Love, actually

Life got so busy in the lead up to Christmas with some exciting last minute developments that I ran out of time to post on this blog, which is saying something.

Me and Mr Rosanna (wearing his gift from his family) – Christmas 2021

I had a manic last week of work trying to tie up as many loose ends as possible which included a marketing shoot in Sydney conducted remotely by ANZSOG’s advertising agency Marmalade Melbourne (whose name always reminds me of Paddington Bear!) with one of my final tasks interviewing three alumni who hold senior positions in the public sector as they were photographed and filmed.

Many of our alumni have had a very tough year too on the frontline as leaders responsible for making policy decisions and delivering value under a lot of public scrutiny and pressure – I was asked by the Fair Work Ombudsman (who is also an alumna) a while ago about my observations as someone new to the sector and I told her I think it’s vocational for many of her colleagues, that it’s almost a calling whether they’re career public servants or have moved from private sector to public. Many have also come from, or move into, management consultancy roles so that’s also been interesting for me to unpack over the past nine months.

It has felt like the never ending year and I was very happy to finally take leave the week before Christmas as Mr Rosanna and I decided a few months ago to sneak in a pre-Christmas beach break after realising there were barely any vacancies accommodation-wise after Christmas. It was one of our better decisions given it’s been an exhausting year on so many fronts and the start of my 2022 is about to go into warp speed (but more on that in the new year).

We stayed at a gorgeous dog-friendly cottage in Rosebud called Evandale Shack (above) and had a great five days on the Mornington Peninsula enjoying the calm and lack of crowds, although some of it was due to caravaners not being there in their usual numbers. With the Omicron variant and bringing forward of boosters, Mr R and I were also very lucky to get our shots as walk-ins at the local Amcal pharmacy.

We also enjoyed op shopping returning to the Rosebud Vintage Bazaar where we picked up an Art Deco mirror and there is a big Salvos store and other nearby op shops all on the main drag. With Christmas and wanting to avoid potentially isolating, we chose to avoid indoor spaces with lots of people which was pretty easy to do with a dog in tow and warmer weather.

Our family had a great night out bringing our furry friend to the Dromana Drive-In where we saw Spiderman: No Way Home in somewhat cramped conditions (Mr R and I let the kids have the front seats), a daytime al fresco lunch at Zarb & Ru (below) which specialises in coffee and jaffles (with a great deli La Casa Nostra next door) and another outdoor lunch on our last day at Greek-owned dog-friendly boutique winery Abelli Estate where the owners live on-site (with their pet macaw parrot!) and whose delicious food took us all the way back to Paros, Greece.

We also spent one afternoon strolling the Sorrento Portsea Artists’ Trail including the Millionaire’s Walk (below) – it was lovely to see a reminder of here with Heidelberg School artist Arthur Streeton’s artwork featured. We didn’t quite make it to Portsea given the return walk back on a warm day but clocked up over 10km and felt like we deserved our end-of-trip gelati at Mubble.

I’ve had a busy time on the personal front with family flying in for Christmas and seeing others I’ve not seen all year on Christmas Day – everyone has been affected by the pandemic – some have suffered from loneliness and anxiety so it was nice to reflect on the highlights of 2021 but also mention the lowlights at dinner last night, with each of us taking a turn to speak around the table. It’s been a blessing this Christmas if you haven’t caught COVID-19 (which I think now is likely to happen to all of us hopefully with less dire consequences) or had to isolate – and if you were able to spend the day with your biological or logical family – it’s a win in what’s been a gruelling year not only for Melburnians but everyone else around the world.

If you have someone to love who loves you back whether it’s a partner, friend or family member (including a pet), then you’re doing OK! If you’ve lost someone you love or haven’t found love this year, then I am thinking of you this Christmas time. A new beginning is just around the corner and I have no pithy or wise words to say this year just that I hope it’s the dawn of a better and brighter time for all of us in 2022.


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.