Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Active in Autumn

I love Autumn.  I love the crisp, cool mornings and the warm days as well as watching all the leaves on the trees change colour.  Easter is a great time of year and I love the opportunity to slow down, get away (if you are so lucky) and have a break.

With the weather cooling down, it's been a great time to exercise particularly if you can do so in the morning.  Some years ago now, my best friend Jules and I toyed with the idea of launching our own activewear/yogawear line and even got as far as writing a business plan - I wish we had gone ahead now when I see the proliferation of labels in the market and how popular this segment has become whether you are a regular exerciser or not.
The Upside image via Stylerunner
While I have always worn Nike as a runner (and now doing boot camp as well), I've also bought Lululemon Athletica for yogawear.  Locally, Lorna Jane is everywhere and I do like the fashion edge she brings to activewear as well as Jodhi Meares's label The Upside which you can buy online from Stylerunner.  I also like a local label called Abi and Joseph.  If you are ever venturing near Bundoora, it is worth stopping in at the Uni Hill Factory Outlets where a number of activewear and outdoor gear specialists have outlets.
Image via Abi and Joseph
One of the more fun things happening this Easter weekend if you are around is the annual manicure and mocktails day from 11 am - 4 pm this Saturday at The Estelle Store in Ivanhoe where there's also 10% off storewide (not including sale items).  One of the best Christmas presents one of my former employers  did for an office full of girls was organise her beauty therapist to come into our office and give us all a manicure.  Who doesn't love a bit of pampering?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Smell the roses

Despite the somewhat gloomier weather, there's still much to celebrate in Melbourne - we seem to have an incredible amount of 'international' festivals throughout the Autumn months.  The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show started yesterday in Melbourne and has a particular focus on sustainability this year - probably not surprising given how resilient our gardens need to be in this city of four seasons and throwing climate change into the mix.  I love how rooftop gardens have become increasingly popular especially in urban areas.
Image via Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
If you're after a laugh and a half (or more), The Melbourne International Comedy Festival also started yesterday and is actually one of Melbourne's most successful festivals in terms of box office numbers and attendance.
Image via Darebin Arts
I'm also starting to wind down from what has been a really hectic school term not helped by endless unexpected appointments - it's nice to stop and smell the roses and with that in mind, the Slow Food Melbourne farmers market at Abbotsford Convent is also on this weekend as well as the launch of 21st Century Heide at one of my favourite places in Melbourne - Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen where the gardens outside are just as inspiring as the gallery spaces themselves.
Image via Heide Museum of Modern Art
Finally, I had lunch with my good friend Rina Chia today at CH James in Station Street Fairfield and it was good, if a little breezy with the door open.  It's not far from the MS Community Shop where Rina and I both picked up a couple of bargains, and right next door to Luna Yoga if you are in the area.  Rina's now sold her Take 2 market vintage clothing business but still holding the Strictly Vintage Market with Nicole Jenkins from Circa Vintage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Autumn Pop

I've been out on the road visiting my client Avant Card today, which is always great fun - I get greeted by the office dog, catch up on work and other news with the team there (who've just taken on a person with a disability in their distribution area) and often then catch up with friends who still live or work inner-city (or both) before heading back to the 'burbs.
Image via Mel: hotornot
Today I dropped into Green Park on Nicholson Street for a bite to eat and it's in a great location if you are in the area.  It's in the green island of space on Park Street behind the Velocycles bike shop on the Capital City Trail so it was abuzz with cyclists, people walking their dogs and lots of parents with babies and prams coming in for lunch.  There's also a more secluded wine bar at the back and despite the busy-ness - it still managed to feel pretty calm inside.  Having windows out to all the green space outside also helps.  Joyce from the Mel: Hot or Not blog has also done a great review here.
Image via Wikipedia
A couple of things to mention today - Fabian Dattner is talking at the first Red Shoes Network event this year on the theme 'Outside the Square - A Woman of Influence' which is being held tomorrow night at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg - you can find out more or book here.

Speaking of babies, I met the organiser of the Baby Pop Up event at the International Women's Day brunch - the first event is being held this Friday 27 March outside the Ivanhoe Library and I daresay you'll be seeing lots of cuteness on display if you have a baby and would like to attend to hear some music, stories and lullabies all for free.
Image via Blank Goods
Finally, Easter is coming up really soon and locally I think you'll find some nice chocolate goodies at both Chocolatier at 244 Waterdale Road in Ivanhoe as well as the Australian Chocolate Emporium at 79 Silverdale Road, Eaglemont.  If chocolate is not your thing, I also love these Blank Goods hollow wooden eggs for decorating - they're particularly useful if anyone in your family has egg allergies and can't decorate the real thing (plus they'll last longer!).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Festive times ahead

It's a busy weekend coming up with lots on. Locally, St Bernadette's primary school in Ivanhoe West is holding a twilight fete tomorrow night while Merri Creek Primary school in Miller Street, North Fitzroy is holding its Merry Merri 2015 Fete on Saturday.
Image via Facebook
Farmers markets on this weekend include the Carlton and Fairfield farmers markets being held on Saturday and the Eltham farmers market on Sunday.  If you have kids it would also be worth stopping in at the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway which is always a lot of fun.
Image via www.dvr.com.au
There are not one but two local festivals on this weekend including the Warrandyte Festival as well as the award winning Banyule Festival consisting of Twilight Sounds being held on Saturday evening with headline act Ms Murphy followed by the Arty Farty Grand Parade and Fest on Sunday for the kids.  The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is also currently on in the city and surrounds and ends this Sunday.
Image via Banyule Council website
The wasps are a real pest this year - they are generally at this time of year but apparently are in bumper numbers due to having had a mild summer here.  An aromatherapist friend has recommended peppermint oil spray to keep them away especially if you're eating food or drink outside.
Image via Round She Goes website
Staying indoors might help if you are averse to bugs and the Sisters Market is also on this Saturday in Brunswick while the Round She Goes Market is being held in Coburg on Sunday.  I forgot to mention a new market last week called What's in the Box which is held in Box Hill on a quarterly basis.

Finally, it is passata (Italian tomato sauce) season and there is a special workshop being held on Saturday 28 March at the OAE Kitchen, 233 Southern Road in Heidelberg West.  It's $15 or $10 Concession and you need to book before 22 March on 9450 2665 or email: suzanne.crellin@oae.vic.edu.au

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Let's get physical

It's great to see locals supporting locals and I just wanted to mention two things today about a couple of people I know.

Nikki Ellis from Cinch Personal Training officially opened her new group training studio at 1/24 Aberdeen Road in Macleod last Wednesday night.  It's two doors up from Room to Groom opposite the Macleod Tennis Courts and in a fantastic location.  Nikki's outgrown her home-based studio and subject to permits, it should be all systems go from next Monday 23 March.  Check the website for details regarding complimentary classes (subject to signing up) over the next couple of weeks.

I have to say it's looking pretty fabulous!  I love the colour scheme and Nikki's got great taste.  Locals have no excuse now not to get fit having somewhere (and someone) so great to exercise having experienced a session with Nikki myself.
Image via Latitude Melbourne
Steve Haydon from Zebra Vision has actually produced the very cool video (for all the cool kids) for new trampoline park Latitude Melbourne on Waterdale Road in Heidelberg West.  You can check it out here if you're interested in having a look.  Love your work Steve!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Three courses full

Mr Rosanna and I had a wedding last Friday night venturing south of the Yarra.  I've been to a number of different weddings in the past including a couple of stand up weddings and one held on New Year's Day although this was the first one I've been to on a Friday night, which was a bit tricky.  It's great having flexible employers who allow you to work from home.  It was the wedding of an older couple who also had adult children - both sides of whom spoke at the reception.  It's lovely to see that love can bloom again, as it can at any age.

Seaview Room Brighton Savoy image via Venue Mob
I loved the bride's beautiful sleeveless Carla Zampatti wedding dress (above) which was a little vintage-inspired with a lace overlay and tulle rosette at the front with a split and small train at the back.  Her daughter looked just as stunning in a strapless black dress fittingly by Zampatti's daughter Bianca Spender (also a fashion designer).  Needless to say the wedding reception was a very cultured and sophisticated affair at the Brighton Savoy where Mr R and I also stayed the night.

The next morning we slept in and decided to go to the Middle Brighton Baths cafe for breakfast (instead of the Brighton Schoolhouse which was also close by).  While the food was OK, the scenery was spectacular.  The baths themselves are housed in a beautiful Art Deco building with a private beach and swimming area (complete with shark netting) just for members only, which can be viewed from inside the cafe (above) - we spied a few hardcore swimmers probably training for the upcoming Iron Man Asia Pacific event.  Lots of people were out cycling, running, walking their dogs and enjoying the morning sunshine.  It is a different feeling being by the beach - it was fantastic to walk along the pier all the way out to the rocks and back and a great way to start the weekend.

It was just as well the morning was relaxing as the drive back to Rosanna dealing with Melbourne Grand Prix traffic was no fun at all.  We weren't feeling terribly zen by the time we got home!  It was a busy weekend in that we had a long planned dinner party on Saturday night catching up with some of my old work friends Georgia and Kath (and our partners) although luckily this was local.  Georgia and her husband had gone to a lot of effort with a delicious Greek slow cooked lamb and pomegranate salad (Hellenic Republic's Cypriot grain salad recipe) for dinner followed by this amazing double chocolate berry pavlova dessert (below) from the What Katie Ate book (and blog of the same name).

I tell you it's a good thing I exercise as I don't often have three course meals for dinner especially two nights in row!  There's a huge amount on this coming weekend as well as some other local happenings so I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Walking the talk

I've mentioned before that I pay greater attention these days to what people do rather than what they say they're going to do and I like to think I am someone who always follows through (when it makes sense to) and makes things happen (perhaps I should have been a magician in this life, not a marketer).  I try to finish what I start and when I commit, it's usually for the long haul.  So with that in mind, I have signed up to do that 10km run I've been talking about - you'll see me at Run Melbourne in July along with a number of other friends I've coerced into running with me - I just need to start training now!
Image via Register Now
Locally, the Eltham Fun Run 2015 is being held this Sunday - you can choose either the 5km or 10km Walk/Run through some of the most picturesque walking trails in Melbourne.  Some of my fitter friends have also signed up in previous years to The Colour Run, Run for the Kids, City2Sea and Puffing Billy Great Train Race.  There is also an Anzac Run Melbourne this year as well as the annual Mother's Day Classic and Melbourne Marathon events.
Image via Go run for Gynae
If something more leisurely takes your fancy, then both the Collingwood Children's Farm and Coburg Farmers Markets are on this weekend as well as the Take 2 Pop Up fashion event at Queen Victoria Market C shed.  The annual Darebin Community & Kite Festival is also being held this Sunday at Edwardes Lake Park from 11 am - 6 pm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Animal adventures

We had a staycation here this long weekend.  While many of our friends went away or to Moomba given it is festival season, we had a number of celebrations with friends and family here in Melbourne.  I had also signed us up for chicken duty at school - I'm not sure if that was a great idea given the early starts but I have to say it was extremely funny to set the chickens free every morning from their coop and we did get paid in lots of eggs.  It's nice to bring a touch of the country to the suburbs and a number of friends have chickens at home.

It must have been the weekend for animal adventures as we also dropped in to The Greenery in Heidelberg on Sunday as Chris Humfrey from Wild Action Zoo was there with his crew and a vast menagerie of different animals.  They actually put on a couple of shows at the nursery that day but we were lucky enough to catch them in between and spent an hour or so with Chris and his animals up close and personal.  My kids had an absolute ball and so did we.

We'd actually previously seen Chris's show Wild Life on ABC.  As well as running workshops in kinders and schools, you can hire Wild Action for children's birthday parties and he also runs Junior Zoo Keeper Day workshops at his private zoo in Mt Macedon (50 minutes drive from Melbourne) just for kids (groups of 10 only) during the school holidays for $300 per child for the day (9 am - 4 pm).  He's a great person to talk to (and was a national kayaking champion!) and his passion for animals was really evident - he is one of those people who is the same in real life as he appears on screen.

It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend as we also attended a children's pool party at the Eltham Leisure Centre where we've been a number of times (La Trobe University also hold similar ones).  While I was there I managed to see the Diamond Valley Roller Derby Club team in action and if you're interested in having a look, they practise from 2pm on Sunday afternoons there.  It's worth watching Kirsten Wiig from Bridesmaids in another movie about roller derby called Whip It.
Finally, we caught up with Aunty Cat in the wicked west for an early birthday celebration in hipsterville, no wait, Yarraville which has become hipster central.  I hadn't been there for a number of years but it is a fantastic suburb with some gorgeous buildings and houses and a true village feel.  We sat outside The Sun Bookshop next to the art deco Sun Theatre for lunch and I think the whole suburb of Yarraville was out on the street.  We then walked to nearby Beaton Reserve to throw frisbees, kick the footy and soccer balls around with the kids, take them to the playground and let them scoot around the park.  I also loved the permanent ping pong table that's been set up at the front of the park and have previously been invited to a party there to play Trugo at the Yarraville Trugo Club.  The things you get up to on the weekend...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Local profile - Blaise van Hecke

I had the pleasure of sitting right next to Blaise van Hecke from Busybird Publishing at yesterday's International Women's Day Brunch and I can't think of a more fitting person to have on my blog than her this week.  It is inspiring to meet women who have managed to carve out their own businesses according to their passions and on their own terms. I'm sure it's not always easy but I take my hat off to Blaise and women like her.  Read on for more about Blaise...
Name: Blaise van Hecke
Occupation: Publisher
Lives/works: Montmorency
How long have you lived/worked here? 7 years
Describe yourself:
Ever since I was small, writing, books, music and art have been part of a staple diet so it’s no surprise that I am now a writer, writing mentor and publisher. I love books and love to help people find ways to get their story out into the world through writing, books and art.

I run Busybird Publishing with my husband Kev in Montmorency where we run writing and photography workshops, open mic nights, networking events, exhibitions and help people self-publish their books. We love the community that has sprung up around us.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
The leafy surrounds and the fantastic community.

For more information:
Email: busybird@bigpond.net.au
Mobile: 0416 157 281
Landline: 9434 6365

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A woman's day

I went to the International Women's Day brunch this morning in the Streeton Room at The Centre Ivanhoe (one of my favourite buildings) held by Banyule City Council and had a great time!  I was seated with Caitlin Armstrong from Banyule Arts and Culture and a number of other women including textile artist Teresa Bennett, ceramicist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen and sculptor Irianna Kanellopoulou, along with another person whose profile will be up on my blog tomorrow.  We were treated to a panel discussion by four different women from Banyule of varying ages and cultural backgrounds on 'making it happen' and the whole event was hosted by a very entertaining female comedian who acted as MC.  There were also a number of men there including the Mayor of Banyule and a number of councillors including our only female councillor Jenny Mulholland.
Image via The Centre Ivanhoe blog
I guess I've always been proud to call myself a feminist and in my real life, I am actually a 'Ms' who has also kept her maiden name so it was interesting to touch on the challenges women have faced, and continue to face, in Australia and around the world.  The issue of domestic violence was raised during question and answer time and I do think this is something that concerns us all as a community.
Image via Banyule City Council
On a lighter note, I then ventured to Hatch Contemporary Arts Space to view the Dada Lives! exhibition whose opening I missed last night.  It pushes the boundaries a bit more than past shows (some of it isn't suitable for children) - needless to say I particularly love the artwork involving the use of old books by both Kir Larwill (oil paintings of ships on book covers) and Nicholas Jones's book sculptures, which are quite breathtaking.
Nicholas Jones - Artist-in-residence Dada Lives! Exhibition
I was also lucky enough to find Nicholas Jones in residence today so had a chat with him about his work - he spent his formative years growing up and living in Ivanhoe and I love that his studio is in the Nicholas Building (no pun intended!) in the city - another beautiful heritage-listed building if you ever get the chance to visit.
Image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A woman's woman

It's International Women's Day this Sunday and locally, Banyule Council is holding a free community event - the International Women's Day Brunch this Thursday at The Streeton Room in The Centre Ivanhoe from 9.30 - 11.30 am.  Limited places are available and bookings are essential.  If you're coming along, you'll see me there along with some other high profile local women and artists at the Banyule Arts and Culture table.
Image via wfto.com
Speaking of high profile local women, I'll also have a new local profile up this Friday featuring one of the women who will be at the brunch with me.  While I have male friends, in my heart of hearts I think I will always be a woman's woman and the majority of my closest friends are female.  I don't know why this is, suffice to say that perhaps growing up in a female-only household and being a more girly girl as a child may have had something to do with it.  As an adult, I have also worked in a female-dominated profession (marketing/PR/communications) in female-dominated industries - from my early days in fashion, beauty and retail to now in arts and culture - so I think I can safely say that most days for me are women's days!  Perhaps that's also why fate has sought to give me two sons, so I can experience more testosterone in my life.
Image via Banyule Business
I love that the headline act for this year's Banyule Festival Twilight Sounds event is soul singer Ms Murphy - it's fantastic to see a female front woman in the mix!  March is festival month in Banyule and beyond - I'll be back later this week with more.
Image via Banyule City Council