Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take two

Fashion has long been a passion of mine.  After finishing uni, I actually began my career in fashion PR as a consultant and have also worked as in-house PR for David Jones where one of the highlights was meeting Akira Isogawa.  My all-time fashion hero is Coco Chanel - an innovator, originator and one of the first truly modern business women who revolutionised women's fashion.  I've dabbled more recently in eco-fashion and love that vintage clothing has become so popular.

There are a number of vintage clothing and clothing swap markets including the way we wear vintage fashion fairs, Melbourne vanity fair market, the clothing exchange and closer to home, the travelling take 2 market is being held this Sunday in Preston.

If you're wanting to know who's who in the world of eco-fashion - there is a fantastic online directory called How Big Is Your Eco run by fashion editor Matthew Paroz.  There's also a thought provoking feature article called 'economies of the underground - consumption, community and common sense' in the current issue of Peppermint magazine.  Related websites to visit include and

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pottering around

Ceramics by Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen
I love a good ceramic.  Mr Rosanna has threatened to throw me out if I buy one more Japanese piece.  I also have a thing for Moroccan ceramics and own a number of Australian pieces from Bison, Husk and T2.  There's a fantastic local artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen who sells her beautiful ceramics at the Ivanhoe Maker's Market.

She is actually one of the finalists in the Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award 2011.  Winners are announced tonight and the exhibition will be held at Manningham Art Gallery from now until Saturday 16th April.  I did a pottery course at the Carlton Arts Centre a number of years ago and I know courses are also held at Claydreamers in Eltham if you are an aspiring potter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy New Year (again)

Apparently it's Indian New Year this Saturday.  To celebrate, a day of games and cultural activities to celebrate cultural diversity will be held at Heidelberg Park, Beverly Road, Heidelberg from 11am - 8pm.  Beside traditional folk dance and a touch of Bollywood dance as well, an assortment of games and activities including running races and rope pulling will also be held.  Over 8,000 people attended last year's inaugural event!
Idly Corner - image via Rosanna Village
We used to go out for Indian at Kake di Hatti every Friday night when we lived in Brunswick and love a good Indian or Thai curry once the weather starts to get cold.  I did want to mention Idly corner in Rosanna.  I've ordered takeaway from them a few times and have loved their food.  Mr Rosanna and I have also been to Cafe Saffron in Ivanhoe.  I wasn't that impressed with the food last time I went but they might have been having an off night.  There's also Bhoj in Templestowe (who do takeaway as well).  While I haven't been there, I have eaten at the sister restaurant at the Docklands and the food was superb.  I've also heard good things about Ginger Garlic in Eltham but haven't been there either so if you have let me know what it's like!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Festival follies

ArtyFarty Fest Grand Parade
We had a fabulous time at the Banyule Festival yesterday.  It was a mad dash getting Thomas to the ArtyFarty Parade down Burgundy Street but well worth the effort as his kinder Winston Hills Pre-school in Viewbank won best theme!  Every child had decorated their own frame and each was a walking, talking, living, breathing 'work of art'.
My work of art Thomas
After the parade was over, we moved onto the ArtyFarty Fest.  Yet another weekend spent eating sausages in bread...I had a great time listening to some of the live music at the Bendy Stage and watching an assortment of entertainers make their entrance.
Look!  Is that a preying mantis I see before me?
The boys then had a quick turn down the giant slide and jumping castle followed up with some ice cream before we called it a day and headed home.
Some likely looking lasses

Friday, March 25, 2011

Local Profile - Guy Franklin

I'm lucky enough to be friends with people ranging in age from their early 20s to 50+.  Some of my younger friends are so damn talented, I wonder where they will be once they get to my age.  Guy is one of those people - an up and coming film writer/film director, he has also directed Kimbra's amazing video clip 'Settle Down'.  Watch this space.
Guy Franklin
Desired [full-time] occupation: Writer/Director

Current employment: [part-time] Tennis Coach
Lives/works: Eltham

How long have you lived/worked here:
I have lived in Eltham for 22 years, which is also where tennis coaching is based - whereas film work often takes me to many a far away suburb.

Describe yourself/what you do…
I'd describe myself as a spectator learning to participate. I often find myself somewhat disconnected from my own experience, though I am incredibly thirsty to hear about the experiences of those around me. I rarely find myself with little to do as my pre-disposition to write (or, perhaps, to think about writing – which may, in actuality, be far more time consuming) usually keeps me occupied.

Writing, in whatever form, has been an activity I have practised from a young age so, I suppose, it is somewhat natural that I am aiming to build a career out of it. My fascination with human emotions and behaviour ultimately directed my general interest in writing to a specific interest in writing for film… as I learnt more about those behind the camera, I quickly became interested in the role of the 'Director' as well.

Still from Settle Down video clip
Whilst working on my short film projects, I am also moving into the music-video arena, as a stepping-stone of sorts. Below is a link to my first music video – I have just gone into pre-production for Kimbra's second video, which we will be shooting April 9th and 10th.

Kimbra - Settle Down video clip
Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
I think the best/most significant thing would be a sense of home – of family, childhood and innocence.  When I think about it, having lived in this area of Melbourne for a while, it definitely holds a deep nostalgic quality - and a connected sense of comfort… away from the busier city centre and other areas where I feel far more anxiety.

 It's a beautiful place to grow up.


Blog (that I struggle to get to work on):

Nb. Miss Rosanna and Guy Franklin are relatives by marriage.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cool World

The Banyule Festival is on this weekend just in case you hadn't noticed.  Twilight Sounds start from 5pm at Sills Bend in the Warringal Parklands this Saturday night.  Ross Wilson is headlining and Jen Cloher is one of his support acts.  If you love a bit of Aussie rock, you won't be disappointed and I'm looking forward to taking the boys along to enjoy the music with Mr Rosanna and me.  It's about as close as we get to going to a real gig these days.

The Kids ArtyFarty Fest Grand Parade is on the following morning at 10am down Burgundy Street to Sills Bend - this year's theme is inspired by visual art.  The Kids ArtyFarty Fest will then begin in earnest after the parade with a number of different  stages set up.  Thomas loved the giant slide last year and we got into the music stage.  Do keep an eye on your kids if you go, we managed to lose sight of Will last year and it was the longest five minutes of my life.

The 2011 Banyule Sculpture Award exhibition also starts today and sculptures by artists from all over Melbourne will be shown along the Main Yarra Trail leading to the Banyule Festival site until Sunday.  There are two cash prizes awarded and you can vote for your favorite sculpture.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who on earth cares?

Some of you may know I have a recent background in eco-fashion and have also previously been PR for global environmental beauty company Aveda.  As a mother too, I've become increasingly conscious and concerned about the environment as I've got older.

It is actually Earth Hour this Saturday 26th March - if you can, please turn off any unnecessary lights and electrical appliances at 8.30pm.  Locally, the Welcome Platypus Festival is also on from 1 - 9pm in Hurstbridge this Saturday.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival which celebrates the local environment through theatre, art and music.  More on the upcoming Banyule Festival tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A taste of harmony...

Autumn really is the Festival season in Melbourne with the L'Oreal Fashion Festival, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Moomba, Australian Grand Prix and Comedy Festival.

It's also the case closer to home.  It is Cultural Diversity week and to celebrate Harmony Day yesterday the Bell Street Mall is putting on A Taste of Harmony lunch this Friday from 11am - 1pm where you can sample free international foods.  West Heidelberg is one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in the north east, with many of its more recent residents of African background.

My own cultural background is Chinese and Mr Rosanna's heritage is Scottish and Irish.  My two best friends come from Greek and Italian backgrounds.  I love that Melbourne has become a real melting pot and in the end it doesn't matter as we are all Australians.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Open Day fun

Thomas had swimming at the Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre yesterday which co-incided with their Open Day.  We've been going as a family every Sunday and trying to encourage my younger son Will into the toddler pool while Thomas has his lesson - he is so not a water baby...

Anyway, after the class the boys had a ball having a ride on the kid-size Ferris Wheel, a turn in the jumping castle (twice) and a not-so-healthy lunch of sausages in bread, popcorn and fairy floss.  It was a glorious morning.

Lots on this coming week - it is Cultural Diversity week in Melbourne and the Banyule Festival is on this weekend.  More in my next post.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Local profile - Louise Kyriakou

While these days she lives in the inner north, illustrator Louise Kyriakou grew up in Bulleen in Melbourne's north-east.  I'm also lucky enough to own a couple of her gorgeous paintings.  Selected Louise Kyriakou works are being shown at The End is the Beginning exhibition opening next week at  1000 £ Bend Gallery in the city.

Headshot w. design used for PBS106.7fm World Music Compilation CD
Name: Louise Kyriakou

Occupation: Illustrator

Lives: North Fitzroy

How long have you lived here? Six years

Describe yourself/what you do:
I am an illustrator who works freelance. As well as commercial jobs, I also get private commissions for my paintings and prints. My art tends to be full of colour and “happiness”, so I get a lot of requests to do jobs that have a humourous aspect to them, or that appeal to children.  

I recently became a Bronze winning finalist in the Book Series category of Creative Australia magazine’s 2011 Illustrators Australia Awards for the work I did for “Fast” Ed Halmagyi's (Better Homes & Gardens) latest cookbook “An Hour's the Limit” (Ebury Press).

I am also on the National Committee of Illustrators Australia, a non-profit organization that promotes and assists Illustrators in professional practice. To make things more fun, we also organize the odd group exhibition, and other get togethers. 

Digital Print being exhibited in The End is the Beginning exhibition
Best thing(s) about living in Melbourne's north-east:
I'm in a great location; close to the city and all the things that come with that such as good coffee, a huge choice of places to eat and buy fresh produce, lots of independent shops, heaps of galleries, as well as vast area of open space with all the parks and trails, and everything's within walking distance.

The cafes are filled all day long, and the streets are always buzzing with activity. If I have been inside working all day and feeling like I'm isolated in my home studio where I work, all I need to do is go for a short walk down to my local shops or along the Yarra Trail bike path, and I feel as though I'm still a part of the world.

For more information:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baa Baa Black Sheep

While I have taken the boys to Collingwood Children's Farm a number of times, there are a couple of other farms in the north-east well worth a visit.

Edendale Farm in Eltham is located a hop, skip and jump away from the Eltham North Adventure Playground (you can park in the carpark and then walk to the farm).  It is a good example of sustainability in action and a number of kinders and schools in the local area have excursions there as well as it being open to the general public.

Bundoora Park in Bundoora also has animals, tractor rides and is a great venue for children's parties.  There is also a Farmers Market held at Bundoora Park on a regular basis.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A couple of things...

I received hard copies of the White and Yellow pages the other day.  While I realise they are running a business, I'm annoyed at the waste of paper and the fact that it should be an opt in rather than an opt out choice in this day and age.  It's not widely publicised but you can choose to cancel deliveries by visiting

Another tip for locals in the north east care of my friend Katarina.  There's a childrens wear shop in Montmorency called Tops and Bottoms.  Apparently it stocks all sort of accessories for school - smocks, bloomers, shorts, socks, rain coats, jumpers etc. 

The best part is that the mother-and-daughter owners also sell customised hair accessories (ribbons, clips, headbands) for girls in school colours that are hand made locally (as are the smocks) and have researched all the schools in the local area.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Such a perfect day

I thought most of Melbourne had left town this Labour Day weekend.  I was wrong. Everyone was at Moomba!  The boys and I braved the crowds yesterday and it was a perfect day in Melbourne.  Blue skies, a gentle breeze, the noise of the parade and buskers in the street and people everywhere.

The famous Spiegeltent
We sought refuge on the Arts Centre lawn where we had a picnic lunch in the sun.  I also got the chance to take some pics of the Spiegeltent (above) and W class tram-cum-bar (below) that have been temporarily set up near the Arts Centre.

Iconic W class Tram-cum-bar
We walked back to Flinders Street station via Southbank which looked magnificent yesterday...

...and I was envious of all the people drinking at the new bars located right on the river.

Ponyfish Island bar
 And then the boys and I headed back to Rosanna on the train.

Friday, March 11, 2011

M is for Morocco

I've had a thing for Middle Eastern food, art and design for the best part of 10 years now.  In fact so much so that my best friend Jules and I had a Morrocan-inspired joint 30th birthday party and my hen's night was spent doing a belly dancing class with my girlfriends followed by dinner at a Turkish restaurant.  I think all those years living off Sydney Road definitely rubbed off on me.

I've cooked a few recipes from Claudia Roden's book 'Arabesque' (not to be confused with Greg Malouf's book of the same name) as well as done a Moroccan cooking class with Meera Freeman (one of my best ever Christmas presents from Mr Rosanna).  When I lived in the inner north, I used to go to the Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy and Rumi in Brunswick.  I've also heard great things about Abla's in Carlton as well.

Locally, I have eaten at Sabas Lebanese restaurant in Ivanhoe a few times now and it's quite traditional right down to the belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  I'm not quite sure if this adds to the ambience or not but the food is great.

Tip: If you're into Morrocan homewares like me, there's a fabulous shop in Collingwood called Metroscope.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A night at the flicks

Westgarth Cinema image via Wikipedia
Sadly these days, Mr Rosanna and I collapse on the couch most Friday and Saturday nights and hire a DVD if we think we can stay up long enough.  Ah life with small children who get up at the crack of dawn...

I was reading that movies are still most Australians' favourite past-time in terms of entertainment over and above museums, galleries, zoos and live music.  Given our love of all things Art Deco, it should be no surprise then on our rare nights out, we go to either the Westgarth Cinema (pictured) in Northcote or the Rivoli in Hawthorn.

Mr Rosanna and I actually had our wedding reception at the Regal Ballroom, which is the old Northcote Theatre and considered one of the oldest surviving picture theatres in Melbourne.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Decidedly Deco

Mr Rosanna and I both love Art Deco.  While retro seems to be big in fashion and interiors at the moment, I will always be a Deco girl at heart.  In my next life, I would be re-born as Anna May Wong (pictured) - an Asian American film star from the 1920s.

I was at the Centre Ivanhoe in Ivanhoe today and it's a fantastic example of Art Deco architecture.  If you turn left and take a drive down Melcombe Road, you'll also see the stunning Beaumont Estate built by A.V. Jennings in the 1930s.

Nearby Eaglemont Village is also another favourite - I've popped into the Eaglemont Dish cafe when I've been in the area and I've also heard good things about the Eaglemont Cellars if you like a drink.  It makes a great pit stop if you ever choose to walk the Heidelberg School Artists Trail.

Tip: Two of my favourite Art Deco retailers are Deco Heaven in Tyabb and Prism Lighting if you are looking for special pieces.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creative types

Kat Mcleod tea set
I've mentioned Heide before.  The full title is Heide Museum of Modern Art and it is one of my favourite places in the north east.  I grew up in Bulleen and have been going there for many years now.  Heide has also evolved through the years with new gallery spaces, a great retail shop (check out my Kat Mcleod tea set pictured right) and Shannon Bennett's Cafe Vue.  It is one of best things about living around here and has also featured in local band Little Red's 'Coca Cola' film clip.

I've had a number of picnics in the park at Heide (you can pick up $15 picnic boxes from Cafe Vue) and also had lunch at the cafe which has an outdoor courtyard if you have kids.  They also hold children's activities during the school holidays.

There are a number of other museums and galleries around the place including the La Trobe University Museum of Modern Art (LUMA) and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in Bundoora and the Manningham Gallery in Doncaster which holds the Victorian Ceramic Art Award.  In Eltham, you'll find Montsalvat and the newly opened Light Factory Gallery.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A good read

I confess to being bookish and love a good read when I have both the time and energy.  There's been a fair amount of press recently on the supposed demise of book stores with the advent of online retailers like Amazon and e-books like Kindle.

When I lived in Brunswick, I would buy my books mainly from Readings and the Brunswick Street Bookstore.  Since moving to Rosanna, I have become a regular at Andrew's Books in Ivanhoe and have also heard great things about the Eltham Bookshop.  Please support your local, independent bookstore if you can - it means the money stays in our local community giving local people jobs, a reduced carbon footprint and a thriving literary scene here in the north-east.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Gabriella & me - Rome '99
Ah Italy...and moving onto Italian food.  It's long been a favourite and I've been lucky enough to dine at some of Melbourne's top Italian restaurants and cafes over the years including Caffe e Cucina, Il Bacaro, Cafe Di Stasio and Grossi Florentino as well as more casual places like I Carusi and Ladro.

While Mr Rosanna and I spend more of our time these days at family pizza restaurants like Pasquale M and Pizzeria Amici, there are also some nice Italian restaurants around here including Va Tutto (the bistro is more afforable than the restaurant) and Condotti's in Ivanhoe.  I've also heard good things about Pizza Espresso in Templestowe.  Further afield, there is also Svago (owned by ex-Caffe e Cucina staff) in Kew which is more upmarket than everyday and prices reflect that.

The Eating in Banyule guide for 2011/12 has just come out so click here to download a copy or have one sent to you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Put your hand up

I've done voluntary work a few times in my life.  The first time, I was mid-career and worked for a fashion networking organisation just to keep my finger in the pie.  More recently, I've been on my son Thomas' kinder committee at his kinder which is completely managed by parents.

Whether you are yet to start your career, mid-career, contemplating a new career or retired; voluntary work is a great way of giving something back to the community.  It's also a good way of working out what your true strengths are and gaining some valuable (albeit unpaid) real-life work experience at the same time.

Volunteers of Banyule holds free 2 hour monthly information sessions in Heidelberg and is a non-profit organisation offering a range of services to the volunteering community in Melbourne's metropolitan north-east.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Around the 'hood

I've mentioned Rosanna Fire Station Community House before.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market is actually coordinated by the Livingstone Community Centre and in fact there are seven Neighbourhood Houses and Community Centres in Banyule alone.  Banyule's neighbourhood houses are actually part of a larger 30 centre group known as the North East Neighbourhood House network.

All sorts of courses are available at these centres which offer practical and affordable education, leisure, recreation, creative and personal development programs.  Some centres also offer volunteer programs to give people opportunities to learn practical skills in office administration, tutor support, gardening or other activities.

No matter your age or stage in life, you're never too old to learn.  One of the best things about getting older is still having the ability to surprise yourself by doing something completely new and unexpected.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A new season

My Keds shoes!
It's officially Autumn - now my favourite season of the year.  Perhaps because I'm approaching the same season in my life.  I've already started wearing closed toe shoes and long sleeve tops!  If you're into vintage shopping like me, there are a few places worth checking out on this side of town.

There's a Savers store in Greensborough.  Last time I was there I picked up a couple of new lightweight wool tops, some nautical style Keds sneakers and a very cool 70s striped Puma jacket.  One of Melbourne's top stylists visits the store every Monday to nab the best stuff put on the floor.

A new Savers store has also recently opened in Mill Park if you ever venture that far north.  I'm sure there are lots more fashion bargains to be had!