Xenia and Xanadu

It’s not every day you hear those two words put together!  I was out at Xenia on Lygon Street in Brunswick last night having dinner with one of my bosses Professor Chris Mackie who is fittingly, the Professor of Greek Studies at La Trobe University, as well as the Professor of Public Scholarship for the Bold Thinking Series.  Xenia is the ancient Greek word for hospitality, which was plied on pretty thick last night at this Cretan hot spot.  I was marvelling how my old stamping ground had changed a lot in the 10 years since I left – so much more development and a lot more built up.  I can’t imagine living back in Brunswick with children, although people do.

Pinkie cafe – Ivanhoe

The food was sensational – we shared starters of saganaki and haloumi and shared mains of the slow cooked lamb, moussaka and a seafood dish with rice which was like a Greek paella served in a pan.  It was all pretty delicious and there is a more upmarket sister restaurant in Moonee Ponds called Philhellene.

Inside Pinkie with my little coffee companion this morning

I mention Xanadu as well because my team were very busy at the start of this week looking after Olivia Newton-John who received her Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe University on Monday.  She’s someone who’s had a remarkable life and career and it was also a very fitting honour for her.  I’m reminded every time I drive past the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre in Heidelberg of her other achievements in the scientific space for people suffering from cancer.  It’s a devastating disease to which most of us, including me, have lost friends and family.

Craft Lab+ image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre


On a happier note, I stopped in at Pinkie cafe (photos above) in Westley Avenue Ivanhoe today which is at the bottom of a new housing development.  It’s a great idea which is working well and I know that Funkie Brewster in Rosanna is now Ivy and Pearl – it’s very handy to have a good cafe park-side.

I have now officially stepped down from the Board of Management at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre but wanted to mention Craft Lab+ which opens tomorrow if you are into knitting, quilting, embroidery, macrame, tapestry, patchwork, felting or any other textile-based craft (phew – there’s a lot to mention!) – it’s a good opportunity to join something community-based just in time for winter.


Down the rabbit hole

Ah well the rain has come and as much as I don’t like the dark and gloomy conditions outside – we do need the water.  I’ve moved on from salad poke bowls for lunch to casseroles and soups although yet to have my first pie for the cold season.  A work friend was telling me to check out a new cafe in Ivanhoe called Pinkie so I’ll be making my way there soon.Lene Kuhl Jakobsen 'Strata' vases (2)

It does make it a bit harder to get out but being outdoors in the winter is good for you and I wanted to mention that if the weather improves that both the Heide Makers Market and the Eltham Makers Market are on tomorrow.  My ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen will be selling her beautiful wares (photos above and below) at Heide in Bulleen for this special Mother’s Day event before the market goes into hiatus until Spring.Lene Kuhl Jakobsen Oval bottle vases

Stay warm, stay active was my winter mantra a couple of years ago and there is a special Mother’s Day workshop for mothers and daughters (14+) on Sunday morning at Clifton Hill Yoga School, which also runs yoga classes for children and teenagers.  As a long-time and long-term yoga practitioner, it’s a great habit to start at a younger age and like mindfulness, something which will help develop peace of mind, calmness and mental strength and resilience – all great life skills.

It’s Happy Friday today and ACMI in the city is holding its Wonderland Late Nights with DJs, bands and live art from 6pm on Fridays if you’re a CBD worker, which sounds like fun.