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My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on hold

The Birthday Bash and PARIS on hold

On the eighteenth I turned fifty, it almost seems like it didn’t happen. With all the build up and excitement about going to Paris driving me the last few months celebrating at home and then sleeping through the afternoon was a bit of a bummer. Sam and the kids made a cake, Carina set the table with pink party plates and she had the Eiffel tower made from marshmallows on the top of the cake…..the perfect breakfast.

Some gorgeous home made presents and cards, and some wonderful surprises from friends and family arrived in the mail. Having kids means you can’t be flat for your birthday, Sam made my favorite Carbonara for lunch and then I went to bed. Enough said…..so I am re celebrating in July hopefully in Paris and will work out a new time for the portraits with Carla Coulson.

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Running on Empty

I’ve been off the radar for a bit, well two weeks anyway. After a hospital visit with a high temperature, exhaustion and unable to walk I had a chest ex-ray and two different women trying to do blood gas tests in the artery in my wrists. They tried three times and it was excruciating each time, eventually they told me I didn’t have pneumonia and I could go home.  This was on the fourth of June.

On the nineteenth of June after continuing to feel exhausted, having problems with both my hands that resulted in a trip to the neurologist at the hospital (they tell me everything is fine with the nerves in my hands and the problem should just go away) the local Dr tells me that nothing is wrong with me, that I’ve been telling her I’m feeling tired for some time now, that my blood pressure is always low, and that I probably had a virus and the rest is just menopause as nothing shows in the blood tests. Hmmmmm Thanks!

So I’m none the wiser and she told me to give it three weeks and rest and see what happens.

Actually the entire conversation was between Sam and the Dr and I just tuned right out….in fact I almost walked out in despair. I feel I need to regroup, and take charge of my own health. They don’t keep records here when you visit the doctor, so I’m writing it all down from now on.

A lovely friend I spoke with on skype yesterday told me I looked like an empty vessel….to take time out and absorb some love and sunshine and just rest a bit. I don’t have any choice right now, even the shortest walk exhausts me, and I am certainly no energizer bunny right now.

Oh and to top it all off Sam and I both had conjunctivitis which is going around, (which is why my eyes are puffed up in the pics) and I have a head cold.

The good thing is that I am ever optimistic and know this will pass, and I’m learning some unexpected lessons along the way.

The White House

Yesterday we had to sign the paperwork for the white house, it’s such a funny lengthy process which took place in Pinerolo about 40 minutes drive away. We dropped the kids off at friends, and spent over an hour at the Notaio going through the entire contract with nine people in total in the room.

One was an elderly lady that looked like she was about to faint from the heat. It turned out I didn’t actually need to be there, but having heard so much about the other times we’ve bought property in Italy I was totally bemused to see the process in action. So we now have access to the ‘White House’ and took a look inside after we got home.

Although it looks like a nightmare right now, Sam cleared out much of the rubbish and we are starting to see the rooms under the mess left behind. He loaded much of it onto the blue tractor with a pitchfork and a full load was only the tip of the iceberg. The building has three rooms in total, no bathroom at all and two cellars underneath that are full of rubbish.

As you enter the building and go up a flight of stairs a room on the right is now cleared, it is actually very light and airy. To the left you enter a kitchen area and from that room go up a very crooked staircase to the main bedroom.

This is the worst room and is black with mold, the balcony is dangerous and Sam blocked it off. Once emptied, cleaned and painted we will be able to get a feel for the potential. I’m staying clear of the process at the moment.

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Online Overwhelm

I’m hoping this post won’t seem disjointed, I’ve opened the computer many times in the last few days to write a post and just shut it again. The first week I was sick just opening my inbox had me in tears, it seemed like everyone was shouting, that all the conversations and groups and posts I love to read would suck me completely into a vortex. The more everyone reached out the further inwards I shrank. I felt like I was going mad, up down, crying, tired, over wrought, and emotionally wrung out.

All the excitement I felt within B-School fell in a heap, the momentum I had going dropped out from under me and I thought I’d never get back here to writing again. My constant refrain right now is Piano Piano….(slowly slowly) so if you sent me a message or email know that I read what I could but just couldn’t bring myself to answer, I just didn’t want to speak with anyone, it all seemed so exhausting. Know that I thank you all so much for all the well wishes and suggestions, the concern and love, it makes a difference even if I couldn’t tell you at the time.

The Simple Life

Funnily enough since feeling so tired I have really looked at our life here, the simplicity we wanted to create has slipped into each of us being on the computer more than out enjoying our simple lifestyle. Taking small walks each day to the top of the road and back reminds me of why we are here in the first place, it’s to engage with life, to breathe in the mountain air, to grow our food, to be with our kids, to be healthy and  happy together, and to share this with others wanting a similar dream.

Maybe we are all too hard on ourselves, even here in the valley those bad habits followed us, as I get better and stronger I’ll be sharing more of our simple life as we find it for ourselves. After a year and a half here in Italy I am totally in love with my life, the valley and know this is the place we are meant to be, creating a simple life in Italy. When I think of us here over years to come I see this first year as a learning curve.

Each of us has our own stresses, health issues, family drama’s, dreams we are chasing, dysfunctional families, or what ever other things you’re dealing with daily…..I’m sharing with you so that you know you are not alone, and once shared love and compassion flow from a community so beautiful and connected, without everyone here life would be less full, less inspiring, and who would I talk with LOL……..

So rambling post over, now I am back on the bike so to speak I’m sure the next one will be easier and feel more natural.

I continue to take it slowly, hope if you are weary you can take the time to slow down and rest, regroup, and come back stronger than ever.

and the gang x

 

 

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simple life in italy

A Simple Life in Italy – stopping the overwhelm

This time last week I was in total overwhelm……writing, blogging, tweeting, facebook, B-School, linked in, pinterest, family, kids, house work, renovations, health issues, tired….run down…..and constantly close to tears. Ridiculous right…here I am creating a ‘Simple Life in Italy’ and falling into the overwhelm trap.

Throw in B-School with Marie Forleo and it’s incredible online community and all the fantastic things these wonderful people are sharing and I then added podcasts, you tube, opt in’s, pop ups, newsletters, e-books, and all kinds of other things that require a committed focus to learn. Arghhhh!

Rather than enjoying our Simple Life I was just sinking into overwhelm.

Well I’m happy to say that it’s over…..I’m not playing that game anymore.
Enough……Basta……STOP!

I jumped on a coaching call with a fellow B-Schooler and an hour later felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I set a few priorities, created a time frame to complete them, put aside time just for writing and all this week I’ve stuck to it. No more going round and round the social media loop, I gave myself permission to just Stop.

You’ll still find me over at Facebook and Pinterest just a less overwhelmed version of me.

It’s time to step back and take a look at where I want to be, who I want to be, and where my dreams are at.

B-School has been the best gift and most intense learning environment, one that has given me clarity and focus. It’s an ongoing learning process and a bit like renovating a house, laying the right foundation, spending time on the preparation to get the best results. Painting a house is 90% preparation and 10% application.

Now that I’ve given myself permission to just stop I’ve actually been out enjoying life here in the valley. I’m still getting things done and using the morning for writing and then the afternoon is for getting outside, helping with the wood, soaking up the sun with the gang here at Malpertus, splashing the kids at the fountain,  and today helping Sam with the rabbits.

We are down in the stable trying to gather up seven very fast little bunnies to see if they are girls or boys. Mum has gone back in with Dad who is very happy….VERY happy! And we now realize we have no clue about figuring out the sex of a young rabbit. Either we have seven girls or we have no clue! My guess is we have NO clue!

Our Simple Life here is good….better than good and this is what I want to share with you. It is possible to chase your dream, to create your own version of a simpler life, to find your passion and follow it, to live with a little less yet gain so much more. It is possible to just stop the overwhelm, take a deep breath and refocus, really focus on what it is you want for your life. Find that, focus on that, live towards that each day…..

I’m creating my very first e-book, and it’s just flowing from me…..all that we did to actually get here not just once but twice. Starting with that initial dream of a simple life in Italy, how we kept it alive, and all the steps in between. A mixture of storytelling, practical steps and inspiring images, sharing with my best friend, answering all the questions and I hope inspiring you to Dare to Dream.

and the gang x

pneumonia

Our Italian Life – Pneumonia, B-School and Burning down the house

I didn’t write a post last week, I almost didn’t write one this week, the only thing I really want to do right now is curl up in a ball and sleep.

But I can’t…..

I can’t take time out for me right now, can’t regenerate, recuperate, re create myself, not now, not with so much to do.

I can’t…..

I feel most days that if I just keep moving no matter how slowly things will get done.

But they don’t…..

I know when I feel this way it’s my iron levels, low blood pressure and just a touch of overwhelm,

Luca is still coughing, he’s been coughing for a month now, pneumonia they tell us but don’t tell us when he’ll be back to school, when he’ll be able to get outside, run and play without spasms of coughing that scare even him, when he’ll be back in his own bed, when life will start to head back to normal.

I almost killed us all a few nights back, such a stupid thing to do. Some small spark of heat was left in the ashes I put into the plastic bag, I put it into the metal bucket by the fireplace meaning to empty it in the morning and went to bed.

In the morning the smell was so strong of bitter smoke, even with all the windows open and doors wide it still lingered. I though it was the old stuffa we use in the kitchen, my mind was already thinking of the expense to replace it. Turned out it was my bag of ash, the plastic melted and the ash caught the wicker broom inside the bucket. The whole lot smouldered all night with Carina asleep on the couch only a few meters away.

Almost a tragic lesson…..never again.

And still I smile, and struggle and some days feel a fraud, luckily it’s only some days that I feel like this.

Today is one of those days…..

I’m not an expert, I have no road map for living the simple life, moving to Italy, creating something special for our children, learning a language, creating a business, sharing my hopes and dreams, it’s been a big year for us. We are now into the second week of the second year in Italy, it feels like we just arrived, so much to learn, so many ways to stretch ourselves, expand, grow, and experience this life we are building.

I’m creating something new, I’m investing in myself, bringing together all the pieces and finding clarity. I’m working with Marie Forleo within B-School and yes it’s super challenging, exciting, and creative. I’ll keep you posted as I progress. I thought it poetic that the first day of B-School is the one year anniversary of our landing in Italy. Year Two is now eight days in and so much has changed, I feel it within myself, right to the core.

I Dare to Dream….and I’m dreaming bloody BIG!

I’m off now to start day Eight of B-School …..funnily enough I don’t feel tired anymore, I think a little walk would do me good.

lets walk together and chat xx

 and the gang x

 

 

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addictive blog award

Leaving on a Jet Plane – 5 days and counting down

Addictive Blog Award and Heading to Italy

We leave Queensland in five days heading for Melbourne, Bangkok then on to Italia. The last few weeks have been flat out, so much happening and I can let you know that moving country can be a bit stressful.

Even though I am a fairly calm person this move has had us all unsettled. We now have less than a week before setting off on the first stage of our journey back to Italy. The big goodbyes to come are unavoidable and I am not looking forward to that last hug with my Mum.

The wonderful thing that happened last week was that we were nominated by two people I both admire and love for An Addictive Blog award.

I have known Francesca from Postcard Pictures for some time and we just click. It was like meeting up with a sister when we got together in Sydney at a workshop run by Carla Coulson.  I also met the gorgeous Millie Brown from Travel Notecards at the same workshop, I was in front of her in the line getting a coffee and we got chatting, it wasn’t until I was back in Brissie that I realized who she was and that I had been following her blog for ages.

It’s her gorgeous image above x

I am very happy to nominate these wonderful friends for an Addictive Blog Award.

the addictive blog award

It’s now my turn to nominate ten of my favorite blogs for an Addictive Blog Award and it’s so hard to choose just ten.

One of the many wonderful things I have found through blogging is incredible friendships with so many people I may never get to meet in person. I adore sharing with you all and hearing about your dreams.

Blogging has been a great gift, one I both love and battle with. It’s been a big learning curve and I can’t wait to see where it leads me next….I hope you’ll come along and continue to share your dreams x

Baroque Sicily

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Jann Huizenga is a photographer and writer who lives part-time in Sicily. The island cast such a spell on her that in 2007 she bought a damp house with an old green door in Ragusa Ibla—a stony village where public clocks as well as people are way behind schedule.  ~ Jann brings Sicily to life x

Bleeding Espresso

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Michelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family’s ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time.  ~ Her blog was my initial inspiration for Renovating Italy, a generous soul and wonderful writer x

Carla Loves Photography

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“An Australian photographer living in Paris and I am married to an Italian. And that’s what I blog about, Photography, Paris and Italy. I love all three of them!!” ~  Carla is one of the reasons I started blogging and she is just an incredible woman and photographer x

Destination Umbria

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Australian by birth, Sicilian by heritage, I fell head over heels in love with Italy as a student in Perugia more than 20 years ago.   For now, home is Melbourne, where I work as a freelance interior designer. Destination Umbria is for lovers and dreamers and people who know that your real home isn’t always the place you were born.  ~ to a truly beautiful soul with love x

Flappiness Is

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Leigh Merryday,is a school media specialist and mother of two young children.  My daughter, Bronwyn, is five and neurotypical. My son, Callum, is three and is autistic. ~  A voice of reason in the world of Autism, she often takes my jumbled thoughts and makes sense of them x

French Essence

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“I am an Australian writer who lives between London and Saint Rémy de Provence in southern France. I adore everything to do with life in France and especially the olive farm I call home.”  ~ Another of my favorite reads although I lack in style I get my fix through Vicki x

Fresco Images

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Our friend photographer Doug Porter has a passion for all things Italian and it shows in his work.  ~ “Each image is individually crafted using a multi-layered process I have developed over the last six years – the intent is to replicate the look and textures of the antique frescoes.” x

Mozzarella Mamma

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Trisha Thomas is a journalist working for Associated Press Television News in Rome since 1994. She is married to an Italian and is a mother of three Niccolo’, Caterina and Chiara. Read on, get a laugh, sign up, enjoy it.  ~ Insightful and caring, a beautiful woman x

New Life on the Roadrsz_new_life_on_the_road(1)

Our friends David and Lisa Wood have five boys and decided that to bring the family closer they should hit the road in a renovated bus. A woman with a massive heart who willingly wears it on her sleeve. An incredible family x

 Postcard Pictures

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For every hour you spend at a place, you leave a little bit of yourself at that place. You also take a little bit of it away with you. This is what I have taken from my life’s little sojourns. ~ I love Francesca’s outlook on life and attention to those little things in life. x

Rambling Tart

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Written by Krista and just a total joy.  ~ “I love old books, classic movies, singing along with Bing Crosby, and going treasure hunting in thrift stores. I can’t get enough of camping, hiking, and sitting by the ocean. And I’m never happier than when curled up in a comfy chair, coffee in hand, chatting away with a dear friend”.  ~ A true soul sister x

Travel Notecards

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Millie Brown  currently divides her life happily between France and Australia. Two of her greatest passions in life are travel and photography. “For me, there is nothing quite as exciting or liberating as jumping onto a train, plane, into a car (or even just onto the street) with my camera.” x

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“Simply put, I love cooking with food that I’ve grown, gathered, hunted, fished for or sourced locally. There is a peace to understanding food. Food ethics and a conscience make the the process more interesting. Sometimes frustrating, often rewarding, always challenging and sometimes divinely tasting”. ~  A family making a change x

Zen Habits

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Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.  ~ A long time favorite read of mine x

Danielle LaPorte

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Please note all images in this post are copyright of the artists and are not to be shared without the permission of the artist. 

So that’s it for my First Addictive Blog Award

thank you for the nomination and much love to all I nominated for their own Addictive Blog Award

lisa and the gang x

 

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carla coulson

Carla Coulson – Get Published Workshop

Carla Coulson – Get Published Workshop

Some years ago I took an online journalism course.

I completed the first two assignments and that was it. The rest of the notes are actually sitting beside my bed in the hope that I will find time to read them.

Many of us start something only to have it fall by the wayside, I was one of those people. It cost me not only money but also in confidence, certainty and having family and friends know they could take me at my word.

One thing that did come from that incomplete course was meeting Carla Coulson. For the second assignment I was to go to my favorite book store, find books in the genre I wished to write and take notes….I never got passed ‘ Italian Joy‘ and what a gift this was.

Although I didn’t start writing a book that day, I did start blogging which has given me the confidence to finally begin that long overdue book.

Suddenly I found my passion, writing travel and photography beautifully combined into one. Yes it’s been a slow process much like our goal of moving back to Italy but I am determined to move forward each day with my own personal dreams.

Flying to Sydney last Saturday for the Carla Coulson – Get Published Workshop seemed to bring things full circle. I remember the first time she commented on my blog and it felt like royalty had visited, happy dancing in my pj’s resulted.

I was awestruck at first, but soon found that she is much like the rest of us, only she took a chance and changed her life.

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She left a corporate career to chase a dream of becoming a photographer in Florence, went on to write Italian Joy and found love in Italy. She is now a  widely published photographer and author, and fabulous presenter of the Carla Coulson – Get Published Workshop.

Spending an entire day with her in Sydney was priceless, not only learning about the practical hands on side of the publishing world but to hear about the struggles along the way.

Creative Director of Inside Out Sharon Misko was fabulous and gave us a critique of  work selected from the group. Although I didn’t get a chance to chat I came away with a whole new appreciation for the way magazines work and what to look for.

I’ll never pick up another magazine without memories of this day.

An unexpected bonus was meeting Bryce Corbett,  the Associate Editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly and a top bloke.  Funnily enough I recognized him from his wife’s blog…..it’s a small world this blogging.  Very likeable with a thing for orange walls, funny,  informative and generous with the wealth of  knowledge built up through a career in publishing.

I had a chance to talk with him as he was waiting for a cab and found his insights invaluable, he instantly saw stories within our story for me to explore, sending me in directions I hadn’t even thought about.

I know any dream worth having can come with its own set of obstacles, we seem to have hit all of them along the way but like Carla I won’t ever give up.

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and the gang x

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Roll Call – time for you to say Ciao

It’s time for a Roll Call!

The thing that gives me the most joy blogging is meeting and connecting with you all. A huge thank you to everyone here, and also over at Renovating Italy on facebook where the conversations are brilliant.

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I’ve been chatting with you all here for a few years now, and we’ve created some wonderful friendships and connections. You’ve shared our dream to move to Italy and seen it all come true.

So I am taking a page from my great blogging buddy Melissa from Suger Coat It and sending out a “Roll Call”

What’s this you ask?

Well it’s a chance for you tell everyone who you are, say Ciao! I’d love to know if you have a blog (be sure to leave a link) and how long you’ve been reading along. Are you renovating, about to renovate or not intending to ever renovate LOL.

How did we meet??

and the gang x

 

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