Over the rainbow

It’s where we’d all like to be given the the roadmap out of what has felt like the never-ending lockdown was finally revealed today. I hope it has given you hope regarding the dreams that you dream of. We all need things to look forward to and to find happiness with the small freedoms now that will become bigger ones in a matter of coming weeks and months. Mr Rosanna and I spied this rainbow (below) amongst the clouds, which will soon be behind all of us, while visiting Rosanna parklands yesterday afternoon.

Private real estate inspections were given the go ahead this weekend and this 70s showstopper that backs on to Heidelberg Golf Course at 2/70 Old Eltham Road in Lower Plenty (below) has caught my eye. It was build by, and for, architect Bill Lutrell and modelled on the 1930s Villa Mairea house designed by Alvar Aalto in Finland – something ahead of its time with its modernist design. The current owner (also an architect who bought the property from Bill Lutrell) owns the front house on the sub-divided block and number two is currently for sale with Morrison Kleeman (but I don’t think will be on the market for very long!).

2/70 Old Eltham Road Lower Plenty image credit: realestate.com.au

These geometric tumblers by Birdrock Ceramics have also captured my attention and continuing the 70s vibe is the latest Anabelle collection fom Sage and Clare with this patchwork cushion (both further below). While we’ve spent far too much time at home this year – I’ve never seen neighbouring gardens and homes looking so well kept and nurtured. Mr R and I need to find motivation to re-do our veggie patch that we never got around to fixing last year as well as buy some spring/summer herbs for our empty pots.

Image credit: Birdrock Ceramics

I’ve been following Australian interior designer and antiques dealer Tamsin Johnson for a while now who’s married to tailor Patrick Johnson and friends with jeweller Lucy Folk. She has a very sophisticated design sensibility and style and just released her coffee table book ‘Spaces for Living‘ which is now on my list.

Image credit: Sage & Clare

I finished watching The Chair on Netflix with Sandra Oh as the lead during the week – it has reminded me of my voluntary Women of Colour Australia work and the series reflects the changing and diverse university students of the future who wish to see themselves reflected in leadership roles not only in academia, but across the business, sporting and political worlds. I’m proud to work at ANZSOG in this way – there are a number of First Nations people and women of colour on our Board, Alumni Council and executive leadership team.

As a family we’re loving Only Murders in the Building mystery-comedy series on Disney+ featuring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez – it should come with a language warning given the amount of swearing but it’s been highly entertaining and highly recommended viewing. We won’t be bunkered down at home streaming content for much longer – the countdown out of lockdown has now started…


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.

The power of us

While we’ve been there, done that and we can do it again – I don’t think any of us are happy to be back here in lockdown 2.0. I had a sneaking suspicion that we would, unfortunately, be going in for another round last Saturday night when Mr Rosanna took me out for my birthday dinner at Ocha in Hawthorn with me glibly referring to ‘our last supper’ on Facebook. I am still hopeful that we can reverse the numbers here in Melbourne but it’s disappointingly taken another lockdown, and a series of mistakes, for this to happen and we are all now wearing the pain.

My peace lily at home

I said at the start that this would be a long game and the challenge largely mental and that still stands.  The ABC has launched a 6-week newsletter series called Your Mental Health and it’s timely for Melburnians given the length of this second lockdown. I’ve been very conscious of the amount of young people who are suffering at the moment and have also made time to connect with people in my circle who live on their own and need to be extra vigilant about staying in touch.

And the puzzle we’re yet to complete as a family

These are challenging times and even the strongest of us need to pay attention to our wellbeing. I’ve returned to Zoom yoga classes and guilty of baking banana bread and chocolate brownies this past week but more mindful of making healthier food choices over lockdown so I don’t end up putting on those iso kilos again. I also think a little bit of comfort food makes a whole lot of sense this weekend so don’t beat yourself up if you too have had a moment of weakness! We all need to do what we can to stay positive and motivated while we carry the weight of the nation on our shoulders. Without overstating things, it’s over to us now in the community to play ball (and try not to drop it again) for all our sakes.

Jessie Pittard ceramics

For me, it’s trying to see the beauty in every day while we are living life in the slow lane. I’ve been enjoying the peace lily my in-laws gifted to me as my birthday present that sits on my desk enjoying the winter sun as well as the 1000 piece jigsaw we’re trying to complete as a family. I love local ceramic artist Jessie Pittard‘s work featuring clothes lines (above), colourful loungewear by Sage and Clare and funky earrings by Peaches and Keen (below). I’ve also been amused by the clever antics of fashionista Estelle Michaelides if you follow her Micky in the Van Facebook page. Her creativity has been inspiring as well as the promise of happier and way more glamorous times than now.

Sage and Clare loungewear image

Local small businesses everywhere are doing it really tough at the moment and Banyule Business is interested in hearing from you for their economic development survey. If you have time, which most of us do at the moment, please complete it by 19 July as it will inform future direction and three lucky respondents will receive a $100 hamper. Speaking of which, my employer La Trobe University has also internally released its reset strategy discussion paper for staff comment and consideration and it’s a good thing to do personally as well as professionally – take stock, consider (or re-consider) your options and work out where to from here. Somehow, some way, we all have to try to move forward as best we can one step at a time, one day at a time and even from one moment to another. If it all feels too overwhelming, breaking it down into small chunks always helps, controlling what you can control (your actions and reactions) as well as having something to feel grateful for at the end of every day.

Peaches and Keen earrings

There is a saying that it takes pressure to make diamonds so Melbourne – stay safe, stay strong and long may you sparkle.

Me at Ocha Japanese Restaurant last weekend

Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Rye street art (Captains of Rye)

Long weekends are like gold and the Grand Final weekend is my last one for this year (University staff don’t get Melbourne Cup day) so it may be a long time in between drinks for me. I wasn’t up for much this past weekend and we decided relatively last minute to go away to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Even though it’s not summer, I still love the beach at any time of the year.


We grabbed fish and chips from Hector’s on Thursday night after packing the car and driving straight from work a few hours earlier. It’s great to wake up the next day already at your destination although we had to do a supermarket stop the following morning after catching up with family who have a house in nearby Tootgarook. The Montino Continental Delicatessen is opposite the supermarket and looks like it does great coffee. We got there at closing time but bought some delectable yo yo biscuits with passionfruit icing, some Franklin & Sons cordial (an in-joke as I’ve married into the Franklin family and we have two sons) and a beautiful sourdough rye bread.

Dromana Indoor Market teapot

Mr Rosanna and I spent Grand Final morning fossicking at the Dromana Indoor Market and The Factory Antique Market in a nearby industrial estate where we found some comic books and other books for the kids and a miniature Chinese terracotta teapot (above) for me. The industrial estate (opposite the Dromana Drive-In) houses some other interesting shops including Bass Surfboards, Little Rebel Coffee and Bass and Flinders Distillery. We didn’t get a chance to visit them but would go back another time, when we have more time there. The continental theme continued with a pitstop at Vulcano Gelato for an afternoon ice cream – I deviated from my normal coffee and lemon and got a blood orange, which was nice but super sweet – a bit too sweet for me but an interesting departure from the norm (need to mix things up sometimes!).

Me at Vulcano Gelato

My sister-in-law who visits the peninsula on a regular basis has told me that the old Quarantine Station at Point Nepean is a great place to visit if you have kids, located right near the beach (so they can run around) where the ships come in (and you can get up close) with a very interesting history in a spectacular location so I will file that away for next time.

Sisco Pizza exterior

While Sardo restaurant in nearby Sorrento had been recommended by our Air BnB host Bridgette, we chose to go to another recommendation of hers – Sisco Pizza (owned by two sisters who were both there on the night) – keeping it local in Rye. It’s close to the Rip Curl surf outlet (up to 70% off!) and next door to Aqua Blu cafe. While the kids opted for pizza and lasagne, Mr Rosanna and I got two of the specials – the fish of the day and the vongole seafood spaghetti – both of which were delicious. It was buzzing in the restaurant and for those dining al fresco I love that Sisco provides grey lap blankets for outdoor diners – such a smart and thoughtful idea. While we thankfully got our meal on time, the table of diners next to us had a wait and staff were apologetic as someone had called in sick.


Given it’s not yet Daylight Savings time, we also took our dog to the front beach (above) where we could walk her unleashed and I managed a walk/run on our last morning there before we grabbed a quick lunch at the swashbuckling Captains of Rye cafe – a good place to go I suspect after a big night out given the size of the burgers, fries and other dude food on offer. I also like the street art that you can find in Rye – it makes for an interesting feel to the seaside town.

Captains of Rye interior

I actually spent most mornings there, and now back here in Melbourne, having a sleep in, reading magazines and taking it easy. So easy in fact, that twice now I’ve been sprung by neighbours still in my pyjamas when they’ve come knocking on my door! Luckily I’ve bought some nice ones from Sage and Clare recently on sale instead of wearing my usual supermarket brand. I hope you had a great Grand Final long weekend and I know you did if you barrack for the mighty Tigers!


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 kara@karabaker.com

Eat, pray, love.

Welcome to winter!  It’s been cold and I feel like a hibernating bear at the moment just wanting to take refuge indoors and sleep.  I’m jealous of some of my work friends who have European vacations booked over the coming months…if only we could all go away somewhere warm and lie on a beach.

Cooler bag image via Kollab

It’s sale time and there are $5 bags to be had from Kollab if you enter passcode KOLLAB17 at www.kollab.com.au/warehousesale.  Nancybird currently have an online warehouse sale with up to 80% off while Sage and Clare are holding their warehouse sale on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June.  There are some beautiful items from all these Australian retailers if you’re on the look out for some cold weather inspiration.

Image via Sage and Clare


The Ramadan Iftar Dinner 2017 is being held tonight at the Bell Street Mall in West Heidelberg with children’s activities and a light show from 5pm and a buffet halal meal at sundown.  All I do is feel like eating at the moment so I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to fast for a month.  Stay warm – I’ll be back next week.ramadan-iftar-dinner-poster-web-724x1024