Saturday, 29 September 2012

Saturday post (5 things)

1. Saturday is my favourite day. This is one of the reasons why:

At around 10.30am me and my boyfriend go out for breakfast. There's nothing I like better on a Saturday morning that sinking my teeth into a lovely pastry and drinking a gorgeous cappuccino. It's so unbelievably relaxed.

2.For a little while, at the start of September, I thought autumn was slowly creeping in. I had taken to wearing jeans and a cardigan, boots, a jacket in the evening, even a light scarf! But it seems as though the weather is all confused, because once again I'm back in shorts and sandals. I'm pretty happy to have a last little bit of summer. Beach tomorrow! :D

3.Unfortunately, this late summer heat has brought a load of horrid flies with it. They are gross and they are EVERYWHERE.

4. I learnt today that my sleepy little town is, well, not so sleepy after all. I read in the local paper that a (and I quote) 'Bonnie and Clyde' couple were recently pulled over by the carabinieri with a gun and a load of cocaine in their car. It's always the places you least expect....

5.And finally, thanks to all you fantastic people out there, my blog has reached over 10,000 visits since mid April. Thank you so much for popping by, and I hope you will again in the future!

Have a smashing weekend!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Food Friday: Sweet and, err, not so sweet....

It's Friday. (Yay!)

And I have a lovely little food post for you.

Firstly, have a look at these mouthwatering photos of cannoli (the Sicilian speciality which I have gone on about/taken many photos of before). My boyfriend recently went on another trip to Sicily and, being the wonderful person he is, he bought some fresh cannoli back for me. Yes, I know what you may be thinking, fresh ricotta after 10 hours on a hot bus?? Don't worry, there was a fridge. (I know! A fridge on a bus! But no time to go into that now.)

He had kept the 'shells' separate from the ricotta mixture, not only so we could have fun 'building' them ourselves, but also so that the shell would stay nice and crunchy. Needless to say, they were AMAZING:

On a healthier note (because yes, shock horror, cannoli are not what you would call a 'light' option...) here's what I had for lunch today:

This is 'pancotto' (I do hope I've spelt that correctly...writing in Italian is not my strong point...), which is basically made using mixed vegetables and bits of bread, with oil, salt and garlic. A lot of people aren't too fond of it to be honest, but I think it's great. I adore veggies so it's perfect for me. 

Hope you have a fantastic food filled Friday!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

More midweek memes!

Here are some more Italian memes for you. I'm having trouble finding some really good ones, but these made me giggle:

(Oh yes, it can be pretty hard to tell sometimes.)

Hope you're having a great week so far! :D

Monday, 24 September 2012

A different type of mozzarella...

The other evening my Italian man came over for dinner. When I say dinner, I mean the light meal at about 9.30pm that most Italians eat, usually consisting of some kind of bread, some meat, tomatoes, or other salad/vegatable.

He bustled in with a big bag full of goodies, claiming that he had something different for me to try.

He pulled out what looked like a big ball of mozzarella. So far so good. i can't get enough of the stuff.

But then he cut into it. And a creamy like substance flowed out from inside the mozzarella 'shell'.

What's wrong with that mozzarella?! I may have said, somewhat concerned.

Don't panic, it's really good. He explained that this particular mozzarella is typical to Puglia, and it's called 'burrata'- because its like butter. You eat it fresh, and at room temperature.

Have you tried it? I asked.

Well, not exactly.....but I've heard good things...

So, we sliced up some nice crusty bread and gave it a go. The mozzarella itself was average. I wasn't even sure that you should eat that part but the boyfriend assured me (not as convincingly as I would have liked) that it was fine to eat. But then everything changed.

I ripped off a piece of bread and dipped it in the mozzarella cream.

And it was pure heaven. 

Creamy, smooth, tasty...amazing. I may have then proceeded to mop up the entire plate. Ahem.

So, I couldn't possibly write a post without a photo. But forgive me readers, as the light was bad and as a dish, it's not too aesthetically pleasing. Also, I may have been slightly preoccupied with trying to mop up as much cream onto my piece of bread as possible....

So, as mozzarella goes, this is definitely a (creamy) winner. If you get the chance, try it!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dentist drama...(ish)

Let's be honest, nobody really likes the dentist.

And my boyfriend is no exception. Hence why I decided to accompany him on a recent visit. I was promised a free coffee and cake in return for my 'support', but even though this is a great exchange, I'm not sure if it was worth it. I'll explain to you just a little bit about a dentist visit in Puglia. And this is just in the waiting room....
  •  You may have an appointment, but this does not matter, as you'll be seen when you're seen, even if this means that there are 4 people in front of you who don't have an appointment. 
  • People will come in and demand to be seen immediately. Disregarding not only the appointments (which don't mean anything anyway, see point number one) but also the others in the 'queue'. Good grief I'm so British. 
  • The dentists don't know who's next. They simply shout out: 'Who's next?'. This is your chance- TAKE IT!
  • On a positive note, the magazines are surprisingly current. I found the latest addition of my favourite gossip magazine. Result. 
  • People chit chat. Loudly. This is very different to my dentist in the UK. 
  • Even if you are just waiting for someone, you will get asked repeatedly if you are here to be seen by the dentist.
  • Whole families go into the dentist's room together. I saw 5 family members traipse in en mass.
  • It is acceptable for children to run around and cause chaos in a space that you would never think it possible.
  • Even though it is required to use the buzzer before you enter the actual dentists rooms, people wander in anyway. 
  • Some people do make use of the buzzer though. One child played a short game of 'buzz and run'. 
So, as you can see, dentists waiting rooms are somewhat...different to those in the UK. I have yet to sample the delights of the actual dentist's chair, but as soon as I do (as little emphasis as possible on the 'soon'), I will explain it all -via bullet points- on here.

Right, best hit the shops for some more toothpaste and dental floss....

Thursday, 20 September 2012

La maestra...e la moda

In case you didn't know, I read fashion magazines. I love shopping. I have a few too many pairs of shoes.

I follow a couple of fashion blogs, as well as my favourite expat/Italy ones. Now, there are a BILLION (probably literally) fashion blogs. A MILLION (probably more) Italian fashion blogs. But is there an Italy/expat/teacher blog with a mini 'Today I feel like a fashion blogger' section in it? Well, possibly.

But here's another (better) one.

Behold, my sporadic new 'segment' (how professional does that sound?): La maestra...e la moda. Bringing you (occasional) updates on what it's like to enjoy clothes, while at the same time, making smart choices about avoiding too much cleavage/not showing too much leg/choosing the right size bag to fit all your teaching bits in. (Ideally one that can carry 5 textbooks, 4 folders and a 2 litre bottle of water. Oh and a snack. Teaching is hard work you know.) And all of this on a teacher's salary. If you think I shall be showcasing the latest Prada, you are sadly mistaken.

So, here we go. Today, I have been mostly wearing:


So, what do you think readers? Teaching appropriate? Points out of ten for style? Maybe I could be a fashion blogger yet.....!

Have a smashing day! (It's almost Friday...woo!)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mini (food) blog

 I've got two food related things to share with you today (oh what a surprise!)

The first is, of course, a hunger-inducing photo of some Sunday dolce. It's typical to buy some tasty cakes for dessert on a Sunday lunchtime. So, in keeping with this local tradition (yes, sometimes it's so hard fitting in with the locals..!), I obliged and bought a selection of little cakes for me and the girls. A Sunday lunch of pasta with tomatoes and pancetta, followed by these:

Secondly, when I came back here after spending some time in the UK over summer, I brought some Marks & Spencer biscuits and cadburys chocolate buttons with me. Unfortunately for the buttons, the (very) hot weather changed their form somewhat. Into, well, this:

 But, as my nan says, it's still chocolate. It doesn't matter what shape it's in, it's still yummy. (Even if it has literally become a chocolate mass...mmm. That sounds even better than individual pieces...)

Buon pomeriggio! :D

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday morning blues? Erm, no.

Well, it's MONDAY again.

One minute you're basking in the glory of Friday evening with too much pizza, some lovely wine and good company. Next thing you know, it's Monday morning and you're making your way, bleary eyed, to work.

But let me tell you, that the individual student I have on a Monday morning, is most definitely what you would call a morning person.

But not in that annoying way, where someone bounds up to you, practically singing about what a glorious day it is and acting as thought they have (annoyingly) just won the lottery.

No. My student calmly transfers his Monday morning cheer to the people around him, leaving good moods and smiles as he goes.

The thing is about Mondays, he says, is that it's the start of a new week. Your batteries are charged, you're full of energy, and you feel ready to tackle anything. Why on earth should you be tired and depressed?

Well, I agree completely. His positive thinking is refreshing. 

He had me laughing 10 minutes into the lesson, and for the whole time, I pretty much didn't stop. Now whoever can manage to do that, is most definitely worth knowing.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bizarre Italy...

Sicily wasn't just about the amazing scenery, fantastic beaches and delicious food. Oh no.

We came across a strange place.

It was neither here nor there, really...

(Yes, that does translate as 'Purgatory'.)

Strangely enough, we couldn't get any radio signal whatsoever when we drove through.

But I'm sure that was just a coincidence...

Friday, 14 September 2012

Food Friday: gorgeous gelato...

There are many things I love about the Italian summer. Al fresco dining, trips to the beach, and seeing my lovely little town bathed in glorious sunshine.

But there's something else that I (literally) just can't get enough of, even as the summer is coming to an end (boo!) and that's gelato. Gorgeous, glorious, gluttonous gelato. I've always been a fan of ice cream, but the real gelato experience is something else entirely. Creamy, smooth, flavoursome and absolutely delicious.

It costs about €1.30 for a cone or a cup in my town. I like to 'control' my portions by often going for the cup, but I eat it so often that it's really quite pointless.

Left- Kinder bueno, Right- Kinder paradiso and Chocolate

Yours truly, getting stuck in (and probably dripping it all down my t-shirt..)
And the choice is definitely not limited to your standard strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and nut. Oh no. As well as the usual, there are also flavours like melon, peach, pistachio and nutella (the latter of which is unbelievably good but oh-so-rich).


again, yum.

Chocolate is still one of my favourites however, even though it's a traditional flavour and not so exciting as the others. 'Bacio' (bottom photo, far left) is a chocolatey with lots of yummy hazelnuts, and on the far right, is one of my other favourites, 'Magnum Mandorle'. Chocolatey, almondy and just plain awesome. It's the great big chunks of chocolate in it that really do it for me.

If chocolate based ice cream isn't what you go for, then you could try these instead:



'Zuppa Inglese'
The last one is literally translated as 'English soup'. Doesn't sound too good does it? Well, it is a little odd. The best description I can come up with, is that it's quite like trifle. Give it a go!

Buon apetitto! :D

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Back to school!

I don't know about anyone else, but starting a new year at school or uni was always a great excuse to buy some amazing new stationary. Well, now I've become a teacher, I can still do this. Woohoo!

My new year has begun, and I have not only acquired some (cheap) new writing pads and folders, but have also 'customised' them with magazine cut outs.Well, I wanted them to look good- I'll be using them almost every day for the next few months...

All stationary from Lidl (yes, the section of random household bits. Bike saddles, sleeping bags, frying pans and, well, awesome stationary)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Weekend report (yes, it includes dolce...)

Hello all! I hope you had a smashing weekend.

I just have a couple of things to share about my weekend. Firstly, my town had a 'fashion show/dance show/live singer/brass band/famous presenterswhoIdidn'trecognise' thing on Friday night. So we went, we watched, we clapped. (And then got pretty damn chilly...autumn is definitely creeping in). But the best thing about it for me, was spending some time with some lovely girls. Here they are:

Me and the boy also went to see our friends' new flat. It's great. Perfect size, good location, and they've painted one of the walls bright yellow. Sigh. I want to paint MY wall bright yellow tooooo!

This would be gorgeous if it weren't for miss smiler in the middle.
 And of course, on Sunday we bought cakes. Gooey, chocolaty, creamy cakes. Mmmm...

Happy Monday! :D

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Sicily Chronicles...the finale.

I'm sure by now you are well and truly aware that I went to Sicily recently. If you are not aware of this fact, well... I went to Sicily recently.

This post is all about showing you just how amazing Sicily is. Forget for just a moment the practical info and the websites for B&Bs. Just look at how fantastic it is...

These olives were growing right where we were staying.
Erice- a small town in the mountains, reachable by cable car.

The leaves of this fig plant were so thick you could carve your name into them

We took a trip to the Lo Zingaro nature reserve, and unfortunately we couldn't see much of the park. Why? Because recently there have been a lot of forest fires. Such a big shame that this once beautiful landscape had been reduced to blackened tree stumps and ash. Who knows how long it'll take for it to be reduced to what it was before.

But I don't want to finish on a negative note.

All I have to say is: Go to Sicily. It's incredible.