Posts Tagged ‘Mimosa’

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

As I write this blog the sun is peaking through the wintry clouds and we are celebrating still being a Yellow Zone in Tuscany. Here in Italy we have four zones from a Covid point of view; Red, Orange, Yellow and White. Red is the most restricted zone and whitehass no restrictions at all. Unfortunately there are not any white zones as yet but the country is rapidly turning yellow, which is good news.

And as if to further celebrate our yellow status, we have spotted a few Mimosa trees in blossom, but not many. March 8 will be when the blossoms are cut to celebrate Festa della Donna, International Women’s Day. Bunches of the pretty yellow flowers are gifted to the women we love or appreciate, no matter their status. So I hope there will still be blossoms on the trees then, we have had a few years of the blooms appearing rather too early!

Remaining on the subject of yellow, there are plenty of Italian fashion houses producing gorgeous outfits in this sunny colour and Italian men are not adverse to wearing daffodil yellow either! The on-line fashion houses are currently busy with sales; as much as 70% off some Italian fashion!

Meanwhile, it’s not just fashion here in Tuscany that hit’s the button. I was amazed to read an article in The Florentine magazine about how many products are actually manufactured in Tuscany and despite the virus, production has continued! In this picture you will see IVV glassware, Mangusta Yachts, Locman watches and Laika caravans, all made in Tuscany. ‘Tuscany’s focus on international trade is borne out in the share of Tuscan exports compared to total Italian exports, with a percentage of over 7.5%. Fashion, engineering and precious metalworking sectors are the primary sectors for exports. (Source: ISTAT, Italian Office for National Statistics)‘ for the full article written by Helen Farrell visit the latest magazine at http://www.theflorentine.it

And, what else would you like to hear about? A reader asked me if it’s warm here in January. Well, I have to say no, however, when the sun shines and the wind drops it’s perfectly possible to sit outside and enjoy an aperitivo before lunch! There are fabulous sunsets on some evenings. It’s not just the sun going down it’s the reflection on the opposite hillsides that take the breath away. The countryside can turn a bright orange for just a short period. This foto was taken this evening from my bedroom window!

Well, life is pretty good here in Tuscany. We returned to Paolo’s for another delicious lunch and the first daffodil is out in the garden! Yet more yellow. The government continues to be in disarray over arguments about how to spend the recovery funds being made available by the EU; there’ll probably be a new PM in place soon…. But these things don’t really effect us too much. We continue to work remotely and enjoy our morning espresso in Bar Querceto (our sitting room).

And, on the subject of working remotely, I’d best get back to the day job!

Have s great week, stay safe and well.

Salute June x

Visit me at http://www.junefinnigan.website

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

20180128_151859When we first moved into our lovely new home in April 2015, one of the first things we did was to plant three young Mimosa trees.  All are doing really well and already in full blossom.  Once again this is a little too early in the year, as the blossoms are normally presented to the women in one’s life, on La Festa Delle Donne in March, that are deserving for reasons of kindness, love or simply being a nice person who might have made a difference over the previous year.  So let’s hope that there will still be a few flowering trees around on the day.  A couple of days ago, my man also spotted the first daffodils as we whizzed back from a trip to Certaldo; lovely.

2018-01-23 09.17.13Meanwhile it is the season for that delicious dark green cabbage, Cavolo Nero, full of iron and vitaminsCooked in various ways, however, I just like to steam the leaves then toss in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sea salt.  For some really great recipes visit the website of my friend and neighbour, the Celebrity Cook Judy Witts Francini.  Judy’s website

2018-01-22 09.43.08Also in season are the lovely Italian New Potatoes.  Now I’m a great fan of potatoes and we Brits cook them in so many different ways.  Whilst I love them just boiled and tossed in butter (lessato), the Italians mainly cook them chopped into small pieces and roasted with oil, Rosemary and garlic (Potate Arrosto).  You will also find a recipe for this in Judy’s book.

‘So what’s going on in Florence and Tuscany?’ I hear you say.  ‘A lot, as always’ I reply.  Firstly, here is an extract from What’s On in Florence and surroundings in February, courtesy of The Florentine.

  • Visual artists will love the Villa Bardini exhibition From Pinocchio to Harry Potter. 155 years of Italian illustration from the Salani Archive since 1862 (February 12-June 3).
  • The Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts will start the scholastic side to the uber-popular museum, shop and tea room, which opened last July. Students from around the world will study set design in Palazzo San Firenze, the city centre’s former courthouse. In the spring courses will also begin for opera singers, while music lovers are in for a treat with the San Firenze concert series: on February 9, Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini students will perform cinema-centric music by Rota, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Milhaud.

certaldo stationAnd how about our local town of Certaldo and other nearby towns?  Well, I’m going to have to research this as, whilst all the locals seem to know whats going on, probably by word of mouth or they are actively involved anyway.  So I’ll be back shortly!  Ok, I’m back and the very best site to go to is Discover Tuscany, where you will find all the exciting events including wine tastings, galleries, exhibitions, dance festivals, food festas; the list is endless.  So if you are going to be in Tuscany in February you will be kept very busy!  You can start your tour at Certaldo Station, the rail and bus links are brilliant!  Foto P Finnigan.  Go to Discover Tuscany  Website

OK, time for an aperitivo with my man and then I’ll get my head around lunch.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and don’t forget to visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x
















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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

Polenta e Fungi antipasti. Foto J Finnigan

Polenta e Fungi antipasti. Foto J Finnigan

“Could we look at the wine list please?”  I said in Italian of course.  The waiter went a little pale and disappeared.  Then his wife arrived and said, “We don’t need a wine list, we have our own wine!”  “Oh good!” I gave her my broadest smile.  “We’ll have half a litre of the house red then.”  She happily bounced away.  Now, this was the start of our visit to a tiny family run restaurant called Taverna del Fiorentino in Marcialla, which is just fifteen minutes away from our home.  We chose to go there for the first time, because we had been invited by friends to go to the theatre, just around the corner, for a jazz evening.  Having arrived at seven-thirty, this gave us lots or time to relax over dinner, well so we thought.  Now the couple who run the place are really sweet and the wine was delicious.  But the wait for the food was the longest we have ever experienced.  OK, this is Italy where slow food is the rule, but after a while, we realised that this was not the place to go if we had a limit on our time.  also, it gradually became clear that the place had expectantly filled up with people, and they did not have the staff to cope with it.  We had probably chosen the wrong day too.  But the simple polenta & fungi antipasti arrived and it was delicious, also, when it eventually came, my man enjoyed his pasta dish.  so, it was an experience and we are not sure whether we should go back, but we will see.

The cosy theatre before the concert. Foto J Finnigan

The cosy theatre before the concert. Foto J Finnigan

So, it was then a last-minute dash around the corner to Teatro Regina Margherita to meet our friends and neighbours.  As we waited to buy tickets, I snuck around the red curtain and took a photo of the almost empty theatre, which looked lovely and cosy, the band’s instruments all set up on the stage, ready to go.  I’ve never been a big fan of Jazz, I prefer Rock, so we awaited the start of the performance with curiosity.

The band Simone Graziano - Frontal. Foto J Finnigan

The band Simone Graziano – Frontal. Foto J Finnigan

Well, I am not sure how to describe the band, who call themselves Simone Graziano – Frontal,  perhaps in their late twenties or early thirties and hugely talented on their particular instruments.  I found myself drawn to the drummer, Stefano Tamborrino ( a fabulous name for a percussion man) who was amazing on the drums and more, even jangling a big bunch of keys at one point.  But the overall sound was just too weird and a little crazy for my taste.  In saying that, we enjoyed being in the theatre, but next time we go it won’t be for the Jazz.  Afterwards, we joined our friends (thank you Paolo and Paola) for wine in the foyer, which was supplied by Villa S. Andrea from San Casciano.  The wine was very good and the Villa, should you be out that way, is a fabulous place to visit.  Go to http://www.villasandrea.com

Well, back to normality, and trying to ignore the cold wet weather.  Spring is leaping forth in our lovely Tuscan garden, but the weather is keeping us inside.  Despite that, we might pop over to C’era Una Volta for a nice hot lunch shortly.

New book cover proof for The Italian Connection. Foto J Finnigan

New book cover proof for The Italian Connection.
Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, the hard copy proof of my new book ‘The Italian Connection’ is arriving special delivery on Tuesday, so hopefully, by the weekend it will finally be ready to launch!  Here is a screen shot of the cover.  The wording may change a little on the reverse.  If you would like personal notification of the publication date, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Anyway, must go and make myself beautiful and get taken out to lunch by my gorgeous man.  And, don’t forget that Wednesday is Festa Della Donna, so we girlies expect to be spoilt on that day with a piece of Mimosa, or any given present actually!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan


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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“My head’s got bigger!”  My man has a pained look on his face.  “I don’t think so, you’ve always had a big head!”  I snort and giggle.  “No, no, I mean physically bigger!”  He groans.  “It’s my green beret, it’s too tight, I can’t get it on!”  Ah, my man has been unloading his ancient Royal Marine kit bag to check for damp, as there was a whiff of it coming from his studio.  So now he has been reminiscing and complaining that he may not be able to get into his uniform anymore.  So I brought up a picture of him in uniform, from many years ago, on the computer screen and actually, his head did look a little bit smaller then.  But his uniform belt could nearly do up, only about three inches too small, so not too bad.

The aging Italian Military. Foto La Nazione

The aging Italian Military. Foto La Nazione

Which reminds me, in La Nazione newspaper, which I was reading over coffee, there was an article about the Italian Armed Forces.  I was rather shocked to read that the average age of the Italian soldier is 38!  There are too many old soldiers still in the forces and not enough youngsters joining up.  So a big campaign is being started to try to reverse the situation.

Helmets and leather articles for sale in Alessandro's shop. Foto P Finnigan

Helmets and leather articles for sale in Alessandro’s shop. Foto P Finnigan








Back down in Certaldo, my man popped into his favourite shoe repair shop for some polish.  He likes to chat to Alessandro, the owner, who is a very interesting man indeed.  Not only does he work in leather, but also metals.  He is one of those Military re-enactment people who stage mock battles, wearing all the old costumes.  He actually makes suits of armour, helmets and even had a Samurai Outfit displayed in his shop last year.  He now has a full beard and long hair to match his role-play.  So if you need a new helmet or shield, or a shoe repair, of course, do drop in. You will find him at La Rapida, Via Borgo Garibaldi, 6.

The Made in Italy Tour begins on San Valentino. La Republica

The Made in Italy Tour begins on San Valentino. La Republica

Meanwhile, Italy is celebrating all things Made in Italy and launched ‘The Made in Italy Tour’ on San Valentino with the popular songster, Ligabue.  All his fans were there with L’Amore banners.  As you will know, everything stops on a Saints day, other than the celebrations of course.

One of three new Mimosa Trees in our beautiful garden. Foto J Finnigan

One of three new Mimosa Trees in our beautiful garden. Foto J Finnigan

Ah, another thing you will remember from last year is the gifting of Mimosa flowers on La Festa Della Donna.  Now it’s not that time yet, but we decided that we should plant some Mimosa Trees in the garden and bought three from our lovely plant lady in Certaldo’s Mercato on Saturday morning.  I also got loads more Primula to brighten up the winter garden.  So my man was occupied for much of the day planting and a wonderful job he did too.

Fantastic success worldwide for Chianti Classico Wine. La Repubblica.

Fantastic success worldwide for Chianti Classico Wine. La Repubblica.

And last but not least, I read a fascinating article about how incredibly well the exporting of Chianti Classico Wine is doing around the world.  The Chinese absolutely love it and the market remains huge.  Even our own supplier across the valley exports more to China than anywhere else.  So this bodes well for Chianti producers in our area and this is fortunate considering that Italy, since 2008, has just been declared the worst performing country in Europe, yes even worse than Greece!

But that’s enough of that;  life eeez good, life eeez now.

Have a great week and do get in touch.

Salute June x

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

Coming soon, my new book ‘The Italian Connection’ the third volume in the series ‘The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’ – watch this space!

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan






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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

“It’s nearly two o’clock in the morning, shall we go back into the villa now?”  My man was looking at me with concern on his face, after my shaky reaction to the second part of the earthquake, which had happened an hour previously.  “I, I think so.”  I stammered.  “I followed you out to the car in a dream like state.  It was the nightmare I had before the worst part of the earthquake hit, which really shook me up!”  My man held my hand again.  “I thought it might be better for your state of mind if we came and sat in the car away from any falling masonry.”  He is such a lovely man, I would follow him anywhere.  So we returned to the villa on that strange Tuesday night and were relieved to find only tiny bits of masonry on the landing that had fallen out from between the ceiling tiles.

One of many trees blown down during the Tempesta. Il Terreno newspaper.

One of many trees blown down during the Tempesta.
Il Terreno newspaper.

A church loses its steeple. La Nazione newspaper.

A church loses its steeple.
La Nazione newspaper.

Then the following night, the tempest hit.  Horrible strong cold winds that roared through the trees and rattled the shutters.  Then the pouring rain.  By now you have probably forgotten that we live in the land of wine and olive oil.  The following morning we drive to Fiano for coffee and small tree is fallen across the track, which is too difficult to move.  So my man breaks off the top brittle branches, pops them in the boot for kindling and drives around it.  Then just before the main road, a huge old famiglia tree, which has blown down next to a small house and landing on the owners workshop, is surrounded by the locals who are deciding how best to deal with it.  My man and I make concerned faces as we gaze out the window, but we are waved on by one of the men and we just squeeze by.  At Laura’s bar/alimentare, the talk is all about the weather.  Lots more trees are down and I read in the paper that a steeple blew off the top of a church tower just a few miles away!  However,  back at the villa, we managed to squeeze into a sunny corner of our lower terrace for a pre-lunch aperitivo, despite the high wind warnings.  We are a couple of die-hards for sitting outside.  Then to our horror, after lunch we discovered a big bird’s empty nest and some branches on the ground, exactly where we had been sitting an hour earlier!

Lovely laura with her gift of Mimosa from our garden.  A little thank you to a hard working lady. Photo J Finnigan.

Lovely laura with her gift of Mimosa from our garden. A little thank you to a hard working lady.
Photo J Finnigan.

As I write this blog on Saturday morning, the wind is still cold and strong, but, thank god, the sun is shining.  We took Laura a nice bunch of Mimosa this morning as she will be closed tomorrow which is Festa della Donna.  We were sad to hear from a lovely local lady, that it was eleven years ago today that her husband died.  One feels the emotion of the local people at times like this.  So we tried to cheer her up with some silly talk about English weather and she went away smiling.

But some good news!  Both the second edition of ‘My Father, The Assassin’ and my new book ‘The Bolivian Connection’ have had their final proofing, and hard copies are winging their way from the States for my final approval.  So, with a bit of luck, both will be available on Amazon in the next week or so!  I’ll let you know of course.

Well, must go down and see what my man has been up to in the garden.  I can hear scraping and brushing, so no doubt he is taking advantage of the dry weather, despite the cold wind.  Burrrrrrr.

Have a great week and don’t forget to drop me a line.

Amore June x

Book cover for 'The Bolivian Connection'

Book cover for ‘The Bolivian Connection’ – available soon.

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

End of February sunshine on the upper terrace. Photo J Finnigan

End of February sunshine on the upper terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

“Gosh its lovely and warm here.”  My man had stepped off the train in Certaldo and he enthused at the nine degrees we were enjoying here in Tuscany, having spent the previous few days in London.  To me it was cold, however, in reality I had enjoyed half an hour earlier that day, sitting in the upper terrace in straw hat and sunglasses, during a short period of windless sunshine.  Granted, I had my jacket on at the same time, as immediately a cloud pops over the sun, the temperature drops dramatically.  But yes, it’s a little reminder as to one of the many reasons we choose to live in this part of the world.

Our Mimosa tree in full bloom. Photo J Finnigan

Our Mimosa tree in full bloom.
Photo J Finnigan

I am posting a picture of our Mimosa tree which is now in full blossom.  Yes I know, I mentioned this lovely blossom last week, however, I wanted you to see the full tree now, because it is in danger of being reduced to nothing by a certain local contadini (countryman) and others, on or just before the 8th March, which is Festa della Donna.  You may recall that the blossoms are sought after for gifting to one’s beloved female family members, not just mothers, and there is a shortage of trees in the area.  I am not being stingy, but I do like to be asked if we can spare some blossoms.  A couple of years ago we came home from coffee to find half the tree missing!  I blamed a suspicious looking lady who was outside the church earlier that day, but it turned out to be someone we know well, who claimed to have knocked on our door first and we were out, so he thought it would be alright if he went into our garden with his secateurs!  On the day, I look forward to cutting a few blooms myself and gifting them to a number of lovely local ladies who deserve it.

Boat on the Exmouth Estuary by Mark Loman. Photo J Finnigan

Boat on the Exmouth Estuary by Mark Loman.
Photo J Finnigan

On to lighter things.  Last Tuesday, a new beautiful framed print arrived in the post from England.  I entered an auction to win one of Mark Loman’s limited edition prints, in aid a of a little English boy who is physically and mentally disabled, and I won!  http://www.markloman.co.uk

Article in morning paper about Remo Vangi the artist. Photo J Finnigan

Article in morning paper about Remo Vangi the artist.
Photo J Finnigan

Then this morning I saw an article about Remo Vangi, a Tuscan artist, and fell completely in love with the pictures of his paintings.  I am very keen on Impressionist painting, and these were particularly lovely.  So I looked up his blog site at http://www.removangi.wordpress.com and am now following it.  It seems he exhibits all over the world, and its the first I have heard of him.

I have been a little quiet about our gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi lately, sorry about that.  I must go and look up his latest exploits, so forgive me if I pause here for ten minutes or so.  OK I’m back.  Well, our Peter Pan of politics, age seventy-eight, is currently worth $7.4 Billion which is an increase of 0.2% since yesterday.  Once one is filthy rich it is impossible to avoid getting richer by the day.  It seems that his divorce from Veronica Lario has been finalised and he is now expected to marry his overage girlfriend Francesca Pascale.  She is twenty-eight now, so is getting on a bit and I am sure that SB will not want to be seen to marry a girl over thirty, so he had better get a move on!

But enough of that.  My tummy is rumbling and it is Saturday, so I had better go and cook lunch.  I always manage to take my man out to lunch on a Sunday, but today would be pushing it I think.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Watch this space for the announcement of the publication of my latest novel ‘The Bolivian Connection’.  Oh Yes, I must slip in the news that Italy just beat Scotland in the Rugby Six Nations, hurrah, my man is a very happy rabbit!

Amore June x

PS  Here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu









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Benvenuto to all my loyal and new followers

Readers Digest 1973 cookery book photo J Finnigan

Readers Digest 1973 cookery book
photo J Finnigan

As you all know, I am not the greatest cook, however, as San Valentino’s Day was looming I decided to find my vintage 1973 Readers Digest Cookery Book, which had a very musty smelling recipe page for Mushroom Strogonoff.  Now, if you carefully weigh all the correct ingredients and follow the instructions to the letter, what can go wrong?   The Basmati rice was perfect, the sauce looked creamy and delicious, I had added a drop of best quality chardonnay and the mushrooms were cooked to perfection.  Now in these old books, dried mixed herbs were in everything, however, here in Italy the dried herb mixtures are a little different.  So when I sprinkled some dried mediterranean herbs in, it never occurred to me that there might be a problem with that.  It was only when my delighted man took his first mouthful and smoke came out of his nose and ears, that I knew something was up!  “Oh my god he yelled, what are you trying to do to me!”  Well, I am used to making mistakes in the kitchen, but this was terribly disappointing.  “Never mind” I said, my face all red with embarrassment and hot spicy herbs, “I’ve made us a lovely creamy desert using the rose petal sauce that our good friend Paolo the chef gave us!”  My man is incredibly patient with me over the subject of food, however, he responded through deep gasps for air with “I love the smell of roses, but

Paolo who made the Rose Sauce, shaking a bottle of frozen crema di limoncello.  Photo J Finnigan

Paolo who made the lovely Rose Sauce, shaking a bottle of frozen crema di limoncello.
Photo J Finnigan

I’m not sure about eating them…..”  So I presented the gorgeous looking rose perfumed creamy desert.  He managed two mouthfuls.  “I’m sorry June, I know you’ve tried really hard, but I don’t like it…”  I was also finding it a bit rich and realising that the lovely sauce was obviously meant to be used in tiny quantities, so I gave up on the fourth spoonful.  “Let’s open that new bottle of Vin Santo” we chorused, and then got out the game of ‘Sorry’ to take our minds off the food thing.  Well, we downed two glasses of Vin Santo each and thoroughly enjoyed the board game.  So it was a lovely evening after all.

The following morning we are back at Laura’s Bar/alimentari in Fiano , where I had bought the mushrooms, and everyone is rolling around in hysterics as my man describes my cooking.  Fortunately, I don’t really mind being laughed at, but secretly would love to be up to the amazing standards of some of my blogging friends!

Last Wednesday, we bade farewell to our friend Simon Moodie at his funeral in Certaldo.  Many of his friends are musicians and as the grave was being filled in (by a JCB!), we played and sang some of his favourite rock songs which he had particularly asked for.  He would have loved it.  Addio Simon.

Mimosa in our February garden. Photo P Finnigan

Mimosa in our February garden.
Photo P Finnigan

On a much lighter note, we are delighted to see our Mimosa tree already in full blossom.  As the mornings start to get lighter my man is looking forward to getting up at six and doing a couple of hours gardening before going out for coffee.  We do have a fabulous terraced garden and I can’t wait to bring all the pots back out from under the polytunnel.  We will wait until the 1st April though, as past experience has seen the weather change dramatically in these Chianti hills during February and March.  We have been incredibly lucky with the weather so far; quite a bit of heavy rain, however, temperatures are currently up around the 17 centigrade mark!

Henry Winkler, The Fonz and Matteo Renzie, The Prime Minister... Photo Il simplicissimus

Henry Winkler, The Fonz Vs Matteo Renzie, The Prime Minister…
Photo Il simplicissimus

You have probably picked up on the international news, that Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned after a vote of no confidence.  Well no surprise really, everyone was complaining that the so-called reforms were not happening fast enough.  However, our friends in Fiano all seem to like his replacement, the current Mayor of Florence Matteo Renzie.  He will certainly get the female vote, and quite a few guys, as he is young and handsome and rides a bicycle to work.

Well enough of that, I’ll update you on Silvio next time and meanwhile wish you all a very happy and exciting week.

Salute June x

PS  Don’t forget, there is currently a huge discount when you download the e-book ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan from Amazon or Firstchapters!

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