Member of formidable family Rolando, Florence Rolando founder of our very own Pirouette blog talks to Katie about family life in Porto. read on.

How does family life differ between London & Porto?
Porto is a small city with lots of cultural happenings and nature really close by. The sea, in particular is a 5-10 minute walk from home. Many things are walking distance, so it’s a lot easier to go from home to school to activities such as surf. We work from home so we end up spending a lot more time all together.

Porto airport, a mere 15-20 minutes’ drive from home, is very well connected, so we can travel pretty much everywhere (there are even direct flights to NY).

That said, we travel a lot less and spend more time locally as the weather is great and there is so much to explore.

What are the core ingredients that make your family home ?
Simplicity, comfort, light. When people walk in they always comment on the feeling of peace and calm in the house.


A perfect way to spend the weekend together ?
Deciding it’s a screen-free week end. This allows us to do much more, from hiking in the woods, to reading stories, playing board games, going for longer walks on the beach…

A favourite family meal/recipe, please share ?
Coconut coral lentils. It’s fast to cook, hearty, healthy and low GI (low glycemic index, see my post )

Mix small chunks of fresh ginger, garlic, oignon, leek, carrots with coconut oil, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, lemongrass under medium heat. Leave until it is all golden. Add red lentils (rinse them), a bit of water, a can of organic coconut milk. Cook for about 20-30 mins and add the juice of a lime before serving.

An item you all treasure ?
Our Bellicon, it’s lots of fun for the girls who love doing pirouettes, and for us parents its a handy way to stay in good shape after years of sedentary work. It exercises every one of the 638 muscles in your body while being low-impact, low-stress, and revitalizing to your entire system.

It proudly sits in the middle of the living room and there is pretty much always someone on it. 

What song gets the whole family up to dance ?
Let’s dance by David Bowie

Dog or cat ?
Cat and dog. We have two cats, Moon and Malou, and an occasional dog, Bartleby. He is our friend’s dog, a doodle (mix of Labrador and Poodle). We look after him when his owners go on holidays.

He is a therapy dog, so the most gentle and caring animal on the planet. Maybe one day we’ll have our own dog too….


Who is the most untidy ?
The cats ! 

Who’s the most likely to be late?
My husband. He has Baltic blood – can’t compete with my Swiss internal built-in clock!

What was the last picture you took on your phone, (will you share ?)
I took a photo of a house I found very poetic in the old part of town.

Beautiful patterned house Porto

If you had a time machine what family holiday would you choose to re live ?
If you ask the kids it will be the ski holidays in Sierra Nevada with friends. Fun with friends counts more than the destination for them. I’d pick up Costa Rica, Chile or Sri Lanka, because I love the heat – they seem less fond of it than the snow.

Rolando family ski holiday

Best thing about Christmas?
Seeing friends and family. This year we will focus on the 21st of Dec rather than the 24th. It’s the winter solstice, an occasion to celebrate the earth, the moon, the sun and all the elements like the ancients did, the pagan way.

We have friends coming from France and from the UK, we’ll drink mulled wine and eat “petiscos” (the Portuguese equivalent of tapas).

Do you all have New Years resolutions ? Please share
2017 will be very packed with wonderful things, including a medical humanitarian trip to Nepal for me (see Humla Fund), in September. I plan to dedicate much time to the preparations.

For the rest, I aim to cultivate detachment and joy, while continuing to spread the word about causes that endanger our lives and freedom.

Endocrine disruptors and GMOs, but also Geo-Engineering. Few people know about these threats, and a good many don’t want to hear anything about it. But ignorance is not bliss! This website offers information from serious sources and is a real eye opener:

One piece of advice for your children or Best thing you have learnt this year? Or this life?
Simplifying life is a source of great happiness. Fewer things, less stress.