Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Show business

Mr Rosanna and I took the boys to the Royal Melbourne Show on Monday for the first time.  I was very kindly given tickets to the show by my client Avant Card and it was a big day out.  After training it in from Clifton Hill, we went straight through the gates and headed for the rides.  First stop was the Giant Sky Wheel where the views from the top were fantastic.  Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the quieter days of the show which I was thankful for after nearly losing sight of my boys one year in the Moomba crowds.  It was still busy but not manic.

We also had a go on the dodgem cars, the haunted house (probably not such a good idea in hindsight in terms of age-appropriateness) and the giant Euroslide in the Thrillseekers Carnival area (which is crazy loud and busy) for the over 6 years olds.  I cast a longing look at one of the scariest rides - the Freestyle - but Mr Rosanna doesn't handle dizzy rides well and there was no-one else to look after the kids so I'll save that for another day.

By this stage we were starting to get pretty hungry despite downing a couple of buckets of chips (hey we were at the show!) so headed to the Winning Tastes Pavilion - the hipster food area - as we also had a food voucher to spend.  We actually headed indoors into the Masterchef set as the sun was starting to blaze by this stage and there were no umbrellas covering the outdoor tables, which was a criticism of mine.  That ended up being a wise idea as it was air conditioned and more low key inside, which allowed all of us to chill for a while.  That's also the secret to having a good time at the show with kids - regular stops sitting down in quiet areas to recharge.  We had some pretty tasty food from the Brew Bar and BBQ as well as a couple of coffees from inside where you could also find the speakeasy cocktail bar and pop up dessert bar.
We'd come relatively prepared with backpacks of drinks and snacks but the really organised families had brought those market trolley bags on wheels full of packed lunches.  It is an expensive day out at the show - it's easy to burn through money very quickly so a BYO lunch is a very good idea.  After lunch, we ventured to the ever popular Jayco Animal Nursery where we hand fed the lambs and baby goats, which were adorable, before washing our hands at the end where you exit.  It's a good opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals and I even had one errant lamb follow me right out of the enclosure - it was a good thing the boys at the next door jumping castle were onto it!  My boys also loved the Magic Circus House with the internal obstacle course in the Kids Carnival (under 6 years) area which was cranking out the cool tunes - 'Fame' by David Bowie was playing at the time.

Sadly no wood chopping was taking place in the nearby pavilion, although we did see some of the working dogs show in The Farmhouse area.  The show's heritage comes from the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and is a great opportunity for city kids to have exposure to farm life.  If you are a member of the RACV or RASV, there are also discounted tickets/free entry to the show depending on your level of membership.  I didn't get a chance to visit the CWA Kitchen but that would also have been worth visiting if you're a traditionalist like me.

We ended the day queuing with hundreds of other people in the stalls leading into the Showbag Pavilion so felt like a sheep ourselves at that point in time!  Luckily it was fairly free flowing but pretty hot and crowded inside.  The boys were lucky enough to be given one Minecraft showbag each as well as a food showbag to share, along with some fairy floss for the ride home.  We deliberately decided to leave the showbags to the end given we didn't want to carry extra things around with us during the day but some people may want to buy them first thing as part of their show strategy to avoid the late afternoon queues (and tantrums!).
We had two happy but tired children on the train, along with two exhausted parents, as we headed back home - I'm glad I wore sneakers given all the walking we did.  There's no business like show business...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Taking the floor

I'm pretty sure my youngest son is a performer and perhaps it runs in the family given my Dad's a musician.  I remember when I was at uni that the best public speakers from my course had all done drama, which was interesting.  It takes guts to get up and have a crack so I just wanted to mention a couple of places today that hold Open Mic Nights.  Busybird Publishing in Montmorency holds an Open Mic Night on the third Wednesday of every month while The grape & HOP wine bar, which is also in Monty, holds one every Tuesday night and I know a couple of friends who went last night and got up on stage - brave souls!
Image via The grape & HOP wine bar 
A few other events on around the placem which I wanted to mention - the Coburg Food Truck Festival is on again today and tomorrow at the Coburg Drive In and I reckon it would be a lot of fun.  It's also a good time to go with kids to see a movie before daylight savings starts next month.
Image via Revival Events
Urban Revival at Pentridge Prison is on this Saturday from 9.30 am - 2.30 pm and it's sounding pretty good to me as a place to chill out, listen to some cool tunes, sample some awesome street food and meander through some of Melbourne's choicest designers.  The same group run a number of different events with a vintage theme.

Images above via Montsalvat
Finally, with Spring it's also wedding season and artists' colony Montsalvat in Eltham is holding its Wedding Open Day this Sunday 27 September.  I've never actually been to a function at Montsalvat but will be going to one in a couple of months, which I'm looking forward to - there's not too many times you can say you've been to a real life 'castle'!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Where the magic happens

The school holidays have arrived and my boys are enjoying their pancake and pyjama day at home, as am I.  Despite the fact that I work from home, I have never once worn my pyjamas while in work mode as much as that might appeal to some people!  I need to look professional in order to feel professional and while I don't suit up much these days, I still like to dress in normal clothes to do my job and what I wear is a reflection of who I am - the little girl in me has always loved dressing up.
Image via
There are a few festivals currently on at the moment which I didn't mention last week.  The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is on until 11 October and while The Astor Theatre and Palace Cinema Como are not in the northeast, the Kino Cinemas is screening 'Forgiven not Forgotten' this Wednesday night with Peroni Beer and Salami from the Melbourne Salami Festa on offer.
Image via
While the weather's about to turn today, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival is also currently on until 6 October if you're happy to head east to Silvan.  While the Turkish weekend, Yarra Ranges Week and Dutch Weekend have already been held at the festival - the Children's Week, Food Wine & Jazz  and Irish Weekend are yet to come over the next few weeks.  Tulips are one of my favourite flowers and many of my friends and family have previously visited the festival and I think the rainbow of flowers would be glorious to see.
Jim Henson Film Program image via ACMI
Muppets, Music and Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy opens at ACMI today and runs until 11 October.  My favourite Muppets character has always been Miss Piggy for a number of reasons as well as Mr Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street - I'm sure many of you would have your own favourites!  The Arts Centre is also holding a number of school holiday events including Carnival of the Animals if you are into circuses like me.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Local Profile - Amanda Elliott

I met the lovely Amanda for coffee at Miss Marie in Rosanna the other day as she's about to move to Viewbank from neighbouring Yallambie.  She is also one of those super calm mothers I know - she's got three children aged 5 and under and is also studying part-time....I don't know how she does it but I take my hat off to her.  Amanda also has her own photography business and we both love 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' - it's got to be one of my favourite songs ever and from which she's also taken inspiration.
Name: Amanda Elliott
Occupation: Photographer – Over the Rainbow Images
Lives/works: Viewbank
Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
One of the best things about my business being in Melbourne’s north-east is we are spoilt for choice with great park locations for photo shoots. Parks bring out the best in everyone. People are instantly relaxed and forget about the camera. This allows me to get the most natural shots, shots you would be happy with, and that show your personality.

On the personal side, working local helps me fit my work around the schedule of my 3 children and my studies.

For more information:
My website is there is a link to my portfolio, showing examples of my photography and I blog about recent client sessions and other photography related topics that pop into my mind.

I’m also on Facebook, I share current specials and competitions

Instagram is my biggest social media addiction, I participate in a few photo-a-day challenges and share photos documenting my day to day life

My email address is if you have any questions about my photography sessions.

Mobile: 0411 232 560

Thursday, September 17, 2015

On the fringe

While it's a bit overcast today - the weather is meant to be pretty beautiful this coming weekend and there's lots on at the moment.  The Melbourne Fringe Festival started yesterday and runs until 4 October with the related Melbourne Festival then starting on the 8 October, which celebrates 30 years this year!  My client Avant Card has been busy distributing Melbourne Festival programs all over the place for them this year, including yours truly at a couple of local venues.
Image via Visit Victoria
Image via Avant Card
The Modern Love exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen starts this weekend celebrating the new soon to be released double biography on Heide founders John and Sunday Reed.  I'm looking forward to reading the book of the same name by Heide curators Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan which will be available from 1 October at the Heide Store.  Also on at Heide this weekend is the free Pop Up Park and Outdoor Cinema (David Bowie in Labyrinth) for their Family Day on Saturday 19 September from 3 - 8.30 pm.  I've always loved Bowie's song Modern Love "Get me to the church on time..."
Image via
The Royal Melbourne Show also starts on Saturday and runs until 29 September - we've not yet made it to one despite being animal lovers so that's definitely on the agenda for the school holidays.  I'll be back tomorrow with a new local profile.
Image via Melbourne Showgrounds
PS. Some late breaking news - the Rosanna Village Spring Fair is also on this Saturday 19 September from 10 am - 3 pm if you're in the neighbourhood.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Second Home

I've been to a lot of openings in my time as a PR person but I went to the opening of Second Home Eltham yesterday and it was amazing.  I was very sad when my ex-client The Light Factory Gallery at 21 Brougham Street in Eltham closed down last October but to see it re-born as a modern restaurant/cafe in Second Home Eltham was fantastic - it was like Fitzroy comes to Eltham yesterday - the place was full of beautiful people, delicious food and drink and pumping music.
Communal table - Second Home Eltham
Corner tables - Second Home Eltham
I got to meet the joint owners of the business, restauranteur/entrepreneur extraordinaire Jason M. Jones (of Friends of Mine, Porgy + Mr Jones and Snow Pony to name but a few) who is a character in himself (I always find entrepreneurs extremely charismatic people) and local girl Catherine Westwood, who has been managing one of Jason's other restaurants for a long while before branching out into her own business with him.
Front bar/open kitchen - Second Home Eltham
Jason M. Jones & Catherine Westwood
The whole place looks phenomenally cool with what was the gallery at the front now a daytime restaurant/cafe complete with communal table, lounge in front of the fire place and other tables around the internal space.  The open kitchen/bar is a new addition as well as the installations holding drinks and the centre olive tree.  The courtyard is not quite yet ready but soon will be along with a planned artisan bakery to supply Jason's other restaurants and lucky locals, as well as what was the former teahouse/cafe to be turned into a private dining area.  Bookings will be taken during the week but not on weekends.
Me and Margot Tasca (Ex-Director of The Light Factory Gallery) 
Fireplace/lounge - Second Home Eltham
The gallery was always a beautiful space with its high clerestory windows but the new interior design (by Jason's partner Brem Perera) and Catherine's influence and style take things to a whole new level - I love the gum leaf motif and whole natural aesthetic of the place - the staff were wearing gum leaf head garlands at the opening yesterday which were a beautiful touch.  I was speaking with the Nillumbik Mayor Helen Coleman who was at the opening yesterday and she was just as excited as I was to see the gallery transformed.  There's a whole new resurgence of cool in Eltham not just with Second Home Eltham opening but also craft brewer Prosciutto Bros. Craft Bar nearby who are relatively new to the area as well.

Speaking of which, if you are into craft beer, there is also Kooinda Brewery at 28 Culverlands Street in Heidelberg West - it's also popular with locals and La Trobe University students.  The suburbs around here are-a changin'...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blooming lovely

Wow - what a beautiful day it has been.  Spring has finally arrived and I think there are lots of us happy to see the sun!
Florence Broadhurst book image via Amazon
I was reading about the 28th David Jones Spring Flower Show in Sydney celebrating the work of Australian artist Florence Broadhurst and it's a shame that it no longer happens in the Melbourne store.  I was lucky enough to work on a Moroccan-themed flower show here when I worked at David Jones as their PR, which involved having to source a genuine Moroccan musician who were scarce on the ground at the time - the things you get asked to do...
Image via Benjamin's Kitchen
I was out last night at Benjamin's Kitchen in Alphington and what a lovely surprise that was - it was buzzing with lots of tables of ladies so I think it's popular with women in particular.  I loved the washed interior from the white ceramic flying ducks on the blue sky walls and the cloud shaped lights to the very stylish white Mark Newson by Noritake designer tableware - it has a surprisingly warm and atmospheric feel inside despite the pale colours.  It's all very tasteful and the food (shared plates are the go) and service were great although I didn't see any Asian staff members on the floor, which I always find funny at an Asian restaurant.

Clifton Hill Yoga Studio celebrates its 20 year anniversary this weekend with the original owner and founder Frank Jesse in town to take  a special backbend workshop if you are so inclined.  The Sisters' Market is on in Brunswick tomorrow while YouthFest 2015 in Macleod, the Eltham Farmers Market and the Montsalvat Arts Festival in Eltham are all being held on Sunday, which looks like being a cracker of a day!  Enjoy...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Creative Sparks

Before I had children, life was like some undulating plain before me but now I measure my time according to school terms and boy, it sure has been a busy one as much as I was hoping things would be less crazy leading up to the end of this term.
Image via
A few random things that I wanted to mention today - this modernist house at 18 Lady Betty Parade in Viewbank has caught my eye.  Firstly, it's at number 18 which is lucky for the Chinese and secondly, how awesome is the name of the street?  It sounds very dignified!
Image via Altair Restaurant
If you're a lover of Spanish food, Chato in Thornbury has had a couple of write ups now and would be worth visiting.  My client Pat has also recently visited fine dining establishment Altair in Warrandyte and has said that it is also worth going to if you're out that way.  Meanwhile, my former client The Light Factory Gallery in Brougham Street Eltham has undergone a transformation and new incarnation, which I will reveal next week.
Image via EventBrite
I was at Heide Museum of Modern Art volunteering yesterday and one of the best things about being there has been meeting a wonderful community of fellow creative professionals - there is a volunteer book club, recipe swap and many other special events held if you're part of the circle.  Speaking of which, there are number of other creative circles around and I just wanted to mention a few of them.  If you are a female creative, you may be interested in the Creative Women's Circle who hold various networking events throughout the year and who have published a number of helpful books.  If you live in Reservoir or nearby, there is also the Creative Spark: Network 3073 which is holding a networking event on 24 September.  Finally, there is also the Warrandyte Creative Circle who meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Warrandyte Library from 2 - 3pm - no bookings are necessary.

I'll be back tomorrow regarding a number of events being held this weekend with sunny weather predicted!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

One for the people

It is with great pleasure that I'm happy to announce that Hatch Contemporary Arts Space will remain where it is at 14 Ivanhoe Parade in Ivanhoe until the new Ivanhoe Community Hub is built.  Banyule Council last night voted not only to abandon the current 'Intention to Sell' process but further resolved that no tenants be moved from the building until the new hub is built, which is fantastic news for the local community and great to see the democratic process in action with council taking on board feedback from all submissions it received in relation to this matter.
Liminal Lights by Julie Andrews image via Montsalvat
It is a win for the local arts community as well and I just wanted to mention a couple of other art exhibitions taking place this week in other neighbouring municipalities. The fairly atmospheric looking Liminal Lights by Julie Andrews at Montsalvat in Eltham and Christophe Koller: Crossing the line at LUMA in Bundoora both start tomorrow with an opening being held this Saturday from 3 - 5 pm for Christophe Koller's exhibition and on Sunday 19 September from 1 - 3 pm for Liminal Lights.  Meanwhile, Hatch is currently closed while the Arts and Culture team prepare for the upcoming biennial Banyule Award Works on Paper Exhibition on 13 October.
Image via Montsalvat
Montsalvat is also holding its Arts Festival this Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm which will be a fantastic day out if the weather gets warmer as it is predicted to do this week.  Family tickets are $25, Adults $10, Children/Concession $5 and Children Under 5 are free.
Image via Amazon
On another note, I am still reading Autobiography of a Yogi at the moment but there are a number of other interesting books that I've seen out there.  One is 'A Force for Good' written by Daniel Goleman (who wrote 'Emotional Intelligence') about the Dalai Lama's vision for the world.  Given the current humanitarian crisis with Syrian refugees, I often think about the Dalai Lama's words "my religion is kindness" and I have previously read his book 'The Art of Happiness'.  Other books on my list include 'The Art of Work' by Jeff Goins as well as the new book by scientist and author Tim Flannery called 'Atmosphere of Hope'.  It is easy to be cynical or get overwhelmed about many of the complex problems and issues in the world sometimes - I try to remember that the only power I have is my own as an individual to choose my actions and reactions, and that always counts for something.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Serenity Now

I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day weekend and while it is commercial like Valentine's Day, I do appreciate the sentiment behind both Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Parenting is a hard job - definitely the hardest 'job' I've ever had but also the most rewarding in ways that money can never measure.
Mr Rosanna is notoriously difficult to buy for so although the boys make him handmade cards and presents, I always like to give him something from me as well.  This year it came in the form of a handmade soap titled 'Serenity Now' from Jaclyn Roma Floral Design in Ivanhoe - a bit of a private joke between me and Mr Rosanna following a somewhat stressful interstate road trip we undertook a number of years ago, where this was our catch cry.  I also bought him the number one best selling The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People from Andrews Bookshop in Ivanhoe- I like how it combines both mindfulness and art/creativity and it's perhaps something Mr R can do on screen-free Wednesdays which we've been trialling in our house the past month.  That's right, after school there are no screens whatsoever for the kids or for us until we go to bed and it's been a relatively easy thing to introduce into our household as well as making it a more calm, creative and resourceful one.
I did also swing by my friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen's pop up shop Dan3K last week and bought Mr R a special piece of hers for his studio, which he has previously done for me one Mother's Day.  The shop was looking fantastic, even on a cold, grey day in Melbourne and I also got to meet the equally interesting Karen Glahn, who you will be hearing about shortly on my blog.
Dan3K - Lene Kuhl Jakobsen display
Dan3K - Karen Glahn display
Dan3K - Christina Jonsson display
I took Mr R out for brunch at Cafe 1932 yesterday with the boys - it's the old Metropole cafe located inside the Manchester Unity Building on the ground floor in the city.  The coffee's good - the food is OK but what Mr R and I loved most was being inside our favourite building in Melbourne - it is magnificent and the Art Deco detail inside is still amazing.  From there, we walked to ACMI to see the David Bowie Is exhibition, which was fantastic.  It was so busy, ticket entry was timed so people could go through in waves and boy, it was warm and packed inside downstairs.  My children looked hilarious with their headsets on but it makes for a very immersive and interactive experience - they couldn't work out how or why the commentary and music changed every time they moved to a different installation/part of the exhibition.  I loved it.
Manchester Unity Building lifts
I also loved the neighbouring (and free) Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood costume exhibition (including his 3 Oscars!) at the gallery next door at ACMI although the boys preferred the other free interactive exhibition 'Screen Worlds'.  We finished our day having coffee and cake at the Brunetti City Square cafe outside in the sunshine.