Shine bright

The Hyllus Maris Memorial Lecture is being held on Wednesday 8 March from 6 pm to 8.30pm in the Union Hall at the La Trobe University Bundoora campus.  That day is International Women’s Day as well as being the actual 50th Anniversary of La Trobe University.  It’s also the eighth, which is considered lucky by the Chinese so I think it will be an auspicious day and night.latrobe_hyllus-maris_poster_webHyllus Maris was an Aboriginal activist, poet and educator who passed away in 1986. The original Lecture was launched in 1999 in honour of the Yorta Yorta woman, writer and poet, whose achievements in education include the establishment of Victoria’s only Aboriginal school, Worawa Aboriginal College. She was the sister of Lois Peeler AM – a member of The Sapphires – who is now the Executive Director and Principal of the Worawa Aboriginal College for Indigenous girls in Healesville, who will MC the event.  The Hyllus Maris Memorial Lecture has largely been organised by Tanya Peeler, Lois Peeler’s daughter and Hyllus Maris’ niece.

This lecture will celebrate Hyllus Maris’ visionary work in Indigenous Education and the contribution and participation of Indigenous people in higher education around the country.  The keynote speaker is Aboriginal author Dr Anita Heiss and highlights will include an Indigenous Academic Procession, a Welcome to Country and cultural celebration as well as performances by Indigenous artists Isaiah Firebrace (X Factor Australia 2016 winner), Nathaniel Andrew and more.  Tickets are free and you can register on Eventbrite here.


Work it

I made it to my first training session this morning with Nikki Ellis at Cinch PT, after having had to deal with some niggling minor health issues to start my year.  I was lucky to get the last spot as classes have been very busy since the New Year.  I expect to be in all sorts of pain tomorrow!  Although Nikki tells me that her word for the year is ‘sore’ while my word for the year is ‘expansion’ (although I didn’t mean this in the physical sense!).

Nikki Ellis – Cinch PT

Apparently Nikki was reading about words for the year on Mamamia and if you are a fan of Mia Freedman she is going to be the guest speaker at this year’s Banyule Women in Business Lunch being held on Thursday 9 March (the day after International Women’s Day) in the Great Hall at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I had dealings with Mia’s agent last year as we actually invited Mia to be on one of my lecture panels but unfortunately the stars didn’t align as Mia was going to be overseas.  I think this event is likely to sell out so I would book now if you’re interested in seeing Mia.

Image via Banyule Business

Speaking of inspirational women, I discovered 98 year old yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch online a little while ago as she’s currently featured in ads for activewear brand Athleta.  I’m also looking forward to returning to yoga classes soon, which I’ve missed as my teacher is currently away in India.

Heather Davies: Bella Italia exhibition image via Montsalvat

I just wanted to mention some local art exhibitions that are launching next week including Atmospheres & Environments at Hatch Contemporary Space in Ivanhoe as well as My Melbourne, Here and Now by Hans Schiebold and Bella Italia by photographer Heather Davies at Montsalvat in Eltham.  Puesta del Sol is also on poolside at Montsalvat next Thursday night if you’re after some food, drinks, music and art.  Have a great weekend!

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT



Whoever seeks shall find

It’s a lovely sentiment and it’s actually La Trobe University’s motto in French Qui cherche trouve, which is on the coat of arms.  This coat of arms in rusted iron (below) is on display in one of the heritage buildings near my office outside what used to be the horse stables and features the heath floral emblem representing Victoria, scallop shells for the La Trobe family and the open book – all that’s missing is the wedge-tailed eagle at the top.  Apparently it symbolises the journey of learning and the desired outcome, but perhaps the outcome possibly being different as a result of going on the journey.

La Trobe University coat of arms

The University is turning 50 on Wednesday 8 March and to celebrate, there will be a Lawn Lunch on Sunday 5 March from noon – 5pm on the Academic Lawn of the Bundoora campus grounds. It will feature an afternoon program of music, film, food, drinks and author conversations with tickets now on sale ($20 General Admission/$10 Concession).  If you’re a past student, staff member or friend of the University, then this event is your chance to catch up with old friends and reminisce about your time at La Trobe.lawn-lunch-headerTickets include food from one of nine social enterprise catering partners (including among them the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Lentil as Anything).  You’ll also get a glass of beer, wine or soft drink on entry as well as a memorabilia bag.  The grounds at La Trobe are looking pretty spectacular at the moment so it will be a great day out if the sun is shining.  There are some other exciting events taking place at the University in its 50th year which I will post about later on.

Image via Heide Makers Market

Speaking of beautiful outdoor areas, Art by Twilight is on this Friday at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen if you’re after a cool summer night of art and music while the Heide Makers Market is being held next Saturday 11 February.  If you’re wanting to beautify your own outdoor area, I do love some of the garden art made of corten steel by Broadcroft Design, who are based on the Sunshine Coast.

The last hurrah

Mr Rosanna and I booked a last-minute holiday at McCrae a couple of weeks ago for this Australia Day long weekend and boy, we’re sure glad we did.  It was our first time using Airbnb and we booked 1A on McCrae located right behind the Blue Bay cafe (popular with cyclists and dog owners) in the little strip of cafes and restaurants off the service road near the Nepean Highway.img_5404Our accommodation was pretty simple and basic but what it lacked in style it made up for in terms of convenience being right across the road from the beach and walking distance to the shops and cafes including the very groovy Merchant & Maker, pop up pizza restaurant Zero 95 (whose flagship restaurant is in Templestowe!) and the stylish and upmarket modern Greek restaurant Alatonero (above).  We had pizza and gelati the night we arrived in McCrae at Zero 95, both of which were very good.

Gelati sign at Zero 95

We spent Australia Day morning on the beach in front of the bathing boxes before treasure hunting at the Rosebud Vintage Bazaar where I found a vintage Chinese silk jacket and Japanese dress.  It’s a great place to while a few hours away and has a retro cafe attached to it if you get hungry.  If you like 50s style fashion, you might also like the clothes from local label Pretty Parcel.

Rye Carnival

In the evening, we joined the throngs of people at Rye who’d come to enjoy the carnival rides, live music and fireworks on the beach, which were spectacular.  We were so close we could feel the ground vibrating and if we held out our hands, it was like we were touching the fireworks (below).  It was well worth it just for the experience as much as I missed out on coffee from the Woodland Folk van as we dashed across to the beach from the Ferris Wheel ride at the carnival.

The next day we joined my cousins, who happened to be down on the peninsula at the same time, at the Ashcombe Maze.  Our kids had a great time running around trying to find the hidden gnomes around the place.  If you have bigger kids, the nearby Enchanted Adventure Garden where you can tree surf looks like a lot of fun but allow 2 – 3 hours for it if you go.  That night we took our kids to the Dromana Drive In to watch Moana which was also a great experience for Mr R and I re-living our childhoods complete with Aussie rock music playing in the background.  It felt even more 1970s when a blonde surfer couple, both with long hair and faded jeans, pulled up in their van beside us and then walked to the nearby playground pulling some pretty rad moves with their white frisbee.

Ashcombe Maze Fountain

We spent Saturday morning trying the new Eagle Skylift at Arthur’s Seat, which has replaced the chairlift and has only been open since November last year.  It’s not cheap ($78 for a family of 4) for a 15 minute ride up and 15 minutes back, but you can buy single trip tickets and the views are stunning.  The cafe is up the top if you’re wanting a bite to eat while there’s only a kiosk at the bottom.  Go early to avoid the crowds, heat and wind but remember they do make you get off at the bottom and re-queue even if you have a return ticket.  The complimentary water and sunscreen is a nice touch as well as the entertainment (busker and balloon artist) at the bottom.

While we didn’t get the opportunity to visit Marlene Miller Antiques in Sorrento, we did drop into the Marion Rosetzky Gallery in Red Hill, which is located in a beautiful bushland setting where you can buy Marion’s Persian-inspired tiles in various forms.  There’s also a selection of jewellery, Buddhas, glassware and Fair Trade products from Africa and other places.

On our last night in McCrae we went to the early dinner sitting at Alatonero, which was empty when we arrived before being packed out within a matter of 5 – 10 minutes.  The food was sensational – we had the saganaki, chargrilled octopus and pan-fried calamari as starters followed by the 18 hour slow-roasted lamb with a Greek salad.  There is also a kids menu and choc tops on offer for them for dessert.  Drinks service was a little slow but we found out later that they were down one staff member, who’d called in sick.

Mr R and me – Alatonero

We spent our last day on the peninsula at Point Leo as we met friends who are surfers.  We grabbed a bite to eat at the Point Leo General Store next to the Trigger Brothers surf shop before entering Raw’s Reserve where it’s $4 to go in.  Make sure you use the toilets at the camping grounds before you go to the beach because unless you’re a Point Leo Boat Club member, there are no toilets at the beach!  The little cove on the right side of the boat club is perfect for novice surfers and boogie boarders while the left side is better for sunbathers as there are less rocks to step on.  Sun shelters are a good idea as I managed to get sunburnt despite wearing sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and cover up.img_2983We’re back in Melbourne and I’ve been busy not only working on the Bold Thinking Series lectures but also the 50th Anniversary communications for La Trobe University, which I will post about soon.

The Phoenix rises

It’s a double celebration for me this week given we celebrate both Australia Day and Chinese New Year in my household.  The Year of the Rooster starts on Saturday but I prefer the more impressive sounding Year of the Phoenix.  I also love the symbolism of the Phoenix who dies but then is re-born from the ashes of its previous incarnation – we all have the power in life to transform ourselves just like the Phoenix…

Image via Bell Street Mall

Tann‘s in Ivanhoe is having lion dance dinner performances for Chinese New Year while the Lunar New Year is also being celebrated with a twilight market and art projections in the Bell Street Mall, West Heidelberg on Friday 3 February.  While I have been to the city a number of times for Chinese New Year, I’ve heard it’s less crowded at Box Hill, which is celebrating the festival on Saturday 11 February – the same CBD lion dance performers from the Chinese Youth Society also feature at this festival.

Front entrance – Uncle St Kilda

Speaking of twilight, Zoo Twilights start this Friday Night at Melbourne Zoo while I also think the Melbourne Ska Orchestra at Shimmerlands, University of Melbourne this Saturday would be a lot of fun.

Uncle St Kilda – dessert

As for my past weekend, I actually spent last night once again in St Kilda catching up with my RMIT University friends from many years ago – most of who live in the south-east which means crossing over to the dark side!  I have to say it was worth the trip down Hoddle Street as the rooftop bar at Uncle St Kilda was pretty awesome.  We opted for the $50 per head banquet and the modern Vietnamese food (and rooftop dining) reminded me of St Cloud Eating House in Hawthorn – the food was very good but a greater variety of dishes (two chicken dishes came as part of the set menu) and some vegetables would have made it even better.  There is an Uncle Restaurant in the city if you are wanting to stay closer to home.


Local Profile – Belinda Lee

There have been some recent changes with the karate program at Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre and with Chinese New Year coming up, I thought it fitting to feature…well…someone Chinese!  I can attest to Belinda’s energy and positivity as I’ve seen her teaching in action.  I’m even more impressed that she’s a female black belt and has decided to take ownership of the existing karate program at Ivanhoe.  We’re lucky to have her in the north-east…


Name: Belinda Lee

Occupation: Karate Instructor and Primary School Teacher

Lives/works: Ivanhoe and Surrey Hills

How long have you lived/worked here? Ivanhoe has been my home for 33 years (that’s all my life!), except between 2007 – 2010 when I left for Japan to teach at an International English School and further my training in Karate. I started teaching karate 14 years ago, where I started at Ivanhoe Aquatic and Nets Stadium in Macleod.

Belinda teaching Japanese students

Describe yourself/what you do: Others have described me as one big ball of energy! I like to think I am energetic! If bouncing to class was normal instead of walking, that would be me! I try to transfer all this positive energy into my classes. I love to motivate people and teach them new skills. I challenge my students and aim to make learning enjoyable.

Belinda accepting her Sensei Award

Whether I am teaching adults, teenagers or children the joy in their eyes when they achieve something is what makes my job worthwhile. Teaching is my main focus. Lesson preparation comes with instructing, I mentally prepare and visualise how I want my class to run. I think about the students when I plan.picture-of-me-1I also am training to become an outdoor Bootcamp instructor in the Eastern suburbs. I hope one day I can bring that to the North-East side. Fitness is a very important life skill for me. I want to stay healthy and keep active. Be fit for life!

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: The people around me, the care they show for each other. I have learnt from others, students and parents alike. I feel rewarded when as a group I see my classes encouraging each other, respecting the different ages and levels and lifelong friendships are formed. I also love the coffee and all the trendy cafes that have popped up over the last few years. I like my coffee best in the mid-afternoon. As an early riser, I feel a coffee hit is needed around 2 pm. We are spoilt for choice in Melbourne’s north east!

For more information:

Belinda Lee – Senior Instructor | 4th Dan  | Owner – Lee’s Karate

Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre
170 Waterdale Rd. Ivanhoe, Victoria 3079

Phone: 0421 416 119


Website (under construction – stay tuned!):


The living is easy…

Given we’ve had a staycation these summer school holidays, we decided an impromptu day trip to St Kilda was in order this past weekend.  It’s not in the north-east but it definitely still is the star of the southern suburbs.  There’s something about being by the water, palm trees and beautiful Art Deco buildings from another time, which make you feel like you’re on holiday (plus the fact that a lot of international tourists are there).img_5287 Continue reading “The living is easy…”