Good Tidings

It’s the name of the book being launched at the Eltham Library on 10 December on the power of good people and I think it’s an important thing to remember when we’re bombarded with media images of violence and terror happening on the international stage.  There are more good people in the world than bad and I wish the world more peace in the lead up to Christmas.  Hosted by the Eltham Bookshop and published by Wild Dingo Press, the book is a story of courage, resilience, hope and hearts filled with compassionate friendship between Sri Lankan refugee Para Paheer and local penfriend Alison Corke – things which are greater things to meditate and ruminate on.

Image via Wild Dingo Press

There’s also some interesting performing arts events on around the place including local heats at Deadly Funny at the Darebin Arts Centre on the 10 December if you’re cheeky and loud, black and proud.  If you’re a fan of Tim Winton’s books, a sprawling stage adaptation of Cloudstreet is being held at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre from 5 – 16 December, tickets of which are now on sale at TryBooking.

Image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

It is a cultural week in that Banyule Arts and Culture also announces its 2018 plans on 8 December at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.

Image via Marmoset Found

If you’ve started getting your house in order for Christmas celebrations, it’s worth noting that local homewares store Marmoset Found is having a warehouse sale, along with neighbouring outlet Sage and Clare on this coming Friday and Saturday at 21 Albert Street in Northcote.

Image via Kara Baker

If you’re a fan of bespoke fashion, local maven Kara Baker is launching her Beach collection on Wednesday 6 December from 5 – 9 pm at 1/414 Bourke Street although I prefer some of her latest Spring Summer range including this beautifully tailored dress above.  You’ll need to book a private appointment if you wish to attend at


Back to the future

It’s been a big week and it’s not over yet.  My last Bold Thinking Series lecture for 2017 on the future of Universities at the State Library Theatrette with MC Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash Universities went well on Wednesday night despite a couple of technical hitches at the start.  I ended up having to give up the hand-held microphone I use to roam amongst the audience for questions to outgoing Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis after his headset mic stopped working, leaving just me to cover the floor during the lecture, instead of our usual two people.  The discussion item that did not get asked on the night was the interesting fact that Glyn Davis and Margaret Gardner are actually married to each other yet work at competing universities – a colleague was playfully calling them the ‘Posh & Becks’ of the University sector!

L-R: Virginia Trioli, Glyn Davis, John Dewar, Margaret Gardner

It was also an experience to work with Virginia Trioli – an impressive, seasoned media professional who also had her own ideas to add to the mix, which made the lecture a little bit different in terms of format.  Francis Leach will be returning as our usual MC in 2018 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him next week for a thank you dinner.  I’m now in planning mode for next year and it’s been interesting working with a 20-something focus group on the topics they’re interested in….stay tuned!

Image via BAAG

La Trobe University is not the only one to be turning 50 this year, Bulleen Art & Garden also celebrates its 50th Birthday Party and Sculpture Garden Launch on 30 November.  Tickets are free but you will need to register to attend.

Image via The Big Design Market Facebook page

Some design and craft events on this weekend include the pop up Design Files Open House in Collingwood from 10am – 5 pm, which opened yesterday as well as the German Christmas Market at the Deustche Schule in Fitzroy, which opens tonight at 5pm.  The Etsy Made Local Melbourne market is being held in Coburg tomorrow while The Big Design Market (started by a friend of a friend) at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton opens next Friday.

Locally, St Martin of Tours Rosanna’s Twilight Community Fete is on tonight, the Eaglemont Village Christmas Market is on tomorrow while Macleod Village has its Christmas Fair on next Saturday.

The show must go on…

…and it did at soundvision on Saturday night at La Trobe University, despite the pouring rain that occurred during the more family-friendly hours of 4 – 6 pm.  While it was a shame for my colleagues who organised the event, lots of people still turned up after the rain had stopped to see acts including Emma Donovan and The Putbacks, The RAAH project and The Bombay Royale.  That’s Melbourne weather for you in the Spring time – it can be anything from freezing cold to blistering heat to pouring rain as we saw on the weekend.IMG_6555

Speaking of Spring, many of us have started hitting the gym or the track in an effort to get fit for summer which includes baring more of our bodies.  My local beauty therapist at Pretty Intense has been busy since the end of Winter with more people spending money on grooming and preening.IMG_6556

They stock a lovely local product made on the Mornington Peninsula called Olieve & Olie, which I have my eye on as Christmas gifts.  While I do love high-end products like Aesop, they carry a pretty hefty price tag and I’ve also been given some more affordable skincare created by Melbourne naturopath Jacqueline Evans.  I also like the ‘man candles’ from another local company L’Ascari which come beautifully packaged (they also do solid cologne and fragrance) while I have also placed a recent order for some new nail polish from Australian-made, cruelty-free and vegan Kester Black.IMG_6554

When I worked as PR for Aveda many years ago (which incidentally was also founded by an ex-male hairdresser turned skincare entrepreneur), they didn’t produce nail polish in their cosmetic range due to the amount of chemicals in most commercial products.  It’s been great to see that more environmentally-friendly nail polish like Kester Black is now available.  There’s not long now until Christmas although we will still hold out in our family until December to start hanging our decorations and putting the tree up…


The answer is…yes

It’s been a momentous few days and my Media & Communications team watched the Australian Bureau of Statistics live announcement on the postal vote and marriage equality gathered around a colleague’s computer yesterday – it was lovely to witness history and democracy in action and it’s one of the privileges of living in a more progressive country like ours at this particular point in time.  I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if more of us were exposed to diversity at a personal level through friends and family and how it would be played out in the larger community and society.  Love is love and it’s always been as simple as that for me however I know that people from different generations and religious/cultural backgrounds don’t see it the same way.IMG_6546

There is so much on this coming weekend around the place, we are spoilt for choice and I hope the sun comes out at some stage for those events being held outdoors like La Trobe’s soundvision live music and art event to farewell our 50th Anniversary year on Saturday.  I was treated to a visit by The Great Gizmo (above) in the kitchen at work today, who was very entertaining and there are a number of pretty funny selfies floating around the place from those of us who were accosted by him as we had tried to eat our lunch!

Image via Eventbrite

It’s a creative weekend in that the Nilllumbik Artists Open Studios is also on both days while on Saturday is the Arden Crescent Strawberry Fair in Rosanna, the Rosanna Primary School Fair and the Ivanhoe Primary Twilight Fair while in inner city Fitzroy, the annual Hispanic Fiesta in Johnston Street is on.

Image via Banyule City Council

On Sunday, the Malahang Community Festival is on in West Heidelberg while cult classic film Dogs in Space featuring the late Michael Hutchence will also be screening at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  Speaking of dogs, Great Dane Furniture in collaboration with Oblica Fireplaces will also be holding a pop up sale with up to 75% off from 10am – 5 pm this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 200 Argyle Street Fitzroy.

Circus of the sun

Toruk: The First Flight is the name of Cirque de Soleil’s most recent show in Melbourne, which Mr Rosanna and I took the kids to for the first time on Saturday.  It was glorious on Saturday afternoon with Melbourne bathed in a sea of light.  We took the train to Jolimont from Clifton Hill station and walked to the Rod Laver Arena, which is currently undergoing construction.IMG_6473

We walked past the City to Sea 15km course all set up for yesterday’s run and noticed too, a number of people wearing poppies for Remembrance Day.  There is something magical about the number 11 and yesterday was the 11th day of the 11th month.  It was good for my boys too to see the statues of Australian football and cricketing heroes lining the boulevard to the MCG and then subsequent monuments to Australian tennis heroes outside Rod Laver Arena.  I hope that one day there will be more female heroes as well.IMG_6478

We really enjoyed the show, and it was visually spectacular but friends who’ve previously been said they were disappointed with it, compared with previous shows.  It was quite the commercial production and more theatrical in style so I can understand some people having that opinion.  Still, we had a great time and were glad we had arrived early given the thousands who turned up to watch.


We caught the train back to Clifton Hill in a perfumed carriage full of young Stakes Day race goers and families which also gave the day a sense of occasion.  It was lovely to see all the young human fillies dressed up and on their way home on such a glorious day out. IMG_3726

We ended up grabbing some Japanese on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg where there is both Sushi Galore and Momoco Sushi to choose from, but walked past the booked out (for a private function) Train Yard which we still have yet to visit.  Given Bobo’s Diner in Ivanhoe has now closed, the beer garden at the Train Yard looked very enticing.  Still I’m happy to report that The Pioneer cafe in Rosanna has now opened and there looks to be a brand new cafe, the Arthur Street Deli opposite Hoppa & Joe on the corner of Heidelberg Road and Arthur Street in Fairfield.  Gone too at the moment is the old Amcor Paper Mill torn down for the upcoming YarraBend development and suburb in itself, which will house a huge number of new residents but have its own facilities including a health and wellness centre.

Looking into the Train Yard – Heidelberg

I am now gearing up for my final Bold Thinking Series lecture of the year on The future of Universities, which is almost completely sold out.  It’s been challenging trying to coordinate the briefings between the MC (and La Trobe alumna) Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash Universities who are such busy people that even their ‘free’ time is scheduled. Stay tuned…

State of Escape

It’s the name of the Australian made and designed neoprene handbags that have been pretty popular for a while now.  It also sums up my state of mind this week after being sick pretty much the whole time save for a quick dash to the Botanic Gardens to witness a family wedding ceremony.  Aargh – FOMO – fear of missing out!  I’m on my way back up but it’s been a long week.

Wolgan Collection image via State of Escape

Back to the bags – they aren’t cheap at $300 or over (I do love the now sold out Pewter/Ochre combination specially made for the Emirates Wolgan Valley health retreat in NSW) but I think they are highly practical for every day (they can be washed in the machine!), gym or beach use and a number of mothers I know now have them.  If you’re after something cheaper, Chuchka and Prene bags also have some great styles and colours.

Noosa bag image via Cabana Lifestyle

If you are wanting something purely for the beach – Cabana Lifestyle has a range of more affordable waterproof beach totes and would make a nice Christmas gift.  As much as I have some lovely cloth bags and basket bags for the beach – practical bags such as these are a lot more durable and I still use the same Crumpler Messenger Bag I bought as a nappy bag over 10 years ago.

Rejuvenate kit image via Sodashi

Interesting too to read about Sodashi skincare – an Australian brand meaning ‘wholeness, purity and radiance’ in Sanskrit which is also stocked at the Wolgan Valley retreat.  Again, it’s not cheap but the beauty junkie in me is always interested in finding out more about natural Australian skincare products.

Some local events which start today – the Night Noodle Markets if you’re heading into town.  Be warned that they are very popular and expect to queue for food if you go.  They are also cashless so take cards with you if you decide to venture in.  You’ll find roving performers, DJs and live music all on offer if you make the trip.

Image via Montsalvat Facebook page

Closer to home, Puesta del Sol starts at Montsalvat tonight –  a mash up of food, drinks, live music from Flamenco group La Rumba and art all poolside in Eltham as the sun goes down.  The Rotary Eltham Festival is also on this Saturday, as well as the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen while the Makers & Shakers Market is being held on Sunday at the Coburg Town Hall.  Stay well people.

Hitting the pause button

Sickness in our household has meant we’ll be doing exactly that this long weekend.  I hope you may have more fun than me if going to the races or going away as we’ve had to cancel our plans.  Sometimes you just have to accept where you are, like it or not.  Given our family have multiple things on every week from now until Christmas, slowing down is probably a blessing in disguise as I don’t think I can hack the pace!  It may have been the hordes of children and parents who descended on our house and street for Halloween that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Image via Pinotta

I did go out last night with two of my girlfriends to Pinotta in North Fitzroy and we had a great time.  It’s a fairly small and intimate space – narrow in two sections front and back.  We sat up the back last night and ordered a la carte from the menu with two of us choosing the tuna special which came on a bed of vegetables beautifully cooked and my other girlfriend opting for one of the handmade pasta specials.  We shared some of the croquettes (pictured above right), which were sensational.  Highly recommended – the service was also excellent and very attentive and I think people of a certain age must go there – Sade and Madonna were both on high rotation in the background. We had a great night out and were the last to leave the restaurant!

Image via Fondata 1872

Speaking of European restaurants, a number of friends now have booked lunches out at Fondata 1872 at the former Wellers in Kangaroo Ground.  The menu there also looks pretty enticing and I might have to plan a day out over the summer holidays if we have a local staycation this year.

Stay well and enjoy your weekend!