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All things bright lights, big city..

When Stockings aren’t Sexy!

On our return flight from Italy last weekend, the Italian, again, booked me in for wheelchair assistance.

It was once we had passed controls and had been taken through all the secret passage ways of the airport to reach the gate that the Italian asked me “Amore, hav’a you got ur’a stockings on?”.

The assistant shot us a glance. I had forgotten to put on my DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) tights under my leggings which was one of my GPs conditions of flying so late into the pregnancy. I nodded a no.

Once the wheelchair was settled in pride of place at the front of the queue, the Italian parked Bambina in her pram next to me. He then started shuffling in the bag and pulled out one rolled up pair of DVTs.

“No!” I whispered to him “I can’t put them on now, I can’t reach my knees let alone my feet! AND I haven’t shaved my legs for about two weeks!”.

As fast as I could blink the Italian had whipped my shoe off and had the right leg of my legging rolled up. Now, anyone who’s ever worn DVTs will know that they are massively restricting and not that easy to get on.

As the Italian struggled to get the first stocking over my toes, I noticed that the two ladies sitting in priority boarding opposite us were breaking out into fits of giggles. Obviously this made me laugh and the Italian struggled even more.

Once the tight stocking was forced over the toes, the Italian went into combat with the swollen ankle! Once passed that, he took in a deep gasp of air and forced the rest of the stocking up my leg before pulling down my legging and replacing the shoe. He let out a gasp.

At this point the two ladies were in hysterics and I could hardly see for the tears streaming down my face. Bambina was joining in with the comedy by providing her I don’t know what you’re laughing at but ill provide a fake one just to join in! type of laugh.

As the Italian lifted the left leg of my leggings, with the second DVT stocking in his hand, he turned to the two ladies and said “I can’a see’a the headlines’a now: DVTs save heavily pregnant woman from clots while husband dies of a heart attack from putting them on!!”.

As I squirmed my second swollen ankle into the stocking, the Italian gave a final heave-ho and it was done! Battle won. Game over.

Have you had any embarrassing flight tales? Do share.

X-O-X

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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in London

 

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An Autumn Affair

I absolutely frikken LOVE LOVE LOVE not working Fridays! It’s a new thing and I’m grabbing the opportunity to use it as mummy and Bambina time.

Today we packed up the nuts, packed up the bread and headed off to our local park to feed the animals. Bambina loves animals, makes all the noises and is an eager beaver to call any passing dog, cat, squirrel or duck to come talk to her!

Today was a right autumn affair. The leaves were golden, the air was crisp and Bambina looked cute as a berry in her little love heart hat and matching gloves.

She had an affair of her own with the squirrel crew and managed to eat as much bread as she fed to the ducks! Don’t all babies do that? a piece for me, a piece for you…

We had a lovely autumn day, running through the crunchy leaves, jumping in puddles and relishing in mummies no work Friday!

What things have you done to enjoy the autumn? Do tell… It might give me inspiration for Friday next week!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in London

 

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Halloween Pumpkin Soup

My mother in law taught me how to make this Italian style Zoppa di Zucca, pumpkin soup, so what better night to make it than Halloween?

I found the most perfect, cutest little mini pumpkins, British I may add, that would make an ideal size for Bambina.

All you need to do is chop up the pumpkin into small diced pieces, chop up a few sticks of celery into small bits, add a finely chopped onion and a small diced potato.

Throw that into enough boiling water to just about cover the veg and leave to simmer slowly for about thirty mins. Remember to not leave the pan to boil dry (like I did the first time I made this!).

As this was for Bambina’s supper, I didn’t add salt but did add a pinch of ground black pepper. To make it for adults you can add salt and garlic for flavour and for a twist on a meat version, add crispy pancetta. Delish!

Once all the veggies are soft, mash them down with a fork and stir in a good splash of olive oil.

Serve into a bowl and grate some fresh Parmesan ( like one we brought back from Italy last weekend, nothing like parmesan from a Lattaria!) to make the soup creamy. Enjoy with grissini or a nice piece of focaccia.

What could be more simple? Buon Appetito!!

Happy Halloween (btw, this is Bambina’s first ever scary craft! #proudmummy)

Have you got any pumpkin recipes to share? Do tell.

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in London

 

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Food For Thought

A friend of mine, who works in food PR, recently told me about this amazing project she’s working on for a client. The project involves Joe Public posting food memories on to the companies Facebook page for the chance to win a Holiday worth £5k!

Now this post isn’t about that company, nor is it about wanting to bask on a sun drenched beach (well ok, maybe a little!). It’s more about my food memories. It had never occurred to me before that, like music and particular songs, we relate food to certain events or times in our lives.

So, here’s my life, mapped out as a food memory:

I don’t recall what my first ever food memory was but when I was a little girl growing up in Liverpool, I think of eggy fried bread and black pudding breakfasts with my grandad. I think of my grandmas roast dinners with indelible gravy made out of water and cornflower powder, not a spot of Bisto in sight! I think of my mum baking coconut loaf and up side down apple cake. I think of her trying to trick me that liver was red chicken! Yak!

I think of ten pence sweetie bags from the mobile shop and 99’er ice creams with strawberry sauce dripping all over my fingers. I think of summer days when a blob of vanilla ice cream was dropped into a cold glass of American cream soda lemonade.  I think of Wham! bars (ok, sweeties aren’t actually food but as a ten year old Wham! bars, Highland toffees, Black Jacks, cola cubes… they were all part of my staple diet!).

As I grew older and our fortune changed, I think of trips to china town with my mum and Grandma for duck pancakes and hoi sun sauce. I think of cold winter evenings warmed up by a hot bowl of Scouse (Liverpool stew) and crunchy buttered bread. I think of minted lamb chops and mash and treacle pudding.  I think of stinky fingers from Butterkist popcorn and luminous tongues from traffic light lollipops.

When I left home and moved to London, I was introduced to a whole new world of culinary delights.  I think of Indian curry, made by an Indian, not out of a jar! I think of fish & chips on Brighton pier.  I think of 3am drunken chicken wings and fries dipped in ketchup.  I think of posh dinners out with my friends to Michelin star restaurants, tasting menus and celebrity chefs.

When the world called my name and I stepped on a plane, I think of black beans in Brazil, cerviche in Peru, grasshoppers in Thailand and crickets in Cambodia.  I think of the best steak in the world in Argentina and poor girls super noodles in Sydney.

And then I met my man who introduced me to a cuisine that I had snobbishly turned my nose up at.  Italian.  I think of my mother in law teaching me to cook tomato sauce from scratch, my husband teaching me how to roll pizza dough without ripping it, my husbands Nonna teaching me how to make beef stew. I think of the delicious food I tasted for our wedding; porcini risotto, slow cooked stag with polenta, speck parcels and pink grapefruit granita.  I hated Italian food but now I have grown to love it, to appreciate it.

My most recent and probably most treasured food memories are of me making food for my daughter.  I think of her first taste of apple, of mashed sweet potato.  I think of pouring over baby recipes to make her palate more enriched.  I think of chicken and apricot curry, aubergine and basil pasta sauce and roasted lamb stew with rosemary.

You don’t have to be a foodie to create a food memory.  Think about it and the flavours all come flooding back!

This has been a really thought-provoking trip down memory lane so I am going to tag some fellow bloggers, 1) because im nosey and want to know what their food memories will consist of and 2) well, why not?!  Over to you:

A Mummys View

Mummy Glitzer

Mother.Wife.Me

Slummy to Yummy Mummy

Sharing My Italy

Emerald Pie

Dutch Goes Italian

Go on, share your story!  If you do, dont forget to include the links… oh, and whilst you’re there, why not enter the comp, you just never know if you might win!

Memories…. it’s what the best dinners are made of!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in London

 

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Bambina Mia

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We have just returned from a rushed weekend to Italy to bring my mother in law home from hospital.

At 30 weeks pregnant I had to get a medical certificate to fly but thankfully everything was ok. I had contemplated not going at all but how could I not, under the circumstances?

Anyway, enough of the dreary tone.

The Italian booked me wheelchair assistance as our flight out was at 6.30am. What a genius idea! It worked a treat and is actually a service provided by Ryanair. We were taken straight through controls and escorted all the way to the aeroplane steps. Brilliant!

Having woken Bambina from her slumber at 4am I half expected her to have a tired tantrum or two. No. She was a delight. She sat in her pram just watching the early morning world go by. She didn’t utter a word or a groan.

As we were boarding the plane, Bambina got excited and squealed at the sight of having her own seat belt and pull down tray. I was so proud of her, so well behaved.

She sat on the Italian’s knee for take off, all buckled up and holding on tight. As the engine roared and the plane took flight, her little green eyes looked at me to confirm everything was ok. I smiled a reassuring glance and she happily nestled her head of curls into daddies chest, closed her eyes and went to sleep.

She woke up when the captain announced our decent. The lady that was sat behind the Italian tapped him on the shoulder to tell him what a wonderfully behaved baby we have. She was amazed at how Bambina hadn’t created one ounce of fuss. The Italian beamed and rewarded his good girl with a big kiss on the forehead.

It’s a lovely feeling when strangers pass comment on how wonderful your child is. It makes me/us feel like we’re not doing that bad a job of raising a good little person. I couldn’t have been happier that my little Bambina Mia had taken the early bird flight in her stride and as always adjusted to her surroundings. She’s just amazing!

Grazie Bambina for being absolutely adorable… Mamma loves you!

What things do your little ones do that just melt your heart? Do share.

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in London

 

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Wedding Belles

I had never really thought of what kind of wedding dress I wanted. I had never thought of what wedding I wanted to be honest. I was never one of those girls who obsessed over ever frilly detail and knew the exact requirements before I had even found Mr Right.

Given I was marrying in Italy, I decided on something old style Italian and based my dress ideas around vintage Sofia Loren. Vintage but classic.

The dress is such a huge and personal decision. It’s worn for one day and looked at in photos forever more. The dress choice required a lot more decision-making and dedication than I had ever imagined! Couldn’t I just wear my jeans and flip-flops?

As an only child I couldn’t do my mum out of the privilege of seeing me dressed like a bride and although I made a fuss at the dress fittings because I felt like a transvestite in fancy dress, I actually did feel really special on the day.

Here are a few of the ideas I came up with and styles that I liked, from my Pinterest board, La Mia Bella Matrimonio.

Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the fish tail silohette on this Oscar de la Renta dress and the veil is just stunning! Foto

I’m not one for massively long trains but as usual Style Me Pretty have come up trumps with this just right lace train, dress by Donna McMahon.  The back is beautiful for a summer wedding and bronze exposed skin but do avoid if there is an ever so tiny hint of a back boob! Thats not a good look for backless dresses, especially on your wedding day! Foto

Again, Elegant Elegant Elegant Love Love Love! This style of dress is ideal for any woman wanting to show off an hour glass figure. Foto

Im not one for getting my arms out! Let it be said, there is nothing hollywood vintage glamour about a bingo wing is there?! I am also not heavenly endowed in the cleavage department so whilst the arms on this dress are perfect for me, the sweetheart boobie affair is not.  Still, im totally in love with Italian lace so with a bit of tweaking, this idea was top of my list! Foto

So with a few drawings and a bit of dabbling in lace and cotton thread, I came up with some ideas that would fit my Sofia Loren style, vintage Italian wedding dress theme a treat.  Keep up with the next post to found out what “the dress” turned out like!

Puffball or pleats, basque or bodice, wedding dresses are a personal choice.  What does yours say about you?  Do share!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in London

 

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Big Baby

I think it’s quite normal for a second pregnancy bump to be huge. I am huge. I feel huge. I think I look huge. In comparison to when I was expecting Bambina, I swear it looks like I’m carrying a football team!

A few weeks back I had to see my consultant about making a decision between a natural (give me drugs!) vaginal birth or another c-section.

Bambina was twelve days late so I was induced. Three times. It didn’t work. Eventually my waters were broken and although I had been having contractions, nothing else happened. The Italian almost electrocuted me from playing with the knobs on the TENS machine but nothing else happened. After twenty hours, I had dilated two centimetres. After a further six hours I had dilated an extra centimetre and retracted to two again.  I also had an allergic reaction to the epidural.

I was insistent I didn’t want an epidural, or pethadine, or a c-section. I had all of it. I was exhausted. I don’t recall the c-section that well, except for my legs convulsing so much that they had to strapped to the table. I don’t recall seeing Bambina that well for the first time. I just remember a blurry image of white, whether that was the towel she was wrapped in or her still covered in mucus, I don’t know.

I don’t want that experience this time around. Bambina was stuck in the birth canal as she was so huge, 10lb 4oz. The consultant thinks that this baby could be bigger given the size of me now at 29 weeks.

So, I was offered a helping hand or the chance to go it alone. If your hand is willing to help me, I’m ready to bite it off! C-section it is.

I’ve just had a GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) to measure the amount of sugar in the blood.  This is not just for determining pregnancy related diabetes but can also be a guide as to why some mothers deliver whopping babies.  My gut feeling is that my glucose is absolutely dandy.  If you saw the Italian and his father, they’re not exactly small framed people so I think that any baby that I have will be on the large-boned side of big.  Nevertheless, I did the test and we’ll see what happens.

As I’m now on countdown with only 10 weeks to go, I’m actually looking forward to the c-section this time. I know the date, I know the plan, I know I won’t be in pain (ish).

I know that my big baby will arrive in to the world, happy, healthy and huge!

The countdown begins… !

Was your baby a whoppa? Tell me everything!

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in London

 

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Bonding

Now that scare of Down Syndrome screening is behind us, it has finally dawned on me that in exactly twelve weeks time we will have a new-born in the house.

Until now it has all felt a bit surreal. Despite my ever-expanding stomach, I don’t think that I had actually accepted that I was pregnant. So, I have been making conscious efforts to try to bond with our new addition.  My last pregnancy with Bambina was such a different experience and in comparison I was carefree.  Now, have to work full time, keep house and look after a 15month old – she’s just a baby herself.  My time is completely full now compared to when I was expecting Bambina so I really have to make an effort to have some “me & you” time with the new one.  Its important.

When I was expecting Bambina I used to sing to her. She was quite partial to il Divo and would kick away frantically. I find that ironic really, what with her being half Italian. It was in her genes even in the womb! I danced with her, moving my stomach about. I listened to calming, birthing relaxation downloads on my iPod (that didn’t calm or relax me one iota) and let her listen via daddies headphones resting on my stomach. Even now, Bambina LOVES music!

Now I have to find out what stimulates this little’un. Music? Reading? Talking? I’ve started the bonding process by familiarising myself with what’s going on on the inside. Whats the little’un up to? How is she or he growing? Whats happening this week? My Pregnancy Week by Week book has been a God send, again.

What bonding tricks did you come up with when you were expecting? Do tell!

X-O-X

* Fotos mine, courtesy of http://www.jameslarkinphotography.com/

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in London

 

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A Decade

On Saturday we finally sold our stamp sized apartment!

It got me thinking what a difference a decade makes.

When I bought my little slice of heaven just over nine years ago, my requirements for a home were so different than what they are today. I wasn’t interested in parks or supermarkets, in coffee shops or quaint high streets. In fact, I distinctly remember that the cost of a black cab at 3am strongly determined the location in which I made the purchase.

My stamp sized apartment has served me well and as much as I am excited to be moving on, I will miss it a little. We’ve had fun together!

We’ve held parties at Christmas & served traditional dinner to friends. We’ve gotten drunk on Absinth and held dances in the living room. We’ve had hangovers from hell.  We’ve enjoyed fancy dress parties and Moroccan sisha nights. We’ve had sleep overs and SATC pyjama parties. We’ve had boyfriends come and go. We’ve had flings.  We’ve had arguments with neighbours. We’ve made friends with others

The best things that my little apartment and me have had is a marriage and a daughter! We made our second child in this home but we might already be gone by the time our new addition arrives.

Almost a decade later, my homely requirements have changed. I’m no longer concerned about black cab fairs.  I dont even remember the last time I was in one, let alone at 3am!

My new house and I won’t have raucous drunken, half forgotten, parties, we’ll have a family. We’ll have family dinners and picnics in the garden.  We’ll have BBQ’s and bouncy castles.  We’ll have birthday parties and egg hunts at Easter.  We’ll have first steps and tooth fairies.  We’ll have a guest room and down stairs loo.  We’ll have a dining table! We’ll have a parking space. We’ll be near good schools and parks.  We’ll have a home.

Our home.

What a difference a decade makes!

Does your house hold an array of memories for you?

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in London

 

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The Name Game

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When the Italian and I were choosing a name for Bambina, it was easy. I had always loved her name and luckily it was a perfect match for an English / Italian mix. We have an unusual Italian surname so finding a first name to match that could also have proven a task.

Now that the new addition is on the way, we are faced with the same challenge – what do we call it?? Will il Nonni be able to pronounce it if it’s an English name? How will it sound spoken with a Liverpudlian accent if it’s an Italian name?

I started in my quest a few evenings ago by googling the most popular Italian baby names of 2011 and 2012. The problem with Italian names is, well, they’re Italian and some of them sound completely ridiculous in English.  I just can’t imagine myself screaming across a busy playground, ‘Giuseppe, come on, we’re going home for our dinner now, get off that swing!”.

If you’re English and you’re male, with an Italian sounding name, it can tend to sound a bit cheesy.  I mean, there’s Gianni which conjures up images of a teenage, grease-backed hair Lothario that chats up anything in a skirt. Then, there’s Enzo, he could work in the local pizzeria – it makes me think of red and white checked table clothes.  What about Adolfo? No? Ok, me neither.

Whilst there are a few obvious Italian sounding choices, the ladies names aren’t much better to be frank.  The Italian likes the name Elisabetta (Elizabeth) which, said with an Italian accent sounds beautiful.  However, said in a Liverpudlian accent… sounds wrong! Then there’s Donnatella which conjures up female ninja turtle.

As you can see we are at a loss for both camps.  So this is where I urge you to provide advice! Do you know any European sounding names for a girl or a boy who might be a consideration? Think of your family and friends, celebrities etc, do they have Italian names that I may not think hideous? C’mon, the child’s life and school yard taunts depend on it!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in London

 

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