgrave and Highett and Mordialloc. I have lived in St Kilda and Elsternwick, in Blackburn and Blackburn North. Heck, I lived in so many places in the first two years of being free of the familial nest, that I probably couldn’t recount them all in order if I was offered $10,000. Way to go, memory!

I have lived with families, with friends, with siblings, with married peeps and singletons. I went back home for a few stints early on, and I really enjoyed making wherever I was a home. I don’t need to be shackled with massive debt to create a home. I’m a nester.

There was a short period where I moved in with a girl I didn’t really know, who had decided to quit her job and study full time. To pay her hefty Lilydale mega-house mortgage, she took in a couple of renters.

Big mistake. Huge.

She did NOT want to share her home, and I think I was there for less than a month. I committed unforgivable sins like moving blankets from one shelf to another in the linen press, and I didn’t worship her small yappy dog sufficiently (that’s never going to happen pet lovers – deal with it).

For the past 10 years or so I’ve lived in a rickety weatherboard house in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne. I moved there and shared with someone from uni for the first few years. It was mostly fine, but there were moments that I felt a bit Single White Female-d upon, with lots of hanging around at the doorway when I had my boyfriend over, or what I felt was overstepping the bounds of sharing a house with someone. Here’s a tip – if we’re not actually close friends, and you come and ask me for a hug when you’re having a crap day but being very uncommunicative about it, and it makes me feel uncomfortable, I might just say no.

I’m a girl that likes my space! And somewhere along the line, I learned to say no with ease. Oops!

Soon enough, she moved out and I took the opportunity to move from the bigger place we shared to the little front unit. It was the easiest move of all time, thanks to the connecting door between the two units. (I’ll have to write a whole other post about the home’s dodgy history, and the number of doors. Crazy stuff.)

The house has changed hands since I moved there, and the new owner is a real novice at being a landlord. They tried to crank up the rent by hundreds and hundreds of dollars on me, before he even legally owned the property. I used that handy word again… no. That’s illegal fella. Good try.

He mustn’t have bothered looking too carefully when he bought it, because the few times he’s been over he often remarks that it doesn’t look familiar or he doesn’t remember that it’s a one bedroom place. It’s what you’d kindly call a ‘character’ property, and being weatherboard, it is really starting to show the years. He seems baffled by the notion that he should take responsibility for any maintenance issues. Guess what pal? That’s part of the deal with property investing. Your tenants pay your mortgage, and you maintain our homes (your investment). Capiche?

Ten months ago I mentioned that the trellis fence between my unit and the back unit was falling over. It is old and busted and needs replacing. TEN MONTHS AGO. I have spoken to the agent in person about this, he’s seen the state of the fence, he’s taken photographs of it and he craftily ignored my emails for most of 2014. So I emailed him again recently. I used CAPITAL LETTERS.

Today I got a response from the agent asking me if I could measure up the fence, to save him having to come over and do it himself.

Um, hello, aren’t you getting a percentage of the rent to, what do you call it, manage the listing for the owner? “BYO measuring tape bucko”, I thought, and I politely replied to his email, and used that oh so easy to say word, no.

No, I will not do your job, and the landlord’s job for you.

No, I will not cower and just ‘suck it up’ because I’m ‘just renting’.

This is my home. I pay for it. I live in it. I take care of it and make it look cosy and welcoming.

I’m not measuring your busted fence. Maybe I should give Today Tonight a call….

But, the important part is, even with this frustrations of a not very switched on landlord, I love my home.

I’ve had some amazing neighbours here in wobbly weatherboard land. I’ve made friends and known great kindness here. I’ve had people over to celebrate big milestones – I’ve cooked engagement meals and met some of my girlfriends’ future husbands here. I’ve watched favourite TV shows and baked for people in this weatherboard house. This very blog started in my living room. I couldn’t love it more if it was mine on paper.

This ol’ house may have a fence that’s falling down (and rotting gutters, and no insulation, and creaky floors, and seriously dodgy leaky walls), but she’s strong in what homes are really made of – warmth, welcome, and a refuge at the end of the day.

Yours in real estate heaven,

Annette x

Here’s my busted fence, the neighbour’s unkempt jasmine is doing a mighty fine job of both breaking and holding it up, don’t you think?

2015-01-06 09.59.05


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