Too tight to mention

It’s festival season in Melbourne – the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is currently on and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is about to start – good timing given Daylight Savings ends on 2 April which I’m always sad about as a summer person. The Melbourne Writers Festival has been brought forward this year to May and an early shout out too for Banyule’s Women in Business lunch on Friday 19 May with special guest Lisa Gorman. More on that closer to the time.

Speaking of writers, I’m looking forward to reading Australian writer Pip Williams’ second book The Bookbinder of Jericho which follows on the footsteps of The Dictionary of Lost Words. As a word nerd I’ve also been playing the New York Times Wordle, which is both my guilty pleasure and daily challenge!

Money is tight at the moment for our family and while it’s only a temporary situation, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live without financial security on an ongoing basis and how much it can wear people down. What it has brought into focus are the important things in life – the love of my friends and family and spending time with them, and in nature. It’s pretty simple stuff and if you’re a creative person, there are all sorts of ways you can continue to enjoy life and make time for joy.

Speaking of simple pleasures Hounds of Heide (in collaboration with The Rose Street Artists’ Market) is being held from 10am – 3pm tomorrow at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen if you are have a (leashed) furry four legged friend, the Alphington Farmers Market is also on as well as the Marketplace Sundays @Eaglemont Village Eggstravaganza where the kids Egg Hunt is booked out but adults can celebrate Neighbours Every Day by bringing one of your neighbours along (as well as some cash and BYO bags). In light of Harmony Week, it’s lovely that the Neighbours Every Day theme is ‘Create Belonging’ – surely something that every person wants to feel.


Summer in the city

Happy New Year my friends – I hope you had a great NYE and if you didn’t, you get the chance to start all over again on January 22 when the Year of the Black Water Rabbit officially begins.

Speaking of water, my family and I spent NYE watching Avatar: The Way of Water at IMAX Melbourne before heading to Treasury Gardens to catch the early fireworks – I think half of Melbourne was there! And the city herself looked magnificent walking from the Royal Exhibition Building (below) past the all lit up Her Majesty’s and Princess Theatres – Melbourne has never looked better.

I even managed to squeeze in a day trip to the beach on Monday to the Mornington peninsula to catch up with my friend Dan in town from Amsterdam, before returning to work on Tuesday – which was a shock to the system! My girlfriends are planning a trip to France this year so I’m a little envious especially as I’ve just binged on Season 3 of Emily in Paris – the City of Light has never looked so amazing.

While I am back at work, Mr R and I are enjoying our Melbourne staycation over summer and if you’re entertaining visitors you might be interested in this article Eat, play holiday which includes 12 of the best places to visit in Melbourne. Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen has a new cafe and new retail store and Mr Rosanna has gift cards he’s received but yet to use at Urbnsurf in Tullamarine and The Keys in Preston.

We went to Camberwell Sunday Market today – make sure you go early, wear a hat and some sunscreen and take a water bottle if you visit on a hot day. It’s also gold coin donation to Rotary but volunteers are now carrying mobile EFTPOS machines at the entry gates and stall holders use Pay ID on their mobiles if you haven’t brought cash. It’s all open air and shade can be hard to come by (as well as cold drinks!). With our post-Christmas budget, we’ve been happy shopping at markets and thrifting at op shops and I came away with a new miniature elephant to add to my ever growing herd.

I also had a mid-week catch up with my cousin at the newly renovated Box Hill Central having a cheap and cheerful (and very hot!) Thai noodle soup at Dodee Paidang – note to self – order something with less than three chilis in terms of heat factor next time. I can’t imagine how hot the seven chili option must be. If you are visiting Box Hill you might be interested in Etta chef Rosheen Kaul’s recommended places to eat – it does feel like you could be somewhere in Asia if you do visit Box Hill and I drove past Vietnamese restaurant Indochine which is still there and one of the first places to open in that strip.

Speaking of all things Asian, you might be interested in Screen Presence 2023 at the restored heritage-listed Capitol Theatre – a series of in-conversation events accompanying movies included the first Asian movie star Anna May Wong in the 1932 film Shanghai Express. You can also see her featured again in the upcoming Goddess exhibition at ACMI opening in April.

Make the most of the next two or three weeks even if you are returning to work – I’ve been enjoying having friends over, the quiet time on the streets of Ivanhoe (and in the parklands) and the thinking and planning time in the office. No doubt things will pick up once school returns and I will be heading up north for work in the first quarter of this year with February to May already looking pretty busy. Stay cool…

Ho ho ho

Christmas decorations went up in Ivanhoe straight after Melbourne Cup week and people have returned to in-store shopping after pivoting to online during the pandemic.

I’ve only just started doing some shopping for friends and family and I’m often opportunistic if I’m out and about and see something on the spot that might fit the bill given I’m time-poor. I bought a KK present for my annual besties get together while buying flowers for my neighbour yesterday at French Blue Flowers in Heidelberg. I also picked up a panettone for Christmas from Leo’s while buying some groceries for her as we missed out a couple of years ago when we left things too late. I’m planning on also buying a triple smoked ham early from Aldi if I get the chance.

If you’re local, Ivanhoe Primary is holding its Christmas market on Sunday 26 November and Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen has collaborated with Third Drawer Down – I love the sentiments of this tea towel (above) available from the Heide store. The Big Design Market, which I always miss due to December birthdays in my family, is also on the weekend of 2 – 4 December at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton.

If you’re a fan of First Nations artwork – the Desart online Christmas Marketplace supporting Aboriginal Art Centres of Central Australia is currently on but will finish soon. For me, I’d love tickets to see Bangarra Dance Theatre perform ‘Yuldea’ at the Victorian Arts Centre next year.

These ‘cloud’ stud earrings (above) hand made by Korean Australian jeweller Daehoon Kang at e.g.etal have also caught my eye. Speaking of clouds, I am heading to the land of the long white cloud – New Zealand – this week for work. I’m looking forward to the cultural experience – kia ora to any kiwis out there! I’ll see you all on the other side.

Forest of Hope

It’s the name of the immersive art and sound installation opening on Friday 5 August at the Yarra-me Djila Theatrette at the Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub with large scale paintings by Anne Bennett, projections and sound recordings by Jutta Pryor and original music by bass artist Scott Dunbabin and flautist Megan Kenny. Given the somewhat depressing State of Environment report released by the federal government last week, it sounds like a welcome antidote and where there is action being taken, there is always hope.

Image: HeideMoMA

The 2022 Banyule Art Salon opens the same night from 6 – 8pm and is Banyule’s biggest community art exhibition with this one also dedicated to the great outdoors – forest bathing has kept most of us sane over the past few years and personally I feel very grateful to live in a municipality where park life is abundant.

I’ve long been fascinated by the moon, the stars and the evening sky and I’m not the only one. Night Paintings at Darebin Creek by Fran Lee opens on 26 August at Loft 275 also at the Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub while the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Across the Stars‘ September concert and ‘Nightscapes‘ December concert will be held across the road at the Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School Performing Arts Centre.

In nearby Bulleen, Double Moon by Korean artist Jaedon Shin (pictured above) opened at Heide Musuem of Modern Art last month and runs until October while Tyama: a multisensory experience of nature has opened at the Melbourne Museum and looks quite spectacular and means ‘a deeper sense of knowing.’ Our First Nations people have a different relationship to Country and Bangarra Dance Theatre’s latest production SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert also looks just as visually amazing.

While there’s another month of winter, there are blossoms and wattle on the trees and if next Sunday is just as nice weather-wise, it will be a fun day out at the Eaglemont Village Heritage Day with bookings already open for the Red Rattler steam train rides and the Eaglemont Village Market also on that day – the Art Deco village is one of my very favourite places in Banyule to visit.


It’s been a long week and I must admit I’ve been collapsing into a crumpled heap come most Fridays. I am going to take a couple of days off during the upcoming school holidays and will consider taking some further leave in term 4.

Image credit: Well Spotted

Like many people I’ve delayed taking annual leave when there is nowhere to go but I have recognised we will burn out as workers if we don’t just have a break. It has been hard going and hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but vaccinations are increasing every day and I love some of the more colourful products on sale such as these ‘Fully Vaxxed’ statement T-shirts from Well Spotted and Vaxx Cakes from Beurre Cakes, which have been doing the rounds on social media.

Image credit: Beurre Cakes

I’m very conscious too it is a middle-class privilege to work from home, which I’ve mentioned before and my line of work sees me dealing with people very high up in the public sector who are in the midst of grappling with all the issues we read about in our news media – the health divide that exists between the haves and have nots with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in poorer parts of Sydney and Melbourne disproportionately affected by COVID. I’m very glad that pop up clinics and mobile vans as well as community engagement in priority suburbs have been part of Victoria’s response.

If you’re lucky enough to have groceries or take away meals delivered or other goods couriered to your home, please spare a thought for the man or woman doing this work – they are often young essential workers who have to travel to do their job, to keep food on the table, to pay their bills and it is this demographic who are getting infected and then inadvertently spreading COVID to their families (often large, extended families) at home in the northern and western suburbs.

My Bala Bangles

Speaking of online deliveries, I have bought some Christmas gifts from local store Run to the River in Eltham, while last week I bought the lazy person’s strength training hack – a pair of Bala Bangles. While they won’t come remotely close to doing a proper, supervised class guided by a qualified fitness professional at somewhere like my friend Nikki Ellis’ studio Cinch Training in Macleod, I have worn them while doing housework and out walking.

I miss the simple things too like going to the hairdresser or visiting cafes and restaurants and have been thinking of Jonno at Valiant Barbers and Luis at The Pioneer Cafe at this time. It’s interesting when I think back to my honeymoon spent in Vietnam where all this daily activity actually took place outside on the street! I am hopeful local businesses will bounce back if they’ve been able to pivot and sustain themselves over lockdown – however it may be more challenging for Melbourne’s CBD as much as I’m sure Melburnians will return to the bright lights of the big city for arts, culture, sporting, food and other events in time. It’s also been heartening to read about the many hospitality businesses in and around Melbourne giving free meals to people at this time (extended lockdown is so last year!).

Image credit: Heide Museum of Modern Art

Spending time outdoors is probably the safest bet at the moment – you may be lucky enough to have Heide gardens in Bulleen in your 5km zone or the Alphington Farmers Market – both of which are still open to the public. Open Gardens Victoria and Bulleen Art & Garden are also running online workshops and classes for those who have indoor plants or live in small spaces.

My indoor plants

And finally, while the big game is now going to be played in Perth, the highlight for our family this week was Melbourne winning against Geelong on Friday night and the Dees sealing their historic place in this year’s AFL Grand Final. My youngest son called it early with his Father’s Day drawing for Mr Rosanna ‘Fired up’ (below) – you bet we are…

Be generous to yourself

Guided meditation along with yoga have been my go-to practices over the past 18 months and even before the pandemic came along. They’re two proactive things you can do in terms of self-care and resilience – we cannot control what is happening outside us but we can choose how to act (and how not to react).

My blog post title today comes courtesy of my sister-in-law Liz and one of her guided meditations arising from a recent workshop she ran on wellbeing. I hope you might enjoy is as much as I did – I’ve shared this with my besties who are feeling various emotions of sadness, frustration and anger that we are once again in lockdown in Victoria. I’ve also shared with them Bruce Lee’s fighting words about the possession of anything starting with the mind: Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick. Perhaps something to remember as we try to focus on the present and live in the now.

I’m feeling for the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) organisers and hope they built some flexibility into their format this year like the Melbourne Writers Festival. Businesses who’ve managed to do this stand the greatest chance of being here after the pandemic. Unbelievably given we are now in lockdown 6.0 – I managed to get out on Tuesday as I was involved in ANZSOG’s new marketing campaign meeting my colleague Emma and staff from our agency Marmalade Melbourne at photographer Garth Oriander‘s studio in Prahran, along with videographer Giordi Caputo.

I had the great pleasure and privilege of looking after three very senior Victorian-based alum (including a Commissioner no less!) who were first photographed by Garth, and then interviewed by me while being filmed by Giordi. We got some great footage and I’m looking forward to seeing the end result once we have finished the process in some of our other jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.

Emma and I grabbed some Vietnamese beef pho at New Wind on Chapel Street for lunch where we were served by a lovely Brazilian waiter but it was a shock to see how many cafes were closed on the main street – the pandemic has hit some retail strips pretty hard. While many businesses are suffering, it’s heartening to read about other new businesses opening at this time like retro-inspired Tyler’s Milk Bar in Preston.

The Olympics closing ceremony is on tonight and it’s been inspiring viewing over this lockdown period. I was happy to read about restoration work going on for the modernist mural created for the Melbourne Olympics and speaking of modernist, Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion has opened at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen (one to attend once lockdown permits) and there is also a new book out on modernist textile designer Frances Burke.

Finally while I am going to refrain about commenting on vaccination, I did watch this Heineken advertisement and read this article by Peter FitzSimons with great amusement. Yep – I’m definitely looking forward to part-aying once we open up our states and country – the night is young, the sun continues to rise and we are all still here.

A couple of galahs

Well…cockatoos to be exact. I’ve been taking much pleasure in the shenanigans of our friendly, feathered friends pictured below who we have coming right up to the kitchen window to say hello. There is much solace to be found in nature and living in the present.

I’ve been reading Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (below) and some of the takeaways have been to look (or ‘regarde!’ by the French writer Colette) and to savour the good things we see and experience – I think this is especially important in a year where so much has been taken away. I’ve taken much strength from her quoting writer Albert Camus – the start of his famous quote begins, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

They’re fighting words and I hope, if you too, have suffered loss of any kind this year you will remember to hang on to hope and know you have the resilience and resources within you to keep going. Nothing is forever and everything changes. As much as I may not like where I am, I have accepted my circumstances knowing there will be better times ahead and our beleaguered city and world will return to (a new) normal in time. We still have to enjoy now and focus on the things which give us pleasure and meaning.

I have celebrations in my family, with Christmas and in my friendship circle over the next month and I’m looking forward to visiting some of Melbourne’s CBD-venues which I’ll post about. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been taking place and while I’ve reined in my spending, both my kettle and microwave recently carked it so we’re currently waiting for the new microwave to be delivered but lashed out and bought a Smeg kettle (below) on sale. I have to say it’s made my kitchen bench top look a lot more stylish! I just hope my toaster doesn’t die on me as much as I’ve always wanted a Dualit.

There are a number of Christmas markets coming up including Heide on 19 December in Bulleen and the Alphington and Coburg Christmas farmers markets on 23 December from 2 – 6 pm, for which you do need to register. I also took note earlier this year regarding some of the beautiful care packages available for delivery if you have the budget including those from Kindful Gifts, Soul Bundles and Curated with conscience.

One of the best presents I’ve given people is simply taking them out somewhere special and shouting them lunch or dinner – our time and attention are often way more important than material things. If money is tight this year, you may want to make your own ‘gift’ voucher to give people – cooking, cleaning, babysitting, gardening or providing whatever kind of service you may be able to offer – for me, I’ve been able to help family update their resumes and edit cover letters this year.

Christmas is a time to give – as much as to ourselves and each other – I hope you have plans to spend your day, if you celebrate it, in the company of those you love whether they are biological or logical family. I’ve been lucky to have many caring people in my life reach out and lift me up at a very challenging time – if you can relieve someone else’s suffering, there is no greater gift.

Always will be

In the blink of an eye, the world has changed and I hope the 46th US President Joe Biden will be able to turn the fortunes of America around with his focus on science to combat both COVID-19 and climate change. He’s triumphed with a female person of colour in Vice President Kamala Harris and it is the dawn of a new era globally reflecting the greater diversity that now exists in the world.

It’s been good news here in Melbourne too with the state becoming one again with the lessening of restrictions and no cases for 9 days, which feels nothing short of miraculous after the winter we went through in extended lockdown. The taste of freedom is all the more sweet and our little family bubble including our dog celebrated today with an outdoor picnic and gelati in the sculpture garden (above) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen. Heide Cafe is already open and buzzing, with the museum and its three galleries re-opening this week.

Image via Adairs

Nature and all things local and domestic continue to be highlights for me. Its NAIDOC Week this week and it’s great to see Indigenous art and design also taking centre stage in terms of collaborations such as Kip & Co x Babbarra and Miimi + Jiinda for Adairs. I’m also loving more contemporary interpretations by Melbourne Indigenous artist Natalie Jade as well as some of the more high end textile and accessories available from NORTH, Babbara Womens Centre itself and One of Twelve.

The beauty of living in Melbourne’s north-east is that many of the mid-century houses built in this area with their open plan living and abundance of natural light are able to spectacularly showcase all things native and Australiana just like an art gallery. I hope you are also finding the beauty in the everyday at the moment.

Image via One of Twelve

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!


An idea needing to be made

Heide’s ceramics exhibition with this intriguing name opens today in Bulleen and I love a bold idea at the best of times. As I get older, while ideas are great, it’s the realisation of them and their outcomes that interest me more – skill comes in the actual implementation of ideas but without a vision to start with, there can be no real progress.


Speaking of ceramics, local artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is a finalist in this year’s Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award with her piece ‘What We Know Now’ (images above) addressing the challenge that is climate change. The related exhibition opens on the 14 August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster. Lene is also exhibiting at the Craft Atrium at Watson Place (off Flinders Lane) as part of the Craft Cubed Festival which starts on 1 August  and I love the image she’s used (below) on her new business cards.


It’s Open House Weekend and lucky you if you’ve already visited some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings and hidden surprises. I had a private tour by Dr Gillian Shepherd of the Trendall Research Centre (a previous Open House venue) at La Trobe University the other week- the centre was designed by modernist architect Robin Boyd and houses a number of rare books and artwork left as a private library and mid century apartment (time capsule!) of former resident academic – art historian and archaeologist Arthur Dale (A.D.) Trendall to the University. A private person, not much is known about his personal life except that he worked as a cryptographer (Japanese code breaker) during World War II – my colleagues and I were quite enthralled by the story regaled to us by Gillian over a cup of tea while seated at the Fler dining table . It was a little bit Indiana Jones and Gillian’s passion, and vision for the future, was very inspiring. The western sky views over the University from Trendall’s private floating balcony were also awesome to see.

Speaking of Robin Boyd, his namesake exhibition Design Legend starts at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 3 August. While I will always love Art Deco, mid century modern is probably second on my list and Boyd is one of Australia’s design champions of that era. It’s National Tree Day tomorrow and I hope to feature a local artist inspired by local nature shortly on my blog. A couple of other local happenings include the opening of new cafe, bar and grill Tres in Rosanna, which has replaced Jillian’s on Lower Plenty Road and I wish the new owners well. If you are a home based business you may be interested in a Banyule Business networking event being held on Tuesday morning at Hunter Lane cafe, where you’ll get to meet and hear from my local friend and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training.