Is there such a thing as too many Oysters! In Maine!

We headed off from our Portland hotel and walked the cobbled streets. It’s an up and coming tourist destination (perhaps it’s already arrived!) and the township near the port is filled with fun shops, bars and restaurants.

We followed the suggestion of the hotel receptionist and went to J’s oyster bar.

it’s a modest place but packed with atmosphere. We tried two types of local oysters. A salty and a sweet. Both delicious but the sweeter one won.

Washed down with a Prosecco for me and a Guiness for Steve it was a winner. After a big breakfast we had skipped lunch so we’re ready to eat.

We left J’s and walked along the sea front

Then headed to Oyster Bar #2 called Eventide. Back a few streets it was just superb. Right on trend I’d say!!!

Cool guys working there but very friendly, we sat at the bar and ordered 6 different Maine oysters each. They came with a choice of sauces. I chose horseradish ice and Steve had lemon pepper ice.

We worked our way through the menu. We definitely had our favourites.

But all were delicious. Again washed down with Prosecco and beer(s)!

The rock on the bar was set up for oysters and the guy shucking them was a machine.

After some time there we walked a little, went to the hotel to regroup then went to Scales for our last plate!

What a great place.

We just had to try local lobster. We ended up slightly messy but it was worth it. And so was the Santa Barbara Pinot Grigio.

Slightly messy plate. Well worth it.

Portland is a foody paradise.

Wedding Bliss.

What is more wonderful than a family wedding?

It brings together family and friends for the joy of celebrating the love between two people.

Today it is Rob and Jordan we are celebrating. Such a beautiful couple who have been together for 8 years. We have followed their love around the world and today witnessed their love in a beautiful wedding.

My heart is full.

The wedding was planned from New York and it was stunning. No fuss but thoughtfulness went into their decisions. No big wedding party. Just their two brothers Peter and Joseph as witnesses.

It was just them up on the altar with eyes just for each other.

Jordan looked stunning in an elegant dress with a stunning back embossed with jewels.

On the shoulder of her dress she pinned an antique diamond and opal brooch which belonged to Rob’s Grandma Betty.

Notice the little diamond opal brooch. Borrowed. It’s was Steve mother Betty’s. Such memories.

We gathered outside in the warm sun. It was the perfect afternoon.

Pete and El looking happy.

My two sons are perfectly matched with their lovely wives.

Then it was a walk down the street to the Historical Museum. The setting simple and stunning. What an afternoon.

By the time we were seated the afternoon sun warmed us. It was perfect.

The food began. Lots of finger food. Then family shared plates. So pretty to look at and oh so tasty.

So many of Robs friends young and old had travelled across from all parts of Australia , the US, London, Spain, Belgium , Switzerland to celebrate with him. The family – aunties and cousins. It’s magic.

A late but wonderful night was had by all. The drinks flowed , the dancing continued, the photo booth and the laughter was infectious.

The bride was exhausted and had to be carried home.

Wedding Eve

A girl from California, Jordan, meets a boys from Brisbane, Rob, on a beach in Barcelona. They have many friends from around the world.

Today they started to arrive and gathered for a beach fiesta. No quiet pre wedding dinner. No, it was a pre wedding party in a stunning location. Chilly yes, but layers were added and tequilas were drunk.

Friends from Spain, Belgium, England, New York , Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Old school friends , family, waterpolo friends , cousins, aunties ……..

The taco man backed his truck in and fed us all. The drinks flowed and so did the laughter.

A great start to the party.

Tomorrow is the big day.

Therapy arrived in Santa Barbara.

Those who know me know I love my girlfriends. And my Therapy group are such a wonderful group of friends.

We formed years ago when our children were little. The girls of the group have shown such support to each other over the years that we feel it’s like going to therapy when we meet.

So today I brought a little bit of therapy to Jordan. It came in the form of ‘wise words of advice ‘ for the bride.

We assembled at a long table and enjoyed sparkling Rose while Jordan read her messages of advice – all the way from Brisbane.

Thank you to my funny, creative friends and especially to Patsy for her ‘Sweet Love Story’ which I’ll reproduce here for your enjoyment.

Now if that doesn’t bring a smile to your face – then read it again!

Morning walk in Santa Barbara

It’s Anzac Day in Santa Barbara and as usual Steve led the ceremony.

Then it was a walk through the streets before the sun came out.

It was quiet and the architecture was interesting.

There is an enormous Moreton Bay fig tree brought as a seedling by a sailor in 1876. Read the story below.

We found an amazing house in a back street – it helps that John Donati was born here and knows Santa Barbara so well.

Back to the hotel where the lobby had become a meeting point for our guests arriving. This morning the Brannocks and nephew George arrived tired but ready to go to lunch.

Therapy lunch had its own post but after lunch we wandered the picturesque streets if Santa Barbara.

Come along!

Live turtles in the fountain!

This plaque to Orella is Jordan’s great, great, great, great grandmother.

We finished the walk with a visit to a beauty salon where Antonio gave us eye lifting treatments. It was an hilarious half hour and worth the sales pitch he made. Here I am up close!

You be the judge. Have the bags under the eyes decreased! No before photo though.

Fun night at home

If you have an inventor as a friend you may have experienced a night like ours.

However, it’s unlikely as Dan Garr or Dannnnnn as he known to his swim trek friends is one big, beautiful, infectious creative being. With his beautiful wife Isabelle or Izzy as he calls her they are a great team and make all guests feel welcome. They have a big house and big hearts to go with it.

Last night he cooked on his amazing fondue pot/ bbq and it was so much fun.

This is the ginormous pot he invented and built. Check out the food in little trays around the outside, the little oven pans on the plates. They look like pizza slices. You assemble your meat with a sauce and a few other things and pop it in the oven! Easy. Tasty.

Then there are the prawns lobster and tempura batter to pop into the boiling oil. Delicious.

But that was last night and today was a ‘Day with a Difference ‘

We hovered in bed till the house was quite and Dan & Izzy gone off to work and only Max 16 was at home as school was off for him. They have ‘student free days’ here just like home.

Then we got up and met the Maria the Mexican house keeper. She was lovely and offered to do our laundry.

We had a plan so headed off on highway 405 south to Seal Beach where another swim friend, my ‘wing woman’ Betty was waiting with her husband Craig. We were so excited to see her that we forgot photos!

We sat over a yummy seafood lunch with our super friendly waitress hovering to help. I had a fish taco. Delicious.

After a few hours talking we said our goodbyes until we meet up again with Betty and our other Galapagos swim trek friends for a NY reunion in 3 weeks time.

We decided to drive further south along highway 1 past the beach areas of Long Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington and Laguna Beaches. Miles of coastline. Some pretty places and lots of Spanish sounding place names, being so close to Mexico. And believe it or not the Trump wall isn’t up yet!

We even saw a little red corvette with a blond driver zipping along. I find myself breaking into well known songs about the places and things we see.

We ended up in SAN Clemente another beachside town. Very pretty with the beach on one side of the town and a huge outlet centre on the other side. Natural we stopped in for a look. Steve did a little shopping at Calvin Kevin and I managed to find very comfortable shoes at Cole Haan.

Back onto the 405 north we zipped along the ride share lane going past 3 other lanes choking with cars.

We arrived home to Dan and Izzy’s house around 6.30 …… to find…..

Dan, the chef, in his amazing kitchen cooking crepes for dinner. He loves to cook and has such a great set up. Huge ovens, a grill and hot plate – everything!

The crepes were divine. Both savoury and sweet with fruits. The Napa Valley wine also hit the spot and helped us sit and plan our next swimming adventure together.

Dan was one of the ‘famous five’ swimmers from the Gibraltar Straits and Corsica to Sardinia swims, the Croatia swim and the Hong Kong harbour swim last Oct. So lots of shared memories.

Feeling a little tired we fell into bed dreaming of the wedding adventures to come.

We’re looking forward to seeing Rob & Jordan – but in Sunshine- no snow! It’s been a year since we saw them.

The Countdown is On.

Who out there enjoys packing for a holiday? I usually do but feel quite rushed / confused / perplexed this time! Why?

We’re not swim trekking like our usual holidays have been lately. On swims treks the packing is easy. It’s usually summer and relaxed. This time it’s a wedding in Santa Barbara, California! Then 3 different locations. New Orleans, Cuba and New York!

I’m trying to stick to my own packing rules ( check out an earlier blog). Pack in 3’s. 3 bottoms, 3 tops, 3 dresses, 3 scarves, 3 shoes. Then add the ‘wedding gear’.

I’ll let you know how I go! It’s going in the suitcase this afternoon. It’s a new bag and is a larger carry on! So I’m limited on the space! Wish me luck.

I’ve also had to reload this website and don’t want you to miss my blogs. So please send a message in the comments box so I know you’ve seen this post.

Did I mention it’s my son’s wedding! So I am to be a MOG. Mother of the Groom.