Showing posts with label clever words. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clever words. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Move

We are now residents of Islington. 

Just off the Essex Road....the posh end.

After the limbo of living like hobos, we now finally have a place to fill with our character and love. We arrived into our new home on the 22nd January, followed swiftly by my parents laden with household goodies (and bedding, thank god!). 

After taking donations from family of more household goodies, we were finally left alone in the space with minimal furniture, shockingly bright kitchen strip lighting and all of our bags piled into a corner. We sighed, we grinned and then we said 'So what do we do now?'

After the chaos of the months before we had finally achieved our aim. To move to London, start our jobs and find a place to live. Check, check, check.

The move was proceeded swiftly by the italians interview at the local national insurance office in Camden. We made the journey by bus, chatting idly but with a heavy sense of anxiety on both parts.

What if he couldn't get a national insurance number, what if they refused him, why would they refuse him....he already had a job in the UK, he's not freeloading off the state...and so on, and so on.

After handing over his letter, I was told directly and sternly not to hang around for him outside but to take myself off for a long walk for at least an hour. There were at least half a dozen people waiting outside, clearing ignoring the order, some australian, some eastern european. Some quite sinister 'boyfriends'.

So i did as i was told with a heavy heart and a promise from him to call me with news. I took myself to the pub down the road, which incidentally was the only pub with a plug point for my charger and wifi but with no heating. So i sat for nearly an hour, freezing, wondering, worrying, checking my phone.
I had bought a cash book to record our life and times at our new address, tempting fate somewhat that the contract for the house would be signed later that afternoon and that his interview for UK Tax paying would be a success.

After an hour I got fed up and walked back towards the office. I paced, up and down, up and down. Trying to not to step on the cracks as if this would make a difference. Maybe if stepped on enough 3 drains in a row, that would mean everything would be ok? The superstitious old broad rears her ugly head once more....

He finally texts 'They've taken my ID Card...they say they have to check it offically'. I know how sensitive he is about being parted from his ID card, it's the only form of Identification he has and even i'm not allowed to handle it without forensic gloves.

Unfortunately this set the tone for process. After much more fiddling around, they sent him on his way, minus his ID and said they would be in touch.

We have since found that they have declined his application on the grounds his ID is not valid. It was reported lost some years ago. Well, it was lost some years ago, but found again by the italian police who promptly gave it back to him but forgot to file the paperwork as it turns out. Cue the following days telephone calls to the italian embassy and consulate. He was passed from one to another like a ping pong ball with nobody claiming to know where is ID is.

Later that afternoon we successfully signed the paperwork on our new place but with a huge grey cloud hanging over us. After maybe 4 days, the declined letter arrived and further darkened the mood. He has an interview to gain an italian passport in April. Which seems like an age away now.

We, together have so many achievements under our belt so far.....first move, first ikea trip, first argument, first solution but all under a shadow of the disappointing national insurance interview. At times like this you want to scream at whatever idiot italian policeman that didn't do the correct paperwork. He used the same bloody document to enter this country when he got off the bloody plane!!!

So we carry on regardless....buying a wardrobe, making plans, 
deciding where to put furniture......

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Italian lands.....

I've literally not had the time to take my oil of evening primrose recently but after being named and shamed by the lovely Claire Brunton ( see pic) about my terrible unperseverance in updating i squeezed a few mins in to tap out a few words.

So where did i leave it? Ah yes, there i was sitting all lonesome, minus my italian beau. After what felt like the longest xmas and New year, January 4th was on the doorstep and his flight was landing in the evening.

Cue Flu. Need i say more? I'm sure you can imagine a red nosed, floppy armed, croaky me pushing myself to the airport to meet him. He had tried to insist on my staying indoors while he figured out his journey into london but i couldn't. If only that i had booked his trains ticket back and needed to be there to collect it with my card!!.

But we also have a thing with airports now, saying goodbye and saying hello are hopefully a thing of the past. It's lucky that you don't normally run into people you know at the airport on a regular basis....they may think i look like a total drip all the time!

So he's here! He arrived with bags strapped on his back and front, a little frazzled from the flight full of screaming kids, but he had arrived and through my sniveling nose and a promise guaranteed flu infection we shared a kiss. We crashed at my cousins place until he came back from holiday and thus begun the mission to find us a place

One of the reasons I love him so much is that he continues to freely admit that women are stronger than men. (a way to butter me up maybe?) but that weekend I did us proud by arranging us to see numerous potential rental houses/studios and somewhow dragging myself out of bed for it all.

But as luck would have it, our very first viewing of the day was also our last. After having scoured the internet for nearly 4 weeks, I could tell a peach when i saw it. All i will say is that we are in the process of submitting references and proving our means to pay the rent......and that it's in Islington (oh holy grail of an area to live). I won't say anymore because of the superstition that resides inside. I'm a superstitious old broad.

For the moment we are crashing in my bosses flat, in the living room, on an airbed. It's a shared house and you never want to outstay your welcome, so we try to be clean, quiet and keep the mountain of our belongings out of the way. We are lucky they are so easygoing!

I've been back at work a month now (oh the days of sitting in the did they go so fast!) and
he started his brand new job for a gaming company in London last week. Maybe with his first week under his belt some of the culture shock is starting to subside.  ''No Bidets?'' ''why does the coffee has all this water in it?!'' ''Minchia ru friddu!'' (fuck, it's freezing!)

But so far he loves baked beans, brick lane and the tube. Go figure?

After a recent conversation about moving house I sat down and mentally totted up how many moves i've made so far. How many times i've packed up, throw out the old, deliberate over whether it's essential or not and generally sleep in different places. (I could cry for some things that have been given up or lost).

I counted 14 different places. In about 11 years. Compare this with my sister whose moved twice. Whoa!

I know he has a similar story to mine, except his sounds a little more exciting with packing all his stuff on a motorbike and zooming off into the distance. Yet mine always seemed to be set with winter as a backdrop, freezing cold and selecting jumpers over anything else.

No wonder both of us are silently praying (well...desperately praying) for this place to go through. A space to call our own and some security would finally be nice. A place for books, herb pots, comfy cushions/blankets, one italian coffee pot and some warmth.

So keep all fingers and toes crossed for us!

Friday, 28 December 2012

wandering, wondering's been a long time since an update....


So i'm back in the big smoke, and just taking strolls around to and from work has reminded me of why i love london. It's architecture and character.


After our tearful goodbye waiting for the italians coach back to the airport, i drudged my way back to my old place of work. Ready to put one foot inside the door again and familarise myself.


It's barely been a month since my return and there is much promise on the cards. I sometimes standstock and try to realise just how lucky i am. Being able to return to work just for one, having had the chance to live in italia for just a while and of course finding my beau.

Except he won't be arriving until Jan 3rd in the new year and whilst house hunting should be a fun thing to do with all this promise on the's not. But hey - we've been lucky so far so the rest will be just plain old hard work.

But really....when you're searching for a new place to call home, especially a room in a shared house (dbl with room for a desk anyone?) you want it to be a shared experience. To hop from one teeney box room in london to another, discussing it's merits over a coffee and giggling about how paper thin the walls were.

Instead the italian is stuck in the homeland and I'm relaying every contact i've made, sending photos and haggling over prices.  He's stressed....I'm stressed. It's stressful. Why didn't i realise how expensive it was to rent in London. The rent prices begin to look just like numbers with no significance. A 3 is a low number right? except when it's followed by 50 and that's per week!

So a few weeks were filled trying to hold down a full time job, search around for xmas presents, sort out my paperwork and crash on my parents sofa at the end of the night.

Now at least xmas is out the way! After returning to my folks on xmas eve, emotional as hell, bursting into tears from the stress of it all, I headed to the pub to meet with a much needed positive energy in the form of Kristina. Laughter, booze, hugs and kisses followed.

Christmas day filled with food, booze and telly....have never appreciated a chilled out xmas more.

But the truth may be that I just miss the italian, plain and simple.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

HE GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


british accent in rome  
I used to walk around town here talking quietly (very non italian).  
Not ashamed of my british accent, just ashamed at my still poor italian skills. I'm now embracing my accent and am quite enjoying see people trying to figure it out. 

'She looks italian but she's.......not'

I did manage to have a semi conversation with a lady in a pharmacy about make up!
(but i also completely blanked a guy who was probably trying to ask for directions about an hour before)

you win some, you lose some

But really - ask any foreigner living in Rome trying to practice their italian skills.
The moment you try is the moment one of two things happen....

a) they finish your wandering sentence with their broken english and latch on so they can practice

b) even if you got it 99% correct and they know what you're trying to 
say they still look at you as if to say.....'whaaaa???'

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Positive thinking

I'm a big believer in positive thinking. Yet i've always had the inkling that too much positive thinking leads us to think that we've pretty much achieved our goal and all we need to do is just sit back and wait for it to happen.

Now this article goes some way to supporting that theory.....''The power of negative thinking' is a good read and warns us that visualizing our aims as already achieved can backfire.

Here's the start....go feed yourself some nuggets of inspiration....
Lie back and picture life after your ambitions are fulfilled, the motivational gurus used to say, and you'll bring that end result closer to reality. Make an effort to visualize every detail – the finished screenplay sitting pretty on your desk, the gushing reviews in the paper, the sports car parked outside.

The gurus claimed these images would galvanize your determination. They said you could use the power of positive thinking to will success to happen. But then some important research came along that muddied the rosy picture.
(read more)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Willard Asylum suitcases

Skipping across the tinterweb this evening i came across this interview on Collectors weekley.

Jon Crispin, photographer catalogues a lost hoard of suitcases stored in the Willard Asylum for the chronically insane dating back from the 1910's to 1960's......creepy......

Because I'm feeling lazy tonight i'll leave you with the opener......

''If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.''

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Infographic Resume/CV

Anybody need an infographic CV/Resume?

Get in touch!

infographic resume CV

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Giffing up the kids

How to make an animated GIF from photos

I love it when photos of the kids start rolling in from my sister!

This is my mischievous nephew Benjamin enjoying the autumn weather back home in England.

I'm lucky she's so snap happy, as she takes a bazillion photo's all in one sequence which means i could try my hand at creating a GIF!

Here's the tutorial i used if you have photoshop and a set of photo's with continuous frames!

Friday, 2 November 2012

happy halloween via youtube

a bit late on the halloween front but happy halloween everyone!
enjoy this halloween scary youtube clip!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

mosquito gate

It's a bad, bad day. Numerous bites all over my peach, face and arms which have swollen big time.

Makes me feel very sorry for myself.

Makes me want bowls of frosties in bed watching re-runs of saved by the bell.

Wish I had frosties.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Unbeknown to some, Rome can often be a little on the expensive side.

We went to 'Eataly' yesterday (huge modern harrods style food hall warehouse) and I almost cried at the thought of paying 20euro to sit inside and eat a small rotisserie chicken. Amazing place and if i had a spare 1000 euro i would definitely do my weekly shop there.

Plus i found kettle chips. I'm waiting until i find some hummus to pop open the packet.

But groupon has amazing deals, a friend buys car hire vouchers for 5euro and gets to hire a car worth 50euro.

But seeing as my italian still needs help, i normally just copy and paste the url address into google translate and the whole page is translated! did you know you can do that?

But once again Google can't always be trusted............

From this.......

to this....

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dawn of a new bike era

So the bike finally comes to a halt, I can't see this has happened as I've had my eyes closed the entire trip.  I just feel it stop and unfurl my fingers from the bonnet of the bike.

After i've dismounted the bike, I take those same fingers and curl them in to a clenched fist and unleash 7 kinds of hell on Alessio.

Amidst screams of 'What the hell do you think you're doing!' and 'You could have killed me!' and more relevant 'You said you would go slowly!'.

What can i say? His face was crestfallen, he had no intention of killing me. Of course.
What i had accused him of was tantamount to attempted murder.

It's just a cultural difference. Never in my life did I dream of riding on the back of a motorbike. And maybe never in his life did he think he would have a passenger who had never once sat on a bike.

Part of the reason i wanted to go on this journey was to discover some faith. Not in the religious sense but in the 'having faith in people' sense. To see if good still existed in the world today. To see if you can truly trust, even in this case....with your life.

It has taught me not only to put my trust in someone else with my life but that I can control my irrational fear of cars and bikes, or anything on the road. When I explained my 'lack of control' fear to Alessio, he dashed it away by explaining that i was as much in control of the bike as he was. That every movement i made, every time i lent into a corner with him made all the difference. It's one thing to feel tense in a car and the driver feel nervous because they've noticed. But it's another to sit directly behind that person and them to physically feel my tension. 

So there it is........I had no choice but to calm down, chill out.
I am driving the bike as much as he is, it's a team effort.

But with my anxiety out on the table (and also the rising costs of insurance for said motorbike), Alessio decided to trade in his fancy, racer red Valentina for something a bit 'safer' as he puts it.

In the space of one day he sold the Yamaha R6 and bought a Honda Trans alp.

Bit of a blurry shot, so my apologies but doesn't it break your heart to see him saying goodbye?

He deliberated over a Vespa (oh what joy!) but after much research discovered they weren't actually that safe and if they need repairs, it's not that cheap. He chose the Honda with me in mind, ''It should be much more comfortable for you''.

He didn't bother to mention that it was the same bike that Gionata Nencini used on a 'round the world bike trip....' (some inspiration maybe?)

Here's how we chose the name of the new bike..........

6 pieces of paper, 3 each............

By process of elimination we whittled it down to a winner.

I saw this bike as more of a boy, but Alessio clung to the time old tradition of giving a girls name.

Turns out the winner was the only english name in the mix..........''Roger''

So here is Roger!

And Alessio was right, It is more comfortable. 
You really should see my grins of joy as we purr down the streets, as I sit back and enjoy the ride. 
For diving in and out of traffic....there really is no better way to travel!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Rome by night and my introduction to 'Valentina'

I really should have told you about my first night in Rome nearly 2 months ago now..........

I arrived at the airport, obviously trying not to look like some kind of tourist. Maybe more like a native just returning from a stint in London. (pah...who was i kidding?) 

After a quick taxi ride and tour of the apartment he suggested we dive straight in and head to Rome for my first italian night out.

With that we raced downstairs, eager beavers, ready to paint to the town red........ and then he handed me a racer red helmet..........

''What is this for?'' I pondered out loud.
''For the bike'' he said as he nodded in the direction of a Yamaha R6, named 'Valentina'  
As i dithered over whether I was going deaf or that we may be hurtling over our first 'language barrier', he had hopped on and started to rev the engine of the beast
 ''I'm sorry I don't said you were 15 minutes away from the city by the train.....''  
'Why take the train when we can take the bike?' he said. 
 .''Well....umm....I've never been on a bike before......bikes are bad.....?  We get taught that in England by our parents.....'NEVER GET ON A BIKE NANCY....THEY ARE DANGEROUS''  I mumbled......
 ''Well that's strange because in Italy, everyone uses bikes, we're taught that bikes are good....and you're in Italy now so......GET ON THE BIKE NANCY''

This is is 'take the effing helmet' pose....

He didn't say this with anger, can I add. The Big caps may give you this impression. It's more like 'don't be so stupid, just get on the's no big deal''

So after 5 minutes of trying on the helmet, checking whether i could breathe and a very brief tutorial on how to hold on, I gave him strict instructions to go slow.

Now some of you may or may not know that for some years I have been an extremely nervous passenger in cars. After a couple of wee accidents in England that really should have been nothing, with the flick of a neural switch i found myself with a major fear of travelling in cars. In the early days of this fear, I could not hide my winces, hands over my face and sometimes even shouting out 'CAR!'

Needless to say I was a terrible passenger for anyone to have in the car. As time went on, I became more sophisticated in hiding my twitching hand, belt grabbing and pretending to sleep. (how I could get away with that last one on a short trip to Tesco is pure genius in my eyes)

So after years of avoiding learning to drive, generally plumping for public transport or only getting in a car with my dad, I thought I was managing my fear.

Until this very night. The last 7/8 years had brought me to this point and i couldn't back out.

I hadn't explained any of this to Alessio, because really....who wants to hear what i freak I was?

yamaha R6

On a bike, with no framework to protect me if we crash and with no idea what to expect...
I silent cocked my leg over and tried to squash myself close to him. My logic being that maybe he could be a soft landing for me if needs be. (sorry Alessio)

He then had to explain how to hold myself on, that i couldn't sit directly behind him, wasn't that kind of bike.  How i wouldn't be thrown off, how if i felt uncomfortable or unsafe I was just to lean forward and place my hands on the 'bonnet' in front of him.

So with the strict instructions to go slow, he pulled us into traffic
 onto the local high street.  There are two ways to get to the city from Ciampino, there's a main ring road that skirts the city (bit like the M25). You can join this or take the adjoining 'A' road. (via Appia)

So my hope to poodle along the road, taking it easy and looking maybe like Audrey Hepburn were dashed as soon as we hit the highway.

My head whipped, bum in the air, I clung silently to bike, hands firmly placed on the bonnet. The position is not that dissimilar to the 'brace position'.

So did I see beautiful Rome at night, pleasurly cruising around, admiring the basilicas or the river Tiber? Or maybe catch a glimpse of 'il colosseo' all lit up and looking majestic?

rome by night

Did i heck.....

I was too busy trying to shrink my head into the helmet, keep my feet on the stirrups and praying to any god i could think of to spare my life. 
At one stage I was actually bargaining parts of my body with long as he let me live. (I didn't promise to go to church though)
I said goodbye to each of my loved ones in turn, I reflected on my life and counted my blessings...''It wasn't a bad life eh nance? could have done more but all in all....not bad''

to be my next post 
(just because it's a long story)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

mosquito gate

Whilst I can claim to have been bitten by....pretty much every single common animal or insect you can be bitten by (seriously....german shepherd, tom cat.....a squirrel....the list goes on), I have never had the pleasure of being bitten so consistently by one particular insect. 

Welcome to mosquito gate

how to prevent mosquito bites, plug in

So while I may have nodded and frowned in sympathy to others in years gone by, I can now fully understand the plight of those who have been blessed by sweet blood.

Since I arrived in Rome just over a month ago, I've been averaging out at least 2/3 new bites every single day. EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN DAY.

how to prevent mosquito bites, tropical spray

I know they aren't singling out my english blood for dinner because the italians also recieve the love bites from what surely should be classed as their native bird. But where my bite lingers, grows into a mound and get's itchier by the hour....theirs simply disappears after a half day.

how to prevent mosquito bites, citronella candle

So here are just some of the ways i've been trying to prevent mosquito bites

*this list is not exhaustive

wearing no perfume or body spray
anti-mosquito spray
citronella candles
anti mosquito plug in
mosquito nets
eating more garlic
hiding from them in dark corners, holding my breath, praying they won't notice me

how to prevent mosquito bites, netting

This is by no means an 'advice' post.

This is a 'come and suffer with me' post.

because literally nothing has worked, I am currently sitting here with 3 active bites the size of a 2p coin.

how to prevent mosquito bites, cortisone cream

The nice thing here in Italy is that as a first resort they would prefer you to try and combat any medical problem naturally. 'Use this natural oil, that natural spray, this candle, that incense'. Which is truly admirably. 
But I would have paid 100euro to the first pharmacist to supply me with any kind of chemical to free me of this torture. (or maybe held them at gun point)

After nearly crying at the Farmacia, they gave me a cortisone cream to at least stop them from getting infected...........for even though i promised i wouldn't....... i've scratched myself to death. If it hadn't been so hot, I would have covered up my ugly pins to hide the marks.

If anybody has any other advice in how to prevent mosquito bites, i would be eternally grateful......even if it involves naked ritual midnight dancing, hopping on one leg, mimicking the mosquito natural predator.......

hey........ that's not a bad idea...........

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Dairy bingo

1 line

They actually have banana yoghurt here! 
(No more buying muller crunch corners just for the banana yoghurt!)

banana yoghurt in italy

2 lines

No more holding out for Onken to bring back the limited edition vanilla with chocolate bits!
This is 'stacciatella', which is precisely that! You can get this as gelato as well, which is my current favourite!

stacciatella yoghurt italy

full house

You can get a stacciatella cake mix, just pour in the tin and pop in the oven........

stacciatella cake mix


a few pounds 
(in weight.........not monetary)

Friday, 24 August 2012

learning the lingo

So this is how i'm kind of trying to learn italian in Rome!

Well, it's not the only way but i found this kiddies book for about 2euro in a market and thought....

''what the heck?''

except that it's kind of hard...............or am i just being 'childish'? (excuse the pun)

Here's an exert that has really helped me may sound strange but just learning the vowel sounds can make all difference if you want to know how something should sound.
This little rhyme leads you to pronouncing the correct vowel sounds.

gamba qua gamba la
mi presento son la A

lo di braccia ce ne ho tre
mi presento son la E

sempre dritta, notte w di
mi presento son la I

Oh che sonno, niente fo
mi presento son la O

lo'arrendo, mani in su
non sparate son la U

The literal translation from google is 

the leg side leg
I am present at the
the arms we have three
I am the present and
always straight night w
I introduce myself I am the

Oh that sleep, no fo
I am presenting the O
lo'arrendo, hands up
Do not shoot the son U

which clearly makes no sense whatsoever....but i'm sure a native italian would think it a sweet little ditty.

Which leads me to giving a few pieces of advice for anyone wanting to learn italian.

1) practice the vowel sounds ( i get mixed up with how 'E' and 'I' should sound.)

2) buy a dictionary. A good one, not like me who bought an italian to english dictionary in the local italian supermarket for about 4 euro. It seemed like a good idea, but really it was cheap for a reason and isn't that extensive. The notes are in italian and the emphasis was to help them learn english....not the other way round.

3) don't trust google translate. I can't tell you how many times me and Alessio have tested this. For some basic things, it's ok, like checking nouns. But you have to remember that each region of Italy is like a whole different country compared to each other. They have different dialects, accents and intonation. I'm learning from a my italian language knowledge will be 'dirtier' than most.
(yeh....i know the swear words already)

4) and of course practice as much as possible with real italians 
(i'm still working on this one, I'm a bit chicken..........)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

asking for directions

traffic in rome, asking for directions

It is fully acceptable to stop in mid flow traffic or after the lights have turned green to ask for directions in Rome.


They may not necessarily give you the right directions.


How i have noticed this with my eyes shut for the majority of each journey on the back of the bike I don't know.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The job market this ingenious? or just plain......pointless?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The holy grail

women walking in heels

If you are an Italian chick, you therefore have a unique strand of DNA.

This strand of DNA allows you to specifically walk in heels in Rome. Full stop.

In my 18 days here so far, I have schlepped around in my rose gold flats watching (drooling) as Italian women teeter their way around in the highest of heels.
They negotiate their way with effortless swagger across the cobbled stones.


I remember asking my aunt Kathy (connoisseur of all things footwear/self confessed shoe addict) if i should consider taking a pair of heels with me. Her response?

''Are you a woman?'' she replied sans shoulder shrug.

With all the anticipated walking/exploring (and limited kg allowance for the flight), I played safe and brought 3 pairs of flats instead.

Now I look on with envy and awe...........

So I've been diving into most shoe shops (much to Alessio's amusement and patience) in hopes that a pair will just call to me. 

''Nancy......I am here! pick me! pick me!''

But nothing. Niente. Zilch.

It seems like there is a standard divide between 'whoa!, holy cow!' expensive (albeit rocking shoes) and 'whoa! that's cheap! ( ass nasty)' If i do find a pair i semi like, they don't have my size. It seems that a 39 (size 6) is a little on the large size for womens feet in Italy.

FYI.........GIVE ME those legs

So the search continues.....we've now likened this search to Dante's circles of hell.

  I think i'm stuck between the 1st and 2nd cirlcle. ''Lust'', ''Limbo''

 It's a shoe limbo.