Tag Archives: My Children

Back To My Roots

I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

Hanami In Germany

Last Sunday, Second Daughter and I headed off to Ludwigshafen am Rhein to attend a Hanami festival. Hanami literally means “flower viewing” and is commonly used for the traditional observation of cherry blossom. In our case, it referred to a cosplay convention.

Second Daughter is fascinated by Japanese pop culture and she had been looking forward to this convention for weeks. She had arranged to meet with her friends and I had a date with my beloved camera. I was not disappointed. Every time I turned around, there was a new photo opportunity. I was gobsmacked by the amount of work and attention to details many cosplayers had put into their costumes. The atmosphere was very convivial and the sunny weather added to the festive mood. The full photo gallery is available on my Of Lens And Pen website.

The convention took place over two days and offered many activities for the manga and anime fans: shows, karaoke, contests, workshops and plenty of shopping and eating possibilities, of course! Second Daughter spent more or less all the money she had been saving and was especially delighted with the art she bought. Talking to some of the artists present was definitely a highlight for her.

After about five very interesting hours, we decided to call it a day and made our way home. Second Daughter is already dreaming about next year, and about attending the cosplay day at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and EpicCon in December…
„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein
Letzten Sonntag sind meine Tochter und ich nach Ludwigshafen am Rhein gefahren, um ein Hanami Festival zu besuchen. Hanami bedeutet “Blumen besichtigen” und wird normalerweise bei der KirschblĂŒte-Beobachtung verwendet. In unserem Fall war es eine Cosplay-Convention.

Meine Tochter ist von der Japanischen Kultur fasziniert und sie hat sich auf dieses Ereignis schon seit Wochen gefreut. Sie hatte geplant, sich mit ihren Freundinnen zu treffen und ich hatte ein Date mit meiner geliebten Kamera. Ich wurde nicht enttĂ€uscht. Jedes Mal, wenn ich in einer anderen Richtung guckte, fand ich neue Gelegenheit fĂŒr ein Foto. Ich war von der Arbeit und der Liebe zum Detail, die viele Cosplayer in ihren KostĂŒme gesteckt hatten, sehr beeindruckt. Die AtmosphĂ€re war sehr gesellig und das sonnige Wetter sorgte auch fĂŒr gute Laune. Die gesamte Bildergalerie ist auf meiner Website Of Lens And Pen zu finden.

Die Convention fand ĂŒber zwei Tage statt und bot viele Veranstaltungen fĂŒr Mangas- und Animes-Fans: Shows, Karaoke, Wettbewerbe, Workshops und natĂŒrlich, ausreichende Shopping- und Essens-Möglichkeiten! Meine Tochter gab fast das gesamte Geld, das sie gespart hatte, aus und war von den Bildern, die sie gekauft hat, besonders begeistert. Mit verschiedenen KĂŒnstlern zu reden war fĂŒr sie ein Highlight.

Nach ungefĂ€hr fĂŒnf sehr interessanten Stunden haben wir uns entschieden, nach Hause zu fahren. Meine Tochter trĂ€umt schon vom nĂ€chsten Jahr, und auch davon, den Cosplay Tag auf der Franfkurter Buchmesse im Oktober und EpicCon im Dezember zu besuchen…
„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein

Full Gallery on Of Lens And Pen


What Factors Affect Your Relationships?

I find the many facets of relationships fascinating. From our romantic relationships to the bonds we share with our children, our lives are full of connections. However, not all of the relationships that we form are good ones. Sometimes, people just do not seem to get on with one another, no matter how hard they try. The question is, what is the reason that some of us just do not seem to be compatible?

Do you ever wonder why you do not mesh well with certain people? Here is why we do not always get along with everyone we meet.

Your personality

Best Friends
Photo Source

The number one reason that we do not get along with everyone is because of our personalities. Thanks to genetics, we are all made up in different ways. While some of us are loud, others of us are quiet. Some of us like being the centre of attention, while others prefer to stay out of the limelight. It is things like these that determine how successful certain relationships will be. Often, the more different you are to someone else, the less likely your relationship with them will be successful.

For example, say you are someone who has been brought up in a modest way, and then you meet someone who has had a luxe upbringing. The things that the two of you will have experienced during your lives will be very different. Sometimes, this can bring you closer together but most of the time it can lead to cracks in your relationship. Perhaps you do not understand each other’s feelings on certain things? The truth is the more different the two of you are, the less successful your relationship tends to be.

Your two personalities combined

Successful Relationship
Photo Source

Another major factor that affects how successful relationships can be is your characters combined. As mentioned above, some personalities just do not ‘gel’ well together. One reason for this could be to do with your month of birth and star sign. You see, studies have shown that there are star signs that tend to work better together than others.

If you read your free daily horoscope, you will probably already know this. However, if you are not someone who believes in the power of astrology, it could be worth rethinking it. Have you ever noticed it is people born in certain months that you do not tend to get along well with? Or maybe, that at certain times of the year, you are closer to some people than others? Both of these things could be down to your star sign and astrology. Pretty interesting, right? Could the stars really define whom you get on well with?

The type of relationship you have

Siblings playing together
Photo Source

Last but not least, one of the most crucial factors when it comes to how successful certain relationships are is how much time you spend together. While there are some people you can spend all of your time with, without any upsets or arguments, there are others that you can only cope with a small amount of. Sometimes, if you are too similar to someone, often a close relative, spending too much time together can result in arguments. For example, growing up a lot of siblings fight constantly. Often, this is because they are too alike and spend too much time together. However, as they get older and develop their own personalities and lives, they start to get on better.

Can you think of other factors that affect how successful your relationships are?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

The Perfect Weekend

Friday night, Sexy Hubby, Second Daughter, Cute Doggy and I headed to one of our local restaurants for a family dinner. I was having a bit of an off day, to be honest. Annoying little things such as iPhone syncing problems – still not resolved! -and builders keeping you waiting, on top of feeling like I had a cold coming. Still, most of the evening was enjoyable until I decided to have a moan. On the way home, Second Daughter told me in no uncertain terms what she thought of my complaining. She was spot on and it was kind of a wake up call. I was grateful to her for pointing out to me things that should have been obvious.

On Saturday morning, I was feeling much better and headed off to my Pilates class together with a neighbour, who is quickly becoming a good friend. We had a nice chat afterwards and then she had to go. As for me, I made my way to the wellness area, fairly quiet at that time. The sun was shining and it was bliss to simply relax. I enjoyed my two trips to the sauna, the homemade bircher muesli I had brought with me and I finished my book. I drove home and it was then time to get some fresh air. Sexy Hubby and I had a lovely walk with Cute Doggy, the sun on our faces definitely hinting at the arrival of spring. Back from our stroll, Second Daughter joined us in the kitchen and we started preparing some dishes for our Sunday brunch with friends. A glass of Prosecco for us adults, lively music on, soon a tortilla, an olive and tuna tart and a carrot cake were ready. We ended the day enjoying the warmth of our tiled stove while watching a movie.

Sunday came and there was no stress in the morning as so much had been done the day before. Sexy Hubby took Cute Doggy out and Second Daughter and I finished preparing the food and setting a pretty table. The day with our friends was delightful, lots of chatting and laughing, and a walk to make room for the cake!

In the evening, Sexy Hubby and I snuggled up by the fire again to watch Vikings. At some point in the episode, a search party left with dogs and Cute Doggy made us laugh. He stood up, alert, and barked in response to the on-screen dogs, clearly ready to join them. When the scene changed, he looked a bit confused, then eventually settled down again and went back to sleep.

For me, this was exactly what a perfect weekend should be like and I was happy that even the Friday night, which could have gone wrong, ended up on a positive note.

How was your weekend?
Spring - Tree In BloomPainted Easter Eggs