We’re Idiots! – marriage and the Simple Life


sam and lisa

When I out of the blue mentioned to Sam that I wanted to go to Australia and see my Mum he blurted out ‘Oh are you going back to work out how to divorce me?’

…. you could say that we’ve been having some marriage problems!

Rather than loving the simple life we’re creating together it’s become a daily ‘just get through it today’ battle, little or no communication between us in our marriage.

It’s been affecting me everyday, I was even medicating (for depression caused by menopause) but I know part of what we are dealing with is contributing.

I went off the medication about a month ago without telling Sam and lashed back with ‘well I don’t want to have to medicate to be able to stay in my marriage’. It just got worse from there with hurtful things flung about, lots of swearing, crying and door slamming.

All this in front of our children.


F@# we’re idiots!


So here I am in Australia spending time with my mum, and NO not looking to divorce my husband (who I LOVE very much).

We’ll work this out, we always do, absence is certainly making my heart grow fonder, ahhh communication is the key in a marriage and I am one who keeps my feelings close to my chest. I find it excruciating to have to say ‘I’m Sorry, or even I love You’….Sam on the other hand says them both and often to me, he’s always the first to make the peace.


F%$k I’m an idiot!


He thinks I want to leave him, take the kids and go back to Australia…..


Well f#@k… he’s an idiot!


I love our life in Italy, I love our life together good and bad, I love YOU Sam, I’m not going anywhere!

Just thought I’d let you know…..

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Move to Italy – it is possible


We made the move to Italy looking for a better life for ourselves and our children, we have never seen ourselves within somebody’s timetable.

Today on Valentines Day it seems the perfect time to recommit to all we are creating here in Italy, to each other and to our children who are the inspiration for all we hope to achieve.

We knew we wanted to do something we loved and that would be inspiring to others.

Imagine how it feels to wake up in the morning to softly falling snow outside your bedroom window, to see your world transform into something magical. Or to spend the day throwing snowballs and making snow angels with your kids.

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Imagine finally finding your special place in the world and being able to share it, it is possible to move to Italy and these days easier than ever before. I think I read through every page of Living and Working in Italy: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Italy) before we left Australia and I still have my copy.

I’m sure you’ve heard of other people who’ve made the move to a simpler lifestyle, changing country, having a sea change and just leaving the rat race behind.

So this year I’ll be sharing with you some of the inspiration behind our move to Italy and our quest to change our lives for the better.

I know that if we can do this with limited funds, two young children in a medieval Borgata in the mountains then you can do it as well.

I’ve been putting together a guide that explains exactly how we went from the suburbs of Queensland to the Alps of Italy.

Here I am heading out with Sam and the kids, yes with a hot water bottle, carrot and cup of tea, no wonder the locals look.

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Just recently I had a Skype call with a couple in Australia looking to make a move to Italy with their young children. It had me see just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned along the way.

We chatted for some time about chasing a dream, a better life for our kids, school systems, cost of living and what it’s really like to pack up and move your entire life to the other side of the globe.

After the call all I could think about was how ‘lit up’ I was, how passionate and in love with this life we are making here in Italy even with the highs and lows I wouldn’t change a single day.

This is what I’d love to share with you along with life here in the Borgata.

We have had huge snowfalls and today it started falling again. Over a metre has been forecast for Monday, luckily it is a holiday here in Italy so we don’t have to manage getting children to school.


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We are honored to have been nominated in Italy Magazine’s Blog Awards 2014 for Best Living in Italy blog. If you haven’t done already it would be wonderful if you’d take the time to vote for us by clicking here.

And we are currently in talks with House Hunters International about a ‘where are they now’ episode due to film in late March.

Thanks again for believing in us, and even more importantly , believing in yourself and your dreams.


and the gang x






Why move to Italy?

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‘Your life is made up of little moments, little efforts, little changes, big smiles, and all your hopes and dreams.’

Ritu Ghatourey

Last night sitting in bed with Luca asleep beside me, (he was having a nap to make it till midnight) I was reflecting back on the year past and our move to Italy. I’d started to fill in a flowery form sent from a friend listing all the achievements of the year and come up blank.

Not just blank, but totally blank and I have to say feeling a bit down, tired and in no way wanting to stay up till midnight only to go out into the freezing cold and watch the fireworks.

Lucky I had made a pinky promise with Luca to wake him up at eleven so he could see in the New Year.

Reading back through the blog reminded me of all that we have achieved this year, and why we decided to move to Italy.

I share my favorite moments of the year below and rejoice in each one.

We’ve been through some major illness, a trip to the hospital by helicopter for Carina which resulted in her having ongoing major panic attacks, Luca had pneumonia.

I got sick on my 50th birthday in June and ended up in hospital.  Of course  I recovered for the incredible trip to Paris for the portrait session with Carla Coulson in September.

We’ve had visitors come stay, and traveled with them to Liguria and France.

I started B-School, and ended up in complete overwhelm before screaming STOP and taking a time out from all the tech side of blogging. I am now back to ‘school’ and creating a new purpose for my writing.

I was invited to ‘A New Way of Seeing‘  photographic workshop in Genoa with Di Mackay and found a new best friend, she is like a soul sister and we laughed the entire time.

Both our camper van and our old blue tractor had maiden voyages.

We bought ‘Casa Bianca’ the white house next to ours and it’s out buildings. Doing so we gained a dog and another cat, our white cat Mishu died and some time later Carina came home with two half starved kittens from the village.

Our episode on House Hunters International went to air and the response was incredible, so many new readers and friends saying ciao.

We decided to create a place that visitors to our Borgata could stay and experience the simple life with us. Opening up our home and creating ‘Casa Bianca’ has been a work in progress and we have our first visitors coming to stay in May…..I’m so excited!

In order to be ready in time for visitors we have begun hosting people from Workaway, this is a wonderful system where you offer accommodation and full board in exchange for five hours of work a day. So far we have had Sean from England and Ice from Japan, and our family have benefited in so many ways from having them stay with us.

I am constantly reminded of why we decided to move to Italy and all we want to achieve, I still beat myself up and compare myself to other Mums I think of as perfect. We have a soon to be teenage daughter who is full of passion and our sweet boy who compensates for all the angst by going along with everyone.

Our little family is still working towards a less plugged in life, a life away from shopping centers and Ipads, Ipods, and the latest computer games and it’s working.

Growing our own food, raising animals to eat, picking wildflowers, drinking water fresh from the mountain, cutting wood, gathering fresh eggs from our chickens, sipping hot chocolate or cappuccino and eating freshly baked brioche in our favorite cafe, and always looking for ways to take things to the next level.

These are some favorite moments from our year and I share them with you as inspiration for your own dreams in 2015.

Upon reflection we have achieved much this past year.

In the small moments, the shared laughter, the struggles and the arguments, each has bought us closer together as a family and that is a gift beyond measure.

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I’d love to hear about your special moments, and wish you a Happy New Year……here we go 2015!

Signatureand the gang x







A window of Opportunity – sending love


By some strange miracle the blog has opened and given me an opportunity to let you all know we are alive and well here in Malpertus. As I wasn’t expecting this to happen I am caught off guard and am not even sure this will go through so here’s a quick update minus images as they won’t upload lol x

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Our boxes arrived from Australia so we now have multiple towels, clothes, toys and books which we have managed without up till now. It is interesting to see how much we can do without. Although two towels all this time has been a bit of a stretch.

Carina has made new friends and so have I, last night I drank grappa with an outrageously happy German man at a dinner arranged by the commune for a visiting group from a sister city. I was talking in a mixture of school girl German, French, Italian and English and somehow making sense. It was a great night!

Earlier in the day we decided to walk to the Rifugio ‘Willy Jervis’ at the top of the mountain, a huge climb for me especially as I found out I have very low blood pressure. Along the way I found myself in tears, dizzy and thought I’d never make it yet I did, and it was stunning. Photos to follow.

I found it was possible to live without facebook, email and my beloved blog and all of you  for a short while. I found myself focused instead on daily life here and now. Sam planted his orto, and has also been working on the stalls below the house making them ready for animals. A million things have happened since we last spoke here and my mind is in a whirl and I know I am making no sense as it’s late and I’m tired.

Oh yes Luca and I walked to Bobbio today and joined the Bibliotechia (library) without any help from Sam. I can see how I rely on him to do all the talking and today I had conversations in halting Italian and it felt fantastic to be independent for a short while.

Much to tell and share with you all but for now I am heading to bed, hot water bottle under my arm (it seems we’ve had the wettest coldest Spring since forever). Oh did I tell you the wildflowers are everywhere and it’s a glorious riot of beauty.

The valley is full of tourists and a huge group have arrived in campervans at the town, homes that have been closed up for the winter are opening and the road is busy with people on bikes, hikers, huge herds of cows, sheep, and goats moving from pasture to pasture! Because of the weather the farmers have no pasture to put the animals on to and the move up the mountains to open grazing isn’t happening as  the pasture just isn’t ready. It’s a hard life for many here our neighbors included.

So I am really heading to bed now, we are both exhausted and I will try to update again when I get my next window of opportunity! Until then know I am thinking of you all and missing everyone, I am taking lots of photos to show you once the internet is up and running in the next few weeks. Now lets see if this will actually post ….fingers crossed!













Veravo – village of dreams


‘I roamed the countryside searching for answers
to things I did not understand’ 

~Leonardo da Vinci


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Veravo is everything I dreamed it would be, wandering into the village I recognized the landmarks from Sams brief video made the day he bought the house. Curved staircases seemingly held up by air and luck, an large well tended orto in the centre, tiny doors, intricate alleyways, and finally the path up to our house.

After years of waiting finally we arrived in Veravo, the house is still standing but needs a bit of work. I imagine the terraced gardens and lunches on the terrace….a long way to go yet. The first stage of our dream has been realised now we need to work out how to keep it alive and fund a renovation. We are looking at a community project, one in which visitors can experience the joys we are living daily. We’d love any thoughts on the idea.

We meet the locals, an old lady peered out at us from the window overhead. She turned out to be a real gem and had lived in the village her entire life. Another man told us most of the empty houses are selling, gas pipes are coming in and the area is just perfect for those looking for a house close to the Ligurian coast. I now look forward to exploring Liguria and falling in love with her as we have with Piedmont.

Next stop Colletta….

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element signature 2and the gang x