Monday, 1 June 2015

Take a piece of Liguria home - with the help of Pilu'

Recently I received some very valuable advice from a very impressive artist. An astute artist who understood that as a London/Liguria commuter, there are times when I am so busy rushing around London that I miss the nature, the peace and the beauty of Liguria. His advice to me was to take a piece of Liguria home with me.

This artist is a small, funny, fury and adorable little thing. His name is Pilu'......he's a kitten. Together with his mum who he calls Miss Human, they love to create beautiful things and share the great results with everyone else.

After reading my earlier blog post about the spring flowers that drape the shores of Liguria during this period, he suggested and shared a method for re-creating these lovely flowers for my home in London. As with all of his creations - which you can find in his first class blog 'My CAT in Wonderland'  - his tutorial was easy, fun, even funnier to read, and absolutely genius! I was astounded by the simple and effective DIY ideas and even more mesmerised by the gracious modelling talents of Pilu'. Not wanting to miss a creative trick or a snap shot of the super star Pilu', his blog now occupies a firm place in my favourites tab.

Read on to replicate Pilu's Ligurian spring flowers that will brighten any home. And be sure to check out Pilu' and Miss Human's blog for creative inspiration, DIY tutorials and adorable kitten shots in their blog here.   

STEP 1: Pick the colours of your flowers and have a couple of sheets of tissue paper per colour. Fold the paper in small folds until you reach the end of the paper.

STEP 2: Create the petals by dividing the paper into parts of the same length as you want your petals to be. Round one of the ends with a pair of scissors. You may also do a triangular cut for a more defined and pointy petal.

STEP 3: Take the first strip of petals and roll them up mimicking the shape of a flower. Dont worry if the petals are not perfect.

STEP 4: Fix the flower with the end of the gardening wire helping yourself with pliers if needed.

STEP 5: Cut a long strip of green crepe paper and pull it to flatten in out. A florist green tape would also work. Place a drop of glue on the first bit and place is right under the flower, in order to cover the wire. Start going around the wire, working your way down. Once you arrive at the end of the stem just put some more glue and fix the crepe paper. Leafs may also be added when covering the wire with crepe paper. The crepe paper will keep them in place.

You can make single flowers to be placed into a vase as well as flower branches or flower crowns. We did a bit of all as we wanted to fill the house with colour!

Pilu' finally placed the single flowers in a Twine Vase which he also made in another tutorial you can find here.

Whilst Pilu' shared with me a piece of Liguria, he simultaneously stole a piece of my heart <3 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Interview with Ilaria

Interviewing Ilaria was a pleasure, albeit an intimidating pleasure. With her energy, charm, warmth and not to mention goddess like features, I always feel invigorated after meeting this talented and beautiful young lady. She found her passion for dancing and singing when she was just three years old and has committed to it since - she gained a Diploma from Genoa from Arti's Academy, spent three years in Parma studying at the Professione Musical Italia, then moved to London to study at the famous Pineapple studios. She is now completing an important Masters with the fabulous Italian performer and musical director Chiara Noschese, at M.I.P Musical in Progress in Rome. 

Although she is based in Rome, she often returns to Liguria for a slice of paradise. 

1. Before we start, can you please share the secret to having amazing hair?! 
Hahahaha! Well I cut it frequently to keep it healthy and encourage it to grow. But I also use a lot of conditioning masks and sometimes leave olive oil in my hair for an hour, it's great. Also I never use hair straighteners on my hair - always the hair dryer! 

*although still very envious, I feel satisfied enough to move on from the hair point*

2. How long were you living in Liguria before you moved to Rome?
I was born in Santa Margherita in Liguria and stayed there until I was 17 when I had to move for my study choices.

3. What are the things you miss most about Liguria when you are away?
I absolutely miss my grandmothers food. She was a chef and everyone in Liguria knows that her food is really fantastic. I miss the sea and the amazing Portofino where I grown up at my grandparents house.

4. You loved music and dance when you were growing up - did Liguria inspire this passion at all?
My mum was a dancer and my father a piano player so they inspired me with their amazing passions. But unfortunately Liguria does not offer much by way of working with my profession - the musical - and that's why I had to move when I was very young.

5. Do you have breakfast at home or outside in a bar the traditional way?
I usually have breakfast at home - orange juice, banana, bread and honey are the perfect mix to start my day! But this usually happens when I'm not in Liguria, because when I'm there, well, focaccia and cappuccino is the best breakfast ever!

6. On your ideal day, where would you go for lunch and dinner in Liguria?
For lunch I would go to a lovely restaurant to eat a plate of Trofie al pesto in Genoa (everywhere is really good). For dinner I would go to Portofino and take a ferry to San Fruttuoso for a romantic dinner eating fish in front on the sea. 

7. And be honest, what is the worst thing about Liguria?
In my opinion living in Liguria is just for the summer. Also annoyingly the beaches can be really expensive! 

8. And finally, Sampdoria or Genoa?
Hahahah! I really hate football but all my family support Milan - so I do too!

To find out more about Ilaria you can find her biography HERE

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Top 3 seafood restaurants on the Italian Riviera

Examining the vast array of 'best seafood restaurant' lists available, I find it almost comical that none of them include a single seafood restaurant from Liguria. With Italy being one of the most elected cuisines of the world, and with Mediterranean seafood being served across some of the most luxurious restaurants of the world, it really is absurd that the incredible restaurants sitting on the Italian Riviera, using the finest and freshest seafood, are overlooked.

There is no shortage of seafood in this glorious Mediterranean region. It may take me a lifetime to work my way through it all, but I have selected here my three favourite restaurants.     

Ristorante Da I Gemelli

Calata Marconi 7, Portofino (the main square), +39 0185 269 257

A small, charming and authentic restaurant situated a tiny stride away from the exuberant yachting waters of Portofino. Owners and twins, Paolo and Matteo, whith their attentive and friendly manner will ensure that not only the views and food are spectacular, but the service and overall experience too. Gemelli, (which curiously means twins in Italian) is a special restuarant for spoiling yourself or spoiling the ones you love. The location on the main square, with its elegant glamour, is the perfect complement to some of the best seafood I have found the world over. Expect traditional Ligurian dishes of pasta and seafood, and old secret family recipes. The Gemelli special, a recipe which includes king prawns from the daily catch at Santa Margherita down the road, is inherited from Nonno (Grandad) and I can promise is really mind blowing. Order it and thank me later!

Le Bocche

Via Calata Doria 102, Portovenere +39 0187790622 


As you walk the adorable, colour splashed street of Calata Doria lined on one side with mutlicoloured fishing houses and the other with the sparkling waters of the Meditaranean, you will reach a point before the big blue, and below the old gothic church of San Pietro (1198), a restaurant set around the rocks. This stylish restaurant is Le Bocche. Both pasta and seafood, Le Bocche serve their dishes with a modern, elegant and interesting twist - oh and a helping of the very loved Ligurian focaccia. The greatest reason for loving Le Bocche is its location - occupying the most prominent point, welcoming the world to Portovenere. Given the spectacular views and sunny position, Le Bocche is the perfect place for an enjoyable lunch.        

La Cambusa

V. Botaro 2 - 16038 Santa Margherita (above the harbour)

Loved by the locals, La Cambusa is a typical seafood restaurant perched above the harbour of sophisticated fishing town Santa Margherita. The high quality dishes, fair prices and friendly staff is assurance you will not feel exploited here. Although I am trying to taste everything the menu has to offer, I am very much fixated on my faithful favourites - the zuppa di pesce (fish soup) and the salt crusted fish (a whole fish cooked only in seasalt). Whilst breathing the contrasted sweet and salted air, absorbing the jubilant ambience and gazing across the coast of La Spezia from the outdoor dining area, there isn't a more apt situation to use the word evviva - the word of joy in Italy.  
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