Sam and I met on the 30th of December five years ago. It’s a day we like to mark on our calendar because we still remember vividly the afternoon coffee date that turned into dinner. It’s fondly remembered as the beginning of something very special in our lives.
We have always gone out to celebrate. This year we went to a place situated in the hills of Warrandyte, Victoria. The Pietro Gallo Estate restaurant, Olivigna. My sister had recommended it as a place she wanted us to try because she thought it would appeal to our taste.
She wasn’t wrong. The views are amazing as was the Italian food, even reading the menu made me feel as though I was back in Tuscany. It was the perfect place for Sam and I to celebrate our fifth anniversary. My Dad and sister and brother-in-law made it a real party.
What struck me most on arrival was the staircase to an alfresco area.
Rows of pencil pine trees march down the hillside leading the eye out to gorgeous hills planted with rows of grapevines and olive trees.
The view from the alfresco area was spectacular. Inside we were out of the weather but this picture, which I found on their website, shows how much character the restaurant has. Also not shown here is that there are still great views of the countryside.
As regular readers of my blog know, I’m a Coeliac so the abundant GF choices was fantastic. I even got to have hot bread, baked on the premises. The seafood and antipasto was delicious. So were the deserts. Everyone was super impressed.
As we walked back to the car we stopped for photo’s to mark the occasion. Another year together with my Italian hero was celebrated in a very Italian style.
If you live in Melbourne or are visiting and would like to go to Olivigna it’s located at 54-56 Brumbys Rd, Warrandyte South VIC 3134
A Little Christmas Romance, a blog on how Sam and I met.
I was also blogging yesterday at Romancing the Genres with the In Depth Details of How I Got Inspiration for the story The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby
Check out my books here.
I write heart melting, passionate, romance
Setting the scene for a romantic dinner is important. The must haves include candlelight, heart shaped decorations and flowers.
I have some easy, cheap but big impact DIY's and meal suggestions for making your Valentine's day romantic and memorable.
First start with your best lace table cloth then add a statement centerpiece. I DIY'd this one using faux flowers from Kmart. A frame from the Reject shop fitted with a draw liner serves as a tray.
Starting with the taller stems I made a fan shape and then filled in the sides with the large rose blooms. I sat the vase in a pink sparkly wreath.
I shopped my home for decor pieces that add romantic touches.
At the base I added two mirror heart boxes and two love birds. A white rose and a gorgeous sparkle votive holder from Dusk. It was a Christmas gift from a very sweet girlfriend.
I placed candle sticks, that I found on FB market place for $20, at each end of the centerpiece.
I hung heart bunting on the mirror over the sideboard. I made this from paper heart doilies last year. A single romantic rose adds splash of pink.
I'm serving Sam's favorite, gluten free lasagna from the freezer section of my supermarket, topped with Parmesan cheese and garnished with lettuce and tomato. Desert is Connoisseur Ice-cream and fruit drizzled with Kahlua.
These basic ingredients save me time and considerable effort.
I've resisted the temptation to overthink this meal. I'm keeping it easy to prepare because it's my Valentine's day too. I don't have to impress anyone just ensure we enjoy each others company.
The garden this Summer was gorgeous, spring like temperatures and plenty of rain to keep the soil moist. The roses were stunning and my fuchsia was festooned in dancing red bells for Christmas day. Then shortly after it was scorched by a 44C day. For my Fahrenheit friends that is 111.2F.
The flowers dried on the stem and fell. Now it has recovered somewhat and I’m sharing my Summer garden so you can see how my favorites are faring. I’ve also made a tentative start on a veggie garden now that the liquid amber has been removed.
This view from the garage is one of my favorites. It shows the variety of leaf shapes, how much everything has grown and pretty waisted shape of the ornamental border.
The roses are valiantly putting on new blooms although smaller and less abundant than the first flush .The pansies in the crates were hit very severely by the hot day and will need replacing. I'm hoping I'll have time for some pink and white petunias.
Over the winter my sister divided her lambs ears and gave me several clumps. They've settled in and spread to form an impressive display of towering spires. I love the way they create a light resting place for the eye as it travels along the border.
The food production side of the garden has been doing well also. The fig is responding very well to the pruning to lift the canopy and repair the damage done to the center of the tree by the children who lived here previously. I can't blame them for climbing such a gorgeous tree but it suffered a lot of breakage in the center from it.
It's fruits extremely well. I suspect It likes having another fig so close on the other side of fence in the neighbour's yard. Next to the fig is a patch of potatoes, my first ever time growing them in a vegie garden. I saw a bags of seed potatoes in Aldi and decided to give it a go. I chose the Dutch Cream variety because I love to eat them.
I have planted a punnet of mixed tomatoes varieties, that nearly died on the hot day, they seem to be giving it a go. Only lost one.
This is a bit of a cheat, I've planted this rhubarb in the ornamental border because when Dad gave it to me, I didn't have a space for it yet. As you can see it's doing really well. But as an older variety, having been my grandfather's first and then going to Dad it has shorter stems. But that's fine, I love it for it's heritage. Once the vegetable garden is fully composted and ready for serious planting, I'll move it across.
I'm looking forward to some apple and rhubarb crumble this Autumn, after a meal of delicious dutch cream potatoes with fresh tomato sauce. I'm also going to start saving jars for making fig jam.
If you have any recipes for figs I'd be grateful, It looks like were going to have lots and I don't want to let them be wasted.
I was lucky to be given a wicker outdoor setting by my sister. Her partner thrift-ed them for their beach house, but they sold that just before Summer. I put my hand up for them when they were asking family if anyone wanted them. I think they fit perfectly with the romantic garden theme I love.
It's not hard to find posts on making a new life in the new year and I certainly am enjoying those, but it can become a little negative when focusing only on what needs changing. So, I want to take a minute to remember to love myself as I am and embrace the enduring goodness that resides in all of us.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope you are all looking forward to happy times in 2019.
As a blogger and romance writer, I want to serve others through sharing my experiences. It's an act of generosity to share yourself and I plan to continue to do that for as long as I'm able. I'm very proud of the blog posts from 2018 because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and revealed my life in the spirit of giving.
Some of the personal-journey posts that I'm proud of include Three Things I Do To Cheer Myself Up, Remembering Easter and Our Romantic Proposal Story. It's always a little challenging to decide how much to share but honesty and what might help others has been my guide. There's my wedding later in the year and as a mature aged bride, I'll be sharing what that's like. Romance is for anybody at any age but it can have it's challenges.
I created a lot last year, writing behind the scenes was taking place slowly but besides that, I made a garden and did a lot of decorating in Sam's and my new home. Some of those posts that came from that include, Backyard Makeover on a Budget, Faux Plants in My Romantic Home and Vintage China Collection. I'm moving from Farmhouse to more of a Shabby Chic style so stay tuned for how I bring that about this year.
Cooking was another creative outlet for me, I had some wins with my Gluten Free recipe experimentation and I shared those in blog posts too. GF Scones, GF Choy Suey and an amazing Pancake Parlour style GF Banana and Walnut pancake in the blog called Something Sweet in the Morning. I will be posting a recipe each month in 2019, I'm working on some new ones for summer.
I've also been a regular contributor on the Romancing the Genres Blog Site in 2018. As a romance author who enjoys reading I posted a blog this week over at Romancing the Genres on the book I enjoyed reading most in 2018. It was a novel from Anne Gracie called 'Marry in Scandal'. It's an absolutely brilliant book so pop on over to my RTG post and have a read when you finish here.
In the spirit of sharing, Anne was so thrilled when she saw my post about her books that she decided to give one of the books I mention in the blog away to one of my readers. All you need to do is leave a comment below saying which one you'd like to win and a winner will be randomly chosen next Thursday.
Thank you Anne, for this gift for one of my lucky readers.
Don't for get to leave a comment saying which of the above book's you'd like most, for your chance to win it. The winner will be notified by email.
I'll be back next week to sharing more from my romantic lifestyle.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.