Halloween themed afternoon

I love autumn and I particularly love October…why you may wonder, one simple reason: Halloween! 🙂
Maybe it’s due to the fact that I have never celebrated it as a child (no, it’s not because I had a sad childhood, but simply because in Italy was not so popular 15-20 years ago), or simply because it is just another excuse to be creative, to dress up and to organise parties.
Falling the 31st on a Wednesday, we all took the chance to double the celebrations and party for two weekend! That was cool! 🙂 A Mexican friend of mine organised a Dia de los muertos themed party and it was amazing how everyone made the effort of showing up properly dressed and made up! And let me tell you…crossing London with that skull make up on has been an experience! 🙂

I thought of organising something slightly different and unusual…well at least for a late twenties/early thirties bunch of people: a Halloween themed afternoon on a Sunday. I think the last time I had some sort of party on a Sunday afternoon was for my 10th birthday or so. When I sent out the invitation for a “pumpkin carving and Halloween-ish food afternoon” I wasn’t sure how my friends would have reacted to this, but surprisingly everyone was quite excited about it.

It was a very pleasant afternoon, we all showed our childish side and this is the result:

Carved pepper with guacamole!

Nutella crostata with marzipan decorations

White chocolate ghosts popsicles

my carved pumpkin with feather eyelashes! 🙂

Halloween table

A few carved pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

When my friends suggested to go to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I had no idea of what it was about, but the name sounded cool so I said “why not!”. As soon as the show started, I was so glad I decided to go and I could not stop to thank my friends for suggesting it.

First of all the location: the Esplanade in front of the Edinburgh Castle. The show starts at the dusk, and if you are lucky enough and the weather is nice, you will enjoy a wonderful sunset all over the castle. Fantastic.

The show, which last around one and a half hour, is a series of military parades performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands, and it is held every year in August as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

Here you can see a short video I made. I wish I recorded more, but I was getting too distracted holding my camera and making sure I was recording properly, and I certainly didn’t want to miss any bit of the show.

Fantastic, brilliant, sensational. The whole performance was a continuous surprise; it would be very hard to decide which was the best part.

The etymology of the word “tattoo” is also interesting. It comes from the Dutch “tap toe” which literally means “close the tap”.  Back in the centuries the regiment’s corps of drums used to play a signal every night to alert the taverns owners and “remind” them to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire at a decent hour.
However, in the 18th century the term “tattoo” was also used to describe a form of evening entertainment performed by military bands. For more info, click here.

If you have the chance, you should definitely go!

Notting Hill Carnival

It started about 50 years ago and it became bigger and bigger: the Notting Hill Carnival is a huge street festival organised by the Caribbean community in London, and is now one of the most exciting events in town!
If you happen to be in London during the last weekend of August, you’d better not to miss this. With some jerk chicken in one hand and a nice cold beer in the other one, get ready for two days of complete madness and fun!

We all know Notting Hill and its quiet, posh, residential lovely streets, if you have watched the movie you know what I am talking about. Well, forget about that! You will hardly recognize the area: it will be completely transformed in a huge open air disco. I used to live there and I had the best time when they set a huge sound system right in front of my flat. OK, when the floor started trembling for the music it was a bit strange and I was not feeling too safe, but after I got used to that, I just started enjoying the atmosphere…OMG that weekend was epic!!!

I went again this year and it was just how I remembered it: music, big smiles, fun, wild dancers and rivers of alcohol! 🙂

Just to have an idea of how busy and mad it gets, have a look here:

 

Something you should not miss: the Fringe Festival!

I just came back from an amazing trip to Edinburgh…I had never been there before and I am glad we picked this part of the year to visit it. I really loved the city (and the way Scottish people pronounce Edinburgh!), but what was even better was the great atmosphere created by the Fringe Festival. It was amazing to see the Royal Mile full of all kind of artists: I enjoyed the biggest part of the performances and I was amazed to see so many talented young people at the same time and in the same place.

If you have never been there, I strongly suggest you to go and to spend at least 3-4 days in the city. You should certainly spend sometime visiting the hot spots of the city, but what you really need to do is going for a walk in the Royal Mile, enjoying the street performances, talk to the artists and get as many fliers as possible and then choose the performances you want to watch.

Trust me, there is something for every taste! Just be open minded and ready to fully jump in the festival extravaganza.

Here there are a few videos to give you an idea of what you should expect:

This guy is one of the very best performers of the whole festival. He’s Adam Kadabra, you can also find him on Facebook:

If you are a fan of Britain Got Talent you will certainly recognize them 🙂

Still not convinced? Check this out then! 🙂

Thank you to all the athletes and some inspirational pictures

I want to dedicate one post to all the wonderful athletes that in these days are making us dreaming with their spectacular performances.
You represent years and years of hard and constant work and training…you are all an excellent model to follow!

Thank you for those breath taking dives, jumps, runs and much more…I wish the Olympic Games would last longer just to keep watching you.

PS: all the picture in this post have been taken from the web.

Olympic Torch relay and some other interesting facts

Two of the London 2012 Torch Bearers

Two of the London 2012 Torch Bearers

The flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games, whose origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.

The flame was reintroduced in the modern Olympics during the 1928 edition held in Amsterdam, and became part of the Olympic traditional symbol ever since. The torch relay was instead introduced in 1936, during the Berlin edition.

According to the tradition, the Torch is ignited several months before the start of the Games in Olympia, the hometown of the ancient Olympics, with a very precise ritual. It is then handled to the hosting city during a ceremony at the Panathinaiko Stadium and then transferred to the hosting country after a short relay in Greece. Once it arrives in the hosting country, it starts the relay which ends the day of the opening ceremony, when it is used to flame the Cauldron. For more information regarding the 2012 route, click here.

The design of the torch changes for each Games (my bad, I have only realized this when the torch bearer walked in front of me and I saw the London 2012 logo!) .

London 2012 Olympic Torch

London 2012 Torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgery, who won the competition organised by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council.

The triangular shape was inspired by a series of ‘threes’ that are found in the history of the Olympic Games:

  • The three Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship;
  • The three words that make the Olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger;
  • The fact that the UK has hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, 1948 and will host them for the third time in 2012; and
  • The vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games to combine three bodies of work – sport, education and culture.

The torch is then extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the end of the closing ceremony.

Torch Bearer: I was very surprised to learn that in English is called with such an “easy” (and logical, how often happens with English words!) name. In Italian we like to show off and use “difficult” words, so we call it “tedoforo”  taken directly from the Latin/Greek words teda=torch and phero/fero=to carry. T-e-d-o-f-o-r-o: I honestly really like the sound of this word though!

This year I had the chance to assist to the Torch relay and I must admit that was one of the most touching moments ever. It was a strange feeling to finally being able to see with my own eyes something that for all my life I had only seen on TV.
It was just a perfect timing, I came out of the tube and saw the torch bearer holding his torch, and I have immediately realized that he was actually waiting for the other bearer to light the torch and leave for the next part of the relay route.

This is a short video I managed to record with my phone…unfortunately the quality is not the best and it is a bit shaky! It was very hard to record a video among all those people and most of all, standing on my tip toes! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!