26 reasons I am happy

Wednesday morning seems as good a time as any to enumerate just some of the things in life that I am grateful for. 

To me, happy and grateful are very close kin. I cannot imagine having a happy life without being actively, sincerely grateful for all the good (and the lessons that come from the not-so-good) in my life. Grateful comes first, in my mind. 

As today is the 26th, let’s see if I can list 26 things I am grateful for. 

Here goes: 

  1. Coffee; a simple daily pleasure. Every morning, the first thing I do is make myself a cup of coffee. It’s always good, and I always enjoy it. Thank you coffee. 
  2. My home. It’s a bit of an ugly duckling, this weatherboard half-house that I rent, but it is my space, my refuge and recharging station, and I love it. You can tell that I live here, and that’s how I think all homes should be. 
  3. Hot showers. Seriously! Often when I step into the shower I find myself thinking about how many people in the world don’t have access to a hot shower, or even a cold one, and it makes me thankful. 
  4. The kids I know. I don’t have children, it was never part of the plan, and at 50 I have absolutely no regrets about that. I’m lucky to have ten nephews and nieces, and plenty of friends with kids. Kids are interesting, forthright, creative, expressive and give some of the best hugs in life. I love the kids I get to watch grow up. 
  5. My work. Work is not a cornerstone of my existence, yet it’s an important part of life. I work part-time in a small legal office with people I get along with, that’s enough for me. Pro-tip: Don’t put too much pressure on the way you make a living to fulfil you. There are *lots* of ways to live a contented, happy life. 
  6. Mornings. Because of my part-time job, mornings are all mine. I can take my time, enjoy my coffee, fold some laundry, watch a design show, make my lunch, paint, mooch, hit the treadmill or sleep extra late if I need/want to. Being a night owl, these easy mornings suit my natural rhythms beautifully. Grateful! 
  7. The Corolla. My car is my independence. 
  8. My enjoyment of cooking. This has increased over the years, as my skills have. I feel a lovely sense of pride and accomplishment in cooking simple, tasty meals for myself. I choose to look after myself in this way, and that makes me happy. 
  9. Making lists. How I love a list! On my desk at work right now there’s a fresh list of tasks and reminders for the afternoon. Nerd alert! I make lists for packing, lists of what’s in the fridge, lists of books I want to read… lists! 
  10. My mint t-shirt. This is the tee I reach for when I’m going for a walk, or doing a few reps of simple exercises in the backyard. When I wear my mint t-shirt, I feel good! I might even feel a wee bit strong, that’s new for me. 
  11. Having an eye for beauty makes me happy. I’m grateful that I can appreciate the lines of a lamp or a colour story in a room, a cosy fireplace or a beautiful kitchen. I love seeing a building or a painting that makes me stop in my tracks. I notice the way people dress and compliment their choices. Beauty matters, and not in the way we’ve been conned to think it does. 
  12. My reflection, not because of the way I look (I’m cute, there’s no question of that!) but because of the way I feel about myself. Every single day, without fail, I look at myself and smile. Every day. It’s a “gift” that I’ve actively cultivated. I appreciate myself! 
  13. Half way there, woo hoo! I’m grateful for milestones, not just destinations. The trouble with pinning all your hopes on reaching your destination is that if life throws you a curve ball, then your happiness is thwarted. 
  14. NATURE! This one is massive. If I’m having a bad day, turning my attention to nature is a sure-fire way to perk myself up. If I’m having a good day, looking at the branches of a tree or noticing a leaf on the footpath or the prettiness of dappled light will boost my mood instantaneously. 
  15. Creativity. Once I started to draw and paint a few years ago, a whole new world of creativity opened up to me. Spending time at my art desk, or out and about with my sketch book really tops up my tank! 
  16. This blog contributes hugely to my happiness. I’ve met such incredible people thanks to blogging, and found immensely powerful support and encouragement from fellow bloggers and readers. Thank goodness for blogs! This ties in to #8, #11 and #15 on my list – blogs and the women who create them inspire me in all these areas and beyond. 
  17. The way focusing on gratitude makes me even more grateful. I wasn’t sure I could list 26 things easily, but the more I ponder all the things I’m grateful for, the easier it is to think of 26. Lists! They work. 
  18. I’m so grateful for my sense of self. I have been through seasons where I’ve worked hard on my thoughts and how they’ve limited me, where I’ve painstakingly undone false narratives I thought were utterly true. This has been the most worthwhile work I’ve ever done. I’m happy with the woman I am. Pro-tip: Just because you *think* something, it doesn’t make it true! 
  19. Books. I love how reading opens the world up to me. From travel memoirs to cookbooks to incredible fiction, books are a major source of enjoyment and education. Words can, and do, change the world. Read a book! 
  20. I’m grateful for my health. Yes I’ve got challenges, there’s a pacemaker in my chest, my heart is electrically faulty. I need to take multiple medications every day. I have to monitor everything I eat and drink, yet I’m grateful that I can manage my health with such ease. I could so easily let my health make me miserable, but I choose not to go that way. I choose. I am definitely grateful for that! Is that a two-fer? Bonus! 
  21. Seasons. I’m grateful to live in a city with such distinct seasons. Sure, sometimes they get a tad confused, but I enjoy Melbourne’s wonderfully unpredictable weather. There’s always something to chat about! 
  22. Memories. Though I sometimes despair at the state of my memory, I have many lovely recollections of childhood holidays at the beach, my grandpa’s bear hugs, being a teenager in the decade of all decades, the 1980s. I often tell my sisters stories about our family that they don’t know, as they were only babies or little kids. I can tell their kids about when their mums were kids! Life is long, a lot of great stuff happens along the way. I’m grateful for that. 
  23. Tied with memories, I have to include my friendships in this list. I am unbelievably lucky. My friendships have shaped the person I am. As a hardcore introvert, and a person who longs to be deeply known, the people I count among my close friends are so precious to me. Though they are few, they are mighty! I love them. 
  24. Oh look, 24 – my favourite number! I have no idea why. Seems appropriate to make #24 my quirks. I am grateful for my quirks. I sing a lot, I make up ditties about moronic drivers and housework and play silly games with myself. I am quirky and I revel in it! 
  25. Art by people I know. I’m so blessed to have artistic friends. I have a beautiful photograph of a sunset on my wall, a birthday gift from a talented friend. I have paintings and sketches created just for me, by friends near and far away. Looking at their work makes me happy. 
  26. I made it! The last spot on today’s list has to be that I am grateful that this list isn’t exhaustive! I’m grateful that I have, and recognise, so much that’s good in my life. Life is a gift. It is so important to remember, I didn’t earn anything on this list. 

I hope that my list might inspire you to reflect on things that you are grateful for, things that make you happy.  

Maybe times are super tough right now and the idea of practising gratitude makes you cringe. I’ve been there. It’s okay to feel that. I get it. 

Perhaps life is sweet and easy right now. List the ways you’re enjoying it. 

Thank you for being part of my happiness. I am grateful for you. 

Annette x 


If you’d like to, please tell me something that makes you happy. I love reading your comments. 


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 




Happy Father’s Day – Brian told me so!

Today is Father’s Day and there’s no better reason to pen a tribute to my awesome dad than that.

My dad’s name is Brian. He’s a champion.

He was HOT when he was a young man, I think he’s still pretty great looking now at 76 years young.

Check him out…

2014-02-06 11.11.11

My dad is a doer, he’s not much of a talker. But when he does talk, it’s worth listening. He’s a smart, savvy guy, very Australian in his suspicions of those in power (which I love) and always ready to stir things up – like teaching my Hawthorn-loving brother’s children the Essendon FC theme song when they came over to Nana & Pa’s. Classic.

He has the best laugh, it bursts out of him staccato – ha, ha! HA! HAA!    Best. Sound. Ever.

Brian was a builder, just like his dad. Dad built both the family homes we lived in. That fills me with such pride, you’d think I built them. I wasn’t quite so enamoured with his building skills when he extended my bedroom in the dead of winter one year.

The more kids that came along (five in total), the more extensions he had to do. As fate would have it, I was the only one who never had to share a bedroom – nyah nyah, take THAT siblings! Gotta love being a girl sandwiched between boys, with two younger sisters bringing up the birth-order-rear.

I do have one complaint though – seriously dad, I know my room was originally the ‘nursery’ but what the hell is with the wardrobe that wouldn’t be more than 30cms wide – good for baby clothes, not so good for a teenager in the 80s!! (He moved a door, and built me a new closet in my sisters’ room eventually.)

My childhood vision of Dad is khaki overalls, a scab on his head from dropping something on site, and trips to Flatmans Timber… the smell of timber transports me to those days instantly.

And when he picked me up from Brownies or Girl Guides, or on the way home from grandma’s on Sundays, we’d stop at the milk bar, buy a can of Coke and a Polly Waffle and be instructed ‘don’t tell your mother’. God I love that man! I never did tell, either.

Now a daughter can wax lyrical about her dad, and you’ll probably humour me and think, isn’t that nice. So, I’ll take you to an objective source. Dad was awarded a life membership at our local baseball club in 1991. Here’s some of what they think of him:

A (VERY) Quiet Achiever!

More elusive at our Baseball Club than the proverbial “Tasmanian Tiger” is one of the club’s most treasured and appreciated Life Members BRIAN.

A person who deliberately shuns the limelight (and who would not like this type of recognition) is Brian, seen (pictured below) as most would best recognise him.

Anyone who has ever had to visit our home diamonds early on a summer Sunday morning would surely have seen this gentleman getting about his business, but definitely not seeking any attention.

That’s right, Brian is the man who, for many more years than I have been at the club, has freely given his time to maintaining, manicuring and line-marking our Senior Diamonds ONE and TWO almost EVERY Sunday without fail.

By the time most people arrive for their Sunday morning baseball, Brian would have disappeared home for a cup of tea after his early morning work, although he sometimes returns “dressed up” to take at look at some of our current day juniors in action. 

For those who have ever had the pleasure to stop and chat with Brian, you could hardly hope to find a nicer or more friendly gent. He continues to take great joy from the performances of the Club at all levels, but particularly for our development of young players and what the club provides for young people in the area generally.

One common “tongue in cheek” theme from Brian if he should ever chat to a long-time member of the club that he would recognise is to remind you that, in all the time he has been working on the grounds, he has NEVER received a pay rise! Although he has always been happy to give his time to the club free of charge, he is always available to discuss a percentage increase from year to year… it’s his standing joke!

Of course Brian, it would be impossible for the club to seriously put a value on your contributions over the many years… your work and time commitment to the club has been PRICELESS!

So, if you should see Brian around the grounds any time you are there, give him a wave and say “G’day”!

Thanks Brian.

I couldn’t agree with these sentiments more – Dad is a ‘just get on with it’ kind of bloke. The kind of bloke you’d hope that your sons have as a best mate, and your daughters find to marry –  hmm, maybe that’s why I’m single! There’s nobody quite like him.

We’re not a big touchy-feely kind of family, so Father’s Day isn’t usually about declarations of love and respect. We’re more about sharing a cuppa when he pops in here for a computer lesson, or when I call in at the parental abode, than soppy declarations of love. He’s not likely to see this, but I want YOU to know, I am so lucky to get the dad I got, and I love and respect him more than anyone else I know. If you do read this, and you know him, feel free to share it!

Long story short – I’m so proud of him, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to be my dad.

Father’s Day can be a real prick for some of us, and I’m completely aware of the grief that some people are feeling today – including people I love dearly, who deserve to be sitting across from their dads, enjoying his laughter and wit. In the grand scheme of things, this life isn’t always fair… so for me, it’s definitely a day to celebrate how bloody lucky I got, getting Brian as my dad.

My dad wasn’t the news reader on Channel 9 when I was a kid, but still, I know everything I need to know, ’cause Brian told me so.

Love you dad.

Net x

dad at waverley



The Secret Of Life – according to James Taylor

Today I’ve been out and about, which has been a fun way to spend my Saturday.

Some driving, shopping, chatting, eating and grocery shopping, and now some blogging. Perfecto really. I was very generously given a gift voucher to spend (thank you Claire!) at Harlow which is an awesome local fashion label for sizes 14 – 24 ladies. Luckily for me today is their monthly salon day, so I hopped in my car and trekked over to their Brunswick digs to try things on. I even timed it perfectly, and arrived just after a gaggle of ladies had shopped themselves silly. I was as excited about meeting the lovely Kerrie and Angelo, who are pouring all their passion and creativity into getting this label up and running, as I was about finding something new.

I came away with a great top, which I’ll probably wear to a wedding in a few weeks, and had a few chuckles and a lovely chat with Kerrie and Angelo while I was there. If you’re keen to support local fashion brands (which I hope you are), I highly recommend that you check out Harlow’s website. Their Aussie made garments are really great quality, and you’ll find their customer service outstanding.

A trip across town means tunes, and my preferred radio station is unabashedly Gold 104.3 – because it plays songs that transport me – to other places, happy memories, to the music video library that lives in my head, and I can often be seen singing along really loudly and as I do, I feel my happiness quotient going up, up, up, which is awesome. Combine that with gorgeous sunshine (at least when I set out on today’s jaunt), amazing tree-lined streets, and I was, and am, in a pretty great mood.

After my successful (and free!) shopping trip, I stopped in at a little corner cafe in a bursting-with-autumnal-gorgeousness spot, where I devoured a delicious vegetable frittata (so keen was I to chomp it down, that I didn’t even take a picture of it)! While I was enjoying my lunch, I overheard the girls at the next table earnestly talking about having dreams of demons and tsunamis swallowing the city (quiet eye roll), flipped through an issue of Home Beautiful, and then took another 10 photos of autumn trees and leaves as I meandered home.

I’m also doing something BRAND NEW today, and that is making chicken soup from scratch. You can find the recipe I’m using here. It’s the Pip of Meet Me At Mike’s variation on a Sophie Dahl recipe and I think it is going to be delicious. (Just had to check the chicken, it is getting crisp and SIZZLING and smelling amazeballs). The recipe involves croutons cooked in the tray that the chicken has been roasted. I know, right! Cannot Wait. But I will, I still have to complete phase two of the recipe.

So while I’m cooking, and typing this blog post, I’m listening to James Taylor and it’s transporting me back about 11 years (I’m utterly hopeless with specifics). This part’s quite convenient, as today’s theme for Claire Hewitt’s May daily blogging challenge is about being transported by music!

So, listening to James reminds me of this great story: I have some AMAZING  long time friends, let’s call them Craig and Bron, who are big time James Taylor lovers. As you can imagine, I was absolutely gobsmacked when my friend Craig called and said that he’d bought me a ticket to the upcoming James Taylor concert, and that he was going to surprise Bron by taking her, which meant all three of us were going to the show. O.M.G. The extra ticket was their gift to me, just because they love me. I mean, geez, couldn’t that just make you cry? Generous people ARE out there, and I hope you know some, and/or are one of them. As this was a surprise, Craig and I came up with a great ruse of them meeting my boyfriend and I (he’s long gone now, phew) for dinner by the Yarra, and then we’d make like we had to be somewhere else, and I’d sneak around to the Arts Centre and be there when Craig unveiled the surprise. The funny part was, that Bron was a bit cranky to have missed the concert (or so she thought), but we still had a pleasant dinner and her loving husband really pushed the limits by producing fake tickets to a James Taylor tribute show at the Sunshine Hotel (or something like that). It was hilarious. But not really. Anyhoo, as Bron and Craig walked around the corner to the concert hall, hand in hand, and she saw me, it started to dawn on her that we were GOING TO THE CONCERT!! So even though Craig was the mastermind, I bore the brunt of her shocked surprise and got pummeled in the arm! It was worth it though, to see her face and then Craig’s pleasure at surprising her. Naaw, ain’t love grand?


The concert was AMAAZING, as you’d expect. We had a sensational evening, friends being together, seeing and hearing one of the best singer songwriters of our lifetime, right in front of us. Thank you James Taylor. You are THE MAN. Click and sing along…. Secret O’ Life

The secret of life is enjoying the passing of time
Any fool can do it, there ain’t nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill
Since we’re on our way down, might as well enjoy the ride
The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It’s okay to feel afraid, but don’ t let that stand in your way
‘Cause anyone knows that love is the only road
Since we’re only here for awhile might as well show some style
Give us a smile
Isn’t it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down
Try not to try to hard, it’s just a lovely ride…..

Have you ever  been part of a great surprise?
Got a concert memory you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.