The thrill of it all

It’s local artist Rona Green‘s latest exhibition which opens tomorrow night at Australian Galleries in Collingwood.  I’ve been following her for a while and love the quirkiness of her work, which won’t appeal to everyone but does to me.  I still treasure the little badges of her artwork (below) she once gave to me at a past exhibition.IMG_7130

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is also about to open this weekend, which is action-packed as Easter has come early.  I’m off to see my friend Colum perform in his show the Victorian Avant-Garde Artists Society (below) and can’t wait!IMG_7129

I had brunch on Saturday at The Old Milk Bar in Thornbury and there are a number of hidden secrets in the industrial back streets near Thornbury High School including Mr Churros, CYC Foods meat and poultry wholesalers as well as M&C Seafoods wholesalers.  We’ve never made it to Poseidon Oysters & Seafood at 30 Steane Street in Alphington but have heard it’s worth visiting.

Easter and the end of daylight savings will be upon us before we know it – enjoy this short working week!


Local profile – Jonathon Cannizzaro

Or The Lazy Barber as he is also known.  It’s not often you meet a Scottish/Italian barber and it’s also a small world in that Jonathon and I are fellow school parents.  He’s had his business in St Helier Street for over a year now and I took my boys in for a cut not that long ago as two of my male work colleagues also get their hair cut there.  That whole part of leafy Heidelberg Heights is buzzing with Wellness Station opposite his shop and Sunnyside Cafe due to open soon.  Read more about Jonathon here…LRG_DSC00338

Name: Jonathon Cannizzaro

Occupation: Barber

Lives/Works: I’ve lived in Rosanna for eight years and worked in Heidelberg Heights for one year.LRG_DSC00744

Describe yourself/what you do: I started out in hairdressing in 2002 but felt very uninspired so took myself off to London, came back with a new lease on life and soon transitioned into barbering.  I did a lot of pop ups interstate and tattoo expos after learning from some of the best in the industry.  I soon had to settle down as my kids are in primary and high school.  So I thought, let’s open a shop close to home so I can be there for them.  I want to bring all that I’ve learned into one space.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: …is being amongst the local community, and collaborating with other local, and small business.  The area is booming with a great community and everything at your door step.

For more information:

Instagram: #valiantbarbers


Facebook: Valiant Barbers




Go fly a kite

March and April are events season in Melbourne and I love the cool crisp mornings and warm days, and the more stable weather (perfect for painting!).  The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show at the Exhibition Building in Carlton opens this Wednesday and I could do with some advice as my back yard is in quite the state with a six month old puppy intent on destruction.

Image via Hatch Contemporary Arts Space Facebook page

It’s also Harmony Day on Wednesday and locally, A Taste of Harmony community lunch is being held in the Bell Street Mall – tickets are $10.  The mall in general will be celebrating Cultural Diversity week and it’s a good opportunity to also check out the  Urban Light Box Galleries on display.  Continuing the cultural diversity theme is Hatch Contemporary Art Space’s In conTEXT exhibition showcasing the work of five different artists, which opens on Wednesday 21 March.

Image via Eltham Twilight Market Facebook page

It’s a bit early but the Eltham Easter Twilight Market from 4 – 8 pm is being held this Thursday night while the Darebin Kite Festival is being held this Sunday and as someone who saw the recent Rosebud Kite Festival – it’s a spectacular sight.  I’ll be back later this week with the first local profile of the year.

A most excellent lecture…

…and indeed it will be.  Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel.  I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.

Enjoying a team lunch!
Image via Bold Thinking Series website

On the panel will be two of La Trobe’s academics, high profile food presenter Dr Joanna McMillan and psychologist and vegan Dr Matt Ruby.  Joining them will be Mo Wyse from inner north vegan bar and eatery Smith & Daughters as well as food writer Richard Cornish who has written a book called, My Year Without Meat.  Timely too in that the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has just opened and on the flip side if you are a carnivore, I believe Sideshow Burgers in Rosanna will shortly be opening.

Joanna blue top
Dr Joanna McMillan image via Bold Thinking Series website

Lots on this weekend including the award-winning Banyule Festival – Twilight Sounds live music concert tomorrow night at Sills Bend in the Warringal Parklands and the Kids Arty Farty Fest and Grand Parade on Sunday morning.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre is on tomorrow while the Wild About Melbourne pop up makers market is on Sunday at the Thornbury Bowl Club.  Bundoora Homestead Art Centre also has not one but two contemporary art exhibition openings for We and Accession on tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll be back next week with more including a new local profile, as it’s been a while!

The Ladies__160
Mo Wyse image via Bold Thinking Series


Kitsch and kooky

Miss Jane’s Retro Retreat in Rosebud is exactly that – kitschy, kooky but most of all comfortable and we had a great time staying there this long weekend.  If you’re a fan of all things 50s, 60s and early 70s then you’re in for a treat.  Mr Rosanna and I particularly liked the parents’ annexe at the back of the house which comes complete with your own bar.  The house is also pet-friendly for well-behaved animals and I loved the fact that Miss Jane has supplied everything so you don’t need to bring or buy condiments, glad wrap, foil, soap, shampoo, laundry powder, towels, sheets or toilet paper!  It’s all those little touches which makes things so much easier when you go away.

Old school delights include a record player with vinyl records, electric organ, vintage crockery, board games of every description plus outdoor games for the backyard like shuttle cock and totem tennis.  The outdoor dining area with BBQ has distant views to Arthurs Seat and it was all very quaint and idyllic.  The house has air conditioning (and fans in bedrooms) and wood fireplace so would also make a cosy place to visit in winter and we would stay there again.

There was a lot happening down at the peninsula this Labour Day weekend including the spectacular Rosebud Kite Festival, Red Hill Show and Tyabb Air Show all in close proximity.  IMG_7108

Given we’ve been pretty tired in our household, we were happy to spend the warmer days hanging out at the beach and looking at the kite festival being set up on the foreshore on the Saturday.  I was also able to further indulge the retro theme of the weekend by spending an afternoon at the Rosebud Vintage Bazaar – a great place to go particularly for vintage clothing.  I came out with an Isabel Marant shirt as well as got my 70s boho on with a handmade knitted vest and some Brazilian leather wedge sandals in mint condition.img_7117.jpg

Autumn is upon us and there are many festivals and events on, over the next couple of months, which I will be posting about. I also love the trans-seasonal fashion and have discovered a number of Melbourne labels with clothes all made locally in small batches including Iko Apparel, FME Apparel and Caves Collect.  I’ll be back with more later this week.IMG_4101

A blaze of glory

The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event.  It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.

L-R: Jane Lindsay-Waschl, Renae Barrass, Shaynna Blaze and me

After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block.  Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land.  It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.

L-R: Nikki Ellis, me and Dani Ahimastos

I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.  Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page.  It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!

Shaynna on stage – The Centre Ivanhoe

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora.  There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.

Oz Tenpin Bowling – Bundoora

I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend.  Enjoy.img_7012.jpg

Boot camp

It’s been a long time between drinks for me.  Work’s been busy but so has my social life and that’s the thing about summer and autumn – the weather makes it much more conducive to catching up with friends and family, which is what I’ve been busy doing until the months get colder.

Nikki Ellis image via Cinch Training

I used to do boot camp before switching to training at Cinch PT in Macleod and for those who’ve done it – it’s pretty full on.  While I miss the boxing and being outdoors, I don’t miss doing endless rounds of burpees and squats!  I attended boot camp of a different kind last weekend – a one day digital marketing bootcamp course at General Assembly in the city.  If you’re interested in skilling up in coding, design or digital marketing – they run some great short courses and as someone who works at a University, these micro-credential courses are on the rise.

State Library Victoria – Experimedia

A nice value add was the communal lunch and afternoon popcorn in the kitchen that’s included in the price of the course, which allowed us to get to know our fellow course members socially as many of us had come solo.  It was also nice not to be the oldest person in the room!  Being the small world that it is, I bumped into a course member who had attended one of my Bold Thinking Series lectures as she was ex-SBS radio and part of the media contingent at the Kevin Rudd event last year.  Melbourne is like that in many ways, six degrees and less…

Portrait of a hipster - crop
Image via Bold Thinking Series

It was a lot to take in, in one day but highly worthwhile and recommended if you have the time and money – my course was part of my professional development and a work expense paid for by La Trobe. Speaking of which, my first lecture on Disability at State Library Experimedia on Wednesday 28 March is now online if you’re from the sector or interested in the subject.  It was also inspiring to meet La Trobe’s female equivalent of Dylan Alcott in Paralympian Lisa Chaffey – a champion basketball player and occupational therapist who is on the panel.  Details will shortly be up for my food lecture and I’ll share that with you soon as I’m anticipating that it may be one of the bigger events I do this first half year, particularly given the interest in food in Melbourne and calibre of people on my panel.

Living with Disability Research Centre image via Eventbrite

The Brunswick Music Festival Sydney Road Street Party is on tomorrow and celebrating 30 years!  It seems like a long time ago now that I ever lived in the area.  Closer to home, the St John’s Parish and Primary School Fete is on in Heidelberg from 11 am and 4pm tomorrow while the Melbourne Ukelele Festival is taking place this weekend at The Thornbury Theatre and I have long loved the haunting Hawaiian version of Somewhere over the rainbow/What a wonderful world performed by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole, which includes possibly my two favourite songs ever.

I caught the bus from Macleod station to Clifton Hill last weekend where I then caught the train to the city to my course.  This whole part of Melbourne seems to feel like a construction zone at the moment and I know it’s pretty hellish out there if you’re commuting by car to the city (or anywhere else for that matter!).  I hope what it does mean is jobs for those who work in the building industry and better infrastructure for all of us in the long term.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT