Dear Mr Renzi…

 life, rennovation, sardinia, sardinian farmhouse, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Dear Mr Renzi…
Set 282016
 

I wish I had the opportunity to meet Matteo Renzi, I’ve read so many nice articles about him in the Observer, I think it’s safe to say the Guardian is IN LOVE with him. When he bulldozed his way to leader of the governing PD party they described him as relaxed and tieless in his acquasparta trainers. The youngest president of Italy ever was about to turn the country around.

I’m sure that he’s a much better choice than Burlusconi but he somehow just constantly grates on my nerves. He talks the talk and boasts about how Italy is improving and unemployment is going down but it just doesn’t seem like that from where I’m stood (in Sardinia).

When I moved to Sardinia in 2009 with my Sardinian husband, I felt like I’d moved backwards in time. Apart from everything being more complicated in a foreign language, most things are just unnecessarily complicated and long winded, still, I was optomistic things would improve and when our children grew up there would be opportunities for them.Prime auto sulla strada Sassari-Olbia

It’s now 2016 and these are the changes that I’ve seen: Carrefour and Decathalon opened, a new 4 lane road between Olbia and Sassari is nearly finished, part of the Sassari – Cagliari road is being rebuilt, Some of the hospital buildings have been refurbished in Sassari (unfortunately not the one I gave birth in).

costa-smeralda-caique-01_1076_1

 

Outside of the main towns there’s not a lot to shout about. Before moving to Sardinia I travelled around India and can see more similarities between these two places than other European countries. It doesn’t seem like a developed country. It’s chaotic, unorganised and ill planned. Developments are left half finished all over the cities, buildings abandoned that should be demolished. A shambles everywhere. To reach my house you have to take a very bumpy and rocky unmade road for more than 1 mile. It’s not a private road, the council needs to surface it but they say every year they have no money because councils have been capped (thanks to limits set by Germany the Mayor said). Every summer we contend with water being turned off by Abanoa (the regional water company who like to hold the residents at ransom – obviously not those on the Costa Smeralda). Watchdogs don’t exist. Most roads need resurfacing, the suspension on my car is completely knackered but there’s no point fixing it. Affordable broadband for people in the countryside doesn’t exist either but it easily could via radio or satellite.

But really, these issues bare little importance to the fact that there are no jobs. So much of the economy in Sardinia relies on tourism yet the season lasts between 4 and 5 months in most places, Unusual for a place which boast a great climate for much more of the year. And what about the other 8 months of the year? Many head abroad or to the mountains for a winter season. This is fine if you’re happy to move around but for for many families it means children not seeing 1 or both parents throughout the summer and potentially the winter too. Makes living in Sardinia full time pretty tough. Average national wages are amongst the lowest in Sardinia and the unemployment rate sits at double the rate of that in Italy.

Renzi has recently pledged 2.6 billion euros, but really, it doesn’t seem like he’s adressing any the real issues in Sardinia, building a few  4 lane roads probably makes his trips here easier but it does little to effect the day to day lives of normal Sardinians.

Great quotes for your walls

 ideas, life, sardinia, sardinian farmhouse, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Great quotes for your walls
Set 252016
 

I have 2 table extenders from my already long dining table so I have decided to paint them with black board paint and draw some great typographic posters on them with quotes or lyrics that I really love. They’ll be hung in the kitchen in front of the dining table. I have bought chalkboard pens so I get nice crisp lines as opposed to real chalk.

The only problem is, there are so many quotes and lyrics that I love, I’m having a pretty tough time deciding.

There are some lyrics that are really personal to me which would be fine I guess, if I lived alone. But, they mean nothing to my husband or children. So then I started to think about lyrics that I love which would be more appropriate for my family. Stand by Me: Ben E King was the first that came to mind. As I have 2 boards, I need 1 long quote or two quotes that go really well together.

ben e king stand by me ben e king stand by me

So I think these two sections of lyrics would be great together. However, after searching for inspiration, I’m drawn to some beautiful quotes by Roald Dahl which I think are maybe more appropriate for my children. I think it’s important to grow up around great words.  I know they’ll grow up reading his stories.

0b170171d08e72b5ed37dba7a8d104223397e2b186cfdfdba685afa071aa0a8aff95ac2f861e59805befc5b37cb01d8bAnd then these are some more great quotes particularly suitable for children, from Alice in Wonderlandalice in wonderland bonkers quote and about being curious because it sums up my children’s attitudes, I hope they’re always adventurous.a79bedee91939e8d050c48c76cc37d9f

I like this quote because  from a Midsummer Night’s dream, my daughter has always been quite petite and has been struggling with her speech and language, and so, even if she doesn’t understand these words yet, it reminds me that she’s strong.b3fa0ed9a2994b8cba814764a68f87cf

I think I need more boards!!!

 

Set 102016
 

Lago di Coghinas is a very large lake found in the Sassari province of Sardinia, around the towns of Tula and Oschiri. It’s a picturesque spot but unfortunately it’s not really equiped for tourists, the hostel that was built overlooking the lake has never been opened and is now abandoned along with the yacht club. The council of Tula has been trying to sell them for the past 2 years but with exaggerated price tags it’s likely to put off any interested parties.hostel coghinas lake abbandoned

It’s a shame, not only that it has been heavily vandalised and looted but that no one seems to see the potential. If members of the region perhaps looked at the French model for tourism they could learn a lot. Tourism in Sardinia only seems to work on the coast from June to mid September. Locals don’t see that there is anything else beyond this.

railway hotel macomer

The pizzeria which sits close to the lake just off the road to Tula is also boarded up. In the height of summer the lake is empty, just a few wind sailers and maybe a couple of fishermen. I know we’re not in Rimini but it seems that there really could be more tourism here. On the other side of the lake you can rent cannoes but when we visited at the end of June, it still hadn’t opened for the season.

lago lake coghinas tula

It seems like, as in many other inland regions of Sardinia, tourism has been badly thought out and money ill spent. You only have to glance through Sardegna Abbandonata to see the amount of hotels left to ruin and potential tourist spots ignored. Perhaps once the corruption ends the money will find the right hands and the area can move forward.

abbandoned hotel nuoro

NEW WANT! Acapulco style string chairs

 expat in italy, gardening, life, rennovation, sardinia, sardinian farmhouse  Commenti disabilitati su NEW WANT! Acapulco style string chairs
Set 062016
 
Cox & Cox grey string chairs

Cox & Cox grey string chairs

As our rennovation work starts drawing to end it’s time to start thinking again about how we’ll furnish the rooms we’ve been preparing for the last 6 years!!! Obviously in this time, ideas have come and gone. I know it will be important that we get this right so our B&B has a bit more to offer than all the other people who are trying to rent out their spare rooms.

anora string chairs from Graham and Green

Anora string chairs from Graham and Green

We have built 3 ensuite bedrooms, they all have french windows which open on to a patio. I really love the idea of have a couple of these acapulco inspired string chairs with a small table outside each room. There won’t be space for a sofa so I think it would be nice to have a chair you can relax in, they could be moved inside easity if required. I can just imagine enjoying my morning cappucino on one of these enjoying the breeze and the views!

acapulco string patio chairs

acapulco string patio chairs

These chairs can be quite expensive but I did see them at my local jysk in the sale but I haven’t seen them online since. Otherwise you can find them from superstudio and they offer delivery across Europe.

 

 

I want a dog!

 life  Commenti disabilitati su I want a dog!
Ago 252016
 

Growing up with a dog was such a lovely experience, we had a Cairn Terrier, and Rosie was the perfect dog. I remember collecting her and her doing a wee on me on the drive home. We called her Rosie because at the time, my youngest sister liked watching Rosie and Jim.

She was such a calm dog, despite being constantly pestered by 4 children. As we grew up it was lovely coming home to someone who was so pleased to see us.

I would really love my children to have that experience. Unfortunately, where we live, despite in some ways being perfect for a dog is also problematic. We have lots of space for a dog to run around and get lots of exercise. Unfortunately the countryside is also full of ticks. We tried to keep a dog, I always used frontline and although this seemed to prevent them attaching to the dog, I would often find them as I was brushing the dog on the couch. In the end I felt that these parasites were too dangerous, especially as we had just had a new baby. I know I could keep a dog outside but I want a pet not a guard dog.

If I ever moved, I would love to get a poodle cross, I love fluffy dogs that don’t malt a lot. These are my favourites!

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel + Poodle = Cavapoo

This would also be a great size for my family and I love those markings!cavapoo

Bichon Frise + Poodle = Bichpoo

Perhaps a little bit small for me but still super cute and teddy bear cuddly!bichon-poo-bichon-frise-poodle- bichpoo

 

Miniature Schnauzer + Poodle = Schnoodle

My friend has a miniature Schnauzer and it’s adorable but I love it crossed with a poodle too!schnauzer poo schnoodle

Tibetan terrier + Poodle = Ttoodle

A tibetan terrier can look very similar to a labradoodle and is a gorgeous dog anyway so it’s obviously a cute cross.rare-ttoodle-puppies tibetan terrier poodle

 

Labrador + Poodle = Labradoodle

These are adorable, and not too big. Obviously the size can depend on the poodle they were crossed with but generally they seem to be Labrador sized.Labradoodle

Cocker Spaniel + Poodle = Cockapoo

Probably my favourite, I think the size would be just about right for me and my small children.cockapoo

 

Golden Retriever + Poodle = Golden Doodle

Although size can vary they can be very large dogs, like a retriever and I think it would be a bit too big for us.

golden doodleOf course it’s important not to choose a dog based soley on it’s appearance, the great thing about choosing a cross though is that they tend have great temperaments and don’t suffer from inbreeding. When choosing a puppy always visit the puppy as many times as possible before you take her home, ask to see the parents and where it has been reared. Try and use a reputable breeder.

 

Cala Sarraina

 expat in italy, life, mare, sardinia, Sardinian Beaches, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Cala Sarraina
Ago 232016
 

On Sunday I visited Cala Sarraina, a small, easily accessible bay between Costa Paradiso and Vignola on the north coast. Although I programmed the adress into Google maps, it was signposted all the way from the main road and easy to find. Parking as free. cala sarraina

 

Like most beaches in August in Sardinia, it was busy. Peddalos and sun loungers were available to hire but unfortunately there was a strong maestrale wind make it a bit wavy, the water was quite shallow for the children and if there had been no wind it would have been ideal. Also the sand is not suitable for sand castle making as it is a very large red sand.14034967_10158141019735206_3042448618623998117_n
You should be very careful on the north coast as when there is a maestrale wind the under currents can be very strong.

14045714_10158141069770206_7267546143207410744_nThere are rocky ares to each side and a track which leads up to the cliffs, we took a walk, there were some beautiful rock formations and great views.

There is also a beach bar and restaurant so it’s pretty well equipped for a small bay.

One to watch – Making a Murderer

 film, life  Commenti disabilitati su One to watch – Making a Murderer
Ago 202016
 

As someone who doesn’t get time to watch much television, it’s rare that I’m excited to watch something new, even firm favourites like Grey’s Anatomy and Breaking Bad are distant memories. But I recently read about the aquital of Brendan Dassey, the nephew of Steven Avery. He was coerced by the police under interrogation into confessing to the murder.

making-a-murderer

The story is incredible, not least because Steven Avery has already spent 18 years in prison, he was wrongly convicted (despite having had an alibi) of rape and attempted murder and only released after new DNA evidence was matched to another man.

The docuseries was filmed over 10 years and exposes a massive amount of corruption in local law enforcement. Many people believe he was framed for the murder after he filed a $36 millon civil lawsuit against  Manitowoc County and several county officials associated with his arrest and conviction that he was exonerated from in 2003. He has potentialy spent 27 years in jail for crimes he didn’t comit.making a murderer steven avery

Read a more in depth story about steven Avery and Making a Murderer on wikipedia.

 

Double Blue Tick…

 Base, expat in italy, life, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Double Blue Tick…
Ago 172016
 

In an age of Internet messaging we write, we wait, we reply… or rather we don’t. Long gone are the days where I’d wait for my ‘friends’ to read my messages and see those little blue ticks or a seen note, they used to respond quickly and we’d chat but now I’m lucky if they even bother to read my messages.

By the way, I’m not the type to send endless nothingness messages that waste everyone’s time, I’m a busy working mum with 3 children.

A few weeks ago I’d messaged a friend, she replied etc, I replied, It was a paragraph of information, not just a one liner that you could read in a banner notification, I wasn’t really expecting a reply but more than a week later I noticed she still hadn’t read it. The same has happened with another friend, a week has passed and she too has chosen not to open my message.not reading messages

Is this common? Is it ok to ignore a friend, there could be something important in that message. To me, it means that they don’t want to hear from me, they have no time for me. They may argue that they’re busy and inundated but it only takes a few seconds to read a paragraph even if they don’t reply. Perhaps it’s common practice and I’m being too needy or maybe I should just join them!

If you want to avoid someone this article has a few tips on how to avoid sending the double blue tick!

Or if you are an absent minded person who simply clears the notification and forgets to read their messages, be more attentive!!! But to these people, It just makes me think of the Gotye and Kimbra song!

somebody that I used to know

 

Speech problems and therapy for bilingual children

 life, sardinia, sardinian farmhouse, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Speech problems and therapy for bilingual children
Ago 072016
 

I have 3 children. My oldest son is 6, When he was born I could hardly speak Italian, I encouraged my husband to speak to him exclusively in Italian but I think he was worried he wouldn’t understand so he used a mixture of Italian and English. When he started nursery at 3 and a half, he only spoke English, but understood Italian, After roughly 3 months he was speaking quite fluently. At first he mixed the 2 but he now speaks steadily in both languages and translates words and sentences at the drop of a hat.

My daughter was slower to speak, which is unusual as girls normally speak sooner. She had words in English and Italian but never as many as her brother at the same age. I was conscious not to compare them too much as every child goes at their own pace. She seemed bright in other ways, walking at 9 months and potty trained at 18 months but she never seemed as engaged as her brother. Friends would post videos of their younger children singing, counting, recalling days of the week. They were all things that my daughter couldn’t do.

She started school at 2 and a half. She was shy and cried a lot for the first week but was eventually happy to go. As we live in the middle of nowhere and I had no friends, I was worried she wouldn’t get much social contact with children of her own age, apart from her brothers. I worried constantly about her not being able to comminucate but slowly she seemed to be gaining new vocabulary and the nursery never mentioned it as a cause for concern. They placed her with 2 older girls (in their last year at the nursery) she talked about them every day. It was only at the end of the year that I realised she’d loose these friends. I tried to explain to her that they were going to a different school but I didn’t know if she’d understood. When she started the new school year, she’d come home every day and tell me that they weren’t there today. I felt so sad for her.

By Christmas her behaviour had deteriorated, she had always been quite difficult and wanted lots of attention, but as she was a year older her teachers had deemed it unecessary. She was refusing to eat, fighting with other children, throwing chairs. Oh, and they couldn’t understand her. She was difficult to understand but showed a preference to Italian but at school she was being dismissed as speaking her own language or in English. I don’t think that any real effort was made to understand her. I heard other children laughing at her and making fun, saying she didn’t understand anything or that they couldn’t understand her. It’s hard to believe that small children can be so cruel to each other. It seemed like a hard environment for her to be in.

We had to take her to a child pyschiatrist who felt it was a speech related problem. We have been on the waiting list since March and have been told she will be assessed in October as she’s not classed as urgent. After months of asking for a hearing test (no one could understand why I wanted her hearing checked) her pediatrician finally referred us. Her ears were blocked with wax but now that’s been cleared we’re on the waiting list for a tonal and vocal hearing test. One more month to wait after that and then a speech therapist appointment. In the meantime, we decided to move her to a different school. Her teachers think it will make her worse but I think the fresh start will help.

If you have any advice, I would really appreciate it. Or if you’re looking for help I found some useful articles.

In Sardinia, there seems to be a lack of understanding of speech problems and billingual problems. This explains the differences. I’m not an expert but I think it’s unreasonable to ask the mother to stop using her language with the child which I am frequently asked to do. This is also a useful website if you feel your child may have some kind of hearing loss.

You can also consult the speech banana to see if your child’s hearing loss fits the pattern. You may notice a patch which corresponds to the mistakes your child makes. The main thing I’ve learnt in Italy is not to expect help of any kind from teachers and even many medical staff. INSIST INSIST INSIST. You need to fight your child’s corner. My daughter’s teacher told me “She’s not normal, she’s got problems” No parent should have to hear that.

Speech_Banana

 

Tinnari

 life, sardinia, Sardinian Beaches, Sardinian Life  Commenti disabilitati su Tinnari
Lug 292016
 

Tinnari is a very special beach, apart from being beautiful it’s hard to access which means even in the height of summer there won’t be many people there. You can get here by boat trip from Costa Paradiso or driviving to Tinnari and hiking down.

Cala Tinnari SardiniaIts’s quite easy to miss, you should take the main road from Castelsardo to Santa Theresa – SP90, it’s about halfway between Isola Rossa and Costa Paradiso, the turn off is tucked behind a restaurant called Il Geranio. It’s a dirt track that leads up a big hill, you’ll probably find a few other cars parked up at the top of the hill. It’s a good 2km walk and some parts of the path are difficult. We did it with a 5, 3 and 1 yr old. They weren’t too happy coming back up as they’d worn themselves out. If you’re without small children it would probably only take 30 minutes. You could leave an umbrella behind and shelter in the shade of the rocks if necessary. Take snacks and plenty of water, you won’t find any vendors on this beach.
Costa di Tinnari

It’s a stoney beach so bear this in mind if you like to wear water shoes! The water is crystal clear, as in most places in Sardinia and has some very sheltered areas protected by rocks which my kids loved jumping off and paddling around in. It would be great to snorkle here. My son also loved crab catching on the rocks and it was a pirate cove so great for young imaginations!

tinnari sardinia

If you’re planning a holiday in the horth of Sardinia, this is a great guide to beaches around Trinita D’Agultu, many of which are calm and have shallow water suitable for young children. Have a great holiday!