Friday, November 27, 2015

Local Profile - Melanie Miles

One of the best things about my blog has been meeting fellow local creative professionals and kindred spirits - many of whom have become good friends of mine.  It was a similar feeling meeting Melanie Miles not that long ago and I'm surprised that our paths have not crossed sooner than now.  Her illustrations are simply sublime.  Read on for more about Melanie...
Image via Brence & Sharon at Image Workshop 
Name: Melanie Miles
Occupation: Designer/Illustrator
Lives/works: Preston
Image via Brence & Sharon at Image Workshop 
How long have you lived/worked here? I have lived in Preston for over 10 years and bought a house 8 years ago in the area. We have slowly been renovating and landscaping when we can spare the time. The backyard has become a really great space to relax.
Describe yourself/what you do:
Curious, creative and meticulous, always searching to learn and be inspired by what’s around me. Nutrition, health and well-being are hugely important to me and are a big part of my life and who I am as is being an illustrator/stylist.

In 2005 my partner and exceptional creative expert, Joe Puntoriero and I founded Hybrid Expression, a multi-disciplinary design studio. Through our combined skill set and knowledge Hybrid Expression allows clients to engage with top-end design, unique expression and an emphasis on finding the best way for a brand to communicate. How is it working and living with your partner 24/7 is a question we’re regularly asked. When you have the commonality of a passion and the vision and drive to succeed the journey is both exciting and challenging, which strengthens our relationship and our business. We don’t always see eye to eye, but I think that helps push ideas and concepts further.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
I’m really drawn to beautiful, inspired things, particularly if they are handcrafted. Melbourne’s north/east has some stunning boutique shops, and pop up stores, stocking pieces by local designers that are creative, unique in form, or adorned with stunning patterns. A designer's dream!

For more information:
Twitter: @hybridxpression
Facebook: Hybrid Expression
Twitter/Instagram: @melanie_miles_
Facebook: Melanie-Miles

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Oh Deer

I've been chasing my tail this week in a mad effort to get things done before the holiday season although really, I think most people are already starting to wind down and get into the Christmas spirit.  I was out at Westfield Doncaster today while I waited for my car to be serviced and it was already pretty busy and there's still just under a month until Christmas.  Ticketless parking has also started at the centre so there were lots of guides out on the floor directing people.
Image via Northcote Town Hall
Speaking of which, the Kris Kringle Night Market in Northcote starts tonight and runs for 4 weeks while Lightly Design in Collingwood is holding its VIP shopping event over the next two days with 10-40% off.  The Etsy Melbourne market in Collingwood is being held on Saturday while Markit@FedSquare is being held on Sunday.  Elk Accessories started its Seconds & Samples garage sale today with up to 80% off at its Preston studio and it will continue over the next two days.
Image via Etsy Made Local Melbourne
The school Christmas fairs are also on with the OLMC Twilight Community Market in Heidelberg on tomorrow night while Ivanhoe Primary is holding its Twilight Fair on Saturday night.  Mont Albert Primary and Hawthorn West Primary are also holding their school fairs on Saturday while the Thornbury Community Festival is being held on Sunday.
Image via Lido Cinemas
I managed to get to the Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn briefly yesterday to see The Dressmaker and that was pretty fabulous - the cinemas themselves are more boutique with big comfy chairs.  It would also be a great place to see the upcoming Star Wars movie.  There's a bar/lounge area in the foyer upstairs where they spin vinyl records but unfortunately I didn't get to check out the rooftop cinema.  The Friday and Saturday night jazz club there also sounds pretty cool. Parking during the day is scarce but there are 2 hour parks alongside the Hawthorn football oval if you can nab a park.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Power of Three

It's a busy time of year and I'll be glad to get through the next couple of weeks.  I've done the bulk of my Christmas shopping so that's one thing that's relatively under control but the end of year Christmas parties are now starting and I still have a couple of birthdays to celebrate in my household before the year is out.
Me and Avant Card Managing Director Pat Mackle with the Melbourne Festival boys
It's not in the north-east but I did have a client function at Linden New Art in St Kilda last Thursday night, which was fun!  Linden New Art is quite similar to the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in many ways being council-owned with a heritage overlay and run as a not-for-profit.  Avant Card Managing Director Pat Mackle was one of this year's judges for the annual Linden Postcard Show and as part of the deal - we got to hold our event at the gallery while the show was still exhibiting.  It was great to mingle with our mixed and varied clients who were there on the night including people from the Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, Circus Oz and the Melbourne Zoo just to name a few.  I also got to meet Melinda Martin, the Director of Linden New Art who actually hails from Eltham and whose partner is celebrated local artist Juan Ford.  The only downer was the 60 minute drive across town in peak hour traffic - I saw my life flashing by as I crawled down Punt Road - the great north south divide here in Melbourne...needless to say I think I will always be a north-side girl as much as the glamorous south beckons at times.
1-2 Riverside Road Ivanhoe image via Domain
The Spring property market is full of action at the moment and these three period homes have all caught my eye, and all include the number 3 in their addresses - 1-3 Riverside Road Ivanhoe has been styled to within an inch of its life but some of the Art Nouveau period features are just divine and it's not often you see houses from this point in time - after Federation but before Art Deco.  3 Hampton Court in the heart of the Beaumont Estate in Ivanhoe is also a beautiful building - very English looking and sounding and in a fantastic location closer to the Ivanhoe Centre end off Melcombe Road.  Finally, 23 Castle Street in Eaglemont is also a pretty amazing Arts and Crafts building.
3 Hampton Court Ivanhoe image via
There is lots on this week with the start of many Christmas markets and fairs not to mention a couple of big sales and festivals coming up.  I'll also have a new local profile to put up later this week.
23 Castle Street Eaglemont image via

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Words and pictures

I was volunteering at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen yesterday and the new Alex Danks exhibition 'My Fellow Aus-tra-aliens' has just opened and I was quite enthralled by his body of work which is on display in the central galleries (all photos below).  My favourite space is the alcove to the right where some rather haunting and evocative Russian army music is playing and Danks' gouache on paper resembling Ukrainian cross stitch textile patterns (which in themselves have meaning) are on display.  My photos don't do the space justice but it was a beautiful way to begin my morning - I was indeed transported to another place and time.

It was a sunny day, which always brings out the visitors, and many of them found themselves laughing their heads off, like I did at the humorous word-play, double entendres and slogans Danks uses - I am a fan.  I never know who is going to turn up as a visitor at Heide - yesterday I found myself talking to an ex-CEO of a major bank here in Melbourne.  Concrete poet (and Melbourne University Architecture Lecturer) Alex Selenitsch has a text based exhibition currently showing in Heide II and there is also a Mitch Cairns show on in the Project Gallery.  The writer in me is loving all three exhibitions.  If you are visiting Heide, I would encourage you to wear closed toe shoes as snakes have already been spotted in the grounds given it's their natural habitat.

Speaking of Heide, there is a free garden talk being held this Saturday at 2 pm by Melbourne City Rooftop Honey at Heide called Plight of the Honeybees.  I've already seen some wild bees buzzing about my herbs which is a good thing and I'm hoping the blue tongue lizards come back to my garden - I've heard they like strawberries!  And while I'm not growing any strawberries this year, the annual Strawberry Fair at Rosanna Uniting Church in Arden Crescent is also on this Saturday from 9.30 am - 2 pm with white elephant stalls, crafts, books, toys, treasures, plants, cakes, morning tea, lunch and pancakes all on offer not to mention a magic show for the kids on at 10.45 am and 12.30 pm.  Enquiries on 9457 2596.

If the weather stays this warm and balmy, there is a Star Gazing Night presented by the Astronomical Society of Victoria being held on Friday night at Westerfolds Park as well as the Kew Christmas Night Market.  On Saturday, the Watsonia Motor Show Family Festival is being held along with the Clifton Hill Primary School Fair while on Sunday the Eltham Festival is on as well as The Colour Run at Flemington Racecourse.  I think it's only going to get busier from here on in....

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paix sur la terre

It's been a changed world since I last posted on my blog last week - maybe it's too simplistic a view of things but we are all global citizens living together in the one world and there's a lot to be said for more kindness, compassion, love and understanding across this planet of ours between all people across all borders and religions.
L-R: Rachel Griffiths and Chris Deutscher,
Annual Love Heide Dinner 2015 at The Sofitel
The irony wasn't lost on me having spent Saturday night out at a French hotel (The Sofitel) with my friends celebrating art and culture at the Heide dinner.  It's an annual fundraising dinner held by Heide Museum of Modern Art, which is largely dependent on private funding to operate as much as it's government owned and receives some public funding.  I was indeed in esteemed company, the Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley spoke at the event while Chris Deutscher from Deutscher and Hackett ran the auction with pre-eminent Australian artist Fiona Hall and photographer John Gollings both in attendance.  We were entertained by MC Tim Ross and 'Chad Bradley' (Geoff Paine) and other actors were also there as guests including Rachel Griffiths and Shaun Micaleff.  Needless to say, it was a fabulous night and I was very lucky to have been invited by friends who normally take clients.
Mr Rosanna and me - Annual Love Heide Dinner 2015 at The Sofitel
A few random things to mention today.  The East Ivy cafe in East Ivanhoe has had a few write ups now in local papers and it's great to hear that a cafe with a more urban vibe has opened up there in the village.  My boot camp buddy Rachael was also telling me about boutique Italian winery Olivigna Warrandyte - it sounds a bit similar to Montalto's on the Mornington Peninsula or Lavendula near Daylesford but it's great that we have something a lot closer to us in the north east.
Image via Sothebys Realty
This beautiful house (above) called Kinloch at 93 Arthur Street in Eltham has caught my eye and it looks like something just out of Vogue Living or Belle magazine - perhaps something a fashion designer might live in, it looks that glamorous!  I've been getting into the whole spring decorating vibe and I just wanted to mention a few online retailers that may be of interest.  I've recently bought some outdoor cushions from Bungalow Living as well as seen beautiful homewares for sale from St Barts and My Global Merchant - all of which are in Queensland.  Home by Tribal opened last week in Hawthorn and I've been meaning to visit Weylandts in Abbotsford at some stage.  It is indeed a lucky country we live in for me to be contemplating such things...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Puesta del Sol

Image via Montsalvat
It means 'sunset' in Spanish and is also the name of the cool poolside event which took place yesterday at Montsalvat in Eltham, complete with live music, drinks at bar prices and Argentinean ice cream by Helajos Jauja.  I've had a busy week and meant to post about it beforehand but luckily there will be a second event held on 10 December if you're interested in going.
Image via Linen & Moore blog
I picked up my computer from Apple Doncaster yesterday which was an experience in itself - waiting with about 20 other people outside before the staff members had their team huddle inside and assembled into positions for when the doors opened - the cult of Apple.  Westfield Doncaster is about to introduce ticketless parking just in time for the Christmas season and all the stores are already in Christmas mode.  I'm not a mall person but did pop my head into Linen & Moore, who also have a store in Fitzroy, and they have some beautiful artisan textiles from all over the world.
Image via The Town Mouse
I've also been eating my way around the place.  I did have brunch not that long ago at Second Home Eltham and parking is a bit of a nightmare - best to go to Susan Street and turn left off Brougham Street.  The food was excellent and it was lovely to see Catherine, the new owner again.  The place was pretty full but you can book on week days (but not public holidays) and the cafe will be open in January if you check the website.  I also went to The Town Mouse in Carlton last night for a catch up dinner with old workmates - parking is also a bit of nightmare around Drummond Street as well although I ended up parking in Rathdowne Street and walking.  It's quite a dark, moody and intimate space (black tiled walls and a big bar in a small area) - we had shared plates perched on stools at the bar tables.  There are some small tables at the front as well.  Again, the food was excellent - we had 6 shared plates plus a couple of drinks and spent about $60 each.  I was also invited to another event with other ex-work friends at Lucy Liu in the city last night, which I missed, but given my work Christmas dinner is being held there, I will let you know what that's like once I go.
Image via Ticketmaster
It's a busy time of year - Mr Rosanna and I have also been invited by friends of mine to the annual Heide fundraising dinner at The Sofitel tomorrow night which I'm really looking forward to - the PR girl in me always loves a chance to frock up and The Sofitel is probably my favourite hotel in Melbourne although I also like the look of a lot of the boutique hotels like The Adelphi, Hotel Lindrum, The Lyle and Art Series Hotels.  The Mansion Hotel and Spa out in Werribee is also pretty amazing if you ever get a chance to visit and where the So Frenchy So Chic music event is held every year.

What's on this weekend?  The Sisters' Market is on in Brunswick tomorrow as well as the Rosanna Primary School Twilight Fair and Kew East Primary School Carnival.  There will also be the Arthur's Creek Annual Garden Walk out in Strathewen and the Malahang Community Festival in West Heidelberg on Sunday.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A blockbuster year

Despite the rise of Netflix and Pay TV in general, it's great to know that the cinema business is booming and I still love a night out at the flicks - it tends to be more kids movies these days than adult but hey - I'll take what I can get!

Spectre - the new James Bond film is out this week and I was looking longingly at The Lido Rooftop cinema program - I'm still yet to go there but looking forward to eventually making it one balmy summer evening.  Mr Rosanna and I think Daniel Craig has been the best Bond since Sean Connery and it will be hard to top Skyfall including the amazing soundtrack by Adele.
All the boys in my household including the big one can't wait for the new Star Wars - The Force Awakens movie to open before Christmas and if you are intending on going, you can actually book tickets now at IMAX Melbourne in Carlton to watch it in 3D.  The premium tickets have already sold out at many sessions before Christmas but normal tickets are still available.

I'm also looking forward to the final instalment of The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 - again tipped to be huge at the cinemas this summer.

My computer is in with the Mac doctor aka Genius Bar at Apple Doncaster and I am hoping to get it back this week - words without pictures on my blog just isn't quite the same...

PS. Thought you might like this pic of the Star Wars BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero which Mr Rosanna and I spied for sale at the Apple Store when we went to pick up our computer...very cool!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Open Spaces

It's been a wet old day and I hope you had a great Melbourne Cup long weekend if you were lucky enough to have Monday off like we did.  It was fantastic to see a female jockey win the Cup in Michelle Payne and I loved the whole back story to her life including her special relationship with her brother Stevie.  I was also lucky enough to have got Prince of Penzance in the family sweep.

Despite not going away for the weekend, Mr Rosanna and I had a pretty fabulous weekend here in Melbourne celebrating Halloween in our street, which is always big, followed by a Halloween party at our neighbour's place.  My kids all thought their Christmases had come at once!  They went as a ghost and a wraith while Mr R had a Day of the Dead costume (which seemed to have been very popular this year) and I went as the Egyptian Goddess Seshat.  Top marks go to one of my work colleagues - Lara who is an American - she's previously been Pippi Longstocking and Blue Smurfette but topped her efforts this year with her Hamburger outfit right down to her fingernail art.

I just wanted to post today about some of the events that are on this coming weekend - I am having computer issues at the moment so will post some images once my computer is fixed (the wonders of modern technology!).  The Wurundjeri Stories Indigenous Trail Walk at Pound Bend in Warrandyte is on this Saturday along with the Eltham Copper Butterfly Festival and Melbourne Design Market at Fed Square.  On Sunday, the inaugural Open Spaces multi-arts event is being held at The Abbotsford Convent while closer to home there'll be the family friendly Music in the Park at E J Andrews Reserve in Briar Hill from 6 - 8pm.