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Urban Jungle Bloggers: EASTER

4 Apr

2015UJBeaster6 copyHello and Happy Easter to all!  Over here in Italy it’s bright and early(ish) on Easter Sunday morning and we’ve already eaten lots of chocolate eggs (rolled into crepes!).  Soon we’ll be making the dough for our traditional Hot Cross Buns and while that rises we’ll go for a little stroll in the local woods. It’s going to be a lovely day.

As you can probably tell this month’s Urban Jungle Blogger’s theme is Easter.  It’s one of my favourite themes because it involves lovely spring colours and the birth of the new season, the blooming of beautiful flowers and, this year, the hatching of seven of the cutest little chicks.  I had been waiting on their arrival to do my UJB post this month and they arrived perfectly on time for Easter.

Who could ask for better props for an Easter styling image?  Even if they are incredibly uncooperative and poop on set.

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One of the plants I used is called Canterbury Bells (please correct me if I’m wrong).  My daughter picked it out at an amazing garden centre that we visited the other day and it has really brightened our home with the pink bell blooms and lovely greenery.

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The other plant is my beloved fresh cilantro.  Every year I buy so many cilantro plants and they all go directly to seed.  I’ve tried planting them in the sun, in the shade, in full ground and even in pots.  Nothing works.  I have a feeling it’s due to the extreme heat that we have in the summer (and NOT my bad gardening skills of course).  This year I’ll try growing it inside and see how it goes.  I love to cook with it so much (although I can’t even think about my favourite Chicken with Cilantro Sauce recipe due to those sweet chicks in the photo).

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These sage green eggs above were lovingly produced and delivered by our one and only adult chicken Dahlia.  After a long egg-less winter she started laying last week and we’ve all been enjoying omelettes made with eggs that are minutes fresh.  The lovely embroidered silk “nest” is actually used by women in India to help them carry large baskets on their heads.  An old man at a market in Jodhpur gave it to my girls as a present and we love it.2015UJBeaster9Enjoy your Easter everyone!
Last year’s origami inspired Easter UJB post here.
(ps…washi tape is the perfect egg holder!)

*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!  

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Gratefully Grateful *28*

19 Mar

A few weeks ago my family and I witnessed a horrible motorcycle accident.  It was a Sunday afternoon and we were on our way home after seeing a beautiful Steve McCurry photo exhibit in the nearby city of Monza. The motorcyclist was behind us in a long line of traffic before he decided to pass.  We saw his face in the rearview mirror seconds before he died.  Unfortunately the woman who was in the passenger seat of the car that crashed into him died as well.

None of us slept that night.  We kept playing back the horrific scene in our heads.  Besides feeling extreme sadness for the families of the people who died we were left feeling so grateful that it wasn’t us or anyone we knew.

So here’s to a safe spring season full of beautiful colourful blooms, warmer and longer days, visiting family, planting and planning our garden and so much more.

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This is Birdie.  He loves to tip things off window sills (iphones are his favourite) and he refuses to put on his specially made party hat (while awake)  He’s a walking nightmare but for some reason we love him to death.  At least 4 of the 5 family members do.2015cimiteromonumentale2

A little unexpected family trip to Milan to visit the Cimitero Monumentale.  Who would have thought visiting grave sites could be so much fun.  Proof to be found here as well.2015urbanjunglebloggersjan1

An accidental shot found on my camera that I actually love.

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Some images of a flower crown workshops that my daughters organised for their grandmother and cousin. They definitely have a future in event planning.  The small details of the workshop made my heart burst with pride (fancy snack table, little goody bags, appropriate music and even matching outfits).
2015cimiteromonumentale1Statue seen at the Cimitero Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery) in Milan.  Is there anything more beautiful than a mother breast-feeding her baby?

Gratefully Grateful
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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!  

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!  

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.

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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

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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.

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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
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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.

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Gratefully Grateful *26*

13 Oct

I’m sitting here recovering from a whirlwind 48 hour trip to Belgium.  It’s actually amazing how much my daughters and I squeezed into our short trip: passport renewal appointment, visit to the charming city of Brugge, eating waffles and french fries, shopping in HEMA, visit to the girls’ great grandmother and a fun family birthday party with cousins.  Exhausting but so much fun.

Here are a few images that are making me smile on this rainy, chilly, grey day here in Northern Italy.

IMG_0275I’m a sucker for colourful garlands.  They just make me happy.

IMG_9613My daughters and their friends made this little breakfast for themselves using vegetables from our garden.  They have inherited my love of making food beautiful as well as delicious.

IMG_0138Sharing her french fries.  I’m not sure if she has a frown or a smile behind there though.IMG_9617My kids are currently obsessed with archery (thanks to Hunger Games of course). We visited a local farm that offers courses and I fell in love with their arrows.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
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