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
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