The Royal Rabbits of London

It’s the name of the beautifully illustrated children’s book, which I bought as a gift for one of my youngest son’s friends the other week.  The book is the debut children’s novel by author Santa Fiore, which was co-written with her historian and writer partner Simon Sebag Montefiore.  The front cover caught my eye as well as the story about the smallest rabbit being the biggest hero and life being an adventure.

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Image via www.simonandschuster.com

Winter is on its way and it was pretty cold yesterday.  Mr Rosanna and I actually took our children bowling for the first time with some other families and it was a lot of fun!  OZ Tenpin Bowling in Grimshaw Street Bundoora was actually booked out with competition on so we found ourselves instead at AMF Keon Park in industrial Thomastown.IMG_5795

We actually loved the quiet of the centre (above) which we had almost to ourselves when we arrived although more people started spilling in as we left.  There is something timeless about old school bowling alleys like these with their arcade games (anyone up for a pinball machine game or air hockey?) and hot chips for the kids.  It was a great way to spend a wintry day indoors.

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Image via www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au

A few things to mention today.  The Nillumbik Prize 2017 Exhibition opening is on at Montsalvat in Eltham this Thursday 1 June and I was also reading with interest about the opening of the Mister Morris Studios in Preston, which still has some vacancies if you’re an artist, designer, maker or some kind of like-minded professional looking for a creative space.

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Image via www.popandscott.com

Meanwhile if you’re a fan of Pop & Scott, they are holding a Melbourne sample sale with up to 80% off this coming Saturday and Sunday at their Melbourne showroom at 27a Hayes Street in Northcote.

Where is the love

I’m focusing on the things I can control at the moment and try to encourage my children to face the world with love, not fear as much as it’s sometimes difficult to do.  I often think about the lyrics too, in The Smith’s song Ask about shyness stopping you from doing all the things you’d like to in life – shyness, like fear, can be paralysing sometimes but I think it’s important to keep going after the big things in life that are important to you, ask questions and stay curious as we never know what’s around the corner.

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Image via Hatch Contemporary Arts Space

It’s National Sorry Day today and there are a couple of Indigenous events I wanted to mention.  The Nahlinggu Bagung (Come Gather) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Exhibition opened yesterday at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe and is on until 10 June.  The Little Book of Things to Do in Banyule also features some great things to do over the winter period.

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Image via Eventbrite

La Trobe University is also holding Closing the Gap in Higher Education Symposium on Indigenous higher education next Friday at the State Library Theatrette, which includes a very impressive speaker line-up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics and other high profile people.

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Image via www.darebinarts.com.au

The Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival starts next Monday celebrating food traditions and sustainable food practices.  A number of my friends do annual tomato passata bottling with their families, while Mr Rosanna actually made jam for the first time a few weeks ago.  Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

To us

We celebrated our wedding anniversary this past weekend and while places like Attica and Brae are still on my fine dining wishlist, Mr Rosanna actually chose somewhere local for us to celebrate this time around.

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He took me to Mercers Restaurant in Eltham, which has been there for what seems like forever, and a place we nearly collaborated with when I was the publicist for the Light Factory Gallery for a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival food/art event that unfortunately never got off the ground.IMG_5774

Mercers is housed in an old weatherboard cottage and has a timeless, if not trendy, feel about it.  The food was excellent.  There is a degustation menu and you can choose from a two course or three course set menu – with two courses being the minimum if you eat there.IMG_5773

Mr R opted for the smoked salmon while I had the pea soup with prawns.  For mains, Mr R went the Middle Eastern-style slow cooked lamb shoulder while I had the barramundi fillet with scallops and mushrooms.  Although we barely had room, we also shared a dessert plate for two which was probably the only hit and miss – the lemon meringue and chocolate souffle were the picks of the bunch.  Having said that, the entrees and mains were something really special, beautifully presented and delicious and on par with anything I’ve eaten at fine dining establishments in the city.  There were lots of what looked like well heeled Eltham locals eating and the service, warm and attentive.  I can see why it’s so popular with nearby residents.IMG_5777

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We stopped in briefly at the Brougham Street Bazaar right next to the former Light Factory Gallery (and now Second Home Eltham cafe) on Brougham Street, which is always delightful.  I found a vintage bamboo tea caddy which is now holding my jasmine and oo long teas at home.  I hope you too had a wonderful weekend.IMG_5778

Amazon Princess

Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince is my all time favourite superhero and I’m excited that she’s the main character in the latest movie being released next month.  It’s about time that we got to see a strong female protagonist in the lead role for a change instead of the usual all male line up.  I’d like my boys to know that women can also be heroes of the day.

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Wonder Woman clipart image

My youngest loves a dress up at the best of times and he’s wanting us to go in character to Oz Comic-Con at the Melbourne Convention Centre in July where we can all unleash our inner geek.  Friends who’ve gone to the smaller Supanova at the Melbourne Showgrounds have warned me that Comic-Con is a very big day and event so possibly a bit overwhelming for younger children and freezing cold if you’re dressing up in something skimpy!  I’m not sure that I’m completely sold on the idea….

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Image via Lentil as Anthing

Speaking of cold, I went out last week with my work mates for a meal at Lentil as Anything at the Abbotsford Convent where they’d chosen to sit outside!  Luckily I was running late and a female colleague had warned me to rug up as well as bring extra clothing and blankets for her and some other friends.  There was an outdoor heater but it was still pretty cold given it was less than 10 degrees.  Our friend who’d organised dinner is a mad hiker and camper but he may have been taking things a bit far given we all thought we were going to be inside.  Aahh… nothing like the great outdoors in Melbourne.  Needless to say I filled up on the green curry, green tea and sticky date pudding on offer, which were all delicious and cost me the grand total of $15 (plus a tip I left).  Have a good weekend!

Controversy

It’s Prince’s ripping song that greeted me on arrival at the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday, and I’m glad I finally made it to one.  Mr Rosanna and the boys rode their bikes from our house, which was the smarter move as the car parks were crazy with attendants directing me from not one, not two but three different spaces.  I eventually nabbed a park at the base of Banksia Park and walked up from there to the market.IMG_5755

There were some beautiful stalls with a focus on Mother’s Day presents and it was busy with all the people there with their kids and dogs in hand.  It was great to see some of my ex-Visitor Services friends from Heide at the official Heide Museum of Modern Art stand selling things from the Heide Store as well as my friend ceramic artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen who was strategically placed right next to them.IMG_5760

Mr R and I were hungry when we got there so the coffee cart and stall selling ciabatta rolls filled with all sorts of yummy delicacies, wine and fresh juices was very welcome.  Be warned there was a big queue for coffee in particular and the three men at the cart were working pretty feverishly in an effort to keep up.  It was lovely to just sit in the sun and enjoy the buzz as well as the music curated by the resident DJ.IMG_5758

And while I ended up buying a pair of statement earrings from Ara + Lyra, Mr R was more interested in the Merkos custom guitars handmade by a Greek couple who’ve moved to Melbourne, and the boutique beers on offer from Barrow Boys Brewing Co. in Reservoir.IMG_5759

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day if you have a mum in your life.  I enjoyed breakfast out followed by a relaxing afternoon reading the papers by the fire and watching a bit of the Eurovision finals on SBS.  It’s been nice to have a breather.  Have a great week.

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The Guilt Trip

It’s the name of Kasey Edwards’ new book , which is a meditation on the guilt women feel about their bodies, relationships, pregnancy and childbirth, motherhood and careers.  It’s published by Black Inc. Books who have partnered with La Trobe to form La Trobe University Press and the University’s 50th Anniversary book – From the paddock to the Agora – a copy of which was given to me as a thank you from Vice Chancellor John Dewar for working on the 50th.  Kasey’s invited me to her upcoming book launch, in conversation with Clare Bowditch, being held on Thursday 25 May at Readings Hawthorn in Melbourne.  If you’re interested in attending, it’s free but please register on Eventbrite.  Being the small world that it is, Kasey has previously worked with Mr Rosanna while I have had dealings with her partner, an Associate Professor, who works at La Trobe University.

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Image via Black Inc. Books

I missed the recent launch of local author Les Zigomanis’ book for Young Adults called Pride (published under his pseudonym Lazaros Zigomanis) the other week.  I met Les last year at the Busybird Publishing Karma Kinglake writing retreat as he is the Publications Manager there, working closely with owner Blaise van Hecke.  I love the preamble to his book ‘dreams mean nothing unless you have the courage to pursue them’ so it’s another one to add to my list.

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Image via Black Inc. Books

Indeed it was interesting to note at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit some of the practices of our greatest leaders include waking up early, yoga, meditation and reading books, and lots of them.  Apparently Elon Musk reads two books a day on average and many leaders curate the content of what they take in – choosing books over the noise of traditional and social media and being pedantic about their energy management.  I think it’s something the average person can take on board as well so we’re not feeling drained at the end of every day.

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Image via Busybird Publishing

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend so I just wanted to wish all the mums out there a fun day on Sunday.  If you’re interested in doing something arty, there are also two exhibition openings on tomorrow afternoon at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre – Technician’s Choice and Group Formalism.  The Homestead has recently re-introduced a lunch menu but also does great scones and jam.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member

Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

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L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

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My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

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Image via louisemahler.com.au

But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

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Image via drjasonfox.com.au

I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.