Heal the world

It’s a lofty ambition but a lovely thing to think about this Christmas – some peace in, and for, the world which has suffered so much these past two years. The second extended lockdown in Melbourne has also affected a few people I know more significantly even though the moment has now passed. It will take time for us to re-adjust and re-set but I think Christmas and the summer ahead will be good for that.

It was timely to hear about the healing garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen opening last month as a place to ‘restore equilibrium’. I sought refuge last year in Sunday Reed’s Heart Garden there near Heide I so it’s nice to know there is another place to go to for solace. The Heide Makers Market has also re-started with the next one being held on Saturday 11 December and a reminder you can park in nearby Banksia Park and walk through to Heide past the holly bush if it’s crowded.

Heidelberg Makers Market retailer
Lene Kuhl Jakobsen ceramic mug

We’ve been lucky to have a dog as pet therapy over the pandemic and it’s therapeutic to pat a dog or a cat if you have one. For those that don’t, you can now cuddle a cat at the Cat Protection Society in Greensborough which is a great idea if you have allergies in the family or can’t commit to owning your own cat at this time. Pets are for life so you need to be ready if you take one on as much as they also become a very much loved member of your family.

I also love the look of this book (above) The Cat Who Saved Books by Japanese writer Sosuke Natsukawa – it would make a thoughtful Christmas present for the cat lover in your life. I’m looking forward to turning to my head to Christmas after having not one, two but three birthday celebrations last week for the December babies in my life.

Boca Gelato Ivanhoe (above and below)

It’s been good to dine locally for these celebrations and with the warm weather last week, we had sushi and gelato at Toyama and Boca Gelato mid-week in Ivanhoe. I was impressed with both the style and different gelati itself at Boca where you can also buy their signature ice cream scoops at the front. We also went out the following night for Mr Rosanna’s birthday dinner to Umberto Espresso Bar (which has a newly opened rooftop bar) in Thornbury located diagonally opposite the Thornbury Picture House. Umberto’s owners also run Italian wine bar Joanie’s Baretto – another place I’ve not yet visited but on the list.

I spent last Friday night at Narai Classic Thai in Station Street Fairfield having the set dinner menu as we were a large group celebrating a milestone birthday. I blogged about using the (Australian owned start up) Mr Yum app at the table to order meals at last weekend’s brunch with my girlfriends, but Narai Thai took it one step further with a robot waiter bringing out our meals which was a novel experience! I think artificial intelligence and robotics won’t necessarily replace human contact, but make person-to-person and face-to-face interaction and experiences all the more important in retail, hospitality and events. You can’t escape the future but only embrace it as everything changes and nothing stays the same.

Narai Classic Thai restaurant
robot waiter

Get up, dress up and show up

It’s been a weird time in the aftermath of the bushfires and now with the world grappling with coronavirus, which has thrown governments, education providers, travellers, airline companies and the business world into chaos. As a Chinese Australian, I haven’t personally experienced any discrimination but am uncomfortable with the fact that some people have made this an issue about race not health. Whatever the case, we now live in a globalised society where we are all connected in more ways than one. As an economic powerhouse, when China sneezes, the world catches a cold and I think there will be economic ramifications in addition to the more pressing issue of finding a vaccine as soon as possible.


I’ve found watching the Australian Open here in Melbourne a good distraction and there are some nice outdoor events coming up including the dog-friendly (but do watch out for snakes) Heide Makers Market in Bulleen this Saturday 8 February, a Summers End outdoor movie screening of the Buena Vista Social Club at Montsalvat in Eltham on Sunday 29 February and the Banyule Festival Twilight Sounds live music at Sills Bend on Saturday 14 March.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is also holding a number of free concerts this month at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl while my pick for our family would be Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki.

I finished reading the companion book to The courage to be liked called The courage to be happy over the summer break and its main messages are to love (other people rather than waiting to be loved by someone), be self-reliant (self-worth comes from within so ignore both external praise and criticism) and to choose life (self-explanatory but what other choice do we have?).  Instead of blaming the past, other people and our circumstances, we need to change our focus to ‘what can I do from now on?’. The book also talks about consistency and the challenge of working through the ‘nothing days’ when nothing particularly exciting happens but it all amounts to something in the end simply by staying the course.

It’s not a sexy word but consistency is under-rated – it’s what is needed to succeed in life with exercise, work and many other pursuits – getting up, dressing up and showing up whether we feel like it or not, day after day, month after month, year after year. It may become my mantra for this year! I did also read Why Buddhism is true – a much denser book looking at the intersection of Buddhist theory with evolutionary psychology. I may leave explaining that one for another time! I hope you have a great week – stay safe and be well.




The land of the living

Is where I’m planning on spending my time after being knocked down and completely out by the mother of all flus two weeks ago. Let’s just say I understand why people end up being hospitalised or come down with a secondary infection when they catch the flu – I reckon it’s one of the worst communicable illnesses you can get besides gastro. At one stage I felt like dying and this is from someone who’s been through two natural childbirths. Still, it could have been a lot worse and it was a lesson in acceptance and grace for me – something the Buddhist in me is still working on.

Needless to say I’m looking forward to returning to work and re-joining society but will be taking it easy – Spring sometimes has a sting in its tail as I’ve found out this year.


Before I got sick, we did manage to have a lovely Father’s Day lunch at Cafe Heide in Bulleen enjoying the sunny weather and the cafe does picnic basket lunches if you fancy a day spent outdoors. The Heide Makers Market also re-started yesterday and this dog-friendly market is a fun one if you’re looking for something to do with the warmer weather upon us.

School holidays are fast approaching or already here for some and I recently discovered Longridge Park – a local campsite in Warrandyte perfect for a local weekend camping adventure and an introduction to the great outdoors if you’re not wanting to venture too far from home.


I love a good rooftop bar once it’s hot enough to sit outside and I spent one Sunday afternoon late last year enjoying The Provincial’s rooftop bar (above via The Provincial). The hotel has been there since I was a teenager (I had one memorable birthday there where I was the first person to leave my own party…let’s just leave that one in the past) and it’s still a popular Brunswick St destination in Fitzroy.


Closer to home I was reading about the transformation of the former Paladaar Thai restaurant now becoming The Alphington Social (pictured above via Alphington Social) something a bit more hip for the times and for the demographic that will shortly be moving into the enormous YarraBend development located on the former Amcor Paper Mill site.

Finally, the Fringe Festival has started in Melbourne as well as the Tesselaar Tulip Festival if you feel like stopping to smell the flowers before we launch into the final months of the year and the lead up to Christmas. Enjoy the week ahead – I’m definitely going to!

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!

Jimmy Diamond

I’m really hoping it’s Friday – I think shorter weeks can sometimes be more intense than normal ones.  Given I had to work Cup Day, my highlight was winning ‘Fashions on the Field’ (make that campus) in our Marketing and Recruitment Division (below) although the odds were in my favour with reduced staff numbers working and not that many choosing to dress up!  You can take the girl out of fashion….


I did have a number of friends attend Derby Day and Oaks Day and have liked the boater style hats as well as floral and other headbands, oversized head bows (like mine) and other departures from the ubiquitous fascinator in terms of headwear this year.  I was briefly in at David Jones today and am a fan of Australian brand Aje. if you’re looking for a special outfit for Christmas.

It’s takeaway night and if you’re local you might want to try Diamond Chinese Restaurant at 122 Burgundy Street in Heidelberg.  It had been recommended to me before but it’s taken 10 years for Mr Rosanna and I to venture in and I’m glad we did.  I met Jimmy last Friday night who’s been there 44 years and plays table tennis against my Uncle George!  If you’re a fan of old school Cantonese food, I think it’s also a good place to go for a quiet Friday night meal and it was starting to fill up when I left.  My Media & Communications team and I also had lunch at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna (below) during the week which was a lot of fun – it’s good to get off campus sometimes given we spend most of our working week there.


I did want to mention a few local happenings.  The Banyule Art Salon opened earlier this month and Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe is one of my favourite places to visit.  If you’re into local arts and culture – check out Banyule Arts and Culture‘s Facebook page. If markets are more your thing, the Heide Makers Market is on in Bulleen tomorrow as well as the Melbourne Ceramics Market in Collingwood.

On Sunday, which is also Remembrance Day, the Heidelberg Primary School fete is on.  It was nice to see poppies being sold at Westfield Doncaster today – I can’t help but feel how lucky people are in this part of the world to be buying shiny, pretty new things at these big shopping complexes when things were very different earlier this century.  I’m hanging out to see a grown up’s movie (can’t call them ‘adult’ movies!) and it’s a toss-up between A star is born or Bohemian Rhapsody – I am a fan of Queen and Freddy Mercury and his performance in his all white outfit at the Live Aid concert is still seared in my memory.

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe


You can call me Queen Bee

It’s already been a full on start to the new school term for us and it’s the home straight from now until Christmas – our calendar is jam packed and I’m sure yours is also fast filling up.  It’s been a beautiful few Spring days and  I’ve been loving spending time outside as much as my hay fever seems to be killing me…Spring racing has also started and while I have mixed feelings about horse racing, we had friends see mare Winx in action at last week’s Cox Plate and some people are already comparing her to Phar Lap.

Melbourne Festival Fire Gardens

Speaking of outside, Fire Gardens for the Melbourne Festival launched on Wednesday night at the Royal Botanic Gardens and tickets have already sold out so lucky you if you’re going to see it as it looks spectacular.  Speaking of all things royal, classic motor show Motorclassica 2018 is on this weekend at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and some of the cars on show are absolutely beautiful.  I saw Ladies in Black at the Lido Cinema last night which also takes you back to a different time in 1950s Australia and it’s a real feel good movie if you’re after something gorgeous from another era to look at.

Image via Motorclassica 2018

It was fantastic to see Melbourne voted number three in Conde Nast Traveler’s best cities 2018, after Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan (on my hit list as my next overseas destination to visit) with special mention to Heide Museum in Bulleen.  It’s all happening at Heide at the moment with the Heide Makers Market on tomorrow as well as a special Hounds of Heide event on Sunday 21 October for anyone with a fur baby (with Rose St Artists market stallholders selling canine-themed art, design and handmade goods, an illustrator and free vet checks all on offer) and Mirka Mora’s Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls exhibition starting on 27 October.

Mirka Mora Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls image via Heide


The art of doing nothing

Mr Rosanna is also a writer and in fact more progressed along the path than me in that he’s actually started a manuscript for a book.  He’s also written his first published article  Are we forgetting to rest? on Medium considering the need for rest especially if you want to perform at your best regardless of whether you are an elite athlete, a parent, a business person or just someone struggling to keep up with daily life of work, study, family, friends and interests.


I was out last night catching up with two ex-work colleagues at the very stylish Cru wine bar in Kew – an ‘all day Euro bar’ with functions and event space (pictured above and below).  It’s been there for a while and is a bit of a fave with the inner Eastern locals.  They have a serious selection of wine on offer, a bit similar to the Gertrude Street Enoteca in Fitzroy that’s owned by a girl I went to high school with, and the food was good.  Carnivores that we are, I had the salmon fillet and my two girlfriends a rib-eye steak and the veal.  There’s also the FLATIRON Side Door bar that’s part of the FLATIRON fashion and homewares store in East Kew that’s also a local favourite for those in the east.


A couple of things to mention today.  Homewares store Lightly Design has a warehouse sale on today and tomorrow if you’re in the Collingwood area with samples, seconds and goodies with up to 70% off and the Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow in Bulleen and would make a lovely outing now that Spring is in the air.

Down the rabbit hole

Ah well the rain has come and as much as I don’t like the dark and gloomy conditions outside – we do need the water.  I’ve moved on from salad poke bowls for lunch to casseroles and soups although yet to have my first pie for the cold season.  A work friend was telling me to check out a new cafe in Ivanhoe called Pinkie so I’ll be making my way there soon.Lene Kuhl Jakobsen 'Strata' vases (2)

It does make it a bit harder to get out but being outdoors in the winter is good for you and I wanted to mention that if the weather improves that both the Heide Makers Market and the Eltham Makers Market are on tomorrow.  My ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen will be selling her beautiful wares (photos above and below) at Heide in Bulleen for this special Mother’s Day event before the market goes into hiatus until Spring.Lene Kuhl Jakobsen Oval bottle vases

Stay warm, stay active was my winter mantra a couple of years ago and there is a special Mother’s Day workshop for mothers and daughters (14+) on Sunday morning at Clifton Hill Yoga School, which also runs yoga classes for children and teenagers.  As a long-time and long-term yoga practitioner, it’s a great habit to start at a younger age and like mindfulness, something which will help develop peace of mind, calmness and mental strength and resilience – all great life skills.

It’s Happy Friday today and ACMI in the city is holding its Wonderland Late Nights with DJs, bands and live art from 6pm on Fridays if you’re a CBD worker, which sounds like fun.

A blaze of glory

The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event.  It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.

L-R: Jane Lindsay-Waschl, Renae Barrass, Shaynna Blaze and me

After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block.  Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land.  It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.

L-R: Nikki Ellis, me and Dani Ahimastos

I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.  Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page.  It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!

Shaynna on stage – The Centre Ivanhoe

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora.  There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.

Oz Tenpin Bowling – Bundoora

I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend.  Enjoy.img_7012.jpg

State of Escape

It’s the name of the Australian made and designed neoprene handbags that have been pretty popular for a while now.  It also sums up my state of mind this week after being sick pretty much the whole time save for a quick dash to the Botanic Gardens to witness a family wedding ceremony.  Aargh – FOMO – fear of missing out!  I’m on my way back up but it’s been a long week.

Wolgan Collection image via State of Escape

Back to the bags – they aren’t cheap at $300 or over (I do love the now sold out Pewter/Ochre combination specially made for the Emirates Wolgan Valley health retreat in NSW) but I think they are highly practical for every day (they can be washed in the machine!), gym or beach use and a number of mothers I know now have them.  If you’re after something cheaper, Chuchka and Prene bags also have some great styles and colours.

Noosa bag image via Cabana Lifestyle

If you are wanting something purely for the beach – Cabana Lifestyle has a range of more affordable waterproof beach totes and would make a nice Christmas gift.  As much as I have some lovely cloth bags and basket bags for the beach – practical bags such as these are a lot more durable and I still use the same Crumpler Messenger Bag I bought as a nappy bag over 10 years ago.

Rejuvenate kit image via Sodashi

Interesting too to read about Sodashi skincare – an Australian brand meaning ‘wholeness, purity and radiance’ in Sanskrit which is also stocked at the Wolgan Valley retreat.  Again, it’s not cheap but the beauty junkie in me is always interested in finding out more about natural Australian skincare products.

Some local events which start today – the Night Noodle Markets if you’re heading into town.  Be warned that they are very popular and expect to queue for food if you go.  They are also cashless so take cards with you if you decide to venture in.  You’ll find roving performers, DJs and live music all on offer if you make the trip.

Image via Montsalvat Facebook page

Closer to home, Puesta del Sol starts at Montsalvat tonight –  a mash up of food, drinks, live music from Flamenco group La Rumba and art all poolside in Eltham as the sun goes down.  The Rotary Eltham Festival is also on this Saturday, as well as the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen while the Makers & Shakers Market is being held on Sunday at the Coburg Town Hall.  Stay well people.