Summer sun.. I wish.

Gosh I haven’t posted here for more than 6 months, however I’m happy to see that even so I have had someone come and visit my blog every day. Thank you, that’s sweet, however you ended up here.

Guess that’s what it shows you when you start working again and spend your evenings feeding, bathing and generally catching up with ones little one and life in general. 

I’ve had a few adventures this year and I’m actually getting more and more keen on exploring England. My particular favourite is Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall in July, for which the tickets have gone on sale on 30th October 2017. I thought that the festival wouldn’t happen this year due to the damage to the grounds because of all the mud, but appears that this festival is more resilient then that.


In fact I’ll write about my festival experience in my next post, completely ignoring the fact that Christmas is coming and get you inspired by some summer sun instead.

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10 Castle Street, our trip to the countryside

When last year my hubster whisked himself away on a skiing trip for Mother’s Day, then this year we were treated on a family trip away to the country side. The destination for the weekend was a complete surprise and I was ecstatic (in a very Estonian way)- to discover that he took us to a stunning Manor House in Cranbourne – 10 Castle Street.


We instantly felt very homely as we arrived. Not hard being in such a stunning place. As it was already quite late, a table was laid for us in what seemed like a sitting room. One fish and chips and chicken burger later, we had already had a little conversation with the locals, who were at the bar having a night cap.

I was very impressed by how child-friendly the place was, that said, it definitely wasn’t child-focused either. In the morning a beautiful antique baby chair had been brought out for my little lady and we could all choose breakfast from the menu. It turns out that it was the seat the owner Alex grew up with. 


I’m surprised to see that my little miss enjoyed her bit of Weetabix, whilst I also got her some scrambled eggs. After she had finished and made a sufficient mess, we had a run around the garden and visited Desmond the pig, who lives on the grounds with his Mrs.


 Desmond was saved a couple of years ago basically from being eaten and now munches on the numerous apples the guests seem to be bringing him.


The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the village, visiting the local flower nursery and popping by the Boutique on a Bus which had conveniently wheeled itself in the parking lot and I must say was incredibly popular with local ladies and tourists like myself alike. Everything was made in Italy and wouldn’t cost more than £50 and looked for great quality, only without a label as such.

We had the most wonderful dinner in the evening, whilst our little one was sleeping upstairs. The baby monitor worked very well, so we had the opportunity to have ‘date night.’ 

I very much enjoyed ordering quite a bit from the breakfast menu the next day. The little Miss made the most of the antique baby seat and Desmond the pig received some apples from us. 


It was sad to leave, but then now we know where to ask papa to take us next time.

Simple things in life

2016 is behind us and 2017 is here.

2016 for me was a year of adapting to a new way of living, where this little most wonderful creature came into my life and took priority over ‘me’. Even the poor little parrot had to move over in bed and his neck rub count has significantly declined. However, I am working on improving that. In fact the parrot is learning to dance.

After being on maternity leave, my attitude to work has somewhat changed and despite really enjoying the independence and ‘me’ time that working now gives me, I know that family and doing what one loves is what give true joy.

So this year I hope will be more about enjoying the simple things in life. Such as cuddling my little one, literally exploring the world and developing our senses. Whether it’s learning a new word or demonstrating what happens if you push a pen into a balloon..

Considering the disruption of the status quo in the world, it’ll be better to ride through the storm whilst learning some calligraphy, writing more post cards, reading a book or two and simply being serene. Whilst exploring some fabulous places, trying out some tasty food and broadening my horizons on beauty potions and lotions.

Happy 2017.

 

Afternoon tea with Marie Chantal and M&S 

Recently I had the occasion to be part of a magical afternoon tea at Haymarket Hotel organised by Mothers Meeting for the launch of Marie Chantal’s new collaboration with M&S. For those of you who don’t know, Marie Chantal is a high end children’s wear brand. I only discovered MC randomly walking into their boutique on Ledbury road in Notting Hill where I discovered the cutest onesies for babies with angel wings. It’s funny how priorities change once one becomes a mom. I really tried my best to sneak out for an hour from the office to be part of his preview of baby clothes!

I couldn’t believe the stunning setting when I entered the room. The table was decorated with gorgeous balloons and there were pieces from the new collection to be seen – all 33 of them. With room full of inspiring and ambitious ladies, mothers, above all, I was somewhat surprised to hear that Marie Chantal, the founder, was there too. I did not actually realise, only until after the event, that Marie Chantal, the founder, is an actual princess. I call my daughter one all the time!

There was a magician attending to keep the children entertained, I was somewhat sad I couldn’t have my little girl with me. However, more of a reason to get to know other mothers. I was lucky to speak to Marie Chantal,truly an inspiring lady, who told me that the inspiration for her angel wings design was the birth of one of her sons, as his hair was silver and angel-like that the midwife was convinced he was an angel, or at least close to one.

Now the most important part was ,the revelation of collaboration between M&S and Marie Chantal. Meaning that the designs will continue to be as high quality, however they will be more affordable and my little girl will be able to have more dresses fit for a princess.

Like the one below, available at M&S from  1st November 2016.

Ramen cookin’ in London

I have always been a great lover of Japanese food, until the moment I arrived in Japan 6 weeks pregnant. Suddenly any food vaguely Japanese made me feel sick. Even a simple of thought of Japanese food made my stomach twirl.

Well, bit of a problem when you are in Japan, I tell you.

Anyhow, I felt like this period is now long passed me, so when I was given the opportunity to learn to cook Japanese dish ramen, I didn’t think twice.

Ramen in itself is very healthy, what makes it special is the broth, which is cooked for hours and hours, to bring out all the goodness. As we were explained, ramen for Japanese is almost equivalent to fast food (but it’s not), which you would have late night after a few pints of beer, or just for lunch.

The course I went to was at Sozai Cooking School, very conveniently located just behind Aldgate station. If you work on the city, it’s very easy to reach.

Our instructor Akemi was brilliant at explaining each step and involving us, students, in the process. For example by sealing the pork belly, as seen above.

To my surprise, we cooked ramen from scratch, which Japanese themselves very rarely do. With huge variety of fresh noodles available at supermarkets, wheeling patties of dough through a pasta maker, is not something an average Japanese person often does. Yet, it was so much fun and gave me a sense of achievement, without doubt.

In a couple of hours, we were to prepare three types of ramen – cold ramen, miso ramen and pork ramen.

All in all I would say that cooking ramen is a lot about mixing the right quantities and timing of cooking, so it’s in fact less complicated than I thought. However, it can always go wrong (which I will explain below).

We started by cooking the pork belly, first by sealing it and then adding it to the sauce consisting of soy sauce, mirin, sake, Chinese wine, star anise and sugar.

After that it was time to prepare the actual noodles. We made the dough out of flour, baking powder, salt, hot and cold water. After letting it set, we put the dough in cling film and kept it in the fridge.


Moving on to prepare the miso ramen. Miso in fact is fermented soy beans – did you know that, as I had no clue?  We learnt that each region in Japan have their own typical miso, like the Italians would have a special pasta sauce or dessert in each village.


By the end of the evening we were all sufficiently hungry. I was nervous to try out the ramen, having vivid memories of not eating ramen in Japan. However, it was delicious. Three(!) bowls of ramen went down as a treat.


So, after such a successful evening I tried to cook it at home. How did it go? I tell you one thing, do not put your baby to bed and leave the pork cooking in the pot unattended, as otherwise … it may not work. Another tip – make your own chicken stock, it will make a huge difference. 


And go on the course, to learn how to make these amazing photographable-instagrammable ramen eggs, which came out just fine.


I’ll definitely keep practising my new found skill of ramen cooking – happy egg-perimentig. 


Sozai Cooking School
5 Middlesex Street
London
E1 7AA

 

Port Eliot – truly a family festival

Going to festivals has been one of the top things to do over the summer for me and my hubster. However since the little baby A came along I thought things might get a bit more tricky.


That is until we heard about Port Eliot in Cornwall. As late night entertainment was practically ruled out for myself, I was very happy to discover that Port Eliot offers events, talks and activities from all kinds of spectrums. And to be honest, even around midnight I saw some other parents walk around with their children on the festival grounds.


My absolute favourite things to do were the workshops, and there were many, starting from golden calligraphy to sailor T-shirt making. Only downside – one had to queue to get your name down the list, which is not such an odd thing really at an English festival.


I managed to make myself a neckerchief and a paper flower, and even a tote bag for my husband.
What I found most inspring was the tent by Hush. Mandy Watkins, the founder gave a talk on how she set up the company, straight after being made redundant from her corporate role by starting to sell PJs. Have to say I am now absolutely in love for their PJs, wearing mine non stop, everywhere.

Dining in Tallinn: Von Krahli Aed

I seem to become more and more convinced that Tallinn is the most beautiful capital city of Europe. The Old Town, walks by the seaside and stunning sunsets to end the day. Stunning. Tallinn is peaceful, refreshing, yet full of surprise and novelty.

By the same token, there is a street tucked away in the Old Town, which must own the World Record for the best quality restaurant on one street. I’ve already written about Vegan and Rataskaevu 16, this time it was time to visit Von Krahli Aed. 

We managed to get a table without booking on a Wednesday night, contrary to Rataskaevu 16, where it’s always ‘busy.’

The menu looked outstanding and it gave the option to have all dishes either as veggie or non veggie.


We started with the landscape on a plate: A selection of Estonian flavors (Kalamatsi fried cheese, chicken liver paté, rabbit rilettes, Põltsamaa Kuldne jelly, smoked salmon mousse, beetroot hummus).

The description was pretty spot on and it felt pretty adventurous exploring different flavours.

The mains we went for were wild garlic orsotto with honey roasted carrots and rosemary-tomato ketchup and warm quinoa and plum salad with carrot cream and honey roasted carrots. Orsotto was delicious, would definitely recommend that dish.

The desserts, well, I love desserts and I have to say that their chocolate fondant was not great, dry in the middle and a little disappointing after such stunning dishes beforehand. My husband loved the magic mushrooms blackcurrant cream, yoghurt sorbet and chickpea meringue, but my opinion as the dessert expert would be that it had the wow factor for the presentation, but it didn’t deliver for the taste.

So all in all, it’s a fabulous restaurant, it wins my heart above Rataskaevu 16 at the moment and I would wholeheartedly recommend to visit. Maybe just skip the dessert and pop into Vegan for cake instead.