Bewitching

What a difference a decade makes. Halloween has become huge in the ‘hood over the past 5 – 10 years and local retailers and councils have all jumped on board. There’ll be trick or treating going on in a number of different places including Macleod Village from 4 – 6pm, Were Street Montmorency from 2.30 – 6.30pm, Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe from 2 – 6 pm, East Ivanhoe Village from 3.30 – 6pm and at Watsonia Village from 4 – 7pm this Thursday 31 October.

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As for me I do love the significance of the Day of the Dead and we watched the delightful Disney movie Coco at the Coburg Drive-In one New Year’s Eve and since then, have watched it a number of times – it’s one of those movies that always makes me cry.

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Speaking of all things Central American, a shout out too for local cafe The Pioneer run by El Salvadoran Australian owner (and Richmond Football Club fan!) Luis. I keep missing his amazing sounding monthly 3-course dinner events and must get to one at some stage soon. He has indeed been a pioneer in bringing his family cuisine to this area and Rosanna is all the better for having some cultural diversity.

Going with the flow

Christmas feels like ages ago now since returning to work.  I was very spoilt in that I received a lovely Angus and Celeste hanging planter from Mr Rosanna which is now taking pride of place on the deck and gives me great pleasure whenever I look out of my kitchen window, but that after almost 10 years of being here – we finally had the money to upgrade our coffee machine.  Our Breville machine has been great but after having had it once repaired, it sprang another more recent leak and has finally been retired.  So we found ourselves at Coffee-A-Roma in Camberwell over the holiday break and brought home a Rancilio Syliva coffee machine.  We weren’t the only ones upgrading to an Italian coffee machine – there were a number of people all lined up inside trying out the coffee (which was an experience in itself) and many of them were buying ‘lifetime’ machines – the Rancilio Sylvia seems to be the base model for those who can afford to upgrade to a Rocket – another Italian maker whose machines look like a million dollars (and so they should given their price!).IMG_6766

We’re now taking our time learning how to use the machine properly as it can be finicky and more involved than an automatic machine.  I’ve always been a bit old school when it comes to machinery in general so have been very happy to finally have one.IMG_6857

We did spend New Year’s Eve day in Melbourne’s CBD before the crowds descended for evening fireworks and it was great to feel like a tourist in our own town visiting the Eureka Skydeck (it’s cheaper and faster to buy online tickets beforehand and it’s over an hour’s wait if you choose to do The Edge (glass bottomed experience) instead of just the Observation Deck.  We were too late to get a table on the very chic Arbory Afloat pop up floating bar on the Yarra as they’d started NYE preparations (which would have been my pick for New Year’s Eve) but did get late afternoon coffee and cake at the newly opened Brunetti’s at 250 Flinders Lane almost opposite the CAE and Journal Cafe.  Our New Year’s Eve was actually spent at Coburg Drive-In as our children didn’t realise there was one in Melbourne and while it was pretty tame – we had a great night out under the stars seeing in the New Year from twilight to midnight.

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Me overlooking the Yarra (Arbory Afloat to my right)

We’ve been parents of a fur baby, Gypsy, now for over three months and that’s changed the way we holiday so for the first time ever, we booked a pet-friendly place last-minute down at Ocean Grove and luckily discovered that Barwon Coast on the Bellarine Peninsula has a large dog beach given you can’t take your dog to the main beach.  We wisely invested in a beach sun tent on sale from Anaconda and spent a number of mornings at the dog beach where both the children and the dogs could all frolic – it was a very funny sight.

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Our fur baby Gypsy

It did limit what we could do so I had to look longingly at Uncle Jack’s Cafe on the corner and next door Florence & Threads shop off the main drag while we were there and it was an action packed weekend in that the Rip to River Classic and Tranquility@Twilight Fair were both meant to be staged but were postponed due to the extreme heat.  The Wonderland Spiegeltent is currently on in Barwon Heads and if you’re interested in something local, the Ringwood Spiegeltent opens on January 18th here in Melbourne.IMG_3898

We spent our last morning at the monthly Rotary Summer Sunday Market at Ocean Grove where we could take our furry friend on leash and indulge in coffee, mini donuts and fresh free range eggs.  I also ended up buying this hand-made ceramic utensil holder (similar to my vintage salt pig) from a local potter based in Queenscliff.IMG_6854

Summer is here and it’s nice to be spending time more outdoors.  There is a pop up Skate Park currently on in Watsonia but if something more leisurely takes your fancy, weekly casual Tai Chi classes outside in the sculpture garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen have also started.  The Coburg Summer Sunday Sessions with live music at the Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool are also on every Sunday in January from 3 – 5 pm.  Enjoy!