For my birthday, Gabriel gave me a perfect gift: a family trip to Avoca last week with all the time I wanted to browse and a bit of money to spend. We even ate lunch at their cafe.

Okay, let me tell you a little about Avoca. It’s a family-owned Irish business that has outlet stores where you can buy things made at their mill plus all kinds of other household items, from gardening things to kitchen gadgets, Avoca brand clothes, quality kids’ toys, home decor, their own chutneys and sauces, and lots of other things. Everything is high quality and the prices reflect that, but with an unlimited budget a person could do some real damage at Avoca.

Even the grounds are pretty. We stopped to take some pictures of our sweet pea. It’s so hard to believe that she’s already a year old.

Inside, the displays are cute and original, which adds to the appeal of shopping there. It’s worth a visit just for the eye candy.

Did I tell you that Avoca has cafes with amazing food? I wish I could cook like that! Our lunch there was so delicious.

My plate: Spinach Brie Quiche, Melon salad, Potatoes & Mint salad, and Moroccan Couscous salad, served with a side of their tomato chutney. I loved all of it, but Gabriel’s meal was the real winner. Keep in mind that I’ve rarely seen him order a vegetarian meal and never heard him rave about one, but here he did both!

Toasted ciabatta with grilled vegetables (peppers, zucchini, and asparagus) and a slice of toasted goat cheese. It was scrumptious. He also had Three-Bean salad, an Asian noodle salad, and another vegetable salad.

This was definitely a favorite birthday present—thanks to my thoughtful husband for making it happen.