Thursday, December 24, 2015

Someday at Christmas

Getting sick the week of Christmas is not ideal but them's the breaks when you have children who not only share their love, but their germs as well...I am hoping to feel better tomorrow given it's Christmas Day and I hope you are feeling good this warm December, as my friend Stevie Wonder says.
I've moved away from making new year's resolutions the past few years and instead have just focused on one major goal for each year.  However, I do think the School of Life Melbourne classes on resolutions are definitely worth thinking about and indeed anything that further develops your level of emotional intelligence and social awareness.

I just wanted to mention a couple of fun things going on around the place for New Year's Eve and beyond.  The Melbourne Ska orchestra are playing at The Croxton in Thornbury and I think they would be awesome to see live.  If you feel like a boogie, then the PBS 106.7FM Soul-A-Go-Go New Year's Eve Bash at The Corner would also be a good one.

Speaking of live music, the Open Sessions at the Australian Open Tennis are being held from 18 - 31 January featuring some great Australian bands and singers like Dan Sultan and Katie Noonan, while Zoo Twilights at Melbourne Zoo opens on 29 January.  Tickets for both events are now on sale.

I wish you well this Christmas and hope that the coming 12 months in 2016 bring all that you want from them and more.  I thought you might like the sentiments of these Steve Wonder lyrics from his song 'Someday at Christmas', which is currently featured in the Apple Christmas TV ad but the original has been around for a lot longer and is one of my all time favourite Christmas songs.  Merry Christmas everyone - may you have hope in your heart this Christmas time.

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Hate will be gone and love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shining a light

I hope you survived the awful heat over the weekend.  We ended up having our street party at our neighbours' place once the cool change arrived, and with it, the rain so a last minute change of venue!  It was still a really fun night catching up with all our neighbours in the street, which is one of the best things about living here in Rosanna - the sense of community and people reaching out, and looking out, for one another particularly at this time of the year when some people feel a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Santa apparently does a roaring trade in bicycles and puppies at Christmas time so Mr Rosanna and I found ourselves at Ivanhoe Cycles on the weekend, which despite the hot weather, was buzzing.  I hadn't been there since it moved to larger premises in Bell Street, but it's quite impressive with a huge showroom at the front and workshop down the back and people were whizzing all around me trying out bikes.
Image via Anchor Plank Skateboards
I spied these very cool Anchor Plank Skateboards for sale while we were there - they're hand made in Melbourne and based on longboard surfboards and I loved the whole retro look about them.  While we were there, I also grabbed one of these Clif energy bars to eat and had seen these before for sale at Ray's Outdoors in Preston - again I love the retro packaging and they are also pretty tasty!
Image via njHiking
Speaking of design, Mecca Cosmetica are selling these beautiful Fornasetti candle holders for Christmas - I've always coveted one of the Fornasetti wall plates - but the candle holders are just as gorgeous.  While the candle holders are beautiful, unfortunately like Diptyque, I think they use paraffin wax which aren't great for the environment or health-wise, as well as being imported.  My favourite candles are ecoya which are made here in Australia using soy wax.
Flora image via Mecca Cosmetica

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The world is not enough

I hope you are staying cool today (and the next few days) given the heat outside.  I had my Christmas party at Asian-inspired Lucy Liu on Tuesday night and the food was sensational!  One of the co-owners (and chef) is Michael Lambie (ex-Circa at The Prince) - it's also the sister restaurant to The Smith in Prahran, which is another great venue.  It's all very Melbourne from the inconspicuous doorway off Oliver Lane through a passageway to the restaurant itself, which was firing on all cylinders.  We had the window booth at the back, which was probably a good thing given how raucous we were.  I could show you the before and after photos when it all got pretty messy but I'll leave that for another time.  Let's just say the Avant Card crew work hard and play hard...We had a great time playing Bad Santa for Kris Kringle and changing chairs through the course of the night.  The mainly seafood share plates we had were served on two small Lazy Susans and it was one of the best meals I've recently had in Melbourne, which is saying a lot given I've been eating all over the place this past month!  If you're interested in booking a table, you can do so here at Open Table.
Image via Time Out
There's less than 10 days until Christmas and I hope you've got your Christmas shopping done or under control. We live in a consumer-obsessed society and the older I get, the more I lean towards buying people experiences and  gift cards, food, plants as well as handmade, homemade or second hand items.  Photo books also make great presents even in the digital age.  It's also hard coming up with good ideas for gifts!  I did buy Mr Rosanna one of these very cool solar powered MOVA spinning globes (which have no batteries but need light to spin - watch here) for his birthday this year as we are both obsessed with globes and all things to do with travel.  I was also reading about 'Want, Need, Wear, Read' as a motto for buying kids presents - get them one thing they want, one thing they need as well as clothing or books.  For stocking fillers, rather than lollies, I think socks, stationery and Christmas ornaments are also lovely ideas.  I actually bought my kids their own ceramic stars from Paper Boat Press this year and love the whole handmade, personalised keepsake aspect to them.
Image via Mova Globe Store
The Ivanhoe Makers Market is on this Saturday as well as the Eaglemont Christmas Market and Fitzroy Market.  There are also a whole heap of farmers markets on if you are buying Christmas food.
Christmas star ornaments image via Paper Boat Press
I think if you took the material things away, Christmas (for the non-religious) is about celebrating the end of the year and more about connectedness and belonging; having a sense of community whether that be family or friends or both and feeling cared for and cared about; that you matter (which you do!).  I have one friend who has not bought anything new this year at all (although I did tell her she should make exceptions when it comes to things like new undies or toiletries).  I also have friends and family who have not enjoyed good health this year or have people close to them whose health has deteriorated, as well as those who've lost family.  It's them that I am thinking of this Christmas time.

They say compare and despair; it's always easy to look at people who have more than you or think that other people lead better lives.  It's much better to try to change your thinking and focus on the good things that you already have in your life or take action to go after the things you want.  Life is short, make things count.  You count.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Meteoric

While I happened to still be up late last night, I didn't get a glimpse of the meteor shower that is currently able to be seen in the night sky here in Melbourne but think it's a lovely allegory for this time of the year and a fitting end to the Year of Light - to see a shooting star (or stars in this case).  I hope you've had a good year.  Next year is the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey, which sounds interesting.  I love that we have until 8 February 2016 to still make new year's resolutions if we fall over during January.
Buddha Shakyamuni statue in Lerab Ling, Southern France via Rigpa news blog
If you are interested, world renowned Buddhist teacher from Tibet and author of the highly acclaimed book 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' Sogyal Rinpoche is holding a public talk on 5 January 2016 at 7pm in the Collingwood Town Hall as part of his 2016 Australian tour.  I actually have a copy of his book, which a dear friend gave to me many years ago.  You can find out more at www.rigpa.org.au - Rigpa's main retreat is at Lerab Ling in Southern France.
Prosciutto Bros. Craft Bar in Eltham exterior
From Buddhism to beer - it is going to be a hot end to the school year this week.  I'm not a drinker but was in Eltham over the weekend where Mr Rosanna and I happened to drive past Prosciutto Bros Craft Bar, which is just off Susan Street around the corner from Skaterz.  Some lucky locals looked happily ensconced taking in a few quiet beverages on a warm afternoon.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Local Profile - Karen Glahn

I've talked about jewellery this week and I met Karen earlier this year at her pop up shop Dan3K in Clifton Hill.  I've met a number of Scandinavian people in the past few years and think they have one of the world's coolest cultures - sophisticated, urban and progressive.  Karen's led an interesting life including her current incarnation as a silversmith.  Read on for more..
Karen (in orange) and her family 
Name: Karen  Glahn
Occupation: Silver-smithing among lots of other activities
Lives/works: Clifton Hill
How long have you lived/worked here? 7 years
Image via www.karenglahndesign.bigcartel.com
Describe yourself:
I came to Australia more than  30 years ago and worked for the first 20 as a Correspondent and Journalist back to Danish Media.
Image via www.karenglahndesign.bigcartel.com
I have always created stuff with my hands but metal smithing is what I love. My aim is to make simple but beautiful and unique pieces. Often I think they reflect my Danish background.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
We lived in Kew for many years but I love Melbourne’s northern suburbs.  They have an interesting mix of people.  There is a creative and friendly atmosphere and an acceptance and openness towards everybody.

For more information:
Instagram: karenglahndesign
Website: Karenglahndesign.bigcartel.com
Mobile: 0433 833 209

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Freedom Time

I hope you have started to wind down in the lead up to Christmas.  After a manic few weeks, I've had a chance to stop and smell the roses this week and just be still for a while, which has been great.  Mr Rosanna and I even managed to put up our Christmas tree last night and I'm pleased to say a number of our activities have become habits this year including meditating and screen-free Wednesdays.
Image via What's in the Box Market
The markets are well and truly on now and this weekend, the What's in the Box Market in Box Hill and Sisters' Market in Brunswick are both on this Saturday.  Closer to home, the Banyule Carols by Candlelight is being held this Saturday evening in Ivanhoe, not Greensborough, this year.  The Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe also start this Saturday night, although you will have to wait until it gets dark to see much action.

If you're starting to stock up on food, both the Collingwood and Coburg Farmers Markets are also on this weekend.
Image via Plannify.com
And while my dance party days may be behind me, I did want to mention Freedom Time #2 which is being held at the Coburg Velodrome on Sunday as one of my favourite DJs Edd Fisher from Tomorrowland on 3PBS will be spinning tunes, along with female soul DJ Miss Goldie.  While I've visited the Collingwood velodrome before, I didn't know Coburg also had one - I think it would have pretty amazing acoustics - there aren't too many times you can say you went to a dance party held in a cycling arena!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sunset

It's a hot old windy day and I'm trying to tie up loose ends before the school holidays start next week although the private schools have already started holidays as well as senior high school students.  I had the Heide Volunteer Christmas party in the Sidney Myer Education Centre at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen last night and it was a lovely evening, if a bit humid.  While it threatened to rain, it held off and we were all able to enjoy the food, company and live music plus a bit of singing and dancing to boot.  There are over 200 volunteers at Heide and around 100 were there last night.  The Heide Volunteer Program actually won the Excellence Award for Volunteer Management at this year's Volunteer Victoria Awards and I've already made a couple of good friends there this year.
Image via Montsalvat
There is a heap on this coming weekend, which I'll mention later this week but I did want to add that the second Puesta del Sol event is being held this Thursday night at Montsalvat in Eltham, along with the Ivanhoe Christmas Shopping Night in Ivanhoe.  Nicola Cerini is also holding a clearance sale with the last of her bags at the Abbotsford Convent Antique Bookstore this Friday and Saturday.
Image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre
The Darebin Art Prize opens at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre on Friday while in my household, my boys are very excited about the upcoming Andy Warhol/Ai Wei Wei exhibition which also opens this Friday at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Two tone rose gold and silver Thistle Link bangle image via Michael Wilson
While I've asked for something living from Santa as my Christmas present this year, jewellery is always a beautiful gift.  While it's more gothic in style, I have visited Michael Wilson Jewellery in Eltham while I've been living in this area and do love the look of their signature Thistle Link bangles.  If you're more interested in making jewellery, I'd also make a beeline for Jeanette Dyke's studio at Montsalvat where you can currently book classes for 2016.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A designer Christmas

I went for a long run this morning before it got too hot and sadly have not managed to get much running in since I did the 10km Run Melbourne over the winter - I do admire the hard core runners who get up early to run for a couple of hours on a daily or weekly basis.  I was lucky enough to sit next to Chris Wardlaw, the Head Athletics Coach for the Sydney 2000 Olympics at the recent Heide dinner who runs every Sunday morning and is now in his sixties, which was very inspiring.  It's also interesting cross training, which for me is something that has evolved rather than been deliberate, there is a difference between being boot camp fit, running fit and yoga fit and I still struggle with each of those disciplines at different times.  The most disciplined people build fitness into their lifestyle and make time for it no matter what their work schedule.
Elyros image via Book a Restaurant
I've also needed to exercise given the amount of meals out I've had in the lead up to Christmas - I still have a couple to go!  So where did Mr Rosanna and I go for lunch yesterday?  I took him to Elyros in Camberwell and we had a great time.  It's Cretan (from the isle of Crete in Greece) food and it was delicious.  The restaurant itself is opposite Sofia's on Burke Road (same side of the road) and housed in a beautiful former bank building on the corner which has also been beautifully fitted out.  We almost had the entire place to ourselves given it was a week day.  The food was delicious, particularly the cheese pie which I've not had before and the lamb, which was so soft it was falling off the bone.  The Cretans are also foragers so there were some lovely greens to be eaten and Mr R liked the Greek beer called Fix.  It was a brief respite in the middle of the day in the middle of what's been a crazy busy week, which is not over yet for me.  Elyros is actually run by the same people who have Epocha in Carlton - another Mediterranean-inspired place I've not yet visited.  I had heard Elyros could be a bit pricey, and indeed the drinks are if you order by the glass in particular, but we found the 3-course $45 per head shared plate menu pretty reasonable.  There is also a 4-course option for $58 if you want seafood but I think you'd have to have a pretty big stomach to eat that much.  A lovely touch was the Happy Birthday message in Greek to Mr Rosanna on his dessert plate.
Speaking of food, Nikki Ellis from Cinch PT  is involved with the Macleod Village Christmas Fair tomorrow night given all the action will be outside her door including food trucks (plus petting zoo, stall holders and Santa) which sound yum!  If you can make it, I think it will be a great local event.  The Coburg Night Market started last Friday and is also being held tomorrow night if you feel like venturing further afield.
Image via The Big Design Market
If you're more into art, design and culture - the Big Design Market opens tomorrow at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton - I've not yet made it to one but many of my friends go and buy their Christmas presents there.  It's not in the north east but local ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jacobsen will be selling her wares at the Scandinavian Christmas Bazaar at the Swedish Church, Toorak House on Saturday and Sunday while for modernists, the Robin Boyd Open Day titled: Boyd at the Edges is being held on Sunday 6 December.  Failing that, if you feel like hitting the road, it's the second week of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios weekend which a number of my artist friends are involved with - enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hello Summer

Welcome to summer - it's been a beautiful day and I'm looking forward to eventually starting to wind down for the silly season.  At the very least, I'm glad that the pollens in the air will start to lessen given my hay fever this Spring.  It has indeed been a really busy week for my family and I'm sure for yours as well.
Image via Flinders Landing Apartments
I had dinner out with friends last week at Supernormal in Flinders Lane in the city and it was fantastic.  You can't book for small groups but have to wait for a table on a long bench in front of the bar area.  It's a really large space - one of the larger restaurants around - my girlfriends and I opted for the $65 banquet menu and we were not disappointed - the food was excellent - especially those lobster rolls, which Supernormal is apparently renowned for (or as my friend Amanda was calling it 'Super yummy').  I was also in the city on Saturday which was packed, particularly Fed Square where the Lego Christmas Tree can be found.
I also attended a private function at Montsalvat in Eltham (complete with jumping castle and face painter for the kids) on Sunday night which was also pretty dreamy.  The food was not quite at the same level as Supernormal but it was still a beautiful evening spent in the Great Hall with lots of space for the kids to run around.  Mine were quite obsessed with the peacocks that live there although I found the parade of geese I spied going for their evening stroll single file when we were leaving pretty funny.

I'm taking Mr Rosanna to a secret location for his birthday lunch tomorrow but will reveal all once we've been.  Speaking of food, I did want to mention The Turkish Teahouse in Balwyn which got a write up in today's Age Good Food, and one which I'll be making a bee line for given Turkey is probably my second obsession after Morocco, in terms of countries.  It's just a shame that things overseas feel so tenuous at the moment - both countries are still at the top of my bucket list to visit one day.
Image via Hello Fresh Australia
If you are time poor, my hairdresser and a couple of other people I know have started using the Hello Fresh food box service where the recipes and ingredients are sent to you to then cook.  I have friends who have returned to work full time with children and think if you can afford to outsource, it's one way of keeping your sanity.

Just a quick note that the Scholastic Book Warehouse Sale starts tomorrow in West Heidelberg and the Women Supporting Women Red Shoes networking event in Heidelberg is also being held tomorrow night.  I've not managed to make it to any sessions this year but think it's a good one if you are a local business woman.