Tuesday, 30 July 2013

I love Kate Sidley

I was so pleased when I saw a new piece written by Kate Sidley the new (August 2013) in the Your Family Magazine. I seemed to have missed her in the July 2013 edition.

I just love Kate Sidley. She is so so funny and I love her funny and quirky comments in her articles. She writes a weekly book column in the Sunday Times and has a new book called “The Agony Chef”

I have referred to a number of her articles in the Your Family Magazine on numerous occasions. My favourite is one where she tells people not to worry if your child is still drinking out of a bottle, because at some stage he or she will get off it. Gosh , I cannot remember which edition it was but it was so funny! Her new book looks hilarious and I do wish I had a copy..


Make sure you read her contribution to the Your Family Magazine! She had me in stiches again this month when she wrote about make overs and how we all are somewhat consumed with reality TV and all the make overs that are showcased all the time. She says that “my dog are lovey and not very troublesome at all, but I feel that with the right help they might be able to do simple, useful tasks, like putting the kettle on..”

She is amazing! I love Kate Sidley!

Monday, 29 July 2013

On Feline Leukaemia and Feline HIV

Today a dear friend of mine told me that her cat passed away. She had Feline Leukaemia and could not fight it anymore. This saddens me deeply, not only because I am sad from my friend, but because I too had two amazing kitties that passed from this terrible disease. Both my kittens were adopted in Cape Town, one from the SPCA and one from DARG.

I had never ever heard about Feline Leukaemia before my cats were diagnosed with it - both too late to save them. Like so many people, I just assumed that the regular inoculations my cats received would protect them against all the “cat diseases and illnesses” out there.

I was wrong.

Miika, our darling ginger kitty was the first to pass. He was a bit sick now and again, but we didn’t think much of it. I had him at the vet repeatedly and they simply said he had allergies and gave me some eye drops and what not for him.

On the day that he passed he was extremely ill. He just came to me and meowed, or howled actually so we ruched him to the vet. I thought we would just get some meds and he’d be home soon, but this was not the case. My vet called me at about 9pm that evening to say that after doing numerous tests he finally diagnosed him with Feline Leukaemia. There was nothing that could be done. Miika was anaemic - he had no white blood cells left in his little body. I rushed to the vet to say goodbye to our darling kitty, sobbed and sobbed and Miika went to kitty heaven that evening.

Miika - We miss you every day

We were heartbroken.

I still had my pride and joy.. my Ivana. I do not think I can accurately describe how much I loved my Ivana. She meant everything to me and we went through so much together. A week before we were due for a holiday to Thailand Ivana started being “offish”.

She didn’t want to eat and was somewhat listless. I took her to the vet. They checked her and I had her tested for Feline Leukaemia.


I was heartbroken -again, but I should have expected it because the virus is so easily passed from one kitty to another. The vet gave Ivana an injection, checked her kidneys, gave me special vitamins for her and I bought her some special food. She said she is still very healthy and can live for many years with the disease.

In the week before our departure Ivana’s health went from bad to worse. I tried everything to get her to eat, drink. Nothing. I prayed and begged and hoped that she would be ok, that she would get better. I phoned the vet, I asked for advice – We were due to leave and what could be done with Ivana? More medicine? Other food? I must have spoken to my vet for about 30 minutes on the phone.

As though Ivana could feel my longing for her to get a bit better, she did improve a bit and I was overjoyed! I arranged for a good friend to come and pop in and see her while she stayed at home with the housekeeper while we were away.

The day before we left Ivana didn’t want to eat. I tried everything. I bought every type of delicious cat food you can imagine – nothing helped. I asked my brother to please take her to the vet after he dropped us at the airport – there was no time before the flight.

Ivana had severe kidney failure and went to play with her brother Miika that day.

My heart.

My darling Ivana - I love you always

After months of crying for my Ivana – who can NEVER EVER be replaced, I bought a new kitty, called Lola. You may want to meet her here and here.

I am all for rescuing kittens and strongly commend the amazing work done by animal rescue centres in South Africa, but I will never, ever adopt a kitten again. Lola was bought from a Siamese breeder just outside Johannesburg, and although I have not had her tested for Feline Leukaemia or Feline HIV I am going to when she is a bit older.

I will vaccinate her against these diseases. I am also not going to let her go outside. I know I sound completely pedantic but I am in the process of training her to walk on a harness and when she is a bit bigger I will let her have special outside time with me. I feel people need to know about these “silent” cat killers, and decide for yourself how you are going to prevent or live with these diseases. Cats diagnosed with Feline Leukaemia and HIV can live very happily for many years, it can be done, but they have to live indoors so as not to infect other cats in the neighbourhood.

Please just know that your kitty or cats that you love so very much is not being inoculated against these (and other) diseases as a general rule. You have to ask your vet about these illnesses and what you can do to prevent them.

Read more about Feline Leukaemia here and here.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Easy & Quick Banana Bread Recipe

This banana bread is a super easy to make, and the reason I love making it, is because you don’t even need to use a hand mixer! I found the recipe here, and you should really give it a try!

Banana Bread Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (I use baking powder)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large – the riper the better)
3/4 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a medium sized loaf tin with spray and cook or another oil spray. Mix or whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth(ish). Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. (I add the wet ingredients to the dry!)

Pour into prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or longer until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the pan, use a knife to loosen the edges before turning the bread out to cool completely.

My oven heats from above and from below so after about 20 minutes I usually put some foil over the top to prevent the bread from burning. I actually don’t eat banana bread at all.. but my better half does so I make it for him quite often. He loves it and it’s the easiest way to use up the last few bananas no one wants to eat!

The bread can be made three days ahead but I am not sure it will last that long!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Happiness is..

A Lovely Dinner at Stone Cradle

So I did not post last night.. I know.. I know.. That is because we went out for dinner with some friends to a place called Stone Cradle.

It’s a beautiful venue, literally next to the entrance to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve here in Centurion, just off the R21. It is a beautiful building, perfect for dinner with friends, family lunches, conferences and even weddings! They have a buffet dinner and I must say it was really lovely.

They have so many different meals and dishes, it was really hard to choose what to have! I started off with sushi, had a main meal with a stir fry, steak, some vegetables, more sushi and of course desert.. which was an ice-cream cone which I made myself. What fun!

If I do have to complain about something, the plates were a bit dirty and we had to fish through them to get a clean one and wipe it down a bit. It may just be me being a bit pedantic but other than that it was a splendid evening. The staff is friendly and the place is very clean. The décor is beautiful and I will definitely go there again.

It was really lovely!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Special Parcel

Today was my first official day “back at work” and even though I could work from home it was still a gruelling day. Anyway What made it super special is the fact that an old school friend of mine sent me a package in the post all the way from Canada..

It’s a unicorn, a Cheetah unicorn and I absolutely love it! How special is it that someone you have not seen or spoken to in almost 20 years sends you a package because she saw something she know you would like. 

Wow, how blessed am I!?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Ode to a Car

My brother kindly took me to the "yard" where my car was today to fetch a few of the things I know I had left in my car amidst the panic on Friday after my accident. The gentleman there, the “security guard” knew exactly where my car was and proceeded to direct us to her.

He showed us the damage on the chassis that he had pointed out to my insurance and it was rather astounding. Not the fact that he kind of knows my car inside out, but the severity of the damage on my car kind of blew me away. He said it is such a shame because he could see how well I took care of the car, and coming from a stranger, I deeply appreciated this.

Anyway.. I am still incredibly grateful for the fact that I am ok, and that it is really only a car that needs to be replaced, but oh the anguish! The insecurities, the reliance on others… the insurance that always pays out less than you wished they did and the fact that you would rather buy a bicycle or a pair of roller skates before you break the bank and incur unnecessary debt are mere drops in the pond of life..

At least now I can add the fact that I have “written off a car and survived it" to my ever increasing repertoire and know for sure that there is definitely not enough botox in the world to plump up my cars now sagging chassis.

I will remember the precious moments we shared while I ring the bell on my new pink bicycle or blow a whistle whilst I roller-skate from A to B..

You will be missed my dear “Little Missy”

Monday, 22 July 2013

What Can Be Done in a Day?

With me being booked off for a few days to recover from my smashing ordeal on Friday, I have spent the entire day doing absolutely nothing, apart from lying on my bed and cuddling with Lola.

It has actually really made me think of how much I usually get done in a day and as today draws to an end I realise how much I could have done today but didn’t. You would think that with the usual busy schedule that I have (who does not) I would be grateful for some time to rest and recuperate but strangely enough it has left me feeling wrecked with guilt.

I feel so bad that I did not work today.. I could have quite happily from my laptop in bed but I did not. I suppose the point is that I do need to rest and I can really feel my body telling me to but I am finding it extremely difficult to do so without remorse.

There are often not enough hours in the day to get things done, as we all know too well. Our lives are filled with chores, jobs, kids, errands and commitments that we often have to re-schedule for another day because so many of us take on more than we can manage.

When we get some “time off” you would think we would automatically take it as an opportunity to get things done, and catch up on all the outstanding things we still need to get too.

But, alas I have not. I have done absolutely nothing today.

In the second edition of the Flow Magazine International that I bought with my July 2013 copy of the Ideas Magazine there is an article titled “Life is About Finding the Balance”. I read through it briefly today and I knowing me I will read it again and mull over it for a bit. It truly is a great read, and quite fitting for me today, feeling the extremes of constantly doing too much and now doing too little.

One thing the article suggests is that we should all develop our own slogan for life, and I think this a fantastic idea. The article also says that if we live our lives with our values and morals in mind we can learn to live more mindfully.

It’s given me a lot to think about, and seeing as I have all this time to think I might just as well! You really, really need to get a copy of this magazine if you haven’t already!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What a Smashing Friday

The reason I have not posted over the last few days is because I was involved in quite a bad accident on Friday, travelling back from work on the highway. Thank heavens I am fine, only battered and bruised although I cannot say the same for my poor car..

I will hopefully “catch up” the two posts I have missed, so I hope that still counts!?

When life throws you a curve ball such as this there is not much that can be done, except to be grateful for what you have and those that are so very dear to you.

All that I can say is thank heavens for my darling Stu who came as quickly as he could and just took over and took care of me. I am so blessed..

Stay safe

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Happy Birthday Madiba

Today is Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday and I feel honoured to be able to "share" this day with him!

Image of Madiba found here, Other image Rijksmuseum  

Happy Birthday Madiba!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A New Habit - Body Brushing

In this month’s Your Family Magazine (July 2013) there is a snip bit about body brushing and how beneficial it is for your health.

They say it only takes 2 minutes to do and it can help to banish toxins our bodies produce daily which can add up to half a kilogram!!

Well, when I heard this and the words “half a kilogram” I knew I had to try it! So I did.

I have been body brushing religiously, every day for the past two weeks, and as the post in the Your Family Magazine says, I did notice that my skin does feel softer. I cannot say that I do fee re-energised, however.. I still struggle to get up in the mornings.. But I think this is merely a personal trait that may never be “fixed”

So how do you do this whole body brushing thing!?

Well, it is really simple. Get yourself a body brush – these are really inexpensive to purchase and are handy to have around. Basically all that you need to do is brush your entire body each day, starting with your feet and ankles.  Brush upwards and use short brush strokes, starting with the right or left leg. Continue towards your décolletage. I love this word! They use it in the article and it basically means the delicate area on a woman’s torso, between the neck and waist.

Then start with either the left or right arm and continue to brush along the arms towards the heart, you can also brush your neck.


You should really try it, and as it is winter here in South Africa it really does help to get rid of extremely dry skin. Trust me I am certainly no beauty expert and I really do the bare minimum.. but it really does feel good and I must say I will probably continue body brushing indefinitely! I usually body brush before my shower then lather on my favourite cream afterwards..

What a treat!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Easy Chocolate Crunchy Recipe

I found this recipe in the August 2011 Ideas Magazine and it looked so simple I had to give it a try. The recipe in the magazine provides beautiful step-by-step instructions which I am waaay to lazy to post here, so here it is:

Chocolate Crunchy Ingredients:

500 ml Flour
500 ml Rolled Oats
500 ml Desiccated Coconut
60 ml Cocoa Powder
10 ml Baking Powder
370 ml (340g) Margarine
10 ml Vanilla Essence

Chocolate Crunchy Icing:

500 ml Icing Sugar
30 ml Cocoa Powder
10 ml Butter (I used margarine)

Chocolate Crunchy Method:

Mix all the dry chocolate crunchy ingredients, add a pinch of salt. Add the vanilla essence and melt the margarine and stir into the dry ingredients. Press into a greased baking tray and flatten with a fork or spatula, prick with a fork and bake at 180 Degrees Celsius for 10 – 15 minutes, taking care that the crunchies do not burn.

Icing Method:

To prepare the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the butter and some warm water in small increments until a smooth spreadable mixture forms. As soon as the crunchies come out of the oven, pour the icing over them and spread evenly. Cut into squares while they are still warm and once cooled remove from the pan.


I must add that I did have a slight problem with my crunchy mixture. Perhaps I used too little margarine, so really do not try and skimp on this and in so “fool” yourself to believe they will be less fattening if you try to use less. Just go the whole hog, you won’t be sorry!

Chocolate Crunchies

Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday Ramblings

I have no idea why we all hate Mondays. Perhaps it is because after two days of being able to do what you want you have to return to reality and get things done. I suppose weekends do entail having things to do that you do not always want to do, like washing the clothes, doing the dishes and all those household chores.

To be very honest I actually do not mind doing them at all. I quite enjoy doing the washing, the lovely clean smell of clothes coming straight from the machine is so soothing, and just for a moment everything smells clean and fresh. A new beginning..

I wished yesterday would not end. I (like so many) did not want to go back to work to slog through the unfinished word from Friday and get new things done. I did have a productive day at work today I must say, and only had two annoying clients to deal with, which was great. A good day.

Plus now that the schools are back we can all go back to “normal”. Regular bed times, good eating habits and a routine. I do like routines. They make you feel safe, you are always kind of in control because you know what will happen next.

Unfortunately the nature of my work does not always cater for my love of routines. No matter how hard I try to plan my day I almost always come short, and have to play “catch-up” the next day, or sometimes even the following week.

Today was a good day though, I could go to work, fetch my son from school, come home and make lunch, then slog on. Of course we almost tripped over each other to get to Lola (our new kitty) and it seems she had a good day too, so smiles all round.

I reckon Mondays are not too bad sometimes, especially when you get to come home to this:

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Welcome Lola!

Today was an extremely exciting day for us all, because we adopted a new kitty, and we’ve named her Lola. She is a Siamese and only 6 weeks old. She is absolutely gorgeous and has stolen our hearts!

That’s all for today!


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Super Easy Roasted Butternut Soup

This is such an easy recipe for a really quick family meal. I took it from the June 2013 issue of the Food & Home Magazine:

Butternut Soup Ingredients:

1 1/2 Kg Butternut, Peeled & Chopped
50 ml olive oil
Salt & Pepper
2 ½ Litres Vegetable Stock
Extra Salt & Pepper


1. Place butternut, olive oil salt & pepper on a large tray and into a hot oven 180 degrees C
-I added some fresh thyme, garlic and nutmeg as well, covered with foil and added a liiitle bit of water

 2. Roast until the edges are slightly charred and butternut is well cooked 
 - I didn't exactly do this, just until they were cooked through and yummy.

3. Liquidise with half the liquid and strain through a sieve. 
 - I am way too lazy to do this.. I blitzed it and that’s it.

4. Heat the soup and add extra liquid if needed to get the desired consistency. 
- I used 1 large butternut and only used 1 litre of stock, so see how much you need before adding it all at once. I added half the stock, blitzed, added more etc etc.


Friday, 12 July 2013

What do YOU give yourself?

I was reading the article in the Flow Magazine today titled “What do you give yourself?” It is a powerful article to those who are listening.

Really, if you have not got a copy of this magazine.. get one TODAY!!

What an amazing article.. It’s about a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” written by an Australian Nurse, Bronnie Ware. I know this is an intensely “depressing” topic for a Friday, but heavens only knows how much I can relate to this amazing article!

It is basically is about is what is written in Ware’s book. The writing in the book has had such a profound effect on the writer of this article. She goes on to say how we need to fill voids in our lives, and how very often- this is done with the constant need to buy things..

You really need to read this article, because what the writer is telling us all is that we need to create or own happiness and not be consumed by empty voids which fulfil us, only for a few minutes.

I can totally relate to this.. The article suggests that one “day dreams” about things that we want in life and says this is healthy for us to release the constant “nags” of everyday and in so forces is to live the way we truly want to.

Honestly.. Who has time for that?We are often forced to live each day in the moment, forced to worry and to stress about things we have  no control over. I do wish that the happy daydreams I do have on occasion would come true.  But what if they don’t?

What if the daydreams are so unrealistic that what I think will make me happy actually does not? The author of the article relates this to shopping - Buying endless items that give one a “quick fix” yet leave us all so empty a few days later.

I have no idea what I choose to give myself. I just choose not to want to feel so hyper stressed and to not become the person my situations are making me become. I DO want to be happy, I DO want to have fun memories that I can cherish on my deathbed. I DO NOT want to have regrets.

I need to decide. And maybe so do you?

What “simple pleasures” will you grant yourself? (What are actually yours already and you have full entitlement on)

Well.. For me.. I choose to “allow myself to be happy” as the article suggests, and to allow myself to “let go” – of all the frustrations that are out of my control..

And lastly.. To realise that I am in control of my own destiny, and I will not allow daily events to dictate my emotions. I will let go. I have to. Even if it is only for my own sanity!!

I totally stole this from the Flow Magazines Facebook page.. Please visit it ! The caption they posted with the image reads: "If money isn't making you happy, what about time? We ask you to consider: what do you give yourself? Image by Laura Ruth."

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Praise to the Humble Pencil

This months Flow Magazine (ISSUE 2) has such an interesting article about the humble pencil in it.

Gosh when last did you actually think about this amazing tool and how much it is still used today?

As the article suggests, and I totally agree:

“With a pencil you say, ‘I dare to make mistakes,
I dare to doubt, I dare to show it is not yet certain’”

Moeyaert says that people may doubt you when you use a pencil, but sees it as a tool of the daredevil and not of the coward. He has written about his love of pencils in a book called 56 Kilometres, as a pencil can be used to draw a line 56 kilometres long!

Pencils are great if you think about it.. You can choose if you want to erase what you have written.. you can decide if you want to write softly or HARDER. 

You are in control. I like that! You can draw, you can write and you can colour..

I suddenly miss my days at art school.. enjoying life drawing lessons with my ever so loved 2B pencil..

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Enjoy the Moment.. #thatisall

Today I read an article in the Flow Magazine - the one that came with this months (July 2013) Ideas Magazine. The article is titled Super Pretty #fluffyclouds and it is about how we are all consumed with sharing and saving important, happy moments of things we see. We then immediately feel the need to share them on the internet through twitter, facebook and yes.. blogging..

The article goes on to say that we should  “.. enjoy the moment for itself, then let it go” Here they refer to looking at clouds.. and what they mean is that we should simply enjoy precious moments in life and not feel the constant need to archive it for later or share it with everyone.

This really happened to me today, and I find it quite ironic that I read this article today too. I came back from work and my son and his best friend were each snuggled in a blanket on opposite sides of the couch. When I saw this, it immediately made me smile, and my first instinct was… yes.. I have to take a photo!!

The article also mentions that of course it is OK to document things, but not to let these moments in life control us in such a manner that leads us to be obsessed with showing the world how happy / successful / lucky / awesome we are.

There are naturally numerous movements worldwide that encourage this concept. An NPO in the USA called Reboot started a “The National Day of Unplugging” which forms part of The Sabbath Manafesto which encourages people to turn off all technology and to

"Avoid Technology; Connect with Loved Ones; Nurture Your Health; Get Outside; Avoid Commerce; Light Candles; Drink Wine; Eat Bread; Find Silence; Give Back"

The next scheduled this global movement will be on the 7th - 8th March 2014.

Don’t feel sad because you missed it this year, and there is absolutely nothing stopping you from enjoying a tech free day any time before then.

So, no photo today.. I will just remember the happy moment when I came home today after another gruelling day at the office..

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Oh hello!

Today I have updated the “About this Blog Page” – surely that counts as a daily post too! Go on and have a read..

I have also included this lovely photo that literally took me 3 minutes to take with my phone and dazzle up for you today, Yip! (I know it shows OK)

Source (kind of)

The image is from a page in the lovely Flow Magazine.. and if you don’t have yours yet.. You’d better get one.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Easy Vetkoek and Mince Recipe

In this month’s (July2013) issue of the Your Family Magazine they included a recipe for Vetkoek and Mince or Magwinya. I have never, ever tried making Vetkoek before – just the idea of working with hot oil really scares me, but I am determined to try new things, and that is exactly what I did!

The recipe is really easy and most of the ingredients are things I generally always have at home - bonus!

The recipe serves 6 – 8 so I halved it for my family. Here is the full recipe:

Vetkoek Ingredients

1kg Bread Flour
45ml Sugar
10ml Salt
10g Packet of Instant Yeast
1 Litre Lukewarm Water

Oil for deep frying

Mince Ingredients:

30ml Olive Oil
2 Onions, chopped
2x 45g Packets of Brown Onion Soup
1kg Beef Mince
Handful of chopped Parsley

Vetkoek Method:

Mix in all dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the lukewarm water whilst stirring until it forms a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, knock it back a bit and roll into golf sized balls of dough. Deep fry in batches until they are beautifully golden in colour. Be sure to turn them while they are cooking and place them on a paper towel to cool.

Now, I don’t really know what I did wrong here, but my dough was like glue after the “rising” process.. anyway.. I persevered, added more flour, and more flour.. and MORE flour until it started to resemble something that actually looked like dough. Perhaps it was because I halved the recipe? Or it could be because I covered the dough in a blanket next to a hot water bottle (all nice and snug) to rise? It’s winter here ok.. and I could not find a “warm place” for it to rise in peace!? Unless I literally tucked the dough into my jacket for a few hours?

Mince Method:

Sauté the onions in olive oil until they are glazed, add the mince and brown. Sprinkle over the brown onion soup and add the water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the parsley.

I did change it up a bit.. I added a few spices: barbecue spice and paprika. I also added garlic and some soya sauce.. Oh and of course some green beans - I didn’t have any parsley and it needed something green.. To be very honest I have never added soup to mince before but it really did work well, and was quite interesting to see it thicken beautifully. I must say, even after I added all these “extras” it still needed something: tomato purée! (I will add this next time!)

It was really easy to make and I will definitely make it again. I must say I am very proud of myself for surviving my very first "cooking with hot oil" experience! Yay me!

Vetkoek and Mince!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Lory Park Zoo - A Fun Outing

I went to the Lory Animal and Owl Sanctuary today and it really was a lovely morning out. I am not a fan of Zoo’s, even Circuses which involve animals. The zoo is clean, the staff is friendly and the animals are well looked after.

The zoo is situated in Midrand, and honestly you would never believe such a beautiful retreat could be found in such close proximity to the city. You can have functions at the zoo and they have various programs at the sanctuary that allow visitors to interact with the animals. Feeding times for the big cats are scheduled during the day which makes for an exciting and interesting outing.

I highly recommend the Lory Park Zoo, especially for those with younger children. The zoo is a good size and it does not take an entire day to leisurely walk through the space and view all the animals. Naturally this does depend on how slowly you walk, or crawl!

We also had a bite to eat there and although the power was off, we enjoyed one of the best (untoasted) chicken mayo sandwiches I have ever had!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A New Beauty - Food & Home Magazine

I stumbled upon the Food & Home Magazine last month - and I must say what caught my eye was the very attractive cover! I’m a sucker for pretty things!

I was not disappointed when I browsed through it for the first time either. The entire magazine, from the layout & quirky fonts to the attractive images make it a great read. The one thing I totally loved about it was the fact that they had articles, interesting articles about foodie people and even included some of their recipes. Not only one but a few! I am yet to try some of them and of course the pork pie they featured on the June 2013 cover! The magazine also came with a totally free recipe book from Royal Baking Powder. I was smitten.

Food & Home July 2013 Issue

I bought the magazine again today and while doing my first “browse” I saw they are offering a special subscription price for the month of July 2013. With everything getting more and more expensive, I thought I must just share this super saving! 12 issues for … (drum roll please..) HALF PRICE!!

And that is exactly what I did today! I haven’t subscribed to anything since I was a young girl and that was to the “Barbie” Club - I cannot remember exactly what it entailed! I still have the certificate which clearly states that my membership would only be for one year but it included a very personal scribble from Barbie herself saying “We pledge to remain friends forever” Love it!

My spectacular Barbie Club Certificate

Well Food & Home magazine.. I’m looking forward to our “one year friendship” and I pledge to enjoy every issue. More so if they are all as amazing as the two issues I already have. Naturally I would also like to try out the divine recipes sometime this month, so watch this space!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Friendship Makes the World go Round

Today was a sad day for me.  A dear colleague and friend has resigned and gone on to greener pastures. Whilst I am still extremely happy for him, a part of me is devastated, We were not “good friends” we didn’t share intimate details but he was and will always have a special place in my heart.

To me, friendships are really important. It’s about being there for the people you love and about accepting them for who they are. I am extremely fortunate to say I have a handful (literally) of friends that I love dearly and will really do anything for.

I think that if you can say you have five true friends you are really, really lucky. Gone are the days of the ever tormenting high school “clicks” and student times with friendships where everyone goes their own way and never bothers to make contact again. Ironically two of my closest friends are from my student days, but whatever happened to all the other friends that pass through your life? Sure they are all your friends on Facebook, but where is the everyday connection, the simple talks about nonsense and the deep conversations when you or they need help or advice?

My friends are truly amazing. If I don’t speak to some of them for a while we simply catch up where we left off.. No hard feelings. I share different things with different friends and sometimes it’s OK not to tell everyone everything.

I can honestly say that my darling mom has had huge influence in the way I am with those dear to me. In our home when growing up we would always speak kindly to each other and we are always considerate towards one another.  We support and love each other all the time no matter what and love unconditionally. I suppose that has contributed to the friends I have gathered and kept in my life and heaven only knows how grateful I am for them!

I truly love you all xxx

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Lemon and Orange Marmalade

I made this marmalade a few months ago, and although I do not really like marmalade I made it to give away to friends and family as gifts.

They seem to like it so perhaps you can also give it a try! I found the recipe here and it’s actually really easy to make:

Lemon and Orange Marmalade Ingredients:

6   oranges, halved, thinly sliced, seeds removed 
2   lemons, halved, thinly sliced, seeds removed 
4 cups water 
2 1/2 cups white sugar 
Juice of 1 lemon

Lemon and Orange Marmalade Method:

1. Place fruit and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil on high. Boil rapidly for 25-30 minutes, or until oranges are very tender. (My note - it took longer)
2. Reduce heat to low and add sugar, stirring, until completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice.
3. Increase heat to medium and boil, without stirring, for a further 20-25 minutes, or until set, when tested. Pour into sterilised jars and seal while still hot.

The marmalade took much longer than the 20-25 minutes the recipe above mentions to reduce. As far as I can remember also I added less water than the recipe calls for.  (I think I only used two cups of water) It also says you should not stir the marmalade while it is cooking. Well, let me just say I stirred it almost all the time, literally begging it to reduce!!

I also almost think we added more sugar.. (The “We” I refer to here is my mom and I , because after standing over this pot for what for what felt like forever, out of sheer desperation I had to summon the matriarch for advice!!)

You need to test if the marmalade is ready before putting it into your sterilised bottles by dropping a teaspoon of it onto a cooled plate. I kept some in my freezer for this. Eventually though, after numerous “tests” and copious amounts of plates later I just bottled the batch!

Yes! Sometimes you just have to grab that wooden spoon, put down your foot and say “enough!”

It all turned out pretty well in the end, as it cooled the marmalade did thicken beautifully. Just be prepared to love and nurture your marmalade for an entire afternoon - literally!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

What's Between your Covers?

This month’s issue of the Ideas Magazine had a special offer which included a copy of the amazing Flow Magazine, a popular Dutch magazine that is simply packed with inspiration, interesting articles, and even beautiful window art pieces and MORE!

The amazing Flow Magazine
Seriously, if you have not bought it yet.. you simply have to! I went to three stores before I found the offer, but let me tell you it is WELL worth the money and effort. The magazine screams “read me!!” and has the most beautiful inspirational quotes and illustrations.

Let me tell you.. here in South Africa all our magazines are rife with adverts for laundry powder, baby nappies and even hardware products.. yes.. all in one magazine!? Can you make a connection between these random items!? Because I don’t think I can!!

Anywho.. the Flow Magazine is nothing like what we have here in South Africa.. it is filled, I tell you FILLED with information and articles you actually want to read! I’m seriously considering subscribing to this magazine, I just hope they post to RSA, because I couldn’t find any areas in the country which stock the magazine!

Which brings me to my second point.. This month (July 2013) if the Ideas Magazine they announced a HUGE price increase which they justified by saying that they do not want to have to fill the pages of the magazine with numerous adverts. They go on by saying that they may have been forced to close the magazine if they did not increase the price. (I would die if they did!!)

Now, I totally so understand this, however how can it be possible that a magazine (such as Flow) is able to provide such quality without a single advert in the entire issue?

Well one thing is for sure.. I will be keeping my eye on the content if the Ideas Magazine and it better be bursting with really informative information. Now that I have seen what other magazines in the world can create, only time will tell if it will deliver.

I am not sure how often the Flow Magazine is published. But perhaps the great folk at Ideas should consider having a bi-monthly magazine? That may be an option? But let me tell you I would not mind paying over R100 per month for a magazine such as Flow. It is truly a keeper and I know I would refer to it again and again!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

What Makes you Happy?

Ok, so today is not a good day for writing a post because my brain has totally gone to mush.. I suppose that is what happens when you work all day! You simply can’t think straight in the evening!

Anyway - here’s a really pretty picture of a protea, I bought it for myself a few weeks ago. Yes! Girls are allowed to buy flowers for themselves on occasion, and considering it only cost me R12.00 it has given me so much joy!

The little things in life are often what we take for granted.. It’s like looking at the person you love and saying “I love you” when your eyes meet.. Its special cuddles on the couch with your child and saying the same thing at the same time. I have much to be grateful for!

What makes you happy?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Love is a Verb

In the May 2013 issue of the Your Family Magazine there’s an article about Ashley Hayden  It’s a great article about her and her life and all the amazing things she’s done, I truly admire her. What struck me in the article was what she said about love..

“Love is a verb, not a noun”

She said and its really so true! She goes on to say that love is “letting them have the first bath while the water is still hot, its buying Bovril and not Marmite because you know that’s the one they like”

This really struck me, because I have actually been doing a lot of thinking about love for a while. It has actually inspired me to “jazz up” a painting I have in my TV lounge - which I have already started on but will post the “before” and “after” photos once I’m done.

This month’s issue (July 2013) of the Ideas Magazine had an entire article about the Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands and the amazing fact that you can create an account on their website and download digital versions of the art in the museum and use these masterpieces to create your own works of art. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you visit their website here!

So for today I have created my own little artwork, inspired by Ashley and the amazing works at the Rijksmuseum.

This is from the Declaration of Love, Alfred Silvester, 1855 - 1865