Monday, June 30, 2014

A Wicked Weekend

I am recovering today not just from the end of term but also a big weekend for me having gone out both Friday and Saturday nights, which wasn't planned.  I got a last minute invitation last week to see Wicked the musical with my friends Kallista and Lauren and so found myself at the Regent Theatre on Friday night, which is a beautiful venue.  It's been a long time since I've seen a musical but I'm really glad I went as Wicked was a bit of a surprise - a story about sisterhood, a love triangle, a romance, the blurred lines between 'good' and 'evil', and ultimately about the power of friendship.  It was also surprisingly funny.  Lucy Durack as Glinda the good witch was a scream and Jemma Rix as Elphaba was a standout with a voice as strong and clear as a bell.  It was well worth seeing and all set to live music with the orchestra at the front.  The girls and I also went to Brunetti around the corner for hot drinks and pastries after the show given we'd not quite made it to Bistrot d'Orsay across the road beforehand for drinks or dinner.
Kallista, Lauren and me at the Regent Theatre
As an early birthday present, Mr Rosanna took me to Shoya in the city for dinner on Saturday night.  While we've been to old favourites Yamato (the original restaurant) and Kuni's numerous times for Japanese, we thought we'd try somewhere different and Gingerboy (another place we've never been to) was booked out.  After a shaky start (they'd lost our dinner booking), they managed to find us a table and it was lovely - a more sophisticated setting with jazz music playing in the background which put us in the mood to then go and see Renee Geyer perform at Bennett's Lane jazz club - a Melbourne institution which I've been wanting to visit for ages.  The food at Shoya was great although pricey and the serves weren't huge being Japanese - we only just made it in time for the show as we waited an hour for our meals to arrive.
Bennett's Lane from the street
Luckily, we literally walked in the door to Bennett's Lane and just managed to find a stool at the bar before Ms Geyer came out and strutted her stuff.  And while she doesn't quite have the vocal range she used to have, she's still an amazing performer and entertainer with great musicality starting her show off with 'The Thrill Has Gone'.  I particularly loved her jazz rendition of 'Fly Me To The Moon' and other standouts for me were 'Difficult Woman' penned for her by Paul Kelly himself and a very funky Stevie Wonder sounding 'Shakey Ground'.  She also performed all her hits and the thing I like about her is that she's a bit of an all rounder moving from jazz to soul to pop to reggae, as well as being another somewhat naughty older lady who still has an edge.  I had a great time!

And it was fantastic to see Melbourne absolutely buzzing on both nights with people like us out in the street going to clubs, bars, restaurants and gigs.  Mr R and I had a bit of a giggle on leaving the city - we went from feeling younger at the Renee Geyer gig to feeling older as we entered the car park heading home to see hordes of fresh faced twenty-somethings wearing not much at all starting their big night out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Chez Melbourne

Winter has come on with a vengeance this week - I can tell you as I've been spending time outdoors and it's freezing!  Just a quick post today on Open House Melbourne which is coming up in another month's time on the weekend of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.  I've posted it about it before as some of my favourite heritage buildings (as well as modern ones) are on show including the Manchester Unity Building, Myer Mural Hall, Mission to Seafarers, The Johnston Collection and the Flinders Street Station Ballroom not to mention The Melbourne Athenaeum and The Capitol Theatre.
Image via Open House Melbourne on Twitter
There are some new additions this year including some interesting buildings I never even knew existed on this side of town including the Albanian Mosque, Cairo Flats, Collingwood Masonic Centre, the Grainger Museum and the Limelight Studios & Salvation Army Heritage Centre.

For something completely different, I also think the award winning residential complex known as The Commons would be great to see as well as the RMIT Design Hub.  Remember that some of these venues are ballot only entry - ballots open 1 July.  If the weather stays as wintry as today, then it will be a great weekend spent indoors!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Seventh Skin

It's been a few wild old days weather-wise in Melbourne.  We were blacked out here in Rosanna and I was quite proud of my efforts in starting a fire at our house to stay warm - it's something Mr Rosanna usually takes care of.  My boys thought it was so exciting to come home and find the fireplace all ablaze on a week night and the house lit by candles as it started to get dark.  The next few weeks are the coldest here in Melbourne so I'll be posting about all the indoor events I've got planned.

Speaking of which, the Seventh Skin exhibition (exploring disguise and adornment) opening is being held tomorrow night from 6 - 8 pm at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space at 14 Ivanhoe Parade in Ivanhoe.  Curated by my friend and colleague Claire Watson (a very talented artist in her own right), it will be opened by Councillor Craig Langdon - the Mayor of Banyule Council - and Associate Professor Robert Nelson from Monash University (and Art Critic at The Age).
Visitors having fun at the free Polixeni Papapetrou photo booth!
There are over 20 artists on show - some of them local and a number of supporting events including being centre stage in your very own Polixeni Papapetrou creation, making a Roseanne Bartley neck piece in the new workshop space or saying hello to Artist in Residence John Gosper.

The show started last Wednesday and will be on until 2 August, Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm with free entry.  Hatch is also staffed by community volunteers so say hello to them if you are visiting!

Monday, June 23, 2014

La vida local

I realised last night that Mr Rosanna and I had been out a lot this weekend but all within the local area.  And it's also something I neglected to mention in my Red Shoes talk last week about blogging   - that blogs create a virtual community, but the interesting thing for me is that my blog also reflects my real life community - the things I get up to and do with my own family and friends, which I hope you also get to do with yours.
Image via The Old England Hotel
Instead of our usual Friday night takeaway, we took the boys to The Old England Hotel in Heidelberg which, not surprisingly, was pretty busy on a Friday night.  I hadn't been there since the new bar went in but the food was great.  I had the Vietnamese prawn and calamari dish and it was banging hot with heaps of chili!  Meanwhile, Mr Rosanna had his usual steak but was eyeing off the next table's lamb tagine dish and the kids had their standard fish and chips.  We also bumped into some old kinder friends having an early meal with their children.  Apparently, the OE is the place to go to watch Friday night football although we didn't stay long enough to find out.
Image via Wendy's Music
On Saturday, we had a Wendy's Music concert to go to at Arden Crescent Uniting Church in Rosanna (which also holds an annual concert series of classical music) followed by our own Winter Solstice party in our backyard complete with outdoor fire, the music pumping and three different lots of neighbours in our street all joining us to toast marshmallows and have some drinks.  It was fun!  We might make it an annual tradition and invite more people next year given our street now has an annual Halloween celebration and Christmas street party.
Image via Struck and Spink blog
Finally we had our nephew's birthday party at WaterMarc in Greensborough yesterday afternoon and the boys got to go on their first water slide.  While it is a state of the art venue, it's not been without its controversy the past 12 months and I will say, keep an eye on your kids at all times if you're not physically in the water with them.  My sister-in-law had inadvertently timed yesterday's birthday celebration with a free open day at Watermarc so half of Greensborough and beyond were at the pool!

I'll be back later this week as there's a new exhibition opening at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space and I've also put my hand up to stay on as a member of the Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Local Profile - Giampaolo Zanol

I've long thought the shopping village near Darebin Station could do with some modernisation (that whole area is underdeveloped) so my curiosity was piqued when I noticed a new business going into the home of the former Ivanhoe Cycles shop at 1075 Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe.  The fit out was so stylish that at first I thought a new restaurant was going in but on driving past, I realised it was another bike shop, but one with a difference.  Aaah the Italians - they are the masters of design with Dolomiti Electric Bikes now open for business!  And one of the founders is Giampaolo Zanol - read on for more.
Giampaolo Zanol in Turkey  
Name: Giampaolo (John) Zanol
Occupation: Partner@Dolomiti Electric Bikes
Works: Works in Ivanhoe
How long have you worked here?: 3 years
Describe yourself/what you do:
Born in Trento, Italy 1980.  Then moved to Australia at a young age with family.  After my studies, I moved to Europe to pursue a professional golf career, representing Italy and Australia throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.  Exposure to European innovations and lifestyle inspired me to introduce electric bikes to the Australian market at a professional wholesale and retail level,  Together with my mother, father and sister we founded Dolomiti (named after the mountain range surrounding our place of birth) in Carlton three years ago.  I'm responsible for sales and operations at Dolomiti retail and wholesale.  I look forward to meeting you for a coffee in our lounge!

Best thing about living/working in Melbourne's northeast:
Living in North Fitzroy and working in Ivanhoe is fantastic.  Best things are proximity to cycling tracks, inner north restaurants/bars and the relaxed culture.

For more information:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sun standing still

I spoke at last night's Red Shoes Network event on Social Media and Branding and I'm pleased to say it was a great night - if a little further out in Greensborough.  There were a lot of new faces and a more diverse crowd so it was great to meet some new businesswomen and also have the opportunity to talk about blogging!  I did want to send a special thank you to some local businesswomen and artist friends who came to see me speak last night including Catherine Lucas, Nikki Ellis, Leanne Cole and Teresa Bennett.  It was lovely to look out into the audience and see some familiar smiling faces in the crowd!  And it has given me a taste for presenting in person at future events - we'll see what happens.
Image via Gertrude Street Projection Festival
It's Winter Solstice this Saturday and locally, the Ivanhoe Makers Market is on while out at Montsalvat in Eltham, they'll be holding their annual Winter Solstice Celebration.  You can also venture into the city for The Light in Winter Solstice Celebration at Fed Square.

Speaking of light, I also wanted to mention the upcoming Gertrude Street Projection Festival in Fitzroy being held from 6 pm - midnight every night from 18 - 27 July as well as the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival in Yarra City which kicks off on my birthday 4 July and runs until 20 July.  Lots to keep us all busy and warm as the longest night and shortest day hits!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Gatsby Affair

Yet again I found myself on the other side of town this weekend, this time at the incredibly stylish and intimate space upstairs at the Back Bar - Gold Lounge in Green Street, Windsor just off Chapel Street for my friend Georgia's 'Great Gatsby' themed birthday party.  And what a cool venue it was with its pressed metal ceilings, beautiful light shades and even a stuffed Scottish longhorn cow's head on display.  I am lucky to have both current and past work colleagues whom I have remained friends with beyond our jobs and Georgia is one of these.  She's also one of those ridiculously fit, high achieving friends of mine who has previously run a number of half marathons, cycled Around the Bay in a Day, competed in Tough Mudder and is in the middle of doing an MBA - all with young children.  Yes, setting the bar high there!
The birthday girl and me
Anyway, Mr Rosanna and I had a pretty ace night out in a crowd of people all dressed up in 1930s gear including some very dapper looking men in tuxedos - something we don't take for granted these days but something all the more difficult to recover from when you've got to get up in the morning and take children to weekly sporting activities.  I miss those days of sleeping in...
Inside the Back Bar upstairs
There are a number of arts and culture events on leading up to the Winter Solstice this Saturday and I'll be back later this week with more.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A picture tells

I've always been a words girl so can only admire people who have a natural talent for photography and the visual arts.  I love a good photo and we have a number of framed shots taken by professional people on display around our house.  Which brings me to today's post on local photographer Leanne Cole who has taken my profile photos and has actually started 'Social Snappers' - social photography excursions primarily aimed at women (men are also welcome) who want to learn more about photography and take photographs on location in a more social setting with other women.  I think it's a great idea if you're interested in learning how to take better shots but would prefer to do it in a more casual and relaxed setting with a group of people who share similar photography interests.
Crown Casino image by Leanne Cole
You can find out more about Social Snappers here and more about Leanne Cole Fine Art Photography here.  Not long now until the Winter Solstice next Saturday.  Have a great weekend people!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Letting go

My first ever yoga teacher was Eugenie Knox - one of Alistair Knox's children from his first marriage - although I didn't find that out until I'd moved here.  I remember one of the words she used to say in class being 'surrender' and it's still one of my favourites - the whole concept of surrendering to our current situation and accepting where we are whether we like it or not.  As a Cancerian, it's still one of my greatest challenges in life (we're good at holding onto things!), letting go of expectations and living in the present.  I've never been good with ambiguity, which is where I find myself at the moment with things still being a little up in the air (more on that to come).
Painting by James Haramis, Letting Go exhibition
Anyway, it is a great name for an exhibition and it's the name Greensborough-based tonalist painter James Haramis has given his latest show at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham, which opens tomorrow.  I was in the gallery today looking at his works being installed and his paintings are simply sublime.  He has also been on a journey from his first solo show Contemplation held three years ago at the gallery until now.
Honeyeater print by Kate Hudson, Birdlife exhibition
Joining James will be Nillumbik printmaker Kate Hudson whose black and white as well as colour prints of Australian flora and fauna are also particular favourites of mine - they are a little Oriental-inspired and do remind me of Australian war-time artist Margaret Preston.  Her show is titled 'Birdlife' and there are some beautiful series of prints on offer.  Her work is also available from Australian accessories company Catherine Manuell Designs.  Both shows will run until Sunday 6 July with official opening drinks with the artists being held this Sunday from 2 - 4 pm.  Entry is free.

I'm really thrilled to also announce the gallery has been sold.  I can't say much more than that at the moment as the new owners are yet to reveal their full plans but the gallery will be open until the end of October with another six artists to exhibit at the gallery between now and the end of September.  Stay tuned!

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I hope you had a great long weekend.  Aside from one crazy afternoon battling the crowds at the sales at Westfield Doncaster, I had a pretty cruisy few days spent sleeping in, baking and even managing a yoga class with my bestie Jules over on the other side of town.  Yes, given almost all of my uni friends live south of the Yarra, I find myself venturing there every so often.  My girlfriend Nicole Hills (Nik) is a yoga teacher who has previously taught at St Kilda Iyengar Yoga School and currently at Yogaha in Ripponlea - a gorgeous little yoga studio that also offers massage and meditation courses.
Image via
Speaking of yoga, I was lucky enough to meet Pamela Speldewinde from Action School of Yoga in Collingwood a couple of weeks ago as our children are in the same class at school.  Pamela is running private classes until the end of June at the Smith Street centre and will then be relocating to another venue to focus on her private classes if you are interested in working one on one with her.  Contact Pamela on 0425730396 or email: for more information.  I have long loved Iyengar Yoga and as the founder, Mr BKS Iyengar has said, "Once the flame of yoga has been lit, it can never be extinguished."  I hope it is something I continue to practise well into my twilight years.
Combi Coffee cafe counter
After our yoga class, Jules and I dropped into Combi Coffee Cafe in Elwood - part of my client Avant Card's venue network and one of the many cafes I write reviews on for Avant Card.  Combi Coffee's coffee van has provided music festival goers over the years with their caffeine fix and this groovy hole in the wall-type cafe (it's long and narrow) serves fair-trade certified organic coffee, organic juices, raw organic super food smoothies, super bowls and other raw and organic tasty treats. Jules and I managed to grab some seats at the end of the communal table and realised the two girls sitting right next to us were Helena and Vikki - the two Greek twin sisters from Channel 7's My Kitchen Rules - it was great to know we were in good food company!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Local Profile - Estelle Michaelides

There are a number of people in my life who I would call 'pure fashion' and Estelle Michaelides is one of these - someone who absolutely loves the world of fashion and has only ever worked in the industry.  When I met Estelle she confided in me that she would still be designing and making clothes even if she didn't have her lovely shop The Estelle Store in Ivanhoe.  And I also love that she is a local girl who has come full circle and returned to her roots.  Read on for more about Estelle.
Name: Estelle Michaelides
Occupation: Owner of The Estelle Store and designer of Micky in The Van
Works: 244 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe
How long have you worked here?: 8 months
Describe yourself:
I live for my love of art and fashion.  I'm on a personal quest to show women how wonderful and liberating it is to celebrate their unique colours of personality through the clothes they wear.  My store is filled with Australian-designed apparel and jewellery, each one carefully handpicked by me.  My store is my little sanctuary and I love welcoming and sharing my passions with my customers.
Although I focused on millinery for almost fifteen years, I returned to my roots of fashion design two years ago, where I created Micky in The Van.  My label is inspired by storytelling.  Each piece is open to interpretation so it allows the wearer to express their own unique sense of style.  I honour women, showcase the female form and celebrate the grace of a woman.

Best things about working in the north east: 
Although I only opened my store 8 months ago, I was a student at Ivanhoe Girls' (Grammar) therefore it feels as though I've returned home.  'Home' is the best way to describe this magical part of Melbourne.  My customers have become my friends and want to see me prosper.  They take a genuine and keen interest in what I do and support my business as though I was a family member.

Contact Details 
Instagram- theestelle
For Micky In The Van;
Instagram- mickyinthevan

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Knit one, purl one

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do love a crafty person.  And with this in mind - the World Knit in Public Day is being celebrated in Banyule throughout June.  There are a number of established knitting groups and more people are welcome to join the groups for a yarn (excuse the pun) and complimentary coffee and cake at various venues around Banyule (check out page 16 of the Banyule Banner Autumn Issue for all venues and dates) starting this Saturday 7 June at Watermarc in Greensborough from 2 -  4 pm and running until Tuesday 24 June.  Book with Customer Service on 9490 4222 - sessions are free.
While I've been to the Japanese Bath House in Collingwood, I've never had a Turkish bath but I think both cultures take the concept of bathing to a whole new level.  And continuing on with my love of all things Middle Eastern and the more exotic - I've discovered a couple of Australian businesses to check out online.  First is Ottoman Empire and I particularly love their range of contemporary textiles, cushions and towels which are more affordable.  They also have a related website with Ottoman Hammam specialising in towels.  Bliss!
Image via Samah Designs Facebook page
Secondly, I have fallen in love with a few pairs of earrings by Samah Designs - a clever Melbourne girl called Samantha Choudhury who sells her handmade laser cut jewellery inspired by all things exotic on Etsy, at markets as well as The Estelle Store.  Speaking of which, I'll be back tomorrow with a local profile on the lovely Estelle herself.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blogging and Branding

When I first started this blog, I was completely anonymous.  I created Miss Rosanna at a time when I was at home with a baby and a toddler having moved from inner city to suburbia and was desperately seeking some inspiration, and in the absence of finding anything locally, I decided to do my own thing knowing I had the skills to do so.
Image by Leanne Cole - Fine Art Photographer
It wasn't until I landed my first client The Light Factory Gallery (after the Director Margot Tasca started reading my blog and asked me to work for her), that the penny dropped and I thought that I should perhaps put up some contact details and use Miss Rosanna as a bit of a showcase for my PR background and experience.  Cut to three and a half years later and I realise now with the rise of social media that Miss Rosanna has indeed become an integral part of my personal (and professional) brand and in fact, some people I've met know me first as Miss Rosanna and secondly as Christina Lew.  Miss Rosanna has become my alter ego - the bigger, braver and more public version of myself.

What I hope my blog has done, as was always the intention, is to promote a sense of connection - connection to people, places and things to see and do around here, connection to the local community and also a connection to, and with me, because that's what I think my 'brand' as a writer, marketer and human being is all about - connection.

I also think blogging in particular allows me to communicate in my own style and voice and people get a a sense of who I am and my personality or at least, I hope this is the case with people who know me both online and offline!  So with some shameless self promotion, I did want to mention that I will be talking on both blogging and branding at this month's Red Shoes women's networking event Getting Connected - Social Media and Branding being held on Wednesday 18 June from 6 pm in Greensborough.  If you are interested, please come along and see me - it would be great to meet some of you in person and I will be one of three speakers talking about social media, along with Melissa Norfolk and Rosie Shilo.

I will be back later this week with more on local happenings and a new local profile.  Stay warm now that it's officially winter!