Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

My Parisian blog hit the top 50!

What a way to finish the year?

Waking up this morning reaching for my phone, a little notification is telling me my French blog has been mentioned. Curious I tap the link and to my surprise I find my blog listed amongst the top 60 Parisian blogs published by who choose the best ones from thousands of top Paris blogs using search and social metrics.

These blogs and websites are ranked based on following criteria:
- Google reputation and Google search ranking
- Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
- Quality and consistency of posts
- Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

It is the most comprehensive list of best Paris blogs on the internet. I am totally chuffed. I still have not quite come around to calling myself a blogger despite my many published posts and constant viewers' increase over the years. I am still convinced that only my friends follow me but I guess my Parisian adventures are being read by many more given that this is the second time I made into a top Parisian blogger list this year. Paris is after all the biggest blogger community outside of the US.

Expat with Kids in Paris grew out of my first blog Expat with Kids that came to life in 2010 when we were still living in Lugano. I have continued to feed my Swiss blog as a way of staying attached to my home country. I could not bring myself to just drop all my followers and readers. Expat with Kids in Paris began in 2011 as a fun way to account for my daily adventures with the Parisians and the French lifestyle.

Thank you to every single one of you who have enjoyed having Expat with Kids and Expats with Kids in Paris on your daily feed via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Mille mercis to for listing me in the Top 60 Paris Blogs and Websites for 2016 and Bonne Année 2017 à vous tous!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Panettone Pudding recipe

Panettone is a typical gift you receive during Christmas festivites from acquaintances, neighbors, associates or colleagues. You therefore end up with at least 4 or 5 boxes of Panettone. You can either freeze it or else below you'll find a posh version of bread and butter pudding, rich with cream and sugar - great for using up any excess Christmas panettone to dish up for tea or supper.

Cinnamon syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bread pudding:
1 loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups sugar

To make the syrup:
1.) Combine 1 cup of water and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2.) Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
3.) Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon.
4.) Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Re-warm before serving.)

To make the bread pudding:
1.) Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
2.) Arrange the bread cubes in prepared dish.
3.) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend.
4.) Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge.
5.) Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
6.) Preheat the oven to 180°C.
7.) Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
8.) Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm Cinnamon Syrup, and serve. Yummy!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 23, 2016

Un Natale insolito

The kids' attention nowadays is difficult to peal away from the screen. The children's library in Besso (LA BIBLIOTECA DEI RAGAZZI) tries its best to captivate the young readers' interest with all kinds of activities and events.

Their latest invention is a funky advent calendar. Just take a look at what today's window opens up to: a lovely short story read by a local family of five called "Un Natale insolito".

Should your children understand Italian it is a charming bedtime story to listen to, just click here: 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Do you know the names of all Santa's reindeer?

Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night.
O'er chimneytops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

The reindeer which pull Santa’s sleigh are thought to have come from a poem from 1823 by Clement C. Moore "A Visit From St Nicholas". It is more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas. The names of the magical flying animals are:

1. Dasher
2. Dancer.
3. Prancer
4. Vixen
5. Comet
6. Cupid
7. Donner (or Donder)
8. Blitzen
9. Rudolph

Originally, Santa had eight reindeer. And then Rudolph came along. So now he has nine. Rudolph’s story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Seven facts about Santa's reindeers

Eight little reindeer beside Santa's sleigh, 

Getting hitched up - to be on their way.
The first one said, "We can't be late,"

The second one said, "Christmas won't wait."

The third one said, 'The sleigh's full of toys....."

The fourth one said, "For all the girls and boys."

The fifth one said, '"I'm ready to fly...."
The sixth one said, "Across the evening sky."
The seventh one said, "Look, it's starting to snow."
The eighth one said, "I think it's time to go."
Ready?" asked Santa. "It's almost Christmas Day."
And off they all flew - - up, up, and away!

One of my most popular posts around Christmas is: How many reeindeer does Santa have?
I therefore decided to come up with some more fun facts on reindeer.

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 16, 2016

Santa skiing on the Swiss slopes

Who said Swiss don't have a sense of humour? Just look at how much fun 1200 Santas can have on the slopes of Verbier.

Skiers in appropriate costume were invited to ski for free in the Swiss ski resort for one day only as part of a special event to celebrate Verbier's official opening weekend.

Held for the third year in a row, it proved more popular than ever this year as around 1,200 Santas arrived to claim their free day's ski pass – double the number at last year's event.

Free wine, croissants and raclette were offered throughout the day, as well as the chance to win a season pass in a prize draw. Now, all we need is a bit of fresh snow for the holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Magic Reindeer food

In order for Santa to find your house easier, how about sprinkling the lawn with a little Magical Reindeer food.

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe:
- 1/4 cup dry oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- handful of green sugar sprinkles

You can add this poem to the outside of the bag or jar:

Make a wish and close your eyes tight,
Then sprinkle on your lawn at night.
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,
This food will guide them to your home.
For your gift to the reindeer, and Rudolph, too,
Your wish may be real,
your dreams may come true!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Special Christmas Services at St. Edward’s in Lugano

The Anglican Church of Lugano warmly invites you to the St. Edward’s Family Christmas Service with Children’s Nativity Play this Sunday December 11th at 4 p.m. This Service is for all the family, young and old.

Another upcoming event is their Evening Candlelit Carol Service on Sunday December 18th at 6 p.m. A lovely occasion to get those voice cords going again... when is the last time you attended a Christmas Carol service? It will be a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in a candlelit setting. Not to be missed.

Please do join the St.Edward's congregation for Christmas refreshments served in Casa Benson after both of these special celebrations.

The Christmas service on Sunday December 25th at 10:30 a.m. will be a Christmas Day Sung Eucharist & Carols for the Nativity of Our Lord.

Venue: Christmas Service and Carols
Where: The Anglican Church of St. Edward, Via Clemente Maraini 6, 6900 Lugano
- Sunday December 11th at 4 p.m: Family Christmas Service with Children’s Nativity Play
- Sunday December 18th at 6 p.m: Evening Candlelit Carol Service
- Sunday December 25th at 10:30 a.m: Christmas Day Sung Eucharist & Carols
For more info click here:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Grittibänz recipe

It hit me this afternoon while I was sitting in front of my computer... Samichlaus had not come by! A big tradition in Switzerland, one that cannot go unnoticed even if you live in Paris. I popped out to buy some ingredients and went to work.

Expat daughter would be so happy to find a taste of "home" for teatime. She still remembers when her school class in Lugano went into the woods looking for San Nicolao. He would be waiting to distribute a Grittibänz, mandarines and some nuts to the good children, the bad children had to work things out with his helper "Schmutzli" who was considerable less understanding. However, after reciting a little poem in honour of Saint Nick they would all walk back to school with a big grin on their face carrying lots of goodies to take home.

Here is a super-easy, fast, yummy recipe for Grittibänz:

500 gr flour
1 tablespoon salt
70 gr sugar
70 gr butter
2 dl milk
1 egg
25 gr yeast
1 egg for coating
For the decoration: raisins, shelled almonds, candied fruit, possibly coarse granulated sugar.

1.) Cream the yeast with a little sugar in a cup.
2.) Place the flour in a bowl and mix it with salt, sugar, slightly warmed butter, lukewarm milk, the egg and the yeast to a dough.
3.) Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Cover and leave to rise to twice the amount in a warm place.
4.) Knead the dough again, use a knife to cut off pieces of dough in the desired size and roll out to an oval shape.
5.) Mark the head by pressing the dough together slightly and turn the head to the back to make the neck. Cut out the arms and legs with scissors and place them in the required position.
6.) Decorate the figures with raisins, shelled almonds and candied fruit and trim the hat with remnants of dough. Leave to rise and put in a cold place for 20 to 30 minutes.
7.) Before baking, brush with egg and possibly sprinkle with coarse granulated sugar. In a preheated oven, bake for 20 to 30 minutes at medium temperature.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Swiss Saint Nic is on his way...

In Switzerland, the tradition of St. Nicolas is somewhat different from the norm. Switzerland is a country of several languages so it is not surprising there are several different St. Nicholas traditions. In German-speaking areas Saint Nicholas is known as Samichlaus. Though he looks the same as Father Christmas, the Samichlaus (originally Sankt Nikolaus) does not bring the presents at Christmas. Rather, he appears on the 6th of December. Children visit the Samichlaus (usually at school or with their parents) to be judged and recite poems that they've learned. The other option - when I was little - was leaving your boots in front of the door the night of December 5th to find them filled with goddies the next morning.

Samichlaus is usually accompanied by a helper called Schmutzli (from "schmutzig"- dirty). He is dressed in a black or brown cape with a large hood. He wears a black beard and is smeared with dirt. While the Samichlaus praises the kids who have been good, Schmutzli takes the naughty kids, puts them into his bag and carries them away. This makes for a practical way for parents to make their kids behave well: "Be good or Schmutzli will carry you off in his bag!"

Fear not for the Swiss children. Described above is the original form. Nowadays Schmutzli is purely ornamental or even left out completely.

My kids used to visit San Nicola in the woods with their school class. Trust me, they never slept very well the night before.

Should you need a Samichlaus for your family you can check out the Chlaus directory here:

The evening meal on December 6th traditionally consists of a man-shaped bread (called Grittibänz, recipe here), mandarines, walnuts, peanuts (with the shells), Lebkuchen and chocolates.

So, make sure you put your boots outside the door tonight and IF you have been good you'll awake tomorrow morning to find them filled with mandarines, nuts and chocolates.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The modern Third Culture Kid

Denizen is an online magazine and community dedicated to people who grew up in multiple countries, international school alumni, or Third Culture Kids (TCK). Third Culture Kids are the international nomads that possess the cross-cultural views and diverse experiences that are necessary in a ever-shrinking world.

Formally defined, TCKs are people who have spent a portion of their formative childhood years (0-18) in a culture different than their parents. TCKs are, quite literally, citizens of the world. They are hard to define and are made of an infinite amount of experiences.

Last August Denizen conducted an informal online survey of more than 200 Third Culture Kids. The majority of respondents were female, with the average age being 29. They were curious about the lives of the modern Third Culture Kid. They wanted to learn more about who these TCKs were, how often they’d moved, and how they had aged.

To the most frequently asked question “Where are you from?”, the easiest response is always “It’s complicated.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Swiss love Christmas crafts

The DIY-happy Swiss like nothing better than to make their own Christmas presents, or to help their children make them. A Migros magazine survey from 2014 found that for 73 percent of Swiss present-making with the kids was a Christmas ritual.

Here are three 5 minute yarn crafts for Christmas that are fun, colourful and hassle-free to make with kids of all ages:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Countdown Calendar

This lovely calendar has been posted last year but I do believe it can be reinstated every year. It is a great way to ring in the festive season and volunteer for a good cause.

Even if my kids' favourite Advent calendars are the chocolate ones from Coop supermarket, this doesn't mean I can't add another one this December. She Lives Free has posted a lovely Acts of Kindness countdown to Christmas printable calendar.

Ideally, you'll be holding the door open to a stranger or giving out free hugs more than once a month but maybe doing these acts of kindness consciously might spark the impulse to do more.

And don't forget, you can always modify the acts that don't feel right and replace them with your own. So, go ahead and start making some space on your kitchen fridge to hang up this very sweet Advent calendar.

Happy Advent!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Annual Family Fun Fair 2016

Don't miss the biggest event during the holiday season in Lugano. It's happening this Sunday at the Hotel Pestalozzi!

The 4th annual Family Fun Fair will be the best yet! A great family outing worth noting in your calendars.

There will be activities for children all day including a visit from Santa, caroling, and some workshops of interest to parents and children alike.

Learn about local businesses, pick up some holiday gifts, and visit the Food Court for tasty treats.

Each family will be given a Goodie Bag with a children's holiday craft, information for parents, and special offers! It’s all free and open to the public.

A special thanks goes to the main sponsor The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) as well to the International Women's Club go Lugano for the great support.

Venue: Family Fun Fair 2016 - Christmas Edition
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, 6900 Lugano
When: Sunday, December 4th, 2016
Time: 10:00-16:00

Take a peek at the programme:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Switzers - the 193 nationalities of Switzerland

Switzerland has 8.3 million inhabitants, a quarter of whom are migrants from 193 countries. One person from each appears in a new photo book "The Switzers" by photographers Reiner Roduner and Roland Schmid.

When Roduner read that Switzerland was home to people from practically every country in the world an idea was born: find an interesting person from every nation and take their portrait.

All of these people make up an important part of Switzerland’s identity. Identity is in constant flux and is defined by the people who make up a society. This book reflects what they have to say about their new home. Take a look for yourself:

Watch the crowdfinding video:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

It's Thanksgiving week and it's a time to be thankful. The majority of dishes in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving dinner are made from foods native to the New World, as according to tradition, the Pilgrims received from the Native Americans. What is known as "The First Thanksgiving," the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony (an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691) contained waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.

A few Irish people decided to test taste today's American Thanksgiving dishes and here are their conclusions.

To all of you across the globe celebrating this day... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas market at St. Edward's Church

Get ready for some Christmas spirit in the festive setting of Casa Benson these next two Sundays. Coffee and light snacks will be on sale after the service since the St Edward’s Church community love to socialise.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine in a Christmas atmosphere whilst browsing amongst a selection of stalls with homemade traditional specialities such as cakes, puddings and preserves.

Venue: Christmas market of The Anglican Church of St. Edward
Where: Casa, Benson, Via Clemente Maraini 6, 6900 Lugano
When: Sunday 20th and 27th November
Time: 12:00 to 15:00
All proceeds go to the ministry of St. Edward’s Church

For more Information visit:

Friday, November 18, 2016

100 faces of Switzerland

Remember my post from January 2016? The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) - who are in charge of promoting Switzerland's image abroad - wished to show the world who our country's ambassadors are. They were looking for faces of Switzerland abroad.

Well, here is the result highlighting the importance of the Swiss community abroad which by the way would be Switzerland's fourth biggest canton if all 762'000 of us were to be local residents.

One hundred people, from past and present, with extraordinary life stories, represent their home to the world and influence the image of Switzerland abroad. Their lives are multifaceted and their reasons for emigration diverse. Yet all of Switzerland’s citizens living abroad have something in common – their connection to Switzerland.

Participants were invited to speak about their social background and their professional career in the language of their choice. This created portraits of 90 people from roughly 50 countries and all five continents with different life stories, personal stories that also represent the history of Swiss identity. Furthermore, the lives of ten figures from past centuries are highlighted, figures who made a name for themselves abroad.

Get to know these 100 people on the website

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 U.S. Presidential Elections - The Results

The Franklin University Switzerland (FUS) is pleased to host an event open to the public to reflect upon communication strategies, the political side and the economic implications of the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

This event, in English, is held in the aftermath of the election of the new U.S. President at 7pm on Tuesday, November 15th at the Franklin Nielsen Auditorium in Sorengo. The speakers will delve into the new scenarios that the President-elected will face in such a delicate international, economic and political scenario. Moderator is Mr. Gerardo Morina, a columnist on international politics and former head of foreign news for the Corriere del Ticino.

A reception will follow. Could be quite an interesting evening!

Venue: 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections - The Results
Where: Franklin University, Via Ponte Tresa 29, 6900 Sorengo
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

This event will be streamed live on

Friday, November 11, 2016

The story of the red poppy

The red poppy is a symbol of Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. It has no political, religious or commercial meaning.

Each year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Great Britain and other country's observe a Two Minute Silence. Armistice Day on 11 November marks the end of the First World War and is a day to remember and honour those who have paid the price for our freedom.

It is tradition that in the UK, volunteers distribute the Royal British Legion's iconic paper poppies throughout the nation. The bright paper flowers are sold as the charity collect donations in return to help support the vital work they do for the Armed Forces community.

This small red flower that grew on the devastated battlefields of the First World War is a solemn reminder of the cost of war and the price of peace. The red poppy is worn so that we never forget the commitment and sacrifices of the Serving, never forget those who need help to live on through the consequences of war, and always remember our troubled world needs reconciliation and peace.

Since 1921 the Legion has protected the red poppy from political or partisan misuse and ensured it remains a symbol that can be worn with pride by those of all ages, backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs.

Many nations respect and honour the sacrifices of their Armed Forces and the red poppy is an international symbol worn around the world. Each year 1.5 million poppies are sent to 50 countries worldwide, there are distinct red poppies worn in Canada, Australia and New Zealand for Remembrance, and in France they wear the bluet.

This year the Legion is asking the nation to rethink Remembrance when they wear their poppy, and recognise that all generations of our Armed Forces community, from the Second World War through to the present day, need our support.

I am thrilled to have found a British Legion's poppy at Marks and Spencers in Paris yesterday.

I am proud to wear my poppy today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A very long night ahead...

Are you among the 35,000 to 40,000 Americans living in Switzerland, or are you one of the 80,000-strong Swiss community in the US? Maybe you are a global citizen, with interests that connect you to the two countries.

Nearly half a million Swiss have emigrated to the US since the 18th century. Part of the legacy of many of the Swiss emigres are the 5,000 American towns that now bear Swiss names, as well as their influence on American culture: electric guitar pioneer Adolph Rickenbacker and car company founder Louis Chevrolet, to name just two.

A new Democratic- or Republican-led administration in Washington will take decisions that could affect your taxes, business or other binational affairs – or simply people’s perceptions of Americans living in Switzerland.

The New York Times is inviting readers to take advantage of its reporting, analysis and commentary from the lead-up through the aftermath of the 2016 election. Readers will have unlimited access to for 72 hours from 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, November 7 until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 9.

I have been glued to CNN Tv since lunch time. It's gonna be a looooong night!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Castagne locali del Ticino and my favourite muffin recipe

A typical Ticino product is the chestnut. The local custom has the children collecting chestnuts in the woods this time of year to roast or to create decorations. Chestnuts are used as flour, bread, cakes, pasta, jam, oatmeal and even schnapps. It is also used in recipes for marron glacé or to accompany a delicious platter of game. Throughout the streets of Lugano the flavour of roasted chestnuts accompanies these autumn days.

Every year I share my Chestnut muffin recipe. It is my absolute favourite and easy enough even for little hands to make:

250gr melted butter
250gr sugar
200gr ground almonds
300gr of chestnut purée
4 eggs

1.) Mix egg yolks with sugar
2.) Add melted butter, ground almonds and the chestnut purée
3.) Mix well
4.) Whisk egg whites until peaked
5.) Add egg whites delicately to the chestnut mixture
6.) Pour into muffin mold filled with muffin cases
7.) Bake in preheated oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes.

Bon Appetito!

Friday, November 4, 2016

A truly magical corner of Switzerland

A magnificent view from half-way up the San Salvatore mountain

Stepping back into my childhood... hiking with the family!

Autumn in Ticino is really Summer’s last goodbye, but with lots of added flavour!

The sweet chestnut tree, a common sight in the southern Alps, was once known as the "bread tree", since chestnuts were one of the staple foods of Canton Ticino until the early Middle Ages.

Stocking up on some good weather and good food before the winter arrives.

Ricetta della nonna: Take some yellow pumpkin, cut it to pieces and boil in salted water. Once it is soft enough, blend it with the mixer. Prepare a good broth, and when it is boiling, add to the pumpkin mash. Let cook for a moment, and add some milk and a slice of butter.
Serve with croutons and grated cheese.

The perfect lunch spot

 Ever seen Umberto Eco's movie: Name of the Rose?

 A truly magical corner of Switzerland

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A beautiful day in Lugano

Looking onto the Lake of Lugano

Tiger Lily is in town

Lugano's symbol: Monte Bré

BSI is about to be integrated into a bank called EFG International, a global private banking group. Another tradition lost.

An intriguing private courtyard in the city center

Only in Lugano: Tea Room Vanini and Ristorante Federale

 A glorious day in Ticino

Friday, October 28, 2016

Six years of blogging: Expat with Kids blogiversary

Back in 1998, three days after our wedding I had followed my hubby to the other side of the world convinced I would never again return to good old Switzerland. As my mother tends to say: "You never know what comes around the corner." Nine years later I was back on my home turf!

On January 6th, 2007 the kids started public school in Lugano. A big change from the English speaking International school in Madrid from where we had moved. Switzerland was to become our home and I set my mind towards a long-term commitment, happy to have returned to my roots.

Although Lugano is the Italian speaking part of the country, the system, the rules and regulations, the transport system, the food, the people and the way of living were very familiar. It did not take me long to slip into Ticino lifestyle, nevertheless keeping a low profile and trying to fit in with the locals... no easy feat!

The day started early, by 8:00 the kids were out of the house, however, they would come back for a two hour lunch break at 11:45. At 15:30 it was time to pick up little Expat girl. I loved spending time with my kids but this schedule did not leave much time for other projects.

Lugano at the time was booming , many Expat were arriving especially from Italy and Russia. The housing market was at an all-time high. What was missing was an English guide on how to find your way around the area.

I had come across blogging thanks to a table neighbour during a dinner party. Little did I know it was to become a passion. With time on my hands and a determination to share all the advantages this lovely spot has to offer I launched into my blog Expat with Kids and never looked back. The first post was published on six years ago today.

In the meantime Lugano tourist office has launched an English blog, the English speaking community has an excellent Facebook page and there is even a new International school just across the border.

So, I might not be the only kid on the block anymore but my passion for blogging has remained as has my love for the Ticino... and that is more than enough reason for me to continue to blog!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween parties around Lugano

Halloween Party in Bissone:
The parents' association of Bissone is organizing a Halloween party at the Lido di Bissone on Saturday, October 29th starting at 17:30. It is free and is for children as well as adults. All that is asked of you is to bring something for the buffet table (aperitivo or dolce). There will be a DJ and he seems to be very good.

Date: Saturday, October 29th, 2016
Time: 5:30 pm
Where: Lido di Bissone, Piazza Francesco Borromini 1, 6816 Bissone
Cost: free, bring a dish
Contact: Associazione genitori di Bissone

Come celebrate Halloween at All For Kids in S. Antonino:
On Sunday, October 30th find activities for the kids, and refreshments for all at All for Kids Showroom in S. Antonino. Parents can mingle and shop while children play games or make crafts in the new expanded Showroom space. Stop by for a short time or stay all afternoon. Open to the public so feel free to spread the word. Every child in a costume will receive a FREE gift!

Date: Sunday, 30th October 2016
Time: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: All For Kids Showroom, Via Cimitero 21, 6592 Sant'Antonino
Cost: Free
Contact: Robin Bognuda at 091 580 30 82

Halloween on the lake of Lugano:
How about spending a fun afternoon cruising the lake of Lugano? On Monday, October 31st leaving at 14:30 you can enjoy a two hour scary tour with your kids: Make-up and games are included. Make sure to reserve beforehand at or call 091/ 971 52 23.

Date: Monday, 31st October 2016
Time: 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Where: Crociera Halloween, Lago di Lugano
Cost: CHF 22.- (adults), CHF 10.- (kids)
Contact: Società navigazione del Lago di Lugano at 091/ 971 52 23


Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Party for families

Looking for a Halloween celebration for the whole family? Come celebrate Halloween at All For Kids!

There will be games and crafts for the kids, and Halloween inspired snacks for all. The fun starts at 14:00, and every child in a costume will receive a free gift. Stop by for a short time or stay all afternoon. Parents can mingle or shop while the kids play in our new expanded space. Registration isn't required, but if you know you're coming please tell us so we have enough supplies and snacks.

Contact Robin at 076 580 30 82 if you have any questions. Parking is available. For more information, please visit

Venue: Halloween Party for families
Where: All For Kids Showroom, Via Cimitero 21, 6592 S. Antonino
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The autumn flavours of Ticino

Ticinese cuisine, which is closely related to that of Lombardy, is, like in all regional gastronomies, the result of a continuous process that lies somewhere between evolution and preservation.

The poor and monotonous food of the last centuries, when the majority of the Ticinese people lived off chestnuts, polenta and potatoes, slowly became richer. New food, flavours and recipes came into the picture with the changing of the times, also thanks to Ticinese immigrants that brought back different culinary ideas from the countries they visited.

At the same time, however, Ticinese cuisine preserved several of its characteristics: the use of genuine products, the simplicity of dishes tied to the rural world and the fondness for tasty flavours. Today it proposes dishes prepared according to the recipes that have been handed down from one generation to another but also the modern re-visitation of traditional recipes.

The following are among some of the most renowned and appreciated Ticinese dishes: minestrone, pumpkin soup and “busecca”, risotto, roasted meats (rabbit, kid), and polenta with Luganighetta sausage or brasato (braised meat), baked, sautéd or marinated fish from the river or lake.

Among drinks, besides local red and white wines, there is fresh and thirst quenching lemonade called gazzosa but also grappa and ratafià (also called nocino), a liqueur made from walnuts of which, they say, only friars know the original recipe.

Sunday lunch at Grotto al Mulino

Served with heart: Vellutata di zuccha

Brasato con polenta and a boccalino of Merlot ticinese

Click here for a list of grotto:
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