Weddings, parties, anything

It’s that time of year – have you heard the cicadas singing? Summer is upon us and I haven’t been able to catch my breath this week. I had events on four nights in a row and hit the wall on Friday not making it to my Friday night event. Mr Rosanna has been just as busy and we hope to put up our Christmas tree next weekend!

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It’s definitely party season and I hosted an end of year work dinner on Thursday night for the La Trobe Alumni Ambassadors at SPQR Pizzeria around the corner from the Princess Theatre in Liverpool Street in the city where it was all happening with nearby Indian restaurant Daughter In Law and one of my all time favourites wine bar Punch Lane.

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Christmas celebrations have also started in Greensborough, Macleod and Montmorency Village along with a number of markets including the Big Design Market at the Royal Exhibition Building (still on today) and Craft Victoria’s Makers Market which was on yesterday. The Xmas Gin Market is on today at The Craft & Co in Collingwood and I’ve been reading about the stellar rise of Melbourne distillery Four Pillars. My younger work colleagues are also fans of Milk the Cow fromagerie in Carlton which does a cheese and gin event and I’ve also missed recent drinks with them at Moon Dog World craft brewery in Preston.

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While I am now focusing on buying experiences for family in terms of Christmas presents, I’ve made a tradition these past few years of ducking into The Greenery in Heidelberg and the Heide Store in Bulleen for last minute local gifts. Terminus has also opened at Heide and I’ve heard it’s a great interactive exhibition if you have art-loving children.

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Speaking of art, the recent NGV Gala was on to launch the Basquiat Haring: Crossing Lines exhibition and my friend Pio attended in all of his gold lurex tuxedo glory mixing it up with a number of influencers and other celebrities (of whom I was a bit sceptical regarding their art-loving credentials but nevertheless). While female rap duo Salt-N-Pepa were the headline entertainment act, a number of other artists had been mooted including 80s gay icons Grace Jones, Diana Ross and our very own Kylie Minogue.

I am also loving some of fashionista Estelle Michaelides’ latest Micky in the Van collection (a few of my favourite things above) and have been following her glamorous adventures at Government House to launch her Fashion by Appointment event with designers Kara Baker, Julie Goodwin and Nevada Duffy at the Westin Hotel for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) in March 2020. If I was attending a wedding or Christmas party, then some of her signature pieces would be on my list!

 

An idea needing to be made

Heide’s ceramics exhibition with this intriguing name opens today in Bulleen and I love a bold idea at the best of times. As I get older, while ideas are great, it’s the realisation of them and their outcomes that interest me more – skill comes in the actual implementation of ideas but without a vision to start with, there can be no real progress.

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Speaking of ceramics, local artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is a finalist in this year’s Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award with her piece ‘What We Know Now’ (images above) addressing the challenge that is climate change. The related exhibition opens on the 14 August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster. Lene is also exhibiting at the Craft Atrium at Watson Place (off Flinders Lane) as part of the Craft Cubed Festival which starts on 1 August  and I love the image she’s used (below) on her new business cards.

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It’s Open House Weekend and lucky you if you’ve already visited some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings and hidden surprises. I had a private tour by Dr Gillian Shepherd of the Trendall Research Centre (a previous Open House venue) at La Trobe University the other week- the centre was designed by modernist architect Robin Boyd and houses a number of rare books and artwork left as a private library and mid century apartment (time capsule!) of former resident academic – art historian and archaeologist Arthur Dale (A.D.) Trendall to the University. A private person, not much is known about his personal life except that he worked as a cryptographer (Japanese code breaker) during World War II – my colleagues and I were quite enthralled by the story regaled to us by Gillian over a cup of tea while seated at the Fler dining table . It was a little bit Indiana Jones and Gillian’s passion, and vision for the future, was very inspiring. The western sky views over the University from Trendall’s private floating balcony were also awesome to see.

Speaking of Robin Boyd, his namesake exhibition Design Legend starts at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 3 August. While I will always love Art Deco, mid century modern is probably second on my list and Boyd is one of Australia’s design champions of that era. It’s National Tree Day tomorrow and I hope to feature a local artist inspired by local nature shortly on my blog. A couple of other local happenings include the opening of new cafe, bar and grill Tres in Rosanna, which has replaced Jillian’s on Lower Plenty Road and I wish the new owners well. If you are a home based business you may be interested in a Banyule Business networking event being held on Tuesday morning at Hunter Lane cafe, where you’ll get to meet and hear from my local friend and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training.

Get on board

It’s been busy – I’m trying hard to minimise the amount of things our family is doing but it’s been hard. My brain reached saturation point yesterday and my body is obviously not coping as for the first time in my life, I’ve managed to pull my neck and shoulder and have now seen a physiotherapist at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic not once but twice in the past week. They are very good there and I do feel like I’m in safe hands. I did want to do a special shout out for The Shoulder workshop that my trainer Nikki Ellis is holding at her studio Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights on Saturday 30 March in partnership with Perform Physio+Pilates. As someone who has long believed in the preventative power of exercise, this one would be a great one to go to and I wish it had been held before now!

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I saw Nikki today at the Banyule Women in Business lunch which was a more intimate affair this year held at the Rosanna Golf Club in Lower Plenty. If you’ve never been it’s worth the more scenic drive inland from Banyule Road past the silos and the horses – it’s incredibly beautiful and was spectacular today with a sea of green everywhere you looked. The lunch will return to the Ivanhoe Centre next year once renovations are complete but for the uninitiated Lower Plenty really is a hidden secret in Banyule – country meets city. I also wanted to do a shout out for the #ShopToItinBanyule Facebook and Instagram competition currently being run by Banyule Business until 30th April giving you the chance to win a $500 gift card.

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The keynote speaker at today’s event was KeepCup founder and former lawyer Abigail Forsyth who was charmingly natural and real as a speaker – she’s a very relatable and likeable person and her story is an inspiring one. I had a quick chat with her at the end as we have people in common and her brother and KeepCup co-founder Jamie has moved on from their business to tackle the scourge that is plastic containers with his BeetBox lunchbox company. I look forward to the Banyule Women in Business event every year, it’s been fantastic for me from a networking perspective (as long as you do follow up) and become an annual thing I do with some fabulous local business women who have become good friends.

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A few things to mention today – John Gollings: Spirit of Place opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen tomorrow and I’ve been a fan of his photography for a number of years now. The Darebin Community and Kite Festival is also being held on Sunday. Speaking of things that move, I took a few quick and dirty snaps of this mystery vintage yellow bus (below) that I’ve seen being driven locally on Waiora Road and parked on Lower Plenty Road – bigger than a Combi Van but smaller than a normal bus. I’d love to know its story!

Go the girls

Indeed. It’s International Women’s Day and from my privileged position being an educated woman lucky enough to be born in a first world country, it’s a very easy thing to pay lip service to. My thoughts are for women in other parts of the world where life is still lived as a second class citizen or worse. In terms of Australia, the one in three domestic violence statistic is still deeply disturbing to me as a female but equally there can be no change without the men in our lives to support us – their mothers, daughters, sisters, partners and friends on our journey for equality. So simple in theory, so convoluted in the real world. I’ve been encouraged by my increasing dealings with the next generation of young men and women where the gender lines are not so fraught.

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I’m also incredibly lucky to now be working in an extremely tight-knit and very strong all-female Alumni Relations team supported by a very enlightened male Director and it’s been a nurturing place to land. The word alumni actually means ‘nourish’ in Latin and I find myself both on the the giving and receiving end of that in my current role. The downside to working in a University environment is that we don’t get the Labour Day public holiday so spare a thought for us this weekend!

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I daresay it’s quite deliberate in that the Australian movie release of Captain Marvel with a female superhero is today and my highlight will be seeing the movie at IMAX Melbourne this weekend. If you are having a staycation, don’t forget the Heide Autumn Makers Market is on tomorrow in Bulleen as well as a number of Farmers Markets including Coburg, Collingwood and Alphington and the Autumn Harvest Festival is still on at Bulleen Art & Garden. If you’re at Heide don’t forget too that the Gorman: Ten Years of Collaborating two week pop-up exhibition is on at Heide II while the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival also opens tomorrow. Lots to see and do – enjoy your long weekend.

Oink oink!

The Lunar New Year of the Pig is about to trot in next Tuesday and if you’ve had a false start to the year – here’s your chance to start all over again. My trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights has signed up for FebFast and laid down the gauntlet for all her clients to do the same – and not just for alcohol but sugar, screens and anything else you may be better off reducing in your life.

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It is the Year of the Pig and I’ve bought a set of commemorative gold coins (above) from the Australian Mint as a keepsake gift – the Asian in me couldn’t help myself. Unlike western astrology, pigs are a symbol of wealth in Chinese culture and pig people are known for their beautiful personalities and good fortune in life – lucky you if you were born in the Year of the Pig or know someone who will be born this year.

My past week has been a whirlwind with the return to school and extra-curricular activities on top of a new job although I suspect we’ll be feeling it more next week once we complete a whole 7 days – it sure is busy and one part of me is always a bit incredulous that kids start school at the hottest time of the year. I guess there’s no getting around the weather in Melbourne no matter what you do.

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One of the highlights has been taking delivery of our art deco cabinet (above in our somewhat dark room) from Contemporary Vintage in Alphington and it now taking pride of place in our formal living room. However – the thing with getting ‘new’ pieces for home sometimes has a knock on effect and you realise other things around it need to be replaced or upgraded. In our case, the painting which hung about our old cabinet is now too small so we’re now on the hunt for a new painting which will be more in scale. Speaking of which, one of the work highlights for me is finding out my new building houses some of the La Trobe Art Institute collection including a Sidney Nolan painting that I walk past every day. I did manage to have a quick chat yesterday with the acting LAI Director Sandra Bruce and hope to catch up with her at some stage soon.

Speaking of Heide artists, Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is holding a Showtime Night Market tonight, a Date Night x Midsumma on 10 February in the Heart Garden near Heide I as well as Art by Twilight on 16 February. It is very calming to spend time in galleries around art as well as in nature so enjoy if you make it there. Happy New Year!

 

Fashion rules

Well there are no rules in fashion but fashion rules forever in my book! Speaking of which, it’s a little early but there are two local events happening as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) 2019 including the Gorman: Ten years of Collaborating garment exhibition (image below) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen starting 5 March. Even better tickets are on sale for the Gorman runway evening show at Heide on Saturday 2 March if you want to see fashions in the field (outdoor sculpture garden) instead of on the field.

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Gorman has collaborated with a number of different artists who’ve worked with Gorman over the past 10 years including Rachel Castle, Elke Kramer, Rhys Lee, Ellie Malin, Mirka Mora and Miranda Skoczek to name but a few. The garments will be shown alongside the artworks which inspired them so a fantastic show for the fashionistas out there.

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Local designer Estelle Michaelides is madly putting her Micky in the Van Autumn/Winter 2019 collection together (pictured above) to also show on Saturday 2 March at 2pm at the Rivoli Cinemas in Hawthorn as part of VAMFF. It’s great to see some creativity being used to show fashion in unexpected venues this year. Once upon a long time ago when I first worked in fashion PR, I boarded a mystery train trip out to a secret warehouse location in Maribyrnong to see supermodel Linda Evangelista in action as part of the first ever Melbourne Fashion Festival – they were exciting times.

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Speaking of Heide, the Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow and you’ll see my ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen selling her wares there if you’re going. I have a number of Lene’s pieces on display (above) in my home – they look particularly great on a floating shelf if you have the space although probably better without computer paraphernalia!

Last drinks

Christmas celebrations are the order of the day and I had a rollicking dinner at Smith and Daughters on Tuesday night catching up with the fabulous Mo Wyse in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy where she treated us to a couple of special things including their vegan take on an arancini ball as well as a bombe Alaska dessert. It was great to see her again after the sell out Bold Thinking Series veganism lecture held in April.

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Mirka retail display – Heide Store

I’ve also had the pleasure of twice visiting Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen this week. Cafe Heide replaced Cafe Vue a while ago – the food there is still very good, and the service much better. There was one occasion I waited an hour for my lunch which was the last time I visited the cafe in its previous incarnation. Despite being fully booked inside, the meals for the dozen or so in my team came out quickly this week and I am thankful that I was able to get a booking so close to Christmas for that amount of people.

I was there again today and despite the rain, it was bustling with people in the cafe, people there to take in the Mirka Mora show and people like me buying gifts in the Heide Store (pictured above)  I hadn’t been there for a while but did not come out empty-handed! It was great to get some small things for family that have more of an artistic bent.

Heide is also holding carols there tomorrow night in the sculpture park outside with the Australian Girls Choir while the Banyule Carols by Candlelight (and Boulevard Lights) is on as well in Ivanhoe. Montsalvat in Eltham is holding its carols event on Sunday.  The Rose Street Christmas Night Market is on tonight, the Ivanhoe Makers Market is on tomorrow and the Kris Kringle Night Markets have also started at the Northcote Town Hall. Deck those halls…