30 January 2007

Bad Blogger (not me)

I’m getting a bit frustrated with Blogger today. Everytime I go to a Blogspot blog and scroll down a little the whole page blocks. Non c’e la faccio piùùùùùùùù! Behave will you crazy Blogger, I need to catch up!

Perhaps later it will calm down. Speriamo.

29 January 2007

Shopping successes

I ventured out into the sales yesterday. Benetton boasts 70% off in the window, but when you get in there it's only 70% off on pre-mamman e bimbi, so not much use to me. Zara however got full marks from me in the sale. I got two pairs of trousers and a skirt, all at only E9.95 each - bargain! Part of me thought I *really* don't need any more trousers, but another part of me (the stronger part) thought "BUY BUY BUY!"

I also snapped up two terracotta bowls which I'd had my eye on for a while (see below). They should be good for oven dishes like pasta al forno or maybe bean soup. The shop assistant explained to me that I have to first soak them in tepid water for 12 hours, then before I first put them into the oven I need to rub garlic on the bottom of each one. At this point I started to wonder if she was having a laugh or not. I was tempted to say "Do I have to run round with one on my head too?" But I feared the joke might be lost in translation.

She took ages explaining what I had to do with them too, making it all the more complicated and hard to follow, I'm sure she could have simplified it a bit. Plus when I got them home I saw that it told you about the soaking bit on the label - nothing about the garlic though...I really can't think what the point of that is.

28 January 2007


I'm such a morning person. I'd much rather be up early than up until late. I think it's the best time of the day when you see the sun come up - especially at the weekend :) Never in my life have I been one to sleep in until late.

If I remember correctly the photo on my profile (to the right) was taken very early morning when the sun was rising behind Vesuvius... Or was it setting..mmmm.

I took the photo on this post about an hour and half ago. You can see that it's the start of a beautiful Sunday.

26 January 2007

The dentist - part2 (slightly ranty)

I arrived at the dentist, a nicely decorated house with lots of magazines in the reception which I quickly got stuck into. It seemed like a family practice with a few kids milling around, and a few calls of zia/zio, plus a ten year old showed me to the waiting room.

When it was my turn the dentist briefly checked me over then I went into the other room where I waited for the hygienist as it was a cleaning which I wanted doing. I was really impressed with the cleaning, she did a really good job and the results are great. I need to go back just for a finishing off and a check up to see if I need any other work doing.

Then payment time came….. I politely asked the cost and if I were to pay now or next time. Asking the cost here can be like asking the person to pick a number between 1 and say a hundred, or draw a number out of a hat. No pricelists or anything law abiding like that. The cost for a check up and cleaning came to 70euro. Now, I’m happy with the results and care, so perhaps I shouldn't moan, but I do feel like I’ve paid more than anyone else – comparing with a few other people who’ve had this done in Italy and in England.

Of course I didn’t get a receipt, but then this is very common practice here in Italy, If you ask for a receipt then the price goes up. There was a report a few months ago about how dentists officially earn something like a 1000 euros a month in one area of Italy (can't remember where exactly) – based on what they declare. A part of me can understand them not wanting to give their money to Mr P, but then everyone else has to (well, should do), so why not them?

I have always avoided using doctors and dentists here as much as possible because I don’t completely trust them based on experience and I preferred to go back to England when I could, but it's increasingly difficult to do this. It’s so hard to go and have a decent visit and not be ripped off. My best example was when I went to an optician for an eye test for work, his price was 100 euro (no receipt) for taking max 5 minutes to confirm that I had perfect vision.

I’m sure good honest medics do exist, but they are hard to find...

When I got home after the dentist trip my OH said that he should have come with me as I probably would have been treated better, but honestly it can’t be that I have to be taken everywhere like a child just so that I’m not taken for a ride.

25 January 2007

The dentist - part1

After trying to get in touch with the dentist for two days I’ve finally made an appointment. Success! It’s a new dentist (to me), recommended by a friend. She only seems to work a few hours a day (lucky so and so), hence the feeling of triumph at landing the appointment.

I’m slightly anxious about going now…. scary stuff....

She was rushed on the phone so I forgot to ask for some indication of the price - mistake-a-to-make-a here, but I’m hoping not to be ripped off too badly due to the friend connection.. It’s all about connections.

24 January 2007

Crazy weather times

Last night the wind got scarily strong here and so everyone started bringing in their things from out on the balcony to make sure that nothing would get blown away, whilst inside the house you could hear the wind whistling around the windows. During the night I got woken up by the wind and rain and this morning there were hailstones near the windscreen wipers on the car which must have fallen during the night. Today it’s still windy and dull, though not quite as bad as yesterday.

At about 22:00 yesterday I got a text message from my mum saying that it had just started snowing in England. It’s special when it starts to snow there because England doesn’t get all that much snow these days, so people get excited when the snow does arrive... Though this is normally soon followed by “widespread disruption” to roads and public transport - even if it's just a few centimetres.

I remember as a kid going sledging and building snowmen, but it’s not so common to have so much snow anymore. I miss never having snow. Apparently it’s going to get cold here soon, but I’ve been hearing this for a while now and it never seems to come true. It won't be snow-level cold but still I look forward to it. I like getting wrapped up warm when it's cold out, but this year I've barely had chance to even wear a woolly scarf.

I realise I’m in the wrong place for cold and snow, I know :)

20 January 2007

Hai un fazzoletto?

I've been getting acquainted with You Tube and Google video this week. I was inspired to dig deeper after seeing quite a few other blogs with You Tube links.

To summarise, I can say there's a lot of good stuff on there, but quite a lot of not too good stuff too. I suppose that sums up the entire internet really :) There's a lot of music videos and funnies which are worth a look at.

Here is one of my best finds. It's so sweet and funny!

19 January 2007

Il Grande Fratello

Big Brother started here last night (again). When will the world get bored of it I wonder? The usual types are in there from what I’ve gathered, all desperate for fame. One by one they’ll get nominated out and moved onto Buona Domenica (weekly trash tv show – Google it at your own risk) and have a calendar.


17 January 2007

"Posh and Becks" - Showbizzy post

Becks is off to America and pouting Posh is going with him! I'm talking about David Beckham in case you live somewhere where they're not in the papers constantly - lucky you. The Spaniards should be happy, not sure about the good people of LA though.

He'll be paid £500,000 a WEEK which is 5 times more than he got at Real Madrid and insists the move is for football and not for money. Yeah right. That is an OBSCENE amount of money.

I heard that he's happy about the move but he's not keen on having to learn another language, he didn't do too well with Spanish, so this move may be equally as challenging. :D

Apparently Posh will have some competition from the other footballers wives especially as the captain's girlfriend is a model-actress type. I'm sure that Posh will use her marketing head and make the other girl her new best friend...

Here is a *great* picture of them, a bit old but classic. They thought Tom and Katie's wedding was fancy dress it seems. I bet Tom and Katie were glad he couldn't make the wedding wearing a cardi like that. Hee hee.

15 January 2007

I still haven’t taken the Christmas tree down .... It’s too nice so I don’t really want to, plus I’ve not had much free time lately to take it down - but that’s just an excuse I suppose. The lights look too beautiful and it’s still in great shape as it’s rooted. I suppose eventually we either need to put it on the balcony - where the space is already a bit limited, or plant it *somewhere* (we don’t have a garden). I’m not sure that it will survive the Italian summer though, being from colder parts (if indeed it is) - it’s more common to find citrus trees here than spruce varieties.

But really, I don’t want it to go. Maybe I could just take the baubles off and have it as a “house plant” with lights on...?

Have I’ve become one of these people who have the Christmas decorations up all year round like it’s always Christmas? In my defence though, I have taken the other Christmas bits down, it’s just the tree that I’m somewhat attached to :)

8 January 2007

Broccoli e orecchiette

Put the water to boil for the pasta. When it's boiling add the pasta to cook until al dente. Ideally use orecchiette but casarecce will do too.

Boil the broccoli for 10mins - add a vegetable stock cube to the water (otherwise add salt instead of the stock cube)

Fry a piece of garlic in about 3 tablespoons of oil for 5 minutes on a low flame. Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add one chili pepper (or crushed chili pepper) to the oil and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.

Remove the garlic and chili pepper (if you've used the whole chili) from the oil.

Add the drained broccoli to the oil on a low flame for about 3-4 minutes.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the broccoli. Add an handful of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and mix it all together.


It takes only about 20 minutes to make and is a nice winter dish. Easy peasy. In the photo I have used a mix of casarecce and orecchiette, because, well, erm, someone forgot to go to the shop.

7 January 2007

It's a Lottery

Last night they drew the numbers for the Lotteria Italia which happens every 6th of January. The top prize was 5million euro, but I would have been happy even with a runner up prize. The winning ticket was sold in Naples, which gave me a glimmer of hope before checking my numbers, but despite having had a double serving of lentils at New Year my ticket won a big fat nothing.

Oh well, money doesn't bring happiness you know.

4 January 2007

Strangest thing I've brought back...

Perhaps the strangest thing I brought back from England this time round is....

Brussel sprouts!

Now, I know that they're not everyone's cup of tea, but I love them! As a child I couldn't bear them and would hide them under my mashed potatoes so that I didn't have to eat them, but not anymore! I'm making up for lost time! I love them with mash and gravy yuuuummm. They're an essential part of Christmas day menu too.

I found them here last summer in Carrefour (supermarket) - which is strange because apparently (according to my aunty) there needs to be a frost on the ground for them to be good. These were imported though, and you can get all veggies all year round now after all. Since this sighting of the sprouts though I haven't been able to find them again. I can only imagine that maybe they didn't sell well? Maybe I was the only one to buy them? Mmmmmm

I had to pay excess for my luggage this time, but the sprouts were worth every penny.

2 January 2007

Holidays over

It feels like the holidays are over for me now :( . There's the Befana still left but she's decided to come on a Saturday this year which isn't much use at all if you're hoping for an extra days holiday. Oh well, Christmas and the New Year have landed well for most people this year so I'm not complaining.

Wonder if I'll get anything form the Befana this year. Sweets if you're good, coal if you're bad. I'll be on my best behaviour between now and Saturday.

1 January 2007

After dinner last night, despite being quite stuffed we forced lentils and cotechino down as tradition says that they bring good luck with the lentils representing money. Fingers crossed. We had a second helping for lunch today too, just in case the first serving wasn't sufficient.

Cotechino is a kind of sausage. People normally used the pre-packed kind and just boil it in water – as we did. Here is a picture to give you an idea of what cotechino looks like.