Thursday, April 30, 2015

Following my art

The Nillumbik Artists Open Studios exhibition has been on show for a little while now at the Eltham Library Community Gallery (part of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library), which if you've never been to is well worth visiting.  The library itself was designed by multi award-winning Melbourne architect Greg Burgess and won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ Institutional Architecture Award in 1995. The building was designed to to be a cultural and community hub and includes the library, a community meeting room, a community exhibition space and a cafe.  It's also adjacent to the Shillinglaw Cottage Cafe and Food Store and there's a playground and the Alistair Knox Park also close by so in many regards it has definitely fulfilled its purpose.
Agapanthus by Kate Hudson image via
The related Artist Open Studios event is on this coming weekend over three different zones and including around 30 different artists; many of whom I was lucky enough to meet while working as publicist for The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham.  Speaking of which, the gallery may still be reincarnated as a new venture with permit applications still sitting with Nillumbik Council for approval.  If the weather is as nice as today and you feel like a leisurely drive, it would be a lovely way to spend the weekend.
Image via Bundoora Homestead
It must be one for the artists as the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre fete is on this Saturday and sounds like a lot of fun!  Musicians, performers, puppets and artists are going to take over the house, gardens and galleries and the fete will run from 11 am - 5 pm with free entry.  If you have little ones, it's also worth visiting Bundoora Park, which has amongst other things an urban children's farm, wildlife reserve, Coopers Settlement Heritage Village, golf course, cafe and an enclosed children's playground to keep them contained and amused!
Bundoora Homestead image via Visit Victoria

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lapping it up

It's a bit hard not to be affected by the greater events of the world, and while there's long been war, violence and natural disasters throughout time, I've grown more sensitive to these events as I've got older and perhaps also because I have children.  It does make me wonder what kind of world I am bringing them into and made me reflect on the action I can take as an individual - the only thing I can control.
Image via Mindful in May Facebook page
Founder Dr Elise Bialylew image via Mindful in May
It is actually Mindful in May next month - a global meditation challenge to create a habit of mindfulness based on just 10 minutes of meditation per day for 31 days, while raising funds for clean water projects at the same time.  And while you don't necessarily need to do this challenge to develop a mindfulness habit, I think it's a great idea as most of us could benefit from creating more focus, clarity and calm on a regular basis in our daily lives.
Dr Gabby Ostrognay image via Here She Is
And while I'm on the topic of mindfulness, I also wanted to mention the next Red Shoes women's networking event being held on Wednesday 13 May titled Dealing with Conflict led by psychologist Dr Gabby Ostrognay.  Like most people, I like being liked and have not always found it easy dealing with conflict in the past.  I think anything that gives you strategies to manage conflict at home or in the workplace is a wonderful thing and to realise that not all conflict is bad.  It's not always possible for everyone to agree all the time and this can sometimes lead to better outcomes if the issues are thrashed out and some kind of consensus is achieved.
Image via Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre Facebook page
Finally, talking about healthy body, healthy mind, I was at the newly redeveloped Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre yesterday and it was opening its doors this morning with the official gala opening being held on Saturday 9 May from 10am with free entry.  While the pool area has not largely changed, the new building (including new change rooms, cafe area and lounge) looks fantastic and I'm looking forward to checking it out in all its glory.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

They shall grow not old

Interplay - aesthetic charm, material challenge - is the name of the upcoming Skepsi @ Malvern exhibition which runs from Saturday 25 April until 10 May with the official opening this Sunday 26 April from 2 - 4 pm at the Malvern Artists' Society Gallery at 1297 High Street Malvern.
Irianna Kanellopoulou
And while it's not in the north-east, the exhibition features the work of local artist Irianna Kanellopoulou as well as a number of other participating artists including Amy Kennedy, Kenji Uranishi, Susan Robey, Diana Williams, Simone Fraser, Janetta Kerr-Grant, Tatiana Gvozdetskaya, Dean Smith and Tim Clarkson.
Simone Fraser
The opening speaker will be Professor Emeritus Barbara van Ernst AM with an associated afternoon with the artists on Saturday 2 May from 2 - 4 pm if you find yourself venturing east for any reason on those two weekends.
Tim Clarkson
Rug up and take a brolly with you if you are going to any of the dawn services for ANZAC Day on Saturday - it is a special year being the centenary, and we will remember them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I've had a busy start to the school term once again, but this time in a good way.  I completed my Visitor Services volunteer training with Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen yesterday so you will soon see me there once a fortnight if you're ever visiting.  It's been fantastic to meet a community of like-minded people who've come from all over Melbourne, and who are united in their love of Heide and its story and I'm looking forward to being somewhere so inspiring on a regular basis.
Emily Floyd Abstract Labour image via Heide
I've also picked up some work with a second client who will be launching their online business in the coming months - that's also been a lot of fun and I will reveal all once their website is officially launched on 1 June.
Image via Palace Cinemas
We're now more than halfway through Autumn with winter on its way and you may be spending a bit more time indoors.  The Spanish Film Festival starts today in Melbourne and one of the participating cinemas is the Westgarth in Northcote.  If you love all things Spanish, there is a second Casa Iberica Spanish delicatessen in Fulham Road, Alphington.  Speaking of Alphington, it's a shame that Seven Seeds is no longer looking at a cafe location there as their application for a coffee roastery was recently knocked back.
Image via Casa Iberica Twitter page
On a final note, the Banyule Homestead at 60 Buckingham Drive is once again listed for sale and it is a great pity that it's no longer in the hands of the state government or able to be turned into a satellite art gallery or museum.  It's in a tricky location as well surrounded by residential real estate, but I am hoping someone with a vision and deep pockets buys it, restores it in keeping with its heritage, and opens it to the public to enjoy in some capacity.  It's being auctioned on 16 May and if you are heading up Beverley Road, watch out for the ducks!  I had to stop for them the other day, along with a number of other drivers, and wait for them to cross the road.  I've also seen foxes at night and a poor dead kangaroo on the nature strip in front of the Billabong@Banyule cafe over the summer.
Banyule Homestead image via
Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Visitor Services volunteer and not an official Heide spokesperson

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Old school cool

It's Record Store Day Australia this Saturday and for those of you who love vinyl, we don't really need an excuse to buy some more records!  I'll always be more old school than new and I think vinyl just sounds better.  We've bought a number of records from our friend Marsden Williams at Muscle Shoals Second Hand Records in Brunswick (named after the US studio - it's also well worth watching the Netflix documentary on the history of this famous recording studio) who's actually been featured in Beat magazine this week.
Image via
The Ivanhoe Makers Market is on this Saturday (and every third Saturday of the month) and I did want to mention that local ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen sells her gorgeous ceramics at this market, as well as the Rose St Market in Fitzroy (the next one is Mother's Day Sunday 10 May).  I have one of her vases on my desk and I think her design aesthetic particularly suits mid century/Scandi style.  I also spied some of her ceramics for sale at the Bendigo Art Gallery shop while I was there.  Lene is Danish and I'm loving the new 'Nordic Noir' series The Legacy on SBS.

Other markets on this weekend include the Boroondara, Carlton and Fairfield farmers markets while the annual Templestowe Village Festival is also being held this Sunday and the True North Arts Festival in Darebin runs from Friday 17 - Sunday 19 April.
Image via Templestowe Festival

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Opening week

There are a number of new exhibition and store openings this week and next.  The first is Hannah Bertram's The Global Dust Project: Isles of the Dead opening tomorrow night from 6 pm at LUMA - La Trobe University Museum of Art, which has been curated by Anita La Pietra and Michael Brennan.  This is part of the Art + Climate = Change 2015 being held 11 April - 17 May - a Melbourne-wide Festival of art exhibitions, forums and talks seeking to harness the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.  Not surprisingly, I think art and artists are very closely linked to nature.
Image via LUMA
Opening next Wednesday night at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe will be A Camera on Gallipoli & Recollections from 6 - 8 pm.  This exhibition will be opened by the Mayor of Banyule Councillor Craig Langdon and Professor of History, Monash University, Alistair Thompson.  It will feature guest performances by musician Lucas Michailidis and artist Tania Smith.  A Camera on Gallipoli showcases the photographs of leading surgeon and senior medical officer Sir Charles Ryan while Recollections has been curated by Sam Willis with Banyule paying tribute through stories from the ANZACs and WWI.  RSVP if attending the opening:  Entry is free.
Image via
While I've never attended a dawn service, there are two being held locally on ANZAC Day from 6 am on Saturday 25 April at the Simpson Barracks in Yallambie Rd, Yallambie and the Eltham War Memorial at 903 Main Road in Eltham (plus a number of associated ceremonies, marches, commemorative services and mass taking place before ANZAC Day and on the day itself).  Whether you agree or not with war, I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who have served, and those who continue to serve, in our defence forces around the country and overseas.  I hope to one day take my children to a service to remember those who have fallen, and the ultimate sacrifice they made for freedom in our country, including members of our own family.
Image via Love Hate
On a lighter note, one of my favourite shops Love Hate is opening its 577-579 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy shop on Thursday night with champagne and nibbles from 6 - 9.30 pm with 25% discount across their entire range, including new season stock.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Comfort food

It's been a shock to the system returning to cooler weather and darker days after Easter.  I think Mr Rosanna and I actually ate our way through most of Easter in Bendigo and since returning home.  I've actually found myself eating Chinese food quite a bit of late, probably not that surprising given my background but it's also my kind of comfort food.  When we were in Bendigo, we got takeaway from House of Khong and since returning to Melbourne, Mr R and I also went and had dinner at Tann Ivanhoe where we've now been a number of times.  They do great dumplings and this time we also sampled some of their soups and curries - perfect for a cold night.
Image via Benjamin's Kitchen
I mentioned Benjamin's Kitchen on Heidelberg Road a while ago on my blog which has now been open for a while and had it's first review in the Age Good Food under $30 section as well as Broadsheet.  I'm delighted to say it's what the writer calls 'neighbourhood Chinese' but probably a bit different from the Chinese takeaway of old being more pan-Asian than Cantonese.  If you get a chance to visit, don't forget to drop into the Heidelberg Road Vintage Bazaar a few doors up, which has been there a number of years.  At one stage, it looked like it was going to close but I'm pleased to see it's still open and hopefully having a good place to eat nearby will draw more people in.
Image via Nerina Lascelles blog
If you're lucky enough to go for a drive this coming weekend, artist Nerina Lascelles has her Karisome (meaning 'Transience') exhibition opening tomorrow night at Yering Station in Yarra Glen.  It runs until 17 May and entry is free.  Farmers markets on over the weekend include Coburg, Collingwood and Eltham for those of you who are more inclined to cook your own meal rather than buy it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bendigo Bliss

Easter started early for Mr Rosanna and me - I'd bought tickets a while ago to see US soul singer Charles Bradley at The Corner Hotel in Richmond and his second sold out gig in Melbourne was last Wednesday night before he and his entourage headed north for the Byron Bay Bluesfest.  If you do have access to Netflix, it's worth watching the documentary on his life called Soul of America - like most soul singers, he's had both a terribly tragic as well as an incredibly inspiring life.
While we've previously been to Bright and Beechworth for Easter, this year we headed to Bendigo the next day as I had booked a holiday house there last year given the annual Easter Festival (Australia's longest, continuously running festival) which is huge, and to visit good friends who've permanently moved there.  We stayed in some gorgeous boutique accommodation - an Art Deco house called Pengallie which is just a bit further up from the View Street Arts Precinct and walking distance to The Corner Store Cafe.  We loved it - the two bedroom house is fully self contained with laundry facilities and is also pet-friendly with a lovely front and back garden - perfect for couples, girls weekends and small families.  It was great just to sit at the front of the house taking in the sunshine every afternoon with a cup of tea.
Pengallie Bendigo

The Easter Festival actually started on the Thursday night with live music in Rosalind Park however we didn't make it there until Good Friday for the annual Easter Egg Hunt by Vision Australia which was massive!  It's broken into different age groups and we'd pre-booked tickets.  It's also run by SES volunteers who sprinkled copious amounts of eggs everywhere and it was funny to see the kids being marshalled prior to being let loose to find their eggs, all of which was accompanied by a live DJ from the local radio station.

Bendigo turned it on weather-wise as both Good Friday and Easter Saturday were glorious - after the hunt, we grabbed some food from the food stall area and sat in the sun picnic-style to eat before going for a walk past the vintage car displays, rides (where the kids took ages to go on both a jumping castle and inflatable slide) and market stalls which went on forever.  It actually got quite hot in the sun - Mr R got sunburnt.  The walk was interesting in that you can see Bendigo's resident bat colony in the trees during the day - something I'd never seen before.

On Easter Saturday, we took the boys to the Central Deborah Gold Mine and did an underground tour (take a jacket and wear closed toe shoes if you go).  From there you can do the Vintage Talking Tram tour all the way out to the Bendigo Joss House (stopping on the way there if you like at the Discovery Science & Technology Centre, Bendigo Tramways Museum & Depot, and Lake Weeroona before ending at the Bendigo Joss House).  Sadly, we didn't do the tram tour - we tried to the following day on Easter Sunday but the tours weren't running due to the Easter Parade.
I managed to go out to Bendigo Pottery on Saturday afternoon on my own and while the pottery itself isn't quite my taste being more traditional, I did love some of the local ceramic art including works by Mooroopna-based artist Kaye Poulton.  I also loved the accompanying Antiques Centre based at the pottery and spent a couple of hours having a browse and discovering an Art Deco style section just at the very end after the counter.  There are also a number of artist galleries and studios on-site as well as olive oil and wine tastings so it's well worth a visit.
Bendigo Pottery & Antiques Centre
Image via Kaye Poulton blog
We also took the boys to Lake Weeroona to stretch their legs at the playground and it's a very peaceful place to go (the owner of Pengallie also recommended the Bendigo Botanic Gardens and its playground although we never made it there) - there's also a restaurant called The Boardwalk which sits right over the lake and is in a beautiful spot.
The Boardwalk Restaurant on Lake Weeroona
We actually went to both Easter parades at Bendigo - there is a night parade on Easter Saturday as well as the day parade on Easter Sunday.  We had an early dinner with our friends at Clogs on Pall Mall before heading out onto the street to then watch the night parade and fireworks.  The night parade showcases all the Emergency Services of the area - police, CFA, SES etc and the valuable work they do especially in rural areas - it was very entertaining watching all the different trucks and sirens compete with each other and there was even a disco truck that went past.  There was also a brass band playing Gangnam Style, a Scottish bagpipe band, floats of all kinds from the many local clubs and organisations in Bendigo and most surprisingly for me, a large contingent of Chinese New Year floats (they were also celebrating the Spring Festival).  Being a former gold mining town, Bendigo attracted a huge amount of Chinese during the gold rush era and that history has clearly not been forgotten.  As a second generation Australian-born Chinese person, I was really touched to see so many Anglo Saxon Australian men, women and children manning the Chinese floats in traditional Chinese dress - almost a third of the parade was dedicated to the Chinese in some way.  Dragons and lions and dancers and drummers - it was spectacular and the fireworks at the end capped off a pretty magical night in Bendigo.

Mr Rosanna and I hadn't intended on going to the Easter Sunday day parade but discovered when we got to the Deborah Gold Mine that trams were only going into the city and back so we caught the Art Series Schaller Studio Hotel Tram in and ended up checking out some of the antiques stores on View Street before grabbing a coffee and cake at a cafe and watching the parade from the sidelines.  I'd say 80% of the parade was the same as the previous night with the exception of the Sun Loong Dragon - the world's longest imperial dragon (which normally lives at the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo) who appeared at the end of the parade.  Once again, I was really touched to see the amount of people who clapped after he went past and the amount of non-Chinese people manning him.

Bendigo is filled with beautiful buildings, history and culture - it's worth doing a day trip if you can and coming up on the train just to visit the Bendigo Art Gallery and to enjoy the shopping and dining experiences to be had.  Mr Rosanna and I were lucky enough to get an early dinner booking (due to our friends kindly minding our kids) at The Dispensary in Chancery Lane - a very hip Melbourne-looking and feeling laneway restaurant run by a Bendigo-born owner who spent many years living in Melbourne before returning home.  The food and service were excellent and we loved the vinyl tunes being spun on the record player.  It's one of the places to go in Bendigo.  We had also heard great things about Masons of Bendigo - the pre-eminent dining establishment in Bendigo and I also liked the look of Wine Bank on View (despite not being a drinker!), which reminded us a little of Syracuse in Melbourne.
Mr R at The Dispensary 
Me at The Dispensary 
Wine Bank on View Street
On our last day there yesterday after packing up the house, we made it to The Corner Store Cafe for an excellent brunch - it's worth buying a couple of their branded ceramic coffee cups as souvenirs (which are made by Bendigo Pottery and more contemporary) before stretching our legs on the tower in Rosalind Park for a bird's eye view of Bendigo (some clever boys had made paper planes to send off from the top) before heading home to Rosanna.  We loved Bendigo and will be back some day soon.
The Corner Store Cafe