Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

It's late and we are sleepy,
The air is cold and still.
Our jack-o-lantern grins at us
Upon the window sill.
We're stuffed with cake and candy
And we've had a lot of fun,
But now it's time to go to bed
And dream of all we've done.
We'll dream of ghosts and goblins
And of witches that we've seen,
And we'll dream of trick-or-treating
On this happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Costumes in Lugano

Need a costume? Missing an accessory? Looking for some artisitc make-up? Look no further: L'allegra bottega will kit out babies, children, adults and even dogs for any special occassion. Hats, masks, wigs, costumes for rent, new outfits for sale. You'll discover the treasures of Ali Baba (literally) and can take your imagination for a wild ride.

L' Allegra Bottega
via Meneghelli - via Pugnetti
(rotonda Scuole Medie)
6950 Tesserete
Tel. 091/943'46'41 
Tel: 079/230'11'28

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween treats with a twist!

Candy, candy, candy! That's what's on most kids' minds as All Hallows' Eve creeps closer. Click here to see how many calories are in your favourite Halloween candies: Pumpkin-O-Meter

This year, give those little goblins a fun surprise with cost-effective and unique alternatives to candy. Be a trendsetter this Halloween and pass out creative treats and toys. Who knows – you might become more popular than the house that passes out the king-sized candy bars!

Vampires are sure to be a popular costume this Halloween. Help complete the look and bring others in on the action with the perfect accessory – fangs!

With the school year still fresh, kids can't get enough of cool new school supplies. Get them in the spooky spirit with a Halloween-themed pencil, pen, ruler, or fancy eraser.

Halloween-themed tattoos are sure to be popular, but you could also pass out others, like local sports team logos, traditional designs, and animals.

Not only will you be giving the best treat on the street, you'll also keep the kids safe as they run around in the dark. Brighten up the streets by cracking the glow sticks into action as you hand them out.

Stickers are always a favorite among kids. Every little trick-or-treating ghoul will love having a sheet to decorate folders, books, or themselves.

What better way to accessorize the house-hopping haunters than with spider and bat rings?

These glow-in-the-dark creepy crawlers are a bright idea when it comes to Halloween handouts! Kids will love these lil' critters to use as pranks, decorations, or even accessories for next year's costume.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween face painting in Lugano

Trick or treat, smell my feet.
Give me something good to eat.
If you don't, I won't be sad.
I'll just make you wish you had!

Organizing a party? Hosting a themed birthday bash? Planning a Halloween party? Look no further. Fate Festa is right around the corner and can provide you with all you need for a perfect party. Balloons, candles, decorations, paper table ware from Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty to Superheroes. Fate Festa take it one step further by helping you entertain your kids with themed parties, games, animations, face-painting, etc.

Fate Festa is the only shop in Lugano that specializes in party decorations. That fact alone makes it worth a visit. Fate Festa is offering a Halloween face painting on Saturday October 29th. Therefore seize the opportunity; you'll have a perfect Saturday afternoon programme for your kids and you'll be just in time for Halloween's trick or treat.

Check out their site at:

Venue: Fate Festa
Where: Via Bagutta 18, 6900 Lugano, Tel. 091/971'61'32
When: Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Lugano's Kids' Club Autumn Party

Kids' Klub is a new venture that you might be interested in. Following is an invitation to their Autumn Party on October 29th, 2011. Should you decide to remain in Lugano during the holidays, check it out. You'll find more information online at

Kids Club offer English interactive course designed for children ages 3 and above. Teachers at Kids' Klub introduce games, songs and activities adequate for the children's age and development stage. The goal is to get them involved directly in the learning process. Fun and games are a useful tool to learn a language as they provide rules and feedback from the children.

Venue: Autumn Party at Kids' Club
Where: Via Merlina 26, Viganello
When: Saturday, October 29th, 2011
Time: 15:30

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Expat with Kids blog 1st birthday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to Expat with Kids

Tomorrow is a birthday! It is not my birthday and not my children's birthday! There are no decorations hanging across the house and no birthday cake decorated. Nevertheless, I feel as happy as if it were Christmas Eve tonight. There will be no presents to open tomorrow and many of my friends won't even realize that tomorrow will be a very special day for me.

One year ago, on October 27th I entered a new universe, submerged myself into it and never looked back. I started blogging. I cannot even tell you why I began. An American girl I had met a month earlier during a dinner party had spoken to me about her blog. I had no clue what blogging meant. On that Wednesday afternoon while staring into my computer screen I decided to test my IT knowledge by creating a blog. It started as a challenge and became an obsession. I googled endlessly for tutorials. Every single part of my blogdesign as well as all the lists are homemade. I did not stop rearranging the layout until I had it just the way I wanted it. At this point blogging had turned into a passion!

Further I realized that I had stumbled onto a market niche. What was the likelihood of finding an English-language guide on Lugano? Et voilà: Expat with Kids was born! I tried to come up with a mix of useful information about life with kids in Lugano, yummy recipes, inspiring photos and fun facts that would make readers smile and want to come back for more.

I refused to have any advertising. This blog is MiNE!!!

I have been posting nearly every day. To date my count is 369 posts in twelve months. I have never run out of ideas to write about and I love sharing wacky information. Did I mention that I moved away from Lugano four months ago? Never mind: my heart remains in Lugano and so does my blog.

I am grateful for all my readers that follow me. 101 connected on Google friends, 82 via facebook, 68 by twitter and 26 through Networked blogs. Feedback and comments are not frequent but via the grapevine I do get the impression that my blog has made its way into blogger's world thanks to 43'000 pageviews.

Another fantastic fact about blogging is the first-hand information that is available. When moving to Paris this summer I never even bothered buying a guidebook. I discovered all I needed to know thanks to my blogging "friends" and believe me there is a whole army of them in Paris! There's lots of good advice out there - you just need to ask! Discovering other blogs and bloggers is half the fun.

While Expat with Kids is a personal blog, I try not to make it too personal. No portrait photos, no names. I guess if I had to put my feelings into words, I'd say that this blog is a story about our lives, not the story of our lives. A little bit of distance works for me. Nevertheless my personal branding is bright and clear: it's PiNK. Haven't you noticed?

So, if you happen to bump into me tomorrow and my smile is plastered across my face from ear to ear, all you need to say is HaPpY BiRtHDaY!!!

Personalized cupcakes for Halloween in Lugano

"Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed. Cupcakes make it worthwhile."

What happens when you put four fun-loving, energetic, innovative ladies together? A team that knows how to apply creative thinking balanced with practicality in order to promote a special event. Alexia, Gabriella, Silvia and Simona are the heart and soul of Party Code!

This dynamic foursome are experts in the organization of events, private as well as corporate parties, birthday parties for adults and children. Party Code also lead creative workshops in cake designing.

These four sugar fairies whip up lovely cakes and delicious cupcakes decorated with the most intricate designs and customizable for any occasion. The perfect dessert for every occasion.

With Halloween around the corner you might just want to contact them to order some cupcakes that your kids will not forget!

Give them a quick call at Tel: 079/614'24'75 or drop them a line for a quote at

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is Halloween?

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

The history of Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years. It was during these ancient times in Europe that the Celts celebrated the beginning of winter on the evening of October 31st. November 1st was the first day of their new year and it also marked the first day of winter. They believed that death was strongly linked to the long and bitter winter. The Celts thought that during the winter the dead and the living existed simultaneously because it was on this day that the dead roamed the earth. Samhain was the name they gave to their celebration of the dead on the evening of October 31st.

However, when Christians began to gain authority in the 800s, the history of Halloween was forever changed; November 1st became known as All Saints Day or All-Hallows. It is believed that the Christians slightly altered the holiday into a church related celebration, honoring deceased saints. Not unlike Celtic tradition though, the Christians too honored the dead on this day. The evening of October 31st soon became known as All-Hallows Eve and was eventually changed to Halloween.

The tradition of wearing Halloween costumes stems from an Irish and Scottish ritual known as “guising.” In the 19th century, children would dress up in various costumes and go house to house, looking for gifts of coins, food, or snacks. One of the earliest records of guising is in 1895, where Scottish masqueraders carried lanterns made out of turnips and visited homes to be rewarded with fruit, money, or cakes. When the Scottish and Irish migrated to America, they brought along their guising tradition.

Check out this Visual History of Halloween:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Party at Lugano's Casinò

Dress up for the greatest party event of the year! The International Women's Club of Lugano (, MeetUp ( and Internations ( are celebrating Halloween all together at one of the hottest locations in town - the NYX Lounge, reserved
especially for you!

But remember: NO COSTUME - NO PARTY!

We are looking forward to seeing your creative outfit ideas.
The entrance to the NYX Lounge is free but don't forget to pay for your drinks as you order.

Venue: NYX Lounge (, Via Stauffacher 1, 6900 Lugano (Casinò di Lugano).
Date: Monday, October 31, 2011
Time: 9:00 PM (yes, the day after is a holiday!)
RSVP : (Sandrine Nélisse )

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coming home!

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

We left Lugano on June 20th. We came back October 21st for a holiday. What we did not expect were the emotions that overwelmed us. We were coming home again. Never mind that our house is not ours anymore, the school is not where the kids are enrolled any longer, the gym pass does not grant us access and we don't receive the local supermarket weekly bulletin, Breganzona is still our home.

Over four years ago we started our Swiss adventure and began to sow seeds. What we never realized is how much they have grown and how strong the roots have become. I dare say our friends have felt a similar excitement upon our arrival. The kindness and openess with which eveyone has received us touched us more than we could have imagined. From East European immgrants, Caribbean emigrants, Italian expats to hockey-loving, die-hard Ticinese, each and every one of them made us feel at home for a couple of hours over a cup of coffee, an afternoon spent in the park or a dinner given in our honour.

Over the past 40 years I have always considered Zurich my home. Today I admit that the Ticino has stolen a part of my heart and it will forever be piece of me and my family.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trunk Show in Pura

Featuring Alcia Peru knitwear
luxurious alpaca capes, shawls, cardigans, and knitted accessories

Cupcakes by Maureen
Special Event photographer: Marian Bader

Beer Tasting on October 27th

“The government will fall that raises the price of beer.”
Czech Proverb quotes

The IWCL has another surprise up it's sleeve. Time has come to challenge your taste buts with a different kind of tasting. Discover how a beer can be paired surprisingly well with gourmet finger food, not just hamburger and fries.

When: Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Time: 19:30 onwards
Where:  Afiordigusto, Via Pietro Capelli 30, 6900 Lugano - 091 970 16 80
Price per person: CHF 40.-
Menu: will be soon available but there will be 5/6 appetisers and 5/6 beers

Book by October 20th at the latest as the event is limited to 25 people by e-mailing

In the meantime here's a fun beer trivia that I found at

What is the Most Expensive Beer in the World?
It’s called “Tutankhamen” and is prepared according to the recipe recovered by a group of University of Cambridge archaeologists in Queen Nefertiti’s Temple of the Sun in Egypt. It costs US $52 a bottle, and is produced in limited and numbered edition.

What country has the most individual beer brands?
That would be Belgium, with 400.

From what part of brewing did the term “rule of thumb” originate?
Before the advent of thermometers, brewers tested the temperature of their maturing brews with their thumbs:  too cold, and the yeast wouldn’t grow, too hot, and it would die.

Who was the first American to brew lager type beer?
The first US lager was brewed in 1840 by John Wagner, who had a small brewery in the back of his house on St. John Street in Philadelphia. Wagner brought the first lager yeast to the United States from a brewery in Bavaria.

What is Cenosillicaphobia the fear of?
Fear of an empty glass

What is brew master in Latin?

Explain the roots of the Scandinavian toast, sköl.
The familiar Scandinavian toast sköl derives from scole, the drinking bowl shaped like the upper half of a human skull. Originally, these bowls were fashioned from the actual skulls of enemy killed in battle.

What king is known as the "patron saint of beer?"
King Gambrinus (not to be confused with St. Arnold, the patron saint of brewing).

What was the length of Prohibition?
Prohibition lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours, 32 1/2 minutes

What is the best selling brand in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States? What country is it brewed in?
Brahma Beer. It is brewed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Friday, October 14, 2011

World Food Day: October 16th

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.

The objectives of World Food Day are to:
- encourage attention to agricultural food production
- encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries
- encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions
- heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world
- promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world
- strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us reflect seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and articulate alternatives on what needs to be done at national, regional and global levels to reduce the impact on almost a billion people who do not have enough to eat.

Following is a link for your kids: TWENTY GRAINS OF RICE-World Food Hunger Program.

Using the internet children can donate 20 grains of rice to the WORLD FOOD HUNGER PROGRAM!  If your child has access to a computer and the Internet, introduce him/her to the idea. This Web site offers an English multiple-choice vocabulary test. For each word defined correctly, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Program to help end hunger. To date over 66 Billion grains have been donated!!!!

Some ideas for crafts to make:
- Make a collage or a special place mat by cutting out pictures of food from magazines.
- Make necklaces out of colored noodles.
- Use clay or play dough and try to make various food.
- Print out and color some of these food related pages.
- Try out some of these cooking and food related crafts

Other things for your kids to do:
- Ask different people what their favorite food is.
- Find out more about which foods originated in different parts of the world.
- Make foods from different cultures to try.
- Set up a dramatic play area to depict a restaurant.
- Take a field trip to a restaurant.

Becoming involved in addressing real-world problems is a great way to boost your child’s self-esteem. He/She’ll know (s)he has made a difference in the lives of people (s)he may never meet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A mother's letter to the world

Dear World:

My son starts school today. It's going to be strange
and new to him for a while.
And I wish you would sort of treat him gently.
You see, up to now, he's been king of the roost.
He's been boss of the backyard.
I have always been around to repair his wounds, 
and to soothe his feelings.

But now-things are going to be different.

This morning, he's going to walk down the front steps,
wave his hand and start on his great adventure
that will probably include wars and tragedy and sorrow.

To live his life in the world he has to live in will require
faith and love and courage.

So, World, I wish you would sort of take him by his young hand
and teach him the things he will have to know. Teach him-but gently, if you can.
Teach him that for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every crooked politician there is a dedicated leader;
that for every enemy there is a friend.
Teach him the wonders of books.

Give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, 
bees in the sun, and flowers on the green hill.
Teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat.

Teach him to have faith in his own ideas,
even if everyone else tells him they are wrong.
Teach him to sell his brawn and brains to the highest bidder,
but never to put a price on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob...
and to stand and fight if he thinks he's right.

Teach him gently, World, but don't coddle him,
because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

This is a big order, World, but see what you can do.
He's such a nice little fellow.

...Author Unknown

Monday, October 10, 2011

InterNations Get-Together in Lugano

InterNations Lugano are happy to invite you to their October 2011 get-together, to mingle, catch up with friends, and meet new people. is an International social network service, launched  in 2007 and designed with expatriates in mind. The website was founded by three young German businessmen, two former McKinsey consultants and an n-tv editor. They had come to recognize the need for a global online network for expatriates when they were living abroad themselves. So they decided to come up with a web-based dot-com solution to address issues like relocation, intercultural competence, cross-cultural communications and everyday life as an expat.

The Lugano group will be meeting on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 7 pm onwards, at Villa Saroli Ristorante, Lounge & Bar in Lugano.

InterNations community in Lugano has been growing very quickly over the past year. In order to facilitate the event organization and to provide you with a better networking and social experience, they are introducing the InterNations ticketed events model this month.

Entrance fees for the event:
Free for Albatross Members, 10 CHF for basic members and 20 CHF for attendees who are not on the guest list. The entrance includes one welcome drink as well as a tasty selection of appetizers and snack foods. After that, as usual, drinks are pay self (pay as you go / no tabs please)!

Please register for this event by signing up to InterNations here:
Feel free to bring your international friends but please do invite them to sign up to InterNations, too.

They hope to see many familiar as well as new faces!

Venue: Villa Saroli
Where: Viale Stefano Franscini 8, 6900 Lugano, Tel: +41 91 923 53 14
Date: October 12th, 2011
Time: 19:00

Six steps to a successfull 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.

Friday, October 7, 2011

White Toblerone Mousse au Chocolate recipe

I miss my Swiss chocolate, especially my Toblerone, and in particular my white Toblerone! Parisian macarons are delicious but it's just not chocolate. So - feeling a little homesick - I dug out one of my favourite recipes.

My dark Mousse au Chocolate recipe is my most popular post so far in my blogging career. I have therefore decided to share my white Toblerone Mousse au Chocolate recipe because the two desserts are best when served together.

300g white Toblerone
2 eggs
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4dl cream

1.) Break Toblerone into pieces and melt in a double boiler (40 ° C). Remove bowl from water boiler and stir until smooth.
2.) Mix eggs and powdered sugar in a separate bowl. Beat until mixture is foamy and light.
3.) Add the chocolate immediately and mix well.
4.) Beat the cream until stiff and carefully fold into the chocolate mixture.
5.) Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and place in fridge three to four hours or over night.

To serve:
Scoop the mousse with two spoons, arrange on dessert plates and decorate as desired with whipped cream and fruit.

En Guete!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cocktail night with Lugano's Evening Group

By now you probably know there is a popular monthly event in Lugano organized by some very energetic and committed ladies: The Evening Group of the International Womens' Club of Lugano.

Please join the IWCL Evening Group on October 18th, 2011 from 19.30 onwards for a casual get together. This time the good faires have arranged a rich buffet at the hip Restaurant New Orleans in the Quartiere Maghetti.

So come and have your Martini - shaken not stirred- by some cool bar tenders!

For your info drinks start at
CHF 5.50 for water/sodas
CHF 6.50 for beer
CHF 8.50 for wines
CHF 13.00 for cocktails

Please let the Evening Group know if you are coming by October 14th by emailing them at:

Venue: Restaurant New Orleans (
Where: Quartiere Maghetti, 6900 Lugano 
Tel. +41 91/921.44.77
When: October 18th, 2011
Time: from 19:30

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seeking Mystery shoppers in Lugano

Girls, are you ready for this? I have the perfect job offer lined up for you: Mystery Shopper!

Albatross Global Solutions (, a mystery shopping agency based in Paris, are currently recruiting mystery shoppers to perform visits in luxury brands stores in Lugano.

As a mystery shopper, you will need to visit a specific store with a scenario (clothes/shoes, watch...) and your role would be to let the Sales staff helps you and guides you. The store can be a watch & jewelry boutique, a corner in a department store or a fashion boutique.

For the Sales staff, you are a normal customer but discreetly you will be evaluating different criterias such as the shop environment, the sales advisor outlook and the quality of service.

Mystery shopping is not a full time job. It is a mission based job and as long as you respect our deadline, you can perform your visits anytime: lunch break, afterwork, week ends... no time constraints!

The qualities a mystery shopper should have:
- personal interest in customer service improvement
- good memory and narrative skills
- for the mission we are currently hiring for: be a luxury brand customer

Within 24 hours after the visit, you will need to submit an online report.

If you are interested in mystery shopping, please register on the website, as a shopper and email directly to: for follow up. Do not hesitate to email Nicole Lydin if you have any question.

So????? What are you waiting for, go ahead and write that e-mail!  Good luck.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How about a little challenge?

I love to smile. I smile at my hubby when I feel in love or when I want him to do something. I smile at my kids because I love them to bits or because I don't want to lose my patience. I smile at strangers I cross in the road because I'm in a good mood. I smile a the driver who is cursing me because I just took a wrong turn (that really throws them!!!). I smile at nature or a new born baby and remind myself what a wonderful day it is!

A smile works wonders. A smile is free. It can give you so much in return. In Latin cultures it can get you a long way when you need something done. In Nordic cultures it can break the ice and maybe the routine?

I have come a cross a list of 100 ways to make people smile. I thought I'd share the first 10 with you. Go ahead, go out and try it! The other 90 ways will follow in time.

1. Call an old friend, just to say hi.
2. Hold a door open for a stranger.
3. Invite someone to lunch. (Don't worry about the cooking, get take-away and serve it on your Sunday dishes. The idea is to have fun!)
4. Compliment someone on his or her appearance.
5. Ask a coworker or a friend for their opinion on a project.
6. Bring cookies to work. (Or to school)
7. Let someone cut in during rush hour traffic. (Keep smiling!)
8. Leave a waitress or waiter a big tip. (it just might make their day)
9. Tell a cashier to have a nice day. ( I love this one!)
10. Call your parents.

I'm off to make a phone call to an old dear friend to wish her Happy Birthday!

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