Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

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But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

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I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.


Local Profile – Brooke De Propertis

Like Carlie Ward, Brooke is another local person whose beautiful wares I’ve come across at my training studio Cinch PT in Macleod.  I particularly like her Earth water bottles and had been admiring the one our trainer Nikki uses in class. I wish some of Brooke’s things had been available when my kids were little and I love her green aesthetic – it’s not surprising to me that she is also someone who appreciates being around nature, and the local community here in the north-east.  I’m sure our paths will cross in real life at some stage soon!IMG_4918

Name: Brooke De Propertis

Occupation: BizMum – Owner of Elm Natural

Lives/works: Macleod

How long have you lived/worked here? 7 years


Describe yourself/what you do:
Full-time exercise-obsessed BizMum! I am a stay at home mum to 2 young kiddos, Poppy and Archie, while at the same time I run my online business – Elm Natural.  If I am not doing either of these, you will probably find me at the gym (Cinch) or the parklands walking or running!IMG_5133

In my previous life before kids, I worked in the city and after I had Poppy I couldn’t imagine going back to work.  But then after being off for 3 years and having my second baby, I found the urge to do something else other than just being ‘Mum’.  Elm is perfect as I can run the business in my spare time (ha, does that even exist when you have kids!) which is usually during nap times or after bedtime! Thank goodness I have a very supportive and understanding hubby!

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
The open spaces available, especially the parklands and Yarra trail – perfect for my runs and walks.  The sense of community in Macleod is very welcoming.  You can walk into any of the stores and people know your first name and the café knows your coffee order (and brings it out before you even have to order it – thanks Marcus at Café Aberdeen!)

For more information:
Instagram: @elm_natural

For 10% off your first online order, enter code ‘missrosanna’ at checkout!


Have you started eating more since the weather got cold?  I’ve had a series of family and other events from the start of this month to the very end and while there are still a number of other friends I’d like to catch up with over the winter – I might need to space things out.

Image via Hoppa & Joe Facebook page

I did catch up with an ex-work manager last week at Hoppa & Joe on Upper Heidelberg Road in Fairfield.  It’s been beautifully fitted out and the service (attentive but not obtrusive) and food were excellent even if it’s a little bit on the noisy side with the roar of the occasional truck going past.  I had one of the breakfast dishes – mushrooms with kale and broccolini – which was delicious and there was a passing parade of people ordering their (upmarket) toasted sandwiches while I was there.  I’d go back again another time.

Images below via Vaporetto Facebook page

I also spent last night with my besties out at Vaporetto at the Lido Cinema complex in Hawthorn –  a place I was meant to go to with some other friends a while ago but ended up pulling out due to sickness.  This Venetian-style restaurant was buzzing as I entered with every table full and people standing at the bar until I rounded the corner and found my girlfriends sitting at one of the booth tables at the back.  We realised that we’d timed our dinner to co-incide with Vaporetto’s one year anniversary which was why it all felt so celebratory.  17884188_1313310055418903_3912979772409780080_n

We had a lovely Italian waitress who was at great pains to explain the specials and most of us ended up ordering different versions of the home made pasta – I had the squid ink spaghetti with vongole (clams) which was delicious.  A nice touch was the complimentary hot pans filled with left over sauces and bread for dipping.  I think having dessert (panacotta) may have tipped me over the edge…We also enjoyed the beautiful photos of Venice and gallery wall as well as the Italian opera music playing not so quietly in the background.  It was a fun night although the front of house service was a bit more in your face than I was expecting.

Welcome to May – enjoy this last month of Autumn as winter is coming….

Wild and woolly

The weather has turned and it’s got cold these past few days.  I’ve been admiring the beautiful new winter collections from some of my favourite labels including Gorman, Obus, Miranda Murphy and Nancybird as well as Elk Accessories whose garage sale with up to 80% off started today and goes until Sunday.  I walked past Green with Envy in Flinders Lane on Sunday night when I was in the city and fell in love with their beautiful shop window featuring some gorgeous floral dresses by Nicholas and an amazing fresh floral display.  I was just as taken with the actual florist shop, Pollon Flowers, on the opposite side of the street whose window display was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland but with a gold tortoise featured rather than a white rabbit.

Evie dress image via Fashion Lane

I just wanted to mention some other upcoming markets including the Sisters’ Market in Brunswick this Sunday, Markit at Fed Square on Sunday 7 May and the Heide Mother’s Day Market in Bulleen on Saturday 13 May.

Image via Pollon Flowers

I’m hoping to make it back to my weekly class at Cinch PT sometime soon but in the meantime my very dynamic trainer Nikki has been very busy organising the Diamond Valley United Girls Night In Pamper Night and Pop Up Market event on Friday 12 May.  I can’t quite keep up with her!  But that’s maybe what trainers do – set the bar high.

Image via Girls Night In Facebook page

I’ll be back next week and will have another local profile ready to go.  Stay warm!

A Garden State

It’s been a really busy start to the year and I can’t believe my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Michael Kirby on Health, Law & Sexuality is on next week at the NGV Great Hall, which holds 600 people and we are almost at capacity.  La Trobe University has been bringing out the big guns in terms of names with former PM Paul Keating being the keynote speaker at the Ideas & Society lecture on our role in Asia the Trump era, run by Emeritus Professor and public intellectual Robert Manne, at the Melbourne Recital Centre this Friday.  This event sold out within the first week or so of being advertised.

Image via Speakeasy HQ

I also out went out on Sunday night with my workmates to see my Irish friend Colum perform in his show Improv Against Humanity (based on the naughty card game) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Before the show, we tried for a table at Supernormal in Flinders Lane, which was super crowded and so decided to go to the Garden State Hotel (on the former Rosati’s site), which was also going off when we entered.  The resident DJ was spinning some pretty groovy tunes so it was a shame we couldn’t stay for a dance – we opted for a basement booth table away from the noise and ordered counter meals after walking into the restaurant, which was more pricey.

Image via Speakeasy HQ

Colum’s gig had been shifted to Speakeasy HQ past the Waterside Hotel in Flinders Street – it’s Melbourne’s only dedicated vaudeville venue (and art gallery) located upstairs with a lounge bar outside the stage area and is housed in a former gold-rush era bank building – I was admiring the beautiful patterned ceiling while I was there.  And the gig?  It was very funny and improv performers are brave souls indeed – so quick off the mark….let’s just say that the words ‘semen’ and ‘dolphin’ were put to good use over the course of the evening.  Colum is not my only talented work friend, I discovered another friend Michelle used to be a high school teacher by day and a salsa dancer by night!  Next time out there will definitely be a bit of boogie-ing on down.

Image via Garden State Hotel

If you attended a Dawn Service this morning, I hope you managed to have a restful afternoon this Anzac Day.  It’s been nice to pause and reflect.

Image via Garden State Hotel

A Different Perspective

This is the name of a new exhibition in West Heidelberg that includes, photography, installation, sound, film and free ‘Art Adventure Bike Tours’, which explores the unseen, unheard and unexpected aspects of Banyule.  It’s definitely got my imagination piqued! Opening night is next Friday 28th April with the artworks from Lisa Watson, soundscapes by Jess Lovell and film watching in an urban lounge setting.

Image via Facebook

I’ve been a bit alarmed watching the news this past week and seeing the rise of nationalism around the world.  It all feels a bit dark and gloomy at the moment but maybe that’s just my winter mood starting to arrive…I could do with a different perspective myself.

On a more positive note, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks catching up with friends and family – a couple of whom have bought their ‘forever’ home and it’s been lovely to see them so happy and settled in their new houses complete with new furniture and furnishings.  I start wanting to go into cocoon mode at this time of year so just wanted to post on a few things which have caught my eye.


3 panel firescreen image via Sneddons

I love this Art Deco-style firescreen (above), which would look great in my living room.  Remember to get your chimney swept if you do have an open fireplace.  I also love the very expensive but very cool modernist hanging ErgoFocus fireplaces (below) from France.

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Rugs are also something that add a lot of warmth to the home if you have floorboards like us.  I prefer natural fibres like wool, cotton, silk, linen and jute but am mindful of dust given we all suffer from various allergies in my household.  I’m more of a traditionalist and think it’s worth saving up to buy quality rugs that last for years rather than being a disposable fashion item.  Hali Rugs, Loom Rugs and Cadrys all sell beautiful rugs – I also love Kulchi‘s Moroccan rugs.

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Finally, I discovered these gorgeous Australian made deer leather doorstops (above) from 1803 – I think they’d look great in a modernist or mid-century home.  If you prefer fabric or something more organic, Memi Designs also make lovely doorstops – the finishing touch for any house.  Finally, these outdoor pots from Anchor Ceramics in Reservoir would look fantastic on a window, balcony or deck.

Image via Anchor Ceramics


Pink moon

Apparently, this was the full moon we had last week although it doesn’t refer to the colour of the moon as such but a spring flower – the moss pink herb.  It’s also the name of a Nick Drake album that Mr Rosanna and I have.  I hope you had a happy Easter – it was also Greek and Jewish Easter at the same time so lots of celebrating all round.  If you managed to get away over the break, I hope you had a great time.

Image via Wikipedia

As for my family, we had a staycation here in Melbourne but enjoyed catching up with both sides of the family for hot cross buns and Easter dinners.  It’s taken Mr Rosanna and me a lot of time to set up our boys’ separate bedrooms so for us, there’s been trips to Westfield Doncaster and Ikea Richmond and I daresay we’ll be traipsing out to Freedom Northland at some stage too – it’s been quite a process and we are also still de-cluttering.  I’ve started reading Marie Kondo’s ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up‘ and trying to enact some of her suggestions such as starting with getting rid of clothes before moving on to books.

Image via zotheysay blog

I also bought myself a copy of Zoe Foster Blake’s Amazinger Face not so long ago but have yet to find time to pick it up and read it.  At the risk of sounding very vain (!), you can take the girl out of beauty PR but…well, you know the rest.  It’s such a small world in Melbourne that I have re–connected with one of my ex-Aveda colleagues Donna as we both now work at La Trobe University.  While one part of me will always be interested in beauty on the outside, it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside.  In my take on Yves Saint Laurent’s famous words… beauty fades, but intelligence is forever.

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While we were at Westfield Doncaster, we managed to co-incide exiting the cinema with the 1.30pm yum cha session at Secret Kitchen and have managed to have brunch there and Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe in the past fortnight.  I always like the 1.30pm sessions if you can hold out that long, as you don’t get kicked out early given it’s the last session of the day.  Secret Kitchen has lovely views if you do book although Golden Dragon Palace has the better food.  If you’re at all squeamish about live seafood in the fish tanks then Secret Kitchen is also not the place for you.  Have a good week – it’s a short one!