I feel quite a bit silly with so much talking about me today – but my intention when I started working on Orientespresso was to put a lot more of me into it compared to my previous projects, so I might as well keep to the resolution and here I have the perfect prompt. I am attending The Hive Conference in Berlin this week, a yearly gathering of European “influencers” (a quite flattering word describing some of us bloggers, vloggers and content creators) and brands. The organisers asked everyone to share #40Facts4TheHive about themselves, and as much as I fear the navel-gazing, I want to introduce myself to fellow bloggers as well as my readers, so here we go…
Something about the blog
- I started blogging in 2011, after finding myself alone in London after breaking up with a boyfriend who had moved there with me. Classic!
- My partner is Malaysian- Chinese, although he feels he is mostly “a Londoner” after spending half of his life in the UK. Our relationship, our travels between Italy and Asia, and the food we eat and cook are the background and inspiration for my this new blog Orientespresso.
- I love eating out and estimate I have eaten at over 300 places over 4 years in London. However, my inspiration to chronicle and review my restaurant experiences has dried out, so I am taking a permanent break from my previous blog “Into The F World” and starting afresh.
- When God was giving out Patience, I must have been in the toilet or busy chatting up someone else in the queue because I haven’t got the smallest shred of it – which explains my erratical blogging and general lack of perseverance.
Something about food
- I have suffered from eating disorders for many years and have been treated through a variety of therapies and mostly infinite love from my family. From those years, I have kept my interest abut food, quite a bit of knowledge about nutrition, a trust in science and big dislike of all diets, especially the fad ones like the fasting diet.
- My favourite expensive restaurant in London is Galvin La Chapelle; my favourite cheap one is the Somsaa residency at the Climpsons Arches.
- I am good at cooking, but not at following recipes- hence probably why I can’t bake, as precision and following the rules are key to success.
- I can’t live without the 3Cs: Coffee, Chilli and Carbs. My last meal would be my Mum’s pizza.
- I don’t like donuts; when the “cronut” frenzy hit London, I tried to document it on the blog and even wrote about the local versions, but I genuinely don’t care about it so I stopped as I was feeling silly chasing a fad (also see point #37 😉
Something about travel
- I have lived in the UK, US, Morocco, Belgium and Singapore, and travelled to 34 countries so far.
- Last year, I travelled alone in South-East Asia for 5 weeks. I was supposed to visit many countries but fell in love with Laos and the idea of stopping checking items of a list, so spent most of my time there, kayaking, hiking and just lounging about thinking how old I felt compared to the perpetually stoned backpackers surrounding me. I enjoyed every minute of it!
- I got lost in the Moroccan desert in a Ford KA with a friend I was travelling with. It was an epic adventure (think drama, the very real danger of being stuck with no food of water in the middle of nowhere, crying and prayers) and although sadly I have now lost touch with that friend, that night is one of my most vivid memories.
- I can’t sleep on planes, buses, trains or anything that moves- a big obstacle to my passion for travel and necessity for work travel, but I have tried everything and it doesn’t work. If you have advice, let me know
- I am very bad at packing, unpacking and generally the practical aspect of travel – thankfully some blogger friends are better than me at the art of packing.
- I don’t believe in travel bucket lists. In fact, I don’t believe in lists in general.
- My favourite way of travelling is by train- I LOVE trains, maybe because I grew up next to a railway. Unfortunately, modern life and work often get in the way of slow travel but my resolution for the future is to do more of it (maybe when I retire…)
- Trips that fascinate me and are on my wishlist are the Trans-Siberian railway and the Orient Express
Likes & Dislikes
- I am scared of butterflies and moths – REALLY, REALLY scared. All other bugs are fine by me
- In general I am not a pet person. I have been scared of dogs for many years, and still don’t feel 100% comfortable around them. This has caused me quite some social trouble and many people think “there must be something wrong with me”. I personally find that sometimes people prefer to care for animals than for humans as animals are simpler to deal with and give you more unconditional love back.
- Hiking in the mountains is my favourite thing in the world – OK, possibly after eating
- I love speaking French as it makes me feel so chic but unfortunately I don’t get a chance to practice much so I am slowly forgetting it
- I am a “reluctant runner”. I was always very vocal about my hatred of running, then eventually started jogging in a bad time of my life to relieve stress. It worked a charm. I still hate it, but have completed two half marathons and a handful of shorter distance races in the meantime as I am quite competitive and the prospect of a race is the only thing keeping me motivated
- I can’t jump. Under no circumstances you will see me leap more than one step on a staircase, or jumps down a block. I have tried mental conditioning and all sorts of tricks but I just can’t. Go figure!
- I admire writers immensely – I mean fiction writers and good journalists and essayists. People like Philip Roth, Ian McEwan and Hillary Mantel. I think writing is a much-underrated craft in the era in which everyone with a blog is a “writer”.
- I think asking someone what their favourite book is a very stupid question, but if they ask me I’d say Middlesex by Geoffrey Eugenides, a great tale about identity, family, sex and everything in between.
- Sports I have tried and failed at are skating (no balance), soccer (too slow), ballet (too fat).
Something quite personal
- I was born in a small seaside town in Abruzzo, Italy. I lived there until I was 18 and left to uni in Northern Italy and have not gone back for more than a few days in the last 15 years. I guess it’s a love-hate relationship where I can only miss my homeland from afar, but actually resent it when I am there.
- I am studying Mandarin Chinese and no, it’s not because of my boyfriend but because I am fascinated by Chinese culture
- I have two tattoos, both designed by me
- My job is quite high-powered and requires me to be assertive, forthcoming and sometimes rather pushy – so in my free time I am a big softie, sentimental and cry easily. Need to keep the balance!
- My imaginary friend as a kid was called Isabella
- We have this strange thing in Italy where studying how to read and translate to and from Ancient Greek and Latin is considered an education. I was pretty good at it as I went to represent my school at international translation competitions where I met a lot of
nerdssmart kids like me and made some long lasting friendships. Now try to out-geek me 😉
- I had the biggest shock of my life when I started working- after a lifetime of being first in everything, at school and uni, finding out I was at best average in an office career was a big confidence hit. I am still recovering, or maybe it’s just called growing up?
- I am terrified by the fact that growing older I am slowly turning into my mother
- Making up stories- I love it so much I sometimes have to remind myself it’s called “lying” to most people and stop doing it J
- I grew up in a very religious family and although I consider myself not religious, I respect people who have faith in transcendence – it often helps to be better, more compassionate human beings. Except when it doesn’t, in which case it is not faith but fanaticism, which I hate.
- I am not a “fan” of anything, in fact I hate fandom as an attitude and a state of mind. I guess it goes back my being “hypercritical” of everything and deeply sceptical.
- Quite a few point in this list make me not extremely popular or an easy person to like, but I generally hide quite well in social situations under a blanket of pleasantness
- I would like to say I don’t mind my faults but I do, as it is natural for people to want to be liked and loved; I just learnt to restrict the number of people whose opinion and feelings I care about.
- Once I dated two guys at the same time. I am not especially proud of it but it has taught me I could never have a double life – I felt very guilty and I am way too absent-minded to cope with the necessary lies!
If you are coming to The Hive, please say hi in the comments, I’d love to meet you in person soon in Berlin. If you a curious reader who made it so far, congratulations – you clearly have more patience than me!