Leaning in, and stepping back

Lean In is the name of the book on female leadership by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, which I’ve not yet read but apparently she’s changed her tune slightly from when she wrote it in terms of women’s behaviour in the work force and I definitely think men are the other half of the equation.  There’s also Thrive by Arianna Huffington, the Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, another book on success and the need for sleep (which is one of my favourite past-times!).  It’s during our most rested state I believe that we are the most creative, when ideas and Eureka moments happen.  The quiet time is also what’s needed for proper planning and thinking and that’s where the value comes from in our lives, not the crazy running around and the doing.

Clay Health & Organics – Rathdowne St

I’ve been reminded about Arianna Huffington as my trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch PT is following in her footsteps delivering a keynote presentation at a conference in San Diego later this year, of which Arianna was the headline speaker last year!  Needless to say, Nikki was already putting a lot of thought into her presentation when I last caught up with her and I need to get back into my training with her, when time permits.

Skinner & Hackett – Rathdowne St

I found myself in North Carlton over the weekend – a place I briefly lived in during my twenties and I still love the more relaxed feel of the suburb compared with Carlton itself.  Curtin Park is a lovely place to hang out and there are some interesting shops that have opened further down Rathdowne Street including Fledgling Espresso, Clay Health & Organics health food shop and fine meats retailer Skinner & Hackett, which specialises in ethically raised, organic and sustainably farmed meat and seafood – of particular interest to me after my recent lecture on veganism.  I loved the pressed metal counter and the meat slicer called Desdemona on display in the front window.

I hope you are enjoying the sunny days even if the mornings are a bit crisp!IMG_7306

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT

This is home

It’s the name of the book by Natalie Walton, which has recently been published, considering the art of simple living and what makes some houses feel more like homes than others.  I’m really looking forward to reading it and it makes a beautiful coffee table book or gift for someone with an interest in houses and design.   I have friends like me, who love watching Grand Designs with Kevin McCloud and it remains one of my enduring favourites – that and watching a lot of Nordic Noir!  Mr Rosanna and I have just finished bingeing on the last season of The Bridge.   The other book I want to read is Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie which was long listed for the Man Booker prize and is a modern-day version of the Greek story of Antigone.IMG_7301

I was out last night for dinner with some ex-work colleagues at Ocha Japanese Restaurant in Church Street Hawthorn – a place I hadn’t visited since it opened many years ago originally in Kew.  The food was good and not surprisingly, it was an older, more sophisticated and monied crowd dining inside.  Dishes are for sharing and with drinks, it was on the pricier side at over $80 a head – it’s not somewhere I would go to regularly but worth a visit.

Rosanna Level Crossing

It’s been a warm Autumn and Mr Rosanna and I are still working on our house wondering whether to paint it or not before Winter is upon us.  We’ve been trialling different paint colours and still haven’t landed on the right shade.  We live in an open plan house with floor boards and I’ve discovered that as much as open plan is fantastic for living areas, I do prefer zoned bedrooms and other spaces.  We’ve already put on a door to the kitchen for noise reasons and now considering a Crittall-style steel and glass panelled internal door for our formal living room.  I love the look of these steel windows and doors prevalent in the 1930s and still produced by Crittall in the UK but suspect the price will blow us out of the water.

Rosanna Level Crossing

Speaking of artisan, the Eaglemont Artisans market is on tomorrow if you are a lover of all things creative.  I had a brief drink at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna today having a chat with the owner Dennis, where I got a bird’s-eye view of the final stages of the Level Crossing, which still feels like a massive construction zone.  They’re now talking about it being ready by Monday 7 May instead of this coming Monday but I am dubious about it being complete, and safe, by then.  I am hoping it looks a lot nicer than the current behemoth that it appears to be now when looking at it from ground level.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe

The Dumpling Queen

While it’s not quite dumpling weather yet given the lengthy warm, sunny days, I have been eating dumplings at various places including my local favourite Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe which has consistently good yum cha – I always book the last sitting at 1.30pm so it doesn’t feel as rushed.IMG_7293

My current work colleagues (pictured above) also love dumplings and we regularly visit the Polaris Dumpling Kitchen whenever we feel like a bit of comfort food including last Thursday when we were celebrating a colleague’s birthday.  They’re pretty basic and so is the service but if you’re wanting something quick and easy – it’s a good go to place.

If you’re ever on campus at La Trobe University in The Agora you’ll find a great dumpling cafe upstairs (take the external stair case up from the Commonwealth Bank) where they make their own dumplings right in front of you as well as do a fantastic Hainanese chicken rice – great on a colder day.  Again, they’re even more basic (order at the counter and take your number with you) but the food is great.

When I left my veganism lecture last Wednesday night, panelists Mo Wyse and Matt Ruby as well as some of their young friends were trying to work out where to go and I overheard ShanDong Mama in Bourke Street being mentioned, who apparently do vegan dumplings.  Most Asian restaurants do vegetarian dumplings of some kind but it was the first time I’d heard about somewhere doing vegan ones.

I’ve nearly finalised my lecture topics for the second half year of the Bold Thinking Series keeping in mind the need to appeal to young people so that’s been an interesting exercise and I’m looking forward to locking them in and nabbing some relevant external speakers to complement our academics.

Waiting to exhale

Perhaps I will next week and by then it will be a third of the year done and dusted!  It’s flying by for me and I’m sure if you’re local, you’re looking forward to the roads being less fraught and construction completed although I daresay this will continue to be a work in progress given the slow rate at which infrastructure is going up around the place.

L-R: Dr Matt Ruby, Mo Wyse, Francis Leach, Dr Joanna McMillan & Richard Cornish

I had my sold out veganism lecture at The Sofitel on Wednesday night for over 300 people – while the format is generally the same – it’s a different experience every time we move to a new venue and this one wasn’t without its hiccups with last minute access to wifi, trialling of Facebook Live with limited success and the just in time arrival of panelist Dr Joanna McMillan who got there 5 minutes before we had to start.  Sometimes you need nerves of steel working in events and as much as I have a crack team working for me, there are always surprises.

Mo Wyse and me – The Sofitel

It was indeed a bold conversation with some left wing animal rights protestors in the audience who called out during the lecture about the fact that bobby calves are taken away from their mothers as part of the milking process.  While the discussion was more about diet and identity, it was hard not to be drawn into the ethics of eating meat.  Both Joanna McMillan and Richard Cornish grew up on farms as children so had different perspectives about being carnivores (or omnivores).  Practising vegans Dr Matthew Ruby and Mo Wyse also brought interesting elements to the table (excuse the pun) with Mo talking about food at her Fitzroy restaurant, Smith & Daughters, being all about the taste in terms of persuading people to eat more plants rather than appealing to their sense of ethics.  Mo also brought some street credibility to the whole night as a customer facing business owner, who was also a lot of fun!

For me the biggest take out of the night was that only 7% of Australians eat enough plant food and irrespective of whether you eat meat or not, we all need to be eating more fruit, vegetables and grains as evidenced by those who live in blue zones like Greece or Japan where locals are some of the longest living people in the world.   I think for those who choose to eat meat and seafood, it’s also incumbent upon us to know how our meat has been farmed, how it’s treated and where it comes from.  And rather than setting up division between vegans and non-vegans, it’s better to find the middle ground given global concerns about unsustainable population growth and feeding the planet.

The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe is on tomorrow as well as Markit and Bake on Sunday at Fed Square in the city.  Anzac Day is also upon us next week and locally, you may be interested in attending the Homefront public art launch and unveiling of four new sculptures at the Greensborough War Memorial Park on Sunday.

Running amok

Amok is the name of the modern Cambodian restaurant I went to on the weekend for a catch up with my PR friends from University and we are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year in terms of years since we graduated with plans afoot to catch up later in the year down at the beach.

Image via Amok Restaurant

The restaurant isn’t in the north-east but if you are venturing out south of the Yarra – it’s highly recommended and the chef is ex-Coda and Tonka.  Dishes are designed for sharing and we had a number of different salads with squid and salmon, slow roasted pork ribs, wagyu beef and popcorn fish along with lamb cutlet starters and shared desserts.  With drinks, we all ended up chipping in $50 each which included a tip.

It’s the second weekend in a row I’ve taken the Eastern freeway and while I will say now they are first world problems – the roads are a nightmare at the moment.  Last weekend, when heading to the city for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I found myself in the middle lane of the freeway (which usually becomes a right turning lane into Hoddle Street) where it splits between Alexandra Parade and Punt Road.  To my horror, the lane proceeded to disappear with barriers suddenly appearing right in front of me while I was driving at least 80 km per hour.  I had to veer into the left lane and it was only pure luck that no-one was driving alongside me in my blind spot.

Last night was even worse in that while I remembered to get over to the extreme left this time – again there were barriers in lanes coming off the freeway where you could only turn left onto Hoddle Street and only two lanes to actually drive down – one of which was the bus lane.  Returning from Windsor to Rosanna I got stuck in the detour on Burke Road as they are currently asphalting the Heidelberg Road roundabout.  Aargh!

Image via VicRoads

And don’t even mention the new P-turn to go right on to Hoddle Street!  I have an English friend who has only just come to terms with hook turns in Melbourne and I must admit even as an experienced driver, P-turns are a whole new level of surprise.

I did have a look at the new Rosanna Level Crossing today while getting petrol and I am really hoping it’s ready at the end of the month – it looms pretty large if you’re turning left on to Turnham Avenue from Lower Plenty Road so I’m looking forward to the finished product (as most locals are) given it’s all pretty unsightly at the moment.  The price of progress…

Picture perfect

The Thornbury Picture House movie theatre and bar has just opened in the north and I’m so excited there is another place to go around here.   I love that there is a bar attached for those who may just want a drink and it will be a great addition to the area with Palace Westgarth not far away in Northcote.  I also went to the Palace Balwyn cinema not that long ago and it was also good to see that that cinema has also been renovated with a new bar area in keeping with the whole Art Deco feel.  The Spanish Film Festival at Palace Cinemas starts on 17 April if you’re a fan of all things Latino.

Hunter lane
Image via Hunter Lane Cafe

Mother’s Day is also upon us next month and I have already made a family booking at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna which is running a number of sittings from 7.30 am – 1 pm in the afternoon.  Be quick if you want to book as they were already running out of room for larger groups.  Apparently tradies and spectators have replaced the usual punters at the cafe with the Rosanna Level Crossing almost complete and it is an official viewing station.

The Ladies__160
Mo Wyse – Smith & Daughters image via Bold Thinking Series

Speaking of food, I’m gearing up for my lecture next Wednesday night on the rise of veganism – we’re at over 300 people and I am expecting the lecture to sell out so again, book your tickets now if you want to come along!  I’ve got a number of friends and family who are going and it was also interesting to see Smith & Daughters listed in Broadsheet as one of the vegetarian restaurants to visit in Melbourne – I did a quick count and realised I’d been to 7 places on the list so maybe I’m a vegetarian in waiting.  Have a great weekend!

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe




ACMI’s new exhibition based on the adventures of Alice in Wonderland has just opened and I hope to visit over the coming months – I’ve always been a bit enthralled by the characters, imagination and surrealism of the whole story and remember seeing a pantomime as a child where the scene of Alice falling down the rabbit hole has stayed with me even as an adult.  I love the premise of the exhibition Imagine a world where nothing is impossible, which resonates strongly with me as one of Mr Rosanna’s own quotes is Anything is possible.

Image via KaBloom

A wonderland of a different kind is the KaBloom Festival of Flowers currently on at the Tesselaar Tulip Farm and I think it would definitely be worth a visit to see all the other flowers they grow at their absolute peak.IMG_7129

I’ve had a really busy start to the year (I know I keep saying this!) which included going to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Saturday night, which is still on in Melbourne this week.  My friend Colum was hilariously funny and my La Trobe workmates and I joined him for dinner at Fonda Mexican in Flinders Lane after his gig at nearby Tasma Terrace.  The food was excellent (you do have to order at the bar) and the music even better – we had a great night out and were the last to leave.  I obviously don’t get out enough!

Image via www.realestate.com.au

On another random note, this beautiful Art Deco house at 318 The Boulevard in Ivanhoe East has just come on to the market and I love that the owners have retained its original features and done a pretty sympathetic renovation restoring it to all its glory.  Enjoy your week.

The Atomic Age

Australian furniture designer Grant Featherston produced some pretty remarkable pieces in the 1950s if you are lucky enough to have any originals at home.  Featherston by aficionado Geoff Isaac was published over a year ago after Isaac crowd funded on Kickstarter and I’ve also seen copies of the book for sale at Andrew’s Bookshop in Ivanhoe.

Image via Kickstarter

Featherston’s wife Mary is actually giving a free talk at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church next Tuesday night at 8pm, brought to us by the Heidelberg Historical Society and if I didn’t have such a packed calendar this month, I would be going to this.

Image via Booktopia

I’ve not been reading anything non-work related but had seen this book Enlightenment Now by Steve Pinker recommended by Readings and it’s on my list as well as social researcher Hugh McKay‘s new book, which I believe is going to be called The Good Society.

Enjoying a team lunch!
Image via Bold Thinking Series website

I’ve been busy this week promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on veganism, which is highly topical at the moment and as someone who works more behind the scenes, I’ve got a lot of respect for public speakers and broadcast journalists.  While preparation is key, the ability to think on your feet and then eloquently make a meaningful statement that can be easily followed is another skill.  Speaking of which, I did want to share the Banyule Women in Business 2018 Highlights video link where you’ll see a snippet of me speaking but some other women who I think did a better job of preparing themselves and working out what they wanted to say.  Oh well Miss Rosanna, next time!

Bloomin’ beautiful

Ballarat was indeed just that this Easter long weekend and with great reluctance we headed back to Melbourne yesterday afternoon after some long, glorious days enjoying the sun at Sovereign Hill and in the daybed looking out over the rolling hills of Black Hill from the floor to ceiling windows of the house we’d booked on airbnb.

We drove up on Good Friday and briefly stopped in at Kryal Castle just to have a peek as it was closed.  Instead, we said hello to the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen in the paddock outside and walked up to the entrance of the castle where we were surprised by a costumed worker who had seen us and promptly opened the front door to allow us a look inside.  We will save a visit for another time as Kryal Castle has been there since 1974 but I’ve never yet gone.IMG_7197

We drove in to town past the fabulous Mill Markets which we did later visit on Sunday morning but found more trash than treasure besides  a vintage egg cup and handmade Asian teapot in the shape of an elephant for me.  Given it was Good Friday, we spent over half an hour queueing at Apollo’s Fish and Chips with locals and tourists alike but had a great time enjoying the retro posters and 80s music – it was the happening place to be!

Queues seemed to be the flavour of the day as Sovereign Hill was even more crowded on Easter Saturday morning.  I tried to buy online tickets the night before but the system wasn’t operational so once again, we spent 40 minutes waiting to get inside although I have to say the wait was worth it.  The crowds dissipated once you were in and while the main street was still very busy (lots of Indian and Asian tourists) – we had a great time re-living our youth and seeing the place for the first time though the eyes of our children.  This included buying raspberry horse head lollipops from the boiled sweet shop, to getting personalised Wanted Dead or Alive posters to panning for gold with everyone.  We skipped the mine tour given we’ve done one previously in Bendigo, as well as the horse and cart ride but managed to enjoy everything else including the candle making demonstration, musket firing, a drink at the bar, pies and chips from the bakery and bowling at the alley.

My tip is go first thing in the morning, make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes as it’s pretty dusty and the ground is hard.  I’d made the mistake of packing cold weather clothes thinking it would be more like Daylesford (instead it was more like Bendigo) and stupidly had forgotten to pack a hat.  Having said that, there are plenty of shady places to take refuge in unless you are panning for gold or out on the main street.

We were pretty knackered on the Saturday night after walking most of the day so it was great to have dinner at the Black Hill Hotel which was walking distance away from our house.  We snaffled the last of the fresh oysters and enjoyed respective mains of pork belly and Japanese style salmon – all of which were delicious and there is a kids menu as well.

We’d stopped in briefly in town on the way to Sovereign Hill where we got to admire the street art and walked past the Ballarat Iyengar Yoga centre.  We returned the following day to have lunch at Kittelty’s Cafe inside the stunning Art Gallery of Ballarat (a tip I’d been given from Age food writer Richard Cornish) after driving to Start Cafe and finding it closed.  The cafe is also opposite the majestic Regent Theatre and all the beautiful heritage buildings in the main street are wonderful to look at.

While we had brought our bikes, the morning had been a bit blustery so we visited in the afternoon instead and enjoyed the still current Begonia Festival in the greenhouse and the black swans swimming at Lake Wendouree near the calming and serene Ballarat Botanical Gardens.


We spent our last night having dinner with my sister and her family who were also visiting over the Easter break – we had a great kitchen to cook in with a rambling garden outside filled with herbs, veggies, fruit trees as well as a cubby and trampoline so we would definitely stay there again.

We didn’t want to come home yesterday but work and reality await…