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Family time @ Casa Vita

Hello there,

Yes we are having quality time now. How wonderful it feels to be here all together.

Days are warm and slow. But we enjoy every bit of it.

Hubbie and I drove here, over Germany and Switzerland. We spent one day in Bologna. What a pretty university town! I loved all the galleries with their mixed stone floors (terrazzo before it became a hype).

And then from Bologna straight to Ostuni, another thousand kilometers. It was pretty hot back then, but the plants in the yard of Casa Vita were in great shape.

Wednesday we made a boat trip from Monopoli to Polignano a Mare. We went into some caves under the cliffs.

A walk through the streets of Monopoli.

Yesterday we went to the Ionic coast, on the other side of the heel in Puglia, south from Taranto.  You can find beautiful sandy beaches there. On this side, the Adriatic, we have a more rocky coastline, beautiful too. On our way up there, we stopped at Grottaglie, the city of the ceramics!


At the beach.

You know I always like to add little things to the house, to make it more cozy. This time we brought a rattan swing (no, that wasn’t a small thing). Hubbie hung it under the porch with some help from all of us 😉 It will surely become the most romantic spot of Casa Vita!

And do you want to know where I am writing right now? I am in my green corner in the living room–it was a bit rainy this afternoon–while I am getting a free refill of Gin Tonic by Daughter’s boyfriend (he is scoring!). Now it’s off to spread out the fresh pizza dough. Yes, pizza night! I will share the recipe again here.

Well, dolce far niente brings peace of mind, surely!

Ciao, Sophia

 

 

 

 

Puglia

Bloggers at Casa Vita

Hi there!

It has been a while… Still busy with many different things. Overall most of my time is being consumed by the refugee center in my hometown. But I love to work with people, and it is still exciting to see so many new faces and to get to know them.

But I am also totally ready for a Summer trip. And yes, we will go to Puglia again. It is the first time we will go with our whole family: Hubbie and I and the kids with their partners. Oldest and his girlfriend will leave for a trip around the world in August. So this is going to be quality time with our family.

Puglia is popular these days. And also Casa Vita has had some creative and well-known Belgian visitors in the past months.

First we had the pleasure to welcome Joke Peeters with her team. She is the woman behind Olá Lindeza: a Belgian label and globally inspired home decor and women’s clothing brand. Everything is handmade in limited edition by artisans from around the world. Each piece is authentic, natural and unique in its own design and color with little imperfections unlike mass produced alternatives.

In the picture above you see me in an Olá Lindeza dress, it is called the Pompei. It is a natural and very light fabric, perfect for those hot summer days.

At the end of May the famous Belgian bloggers, Bart Deroeck and Eva Goris, visited Casa Vita, with two of their three children. Amazing what they did in only four days time! You can check out all the photos on their blogpost: Roeckies World.

So in a week we are leaving for Puglia, and I will write my next post from there.

Stay tuned, ciao!

Sophie

 

 

Interior happiness

Interior Decoration at Casa Vita

Hi there,

Are you enjoying some good weather?

I am back home, and over here it is a perfect Spring day. Although I was not happy to leave Puglia, I feel very blessed to be back home. Over the last few months I realize even more how lucky we are to have a home, or a home country to return to,  to feel safe and surrounded by family and friends.

Being at Casa Vita in April is always much fun. It is a beautiful time of year, everything is in bloom and the temperature is slowly rising. Just as the other years, we took our time to clean and freshen up the house and to add some interior objects. The last day before I left, I remembered I still had some velvet pinkish (more to the raspberry side) fabric I bought half a year ago. So I quickly made cushions and brought them over. How lucky! They were the same color as our two footstools.

Our sofa is dark brown leather. It can feel cold sometimes. So I put a cover on it, one I found on Zara Home on sale. Do you see the new cactus? We still had a pot left, and found a perfect one growing onto the stones in the brick wall. It wouldn’t have survived anyway, so we gave it a second chance. (To be honest, it was growing on Giovanni’s side of the wall, but I am sure he won’t mind).

For Christmas I got a few nice presents from the children, a chandelier and a decorative pineapple.

And I am still very happy with the antique closet we bought at an antique store in Ostuni last year. It fits nice in the kitchen.

Remember I asked for your advice last time I wrote about Casa Vita’s interior? I was looking for some rattan chairs back then. And look what we found.

This one is from Ikea

The cushion I had made and brought over last Summer. It matches well in the chair. What do you think?

In a local store we found a white rattan rocking chair. This one goes to the Claudia Cardinale room, where everything is white. A perfect spot to have a little nap when it is too cold or too hot outside.

While I love to restyle the interior, Hubbie is addicted to exploring the local plant stores.


We might buy and plant some palm trees one day. But this time we went for another cactus 😉

The cactuses outside are also doing so well. See their little sprouts?


This little one was growing in the yard – no, not Giovanni’s 😉 – and Hubbie put it in a pot.

Since we are in the yard already, one thing that I just need to show you. It is thé proof of Spring! Can you tell? Hubbie hung the swing on the big olive tree. Just in front of the house. I was so happy it could hang there again, because last year they this olive tree had been cut (olive trees have to be pruned once in a few years) and one of the big branches, where the swing usually hung, was accidentally cut too. But Hubbie found a solution.

All Fermob furniture is from Homepage Interior


So now the pool still needs to be refilled (after gluing some mosaic tiles that came off) and Casa Vita is ready to welcome our first guests of the season: Ola Lindeza and her team! Her interior objects would fit perfectly well at Casa Vita. And now she will start a clothing line. Guess where the first fashion shoot will be? Right!  I am so curious to see their photos. More on that next time!

Ideal to read or wander off in the last sun rays of the day

Have a great sunny day!

Sophia

 

 

 

 

Puglia

Blooming Business

Buongiorno Tutti,

Yes, I am in the South of Italy right now. And I am in my green velvet chair, with view on the pouring rain outside. It is the perfect time to write this post and brag about how beautiful the yard is when everything is in bloom.

It wàs really beautiful the past three days. My friend Leen came along, and started to make flower arrangements the first day already. Wonderful: all those colors you find in the yard of Casa Vita.

And yes, our cacti are sprouting too:

Thursday we paid a visit to Polignano a Mare and had lunch at Mint, an exquisite vegetarian restaurant.


Yesterday started out beautifully, we took our breakfast outside, on the front patio. Then we decided to drive around and do some sightseeing in the nearby area.

First we stopped at the coast town nearest to Ostuni, Villanova, which has a little port.

Then we drove to Torre Pozzella. It is a region near the coast with an old tower, sandy beaches and rocky bays. You can walk along the coast in between the flowers and typical plantation you see in the dunes.



Alla prossima!

Ciao, ciao, Sophia

 

 

 

 

Interior happiness, Stories

Thorn

Dear readers,

Last Monday was a beautiful day. It sounds contradictory because I had to have a little surgery done on my foot by a doctor an hour away from my home. Luckily a friend volunteered to drive me. She suggested we make it a whole day and visit the beautiful town of Thorn first, which was located only ten minutes from the medical office. A great idea!

A newborn in Thorn

Have you ever been in Thorn?

The little town of Thorn is located in the south of Holland in the province of Limburg. It used to be a tiny principality; today it is one of the ten must-visits in Holland. Thorn is known for its old white houses and monumental buildings.
The history of Thorn dates back to the 10th century. Over the course of time it developed into a miniature convent ruled by an abbess and twenty ladies of noble birth. It had its own jurisdiction and its own currency, but this came to an end in 1794 with the arrival of the French.

The white town

It’s called the white town–a funny coincidence, because Ostuni, in Puglia is called the white town too: la città bianca. This is the town where Casa Vita is located.

But back to Holland 😉
Why were the houses white?
After the aristocratic ladies had fled, the French imposed a tax based on the size of the windows. The locals were often poor people living in large properties that previously belonged to the rich. To reduce the amount of tax they had to pay, many of them bricked up the windows and then whitewashed their houses to conceal the signs of their renovation work (‘scars of poverty’).

The town is so well preserved, the cobble stone roads, the roofs, the lanterns… We were there on a Monday, and it was very quiet. I suppose that during the summer it is filled with tourists. This was a good day, just one terrace was open for lunch, but that is enough. The only disadvantage was that the museums were closed too. They open as of April 1st. If you would like to go deeper into Thorn’s history, you better visit later in spring.

The Abbey Church was mainly built in the 14th century. 

Walking here felt like being in another era. It made me feel calm and at peace. Of course, I’d better not think of the horrific things happening in medieval times. Well, I would have preferred having been one of the twenty noble ladies who had the whole town to themselves. I could perfectly picture myself and my friends here!  “Noble” could be replaced by funny, creative, intelligent and a bit bold :-). Would you have joined me?

Cheers, Sophie