Friday, April 29, 2011

Local Profile - Meera Freeman

I first heard of Meera Freeman many years ago when I went to a cafe she had in Prahran for a fashion networking organisation dinner.  Mr Rosanna then re-discovered her for me when he bought me a gift voucher for Christmas to attend one of her amazing Moroccan cooking classes.  It was one of the best experiences I've ever had.  Needless to say I dream about taking one of her culinary tours to Morocco at some future stage.  She is also an accomplished photographer with her own blog.
Name: Meera Freeman 
Occupation: Food consultant, Tour leader, Author 
Lives/works: Carlton South
How long have you lived/worked here? 16 Years

Describe yourself/what you do:
I have been running my cooking school for 21 years now, teaching Italian, Thai, Moroccan and Vietnamese cuisines.  I have written 3 cookbooks and been involved in many other activities, most recently completing a photography diploma and starting my blog.  For the past ten years, I have been leading cultural and culinary tours to Morocco, a country with simply amazing scenery, perfumes and flavours.  Further details, including the link to my blog, can be found on my website. 
Meera's commercial kitchen space
Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
Such close proximity to the city centre, Victoria Market, Sydney Rd, Lygon St and Victoria St – in fact  - most of the Melbourne's food and cultural precincts.  Walking and public transport gives me quick and easy access to everything that makes Melbourne one of the world's most liveable cities.

For more information:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Autumn delight

I love Autumn - it's a great time to be out and about.  There's a lot on this weekend.  Crosshatched is a great initiative to raise money for Indian potters. The charity auction takes place tomorrow night from 6 - 8pm at Pan Gallery in Brunswick.  The Made N Thornbury indoor community craft market is on this Saturday from 10am - 2.30pm.  It's an initiative of the Thornbury Women's Neighbourhood House which also runs a six-week Make Craft Your Business course.  The Diamond Village Baby & Kids Market in Watsonia is also on this Saturday from 9am - 1pm.  This annual market of over 50 stalls sells mostly pre-loved and some new clothes, toys and equipment.  Entry is free.

On Sunday, the Ivanhoe Fiesta is on from 10am - 4pm on Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe.  While the usual kids activities like face painting, animal farm, rides and games will be on - highlights include Dora the Explorer, a live snake show as well as music by the Diesel Trio featuring the musician Diesel.

Speaking of music, Kimbra's new music video 'Cameo Lover' directed by local Guy Franklin is officially out.  Check out those funky dance moves!

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hip and happening

The Yarra Valley is surprisingly close if you live in the north-east - it took us less than an hour to get to Healesville over the Easter break.  Along the way, you can stop off at the Yarra Valley Grand Hotel (owned and run by Melbourne actors Alison Whyte and hubby Fred Whitlock) and check out the antique shops across the road.  There are also numerous wineries and accommodation options as you head towards Healesville.  We went past the Tarrawarra Museum of Art which I'd love to go to next time.  The gorgeous Yarra Valley Dairy too is not far away.

Healesville Sanctuary entrance
As you head into Healesville you go past the Yarra Valley Railway where there is a playground out the front.  Once you get into town, you'll see the Healesville Hotel (run by the Yarra Valley Harvest group) and it's companion Harvest Cafe and Kitchen & Butcher on the main road as well as some pretty cool shops and Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander winery that have all opened in recent years.  Mr Rosanna and I have actually stayed at the Healesville Hotel pre-children (if you don't mind noise and a communal bathroom) after a special occasion dinner at the restaurant.  For a cheaper option, you can eat at the bistro or cafe.  The Yarra Valley Harvest group also now offers luxurious farmhouse accommodation.  The owners are ex-Melbourne and it certainly shows.
Hanging out
The Healesville Sanctuary is also a fantastic day out - the Birds of Prey interactive display where giant eagles fly overhead in an open amphitheatre is one of the best I've ever experienced.  There's also your usual quota of cute and cuddly Australian mammals.  The Healesville Hotel also runs the Sanctuary Harvest cafe if you feel like something a bit more upmarket as well standard cafe fare like pies, chips and great coffee (Genovese).

Monday, April 18, 2011

All quiet on the home front

Easter is on its way and I'm looking forward to having a break and catching up with friends and family over the holiday period.  I've just spent the past weekend doing same and it's really the most important thing in my life at the moment - spending quality time with the people I care most about.

Will & Thomas - Point Lonsdale holiday
Not a lot happening this week so I may not post again until after the Easter break.  Enjoy your holidays!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Local Profile - Natarsha Kershaw

Natarsha Kershaw is another one of my younger friends who is definitely going places.  After completing her media degree at Swinburne, she landed a fashion PR internship in New York prior to returning home to start her own business Fashion Rebel.  She is also heavily involved with an edgy new online fashion business called Young Republic about to launch here in Australia.  What a star (and best of all she lives around the corner from me!).

The fashion rebel - Natarsha Kershaw
Name: Natarsha Kershaw
Occupation: Director of Fashion Rebel, Media Consultant, Freelance Fashion & Food Writer
Lives/works: Rosanna/City
How long have you lived/worked here? 20 years! I work from home and my city office.  

Describe yourself/what you do:
I'm 23… I'm well-travelled. In my spare time I love to write, collect vintage clothing and play Super Nintendo. I'm a passionate cook, I take my skinny latte strong with one sugar and still watch the Simpsons every night at 6pm.

I specialise in fashion journalism, media relations and online marketing. I realized there was a gap in the market and decided to launch my own company.  An alternative to mainstream media, Fashion Rebel provides small scale, independent and local businesses with an affordable and credible service designed to boost sales, generate exposure and shape consumer interests. Plus, it offers unbiased brand knowledge to assist consumers in making an educated and informed purchasing decision. 

Natarsha at home with her beloved dogs
Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
I've loved witnessing the evolution of the humble 'burbs. The transformation and development of a blank strip in just a matter of years… I have an honest appreciation for living in Melbourne's north-east.  I love walking with my dogs Cha-Chi and Sunny. I feel like the Rosanna Parklands are an extension of my backyard.

About Fashion Rebel
Fashion Rebel is a unique and exciting platform where Australian designers, boutiques and cafĂ© owners can broadcast their passions to the online world.  It primarily serves as a directory, responsible for successfully guiding thousands of local and international shoppers on a journey through the streets of Melbourne.
twitter: fashionrebelaus
Facebook: Fashion Rebel

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New again

Banyule Art Space image via
The Banyule Arts Space in Ivanhoe is one of my fave places in the area.  It doesn't look like much from the outside but go inside and you'll find a gorgeous restored Art Deco theatre.  The Ivanhoe Maker's Market is also held there as well as art exhibitions like 21 NEW which opens next week.

21 NEW is a selection of recent aquisitions to Banyule City Council's art collection which have not been shown to the local community until now.  Opening night is next Wednesday from 6 - 8pm featuring the Phoenix Singers - a community choir in Ivanhoe.  Call 03) 9457 9906 for enquiries or to RSVP.  The exhibition runs from 21 April to 14 May on Wednesday - Saturday from 11am - 5pm.  Entry is free.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Keeping them amused

It's school holiday time and I've lost track of all the playdates I've made.  Have also been baking like a demon (just call me Suzie Homemaker).  There are lots of activities on for children depending on what they're into and what you can afford to do.  While I'm a big believer in the simple things like catching up with other children in your neighbourhood and spending time outdoors, there's also lots to do in your local community.

Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen has a number of activities for kids and families over the school holidays including artist-led workshops linked to Heide's exhibitions, history and gardens.  The Yarra Plenty Regional Library also has a number of kids events leading up to Easter.  Your local fitness/leisure centre is also a good place to check out as they usually run school holiday programs and activities.  Both YMCA Macleod and the Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre are doing this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Light as air

The Light Factory Gallery is a relatively new gallery which opened last year in Eltham.  It's mission is to promote excellence, innovation and passion for fine arts.  The gallery was originally built in 1973 as a light factory by renowned local architect/builder Alistair Knox.  You can also do art classes at the gallery as well as attend exhibitions.

The gallery also includes a teahouse that overlooks a sculpture garden. The garden changes every three months with new sculptures being exhibited and you can also grab a coffee, tea or light meal at the teahouse if you're feeling a bit peckish.  High tea is also available on Sunday afternoons.

A new exhibition titled 'Living in Art' by Echo Chai starts this week.  Opening night drinks are being held this Friday from 6pm at the gallery.  The Light Factory Gallery is located at 26 Brougham Street, Eltham.  Entry is free.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

Edwardes Lake
I found myself in Reservoir this weekend where I took Thomas for a play at Edwardes Lake park.  I'd never been there before.  He loved the vintage steam train, the playground and the very friendly ducks and big black swan at the lake itself.  It's a very pretty part of the world - lots of young families feeding the ducks and enjoying the lovely morning.

Vintage steam train - Edwardes Lake park
We grabbed brunch at Jackson Dodds cafe in Preston (Regent) further up the road.  It's kid-friendly with a children's table and chairs, high chairs and change table in the toilets (which are a good walk up the side street). It's also located near the end of the Gilbert Road tram terminus and near another reserve so Thomas had a second play outside.  I think that whole part of town is slowly gentrifying with young singles and families moving out there while it's still affordable.

The 'Jacks' brekky - yum!
There's another couple of cafes out Preston way, I've mentioned Boundary Espresso before and there's also Pearl Oyster which is a bit 50s and 60s inspired.  Mr Rosanna and I actually had dinner at Jim's Greek Tavern in Collingwood on Saturday night and I'm happy to say not a thing has changed at that place for 20 years - the food is great, it's loud and raucous and we had a really fun night out without the kids.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Local Profile - Jodie Baud

Oooh there's a lot of clever, crafty people out there. If you're into all things crafty, it's worth checking out and Frankie magazineI keep coming across a lot of designer makers, artists and musicians in my local neighbourhood and Jodie Baud is one of them. 

Jodie and her gorgeous family

Name: Jodie Baud 
Occupation: Designer - Jolie Petite Chose (Pretty Little Thing)
Lives/works:  Eltham
How long have you lived/worked here? 7 years

Describe yourself/what you do:
Jolie Petite Chose is an Eltham based online business that makes handmade baby mobiles and cushions.  I have always had an immense love of unique, hand made crafts. There is nothing better than a beautiful hand made item.

Over the past 7 years, I have worked in fashion and became the mother of Charlotte - my beautiful little daughter - almost 2 years ago.

I found it really challenging to find gorgeous mobiles, so with my background in sewing and design, I started to put together a few items. Soon enough my family and friends were encouraging me to take my love of beautiful, handmade things a step further.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
Eltham is well known for its history of art and it is lovely to be in such an inspiring, green and leafy place

The north-east of Melbourne has numerous wonderful family friendly areas like Eltham North Adventure Park and Edendale Farm that we love to visit.

For more information: 
You can also see what I'm working on Facebook and Twitter

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet treats

There's a free community Picnic in the Park at Binnak Park in Bundoora this Sunday from 11am - 2pm (weather permitting).  There'll be live entertainment from gypsy band Vardos, life size board games and prizes for 'best picnic hamper' amongst other things.  It's a good chance to meet neighbours and friends in the area and feel like a part of the local community.

The Fairy Floss handmade baby and kids market is also on in Bulleen this Sunday.  Speaking of confectionery, I stopped in at Chocolatier in Ivanhoe North today to pick up some gorgeous Easter goodies.  I think my son Will thought he'd gone to chocolate heaven - not that he needs any encouragement.  If you're in the area, it's worth grabbing a coffee at Lip cafe while you're there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Music and a show

For chamber music enthusiasts, Monsalvat in Eltham is presenting two concerts this coming weekend.  The Flinders Quartet is performing on Saturday afternoon and the Australian Youth Orchestra String Quartet on Sunday. Tickets are $35 and can be booked at

Artist Arlo Mountford's The Vanishing Point of History' exhibition is also on at the moment and runs until 21 April at LUMA (La Trobe University Museum of Art) in Bundoora.  Enjoy culture vultures!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A little bit crafty

The Sprout Community Market is on this Thursday from 2 - 7pm and is held on the first Thursday of every month (except Winter & January) in Thornbury.  The market is a Mind Australia horticulture and enterprise initiative with a sustainable and creative focus designed to promote mental and physical well being.

The market has a variety of stalls (including organically grown produce, dried herbs and plants; food & drink; kids activities; local crafts, arts and designs) as well as music, and often workshops and demonstrations.  Produce has been produced on site as well as from stall holders from the wider, local community (within 100 miles).

I've also discovered another gorgeous seasonal market in the north called Northside Makers - a not-for-profit craft collective for crafts people, hobbyists and micro-business in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Healthy, wealthy and wise

Fu Lu Shou (Healthy, Wealthy & Wise) Chinese icons
I went to lunch at Wealth Garden Chinese Seafood restaurant in Doncaster over the weekend.  The food was great!  We had an assortment of dishes including the steamed fish, sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken with cashew nuts, beef and broccoli (cooked to perfection) and stir fried prawn and vegetables.  Yum.  If you're ever in Richmond, check out Pacific Seafood BBQ House in Victoria Street for fantastic Asian seafood - their mixed oyster dish is sublime and a number of Melbourne's top chefs like casual dining there. 

There are two other things I wanted to mention - one is a great website called Victoria Walks - a site designed to make neighbourhoods safer and more walk-friendly.  You can even find your own local walking group.  It's a great initiative funded by VicHealth. 

The other thing is primary school enrolments for 2012.  There is actually a network of government primary schools in Banyule.  Now is the time to be visiting your local primary schools if you have a child starting school next year - many schools are holding tours, information evenings and open days in the coming months.  I've said before, your local school may not actually be the one you end up sending your child to - so it pays to do your research now.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Local Profile - Vivien Adler

A lot of people talk about career change, few of us actually are brave enough to do it.  Not Vivien Adler.  She has successfully navigated moving from a long career in human services to opening her own Morrocan homewares outlet called Metroscope in Collingwood.  What an inspiring life!
Vivien in the Sahara desert
Name: Vivien Adler 
Occupation: Importer & retailer of Moroccan goodies/consultant in human services field 
Lives/works: Collingwood 
How long have you lived/worked here? 7 years

Describe yourself/what you do:
After working in health and human services for 30 plus years, I decided it was time for a change. I now have the terrible job of travelling to Morocco each year to shop. I try to buy enough to fill a shipping container – mosaic tables, lanterns, ceramics, tea glasses and lots of other gorgeous things. Many are made specially for us. 

I'm not normally a shopper but there are so many beautiful homewares and handcrafts in Morocco it's really hard to resist, and with a shipping container, I don't have to! Although my husband reminds me every now and then that we're not buying for ourselves.  In my spare time I do some consulting work in the human services field – program evaluations, strategic plans, etc. It keeps the neurons connecting.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
I first moved to Northcote in the early 80s – you couldn't get a decent cup of coffee back then. How it's changed! I then moved to Clifton Hill and we are now in Collingwood. Each of the suburbs are different and special. I'm enjoying the varied aspects of Collingwood – the grunge, the trendy, the cutting edge arts and there are still some older people who migrated here and worked in the local factories. It's such a mixture! And there are lots of places you can get a really good cup of coffee!
320 Wellington St Collingwood