Tarantella The Night Away!

Do you dance? No, me neither.

Not until the tarantella found its way into my life, that is. This night was up there with the most fun nights ever since fun nights began.

What better way to stomp away a bitingly cold February evening than by learning the deceptively simple tarantella steps? This fiery, traditional southern Italian dance is unbelievably fun, exhausting and hilarious. A touch of fact – the word ‘tarantella’ is another word for ‘tarantism’ – the hysterical condition following a bite from a grotesque ‘tarantula’ – now your turn for a ‘t’ word.

Let me rewind.

I went with a gorgeous, (more so than enthusiastic I might add) group of friends to what seemed like an abandoned warehouse in nondescript Limehouse, (think distressed, eery SAW shoot location if you will.)

Do not be fooled by appearances!

If the thumping percussion, siren singing and red music doesn’t seduce you then, frankly, I don’t know what will.

I hope the pictures below awaken something tarantella-esque in you enough to get your ‘jeeeeg’ on (as the Italians would say.) If that fails to stir you, perhaps the flowing wine and cosy entertainment might be enough to lure you out of your  70% off GAP pyjamas.

Watch for upcoming events here at the Jamoboree!

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9 Things My Mother Taught Me (And That I Wish I’d Listened To)

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1) Don’t worry what people think (the people who matter don’t mind, the people who mind don’t matter, etc. etc. etc.)

2) Drink hot water and lemon before bed….no, its not the same as a fab cuppa Yorkshire but…

Apparently lemon clears skin – the vitamin C component flattens out wrinkles and blemishes (not that we have the latter or the former ever) and rejuvenates skin from inside the body. Lemon also has antibacterial, antiviral immune-boosting powers, it is also a liver-cleanser (undoing those Proseccos hurrah! and is a general digestive aid, ie: you don’t scoff during the day.

 

3) Don’t brush curly hair. Just don’t. Unless you want to look like you are wearing an old, backcombed wig that has been trussed up in a plastic bag then put on your head.

4) Save up and buy something you really, really like that is made of nice stuff.

5) Not to make plans unless you are absolutely sure you won’t regret it later. That goes for generic dinner plans and date plans.

6) Be discerning, always.

7) If in an awkward situation/doubt anything in any way, smile and be polite then make a mental note not to agree to see this person/go to said event again.

8) Be aware of everything and never assume (a wise man told me assumption is the mother of all mistakes).

9) Know that most things are always “exciting” (I quote my mother) and if you look at the world this way, I can promise you it will never go grey.

 

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10 Top Stories – Quick 2014 Round-Up

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1) Hair cut and a telling off here

2) Eavesdropping, Spanish Steps Style here

3) Overheard amusing conversation on the London tube here

4) 10 reasons you know you live with an Italian here

5) Magazine moment and inspiration ladies here

6) The date, nutella-dilemma and ivy embellished bars here 

aka “Why American boy when you are in Italia?

7) Jazz moment: here

8) Paris, Paris, Paris

9) New years resolutions of 2014 – being flawless isn’t always necessary or all that exciting here

10) Roman Insults, Yoga & a Revelation here

 

Wintry Snippets of Home/English Countryside – Nostalgic Already

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Nutella Hot Chocolate

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 Just climbed a frosty mountain? Braved the weather in wellies and a hat damp from the Christmas Day walk yesterday in an effort to feel hungry again? Perching by the fire with a frozen nose?

 

Nutella hot chocolate is the thing to make yourself/loved ones this Christmas, (if you haven’t already dissolved into a champagne & brandy soaked sugar cube yet that is.)

 

It is sweet, indulgent and cosy – so that is 3 hearty yes’s from us.

 

You literally just need milk, a big dollop of Nutella (per person) and something hot in which to bubble it all up together.

 

What are you still doing sitting there?

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Why Love Actually Is Actually The Best Christmas Film

Billed as the “ultimate romantic comedy”, Love Actually is one of the films we watch intentionally or unintentionally with popcorn/mulled wine/hot chocolate around Christmas. At the very least it will be on in the background once this festive season, I bet my baubles.

Ponderings/reasons we love it…

  • We’ve all experienced that opening airport moment where the feeling of joy/sadness/belonging soars above and beyond most normal moment
  • Prompts you to wonder, a) what is Martine McCutcheon up to now?
  • b) how the little lovesick boy got so tall and how he ended up on Game of Thrones?
  • A moping Liam Neeson in cosy, long, sleeve GAP tops
  • Why does Darcy get cheated on by a fluey, half-naked wife-vixen?
  • Where do Emma Thompson & Liam Neeson find those beautiful, homely, food and flower-filled London homes?
  • Colin Firth makes running away from reality/your problems to a foreign country OK
  • When Colin Firth is in France and the lady who welcomes him says:

“She cannot speak French, just like you” – Erasmus Flashback

  • Haven’t we all accidentally done the awkward double-palm, grin wave that Hugh Grant bestows upon inconvenient colleague crush Martine in an effort to flirt?
  • When Liam Neeson casually meets Claudia Schiffer in the school corridor after the Nativity play – make mental note to be yummy mummy

HAPPY WATCHING

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Sea Food Sunday

Eavesdropping, Spanish Steps Style

Busy cafe near Piazza di Spagna (named after the Embassy of Spain). Picture high palms and warm yellow, ochre and rust houses that proudly gaze over the steps. The steps were actually a gift from the French King Louise XV to Rome (should probably be called the French steps in the King’s honour but the Spanish Embassy got there in the nick of time.)

I had time to kill before picking up the piccola Teresa from school and settled in the Piazza with my book and a cappuccino (standard.)

I couldn’t help but notice a bouncy conversation three men in shiny suits on the table next to me started bellowing. Here is a rough translation of their brisk conversation:

Man 1, 2 and 3, let’s call them Riccardo, Luigi and Leonardo.

Riccardo: Ciao! Apologies for the delay – I got caught on a call

Luigi: That’s no problem – I just called you actually

Riccardo: Ah! was on the other line –

Luigi: Yes I gathered, no problem.

Riccardo: And Leonardo?

Luigi: He just called, he’s on his way

Riccardo: Great – did you read the email I sent you this morning?

Luigi: Haven’t had a chance yet

Riccardo: Ah I see – I was going to call after you’d read it to see what you thought before we met this morning

Luigi: I’ll read it after this meeting if that is alright, then I’ll let you know?

Riccardo: That is a good idea – here is Leonardo now

Leonardo: Ecco mi! Here I am!

Riccardo: Ciao!

Luigi: Ciao!

Leonardo: Tutto bene? Everything ok?

Luigi: Everything is fine

Riccardo: Glad you could make it

Leonardo: What a great sun today!

Luigi: Are you going back to your parents this weekend?

Leonardo: That is the plan! If I can get out of that meeting at 4pm. Come to think of it, I could attend via conference call. Or can catch up with the discussion after

Riccardo: We could go though now what we are going to propose?

Luigi: Now?

Riccardo: Why not? We are all hear apart from Filippo but he will be on the call later

Leonardo: I thought we intended to discuss the items for next week’s press release?

Luigi: I agree – that is more urgent

Riccardo gets up: Some caffe’ first guys?

Leonardo: Please – Let me offer you both one

Riccardo: So kind! Thank you

Luigi: I will have a caffe ristretto with pleasure, thanks

Folders shuffled, pens clicked, blackberrys on the table, I-Phone’s buzzing, Luigi answers and speaks for a moment. He frowns and leaves the table. After a moment or so, he returns, despondent 

Luigi: It is with great regret I think I must leave – it appears Mario has had a run in with the Profilo clients

Riccardo: What a clown! He should be able to manage that account

Luigi: I don’t trust the man sometimes

Leonardo returns.

Leonardo: Everything alright?

Luigi: Its the Banca Profilo clients – they have some problems [drinks his coffee with a flick of his wrist]. Thank you for that

Leonardo: My pleasure

Luigi: I don’t know what to do – I think it might be best if we get together in a few days. I am sorry, guys

Riccardo: We might have no choice [drinks coffee and lights a cigarette]

Leonardo: I may be away at the end of this week and early next – for a long weekend

Luigi: Ah I see

Riccardo: We could simplifly the situation and do this by a conference call?

Luigi: Not a bad idea

Leonardo: That’s settled then

Riccardo: I can email across the details

Luigi: Ok, perfect. Get in touch if you need anything in the meantime

Riccardo: Let’s get in touch later today then

Leonardo: Thanks guys, see you soon!

Riccardo: I’ll be in touch later today

Luigi: See you next time!

Business meeting adjourned. Five minutes of chair scraping, cigarette exchanging and texting.

I went back to my book, worried that after all that, nothing much was achieved but confused as to the original aim of said meeting. (I can hear you say, was it my business at all? Essentially not, no but one can’t help but overhear – besides how else can one successfully pick up the language?)

June Joys & Cappuccino Confrontation

First of all, apologies for the recent silence – dilemmas summoned me homeward bound and so I’ve been absent from the keyboard. I’m back now and, if I may say so myself, in full force. Friday morning, I took Teresa … Continue reading

Pilates-Inspired Romance & Teeny-Tiny Muscles

My friend and I went to a Pilates class the other afternoon. After my dabble with yoga with the Italian mamma Elena, I decided the release was an addictive, enjoyable thing to do with forty-five minutes of my week. I slept better after, started to eat better and have generally become a nicer person.

When it comes to being an au-pair, it is important to make the children think they are always right, whilst in fact proving later they are wrong: this applies to timings, homework, brushing hair, brushing teeth, TV times etc. But to apply this kind of command, you need a calm collectiveness that I’ve discovered can be  found and maintained by yoga (or Pilates, or by the time I’ve written this three more vaguely similar workout techniques will have appeared all over adverts).

“After my dabble with yoga with the Italian mamma Elena, I decided the release was an addictive, enjoyable thing to do with forty-five minutes of my week”

So my french friend Anne-Sophie and I got our Sweaty-Betty’s (sweatpants for women who don’t ‘sweat’ ever, but maintain a glowy, doe-like sheen before, during and after a work out). This is as much not me as I wish it was.

So, there ended up being four of us in the class.  Only four, I was quite embarassed. No room for hiding or shirking any yoga responsibility. The class was made up of my friend, the instructor, another lady and myself. The instructor was French, but spoke fluent Italian. He was quite small, but very well built, with slightly crooked teeth. Anne-Sophie liked him immediately (don’t ask.)

The lights dimmed and a hush fell upon the room as a reedy, whispering sound came from the instructor’s iPod, which he took out what looked like a bag made of bamboo leaves. The music was entitled: The moon song of the winds that graze over the grasses of Mount Kilimanjaro, in the springtime, on horseback, serenely. I

The main focus of the class was to relax, wake up and tense your tiny, vital stomach muscles near the pelvic bone, (the ones you never use and may not know exist but are really, really important). The instructor helped show us where they were by pressing down on our stomach muscles, and I don’t remember thinking I’d signed anything for that yoga-related intimacy to be ok. I was very uncoordinated at first, then got more into it as the song merged from Grass Grazing to River Wallowing. The music was calming at least and I couldn’t even hear any noise from the street. There was a little window that poured sunlight into the studio, so that was nice and probably a bit of a prop too.

“Main focus…was to relax, wake up and tense your tiny, vital stomach muscles near the pelvic bone, (the ones you never use and may not know exist but are really, really important…)”

In the end Anne-Sophie got a date of it, (and probably a couple more free sessions if you know what I mean) and my teeny-tiny stomach muscles that had probably woken up with a jerk felt a little bit firmer than they ever had, so I left feeling like the cat who got the (non-fat, no dairy) cream.

“In the end Anne-Sophie got a date of it…and my teeny-tiny stomach muscles that had probably woken up with a jerk felt a little bit firmer…so I left feeling like the cat who got the (non-fat, no dairy) cream”