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Birthday & Beyond….

Birthday & Beyond…

It’s my birthday… okay, maybe it’s a big one!!!IMG_6454

Anyway 12 months ago I decided I would do something different to mark this auspicious occasion…go somewhere entirely unexpected & make it memorable. Away from the financial pressures on my children with young families of their own, & this way we can all celebrate in our own guiltless choices :))IMG_6390

So, I wake up in the high, age-old feather bed with beautiful linen, the monks bed as it’s affectionately known… surrounded by somber carved timber & gilt framed saints, the guest wing of the Palazzo Tomasi Di Lampedusa, in Palermo, Sicily, where I have been staying for 10 weeks.

The view from my bedroom French doors…


It’s a soft grey outside, with the sun starting to poke it’s head through,  but in here I feel gratitude, joy & awe. I am cloaked in privilege, & wonder. Father Ray Kelly is (appropriately given the surroundings :)) singing a beautiful version of “hallelujah” from the laptop, birthday song of the day!


I have breakfast with the Duke & the Duchess. Jim’s gorgeous caramelized quince honey on toasted fingers, which he so generously sent from Australia for me, at outrageous expense, lush, sweet strawberries & strong fresh coffee.

Given that it is also Easter Sunday, we added decadently luscious hazelnut coated chocolate eggs & traditional Italian Dove cake.IMG_6399

We wander through the private terrace garden with all the new tulips, jasmine & lemons. The camellia’s, wisteria & persimmons. And the tortoises coming out for the warmth on their shells. Must watch our step….

I ask the Duke how he is this morning…He says he shall have a long draught of tea & then he is in order. :)) we love him.IMG_6396

Then champagne risotto for lunch, which the Duchess graciously cooks herself, with the charming Finnish composer Eero joining us. Piles of beautiful fresh asparagus with perfect poached eggs & parmesan.
And then my girls arrived for dinner! All is awesome…IMG_6411

After a bon voyage lunch of my favourite fennel & pine nut pasta, a whole plump succulent baked fish, with pistachio & pink peppercorn greens & fresh squeezed blood orange juice, we said our “lets-pretend-you’re-just-going-to-the-shops” goodbye, & headed off for a plane to Rome.


Ah Roma! Hotel Regno…our home In Rome.

Perfectly located, while we absorbed her flavour. All the famous sights, the history, the grandeur & the crumble. Punishing our feet, tasting her bounty, filling our water bottles from the many cool fountains, getting lost & ending up on a back street in prime position to see the pope past by less than 2 meters from us, (truly a Roman experience:)) watching her pulse from our cute little rooftop garden.

My girls & me.


All too soon it’s time to jump on another plane to Nice. Exciting!

We love Nice…our quirky hotel Cresp, with it’s lovely mother & daughter hosts. Awesome central position in the old town, poised between those amazing fruit, veggie & flower markets & the long ever-active esplanade by the sea. Close to art & parks, food & fountains.IMG_6413

We discovered the best ever Creme brûlée at a funky neighbouring terrace restaurant, where the service & cocktails were also great. And so we went every night :)) sooo worth it!!


After the short picturesque train ride, we spent a day in Monte Carlo mingling amidst the opulence, lusting after yachting lifestyles, drinking long cold beverages trackside & walking, walking, taking in the views.IMG_6431

Time for a tree change….

A travel buddy & I stay a couple of days with our wonderful warm friends in Dolceaqua, high in the hills in Liguria, country Italy. So steep, so pretty, so inviting. Crisp, lush, clean & magical.


Wild flowers abound, fresh scents stimulate. An unscheduled walk in the rain, shelter in an abandoned home.IMG_6475

Pussy cat purrs, wifi whirls, conversation, coffee & home cooked food, made with love, flows freely.

And once again we go to the quaint little town of Isolabona & eat the best pizza in the world :))IMG_6473

Bright & early next morning, we meet the girls at the railway station & make the long trek to Venice, changing trains in Milan.IMG_6436

Our apartment is right next to St Marks Square, Piazza San Marco. As arranged months ago, we plan to meet up with a special aunt & cousins to celebrate our significant birthdays & being in this exquisitely exotic place at the same time…dinner in Venezia!

2 mothers 4 daughters & a friend… Crossing paths on the other side of the planet. That’s a bit special!


We were on a mission to try the world famous “fritto misto” next to the Rialto fish markets…awesome, light, tasty & crispy! Yum! Exceedingly exceptional. And the displays of all things seafood were absolutely delightful & creative, distinctly marking a delicate female touch.


And so the adventures continue….:))

  1. Happy Birthday gorge!!! Love love love your blog…so inspirational and grounding all at the same time xxxx

    • Oh Marzy, how gorgeous of you to say, thank you!!! I must ask you what that really means sometime….:)) big love to you & your precious girls, love Roni xx

  2. Fancy missing each other by half an hour. We were so disappointed ’cause we’d looked forward to this for so long. At least we walked in each other’s footsteps on the same day.

    • lol…:(( sad face Jen. My favourite auntie & my cousins…& yep, you are right with the walking in step etc. But Shimmi reckons that is no constellation & Val reckons you are a figment of our imaginations. loads of love
      Roni xx

  3. Oh Roni you have touched my heart again, this time with a tear

    You and your girls, a birthday you will always remember.

    Looking forward to catching up with you when your back home xxoo

  4. Oh thanks Cath, you are so kind to even think ok that :)) yep, sure will remember this one
    big love
    Roni xx

  5. It all sounds blissful. So good to hear you and the girls are have such a great time. Much love from us xo

    • Thanks presh…it sure is one to remember, quite surreal. Amazing sights & differences in cultures. I love to observe that! :)) Of course we are eating too much….& walking lots.
      We’ve made a daily early walking plan/promise when we get back, as you do :))
      big love always
      Japonica xx

  6. I just love reading your adventures. Makes me feel like I’m there too, tasting & smelling – drinking it all in.

    Love you lots


    • Oh Gwen, how lovely to see you joining our adventures…
      thank so much for your kind sharing, glad we could paint a picture :))
      big love Roni xx

  7. Happy Birthday Ronnie, it looks and sounds as though you have been on an incredible journey, thankyou for sharing your blog, I love the stories and delectable photos. Hello to shimmy too, enjoy your precious time together. Perhaps you can share some of your recipes with us at school Ronnie. I look forward to catching up with you,
    lots of love Tania

    • Yes Tania, of course…looking forward to it! :)) So happy you are having an adventure with us, it is amazing!!
      Loads of love
      Roni xx

  8. What a glorious birthday and to celebrate it with your girls sounds wonderful! Great photos.

  9. How absolutely gorgeous! Such a special day to remember the marking of a significant Birthday! Blessed!!! You worked so hard to orchestrate the chance to experience worldly wonders with family…again. Well done! Im sure they will miss you at the palace and by the account of your recent adventures your feeling OK. Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed…so nice to travel with you…in spirit anyway!!!

  10. ohh what a lovely birthday surprise! Thanks for traveling with us for a bit, I so appreciate that :))
    It is freezing here in Amsterdam & Denbosch, but it is GORGEOUS!!!!
    And life is awesome….
    We have the cutest apartment, out to try the food now :))
    Big love Roni xx

  11. Happy Birthday! Shae and Kelly look awesome, it’s so good to see you girls living the dream.

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