A thousand stars

In the country or at the beach, the stars seem so much brighter at night. Like many people, I’ve been dreaming of being able to holiday by the water and if you are planning on booking a beach house for Summer I’d do it very soon. Given the lockdowns in Melbourne with none of us being able to go away, I think many people have tentatively booked a house locally in anticipation of at least being able to go away within greater Victoria.

A Thousand Stars is also the name of Banyule’s Community Art Project making a star or jar lantern to display in our windows in celebration of Children’s Week – the 4th week in October. You can visit the event link to register for your pack, book an online workshop, view how-to videos and download instructions. Lantern Packs are also available to Banyule residents for click-and-collect at Sanctum Studio in Greensborough. Photograph your lantern in a window and post on Facebook and Instagram tagging @1000.Star.Project and using #1000StarProject.

Images above and below via Halcyon House

With my beach dreaming, I’ve always wanted to visit a couple of special places in northern NSW including interiors by Anna Spiro at Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach and the longstanding Rae’s on Wategos in Byron Bay, which was there when I backpacked with my girlfriends as a single person in my twenties. While we can’t visit, I have actually bought some tickets for the RSL Art Union raffle to win a beach house styled by Anna Spiro at Palm Beach in Queensland. I’m not normally a gambler but the temptation was too good to refuse!

I’ve also downloaded the Villa Rae’s Spotify playlist put together by the current artist-in-residence resort wear (yes it is a thing) designer Richard Jarman. I can’t afford the clothes so it’s the next best thing and has taken even the most mundane chore this weekend to the next level. It may be a while before we’re able to wear summer shoes but some of you may like the colourful Palmeira Sandals Australia or the crowd funded sustainable Flipside thongs (made in Melbourne).

Image via raes.com.au

While we’ve got some way to go, I hope you might be heartened by the road map out of lockdown unveiled by our Premier today. I had a couple of days off work last week and did watch the Lightening the Lockdown Load free parenting webinar by Dr Justin Coulson – a father of 6 daughters with a Phd in Psychology which was helpful in terms of strategies and thinking. My team also watched the new Sport Stadium video presentation by our colleagues at La Trobe Sport and you can also do a virtual tour of all the new facilities. There was a bit of media last week as it’s the new training ground for the Matildas – the Australian national women’s soccer team. Go girls!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Father’s Day today and this year I am thinking of those who have lost a father in their lives or can’t be with them for any reason. I’m always up for the Pepsi challenge when it comes to creative gifts for Mr Rosanna and this year was no different. His gift from me (above) was a handmade mug by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen, some Olea of Monemvasia extra virgin olive oil (an ode to our Grecian holiday and all things Greek), a couple of bread loaf tins for the baker-to-be as well as some Aussie Bread Bags to store homemade or bought bread from now on. I’m also looking forward to sampling the bougatsa Greek dessert tonight from local baker Harry at Ministry of Cakes.


The sea and the sky

Spring is almost here and it’s been great to feel a bit sun kissed this week despite the wind. While sloths and lamas seem to be reigning supreme in the world of children, it’s been the livestream of our penguins and falcons that has caught my imagination this week. I joined over 700,000 people watching the antics of our Little Penguins on Penguin TV at Philip Island as one was joined by a whole raft of penguins as they came in from the sea and up the beach to the safety of their burrows. I’ve found it just as fascinating to gain a bird’s eye view of Melbourne’s CBD falcons located at 367 Collins Street down the Paris end of town. The freedom to explore the ocean and the blue skies above is something that we’re all craving at the moment.

Images above and below via Penguin TV

With coronavirus cases dropping down to double digits this weekend, it’s been good to contemplate moving out of stage 4 restrictions and seeing the economy re-start especially here in Melbourne and Victoria. Click for Vic has been launched and it’s a great idea to help retailers and producers located in the city or regionally by purchasing from them. I’ve actually done most of my Christmas shopping over this second lockdown taking advantage of the sales and an income while I still have one.

Coupled with re-starting the economy is the need for us to do this sustainably as I think most of us couldn’t bear to have another summer marred not only by this global pandemic but another round of bushfires. I was lucky enough to see economist Ross Garnaut speak earlier this year at La Trobe on his book Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity published by Black Inc. – part of the stable that publishes the La Trobe University Press. He has a fascinating and positive view of the road that Australia could take if it seized the moment to do things differently.

Image via 367 Collins St Falcons

Sustainability is something that La Trobe takes very seriously given our Net Zero target for 2029 of which we are well under way and I’ve been interested to read about the renaissance of science with technology over the pandemic period – scientists have become the new sexy! Literally in the case of our Victorian Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton who has released his new video series answering all our COVID-19 questions.

Image above and below via Ministry of Cakes

It’s great to see hospital waste and hospitality waste now coming under the microscope and the launch of Responsible Cafes – a website with a coffee bean rating outlining cafes tackling the war on waste. Cafe owners have often taken a pioneering role in this area when you look at people like Melbourne brother and sister duo Jamie and Abigail Forsyth – the original owners of Bluebag cafes who respectively created BeetBox and Keep Cup.


Locally, I’ve been interested in local cake maker Harry from Ministry of Cakes in Rosanna who is not only offering a COVID-19 Small Birthday or Celebration Cake from $35 but a ready to bake Greek dessert (in 3 different varieties) called Bougatsa for $20 which you can pre-order online. I think it’s something I may need to take advantage of!

Bunnies and bilbies

Easter is a little while away but the hot cross buns have been on sale for a few weeks now and I’ve already been indulging. There are also a heap of Easter activities on over the school holiday period including Easter in April from 10am – 1pm at the Lower Plenty Shopping Centre and Easter Market at 10am at Rosanna Village in Rosanna on Saturday 13 April plus an Easter Egg Hunt from 10am – 3pm on Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe (pick up your clue sheet from the Australian Chocolate Emporium) on Tuesday 18 April, pop up Easter fun from 4 – 6pm at Monty Village on Thursday 18 April and the Easter Bunny making appearances at the Bell Street Mall in Heidelberg West from 10am – 1pm.


Montmorency Village is also holding Music in the Park this Saturday from 10am – 1pm and then again on Saturday 20 April if you are having a staycation these term 1 school holidays. It’s a bit strange having the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays leading into the first week of term 2 and I know a number of people who are taking days off during that week to have an extended holiday break. Lucky them!


It’s been there for a while but I also finally visited Sweet by Nature (photos above) on Bamfield Road in the back streets of industrial Heidelberg West during the week to pick up an impromptu birthday cake. It’s like an Aladdin’s Cave of sweet treats and a hidden surprise in the area if you’re after some gorgeous cakes, gifts or Easter presents! I couldn’t help myself and bought two of the bunny iced shortbread biscuits that were on offer. Besides the shop and coffee counter, there is a seated cafe area as well as external tables which Mr Rosanna was interested in as a keen cyclist always on the lookout for pit stops when going on local rides with his mates.

It’s near Kooinda Brewing Company where Mr R has previously visited (no surprises there) and also near Ministry of Cakes and Chocolatier so if you do have a sweet tooth, it’s the area to visit. Hop to it people!