Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dreaming of Italy....

For the past few months I have been longing to go back to Italy, maybe Capri, Sicily, Sardinia or maybe the mainland, hard to choose. I have been drawn to all things Italian and have delved into my cook books to seek out Italian recipes and have been shopping with an Italian theme in mind.

For my Birthday, I recently acquired a beautiful book called VENEZIA Food and Dreams. The photographs are so beautiful and the recipes look delicious and tempting.

Another image from the book. That chandelier is so beautiful!

Nesti Dante soaps are made in Italy. They are the most wonderful soaps! On a recent visit to Dartmouth, I bought more as they are not always easy to find locally. I had only just ran out of them.

Moving on to food...

I have quite a few Italian cook books, reflecting my love of Italian food.

One of my recent book buys is Two Greedy Italians. The TV series is very enjoyable, if you haven't already seen it yet you will be entertained.

Would like to have a meal at this restaurant in Capri, on a warm balmy evening...

There are a number of online Italian Delicatessens where speciality foods can be bought. I like Sardinia's flat crisp bread called pane carasau also known as 'carta da musica' (music paper) as they are so thin. I bought them from Tre Stelle, they are perfect with dips, on their own broken up as a snack or used in lasagne as an alternative to pasta. The recipe for that dish is featured in the Two Greedy Italians book.
The bottle of Mirto is a speciality from Sardinia. I discovered it whilst on honeymoon in 2006.

I have subscribed to Italia! and every month get my fix Italian images and news. It covers all apects of Italy, travel, food, politics, language, property etc.

This is the book that I am reading at bedtime: Head over Heels - Seduced by Southern Italy by Chris Harrison. It is based on his real life experience of having fallen in love with an Italian woman and leaving his country behind (Australia) to go and live with her in Italy. I like his humour and the way he describes what it is really like living and working in Italy. I am not half way through the book yet but I have already learnt quite a bit about Italians or Italian way of life which I was not aware of before. A very good read so far!

Next book waiting in the wings...

There are quite a few films set in Italy which I have enjoyed watching and this is one of them. An easy going romantic film with stunning views of Italy throughout it. It's a lovely film.

Well, that's my little tour of Italy over for now...Thank you for letting me indulge in a bit of dreaming...

Do you have a favourite place in Italy?

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Healthy Habits: WALKING

In one of my recent posts I talked about the need to go back to healthier habits, walking being one of them. I used to walk 5km a day 5 mornings a week and that stopped some time ago as a busier life took over. I am pleased to say that I have started walking again. When Alan returns from work, we now all go on a family walk or cycle ride in Miss P's case.

Although I have only just recently started doing this, I am already beginning to feel the benefits! Not only am I giving my body some exercise but I am giving my soul some time to switch off and take in the beauty around me. That is so important, it's all too easy to get absorbed with the more serious side of life and forget to allow yourself time to relax and take in the beauty of what surrounds us.

Tonight I went on such a walk and these pictures are some of the things I saw on the way.

The good thing about having a family walk is that you get to spend some quality time together and talk about each others day. Miss P has learnt so much from walks like these such as plant names, birds and other little creatures...

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The lure of DARTMOUTH

On Saturday morning, we felt like having a fun and relaxing day out. We gave Miss P the option of choosing where. Much to our delight she suggested that we all go to Dartmouth in Devon.
We went there on holiday two years ago and ever since then, Dartmouth has a special place in Miss P's heart.

Upon arrival we had a picnic in the park. We had the perfect weather for it, sunny but not too hot.

Lunch over and off we went in search of a bucket and a net for Miss P to do
some crabbing.

Whilst Miss P was crabbing, I was very happy sitting on the bench watching the boats and yachts go by. Although there isn't any maritime blood in my family (as far as I know), I have always had an interest in maritime history, archeology and sailing. Eventually, I would like to learn how to sail and then go around the River Dart and the River Helford.

"The Spirit of Adventure" cruise ship

A day out at the seaside would not be complete without a whippy ice cream with strawberry sauce and hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top!

For me, the lure of Dartmouth is the Dart estuary, the boats and the architecture. If Dartmouth didn't have any shops, I would be perfectly content. As Dartmouth does have shops, I had a little wander around. I topped up on some of my favourite soaps (Nesti Dante) from a beauty shop called The Cove and always call in to a French patisserie called Saveurs.

This shop had lovely chandeliers

Back to the sea and the boats

Two of my favourite seafront houses in Dartmouth

We left Dartmouth at around 19.00 hours and drove to Ashprington near Totnes to have a meal at The Waterman's Arms Country Inn. I had been there several years ago with my parents and my sister. I was nice to be able to go back there again, this time with Alan and Miss P.

After a lovely meal, we went and watched the ducks by the river. The evening had a magical feel to it as the sunset shone through the trees and reflected on to the flowing water.

Goodbye Devon...for now...

Today I am going to relax and read my copy of Devon Life which features an interesting article on The Beach Hut Caravan Company and another one about Mary Berry in a Salcombe home.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend or holiday!

A bientôt!

Isabelle X