One Estonian thoughts about Estonia (and Estonians)

I’m going through photos from this year holiday to Estonia. Here are just some random thoughts with some photos:

  • Until I moved to UK I never lived further than 500 meter from the sea. I always feel home, when I can see and feel seaside. Being of 2 fisherman’s granddaughter I love fish and seafood. In Estonia you don’t have to break a bank to eat fish daily and we estonians are not picky what kind of fish we eating (always have black rye bread with it! ….with everything really 🙂 )

  • You can easily find affordable meals in pubs and it doesn’t mean everything deep-fried. This big plate cost around £5 and you get 1/3 plate of different veg and pickles and 90% of cases you get sour cream-mayo sauce with your food – very Estonian!

  • My hometown Pärnu has lovely sandy beach – my favorite place, with seawater temperatures reaching more than 20 degrees and it’s shallow, which is brilliant with small kids but takes you ages to get far enough for swim.

  • Porridge in Estonia is not just your everyday oats. You get all aisle in the shop with lots of different grains. My favorite this summer was  four grain porridge (contains rye, oats, wheat and barley)

  • The market at my hometown means seasonal affordable food from local farms, gardens and forests. We are lucky to live just 5 minutes walk away from the market,  so I was regular shopper every morning. The meat counter is just amazing – you can buy every bit of animal, nothing is wasted and you can even get free fresh bones for dogs. Lonni was very happy about it!

  • I just love my home in Pärnu, it’s often full of my friends and family and there is no need to call before, just pop in, when we are home our door is always open and there is always reason to open bottle of wine.

  • Freshly smoked bacon and chanterelle from local forest – my favorite and so affordable!

  • Estonians love fresh herbal teas – they are always foraging and preparing for the long cold winter.

  • In Estonia you can buy watermelons size of a beach ball 🙂 and they are so sweet and juicy!

  • My favorite place to enjoy sunset – Pärnu Yacht club – open to everyone for food, wine or live music. And great place to see the sunset.

  • Cake for breakfast is considered acceptable in Estonia – one of my favourite kind of breakfasts!

  • Estonians are very proud of their food and you can dine in countless fancy food places in Estonia, which might not be so affordable else where. Although it’s about to change and prices seem to be catching up with UK.

  • My home town have 2 km long mole and you can walk on it- no health and safety to stop you slip on the slippery stone. You do have to use your common sense.

  • Most Estonians know places to have a wild swim, meaning it’s not publicly open swimming area. 

  • Those black rye garlic breads are must and those are only kind of rye bread my children love. Always accompanied with sour cream-mayo-garlic dip.

  • Estonians love house and flat parties. They are quite low-key but so much fun and always include lovely food and lots of drinks.

  • In Estonia you never know where you end up sending your day away. Your friends usually know fantastic secluded places to watch most amazing sunsets. You definitely wont find those places in guidebooks.

  • Estonians are very keen foragers and there are variety of mushrooms and berries you can find everywhere.

  • Estonians love music and singing and learning an instrument or singing is easily accessible and taught at very high standards from very early age. This is my best friend super talented son, only 15 (16 now) years old. 

  • Those ring donuts have been around since I went to school and the café near my school has been run by same ladies who did it 35 year ago in Soviet time (whoops, did I say 35? I’m not so old)

  • Estonians love their salads dressed richly with sour cream and mayonnaise sauce and I love it!!

  • Estonians are very proud gardeners and most of the gardens are immaculate and quite big compared to standard UK gardens.

  • Estonians love making cakes and they are very creative. This tart has been made from biscuits! It’s very original and I haven’t come across anywhere else. And it’s contains quark (lots of it!) so high in protein. Healthy pudding or what!

  • Summers in Estonia are unpredictable you can get +25 heat and then it drop to 15 degrees. So be prepared for anything!

  • Estonians might come across as serious and not very open at first, but once, when you make a friend with them, they always ready to help you.

Miss you my friends and fam! xxx

Is there such thing like healthy cake???

 You just can’t beat cake, which includes butter, sugar, cream and nice quality plain flour. Like this!

vastlakukkel

It’s “semla” in Swedish or “vastlakukkel” in Estonian and we eat it at Shrove Tuesday, but as I was busy as hell in February I made them on lovely Sunday afternoon and they tasted as nice 🙂

I just had recipe, I needed to try as the secret for the best “vastlakukkel” is the nice soft bun. So I have planned to try Olgas recipe for a while now, but there was always reason to postpone it – no time or missing ingredients like kefir (fermented milk from Caucasus mountains) Estonians have been grown up with it but as it all the graze in healthy food industry lots of shops ask ridiculous price for it. Sainsbury had 0.3ml bottle for 1.65!! For this money you can find 1 liter bottle at Polish food sections at Tescos and other supermarkets and in London there are probably even more choices of Eastern European food supermarkets. 

My first try was unsuccessful, the jar of the dried yeast has been open for a while and the dough just didn’t rise. So last weekend I went forward with the new batch and the dough worked well. I still need to learn how long it takes to knead the dough with my superstar Kenwood and how to check, that I have done enough kneading. I also try to shorten the baking time as I think I kept them in oven few minutes too long.  So I think I will do few more test batches. Idea is to make lots of them next year and maybe sell them as they are as popular amongst Estonians and Scandinavians  and those are always hunted in Facebook on Shrove Tuesday. 

Why I’m writing this, while my aim to loose weight? Because I haven’t come across with the “healthy” cake, which I truly enjoy and would like to bake again and again. I have had OK low calorie cakes, which doesn’t include sugar and flour, but they are not ones I would mark with the “post-it” note and the star in my cookbooks (that, what I do  to keep track on brilliant recipes I have tried and enjoyed 😉 )I always test so called guilt free cake recipes I come a cross in the blogs. There are some OK ones, but mostly I feel disappointed with the end result. So I think, if I will  have a cake, I have something I really enjoy.

It does only apply to cakes. I love healthy meals – all the veggies, porridges, smoothies, seeds, grains, fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, healthy oils – you name it! I can find lots of pictures taken delicious healthy meals in my phone:

…but I can’t find and healthy cakes 🙁 Only lovely creamy, buttery mouth melting ones 🙂

 I have no trouble to swap ice cream to creamed frozen banana – I enjoy it as much! Or have a Greek yogurt with berries and drizzle of honey. 

IT’S JUST CAKES!!

Oeh! No wonder it’s bloody complicated to loose weight here!

But I’m still doing it, just in a hard way 🙂

 

Easter Holiday – No CrossFit for few weeks :(

The Easter Holiday is over and I’m back in reality of the everyday life 🙁

I managed to extend my holiday to the week and I can’t remember, when I last could take time off to just be at home and spend time with my children, without the need to rush somewhere or actually going to the holiday. It was lovely! I slept 9 hours and more! We went to the local swimming pool, went to the cinema to see “Power Rangers”, which I actually enjoyed and almost cried!!?? We went shopping for some necessities, like school shoes and more socks – boring stuff and had lunch in Nandos. So I did nothing special but it was so enjoyable. I even had haircut! I haven’t been at hairdressers over a year now and my hair looked really sad.

New haircut

Haven’t had so many compliments very long time.

We did go away on Good Friday to have a mini holiday at the Kent coast.

cousins at seaside

We had walks at seaside, met up with family and had a good laugh, visited Margate, which was big surprise. I haven’t been there since children were small and I kind of remember it being quite run down place with the nice beach. For my surprise it was lovely, great seaside atmosphere, nice antique and retro shops, lots cafes and pubs, it was especially nice on the pier. We even found one Scandinavian café and had compulsory Cinnamon bun.

Margate

Only negative side of the holiday was – I haven’t been able to do CrossFit for almost 2 weeks. I have done something to my “good” leg/knee few weeks ago and I can’t train properly. I did try carry on and even managed to PB my back squat, but decided not to do CrossFit for few weeks in order to get back to it quicker. It seems I got tendonitis after doing workout, which included over parallete burpees and I was actually quite proud myself doing so well. But following day I felt pain in my knee/around the knee and actually my another”bad” knee become suddenly the “good” one. “Oeh!” old people problems 🙂

I felt quite down because of it. CrossFit is my therapy and it keeps me happy or exhausted so I don’t care about s**t and not many things can annoy me then 🙂  But looking to the bright side, I had week off from work and spent lots of time with my children and I was quite active other ways. My leg feels much better now and I have planned to go back to the training tonight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good with doing some mobility at home so my knee feels still bit stiff. I just find really hard to take 20 minutes at home to do it, I usually have to choose either doing exercise or getting full 7 hours sleep.

I wasn’t pleased with the “Project 30” development beginning of the months, so after complaining over it in the last post lovely Lindsay from LJL Coaching urged me back to join her FB group and record all activities/food/moods over the next 2 weeks and this really have helped me so the weight goes in right direction again. Thank you, I really needed that! Only the few days away from home and indulging with some ice cream and chocolate eggs hasn’t been kind to me and I got a bit of a shock on the scale this morning, but I’m back on tracking my food today and feeling determined again so hopefully I will see more pleasing result from now on 🙂

 

2016 – what a year!

Another year has gone. It feels like only yesterday I wrote about our 2015. The 2016 has been emotional roller-coaster, not personally, but for the world and I think lots of decision made in 2016, will affect us all years to come.

January

Like always the biggest event on the first month of the year is our dear son birthday. Other than that I can’t remember much going on. Just recovering from the Christmas, getting back to the school/work/Crossfit/tennis/football/scouts routine with all family.

February

I have managed to save photos from my lovely cousin visit to somewhere secret, so only picture I can find is the one in the Facebook 🙂 How did we manage before the Facebook?? It’s weird, how you see the place you live through eyes of your guests, when you showing around. We just don’t notice, how much history and interesting places there are around us. We went to London, visited Tower Bridge – first time in 14 years, I have been living here, only an hour trip from London 🙁 We also went to Cambridge and the weather was unusually warm to February.

Rare occasion of Collins family playing tourists in London!

March

Getting more difficult as I have no idea what’s happened in March??  Oh yes, we had Timo’s birthday party, because it’s really hard to organise anything straight after Christmas, so it’s not so unusual to have his birthday celebration just before Keitis 🙂 The Easter was really early this year and we were stressing over the Timo’s Secondary School options.

April

Ok. For April I can find lots of dog and cats photos in my phone. We really have to get our act together and be more creative with our diaries 🙂 🙂 Keiti was only one, who actually did something exciting and went to skiing to Austria. On 25th of April I had one year from starting the CrossFit, dragging everyone else in the family into as well 🙂

May

May is birthdays month (Keiti and Simon) and our anniversary month as well and we so lucky to have 2 Bank Holidays in May. There were cricket matches in village green, which are so British and I have finally got hang of with the rules of the game now. There were beautiful sunsets and our first meals out in the garden, which almost feels like being on holiday. There is the Eurovision, which everyone hates but still watches 🙂 We had night out in London for Simons birthday, went to see QI recording, which was real treat. Our lovely daughters birthday, just can’t believe I’m a parent of this lovely young lady – how did it happened? We found duckling in our garden, who we tried to get back to his home, running around the village and knocking to the neighbours doors, carrying him in the plastic box. He got finally rescued by Rosina Animal Centre, with the help from my lovely neighbours and duckling was named Terry! 🙂 Terry was released after the month, back to the bond, where he hopefully found family or at least new friends. We went to our annual camping trip to the border of the Devon and Cornwall. We were blessed with the best weather with lots of sunshine.

June

Our camping trip continued in June, only to get back, when the rollercoaster started. We learned, what BREXIT means – maybe not, as we still don’t know, how it will actually happen, but it definitely have shaken up the world politics. I even have BREXIT flowerbed in our garden 🙂 I needed to channel my frustration somewhere, I weeded and dag and it actually looked quite decent in the end. 🙂 I baked cakes for the Antique Roadshow at Ightham Mote and cook huge paella for 150 people at the Ightham music festival.

July

July was all about Timos last month in primary school. We had mums night out at the school summer ball. Our children primary school has been such big part of our lives past 10 years, so it is very different now, not to drive up the little village lane to drop off or pick up our children. There were lots of parties for mums and quite few for children. I have met so many lovely ladies during those years and I was sad, when it draw to the end. We also went to the local farm strawberry picking picnic with live music.  I must say I didn’t pick any strawberries 🙁 but enjoyed the crowd and live bands. We spent day at Whitstable, when children did waters sports with scouts.End of the July, when children finished the school they were off to scout camp to Jersey, so we had 10 days without children – first time since we become parents! We had mini holiday in Poole and met up with my friends from the volleyball days for my friend’s 50-s birthday at Wiltshire. We visited Chilli festival at Dorset. I love summers! We get up for so much more!

August

August is our usual holiday months, but we didn’t go to Estonia this year. Instead we spent some time at Deal, found fantastic sandy beach in Broadstairs and first time ever in UK, I went to swim in the sea! The waves were amazing and we all really loved it!

September

Back to school! Both our children are in the secondary school, which has started new era in our lives. Keiti completed her first ever mud race and she did incredibly well. Very impressed with her. As I said before, Crossfit has changed us all 🙂

October

There was some baking but most importantly there was mini break in Milan, with my bestest friends. We laughed 4 days in a row and I love my friends dearly for that. We had lots of delicious food and wine and we chatted for the years we haven’t seen each other. Also, we are selfie queens 🙂 Thank you girls – I love you!

November

Watching football in freezing cold, trying new recipes, lots of Crossfit and tennis, dog walks. Just the everyday routine. But I didn’t mind it 🙂 and of course the world shocker – Trump became American president – oh dear!

December

Finally, end of the year! lots of rushing around to get ready for the Christmas, shopping, cleaning, organising. Oh! Had great Christmas party with my CrossFit buddies, lovely family Christmas, beautiful walk after festivities. What I like overall – sitting in my dining room, TV entertainments are on, fire roars, candles flickering, I haven’t bothered with make up, I have comfy leggings and top on, chatting with my far friends in Facebook and writing summary of my year. It’s best place to be.

I wish you all Happy New Year! And I really hope that 2017 brings us more clarity and common sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year with the CrossFit and Paleo Avocado Ice Cream

Just over a year ago I booked my trial session at CrossFit Cantii and I haven’t looked back since. It’s the best thing I ever have done!  Ok, it’s the best thing I have done since I started to write my age with number 4 (like 34 🙂 )

If you want to know what is the CrossFit, just Google it, there are plenty of blogs, web pages, YouTube videos around, which can put it in the words much better than I could.

Or take a look at this video https://www.facebook.com/crossfit/videos/10153045634867676/

I’m training most of the week at 6.30am , which means getting up 5 or 5.30 am and that is the most difficult thing in CrossFit for me. Once I’m in the box (that’s what you call the gym in CrossFit 🙂 ) its all fun and laughter 🙂 Ok, I struggle through warm-up, which intensity is similar to the workout I used to do before starting CrossFit 🙂 followed by some kind of weightlifting workout or practicing gymnastic skills. I love weights, never thought, you can get hooked to doing weights, but I did and it makes me feel total ace! And we are not talking about weights what “will help you get toned” – total rubbish you read from lifestyle magazines,  it’s serious stuff and after squatting with 60kg and more or deadlifting near 100 kg (my PB is 130kg :)), nothing seems impossible rest of the day. And then  there is WOD (Workout of the Day), it can be 10 minutes long or 20 or 30, but one is sure it challenges you in the best possible way.

CrossFit is so much more personal than going to the gym. It’s like meeting up your friends and have a good chat every morning. We are encouraging each other doing better in the workouts and it really helps, when you feeling just giving up in the middle of grueling workout.

My training buddies :)

My training buddies 🙂

It pushes you out from your comfort zone and makes you want to try things you always said you can’t do or don’t like to do. Like this morning, we could choose any workout, skill or mobility to work on and my classmate managed to talk me into running-rowing workout, which is my least favorite thing. It consisted 4 rounds of: 500m row, 400m run and 30 ab-mat sit ups, followed by 4 times 20 cal row. I was struggling through this workout, but felt over the moon, once we completed it. Now just trying to stay awake at my desk for the rest of the day in the office 🙂

My Nike Metcons and personalized skipping rope

My Nike Metcons and personalized SGF skipping rope 🙂

I can say I’m totally addicted to CrossFit, but it’s kind of a good addiction. The CrossFit rules my life and I’m happy with it. What’s not to like if you live the lifestyle, which concentrates to be healthier, become stronger, consuming almost no alcohol (it really shows if I have cheeky glass of vino evening before morning class) and trying make healthier choices during the day,  not because you want to lose weight, but you want to kick some buts in the training 🙂

My next goal now is complete 1!!! pull-up. It doesn’t sound like much, but thinking about the weight I have to pull up, it’s quite a lot. I have all training equipment ready at home – pull up bar, gymnastic rings so don’t have any excuses not to practice daily. Quickest way to achieve it would be loose around 20 kg 🙂 but I’m too much of a foodie to achieve it any time soon, so I just have to become stronger. 🙂

CrossFitters are well known following Paleo diet. I have had periods in my life, when I followed it and it definitely have the benefits to your health. I like cooking ( and eating 😉 ) too much to stick with it 100 % of the time, but quite often I pick up some Paleo recipes just because they worth to make, when trying to fuel your body right way for better results in  the training. Here is a cheeky dessert, when you are desperate for something sweet.

Avocado Ice Cream

2 ripe avocados

zest and juice of the 4 limes

4sp honey

1tsp vanilla extract

200ml coconut milk

100 g Dark Chocolate Chips

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1. Mix avocado, coconut milk, lime juice and zest, honey in the blender until it’s creamy.

2. Pour mixture into freezable dish and mix in chocolate chips.

3. Place it in the freezer to set.

4. Stir few times to keep the mixture creamy and break any ice crystals.

5. Leave to set for 4 hours

6. Serve with melted dark chocolate or toasted coconut or roasted nuts of your choice (or all named above) 🙂

 

 

Nostalgia – my lovely first born and easy almond tart

My oldest gone skiing with her school, which have made me nostalgic and I’m feeling bit lost. I better get used to it as it’s not going to be long, when they flying the nest…or maybe not, they might decide to live with us forever 🙂

I think there is an age when children start to show more interest about their early years. On a way home recently, my kiddies wanted to know their first words, truth is, I can’t exactly remember. I do remember some funny words of theirs, which really have stuck in my mind – my daughter, when she was under a year old, during the breakfast suddenly pointed her finger towards me and said very clearly “I know!” – in a way her grandpa always did it to her, when he came up with the new ideas to entertain her. I still remember how it made me and my husband jump and then burst to laugh as we really could see my father in law manners in her.

My son’s one of the first word must’ve been “digger”. He watched in a loop some video, which was filmed in a real building site, showing diggers and other machinery accompanied with the song about diggers, trucks and something else.

My children are lucky to have their grandma collecting their photos together to the albums. My daughter had homework from the school, she had to select 10 photos from her early years, and it brought back so many memories and made me really think where those 13 years have disappeared.

Here she is about 2 month old. My mother in law built holder for her toys from my friends easel and hang down stretchy tiger and owl made my husband’s Japanese friends mum dressing gown, what made my daughter always very excited or scared, couldn’t really say.

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Her hair didn’t start to grow until she was about 3 years old so she had perfect short hairdo with no odd baby hair. That’s why she’s probably quite pressures about her hair nowadays and only recently started to let hairdressers near them.

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She look lots like her cousin and people used to think they are brother and sister. It’s lovely that they are still very close.

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She had such a beautiful blonde locks and she didn’t let anyone near them for years, I think we only cut off her baby hair few years ago. She’s not really as blond anymore.

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This picture is taken in a photo salon at my home town, only time we have been at the   professional photographer. They were such sweeties- nothing like this anymore 🙂

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 Looking those photos, scares me, how quickly time flies.

Someone posted this great poem in FB, Its by Rose Milligan and I think it’s says it all, I have  definitely given up dusting and concentrate on more important stuff 🙂

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

—————

And here is one of the easiest and most delicious almond tart recipe. I have done it many times and it always get lots of praise, so I better save it here before my piece of paper disappears under the dust 🙂

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Almond Tart

For the pastry:

175g self – raising flour

25g icing sugar

25g ground almonds

75g butter

For the almond filling:

100g blanched whole almonds ( I have used ground almonds or almond flakes as well if I don’t have whole almonds handy)

100 g caster sugar

25g plain flour

2 large eggs

few drops of almond essence

2tbsp apricot preserve (or more)

25g flaked almonds

icing sugar for dusting

500g fresh raspberries to serve

  1. Heat the oven to 190 C/ Gas Mark 5.
  2. Sift the flour and icing sugar to the bowl and add the ground almonds. Mix.
  3. Add the butter in pieces and rub it all together with your fingertips.
  4. Add few tbsp. cold water and mix it all together to the soft dough
  5. Line tart tin (23cm diameter with loose base) with dough and chill until you get the filling ready
  6. For the filling buzz the almonds to fine crumbs in the food processor
  7. Add the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, almond essence and buzz again until you have smooth paste.
  8. Spread the apricot conserve over the pastry tart base.
  9. Spoon in the almond mixture and spread level.
  10. Scatter with flaked almonds
  11. Bake the tart on Gas Mark 5 and then lower heat to Gas Mark 4 and bake further 15 min until the filling is set and tart is golden.
  12. Allow to cool.
  13. Dust with plenty of icing sugar and serve with raspberries.

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And for the music choice I suggest this – love it!!!

 

Bye 2015!

The 2015 is over! Year of changes, finding myself bit more and hopefully preparing for the things the 2016 has to offer.

January.

Like many years before January starts with welcome the New Years lunch at Simons brothers house, followed by Timo’s birthday and Sallys birthday,

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sprinkled with other things like cooking/baking – in January I always feel urge to try new recipes, photograph them and post them to the world to see 🙂

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February.

Starts with my birthday – year on, I care less of the number and value experiences,  every going year leaves behind. Had a lovely walk in Alfriston, picturesque village where Simon proposed me 12 years ago.

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Went to see Estonian Oscar nominated film “Tangerines”, which restored mu faith to modern Estonian film.

Cooked for crowd for Estonian Independence Day in London.

Beautiful Liis serving my Vana Tallinn Cakes

Beautiful Liis serving my Vana Tallinn Cakes

March

Continued with the Paleo and cooking and realizing that I’m too much of a food addict to stick with restricted diet and dropping some of the food groups totally from my menu. So my aim is trying to stay on healthy side but indulge myself times to times and not to feel guilty about it.

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April

More food/paleo/cooking/taking pictures/sharing. Did some catering,

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trained Lonni and have some lovely walks

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We had our yearly Easter family get together

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and my lovely cousins and her friend came to visit. Unfortunately we were burgled, while they were here and some of their stuff was taken, but I’m strong believer of karma so I’m sure one day the baddies will be sorry.

May

The month, I started Crossfit. I didn’t  think something can change your life so much, but it can. I got addicted to it, I managed to drag Simon into it, who has really committed to it and lost more than stone as the result, also he was chosen as most improved athlete in the box. Who could’ve believed it back in May –  not me!

Other things in May – Simon’s birthday, Keiti’s birthday with the trip to Cornwall – love this part of the country.

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June

More testing recipes,

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taking part of local beer festival, lots of sitting around on the cricket matches, which I don’t really mind, if the weather is good and food available.

Enjoying dinners in our garden. Lovely walks in our woods with Lonni, getting unexpected presents.

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July

Strawberry picking picnic with family in the local farm.

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Annual get together and camping in the seaside cottage near Deal – lots  of food/drink and walks. Break in Richmond, visiting theatre over very long time to see Lady in black and spending day in Kew gardens.

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Lots of baking.

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Going to the  Tom Jones concert by Thames boat thank to my dear friend in London.

August

The road trip to Estonia

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– good food, new places, hot weather, old friends, home beach, posh restaurants,

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August festival in my home town,

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driving back home through Scandinavia.

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September

Getting over the holiday blues, but luckily my dear friends came to visit us

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October

My first big football match to see at Wembley. Luckily Estonia didn’t score. I sat next to some England fans, who were quite scary so probably I wouldn’t show my support to Estonia too loud 🙂

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November

Cooking and more cooking! We were at Scandinavian Christmas market and couldn’t keep up with the demand for the “Mulgi Puder” – I think we peeled near 150 kg potatoes over the weekend, but it was absolutely brilliant.

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December

Preparation for the Christmas as every year  – gingerbreads, turkey, family, wine, games, walks, fun.

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2016 – I’m ready for you!

Burglary, Photography by Külli Sparre, butternut squash, apple, stilton soup and hot buttered rum

I’m back writing here over a long time. I have never been a “proper” blogger, but when I tried to take off beginning of this year, we were burgled, all our tech was taken. It was unpleasant experience, a very inconvenient situation. Most of our past 5 year history was in my laptop.

Yes, I’m one of those careless people, who can’t be bothered with the back ups and saving copies of the photos and other important documents somewhere else. I’m just pure lazy- see, I just said it.

We lived quite a few month without laptops and IPads. There was no point to replace them as we didn’t have any insurance that it wouldn’t happen again. You get used to not having the computer at home and it leaves more time for the housework. I could still spend time in social media on my phone and send few important e-mails from the work.

Having our stuff stolen, wasn’t worse part of the burglary. It made me feel unsecure. Someone just walked in to our house, touched things, which belonged to us, talked to my dog, who thought that those people came to play with her and  probably greeted them very happily. I’m glad that nobody from my family came home, when they were at it, who knows, what could’ve happened. I’ll try to see the bright side  – nobody got hurt and you can always replace things. We have secured our house now. It’s all very sad as we live in a lovely village and you don’t expect this happen to you.

Since then so much have changed, but I write about it some another time.

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I came across with Kulli Sparre photography few years ago. She was one of the winners of the Sony World Photography Awards in 2014.

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She used to be a professional ballet dancer until she discovered photography.

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Her photos are dream like and usually feature beautiful women in gracious poses, which is probably influenced by her past career as a dancer.

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See more of her work in her webpage www.sparrek.org

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This summer I got some postcards from Estonia with her work and now those have a place in my wall (Please ignore dirty windows 🙂 )

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I do love autumn, especially if it’s not raining, but I hate the fact that days get shorter. To cheer myself up, I cooked lovely warming soup for a lunch. Recipe from Waitrose magazine.

Butternut squash, apple and stilton soup.

Serves 4-6 people

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into chunks, seeds reserved

2 cox apples, quartered and cored

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp. olive oil

20 g unsalted butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced

500 ml vegetable or chicken stock

200 ml crème fraiche

100 g stilton, crumbled

1-2 tbsp. milk

2 red chillies

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 1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ gas mark 5. Prepare the butternut squash and apple and put on the baking tray with 1 tbsp. oil and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven about 1/2 hour, until tender

2. Meanwhile melt the butter in the saucepan with 1 tbsp of oil and add the leeks and celery. Cook on very low heat about 10 minutes, stirring often, until soft but not browned.

3. Add squash, apple and stock to the saucepan and simmer about 2-3 minutes.  Then blend until smooth adding water to get desired consistency. Season.

4. In a small bowl mix the crème fraiche and stilton, loosen with the milk until drizzling consistency.

6. Pour boiling water over the reserved seeds and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Drain and dry on the kitchen paper. Fry the seeds on the 1 tbsp olive oil. until golden, about 1 minute. Add sliced chilli and fry another 2 minutes.

7. Serve the hot soup with a spoonful of stilton sauce and sprinkle over the chilli and seeds topping.

This soup really warms you up and makes autumn more bearable. If this not enough try

Hot buttered Rum

 1.  Poor generous amount of rum to the glass, amount depends how much you need cheering up

 2. Add some Angostura Bitter

3. Add 1 tsp melted butter

4. Put star anise, few cloves and cinnamon stick in the glass and fill with hot water

5. Add lemon and sprinkle with little caster sugar

Wrap yourself up in the blanket and enjoy!
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Looking back to 2014

Another year has whizzed past. I flipped through my photos from last 12 months. Even I think now, not much happened, actually we have been doing things and going places.

Jälle on üks aasta möödunud ja eile ôhtul vaatasin aasta jooksul üles vôetud pilte, mida on kogunenud suurel hulgal ja ma tôesti peaksin neid sel aastal paremini organiseerima ja môned ka välja trükkima. Kuigi hetkel on tunne et me suurt midagi mööduval aastal teinud pole siis fotosid vaadates vist ikka tegime küll.

January

Keeping up traditions we all met up in London at Simon’s brothers’ family on New Years Day, having great food, playing games and having a laugh. I’m really glad that our children grown to be so close and always having a great fun, when they are together even the ages go from 4 to 16. Simons’ brother cooked yummy paella.

New years Day

Traditsiooniliselt külastasime uue aasta esimesel päeval Simoni vemnna peret Londonis, sôime hüva roogasid, mängisime igasugu mänge nagu muusikaline viktoriin, Uno ja lihtsalt naersime. Mul on hea meel et kôik lapsed oma vahel nii hästi läbi saavad kuigi vanused on 4st kuni 16ni. Simoni vend valmistas meile maitsva paella.

Paella

In January there is always Timo’s birthday to celebrate. It’s pity that it’s so close to Christmas, as usually I don’t feel like thinking about it at all after the Christmas madness, so usually his party stretches to the February, when we get our act together.

Timo B.day

Jaanuar toob kaasa ka T sünnipäeva aga tavaliselt olen ma jôulumöllust alles nii kurnatud, et selle tähistamine lükkub tavaliselt veebruari kuusse.

February

The February starts with my birthday, but I don’t think we did anything special this year.

Veebruar algab minu sünnipäevaga aga me vist ei teinudki midagi erilist sel aastal

Timo had great party with her friends at Chatham ski centre, where they practiced mountain skiing.

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Timo pidas oma sünnipäeva koos sôpradega Chatami suusakeskuses, kus neid ôpetati mäest laskuma ja muid  suusa trikke.

Also I organised little get together for family with films, popcorn, sweets, Coca-Cola to celebrate the winter birthdays in Collins family. There are 7 of us with birthdays on a coldest time of the year. You can read about it here.

Samuti korraldasim ma väikes pere ürituse filmide, pop corni, kommidega, et tähistada talve sünnipäevi Collinsite peres.

March

We had wonderful weather in March as I have some photos from our walks to proof.

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We got together for P birthday, which was gorgeous sunny day.

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Märtsis oli fantastiline ilm, mille tôestuseks on pildid jalutuskäikudelt.Me saime ka kokku P sünnipäeval, mil tegime ka jalutuskäigu parki ja ilm oli lausa suvine.

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Also I gave Russian and Scandinavian dinner parties away at auction in Keiti’s school, which were very nerve racking but huge success and I was complimented a lot.

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Samuti oli minu jaoks tähelepanuväärnu Vene ja Skandinaavia ôhtusöögi korraldamine, mille ma panin välja Keiti kooli oksjonil ja mis sôi nii mônegi närvirakku, kui kokkuvôtteks läkid need ülimalt korda ja ma sain hunnikute viisi kiidusônu.

April

We had our annual family get together for Easter at the seaside cottage on St Margaret’s at Cliff. I, S and children camped outside as it near impossible to fit 17 people to the 2 bedroom Victorian Cottage, but we love it!

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Toimus igaastane Collinsite Lihavôttepühade kokkutulek vanaema majakeses St Margaret’s at Cliffe. Mina ja S ja lapsed telkisime aias kuna pea vôimatu on mahutada 17 inimest kahe magamistoaga Victoria aegsesse majasse.

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May

May is busy month in our family – our wedding anniversary, Simons’ birthday and Keitis’ birthday. But most memorable event was our mini break in Cornwall. We camped in almost empty campsite, which meant we had our own private field. We visited countless sandy beaches, had lots of nice meals and despite a rain had a wonderful time.

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Mai kuus on meil Simoni sünnipäev, pulma-aastapäev ja Keiti sünnipäev. Aga Mai kuu kôrghetk oli Cornwalli reis. Me telkisime peaaegu tühjas kämpingus, mis tähendas, et me saime enda kasutusse privaatse välja. Me nautisime paljusid , hingematvalt ilusaid liivarandu, sôime arvukaid maitsvaid sööke ja hoolimata vihmast oli see üks ütlemata tore reis.

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June

In June I was involved with organising Estonians Midsummer party, which meant peeling 50kg potatoes and making Estoian”Mulgi puder” , doing lots of shopping and carter around 400 people.

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We also had lovely evening at strawberry picking at nearby Stonepitts Farm, with live music and picnic.

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…and I baked some cakes.

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Juuni algus möödus eestlaste Jaanipäeva korraldamise tähe all, mis tähendas 50 kg kartulite koorimist Mulgi pudru jaoks, suurt ostlemist ja 400 inimese toitmist.

Samuti oli mei armas ôhtu lähedal olevas farmis, kus korjasime maasikaid, nautisime muusikat ja korraldasime pikniku.

Küpsetasin ka môned tordid.

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July

I went to the best concert ever at the Royal Albert Hall – Coldplay. I was probably blagging about it quite a bit on my FB account, but I very rarely go to the big events now days so it just got me all excited.

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We also had another lovely weekend at the cottage to celebrate the start of the summer holidays.

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And summer can’t go without breaks at the seaside as often as possible, so we had some lovely days at Whitstable.

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Juulis käisin ma maailma parimal kontserdi, kuhu jôudsin tänu mu armsale sôbrale, kellele mainisin môni aeg tagasi, et üks band mida näha tahaks on “Coldplay” ja siis mu soov täituski. Aitähh Kadi!

Juulis veetsime ka nädalavahetuse meie mere äärses majakeses, et tähistada suve vaheaja algust.

Ja kuna suvel ei saa ikka ilma mereta siis veetsime ka toreda päeva Whitstables

August

The biggest change for us has been not going to Estonia in August. Seems that children life become busy with camps ad we couldn’t leave until second half of the August and then the summer is almost over and it seemed bit pointless to travel through the Europe for 3 days, when all things I’m looking forward to see and do in Estonia would be over. So we made the decision to have a week holiday in Normandy instead. You can read about it here.

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In august I also started to play tennis and Cardio tennis, which is huge step for me as haven’t managed to do any sport properly since I had my knee operation. I must say – I loooove tennis, it’s fun and cardio tennis is an enjoyable killer  🙂 . I also started to train following the program from couch to 5K and I can happily to say that I run 5K almost every weekend now, sometimes even twice.

Suurim muutus meie tavapärasest Augustist oli – me ei sôitnud Eestisse. Lastel olid laagrid ja muud üritused ja lôpuks oli juba augusti teine pool kui oleks saanud liikuma hakkata ja eEstis oleks juba suvi möödas ja kôik üritused, millest olen oodanud osa vôtta oleks juba möödas olnud. Nii et otsustasime see aasta hoopis Prantsusmaale, Normandisse nädalaks puhkama minna.

Augustis alustasin ka tennise ja cardio tennisega. Minu jaoks on see suur samm edasi, kuna pole ühtegi sporti korralikult teinud alates ajast kui mul pôlveoperatsioon oli. Tennis on lahe! Eriti cardio tennis, mis on tôeliselt raske aga nauditav. Samuti hakkasin jooksmas käima ja vôin nüüd uhkusega öelda, et suudan 5KM joosta ilma kokku kukkumata.

September

We organised event in London Telegraph Hills with Estonian food and Liisi Koikson – fantastic combination.

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Tegime ürituse ühes Londonis. Mulgipuder, rummikoogid, peedisalat, rukkileib ja Liisi Koikson. Fantastiline kooslus!

Lonni had a visit from friend.

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Lonnil käis ka sôber külas.

October

I had lovely visitors from Estonia, but unfortunately didn’t take my camera with me.

.. and Halloween.

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Oktoober tuli toredate inimestega eestis aga kahjuks ei ole ma ühtegi pilti sellest teinud 🙁

… ja Oktoober läks Halloweeniga.

November

Scandinavian Christmas Market – 3days of heavy labouring, but it was such positive vibe. Deffenitelly will do it next year as well. Thanks you A and L to inviting me.

Here Estonian ambassador in London eats my cooked food.

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And the Christmas Do-s started already.

Müüsin skandinnavia jôuluturul Londonis, mis oli väga raske töö aga oi kui palju rahuldust pakkuv. Kindlasti tahaks seda teha ka järgmine aasta, Suured tänud Liina ja Anneli, et mind kampa kutsusite.

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Ja loomuliku avati juba novembri lôpus jôulupidude hooaeg.

December

Christmas party season continues

Collins family traditional celebration in our house was successful as ever – games, laughter and too much food.

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We had few lovely walks, to get over the guilt of eating too much at festive season.

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Jôulupidude hooaeg jätkus,

Collinsi pere traditsiooniline Jôulu pidu meie majas oli edukas – sai mängitud, naerdud ja liialdatud söögiga.

Pühade ajal tegime môned jalutuskäigud,et leevendada süütunnet ülesöömise pärast.

I think it was another busy year! New years Eve it was only as four had some food and wine and Champagne for midnight. I also made my family pose for family photo as usually I’m not in many photos, but with help of the technology you can see all 4 of us sending you kisses ( that’s us trying to do “kiss” faces 🙂 )

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Have a great 2015!

 

Christmas Eve with Paddington Bear

It was Christmas Eve today, actually yesterday, the night you have Christmas meal with your family in Estonia. Over the years the tradition is faded in our house. First years when I moved here I tried to do Estonian Christmas food but I think it became too much as we always have Christmas lunch as well. It would help to have some Estonians around, who would appreciate importance of the day.

So this year we headed to cinema to watch Paddington Bear instead of the traditional meal. Lying here, I left pork join to the oven so we would have meal ready , when we get back.

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I’m glad we went. It was really “feel good” film. Very British. And the Paddington reminded me our Lonni – especially when he was naughty.

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It made me emotional and laugh out loud. Definitely worth to watch.

When we got home, our meal was almost ready.10407367_10152912889169836_6904873981061924257_n

I’m off to butter my turkey now and then is time for bed or our quests won’t get any food tomorrow 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!