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!


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.


It’s the name of one of my favourite songs from 90s band Soul II Soul whose re-scheduled concert is being held late 2021, but something we need to keep in mind no matter our circumstances and especially at this time. And while COVID-19 is the gift that keeps on giving with Greater Sydney and NSW now a red zone – I don’t think Dan Andrews had any choice but to close the Victorian border given our freedoms so hard won over Winter and Spring. If you have family in NSW or were intending on visiting or vice versa, then I am feeling for you.

It is important to savour the things we can still do and are able to celebrate. My self-funded, self-catered divisional Christmas party was held under the trees fittingly near the big holly bush (above) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen one hot afternoon last week. My fellow Culture Committee members pulled together an ISO Spotify playlist (and meaning behind the songs chosen by individual staff) and online kudoboard of all the things we were grateful for and lessons learnt this year. One of my colleagues Jenny aka Mother Christmas outdid herself with a table of beautiful individually wrapped homemade Christmas treats (below). While it was sad to say goodbye to my colleagues and my manager who has taken voluntary redundancy, life goes on and I have chosen joy at this time.

I had dinner with a couple of colleagues the following night at Alphington Social – the former Paladaar Thai restaurant housed in an old Art Deco bank building, which was virtually unrecognisable to me after having had a substantial new internal fit out and outdoor courtyard. We had a great meal with starters including gin-cured ocean trout and parmesan encrusted crumbed calamari followed by house made pasta. There were a number of predominantly all-female groups enjoying a night out and it is on the noisy side so better for groups rather than an intimate dinner.

Speaking of social, social enterprise cafe The Little Social has opened at Rosanna train station and the new Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub is slated for opening on 18 January 2021, where I hope to return to in-person yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga. I’ve heard whispers that a new pilates studio is soon to open at the Greville Road shops in Rosanna so stay tuned on that one. I’ve missed doing reformer pilates with my work friends in the Core Cave at La Trobe Sport, which has re-opened if you live close to Bundoora or Macleod.

Me at Alphington Social

Tickets have gone on sale for Live at the Bowl in the city if you’re missing seeing live music but wish to do so in an outdoors environment. If you’re visiting the city, also look out for the Uptown outdoor art exhibition on show at the top end of Bourke Street. Closer to home, I’ve bought tickets for the Heide Summer Festival – a 9-week program of live music in the outdoor Sculpture Garden, which is great given the cancellation of other outdoor music events like Zoo Twilights this summer.

If you’re having trouble finding your Christmas spirit this year, you might want to visit the best Christmas lights in Melbourne to see the best displays in your suburb given no Ivanhoe Boulevard Lights in 2020. Alternatively, you might want to look at the night skies half an hour after sunset tomorrow night for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. While some have mistakenly referred to it as the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem, there’s no harm in making a wish upon it for a better year in 2021, and for some perspective on how diminutive we truly are when compared with the stars above us.

I wish you joy this Christmas and in this remarkable year, despite the many losses, I hope there have been silver linings for you and your family (whether biological or logical) and things for which you are grateful. To paraphrase German philosopher Friedrich Neitszche, that which hasn’t killed us this year, has only made us stronger. Strength, hope, resilience; I hope you hang onto these given all that we have been through together in 2020.

Neitszche is also the author of another famous quote, which I will leave with you to ponder, “One must have chaos in order to give birth to a dancing star.” May you find your own dancing star this Christmas and may it guide you into the light in 2021.

The greater good

It’s definitely not fun times for Victorians at the moment especially those in lockdown once again. I have friends and family in some of the lockdown suburbs and today’s news about those in Housing Commission buildings was pretty heartbreaking. Between the Ruby Princess debacle in NSW and hotel quarantine in Victoria – the government has definitely dropped the ball. I am hopeful that we can get on top of things and see numbers going back down – there’s no use finger pointing but the community transmissions have left most people pretty dismayed. I am extremely grateful to those in lockdown who are ‘taking one’ for the nation – I don’t think any of us will ever take the freedom we had pre-COVID-19 for granted once this pandemic is over.


I am working on staying calm and looking forward to returning to in person (but socially distanced) yoga classes with my longtime Iyengar teacher Pamela Speldwinde at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe and have also booked a shiatsu (Japanese fully clothed) massage with Aliki Zouliou who Mr Rosanna and I try to see a couple of times a year as much as it would be preferable to see her at least quarterly. We have friends who are keen cyclists, one of whom is also a tradie, and they have monthly massages as a preemptive health measure given the amount of bodywork they do on a daily basis. Pamela and Aliki have only just reopened their businesses and are being very cautious. I’ve had to buy a number of my own props to use in class but see this as a worthwhile investment given my yoga practice has been lifelong.

It’s been a strange time to celebrate my birthday but I was very spoiled over the weekend with home made meals by Mr R and time in front of the fireplace just to sit and read – it is all about the simple pleasures. Mr R and I have had our eye on an Art Deco vintage poster for some time – the original one we liked from Vintage Posters Only sold (and you can buy other original posters from Letitia Morris and The Galerie) and it was way too expensive, so we instead bought a reproduction (with the same design) from Picture Store. You can also find retro-style reproduction posters from La Brocante and Harper and Charlie. It’s often the framing which costs a lot of money – we took our poster to The Print and Framing Company in West Heidelberg (who also do some amazing things with mirror TVs) and along with my birthday flowers and cake, I was very happy with my present this year!

We are all spending more time at home and if you are still working, it’s lovely to be able to invest in interior design, and decor, that makes you happy, adds value and lifts your spirits. The one thing I always keep in mind at this time every year (traditionally the two coldest weeks in Melbourne) is that once term 2 school holidays are over, we are in the second half of winter and on the journey towards spring and lighter days ahead.

Strike a pose

February’s been busy with everyone back at school and work. University students are yet to start back and the coronavirus is having an impact on any tertiary college or institution that has an international student cohort. Businesses too are having to pivot and it’s interesting to see what they’re doing and how – it’s definitely changing things up and setting some new precedents.

I’ve been trying to get back in to some regular exercise with returning to Iyengar classes at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe. Late last year, I started regular lunchtime reformer pilates classes in the new core cave at the La Trobe Sports Centre with my work colleagues and it’s been a great way of connecting – the team who plays together stays together.

Great to see La Trobe alumna and AFLW player Daisy Pearce front and centre in the media (as well as more sportswomen in general) – she is a real inspiration as an elite athlete, midwife and mother of twins.

Image via

This beautiful Art Deco house at 318 The Boulevard in East Ivanhoe has caught my eye and is on the market again – built by Australian architect Arthur Edgar Pretty in 1940 it has definitely captured my imagination with its glamorous curves and beautiful features. I’ll always be a sucker for that era and mid-century modern – there’s a lot to be said for simple and bold at the same time. If you’re a fellow Art Deco lover you might want to go and see Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears which opens later this month at the movies.

Image via Estelle

Speaking of glamorous, Artea at the Westin Hotel – a high tea and fashion illustration workshop with Estelle Michaelides (pictured above) is being held every Sunday in March. As someone who has previously done a similar workshop with a group of girlfriends – I can vouch for how fun they are to do as an individual and with friends.

Image via Maha

Also opening soon northside is Maha Bar in Collingwood. Mr Rosanna and I loved our dinner at Maha last year so it’s great there’ll be an outpost on this side of town.

It’s been an interesting start to the year with people I know coming and going – I guess change is inevitable and there’s always a lot of movement with the start of a new year, and a new decade at that. Here’s to being agile, nimble and flexible in this new age.

Living la vida local

Me with a sneaky pic of the gorgeous Greek fruit seller at Halki

Greece is a hard act to follow and Melbourne in the winter time is far from inspiring.  It’s lucky I’ve been busy at work promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Smashed avo: is there a war on youth? continuing the conversation that demographer Bernard Salt started in terms of the intergenerational wars between millenials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and whether jobs and housing are harder opportunities for younger people to come by.  On the panel from La Trobe are cultural sociologist Dr Sara James (who reminds me of actress Katie Holmes!) and alumnus David de Garis who is a regular media commentator on all things economic for the NAB.  We’ve matched them up with GetUp’s Chief of Staff Natalie O’Brien and Fairfax finance columnist and entrepreneur Melissa Browne who has recently written the rather naughty sounding book called Unf*ck your finances.  We also tried to get Mr Barefoot Investor Scott Pape himself for this panel as he is a La Trobe alumnus but he was already engaged as many of the high-profile people I deal with in my job often are.  It is Open Day at La Trobe this Sunday and if you are considering studying in any kind of capacity, it’s well worth a visit to find out more in terms of short courses, languages, undergraduate and post-graduate courses as well as some of the other University assets like the library, Wildlife Sanctuary or Sports centre.  We’re lucky to have such a big campus so close to us in the north-east and there are exciting plans afoot for the University in the near future in terms of its development as a hub.

War on Youth_Hero Image (1)

I’ve been driving through the suburbs since coming back from overseas and there’s been a lot of interesting new businesses I’ve noticed like Pilates Republic Ivanhoe at the back of the Centre Ivanhoe near The Foreigner cafe and Vinyasa Studio Yoga in Burgundy Street, Heidelberg.  I’ve returned to Iyengar classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga underneath Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.  I also noticed the cute sounding name of new organic cafe Mr Macleod while having my boots re-heeled at Chris the Cobbler who’s now also found at the Macleod Village group of shops in Aberdeen Road.  They needed a crane to lift in Chris’ very heavy shoe repair machinery equipment and Chris himself has been a busy man renovating houses as well as opening his fancy new digs.  My sponsor and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod has also been a busy person – she’s launched a new holistic health and fitness program called Find your fierce which I’ll be finding out more about given my fierce seems to have gone missing in action plus the studio is moving somewhere close by in October so I’ll be following her there.


My former client Helen Webster is holding her once a year Raffal Wraps scarf sale tomorrow afternoon if you’re in Ivanhoe and I think it would be worth a visit to pick up a bargain before the end of winter.  I also wanted to mention the Rosanna Station Community Fun Day on Saturday 11 August from 10 am to 2 pm taking place right in front of my other sponsor Hunter Lane Cafe and you will see me there in the middle of the day if you’re coming along to celebrate the opening of the new Rosanna station and level crossing which seems to have taken forever to finally finish.  I’m reserving judgement about it until the big reveal happens but took a photo today (above) as I do love the new Rosanna station sign.  There are a number of other launches taking place locally next week which I will post about in the coming days.  Four weeks to go until Spring!

An Australian Day

I hope you had a great Australia Day long weekend.  While the date of its celebration is a vexed conversation at the moment and with great respect to the First Peoples of this land, I am a proud Australian and it was lovely to spend the day amongst friends.  One of the highlights – as cheesy as it sounds – was singing Advance Australia Fair and as a patriotic Australian, it is the one song that always gets me choked up when I reflect on what it means to me in terms of its underlying themes about fairness and egalitarianism in what is still largely a very lucky country for most.  As an Asian Australian whose great-grandparents came here with nothing, I feel nothing but gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had in my life in terms of education, a career, family and friends and I have wondered on occasion what would have become of me if they’d stayed living in abject poverty in rural China.26735116_10215737281252811_1961088983_o.pngThe highlight of the day was going for an evening swim with my family and looking up into the pink sky to see a kookaburra in the enormous tree next door – a highlight only surpassed by seeing a koala (with a gum leaf stuck to its nose) on the road near the Korumburra general store on Australia Day a number of years ago while driving with Mr Rosanna on a regional road trip.  There seems to be an influx of Australian animals at the moment as one of the best sights this summer break was Mr Rosanna and my eldest son seeing a large grey kangaroo hopping down Lower Plenty Road while picking up takeaway pizza from Pasquale M.  I’m just glad the roads were quiet!

Pamela Speldewinde in action! (Image via Action Yoga)

A few wonder women I wanted to mention today before the madness of the school year starts.  My good friend and Iyengar Yoga teacher Nik Hills is taking a special yoga class ‘Yoga For The Girls’ to raise funds for girls’ education in Sri Lanka next Sunday afternoon at Laburnum Primary School in Blackburn.  It’s a $20 entry fee and you will see me there if you go – please email to register and BYO mat and shawl/blanket.  I am also returning to regular weekly yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe as well as training classes with Nikki Ellis at Cinch PT in Macleod and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  They are both good indoor disciplines to take up given the heat of summer at the moment.  Stay cool!

Nikki Ellis – Cinch Training image via Pinterest

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT