Happy Nowruz! 

It’s the start of spring this month, which is a hugely important event in the Persian calendar, as it also means it’s the start of the Persian New Year. The Persian New Year, Nowruz, isn’t on a fixed date each year; like Easter, it’s what’s known as a moveable feast. The date is set so that it falls on the first day of spring, which this year is Monday, March 20. I think New Year starting on the first day of spring really makes sense, because it's obviously the beginning of new life and I always feel more energised and lively at the start of spring than I do in January, that’s for sure! 

We celebrate Persian New Year with friends and family, usually at my mum's house. It's so great; we get lots of friends together, play Persian music and do Iranian dancing, which I absolutely love. It’s a very big celebration! 

In the past we have gone to parties, which I'm not sure if we are going to this year. There is usually a big celebratory event, the Nowruz Gala Dinner, down in London. We went there a couple of years ago, but with the kids this year we will just have a family celebration at my mum’s.  

Traditionally, we eat sabzi polo, which is a rice dish with herbs in it and maha, which is fish, cooked beautifully by my dad! We also always have Sofreh Haftsin, which is a spread of very specific foods. Haft Seen means ‘Seven S’s’ and in this spread there are seven things that begin with S that are symbolic to Nowruz.  For example, ‘Sib’ means apple, which symbolizes health and beauty and ‘Sir’ means garlic, which symbolizes medicine.  

It's almost like having a Christmas tree at Christmas; we have Sofreh Haft Seen during the Persian New Year.  

It's a bit strange when you come to describe it, but it's traditional and it's so nice to have that part of my culture to celebrate.  

Flipping good fun 

Something part of British culture of course is Pancake Day, and this year we got both the kids involved! It was brilliant fun, as Max is really enjoying cooking with me at the moment – I think we may have a chef on our hands! Kimia still doesn’t have a clue what's going on, of course, but she loves to be involved in everything, and finds everything so much fun it’s just so lovely she can play her part. I'm really excited for next year when she's a bit older, though. 

Great British Life: Kimia and Max loved 'helping', and loved the eating even more!Kimia and Max loved 'helping', and loved the eating even more! (Image: Hanna Kinsella)

I am really trying to stay healthy, without missing out, so I followed this amazing pancake recipe and both kids loved it. 

It's literally just:  

1 ½ cups of flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 cup almond milk 

1 large egg 

1 tsp vanilla extract  

We then do a little maple syrup, or the traditional sugar and lemon, as a filling – but don’t go overboard. The kids devoured them, in fact I think Kimia ate more than Max, so they went down well!  

Vive la France! 

We recently went to Paris for our very good friend Jon’s 40th birthday. His wife had organized a couples trip to Paris, which was fabulous. I actually really enjoyed doing a city break with two other couples. It’s a different dynamic to going away with just two of you, which I found was really fun. Even though Martin and I had some alone time, it was great to have company as well.  

Great British Life: Paris is so romantic!Paris is so romantic! (Image: Hanna Kinsella)

We did lots of things: we visited the Arc de Triomphe, we went to the Champs-Élysées, and walked around the shops (oh my, the temptations!), and to the Eiffel Tower, although we didn’t climb up because it was freezing! 

One of the most fun things we did was hiring electric scooters, which I really recommend - it is such a fun, efficient way to travel around the city!  

We also went to a show at The Moulin Rouge, which was amazing. I was a little unsure, but it has improved so much since I went in 2016, when I wasn’t so wowed - the outfits, the dancers, the whole thing was just amazing.  

Perhaps the most romantic thing however was a visit to the Pont des Arts, or Love Lock Bridge as it's become known, which was so lovely; we all put our initials on locks and attached them, which is such a special memory. We will definitely be going back.