Friday, 28 December 2012

wandering, wondering

wow...it's been a long time since an update....

 

So i'm back in the big smoke, and just taking strolls around to and from work has reminded me of why i love london. It's architecture and character.

 

After our tearful goodbye waiting for the italians coach back to the airport, i drudged my way back to my old place of work. Ready to put one foot inside the door again and familarise myself.

 

It's barely been a month since my return and there is much promise on the cards. I sometimes standstock and try to realise just how lucky i am. Being able to return to work just for one, having had the chance to live in italia for just a while and of course finding my beau.

Except he won't be arriving until Jan 3rd in the new year and whilst house hunting should be a fun thing to do with all this promise on the cards......it's not. But hey - we've been lucky so far so the rest will be just plain old hard work.

But really....when you're searching for a new place to call home, especially a room in a shared house (dbl with room for a desk anyone?) you want it to be a shared experience. To hop from one teeney box room in london to another, discussing it's merits over a coffee and giggling about how paper thin the walls were.

Instead the italian is stuck in the homeland and I'm relaying every contact i've made, sending photos and haggling over prices.  He's stressed....I'm stressed. It's stressful. Why didn't i realise how expensive it was to rent in London. The rent prices begin to look just like numbers with no significance. A 3 is a low number right? except when it's followed by 50 and that's per week!

So a few weeks were filled trying to hold down a full time job, search around for xmas presents, sort out my paperwork and crash on my parents sofa at the end of the night.

Now at least xmas is out the way! After returning to my folks on xmas eve, emotional as hell, bursting into tears from the stress of it all, I headed to the pub to meet with a much needed positive energy in the form of Kristina. Laughter, booze, hugs and kisses followed.

Christmas day filled with food, booze and telly....have never appreciated a chilled out xmas more.

But the truth may be that I just miss the italian, plain and simple.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

HE GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

back in blighty

So here I am....

Sat in a starbucks about 2 minutes from Kings Cross St Pancras, London.

I'm back. Sorry for the lack of an update, it's been a tumultuous past few weeks living in Limbo land.

Just before I had left for Italy I wrote this on my facebook timeline....

I remember an old catholic joke about a man who spent his whole life going to a church every day and prayed to the statue of a great saint begging "please, please, please, let me win the lottery." 
Finally the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man and says "my son, please, please, please, buy a ticket. 
So now I get the joke, and I bought a ticket......

So that ticket to me to Rome and more.

 Medically speaking Italy kicked my butt, I have to spent close to 200quid on anything mosquito related, to finally discover that i'm just pretty much allergic to the buggers.

Such is my perfectionism, I couldn't stand to think that i had failed.

Failed to snag me some kind of job that could sustain me in the surprisingly expensive city. But I console myself with the fact that half of italy can't get a job and if they can - they are paid peanuts for it.

Maybe I can give a fair evaluation on my time in Italy after some weeks of settling  back in London.

But there you have it. As a wise man once told me....looking back on the past is nice but really....you need to look forward to the future in order to change it and make it the best you can.

So I've landed back sans Sicilian into the craziest time of year - Christmas (yuck). He's staying a couple of days for an interview and then I will have to say goodbye as he coaches it back to Stansted and boards a plane to Roma.

And then I think my heart will literally.............break.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

accenting

british accent in rome  
I used to walk around town here talking quietly (very non italian).  
Not ashamed of my british accent, just ashamed at my still poor italian skills. I'm now embracing my accent and am quite enjoying see people trying to figure it out. 

'She looks italian but she's.......not'

I did manage to have a semi conversation with a lady in a pharmacy about make up!
(but i also completely blanked a guy who was probably trying to ask for directions about an hour before)

you win some, you lose some

But really - ask any foreigner living in Rome trying to practice their italian skills.
The moment you try is the moment one of two things happen....

a) they finish your wandering sentence with their broken english and latch on so they can practice

b) even if you got it 99% correct and they know what you're trying to 
say they still look at you as if to say.....'whaaaa???'



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Positive thinking

I'm a big believer in positive thinking. Yet i've always had the inkling that too much positive thinking leads us to think that we've pretty much achieved our goal and all we need to do is just sit back and wait for it to happen.

Now this article goes some way to supporting that theory.....''The power of negative thinking' is a good read and warns us that visualizing our aims as already achieved can backfire.

Here's the start....go feed yourself some nuggets of inspiration....
Lie back and picture life after your ambitions are fulfilled, the motivational gurus used to say, and you'll bring that end result closer to reality. Make an effort to visualize every detail – the finished screenplay sitting pretty on your desk, the gushing reviews in the paper, the sports car parked outside.

The gurus claimed these images would galvanize your determination. They said you could use the power of positive thinking to will success to happen. But then some important research came along that muddied the rosy picture.
(read more)






Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Willard Asylum suitcases





Skipping across the tinterweb this evening i came across this interview on Collectors weekley.

Jon Crispin, photographer catalogues a lost hoard of suitcases stored in the Willard Asylum for the chronically insane dating back from the 1910's to 1960's......creepy......

Because I'm feeling lazy tonight i'll leave you with the opener......

''If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.''







Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Infographic Resume/CV


Anybody need an infographic CV/Resume?

Get in touch!


infographic resume CV

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Giffing up the kids

How to make an animated GIF from photos


I love it when photos of the kids start rolling in from my sister!

This is my mischievous nephew Benjamin enjoying the autumn weather back home in England.

I'm lucky she's so snap happy, as she takes a bazillion photo's all in one sequence which means i could try my hand at creating a GIF!

Here's the tutorial i used if you have photoshop and a set of photo's with continuous frames!


Friday, 2 November 2012

happy halloween via youtube



a bit late on the halloween front but happy halloween everyone!
enjoy this halloween scary youtube clip!

Monday, 22 October 2012

mouth of truth




Bocca della Verita

The mouth of truth






Wednesday, 17 October 2012

ikea how to


In the land of motorbikes.......


Q.  How do you go shopping to Ikea? 
(or as the italians pronounce it 'ee-keh-ya')






A.  Find somewhere to strap that stuff on and involve some bungy ropes



Thursday, 11 October 2012

mosquito gate

It's a bad, bad day. Numerous bites all over my peach, face and arms which have swollen big time.

Makes me feel very sorry for myself.

Makes me want bowls of frosties in bed watching re-runs of saved by the bell.

Wish I had frosties.



Caponata


After a meet up with fellow bloggers Natalie from anamericaninrome.com and Marina from rinaz.net we tried out a local bar in the Monti quarter for some prosecco and 'Caponata'.

Ever since trying it i've been itching to try and make it. It's a traditional Sicilian dish, served best cold with some bread and is a kind of sweet and sour mix of vegetables.

I got the recipe from 'Laura in the kitchen' who ironically enough is an american with origins from Naples.

The main base is 'Melanzane' (eggplant, aubergine) which in the preperation you have to add tonnes of salt to  so you extract as much moisture as possible. It's a fairly easy recipe to follow, it's just the wait time of 1hr for the melanzane to bleed all it's water that can be a yawn.








making caponata, homemade

A little peeved that i didn't add enough melanzane (eggplant) and that mine doesn't look as 'red' in colour as hers but it's tasty enough!

making caponata, homemade



And Alessio eyes have popped out at the thought of some sicillian cooking happening in the house!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Saturday nutshell


Brunch at Nino's




Nino's
Via 4 Novembre 97,
Ciampino



Cycling around Parco Appia Antica, exploring.....


Bicycle hire: 3euros an hour (you need to leave a drivers license or ID)



Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica


Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica

Parco appia antica


Parco appia antica

Took a glance at 'Le catacombe di San Callisto'....the christian catacombes which hold upto half a million graves.....


San Callisto Catacombe
Via Appia Antica, 110/126
8 euros entry with guided tour




christian catacombes rome

christian catacombes rome

Followed by a drive through the city and pizza.......then partaking in Romes 'Night of the musuems' where all the museums on 6th October were free by night! 


night of the museum rome 2012


So we visited the MAXXI museum designed by Zaha Hadid which is similar to 
the Tate Modern in London.


Maxxi
Via Guido Reni, 4 A
Roma

Entry is normally 11 euro

maxxi rome

The building is way more impressive than the Tate, but we found the exhibitions lacking somewhat (in our humble opinion). So yeh...we basically walked through deciding modern art was questionable but both appreciating the design of the building.


Maxxi Rome
Maxxi Rome

Maxxi Rome
Maxxi Rome
Maxxi Rome
Maxxi Rome


Maxxi Rome
Maxxi Rome

around 11pm we hot footed it over to Testaccio to check out the Macro museum which was holding it's annual photography festival. This was truly amazing. So many interesting exhibitions and live rock jazz in the background.


Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4,
Testaccio

Entry normally 6 euro

macro testaccio


Housed in a 19th century slaughter house, this place was buzzing and not unexpectedly as every entry was free!


Testaccio reminds me of East London in so many ways, taking an area that was used for old agricultural use and making it the hip and trendy area to be. Or maybe it's just the people as they looked so 'east london'.


musak, via di monte testaccio 38/A

 A curved side street (via di monte) is home to bars and clubs galore. If you're there check out 'Musak' on the strip...a killer little club, where i literally danced for hours last week. But nothing kicks off until after midnight so grab a late dinner first.

Perfect saturday in Rome complete!





Monday, 8 October 2012

Cafe culture


If you ever find yourself in Ciampino, just before a flight or after hopping off the plane then hot foot it to 'Nino's' for some cafe and funghi arancina. Wherever i end up in the world i know that i will always miss this place......

They serve their cafe with 'pana' which is some kind of mix of cream and egg whites and the funghi arancina is literally to die for....melt in your mouth creaminess.

When you imagine sitting in a cafe in Italy, watching the world go by with a newspaper maybe....this is the kind of heaven you could experience.


Nino's,
via IV Novembre,89-95
00043, Ciampino

coffee and cream
coffee and cream
mushroom risotto balls
mushroom risotto balls



Sunday, 7 October 2012

Groupon


Unbeknown to some, Rome can often be a little on the expensive side.

We went to 'Eataly' yesterday (huge modern harrods style food hall warehouse) and I almost cried at the thought of paying 20euro to sit inside and eat a small rotisserie chicken. Amazing place and if i had a spare 1000 euro i would definitely do my weekly shop there.

Plus i found kettle chips. I'm waiting until i find some hummus to pop open the packet.

But groupon has amazing deals, a friend buys car hire vouchers for 5euro and gets to hire a car worth 50euro.

But seeing as my italian still needs help, i normally just copy and paste the url address into google translate and the whole page is translated! did you know you can do that?

But once again Google can't always be trusted............


From this.......



to this....



Friday, 21 September 2012

ordering a chinese in italian - an msg hangover


So sometimes even in Italy you may get a craving for something a bit different food wise.
Not that endless pastries, creamy pasta's and fresh pomodoro can't get tiresome but...........it can get tiresome. (just sometimes)

There's not a huge culture of international food here in Rome. More indian and chinese cuisine restaurants have opened in recent years so i'm told, but it's not the booming industry it is in the UK.
I'm a fussy/picky/infuriating person when it comes to ordering chinese anyway. Always desperate to try something new but always ending up ordering a time old favourite.

Chicken chow mein.

But.....how do you order that in Italian?
There's no way to google translate this kind of thing.

Take a look at the menu below and see if you can make any sense of it!




ordering chinese in italian

ordering chinese in italian

ordering chinese in italian


What a mine field eh? What would normally take 10 mins to decide and place an order, took 2 hours of google translate/image search to figure what each dish would mean. 

I mean really....when you see 'spaghetti' you think pasta right?

So go ahead and google 'spaghetti di riso con carne'

Sounds a bit like spaghetti with chilli con carne right?

So eventually after some trial an error I can now order what i want. Phew!

All the brain ache was worth it.......twas yummy trash food! (but what an MSG hangover)

FYI - 'spaghetti di riso con pollo' is chicken chow mein (you're welcome)



ordering chinese in italian


ordering chinese in italian

ordering chinese in italian