Taormina

What a pretty little town! Contrast of beach and the old town on top of the windy windy road! Views are amazing in Taormina, beautiful strip of shopping and great cafes (1km to be exact) and the best part is, once you’ve exhausted the shopping and eating, you can catch the cable car straight down to the beach.

The nightlife is vibrant, food delicious and people friendly!

Here’s a few of my faves/tips..

Grab a coffee granita at Bam Bar / local haunt.

Great pizza and atmosphere at villa Lucaro pizzeria

Il Defino restaurant was on my list but didn’t have time.

If budget allows, The Grand Hotel Timeo is stunning, or go for dinner or a wander around the gardens.

Greek theatre is next to the Grand Timeo, see a performance if you get the chance.

Spend a day by Isola Bella ( stunning beach with the iconic striped umbrellas and crystal clear water) your hotel can organise a lounge chair and umbrella for you (EUR 50 a day for 2 of you).

Such a pretty place filled with culture and beauty!!

I’m jealous if you are going!! X

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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

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!

Boys and their toys…bonding over Lego!

A quote out of Psychologytoday.com reads “even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and as they grow older have better social connections. The way Fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development”.

This said, what better way to get in a little special Father son bonding time, than with Lego and not just any Lego, The Nostalgic Starwars Lego which Dad doesn’t need any arm twisting to get involved!

My boys are Lego obsessed and love spending their time building and creating. I love how Lego can keep their minds active whilst also creating something special together! In this case the Starwars X Wingfighter created lots of fun and excitement (both little and big kids) and most importantly….male bonding moments.

What a great idea for Fathers Day! Something everyone can enjoy!

Winter escape!!

The advice from Melbournians…..”you must get out for a break during Winter”! So that we did!!! Of course we headed North to soak in some Winter Sun and a good 10 degree increase on the barometer!!

We started on the Gold Coast (husband had a conference so we followed)! Then onto Noosa (good advice is to pre book a car during the School holidays, I left it til the last minute and ended up ubering to Noosa!! Nice $480 experience)!!

Anyway, we enjoyed some sun and swimming…we hit QLD often, so instead of boring you with all the details I will just leave you with a few new finds that I recommend.

Gold Coast

  • • Pacific fair – fresh from a refurb and great shopping!! Can jump on a tram from Surfers straight there! We stayed at the Hilton so the tram is at your doorstep.
  • • Also tram to Broadbeach as parks there are great for kids, as well as cafes and shopping.
  • • Best coffee in Surfers – definitely Espl !! Bottom of Peppers. There are also electric animals you can hire to drive around the shopping precinct! Kids loved these!
  • • Best brunch and baked amazing ness! Bam Bam Bakehouse! This is a must visit! The caramel choux bomb is seriously the bomb!! As are all their pastries including a barbie croissant and so many more delicacies!!! Seriously great brunch spot! Again with a park out the front.
  • Elk is another great brunch spot.
  • • Favourite dinner with the fam is Hanazono Teppenyaki!! (Under Q1 building) Always fun with the chefs cooking in front off you and throwing eggs etc!
  • Miami Marketta – This was a recommendation and looks super fun for a night out market style (wasn’t open the nights we were there).
  • Noosa
  • • We always change up where we stay but really loved the pool side villa at Sofitel this time!! A gate straight out to the pool and spa, perfect location and a pool bar that kept us all happy!
  • Bistro C – always a fave as is our Wedding Reception venue. Food is consistently amazing!! Our fave is happy hour beachside. Kids can play in the sand whilst we sip a few cocktails!!!
  • Happy pops – brand new handcrafted Gelato shop! Delilish and very pretty to look at! Choose your pop, choose your dipping, choose your topping !!! Located next to Bistro C.
  • Miss Moneypennys – superb pizzas and salads.
  • Betty’s Burgers – best burgers by far!
  • • Deli under Netanya – great for takeaway salads or meats to cook your own.
  • •Best coffee / Blended (also Açai bowls)
  • Perigian /
  • We stayed at my friends house in Marcus beach and the nearby Perigian village is buzzing with lots of cafes and very cute clothing and homeware stores.
  • Hand of Fatima Turkish coffee is the best in the village!
  • We returned back to Melb in the middle of Winter to a broken heating system!! Insert ugly cry face!! I’m happy to be living in Melb but do agree a Winter escape is necessary as I hear it is a long and drawn out process……..Plenty of coffee here to keep me satisfied!! X
  • My big hearted girl turns 7 💖💖

    the little lady is 7! How!!??

    We couldn’t decide on a theme this year, however Missy is always drawing love hearts and has the biggest heart I know! (We all say she should be a Teacher or Nurse when she grows up as she is so caring), so a heart theme it was!

    It also helped that Poppies for Grace has the best range of love heart partyware!!

    To celebrate, we hosted a little partay with a few School friends (and her cousin who flew down from Sydney).

    I signed the girls up to one of the Poppies for Grace Craftathons….look into this for your kids!! Still a week left of heaps of fun craft ideas! We did the Sisko Chocolate session. The kids were given a round chocolate disk as their base and then chose their toppings (skittles, worms, gummies bears, maltesers etc), they then were given a piping bag and could pipe out chocolate to stick on their own toppings…so much fun! They could then choose glitter and sprinkles to finish their design.

    After their creation they swirled chocolate on their hands and made their own hand print to take home.

    The gang all come back to our house for treats and games. We played pin the horn on the unicorn and did a little craft.

    I made some watermelon and strawberry skewers, heart fairy bread and picked up some gorgeous cupcakes and a 6 inch cake from Cupcake Central. I decorated the cake with a love heart cake topper and heart candles.

    A few other cute treats were the heart shortbreads from Ikea and tiny teddies with little heart message lollies on top.

    The chocolatiers left with party bags full of love heart bangles, and a little heart stationery kit from Kmart…and a few lollies of course!!

    Very girly and fun!! Happy 7th bday to my No.1 girl x

    My Smile with Your Smile

    A smile can change someones day, however the perfect smile can change your day!

    Over the years I have noticed a lot of movement in my teeth, the bottom ones are starting to cross over a little and front tooth is pertruding forward.

    Instead of waiting and seeing if the movement continues, I have decided to jump on board with Your Smile Direct and give myself the best chance at the perfect smile!

    The home process may seem daunting but is simple, and has easy to follow instructions for you to take your best impression.

    Basically you are sent a box from Your Smile Direct consultant which contains the ingredients to make your moulds, teeth trays and all the information you need.  You follow the steps included… combining the “base with the catalyst” to make your impression, Pop in the tray and bite down for a few minutes.  You then wrap up and send back in anticipation of your retainers.

    When the impressions are received by Your Smile Direct, the Orthodontic team develop a 3D scan of the moulds where they can create a customised treatment plan.  This treatment plan will then be sent to you via email (example below) for your approval.  This plan is a 3D visual of how your teeth look now and how they will gradually move throughout treatment until you reach your end result.

    Once you are happy with your treatment plan and accept it, your aligners will then go into production and be sent out to you.

    This can take roughly up to 3 weeks.  You will then receive all of your aligners in a box and are to wear each set for the prescribed amount of time.

    As per below, I received 10 sets. The first 2 sets of aligners I wore for a month and then 2 weeks each for the rest until all 10 have been worn (the 10th set is a little thicker and is to be continued for use as an aligner for bedtime).

    The aligners can be a little tight to start but gradually they ease as your teeth start to move. After a day of the new set the tightness subsides and they become part of your every day.

    So after 5 months, I just finished my tenth aligner which I now just wear at night to keep all the good work in place!! Couldn’t be happier!!

    For more info check out Your Smile Direct!!!

    Treat yo mama!

    Forget the lame lavender bags for Mum this Mother’s Day!! I have come across the perfect gift!! One for mama and one for me!!!

    Treat your mum to a gorgeous Mother’s Day pack from De Lorenzo. You can pick from 8 gorgeous sets…my faves featured here are the Essentials Treatment Deluxe pack…filled with yummy products to restore protein, oils and Ph levels (plus all in pretty pink packaging).

    Also loving the prescriptive solutions pack! I was sold with the gorgeous leaf print cosmetic bag, however the moisture balance shampoo, conditioner and revive moisture repair are beautiful!

    Check out De Lorenzo to find your nearest stockist.

    Hope you and your mammas have the best day Sunday! Obviously with fabulous hair!

    Melb life with MG and The Minis

    We are 5 months into our new life in Melbourne and enjoying our new surroundings and neighbourhood.

    The kids are settled into School and routines and the time has come for a second car (husband needs one for work).

    I have been lucky enough to test drive the new MG ZS! And loving it!

    Funnily enough when I first picked up the MG and pulled up at our place, my neighbour was out front and I quote “nice wheels”! Good start!!

    The MG ZS has all the mod cons including Apple Play for my all important directions (yep still only familiar with a 5 km radius from home) + music, messages etc.

    What I love about the MG ZS is the stylish and compact exterior of the car, yet super roomy inside for the kids and all their gear! Scooters etc fit no problem in the boot.

    My favourite features are the keyless entry (stop/start button), huge sun roof, sporty exterior, leather upholstery and ease of driving! (In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman “It corners like it’s on rails)”.

    Speaking of rails, the trams are another little test of my driving skills but I have embraced them and quite like another aspect to the road.

    I think this car ticks all the boxes for us! Easy to drive, spacious yet not too big. Perfect to zip into the City (never fear those tight parking spots as our friend the reverse camera is here)! Meanwhile, roomy and comfy for road trips and everyday busy life as a family of 5! Last but not least (and most importantly) she’s a good looking vehicle!