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Oven baked Fennel 💚 Perfect with fish

I do like cooking the same things. Either baked salmon with an accompaniment of broccoli and asparagus. Another favourite is oven cooked goijons of chicken with a side of new potatoes and carrots.

But sometimes it’s good to step outside your culinary comfort zone and cook ingredients you don’t normally cook and experiment with unusual flavours.


My lovely parents are staying with us at the moment and my mother mentioned how much she loves fennel. So after some investigation I discovered how simple fennel was to prepare and what a wonderfully delicate flavour it has to offer.

It couldn’t be simpler to prepare! Recipe below –

Ingredients

– 3 whole fennels

– Drizzle of olive oil

– Sea salt 


Method 

– Wash the whole fennel 

– Cut off the green shoots at the top

– Cut into quarters

– Place on a baking tray, drizzle over generous amounts of Extra  Virgin Olive oil

– Put in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 25minutes or until cooked

Just delicious with baked salmon fillets or Seabass. 

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull ❤️💙 a book review 📚

Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog will know about my love for France, well not just France, but mainly Paris. In my opinion Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world! 

Lately I have been craving the city of lights even more! I am definitely overdue a visit and am actually planning a day trip with a very good friend of mine. It is almost like an addiction now, I need my Paris fix, and now!

Anyway, so in the meantime I am reading some books set in Paris which can transport me to those beautiful tree lined street and let me take walks along the Seine without having to take a step outside my from door.

The Book –


A delightful new twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes readers on a tour fraught with culture clashes but rife with insight and deadpan humour – a charming true story of what happens when Sarah Turnbull meets a very French Frenchman.
Verdict –

I am going to be completely honest, I have read this book not once, not twice, but three times.

That’s what I love to do. If I enjoy a movie I will watch it as many times as possible. The same goes for books.

I love everything about this book. Sarah Turnbull writes so naturally she transports me to my favourite city everytime I read the words she has written.

Her Parisian experiences make me laugh and the things she endures amazes me.

A book every Francophile like me needs to buy and read ‘tout suite’ as they say in France.

You can purchase Almost French at all major bookshops and online at Amazon UK now.

I look forward to reading about Sarah Turnbull’s next adventure in her latest book – ‘All Good Things: From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing’.

Bridget Jones’s Baby 👶🏻 a movie review 🎬

Who doesn’t enjoy a good old laugh? Laughing is said to make you look younger, make you live longer, so any book or movie guaranteed to make me laugh is a winner for me.

The Movie –

Bridget Jones is back! And this time she is having a baby.


Breaking up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) leaves Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) over 40 and single again. Feeling that she has everything under control, Jones decides to focus on her career as a top news producer. Suddenly, her love life comes back from the dead when she meets a dashing and handsome American named Jack (Patrick Dempsey). Things couldn’t be better, until Bridget discovers that she is pregnant. Now, the befuddled mom-to-be must figure out if the proud papa is Mark or Jack.

Verdict –

I went to see this movie with my darling husband who is always a bit wary about ‘girly’ movies. But he absolutely loved it too.

Bridget & Mark do look slightly older than their supposedly 43 years but they still have that wonderful chemistry. 

Patrick Dempsey is a really fun character who fits in very well with the cast who are  all familiar faces from the previous two Bridget Jones movies.

I think everyone will enjoy this fun filled movie. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the books or seen the previous movies. It’s so much fun!

Bridget Jones’s Baby is out now in all major cinemas around the UK! 

Why every home needs a Turkish carpet ❤️

In my opinion a home isn’t complete with one or two rugs of extremely good quality. Turkish carpets have international recognition for being of the best quality and the hand made varieties can be extremely expensive.

I visited the Museum of Antalya whilst on holiday, one of my favourite places in the whole world. They had a superb selection of carpets dating back many many years. My favourite are in shades of burgundy. I feel a carpet like this adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’to any home.

The History behind Turkish Carpets –

Here is a bit of history for you taken from Wikipedia.

‘Turkish carpet’ is a term of convenience, commonly used today to denote rugs and carpets woven by various ethnicities in the geographic region of Asia minor and the adjacent regions, which formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire. It denotes a knotted, pile-woven floor or wall covering which is produced for home use, local sale, and export. Along with flat-woven kilim, “Turkish” carpets form an essential part of the regional culture, today officially understood as Turkish, but in fact derived from the multi-ethnic, multi-religious traditions of the former Ottoman Empire and its predecessors.

Carpet weaving represents a traditional art, dating back to pre-Islamic times. During its long history, the art and craft of the woven carpet has integrated different cultural traditions. Traces of Byzantine design can be detected, Turkic peoples migrating from Central Asia, as well as Armenian people, Caucasian and Kurdic tribes either living in, or migrating to Anatolia, brought with them their traditional designs.

Here are some pictures I took today of hand woven carpets and kilims on display at The Museum of Antalya –

So if you are ever lucky enough to visit Istanbul, or any other part of Turkey, ask around and ensure you take back a classic hand woven Turkish Carpet to adorn your home for many years to come.

Timmy Failure – Sanitized for your Protection 💚 a book review 📚

We are back to the school routine, kids are back at school and although I am missing them it is nice to have my freedom back. More time to blog and stay in touch with all you lovelies.

My boys do love reading but over the summer there were so many wonderful distractions – swimmimg, sports & family visits – reading sadly became second priority.

So it was wonderful to be greeted by some lovely books to review on our return. My boys were super excited to see the latest Timmy Failure book ‘Sanitized for your Protection’.

The Book –


The fourth book in the New York Times bestselling series sees Timmy Failure take to the road – with the usual disastrous consequences!

Everyone’s favourite kid detective is back in award-winning author Stephan Pastis’s fourth book in the Timmy Failure series, perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser. 

Shenanigans abound as Timmy Failure finds himself on a road trip with none other than notorious criminal Molly Moskins. Travelling halfway across the country to help your mother’s boyfriend settle into his new job would be inconvenient for any detective, let alone the founder, president and CEO of Total Failure Inc, the world’s greatest detective agency. 

Timmy has a case to solve, and nothing can stand in his way. If he is to arrest Corrina Corrina and solve the YIP YAP case, Timmy, his sidekick polar bear Total, and Molly Moskins must go on the run!

Verdict –

Another super fun adventure your kids will enjoy!


My boys are 5 & 8, and even though this story is stated to be more suited to over 8’s my 5 year old enjoyed it just as much.

This latest Timmy Failure story did not disappoint. My boys loved the others in the series and this one was just as fun. The chapters are not too long and the story extremely funny so the kids did not lose concentration. 

The illustrations are just so cute and your kids will love them! 

Another great book from Stephan Pastis! Looking forward to many more…

Timmy Failure Sanitized for your Protection is available to purchase online at Amazon & all major bookshops now!

Perfect homemade pasta sauce with just four simple ingredients ❤️🍝

My whole family loves pasta! It is easy to make, suits all ages and can be the most scrumptious dish if made properly.

This summer it has been extremely hot in Antalya but pasta has been a weekly staple on our dinner menu. We have replaced the heavy Bolognese sauces filled with minced meat, with just simple sauces made up of fresh ingredients.

This sauce is my mother’s speciality. My boys who normally prefer pesto or ‘green sauce’ pasta, have totally switched and now prefer this fresh tomatoey red pasta.


It is true that pasta can be ‘heavy’ and ‘too filling’ but I completely believe that it’s not the pasta that is ‘heavy’ it is the sauce that you put on it.

I recently read the autobiography of the beautiful Italian actress Sophia Lauren who said she eats pasta everyday. So why is she still so slim and fit, because she doesn’t cover the pasta with creamy, meat heavy sauces. Just a simple sauce of fresh ingredients is enough.

So here it is. Just 4 simple ingredients to heavenly deliciousness. Trust me, once you make this you won’t go back to store bought pasta sauces filled with goodness knows what.

Ingredients – (enough for 4people)

  • 5 large red & juice tomatoes (grated – no peel)
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar


Method –

  • First heat the oil over a medium heat.
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook until cooked, mix with a wooden spoon so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Add the freshly grated tomato.
  • Add the sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomato.
  • Cook until it forms a thick gorgeous red sauce.


Then simply cook your favourite pasta al dente and add into the prepared sauce. 

Mix well to cover all the pasta and enjoy!

 

 

 

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk 📚 a book review 

I am back home. We had a fantastic summer in Antalya with my lovely family but it is now time to get back to reality.

It is nice to be home. We flew back via Istanbul, and I came across this book in the airport in Istanbul. I was actually looking for a book about this wonderful city which holds a very special place in my heart, and I came across this novel by the renowned Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

I have not always been a huge fan of Pamuk’s work. Many many years ago I attempted to read My Name is Red, but could not get past the first few pages as I just didn’t get it.

But I never give up, and The Museum of Innocence was a book I knew had great reviews.

The Book –


The below description of the book is from goodreads –

“It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.” So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red. 

It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. 

Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie—a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, restaurant rituals, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay—until finally he breaks off his engagement to Sibel. But his resolve comes too late. 

For eight years Kemal will find excuses to visit another Istanbul, that of the impoverished backstreets where Füsun, her heart now hardened, lives with her parents, and where Kemal discovers the consolations of middle-class life at a dinner table in front of the television. His obsessive love will also take him to the demimonde of Istanbul film circles (where he promises to make Füsun a star), a scene of seedy bars, run-down cheap hotels, and small men with big dreams doomed to bitter failure. In his feckless pursuit, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart’s reactions: anger and impatience, remorse and humiliation, deluded hopes of recovery, and daydreams that transform Istanbul into a cityscape of signs and specters of his beloved, from whom now he can extract only meaningful glances and stolen kisses in cars, movie houses, and shadowy corners of parks. 

A last change to realize his dream will come to an awful end before Kemal discovers that all he finally can possess, certainly and eternally, is the museum he has created of his collection, this map of a society’s manners and mores, and of one man’s broken heart.

A stirring exploration of the nature of romantic attachment and of the mysterious allure of collecting, The Museum of Innocence also plumbs the depths of an Istanbul half Western and half traditional—its emergent modernity, its vast cultural history. 

Verdict –

I must say I utterly and absolutely enjoyed this book.

I started reading it at the airport in Istanbul where I purchased it, and I finished it late last night in the comforts of my home in London. It was so easy to read, the words of Orhan Pamuk just flowed so easily I could not put it down, I had to find out what happened next.

Kemal and Fusun experience feelings of love set in the confusion and amazement that is Istanbul. 

I am going to give My Name is Red another go after enjoying this novel so much. I think Orhan Pamuk’s books require the reader to have that extra little bit of experience. For the reader to have lived a little. 

I also plan to visit the real museum set up by the author named after the book. The museum was picked the best museum in Europe in 2014. Link below –

http://tr.masumiyetmuzesi.org
You can read The Museum of Innocence translated into English now. Available in all major bookshops & on Amazon.

Cafe Society 🎬 a movie review 🍾

I must admit I am not a fan of Woody Allen as a person, but as a director and film maker he is very good. Match Point, Blue Jasmine, Vicki Christina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris  – definitely all movies I thoroughly enjoyed and would watch again and again.

So I was extremely excited to discover Woody Allen’s latest movie was out and it was set in my favourite historical era – the 1930’s. A time where ladies dressed in the most glamorous dresses and men were so smart and charming. 

The Movie –


The movie is set in 1930’s Hollywood and New York.

Looking for an exciting career, young Bobby Dorfman leaves New York for the glitz and glamour of 1930s Hollywood. 

After landing a job with his uncle, Bobby falls for Vonnie, a charming woman who happens to be his employer’s mistress. 

Settling for friendship but ultimately heartbroken, Bobby returns to the Bronx and begins working in a nightclub. 


Everything falls into place when he finds romance with a beautiful socialite, until Vonnie walks back into his life and captures his heart once again.

Verdict –

As always Woody Allen has done it yet again! Transported me to another era, another place in time. This movie is like watching a documentary about 1930’s Hollywood. The costumes, the settings, the acting – all so natural and amazingly cast.

The lead roles are played by Jesse Eisenberg – who you may remember played in The Social Network. Kristen Stewart is his love interest Vonnie. 

You will not be bored for one second in the amazing story of love found, then lost, then found again. 

I would have loved to live in that era. Everything just seemed to be much more beautiful then…

I believe the UK release date is September 2nd.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza 📚 a book review 💙

One of my secret pleasures is watching horror movies. More thrillers than horrors in fact. It’s something my mother and I love to do together. Once the boys are in bed we put on a good thriller, dim the lights and enjoy.

I am not as brave as my mother who is not fazed by even the scariest of movies, but I’m normally watching through the gaps between my fingers at the scariest parts.

Suspenseful books are also a great pleasure. I adore happy fun love filled books, but sometimes you just want to be shocked and frightened. Not in real life of course.

The Book –

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense.

Verdict –

I just read recently that the talented author of this book Robert Bryndza has collectively sold 1million copies of The Girl in the Ice & the follow up to this story The Night Stalker.

I must say I am not suprised one bit.

The Girl in the Ice had me hooked from the word go.

I normally allocate myself a few days to read & review my list of books over the summer months. But with this book it was read and reviewed in one day! A definite record for Mother in London.

I loved the detective, Erika Foster. She is focused and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. It was more like watching a really good detective movie than reading a book. It flowed so naturally and was so well written I got quite scared.

I cannot wait to read The Night Stalker next which I will review in a separate blog.

In the meantime you can get The Girl in the Ice on Amazon UK now. You can find out more about the author at the link below –

https://robertbryndza.com

A Fizzling frozen facial 💙

It is still very hot in sunny Antalya but I’m loving it! 

My skin needs some extra loving care in the summer heat. With all the suncream, chlorine from the swimming pools and heat, your skin gets clogged up.

Using too many skincare products is difficult in humid weather conditions as you tend to sweat a lot and clogging your facial pores with too many creams and serums can cause more oil production and in turn a shiny unhealthy look all round.

So when on holiday I tend to use natural ingredients to freshen my skin and keep packaged products to a minimum.

This is a fantastic tip I got from my mother who has amazing skin!


Every morning treat your skin to a fizzling frozen facial. It couldn’t be more simple. The main thing to remember is to use ‘naturally carbonated mineral water’. So stick to Perrier or San Pellegrino. The wonderful minerals will enrich and make your skin sparkle!

Method-

  • Carefully fill an ice cube tray with mineral water and freeze overnight.
  • In the morning as soon as you awake take a cube out of the tray and rub it all over your face & neck!
  • Leave on your skin for a while to get the benefit of all those minerals
  • Pat dry!

Your skin will be glowing! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️