I'm Tamsin Hickson, I live on an olive farm in Le Marche in Central Italy with my husband, sons, father, cats, dog, chickens, ducks (until Christmas).


  • Comfort food comfort-food

    Cold weather has suddenly returned and we all need comfort food. This is one of our family favourites, Cinnamon cake.

    In the big bowl on the left:

    230grams plain flour 115grams caster sugar 115grams of butter

    Rub into breadcrumbs then add the two eggs and six tablespoons of milk in the small bowl, beat it [...]


  • Migrant monks abbey

    This morning I was walking at the Abbadia di Fiastra, trying to photograph the swallows swooping over the fields of wheat, when I spotted this far rarer migrant flock. Strangely, for a Cistercian abbey, we hardly ever see monks, so I skulked in the shrubbery some distance away taking photographs.

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  • ReadyMade ready-made

    This has been my guide to preparing the house for the winter months, against the time when the mountain of clutter indoors threatens to engulf us. Published by Thames and Hudson, ReadyMade offers to “solve problems, cure dizzy spells and hold open the door”. Our first project, inspired by its “garden-shed” approach is the [...]

Books, trees and pebbles…

Aldo spent our holiday immersed in international crime noir. He started with Jean Claude Izzo’s MARSEILLES TRILOGY, took a short refreshing break with Iain Pears DEATH AND RESTORATION then plunged headlong into Shanghai guided by Qiu Xiaolong’s A CASE OF TWO CITIES. I explored the world of creativity with IMAGINE, HOW CREATIVITY WORKS by Jonah Lehrer. It’s filled with fascinating ideas and interesting tests most of which I tried out on Aldo. It was a while before I noticed that the blank stare turned in my direction as I posed yet another intriguing mind bender had a noirish tinge to it…

Who knows why he wasn’t more open to my frank assessment of the way his mind works? Anyway, try this one at home: Mary and Martha are sisters, born to the same parents, on the same hour of the same day in the same year. But they are not twins.

I’ll post the answer (for those of you open-minded enough to have given it some thought…) on Wednesday.

Further differences in attitude can be detected in our choice of things to bring home. Aldo collected seeds of trees which he wrapped carefully in newspaper, planning to plant them here and create a tiny corner of Sicily in our garden.

I collected pebbles.


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