Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Zadina Spiaggia


Italy has been an exceptionally special place for me since the very first moment I stepped foot in the country almost 30 years ago. Btw – I am utterly disgusted with myself for not being able to speak the language fluently!
Allora, this remarkable country so completely captured my heart, my soul & my taste buds that I’m compelled to return year after year. Fortunately my Husband Marco (heehee actually it’s Mark) shares my Italian obsession & will happily holiday there any time! In fact, being so far away from Italy is one of the reasons neither of us can imagine moving back to Australia.
So what is it about this particular European country?

I return to Italy every year

Because now, my children love it too!
In Italy children are not merely tolerated, they’re embraced, celebrated even. Italians will smile & talk to a child they don’t know purely because they are there. In restaurants children aren’t expected to sit still at the table & be quiet, on the contrary, the waitress will happily chat to them. Your fellow diners won’t scowl if your child leaves the table before you, in fact it’s common to see kids playing in a restaurant. Crucially to everyone’s enjoyment the chef will usually accommodate a fussy eater so don’t think twice about asking for something that isn’t on the menu.
Indeed Italy is well-known for being “child friendly”. What you may not expect is the impact this attitude has on your child.
For example when Kiara was a baby strangers would actually stop us in the street to admire her in her buggy. “Piccolina” they’d coo all smiles, she’d squeal with delight in reply. She’s had so much of this that she’s now hooked!
Yet more pivotal to our holiday harmony was the reaction to Jaspers idiosyncracies as a toddler. Without fail he’d be homesick by day 3! Ugh

It was quite upsetting & stressful, he wouldn’t eat & he’d cry for our cat Micheal. The lovely staff at the hotel would give him cuddles & fuss over him, even specially make plain spaghetti to entice him to eat. Nothing was too much trouble. Once all he’d consume were bananas so when we came down for dinner next time there on his plate sat a banana!
Eventually after a while, he’d come around & as the years went by the behaviour disappeared altogether. They won him over those tenacious Italians, now he never wants to leave! Would you believe he actually eats mussels & prawns on the shell these days? On this trip he even expressed interest in learning the language, knock me down with a feather!
All 3 of my kids adore Italy, no matter where we are in the country but nowhere more than our special place Hotel Beau Soleil.

When your kids love being somewhere, it’s the best holiday money can buy!

Drinking Aperol Spritz in Italy

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Blue striped beach umbrellas

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Gelateria

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Marks and Spencer girls swimwear

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Girls swimsuit polka dots and stripes

playing in the hotel pool spa

Making new friends on holiday in Italy

Making new friends on holiday

The vibe was a little different at the hotel this year because for the first time there were English-speaking children of the same age.
Don’t get me wrong, when you have 3 who get along so well together as ours it’s not a problem. However making new friends on holiday is a wonderful experience & right of passage that my 3 have never had the opportunity to enjoy. Therefore it was with sheer delight that Mark & I observed the kids playing & hatching plans. Naturally the 4 of us parents were eventually relegated to a separate table at dinner time so the kids could eat together.
You won’t believe how grown up & well-mannered they were at their own table – Shocking!

Onto Holiday Swimwear

My swimwear is a mix and match affair although sadly the striped Boden boy-leg bikini has seen better days. I have a variety of styles yet all are from either Boden, The White Company or Toast. I always shop exclusively with these 3 brands because frankly they’re the best fit & are excellent quality. I’ll spare you the catalogue of amalgamations I wore although if you’re interested you can see them all on my Instagram feed.
In my humble opinion now is a good time to purchase your swimwear. Although you won’t be wearing it for a while & there won’t be as much choice, you’ll get it cheap as chips! wink

I forgot to photograph my fabulous Toast 1950’s style high-waisted bikini bottoms this holiday. I also wore them earlier in the year when we went to Sardinia. However you can see them from last year in Tuscany in this post. The retro shape is a revelation when I’m bloated & feeling fat.

Notice how tanned I was at the beginning of the holiday – FAKE Bahahaha!

I always wear factor 50 & a hat when I’m outdoors even if I’m just running to the shop. This year I added a Boden rash vest to my collection of swimwear for the days it would be exceptionally hot. There is no better way to age your skin than sun exposure, do not do it people! Just don’t. 

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | The White Company blue Tankini

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | The White Company blue & white striped bikini top

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | always wear a hat for sun protection

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Boden bikini

An Easy Breezy Holiday Outfit

As we went away in August this year I knew it was absolutely pointless packing anything that wasn’t gossamer light. You may have seen my Dodo Bar Or dress in this previous post. It was the only substantial item I packed & it was rather heavy however being 100% cotton it wasn’t at all hot or sweaty. I wore this amazing dress to the special Ferragosto celebration night that you can read about in said post.
I also took my very old Marni x H&M collab maxi dress that I always love to wear on hols, you can see it here.

Another dress that’s fabulous for Summer is the Nicole Farhi shirt dress in the very first photo where I’m drinking a bucket glass of Aperol Spritz. I cinched the waist with a skinny black Prada belt & wore my Whistles block heel mules this night. Then another night I wore it loose with simple blue leather sliders also from Whistles.
Additionally I took white denim shorts (also Whistles) & a couple of T-shirts. Lastly I wore Zara black wide leg trousers & a sexy embroidered top I found at the back of a drawer minutes before we left! I only took one quick photo of that outfit for Instagram, see here.
In between I alternated the outfit below – Zara denim shorts with a really interesting Zara striped button back top that has funky pleats at the front. Paired with my Whistles mules one time then these turquoise Sam Edelman sandals I bought for £15 at Tk Maxx another. 

Zara black & white striped racer back top | Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40

zara black striped button racer back summer top fashion over 40

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | Zara striped racer back top with denim shorts and Whistles block heel mules

Hotel Beau Soleil staff photot

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40 | attention to detail at hotel beau soleil

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40

The Hotel Food is Divine

The kids are always thrilled by the desserts on offer & have a ball serving themselves. As you can see above it’s all super healthy, fresh & cooked on site. I could have lived on salads there are so many combinations to choose from. However if you fancy going out or a change of scene the restaurants on the beach, a lazy 2 minute walk away, serve amazing local seafood delights with a view to die for.

What’s more, the children can take off to play outside in plain sight allowing Mama & Papa some of that elusive peace…

Why I keep going back to Italy | Fashion Food Travel - Over 40
Evenings are fun filled games & dancing.

Zadina spiaggia beach in Cesenatico Italy

Amazing Restaurants at the beach in Italy

Children feel at home in Italian Hotels

Jasper looking relaxed at the hotel, no small feat let me tell you.

Thanks for reading, Mx

  • Comments ( 12 )

  • avatar

    Great article, love your sharing so much, thank you!

    • avatar

      You’re welcome & thank you for reading! Mx

  • avatar
    Sian Rowland

    My husband and I love Italy so much we got married in Sorrento. Now we go back when we can and catch up with our Italian friends. Because language was a barrier we enrolled in evening classes and did a few courses and when the courses ran out, we had some private group lessons with our Italian teacher. It’s such a revelation being able to chat with Italian friends and have proper conversations over very long dinners… If you don’t have time for evening classes there are some good websites out there like Yabla but you have to be pretty self-motivated to keep up the learning! Maybe this time next year. In bocca al lupo!

    • avatar

      Wow married in Sorrento that is so cool! I have a long standing love affair with Positano actually, been over 10 times! The Amalfi coast is awesome isn’t it? Shame it’s so expensive, perhaps I’ll sneak off without the kids 😉
      I really admire that you guys learned the language, puts us to shame. Mark did take evening lessons a few years agao but he kept having to stay back at work too many times which blew his classes out. You’ve inspired me, I shall sort out some private lessons for both of us asap!

  • avatar

    What gorgeous photos! I sure hope this is your last post on Italy or I’m in grave danger of booking a flight to the land of gelato, pasta, and seafood… subito! I’m so pleased that everyone in your family shares your love of Italy. That sure makes it easy when deciding where to go in the future! xx

    • avatar

      Hahaha Lisa don’t let me stop you! Yep it’s fantastic that we all feel the same way about Italy, I’ve brainwashed them 😉

  • avatar

    Hey, Sext Mama! Wow, you Michelle in a bathing suit that’s quite a sight! Loved learning about ‘your’ Italy. Amazing pictures! I feel like jumping in the pool with you guys! Missed you on the blog 🙁 – this time for real 🙂 xx Abby

    • avatar

      Hey Abby!Thanks honey bee 😉
      You’re an open tab on my laptop – I’ve literally been interrupted so often it’s taken me 2 days to read your top 100!!! See ya soon xxx

  • avatar
    Wendy Kate

    Another great post. I have to say the Spanish have the same relaxed attitude towards children, who are welcome to all restaurants and cafes here. Just have to comment on high waisted retro bikinis…love the idea of them but the gorgeous leopard print ones I got last year only get worn with the waist rolled down….yes, I do like a little sun but also I am convinced my bum actually looks bigger in bigger bottoms 😮

  • avatar
    Nancy Baten

    It s nice to see you had a lovely time! Fantastic pictures!

    • avatar

      Thank you so much Nancy! I was a bit worried this post would be too long, so glad you enjoyed it x

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