Saturday, January 31, 2015

365 Days of Happy - Days 181 to 210

We're now over half way on our mission!

Day 181: Got me some Baileys!

Day 182: A big fat piece of delicious lasagna... Which obviously I didn't make myself.

Day 183: The first breakfast of the new year!

Day 184: A big bowl of caffèlatte after a well-deserved lie-in.

Day 185: Sales!

Day 186: The third book in Elena Ferrante's brilliant L'amica geniale series.

Day 187: A beautiful blue sky over Milan.

Day 189: My old friend.

Day 189: Curled up with a film.

Day 190: There's always something left to study.

Day 191: A decent Milanese sunset.

Day 192: Up early on the weekend.

Day 193: The fourth and last L'amica geniale book.

Day 194: Booked a trip back to the Old Country!

Day 195: Some very special chocolate!

Day 196: Much love for my Kindle.

Day 197: Cracking nuts is very therapeutic...

Day 198: I found an actual British penny in the coffee machine!

Day 199: My fancypants Kusmi tea

Day 200: The start of a lazy Sunday

Day 201: Yummy biscuits!

Day 202: Comfort food - toast and jam

Day 203 : Peach tea

Day 204 : More comfort food - a tuna & sweetcorn sandwich

Day 205 : Sun!

Day 206 : Saturday morning reading.

Day 207: Proper breakfast after a week of the flu.

Day 208: The best beer in Italy!

Day 209: My treat!

Day 210: A gorgeous bottle of red.

Word of The Week

Il biglietto - ticket

Monday at bang on midday I bought biglietti for me and my friend D for our beloved Radio Deejay's 33rd birthday party next month. It's going to be held at Fabrique, a club - or the gloriously old school discoteca in Italian - here in Milan, but there's talk of it being moved to the Mediolanum Forum at the other end of the city (to complicate people's plans...)

Birthday/Christmas/congratulations/all-the-rest cards are not used here, I've only ever seen birthday cards floating around the office, nothing else at all. However if you do receive one, that'll be a biglietto too!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Italy's Old Rockers

I enjoy studying Italian music. Trying to figure out what Italians like and why. Things are very different here when it comes to local artists, and one of the most obvious things for me is those artists who have been around forever. The ever-loved Jovanotti brought rap into the Italian mainstream in 1988, and even Eros Ramazzotti has been around since his Sanremo appearance in 1984. But the ones that impress me the most are the group I've dubbed the Old Rockers.

Vasco Rossi. Loved and lothed in equal measure by the Italian public (I must admit, I'm more on the 'loath' side of the fence...), he's going to embark on yet another stadium tour this summer, playing 8 Italian cities, at the age of sixty three. His first album was released in 1978, and to date has released another thirty two. His latest studio album, Sono innocente, was released in November last year and has sold over 200,000 copies so far, peaking at No.1 in Italy. One of my funniest memories from last year was when I experienced the sight of an entire piazza in Riccione (even people younger than me) singing his 1983 song Vita spericolata. The man is unstoppable. One of his most well-known songs, and one of the few I can honestly say I actually like, is Senza parole from 1984.

Luciano Ligabue is the other big old male rocker. Remember the whole Blur vs Oasis thing in the 90s? Well, that's the kind of relationship Vasco and Liga have. Ligabue's not been around for quite so long, his self-titled first album was released in 1990 at the age of 30, and since then he's released another sixteen. When I think of Ligabue I associate him with his massive Campovolo concert in 2005, it was just before my arrival in Italy for my Erasmus year and I remember hearing a lot about it during the following months and years. Around 180,000 people saw him play at the airport field in Reggio Emilia that night. One of my favourite songs by him is Happy hour from 2006.

The female old rocker is Gianna Nannini, who's sixty and still going strong. Her latest single Lontano dagli occhi is doing the rounds on radio at the moment. She has a very distinctive gravelly voice, and there was a period during my Erasmus year when Sei nell'anima was being played on the radio where she was a bit of a joke, as us foreigners had never heard anything remotely like her. She beats the men as far as longetivity's concerned - her self-titled first album was released in 1974. She's released 20 studio albums, the latest from last year has sold over 100,000 copies in Italy so far. This May she will play 10 dates in arenas up and down Italy. My favourite song of hers is one of my guilty pleasures, Bello e impossibile from 1986 - the year I was born!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Classic

This song isn't that much of a classic, but I originally thought it was older by a good few years. Iris (tra le tue poesie) is my favourite song by Biagio Antonacci, and is from 1998.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Word of The Week

il termometro - thermometer

It doesn't take a genius to work out that one eh?

My shiny digital termometro has been my friend this week, as the Italian paranoia about la febbre has well and truly rubbed off on me. I've been home ill with been pretty much everything the winter lurgy can throw at you, from a head that feels cut in two by an ax to a very pleasant stomach bug. I've slept more this week than I normally do in about six months. I'm glad to say that I'm back on my feet today, even though I still have a slight fever I'm at least able to function!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Word of The Week

la noce - walnut

Inspired by my friend S who I spent Christmas with in deepest darkest Veneto, I bought loose noci at the supermarket for the first time ever this week. She'd heard that eating three every day was good for your health, and I thought why not? In my supermarket they work out at nearly 1 cent a gramme, and I got a bagful that will last me a while. It also meant that I had to buy a kitchen utensil that I'd never had in my house here, a schiaccianoci - a nutcracker - which I have to admit that I'm having a bit too much fun with!

Sunday Classic

This week in 1975 national treasure Raffaella CarrĂ  had two songs in the Italian top 10, this one is Rumore. She's still going strong, and returned to our tv screens on Friday night as one of the judges of a new talent show on Rai Uno.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Classic

This week's post is dedicated to Pino Daniele, who sadly passed away last Sunday at the age of 59. The beautiful Basta na jurnata 'e sole is one of his lesser known songs, from his self-titled 1979 album. Ciao Pino!

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Sunny January Day

There's been a beautiful blue sky over Milan today. Days like these are rare, with the fog and smog and greyness that's associated with the city. When I saw the sun streaming through the gaps in the shutters when I woke up this morning I knew I couldn't stay inside, and I went for a long walk around the city centre - picking up a couple of books along the way!

The ducks were out in force in Parco Sempione. Unfortunately I didn't have any bread I could give them!

The arco looking fantastic in the sun!

The Christmas decorations above the street in Via Paolo Sarpi - the heart of Milan's Chinatown.

Piazza Gae Aulenti is a recent addition to Milan's urban landscape. A lot of work has been done around the Porta Garibaldi area of the city, and the piazza looks great - I loved the alternative Christmas tree!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Classic

Tintarella di luna by Mina was No.2 in Italy this day 55 years ago.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Word of The Week

nuovo - new

Yup, that's my haul from the sales this morning, lots of cose nuove (new things)! As nuovo is an adjective it has to agree with the noun it's describing, so libro nuovo is a new book, casa nuova is a new house, scarpe nuove new shoes, and pantaloni nuovi new trousers. It's also the beginning of an anno nuovo, a new year in Italy; but one of the phrases used to wish people a happy new year (as well as the ever-present multi-use auguri) doesn't actually include the word nuovo - it's just buon anno, good year.

I saldi

Today the saldi (sales) started in most of Italy (a couple of regions started yesterday) and this year I was prepared! I wasn't planning to go round the shops for hours and hours like some people do, partly because I don't have the patience to do that with the crowds the sales bring out, and partly because of the bitter cold of the last few days. I made a list, and got on a bus that got more and more ridiculously crowded as we reached the city centre, with about half the bus getting off at San Babila like me.

It was fairly quiet when I arrived in centro, even though many shops had opened at 9 - an hour earlier than normal. I stuck to my list - well, I did get a few extra pieces, of course... - and I was home by midday! Woman on a mission!

My best bargain this morning was a lovely warm jumper from H&M, 15 euro down from 39.99!

One thing I always wait to get in the sales is a bag from Accessorize. The one I'd bought a year ago was starting to look a bit worse for wear (my fault for carrying around about 10kg of stuff around every day) so I was looking forward to getting a new one. And this pretty thing was 50% off.

The last couple of years I've treated myself to a gift set from Lush at 50% off. The one I chose contains soap, shower gel and body creme which is especially made for temperamental sensitive skin like mine.

And after all that I'm going to relax this afternoon in my lovely new pyjamas!

Friday, January 2, 2015

365 Days of Happy - Days 151 to 180

After the excitement of the new year, it's back to the old routine!

Day 151:  A Lush tea tree tab to clean my face.

Day 152: December 1st, which meant I could get started on my stash of Christmas food!

Day 153: The Christmas tree going up in Piazza Duomo.

Day 154: Delicious mini stollen

Day 154: I found 20 cents at the supermarket!

Day 156: Dinner!

Day 157: At the hairdressers.

Day 158: My Christmas tree!

Day 159: December 8th, a bank holiday, and my supermarket was open.

Day 160: Pretty Piazza Duomo at Christmas.

Day 161: At the presentation for Radio Deejay's Christmas box set.

Day 162: Mika performing on X Factor.

Day 163: A Christmas card from the Old Country.

Day 164: I love Piazza Duomo at Christmas!

Day 165: Sparkly Christmassy nails!

Day 166: A well-deserved panettone.

Day 167: Sushi

Day 168: My Christmas themed drug - cocoa dusted almonds

Day 169: My first piece of toast in a very long time!

Day 170: Another early morning visit to the radio!

Day 171: And the first brioche I'd had for a long time!

Day 172: Avoiding the crowds curled up in bed with a book.

Day 173: It finally arrived in the post!

Day 174: Packed!

Day 175:  Ready to go!

Day 176: Christmas lunch.

Day 177: At the cinema.

Day 178: Teatime.

Day 179: Aristocats!

Day 180: Comfort food for a cold evening.