Urban Jungle Bloggers: Hanging Plants

27 Feb

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Time for another Urban Jungle Bloggers post!  Unbelievable that a month has already passed since the Plants and Tea theme in January.  Is it just me or does February always fly by? Here in Italy we’re already heading into spring and experiencing beautiful sunny warm days.  Everyone is walking around with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.  My favourite time of year despite the itchy watery eyes.

When I first heard this month’s UJB topic was Hanging Plants images of polyester, multi-toned orange and brown macramé monstrosities from the 70s came to mind.  But after browsing through some shops in Milan and Copenhagen and doing some research on Pinterest I came to realise that there are so many beautiful and contemporary ways to hang plants in your home nowadays.

2015UJBhangingplants2After thinking about it for a few days and looking for the perfect spot in my house for a hanging planter I decided I was going to go the DIY route for this month’s post.   I thought it would be a perfect little creative project to do with my kids while they were on February break and my daughters were happy that their room was going to finally get some greenery.  2015UJBhangingplants5First we made some little pots with air-dry clay that I found in a local craft shop.  It was really easy to work with and was dry the next day.  Plus, I love the milky white colour and texture of the dried clay so there was no need to paint them.
2015UJBhangingplants4Since my daughters are experts at decorating sticks with coloured yarn we decided to get some bamboo from the garden and deck it out a little.  2015UJBhangingplants8
2015UJBhangingplants6The result is so cheery and colourful and perfect for my twin daughters’ bedroom.2015UJBhangingplants7They’re pretty wonky and crooked but I love them.  And more importantly, so do my girls.

*Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month they share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on their Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date on our website and Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Or let them know and they’ll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let’s bring some green into our homes and blogs!  

Indian Snapshots *4*

17 Feb

The other day I was perusing Expedia for flights (one of my favourite ways to pass a cozy winter evening) and I was so tempted to book a trip to India. Luckily my husband was sitting next to me and gave me one of his “are you off your head?” looks and I managed to not press PURCHASE.  I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist though.

Here is the next batch of my favourite images from our recent trip to Delhi and Rajasthan.

2014indiajodhpur1I’m pretty sure this guy is paid to sit at the Jodhpur Fort and smoke his pipe.  And I’m also pretty sure there are thousands upon thousands of photos of him out there in the world.2014indiajodhpur9I loved this little girl’s brightly coloured outfit.  She was swirling around and giggling and generally making everyone in her vicinity smile and feel happy.2014indiabagru2One of my all time favourite things about India has to be the decorated trucks you see everywhere you go.  The time and effort that the drivers put into embellishing their trucks with stickers, tassels, garlands and pompoms and hand-painting the bumpers is unbelievable.  I asked one of our drivers to stop at a roadside “Truck Decoration” shops and I bought a suitcase full of all of the above.  Judging from the owner’s reaction I’m pretty sure I was the first tall blond female customer to enter his shop.  2014indiaudaipur6Woman doing her daily washing in the Rajasthan countryside.

2014indiabharatpur3Our bicycle rickshaws in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

2014indiajaipur4Even pigeons like to photo bomb.  Jaipur Fort.

2014indiatajmahal4Rest time. 
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Jodhpur. The Blue City.
2014indiabagru5Indigo pit.  Twenty metres deep.  I had to keep a hold of my son because he was way too interested in finding out if it was indeed twenty metres deep. Bagru, India.

2014indiaudaipur1Our breakfast table at our hotel in Udaipur. You can see the famous Lake Palace Hotel in the background (remember it from Octopussy?).

Indian Snapshots *1*, *2*, *3*

Days For Girls Update

12 Feb

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A little over a year ago I posted here about the non-profit grassroots project called Days For Girls.  I had just started up Italy’s first (and only) team and was really excited and full of ideas of how I could build up a community of women who would be willing to help me help girls around the world manage their monthly menstrual cycles with ease and dignity.

I’ll be honest, at the beginning it felt slightly awkward talking so openly about periods, pads and menstrual flow with complete strangers.  But I’m happy to say that I am now 100% comfortable talking about every detail of women’s reproductive systems with everyone from the local baker to my car mechanic.

For those of you who have never heard of Days For Girls I’ll quickly re-cap what the project is all about.

Days For Girls was started by Celeste Mergens in 2008 after working in a Kenyan orphanage and noticing that a lot of the girls weren’t educated about their menstrual cycles nor equipped to deal with it.

Soon thereafter Celeste started up Days For Girls which is an incredible and supportive network of volunteers around the world who make and put together re-usable menstruation kits that are then delivered to girls in need in over 60 countries around the world (over 60,000 kits have already been delivered).

These kits last for approximately three years and have literally changed the lives of girls and women who before had to miss school or work due to their periods.  This in turn has helped lower school drop-out rates in many areas as well as less loss income for days missed at work.  So much good!

This project has come to mean so much to me over the last year.  I’ve introduced Days For Girls at many local clubs and events and have always had so much enthusiasm from everyone I’ve met.  Even the sweet and hilarious 85 year old man who kept insisting that they would make perfect pencil holders before realising their real use.

One of the most common reactions I see from people as I explain the project is the feeling of shock when they realise that they had never actually thought about this problem before.  We think of helping people with food, water, clothing and shelter but rarely does it come to mind to help girls deal with monthly menstruation and educate them about women’s health and the female reproductive system.2014daysforgirls2 To hear more about our Indian kit delivery and see photos click to read on… Continue reading

Indian Snapshots *3*

2 Feb

After a whole week of being sick with a really bad stomach flu (like REALLY bad) I finally feel like a human being again.

Last week I didn’t even have enough energy to plug in my hard drive and wade through my India photos.  If you know me you’ll understand that means that I was practically on my death bed (have I ever mentioned I tend to exaggerate a teeny tiny bit at times?).

But I’m feeling good today and managed to put together the next set of my favourite images from our recent trip to India. Sometimes I can almost taste and smell the memories of that trip just by looking at the photos.  Love that so much.

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Tasseled pillows in the market place.  I resisted.  And I regret it so much.

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Miniature eggplants and the sweetest red carrots you’ll ever eat.

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Basket of flower garlands ready for the temple.

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This woman had so much character.  My kids were terrified of her though.2014indiadeegpalace5

We were so fortunate to have a guided private tour of this old palace in Deeg.  The ornamental tiger cage (for live pet tiger) was a favourite feature.  The kids spent hours running throughout the grounds, jumping over fountains, avoiding gangs of monkeys and having the time of their lives with their friends. A favourite day on our trip in India.2014indiajodhpur6

While visiting the fort in Jodphur we came across this sweet little parakeet.  He was the most curious little guy who seemed to love getting his photo taken.  If you’re interested I have about 659 other photos of him…2014indiajodhpur8

This is his shy pose.2014indiajodhpur12 I almost can’t look at this photo because of the sadness of not being able to get a hot syrupy bowl of Gulab Jamun is too much to bear.  There is nothing like it on earth.

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Temple visiting.

Indian Snapshots *1*
Indian Snapshots *2*

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plants and TEA

29 Jan

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It’s time for the first Urban Jungle Bloggers Post of 2015!

As I’ve mentioned in my past UJB posts I don’t have what you’d call a green thumb.  I think I might have even referred to it once as a sooty black toxic thumb.

But I’m happy to say that after my new re-found love of having lots of greenery in my home (thanks to Judith and Igor) my thumb is turning an ever so slight shade of the lightest mint green possible.  And I hope that with every month that passes the greenness will get brighter and more vivacious.  And that I’ll be able to keep more and more plants alive and happy.

But really, look how that sweet little succulent above is so healthy and, I like to think, very content looking.

At the moment I have a few that are thriving.  And a few that are…not.  But I’m keeping positive and learning a lot from all of the great links that the UJB team post and share.  It’s become such a fantastic and supportive green community of people around the world.

This month’s theme is Plants and Coffee (or Tea like I chose).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan4Since my twin daughters are laden down with (way too much) homework we rarely have time to sit down to a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate anymore.  So a few Sundays ago I decided to hide their books and persuade them to take a study break with me.  That’s right, they’re so studious that I have to HIDE their books for them to agree to take a break.  I’m a proud mama.  And at times like this a bad influence. 2015urbanjunglebloggersjan11I used my new teacups from Dutch designer Esther Horchner.  I love these so much.  I had them on my Wishlist board on Pinterest for years so when I saw them in a local shop on sale I knew I had to get them.  I just hadn’t expected them to be so shocking for some of my guests (seriously, some of them have to close their eyes when they sip their tea).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan5I decorated the table with some of my favourite miniature succulents and cacti.  I found the little copper container at a second hand shop for 2 euro and it’s perfect for these miniature plants I picked up at my local plant shop (I make a concerted effort to buy all my plants locally from small family businesses).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan2And because I’m a fabric and textile lover I decided to use my coveted piece of Japanese double gauze designed by Nani Iro  that has been sitting in my fabric cupboard for over a year waiting for the perfect sewing project.  Turns out it makes a perfect cloth to adorn an afternoon tea party with the two coolest almost thirteen year olds around. And their equally cool mama (right?).2015urbanjunglebloggersjanwithlogo *Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month they share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on their Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date on our website and Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Or let them know and they’ll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let’s bring some green into our homes and blogs!  

Indian Snapshots *2*

22 Jan

I’ve been slowly making my way through more of the thousands of photos from our India trip. Sorting, editing, deleting and putting them in all sorts of absurd and confusing folders on my laptop. Unfortunately this will drive my husband crazy when it’s time to start making our photo book in the near future.

One of my major goals for 2015 is to master a system to organise and store all my photos. I break out in a sweat just thinking about it.  Please, wish me luck.

Here is the next batch of my favourite shots from our trip.


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Can you spot the two turbaned men in white?

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A little urban garden in the courtyard of a palace guesthouse.  I contemplated stealing those flags.  But resisted. (Ghanerao)

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Woman at temple in Udaipur.

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Expect to see fresh floral garlands in every single on of these Indian Snapshot posts.  These garlands were adorning the holy motorcycle shrine that I mentioned in the last post.

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Ladies doing the daily washing at the lake in Udaipur.

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Beautiful door.  Stray dog. (Ghanerao)

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This is the friend of the yellow turbaned man from Indian Snapshots *1*2014indiaghanerao13

He pulled this pipe out of his turban and asked me to take a photo of him pretending to smoke it.  I’m still wondering what else he has stored in his turban. (Ghanerao)

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Found this shot on my camera.  Taken by my daughter who has obviously adopted my love of photographing her feet.

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Perfect spot for some spiced chai first thing in them morning. (Ghanerao)

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I don’t know what these little steps along this blue wall were for (they are overlooking a lake).  But right after I took this photo they were covered with frolicking monkeys trying to make eye contact with us. (Deeg Palace)

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I wanted to get a shot of him entering this little room.  This is what he gave me. (Agra Fort)

Indian Snapshots *1*

Indian Snapshots *1*

16 Jan

As some of you may know we just got back from an absolutely amazing two weeks in India.  It was such an invigorating (and at times slightly chaotic) trip for the five of us.

From the minute we arrived in Delhi all of our senses were on over-drive and we loved it.  Not everybody does, I know.  Visiting India is one of those manic experiences that has you on your toes every second of the day.

The range of emotions that one feels while visiting India is vast. There is is always something to marvel at, something that makes you cringe, something that makes you catch your breath, something that makes you look away, something that brings tears to your eyes, something that puts a wide grin on your face or something that makes you realise how fortunate you are to have such a comfortable and happy life.

But more than anything India offers so much beauty and colour.

Visiting India can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster.  But in the best way possible.

As I did last year for our trip to Morocco, I’ll be posting a series of my favourite images of our trip over the next few weeks.

Enjoy!

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This sweet old woman loved having her photo taken and was delighted when I showed her the image on the screen of my camera.  We bought the loveliest flower garland from her to leave at the nearby shrine and then we passed out Kinder chocolates to all of her grandkids,  She giggled the entire time.  (village of Ghanerao)

2014indiaghanerao3I can’t even begin to count the amount of doors and entryways that I fell in love with during our time in India.  Indians know how to combine colours like no other people on earth.  The brighter the better.  Words to live by in my books. (Ghanerao, India)

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A tiny temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god.  The colours, the garlands, the posters, the man handing out milk sweets.  Perfection.  (Deeg Palace)

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As I mentioned on IG during our trip, India deteriorates in the most delicate and beautiful manner.  The layers of pastel coloured chipped paint made my heart skip a beat.  It even matched the stagnant lake water (that was most likely hosting more than a few diseases). (Deeg Palace)

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India was covered in beautiful bougainvillea while we were visiting.  Everything from hot pinks to soft oranges to vibrant yellows.

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Bells, garlands, saris, turbans, prayer strings, bindis, drummers, flowers and three kids who were taking it all in in awe.  Image taken at the infamous Om Banna Shrine (dedicated to a holy motorcycle) outside Jodhpur.

2014indiaghanerao7A really friendly old man who seemed to think I was nuts to want to photograph him.  Next time I’ll include a photo of his friend sitting next to him who kept fishing large items out of his massive red turban. (Ghanerao, India)

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