Provence in pictures

Just a quick one to round up our holiday in the South of France the other week. We met my in-laws and their eleven and nine year old out there for a proper family holiday. 

Sadly, I don’t have as many holiday days to play with as the Other Half, so I could only join them for a long weekend, where as Little Miss and the OH we’re out there a week. 

Little Miss loved having Auntie Chatterbox and her favourite Uncle 24/7 to play with. And this year was the first year she’s actually wanted to go in the pool!


The holiday was nearly off to a rough start, delayed for hours in Luton Airport… But nothing a bit of beer and Little Miss’ first taste of sushi couldn’t fix!


First morning in Provence and Little Miss was straight out to the pool. She was a bit tentative at first, sticking to the steps, filling up her water pistol…


But we got her in eventually!


We took my old Canon IXUS from our Uni days with its waterproof case. We thought the kids might enjoy it and thought we could get some cool shots of them in the pool. Little Miss’ favourite Uncle has started showing an interest in photography recently (taking after big bro, clearly!) and took quite a shine to the luminous pink camera!


Auntie Chatterbox making a splash!




Auntie Chatterbox and Little Miss’ favourite Uncle (and my toes). 

toddler in pink rubber ring boat in the pool, in pink sunglasses and a pink swimsuit looking uber chilled

Meanwhile, above the water… It’s the first holiday Little Miss has actually wanted to get in the pool, not least thanks to her little boat – a very pink rubber ring with a betting base so she couldn’t fall through. It made such a difference. She felt safe and independent in the water and could join in the fun – until the netting base suddenly came away and she was left calling “Daddyyyy!!” As she gripped the ring!


Little Miss felt a little left out and so took the camera from me while she was on the side and took this photo of me. Honestly, I was really impressed! At two and half, she’s definitely taking after her Daddy. This photo will always be a special one for me as the first Little Miss ever took all on her own. 


Auntie Chatterbox being super patient as Little Miss did her hair one morning. (I speak from experience when I say this is a painful task!) 


While chilling at our favourite cafe one morning with coffee and croissants, Little Miss made a little fury friend. He was lovely, and let her pet him time and time again… until she pet him too hard and then he retaliated… Oops!


Of course, if you combine a toddler with a nine and eleven year old, eventually, something will come a cropper… Her Uncle was trying to teach her pinky promise but it didn’t quite work out as he had imagined. Little Miss couldn’t remember which finger she was supposed to use! The Other Half, of course, there with the camera at the perfect moment as ever!


Lactose Intolerance on Holiday: Italy

Being lactose intolerant at home (which for us is the UK) is hard enough. But going on holiday can really throw a spanner in the works, especially when kids are involved.

We’re lucky that Little Miss is a relatively good and non-fussy eater. But just like every other toddler, she has her moments, and you never know what will be her pet peeve of the day – strange tasting milk or cheese that doesn’t look the same as at home, perhaps?

My parents have a house in Italy, so we’ve spent a reasonable amount of time there over the years – both myself as a lactose intolerant adult and now with our daughter who is also lactose intolerant since birth.

Italy is actually a great place to go away if you’re lactose intolerant and over the past five years or so, the range of products available has really increased.

So I thought I’d share my top tips and learnings from our time in Italy with a lactose intolerant family member.

Eating out:

By law, Italian menus must state any potential allergens on the menu. And most restaurants, particularly in metropolitan or tourist areas are geared up to deal with special dietary requirements.

The Italians are exceptionally friendly, and almost all the waiters we encounter speak enough English to help us get by. They love children and will do anything to help us  find something for Little Miss to eat. But a few ideas to get you started…

Cheese options:

  • Parmesan has minimal lactose content, but may still upset little tummies. (We’ve had mixed results with parmesan and Little Miss.)
  • Pecorino cheese is a hard sheep’s cheese and very, very, very light on lactose content. Our two year old eats this without any problems (once she got over the fact it tasted different to cheese at home). Most restaurants will have Pecorino in the kitchen, you just have to ask to swap out mozzarella or other cheeses.
  • Buffalo mozzarella is almost completely lactose free, so worth asking if they have this too.


  • Hotel breakfasts are a lot of pastries and cereals so eggs or a cooked breakfast and toast with honey or jam might be your best bet.
    (If your baby is weaning, try spreading olive oil on the toast instead of butter just to soften it a little.)
  • Traditional pizza bases are made with olive oil, not butter, so you’re all good with pizza without cheese (or one of the alternatives above). But be aware, pizza is traditionally a dinner only meal, so unless you’re in tourist areas, you’re unlikely to find anywhere at lunch serving pizzas.
  • Pasta with a tomato sauce or Bolognese.
  • Fish and meat dishes are on most menus as well, just make sure the vegetables are cooked in olive oil rather than butter.
  • Sorbetto and Granita are both dairy free ice cream options at the Gelaterias (sometimes contain egg white) and taste amazing.
Little Miss with her beloved lemon sorbet


Things to watch out for…

  • Double check any pasta sauces are dairy free as many traditional recipes with include a handful of parmesan in there too.
  • Risotto is likely to be cooked with butter and olive oil, with parmesan and possibly cream in the mix. So this might be best avoided.

Food shopping in Italy:

lactose free milk in italyOver the past few years, lactose free options in supermarkets have increased significantly, making it an ideal location for self-catered holidays. Even the tiny SPAR at the end of our road had a good selection of lactose free and soy products.

In various supermarkets we saw the following:

  • lactose free milk
  • soy milk
  • lactose free cream cheese (Philadelphia)
  • lactose free cheese and ham toasties in a bag ready to be popped in the toaster (in the fridge aisle)

If you’re weaning a baby:

  • lactose free Aptamil formula powder (I advise you used bottled water for this FYI)
  • numerous baby food options that were dairy free

Helpful phrases: 

  • latteria (dairy)
  • latte (milk)
  • senza lattosio (no/without lactose / dairy free)
  • senza formaggio (no/without cheese)
  • lo non sono (no soy)
  • Possiamo avere la pizza con pecorino, invece di mozzarella? (Can we have the pizza with pecorino instead of mozzarella?)

Other than that, have a great holiday!

Have you been to Italy with lactose intolerance? Do you have any tips to add?

Review: Maps International Pin Board Map

About a year and a half ago, I wrote that we had decided on a ‘theme’ for Little Miss’ bedroom.

It’s been a slow process pulling Little Miss’ Adventurer Bedroom together (not least due to lack of funds!) but the other month, one of the final pieces to the puzzle landed in our laps.

Maps International very kindly offered us a map from their website in exchange for a review. We couldn’t believe our luck! The choice was never ending and it took us quite some time to choose.

My heart wanted to opt for the giant world map wall paper, creating a feature wall for Little Miss (how amazing would that be!) but being in a rented house, my head steered my towards a more portable, less permanent option.

In the end, we settled on the political world map pin board, with the idea that Little Miss could use it to chart her adventures over the next 18 years and beyond. There was a personalised option, on which you could print a boarder and a special message but we decided to go for the plain version to ensure it didn’t date (ignoring the possibility that political lines may change over time thus the map would date anyway… Didn’t think of that until now… Hmm… I digress.)


It’s actually quite a thin pin board, meaning it’s nice and light to hang on the wall. It came with a picture hook pre-installed on the back, but we actually used sticky on picture things which are meant to leave no marks on the wall. (It’s been up nearly a month and so far these are holding strong!) The plan is when we eventually own our own place we’ll get it framed (without glass, obviously) and hang it properly.

Little Miss is a bit young yet to understand the concept that ‘this is the world’ but she’s enjoying the new picture on her wall. Being above the changing table, she’s been able to get quite up close to it and likes to tell us which part of the picture we all live in (it changes every time, and is more about which colour she designates each person than anything else, and Daddy is always yellow because he has yellow hair and Lambie is always in Antarctica, Green Land or the North Pole because he’s white poor thing… but it’s a start!)

So overall, we’ve been really impressed with the map pin board from Maps International and would 100% recommend it. They were an absolute delight to deal with, delivery was super speedy and the map was really well wrapped. I can’t fault them or their product to be honest!


Little Miss has already started personalising her map…


This post was part of the Tried & Tested linky run by My Family Fever and We’re Going on An Adventure.



The Potty Training Diaries: days 11-17

Just a quick update today as we’ve definitely turned a corner this week in the potty training saga…

Days 11-14 I had a very welcomed break from potty training as the Other Half and Little Miss spent an extra four days in the South of France.

Apparently she did reasonably well; they continued with a mixture of the toilet and make-shift potty out of a bucket. (Apparently the OH didn’t want to buy a potty for the sake of three days so he went old school…) Having the potty in close proximity rather than a toilet some walk away in another room out of site seemed to help, but ultimately, it’s another week on and I’m coming to realise that while there are stories of kids who nail it in three days, Little Miss just isn’t one of them.

But we do seem to have turned a real corner this week. Little Miss only had one accident at nursery on Friday, which was more like a pre-tinkle, before she made it to the potty for the main show. Speaking to nursery at pick on Friday, they confirmed they thought she was definitely ready, which put my mind at rest.

Reading Princess Polly's Potty on the potty during potty training.

Reading potty themed stories on the potty to try to relax Little Miss and get her used to the new method. (It worked!)

Yesterday (Saturday) we had a great day with only one tiny accident again and today, we were even brave enough to take her to the movies to see Finding Dory, which I’m not sure was more excited – her or us! She lasted the entire movie with no wee (though we insisted she take too loo breaks, she declined to do the deed once we were in a cubicle). She did have an accident when we got home having held it for so long, bless her. 

But the piece de resistance…
Today, she even managed a number two in the potty. Granted, she hadn’t gone for 48 hours and obviously just couldn’t hold it any longer – she looked up when we were in the garden mildly panicked and started making concerned sounding ‘mmmm oooh!’ at which point the OH airlifted her to the potty the other side of the garden! But she did it! She made it! And we clapped and cheered, followed by “don’t touch it!!!” 

This is a massive step. Apparently it’s the hardest part of potty training for little ones as it feels so different to going in a diaper. We’d been saying when she did a poo in the potty she could have a present (no parent is above bribery) so today she earned a little pot of orange play dough. Which she played with very, very happily all afternoon.

While I think we’re a ways off being 100% trained, week two (and a bit) has been completely different to week one when I was nearing my whits end. Little Miss seems to suddenly be clicking, to the point where last night she called me up to her room every hour for three hours after bedtime to whisper a bit timidly that she needed a new diaper as she’d done a wee. I dutifully changed her each time, reassured her it was ok, that it wasn’t an accident if she was in a diaper and not to worry. Either the message sunk in or she finally fell asleep exhausted at nearly 10pm as we didn’t hear anything from her then until 6:30 this morning! Hallelujah.