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 Hanya Yanighihara’s Booker prize shortlisted book that I picked up at Andrew’s Books in Ivanhoe over the weekend after being motivated by Literacy week to buy a decent sized novel to read as it’s been a while. I had been in previously and had a look at both Pulitzer Prize winner All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr and Stella Prize winner The natural way of things by Charlotte Wood (also a fairly dark topic) but had put both books down again. I’m not expecting it to be an easy read both in terms of content and length but it’s one that’s grabbed my attention and pulled me in and reminded me a bit of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
I spent Saturday night celebrating my best friend Jules’ birthday at The Cellar Door in the Town Square restaurant area at Eastland in Ringwood where we’d previously been for drinks only. It was jumping on Saturday night with all tables full as far as the eye could see although this time I didn’t venture up to the rooftop bar. The food and service are excellent – I had the barramundi but would have the hand made squid ink seafood pasta next time and I only remembered we were in a suburban shopping complex when I chose to use the centre toilets near the restaurant entrance instead of taking the stairs to the third level.
If you are a creative person, I think the Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) in Preston would well be worth visiting and a number of mature-age people I know are currently studying there (it’s never too late!). If you are a local business, there is a business tour this Wednesday if you’re interesting in partnering with NCAT and its students. There are some other events on this coming weekend (last weekend of Winter) and I’ll be back later this week.
It’s the name of my lecture in October with ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which is being held in conjunction with the Ideas & Society series convened by La Trobe University’s Emeritus Professor Robert Manne – tickets are already on sale given the Paul Keating lecture held earlier this year sold out within a week. Kevin Rudd is a different person altogether from Paul Keating but they share in common an interest in the Asian region and what it means for Australia. This lecture will also be different in that it’s a lunchtime event (light lunch provided at the Sofitel!) so targeted more at a CBD-based business audience. Kevin’s an interesting man from what I can gather from my friends and colleagues who’ve previously worked with him in the media space.
It’s Spring in another fortnight and I can’t wait for it to begin. This house at 43 Alexander Street in Montmorency has caught my eye. It’s an Alistair Knox home with gardens inspired by Gordon Ford and it looks just beautiful – it is the home of a local Montsalvat studio artist and I think it would be well worth a look if you’re in the area or looking to buy in the area given how close it is to the Were Street village and surrounding parkland – Monty is a lovely suburb.
We’re about to start some minor renovations at home and I’m looking forward to finishing the painting that we started last Spring but never quite finished, and continuing to de-clutter. Mr Rosanna’s Dad has told me that you never finish once you have a house of your own – there’s always something to do maintenance-wise! Argh!
It’s the name of local author Les Zig’s debut novel published by Pantera Press which is being launched at a special event on 2 September at Beer DeLuxe as part of this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on Friday 25 August. Les and I were having a chat when I attended Busybird Publishing’s Karma Kinglake writing retreat last year and I know he loves his beer so no surprises there. The book is a psychological drama that explores the complexities of human relationships and I think a lot goes on in the suburbs, where most of us live. My own street is a microcosm of society at large with all sorts of things happening that I didn’t anticipate when I moved to sleepy Rosanna almost 10 years ago from the inner city. It’s not as sleepy as I first thought!
If you have kids, the Harry Potter Day on Sunday 3 September at Fed Square in the city, also as part of the Writer’s Festival, looks like a lot of fun if you have a Harry, Ron or Hermione in your household.
Locally there’ll be a pop up book swap at the Harmony Centre in The Mall at Heidelberg West during Literacy Week, also starting next Friday and running until 1 September. The Eltham Bookshop too has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, which is a real achievement by owner Meera Govril. I’m still not making a lot of head way with my reading and seem to be drowning in paperwork at the moment – it’s almost de-cluttering season again and I need to continue with a number of rooms in my house.
I was also reading with excitement about the upcoming exhibition The House of Dior at the NGV and associated Gala ball being held on Saturday 26 August – two tickets of which you can actually win through Telstra. It’s being compared to the Met Gala in New York and I think is one for all the fashionistas out there.
It’s the story of the La Trobe Three – Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York – three young student activists who were jailed indefinitely for disobeying a University order to stay off campus almost 45 years ago and my next Bold Thinking Series lecture brings all three together for the first time to talk about their story – what happened then and what has happened since. Tickets are almost sold out but if you’re interested in coming along to the State Library Theatrette on Thursday 24 August, you can still purchase these on Eventbrite.
I’ve spoken to all three men and the gravity of what they went through has stayed with me and I have no doubt that their time in prison as young men has left an indelible impact on their lives – I’m very much looking forward to hearing them speak. The lecture will be facilitated as usual by MC Francis Leach but La Trobe historian Professor Katie Holmes will also be on the panel to provide some wider context about that period of time in the early 1970s.
I’ve been interested reading Michael Kirby’s remarks in the news this week about the same sex postal vote and it was an honour to meet the great man in May – it’s been a humbling experience to work on the whole Bold Thinking lecture series and witness some real change taking place in the community as a result of a staging an open discussion with both sides having a chance to voice their opinion and further action being taken post-event, as was the case in Bendigo (multiculturalism) earlier this year.
My lecture next month in Shepparton will be along similar lines to Bendigo while the October lecture will see me working with another former Australian Prime Minister…I will reveal details soon but may also need to catch my breath at some stage. Winter’s almost over and I’ve started seeing blossom on the trees and a blaze of bright yellow wattle at work, which means the Wattle Festival in Hurstbridge isn’t far away. Bring on Spring!
It sounds very Zen but it’s the name of the upcoming show curated by Dr Anne Bennett at Hatch Contemporary Arts Centre in Ivanhoe, which opens this Wednesday. The exhibition continues to explore this year’s theme of water, and its elemental importance, and will showcase 9 different artists’ work including Anne Bennett. Anne and I have both been members of the Banyule Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee.
Speaking of ceramics, Angus and Celeste currently have The Slightly Imperfect Sale on until Sunday 13 August meanwhile the Northcote Pottery Supplies Open Day is Saturday 19 August from 10 am – 3 pm. It’s a popular day as Artists on Were Street in Montmorency also opens on 19 August and runs until 3 September. I’ve long said that if Mr Rosanna and I had moved further out, our next suburb of choice was Montmorency. We’re spoilt for choice in the north-east…
It’s been my mantra these past few very cold weeks and as much as Winter’s been largely dry and sunny – I’ve found it hard to stay motivated but have been forcing myself to go to yoga and spend time with my friends including driving to the city in teeming rain on the Eastern freeway last night.
It was a bit hairy but I had a long-standing dinner date with two ex-Telstra colleagues at Hako in Flinders Lane. Hako’s been there for a number of years and was recommended by a foodie friend of mine. They do a $95 degustation menu but for those on a budget like me, it’s easier just to order some shared plates a la carte. I love Japanese food at the best of times, but Hako was very good and very authentic – the sautéed Japanese mushrooms were pretty sublime as was the root vegetable salad and oven baked sea perch. I’ve been conscious of the four fifths message too from my Food, Mood & Diet lecture last week where both academics were advocating moderation as well as eating four fifths plant food and only one fifth meat or dairy. You can read more about Hako on my fellow blogger Joyce Watts’ Mel: Hot or Not blog here.
Speaking of food, there’s a new modern burger joint about to open in Beetham Parade near Miss Marie cafe in Rosanna. I think it’s where the Indian grocery store Idly Corner used to be. It’s currently being fitted out but given the owner is ex-Lip cafe in Waterdale Road Ivanhoe, I’m expecting good things! It’s been great to see more cafes opening up in Rosanna over the last 8 years and there are even some of us lucky to be in the zone for UberEATS food delivery in Melbourne.
It’s not quite yet Spring but this gorgeous modernist house San Jose at 1 Hartlands Road in Ivanhoe East has caught my eye. So much character! There are some lovely features and a beautiful outlook over the city – I think it would make a lovely home for the design-conscious buyer. Just another four weeks to go until warmer weather…
It’s been a sobering weekend news-wise and I’m glad to be staying in this little patch of the woods at the moment. I’m happy we’re entering the last month of Winter as I’m still eating to compensate for the cold. The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie’s Hot Chocolate Festival starts tomorrow and runs until 31 August. It’s a good reason to go and visit the Yarra Valley, which I love doing all year round.
The first Victorian Fair Trade Festival market is also on this coming Sunday under cover at Preston City Hall in Gower Street, with the second market held on the following Sunday 13 August. It sounds like a good one to go to if the weather turns.
The Green with Envy exhibition by local female artist group Thou Art Mum also opens this Friday at Volumes Cafe and Giftshop in Eltham. I’ve previously seen work by this group at Montsalvat Arts Centre in Eltham. Speaking of which, there’s also a Makers, Creatives and Bright Sparks event being run by the Nillumbik Business Network on 9 August. It’s about people building empires in the digital age – sounds like a good one for any of you reading this blog! Have a great week.