Archive | italia RSS feed for this section

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plants and TEA

29 Jan

2015urbanjunglebloggersjanwithlogo2

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!  

Advertisements

Gratefully Grateful *27*

12 Jan

Here I am, sitting at my computer and wondering how I can start the new year off here in this little space of mine.  A space that was pretty much neglected for a lot of 2014.  But a space that meant a lot to me just the same.

The last few days I’ve been looking back at old posts and photos and enjoying reliving some beautiful moments of last year.  And in the end that’s the reason I keep coming back and sharing here on Jillian In Italy.  I love wandering back and taking peeks into my life and the lives of my family.

Last year offered some lovely times and some not so lovely times.  Just like any other year.

In 2014 I learned a lot about relationships. I really realised how important and invaluable my friends are in my life. Living away from family can be really hard and having good loyal friends to rely on is essential.  My friends are my family.  We support each other and step in when family usually would.  So 2015 is the year to really cherish, appreciate and have fun with all those people I love so much.

I’ll be continuing this Gratefully Grateful series this year and sharing images that make me smile and remind me how fortunate I am to have the life that I do.  Seriously, even though there are rough times, sad times and aggravating times these little moments poke through it all and shine.

2014snowshoe4

A day snowshoeing in the local mountains.  It was 20 degrees, the sun was shining and there was a huge plate of polenta waiting at our destination.  Oh and I learned that bending over to put on snowshoes after a 2 hour polenta lunch (with dessert) is not an easy task.mercatinodinataleangera14-4

mercatinodinataleangera14-5

Came across these images of my Christmas market stand with the infamous Patamaga.  We may not have sold out of our wares but we had a great day drinking tea, chatting, eating her Mama’s delicious food and trying to stay warm for the 12 hours we were outside.  And those yarn-bomb trees that my daughters made were our top sellers of the day. Obviously.2014daysforgirls2 On our recent trip to India (more on that soon) we made a Days For Girls kit delivery to the Delhi Council for Child Welfare. Seeing those kits that we’ve been making and assembling for the last year in the hands of happy girls was definitely a highlight of 2014 for every member of my family.

IMG_8913

IMG_8907

IMG_8876And even though we’re experiencing spring like weather here in Italy I know a lot of you out in the world are suffering through snowy cold winter days.  So these Ligurian seaside photos from last summer are for you.  May they warm your thoughts a tad and show you there is light (and sun) at the end of the (winter) tunnel.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,

*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*,*21*,*22*,*23*,*24*,*25*,*26*

Coroncine Floreali

10 Dec

Hello.

I’m still here!

I’m just popping in to share about a lovely fresh flower crown workshop that my twin daughters and I did a few week-ends ago in Milan.

The workshop’s venue was the most charming little café that doubles as a cultural centre called Spazio Culturale My G where they offer all sorts of creative courses for kids and adults.  It’s a bright and colourful space filled with charming old couches, mismatched wooden chairs and an amazing book corner (where they even sell my favourite FLOW magazine!).

When we arrived at the workshop we were warmly welcomed by our flower-crown teacher Jessica from the blog Uhlalà.  Such a vibrant and happy lady and so talented with flowers.

flowercrownThe flowers that we worked with were Ranunculus, Anemone and Chrysanthemum.  There were also branches of a special type of Mimosa that I had never seen before, Eucalyptus branches and some berry branches as well.  A beautiful mix of colours and textures.  flowercrownflowers2About 15 of us worked around a big wooden table covered in buckets of flowers, berries, special florist tapes and tools and different coloured ribbons.  Jessica explained everything perfectly and we dove in and started creating our crowns. 
flowercrowntable I was amazed at how quickly the girls caught on and unlike me didn’t have to think and re-think about how to put it all together.  I had a serious creative block for the first half hour while my daughter Chloe worked like  a busy bee non-stop and without any doubt or indecisiveness.

flowercrownhandsAll the ladies in the workshop made beautifully dainty feminine crowns.  It was a beautiful sight to see everyone at the end proudly walking around wearing them.  flowercrownevaAs you can see from the two photos above, my daughters’ crowns ended up being completely different.  Their unique personalities really showed through in the finished product.flowercrownflowers

Since the workshop we’ve already had one big flower crown making session.  We tried out different blooms and branches that we bought and collected from our garden.  They came out beautifully and we can’t wait to make some more.  Many thanks to Jessica for such a lovely Sunday morning.  And thanks to Yael from Spazio Cultural My G for organising such fun workshops.  We can’t wait to come back.

flowercrownchloe

Gratefully Grateful *25*

23 Sep

Despite the sadness of losing my children’s only great-grandfather this past week I can’t help but feel so grateful for the time we all had together. We have been so fortunate to know and spend time with this amazingly dynamic man who put family in the centre of his life.  His enthusiasm for everything from art to travel to the goings-on of his very large immediate family was contagious (as well as his famous giggle).  We’ll miss him dearly but have many lovely memories to remember him by.

Some images that made me smile despite the sad news this week:

IMG_9922The best reading corner in the house on a sunny day.  Also perfect or a sun-spot nap. 
IMG_9884Last days of summer hats and dresses.

IMG_9916
Trying to paint a kitchen with a large clumsy cat in the middle of it all actually makes it much more fun.  For me at least.IMG_7827

I run into Idyllic little scenes such as this every single day.  I love living in Italia.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,

*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*,*21*,*22*,*23*,*24*

Gratefully Grateful *24*

8 Sep

I’m going to be honest up front here and say that September is not my favourite month. After the summer holidays and being with my kids day in and day out I always find September and back-to-school such a lonely time of year.

I need to re-adjust to being solo for the most part of my days. I need to re-adjust to having an empty and hauntingly silent (and tidy) house. I need to re-adjust to having time for myself and doing groceries and errands without three chatty kids with me.

In the end I just plain miss my kids during the 10 months of school each year. I even offered to home-school them at a certain point but was politely told that it was never going to happen.

But I know in a few short weeks I’ll have my life more organised, lots of activities scheduled, projects lined up and my feet back firmly on the ground.

Anyone else out there feel the same way around this time of year?

Here are a few images from our summer vacation.  Even if we had record breaking bad weather it really was a great one.

IMG_8918Evidence that my daughter is a lover of stripes.  Just like her Mama.
*taken in Albissola Marina, Liguria*

IMG_8913So grateful that we can arrive at the Meditteranean in less than two hours.  My kids spent our days there body surfing in the warm water, eating gelato and foccacia and doing crosswords under the parasol with their Mama.

IMG_8231I will always and forever love geraniums.  Amen.IMG_8533Bikes in a charming courtyard in the centre of Milan.IMG_8259

Lovely memories of eating at this little wine bar at a local lake.  Their cheese plate served with champagne jelly is life changing.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,

*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*,*21*,*22*,*23*

 

Family Travel in Italy

8 Aug

*Not long ago Inghams Italy Travel Site and Tours contacted me about sharing some of my experiences about living and traveling in Italy as a family. Inghams Italy compensated me for writing this post but all experiences, thoughts and ideas are my own.

Over the last 13 years my husband and I have lived  and raised our 3 children in Italy and done our fair share of exploring this beautiful country as a family. When considering travelling to Italy, one traditionally thinks of the wealth of historical sites, the breathtaking art and architecture, and one of the best loved cuisines, all within the stunning natural beauty  from the Alps to the Aegean – a perfect tourist destination.

But, one of the things I love most about Italy, is that it is a family centric culture.  Here, in Italy, family has the highest priority and this shows in how they treat travellers to their country, especially families.

Inevitably, you will encounter kind and generous people who will go out of their way to make your small travellers happy and comfortable.  Italians love the little ones and aren’t shy to show it – usually by squeezing cheeks and loudly proclaiming “che bel bambino!”.  No worries, your kids will get used to it and will most likely return home with an amazing sense of self-confidence.

Living in Italy has given us the inside scoop on the best places to visit, most comfortable accommodations, favourite places to eat out and just about anything else you would need to know about traveling through Italy in famiglia.

Food:  IMG_6382

 

Italy is world renown for its delectable cuisine and luckily it’s also one that most kids absolutely adore.  On just about any menu your kids will find something they’ll love to eat (and recognise).  Some favourites of local Italian kids are Pasta Rossa (pasta with tomato sauce), Riso Giallo (saffron risotto), Milanese con Patatine (breaded pork cutlet with french fries) and of course Pizza Margherita (pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella).  And if you don’t see something your child likes on the menu don’t be afraid to ask – they are usually more than willing to whip up a simple pasta for the little ones.  My kid’s favourite thing to order in a restaurant is a variety or antipasto plates.  You can’t go wrong with sliced meats, cheeses, olives and fresh Italian bread.

Gelato:  

gelato2

Of course one of the main gastronomic attractions for kids in Italy (and adults actually) is the iconic Italian gelato.  Gelaterias are found on just about every street corner and are usually made with fresh, high quality ingredients.  A promised gelato will help kids get through the museum visits, the long hours of pavement pounding, the intense summer heat and the over exhaustion of traveling that can sometimes get too much for them.  Look for signs that say Gelato Artigianale for the highest quality and home-made ice cream.  And remember in the hot summer months it’s quite normal to visit a gelateria more than once a day!

Beaches:  

IMG_8876

When traveling with kids you can never go wrong with a beach visit.  And Italy boasts both a myriad of coastlines and beautiful lakes to choose from.  The world famous Costa Amalfitana (Unesco World Heritage Site), the Ligurian coast with it’s famous Cinque Terre villages, the Northern Lakes including Lago Como and Lago Maggiore and the pristine aquamarine waters of Sardinia will be appreciated by the whole family.

Italian beaches are very family friendly with chairs and umbrellas for rent, small beach playgrounds and restaurants just metres from the water’s edge. From here, parents can enjoy a plate of fresh Fritto Misto while watching the kids frolic in the warm waters.  Warning: since one has to pay for a space,  these beaches can end up being quite pricey but well worth it for a few days of relaxing family time.

Read on for more tips for traveling in Italy as a family…

Continue reading

Gratefully Grateful *22*

21 Jul

This has to be the strangest July weather-wise since I moved to Italy 13 years ago.  Usually at this time of year the weather is unbearably hot and humid and all we want to do is eat gelato and swim at the lake.  This year July has offered us cool temperature, lots of rain and even some hail and wind storms.  My kids keep telling me that it just doesn’t feel “summery” at all (except when we decided to head to Milan on Saturday and it was 38 degrees and nauseatingly muggy).

I personally am not complaining because we’ve been able to get house projects done without sweating profusely and we manage to actually sleep at night without the need of fans blowing from every direction (and last night we even needed to dig out a blanket).

But I know the intense heat will arrive and with it that lazy summery rhythm that we all love and look forward to.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the last little while.

IMG_8554Despite the milder temps we still make time to visit the lake on a daily basis.  We love those long lazy evenings with friends on the beach enjoying impromptu aperitivo picnics.IMG_8550My view from the picnic blanket.  I’m not complaining.IMG_8519A little family project that we’ve been working on this summer.  The kids pooled their savings and purchased this vintage camper.  Unbelievable how much it has changed since this photo was taken.  More pics soon.

IMG_8578Colourful walls in Milan.  And long skinny 12 year old legs.IMG_8182I came across this shot I took of Sweet Paul’s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango and Thai Basil.  Must make again soon.  So good.

Have a great week everyone!

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*, *21*



%d bloggers like this: