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Finding the perfect party dress

Collaborative post, fashion Comments Off on Finding the perfect party dress

Aaahh November, the time of the year I love the most! It is the month when I have loads of stuff to do in preparation for Christmas and New Year. And it’s the month when our annual office Christmas party is announced. I always get really excited because I get to start hunting for the perfect party dress!

In the past, I tended to choose pretty much just plain black dresses and match them with some fun jewellery. This year I’m more into finding something sparkling, not too dark, something fun but at the same time sophisticated and chic. Last week we received the email with all details for the venue and we were pleased to discover we are going to an exclusive hotel in the heart of Edinburgh and the code is strictly smart! Faaaab!

My usual browsing online starts with googling party dresses but honestly the atrocities that I get in the results quickly make me sway towards specific websites. In the past, I bought many dresses from Asos, H&M, Zara.  The online range these websites have is huge so you just need to be patient and have plenty of time. You’ll see many dresses which will be pretty rubbish but with some luck, you will find a gem!

This year, I am glad I got introduced to the website and had the pleasure to discover that many designer party dresses are actually affordable! The website is easy to browse and it gives you the choice to pick your favourite designers and your dress size so that you can get personalised emails directly in your inbox.  And although is always good fun to look for deals during the Black Friday weekend, with you can find many deals all year around!

So after spending a few (many) nights online, searching for the perfect dress, I shortlisted the following…

This Asos silver midi pencil dress with a gorgeous silver sequin embellishment is to die for. I especially love the square neckline and the length. It is fun and different!


This Ted Baker little black dress reminds me of the feminine dresses of the 60’s. I like the stripe-woven mesh layer and the contrast created by the under-layer. I’d pair it with a sparkly silver clutch.


This Asos Embellished midi dress is fab!I love the colour, I love the double strap and how fab is the drape back!


I love Karen Millen and this dress would be ideal for a special night out. I would just need to pair it with some sparkling accessories like diamond earring and a tennis bracelet. And I guess it’d work for an important business meeting by just adding a blazer to cover the shoulders.


What about this lovely silver cocktail dress


Let’s not forget about finding the right bag to match the dress!

Check out this gorgeous clutch bag. Look at the details!


Or this cute floral oneflower-bag

or what about this super sparkly one?


 I could opt for a golden clutch.


And to make things more fun, what about a golden lipstick shape one…??


yes, it’s a bag!!


Ahh I cannot decide! Lucky I still have some time so I can actually order few items, try them on and then send them back if they don’t fit. That’s why I LUUUVE shopping online, it couldn’t be easier!

Get online ~your perfect party dress is just a click away!

Our nature holiday

family, Holiday, outdoors Comments Off on Our nature holiday

 Last week we had a fantastic holiday at Center parcs in the Whinfell forest.


It was so relaxing spending some time outdoors immerse in the nature…


discovering dens…


walking around the lake…


making a fire…


and hunting for colourful mushrooms ( no touching just looking though!)


The kids didn’t stop running and playing from early morning till late night.



They were so excited!


Obviously spending so much time jumping and playing outside meant the kids were super hungry!

Nothing to worry as mummy had packed the perfect snack!


We recently discovered these portables fromage frais tubes, yoghurt pouches and delicious drinkable yoghurts from Yoplait.


Available in Strawberry, Red Berry, Peach, and Banana flavours, Frubes contain vitamin D and calcium for strong bones, so everyone wins.

They were perfect to carry around wherever we were going.


One night back at our lodge, we checked the awesome dance-off  created by Frubes to celebrate Frubes’ partnership with the must-see family film of the year, The Angry Birds Movie. And after playing with it the next day the kids decided to try some of the Frubes moves….




ok you got it


What a fantastic holiday!

For once the whole family was on the move all together cycling, running, walking and playing silly!


And after a long day of activities we hit back home for more treats in our beautiful lodge!


Drinking Frubes and having an Halloween party!



It was so hard leaving this peaceful place but I’m sure we’ll go back soon!


This post is an entry for BritMums’ #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes

Coffee, the Italian way

Food, Italy Comments Off on Coffee, the Italian way

I’m Italian and I have a shameful secret to confess.. I’m not a coffee addict!

Honestly, the amount of times I had to “excuse” myself for not being a “real Italian espresso lover” is unbelievable but I guess people have a point in expecting that an Italian cannot live without coffee.

totoI’ve been knowing how to use a caffettiera since I can remember. In my family everyone used to drink coffee, especially espresso: strong, short and hot ! It wasn’t until I started my first job that I openly confessed that I wasn’t keen in drinking espresso and that I’d have rather had an americano (heresy!) I still remember the annoyed face of the barista who reclutantly prepared me what Italians call “brodo” ie soup.

I sometimes think I was destined to live in Britain 😉

lavazza_cappuccino_cups_1_1Anyway don’t get me wrong, I used to and still do enjoy my cappuccino in the morning but if I don’t have it I am pretty sure I can still survive the day.

One thing that really bothers me though is when I walk past Starbucks and cannot get my mind around people drinking those big cups of “coffee”. The Starbucks “Italian style coffee” has nothing to do with the coffee that you find in Italy. Remember a real Italian coffee lover would NEVER drink coffee from Starbucks.

img_3635So, you would ask yourself, what is so special in the way Italians drink their coffee?

First of all remember that in Italy you would never ask for a “latte” unless you want a glass of warm milk. BUT you can have one of the following:

  • latte macchiato
  • caffè macchiato
  • cappuccino
  • caffè (espresso)
  • caffè latte
  • caffè lungo
  • caffè corretto

When you go to the bar you must never ask for an “espresso” but simply “un caffè”. If you ask for a caffè by default you get an espresso: very short, very strong and very hot!

Italians tend to drink their caffè on the go. They go to the bar, they call out for a coffee even if the barista is not looking at you (promise it’s not rude!) they just say “un caffè per favore”, (a coffee please). They then drink it and only AFTER they pay for it and go. All is very quick! An espresso is the daily caffeine boost that Italian people need before heading to the office.


If you are after an american style coffee then you can ask for a caffè americano and you will get an espresso with hot water added. Something similar but not quite the same,  is a “caffè  lungo” ie “a long coffee” and this is made only by the espresso machine which will make the espresso more watery.

When asking for cappuccino then it’s a different story. Cappuccino is ONLY drunk in the morning, for breakfast, never after lunch or in the afternoon, “troppo pensante” ie “too difficult to digest”. Usually when you go to the bar you order a “cappuccino e briosche” (cappuccino and croissant) while if you make yourself a cappuccino at home for breakfast, it will always be served with “biscotti” (biscuits).

There are some variation when ordering coffee with milk. If you want an espresso with just a dash of milk (cold or hot) then you ask for a caffè macchiato. If you would like a hot milk with a dash of coffee then you would ask for a latte macchiato – remember, mornings only ;).

Last but not least, especially for me as I come from the land of grappa, we have the caffè corretto which is basically an espresso “corrected” with a slug of brandy or grappa, perfect to drink after lunch as it promotes digestion (or at least this is the excuse).

lavazza coffee grounds And if you want to impress your friend and prepare them a real Italian caffè  then follow the instructions below.

  • First of all you need to get a good quality Italian coffee for caffettiera (moka express). You can either get coffee beans to grind or go for coffee grounds. My family in Italy always uses “Lavazza qualita d’oro”. In Italy Lavazza is one of the main brands of coffee along with Illy and Segafredo.
  • Get yourself a caffettiera (you can buy it online pretty cheap or you can go for the iconic Bialetti – slightly more expensive)img_3644
  • Unscrew the top, remove the filter and fill the base with water to just below the level of the safety valve.
  • Insert the funnel.
  • Fill the funnel with espresso ground coffee, do not press coffee down.
  • Screw the top to the base.
  • Place the caffettiera on a low to medium heat (make sure the flame does not extend up the side of the pot.
  • It usually takes only 3/5 minutes for the coffe to “venire su'”. Basically when you hear the coffee bubbling then it’s ready and you have to take it off the heat otherwise you risk to have a coffee which tastes bitter/burnt.
  • Your coffee is now ready to serve.

img_3661In Britain is quite common to ask for a coffee flavoured with some kind of syrup like caramel or vanilla. You will find pretty hard to find this in Italy. I obviously have it as I told you I’m not your usual Italian coffee lover 😉

img_3664Here we go, this is your mini guide to Italian coffee so when you will find yourself ordering a coffee in Italy you will look like a pro!

Holiday without the kids

Daily photo, family, Holiday, traveling Comments Off on Holiday without the kids

I recently came across an article about a mom not feeling guilty for choosing to go on holidays without her kids. I really don’t feel like judging her as if that makes her happy then amen! But, I am completely the opposite… I actually think I have a serious case of “Italian mamma attachment” to my children…


Since Beatrice was born (and we are talking about 6 years ago) I’ve been away from her only for two nights and the same for Leonardo… I cannot possibly imagine being away from my kids, especially to go on holidays. I’m what you would call an extreme case…

In my head I’ve always. firmly believed that if I decided to have kids it was because I wanted to create memories with them, share experiences with them and that I’ll have plenty of time to share a “romantic” holiday with my husband when they will be all grown up so for me it’s unthinkable to leave for a vacation without them.

beautiful scenary in ITaly

And the reason is simple.. there is no way I could enjoy the time away! I’d be thinking about what they are doing, if they are ok, if they miss me, and what if they feel they want mommy and I can’t be there… somehow I think it’s my control freak nature that tells me that no one can look after them better than I do… I know that they need to be with their mommy… or at least I want to believe that.

Mad? Maybe.

I definitely feel that a bit of “me time”every now and again would do me good,  but at the moment I feel I have my moments of freedom when I go grocery shopping (desperate!) and spend 2 hours away from the screams and the tantrums and the “Mamma I had it first!” or when my husband and I go out for dinner and we enjoy some food in peace. Yep, that’s enough for me to recharge and go home full of desire to kiss them again.

Is that odd?Is it really strange that I’d like to do everything with my kids? Maybe but it works for me.

I remember we once went to a wedding and asked to take Beatrice (who was less than 2 year old at that time) and everyone was surprised because we didn’t get a nanny to look after her for the night to go and enjoy the wedding.

Italian wedding

If Beatrice would have not been there, I would have probably not remembered the wedding for any particular reason. Instead I remember seen her so little and loving the dance floor! And I remember the look in her eyes when she first saw the bride and she thought it was a beautiful princess. And the moment she jumped inside the vintage car stealing the groom place.

We loved sharing that moment with her and if that meant to be back home a little earlier then it was all worth it.

I often hear phrases like “I cannot wait for my children to be bigger so we can leave them with the grandparents”and to those parents who wish to spend a week “child free” I’d say “good for you!” because I wouldn’t know how to enjoy that time without being surrounded by my little treasures.