Tree School Revisited

One from the archives while I try and find my words again..


Trees have a kind of magical power in my life. (Thank you, Enid Blyton!) 

When I look at them, I gain perspective. 

Summer trees aren’t better than winter trees, because it’s not about the number of leaves a tree has, its about the tree itself. 

A tree is tenacious, strong, grounded, life giving. 

It doesn’t become more or less of a tree because of what it’s wearing. 

It doesn’t become more or less of itself, because of what it’s wearing. 

Why do we struggle to learn this lesson from the trees? 

It isn’t about our leaves. 

Worth doesn’t come from your wardrobe. 

When I wear my cobalt blue jumper, I feel great, but it is just a feeling. The jumper isn’t magic. It doesn’t change me. 

Worth certainly doesn’t come from your car or your bank balance or your job title. It doesn’t come from your marital status, or your progeny and how well they behave in a cafe. It doesn’t come from the step count on your Fitbit or the number of projects you’re juggling. 

All of these things have an impact on how we feel about ourselves, but they aren’t who we are. 

Somehow though, we have bought into this lie, that the leaves – our outward appearance, our accomplishments and the badges we wear – mother, wife, healthy person, clever person, caring person, martyr – matter most. 

They don’t. They don’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Yet it seems they have so much power over us. 

I think we sometimes use these things as a salve for our souls, or props on the set of our lives. 

If I can just wear the right outfit, if my kids behave, if I get that job, if I’m “on track”, if I weigh XX kilos, then I’m okay. Do you ever feel like that? 

Because you’re here reading, I feel like we have some kind of relationship, so I have an invitation for you. 

I invite you to ponder this lesson from the trees. 

Think about the human equivalent of leaves – our clothes, validation through others, work, weight…. what role do they play in your life? What power have you assigned to them? While you’re pondering these things, please practice self-compassion. ❤️

After I sketched this tree yesterday, I got to thinking about my great aunt Adeline, who was a gifted artist. I was thinking about her style of painting and my style, and how different they are. She painted trees, and I sketch them.  They are identifiably trees in both instances, but they aren’t the same. 

We are like that too, you and I. 

We aren’t all the same, but we are all people. 

We all have worth and value. 

That doesn’t depend on the season, or the leaves, it simply is. 

You can’t earn it, you can’t get it from others, and you certainly can’t buy it or wear it. 

You can only realise and embrace it. 

Maybe that’s why the trees say wishawishawisha, because that’s the highest wish you can have for anyone. 

Learn from the trees. And please let me know what you hear them wishing for you. 

With love, 

Annette x 



Let’s Get Critical


I’m primed, and ready to criticise the shit out of some stuff. 

Who’s with me?? 


Okay, let’s warm up to the idea. Grab your boom box and whack in your fave 80s mixed tape. 

Pump up the volume when you hear Olivia start to croon. Just one minor adjustment, when she sings physical, we sing CRITICAL! 

Critical. I wanna get criti-caaal, let’s get into critical… 

let me hear your inner talk, 

that bitchy talk, 

let me hear your mean girl talk. 


Now are you with me? 


I am FED UP with bloody fantastic women being beleaguered by a critical soundtrack in their heads. 

Recently, a local plus size inclusive fashion brand had a pop-up, and they shared on social media that EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER who came into the pop-up shop and tried something on criticised herself when she came out of the dressing room and looked at herself in the mirror. Every. Single. One. God I hoped they were exaggerating, but sadly I bet they weren’t. 

I say this with love ladies, what the fuck is up with that? 

Let’s get critical of the criticism. 

Why are we so bloody awful to ourselves? WHY?! Seriously. We need to think – and talk – about this bullshit. 

I’m glad I asked! 

I’ll tell you this for nothing, it is not part of our DNA. It truly isn’t. 

There’s a lot invested in us believing that it is, but it isn’t. 

Speaking of investment, let’s have a think about advertising geared towards women. 

A while ago, cruising around my local Coles, I was looking to change up my shampoo and conditioner brand, just for kicks. I spied a new range on the blindingly illuminated shelves of the “beauty aisle”. What’s up with that Coles? It’s just oddly creepy. I looked at the various iterations of what I’m sure is the exact same formula in each distinct bottle, it suddenly struck me that none of the five or six options were for normal hair. None. 

Apparently, women don’t have normal hair, women have PROBLEM hair – too frizzy, too dry, too damaged, too blonde, too fine, too female. 

Seriously. What the hell is that about? 

Let’s get critical of this type of calculated manipulation of female consumers. 

Got a face? We can cover it! the make-up advertisers cry from the shelves. 

Got hair on your pretty little head? Nobody will ever know it was veering towards lankness once you’ve paid a fortune for our lustrous locks formulation, with pure jojoba and a double dollop of misogyny. 

Got hands and nails? Never fear, this 100% self-empowerment free hand creme will leave your digits soft and supple. Just what you need after doing all those dishes! 

Got legs? Oh legs, such a problem area… don’t worry ladies, we can shave them, wax them, tan them and firm them, we promise*!  (*All promises are voided once you’ve handed over your hard earned cash.) 

Sing it Livvy, I wanna get CRITICAL…. 


I’m just riffing tonight, yet I really want to thoughtfully, critically address this crap that we women are subjected to, and unwittingly subject ourselves to. 

I want to encourage your inner critic, but not to double down on shitting on your insecurities. No way. 

I want your inner critic to graduate from criticism to critical thinking. 

I want to target a “problem area” that the beauty aisle advertisers ignore at their peril, the mind! 


BYO leotard and water bottle, this is going to be quite a work-out. 



Annette x