OUR LUXURY VILLA IN SICILY AND THE TOP PLACES WE VISITED

We loved every minute of our stay in Sicily. Especially renting a luxury villa in Sicly  instead a hotel turned out to be the best decision for us. Since I’ve been getting so many messages on my Instagram with regards to this holiday, I’ve decided to document everything here for you guys. From where we stayed to what we did and of course as promised, I am going to include the ‘Spaghetti alla bottarga’ recipe since so many of you asked me to share it. Part of my family is from Sicily so I’ve been many times in my life. And I have to say, I am always happy to come back! Sicily it’s a big island with a lot to visit so each time we travel to a different part and it always feels like a fresh holiday! This time we visited the very southern area around Modica, Noto and Siracusa.     First of all, the weather never disappoints, which makes it a top destination already from May (until November) to score a sunny holiday within Europe, without having to travel very far away! The Sicilian cuisine is very vibrant, and we are totally foodie, always appreciating the local fresh food and specialties. On top of this, you will find a gorgeous landscape and what I love the most, it’s not extremely touristic and most of the things still feels very authentic Italian. Italians are famous for being friendly and kids are most welcomed everywhere you go. There is no doubt you will feel very welcomed on this beautiful island.     We flew from Amsterdam with a direct flight to Catania. My first tip is to rent a car to be picked up at your arrival as it will give you a lot of freedom to explore during your stay. We picked a luxury villa in Sicily rather than a hotel for several reasons and this turned out to be the best choice ever! We found our Luxury Villa through Isula Sicilia (the one we stayed at was called “Sea Home”) and if you take a look at their website you will see you can choose through a lot of beautiful villas, quite reasonably priced. For us it was a must to have a pool and to be close to the beach and our villa was literally in front of the sea! We took beach walks every day and loved that it wasn’t one of those crowded beach, but more a seaside wild area with a lot of nature around. So relaxing! What we also loved about Isula Sicilia is that they supported us with a lot of activities we booked in advance. These made the holiday so special! It really felt like having all the amenities of a resort, but with the privacy of our own luxury villa. These are the experiences we booked through Isula Sicilia:     If you are a wine lover, I strongly advise visiting a winery. This was one of our favourite experiences! We walked through the vineyards, admired the nature and especially tasted the delicious wine they produce combined with Sicilian traditional food.       Another of my favourite experiences. The chef was very professional, with a sophisticated restaurant menu, yet traditional to the Sicilian kitchen. It felt like being at a very good restaurant but with the comfort of not having to leave the house.     Normally we would have done this tour by boat, but it was not possible due to Covid restrictions this week. We still really enjoyed walking around and exploring one of the cutest town on the sea. It really felt so traditional, like nothing changed in 50 years. And loved that every corner was literally facing the sea! It’s the southest town of Italy!     This day have been so special for Emma! Casa Ciomod have been so welcoming and we loved listening to the historic part of how Modica keeps producing chocolate in the traditional and most natural way. I think it’s literally every kid dream to make their own chocolate so this is definitely an experience to share and enjoy with the family!  

  Since we had Emma we started to spend some holidays in big resorts, mostly because it is very practical with kids. And of course I always loved the spa and doing yoga in the morning as it gives such a good energy to the day. It’s been great being able to book these services in villa and again enjoy everything in the most privacy . Taking a massage and doing yoga with the sound of the waves in he background it’s been the most relaxing moments of this holiday! Finally, as promised I am sharing the Spaghetti recipe I showed you one night on Instagram and so many of you asked! It is very easy and really anyone can do this! All you need, is some traditional ingredients (you can buy them in any supermarket in Italy and in some Italian shops abroad too!).   SPAGHETTI ALLA BOTTARGA   Bottarga is known as the caviar of the Mediterranean. Ingredients: Spaghetti or Linguine, Bottarga, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onions, Lemon. Start with peeling the lemon, keeping only the yellow part. You can also grate this part of the lemon. Also cut the onion in small small cubes. Mix them in a pan with the olive oil and leave until they reach a golden colour. And this is ready. Take a pan with water and let it boil. When it starts boiling add salt. Do not add too much salt as the Bottarga already comes with a strong flavour. Add some spoons of the boiling water to the pan with stir fried onions and lemons. When the water is boiling add the Spaghetti (about 80/100 gr x person normally for 10 minutes). A few minutes before the spaghetti are ready, take them off the water, and add them to the pan. Keep stearing them for the remaining minutes. When the time is up grate the Bottarga on the Spaghetti (same as you would grate cheese on it). And that’s it! So simple! Enjoy!! Finally, if you’d like to watch a complete tour of our luxury villa in Sicily, you will find a youtube video tomorrow on my channel, including all the links to my outfits. Looking forward to hear if any of you will be visiting in the summer!  
 
 

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MY BLACK FRIDAY WISH LIST: DESIGNER & HIGH STREET

Black Friday is finally approaching! This year (more than ever) we (I think I speak for the majority of us?) are going to shop for ourselves and Christmas gifts online. If we can find the items on our wish list on the sales, why not?! Personally, I am focusing on buying less and buying better. So, having a wish list ready in advance, really helps! These are the three Farfetch places I am going to check as first for my Black Friday wish list: My aim is to help you navigating the sales season. Below is a round-up of pieces on my wish list (or that I already own and you liked)  that I am hoping to go into the Black Friday sale (keep checking this space every couple of days until the end of the month as I am going to update it daily with new discount codes).  

ACCESSORIES

TIMELESS BASICS

BEAUTY

CLASSIC WINTER COATS

BLACK COATS

KNITWEAR

INTERIOR/HOMEWEAR

 

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WFH EDIT

wfh, cosy outfit, gucci socks, sezane jumper  

This isn’t the way I expected Spring 2020 to be, as normally we would be enjoying my traditional birthday weekend away.  We have to stay home and at the same time try to combine work with taking care of the kids full time and maintaining a level of mental health. But that doesn’t mean we have to be wearing our pyjamas 24/7 and this is coming from someone who’s being working from home for years now 🙂

As I don’t have much time to dedicate to my YT channel right now having Emma at home with me every day.. I miss creating my usual amount of content, so I’ve decided to pick up my blog again and hopefully keeping you inspired, in case you are in the mood for a WFH shopping spree any of these days.

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Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is already around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the season of gifting our loved ones the things that’s high on their list but it’s always fun to surprise them with something different. If you’re always running out of time around this time of the year this gift guide could save you a lot of time (& stress). Let me know what’s on your Christmas list this year! The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide: gifts for her, him and the little ones. Classic, useful gifts that will make them happy for a very long time! Happy gifting and wishing you all happy holidays xx
FOR HIM
FOR KIDS

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TIED UP TO THE PAPERBAG WAIST TREND

If you follow my Instagram you may have noticed this summer I am obsessing over the paperbag waist trend! After screening all the brands and online retailers I love, this summer I went back, yet again, to Opus. I’ve been so happy with their winter knits and jackets and this summer they’re serving my style again!

  nicole ballardini - paperbag waist - summer trend - opus fashion   nicole ballardini - paperbag waist - summer trend - opus fashion  

In case you don’t know what a paperbag waist is (although I am sure you know) it looks like a ruffled waist, creating a bottom volume on shorts, pants or skirts. This summer it became one of my staples to interchange from denim, during my easy days spent in the new garden but also love dressing it up with a blazer when I have appointments in the city.

Both of these two outfits, I created in collaboration with Opus, are so comfortable! At the same time they look stylish, chic and I am sure you can spot the high quality materials. It’s a good alternative to jeans, adding the right twist and giving a special touch.   nicole ballardini - paperbag waist - summer trend - opus fashion  

Two elements I always look in my outfits are comfort and strong details. The paperbag waist can give you a very basic look but if you style it up, at the same time you don’t need much to make the whole outfit look chic. I never combine a paperbag waist with dramatic tops or the whole outfit would look too busy. Instead, the best is to balance it with a simple, plain top tucked in.

You will see me wearing these pieces on high rotation this summer!

Look1:

Shorts | Top | Bag

Look2:

Pants | Top | Bag

  Created in collaboration with Opus. Story, styling, creative direction and photography my own.

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