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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Our Italian Life – potatoes & celebrations

So much has been happening here in Val Pellice these last few weeks, our Italian Life has been interesting to say the least.

Of course we’ve had the big Fair in the village held to celebrate the animals going up to the high pasture for summer. We ate fairy floss, watched as the road transformed into a bustling hub with friends and neighbors showing off their herds of cows, sheep, goats and horses.

living italy

fair may 2016

One young man stole the show high above the crowd, as if this was quite normal even going into the bar for a drink.

PicMonkey Collage

It was at the fair that Sam realized his Dad Carlo was much sicker than we thought. It turned out that he has pneumonia, he is now very cranky in hospital for the last week, nobody does hospital stays quite like Carlo.

He was released a few days ago and came straight home from hospital and had a big bowl of pasta.

Both Connie and Carlo have been sick on and off since arriving two months ago. We are on a mission to get them well before the cruise they are due to take in June. Connie has been dreaming of going on a cruise since I first met her over 20 years ago.

Tonight we are going out to help them celebrate 50 Years of Marriage.

carlo hospital dbl

Sam is busy with his new venture [ Renovating Italy – Property ] helping a number of clients wanting to buy property in Italy. Now that the locals are aware of his service he’s been busy documenting various places for sale.

Almost everyone has us saying ‘we’d buy that if we had the spare cash’ so many bargains that with just a little TLC would transform to swans.

I’ve had a lovely break from all the tech side of the online world, instead I’ve been out weeding the trails through Borgata Malpertus, picking wildflowers, meeting friends for catch ups and soaking up the spring sunshine.

The people in the Valley are busy literally ‘making hay while the sun shines’ and newborn lambs attract a crowd of tourists up from Turin with cameras clicking.

Today we planted our potatoes with some friends and then had an al fresco lunch before heading home. These are the friends who found us through the blog and then bought the house we shared on our facebook page, they are Aussies so it’s been fun watching them go through similar things that we went through when we first experienced our Italian Life.

our italian life

sam carina potatoes

I’ve found homes for two of our five new kittens, they are so gorgeous I could watch them all day. They tumble and fight, doze with full tummy, and even are so brave they have befriended Fiume our dog.

We’ve found a vet that will de-sex the girls for 50 euro (if we bring in three at a time) each so when we are a bit financial we’ll get them done.

Carina and Luca are growing right before our eyes with Luca going on an excursion to the Egyptian Museum in Turin and Carina and her girlfriend spending time together without Mummy supervising at the shopping centre arghhhh!

family dbl

Our Italian Life is good right now!

I’d love to hear what’s been going on with you….?

element signature 2and the gang x


off on a tangent

Off on a Tangent – finding my way back to you

off on a tangent
I’ve been off on a tangent, and finding my way back to being here with you has been difficult.

Everytime I sit down to write a post it feels like I’ve been away too long, how will I catch up, what will I share, yet like an old friend here you are. Thank you for that, the responses to the little survey I sent out were both a kick up the rear end and a reaffirmation that this is where I need to be.

Sometimes life becomes a struggle even when creating a ‘Simple Life’….. it’s been a bit like that for us lately. We seem a bit fractured, drifting away in opposite directions, every word becomes a misunderstanding. Off on a tangent.

off on a tangent

I write about creating a Simple Life and yet I’m basically feeling burnt out and a little bit lost.

I feel a need to eat well, drink lots of water, breathe deeply, sleep well and walk in the sunshine.

I am slowly embracing a new rhythm and beginning to recreate the outline of our Simple Life and it feels good.

I have so many projects and ideas in my head, I’ve been off on a tangent learing about ‘branding’ and ‘e – courses’ and driving myself mad trying to redesign the website, create two new websites, and oh yes enjoy life, play with the kids and get myself to Tai Chi once a week.

Although I have no idea how this will all work out or which project I’ll work on first (think it’s a Gemini thing lol) my priority right now is to reconnect with my husband, enjoy the sunshine and play with my kids.

off on a tangent

Developing the Life Mapping Italy Project has helped me realise that the most important thing is our family. Making sure we’re ok is my first priority. Everything else is a bonus.

So it’s time to take stock, look at all we’ve accomplished and set some new goals for the year. Although we didn’t get to Malta we are planning a trip in June to Venice and beyond whilst Sams parents are on a cruise (they’ve been dreaming of doing this for over 20 years) we’ll pick them up after 8 days.

We also have five new lives here in the Borgata, both Misha and Mia have had kittens so now we have 1o cats in total. If you’d like to contribute to de-sexing them then you can do so here, we have three adult girls and two adult boys and five kittens that are around three weeks old. I’m hoping we can find homes for the kittens when they are weaned.

I’ll catch you up on all that has been happening here at Borgata Malpertus over the next few weeks, I hope everything is well with you and I’m looking forward to getting back in the groove, catch ya later, with love as always…..

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and the gang x








move to italy checklist

Create your Move to Italy Checklist

your italy checklist

Why you need a Move to Italy Checklist

If you are planning a move to Italy then creating your own Move to Italy Checklist is a Must!

I have always thought of myself as a forgetful person.

As a child I’d be sent to the local milk bar with a list of things to buy only to return shortly after having forgotten to take the list.

One time I actually got out of the car at our sons daycare, got right up to the door before noticing I’d forgotten him. Luckily my husband was in the car laughing and waiting to see how long it would be before I came back to get him.

Moving overseas forced me to change.

Our first time moving to Italy I was in charge of organizing the house, packing, arranging our wedding, passports, having a garage sale, booking venues, and keeping track of everything.

Having moved from Australia to Italy twice now I thought I’d share a few unforeseen things I wish I had put on my Move to Italy Checklist before boarding that plane.

Not on my Move to Italy Checklist

Leaving for Italy also meant leaving behind my Mum who is now in her eighties. Even though close friends advised me to talk with her about power of attorney I kept putting off the conversation. Just the idea had me tied up in knots, I knew it was something that needed to be organized before we left but it was the one conversation I ended up not having and later deeply regretting.

A short while after arriving in Italy my Mum had to go to hospital, she ended up in a rehabilitation center. She seemed to be in rehab for such a long time, she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to go home. Conversations with my other family members finally got heated and I ended up calling the social worker at the hospital and having to fly home (four months after arriving in Italy) for a court hearing to award guardianship of my Mum.

I never saw that coming.

If only I had approached the conversation of power of attorney before we left this awful situation would have been averted. If you are leaving aging parents behind think about what would happen to them once you leave the country, have those difficult conversations with family members before you leave and get everything in place legally before departing.

Move to Italy Checklist – schooling for our children.

We arrived in Italy in late March, the school year started in June. As we didn’t have a residential address we couldn’t book our children into school. We were commuting back and forth between our accommodation and the house we had bought (yes doing renovations before moving in). Turned out we couldn’t book schools even though we had bought the house unless we were living in the house. Who Knew?

So the kids ended up missing the June starting date and eventually began school in September which is the start of the school year here in Italy.

They were very happy, we were not quite as happy.

One last Thing

One funny thing that I didn’t anticipate was organizing a passport photo for our son Luca. At the time he was just turning eight, we had to go to our local post office to have the paperwork finalized and get passport photos taken. Our son Luca has high functioning autism and no matter how many times the lady took his photo she couldn’t get him to not smile.

Every time she pointed the camera at him he gave her a huge beaming smile, we ended up having to return twice before getting a photo that she thought would be accepted.

I still have all the photos the Post Office rejected, they always make me smile.

So our advise would be:

To take a deep breath, let go of all the worries and stress and create your Move to Italy Checklist, put it on paper and be kind to yourself.

Moving Country doesn’t need to be stressful.

We did most of the things on our checklist including moving from Queensland to Melbourne, putting our house up for sale, oh and we organized our wedding, Luca’s christening and a going away party as well.

What did you forget to do when moving overseas?


and the gang x




Fiume – a dog lost, our hearts broken

Fiume loved to prance.

In the afternoons I’d play with him on the ancient road outside our house. He’d pick up a stick and I’d chase him about, letting him race past me, growling at each other when I finally managed to grab the stick.

The last time I saw Fiume he was prancing. We’d been playing, and as I went inside he turned back to look at me with tail wagging before heading off for adventures unknown.

Such a boofy happy guy, and our first family dog, we saved him from certain death.

His previous owners kept him chained in the side alley, they had gone through five dogs in the eighteen months we’ve been here.

When they finally moved out we were offered Fiume for ten euro otherwise they were going to kill him.

Of course we took him

The photo of Carina in the lane way is the day he was given his freedom. Even after months with us he was still cowed down and would bark and grown at anyone walking through the Borgata carrying a stick. His previous owners were not kind.


He changed all our lives, especially Carina and Sam, of course he and Carina were instant best friends, and it made me smile to hear Sam talking with him when he thought nobody was around, just last night he said “I didn’t think I’d miss him but I really do” which is a big admission for my ‘No way are we getting a Dog’ husband.

When I was growing up my best friend and confident was our golden Cocker Spaniel Jamie. I wanted Carina and Luca to have the joy that only a dog can bring.

Fiume was that Joy.

I hope Fiume finds his way home but as the days pass it seems less and less likely.

Our neighbors Anna and Sergio have been out looking for him in the snow as have we. They love him and he often spends the day next door with their dog Lucky. When we go away in our campervan it’s Anna and Sergio that take care of Fiume.

They talk to us about cliffs, snow and wild boar when Carina isn’t here and don’t think he is still alive.

I hope that if he is dead that he didn’t suffer.

Our Valley is wild and  rugged, it’s not like a suburban backyard where you close the gate and your dog stays put all day.

Here dogs are often chained and I’d rather he have those six months of freedom than a lifetime on a chain cowed down and lacking all affection.

We gave him a glimpse of what life should be like.

He got to be a part of a family that love him. A much loved part of our ‘pack’…….come home Fiume, we all miss you x

and the heart broken gang x


creating a simple life

Creating a Simple Life – tantrums dinosaurs and the rude finger

creating a simple life

today walking to school Luca and I dodged Dinosaurs, sadly one of them ate the rather large dog that was barking at us.

today my girl burst into tears, school is really hard, she has Italian grammar homework, she doesn’t know why she gets so angry.

she climbed into my lap just like she did when she was three, for a hug then immediately resumed her ongoing battle with all things Mum.

yesterday Luca was in trouble, his normally smiling teacher called me over and in rapid Italian let me know she wasn’t happy about something. that something was the rude finger, and some fairly choice language from my normally sweet, gentle ten year old son.

today it was tempting to walk out the door and just keep going.

my little family is totally out of sorts.

as I write my girl is calling out in her sleep, when she was little she had night terrors, the first one scared us both half to death.

I do sometimes feel like a terrible mother, one who doesn’t check on homework, or comb hair in the morning,

I wrote the following a few days ago over at my facebook page,  and since then have determined to spend more time with my family, less time plugged into the computer, more time creating a simple life, building a secure base, focusing on what is important, more time noticing my daughters struggles and my sons rude finger, more time playing together

more time dodging Dinosaurs.


creating a simple life

Our Italian Life: I have walked up and down the mountain four times today. Taking Luca to and from school and then picking him up again.

It’s reminded me of why we came here, to reconnect, to spend time with our kids, to enjoy life and all it’s simple pleasures.

Creating a Simple Life

Walking with my son to school is one of those pleasures, we chat, stop to pick up rocks that look like fossils, pick up walnuts, and arrive just in time to gallop into school without looking back.

It reminds me of all the things that take me away from the life I want to live here, the emails, the posts to read, the to do lists still to make, the webinars I want to watch, facebook updates, and photos to sort.

It reminds me of how much I totally love our kids, how much I want to spend time with them and how often I am hooked into the computer.

The total joy he finds each day as we walk to school in the simplest things is inspiring. Today Carina came down to school with me to pick up Luca. She’s been home with a bit of a cold and it was a chance to get some fresh air.

We took the dog with us, we actually got to chat about school, we all had an ice-cream before starting the walk back up the hill. We pulled to the side of the road to let the cows pass, picked a few late season blackberries, Luca threw his ‘divining rod’ into the river to see it wash away.

It was really special.

It is something I intend to spend more time doing, like putting on the music and dancing in the kitchen with Carina. Visiting the place under the apple trees where Mishu is buried to lay wildflowers, to finally peel, dice and stew those apples, and to really spend time creating a simple life in the mountains of Italy xxx

I promise this to myself, please remind me if you see me here too often.

It’s time to turn things around, I’ll be posting occasionally about how things are going, I’d love you to join me with your own thoughts on creating your life.

I’m hoping that you’ll hold me to account, have me share what’s important

the good and the bad,

rude finger and all.

and the gang x









portrait in paris

Portrait in Paris – with Carla Coulson

Portrait in Paris

For many years I have been missing, behind the camera instead of in front.

Convinced I didn’t deserve center stage,

Carla Coulson you helped me change all that.

portrait in paris

Not only did I find my inner sexy, adventurous, spirited, passionate sense of self again.

I also gave the gift of myself back to my daughter.

A Mum who wears red lipstick, high heels and knows how to navigate the Metro.

One full of laughter, confidence, glowing with happiness that we get to share these moments together.

From the absolute surprise on her face when she caught the first glimpse of my transformation I knew I’d cheated her a little.

Our portrait in Paris was a chance to change all that.

We laughed out loud feeding the pigeons at Notre Dame, splashed in the fountains, shopped, danced and sang together.

Total ‘Girl Time’

It was long overdue.

My own Mum and I have an incredible closeness, she raised us after my Dad died suddenly at only thirty nine. I’ve long had a thing for preserving memories, I only have a few photos of my Dad and I together, I was only five when he died.

By taking myself out of family photos I really see how I just disappeared.

How my kids don’t feel they smile the right way for photos.

If I could give you a gift from my heart it would be to let yourself always SHINE.

To not hit delete if you don’t look ‘just right’ and if you get a chance to have a portrait taken go and do it wholeheartedly.

The day we spent with Carla for our portrait in Paris really did change my life, in ways I didn’t see coming.

She has such a natural, humble. easy way, a clear vision that she brings to life, and she carries you along with her passion and enthusiasm.

I have never felt this way in front of a camera in my entire life.

Swirling, laughing, yep even a bit of strutting……people pausing to watch us, it all seemed on the edge of my joy, hugging my daughter, a bouquets of flowers with their own special meaning for us, feeling like a million dollars.

I even did a few quick outfit changes in a little courtyard, and Boobs…..who knew I had those!

Just Priceless.

A complete and total contrast to how I felt only a few short months ago when I found out I had won.
I turned the camera on to video my thanks and everything went sideways.
I know the video and the post I wrote touched many people who also hide from the camera.

Lisa portrait Paris 4

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

Lisa portrait Paris 5

To the only man in my Life,

we share so much, laughter tears Renovating (enough said), you are still and will always be my HERO!

I might not tell you enough that I love and adore you

yet I do

with all my heart x

Carina portrait Paris


My beautiful butterfly girl.

You are my heart,

I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way when we argue but it will forever be true.

I love you more than a million red M & M’s, more than anything in the world, to the moon and back.

My little girl you are becoming a young woman and I am so proud of you!

You have such a special grace, an inner beauty, a rare gift of resilience, creativity, laughter, cheekiness, and such a Spirit.

I love you Sweet Heart, you are my JOY xxx


Lisa paris

Lisa and Carina Chiodo0047batch

portrait paris dblbatch

Carina portrait Paris 1

Lisa and Carina Paris

Dearest Carla,

You gave us so much more than you could ever know.

Way beyond a Portrait in Paris.

Such a beautiful moment in time together, the grace of a girl becoming a young woman.

I’m incredibly happy that you were the one to capture these moments. I can’t imagine anyone else behind the lens, you have such a gift.

At the end of the day shooting it felt like we had just wandered Paris, soaking it all in, all of us laughing together as girlfriends.

I don’t actually remember you pointing a camera at us, how weird is that?

I just remember Carina in my arms, laughing, relaxing, a feeling of twirling, sharing, her hand in mine as we walked, lots of laughter.

Yes Life Changing in so many ways!

carina pais dblbatch


 “Freedom, Sensuality, Joy, Movement, Adventure”

thank you Carla from the bottom of my heart xxx

PS  Carla I will forever love your little cat, how clever he was to draw my name from that dish.
Give him a big kiss on the whiskers from us says Carina x

PPS Now the boys want to get in on the act….next time you’ll have the entire family LOL xx

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and the gang x









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