Eat, play, love

It’s been a limp to the finish line this year and I hope you may be feeling less weary than me.  I have had a very productive year but also feel that all I’ve done is work, and there is more to life than work!  I’m lucky enough to enjoy what I do in the main and to be able to make a living from it, which is more than I can say for some people.  There are a large number of younger people with university degrees, often way more qualified than me, who find it incredibly hard to find secure employment and I have people who send me unsolicited CVs on a regular basis looking for a break.  If you are an employer, please consider taking on someone inexperienced but with the right attitude, who is prepared to work their way up.

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I also think it’s important to feel like you can be yourself in the workplace as much as we all have our professional personas, which is what being ‘authentic’ is all about.  I dislike that this word is bandied about as something outside of ourselves when its meaning is the exact opposite!  Perhaps people are too afraid of revealing their inner selves sometimes for fear that people may not like them but I often tell my children to just be themselves and as I’ve grown older, I find it refreshing to meet people who have a very natural sense of ease and openness about themselves, rather than holding up any fronts.

I’ve also become far less concerned about what other people think about me (particularly those who don’t really know me) and more concerned about what I think of myself, the things I enjoy doing, the people I like to spend my time with and what gives me a sense of peace and belonging.  I think beyond having good health, a sense of meaning in life comes from social contact, friendship and connection.  Building and maintaining relationships with the people you care about is the most important thing and I’ve said this a number of times on my blog.  Work is work, but at the end of the day, it’s the people we come back to at home and in our social life and community, that make it all worthwhile and with whom we should share the best part of ourselves.

It’s been interesting for me too, to explore what younger people are concerned about; mental illness, gender & sexuality, male privilege, climate change and sustainability, refugees and Indigenous rights, generational differences in terms of jobs, housing and the whole gamut of related issues (don’t bring up smashed avocado with Millennials) – they are a thoughtful bunch and some of these things will be covered in my Bold Thinking Series lectures next year, as well as more right-wing topics.

I have actually started exhaling and thinking about other things besides work (!) and I hope you have too.  I am extremely grateful to many people out there including my sponsors, Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod as well as Dani and Dennis Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna – please support local businesses if you can over the summer break.  For anyone who has helped me personally or professionally this year – thank you too – it has meant a lot to me and you know who you are.  I’ll be taking a break over the next couple of weeks but wanted to wish you a safe and happy festive season – take care, enjoy the food and remember to have some fun with those you love.  All work and no play…well you know what they say!

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Almost there…

…but not quite yet!  I feel like it’s been an eternity since the start of the week.  Time seems to have slowed down or maybe it’s my poor brain struggling to cope with tie-ing up loose ends for this year and planning and budgeting for next year.  I don’t think I can take much more in and I’m sure some of you may be feeling the same way.  I’m mentally tired at the moment and very much looking forward to a break.

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Image via Facebook (correct date is Sat 16 Dec)

Christmas is almost here and there are a few things going on around the place this weekend.  Jeweller Abby Seymour is holding the Local Makers Market at her studio in Brunswick and if you’re local, I think this would be a great one to stop by.  A friend of mine is a fan of the Rose St. Artists’ Market in Fitroy and will be visiting soon to buy herself a birthday present (these poor people who have December birthdays!).

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Aacute jewellery image via Markit

Markit & Bake is on at Fed Square this Sunday and I love that food is included in this year’s event.  I also love some of the Melbourne jewellery designers participating including Aacute and Kingston Jewellery – some statements to be made there!

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Main House image via Stix and Stones

Locally, I’ve been hearing about the opening of new restaurant Stix and Stones in Lower Plenty and hope to manage a visit at some point over the summer to check it out.  The Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe officially open tomorrow with Carols by Candlelight on at Ivanhoe Park.  It is starting to feel a bit like Christmas…

A Christmas thought

I’ve not yet started winding down for Christmas but hoping to in the next week.  I rushed past a woman walking leisurely down my street last week and realised that’s been my usual pace so have been mindful of trying to slow down ever since.

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Melbourne Town Hall Christmas projection image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas for me this year as I’ve started reflecting on the year that’s been – we’ve had a good year albeit a terribly busy one but it’s been a very productive and expansive 12 months for us.  For some of my family and close friends, it’s been a much more difficult year with diagnoses of serious illnesses, challenges with children or parents and other extremely traumatic events which have me marvelling at the endurance of the human spirit and the ability to go on, even when things are really tough.  We are stronger and more resilient than we think – life goes on and we must keep going with it, even when we don’t feel that we can.

There are over three million people in Australia who live below the poverty line and it’s something that’s given me pause for thought this Christmas – as the eldest child who grew up in a single parent family, I have some understanding of how hard life can truly be when circumstances conspire against you.  But equally, I believe in the three ‘E’s’ – education, employment and (self) esteem.  Education is a way out of poverty and with that employment – a meaningful job that allows you to build a sense of pride and self esteem and a means of living a positive and productive life.

While sometimes we can’t help our circumstances – they don’t need to define you as a person – it’s what you do with what you have at the time that counts – some of the most successful people I know are self-made.  We are all responsible for our own lives and our behaviour towards other people irrespective of good times or bad, are to me, the real markers of someone’s character, sense of self-responsibility and determination, and level of emotional maturity.

Generosity of spirit, consideration and thoughtfulness towards your friends, family, neighbours and strangers with actions that demonstrate your respect and care are the things that help build great communities and enable closeness, friendship, peace and understanding.

It’s given me something to think about this Christmas – to let go of grudges, to show compassion and forgive those we think have wronged us or who are undeserving in some way but to also seek forgiveness from those we’ve hurt – unintentionally or otherwise – and to let go, to accept and to move on knowing no-one is to blame – sometimes it isn’t personal or intentional and sometimes it says more about the other person than ourselves.  We are all imperfect human beings who each play a part in things in this game we call life.  Without forgiveness, and when people are treated as less than human or as somehow different from us, there can be no love in the world and we all go on the merry go round of anger, mistrust and negativity and the cycle continues.

With that in mind, I wish you peace in the lead up to Christmas, especially if you’ve been as frazzled as me, and I’ll be back with more later this week.

Glitz and glam

I had coffee this morning at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna (there’s car parking behind the library) and it’s fantastic to see owners Dani and Dennis both receive the Mayoral Choice Award in the recent BestBiz Awards.  I do feel like the whole Village is undergoing a resurgence with new shops, cafes and restaurants slowly starting to open in, and around the Lower Plenty Road strip and perhaps Rosanna’s time has come.

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Wonderlust collection image via Wedgwood Australia

Speaking of getting all decked out for Christmas – I have been eyeing off Wedgwood’s Wonderlust collection inspired by the wonders of travelling from Europe through Asia.  I’ve also long admired the Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir chinaware inspired by Andalusian iron work – a touch of the exotic for the every day if you can afford it.

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Alice McCall ‘I feel it coming dress’ image via David Jones

You may also be preparing to slip into something more stylish for Christmas and I do love some of the more glamorous dresses from Australian designers Alice McCall and Rebecca VallanceStudio Elke also does some pretty amazing handmade statement jewellery if you’re after something special.  Our friend local jeweller Amy Renshaw also does glitter earrings if you’re a fan of these.

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Magnetic earrings by Studio Elke

The countdown is on until Christmas and the Kris Kringle Night Market at the Northcote Town Hall started a while ago while the Coburg Night Market is being held tonight.  The Sisters Market in Brunswick is also on today and tomorrow if you’re in the area.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe

 

From El Salvador to Japan

Having not one but two birthdays in my family just before Christmas every year always kills me and this year was no exception.  I spent most of this weekend eating but the good thing was that it took our minds and attention off the miserable and wet weather conditions.

Poor Mr Rosanna’s birthday is always overshadowed now but we managed to salvage the day by taking him out for brunch at new Rosanna cafe The Pioneer, which is firmly on the map after a visit from our Premier Daniel Andrews MP last week.  The front tables were taken but we were given some seats in the back room (above) with the square communal table that seats 12, housing the Christmas tree, which small people came to look at while we were there.

The owner has a social enterprise background but this is his own first cafe and what I love even more is that he is a local and an El Salvadoran Australian so the menu is Spanish-influenced.  Despite the drizzle, the place was still rockin’ on Saturday morning with very much an inner-city vibe – I still find it hard to believe sleepy Rosanna is finally starting to wake up.  The coffee and the meals (above) were fantastic – as good as you’ll find in Fitzroy or Collingwood.  On a sunnier day, it would also be lovely to spend time in the back courtyard tables so it’s great to see this former newsagency transformed into something of the times.  Interesting too to know that besides a Woolworths supermarket, Chemist Warehouse is also coming to Rosanna Village in the near future on the corner of Lower Plenty Road and Bellevue Avenue where Meridian Travel used to be and going all the way up to where Chris the Cobbler (who’ll be moving to Macleod) has been for over 30 years!  They made him an offer too good to refuse…

Mr R’s day didn’t stop there as I’d booked dinner for us a while ago at Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, which was also a great experience given the conditions outside.  Brunswick Street is always pretty busy on a Saturday night but it was jumping (and dark!) inside the restaurant where we had a booth table after Dani from Hunter Lane Cafe had recommended me booking.  There was some pretty awesome 70s dance music on high rotation while we were there so I found it hard to sit still – it’s got a great atmosphere and reminded me a bit of Garden State Hotel in the city with all the different layers and parts to it upstairs and downstairs.  There was a private function going on upstairs but the Village People rooftop bar with hawker style dining would also make a great date night venue.  The mixed sushi and sashimi platter that we had (above) was beautifully presented and there was a team of Japanese chefs behind the counter doing their thing.  I’ve not been to the sister restaurant in St Kilda but I think it would be just as good.  It was interesting too to note that we weren’t the oldest people in the joint – I think there are a number of older people now downsizing and moving to the inner city.

We’d walked past a number of cool looking bars and restaurants on the way to Ichi Ni Nana including The Rooks Return, Smith & Daughters and Bon Ap but ended up at Uptown Jazz Cafe where we had a drink and stayed for a couple of songs by a jazz trio playing two sets that night.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday night in Melbourne.

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We also had dinner at local favourite Benjamin’s Kitchen in Alphington on Friday night followed by ice cream at Fairy Hills Ice Cream in Ivanhoe (in a great location on Lower Heidelberg Road opposite Ivanhoe Grammar) where we played a game of Uno.  We were at Leo’s Fine Food briefly over the weekend (where again I am loving all the Christmas packaging for imported European foodstuffs like Italian Panettone above) and I noticed that ice creamery Wally & Fletcher on Burgundy Street is just about to open so Fairy Hills will have a new local competitor.  I am hoping the weather picks up again for all of them as I think it would be great to share the ice cream love.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe

#MeToo

It’s the viral campaign of women sharing stories of sexual abuse and harassment and while it’s been incredibly disturbing to hear about the Harvey Weinsteins and Don Burkes of this world, I can’t help but feel it’s also a good thing to have such disgusting and unacceptable behaviour outed.

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Image via http://www.intelligencesquared.com

I work in a media and communications team with a couple of ex-television news readers and it was also interesting to go out with my two bosses and broadcaster Francis Leach the other night for dinner and conversation as I think such behaviour has been fairly rife in both the music and entertainment world and perhaps just the tip of the iceberg.  I am hopeful that as more women rise into senior ranks and positions of power that this will change.

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Ita Buttrose image via Wikipedia

 

I think I’ve been fairly lucky working in PR most of my life as it’s a female-dominated industry with mainly women also working in many of the industries I’ve chosen like fashion, beauty, retail and visual art.  I’ve never experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace although unfortunately I can’t say the same for public spaces like bars, clubs and on the street.  If I had gone into journalism, my preference would have been to work for a magazine but again, the likes of these Sydney-based publishing companies have also been run, in the main, by women although I think we have champions like Ita Buttrose, Lisa Wilkinson, Marina Go and Mia Freedman who’ve also paved the way for the next generations.  I have always found these women inspiring as role models.  I think if I’d gone into radio or TV, then it might have been a different story given the amount of men who’ve traditionally worked in these organisations (and who still mainly do).

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Lisa Wilkinson image via Wikipedia

I led a focus group a couple of weeks ago with a number of 20-somethings and it was also a fascinating exercise into not only the topics that interest them; but the way in which they engage.  They’re a picky bunch and the online world is just as real to them as face-to-face connection as much as this Gen X-er disagrees.  I think you lose something when all communication is done via a screen – the subtle nuances of body language and social skills are diminished for me as much as social media is convenient!  It’s indeed a brave new world and I look forward to incorporating some of these topics into the 2018 Bold Thinking Series.

The rain has arrived here in Melbourne and after multiple events on every night this week and more to come, it’s been nice to have a breather.  Stay dry!