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My New Book

"Creating a life of
Art in Italy"

The Magic of the journey - is the Inner Journey

Creating a Life of Art in Italy -
Book One

I'm happy to announce the book launch of  "Creating a Life of Art in Italy"! 

It's been a labour of love, and now it's time to share it.

The book is available now on

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I have incorporated plenty of before and after images of our house renovation and of the local surroundings.

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I've thrown in a few of my favourite recipes

Eva's Spinach & Artichoke Lasagne

Béchamel Sauce

100 grms butter

100grms flour

1/2 tsp salt

Milk to mix, about a couple of cups.

To make the sauce;

Melt the butter

Add the flour a little at a time. Add salt. This stage it is important to cook the flour and butter for a few minutes, careful not to burn. Slowly add the milk, stirring as it thickens. Cool

I generally sprinkle a tsp of chilli flakes, but that’s optional.

Spinach Artichoke Filling

250g cream cheese softened

250g whole milk ricotta

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cloves chopped garlic (optional)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

390g can or around 500grms fresh artichoke hearts cooked and chopped

500g fresh or frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained

You can use either marinated artichoke hearts or canned artichoke hearts for this

Make Pasta from the previous recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease dish.

For the spinach artichoke filling: In a mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, ricotta, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. Set aside.

To assemble, spread about 1 cup of béchamel in the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with pasta. Spread with 1/3 of the spinach artichoke mixture. Top with 1/2 of mozzarella cheese. Spoon more béchamel over mozzarella, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layering two more times to create three complete layers. To finish, place a final layer of pasta, topped with another 1 cup of béchamel to cover the pasta. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with aluminium foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes to allow cheese to brown. Serve hot.



Book Description

What drives someone to leave behind one life in pursuit of another?

When an unexpected opportunity arose, in the form of an email from Italy, it provided the catalyst for Eva's (Aka Averil) move to a medieval village in the hills of Abruzzo, Italy. The move forced her to confront her inner voices, which led her to leave behind a comfortable life and supportive husband in New Zealand in a bid to chase a long-held dream of becoming an artist.
Despite decades-long success in business, a sadness still prevailed, that working all hours had kept her from her creative side.
As she goes about reinventing herself, in this part-memoir, part-guide, she shares practical insights for women facing the challenges of slowing down after a bustling career.
Discover how you too can find contentment and happiness, even in solitude, and make life changes through her relatable story.
This book will provide readers with an inspiring insight into proving that the pursuit of dreams knows no age.

You'll also discover how and why I changed my name to Eva while in Italy.

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Chapter 20

The scene before us was like a multi-layered stage show, vividly capturing the essence of everything you’ve ever dreamt of or imagined. This evening, this picture, with no pretence, encapsulated all that was Italy.

Encircled by a backdrop of ancient, medieval buildings, mystical in the light cast by the shadows of the festive lights. Age-textured homes rise from the cobblestone streets where children played, throngs of villagers chattered and laughed, old people clapped in time with the music. Long row of tables weighed down with traditional food and wine, aromas from the cooking taking place behind the screens, flower filled balconies, tubs bursting with a riot of geraniums, teenagers enjoying being with their families, decorations spanned across the street, the lights lighting the night sky. A full moon even came out to join us.

 I could die happy tomorrow knowing I had participated in this one evening of unbridled love for a place: dining in the warm night air with my new family and new friends. This evening will forever be etched in my mind. It summed up everything I had inadvertently imagined, but thought could not possibly exist in real life. It has given me a sense of belonging that I hadn’t experienced before.

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Some of my early art projects

I go into details of setting up my studio and small art gallery. The trials and tribulations of starting life in a new country.

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