Stranger Things

What a weird week it’s been in Melbourne. I think we’ve all got some understanding of what it feels like to be discriminated against, at the moment being a Victorian with other states not wanting us to visit. I can also understand and think we’d be doing the same thing if there was a second COVID-19 peak happening interstate but it’s definitely a strange feeling to have all this going on here.



The winter sun has made things bearable as well as the freedom to exercise outside and I’ve managed to almost return to my pre-self isolation weight although I’m getting pretty tired of eating tuna and kaleslaw for lunch. The next fortnight is traditionally the coldest two weeks of the year so we should all relish our time in the sun when it is out. Mr Rosanna has been enjoying the return of footy and I stood outside at the local oval today watching the Banyule Bears train in 5 degrees! It was definitely beanie and puffer jacket weather.


This coming week sees the opening of many of Melbourne’s cultural institutions and if you are having a staycation these school holidays like most of us – it’s nice to know they’ll be open even with social distancing measures in place. While I’ve felt a bit reticent returning to public spaces, it’s been interesting to know that it’s been more family gatherings and house parties, which has resulted in spreading the virus.


Home is where the heart is for those of us lucky enough to be living with other people in functional relationships and healthy family dynamics. I think the pandemic has forced many people to re-appraise their lives and what’s important. I’ve been reading about people spending more on homewares and furnishing their living, dining and outdoor areas given the amount of time most of us are now at home. I do have a house obsession and have enjoyed seeing what The Block’s Kyle&Kara have done with their forever home in Sydney’s northern beaches (that spiral staircase!), while closer to home I think the renovation done by the builder owner at 19 Dwyer Street in Macleod has been a masterful one – very now and very wow!


I’ve had a pretty full on week at work to end the financial year with La Trobe University announcing voluntary redundancies and staff agreeing to take a pay cut for 12 – 18 months in order to save over 200 jobs. Sadly, there will still be forced redundancies to come but hopefully conducted more strategically, rather than indiscriminately, now that the Uni has bought itself time to determine how best to move forward. Interesting too to see the price hike for arts and humanities degrees on par with law and medicine – I do wonder if there will be unintended consequences in doing this.


Mr Rosanna and I are both proud Arts graduates and our degrees have allowed us to hone our critical thinking, problem solving, relationship building, communications and many other skills that have well and truly set us up in our careers and our lives. I met a former Pro Vice Chancellor last year who also had ‘only’ an Arts degree as do many of our leading politicians and journalists – their accessibility and inherent value can’t be underestimated.


On a much brighter note, I will be happy to see our new ‘Reunions’ brand campaign air on TV tonight if you’re watching Master Chef and I had a small part to play in helping select and introduce a number of our best and brightest young alumni who feature in the campaign to my colleagues in Marketing & Recruitment. They did an outstanding job filming everyone on campus with our agency the week COVID-19 hit and we all went into lockdown – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


A blaze of glory

The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event.  It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.

L-R: Jane Lindsay-Waschl, Renae Barrass, Shaynna Blaze and me

After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block.  Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land.  It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.

L-R: Nikki Ellis, me and Dani Ahimastos

I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.  Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page.  It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!

Shaynna on stage – The Centre Ivanhoe

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora.  There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.

Oz Tenpin Bowling – Bundoora

I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend.  Enjoy.img_7012.jpg

Blazing a trail

Shaynna Blaze is this year’s keynote speaker at Banyule’s Women in Business Lunch being held on International Women’s Day – Thursday 8 March at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I’ve already put together a table for the event which includes my two blog sponsors Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod.  Hunter Lane Cafe is now open on Mondays if you’re home and Nikki is currently contemplating whether or not to move to larger premises.

Image via Eventbrite

I’ve been a fan of Shaynna’s for a while given she is a Warrandyte local, a former single mother of two and jazz singer, as well as being a now famous Interior Designer on Selling Houses Australia and The Block.  Those in the media make it look easy sometimes but the juggle behind the scenes is a big one.  When I worked with Virginia Trioli last year at my evening lecture, she had been up since 3.30 am.  Tickets are still available for the two course Women in Business Lunch on Eventbrite.

Image via Facebook

I wandered past soon to be opened Sideshow Burgers in Beetham Parade today and have now been to Mister Nguyen a couple of times so I’m loving the local food scene at the moment – it’s been a big change from when I moved to Rosanna almost 10 years ago now.  The time has passed quickly!  I’m also in the process of locking in panelists for my Bold Thinking Series food lecture in April after the success of last year’s lecture – watch this space.