I find myself feeling lucky and grateful right now.

I’m sitting on my balcony on one of the last days in March, all the kids are out and I’m making the most of a rare moment of solitude.

The sun is shining and spring is here. It isn’t warm though. Being a Brit, I’m determined to sit outside. I’m a bit of a softie Brit though and haven’t put my shorts on. Instead I’m in my padded jacket and my hands are so cold that I can hardly type but, the sun is out so I should be too!

I need the sun at the moment. I put a colour on my hair to darken it. Mainly because I’m sick  of being called bionda. Sadly for me it’s too dark and in an attempt to lighten it, I’ve put lemon juice on my dull head and need to sit in the sun, The next step is a chamomile rinse!

Many people don’t realise that here in Italy it isn’t all sun and heatwaves in fact winters here can be long and cold. Here in northern Tuscany, we get 6 months of lovely warm sun when there is little rain but that is countered by 6 months of grey depressing cold weather with lots of rain and even snow when temperatures can often drop to -8  or even -11.

In my rustic Italian home, there isn’t any traditional central heating. My bedroom temperatures reached 2 degrees and at one point recently, there was ice on the INSIDE of  my windows. I’m not good with the cold. I’m like a squirrel and I  need to hibernate in these dismal months.

In an effort to keep warm, this  year I discovered, courtesy of my friend, the housecoat. The younger generation, brought up in warm, cosy houses may not have heard of this phenomenon but when I was very small, ladies often wore a house coat which was a  kind of dressing gown. My rediscovery of this wonderful item of clothing was my saviour this year.

I bought a couple and could wear my more flattering wardrobe underneath instead of dreary fleecy tracksuits which I loath. If anyone came to the door, I could simply whip the housecoat off revealing my glorious and glamourous self No more going to the door feeling dowdy and drab.

Next year I think I’ll buy more so I can be a different colour every day.

Meanwhile,  my lemon juiced locks are now dry. Chamomile rinse anybody?