Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fabulous Florence - the advertisements


Ciao bellas!

I hope you are traveling well my friends.

I cannot thank you enough for all the thoughtful, kind and lovely messages you sent me after my last post. Sometimes I can't work out why I feel the need to publish my blogs to the world, and that post reminded me, big time. Instead of feeling judged I feel supported and understood and I feel very grateful indeed. I have a feeling that I'll be reading back over those comments several times in the next few weeks.

Bringing you guys along with me to Tuscany was a wonderful idea, I'm so glad I did. Now would you like another glass of wine? Or some bread for your pasta sauce?


OK so in my last post I mentioned that while I was slowly losing my mind with all the what's and why's and if's, my girls were sitting across the table from me writing advertisements for Florence. Because we're traveling during school time we've been trying to set them writing and reading and art tasks to complete occasionally. I'm afraid their maths might be a bit neglected though.

I like it best when they can all work on the same thing and then share it with each other at the end.

The Florence ads were to be written in their journals. First they had to brainstorm all the things they could include; places we'd been, things we'd seen, people we'd met, how they'd felt, any history they could remember...and then turn them into pieces of writing that would encourage other people to visit Florence.

They were to write them quickly so we could get to the pool and still be back in time to make dinner.

I love how every time we do something like this, each of them comes up with something so different even though we all experienced the same thing. It really makes me feel like School Of The Word is a valid thing.

So are you curious? Would you like to read what our girls wrote?


OK, since you asked so nicely, here's Indi's...


Have you been thinking of taking a trip somewhere this summer?
Are you wondering where to go?

No matter the circumstances, I can guarantee that Florence/Firenze is the perfect place for you!

Florence is one of the biggest cities located in Northern Italy. The weather in summer-time is hot, there's music playing everywhere you turn and the architecture is insanely beautiful.

My family of five spent a week in Florence while on a trip around Europe this summer and found ourselves amazed by everything in this fantastic city.

An easy way to find accommodation in Florence is the Airbnb website. The website gives you a range of options of where to book and enjoy your stay to the fullest. We lived in a beautiful apartment with the most incredible view of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's oldest and most famous bridge. We all agreed it was our best view yet.

My family of five ranges in ages from seven to 44 and there was most certainly something in Florence for everyone.

We enjoyed wandering around the sites with no plan at all, and we also loved the few things we planned and booked; which included a cooking class where we had the opportunity to make our own pizza, pasta and gelato from scratch and enjoy a lovely meal with our class afterwards.

One of the highlights for me was the food. The food in the city was simply wonderful and everything you could hope for in Italy.

We found ourselves overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and constantly felt like we were living in a postcard or a movie.

The Florentines were wonderful and accommodating and mostly spoke good English.

From the food, to the street art, to the buskers and the amazing gelato and even the sound of the Italian language, Florence was an unforgettable experience for us all.

We visited for one week, which we found was a perfect amount of time to see everything that we wanted to see.

Summer school holidays are peak season for tourists, so I would suggest considering a retreat to Tuscany, Florence's outskirts and beautiful country-side, when Florence gets too crowded for you.

Whether you have a family, are on your honey-moon, or are just looking for an adventure this summer-time, Florence is the place for you!!


And Jarrah's;


I highly recommend visiting Fabulous Florence.

The amazing views to the amazing food.

The walking distance from out of town to in town is quite a lot for kids to handle, so I recommend staying somewhere as close as possible to the sites.

For dinner I would suggest pizza or pasta, and for desert gelato. But look out for the enormous piles of gelato because they have gelatin in them.

For breakfast there isn't really anywhere for simple muesli, or bread or toast, so I would recommend going to your local super-market to get supplies.

As for sites, you should visit the Pitti Palace. It is a good walking distance from town and it is very interesting and fun and from the top of the gardens there is a great view of Florence.

As for shopping, there are usually people set up all over town selling junk so watch out. Some are a bit pushy. But there are good shops for kids, teen-agers and grown ups. It does not matter what age you are, you will find something.

Finally, overall I had a great time in fabulous Florence and you will too.


And Pepper's;


We woke up in Florence, had breakfast and went somewhere but Dad didn't tell us where we were going. We ended up in a cooking class. We signed our names on sheets and started cooking. First we put flour in our bowls and mixed in egg and made dough. Then we made and decorated the pizza and cooked it and ate it.  Yum!

You should come to Florence and make and cook pizza too.

The few things that they didn't mention that I'd like to include to remember - the 104 steps up to our apartment, the ridiculous queues for the Duomo (Bren called it the Dolmio), the organic gelato (watermelon was the best but no-one was brave enough to try the red-wine flavour), the buskers on the Ponte Vecchio, the pick-pocket test, the fabulous farmer's market, the leather market, the empty piazza where we practised our cart-wheels, the paper marbling, that time me and Bren drank cocktails while the girls ate gelato and ran around a fountain in a piazza...

Big love to you guys, I hope you are feeling happy and healthy and inspired.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Five go away together

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I hate the thought of people reading what I am about to write in their homes and thinking it sounds silly. People who dream of travelling in Europe, who long for beautiful views and gorgeous climates and new experiences. But my reality is my story and I feel the need to write the words that go with how I’m feeling now. If you choose to read along I hope you understand that I’m not ungrateful, just a bit tired and emotional.

We’ve been on the road for two months now and somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten the meaning behind this trip.

We’re sitting here, all five of us, at a long wooden dining table in an old stone house in Tuscany. Bren is sewing up Big Ted’s newest holes, the girls are writing articles advertising Florence to the world and I’m wondering what I need to do to get that creative buzz that will lift me out of this flat place I’ve fallen into.

I’m also trying not to tap too loudly so I won’t disturb the girls, and I’m trying to block out the music and chatting from next door. I’m trying to forget for a moment that my mum just texted me and told me she had a difficult day with her dad. I’m trying to ignore the fly that is buzzing around my head, and I’m trying to stop myself from putting a stop to this whole session and suggesting a visit to the pool instead.

So what are we doing here anyway?

Are we showing the girls the big wide world? Are we spending time exploring as a family while the girls still can and want to? Are we collecting inspiration for our own home? Are we getting as far away from our home as possible so we can see it with fresh eyes? Are we just simply tasting, smelling and walking our way around bits of Europe? Are we setting our girls up to be so far behind in school that they lose confidence? Or are we taking our girls out of the system and allowing them to be part of the School of the World? Are we spending money that would otherwise be used to fix up our house? Are we filling the girls up with different cultures and memories? Are we making the most of an opportunity? Are we making choices and taking risks? Are we just simply just escaping another dreary, dark Daylesford winter?

Travelling with three children is intense and wonderful and exhausting.

Watching our children’s little faces as they turn the corner of a street and are confronted with the most incredible church is priceless. Listening to their little voices pointing things out to each other, and thinking about the way that they seem to gobble up the history and culture is extraordinary.

But then having to deal with the meltdown at the other end is exhausting. Having to make decisions that will please everyone is not always possible. And making a plan that will keep those three children of three very different age groups engaged and involved is a challenge.

Which brings us to our week in Tuscany. Our first week out of a city in what feels like weeks.

Our plan for this week is to slow down, to discover the countryside, to catch up on some reading and writing, to make a plan for our last few weeks on the road, to stay a bit still and to work out how we are all feeling, what we all need and how we can arrange that.

But it seems that a terrible night of no sleep, on a mattress that has already been replaced, combined with our first morning off in I don’t know how long, has filled me with more questions that solutions.

At least the girls have some great pieces of Florence writing in their journals and Big Ted is all stitched up.

Ugh! Enough! Pool time.


PS. Yesterday I saw a snake.
PPS. I’m pre-menstrual as you may have guessed.
PPS. Blogger and flickr are giving me such a hard time with the spacing on this post and the hosting of my photos that I've decided just to give in and let them win this time. Ugh!

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