Nadia Emek

Written by Nadia Emek

Nadia Emek is a classroom assistant at a secondary school in Edinburgh. She is married with 2 teenage children and a cat called Oliver. She loves to go swimming, walking, and enjoys photography. Yet she finds nothing better than spending time in her kitchen, cooking for her family and friends, and chatting round an old worn, but much loved, kitchen table. Ooh, if only that table could talk...

Will you just grow-up

A friend of mine recently commented on a picture of an old school friend she had seen on Facebook saying, ‘It was like looking at an old woman!’  Now we all went to school at the same time so does that make me an old woman too? I don’t feel old and I certainly do not feel grown-up.  Although we will all be 45 next year to me it’s just a number. Am I looking through ‘rose-tinted glasses’ at myself? Looking in the mirror I certainly do not see an old woman.  This seems to be a concern for her. Should I be worried? Do others see me as a middle-aged woman? We both have grown-up teenage children and we’ve both, in my estimation, ‘worn’ well. I see some of my friends at our age with toddlers and know that I certainly would not have the stamina to deal with sleep deprived days at work , or the energy for the constant attention that a toddler needs.   I enjoy the fact that I am young enough to enjoy my teenage children – not always understand them mark you.

What makes you grown up? Owning your own houses, paying a mortgage and bills?  Having children? Being in a responsible job? I have no idea. There are a few people I often think, ‘I would like to be like you when I grow up’. They seem to fit their skin well and are comfortable within themselves, quietly confident – just grown up really.

I see my kids look at me when I have been on a rant thinking (and often verbalise) “you are so old!” or “you don’t understand!”  To be honest often I don’t. I don’t understand why my son’s trousers no longer fit his waist and are far better being worn half way down his legs! Or why there is a constant need to have a mobile phone attached to their hand or ear.  Why every time I ask them to pick up their mess they respond with, “You make me do everything around here!”  I think not when it can be after nine o’clock before I actually sit down having spent most of the evening clearing up and preparing dinner! So I do the rant of “I am not the hired help…….etc, etc!” This can go on for sometime if I have the energy and tends to follow the same pattern every time. I can see the kids internally ticking off each point knowing that the end will soon be near when they can slope off to their rooms.  So perhaps I have gotten older and less tolerant.

I have not turned into my mother as some people say; but some moany-faced old woman my kids see which at times seem to possess me!  I can honestly look back and remember my mum being pretty ‘cool’ and ‘a real grown-up’. Do you wake-up one day and realise that it’s time to stop ‘playing’ at life and start taking responsibility for your actions and control of your life. How do you know?  I suppose I’m still waiting.

So do I want to grow up?  Not really. However I must have been at some point, as we have bought our home, had the children, went on holidays, bought the car and got a cat? Is that grown up enough? I am quite happy being in my wee world; whether that means I am grown-up or not doesn’t really matter so long as I’m enjoying it.

As it’s getting colder here is a chunky soup to warm you up.


Minestrone Soup - my version

Choose from the selection of vegetables below or use them all!

  • Large onion
  • Courgette
  • 1-2 Carrots
  • Potato
  • 1 leek
  • Celery
  • Peas (frozen ok)/green beans
  • Red pepper
  • Jar of passata/chopped tomatoes
  • Tin of borlotti beans or cannellini beans
  • Pasta (small shells/tubettini)
  • Veg or chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped parsley
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Optional pesto
  • Handful of basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Chop all the vegetables into similar sized small chunks.
  2. Sauté off the onions in the olive oil until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the veg to the onions and sweat off for 10 minutes or so, covered on a low heat. Stir from time to time.
  4. Add the passata/tomatoes, stock and some of the parsley and simmer until the vegetables still have a bit of bite to them.
  5. Then add the pasta and cook until soft.
  6. You may need to add more stock depending on how much pasta you use as this will soak up the liquid.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and the grated fresh parmesan on top.
  9. OR blitz some basil, garlic and parmesan cheese and stir into the soup once cooked.
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