The Tropical Bikini

From one extreme to another, Saturday was glorious, hot and sunny. 

That was it, I bought a bikini for Greece in a shop for teenagers which I shouldn’t be going into. A moment of madness saw me trying on and liking a tropical print (yellow with hibiscus flowers and palm leaves) 40s style (think big pants) bikini. 
I’m fairly sure they had skinny mirrors in the teenage shop as suddenly I looked much thinner than I had last weekend on the beach in Antibes and the bikini, which I normally wouldn’t have considered, looked quite good. And for the bargain price of £15, it’s not much of an investment. Watch out Greece, it’s Carmen Miranda. I shall be wearing fruit on my head at all times!
Of course on Sunday it poured with rain and the last thing I was doing was wearing a bikini. Typical bloody English summer! And so I reorganized the boxes in the back bedroom. 

Practically the same thing!

A bit porky

After overdoing things somewhat in Paris, Florence and Nice (see Florentine cake for Brealfast) it was time to get on the detox bandwagon to get back in shape for summer, if it ever arrives!

Age is a cruel mistress and the metabolism has slowed a little but with a dedicated week of salad, spinach, eggs, tuna and no booze (my trusty tuna niçoise diet with lots of protein and no carbs) things are feeing much better. 
According to the bathroom scales I’m down five pounds in a week. I find that hard to believe and suspect the scales are lying but it works and psychologically it’s doing the job.
I’m determined to continue hopefully until I head to New York at the end of July. After all, I’ve got to squeeze into a bikini in August and there’s nothing worse than a fat sausage on the beach!

The Prison Yard

The kitchen door and window are gone as we get ready to install sexy pivoting glass doors in an attempt to open up the back of the house. We put in a steel to stop the roof collapsing which sounds impressive but isn’t really. 

In the meantime we have boarded up access to the prison yard which gives going over the wall, a whole new meaning. 

This morning I climbed out of the window to have coffee outside. There was an obstacle course of rubble to reach the outdoor sofa and it wasn’t exactly pretty. 
Still, it’s only temporary and promises to flood the kitchen with light in the morning as it faces east. 

This week a guy measured up for the glass and light was revealed momentarily.  

Meanwhile it’s a bit like living in a cave especially as the weather is lovely this weekend and the doors should be wide open. 
Not long till installation hopefully, another step forward…


Having woken early due to a dry, irritating cough which has been driving me crazy for the past week, I had a dig back through the archives.

One of the things I love about this blog is that I have the past three years documented in a way that immediately takes me back to the moment. The move from LA to London and all the adventures since. Recently my stories have been a little DIY focused but there’s always something on the horizon and having spontaneously decided to go to Greece for a week in August, somewhere I’ve never been, a new adventure awaits. Albeit a hot one!
I may have slightly scuppered myself work-wise as I’m taking most of August off having already booked to go to France for two weeks so it means that July is suddenly very busy. And I’m heading back to New York towards the end of July for another bi annual manic work week followed by a sneaky weekend in LA as it’s been far too long since I was in California.
Lots of excitement ahead but first, a weekend in London with a work BBQ and a bit more DIY to keep things ticking along.
Now if only I could shift this cough…

The End of the Tour

A weekend in Valbonne ended the “Europe in a Week” Grand Tour. 

We went back to our now favourite beach both days and swam at least half a dozen times in the sea, the first swimming this year. 
The water was cool to start but pleasant enough to stay in for a while. 
As always it has hard to leave and I wished I’d thought to take a few extra days off. I did manage to buy a lovely new French bath mat for London so another little bit of France is coming back in my hand luggage.  
I’m now heading back to see what’s happened in Queen’s Park in the week I’ve been gone. Apparently we no longer have a kitchen wall. 

Exciting stuff as we’re getting ready for new glass doors to be installed and then finally, finally the kitchen!!

Florence to Genoa

I was up early, exhausted from the week but with a taxi booked at 7am to take me to the station. 

It was the quietest Florence had been as tourists were still asleep and the city was
just starting to yawn and stretch. 
I arrived at the station, had breakfast and boarded the train to Genoa. 
It was an easy, pleasant journey first through mountains, stopping briefly in Pisa and then finally the coast. 
Tantalising glimpses of the Med were interspersed with tunnels, the bright glittering sea contrasting with blackness. 
The train arrived quickly into Genoa and left me with a couple of hours before my connecting train to Nice. 
I set off to explore a little of Genoa. 

Genoa to Nice

I wandered around Genoa for a couple of hours trying to get a sense of the city. It must have been spectacular at one point but now seemed a little faded. 

Time passed quickly and before long I was back at the station boarding the train to Nice. 
The journey continued and eventually the train stopped at the French border. The train was inspected by security and tickets checked on both sides of the border as illegal immigration is rife. 

Before long we arrived at Monaco, Monte Carlo where the underground station was carved into a hillside. It still seemed like a glamorous way to arrive. 
From Monaco the coast became familiar as I recognized Cap d’Ail, Cap Ferrat and Villefranche, some of my favourite spots along the Côte d’Azur. 

I arrived at the Belle Époque station in Nice reminiscent of the glamour of the Riviera and walked out into the bright sunshine. 
Letad was there to greet me and despite having developed a nasty cough, I was looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend at our French house. 

Finished work

Thursday and having attended the fashion tradeshow (Italian men wearing short, tight trousers, Panama hats and no socks), we went out for dinner with two of the Italian team. 

Perched on a tiny roof terrace, the view was spectacular with the rooftops of Florence surrounding us. The sun gradually set and the lights of the city illuminated the many domes and spires 
The food wasn’t great, I have to admit and Florentine food hasn’t compared well to other Italian gastronomic adventures but the setting was lovely and the evening was pleasant. 
At the end of the evening I bid farewell to my senior colleague and skipped off to my hotel ready for my next adventure as I was heading to Nice by train, something I’d never done. 

Funghi and fungi

It was an extravaganza of fungi. 

I decided to go with a mushroom theme for dinner and started with a mushroom flan. Presentation was worrying as it resembled the ever-memorable dog sick on polenta Venice circa 2012 but the taste was surprisingly good. Thankfully. 

It was followed with pappardelle and porcini mushrooms. It was ok but I’m still waiting for pasta with pesto, my favourite Italian meal. 
There’s a fair chance I may have eaten too much today and may be dieting and detoxing next week but there’s no point starting now. I’ve got a team dinner to get through tomorrow and then I’m off to the South of France for a weekend of butter eating. 
I’m feeling slightly queasy at the prospect…

A three hour tour

It’s just as well I had cake for breakfast as I set off on a three hour hike through the Boboli Gardens and needed every last crumb. 
Set high above Florence, the view is worth it but it’s a long dry walk on the way. It was an overcast morning but quite humid and as the sky cleared, it really started to warm up. 

By early afternoon I’d managed to get us to a restaurant overlooking the river where the food was good and the tourists were absent. 
After a working lunch we wandered around Florence stumbling across a My Little Pony fashion collaboration before eating gelato in a square.

Then time for a rest before regrouping for a work dinner.
Tomorrow I’m going to a trade show…