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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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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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Dates Gone Bad: Camel Mike

As you may remember, I saw Marie Claire magazine tweeted about one of their bloggers, Lucy Robinson, and how she had been on hundreds of disastrous dates and ended up getting a two book deal from Penguin.  So, I set out to document a few my own.  It was quite hard to dwindle down but due to the feedback I’ve received, it looks like I chose well.

You can read week 1, Elbow Boy, here and you can read week 2, Posh Boy, here.  Now lets move on to week 3, Camel Mike.  Enjoy!

Some years ago, again with the friend who made me blog, I packed my backpack and headed off on a trek around Morocco.  It was when it wasn’t cool to go to Morocco and Marrakech hadn’t yet been discovered by hordes of Easy Jet tourists.

We thought we were brave and well-educated but in hindsight we were quite naive. That adds to the enjoyment of the trip in my opinion and I’m sure she would agree.

We got up to no end of debauchery on that trip: picked up on the train from Rabat to Fez by a guy who was our ‘friend’ (he ended up selling us to a madam in the seediest Hammam known to man where someone’s grandmother stripped us of our underwear and an old toothless woman repeatedly shouted “Tony Blair” at my friend, we were proposed marriage at least a million times, we were stalked by a man wearing a wooly blanket who took it upon himself to enter our hotel and find our room (scary!), my friend got married to the man who herded our camels across the Sahara and I snogged him under a camel blanket…which, I hasten to add she then repeated, to everyone, at my wedding!!

So you see, it wasn’t actually an arranged date, more an impromptu act of madness.  Nevertheless, I do feel compelled to set the scene of the hilarity.

A few years previous we visited a psychic woman who told me I would have a relationship with a man called Saíd. No way. There is no way on Gods earth that would happen. Foreign men just weren’t my thing (and now I’m married to one, go figure!).

With the psychic’s prediction well and truly forgotten, off we headed to camel trek the Sahara. It’s worth noting here that having spent a night or two on the edge of it, we were totally awestruck at how handsome (probably mysterious) the men were. We had found ourselves in a sand pit of Omar Sherif’s!

Mike, as he was known to Westerners, greeted us at our Auberge. Donning his white Saharan turban and his blue desert dress, he was a vision of wonder. He was the owner of the Auberge and proudly showed us around before introducing us to our camels.

We spent three days and three nights trekking up and down sand dunes, from one oasis to the next and even got caught in a rather frightening sand storm. Eventually we figured that we hadn’t ventured very far at all and had probably been going round in circles for the past 72 hours!

To end our camel trek on a high, once we got back to the Auberge, we sent a bunch of nomadic teenagers out on their bicycles to the nearest hotel to stock up on beers and vodka.

Considering the Saharan Tuareg are Muslim and supposed to be dry, they did a fair old job of necking the vodka! As did my friend and I. We were soon downing shots, passing around the shisha and causing an untold amount of hysteria in the village.

The Tuaregs were having so much fun that they didn’t want my buddy and I to leave. Camel Mike proposed to my friend and held a defend desert wedding under the stars. She However had her sights set on a cute American who had been part of our camel crew.

Very late into the night, Camel Mike took us on to the roof of the building to show us the stars. Pretty goddamn amazing to see how clear the sky is over the Sahara.

It’s also pretty goddamn amazing how I found myself under a camel blanket, one that we had been sitting on, that the camel had been sweating on, for the last three days, when the sun came up. I had no recollection of what happened in between!! Worse still.. Camel Mike and his Camel riding buddy were also under the camel blanket!! WTF?

As Camel Mike asked me “where’s my turban??”, the surrealism of it freaked me out and I scurried down to what should have been my actual sleeping place.

When I opened the door, I saw my friend that made me blog sprawled across a double bed looking like she had died and unwillingly come back to life.. “I’m so hung over, we are in the desert, with no water, I am seriously about to die!!”. “At least you didn’t sleep all night under a stinking camel blanket with a camel herder!” I retorted. “I know! I can’t believe you snogged Camel Mike!!” she said with every ounce if effort she had left in her body.

WHAAAAT?? I snogged the camel herder, under a stinking camel blanket! This readers, was an all time low.

So the moral to this story is this: never get trollied in the desert!

Oh, and by the way, although Camel Mike lived in the desert, he did have email. I know this because as we were leaving he handed me his business card (and Camel herders need business cards why?)…. Saíd.Camel@hotmail.com.

This obviously wasn’t his actual email address but note that his name was Saíd, not Mike. Our meeting was in fact written in the stars as seen by the psychic woman. I wish she would have told me to his profession, I’d have run a mile!

X-O-X

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2012 in London

 

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My Italy: Liberation Day

Today in Italy it’s Liberation Day, Festa della Liberazione, a day that celebrates the end of World War II.  But lets not concentrate on the boring stuff.  What I want to tell you is that today, it’s also the feast day of Venice’s patron saint, Saint Mark, celebrated with a procession and other celebrations in Saint Mark’s Square.

So I thought I would have a little celebration of my own and share with you a few pics that I have taken over the years of Venice….my second home! Now obviously I think my own photos are pretty lovely, but if you want to see some professional snaps, check out Otts World. Absolutely stunning!

The Grand Canal just under the Rialto bridge -my favourite spot to watch the Gondoliers

St Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Square

Venice wouldn’t be Venice without a mask..

My husband is from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and when I first starting visiting, to be honest I was bored stiff.  I didn’t appreciate its beauty but over the years I admit, it has grown on me.  Last summer we picked the hugest fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s field next to our house and made sauce for the pasta.  We picked courgettes and used the lovely yellow courgette flowers to fry – delicious!  And the best thing is this, every morning in summer, I make my breakfast, a hot steaming espresso and I sit outside on the terrace, put my feet up and take in the view.

Not bad waking up to this every day huh?!

And when the day gets a bit too much to bear, I can just wash it all away with a nice chilled glass of white made from the grapes that grow in the vineyard at the bottom of my garden!

X-O-X

 
15 Comments

Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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