martedì 24 gennaio 2012

Back in action, I stumbled on my own poor, neglected blog whilst looking for something else and since by some miracle I even remembered my password... Well, here I am!

What to say? Where to start?

Maybe with the fact that Sophie will be a year old on the 18th of February and life is no longer even vaguely similar to what it was the last time I contributed to this blog! Nothing and nobody can really prepare you for the joy, fear, happiness and horror that is being a parent and you can't imagine the way in which your entire outlook on life changes overmight when a new little person comes into your life.
She is stupendous. Beautiful and intelligent and funny and curious and naughty and extremely hard work and all the other cliches. I am also typically exhausted (back at work almost full time - eek!) but I have to say it's Luca who has made the biggest change. He's completely obsessed. They say there's nothing like the relationship between a daddy and daughter and mamma mia are they spot on!

So here we are - back in the city and enjoying the challenges that life throws at us. I can't remember the last time I was even anywhere near my bed after 6:30am, the house is a complete mess and we both fall asleep on the sofa by 10 o'clock every night but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. If I can manage it, I might even add "updating blog" to my looong list of post-work activities and not disappear into the milano smog like the last time!

venerdì 29 ottobre 2010


The other blog is newly updated, but just in case you are feeling extra lazy and can't be bothered to go over, the big news is that we're expecting a girl! Very excited, very busy and very fat is the best description I can give of myself at the moment!
A presto!!

martedì 21 settembre 2010

Shameless advertising

Having spent the best part of 5 years holidaying in Sardinia in their own little apartment, my mum and dad have decided to invest in something closer to me (now that they have a grandchild on the way!) and so are selling the place. If anyone is interested or knows anyone who might be, message me and I'll put you in touch! It's a private sale so there would be no agency fees - just the cost of the notary and the legal part of the process...

I'm having link trouble, so copy and paste the address below into your browser to have a look!!

giovedì 2 settembre 2010

Time for an update….. and some big news…

Well, here we are again folks – fading tan, 3 extra kilos and even less desire to return to work than money in the bank! Yep, it’s the “grande rientro”, otherwise known as “back to work after the holidays”….. and, mamma mia, it’s tough!
The holiday went without a hitch – we spent 20 days on the following schedule almost without exception: Beach – lunch – nap – beach – dinner – bed. Bliss!!! Sardinia was as beautiful as I remembered from when I lived there many moons ago (well, almost four years ago now!) and the sheer unadulterated laziness of doing absolutely nothing day after day was…. well, I think much deserved! And to be honest I’m exaggerating the horror of the rientro – for sure it was great to do nothing but eat, sleep, read and relax, but I have to say my brain did start to feel a bit mushy towards the end of the holiday. Maybe it’s better to be back in the overly-cerebral world of purchasing, if only not to forget how to work one’s PC and what a pivot chart is….
The best part of coming home though is the rather ginormous lifestyle change that awaits when we welcome our first child into the world, sometime around March 1st if all goes to plan! Yep, I’m joining the ever-expanding “mummy club”, not to mention the ever-expanding waistline club and ever-expanding bra size club!! It really is amazing how, with a foetus the size of a pack of cigarettes (not the best comparison I realize but the only dimension that comes to mind…), it is so easy to suddenly find 4 kilos of weight that weren’t there before! And by before I mean just last week….. uffa …
Obviously we’re super happy. Luca is like an 8 year old the night before Christmas, knowing that his parents got him a train set! And, since it was all hush hush until recently (I’m in my 15th week), if anyone’s interested in following, I already started a super secret pregnancy blog over at
Apologies if I repeat myself or make no sense over the next few months, but “pregnancy brain” seems to have well and truly got me – the gynecologist in Sardinia asked for my home address and I couldn’t remember it! Did I mention I have a new blog?

mercoledì 4 agosto 2010

Man's best amico?

Well, finally it’s here – that blessed month when the motorway is free from tailbacks, the boss is on the beach with his phone switched off, and you can find a parking space almost anywhere without getting into a fight in the middle of the street with a stranger…. Lovely, lovely August!!! It’s a shame I’m still stuck in the office with reporting and a presentation to finish before the big finale tomorrow, but then it’s no more work until SEPTEMBER! Woooooooo!! Ok, pulling myself together now….
On a much heavier note, there are still problems in our neighbourhood, and not just between us and the ignoramus couple downstairs, but it would appear, between just about everyone. Sunday morning at 8:30 we were woken up by constant, incessant barking from the neighbours’ dogs, who spend their days side by side in adjacent gardens, with just a wire fence to separate them and so, every now and then they decide to drive each other – and the entire neighbourhood – insane by barking, growling and generally throwing themselves at the fence. On Sunday morning, the larger, more aggressive of the two managed to jump the fence and as we raced onto the back balcony to see what was going on (the sound of animals fighting and injuring each other is unmistakable), we were greeted with the sight of the attacking dog’s owner attempting – and initially failing – to split them up. After what seemed like minutes, but was probably only seconds, the neighbor managed to drag his dog away, leaving the poor little other one bleeding, limping and terrified. We were immediately all on the scene (although the injured dog’s owner was not home) and, following a frantic call to the emergency vet, the dog was bundled into the neighbour’s car (still bleeding and shaking, poverino….) and taken to the veterinary pronto soccorso in Pavia. We later heard that he had a broken leg and some scratches, but other than that he was OK, and is now recuperating in his owner’s garage. This is the thing. Here in Italy the general opinion (and I heard this more than once that same morning) is that you can have a dog as long as you have a garden, regardless of how much time or energy you dedicate to it. They just don’t get it! Aside from the attack (which could have happened anyway), it breaks my heart that this little dog spends all day everyday by himself in the garden, is fed in the evening and put straight into the garage until the next morning. His owner is a lorry driver and so spends long periods of time away, during which time another neighbor carries out the daily garden-garage-garden ritual, but it’s not enough for an animal which has 1. The need for human / canine company, followed by 2. The need for space and exercise. Even when his owner is home, he never takes the dog anywhere and won’t keep him in the house. I just don’t understand this collective ignorance with regards to pet ownership. Where I come from everyone knows that leaving a dog for hours on end by itself is a form of cruelty; here even the most “enlightened” members of the community seem to stick to the old adage “as long as you have a garden to leave it in…..”. This issue really distresses me. Italians think that the English are “too soft” on their animals and treat them too much like human beings. So what?? Isn’t it better to do more than is necessary to improve the quality of life of a living creature than to do less than is necessary just to ensure that that creature has a basic quality of life? And don’t get me started on the abandonment issues here. Yes, I’m very excited to be leaving for my summer holiday in Sardinia next week, but I am also very aware that this area of Italy has a huge problem with abandoned pets, as – believe it or not – people actually take their animals with them from the mainland and purposefully leave them behind, knowing that they will be unable to find their way home! One hundred thousand dogs are abandoned in Italy every year, the majority during the hot summer months, when their owners have the chance to dump them far from home (or even on the motorway), in order not to have to take care of them for the rest of the year. I love August, I do, but I wish it could be a happy, carefree month for everyone – also for pets. If only the rest of the country – my neighbours included – saw it this way….

lunedì 19 luglio 2010

Chillin in the green vale

I’m working on another blog, which I am sure will prove to be more interesting than this one, but it’s not ready yet, and I’m not even giving any clues, so you’ll just have to wait!! Curious??? HA!
On Saturday we decided to take a break from our quasi-cryogenic air conditioned states, actually enjoy the hot weather, and – who knows – maybe even engage in social activities with friends and loved ones? It seemed like a good idea at the time, and well, that’s precisely what it turned out to be….
Luca’s brother’s mother in law (got that??!) owns a plot in a holiday village on Lake Garda called Villaggio Valverde, which is run by a cooperative and takes the form of a campsite, but where instead of tents there are little wooden houses, each with a little garden, and instead of foreign tourists there are local families who have purchased their plots and then pay a monthly rental fee all year round in order to use the pool, tennis courts, bar and other facilities. It was a first for me, as I’m more a “I’ll wait for you here on the sun lounger while you ask the cocktail waiter to bring me a drink” kind of girl, but it was fun to do something different and very cool indeed to spend the afternoon in the (albeit PACKED) pool, teaching the girls to swim without armbands.
The villaggio itself was well-kept, with clean toilets and showers (communal darrrrling eeewwwww!!) and a cute woodland area at the back with pathways and picnic tables – ideal for escaping from the hot midday sun! The evening was spent lazing in the garden with the whole family; the men doing their “Me – man – me – make – fire” barbecue thing, and the girls putting together the potato salad, gossiping and generally chilling out. It wouldn’t be my thing for any more than a day or two (tons of kids, acquagym en masse, communal showers, ballroom dancing in the evening…) but it was definitely nice to chill out with the fam and spend an entire day in a bikini and sarong, even at dinner… At one point, while we were in the super-crowded pool, with noisy children dive-bombing on all sides, disco music blaring out, and the “pensioners’ exercise corner” just a few feet away, I caught Luca’s eye and we both burst out laughing. Not our thing, but definitely a good experience and the perfect way to thaw out our air conditioned bodies and minds!

lunedì 12 luglio 2010


It’s Monday morning, back to school (or that’s how it feels) and I spent the entire weekend at home, lying on the sofa under the air conditioning whilst the outside world enjoyed 35 degree heat. Not sure that “enjoyed” is necessarily the best word for it – it was so humid that the 2 minutes I spent outside to move my car made it absolutely unbearable – although I’m sure that those thousands of people who hit the beach this weekend had a much nicer time of it than I did, all things considered. It’s not that I’m lazy or incapable of “making the most of things” (as my mum would say), but this weekend brought with it a rather unpleasant situation whereby constant nausea prevented me from behaving like a normal person, and if it wasn’t for Luca sticking by me and sacrificing his weekend for the sake of the common good…..well, I don’t know what I would have done. So, unfortunately I am unable to regale you with tales of exciting trips, new discoveries, run-ins with the local peasant community, or any of the half-readable stuff I normally like to write about. Instead we watched two films – ‘Wolfman’, which was scary but entertaining enough and another with Denzel Washington (don’t remember the title), which was set in a post-apocalyptic future and involved him trying to get the last surviving bible to a safe location. Very forgettable but we always appreciate Denzel, no? And that was my weekend. Two mediocre movies and a 200 euro electricity bill (that’s my estimate based on the 24/7 air con – and we didn’t even care!)… If anything more interesting happens in the near future, I’ll be sure to document it….