Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday Favourites

This week has been so full, that I haven’t spend much time looking around the Internet…

I did get to the cinema to see The Hunger Games with Seyfi today. It was the first time in almost two years that Seyfi and I have been to the cinema alone together. The movie was great!

We head home tomorrow, so things here will be back to normal…

Hope everyone had a great week, and an even better weekend!

While in Istanbul- Çengelköy

Today we did my absolute favourite thing in Istanbul. We packed a breakfast, bought some pastries, and went to a tea garden in Çengelköy on the Bosphorus and enjoyed the morning.

So many people go to Istanbul and never get to the Asian side. They see all the ‘big’ sites, and head home, but there is nothing like sitting in a tea garden, eating simits and borek (pastries), drinking tea and feeling the breeze of the Bosphorus on your face, especially if there are no other tourist about to ruin by raising the prices!

Now, I am not saying, don’t go to to the big sites, they are breath taking and worth seeing. However, if you have an extra day, take a ferry over to the Asian side, especially to Çengelköy or Beylerbeyi (there is actually a beautiful palace there to see), hangout with the locals, and (in my opinion) enjoy my favorite part of Istanbul.

We had such a lovely morning here with our friends (who are two of the most interesting and kind people I have ever met), it truly is my favorite thing to do in Istanbul, I wait for it every trip we take here.

I’ve always said that I would never want to live in Istanbul, but if every day could be like today was, I might be able to change my mind…

While in Istanbul- Van Gogh Alive

I love going to art galleries, and so does Seyfi. It is something that we really want to expose the girls to.

Istanbul is a great place to see different types of Art. They get a lot of the big artists in, and to be honest, I’ve loved all the exhibitions that I’ve been to here.

Today we went to a different type of exhibit, Van Gogh Alive. They have taken varies works of Van Gogh, a the project them, animated with music in the background.

It was so cool, to see the paintings really big, walking around while they were moving kept your attention, and made the whole experience more interesting.

Did you know that Van Gogh lived very close to our house in Belgium? I could walk there. I still haven’t been there… But after today, I think I’ll take a special trip over!

**I couldn’t use the flash on my camera, so my pictures weren’t the best, these pictures come from here.****

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

While in Istanbul… Istanbul Aquarium

My original plan for this trip to Istanbul was to stay at my in laws, and go as far as the Starbucks in the shopping centre next door… That isn’t happening.

Today we went to the Istanbul Aquarium. It was amazing! If you are ever in Istanbul, and looking for something different to see, I would totally recommend visiting it!

The layout is very interesting, the have arranged it by body of water, Black Sea, Atlantic Ocean, etc…

Lots of different types of fish…

Hands on learning…

Different views of the fish…

We had a lovely day… Where are we off to tomorrow? I’ll grab my Starbucks to go!

Friday Favourites

We are here in Istanbul visiting Seyfi’s family, and enjoying some beautiful weather, and some delicious Starbucks!

This is what I’ve been looking at this week:

Are you going to be doing any spring cleaning?

If you are, you can start with the kitchen drawers…

I’m loving this blog, the pictures look great. I could eat all of them!

I’m also loving this blog!

And this expat blog….

I think that this week I have watched every episode of Parks and Recreation… So funny!!

I’ve been looking at Jaime Oliver recipes all week, and plan on making a bunch of delicious things when we get back home.

Expat Living- Air travel with Kids, an Experience

Yesterday I was watching the episode of Up All Night where the Reagan and Chris take their baby on an airplane for the first time. They are all stressed and panicked, but of course in the end all is good, and they learn that their lives don’t have to change after having a baby.

A very good lesson.

As an Expat, travel with children, especially air travel, is a fact of life. Something that you can’t avoid, or put off.

Last night we travelled from Belgium to Turkey. And I have to say, it went really well.

When we left our house, it was already dark. We drove to Germany, which is where we were flying out of. The girls slept the whole way, three hours.

Then, we got the the airport, and other than the people on our flight, the entire place was empty and closed. We checked our bags, went through security, passport control and sat at our gate for, just over and hour.

Ela, whose almost three months, slept the whole time. Alara, whose almost four, sat with us, looked at the airplanes, and talked to the older couple beside us. Very cute.

On the plane, we were told there was a free snack, Alara wanted to wait up for this, she ate it, and then laid down, and went to sleep.

We woke up as the plane was descending, got off, did passport control again, got our bags and hopped in a taxi.

I honestly don’t know how we did it. This was not ‘s first flight, she loves to be on a plane, I think the excitement of seeing her grandparents made her a better traveler. Ela, was also very good, perhaps she realized that this was something she’d be doing for the rest of her life.

Here are some tips that I find make things easier:

*Keep your child talking. Talk about what you see, what’s happening, where your going. I think this attention helps them stay calm.
*Play a man on man defense, each parent takes a kid, and switch it up. That way each child gets what they need.
*Forget about watching your own movie, listening to your own music or reading a book.
*If you see a bathroom, use it.
*Give yourself plenty of time to get everywhere. You don’t want to be running through an airport dragging your kid and their things behind you!
*Show no fear! Kids can smell when you feel out of your element.

All this being said, I hope I haven’t jinxed air travel for us!

Apple Cinnamon Swirls

Sometimes, you want to show your family how much you love them by making them something from the heart.

Sometimes you just need something easy.

Sometimes, you just want to make something that is going to come out of the oven.

This recipe is it.

A few weeks ago, I realized that Alara wasn’t eating her lunch properly. There had been a miscommunication, I had thought there was a set programme about what kind of snacks they were eating. There wasn’t, so the cake, that I had bought (oh the shame!) was getting eaten in the morning, and the fruit wasn’t.

The problem for me wasn’t only that the cake was getting eaten, and not the fruit, it was that the cake was filling her up, and then she wasn’t eating everything at lunch time, and then with no snack, after school she was starved.

I decided to make these for Alara’s morning snack. They have fruit, very little sugar, but they look sweet, so Alara loves them.

Here’s how you make them:

1 apple, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix the apple, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Lay out the puff pastry, brush the melted butter over it.

Cover the puff pastry with the apple mixture.

Roll the puff pastry up into a log. Cut into 2cm slices.

Lay the slices on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper.

Bake at 180C until golden, about 10 minutes.

Expat Living- Going to the Hairdresser

When I was growing up, and in fact right until I left Canada, I only ever went to the hairdresser to get my hair cut. I always colored my own hair, and with the exception of a very special day, (like graduation) I always styled my hair myself. And I’d never had a manicure!

So, I thought that when I went to Turkey, I’d be continuing the same way. I thought that most of the women would be wearing coverings over their hair, and that this would make the need for hairdressers so minimal, that I would have to continue doing my hair myself (by the way, I could never do that good of a job).

I was SO wrong!

Firstly, most women are not covered in Turkey, so I was very wrong on that point, but that’s another topic.

Second, there are hairdressers everywhere, and women go to them all the time. Some women go to the hairdresser two or three times a week, just to get their hair styled.

I used to be one of them.

I miss being one of them…

Going to the hairdresser became way more fun for me when I started to speak Turkish well. I could explain exactly what I wanted. I was no longer giving my hair to the hairdresser to do what he’d like. Even though they always did a beautiful job, sometimes it is nice to be able to pick something different.

Turkish hairdressers are great, I truly think that it should be part of any tourist experience.

Sitting in the big chair, while at least two, if not three young boys wash, and brush and style your hair, While a young girl does your nails, drinking tea and chatting with friends and the other ladies in that salon. It’s like heaven.

And the best thing is the price… How can these women go to the salon so often? It isn’t expensive… Especially compared to Belgium.

Last week I went to a salon here in my town, it just got my hair washed and style, and I truly couldn’t believe the price! I’m not complaining, my hair looked great, and it lasted for a very long time, but it was quite a bit more than my turkish salons, even the pricer one I went to in Istanbul.

Oh well, for now, I will have to continue doing my hair myself at home, but I can’t wait until I return to Turkey to return to my life as a well coifed women!

Birthday Brownies

There is a bakery around the corner that I absolutely love. They make the these cream filled, chocolate ganache topped, pain chocolat, with the best dark chocolate in them. Ask my dad, I think we had one every day when he was here.

They also make really good bread.

A few months ago we learned that this bakery also sells fresh gluten free bread. It is Seyfi’s favorite type of bread, soft. We order it every week, and are so grateful that it is here.

For Seyfi’s birthday I had hoped that I would be able to order a gluten free cake for him, but unfortunately they only offer the bread. So I decided to make him a deluxe brownie.

I like really fudgy brownies, and gluten free brownies always turn out great, I think it is because unlike a normal cake, they are more dense and use less flour.

To make these ones special for his birthday, while the brownie was baking, I topped it with rolos, caramels, and chocolate with whole hazelnuts in it. He really liked it. So did I.

Here’s how I made it.

Birthday Brownies

1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 rolls of rolos, cut in half
15 caramels, cut in half
1 bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, sprinkle the rolos, caramels and chocolate chunks on top and continue baking until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. About ten more minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Friday Favourites

Here are some things that have gotten my attention this week…

A cupcake ATM! Super cool!

Four ways to make your baby laugh.

This looks deliciously cool- mason jar lasagna.

A nice easy kids craft, with lots of possibilities

I love this colorful table runner

I’ve started doing this… Do you meal plan?

What else has been up this week…

I’ve started watching BBC’s Upstairs Downstairs. It’s good, but not Downton Abbey.

I’ve been reading the book Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. I’m not finished, but it’s quite interesting.

And something really exciting, I finally got to see the Whirling Dervishes live! Who thought I’d be out of Turkey when that happened!

Thank you for coming to my blog this week!
Hope to see you all again next week!

Have a great weekend!