Saturday, July 27, 2019

La Dolce Vita

Rome, Italy 2001

As much as I adore Paris and France, my heart has also been taken by Italy. There is something about Italian style that is more accessible and down-to-earth. When I think about favourite foods, Italian food is right up there too. I think Italy is the secret sister for me, and she guides me in a way that I don't always appreciate.

I have only visited Italy once – Rome, for a mere two or three days – but it made a big impact on me and I can still remember many details; how confident and flamboyantly dressed the women were, the sense of style which was so important to Romans; the smartly dressed young men and women zipping around on Vespas, coffee balanced on the handlebars and held precariously with one hand, the espresso bars everywhere.

I have just finished reading a book called ‘When in Rome’, by Nicky Pellegrino (she's here on Amazon), and the exquisite beauty of her writing took me back to Italy and made me fall in love with the Italian way of life all over again.

I think you would call this book ‘faction’; it is a fascinating and enjoyable story woven in with the true story of the great tenor Mario Lanza when he and his family moved to Rome from the US to shoot a movie. The main character Serafina becomes his wife’s assistant, so she has a behind-the-scenes view to this famous man. I could almost sigh from happiness while reading this book; it feels like you are living right there in Rome with them and I want to make more Italian dishes for dinner as a result of reading about chef Pepe and his sizzling, fragrant kitchen.

This is the first book of Nicky’s I have read and trust me, I will be searching out her others! (She has quite a few, yay!)

Ah bella, I am so sad to have finished this book, it was like the perfect evening out; you know there will be others, but this one was just so… divine. Sometimes a book finds you at exactly the right time, you know? And it weaves its way into your very being.

So for now, I will be moving to Italy in my mind, and thinking what I can make for dinner tonight that will fit my mood. And, playing opera on my iPod :)

Are you a lover of all things Italian, or does it sneak up on you like it did to me?

Happy weekend everyone!


PS. I am about to start another audiobook recording - which one would you vote for me to do?  I am thinking Thirty More Chic Days.  In the meantime, if you haven't listen to my first audiobook, of Thirty Chic Days, you can find it here as an instant download in MP3 format.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Building a beautiful life with routines

Hello chic friends, do you like the photo of my street?  There are grape vines down the road from us.  It's winter here and they are all pruned back, but just look at those colours; they're glorious, yes?  I lightened up this photo on my phone, but that's all the 'editing' I've done.

This photo encapsulates the feeling I want for my everyday life - a feeling of peace and beauty.  And I have been on a quest to capture that feeling for a long time now.  One thing that always helps me feel good is having the basics taken care of - laundry is up to date, I know what I'm having for dinner, my bed is made, the house is clean and tidy, that sort of thing - daily life.  Having these things sorted means I can feel relaxed and focus on what I need to do that day, as well as dream big for the future.

I've been using Flylady's routines for about three weeks now and they really useful.  I've had her book Sink Reflections for ages, but never read it properly, just flicked through it (I ordered her newest book on Kindle too).  Reading it and actually implementing what she says has been a big help - who would have thought!  And she led me on to Diane in Denmark's Flylady videos on YouTube.  Diane is very motivating to me!  She makes things simple and currently I am enjoying going through her 31 Babysteps video playlist as I put my makeup on in the morning or sip a cup of tea.

I can be easily distracted and the basics get forgotten about which means a stressful scramble when I realise I haven't even thought about dinner or my bed is not made yet I must leave the house within sixty seconds.  I really can't stand to leave a bed messy; I'd rather be late by a few minutes and make the bed before I leave.  But that's just because I started that habit of always making my bed a long time ago.  Of course I'd rather not be late either so that's something else I am working on, and the simple daily routines of Flylady help with that too because I feel ahead of the game instead of behind.

Something cool I did find was the Flylady Premium app for my phone.  It's free and fantastic.  The routines area means I can tick them off on my phone.  I deleted a few and added some of my own to customise the list.

I have even been putting an outfit together for the next day most nights, and it's fun!  This has encouraged me to wear different clothes than normal, and add the finishing touches such as a scarf or necklace too.  Plus, when I hang up an outfit on the hooks in our wardrobe, I can see that something needs me to whizz over it with the lint shaver or a button is loose.  It feels good to play around in my wardrobe rather than zoom in once a day to get quickly dressed.  I appreciate my clothes more and I look after them instead of wanting to go out and buy something new.

Do you have any routines that you know your life would fall apart without?  What are your favourites?

Please share :)


PS. If you haven't read any of my books yet, why not pop over to Amazon and download samples for free?  You can find them here.
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