Thursday, March 31, 2016

A bird in the hand

Autumn is here and I've been enjoying seeing the beautiful leaves on the trees around the place at the moment.  It's the last day of the month and April is almost here!  Besides entertaining small children, I have actually been working on a business plan for a social entrepreneur the past couple of weeks.  I'm sworn to secrecy at the moment but it's a really exciting idea - something that no-one else is yet doing and one that's been right up my alley so I am hoping he gets his idea off the ground and up and running in the next 6 months as planned.  I love a social enterprise at the best of times as it seems like everyone wins.
The boys walking our adopted pet Pepper the dog
My Rosanna and I have also finally succumbed and bought our first family pet after the past few years of having our children complain that "we are the only family in the whole world that doesn't have a pet" and indeed, it has felt like that here in Rosanna.  I think 90% of the school community has bought a dog in the past couple of years, some of them have bought two!  And while we love our furry friends and have been happy to dog sit, I've not been quite ready to take one on.  Instead, probably unsurprisingly for people who know us, we've gone with a feathered friend - a white budgie my boys have named 'Cloud'.
Cloud the budgie
While I prefer birds in the wild rather than in cages, we are hoping to train Cloud to be a free range budgie in the house and keep him outside of the cage most days.  We'll see if we can make that happen.  We bought him from Nunawading Birds, which is a licenced wildlife dealer that also offers bird boarding.  I did love the beautiful Eclectus parrots who were also roaming free inside the shop but live for 50 years!  They also come with a hefty price tag of close to $2000 - definitely one for dedicated bird lovers.  Nunawading Birds is actually looking for a part-time person to help in the shop if you have a love (and knowledge) of birds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

There is no-one alive who is you-er than you

If you've been lucky enough to get away this Easter then I'm jealous!  We've had a staycation here in Melbourne for a variety of reasons and while it's been great to have caught up with friends and family over the break, it isn't quite the same as going somewhere and truly relaxing.  Lots of friends have been away camping to the Grampians, Mount Buller, Bendigo and Beechworth and the weather looks like it's been a lot sunnier than here in Melbourne.  I can't complain too much as we have booked an overseas holiday later this year and I will reveal all closer to the time.
Image via Circus Royale
It's school holidays so a few things arts and culture-related have caught my eye.  Closer to home, Circus Royale have currently pitched their tents in Bulleen at The Manningham on Thompson's Road.  You can book now for tickets for shows on from now until Sunday 10 April starting at $20 for adults and $15 for kids.  Call 0410 699 253 or online to book.
Image via Catchment Players
If the weather stays cool, Inside the Brick 'Dress as your favourite superhero' at Darebin Arts Centre is being held Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April - a goodie if you have Lego lovers in your life like I do. If you love the world of Dr. Seuss, the Catchment Players are presenting 'Seussical Jr' at Banyule Theatre in Buckingham Drive Heidelberg from 8 - 10 April featuring some of his favourite characters including The Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant.
Image via Arts Centre Melbourne
Mr 7 is currently obsessed with Andy Griffiths and his Treehouse books and you can see 'The 52-Storey Treehouse' play at the Arts Centre from 1 - 17 April although many of the week day shows are already sold out.  If you're going into the city, I think IMAX Melbourne 'Jurassic World 3D' would also be worth seeing as well as 'Matilda' - based on Roald Dahl's novel, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which has received 5 star reviews.
Image via Hotel Staff
Finally, a few random things to mention.  I was out visiting my sisters in the inner west and must have driven past the heritage-listed Art Deco building the Melbourne Pavilion on Racecourse Road numerous times over the years and never really noticed it.  I think it's only been a venue for hire the past couple of years - it looks huge inside!
Image via Three Monkeys Place
Speaking of my childhood, I grew up in both Bulleen and Doncaster East and couldn't wait to flee the suburbs as a teenager.  Funny now that I've returned to the 'burbs and the suburbs themselves are slowly grooving up.  Three Monkeys Place cafe has opened in what were my local shops - Jackson Court - in Doncaster East while the former Taipan yum cha restaurant has now become Don Hill Seafood Restaurant at 239 Blackburn Road in Doncaster East - I'll have to go check them out at some stage soon.  The weather's got cold and I've started eating...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hop to it

These four day weeks - I tell you - while I love the long weekends, it's always a squeeze trying to fit everything in.  I'm not used to Easter being this early so the end of term has snuck up on me.  A number of things to mention today.
Easter gift pack image via Pana Chocolate
Easter is just around the corner and locally, you can pick up Australian made eggs at Chocolatier on Waterdale Road in Ivanhoe as well as at the Australian Chocolate Emporium on Silverdale Road in Eaglemont.  I've bought eggs in the past from both shops.  Only Just in Montmorency is also selling Fair Trade easter eggs and I also like Pana Chocolate which you can buy locally at Leo's in Heidelberg.
Stratum by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen
Opening tomorrow night is Things of Wood and Clay at Bulleen Art and Garden with ceramic sculpture and functional objects by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen and wood work from local artist and teacher Andrew Potocnik.  I love both their simple design aesthetic and sensibilities so it's not surprising to me that they've joined forces for this exhibition.  The official opening is being held from 6 - 8 pm tomorrow night with the exhibition on show from 24 March to 24 April in the Bolin Bolin Gallery.
Terrigenous Relics by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen
Also being held on Thursday is the CoBrew Makers Market at 3 Ravens Brewery in Theobald Street, Thornbury - I suspect Mr Rosanna would like this one given it's marketed as being 'Local. Handmade. Food. Beer'.  Mr R found a new barbershop in the city not that long ago which he loves because you get a hair cut and a beer - needless to say he's always pretty happy whenever he gets his hair cut!
Bowls by Andrew Potocnik
While I will be catching up with friends and family over Easter, it is actually Neighbour Day on Easter Sunday.  I've been lucky enough in Rosanna to have neighbours who have actually become good friends (just like the soapie!) but not everyone is always as lucky.  Neighbours are a lesson in tolerance, friendship and community and all about social connection in action.
Things of Clay and Wood exhibition image
Finally, there are a couple of paid and non-paid jobs in the local arts community if you are interested in tipping your hat.  Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is currently looking for a part-time Finance Assistant and Office Administrator while Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is looking for Board members.  I wish you all a Happy Easter if I don't post again between now and Thursday!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Feeling festive

Ooooh boy - it sure is hot out there today - I hope you are staying cool.  The weather is predicted to turn cold tomorrow but hopefully the sun will come out again as there are a whole lot of festivals and other events on this coming weekend.
Image via
Close to home - it is that time of year again with the Banyule Festival celebrating Twilight Sounds at Sills Bend on Saturday night and the Kids Grand Parade and Arty Farty Fest in the Warringal Parklands off Beverley Road in Heidelberg on Sunday.  Jordie Lane is the headline act for Twilight Sounds and it's always lovely to hear the music at night time even if you don't physically make it to the concert!  The support acts always start earlier if you are wanting to take the kids.  Remember to take something with you to ward off the wasps which always seem to be the worst at this time of year down near the river.
Image via
The three-day long Warrandyte Festival also starts tomorrow on the banks of the Yarra and is also a much loved festival.  Warrandyte is a great part of the world with a very tight-knit community - it's a lovely place to visit in the Autumn - I'd just watch out for snakes if you are near the river as I think they'd still be pretty active!  A friend actually had to stop at one of the recent local farmers markets as a tiger snake had wrapped itself around their car wheel where they'd parked.
Image via True North Arts
The Darebin Community & Kite Festival is also being held this Sunday 20 March as part of True North Arts at Edwardes Lake Park in Reservoir, while there will also be a Wild About Melbourne Pop Up Makers Market held in nearby Reservoir Village on Saturday 19 March - it's a little bit early for me to start thinking about Easter given Easter itself is early this year - but there will be an Easter theme.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

North Yarra

I always feel a bit discombobulated after a three day weekend.  And yes, I never thought I'd be able to say 'discombobulated' in a blog post but there you go.  I was sitting at my desk yesterday and only then realised today was going to be Tuesday and I had to go to work.  I hope you had a great long weekend away or visiting Moomba or other events.  Mr Rosanna and I are still tackling house maintenance so I've been painting, which I enjoy for all sorts of reasons - I think it's one of the most cost-effective things you can do that adds impact and value straight away and really lifts a room or building so well worth doing.
Image via Capeside Coffee
A couple of local things to mention today.  Capeside Coffee has recently opened in Cape Street Heidelberg opposite Heidelberg Primary and there's already been a couple of write ups in both Broadsheet and today's Age Good Food.  I drove past it last week and it was already full! The owners are ex-Ora Specialty Coffee (opposite my hairdressers Wicked Hair in East Kew) and the space is more 'brew bar' (they also do American style filtered coffee) than cafe although sandwiches are on offer.  They're at the bottom of an apartment complex and in a great location.  I often think the side streets off Burgundy Street are a lot nicer than the mish mash of shops and cafes on Burgundy Street itself, which seems to lack soul for me for a variety of reasons.  Heidelberg Primary is actually holding a school fete this coming weekend on Saturday 19 March.
Image via
This Alistair Knox designed house for sale at 149 Old Eltham Road in Lower Plenty has also caught my eye and I'm sure many lovers of mid century architecture and Knox - one of the first environmental builders and architects known for his mud brick houses.  It's not far from artist colony Montsalvat in Eltham which also has its Studio Artists holding an exhibition of their own in the Barn Gallery titled 'Breadth', which opens this Thursday.
Image via Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
If you're a nature lover like me, you may want to attend this year's Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, which opens tomorrow.  It's been unseasonally warm and humid this month but all the better reason to go and find out from the experts what we need to do in our outdoor spaces to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming, as well as being inspired in general.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


I was volunteering yesterday at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  I've been volunteering in Visitor Services for almost a year - they rely heavily on their 200+ volunteer contingent but it was the first time since I've been there where they had to close galleries due to lack of staff.  Heide I (the original farmhouse) was closed in the morning while Heide II (the modernist building) closed in the afternoon which meant I was rotating just between the two buildings yesterday - Heide II and the Central Galleries (or Heide III).  There are two volunteer intakes per year with an Information Night followed by a group interview if you are interested.
Dancing Umbrella Exhibition images above and below via Heide
I've found it a really rewarding experience having met a whole community of like-minded people - many of whom are practising artists or similar to me - just have a love of modern art.  Once you've been there a certain period of time, you also qualify for discount in the Heide Store and Cafe Vue as well as Heide Membership.
Dancing Umbrellas has opened in Heide III and it's pretty trippy!  There are 19 contemporary Australian artists who are all involved in this exhibition, which celebrates light and movement.  I was having a little giggle to myself when I went in because I felt more like a security person at a nightclub given the relative darkness, video installations set to music, electric mandalas, flashing lights and other light projections.  It's one of the more truly modern exhibitions I've witnessed in the past year - very interactive, experiential and more edgy in its style and format.
#straponpaintings image via Heide
There's also a more interactive #StrapOnPaintings exhibition by Sarah CrowEST on in the adjacent Project Gallery space where you're invited to try on Belgian linen aprons and pebble head masks - I was also highly entertained watching some of yesterday's gallery-goers take selfies of each other all kitted out - it's a lot of fun.

Heide is actually holding a free Pop Up Cinema event in Paper Planes this Sunday, which my boys loved watching given my eldest is right into making paper planes at the moment.  It's a long weekend and the Diamond Valley Railway Annual Community Night Run is also on this Sunday 13 March while out in St Andrews, you'll find the new Wadambuk Makers Market at the St Andrews Community Centre being held on Saturday 12 March.

Monday, March 7, 2016

South Side Soul

Wow - it sure has been a hot start to Autumn in Melbourne.  I didn't go to the Sydney Road Street Party yesterday, which is the precursor to the annual Brunswick Music Festival that officially starts on 15 March, but I think it would have been pretty warm in the crowd.
South Side Soul images above and below via Kingston Arts
Mr Rosanna and I actually went to a friend's birthday party in St Kilda on Saturday night, which is always a big trip if not in terms of actual kilometres, at least mentally crossing over to the dark side!  It was a pretty cool party and I was lucky enough to meet some really interesting people including Isy Laderman, the former owner of Incub8r gallery on Smith Street supporting handmade Australian artists, who has just sold the business and contemplating next moves.  Also there was David Llewellyn-Smith from business blog Macrobusiness so we had a good old chat about the business of blogging.  Mr R and I also introduced ourselves to the DJ Mark Mallett (aka Big Daddy Warbucks) from South Side Soul who was spinning some very cool soul tracks on vinyl at the party - I think I might have sustained a dance floor injury at some stage during the night...needless to say it was a really fun night.
Gallery 601 street & front images above & below

Speaking of handmade Australian artists, I dropped in on local textile artist Teresa Bennett last week at her new temporary studio upstairs at 601 Waterdale Road in West Heidelberg (right opposite Latitude next to the bus depot), courtesy of a Darebin council grant.  It's a really interesting space with a textile designer collective (and other artists) upstairs holding workshops in their communal studio area, a downstairs gallery space where the artists have all used recycled material found from the adjoining hard rubbish/tip finds that are also for sale in an op shop/warehouse environment.  If you're a sustainability lover, then this one is for you.  I loved the kitsch op shop plates that had been re-fashioned into large flower sculptures in the gallery.
Image via Penguin Books Australia
On a final note I've found myself buying a lot of books at Andrews Books in Ivanhoe of late particularly as presents and I'm currently reading The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery (the Moroccan-born French writer who also wrote the best selling The Elegance of the Hedgehog - a book I loved).  It was interesting to read that a Readings bookstore will be opening at Westfield Doncaster in August.  When I was out at Eastland the other week, I also walked past Robinsons Bookshop (who are also in Northland and Greensborough).  Long live the book!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Festival fever

I think we're having a bit of an Indian summer at the moment, which is just as well given festival season is upon us.  March has always been my favourite month for outdoor events.  The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival starts tomorrow and a special focus this year has been the Urban Dairy - given I'm a lover of all things dairy then that would be the one for me.  Closer to home Bulleen Art and Garden's Autumn Harvest Festival starts on Saturday and runs for 11 days - it's one of my favourite places to visit in the area.  The Hurstbridge Farmers Market is also on this Sunday and while I've not yet made it to one, I'd really like to take my kids to it so they can understand that not all food comes from the supermarket or grocery store.
Maker & Monger image via Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival celebrating its 20th year in 2016 starts next week and as part of its Cultural Program is 200 Years of Australian Fashion at the NGV, which I'm hoping to see.  I was involved with the first ever Melbourne Fashion Festival as PR was handled by my first ever employer in Ann Morrison from leading fashion PR agency AMPR.  I still love a bit of glamour and style at the best of times...
Project Series Kate Victoria Wearne image by VAMFF
Given I have primary school aged children, I'm always impressed by the amount of local fairs, fetes and other events which are staged at local schools and usually run by committed parent volunteers (and increasingly professional staff).  The St John's Primary School fete in Heidelberg is on this Saturday from 11 am - 4 pm while if music is more your thing, Dave Graney and his drummer wife Clare Moore, along with Dan Kelly, Ash Naylor, Moreland City Soul Revue and Kerri Simpson will all be performing at A Day on the Fairfield Green at Fairfield Primary School also on Saturday.  Primary school sure is a lot cooler than what I seem to remember!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Go girls

Welcome to Autumn.  While the most recent diversity controversy has been #OscarsSoWhite at the US Academy Awards, it is actually International Women's Day on 8 March and there are a number of different events on around the place.
Image via Eventbrite
Banyule is holding its bi-annual Women in Business Lunch on Thursday 10 March and this year's guest speaker is Chyka Keebaugh from The Real Housewives of Melbourne.  Chyka actually studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London and I met her and her husband Bruce, many years ago when I was PR for David Jones as we used to use their catering business The Big Group for many of our A-list events.  She also has her own lifestyle blog - sharing her tips on lifestyle, design, entertaining and all things home-related.  And while The Real Housewives of Narromine on ABC's Black Comedy show may be more my cup of tea, I think it would make for an entertaining event if you are so inclined.
Image via
Banyule Council will also be holding a special IWD brunch on Tuesday 8 March - I was invited to this event last year courtesy of the Banyule Arts and Culture team and it was great to hear from some of their guest speakers.  Contact Sarah Mulholland or Roz Williams on 9490 4222 for more information.
Image via Food for Thought Network
Image via IWDA Facebook page
Some more serious events are being held in Manningham and Nillumbik with Manningham holding its Food for Thought: Women inspiring Women event with keynote speaker Professor Gillian Triggs on Sunday 6 March (unfortunately already sold out), while Nillumbik is holding its IWD Dinner 'Women without Borders' on Saturday 10 March with speakers from IWDA (International Women's Development Agency) and Project Respect.
Image via Project Respect

Image via Creative Women's Circle
If you're a creative woman then the Creative Women's Circle IWD drinks at the Brunswick Mess Hall next Tuesday 8 March in the evening may be more your thing.
Image via Women's Agenda
As a professional woman, I subscribe online to Women's Agenda and many of my female heroes, not surprisingly, are senior women in publishing and business like Lisa Wilkinson, Marina Go and Ita Buttrose.  I'm also lucky enough to have a number of extremely dynamic, older women in my life who collectively are my mentors - a good thing given I'm the eldest in my own family (and indeed my own generation on both sides) which means I've not had older brothers or sisters to turn to for advice - I'm usually the one giving it!
Rebel Wilson image via Wikipedia
Finally, I did love Australian actor Rebel Wilson's not terribly PC speech at the recent BAFTA Awards - I think she's hilarious and I love that black actor Idris Elba is her not so secret crush.  We may yet see a black James Bond in him.