I’m writing this while sitting in Rome Fiumicino airport waiting for my flight home after a wonderful weekend in the Italian capital.
One of the advantages of children not being children any more is that they become thoughtful and imaginative with their ideas for Christmas presents. Our youngest, Billy (21) excelled himself last Christmas by buying tickets for the Italy/France rugby match in the RBS Six Nations tournament. It was really his gift for my sport loving husband Olley, but he checked with me first that I would be happy to buy the flights and then decided to include his brother Charlie and me too, so we’ve all just enjoyed a fantastic weekend together. The boys had to fly home last night for work on Monday morning but the advantage of me not being at QVC on Mondays is that I can carry my weekend over into the week. So Olley and I had an extra day, which we’ve just made the most of.
As we get older I think most of us feel that it is moments and memories that are important, rather then ‘things’. The last couple of days have been ones I will remember and treasure for a long time as we obviously have less time with our children now they’re grown up and independent.
We have once taken the children to Rome before, in 2004 when Billy was eight years old and doing a project on the Romans at primary school. We took them to the Colosseum then but he barely remembers it and was keen to revisit it. It it the most incredible place, full of atmosphere and amazing stories to hear if you take a guided tour, as we did.
In fact, the entire historical centre of the city is full of remarkable ruins evocative of times almost two centuries ago – we wandered around in the sunshine with our jaws dropping lower with wonder as we turned every corner!
Of course, the main event was the rugby match, held in the Stadio Olimpico which was built for the 1960 Olympic Games – the year I was born. It was almost full of very vocal Italian and French supporters, creating a different but fabulous atmosphere in another amphitheatre, but this time – although there were no prisoners taken in the match – at least no one was eaten by lions…
Following the match we raced to a nearby Scottish bar which was featuring the Calcutta Cup match between England and Scotland on TV screens. It was full of kilted Celts who, I have to say, left the bar disappointed after a spirited, winning performance by the English team.
How to cap such a brilliant day? How about an audience with the Pope? Well, that might be stretching it a bit, but on Sunday we did visit St Peter’s square to watch him address the crowd through his office window high up in the Vatican. Again, this is a place full of atmosphere, as is St Peter’s Basilica itself. To view such incredible and opulent art in such a holy and spiritual place, while hearing mass being held in part of the massive church, would surely move the most secular of people.
We spent the rest of our time seeing some of the well known sites such as the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps, also taking in less famous but equally enjoyable corners of the city. We walked for miles – over 21,000 steps according to the Fitbit that Charlie was wearing around his wrist – so we all enjoyed a gelato and a sit down in Piazza Navona while Billy risked having his caricature drawn.
We had one done of the trio of children (Billy on the right with Charlie and with older sister Bex) all those years ago and Billy was intrigued to see how different it would be. His smile hasn’t really changed!
All too soon it was time to wave the boys off on the train back to the airport, but Olley and I made the most of our day to ourselves by hiring bikes so we could cover more ground and explore more of the city, including a food market with stalls packed full of Italian goodies and a cycle along the banks of the River Tiber.
It also meant we did enough exercise to treat ourselves to a long lunch in the warm spring sunshine, before heading home ourselves.
Travelling with only hand luggage means that I am limited in what lotions and potions I can bring with me, as nothing can contain more than 100ml and it all has to fit into one plastic bag. I have it down to a fine art now, though, using mini sizes of my favourites. This month, I’ve added something new – QVC’s Beauty Pick of the Month from IT Cosmetics. A full coverage CC cream, it also doubles up as SPF 50 protection, serum and primer, so its brilliant when space is short. I also treated myself to one of the L’Occitane collections that I bought for my sisters-in-law at Christmas – so that gave me small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower and body cream and a little pot of Immortelle Devine moisturiser. (The one I bought is sold out, but have a look at this one).
I also included Elemis Bliss capsules, Decleor miceller cleanser and lip treatment, Ultrasun lip, OPI Avoplex oil, Laura Geller Balance ‘n’ Brighten and eyeliner. Tarte blusher, Bobbi Brown lippy, mascara from IT Cosmetics and ABC deodorant completed the kit – everything I need and you can see that it all just about fitted in my plastic bag!
So, another weekend that makes me feel blessed – to be lucky enough to be able to travel and enjoy some of the world’s most amazing places, but most of all to have such a wonderful family to enjoy those places with. Thank you Billy, we had the best time!
I hope this finds you well. Until next time, do take care.