It's my life, but not as I knew it!

Posts tagged ‘Italy’

Trendy Tot Thursday (29/10/2015)

Hi everyone! How are you all?

Having come from a huge rugby-loving household I have got really stuck in to the Rugby 2015 World Cup and have enjoyed watching it (even though we went out far too early for my liking!). 

Before the half-term holiday, Biscuit and Cracker had their very first non-school uniform day at school with the Rugby World Cup as the theme. 

  
Honestly, how cute do they look?! Biscuit and Cracker are both wearing England rugby tops, bought by Mammy and Mamps for the occasion. Obviously these are very hard-wearing and tough tops. As they are also half-Italian, they are wearing Italian tops from the 2014 Football World Cup underneath! We couldn’t say fairer than that! 

We teamed Biscuit’s top with her pink leggings from Boots. She was more than a little excited to be able to wear her Frozen Crocs to school as she still loves them. 

Cracker is wearing a pair of denim jeans from Primark with his top, as well as the Cars Crocs I struggle to get off his feet at any time other than school. 

Thank you for reading our #TT_Thursday. For more information, and for other posts please check The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex and look at their wonderful websites! 

We hope to see you very soon. X 

Holidaying with Twin Toddlers… The Journey!

In January we took on the, seemingly, mammoth task of taking Biscuit and Cracker, our two-and-a-half year old twins, on holiday to Rob’s family home in Italy.

This meant that I would have to pack enough clothes, toys and toiletries for the four of us in a mixture of carry on and hand luggage and then we would need to transport said luggage and said children to the airport to catch our flight. Due to this, we also made the decision to leave their buggies at home. We just didn’t have enough hands!

Our journey involved an hour on the London Underground (luckily at 7am on a Saturday when it is relatively empty), a two hour wait at the airport and then a two-and-a-half hour flight to Pisa before being collected by Rob’s family. This is a long day for anyone, but for toddlers who don’t understand what is going on and who are woefully out of routine by this point it could be a recipe for disaster.

We flew British Airways, their luggage allowance means they’re a good choice for people flying with children. It was slightly annoying that now the twins are over two, they have to pay pretty much full price. Obviously this means that they get their own seat, but they most definitely didn’t need the 23kg check-in allowance and the two items of hand luggage! The other irritating thing is that when they’re little you can choose your seats, for free, at time of booking. Now they’re that bit older we would have had to pay to choose our seats or wait until five days before the flight and BA would try to seat us together. Surely it’s more important, if travelling with independently-seated toddlers, that these families should be able to ensure they sit together? On the way out it worked out fine, flying back BA seated Rob, Biscuit and myself in three seats together and Cracker on his own in the row in front…. Sensible? Not in the slightest, especially as they have it noted down in front of them how old he is.

At least our bags made it to Italy with us though (we have experienced our bags going on a far more roundabout journey to our destination than we took and that is not a pleasant thing). Unfortunately on the way home some bright spark took one of our suitcases home and left hers on the carousel instead. Although my nerves took a shredding thinking of all the stuff in that suitcase (like Cracker’s beloved cars and pretty much all their clothes) in case we didn’t get it back, thankfully the very helpful Gary in Customer Services located the bright spark and our suitcase was couriered to us 15 or so hours later. That very same day I went out and purchased a bright neon bag strap and luggage tag to put on our plain suitcase for next time we travel, lesson learned!

Our first challenge was the journey itself. Cracker gets extremely travel-sick. He has thrown up on trains, on five minute car rides, and we knew that we had to plan for this. He wore travel bands (something I have always done on a journey of any length) and he had anti-sickness drugs from the GP. Coupling this with a bland breakfast and restriction of juice, we managed to arrive in Tuscany vomit-free! I did have a large number of sick-bags with me (purchased from Amazon) which we held out to him a lot. We are waiting until he gets old enough to be able to tell us when he’s feeling poorly, hopefully that will make things easier.

Distraction also helps. Rob and I loaded both of our tablets up with children’s films and TV programmes, as well as packing their little bags with favourite toys. A friend of mine gave me the handy hint of “never underestimate the power of food” so we took plenty of little snacks with us (I.e. Breadsticks, raisins, crackers, etc) and offered them these when they were looking particularly fed up. Plus having ‘sucky sweets’ for take-off and landing helps with painful ears. Biscuit and Cracker do not often get sweets, but I figured the benefits outweighed the risks this time!

We were lucky. Both Biscuit and Cracker, on both flying out and back, were very good. We were the only people on board with children, so any noise and disruption would have been easy for people to locate! But they didn’t cry, whinge or (thank goodness) scream! Yes, they fidgeted, played with the tray table and swapped seats a number of times but I know plenty of adults who’d do that too!

So journeying with twin toddlers is possible! Who’d have thought it! Thanks for reading x

Next time: what we took with us (both useful and useless)!

Buon Natale/Merry Christmas

When I met, married and had children with a gorgeous Italian man, I knew we would want to keep the culture, traditions and language of both sides of their families. Rob speaks to Biscuit and Cracker purely in Italian, we have children’s TV, films and books in Italian as well as English and we’ve already taken them over to Italy to meet the family. We want them to be proud of their dual heritage.

I have already blogged about the traditions we are starting in our house and this has led me to research Italian Christmas traditions to see how to incorporate them into Casa S’s Christmas.

The tradition Rob has told me about many times before is La Befana. La Befana is a kind witch who visits children on the night of 5th January (Epiphany). There are many different myths and stories about why La Befana brings treats to children. These range from the story of how the Three Wise Men asked her to accompany them to find Jesus and she refused as she was too busy, but then regretted not going with them so went out to find them and the Baby Jesus to the slightly more disturbing myth of La Bafana being a bereaved mother who believed that the Baby Jesus was her son and so went out to find him. In all stories told, because she was late leaving, La Bafana never found Jesus so instead goes to visit each child to reward the good ones with sweets and treats and to give the naughty ones coal. We will definitely put the stocking out on the 5th January so they can wake up to some treats.

A tradition that Rob did not know about, but that I think would be a nice alternative to a Christmas Tree would be the Il Ceppo or The Tree of Light. This is a large wooden triangle shape with tiers of shelves within the frame. You use this frame to not only display the Nativity Scene, but also to put decorations, small gifts and treats and lights on. As with a usual Christmas Tree, a star or small fairy is put on top. We already have two nativities in our living room, one a small wooden one from my childhood and a much more child-friendly Fisher Price Nativity Set, which the twins love playing with. Having somewhere specific and special to display them in our living room would be wonderful. I will have to go about finding out how Il Ceppo is made and if I will be able to get one here for next Christmas.

Of course, as with a lot of Italian traditions, there is a lot of food involved in the Italian Christmas. I, personally, am not sure I could manage a first course of pasta or Lasagna before the roast dinner part of Christmas lunch as they do but I am (of course) willing to try! Typical Italian sweet breads such as panettone and panforte are already becoming much more mainstream in the UK as many of the supermarkets stock them alongside the mince pies and Christmas puddings. I think, for us, it will be about incorporating our favourite parts of our childhood meals into our family Christmas dinner and enjoying that all together.

Above all we are going to spend Christmas as a family doing (and eating) things that we enjoy and trying to make it as special as we can for Biscuit and Cracker.

20131219-143518.jpg