Heaven and hell

What a week it’s been. From a pandemic to protests, an earthquake and everything in between – the strangest of weeks in Melbourne ended on a high note for our family with the Melbourne Demons winning the AFL Grand Final giving the gallant Western Bulldogs hell and ending a 57-year drought and the Norm Smith curse (a story for another time for the uninitiated) at the same time. The irony of the game being played in Perth rather than at the MCG hasn’t been lost on long-suffering Demons fans but regardless, the joy of winning has outweighed any negatives including not being able to be there in person.

Dees donut box by t.withcake

We celebrated with some special donuts from t.withcake in Doncaster – my friend Jules has previously bought other baked goods from owner Tanya and had sent me an Instagram pic of their donut boxes. I have to say the donuts were spectacular with the right combination of cinnamon and sweet icing being absolutely dee-licious (!) – I would order them again as they were heavenly. Pelligra Cakes in Greensborough also did their own range of Grand Final cupcakes and cookies (below).

Grand Final cupcake/cookie range by Pelligra Cakes

I’ve not yet visited Gotham Doughnuts in Ivanhoe but will have to give them a go and I am curious to know if their vegan doughnuts taste any different from normal ones. My other recent discovery was Brazen Brownies in Fairfield as we have a family birthday coming up and a special request for a brownie cake (who knew?) which I discussed with owner Caroline over the phone this week. It was interesting to read about Tanya from t.withcake and Caroline from Brazen Brownies and how they both came to run their own businesses – both women have have worked respectively in veterinary science and law but in the end hospitality and food have won out – it’s inspiring to see especially when things have been so hard for many small business owners.

Melbourne Demons Premiers Alex Liddy Cheese Board by Demons Shop

Going back to the footy, there are a few cliches about Melbourne supporters and their love of Range Rovers, skiing and cheese boards – I did laugh looking at some of the premiership merchandise available for sale online including amongst the usual suspects of T-shirts, jerseys and caps… a branded cheese board (above)! Only in Melbourne (or should that be for Melbourne?).

Matilda Mont Albert

I’ve spent a good part of the past few days catching up outdoors with friends and family walking off all the calories including a walk with Jules to Matilda cafe in Mont Albert on Friday – there was a queue of people waiting outdoors for coffees and other food and drink and we’d chosen to walk there as Heide cafe in Bulleen wasn’t open on the Grand Final public holiday (but will be re-opening on 26 October subject to COVID guidelines).

People in my circle are suffering at the moment – some are coping better than others and I’m feeling for anyone who is languishing for whatever reason (and there are many reasons) given the duration of this pandemic and the economic, social, health and other impacts it’s had. It’s important to exercise, spend time in nature and other immersive activities, talk things over with friends and family or seek help from health professionals if you need. This time will eventually come to an end and while it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees – we are now entering the last stages of the longest (mainly mental) marathon of our lives – hang in there.


Over the rainbow

It’s where we’d all like to be given the the roadmap out of what has felt like the never-ending lockdown was finally revealed today. I hope it has given you hope regarding the dreams that you dream of. We all need things to look forward to and to find happiness with the small freedoms now that will become bigger ones in a matter of coming weeks and months. Mr Rosanna and I spied this rainbow (below) amongst the clouds, which will soon be behind all of us, while visiting Rosanna parklands yesterday afternoon.

Private real estate inspections were given the go ahead this weekend and this 70s showstopper that backs on to Heidelberg Golf Course at 2/70 Old Eltham Road in Lower Plenty (below) has caught my eye. It was build by, and for, architect Bill Lutrell and modelled on the 1930s Villa Mairea house designed by Alvar Aalto in Finland – something ahead of its time with its modernist design. The current owner (also an architect who bought the property from Bill Lutrell) owns the front house on the sub-divided block and number two is currently for sale with Morrison Kleeman (but I don’t think will be on the market for very long!).

2/70 Old Eltham Road Lower Plenty image credit: realestate.com.au

These geometric tumblers by Birdrock Ceramics have also captured my attention and continuing the 70s vibe is the latest Anabelle collection fom Sage and Clare with this patchwork cushion (both further below). While we’ve spent far too much time at home this year – I’ve never seen neighbouring gardens and homes looking so well kept and nurtured. Mr R and I need to find motivation to re-do our veggie patch that we never got around to fixing last year as well as buy some spring/summer herbs for our empty pots.

Image credit: Birdrock Ceramics

I’ve been following Australian interior designer and antiques dealer Tamsin Johnson for a while now who’s married to tailor Patrick Johnson and friends with jeweller Lucy Folk. She has a very sophisticated design sensibility and style and just released her coffee table book ‘Spaces for Living‘ which is now on my list.

Image credit: Sage & Clare

I finished watching The Chair on Netflix with Sandra Oh as the lead during the week – it has reminded me of my voluntary Women of Colour Australia work and the series reflects the changing and diverse university students of the future who wish to see themselves reflected in leadership roles not only in academia, but across the business, sporting and political worlds. I’m proud to work at ANZSOG in this way – there are a number of First Nations people and women of colour on our Board, Alumni Council and executive leadership team.

As a family we’re loving Only Murders in the Building mystery-comedy series on Disney+ featuring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez – it should come with a language warning given the amount of swearing but it’s been highly entertaining and highly recommended viewing. We won’t be bunkered down at home streaming content for much longer – the countdown out of lockdown has now started…


It’s been a long week and I must admit I’ve been collapsing into a crumpled heap come most Fridays. I am going to take a couple of days off during the upcoming school holidays and will consider taking some further leave in term 4.

Image credit: Well Spotted

Like many people I’ve delayed taking annual leave when there is nowhere to go but I have recognised we will burn out as workers if we don’t just have a break. It has been hard going and hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but vaccinations are increasing every day and I love some of the more colourful products on sale such as these ‘Fully Vaxxed’ statement T-shirts from Well Spotted and Vaxx Cakes from Beurre Cakes, which have been doing the rounds on social media.

Image credit: Beurre Cakes

I’m very conscious too it is a middle-class privilege to work from home, which I’ve mentioned before and my line of work sees me dealing with people very high up in the public sector who are in the midst of grappling with all the issues we read about in our news media – the health divide that exists between the haves and have nots with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in poorer parts of Sydney and Melbourne disproportionately affected by COVID. I’m very glad that pop up clinics and mobile vans as well as community engagement in priority suburbs have been part of Victoria’s response.

If you’re lucky enough to have groceries or take away meals delivered or other goods couriered to your home, please spare a thought for the man or woman doing this work – they are often young essential workers who have to travel to do their job, to keep food on the table, to pay their bills and it is this demographic who are getting infected and then inadvertently spreading COVID to their families (often large, extended families) at home in the northern and western suburbs.

My Bala Bangles

Speaking of online deliveries, I have bought some Christmas gifts from local store Run to the River in Eltham, while last week I bought the lazy person’s strength training hack – a pair of Bala Bangles. While they won’t come remotely close to doing a proper, supervised class guided by a qualified fitness professional at somewhere like my friend Nikki Ellis’ studio Cinch Training in Macleod, I have worn them while doing housework and out walking.

I miss the simple things too like going to the hairdresser or visiting cafes and restaurants and have been thinking of Jonno at Valiant Barbers and Luis at The Pioneer Cafe at this time. It’s interesting when I think back to my honeymoon spent in Vietnam where all this daily activity actually took place outside on the street! I am hopeful local businesses will bounce back if they’ve been able to pivot and sustain themselves over lockdown – however it may be more challenging for Melbourne’s CBD as much as I’m sure Melburnians will return to the bright lights of the big city for arts, culture, sporting, food and other events in time. It’s also been heartening to read about the many hospitality businesses in and around Melbourne giving free meals to people at this time (extended lockdown is so last year!).

Image credit: Heide Museum of Modern Art

Spending time outdoors is probably the safest bet at the moment – you may be lucky enough to have Heide gardens in Bulleen in your 5km zone or the Alphington Farmers Market – both of which are still open to the public. Open Gardens Victoria and Bulleen Art & Garden are also running online workshops and classes for those who have indoor plants or live in small spaces.

My indoor plants

And finally, while the big game is now going to be played in Perth, the highlight for our family this week was Melbourne winning against Geelong on Friday night and the Dees sealing their historic place in this year’s AFL Grand Final. My youngest son called it early with his Father’s Day drawing for Mr Rosanna ‘Fired up’ (below) – you bet we are…

Hope springs eternal

It’s been a long week and so many things have happened in the space of seven days including our state moving from a COVID- zero target mentality to living with COVID now that it’s endemic in the community and numbers will rise. As hard as it’s been, and as it continues to be on a daily basis, Victorians and more specifically Melburnians, should not give up hope. Our efforts to suppress numbers have not been in vain and I hope you take heart from that and keep fighting the good fight as all is not lost.

It was officially spring last Wednesday, which was also National Wattle Day celebrating our national floral emblem – the golden wattle – symbolising the unifying of Australia and Australians. It’s perhaps something to remember during this time where it has seemed more like state versus state rather than us as a federation and as one people united against our war with COVID-19.

While I’ve not read Man’s search for meaning or The Happiest Man on Earth (and I’m sure there are female writers who’ve written similar books) – I think there are parallels between war and this current pandemic experience of ours – a war of attrition if you like – and through the darkest of times not only finding meaning, but hope and faith that brighter days will come. Perhaps something to remember in the coming weeks and months as we get closer to hitting our vaccination targets. There will be a time soon where living in lockdown will end.

While they are COVID guideline-dependent, the Spring Outdoors Festival has started in Banyule, Manningham and Nillumbik and I also love Angus and Celeste’s botanic-inspired ceramics including their wattle designs (pictured above). I was also reading during the week about artist Dylan Martorell who has created sound maps for a variety of green spaces around Melbourne, which is a beautiful idea if you have been walking outside and needing to listen to something different. It’s also great that kids under 12 have been able to return to playgrounds but I noticed families pivoted to bikes, skateboards, roller skates and scooters while they were closed. Interesting too to read about people walking through less crowded places like public cemeteries to find peace (for the living) at this time.

Mr Rosanna and I are lucky that our family is creative with writing, cooking, drawing and music giving us opportunities to immerse ourselves while at home but we have decided to start taking turns selecting individual cuisine choices for our weekly takeaway meal starting with Korean Japanese food from Kimu last week and Greek and Middle Eastern now on the agenda. Other people I know who have deeper pockets than mine got on the bandwagon last year with the Atlas Masterclass food box delivery with each week being a different country.

Friends and family have also been taking solace with ice cream! Augustus Gelatery has Templestowe outlet within 5km of Rosanna and there is also Fairy Hills Ice Cream, and Boca Gelato in Ivanhoe. I was sad to hear about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2021 Winter Edition Program being cancelled due to COVID-19 but glad that MWF Digital – Melbourne Writers Festival has gone ahead.

Finally, I regret not buying that set of old school Star Fire roller skates I saw at The Mill Markets at Daylesford when we visited in July – my best friend Jules has resurrected her original pair which her daughter has been wearing skating outside in church carparks! I’m also loving Bruno Mars in this music video for his song Skate. And for those of you who haven’t yet had or booked in for your vaccination – it is skates on.