54   304
106   361
56   758
64   669
54   344
80   293

Italian Gardens and Nervous Breakdowns!

We visited some Italian Gardens on the famous Isola Bella in Lago Maggiore. Photo spam galore at the bottom but first of all, let me tell you about the less fun part!

Sooo, after my last post about how wonderful things were between our two little monsters, I’m pretty gutted to tell you that normal service has been resumed, (although it does make for far better blogging material, silver lining in everything!), and arguments abound, along with moaning. Arguing. Fighting. Talking back. Screaming. Shouting and a whole lot of crying. If I tell you that yesterday on the ferry when I had to listen to see if it was our stop, that I said to my daughter, ‘hey let’s listen to the man sweetie, we need to see if it’s our stop’ and she promptly put her hands over her ears and stared me out, does that convey the level of defiance I’m up against?!

She is really really stubborn and it annoys me so much as I know she got it from me…..who got it from my dad…haha sorry dad! (I know he gets email alerts on my blog…possibly not again now!!) 😉 So she will  match me obstinate stand off for obstinate stand off, just as I did as a child with my dad. (Sorry again about my bedroom door by the way, those hinges took a real hammering!) My son has so far been slightly easier going, although it looks a little as if he is going the same way now if the last few weeks have been anything to go by!!

It amazes me the things they find to argue about.

Aside from the usual, who sits where on the sofa, who gets to sit in the highchair, (yes really, almost 5 and she wants to be in there too it got so bad now there are 3 of them after it, we’ve had to remove it altogether!), we currently have a few holiday extras.

Who gets to hold Hermes the lizard being the big one. I have to admit that I get involved in this too. We are not cruel lizard catchers or anything, it’s just that two days in a row now this teeny baby has needed rescuing from the pool and warming up on a hand in the sun before he is able to move around again. It’s just whose hand gets the privilege of being a lizard sun lounger!

2015-07-24 12.28.47

Hermes, our new pet!

Everyone wanted a chance to warm him up.

Everyone wanted a chance to warm him up.

He liked hiding under my Garmin running watch.

He liked hiding under my Garmin running watch, (just in case you thought I liked giant watches)

2015-07-24 12.31.39 2015-07-25 10.37.21 2015-07-25 10.37.32

Who gets what colour spoon in their icecream. Who has the most mosquito bites. Who can swim better. There have been debates about just about everything you can imagine actually. I think yesterday probably took the biscuit though for crappy holiday behaviour though. Or took il gelato!

We have been on boat trips across lakes with the most dramatic mountains plummeting down to meet it’s shores, picture perfect villages tumbling down them to greet some of the most beautiful towns I’ve even seen. We’ve sat eating delicious ice creams in front of breathtaking vistas, eaten fresh hot pizzas topped with amazing things, like chips, (for the kids), and calamari, (for the grown ups), all topped off with lashings of delicious chilled prosecco, (for the kids…..haha, not, as if we’d waste it on those grumpy mini humans!! 😉 )

2015-07-28 12.07.12 2015-07-28 12.22.39 2015-07-29 12.40.40 2015-07-30 11.03.41

They have had swims in the pool, in the lake and been spoiled rotten by our lovely kind neighbour, their Nonno Italiano, (Italian Grandfather), yet still they behave like they should be in an episode of Super Nanny, the one where Super Nanny turns to drink would be apt!!

Yesterday, as we sat on the ferry, returning from an idyllic island with gardens that made me dream of doing something with our scrubby lawn, peacocks, normal and albino, a palace filled with wonders, I posed the genuine question to my hubby and my lovely friend who has come to join us for a few days with her daughter, ‘do you think parenting can cause post traumatic stress disorder? Will we be in our 60s and plagued with flashbacks of this day?’

Although I was half joking, I sort of wonder if it is indeed possible to be traumatised by days out with your children?!

I think we were all wondering actually. Having spent much of the day trying to keep it together as the children took turns in the tantrum relay, passing the baton of tears at regular intervals, (I actually think there were times when they were fighting over that!), we looked like survivors of some hideous ordeal. I think it came very close to us all in tears actually! It was so bad that we actually went looking for alcohol at lunch time. We didn’t find it sadly, but the intent was there! 😀

I’ll just hit you with a few highlights.

  • When I went to get the tickets, although my italian is pretty passable with simple things like that, the guy in the ticket booth took enormous delight in pretending to misunderstand me as the ferry was there waiting and a large queue of disgruntled people was building behind me. I left clutching the tickets and literally sweating!
  • The kids were so crazy on the ferry that a breastfeeding mum got up and moved as they were so distracting to her child.
  • We sat down for a drink in between boat trips and my boy, who was somehow still covered in last night’s ice cream attracted a bee. Who told another bee. Who gave the shout out to the hive! I like bees a lot so we were careful not to hurt them but they were very persistent. It was so bad that when he went inside to help Daddy pay, he literally had a trail of bees behind him. Which was actually pretty funny, luckily none of them are scared of bees!
  • We had one buggy. Which the smallest refused to go in, preferring instead to career around reminding everyone of that one friend that always peaks too early and needs carrying around for most of the night. Unfortunately, both girls did want to go in. Resulting in a lot of tears as we refused to let either go in. Especially as my daughter is so big her feet trail on the floor when in it.
  • We decided to walk to a restaurant to have lunch as there was a queue to get into the palace and gardens. Once we’d fought our way to a table through the packed room, we sat down and realised that it was just a very expensive restaurant doing just big meals. There was another cafe on the island. The other side of the island. We decided to head for that one. Once we’d battled our way out, carried the damn buggy back up all the steps and cajoled, bribed, shrieked at and generally bullied our kids across the actually pretty big island, we were all pretty near tears!
  • We then found a table of older English holiday makers who picked up on our obvious woe and started chatting to the kids to give us a break. The wailing tantrums were soon replaced by some very silly behaviour, including trying to make them smell their stinky shoes, putting their grubby little feet on their trousers and generally being very very silly and annoying. Then the people very sweetly made some spurious excuses and got the hell out of there! (Just to clarify, we didn’t just let them behave like that, we were admonishing and restraining but it was having very little effect as they kept saying it was ok!!)
  • A race through the palace allowing precisely zero seconds to actually look at anything, apart from the very large, very graphic room containing the puppet theatre that must have been used to depict hell, prompting endless fascination and awkward questions about the flames, skeletons, devils and general torture!
  • A forty five minute long tantrum when I revoked my daughter’s ice cream rights due to bad behaviour. It was epic and was purely directed at me, the snotty, can’t breathe, can’t be out of your face, can’t leave you alone physically or verbally sort. It did however, result in us getting an entire section of the ferry all to ourselves, every cloud and all that!

Luckily today has been a much better day. I think carrying through my threats of no ice cream and no visit to Nonno for treats has had a dramatic effect on her behaviour and a chilled out, laid back day has calmed everyone down. Probably the trip to the toy shop for a few extra barbie dolls so they all have one has halted the war too!

Hopefully for the rest of the holiday because I’m not sure I’ve ever drank so much and so regularly for years!!! 😀

Isola Madre in the gorgeous Lago Maggiore, Northern Italy is pretty amazingly beautiful! A few of my photos from the gardens. I particularly love the frogs showering in the fountain!


2015-07-30 12.51.34 2015-07-30 12.51.56 2015-07-30 12.52.40 2015-07-30 12.52.20 2015-07-30 13.22.20 2015-07-30 13.48.23 2015-07-30 14.02.32 2015-07-30 14.09.48 2015-07-30 14.10.58 2015-07-30 14.11.36




  1. July 31, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Beautiful pictures! The problem with holidays once you have kids is they’re not a break anymore. As my mum says, “It’s more of the same in a different place. All you get is a change of scene”. I would add to that, “A different place where I don’t have all the stuff I have at hand at home to keep them happy”. And I’ve only done holiday with 1 child!
    The paragraph with ‘a’s is brilliant! I still haven’t got round to my ‘e’ challenge – I’ll see if that happens next week…

    • July 31, 2015 / 5:53 pm

      Thanks lovely. Thought the A would be worse. I’m up to G now and yet to find a really really tricky one. Just need to write more posts to put them on! I’ve heard a similar quote to your mum’s. Just a bit more sweary! Same sentiment though! 😀 Today has been a lot better but I think we’re all seriously drained if I’m honest! Wine!! 🙂

  2. August 1, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    What a fabulous post and some wonderful pictures. The gardens and lily pads are just delightful! Such a friendly little lizard too 🙂 thanks so much for linking up to the #bestandworst and hope you pop along again! 🙂 x

    • August 1, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Thank you Helen! Yes I’m sure I will, it’s a lovely friendly linky! 🙂 The piccies didn’t even do it full justice. Stunning place. Realised it was partly closed when we went to prepare for a wedding today, one of the family who own the palace. V exciting. We are waiting to see if we can see the fireworks! xx

  3. August 2, 2015 / 11:08 am

    Loved the pictures. Those two sound like me and my younger sister that’s just about a year younger than me. No rhyme or reason, some days are perfect and some are awful. I don’t *think* it was PTSD worthy for my parents, but you never know!

    • August 2, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      I bet you get on really now though right? Right?? Right??? *trying to hide the note of desperation in my voice*. Only joking, I know things will get better as they get older, just like you say, no rhyme or reason but yesterday was fab and today not so. You just need to ignore the bad days and take heart in the good I think! 🙂 I’m glad your parents survived it, hopefully we will too!! 😀

      • August 2, 2015 / 9:06 pm

        Haha, it did get better (eventually)! Take heart!

  4. August 2, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    Traveling with kids always ends in the adults winding down with cocktails. I know this because we just got back from vacation where I consumed enough alcohol to probably open my own liquor store. Once home I had to let my liver rest…it’s rested now. **pours a glass of wine** What a beautiful place and a story to tell. #bestandworst

    • August 2, 2015 / 9:09 pm

      It does doesn’t it?! I hardly drink at home….made up for it this holiday for sure!! 🙂 Thanks for popping by. Glad you’re all recovered from your holiday now….I think all holidays with kids need a follow up parents holiday to get over it! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.