Some late breaking news…the Halloween Spooktacular is on in Ivanhoe tomorrow in Upper Heidelberg Road from 3 – 5.30pm where kids can dress up, have their photo taken and get their own free magnet souvenir finishing off with trick or treating to win a Shop in Ivanhoe gift card. Primary school aged kids and younger must be accompanied by an adult and the event is limited to the first 400 participants.  Free pumpkin buckets will also be given out for treats for those lucky enough to make it.  Happy Halloween!



Creepy and kooky

Yes, it’s Halloween this Wednesday night and there are a number of local events taking place including the two sold out events Trick or Treat on Were(wolf) Street in Montmorency and HallowSCREAM at Montsalvat in Eltham (get in early next year people!) plus Watsyvania Halloween in Watsonia let alone the many local neighbourhood streets that take part in the annual celebration of all things scary.  My two children are nothing if not inventive creating both zombie and witch doctor costumes (below) last Halloween crafted from other bits and pieces we had in our costume box.


As for me, I’m now gearing up for my last Bold Thinking Series lecture for the year on 22 November at The Sofitel featuring former Australian Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister – the Hon Julie Bishop MP (some think she should have been PM) and have also been dealing with her office the past couple of months.  La Trobe (and other Universities) sometimes gets accused of being very left-wing so it’s great to have some people on the right involved in this one including Emeritus Professors Judith Brett and John Carroll as well as incoming academic Andrea Carson.  I will be very interested to hear Ms Bishop’s reflections on life, leadership and lessons learnt.

Until then, there’s lots going on although I was a bit incredulous over the weekend walking into both Bunnings Northland and Leo’s in Heidelberg who’ve already brought out their Christmas food and decorations!  It’s a bit premature when we’ve not even had Melbourne Cup week but I think it also reflects the current state of Australian retail, which is still doing it pretty hard.  I’ve already started buying early Christmas presents and will be buying local wherever possible.

Mr Clever

I’m really hoping it’s Friday as it’s been a massive week.  My team held the Rudd on the PM Years Melbourne book launch at the Sofitel on Wednesday night for close to 400 people and it was a big night.  Love him or hate him, Mr Rudd tends to elicit fairly strong reactions from people and it has been an interesting exercise for me in relationship management and diplomacy both within and outside the greater University with this one.

La Trobe University image by Savs Photography

As I mentioned last year when I worked with his office, whatever you think of him, Mr Rudd is an exceedingly clever man.  I consider myself more literate than the average punter but my breath was taken away by his everyday vernacular – his vocabulary is quite extraordinary.  You can have a listen on the Bold Thinking Series livestream if you’re interested in the conversation where he spoke on democracy, disruption to institutions, Australian media ownership and more.  He did go a little off piste given the remit we gave him in terms of topic but the predominantly young, Uni student audience lapped it all up and queues were out the door for selfies and book signings with Mr Rudd after the event, when I left the venue after 10pm.  He leads a cracking pace too in that his team flew out the next morning at 5am bound for Sydney.

L-R: Mr Rudd & MC Patricia Karvelas – La Trobe University image by Savs Photography


For me, it was lovely to look after MC Patricia Karvelas who did a great job despite being a little bit under the weather and to spend time in the green room with La Trobe academic and former Triple J broadcaster Lawrie Zion having a chat.  No rest for the wicked in that I had my Is democracy broken? panel discussion (picture below) last night at the State Library with VC’s Fellow and Fairfax columnist Tony Walker and the panel he’d assembled including Mark Textor, Michele Levine, Katharine Murphy and Geoff Walsh.  All were outstanding speakers who very generously lent their time and expertise to the event – Katharine Murphy’s insights into political journalism and how the industry has been completely disrupted were probably the most fascinating to me given my profession.  She has also written on the subject with her On Disruption book (only $15!) currently available at independent bookstores.  Again, you can see the whole conversation on the Bold Thinking livestream page.  And yes, I did buy a copy of Mr Rudd’s book – the bibliophile in me couldn’t help myself.

L-R: Mark Textor, Michele Levine, MC Tony Walker, Katharine Murphy, Geoff Walsh and Professor Nick Bisley

There were some tech issues with both events on the night – event-management is definitely not for the faint hearted – but the show always goes on no matter what.  The Eaglemont Artisans market in Eaglemont Village is on this weekend as well as the Textile Art Community Spring into Fashion event with the Bell St markets in Heidelberg West.  The Darebin Music Feast is currently on as well as the British Film Festival at Palace Cinemas. Enjoy your weekend – I’ll be taking it easy…


The owls and the larks

It’s been lovely to see all the native birds out since Spring has hit.  If you are a birder or twitcher, the sold out Banyule 2018 Breakfast with the Birds at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg is being held on Sunday 28 October and the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is currently on and there must be a few of us bird lovers out there.


Speaking of birds of a different kind, my fashionista friend Estelle Michaelides is holding her Micky & Friends pop up weekend at Strategies Studio, 16 Brown Street in Collingwood from 10am – 4pm this coming Saturday and Sunday.  Besides showcasing her Micky In The Van S/S 18/19 range (plus samples), there’ll be some fantastic accessories, millinery and jewellery brands there (see images below) including some beautiful David Subroto silk scarves and Air of Distinction vintage head wraps.  If you’re after more of an artisan-based Spring Racing Carnival look, then this is the place to be!


I hope to still be standing at the end of my busy event-filled week and will see you on the other side.


Picture perfect

The Spring real estate market is well and truly underway and these houses in Lower Plenty have both caught my eye.  One is a grand old dame and a bit of a classic at 53 – 55 Rosehill Road while the other one at 37 Panorama Avenue has been modernised and styled by someone with a great eye.  Lower Plenty is a bit of a hidden secret in Banyule – country meets city and if you’re someone who likes being surrounded by a sea of green, then it may be the place for you.  As much as I like it, it’s not close to public transport or shops but I suspect that’s the reason many people do like it – for its relative remoteness, privacy and seclusion on big blocks of land.

37 Panorama Avenue Lower Plenty image via Jellis Craig

It’s been a long week for me organising and promoting both my Rudd on the PM Years book launch next Wednesday night at The Sofitel and the Bold Thinking Series Is democracy broken? event next Thursday night at the State Library Theatrette.  You’re about to see a whole lot of mainstream publicity for the Rudd event but I suspect it’s had an impact on my other event the following night.  An ex-Prime Minister is a hard act to follow!  Either way, I’m looking forward to both events for different reasons.

Image via Boogie Nights Dance

I’ve got a number of people I know getting married before the end of the year and sadly, weddings are now the only events I have where there is dancing!  While my clubbing days may be behind me (’90s house music still rocks), Boogie Nights Dance adult dance classes in Carlton has caught my eye – what a fabulous excuse to go out and get on down for those of us no longer in our late teens and early twenties.  Nothing like tearing it up on the dance floor…have a great weekend.

Wishing you well

Wellness is one of the buzz words of recent times but I was first exposed to the whole concept back in the mid 1990s when I worked as PR for global environmental beauty company Aveda (now owned by Estee Lauder).  Back then, aromatherapy, wellness and holistic health were considered a bit out there but I’m glad to see the rise of it all now and the subsequent explosion in health retreats, spa culture, active wear (#athleisure) and more healthy body images with #fitspo.  When I worked in PR at David Jones, I was responsible for recruiting models to use at our fashion showings and remember one time knocking back a model who was clearly underweight.  I have people close to me who’ve suffered from eating disorders and it’s a been a long road to recovery.

Nikki Ellis – Cinch Training

On a more positive note, my trainer the fabulous Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training has moved again from her studio in Macleod Village to the former Shu-Way building around the corner from Jade Kingdom Chinese restaurant off Waiora Road just before Jam and Cream cafe (which still does fabulous freshly baked scones but was looking a bit tired last time I visited) in Heidelberg Heights.  I believe she officially moved there today and am looking forward to classes at her new location, which is closer to my work at La Trobe University.  It’s a far cry from my first assessment at Nikki’s home studio in Rosanna a number of years ago and I’m really happy for her.

Grunge Round Shape 001
Image via Cinch Training

Speaking of fitness, it’s National Ride2Work day this Wednesday and a number of my work colleagues are already regular cyclists who ride to work.  Mr Rosanna has long been a weekend warrior and one of the many middle-aged men in lycra you see riding in groups.  It’s been great to see more female cyclists riding the past few years while I’ve been living here in Rosanna and I hope to become more of a regular cyclist myself as I get older.

The Daily Harvest cafe – Ivanhoe East

I’ve been hitting the local shops and have started Christmas shopping early.  I noticed new cafe The Daily Harvest (pictured above) in Ivanhoe East (which has replaced Bittersweet) over the weekend and it was great to see a write-up for Hurstbridge sustainable locavore hotspot Greasy Zoe’s in the Age Good Food Guide 2019.  Apparently Melbourne’s dining epicentre is still the north with Cutler & Co, Bar Liberty, Marion, The Recreation and Run as well as the Carlton Wine Room and Scopri all getting listed.

Banyule City Council has also been busy promoting some of the best retail outlets around with its Shop to it video series including one of the shops I visited today but more on that another time.

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch Training





You can call me Queen Bee

It’s already been a full on start to the new school term for us and it’s the home straight from now until Christmas – our calendar is jam packed and I’m sure yours is also fast filling up.  It’s been a beautiful few Spring days and  I’ve been loving spending time outside as much as my hay fever seems to be killing me…Spring racing has also started and while I have mixed feelings about horse racing, we had friends see mare Winx in action at last week’s Cox Plate and some people are already comparing her to Phar Lap.

Melbourne Festival Fire Gardens

Speaking of outside, Fire Gardens for the Melbourne Festival launched on Wednesday night at the Royal Botanic Gardens and tickets have already sold out so lucky you if you’re going to see it as it looks spectacular.  Speaking of all things royal, classic motor show Motorclassica 2018 is on this weekend at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and some of the cars on show are absolutely beautiful.  I saw Ladies in Black at the Lido Cinema last night which also takes you back to a different time in 1950s Australia and it’s a real feel good movie if you’re after something gorgeous from another era to look at.

Image via Motorclassica 2018

It was fantastic to see Melbourne voted number three in Conde Nast Traveler’s best cities 2018, after Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan (on my hit list as my next overseas destination to visit) with special mention to Heide Museum in Bulleen.  It’s all happening at Heide at the moment with the Heide Makers Market on tomorrow as well as a special Hounds of Heide event on Sunday 21 October for anyone with a fur baby (with Rose St Artists market stallholders selling canine-themed art, design and handmade goods, an illustrator and free vet checks all on offer) and Mirka Mora’s Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls exhibition starting on 27 October.

Mirka Mora Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls image via Heide


Local profile – Brett Scapin

It’s Spring and wedding season is upon us so today’s local profile is timely.  It’s also a very small world in that Brett is my children’s former music teacher and while we miss him at school, Brett’s been on a different journey since taking a sabbatical to be a stay-at-home parent and modern man!  He’s clearly a talented creative professional who has segued into something related but different since taking time out and I wish him the best of luck on his new path.  Read on for more about Brett…


Name: Brett Scapin

Occupation: Wedding & Family Photographer, and stay-at-home dad.

Lives/works: Reservoir

How long have you lived/worked here?
I moved to Reservoir from Heidelberg 2 years ago. All of my boring admin-type work happens from home, but the fun part (with camera in hand) happens all over Melbourne.


Describe yourself/what you do:
I’m a wedding and family photographer. Regardless of whether I’m shooting a huge wedding, or a family just hanging out at home on the weekend, there’s always so much going on; a lot more than people on the inside probably notice. So when I’m shooting, I really like to stay out of the way so that events (good and bad) just unfold before me. I find that this way of working is also sympathetic to people who aren’t super comfortable in front of the camera. And that’s practically everyone!


I really fell into this work last year after my daughter Lucie was born. I took a year away from my job as a music teacher at a primary school to be home with her, and after one or two little weekend photography jobs, work just exploded and my ‘free time’ (what’s that?) vanished!


Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
The best thing about the work that I do is always the people I get to meet and shoot for, but that’s not to say the people of the north-east are better than people everywhere else!

I also love the proximity to so many different incredible locations. I never feel far from inner-city Melbourne, or the bushy outer suburbs. Definitely best of both worlds!

For more information:



Find your clever

It’s beautiful today and if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Twilight tours have started at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary including one this Wednesday night and you do need to book.  You can also do tours during the day as well as private tours. It’s also an interesting place to hold an outdoor birthday party if you’re more adventurous.  La Trobe is actually part of a major eco-corridor in the north-east and there’s been an Indigenous naming competition going on at the University the past few weeks.

Image via Banyule City Council

I was at Rosanna Library very briefly today and the Seniors Festival is currently on with an Engaging with Ageing art exhibition launching at Hatch Contemporary Art Space in Ivanhoe this Wednesday night.  As a young person, you don’t think about getting older but all of a sudden it happens and I have to say I’ve been very inspired by the many older people in my life who have remained very young at heart and youthful (but not immature) in their outlook.  Age is a state of mind and hopefully some hard-earned wisdom and experience accompanies ageing as we grow older.

Image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

It’s History Week as well next week and the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is holding a special program of events to celebrate as well as having recently launched seven different exhibitions last week including photographic exhibition The family mantle.

Image via La Trobe University

Finally, for those of you who are contemplating any form of post-graduate study, La Trobe University is holding its inaugural PG Expo at the Melbourne (Bundoora) campus next Tuesday 9 October including keynote speaker Todd Sampson (pictured above) as part of the evening program.  I’ve attended a number of Masters information sessions in recent years and while I still haven’t quite landed on my course of choice, education is the key to a better life and I’m not sure if you can ever put a dollar value on that.

I’ll be back later this week with a new local profile on someone quite fitting for Spring.