I’ve been reading about the meaning behind Halloween, which is celebrated on 31 October (All Hallows’ Eve) with All Hallows’ Day (which is also known as All Saints’ Day) on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November. It’s lovely to remember the Christian origins of Halloween as much as I’m not a huge fan of the commercialisation of it. I guess I have similar sentiments about Christmas and can’t quite believe my local newsagency is already stocking Christmas cards this early.
I visited Westfield Doncaster today while my car was being serviced nearby and kikki.K‘s window display was also similarly festive with Christmas stationery. Come on people – we haven’t even celebrated Melbourne Cup week! However, the seed was planted and given I had a number of hours to kill – I did end up starting some early Christmas shopping. I always head to Australian Geographic for children’s presents and it’s great there’s a Readings book store (pictured above) now at Doncaster too. My other favourite place for buying living presents in the form of plants and trees are the local nurseries – The Greenery in Heidelberg and Bulleen Art and Garden. You can also buy indigenous plants at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Both nurseries stock beautiful and exotic gifts as well and I’ll be making a beeline for one of them soon as the cockatoos have managed to decapitate one of the succulents that I left on the outdoor table (I should have known better!).
Mr Rosanna and I went out for dinner last Friday night to the former Village Tavern on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg which has now been re-born as modern Greek restaurant – Elia (meaning olive). It is now more upmarket and the prices have also gone up but it’s now a much more ambient place to eat and it was packed. The next generation of the same family have taken over and it’s reflected in the menu, decor and dress of the staff. If you go try the slow cooked lamb which was sensational – I’d also try the calamari or char-grilled octopus next time. Their version of saganaki with pear and star anise is also highly recommended.
That was the question we were all asking our poor Events manager yesterday at the Kevin Rudd: On China’s Rise and a New World Order sold out public lecture for over 600 people held in the Grand Ballroom at The Sofitel. Apparently our ex-PM is known for often running a bit late and yesterday was no exception. There was a private VIP lunch held beforehand, while general attendees got to mill around in the foyer having a stand up light lunch which was included in the ticket price. So there were a number of us sweating and hoping Kevin would actually turn up to the venue in time!
Turn up he did, and irrespective of what side of politics you’re from – Kevin Rudd is an extremely intelligent man who was quite relaxed and funny yesterday with an outrageously extensive vocabulary. I often find my brain hurts at the end of the day working at a University and mixing with such clever people who all have many letters after their names. Linda Jakobson, the CEO of China Matters was just as impressive and it was always going to be a hard act to follow a former Prime Minister. That she speaks Finnish, English and Mandarin fluently is an amazing feat in itself. The lecture was facilitated by Professor Nick Bisley, the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and it was a packed house with me taking one of the few last spots in the media seats at the back.
My mum ended up surprising me by turning up to the lecture and she bought herself a copy of Linda’s book China Matters published by Black Inc. Books and La Trobe University Press and Kevin’s new book Not for the Faint-Hearted was also on sale. After the last-minute flurry of activity including a fire drill held before the lecture, it was great to come home yesterday after the big event to de-compress.
It’s all about the art this weekend with Bundoora Homestead Art Centre’s biggest show opening tonight – the Darebin Art Prize. This major multi-medium award for contemporary visual art includes a $10,000 acquisitive prize and $1000 People’s Choice Award. It’s held only every two years so enjoy if you go to the exhibition.
If portraits are more your thing, the Rick Amor Portrait Prize – a $20,000 acquisitive prize winning exhibition at Montsalvat has also opened and would be well-worth seeing. There is a lovely house for sale at 29 Edwin Road in Templestowe known as the Thompson House built in a similar era to Montsalvat if you’re a fan of things of stone and wood.
Finally, Nancybird is turning 15 with a big sale on this weekend at the Northcote Town Hall with up to 70% off. I’ve got a number of Nancybird leather goods and I have to say I love the artistic aesthetic of this beautiful brand – there will also be other things for sale including chocolate, jewellery, candles and plants by other artisans so this would make a great start to your Christmas shopping.
One of the reasons we moved to Rosanna almost 10 years ago now, was because of the parkland and greenery. It’s been a great place to bring up kids and we’ve become a family of nature-lovers. With this in mind, the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary is holding a twilight tour this Wednesday night – bookings are essential for these special guided tours with the next tours on November 15 and December 20.
Nature play in the Rosanna Parklands, as part of Children’s Week, is taking place from 10am – 12 pm this Friday and if you’re a grandparent or parent with young children – this one’s for you.
Meanwhile the Ivanhoe Garden Club Festa and Bellfield Community Garden Open Day is this Sunday from 12 – 4 pm on the corner of Oriel Road and Banksia Street in Bellfield and if the sun is shining, it promises to be a glorious afternoon. Mr Rosanna and I visited Bulleen Art & Garden a couple of weekends ago to buy Spring plants including succulents, herbs and vegetables although ended up having to buy some plastic possum spikes after our furry friends got into the Moroccan mint!
Speaking of exotic foods, we went to modern Vietnamese eatery Mister Nguyen (which opened last month) on Friday night which was pumping – service was a little chaotic due to the crowd but the food was good although I didn’t try the pho, which is always a test. We did try the fish, kids’ grilled chicken (marinaded in a ginger sauce) and rice meals as well as the soft shelled crab buns (all above), which were delicious. It’s great to see something more urban open up in sleepy Rosanna Village which has needed some moving with the times. I’ve also had lunch with my work colleagues at modern Malaysian restaurant Sijori Malay Eatery at Polaris in Bundoora and can also highly recommend.
I’ve been talking about anniversaries and music and if you are a live music fan, the Corner Hotel in Richmond is celebrating its 21st year with a number of rooftop sessions next month. If it wasn’t a school night, I’d be interested in going to the Kylie Auldist gig there on Tuesday 14 November. I was interested to to find out live music has come back to the Night Cat in Fitzroy with my favourite DJ Edd Fisher doing a gig there on 3 November. Zoo Twilights has also announced the 2018 line up which includes The Cat Empire, Ben Folds, The Preatures and Kate Miller-Heidke (whose sold out Friday Night show I missed at the NGV). It’s always a lot of fun and the last time I went, we could hear the lions saying good night as the sun went down.
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!