Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feliz Navidad

I am going to sign off for Christmas here on this very hot December day.  I went out for a final pre-Christmas celebration last night with some ex-work colleagues to MoVida Aqui in the city and had a great night.  Mr Rosanna and I have been to the original MoVida in Hosier Lane a couple of times but this was my first experience of the much bigger space at Movida Aqui - up the stairs and right next to their brother bar in Paco's Tacos with open air tables, smaller inside tables and bar tables as well as the more private group tables down the back past the kitchen.

Image via MoVida website
The menu is largely the same as MoVida with yummy Spanish individual and shared plates, the service was excellent - tightly run and seamlessly executed given we were in the earlier 6 - 8 pm dinner slot.  There were people everywhere getting right into the festive spirit and my friends and I retreated to the very groovy Paco's Tacos roof top bar for drinks after we finished dinner.
Image via Pacos Tacos website
We also wandered through Bourke Street Mall on our way home and even at 10pm at night, the city was buzzing with people of all ages out on the street, buskers playing music, queues of people looking at the Myer Christmas windows, workmen doing last minute jobs and even a couple of fire engines and bemused firemen parked right in the middle near the tram tracks.  It was not only looking, but also feeling, a lot like Christmas.

I made the mistake of taking the freeway home forgetting about The Boulevard Lights which are on every night from 8 - 11pm until Christmas where you can expect long delays if you take the Burke Road exit or the Lower Heidelberg Road entry point - take the back streets people if you do go!

I'm gearing up for another busy year next year not only continuing to work for Avant Card and The Light Factory Gallery but also with the gorgeous Rina Chia at Take 2 Markets - exciting stuff!  Plus possibly a couple of other smaller projects in the design and education fields - I will reveal more next year.

Whether you are having a staycation, going up country, down to the beach, interstate or (lucky you) overseas for Christmas, I wish you a peaceful, restful and joyous Christmas break spent with the people closest to you and I look forward to catching up with you online (or in the flesh!) in the New Year.  It's time to breathe...Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The long wind down

I'm not sure about you but I have started winding down the past week or so.  I've still got a bit of work to finish off for the year but I can actually feel the difference physically in my body - a sort of long exhale of relief and surrender to the year that's been.  I hope it's been a good one for you - this more introspective Year of the Snake.  People close to me have suffered from setbacks, illnesses and disappointments of various kinds this year so I am hoping the Year of the Horse - a more fast-paced, galloping year- is kinder to them in 2014 and that they continue to be kind to themselves.
Image via Hugh Mackay website
I've started reading The Good Life by Hugh Mackay who asks the question: What Makes a Life Worth Living?  I'm not even half way through yet but it has been interesting reading - the whole notion of looking to achieve wholeness as a person (and therefore letting ourselves fully experience the light and dark in all our lives) rather than seeking happiness per se.  He believes the good life is defined by our capacity for selflessness, the quality of our relationships and our willingness to connect with others in a useful way rather than the sum of our security, wealth, status, postcode, career success or level of happiness.  It's an interesting premise and perhaps something to keep in mind when contemplating goals or resolutions for the New Year.

I'm feeling a lot better after completing 10 weeks of boot camp and taking Chinese herbs all of this term.  It's actually been the first school term this year I've not been sick despite a succession of late nights and being the busiest I've ever been so go figure.  Mr Rosanna attributes it to the exercise while I know my herbalist would say it's the Chinese medicine - irrespective of what it is, it's nice to end this year feeling a lot healthier, fitter and stronger than I have felt most of this year.

While I'm on a philosophical note, I also wanted to list the top 5 regrets people have about life when confronting death according to Australian palliative carer Bronnie Ware, which you may have previously read about, but as a refresher and something else to think about over Christmas, the New Year and beyond, here they are again:

I wish I'd had the chance to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

I wish I didn't work so hard

I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings

I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends

I wish that I had let myself be happier

I have to say they have made me reappraise my life and how I choose to live it.  How about you?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cool Yule

Have you finished (or started) your Christmas shopping yet?  I'm on the tail end of it all and feeling relatively under control - it's the two lots of Christmas and other extra-curricular concerts/events from having one child at school and one at kinder that are killing me!

I wanted to post on a few things today.  There are a number of markets on this weekend and next - the Sisters' Market at QV starts today and is a good one if you're in the city this weekend and next.  The Lonely Hunter (formerly Blackbird Market) Market is on tomorrow in Fitzroy and closer to home, the Ivanhoe Makers Market is being held next Saturday 21 December and is a good one for last minute gifts - I am hoping to drop into this one.  It's a shame it's not on this weekend as you can pick up some lovely things for teachers while school is still on.
Image via The Melbourne Shop
For the more parochial like me (and if you have have overseas or interstate friends), I love some of the tres cool goodies that are available from The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi and Make Me Iconic.  If I'm ever going overseas again in the near future, I'd be taking some things from these shops as presents and cool souvenirs - something a bit different from a stuffed koala bear.
Image via Make Me Iconic
Locally, it all starts happening as well this weekend with Carols by Candlelight being held for the first time in Flintoff Street (opposite WaterMarc) in Greensborough tomorrow afternoon/evening (after being cancelled last year due to inclement weather), and the Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe start tomorrow night and run until Christmas (although it doesn't get dark until 9pm when you can really see the lights in all their glory).
I've still been celebrating with friends and went out with the school mums to Bomba Restaurant in Burgundy Street Heidelberg (not to be confused with Bomba in the city which is a different restaurant).  It's Italian and they do a special shared plate menu for groups of more than 8 people and had very generous serves as well as also catering for special dietary requirements (i.e. gluten and fructose-free) - I also assumed the Bomba they were referring to was Sophia Loren - photos of which feature on their wall.  The food was good aside from some of the meat being a little on the fatty side so it's a place I'd go back to again and maybe try a la carte.  Speaking of indulgences, my lovely client Margot Tasca from The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham dropped my Christmas present off to me yesterday - some handmade fine chocolates from Cacao which I look forward to eating over the festive period!  It's a good thing I've started running again....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh Lord

I'm suffering from Monday-itis today after having had a big weekend...well, as big a weekend you can get with kids.  And I can finally reveal where I took Mr Rosanna for his belated birthday dinner - the latest hipster hot spot Saint Crispin in Smith Street, Collingwood - it's named after the Patron Saint of cobblers, tanners and leather workers - a statue of which sits over the entrance door as you leave.

And yes, it was pretty awesome so I did well in choosing somewhere new.  It's got great street presence - classy yet more informal than your average fine dining establishment.  Yes, they still have cloth napkins and change over cutlery between courses but there are no tablecloths and it's definitely a more relaxed attitude to dining.  It was pumping on Saturday night - lots of young and older bright things all dressed up and a few group tables adding to the mix.  The bar area is also a great place to sit and have a drink with friends.
Mr Rosanna looking pretty happy
Mr Rosanna and I loved it - was great to go somewhere that definitely felt happening and the later 8.15pm session meant they dimmed the lights and pumped up the music so it was pretty atmospheric. The food matched the ambience - we both went three courses (note that if you choose premium options as Mr Rosanna did - the individual dishes have additional costs to the standard $60 per head).  Mr Rosanna went the marron for entree and the wagyu beef for main (which was absolutely sublime if you're a carnivore).  I went for the spring salad and swordfish.  We shared the chocolate and mango/coconut dessert options along with espresso coffees.  A nice touch was the amuse bouche (complimentary appetisers and digestifs) at the start and end of our meal along with bread and butter.

My only criticism, which is a personal thing, was that is was really loud.  At one stage, Mr Rosanna and I were yelling at each other across the table competing with the music, the sound of the open kitchen and staff as well as a number of very merry diners laughing their heads off.

Oooh yeah...was a fun night but I am feeling the effects of having gone out Friday night, Saturday night as well as yesterday afternoon to our neighbourhood street party which crept into evening.  The festivities have begun!  Hope you had a great weekend.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Four seasons

Our weather is so schizophrenic at the moment, I'm hoping Melbourne's real summer does start to happen soon!  In the mean time, I just wanted to mention a couple of local happenings.  Given the rain and the cold, it's timely that Helen Webster who I profiled recently on Miss Rosanna is holding her annual sale at Ivanhoe Uniting Church, 19 Seddon Street in Ivanhoe from 3 - 5 pm this Saturday and it sounds like there are bargains to be had if you like beautiful, quality accessories.  You may even catch me there along with Mr Rosanna's mum.
Image via Macleod Village
The Macleod Village Christmas Fair is also being held on Saturday from 10 am - 3 pm and given the weather promises to be a lot nicer than today, it will be a lovely day out for the family.
Image via Lightly website
Finally on Christmas, I did want to put out a bit of round up of online sites if you're not currently clicking and collecting or visiting malls and markets.  If you're into homewares, art and design, then there are some lovely things to be found at Lark, Lightly, Hard to find and Temple & Webster.  If you have a Moroccan fetish like me, try Metroscope or Kulchi.  For Art Deco, visit Deco Heaven, Fabrile, Online Antiques and Prism Lighting.  For jewellery, as an alternative to Tiffany, try E.g.etal for unique handmade Australian pieces.  I always think beach and outdoor gear and games/activities make great Christmas presents as well as subscriptions, memberships and gift vouchers for experiences or donations/volunteering for charity to also remember there are many people out there who are suffering at what should be a very joyous time for all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Modern love

Get me to the church on time...modern love.  It's not only a great name for a song, it's also the name of the exhibition currently showing at Bendigo Art Gallery which I am hoping to visit again next year some time and they have had some blockbuster shows with a leaning towards fashion over the past few years.
Image via Bendigo Art Gallery
Closer to home, the Darebin Art Show at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre starts tomorrow and runs until 16 February next year.  It is an acquisitive biennial visual arts and craft show with awards to the value of $10,000 as well as a People's Choice award open to local artists who live, work or learn in the Darebin municipality.
Sarah Faulkner The business at All Nations 2011 - Darebin Art Show
And speaking of modern, the Robin Boyd Foundation is holding a Public Open Day on Sunday 8 December showcasing six 'Courtyard Houses' designed for inner city sites with the closest one being 'White Lodge' in Camberwell - tours are self-guided and tickets need to be pre-purchased - this is one for modern architecture and design lovers.  While I'm on the topic, architecture and design writer Stephen Crafti takes four Architour tours per year as well as customised, private tours if you are so inclined.  Closer to home, if you're a lover of mid century architecture check out local interior designer Renae Barass' blog Banyule Modern.  She is due to pop out a baby soon, so it may be a little while between updates.

I'll be back tomorrow with some weekend happenings.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Three, two, one...

She's a warm one today!  I can't believe there's just over three weeks until Christmas although having ventured out yesterday morning to Westfield Doncaster, maybe I can.  It was a little crazy in the car park and I must admit, malls are not really my thing these days.  In fact, I find the over consumption of all things at Christmas time a bit overwhelming and as I get older and more discerning (or so I like to think), I have started to re-consider what, and how much, I buy.  It's probably the first year I've started to buy both new and old (vintage, second hand) as gifts for not only Mr Rosanna but my extended family as well.
Image via The Big Design Market
Speaking of shopping, I did want to mention that a number of local artisans and designers are now selling their wares at Made at Montsalvat - a truly lovely idea for Christmas.  And both the Big Design Market at the Royal Exhibition Building and the Fine Design Market in Manningham are also on this coming weekend.  I've had some recent dealings with Simon Obarzenek (a friend of a friend and also a talented fine art photographer in his own right) who runs the Big Design Market and they've got some great local designers on board in this, their second year.  I hope to pop my head in on Saturday if I get a chance.

Mr Rosanna and I have had a very celebratory weekend with family birthdays on and it's been nice to get out and about locally for a calming Japanese lunch at Momoco Sushi in Heidelberg as well as a more raucous dinner last night at Pacific Seafood BBQ House (a place my dad has previously taken me to) in Victoria Street, Richmond - a new experience for my two young boys - it's also cash only if you go and they don't do dessert or sweets of any kind.  More tomorrow!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

Yikes-where is the time going?  I've been a busy little bee with both work and social engagements as the festive season has begun.
Image via Banyule Youth website
Speaking of festive, the Eaglemont Village Christmas Twilight Fair is on tomorrow night from 4 - 8 pm while the annual Strawberry Fair is being held at the Rosanna Arden Crescent Uniting Church on Saturday from 9.30 am - 2.30 pm.  And with fruit in mind, I also wanted to let you know that Yarra Organics cafe at Petty's Orchard in Templestowe is now open on Thursdays from 9 am - 5.30 pm in the lead up to Christmas (although vegetables only will be available Fri - Sun) with stone fruits now available - yum!
Image via Berry Blue Design
I've been out and about today at Miss Marie cafe meeting the lovely Michelle Wallace from Berry Blue Design - if you're after a great local graphic designer - then look no further!  I also picked up the most gorgeous baby shoes handmade in Australia from Archie Bee at Lilla & Me next door.  And I have both son number one and Mr Rosanna's birthday all in the next week.  Mr Rosanna's birthday dinner is at a surprise venue but continuing the food theme, we'll be taking Thomas out to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 with a whole gang of boys.  I wish it was the Hunger Games 2 but them's the breaks as a parent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Movember

I caught up with some ex-work colleagues as Geppetto's in Kew last night and am suffering from Friday-itis today.  We had a great meal sharing some starter plates including the crispy calamari, focaccia and zucchini flowers.  Their logo is a moustache and their handsome male staff members were also sporting moustaches but I couldn't work out whether it was because it's Movember or it was just part of their look!  In any case, it's a great place to go to with a group for good food and there is also another restaurant in Burwood.
Image via Function Venues website
There's a lot on this weekend.  Future Primitive opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen showcasing the work of 19 artists from Australia and New Zealand exploring the western concept of primitivism.  The Artists Open Studios in Nillumbik is also on this weekend and next at various locations throughout Nillumbik and you can also catch the last days of their exhibition currently on at the Eltham Community Library.  I've heard the Rick Amor self portrait prize which is now showing at Montsalvat is also worth seeing.
Image via Artists Open Studios website
Finally, the Monty Farmers Market is on tomorrow from 9 am - 1 pm as well as the grand opening of the Viewbank College Farmers Market from 8 am - 1 pm - however please check details for the latter on Ph: 5664 0096 as there have been some differing dates published.  Have a great weekend and happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas is coming

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I've tried to be more organised this year and have been taking the opportunity to buy presents when I've been out and about or seen things I've liked for particular people in my life.
Image via The Dharma Door blog
If you're going online, there are some lovely things for home from The Dharma Door,  Blue Caravan and Biome, sustainable fashion at Indigo Bazaar and I have also fallen in love with the seedling range of gold and silver earrings currently available from Elk Accessories.

I will be buying my Christmas cards this year from Earth Greetings but also wanted to mention that local printmaker Rona Green is holding a Christmas card making workshop from 10.30 am - 3.30 pm at her studio at the Abbotsford Convent this coming weekend.  The cost including all materials is $195 and places are still available.  You can email Rona at rona@rona.green.com if you would like to attend and the workshop caters to all levels of experience.
Studio image via Rona Green
Handmade presents and food also make for very personal and individual Christmas gifts - my friend Emma at Frog, Goose and Bear has some fantastic do-it-yourself ideas for any of you crafty cats out there.

We support World Vision Australia as a family but given the recent tragedy in Haiyan, you may like to consider a donation to Unicef Australia.  And Oxfam also does a great range of gifts for those of you with a social conscience and who are into more conscious consumerism.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dude food

Interesting to read about upmarket takeaway in today's Age Epicure.  Recommended in the north east are Greek at Hellenic Republic (Brunswick East) and a hop, skip and jump away from where I used to live, Paladarr Thai in Alphington and Huxtaburger in Collingwood for US style burgers.  I've booked a special dinner out for Mr Rosanna's upcoming birthday so will reveal more closer to the time.
Image via Lip Cafe website
Speaking of burgers, we had lunch a couple of weeks ago at Lip Cafe in Ivanhoe who offer takeaway burgers just on Friday nights so lucky locals who live near Waterdale Road.  As you can tell, there are no vegetarians in our household!
Image via Lip Cafe website
As for me, I've not been anywhere of particular note for a while but did have a belated birthday with my best friend Jules and our partners over the winter at Abla's - a place I've been meaning to go to for a while.  And while the food was good, I did go expecting it to be better than what it was.  I think maybe I've got spoilt  having eaten a lot of great middle eastern food over the years.  If you do go to Abla's (which is somewhat of a Melbourne institution), I actually recommend the vegetarian menu (set menus only on Saturday nights) over the meat menu and the dining area at the front downstairs is quite a lovely and intimate space if you're a couple or in a small group.
Jules & me at Abla's

Friday, November 15, 2013

Child's play

There are a few local events on this weekend which may interest you if you've got kids in your life.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market in Livingstone Street is on tomorrow from 10 am - 4 pm and there will be an animal farm from 10 am - 12 pm midday to keep the children amused while grown ups get a chance to shop - I think it's a great idea if you actually want to browse, and buy, in peace!

Rosanna Primary School is holding a Twilight Fair from 2 - 8 pm tomorrow in Grandview Grove, Rosanna.  There'll be live music, children's rides and activities, arts and craft stalls as well as food and drink on offer.  Phone 9457 2592 for more information or email: rosanna.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au
Image via Banyule Youth website
The Malahang Community Festival is also being held on Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm at Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West and if the weather promises to be a lot sunnier than today, it should be a great day out - it's a free, family-friendly event.  Call 9457 9936 or email: roland.fraval@banyule.vic.gov.au for more details.
Finally for some retail therapy if you're a fan of Gorman or Obus - they are both having selected sales.  Gorman currently have 25% off their shoes finishing this week and Obus have a 50% off jackets and skirts sale if you're thinking of updating your Christmas wardrobe.

And on a completely different note, it was great to see indie magazine Frankie actually win Magazine of the Year again beating both Marie Claire and Vogue!  I got Mr Rosanna a subscription to the Smith Journal (Frankie's brother publication) last year for Christmas as well as a very cool chrome bullet Fisher Space Pen which is actually a design icon exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art and used by astronauts in space.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Revival

It's hard to believe summer is just over two weeks away when I feel like we're back in the depths of winter.  It has been so cold and wet here in Melbourne but when I think of what has happened to the people of Philippines - I think we are well and truly the lucky ones....
Eltham Lower Park by Max Dimmack
Revival is the name of Max Dimmack's exhibition at The Light Factory Gallery which opens tomorrow and runs until Sunday 10 December.  Dimmack is a 91 year old celebrated modern Australian landscape painter, ex-soldier, art teacher and lecturer  This is his 23rd solo show and the first show he's done in 13 years representing a new start and showcasing his distinctive figurative work and portraiture as well as the landscapes for which he is well known and developed over a life time of painting.
Brown River by Max Dimmack
Entry is free and this will be the last exhibition of the year at The Light Factory Gallery which will close over the Christmas break and re-open in the New Year.  Visit thelightfactorygallery.com.au for opening hours.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant

Friday, November 8, 2013

Local profile - Helen Webster

It is a small world in Melbourne.  I ran into a couple of women I previously knew at the Banyule Women in Business lunch including Helen Webster who was one of my first ever clients when I was just a junior burger working at Ann Morrison Public Relations (AMPR) - my first ever job in PR.  Helen was then working for the International Wool Secretariat (now known as The Woolmark Company) and as you will read, has an extensive background in textiles - especially wool.  It was lovely to run into her again after so many years and to hear what she has been up to.
Image via www.raffal.com.au
Name: Helen Webster
Occupation: Proprietor, Raffal
Lives/works: Eaglemont
How long have you lived here?  All my life

About Helen:
I have my own business importing and distributing scarves and wraps to boutiques and other accessory outlets around Australia.

I went to Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University.  I began work at the International Wool Secretariat and worked predominantly in Marketing.  The work involved assisting the local textile industry to know more about how wool can be used in apparel.  Also to promote both Australian made and imported textiles through co-operative advertising and product knowledge to both retailers, manufacturers and ultimately consumers.
Textile weaver
I was heavily involved with forecasting fashion direction to the manufacturers, specifically in the knitwear area.  This knowledge helped me tremendously when I set up my own business.  I am able to produce a palette of colours for the season which is used when I travel to India to put together both the forthcoming Winter and Summer ranges.  I specialise in pure wool and fine Australian wool.  In summer I incorporate silk, linen and cotton into the range.  Representing me are five agents selling in the different states.
Image from a recent trip
Gradually as the business evolved, I began to travel to China to see what was available. The range of shopping in Guangzhou (Southern China) amazed me.  Being widely travelled (most of Asia and Europe/US) I had never seen shopping like this.  It is unbelievable and you have got to go to know!  It is the world's wholesale market.  I set up another business 'Buy up Big' inviting ladies to come on a 7 day shopping bonanza to Guangzhou.  The trip can incorporate people's special interests, but also includes a river cruise at night, shopping for all types of consumer goods - shoes, handbags, wallets, spectacles, clothes, watches, and having clothes made.  We visit some of the best tourist sites in this city.  We go to huge plazas and complexes selling at wholesale prices and also visit the best retail store locations.  I do these trips once a year usually around October - December.  Cost includes airfares, accommodation and breakfast and all transport whilst in Guangzhou.
Happy shoppers!
About living in Melbourne's north-east:
The best things are the undulating landscapes, trees, plants, birds and flowers as well as the fresh air and friendly people.

For more information:
Website: www.raffal.com.au
Facebook: Helen Webster
Contact: 9499 2041 / 0408 051 644

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Then and Now

I had a pretty quiet Cup weekend which was actually really nice for a change as opposed to our usual mad running around for the kids and their extra curricular activities.  We managed to get our tomatoes and herbs in on time and braved the crowds at Bunnings in Preston - I think most people who weren't at the races or down at the beach were in their back yards!
Image via Fatu's Soup
I also took my best friend Jules to see 'Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion' at the National Gallery of Victoria courtesy of my client Avant Card who'd given me a couple of free tickets.  Aaah!  I think I should have been born in a different era when the ladies were real ladies - and dressed in the most glamorous fashions of the day.  The exhibition is in two parts and a little dark given the age of the photographs and some of the Deco outfits which accompany the photographic show.  It was all very Miss Phryne Fisher with 1920s and 30s music playing in the background and the mid section showing black and white silent film of Steichen in action photographing his dancing models, movie stars, writers and directors.  I've included two images here which were my favourites - one showing an outfit by textile designer Sonia Delaunay and the other of the actress Gloria Swanson's face through a lace veil.  I loved it but then again I knew I would!  Jules and I grabbed a coffee at the gallery after we'd seen the exhibition and had a browse in the big gallery shop which now has a huge book section.
Image via artblart.com
Speaking of Art Deco, I love this property below called Riverdale in Greensborough that's currently for sale through Fletchers Real Estate.  Like Bukit Raja in Ivanhoe East, this one is pretty much in original condition and ripe for a seasoned renovator or builder to bring her up to all of her glory.
Image via Fletchers.net.au
Moving on from the past and my nostalgia, there is also an exciting exhibition coming up at the National Gallery of Victoria later this month called Melbourne Now celebrating the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice in Melbourne - one of the most creative and cultural cities of the world.  Entry is free and over 300 artists and projects are involved in this exciting event designed to bring modern art and design to the people of Melbourne.
Image via www.ngv.vic.gov.au

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hot to Trot

Aah well another Melbourne Cup over as Spring Racing week continues.  While I'm not a huge fan of gambling or drinking, I do love hearing about the fashion, the food and the horses themselves.  I did really love the 2013 Fashions on the Field winner Chloe Moo whose whole outfit was made by hand in the northern territory.  Very classy and just beautiful - it also helps when you're only 19 years old!  I thought she looked stunning.  I love that bright colours like red and fuchsia pink were also so popular this year.
Image via www.abc.net.au
And for an outfit with an edge, it was the Peter Pilotto dress and Nerida Winter hat worn by international model Coco Rocha.  Peter Pilotto is a half Austrian/half Italian womenswear designer who studied at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts while Nerida Winter is a high profile and long established Australian milliner based in Sydney.  And while Rocha's outfit is not something I would ever wear I think she's definitely got the 'It girl' looks, the budget and also what the French call 'insouciance' to carry off such an outfit.  A little bit different and a whole lot of cool.   It was also refreshing to see something a bit more covered up (hello celebrities of Australia?) and a short hairstyle which resembled a more stylish 'up' do.
Image via www.abc.net.au

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat

I've had a somewhat manic week but just wanted to quickly post on a few things I've been up to.  It's been week three of me doing boot camp and I have to say I feel a lot better for having committed to regular exercise two mornings a week.  I've always thought boot camp was a bit too 'yang' for me but I've surprised myself - I'm actually really enjoying the boxing.  Who would have thought hey?  And I have also had one session at the Rosanna Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre where I got to experience cupping and acupuncture for the first time.  Despite my background, I've never actually seen a Chinese medicine practitioner.  I've also started on the Chinese herbs to build up my immunity and energy levels and I have to admit, I have actually felt the difference.  I'm not sure whether it's psychosomatic but the sceptic in me has been surprised.  I'll see how the rest of my ongoing treatment goes for my various ailments and will keep you posted.  At any rate, it's been nice to put my own health first for a change.
Image via Albert Street Food & Wine
I've also had a chance to get out and about this week for a few business and other lunches.  It's a little ironic that I find myself in Brunswick every week or so visiting my client Avant Card when I used to live a hop, skip and a jump away from their warehouse office (it's still my dream to walk to work although I can't really complain working from home at the moment).  Managing Director Pat Mackle is soon to celebrate a milestone birthday so took all the Melbourne office staff out for lunch at Phillipa Sibley's Albert St Food & Wine which, not surprisingly, was excellent.  Phillipa has also just released a new cook book New Classics so Pat was the proud recipient of a personally signed copy.
Image via Booktopia
Image via Self Preservation
Meanwhile, today I've been down the Paris end of Bourke Street near Pellegrini's and American Tailors and there's a whole heap of new cafes down that end of town.  Mr Rosanna and I had a quick bite to eat at Self Preservation cafe (love the name) which was busy - filling up with men in suits and other business people plus the usual quota of hipsters and arty types.  I also stopped in at the Hill of Content Bookshop as I've started buying Christmas presents.  Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday night fun

It's been a chilly old week in Melbourne - hard to believe there's been raging bushfires in NSW as we shivered down here.  I am looking forward to some warmer weather.  If you feel like rugging up tonight, there is Movies in the Mall in Bell Street, Heidelberg West where tonight's movie is The Muppet Movie at 6.30pm - BYO blanket or deck chair as there is limited seating for this free event.  Retro games, 50s swing dancing and a mobile animal farm and face painting are all on offer from 6 pm.  More at www.banyule.vic.gov.au or phone 9490 4222 - let's hope the rain holds!
Image via Banyule Youth Services website
The Coburg and Monty Farmers Markets are also both on tomorrow if you're wanting to get your groceries locally while if vintage fashion is more your thing, then the last Take 2 Market at Northcote Town Hall is being held on Sunday and one of the best places to grab an outfit for Melbourne Cup.

Finally the Panton Hill On the Hill Festival is also being held on Sunday and will be glorious if the sun does come out.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Of light

I went to the opening of 'Of light: reflections on colour' exhibition to celebrate the 2013 Banyule Award for Works on Paper last night at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe which was opened by my colleague and fellow public art committee member Artistic Director Dr Vincent Alessi from LUMA - La Trobe University Museum of Art and Councillor Jenny Mulholland.
Image via Banyule Council website
It's a beautiful, colourful and interesting exhibition of finalists' work and the calibre this year is really outstanding.  The winner, Tai Snaith, was announced by the Banyule Mayor Councillor Wayne Phillips for her work featuring the humble old polaroid camera.  There are a number of high profile artists on show including Eolo Paul Bottaro, Ellie Malin and local Ivanhoe artist Wayne Viney amongst them.
Banyule Award winner - 'Fistful of Wishes' 2013 by Tai Snaith
Gouache, watercolour and ink on paper 105cm x 75cm
It must have been the day to highlight art in the area as The Heidelberg Art School Foundation breakfast with Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC and art historian Dr Gerard Vaughan was held in the morning at The Old England Hotel in Heidelberg.  The owner, Tom Payne, also heads up the foundation as part of his involvement with Rotary and has been pushing for a gallery celebrating The Heidelberg School of artists for some years now.  It looks like the proposed Impressionist Lab may become something more of a reality given the article in The Age online from yesterday and in fact, it is something I hope to see happen in my lifetime.  I was watching Edmund Capon on ABC's The Art of Australia who also spoke about The Heidelberg School in the first of the three part series on Tuesday night and it's hard to fathom that there is currently no gallery in what is considered to be the birthplace of Australian art.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Having a rest

I don't often make social commentary on this blog given its focus is more arts and culture in the north-east but it's been interesting reading The Age today about David Jones CEO Paul Zahra stepping down from his role after 3 1/2 extremely intense years after taking over from Mark McInnes and citing his main reason as being 'tired' - one that I take at face value having made a similar decision over 10 years ago to leave my role as PR for David Jones in Victoria.  Retail, like hospitality, can be an unforgiving industry especially given you're on call during the evening and across weekends often working for not a huge amount of money unless you're at a very senior or head office level.  And while I loved the calibre of some of the brands and designers I worked for, I can't say I miss the days of putting on huge events at the Bourke Street store - I definitely think it is a younger person's game these days.
Image via David Jones website
Many politicians and business people often cite family and/or health reasons for stepping down from public life but I have to say I've found it refreshing, particularly from a male leader, to hear Zahra say that he's simply tired and just wants to have a rest and take some time out to travel with his partner.  We only have one life to lead and I applaud him for making the decision to walk away on his own terms.
David Jones book image via Helen O'Neill website

Friday, October 18, 2013

Inside and Out

Being such a huge fan of Art Deco, I need to mention that it's the opening weekend of the 'Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion' exhibition at the NGV - National Gallery of Victoria - and really, it's a marriage made in heaven for me with both art and fashion showing until 2 March 2014.  Steichen's photographs of the most glamorous fashion from the 1920s and 30s taken for Vanity Fair and Vogue will be on show and I can't wait to go and see it.
Image via NGV website
Also on this weekend is the Practically Green Festival: Eco building and lifestyle which is a free family event held from 10am - 4.30pm at Edendale Community Environment Farm in Gastons Road Eltham.
As part of this event, the Nillumbik Mudbrick Association is also running the Eltham Mudbrick Tour leaving from Montsalvat this Sunday showcasing five mudbrick buildings including the former home of environmental architect and builder Alistair Knox.

Finally, Open Cellars of Nillumbik is also on this weekend with 13 different different boutique wineries involved.  If the weekend is as beautiful as today, then it will make for a picture perfect driving tour.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A woman in business

I attended the 5th annual Banyule Women in Business lunch event today along with my friends Rina Chia from Take 2 Markets, interior designer Renae Barrass and fine art photographer Leanne Cole (who incidentally has taken my profile photograph for this very blog) as well as 250 other women.  I also ran into a couple of other local business women friends who I didn't know were attending.  It was great!  I think the calibre of speaker in Net-a-porter Co-founder Megan Quinn also had a lot to do with such a fantastic event.  She was extremely impressive and a consummate presenter - personal, funny, articulate, smart, a great conversationalist and obviously very talented.  While I have no doubt that luck and timing are success factors for many people like her in business, it also takes a certain type of person to be a global star like Megan and she's Australian to boot!
Megan Quinn at The Centre Ivanhoe along with two  of her 250 fans
What was interesting to me was that she left the company after 4 1/2 years working as the Creative Director and Head of HR amongst other things and is now in Melbourne working on a number of different boards and in philanthropy and still involved in fashion but at the other end of the spectrum consulting to retailers like Katie's and Millers as well as Plus sized fashion (an often overlooked customer segment) for larger women.  My best friend Jules is a fashion buyer for Kmart and high volume brands can often be just as challenging to sell as luxury ones.  I look forward to hearing what Megan does next and was thrilled to have a chat to her (we had to queue - it was all very rock star) at the end of the event about who she was wearing (Prada) and what she is up to now before her agent whisked her away.  She was lovely and is about to launch a business blog so stay tuned.

Speaking of Banyule, the 'Of light: Reflections on Colour' public program for the 2013 Banyule Award for Works on Paper opens tomorrow and runs until 14 December.  There's a free Lantern Workshop for Kids, an En Plein Air (location) workshop with Ted Dansey and a watercolour and drawing workshop with Artist in residence Simon MacEwan.  There are also two other free events - Curator's Talk with Claire Watson and a forum with participating artist Tai Smith, scientist and broadcaster Dr Andi Horwath and colour forecaster Genty Marshall.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Even while the earth sleeps we travel

One of my all time favourite artists - biro artist Jessica Page - is about to show at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham. 'Even while the earth sleeps we travel' opens tomorrow and runs until Sunday 10 November and is her second solo show this time using ink and brush.  Her first show 'I must confess I love that which caresses me' was a sell out although you can still buy limited edition prints from the gallery.  I think her artwork appeals to my sense of the absurd, it is a little bit different and the underlying theme in her art is human emotion and its ambiguity.
Fox and Hare by Jessica Page
"A fish walks through a desert with a glass of water in search of a better life, a man struggles to walk under the weight of his ox in a feat that is both heroic and ridiculous and an octopus gently and lovingly guides her shipwrecked sailor to safety...these drawings depict a journey that has been embarked on out of desire, curiosity and necessity; it is a journey that has no known end.  The characters take with them what they cannot live without, the things with which they are inextricably linked," says Page of this exhibition.
Regrowth St Andrews by Ian Steele
Hurstbridge artist Ian Steele also opens tomorrow and runs until 10 November at The Light Factory Gallery.  'Nature and light' includes Steele's paintings of the Victorian landscape as well as his beautiful, figurative paintings of nudes and still life.

Opening drinks with the artists are being held on Sunday from 2 - 4 pm.  For more information visit thelightfactorygallery.com.au - entry is free.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Local knowledge

Given I've upped the exercise in an effort to get myself more fit and healthy, I've also had to go and buy some new runners.  I ended up buying a new pair of full price Asics Gel 2000 at The Athlete's Foot in Ivanhoe where we luckily also managed to pick up discounted Asics sneakers for the boys in the bargain box out the front on the right hand side as you walk through the door.  If you are an Asics shoe person, the best place to go is Leo Russell's Sports Store - an old style sports store at 24 Gilbert Road, Preston West, which is an a cute pocket of Preston near the corner of Miller Street and Gilbert Road.  If you go, it is cash only - I picked up some Gel Kayano 19's for Mr Rosanna for $195 when they usually retail for $250 - and they only stock Asics.  The man behind the counter told me the store's been running for 85 years!  Quite a feat in this day and changing age of retail.

Next to Leo Russell's Sports Store is the Love Hate retail outlet which sells homewares, clothing, hosiery and accessories - open from Wednesday - Saturday only.  Sadly closed today when I was there but they stock some gorgeous things - I have one of their necklaces which Mr Rosanna bought me for Mother's Day this year from the Heide store and you can also buy from their online store.  Dangerous stuff!
Me taking a quick & dirty shot today - Love Hate store
On a sadder note, the Italian deli 'A Slice of Europe' on Station Street in Rosanna closed a few months ago.  The strip has never had a lot of foot traffic and we were only semi-regulars but it is a loss for the suburb and its diversity.  Before they closed, I got the cards of a couple of other delis the owners recommended - Olympus Delicatessen at 72 Jackson Court in East Doncaster and Slavonija Deli C234 Preston Market, Murray Road in Preston.  I'm also lucky enough to have slow food cafe & grocery store Bien closer to me in Greville Road which has had some recent great write ups in The Age and The Weekly Review.

Finally, fashion blogger Lady Melbourne has also posted on The Estelle Store in Ivanhoe today so it's nice to see more local places being included in blogs that generally only centre around the inner city.  There is life in the 'burbs people!  Lots on this week - more tomorrow.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Local Profile - Abigail Comber

After finding out that Rosanna children's store owner Abigail Comber has 6 children, I don't think I will ever complain again about having two of my own.  Hats off to her just for that feat alone!  I have even more respect for Abigail taking on a bricks and mortar shop in this digital age.  Lilla & me has replaced the old Sparkle T toy shop on Beetham Parade in Rosanna (just before the veterinarian and my fave cafe Miss Marie).  She also used to live in Rosanna so knows the area well.  I stopped in to buy some presents over the school holiday break (some gorgeous silicon teacup cupcake moulds, a pink tin container and vintage fabric-inspired bangle for one of Thomas' female school friends) and the time is now to start stocking up for Christmas!  Read on for more about Abigail.
Abigail & Rebekah - owners of Lilla & me
Name: Abigail Comber
Occupation: Owner of Lilla & me and blessed mother of 6 beautiful children
Works: Rosanna
How long have you worked here?: One month
Describe yourself/what you do:
I own and run a unique children's store in Rosanna, with my sister Rebekah who I am very excited to announce has joined me in this new and exciting venture.  We spend a lot of time researching and selecting our products in the hope that they will bring joy and satisfaction to our precious little customers.
My children are more than happy to help in the selection process, which makes our unique family business fun and we believe their input is invaluable.  We have everything from toys, Australian made clothing, decor, collectibles and much more.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
I love Rosanna as it was my first home when I moved here from New Zealand. Rosanna is a wonderful community and a very family orientated area.  You are never too far away from anything and there is always a friendly face where ever you go.

For more information:
Lilla & me
51a Beetham Parade
Rosanna VIC 3084
Ph: 0431153 723
Email: lillaandme@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lillaandme (check for opening hours)