New horizons

Well what a Year of the Rat is has been – it may have brought a plague (!) but the Universe is obviously not done with us yet. On a global scale, the US seems to be imploding and at a personal level, my step-mum passed away last week after a 10 year illness. It was all very quick and peaceful in the end but my heart is broken for my Dad losing his life partner. Let’s just say I’ll be glad to start my (Chinese) new year all over again on 12 February when the Ox moves in.

I’ve been at Ocean Grove the past week coming to terms with many things and having some much needed time out to re-group. We feel incredibly lucky as a family to have booked our holiday in Victoria back in September in the hope that restrictions would lift. Given the COVID cases in Sydney and Brisbane, we’re very glad we chose to stay local and it’s given us pause for thought in relation to interstate holidays in the midst of a global pandemic without a vaccine being fully rolled out. You can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time and I feel for anyone who was caught out this summer. The greatest plans…

It’s the third time in recent years we’ve holidayed on the Surf Coast with location being determined by having a dog! Yes, the princess has had the time of her life frolicking on the dog beach while we’ve enjoyed our 70s beachhouse with courtyard and ping pong table. It’s been a great place to chill. My kids and I have enjoyed running on the beach and Mr Rosanna has now been for three bike rides in a row. It was cool when we arrived last weekend but we got to visit the Ocean Grove Summer Market (gold coin donation) after the rain enjoying coffee, donuts and sausages in bread. We didn’t buy anything but I enjoyed seeing Baru sustainable mens swim shorts being sold. Very cool.

Blackmans Brewery & Burger Bar – Ocean Grove

Our holiday diet has been the usual suspects of fish and chips, pizza, pies and hamburgers so the running may need to be upped. We had our burgers (and beer for Mr R) at Blackmans Brewery on the corner of the main drag, which feels like going back to the 1980s including the customers with their moustaches and mullets! Next door is Florence & Threads, which I’m yet to visit but glad it’s still there.

On the cooler days, we visited Japanese furniture warehouse KYO (closing down to the public to go solely wholesale) in the Ocean Grove industrial estate and discovered the more authentic Tetsu selling vintage Japanese wares in another warehouse further along where I bought a wooden abacus. I think we may be back to check out another local brewer Brewicolo as well as Vinnies and Salvos stores in the same back streets with The Hive Gallery also nearby.

We also drove to Geelong to check out the Geelong Vintage Market in a huge warehouse on Mackey Street with the imposing and bold former Federal Woollen Mills building behind it (now a business park) where the carpark is. It’s a great way to spend half a day fossicking around for treasures. I ended up with an Art Deco plate and a vintage silver metal handbag. A tip if you go there and get the munchies – The Pickers Union cafe closes at 3.30pm so make sure you get there before late afternoon if you want to eat! We’ve been in holiday mode most of the time we’ve been here so off to slow starts most days in no rush.

We spent yesterday morning at the Barwon Heads Community Market – more of a craft market with posters, ceramics, soap and jewellery but we did enjoy the cannoli stall. I’ve mentioned before that Barwon Heads is the Portsea of the Bellarine Coast with its upmarket retail stores and cafes lining its main street. We grabbed a bite to eat outside at the always excellent Annie’s Provedore, which I’m glad is also still there. There were lots of people enjoying the Barwon River – I’d love to try stand up paddle boarding if we visit again and it was lovely to see the Ferris Wheel in action before we crossed the bridge back to Ocean Grove.

I’m enjoying the right here, right now but know I also need to work out where to from here once I get back to Melbourne. Losing my job has raised some existential questions for me and also presents an opportunity to forge a new path forward – indeed some new horizons. Sadly a funeral also awaits and I have chosen Rilke’s Go to the limits of your longing as a reading – it seems to have taken on added poignance and meaning for me over the past 9 months with the things that have happened to me, and the people around me. And while this is for now, in Rilke’s own words – no feeling is final.



Getting through Winter’s been hard this year.  It’s been a while since we had a break of any kind and I think regular time out is necessary to rest and re-charge.  So with that in mind, we once again decided fairly impromptu to head to the Bellarine Peninsula last weekend.  We hired a friend’s beach house in Ocean Grove and while Mr Rosanna and I have previously visited Geelong and Point Lonsdale, neither of us had ever been to Ocean Grove or the more exclusive feeling Barwon Heads – a bit like the Portsea of the west coast.

Me at Ocean Grove beach

There’s nothing quite like spending time near the water, which I find relaxing and refreshing at the same time – it’s like hitting the re-set button and I’ve needed to psyche myself up to tackle the second half of this year (and five more lectures!).  It hasn’t helped that I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon these past few weeks with getting tired at the end of last term followed by the school holidays.  I’m sure I’m not the only one…fullsizeoutput_37c

We headed up Friday night grabbing dinner on the road so it was lovely to wake up on a beautiful sunny Winter’s day on Saturday and head to the Bellarine Community Farmers Market which was on at Ocean Grove park.  It was relatively small but we loved the chance to buy a couple of coffees and some fresh local eggs.  I also appreciated the Happy Glamper bell tent for the kids complete with hula hoops for them to play with set up in the middle as well as the cute caravan (above) selling toasted sandwiches.

Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

The walk along the beach in the morning was balm for the soul – the tide was right out and the very cool looking local Soul longboarders were all getting ready to head out and hit the waves.  There is a really nice sense of community at small coastal towns like Ocean Grove and I always start feeling wistful every time I visit the beach – I completely understand why people love living by the water no matter where they are in the world, even in the midst of Winter!

Looking outside – Annie’s Provedore

We ventured on by car to Barwon Heads and had lunch at Annie’s Provedore on the main strip in the village, where the food was excellent.  I had the house-made pea and ham soup and Mr R, the baked gnocchi, while the boys had house-made pies and sausage rolls which were all delicious.  The kids following up lunch with dessert, which was equally good.  The main street has some lovely shops including upmarket hippy store Ten Thousand Things, the beautifully fitted out Moss Grotto and Frith homewares and fashion.  Apparently our friends go to Barwon Heads from Ocean Grove on their bikes in the summer time because it gets incredibly crowded so it was nice to enjoy the relative quiet and space.fullsizeoutput_373


That part of the world is also a drinkers delight but we only briefly stopped in for a quick look at Oakdene Vineyards and the Flying Brick Cider Company, before heading to Japanese warehouse Kyo located in a nearby industrial estate.  Kyo is pretty mind-blowing if you’re there for a first-time visit – a sensory overload for all things Japanese, Indian and Moroccan.  I didn’t know where to look first and it took me quite a while to make my way around the whole warehouse filled to the brim with homewares, textiles, art as well as vintage indoor and outdoor furniture.  They sell direct to the public and it’s well worth a visit if you find yourself in that part of the world.  I’m not sure who owns the business but they also run surf and yoga classes.fullsizeoutput_377


Being the small world that it is, some close friends of ours happened to be in Point Lonsdale and so we ended up at the Barwon Heads Hotel  for dinner that night, which was good – I always love a nice pub meal at the local.fullsizeoutput_36d


We spent Sunday morning doing some of the Bluff circuit walk in Barwon Heads (also a good running track) saying goodbye to the beach before stopping in briefly at the Amazing Mill Market in Newcomb, Geelong.  It’s probably not as good as the Daylesford market but I still managed to find a vintage Whiting and Davis silver mesh purse and had also picked up a couple of small things at Kyo including a beautiful carved wooden crane which is now sitting on my dressing table at home.fullsizeoutput_37b


We’re now heading into the second half of Winter and I’m really looking forward to the return of Spring – bring it on.