You Were Listening


new in | crosley record player:



I like to talk. A lot! And so many times I think when I’m saying something, nobody’s actually listening.

You know how it is? You need to relay messages, organize people, communicate with others to get stuff done, and just generally do a lot of talking. Most people who know me would agree that I sometimes use more words than necessary, but what am I gonna do? I’m a chatter.

Most of the time I assume the household is only taking in a small percentage of what I’m saying. I base this on the fact that I have to repeat myself at least 52 thousand times with each direction I give!

I may also be an exaggerator, but that’s a whole other story.

But every now and then I get a bit of a shock when I realize that someone was listening to something I said.

The other day, Bell was playing around with her computer. She was going between filming outside for a movie she was making, and doing something with music. I love that she has a go at creating using technology, and wish I knew even half she does.

When I heard the music starting to blast, I was ready to yell at her to turn it down. Then I recognised the song was American Pie by Don McLean, my most favourite song ever!

After I sang along to the whole song, which goes for three hours and 45 minutes (see, exaggerator), I asked why she was playing it. “Because it’s your favourite song, don’t you remember?”

Yes I remembered, because it’s not only my favourite all-time song, but it was also the first VINYL record I ever bought. But what really threw me, was that she remembered something that I’d told her a long time ago, and it stuck with her!

So maybe some things do get through.

Now I just need John to listen when I have to tell him 432 times not to leave his stuff on the kitchen bench (definitely NOT an exaggeration).


Do you feel like you’re sometimes talking just to hear the sound of your own voice?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Life, Love & HiccupsA Quirky Bird and Gift Grapevine for the Weekend Rewind.

Walking Through Mud


Splashes of Color by believer9, via Flickr:



Lately I feel like I’ve spent my days walking through mud. You know that feeling when everything you have to do is an effort, and not much really gets done at all?

For the last few weeks, we’ve had a sick house. Bella arrived home from her week in Canberra with a head cold, and by the time she was on the mend, John had picked it up. He developed some complications, and for someone who never has a sickie, he’s taken a lot of time off work. Thanks goodness I’ve been lucky enough to avoid it completely. I think that’s just because I know deep down that if I do come down with it, I’ll pretty much be fending for myself.

It’s kind of how it goes with mums isn’t it?

So it’s been one foot in front of the other around here. All the basics are being looked after, but not a whole lot of awesomely fabulous things going on.

Well it looks like John is finally getting better, which means I have no more patients, and things may start to get back to normal soon. Yesterday I tried to remember what a normal day looked like for me, and it felt like one of those hadn’t been around for a long while.

But there have been some pretty good things, and they far outweigh all the yuck:

# Bell received an academic award at her schools’ Celebration of Excellence last week. She’s really put a huge effort in this year, and it’s paid off. I love that she’s bursting with pride about this.

# Out of the blue, I got an email telling me that I had won this amazing printer, thanks to the most gorgeous Sonia at Life, Love & Hiccups! When I read it, I was kind of bewildered because I’d completely forgotten that I entered. Then when it sank in, I actually screamed. Which is a bit unfortunate, considering I read it at about midnight…..oops!

# Extremely positive medical results for both my mum and my aunty. I’m always holding my breath when they both go for check-ups for their respective illnesses, and do a mental happy dance when it’s good news. Not that I’d ever let them know that I’m worried, but it’s so good that they’re both doing OK.

# I managed to find the exact bike Bell wanted for Christmas, marked down to under half price. It was the perfect mint green requested, complete with the obligatory bell and basket. So that’s a huge tick off my Christmas list!

# And Christmas, my most favourite time of the year!! I love the countdown, the anticipation and just all the excitement surrounding it. I know it’s really not about that, but as I was raised with no religion in my life, I prefer to think it’s a time to spend with family and be thankful for what we have. A good time to think about others and what we can do to share some genuine goodness around.


Ummm OK, when I really think about it, everything’s pretty allright around here.


Have you picked up the bug that’s been going around? Have you ever won anything? And do you LOVE Christmas as much as I do?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Quirky Bird and Toilets Aren’t For Turtles for the Weekend Rewind.


I Love…..


Add a touch of Swedish style to your desk with our gorgeous new Svenska Hem collection of printed homewares: Source


I’ve been spending a lot of time painting lately, and with that comes much thinking. Thinking in particular about things I love, and some of those things are a little bit random. But that’s OK, because random kind of sums me up pretty well, I think.

Some of those random thinkings are:

Driving. Driving has always been one of my favourite things, especially by myself with the music LOUD. Years ago I was a sales rep, and driving all over the city was the part of the job I liked best. I still marvel that we can travel so far, in such a short time, on a whim.


Writing with a pen. I’m a reluctant user of technology, and even though I do appreciate the wonders of social media, I truly love writing with a real pen on real paper. Whether notes, some lettering or even a shopping list, the physical act of writing brings me a fair amount of joy.


Windy day beach walking. We live not too far from the water, and our dogs are at their absolute happiest when I take them for a walk along the beachfront. I especially love it when it’s nice and windy, and I feel like I’ve really been out in the weather. Tasting that salt in the air just tops it off.


Starting a fresh magazine. There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting down, preferably in a nice dark coffee shop, with a never-been-opened magazine. I love getting lost in the words, turning real pages and best of all, learning something new. My favourite mag is Frankie, and it never fails to motivate me. Pair that with two good coffees, and I’m refuelled with a top-up of caffeine and inspiration.


Washing. I know, right?! Nobody enjoys washing, let alone includes it on a list of “loves”. And I guess I don’t really enjoy the act of washing, as much as the satisfaction of seeing an empty laundry basket. I love when the whole process is complete, and everything’s been washed, hung out, brought in, folded and put away. Walking into the laundry when that’s done, fills me with all kinds of “aren’t I just so fabulous?” So because of that, washing earns a place on my list.


Mango season. Quite simply, even though they’re available practically all year now, mangoes eaten in summer are always best. We always go a bit silly with them, and buy tray after tray. But with them so readily available, and so sweet and juicy, why wouldn’t you?


What would be on top of your “I Love” list?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & Hiccups, A Quirky Bird for the Weekend Rewind.


how you see you


Froissé mirror // Designed by Paris-based Hungarian artist Mathias Kiss from Yellowtrace: Froissé mirror // Designed by Paris-based Hungarian artist Mathias Kiss from Yellowtrace



How do you see yourself?

When you really stop and think about it, how would you describe yourself to someone who’s never met you before?

Make a cuppa, find somewhere quiet, and have a think about who you really are. It’s not often, if ever, that we actually think about ourselves in a way that others might, and it could be very enlightening.

Be warned, it could also be a little confronting.

I don’t know why, but the other day I started thinking about how I would describe myself. I can’t even think what triggered that train of thought, but it lead me down a rabbit hole, and gave me a bit of a shake up. Questioning myself is one of my favourite getting-lost-in-my-own-head pastimes, but this time I tried to stay on track, and just think about me.

Some of the stuff I came up with was kind of random, and I won’t go into boring details. But I do love that I sort of stepped outside myself and looked in at what I’m made up of.

I know dwelling on things is not so great, if it’s all about negatives. But what if you happen upon some things that you really wouldn’t mind changing? Surely that could be working towards positive?

I also think that how we see ourselves can influence the image we present to others. If you feel confident and happy with yourself, chances are, you’ll come across like that to whoever you meet. The same goes for feeling bad about yourself and whatever you do. Then you’ll probably not be the most fun person to be around.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to be all super-duper, but a little positive self talk may set you on the right path. I know every now and then I have to give myself a mental slap and get back on track, and it probably doesn’t do me any harm.


Are you happy with how you see yourself?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Linking with Maxabella LovesLife, Love & Hiccups and Potential Psychology for the Weekend Rewind.


100 Days Of Zen Watercolour




Back in June I joined a challenge on Instagram with The Great Discontent and Elle Luna.  I started with genuine good intentions of posting a piece of hand lettering, every day for 100 days. But once I missed a couple of days, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen.

I think maybe it wasn’t the best challenge for me, as I kind of lost interest. As much as I thought I’d eventually catch up, it really dwindled away to nothing.

Fast forward to now, and I’m ready to give it another go.

Starting next Tuesday, I’m doing “100 Days Of Zen Watercolour”. I’ve been playing around with watercolour paint and pigment ink, and am quickly falling in love with the whole process. I’m also working with collage, and have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages!




If you would like to follow along, and see if I make it to 100 days this time, you can watch my progress on Instagram. I’ve dreamed up some cute little creatures to play with, and my posts will be a mix of painting and words. If you have a word that you would like to see on a watercolour background, feel free to let me know.

Tuesday is significant because it’s the 1st of September, and the first day of Spring! My most favourite season of the year, and a big cause for celebration, in my books. Let’s see if I make to 100 days, hopefully even improving along the way.


And just quietly, I’ll be seriously working on my photography before Tuesday.


Linking with Maxabella Loves, Life, Love & Hiccups ,  A life Less Frantic and Handbag Mafia for the Weekend Rewind.


Word Of The Day


Alphabet on pastel colors Digital Print by by attitudeandjoy



I’ve always had a fascination with and love of words. The way the same word can have different meanings, and different words can mean the same thing.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved reading, and a brand new book is always something I’ve treasured.

We started Bell’s association with books and words when she was practically newborn, and I’m thrilled that she too has a love of reading. She also loves to play with words, not only in stories she makes up, but also songs she writes. I’m also extremely grateful that her English teacher this year is not only encouraging, but great fun too.

Remembering my school days, it was always the interesting ones that got us really thinking and exploring.

Over the years we’ve had the usual string of word search books, diaries and journals, poetry posters and handmade bookmarks. Anything that can celebrate the beauty of words.

Recently, Bella has started having a word of the day. A word that pops into her head and hangs around for the day. Some of the recent words are:

                       rummage       giblets       lentils     raggamuffin    delinquent    chum     bungalow

Random for sure, but always gives me a giggle when she shares.

I love that some of her friends and teachers have now started asking her what today’s word is. Good to know I’m not the only one who appreciates her ways, and how she likes to have a laugh at herself.


I absolutely LOVE how this kid thinks, and hope she always stays a bit kooky…..just like her mum.


Do you have a favourite word?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , and A Life Less Frantic  for the Weekend Rewind.

No More “If onlys”


reach for the stars



I was reading back over some of my older posts recently, and came across this poem I’d written a while ago. I think I was obviously meant to re-read it, as it’s just what I needed to hear right now.

Don’t let the “if onlys” stop you.



If only…..

You could follow your dreams,

And no opinion mattered.

You could chase the wonder,

And not be scared of losing yourself.

If only…..

Learning new things,

Was within your grasp.

Scaling the heights,

Was not impossible.

If only….

Settling for near enough,

Was not your only choice.

Making do,

Not the sole option you had to take.

Now open your mind,

Banish the “if only”.

You can become those dreams,

And catch the wonder.

You can become the teacher,

And shout from the sky.

You can stretch far beyond near enough,

And choose to keep running.

If only…..

We didn’t doubt, but only did.


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic  for the Weekend Rewind.

Stuff Happens


Pretty pastels in the snow. Child / Family Photography / Christmas Card Idea / Prop Ideas / Winter Photo Session Idea / Holiday / Outdoor



Well, it’s 6 whole weeks since I’ve written anything, and I’ve really missed it! Time gets away, life takes over and stuff happens. But, even though I really don’t have a lot to say at the moment, I feel like I need to jump back in.

I’ve missed sharing and chatting, reading and learning new things from the gorgeous writers I follow. I’ve missed the writing, but mainly I’ve missed the connection to my community.

I had a bit of a stumble a little while ago, and thought I was back on track, but then things got a bit crazy, and I kind of drifted away from my keyboard.

Two members of my family are dealing with illness at the moment, and I’ve been focussing my time and energy on them. I’ve also been spending as much time as possible with John and Bell, because cocooning yourself with your most loved feels like the natural thing to do, when things get tough.

Seeing what these family members have been going through has had me thinking in all directions at once, and I’ve found it hard to make any sense out of what I want to write. At the same time, I’ve been recording my thoughts on paper, but haven’t felt I had anything that warranted being shared.

But while I haven’t been creating anything here, I’ve been using my spare time to expand some art pieces I’ve been playing around with. When an idea comes to me and I start working, I feel like it all should fall into place straight away. I get so frustrated when things don’t come out on paper, the way they look in my head. So many times I have to remind myself to enjoy the process, and not try to race to the finished product.

Gradually, I’m getting better at slowing myself down and taking time with each step, and can’t believe how much more enjoyable the whole thing is. Looking at what I’ve completed is so much more satisfying when I’ve had fun along the way.

I’m starting to look at this process as the way I should be living my life too. We’ve all seen the quote floating around online: “it’s about the journey, not just the destination”. It may sound annoyingly simple, but it’s pretty true, isn’t it?

Now, I’m not too sure how much I’ll be writing in the near future. I may keep doing what I’m doing, and just post once a week for a while. I’ve realized that I miss the company of my virtual friends too much, to stay away for ever. And maybe I’ll start sharing about the behind the scenes of what I’m working on as well. Just let me know if I start to ramble about paint, paper and ink too much.

This is actually my 500th post on here, and as much as I’d love to celebrate with a giveaway of something awesome, I think I’ll wait until my plans fall into place, and I have something cool to offer.

I’ve also been so slack with The Blog Roll, and absolutely need to get back onto that! If you’re a blogger and would like to tell us about your online home, let me know so I can send you some questions. You can reply in the comments here, or better still, email me at

So there you go. Stuff will always happen……that’s just life.


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic  for the Weekend Rewind.


The Zen Files // Denyse from Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect


Today we’re finding out a bit more about Denyse from Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect. Denyse has recently joined the ranks of the semi-retired, and now has more time to follow her passions.




Please tell us what your blog is about and why you started it.

The current version of my blog is about me and being connected to readers every day. I started in at the beginning of 2015 with the goal of a daily post to keep a record of my first year of a completely new life since selling our house in Sydney and moving to the Central Coast of NSW. I also retired from just about all of my work responsibilities in education AND we have left our dear families ‘behind’ consisting of our grown kids and their kids…a total of 8 grandkids.



What does “zen” mean to you?

Zen means being ‘chilled out’ and taking all things in life as they come…. I am not so good at Zen (yet)



Tell us about something positive that has happened to you and how it has affected your life. 

The positive that happened to me that means the most was meeting my future husband in 1970 at a country teachers’ meeting and marrying him in 1971. We have weathered many, many storms of his ill-health, loss of a business, selling a much loved ‘dream house, difficulties with secondary infertility, depression and anxiety issues for me and my subsequent early retirement as a school principal.

BUT what has always, always kept us together is the simple love of and for each other which has never waned. We are each other’s best friend.




If time and money were no object, what is something you would do to help others?

As Sydney siders (formerly) It would be housing for our kids (actually we did this to our detriment but I wouldn’t change it – we added more to our mortgage to give our kids large deposits for their first homes in mid 2000s) and I would like to be able to ensure our grandkids had tertiary education costs met and perhaps help them into their first houses.



Are you working towards anything that will make a positive change in your life? 

I am indeed. Since moving and leaving employment and family had an impact on my emotional health with resultant stress-based physical issues (IBS) I have taken responsibility for making big positive changes and Mindfulness Meditation is the direction for this.

I started slowly building my understanding and awareness via on-line and in person groups and now I meditate daily (44 days in row to now) using Headspace from the app of the same name. It has made me more mindful in my daily life and helping me in the transition I am in right now.




Is your blog what you thought it would be when you first started it?

As mentioned, this version of the blog started this year. I have has a blog or three since 2010. I registered my name as a website (with great foresight I now realize!) so my name has always been somewhere in what I have blogged about. In 2010/11 it related to my husband’s health issues (now resolved thanks to a wrong diagnosis) and then I used my teaching and school expertise to blog for families and teachers in 2012-2014. In 2015 I simplified into the blog it is now and I write about any topics of current news interest, personal interest and to help families and or community.



I have so many wonderful blog favourites that make me smile.  What are the 3 that brighten your day, plus one that we may not have heard of before?

Blogs I always read:

Woogsworld – Kayte was probably one of the first bloggers I ever met and I read her blog as I have become known to her and would count her as a consistently good and topical blogger. She has been very kind to me over the years. We call each other Mrs W.

Maxabella – again Bron has been read by me for years and she respects my views on schooling and education and I like that!

Clairey Hewitt – Clairey doesn’t write often these days but when she does it is always worth reading. Insightful.

One you may not know: by an Assistant Principal in Sydney, this blog provides insight into the daily life of a teacher and school administrator.


My Art Space


The Random Roundup…… just for a bit of fun.


Which do you prefer?


Beach or Country.  Beach.


Pinterest or Instagram.  Instagram.


Cheese or Chocolate. – can there be a dead-heat?


Flats or Heels.  Flats.


Black & White or Colour Photography.  Colour photography.


Cool or Warm Weather.  Cool weather.


Fruit or Veggies.  Fruit.


Early Nights or Night Owl.  Night owl.


Tv or Radio.  Radio.


Comedy or Drama.  Comedy.


Denyse blogs daily, highlighting her posts with some beautiful photography of what makes her days special. Visit at Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect.


If you would like to share what your zen is all about on The Zen Files, or what you’re dreaming of via What’s Your Dream, contact me on


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic and Boiled Eggs + Soldiers for the Weekend Rewind.


10 Things That Make Me Happy


10thingsThere’s a fabulous hashtag doing the rounds on Instagram, asking you to list 10 things that make you happy.

I posted mine yesterday and have been looking at others that are being shared. I love that everyone has really thought about this, and the lists cover a wide range of happiness.

I’ll put my list here, and hope that it may inspire you to think about it, and share as well. If you do share on IG, use the hashtag #10thingsthatmakemehappy and tag me @zenlisalee, so I can see your happies.

Putting some thought into what brings a smile to you, is also a really good way to think about gratitude in your life. And I’m sure we all have more than a few things to be grateful for.


1. Being inside and cosy when it’s raining.

2. Library and coffee shop dates with Bella.

3. Mastering an artistic process.

4. Long, talky lunch dates with John.

5. Seeing the bottom of my laundry basket.

6. Brainstorming with clever, creative friends.

7. The look on my dogs faces when we hit the beach.

8. Waking up before the rest of the household.

9. Finding a fabulous seaglass haul.

10. Spotting random wildlife on the school run.


What would be your top 10?


Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.