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…”

Living Landscapes

I’m ready for you Friday night!  It’s been a long week back at work and my brain is still catching up…I’m hoping to feel less fuzzy next week now that I’m at least back up to speed with things.

Wildlife Reserve
Wildlife Sanctuary image via

NGV Friday Nights is currently on until 10 March and as part of the David Hockney: Current exhibition, La Trobe University is uniting art with the environment as the NGV’s Learning Partner.  Inspired by Hockney’s landscapes, the Living Landscapes project invites you to create and contribute your own 3D plant to La Trobe University’s virtual landscape.  In return, La Trobe University will plant one in reality at their Wildlife Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary is so close to my office that I’ve now seen the kangaroos and emu that live there….I’m just hoping not to see the snakes!img_5271I actually returned from leave to find a beautiful gift (above) from the University’s other partner, State Library Victoria, in the form of a Haigh’s chocolate and nut mix packaged in a book box – such a clever idea and so fitting.  I’ll be holding four of my eight Bold Thinking Series lectures there this year.

Image via Robin Cowcher, ink and watercolour

Speaking of books, the Words and Windows Exhibition Launch and Family Event is being held on Saturday 21 January at the Eltham Library and will be launched by best-selling author and Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs.  I was lucky enough to work with Leigh Hobbs when I was the publicist at The Light Factory Gallery and his illustrations are just as delightful.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, the Heide Makers Market is on this Saturday from 9 am – 2 pm.  January is still feeling relatively sleepy with people still being away on holiday.  I’m looking forward to starting again with Chinese New Year later this month and I will have a fitting local profile up very soon.

Funicular fun

Ah yes…I just wanted to use that word funicular…it’s actually the clever contraption that Mr Rosanna and I are in (below) that his builder Uncle Peter has made for his spectacular cliff house on the river near the city.  This is us on Christmas night for the annual seafood dinner extravaganza which they hosted last year.img_5263I have been eating my way around the place these past few weeks.  If you’re ever in the eastern suburbs, Town & Country on Whitehorse Road in Balwyn is well worth a visit.  The cafe does great food and the nursery and retail shop next door sell some really beautiful homewares if you are looking to re-decorate  or update your house this summer.img_5258As a family, we’ve also done a number of local cafes including Hunter Lane in Rosanna where we grabbed a booth table looking out onto the railway.  It’s a really great addition to the area.  Funky Brewster is still closed until next week but I am looking forward to paying it a visit once it re-opens.img_5257We also popped in for a quick lunch at East Ivy in East Ivanhoe – again grabbing a booth table near the kitchen.  Both places do good food which needs a little bit of tweaking but I’m not complaining – the menus are much better than your average suburban fare and the service was excellent.img_5259I spent this morning out at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with my friend ceramic artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen having a look at the Verdant Garden exhibition and Victorian Quilters Inc. show Regeneration – needless to say I’m always drawn to the works that feature flowers and plants (see above quilt images).  Unfortunately, upstairs was closed for maintenance due to storm damage but this should be fixed soon if you’re planning a visit.  Lene and I had coffees and devonshire tea in the stunning cafe setting (the scones are enormous so you can share one between two) currently featuring artwork by local artists Siri Hayes and Kate Hudson.  It was a beautiful way to spend the morning.img_5260For those of you lucky enough to still be away at the beach on holidays, I am jealous!  I’m going to try to make the most of my last weekend before going back to work next week.  Have a good one.img_5261

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member

Yoga Girl in La La Land

How was your Christmas and New Year?  I must admit – I’m not quite ready to go back to work.  We’ve had a quiet and restful staycation here in Melbourne not doing terribly much at all.  It’s been great to catch up with some of our closest friends as well as spend time with our extended family, who we don’t see a lot of during the year.

Our God-dog Pepper

I’ve had time to feed the neighbour’s chickens, dog-sit for one of our closest friends, make home-made waffles for breakfast, go for a family bike ride and start to de-clutter given the explosion of Christmas toys and the transformation of my home office back into a bedroom.  I have also managed to up the running over the summer break and I hope to continue this when I return to the office.

Yoga Girl image via Rachel Brathen

One of the things I love about the holidays is not feeling guilty about taking it easy and living life in the moment.  I was given this book (above) by my friend Mandy for Christmas and read it from cover to cover on Boxing Day.  I’d never heard of Rachel Brathen although this isn’t surprising given I’m not on Instagram.  Some of her yoga poses are quite extraordinary but her life story is just as fascinating.  It’s inspiring to read about people who have experienced hardship early on but have managed to turn their life around and not only survive, but thrive and go on to great things.  Wisdom often comes from experience, including failure and making mistakes.

La La Land movie image via Lido Cinemas

I also went to the movies at the Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn with my best friend Jules the night of the storms in Melbourne to see the magical film that is La La Land with Ryan Gosling playing a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as an aspiring actress.  Even if you’re not a fan of musical theatre, this new film done old school Hollywood-style is quite enchanting.  I won’t spoil the ending for you but it is a must-see for all you romantics out there.

This is now

I started this blog in 2011 when I was at home with two toddlers desperately seeking some inspiration.  In the absence of finding anything local, Miss Rosanna was born.

Since then, I’ve developed a loyal following of readers interested in arts, culture, local events and people.  I’ve found work, created an online community and become real-life friends with people I first met in the virtual world – things which I never expected when I created Miss Rosanna all those years ago.

In the intervening years, I started freelancing as a marketing consultant and copywriter for small businesses including Avant Card, The Light Factory Gallery (now Second Home Eltham) and Wendy’s Music.  I am still friends with my clients today (and still work for some of them!).

I’ve also had the opportunity to write for The Weekly Review and speak at local events as well as work in a voluntary capacity with arts and culture organisations including the Banyule Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Life has been rewarding and last year I started contracting part-time at La Trobe University handling the Bold Thinking Series of public lectures in their inaugural year – something which will continue this year in 2017 as the University celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

To this end, I thought that I would re-launch the Miss Rosanna blog to celebrate the new year, and a new journey ahead for me and for you, as my readers.  I hope we can share lots of adventures together, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.  There’s not a lot of point knowing things if those around you don’t benefit as well.  I wish you love and light in 2017 – here’s to a new year and a new start for all of us.img_5103