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I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.


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TASTE : Food & Drink

Too Much Panettone?


A few weeks ago we were laying on the beach in Melbourne, now we are piling on the winter woollies as Florence seems to be preparing for an icy Arctic blast.  As I write this, there is a light snow falling!  The temperatures have dropped considerably this week and this afternoon there was a strange calm in the city centre.  Everyone seemed to be wondering if the snow was really going to fall or not.  I can’t wait to see if we will have a white welcome when we wake up tomorrow morning!

Our Summer holiday in Australia seems like a long time ago now.  It was so lovely to spend so much time with my family back home and especially to enjoy the summer weather with Matteo.  I came back with an extra suitcase full of new clothes, books and soft toys for Matteo.  He was so spoilt by all of my family and friends and is one very lucky boy!  Matteo was also a very well behaved traveller making the long 24 hour trip almost a pleasure.  It was exhausting though and I wouldn’t want to do that too often, also because of the jet lag. Not my jet lag so much, but Matteo’s!  I thought he was sleeping exceptionally well the first afternoon in Melbourne only to then have him wake every 2 hours that night and then every 3 hours for the rest of the trip!  He also slept in my bed every night so it was a bit of a rude shock when we came home and he was placed in his own bed again.   Matteo started teething the last few weeks we were in Australia too so that combined with more jet lag on our return and a yucky cold have made the last few weeks very tiring.  He seems to finally be sleeping more thank goodness so let’s hope it continues as I was starting to feel very sleep deprived and run down.  I have also been trying to put him down, say good-night and walk out 0f his room, leaving him to cry for 5 minutes before going back into his room and settling him again.  This is SO HARD!  I have noticed that he is beginning to cry less and just have a little protest before dropping off to sleep himself.  The last three nights Matteo has gone down at 7pm for 5 hours followed by a feed and then another 3 hours and then another 2 hours or so so maybe there is a light at the end of this dark sleepless tunnel!

Matteo definitely loves his bath!  He kicks his legs and splashes the water so much that I end up nearly as wet as him.  It was great bathing him in the good old laundry sink in Melbourne! The height and depth just perfect for my back!  I am using a flexibath here which is great but it is on the floor which is not ideal as Matteo is getting so strong and moving so much that I really have to make sure that I have a good hold of him.

I have certainly been eating a lot of food lately (for Matteo’s benefit of course!) and the festive season seems to be dragging out a little bit too long.  If you have a panettone still unopened (like we do!) try one of my favorite ‘comfort food’ desserts and make a ‘bread & butter pudding’ using the panettone.  I made some mini panettone and berry puddings while I was in Australia and I thought I would share the recipe here below :

Panettone & Berry Pudding


50g butter, softened

250g panettone

2 eggs

140ml cream

225ml milk

mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons caster sugar + extra for sprinkling

icing sugar



  • Preheat the oven to 160C and grease a 4 individual ramekin dishes with a little butter. Cut the panettone into wedges, leaving the crusts on. Butter the slices lightly with the rest of the butter. Tear the slices into large chunks and sprinkle with the mixed berries.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla extract and sugar and pour evenly over the panettone and berries.


  • Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekin dishes. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • Put the dishes in a roasting tin and pour hot water around them to a depth of about 2.5cm/1in. Bake for 35 minutes until the pudding is just set – it should be yellow inside and nicely browned on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve with spoonfuls of whipped cream and or ice-cream.

Buon Appetito!



And what was left at the end……………………..


As soon as we got back to Italy, I booked into the hairdressers as I desperately needed a cut and colour -I was still pregnant the last time I visited the ‘parrucchiere’.  I was also tired of my hair falling out (I know this is one of the wonderful things that happens with pregnancy but I thought I would spare our drain getting blocked any more!) As Matteo had also just started to grab hold of my hair with his super strong grip, I decided it was time for a new look!  When I shared my thoughts with my wonderful hairdresser, Fabio, he agreed with me and I think was excited to do something more than my usual ‘trim only please’.   I have had it cut to a chin length messy bob and I am so happy that I decided to go the chop!  It is so light and also so easy to manage. Best of all, Matteo hasn’t been able to grab it with his little hands!

I am desperate for a new oven now as am not using the one here that was in the house.  I opened it to clean it when we moved in and let’s just say that I closed it again quick smart – too gross to contemplate cooking food that I intended to eat in it!  So even though the big plan this year is to renovate the kitchen, I am hoping to firstly buy an oven so that I can cook some wonderful roasts and bake some yummy cakes and puddings while it is still cold.   I do love Winter for the comforting and nourishing food!

Well I’m off to bed with hopes of waking up to a ‘white Florence’.  Will share photos of course if my snow dreams come true!

ciao,  Lisa


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Ciao, I'm Lisa B,
I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.

I created This Tuscan Life blog, magazine and experiences to share everything I love about Florence & Tuscany, one of the most popular and visited regions in Italy.   Add a splash of watercolour & you've got a creative mamma of two who wants to show you the true & authentic side of Tuscany.

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