Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020

According to my best Instagram photos from the past year, my life is clearly divided between the Swiss mountains and the beaches of Ibiza. Somewhere in between Paris pops up in all its grandeur. Yep, that would just about sum up my last 12 months. I wonder what 2020 will bring? Which are your #BestNine2019?

Wishing you a great, prosperous, blissful, healthy, bright, delightful, mind-blowing, energetic, terrific,  and extremely happy, happy, happy, 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2020 Framework

New Year's Resolutions are not my thing but this note caught my attention. A wonderful little framework for 2020 with guiding words by Mari Andrew. The one word I might add would be positivity and it will act from a place of belief working towards self-empowerment.

What would your word be?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Buon Natale and Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Glühwein recipe

So now that we are sure Santa won’t get lost thanks to the lady reindeers, let’s sit back and relax with a glass of home-made Glühwein or mulled wine. It is great for warming you up or for when friends drop by, as it can be made ahead and reheated.

Empty 2 bottles of fruity wine into a large pan.
Slice 4 oranges into 6 wedges each and add to wine.
Add all of the below:
5 cloves,
100ml brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
1tsp mixed spice
6 tbsp golden granulated sugar (more if you have a sweet tooth)
Warm gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Take care not to boil the mixture as it will cook out the alcohol. Ladle the wine into glasses and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What my Christmas tree says about me

All that shopping for presents and food, all those Christmas cards to write but what about your Christmas tree?

Do you choose a colour scheme or a special theme? Apparently the new Christmas colours include dusky pink as seen on the fashion catwalks and although I absolutely love the baubles I bought over a decade ago, it may be time to consider getting something new to add to the tree.

They say having a colourful Christmas tree means you are bold, accepting of the latest trends, and not afraid to speak your mind. You can also tell a lot about a person from what they put at the top of their tree...

Servelats as Christmas decoration seems a bit over the top?!?

I like these guys, even though they seem vintage.

Too neutral for my taste but no doubt elegant.

Much more my style... I love Christmas kitch!

Father Christmas with feathers? Maybe not...

Classy but not unique

Definitely an option for Expat boy!

Oysters including pearls... the kind of kitch I love!

For all those Kitchenaid fans... love it!

The perfect gift for my Neapolitan hubby

Body-building Father Christmas

A bit of glitter is always good.

THIS is what tops my Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Santa, you've got mail...

Ever thought of writing a letter to Father Christmas? My kids are teenagers but I still tell them: " If you don't believe in Father Christmas, he won't be able to bring you any presents! You choose!"

In Switzerland, whoever writes a letter to the Christ Child (who - in the German part of Switzerland - brings the presents at Christmas) will get an answer. The same applies to St. Nicholas and Babbo Natale. A special team at the Swiss Post answers every request on their behalf.

In Switzerland each year approximately 16,000 letters are addressed to Santa. Addresses range from the local woods to the North Pole. And the post office delivers them all. Not to the forest, not into heaven, not to the North Pole either, but to Chiasso, where a special team answers the letters on behalf of the addressee.

The only prerequisite is that the sender is identifiable. And even if the sender only marks "Sébastien, 5" or "Anna Lena, Trueb," the post will move heaven and earth to determine the complete address. For example, by checking the postmark. Thus, only four hundred letters remain unanswered.

Three quarters of the letters are from the French part of Switzerland and Ticino - an interesting cultural detail. To the Christ Child, the St. Nicholas and Babbo Natale, origins don't matter, they reply eloquent in all four national languages as well as in English.

And what does Santa's team deliver? It could be a Christmas story, a flip book or a box of crayons. Something that will make the children's faces light up and is sure to make them smile.

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: info@luganoregion.com.

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.

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