Posts Tagged ‘Log fires’

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

After this morning’s fill of SKY and BBC world news, I realise that the only way to treat all this bad news is to concentrate on all the good things in life. Here in our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of the Chianti Hills, the countryside is bathed in morning sunshine. It’s cold and frosty in the shade, but wrap up warm and it’s perfect for a country walk. Then back to light the log fire! Ah, that feels better!

It’s just six days to Christmas and my thoughts turn to our lovely family and friends and organising some video calls. Also, there is much fun in doing some on-line shopping therapy; I’ve just ordered some new leisure wear from Next Italy where they have a huge range of labels on board. My man thought I should go for more colours, rather than my usual black. As he is treating me I have chosen navy, pink and green. I have also noticed some lovely stuff on James Lakeland’s UK site which are made in Italy. Sadly, if I order stuff from the uk I have to pay a heavy import tax now, but hey ho! I just love this really colourful Christmasy retro look frock; if you like it too and are in London you could pop in and buy it whilst the shops remain open! Otherwise go to http://jameslakeland.net

Dare I say it? Yesterday I discovered another hand-made Italian handbag site. All the Italian designers are up there now. This is a godsend if you can’t get out around the shops like you used to! I love this snowy white bag with colourful changeable strap and make-up bag/purse from Elisendra. Well, I hope Father Christmas is reading this! All the presents that I know about are under the tree and it all looks very inviting. http://www.elisendra.com

Oh, I must mention that my man collected his fig and walnut Panettone from Certaldo yesterday and it came in the most delightful box! The packaging here in Italy is wonderful and you are always asked if it is for a gift. Your purchase is then immediately wrapped in colourful paper and bows and place in a luxury carrier bag! No charge.

Well, I hope you’ve got your stock of wine in for the festive period. There’s nothing quite like a warmed bottle of Chianti Classico by the side of the log fire! Put out the cheeseboard and antipasti, pour the wine and away you go! Salute!

OK, time to go and get festive! If we don’t speak again before Christmas do have a wonderful time, stay safe and I’ll see you soon xx

Buon Natale 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!

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_Kindle  image



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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers,

Simone Armelani in Bar Fiorentino

Simone the wicked cocktail maker and artist. Foto J Finnigan.

It is a beautiful sunny Sunday morning here in Tuscany, and the perfect day for heading over to Montespertoli, a small town just fifteen minutes from us, for the Festa di Pane, Olio & Tartufo. (that’s bread, Oil and Truffles to you and me.)  If you can’t make it today, the Festa will be on again next Sunday and is open from 9am to 8pm in the Piazza Popolo, on both days.  The Festa is all about celebrating the Autumn produce from the locality and in addition includes Vino Novello, Cheeses, Artisan Beers and lots of other goodies for you to try.  Montespertoli has always been one of our favourite places, for the cocktails made by Simone at Bar Fiorentina and the gelato in Piazza Popolo, both owned by the same lovely family.  Spending a relaxed hour, on a late Sunday morning outside the geletaria watching the world go by, is the perfect way to enjoy one’s aperitivo or gelato or both.

2017-11-11 09.31.31Meanwhile, first thing this morning we enjoyed coffee in Fiano and picked up on the latest news in the papers.  I was excited to read, for you other Rock fans out there, that Guns N’ Roses will be performing at ‘Firenze Rocks’  in Florence between 14th and 17th June 2018!  And there’s more; also listed are Ozzie Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Pearl Jam and lots more!  I’ll post a link for tickets as soon as I hear more.  It was nice of them to check that these dates did not clash with my own concert, which is on 22nd June!  If you would like a personal invite to my Garden Party Rock Concert in Tuscany, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Foto La Repubblica.

2017-11-10 10.17.13Continuing on the same subject, we must not ignore that fabulous Italian Rocker Jovanotti, who has just announced his tour dates for next year.  My daughter and granddaughter went to one of his concerts in Florence, and raved about it for weeks.  The tickets are on sale NOW, so you had better get your skates on if you want to nab some.  Foto La Repubblica.  Go to Ticket Sales

I know when my man reads this he will say, “There’s an awful lot about rock music this time June.”  So I can only hold my hands up and argue that all the above info came at once, and I could not ignore any of it.

2017-11-10 08.52.04Anyway, for those of you who would like a little more about  our beautiful bit of the Chianti countryside, here’s a nice ‘good morning Tuscany’ foto, which I took just two days ago from a window at back of our house.  In our part of the world, in between the clouds the sky is a brilliant blue, all year round.  Ah, life eeeez good! Foto J Finnigan

2017-11-12 21.12.57Now, before I go, just a quick mention about the pile of felled tree trunks that, you may recall, were dumped just down the track below our front gate.  It’s now four times the size and has a red a white crime scene tape around it!  Did someone guess we were having devious thoughts about pinching a few, or is there a body underneath?  Either way, we decided to leave things alone, use our own logs and light the first log fire of the season, and very nice it was too!  Foto J Finnigan

Well, I have promised my man some home cooking for lunch, so it’s off to find the kitchen and prepare my tried and tested cauliflower bake and roast potatoes.  I know, nothing Italian about that, but the wine is the real thing!

Next week I will have some news for you about my Christmas Books Special, and also announced on my Official Author Site at June’s Site Watch this space!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x


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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Before I launch into the subjects in the above title, I do want to let you know that I have not forgotten to mention the Olive Harvest.  Yes it is in full swing, however, I will talk about it next week when I have some more fotos!

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Fot P Finnigan

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Foto P Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or should I say at our former monastery/farmhouse here in Chianti, it was time to try out our inglenook fireplace for the first time.  Now we do have a vast experience of open fireplaces, in fact my man actually built one many years ago in Somerset, England, so we knew there was only a 50/50 chance of it not smoking the sitting room out.  So, on Friday we got it lit and yes, as you can see in the foto we had to open the french windows to let the billowing smoke out.  But for just a few minutes it looked beautiful and when it was roaring the smoke went up the chimney, but as soon as it died down a bit, out came the smoke again!  So we will get an expert in to decide how to deal with it.  Watch this space….

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Back in Fiano, where we mostly go for our coffee these days, I see in the Sunday magazine that very popular British musician Sting, or Gordon Sumner, is looking pretty good at sixty-five.  The Italians love Sting, and as he has a villa a few valleys away from us, he is also considered a local celebrity; a bit like me in fact, although I’m only famous in Fiano!

Look no hands, or feet! Fot La Nazione

Look no hands or feet! Foto La Nazione

The other thing that the Italian’s love is Calcio or football to you and I.  You may remember that AC Milan was purchased by a Chinese buyer a short while ago.  Now I don’t know what to think of this, but in the paper I see the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping  showing off his skills by playing football without his hands or feet!  Methinks it’s a clever conjuring trick.  What was that you said?  Well, really…..

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

OK, where was I.  Oh yes, back to yesterday morning and the fruit and veg market.  Whilst, most of the peaches have finished I did find some plums and I bought some lovely fresh broccoli too.  I decided to take a foto of one of my favourite home-grown stands and I think this picture says it all.

Then of course, it’s that time of year for Chestnuts or Castagne as they are called here.  The Italians really go to town making wonderful deserts for this versatile nut, I’ll try to get some fotos for you next time.

My Pasta vegetarina. Foto J Finnigan

My Pasta vegetariana. Foto J Finnigan

And just for a bit of fun, here is a foto of my pasta vegetariana,which I had for supper last night with our lovely family, at a restaurant called Il Merlo, somewhere between Volterra and San Gimignano!  The chef has a sense of humour and obviously so disapproved of my not wanting any sausage with my pasta, he even removed the pumpkin as he thought I might consider it meat, then put this little face in the corner of the plate!  Very Ha Ha, I don’t think.

Anyway, gosh is that the time, I must crack on with my soon to be finished novel ‘The Italian Connection’, which some of you are asking about. My deadline for the first draft is the end of October, which I expect to meet, then another month of infill and editing before I can get it published.  Sorry to say, I won’t make the Christmas shelves but you can happily look forward to a Spring launch at the very latest.

OK, off you go, have a really good week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan


'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.



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Benventi to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

The new ice-rink in Certaldo. La Nazione

The new ice-rink in Certaldo.
La Nazione

Here in our little bit of the Chianti hills, life generally moves at a relaxed pace, the most exciting and busiest time of day being morning coffee at a local bar.  Down in Certaldo last Monday, I heard that a new Ice-rink had opened in the Piazza next to the post office.  I was in the central piazza at the time reading the papers and as the rink did not open until 3pm, I elected not to go and visit it there and then.  Anyway, it is the evenings that offer the most interesting spectacles, what with the Christmas lights being on and all that.  But I did find a picture in the local paper for you!  My grandchildren love the ice-rinks here and for years they have been going to Siena, where you will find a huge one.  It seems that most cities and towns are now having ice-rinks over the festive period, which is really great.

Bianco the big white puppy. Photo J Finnigan

Bianco the big white puppy.
Photo J Finnigan

In Bar Solferino, Bianco the big white puppy was fidgeting on his owner’s lap.  Only three months old but already enormous and likely to knock everything flying if put down on the floor!  A little later he and his owner were outside and Bianco obviously needed something to chew as he was having a go at one of the wooden benches!  We have very fond memories of our dogs chewing through the furniture and still have a tooth marked bamboo coffee table in our sitting room.  Now we have grand-dogs, and always carry dog chews in the car, so we gave one to Bianco.  His owner was more than grateful as he could now spend the next hour or so watching the world go by without having to occupy the teething puppy!  Bless.

Winter sun in the valley below. Photo J Finnigan

Winter sun in the valley below.
Photo J Finnigan

On returning to our little villa, the winter sun had turned the countryside into a gold and bronze wonderland, it was enough to take one’s breath away.  It is difficult to really capture the colours without a good camera, but I just had to try to send you some pictures that would demonstrate this.  All I can say is, you will have to visit Tuscany in the winter to really appreciate it.

Winter sun on our terrace. Photo J Finnigan

Winter sun on our terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

Naturally, it is the time of year for log fires.  It is the one thing that makes the dark evenings tolerable.  We, like most Tuscans, live and eat outside for the best part of the year.  If there is no cold wind and the sun is shining, you will even find us eating Christmas lunch in the garden!  But snuggling up in front of the fire is so lovely and cosy.

Cosied up to the log fire. Photo J Finnigan

Cosied up to the log fire.
Photo J Finnigan

Last Thursday, my daughter and I took time out from our busy schedules to meet for lunch in San Gimingiano, the city of towers.  We had the most delicious gluten-free spaghetti I have ever tasted and now you are going to ask me where we went and I have completely forgotten the name of the ristorante.  It was in the Piazza Sant Agostino, and as there is only one ristorante there, I’m sure you will find it!

Next weekend we will share our Christmas tree and decor with you, just so you know that we do enjoy the festive season in much the same way as we did in England all those years ago.  The Italians celebrate things in a rather more religious way, but the feasting and family get togethers are very similar to our own.  I’m really looking forward to it!  Send me pictures of your trees!

My Goodness look at the time!  I must go and make myself beautiful as we are off to Ristorante C’era Una Volta for lunch.  Grilled sliced polenta topped with cannelloni beans and swiss chard will go down really well, perhaps followed by tagliatelle and white truffles.  Yummy…..

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Oops, nearly forgot!  As a festive treat you can now download the book ‘My Father, The Assassin’ for just 99p, but only up until next Saturday!  Go to http://www.amazon.co.uk

Salute June x

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.







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