I'm a marketer, writer, blogger and creative type interested in all things art and culture in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ranging from inner city to outer suburbia and beyond.
I’ve had a very strange past week full of beginnings and endings coupled with coming down with the mother of all flu viruses. Yes, despite my best efforts, I’ve been laid up in bed most of this week fighting off the dreaded lurgy – it’s been most inconvenient to say the least. I have another lecture in two weeks’ time and time, as they say, is ticking given my life like many people centres around deadlines and project milestones.
For me, it’s always hard to let go of people in particular, but each of us has our own path to follow and change is the one constant. I’ve become much more accepting as I’ve got older of things as they are, and as they unfold – you’ve got to move with the cheese if you’ve ever read the management theory book Who moved my cheese? – and I am also looking forward to new beginnings, perhaps not so surprising given the (financial) year is ending and a new one about to start so a chance to start a new chapter.
I’ve been looking for some Winter inspiration when we spend more time indoors and I think the Palm Beach House project by Alexander and Co in Sydney (images above) which recently won a Residential Interior Design Award was a very fitting winner – I love the sense of refined elegance, calm and space that the house exudes. If you are zhooshing (and yes, it is a word) up your place over the winter time, I do love some of the very simple and natural homewares available from fair trade retailer The Dharma Door and Imprint House – the online business of stylist and writer Natalie Walton whose book, The Simple Home, I also recently bought along with a handmade African basket now hanging above my kitchen door (pictures below).
The long weekend awaits and enjoy especially if you’re lucky enough to be going away somewhere. I’ll be back next week with a timely new local profile – a good one for Winter.
Welcome to Winter – it’s been a beautiful sunny day, albeit a bit chilly this morning, but I can deal with it if the sun is out – it’s the overcast, grey windy and rainy days that are more challenging. I’ve started taking vitamin D on top of vitamin C and also had a flu shot a couple of months ago as a number of people I know have started coming down with the dreaded lurgy! It’s the first year I’ve also had my kids immunised – apparently suffering from hay fever makes you more predisposed to the flu so I’m not taking any risks this year. Besides gastro, I reckon the flu is a close second in terms of worst communicable illnesses.
On to nicer things – the Darebin Home Made Food & Wine Festival is currently on and if, as you’ve grown older like me, your preference is for simple food, then you may be interested in some of the events that have been taking place this past week. Melbourne has become such a multicultural city and food is a unifying force – there’s nothing better than trying a new cuisine for the first time.
Speaking of Darebin, you may be interested in Writing This Place project – ten local writers who’ve written works inspired by ten places in Darebin. It’s lovely to see that Sian Prior has chosen the Bundoora Homestead and Art Centre.
My next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Cyber Security is taking place on 21 June at one of our partner venues – the National Gallery of Victoria and it’s exciting to see that pieces from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are coming to Melbourne over the Winter, for MoMA at NGV while MoMA gets a refurbishment. There’s nothing like a blockbuster exhibition to visit during the colder months of the year.
If you’re a fan of Pop and Scott, their warehouse sample sale in Northcote is taking place this weekend – retailers seem to have gone on sale early this year probably due to the unseasonally warm Autumn we’ve had. I’ve been eyeing off some chunky winter knits (above) – some more modern versions are being done by Revel Knitwear and I love Mr Mittens. It’s times like these I wish I could knit!
It’s what all of us want but not what all of us get. It is actually National Reconciliation Week and the 10 year anniversary of that moment in time when ex-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Indigenous people and Stolen Generations of this land. The other lecture series at La Trobe University, Ideas and Society, will contemplate The Promise of the Future with Noel Pearson and Megan Davis on Thursday 14 June – a conversation that will examine the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. I also wanted to mention that Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe is showing From the Belly of the Snake by local Wurundjeri artist Judy Nicholson as part of Reconciliation Week.
La Trobe University actually has the highest number of Indigenous Australian students, as well as a significant number of students from regional locations and internationally drawn to our sprawling leafy campus, which houses a Wildlife Sanctuary and is the same size as Melbourne’s CBD. It’s been a very progressive and dynamic place to work over the past two years and I feel very privileged to be a staff member.
On a random note, this beautiful Art Nouveau house (pictures above and below) currently for sale at 11 Latham Street in Ivanhoe has caught my eye – it has some exquisite features such as the beautiful painted ceilings and intricate fretwork – as much as I also love modern architectural design – contemporary houses don’t have the same character as a period home, which can never be replaced once it’s pulled down. I do wonder how much the suburbs around here are going to change once many of the planned new housing developments and sub-divisions are completed.
Mr Rosanna has spoilt me for our anniversary presenting me with some David Parker earrings from contemporary Australian jewellery store eg.etal – part of a special consignment especially created for the Cartier exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. David Parker’s range includes two sets of earrings and one necklace as part of the eg.etal limited edition commission – I have a number of special pieces from eg.etal’s artists including friend Amy Renshaw, Cass Partington and Yoko Fujita. Local jeweller Jeanette Dyke is also stocked there and Jeanette has very kindly done some repair work for me in the past. I’d love to do one of her ring making courses at some future stage.
The weather has got cold and if you are after a special rug, the Hali Rugs mid-year clearance starts today with 30 – 50% off all rugs in store. World Wide Knit in Public day is coming up next weekend and if you are a knitter, Wool and the Gang have some fantastic contemporary patterns including some great designs from I Love Mr Mittens. Locally, Woolybutt wool shop has been in Greville Road, Rosanna for over 10 years and is a favourite with my mother-in-law.
I wanted to mention some local happenings coming up – on the more fancy side Champagne Supernova local women’s event to connect and inspire is taking place on 19 July at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna while this Sunday, Valiant Barbers is turning 1 with free burgers and beers from 12 – 3pm at their Street Party (probably a bit less fancy!) but kindly raising funds in support of White Ribbon.
Or a Duchess in this case. I thought Meghan Markle looked beautiful in her Givenchy wedding gown on Saturday night. She’s got a dazzling smile that reminds me of Julia Roberts and definitely knows how to dress. Some people have star quality whether they are on the stage or not. I’ve long loved Givenchy, who dressed Audrey Hepburn and it was interesting to see the 1960s influence not just in Meghan’s gown but also a number of wedding attendees. My outfit of the night was actually Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney – she has the same exotic beauty and class that reminds me a little of Bianca Jagger but less bohemian/rock and more pure Hollywood glamour and sophistication plus I love even more that she has brains as an international human rights lawyer.
Meghan’s gown was simple and stunning (not plain and boring!) and I love that she chose a lace train. I had a lace train when I got married (above) at 333 Collins Street, although nothing as spectacular as hers. I also chose not to wear a veil or carry flowers (but a floral wrist corsage instead) as I walked down the aisle holding both my parents’ hands (not just my Dad’s) however I did love Meghan’s stunning tiara and Cartier jewellery.
Speaking of lace, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Lace Guild is actually making individual gum leaves at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre cafe on Thursday 24 May from 1 – 4 pm. Local artist Lindy De Wijn will continue the lace theme transforming the exterior of the Homestead with large-scale rope creations that combine traditional and contemporary lace-making techniques ‘beyond the doily’ with Connection. It’s lovely to see lace used in a modern context and I think it was beautifully used for the very modern royal wedding where a half African-American once divorced actress, and commoner, married her prince.
It’s not every day you hear those two words put together! I was out at Xenia on Lygon Street in Brunswick last night having dinner with one of my bosses Professor Chris Mackie who is fittingly, the Professor of Greek Studies at La Trobe University, as well as the Professor of Public Scholarship for the Bold Thinking Series. Xenia is the ancient Greek word for hospitality, which was plied on pretty thick last night at this Cretan hot spot. I was marvelling how my old stamping ground had changed a lot in the 10 years since I left – so much more development and a lot more built up. I can’t imagine living back in Brunswick with children, although people do.
The food was sensational – we shared starters of saganaki and haloumi and shared mains of the slow cooked lamb, moussaka and a seafood dish with rice which was like a Greek paella served in a pan. It was all pretty delicious and there is a more upmarket sister restaurant in Moonee Ponds called Philhellene.
I mention Xanadu as well because my team were very busy at the start of this week looking after Olivia Newton-John who received her Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe University on Monday. She’s someone who’s had a remarkable life and career and it was also a very fitting honour for her. I’m reminded every time I drive past the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre in Heidelberg of her other achievements in the scientific space for people suffering from cancer. It’s a devastating disease to which most of us, including me, have lost friends and family.
On a happier note, I stopped in at Pinkie cafe (photos above) in Westley Avenue Ivanhoe today which is at the bottom of a new housing development. It’s a great idea which is working well and I know that Funkie Brewster in Rosanna is now Ivy and Pearl – it’s very handy to have a good cafe park-side.
I have now officially stepped down from the Board of Management at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre but wanted to mention Craft Lab+ which opens tomorrow if you are into knitting, quilting, embroidery, macrame, tapestry, patchwork, felting or any other textile-based craft (phew – there’s a lot to mention!) – it’s a good opportunity to join something community-based just in time for winter.
It’s the name of my next lecture that asks how can we age without getting older? It’s an interesting premise but given the fact that many of us will live to an advanced age, there are many repercussions to think about. Joining La Trobe ageing specialists Professor Irene Blackberry and Dr Rachel Winterton will be ‘Older & Bolder’ author, writer and community activist Renata Singer – wife of ethicist Peter Singer and an interesting person in her own right. She is one of the co-founders of social enterprise Fitted for Work (although no longer involved) and spends half her year in Melbourne and the other half in New York.
Speaking of interesting enterprises, I watched the news about the Melbourne Coffee Co. last night with their idea of potentially turning our old W-class trams into cafes for export. It’s such a clever, original and sustainable idea for these iconic trams that were originally built in the 1920s and now no longer in service and I hope it becomes a reality.
I spent my Mother’s Day at Hunter Lane Cafe yesterday which was packed out with multiple breakfast, brunch and lunch sittings. The owner Dennis was interviewed last week on ABC radio about the Rosanna Level Crossing so it’s been an action packed week for him. I still feel quite ambivalent about the crossing and the need for it given the great cost and inconvenience but time will tell.
I’ve started hauling out my winter clothes and heavier quilts and blankets with the cold snap we’ve had. I bought some Apiary Made beeswax liners not that long ago and have been using these instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. My clever cousin Beck from Fabric Drawer has done one of their designs and they’re great for wrapping cheese in particular. I also now carry a glass straw in my handbag and have camp cutlery in my drawer as I’m wanting to reduce my use of single use plastics and was pleased to see that Woolworths are phasing out plastic bags by mid-year.