Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finding inspiration

It's been a year since I started Miss Rosanna.  I was looking for some inspiration and a creative outlet when I began my blog and I have to say to my surprise, that I've largely found it and even more.  Thanks for going on the journey with me.

I've previously mentioned my love of old theatres.  I think they hark back to a time when the women were glamorous and it was all about style and having fun.  Like the Regal Ballroom, the Thornbury Theatre can also be hired out as a wedding (or other) venue as well as now being a live music venue.
Foyer image via The Thornbury Theatre
As of this Thursday, the Thornbury Theatre will be kicking off it's summer nights foyer program Thursday - Sunday from 5 pm where some of Melbourne's best jazz and blues artists will perform.  They're throwing open the main doors and turning the Grand Foyer into an intimate space to have a few drinks with friends and enjoy the ambience and live music.  Sounds pretty good to me!  The Thornbury Theatre is located at 859 High Street, Thornbury.

Monday, January 30, 2012

School's in for summer

So school starts this week and Mr Rosanna and I have left our run a bit late in terms of getting all the things we need ready in time for Thomas starting school.  However better late than never!

School of Rock image via Wikipedia
If you are looking for affordable school shoes for kids, there are a few local places worth visiting.  There is a Clarks shoe factory outlet at 324 Darebin Road in Fairfield where we've previously picked up sandals for the boys.  Along the way, you'll go past other factory outlets all along that stretch of road as you head west from Ivanhoe.

There's also Morton's shoes in Ivanhoe on Upper Heidelberg Road.  They also sell Clarks shoes (but generally not on sale) and often have discounted shoes out the front in their display bins.  We've picked up sneakers for Thomas from them a couple of times and the boys love the special kids seating area.

We did manage to find some Slazenger leather shoes for Thomas at Shu Way near Macleod on Saturday.  They don't sell Clarks but do have other labels including Bata and other sports brands.  Shu Way has been there for something like 40 years - Mr Rosanna can remember going there as a child.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Local profile - Meera Govil

Bookshop owners have not had an easy time these past 12 months.  And in many ways, I think 2011 was a challenging year for Meera Govil - owner of the Eltham Bookshop - in more ways than one.  The mark of someone's character is how they cope when things aren't going their way and that's why I have the utmost respect for Meera.  The lady is a fighter!  Bookshops, like cafes and galleries, are the heart and soul of any great community and I will continue to buy my books from Meera this year.  Read on for more.

Name: Meera Govil
Occupation: Bookseller
Lives/Works: Eltham
How long have you lived/worked here?: 18 years

Describe yourself/what you do:
I set up Eltham Bookshop 14 years ago in the main street of Eltham because I perceived a gap in the retail strip and wanted to fulfil a dream I had carried with me since I was a child.  The philosophy of the bookshop from its inception has been to stock world literature across all genres, to provide the highest quality of customer service, to organise community events whereby writers can be presented and are able to converse with their readers.

There are three literary festivals organised during the year in partnership with community groups and the University of Melbourne.  Past Matters in April celebrates indigenous literature, New Voices in July presents first time published writers and World Matters in October explores political, environmental and social justice issues through fiction, non fiction, poetry and music.  A monthly book club meets at the bookshop and local writers who produce works of quality are launched with pride.  The bookshop also helps with fund raising for local schools and community groups such as The View Club.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north east:
People respond to community gatherings and there is a great deal of empathy for the world of ideas and knowledge.

For more information:
Email: elthambookshop@bigpond.com
Ph: 9439 8700
Address: 970 Main Road Eltham
For Book Matters, find us on Facebook!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Food glorious food

Image via Mister Bianco Facebook page
I actually don't go out to eat all that often so when I do these days, it's usually been organised way in advance.  I did want to mention some new places in Kew which have had recent mentions in The Age Epicure.
Image via Chester White Facebook page
I'm heading to Mister Bianco next month for dinner with some girlfriends who live locally - it's Italian - one of my fave cuisines and it looks more grown up which I love given I normally spend most of my time these days eating in family-friendly places.  Other eateries of note include Chester White which is kid-friendly - they even have iPads for the kids to play with - and apparently a big focus on pork as well as Percy's Aeroplane for good cafe fare.
Image via Percy's Aeroplane Cafe Facebook page
Closer to home, my in-laws have started going to Vasko in Ivanhoe on a weekly basis - it's licensed and the food is apparently very good.  It's where Floyd used to be on Upper Heidelberg Road and was formerly in Macleod.  Family and friends have also dined at Barrio further up the road - a place I've always wanted to go - it's more fine dining and the owners are ex-Italy 1 (Camberwell) and Bottega (Bourke St).

No post tomorrow given it's Australia Day but I'll be back with a local profile on Friday.  Enjoy your day off tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A bit of support

Christmas, and the New Year for that matter, is not always an easy time for people.  If you are needing some extra support, you can contact Diamond Valley Community Support.  Amongst other things, they offer financial counselling, personal and relationship counselling, a Justice of the Peace, Legal and Material Aid service as well as fax, photocopying, internet, email and information services.  The Kingsbury Drive Community Market in the La Trobe University car park is actually part of this.  Contact them on 9435 8282 Monday - Friday from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm or email: info@dvsupport.org.au for more information.
On another note, I've mentioned that Mr Rosanna and I are undertaking a bit of home improvement.  I was actually out on the road on Saturday getting jobs done.  I'm having some cushions made up with remnant fabric at Finer Home Furnishings in Heidelberg to match my favourite Art Deco-style arm chairs (pictured above).  I think there's a misconception that interior decorating/design is expensive (and I'm sure that it can be depending on where you go) but these guys seem pretty affordable (and stylish to boot).  Local retailers are doing it hard at the moment so I am more than happy to give them my business if the quality is there and the price is right.
Image via The Map Room blog
I noticed a new Italian restaurant called Bomba has opened on Burgundy St which caught my eye as I headed to Ivanhoe.  I had to buy a present for a friend who is a Francophile (as am I) and a keen traveller.  I was tossing up between buying a Laguiole French cheese knife at Darriwill Farm or some L'Occitane product from Mount's Pharmacy.  In the end I did neither and bought this book (above) from Andrew's Books.  Given our whole family is obsessed with trains and maps, I probably should have bought a copy for us as well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung hei fat choy

May prosperity be with you and wishing you a happy Chinese New Year!  The Chinese believe the new year is a time of reconciliation and that what you do/how you behave in the next 14 days of celebration sets the tone for the rest of this year - something you may want to keep in mind over the next fortnight.

If you are wanting to celebrate the Year of the Dragon - the big day will be next Sunday 29 January in Melbourne's Chinatown.  Be warned that it's often hot and very noisy but well worth the trip into town.  Try to get a booking for yum cha if you can and the Chinese Museum will also have free entry if you get a chance to pop your head in.
Image via Meditate in Melbourne
I mentioned last week that one of my new year's resolutions was to start meditation.  I had my first class (of a six week course) last week taken by a buddhist monk no less.  I've practised yoga for a long time now and in many ways, I've seen meditation as a complementary activity.  Yoga for the body and meditation for the mind.  Both are good for the soul : )
Image via Meditate in Hobart
You don't have to be into Buddhism to do meditation - I think mindfulness and training your mind to be more self aware in general (in terms of your own thinking and behaviour) is of great benefit in life.   Buddhists believe that happiness is inner peace and meditation is one of the ways to cultivate this state so that you are a calmer, happier person irrespective of what's going on in your external world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Local profile - Jen and Olley

One of the nicest things about starting my blog has been the community of readers it has created.  Jen has been one of these people.  I sometimes think you readers out there live way more interesting lives than me!  Read on for more about Jen and her son Olley...
Olley the Dragon
Name: Jen and Olley
Occupation: Jen - Research analyst, Olley - Painter and lego expert
Lives/works: Rosanna/CBD
How long have you lived here? We have lived in Rosanna for 18 months hot on the heels of Macleod, Canberra, Timor-Leste and Fitzroy, to name a few.

Describe yourself/what you do:
Being 3 years old Olley thinks he sets the agenda, and I let him....think that.  That's the art of motherhood, that and juggling.  For a team of two, we get a lot done.   I work four days gathering and analysing data on government services, and wondering why economists and social skills don't mix.  Occasionally I try and change the world, but it bites me back.  I chose to be a mother despite being single, and although that choice has limited my career,  I wouldn't change it.  Despite having had five career changes, I dream about one more - being an artist, and sometimes I am.

Olley wants to go on another holiday.  He says he wants to go to Paris 'to know what Paris feel like'.  I may take him to see Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" cos that's cheaper, and less travel time.  He surprises me by never (well almost never) being afraid, not even of thunder and lightning.  And he likes sculpture, particularly those gorgeous 6 metre tall black porcelain babies that guarded Swanston St during the International Festival.  Were they not awesome?

Best thing(s) about living in Melbourne's north east:
The express train, Rosanna Golf Links park, cultural and social diversity in the hood, ribs from Sinner's in Macleod, Heide sculpture garden, having a connection with the past (I grew up in Macleod) and witnessing change for the better (like Miss Marie's cafe!).

For more information:
I am a reformed social networker who no longer has a website or Facebook page, and have only sent drunken tweets on someone else's phone at the Xmas party (evidence that I should not be anywhere near a blog).  If you want to talk about choosing to be a single mum or desperately need a copy of my PhD on how Timor-Leste manages it petroleum revenue (no, I thought not) you can contact me via Miss Rosanna if you don't catch me hanging out at Miss Marie.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Funky beats

One of the more fun things we did with the kids over the Christmas break was attend a party where we all did African Drumming and Dance.  I've mentioned Mr Rosanna's cousin Tamsen before who has been practising for a while and is friends with many West African teachers.
Shabba runs African Star Dance and my boys had a ball at the party using the djembe drums and shouting 'Africa!'  They're still talking about it weeks later.  African Star Dance is available for school workshops, libraries, holiday programs, kinders as well as birthday parties.  You can also hire djembe drums from them.  Call 0433 454 282/ 0406 807 059 or email info@africanstardance.com for more information.
Speaking of exercise, I also picked up the Diamond Valley Bushwalking Club's brochure over the break.  The club was formed in 1985 and has around 200 members.  It encourages both beginners and experienced walkers of both sexes in family or single memberships.  Walks are held almost every weekend of the year as well as on Wednesdays.  Family registration is $10 and annual fees are $50 while a single registration is $8 and annual fee is $30.  For more information email dvbwc@yahoo.com.au

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Your attention please

Ok.  I've never thought of myself as a speed demon but somehow leading up to Christmas, both Mr Rosanna and I copped speeding fines (and 4 demerit points) in the local area.  Not happy Jan.  So in the interests of being a good community citizen I wanted to let you know where the cameras are (look out for a Holden).  It is a 50km speed zone along Ellesmere Parade between Ruthven St and Lower Plenty Rd (ie the street that runs alongside the railway) in Rosanna and also Banyule Road between the Graham Rd and Rutherford Rd roundabouts in Viewbank.

Market image via Sprout Community Market
The other thing I wanted to bring to your attention is a special Maker's Market being held in the heart of Banyule's historic Olympic Village on Saturday 4 February from 10am - 2pm.  Craft makers and artisans are now being invited to register as a stall holder for the Olympic Shopping Village Makers Market.  Registration is free and some equipment will be provided.  For more information call Rob Ball Community Cultural Development Officer on 0478 404 436 or email rob.ball@banyule.vic.gov.au

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vegging out

Mr Rosanna and I undertook a bit of home improvement over the Christmas break given we had a staycation here in Rosanna.  Finally working on the home office (for me) and music studio (for him) not to mention giving our garden and deck a bit of an overhaul.
Bulleen Art and Garden image via Winter in Banyule
We went to Bulleen Art and Garden over the weekend and it's one of my favourite local haunts.  It's also the 2012 state winner of the Nursery and Garden Industry of Australia Environment award.  The nursery shop is a treasure trove of gorgeous Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian wares and the whole place has a bohemian, arty feel to it.  Not surprisingly there is also a gallery inside and they run classes, workshops and events with a big focus on sustainability.  Just remember to wear sensible shoes if you go in the summer, Mr Rosanna and I were in thongs and I had a minor freak out given the 'Beware of snakes' sign in the garden itself (the nursery is by the river).
Bulleen Art and Garden image via Winter in Banyule
Speaking of sustainability, I also wanted to mention my clever friend Ms de Burg - a lover of food, travel, photography and music amongst other things -  who has launched her own blog My vegie patch.  Her 2012 challenge is to cook one dish per week using something from her garden and I have to say I was salivating over the OMG chocolate and zucchini cake from last week.  Look for her gorgeous pics and cool tunes to play when cooking up her fabulous treats.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Enter the Dragon

Welcome to 2012!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday break and are ready to start a new year.  If you've already broken or haven't made any new year's resolutions you've still got time as Chinese New Year doesn't start until January 23 - the Year of the Dragon.
Image via Wikipedia
The dragon is considered the most auspicious of the Chinese zodiac signs as the dragon is a mythical beast rather than a real animal.  For the Chinese, the dragon represents power, good fortune and dynamic energy.  Sounds good to me - I'm ready to shake things up a little!

My new year's resolutions?  I have a few including taking up meditation (I'll let you know how that goes), watching less TV (and instead doing more creative things with my time) and spending less money on things that aren't necessities.  My final overall resolution is simply to do more of the things that make me happy.  More tomorrow!