An Italian Wedding

All guests dressed in white, a little granita cart waiting at the church perched on a cliff face, the local families wandering up to catch a glimpse of the Wedding Ceremony of my Brother and his Wife to be!

The guests entered watching an emotional groom waiting for his true love! The bridal party arrived on the back of golf carts and in walked the beautiful bride to the tune of Linger by the Cranberries.

The most beautiful service, with the strong reminder of forgiveness for one another and to be each others ‘heros’. I was honoured to do a reading and also brought to tears when the most stunning Opera voice starting singing Hallelujah (I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman at the Opera for the first time)!

After one of the most beautiful services I have been to, we all mingled in the Church for some pics with spectacular ocean views and then made our way down the cobbled lanes to the Reception.

The Bride and Groom were serenaded with a Mariachi Band and locals followed them down to the entrance of Lisca Bianca.

We started with drinks on the rooftop terrace, tea light candles lighting the way as the sun was setting over the water. We enjoyed a live band and some lovely nibbles as all the guests arrived and settled in for the night.

We were then escorted to our seats – a spectacular table for 80 drenched in hydrangeas and an mix of stunning white roses right down the centre of the table. There were hanging chandeliers and twinkling lights looking out to the bobbing sailing boats behind…. magical!

All the little touches were perfect, the acrylic place cards, little limoncello bottles as take home favours, beautiful white linen and elegant menus.

We enjoyed delicious food and wine (a lot), lit sparklers and danced to the new bride and groom as they cut their cake and enjoyed dessert back on the rooftop.

The evening was faultless, the drinks kept flowing and I danced til 5.30am (crazy I know)!!!

So there you have it, as best as I can describe as it is all still so dreamlike in my head! The most perfect Wedding came together on the other side of the world and the only thing missing was my husband (everyone kept saying how much he would have loved it) and kids but I really hope in my hearts we can all go back at some point and they can share a bit of the magic too!

Congrats Blake and Jess! You are perfect for each other and I loved every minute xxx b

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Pretty Panarea

I really didn’t think I would be lucky enough to visit the Aeolian islands again (I mean it felt like a long way from London, let alone coming from Aus)!!

Lucky for me though, my brother proposed to his gorgeous girlfriend Jess who’s ancestors are from the beautiful Island of Panarea, which is why I was lucky enough to visit again!!

A year in the making from engagement to Wedding, and so fun being involved in plans and watching everyones travel unfolding towards the big day! I still look on IG each day at where everyone is and what they are doing each day now I am back down under.

We planned to all go as a family trip, however my husband had only just accepted his new role in Melbourne at the time so was not able to take time off outside the School holidays….With my inlaws on board to mind the kids….I took one for the team and planned my European escape!

Not many people know the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie), North of Sicily in the Provence of Messina (among the Tyrrhenian Sea) sits 8 beautiful islands – Lipari (the largest), Salina, Panarea, Vulcano & Stromboli (both active volcanos), Alicudi, Filicudi & Basiluzzo.

There are no cars on the islands and can only be reached by boat or Ferry, (we took a 2 hour Hydrofoil from Reggio Calabria) most commonly a flight into Catania then a boat from Millazo, or an overnight ferry from Naples.

The islands are all about a 1/2 hr boat ride from each other so can be checked out on a day trip for lunch or the like.

Panarea itself is the second smallest island (only 3.4 km2) and has around 280 residents living there all year round, however the population increases dramatically in Summer! Make sure you go end Aug/early sept (check dates as island closes down mid sept).

As soon as the Ferry pulls up, you instantly get a welcoming village feel. People drinking aperols and granitas at the local port bar, restaurants spilling out onto the street and a lovely calmness sinks in.

We stayed at the lovely Lisca Bianca (which was also where the beautiful wedding took place….this will need a seperate post). Lovely rooms, the front ones have water views and balconies, super convenient in the heart of the village and can be accessed straight off the boat. Lisca has a lovely breakfast area however does not have a pool which may be an important one to note.

The village itself has cobbled streets, and is perfect for walking to discover the beautiful soft colours of the houses sprawled in Bougainvillea. I wandered to the top to discover all the beautiful cacti growing in rows and rows and smells from the little bakery wafting towards me.

Just relaxing watching the sailing boats and listening to the humming of life around this simple island really is just what the Dr ordered!

I highly recommend hiring a boat from the port and driving around to other islands (we went to Stromboli for a look around the volcano) and swam in coves back towards Panarea. The water is crystal clear and the perfect temperature for diving off the boat before hitting the port for lunch and a well earned drink!

There are some sweet shops, great little restaurants and bars with views to die for!!

Views from Raya

Bridge Bar serves amazing sushi platters and has stunning views right across the sea!

Raya would be #1 for bar positioning, and number one all round for stunning chic accom (frequented by celebs) all white, modern and simply stunning views on the corner block of the island.

We also stayed at Raya for a few nights and although it is a bit more of a walk from the reception (and many stairs), is stunning once you arrive and has breathtaking views from your room, balcony and pool area (views from everywhere as you are so high up the back of the mountain). The infinity pool and 3 other pools (one being a geothermal pool which is supposed to have salt and therapeutic powers)…..just laying here, looking over the pool to the sea (with an aperol in hand) is was what dreams are made of!!

So there you have it, this stunning island is not the easiest place to get to, but I promise is worth the visit and will remain in your memories and heart forever!

A few links to help you x b

Transport – Libery Lines

Accom –

Lisca Bianca

Raya

Best food –

Da Pina – we visited most nights!! fresh pastas, fish, salads (the scampi pasta was amazing)

Hotel Carasco – great for pre drinks

Bridge Bar – Sushi with views

Bar Del Porto (lunch) – drinks and tuna salad watching the day trippers come in off the boats

Raya – definitely cocktail hour at sunset!!

24 hours in Roma

11 years since I was last in Europe! Living in London, footloose and fancy free!

The minute I stepped off the plane, the excitement came flooding back! The freedom, language barrier, warm weather, good food and company!

My bro and I squeezed out as much as we could in the short time we were in Rome (him more than me, arriving home at 7am after a night out)!

We arrived at lunchtime and headed straight for the hotel (I like to have a driver waiting as after a 24 hour flight….ain’t no one got time to fart arse around with taxis)!!! My Aunty recommended a cracker of a hotel right at the doorstep of the Trevi fountain (the rooftop bar is awesome and breakfast is served on the terrace looking right at the Trevi)! Hotel is called Relais Di Fontana Trevi.

We checked in and headed straight out to a little lunch spot I had researched on the Luxe Guide (hot tip…download a Luxe guide to any major city you travel to, recommendations are always spot on)!

We walked towards the Spanish Steps to Ginger Sapori e salute – white, modern, cool crowd and an abundance of fresh fruit on counter tops…they even had organic soy cappuccinos which I did not expect to find in Italy!! We had a delicious meal and wondered the streets, leading up to the gorgeous via Condotti and all the designer stores (make sure you have a coffee at Cafe Grecco / old school Italian landmark since 1760). Another cute cafe near Spanish steps is Gina Eat Drink!

We wondered back to freshen up and meet family for drinks at Salotto 42….right in front of the Pantheon! You see we tick off the tourist attractions around food and drink!! A few G&Ts later (man they pour a stiff drink)!! And off to dinner at another Luxe find (Macceroni)…cute ex butcher shop, now vibrant little restaurant. We wandered the streets home, getting lost and finding Gelato of course! And a little nightcap at our rooftop bar and watching the chaos that surrounds the Trevi fountain below!

There you have it! After bro continued with a mate til all hours, I packed it in and took the opportunity to wake early and wander the streets, drink many coffees whilst pinching myself at the beauty of the city!!

The Colosseum is of course also a must see and many more magnificent creations…however as I had been to Rome before, this was just a relaxed entree to the main course that was coming….Panarea…TBC!