A little update on where I’m at with life…

We’ve just started summer break and for the first time in 3 years I’m free to enjoy it with my family. I’ve spent many moments over the past 3 years wishing I had given more time to Olivia and Toby feeling the pull of being a full time working mum. Having previously spent 5 years at home with an odd job here and there to then working as a full time student nurse has enabled me an insight into both worlds, I can honestly say that both have challenging times and finding a balance where you feel your doing the best for the whole family has left me feeling guilty, lonely at times and overall frustrated! I felt unsure of my decision to study with such a young family but having now achieved a first in my degree, knowing that I worked so incredibly hard makes our three year journey worth while.

Along side this I have continued to support my two sisters in reaching our goal of completing the stillbirth bereavement suite within our local hospital and on Thursday 26th July 2018 I not only had my final day as a student nurse but we officially opened the bereavement suite. It was a momentous day and after many highs and lows through out our Twinkling Stars journey we were able to invite local people whom supported the charity project to share in the occasion, although my hope is for it not to be used, it is a devastating journey that some families have to live through and therefore my only wish is that in the darkest times the unit will bring a safe and comfortable space for them to spend time with their babies whom were born sleeping. I would like to extend my thanks to all that supported the Twinkling Stars Project, whether you attended our events, gave generously to our fundraising or helped to spread knowledge and understanding of stillbirth, all of you have enabled Charlotte, Leigh and I to work along with East Kent Hospital Charity and SANDS to deliver greater maternity bereavement services. With all this said our journey only began because our family had lost and because of our precious Blake we have achieved it, his life was short but has made the greatest impact!

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With such a hectic time for the Varnals family I have had little time to spend on my blog and I have missed it enormously… I have many recipes that I wish to share with you all including some new and exciting projects that James and I are undertaking which I will be sharing with you very soon. I am also spending time posting moments via my Instagram page ‘this_is_me_winging_it’. Keep a look out and please stay in touch, share recipes and add comments. My next blog will be discussing some moments spent over this past weekend in the Cotswolds. I’ll be reviewing some family attractions and places to eat in and around the cottage we stay in. I’m all for a staycation with the whirl wind that is our Toby…but that is for another blog on another day.

Much love

George xx

My Mexican Eggs

I’m always looking for new, exciting recipes to add to my collection so when on my wonderful friends hen weekend in the Cotswolds two years ago our lovely host served up a Jamie Oliver recipe for brunch. I absolutely loved it and knew that James would enjoy it too. We later holidayed in Dartmouth that month so I tried a version that I had thought of and to great success as James adored it and was most disappointed when the pan was empty. It has gone on to be a recipe that I use for family brunch and tea time. The kids enjoy it and I always know that it will all be eaten with little to no waste, especially as Toby is pushing for burgers and pizzas for most meal times.
With busy schedules I do my best to batch cook and freeze portions of the main sauce so I can grab out of the freezer on a busy day and serve up a tasty supper.

Ingredients for sauce…

2 x Tablespoons of good Olive oil
2 x Red peppers (cut into 0.5cm slices)
2 x Roasted red peppers (Jarred antipasti roasted peppers also found on deli counter, cut into 0.5cm slices)
1 x white onion
2 x large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 x fresh chilli (finely chopped)
1 x teaspoon chilli flakes (optional depending on heat)
2 x whole dried chillis
2 x Fresh bay leaves (use dried if no fresh available to you)
2 x Tinned Tomatoes
5 x Glugs of Worcestershire sauce
1 x tables spoon of good sea salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper

To prepare for serving…

6-8 eggs
3-4 medium Fresh Tomatoes (sliced)
6-8 Large tortillas
Take a heavy based skillet pan or large frying pan. Add the olive oil, all red peppers, all chilli’s, bay leaves and onion and sauté off gently until onions are translucent and peppers have softened, around 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further minute or so. Now add the tinned tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook on a low simmer for a further 20-25 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Lay fresh tomatoes over the top of the sauce now make small wells in sauce with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into each well. Cover with a lid or tin foil until eggs have fully poached depending on the heat you are using this can take up to 8-10 minutes. I cook them so the yolk is still runny.

To serve

I lightly toast the tortilla wraps in a dry frying pan, 10-15 seconds each side until golden.
Now place 1-2 cooked eggs along with a decent portion of sauce over tortilla. I then have family style trimmings of

Avocado (sliced)
Cheddar Cheese
Coriander (chopped)
Natural yogurt
A hot sauce of your choice for extra heat.

The kids love building their own Mexican eggs. I hope this is a great brunch or tea time option for your family to enjoy!

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