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A Truly Jolly Birthday

Although my actual birthday wasn’t so festive thanks to doc visits and whatnot, Bear and our dear friend Elizabeth pulled out all the stops in giving me a fantastic birthday celebration when I was feeling much perkier.

Bear and I left home bright and early to drive through the misty mountains to Brisbane, entertaining ourselves with a new audio book while munching our way through brekky: salted dark chocolate, toasted croissant with turkey, cranberries and brie, and an oh-so-creamy chai latte. Bliss.

Our first stop was the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. I love it here. Love, love, love it. And never tire of wandering through the twisting pathways. Even when I’m by myself I’m rarely alone for there are always tiny and not-so-tiny lizards scurrying about and once I even happened upon an 8-foot python sunning himself on the rocks!! Yipes! That is one sight I don’t mind never seeing again. This time I was followed through the gardens by a marvelously colored bush turkey. Don’t know why he took a fancy to me, but I was delighted with his company. (click here to read about my discoveries in the rain forest)

Australian bush turkey

We met up with Elizabeth and were whisked away to a beautiful penthouse apartment with stunning views of the city. Elizabeth had created the most wonderful champagne brunch and I felt spoiled rotten as she brought out platters filled with fresh mango, plump cherries, and toasted croissants stuffed with avocado and brie.

We finished our gorgeous meal with a stunning gluten-free chocolate roll filled with fresh cream and studded with cherries. Oh my. Twas rich with chocolate flavor yet light as air. Pure decadence. The best part is that she shared her recipe!! You can find it at the end of this post.

Just when we thought we couldn’t fit another morsel in our bellies, Elizabeth and Bear announced that we’d better skedaddle if we were going to make our lunch reservations at a seafood restaurant in Manly. More food?! Those two know how to plan a party!

So off we went to Manly, opening our windows to bask in luscious sea breezes as drove along the coast. We dined at Keith’s on Cambridge, a small but bustling establishment with views of the harbour and windows that opened to capture cooling winds off the water. We sat down to more champagne and grinned at the Christmas decorations that were festive but so odd when the weather was so warm.

The food was fantastic. Truly. Even though I loved the massive coconut prawns, marinated grilled halloumi, and tender chunks of crab and lobster, the most unexpected pleasure was the bowl of deep-fried, breaded olives. Good heavens. I could’ve eaten the whole bowl myself. It was a glorious birthday lunch.

After lunch we ambled down to the harbor, grateful for cooling (albeit fierce) winds as we perused market stalls, admired boats bobbing in the water, and stepped onto the white sand.

It was a great day for people-watching and checking out the wind-surfers hurtling across the water in the stiff breezes.

After a nice stroll we headed to the Manly Gallery, a small but inspiring place featuring local artists and artisans. I loved the vivid colors of these paintings and went home with a bar of exquisitely scented lemongrass soap.

It was a beautiful birthday with dear ones, scrumptious food, and a gorgeous setting. What is your favorite memory from your birthday this year?


Elizabeth’s Chocolate Roll with Fresh Cream


4 eggs  separated
4 Tbsp castor sugar
1 heaped Tbsp  cornflour
1 heaped Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (180 C)
  2. Prepare jellyroll pan by lining with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk egg whites till foamy, gradually add sugar and beat till thick.
  4. In separate bowl whisk egg yolks, vanilla, cornflour and cocoa.
  5. Fold egg yolk mix into egg whites.
  6. Spread onto jellyroll pan and bake 15 minutes until cooked.
  7. Lay out clean tea towel and dust with castor sugar.
  8. Tip cake onto tea towel, peel away baking paper.
  9. Gently roll and leave till cool.
  10. Fill with whipped cream and decorate with fresh cherries.
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Jeanne Horak - What a fantastic friend to have, and how thoughtful to postpone birthday celebrations till you were feeling perkier! I need that chocolate roll… swoon.

Krista - They are treasures, dear Ozoz. 🙂 You would love them. 🙂 xo

Kitchen Butterfly - What wonderful friends.

Happy Birthday belatedly my love.

And what a spread!

Krista - I would LOVE to book you in, dear @breannemosher:disqus !! Never fear, darling, when you come out here we shall spoil you utterly. 🙂 XO

Krista - It was absolutely divine, @inspiringtravellers:disqus 🙂

Krista - Isn’t the turkey amazing, @juliajuliasalbumcom:disqus ? 🙂 I was in awe of all his colors. 🙂

Krista - Thanks for letting me know about Reader, @Lauryl Lane. I just checked and they were coming through fine, so maybe it’s just a glitch?

Krista - Aren’t they so lovely, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus ? They mean the world to me. 🙂

Krista - They made me feel so special, @Hotly Spiced 🙂 It meant a great deal to me. 🙂

Krista - You didn’t?!! Now how on earth could that happen, dear @OrgasmicChef:disqus You deserve thorough celebrating. XO

Krista - It is almost too hot today, @hollynelson:disqus ! We were so glad for cool winds in the evening. 🙂

Breanne @ This Vintage Moment - Oh my heavens, book me in for next year. 😉 That sounds like an absolutely wonderful day and I am SO glad you were loved upon with all the things that delight you. And now I’m craving brie and seafood and the sea air and you! XO

Andrea and John - Mmmm – all that food looks so yummy!! Glad you had a wonderful birthday =)

Julia@JuliasAlbum.com - Seems like you’ve had a fun birthday celebration, even if not on the actual Birth Day. What a fun way to spend this special day! Love that colored bush turkey – so cute! And, I wish I was partaking in that champagne brunch – that sparkling glass looks so enticing! 🙂

Lauryl Lane - Aw, happy birthday! I honestly don’t remember much of my birthdays anymore… they sort of blend into each other. BTW, your photos aren’t showing up in Feedly Reader. ;-(

Joanne (eats well with others) - Oh such a lovely day! It is so sweet how your friends showered you with love!

Holly Nelson - It looks so warm there, I am super jealous!! I am so fed up of being cold! X

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - good grief, I don’t think I had a birthday this year! I’m thrilled your birthday was special. You truly deserve to be spoiled.

Hotly Spiced - I’m glad you had a beautiful birthday. How lovely of your friend to go to so much trouble. What a fantastic brunch she put on for you. Best wishes with your health xx

Krista - Thank you so much, @disqus_xRgkTDNCQJ:disqus 🙂 The cake was deeelicious. 🙂

Nancy - Sounds like a glorious day Krista I’m glad you were spoilt rotten. Cake looks awesome and even better – easy!

Krista - I hadn’t either, @budgetjan:disqus ! 🙂 I absolutely loved them. 🙂 They were seeded, stuffed with cheese, breaded and deep fried. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, @lizposmyk:disqus 🙂 It did my heart much good. 🙂

budgetjan - I’ve never heard of breaded olives deep fried – sounds decadent – I think I will try making some for Christmas. Were they seeded and stuffed? You were sooo spoilt 🙂

Liz Posmyk - Gorgeous post, Krista. Glad you had such a lovely day!

Krista - I sure was, @wanderingsheila:disqus ! I couldn’t believe everything they planned. 🙂 Your birthday dinner sounds wonderful too. There’s just nothing like good food and wine with people who love you to pieces to make your birthday marvelous. 🙂

Krista - Don’t those olives sound amazing, @0f9960b43341e2847f463d47c349ac02:disqus ? I’m craving them too. 🙂 Scrumptious little bites. 🙂 Yes, I’m very, very thankful for my loves making me feel so loved. 🙂

Krista - Oh pomegranates would be beautiful with this cake, @thefisherlady:disqus 🙂 As soon as my ducks start laying again – they always stop during storms – I will be making this. 🙂 It would make a lovely Christmas cake, wouldn’t it? 🙂

Krista - Thanks so much, @9d73767d10227efff04c7307e331304c:disqus 🙂 Wishing you a fantastic Christmas. XO

Krista - It was fantastic, @tandysinclair:disqus ! Nothing like fresh seafood prepared well to make your day. 🙂

Cathy - Wow Krista you were spoilt – no wonder you are so smiley 🙂 My favourite memory from my birthday was dinner out in a local restaurant with my husband and kids – great company, good food and a nice bottle of wine to accompany it 🙂

Sosae - What a lovely day! You lucky girl. 🙂 I thought the food was amazing until I saw the views from the beach – gorgeous!!! (FYI, the food is still totally amazing and I’ve got this odd craving for olives now…) So happy you have such special people in your life – they really know how to show a birthday girl a good time.

mlleparadis - belated happy birthday! looks like you did o.k.! hope you’re feeling better by now for (more eating!) the holiday. i’ll say happy xmas now – looking forward to catching up with you afters! xoxo


thefisherlady - This is spectacular… I loved every bit of it!
My birthday is in the summer so it is also sunshine and water and sand and fresh fruit and a roast( though much more peasant style)… your cake looks dreamy… would love to try it on my family but it will probably be whipped cream and studded with pommegranates as that is in season here this Christmas season.
~you look ever so blessed and happy

Tandy Sinclair - the food looks amazing!

Krista - It truly was, @d58b26e263bfdbd99d844b965c5cbbfb:disqus I felt loved and cared for, especially in the midst of these rather debilitating health issues. It meant a great deal to me. 🙂 xo

bellini - I know you had an exceptional birthday Krista, Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.You are truly blessed.

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