February 23, 2014


Permission to Shine {and a giveaway}

DSC_5033As we reflect upon the year just ended, it’s pretty easy to write it off as not one of our finest. For a little while there, if I heard anyone say that 2013 was a great year, I have to admit feeling a bit offended. And then I got over myself and thought, hey, just because it wasn’t a great year for us, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a great year for someone else. And then I started thinking about all the things that happened in 2013, without being coloured by the cloud of Sam’s diagnosis, and realised just how many magical moments there were, both big and small.

We had a fabulous family trip to Victoria, celebrated a beautiful wedding and gained a sister-in-law. Our friends had babies. Our baby turned one. Renovations on our house mean that we now have a beautiful deck to watch storms from. We sat in a hot spa on a cold night on a rare visit with some of our very best friends and drank wine and chatted into the wee hours. I got to see my faraway-sister and her beautiful boys. I attended a life-changing course and was inspired by the parents I was privileged to meet. We met new friends and caught up with old friends. We camped in the rain. We have heard the giggles of our beautiful boys, have been inspired by their fierce sibling love, and we have felt the love of an amazing community around us.

There was hard stuff in 2013 too. Lessons on courage were demonstrated by friends who lost their baby boy, and they continue to live out his legacy of love*. Our son taught us about bravery as we embarked upon our journey with Leukaemia. Friends have faced health challenges, work issues, personal difficulties. But throughout all these hardships, we have witnessed love in abundance and learnt many lessons. We practice being thankful. We grow and move forward into a new day, a new year.

I’m not one for setting myself new year resolutions, but I do love the concept of setting a guiding word for the year. This year, I’ve decided that my one little word is Shine. I’m not entirely sure how it will manifest in my life just yet, but in my head it’s about putting a little sparkle back into our lives and learning to live beyond survival mode. It’s about doing more of the things that make me feel shiny – whether that be eating better, or spending more quality time with my husband – and, by extension, less of the things that don’t add shine to my life. We all have daily tasks we need to get done, but it can be too easy to get caught up in endless to-do lists and things that aren’t important, things that don’t add value to our lives. We only have ‘one wild and precious life’ (thanks Mary Oliver) and I want to be doing the things I love with the people I love. I want to be living authentically. I know that I’ll need help, that I can’t be shiny all alone, but I’m going to try and ask for help when I need it.

I know we’re almost a full two months in to 2014, but here are some of my desires, intentions, visions and commitments for the year ahead…

  • I am committed to running my first ever 5km fun run in March. I am not naturally a runner, but I have received lots of encouragement from my beloved husband and I have now told far too many people to back out of this! We’ve been blown away by the number of friends and family members keen to join ‘Team Love’**, which is fabulous, and this year’s race is in support of the Cure for Cancer Australia Foundation, which is obviously a cause now very close to our hearts. I have started training and, slowly but surely, I’m starting to feel as though I have a little more stamina with each run.
  • I want to enjoy cooking again. I don’t mean whipping up anything particularly flashy, just getting back to basics and making real food for my family free from everything you find in processed food. We started a little food evolution in our home midway through last year and I’m amazed at how far we’ve come already, but it got a little sidetracked when we were spending so much time at the hospital and Sam’s steroid-induced tastes changed. We were so blessed with many lovingly-made meals after Sam’s diagnosis, reducing the need for me to cook at a crazy time, but I’m keen to get back into the swing of things now that life is somewhat calmer. Of course, getting my three ragamuffins to eat my creations is a whole other story, but I’m working on them.
  • I’m committed to taking more photos on the DSLR. I am really thankful to have a talented husband with a penchant for expensive lenses and I’ve enjoyed taking over sharing this hobby more with him 😉 Inspired by Jodi at Practising Simplicity, I decided to join in the 52 Project and take a portrait of each of the boys each week for the year. So far, eight weeks in, I’m still on track, which is nothing short of a miracle.
  • I have this vision of hosting a weekend getaway for creative women that I’d love to turn into reality. I’m yet to nut it out, but my dream entails a small group of women taking some time away from domestic duties to focus on a creative project, have some alone time and together time, and do some dreaming about the future. And drink fine wine and eat good food (obviously).
  • I’m thinking about a tattoo (sorry Mum). I’m sure we could all psychoanalayse this desire until the cows come home and it may never happen, but there is a little thought lingering there in the back of my mind. Maybe. I’m still working through this one.
  • I’m really trying to get more thoughts, goals and dreams down on paper. I’ve even started a vision book, inspired by this lovely lady.


To celebrate feeling more shiny in 2014, I’ve put together a little New Year giveaway pack with the help of some friends.



In this little pack, you will find:

  • A beautiful zip-up makeup purse in cute Owl fabric, made and donated by the lovely Helena at Handmade by Helena.
  • A double pack (newborn to 12 months, and 12-24 months) Magic Milestones stickers in the design of your choice – a special way to keep track of your beautiful baby as you take a photo at each magic monthly milestone, or a beautiful present for a friend on the arrival of their new baby. These stickers have been created and donated by a very clever mumma called Kat and her handsome Parker.
  • A pack of limited edition Scatter Love postcards, designed by Fat Mum Slim and Emma Kate Creative – so you can write postcards and scatter love into the letterboxes of those you love. I think they are just beautiful and love scattering random love notes, so I bought an extra pack to share with you!
  • A custom designed necklace by Annie’s Nest Designs, as a beautiful keepsake of the babies in your nest. If you win, we can liaise with Naomi to create the perfect necklace for you. (As a bit of trivia, Naomi is the daughter-in-law of Patti Rice, who writes this lovely blog about her daughter Lily and their life with 11 children). This necklace is a special present with love from me.

omigrace24If you would like to enter this giveaway, leave a comment below telling me either:

1)      Which sticker design you’d choose over at Magic Milestones, or

2)      Which of Helena’s handmade creations you love the most from her photo album on the Handmade by Helena FB page.

One entry will be drawn randomly (using random.org) on 1 March and I’ll announce the winner when I post the 9/52 photos next weekend.

Conditions of entry: Entrants must leave a comment below (not on Facebook) and be contactable via email. Open to international entrants. Entries close: Saturday 1 March 2014 at noon (AEST). Winners will be chosen by random.org, notified by email and announced on this blog post.

Thank you for being part of my shiny 2014 and this little Mummalove community.

*As an example of Diane and Paull living out Blake’s legacy of love, a song that was specially written for Blake is now available on iTunes, and all proceeds are being donated to HeartKids. Go and download ‘Let Your Angel Fly’ by John Trager on iTunes and support the endeavours of this beautiful family.

**If you’d love to join us and run (or walk) in Team Love too, you can do that by registering on this website, saying you want to join an existing team and typing Team Love into the box. You will then be able to fill out all your own details to register for the run – either 5km, 10km, half marathon or a kids 1km. If you’re not keen on donning the running shoes, you can still support Team Love by donating online on our fundraising page. Thank you in advance!

(Special thanks to Bachelor Girl for letting me steal your song words for the title, and apologies if you’ve now got that song in your head like I do)


  1. Annie, as always you have unspired me with your words. I feel so blessed to have you and all your little loves in our lives! Xx

  2. Love it! I so wanted to do the photog project. Lol oh well 😉
    I would pick the boys will be boys sticker set. So cute! And I love the necklace! :)) great blog today

  3. Shine is just such a beautiful word with so much promise – it suits you perfectly! I am also doing a word this year and the one I kept coming back to was abundance … of time, energy, love, good times. Here’s to a great 2014!! PS. I’m loving the pick flamingo li’l purse by Handmade by Helena x

  4. A gorgeous post as always – you know I always admire your ‘glass is half full’ approach to life! As for my fave… well, I’m a Teacher-Librarian, so it has to be the gallery of library bags from Handmade by Helena of course!!!

  5. I wish i could actually find the time to run as well, as this seems to be the only activity i really love, the one that makes me shine 🙂 Btw, go for the tattoo (such an easy target :))
    I love the milestone idea, i’d pick the ANIMAL TODDLER MILESTONE STICKERS (only because i could use the “busted!” every single day LOL)
    The purse is lovely (Helena is so talented!), i LOVE the handmade quilted pink purse as well!
    Thanks xx

  6. Your blog are always inspirational Annie – thankyou. And I love the ‘Rainbow’ milestone packs from Magic Milestone. xx

  7. I love the Travel pillow from on the Handmade by Helena page. What a fabulous idea. And count me in for the craft weekend if it ever gets off the ground. I have so many creative juices floating around in my head but just no time to get to them. Love to you and your beautiful boys Annie. You write so beautifully and I am always excited to read your next blog post and update. xo

  8. I so love reading your posts, Annie. You’ve helped me so much since we started on our own rollercoaster in November, and I often think about your words of wisdom and calm when I’m feeling like the ride is getting a bit too ‘loopy’ for me 🙂 I love the personalised pillows on Handmade by Helena. The fabrics are stunning and I’m sure one would make the most gorgeous gift. xx

  9. Love reading your blogs Annie. I love the named travel pillows from Handmade by Helena and the Girls will be girls stickers. 🙂

  10. Shine is such a beautiful word to choose and it really suits you …. I think you already do 🙂 but tapping in to the things that make you FEEL as if you do is sure to be a transformational experience. As an aside, I loved the little skirt made by Helena …. Sending lots of love, Meghan Nathanson

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Other Posts You Might Like

Feeling overwhelmed? Take our self-care quiz.

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!