Moving in with a 84-year-old stranger was one of the best decisions of my life

If you’d have told me I’d be going for walks and living with an Irishwoman in her mid-80s, I’d never have believed you.

When I moved to London from Italy seven years ago at the age of 35, I dreamed of studying graphic design at college.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the financial means to do so, but home sharing with an older woman has meant I can – and it’s been so much more mutually beneficial than I could ever have imagined.

My life in Italy was perfect, but I always had the feeling that I couldn’t evolve there. After the company I was working at for 12 years went bankrupt, I decided to change my life, follow my dream to study English and design and move to the UK.

When I arrived, I didn’t speak fluent English yet – which was challenging and limited my work options – so I took a job in hospitality to pay the bills.

After six years of this, I decided that if I was going to be staying far away from my family in a different country, I had to make my time in England meaningful and pursue my goals.

I wanted to enrol in an intensive part-time course, but the expense was a barrier. Accommodation in London is costly, and I knew that if I rented privately, I would not have enough money to study. I had tried sharing a flat with other people and even renting a studio flat but this solution was very expensive. 

I decided to explore my options and discovered home sharing – after a friend suggested it as an option for me – an arrangement where an older person opens their home to someone, often a younger person, who provides a level of practical help with daily tasks such as shopping or cooking, in exchange for low-cost accommodation. 

For me, this was invaluable and a perfect fit for my situation. I saw home sharing as an opportunity to develop my English, save a significant amount of money on rent for my study-fund pot, and to experience the impact of intergenerational living. 

I basically grew up with my grandparents so I had a little bit of experience with elderly people but I had never done a homeshare before.

In March last year, Share and Care Homeshare matched me with a lovely lady called Flo, who is 84 years old and has memory problems. I’m 42 so she’s exactly double my age.

Before I met Flo, I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if I’d lose my independence, but when I was told how much the rent would be – £150 per month to live in South West London – I was shocked and so happy. Not only could I save money for my course, I’d only be doing very simple tasks for her like shopping, cooking, light cleaning and spend time with her doing some activities together.

When I was introduced to Flo about a month later, straight away my connection with her, and her three daughters, was excellent. Two of her daughters live outside London and the other abroad so having someone stay with their mother gave them peace of mind.

The atmosphere was cosy and welcoming, and we all had a chat together, which made me feel very comfortable. One of Flo’s daughters, Jemima, lives in Italy, so this helped break the ice too; there was common ground.

Initially, we had a trial just to make sure we got on well – which was basically a few weeks before the first lockdown in March last year – so we were both very lucky to meet before it happened. I loved it and have lived with Flo ever since.

When Flo and I are at home, we often have a meal together, drink tea, chat, paint, look at photo albums, and more. We also read books in English or Italian because Flo wants to learn my language, which is wonderful. She also helps me with my English.

I am fortunate to have a close relationship with Flo and many fond memories that I will cherish. She is a very active and friendly person who loves spending time with her friends and family and enjoys meeting people when she is out. 

Of course, during lockdown, this took a knock, and it was challenging to find an activity to keep us both busy.

I was still working at the time, so I was worried I might give the virus to her, but I didn’t. I began to think how lucky I was to move just before this happened – we met each other in the right moment. Of course, it was challenging at the beginning – especially because I didn’t have any experience with dementia – but with Flo’s family and Share and Care Homeshare’s support, everything went well.

Our shared love of walking often finds us taking strolls in the local park. One day in June, we met a man collecting litter. It gave us the idea to do the same!

Flo’s Italy-living daughter made us pink hi-viz waistcoats, which have a witty coat of arms on the back with crossed litter picking sticks and the words ‘Operatore Ecologico’ (meaning ‘ecological operator’), which has been a conversation starter on many occasions!

Flo really enjoys litter-picking as she’s doing one of her favourite activities, walking. People in the community were impressed and would stop to chat with us, and I think parents with children would take inspiration from what we were doing. 

We would even get people who were waiting at the traffic lights in their cars shouting ‘well done!’ which made us feel so proud!

Intergenerational living has impacted me enormously and has been such a positive for both of us. There are such big rewards, not only from the financial side, but emotionally.

I have had the opportunity to be fully immersed in an English family, which doesn’t happen often when you come from abroad – the tendency is to stay with people from the same country.

There are so many phrases or words that she’s taught me and my English has improved a lot thanks to her. One in particular is ‘let’s sit soft’ when we are about to have tea sitting on the sofa.

It has also supported my mental health during the pandemic as I felt less lonely, more protected, and fully supported by Flo’s family.

I have since been able to enrol on a graphic design course, and intend to stay in a homeshare arrangement for as long as possible; the only reason I foresee potentially moving would be for job reasons.

For younger people considering pursuing this living arrangement, I would fully recommend it.  It’s a chance to help another person and to feel less lonely in a big city. Also, the older generation have lots of experience and can advise and support younger people in many ways; they can also give their time, which is precious.

Flo’s introduced me to her family, all her friends and neighbours – this was very encouraging and supportive being surrounded by such a lovely people. It’s been nice to have this while I’ve been far away from my own family – she’s also got more of a social life than me!

Hopefully I’ve helped her feel joyful and made her feel more safe having someone at home with her.

What I would say to the younger generation is that older people are like us, but with many years of experience on their shoulders; they want to feel appreciated, useful, and involved in our society.

Flo’s daughter Katie has also said how much she likes having me around, which is a huge compliment. She believes there is enormous value in her mother being able to continue to connect with the wider world through intergenerational contact, like myself, which allows her to retain as much interest, reassurance and vitality as possible.

And what does Flo say about me? She says I have become like family to her. She and I have developed a wonderful companionship, and homeshare has helped us both to flourish. 

– Read this article on The Metro.

New Collection Summer 2021

Creativity for me is the way that I can express myself. Sometimes it is difficult to find the time for it, especially when you work hard to pay your bills, but it is not impossible if you really want to. The past year, I had the great fortune to find the right people at the right moment and I felt very protected during the pandemic.

Nichiren Daishonin said: “Casting off the transient and revealing the true”. So during the lockdown I had the opportunity to spend more time reconnecting with myself and understanding what really matters to me. Thankful to my Buddhist practice, I cut off what’s not essential and revealed my potential. I then understood that I really enjoy projects: trim and stitch a new bikini, design a new fabric, and I determine that I will never stop doing that, no matter what. Honestly, how can we stop doing “something”, if this “something” means to be what we really are?

It is in the creative process that I can be really myself, where I can challenge, explore and make mistakes. Making a bikini is not to make a product for the happiness of others. It makes me happy. It is a process that starts from my heart and goes directly to my mind.

It is like when we plant a seed, it will bloom naturally in springtime. It requires time, passion, love and practice. It is when I look at all the single pieces I made that I realise I was seeking love, happiness and joy outside, when all of these things were already a part of me.

So I really hope that you will sense all the love I put in every little detail. I wish you can feel the joy in all the patterns I made, and you will see the happiness in all coloured fabrics I chose for this collection.

Thanks to Everybody for your support and to one of my biggest fans Caterina Oppia & Ilaria Corda Photographers for modelling and capturing these beautiful photographs and to my lovely Landlady Flo for helped me to translate in English.

Please feel free to comment and share on my page what is your dream.

Lots of Love.

Ucan Design

La creatività per me è il modo in cui posso esprimermi. A volte è difficile trovare il tempo per farlo, soprattutto quando lavori sodo per pagare le bollette, ma non è impossibile se lo vuoi davvero. L’anno scorso ho avuto la grande fortuna di trovare le persone giuste al momento giusto e mi sono sentito molto protetto durante la pandemia.

Nichiren Daishonin ha detto: “Abbandonare il transitorio e rivelare il vero”. Durante il lockdown ho avuto il privilegio di avere più tempo per riconnettermi con me stessa e capire cosa è veramente importante per me, grazie alla mia pratica buddista, ho tagliato ciò che non era piu’ essenziale rivelando il mio potenziale.

Ho capito che mi piace molto progettare: tagliare, cucire un nuovo bikini e disegnare un nuovo tessuto,ripromettendomi che non smetterò mai di farlo, qualunque cosa accada. Onestamente, come possiamo smettere di fare qualcosa, se questo qualcosa significa essere cio’ che siamo veramente? È nel processo creativo che posso essere veramente me stesso, dove posso sfidarmi, esplorare e commettere errori.

Faccio bikini non per la felicita’ altrui. Ma cio’ rende felice me. È un processo che parte dal mio cuore e arriva direttamente alla mia mente. È come quando piantiamo un seme che sboccia naturalmente in primavera. Richiede tempo, passione, amore e pratica. È quando ho guardato tutti i singoli pezzi che ho realizzato che ho capito che stavo cercando amore, felicità e gioia al di fuori quando tutte queste cose erano già dentro di me. Quindi spero davvero che possiate sentire tutto l’amore che ho messo in ogni piccolo dettaglio. Mi auguro che possiate sentire la gioia in tutte le fantasie che ho realizzato e che possiate vedere la felicità in tutti i tessuti colorati che ho scelto per questa collezione.

Grazie a tutti per il vostro supporto e a una delle mie più grandi fan Caterina Oppia per aver posato, Ilaria Corda Photographer per aver scattato queste bellissime fotografie e alla mia padrona di casa Flo che mi ha aiutato a tradurre in Inglese.

Sentiti libero di commentare e condividere sulla mia pagina qual’e il tuo sogno.

Con tanto amore.

Ucan Design

Life is the most precious of all Treasures

A few weeks ago a young woman 33-year-old disappeared in London, she was murdered and her body was found inside a bag in a wood. Many of you may be wondering what is new, considering the many stories you heard from broadcasts such as “Who saw it?” This is the point, how comes we have gotten used to these atrocities.For me, who have lived in the UK for about 7 years, it was shocking. Maybe I have been naive and too lucky until now, but here I have always felt more than safe to walk alone, at any time of day, among the crowded and illuminated streets, controlled by cameras and monitored by the police. But apparently it was a policeman who made Sarah disappear. I wonder if Journalists and Institutions are doing their duty, or have always avoided raising certain arguments in order to don’t create panic among the people. Today I wonder if bad information reigns in the country where I live and those who protest are silenced, like the hundreds of people in Parliament Square a few days ago, charged by the police because they demonstrated against violence to women. The confidence I had suddenly collapsed, I feel catapulted to when I lived in Italy, to relive the fear I had while walking alone, feeling constantly observed, so much so that as a form of protection, I have always chosen rather masculine clothes . Sarah’s story shocked me, she was just walking home, in her active wear, as often Me & my friends go around. I am frozen by all this, because if a policeman approach me I stop. I want to feel free to live and be treated as a person first of all, and we don’t even talk about gender equality, feminism or girlpower, considering that those in power abuse it, killing people because they are labeled or considered inferior, I’m talking about the dignity of life as the most precious of treasures, still taken too much for granted instead of celebrating it and being grateful for every moment and breath on this Earth. I do not want to live in fear and I want to continue dreaming of a world where everyone feels safe, respected, appreciated and accepted regardless of gender, religion, social status or skin color, because these are the principles on which the country I chose to live is founded. I want to have confidence and keep walking through the streets happy and carefree, like Sarah was that night before she disappeared.
RIP. #saraheverard

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Qualche settimana fa una giovane donna di 33 anni e’ sparita qua a Londra, e’ stata uccisa e il suo corpo e’ stato ritrovato dentro un bustone abbandonato in un bosco. Molti di voi si staranno chiedendo quale sia la novita’, considerando le tante storie che avrete sentito da trasmissioni come “Chi l’ha visto?”. E’ proprio questo il punto, e’ come se ci fossimo abituati a queste atrocità.
Per me che vivo in Uk da circa 7 anni e’ invece stato sconvolgente. Forse sono stata ingenua e troppo fortunata fino ad ora, ma io qua mi sono sempre sentita piu’ che al sicuro di poter girare liberamente da sola, a qualsiasi ora del giorno, tra le strade affollate, illuminate, controllate dalle telecamere e sorvegliate dalla polizia.
Ma a quanto pare e’ stato proprio un poliziotto a far sparire Sarah e questo dettaglio e’ quasi passato in secondo piano mentre trasmettevano le news al Telegiornale. Mi chiedo se i giornalisti e le istituzioni stiano facendo il loro dovere, o abbiano sempre evitato di sollevare certi argomenti per non creare panico tra la gente. Oggi mi chiedo se nel Paese in cui vivo regna la mala informazione e chi protesta viene messo a tacere, come le centinaia di persone a Parliament Square qualche giorno fa, caricate dalla polizia perché manifestavano contro la violenza sulle Donne. La sicurezza che avevo all’improvviso e’ crollata, mi sento catapultata a quando vivevo in Italia, a rivivere la paura che avevo mentre camminavo da sola, sentendomi costantemente osservata, tanto e’ che come forma di protezione, ho sempre scelto abiti piuttosto maschili. A me la storia di Sarah ha scioccato, stava solo rientrando a casa, vestita da ginnastica, come molto spesso vado in giro io e tante altre mie amiche, sono agghiacciata da tutto questo, perche’ se mi si dovesse presentare un poliziotto io mi fermo. Voglio sentirmi libera di vivere ed essere trattata come una persona prima di tutto, e non si parla neanche di parita’ di sessi, di femminismo o girlpower, considerato che chi ha potere ne abusa, uccidendo persone perche’ etichettate o ritenute inferiori, io parlo di dignita’ della vita come il più prezioso dei tesori, tutt’oggi data troppo per scontata anziché celebrarla ed essere grati per ogni minimo istante e respiro su questa Terra. Non voglio vivere di paura e voglio continuare a sognare un Mondo dove tutti si sentano al sicuro, rispettati, apprezzati e accettati a prescindere dal sesso, dalla religione, dallo stato sociale o dal colore della pelle, perche’ questi sono i principi su cui e’ fondato il Paese in cui ho scelto di vivere. Voglio avere fiducia e continuare ad andare per le strade felice e spensierata, come lo era Sarah quella sera prima di scomparire.
R.I.P. #saraheverard

Window Swap

Share your view to the rest of the world

During the pandemic we put aside the idea of travel, all of us more or less we were forced to stay at home and observe the world behind a real window or virtual one, considering all the social networks we have available now. From Singapore, has been created a platform where it’s possible to share your own view with the rest of the world, I think this is a brillant idea & romantic at the same time , with windowswap it’s possible to travel without moving from home. This beautiful project is also supporting to bring awareness to the massive environmental disaster of ARGENTINA WILDFIRES, we can all give a little contribute following this link https://www.buymeacoffee.com/windowswap.

Personally I have always been fascinated by windows, I love looking at the views framed like a paint. I remember when I was a child, waiting for the sunrise from my grandmother’s window, or admiring the sea, in my mum’s house in the city, or when I used to contemplate the landscape stuck in the office where I worked as an assistant for a call center, I still remember the window where I moved to live alone for the first time, or the room on the roof where I first lived in the London.

For me it always had a symbolic, I love imagine what will be the next view, and how not to remember the movie “Facing window” by Ferzan Özpe where he focused an important aspect, with this famous quote “We should always work to live in a better world not just dreaming of it”, because I believe that we are the creators of our life.

This is on of the view that I had the pleasure of seeing during the lock down, I reckon I’ve been so privileged. I don’t know what the next view will be, I can only imagine it, of course, whatever it is, I try to enjoy them all intensely and as much as I can.

Thousands signed a petition in support of Italy’s Robinson Crusoe.

Millions of people around the world are under isolation orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but one man has spent the past three decades in isolation by choice, since his catamaran broke down in 1989.

Michele Ardu Photographer

Mauro Morandi, 81, lives 31 years like a hermit on the Budelli island on north of Sardinia, which is part of La Maddalena Acipelago National Park. Maddalena Archipelago National Park is comprised of seven islands. Budelli is considered the most beautiful among them for its Spiaggia Rosa, or Pink Beach. Mauro is the only habitant and the authorities want him to leave because they want to turn into an enviromental education centre. In the early 1990s, La Spiaggia Rosa was dubbed a place of “high natural value” by the Italian government. The beach was closed off to protect its fragile enviroment, in the past many uncounscios tourists, used to collect this particular sand as souvenirs, this accellerated to damage the ecosystem. Mr. Morandi has established himself as the custodian of the island keeping it in a pristine state, only some areas are still accessible to visitors and the island rapidly went from hosting thousands of people a day to a hosting just one.

Mauro Morandi, 25 years ago, accepted the position of guardian of the wonderful Pink Beach, taking care of the fantastic island. About 10 years ago the owners of Budelli stopped paying Mauro’s wages as guardian, gradually losing interest in him but he stayed, taking care of the fantastic island of Budelli. For all these years, in summer as in winter, he has cleaned the little paths to make it easier to cross the island, he has collected plastic from the beaches to save the ecosystem of flora and fauna which, otherwise, would now be strongly compromised; has made tourists, more or less polite, fall in love with that place, respecting it thanks to it’s explanations, it’s stories, it’s ability to make people understand that the world will remain a beautiful place to live only if we take care of it every day and we do not abandon it. He said “Oneday, we will all reunite with the Earth. We are all part of the same energy. It’s essential to understand this now, respect and protect nature and the life around us. I would like people to understand that we should not look at beauty, but be able to feel beauty even with our eyes closed. “He explains.” Love is an absolute consequence of this, and vice versa. “, He says” When you love a person deeply, you see them as beautiful. Not because it necessarily is, but because you empathize with this person. As you become a part of her, she becomes a part of you … and the same magic happens with nature.”

More than 18,000 have signed a petition in support of Italy’s Robinson Crusoe amid threats to evict him from island off Sardinia. Now the petition online as been closed getting a lot of consens, we all hope that the government and the authorities will understand the meaning of Mauro’s choice, driven only for the love of this place, he choosen to live a life in contact with nature, creating an impact to the environment and people they been lucky to met him in their jurney, he’s an example for everyone, with little gesture we can all make the difference, for the safeguard or our Planet, not matter where we are.

How the world has changed with pandemic?

The world hasn’t changed, what has changed is the perspective how to look at it.

How the world changed after pandemic? I want to be honest, while I was in lockdown I was a bit afraid how would be back to real life. Always rushing, having not time for ourselves or others, being irritate or grumpy, getting upset or frustrated, being impatient.

Last Monday I back to work again, all around was so quiet and peaceful, walking to the street, listening at the silence, observing the nature around, everything is so beautiful, how nice would be to live a life like that, even London now is more fascinating, so I’m thinking maybe my way how to observe is changed and only now I’m taking time to see at this little details.

Photo: @rachfullerphotos

This situation gave us the opportunity to opened our eyes, to see which are the priorities in our lives, we started to care of ourselves like never before, like when we get sick. I started to take care of my body, learning to slow down, eat healthy and having a rest. All humanity needed this to stop and reflect, to remember that life is the most precious gift we received.

We are the only ones responsibles to protect ourselves and take distance from any unhealthy situation, relationship or repeating patterns, we must celebrate life everyday, keeping connected with ourselves and understand when is time turn around and leave if an unpleasant situation arise.
I don’t want to be scared anymore, be scared means that I’m not able to say no, means that I give to someone else the command of my life.
Finally, I think the wourld hasn’t change, I think what has changed is the only perspection how I’m observing at it.

Sea Glass


Last time I’ve been in Sardinia instead to take a shell from the beach I collected this lovely sea glasses.

Sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of water. These weathering processes prouce natural frosted glass.

Sea glass takes 20 to 40 years, and sometimes as much as 100 years, to acquire its characteristic texture and shape.

Genuine sea glass can be collected as a hobby and is used for decoration, most commonly in jewelry.


This beaches treasure apparently are getting very rare like precious jewels that has been even opened a Museum in California, watch the Video:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nYs1QsaVoRM#

There’s also an huge beach made of glass pebbles instead of sand called Glass Beach at Fort Bragg in California.

This is an example of how nature change & survive despite all causes created from human being. The glass beach is a beach of over 15 acres, there is an immense expanse of small pebbles completely polished in glass.

It was also revealed by a recent survey conducted by the Friends of Glass community that glass is an ‘eco-friendly’ material that is 100% recyclable and completely composed of natural substances such as sand, limestone or recycled glass.

Since the glass is inert, even if a container made of this material ends up in the sea, no dangerous substance would be released, nor would there be a transformation of the glass into micro-particles that could contaminate the food chain or pollute the seas. According to a recent survey conducted by the Friends of Glass community, three out of four Europeans consider glass to be the most ‘friendly’ choice of packaging by the sea.

NOW COMES THE ‘TRIKINI’

-QUARANTINI BIKINI-

bizarre coronavirus trend of bikinis with matching FACE MASKS

The trikini appeared briefly in 1967, defined as “a handkerchief and two small saucers.”

It reappeared a few years ago as a bikini bottom with a stringed halter of two triangular pieces of cloth covering the breasts.

Dolce & Gabbana designed trikinis for Summer 2005 as three pieces of scintillating fabric that barely cover the wearer.

Another variation on the bikini in which including a conventional two-piece with a glitzy band of rhinestones round the waist.

Israeli designer Gideon Oberson, known for his artistically inspired bathing suits, calls a two-piece suit but looks like a tank top that can be worn with a skirt or a pair of shorts designed by him a trikini.

Brazilian designer Amir Slama calls two scraps of silk connected with string he designed for skinny women a trikini.

So many people asked me to realize masks matching with my line of bikinis, I didn’t take it seriously but during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic, a new variation of trikini, with two pieces for the body and a face mask was designed from another Italian designer, Tiziana Scaramuzzo initially she made the “trikini” as a joke but apparentely now is really popular.

So just for fun I create a prototype of Ucan Trikini to make happy all my followers, doesn’t look nice? I just wondering how all sunbathers will looks like with all this tan lines?

Black Lives Matter

BLM Protests Around the World

(photo credit https://www.nbcnews.com)

Today I decided to share this picture, a man saving another man despite the color of their skin.
I’d like to see more or this scenes instead video where a man has been killed during a police arrest.
The man on this photo did a wonderful action at my eyes, giving a great example to everyone especially in this moment when a lot of anger came out for what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis. This heroic gesture is an emblem that we should have faith and hope for the future and believe in our planet there are plenty of people like this man.

As a Buddhist I wanted to share this quote:

“Courage is not always heroic action in a time of danger, it can consist of the persistent, unglamorous effort to do what we feel is right.”

We must always find the courage to speak out in front of an injustice situation.