We need to talk about Kevin

Kevin 07 that is.  For someone who regards themselves as fairly apolitical, I am going to have an interesting end to my working year with both the Hon. Kevin Rudd for the launch of his new book – Rudd: The PM years at The Sofitel next month as well as a panel of pollsters, political advisors and journalists including Vice Chancellor’s Fellow Tony Walker (who makes me laugh with his sense of humour) for my Bold Thinking Series lecture the following night titled Is democracy broken?  Given the revolving door of Prime Ministers and parliaments, the Australian political landscape has been a very dynamic space, to say the least.  It doesn’t end there for me as my final lecture of the year will be with another ex-Foreign Affairs Minister who shall remain nameless at this stage, needless to say it’s been a fascinating exercise dealing with very senior people at the highest level.3D book - The PM Years - Kevin Rudd

It’s been warm today and a pretty dry September – I’m about to plant some hanging herbs although forgoing other plants this year as I have a dog (or vandal as we call her) who has chewed her way through all last Spring’s plants and a number of our shrubs in our back yard and left it looking like a tip.  I love my dog but she’s naughty.

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It’s all about the football this long weekend and while many Melburnians will back the Magpies, I suspect the West Coast Eagles may continue their domination – the poor young Melbourne Demons team were seriously outplayed last week at every turn.  I did watch the Brownlow Red Carpet on Monday night and not surprisingly, my favourite outfits were the more covered up numbers worn by Britt Davis (Paolo Sebastian) and Hester Brown (Gwendolynne).  The silver dress worn by Melbourne player Max Gawn’s partner Jessica Todd (Georgia Young Couture) was also stunning and likewise gold dresses worn by Dani Shreve and Ruby Keddie if you’re into metallics.  It was also nice to see both pink and lilac featured in dresses worn by Jessie Murphy and Bec Judd (J’Aton).  At the risk of sounding very prudish (!) I’m not a huge fan of the plunging necklines, thigh high splits or see through numbers but understand that it’s always more about glamour rather than style.




Meet you all the way

It’s beautiful outside today and I hope you get to feel the sun on your skin if you’re having to work.  The streets feel pretty quiet at the moment with the September school holidays upon us although I’ve been quite happy to spend some more time at home as both my house and garden have been in a state of neglect.  With all the sunshine, it becomes apparent there are lots of jobs to be done!

Image via Tesselaar Tulip Festival

If you are having a staycation, the Royal Melbourne Show is currently on at Flemington and a lot of fun if you’re looking for a day out.  The Tesselar Tulip Festival in the Dandenong Ranges is also on at the moment and again, it’s a great day spent outdoors (with all the tourists!) if you get a chance to visit – I love that this year’s theme is Tulips in Wonderland as it does feel exactly like that when you get there.

Image via Rosanna Fire Station Community House

On a local note, the Rosanna Fire Station Community House has put a call out for volunteer Board members in a number of different areas and if you have some time up your sleeve and a level of expertise – it’s a great thing to do from a community perspective.  Rosanna yeah!

Clever conversations

My feminism lecture at the State Library was completely sold out last night.  Interesting too in that we’d copped some criticism for having an all white female panel and while this is where we ended up, it wasn’t where we started.  Putting together a panel of speakers is both an art and a science and as a female ‘person of colour’ myself, gender and cultural diversity is something that is always at the forefront of my mind.  We struck out early on with a number of gay, male, indigenous and feminist people of colour as potential panelists, which isn’t something the general public is privy to.  I’ve been told by a highly credentialed pollster that people who come to public lectures are ‘self selecting’ anyway so there goes the argument for ‘diversity’… At any rate, we can’t nor do we try to be everything to every person – we can only ever show part of the conversation but not all.

L-R: Dr Beatrice Alba, Professor Jenny Graves, MC Francis Leach, Clare Bowditch & Bri Lee

We had a pretty powerful panel of women including external panelists musician Clare Bowditch (who’d ridden to the State Library on her bike!) and young feminist lawyer turned writer Bri Lee.  While we’ve got some way to go, it was interesting to hear Professor Jenny Graves‘ experience of sexism early on – behaviour that would get absolutely called out as unacceptable by young men and women now but was considered the norm in the 1960s and 70s.  Interesting too, Dr Beatrice Alba‘s evolutionary psychological experience and data that show even small or minor amounts of marginalism are damaging.  Clare Bowditch talked about her experience as a woman in both the music and media industries and as the mother of a 15 year old daughter, as well as her own experience as a ‘fat’ child growing up.  Bri Lee was an equally impressive speaker with an in-depth knowledge of the legal system revealing how antiquated it is and that class-ism and poverty are major issues alongside racism and sexism.  The lecture was livestreamed here and will soon be available as a Clever Conversations podcast on La Trobe University’s Soundcloud account.


Speaking of women, my friend Alisia is coordinating a Ladies in Black film fundraiser at the Lido Cinema in Hawthorn next month if any of you are interested in attending.  Alisia is also doing the catering for the event to raise money for the Order of Malta Australia.  I saw the trailer for the Australian film when I watched Crazy Rich Asians the other week and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Image via Pared Eyewear

Despite unluckily being under the weather yet again, I did sit outside in the sun briefly yesterday and was happy to see all the new growth on the trees and shrubs in my back yard. Warmer weather is on its way and there are some Australian clothing and accessory brands that have recently caught my eye.  If you’re after new sunglasses, Pared Eyewear do some great styles and I also recently bought a pair of handmade Nelson Made sandals, which remind me a little of  the (much more expensive!) Ancient Greek Sandals Taygete Bow.  Lovely too some of the eco-reversible bathing suits by swimwear brand Baiia.com.au

Image via Nelson Handmade

Have a great weekend – I’m hoping the Melbourne Demons once again prevail over on the West Coast. Carn the Dees!

Image via Baiia Swimwear

Raise hell

IMG_8468Despite being raised in a family of girls, I now live with my family of boys and so have moved from fashion and frocks to football.  We saw Melbourne play off against Geelong at the MCG last Friday night (pictured below) and it was a great atmosphere as much as I had a pretty hoarse throat by the end of the night.  We joined over 90,000 people there and there’s just as many going tonight.  Football at the G is one of those quintessential Melbourne experiences whether you follow the footy or not and may the best team win this season.  There’s also some great street art featuring a couple of the boys currently on display in the city’s laneways.


It’s pretty warm today but I think the weather is going to turn tonight.  If Mexican mariachi music is of interest the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra’s Of light and darkness is on at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School tomorrow, which isn’t something you hear everyday!


I’m hoping the weather is better on Sunday as the Olivia Newton John Wellness Walk and Research Run is being held at La Trobe University, YouthFest 2018 in Macleod as well as the Montsalvat Arts Festival in Eltham.  Go Dees!

Crazy Rich Asians

Grossly materialistic and over the top? Well yes, but I think that point was a bit mistaken by some of the film’s detractors given the intention was creating something all about froth and bubble on the surface.  While it’s a story about old and new money in Singapore and the prevalence of conspicuous consumption (tasteful and otherwise) in the movie Crazy Rich Asians (based on the book by Kevin Kwan) I really enjoyed its underlying, and universal, themes of family, love, duty, class, the transformative power of education and the importance of personal integrity, identity and self-worth. Class to me is not a question of birth but of personal values, and how these are demonstrated in different ways by different people.  Money doesn’t buy class, nor does it buy taste or style as I’ve previously said on this blog.  My sisters and I had a great time at the Kino Cinema (where the recent Persian Film Festival has been on) watching the movie yesterday and there was more pathos and depth to something that initially presents itself as being more light-hearted and lightweight.

Image via Classic Cinemas

We’d caught up earlier in Chinatown at Shark Fin House for a quick yum cha where my Uncle George’s restaurant Golden Orchids can also be found in Little Bourke Street (pictured below on a somewhat dreary Sunday afternoon).  After decades of working in hospitality, my uncle has decided to finally retire and his restaurant will close at the end of the month signifying the end of an era.  Like much of the street, the old guard of Cantonese Chinese are making way for the new Mandarin-speaking northern Chinese and their dumplings.


But back to the movie, it was surprisingly emotional and there is a pivotal, and powerful scene, near the end that centres around a strategic game of mahjong, another thing that reminds me of Uncle George as his late wife, my Aunty Faye, would play most weeks at their house and my sisters, cousins and I would marvel at how fast, and noisy, the game was.  I won’t spoil the ending but it’s also been lovely to see how many of my non-Asian friends have loved the movie as well.

The Italian Film Festival is about to start at Palace Cinemas this Thursday and if you’re looking for an Asian meal experience locally, Eltham Bookshop still had some tickets available for a special Adam Liaw Destination Flavour Literary Dinner also taking place this Thursday night at Noble House Chinese Restaurant.

The art of doing nothing

Mr Rosanna is also a writer and in fact more progressed along the path than me in that he’s actually started a manuscript for a book.  He’s also written his first published article  Are we forgetting to rest? on Medium considering the need for rest especially if you want to perform at your best regardless of whether you are an elite athlete, a parent, a business person or just someone struggling to keep up with daily life of work, study, family, friends and interests.


I was out last night catching up with two ex-work colleagues at the very stylish Cru wine bar in Kew – an ‘all day Euro bar’ with functions and event space (pictured above and below).  It’s been there for a while and is a bit of a fave with the inner Eastern locals.  They have a serious selection of wine on offer, a bit similar to the Gertrude Street Enoteca in Fitzroy that’s owned by a girl I went to high school with, and the food was good.  Carnivores that we are, I had the salmon fillet and my two girlfriends a rib-eye steak and the veal.  There’s also the FLATIRON Side Door bar that’s part of the FLATIRON fashion and homewares store in East Kew that’s also a local favourite for those in the east.


A couple of things to mention today.  Homewares store Lightly Design has a warehouse sale on today and tomorrow if you’re in the Collingwood area with samples, seconds and goodies with up to 70% off and the Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow in Bulleen and would make a lovely outing now that Spring is in the air.

Finals fever

Despite growing up in a family of girls, I now seem to have made up for it as the sole female (bar my dog) in a family of boys.  It’s finals season in my household not only in terms of the AFL but also with kids’ sports.  I’ve been one of the many team managers for the Banyule Hawks this season and it’s been a lot of fun.


Spring has arrived and it was glorious standing outside bathed in the morning light today – the weather is going to heat up this week and it’s about time!  I’ve desperately needed some motivation although I did go out for a very brisk run yesterday afternoon and I hope you all had a great Father’s Day – or Mother’s Day to those single parents out there doing double duty.  It’s not always an easy day for those without a father in their life and I have a number of friends and family where this is the case.


On another note, local artist Rona Green is selling two of her whimsical designs Fritz and Lionel (above) on antique white cotton/linen blend tea towels, which would look great framed and hung on your wall if not used in the kitchen!  Tickets are currently on sale for the Montsalvat Arts Festival in two weeks’ time being held on 16 September.  Their family-friendly HallowSCREAM event on 31 October also looks like a lot of fun if you’re a Nillumbik local.  My children have just celebrated Book Week at school, as most primary school children have, and their costumes will be getting a second airing for Halloween.  It was barely celebrated when I was a child but seems to have become such a big event with the baby boom that’s been going on the past 10 years or so.  Have a great week  and enjoy some of that sunshine.