US born Jennifer McIIlvane of ‘Life Italian Style’ talks to MumAbroad about the journey from dropping out of dance school in Philadelphia to how life as a foodie in Italy with her husband and two young children.
MumAbroad co-founder Carrie Frais describes the day she heard her mum had passed away and how, after the initial shock and despair, came to terms with her loss and is back on a positive path once again.
This week as I careered through Barcelona centre juggling a silly schedule; work, doctor’s appointments, children’s birthday preparations (you know how it is; we are all busy right?) I was surprised to find myself with an imposed hour between appointments.
“Naomi has grown up in our Allerona bar. She walks in like she owns the place, and now, at a chattering 3 years old, often demands to be taken there. “Andiamo a bar, andiamo a bar!”
“A bella figura happens when guests drop by unexpectedly and your house is immaculate and your child is angelic..A brutta figura occurs when guests drop by while you’re screaming at your kid and the dog has just shit on the floor”
“I couldn’t live without the amazing network of women and friends I have here! There is something about being so separated from home that somehow makes us depend on each other so much more.”
“Well, we know the difference between the Quick “Giant” and a MacDo “Big Mac” now.. as an expat it is a challenge to find a balance between your local culture, making French friends, and finding expat activities.”
“The independent midwives’ situation is very hard at the moment in Germany and only political measures can change this. In the last years midwives who offer birth services, had to pay increased liability fees and many of them had to quit their jobs.”
“My impression is that children are treated here in quite a different way than in the UK…they are mollycoddled and cosseted. They are not expected to learn anything formalised, even writing their own name, until they are at least 6.”
“… if you really want to establish a life abroad; deeply embedded in the community and you want to feel like you belong, well this is when it will get hard. There will be twists and turns along the way and days like I’m having today!”
“When I see my kids screaming and shouting now on the half hour journey from Sitges to Barcelona I am amazed to think my kids did the travelling they did. Never were we in a bus for less than 8 hours….”
“After meeting my partner Guillaume 16 years ago while working in the kids club at Club Med…I had no idea the adventure that lay ahead for us both. Little did I know we would end up living and working together in Barcelona, with our 2 children.”
MumAbroad was founded by Rebecca Laidlaw, an Internet Marketing consultant & Carrie Frais, a Journalist and PR executive. Carrie lives in Barcelona and is Mum to Poppy (7) and Bertie (5) and Rebecca lives in Oxfordshire (UK) and has 3 children, Ollie (7), Sophie (5) and Theo (1).
“In 2007, we were both living in the beautiful city of Barcelona, having each just given birth to our first child. With no extended family to help with childcare, we looked for other resources to help guide us through this challenging period of our lives. We were surprised at how difficult it was to find easily accessible information about activities and services for parents. It soon became apparent that there was a growing niche for an English language website which would offer parents from the International Community valuable information such as child-related services, schools, family activities, shops, family holidays and restaurants. After extensive research and the help of scores of mothers, Barcelona Mum was born, offering a comprehensive and personalized guide to family life in Barcelona. Within a few months MumAbroad Spain was launched, incorporating the whole of Catalunya and subsequently Madrid, Andalucia, the Costa Blanca and the Balearics. As the site gained momentum, MumAbroad France, MumAbroad Italy and MumAbroad Germany were established and in 2014 the four sites were amalgamated under one roof.
We believe that, in the majority of cases, parents are the best judge of anything child-related, so that is why our site is based purely on recommendation. Every service, group or activity on our website has been recommended by at least one Mum or Dad. In our interview section, you can read about other mums’ experiences of living abroad as well as interviews with a host of childhood experts. In our Women in Business section, we’ve discovered some inspirational ladies, who have established successful businesses in and created a life for themselves, many of whom have had to juggle work and family life. Our forum allows parents to share concerns, offer advice, advertise services, buy & sell items and virtually meet others in an online community.”
Carrie & Rebecca