I started this blog in 2011 when I was at home with two toddlers desperately seeking some inspiration. In the absence of finding anything local, Miss Rosanna was born.
Since then, I’ve developed a loyal following of readers interested in arts, culture, local events and people. I’ve found work, created an online community and become real-life friends with people I first met in the virtual world – things which I never expected when I created Miss Rosanna all those years ago.
In the intervening years, I started freelancing as a marketing consultant and copywriter for small businesses including Avant Card, The Light Factory Gallery (now Second Home Eltham) and Wendy’s Music. I am still friends with my clients today (and still work for some of them!).
I’ve also had the opportunity to write for The Weekly Review and speak at local events as well as work in a voluntary capacity with arts and culture organisations including the Banyule Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.
Life has been rewarding and last year I started contracting part-time at La Trobe University handling the Bold Thinking Series of public lectures in their inaugural year – something which will continue this year in 2017 as the University celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
To this end, I thought that I would re-launch the Miss Rosanna blog to celebrate the new year, and a new journey ahead for me and for you, as my readers. I hope we can share lots of adventures together, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. There’s not a lot of point knowing things if those around you don’t benefit as well. I wish you love and light in 2017 – here’s to a new year and a new start for all of us.
It’s a match made in heaven although I think Mr Rosanna would add red wine into the mix. I made it to a class at Cinch PT in Macleod last week and it was good to see my ever-inspiring trainer Nikki who is currently completing some studies in metabolic nutrition. Through Brooke De Propertis at Elm Natural (who has previously featured on my blog), Nikki is stocking some Peak Chocolate at her studio – yes, a pre-workout dark chocolate for endurance, focus, muscle and strength containing 80% cacao and Himalayan salt.
While I’m not sure about the science to back up the claims, I bought a pack and had a taste last night and it’s pretty good – I just wouldn’t eat it before going to bed as this ‘performance chocolate’ contains guarana!
Another local friend who is a serious coffee aficionado has been raving about Gridlock Coffee in West Heidelberg who roast Grinders coffee on-site and also have a cafe. He and his partner went there for a coffee three days in a row so that’s saying something.
I hope you had a good weekend enjoying the sunshine. While some of us are gearing up for race season, I also wanted to mention a few of the more glamorous resort wear brands I’ve come across if any of you have plans for a beach holiday over Christmas. While I’ve previously bought from Byron Bay-based Spell & the Gypsy, another boho label is Faithfull the brand. If your taste is more simple then another label based in Byron Bay, St Agni, has caught my eye – they do absolutely beautiful modern linen and handmade leather goods. Their slides and loafers, in particular, are gorgeous.
Spring has sprung and there seems to be so many upcoming events – I can’t quite keep up! The Darebin Music Feast started yesterday and lucky people in the area have so much choice close to home. I sit next to a work colleague who is also a drummer in a band and was lamenting the fact that it’s been ages since I’ve been to a gig. However, that will change next month because La Trobe University is holding soundvision – an outdoor art and live music event to close off our 50th Anniversary Year on Saturday 18 November. There’s some great bands in the lineup including Bombay Royale, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks as well as the Raah Project featuring the Australian Youth Orchestra Ensemble. All the action will take place on the Academic Lawn overlooking the Moat (yes we have a moat and a wildlife sanctuary at La Trobe). My media and communications, Events and 50th Anniversary Office colleagues are all involved in the organisation of this event, to which we’ve already bought tickets as a family!
While I was away, my Bold Thinking Series team ably held the Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley lecture in Shepparton and both La Trobe alumnus and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis and Indigenous academic Dr Julie Andrews in particular were impressive speakers. Interesting if you get a chance to watch on the livestream, Julie’s comments in relation to Australia Day celebrations and the stolen generation.
The previously sold out lecture with Kevin Rudd has been moved to a larger space at The Sofitel so there are currently some tickets still available if you’re interested in China and its relationship with Australia. Details are also online regarding my final lecture of the year on the future of Universities featuring the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash, which will be facilitated by La Trobe alumna Virginia Trioli. The way we study at University now is rapidly changing with a move to short courses and online, and people choosing to do select subjects often with an industry focus – it’s a brave new world and I think will make for a fascinating topic if you’re interested in the sector or have children.
If you’re a train commuter at Rosanna, then I’m feeling for you this week and until March next year. I was running past the whole level crossing development on Lower Plenty Road at Rosanna parklands over the weekend and it is a major construction site. I’ve also been very sad to see all the gum trees removed from Turnham Avenue and at the top end of the park. I just hope the new level crossing is worth it once it’s built.
I am also feeling for neighbouring businesses and with this in mind, have happily accepted a sponsorship deal with Hunter Lane Cafe. Like me, I hope you will continue to support them by visiting (even if it’s by foot or bike instead of car) during this temporary period. A big thank you too from me to Dani and Dennis at the cafe – it was lovely of them to ask me. While their logo will feature on this blog and I’ll be doing regular shout outs for them, I will still be visiting and posting about other cafes in the area but flying the flag for Hunter Lane whenever I can, which will be acknowledged.
It is Spring and the start of term 4 so my crazy weeks juggling work and ferrying children to their various activities will start all over again. I did want to mention that the Jagajaga Community Sports Awards are being held this Thursday night at Eltham High School from 6 pm onwards. I did nominate a couple of people this year including representatives from the Ivanhoe Harriers Running Club and Yarra Tennis Coaching in Eaglemont and they have been successful so will be receiving their Awards that evening, which is very exciting! The special guest speaker will be Laura Duryea, Melbourne AFLW Football Club Defender so it’s nice to see a female featured instead of a bloke.
Good health is indeed, wealth and it’s the name of a book and In Conversation event with author Kitty Cheng hosted by Busybird Publishing and also being held this Thursday from 7 – 9 pm at Busybird HQ – 2 / 118 Para Road in Montmorency (look out for Oscar the office dog if he’s there!). Without health, you have nothing so it’s always good to find out more about how we can better look after ourselves and enable us to achieve more. Have a great week!
Noosa has become a lot more commercialised since I last visited over 10 years ago. It was a memorable trip as I was pregnant (on our babymoon) with our first child and Mr Rosanna and I had decided to tack on a trip to Noosa from nearby Caloundra where we’d been staying. That time, we lashed out and stayed at The Sebel right on Hastings Street in the middle of all the action but it was before the national retailers moved in – now you can find Lorna Jane, Witchery, Kookai and Jets in amongst the smaller boutique shops, Hamptons-style homewares stores as well as the surf shops including the iconic Noosa Longboards, which has been there since 1994.
It was also memorable in that Mr R and I had bought a couple of second-hand books while we were up there including one by Tim Winton, and to our great surprise later that week, we found ourselves sitting in the same Thai restaurant as Mr Winton himself although neither of us were brave enough to approach him while he was having his private dinner for two.
RACV Noosa Resort
Wedding combi van
This most recent trip to Noosa was to celebrate a milestone birthday for my parents-in-law and we holidayed with one of Mr Rosanna’s siblings and their family with all of us staying at the RACV Noosa Resort, which is out of Noosa’s main drag and in between Noosaville (on the Noosa river) and nearby Noosa Junction, which is before you enter Noosa proper with Hastings street, Noosa main beach and national park at the end.
If you are a beach person, it’s probably not for you as you have to hire a car or wait for the courtesy shuttle bus every hour to get to Hastings Street and all that it offers – high-end cafes, restaurants, resorts and shops. I’ve had friends recently stay closer to the more exclusive National Park end (the French Quarter) at Little Cove and Peppers but both would be a lot more pricey.
The RACV resort is perfect for younger families and most people there were with babies or toddlers in tow – lunch, dinner and drinks by the pool was a great way to spend the afternoons and the in-house restaurant Arcuri (where you can also have the buffet breakfast) was very good and the in-house day spa also looked good, although I ran out of time to have a treatment. We stayed in a 3 bedroom villa which was bigger than our house here! There are also luxury villas in a special enclave area but I didn’t get a chance to check them out while I was there.
While I was frustrated at not being able to run on the beach, there is a concrete running track from the resort past the football oval (where the Noosa Farmers Market is held on Sundays) and the Noosa Yoga Centre is located at nearby Noosa Junction – a 10 minute walk away. It did give me the chance to explore Noosa Junction which had some lovely shops including Stitch Piece Loop, CLOStudios (where I could have bought everything in this beautiful exotic homewares shop which was re-built three months ago after being wiped out by a cyclone) and Soulsong lifestyle & yoga clothing. If you are up north, look out too for Yukti Botanicals and Saya skincare which are both made locally.
Mr R and I also had lunch at Canteen Cafe one day and dinner at Japanese restaurant Sushi Yah-Man which has a sushi train and felt more like a place you’d find in Byron Bay, complete with a head waitress with dreadlocked hair.
If you do have a car, nearby Montville and Maleny in the artistic hinterland are great places to visit as well as the sprawling Eumundi Markets, which have grown even bigger since I was last there. My tip is to go there early in the morning close to opening time, we got there mid-morning and it was only pure luck that we were able to snaffle a car park. There’s some great international food on offer from Tibetan momos to Spanish empanadas to Dutch pancakes. Boho clothing, leather goods and dream catchers galore as well as handicrafts made by local artisans. I still have a hand-made wooden chopping board I bought many, many years ago on one of my first visits there. I ended up with a pair of My Happy Shoes, which have indeed made me happy as I think they’re better than Salt Water Sandals which can also be worn in the water but are harder on your feet.
We took the kids on a ferry ride from Noosa (behind the Sofitel) watching the local boys jump off the bridge into the water while we waited, to Tewantin for lunch at Pier 11 and that’s also a lovely thing to do on a sunny day when it’s not too windy. I’ve never stayed in Noosaville but apparently it’s cheaper than Hastings Street and more relaxed. Hastings Street was like Bourke Street this time around given it’s been peak holiday season. We went past some of the beautiful waterfront restaurants including Ricky’s River Bar and Wasabi, which looked stunning. My brother and sister-in-law had dinner one night at Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House (also great for people watching during the day) while Mr R and I opted for another place that’s been there a long time – Spirit House in Yandina – about half an hour’s drive away from Noosa.
This was probably the highlight for me, Spirit House is a Thai cooking school and restaurant in the middle of nowhere – there is a ginger factory you can visit during the day but it really is a destination restaurant, which has been there for 25 years surrounded by lush bamboo and purpose-built over the creek which makes for a beautiful, soulful and atmospheric dining experience at night-time. Mr R and I thought we could have been on the set of a movie. The bar and deck area included the cooking school kitchen, which I think is a new addition, but I thought I’d been transplanted to an international city – it’s one of the best bars I’ve ever seen complete with a French-speaking barman.
Mr R and I oped for the 4 course banquet to get a sample of some of their highlight dishes which included a sublime salmon soup served from a teapot into teacups filled with aromatics, two entrees consisting of scallops and pork belly with mint, coriander and fish sauce followed by two mains – the snapper and duck curry (which was probably the only miss) plus two desserts, which we could barely fit in. I’m really glad that we made the effort to go as much as the drive there was a bit hairy – we had to stop at one stage for a kangaroo to cross the road.
While I have visited far north Queensland a number of times now as well as the Gold Coast in previous lives, as a Victorian, the Sunshine Coast is the place I’ve most frequently visited in Queensland over the years and one I keep returning to – it’s well worth a visit if you’ve never been. The sun has finally arrived here in Melbourne too, and I hope you’ve been enjoying the warmer weather.
It’s been a while! I’ve been in Noosa the past 10 days spending some time in the sun and the heat. And while I’ve been there a number of times, this was the first time since having children. I will post about my trip later this week.
I posted about the Banyule Performing Arts Festival at Hatch in Ivanhoe before I went away and I hope it was a big success – while the Heidelberg Theatre Company has long had a presence in Rosanna, there is a need to share the love with other performing artists in the area. Speaking of performing arts, the Melbourne Festival has opened and if you get a chance to see a show, it really is a great experience – one that defines Melbourne as the arts capital of Australia. My picks would be Chinese contemporary dance performance Under Siege, the House of Mirrors installation and Terence Malick’s Voyage of Time narrated by Cate Blanchett and set to music by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
But back to all things local, the Banyule Award for Works on Paper exhibition launch is this Wednesday and always a fantastic show to see if you manage to fit inside Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe. The Victorian Seniors Festival is also on at the moment and there is a morning tea being held at the Ivanhoe Centre this Wednesday (or Thursday). I also love that there is an associated Evergreen horticulture therapy program being held on 12 October – as I’ve got older, I’ve started to appreciate the seasons, the outdoors and spending time in nature – gardening is a very life affirming and calming past-time.
Finally, Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna is holding ‘A barber and a BBQ’ fundraising event for brain cancer research, in partnership with Valiant Barbers from Heidelberg Heights this Sunday 8 October from 2.30pm if you find yourself in the area – it sounds like Mr Rosanna’s idea of heaven! Have a good week and enjoy the school holidays if you are lucky enough to be at home not work.
Bladerunner is my all-time favourite movie so I’m both excited and dubious about the forthcoming Bladerunner 2049 with Ryan Gosling that’s about to hit the screens, tickets which can now be booked at IMAX Melbourne if you’re interested in seeing it on the biggest screen of all.
The Italian Film Festival at Palace Cinemas started last week and is currently on if you’re wanting to see something more international.
Tickets also go on sale this Thursday for the inaugural Australian Americana Honours Night at the Thornbury Theatre on 2 October with musicians like Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers in the mix.
Closer to home, there will be a three day Performing Arts Festival at Hatch Community Space in Ivanhoe kicking off on Wednesdsay. If you’re into music, theatre, dance, spoken word, cabaret or comedy, then this is the one for you. I hope you’re enjoying the warmth in the air and the sunshine – it’s nice to know Spring has sprung at last.
It’s not often you meet a chiropractor turned cafe owner and in the case of Dennis and Dani – it’s both of them! It’s also lovely to have some more people from multicultural backgrounds here in Rosanna (he’s Greek and she’s Italian-Australian and how cute is their family below?). They are the new owners of Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna (previously Byzantine Restaurant under different owners), which has been open for a while now in a great location near the Rosanna Library. Despite the station level crossing work, they are still very much open for business and if you’re walking or cycling distance – even better! Read on for more…
Name: Dennis and Dani Ahimastos
Occupation: Cafe Owners/ Operators – Hunter Lane Cafe
Lives/works: Live in Doncaster/Work in Rosanna
How long have you worked here? 9 months
Describe yourself/what you do: Dennis and I met at university where we were both studying to become Chiropractors. We worked in private practice for a while before Dennis decided to follow his passion and joined his father in the hospitality industry. I followed a corporate pathway before deciding that the hours weren’t conducive to raising a family and opted in to help Dennis run the family business. Hunter Lane opened in November last year when our second child was 6 months old so it has been a busy and sometimes crazy time for us! Hunter Lane is our second venture together and our first in the North Eastern suburbs. We have created a bright, open space, serving delicious meals with gluten-free and vegan friendly options. Dennis runs the show from an operations perspective and I handle all the peripheral activities – social media, graphic design, public relations. Whilst we both have different strengths and weaknesses, what unites us is our shared passion for customer service excellence and beautiful food. We think we make a pretty great team.
Best thing(s) about working in Melbourne’s north-east: The strong sense of community was immediately evident when we opened up in Rosanna. Many customers have become friends, popping in daily for a coffee and a chat. Young families, the elderly, Gen Ys, we get them all and we love the diversity. The daily commute to the café is a short one (when done off-peak!).