Two years ago I began my Tuscan renovation. It was so very exciting as the ‘ brute’ metal and orange, plastic security fence (compulsory on building sites in Italy) was erected around the property. A portable office arrived plus of course the quintessential portable loo . Many men arrived with strange faces. Machines of every description found their home on the site and a towering, delicate crane that looked as if it would blow over at the first Tuscan gust of wind. 24 months later the crane has stood its ground, the machines have multiplied like growing families and the strange men have become as familiar as my own children.

So is it cause for celebration? I think so, but as I commute back and forth from these glorious Tuscan hills and my working life in Canada, I have to keep reminding myself to keep the faith. Every time I witness the Toronto skyline it has changed. New buildings may not go up nightover , but bloody hell, entire skyscrapers reach for the skies in less time than my wee ‘empire’ in Italy gets a roof! Houses can be built from scratch in North America in under two months – I know, I have done it. For my TV series From the Ground Up we knocked down a 50’s ranch house and built a sprawling modern mansion in just weeks. Ok… so it was for television and 400 workers made it happen. I guess it’s not really fair to complain.

My Italian builders are beyond fantastic. They put in long hard days in either the scorching summer heat or this soaking, wet winter. They are also not building with prefab plywood, but with stone by ancient stone which they have taken down and rebuilt. This is my love, my future, my oasis, away from the noise of everyday life. They are passionately restoring a building that has housed hardworking families for generations and I in turn will invite stressed out women from all walks of life to come and share the delights of the Tuscan countryside with me at my Tuscan Girls Getaway. I must restore that faith, hold my head up high and smile the smile of the sweet life ahead. But please can I have windows soooon!