The power of us

While we’ve been there, done that and we can do it again – I don’t think any of us are happy to be back here in lockdown 2.0. I had a sneaking suspicion that we would, unfortunately, be going in for another round last Saturday night when Mr Rosanna took me out for my birthday dinner at Ocha in Hawthorn with me glibly referring to ‘our last supper’ on Facebook. I am still hopeful that we can reverse the numbers here in Melbourne but it’s disappointingly taken another lockdown, and a series of mistakes, for this to happen and we are all now wearing the pain.

My peace lily at home

I said at the start that this would be a long game and the challenge largely mental and that still stands.  The ABC has launched a 6-week newsletter series called Your Mental Health and it’s timely for Melburnians given the length of this second lockdown. I’ve been very conscious of the amount of young people who are suffering at the moment and have also made time to connect with people in my circle who live on their own and need to be extra vigilant about staying in touch.

And the puzzle we’re yet to complete as a family

These are challenging times and even the strongest of us need to pay attention to our wellbeing. I’ve returned to Zoom yoga classes and guilty of baking banana bread and chocolate brownies this past week but more mindful of making healthier food choices over lockdown so I don’t end up putting on those iso kilos again. I also think a little bit of comfort food makes a whole lot of sense this weekend so don’t beat yourself up if you too have had a moment of weakness! We all need to do what we can to stay positive and motivated while we carry the weight of the nation on our shoulders. Without overstating things, it’s over to us now in the community to play ball (and try not to drop it again) for all our sakes.

Jessie Pittard ceramics

For me, it’s trying to see the beauty in every day while we are living life in the slow lane. I’ve been enjoying the peace lily my in-laws gifted to me as my birthday present that sits on my desk enjoying the winter sun as well as the 1000 piece jigsaw we’re trying to complete as a family. I love local ceramic artist Jessie Pittard‘s work featuring clothes lines (above), colourful loungewear by Sage and Clare and funky earrings by Peaches and Keen (below). I’ve also been amused by the clever antics of fashionista Estelle Michaelides if you follow her Micky in the Van Facebook page. Her creativity has been inspiring as well as the promise of happier and way more glamorous times than now.

Sage and Clare loungewear image

Local small businesses everywhere are doing it really tough at the moment and Banyule Business is interested in hearing from you for their economic development survey. If you have time, which most of us do at the moment, please complete it by 19 July as it will inform future direction and three lucky respondents will receive a $100 hamper. Speaking of which, my employer La Trobe University has also internally released its reset strategy discussion paper for staff comment and consideration and it’s a good thing to do personally as well as professionally – take stock, consider (or re-consider) your options and work out where to from here. Somehow, some way, we all have to try to move forward as best we can one step at a time, one day at a time and even from one moment to another. If it all feels too overwhelming, breaking it down into small chunks always helps, controlling what you can control (your actions and reactions) as well as having something to feel grateful for at the end of every day.

Peaches and Keen earrings

There is a saying that it takes pressure to make diamonds so Melbourne – stay safe, stay strong and long may you sparkle.

Me at Ocha Japanese Restaurant last weekend

Weddings, parties, anything

It’s that time of year – have you heard the cicadas singing? Summer is upon us and I haven’t been able to catch my breath this week. I had events on four nights in a row and hit the wall on Friday not making it to my Friday night event. Mr Rosanna has been just as busy and we hope to put up our Christmas tree next weekend!


It’s definitely party season and I hosted an end of year work dinner on Thursday night for the La Trobe Alumni Ambassadors at SPQR Pizzeria around the corner from the Princess Theatre in Liverpool Street in the city where it was all happening with nearby Indian restaurant Daughter In Law and one of my all time favourites wine bar Punch Lane.


Christmas celebrations have also started in Greensborough, Macleod and Montmorency Village along with a number of markets including the Big Design Market at the Royal Exhibition Building (still on today) and Craft Victoria’s Makers Market which was on yesterday. The Xmas Gin Market is on today at The Craft & Co in Collingwood and I’ve been reading about the stellar rise of Melbourne distillery Four Pillars. My younger work colleagues are also fans of Milk the Cow fromagerie in Carlton which does a cheese and gin event and I’ve also missed recent drinks with them at Moon Dog World craft brewery in Preston.


While I am now focusing on buying experiences for family in terms of Christmas presents, I’ve made a tradition these past few years of ducking into The Greenery in Heidelberg and the Heide Store in Bulleen for last minute local gifts. Terminus has also opened at Heide and I’ve heard it’s a great interactive exhibition if you have art-loving children.


Speaking of art, the recent NGV Gala was on to launch the Basquiat Haring: Crossing Lines exhibition and my friend Pio attended in all of his gold lurex tuxedo glory mixing it up with a number of influencers and other celebrities (of whom I was a bit sceptical regarding their art-loving credentials but nevertheless). While female rap duo Salt-N-Pepa were the headline entertainment act, a number of other artists had been mooted including 80s gay icons Grace Jones, Diana Ross and our very own Kylie Minogue.

I am also loving some of fashionista Estelle Michaelides’ latest Micky in the Van collection (a few of my favourite things above) and have been following her glamorous adventures at Government House to launch her Fashion by Appointment event with designers Kara Baker, Julie Goodwin and Nevada Duffy at the Westin Hotel for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) in March 2020. If I was attending a wedding or Christmas party, then some of her signature pieces would be on my list!


Soul Kitchen

It’s the name of the charity food service for individuals and families at risk or experiencing homelessness that’s now been launched in Preston (following Braybrook) by social enterprise 300 Blankets. I was in the city today for yum cha with my family and it’s quite heartbreaking to walk down some of our major CBD streets and see homeless people sleeping rough on the street, many of whom have now been pushed out to the suburbs. They are looking for volunteers on Sundays nights if you are interested in helping out, even if it’s occasionally not regularly. Winter is not yet over and it’s still pretty cold in Spring and if you have a roof over your head and a warm bed to sleep in, then count yourself lucky.

Image via Micky In The Van

I went for a run this afternoon and noticed all the bright yellow wattle on the trees and I am very happy to be farewelling Winter this week. I did want to do a shout out for former local fashionista Estelle Michaelides of Micky In The Van who has a new studio just off Brunswick Street in Fitzroy which will be open to the public every Saturday. She’ll also be holding fashion and floral illustration workshops there if you’re interested in the art of fashion illustration in watercolour. I still have one of her hand illustrated limited edition candle holders on my dressing table, which is a much cherished item. I’ve done a fashion illustration workshop before with some creative friends and family and can highly recommend it.

The only thing of course with Spring on our doorstep is that my nose has started running…better stock up on the hay fever medication!

Fashion rules

Well there are no rules in fashion but fashion rules forever in my book! Speaking of which, it’s a little early but there are two local events happening as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) 2019 including the Gorman: Ten years of Collaborating garment exhibition (image below) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen starting 5 March. Even better tickets are on sale for the Gorman runway evening show at Heide on Saturday 2 March if you want to see fashions in the field (outdoor sculpture garden) instead of on the field.


Gorman has collaborated with a number of different artists who’ve worked with Gorman over the past 10 years including Rachel Castle, Elke Kramer, Rhys Lee, Ellie Malin, Mirka Mora and Miranda Skoczek to name but a few. The garments will be shown alongside the artworks which inspired them so a fantastic show for the fashionistas out there.


Local designer Estelle Michaelides is madly putting her Micky in the Van Autumn/Winter 2019 collection together (pictured above) to also show on Saturday 2 March at 2pm at the Rivoli Cinemas in Hawthorn as part of VAMFF. It’s great to see some creativity being used to show fashion in unexpected venues this year. Once upon a long time ago when I first worked in fashion PR, I boarded a mystery train trip out to a secret warehouse location in Maribyrnong to see supermodel Linda Evangelista in action as part of the first ever Melbourne Fashion Festival – they were exciting times.


Speaking of Heide, the Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow and you’ll see my ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen selling her wares there if you’re going. I have a number of Lene’s pieces on display (above) in my home – they look particularly great on a floating shelf if you have the space although probably better without computer paraphernalia!

The owls and the larks

It’s been lovely to see all the native birds out since Spring has hit.  If you are a birder or twitcher, the sold out Banyule 2018 Breakfast with the Birds at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg is being held on Sunday 28 October and the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is currently on and there must be a few of us bird lovers out there.


Speaking of birds of a different kind, my fashionista friend Estelle Michaelides is holding her Micky & Friends pop up weekend at Strategies Studio, 16 Brown Street in Collingwood from 10am – 4pm this coming Saturday and Sunday.  Besides showcasing her Micky In The Van S/S 18/19 range (plus samples), there’ll be some fantastic accessories, millinery and jewellery brands there (see images below) including some beautiful David Subroto silk scarves and Air of Distinction vintage head wraps.  If you’re after more of an artisan-based Spring Racing Carnival look, then this is the place to be!


I hope to still be standing at the end of my busy event-filled week and will see you on the other side.


A May Day

It’s suddenly got cold with the start of May and while I’ve loved the lengthy warm Autumn days, it’s nice to have had some rain.  There are a number of interesting local profiles I’m hoping to put up soon and it’s great that new businesses in the local area are enjoying very busy times.  It’s a sign that our local economy is in good shape and there is latent demand for products and services for local people, by local people.  Speaking of which, former local fashion maven Estelle Michaelides closed her bricks and mortar shop, Micky in the Van, in Ivanhoe a while ago but her bespoke and very ladylike womenswear is now online, with small runs made to order.  I’m currently in love with her Jack Jack Sweater in Kyoto Night.

Image via Micky in the Van

Another sign of a good community is the amount of volunteering that takes place and there are many opportunities to give back by way of children’s sports, kinder and school parents associations, local council committees and local not-for-profit organisations and op shops.  I’ve seen a call out for volunteers at the Diamond Valley Community Support Op-Shop in Diamond Creek and have family and friends who have worked for the CPS Op Shop Rosanna (which has a new manager) and St George’s Anglican Church Op Shop in Ivanhoe East.

Image via CPS Op Shop Rosanna

As for me, in the past 10 years I’ve volunteered for the Winston Hills Pre-School committee, Banyule Arts & Cultural Advisory Committee, in Visitor Services at Heide Museum of Modern Art and will step down later this month when my two-year Board membership ends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre,  All in all, it’s been a really rewarding experience that has given me opportunities to develop myself personally and professionally, as well as put me in touch with lots of different people in the area and been a good thing to do both in between jobs and in conjunction with paid employment.

It’s perhaps a weekend to head indoors but the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios is on both Saturday and Sunday if you feel like a car trip.  Melbourne Farmers Markets on this weekend include Alphington, Carlton and Coburg.