house hunters international

House Hunters International – meets Renovating Italy

House Hunters International

Our episode of House Hunters International is set to air at last. It feels like we’re almost famous, no seriously, the blog is already expanding with new readers (ciao to you if you are new here). Friends that have been reading along from the very start are sharing all over the place and my Mum is trying to figure out how to view our House Hunters International episode in Australia.

Renovating Italy is about to go International……House Hunters International (click on this link for air times and date)

house hunters international

You might have read about our adventures with the crew from House Hunters International back in December. I think we are one of the few families to be featured at Christmas…and yep complete with snow. Well we have an air date for American viewers (July 27th) and once the episode has aired we will be sent a copy. Hopefully we wont be cringing, and will find a way to let you all see the episode asap.

I can’t wait to see the finished product, and find out which house we bought ……. I seriously fell in love with the wrong house.

We were asked to send in a 4 minute audition video (see below), did a skype call with the producer and had five days of filming in total.


Luckily we’re not shy, I was doing wardrobe changes in the car and in the end just thought ‘Oh well this is us, no make up and totally exhausted towards the end’…..

I figure that if we tried to act in some way that wasn’t us then why bother, we want people to see that dreams are possible and changing country can be the best thing you ever do.

So much has happened in the nine months since our House Hunters International episode was filmed. We have purchased further property in the borgata to renovate. Buying the ‘White House’  right next to ours was a lucky break, and came with outbuildings and land. We aim to have it ready for friends and guests to visit come 2015.

In the meantime I hope you are able to enjoy our House Hunters International episode.

Thanks again to all involved you made the entire experience priceless.

Signatureand the gang x






chasing a dream

Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big Boots

Chasing a Dream

 ‘When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen’

A.A Milne, winnie the pooh

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, looking for answers and procrastinating big time. Taking a step forward and then two back, ‘Chasing a Dream’  which is lifting me to new realms I hadn’t thought about. It’s time to remind myself of who I am and where I want to be, how I want my life to look and all those dreams still to come to life around me.

We are shaking off our hibernation, recovering from our various coughs and colds and moving forward. Sam is on the mend from his gall bladder operation and has lost five kilo he’s walking each day, (I’m still thinking and talking about walking each day lol). He’s changed his diet and we are eating wholemeal pasta (and the occasional kebab) more fruit and more veggies from our garden.

Having seen the brilliant results achieved by some close friends of ours I can see that it’s not just about changing diet or location or partner or job, it’s about changing mindset. This is something we all know is true yet here we are still in the same place, not for me, not anymore.

We are drawing up a mind-map at the moment and it’s amazing how this simple way of visualizing your thoughts and dreams has us coming up with ideas we’d never even mentioned to each other. Next step is to get the kids on board and find out what their mind maps look like, what is important to them and how can we help them achieve it.

It’s funny that this post is mostly colored with grey and white, I feel like lighting my life up with color right now. Hot pinks and tropical blues, lime green and orange…. florals and flowers, warmth and sunshine, thank goodness for our wonderful electric orange house up on the hillside. It shines like a beacon.

It’s time to put back the spark of creativity into my life, here on the blog and in my home life…Time for Chasing a Dream

What I’m planning this year is a journey of discovery, taking steps each day to move my life in the direction I am inspired by. I am surrounding myself with those who inspire me to dream big, embrace life, enjoy the everyday, and really savor the small moments.

I’ve been enjoying the videos on facebook at the moment, created as a gift by facebook they show a persons life on facebook in the space of a minute or so, mine even inspired me. I can see how far we’ve come, all those things we set out to do we are doing right now, living the life we created and even though it’s not always easy it’s amazing.

chasing a dream

I’m wondering how our life will look a year from now, five years from now….I am creating that life in my mind and taking steps towards it everyday even if only small ones.

I hope you’ll come along, be inspired, embrace your own dreams and have them light you up. I’ll be sharing our renovations of course, our ups and downs, and life here in the borgata, we will be on the road around June of course heading to Paris for my 50th birthday, my in laws are coming for a visit and just next weekend we have some facebook friends coming for lunch that we’ve never met.

“The world is opening up in ways we never planned, we literally left Australia for Italy without a future income, without knowing how we would live, not knowing how it would all look, we just knew that if we didn’t take the chance our dreams would grow smaller and die a slow death, and we’d be miserable.”

I remember actually telling Sam when we were back in Queensland (thinking our house would never sell, that we’d never get back to Italy, that we’d have to put our dream on hold another year), that we should just get on that plane and work it out when we arrived. Making the move without all the answers to some fairly big questions took courage and belief that we will find a way, we’re here now so we have no other option than to work it out or go back to Australia. It’s one way to put your fears and dreams on fast forward, doubts and joys pull me in every direction.

It’s time to find that inner compass and set a steady course, time for some structure and planning, time to expand myself and to gather my family together, a time to set sail, a time for chasing a dream and I hope you’ll be inspired to come along.

This year we are celebrating the things that matter most.

We will be slowing down, enjoying what we have, creating new dreams, loving where we live, connecting with friends and family and creating a simple life.  As the seasons change  we’ll be growing our own food, raising animals, finding treasures, traveling to unknown destinations, and creating a home base that jumps for joy.

I’d like to think that the small things we are doing here will make a difference to you, that you can create a dream and share it with us, that this year will be ‘The next best season of my Life’…….

I am also honored to be on the short list for Italy Magazine’s Best Living in Italy Blog award.

Now take a look at your own life, what’s the one dream that lights you up?

Leave a comment and let me know, and if you have any great advice or ‘chasing a dream’ stories we’d all love to hear them.

Are you chasing a dream?

and the gang x





our house hunters international episode

Our House Hunters International Episode – The valley shines

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 All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players …

 William Shakespeare
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house hunters international

During our first skype conversation with producer Ethan, we asked him if we would be right for House Hunters International. Our house isn’t grand in fact quite the opposite. We are closer to fifty than thirty and have two young children…….’yes yes don’t worry it’ll be great’.

Now,  I think his vision was spot on. Our valley shone and the people of Bobbio Pellice and Malpertus became  part of the story just as they are in our daily lives. We got to show off our beautiful valley in Piedmont and why we fell in love with it.

I don’t want to let too many ‘cat’s out of the bag but I can say that we had the best time with the crew from House Hunters International, we filmed through snow, rain, and dropping temperatures for a total of five days (Now you know where we disappeared to).

We had to re do many shots as Sam kept saying ‘Bloody Hell’ and I got over enthusiastic with the ‘Oh my God’. We didn’t realize how often we said it until we had to stop ourselves.

Other than that what you see is what you get. The crew are now like our adopted family. They were beyond wonderful, encouraging all the way and fantastic with the kids.

Luca can’t make up his mind which job he wants to take. We couldn’t get him away from behind the camera. Carina glowed and was a natural.  I got to see so many ways our kids could take on a life outside the box.

Sitting together for a final interview gave us a chance to reflect on our new life in Italy…..(you’ll have to wait and see!)

our house hunters international episode

house hunters international

This quiet location saw us stop filming for sheep, men on horseback, a small child on a very squeaky trike, cows being led to barns (all with huge bells), the town hall bell, and curious locals…..still the show went on and nothing fazed our House Hunters International team.

Our Italian estate agent Bruna bought a touch of elegance and of course properties to view, wait till you hear her gorgeous accent.
house hunters international

our house hunters international episode

This lovely store owner called us in to taste his local salami and cheeses, the House Hunters International crew couldn’t help but buy something and we all got photos taken, what a great business man, he had us literally eating out of the palm of his hand.

our house hunters international episode

our house hunters international episode


house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

Luca fell in love with Joe’s ‘skunk’ and thought it wonderful that he could hear us all talking in the other room. Whoever said never work with kids or animals had it all wrong.


house hunters international

So if you ever get that call from House Hunters International I hope you’ll grasp the opportunity with both hands like we did. It’s an experience none of us will ever forget and one I’ll always treasure.

We would like to say a very special thank you to …

Patrizia Geymonat (Mayor) – Sindaco Comune Bobbio Pellice

Community of Malpertus

Community of Bobbio Pellice

Trattoria del Centro – Bobbio Pellice

Bar 1990 – Bobbio Pellice

Ristorante L’Alpina – Bobbio Pellice

Macelleria Dario Geymonat – Bobbio Pellice

La Vignassa – Bed and Breakfast, Torre Pellice

Hotel Villa Glicini – San Secondo Di Pinerolo

Claudio | Paolo | Jane | Enzo | Sarah | Allie | Gill | Ian and Laura owners at La Vignassa


House Hunters International

Our Crew 

Producer – Ethan | Director – David | Camera Men – Gordon and Mike | Sound – Simon and Joe | Behind the scenes – Andrea

And our wonderful Estate Agent







The Great Life Redesign – change

Our Life Redesign has been put on hold.

It’s been an intentionally restful entry to the year so far.

My husband Sam is slowly recovering from Myocarditis which we found out was bought on by Ross River fever. This turned my vibrant hard working man into a bedridden worried patient. All of a sudden life became complicated, life became important and thoughts of Italy were put on hold. In fact everything was put on hold, nothing else matters when someone you love is sick.

Every dream we’ve held dear for so long and worked towards since forever could slip through our fingers. We are waiting on further tests, thus far things look good and I have no doubt we’ll make it to the plane on time.

Change means saying goodbye and trusting that we’re heading in the right direction no matter what. It means letting go of so many things, people, places and starting over literally with what we can fit in a few suitcases. So we walk out of our life to date in thirty eight days, the comfortable habits and certainty that comes with staying in one place. We choose something new, something unknown, challenging and aligned with who we know ourselves to be.


A Life Redesign is scary!

It’s exactly what we know, what we thrive on and the life we love. So over the next few weeks I may not be able to post on a regular basis, everywhere I look I find something that still needs to be done. Time is rushing by and with Sam still recovering I need to step up to the challenge, so stay tuned we are on the move!


and the gang x







A simple Life

A Simple Life – the beginnings

 ‘Dreams come a size too big…so we can grow into them.’

Josie Bisset

I’ve been reading much lately about living ‘a ‘simple life‘ one not complicated by the expectations of society. Not the ‘declutter’ fad that seems to be growing as fast as Ikea can create imaginative ways to store it all. I’m not thinking of matching fabric covered boxes held in shelving units made especially for them or 100 ways to declutter your kitchen. It doesn’t mean giving away all our possessions and living in a teepee either,  I’m not certain what our version of a simple’ life will look like but it’s really starting to excite me.

The very beginning of “Renovating Italy” came about through a plan to one day  rebuild our dream village, to bring it back to life and recreate everything that was lost. We had no idea how we would achieve this and still don’t. The dream grew independently  from this point, everything we have worked toward has been with this idea in the back of our minds.

My husband Salvatore (Sam) saw the success of his Community garden project, one that had taken years to get off the ground and through council.We saw first hand how a community can come together and create something wonderful, what a rich source of knowledge the older members of the group were. It was a joy and a surprise for all of us to see the toddlers playing in the dirt and our own children eating vegetables straight from the garden.

This is partly what we want to bring to our house in Malpertus, a place for visitors to experience first hand the joys of living a ‘rustic’ life in the mountains. We have many plans and have sat up most nights talking and creating our dream, I’m sure we won’t be short on volunteers or visitors.

So what is a simple life and why does it have such appeal for so many? I asked this question on our Renovating Italy facebook page and the answers were varied yet all with the same theme…..time to just do nothing at all, home grown food, less time on computers and TV, moments to share with friends and family, even something as easy to achieve as a good book and a comfortable chair.

We have been unknowingly living a simple life for years now, it comes with renovating, our need for ‘things’ slowly released it’s strangle hold. I had no choice really as most of my treasures have been in boxes for numerous moves, this last big move to Italy has us pared down to a handful of stored boxes for each of our lives to date. We will head off with a few suitcases and the only thing that will follow later are Sam’s tools and Luca’s dinosaurs.

This is an adventure, we are stepping into the unknown….creating life as it happens!

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Signature-00134 editand the gang x

This is what you thought…..

Carla Ann Coulson Friends, food, fresh air and love…

Ingrid Christensen Doing what makes you happy

Catherine McNamara No machines, no cars, a piano, then a belly-laugh with a friend

Cathy Raso My simple life would be to going back to the roots, and live off the land like they used to. And watching the world go by without a care!

A Cook Not Mad Eating only what you can grow yourself.

Jeff Kerwin Focusing on the simple pleasures available all around us. Rather than big pleasures we’re taught to chase after and pay for.

Tracy Robinson Living a simple life, less social media, more books, enjoying and appreciating nature… Simple dinners with family and friends, long walks, less car time, holding hands with my fiance, snuggling with my pooch, laying on the grass watching the clouds go by, needing less material items… I already started practicing this over a year and a half ago, with the exception of social media and it has been amazing!

Sandy Birch Like Tracy, avoiding the need for social media is my goal, but spending time with friends and family is the most rewarding aspect of my life, plus trying new things, stretching the boundaries a little and moving out of my comfort zone!

Ryrie Wild Strolling on a beach; playing with my grandson; looking in second-hand stores; reading in a comfy chair in the shade; cooking a lovely meal for family or friends; wishing wells; taking photos of whatever takes my fancy……..

Lourayne Mahood Time with my sons, friends and cats. Beautiful food and wine. Good bread.Clean,crisp linen.Triple milled soap. Fresh flowers. Smiles

For The Love Of Italy Wild rosemary. A glass of wine. The setting sun. And soon afterward… fireflies. Soulful conversation with my best friend. A fresh breeze dancing amongst clothes decorating the clothesline. I’ve seen all these things at once. I don’t sound too demanding, do I?

Jos Parkinson To me it means finding joy in the simple things. Like taking time sit with a cup of tea & look at the beautiful flowers in my garden. Enjoying a walk along the beach with my family & thinking how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful country.

Michelle M Burke Living a simple life, what does it mean to me? I’ve been searching for this and I think, maybe I’ve found it…to live in the country, and breath in the fresh air, the peace, the birds, the kids running around and just being themselves..loving each other and having appreciation for what we have been given x

Bronwyn Marquardt To be happy with the things I have rather than worried about what I don’t have. To be grateful for the joy and beauty in life, nature, my children and our world. To enjoy the simple things in life – good food, a roof over our heads, safe water to drink, each other, pets, friends, family and love. Oh and chocolate. It’s nice to have chocolate.

Sarah Ager For me, a simple life is being content with what you have and taking great pleasure in the small things even if it’s just a cup of tea after a long walk or extra froth on your cappuccino! If I have the opportunity in the future, I’d love to grow my own vegetables and herbs. I think growing your own food would make you really appreciate the taste & value because you put so much effort into it. I don’t know if others feel the same.

Susan Heslington As long as I’m happy inside, who cares that I have to cut my own hair, ride public transport, wear the same clothes for a few years…. just as long as I’m happy.. xxx

Judith A. Greenwood For me it is living within one’s means, not only financial, but physical and emotional as well. It’s never guaranteed, but when it is possible you have nothing to wish for but world peace and an end to hunger. Really.

Jeannie Marshall A simple life would be (if only I could achieve it) one without clutter and fridge magnets and  dust. It would have big stacks of books, comfortable leather chairs and good reading lamps. Doesn’t sound so hard to achieve once you write it down.

Karen-Louise Taylor The simple life is making the best of what you have & trying to be as self sufficient as possible. A life where possessions are not as important as friendships.

Monica Cesarato simple life is to take each day as a gift and treasure it!


I’d love to hear more about your idea’s for living a  ‘simple life”and if you are achieving them…leave us your thoughts x





The Heart Wanders – a journey

I’m on a journey without a goal….. and I like it that way

I have never thought myself to be a driven person, recently I took a Tony Robins questionnaire and the results didn’t surprise me. He has such an insight into what runs us and our inner conversations.

How do I translate this to our life and the future.

I know we only have 116 days on our timeline before boarding the plane to leave Australia. Many would be panicking and making lists as long as their arm. I have resolved to do neither.

What I do know is that it will all get done, it always does.

Our family just keeps paring back the ‘things’ we don’t need and keeps looking inwards for what we do want and then looks to create our life that way.

So we have been talking about creating this ‘Simple Life’ in Italy, what it will mean, how it will look, our hopes and dreams and with each word the vision grows. This is something I look forward to sharing with you all here, I know so many friends who would like to bring a little simplicity into the daily rush of life in the fast lane.

I’ve seen recently first hand the effect of our lifestyle on my health, I had that big scare recently with my heart and after lots of tests the results look good. I let myself get run down and developed severe Anemia which my Dr tells me will take till the New Year to fully recover from. I’m so relieved that my heart is healthy and am having the works at the Doctors to make sure I am in tip top shape for the journey ahead.

You may know that I have been dealing with anxiety and depression over a family matter and decided today that I would not let this rule me any longer. I love my husband and our children and can’t wait to board that plane, everything feels so much lighter with this burden put to the side. Why am I telling you this, it’s because I know that so many of us suffer in silence, this became abundantly clear once I started reaching out to people. I hope that by sharing both our glorious dreams and our deepest fears you will see a little of yourself and know that things will most likely work out.

I lost a little of that spark here at the blog, I felt totally lost and at sea. So I am creating a special place to go when those feelings overcome me. I come from strong stock, a family of incredible men and women whose blood I share, I gather them close. I will do whatever needs to be done, I am a tiger Mama. Don’t mess with me!

So what I am creating from today forward is a new space, a blank canvas if you will that I fully intend to fill with life, love and the laughter of our children. I look forward to creating it with you all.

with much love Lisa x





Journey to the Italian Dream – At last we’re on our way

Since starting this blog it has been you my friends who have kept our spirits up, encouraged, shared and given our family a gift I never imagined that day I wrote my very first post.

This has been a long time coming yet now the time is here to finally share with you our great news I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I’d love you’d like to know how I feel right now so please take a moment to listen to this track and know that I am sending these words to you.

A movie that has long been a huge favorite of mine, and although the context is out I hope you’ll get the sentiment. This song still has the power to move me to tears and is one of my special ways to say thank you.

On Monday our house sale went unconditional, it was also a day fraught with emotional overload around a family issue we’ve been working through. I found it almost impossible to share our great news with you all then, so now is our chance to sit back and take it all in.

This dream we dreamed is underway, we move from our home next week and head to Scarborough to finish off the units.

Then yes at last board that plane and head off into the unknown adventure that we have so longed for.

Our plans are to leave from Melbourne (where the tough part awaits…saying goodbye to my Mum, family and friends) late February. Which means our children will get to see out the school year with friends and we will miss an Italian Winter and go straight into Spring.

So I’d like to dedicate this post to all the dreamers out there who dream big dreams….without you all the world would be a dull place indeed.

with love Lisa x

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