Back to life

The glorious Spring weather has been much needed and appreciated this weekend. I had another mad week in the office with my previous Dean and CEO Ken Smith having his farewell on Thursday evening (which started with an Acknowledgment of Country and ended with a Maori song) after over five years at ANZSOG and our new CEO Adam Fennessy starting tomorrow. Needless to say I’m very glad we booked a family staycation a few months ago for this weekend at Crown Towers redeeming a gift voucher we’d been given two Christmases ago.

It is a five star hotel and my youngest was wowed by the porters in suits who greeted us as we drove in to the spectacular and very opulent foyer filled with flowers and decadent looking sweets on display at TWR (The Waiting Room) bar. We did feel like tourists in another country lining up with interstate and international guests to check in.

The other thing I will say about Crown is that their bed was probably one of the best I’ve ever slept on and I discovered today you can buy their At Home collection of beds, mattresses, pillows and bed linen if you are wanting to re-create the hotel experience at home. We didn’t get to enjoy the bath but the hotel bathrobes and slippers are also welcome additions. After unloading our luggage and ordering some in-room french fries to tide us over until dinner – we walked up the busy promenade all the way to Southbank and back before the sun set.

It was pumping on Friday night and Melbourne is definitely back – the ground floor bars and restaurants at Southbank were all vibing with young and old enjoying al fresco drinks and food and pulsing dance music – it felt great to be in the city as well as a bit of departure from the quiet of the suburbs.

The ground floor riverside restaurants at Crown look pretty atmospheric – Rockpool and Spice Temple in particular but I think all of them would be pretty amazing to eat at if you had deep pockets. We had a more budget friendly but still excellent Italian meal at Tutto Bene at Southbank up on the first floor ending our night with house gelato before walking back to our room to watch a movie in bed, which was bliss!

We also enjoyed the buffet breakfast in the light-filled Conservatory where you can ask for customised orders (the disciplined lady at the next table ordered poached eggs and greens on the side), table service for coffee and tea and both Asian and European hot and cold breakfast options. The views of the river are lovely and you don’t need to be a staying guest to book in – it makes for a very civilised way to start the day.

We sadly didn’t get time to enjoy the pool but I know the Marriott Docklands has a pretty amazing looking heated infinity pool and W Hotel’s pool can be used by non-guests if you’re wanting to party DJ and all. We did enjoy sitting by the Yarra river after we checked out taking in the rays and watching river life with rowing teams being shouted at by their coaches on bikes with megaphones, families enjoying outdoor picnics on Go Boats and groovers having food and drink on the water at Arbory Afloat, Yarra Botanica and Ponyfish Island. We had a very Melbourne weekend and that was just the start of it. Needless to say daylight savings will mean a hangover this coming week for us night owls – enjoy all.


Wrangle Dangle

A bit of sunshine makes all the different on the back of a long, cold winter which it has been. While I know it’s been expensive and crowded, I’ve still been envious of friends who’ve managed to venture to Europe and other places to enjoy some warmth over these past few months. My weekends have been busy and week days even busier so that’s been one upside to this cold season – I haven’t really had time to dwell on it.

ANZSOG’s new Dean and CEO was announced last week and the current Victorian Public Sector Commissioner Adam Fennessy starts in October so it will be the end of an era with Professor Ken Smith AO, who my team reports to, stepping down. Higher education as a sector continues to go through seismic shifts and structural change at this time like many industries and I do wonder where it will all end up. I have experienced a lot of change this year and while I’m riding the wave, I am looking forward to some time to refresh, recharge and reflect at the end of the year. There are still a number of very busy months ahead and possibly some travel in store for me so no rest for the wicked.

I’ve felt very grateful to have been able to spend time with friends and family these past two weekends including a birthday celebration with my bestie Jules at Lollo at W Hotel last Saturday night. It’s an Adam D’Sylva restaurant with an Italian/Indian-inspired menu for which we shared a number of different platters amongst four of us. It made for a very glamorous dining destination and has an intimate feel with its mood lighting and clever dimmer lamps on every table.

Kingfish starter – Lollo restaurant

Last Sunday night was a bit more grungy – Mr Rosanna and I went and saw our musician friend (and producer) Marcel Borrack and his band perform a set from his latest, and very funky, instrumental album Telecaster Diaries at The Merri Creek Tavern in Northcote down the Westgarth Theatre end of High Street. Very cool and a lot of fun at an extremely civilised early evening hour, which meant we had time afterwards to grab some pizza at Primo across the road.

While I’ve not yet visited the Melbourne Music Vault at the Arts Centre, I noticed there is a Melbourne Music Bus Tour you can do from October to December with Melbourne music identity Bruce Milne and music journalist Mary Mihelakos as part of Always Live. There are some big acts touring Australia later this year including American singer Leon Bridges (who we saw perform pre-COVID at The Corner Hotel) and Australian band Rufus Du Sol who I think would be massive at clubs and music festivals.

Besides Marcel Borrack, I’ve been enjoying listening to local band The Meltdown‘s new album, and new single with Emma Donovan ‘It’s a long road’, which indeed it has been these past few months and years.

Finally, with the new season almost upon us, I’m also loving Nancybird’s latest clothing range ‘River’ (first and second images above) inspired by nature and the landscape around us. When things get tough, there is always that and I feel very blessed to be living in our small green patch of the world. Have a great week and hello Spring!