The geese are getting fat

What a beautiful weekend it’s been. I hope you’ve had the chance to go out and enjoy the simple pleasure of being in the sun and the chance to interact with family and friends, or even strangers in the park like I often do when walking my dog.

The Greek geese on their daily stroll (taken in Paros on my 2018 trip)

I’ve been busy the past two weekends catching up with my friends and family – entertaining at my house last weekend and this weekend having my annual Kris Kringle brunch with my girlfriends (sans presents this year just good company as gifts) at My Other Brother cafe in Camberwell – ordering is done at the table via the Mr Yum app which makes things easy if not more impersonal. The Camberwell Sunday Market was on and my tip is to park in Inglesby Road just past the junction off Burke Road, which is free and makes for a nice 5 minute walk there and back.

Christmas is indeed coming and while I try to shop more sustainably (and apparently there is a Green Friday movement in response to Black Friday), I’ve tried to focus on experiences and also spending my time and attention on people in my circle after so long physically apart. I had dinner the other week at the more posh (and pricey) Mister Bianco in Kew while this week, I went to Eltham institution Indian restaurant Ginger Garlic right next to Run to the River (where I have previously bought gifts this year).

I’d also like to go to Lebanese restaurant Maroush at some stage and tapas bar Little Drop of Poison, which are both in Eltham. It was interesting to read about new restaurants opening in Melbourne’s outer suburbs (something I’ve wished for, for a long time) and it was great to see CBD restaurants like Mamasita doing pop up visits in Eltham and other local councils over lockdown. While I’ve not stopped to get petrol in Eltham I know bp and David Jones have also partnered with takeaway food offerings.

If you’re on a budget this year, some of the northside restaurants in the Top 30 under $30 might interest you – Adonai (Nigerian), Easey’s (beers and burgers in three vintage trains four storeys high) and Hi Chong Qing (with a 5 item only menu) all sound great!

I feel like I’m starting to wind down for Christmas despite still being busy at work with some of the more strategic thinking and programming for things I’ve not got to during the year (and planning for next year) now rising to the fore as well as the production of marketing assets we’ve outsourced including the shoot we started this year filming and photographing alumni as talent – I still have NSW to go and will be interviewing people right up until my last week of work – no rest for the wicked!

The December birthdays in my household kill me every year so I hope to put my Christmas tree up after those celebrations. I know I’m getting tired as I’ve started dropping things so it’s a good thing I’ve returned to in-person classes at Action Yoga in Macleod. While Thanksgiving is an American tradition, I’ve also given pause for thought with my team this week asking them what they’ve been most thankful for this year, and what they’re most looking forward to over summer. Bring it on!


City lights

It’s not yet Christmas but I have now visited the city twice in the one week. It was a long awaited (i.e. postponed) birthday dinner for my bestie Jules at Hazel Restaurant in Flinders Lane on Saturday night. Given I started this year at Gimlet (diagonally opposite to Hazel) – I’ve topped and tailed 2021 with visits to two of Melbourne’s fine dining establishments which is a nice way to end the year and perhaps something to remember instead of the time in between!). While perhaps not quite in the same league as Gimlet (which the newly opened Society Restaurant may supersede) Hazel has a similarly stylish feel and an Eastern European-inspired shared plate set menu. I’m aware that such indulgences are a true privilege in what has been a very hard year for so many people and going out was a chance to count our blessings for me and my best friends.

The birthday girl and me @Hazel Restaurant

It will take the city time to recover from the shuttering of businesses this year and last and hopefully the return of Midweek Melbourne Money for weekday dining will help the hospitality industry. Melbourne Fashion Week starts today and I was interested to read about the Museums Victoria Clothing and Textiles virtual tour as part of it. I’m also very much looking forward to visiting the NGV Chanel exhibition in the new year as Gabrielle Chanel is my all time fashion hero and it’s been interesting to read about the rise of second-hand, vintage and more sustainable fashion being designed and sold over the past few months.

Vault Vintage Clothing run by the National Trust has opened at The Block arcade in the city while op shop retailers Salvos and Vinnies can now be found at shopping malls or large format hubs – I’ve donated over the pandemic to the relatively new Salvos store on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg and Kids First Op Shop in Rosanna (who accept books unlike Savers in Greensborough).

Australians are apparently the second-largest textile consumers in the world with a terrible amount of textile waste ending up in landfill due to our fast fashion addiction, which is why I think innovative Australian fashion retailers like Showroom X are leading the way with a move to a circular economy. I know I’ve become a more conscious consumer as I’ve grown older and I love vintage fashion for myriad reasons including environmental.

It’s been good too, to read about bra companies changing their promotional campaigns to reflect real women instead of super models. In my past fashion PR days, I was responsible for selecting models to parade for smaller fashion showings and it was something I took into serious consideration then but has taken on greater relevance and significance now in these more diverse times. Lastly, while we’re on the topic of bras – my friend Kath Elliott has been a busy woman this year not only launching her Alcohol Mindset Coach business but also her My Breast Friend range of body products (that incorporate self-check reminders) as a breast cancer survivor with a percentage of profits donated to Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Little girl found

Well that was the good news of the week and I’m so glad for little Cleo Smith’s family and her community. I hope they can get on with their lives and put the trauma of what’s happened behind them. It’s often what people achieve in spite of their circumstances that says much about their character and who they are. The events of our past don’t have to dictate our present or future.

I’ve had some much needed time out this past week after changes on the work front and a pretty intense past six months – we were meant to holiday up north but have instead pushed our trip to next year when, hopefully, all states are open to visitors and Australia is once again a united country. This whole time has been an interesting exercise in politics and I think will make for a fascinating case study for future generations. Life has been stranger than fiction in so many ways including politicians brought down by errors in judgement.

While I continue to have mixed feelings about horse racing, I was surprised to discover the Melbourne Cup has never been cancelled despite the advent of World War 2, Spanish flu and COVID-19. I always love seeing what was Fashions on the Field (now Fashions on your front lawn) with two Sydney entrants taking the top prize this year. The weather was glorious last weekend and lucky you if you managed to get away to the regions. My brother-in-law’s family missed a week away on the Mornington Peninsula due to the power outages after our recent storms in Melbourne. I think we should expect extreme weather to be an ongoing feature with climate change and this is something that needs to be factored into design and infrastructure. It’s definitely something we’ve taken into account with our housing journey.

Above (and below): 7 Rose Street Ivanhoe images via

Melbourne Cup always reminds me of roses and the different colours allocated to the different race days. Number seven Rose Street in Ivanhoe has captured my attention and looks like a beautiful house for the lucky bidder. I’ve enjoyed this past week at home being treated to a belated birthday lunch at Cafe Heide in Bulleen where my aunties and I literally stopped to smell the roses in the kitchen garden. They are in bloom and quite spectacular (and fragrant) at the moment if you get a chance to visit.

It was also interesting to read about local flower grower Petrina Joy and her hidden garden in Ivanhoe, which looks glorious. Besides French Blue Flowers in Heidelberg, my other favourite florist is Misses Fleuri in East Kew located near my hairdresser at Wicked Hair and Beauty. I’ve found myself suddenly armed with new plants and flowers after killing time before some of my haircuts – the owner has a great eye and apparently makes a mean cup of coffee too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our newfound freedoms these past few weeks – we’ve taken things quite slowly in terms of venturing out but it’s been lovely to have visited family as well as get my hair, and nails done as a special treat. I have a number celebratory dinners on from now until Christmas but will be easing into it, where I can. After so many weeks and months in lockdown, I’m quite happy to take things slowly. It’s great to have my kids back at school (despite the whirlwind of activity that brings) and I’m looking forward to returning to in-person yoga classes at Action Yoga and going back to the office in the new year.

Heide Kitchen Garden rose

Change is in the air at the moment for our family and I think this is reflective of the current time we find ourselves in with structural changes brought about, or accelerated, by the pandemic. Whatever the case, when we look back on these times, we can definitely say they were interesting! I’m not sure if I’ve been glad to have had the experience of the past two years, but I think we are stronger and more resilient because of it – for many of us it has been a time of great reckoning as individuals. And time will also tell, as it always does.