Updates – and some quick and easy decadence!

1. Huge heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who wrote to me with their prayers and kind thoughts and words about my nan last week.  The good news is that this weekend, I had another email from my dad:

Nan is on board with the idea of being safe, looked after and worry-free when she comes out, wherever that may be.  I’ll be speaking to her doctor this week. I am trying to organise a family meet with everyone.  Nan is in good spirits.  I was making some calls this morning and saw a slip of paper with the name “Brenda” and a phone number. This is Nan’s sister, so I called her to let her know what was going on.  She didn’t know.  To cut a long story short, she is 83, has had a heart attack and a stroke.  She came up to the hospital today after the call to see Nan. Nan was so happy!  Aunt Leslie too, didn’t know and will be visiting.  I’m pleased with my progress and what I have achieved so far.  I hope you are proud of me.  I’m glad you blogged and got the replies and support you have.  I’ll keep you posted.
Love, Dad

It was a huge turnaround to have such strides made in only a few days. Family that hadn’t seen each other, or Nan, for years are reuniting at her time of need, and I can’t imagine how happy she must have been.  I’m not sure when the surgery has been rescheduled for, but it sounds like a lot of prayers have been answered, and positive vibes sent her way have arrived in spectacular fashion over the weekend, and I can’t thank you guys enough.

2. I also purchased a treadmill this weekend.  The elliptical I got off Kijiji ended up being totally useless; with the dial broken and providing no resistance at all, it just wasn’t working.  I might try and sell it again, but for now, I’ve switched to this baby, made sure it worked and was ADJUSTABLE first, and it’s settling in in my living room.  Hopefully this will be a little more exciting to use, while I’m watching Eastenders in the week, I’m hoping to make this part of my weekly routine.

3. Speaking of Eastenders, Sweet and I spent our Friday night watching the first ever live-filmed episode in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary.  The documentary afterwards was ridiculously interesting, showing how they had to move the actors quickly and quietly between far-apart sets, and how they kept the biggest plot ever secret from the public AND the cast until the real “whodunit” was revealed on the live episode.  It was great to see something I grew up with uniting the country (16.6 million viewers!!), with celebs and old friends alike ALL over Twitter the whole way through.  Brilliant.

4. Yesterday I went to my first Blogger Meetup!  Unfortunately I could only stay for about 40 minutes, but I’m hoping we can all do it again sometime. 🙂

5. Many of you know that one of my new year’s resolutions was to try and cook actual recipes from scratch.  So far, Sweet and I have learned new cooking vocabulary, had adventures with exploding noodles, and spent way more time together actually engaging in something fun and productive, and last week, in a pre-Bachelor panic to find something we could make quickly, we scoured AllRecipes.com and found something that looked delightful.  Promising us dinner in twenty minutes, we set out to make this near-replica of something we’d fallen in love with on holiday last month: Fettuccine al Salmone.  Honestly? One of the most deliciously indulgent meals we’ve cooked to date, and done faster than you could get through a verse of On The Wings of Love.  I had to share!

2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces salmon, cut into thin strips
1 leek, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup light cream
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 ounces dry fettuccine noodles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced
salmon, chopped leek, onion, and garlic, and fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream, sour cream, and cornstarch; stir into the skillet. Stir in the lemon zest (or lemon juice as we did), pepper, and paprika (which we also didn’t have, so we used cayenne pepper!). Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, until sauce is thickened and salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine (we used fettuccine with cracked black pepper in it already), and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and toss with the salmon sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese to serve.

OM NOM NOM! This was one of the most gourmet-tasting, quick and easy recipes we’ve made yet!  It was done in less than half an hour, perfect for those Monday nights when you may or may not have a 7:00 date with a certain pilot.  Bon appetit!


  1. Hey Em, it made me so happy to read about your nan and the support she’s gotten since your dad went out there. I hope it’s helped your heart a little bit knowing she’s not alone and that things are more positive.

    Good luck with the treadmill you’ll have to let us know how that goes! And thanks for sharing the recipe, sounds heavenly. Must try it.

  2. I’m having so much fun cooking these days too, i just downloaded a bunch of audio books so listening to them over the sizzling of the pans? You can’t beat it.

    1. Ooh I’ll have to try that. I was avoiding listening to BBC last week because I hadn’t watched the Brit Awards yet – should’ve stuck my David Tennant audio books on! 🙂

  3. So glad to hear that nan is doing well! Also, way to go with the cooking. You clearly have all your ducks in a row girl. (ha I just love that statement).


    Hannah Katy

  4. This is really GREAT news about your Nan! And I am so happy to hear other family members making an appearance as well… 🙂

    The Fettuccine recipe sounds delicious! I just bought more salmon yesterday (we love salmon!), so I might try this fairly soon! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes! Apparently one of them has been doing a bit of research into family history and all sorts of people are popping up. I wish I were there too! Nan is definitely in better spirits and I only hope everyone who came out for the “reunion” keeps in touch with her once my dad comes back next week.

      Let me know how you get on with the recipe, it’s pure heaven!

  5. One day, we will have a basement with a TV and a treadmill, so I will never use weather as an excuse not to workout. =)

    We’ve really enjoyed cooking this year, too. This week, we’re defrosting some chili I made a few weeks ago. And we’re also making chicken stir fry. Cannot wait!

    1. That was my thinking too! Although I tried it last night and it’s rather loud so we had to have the volume at +40, but at least I wasn’t sitting on my arse 🙂

      Mmmm home made chili. Sweet made it once (I was so used to it out of a can) and I am NEVER going back 🙂

  6. Oh my god…. I’ve just caught up on your blog after a few weeks of ‘not much time’ and what have I missed… I’m glad your Nan is in better spirits, I certainly hope you are, gosh, you must be wishing for August (?) to come round so quickly so you can visit… Sending all my love both your way and your nans, I would visit, but I’m too far away, is she in the Lister?? I’m in stevenage on Sunday, maybe i could pop in (??)

    OM NOM NOM ! you always manage to put those everyday sounds into words!! love it!

    1. Oh wow that would be wonderful if you could visit! She is in Lister I think now (she keeps being switched between hospitals) but I can find out from my dad. That would mean the WORLD although I hope she would remember you – dad says her memory isn’t doing great these days 😦

      Thank you so much – I’ll be in touch!! xx

      1. Anytime Em… Its the least I can do !

        Its ok if she doesn’t remember me, I shall take her some flowers, how about a gift… anything you suggest?

  7. I’m so happy that things are looking up for your nan! I’ll keep hoping for the best for her!

    Mmmmm (or OM NOM NOM!)…. that recipe looks so delicious! I definitely have to try it one day soon. Isn’t it the best feeling when you make something and it turns out so wonderfully? I’ve tried some new recipes lately, and some have been out of this world. Makes me feel so good about myself, haha!

  8. So glad that your nan is doing much better and that her family is reuniting. You all will continue to be in my thoughts. Cooking is somewhat theraputic for me. If you like, I can pass along some of my favorite food bloggers to you.

  9. Thrilled to hear Nan is doing better; I’ll continue to keep her in my thoughts & prayers.

    Cooking new things always leaves me feeling exhilirated!

    Hope the trend for the week continues to be on the up & up.

  10. Great news about your nan 🙂

    The Bachelor? ohhhh, that show. It’s been my guilty pleasure lately. But I’m not a fan of the actual guy–the bachelor. He tries too hard to be the PERFECT guy. Stop acting, buddy!

  11. I am so happy to hear about your Nan. It does sound like things are looking up in that department!

    And I’m also happy to hear you got a treadmill! I wish I could just buy one because the one in my apartment gym doesn’t have a TV so it’s kind of boring. I think I would be so much better at working out if I could do it while watching TV!

    1. That was my plan! So it looks kind of out of place in our living room, lol, and I have to turn up the TV really loud because the treadmill makes SO much noise on our floors, but I think it’s going to work out 🙂

  12. So glad to hear this news about Nan! Visitors are always so great for lifting spirits.

    And the recipe sounds divine, just like you said. I’m going to try it. 🙂

  13. Wow, it’s awesome you got some good news about your Nan AND your family. Put it a couple of months early and you’d have had yourself a Christmas miracle 😀

    p.s. that salmon DOES look OM NOM NOM! Definitely my favourite fish, even the sight of it RAW made me hungry!
    p.p.s. Interested in the Baftas at all? Pretty British-ly biased this year, I love it, haha!

  14. I’m not so big on cooking (J does the cooking and I do the baking!) but I’ll definitely give him this recipe. 🙂

    I’m also really glad that your nan is doing well! xx

  15. I’m glad to hear the good news about your nan!

    The treadmill has changed my life. Even better when you can watch tv while you’re on it. It kills two birds with one stone and makes your workout fly by!

    I’ve never seen East Enders but I hear it’s pretty addictive.

    1. Oh it DEFINITELY is. You know it is when the first question you get asked by your fiance in the evenings isn’t “how was your day” but “do we have Eastenders?” haha 🙂

  16. I’m glad that things are going good for your Nan. I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the world from a suffering family member 😦
    Second, I’m really really excited to try that recipe, it looks so good!!

  17. and p.s. that krystal is me…you know, the regular krystal – but that is my switzerland blog. i know, right, i have blog ADD. but thelovelylist.blogspot is I swear my favorite one 🙂
    and p.s.s. mumord and sons is coming to zurich in april! i know i should buy the tickets soon!

  18. hey Em my best and loving wishes to Nan I love her to bits Is dad still across the pond? I should have gone over there to see him.
    take care and tell your dad I am proud of him too ❤

    1. YES!! Are you watching the new stuff? We just downloaded a documentary on the 100 best cliffhangers ever – brought back lots of old memories, I should send it to you!

  19. I really hope the best for your Nan! That is wonderful to hear she is doing better though, and I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

    Yay for a treadmill! I’ll bet that will be awesome to have in your home, no excuse not to exercise! So cool.

    I LOVE salmon, that looks soooooooo delicious! Thanks for the tip, as you know we’ve been cooking too and new recipes are always welcome! 😛

    Hope all is well with you, I know I haven’t stopped by in a while. Thanks again for my lovely birthday card! You are an amazingly beautiful person. 😀

  20. I’m late on commenting but wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and your Nan! I hope the surgery will (or has already?) go well. She is lucky to have your Dad who flew all the way over there to be with her. 🙂

  21. your latest post doesn’t have a section for comments.

    girl you are so strong! i couldn’t imagine having such a culture shift and being able to make it through. and can i say how proud of you i am that you are LOVING working for a nonprofit? that is a rare trait. hold tight to it 🙂

  22. DAMNNIT. See? This is why it does not pay to put my GoogleReader on the backburner for like, three weeks.

    01. All my best wishes are headed directly to you and yours, RIGHT THIS SECOND.

    02. I’m estatic to hear of the positive progress since your dad arrived.

    03. I love you.

  23. Pingback: Progress? «

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