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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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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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Finding “Our” Place

When the Italian and I decided to get married, it was an automatic decision that the wedding was to be held in Italy.  Other than the obvious Italian luxuries like food, good wine, prosecco and extremely picturesque locations, the Italians Nonna, who was 90 at the time, had breast cancer and couldn’t travel.  So, we wanted to bring our wedding to her.

The location choice was really hard as the town where the Italian is from is literally forty minutes drive from everywhere, in every direction: mountains, sea and city.  I knew I wanted to try to aim for an English rose garden affair, but in Italy.  That wasnt going to be an easy feat.

We started scanning the internet for ideas and locations and when we found various places we liked the look of, the Italian called and enquired about prices, menus, catering etc.  however, the huge problem with wedding planning in Italy that we came across was that the Italians just don’t use the internet.  Websites are old and pictures are ancient.  You don’t get a good feel of how a place would look in reality.  It’s still very much a case of recommendation and word of mouth, which isn’t easy when you’re trying to arrange a wedding from another country.

We had a few trips to italy to view venues and after various trips back and forth I was in love with three places.  All were very different and offered us different things but we had a strict list of considerations to stick to.  Some  our guests were coming from England so we had to consider distance from the airport, local bars, transport from the hotel and transport from the wedding venue.  So, my (I say my, because the Italian really didn’t have a choice in this one!) first choice was out because it was too far from everywhere and a nightmare to transport everyone to and from.  I was heartbroken! Let me introduce your to Castle Brando:

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I think I actually shed a tear when we realised that this place was out of our reach.  I had never imagined getting married in a castle before.  I’m much more a jeans and flip-flops kind of girl so I was quite surprised at myself that I was so upset.  Alas, there was a plan B.

One one of our trips I had convinced the Italian to visit a place that I had found on the internet.  Their website was ancient and photographs were terrible so he was really reluctant.  However, when we got there it was amazing! It was a Venetion country palazzo adorned with old furniture and regal looking decor.  The gardens were breath-taking and again, I was in love. Let me introduce you to Villa Luppis:

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We were treated to a fabulous dinner at Villa Luppis and even today, I still remember how good the food was.  It was definitely the best food were tasted from all the venues we visited.  I loved everything about Villa Luppis but the only thing that we had an issue with was space for the children.  We had a handful of children at our wedding and this villa, although stunning, is a very grown up, very sophisticated kind of place.  That was the only thing that we stumbled on.  So, cue more tears and side step to plan C.

A neighbour of the Italian’s parents told us about a venue that their daughter had recently got married at and suggested that we definitely take a look.  I wasnt convinced.  Knowing his parents neighbours and their daughter, I wasnt sure her taste of venue was exactly and true match for my taste.  Nevertheless, we made a trip for a viewing.  How surprised we were!

We drove through a small town and followed the directions up a meandering hill, into and above the prosecco vineyards of Conegliano and then, there it was.  Let me introduce you to Casteletto.

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Turning the corner through the vineyards to discover the iron gates that led to a gravelled driveway was a surprise.  As we approached the top and walked forward we were totally blown away by the view.  It was stunning!. There it was, a tiny little castle with a chapel, on the hill, hidden amongst the trees.  From the outside it was perfect.

Was this really a castle fit for a princess?

Did you have the in love feeling when you found your venue?

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Italia

 

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It’s Only A Suggestion!

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Firstly, I apologies for not keeping the momentum of the whole Italian Wedding thing going at a smooth steady pace.  As you may imagine, I have had rather a lot going on recently but alas, without further ado, I will continue:

When we got back to London we called our parents to break the news of our engagement.

My mum was delighted. The Italian, in her eyes, is a good man who will look after me. He made quite a few sacrifices to be with me and she has always admired him for it.

The Italian’s parents, as usual, had something to say. Why didn’t we tell them when we were in Italy? How long have we known? You get the picture. Well, we’ve known for like, five hours, and we didn’t tell you in Italy because it only happened, like, five hours ago!

Like any Latin mother, this opened the flood gates to various “suggestions”. Where we should do it, when we should do it, who should be invited.

The Italian is rather stubborn and immediately his mind was set: wedding in Italy (fine by me), in the autumn (fine by me), only close family, no aunties/uncles/cousins that we don’t see regularly (fine by me, not fine by his mother).

I can count my favourite relatives on one hand so I wasn’t put off by this arrangement at all. His mother however had already drawn up “her list” and had pulled it from her handbag quicker than Clint Eastwood can brandish a pistol from a holster!

The list consisted of venues, invitees, thoughts and ideas. Thanks but no thanks.  The Italian was quick to draw a line through the various names of neighbours, cousins that lived hours away, aunties and uncles that never telephoned him let alone visited.  It was only bound to cause controversy.  Pens at the ready! On the list, off the list, on the list, off the list!

My spoken Italian back then wasn’t great, which in hindsight, really was a wonderful thing as it didn’t allow me to tell her where to shove it!  The Italian did a pretty good job of that on his own.

We were on a tight budget and the Italian spent a lot of time on the phone making enquiries.  His mother in law couldn’t believe that we, mostly he, could organise a wedding in Italy, from England, using the internet and the phone.

Meanwhile, my mother kept herself busy organising my hand-made wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses, at my pleasure and request, whilst his mother kept herself busy “making suggestions” and getting annoyed when we said thanks but no thanks.

That was the first sign that I was marrying in to a Latin family and probably faced a life time of suggestions.

So before it got too out of hand, the Italian thanked his thoughtful mother for thinking of us and being so helpful but for now we had everything under control.

We had a tiny, friendly suggestion for her…….Back off!

Do you have issues with your mother in law? Do share stories!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Italia

 

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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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The Italian: A Horses Head in my Bed #2

It had been days that I had been able to keep up the facade. I ignored the Italian’s calls and purposefully didn’t return them. I deleted his texts. I gathered his belongings and packed them into a bag.

“What are’a you’a doin’a? You’a been’a stupid’a girl’a now eh?!” he said “answer your’a bloody’a phone’a!!”

After about a week, I took the cowards option again and text him to tell him to come to the flat and collect his things. Five minutes, in and out. Job done.

Having never dated a foreigner before, I was in for a shock.

He was persistent. He arrived, as usual, on time. I could tell he had made an extra effort with his appearance; nice shirt, his best jeans, aftershave.

“Now’a sit’a down’a ere’a an’ tell me’a what the hell’a you’a doin'” he said as he patted the sofa with his Mediterranean tanned, perfectly manicured yet masculine hand.

The “chat” began. He basically lectured me into understanding that if I had a problem with space, I should have told him. If I had a problem with him, I should have told him. If I had a problem being in a relationship, I should have told him. “How’a can’a we jump’a over buildings’a if’a we don’ta talk it?”.

Hurdles. You mean jump over hurdles. Talk about it, not talk it.

I listened. I argued. I explained. This was all going way too fast for me. Only a few months previous I had been free and single and actually loving it. I wasn’t ready for this. The staying over was one thing but staying over permanently was another.

To my surprise, the Italian was, as ever, accommodating. This laid back Mediterranean attitude was new to me. An Englishman would have long stormed out. The Italian, however, was strategically fighting his corner. I couldn’t help but be a tiny bit impressed.

“Guarda” (Look), he said. “You’a like’a me, I’a think’a you’re a not’a that bad’a, you either’a go’a out’a with me’a, or’a you don’t a”. I couldn’t help, again, but be impressed with his candid frankness. “But’a I’a tell’a you this a’now, I’a not puttin’a up with this rabbish, you’a not’a twelve’a eh?!”.

That told me. He wasn’t finished.

“I’a think’a that we ‘av’a good thing ‘ere’a. Now, dont’a you’a look’a ‘orse in Its’a mouth’a to count’a all Its’a teeth’a! Ok?!”.

Don’t look a horse in its mouth to count all it’s teeth?? After an enormous fit if giggles at how stupid he sounded I realised he was telling me that as we had a good thing, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and just accept things as they were.

I did accept things and I stayed with him. I gave it a shot and with a bit more communication and a lot of patience, we both settled into our new circumstances.

It wasn’t before long that the very thing I had been running from happened.

The Italian moved in officially and that was that. I had committed to having his horse’s head on the pillow next to me forever more but promised never to look in his mouth to count his teeth!

X-O-X

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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in London

 

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