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Welcome and Benvenuto to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-12-09 10.37.46I just love Christmas and I feel sad for those that do not.  For me it is much more than a religious festival, it is a time when families get together again and to take some quiet time chilling in front of a log fire, without feeling guilty for a few days.  Our kitchen is now all festive, ready for gatherings of friends or family who happen to pass by.

2018-10-30 18.08.15Here in our little bit of Chianti, we will move the TV from my man’s study to the sitting room and watch really silly DVD’s of UK sitcoms and some good films, in front of the fire.  Italian TV is terrible, just don’t go there!  We will get the old board games out and thoroughly enjoy ourselves.  What will you be up to?

2018-12-07 09.28.43As you know I am a keen follower of Italian fashion labels and it’s been great to see models walking down the catwalk in Christmas Sweaters!  It seems lots celebrities have been spotted wearing them!  This is very good news in my view, the brighter the better.  Try not to smile when you are chatting to someone wearing one, you can’t do it can you?  Chuckle.  The more reasons we have to put smiles on our faces the better.  If you girlies want something festive yet sophisticated, I spotted this lovely cashmere one from Somers, always one of my favourite Italian sweater designers.  Somers

mid_farcitura-per-dolci-nataliziNow you know how much I love Italian food, I harp on enough about it, but at Christmas time there are somethings I really miss.  These include mince pies, sage & onion stuffing mix, parsnips, Birds Custard and Branston Pickle.  But all is not lost.  My man will be popping over to London for a visit before Christmas and will bring some of these things home with him.  Otherwise we have Richmond’s British Food Shop, which delivers to your home in Tuscany!  Richmonds

2018-12-09 14.01.40Meanwhile, back at our regular local ristorante, C’era una Volta, Paolo has done it again.  He has secured a good fresh supply of Tartufo Bianco, white truffles to you and me, and we had lots grated over our pasta yesterday for lunch.  Heaven!  Here in the picture is his hoard, which won’t last long even at the high price these dishes demand!  So whilst I miss some of the English foods at Christmas, pasta and white truffles more than makes up for that!  C’era Una Volta

On the way home our car was once again splattered in slimy mud, which has just been laid supposedly as a new surface for the minor road, or should I say dirt track, which goes past our house.  If you think that the modern-day Italians have any hint of Roman road building about them, you would be sadly mistaken!  True, our area is one made up of shifting soil and grit, regular landslides etc but one keeps hoping that the local commune will eventually find a better way of dealing with the state of the roads.  Oh Dio, was that a moan?  So sorry, I was just dreaming about those beautiful solid stone roads built by the illustrious Romans; hey ho!

20181031_084924But we don’t care about that!  Here’s a really funny foto my man saw in the paper.  Silvio was obviously blowing out such a blast of hot air again that poor Dudù is having to hang on for dear life!  Ha ha!

Well enough already.  Must get this edited and off to you.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you!  Oh and do visit my official author site at My site

Salute June x

PS Send me your Christmas pics!  Visit me and my books on Facebook, Twitter and Linked in.  Oh, and buy real books for Christmas, you can’t unwrap an e-book!

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-12-01 22.44.56For the first time ever, last Saturday we went to a show at the Old Cinema in Fiano.  Not a lot happens there.  It is used by the local primary school for gymnastics and the occasional concert.  We were really surprised to find it newly refurbished inside and settled into our third row seat to wait for the start of a Comic Opera.  This being Italy the start time of 9pm stretched to 10pm as it takes that long for old friends and family chatting away in groups, to finally take their seats.  The set was very good and the characters funny and singing excellent.  Whilst my man and I did not understand all of it (regional dialects abounded) we did laugh in the right places and thoroughly enjoyed it.

a2c31a4d4bf2ea98d303c19ff3fa8a65Then at the second break, I reached for my bag, which had been carefully wedged between our seats, and my purse was gone!   To cut a long story short, the strange looking couple who had been sitting behind us, had gone too!  They were the only strangers in the place, everyone else was known to us and they were all horrified that this should happen to the English lady who had been made so welcome in the village.  The villagers hunted high and low, but it had obviously been stolen.  So I hastily cancelled my plastic cards then drove down to Certaldo at fifteen minutes past midnight to report the theft to the Carabiniere.  A sign outside said to return at 9am unless our visit was very serious and urgent.  We decided to go back on Sunday morning.  The lovely police officers were very helpful and as my purse/wallet had included all my documentation and driving licence, I had to make a written statement and apply for the police to issue a new licence!  Foto pinInterest – I make no excuses.

Through all this, I remained strangly optimistic and I said to my man “Lets check the waste bins outside the Cinema in case the theft was an unsoffisticated one and they were only interested in the cash.”  So we did, nothing.  Concerned locals asked if I had found my ‘portfolio’ and expressed their sorrow.  My man said he would take me out for a nice sunday lunch, so late morning I got ready to go, then the phone rang.  It was a signora from Fiano and her young son had found my purse on the road outside the closed bakery!  Hurrah, we stopped off at her house and were greeted at the door by a very excited boy called Giacomo, who turned out to be the young hero.  His lovely mother, Elisabetta spoke some English as she was a high school teacher.  All my documentation was intact, but the cash was gone……  For me, that was a small price to pay for getting everything else back.  The hassle of getting a new Carta Identica, driving licence etc, need I say more, this is Italy.  So, I now have a new friend called Giacomo and he has a signed book from me and a little something to spend.  We returned to the Carabiniere just in time to stop them proceeding with the driving licence application.  I doubt if they will be able to do much about the loss of cash, but they do have the names of the strangers sat behind us, assuming they are not false, as the theatre layout needed names for all the seats.  But hey ho, life eeez good, life eeez now!

2018-12-02 08.49.16And so to lighter things and I read in the paper that the amazing Italian singer Patty Pravo, now aged seventy, is still performing!  She of the amazing gravelly yet sexey voice, and without an ounce of fat, is still wowing her audiences.  If David Bowie had wanted a female look-a-like, Patty would have been perfect.  A big hit in sixties Italy, she reinvented herself in the mid-nineties and hit the charts again.  If you would like to listen to an italian female singer with attitude, Patty is for you.  Patty’s site

2018-12-01 09.07.52And now for something completely different.  All you lovers of Tuscany may not be aware that we have a thriving grain industry.  No, it’s not all vines and olives!  Wheat, Barley and Corn and other crops I cannot recall, are all grown here.  Also, of course, big fields of sunflowers for their seeds.  Italy does have a growing beer industry, so that’s one route some of these grains might take.  And, of course, Tuscany’s very own pasta made from local wheat.

2018-11-29 09.09.33This then leads us on to the other Italian drink, so very popular with the men as a digestivo, yes you are right Grappa.  Grappa is a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume.  I’m not too keen on it, we more northern europeans would more likely choose a port after dinner.  Mind you, after my purse theft experience, I might just drink anything!

Anyway, enough about alcohol, time to think about lunch.  The sun is shining and I took ten minutes out this morning to soak up some vitimin D in the garden.  How I miss doing that!  But it’s the run up to Christmas, which is so exciting!  So we don’t care about that.  I’ve bought us a joint present of a new record player for all our old LPs, better known as vinyls these days…….  I’ll send you a foto after Christmas!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  And visit my author site at June’s site

Have a great week and a big thank you again to Giacomo, my little star.

Salute June xx

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

20181122_083438Just five days to December and it’s the time of year for colder damper weather, which in itself creates some of the most breathtaking scenery and camera shots here in our little bit of Chianti.  Early morning mists fill the valleys below us and as the sun peaks through we witness shafts of sunlight breaking out from the mist and spotlighting the thousands of cobwebs covering just about everything!

20181122_083752Then the sun rises a little more and shines on nearby properties, but the mist has not risen yet so we get these ghostly looking apparitions.  It’s important to stand still for a while and watch the vista changing as the mists start to gradually roll away.  Beautiful.  So then we drive to Fiano, our local village, for coffee at La Dispensa, which means going higher up still into brilliant sunshine.  The drive back will be views of fog filling the valleys over Certaldo and looking like a great white lake.

2018-11-21-10-09-13.jpgWe relax with our coffee and read the papers, greeting the locals as they come and go.  On rainy days they joke with us saying that we have brought Tempo Inglese (English Weather) with us!  But what is this?  In the paper I read that there has been a miracle in Pisa; The Leaning Tower has straightened up by as much as four centimetres over the last twenty years!  It seems that consolidation work carried out between 1993 and 2001 has resulted in this unexpected turn of events!  Well that’s good, but if it keeps going, will we end up with the Once Leaning Tower of Pisa?  All those tourists that travel long distances to have their foto taken looking like they are holding the building up with one hand, yes what of them?  I guess they will instead come to see the Miracle of the Tower that moved!

2018-11-22 09.23.36Anyway, another article in the paper caught my eye, and something close to my heart or should I say waistband, Pecorino Cheese.  I don’t just like cheese, I absolutely love it and it is the only thing stopping me from becoming vegan.  Pecorino is the most popular cheese in Italy for everyday use.  It ranges from very young and soft to a hard mature version, a bit like the texture of Parmesan but the taste is different.  I love it for the fact that it is not cow’s cheese, which I avoid.  When we first arrived in Italy, I had to find an alternative to English Cheddar, particularly for cooking.  Pecorino hit the button and more!  Can you buy Italian Pecorino in your country?

2018-11-19 08.19.48And, what about the Italian fashion scene for the run up to party time?  Well, firstly  chunky footwear is in, even with the most feminine smart couture!  NeroGiardini

2018-11-11 09.23.43I was always a stiletto fan until the knees started complaining, so if you are following the younger women in the British Royal Family, you can still wear them and that can be your excuse.  Otherwise, if like me you are crazy about everything Italian, perhaps not.

And, so to the big glittery C.  Yes, Christmas is everywhere already.  Festive markets in all the towns and cities.  Also, Opera and Theatre with a festive edge.  We will certainly go to some of these; I’ll report back when we do.  What are you doing this festive season?  Do let me know what you are up to!

Meanwhile, I am working on my ‘Buy real books for Christmas, you can’t unwrap an e-book’ campaign.  See my own books at June’s Site

Well, time to get back to the day job and don’t forget to buy your advent calendar.  I love them.

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-11-20 18.02.15Firstly, I’m delighted to announce that my beautiful daughter Sharon and her friend Rosie have officially launched their new Magazine EnvyItaly. A cross between an upmarket magazine and a high quality coffee table book, EnvyItaly brings you everything you need to know about Luxury lifestyles, travel, food, wine and love in beautiful Italy. You can also read it online. I love it.  Her Dad and I are so proud. Let me know what you think!  http://www.envyitaly.com

OK, what next?  Oh yes, last Wednesday, due to our regular ristorante C’era Una Volta being closed, and whilst Paolo and Gaia take a well-earned holiday somewhere warm, my man and I went off to San Gimignano for lunch.  This famous City of Towers is just half an hour from us and, now it is out of season, it’s possible to walk the cobbled streets without having to weave in and out of dense crowds of tourists.  Wednesday proved to be a day when lots of restaurants and shops were closed.  And, we shyed away from the Michellin starred places as we really just fancied a big plate of pasta.  

superbe-decouverte-enFinally, on the way back to the carpark, we were relieved to find Olivieri Bistro open! On the outside it did not look very much, but once inside that all changed.  I adore Burratta cheese (a big round soft creamy ball) and it was on the menu.  Foto from Trip Advisor. Then I had a big dish of fresh porcini mushrooms with pasta.  Yummy! Good coffee too.  You can visit them on Facebook and Trip Advisor.  This time of year ‘San Gim’ is really beautiful in the evenings, so I would recommend you go then.  Have you been there?  Let me know.

Anyway, back in our local village of Fiano we caught up with the newspapers over morning at La Dispensa.  The music scene remains active, despite the season, and I noted in La Nazione that Jethro Tull is back and to support sufferers of Alzheimers.  The band will be performing on 12th December at the Chiesa di San Salvatore in Bologna.  Hearing Ian Anderson’s wonderful flute playing in this magnificent church would be fantastic.  Sadly, like many of their up a coming performances, this event is sold out.  On the band’s website you will find some concerts where tickets can still be bought, in both the UK and Europe.  I must download more of his music for Christmas!    They have a cute Christmas album you might like.  http://www.jethrotull.com

2018-11-19 08.20.30Also in the papers and magazines I found some gorgeous fashion.  Just to remind you I only post pictures of fashion shoots that are advertising ‘made in Italy’ designs.  Also where the designers are using happy models.  So  here is a lovely cosy outfit for winter by the lovely designer Carla Ferroni.  If you go to her site you’ll find a fun video with a catchy Italian Montalbano type soundtrack.  http:www.carlaferroni.it   Being cold now, I have been swapping my clothes around from one wardrobe to another. In my dressing room wardrobe is my ‘currently wearing’ stuff, so this is now all wintry.  For the first time this season, I wore my waxed padded coat today, and was really glad to be in it.  It was minus 2 degrees centigrade in Certaldo!  Despite the fact that I am not a cold weather person, I do enjoy getting all my warm scarves and sweaters out.  My daughter loves Aautumn and Winter!

I don’t know about you, but I have already ordered in a load of Xmas DVD’s and presents from Amazon.  If you are thinking of moving to Tuscany, you should be aware that postal deliveries can be pretty dire.  Ordering from NEXT and M&S Italian sites are quite good because the delivery companies they use are very fast and efficient.  I am holding my breath as regards the Amazon deliveries, fingers crossed the stuff actually arrives!  The last order was returned as the driver could not find us on SatNav!  Whatever happened to rolling down the window and asking directions?

46440360_1154610761355949_1652988184717426688_nAnd finally on a much lighter note, I have pinched a picture from Beautiful Italy’s Timeline fotos as I could not resist sending you a copy.  Seeing this gorgeous Italian Poliziotto is enough to make one rush out and get arrested!

Have a good week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from you.  Visit my Official Author site at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

PS.  To order my books for Christmas visit any Amazon site around the world.  If you want to order a signed book, go to my website above, ASAP!

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Now, I hope you don’t mind, but there is so much going on here in Tuscany by way of entertainment, this blog is rather full it!

2018-11-13 09.34.19Firstly, as you know, I mostly follow the Rock Music scene, my being an aging Rock singer, however, just occasionally I pick up on something else that really excites me.  This time it is the amazing soprano voice of the young Martina Barreca.  I must confess that what really caught my eye was the fact that she is getting together with rock musicians to do some ‘metal’ music.  Now, I am not certain if a performance will be included in her up and coming stage show in Pisa, but she is such an amazing singer that I am tempted to go anyway, purely to hear her voice.  Theatre Tickets and info

2018-11-11 09.38.39Back in Fiano drinking coffee in La Dispensa, I read in La Repubblica a two page article about that gorgeous iconic actor Marcello Mastroianni.  Brilliant actor, both serious and funny, I loved his many films alongside my favorite Italian actress Sophia Loren that we will watch again over Christmas.  I’m thinking that, if you have any really favourite old films its important to get a load in on DVD.  This is the only sure way of having them in your home; streaming has become hugely popular, but why risk having all your stuff in a cloud!

2018-11-04 18.31.58Funny how vinyl music records have become popular again.  I have a lot of original 60’s and 70’s LPs, and as our music centre has died, I have been researching for a new ‘deck’ and speakers.  I found this one, which has built-in speakers and might just buy it for a joint christmas present!  What do you think?  However, I need to persuade my man that the music centre really is dead; he never throws anything out, if it exists it’s repairable!

2018-11-07 09.57.18A band that beeped my radar last week, was Brit Floyd.  I have to admit that I am not too keen on the idea of tribute bands, but I guess and if they are good, it does keep the live music out there.  Brit Floyd have just completed their tour of Italy and I have taken the trouble to check them out on YouTube.  They have their own style and have performed some of Pink Floyd’s classics really well.  They sound and look good live, so why not give them a go!  I sing cover songs, so who am I to cast any doubts!  Their Balkan and European tour continues.  Tour dates

imageAs you know, my other love is books.  Just like my mention of buying DVD’s for your film storage, I am from now on pushing for the purchase of more paper & hardback books.  I’m as guilty as the next person for downloading onto Kindle!  The Pisa Book Festival has just finished and it is good to read there were hundreds of enthusiasts turned up to hear from the illustrious Italian authors and writers.  We must look out for this next year and make sure it’s in the diary!  So, start buying in those books for Christmas! Take a tip from Iceland where it is traditional to give a book gift every Christmas Eve and to go to bed to read it whilst eating chocolates!

2018-11-13 10.56.47And finally, much closer to home is the village of Marcialla, which has the lovely cosy little theatre called Teatro Communal Regina Margherita.  It has lovely comfortable red velvet seats and is like something out of the vaudeville days!   I have just picked up its winter/Spring performance dates and there will be evenings to suit all tastes.  From comedy to children’s theatre, Jazz, opera, classical and other concerts.  Even if you don’t speak Italian, you will love the atmosphere there.  The Theatre

Well, enough already.  Time to think about lunch.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  And, do visit my Official Author Website at My site

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to All my lovely Followers around the World,

MUSEO BEGOMost of you will know that early morning coffee at our local bar, is an essential start to our day.  The other benefit of this is, over the years, having met some lovely locals; some very interesting and talented.  One of these is the beautiful designer and artist, Gloria Campriani.  Gloria was born in Certaldo and her studio is still here.

SIMBOLI DI POTEREFor many years Gloria worked with well-known names in the fashion sector and this experience led her to choose yarn as one of the main medias for her artistic career and the use of recycled materials now plays a big part in her creations.   I love her work.  Fotos provided by Gloria.  Visit her website here.

2018-11-02 09.32.10And, by amazing co-incidence, this weekend is the Festa de Lane (wools) di San Martino, in Florence.  You will find everything you can imagine related to and /or made with wool.  Don’t you just love hand-knitted stuff?  I do.  Did you learn to knit?  I had the basics as a girl, but all my creations came out five times too big!  Scarves a mile long, and so on!

2018-11-02 09.11.25Over coffee this morning, I spotted in La Repubblica, this advert for Berwich pantalone, that’s trousers to you and me, but it was the winter knits that caught my eye.  I’d love to get the waistcoat for my man, but he may not like it as much as I do; I’ll have to ask him.  What do you think? Visit their website

2018-10-31 10.29.38Then I saw these beautiful hand-made shoes by Fratelli Rossetti.  Wow!  They are just things of beauty; if you are into flats like me, there’s no need to be dull for the sake of comfort, not here in Italy! They have a shop in Florence!  Yes!  Here is their website

2018-11-02 09.51.14Meanwhile back at our lovely converted monastery farmhouse, we are surrounded by autumn coloured vineyards.  This one is just to the left of our front gate.  Some of the most beautiful views are to be had right now.  despite the grey skies, high winds and rain.

2018-10-30 18.08.15And, last Tuesday we finally lit the log fire, having gone into denial for a couple of weeks, refusing to believe it was cold enough.  And what a joy it is, snuggled up on the sofa with my man, gazing into those warming flames!  Ah, life eeez good!

Anyway, time to think about cooking a hot plate of comfort food.  I gave my man the choice of eating out for pranzo or cena (lunch or dinner).  He chose the latter.  So best see if I can remember where the kitchen is!

Salute June x

Ps.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  And, do visit my website and register for updates!  Here

Pps.  My man just ask me if this blog is meant to look like a fashion magazine!  Am I harping on too much about clothes and stuff?  do be honest!

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-10-26 19.41.00Well, there I was thinking that I had missed the Olive Harvest but it was only a trick of the Autumn light!  Hidden under those silver green leaves were plenty of olives, green and black, just waiting to be crushed at the local frantoio.  And, to really make my day, my man and I arrived at Ristorante C’era una Volta to be greeted by Paolo, who that morning had harvested his own olives and we helped him in with a huge churn of the freshly cold pressed nectar!  Paolo dipped a jug into the bright green oil and presented us with spoons and bread for tasting.  Oh wow!  There are some tastes in Tuscany that can take your breath away, fresh oil is at the top of the list along with the seasonal Tartufo Bianco (White Truffles).  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-10-28 09.08.57Then, of course, there is the morning delight of going out for a cup of espresso.  Today, Sunday, we decided to pop down to Jam Caffe in Certaldo, so that my man could enjoy his favourite pastry and then take a little passaggiata (stroll).  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-10-28 09.21.49We were quite early, what with the clocks having gone back an hour, so very few shops were open.  But I was really impressed to see a notice on our only local charity shop door, saying they would be open at 10am.  The theme is ‘Vintage’ and my sister-in-law, who lives in England, will be squealing with envy as she is not here.  She loves to search the charity shops for ‘labels’.  This Sunday opening event is to support the local Red Cross, who provide an excellent voluntary service in the area.  Find the shop in Via Giugnio, Certaldo.  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-10-28 10.06.56After this we drove up to Fiano, for a second coffee and pastry!  I like to read the papers in La Dispensa and catch up with the local and national news.  This morning there was a full page picture article about Lega di Chianti (League of Chianti).  Now my first reaction was to wonder why a man in robes was holding a viscious looking mallet above peoples’ heads!  My man commented that it looked like yet another form of abuse (joking).  So I looked the league up and discovered that they were a Military Political Alliance created by the Republic of Florence (Firenze) in 1384, to protect the lands of Chianti.  OK, so the league continues alongwith a strange investiture ceremony and they all take it very seriously! Italy does seem to have some rather gruesome looking traditions!  Foto La Nazione.  For more info about La Lega di Chianti visit their Wikipedia site

2018-10-25 09.45.41And finally, I know I have already posted a hunk of the month, but I thought you might like to see this rather gorgeous Italian all wrapped up in a beautiful soft cashmere sweater! I make no excuses!

Well, must go now.  Off to Sunday lunch at La Gramola in Tavernelle.  Great place for gluten free!

Salute June x

PS do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My Website

 

 

 

 

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