A few of my favourite things: Summer 2020

It's mid-July and, although I promised myself at the beginning of this year that I would continue to blog throughout summer, I am already finding that my inspiration is low and the going hard. Which is why I missed my 'Life, lately', post last week. 

In reality, not much has happened that was different from the previous months, except for going out to dinner to celebrate our 17th anniversary on June 15. We went to Root 81, same as last year, so nothing new. I highly recommend this restaurant. The food is very good, the presentation excellent and the service courteous and attentive. I had beef tagliata followed by Nutella-stuffed donuts and chocolate icecream. Delicious. It was nice to be out after so many weeks of social distancing.


COVID-19 cases have ground to a halt here with no new cases reported for several successive days. Most people feel it is behind us but, with the reopening of the airport, I still believe in exercising caution and will continue to monitor how things unfold.

And now on to some of my favourite things.

Image from VestoPazzo Website

I have been meaning to share this store with you since I discovered it on our trip to Rome in 2018 but it never felt like a good time. As soon as I had entered the store, I felt like I had found a treasure-trove because I really wanted to buy everything inside it: scarves, bags, jewellery, bags, belts. In the end, I got a pair of earrings, a small fabric bag for summer and my son got me a bracelet. Most of their jewellery is simple and modern in design and made from recycled aluminium - which is as good a reason as any to support this store. I was also happy to discover that, locally, Blue Shop in Valletta stocks a small selection of their accessories. VestoPazzo is on Instagram here or you can access their website here. They ship worldwide but, unfortunately only their jewellery is available online+.

Essence Gel Nail Polishes
I've never had the patience for nail salons and, for better or worse, do my own  manicures and pedicures. I am by no means an expert and do make the occasional mess but have found Essence gel nail polishes to be the perfect solution. They come in a variety of vibrant colours. dry relatively quickly (this is a major bonus as I am one of the most impatient people on the planet) and the gel gives a professional, smooth finish that makes my less-than-perfect nails look decent. The final bonus: they are extremely well priced and buying one in a dozen different colours won't break the bank. 
It's officially barbecue season and we all want easy recipes that won't take forever to make. Cindy Hattersely, Elizabeth and 4 other bloggers got together and shared some wonderful and easy recipes that you can access here or here.
This Grilled Greek Chicken Skewers with Avocado Tzatziki is also easy-peasy. You can make it on the grill but I have also made it several times in the oven. The chicken only takes 15-20 minutes to cook at 200C. I generally serve it with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese. I just sprinkle some EVOO, salt and pepper on the salad and toss in some fresh herbs like basil, oregano or mint and it's good to go. Or to eat.

Image from Amazon

A Table for Friends
Skye McAlpine of A Table in Venice fame has published her second cookbook 'A Table For Friends: The Art Of Cooking For Two Or Twenty', which promises to deliver some delicious but easy recipes to prepare for family or friends. 'A Table For Friends' is available on Amazon here. I have been following Skye McAlpine on IG for some years now and her food photos are always stunning. However, she promises that the recipes in her new book are simple to make, since entertaining should be fun and not a chore.
Skye has also recently collaborated with Anthropologie on a collection of homeware that you can see here.
Skye McAlpine was interviewed by A Little Bird here and, if you live in the UK, you can enter a draw to win A Table for Friends and a pair of mugs from her collection at Anthropologie.

That is all for today. Hope it was short enough not to bore you. I know sitting down to read can be tedious in summer. Stay cool and safe.
Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Loree I am never bored when I visit you. What a great post of special things. Congratulations on your seventeenth wedding anniversary. Those special celebrations are even sweeter when one has been unable to get out and about. So glad to read the virus is waining in your part of the world. We here in the USA are far from seeing the end. Since we have opened up with certain regulations in place the virus is spreading viciously. Just heard about another lady I knew who had passed away with Coronavirus.
Well I need to check out those recipes and the nail polish. Hugs sweet one!

Gattina said...

Your wedding anniversary meal looks delicious ! I am still busy with emptying the house in 45 years there is a lot of rubbish !

La Contessa said...

I follow SKYE TOO and must order the book!SInce having her second SON she has slowed down on her POSTS!TO LIVE IN LONDON AND VENICE!!!!!!!!!CAN YOU IMAGINE?
DO you follow MIMI T.?Her third book is coming out in SEPTEMBER on ITALIAN COOKING!
THANK YOU FOR THE MENTION.................
BETWEEN THE VIRUS STUFF we are going back into LOCK DOWN as I call it and summer HEAT its fine to take a BREAK!I need to order your SIENNA BOOK TOO............OFF I GO TO DO THAT!

cindy hattersley design said...

Hi Loree

Thank you so much for the mention! You are always so sweet to include us. I am going to try your chicken skewer recipe. It sounds yummy!!

La Contessa said...


Leslie Harris said...

Loree I always love my visits here. And you are far too humble thinking your readers would ever be bored. Your writing voice is so authentic it's impossible not to feel an instant connection with you. and also--life doesn't have to be exciting when you're just hanging out with a friend, and that's how it feels when i come here. Happy belated Anniversary! We just celebrated out 31st and the restaurants aren't open here in California so we rode our bikes to the beach and drank wine that we hid in a basket (not allowed) and had a picnic. So simple but perfect. I think this pandemic has made us all appreciate the little things don't you?

Loree said...

@La Contessa: you're linked now. I need to check out Mimi. I wish I could split my time between London and Venice, like Skye.
@Debbie: thanks for your sweet comment. Stay safe.
@Gattina: take it easy and make sure to get some rest.
@Cindy: thank you it's a pleasure.
@Leslie: thank you for your kind words. Your anniversary celebration sounded sweet and simple. Wine on the beach can never be a bad thing.

Pipistrello said...

So many wedding anniversaries around the middle of the year! Congratulations on 17! We went out for dinner for ours, too. Your dinner looked delicious.

Nail-painting is a skill I never developed. My ambidexterity isn't good enough to not make a mess of things, although practise would have helped, so for the few times I want them painted, I have to outsource!

I think you've spoken about Skye McAlpine before? I'm feeling some déjà vu when I say that her father was your classic Interesting Character!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Happy Anniversary!

Something happend with the comment feature, couldn't post a comment and the ATOM feature only downloaded code. A few clicks later, here the omment box appears.

Sharon Wilfong said...


I stopped by via Debbie Nolan's blog. What a delightful site you have here. I plan on following.

Also, I love the design. It inspires me to change the look of my own blog.

Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.