The luxury of time

While I’ve worked through January, I have to say I’ve enjoyed the slower days, the quiet streets and the luxury of time not having to rush from place to place. When you live a busy life full of work, family and other commitments, the time to think and simply be can’t be overstated. It’s been great to potter around, go thrifting at Savers in Greensborough and Preston and spend time in the garden.

The politics of Australia Day has come to a head this year and we were given the choice to work and take a day in lieu, which some colleagues chose to do. If you have an interest in First Nations, I’ve both bought and received gifts from the Koorie Heritage Trust as well as Torres Strait Islander restaurant Mabu Mabu and Big Esso bar at Fed Square. Indigenous cafe and bar Pawa has also just opened at Hamer Hall in the Arts Centre Melbourne and has offered catering for a while now.

Locally, I’ve not yet visited but the third instalment of the aptly-named All Are Welcome bakery has opened in Ivanhoe East and there is also the new Watsonia Wine Bar in a great corner location at the Watsonia Village shops.

If you are lucky enough to be at the beach or poolside this weekend – I do love this these Innes Lauren one piece bathers and Clo Studios beach towel (pictured above). If you’re glamming up in the evenings, a bit of body shimmer may be the order of the day and if you can’t afford Nars body glow, there’s always Endota Spa’s Jojoba & Coconut Dry Shimmer Oil – nothing like the smell of summer!


Lucky Rabbit

Happy Lunar New Year! While for most people of Asian backgrounds it is the Year of the Rabbit, in Vietnam it is actually the Year of the Cat. Either way, I’m hoping for a more peaceful year than the turbulent Tiger.

The new year is when people often call time on relationships and jobs that are no longer working for them and it’s been an interesting time in the world of media, sport and politics in that respect with announcements from high-profile women including The Project’s former host Carrie Bickmore, AFLW football player Daisy Pearce and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Whatever your thoughts on them, they deserve some privacy and respect for their decision to step away from their previous roles.

The nature of life is change and I expect the new year will continue to ring in further change. While I didn’t make it in to Chinatown this year to celebrate the new year, my brother Matt braved the heat and took these pictures on my blog post today. It’s been great to see people not only attending Chinese New Year celebrations in Melbourne but also the Australian Open (AO) tennis and Midsumma Festival this past weekend.

In true East meets West fashion, I ended up having a good old fashioned Aussie BBQ with my mum’s side of the family at Yarra Bend Park staying until the sun set on the first day of the Rabbit year. Speaking of which, you may be interested in Lucky Rabbit: a celebration of Chinese New Year at the Chinese Museum by artist Chris Chun depicting each of the Chinese Zodiac animals combining Asian and western motifs. Better hop to it…

Eating the elephant

There’s no two ways about it at this time of year. It can be overwhelming to return to work and be faced with the whole year’s workload in front of you. It’s even more challenging when friends and family keep sending you photos of themselves at the beach (in my case from both peninsulas as well as Byron Bay – go away people!). I’ve been trying to get my head back in the game and the upside of going back early is feeling a bit more prepared planning-wise.

While I’d rather be at the seaside too, I’ve tried to put on a happy face (literally with Mr Rosanna hanging my Ottolenghi plate above on our kitchen wall) and just get on with things. It helps to try and live fully in the present and take each day as it comes rather than thinking too far ahead. With school not yet back and colleagues still on leave, January is a good month to ease back into things. While the streets are very quiet – I love Melbourne in the summer time and it’s about to get busier with the Australian Open starting and the Lunar New Year Festival next weekend. I’ve been enjoying the slower pace and my weekends still feel like being on holiday.

Melbourne is back with a vengeance with skilled migrants, tourists and international students coming to visit or live, inner city rents are back up and the city is expected to overtake Sydney by 2031 as Australia’s biggest.

Interesting too to read that Australia’s been crowned the land of opportunity overtaking the US. My own background is testament to that – both sets of grandparents migrated here from southern China and Hong Kong with nothing only to start businesses and families here, which have allowed the three generations after them to have a very different life full of privileges I’ve never taken for granted. Mr Rosanna’s family background is not much different with a grandfather who came back from the war with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Instead of living the life of a peasant in rural China, I’ve instead had access to education, a career, travel and financial independence. If you’ve had similar opportunities to better yourself then you are very lucky indeed and it’s something to reflect upon as the Tiger year comes to an end and in this month that asks all of us to think about what being an Australian means, and whether all Australians have equal access to opportunity.

So how do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time…

Summer in the city

Happy New Year my friends – I hope you had a great NYE and if you didn’t, you get the chance to start all over again on January 22 when the Year of the Black Water Rabbit officially begins.

Speaking of water, my family and I spent NYE watching Avatar: The Way of Water at IMAX Melbourne before heading to Treasury Gardens to catch the early fireworks – I think half of Melbourne was there! And the city herself looked magnificent walking from the Royal Exhibition Building (below) past the all lit up Her Majesty’s and Princess Theatres – Melbourne has never looked better.

I even managed to squeeze in a day trip to the beach on Monday to the Mornington peninsula to catch up with my friend Dan in town from Amsterdam, before returning to work on Tuesday – which was a shock to the system! My girlfriends are planning a trip to France this year so I’m a little envious especially as I’ve just binged on Season 3 of Emily in Paris – the City of Light has never looked so amazing.

While I am back at work, Mr R and I are enjoying our Melbourne staycation over summer and if you’re entertaining visitors you might be interested in this article Eat, play holiday which includes 12 of the best places to visit in Melbourne. Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen has a new cafe and new retail store and Mr Rosanna has gift cards he’s received but yet to use at Urbnsurf in Tullamarine and The Keys in Preston.

We went to Camberwell Sunday Market today – make sure you go early, wear a hat and some sunscreen and take a water bottle if you visit on a hot day. It’s also gold coin donation to Rotary but volunteers are now carrying mobile EFTPOS machines at the entry gates and stall holders use Pay ID on their mobiles if you haven’t brought cash. It’s all open air and shade can be hard to come by (as well as cold drinks!). With our post-Christmas budget, we’ve been happy shopping at markets and thrifting at op shops and I came away with a new miniature elephant to add to my ever growing herd.

I also had a mid-week catch up with my cousin at the newly renovated Box Hill Central having a cheap and cheerful (and very hot!) Thai noodle soup at Dodee Paidang – note to self – order something with less than three chilis in terms of heat factor next time. I can’t imagine how hot the seven chili option must be. If you are visiting Box Hill you might be interested in Etta chef Rosheen Kaul’s recommended places to eat – it does feel like you could be somewhere in Asia if you do visit Box Hill and I drove past Vietnamese restaurant Indochine which is still there and one of the first places to open in that strip.

Speaking of all things Asian, you might be interested in Screen Presence 2023 at the restored heritage-listed Capitol Theatre – a series of in-conversation events accompanying movies included the first Asian movie star Anna May Wong in the 1932 film Shanghai Express. You can also see her featured again in the upcoming Goddess exhibition at ACMI opening in April.

Make the most of the next two or three weeks even if you are returning to work – I’ve been enjoying having friends over, the quiet time on the streets of Ivanhoe (and in the parklands) and the thinking and planning time in the office. No doubt things will pick up once school returns and I will be heading up north for work in the first quarter of this year with February to May already looking pretty busy. Stay cool…