It’s been a long week and I must admit I’ve been collapsing into a crumpled heap come most Fridays. I am going to take a couple of days off during the upcoming school holidays and will consider taking some further leave in term 4.

Image credit: Well Spotted

Like many people I’ve delayed taking annual leave when there is nowhere to go but I have recognised we will burn out as workers if we don’t just have a break. It has been hard going and hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but vaccinations are increasing every day and I love some of the more colourful products on sale such as these ‘Fully Vaxxed’ statement T-shirts from Well Spotted and Vaxx Cakes from Beurre Cakes, which have been doing the rounds on social media.

Image credit: Beurre Cakes

I’m very conscious too it is a middle-class privilege to work from home, which I’ve mentioned before and my line of work sees me dealing with people very high up in the public sector who are in the midst of grappling with all the issues we read about in our news media – the health divide that exists between the haves and have nots with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in poorer parts of Sydney and Melbourne disproportionately affected by COVID. I’m very glad that pop up clinics and mobile vans as well as community engagement in priority suburbs have been part of Victoria’s response.

If you’re lucky enough to have groceries or take away meals delivered or other goods couriered to your home, please spare a thought for the man or woman doing this work – they are often young essential workers who have to travel to do their job, to keep food on the table, to pay their bills and it is this demographic who are getting infected and then inadvertently spreading COVID to their families (often large, extended families) at home in the northern and western suburbs.

My Bala Bangles

Speaking of online deliveries, I have bought some Christmas gifts from local store Run to the River in Eltham, while last week I bought the lazy person’s strength training hack – a pair of Bala Bangles. While they won’t come remotely close to doing a proper, supervised class guided by a qualified fitness professional at somewhere like my friend Nikki Ellis’ studio Cinch Training in Macleod, I have worn them while doing housework and out walking.

I miss the simple things too like going to the hairdresser or visiting cafes and restaurants and have been thinking of Jonno at Valiant Barbers and Luis at The Pioneer Cafe at this time. It’s interesting when I think back to my honeymoon spent in Vietnam where all this daily activity actually took place outside on the street! I am hopeful local businesses will bounce back if they’ve been able to pivot and sustain themselves over lockdown – however it may be more challenging for Melbourne’s CBD as much as I’m sure Melburnians will return to the bright lights of the big city for arts, culture, sporting, food and other events in time. It’s also been heartening to read about the many hospitality businesses in and around Melbourne giving free meals to people at this time (extended lockdown is so last year!).

Image credit: Heide Museum of Modern Art

Spending time outdoors is probably the safest bet at the moment – you may be lucky enough to have Heide gardens in Bulleen in your 5km zone or the Alphington Farmers Market – both of which are still open to the public. Open Gardens Victoria and Bulleen Art & Garden are also running online workshops and classes for those who have indoor plants or live in small spaces.

My indoor plants

And finally, while the big game is now going to be played in Perth, the highlight for our family this week was Melbourne winning against Geelong on Friday night and the Dees sealing their historic place in this year’s AFL Grand Final. My youngest son called it early with his Father’s Day drawing for Mr Rosanna ‘Fired up’ (below) – you bet we are…


BMX Bandits

While it’s been sad to see forlorn pictures of an empty Melbourne CBD, the upside has been renewed suburban life. While my friends Nikki, Luis and Jonno from local businesses Cinch Training, The Pioneer Cafe and Valiant Barbers are all doing it tough at the moment (they’ll definitely be diamonds by the end of this), I hope they may be heartened by the fact that there are so many locals working from home and I’ve never seen so many people walking my local streets and neighbouring parklands. The city’s loss has been suburbia’s (and regional areas) gain but my hope is that Melbourne returns to all her glory in time. The MSO Leaps and Bounds virtual performance last week was uplifting to watch and my heart goes out to the many performing artists who have lost their work this year.

Chei Wen bar image via Shop in Ivanhoe

I went for a pretty warm and windy run at Rosanna parklands yesterday and was laughing to myself after seeing a couple of teenage boys sporting massive mullets – it’s been like returning to my ’80s childhood growing up in Bulleen (and I’ve heard roller skates have had just as big a resurgence as bikes). The BMX track has been in high demand and for those of you following the 2020 Tour de France – you might be interested in knowing that SBS commentator Matthew Keenan grew up in Rosanna and still lives locally in the area.

Chei Wen bar image via Shop in Ivanhoe

I had a meeting this week with another local – La Trobe alum and Paralympian swimmer Sam Bramham OAM who owns Chei Wen bar in Ivanhoe and Fly Lie bar in Kew. He’s quite the character and like many high achieving individuals I deal with he’s also highly charismatic, but I have been more impressed by his philanthropy (he’s an Accessible Beaches board member) and his positivity despite his trip to Tokyo 2020 not happening (nor his associated speaking gigs) and COVID-19 impacts to his hospitality businesses. The mark of someone’s character is how they behave in the face of adversity and like many people he’s risen to the challenge and focussed on what he can do.

Image via Fly Lie Bar Facebook page

I spent this morning at my current 5km southern border meeting my bestie Jules at Tatin bakery to pick up a takeaway coffee at the Bulleen Road shops before doing the Koonung Creek Linear Park trail walk along the Eastern freeway. It’s been good to get out and about after hitting a bit of a low point during the week reaching the 6 month working from home milestone with 3 months still to go before Christmas, without a proper break. I’ll try not to complain as I’m lucky to still have work, which keeps you accountable and engaged in other ways, but it has definitely been hard to keep going. Like most people, I’m committed to staying the course until things open up late October, but it has been an exercise in resilience and I hope you are also hanging in there.

Image via Tatin Facebook page


Luxury may be hard to come by these days but it’s still nice to dream. Tiffany and Co has launched its T1 range of rose gold (with silver to come) jewellery (pictured below) and I’m loving the bold design representing courage, strength and optimism – tres bling! I’ve also loved their more modern HardWear collection launched a couple of years ago, which symbolises New York – a place that is doing it hard at the moment but one I still hope to visit at some future point when life returns to normal.


Like many people, I’m now staring down the barrel of reduced pay or hours (or both), which is better than losing my job altogether. Many people are struggling financially and otherwise and I’ve been making hard choices regarding which individuals and businesses to support with the money I have as I’m sure is the case with many of you too. International students are doing it particularly hard given the situation they now find themselves in with the government putting Australians first – it’s pretty dire for those missing out on any kind of support. Beyond the health crisis, the government and big business in particular will need to lead the way out economically on the other side. We are lucky to be thinking along these lines given how well we’ve been able to contain the coronavirus, buying ourselves time to prepare and plan. Interesting to see some of the opposition’s comments this week criticising the Chief Health Officer (which they’re fully entitled to do) but I do think now is a time for solidarity and political bi-partisanship and it’s not going to win them any favours. We all need to be playing for #TeamAustralia regardless of which way we normally swing.


I’ve spent this week on leave de-cluttering my house. After 12 years in Rosanna, it’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate. It’s been good to distract myself and show something for my time off although there are no judgements here if you are spending your time just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been challenging for many people who have children supervising their home schooling on top of working this first week of term 2. I still have more de-cluttering to do but I think the physical act of creating more space has been good mentally for me – it’s good to live light.

I love linen bedset

I’ve also had a number of catch ups with friends and family – this week having a special Zoom session with over a dozen of my University friends – some of who are based interstate and overseas in Asia and Europe. It was like The Brady Bunch on steroids with each of us getting floor time to talk about ourselves – what we are doing now and how we are coping at this time. It was quite cathartic to share how we were feeling over two hours and as one friend commented, it almost felt like an outing. We will catch up again soon and it’s an incredible privilege to be in a position to do this.


Mother’s Day is coming up and while I’m on the topic of indulgences, I am going to put linen sheets on my wish list – something I’ve never had but always wanted. I love linen do some beautiful sets and you can order free samples to check what colours look like in real life prior to making a purchase. I also bought some of Endota Spa’s Signature Blend hand and body lotion (pictured above) last year after having a treatment while on holiday and it’s been a great reminder of the spa experience using it daily at home.

A number of Melbourne’s fine dining restaurants have pivoted to takeaway including Di Stasio and Shane Delia’s Maha Go and if you have the budget, it’s a great opportunity to order delivery meals from places you wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Locally, Mercers in Eltham is also offering takeaway if you have a special occasion that you now have to celebrate at home.


While I bought some hairdressing scissors this week and had a go at my fringe (with limited success!), my friend Jonno from Valiant Barbers in Heidelberg Heights has cautiously re-opened if you have big or little men who need a haircut and you’re prepared to risk it. Local florist French Blue Flowers on Burgundy Street has also re-opened and selling beautiful bouquets and tulip bunches. These beautiful dahlias from Club Creek Bulb Farm are also being sold for $12 a bunch (pictured above) at the Alphington Farmers Market if you’re looking for a pop of colour to cheer you up.


For us, our luxury living in this part of the world is regular ‘forest bathing’ as a family in the secluded Banyule Flats (above) where you can still find yourself largely alone despite the number of people now visiting parks. Bliss…

Spirited away

Happy International Women’s Day! I hope you have done something to celebrate the women in your life today. I’ve been out and about doing chores and catching up with two female friends this morning for coffee. The coolest thing I’ve seen today is a Wonder Woman wrist tattoo on one of the girls who works at Petbarn in Preston, while Mr Rosanna and I were washing our dog.

The weeks have felt very long at the moment because everyone has hit the ground at work running wanting to make their mark in the first few months of the year when energy and resolution to do things are the strongest. I think it’s also important to stay calm with everything else that’s going on in the wider community – I’ve been aghast at all the panic buying and think people have started to lose the plot. I keep coming back to the Buddhist concept of equanimity for all sorts of reasons – the unshakeable mind – to be able to see, without being caught by what we see. If you can stand in the middle of all that is going on and remain centred, then that is a super power. It takes time to condition your mind in this way but it can definitely happen with practise and awareness.


As mentioned, we’ve still been going out as a family but being very mindful of hygiene especially in public places and when visiting grandparents. We spent last Sunday morning at Camberwell Market – still a great place for second hand clothes and retro wares at bargain prices. I picked up a Buddha head and cast iron teapot at one stage but ended up leaving them after some consideration. My kids walked away with a book and a comic and we all enjoyed a jam donut at the end.


We had a special Sunday night last week at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl sitting on the lawn watching Music from the Studio Ghibli films of Hayao Miyazaki with pianist Joe Hisaishi conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra along to scenes from the different Studio Ghibli animated films including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro. It had been advertised on Broadsheet so it was a surprisingly young crowd we found ourselves sitting with and the performances were mesmerising. Particularly beautiful were the special appearances by opera singer Antoinette Halloran and Hisaishi’s daughter Mai Fujisawa who sang the theme song One Summer’s Day from Spirited Away. We made a quick getaway before the crowds through the gardens during the encore after the standing ovation, listening to the haunting sounds of the orchestra as we left.

If you have a budding pianist in the family like we do, you may be interested in visiting Hunter’s Piano Works in St Hellier Street Heidelberg Heights. Laurence Hunter buys, sells and restores pianos (and is a pretty mean player himself) and there are some second hand beauties on display, including a baby grand Steinway, if you get a chance to visit next time you’re visiting Valiant Barbers or Sunnyside cafe.

A little bit fancy

Mr Rosanna has spoilt me for our anniversary presenting me with some David Parker earrings from contemporary Australian jewellery store eg.etal – part of a special consignment especially created for the Cartier exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.  David Parker’s range includes two sets of earrings and one necklace as part of the eg.etal limited edition commission – I have a number of special pieces from eg.etal’s artists including friend Amy Renshaw, Cass Partington and Yoko Fujita.  Local jeweller Jeanette Dyke is also stocked there and Jeanette has very kindly done some repair work for me in the past.  I’d love to do one of her ring making courses at some future stage.

Image via eg.etal

The weather has got cold and if you are after a special rug, the Hali Rugs mid-year clearance starts today with 30 – 50% off all rugs in store.  World Wide Knit in Public day is coming up next weekend and if you are a knitter, Wool and the Gang have some fantastic contemporary patterns including some great designs from I Love Mr Mittens.  Locally, Woolybutt wool shop has been in Greville Road, Rosanna for over 10 years and is a favourite with my mother-in-law.

I wanted to mention some local happenings coming up – on the more fancy side Champagne Supernova local women’s event to connect and inspire is taking place on 19 July at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna while this Sunday, Valiant Barbers is turning 1 with free burgers and beers from 12 – 3pm at their Street Party (probably a bit less fancy!) but kindly raising funds in support of White Ribbon.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe