Holiday roadtrip to Estonia from UK and tips for travelling with dog

Our holiday road trip started this year just with me, S and Lonni. Rest of the family joined us later. It was hot and Lonni tried out every fountain we could find. I wasn’t really sure were people’s looks disapproving or admiring. Lots of people asking, how’s Lonni coping on 3 days trip/8-10 hours driving a day? To be honest, we quite often forget she’s in the car. She sleeps most of the way and just waking up bit confused, if I break to hard 🙂

She has to stay in the car on the crossing from England to France, which takes about an hour and half, but she seems not to be traumatised by that and as soon we get off the ferry, we try to find beach to let her run a round before heading of to Germany. This time the beach we chose, was full of hunters. We decided not to take risk to get shot and drove bit further from Calais, where we found the beach with no sea to see 🙂 Lonni managed to find the bit of muddy water. She was absolutely disgusting and smelly – ready for our stop in Antwerpen.

The first night we stayed near the area,  where the iron curtain used to be. We stopped for dinner in Duderstadt, beautiful German town. 

We stayed close-by at Herzberg in the lovely apartment .

It was newly decorated, very clean, with small kitchen and very spacious walk in shower.

Lovely place to stay with the dog, beautiful Harz countryside and some lovely walks too. Pity we didn’t have more time to look around. It’s off the route a bit, but we love taking the road trip as part of the holiday and often try to find places, which are more interesting than roadside chain motels.

Second day we drove in Poland. Lovely country, where is so much to discover. We stopped at Wroclaw – the charming university town with beautiful old square, river and lots to see. People are friendly and always happy to help you. It’s so much cheaper than in UK or in Estonia. Real gem worth visiting. There are lots of places to choose, when staying in Poland.  This time we stayed roadside motel, which was ok, but the lady who runs it was bit surprised and shake her head, when we showed up almost at midnight with Lonni. I think her son advertises the place as a dog friendly and not telling her 🙂 She told us not to let Lonni in the bed – like we can stop her while we are sleeping 🙂 Other than that it was ok. Lovely breakfast and off we went to our last stretch of the journey.

I usually start to feel home already in Germany, food is similar to Estonia. Poland even more so. Lithuania feels like “Hey, I’m home” – rye bread, potato salad, pork and so on.  Even there is still all day driving to do.

Our must stop in Lithuania is Marijampole. Because it’s on the right place, where we need break from the driving, they have lovely park with lots of fountains and streams we can cool down us and Lonni (but also where is good chance to lose all your phones – long story, happens only to my husband!) and there is handy cafe next to the park with the terrace, we can have our lunch and I can get all excited about ordering all familiar foods I have been missing.

Few tips for having road trip to Europe with your dog:

  1. Check that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date. It has to be done 21 days before entering to UK (other countries in Europe don’t seem to care about it). The vaccine is valid for 3 years so no need to do it every year but also no harm  (at least didn’t see any side effects to our dog)
  2. Goes without saying, she needs to be microchipped, but it was only checked entering UK.
  3. You need the pet passport. Plan it advance as it varies how long it can take. In our case it took 2 weeks from applying. You can do it through your vet.
  4. Don’t expect your vet knows all rules about travelling with your pet – do your own research. The best resource for the current laws is https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/coming-back-to-the-uk
  5. Before entering UK, your dog need tapeworm treatment. It’s given as a pill and the vet has to sign the passport. It needs to be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before returning UK. Find the vet in advance in the country you visiting and book your appointment. If you travelling in different countries do your calculations correctly and don’t miss the time frame for the treatment.
  6. In our route the only ferry, which doesn’t let pets out the car is between Dover and Calais. When leaving your dog in the car, leave the windows open. I used to leave something to chew for her but I don’t think she ever touched anything. It’s only 1.5 hours so most of them are absolutely fine with it. You can leave bowl with the water.
  7. If it’s you first time travelling with the pet give her lots of practice. Take a long drives, leave her in the car for some periods, not on the hot days of course! Lonni used to get car sick, when she was younger, but she grow out of it.
  8. Stop at least every 3 hours and give your dog at least 10 -20 minutes stretching , especially if it’s a big dog as there isn’t much room in the car.
  9. Take your own food for dog with you. At least for the duration of the travel. We don’t have much time to go supermarkets and we’d like to use all our stops for sightseeing . Also you dogs stomach might get upset with the new food and all the excitement.
  10. Have a poo bags with you! Lots of them! In every pocket and bag you have! You don’t want to be middle of nice town square next to the big pile of poo and nothing to clear it up.
  11. Have your dog bed with you for hotels and camping or where ever you staying. It will be something familiar for her in the new places you visiting. (even so Lonni prefers our beds 🙂  )
  12. Have a bowl for the water in the car and lots of bottles of water for you and for your dog. Offer her drink whenever you stop.
  13. If you feed your dog with anything like we do, it’s handy to have little plastic box with you, when you have breakfasts or meals in the hotels, so you can take bits of meats, eggs, fruit (yes, Lonni loves melons and banana) and other things for your dog. Also it comes handy if you only find big tins of food in the supermarket and want to use only half of it. If you only use dry food it’s won’t be necessary.

 

 

Summer, seaside and hot weather

I love, love, love the weather we have had past few weeks (with the little break between) and anyone, who comes to complain just keep away from me! They are usually same people, who complain over rain, wind and  low temperature. There isn’t anything better than waking up 6 o’clock and it’s warm enough just to put the t-shirt and shorts on and take the dog for a walk.

I love summer evenings, when it’s almost dark, but still warm enough to sit in the garden to have a dinner.

I love keeping windows open all night, so it’s the bird song what will wake you in the morning and you already can fill your lungs with the fresh summery air.

Only thing I really miss and I feel it strongly on hot days is closeness of the sea. I always lived less than a mile from the sea until I moved to UK. I grow up in the summer resort and it was daily routine to go swim twice a day and lay on the hot white sand getting all the D vitamin to be ready for long, cold, rainy, snowy 9 months.

We went to seaside few weekends ago. We have been so busy so it was first time this year we got around it. The Dumpton Gap beach between Broadstairs and Margate –  it’s my official favourite beach in Kent! I went swimming! It’s the only beach in UK I have been swimming after living here 16 years! It must be something, doesn’t it? The water temperature must’ve been over 20 C.

It’s the beach with the lovely sign saying “All dogs are welcome off the lead!”

It’s a sandy beach – quite rare in Kent!

So happy me!

I also love Walmer beach, for totally different reasons. I love finding stones, each telling some kind of story.

Like taking photos of funny faces my family makes out of the stones, it is annual competition 🙂

I love just staring as far as you can and maybe see glimpse of France on the clear day. I love the smell of the seaside air, sound of the sea and colour, which changing from deep dark blue to light-light blue within a minutes.

I’m sure one day I will be living back within easy reach of the sea. I know I will!

I have totally lost my cooking mojo and mixing up smoothies is the only thing I have been getting around recently:

Frozen watermelon and strawberries with mint

Lettuce – pineapple -ice

The day I had some time (read: I took some time)

I read few blog posts last week about people not having time and it’s true – if you ask me how I’m doing you get the answer: same old, same old, busy, work, kids,home. Then I read about people who have plenty of time, they have kids, they do work 9-5 everyday, but they find time to do nothing or just do things they really want to. So I think it’s the case of attitude and your choice of life.

So this weekend was almost unplanned day of doing nothing. Not really just laying and not moving a finger but mostly just enjoying a moment.

I did some light housework and cooked some meals, but it’s not really chore. I slept until 9 and stayed bed until 10!!! I honestly can’t remember , when I last had such opportunity.  I tell you it was bliss! 

We had pub dinner on Friday, all four of us, which is rare nowadays,  after beautiful, cold snowy walk. Loved the buzz in the pub, full of people with rosy cheeks from freezing temperature outside, kids having they dinner after having fun sledging and dogs enjoying the fuss they getting in our local. We are so lucky to have the pub on our doorstep and it’s great to see that people keep using it, especially on times, where lots of rural pubs closing down as they can’t compete with big chains.

I actually had time to think and bring back some memories from long time ago, like I used to go music festival back in nineties, when Estonia was just about to become independent from Soviet Union and I saw lots of cool bands like Cure, ZZ Top, The Stranglers, Status Que, Mike and Mechanics, M People, Jethro Tull, Marillion, Ultrafox, Iggy Pop, Simple Minds  to name a few and I actually forgot all about it.

I took some photos in the garden, which slowly recovers from attack of the “beast from the East” Our garden looks mostly sleepy and full of old socks and boxes – thank you Lonni!

But there are snowdrops still there which survived the snow and daffodils are just about to blossom.

I love our garden –sloped, wild, with mossy grass and full of bluebells, daffodils and tulips in spring, bees looking for nectar in summer days. It’s cuddled by big old mature trees and there are lots of hideaway for wildlife.

Every spring I promise to take better care of it, plant more flowers, dig up my vegetable batch again and fill all my planters with tomatoes and pretty flowers like I did first few years of living here. Somehow my life has been speeding up (choice of mine I guess) and summers just racing past. My garden is quite forgiving and as long S keeps grass under control its a pleasant place to be and as much as possible we have our meals out here.

In a process of decluttering and regaining some control over my house  (one of my goals for this year) I found lots of packets of plant seeds, which have been out of date for years now, but I decided to try my luck and sowed them in the pots and hoping my grandmas gardener spirit looking after me and I will get some flowers and veg to plant out this year. So far I can see I will have some dahlias and some black Russian tomatoes, so will see how this goes.

But now really – spring, please hurry up and bring some light to our days!

PS! credits for the snowy photos in my garden go to my son T x

Should you get Chocolate Labrador?

I don’t consider myself as a specialist in “canine science” and following are strictly my personal opinions based on my own life changing experiences. But, when I have been talking to other lucky Choc lab owners I can see lots of similar behaviors and problems they have come across.

First of all, if you choosing your first dog don’t ever  be fooled with most sweetest, teddy bear like puppy! That, what happened to me anyway. I saw this adorable puppy one of our pub lunch’s next table from us and I knew straight away we’ll have one of those.

We were already in process to get a dog. It has been my biggest dream since I was 10 or even younger. I used to go all dog shows, which visited my home town and I even bought red leather lead and red wooden brush for my future dog. I was so desperate – but it took me nearly 30 years, before my dream came true. We weren’t sure what kind of dog we’ll get and we were considering to get rescue, but unfortunately in UK it has been almost impossible to adopt the dog, when you are working full time, even all conditions would’ve been ideal – lots of room for dog, big garden, woodlands just behind the garden giving lots of opportunities to run off lead, enough income to cover all costs and most importantly, very committed owner to be!

So puppy it was meant to be and when I saw advert with those chunky puppies I was sold. I do know the dangers of buying puppy from the advertiser on a website and I will probably wouldn’t go same route if I have to do it again, but I think Lonni’s mum was genuine family dog and local and I’m quite certain no one got harmed in the process.

Little did I know that getting a young puppy is like having a baby! The commitment and time you need to put into can be quite stressful. Of course there are lots of fun and laughter  as well, but for your puppy happiness you need to be committed and put lots of work, time and patience into it. I learnt that chocolate Labradors aren’t just sweet looking teddy bears, they are mad (almost crazy). Unfortunately I learnt it after I got Lonni, that the chocolate colored ones are the maddest of them all. That’s why you don’t see many working chocolate labs! You couldn’t trust blind person led by chocolate lab – as soon she would notice something interesting she would be off with you tangling along middle of traffic or pump into the lamp-post. Don’t get me wrong they are easily trainable! Lonni was one of the best in her puppy class, but take her out into the field and she’s off to meet people and other dogs whatever you shout or do! So embarrassing!

They just think that everyone would be as happy to meet her as she is, when seeing any human being. Most dog owners know that there are plenty of people out there, who don’t find your beloved pup adorable – imagine that! 🙂 and there are lots of grumpy dogs who won’t be impressed by bouncy 25 kg puppy. Doesn’t help that Lonni is alpha female and not scared of anything or anyone! (maybe just bit wary of our black cat Tomi)

She’s also bit of a bully. She doesn’t mind big strong dogs who drag her around by collar and have a play fight and she doesn’t mind curios small brave dogs, who trying to play with her. She doesn’t like weak and nervous ones. She can sense that they are afraid of her and thinks it’s a good opportunity to go after them. I had many of those situations, which ended me in tears and apologizing endlessly to the shocked owners of the terrified dogs. Luckily this behavior has almost disappeared and 99.9% time she’s easy going and playful dog, who doesn’t mind sharing her toys or even food (that’s not really possible anyway. Nobody can eat as fast as Labrador, so when you even trying to take her food you have to be super fast, which I said is almost impossible). Lab on the following video could easily be Lonni 🙂

They are lovely family dogs, but you still need to get ground rules clear. When we first got her, she picked my son, who is youngest in the family and tried to get ahead on pack order. He tried to get my sons favorite place to sit and tried to get between me and him. She soon learned that she’s on the bottom of the pack, she realized that even the cats have more rights 🙂 She was also very bouncy, so when you have small children you have to be mindful that hey can easily knock them over not really thinking about it.

And they are strong – very strong! If she’s seeing something – she would be off if you not stopping her with you arms feet and teeth if needed 🙂 Probably that’s the one reason why I joined CrossFit to be strong enough to control my dog 🙂

All Labradors need plenty of exercise. Firstly because they have lots of energy so it helps them to keep calm(er). Lonni have 2 off lead 30-50 minutes walks a day and we do try to fit some longer walks in on the weekend. She also have access to our garden, when we are at home, but she’s not so interested to exercise herself. Also they need plenty of exercise to keep them slim as they are very greedy and do anything to get some food. It’s very easy to over feed them. I think it’s very common sight seeing Labradors tottering around with no waste line, especially chocolate Labradors.

Choccies are very excitable. It does get better, when they get older, but I remember how our visitors were met by this 28 kg bundle of bouncy happiness and it took for 5-10 minutes to calm her down. We found that the best thing to help her control emotions was giving something to her carry around in her mouth. She actually discovered it herself – she crabs nearest shoe or sock or anything she can find and carries it around, while showing her happiness with her waggy tale. This does mean that most days we all desperately trying to find pair of shoes, when we are in a hurry but the pair is never together.

Above is just a snippet of what it’s like to live with chocolate Labrador, if it didn’t put you off, maybe it’s the dog for you. We love our Lonni and wouldn’t have it any other way! 

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10K: Running because I’m rubbish at it and Chicken and Chorizo Paella as I’m quite good at it.

I thought that tennis and Crossfit isn’t enough an I need to start running as well  🙂 Actually, I do need some kind of a plan for summer holidays, as we going to Estonia for 3 weeks and I need something to keep me motivated nad moving. Also my tennis sessions stop for nearly 10 weeks as well. So I decided to sign up for the 10K race in September. (UPDATE! they have just cancelled the race I picked, so need to find anothere one for September)

I can’t remember, when I last run as long distance, maybe never. I done 5K few times, so I needed new challenge. I picked beginners 12 week  training plan from the Running Bug  webpage. I run 3 times a week and still do 3 -4 Crossfit sessions a week (not at the moment though as I spend lot’s of time driving my too active children around, which puts my needs ont o the hold) When I’m on holiday I will do only running.

The two first runs have been relatively easy for me –  4 x 5 min run with 2 min walk between. The first run I took Lonni with me. She was bit confused about it all. Usually she runs around woods and disappears to the bushes and I don’t see her for a while. Seeing me running, she didn’t trust to let me out of her sight, maybe she thought I just gallop away – as if 🙂 So she run straight behind me and tried really hard to drip me over. Unfortunately this didn’t work to slow me down so she thought it would be good idea to choke herself to death with a stick. This did make me stop and I got actually really worried about her. Luckily she managed to make herself sick and got rid of whatever was making her choke and running could continue. Next time, when she won’t come, when called I just might try running, seems that this resolves all the recall issues 🙂

   

Mu next run was supposed to be on Sunday -3 x min, 2 min walk between the runs but I got dragged into the “car washing project”, which took over our day and also I have a huge project of decluttering our house going on. So I decided start with the plan again this week as there is still time to fit my 12 week training in.

I think I did right, picking beginners plan – I’m rubbish at running and usually I try to get out of it or moan beforehand, when I know there is running in Crossfit workout. At the moment I actually have been enjoining those runs and I think I had reasonable speed (comparing to the slow-mo speed I use to run) 🙂

No idea how fast I actually run, or what my heart rate was. Not planning to waste money on any expensive devices at the moment, so will run as fast as I feel comfortable and try to challenge myself a bit as well.

I also dragged my daughter into it , who said she’ll come to the race with me. She has become quite athletic young lady after starting Crossfit over 2 years ago.

I think it’s the good place to jot down one paella recipe so I don’t have to look for piece of paper with the recipe, every time I need it. I have been cooking this for crowds (100 people)  past 2 years. Not many people will need recipe for 100 people so this one here is for 8.

CHICKEN AND CHORIZO PAELLA

800g chicken meat – I love chicken thighs and wings with skin on. It’s so much tastier and juicer, but any parts of chicken is ok for this paella.

800g Paella rice – you should be ok t find it for 8 people, but for 100 people I usually have to go 3 different supermarkets to get the required quantity! I should be more organised and order it online beforehand!

200 g diced cooking chorizo, I used a mixture of regular one and spicy one

250g chopped green beans

1 tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes

1.8 l boiling chicken stock (I have been using Knorr stock pots, here you would need 3-4 pots)

pinch of saffron

1tsp of Sweet Paprika ( I found it from Waitrose)

1 Red pepper sliced and preferably roasted, it will give such delicious taste to your paella, I have roasted it in the oven

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt

Fresh Rosemary  Sprigs

1 lemon (cut into wedges) for decoration

for extra lush finish use fresh asparagus, sautéed in the olive oil or you can steam it –  but you don’t have to use it  🙂

  1. Usually I prepare everything before hand and store ingredients resealable bags or boxes, so I’m ready to go – it’s necessary if cooking for crowds.
  2. Cut the chicken to suitable size pieces or if using drumsticks and wings, I just leave them as they are. I don’t cut the breast pieces too small or they lose their juicienes.
  3. Remove the “skin” from chorizo and dice it to small pieces.
  4. Chop the beans, I usually cut them to 3
  5. Make  the stock ready – mix the stockpot with boiling water add pinch of saffron and let it infuse.
  6. Wash the pepper and de-seed. Slice it and lay evenly on to the oven tray. Roast it for about 15-20 minutes around 220C. check occasionally and tak it out from the oven just before it starts to turn black
  7. Peel and chop the onion.
  8. NOW THE COOKING BEGINS! Heat some olive oil in your paella pan and cook the chicken pieces sprinkled with some salt, until they browned all around. Half way through, add chorizo and mix it all well so the chorizo flavour gets into the chicken pieces. When done, push the chicken and chorizo outside of the pan
  9. Now you need to make “Sofrito”, it’s what gives your paella “right” taste. First “sweat” onions on slow temprature on middle of the paella pan until soft. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook on the medium heat. Keep stirring. When the mixture reduces down and thickens and turns dark red colour – you have your perfect “sofrito”
  10. Bring the chicken and chorizo back to the middle and mix it woth sofrito. Add sweet paprika and half of the roasted peppers. Mix everything and keep fryinf for the few minutes.
  11. Add the hot stock and deglaze the pan until everything mixed well. Taste for seasoning.
  12. Now add the chopped beans, mix well and keep boiling around 5 minutes.
  13. Add the rice and mix it gently. Try to get the rice to even layer to the pan so all of it will be covered with the stock. Don’t mix it after that and keep the heat low. After about 10 minutes the rice should be appear through the liquid, turn the heat really low and keep cooking another 10 minutes. If the rice drys out unevenly you can move the rice around carefully.
  14. When the rice is dried out, taste a bit from the top layer, it should be “al dente”. Cover the pan with foil and turn up the heat. You might hear popping sound as the paella “caramellaising”. Covering pan also helps finishing off the cooking of the top layer of the rice.
  15. Turn off the heat. Decorate with lemon wedges, rest of the roasted peppers and prepared asparagus. I also pop some rosmary sprigs on the pan and recover it with the foil. Leave it at least for 15 minutes or more.
  16. Remove the foil and serve, not forgetting to scrape the caramellise bits from the pan
  17. When cooking larger quantities, the timings will be longer, sometimes MUCH longer! I learned it from my first time, when cooking for 100.                                                             ENJOY!!!

Note to myself – I need to find better version of veggie paella as omitting the meat from this, doesn’t relly measure up – at least I don’t think so.

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 2013 – gone for good!

 See postitus tuleb nüüd eesti keeles kuna … ma ei teagi miks, aga tundub kuidagi ôigem.

Nii et, mis juhtus kaua oodatud 2013 aastal, mis oli vast emotsionaalsemalt üks raskemaid viimase 10 vôi ehk isegi 15 aasta jooksul.

Jaanuar

Algas suure lootustega nagu iga uus aasta, lubadused teha rohkem sporti, süüa vähem, kasutada rohkem aega oma sôpradega suheldes, veeta vähem aega TV ees. No tôepoolest ma ei saa uhke olla ühegi lubaduse täitmise eest, istun siin detsember 2013, söön shokolaadi, joon veini, vaatan poole silmaga telekat kui samas kirjutan seda postitust, kindlasti kohe ei higista ma hetkel mingit füüsilist tegevust tehes, ainuke, mis mind päästab et olen FB kahe sôbraga juba üle tunni vestelnud.

Nii et mis siis toimus pea aasta tagasi:

  • Aasta esimene päev sai juba traditsiooniliselt veedetud Simoni venna perel külas Londonis.

IMG_20130101_141423

  • Timo sai 8 aastaseks – jummel küll, kuhu see aeg küll kaob?

IMG_20130113_120154

Veebruar

  • Aasta jubedamaid hetki – ma sain neljakümneseks! Tean, tean kôik üle neljakümnesed  ütlevad nüüd, et elu alles algab, aga ainus mis mind masendab on mitte need uued kortsud ja suurenev keskkoht,vaid arvutused järelejäänud oletavast ajst siin maamuna peal. Ma olen juba 40 aastat eksisteerinud ja fakt on see et, ma ikka veel ei ole seal kus ma olla tahksin ja aiinkohal ei räägi ma materiaalsetest eesmärkidest.

IMG_20130201_123931

  • Samuti mahtus veebruarisse väike puhkus Bristolis ja külastasime Cheddarit (kust on pärit meie igapäevane juust)

IMG_20130209_125412

Märts

  • Märtsikuu suursündmuseks oli meie väike reis Prantsusmaale.

730

1075

 

579

 

314

285

 Aprill

  • Suht igav kuu, ma ei suuda leida ühtegi märget et midagi huvitavat oleks minuga juhtunud aga tundub, et lastel oli lôbu laialt.

DSC_3081

 

DSC_3112

St George päeva tähistamine

Mai

  • Selle aasta numbris ühinesin fotograafia klassiga, mille raames sai ette vôetud mitmeid väljasôite. Üks toredamaid oli Rochesteris Sweep Festivalil. Kahjuks pole aega oma uut kaamerat nii tihti kui sooviksin kasutada (jällegi üks uue aasta lubadusi tuleb siit)

539

 Samuti käisime jälegi Prantsusmaal sedakorda siis Pariisis Simoni sünnipäeva puhul.

  • Eiffeli torn.

104

  • Ja saime kokku oma toredate sôpradega

236

  • Ja muidugi kôige tähtsam maikuu sündmus –  kallis tütreke sai 11 aastaseks

129

 

Juuni

Suvekuu algas kohe fotoklassi väljasôiduga Rochesteri sedakorda siis Dickensi Festivalile.

558

 

  • Tundub et juuni mööduski pildistamise tähe all, siin siis klassiga Maidstoni piiskopi palee juures pildistamas. Seal pandi ka meid Simoniga 11 aasta eest paari.

156

  • Ja klassiga pildistamas linde 🙂 Leedsi lossis.

164

070

 

Juuli

Juulikuu möödus Keiti algkooli lôpetamise tähe all.

  • Nende klassijuhataja lavastas fantastilise Oliveri muusikali, mis oli tôeline elamus.

119

  • Ja see oli Keiti fantastiline algkooliklass

1070242_10152349952211490_1179605385_o

  •  Juulisse jäi ka Collinsite pere üli lôbus telkimise-möllamise nädalavahetus Simoni ema suve majakeses St Marys at Cliffes.

179

 

497

 

August

Nagu alati on august Eesti kuu ja sellest vôiks eraldi postituse kohe teha. Kuna oleme paar viimast aastat autoga kohale vuranud on uusi elamusi palju.

  • Selle aasta märksônadeks on kindlasti Poola – täielik avastus mulle, fantastilised vanalinnad, toredad inimesed, palju vahvaid hetki..

1102444_10151770739599836_986095066_o

Poznan

  • Collins & Co kohvik minu kallite sôpradega Augustiunetusel.

1172902_10151770974199836_1445195030_o

  • Hilisôhtune ujumine äikeselises Pärnu lahes kôige kallimatega

922429_10151771034669836_1071344103_o

 

  • Ja muidugi kôige tähtsam sündmus 2013 aastal – meie Lonni.

104

 

 September

  • No ei leia ühtegi ürituse pilti, ma usun et September möödus kutsika kasvatamise tähe all 🙂

134

Oktoober

  • Selle kuu suursündmus – kooli kokkutulek, nagu alati on vanade klassikaaslastega tore kokku saada ja kindlasti oli kaugelt Inglismaalt ekstra kohale tulemine seda väärt. Kuna tegemist oli spordiklassiga siis sel pildil üritab igaüks oma sporti imiteerida, vaata kas arvad ära 🙂

1412747_648058125265897_1409933489_o

November

  • Aasta suursündmus oli reis Tenerifidele mu kallite sôbrannadega. Lubasime seda teha 11 aastat tagsi minu lahkumise peol Eestis, rebisime isegi selle kinnituseks 5 kroonise katki ja jagasime laiali 🙂 ja tänu kalli Kädi tahtejôule sai see reis ka tehtud.

1479521_10152003495324836_1188362135_n

Aitähh mu kôige kallimad.

181

Detsember

Jôulukuu algus möödus kiirelt cateringi tähe all koos mitmete magamate öödega, aga see oli seda väärt. Kahjuks ei ole mul kunagi aega roogadest pilte teha kuna pole piisavalt tunde ööpäevas, et kôike aegsalt valmis saada. Loodan et parandan end selles suhtes.

Jôulupuu sai tuppa, kaarte jälle ei saatnud – sorry! Mitmetel jôulupeodel käidud (isegi Lonnil oli oma jôulupidu) ja suur jôulusööming 10 kg kalkuniga Collinsite perele korraldatud….kuid pilte pole tehtud. Simon ja lapsed käisid aasta lôpus Pariisis tuuritamas, kui mina korralik tööinimene kontoris kükitasin. Kuna piltidega on see kuu kehvasti siis jääb siia postituse lôppu meie pere värskeim ja ka väikseim (mitte kauaks) liige.

510

 

 HEAD UUT AASTAT!!

Lugu uueks aastaks, et ôigele lainele end häälestada

Pharrell Williams – Happy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dish a day!

I have wanted to start this blog long time ago and always found excuse – mainly I have no time, which is not strictly true as I have plenty of time to watch some rubbish TV. So from today for a month I’ll post one dish or meal I had on the day. So there will be 30 dishes coming on your way 🙂 Also I try to use one ingredient from my cupboard, which have been hiding behind everything too long.

Ttoday the first thing I found was cornmeal and with cup of tea some Bacon – Chilli muffins sounded perfect for me.

2 eggs

350 grams of plain yogurt + 100 grams of soured cream (can be all one or other, it was combination I founded from my fridge)

50 g butter

65 g plain flour

2 tsp or maybe less if bacon is salty

1 tsp biocarbonate of soda

275g cornmeal (I used fine one)

4 rashers of bacon

1tsp chilli flakes or use fresh chilli if you preffer

010

Before

First grill or fry bacon and crumble it to small pieces. Whisk 2 eggs in a big bowl then add yogurt or sour cream or both. Add also melted butter and whisk everything together. Sift flour, salt and soda together and add to the mixture. Then add cornmeal gradually, crumbled bacon and chilli flakes. 1tsp chilli flakes makes quite hot muffins so add bit less if you want them bit milder.

Grease muffin tray with bacon fat left over from cooking or with bit of oil. Fill to about 3/4 with the muffin mixture and bake on Gas Mark 6/ 200C for 20 minutes.

I enjoyed them with roasted onion cream cheese and Red onion chutney and delicious it was!

021

After – Bacon – Chilli Muffins

 

 

UPDATE! Our Labrador Lonni has finished them off as we left them stupidly on the table. Mhm…how the digestion goes with this chilli – burned bum me thinks 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Lonni

Here she is – chocolate Labrador – our Lonni!

I have dreamt about a dog all my life and finally I have one – just had to wait about 30 years. What I didn’t realize that having a dog is like having a baby, only difference is that this “baby” can straight away cause awfully lots of trouble and run away from you.  So it’s 100 times harder 🙂 and it’s all happening very quickly! So for month now I could forget about worrying diets and eating, because there is no time for food 🙂

But despite everything – she’s lovely and I already love her to bits!

I do feel sorry for our cats Tomi and Molly, who won’t hang out with us in the living room anymore as it’s taken over by Lonni. I really hope that one day they can be peacefully together in same room. But for now, our house is filled with safety gates to keep trouble out of the most of the rooms. Our books and baskets full of stuff have left the living room and the carpet is covered with layer of cardboard and paper.

Lonni 9 weeks

Lonni 9 weeks old

 

Lonni 12 weeks

Lonni 12 weeks old