It’s been a momentous few days and my Media & Communications team watched the Australian Bureau of Statistics live announcement on the postal vote and marriage equality gathered around a colleague’s computer yesterday – it was lovely to witness history and democracy in action and it’s one of the privileges of living in a more progressive country like ours at this particular point in time. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if more of us were exposed to diversity at a personal level through friends and family and how it would be played out in the larger community and society. Love is love and it’s always been as simple as that for me however I know that people from different generations and religious/cultural backgrounds don’t see it the same way.
There is so much on this coming weekend around the place, we are spoilt for choice and I hope the sun comes out at some stage for those events being held outdoors like La Trobe’s soundvision live music and art event to farewell our 50th Anniversary year on Saturday. I was treated to a visit by The Great Gizmo (above) in the kitchen at work today, who was very entertaining and there are a number of pretty funny selfies floating around the place from those of us who were accosted by him as we had tried to eat our lunch!
Toruk: The First Flight is the name of Cirque de Soleil’s most recent show in Melbourne, which Mr Rosanna and I took the kids to for the first time on Saturday. It was glorious on Saturday afternoon with Melbourne bathed in a sea of light. We took the train to Jolimont from Clifton Hill station and walked to the Rod Laver Arena, which is currently undergoing construction.
We walked past the City to Sea 15km course all set up for yesterday’s run and noticed too, a number of people wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. There is something magical about the number 11 and yesterday was the 11th day of the 11th month. It was good for my boys too to see the statues of Australian football and cricketing heroes lining the boulevard to the MCG and then subsequent monuments to Australian tennis heroes outside Rod Laver Arena. I hope that one day there will be more female heroes as well.
We really enjoyed the show, and it was visually spectacular but friends who’ve previously been said they were disappointed with it, compared with previous shows. It was quite the commercial production and more theatrical in style so I can understand some people having that opinion. Still, we had a great time and were glad we had arrived early given the thousands who turned up to watch.
We caught the train back to Clifton Hill in a perfumed carriage full of young Stakes Day race goers and families which also gave the day a sense of occasion. It was lovely to see all the young human fillies dressed up and on their way home on such a glorious day out.
We ended up grabbing some Japanese on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg where there is both Sushi Galore and Momoco Sushi to choose from, but walked past the booked out (for a private function) Train Yard which we still have yet to visit. Given Bobo’s Diner in Ivanhoe has now closed, the beer garden at the Train Yard looked very enticing. Still I’m happy to report that The Pioneer cafe in Rosanna has now opened and there looks to be a brand new cafe, the Arthur Street Deli opposite Hoppa & Joe on the corner of Heidelberg Road and Arthur Street in Fairfield. Gone too at the moment is the old Amcor Paper Mill torn down for the upcoming YarraBend development and suburb in itself, which will house a huge number of new residents but have its own facilities including a health and wellness centre.
I am now gearing up for my final Bold Thinking Series lecture of the year on The future of Universities, which is almost completely sold out. It’s been challenging trying to coordinate the briefings between the MC (and La Trobe alumna) Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash Universities who are such busy people that even their ‘free’ time is scheduled. Stay tuned…
It’s the name of the Australian made and designed neoprene handbags that have been pretty popular for a while now. It also sums up my state of mind this week after being sick pretty much the whole time save for a quick dash to the Botanic Gardens to witness a family wedding ceremony. Aargh – FOMO – fear of missing out! I’m on my way back up but it’s been a long week.
Back to the bags – they aren’t cheap at $300 or over (I do love the now sold out Pewter/Ochre combination specially made for the Emirates Wolgan Valley health retreat in NSW) but I think they are highly practical for every day (they can be washed in the machine!), gym or beach use and a number of mothers I know now have them. If you’re after something cheaper, Chuchka and Prene bags also have some great styles and colours.
If you are wanting something purely for the beach – Cabana Lifestyle has a range of more affordable waterproof beach totes and would make a nice Christmas gift. As much as I have some lovely cloth bags and basket bags for the beach – practical bags such as these are a lot more durable and I still use the same Crumpler Messenger Bag I bought as a nappy bag over 10 years ago.
Interesting too to read about Sodashi skincare – an Australian brand meaning ‘wholeness, purity and radiance’ in Sanskrit which is also stocked at the Wolgan Valley retreat. Again, it’s not cheap but the beauty junkie in me is always interested in finding out more about natural Australian skincare products.
Some local events which start today – the Night Noodle Markets if you’re heading into town. Be warned that they are very popular and expect to queue for food if you go. They are also cashless so take cards with you if you decide to venture in. You’ll find roving performers, DJs and live music all on offer if you make the trip.
Sickness in our household has meant we’ll be doing exactly that this long weekend. I hope you may have more fun than me if going to the races or going away as we’ve had to cancel our plans. Sometimes you just have to accept where you are, like it or not. Given our family have multiple things on every week from now until Christmas, slowing down is probably a blessing in disguise as I don’t think I can hack the pace! It may have been the hordes of children and parents who descended on our house and street for Halloween that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I did go out last night with two of my girlfriends to Pinotta in North Fitzroy and we had a great time. It’s a fairly small and intimate space – narrow in two sections front and back. We sat up the back last night and ordered a la carte from the menu with two of us choosing the tuna special which came on a bed of vegetables beautifully cooked and my other girlfriend opting for one of the handmade pasta specials. We shared some of the croquettes (pictured above right), which were sensational. Highly recommended – the service was also excellent and very attentive and I think people of a certain age must go there – Sade and Madonna were both on high rotation in the background. We had a great night out and were the last to leave the restaurant!
Speaking of European restaurants, a number of friends now have booked lunches out at Fondata 1872 at the former Wellers in Kangaroo Ground. The menu there also looks pretty enticing and I might have to plan a day out over the summer holidays if we have a local staycation this year.
I’ve been reading about the meaning behind Halloween, which is celebrated on 31 October (All Hallows’ Eve) with All Hallows’ Day (which is also known as All Saints’ Day) on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November. It’s lovely to remember the Christian origins of Halloween as much as I’m not a huge fan of the commercialisation of it. I guess I have similar sentiments about Christmas and can’t quite believe my local newsagency is already stocking Christmas cards this early.
I visited Westfield Doncaster today while my car was being serviced nearby and kikki.K‘s window display was also similarly festive with Christmas stationery. Come on people – we haven’t even celebrated Melbourne Cup week! However, the seed was planted and given I had a number of hours to kill – I did end up starting some early Christmas shopping. I always head to Australian Geographic for children’s presents and it’s great there’s a Readings book store (pictured above) now at Doncaster too. My other favourite place for buying living presents in the form of plants and trees are the local nurseries – The Greenery in Heidelberg and Bulleen Art and Garden. You can also buy indigenous plants at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Both nurseries stock beautiful and exotic gifts as well and I’ll be making a beeline for one of them soon as the cockatoos have managed to decapitate one of the succulents that I left on the outdoor table (I should have known better!).
Mr Rosanna and I went out for dinner last Friday night to the former Village Tavern on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg which has now been re-born as modern Greek restaurant – Elia (meaning olive). It is now more upmarket and the prices have also gone up but it’s now a much more ambient place to eat and it was packed. The next generation of the same family have taken over and it’s reflected in the menu, decor and dress of the staff. If you go try the slow cooked lamb which was sensational – I’d also try the calamari or char-grilled octopus next time. Their version of saganaki with pear and star anise is also highly recommended.
That was the question we were all asking our poor Events manager yesterday at the Kevin Rudd: On China’s Rise and a New World Order sold out public lecture for over 600 people held in the Grand Ballroom at The Sofitel. Apparently our ex-PM is known for often running a bit late and yesterday was no exception. There was a private VIP lunch held beforehand, while general attendees got to mill around in the foyer having a stand up light lunch which was included in the ticket price. So there were a number of us sweating and hoping Kevin would actually turn up to the venue in time!
Turn up he did, and irrespective of what side of politics you’re from – Kevin Rudd is an extremely intelligent man who was quite relaxed and funny yesterday with an outrageously extensive vocabulary. I often find my brain hurts at the end of the day working at a University and mixing with such clever people who all have many letters after their names. Linda Jakobson, the CEO of China Matters was just as impressive and it was always going to be a hard act to follow a former Prime Minister. That she speaks Finnish, English and Mandarin fluently is an amazing feat in itself. The lecture was facilitated by Professor Nick Bisley, the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and it was a packed house with me taking one of the few last spots in the media seats at the back.
My mum ended up surprising me by turning up to the lecture and she bought herself a copy of Linda’s book China Matters published by Black Inc. Books and La Trobe University Press and Kevin’s new book Not for the Faint-Hearted was also on sale. After the last-minute flurry of activity including a fire drill held before the lecture, it was great to come home yesterday after the big event to de-compress.
It’s all about the art this weekend with Bundoora Homestead Art Centre’s biggest show opening tonight – the Darebin Art Prize. This major multi-medium award for contemporary visual art includes a $10,000 acquisitive prize and $1000 People’s Choice Award. It’s held only every two years so enjoy if you go to the exhibition.
If portraits are more your thing, the Rick Amor Portrait Prize – a $20,000 acquisitive prize winning exhibition at Montsalvat has also opened and would be well-worth seeing. There is a lovely house for sale at 29 Edwin Road in Templestowe known as the Thompson House built in a similar era to Montsalvat if you’re a fan of things of stone and wood.
Finally, Nancybird is turning 15 with a big sale on this weekend at the Northcote Town Hall with up to 70% off. I’ve got a number of Nancybird leather goods and I have to say I love the artistic aesthetic of this beautiful brand – there will also be other things for sale including chocolate, jewellery, candles and plants by other artisans so this would make a great start to your Christmas shopping.
One of the reasons we moved to Rosanna almost 10 years ago now, was because of the parkland and greenery. It’s been a great place to bring up kids and we’ve become a family of nature-lovers. With this in mind, the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary is holding a twilight tour this Wednesday night – bookings are essential for these special guided tours with the next tours on November 15 and December 20.
Nature play in the Rosanna Parklands, as part of Children’s Week, is taking place from 10am – 12 pm this Friday and if you’re a grandparent or parent with young children – this one’s for you.
Meanwhile the Ivanhoe Garden Club Festa and Bellfield Community Garden Open Day is this Sunday from 12 – 4 pm on the corner of Oriel Road and Banksia Street in Bellfield and if the sun is shining, it promises to be a glorious afternoon. Mr Rosanna and I visited Bulleen Art & Garden a couple of weekends ago to buy Spring plants including succulents, herbs and vegetables although ended up having to buy some plastic possum spikes after our furry friends got into the Moroccan mint!
Speaking of exotic foods, we went to modern Vietnamese eatery Mister Nguyen (which opened last month) on Friday night which was pumping – service was a little chaotic due to the crowd but the food was good although I didn’t try the pho, which is always a test. We did try the fish, kids’ grilled chicken (marinaded in a ginger sauce) and rice meals as well as the soft shelled crab buns (all above), which were delicious. It’s great to see something more urban open up in sleepy Rosanna Village which has needed some moving with the times. I’ve also had lunch with my work colleagues at modern Malaysian restaurant Sijori Malay Eatery at Polaris in Bundoora and can also highly recommend.