School bbq and pizza night out!

Hello my dear readers, how are you?

I’m sorry I could update my blog only now, but the past two weeks and weekends have been a bit hectic.

Weekends are usually dedicated to my family, to do errands, to our karate lesson, to the grocery shopping and to all those things that couldn’t be squeezed during the week.

Weeks are packed with work, school, basic vital activities like cooking and food prepping. On the top of it, I was also unable to sleep properly lately!

As per usual, when something needs to be cut, my personal time for writing is the first to go, but cannot complain as the karate lesson is sacred and it stays. You cannot have everything anyway, but far from me to give up!

Last weekend we went to one event Maya was waiting with excitement: the school barbecue. To be honest with you I was waiting for it myself too!

Being our first year in this school, every event and initiative is new, exciting and full of surprise. In Maya’s old school there were a couple of celebration like the sports day and the international day, but it wasn’t organised in such a nice way and, most of all, the international day in particular, was the fair of hypocrisy since the target of the school bullies were foreign kids!

Anyhow, this barbecue was amazing, also because gave us the opportunity to live some of the school life. I loved the happy murals on the main buildings, the big garden around the school, the tiny secret forest where often the kids have lessons in the open air.

Also, there was a face painting stand, a finger paint station, a stand run by parents with hamburgers and hot dogs and another one with sweets run by the kids.

Scattered on the grass there were many games kids were enjoying and with the breeze the soap bubble were making the atmosphere magical.

It was heart warming seeing my daughter getting along with basically the whole class, and I can only wish she will keep getting along with the other kids and enjoy the new school for the two years left before the secondary school!

This weekend, instead, we had a very full Sunday. In the morning we went to the dojo where we had the entire lesson dedicated to kata, something I deeply love!

Although it didn’t feel heavy as lesson at the moment, my legs gave way right before the shower…I still loved it!

In the evening we went for a dinner with friends, old and new. We went for a pizza, so also Maya was happy as she’s still pretty picky.

It was nice meeting them after so long, I missed a good night out.

Pizza followed by a walk in the slightly cold Irish breeze, amazing break for a busy mind. And loads of good talk, that’s the most important thing!

And this is me for the past two weeks, I’ll try to be more present going forward! Never give up!

How was your week?

Tell me something in the comments below!

See you next time

Good habits!

Hello my dear readers,

I hope you had an amazing week!

This time I want to talk about building good habits.

In the past few posts I’ve already shared with you some news about my life and you might understand that some of them are connected to build good habits in order to secure a healthier and more satisfying way of living.

But it’s super hard, sometimes my seat backs are so behind that I think I’m just a sneeze away from travelling back in time!

I was reading a book a while ago called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear which explains properly what a habit is and helps you to understand how to create new ones.

On paper, this practice is easier than you might think and you feel very motivate and full of good intention. It’s the practical bit that it’s a pain in the neck.

You’re put in front of a matter of fact: the habits are good, but they can also be bad! You would tell me that it’s a well known concept and I would agree with you!

The only issue here that there is a huge gap in between knowing it and realising that it’s true! More than a gap it is a slap in the face…given with a shovel…of huge proportion.

So what you thought it was just procrastination, light distraction or a temporary excuse, you realize it turns to be one of the tallest mountains you have to climb in order to live better!

Then you start to struggle to follow those advice stated in the book on how to break old habit. Something you didn’t really wanted to do when you read the chapter in the fist place.

No, even better, soon you realize that this is where you’re gonna spend the 90% of your efforts for a variable span of time. I cannot be more precise here because, although in the book it’s giving a time frame, for me it didn’t work. My bad habits are hard to kill and, most of all, they’re connected to nasty addiction like emotional eating and sugar craving and a seemingly infinite laziness!

But I won’t give up as I realize that eating better, moving during the day and doing some exercise gives me definitely a higher quality of life. I think that I will struggle a bit but I’ll get there.

How about you? Any bad habit you want to get rid of? How is it going?

Half-way birthday party!

Hello my dear readers, long time no see!

If you’re wondering where I’ve been last week, I’ll reply with this post.

So on Saturday we finally managed to celebrate Maya’s birthday. She was born in December but, because of the covid, we didn’t manage to do so.

We actually fixed two dates, a couple of months apart, and we had to cancel both of them. Maya was super sad, but we couldn’t do otherwise since the covid was raging around.

This pandemic was hard for everybody but the kids, I think, had to endure the worse of it.

We decided to fix another date, which was last Saturday, and, after keeping fingers and toes crossed, we finally managed to celebrate.

Since we are always very slow in our errands and preparation, even last weekend was spared for last minute commissions before Saturday. Unfortunately, working both full time, until the shops closing time, makes things a bit more complicated.

We were delighted to see the guests arriving. The day was hectic and I was super tired by the time we finished, but seeing Maya so happy was the best reward.

The kids were super happy, the location was perfect, the sensei (yes, because Maya decided to have her party at our dojo) was a fantastic host and everybody had the time of their life. After seeing how it went, I can say this was the best party Maya has ever had.

I’m happy she finally managed to have her special day.

It doesn’t matter it was far away from her real birthday, the important is that we celebrated a beautiful little person!

And this is also why we decided to call it half-way party….right in between the 10th and the 11th birthday!

I’ll see you all next week!

What is going on with my writing?

Hello my dear readers, I hope you had a great week.

I was thinking I hadn’t spared a single word about my writing since I came back to this pages, so I believe that this is the right time to do so.

If you’ve been here long enough, you well know how much I love writing but, you also know, how time-crunched I am.

This is one the reason why I didn’t want to write about it, because is somewhat painful. I haven’t touched my novels for so long, that sometimes I don’t understand my own notes. Also, I hate complaining about my lack of time, although I cannot help it. Being expat and full-time working mum leave almost nothing to imagination!

However, I have to say, lately my stamina levels are improving, my daughter is bigger so a bit more independent, and I am managing to squeeze some time here and there for myself.

Not much, bear in mind, we are talking about 10-15 minutes per time here, but still it’s better than nothing.

Even blogging is a way to keep me going and avoid the total decay of my writing skills. Not that I’m any good or over the average, still I’d love to keep afloat in a way or the other.

So what I’m doing at the moment is to dedicate ten-fifteen minutes of my lunch break to plotting. I haven’t touched my writing for so long, that it’s taking time to get my head around what I wrote already and the direction I wanted to give to the story.

Although my high fantasy world seems almost complete and my plots are much more ahead and clearer than the my urban fantasy, I decided to concentrate on the latter anyway.

Still following the advice I was given by the person I consider my mentor in writing, and considering that I haven’t written for so long, I prefer to proceed on the line of writing which will take into account the fact I’m not a native speaker.

Although at the beginning I was completely lost, I’m getting back the hang of it. And if I’ll manage to keep going on with it, I’ll talk about this project in more details.

Any advice to get the most of the day for your writing, if you’re time crunched? If you have the secret recipe, please share it with me in the comments below!

Have a nice week!

I’ve always loved strong female characters!

Today I was watching the new He-man trailer and I had a sneak peek at the first episode when a chain of thoughts and images flooded in my brain and made me think.

When I was very little I used to watch Disney films as my dad was collecting them form me and my brother, but also many anime. In the 80s Italy there wasn’t such high censorship like we have now and luckily my generation enjoyed many anime such as ‘Hokuto no Ken’ and all the robots famous in that period along with Leiji Matsumoto’s masterpiece.

I remember that, even then, my preference was for those over the Disney classics, that I found entertaining but not exciting.

The only ones that I fully enjoyed were ‘The black cauldron’, ‘Basil the great mouse detective’, ‘The sword in the stone’, ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Alice in wonderland’.

They were kinda mixed genres so I didn’t understand what was the common ground back then.

I also remember that I used to play a lot with two small dolls: Teela (from He-Man series) and Princess Allura (from Voltron anime). They were strong characters, they were able to fight, so they were cool. I remember I preferred those and I chose to ignore the Barbies that after a change of clothes lost their appeal!

When I was a bit bigger, I discovered Miyazaki’s and, in general, Studio Gibili’s films: it was love at first sight. I lost the count how many times I watched them, but they hit the right buttons in my soul as I accrued re-watch sessions.

After being a big fan of strong character like Allura and Teela, I dreamed, as girl, to become one of those Miyazaki characters: independent, strong and self- sufficient.

Until I moved to university, I realized that I’d never been as independent as I wished. There were many things I didn’t know how to do, and many that I’d never done before. Little by little I learned a lot, I faced situations where I failed and, the most of the times, I felt the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I still feel like that the most of the times.

But there is something that those characters I loved, and I still love, left me with: the will of keep fighting. I don’t need a prince who will wake me up or the one who will look for me or who will do anything for me. I’ll find my way!

I don’t disdain help, bear in mind, and I ask when in need, so let me say it more clearly: I’ve always tried and fought to be like Aileen from ‘The black cauldron’, not Cinderella. Instead of waiting for the little mice to sort my problems out, I’ll dig my way out of prison to get back to my castle!

I know my opinion could be a bit unpopular and I’d love to know what you think about this, let me know in the comments!

If you could, would you live as a princess or like a warrior!?

You can also be both, look at San, the princess Mononoke!

I would love that!

Oh my weight!

I’ve always struggled with my weight, since the end of the high school years. If it was manageable when I was younger, now it turned out to be like a curse I cannot get rid of.

I’m overweight…a lot overweight, and in the past decades I tried so many things, so many diets, followed advices and opinions but nothing seemed to work.

It’s true that I have this nervous hunger all the times, but, also, that I genuinely tried my best every new attempt I made. Of course to no avail.

The highlight of this journey is that, through the years, I learned many things about food, healthy habits, stretching combinations, movement routines, healthy eating and so on. The lowlight is that, no matter how focused I was, the new trick wasn’t working or didn’t last long. I even went to A&E once thinking I was having a stroke…no worries, it was just fatigue and anxiety.

After the hundredth time I went to the GP and a dietician was offered, I finally decided to make a step ahead for my health and ask for a nutritionist. With all the due respect for the dieticians out there, I needed something different and more tailored than the food pyramid.

Luckily my favourite GP has always an answer to my questions and she gave me the name of a nutritionist and health coach. Her name is Alva and she’s based in Dublin; also, she was available to do everything online.

I know many of you would twitch their nose, and think that it would have been better to see me personally, and at the beginning I was skeptic too.

However, almost immediately, something unexpected happened: the scale was moving!

Ok, not massively, but yet the numbers were changing. And that hadn’t happened for years, despite the amount of exercise made or the kind of diet tried.

Alva is strong, full of energy and charisma and helps you with tips and tailored advice as she has a massive knowledge about dieting and exercising and much more. Most of all, and this is probably the thing that helped me most, is her positivity.

Alva sparkles with good vibes. No matter how bad you made that day or week, no matter how disappointed you are with yourself, she manages to cheer you up and, most importantly, motivates you.

I was so excited to keep working with her that last week I joined her summer term for the pilates fitness class. Once again online, which suits me perfectly working from home!

I loved it! I never tried pilates before! To be honest, if I knew it was this funny, I would have joined earlier!

But I suspect that Alva is the real magician of the practice once again!

My life-long gratitude goes to this woman!

You can find her here at this link, why don’t you have a look!?

What’s your story? Let me know in the comments!

Family don’t end with blood — Betta!

Family is the most important thing in life, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the only truth.
There are so many realities out there, so many point of view about it, I find it no short of amazing. And today I want to express my thoughts.

I’ve never been very close to my family in general, a part from few exceptions.

Lately, I’ve cleared some long stand misunderstanding, so I could get closer to some of my relatives – which is something I love a lot – but there is also another truth.

Because of my character and my attitude to get attached and care for people, I found no issue or even difficulty to include some special friends in my mental family.

I’ve never been that kind of person with so many friends I could lost the count. I’ve always been rather that person with two or three very good friends I could trust with my life.

For some of them, the next natural and inevitable step would be to be considered as a real brother or sister or mother!

I would like to introduce them to you here, from time to time.

This post is dedicated to Betta, whom also my daughter considers as her big sister.

She came over during the weekend to play and dine with us. She’s also a great chef and was kind enough to bake focaccia for Maya who was craving it and was absolutely happy.

A very nice and tranquil day, with that flavour of home and family that for us expat, the most of the times, seems like a mirage.

We had our ‘merenda’ made of focaccia and mortadella, we played Cluedo all together and then had dinner.

Simple things are often the best, right?

One of my favourite characters from “Supernatural” TV show said: ‘Family don’t end with blood!’ and I totally agree with that, this is why I put it also as the title for today’s blog.

What do you think?

For you who’s more important? Do you agree with me? You don’t? You do to some extent?

Let me know in the comments below!

Why I won’t post today!

Hello my dear readers, I hope you’re all fine and had a nice holiday!

I’ll just show up today to say hallo but I won’t make a full post.

I was lucky enough to have two bank holidays around the weekend and I used them to stay with my family and dedicate to the management of the house, although with scarce results. You see, it’s unfortunately also true that my insomnia keeps bothering me and I ended up dedicating a big portion of time to rest more than I usually do!

I however relaxed a lot, I played with Maya, we made a nice treasure hunt on Sunday morning – not the fancy treasure hunts I usually make for her, but work load didn’t let me to do more than that this year – and I cooked a lot….I mean a lot, a lot, a lot!

I love cooking but I haven’t batch cooked for a while now. The plus here is that at this stage my freezer is fuller and it will be a great help during the days I’ll go to the office.

And what did you do during the weekend? Have you celebrated? Have you done any treasure hunt? You just ate tons of sweets?

Let me know in the comments below!

E-arguing!

Thanks to my child, to le me use her Lego set!

Hello my dear readers, I hope you had a nice week!

Before I continue with my news, let me take a break and share with you some thoughts about human interaction.

So, the other day I was having a look at my social media pages and I came across a few posts that made me think. It seemed they wanted to help me to write a new post, hence today I want to talk about something I call e-arguing.

Nowadays the majority of people’s lives are fully on social media.

Children are put online from when they’re conceived until they open an account on their own. People put out there the most important event sof their lives, their milestones, what they eat, what they drink, what they wear and even more. We could see the family, friends, coworkers, neighbours or pets of people we haven’t talked to in all our lives and whom we’d probably never meet. Uh, yeah, also pets have their own account.

I’m not here to judge, no worries, I’m here to brainstorm really.

Personally speaking, although I understand the importance of a social media and using it daily to keep in touch with other human beings, I limit my output to blog posts and pictures associated with it. Private events and happenings, like my anniversary or my daughter birth or whatever my partner tells me or present me with are staying private.

The same goes with the fight I had with someone, the death of loving ones and other unpleasant events. Everything that is private stays private, unless I decide to share a portion of it in the net.

But I’m one of the few black sheep out there, I realize this with a bit of sadness.

What I don’t understand it’s the daily, almost hourly, display of your own private lives and feelings to the content and the judgment of other people, who are often too unhappy with their lives to leave a nice or even neutral comment!

Hence we get to my point.

Every day I see and witness discussions, arguments and even plain fights happening online. From the almost harmless rant post directed to nobody in particular – but that particular person will manage to get it for sure, and in the worst case scenario will reply with the same style…they can actually go back and forward for days like this – to the severe attacks where they go to mean downright shaming, bullying and doxxing.

My question is: is this really necessary? Wouldn’t be better to get a cup of coffee and speak straightforwardly to the counterpart?

Why do we have to display our feeling out there, do we want to be told we’re right? Comforted? Who does it really care if an unknown person passing by on our post and living in the smallest and most remote place on Earth tell us “hey bro, I agree, your friend/partner/name a family member is a real joke!”….is that only me?

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below!

Going out after two years! – The office!

It’s been two years I’ve been working from home and not interacting properly with other human beings.

Last year, when the situation seemed to be improving slightly, an arrangement was made so we could start slowly to return to work in presence.Then another surge in numbers forced us to step back and work fully remotely, before we’ve been allowed again to go to the office.

Despite my huge anxiety level and fear of catching the virus, I forced myself to get out and join my colleagues.

You’ve read about my first night out with them, but what you don’t know it’s that, from then, the team got three times bigger, three leads were hired, and here it was finally my chance to meet them all…or, better, a part of them, as there are still restrictions in place. At the beginning they allowed us to return at a 20% capacity, then raised to 60%, so it really depends on who is showing up on the day.

What I find reassuring is that, at least until now, the team members who were with me since the beginning or I met outside work, were in the office with me alternatively. On the top of that, I got to know some of those I’d never met before and I loved it. It was nice to finally to get to know new faces, to go somewhere for lunch – finally someone else was cooking for me and I was having a different sort of conversation during meals – and to relax interacting with someone who’s not my partner or my daughter (don’t get me wrong, I love them, but after two years it looks like having a conversation with your imaginary friends!)

During one of these visits I had also the pleasure to meet ‘live’ the big boss who hired us and she’s as fantastic as I thought, other than being a beautiful woman!

If I’ll ever advance in my career, I would love to be like her!

With this second wave of ‘being allowed out’, I finally met again my lovely Tamara, whom I saw only on our night out as team egg! It was a pleasure to see her finally without a screen in between us. She’s one of the people I couldn’t work without, as she’s turned out to be a dear friend.

From now on I’ll try to go to the office at least once a week to begin with and then increase the number of times. There are still several things to adjust to this new routine and I would love to talk to you about it, and little by little I will.

A final consideration before I leave.

Working from home is nice and handy in many situations and occasions, but I also miss my free time, my ‘me time’ I used to have during the commuting and chat with people different from my family. I realize now I needed some times to myself, to do something only for me. It doesn’t matter how small it is, it’s always appreciated.

What do you think? Which one you prefer? Have you been working from home until now or not?

I think a mixed or hybrid way of working from office and home would be ideal!

Let me know in the comments what you think!