Friday, December 19, 2014

A walk in the park

I went for a walk in the park yesterday and I hope this is something you get a chance to do over the Christmas and New Year break - go for a long walk and just stop and smell the roses - breathe and be in the moment for just a bit.  I realised when I was there that it was the first time this year that I'd actually walked around the park (I'm usually running).  For many of us, this is such a crazy time of year with so many extra demands placed on us, combined with being the most weary, so give yourself a break if you can and slow down - you'll feel much better for it.
Mr Rosanna and I are hosting Christmas this year with my family so we will be making a trip to Leo's in Heidelberg at some stage over the next week.  And if food is on your brain I just wanted to mention a number of places which have been reviewed the past week as well as places to go for last minute food, and Christmas, shopping.

I'm very excited to hear that Seven Seeds is coming to Alphington in the new year complete with cafe and if you're a cafe person like me, Stagger Lees and Addict Food & Coffee in Fitzroy are also worth checking out.  Meanwhile, for lunch or dinner, Elyros (Cretan) in Camberwell, Northern Git in Thornbury and Belle's Hot Chicken on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy have also been given the tick by The Age Good Food.

Farmers Markets on this weekend include Boroondara, Carlton, Fairfield, Eltham and two twilight markets in Hurstbridge and Slow Food Melbourne (next Tuesday).  The final Ivanhoe Makers Market at The Livingstone Centre is also on tomorrow if you're looking for last minute gifts.

Besides hosting Christmas, I have also found myself the joint-coordinator of our street party so I am looking forward to meeting some new neighbours and spending time with existing ones.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas as 2014 draws to a close and I look forward to returning next year - the Chinese Year of the Sheep.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Peace on earth

Despite the events of the past week in Sydney, this is still something I believe in, as well as goodwill towards all humankind.  And I will take with me and remember the best things about humanity in the face of such tragedies - courage, kindness, tolerance, leadership and sacrifice - perhaps the greatest sacrifice of all is to lay down your life for another.  May those who have fallen this year have stars that always shine the brightest in the sky.
I have taken solace in my own community of my closest friends and neighbours this past week celebrating my annual Kris Kringle with my girlfriends and their babies and toddlers in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.  (A tip if you are heading south of the Yarra - take Power Street, Swan Street and Alexandra Avenue as Punt Road is an absolute nightmare.)  We set our picnic up just behind the National Herbarium on the Western Lawn as the Children's Garden is currently inaccessible until 20 December.
I also had a 'crafternoon' making origami butterfly decorations using pages from old books and paper pom poms at my creative neighbour Paula's beautiful house on the back of an absolutely exhausting week spent running around from one place to the next. There is a lot to be said for a moment of stillness and saying no when you've had enough. It was an oasis in the midst of the Christmas maelstrom.
Like many of us, I am still working leading up to Christmas so if you're starting to gear up for entertaining, fun, food and other festivities, I'll be back later this week with more.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Can you feel it

The Christmas spirit that is....it's also the name of one of my favourite songs by the late MJ - who will always be the King of Pop for me.
Image via Banyule Council website
Besides feeling a bit ragged in the lead up to the big day, I am definitely feeling the love!  I went for a wander down Upper Heidelberg Road yesterday trying to complete my Christmas shopping.  Ivanhoe actually held a special Christmas shopping night last night for the first time with a number of shops on the strip offering discounts and other value added promotions and I must admit, this shopper much prefers strip shopping to malls.
Image via Haughton Stotts website
I did grab a coffee and a muffin at The Foreigner cafe yesterday and met the guys who are running the show - they've only been open one month at this stage and if you are local, I'd encourage you all to go in and give them your business.  There were a number of mums with kids there yesterday as well as local business people.

I also bought gifts at a number of my favourite shops including The Estelle Store, Creative Minds, Andrew's Books, Romulus and the Gypsy as well as ending my sojourn at Mount's Pharmacy.

Christmas has arrived in the local area and Bell Street Mall are having their Christmas Carnival tomorrow from 10 am - 4 pm in West Heidelberg.  The weather is looking great for tomorrow and Greensborough Town Centre is staging Banyule's Carols by Candlelight opposite Watermarc tomorrow night from 6.30pm followed by a Christmas market on Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm with live entertainment also on next Monday and Tuesday.  The Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe also start this weekend until Christmas Eve from 8.30 - 11 pm - remember to avoid the main streets and the Burke Road Eastern Freeway exit if you want to avoid being caught in traffic which I failed to do last year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Be the change

One of the best mottoes I have ever seen and remembered is 'Remember to Breathe' - on the back of a yoga teacher's car in Byron Bay, which has stayed with me all these years later.  As the year is drawing to a close and I have started to slow down, it's been great to have some time to think and reflect on the year that's been.

It took me a long time (and a considerable amount of mistakes both personal and professional) to learn that my external world reflects my internal state and that no matter what happens in life, we always have a choice whether we realise it or not.  Mr Rosanna also has another great saying 'You are the sum of your decisions' even when we choose not to do something, it is still making a decision.
Image via Amazon
I have become better at saying no as I've got older and this book has caught my eye 'Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less' by Greg McKeown, which was a 2014 New York Times best seller.  Essentialism being a systematic discipline for learning what is absolutely essential then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.  Sounds pretty lofty, but it has me quite intrigued - McKeown has taught at some of the leading companies in the world including Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

I love that we can give ourselves the opportunity to change for the better not only at the start of every new year, but at any point in time, if we so choose.  Just like lifelong learning, I hope that I am always open to change and reinvention as part of my own personal evolution towards wisdom and maturity.  And on that philosophical note, I do love this quote from Gandhi which is food for thought for next year.  It's never too late.

"Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Silver screen

'Art Deco on Film' is the subject of the public lecture at tonight's final Heidelberg Historial Society Meeting for the year being held from 8 pm at the Uniting Church Community Centre in Seddon Street, Ivanhoe. The speaker, Chris Long, has had an extensive career studying and presenting early film and sound recordings and his presentation will include a 50 minute compilation of extracts from a range of art deco films and a video walk through of several notable Melbourne deco buildings.  I love the ritz and glamour of the Art Deco age and two of my favourite stars of the time include Asian American actor Anna May Wong as well as singer Josephine Baker.
Anna May Wong image via The Guardian
It might be the wrong time of year but Colours of the Country III: Alice Springs Beanie Festival also opens on the 12 December and runs until 22 February at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.  The centre has its own biennial Tea cosy exhibition so in some ways, it makes perfect sense for it to also host a knitted item of a different kind, which demonstrates the growth of the beanie as an art form.  The official launch for the event is this Saturday at 2pm.  RSVP: bundoorahomestead@darebin.vic.gov.au or phone 9496 1060.
Joesphine Baker image via Huffington Post

Monday, December 8, 2014

From Peru to Tokyo

I took Mr Rosanna out to Pastuso in ACDC Lane on Saturday night for his birthday celebration and it was fabulous!  If you're wanting to go somewhere with a rockin' vibe then this is the place to be.  I sometimes think chefs have become the new rock stars of our time and there were a lot of hipster staff with cool haircuts and beards also working the place - it was a little bit scene-y but the crowd was fairly diverse which is always a good sign.  As you enter ACDC Lane and go past Cherry Bar, Pastuso is right in front of you at the back of the lane before it curves around to the left at Tonka Restaurant.  Lee Ho Fook is also meant to be opening there soon.
Image via Dimmi
There's a big bar out the front at Pastuso which serves Peruvian and other drinks, a grill and smoker in the right hand corner in front of the colourful poster artwork, a cevicheria (where you can also sit and eat) in front of the back lounge section with the leather banquettes, and semi-private dining rooms on the left.  Mr Rosanna and I scored seats in the back section overlooking the cevicheria so we had a bird's eye view of the place.  It's a big space which has some subtle South American influences (wall hangings and touches of textiles) as well as, strangely enough, a slight Japanese feel in terms of the food and decor.
In front of the cevicheria at Pastuso
It was starting to fill when we arrived for our 7 pm dinner booking (which meant having to be out by 9 pm) and by the time we left, the place was packed with people being turned away at the door (I'd booked a couple of months ago).  Mr R and I had a couple of entrees from the cevicheria (ceviche is fish/seafood that's been cured in citrus so think Peruvian sashimi) which were the highlights, we also had the pork belly and one of the specials from the grill - the meat was cooked to perfection medium rare - and along with the Amazonian salad, we finished with one of the rice pudding desserts which we shared.  The waiting staff brought dishes out as they were cooked and explained exactly what they were as they set them down in front of us which I really appreciated.  Happily, there is no guinea pig on the menu (which they do eat in Peru) although you can get Alpaca.
Image via Weekend Notes
Pastuso is owned by the same people who run Argentinian-inspired San Telmo in Meyers Place and is named after Paddington Bear, who came from 'deepest, darkest Peru.'  They are also holding a New Year's Eve party there which I think would be a lot of fun!
Sake bottles lined up at Hihou Bar
After dinner, Mr R and I decided to go to a bar and actually ended up at Hihou, above Kappo, where I went for dinner the other week.  Again, you need to ring the doorbell to be let in upstairs and it is like being in Tokyo when you arrive.  Mr R and I got seats right in front of the bar and it was fascinating to watch the barman create all his drinks - almost like an alchemist using beakers to mix this and that.  The sake is also a specialty and there are beautiful bottles lined up - Mr R had a nashi pear cocktail and a cold sake although I think sake really is an acquired taste.  We had a great time!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Designer style

Is it Friday yet?  I'm feeling a bit weary today after some very busy weeks and a few more to go.  I have started my Christmas shopping and will be doing a lot of it locally as well as online.  This year my gifts for family and friends lean towards the practical - they need to be used, experienced or consumed.  There's always an explosion of toys too having children so Mr Rosanna and I are going to have to do a cull - it's just as well there are younger children to pass things onto in my family.
Image via Bago Studio
If you have time over the weekend, there are some fabulous markets and other events on in which to buy beautiful things for yourself or loved ones.  The Big Design Market starts today at the Royal Exhibition Building and a number of my friends went last year to buy Christmas presents - handmade and local.  They've also got kids activities on including Green Hat Workshop which we experienced at the Fun4Kids Festival in Warrnambool a couple of years ago, as well as yummy food on offer from some of Melbourne's best food outlets including Miss Chu and Earl Canteen.
Image via Green Hat Workshop
Speaking of green and also on in the city is Fair@Square if you are even more ethically minded and into conscious consumption.
Image via Moral Fairground
Closer to home the annual Raffal Scarf sale is on tomorrow afternoon at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church Hall in Seddon Street while the last Fine Design Market at Manningham (it will be moving to a new location) is being held on Sunday.  Also on Sunday is the Round She Goes vintage clothing market in Box Hill.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twilight events

Image via www.dyob.com.au/moreland
It's a beautiful day and there are some long hot nights ahead of us given summer has only just started.  The Coburg Night Market started last Friday night and will be on every Friday night until 19 December from 5.30 - 10pm including live music - I reckon both Kylie Auldist and the Glenroy Allstars and Nicky Bomba's Bustamento bands in particular would be great to catch.  The Shadow Electric Outdoor Cinema & Bar at The Abbotsford Convent also released its 2015 program on Monday and you can choose between seeing a band or watching a movie over the summer, while Moonlight Cinema in Melbourne also starts from today and Rooftop Cinema at Curtin House in the city is also now open.
Image via Zoos Victoria
Tickets for Zoo Twilights next year are already on sale and I am taking Mr Rosanna to the sold out gig on 7 February to see Paul Kelly presents the Merri Soul Sessions as his birthday present this year - can't wait for that one!
Image via My Markets Vic
Speaking of night time events, the 2014 Kris Kringle Night Market at Northcote Town Hall also starts tonight from 5.30 - 10 pm and will run for three weeks every Thursday.  Closer to home, the Macleod Village Christmas Fair is on this Friday night from 4 - 7 pm while the Diamond Valley Lions Club Twilight Market will be held from 7pm at Nillumbik Park also on Friday night.

Finally, The Design Files Open House at 12 Smith Street Collingwood launched today and the house will be open from 10am - 5pm today until Sunday.  I'll be back tomorrow to talk about other design events on this coming weekend - have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A state of grace

It's only early December but a succession of late nights has already caught up with me - I can't party like I used to!  Looking at my calendar, I think it's going to be just as mad right up until Christmas and I am looking forward to some downtime.

I've not yet had a chance to reflect much on the year suffice to say that there have been tragedies in the world and here at home that have touched my heart quite deeply.  I'm not sure if having children has made me more sensitive to the amount of suffering in the world but for my friends and family and those in the larger community who have suffered some sort of loss this year in particular, and who continue to suffer, I am thinking of you this Christmas and wishing you a bigger, better and brighter 2015.  I will say that I believe the mark of someone's character is not how they are when things are going well, but how they are when things aren't going so well in their life.  The same applies to friendship and the mark of a true friend is the one who is there when the chips are down.

I did finish reading 'The Art of Belonging' by Hugh Mackay a little while ago and there is a sentence in the book which jumped out at me where he states that "social exclusion is a crime against humanity."  Strong words indeed but it's given me a lot to think about, and also made me consider my own behaviour.  It's always easy to get on with people who are similar to us but more challenging to get on with people who are different and a test of our tolerance as human beings.  And this is something I will continue to reflect upon this Christmas and beyond, given we are all connected to each other as people of, and in, the world.

A few local things to remember, the last Red Shoes Network event is on tomorrow night in Heidelberg and appropriately titled 'Reflect, Rejoice, Re-Focus' - a moment of reflection, self-acknowledgement and renewed direction.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the detail of life and I often think the most successful people in the world have taken time out to consider their lives and actually plan for their future and gain an insight into what truly makes them happy.
The Foreigner image via Shop in Ivanhoe
I was out on the road yesterday and came across The Foreigner - a new cafe in the little group of shops opposite Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe while buying recycled print cartridges at Cartridge World.  Sadly it was closed but I will be back when I drop in my old cartridges and think it's in a great location.  The building next to Hatch is likely to become a residential development so I think there'll be a ready made market of customers there.
Twitter image via @maryanne_coffey
I also dropped into the Australian Chocolate Emporium in Eaglemont and bought some chocolates as Christmas presents - all the chocolates sold in the shop are Australian made and they also do a roaring trade as an online business.  I bought some beautifully boxed Hillier's chocolates as gifts.  Eaglemont Village is also holding its Annual Twilight Christmas Fair this Friday night from 4 - 8 pm.
Image via Urban Spoon
Finally, I had dinner at Woodfire Cafe Pizzeria in Ivanhoe last night with the family and it was good.  It's been a pizza restaurant in various forms for a number of years but the new incarnation has a really nice fit out - the young guys there were very professional - the service in particular was excellent, along with the food.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wabi-sabi

I had an early Christmas dinner last night at Kappo - a newly opened Japanese restaurant underneath Hihou Bar in Flinders Lane (which is also part-owned by Simon Denton who ran the previous incarnation Verge).
Photography: Simon Shiff via Broadsheet
It was an interesting dining experience, in a good way, but quite different.  It's not the place to go for a loud and raucous evening (try Izakaya Den for that, which is also hard to find!) but somewhere a lot more refined and elegant - even a bit muted.  What I did like about it, is that it's great for smaller groups and couples and conversation flows because you can actually hear each other.
Hihou Bar image via Izakaya Den Facebook on The Urban List Melbourne's Best Sake Bars
It's also an experience just finding the place!  It's situated smack bang on the corner of Flinders Lane and Spring Street but the recessed doorway is off Flinders Lane.  There is no external sign and you need to push the doorbell for the wait staff to let you in to both Kappo or Hihou Bar.  Hihou is one of those great hidden bars that make you feel like you're in Tokyo (and one for sake lovers) but sadly I didn't get a chance to go upstairs while I was there last night.
We opted to sit in the main dining area perched on stools and the attentive waiting staff proceeded to explain how the menu works - they show you a list of all ingredients used and you decide if you're happy to eat them all or not, or want more of something in particular.  There's an emphasis on vegetables and seafood rather than red meat, so it's not somewhere you'll walk away feeling super full as is the case with most Japanese food.  But given the basic menu starts at 5 courses for $80 you may not want more than that.
The staff also present a box of chopsticks for you to pick your own pair and there's other elements of surprise like mixing your own ingredients into a bowl.  The food is beautifully presented - almost like works of art - but the atmosphere is quite relaxed and low key.  It's a good place to unwind with friends.
Japanese Film Festival image via Consulate-General of Japan, Melbourne
Also a tip if you are heading into the city in the lead up to Christmas and driving in.  Wilson Parking offer an online casual Book a Bay system at a reduced rate which is quick and simple.  When you actually arrive at your selected car park, all you need to do is insert your credit card into the ticket machine when you enter and leave the car park rather than having to have a ticket printed and pay for it before you leave - there's a lot less hassle.  The Japanese Film Festival is currently on until December 7 in Melbourne so you may even want to check out a film at ACMI or Hoyts Melbourne Central.
Image via QAGOMA
Finally, if you're lucky enough to be heading to Queensland at all between now and February, I've heard great things about Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion currently showing at QAGOMA.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bags of style

There is a huge amount happening in the lead up to Christmas.  I just wanted to firstly post about a few date-specific events.
Textile designer Nicola Cerini is having a last ever bag sale tomorrow and Friday at the Antique Bookstore at Abbotsford Convent - she'll also be selling other wares but this is the last chance to nab one of her bags as she is stopping production.
Image via Heide website
The Arthur Boyd: Brides exhibition opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen this Saturday and I'm thrilled they've appointed a female Director, Kirsty Grant, who starts in the new year to replace Jason Smith who has gone to GOMA.  The Brides work by Arthur Boyd is one of the most poignant artworks I know depicting Australia's racial divide with indigenous people using an invented love story.  Also on Saturday is the Arden Street Strawberry Fair from 9.30am - 2.30pm at the Rosanna Uniting Church in Arden Crescent although this year it will be competing with election day sausage sizzles (don't forget to vote!).
Image via MUP website
The Robin Boyd Foundation Open Day is on Sunday - the design discussion is sold out but one of leading architect Sean Godsell's Favourite Houses will be open - the Snelleman House in Ivanhoe. Architecture was recently explained to me as science meeting art and many of the modernist houses on show are exactly that.  Also on Sunday is the Strictly Vintage market at Northcote Town Hall with a talk at 12pm on 1930s ladies fashion by Nicole Jenkins from Circa Vintage who incidentally has just released her book 'Style is Eternal'.
Image via www.fullnoise.com.au
Finally, if you love antiques as I do it's nice to know Amanda Addams in Kew is holding their last auction for the year on Monday 1 December at 6.30pm with a viewing on Saturday from 11am - 4pm.   Mr Rosanna and I were hoping to make it to her auction house before it moved from Bulleen but never quite made it.  And while I'm on the topic of antiques if you like Art Deco as I do then Online Antiques in Daylesford, Deco Heaven in Tyabb, Fabrile in Armadale (next to the fabulous Armadale Antique Centre) and Prism Lighting are also fantastic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sew and sew

Like Cookie in the city, Seamstress is another place in town which has been around for ages yet somewhere I've not made it to until this weekend.  A 120 year old former textile factory, warehouse and one-time Buddhist monastery in Melbourne's Chinatown district, Seamstress was fabulous!  I went with a gang from school for a farewell dinner and we were greeted by the man at the door complete with headset who directed us downstairs to the Sweatshop Bar (you need to be careful negotiating the rather rickety original staircase) where we had a few drinks before heading back upstairs to the Seamstress dining room, which is a lovely space - I loved the floral arrangements hanging from the ceiling - it was all a bit novel.  Above the dining room is the Seamstress Cocktail Bar.
Image via Seamstress website
Like many places now, the emphasis is on shared plates, all pan-Asian, although you can still order a la carte if you wish but meals come out simply when they're ready.  We asked the waiter for recommendations and ended up selecting five dishes and an accompaniment (or 'accessories' as they like to call it) ranging from duck, pork belly, seafood and vegetarian plus rice and roti bread.  I have to say that the side dish of caramelised brussel sprouts was probably the best version of this vegetable I've ever had - not surprisingly it wasn't steamed, but fried and absolutely delicious.
Seamstress Cocktail Bar image via Seamstress website
After dinner, the gang and I headed to a bar and rather than queuing at Madame Brussels or walking to Siglo Bar at The European in heels, we opted to just head into Tuscan Bar a couple of doors down as it  also had a rooftop bar.  And while it didn't quite have the same style as Siglo (I felt like I was in an Irish pub given the amount of Irish staff serving drinks!), it was still great to go somewhere to have a drink and shoot the breeze with some of my friends - we had a great time!
Me and Lauren
If you're in town and wanting to go somewhere even more sophisticated, Longrain is also pretty amazing if you like Thai food.  Interestingly, Chinatown was once run by mostly Hong Kong Cantonese migrants but with the surge in mainland Chinese now moving to Melbourne, only a few of the big restaurants in Chinatown are still Cantonese.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Take your pick

It's been a beautiful day and there are so many things on this coming weekend I'm not sure where to begin.  For something a bit different, check out The Bally on High 2014 mini festival in Northcote, which includes a silent disco every Friday night - it starts today and runs  until 7 December.  I was at Barry for a family lunch yesterday (try the Californian super salad if you go!) in High Street and it's long been a happening street.
Image via The Bally
If you're a design lover then check out the Sisters Market in Brunswick on Saturday or Markit@Fed Square on Sunday.  I also wanted to mention the RMIT Design market at Melbourne Central featuring the best from RMIT design alumni and current students, which is being held on 26 November.  I will always have a soft spot for RMIT after transferring there from Melbourne University many years ago, after a first year spent in the wrong course for me.
Image via Markit Fedsquare
Clifton Hill Primary School Fair 2014 is also being held on Saturday and believe it or not, these events are huge money spinners for a lot of inner city schools who even have full time event staff that manage and coordinate these.
Image via Queen Victoria Market
There is also a plethora of farmers markets on including the Monty Farmers Market, the Slow Food Market at Abbotsford, Coburg Farmers Market and Eltham Farmers Market.  And don't forget if you're in the city during the week that the Night Market on Wednesdays at Queen Victoria Market has already started and runs until 25 March.

As for me, I've got a dinner out in the city somewhere I've never been to this weekend (and a couple more planned over the next few weeks at interesting places) so I'll be back with more next week.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art and Food

I went to the opening of Pinpoint last night at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe and had a great (albeit hot!) time - there were so many people there, it got very warm very quickly but it was great to see the usual suspects (you know who you are) as well as a younger crowd of contemporary art lovers.  I managed to have a chat to two of the participating artists Penelope Aitken and her partner Michael Mark as well as got to meet Blaise van Hecke from Busybird Publishing based in Montmorency who is also a Pinpoint Ambassador and running a free 'Unlock the Writer in you' workshop at Ivanhoe Library on 26 November.  Check the Banyule Arts and Culture Facebook page and Pinpoint Satellite Events on Banyule Council's website for more details - I reckon the local artist studio bus tour in particular would be a lot of fun!
Moya Dyring 'Sunday' image via Heide website
Speaking of art, there is an Art & Food event 'A Heide Summer BBQ' at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen this Friday as part of The Age Good Food Month 2014 celebrating the art of Australian painter Moya Dyring who lived in France in the 1930s.  Tickets are $140 and reservations are essential.  Mercers Restaurant in Eltham is also holding a Kitchen Garden lunch on November 30 as an accompanying event.  Tickets are $84.
60 Lavender Park Road image via www.realestate.com.au
And while we're in Eltham, this beautiful house has caught my eye at 60 Lavender Park Street in Eltham.  'Landscape' was built in 1925 for renowned artist Percy Leason and includes a library, music room, studio and 1920s summer house and pony paddock.  I can just imagine people enjoying some Pimms around the tennis court in the summertime.

Finally, the former G&G Deli at 48 Burgundy Street in Heidelberg was reincarnated as Little Black Pig late last year.  I've not yet been but my fellow Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee member Kate Hansen was raving about it at the opening last night so I might be heading there for a meal sometime soon.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The fun list

It's probably a reflection of our busy lives but Mr Rosanna has actually created a 'fun list' as opposed to a 'to do' list where we are actually scheduling some fun activities to do as a couple and as a family instead of getting caught up in the chores of daily life, where everything starts to feel like work whether you are at home or in the office.
La Breizoz - interior
So with that in mind, we went out for crepes for lunch on Sunday at La Breizoz on the corner of Gertrude and Brunswick Streets after the big rain in Melbourne.  I'd never been there but love a good crepe (check out La Petite Creperie in the city if you're in town) and after having been to Bar Sur Loup a few times recently, it was good to go somewhere different and more traditional including being served apple cider in special cafe au lait mugs.  La Breizoz is owned by a Frenchman and during the time we were there, a French family came in to eat as well as an older French couple so it is the real deal.  Mr R reckons they're the best crepes he's ever eaten which is a big statement!
Mango and blueberry sorbet dessert crepe at La Breizoz
We went for a wander down Gertrude Street which is one of my all time favourite streets in Melbourne - a bit more low key than bustling Brunswick Street - walking past social enterprise Charcoal Lane and The Gertrude Hotel where I have previously been for a meal.  I love some of the quirky shops in the street including the Design Dispensary and the aptly named Sunday Morning Designs not to mention Obus, Leonard Street and Aesop.  I loved the art deco styling at gentleman's outfitter and barber shop Pickings & Parry with the motorcycles out the front and the antiques and industrial chic at Tarlo & Graham.  The Everleigh Bar with its marquee lights also makes a cool statement on that side of Gertrude Street where you can also find an indoor skate rink and Ladro pizza.
Barber shop inside Pickings & Parry
The other side of the street also has the original Crumpler store and more cool foodie places like Gertrude Street Enoteca, Cutler & Co, De Clieu and Anada not to mention the Builders Arms Hotel where I spent a good part of my twenties dancing the night away.  If you're into more modern design, Spacecraft Studio and Shop is also located on that side of the street.  There are a heap more places to see in the street if you're there and I also think Smith Street has some fabulous places to eat and shop - in some ways they both have more street appeal than Brunswick Street being less crowded.
There is a huge amount of things on this coming weekend and I'll be posting more about these later this week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Local Profile - Gabby White

Well Christmas is coming and the lovely Gabby has opened her store just in time for the rush with future plans to sell online as well.  I've already bought a number of gifts from Romulus and the Gypsy and I'm thrilled that a store like hers has opened in the local area.  I also love that Gabby loves colour, as I do, and her beautiful shop is a wonderful reflection of her own personal style and eclectic taste.  You must go in!  Read on for more about Gabby...
Name: Gabby White
Occupation: Owner of Romulus and the Gypsy
Lives/Works: I have lived in Fairfield for 15 years and opened the shop in Ivanhoe in mid August.
Describe what you do:
I recently opened a shop in Ivanhoe called Romulus and the Gypsy which houses an eclectic mix of homewares, jewellery and accessories from all corners of the world.  I source products from local designers as well as from remote places such as villages in Africa and Asia. I like to stock fair trade products where possible and have some fabulous and really unusual products like paper mache bowls from Swaziland, seagrass baskets from Vietnam and felted fairy houses from Nepal.

I previously worked in an office job and last year completed a Diploma of Interior Design and then took the plunge to open the store.  I love to travel and I seem to have a knack of finding unusual objects. I really enjoy experimenting with mixing an exotic palette of colours, patterns, textures and origins to create a really individual look.

Best thing about working and living in Melbourne's north east:
The best thing about working and living in Melbourne's north east is that there is a bit of a funky vibe and a lot of cool cafes and markets.  It's been great that by living and working on the same side of town there is such a strong community feel and many friends and people I know wander into the shop even just to say hi.  It's really nice how over the years you continue to cross paths with so many of the same families from kinder, primary school and the kids sport.

For more information:
romulusandthegypsy.com.au
gabby@romulusandthegypsy.com.au
Ph: 9497 4544
facebook.com/romulusandthegypsy
instagram.com/romulusandthegypsy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A love hate relationship

One of my favourite shops Love Hate is having a studio sale with up to 80% off on Friday and Saturday if you are able to get yourself to Rear 7 Gilbert Road, Thornbury/Preston.
Image via Love Hate
And while I'm on the topic of design, Frankie Magazine has also released a new book called A little bit crafty just in time for Christmas - 39 creatives from Australia and New Zealand were asked to submit their favourite ideas using cheap or recycled materials.  Speaking of which, I love this idea for Japanese flying carp made from toilet rolls - beautiful, colourful and fun!  If you have any big or little people in your household that love DIY then this is the present for them.
Image via Frankie Press website
The Malahang Community Festival is on this Sunday 16 November from 10 am - 4 pm (subject to weather) and includes the Olympic Village Makers Market.  Other markets on this weekend include the Carlton Farmers Market and Boroondara Farmers Market - both of which are accredited farmers markets.
Image via Squirrelly Minds

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On the road

I was out on the road visiting my client Avant Card in Brunswick this morning and there are things I miss about the inner city with its vibrant culture, fashion and happening things.  While I don't miss the traffic, the pollution, the crime or all the concrete - I'm lucky enough to have the best of both worlds living in leafy suburbia but still visiting some of the latest places in the north-east (or at least seeing them!).
Image via Hellenic Republic website
On the way there, I noticed a new cafe called Benjamin's Kitchen is about to open on Heidelberg Road in Alphington, just before the Heidelberg Road Vintage Bazaar if you are in the area.  If you're into wholefoods, George Colombaris is also about to open his new cafe later this month called Mastic on Cotham Road in Kew just next door to Hellenic Republic Kew.


Images above via The Yoga Lab website
While I was in Brunswick I went to visit our friend Marsden Williams at his second hand record shop Muscle Shoals (named after the famous music studio) forgetting his shop is closed on Tuesdays but while I was there I picked up a brochure from The Yoga Lab - a creative, community-centric hub also located in that shopping strip.  Given I used to live walking distance from that Brunswick East group of shops near Hellenic Republic Brunswick, it did make me a little wistful.  But life changes with children and Mr Rosanna and I have no regrets about moving to Rosanna.  In many ways, I think I've got closer to my creative side than what I would have had we remained in Brunswick, because I've been forced to seek out arts and culture around here rather than have it coming to me.
Muscle Shoals Second Hand Records image via Yelp
Finally, I am on the look out for a new client to replace The Light Factory Gallery if you work in the arts, culture or lifestyle industries and need a freelance marketing consultant/copywriter who also dabbles in presenting and styling (or know someone who does).  I am also open to collaborating with local creative people if you ever need someone like me to work with you on joint projects/pitches where we both may benefit by offering our services/products as a duo or collective - I always think two heads are better than one!