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Monthly Archives: August 2012

La Mia Bella Beach?

A summer holiday in Italy should consist of great wather, great food and great beaches, right? Why then, did we end up at a beach that seemed to double as a skip?!

We took Bambina to the beach. She has been to a beach before but never in the sea.

We arrived at Bibione at about 7.30am. It’s the only time that you can take a child to the beach when the daily climate reaches 37 degrees by lunch time.

There we were, all decked out with our sun umbrella, cooler bag of chilled water and goodies to munch on. Bambina looked super cute in her matching bikini bottom and hat combo and it took me back to day trips to Blackpool when I was little, only there were no donkeys in this beach.

You expect something kind of special when visiting an Italian beach. You expect golden sands dotted with svelte bronzed bodies, turquoise waters and cascading purple and pink bourgonvillia. You expect something a bit like these from my Pinterest board, La Mia Bella Italia.

Although I’ve been to many beaches in Italy before, I had never been to Bibione. I’m sorry to say that I won’t be going again. It didn’t resemble any of the above at all. In fact, it was so 1950’s, it made Blackpool look like Las Vegas!  The holiday apartments are all mustard and beige, the prom is lined with chinese owned shops selling dolphin ornaments covered in shells and we visited the worst gelateria where the ice cream was so bad that the Italian sent it back and refused to pay!

My initial excitement at having a lovely beach stroll along the waterfront with Bambina was soon quashed when a rubbish lorry passed by stinking the place out. This was soon followed by the biggest tractor I have ever seen. What’s with that? A tractor on the beach!

The Italian took Bambina for her first paddle in the sea and as she was oblivious to the goings on around her, she was thrilled. She was kicking her legs, splashing the water and wanting Papa to go with her into the tiny waves. She screamed and laughed as he pretended to jump over the “surf” and it was a delight to see my baby so happy.

As the beach began to fill, I noticed that there seemed to be more dogs than people.

“Are dogs allowed on public beaches in Italy?” I asked the Italian.

Of’a course’a. You ‘ava a dog’a, you’a don’a leave’im at ‘ome do ya?!”

“But they’re not on leads. They’re roaming around freely to poo and pee in sand where I’m walking…more to the point, where Bambina is walking and playing!!”

I was disgusted. If Bambina dared to pick up a hardened dog turd in her sand bucket, there would be hell to pay!  Maybe a shovel wasnt enough to clean the beach of dog turd at the end of the day, they needed a tractor!

A lovely morning at the beach was spent with my lovely daughter and husband.. and a bin wagon, a tractor and a preview of this years Crufts!!  This photo from a Vogue cover shoot almost describes what it was like, this with the dogs and machinery thrown in, not far off it.

Lets hope our next trip the beach is not as unfortunate as this!

X-O-X

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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Guest Post: Mummy Rates It

Every Friday, Michelle from Mummy Rates It, dishes the dirt.  Her plight is 1 Woman 10 Questions and this week it was my turn!  I met Michelle at a Save the children conference and whilst I obviously thought she was lurrvely, I had much respect for her afterwards when discovering we shared an unconditional love of George Michael (clearly, I love him more!) and Branston pickle! Girl after my own heart.

Mummy Rates It is an Aladdin’s cave of “reviews, news and stories…toys/products/parenting/Just for YOU”.

Michelle is no novice when it comes to knowing about all things female.  She has worked at SHE and Good Housekeeping magazines as a journalist, as well as at thisislondon.co.uk (The Evening Standard’s website) and as Deputy Editor at newwoman.co.uk. So when she shouted out for volunteers to take part in her 1 Woman 10 Questions series, I did have second thoughts – what on earth would I have to say about my everyday existence that could possibly entertain and amuse Michelle’s huge fan base of readers?

Apparently my fancying the pants off a gay eighties pop star and my hate of bad morning breath commuters has gone down a treat.  Pop on over to Michelle’s site to see how Mummy Rates It as well as having a tiny sneak at my 1 Woman 10 Questions edition.

Oh – and how cool is it that Michelle’s children go to circus classes?! Note to self: delete the reminder to sign Bambina up to Girl Guides.. I’m sure she would much prefer swinging off a trapeze!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Guilty Until Proven…

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I think I’m now allowed to say that for the last week I have been under oath to provide the verdict for Her Majesty v. Joe Bloggs.

I was SO, let me repeat that, SO, excited at receiving my jury summons. I had always wanted to do jury service and imagined myself on a juicy case that would last months and months. I would be caught up in the press scramble on the way into court and I would eventually need protection as the accused had threatened revenge when the jury had reached a unanimous verdict of “Guilty“.

How naive I was. I arrived at court to find myself to be one of about fifty jurors, some of whom the computer randomly generated that they should leave immediately and return home, never to be seen again. The computer randomly generated that I attend my first case that very afternoon. The computer also got my first and last names wrong and has, to my annoyance, continued to do so all week!

The cases themselves are nothing like on TV, there is no court room drama, no arguments or fights and nobody in contempt. There is a lot, A LOT, of waiting around. Waiting to be called, waiting to go into the courtroom, waiting for the judge, waiting to deliberate, more waiting for the judge. Waiting for the woman to arrive with the sandwiches that aren’t worth waiting for.  Waiting.

It has not been glamorous. There were no celebrities and no press or paparazzi waiting outside.  The most exciting it got was having to get the same bus home as the accused.  It was all a very normal part of ones day so no big dramas at all.  The accused got of the bus and was last seen heading into Tesco.  It was not what I expected it would be. It was not interesting, nor was it entertaining. It was, however, the biggest waste of my time.  I know there is protocol to be followed but the jurors sit around all day, some for days on end, waiting to be called to court.  The excitement of hearing ones name being called and the prospect of having something to do is short lived when the judge decides to announce an early lunch.  It has baffled me all week.  Judges earn a packet, that’s no secret, but they must be bored stiff!!  They don’t do anything!

So whilst I sat and sat and sat, waiting, for a whole week, I was relieved to hear that my final case was quashed due to lack of evidence.  The judge called an early lunch, the bell rang and court was dismissed.  Duty done.

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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His First Impressions Definitely Don’t Count

 

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After I wrote the post First Impressions Don’t Count, the lovely but cheeky Ellie from Emerald Pie left me a comment.

My post highlighted a few Italianisms that at first annoyed me but that now I just live with, and enjoy, as part of our daily lives. Ellie pointed out that she was sure the Italian must have a few annoyances of his own…about me! Surely not.

I took Ellie’s challenge and turned it into an opportunity to ask the Italian to share with us a few of the things (I said “a few”) that at first annoyed him about me, and maybe still do.

Here is what he had to say, verbatim: (note that these are his own words, I promise you I haven’t adapted them in any way!)

1) When’a we first’a met, I ‘ated that you’a would’a never ‘old my ‘and’a in public. Thank’a God, my Italian’a charm ‘a changed that and’a now’a you’a all over me like a rash’a!

2) Why’a you always wanna talk’a to me about’a the bills’a when I’a getting into the bed’a and’a wanna close my eyes? I’a not’a listening to you eh!

3) You shout’a too much. It’a gets’a on’a my nerves’a. I talking to you, right’a next to you and I dunno’a know why’a you scream’a at me?! I am a bloody Italian’a, I’a not’a bloody deaf!

4) Black! Why’a you English’a women always’a wanna wear black? You’a going to’a bloody funeral every day’a isnt it?! I’a glad I took’a you’a shoppin’a ’cause now’a you’a wear’a all the colours and I’a love that!

5) Can I’a say’a about your’a ‘airs? That’a bloody annoys me! Every’a bloody time’a you wash’a your’a ‘air you’a never pick it out’a the plag’ole (plug hole!). Five’a years now it is’a that I’a been picking out’a your ‘airs from’a the shower! Bloody disgastin’a!!

There you have it, I’m not perfect after all.

X-O-X

The Italian: A Horses Head in my Bed #1 (teaandbiscotti.com)

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Walking the Walk

 

Its one of those inevitable things isn’t it, that babies will do the most important things when you’re not looking or not around.

I have been fortunate enough to be around for all of Bambina’s “firsts” to date.  Today, however, she had plans of her own, of the independence kind.  Mother nature took the control reign out of our hands and placed them in the palm of Bambina’s childminder.

I love her.  The childminder.  She’s great.  I dreaded though that she might see Bambina walk before I do.  For weeks now Bambina has been making signs of that unsteady wobble, the shall-I-shan’t-I stumble, that glance across the room for encouragement.  She has been almost ready to go it alone.

Bambina isn’t usually with the childminder on a Tuesday but as a favour to her we swapped our day to help her out.  Bambina should have been with Daddy and me today.  We would have seen it.  We wouldn’t have missed it.

We did miss it.  Her first steps.  Her first two steps, actually.  She made her own way from the chair to the sofa.  A break for freedom, two small steps for babykind.  Those two steps were encouraged by confidence and increased to nine! NINE! NINE STEPS! Whats next? Running the London marathon?! Seriously Bambina, why didn’t you wait for us?

That’s it now, my baby has begun the talk, well mainly ‘cat’ and now she is walking the walk, all nine steps of it.

My mum is coming to stay next week and I have been convinced that Bambina was saving her walking glory for Grandma.  I wouldn’t have minded that so much.  I would have been thrilled for my mum to have experienced that.  Yet, like her mother and Grandmother, Bambina’s mind was set and there was no budging her.  Today was the day.

I wish I had have seen her but I accept that I wont always be there for absolutely everything.  And that sucks, absolutely bloody sucks!

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X-O-X

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Medicinal!

I’m ashamed to say that quite a while ago, the lovely people at Focus PR asked me if I wanted a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream. To be honest, I didn’t really know what it was but said ‘why not’ anyway.

A holiday, a sick child, a sick mummy, a house sale and a defunct laptop have severely delayed my ability to review Harveys so without further ado…

A neighbour of mine thought that Harveys Bristol Cream was along the same lines as Bailey’s and would be great in a coffee or espresso, rather like an Italian version of an Irish Coffee. When the bottle arrived, I realised that it wasnt anything like Bailey’s at all and I suddenly remembered that this is what my grandma used to drink with a slice of christmas cake. Why on earth would I be sent a bottle of old people’s plonk?

Harveys Bristol Cream is no longer a pensioners tipple. Oh no! It has been blinged up into a cocktail mix and these days can be seen in your favourite bars, restaurants and garden parties being served in Sangria style punches and sipped as a sundowner on ice with a slice, or orange, not lemon! Is Harveys the new PIMMS? It certainly is a sophisticated drink, not one to be downed in a shot glass or drunkenly slobbered over.  Harveys requires a sticking out pinky finger and delicate elegant sips drank in the atmosphere of a London outdoor concert picnic accompanied with the finest prosciuttos and chunky olives.  Harveys is made exclusively from grapes grown at Harveys own vineyards and blended in the traditional method at its bodegas in Jerez in southern Spain, it has a deep golden colour with fragrant aromas and tastes sensationally silky and smooth.

Where have I been these last few years? Clearly off the cocktail scene, that’s where! As I don’t partake too much these days in cocktail drinking, I wondered what I would do with this bottle of booze. I placed it neatly in our drinks cabinet and left it there for a few days.

 

A few evenings later, the Italian entered the room with a plate of biscotti and a two shot glasses.  Shot glass? Didnt I say Harveys shouldnt be drunk from a shot glass?  Well, cold frost bitten Italian winters reqiuire a customary dip of biscotti into a hearty warm glass of sherry. It really is delicious! Given the British weather a few weeks ago, I liked his thinking so I helped myself to a glass and a biscotti and got dipping!. Yum! Harveys Bristol Cream didn’t disappoint.

It seemed the British weather left its mark on me as I soon came down with a stinking cold. With no cold or flu remedies in the house, the Italian took to the Harveys to make me a hot toddy; hot lemonade, the juice of half a fresh lemon and two greedy shots of Harveys Bristol Cream. It went down a treat and warmed me in places where the British weather couldn’t reach!

I’m not sure that this is a beverage that I would make a regular habit of but then again it’s not an everyday drink. For special occasions, holidays, treats (Grandma’s Christmas hamper), I would certainly recommend it but for my personal use, I found its benefits in restoring my health!

If you want to try some cocktail making with Harveys Bristol Cream, do take a look at their website for inspiration. Let me know how you get on!

Harveys Frosted Apple & Ginger

Harveys frosted apple and ginger is bursting with effervescent flavours and is great to mix in a punch bowl to share with friends.

Fill a highball glass with ice (crushed ice looks even better!)

Pour over 50ml Harveys Bristol Cream and 50ml premium pressed apple juice. Top up with a dash of ginger ale

Swirl with a cinnamon stick and leave in the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and apple slices

Harveys over ice with a slice of orange

The simplest of serves, Harveys over ice with a slice of orange brings out the taste of candied orange and perfectly complements the dried fruit and toasted almond flavours of this delicious sherry.

Place two or three cubes of ice in a tumbler

Pour over 50ml Harveys Bristol Cream

Garnish with a slice of orange

*Harveys Bristol Cream (75cl RRP £9.22) is widely available across the UK.

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Blog Break

*Photo taken by me in Lignano Sabbiadoro

When I went to Italy recently, I had grand designs on spending the evenings writing blog posts galore and sharing beautifully taken photos of our trip with you.

However, shortly after we arrived, Bambina took ill and ended up in hospital.  Shortly after that, I took ill and my mother-in-law also took ill.  Our holiday plans were scuppered, not least because of the sweltering 40 degree heat but because the germs and bugs had totally floored us.

This, coupled with an over obsessive foreign mother-in-law, a whole Italian family who were on a diet and watched my every morsel for ten days, as well as the most vicious mosquitos ive ever seen – it’s safe to say that our annual Italian paradise was more like a trip to the black hole.

There were a few glorious moments which of course, I intend to share on the blog, but there were also a few rant worthy incidents that I absolutely cannot refrain from sharing!

To make up for my blog break, I will share all of the above and more in a few blog posts over the next few weeks.

Now, must run and take the pasta off the boil… In the meantime, Buon Appetito!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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