Archive | Living in Italia RSS feed for this section

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*

Advertisements

Gratefully Grateful *23*

18 Aug


Here I am sitting in my living room and catching my breath after a whirlwind summer road trip with my family.  Emphasis being on road.  We did A LOT of driving.  4000km in two weeks type of a lot.

*Italy-Switzerland-Germany-Luxembourg-Belgium-Holland-Belgium-France-England-France-Belgium-Holland-Belgium-Luxembourg-Germany-Switzerland-Italy*

Many many beautiful family memories were made but I can’t tell you how happy I was to drive up our driveway a few days ago and be greeted by the famous Birdie The Cat.  Coming home is always like a sigh of relief.

So in the last 5 days we haven’t gone near our car, not even to go to the grocery store.  In times like this I’m happy I keep a well stocked kitchen.

Now off to enjoy the last weeks of summer vacation with my three favourite little people (who aren’t so little anymore).

Here are a few images that bring back summer memories and a heart full of gratefulness.

IMG_8924My girls have been bitten by the ever present loom bug.  And I am the proud owner of about 250 plastic bracelets now.
brightoncarousalI’ve fallen in love with Brighton and it’s abundance of buntings and beach carousels.

salisburtkidsTraveling as a family of four for a week was such a change (one daughter was in Holland attending a Film Camp). The family dynamic was so different to what we’re used to and getting a hotel room was so much easier (and cheaper!).  jumpseafordLook how happy I was to hike the Seven Sister Cliffs in Seaford, England.  And just behind us they were shooting a new Sherlock Holmes film.  Surprisingly enough they did not approach me to do a cameo jump shot in the movie.

Wishing you 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*

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 *19*

26 May

It has been a busy and eventful few weeks around here.  My mom arrived from Canada for a long awaited three week visit and I turned the big 40 years old.  Now I just have to get used to writing and saying the word 40.  I’m pretty convinced that this is going to be a glowing and wonderful phase of my life.

I’m so lucky to be heading into my 40s with so many beautiful things in my life: my three incredible kids, my loving and patient husband, the fact that I live in one of the most gorgeous countries, my (relatively) good health, all my amazing family (I still have my 2 grandmothers!), the ability to show my kids the world and my circle of loving and hilarious friends.  How could it not be a great new phase of my life?

Here are a few images of what has made me happy lately.
DSC03251Spending the last day in my 30’s driving around in this old Citroen and dining at the famous restaurant D’O.  The car may be loud and feel like a tin can but the funk factor cancels all that out.

IMG_7762A little visit to a local villa for a lovely rose market and exhibition.  Lots of new rose plants have made it into my garden the last few days.DSC03267The poppies that are in bloom everywhere you look at the moment.  That bright orangey red pop of colour on the green fields is so gorgeous.IMG_7766These stunning rose bouquets.  I would love to fill every room of my home with these.

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*

Gratefully Grateful *7*

21 Feb

Happy Friday folks.  Here in Italy it’s a beautiful sunny day.  The tulip bulbs are sprouting in the garden.  The forsythia (say that 5 times quickly) is already in bloom.  The mountains are in full view and covered in snow.  My purple hyacinth has filled my living room with a lovely pungent perfume.  And I’m in the midst of packing for a trip to Morocco.  Life is pretty great.

This week I’m (also) grateful for…IMG_4752…Monday morning gnocchi making lessons with my lovely friends.

IMG_4777…a new project of mine that I’m so excited about.  It involves sewing and helping girls and young women in need.  I’ll be writing all about it very soon.

IMG_4631

…colourful cushions and quilts made for us by friends and family.

I wish you all a great week-end.  I’ll most likely be offline most of next week but I’ll try my best to post photos of our Moroccan travels over on Instagram.

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4*, *5*,*6*

Traveling With Kids: Venice

20 Feb

My latest Traveling With Kids column is over on the creative parenting site Classic Play today.  This time I write all about traveling to Venice as a family.  We spent a few days there at Christmas and it was absolutely beautiful.  We all loved wandering along the canals and admiring the stunning architecture as well as visiting the sites and museums.  My kids have officially declared it one of their favourite cities in the world.  Lucky for us it’s only a 3 hour drive away…

traveling-with-kids-venice1Click here to read more.

Gratefully Grateful *6*

14 Feb

This has been a particularily strange week.  Besides the schizophrenic weather (one day gloriously sunny and the next with torrential winds and rain) things have just been a little wonky this week.  On Monday a little 6 year old girl at my kid’s tennis club kept asking me if I was her father’s girlfriend (and refused to believe me when I said no).  On Wednesday I received an indecent proposal (and I mean INDECENT) from an 80 year old man who lives down the street from me.  On Thursday I accidentally ate three lunches (oops).  And today my pilates teacher played only Christmas music during the entire one hour lesson.  Was there by chance a full moon the last few days?

But luckily in between all the weirdness there was lots of beauty and happiness.

This week I’m grateful for…


IMG_4412

… this bounty of green vitamin K packed vegetables that I picked up at the market this week.  Look how gorgeous that Romanesco Broccoli is!

IMG_4438… these colourful little scenes that I come across so many times a day.  I didn’t even mind that her sneakers were on the bureau and not in the shoe rack like they were supposed to be.IMG_4361… the fact that my kids get to grow up having the kindest, calmest and most generous and loving father around (sorry for the sappiness but it is Valentine’s Day after all!).

Have a great week-end everyone!

Gratefully Grateful *1*, *2*, *3*, *4*, *5*

%d bloggers like this: