Monday, December 3, 2012

Tis the season!

December already! These past few months have gone by so fast, and i have had so much fun. It does feel a little bit weird though, seen as I was suppose to be returning to Canada in January, and now im here for another 5 months...but i am excited, i know i am suppose to be here so i am going to make the most of it!
In preperation for Christmas, the kids and I have spent our evenings making homemade Christmas decorations, and they love it! Kids love crafts, and you know what, i love crafts! Plus it is a good way to kill some time, so if there are any au pairs out there that are having trouble thinking of things to do with the kiddies, CRAFTS! my fav site four finding different ones...pintrest! Has so many different ideas, and all relatively easy as well! Our most recent craft is decorations for the tree. We made them out of dough (the recipie for which is very straight forward...see bottom of page), and then we shaped them, baked them, and painted them festive colours...well some are just random colours..

The streets here have all been decorated with lights and pretty things, but the houses dont really put up lights...probably because there arent houses here, i honestly dont think i have seen one house. Apartments are everywhere. I guess its because i live right in the center of Milan, im sure if we were to venture out of our comfort zone and leave the city we would find some houses, but we never really tend to leave the center, and when we do its like we walk in to a whole new world. Because the center is so well looked after, in terms of keeping the streets clean (that however, doesnt include dog mess..), when ever you leave the center, its like you are going in to the slums...when really its just a normal suburb. I think living the Milan life is turning me in to a bit of a snob...Maybe my mini vaca in England will help cure me of my snobbism.

But on to way more exciting stuff....THINGS TO DO IN MILANO NUMBER 4! wooooo
- Visit the Navigli! This is a place we frequent quite often! Its a canal that is surrounded by many different bars/coffee shops/crepe shops/gelato/resturats....its great! Our current favourite places on the Navigli are La Vineria, which is a very small wine bar. You buy your bottle of wine and sit out side underneath a canapy, on metal barrels, and for the cold nights there are space heaters to keep you warm. It has a very relaxed vibe, and it is a good place to go if you just want to enjoy a nice glass of wine and talk with your friends. After that we usually venture to our our favourite place, The Irish Pub. This place is always fun, they usually have a live band or live music on a Saturday night, and it is the only place that served me Jalepenos, so i like it very much! The night life on the Navigli is great, there is always something to do, and its always full of students and EMT's (english mother tonge). If you are looking for something to do during the day on the Navigli, it is still great, we usually go to Sofa Cafe, which is a cosy little coffee shop..a great place to warm up in on a cold day! However, be warned, that their hours of operation are un realiable. They dont seem to follow what their sign says, so its more of a hit and miss when they will be open. Its safe to say they dont open till after 1, at least. It is also a good place to visit in the evening if you want to relax, have a drink, and listen to some good tunes. time. 
Ladies..and Gents: Its time to join the army....or at least dress like you are part of the army. I see a lot of people sporting the army print jackets, army print pants, and even leggings. I like the look, and if you can pull if off, then go for it. However, dont go around pretending you are in the Army, thats not cool.
All accecptable.

See, if Rhianna is wearing it, its obviously cool....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov 21

Evening friends! It is 10pm here in good ol’ Milan, and I am babysitting! So I figured, what does one do when stuck alone in the apartment? Blog obviously. I had this great idea to be like “hey guys, I am going to upload a new blog every Wednesday” but then I thought to myself, why am I limiting myself to one day? Who knows when creativity is going to hit you! Maybe creativity is having a day off on Wednesday…anyway you get my point. I hope you don’t mind the sporadic posts, but I am afraid I just can’t commit be limited to one day a week.

So I believe we are on to number three in things to do in Milan!
Shopping obviously, but be prepared to break the bank! A few of the spots that I [window] shop at are Via Torino and Corso Buenos Aires. They are both SEMI decently priced, it’s still expensive (for us au pairs anyway). Corso Buenos Aires (metro stop Porta Venezia) has more then one H&M, Zara, Nike, Puma, Footlocker, OVS, and many more. Lots of shops that I haven’t heard of, smaller Italian chains I am sure, but you can find some pretty sweet deals down there if you are willing to spend a while there and check out  each shop. Via Torino is right next to the Duomo, and has a lot of the same stores as Buenos Aires, and some more slightly more expensive stores. But if you are on vacation and having money to blow, then go for it, knock your overpriced Italian socks off. If you are looking to blow a lot of money, head to the Duomo, and all around there you will find lots of stores that sell fancier products. Such as Prada, Loui Vuitton, Gucci, and some more that I have never heard of, but still nice to look around and pretend that you can afford it. (even though I am sure that the sales people know as soon as you walk in if you can afford it or not).
I know that there are more places to shop at, all of them seem to be in the general vicinity of the Duomo, but we don’t head there much, window shopping is only fun for so long.

Now for my expert fashion advice!
Gentlemen, scarves are totally in. Not just the hipster rag around your neck, but like, a real scarf. In some cases I have seen, the bigger the better! Apparently there are specific ways to wear your scarf, I however am not privy to this type of information, but I think the picture below explains pretty well:

Please note that wearing a  scarf like the Jonas dude (he is a Jonas right?) is NOT COOL. You might as well tie ribbon around your neck and call it a scarf. It looks ridiculous. Jake and Brad are pulling of the scarf look quite well though. From what I can tell from my powerful observations, you have to wear the scarf as if you don’t care what it looks like, as if you didn’t spend an hour trying to perfect the “just thrown on look”.

On a more serious note, my friend Elin and I have decided to train for a half marathon! With the Christmas break coming up, she is returning to Sweden for a week, and I am in England for a month, so training begins in January. We plan on running in May. We run quite three days a week right now. We have gone from lazy smucks to 5k runners in a month, so I think we are doing okay! But if anyone reads this and happens to have run a marathon, or is in training, or has any type of advice, our ears are open!
This is Elin and I:

we are: friends, au pairs, broke, avid runners. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nov 15

OKAY,second blog post in two days…looks like I am on a role!

The number two thing, that I think you should do when you come to Milan! (these are in no order, it is just what ever comes in to my mind)
2. Check out the markets!! The markets here are great, and have lotsof hidden treasures, but you got to dig around, a lot! I have currently been to two good markets. The first one is located in the Nagvigli area, it is at the end of the Naviglio Grande canal – it’s hard to miss, so just look for it. The first time I went I had no money so I didn’t buy anything, the second time I went it was pouring rain, sooo I bought a burger and left. BUT it has great clothing bins priced anywhere between 1-5 euros (on average) – yes, some of the stuff is garbage, but there are hidden gems in those baskets. So keep looking. Also, the burgers at this place are fantastic (and they even had hot sauce, so I was very impressed).  If markets aren’t your thing, then you should go just for the burgers. THE SECOND market I was at today, is located on Via Osoppo (metro stop Gambara – red line). We didn’t really stay for long because we were all way to hungry to dig around in baskets and fight through the huge crowds, so we bailed after 15 mins to go get pizza. BUT from what I saw, and have heard about it, it seems legit and worth trying out if you have an hour or two too kill. I found it a little more pricey then the other market, but hey, what can you do.
Milan generally has markets on the last Sunday of every month as well, which are suppose to be great. But , I have yet to check one out! Rest assure though people, that as soon as I check it out, I will report back ASAP.

Aaaah, also, a new part I shall add to my blog. Current fashion trends! Woohoo! I have no hard evidence to prove these are actually trends, it’s more just what I notice people wearing A LOT.
Fashion Trend numero uno:
GIRLS! Sneakers with a wedge. I see girls/women wearing these all the time, and its not the tacky lace ups with a white, plastic wedge heel, those are not cool. It’s..well see photo below:

BOYS! I will have to come back to this…I will start paying more attention to what they are wearing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Still out there?

Alright, I am well aware that it has been way to long since my last blog post. I am not as dedicated to this whole blogging thing as I had originally planned to be...but here I am, blogging again!
Well, i hav been here almost the three months as planned, and its been greaaaaaaaaat. The frist little bit was obviously a bit rough, because it's hard making new friends, and getting adjusted to living with a family again/livig with a strange family. But it is totally okay now, I got very lucky with my family! They are so nice to me, they don't treat me like a worker or anything like that, they treat me as if I am part of the family and make me feel comfortable being here. And too be honest, what i do is prettttyyy easy, so there is nothing i can complain about. In ythe mornings I walk to school with the kids and the mum, or i sit and wait for the house keeper to let her in if she is running late. Then I have the entire day to my self, which is usually spent at the gym, running, drinking gallons of "America Coffee" at a cute american style cafe with friends, orr wandering the streets of Milan looking for things to do lol, which suprisingly is scarce. Unless of course you have an unlimited supply of money.

HOWEVER if you are planning a trip to Milan, here is a list of things i reccommend you do!
1. Visit the duomo (obviously), during the day and at night. And be sure to climb to the top, the view is amazing. But we warned of the men that try to sell you bracelets...they say there free, but as soon as you take it they ask for a donation...and are very persistant. 

I am only going to post one a day, so that you dont get overwhelmed with all the overpriced great things Milan has to offer...

I AM STAYING IN MILAN TILL JUNE 1ST!!! I was suppose to leave in December, but the family liked me sooo much they asked me to stay longe, and i said SI!

Anyone is free to visit me at any time :D

miss you all

Friday, October 5, 2012

Milan Life I have been here for three weeks now! It doesn't feel like that long, and my holiday before i came here feels like it happened last year...
It has taken some time to adjust to the Italian way of life, it is all so different from Canada. Milan its self is a very grey city, there is no grass any where unless you go to their parks, animals roam the streets with no leases and do their "business" where ever they please - and no one cleans it up. The people here don't smile as much as we do in Canada, everyone i have met from Canada or America will tell you that. The other day,i saw a man trip up a curb and then superman dive on to the concrete, and NO ONE stopped to help him..I did obviously, gotta represent the Canadians! BUT as much as there is all that, it is still pretty amazing. No matter how many times I walk past the Duomo, it still fascinates me, and even though I can't afford all the amazing milanese clothes i certainly am enjoying window shopping! Every one here is so well dressed, all the men wear suits and all the ladies are looking top notch with their Louis Vuitton/Prada/YSL/you name it hand bags...although the other day i did see a lady wearing a lovely pants suit with a LV lap top bag, just full our dressed to the nines...except she was wearing crocs. I thought Italy of all places would have banned the "croc"...i was wrong.
The language barrier is a lot harder then i thought it would be, so to fix it, i signed up for an Italian class...which consists of a Italian lady talking Italian and you trying to guess what she is saying. Very little English is spoken in that class (except from the students). But i am enjoying the class, and i am meeting lots of people, and they have a coffee machine that only charges 25 cents for a cappuccino. Heaven.
My job is very easy as well, i work for a half hour in the morning - walking the kids to school with their mum. Then at 5 i start work again - i play games with the children (like monopoly, trading cards, watching them put on "theater shows" which is a lot of fun actually), drawing, writing, or reading. Then we have dinner and they go to bed and i'm free the rest of the evening as of 830. So i only work 4 hours a day (basically 3) plus i have weekends off. Its amazing. I fill my free time with going to the gym, going to school, walking the city and meeting up with people. Also visit the local coffee shop a lot, where they now know pretty much who i am and what i order. Its great!

Now for some random pictures!
Italy's version on trucks...

The Duomo that i get to see everyday!

Street signs in Europe..

Shop for my brother Chris! Found in Paris

What Jodi and I thought of the "great" Italian spritzers. Not good.

Mama loulou, found in Paris.

Jodi and I in Lake Como!

Any way folks, that's all for right now. 
Ciao :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Long over due update!

Alright, its been a while, but i am back in a wireless zone! I am back in Milan and have found a cafe that serves excellent coffee and fast wireless! hurrah!
So i left you guys in Paris...since then I have been to Ireland, and England. Ire land was a lot of fun, i spent the week with my cousins and we went to a weekend long concert/festival called Electric Picnic. It was so much fun! minus the lack of sleep and a deflating air mattress. We saw so many bands, and i do have a list of the ones we saw but not on me so i will post that tomorrow. The concerts started at about 12 in the afternoon and carried on till about 2 am, and then there were raves and different parties that went on till about 6 in the morning, but i didnt get to go to any of them...not that i would of lasted any way, i was exhausted by  the time i got to Ireland. The final band that closed the weekend was The Killers, who were amazing, i didnt expect to like them as much as i did, but they were so brilliant live! All in all it was a great weekend.  The monday we came home, we spent recovering and catching up on some sleep. Tuesday my cousin Hannah and I spent the day in Dublin city, we bought tickets for the hop on hop off bus tour, so basically its a bus that when your on it it tells you about all the city and the history but you can get on and off it when ever you want and not pay again for a ticket. It worked out great! we saw all the major Dublin attractions, and then finished our tour with a tour of the Guinness Brew house. Well it wasnt where they actually made the Guinness, but its where they tell you about how it is brewed. You go up to the different levels and it explains how it started and how they make it etc, and then once you are at the top you get a free pint of Guinness! I have to admit it isnt my favourite drink., but i finished it any way, just so i could say ive had a pint of guinness! Plus at the top of the tower it over looks all of Dublin, and it was beautiful!
I did something stupid, and forgot my camera when we went to Dublin, so i have no photos to post from there until Hannah emails me some from her phone. But here are a few from the concert:
This is Lorcan, Hannah and I at the beginning of the concert.

I wore knee high socks and wellies/riding boots the whole weekend, and secretly loved it. Everyone was wearing wellies! 

The Killers, we were right at the front!

Hannah and I!
Next i went to England and stayed with my Best friend from Secondary school, Amy. It was a nice relaxing week, I had a couple trips to Bluewater, went out to dinner, went to Thorpe Park, and saw some old friends! one of which i hadn't seen in about 4 years. So it was a really nice break before i got back to Italy and started to work.

I am now in Milan and started work yesterday, and so far its great! There isn't alot to do during the day, well thats a lie, i guess there is, but its very expensive over here so i am limited to what i can do! lol When i arrived on the Friday, they picked me up from the Train station and we headed in to the country side where their family owns a 16th century mansion, it has been in the family for about 600 years! it was beautiful and hige. The split the mansion in to smaller apartments (but still very big) for the entire family, brothers sisters cousins etc. There isnt any thing to do up there except relax, so i read a few books, and got to know the family. 

That is pretty much all to report right now! Milan is great, and my job is fab!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


A wee little summary about our four days in Paris!
First off the weather was a lot more bearable, it was still warm but it had a breeze, one morning I even wore pants! I know...crazy.
Okay so what did we do...
We got there and headed straight to our apartment that we rented for the duration of our stay, which i might add was about 7 flights of stairs up...small, spiral stairs, with our huge bags...the apartment it self was really cute though, nice and bright and had its own washer/dryer (which was much needed!)..
We set our selves up and then headed out for some lunch, and then walked down to Notre Dame!

I am waiting for Malinda to send me the names of evey where we visited while in Paris - i know, its lame that i cant remember for my self...but i will upload some photos so you can SEE where we went :
This is us in front of the Canal, we did try to take a night canal trip to the Eiffel tower, but it didnt work out for us.

The Louve!

An Arch, not to be confused with the Arch de Triumph. The Arch above is much smaller, but still pretty.

In the Gardens we walked through on the way down to the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower was a really fun day out, we went there during the day and climbed up stairs to the middle of the tower.
"hanging out" at the tower...hahah...get it?.... ps thats alot harder then it looks.

Beautiful view, with some beautiful ladies!

After we climbed the tower we went down to the lawn to have a photo shoot and a picnic! it was such a fun afternoon, one of my favorite days in Paris. 
When we were sitting having our picnic, sitting in front of us was a group of four people, and they were almost robbed! A group of kids came up to them and put papers and maps in their face and then on the ground, and when they picked the papers back up they grabbed on of the guys phones, luckily his friend was laying down and saw what happened. Pickpockets and "robbers" are very popular in Italy/France, you get warned about them everywhere you go. It almost happened to me in a train station, but Jodi came to my rescue and we ran away, plus i didnt have my purse on me so i dont know what he was planning on stealing....
Below are some pictures from our Eiffel tower photo shoot!
touching the top of the Tower,  no big deal.

Bringing a little busker to Paris

Our delish picnic!

The tower at night, it was so pretty!