July

July 2, 2014

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Among the summer months, July is my favorite. I am sure part of it has to do with the fact that my (and my husband’s) birthday is in July (the 4th!) but I have always been fond of this month. It doesn’t have the acerbity of June or the melancholy of August. July is summer at its peak, the month when as children we finally moved to the seaside with all the family ready for a summer’s worth of adventures.
July is like a ripe fruit, sweet and ready to be enjoyed.
Summer for children is a special time indeed, for years I used to count the time of my life by using summers as metrics. It’s a time that for a child or for a teenager seems to be almost eternal. To me summer has essentially meant only one thing for years: the sea.The books and all the time in the world to read them. The salt on my skin and the bushes along the coast.And even to this day, when I see photos, or smell something that vaguely reminds me of the seaside in the South of Italy I become extremely, almost painfully nostalgic. I wasn’t raised by the sea, but the sea was part of me every summer of my life and this is still something I carry with me everywhere. Now that I have my own children I made a point of making their summer the most memorable I can, and in between it is my goal to document that spirit of childhood that during summer becomes even more raw and authentic.
Enjoy your July, wherever you are.

Italian seaside on the Adriatic coast.Pictures I took a couple of years ago

what keeps you young

June 24, 2014

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Recently I read somewhere that if you live in a world of dreams and have unrealistic expectation then you are an artist.I would never dare to call myself as such out loud (out of my respect for artists in general) but if are the characteristics that define an artist then at the core I probably am one. Many years ago I read a drug addict saying that drugs are what keep you young. and I am pretty sure many people agree. We are obsessed with youth, we are obsess in chasing what is no more. I am not. It’s with a sign of relief that I welcome yet another birthday (in a week or so), a step forward into making a bit more sense of my life and my place in it. I no longer long for the granted beauty of youth. I am more into a well deserved maturity. Because I tell you what keeps you young in my opinion. It’s our ability to desire, to have dreams even when making them happen seems impossible. Because making them happen is not actually the point. Today I spent my day between urgent errands, play dates and playing spidermen vs Ninja, made up a story about lions and tigers eating a buffalo in the shape of a burger, I challenged myself to drive the car, every day a little further away. And just now, exhausted I am ready to bed but not before I put these thoughts down. Many times I catch myself thinking that these dreams of mine, taking photos, writing these words, seeing them in print one day, are so unrealistic and far fetched, almost inappropriate due to my current situation of a mother with three small children. But then I think they are not because thats’ what keeps me going. That’s what always kept me going: the possibility of it. Chasing dreams, is what fills my days between a nappy change and a feeding. And all I know is that, I maybe won’t become a famous photographer, but I can be a good one. I can tell my stories in a way nobody else can. You can tell your stories in a way nobody can. Because all it takes to be good at something it’s making that first small step followed by many others. Tiny steps put together will give you enough confidence to finally take a leap.“Talent is only a long meditation”In photography and in driving. In whatever you want actually. I want to put my mind and heart into it because when my children will be old enough to understand they won’t only remember the stuff I cooked for them or the hours of playing. They will also have something else, something hopefully tangible. My pictures. My words.My thoughts expressed in some way.The way I see the world.The pictures I took of them, the other side of me.And they will know that they can do whatever they want as long as they continue to take those tiny steps.
Thinking of my mum tonight, and linking up with Jodi (better later than never)

More on being a mother and more on being a photographer

Superhero challenged

June 16, 2014

superheroes
My two older sons have just discovered superheroes. Big deal you might think. Well it kind of is, at least for me. With this superhero discovery a whole new world opened up, a new way of behaving that looks absolutely foreign to me.I sometimes catch them in their playing and I see a new kind of aggressiveness in their looks the way they speak, how they interact with each other and other boys that makes me realize I am suddenly the mother of two proper boys. My first son in particular , I can see it clearly he’s going through a phase in which he is trying to assert the strong part of himself as opposed to the sweet part we all love to see . He talks about shooting (something he never did before), and being fast and rough and honestly I am sometimes kind of worried. I know time would have come eventually for him to receive a certain kind of influence from his peers, and part of me understands his need to set himself free from the good boy image we want to project on him through our education and teaching good manners. On the other hand, can’t help but wonder if he is setting the course of a new kind of behaviour that will turn him from sweet little boy to “just another annoying little kid”. I loathe stereotypes and I never wanted for my children to be “manly” or engage in rough games just “because boys will be boys”. Mostly I am confused, should I let him experience freely this phase of his life and this side of his personality or should I stop the rough games altogether? How do you deal with your superheroes?

p.s.
And now, the cheesy bit

Come sleep time, I usually go check on him while he is asleep and I am overwhelmed by tenderness.I sit next to him for a few moments , and sometimes I secretly hope he wakes up so that he’d know I am there. I feel this is one moment I can truly, deeply connect with him. My little boy who is growing up way too fast leaving behind a mother who can’t help but feeling guilty for being too distracted, guilty for giving too much, or for giving too little, for not paying attention, for raising her voice or just for seeking a moment of peace and quite. Anyway being the nerd that I am I did some research on the topic and came up with a few interesting articles if you fancy reading.

Linking with Jodi

Roughhousing is actually good, apparently. Especially with Dad
Also, is playing guns acceptable or inevitable?

Instagrams

June 13, 2014

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A collection of latest Instagrams.

It was my intention to put together a summary post , like I used to do in the past, see here and here.

But not enough time I am afraid. There is however a thought that has been crossing my mind lately and that I’d like to share. The past days somehow have not been easy for me, lots of going on in and outside my head, lots of self doubt and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and exhaustion have been lingering around. But then I read a passage of this book I am reading that goes like this:

“Whatever beings there are may they be free from suffering. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from enmity. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from hurtfulness.Whatever beings there are, may they be free from ill health. Whatever beings there are may they be able to protect their own happiness.”
-The end of your life book club, Will Schwalbe

So this week I have learned that bad moments come and go, but we stay in the middle and while in the middle we need to protect and honour our own happiness.

Have a good week end!

Pmq Hong Kong

June 12, 2014

What does a family of five do,on a hot Sunday in Hong Kong? You would think takes the kids to the beach or to a park. We took them to visit the newly opened Pmq site instead. And they happily tagged along I must say while we browsed the various stalls of the Pmq market and the shops upstairs. The idea was to go visit the market which was rather small and not extremely interesting, but let me tell you this whole Pmq place and concept is wonderful.

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First of all the premises, even the bathrooms were nice in their old school charm. Housed in the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarter, the architecture of the buildings is just an example of stunning conservation. True Hong Kong old school style that meets contemporary design, I would compare it to another amazing project in Hk, the one that restored the old North Kowloon Magistracy building and became home of the Savannah College of Art and design. A building I had the pleasure to visit and I still remembered it impressed me with the perfect balance of historical heritage and cutting edge modern design.
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But back to Pmq. The whole area is conceived as a place to experience design and local artisanship. It’s such a refreshing idea for shopping mall obsessed, big brands-centric Hong Kong that I just could not turn a blind eye and had to go visit. Of course, I’d like to go back and explore more at my pace maybe take more interesting photos and know more about the people behind the shops but for now, I already think it is amazing that Hong Kong is discovering its own “indie-handmade movement” and that pairs very well with the idea of making Hong Kong the biggest Asia art hub.At Pmq all sorts of design shops have found a home. From boutique paints to artisanal soap shops with some Japanese “good design” in the middle, Pmq is bringing to the people the best of local crafts, finally giving the designers a place to showcase their work and most importantly to connect.There is no city without culture and no culture is possible if nothing comes from the roots and creativity of its people.

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While we were at it we also enjoyed an exhibition of French designer Andree Putman’s work. I will post more about the shops we visited in a series of posts dedicated especially to this.

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All pictures taken with my Iphone.

Silverstrand beach

June 10, 2014

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The other day, after dropping the kids to school, I took a few minutes to walk towards Silverstrand beach and take a picture at the sea. It was a sunny day, a welcome visit after weeks of rain and the sea was sparkling in a distant blue. After the craziness of this past month, this moment of quiet, stillness and solitude came to me as a surprise reminding me how much I need this , every once in a while. I took this picture to show my appreciation.

p.s. this was the only good picture in a first roll of the Olympus OM1 that I have been meaning to finish since last year! The internal meter is not working so it’s quite challenging to use, but the fact that this picture came out well made me smile.

That time of the year

June 9, 2014

When we start going back and forth between thunderstorm warnings and hot weather warning, you know It’s that time of the year again. When rain pours down and the air becomes hot sticky and humid, at least around here.And then suddenly the sun comes out to give you a break from all the water, and the air conditioning becomes your best friend.But also, It’s that time of the year when skin becomes tanned, the fields are golden , you can drive with windows open and can enjoy the evening breeze (well, in some places at least). Can’t believe it’s summer again and another year has passed. This has been such a full, crazy, exhausting year. And the best has yet to come. Some of my favorites in the summer include: blooming Hydrengea in my parents’ garden, sweet and beautiful mangosteen, and now , my little, luscious balcony/garden! Not big but so so lovely, especially after the rain.
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Notable blogs

June 6, 2014

Today I reached the point where I have been on the verge of falling asleep any moment, in any corner of the house. I am fairly sure I am experiencing some kind of mental/physical exhaustion as I find difficult to focus on tasks I have to do and I generally feel overwhelmed.But such is the life with three kids. To remain faithful to my promise to KEEP this blog up and running, I thought I could still post something and since it’s a Friday, as it is custom around the web, I think it’s the perfect moment to share some of my latest readings around blogland. I already wrote about how I drastically reduced the amount of blogs I am reading, yet I am always please to find new discoveries.

Art Hound

Art Hound

Photography
I just recently (how that can be) came across this beautiful blog and the work of Australian photographer Kate Berry. What I like about the website are the honest , straightforward pictures of the lunches she prepares for her daughter without fuss or frills or artificial styling, but mostly what I really love is the hearth warming love declaration and commitment of a mother to her daughter.You can read more about it here.

I have been following the work of Australian photographer Tim Coulson for a while now. (Is it a coincidence I particularly love the work of Australian photographers?). he recently embarked on a trip around Europe with his family and is sharing beautiful pictures of their adventure both on Instagram and Afield, their gorgeous travel diary.

Design/lifestyle
Recent discoveries include also Veda House, the blog of Cassie a Saint Louis based designer , which is a beautiful mix of design, fashion and interiors, as you know a weakness of mine and Apartment 34 , another design focused blog that offers daily occasions of drooling over beautiful stuff being interiors, jewellery and anything style-related.

Kids:

Mr Printables

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With summer holidays fast approaching I am on the look for crafting/fun ideas for activities to do with the kids and since I am not very crafty myself, I figured I could use a little help.Therefore Mr printables and Handmade Charlotte are two welcomed discoveries.

Art:
Just a recent discovery but I am in love with both the site and the idea of an online gallery (one of my dreams) Buy some damn art (and the related blog art hound is the perfect place to go to discover new art or just be inspired.

Not really a blog but worth mentioning especially because based in Hong Kong, Ocula, is an online platform dedicated to discover contemporary art, with a special focus on Asia. Once you become a member you can follow the artists you like the most, and get in touch with their work.

Food:

little upside down cake

little upside down cake

little upside down cake

little upside down cake

Among the ocean of food blogs out there I discovered a little gem: little upside down cake (well not so little since the site is infact very popular).
Love the photography, the food, and the voice of the author, gentle and intimate, like a small dinner.Also love that it is an European blog, and gives me the chance to catch beautiful glimpses of Portugal.

Gemma Patford goes to Bloesem

June 5, 2014

Bloesem is one of my favorite blogs, and one of the very first ones I followed, back in the days.It is through their Instagram feed that I discovered the fantastic work of Gemma Patford, “melbourne maker” the artist behind these beautiful rope vessels that I would more than happily welcome in my own home. And there is more: if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Singapore these days, Gemma is having workshops at Blosem and you can sign up here.

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Arbatax

June 2, 2014

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Arbatax, Sardegna, summer 2012.

I finally have a new scanner! This has been a one year thing, very long story. Anyway, I resuscitated some film scans from the last couple of years and these are among my favorites. I like the richness of the colors, it pictures quite accurately the magic of this place, the red rocks as they are commonly known.Now all I want to do is to reach the nearest beach and look at the sea, sun on my face.