Cunning as…

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Golden Rat – the start of a whole new 60-year cycle in Chinese astrology. If you’re interested in finding out how the rat became the first sign – you can read on for more about the Chinese Zodiac.

The rat symbolises wisdom and new beginnings and after the apocalyptic weather we have had with bushfires, smoke, rain, hail and dust – I am happy to start the year all over again. I have a number of rats in my immediate and extended family as well as many friends who share the same Eastern star sign so good luck to you all this year.

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Melbourne Chinatown Chinese New Year action from my family spy 🙂

It’s a busy Australia Day long weekend but if you’re in Melbourne, it’s always great visiting Chinatown (but also always hot so take a hat, water and sunscreen). Locally, Preston Market is also holding celebrations this weekend and Box Hill next Saturday 1 Feburary. I was in the city briefly at the top end of town yesterday ducking into The European for a quick coffee and bombolini where Mr Rosanna and I spied adversing mogul Harold Mitchell as we were leaving. There were lots of happy people walking around in the sun, including this funky Melbourne couple (below).

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If you miss local celebrations, I can also highly recommend visiting the glorious Bendigo Easter Festival in April which also features dragon, lion and Chinese youth society performances in their night-time and day-time parade, as well as visiting the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum.

I also wanted to mention the Asia TOPA Double Delicious event at the Abbotsford Convent from 27 February featuring Chinese writer Benjamin Law and food legend Elizabeth Chong (whose daughter Angie runs The Humble Dumpling cooking school in Fairfield) amongst others. Tickets are now on sale.

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Image via The Society inc.

Finally, while Chinese egg roll biscuits are traditionally eaten at Chinese New year, I do love a fortune cookie and I have bought some of these beautiful porcelain fortune cookies from Australian stylist Sibella Court’s retail store The Society inc. for a number of close friends as special keepsakes.

Whether you’re at the tennis, at the beach or having a staycation like me, have a great weekend – it’s been a shock to the system returning to work and I suspect an even bigger shock in in store with school back next week!

Twoobs, teapots and dumplings

Welcome to 2020 – the dawn of a new year and a new decade. I wish you lots of good things for the next 12 months and beyond. A lot can happen in a decade – for me it was largely spent raising children and returning to work in whatever capacity I could initially manage to end the decade working 4 days back in an organisation (or institution in my case). As a couple and family we also travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Greece and I hope that more overseas adventures lie ahead in the next 10 years – Japan and the USA are both on my bucket list as well as returning to Europe but school fees and a mortgage may impact on my ambitions.

I hope you had a great Christmas spent with your biological family (or ‘logical’ family as my friends in the LGBTQI community say). Like many people, I spent mine with my immediate and extended family eating lots of ham and turkey during the day, a swim for the kids and present opening in the afternoon and a seafood dinner to end the night. My morning also started at 6am when my two very excited children burst into our bedroom to open their presents so it was a long day.

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I needed to change into something more comfortable (with an elasticised waist!) in the evening so glad I brought a change of clothes and a recent Twoobs shoe purchase (above) – they are the vegan shoes made by Melbourne-based fashion blogger sisters Jess and Stef Dadon from How Two Live. I have to say they are super light and super comfy – perfect for summer down at the beach or by the pool.

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Mr Rosanna and I have difficulty every year buying each other presents – both of us are quite particular and want to be more mindful and creative about what we do choose to purchase. So I ended up accompanying Mr R on his shopping quest for me which included the buying of a Japanese cast iron teapot and trivet from T2 – this time in white (pictured above) – to complement the black one which my sister Ange who lived in Japan for many years brought back for me as a gift.

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One of my more creative gifts for Mr R this Christmas was buying him a dumpling making voucher (for both of us) from Angie at The Humble Dumpling in Fairfield and presenting it in a dim sum bamboo steamer. We are looking forward to doing a workshop at some stage this year.

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If you’re lucky enough to be down at the beach or bush somewhere – you may be interested in some summer reading, podcasting or online courses. After speed reading Boy Swallows Universe, I’ve got some more philosophical books (below) to read courtesy of Mr Rosanna.

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If you’re interested, this year’s Bold Thinking Series lectures are all available as podcasts and Harvard University also runs a number of free online courses – one of which I hope to complete over the summer.

I look forward to sharing more adventures with you in this exciting new decade where anything can happen. Stay safe, stay positive and stay well this summer.