Our own little Roman Holiday – part three

Hello and welcome back to part three of our Roman Holiday! I wanted to put todays post with my last one, but day three turned out to be quite full of excitement all of its own and day four, well I knew day four was also going to be exciting! So without ado:

Day four – Friday (and a very special trip that poppet was so excited for!)

We headed out early to pick up our rental car! I know driving in Rome! How brave are we, when I say I mean Mr BC. I “forgot” (read:left) my license in the apartment! Mr BC had no problem and fit with Italian drivers like a duck to water, not surprisingly, Mr BC can drive amazingly well everywhere we go! Show off!!!

After a bit of a wait getting the car sorted, we were off on our Italian adventure. Driving through the glorious landscape of Tuscany, and it was glorious! I still don’t think our Italian craving has been satisfied, we may be back again in the future!

We happily drove for a few hours and finally we got to behold the wonderful spectacle that is in the heart of Pisa: of course, the Leaning Tower. Poppet was so excited, she looked like she might burst.

So excited!
So excited to be seeing the Leaning Tower of Pizza! (“Mummy I know its Pisa, but I am going to say Pizza, because you know, we’re in Italy!”) Love her!
Pisa Shot
The “stand in front of the view and smile guys” photo!
Cool Monkey
I wish I was as cool as my son!!
Poppets big adventure
Poppets Big Pisa adventure
Pisa!!
Its definitely leaning!

Pisa

Amazing!
Amazing!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
So many people said its not worth the trip! I disagree! We loved it! The Leaning Tower is worth a look!
Poppet posing
She normally loves a good photo but she was so excited to be here, she hardly every look at the camera! Eyes full of wonder at Pisa!
Pisa posing
It had to be done! We had to get this shot!
No one is as cool as Poppet on a photo!
No one is as cool as Poppet on a photo!

Im as tall as the tower!

Butterfly
Butterfly flying free in Pisa! I loved it!
Poppet
Finally, she’s seen what she came for, so i can get a beautiful shot! Beautiful!

Once we had our fill of Pisa and some food, we headed off back to Rome! We had planned on going to the Pinnochio Theme park, but getting our car took a while so we had a delayed start and then we enjoyed Pisa so much we stayed for much longer than I thought we would, we didn’t have time. So instead we took a slow drive back to Rome – along the coastal road! It was worth the detour and slightly longer drive!

 

Day 5 – Saturday

We still had the car today, so we headed off into Italy. Originally we were supposed to be going to find the nearest beach, after all our walking, museums and soaking up of the culture. We thought a nice day at the beach is what we needed. As you all know i love to read, and probably have one too many books about Italy. Within this beautiful book, I found a lake resort near Rome that looked beautiful and so I talked everyone in trying this lake instead of the beach! And it was worth it on so many levels. So on Saturday, we headed off to Lake Bracciano. A hidden, beautiful part of Italy about an hour (30 odd miles – Mr BC is telling me!) from Rome. To say it was the peal of summer, I think it still a relatively hidden gem of Italy, as it wasn’t too busy! In fact it was perfect!

This evening, we thought we would try a new restaurant! We really, really wished we hadn’t bothered! I didn’t enjoy the food, the kids didn’t really either. Mr BC and Mamma Butterfly didn’t mind it. But we did all agree on one thing! The price was ridiculous! For the same sort of food we payed double we had done every or other night, and the food wasn’t better! But never mind, it was still a wonderful day and me and the kids enjoyed a bit of Italian Snap chat – same as English just in Italy! Haha!

Pulling faces
Pulling faces waiting for food
Back with the littlies!
Back with the littlies! Trying out a new restaurant! (Wish we hadn’t bothered! Didn’t enjoy it and cost us a small fortune! ☹️)

Pulling faces waiting for food

And heres some hilarious videos of Poppet as you have never seen her! Oh how we love a good snapchat!

 

I hope you are enjoying seeing some of our special memories from out Holiday. We only have a few more days to go, but they are still filled lots of fun and happy memories for us. Stay tuned for more!

Arrivederci!

*Book Review* This Charming Man

This Charming Man

By Marianne Keyes

This is my first Marianne Keyes novel, but based on other reviews of other books I was expecting something along the lines of a book filled with humour, quirkiness and tales of romance. Boy, did I maybe start off with the wrong book?

The book surprised me. In itself it is actually a really good read, it tells the story of a few different characters and how all their lives intertwine. Domestic abuse, alcoholism and some political storylines may not be for the faint hearted or people who have suffered in the past, as Marianne does not mince her words and she tells a very heartbreaking story. However, for someone who was expecting a light chick lit read filled with humour and romance, it was much edgier and harder to read.

I didn’t particularly like the Lola’s style of address. I am assuming it was supposed to be a journal type hand, told in the first person, in a quick “Bridget Jones style”, but I am not a fan of the whole Bridget Jones series and I like my stories to flow, and the chapters in Lola’s voice irked me and if I’m honest I did find myself skimming parts of her story to skip over to the more traditional styles of the other perspectives.

I found for most of the first part of the book, the story maybe felt as if it dragged a little, but then the end was too far the other way and everything was tied up in a neat little bow really quickly. So for a first read, probably not up there with my favourites, but for the story Marianne wants to tell, it was a good read.

I won’t go into detail and add summaries, as you can find plenty of those, and I don’t like to give spoilers if I can help it. If I can give any advice, don’t start this book with like me a skewed view of what you are getting yourself in for. I thought it would be a light summer read to entertain me one evening whilst on holiday. The story is deep, meaningful and sometimes harsh. If you are looking for a cheery happy go lucky story, this is probably not it. But if you want something to sink your teeth into, and make you think, then most definitely give it a go.

Overall, it was a good book, not great but still worth a read. It hasn’t put me off Marianne Keyes, and I have another book lined up to try again. I think if I read it again, I would take it a bit slower and really listen to the story she is trying to tell, as I think this is the sort of book/story line we should read and share and talk about. Domestic Violence, Alcoholism, abuse and any other “taboo” subject, shouldn’t be taboo in my eyes, and we all read books on the matter and openly talked about them, I would hope if I knew anyone who was going through similar situations would feel they could talk to me. So, I think its good I stumbled onto this book, as it got me looking int other books with deeper, stronger subject material. I am not turning my back on happier subjects, as I love to escape to happy worlds where the girl and boy meet and face some little trial and tribulation but alls well that ends well type of book, but it did make me think about opening up my literary perspective.

I would recommend this book, if they had an idea about content, or if we had discussed it previously. I give it 3/5 stars, I have taken 2 off, not because of the story, content of most of the writing. But I really could not get along with Lola’s journal style of writing.

★★⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 stars.

If you did fancy a read you can find it using the link below and purchase from amazon.

This Charming Man

***THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMPENSATION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS ABOVE***

Our own little Roman Holiday – part two

Ciao Ciao!

I hope you enjoyed looking over our first couple of days in Rome! By the second day, we were having a blast! It was super, super hot! More than what we are used to, but we went with it and still had an amazing time. Read on for our next day.

Day 3 – Thursday

Mamma Butterfly wasn’t feeling too well today and decided to have a rest in the apartment. So, me the kids and Mr BC headed off into Rome to seek out a hop on/hop off bus and take in as much of Rome as we could.

We did the full bus tour – we did get for a short detour to Castle Sant Angelo as it is one of my favourite buildings in Rome and I really want to go to the Museum. So we jumped off and head around the museum and then jumped back on to finish the tour. The kids got a bit fed up walking around Castel Sant’Angelo! It wasn’t the most child friendly if museums, but I really enjoyed walking around and seeing some beautiful art and architecture, and reading about the history and how Popes would flee to hear was amazing. I love the angels in the Castle, but my favourite part is the view from the very top. The view of the whole if Rome is incredible but the sight if St Peters is spectacular!

Once we had ran around the Castle and saw all it had to offer, we had some lunch and head back onto the bus. Where we had free headphones and got to hear lots of stories about Rome, whilst getting to see lots of sights of Rome.

Monkey was most impressed with the mythological origins of Rome.

As we headed back around to the Ancient side of Rome, and to the Colosseum, it all just got a little too much for my little travellers!

Colosseum and Arch of Constantine
Colosseum and Arch of Constantine
Getting a little tired
Its been a long day of walking and bus tours – Getting a little tired

Arch of Constantine

Just like at home
I maybe miles from home, but I’m never far from a good cup of tea, biscuits and some books!

After a long day of tours, we settled in for a bit of a rest and Mr BC made us some Spaghetti Bolognese! It was yummy and a perfect end to an amazing day!

Day three appears to be a long day of lots of photo taking! And as next day was filled full of adventure, I will leave you wanting more and sign off for now! But stay tuned for part 3 of our Roman Adventure!

Ciao for now!

Our own little Roman Holiday

Buonasera! Good Evening!

It has been a few weeks coming but with us taking our holiday earlier in the summer holidays; the kids being off; me being back at work and putting in extra hours so I could take a couple more days off at the end of the holidays, I just haven’t found much time to write as I would have liked too. I love writing my blog, and I love that is has inspired me to do so much more wonderful things with my family and children. I am learning everyday to try to say yes more to things, as I really meant when I said I wanted more kaleidoscope adventures. The downside to this living life, is not having as much time to write up about it afterwards. But I am not giving up, I just need to take some time for myself and hope you will forgive me if sometimes my posts are delayed. And finally you can enjoy seeing some of our wonderful captured moments from our holiday to Rome.

roman forum.jpg
Our apartment was a stones throw from the colosseo and the roman forum

I don’t think I will ever give up writing my blog, I know I don’t have huge followers but I am ok with this, as I enjoy writing for myself, and as I say it has inspired me to want to do more, live more and enjoy myself more. I love that I possibly am sharing my adventures, thoughts and ideas with others though, and hopefully inspiring you all to go out and find adventures of your own.

31st July – 7th August 2018 – Rome, Italy (with a trip to Pisa for Poppet)

Mamma Butterfly and myself went to Rome back in 2008 and fell in love with Italy! We have wanted to return but having two small children, a city break especially one with so much culture, art, architecture and academia as Rome, we thought it may not be the most appropriate family holiday for us yet. I did not bank on having two especially amazing children though! Who take after me so much, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. They, of course, do love a good play on the beach, or swim in a pool and playing with toys like every other child. But, they also love looking around old houses, discovering castles, and hearing all the stories that come with these unique places. They both love to learn and love exploring. So over a year ago when Monkey started learning about the seven wonders of the world, he started to discover that travelling abroad might be fun and he heard about the Coloseum in Rome, and for the next year he asked when we could go. I like every other parent, thought long and hard, would there be enough to keep them entertained, would this really be on the top of his holiday list a year from now?! I did some research, we talked about Rome with the kids and what it would have to offer them and when some months later, they both still liked the idea of it, we went ahead and booked it. In the mean time, my very smart, very techie savvy children googled Italy and Poppet decided as we was in Italy, we also needed to visit Pisa, as she was desperate to see the leaning tower.

The countdown began.

And now looking back all my worries and woes, were for nothing, The children were amazing, we had a beautiful, engaging, exciting holiday full of adventure, stories, history and fun.

I get a little snap happy and took lots of photos so I am probably going to have a run  of blog post about our trip:here is part one of our Roman Holiday! Enjoy!

Day 1 – Our arrival did not go as seamlessly as planned. Even though we read some terrible reviews about Ryanair, we hoped they were inaccurate. They weren’t! Terrible delays, no communication and they almost lost our baggage but finally hours later than planned we arrived and we were all thankfully still really happy!

I of course, being scared to fly did not enjoy myself. I am not just a little scared, I guess i have to face that I am irrationally scared to fly. I know its irrational, I can tell myself all the facts about flying but I am so scared, I suffered from a tiny panic attack. Being me, I try not to show it as I don’t want my fear passing to the kids but I could not help it on this flight. I cried the entire time, I didn’t like to be left so if  poppet or monkey needed the toilet, Mr BC had to take them and Mamma Butterfly had to come next to me and hold my hand. It was silent tears and if the kids talked to me I took a deep breath and pretended, but they knew. Thankfully it didn’t bother them, but I didn’t enjoy it and I was tense the whole flight. I know my fear is a bit ridiculous as we landed safe and it was fine, but I can’t tell my brain or heart that enough for it to understand.

Anyway, we arrived and it was as beautiful as I remember and our apartment from Airbnb was awesome and was amazingly located. We walked out our door to a restaurant (which we would discover was amazing!!!) and a short walk down a street and right there, two minutes from our apartment was a beautiful sight we had all come to see.

Colosseo
Even better view on our first night! Colosseo was on our doorstep.

We went for a walk to see the colosseum at night and it was a truly beautiful and mesmerising start to our holiday.

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We finished off with our first of many visits to the restaurant across form our apartment: Iari The Vino. The food is amazing, the prices are reasonable and the food is worth it and best of all the staff are incredible. Taking children out for food can be a bit tricky but the staff at Iari are wonderful.

Day two – Colosseo and Roman Forum

Monkey was excited to go to the Colosseum although I think he thought there might still be gladiators there, once he realised this, thankfully he was still ok! He loved to hear some stories about gladiators, and fighting animals and Christians! (That was a tricky subject!) It was so hot though, that we had to return the apartment for a  bit to cool down. But they both still had an amazing day!

We ended the day over at Iari the Vino again! The food was still as
yummy! Monkey got some toys from the colosseum, which I had a play
with whilst they went off for an evening walk with Mr BC!

I hope you are enjoying our holiday adventures! Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!

Ciao for now! Arrivederci and Buona Notte! Goodbye and Good Night!

*Book Review* One Summer in Italy

 

One Summer in Italy

By Sue Moorcroft

As you may be aware, I have just returned from my own holiday in Italy. In the post blues of a holiday, I love nothing more than to to curl up with a good book and escape to other places, stories and meet new characters. And as I was feeling particularly sad about leaving the glorious sunshine of Italy, what better way was than to curl up with a book describing and delighting in all the beauty of Italy.

One Summer in Italy is a beautiful tale for more than one reason. Sue Moorcraft’s descriptions of Italy, make me feel as if I am still there myself. And if you have never been, she invokes such wonderful pictures, senses and beautiful story telling that I believe anyone can imagine the beauty that is Italy.

As for the story itself, I love a good chick lit romance story to tide me over the summer holidays, but when the story deals with grief, sadness, family drama, loneliness, homelessness and so much more, well you’ve got me hooked. From the first moment we meet Sofia, I already feel like I want her as my friend. She has spent a huge portion of her life caring for her father, and at the beginning of the story, she sadly loses him after a long fight with illness, and he asks Sofia to make him a few promises, and this is where the story starts.

In amongst Sofia trying to fulfil these promises, we see her dealing with the grief and after effects of a life filled with love, but also of loneliness and dependancy. She has never truly been free to do as she pleases, not in a bad way as she loved her father deeply, but she has been held back because of this. She is taking her steps into being an independent woman and she does it with ease and decorum. Which is the complete opposite of the young girl Amy whom Sofia befriends and helps out. Sofia will have to tackle family drama, meet a handsome man Levi, help out Amy more than she realised and will probably do more travelling than she was expecting this early on her journey.

I won’t go into too many details but the main characters of Sofia, Amy and Levi, are all interesting in their own ways, and are all facing some truly heartbreaking family situations. Sofia and Levi have age and a bit more wisdom on their side. Amy is a very young 18 year old and hasn’t seen much of the world or experienced a lot of it. I have read some reviews that think she is a little selfish or a little too naive and a lot fo other not too nice adjectives. But I don’t think she is, I just think until this slight blip in her family life, she has had a wonderful upbringing. She has loving parents, and she gets along with her siblings and has some good friends, and has always gone to school and done as she has told. So for her first time out in the real world all on her own, she is going to scared, and possibly acting a little naive or entitled but I don’t think its a negative thing, she just is experiencing life for the first time without the safety net of her parents, family and friends, and that is daunting.

I love the character of Sofia and Levi, and I adore their friendship. Sometimes, in stories like these the main character will make a huge mistake or do something silly and it will put a strain on the relationship until they see sense and apologise and forgive and live happily ever after. I love how in this story, none of our main characters, have really done anything wrong, or silly. They are all in impossible situations and have tried to work through it in the best way they knew how. I didn’t have any moments where I groaned inwardly at their behaviour or cringed with the characters. It was a joy to read from cover to cover. There are some sad moments, and moments where you feel for them all, but it was a very entertaining and beautiful read.

Overall, my love for Italy was already deeply cemented, as I love the country and would gladly go back there over and over. But when you are in a post holiday slump and you want a lively, engaging story that also delights in the beauty of a place, and makes it feel like a character all of its own. This is the book for you.

I give it 5 out 5 stars! I adore Sofia and think her tale of finally getting to experience independence and happiness for herself is wonderful. Levi is beautiful creation and as soon as he stepped of his motorbike to aid Sofia in her battle against her employer, I knew I would fall in love with him. If you like a light summer read to pass the time whilst away on holiday or just something to cheer you up, I would definitely recommend it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars.

If your looking for a read to finish up the summer holidays, definitely give this a go and you can get it from amazon by clicking the image below.

And just because I can’t help but share my love for Italy – here is a shot from our recent holiday.

Tuscany view
Driving from Rome to Pisa through the glorious Tuscany landscapes.

***THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMPENSATION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS ABOVE***

The Greatest Show Sleepover

Was it the Greatest? Did everyone enjoy themselves? Do you all think I am insane? And as it was a sleepover, was there any actual sleeping?

All very good questions! I do believe it was an epic birthday party centred around the greatest showman and all things circus and I think Monkey had the best time, so yes I think it was the greatest! Did everyone enjoy themselves? Well I guess I’ll never know for sure, but I hope so. It looked like they were having fun, I had to use mum voice a few times but only because everyone was so excitable and crazy! I would like to hope that everyone had an amazing time, I really enjoyed setting it up and watching them have fun, so I just hope they did.

IMG_1012The greatest showman (played by Monkey – of course) looked like he had a brilliant time and it was his party so overall, I think it was a success.

Am I insane for having nine children in my house at once and letting 6 seven year olds sleep over? Quite possibly, but I love doing things a little crazy, to paraphrase the Greatest Showman “to live  a little crazy!” I enjoy the excitement of doing a party myself, of having a great theme and seeing what ideas we can all come up with to make a party great. When we do these things, we do them as a family, everyone gets a say and gets to help out in whatever way they can. So yeah, I am probably a little cuckoo but so are all my family! And obviously Monkeys friends were all up for a good laugh too, so maybe its ok to be a little crazy! It paid off as everyone got involved and acted out mini shows, tired some circus skills and generally just had a massive play in the garden!

DSCF0978.JPG

DSCF0972fullsizeoutput_41bbSleepover? I has nightmares before the party that no one would sleep and I would have to call a couple of parents to come collect their children at 2am a they were scared and I would have parents complaining the next day that the children were so tired as they didn’t sleep, but you know what – it wasn’t that bad! Yes, it took a while for the excitement to die down, and for them all the fall asleep, but eventually they all did and it was before 11pm which I thought was amazing for the first sleepover. I didn’t have to tell them to quieten down too much and they all slept soundly all night and hardly moved an inch. I know this because I did not sleep so well, I was so worried someone might get scared or not be able to find the toilet that I pretty much just kept checking on them all night!

IMG_1033My living room has never been crammed with so many little people! But they all managed to get comfy and before long it was morning!

IMG_1038I am not sure Monkey was ready for it to be morning though! He zoned out a little whilst watching Peter Rabbit!

IMG_1039You might all be wondering what happened to Poppet, she was going to sleep downstairs with the party but decided last minute she didn’t want to, so she came to bed with me and MR BC instead. I don’t think she’s quite ready for sleepovers yet (thankfully!)

Breakfast was a funny thing to behold – I said the kids could help themselves and it was crazy! But in a fun and happy way, everyone was passing cereal around, bigger kids pouring milk for the littler ones, some second helpings and everyone just being polite and lovely and it was a perfect start to the morning.

DSC_0584

We finished off by a nice walk to the park and a play to run off some energy before the parentals started to arrive!

I think the party was a success! I’ve had no complaints and Monkey was ridiculously happy, even more so when we had round two that afternoon with his nephew and we got to do it all over again!

DSC_0588fullsizeoutput_41c5Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 21.26.41Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 21.26.27

I think this was an awesome party and Poppet loves the greatest showman just as much as Monkey so we may be doing a second similar party in a couple of months. I think it is a fab film and it really inspires the children. So if you are looking for inspiration for a Greatest showman themed party keep an eye out for my next post – I’ll be sharing some of my ideas and where I got bits and pieces from to make the magic!

On a final note, I cannot thank the parents enough of all the children who came to Monkeys party. He had an amazing time, and it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t out their trust in me and let them all sleepover. Even though they are all getting older, I know how daunting it can be letting them do things for the first time, or trusting other parents with your children. I consider all the parents my friends, and hope they do me too, but I know it can still be quite scary. So a huge thank you to all of them for making it possible by letting me entertain their children for a night!

One more thank you to Monkey and Poppet for being so well behaved, even though they were so excited! They helped out with ideas, decorating, organising and then behaved beautifully. I couldn’t have asked for more.

And a final thank you to Mr BC and Mamma BC, who without I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do! They support me, love me, help out when needed and even put up with 9 very loud, boisterous children taking over the house, all because I asked them too! I love you both dearly.