Saturday, December 7, 2019

Everything you need to know about Santa's reindeers

One my favourite past posts is about Santa's reindeers. So, here goes the question again... Do you know the names of all Santa's reindeer?

Originally, Santa had eight reindeer. And then Rudolph came along. So now he has nine. These are their names:
1. Dasher
2. Dancer
3. Prancer
4. Vixen
5. Comet
6. Cupid
7. Donner (or Donder)
8. Blitzen
9. Rudolph

Following are seven facts about reindeers:

1.) The names of Santa's reindeer are from the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas", more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas," written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823.

2.) Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.

3.) Rudolph's story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time. According to this story, Rudolph's glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, one Christmas Eve Santa Claus was having a lot of difficulty making his flight around the world because it was too foggy. When Santa went to Rudolph's house to deliver his presents he noticed the glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided it could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. He asked Rudolph to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, Rudolph accepted and returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.

4.) Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

5.) Reindeer have large hooves that spread apart as they walk on the snow. They act like snowshoes and prevent the reindeer from sinking in the snow! Have you ever tried walking with snowshoes?  These special hooves also help them look for food beneath the snow.  The tendons in their hooves create a clicking sound when they walk.

6.) Reindeer have an excellent sense of smell. Because food is scarce in the Arctic, reindeer use their great sense of smell to detect food buried deep beneath the snow.

7.) Reindeer are excellent swimmers.

Friday, December 6, 2019

On the look out for San Nicolao...

One of the most important events on Switzerland's Christmas calendar is St Nicholas Day on December 6th. Samichlaus in the Swiss German part is known as San Nicolao in the Italian-speaking Ticino.

In some homes he comes unseen during the night of December 5th and leaves his offerings in shoes that have been filled with hay for his donkey and put outside the door.

In most parts of Switzerland, however, "Samichlaus" usually comes in person on December 6th, wearing a hooded red robe, ringing a small bell and carrying a burlap sack of gifts. He tends to be on the thin rather than fat side, and lives in the forest as opposed to the North Pole.

He quizzes children about their good and bad deeds of the past year. Once praise and blame have been distributed and the children have recited their obligatory verses, "Samichlaus" rewards them with "grittibänz" (bread men), chocolate, clementines and nuts.

Often the sack-bearer is not "San Nicolao" himself but his companion, a dark clothed figure with a blackened face who may threaten to carry bad children off in the sack. He answers to many names, depending on where he appears: Schmutzli, Père Fouettard, or l'uomo nero. Over the years though, and despite retaining his foreboding appearance, Schmutzli has evolved into a more benign figure.

So have you been good this year?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Christmas is in the air

On Saturday, December 7th, head down to the Piazza della Riforma in Lugano to watch the magical lighting animations that will be projected on the walls of the Town Hall giving visitors enchanting effects and a fairytale atmosphere! It will be possible to admire the animated light projections every day from 17:00 (one every hour), until December 27th, 2019.

If you want to know more about the city of Lugano, the tourist office offers an enchanting guided excursion called "Christmas is in the air" on Saturday 7, 14 and 21 December from 10:30 to 12:30.
Meeting point: Lugano Region Tourist Office in Piazza Riforma. Reservations required. The tour will be organised on request and held in the two prevalent languages. Call Tel. +41 58 220 65 05 or contact:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Radio 3i Christmas song

It is not Christmas without the song of Radio3i, Ticino's local radio station. The long awaited moment for radio listeners is finally here. Natale Tücc Insema!

The notes of Benji and Fede are the basis for the 2019 Radio3i Christmas song. The summer smash "Where and when" lends its melody to the speakers of the Melide's station who convey their best wishes for the holidays to all their listeners.

The song's revised version reads "Tell me Merry Christmas" instead of "Tell me where and when", it is the seventh Christmas song of the radio station that started this tradition in 2013.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Not only can your food be amazing on Thanksgiving, your drinks can be too. Here's a big cheers to you all. Thank you for being such great supporters of Expat with Kids.

A little tip: This drink is quick to put together, and is very refreshing and light while baking all day with so much sugar, flour, and pumpkin!

Cranberry Mimosa recipe:
White Cranberry Juice
Sparkling Elderflower Soda (optional)
Frozen Cranberries

Add equal parts Prosecco and white cranberry juice to each glass. Add in a swig of elderflower soda, and garnish with some frozen cranberries.

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie recipe

Thanksgiving is coming up.  Pumpkin pie springs to mind… but ... have you ever tried baking a Sweet Potato Pie! This pie is luscious, perfectly smooth, sweet, and beautifully spiced. Credits go to Joy the baker.

For the Crust:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold buttermilk

For the Filling:
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, from 2 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) evaporated milk, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

To make the pie crust:
1.) in a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt
2.) add cold, cubed butter and using your fingers (or a potato masher) work the butter into the flour mixture
3.) quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas
4.) create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk
5.) use a fork to bring to dough together and try to moisten all of the flour bits
6.) add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet
7.) on a lightly floured work surface, dump out the moist and shaggy dough mixture. Gently knead into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help re-chill the butter and distribute the moisture.)
8.) roll out the pie crust on a well floured surface, 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter
9.) transfer it to a pie pan and trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan
10.) fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork
11.) cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place a rack in the upper third of the oven.

To make the filling:
12.) first peel the sweet potatoes
13.) dice the sweet potatoes into large 3-inch chunks.
14.) place potato pieces in a large pot and cover with cool water
15.) place over medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender throughout, about 20 minutes.  Test the doneness of the potatoes using a thin knife.  If the knife meets any resistance, simmer the potatoes a bit longer.
16.) drain into a colander.
17.) in the same large pot place cooked potato pieces, the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk. Cook on low flame, using a potato masher to mash the potatoes and they cook.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Make sure that the mixture is as smooth as possible. Once mixture is smooth and fragrant, remove from fire and let cool in pot.
18.) in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining evaporated milk, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
19.) pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture
20.) pour the prepared filling into the pie crust
21.) place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and cook until cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes.
22.) to test the pie for doneness lightly shake the baking sheet.  If the center of the pie has a wavy jiggle it needs more time in the oven.  If the center of the pie has a lighter, more structured jiggle, it’s done!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

St Edwards’s Christmas Market in Piazza Manzoni

St Edwards’s Church is happy to invite you to visit them at the Christmas Market in Piazza Manzoni from November 30th to December 12th, 2019.

All your favourite traditional British Christmas items will be on sale at booth No.107. So hunt for the right booth and you'll be rewarded with Christmas pudding, mince pies, Christmas cake, marmalades and chutneys.

Every day from 11:00 to 19:00! Come support and reach out to the local community during Advent.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Christmas in Lugano - Natale a Lugano

Christmas in Lugano starts with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Piazza della Riforma on December 1st! From that moment, the heart of the city becomes a bright village, bestowing opportunities for entertainment, musical performances, and surprises until the Epiphany.

The city embraces the magic of Christmas, filling the festive period with cheer and events to suit all ages. The streets and squares of the city centre will be glittering and sparkling and will host the traditional Christmas market, which will be inaugurated on December 1st when the Christmas tree lights are switched on in the Piazza della Riforma.

Over 50 Christmas market stalls will offer a wide range of gift ideas, from handicrafts and decorations to food specialities, and will be open every day until December 24th from 11:00 to 19:00.

Also don't miss the food huts between the Piazza della Riforma and Piazza Manzoni that will offer something to suit all palates with various culinary delights such as bratwurst, pretzels and roasted chestnuts. There is no shortage of hot, mulled wine and you'll find plenty of stands with panettone, chocolate, sausages, potatoes with melted raclette cheese, and a variety of craft beers and wines. Note that many of the food and drink stalls will remain open until January 6th, 2020.

Families, on the other hand, can have fun in the Christmas Village, which will be offering musical entertainment, amusements and activities for children.

Don't miss the Coca Cola Christmas truck on Sunday, December 22nd, 2019 from 10:00 to 20:00 in Piazza Manzoni (fountain side).

Thanks to the initiative of the Società dei Mercanti of Lugano, the legendary Coca-Cola Christmas truck will be parked on the lakefront and will bring with it a multitude of gifts and numerous other surprises for the whole family. Come meet the funny, red-dressed, bearded Santa who became one of the symbols of Christmas thanks to the advertising campaign commissioned to the designer Haddon Sundlom in 1931 by the American Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta.

New Year's Eve is also a date to be remembered, with a big party in Piazza della Riforma to welcome the New Year in together. A special evening with lots of music and entertainment. Stay tuned for more!

Click here for a programme:

Saturday, November 23, 2019

How an average Swiss household spends its income

In 2017, an average Swiss household contained 2.18 people.

Recently published figures by the FSO (Federal Statistical Office) show that average (mean) monthly household income in Switzerland in 2017 was CHF 9,917. This is equal to CHF 119,004 a year.

This income is made up of salary income (CHF 6,320; 64%), freelance income (CHF 984; 10%), investment income (CHF 494; 5%) and money from the government (CHF 2,119; 21%) – pensions, benefits and other welfare and transfers.

The main item of expenditure is taxes and compulsory insurance (CHF 2,933; 30%), although this includes compulsory salary pension payments, so it is probably more meaningful to separate this figure into CHF 2,588 (26%) of taxes and unavoidable insurance payments and CHF 405 (4%) of pension savings.

The next largest items of spending are housing and energy (CHF 1,463; 15%), transport (CHF 742; 8%), food and non-alcoholic drink (CHF 636; 6%), optional insurance – mainly health (CHF 591: 6%), restaurants and hotels (CHF 571; 6%), recreation and culture (CHF 577; 6%), extra healthcare spending on top of insurance (CHF 244; 2%), food and clothing (CHF 202; 2%), communication (CHF 189; 2%) and other expenses (CHF 648; 7%).

The average household in Switzerland regularly saves CHF 1,111 (11%) a month on top of compulsory salary-based pension savings.

Click here for more info on cost of living in Switzerland

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Van Gogh Alive. Expressing art through vision and music!

Discover the world’s most visited multi-sensory exhibition experience.

Venture into an exciting new world. Forego all preconceived ideas of traditional museum visits, dispel all notions of tiptoeing through silent art galleries to view masterpieces from afar, change how you engage with art. Vitalize your senses and challenge your beliefs in a completely unique, stimulating Vincent van Gogh exhibition experience.

Be prepared for a vibrant symphony of light, colour and sound, combined and amplified to create what visitors are calling “an unforgettable multi-sensory experience”.

For one and a half hours you'll be able to explore the work and life experiences of this prolific artist during the period 1880 to 1890. Synchronized to a powerful classical score, more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at enormous scale create a thrilling display that fills giant screens, walls, columns, ceilings and even the floor – immersing you'd your kids entirely in the vibrant colours and vivid details that constitute Van Gogh’s unique style.

Venue: Van Gogh Alive
Where: Centro Esposizioni, Via Campo Marzio, 6900 Lugano
Date: From November 14th, 2019 to January 19th, 2020
Times: Mon, Tue, Wed and Fri 13:00 - 18:30 ; Thu 13:00 - 21:00 ; Sat, Sun and holidays 10:00 - 20:00

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Too Good To Go

Ever heard of "Too Good To Go"?

Before I tell you more let's take a little tour through Switzerland's alimentation  scene:

Did you know that 2.3 million tons of food are thrown away annually in Switzerland? That equals as much as 300kg a year per person! It also means a family spends an average of CHF 850.- a year on products that will end up in the waste.

The good news is that more than half of this "waste" can be saved!

... and this is how "Too Good To Go" came to life which already counts 1,816 partners in Switzerland!

Several European entrepreneurs joined efforts to propose a solution that may seem so simple nowadays: an app that allows anyone to commit themselves against food waste even in their own small way, enjoying excellent food and weaving a network of relationships.

The idea being that merchants don't throw anything away, while you can eat good food and reduce it ending up in the garbage AND the environment thanks you. A triple winning formula!

Behind "Too Good To Go" stands a passionate team who believe in sharing the mission of limited waste! They define themselves as a good humoured, united team, driven by the desire to improve the world in which we live and redefine the ways of thinking and consuming! They are strong believers that each of us has a role to play.

Let yourself be tempted and join this mission! Check it out here:

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thanksgiving cooking course

Thanksgiving is creeping up on us... between the Christmas biscuits already on sale and all the Christmas decorations going up around town it is easy to forget that for Americans the most important family holiday is the fourth Thursday of November.

Should you not be using your mum's or grandmother's recipe or simply looking for new inspiration Mulina Maroggia is the place to go.

On Wednesday, November 27th from 7-10pm they'll be organizing a cooking course in Italian and English dedicated to Thanksgiving with the food blogger Luisa Jane Rusconi.

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated originally in the USA and Canada, which began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

This event hosted by Be Free Go Green, will help you prepare some baked products brought to the table usually for this special occasion, using the flour marked with the IP-Suisse mark and seasonal foods of Ticino's territory:

. pull apart stuffing bread stuffed with bacon and chestnuts
. scones with cranberries and orange peel
. pumpkin pie and walnuts

All you need to bring is your curiosity, an open heart, love and respect for nature and traditions... but don't forget your apron and containers to bring home what you have prepared!

The cost is CHF 70.- and includes:
. cooking course in Italian and English with food blogger Luisa Jane Rusconi
. guided tour of the mill
. appetizer
. educational material and a sample of flour

Click her for more info:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Come join the Holiday Toy Drive

Do you have any unopened birthday gifts in the cellar? New Legos that your child has outgrown?Packaged toys that you purchased some time ago but that your child is no longer interested in? Want to do a good deed this holiday season? Consider making a donation to Kinetic Center’s toy drive!

Every year the clinic collects donations that go directly to sick children and teens battling cancer and that are spending the holidays in the hospital, far away from home. Extra toys will be kept and given throughout the year as birthday presents to the kids or used as bingo prizes.

Because the young patients are often bedridden, sit-down toys and games are greatly appreciated (ex. board games, cards, puzzles, Legos, books, play dough, arts & crafts, etc).

For health and infection control reasons, only new toys are accepted.

Last year some parents used it as an opportunity to speak to their children about health and gratitude and even picked out a toy together to donate. All new donations are welcome during the months of November and December at the Kinetic Center reception, Via Ferruccio Pelli 13, 6900 Lugano.

Thank you for considering it!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Albert Frey: The Architectural Envoy

As part of the 50th Anniversary Film Series, Franklin University is extremely pleased to invite you to the exclusive Swiss premiere of the documentary “Albert Frey:  The Architectural Envoy - Part I” on Wednesday, November 13, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale.

7:30 p.m. Opening Remarks
7:40 p.m. Film Screening
8:45 p.m. Panel Discussion moderated by Greg Warden, Franklin President, featuring Virginia Tech Faculty Markus Breitschmid, and Franklin Faculty Johanna Fassl and Fabio Ferrari
9:15 p.m. Reception in the Kaletsch Campus Conference Room

Albert Frey, the unpretentious Swiss-born mid-20th century architect, aided in the introduction of Corbusian-influenced modernism to the United States and through an innate curiosity of the American landscape, developed an extraordinary design style, blending industrial techniques and a love of nature.

A reception will follow the screening and panel discussion.
Entry is free - all are welcome!

Venue: Albert Frey - The Architectural Envoy
Where: Franklin University Switzerland, Nielsen Auditorium, Via Ponte Tresa 29, 6924 Sorengo
Date: Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
Time: 19:30-21:15

Monday, November 11, 2019

The National Circus KNIE celebrates its Centenary

November in Ticino is Circus time. The Circus Knie has travelled across the entire country over the past eight months and will be concluding its tour in Lugano as usual.

Every child in Switzerland is familiar with the Circus Knie, which has now been touring the country for 100 years. In 2019, this milestone anniversary will be celebrated in a fitting manner.

When the “Cirque National Suisse” took its name in 1919, it was already the fourth generation. The Circus Knie goes back to the beginning of the 19th century, more exactly to 1803!  Today Circus Knie is like an institution in Switzerland. Who has not heard or been once to a circus performance or visited the children’s zoo in Rapperswil. Circus Knie is run by the two brothers Freddy and Franco Knie. Their wives, sons, daughters, grand-children and extended families all take part a way or another in the performances or work at the tent or with the animals. Click here for the Knie family tree.

For the aniversary the family Knie offers a spectecular programme: award-winning clowns, fascinating animal dressages and the “best of” of the last 100 year.

So, hurry to buy your tickets. Click here!

Venue: Circus Knie
Where: Pratone di Trevano (next to Stadio Cornaredo), Via Giacomo E Filippo Ciani, 6900 Lugano
When: November 14th to 17th, 2019
Time: Thursday & Friday: 19h30, Saturday: 13h30, 17h30 and 20h30, Sunday: 10h30, 14h30 and 18h00

The Circus Knie in numbers:
1.) The circus tours Switzerland every year for 8 months starting in March in Rapperswil and ending on Nov. 17th in Lugano
2.) It gives over 350 performances
3.) Visits over 40 places throughout the country covering 3500 km
4.) 100 people are needed to install the big tent and work at the buffet and the zoo
5.) 50 artists work for the Circus
6.) 66 people at every performance in addition to the artists
7.) The Knie tribe arrives by train! Yes, all the 70 caravans are heaved onto wagons and shipped from one village to the next by Swiss rail. The animals are driven in 60 trucks via road.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Panettone World Cup 2019 in Lugano

Do not miss this Swiss fair dedicated to panettone this weekend! You'll learn all about its history, production and processing. You'll be invited to participate at laboratories and workshops. Training sessions will be open to the public offering unique opportunities to explore techniques and innovative trends on the best artisan preparations.

During the event 20 pastry chefs from all over the world will compete for the title of "King of Panettone". Four of the finalist are Swiss, others hail from Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and even further away. Meet the finalists here.

A jury of international pastry chefs will declare the winner of the first worldwide competition ever organized. For three days Lugano will be the center of interest of the whole world linked to the bakery and pastry.

Venue: International Panettone World Cup
Where: Centro Esposizioni, Via Campo Marzo, 2900 Lugano
Date: Friday, November 8th from 12:00 to 20:00
Saturday, November 9th from 10:00 to 20:00
Sunday, November 10th from 10:00 to 18:00
Ticket price: CHF 5.- (children up to 12 years free)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Notte del racconto at the LAC

For almost thirty years La notte del racconto (night of the storytelling) takes place on the second Friday of November simultaneously throughout Switzerland.

When the days begin to get shorter and the evenings get longer, schools, classrooms, libraries, bookstores and any other place dedicated to reading are transformed into magical places where children, teenagers and adults read, listen and tell stories.

This year the theme - of which the literature is full of narrative cues - is linked to the rights of the child and bears the title: "We also have rights!". It is a way to remind children and adults that all the children of the world have the same rights and that these must be respected and defended.

Ask your local school or library for the programme or head to the LAC where Christine Schneider and Hervé Pinel will be reading "In punta di piedi".

Venue: Notte del Racconto
Where: LAC, Sala refettorio, Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, 6900 Lugano
Date: Friday, November 8th, 2019
Time: 20:00
The event is free of charge and suitable for accompanied children from 3-6 years.
Sign up here:

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

There's a goblin at my window,
a monster by my door.
The pumpkin at my table
keeps on smiling more and more.
There's a ghost who haunts my bedroom,
a witch whose face is green.
They used to be my family, 
until they dressed for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Lugano in pictures

Feeling like a bride walking down the aisle of Gentilino's church

Strolling along Riva Antonio Caccia looking onto Monte Bré

Jogging past Chiesa di Muzzano on a sunny Sunday morning

"Panoptico" by Oppy de Bernardo in Piazza Alessandro Manzoni
when I was expecting a pink flamingo display

Campione d'Italia, an Italian exclave surrounded by the canton of Ticino.
Campione will formally become part of the EU customs territory in 2020; until then it de facto comes within Swiss customs control.

Where should we take the boat to?

How about Castagnola or Gandria?

Ticino's public transport service ensures many a connection across the hills.
Its distinctive features - the three-tone horn and the yellow post buses - are an integral part of Switzerland’s cultural identity.

Fondazione Hermann Hesse in Montagnola, where the German-born poet, novelist, and painter spent the second half of his life.

Breathtaking view onto Lugano from Montagnola

Following the chestnut trail in the woods of Collina d'Oro.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Making bagels at Mulino Maroggio

American or not... you love bagels and would like to bake them at home? This is your chance!

Join at Maroggia’s Mill on November 26th, where Ghost Bagel‘s Sean William will let you in on the secrets of how to bake crispy and chewy N.Y. bagels.

Check out the Homebaker site for other fun courses:

Venue: Bagel Baking Class in English
Where: Mulino Maroggia, Via ai Molini 2, 6817 Maroggia (
Date: Tuesday, November 26th, 2019
Time: 19:00 to 22:00
Cost: CHF 65.-
Register here:

Monday, October 28, 2019

Expat with Kids... how it all began

It has been 9 years... nine years I have been online and blogging. It all started as a challenge... a goal I set myself while living in Lugano: I was to create a blog by myself without spending a penny.

At first the ambition was to figure out how to set up a blog, however, as I dug deeper into the net and spent endless hours googling CSS coding, I realized there was a niche to be filled in the Lugano sphere.

A decade ago Switzerland's most Southern canton experienced an influx of Expats, the real estate market was at its peak and the Swiss banks were having a field day. My aim was to provide an English speaking online guide for all the city's newcomers ... et voilà... Expat with Kids was born.

I continued to self-educate myself about web design and social media marketing while promoting my funky guide to Lugano written by a American/Swiss globetrotting, chocolate-loving mum who likes sharing wacky information.

However, a few months later my hubby announced we were moving to Paris... never the one to let a hurdle stop me, I realized how passionate I had become about blogging and how much it motivated me. It was my way of being unique and part of something bigger than myself at the same time.

Therefore, Expat with Kids in Paris was born not long after.

Ever since I have kept up both blogs, the Lugano guide continues to attract readers in search of information and inspiration around town, the Paris one is a more personal account of an Expat's daily adventures in the city of lights.

How would I describe the author? A Swiss globetrotting mum, figlia di Americano, con corazòn Napoletano and a British accent based in Paris who left her heart in various parts of the world with an insatiable curiosity for beauty and knowledge. Passionate about languages and the culture that comes with it. A lover of the eclectic and the quirky - accompanied by a touch of glamour.

Happy 9th Blogaversary Expat with Kids!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Expat with Kids turns 9!

Friday, October 25, 2019

World Pasta Day facts

Today is World Pasta Day... how could I not blog about this?

People have been eating pasta since at least 5,000 B.C. However, this delightful holiday was only established in 1995, when 40 pasta producers from around the world gathered to hold the globe’s first World Pasta Congress.

The first World Pasta Day was held in Naples in 1998. It is important to know that World Pasta Day is an annual celebration not only about pasta but also about the consumers of pasta.

The event aims to maximize promotion of an extraordinary, good, healthy, nutritious, accessible and sustainable food, a pillar of the Mediterranean Diet, recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Some interesting facts about pasta:
- Italian eat around 60 pounds of pasta per person per year.
- Compared to Americans who eat approx. 20 pounds per person per year.
- The most popular forms of pasta are penne and spaghetti.
- The most popular sauces are tomato ragù and carbonara.
- Al dente cooked pasta not only tastes better but keeps the stomach full for longer.
- It is said that there are more than 600 shapes of pasta worldwide.
- In Greek mythology, it is believed that the God Vulcan invented a device that made strings of dough. This was the earliest reference to a pasta maker.

So, what are you serving for dinner tonight?

Thursday, October 24, 2019

My own Toblerone

Who needs cupid when you have this delicious Toblerone bar with name and photo? This is my discovery of the week...

While browsing the internet to find a little surprise to send Expat Boy for his birthday a tempting photo popped up: a personalized Toblerone bar is the perfect gift. lets you personalize the wrapper yourself by adding the photo and/or text of your choice.

The tasty surprise includes no less than 350 grams of delicious Toblerone milk chocolate while the wrapper has a classic Toblerone design, to which you can add your own twist in no time at all.

Simply add the name of your choice and a personal message, and add the finishing touch with your favourite photo. Your design will be printed onto the wrapper, razor-sharp and in full colour and shipped within 2 days. What are you waiting for? Surprise your favourite person with a Toblerone gift!

If you truly want to get your message across there is also a 4,5kg version of Toblerone! Guaranteed success!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

How does my idea become a project?

Do you have a teenager who would like to implement a project? Would he or she like to see more youth participation in your community, at school or anywhere else in the world? is committed to these concerns and invites youths to become active with like-minded people in a regional group or learn about the project management in their course offerings.

Breganzona is hosting a Project-Management course for the Young (15-30) during the next Fall vacation. The aim of the course is to encourage young people to develop their projects (with a large focus on no-profit projects) and to equip them with skills and practical knowledge on how to write a concept, to collect ideas, build a budget, do an elevator pitch, etc. The course is supported by the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO).

Venue: How does my idea become a project sponsored by
Where: Centro Giovani Breganzona, Via Polar 34, 6932 Breganzona
Date: Monday, October 28th, 2019
Time: 9:30 to 16:00
Cost: 25 CHF p.p.
For more info contact or phone 091/825'28'89
Click here to register:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Car Boot Sale Lugano

Have some time to spare and feel like browsing a little market, check out the Car Boot Sale organized by IWCL Evening Group (Int'l. Women's Group Lugano) on Thursday, October 17th, 2019 at the Hotel Pestalozzi.

You'll find new and used goods, brik-a-brak, jewelry, pottery, scarves, handbags, plants, wine, clothing, toys, household items and much more.

Participate in the plant exchange and enjoy a wine tasting with a range of specially selected wines.

Come along to browse and buy, to support charities or just to sit and have an aperitivo with old and new friends. Everyone is welcome.

Venue: IWCL Car Boot Sale
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, 6900 Lugano
Date: Thursday, October 17th, 2019
Time: 15:30 - 19:00

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

Franklin University Switzerland (FUS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary and are inviting the public to the exclusive European premiere of the documentary "The Woman Who Loves Giraffes", followed by a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 in their Nielsen Auditorium.

The University has the honour of welcoming on campus Alison Reid, award-winning director, and the protagonist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, the first woman in the world to study giraffes and animal behavior in the wild in Africa.

In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas – in fact, before anyone, man or woman had made such a trip – 23-year-old Canadian biologist, Anne Innis Dagg, made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to become the first person and woman in the world to study animal behavior in the wild on that continent. When she returned home a year later armed with ground-breaking research, the insurmountable barriers she faced as a female scientist proved much harder to overcome.

In this award-winning documentary film, Dr. Dagg offers an intimate window into her extraordinary life as a young woman and scientist, juxtaposed with a first-hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Her research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps.

The screening will be followed by an Aperò where you’ll have a chance to meet Dr. Dagg in person, as well as the members of the panel discussion, Alison Reid, Franklin Trustee Kevin McNeely, and Franklin Faculty Katherine Roy and Patrick Della Croce.

Venue: European premiere of the documentary "The Woman Who Loves Giraffes"
Where: Franklin University Switzerland, Via Ponte Tresa 29, 6924 Sorengo
Date: Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Free of charge
For more info call 091/985'22'60 or contact Leslie Tedoldi at

Friday, October 11, 2019

Betty Bossi, a Swiss hero

How could I resist sharing this video... it gives you a glimpse into Swiss cuisine with an International twist and a Swiss sense of humour. If you are Swiss, you'd probably agree that Betty Bossi has come a long way...

Betty Bossi is Switzerland's biggest cookbook publisher and can be found in most every household.

Hardly anyone knows her outside the Confederation, but generations of Swiss have grown up with her. Inventor of the fictitious character Betty Bossi is the Zurich advertising specialist Emmi Creola, born as Emmi Maag in 1912.

Taking inspiration from Betty Crocker, Betty Bossi was created by Emmi Creola-Maag for Unilever to help sell margarine to the butter-friendly Swiss. This took form in 1956 as a magazine style leaflet called the Betty Bossi Post, which attempted to answer the eternal question "What Shall I Cook Today?". French on one side and German on the other, the leaflet was so popular that it grew into a full magazine, and then a recipe book.

In 1977 Betty Bossi split from Unilever and it became its own, separate publishing company. The brand continued to expand, publishing countless cookbooks and expanding into TV and radio, as well as recipe development and convenience foods.

Her creature Betty Bossi became the "cook of the nation" and conquered television when no one in neighbouring Germany thought of cooking shows. Many believe that Helvetia's national cuisine would be different without Betty Bossi.

In 2012 the company was purchased outright by the supermarket chain Coop, which had previously taken a 50% stake in 2001. Today Betty Bossi continues to be one of the dominant authorities on Swiss cuisine, especially for the home cook. The shelves of Swiss houses are lined with her cookbooks and Coop, uses her name on everything from orange juice to ravioli.

The "Betty Bossi" newspaper today has a circulation of around 900,000 copies. I have been a loyal reader since 1996!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Don't go to Ticino

DON’T GO TO TICINO... you might get addicted to the Ticino Dolce Vita!

Check out this stunning video with fantastic pictures created by Tolt in collaboration with Ticino Turismo. Who is Tolt you are wondering?

Benjamin Martinie, aka Tolt, is a Film Director and Photographer specializing in travel-related content. Thanks to his original editing style and his eye for detail, Tolt creates unique immersive stories that will just make you want to pack and go... that is if you are not already living there. ;)

Here's a little bonus feature: How to improve creativity

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Happiness Calendar

Have you ever come across a Happiness Calendar? It was a first for me.

Should you wish to inject a bit of happiness into your everyday life with videos, articles, practices, or podcasts here is the way to do it. This month is all about forgiveness and looking for silver linings according to the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California Berkeley. 

Since 2001, the GGSC has been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior - the science of a meaningful life.

Give it a try...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Chestnut Tiramisù recipe

Right in time for the chestnut season, here's a recipe with a twist on the classic tiramisù dish: Chestnut cream is combined with mascarpone to give this tiramisù a light and fluffy mousse served over marsala and coffee infused biscuits.

sponge finger biscuits: 600 gr
good espresso coffee: 100 ml - 200ml
caster sugar: 50 gr
Marsala wine: 30 ml (optional)
sweetened "crème de marrons": 150 gr
mascarpone: 400 gr
eggs: 4
unsweetened cocoa powder : 20 gr

1.) Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture turns pale and fluffy
2.) Add the Marsala wine if wanted
3.) Add the chestnut cream and mascarpone; mix well
4.) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold into the mascarpone/chestnut mixture
5.) To assemble the dessert dip each biscuit in the coffee and sign up in the mould
6.) Top the first layer of biscuits with half of the mascarpone/chestnut mix
7.) Repeat the layer of biscuit and then finish with a layer of mascarpone/chestnut mixture
8.) Sprinkle cocoa powder to decorate
9.) Refrigerate for at least half an hour before serving

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Mercatino di Monte Bré

A small discovery on top of Monte Bré that can be combined with a fun funicular ride and a beautiful nature walk. The perfect Sunday family outing if the weather allows.

Il mercatino di Monte Bré is held from April to October every Saturday on the summit of Monte Brè and every Sunday at the village church of Brè between 11:00 and 17:00 with many adorable local products such as homemade jams, Ciambelett dal Brè, household items, homemade liqueurs, honey and hive delicacies and local olive oil.

Monte Brè is a strategic starting point from which you can set off on magnificent routes through the heart of nature leading away from the summit. Setting off from the Monte Brè Cable Car summit station, you join the path towards Aldesago to reach the panoramic view point above the village. Rejoin the path towards Brè village. The last stretch of the path will take you back to the Monte Brè Cable Car summit station allowing you to return to the city in comfort.

The suggested routes offer a variety of views and points of interest, types of layout, difficulties and lengths, and are therefore suitable for any level of fitness and a wide variety of tastes.

For more info, click here:

Monday, September 30, 2019

Festa d'Autunno a Lugano

The first weekend of October Lugano celebrates the beginning of autumn! With the traditional Autumn Festival (Festa d'Autunno), the city welcomes magical fall atmospheres and invites its inhabitants to celebrate their grapes, wine and enogastronomy for three days!

Let yourself be inspired by the typical flavours of local gastronomy and taste Ticino's excellent wines thanks to the grottos' booths throughout the streets in the city center. Don't forget to lose yourself among the lively stalls for a bit of handcraft shopping and seasonal delicacies.

Do not miss the traditional music proposed by the friendly local folk groups while your children can have fun thanks to the many proposed kids' games.

Following you'll find the programme in Italian:

Venerdì 4 ottobre:
10:00 – 22:00 Mercato autunnale
16:00 – 02:00 Apertura dei grottini
16:00 – 22:30 PatriziAmo: i Patriziati di Lugano si raccontano nel Patio del Municipio con diverse attività
16:00 – 22:30 Musica popolare con I Patéla, Tacalà, Gruppo Costumi Valcolla e Coro I vus da Canöbia
16:00 – 20:00 Animazioni per bambini con Ludobus
18:00 Cerimonia d’inaugurazione con le Autorità cittadine. Seguirà il tradizionale sparo di moschetti ad opera del Corpo dei Volontari Luganesi che darà il via ufficiale all’edizione 2019 della Festa d’Autunno

Sabato 5 ottobre:
10:00 – 22:00 Mercato autunnale
10:00 – 02:00 Apertura dei grottini
10:00 – 20:00 PatriziAmo: i Patriziati di Lugano si raccontano nel Patio del Municipio con diverse attività
10:30 – 12:30 e 14:00 – 16:00 - Visita guidata del centro città. Ritrovo e biglietti gratuiti presso l’Ente Turistico del Luganese in Piazza della Riforma
11:00 – 20:00 Musica popolare con Tacalà, Duo Nostranello, Bandella dei soci, Gruppo Cantiamo Sottovoce e Gruppo Otello
11:00 – 16:00 Grazie all’Associazione pittori e scultori ticinesi si potrà ammirare l’arte dal vivo. Dalle 16:00 alle 22:00 in Piazza della Riforma esposizione al pubblico con possibilità di acquisto
14:00 – 20:00 Animazioni per bambini con Ludobus
17:30 Concerto nella Chiesa di San Rocco con il “Coro Val Genzana Massagno”, il “Gruppo corni delle Alpi I sifoni della Golena” e il “Trio ottoni Valsangiacomo”

Domenica 6 ottobre:
10:00 – 18:00 Mercato autunnale
10:00 – 18:00 Apertura dei grottini
10:00 – 18:00 PatriziAmo: i Patriziati di Lugano si raccontano nel Patio del Municipio con diverse attività
10:00 – 18:00 Musica popolare con Duo Nostranello,Gruppo Cantiamo Sottovoce e Gruppo Otello
10:00 – 18:00 Animazioni per bambini con Ludobus
10:30 – 12:30 e Visita guidata del centro città. Ritrovo e biglietti gratuiti presso l’Ente Turistico del Luganese in Piazza della Riforma
16:15 Concerto della Civica Filarmonica di Lugano al Palazzo dei Congressi

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Unexpected Classic Tour of Lugano

The Unexpected Classic Tour is a two-hour guided walking tour accompanied by two actors who take on the role of historical characters as they tell the story of the city, bringing the spirit of each era vividly to life. The charming actors will allow you to travel in time and get to know the people and the places that have made the city great.

The itinerary takes in a number of historical monuments as well as modern buildings by internationally famous Ticino architects. For those of you who want to discover Lugano’s many, multi-faceted characteristics and some of the city’s most meaningful places, this excursion is the best way to do so.

Meeting point on Monday, September 30th, 2019 at 10am at the Lugano Tourist Office in Piazza Riforma. (+41 58 220 65 05 or

Please reserve here:
The guided tour will be held in the two prevalent languages
The guide can decide to break off or cancel the excursion in case of bad weather
Difficulty level/walking: easy
Cost: free of charge

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