Faster, higher, stronger

The Olympics 2.0 in Japan have been a welcome distraction this weekend with Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide in lockdown. Protests not withstanding, I’d prefer to focus my attention on our fellow Australians competing for our country in the land of the rising sun. I was very proud of our swimmers today after watching the opening ceremony live on Friday night and second half streamed yesterday. While it was a different and more subdued event amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, I thought the fireworks, pictographs, live entertainment and drone light show were pretty amazing and a very fitting athlete in Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic torch.

Vintage Japanese print

Japan had risen to the top of our family bucket list before COVID-19 hit and it remains there now – we hope to visit when we can for all sorts of different reasons – the people, the food, the culture, the history, technology and landscape – I think there is so much to experience as this Traveller article shows. I’ve had family teach English there, while I worked for Japanese department store Daimaru when I was a uni student – way before the likes of Uniqlo, Muji and Daiso arrived in this country. Mr Rosanna and I have just finished watching Anglo-Japanese series Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) on Netflix – it’s been a real thriller. If you’re a lover of Japanese design, Mr Kitly and Provider Store sell some unique pieces, albeit more on the pricey side. Kaoru Rogers also sells her delicate handmade jewellery at egetal in Melbourne. We were lucky to pick up a vintage Japanese print (above) on our recent trip to the Mill Markets in Daylesford.

My Kitchenaid mixer

It’s not been an easy time for us in Melbourne and even harder for our northern friends in NSW who I fear have a long journey ahead of them similar to ours last year. I have friends caught up in the recent outbreaks having to isolate at home not even being able to go for a walk or exercise outside of their home and I’ve been thinking of them this past week. My work team was asked to talk about something that gives us a sense of momentum and moving forward this week but for me, it’s been more immersive experiences where you lose sense of time and place that I’ve focused on – yoga, cooking, walking, running and even washing my car have all allowed me to be still in the moment rather than wishing I was somewhere else.

Fornasetti wall plate

I had family contribute to a Kitchenaid mixer for my recent birthday so I got my bake on last weekend while my girlfriends bought me a Fornasetti wall plate (my favourite design featuring opera singer Lina Cavalieri sipping from a cup) – they are a collectors item and Mr R hung my plate last weekend in our kitchen, which has given us both great pleasure this week cooking at home.

It’s been helpful to re-frame thinking about lockdown and choosing instead to see this as ‘cosy time’. There is in fact a cosy collection exhibition using vintage wool being held by fashion designer Kara Baker next Saturday (above) and it’s Open House Melbourne this weekend which you can visit online. While we can’t go to restaurants or visit the library, I’ve been amused to see the owner of Italian restaurant Mr Bianco in Kew offering The Italian Job home delivery in his mini cooper and YPRL mobile library offering click and collect. I’ve been walking in my local area and it’s been lovely to see a street library book stand in a nearby front yard and another house giving away free lemons to passers-by. There is no shortage of Melburnians thinking of their fellow residents at the moment and it’s important to remember that this is by far the great majority of people as much as it’s not what the media reports.

Mr Bianco home delivery service

I’m gearing myself up mentally for another (hopefully partial) week working from home in lockdown – I’ve managed to progress ANZSOG’s alumni strategy and related operational plans but it’s been a slow process. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself as I think if you can simply put one foot in front of the other at this time – you’re doing a good job! Have a great week and fingers crossed there may be some good news for us all here in Victoria.

YPRL mobile library

Good Tidings

It’s the name of the book being launched at the Eltham Library on 10 December on the power of good people and I think it’s an important thing to remember when we’re bombarded with media images of violence and terror happening on the international stage.  There are more good people in the world than bad and I wish the world more peace in the lead up to Christmas.  Hosted by the Eltham Bookshop and published by Wild Dingo Press, the book is a story of courage, resilience, hope and hearts filled with compassionate friendship between Sri Lankan refugee Para Paheer and local penfriend Alison Corke – things which are greater things to meditate and ruminate on.

Image via Wild Dingo Press

There’s also some interesting performing arts events on around the place including local heats at Deadly Funny at the Darebin Arts Centre on the 10 December if you’re cheeky and loud, black and proud.  If you’re a fan of Tim Winton’s books, a sprawling stage adaptation of Cloudstreet is being held at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre from 5 – 16 December, tickets of which are now on sale at TryBooking.

Image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

It is a cultural week in that Banyule Arts and Culture also announces its 2018 plans on 8 December at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.

Image via Marmoset Found

If you’ve started getting your house in order for Christmas celebrations, it’s worth noting that local homewares store Marmoset Found is having a warehouse sale, along with neighbouring outlet Sage and Clare on this coming Friday and Saturday at 21 Albert Street in Northcote.

Image via Kara Baker

If you’re a fan of bespoke fashion, local maven Kara Baker is launching her Beach collection on Wednesday 6 December from 5 – 9 pm at 1/414 Bourke Street although I prefer some of her latest Spring Summer range including this beautifully tailored dress above.  You’ll need to book a private appointment if you wish to attend at

Travelling home

It’s a bit of a cultural week for me with the opening of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival  this week and my pick of the events would have been the already sold out Pleats x Three runway show at 7pm on Friday 10 March at Alcastan Gallery featuring Kara Baker, Nevada Duffy and Edgeley showcasing the work of artisanal company Specialty Pleaters.  I love a good pleat at the best of times and have long been a fan of Japanese designer Issey Miyake.

Pleats x Three image via Eventbrite

Also opening this week is the aforementioned show ‘Travelling Home’ by Art Fix at Lulu cafe and gallery at 506 Queensberry Street in North Melbourne featuring the work of 75 visual artists and poets from 20 countries to explore the idea of home and travel by the contrasts that link them together.  It follows previous Art Fix events in Canada and will also include live music and spoken word performances.  Opening night is this Thursday 2 March from 5.30pm, tickets are $8 at the door with all artworks for sale.

Bruno Malfatti image via Art Fix

Charles Blackman: School Girls opens on Saturday 4 March at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  Blackman’s Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, marked a turning point in the artist’s career as a significant painter of modern life in the post-war era.  This exhibition includes more than fifty major paintings and related works on paper as well as a fascinating array of archival material.

Felix Girard image via Art Fix

There is also an Art Deco walking tour in East Melbourne being held on Saturday 4 March by Architours Melbourne, which sounds like a lot of fun.

East Melbourne Art Deco Walking Tour image via Eventbrite

I’ve been run off my feet (excuse the pun!) the past few weeks gearing up for both La Trobe University’s 50th Anniversary in 9 days’ time as well as my first Bold Thinking Series lecture being held in Bendigo.  Have a great week!