Giovanna Fletcher Giovanna Fletcher

Birthday celebrations and Buzz’s first flight!

This week brought with it not one but two important birthdays – my mummy’s and daddy’s! Growing up I loved the fact that my parents had their birthdays a day apart – but now that I have Buzz and have become increasingly disorganised their proximity leaves me feeling a bit nauseous, especially when I leave it until the last minute to arrange presents and bits. Ahhh! So, firstly, I’d like to kick off this here blog by saying happy birthday to the two people who brought me into the world and helped turn me into the girl/mother/friend/nutter that I am today. They’ve both influenced me in ways they’ll never realise and their continued love and support means the world to me – thanks ‘rents!


So before flying anywhere we celebrated my mum’s birthday with lunch for three. Armed with a tupperware box of cucumber and watermelon, we headed to our local Ask Italian for lots of food and a good old catch up. It’s so bizarre sitting in a restaurant as a three with all of us eating (or sucking/bashing/gnawing on food). Buzz looked so grown up it was scary and fascinating in equal measure. I love watching him working out the food we’ve placed in front of him. This week he’s tried strawberry, cucumber, watermelon, apple, peach and tomato (plenty in Italy – all from the local farms). Worryingly, I’ve become obsessed with his poop and get quite excited to see what comes out as his tummy can’t quite digest food properly yet so sends it out in near enough the same state it went in. From what I can gather, he’s certainly eating the tomato… it makes nappy changes lots of fun. Don’t worry, I’ve restrained myself from taking any photos. Ha!

The main event this week (and of Buzz’s life to date) was getting on a plane and flying to Italy to see my Nonna who’s 93 years old. My dad’s been so excited about taking Buzz over there – in fact he’s been trying to get me to book it since I first fell pregnant. No point waiting around for a little thing known as an actual baby, or an equally unimportant passport! We flew from Stansted to Naples with Easyjet. On the way there me and Buzz were with my dad. Originally I was going to be flying back to England on my own as my dad was staying out in Italy a little longer. So I planned for Buzz to be sat on my lap flying there and then paid for him to have his own seat (using his car seat) flying back. In the end my brother Mario decided to fly out and join us on Dad’s birthday so that he could see him, give our Nonna a squeeze and then fly back with me and Buzz. It made everything a whole lot easier having him there!


So, I know you’re all dying to hear about how I got on with a five month old on a flight… Well, it was alright, actually. The staff were lovely and friendly, the people sat around us extremely kind and forgiving of Buzz’s noise and it all went rather quickly. My secret weapon during the whole trip was The Muppets on my iPad – as soon as the Disney intro starts Buzz’s enraptured and can’t take his eyes off it for a good ten minutes, by which time he’s calm and happy. I know, I know… Shocking parenting, blah, blah, blah. A child watching the occasional bit of telly is far better than one working himself up into a frenzy (in my book anyway). Funnily enough, when we were about to board one of the flights and were waiting on a hot transfer bus, he had a bit of a meltdown. A young boy said rather loudly ‘shut up’… I ignored him and whipped out The Muppets which calmed Buzz down instantly (I’d already tried soothing him in other ways but I knew he was simply hot and bothered). The young boy’s mum turned to me and said, ‘Don’t you use a dummy?’ ‘Only at nap times,’ I replied (I’ve long since stopped shoving one in his mouth in public while I faff around and see what’s wrong with him – we all know babies cry, I’m far more laid back about that fact now and don’t sweat half as much over it anymore). ‘I’m telling you, you should,’ she retorted in a this-mummy-knows-best manner while raising her eyebrows at me… I didn’t ask for her opinion, nor did I want or need it. I smiled politely and continued watching Gary and Walter dancing around with my content son. You’ve got to love people who stick their oar in…

I did some online research (Google is my best friend) about babies and their ears on flights. I suffered terribly with my ears as a child, so didn’t want Buzz having to deal with that pain and not knowing how to equalise the pressure that builds up. I read that feeding you baby during take off and landing works wonders… I’m here to confirm that this is indeed true. Amazing.


There were a couple of other things I was worried about before our trip – the heat and the Mosquitos. Although I know the Mosquitos over there are no real threat other than generously giving an itchy bite, I still wanted to prevent them from annoying Buzz at all. The heat turned me into a paranoid feeder with me whipping my breast out whenever Buzz might be thirsty (every hour on the first day) but, with the help of naked time and some cool breezes, it was manageable – it’s not like I put him in direct sunlight either. Also, after some research (again, thanks Google) I found mosquito patches for babies online – you squeeze them to release the oil and then stick them onto clothes. They certainly did the trick. The mossies were uninterested in Buzz’s fresh blood. Instead they acquired a taste for mine and had a total feast – I have at least twenty itchy lumps, including one on my face and neck. Lovely! There’s nothing more satisfying than scratching a bite… But it becomes addictive, irritating and, eventually, sore! Booo…!

Before heading to Valva my dad told me that my cousin had organised a night at the local villa/castle to talk about my debut novel Billy and Me that’s also been translated into Italian (much to the delight of my dad). I was deeply touched that the mayor and several dozen villagers came out for ‘a night with the author’ to find out more about me and the book – I even had my own translator. How cool is that?! I had no idea what to expect, and I have to say – it was flipping beautiful to have a night like that held in my honour in such a romantic setting, and in a place that means so much to my dad.

I might’ve only been able to visit for a few days, but it was wonderful to see my Nonna meeting Buzz for the first time. It was certainly super special to see her holding him and hearing him laugh as she sang little songs to him. She’s an amazing woman my Nonna – the strongest woman I know, for sure. It’s always horrible leaving her to come home, but at least I know my dad’s there keeping her company for a little longer – making the most of the local red wine.


So, after lots of homemade pasta, ice-cream and a little wine, I’m now home and ready to start…WRITING! I announced on Twitter this week that I’m revisiting some of my favourite characters from Billy and Me and am writing a little novella for this Christmas. Yes, you heard right – it’s time to see what Sophie and Billy are up to again. Christmas with Billy and Me will be published 6th November and I promise it’ll be filled with lots of love, magic and tinsel!


Big love!

Gi. Xx

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