Travelling home

It’s a bit of a cultural week for me with the opening of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival  this week and my pick of the events would have been the already sold out Pleats x Three runway show at 7pm on Friday 10 March at Alcastan Gallery featuring Kara Baker, Nevada Duffy and Edgeley showcasing the work of artisanal company Specialty Pleaters.  I love a good pleat at the best of times and have long been a fan of Japanese designer Issey Miyake.

Pleats x Three image via Eventbrite

Also opening this week is the aforementioned show ‘Travelling Home’ by Art Fix at Lulu cafe and gallery at 506 Queensberry Street in North Melbourne featuring the work of 75 visual artists and poets from 20 countries to explore the idea of home and travel by the contrasts that link them together.  It follows previous Art Fix events in Canada and will also include live music and spoken word performances.  Opening night is this Thursday 2 March from 5.30pm, tickets are $8 at the door with all artworks for sale.

Bruno Malfatti image via Art Fix

Charles Blackman: School Girls opens on Saturday 4 March at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  Blackman’s Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, marked a turning point in the artist’s career as a significant painter of modern life in the post-war era.  This exhibition includes more than fifty major paintings and related works on paper as well as a fascinating array of archival material.

Felix Girard image via Art Fix

There is also an Art Deco walking tour in East Melbourne being held on Saturday 4 March by Architours Melbourne, which sounds like a lot of fun.

East Melbourne Art Deco Walking Tour image via Eventbrite

I’ve been run off my feet (excuse the pun!) the past few weeks gearing up for both La Trobe University’s 50th Anniversary in 9 days’ time as well as my first Bold Thinking Series lecture being held in Bendigo.  Have a great week!


Local profile – Shane Scrutton

I’ve known Shane for a number of years now and we are connected in numerous different ways.  Despite being more of a sports person, Shane is also pretty up there with his music knowledge as I discovered one year when we were on the same table at a music trivia night!  He is a man of many talents…and I’m lucky to be doing a little bit of consulting on the side for such a terrific person and his business.  He’s also very modest in that he is still competing at a Masters level in tennis.  Read on for more about Shane…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Name: Shane Scrutton

Occupation: Tennis Coach

Lives/works: Heidelberg/East Ivanhoe

How long have you lived here? 10 yearsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Describe yourself/what you do: I have been the Club Coach at Eaglemont Tennis Club since 2002. I have been involved in tennis for over 35 years, having played tennis on a US college scholarship and professionally all over the world as well as being a qualified secondary teacher with a Journalism degree. I enjoy coaching players of all ages and standards and working with my Yarra Tennis coaching team to get the best out of every student and make the game of tennis as fun as possible. I also still enjoy playing competitively at a high level so I can coach and challenge the club’s top juniors.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: As an active sports person I’m very lucky to live close to where I work and enjoy the green parklands of Yarra Flats. I have enjoyed developing some great relationships through my coaching program and with the local community. Heidelberg has a very rare combination of parklands and space while being so close to the city – which is probably why it’s become so popular and busy!

For more information:


Facebook: Yarra Tennis Coaching

La dolce vita

My family’s love affair with all things Italian actually pre-dates my time in that my mum’s family grew up with Italians in 1950s and 60s North Melbourne, going to local Catholic schools and becoming best friends with Italian people.  My sisters and I have continued that tradition by also having European best friends and I’m hoping my girlfriend Celestina one day takes me to the Museo Italiano (below) in Faraday Street, Carlton.  I’ve also been intrigued by the Museo Alpino sign (also below) in one of the derelict buildings at La Trobe University and have assumed that at one stage there was an Italian ski museum.img_5513


Mr Rosanna and I happened to be in Carlton on Friday and grabbed a quick coffee and cannoli at stalwart cafe Brunetti‘s although I’ve also been reading about Black Star Pastry opening at 56 University Street in Carlton featuring possibly Sydney’s most Instagrammed dessert – the Strawberry Watermelon cake.  My 21st birthday cake was in fact a croquembouche profiterole cake from Brunetti of which I still have fond memories!  I also love that the Italians make such an effort to dress up and there was one lady at Brunetti dressed in a Chanel-style jacket and matching bag complete with oversized dark sunglasses – she looked like she’d just walked off Via Condotti in Rome.

Image via Brunetti

I’ve had a couple of restaurants recommended to me of late including Pinotta in North Fitzroy as well as Tinto in Hawthorn – maybe something to keep in mind with the weather about to change season and more time spent indoors.

Image via Pinotta

I just wanted to mention a few children’s events on this coming weekend – the Kindergarten Open Day in Banyule is being held this Saturday from 9am – 12 pm and Rosanna Golf Links Primary School is turning 60 this Sunday – apparently Anniversary Fun Fair celebrations include a Colour Run if you’re a fan of these.

Local profile – Carlie Ward

I’ve had a bit of a thing for Turkish towels for a while now so was thrilled to come across Carlie’s wares at Cinch PT in Macleod not so long ago.  Carlie is a ‘slashie’ like me who wears a number of different hats and I’m always impressed by people who have an entrepreneurial bent and a love of beautiful things.  Even better is that Carlie is a local and her towels and bags are extremely affordable.  Please read on for more about Carlie…


Name: Carlie Ward

Occupation: works in Human Resources and has a small e-commerce business

Lives/works: Macleod

How long have you lived/worked here? Approx 10 years


Describe yourself/what you do: Part of my husband’s business involves importing and wholesaling products from various countries, including Turkey. We’ve noticed the fantastic textiles available and in particular, the versatile and fashionable Turkish towels so I decided to take the plunge and set up a business, Anatolian. Anatolian sells mainly online, and through word of mouth, Turkish towels and bags. Being a small e-commerce business, it’s something that I can manage outside of the traditional 9-5 hours and it fits in with other working and family commitments. The low operational costs also mean that customers can obtain a quality product, but at a reasonable price, which is important to me.



Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: I love the sense of community, whether it’s at the local training studio, kid’s sporting clubs or local cafes.

For more information:


Email: (Please contact directly via email for free local delivery and sale of products)

Instagram: anatolianhome

Life is beautiful

As a school parent, I have to say that things have gotten increasingly more sophisticated over the years than just the average sausage sizzle to raise funds.  There is a food truck festival, mini market and moonlight cinema event being held tomorrow night at St Helena Secondary College in Eltham.  If it’s balmy as tonight, it will be a good one to go to.

Image via St Helena food truck festival, mini market & moonlight cinema

I was teasing one of my male work colleagues today about being a wing man for a friend at a singles event held last night at the Queen Victoria Melbourne Summer Night Market – apparently you wear red if you are on the look out for a potential partner.  Things have changed since my dating days…

Monsieur Mayonnaise is about to screen at Cinema Nova and if you are an art lover, history or movie buff, you may be interested in this documentary about the late Georges Mora, (husband of Mirka Mora, art patron and owner of bohemian Cafe Mirka, Cafe Balzac and Tolarno Restaurant and Galleries) and his lesser known role in the French Resistance.  There is a special In Conversation event on Thursday 23 February at 6.45pm where Georges’ son and gallerist William Mora joins Heide Museum of Art curator Kendrah Morgan after the movie.  My favourite art house movie set in war-time is still Robert Benini’s Life is Beautiful.

Kiss me I’m Asian

It’s the name of an article written a few years ago by Chinese Australian writer Benjamin Law, the headline of which has stayed with me all this time.  There are a few of us Chinese Australians around now and I actually dropped in to the new Asian Mart at 149 Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe over the weekend while Mr Rosanna and I were out and about.

Journey to the East Asian Mart

It was like re-visiting my childhood with some of the more unusual food they had on offer like tinned fried dace – one of my grandmother’s staples – as well as dried shitake mushrooms in packets.  Mr R and I also like our spicy condiments and grabbed a large bottle of Sriracha hot chili sauce on the way out.  I think my mum will be pleased when she’s next in town to find she doesn’t need to travel to Box Hill now to stock up on Asian groceries.

Image via White Night Melbourne

It’s been a cool few days and I’m hoping it might warm up a little for White Night Melbourne this coming Saturday.  I love that the title they’ve gone with this year is Give me the night, which is also one of my favourite songs by George Benson – it’s been known to be on high rotation in our household on our record player.  Yes, we love our vinyl here!

Image via Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra

Some friends of mine went to the free MSO concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Saturday night and they also have a range of concerts for kids and families throughout the year.  Meanwhile locally, we have the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra and I am hoping to take my kids to the Children’s Concert at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School later this year.

Have a great week and I’ll be back with a local profile up soon.

Closing the distance

This is the name of the new Chinese and Chinese Australian artists’ exhibition which opens 2pm tomorrow at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre  exploring issues of migration, place and contemporary diaspora experience.  Both sets of my grandparents migrated here prior to and in times of the White Australia migration policy and my experience as a second-generation born Australian Chinese person has been very different from theirs.

Owen Leong Mothertongue 2016 image via Bundoora Homestead

Central to this exhibition is the exploration of contemporary migration and the movement of people, culture and history across local and global boundaries. Closing the Distance highlights how cultural differences are valuable in providing diverse viewpoints, but also how shared personal experiences and narratives can provide a means to bridge these differences. The artists featured are from across the world and include Kevin Chin, Pei Pei He, Pia Johnson, Lindy Lee, Owen Leong, Eugenia Lim, Chun-yu Liu, Jason Phu, Cyrus Tang, Guan Wei, Shen Wei and Louise Zhang. Curated by Sophia Cai.

Bundoora Nebula Residency image via Bundoora Homestead

The Bundoora Nebula Residency for artists also officially opens tomorrow afternoon at the same time – the Nebula being the revolutionary custom-built portable studio placed in the Homestead’s heritage garden allowing 8 different artists month-long residencies with two artists paired up for each month including one artist with a disability.

Image via The Fish

I hope you’ve survived the heat this week and if, like us, you haven’t felt like turning on a hot stove to cook – we did try the The Fish in Burgundy Street Heidelberg recently and really enjoyed being able to select the fresh fish on display and choose from a selection of salads (Greek, green, quinoa and coleslaw) which makes you feel like you’re being a bit healthier.  The fried calamari dish in particular is recommended – it was delicious!  I’ve noticed too, in passing, the nearby cafe The Trainyard, but not yet been there.

Enjoy your weekend and I hope to have some new local profiles up soon on people from a number of local businesses – both online and in the real world.