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

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!