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. 


Dear Mr Potato Head

Dear Mr Potato Head, 

The sun rises, dances across the sky then dips behind clouds, sinking into the ocean, over and over and over again. 

Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. 

Endlessly, or so we hope.


You can’t seize anything from the seasons. 

No matter how many back room deals you do. 

No matter how many times you count and recount the numbers. 

No matter how many lies you tell, or tweets you tweet, or insults you hurl. 

You can smile and knife everyone in your party, it doesn’t make you powerful. 

You can lock children up, puffing yourself up and lording it over the vulnerable. 

You can talk up your “accomplishments”, they’re still nothing. 

Cruelty isn’t a badge of honour, it’s a scarlet letter.

That’s not power. 

You are not powerful. 

You never will be, no matter the office you claim. 

Oh you want it, you claw after it. 

You jostle and threaten and bully. 

Your hunger is palpable, and pathetic. 

It’s pitiful stuff.

It might promote you, temporarily, to a position of power. 

But it doesn’t make you powerful…

power isn’t yours for the taking. 

It was never yours. 

But you are too small and hollow to realise it. 

You fool. 

You sad, cruel, empty-chested fool. 


Can you dance across the sky and rise again? Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow? 


You can’t seize anything from the seasons. 







Sunday Sunshine

It’s my favourite kind of Sunday – no plans, nowhere to be, no need to watch the clock. 

There’s room for musing, so here we are. 

This morning, after a sleep in, I listened to a long podcast. While that was playing I gathered up clothes, I stripped the bed, and chased dust bunnies around the bathroom floor.

Windows got flung open; sunshine and fresh air working their magic. 

There are clean sheets out on the creaking Hills Hoist, in July! They might not dry completely, but it’s simply lovely to stand in the backyard and look up at a cloud dotted blue sky. 

I noticed these buds and it made me think about how things just keep going, and growing. 


Vines find the sun, that’s in their DNA. If there’s not a tree to climb, they’ll climb a fence, or a house or a rock. Nothing stops them from being what they are, or from going where they’re destined to go. 

Up and over. 

Up and out. 



We can feel so stuck where we are sometimes, but really, everything is in motion. 

Seasons, clouds, priorities, vines – they all evolve. They’re alive. 

The podcast I was listening to earlier reminded me of what the vines and buds showed me, life isn’t stagnant.

Like the vines and seasons, we are made to create, to grow, to tip our faces towards the sky. 

Even in the permanence and predictability of winter turning to spring, the way it unfolds is never the same. 

Thinking we can predict outcomes or know the future based on the past, it’s never going to work. And it can be so exhausting. 

Do you think that vine knows specifically where it is going to go ahead of time? 

I doubt it very much. 

I think it knows that it’s going to go up. 

Maybe up and over, maybe across, maybe slowly, maybe quickly… but it’s all upward growth, even when it’s snaking between fence posts, getting splinters. It’s growing. 

Perhaps permanence and unpredictability nestle side by side, longing for us to accept them both. Could they? Could we?

Keep growing my friends, and tip your faces towards the sky today. 


With love, 

Annette xx 



Things I’m Liking #1

I like all kinds of things – old things, odd things, shiny and tarnished things, new things. I like nature-y things and creative things too. 

I can’t be the only one who likes things, so I figured, why not share the things I’m liking with you. 

You like things too, right? 

Things I’m Liking posts might be mostly images, or links galore, or Elmo videos…. anything’s possible. 

Here are some thing I’m liking lately: 


I’ve decided to sketch every day in 2016. That’s 366 sketches. 17 down, a LOT to go. 

To help me kick start my year of sketching, I’m drawing along with illustrator Lisa Congdon’s 31 Things To Draw course on CreativeBug.

Do you know about CreativeBug?? It’s a RAD online creative hub where you can do loads of creative courses, and get loads of inspiration, and bonus – it is super affordable! 


This evening as I was hanging washing on the Hills Hoist, I looked up at the big tree in my neighbour’s yard and noticed how the light was hitting it in a beautiful way. 

I just stood there for a moment, admiring the tree, the shimmering leaves, the shape of the branches and the play of the golden light. I don’t think it’s possible to look at a tree, I mean really look, and not feel better. 

I’m mad for trees, for sky, for clouds. Mad! 

The sky has been so BLUE this week. Check it out. 

New magazine love

In my younger days, I was, frankly, a magazine hussy. I was giving it away to any glossy that caught my eye. 

Magazines were my weakness, and it was definitely quantity over quality. I bought practically every women’s mag on the stands – Dolly, Cosmo, CLEO, New Idea, Woman’s Day, and the once iconic, now slightly wayward The Australian Women’s Weekly. I miss you Maggie T. 

As I got older, my tastes changed, thank goodness!

I became a Real Living, Home Beautiful, and Australian Country Style kind of gal. Aspirational homes, stories about life in the country, and amazing insights into how people with way more money than I’ll ever have renovated and decorated their homes, with great food sections and gorgeous styling. What’s not to love? 

Lately, I have been a bit bored with this genre. 

These days, I’ve got BabyMac for my hit of country style, awesome stories, delicious food and gorgeous photography – as well as other fab blogs – so I don’t need those home style magazines like I used to. 

So, when I saw this Mindfood two-for-one pack at the supermarket, I snapped it up. There are some great looking articles in both issues. Perhaps I’ve found a new favourite? 

I also highly recommend Womankind, advertising free and so smart and beautifully presented.  

The return of muesli! 

Such a simple thing, a bowl of muesli topped with yoghurt, but something that came off the shopping list while I wasn’t working, and I’ve recently wanted to reinstate. Of course my local supermarket doesn’t stock my favourite kind, Carman’s Deluxe, so I ventured over to the competition et voila, score! I added some cranberries and scissored up some prunes. Yumfest. 

These are just a few of the things I’m liking lately. 

What are you liking right now? 

Got a great book or band recommendation for me? 

Have you discovered or rediscovered a thing that you’re really digging? Do tell. 

Oh, there’s one more thing I really like. You. Thank you for reading my blog and for your ace likes and comments. They, and you, rock. 

Until next time, 

Annette xx