Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mid Century and Moderne

It's no secret that I love Art Deco and Art Moderne - one day I hope to live in a house from that era but for now there's always dreaming.  It's nice to know there are a number of towns both here and overseas that celebrate Art Deco including Leeton in NSW, Napier in New Zealand, Miami in the US and Shanghai will be hosting the World Congress in 2015.  I've had the pleasure of meeting Robin Grow from the ADMS when he took me on a tour of The Centre Ivanhoe one year where the 360 degree views from the tower were pretty amazing.
Burnham Beeches image via Wikipedia
I was excited to read in The Age Epicure today that Burnham Beeches in the Dandenongs, which has been taken over by Vue de Monde's Shannon Bennett, is set to open in mid-April with the Burnham Bakery (supplying bread to all Vue businesses and visitors) and Piggery Cafe (the property's former pigsty!).  Stage two will see an onsite brewery and steakhouse by late 2015 and stage three will turn the spectacular Art Moderne mansion into a hotel by 2018.  I can't wait to go visit!  If you're not a meat lover, it's nice to know that the property also has a 2.4 hectare garden which supplies 40% of Vue's vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Romberg House image via www.realestateview.com.au
While I am a big deco fan, I also love mid-century design and if I had the money, I would be buying this house in Eaglemont which has just come onto the market - The Romberg House at 30 Mount Eagle Road which I think would have spectacular views down to the river.  Frederick Romberg was a contemporary of Robin Boyd and while Boyd's work is relatively well known due to the existence of the Robin Boyd Foundation, I didn't know much about Romberg until now.

Speaking of mid-century design, the Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design exhibition dedicated to furniture from the 1940s-70s runs from May 30 - October 19 at the NGV.  It will feature pieces by Grant Featherston, Clement Meadmore and Douglas Snelling.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feeling festive

While it's been festival season this past weekend here in Melbourne, I spent mine at children's sporting events and celebrating my little sister's birthday.  Cat (aka DJ Barely Legal) lives in the wicked west so we found ourselves this year at The Plough Hotel in Footscray and it's well worth a visit if you find yourself on that side of town.  On a corner block with lots of windows letting in natural light, it's a winner in terms of its fit out, food, service, decor and general vibe.  Lots of families in the back dining area while smaller groups and couples hanging out at the bar and the big communal table in the front section.  I love a good gastro pub meal and The Station Hotel in Footscray where we celebrated last year for Cat's birthday dinner is also a great place to go to.
The Plough Hotel (interior), Footscray
I also had a fantastic morning out last Friday attending the Virgin Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) marketing breakfast at the Sofitel hosted by Network 10 Executive General Manager (and Gruen Transfer panel member) Russel Howcroft - it reminded me of my past lives in fashion PR.  The two lots of international guest speakers were exceptionally good presenters - sensory branding specialists (and identical twins!) New York & Paris-based Dawn & Samantha Goldworm from olfactive branding company 12.29 and Craig Smith, Brand Communication Director from Ted Baker London.  The other highlight was having the ex-Age Fashion Editor Jan Breen-Burns sitting at my table.  It was great to see her and she now writes the voxfrock blog for all you fashion-lovers out there.  We were the only two people who put our hands up at the end to ask questions for which we received a 12 month subscription to Marketing magazine for our efforts (or should I say curiosity) and a turn on the microphone!
The Goldworm Twins image via www.vamff.com.au
After the breakfast, I zipped back to Rosanna where I had a complimentary personal training session with Nikki Ellis from Cinch Personal Training who did put me through my paces in her home studio next door to her free-range chickens!  Not wanting to discourage you but I have realised that as much as I've done regular exercise over the past 6 months, I'm still nowhere near peak fitness and strength.  The weight-training exercises I did with Nikki proved that to me - I've still got a long way to go and I think the older you get, the more you need to invest in your body if you want to go the distance.  After taking front and side on pics of me for analysis (which I'll share with you when I get my results), we did a series of exercises and repetition using a whole variety of props and pulleys she had rigged up for me all involving strength work.  Nikki is absolutely lovely - warm, encouraging, informative and authoritative which is what you want in a personal trainer.
Image via www.cinchpersonaltraining.com
More tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Choose your own adventure

Is it really already Wednesday?  I can't believe it.  I had grand plans of posting a lot more regularly this year but have got off to a busy start with new work coming my way and having to say no to some potential new clients just because I am a one woman show.

I also set myself a couple of goals this year rather than resolutions, one was to do a fun run of some kind and the other was to put myself forward for some public speaking opportunities.  Yes, while the writer in me is sometimes happy to hide behind my blog, the PR consultant in me thinks I need to push myself a bit this year and get out from behind my desk!  There are some things in the pipeline so I will reveal more closer to the time.
Image via www.banyuleyouth.com
We are well into festival season and both the True North Festival (which includes the Darebin Community & Kite Festival and Banyule Festival (which includes Twilight Sounds and the Kids Arty Farty Fest) are on this coming weekend.  This year's headline act at Twilight Sounds is Clare Bowditch although my kids may be in bed by the time she comes on stage.  PBS FM are also doing a live broadcast - I'm a big fan of both their Northern Soul and Tomorrowland programs.
Image via www.vamff.com.au
Speaking of festivals, I've been invited to the Melbourne Fashion Festival Marketing Breakfast at The Sofitel this Friday courtesy of my client Avant Card which should be interesting as it's on experiential marketing campaigns.  I sometimes think my old employer Aveda was way ahead of the game on that front from many years ago.  Personal trainer Nikki Ellis is also going to put me through my paces with a complimentary training session so I will let you know how I go - I'm a bit scared!
Image via www.banyuleyouth.com
And finally speaking of Twilight, the Olympic Village Makers Market is holding a special Harmony Day twilight market this Friday night while Boroondara Park Primary School is holding The Mad Hatters March Fair on Saturday from 1 - 8pm.  Wristbands will be available for purchase for $40 on the day and apparently, a little birdy has told me there are going to be fireworks!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Over the rainbow

I've got a thing for rainbows.  I think they're a bit magical.  One of the most amazing things I've ever seen was a rainbow that went around as a full circle in the sky while I was on my honeymoon 10 years ago in Vietnam - romantic hey?  I love all the colours and can understand why they're also used as a symbol for diversity, inclusiveness, hope and yearning.  I've long loved the Steiner-inspired wooden rainbow and marble run toys for children which again use all the colours of the rainbow.
Image by ecotoysblog.com
Image via www.honeybeetoys.com.au
Speaking of rainbows, Emily Floyd: Far Rainbow opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art this Saturday 15 March.  It takes its title from a Soviet science-fiction story set on the imaginary planet Rainbow and is inspired by utopian thinking and the legacies of radical modernism.  An interesting juxtaposition given what is happening in real life with Russia and the Ukraine at the moment.
Far Rainbow image via www.heide.com.au
"The exhibition reflects Emily's interests in alternative educational theories, and broader concerns like feminism, community and social radicalism and their contribution to modernist art and its envisioning of future worlds," according to Curator Sue Cramer.

A highlight will be Abstract Labour (2014) - fourteen painted aluminium letter-shapes which spell out the work's title and designed to house books or coloured blocks for children to play with.  It's a new, permanent addition to Heide's sculpture park and is the first public sculpture commissioned by Heide in over seven years.

Also being held this Saturday is the Ivanhoe Makers Market while on Sunday, the third annual Home Harvest Feast 2014 - a celebration of home grown produce and local food - is being held over this coming weekend at Eltham High School.  Growers are invited to share a community meal created by trained cooks using home or community-grown produce - sounds delicious!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Multicultural Melbourne

I hope you had a great long weekend away or here in Melbourne with festival season upon us and beautiful warm days.  I've been out and about the past week or so visiting clients as well as catching up with friends and family over the weekend.
Interior - Short Round cafe, Thornbury
I'm about to do a little bit of work for Crisalida multidisciplinary health clinic in Thornbury and while I was out there today meeting my client, we went across the road to the relatively new Short Round cafe for lunch which was great - I had the Zucchini hash with poached eggs and smoked trout and the coffee is good if a little on the strong side.  The lucky residents of Thornbury have a beautiful village on High Street with lots of interesting businesses, shops and cafes.  Before we moved to Rosanna from Brunswick, Mr R and I actually looked at Preston and Thornbury but ended up deciding to move further afield to be closer to parkland.
While I was out in Thornbury, I took the opportunity to have a look at the newly opened Islamic Museum of Australia in Anderson Road.  Similar to my client The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham (which I visited last week to see Diverse/City: Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Melbourne), they are located near a commercial/industrial estate but are also a lovely oasis in the midst of it all - a real hidden gem.  There was a rowdy group of Muslim school children having an excursion there when I arrived but I have to say how warmly welcome I was made to feel not only by the staff there, but also the teachers and students who were visiting.
It's very much a contemporary building using an Australian Islamic context both externally and internally with the nature of the exhibits.  There are three galleries downstairs and two upstairs plus other workshop/theatre spaces and an Islamic cafe at the back for refreshments.  In particular, the writer in me loved the Arabic light projection in the first gallery (above) as well as the Islamic Art section which housed both the traditional decorative arts which I have long had a passion for, and the more contemporary visual arts.  The Abdul Abdullah portrait of Waleed Aly takes prime position at the back of this section along with Islamic art on surfboards as the centrepiece!  Other contemporary visual arts can also be found in there and behind while upstairs, there is a gallery section I also loved dedicated to Islamic Architecture and the different mosques in the Middle East - some of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.
It's important to note that this museum has sought to make some key statements about the nature of Islam and its links with Judaism and Christianity (and the joint values we share as people), as well as equality for women within the Islamic faith.  Its tone is very much about inclusivity, awareness, understanding and the wealth of skills and knowledge that Islamic people have brought to Australia and the rest of the world.
I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked but also wanted to mention while I'm on the subject of different cultures, that there is also the longstanding Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda which I neglected to mention in my little round up Living together the other week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fashion and beauty

The days just seem to be flying by at the moment and I'm looking forward to both this long weekend and Easter.  I just wanted to mention a couple of things today.
Image via www.vamff.com.au
My friend Rina Chia from Take 2 Markets is holding her Bloggers Banquet at Northcote Town Hall tonight from 6 - 10 pm  as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival's cultural program where you've got the opportunity (all for the bargain basement entry price of $5) to meet a number of prominent Melbourne fashion bloggers to stop, chat and shop from their very own wardrobes.  Both Candice DeVille and Nicole Jenkins from Circa Vintage will also be offering appraisals and advice on your vintage clothing items if you want to bring them along.  There'll also be food from Cornutopia and sweet treats from CakedayAU - you're invited to have a drink at the bar and there'll also be prizes and giveaways during the night.
Illustration by Angie Rehe
I also wanted to mention that fashion illustrator Angie Rehe from Patsyfox now has those beautiful hand printed 70 piece limited edition silk cotton 'La Rosa' scarves available for $250 but you'll need to contact Angie directly if you want one.  My best friend Jules has been doing Angie's fashion illustration course and has one of her own to keep.
Image via Endota Day Spa Eaglemont
If you like Endota Spa products, the Eaglemont Day Spa currently have 20% off their skincare range until the end of March.  I bought my mother-in-law a gift voucher from there for Christmas and it's a gorgeous little space.
Image by Wanderlust Festival Melbourne
Finally, for beauty of the inside kind, Clifton Hill Yoga School currently has a men only yoga class on Tuesday nights with Patrick from 7.45 - 9.15pm.  You can rock up to a casual class as of term 2 for $24 or sign up for an 8 week course.  I think it's a great idea especially in this day and age where so many of us sit at desks all day.  I've sadly not been doing any yoga classes since last year but hope to go back once time allows.  And while it's not in the north-east - the Wanderlust Yoga Festival is on next Monday in St Kilda for all you yogis and  yoginis out there.