It’s been a big week and it’s not over yet. My last Bold Thinking Series lecture for 2017 on the future of Universities at the State Library Theatrette with MC Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash Universities went well on Wednesday night despite a couple of technical hitches at the start. I ended up having to give up the hand-held microphone I use to roam amongst the audience for questions to outgoing Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis after his headset mic stopped working, leaving just me to cover the floor during the lecture, instead of our usual two people. The discussion item that did not get asked on the night was the interesting fact that Glyn Davis and Margaret Gardner are actually married to each other yet work at competing universities – a colleague was playfully calling them the ‘Posh & Becks’ of the University sector!
It was also an experience to work with Virginia Trioli – an impressive, seasoned media professional who also had her own ideas to add to the mix, which made the lecture a little bit different in terms of format. Francis Leach will be returning as our usual MC in 2018 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him next week for a thank you dinner. I’m now in planning mode for next year and it’s been interesting working with a 20-something focus group on the topics they’re interested in….stay tuned!
…and it did at soundvision on Saturday night at La Trobe University, despite the pouring rain that occurred during the more family-friendly hours of 4 – 6 pm. While it was a shame for my colleagues who organised the event, lots of people still turned up after the rain had stopped to see acts including Emma Donovan and The Putbacks, The RAAH project and The Bombay Royale. That’s Melbourne weather for you in the Spring time – it can be anything from freezing cold to blistering heat to pouring rain as we saw on the weekend.
Speaking of Spring, many of us have started hitting the gym or the track in an effort to get fit for summer which includes baring more of our bodies. My local beauty therapist at Pretty Intense has been busy since the end of Winter with more people spending money on grooming and preening.
They stock a lovely local product made on the Mornington Peninsula called Olieve & Olie, which I have my eye on as Christmas gifts. While I do love high-end products like Aesop, they carry a pretty hefty price tag and I’ve also been given some more affordable skincare created by Melbourne naturopath Jacqueline Evans. I also like the ‘man candles’ from another local company L’Ascari which come beautifully packaged (they also do solid cologne and fragrance) while I have also placed a recent order for some new nail polish from Australian-made, cruelty-free and vegan Kester Black.
When I worked as PR for Aveda many years ago (which incidentally was also founded by an ex-male hairdresser turned skincare entrepreneur), they didn’t produce nail polish in their cosmetic range due to the amount of chemicals in most commercial products. It’s been great to see that more environmentally-friendly nail polish like Kester Black is now available. There’s not long now until Christmas although we will still hold out in our family until December to start hanging our decorations and putting the tree up…
It’s been a momentous few days and my Media & Communications team watched the Australian Bureau of Statistics live announcement on the postal vote and marriage equality gathered around a colleague’s computer yesterday – it was lovely to witness history and democracy in action and it’s one of the privileges of living in a more progressive country like ours at this particular point in time. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if more of us were exposed to diversity at a personal level through friends and family and how it would be played out in the larger community and society. Love is love and it’s always been as simple as that for me however I know that people from different generations and religious/cultural backgrounds don’t see it the same way.
There is so much on this coming weekend around the place, we are spoilt for choice and I hope the sun comes out at some stage for those events being held outdoors like La Trobe’s soundvision live music and art event to farewell our 50th Anniversary year on Saturday. I was treated to a visit by The Great Gizmo (above) in the kitchen at work today, who was very entertaining and there are a number of pretty funny selfies floating around the place from those of us who were accosted by him as we had tried to eat our lunch!
Toruk: The First Flight is the name of Cirque de Soleil’s most recent show in Melbourne, which Mr Rosanna and I took the kids to for the first time on Saturday. It was glorious on Saturday afternoon with Melbourne bathed in a sea of light. We took the train to Jolimont from Clifton Hill station and walked to the Rod Laver Arena, which is currently undergoing construction.
We walked past the City to Sea 15km course all set up for yesterday’s run and noticed too, a number of people wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. There is something magical about the number 11 and yesterday was the 11th day of the 11th month. It was good for my boys too to see the statues of Australian football and cricketing heroes lining the boulevard to the MCG and then subsequent monuments to Australian tennis heroes outside Rod Laver Arena. I hope that one day there will be more female heroes as well.
We really enjoyed the show, and it was visually spectacular but friends who’ve previously been said they were disappointed with it, compared with previous shows. It was quite the commercial production and more theatrical in style so I can understand some people having that opinion. Still, we had a great time and were glad we had arrived early given the thousands who turned up to watch.
We caught the train back to Clifton Hill in a perfumed carriage full of young Stakes Day race goers and families which also gave the day a sense of occasion. It was lovely to see all the young human fillies dressed up and on their way home on such a glorious day out.
We ended up grabbing some Japanese on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg where there is both Sushi Galore and Momoco Sushi to choose from, but walked past the booked out (for a private function) Train Yard which we still have yet to visit. Given Bobo’s Diner in Ivanhoe has now closed, the beer garden at the Train Yard looked very enticing. Still I’m happy to report that The Pioneer cafe in Rosanna has now opened and there looks to be a brand new cafe, the Arthur Street Deli opposite Hoppa & Joe on the corner of Heidelberg Road and Arthur Street in Fairfield. Gone too at the moment is the old Amcor Paper Mill torn down for the upcoming YarraBend development and suburb in itself, which will house a huge number of new residents but have its own facilities including a health and wellness centre.
I am now gearing up for my final Bold Thinking Series lecture of the year on The future of Universities, which is almost completely sold out. It’s been challenging trying to coordinate the briefings between the MC (and La Trobe alumna) Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash Universities who are such busy people that even their ‘free’ time is scheduled. Stay tuned…
It’s the name of the Australian made and designed neoprene handbags that have been pretty popular for a while now. It also sums up my state of mind this week after being sick pretty much the whole time save for a quick dash to the Botanic Gardens to witness a family wedding ceremony. Aargh – FOMO – fear of missing out! I’m on my way back up but it’s been a long week.
Back to the bags – they aren’t cheap at $300 or over (I do love the now sold out Pewter/Ochre combination specially made for the Emirates Wolgan Valley health retreat in NSW) but I think they are highly practical for every day (they can be washed in the machine!), gym or beach use and a number of mothers I know now have them. If you’re after something cheaper, Chuchka and Prene bags also have some great styles and colours.
If you are wanting something purely for the beach – Cabana Lifestyle has a range of more affordable waterproof beach totes and would make a nice Christmas gift. As much as I have some lovely cloth bags and basket bags for the beach – practical bags such as these are a lot more durable and I still use the same Crumpler Messenger Bag I bought as a nappy bag over 10 years ago.
Interesting too to read about Sodashi skincare – an Australian brand meaning ‘wholeness, purity and radiance’ in Sanskrit which is also stocked at the Wolgan Valley retreat. Again, it’s not cheap but the beauty junkie in me is always interested in finding out more about natural Australian skincare products.
Some local events which start today – the Night Noodle Markets if you’re heading into town. Be warned that they are very popular and expect to queue for food if you go. They are also cashless so take cards with you if you decide to venture in. You’ll find roving performers, DJs and live music all on offer if you make the trip.
Sickness in our household has meant we’ll be doing exactly that this long weekend. I hope you may have more fun than me if going to the races or going away as we’ve had to cancel our plans. Sometimes you just have to accept where you are, like it or not. Given our family have multiple things on every week from now until Christmas, slowing down is probably a blessing in disguise as I don’t think I can hack the pace! It may have been the hordes of children and parents who descended on our house and street for Halloween that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I did go out last night with two of my girlfriends to Pinotta in North Fitzroy and we had a great time. It’s a fairly small and intimate space – narrow in two sections front and back. We sat up the back last night and ordered a la carte from the menu with two of us choosing the tuna special which came on a bed of vegetables beautifully cooked and my other girlfriend opting for one of the handmade pasta specials. We shared some of the croquettes (pictured above right), which were sensational. Highly recommended – the service was also excellent and very attentive and I think people of a certain age must go there – Sade and Madonna were both on high rotation in the background. We had a great night out and were the last to leave the restaurant!
Speaking of European restaurants, a number of friends now have booked lunches out at Fondata 1872 at the former Wellers in Kangaroo Ground. The menu there also looks pretty enticing and I might have to plan a day out over the summer holidays if we have a local staycation this year.
I’ve been reading about the meaning behind Halloween, which is celebrated on 31 October (All Hallows’ Eve) with All Hallows’ Day (which is also known as All Saints’ Day) on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November. It’s lovely to remember the Christian origins of Halloween as much as I’m not a huge fan of the commercialisation of it. I guess I have similar sentiments about Christmas and can’t quite believe my local newsagency is already stocking Christmas cards this early.
I visited Westfield Doncaster today while my car was being serviced nearby and kikki.K‘s window display was also similarly festive with Christmas stationery. Come on people – we haven’t even celebrated Melbourne Cup week! However, the seed was planted and given I had a number of hours to kill – I did end up starting some early Christmas shopping. I always head to Australian Geographic for children’s presents and it’s great there’s a Readings book store (pictured above) now at Doncaster too. My other favourite place for buying living presents in the form of plants and trees are the local nurseries – The Greenery in Heidelberg and Bulleen Art and Garden. You can also buy indigenous plants at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Both nurseries stock beautiful and exotic gifts as well and I’ll be making a beeline for one of them soon as the cockatoos have managed to decapitate one of the succulents that I left on the outdoor table (I should have known better!).
Mr Rosanna and I went out for dinner last Friday night to the former Village Tavern on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg which has now been re-born as modern Greek restaurant – Elia (meaning olive). It is now more upmarket and the prices have also gone up but it’s now a much more ambient place to eat and it was packed. The next generation of the same family have taken over and it’s reflected in the menu, decor and dress of the staff. If you go try the slow cooked lamb which was sensational – I’d also try the calamari or char-grilled octopus next time. Their version of saganaki with pear and star anise is also highly recommended.