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.

We need to talk about Kevin

Kevin 07 that is.  For someone who regards themselves as fairly apolitical, I am going to have an interesting end to my working year with both the Hon. Kevin Rudd for the launch of his new book – Rudd: The PM years at The Sofitel next month as well as a panel of pollsters, political advisors and journalists including Vice Chancellor’s Fellow Tony Walker (who makes me laugh with his sense of humour) for my Bold Thinking Series lecture the following night titled Is democracy broken?  Given the revolving door of Prime Ministers and parliaments, the Australian political landscape has been a very dynamic space, to say the least.  It doesn’t end there for me as my final lecture of the year will be with another ex-Foreign Affairs Minister who shall remain nameless at this stage, needless to say it’s been a fascinating exercise dealing with very senior people at the highest level.3D book - The PM Years - Kevin Rudd

It’s been warm today and a pretty dry September – I’m about to plant some hanging herbs although forgoing other plants this year as I have a dog (or vandal as we call her) who has chewed her way through all last Spring’s plants and a number of our shrubs in our back yard and left it looking like a tip.  I love my dog but she’s naughty.

Promo Image

It’s all about the football this long weekend and while many Melburnians will back the Magpies, I suspect the West Coast Eagles may continue their domination – the poor young Melbourne Demons team were seriously outplayed last week at every turn.  I did watch the Brownlow Red Carpet on Monday night and not surprisingly, my favourite outfits were the more covered up numbers worn by Britt Davis (Paolo Sebastian) and Hester Brown (Gwendolynne).  The silver dress worn by Melbourne player Max Gawn’s partner Jessica Todd (Georgia Young Couture) was also stunning and likewise gold dresses worn by Dani Shreve and Ruby Keddie if you’re into metallics.  It was also nice to see both pink and lilac featured in dresses worn by Jessie Murphy and Bec Judd (J’Aton).  At the risk of sounding very prudish (!) I’m not a huge fan of the plunging necklines, thigh high splits or see through numbers but understand that it’s always more about glamour rather than style.