While general de-cluttering, entertaining small people and administrative tasks have taken up a lot of my time the past fortnight, it’s been fun doing a bit of interior decorating as well.
I have a second floating shelf this time in my kitchen which deflects some attention away from unsightly electricity cabling and wiring in the wall. My Christmas presents from Mr Rosanna are taking pride of place on said shelf – a long wished for Alessi kettle as well as a Model One radio by Tivoli Audio – both of them design keepsakes. Digital radio is all the rage now but I’m still pretty old school…I just hope I don’t kill my new succulent plant (Mistletoe Cactus) from Bulleen Art and Garden as I have a tendency to over water.
We’ve also taken delivery of some ACME coffee cups (pictured above) that are designed in New Zealand and used at many cafes in Melbourne and around Australia. Speaking of which, I caught up with my besties on Saturday morning at Admiral Cheng Ho cafe in Abbotsford not realising it was plant-based food so no eggs for brunch! It’s been there for a number of years and does serve dairy-based coffee so I made do with a cafe latte as well as one of their excellent muffins. It’s the sister cafe to Monk Bodhi Dharma in St Kilda so one for the vegan crowd.
Mr Rosanna and I met up with some local friends at Prosciutto Bros in Eltham last night – finally making it there for some weekend pizzas (and craft beers in his case). It’s not one for the vegans with lots of preserved and other meats mainly on offer (!) although there were a few vegetarian options in terms of pizza and gnocchi. The retro music was a tad loud when I entered the building (boy I’m showing my age) but subsequently turned down so we could hear ourselves talk by the time our pizzas arrived. Our friends who are Eltham locals gave the place a 9/10 for Eltham (which they said makes it a 7/10 for Melbourne) but still I’m pretty glad to have somewhere like it in the northeastern suburbs – we are a little starved of more urban-looking and feeling places to go, particularly at night-time, out this way.
The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe. I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event. It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.
After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block. Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land. It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.
I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen. Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page. It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora. There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.
I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend. I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend. Enjoy.
Kung hei fat choy! Wishing you lunar love and light this Chinese New Year of the Dog. It’s a special weekend again in the city as White Night Melbourne is being held on Saturday night with the Melbourne Chinese New Year dragon parade in Chinatown on Sunday.
I’ve got family who have long been members of the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne if you are of Chinese descent and interested in joining – these are the young men and women who stage the lion dances, dragon parade, dragon boats, drumming, folk dancing and other performances for Chinese celebrations (spectacular if you’ve ever been to a wedding reception and seen them perform). The CYSM is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and holding a special concert at The Plenary on 2 April if you are a fan of Asian culture.
Locally, the Fairfield Farmers Market is temporarily being held at Alphington Station tomorrow until it moves into the Melbourne Innovation Centre in Wingrove St. If you’re a fan of all things Moroccan, my friends at Metroscope in Collingwood have opened their 50% off sale to the general public if you’re looking to pick up a bargain.
I was also dismayed to find out that local nursery Bulleen Art and Garden is likely to affected by the planned route for the North East Link and there is currently an online petition if you’re interested in signing up. The nursery has recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary and I’m sure there are many of you like me in the local community who would hate to see it go.
Ah yes…there’s a bit of that around the place in my household. I am someone who gets a sense of closure from finishing what I’ve started, particularly at work, but when it comes to certain projects around the house…maybe not so much! It’s also the name of the new summer exhibition at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe showcasing sustainable art practice by two community groups – Unfinished Business by Textile Art Community and Re-Create by Victorian Woodworkers Association. I bumped into local woodworker Andrew Potocnik not that long ago at the Rosanna Parklands and he’s involved in this exhibition as well as another one (#urbansalvage#zerowaste) at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin Gallery on 9 March. Andrew’s an interesting person and I’ve been amused by the antics of his resident possums’ daily lives on his Facebook feed.
Speaking of unfinished business, if you are trying to KonMari your home, there are two free de-cluttering workshops with eco-organiser Tanya Lewis at the Watsonia Neighbourhood House and at Council Chambers Ivanhoe on 22 March and 19 April respectively – they are free but bookings are essential on 9490 4222 and Banyule residents are entitled to two free hard rubbish collections per year.
Currently, it’s not easy being a Banyule resident if you catch the Hurstbridge train line which will be closed from Clifton Hill onwards from Friday 16 March until the end of April (with buses replacing trains) when the new Rosanna Station level crossing (image below) will hopefully finally be completed. We bought in Rosanna due to its proximity to the train line and I just hope it’s worth it as well as the proposed North East Link, which I also hope lessens the amount of trucks, noise and traffic congestion on Rosanna Road.
It’s been a big week and it’s not over yet. My last Bold Thinking Series lecture for 2017 on the future of Universities at the State Library Theatrette with MC Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash Universities went well on Wednesday night despite a couple of technical hitches at the start. I ended up having to give up the hand-held microphone I use to roam amongst the audience for questions to outgoing Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis after his headset mic stopped working, leaving just me to cover the floor during the lecture, instead of our usual two people. The discussion item that did not get asked on the night was the interesting fact that Glyn Davis and Margaret Gardner are actually married to each other yet work at competing universities – a colleague was playfully calling them the ‘Posh & Becks’ of the University sector!
It was also an experience to work with Virginia Trioli – an impressive, seasoned media professional who also had her own ideas to add to the mix, which made the lecture a little bit different in terms of format. Francis Leach will be returning as our usual MC in 2018 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him next week for a thank you dinner. I’m now in planning mode for next year and it’s been interesting working with a 20-something focus group on the topics they’re interested in….stay tuned!
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.
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.