Janet DeNeefe, Author and Director, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

Ibu Janet -36 (1).jpg

Janet DeNeefe – photo supplied

I’ve recently returned from Bali for mum’s 70th birthday celebrations. It was a long time between visits – too long.

The last time I was there, was when the “love to hate it” 80s pop anthem I’ve been to Bali too was being played in Australia on rotation. An energetic pre-teen girl from the suburbs, on her first tropical Asian holiday with her family. I loved it. The colours, the differences, the weather.

Little did I know, another Melburnian’s life was being changed by Bali around the same time.

Her name is Janet DeNeefe, author, restaurant owner and Director of the annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – on now.

As Janet tells it, she met a Balinese man in 1984, and without much thought, moved to Ubud, a charming hillside town where she threw herself into a new life.

Thirty years later Janet, her husband and her four children call Ubud’s Honeymoon Guest House home and through her writing and her work, she continues to champion the charm and cultural wealth of Balinese life.

It was a great thrill to speak to Janet via Skype in the lead up to this year’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and somewhat bittersweet having only just returned and wishing I could fly back again to be a part of it.

I’m hearing more and more about the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – every week it seems – and I cannot wait to experience it for myself ASAP.

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3066 – Allyse Wafer, Food Stylist & Marketer


Allyse Wafer 2017

Meet Alysse Wafer – Melbourne based food stylist, a writer and marketer. She combines these passions by creating bespoke productions and events, documented on her website.

New Zealand born, Alysse grew up amongst a family of devout foodies who enjoyed cooking and eating together and meticulously planned out each meal of the day.

Today her parents own and run an organic Feijoa farm on the North Island, while her brother – a trained chef – manages a local vineyard and cellar door.

Her parent’s farming business has greatly impacted her approach to food, and Alysse has developed a deep respect for food producers from stints working on the orchard – and more than ever champions cooking what is in season.

Arriving in Melbourne to study, almost a decade ago, Alysse has made it home – inspired by the local food and arts scene and the work of local legends such as Stephanie Alexander and her contemporaries, including Julia Ostero.

“There are many people here in Melbourne who are doing great things and following their creative passion – I am inspired by them and enjoy supporting them as often as I can.  Julia and I studied at the same university and are connected via friends. I’ve enjoyed watching her profile grow. I am really impressed by her approach and her work.” Allyse Wafer

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3184 – Matthew Young, Meditation Teacher

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Matthew Young – Founder, Melbourne Meditation Centre (Image – Ella Mitchell 2017)

Firstly, hello! I have been pretty quiet on this blog of late, due to the demands of a job I took in the not-for-profit sector. For others who have worked in the sector it would be no surprise that my days and nights have become consumed with a range of urgent activities, aimed at supporting positive change in the community.

I still work in communications management but my key stakeholders are vastly different to those of the world of TV journalism and production –  and it’s busier than I could have ever imagined.

I’ve always been a person driven to work by curiosity rather than dollars and I do love my role. That said I’m in discussions to reduce my hours in the next couple of months, so I can focus more on my own projects again (include this blog!).

In the meantime, I’m eating my veggies and running to meditation and yoga classes as often as I can!

This month I’m really pleased to return to interviewing and writing for TENANT and I am pleased as punch to introduce you all to Melburnian Matthew Young, Founder of the Melbourne Mediation Centre (MMC).

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I received a lovely email request today: Request for permission to archive the online publication Tenant Magazine The State Library of Victoria (in partnership with the National Library of Australia) aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to … Continue reading

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3183 – Alicja Wojcik, CEO and Founder, Tomorrow Foundation

Alicja Wojcik by Bobby Allen

Alicja Wojcik by Bobby Allen

I am just back from a very much-needed break. It has been a busy, busy year and many of my non-work commitments have been forced to take a back seat. (I might have even put some of them in the boot!)

For my holiday I decided to visit the one and only Australia state I’d never seen – Tasmania. I did not have much time, so I stayed around Hobart. I did get to Port Arthur, MONA and managed to check out the wonderful view from Mount Wellington (you can see photos on Insta). It is no secret that it’s a stunning island and I am already planning my return!

Back in Melbourne and inspired by the crisp, dry Tasmanian air I am pleased to publish a new TENANT profile celebrating the committed work of  Melbourne local, Alicja Wojcik.

Alicja was introduced to me by Anna Maria Rose, a Sydney based freelance journalist who penned her profile interview for TENANT.

I hope you enjoy learning about another inspiring Melburnian as much as I did. (Thanks Anna!)

Advanced Mathematician and former international model Alicja Wojcik, 26, balances working for a global financial services organisation while running her own charity foundation.

Tomorrow Foundation, a charity that supports disadvantaged children in Australia and around the globe, is a project close to Wojcik’s heart.

“I know how it feels to not have much,” Wojcik says.

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3181 – Dr. Elise Bialylew, Founder, Mindful in May

Dr Elise Bialylew photo credit: Fi Mims

Dr Elise Bialylew photo credit: Fi Mims

TENANT was born of an interest in documenting Melburnians and the way their choices are shaping the city, from the inside out.

This month I profile a person who impressed me, long before I had the opportunity to meet her in person.

Dr. Elise Bialylew is a Melbourne based doctor, turned social entrepreneur, coach and founder of Mindful in May (MIM) – a global movement that encourages people around the world to meditate daily, while raising funds to build clean water wells in the developing world.

When a friend recommended MIM to me last year, it was at a time I needed to make a difficult career decision, and needed some perspective.

Having meditated on and off for years, in combination with yoga practice, I had confidence in the recommended benefits and it seemed like the right time to take the challenge. I signed up in the hope I would find mental clarity, or perhaps even a career epiphany.

To join the global challenge, participants pay a fee (this year it is $30.00, or $1.00 a day)  and throughout May have access to weekly meditation files, and interviews with global experts in the fields of wellness, meditation and brain training – to inspire and stay connected to the cause and personal goals.

Daily emails from Elise include words of encouragement, user stories and updates on fundraising successes from national and international teams who have joined the movement.

MIM Banner

MIM Banner

The idea is that while you learn to meditate and mindfully care for yourself, your efforts will ripple across the world to help improve the lives of the one in nine people on the planet who live without access to clean, safe drinking water.

This concept is a fabulous kind of yin and yang, where those in the developed world practice stillness and community, something that does not always come easily in a suburban or oversubscribed life, and those in the developing world, who on a simplistic level experience a counter issue, benefit from this mindful application to self and beyond self – working for a common greater cause.

Elise’s bio describes her as an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker, a doctor trained in psychiatry, and mindfulness meditation teacher…

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St Valentine’s Day, Melbourne

Today is St. Valentine’s Day and couples all over Melbourne, and the world, are celebrating love. While there are many reject the day and balk at the commercialisation of love I’ve decided to embrace it. There are too few things that unite us in celebration and I reckon love, however you do it, is worth encouraging.

Did you celebrate love today? How do you love?

Here is what some Melburnians had to say when asked “about love”:

Cuong and Jess

Cuong and Jess in St Kilda

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you” (Rick Astley)

Arturo and Sophia on their wedding day

Arturo and Sophia on their wedding day in Mexico (photo supplied)

“Let these be your desires:
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and
give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart” (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)
Lilli in the Garden

A pretty and shy smile from Lilli in a South Yarra Garden

” Love all, trust a few and do harm to none.”

Paul and Sue from Middle Park

Paul and Sue from Middle Park

 Paul “I  love life and being together, still, after 52 years!” Sue ” I also recommend always keeping separate bank accounts.”

Julia and Scott from Brunswick (now Scotland)

Julia and Scott in Brunswick


“Love can take you to surprising and marvellous places, if you’re just willing to take the ride…”

Hayley and Shelley

Hayley and Shelley from Northcote

 “Go ahead… Love like you never have loved before…”

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