Testing the mini fire pits

Having brought mini fire pits/BBQs for Guides last week, we all felt that we needed to test them to make sure they worked. And obviously a sunny Sunday is 34 degree heat was considered the ideal time to have a fire in the back garden!

We roped in some extra children and headed off to gather firewood, in the scrub land behind the tennis courts. We easily managed to get enough small bit for kindling as well as some bigger branches for proper burning.

We then headed to our back garden to get everything going, we used tumble dryer fuss as the tinder, but probably didn’t need it as all the word was so dry it caught incredibly quickly.  And it wasn’t too long before the marshmallows were being toasted and enjoyed by all. Gregor likes his marshmallows extra blackened (you can see how hot it was that day by how sweaty he is in the last photo).

The Guides will have a lot of fun with these, perfect for practising fire skills and they can use them to cook with in the summer.


Katrine’s birthday party

Katrine has had 2 birthday parties this year – one in the UK with family and then another one this weekend with her friends here in Baku.

She chose to have an Alice in Wonderland themed party and we ordered a few bits and bobs in advance from the UK, party supplies are possible to find here but it can be a hunt and you are not necessarily going to find exactly what you want. When Amazon is so easy.

Katrine made her own dress, she has written a bit about it on her blog, we didn’t have a pattern so had to create that first, which we did using baking parchment. Really pleased with how it turned out and it is nice to have made it herself.

We also made a toadstool cake, using a hemispherical cake mould from lakeland and a cleaned beans tin.

IMG_0949 IMG_0950We can’t find fondant icing and aren’t sufficiently good at baking to make our own so we tried marshmallow icing instead. Surprisingly easy and fun to work with.

  • 100g marshmallows
  • 200g icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • Microwave the marshmallows for 30secs
  • Add the water & stir with a greased spoon
  • Microwave for a further 30secs at a time until melted and smooth.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar until all mixed in.
  • Kneed on a greased surface for 5 minutes until smooth and pliable.

We used 3 packets of Haribo Charmallos (as they are easy to find everywhere here) and used all of the pink about about half of the white. The pink was for the top of the toadstool and the white for the base and to make white spots. Very pleased with the results.


We also made a batch of jam-tarts, you can’t be the Queen of Hearts with out jam tarts can you!

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Hopefully a fun time was had by all.

PTA Sign up Saturday

The Saturday just gone TISA’s PTA (parent teacher association) held it’s annual welcome back picnic but this time tried out something new; having the picnic earlier in the school year and combining it with a college style club fair, with all the children and adult groups having a stall to get new members to sign up.

IMG_0939 IMG_0944 The weather was cloudy, so not great for photos, but a lot cooler (still around 30degrees) so great for being outside. And the forecast rain stayed away.

The whole day was a success, there was a great turn out and all the clubs have reported an increase in members.

TISA FC has got over 200 children signed up, they need more coaches now.
IMG_0940 IMG_0942Katrine and Gregor both signed up for rugby. Katrine has signed up for singing lessons and Gregor is starting drums.


I was there representing Girl Guiding, and the Guides and the craft stall – making dream catchers, key rings and wooden spoon monsters.

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We got 44 new girls signing up and are looking at creating more units. If you want to join GirlGuiging in Baku please go to this link and follow the steps. We are the British Guides but open to girls and young women from all nationalities and are a non-religious organisation.

I feel I should include a list of all the activities that are available in and around TISA:

Provided by the school:

  • TISA Performing arts plays
  • TISA Singers
  • TISA Music academy
  • TISA Sports

Activities for adults:

  • PTA
  • Grupo Latino Baku
  • Irish Society
  • Homeless Shelter & Community Outreach Group
  • Caspian Choir
  • Roller Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Zumba
  • Adult Triathlon
  • Baku women’s supper club
  • Ulimate Frisbee
  • TISA Cook book
  • Volleyball

We are very lucky to have so much available and easily accessible.

First day of school

The traditional photo of the first day of the new school year. (2014, 2013, 2012 can be found here).


Couple of important milestones for us this year. The first is a biggy – Katrine started in Middle school! Which would be Secondary in England, she would still be Primary in Scotland though. She is now in M1 (England – year 7, Scotland – P7, other places Grade 6). Very exciting to be moving in the upper corridors, with a timetable where you change classrooms all the time. That and they get lockers! Plus, and it is a major plus, they get their own laptops, which they can bring home with them.*
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The second is a milestone for Gregor, this year is the first year that he has returned to the same school after the summer holidays. The longest he has done at a school previously was 1 year, the shortest 8 weeks. He is going into P7 (England – year 5, Scotland P5, other places -Grade 4) and TISA is his 6th school.

  • TISA is a 1:1 macbook school, all students in upper Primary, Middle and High school have their own allocated laptop, either a Macbook pro or a Macbook air. Students in upper Primary have to keep their laptops in school.

Opening of TISA5

TISA (The International School of Azerbaijan) had the grand opening of the new sport hall – TISA5 – this week. The sports hall has been in use for the last term so this was really the official ribbon cutting ceremony.


TISA5 includes a main gym, an activities gym with climbing ropes, climbing wall, climbing frames etc… a dancing studio, a workout gym with exercise equipment (parents can’t currently use this but there might be a possibly in the new school year) and a very nice lobby where we meet for Guides.

The ceremony started with a traditional speech and ribbon cutting, followed by a gymnastic display by the Azerbaijani Junior Gymnastics Team and finished off with food in the lobby.

TISA5 is a great facility and we are really lucky to have it.

Snow fun!

I said in my last blog post about snow that that was it for the year. Wrong!

This weekend we have had high winds and snow, so even though it is still very windy the kids are all out there playing.

Last time the puppy was not convinced about this cold stuff, but today he really enjoyed himself chasing snowballs and generally joining in the snow fun.

TISA Winter Fair and gingerbread house

This weekend was the school’s winter fair. There were vendors in the old gym, games in the primary corridor and international food court, Santa’s secret shop (where the kids can shop in secret from their parents), books sale and of course Santa’s grotto.

My two decided to pass on seeing Father Christmas (first year that has happened!) but did enjoy the games and going into the shop by themselves – all items are 5azn which they pay on entry so can just browse and pick what they like. The gifts are very nicely presented in red bags all sealed so I’m not allowed to peek.

The old gym looked really nice with all the different stalls in it.

There was even a Guide table, selling all the items the girls have made over the last few weeks and some that were very kindly donated by parents. (Forgot to take a picture when Katrine was manning the stall though.)


Gregor and I didn’t stay for long but Katrine stayed for lunch – and had Indonesian food, which she said was extremely nice.

One thing we did pick up from the winter fair was a gingerbread house kit. Lots of fun was had the next day putting it together.

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