We interviewed the lovely Emily FitzRoy, Founder of Bellini Travel. Emily has two little girls, Constance, 3 years, and Nancy Rose 4 months, and they live in Shepherds Bush with an Irish Terrier and Irish husband Conor.
What inspired you to start Bellini Travel?
A deep love of Italy, inspired by my Italian grandmother and numerous trips all over this fascinating country from a young age. I realised despite having no business plan or qualifications in Travel, I loved telling friends and families about new places I’d discovered in Italy that they simply wouldn’t be able to find themselves or through a normal travel agent.
In your opinion, where is the ultimate destination for families with very young children for a summer and a winter holiday?
For the summer: Avoid the Amalfi Coast which has hundreds of steps and instead head for the sandy beaches of Puglia or rent a cosy villa in Tuscany that is owned by someone with a young family and understands their needs (and their parents!)
For the winter: Italian cities are marvellous for children of all ages. Venice is surprisingly child friendly, there is always someone there to help carry prams over bridges and being car free makes it incredibly safe for toddlers and children. Gondolas and boats are thrilling as are the numerous shops selling masks and carnival costumes!
Tell us a secret about London?
The Lido cafe by the Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park has to be one of the best places for childrens breakfasts and lunches, preceeded by feeding the ducks and spotting the mice on the Peter Pan statue.
What’s your favourite baby product?
“Scoot n’ pull” which is like a dog lead for scooters and a life saver when pulling tired children home from nursery or the park
How do you strike a balance between working life and motherhood?
I always wake my children and give them breakfast and I am always home in time for bath and bedtime with my blackberry firmly switched off. I want to be the first person and last person they see each day!
For families that cannot afford to travel abroad, where in the UK would you recommend and why?
I would suggest the North Devon coast, parts of which are straight out of an Enid Blyton novel with rock pools for shrimping, sand castle making competitions and the wonderful freedom of being able to play and run on a beach oblivious to the often terrible weather.
What do you always travel with to keep the children happy on long journeys?
I’m loathe to admit it but my ipad is a lifesaver – there are some brilliant apps by Nosy Crow including a hilarious Three Little Pigs which keeps all of us entertained.
Where would you live if you didn’t live in England?
I would go back to Venice where we lived with Constance when she was 3 months old for a year.
What piece of advice would you give a parent taking young children on holiday??
Keep it simple and try not to plan too much. Children are so happy playing in the local piazza in the evening, eating gelato and pasta, that they don’t need constant trips to zoos, fun fairs and museums.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
An entrepreneur by mistake and I love it!