Live Strong

WHERE: Mister Miller Coffee Co (formerly Michael’s Cafe Volare), 111 Pakington Street Geelong West

WHEN: Midday Saturday 17th May, 2014

WHY: To raise $5000 for cancer research**


A new era for this Geelong institution! Fresh, new signage pays homage to local philanthropist and benfactor, Mr Alexander Miller.

What was once Michael’s Cafe Volare, has been re-branded Mister Miller Coffee Co.  Fresh, new signage pays homage to local philanthropist and benfactor, Mr Alexander Miller (a brief biography can be found here).  Mister Miller Coffee Co will play host to the “Shave the Beard” cancer research fundraiser to take place at midday on Saturday May 17th.

No doubt, many Geelong-based readers will be aware that our local caffeine dispenser, Stephen Nardi, is raising money for cancer research.  What many of you may not know is the reason why.

On the 17th of May 2004 Stephen had one of life’s biggest curve balls thrown right at him; that insidious “C” word.  You know; the one that, more often than not, shatters dreams and steals lives?  The sad reality is, we all know someone that has been afflicted by this disease.  But being the remarkable young man that he is, he didn’t stop and feel sorry for himself.   With the love and support of his close-knit family and friends, he picked the ball up and threw it right back in cancer’s face!

When you’re 17 and about to embark on your final year at school, the last thing you expect is to be diagnosed with cancer.  What started out as an annoying back pain was quickly found to be something far more sinister.  This type of cancer is unusual in someone so young, so three days after being diagnosed, he had surgery. After taking some time to recover from that, in July, began 3 rounds of chemotherapy.

Chemo might have killed the cancer, but not his spirit! Undeterred, he was determined to get back to school and finish year 12. He spoke about the importance of getting back to normality and with the support of the faculty and his mates at St. Josephs, he also organised his first cancer research fundraiser, which was a huge success!  He was invited to make a speech at the final assembly, which he summarised for me: appreciate your education and time at school, as you may not realise what it means until it is taken away from you…..a bit like life really.

In an excerpt taken from his donation page, Stephen puts it all into perspective:

“Although at the time it seemed life ending, at 17 years old, facing my last year of high school, it would become a realisation that I was and still am one of the lucky ones. Some families are not so lucky when it comes to dealing with this selfish disease. Overcoming this illness gave me an understanding of change and how to deal with it when life throws you curve balls.

“This small accomplishment is something I feel I need to do. The last 10 years of my life have had its ups and downs but this morning I wake up appreciative of the gift of life and today I am thankful to share it with you!”



A daily reminder of the gift of life and to always Live Strong!

A daily reminder of the gift of life and to always Live Strong!


To mark 10 years since his diagnosis and 12 months since Stephen started growing his beard (much to his mother’s chagrin!) he would like to invite everyone to come along and watch him shave it off!  So I guess the next question is; who will shave it off? Let’s put the call out to some of  Geelong’s public figures. Mr Mayor? Billy Brownless? Cameron Ling? Any other suggestions?

WHERE/HOW CAN YOU DONATE?  Stephen has set up a page with the Victorian Cancer Council so you can donate directly with them (see link at the top of this post), or you can donate at the window when you are buying your coffee.  He will also be donating $1 from every coffee sold on the day of the great shave.

CAN I JOIN IN ON THE DAY?  Absolutely; the more, the merrier! Just head down to Mister Miller (formerly Michael’s Cafe Volare) on Pakington Street prior to the day and speak to Stephen about participating.

**NOTE: At the time this post was published, he had already surpassed his $5000 target, with donations coming from as far away as Sweden, Canada & Ireland!  What do you say Geelong; let’s help him double that!

Nat x

Have you met Zigfrid?

Who: Zigfrids

Where: 65 Pakington Street, Geelong West

When: 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch & dinner!

Geelong West's newest eatery and bar!

Geelong West’s newest eatery and bar!

On our morning walks to and from our local caffeine dealer, Andrew & I have been coveting a particular red brick warehouse on Pakington Street and imagining the things we could do to it if it belonged to us!  As it turns out, the real owners, two very experienced Geelong locals (Beav & Donna), had a vision far beyond ours!

When I discovered that they had finally opened last Friday night, I decided that we needed a night out for a family dinner and to see what had been going on behind closed doors all these months!

Sorry Jen; we’ll have a girls night there when you get back from LA!

Slick industrial fit-out designed by Donna!

Slick industrial inspired fit-out designed by Donna!

The first thing that had me gobsmacked was the slick fit-out, which compliments the buildings original features – clearly Donna has a natural talent, as she designed it herself!

While we were there, an elderly couple arrived and spent quite some time soaking up the interior.  They were once the owners of the property and used to run it as a mechanics workshop. They were so impressed that the old building had been brought back to life with the use of polished concrete floors, exposed bricks and spectacular handcrafted and locally made dining tables. I don’t know about you, but I love the increasing trend of new owners of old buildings in Geelong, re-purposing them for all of us to enjoy!

So we sat for a couple of hours and were fed by Zigfrids incredibly talented chef; Alex McIntosh, who hails from Canada and has now, made Geelong his home.

We started with a tuna titaki that literally melted in our mouths and some oysters from St. Helens in TAS and Coffin Bay in SA. The Tassie ones are my absolute favourite as they are small and sweet (Don’t gag Laura; I’ll make an oyster connoisseur out of you one day!).

They don’t have a specific “kids menu”, but there are plenty of kid-friendly options (think Pork Sliders, Chicken wings, Lamb ribs) and the kitchen was happy to make them something simple, if we wanted. Our kids are pretty adventurous eaters and will try anything put in front of them, so it was definitely not needed!

Miss 9 and Master 6 had the prawn cocktail, which was absolutely NOT the 1980’s version; this one had yummy fat prawns, amazing Asian-style dressing and killer chilli!  Not sure how many kids would cope with that much chilli, but it was pretty easy to avoid!

The pork sliders were perfect! Miss 7 managed to down all 3 of them without having to share! I did have to ask her very nicely if I could have a bite so I could write about it!

Tuna Titaki, Pulled Pork Sliders & Killer Prawn Cocktail!

Melt-in-your-mouth Tuna Titaki, Perfect Pork Sliders & Killer Prawn Cocktail!

For main course, Andrew had the HUGE pork loin, with smoked apple puree and toasted oats; which he described as a pork apple crumble!  I wanted to save room for dessert so I had the perfectly cooked salmon. (Unfortunately the soft shell crab wasn’t available last night, so I had a super-sneaky lunch there today and can HIGHLY recommend it).  We couldn’t decide if we wanted the coconut panna cotta for dessert, but I’m a sucker for chocolate & cherries, so we went for the very naughty ice-cream sandwich!

Moriac Pork, Tasmanian Salmon and a naughty ice-cream sandwich!

Moriac Pork, Tasmanian Salmon and a naughty ice-cream sandwich!

What we sampled on Monday night was just the tip of the iceberg!  Zigfrids is open 7 days a week from 8am – 11pm  and bookings are recommended.  Whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or dinner, they’ve definitely got you covered and there is a casual outdoor area if you just want a snack and a drink. Their extensive list of Australian wines, as well as local and imported beers & ciders, are all served by staff that were both friendly and super-efficient!

I loved everything about Zigfrids and I’m so happy to see Pakington Street continue to evolve into a real destination for eating, drinking and shopping!

Very much looking forward to my next visit!


(photo’s courtesy of Andrew Cirillo)

High Tea on the High Seas

Where: Queenscliff Ferry Teminal or Sorrento Ferry Terminal

When: Every Sunday departing at 3pm From Queenscliff or 12 noon from Sorrento


We are starting off the year with our first post about a little adventure I had. Nat couldn’t make it this time so I took the other half along.

High Tea on the High Seas is a great afternoon out. Especially if you like lovely little treats. And there are plenty of them.

On arriving on the Ferry you are seated in the Portsea Lounge with expansive views of the ocean and white table linen. You can select a glass of wine or bubbles or a beer from a wine list of local producers. Once the ferry starts its journey your high tea is served.

Little fancy finger sandwiches, savoury slices and gourmet pies, followed by scones with jam and cream if you would like to have a Devonshire tea. On your return you have your sweets selection and I can tell you now the Peanut Butter Mousse Tartlet is pretty special.

The package includes your return trip on the ferry to Sorrento and back from Queenscliff. Tea, coffee and a drink of your choice. Savoury and sweet treats. It is $40 per person return.

If you want to get off the ferry and go exploring in Sorrento you will need to purchase a return ticket. However, you might not get enough time to enjoy your high tea if you do, you will need to eat very fast or skip dessert. It is a very leisurely afternoon excursion and a great thing to do for a birthday, a catch up with your girlfriends or that someone special.

Bookings are essential and you can book online here or you can call 5258 3244. If you have any special requests such as vegetarian options or gluten free, please call to arrange when you book.

High Tea on the High Seas

All Hail the King!

Who: King of the Castle

Where: Driveway, 14 Pakington Street, Geelong West

When: 7am – 3pm Mon – Fri and 7am – 2pm Sat (closed Sunday)

King of the Castle

I have been frequenting Geelong’s very own hole-in-the-wall coffee destination for quite a while now and it never fails to disappoint – even on a rainy day!  I can’t count the number of times I popped down to interview Robbie – but he was slammed with customers!  This was never a deterrent; just confirmation that good things come to those who wait!

Robbie Lecchino is a Geelong lad; born & bred, but like many, honed his craft in Melbourne working for the dynamic Tommy Collins Group, before bringing his skills back home for the rest of us to enjoy!  Robbie had a vision for his “hole-in-the-wall” concept to fill a gap in the Geelong market and his patience finally paid off with a space becoming available at the top end of Pakington Street earlier this year!

King of the Castle

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a coffee snob – I drink a double shot espresso, so there’s no disguising bad coffee with milk & sugar!  He serves Padre Coffee; a small owner-run business based in Lygon Street, Brunswick as well as sweet treats from his next door neighbours, Gracious & Delicious (more details in the next post!).

When you visit, make sure you take a moment to step into the tiny room opposite the coffee machine to view the AMAZING work-in-progress mural by artist Sasha Heath


Robbie met Sasha in Melbourne and after seeing her work at Kinfolk & The Hub, he knew he had to get her on board as she was the right person to realise the vision he had for a mural in his new space!

The saying ‘good things come in small packages’ has never been so true!

All Hail the King!



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