Art for the heart

I’ve been out on the road today helping Bundoora Homestead Art Centre recruit new staff.  The Homestead is run by Darebin Council and it was lovely to get a peek inside one of their other heritage buildings known as the Darebin North East Community Hub behind the thriving Polaris 3083 development.  You can see it in the background of my picture below – I love the little playground out the back with the coloured pencils made all the more striking against the cloudy skies today.


From there I met my good friend Rina Chia from Fash Forward for lunch in Preston which continues to surprise me with its diversity.  Being the sucker for beautiful food packaging that I am, I couldn’t resist going into Abla’s Patisserie at 260 High Street and buying some of their specialty baklava and Turkish delight.  This award-winning Patisserie feels like a Middle Eastern Brunetti and I love that it’s next door to MKS Spices’nThings supermarket that caters to Indian, Sri Lankan and Islander people – a little bit of everything!  Perhaps that’s what Melbourne now is.img_7011.jpg

A few things to mention today – if you have babies and toddlers in your family – the Banyule Kindergarten Open Day is on tomorrow and it’s a great opportunity to think about feeder kinders into primary schools, which are feeder primary schools into high schools from a long-term perspective.  It’s also interesting to know the closest kinder to you may actually be in an area you hadn’t considered.  My children both went to Winston Hills Pre-School in Viewbank and the bonus of sending them there was not having to travel down Rosanna or Lower Plenty Roads but the back streets of Rosanna and Viewbank.

Image via Facebook

The Eltham Jazz , Food and Wine Festival is also on tomorrow and I hope the rain stays away for this event – at any rate, it will still be pretty warm!  If you are an art lover like me, the Brunswick Studio Walk – an afternoon of art and strolling – is also on tomorrow between 12 – 5 pm.  It sounds like a very civilised way to spend the day.  Enjoy!

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a current Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board Member

Little Tokyo

Melbourne’s fast changing with higher-density living and more migrants coming here from Asia, India and other countries.  It’s been a while since I ventured into the city but I finally had lunch with Mr Rosanna today at the uber cool co-working space that is Hub Southern Cross.

Reception area – Hub Southern Cross looking into cafe

It’s housed in a beautiful heritage building just opposite Southern Cross Station and you can take the original lifts or magnificent staircase up two floors to access reception.  I got a quick tour of the internal spaces which include a cafe, event space with communal kitchen and office space all around the perimeter and within the building itself which houses a number of start ups and other more established businesses.

From there we had lunch at Higher Ground (above) which was worth the 15 minute wait for the table and packed inside.  Mr R also gave me a quick tour of Rose Lane parallel to Spencer Street which felt like being in Little Tokyo given the decidedly Japanese feel.  You’ll find Asian laundry The Lonely Sock, Japanese sushi shop Rolling Nori, Asian sponge cake shop King Castella (below) where you can watch the girls taking cakes out of the oven in the front window, an ice bubble tea shop and Korean cafe I Love Chicken to round things out.  If you go around the corner to Lonsdale Street, you’ll also find Japanese grocery store Kyoto Mart where I bought some fortune cookies, miso paste…oh and a metal book stand in the shape of an elephant…I always end up buying something I don’t  really need but it’s all so cute, I can’t resist temptation.  Enjoy your week!

Lunar light

Kung hei fat choy!  Wishing you lunar love and light this Chinese New Year of the Dog.  It’s a special weekend again in the city as White Night Melbourne is being held on Saturday night with the Melbourne Chinese New Year dragon parade in Chinatown on Sunday.

Chinese Lunar New Year 2014
Chinese New Year image via Wikipedia

I’ve got family who have long been members of the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne if you are of Chinese descent and interested in joining – these are the young men and women who stage the lion dances, dragon parade, dragon boats, drumming, folk dancing and other performances for Chinese celebrations (spectacular if you’ve ever been to a wedding reception and seen them perform).  The CYSM is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and holding a special concert at The Plenary on 2 April if you are a fan of Asian culture.

Locally, the Fairfield Farmers Market  is temporarily being held at Alphington Station tomorrow until it moves into the Melbourne Innovation Centre in Wingrove St.  If you’re a fan of all things Moroccan, my friends at Metroscope in Collingwood have opened their 50% off sale to the general public if you’re looking to pick up a bargain.

I was also dismayed to find out that local nursery Bulleen Art and Garden is likely to affected by the planned route for the North East Link and there is currently an online petition if you’re interested in signing up.  The nursery has recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary and I’m sure there are many of you like me in the local community who would hate to see it go.


Woof woof!

It’s going to be a dog of a year or rather, the Chinese Year of the Brown Earth Dog is pattering in this Friday and given dogs have a reputation for being honest and loyal, as well as trustworthy and reliable – I’m looking forward to the coming 12 months especially as we now have a dog of our own (although not so happy about the hole in my leather couch).IMG_3990

Locally you can celebrate with the Lunar New Year Festival this Friday night from 5.30 – 8.30pm outside WaterMarc in Greensborough.  From lion dance troupes to stilt walkers to ribbon and fan dancers to a fortune cookie giveaway – there’ll be lots to see and do.

Image via Greensborough Town Centre

My favourite yum cha restaurant, Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe is also holding a number of special Chinese New Year banquet dinners this Thursday and Friday nights with two sittings at 5.30pm and 7.45pm.

Image via Golden Dragon Palace

Speaking of food, if you’re a fan of CERES and organic fruit, vegetables and other products, you can now order online at and pick up from Jen and Olley in Rosanna between 5 and 8pm on Wednesday nights.

Image via Ceres Fair Food

CERES Fair Food is an online grocer and carbon neutral food delivery service in Melbourne helping to create healthier, happier and more secure local food systems.  It’s also a social enterprise that employs and trains a team of hard-working people who haven’t always had the easiest time finding a job. Certified organic food from local farmers and artisans delivered locally – I call that a win win for us lucky local residents in Rosanna and a big thanks to Jen and Olley for providing this service.

Unfinished business

Ah yes…there’s a bit of that around the place in my household.  I am someone who gets a sense of closure from finishing what I’ve started, particularly at work, but when it comes to certain projects around the house…maybe not so much!  It’s also the name of the new summer exhibition at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe showcasing sustainable art practice by two community groups – Unfinished Business by Textile Art Community and Re-Create by Victorian Woodworkers Association.  I bumped into local woodworker Andrew Potocnik not that long ago at the Rosanna Parklands and he’s involved in this exhibition as well as another one (#urbansalvage#zerowaste) at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin Gallery on 9 March.  Andrew’s an interesting person and I’ve been amused by the antics of his resident possums’ daily lives on his Facebook feed.

Image via Banyule City Council

Speaking of unfinished business, if you are trying to KonMari your home, there are two free de-cluttering workshops with eco-organiser Tanya Lewis at the Watsonia Neighbourhood House and at Council Chambers Ivanhoe on 22 March and 19 April respectively – they are free but bookings are essential on 9490 4222 and Banyule residents are entitled to two free hard rubbish collections per year.

Image via Bulleen Art and Garden

Currently, it’s not easy being a Banyule resident if you catch the Hurstbridge train line which will be closed from Clifton Hill onwards from Friday 16 March until the end of April (with buses replacing trains) when the new Rosanna Station level crossing (image below) will hopefully finally be completed.  We bought in Rosanna due to its proximity to the train line and I just hope it’s worth it as well as the proposed North East Link, which I also hope lessens the amount of trucks, noise and traffic congestion on Rosanna Road.

Image via Level Crossing Removal Authority

Blazing a trail

Shaynna Blaze is this year’s keynote speaker at Banyule’s Women in Business Lunch being held on International Women’s Day – Thursday 8 March at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I’ve already put together a table for the event which includes my two blog sponsors Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod.  Hunter Lane Cafe is now open on Mondays if you’re home and Nikki is currently contemplating whether or not to move to larger premises.

Image via Eventbrite

I’ve been a fan of Shaynna’s for a while given she is a Warrandyte local, a former single mother of two and jazz singer, as well as being a now famous Interior Designer on Selling Houses Australia and The Block.  Those in the media make it look easy sometimes but the juggle behind the scenes is a big one.  When I worked with Virginia Trioli last year at my evening lecture, she had been up since 3.30 am.  Tickets are still available for the two course Women in Business Lunch on Eventbrite.

Image via Facebook

I wandered past soon to be opened Sideshow Burgers in Beetham Parade today and have now been to Mister Nguyen a couple of times so I’m loving the local food scene at the moment – it’s been a big change from when I moved to Rosanna almost 10 years ago now.  The time has passed quickly!  I’m also in the process of locking in panelists for my Bold Thinking Series food lecture in April after the success of last year’s lecture – watch this space.

Music to my ears

How has your week been?  I’m glad it’s Happy Friday as I’ve been out every night this week and we are suffering from holiday hangover in our house adjusting to the return to school, appointments and extra curricular activities, which seem to be never-ending.  This week while travelling home at twilight I’ve seen both a fox and a full moon (or a super blue blood moon to be precise), which has felt a little auspicious or maybe it’s just the superstitious Chinese person in me!  Chinese New Year is coming up next month, which I always look forward to as it’s a chance to start your year again if things have been less than ideal but perhaps that’s just life – full of change and imperfection.

Image via Facebook

A couple of things I wanted to quickly mention today – a reminder that the Summer Vibes on Qwere St Midsumma Street Party in Montmorency is on tomorrow night from 6pm until midnight and if I didn’t already have something on, you would see me there as I’m a fan of Kylie Auldist who is one of the headline acts.

Image via Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

For something a bit more highbrow, the 2018 Sidney Myer Free Concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra start next Wednesday night in the city and we’ve been lucky enough to attend some of their children’s concerts in the past.  Closer to home too, don’t forget about the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra and the Preston Symphony Orchestra.