Blue skies for Christmas

The December birthdays kill me every year and this year was no exception. Mr Rosanna and I hosted half a dozen teenagers here at home today after going out for dinner in the city for Mr R’s birthday last night. We’ve actually had Japanese twice this week -once locally at the relatively new Issho in East Ivanhoe and last night at Sake Restaurant and Bar at Hamer Hall on the banks of the Yarra. Issho was good and Sake was great – Mr R and I lashed out on the $99 set menu, which was well worth the splurge and we had very full bellies by the end of the night.

It had threatened to rain so I’d moved our table inside but the dry weather prevailed, which meant some happy snaps could be taken riverside and in front of an almost empty National Gallery of Victoria. While Melbourne is not what she used to be – it does make me sad to see so many ‘For Lease’ signs up on buildings everywhere – there were still lots of people out and about enjoying the Yarra and walking around. COVID-19 has been a 1 in 100 year event and it will take time to recover but we are ahead of the game compared with so many other cities in the world. I feel very lucky to be living in Australia at this time and the freedoms we are now enjoying after so many months in lockdown.

Mr is hard notoriously hard to buy for but I did well this year with a number of small things all from local retailers including a print of Pellegrini’s cafe (where we originally met) from Melbournalia, a miniature plum plate from Cibi, a handmade whisky glass from Denver & Liely (just in time for Christmas!) and a Lene Kuhl Jakobsen plant pot and brass hanger from Plantsmith.

Time is running out to order things online in time for Christmas delivery so experiences and gift vouchers are always a good go-to if you are doing presents this year if not braving the shops. I’ve not yet been to a shopping centre but good luck to you if you have and I know Westfield Doncaster has a newly launched rooftop dining area.


Collective soul

What a year it’s been – we kind of ended at the start and now we are starting at the end with Melbourne back open for business these next two months leading up to Christmas. It will be great to re-join Victoria when the ring of steel comes down next Sunday and hopefully for all Australian states to open borders so families can see each other at Christmas time.

I even had an Italian custard doughnut to celebrate the days where we’ve had no cases and no deaths – something truly remarkable given what is now unfolding in the US and Europe as they head into second waves over winter in numbers that I am finding hard to fathom. Despite the hardship of the past four months here in Melbourne, we still live in the the lucky country.

Halloween was a non-event in our street last night although I was secretly glad not to have hordes of children on my front door step this year – I have seen some fantastic Halloween-themed houses and front gardens in local streets so good on you if you got into the spirit of things.

While I will be working this week as a higher education worker (we don’t get Labour Day or Melbourne Cup Day off) – I hope you enjoy the long weekend and some newfound freedoms if you’re taking tomorrow off. While the races are also off the plate in terms of general public attendance – it looks like it will be warm one this year for the horses that are competing.

I am weary and I think once this week is over – it’s the home straight until Christmas and shut down for many of us. While this year has been one of the hardest years of my life (like most people) – it has also been one of the most rewarding where I have achieved things I didn’t imagine I could at the start of the year, because we’ve all had to pivot, dig deep to find strength within and continue to keep going. Life doesn’t stop and we need to find ways to move forward whatever our circumstances are.

While Black Friday is still to happen retail-wise – as I’ve previously mentioned, I have done much of my Christmas shopping online over lockdown while sales were on and to support my favourite local retailers which have included Melbournalia, Crumpler, Cibi, Sage and Clare and Readings. Some nature-inspired Christmas items have caught my eye including these Gift of Seeds cards and flower presses from SownSow and bamboo decorations from Earth Greetings. I also love the personalised ceramic stars you can order from Paper Boat Press.