Sunny Days

I grew up watching Play School and Sesame Street and if you’re a fan of the latter – there are not one but two documentaries that will take you back in time all the way to the beginning 50 years ago! We watched Sesame Street: 50 Years Of Sunny Days on SBS On Demand as a family last week and I realised how very much at the forefront the TV show has been in terms of education, diversity, feminism and social enterprise – way ahead of its time.

There’s also another award winning HBO documentary called Street Gang: How we got to Sesame Street – I think my desire to visit the gritty streets of New York stems from all those years ago watching the show. My favourite character was Mr Snuffleupagus – Big Bird’s imaginary friend who turned out to be real in the end. I’m sure you have your own favourite character if you’re of a similar vintage.

Big Bird image credit: Wikipedia

Diversity in the media can be done in very natural and easy ways which is what I love about Adam Liaw’s The Cook Up program on ABC where any day of the week you can find all sorts of different people on the show, as you would in real life on the streets of metropolitan Melbourne rather than it being a token or ticking the box gesture. Gen Z are the most diverse generation of all and I think it’s been a good thing for both young and old. We’ve started watching Hamilton on Disney+ and it’s fantastic to see such a diverse cast and more contemporary take on musicals – I think the live shows in Melbourne will be very exciting to watch once Hamilton opens on 15 March.

Sesame Street image credit: Wikipedia

I’ve started running again and the challenge will be maintaining and increasing the amount of exercise I do given my imminent return to more work days in the office. There is a tension at the moment between employers and businesses who want more people in the cities to help our economy versus the flexibility that knowledge workers in particular are seeking – it will be interesting to see where things eventually land in this unprecedented time. Work itself for me has been very busy with lots of change as there always is in the new year.

I think we must be a multicultural city as I discovered there is a Banh mi map of Melbourne if you’re a lover of the traditional Vietnamese pork roll, with this related article on how much one costs depending on where you live! I know the cost of living has gone up for petrol, cars, building materials and other supply chain items but I’ve been happy buying my banh mi locally at Rockin’ Rolls in Heidelberg or Aus-Vi in Rosanna (where the lovely owners are originally from Nha Trang in Vietnam). Mr Rosanna and I spent a month long honeymoon in Vietnam and for me it will always be a magical place full of amazing memories when we were just a young couple starting a new life together.

A couple of other local food places have caught my eye including Pasta Poetry in Fairfield and The Mushroomery in Alphington – perfect if you’re planning on making a mushroom fettucine, tagliatelle or pappardelle one night for dinner. If you are a foodie, tickets are now on sale for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival starting 25 March with Nigella Lawson as the star attraction this year.

If you’re returning to the city like me to work, you may be interested in Lucas loves Melbourne – a chance to dine at one of the seven Chris Lucas-owned CBD restaurants with up to 30% discount on mid-week dining. I’m yet to visit Yakimono, Lillian Terrace or The Society but would love to at some future point.

Finally, this absolutely beautiful mid-century home in East Ivanhoe that has been masterfully renovated was featured in the Design Files last week and I’m so glad we have houses like this in our local area and local creatives like Sarah Conly of Billie Roy Studio who value good design and architecture. It’s very inspiring…have a great week!


Banyule Modern

It was a beautiful balmy night last night for Twilight Sounds at Heidelberg Park Oval – we can usually hear the music from our house but I think the stage may have shifted location this year. I hope you enjoyed it if you went!

Images credit (above and below):

This modernist house at 56 Buckingham Drive in Heidelberg has caught my eye and while it may not have views, I love the design integrity (and the pool!) and the fact that it backs onto the Banyule Flats. It will be close to the proposed North East Link but if it stays underground as is currently planned then hopefully the impacts will be minimal. The flats have long been a source of inspiration to artists including The Heidelberg School and associated artists trail that you can walk, run or cycle.

My friend local interior designer Renae Barrass is a lover of all things mid-century modern including the name of the blog she used to write and which I’ve appropriated for my post today. Hello Renae if you’re reading this.

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow but if you’re on your own please take heart. Most loved up couples I know don’t celebrate it and I now have friends who have separated from their longterm partners both before this pandemic and during. It’s interesting to read about governments in Japan and Britain who’ve created Minister for Loneliness roles there as so many people now live on their own. I think social connectedness and a sense of community are incredibly important no matter where you are in the world.

Image credit: Arthur C. Brooks

Mr Rosanna sent me this interesting Atlantic article How to want less written by Harvard University Professor and social scientist Arthur C. Brooks who has just released his new book From Strength to Strength. In many ways, we are all starting over again this year and it can feel overwhelming as an older person, particularly if you’ve previously defined yourself as a partner within a relationship. I am the child of divorce and while it’s never easy, it’s something that has shaped who I am and I think it’s far better to be on your own than to stay with someone who doesn’t make you happy. Many people never find the right partner in life and some people also sadly lose partners along the way – life does go on and it’s important to live the best life you can whether you are partnered up or not.

Full Moon Design Co Heart kit image credit: The Finders Keepers

There’s a full moon this week and for some self-love – these handmade gifts from Full Moon Design Co (above) have caught my eye as well as these Goddess Threads (below) from Tasmanian designer Emily Eliza Arlotte who I discovered on my recent trip to Hobart. I think I will always be a bit of a hippie at heart. Wishing you love not just for tomorrow but the rest of this year – the year has only just begun and anything is possible.

Image credit: Emily Eliza Arlotte

Ride the wild tiger

Gong hei fat choi! Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year to you my friends. May the Year of the Water Tiger bring you strength, courage and the facing of your demons in this third pandemic year. Some of you, like me, may be feeling a bit battle weary as we try to live with COVID-19 and while it’s a different life to pre-2020, I hope you find that life – despite its imperfections – is still well worth living. We have no choice but to go on with love, not fear, in our heads and our hearts as we slowly, inexorably continue to move forward.

While celebrations have been cancelled or postponed again this year at various locations, Westfield Doncaster has held a number of lunar new year events and other locations around Victoria are also holding events but check with relevant municipalities to be sure. I still remember visiting Bendigo for their Easter Festival a number of years ago and being very touched to see its Chinese history being celebrated including a dragon parade and lion dance performances by the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne. A visit to the Golden Dragon Museum there is worth a visit as well as the Chinese Museum in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Hong Kong streets from my 2011 trip

I’m glad that the Oriental Teahouse is still open for business in Chapel Street (if venturing south side) and Little Collins Street in the city and I was also interested to read about Hong Kong style cafe Mongkok Teahouse opening in Camberwell. I’m still yet to visit modern Chinese fine diner Lee Ho Fook but a number of friends of mine (Chinese and non-Chinese alike) have celebrated milestone birthdays at old Cantonese favourite and Melbourne institution Flower Drum.

Image via Booktopia

A number of ANZSOG’s alumni were awarded Australia Day honours this year but I was really happy to hear that Chinese Australian writer Alice Pung OAM had received an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution towards literature. I’ve not read her latest book One Hundred Days but it is on the list. While I’ve never met her, I have attended one of her virtual lectures and I think she’s a very humble, modest and deserving winner.

Striking a (fierce!) pose

Finally Mr Rosanna and I have been very busy at home and I will reveal more in coming weeks and months, however we’ve still made time to celebrate special occasions over the past year including this picture of us taken at my birthday celebration last year – I hope you enjoy it! Here’s to riding the wild tiger in 2022…

PS. Late breaking news – don’t forget that Twilight Sounds is on next Saturday 12 February from 4 – 10pm if you’re after some local open air live entertainment. The legendary headline act is Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows while Banyule local Wilbur Wilde will also be playing.