Monday, May 30, 2016

My name up in lights

Despite trying to take care of myself since the cold weather kicked in, I've managed to come down with some kind of lurgy today - I'm just glad it's not the full blown flu or gastro!  I did have a busy weekend and these days I try to schedule just one thing per day rather than multiple events like
this weekend but sometimes life just gets in the way.
Image via David's Restaurant
It's not in the north-east but I did have yum cha at David's Restaurant in Prahran yesterday catching up with my uni friends who all live in the south-east and it was great.  It's a set $40 yum cha which the staff bring out on trays and there was lots of food.  It's got a lovely whitewashed interior after being renovated a year or so ago and a different feel to Oriental Tea House (Chapel Street), which David Zhou also owns, and to which we've also previously dined.  It's more 'country Shanghai' in their words so the yum cha is also a little different to standard - there's quite a lot of fried food on the menu, as well as steamed.
Image via The Great Moscow Circus
Locally, the Great Moscow Circus is in town until 12 June at Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West - it might be a bit chilly under the big top so I'd be taking jackets and coats with you if you go.
Image via Cinema Nova
The movie Neon at Cinema Nova in Carlton opens this week charting the journey of neon lights and celebrating the colour and light, music and history, design and cultural heritage from 1920s Paris to modern day America.  Mr Rosanna and I love a bit of neon - some of you know we recently celebrated our wedding anniversary and here's a shot of us all lit up outside Pellegrini's Cafe, when we were young and beautiful!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Blokes and Sheilas

I've been laughing at the name of Festival of Steve, which is on this weekend in the city, celebrating all things manly.  We ladies don't miss out either as Women of Letters is also on at The Thornbury Theatre on Sunday.
Image via Festival of Steve Twitter page
There's a lot on this last weekend before Winter officially hits.  Locally, the Mosque Open Day in Heidelberg Heights is being held tomorrow and if I wasn't already busy, I would love to visit.  I've been to a lot of churches and temples in my time but never a real mosque although one day I hope to visit the ones I've only read about in Morocco and Turkey.  If you're in the area, you may also like to drop into the Olympic Village Makers Market, which is on between 10 am and 2 pm.
Image via The Thornbury Theatre
The ARC Sing it Again 20 year tribute concert is also on tomorrow at Banyule Theatre in Heidelberg while Emma Donovan & The PutBacks are playing at Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre.  It's also National Reconciliation Week and there are a number of different events still taking place in Banyule.
Sorry Day & Reconciliation Week image via Banyule City Council
It's cold outside and I've already started eating stodgy food!  Slow Food Melbourne, Coburg and Eastland farmers markets are all on this weekend and Preston must be the latest foodie place to be - the Cheese and Bread drive through food truck celebrating the humble toastie has just opened and while it may be more low-brow food than high - it's definitely been well timed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Get your woollies out

It suddenly got very cold around here!  I just wanted to post today about some of the more beautiful textile and other design that has me feeling inspired at the moment.
Image via LoveHate Facebook page
I'm a fan of LoveHate (particularly their jewellery by Geneine Honey) and they are actually having a warehouse sale this Friday 27 May from 11 am - 7 pm at 11/167 Beavers Road in Northcote.
Image via Gorman
While Gorman's been the subject of some recent social media controversy, I do still love the brand and the fact that Lisa Gorman's heart is in the right place in terms of trying to be ethical/organic and sustainable.  Her latest venture has been teaming up with iconic Australian-founded knitwear brand Coogi and I love the new limited edition collection following in the footsteps of other Australian knitwear labels like Flamingo Park.
Image via Nancy Bird
Locally, there is a Tunisian crochet workshop being held at Montsalvat in Eltham this Saturday 28 May while I also love these colourful Bolivian pot holders by Nancy Bird, who incidentally are teaming up with LoveHate for their warehouse sale.  There's nothing like a bit of colour once the grey weather sets in.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


There's a week until Winter officially starts although we've had such a warm Autumn, it hardly feels like the cold season has arrived.  I have started eating more so it's a good thing that I've continued to exercise.  I'm not doing as much running as I would like but am enjoying my yoga classes as well as the change from boot camp to personal training at Cinch Training in Macleod.  It's quite inspiring to see the rise of female athleticism and females in sport, in general, and I'm glad that the ideal body type has moved to a more realistic, fuller-figured shape.  If you're toned and in proportion - then that's all that really matters.  For me, it's more about how exercise makes you feel, the physical outcome is the icing on the cake.
Image via
Speaking of food, the Lido Cinema's Venetian-inspired wine bar and eatery, Vaporetto Bar, has now opened in Hawthorn and I think it's a great idea.  I was in Carlton a few weeks ago at Cinema Nova to watch 'The First Monday in May', and my friend Rina and I had a pre-movie coffee and croissant in the Nova Bar & Kitchen, which was a lovely way to start the morning!
Image via
I've also been reading about a new eatery called The Penny Drop at 913 Whitehorse Road in Box Hill -  a new Aus-Asian cafe developed from a pop up shop celebrating food and coffee in Box Hill.  I love the look of that curved bar and all the blonde wood.  If you're an Age subscriber, there's also a fantastic feature article on eateries in Preston in today's Good Food guide.  It's maybe De-Preston no longer...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Answering the call

There are a number of call outs that I just wanted to mention on my blog today.  Firstly, there's a call out for artists in both Banyule and Darebin.  Applications are now open for the 2016 Banyule Art Salon - the inaugural biennial event to be held from 23 June - 16 July this year celebrating the work of artists who live or work in Banyule.  Entries are also open for the A1 Darebin Art Salon at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre being held August 27 - October 2 this year.
Image via Pinpoint Artists website
I was volunteering at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen yesterday and discovered that one of the Visitor Services staff Jenny Papas also runs a Melbourne-based art collective known as The M Collection and have just launched their third annual acquisitive art award for unrepresented artists.  Interestingly, both The M Collective and I own works by emerging artist Jessica Page.
Fox and Hare by Jessica Page
Darebin PitchIT is also open for entries if you have an IT start-up dream you'd like to turn into reality.  I attended a Melbourne Executive MBA information evening a couple of years ago and it was interesting hearing the marketing lecturer talk about Australia having moved from a manufacturing-based economy to a services-based one, with the barriers to entry for businesses a lot less than what they've previously been.  I have two very smart girlfriends with MBAs who are now both working for cloud-based software companies.
Image via City of Darebin
If you're an Edith Piaf fan, you may be interested in the Exposing Edith Morning Music cabaret event,  on tomorrow morning at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre.  While if you're into Modernist architecture, you may be more interested in the self-guided tour of Influential Apartments & Townhouses this Sunday being run by the Robin Boyd Foundation.
Image via
On a final note, the 3PBS radio festival is currently on if you're wanting to subscribe or re-new as a member.

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is currently a reserve candidate Board member for Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

Monday, May 16, 2016

Build it and they will come

It must be cafe season as another inner-city style cafe called Mabel Jones has opened in Greensborough, which I think is a very smart move given it's one of Banyule's main hubs these days with a big population.  I love the blue coffee machine and will have to head there at some stage with friends from the area.
Image via Mabel Jones Facebook page
I've actually been spending time out in outer north Mill Park the past month or so as son number one has been doing a school extension program on Monday mornings and I have been a somewhat desperate person in search of a good cafe to grab a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and somewhere to work and kill a couple of hours.  I ended up asking my friend Kate for suggestions as she's formerly lived, and currently works, out that way and she came up with the goods!
Rivers of Yarrambat
Today, I spent my morning at Rivers of Yarrambat, which was beautiful.  As a retail nursery/cafe & foodstore/lifestyle hub complete with hair studio & day spa, and fitness centre, all in a stunning location near the river where you can feed the ducks - it's an excellent example of it working well.  They have a Sunday high tea once a month as well as cater to mothers & babies  and craft groups.  The food and coffee were fairly standard but I'm not complaining - the outer suburbs have a different feel and demographic to them and you can't expect it to feel like the inner city because it's clearly not Kansas!
Rivers of Yarrambat - inside the cafe
Other suggestions if you ever find yourself out that way were Farm Vigano in South Morang, which looks absolutely gorgeous, as well as Two Beans and A Farm at Carome Homestead in Mernda (also near the Plenty River) - probably not surprising they were farms given the suburbs out that way still include fresh produce farms and orchards.
Image via Farm Vigano
On a separate note, I've been saddened to read about Fairfax Media laying off some of its most senior journalists due to skill sets not being aligned and some journalists allegedly told they haven't been generating enough online clicks.  It's really hard in the digital age to stay relevant but for me, it's not always about clicks - it's not just the quantity of your audience, but the quality and I think that's something that gets lost in translation these days where it seems to all be about data and analytics - it makes the world seem like a very cold place.  When I worked at David Jones all those years ago, we applied an 80/20 rule where 20% of our best customers actually brought in 80% of the sales - it's not always about being all things to all people but understanding who your target market actually is.  Anyway, I digress...enough waxing lyrical for today.
Image via Two Beans and A Farm

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Four Leaves

Spoiler alert!  This is the name of the new cafe opening next month in Greville Road, Rosanna and I'm more than a little bit excited.  My very first blog post was about the wonder of Miss Marie Cafe opening in sleepy, suburban Rosanna and given I'm a lover of cafe culture, and all that it represents, I'm really thrilled that we'll be getting a bona fide inner-city style cafe up at my local shops.  While I'm still restless, I probably should have called this post 'Resurgent in Rosanna' as I think it will lift property values and the quality of life index in this area to the east of Rosanna Road - cafes bring with them many other non-tangible benefits although I daresay parking is going to be a bit more tricky if you're not close enough to walk.
Image via
On another local note, there is a Speaking of Sustainability - Banyule Toastmasters Event being held 7.30 - 9.30 pm in Heidelberg West at St Pius X Primary School (gold coin donation) next Tuesday night (17 May) where you're invited along to have a go  at speaking on sustainability in a supportive environment.  Toastmasters is an international not-for-profit organisation focusing on communication and leadership that's been around for many years and this group is a new eco-sustainability focussed public speaking group.  For more info contact  It is a real skill to be able to talk in public and while it's right up there in terms of people's fears - along with a fear of flying and dentists - the only way to become better at something is to practise.  I've actually said yes to another speaking engagement at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in conjunction with Banyule Arts and Culture this July, which I'll talk about more in detail closer to the time.
Image via Banyule City Council website
Next Tuesday is also IDAHOT Day and this is a subject close to my heart having friends and family who are gay plus having worked in fashion, beauty, retail and art where many of my contemporaries are simply just different people irrespective of their sexuality - all of whom have enriched my life and made it more layered, diverse and interesting.  At the end of the day, we are all human beings who feel the same emotions and want the same universal things in life, like love and acceptance, and I think some people lose sight of that and what it's truly like to walk in someone else's shoes and be the 'other'.  Banyule is hosting a number of different IDAHOT events in Montmorency.
Image via Fed Square
A few interesting things on this weekend, if you're interested in the process of jewellery making - jewellery is holding an Open Day workshop on Saturday in Brunswick.  If you're a design aficionado, Lightly is holding its first ever warehouse sale with big discounts also on Saturday in Collingwood.  Finally, it's also Buddha's Birthday and Multicultural Festival celebration in Melbourne this weekend at Federation Square.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


A E I O U by Michelle Nikou
Besides being the name of an early '80s disco song, it's the name of the newest exhibition at Heide by Adelaide-based artist Michelle Nikou, which has really captured my imagination.  The organic and domestic symbolism is beautiful in the space of Heide II - the modernist architect-designed building of Mount Gambier limestone, terrazzo marble, glass and radiata pine.  Her exhibition uses emotional and psychological metaphor meditating on things such as motherhood and loss as well as humour and marvel, and incorporates unusual materials like human hair and lead!  I love some of the absurdity of it as well such as the fried eggs in bronze - the flattened forms which are supposed to represent the vowels used as the name of this exhibition.
Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
Speaking of all things domestic, the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival opened yesterday and I love that there's been a social movement back to things homemade.  While high end restaurant food is a real treat, it's not something I could eat every day.  Nothing makes up for the love that's contained in homemade food and drink.
On another local note, The Estelle Store in Ivanhoe will be closing down in the next little while and I'm a bit sad that this store, like Romulus and the Gypsy, will be no more.  The lovely Estelle has found it too hard juggling motherhood (her newest baby is Ace - her son) and running a bricks and mortar business, which I can more than understand.  Retail, like hospitality, is not for the faint-hearted and I applaud her for having had the courage and spirit to open her store in the first place.  It's also worth popping your head in to say good bye and to buy something (lots on sale!) before she leaves to plan her next moves.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Your 8 second memory

The digital landscape has changed a lot of things including the way I write.  I did an ADMA IQ digital copywriting essentials course yesterday and this old dog learnt a lot of new tricks. I studied old school journalism when I was at university, which is still relevant for print media, websites and more traditional/formal communication.  However with the onslaught of social media, it's all different given apparently we are all skimmers with an 8 second attention span - that's less than a goldfish!
Image via Penguin
I was also in the city on Tuesday night as we had tickets courtesy of my client Avant Card to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's family concert, which my boys thoroughly enjoyed - a real first-time cultural experience and only an hour long.  Although the best bit by far was that the concert ended with a live performance of 'Star Wars', which was fantastic.  Both the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Victorian Opera have a number of children's performances if you're wanting to expose your kids to some culture.
Image via Amazon
It's been a windy old week and you may have started taking shelter at home indoors - there are a number of new books which have caught my eye including The Simple Home by award-winning Down to Earth blogger Rhonda Hetzel and Mid-Century Modern Women in the Visual Arts.  Surrender by artist Joshua Yeldham also looks beautiful and was created as a journal of his life's work dedicated to his daughter.  If you're into biographies, then Georigana Molloy: The Mind That Shines on one of Australia's first internationally successful female botanists may be of interest, while for fiction fans, The last painting of Sarah de Vos has also caught my eye.
Image by Art House Gallery
There are a few interesting events that are also being held over the next few days.  Henry Talbot: 1960s Fashion Photographer (showcasing Melbourne) opens at the NGV tomorrow while the Omaru Alpacas Open Day in Cottles Bridge is on Sunday, along with Markit at Fed Square if you're wanting to shop up big on Mother's Day.  Speaking of which, don't forget the Rosanna Golf Links Primary School Mothers' Day Night Market being held tonight!
Image via Markit Fed Square
Disclosure: Avant Card is a sponsor of ADMA IQ

Monday, May 2, 2016

The First Monday in May

This is actually the name of the movie about The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York which opens its doors to the fashion world on the first Monday in May every year to host the biggest event on the fashion calendar, The Met Gala, the opening night party to the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition.  Featuring Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, the documentary covers last year's lavish party and The Met's most attended fashion exhibition in history, 'China: Through The Looking Glass' as well as film and fashion creatives such as Wong Kar Wai, Baz Luhrmann, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier.  I've been invited to a special preview of the movie this Thursday night (with the official movie release on 12 May) at Cinema Nova in Carlton, which incidentally is also currently screening Prince's movie Purple Rain.  The Lido Cinema is Hawthorn is also holding special screenings of Purple Rain this Thursday and Saturday if you are a fan.
Image via Cinema Nova
A couple of art and antique events are also on this week including 'Do I look like I care' by Fiona McGonagle at LUMA in Bundoora, curated by Dr Vincent Alessi, which opens on Wednesday.  The 2016 AAADA Melbourne Antiques and Art Fair opens on Thursday at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and if the weather stays cool, as it has since May has arrived, I think it would be a lovely way to spend some time indoors.
Image via Visit Victoria
On a local note, Bien Food Store & Cafe on Greville Road will be closing in the next fortnight.  Gina's been there six years, along with her parents Helen and Nick, and she's ready for a move from hospitality into the world of property styling with her sister Jordanka at Catalysto Interiors (check out their amazing work at 54 Halifax Avenue in Heidelberg.  The cafe will be closed for a couple of weeks but will be re-born as a new hospitality venue, complete with wood fire oven pizza and most of the current staff will also be staying on, which is great news.  You may like to pop your head in and say goodbye to Gina over the next couple of weeks.