Monday, December 15, 2014

Europe 2014 - Pisa and Florence

7th October
We must have known today was going to be a busy one…so we ordered coffee..and it arrived to our room at 6.08am. 
I guess if you have to wake early…it might as well be to coffee.

Once again we met Ron and Donna on the deck and enjoyed the sunrise in Livorno..all excited for the day ahead. 
This was one of the days we had booked a Princess Shore Tour so we joined the other sheep in the dining room and were mustered off the ship into the waiting buses like clockwork. 
It certainly takes the thinking out of the day.

First stop was Pisa… to see of course…the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 
What I hadn't realised prior to our visit  is that there are a number of other beautiful buildings (Duomo, Bapistery, Campo Santo as well as the famous Leaning tower all together in what is called  the ‘Field of Miracles’ it was a really lovely spot. 

The tower took 177 years to build and has been leaning since 1173.
It is the free standing bell tower for the cathedral.
(Oh look....we did the dorky "leaning tower photo")

Then it was all aboard the bus and an hours trip through the Tuscan region to Florence.
We found our way to a quaint little restaurant for a pasta lunch…omgosh it was delicious.
(Here we are patiently waiting....all good things take time)

Then we wandered the beautiful streets of Florence which is ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The sights included –

 Ponte Vecchio – with its unusual shops built along the sides (almost all of which sold jewellery) – the current bridge was built in 1345 but the original built in Roman times was first noted in literature from 996.

Piazza Della Signoria – with its many statues including a copy of the ‘Statue of David’ 

Catherdral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Duomo -  - absolutely beautiful Gothic style cathedral covered in pink, white and green marble…built between 1296 and 1461 !!! and until recent times was the largest dome in the world.

Florence was such a beautiful city...the architecture...statues and artwork was amazing..I could fill this post to the brim with photos of our day...

Shopping wise… cafes…gelato and leather goods were in abundance….  

I did buy a handbag…. I kicked myself afterwards for not having bought a couple more...
because never again did we find the same range of leather goods that Florence had.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Have you checked out the latest issue of Jot Magazine ???
Issue 8 is jam packed with such beautiful and inspiring layouts...
christmassy goodies...
and the MOST adorable...
and FREE printable gift tags which have been especially created 
by the incredibly talented

It still blows me away that this magazine is free... 
and so easily downloaded to an iPad or tablet for easy...anywhere reading.

I only contributed one...lonely little layout this issue...
My little old trip to Europe put a bit of a halt on my papercrafting (although it did provide me plenty of scrapbooking material for months to come)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life around here...

Its been full steam ahead since we arrived home from holidays...
 a whirlwind in fact.
Of course it was time to go back to work...
I have been tackling some cleaning / sorting / de-cluttering around the home..
trying to squeeze in some regular exercise...
a few social engagements...
and the usual family type commitments.

So here is a peak at the cuter moments this month...
I wont bore you with washing windows...
cleaning out garages...
or rearranging family rooms.

Bella got her first wobbly tooth.... its a bottom one..
and she is KEEN as beans to get it out.
She has tried eating all the crunchy things...apples..carrots..and anything else that might increase the wobbliness.

Mummy...Daddy...Nanny..Aunty Briony and Brookey all enjoyed Bellas school concert.
I think Brookey particularly liked the Aunty Briony snuggles.

Bella was very hush hush about her performance in the lead was a surprise.
We loved it... we loved her face searching the crowd for us...and we loved the swagger in her hips as she danced. Good job Bells!

Dede the brown hen became we treated her to some fertile eggs...
She sat on them like a professional...
and we were all just as excited as she was when some chickens hatched.

Nanny added some new things to the dress up box... I think the sunnies were a hit.

We have sorted through some old movies of the kids... putting them onto DVDS..
Brayden was fascinated by this one of his Dad...
it seems they 'talk the same language'

 Cant beat 'after school iceblocks' weather.
Brayden has finally got the hang of it... the first one he ate... he held the ice and sucked the stick.

Mitch and Meg have an addition to the family...
this cute little puppy named "Archie" much as I wasn't thrilled at the idea of a dog...
I have to admit he is cute.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Europe 2014 - Toulon - France

6th October
How amazing to be up early…and on deck at 6.30am in Toulon in southern France. The sun wasn't quite up so we had breakfast on the deck as the sun rose and watched the views of Toulon appear around us. 
(Donna...I stole some of your amazing pics...hope that's OK..{insert blowing kiss face})
Toulon is the base for the French Mediterranean naval fleet. So we were treated to scores of marines jogging in their bright red shirts as we took the short taxi trip into Toulon centre. 

This was a quieter day… we phoned home and chatted to the kids which was wonderful.
I was able to tell Bella that we were in France... her "home country" (earlier in the year she had convinced herself and an SSO at the school that she was a 'French girl' because she could talk French.. her vocabulary consisted of a very convincing Bonjour!"

I had always wanted to see my name in print...haha

We took the cable car to the top of Mount Faron (584m) for a spectacular view of the harbour... put some perspective on the size of our “Regal Princess” as we looked down on her in the Port.

We wandered the laneways…. Stopped a couple of times for coffee…

and the most delicious baguette for lunch.  

I noticed in one of the bakeries a bun with what appeared to be apricots and honey on top…it was covered in bees in the cabinet. How amazing is that!

The marina filled with sailboats was picturesque... there were restaurants all along the waters edge...

We caught the harbor Ferry back to the ship... and although we were tired from the pace so far..
we were all relaxed and happy and feeling so lucky.
We ended the day saying fareewell to France for now....
next stop Italy.