January 21, 2019

The top 10 Expat Mom Blogs Award goes to...

Over the Christmas holiday I received great news which I haven't shared on my blog yet. It was a wonderful way to ring out the year and made me feel grateful that my work as a blogger is appreciated and followed.

Expat with Kids - my second blog with focus on Switzerland - was nominated "Top 10 Expat Mom Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2019" by Feedspot Blog, an RSS content reader facilitating you to access all your favorite websites in one place.

I am thrilled to announce that Expat with Kids has made it into the Top Expat Mom Blogs list. So, if you hop over to visit my "Swiss Alter Ego" blog you'll find my Top 10 Expat Mom Blog Award shining proudly on my website just as the one I received for my Paris blog which hit "Top 60 Pais Blogs". Here's to all my readers who have been following me over the years! 


January 18, 2019

Where's my little girl gone?

Expat Girl has had a rather hectic start to the New Year. This week she has completed her Personal Project at school which she has been working on for the last four months. She is deeply involved in a Sustainability Development Project which will take her to Namibia this summer AND all while trying to survive Extended Math Class spending hours of homework everyday.

She never complains. She has meltdowns but not often. She ploughs through it all. Like a warrior always steering forward while caring for those who need a helping hand.

When did my little girl turn in to such a well-rounded adult? It happened in front of my eyes... even though I am watching her grow physically and mentally day by day... somehow I blinked and I missed the transformation.

She surpassed my shoe size age 10, she is taller than I at age 15 and she is learning Chinese because she wanted to learn a language that her mummy doesn't speak.

Not doubt, she is a mini-me but she is so much more than the sum of her skills and talent, not to mention she is always three steps ahead of everyone else.

I watch her walking off to school, listening to her older brother's playlist with her ear-pods, a sign telling me how much she misses him since he left for university. Her black backpack is covered with colourful peace & love patches that she sewed onto it to make it her own. Her brown hair flashing in a tumble of stubborn waves that she swiftly wraps up to an uncontrolled chignon. And those long, lanky legs... which on the rare occasions she wears skirts catch more attention than she realizes.

She is bubbly, caring, fun, responsible, mature, clever, quick and generous. She is no longer a girl, she has turned into a gorgeous woman and the beauty of it all is that she hasn't realized it yet!

January 14, 2019

Kicking off the New Year

So far, this has been the most laid-back return from holidays ever! It may have been due to the fact that Parisians seemed to have taken a few extra days of holidays deserting the city until Jan 6th. It could be that no one cares to face the gilets jaunes in the streets. In any case it was a quiet week...

What better way to start the year than a romantic tête-à-tête?

A trip to the new Apple store on Champs Elysées to repair a phone.
I wonder what Silicon Valley would think of the Parisian flagship store architecture?

New Year's Resolution in full swing... keeping fit!

Until I get sidetracked by the most scrumptious looking cake display!

A new dinner discovery thanks to some French friends. 

A morning jog around the block.

A surprise visit by Expat boy who is home to have his washing done... and for some TLC!

A night stroll below the Eiffel Tower 

 An amorous promenade under the bridges of Paris

Una cena italiana tra amici!

January 11, 2019

Swiss German interpretation of the Gilets Jaunes protests

Meet the Swiss Late night show host Dominic Deville. His amusing, provocative view of current events and his refreshingly straightforward style are shaping the character of this comedy show on Swiss Public television.

When your home country takes the "gilets jaunes" for a ride you know somewhere someone went too far...

What really made me giggle is that the Deville's 35-minute format is broadcast from Zurich's "Mascotte club" a place which used to be my favourite disco club back in the 80's.

Forgive me if this is barely comprehensible to non-speaking Swiss Germans but it really did make my day today!

January 10, 2019

A quick pitstop in Napoli

On our way back from our Southern Italian ski holiday we just needed to get that pit stop in for a little shopping and, of course, more food! We do love Napoli!

Piazza Dante: glorious sunshine and blue skies

When history, religion and technology meet.

"Come with me and I'll show you a little corner of happiness"

Football in Napoli is everything!!!

No matter who you are!

"Quartiere Spagnolo" or when the dangerous part of the city becomes a tourist attraction.

A lovely book on Neapolitan expressions.

Just look at those prices!!!
Scarole and Friarielli are Neapolitan specialities. 

Spaghetti alle vongole: my favourite!

There is ALWAYS time for a coffee!

January 6, 2019

A little magic at New Year's Eve

Ever since I met my hubby and dragged him onto the slopes in Verbier many moons ago, I have been hearing about how he used to ski in Roccaraso. Roccaraso is an Apennine ski town, 150km from Napoli claiming to be one of the largest Italian resorts outside the Alps.

It does have its history: The first ski race was held in 1910 and the first ski lift was the "Slittovia" in Monte Zurrone, built in 1936. Numerous competitions, both national and international, are held every year.

Not far from this ski resort where "see and be seen" seems to be as popular as in the ritzy St.Moritz, lays a little mountain village called Rivisondoli.

Rivisondoli rose in the 12th century in a strategic position along an important military and commercial route, the "Via degli Abruzzi" and was renowned for its production of weapons. A fire almost completely destroyed the village in 1792. Subsequently, the establishment of the Sulmona-Isernia railway helped the development of tourism. In 1913 the Italian Royal Family had its residence here.

Well, now Expat family was to take residence over the New Year holiday! The hotel design was a blast from the past as were the characters who welcomed us at the reception. Warm, helpful, curious and very local hosts who inquired how we had managed to get from Paris to Rivisondoli.

Family reunion was of course the reason for our trip and as my Dad used to say: "You wanted Italian, you got Italian!". Weeks ahead a general WhatsApp chat had been brought to life to discuss the menu for each day. Days were spent hunting for the perfect ingredients and hours of preparation by dozens of families before each of them brought their dishes to the table.

Fireworks had been shipped up in a station wagon and the New Year was rung in with lots of noise and bubbles... even a few snowflakes made it our way covering roads and christmas lighting, making Rivisondoli the little magic town my husband always raved about.

Welcome drink... Prosecco in a Ramazotti glass... we are off to a great start!

Phone cabin... anyone?!?

The hotel dining room: it is so vintage it's back in fashion! 

The center of Rivisondoli... can you spot the snow?

Moving from one dining table...

... to the next...

... to the next...

Pescocostanzo, excellent example of conservation of civil and religious architecture, 
is a magical and suggestive place

Counting about 1,500 inhabitants...

...and loads of local delicacies!

Your regular lunch aperitivo all'Abruzzese!

Never have I tasted so many delicious pies in one place... ever!

Back to the warmth of a chalet

Adios 2018

Snowy streets of Rivisondoli 

When there's just not enough space in the fridge!!!

January 5, 2019

Skiing in the Apennine Mountains

Our family cannot sit still for very long, so less than 24 hours after having returned from London we were heading towards the Apeninne Mountains in Southern Italy to spend New Year's Eve with family.

I had been told one can ski in the Aquila region. I have been led to believe this for decades and have always smirked at the idea... after all I grew up on the Swiss slopes. Never the one to resist a challenge Expat Girl and I packed all our ski gear and headed South following Expat hubby's lead.

We woke the first day in Rivisondoli to some glorious sunshine. Off we went, both of us feeling quite excited at the prospect of exploring a new skiing area. Despite very little snow we ventured out to try all open ski lifts, deciding the gondola leading up to 2000m at Toppe del Tesoro was the best option.

What we were NOT bargaining for are all the Neapolitans and Romans who ski the same way they drive!

It was chaos all around. Expat Girl and I realized how accustomed we had become to Swiss skiing etiquette. On Apennine slopes skiers were coming at you from all sides, many of them were going too fast for their own good and - naturally - they'd stop in the middle of the slopes to have a chat or look around searching for their friends, then carry on without checking if anybody was arriving from above. Ski school classes formed endless lines zig-zagging from one side of the slope to the other and having come to a halt the children scattered all over blocking everyone.

The icing on the cake, however, was the Italian music blaring out of the loudspeakers at every restaurant. Come to think of it there were probably more people sitting on the terrasses catching the sun than skiing on the slopes... but hey, that's why they call it LA DOLCE VITA!

Glorious day at Toppe del Tesoro

The resemblance with Ticino is uncanny

Let's face the crowds!

Slightly worrying perspective 

A well deserved Hot Chocolate at the end of the day: 32 flavours!

December 31, 2018

Expat with Kids 2018

Thanking my followers for being part of my adventure in Lugano, Paris, Madrid and beyond...

Best of nine in 2018!

December 27, 2018

Christmas in London

It is time to head back... leaving Expat boy behind for him to finish his six-month internship at one of London’s swankiest hotels, the rest of the family hopped in the black cab taking us to St.Pancras station where we heavy-heartedly caught the Eurostar across the channel to Paris.

Five days... and it seems like we know the city. We went from Christmas Carol services at St.Martin in the Fields to watching a football match at Fulham stadium. We had lunch at Quaglino’s, tea at the National Portrait Gallery and dinner at the Aquashard. We loved the Lion King musical and enjoyed skating at Somerset House.

We strolled along the London Southbank and took lots of photos on the Millenium Bridge. We opted not to pay 18.- GBP entrance per person to visit St.Paul’s Cathedral! Seriously?!? I have an objection, a mix of meanness and principle, to paying an entrance fee to see a place of worship. We attended a Catholic Sunday mass St.Paul’s Church instead and celebrated a sung eucharist on Christmas Day in an Anglican Church.

We hit Harrods on Boxing Day and couldn’t miss checking out Harvey Nichols’ Christmas Wonderland window displays. Fortnum&Mason’s, Liberty’s, Hamleys, Maison Assouline, Waterstones and Lillywhites were duly visited as were Bond Street and Covent Garden.

A teenage tour led us through Abercrombie&Fitch, Hollister and Thomas Hilfiger until we found what we were looking for at TopShop... where else?!? And how could I resist Victoria’s Secret?!?

Peggy Porschen and Spectrum were a must see if only for Expat with Kids Instagram account.

Carnaby Street and Kingsley’s Court were much to Expat Girl’s liking while a pub dinner at Shepherd market was a true British treat for the whole family.

A quick walk in Green Park for some fresh air while bumping into the squadron of the Queen’s Life Guards in front of Buckingham Palace and trying to avoid the horrendous crowds heading towards Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.

By which time we were ready for some real Neapolitan food at Da Maria in Notting Hill just in time to watch the Napoli vs Inter match on Italian SkyTV!
A well deserved rest at the Savoy lounge covered in Christmas galore topped off our London holiday experience.

And although Expat boy could not join us for all the fun, it was great being together again these past days for we’ll have many happy memories to look back on when Expat Mummy finally got her British Christmas festivities after two decades of Natale alla Napoletana.

Annabel’s night club will have to wait for next time...

Carol Service at St. Martin in the Fields

Lion King at the Lyceum theatre

Christmas vibes at Quaglino's

View from the Aquashard

St.Paul's Cathedral admired from the outside

Panoramic view on the Millenium Bridge

Skating at Somerset House

Harvey Nichols' window champagne display

Burlington passage 

Pimp my car

Dinner at a local pub

When you go over the top with Christmas decorations

Peggy Porschen's Christmas wreath 

Hotel Claridges' tree of love 

Changing of a guard? 

Liberty at Christmas

Paddington Bear at Hamley's

Maison Assouline's inspiring world of beyond!

Covent Garden

Hitting the sales at Harrods

Christmas galore at the Savoy Hotel

Dinner Menu at Da Maria's

Spectrum's Instagram set-up

Annabel's at Mayfair
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