Guest List: Raising Kids In Different Cultures


CatGazzoli05Cat Gazzoli is the founder of organic kiddie food brand Piccolo, growing up she lived all over Europe. She has made the decision to raise her kids with a similarly multi-cultural influences, here she talks about the difference between bringing  up a kids in Italy vs England.

  • I grew up between Italy, France and Geneva as my dad worked with the UN.

  • I always knew I wanted my daughter to have that mix of cultures and learn languages early on so split our time between family in northern Italy and Covent Garden where I run my business.

  • When we are with my husband’s family in Italy our first question each day revolves around what we are going to eat that day. Nonni Onelia’s specialities are gnocchi de Zucca con burro e salvia (gnocchi of pumpkin) and polenta con funghi (grandpa picks the mushrooms for this in the mountains, behind their house). 

  • When we are all in the UK, our first question is what is the weather doing, and therefore what can we do with our toddler. When Juliet was younger I used to dress her for arctic conditions, I couldn’t believe how cold it got in London, I am a bit more relaxed now, she is not a happy hat girl.IMG_4928

  • I love living between our two lifestyles. Working and living in Covent Garden during the week, and weekends and summers in the historic city of Udine, a mountainous region that makes incredible wine. Both my daughter and I get the best of both worlds. But I do bring a lot of food back from Italy.

  • In the UK we have so much access to amazing things for young babies, but also great ways to meet other mums with similar interests. From baby dance to singing, swimming and art classes – so many ways to meet new parents with different lives, I love the Peanut app for this, it has been such a good tool for me to connect with my life here without any family close.

  • In Italy, it’s through your existing network and friends of friends in your community.  People don’t move around as much so the activities are around your friends and family. 

  • In Italy there’s much less opportunity for flexible working – mums tend not to go back to work until much later than British mums after having their babies, and paternity leave is barely heard of in Italy – certainly no #flexappeal movement

  • In Italy, bambinos rule the family!  In England I’ve noticed it’s a bit more balanced and the parents are definitely in charge.  

  • There’s a real problem in Italy with a declining birth rate so babies are even more special (and fussed over!) nowadays

  • No one can believe how late my daughter stays up – she is an Italian bambino. In the evenings, it’s totally normal to take out your children to bars and restaurants. Even if our daughter is even very badly behaved, fellow diners don’t get too bothered. I love this aspect of Italian life. UK diners in Soho tend not to subtlety let us know, it’s not quite so normal here!IMG_4747

  • London has so much to do with the museums, I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the Transport and Science museums, you don’t have this access to stuff like this in most of Italy.

  • It’s typical for a child to spend the summer on the beach in Italy. It’s three months of solid beach time, where the biggest decision is what gelato flavour to go after. She gets thoroughly spoilt by her nonni, and weaning her off torta and gelato is a nightmare, but it is idyllic.

  • Growing up in London and going to nursery here, I can see Juliet has a different confidence to her friends on the coast – I am not sure if that is just being a city baby, but we will keep splitting our time while we can and before she heads to school.

  • Having grown up in Italy I’m all about community, which is why we’ve launched our One for One campaign to donate 100,000 baby food pouches to struggling families throughout the UKPicollo076

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1 Comment

  • Reply Becky Hunter-Kelm January 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I love this thanks for sharing we are raising my 1.5 and 3.5 yo boys in turkey. They keep the kids up late here too… do you let your daughter go to bed late all the tkme or just summer holidays and special events? I’m trying to figure out that one. I have actually found the lack of millions of baby kids groups out here refreshing and it’s made for a more simple and connected childhood but I have reeeeeally missed my NCT mum gang from the UK. Kids are also the kings of thier castles here too 😉 my eldest is in Turkish preschool and we talk about England but as he was 2 when we moved im not sure how much he remembers. We are going to visit England for 3 weeks this May – any tips how as to not overwhelm confuse the kids? I’m not too
    Worried children are pretty resilient!

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