Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wooden Spoon Update!

Well then! Yet again it's been a little while between blogs, one of the reasons I suppose I'm not expecting to be a successful applicant for the Butlin's Ambassador thing! Unless they also take into account how prolific I am in other areas of social media, and how I am always talking about how much we love Butlins anyway :)

But I digress! There are exciting times ahead! I will be teaching a 4 week cooking course for kids from September in our local children's centre!
My friend Tanya pushed me into asking the centre manager about running a course, I had been putting it off after some 'friends' expressed certain unfounded concerns. It knocked my confidence a bit to think, oh my, if people who I think are my friends think I can't do it, then what must everyone else think?

But then I have friends like Tanya, who have every faith in me, give me confidence and the push I need to get things started. I am very lucky! I also have friends like Laura, who picked me up, took me to the dentist this morning, looked after the boys while I was there and then came and picked me up and dropped me home - superstar.

So yes! I am currently working on recipes, 1 week will be bread, 1 week will be pizza and I am still trying to make a decision on the other two. Whilst looking after 2 hyperactive boys and trying to shrug off the pain of an infected and broken wisdom tooth!!!

What have you all got planned for the holidays?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Looking Back...

The rest of Butlins will have to be saved for next time, because I just wanted to come and write about how thankful I am for my life right now! I was reading through some really old blog posts tonight, and wow - me and Berat have been through some shit! Most of it we kept to ourselves, and I had my old, hidden blog which was only accessible to my closest friends to vent in - reading back through those tonight, I remembered how I felt at certain points, how we didn't have a home to call our own and how he lost his job just before I had Onur and then he lost another job just after I had him...

And now he's been in the same job for almost 3 years, promoted twice, we've been living in our own (albeit rented) house for almost 3 years, and we have furnished it from scratch, thanks to help from family, friends and eBay! We have two happy, healthy kids who want for nothing, cupboards full of food and everything at our fingertips, within our reach. I feel SO greatful and thankful.

So many of us go through life wanting more each time we reach a goal, waiting for the right moment to get married, have a baby, change our lives. Berat and I have gone through together with a "close your eyes, hold my hand and fuck it, let's just jump!" attitude, and do you know what? I could not be happier :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Butlins Tuesday!

So where was I? Right, Butlins, Tuesday morning! After having woken everyone up, I made breakfast and we wolfed it down, excited for the day ahead. After the obligatory shot on the big deckchair, and picking up our tickets for "I Can Cook", we made our way to Splash Waterworld, which I have to say is one of the things we were most looking forward to. As always, it did not disappoint! The kids just love it there, and even hubby and I enjoy the Space Bowl and Master Blaster rides! We take it in turns to watch the kids while the other goes on the rides, so it all works out. The kids area is great, they go up and down the activity centre with all the water and the slides and they have so much fun! We spent a good couple of hours there before going back to the apartment to get showered and dressed and have a spot of lunch.
Then it was time for "I Can Cook"! I have to say we were all really excited about this as we love the TV show and in fact she was a big inspiration for me doing The Wooden Spoon, and plus we didn't get to see her last time as Katie was ill.
Well, she definitely didn't disappoint! Katie got the whole audience laughing and was great with the kids. Although Onur was sad that he didn't get picked to help, he really enjoyed the show and we all got to taste some yummy shortbread at the end! After the show Katie did a meet and greet, and Kaya ran up to her for a huge cuddle as if he'd known her for ages (which, if you think about it, he must think he has as she's on his TV every day!) and she was so lovely, and had a really cute baby bump!

After "I Can Cook", we headed over to the sports area so the kids could go to the Tots Soccer session. Last time we came in September, Kaya wasn't yet 2 so he was too small to join in; this time both the boys were the right age to play. As always, the coach was fab and the boys had lots of fun.

As it was lovely weather, and the kids were thirsty from all the running around, we decided to make the Beachcomber Inn beer garden our next destination. It was so lovely to sit and relax with a glass of wine for me and a beer for hubby as the kids played in the adventure playground. Even better was the random entertainment, when a guy dressed as a turkey came running past, saying "Act natural!" and hiding among the people, followed by a guy dressed as a chef on stilts who was looking for him - so funny!
The boys had yummy fruit juice cocktails in a cocktail shaker - we did want the Billy Bear ones, but the Beachcomber only had the Lazy Town ones. Basically you pay about £3 for the drink and shaker, then £2 to refill the shaker at any of the bars around the resort. The juices were very tasty:

After a lovely hour or two there, we headed over to the Skyline Pavilion for a photoshoot with Elmo, which the kids loved. Then we decided to head into Bognor for dinner, we'd been told there was a really nice fish and chip shop just opposite the pier, and it was indeed lovely. Fish and chips with a sea view, with ice cream on the beach after for the boys. Just perfect. Then back to Butlins and over to Centre Stage for Sesame Street Live, accompanied by popcorn, hot nuts and more drinks. Sesame Street was GREAT! I am still very sad they don't show it on English TV anymore but I show my boys Sesame Street all the time and indeed our favourite Christmas DVD is Elmo's Christmas Countdown, so they knew all the characters and really enjoyed the show, as did I, it being a blast from my own childhood!

And that was Tuesday! Off we trooped to the apartment, exhausted but happy!
I will have to do Wednesday next time as it's time to wake hubs up for work, poor thing has been working so hard this week!

Monday, 10 June 2013

We're Baaaaaaack!

Well once again we're back home after another fantastic week at Butlins! We almost booked our Christmas Fantasy break while we were there, but we have Berat's naturalisation and passport to pay for this year and that's our priority. However, that's not to say we won't book after we've paid for that!

The trip down was good - as usual we stopped off in Portsmouth on the way so I could get my Gunwharf fix - for those of you who don't know, it's where I went to uni and I just LOVE Gunwharf - even more so now that it has a CATH KIDSTON OUTLET STORE! Of course, it was the first place I headed - and I ended up buying a swimsuit, striped and lovely! The changing room was awesome: 
I wanted to live in there! The whole time I was in there, I was praying that the swimsuit would fit me, and promising to be a good girl and eat less if it would only fit me, haha! And it did!! So that purchased, I was happy and made my way to the Nike Outlet Store, where I found the long sleeved, purple, Arsenal away shirt for the bargain price of £16 - strangely enough also what the swimsuit cost! So I was happy, and we went on our merry way to Butlins.
After checking in, we were a bit miffed to see that we'd got a first floor apartment (but then again if we'd wanted a guaranteed ground floor we could have paid £15, but as we got a ground floor last time I guess we just assumed we would this time), and hubby did a bit of a sulk, which was amusing. After much huffing and puffing we got everything in and unpacked. I did notice that the apartment, which was in Oyster Bay, looked a lot more tired than it did last time we were there, but when you think about the sheer amount of people who might stay there a year, it's entirely understandable and I'm sure it will get a lick of paint soon.
By the time we'd unpacked we thought we'd go and get a bite to eat, and chose to eat in Papa Johns at the buffet. I must say I enjoyed it quite a lot, as did the kids!

As you can see, I didn't quite keep the promise that I made while I was trying on the swimsuit...

After a yummy dinner, we headed to the Skyline Pavilion (oh how I'd missed it!) to watch some Bob the Builder, then played on the boys' favourites, the 2p machines! Then it was time to boogie on down at the Tots Disco, which I will admit I enjoy more than the children! I even finally learned the "chocolate" dance!

And after that I think we headed to the room, we were all a bit tired, so showered and got into our jammies and that was that! I watched the Oscar Pistorius stuff on TV and everyone else went to bed.

I will have to come back and update more tomorrow as the cat has made an unholy smell in the litter tray!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Life and Butlins

Oh my sweetness it's been way too long since I posted here, I really need to be more disciplined!

Since I last posted I've been elected chair of Onur's school PTA and so a lot of things had to take a back seat, and at the moment this blog and The Wooden Spoon are two of those. We have been so, SO busy planning our summer fete, B-Fest, which is going to be HUGE! Also Coco has had 4 beautiful kittens! We are keeping one, a boy I've called Olivier (Oli for short)!

I've also been doing tons of translating and proof-reading and so with all this going on you can imagine how excited I am to be going to Butlins on Monday! We last went in September last year and had such a good time.
This time we're staying in a Silver Apartment again because it was comfortable and modern, but not doing the dining package we did last year, which is a shame because it was REALLY good, but this time we wanted to check out the other restaurants too :)
The kids are SO excited bless them and I have to admit, I am too! I think we're most looking forward to Splash Waterworld and the shows, but just generally spending some great quality time together as a family!

Of course I will be contactable by phone the whole time so my fellow PAG (Parent Action Group) girls shouldn't worry!

Tonight I will eventually start packing, but so far I've caught up on 1 episode of New Girl, 2 episodes of Mindy and now watching an episode of Body of Proof that I missed!

After this I will go up to our room and pack, and then settle down in bed with a book, I'm reading "The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman" by Louis De Bernieres at the moment!

What have you been up to lately?

Friday, 5 April 2013

First test for Wooden Spoon!

So I haven't written for a while, but I have been super mega busy!
Not only have a been doing proof-reading and translating for my old boss in Cyprus, but I have been creating my Facebook page for The Wooden Spoon Cooking Company and doing my first test!

Now I began by thinking "Well I could do classes of 10" - after doing our first test run, I would limit that to 6!
I had one of Onur's friends over, Francesca, and made pizza with Onur, Francesca and Kaya. Also present were Francesca's little brother Freddie and their mum Laura and a friend of mine Alev and her little boy Travis.
It was a little bit chaotic! BUT we did make the pizzas, the kids made their own dough with a little help, and did their own toppings. And they tasted good! It was a little difficult watching all three kids at once and I need Laura's help, but Kaya isn't actually 3 and that is going to be my minimum age I think - possibly 4 but we'll see how it goes with a few more tests.

These are the photos kindly taken by Laura on the day!

I just put two more taster sessions on my Facebook page, one for cookies and one for bread and both were fully booked within minutes! It's all getting very exciting! 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Oh lordy, Kaya got sick today too. I have been up to my elbows in sick and worse all day and now they've gone to bed I have put all the sofa covers in the washing machine, Dettol-ed everything in sight and now finally sat down with a slice of cherry pie and a cup of tea. Thankfully both boys seem to have improved, so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
New Girl is about to start, YAY! And later, Dallas. So it's not all bad :) And I wanted to share a nice soup recipe in light of all the crappy weather we've had lately! So enjoy, and keep warm and healthy!

This is actually a recipe I just made up one day when trying to think of delicious and nutritious foods for Onur and Kaya. It's one you can play around with, adding stuff you like and taking out stuff you don't and, unlike most of my recipes, it doesn't have weights or measurements! However, lentils do take a while to cook down (unless you have a pressure cooker) and to be very honest, the more you let this soup cook, the tastier it gets! On the plus side, once all the ingredients are in, you can pretty much go about your business and let everything just hang out in the pan until you're ready!

You will need: (please note all numbers are approximate - you can add more or less according to taste, the recipe is very forgiving!)

2 onions
3 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 potato
2 handfuls of cauliflower florets
About 300g of lentils
Chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of olive oil

First, do your prep. Chop up your onions, carrots and celery into one bowl, and yo
ur cauliflower
and potato into a second, as they'll go into the soup later. Add two tablespoons
of olive oil to your saucepan (or as Rachael Ray would say, two times around the pan!) and heat it up. Add your onions, carrots and celery and turn the heat down low.

Fry until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent.

Once you've got to this stage, add your lentils and stir them into the vegetables. On top of this add your stock (I haven't stated how much, but start off with a litre, you can always add more later, and with lentils you can never have too much liquid as they soak up loads!) and bring to a boil.

When your soup is boiling, reduce the heat down and wait about 15 minutes for the lentils to fade in colour and begin to open up. This is the time to add your potatoes and cauliflower.

And then you just let it cook down, adding water where needed because those lentils really do drink up the liquid! However, it's totally up to you how liquid-y you want it, I prefer my soups thick and satisfying rather than watery.

Aside from the lentils (obviously!) there are three ingredients to this recipe that I would strongly suggest you leave in, even if you change the recipe, simply because they add so much flavour-wise. These three ingredients are what the French call "Mirepoix", the Cajun and Creole community call the holy trinity, but to you and I they are just plain old onions, carrots and celery :) It is essentially a flavour base for so many recipes, and they are just vegetables that everyone has in their kitchen, but once you fry them together they combine to give amazing flavour to your food!

Hope you enjoy your soup! Afiyet Olsun! (That's the Turkish equivalent of Bon Appetit!)