Thursday, October 30, 2014

Witching Hour

I've had a sombre start to this Halloween week with a death in my family.  There's nothing like death to make you appreciate life, those you love and what you love to do.  Although having said that, I've cancelled all commitments for the next week while I just concentrate on being for a little while instead of doing including missing out on completing my Visitor Services volunteer training at Heide Museum of Modern Art.  Yes - I have been accepted into their 2 year volunteer program so you will see me there next year once I complete my training.
On a much brighter note, life goes on and my boys are super excited about Halloween which is big in our street.  We've even done a Halloween-themed birthday party one year for son number two, which was huge with me baking a 'Gary the Ghost' cake and playing pin the tail on the black cat!  We ended up stopping in at Blokker in Beetham Parade, Rosanna last weekend to buy new Halloween costumes for this year and I've got a bucketful of lollies which I'll be doling out to all and sundry tomorrow night.
I have also bought my Spring herbs from Bulleen Art & Garden, which is currently undergoing renovations but still as busy as ever.  There's also nothing quite as life affirming as being amongst living things outside in nature although the snails have already attacked the sage!  My friend Jasmine recommended using a cut out plastic soft drink bottle to completely surround the seedlings instead of snail bait which is a good idea.  Either that, or you're forced to plant your herbs in pots and containers only.  Speaking of which, Heide head gardener Dugald Noyes will be taking a free garden workshop on Potted Plant Culture on Thursday 13 November from 11am - 12.30pm - assemble at the Heide III Information Desk.  BYO sunscreen and water.
The Carlton Farmers Market is on tomorrow from 8am - 1 pm if you're not going to any Spring Racing Carnival events.  If you're taking any of the days off next week to go to the races - have a great time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You say salami

I love that in Melbourne we have our own Salami Festival!  Yes, the Melbourne Salami Festa opens this weekend at the Northcote Town Hall and if you're a lover of all things meaty - then this is the one for you.  I've always loved the Italian tradition of making their own tomato sauces and salamis (as I am about similar rituals making Greek desserts and Chinese dumplings) and one year nearly decided to give Mr Rosanna a salami making course as a Christmas present.
Image via Northcote Town Hall website
I was out visiting my client Avant Card yesterday and they are located in a pretty hip spot off Sydney Road in Brunswick.  I picked up some takeaway lunch from a relatively new cafe Foxtrot Charlie and also popped my head into Ottoman Treasures which sells the most divine Turkish jewellery and ceramics amongst other things - thanks to Lady Melbourne for that tip.  You also go past the doorway to Mr Kitly and if you're a design aficionado then that's also worth popping your head into.
Setting up for Motor Classica - Royal Exhibition Building
Mr Rosanna and I also had an evening out in Carlton while I've been researching post graduate courses - the boys got to go to the Imax Theatre at the Melbourne Museum while we saw workers getting the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building ready for the Motor Classica car event also on this weekend (check out the vintage Maseratis if you go!).

Finally, the Round She Goes vintage clothing market is being held at Coburg Town Hall this Sunday from 10 am - 3 pm.  Entry is $2.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Put a bird on it

Yes, that's a running joke in the Avant Card office where we all do love a bird and they seem to be used as artwork for many a thing.  It is actually National Bird Week and Birdlife Australia is running the Aussie Backyard Bird Count from today if you're a lover of all things avian.
Image via
Mr Rosanna and I are failing at our attempts to keep the Indian Myna birds out of our backyard despite planting native bushes and trying rubber snakes and a fake owl.  If you have any suggestions (besides shooting them!) then please let me know as they seem to have taken over our garden and we're not happy about it.
Regent Honey Eater image via Birdlife Australia website
We've been spending our weekends slowly sprucing up our garden including painting deck furniture (next time I'm definitely not buying a wooden outdoor setting) and will hopefully get onto planting our herbs by Melbourne Cup weekend.  It's been an interesting exercise researching plants for different areas in our garden, which experiences varying amounts of light and shade - a good metaphor for life.

I hope you had a great weekend and are getting to experience some of the Spring sunshine that's around today.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ladies who lunch

I went to the Banyule Women in Business Lunch yesterday and had a great time!  I had also organised a group of local businesswomen friends to join me including personal trainer Nikki Ellis, Jane Lindsay from Berghaus Interiors, interior designer Renae Barrass, textile artist Teresa Bennett and photographer Leanne Cole.  And it was great to hear Carolyn Cresswell speak about the food empire she has created with Carman's muesli and muesli bars - apparently somewhere in the world, a Carman's muesli bar is eaten every 2 seconds.
Me and Carolyn Cresswell at The Centre Ivanhoe
I also think Carolyn has the common touch - a suburban mum of four who struggled for the first five years to actually make a living from her business but through sheer hard work and good financial management and marketing, has managed to created a global business.  It was really inspiring to hear her story and also share her tips on managing the juggle of work and children and life in general.  I did manage to sidle up to her at the end to have a photo taken and tell her the story of meeting her at a marketing networking function many years ago.  She is someone who very much deserves her success.

After I left the lunch, Renae Barrass and I briefly ducked into Koko Interiors before heading across the road to The Estelle Store to catch up with the lovely Estelle Michaelides herself who hadn't been able to attend the lunch because she was working.  Coming out of the store as we were entering was Phoebe Montague from the Lady Melbourne blog who has her eye on one of Estelle's own Micky in the Van pieces which I have also fallen in love with.  I won't spoil it for any readers here who also read the Lady Melbourne blog.
Romulus & The Gypsy - interior
I also took the opportunity to drop into a relatively new shop called Romulus & the Gypsy which is tucked away off Upper Heidelberg Road in the little carpark quadrangle off Coles which faces Livingstone Street.  It was lovely to meet Gabby the owner and I will have more about her on my blog very soon.  If you're after interesting and exotic things - then this is the place to visit.

It's looking like a very lovely weekend in Melbourne and if you're out and about - the Open Cellars of Nillumbik is being held this weekend as well as the Practically Green Festival which includes the Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2014.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lights, Colour, Action

A few things to mention today.  The Banyule Women in Business Lunch is being held tomorrow at The Ivanhoe Centre and if you're going - you'll see me there!  I'm looking forward to hearing Carolyn Cresswell of Carman's Kitchen speak and it's so lovely to see such a nice person experiencing such great success, not only in business, but in life.  Net-a-porter founder Megan Quinn gave a fantastic talk last year so this event is a great one to go to and only happens once a year.
Anna Plunkett & Luke Sales from Romance Was Born - image via NGV website
Opening tomorrow at NGV is The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier and running until 8 February next year - I still remember the conical bras designed by Gaultier that Madonna used to wear in her film clips in the 1990s.  He's also dressed Kylie Minogue over the years as well as designed the costumes in the Luc Besson film The Fifth Element and has a very distinct style.  And while I'm on the topic of fairly out there fashion, Sydney fashion duo Romance Was Born also have an exhibition called Express Yourself just for kids also on at the NGV from tomorrow until 22 March next year.
Image via The Finders Keepers website
The Finders Keepers Melbourne Market starts this Friday night from 6 - 10 pm at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and from 10 am - 5 pm on Saturday while the monthly Ivanhoe Makers Market is also on this Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm at The Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe - there'll be some vintage and pre-loved women's clothing and accessories for sale as well as new pieces by local ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Feel good, look good

I've been re-reading 'Light on Life' by Mr BKS Iyengar since he passed away a few months ago and also just returned to regular yoga practice.  I've long believed that the mind and body are intertwined (the word 'yoga' actually means 'union' in Sanskrit) and if you are physically strong, there are mental benefits which occur as a natural consequence.  I also think if you feel good about your body and yourself, then you 'look' good to others as well rather than the other way around - confidence comes from within and extends outwards.  I had friends who ran in the Melbourne Marathon on Sunday and have also been inspired by them - a fun run of some kind is still on my to do list!
Image via Red Shoes Network
With that in mind (excuse the pun), I just wanted to mention a couple of local events happening tomorrow.  The Red Shoes Network is holding an event dedicated to Health and Wellbeing tomorrow night at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg.  The guest speaker is Judy Paynter - a journalist, businesswoman, mother, grandmother and breast cancer survivor.  There'll also be a series of rotating health and wellbeing experiences by locals such as personal trainer Nikki Ellis and podiatrist Thien Trinh who I recently met while buying a pair of super cool Frankie 4 sneakers at his shoe shop and podiatry practice Stepwell in Station Road, Rosanna.
Image via
For the cyclists out there, there's also a free Sustainable Community Ride to Work Day breakfast from 7 - 9am at Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West tomorrow morning.  This event has been supported by local organisations including Transition 3081, The Salt Foundation, Murundaka Cohousing Community and VicHealth Walk to School.

There are lots of other things happening in Melbourne this week and I'll be back tomorrow with more.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight

Image via credit: Noel Munford
Did you see the blood moon last night?  It was great to see the lunar eclipse - it always feels a bit magical and mystical to look at the moon by the light of the stars.  I'm also enjoying the beautiful day and have preferred to concentrate on the world of arts, culture and my local community given things seem to be so grim in the world outside Australia at the moment.  I've stopped letting my kids watch the news for the time being, just to preserve their innocence for a bit longer.
Image via
The Melbourne Festival starts this weekend and if you're into the arts then there's a big program of events to consider if you're lucky enough to be going to any of them - theatre, dance, visual arts, opera and music are all on offer with free opening events.  The Australian Print Workshop in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy is also holding its inaugural Art Fair and pop up exhibition this weekend from 10 am - 5 pm daily - entry is free.

Closer to home, the Fine Design Market is on this Sunday at MC2 in Manningham from 10 am - 3 pm while the new Main Street Greensborough Market is also being held on Sunday from 9 am - 2 pm.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New beginnings

It is the end of an era for me having had the pleasure of working for Director Margot Tasca as publicist for The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham the past three and a half years.  It has been particularly inspiring working in the world of contemporary art and meeting many local artists over that time.  The gallery's last show of portraiture including works by Margot Tasca herself is still on until this Sunday (11 am - 2 pm daily) after which time the gallery will close for good.  The teahouse will continue to trade until 26 October and both Margot and Damien Carey (who runs the teahouse) have exciting future plans ahead.
Margot Tasca and me at The Light Factory Gallery
As for the gallery itself, I have been sworn to secrecy but I think its new incarnation will be really exciting and continue to put the space on the map as a destination.  As for me, I also hope to stay working in the world of contemporary art in some capacity so I will keep you posted on my movements.  I continue to work for my other lovely client Avant Card as their Marketing Copywriter on an ongoing basis so it's fantastic to still be in the world of arts and culture.
Image via
Speaking of which, there are a number of things to mention today including the Darebin Music Feast which starts today.  If you're in Darebin, it's also worth visiting Bundoora Homestead Art Centre for the Coming Home exhibition commemorating its history as a convalescent farm and repatriation psychiatric hospital from 1920 until 1993.  The official opening is this Saturday 11 October at 2 pm.

There are a number of other art events and markets on this coming weekend so I'll be back tomorrow with more.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Local Profile - Daniela Piccione

They say that languages and music are not only good for the soul, but also good for the brain whether you are young or old, and one of my regrets is not continuing my French right up until I finished high school.  I also did an Italian course after visiting Italy instead of before I went but no matter what your age or stage of life, I think learning a language is a beautiful thing and to teach it, even more so.  I met Daniela at another school function where we both put our hands up as parent helpers - maybe it was meant to be as the food we happened to be distributing that day was pizza!  Read here for more about Daniela or Danie as I know her.
Business  Name: Bella Lingua – Italian 4 Kids
Founder: Daniela Piccione
Occupation: Italian Teacher
Works: Ivanhoe Livingstone Community Centre, Ivanhoe Library & Diamond Valley Library
How long have you worked here? 12 weeks
Describe yourself/what you do:
I teach Italian to toddlers, pre-schoolers, primary schoolers and adults.  I volunteered to do Italian story time at the Diamond Valley Library in Feb 2012, geared towards pre-schoolers, during their Italian week, for a 1-hour session.  I learnt there was an interest in the Italian language for kids within mixed cultural families who wanted their children to learn Italian, as they were no longer using it in their home.  I then worked on a 2-year program that year and decided to begin marketing it in 2014.

This year has been absolutely fantastic in the response of parents wanting to enrol into the Italian classes that I now have extended my lessons to primary school children, and now adults.

I teach pre-schoolers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Ivanhoe Livingstone Learning Centre (ILLC).  Adult classes are also held at the ILLC on Wednesday nights 7.30pm-9pm.  I’ve decided to continue the Italian story time at both libraries.  The Diamond Valley Library every 1st Friday of the month and Ivanhoe Library every 3rd Thursday of the month.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
The parents and grandparents that bring their children to the classes are just as passionate as I am about the Italian language, which makes me love my job even more. I love hearing the beautiful accent from children so young, and it’ll be really exciting to see where this will take them in the future.

For more information:
Facebook: www.facebook/Italian4kids
Email: or
Mobile: 0422 416 147

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Table for one

I went out for a family dinner last night to Trapezi in Station Street, Fairfield and it was excellent as it was the last time I was there.  I will say that I did have to ask George the owner to turn the music down when we arrived (I must be getting old!) as the Greek dance music was a bit too much at 6pm and particularly because I had been enjoying listening to the busker out on the street playing guitar.  While we normally go to the more traditional Village Square Greek Tavern in Burgundy Street Heidelberg, it was nice to go somewhere a bit different and more up market.  Trapezi has more of an urban feel with its polished concrete floors and modern interior.

Images above via
I've recently come across a number of interesting local people so I will have another local profile to put up tomorrow just in time for the start of the new school term.  I also wanted to mention that the inaugural fortnightly Carlton Farmers Market starts this Saturday from 8 am - 1 pm at Carlton Primary School and will be held on the first and third Saturdays of each month.
Ornamental Pond at Monsalvat image via wikipedia
Montsalvat in Eltham is also holding its annual Open Day this Sunday and if the weather improves as it's meant to, then it will be a fantastic day out exploring the buildings, studios and extensive gardens not to mention all the activities scheduled to take place.   Tickets are currently for sale online with a family ticket costing $20, adults $7 and children 3 - 15 years old $5 - children under 3 are free.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Loup de loup

While the past week or so has been spent amusing two little boys - we have managed to get out and about including having crepes and waffles today at French-inspired patisserie Bar Sur Loup in Balwyn just off Bulleen Road in a fairly quiet little strip of shops that includes Hahndorf's Fine Chocolates, children's party venue Sweet Republic, Body Vision Health & Fitness and SOMA Fitness.  I find it quite funny you've got fitness centres located next to shops and cafes that sell pastries, crepes and chocolates!  Bar Sur Loup has been open since last year and is a gorgeous space - it was full house today inside and out the front when we arrived so we managed to nab one of the two tables in the back courtyard near the herb garden.  They've also recently made it into the top 8 places for crepes on The Urban List and I can vouch for the La Grec which I scoffed down today.
Chocolate waffle and chocolate milk shake in Mason jar
While I'm on the topic of cakes and sweets, there is also a Hahndorf's Fine Chocolates shop on Grimshaw Street in Greensborough and if you are looking for a special occasion or novelty cake then you really should check out Greensborough Cake Decorating Centre in the nearby Grimshaw Walk arcade.  They do cakes which use both frosted icing and butter cream - you'll need to allow two weeks' notice if you want a cake with frosted icing as it's more involved than butter cream.
Rooftop balcony at Bar Sur Loup
I'm looking forward to starting back at boot camp next week as I think I'll need it!