An unwelcome visitor

After dodging COVID-19 for over two years, it finally caught up with us two weeks ago. One by one, three out of four members of my family came down with the virus with me the last card to topple and fall the hardest. I’m very glad to have been triple vaxxed as my ‘mild’ symptoms last weekend felt anything but from pounding headache, to fever, fatigue, chills, body aches, sore throat and stuffed up nose. It’s not been pretty – I’ve missed a whole week of work but also other events I was too sick to attend.

I think if you were lucky enough to evade the first Omicron variant, this second one unfortunately has found its way to most people. I have my fingers crossed you don’t come down with worse symptoms than me as it was something I won’t forget in a hurry. I feel quite depleted and it’s going to take time to build myself up again. You do need to take it seriously if you test positive for COVID and you’re symptomatic. While I’ve kept my sense of taste and smell, I can’t eat salt and vinegar chips at the moment as they taste quite strange. We will see if I have any longer term issues with the passage of time…

Speaking of smells, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show opened this week at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and if you’re into not only roses but house plants and balcony gardens as well, then this year’s event has you covered. I’ve amassed quite the collection of house plants over the past two years and they’ve been a constant source of joy and comfort – nature as therapy.

There is also a lot happening locally with Banyule Open Studios on this weekend – a chance to step into an artist’s world and see their private, creative spaces. A reminder too if you’re a local business that COVID-19 Banyule Business grant applications close on 7 April. There are two types of grants available and whether you’re an existing or new business, it’s always worth checking to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Image via Mr Chu’s Kitchen Facebook page

I’ve noticed the Ivanhoe Traders are currently offering discounted mid-week dining as per CBD businesses, which is an excellent idea. It means you can claim 25% (up to $125) of your bill when you spend $40 or more by submitting your receipt (until funds run out). It’s also been great to find out about a few new local businesses like the cute looking Chinese & Vietnamese diner Mr Chu’s Kitchen located just around the corner from Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights.

Image via Earth Greetings

Easter is fast approaching and I discovered there are not one but two local chocolate businesses with Birdsnake Chocolate in Fairfield and Good Boy Chocolate in Ivanhoe. I also love ethical stationery business Earth Greetings which has teamed up with Loving Earth chocolate to create a bamboo bilby/choccy promo with $1 donated to the Save the Bilby Fund.

Lastly, it has now sold out but the Star Gazing with astronomers event (with volunteers from the Astronomical Society of Victoria) is on next Saturday night at the Anthony Beale Reserve in Greensborough. I’ve long found the stars, planets and space in general fascinating and lucky you if you’ve managed to book a spot at this free event where you may catch glimpses of the moon, Jupiter and Mars dancing in the evening sky.


Summer sounds

It’s not been much of a summer given it’s an El Nina year weather-wise but after the catastrophic bushfires last year, I think it’s been a relief. While it’s all about COVID-19 and vaccines at the moment, I hope that climate change will continue to be addressed during and after the global pandemic.

Locally, while Twilight Sounds won’t be on this March, live Australian music at Park Sounds will be held over two different sessions on Sunday 21 February at Sills Bend in Heidelberg. Speaking of live music, we watched Emma Donovan & the Putbacks (with a surprise guest appearance from Paul Kelly who was in the audience!) this afternoon at the Heide Summer Festival in Bulleen. If you go, I’d set up your picnic blanket to the left on the hill which lends some shade as the sun sets as it gets pretty hot when the sun is out. Mr Rosanna and I noticed too a number of families with their supplies in a Wanderer beach cart.

The Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub opening has also been delayed until Friday 26 February from 6 – 8pm which you can attend online. Details will be going up on the website closer to the time. While that’s been delayed, it was good to see posts about The Little Social cafe that opened at Rosanna station during the week. I hope locals will support this initiative run by Youth Projects.

Image via Earth Greetings

It’s Chinese New Year this coming week (bring on the Ox!) as well as Valentine’s Day next Sunday and these Earth Greetings cards have caught my eye if there is someone special in your life and not necessarily a romantic partner but your parents, your family or your friends.

The Elegance of Spring by Sam Michelle – image via Gallerysmith

Finally, I’ve been following Australian artist Sam Michelle for a little while now as I’ve fallen in love with her still life paintings. Her new online exhibition The elegance of Spring goes live on Tuesday 9 February from 10am at Gallerysmith. Her work reminds me of Margaret Preston’s and I may have to put one of her paintings on my wishlist.

Collective soul

What a year it’s been – we kind of ended at the start and now we are starting at the end with Melbourne back open for business these next two months leading up to Christmas. It will be great to re-join Victoria when the ring of steel comes down next Sunday and hopefully for all Australian states to open borders so families can see each other at Christmas time.

I even had an Italian custard doughnut to celebrate the days where we’ve had no cases and no deaths – something truly remarkable given what is now unfolding in the US and Europe as they head into second waves over winter in numbers that I am finding hard to fathom. Despite the hardship of the past four months here in Melbourne, we still live in the the lucky country.

Halloween was a non-event in our street last night although I was secretly glad not to have hordes of children on my front door step this year – I have seen some fantastic Halloween-themed houses and front gardens in local streets so good on you if you got into the spirit of things.

While I will be working this week as a higher education worker (we don’t get Labour Day or Melbourne Cup Day off) – I hope you enjoy the long weekend and some newfound freedoms if you’re taking tomorrow off. While the races are also off the plate in terms of general public attendance – it looks like it will be warm one this year for the horses that are competing.

I am weary and I think once this week is over – it’s the home straight until Christmas and shut down for many of us. While this year has been one of the hardest years of my life (like most people) – it has also been one of the most rewarding where I have achieved things I didn’t imagine I could at the start of the year, because we’ve all had to pivot, dig deep to find strength within and continue to keep going. Life doesn’t stop and we need to find ways to move forward whatever our circumstances are.

While Black Friday is still to happen retail-wise – as I’ve previously mentioned, I have done much of my Christmas shopping online over lockdown while sales were on and to support my favourite local retailers which have included Melbournalia, Crumpler, Cibi, Sage and Clare and Readings. Some nature-inspired Christmas items have caught my eye including these Gift of Seeds cards and flower presses from SownSow and bamboo decorations from Earth Greetings. I also love the personalised ceramic stars you can order from Paper Boat Press.

Mum’s the word

How are you faring self isolation-wise? The whiff of freedom is tantalisingly close this Mother’s Day weekend if you can continue to hang in there and I am looking forward to what our State Premier has to say on Monday in terms of loosening restrictions in Victoria. It has been a long haul for many of us but I think there’s been a lot of silver linings as well reducing the busy-ness of daily life and commuting, more time spent with family and friends virtually or in real life and perhaps some real innovation that remains post-pandemic.

Ridge jacket by Nancybird

I’ve mused aloud in the past about staggered start and finish times work-wise to reduce public transport and vehicle traffic on our roads and the need for large-scale structural change. It’s taken COVID-19 for this to be realised in a matter of weeks and months as businesses and organisations now look at how staff return to offices and workplaces (a likely staged approach), children returning to school, ongoing flexibility to work from home, greater pedestrian and cycling paths in the city and other innovation that may actually benefit us and the environment in times to come.

Online workshops image by Nicola Cerini

It’s also been great to see the prominence given to experts – doctors, scientists, academics and traditional news media outlets (albeit in different online mediums) instead of celebrities as we look to evidence-based research and science for facts. Interesting too to see which jobs have been considered essential and I hope that people will treat supermarket staff, teaching, nursing and other staff with newfound respect. Scientists may yet become the new sexy! I hope a vaccine or drugs to counteract the pandemic is developed in the next 18 months.

Artist print by Earth Greetings

I’ve been doing a lot more cooking and baking at home – I ran out of eggs last night and was pleasantly surprised to find that Four Leaves cafe (below) in Rosanna had pivoted to groceries on top of still doing pizza and takeaway food. It was previously a grocery store cum cafe so has completed the circle in its current iteration.


There are a number of local retailers selling lovely things for mums – online gift vouchers from Pretty Intense in Rosanna, click and collect gifts from Heide in Bulleen, bouquets from French Blue Flowers in Heidelberg (if you’d ordered early enough) and sold out high tea packages from Second Home Eltham. I’ve also seen pretty pastel things via some of the Australian retailers I receive e-newsletters from including Nancybird, Nicola Cerini and Earth Greetings.

Sabina Musayev Diamond top and skirt image by Husk


At the moment I am wearing loungewear brought to you by the House of Uniqlo and Ugg on my beer budget (I have requested a Chinese money plant from Mr Rosanna for Mother’s Day) but dreaming of glittering times in the future. For the glam mum with champagne tastes, Husk Clothing continues to stock some beautiful clothes for evening adventures in another time and place.