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


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.




Wintry Snippets of Home/English Countryside – Nostalgic Already

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Letter Press Gold Leaf


Gold Leaf Christmas Cards



Christmas is almost upon us! With it the house is filling with food, fires, mince pies and an endless chain of hot drinks…

The Christmas tree in all its glory




Jo Malone Rose Fragrance (Lily Optional)

Jo Malone Rose Fragrance (Lily Optional)

Lovers of Ile-de-France – Pont de l’Archeveche

Lovers of Ile-de-France – Pont de l’Archeveche

Of course this type of thing is in Paris! What surprised me is that almost everything you could put a padlock on, has a padlock on it. I’m serious – a twist of metal, a free rung, a handle in … Continue reading

The Afternoon You Always Wanted


Yesterday, I met the girls for lunch. It was a magical, crisp day and I was in a cashmere jumper dress, hat and leggings and white flat shoes. I wondered along the Ponte Mazzini to Trastevere to meet my friends. I think the family I live with are relieved I have friends!

“The family are relieved I have friends!”

We went to a snazzy, American place where there is a yoga-fied hostess from California who set up the joint two years ago and apparently lives the ‘American-Roman dream’. She was very smiley with very white teeth and the place had a homely vibe. There were bookshelves, benches, tables, it was a dining room/sitting room love-child, and Raashmi, Sara and I had four courses for twelve euros. Fresh vegetables, couscous, grains and beans, more steamed vegetables. It was basicly the type of meal in the Vogue recipe section that you have once and love the idea but never make it ever again.

“The type of meal in the Vogue recipe section that you have once…love the idea but never make it ever again”

Afterwards, the three of us walked through Trastevere which lounges directly across the Rivere Tevere from where I live. The streets are narrow, cobbled and built in such a way that the apartments lift up into the sky and guide you through intertwining greenery, peek-a-boo cafés and boutique shops. It was a chilly day; the piercing blue sky made the shadows appear very clear-cut, the light sharp and delicate. It is funny things you notice when you go abroad, odd smells, shapes and sounds.

“The streets are narrow, cobbled…built in such a way that the apartments lift up into the sky and guide you through intertwining greenery, peek-a-boo cafés and boutique shops”

After a while, as you can imagine, we ended up in another corner café. It was a place Sara knew, a cosy cuddle from the brisk cold. We ordered cappuccino and freshly baked fruit cake which was Adonis in cake form, (see photo).

What?! Cappuccino after eleven in the morning? – Yes? We must not speak of it again! Says the hooded italian in the corner watching us – it is far too late in the day to even think of ordering such a thing and you will get amused maybe even exasperated looks.

“Cappuccino after eleven in the morning?…You will get amused maybe even exasperated looks”

The place is a mixture of a pub/café with stools reaching up to small round tables. There is also a collection of tables outside where students were studying, books splayed open on tables with empty cups moonlighting as paperweights.

About five thirty, on the way home to meet the children, I had a chilling thought: What if I’d never met these girls? I saw a vision of me: a hermit walking home, lonely and quiet and fat from eating myself busy. Our mind is our own worst enemy I have come to believe. I then made spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice) and helped Teresa create a map of the world as part of her homework: coloured in of course with special shading that made Teresa squeal with delight. (Map zero, Signorina one.)

“A chilling thought: what if I’d never met these girls? I saw a vision of me: a hermit…lonely and quiet and fat from eating myself busy”

The (Lack Of) Men In My Life

One thing that struck me fairly early on in my life in Italy is the lack of men. Now calm down, not in that way.

Well, maybe a little.

Anyway, what I mean is the lack of brothers, smiley, cheery father and fun friends of the opposite sex. Also intelligent guys to talk to that weren’t always checking on whether I was Eeenglish and not Italiana?

Like most things when you get off your rump in search of adventure and whatnot, you’ve got to make things happen. Well in these early days of November I fear the only men in my world are as follows:

  • Twelve year old italian laaaaad that loves to hate me but loves me really
  • Old, old pizza man who asks me out for a “little beer and maybe conversation?”
  • Street starers
  • Nosy, prying waiters of all shapes and sizes and varying levels of personal questions

Then when I started looking in unexpected places:

  • Bernini sculptures of men: Rippling, smooth, marble muscles and (silly) curly hair, big smooth hands and…noses
  • Wonderfully handsome student who saved my life (more later)

Well there it is for now.

Every cloud (or wispy suggestion of one in Rome) has a silver, perfectly polished lining. You will find you are too busy for anything more remarkable than that at the beginning.


Flowers, Colour & Romance in Rome

Flowers, Colour & Romance in Rome

Tuesday night stroll, ambushed by this lovely lot

Eventually Friends Will Find You

It all happened so suddenly.. Teresa’s school is just around the corner from the Pantheon, and I could see its heavy, brown walls like a giants’ foot from where I stood waiting for her after school yesterday afternoon. One minute … Continue reading