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Category Archives: miscellaneous

Normal service will resume shortly

I’ve been pouring all of my creative energy into Nicholas’ second birthday while I’ve left my blog and you, my dear readers, to your own devices. Apologies for that and a big thank you for your continued support.

Of course it’s never just one thing at a time, so it hasn’t just been birthday planning, but hubby travelling a lot for work then getting his eyes lasered, the in-laws coming, the dreaded norovirus striking, me working more seriously on my ‘day’ job (which happens late at night), and Nicholas starting nursery part-time. I think that’s it!

But back to the important birthday. As usual I didn’t manage the ridiculous list of plans I’d hoped to achieve for Nicholas’ big day, but it was a wonderful and joyous day (and that’s all that matters). I have several posts related to our train-themed party in the pipe-line and I promise to get them out as soon as possible. I had so much fun making the cake more complicated than it needed to be that I simply have to share it with you!

In the meantime, keep cooking 🙂

Random acts of kindness and my darling daughter

Today would have been my darling daughter Sofia’s fifth birthday. She should have been a little girl full of life and full of love for her little brother. Instead my body and soul ache enormously for her.

Grieving for your child is unimagineable. Even when it happens to you, the overwhelming feeling is it’s not true, that something so traumatic couldn’t possibly have happened. I feel this even after five years.

I tried to push a lot of people away during my first period of unbearable grief. If I’m honest, I pushed EVERYONE away. I was very lucky to have an incredible circle of dear friends who didn’t let me push them out of my life, and even luckier to have an amazing husband who, while battling his own grief, understood my need to shut the world out for a while.

I’m not sure how I got through the deepest time of grief and depression. But the unexpected thoughts and messages from others definitely helped. And these random ‘reaching outs’ weren’t always from my friends and family; I was sent support and love from strangers from across the world. Even now, I feel lifted up when someone unexpectedly tells me how much they still think of Sofia or asks how I’m coping. These random acts of love give me strength.

Whether or not you experience trauma in your life, everyone’s life is a rollercoaster, and it’s often the kindness of others which helps us crawl our way back up. I was reminded of this while reading Lou’s post (Random Acts of Kindness) on her new blog Three’s a Family. She used to blog as Homeless Mummy, but thankfully needed to start a new blog.

Lou’s continuing the blog hop started by Clara who wants to remind us of the power of little gestures by paying that kindness forward. So I would like to pay forward a little bit of the love I’ve received.

For the first three people to comment on this post, I’m going to send you a little surprise that will hopefully make your day a little cheerier. I’m not going to do it immediately, but at some point over the next couple of months in order to hopefully catch you off guard (unexpected random acts of kindness are much better than expected ones!). Make sure you leave a way I can contact you in your post (email address, Twitter name or website address, for example).

If you’d like to join the blog hop and send some kindness to others, read Clara’s post here and join up here.

Never underestimate the power of little things

random acts of kindness

Missing the sun

Today has been a very unproductive day. While outside has been blanketted in a thick layer of snow, we spent the day wrapped up inside. Nicholas very happily played with his cars and the new garage Father Christmas left, while I fiddled my thumbs not knowing what to do without an internet connection for most of the day. And all I could think of was what we were doing just a week ago.

Gorgeous reflections captured by my very talented sister.

Gorgeous reflections captured by my very talented sister.

Nicholas and his Auntie Viv

Nicholas and his Auntie Viv


Back to business as normal

A few of you emailed me last Thursday asking where my blog had gone. All you could see was a notice from WordPress saying their terms had been violated and so the blog had been suspended.

While I was waiting for WordPress to review the situation, I was going ‘AH!’, and scouring their terms and conditions for any possible unintentional wrongdoing on my part. Why is it we always feel guilty even if we haven’t done anything wrong? Or is that just me?!

Anyway, to cut the story short, I hadn’t done anything wrong. For some reason something triggered their automated anti-spam controls. I’ve been assured it won’t happen again and received an apology. While I wasn’t told what exactly triggered the suspension, at least we’re back to business again, and I can finish writing the recipe post I was working on!

Completely changing the subject to something much nicer, we went away for the weekend and enjoyed some wonderful family time together. Roberto did the driving experience I got him for Christmas, and had great fun trying a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. And we ate our way through the East Midlands Food and Drink Festival in Melton Mowbray.

Happy grandparents’ day!

In Italy, today is ‘La Festa Dei Nonni’ (Grandparents’ Day) and so Nicholas wanted to say ‘AUGURI!’ to his very loved nonna and nonno by sharing a couple of mummy’s favourite photos.

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.
Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.

~ Alex Haley



Back to normal

I had planned to blog a few times while we were on holiday, but for different reasons it didn’t happen. It was actually good to have a break from the Internet for a while (note to self – try to do this more often!).

Like all of our trips to Italy, our summer holidays very much centred around food, but thankfully this time we came back more or less the same weight as we were when we left (we had a Christmas and New Year in Italy a few years back where we both came back a couple of kilos heavier!).

Nicholas discovered grissini (breadsticks) and loved the fact he could use them as edible spoons.

It’s become a tradition that whenever we go to Sardinia, hubby’s cousins that were born in the same year (there are four of them the same age!) get together for dinner and one of them roasts a suckling pig. The piglet is slowly spit-roasted in front of a fire, rather than over it, for several hours and is always amazingly succulent. Served on a bed of myrtle branches, it’s a typical Sardinian dish.

We also went to the wedding of our dearest friends. They got married in a spectacular location in Liguria. As expected, the food was delicious, and running around after Nicholas made it much easier not to overindulge on all the delectable nibbles before dinner (pacing yourself is super important for an Italian wedding!). I just had to share their wedding cake; a fabulously fresh fruit tart that was the perfect way to end an afternoon and evening of eating.

While I’m glad to be home, I think my beach baby is going to miss playing in the sand and splashing in the water…

Playing with his food

While we’re on holidays in Italy (thankfully getting some sun), I hope you don’t mind me blogging some non-recipe posts. They’ll always be about food though!

Perhaps Alessandro Lumare was never told not to play with his food or perhaps he didn’t listen. Either way, his plates are delightful.

His art featured at this year’s Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, which was held in March.

But you can see the following two pieces in his book ‘La storia che avanza’. The art illustrates a story also by Alessandro, written in rhyme, who told me it’s suitable for children under two. It’s published by Edizioni Artebambini and available from October 2012.

Maybe we should be encouraging our little ones to play with their food to foster their creativity?