Friday, August 18, 2017

Stunning Costa Smeralda

Sardegna is our summer destination this year, an Italian holiday mecca Expat boy has wanted to visit for a long time. A paradise for beach lovers and sun goddesses like myself. I did spend many a summer holiday in the southern part of this island when I was a little girl. When you could still pick starfish from the sea by just reaching down to your feet and Decathlon had not yet invented the pop-up tent that seems to be spreading like colourful mushrooms along the beaches fighting the winds.

Following the advice of my wonderful Italian girlfriend we rented a car and much to my teenage kids' delight took off for a tour around the island. A promise was made we would not visit museums nor churches in return they would not complain!

We started off with the charming artisans' market in San Pantaleo an enchanting village in the heart of the Costa Smeralda where the town square turns into a local treasure chest of craftsmanship and becomes a true mecca for tourists searching for products crafted by local ceramists, wrought iron craftsmen and skilled inlayers.

We carried on towards swanky Porto Cervo, known as the jewel of Costa Smeralda often referred to as a favourite playground for the rich and famous who flock to this yacht dotted marina for some fun in the sunshine. So, we pretended to mingle while enjoying a true Italian ice cream before moving on swiftly...

A stop at the infamous Cala Di Volpe, overlooking one of the most beautiful turquoise coves of Costa Smeralda, Hotel Cala di Volpe was built to resemble an ancient fishing village, with porches, arches and stained glass but it just oozes discreet luxury and elegance.
Pretending to be clients we confidently strode into the lobby and straight across to the terrasse to take in the magnificent view onto their private little harbour and the stunning pool area.

Not being able to resist we ventured further into the hotel and encountered the most magnificent exposition of Dolce & Gabbana's Haute Joaillerie. Who knew D&G made exquisite and unique pieces of precious stones? The curator was friendly, patient and very happy to go into detail of each piece exposed until my two rather edgy teenagers decided it was time to move on!

We made a pit stop at a lovely little hotel named after the flowers Le Ginestre for old memories sake. We had stayed here twice when we were still living in Milano. Eighteen years later and it hadn't changed a bit... which made my hubby and I feel like it had been yesterday since Expat boy was paddling in the hotel baby pool.

Porto Rotondo - named after the circular nature of the bay on which is was built - was next on our route and we were not dissapointed. More chic shops lining an exclusive yet enchanting little harbour. Having found a strategic table "al bar" of Piazzetta San Marco a cocktail sounded tempting but we settled for a delicious "espresso" to keep our energy up and running.

On our way back to the hotel the kids fell asleep in the car which goes to prove that Mummy definitely has more stamina when it comes to sightseeing or is it just all linked to ones level of motivation?!?

Monday, August 14, 2017

On holiday

Guess where we're on holidays?
More to follow soon...

Saturday, August 5, 2017

From Paris with love

Some of my readers might have visited my Paris blog where I share my adventures in the city of love which I have called home for the past six years!

Last year, Expats with Kids in Paris was awarded with the top 20 Best of Paris blog recognition. Once again my blog has been nominated for Best Expat blog in Paris 2017 by Expatriates Magazine.

BEST OF PARIS is their annual campaign to find the companies, services and achievements expatriates in Paris feel deserve recognition.

If you have enjoyed my Paris stories and photography and believe that Expat with Kids in Paris has earned a little recognition in the Parisian blogosphere please cast a vote by simply selecting the category Best Expat blog in Paris 2017 from the dropdown menu and choose who you vote for.

Make my weekend and click here:
Mille mercis mes amis!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I can't help but to feel extremely chuffed with myself today. Enjoying my morning online news fix while still lingering in bed, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I spot my Instagram picture from the day before featured in a Swissinfo article! is the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation distributing information about Switzerland, directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad. Yep, that target would be me and my blogs Expat with Kids and Expat with Kids in Paris.

Feeling inspired on August 1st, the Swiss National Day and - I admit - rather homesick I decided to post a typically Swiss picture on my Instagram account with the hashtag #1augustabroad. Tired of posting the same old red and white Swiss flag I came up with a different sort of cross.

Well, my stylised version of a Swiss flag capturing the emotions of Swiss-ness, home-cooking and home-sickness all in one sure didn't go unnoticed. Swiss in their article about How Swiss National Day was celebrated around the world put my photo right up top.

Ahh, what a little hashtag can do for you?
And, what a great feeling when you wake up and read the news to discover you're in it!
But now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to work and make some Rösti...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy 1. August

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wake up to Lugano's drum parade on August 1st

Lugano begins festivities on 1. August with a drum procession at 6am and continues celebrations with speeches and concerts around the city. At the end of the day crowds gather to watch the fireworks display at 10.30pm over the lake. To commemorate the birth of the Confederation the lake becomes the stage of the brightest show of the year.

Following is a detailed programme of all Lugano's activities for tomorrow's Swiss National Day:


06:00 - Drum procession with Tamburini di Lugano

10:15 | Piazza della Riforma - Ritrovo delle Autorità nel Patio di Palazzo Civico e corteo

10:30 | Piazza Indipendenza - Posa della corona al Monumento dell’Indipendenza

20:30 | Via Nassa - Ritrovo delle Autorità e delle Associazioni cittadine

20:45 | Via Nassa - Corteo delle Autorità e delle Associazioni cittadine

21:15 | Piazza della Riforma - 1. August speech by the President of the Confederation, Doris Leuthard

22:30 | Golfo di Lugano - Firework show: “La danza dei fuochi d’artificio”.


12:00 – 01:00 | Piazza Manzoni - Grottino dell’Associazione Carnevale Lugano

11:00 – 01:00 | Rivetta Tell - Grottino Amici del Grott Mobil Lugano

17:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Rezzonico - Grottino della Società Federale Ginnastica Lugano

17:00 – 01:00 | Piazza Battaglini - Grottino DNA Bianconero & Events HCL

16:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Manzoni - Mescita dell’Associazione Nümm da Lügan

18:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Luini - Grottino del Gruppo Feste San Pietro Pambio


11:00 | Patio Palazzo Civico - Concert by the Filarmonica di Castagnola

21:45 | Piazza della Riforma - Concert by the Civica Filarmonica di Lugano

18:00 and 23:15 | Piazza Manzoni - Entertainment with Luganiga Band

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Swiss president's National Day address

Did you know that the President of the Confederation holds a speech specifically for the Swiss abroad that is broadcasted throughout all Swiss Clubs across the globe? How many of you know who the Swiss President is this year?

Listen to Doris Leuthard (elected as President of the Swiss Confederation for 2010 and 2017) speak to Swiss citizens living abroad in the annual August 1 address from the government.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

True facts about Switzerland

The Swiss National Day is only just over a century old, and it was not until 1993 that the hardworking Swiss agreed that they could all take the day off, but the event it commemorates took place 700 years ago, and at the heart of the celebrations is a custom which doubtless goes back into the mists of time.

The day was chosen because August 1st, 1291 was the date on which three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an act which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland. The representatives of Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri met on the Rütli field, high above Lake Lucerne, to swear a bond of brotherhood, and agree to act jointly if their freedoms were threatened by outside aggressors.

Switzerland's National Day is right around the corner, so here are some true facts about this little country famous for its stability, safety and high quality standards:

- The very first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jean Henri Dunant, a Swiss, in 1901. He is the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sixteen people from Switzerland have won the Nobel Prize in various fields.
- Since 1815, Switzerland has not been involved in any military conflict. It has strong relations with its neighbouring countries and is also a part of some international and UN organizations.
- Geneva is home to the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations.
- The famous equation E=MC2 was devised by Albert Einstein in 1905, while he was in Switzerland.
- The large Hadron Collider in the world’s largest particle physics laboratory – CERN – is in Switzerland. It has been established under the ground.
- The world’s largest nuclear shelter, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, is in Switzerland. It can house up to 20,000 individuals for an extended period of time during a nuclear emergency.
- Switzerland has enough underground bunker capacity that it can hide its entire population in case of a nuclear war.
- Switzerland’s defence is well prepared for the event of an attack. It has already deployed technology to block access via roads, bridges, and railways across 3000 locations.
- Men in Switzerland are required to keep the firearms they are issued during their military service at home even after they leave the military to have the countries men ready to mobilise in the event of a threat.
- Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal. It is also legal in China, Belgium, Canada and other few countries. There is, however, different legislation regarding the circumstances under which this is legal.
- Switzerland provides nearly all CO2-friendly electricity to its citizens. 39% of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, while 56% is generated by hydroelectric power plants.
- A giant three-legged chair in Geneva, Switzerland is dedicated to the opposition of using land mines. It is known as “The Broken Chair.”
- 23% of Switzerland’s total population of almost 8 million consists of foreigners.
- The divorce rate in Switzerland is about 43%, and people marry late: men at the age of 31.8 years and women at 29.5 years.
- The average age for Swiss women to have their first child is 30.4 years, which makes them the oldest women in Europe to do so.
- Switzerland: the best place in the world to be born, according to a recent quality-of-life index.
- Highly skilled people form the basis for Switzerland’s economy. Sectors such as banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, microtechnology, etc. employ these skilled people.
- It is funny to note that there are more banks in the Switzerland than dentists.
- Half of the luxury watches produced in the world come from Switzerland. Brands like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Longines are all Swiss.
- The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex in 1927 in Switzerland.

You can find more fun facts on my previous posts:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A miniature Swiss National Day Orchestra

If there is any area in the world of stability, it is Switzerland - a symbol of prestige, prosperity, the country with the reliable banks, spectacular ski resorts, delicious food and the best watches in the world!

Back in 2013, after months of crafting miniature instruments and training by using watchmaking tools to play them, a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer presented its very own Swiss National Day orchestra.

IWC is located in Schaffhausen and founded by American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868.

Discover the secret skills of IWC's watchmakers, conducted by none other than IWC Ambassador and Master Watchmaker, Kurt Klaus.
Happy National Swiss Day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The history of Swiss National Day

August 1st is considered the date of the Swiss National Day. On this day, all cities will be decorated with flags, celebrations will be held in the evening through the streets with traditional coloured lanterns. Colourful fireworks and bonfires will light up the sky over the country. All of Switzerland will hold performances with dances, music, and songs, complemented by a solemn performance of the National anthem.

Switzerland celebrates its holiday in the country's four National languages: Bundesfeiertag (German),  Jour de la Fête National (French), Giorno Della Festa Nazionale (Italian) and Di da la Fiesta National (Romansch).

The tradition to celebrate it on the first day of August goes into the distant 1291, when, as legend has it, the Alpine republic was founded.

The name is received from Schwyz, one of the three cantons which together formed a confederacy. The base of the Swiss government refers to 1291 when representatives from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden met on the shores of Lake Lucerne to conclude a protective union against to the powerful House of Habsburg.

According to legend, on the first day of August, a sacred oath (Rütlischwur) of three was given in which each of the three cantons promised each other to come to the aid in the fight against external enemies.

Soon other cities and regions joined in order to maintain their independence. Since 1891, August 1st is celebrated throughout the country as the anniversary of the Nation's creation.

By the way, the word «oath» in German is Eid, and the full name of the Alpine republic in German is the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. However, not all historians share this interpretation.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Don't miss 1. August brunch!

Celebrate Switzerland's National Day with a traditional Farmer's Brunch. It is a family event not to be missed. For the past 24 years Swiss farmers have been inviting city dwellers (Swiss and foreign alike) for brunch on their farms. Last year 350 farms all across the country welcomed over 140'000 guests.

Hosted by selected Swiss farms who offer you a brunch, they will provide you with the opportunity to taste different kinds of home-made cheese, meat, milk, bread, Birchermüesli and many other gastronomic specialities in a very particular atmosphere.

You'll have the certainty of trying some excellent high quality products. If you're lucky you'll enjoy some typical Swiss music, meet a Swiss celebrity, be served out of a giant Roesti frying pan or admire some amazing National costumes. The kids will love all the direct contact with the farms' animals.

Book now for a brunch in one of the farms! Click here to find a list of Ticino's participating farmers.

My favourite so far is: Alpe Duragno at the top of Monte Tamaro. See purple trail on map. My friends recommend the farms on top of Monte Generoso. Capanna Cava is worth a mention as well. I would be curious to hear about your favourite sites.

As places in the farms are limited, registration is mandatory and better done early. You can register by telephoning or e-mailing the farmers directly before July 30th 2017. There are still quite a few spots left as of this morning. Please communicate how many children and adults you'll be.

Venue: 1.August Brunch
When: Monday, August 1st, 2017
Time: 9:00 - 13:00
Price: CHF 25.- to 40.-
Directions: All participating farms will be signposted with the logo: «Brunch»
For more info: Tel: 056 462 52 10 on workdays from 10:00 bis 12:00 and from 14.00 to 16:00

Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the beautiful Swiss countryside and fine Swiss products can be enjoyed not only on August 1st. Numerous farm families offer brunch at their farms even during the year. On the Swiss farmers' brunch-search or on, you'll find all the farms that offer brunches throughout the year!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Carona's groovy municipal pool

A big fan of the hot temperatures, I also love to suntan... if I can combine the two AND make my kids happy... even better! One of my favourite outings on a hot summer day is to take the yellow post bus to visit the charming town of Carona and enjoy discounted admission to the public swimming-pool with PostBus ticket.

Set in lush green surroundings and with idyllic views, the Carona open air sports complex is perfect for relaxing the body and mind.

It offers a well-kept Olympic size pool for healthy swims and plenty of space for keeping children entertained including two kiddy pools and a playground. In addition to water sports, you can relax over a game of table tennis or mini-golf.

A wide range of dining facilities is available near the pool comprising a bar, restaurant and pizzeria. The pizzeria and restaurant are also open in the evening after the swimming pool closes.

From Monday to Friday, the swimming pool organises a range of activities at the sports centre including diving, beach volleyball, aqua gym, swimming courses for all levels, photography courses and massages.

A barbecue operates throughout the day and as of 6 p.m. there is a musical happy hour with special percussion evenings.

This place is ideal to escape from the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in total relaxation.

For more details about Carona pool click here:
For details about how to get to Carona by PostBus click here:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Where is home?

Does this question hit home? What do your children answer to this question?

More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer -- who himself has three or four “origins” -- meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.

This TED Talk today by travel writer Pico Iyer really struck a cord with me. He described how many global nomads take “pieces of many different places” and put them together to form a sense of home that is a “stained glass whole”.

He then went on to explain: "For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul."

If you have a moment, this video is worth watching. Home is definitely work in progress in our case.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Swiss feel at home abroad

For the third year in a row, Expat Insider — one of the largest expat surveys worldwide — offers an in-depth analysis of everyday expat life in more than 60 countries across the globe. More than 14,000 respondents representing 174 nationalities and 191 countries or territories took part and had their say on moving, living, and working abroad. 

The survey covers a wide range of topics, including basic facts about demographic data and the moving process. It focuses on participants’ happiness with a variety of factors related to their country of residence and personal life abroad.

The typical Swiss expat has lived in many countries, speaks multiple languages, and often has a lower income abroad.

- Swiss expats often move abroad for love
- 36% want to stay in their host country forever
- 19% have lived in five or more countries
- No one only speaks their native tongue
- 31% earn a lot less than they would back home

Would you agree with these findings?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Explore the region with a Ticino ticket

With Ticino Ticket you will be free to travel and visit every corner of the southernmost Canton of Switzerland.

A steep climb on a cable car to take advantage from a breathtaking view, a romantic boat ride, the visit of unique museums in a culturally and artistically rich land, or some hours of relax and entertainment at the Lido, at the Falconry or at the Swissminiatur.

All of this is possible thanks to Ticino Ticket, which allows guests staying in a hotel, youth hostel or camping site to benefit from free public transport in the whole Canton. It also ensures discounts on cable cars, navigation and main tourist attractions.

Eleven public transport companies that cover a network of 1,471 kilometers have been involved. Ticino is the biggest tourism-oriented region in Switzerland to introduce such a ticket. It will be valid from Chiasso to Airolo, in a particularly extended and diversified area that ranges from urban settings such as the cities of Lugano and Locarno to the more remote valleys.

Art, culture, history, entertainment and…spectacular scenic routes. Ticino Ticket will ensure you a 30% discount on certain services of more than 30 tourist attractions.

Lulled by delicate waves of the lake, there is nothing quite like the emotion of a boat trip. Ticino Ticket will open the doors of navigation on the Lugano Lake with a discount of 25% on the day pass.

Close your eyes and imagine all you can discover in the lovely Ticino area.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ticino Street food

Looking for a true Ticino culinary experience? Head to Melide this Saturday, July 15th.

Sapori e Dissapori's young and dynamic team - after a good dose of life experiences around the world - realised that the Canton Ticino has a great deal of variety and quality to offer in the culinary sector.

So they rolled up their sleeves and decided to embark on this project by creating a personalised compilation of the gastronomic delicacies that this charming region South of the Alps has to offer.

Sapori & Dissapori does not want to be a culinary guide packaged by professionals, but rather a free and fast tool created by enthusiasts, aimed at all gourmets who consider leaving the restaurant an essential element of good living.

In 2016, three years after having launched their blog platform, the saporiedissapori team decided to make a big step forward and have invested in building a more complete, user-friendly and attractive web site promoting Ticino's local delicacies.

The team made up of 100% of young Ticinesi, also created the Street Food Village which encountered such a  success they will be repeating the adventure again this year.

If you want to taste a true local meal don't miss the Polenta, the Lunganighetta and many more scrumptious dishes this Saturday while enjoying a stroll along the lakeside.

Venue: Street Food Village
Where: Lungolago di Melide
When: Saturday, July 15th, 2017
Time: 11:00 - 23:00

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers.

These bright and delicious fruit skewers were inspired by the American flag and are super easy to make. Try the simple recipe below to make a patriotic treat perfect for Independence Day.

12 wooden bamboo skewers
1 pound strawberries
6 ounces blueberries
3 bananas
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (or orange juice)

1.) Rinse and dry berries. Chop the stems off strawberries, then cut into halves from stem to point. Cut the point off strawberries and set aside.
2.) Slice bananas and set aside.
3.) In a bowl, mix water and lemon juice, then place banana slices in lemon water and coat both sides to prevent browning.
4.) Starting with the blueberries, skewer about six on top and alternate between two banana slices and one strawberry slice until you reach the end.
5.) Place on a platter and keep refrigerated until serving.

Friday, June 30, 2017

International community in Lugano

Reaching out has never been easier in Lugano. The International community is bigger than you might expect. So don't be shy. Check out these groups and connect. You might find a friend or two...

International Women's Club of Lugano Evening Club: The evening group is designed for IWCL members who either through family or work commitments find it difficult to join in Club activities in the daytime. That said the activities in the evening are open as well to husband, partner or friends and often other English groups are invited to the gatherings to allow our members to meet new friends and be able to share a fun evening with beloved one. IWCL Evening Group:

Check out MeetUp Lugano:
Free or paying events and you can even post your own event

Sign up for Franklin University events:
Offering events with speakers followed but a little reception

Contact Big Ben Club Lugano:

Or check out:
InterNations Lugano:
InterNations Lugano is very busy, out of almost weekly networking events open to all InterNations members, you can enjoy if you become an Albatross member special activities offered by themed groups, from hiking to language exchange, from drinks after work to inspiring events.

I have left the best for last. An ingenious and very dedicated British lady founded a closed group on Facebook called ENGLISH SPEAKING IN LUGANO SWITZERLAND a few years back.

This Facebook page is for Expats or English speakers living in Lugano aiming to help one another, offering information as to what's going on in and around the area, where to buy things, services offered or needed. If you want to sell some items or just need advice such as doctors, dentists, Kids clubs, Sight seeing...this is the page to go to:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Let the Summer holidays begin...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lugano's Longlake Festival 2017

Summer will be hitting Lugano tomorrow in the form of the LongLake Festival. Having reached its 7th edition, the international LongLake Festival is one of the biggest open-air city festivals in Switzerland. Concerts, music for all tastes, literature, gatherings, entertainment, theatre, dance, cinema, children’s shows and urban art installations will invade the streets, squares and public parks of the city creating an intense encounter between artists and the public.

To better acquaint yourself with the ongoing events, the LongLake Festival has been split in ten different Festivals: Rock’n’More Festival Lugano, Classica Festival Lugano, Buskers Festival Lugano, Urban Art Festival Lugano, Family Festival Lugano, Words Festival Lugano as well as many other side events.

There is so much going on, you'll just have to check out the programme for yourself to see what tickles your fancy. Here you go:

Or else you can stroll down town and enjoy a nice warm sunny evening walk along the lakeside and just go with the flow. While you are sitting on a bench contemplating the beautiful view, you can download the app here:

With over 300,000 visitors, the international LongLake Festival, confirmes itself as one of the greatest urban open air happenings in Switzerland. Don't miss it!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Parco San Grato turns 60

Parco San Grato is a great way to escape the city heat. As soon as you enter these one-of-a-kind botanical gardens you’ll feel you're in an enchanted world where colours and scents make for a truly unforgettable experience.

With a surface area of 62,000 m², Parco San Grato boasts the largest collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and conifers, in terms of variety and quantity, in the whole Insubria region.

Located between San Salvatore and Monte Arbòstora, approximately 10 km from Lugano, it extends up to 690 metres above sea level, and offers outstanding views over the nearby area.

While visiting the park you find yourself immersed in an environment with one-of-a-kind natural and decorative characteristics: the large swathes of azaleas and rhododendrons are crisscrossed by five thematic trails: botanical, relaxation, scenic, artistic and fairy-tale, each one of which reveals different aspects of the park which are renewed as the seasons change.

The playground is easily reachable and located in the center of the park, amongst rare, impressive conifers. It offers children and adults the chance to play and have fun.

San Grato Restaurant, with its scenic terrace, is organised so as to meet the needs of everyone, from Sunday day-trippers to refined gourmets. The park also features a chapel dedicated to Saint Grato, the Saint invoked against lightning, storms, pests harming crops and to pray for rain during periods of drought.

Get your kids involved and ready to go. Prepare for a true Ticinese adventure! Click here for a detailed brochure: Parco San Grato.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy First Day of Summer

Monday, June 19, 2017

When a DJ goes local...

Just to start your week off with a smile...

What might look like a peaceful Swiss mountain scene has taken Switzerland's YouTube by storm.

Have you ever heard DJ Antoine’s club track “Ma Chérie”? Ask your kids to play it and then compare it to the Swiss version. The yodeling interpretation of the well-known smash hit was recorded to promote the upcoming Federal Yodeling Festival, which will take place in Brig, canton Valais from June 22nd.

Friday, June 16, 2017

7 questions before you move

End of spring is Expat high season where the farewells, the tears and the emotions preceed the move onto a next destination. Here are seven questions to work through over dinner with your children about the "upcoming move".

Start conversations that will help you all understand where the rest of the family is at. Make sure each family member gets equal chance to answer. Parents and children alike, but try and get the children to start as younger children are more likely to reflect the parents point of view as they think there is only one 'correct' answer.

1. What have been the best things that have happened here?
- Do you think we can do these things in our new location?
- What activities do you want to continue doing?
- Are there new things you would like to try at the new location?

2. Moving means lots of changes. Sometimes we worry about things that will be new or different. Do you have some worries?
- How do you think we can help each other lessen our worries?

3. Are you excited about moving?
- What excites you about this place?

4. What do you think you will like about this place?
- This culture?
- This country?

5. What do you think will be different?

6. What do you need to find out about the new location?

7. Do you need help to work out the best way to say farewell to friends?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

20 lists everyone should make

Those who know me will tell you that I am a BIG fan of lists, so when I came across this list of lists I could not resist to share...

Here goes:

1. Recipes you want to try: Pull this out the next time you're stuck on what to make for dinner for instant inspiration.

2. Movies you want to see: You'll never have to sit through the "I don't care, what to do you want to watch?" scenario again.

3. Books you want to read: Next time you're reaching for another predictable beach read, look up that acclaimed novel-of-the-year, Oprah-recommended one instead.

4. TV shows you want to watch: You'll be prepared for when you binge-watch your way through "Stranger Things" and need a new addiction now.

5. Restaurants you want to try: Keep a running list of all the places you want to try and you'll never be left without a suggestion when deciding where to eat tonight. Bonus points if you organize it by type of cuisine.

6. Places to see: Maybe you've always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China, or even just the Statue of Liberty. Once you have a list, you'll be motivated to plan a trip.

7. Cities and countries you want to visit: Perhaps there's not a specific landmark you're dying to see, but you've always wanted to eat pasta in Italy or drink wine in France. Your list will remind of which trips you really need to take.

8. Places to visit in your hometown: It's not as exciting as jet-setting across the globe, but you'll have plenty of things to do instead of vegging out on your couch next Saturday.

9. Daily to-do list: Keep track of everything that's on your plate for the day. Plus, nothing feels better than crossing something off.

10. Bucket list: Everything you want to do before you die, from big things such as getting married or climbing Mt. Everest, down to small things such as baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

11. Short-term goals: What do you want to accomplish this month?

12. Long-term goals: What do you hope to accomplish in the next five to 10 years?

13. Professional accomplishments: Keep a list of all of those projects executed and compliments given. Aside from making you feel good when you're having an off-day, this list will be invaluable when it comes time to update your resume.

14. Criteria for your next job: The more hours, days, and years you spend at work, the more you know what you do and don't need to be your most effective, most productive self in both this position and the next.

15. DIY projects: Pinterest might be a great aspirational site, but this will help you keep track of the projects you actually want to complete, like organizing your old photos or painting the furniture in the guest room.

16. Home improvement projects: Writing down everything that needs to be done will allow you to prioritize what you should tackle first.

17. Grocery list: Knowing exactly what you need to buy — and sticking to it — will not only save you money, it will help you resist that box of cookies you know you don't need.

18. Important dates: Everyone loves when you remember their birthday or anniversary, so keep a list of your loved ones' significant dates and you'll never miss a chance to make their day.

19. Things you're thankful for: Revisit this on your toughest days to remind yourself how great your life is.

20. Things that make you happy: Whenever you're sad, you'll automatically give yourself several reasons to smile.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Melon Courgette salad recipe

It’s melon season. This freshness is going to be the delight of your summer lunches! Healthy, tasty and refreshing.

Ingredients: (for 4 persons)
1 melon (large size)
500 gr of cold cooked quinoa
8 cherry tomatoes
1 courgette
8 leaves of fresh mint

- Cut the melon in two and remove the seeds with a spoon. Make melon marbles with a round spoon. Set aside in a fresh place.
- Rinse and dry the cherry tomatoes while removing the stem. Cut in half.
- Wash the courgette and cut into cubes.
- Rinse the mint leaves and chisel finely.
- In a large salad bowl, place the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, the cubes of courgette and the melon balls. Sprinkle with chiseled mint. Mix all the ingredients.
- Season the salad with half a lemon juice and a dash of du olive oil. Salt and pepper according to taste.

Another option: add a few cubes of féta for a creamy touch.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ticino's World Heritage Days 2017

From June 9th till 11th 2017, Switzerland will organise its second edition of the World Heritage Days. The World Heritage properties will open their doors to the public and offer tailor-made programs for this occasion. It is a perfect opportunity to discover them!

Did you know that there are two UNESCO sites in Ticino? Bellinzona & Monte San Giorgio. Both of them stand for authenticity, quality and diversity for many generations to come. These values are part of the identity and mentality of the Swiss population.

Castles of Bellinzona, cultural heritage since 2000
Special activities @ Castles of Bellinzona:

Monte San Giorgio, natural heritage since 2003/2010
Special activities @ Fossils Museum in Meride:

Click here for the programme:

You can even join the fun by posting your photos on Instagram

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Laghetto di Astano is my secret tip

Ever heard of Astano? Yes, that would be in the Canton Ticino.

Totally immersed in the green, this enchanted little place is a popular local summer hangout of the Malcantone. The Astano lake is ideal for all ages. In fact, the small bathing facility (for the modest fee of CHF 3.-) offers numerous activities which can satisfy both families who want to relax and the young who want to enjoy themselves and listen to music, with numerous concerts organised during the summer.

Thanks to the perfect location and the great care always shown by the Askari family, it’s possible to organise birthday parties, aperitifs, barbecues, even Persian cuisine evenings.

You can also go fishing every day at the Astano Lake. Why not rent a fishing rod for 10 CHF + a deposit of 35 CHF, worms provided! Should you be as lucky to catch a trout its price would be 18.- CHF/Kg.

Step back in time and enjoy a truly unique nature adventure. Make sure you keep it a secret!

Address: Laghetto di Astano, Strada Laghetto, 6999 Astano
Contact: Tel +41 76 275 82 67 or

Opening season
01.03 - 31.10.2017

Open all days
Mon - Sun from 10:00 to 18:00.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ticino's best swimming pools

The summer is nearly here and I thought I'd share a useful list of open air and covered swimming pools throughout Ticino. Did you know the Lido of Lugano was founded in 1928 or that Bellinzona's outdoor pool was inaugurated 45 years ago. Check them out for yourself.

Switzerland's pools by Canton:
Lugano's Lido:
Bellinzona' Bagno Publico:
Lido di Locarno:
Lido's and public baths around Lugano:

My personal favourite is Lido di Caslano. Make sure you get there early since it is very small but a unique experience.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ticino beaches praised in European report

More than 100 Swiss beaches have been rated excellent in a European-wide report on water quality.
In total, the European Environment Agency (EEA)'s bathing water quality report 2016 found 145 Swiss beaches to have ‘excellent' water quality.

Beaches rated ‘excellent' were clustered around the lakes of Lugano and Locarno in Ticino, as well as the lakes of Zurich, Hallwil, Zug and the eastern end of Lake Geneva.

All the more reason to head for Lugano's Lido to check out the wonderful fine sandy beach on the shores of Lake Ceresio, the heated Olympic swimming pool, the medium size swimming pool, the diving pool with trampolines up to 10 m high, the kiddies' pool with water games, the beach volley court and the five-a-side football pitch.

The weather conditions are perfect. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! And when the sun starts setting you can carry on relaxing at the Chiringuito Beach Bar open every day in good weather from 9:00am to 9.30pm.

Why not have a drink after work at the Al Lido Bar? Loosen your collar, slip off your high heels, feel the sand under your feet and pretend you're on holiday.

Lido di Lugano, Vle. Castagnola 4/6, 6900 Lugano

Opening hours:
May: Mo-Su 09:00-19:00
June, July and August: Mo-Su 09:00-19:30
September: Mo-Su 09:00-19:00

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Leave your mark at the Grand Tour through Switzerland

Breathtaking 4000-metre peaks, beautiful rolling hills, medieval towns, the roaring Rhine Fall: on the Grand Tour, the places of interest line up like pearls on a string. There is plenty to discover during the Grand Tour of Switzerland. Sometimes it is new, surprising or exciting, but whatever it is, it is always typical of this particular location.

Come and visit the many interesting attractions of the tour and let others know that you were there. There are different interactive stations where you can get active and leave “your footprints”. The Swiss tourist office has signposted and outlined the most scenic viewing points along the route. This overview makes it easy for you to find all the Grand Tour photo spots.

You can be part of the fun, just share your photos from the Grand Tour photo spots with the hashtags #SwissGrandTour and #INLOVEWITHSWITZERLAND.

For more detailed info click here: Grand Tour Switzerland

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

10 facts about Switzerland you should know

Following are 10 statistics you should know about Switzerland. 

Did you know the average Swiss travel 2'258 km by train each year? Mindblowing, considering the greatest length from east to west in this country is 350 kilometres!

Friday, May 19, 2017

StraLugano 2017

Don't miss the event that is synonymous to enthusiasm, solidarity, health, friendship and well-being. The StraLugano is a great week-end entertainment for families and sports fans. This year there is even a KidsRace over 700m, 1400m and 2100m for the little ones on Saturday.

Why not try the Charity Run? This 5km race is for mums and dads, grandparents, families and teenagers all in the name of a good cause. Everybody can manage 5km with little help from their loved ones!

For the more serious runners there is the 10k City run, the Relay Run and the half marathon all happening on Sunday.

Take a peek at the programme:

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
14:00               Piazza Manzoni - Opening Village Stralugano
14:00 - 20:00   Lugano Exhibition Center: Start number collection and late registrations
14:00 - 18:00   Piazza Manzoni - Dining & animation of the village
                         Registration and collect race KidsRun
14:00 - 20:00   Piazza Manzoni - Registrations Run4Charity 5km KidsRun
19:00                KidsRun: The race for children
21:00                Piazza Riforma - Lakeside - Check Run4Charity 5km

Sunday, May 21st, 2017
7:00 - 11:00    Lugano Exhibition Center: Start number collection
9:15                Piazza Manzoni - Warm Up SUVA for Halfmarathon
9:45                Piazza Manzoni - Lakeside - Starting ceremony with Swiss anthem
10:00              Start 2a Stralugano Half Marathon 21.0975 km and RelayRun
11:00              Piazza Manzoni - Lakeside - Early arrivals race Half Martahon
11:30              Podium and prizes of the 2nd Stralugano HM
12:00              Tent in Parco Ciani - Migros Pasta Party
12:15              Piazza Manzoni - Warm Up for SUVA City Run 10 km
13:00              Start CityRun 10 Km
14:00              Podium and prize giving 10 Km CityRun
16:00              Closing of the 12th edition of Stralugano

This event started out in 2006 with a little over 800 participants. I wonder how many will be taking part this year?

For more info click here: StraLugano 2017

I'll add this video of last year's StraLugano 
for all the people feeling homesick for Lugano like myself!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

10 family dinner question about moving

Late spring is the most delicate season for expats. It is the period when you are in limbo between knowing you will need to leave your current home at the end of the school year but having to sit out the time until you actually move to the new destination.

Here are ten family dinner questions in the weeks before you move to help open up the worries, concerns and excitement that the whole family is feeling for the upcoming move. Make sure each family member gets equal chance to answer. Parents and children alike, but try and get the children to start with their answers. This is a great way to animate lively and insightful conversations that will help you all understand where the rest of the family is at. Research the questions together that you can't answer and start solidifying your team spirit as a family. You'll need it once you get to the other end.

1.) What have been the best things that have happened here?
2.) Do you think we can do these things in our new location?
3.) What activities do you want to continue doing?
4.) Are there new things you would like to try at the new location?
5.) Moving means lots of changes. Sometimes we worry about things that will be new or different. Do you have some worries?
6.) How do you think we can help each other lessen our worries?
7.) Are you excited about moving?
8.)  What do you think will be different?
9.) What do you think you will like about the new location and its culture?
10.) Do you need help to work out the best way to say farewell to friends?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

10 tips to help your kids say goodbye

Moving abroad is tough at the best of times, as adults moving alone it is a great adventure to be embarked upon. But when you have children there are so many extra concerns to take into account. The adventure is no longer about you as part of a couple but how you will be as a family.

Helping your child relocate well is one more demand on you as a parent when you are already stressed, but it is essential to the family unit, in fact I think you will find going through these strategies will ease your stress, not add to it.

Following are Jump Overseas Top 10 tips to help children say goodbye to one location and hello to the next.

In the last month before a move, help your children by making sure you hit their top things to do locally before you go and also line up fun things to look forward to on arrival in new place.

Use your dinner time to talk through thoughts and worries in your heads about the move, and how to say good-bye. Here are 7 great Family Dinner Questions to get you started. Encourage your children to open up to their friends as well, as their friends will be having similar concerns, but without the parental support as their parents may not be aware of the upcoming move. It is consuming all your thoughts, but make sure you let others know too.

Ask your children who they want to spend extra time with in these last few weeks. Arrange a sleepover with their best friend(s).

Ask friends to write a postcard of a favourite memory they have shared together that can be taken with them to read after they have left. Or provide them with a stamp-addressed postcard to fill in and send in a few months to say hello.

Make a collage of the area, friends, activities, school and get all their friends sign it. Create memory books by looking through your photos and pick the important ones. Arrange them in a scrap book with titles for each picture. This is a great way with smaller children especially to take memories with you and being able to engage with them on an ongoing basis after you leave.

Create or buy gifts they can give to their friends, so they know they will not be forgotten. Or ask your children to choose something of theirs to give to their friends. And if you know their friends mum's well enough, ask if they would encourage their child to give something of theirs to my child. Picking one personal toy that they own and exchanging with a friend will help the feelings of keeping each other close. This is especially good with smaller children. Making friendship bracelets together. I wore mine for at least a year after repatriating as a 8 year old.

Purchase numerous school merchandise items and mementos of the region to take with you. This is the time to indulge them and be a tourist again! Enjoy the area, eat at your favourite restaurants, visit your favourite places and on leaving each say a quiet good-bye in your head and take a minute to stop and take in all the sights and sounds of the location. Take lots and lots of photos at these places. Fun places, regular activities, friends, schools, teachers, the route to school even…

Post a big poster sized paper sign on the fridge door. Divide this into two vertical columns. Title the left side with "What I'll miss about HERE*" The other side says "What I'm looking forward to THERE*". The comments are then added by all the family as they think of them, you are likely to find them funny, insightful, and surprising. This can bring out different worries than mentioned out loud at the dinner table, yet keeps the channels open. (*replace Here and There with the actual town names relevant to you.)

Write or record a “day in the life” journal entry with them as to what they do on a normal school week. What the routine is. As all too soon the new location will take over and they will forget what the previous life was like. Then get frustrated at not remembering, so record it now. Find the time. Yes I know there are a million other things to think about but this is HUGE in their lives and it must be noted.

Make sure they have Skype details swapped and test it between your houses there before you go. Then fix a date and time to Skype after you have left. It will help her leave and settle knowing she can keep contact with her friends.
If they are older still, setting up E-mail, Instagram and facebook accounts. Just make sure you are part of their circle.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How to help your children settle abroad

Following is a lovely video about how to move abroad with a family. No client of HSBC, I must admit they have done an incredible amount of research on Expats across the globe.

In this video the talented, empathetic psychologist Kate Berger of The Expat Kids Club shares useful, effective insights for children living across cultures, to help them overcome the challenges and make the most of the benefits of moving abroad.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself

Nuturedmama is a life-examiner. She's been working with coaches and therapists for many years. She writes about her life because it helps her to understand it. It has also helped her to build a lot of self-awareness and understand how she functions in the world.

As a result, when something feels wrong or frustrating or difficult, Nuturedmama starts to question in order to identify what needs to change.

Have you ever taken the time to do that? I haven't... really.

Following are 20 questions to get to know yourself better. Don’t like the answers? Don’t have answers to some of them? Then that is where your work lies.

What do I really want in this moment?
How do I want to be loved?
Who do I need to forgive?
What is my superpower?
Am I in my body?
What did I love to do when I was a child?
Do I love myself exactly as I am right now?
What can I let go of?
What would I love to learn?
When was the last time I felt truly joyful?
Who is my community?
What is beautiful to me and do I have some of that in my life right now?
Do I know the sound of my own true voice?
What practice consistently brings me home to myself?
What do I want my legacy to be?
Have I planned for my own death, and my survivors?
What have I done for myself today?
What is my story?
How can I speak with more love today?
Can I ask a better question?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Six steps to a successful trailblazing expat spouse

All you Expat mums: ever wondered how to cope when the going gets tough? Mary Todd, a management consultant and expat wife herself, has identified six steps to transition through the expat cycle and thrive in an expat assignment.

To successfully apply the following steps requires an open mind and positive attitude, a desire to examine what makes you tick, a healthy dose of determination, a willingness to communicate openly with your spouse, a commitment to make the most of the situation and a group of family and friends to encourage and empathise.

Step 1: Build awareness
The first step is to understand how moving to a foreign country has affected you by considering all dimensions of your situation as dispassionately as possible. Use this example to prompt your own thinking.

Step 2: Accept need to change
Because so much has changed, an expat spouse needs to face the reality of reinventing herself. She does this by acknowledging that she is the one who has to adapt. Spend time looking through your personalised version of the example in Step 1 as you consider where and how you will change.

Step 3: Discover possibilities
With awareness and acceptance it is now time to take charge of your life again. Each individual has a blend of roles that forms part of her identity (e.g. mother, professional, mentor, wife, friend, care giver and so on), a personal set of interests, strengths, and skills and a range of motivating activities.

During Step 3, an expat spouse brainstorms possibilities for using or exploring her interests, strengths and skills in light of each role, in light of changed circumstances and personal motivators. Listing possibilities opens the way to new beginnings.

Step 4: Establish your focus
After working through Step 3, the challenge is not whether there are possibilities, the challenge is where to focus. During Step 4 an expat spouse sets priorities and makes choices based on her personal goals, motivators and constraints.

Step 5: Plan your steps
Dreams are seldom fulfilled without a plan. In Step 5 an expat spouse creates a structured, realistic plan to move ahead. Such a plan enables real change and a feeling of accomplishment.

Step 6: Work your plan
The final step is to work the plan. It is exhilarating and energising to have a realistic plan and to commit to action, one step at a time, against the plan. With imagination, commitment and a sound plan almost anything is possible.

With an open mind and deliberate effort, opportunities abound for an expat spouse: to develop latent talents, to do something you have never had time for, to take a different career direction, to build new skills, to return to school, to travel, to learn a new language or refresh one that is rusty, to get involved in community work, to learn about a new culture and traditions.

You will learn that by developing a personal plan with a long term perspective, you just might open yourself to a whole new approach to life.
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