Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Feeling Wheel

This might be an opportune moment to introduce the concept of the “Feeling Wheel,” which was developed by Dr Gloria Willcox. It is very useful in identifying the specific feelings and emotions you are experiencing at any given point in time so that they can be addressed and resolved.

There are two main ways of utilizing the wheel: the first is to simply use it to identify what it is you are currently feeling, and “drill down” further to discover associated feelings, so you can understand better your current state of mind and emotions.

To do this, you might sit down and look at the wheel when you have a moment to rest and contemplate. Let’s say, for instance, your first thought when you peruse the wheel is that you are feeling hopeful. Once you find hopeful on the middle band of the wheel, you can see that the associated core feeling (nearer the center) is joyful, and the more specific, nuancedeeling (on the outer band) is optimistic.

You can use this “drill down” concept to also explore deeper and longer term emotions that may be impacting you. Let’s say you have been feeling quite sad over the last several months. By going to the core feeling of sad on the inner band of the wheel, you can look at the two outer bands for feelings associated with sad to try to discover the more detailed, nuanced emotions you are experiencing. You might conclude that you are more specifically feeling lonely and isolated. This is an important discovery, in that it tells you what the specific problem is. You might then decide that you could benefit from getting out more, socializing, and developing or reinvigorating friendships... remember this can also mean reaching out online or by phone!

This example leads to the second key way you can use the wheel. If you are feeling sad, lonely, and isolated, the wheel provides the positive feelings you would prefer to experience, located on the exact opposite side of the wheel. You can now see that the positive core feeling that contrasts with sad is joyful. The converse feeling from lonely (which is on the middle band out from sad and 3 up) is energetic (on the middle band from joyful and 3 down). Likewise, the converse feeling from isolated (on the outer band associated with lonely) is stimulating (on the outer band associated with energetic). So, you’d like to replace the feelings of sad, lonely, and isolated with the emotions of joyful, energetic, and stimulating.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free online galleries and virtual tours

As we all need to stay home, IWCL (International Women's Club of Lugano) thought you may appreciate a link to online galleries or virtual tours that museums are offering as a different way to keep busy and travel.

The IWCL Evening group have composed a lovely list which I thought I'd share on my blog. I have also added a few of my favourites.

Visit galleries and museums virtually through video tours of current exhibitions, in-depth looks at highlights of the collection, online learning opportunities, audio and video recordings of lectures by artists and curators, and more.

So stay safe and stay home while indulging in a bit of beauty...

1. Pinacoteca di Brera - Milano:

2. Galleria degli Uffizi - Firenze:

3. Musei Vaticani - Roma:

4. Museo Archeologico - Athens:

5. Prado - Madrid:

6. Louvre - Paris:

7. Musée d’Orsay - Paris:

8. British Museum - London:

9. Metropolitan Museum - New York:

10. Hermitage - San Pieterburg:

11. National Gallery of Art - Washington:

12. J. Paul Getty Museum:

13. Guggenheim - Bilbao:

14. Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam::

15. MASP - São Paulo, Brazil:

16. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - South Korea:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Learning for adults

Many of us are confined to stay in and are either working from home or looking after kids or both. It's still early days of the lockdown and with no end in sight it might be the perfect opportunity for some "me-time".

Here are a few suggestion to keep your mind jogging. Browse through the sites and you might find a subject that tickles your fancy:

The 8 Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious colleges in the world. They include Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania. the good news is that all these universities now offer free online courses across multiple online course platforms. Read more here:

A closer look at the many faces of Frida Kahlo through her life, art and legacy thanks to Google Arts & Culture:

A well-paced you tube tutorial on how to use ZooM. Many businesss and schools have started using this video conferencing tool but you can also enjoy a virtual aperitivo with your friends via zoom:

Gucci Osteria’s Massimo Bottura is offering free virtual cooking classes on Instagram:

This Spanish fitness club offers home-made exercise lesson on their Instagram account. Their Zumba class is fantastic!

Or just take in the spectacular view from the Matterhorn thanks to Google earth VR:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sharing is caring

You do not need to be artistic - it helps of course - but having said that we all need an outlet these days. You can craft with your kids or create something by yourself. Should you, however, wish to share your piece of work whatever it may be here is a fun option.

thejealouscurator came up with a 30 day art challenge over the weekend. She tossed out the idea for a #30DayArtQuarantine and so far over 1500 pieces of art have been made and shared on her Instagram account. So why not give it a try... because sharing is caring ... and we are all in this together.

If you need daily prompts, here is a list of 30:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Free online resources to share with your kids

As more and more school close across the globe, parents worry about their kids' education. Personally I would keep far away from home schooling and trust the school's advice and cooperation in working together with my child's teachers on a digital platform.

What you can do with your kids is cuddle up and read to them. Take turns reading. Do a puzzle. Bake. Paint. Watch TV together. Camp out in your living room. And... if you are looking for some free online resources to spend fun time with your children you'll find a list below put together by the home ed community. Feel free to share.

Khan Academy
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it's mostly common material.

BBC Learning
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there's so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.

Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).

For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.

Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.

Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.

Creative computer programming

Ted Ed
All sorts of engaging educational videos

National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.

Learn languages for free. Web or app.

Mystery Science
Free science lessons

The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos

Crash Course
You Tube videos on many subjects

Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience

Crest Awards
Science awards you can complete from home.

iDEA Awards
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.

Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.

All kinds of making.

Prodigy Maths
Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.

Cbeebies Radio
Listening activities for the younger ones.

Nature Detectives
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!

British Council
Resources for English language learning

Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age

Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.

Geography Games
Geography gaming!

The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities

Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones

The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.

Toy Theater
Educational online games

DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes

This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Fun online resources for the family

As the world faces considerable challenges related to the coronavirus, more and more people are staying home. However, families can take advantage of a vast collection of electronic resources during this time, for instance:

Learn a language with Mango, Babbel or Duolingo.

Sign up and check out a bestseller with

Try the children's literacy resource featuring the world's best storytellers reading books aloud for free:

Broaden your horizons while sitting at home. As of Monday the Met Opera will host “Nightly Met Opera Streams” on its official website: Operawire

Flip through the latest magazines with rb digital. Check with your local library for access.

Create a photo challenge, participate in a draw challenge or follow a mindfulness month.

For an exhaustive list of education companies offering free subscriptions click here:

Create your own family photo challenge

Let your kids come up with a drawing challenge

Italy's #25giorniacasa challenge

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A small but mighty airport called Gander

A little distraction from the self-imposed confinement might be welcome... this morning I came across a story about a little known international airport with an unlikely location where the first airplane landed in 1938.

Gander’s beginnings date back to 1936 when the construction of the international airport began in earnest. By the end of 1937, a 900-person team had begun construction. A few years later the airfield had four paved runways – the largest airport in the world at the time.

In the early years of aviation, the Gander Airport in Newfoundland, Canada served as an obligatory stop for refueling between Europe and America. This made the small town of Gander into an unlikely international hub, hosting celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and the Queen of England.

By the 1950s, Gander airport was one of the busiest international airports in the world, buoyed by transoceanic traffic. Pan-American World Airways, Trans-World Airline, Trans Canada Airlines (later Air Canada), and British Overseas Airway Corporation (later British Airways) began regular Atlantic air service through Gander. 13,000 aircraft and a quarter million passengers were handled annually, requiring a new $3 million terminal to be built and opened in June 19, 1959. Take a peak...

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Switzerland in figures...

What do counterfeit notes, expensive chocolate, melting glaciers have in common? They are all part of a survey published in the latest edition of the Swiss Revue, the magazine for the Swiss abroad. UBS also publishes interesting facts, figures and stories on our country. Following are the five figures that have marked Switzerland.

82 counterfeit 1,000-franc notes were confiscated in Switzerland in 2018 – which is an unprecedentedly low number. A total of 17,654 were recalled in 2000. The Federal Office of Police says that the high quality of Swiss notes discourages forgers, but they are now bringing more forged 5-franc coins into circulation.
An 80-gram bar of the world’s most expensive chocolate costs 640 Swiss francs. It was created by the Zurich manufacturer Attimo Chocolate. It is made from rare Grand Cru cocoa, saffron from the village of Mund (VS) and crystals extracted from fresh oranges. Only 50 bars of this expensive product have been produced.
This statistic has nothing to do with chocolate, but rather with the digital trend: 85 out of every 100 Swiss children do not get enough exercise. According to the World Health Organisation WHO, they exercise for less than an hour per day. As a result, the inactivity rate of 11-to-17-year-olds in Switzerland has increased further.
It almost slips our minds during winter: Swiss glaciers have shrunk by 10 per cent over the last five years. According to Swiss glaciologists, the glaciers are melting at a faster rate. The Pizol glacier (SG) has disappeared entirely and was symbolically buried by alpinists on 22 September 2019.
Ticino has the highest concentration of motorbikes with 138 motorbikes per 1,000 inhabitants.

Looking for more interesting and surprising facts about Swiss life. UBS yearly issues a compact publication with around 2,000 facts and figures about the Swiss economy and its individual cantons since 1963. It is appreciated as a sure value by statistics enthusiasts and people eager to learn more about Switzerland.

The digital edition is available here for download: "Switzerland in figures"

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Happy Women's Day

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Be part of InterNations' survey

While Switzerland ranked 5th for quality of life in 2019, 64% of expats found it difficult to make local friends. What’s your experience?

As the largest international community for people who live and work abroad, InterNations offers global networking opportunities, local events, and expat-relevant information. At around 6,000 monthly events and activities, expats get to meet fellow internationals in their city, while forums and destination guides provide valuable tips and information.

Take their 2020 survey on living abroad and win exciting prizes, including an iPad Pro and six hotel vouchers worth 150 EUR each that you can use worldwide.

Over 93,000 expats have shared their feedback since 2014. They’d love to hear your opinion! Take the survey now: click here.

If you have any questions, email them at

Friday, March 6, 2020

Oreo Cookie Day

Be ready to observe the Oreo Cookie Day today by having your glass of milk handy. This day is recognized across the USA each year on March 6th. It doesn't matter if you dunk them, twist them or eat them whole, Oreos are the cookies that are sure to put a smile on just about anybodies face – both young and old.

Invented in 1912, the late Sam J. Porcello, a former Nabisco food scientist, the Oreo cookie has been a creamy favorite snack for decades and first sold on March 6th. The current design of the cookie has been in place since 1952.

Oreos are the world’s best selling cookie, with more than 450 billion sold. Today, nine out of ten American households buy Oreos and even if we don't live in the US my kids are more than happy to celebrate this day...

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Let's be more mindful...

Our minds are marvellous - capable of learning new things, coming up with ideas, analysing tricky problems, making up stories, anticipating issues, planning ahead and remembering the past. However, our minds can also work against us. They spend a lot of time thinking about almost anything other than what we're presently doing. They can jump to conclusions without seeing the full picture or switch to automatic responses. They can go into overdrive at the slightest trigger, repeatedly admonishing us with what we should, or shouldn't, have done, going over past events or imagining and worrying about what could happen in the future. All this can create unnecessary mental noise and lead to patterns and habits of thinking that don't serve us well.

This Mindful Action Calendar has daily suggested actions to do throughout March 2020 to help you be more mindful and live in the present moment. It can never hurt to take some time in our busy days to stop, live in the moment, and be mindful.

What helps you to stay present and live more mindfully?

The people from the Action for Happiness programme have made this calendar available in 17 different languages:
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