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Madonna in a fur coat by Sabahattin Ali 📚 a book review ❤️

Hello lovelies! I am back! Ive been away for a few weeks from blogging because it’s been a very busy summer. We have extended our living room and it was a very stressful time, but thanks to the help of our wonderful family & a great builder, it is now done! And Im back writing! Yay!

I am back with this facinating and wonderful book. Available in English for the first time, this best-selling Turkish classic of love and alienation in a changing world captures the vibrancy of interwar Berlin.

The Book –

A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade and discover life in 1920s Berlin. There, amidst the city’s bustling streets, elegant museums, passionate politics, and infamous cabarets, a chance meeting with a beautiful half-Jewish artist transforms him forever. Caught between his desire for freedom from tradition and his yearning to belong, he struggles to hold on to the new life he has found with the woman he loves.

Emotionally powerful, intensely atmospheric, and touchingly profound, Madonna in a Fur Coat is an unforgettable novel about new beginnings, the relentless pull of family ties, and the unfathomable nature of the human soul. First published in 1943, this novel, with its quiet yet insistent defiance of social norms, has been topping best-seller lists in Turkey since 2013.

Verdict –

The Turkish author Sabahattin Ali, was a famous poet, writer and journalist. Born in 1907 in the Ottoman town of Eğridere (now Ardino, in southern Bulgaria). A teacher, journalist, and poet, he owned and edited the popular satirical newspaper Marko paşa.

A frequent target of government censorship, he was imprisoned twice for his writings and was killed on the Bulgarian border in 1948 as he attempted to flee Turkey. Today, Ali is an icon of social and political resistance among Turkish youth.

I found the story enticing, enriching and very enjoyable. Its not a long story but filled with so much excitement. Set in the wonderful city Berlin, it is a book not to be missed.

I just couldn’t put it down & finished it in one sitting! Sometimes it’s good to read classical books, they have become classics for a reason after all.

Available on Amazon uk now…


Courgettes with parsley & dill 😋 Crete style 💚 

During the summer I become a semi vegetarian. Of course I still eat a little meat every now and again, and fish is a must, but the majority of meals eaten are made up of fresh vegetables.

Antalya is filled with the freshest of vegetables. The main reason being this is where most fruits and vegetables are grown and the dustributed to all parts of Turkey and abroad. The humid climate and strong sunshine, with the very fertile ground make it perfect for growing.

In our local market right near my paremts home here there is everything you could imagine, but always things in season. Right now its the sweetest juicy peaches, honey filled figs and the biggest array of green vegetables.

This dish is amazing & perfect for summer! Eaten cold it is refreshing, super tasty and so easy to make.

Ingredients – (enough for 4)

– 4-5 medium sized courgettes

– 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh dill (finely chopped)

– 2 tables spoons Extra Virgin Olive oil

– Sea salt & black pepper

– 2 cups warm water

– 1 large onion (finely diced)

Method –

Prepare all the ingredients and set to one side.

Mix together in a large bowl the parsley, dill & garlic.

Peel and slice the courgettes in long thin strips.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions and cook over a low heat until cooked and caramelized.

Lower the heat. Line the pan with a layer of the sliced courgettes. Like you are lining a lasagne dish with pasta.

Like making lasagne add a layer of the parsley dill mixture over the courgettes. 

Next another layer of courgette strips.

Then another layer of the parsley dill mixture.

Continue until all the ingredients are used up. Add the water. Sprinkle on salt & pepper. Now leave to cook over a medium heat until the courgettes are soft to taste.

Enjoy cold with a dollop of yogurt! 😋

One of my favourite movies…Le Divorce ❤️🎬

When I go to Antalya for the summer I always take along a stack of my favourite dvds. I actually normally download my favourite movies onto my laptop, but with the recent laptop & ipad ban on flights from Turkey, I just take along my dvds.

Today I want to tell you about my go to movie when I want to feel warm and cosy. This movie just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Its not a classical love story, its quirky, fun and romantic at times. But it is so wonderfully real, and shot so beautifully in Paris. 

The Movie –

In this modern-day comedy of manners, American sisters Isabel and Roxy come face to face with the complicated social mores of French society. 

Pregnant and jilted by her scoundrel husband, Roxy is headed for divorce, while Isabel leaps into l’amour with a married French diplomat who happens to be the uncle of Roxy’s soon-to-be-ex. 

Culture clash and scandal ensue as the sisters learn what it really takes to be an American in Paris.

Verdict –

It is just sooooo good! The apartment Roxy lives in is my dream Parisian flat. 

Directed by James Ivory, it has a dreamy feel which keeps you entertained all the way through. The cast is just perfect. 

Based on a book by the same name, this is a rare movie where I found the movie more interesting than the book!

Please look it up and watch it, I bet you love it too xxx

Travelling to new places with kids ✈️ What’s the best age? ❤️

I read an article the other day in Travel & Leisure about travelling with kids. It was an article about why children under a certain age shouldn’t be taken to different and new places on their holidays because they don’t really appreciate it.

According to the psychiatrist in the article, “Extensive travel is wasted on kids.” And I tend to agree.

To be totally honest I think kids want the same things when they travel away from home – a pool, a park, a playground & toys.

We took boys to Copenhagen for the weekend recently, the highlight of the trip for them was the Lego shop & the playground.

Of course this changes as they grow up. My elder son who will be 10 this year now reads up about the country we are due to visit before we leave, he wants to know about it’s history, it’s population and so on. But my younger 6 year old just wants to jump on the bed in the hotel room and get in the nearest pool.

I don’t blame them one bit. Just because I love museums it doesnt mean that they sre going to. 

The article continues to say that Dr. Oliver James told The Telegraph that “home-based holidays are what most children really want.” That children prefer to have stability and visit the same place each year rather than a new place each time.

I agree yet again. Rather than spend thousands on exotic holidays to far away destinations that we as adults want to see, why not invest in a holiday home that can be revisited each year to build and make memories. Or even visit the same loved location each year.

I am now at an age where the kids are much easier to travel with. So we are now slowly visiting a different European city each year as a family treat. Its more for my older son than my younger, as he is more eager to visit new cities. 

Its fun, not easy, but a two night trip is manageable. 

The kids love coming to Antalya each year, same home, same pool, same friends. But as they grow our trips will get more adventurous and hopefully they will gain more from them.

As the article says, “…all kids want is to go back to the same place year after year — although how children process place and adventure changes as they age….”

We have so much to look forward to travelling with kids, there’s no need at all to rush. We have all the time in the world.

Read the full article below –

Churchill 🎬 a movie review 🇬🇧

I have never been hugely interested in politics or wars for that matter. Ive always believed that your religious and political views are private and should be kept that way.

However I do love it when a movie comes along which gives you a more personal view of politicians or important historical heads of state. Movies that show us that these strong figureheads who fought wars and won battles also loved and had hearts.

The Movie –

Churchill is one such movie, which shows us the private side of the late great Winston Churchill.

Tensions mount for beleaguered British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as D-Day nears in June 1944. 

Fearful of repeating past mistakes, Churchill is reluctant to embark on the large-scale campaign that the entire war effort hinges upon. 

Clashing with his political opponents, the troubled leader receives unwavering support from his devoted wife, Clementine. 

With strength and shrewdness, she tries to prevent his physical, mental and spiritual collapse while inspiring him to achieve greatness.

Verdict –

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I was a little sceptical at first as it is a political movie. But I was plesantly suprised.

Not only did the movie show us how deeply affected Churchill was by his loss at Gallipoli, it showed us what an important role his wife Clementine played in his life.

The movie made me smile at time, extremely sad at times. It made me realise yet again how lucky we are to be living in a free country without war in our close proximity. And how terrible wars are.

A very educational and thoroughly watchable movie.  Brian Cox as Churchill and Miranda Richardson as Clementine are both fantastic. 

Grapefruit segments are the perfect breakfast & snack! 😋

I am in sunny climates as you all know! Today the weather is extra hot & humid! We have hit 45 degrees celsius! 

Breakfast and snacks throughout the day are predominantly made up of fruits. I tend to find in hotter climates the less sweet fruits are more refreshing, and grapefruits are on the top of my list! 

Although I love grapefruits they can get messy at times when trying to eat. Especially when you are in a rush and have kids to feed. 

Nature’s Finest have come up with a super duper time & mess saving invention! Pre prepared grapefruit segments! 

The Product –

The days of making a mess slicing and dicing your own fruit are long gone, as Nature’s Finest introduce a quick and easy way to bring breakfast to life. 

The UK’s no.1 potted fruit brand is tantalising taste buds across the country with the launch of new Grapefruit in juice. Packed full of naturally sweet segments, the white grapefruit is in juice and contains no added sugar. 

Available in Waitrose from June, the new addition is guaranteed to turn an ordinary breakfast into something extraordinary.

The 390g grapefruit pots are bursting full of naturally sweet and tangy flavours, perfect as a breakfast topping, whipped up to add a citrus twist to a smoothie or to be enjoyed as it is while sitting out in the sunshine.

Grapefruit is a fantastic source of vitamin C and is designed to strengthen the immune system and boost metabolism, Nature’s Finest Grapefruit a welcome addition for those looking to increase their daily dose of vitamins.

All Nature’s Finest fruits are picked and packed at the peak of ripeness, locking in the all-important vitamins, minerals and naturally sweet taste. Only packed in juice and no added sugar.

The new Nature’s Finest 390g Grapefruit in juice is available now in Waitrose with an RRP of £1.67.

I absolutely loved them!! They have all the yumminess and freshness of grapefruit without the mess! 

I added my segments to my homemade yogurt, and a sprinkle of oats for a fantastically refreshing breakfast treat.

Yummy! x

Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King 📚 a book review ❤️

I am writing to you from sunny Antalya! We just spent a wonderful 3 days in Istanbul, and are now at our final stop for the summer for sone much needed sun, sea and sand.

Whilst in Istanbul I came across this fantastic book I just had to read. I havent quite finished it yet but have read enough to tell you all about it.

The Book –

At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock.

Yet in Istanbul–an ancient crossroads and Turkey’s largest city–people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs–a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. 

During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul’s most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests.

In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.

Verdict –

Pera Palace is one of my favourite hotels ever! Not only is it a beautifully amazing building set in the old part of Istanbul. It also has such a rich history I am not one bit suprised it has a book based around it.

Charles King has obviously researched the history of this amazing city very well. It is like looking back at Turkey’s history from the demise of the Ottoman empire through to the cosmopolitism it has reached today. After World War I Turkey went through immense changes, and became the Turkey it is today under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. 

A good book to read to understand the changes Turkey has gone through to get to where it is today. 

Next time you are in Istanbul be sure to visit the Pera Palace, it’s like walking back in time. 

For the perfect cup of tea when travelling ❤️😋☕️

I am now in sunnier climates, millions of miles away from home, away from the school runs and rainy weather for a few weeks. 

Although I do love coffee, lately I have been craving the perfect cup of stong English tea with milk. 

When abroad its not always easy to get the right strength or colour to your cup of tea so I do normally take a big box of teabags along with me, which can prove tiresome on shorter trips. Boxes of tea are difficult to keep fresh once opened, and can take up space in small cases.

The English Tea shop has come up with the perfect solution! A handy compact selection of teas to pack in your case for that perfect cup of tea anywhere you go! It’s the size of a small book & super light so will slip right into your handbag.

The Product –

Within a span of few years, English Tea Shop teas have become the perfect partner of the tea drinkers across the globe. 

They work with only the finest Organic and Fairtrade farmers from all over the world to produce our special range of teas.

It’s own manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka allows it to rely upon age-old traditions that, for centuries, have been producing the best teas in the world. The harmonious blends and time honored healthy ingredients help the consumers with much needed good health with no compromise in excitement. The teas are handpicked and crafted to deliver the fullest burst of flavor to its customers. The fantastic feedback and the ratings it receives from the consumers are the major drives of the company’s success. 

Verdict –

Such a fantastic idea! I drink my tea with milk, and the English breakfast made the perfect cup of tea. Just like one I would have back home.

I cannot wait to try the other wonderful blends in the pack –

  • Detox tea
  • Calming tea
  • Green tea with honey & mint
  • Chocolate, Roobios & Vanilla 

English Tea Shop products are available on Amazon Uk, also in Harrods, WHSmith, Debenhams and other shops. Full details on their lovely website below –

As it says on the box, 

“There’s no brew like home” ❤️😋

Falling by Jane Green 📚 a book review 🌞❤️

I am writing to you from sunny Turkey! It is officially the summer holidays and two days in I am enjoying a fantastic book poolside in the glorious sunshine!

It is a bit of a tradition of mine to save a new book by a favourite author for the holidays. So I actually bought this book a while ago but saved it especially for this vacation. 

The Book – 

From the Sunday Times number one bestselling author of Summer Secrets comes a novel about finding a home – and family – where you least expect them.

Eight years ago, Emma Montague left behind the strict confines of her upper-crust English life – and rather dull boyfriend – and moved to New York City, where she immediately found success in the world of finance. But her soulless, cut-throat, all-consuming job has only led to another life she didn’t want.

Answering an online ad, Emma finds a tiny beach cottage to rent in the small town of Westport, Connecticut. It needs work – lots of work. But it’s the perfect project to satisfy Emma’s passion for interior design and gardening, if her new landlord, Dominic, is agreeable to the small changes she yearns to make.

To Emma, Dominic is also something of a fixer-upper. A local handyman with a six-year-old son, he’s a world away from the men she should be interested in, but he’s comfortable in his own skin, confident, quiet and kind. Slowly, over a shared garden, time spent with his son and late-night conversations, Emma finds herself falling for Dominic.

From friends to lovers happens as naturally as the changing seasons. But laying down roots doesn’t come easily when two lives as different as theirs merge into one. And Emma will realize that the seeds of happiness must be nurtured and cherished to grow into something strong enough to shelter all their hopes and dreams . . .

Verdict –

Yet again Jane Green does not disappoint! A lovely read, her words flow so easily and by chapter 4 you already feel you know the characters as if they were living in your own neighbourhood.

Not up there with my favourite of Green’s books but entertaining all the same.

Available on Amazon & in all major bookshops now! 

Happy Summer reading x

The joy of growing fruit & vegetables in your own garden ❤️

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts when eating a home grown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard (American writer)

I read this quote recently and completely agree. Growing your own fruits & vegetables has to be one of lifes most pleasurable things!

With Summer here and the weather heating up we are harvesting our own homegrown fruits, vegetables & herbs. Next Spring why don’t you all try to grow your own. You don’t need a garden, a balcony or even a window sill will work perfectly.

I have found the vegetables and herbs which are easiest to grow and maintain are mint, chives and tomatoes.

Mint grows very fast, all it needs is watering and some sunshine and they are off! Perfect to tear into salads, add a few leaves to boiling hot water for a refreshing fresh mint tea or add to tomato soup for an amazing taste.

Chives are perfect cut up into a fresh potato salad.

The joy of eating homegrown tomatoes is just amazing. I have found growing tomatoes to be much more successful when you plant tomato plants rather than seeds. Use tomato feed and with plenty of watering and sunshine you will have success.

Get the little ones involved and you will all have fun next Spring!