pandemic

The last time I wrote this was almost two years ago after coming back from the UK when the world was still as we knew it. Two years later and we’ve lived through a global pandemic. The first place to be affected in Europe was the northern region of Lombardy in Italy where I live. A […]

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Home, memory, sand in your sandwiches

Then we came home again, after a summer that included our usual trips to Spain and the UK, via the two month mark of the three month Italian school holidays when we all started to feel like it was time to go back to school. Yet the holidays continued, and the UK was a round of […]

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Wild boar stew is part of my identity

When I told my family I was toying with the idea of being vegan or at least vegetarian, my younger son looked at me in that way he has when it’s obvious he thinks his mother cannot possibly be serious. “You’ll never manage it,” he pronounced. Of course he was right. I can’t see myself […]

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Bologna porticoes and the women’s marches

I took the picture last Thursday in Bologna before the women’s marches. There’s something so calming about Bologna. It manages to be lively and vibrant without feeling chaotic. It’s also one of Italy’s oldest university cities (yet feels more like a big town), is home to so much cultural and political activity. I sat in […]

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Arancini di riso alla milanese or Milanese style rice balls

Saturday 25th November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. I want to share a recipe for arancini di riso, or little oranges of rice as they’re known, a popular dish from the south of Italy. The reason I want to share them is because I ate them once, cooked by […]

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Penitent processions and the women’s social club

“Mummy, can we follow the procession?” my son asked me. We were walking down the street in the seaside town of Nerja in southern Spain, more specifically the sun-baked lands of Andalucia. It’s an area I know well. My family had a house there and we’d gone there for Easter. Easter is a serious business […]

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Memories are made of breakfasts

When I was young, I can distinctly remember going around telling everyone: “When I grow up, I’m going to live in France,” France being the only place that I’d visited outside the UK. I’d been on a school trip to Normandy when I was about ten. It was the early 80s and a big event, especially […]

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Being home

It changes when you move away, the perspective. The familiar is still familiar but you see it through a different lens. The old lens has long been cast aside. Or maybe it’s still the old lens but it’s transformed over the years. You’re still holding the camera and you decide the anglem which is why […]

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Leftover risotto and the women’s refuge

Arancini di riso are literally small oranges of rice or leftover risotto, deep-fried and delicious. My kids love them, so whenever I make risotto I generally make extra for arancini the day after. My recipe was given to me by a woman I met in a women’s refuge. I was there at the refuge with my eight year […]

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Nutella for grown-ups

My kids were little and we were by the lake. I was making Nutella sandwiches. “And if we ever have kids, they’re not eating any of that crap,” this guy sitting near(ish) to us said to his girlfriend. I too had been that mother of the my kids will never eat Nutella variety. Before I […]

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Car

I needed a new car. My old one had reached the stage that if I drove it any longer it would die. Literally. And probably somewhere very inconvenient with the kids in the back. So off I went. It’s amazing when you do something like buy a new car how all your fears that stereotypes […]

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Up Grigna, Lake Como way

It was supposed to be a family affair, the four of us. “Have we got enough petrol?” “Yes, of course we have.” Of course we have enough petrol. “Excuse me, how much further is it to the start of the walk?” I ask. The man cycling upwards pulls a face. “Oh, about four kilometres.” Not so long after we’re […]

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