Greece is a hard act to follow and Melbourne in the winter time is far from inspiring. It’s lucky I’ve been busy at work promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Smashed avo: is there a war on youth? continuing the conversation that demographer Bernard Salt started in terms of the intergenerational wars between millenials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and whether jobs and housing are harder opportunities for younger people to come by. On the panel from La Trobe are cultural sociologist Dr Sara James (who reminds me of actress Katie Holmes!) and alumnus David de Garis who is a regular media commentator on all things economic for the NAB. We’ve matched them up with GetUp’s Chief of Staff Natalie O’Brien and Fairfax finance columnist and entrepreneur Melissa Browne who has recently written the rather naughty sounding book called Unf*ck your finances. We also tried to get Mr Barefoot Investor Scott Pape himself for this panel as he is a La Trobe alumnus but he was already engaged as many of the high-profile people I deal with in my job often are. It is Open Day at La Trobe this Sunday and if you are considering studying in any kind of capacity, it’s well worth a visit to find out more in terms of short courses, languages, undergraduate and post-graduate courses as well as some of the other University assets like the library, Wildlife Sanctuary or Sports centre. We’re lucky to have such a big campus so close to us in the north-east and there are exciting plans afoot for the University in the near future in terms of its development as a hub.
I’ve been driving through the suburbs since coming back from overseas and there’s been a lot of interesting new businesses I’ve noticed like Pilates Republic Ivanhoe at the back of the Centre Ivanhoe near The Foreigner cafe and Vinyasa Studio Yoga in Burgundy Street, Heidelberg. I’ve returned to Iyengar classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga underneath Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe. I also noticed the cute sounding name of new organic cafe Mr Macleod while having my boots re-heeled at Chris the Cobbler who’s now also found at the Macleod Village group of shops in Aberdeen Road. They needed a crane to lift in Chris’ very heavy shoe repair machinery equipment and Chris himself has been a busy man renovating houses as well as opening his fancy new digs. My sponsor and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod has also been a busy person – she’s launched a new holistic health and fitness program called Find your fierce which I’ll be finding out more about given my fierce seems to have gone missing in action plus the studio is moving somewhere close by in October so I’ll be following her there.
My former client Helen Webster is holding her once a year Raffal Wraps scarf sale tomorrow afternoon if you’re in Ivanhoe and I think it would be worth a visit to pick up a bargain before the end of winter. I also wanted to mention the Rosanna Station Community Fun Day on Saturday 11 August from 10 am to 2 pm taking place right in front of my other sponsor Hunter Lane Cafe and you will see me there in the middle of the day if you’re coming along to celebrate the opening of the new Rosanna station and level crossing which seems to have taken forever to finally finish. I’m reserving judgement about it until the big reveal happens but took a photo today (above) as I do love the new Rosanna station sign. There are a number of other launches taking place locally next week which I will post about in the coming days. Four weeks to go until Spring!
Mr Rosanna has spoilt me for our anniversary presenting me with some David Parker earrings from contemporary Australian jewellery store eg.etal – part of a special consignment especially created for the Cartier exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. David Parker’s range includes two sets of earrings and one necklace as part of the eg.etal limited edition commission – I have a number of special pieces from eg.etal’s artists including friend Amy Renshaw, Cass Partington and Yoko Fujita. Local jeweller Jeanette Dyke is also stocked there and Jeanette has very kindly done some repair work for me in the past. I’d love to do one of her ring making courses at some future stage.
The weather has got cold and if you are after a special rug, the Hali Rugs mid-year clearance starts today with 30 – 50% off all rugs in store. World Wide Knit in Public day is coming up next weekend and if you are a knitter, Wool and the Gang have some fantastic contemporary patterns including some great designs from I Love Mr Mittens. Locally, Woolybutt wool shop has been in Greville Road, Rosanna for over 10 years and is a favourite with my mother-in-law.
I wanted to mention some local happenings coming up – on the more fancy side Champagne Supernova local women’s event to connect and inspire is taking place on 19 July at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna while this Sunday, Valiant Barbers is turning 1 with free burgers and beers from 12 – 3pm at their Street Party (probably a bit less fancy!) but kindly raising funds in support of White Ribbon.
It’s the name of my next lecture that asks how can we age without getting older? It’s an interesting premise but given the fact that many of us will live to an advanced age, there are many repercussions to think about. Joining La Trobe ageing specialists Professor Irene Blackberry and Dr Rachel Winterton will be ‘Older & Bolder’ author, writer and community activist Renata Singer – wife of ethicist Peter Singer and an interesting person in her own right. She is one of the co-founders of social enterprise Fitted for Work (although no longer involved) and spends half her year in Melbourne and the other half in New York.
Speaking of interesting enterprises, I watched the news about the Melbourne Coffee Co. last night with their idea of potentially turning our old W-class trams into cafes for export. It’s such a clever, original and sustainable idea for these iconic trams that were originally built in the 1920s and now no longer in service and I hope it becomes a reality.
I spent my Mother’s Day at Hunter Lane Cafe yesterday which was packed out with multiple breakfast, brunch and lunch sittings. The owner Dennis was interviewed last week on ABC radio about the Rosanna Level Crossing so it’s been an action packed week for him. I still feel quite ambivalent about the crossing and the need for it given the great cost and inconvenience but time will tell.
I’ve started hauling out my winter clothes and heavier quilts and blankets with the cold snap we’ve had. I bought some Apiary Made beeswax liners not that long ago and have been using these instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. My clever cousin Beck from Fabric Drawer has done one of their designs and they’re great for wrapping cheese in particular. I also now carry a glass straw in my handbag and have camp cutlery in my drawer as I’m wanting to reduce my use of single use plastics and was pleased to see that Woolworths are phasing out plastic bags by mid-year.
It’s the name of the book by Natalie Walton, which has recently been published, considering the art of simple living and what makes some houses feel more like homes than others. I’m really looking forward to reading it and it makes a beautiful coffee table book or gift for someone with an interest in houses and design. I have friends like me, who love watching Grand Designs with Kevin McCloud and it remains one of my enduring favourites – that and watching a lot of Nordic Noir! Mr Rosanna and I have just finished bingeing on the last season of The Bridge. The other book I want to read is Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie which was long listed for the Man Booker prize and is a modern-day version of the Greek story of Antigone.
I was out last night for dinner with some ex-work colleagues at Ocha Japanese Restaurant in Church Street Hawthorn – a place I hadn’t visited since it opened many years ago originally in Kew. The food was good and not surprisingly, it was an older, more sophisticated and monied crowd dining inside. Dishes are for sharing and with drinks, it was on the pricier side at over $80 a head – it’s not somewhere I would go to regularly but worth a visit.
It’s been a warm Autumn and Mr Rosanna and I are still working on our house wondering whether to paint it or not before Winter is upon us. We’ve been trialling different paint colours and still haven’t landed on the right shade. We live in an open plan house with floor boards and I’ve discovered that as much as open plan is fantastic for living areas, I do prefer zoned bedrooms and other spaces. We’ve already put on a door to the kitchen for noise reasons and now considering a Crittall-style steel and glass panelled internal door for our formal living room. I love the look of these steel windows and doors prevalent in the 1930s and still produced by Crittall in the UK but suspect the price will blow us out of the water.
Speaking of artisan, the Eaglemont Artisans market is on tomorrow if you are a lover of all things creative. I had a brief drink at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna today having a chat with the owner Dennis, where I got a bird’s-eye view of the final stages of the Level Crossing, which still feels like a massive construction zone. They’re now talking about it being ready by Monday 7 May instead of this coming Monday but I am dubious about it being complete, and safe, by then. I am hoping it looks a lot nicer than the current behemoth that it appears to be now when looking at it from ground level.
I had coffee this morning at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna (there’s car parking behind the library) and it’s fantastic to see owners Dani and Dennis both receive the Mayoral Choice Award in the recent BestBiz Awards. I do feel like the whole Village is undergoing a resurgence with new shops, cafes and restaurants slowly starting to open in, and around the Lower Plenty Road strip and perhaps Rosanna’s time has come.
Speaking of getting all decked out for Christmas – I have been eyeing off Wedgwood’s Wonderlust collection inspired by the wonders of travelling from Europe through Asia. I’ve also long admired the Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir chinaware inspired by Andalusian iron work – a touch of the exotic for the every day if you can afford it.
You may also be preparing to slip into something more stylish for Christmas and I do love some of the more glamorous dresses from Australian designers Alice McCall and Rebecca Vallance. Studio Elke also does some pretty amazing handmade statement jewellery if you’re after something special. Our friend local jeweller Amy Renshaw also does glitter earrings if you’re a fan of these.
Having not one but two birthdays in my family just before Christmas every year always kills me and this year was no exception. I spent most of this weekend eating but the good thing was that it took our minds and attention off the miserable and wet weather conditions.
Poor Mr Rosanna’s birthday is always overshadowed now but we managed to salvage the day by taking him out for brunch at new Rosanna cafe The Pioneer, which is firmly on the map after a visit from our Premier Daniel Andrews MP last week. The front tables were taken but we were given some seats in the back room (above) with the square communal table that seats 12, housing the Christmas tree, which small people came to look at while we were there.
The owner has a social enterprise background but this is his own first cafe and what I love even more is that he is a local and an El Salvadoran Australian so the menu is Spanish-influenced. Despite the drizzle, the place was still rockin’ on Saturday morning with very much an inner-city vibe – I still find it hard to believe sleepy Rosanna is finally starting to wake up. The coffee and the meals (above) were fantastic – as good as you’ll find in Fitzroy or Collingwood. On a sunnier day, it would also be lovely to spend time in the back courtyard tables so it’s great to see this former newsagency transformed into something of the times. Interesting too to know that besides a Woolworths supermarket, Chemist Warehouse is also coming to Rosanna Village in the near future on the corner of Lower Plenty Road and Bellevue Avenue where Meridian Travel used to be and going all the way up to where Chris the Cobbler (who’ll be moving to Macleod) has been for over 30 years! They made him an offer too good to refuse…
Mr R’s day didn’t stop there as I’d booked dinner for us a while ago at Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, which was also a great experience given the conditions outside. Brunswick Street is always pretty busy on a Saturday night but it was jumping (and dark!) inside the restaurant where we had a booth table after Dani from Hunter Lane Cafe had recommended me booking. There was some pretty awesome 70s dance music on high rotation while we were there so I found it hard to sit still – it’s got a great atmosphere and reminded me a bit of Garden State Hotel in the city with all the different layers and parts to it upstairs and downstairs. There was a private function going on upstairs but the Village People rooftop bar with hawker style dining would also make a great date night venue. The mixed sushi and sashimi platter that we had (above) was beautifully presented and there was a team of Japanese chefs behind the counter doing their thing. I’ve not been to the sister restaurant in St Kilda but I think it would be just as good. It was interesting too to note that we weren’t the oldest people in the joint – I think there are a number of older people now downsizing and moving to the inner city.
We’d walked past a number of cool looking bars and restaurants on the way to Ichi Ni Nana including The Rooks Return, Smith & Daughters and Bon Ap but ended up at Uptown Jazz Cafe where we had a drink and stayed for a couple of songs by a jazz trio playing two sets that night. It was a great way to spend a Saturday night in Melbourne.
We also had dinner at local favourite Benjamin’s Kitchen in Alphington on Friday night followed by ice cream at Fairy Hills Ice Cream in Ivanhoe (in a great location on Lower Heidelberg Road opposite Ivanhoe Grammar) where we played a game of Uno. We were at Leo’s Fine Food briefly over the weekend (where again I am loving all the Christmas packaging for imported European foodstuffs like Italian Panettone above) and I noticed that ice creamery Wally & Fletcher on Burgundy Street is just about to open so Fairy Hills will have a new local competitor. I am hoping the weather picks up again for all of them as I think it would be great to share the ice cream love.
If you’re a train commuter at Rosanna, then I’m feeling for you this week and until March next year. I was running past the whole level crossing development on Lower Plenty Road at Rosanna parklands over the weekend and it is a major construction site. I’ve also been very sad to see all the gum trees removed from Turnham Avenue and at the top end of the park. I just hope the new level crossing is worth it once it’s built.
I am also feeling for neighbouring businesses and with this in mind, have happily accepted a sponsorship deal with Hunter Lane Cafe. Like me, I hope you will continue to support them by visiting (even if it’s by foot or bike instead of car) during this temporary period. A big thank you too from me to Dani and Dennis at the cafe – it was lovely of them to ask me. While their logo will feature on this blog and I’ll be doing regular shout outs for them, I will still be visiting and posting about other cafes in the area but flying the flag for Hunter Lane whenever I can, which will be acknowledged.
It is Spring and the start of term 4 so my crazy weeks juggling work and ferrying children to their various activities will start all over again. I did want to mention that the Jagajaga Community Sports Awards are being held this Thursday night at Eltham High School from 6 pm onwards. I did nominate a couple of people this year including representatives from the Ivanhoe Harriers Running Club and Yarra Tennis Coaching in Eaglemont and they have been successful so will be receiving their Awards that evening, which is very exciting! The special guest speaker will be Laura Duryea, Melbourne AFLW Football Club Defender so it’s nice to see a female featured instead of a bloke.
Good health is indeed, wealth and it’s the name of a book and In Conversation event with author Kitty Cheng hosted by Busybird Publishing and also being held this Thursday from 7 – 9 pm at Busybird HQ – 2 / 118 Para Road in Montmorency (look out for Oscar the office dog if he’s there!). Without health, you have nothing so it’s always good to find out more about how we can better look after ourselves and enable us to achieve more. Have a great week!