Get outta town

And so we did last Thursday for a long weekend in Daylesford. After going through lockdown 4.0 and a pretty intense past few months in a new job having to prove myself all over again – I felt very lucky to go away with Mr Rosanna and the kids. In the space of a few days, the Sydney outbreak has spread its tentacles to other parts of Australia so I feel like you are taking a gamble if you go anywhere interstate at the moment.

It makes it very hard to plan anything more than a week in advance and I think you need to be prepared to stay longer than expected (like my hairdresser Mel who ended up in Noosa for four weeks instead of one with Melbourne’s recent lockdown – hard life I know). If you’re a professional who can work from home, it’s become habitual to take your laptop home with you every night and on holiday – just in case.

Wheatsheaf property surrounded by forest

We’d booked our getaway before the last lockdown staying just outside of Daylesford in Wheatsheaf at an AirBnB located off a dirt road in a clearing surrounded by trees and wild kangaroos. Despite the freezing cold (it was less than 10 degrees every day the whole weekend), we loved Ross’s house with the light that spilled in from the clerestory windows, his retro music posters, musical instruments, old record players, plants and books. My kids called it ‘the cozy house’ and while we could have stayed indoors all day in front of the pot belly fire (which was on when we arrived and stayed on the entire time) reading books, streaming movies and playing records – we did venture out into the cold. It’s winter in Daylesford by Easter so beanies, puffer jackets and woollies are de rigeur if you’re heading north. Best to go via Woodend and not Trentham too with fallen trees from the storms earlier this month still being cleared from the roads.

Morning light inside our AirBnb

We spent two very cold late afternoons walking or running around the 2.8km man-made Lake Daylesford where you’ll find the Boathouse Restaurant and upmarket Lake House restaurant, hotel and spa around the corner – I’ve never been but hope to go one day in the future. Alla Wolf-Tasker’s restaurant is still considered one of the best regional dining experiences right up there with Brae in Birregurra, Wickens at Royal Mail in Dunkeld, Jackalope on the Mornington Peninsula and Provenance in Beechworth if you have a special occasion in mind. There is also some gorgeous looking accommodation in nearby Leggat Street overlooking the lake itself.

Front window – Michael Parker Gallery

On our first full day, we had lunch indoors at old favourite Koukla cafe at Hotel Frangos on the main street, while it was cold and grey outside. We ducked in briefly to Michael Parker Gallery which is well worth a look as much as we didn’t buy anything – the blown glass tulip ‘chandelier’ in the window had caught my eye as well as the beautiful building it’s housed in. While high end shops (with prices to match) abound in Vincent St particularly near the roundabout, our low key holiday vibe was matched with some low-fi shopping including buying a couple of new and second-hand books at Paradise Bookshop (a small copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran for me and one of Wally Lamb’s hardbacks for Mr R) and a pitstop at Brick Lane Bazaar retro and antiques where I found a miniature elephant to join my herd at home.

Books from Paradise!

On Saturday we spent a lazy afternoon checking out the wares inside the Amazing Mill Markets Daylesford, which was buzzing but not too crowded. There was a fun vibe with retro 80s music playing and even masked up, it was nice to exchange small talk with fellow shoppers -a freedom I’ve not taken for granted at this time. Mr R and I found a couple of decorative pieces for our house (we are fast running out of space) and I picked up a vintage cotton scarf, green ginger jar and Asian dragon teapot (pictured below). Similar to the house we stayed at, you don’t need a lot of money to furnish a home well, you just need a good eye and there’s lots to be found at that market – it’s one of the better ones to visit.

Vintage wares found at the Amazing Mill Markets Daylesford

While there are nice places to eat on Raglan Street in Daylesford including The Farmers Arms, Cliffy’s Emporium and Beppe Bar and Kitchen, we had booked dinner earlier in the week at the Swiss Mountain Hotel in nearby Blampied, which does great food. We’d happened upon it during our last stay in the area and they’d kindly let us in for an impromptu dinner despite being booked out. Mr R had a steak and me the slow cooked lamb and we all shared a sticky date pudding for dessert and there are options too for vegetarians and pescatarians. It was nice to indulge and feel like we actually were on holiday rather than in the midst of a global pandemic. I think we were very lucky to get away for a brief respite albeit one that ended all too quickly.

Mist over Lake Daylesford

We hit the road yesterday driving past the Daylesford Sunday Market at the railway and stopped in at Woodend for a pie and vanilla slice so I definitely needed to go for a run when I got home. I do feel like a bear that’s gone into hibernation and I hope we don’t go into another extended lockdown in Melbourne with all that’s playing out in Sydney and other states. Things feel quite serious. For me – I’m now booked in for a second vaccine shot next month and it can’t come soon enough.



While the Danish have hygge – or comfort and cosiness – the Finnish have sisu – a concept meaning strength and perseverance even in the bitter depths of winter. Given many Victorians are still without power in some parts of the state, I am thinking of them today and hope the sun may have lifted their spirits. Make the most of your vitamin D today as tomorrow is the winter solstice in Melbourne where we’ll have the least amount of daylight. I’ve been enjoying spending time in my garden noticing the small things like colour changes in my plants.

Some of our friends have fled to the regions this weekend and lucky them to have got away – I feel like it’s been eat sleep repeat for a while now in terms of life and lockdowns. Keeping up social connections over the winter is really important as much as you might feel like hibernating instead when the weather turns cold, as it is going to get later this week.

While I’ve been doing a lot of home cooking like most of us, I have noticed a number of new places open locally including franchise Hecho en Mexico in Heidelberg. Mexican Taco in Rosanna has been open for a while now and I’ve heard good things about La Pinta in Reservoir if you like Spanish food. In Ivanhoe East, Lucille Bistro has opened as well as the upmarket looking Vinoshi’s Beverage Shop.

I seem to have become my team lunch venue organiser too so Ima Project Cafe and Lagoon Dining are both on my radar in Carlton in terms of Asian cuisine while Korean dining experience Chae in Brunswick has also captured my attention open to groups of six people only and similar to Greasy Zoe’s in Hurstbridge that seats only eight people.

Grit can often separate those who achieve success through perseverance over those who give up. This Ted talk by Angela Lee Duckworth has done the rounds but if you haven’t seen it before – it’s an interesting one on the power and passion of perseverance.

Play on

They’re Melbourne football club great Neale Daniher’s fighting words from the game and from life as he has so valiantly dealt with MND since leaving the world of AFL. He has been recognised with a Queen’s Birthday honour this weekend and it’s been great to see more women recognised as well as many other unsung heroes. We have no choice at the moment but to play on and keep going.

It’s been a hard week to be in Melbourne despite coming out of our fourth lockdown- it has taken its mental toll on the strongest of us with its cumulative effect and I hope you have taken it easy this weekend spending time outdoors or dining indoors and supporting local businesses. My plans for an extended family dinner party went out the door, as may end up my upcoming plans for a birthday celebration of some kind. In the end, all that matters is that we are safe and my first world problems are not the end of the world. I’ve joked to Mr Rosanna that we might have a joint party together in the summer of next year instead although I am feeling for friends and family who’ve booked holidays in Queensland and hope to go once term 2 ends. My fingers are crossed!

It may be safer to go regional and I’ve also heard the snowfields are looking good this year if you’re feeling up to it. We’re yet to take our kids skiing given it’s not an inexpensive sport – friends have taken advantage of buying ski clothes from Aldi and a number of retailers also sell ex-rental and second hand kids snow gear if you need to keep costs down.

I’ve heard retail sales are actually up this weekend with the 25km rule and no house visitors still in place. I’ve indulged in some retail therapy buying some coloured pots from Plantsmith in Preston filling them with succulents being sold in one of my neighbouring streets (pictured below), which has made me happy. I’ve also fallen in love with these whimsical limited edition prints (above) from Annie Davidson, which have captured my imagination.

My win this weekend was rocking up to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton yesterday for a walk-in Pfizer jab after hearing from a friend it had been quiet on Saturday. There was no queue outside but the process inside took a good 90 minutes not including the 15 minute observation time after vaccination. It was very peaceful staring up at the angels painted on the ceiling of the world heritage listed building where our fellow Melburnians quarantined 100 years ago during the Spanish flu. Being the small world that it is, my uni friend Kato turned up in the queue just ahead of me and recognised me even with our masks on and I ended up making friends too with the random female stranger in front of me only to discover we had a mutual friend in common. Six degrees of separation…

I barely felt the Pfizer shot going in (unlike the flu shot) but I did have some pain at the site a couple of hours later when the full force hit – it feels like being punched in the arm so I took panadol last night to sleep. I went for a run yesterday and walk this morning and feel fine but Kato said she’s felt nauseous (despite being active too), which is a more unusual symptom. Side effects aside, I feel very lucky to have been able to get vaccinated. My besties and I went for a walk today however our plans to meet for a takeaway coffee at Matilda cafe in Mont Albert were thwarted when we discovered it was closed however there is always a next time – for everything. While Melbourne is no longer Australia’s most liveable city (congratulations Adelaide!), I have no doubt we will bounce back in time. This article about the great north and south divide here made me laugh – I think I will always be a northsider through and through! Stay strong Melbourne – our time in the sun will come again.

And so it goes

It’s been a long week and I hope you are doing OK? The cumulative effect of four lockdowns here in Melbourne has taken its mental toll – I found myself losing momentum as the week slowly came to an end last week. It’s been hard to stay motivated and I don’t think any of us should be too hard on ourselves.

Potato gems? Yes please! Sticky date pudding – bring it on. A hot jam donut – why not I say. Guilty of all the above and I’ll be baking some chocolate brownies later today just for good measure. It’s officially Winter in Melbourne and bitterly cold outside so why not try to warm the cockles of our hearts and look for comfort at this in between time; anywhere, anyhow and any way you can find it just as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. Our slow cooker has also had a serious work out in our house since buying one a month or so ago so yes I’m going to need to up the steps I’m not currently walking.

I’ve been reading about people seeking support through online groups and think it’s wonderful for those who need it. As a professional worker, I’m a bit over connecting online given the amount of Zoom and Teams meetings I’ve had this week but think if you’re up for it, we are definitely blessed to still be able to connect with other people over this time. I’ve actually made some good old fashioned phone calls to friends and family this weekend and gone old school. It’s been nice to hear someone’s voice but not have to look at a screen.

Of screens, it is a privilege to be able to stream entertainment (I’ve often reflected over this pandemic of people in wartime who had nothing but the radio) – my kids have loved The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Shadow and Bone and currently Sweet Tooth while looking forward to Loki and Lupin Season 2. Like many people, Mr Rosanna and I watched Kate Winslet’s extraordinary tour-de-force performance in Mare of Easttown and have also watched sci-fi series The Expanse and now True Detective – some of whose episodes are rated in the nines on IMDb. I’ve also caught a couple of episodes of Halston on the American fashion designer (starring Ewan McGregor) given I love the whole 70s disco era as you’ll note in the vintage gold number I wore on my wedding anniversary (above) before lockdown – yes, trying to hold onto some vestiges of glamour now that I’m hanging out at home in my trackie dacks and ugg boots…

My heart is broken for those working in the arts, tourism and hospitality especially in the CBD- the Rising Festival was cancelled although the organisers hope to resurrect some of the installations for next year and Patricia Piccinini’s work titled somewhat ironically A miracle constantly repeated at Flinders Street Station ballroom will be re-opening in August. It was National Reconciliation Week last week and I’ve been really pleased to see First Nations people and designers represented at Australian Fashion Week and locally at Craft Victoria. We have a First Peoples program and strategy staff member at ANZSOG and I find it very rewarding to be playing a part in having more diverse people represented in the media and marketing worlds.