Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Drinking

What would the holidays be like without a slight bit of alcoholic sustenance......actually, they'd probably be rather enjoyable. There would be no drunken Uncles slobbering over you and no hangovers to deal with. Plus, road accidents would be kept to a minimum..... however, I'm now tarnishing my post so I must stop.
Let me refresh. There can be some joys to having a drink now and again and in-keeping with the Christmas spirit(s), here are some lovely ideas for you to try at home....or at the office, depends how shocking your boss is.

1) Candy Cane Cranberry Cocktail (what a gorgeous mouthful) From here

2) Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. From here
Vanilla Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

3) Spicy GingerMan. From Here

4) Eggnog. From Here

Friday, 16 December 2011

My Sisters Keeper

I have a beautiful younger sister. She is all of 10 years and a total madam and you could say that she is my spitting image. Her personality and mine are identical which can lead to some quite heated tantrums, on both sides.  However, she is the sweetest, most adorable girl in the world. Let me just share a quick story with you of the wonders of my little sister:

When she was about 8 and we were all living in the UK we attended a church where a family of dwarves also went. My sister is the epitome of innocence and was delighted to find a family that were the same size as her. She would take the mother's hand and drag her around church with her and she would pat each one of them on the head and introduce them to everyone as her 'best friends'. They were very good natured about it and were not offended which most people might have been. She really is a total gem.

Over here, she goes to Vista Nova, a specialised school for awesome kids who might struggle going mainstream. It has been such a life-saver for her because she gets the care and attention that she needs and I can't believe how much she overcomes. It makes me think of the moments when I'm negative, which I state as being 'realistic', and let situations get me down and there is my sister who rocks the socks off everyone on a regular basis. What really is my excuse hey? I should start taking lessons from her and see the world in a brighter light. Roll on a better New Year then.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Good Giving

Pinned Image

We could all do with a little gift-giving 101 sometimes, especially the guys. Having been on the receiving end of some travesties and triumphs, I compiled a mini 'Guide to Giving'.

1) An obvious one but I'm amazed at how silly some people can be. Be careful what gifts you recycle. Make sure you can trace who gave you the unwanted gift before you re-wrap it and dish it out again. An example of this would be a wedding present that we received which was actually given to another family member previously. There was a small amount of annoyance from both parties.
2) Don't give something that you can't find any love in. Give something that you also like because you'll find yourself giving it with a more heartfelt sincerity.
3) Don't give as a means to tactfully up yourself in the receivers eyes. A gift is a gift, meant to be given with affection and not part of a strategic game.
4) Make it personal. I used to hate it when people got me gift-sets because it really doesn't show much thought. I'm very open about my likes and dislikes so receiving a Oh So Heavenly set when I'm allergic to most beauty products, doesn't bode too well. I do love it though when I get something personal.
5) Gifts don't have to be big and bolshy to mean something. I remember getting an exquisite small gold butterfly brooch off a friend and it honestly was and still is, one of the nicest gifts I have received.
6) Gift wrap. My favourite part of giving is making the present look presentable. Even the best gifts can be ruined by shoddy wrapping. I would willingly offer my gift-wrapping services because I love it so much or, you can check out Creative Stream for inspiration.
7) Go Eco. This applies to both the gift and the wrapping. Being sustainable is far easier now and I simply adore how Lush sends their gifts in recycled boxes with popcorn as the protector which means it is also biodegradable and possibly edible! Bonus! As far as gifts go, why not sponsor the building of a well or buy a cow?
8) If you are low on cash, don't panic! Give your time. Offer to cook them dinner or take them out at a later stage. Be creative. You could even take your partner for a romantic picnic somewhere.

And now one for the receivers....

9) Even if, after all your hints and reminders, you still got a shockingly bad present from a trusted loved one, be thankful...unless of course, you got a  Joni Mitchell CD when you know for a fact that your man has bought a gold heart necklace for someone....and that someone was not you

Pic from here

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Cape Town Gift Ideas

I promised myself and Mr H that I would have all the Christmas gifts done and dusted by mid November. As you might imagine, I have failed. Not for lack of trying mind you, but just because I have been super duper busy...and also because I have really tricky family members to buy for. For most of them, I have decided to bake some yummy goodies because, so I am told, I'm quite good at that. But for the in-laws, Mr H and I went wine-crazy and filled a crate up with some of our favourite tipples and then took it up to Johannesburg. We scored highly on that bad boy. (Rupert and Rothschild will take you places!)
However, that still leaves our many sinlings and my parents. My mum who never wants anything and my dad who always wants something that isn't available in this country. Ya. Did I mention that I also have a Secret Santa to sort out and a stocking to fill for the husband?
I can't be the only one stressing surely, there must be many more of you out there, begging for hints to be dropped your way? Perhaps I can share with you some of these Cape Town based gift ideas which might help my Western Cape comrades.
P.s. for those overseas, I humbly apologize for not including you in this but I'd be quite happy to do list for you if you so desired....
Gift List

Bow Peep accessories
She has such a huge range of items. You must check out her website.

Daniela's Macaroons
Pinned Image
POA - and they look so yummy.

Effie Creations -Wooden Jewelled Christmas Trees
Small R99. Large R150. (That white one is already mine)

Yuppie Chef - Le-Creuset Strawberry Collection Mini Heart Ramekins
R295 for a set of 3. 
There are so many other kitchen items to choose from on the website

R110-130 and she makes them so pretty.

Coco Li - Accessories/gifts
They have a lovely range of items that I'm crazy about

Etsy - Yes ok, I know it's not Cape Town BUT, they can get sent here....
CLOUD PURPLE - tie dyed cotton scarf. Hand dyed. Oversized, lightweight wrap, shawl. Fashion, women accessories. Holiday gift.
Stunning hand dyed scarf by Dear June

Monday, 12 December 2011

The most wonderful time of the year

Pinned Image

No doubt you've heard sleigh bells ringing and children screaming for presents that cost a prosthetic arm and a leg. However, I have not yet felt the Christmas cheer but that may be because I've have been back-achingly busy over these past few weeks or it may be because I am so used to a cold and Wintery Christmas that right now, it feels too much like a normal Summer month.
My mum has her tree up and it looks rather bizarre, not that I don't like it because I love me a good Christmas tree, it's just looking rather wrong in the brilliant sunshine.
You see, I need the bitter cold, the ice, the potential for snow. I want to wake up and be able to see my breathe and then to have mulled wine at ever given point in the day. I would like to make mince pies and chocolate log cake and then, in the evenings, light the fire and watch some festive-inspired movie. But, 'I Want' never gets you anywhere so instead, I'm looking forward to waking up to daylight. Putting beers in the deep freeze for the chill factor. Drinking glasses of cool bubbly and snacking on biltong and nuts. If it gets too much for me, I may just put on the air-con and sit under it wearing a scarf and hat.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Lessons learnt at the Kruger

It is the second time round that I've been blessed to get to go to the Kruger. But traveling in 42degrees had me thinking that we might have made a mistake. I'm pale, paper ain't got nothing on me. I stuck my arm outside the window and it started sizzling like a sausage in hot grease. It was so hot that the animals were being sensible and staying well hidden in the shade.
Armed with bottles of water, Strawberry Fizzers and our trusty camera, we drove around trying to spot the big five. We searched high and low, we were getting desperate. But in among the anxious cries of 'oh look, I think I see a rhino', which turned out to be gnarled wood, and our anxiety over trying to spot a lion, we almost missed the little things. Such as, my favorite animal, the humble warthog. Watching these awesome creatures, it taught me a valuable lesson.
The warthog, though small and with poor eyesight, will stare down a potential threat and will retreat with their tales held firmly in the air. Such a good motto for life. There are some battles that you don't need to fight and there are some situations in which you just have to pull up your Pride Pants and turn the other cheek. This doesn't make you any less of a person, in fact, it makes you more of a superhero as you were the brave one to see when enough is enough. So I think we should all embrace our inner Warthog every once in a while and say 'Suck it World. I may be backing down but I'm not bowing out.'

Monday, 5 December 2011

What my mother taught me

Mother's are amazing. My mum in particular because she has had me as a daughter and I'm not gonna lie, I am not easy to deal with. *understatement of the year* Being as strong willed as I am, my mum has had to constantly battle with me to push me in the right direction as my stubbornness usually leads me down the wrong paths. She's stood strong and kept me sane. Now that I am married and have 'flown the nest', I can look back at all her wise wisdom and be ever so grateful for her and what she has taught me:

Stress is not the answer. My mum can sometimes be so relaxed that she appears to be traveling horizontally. I tend to get hyped up about everything. (I should have been a lawyer) What I must remember is that stressing doesn't get me anywhere it simply makes me ill.
Eat for your health. I've battled with an eating problem for years but my mum constantly reminds me that it isn't about extreme dieting but about eating to be healthy and to be the best possible you. Treats are good but in excess they cause me to break out in spots and give me a greasy complexion. All things in moderation....unless it's cookies. There is only one word for those...MORE!
I don't need alcohol to be fun. My mum hardly drinks. For my bridal shower, we first went nougat and bubbly tasting at Jc Le Roux. One taster glass and she was smiling and laughing all over the place. I love the fact that she has never been a big drinker, it's a nice environment to grow up in and you learn not to depend on drink.
Use your talents. She is pretty much my number one fan but she has never deluded me. She praised and encouraged me to follow what I am good at, not like some of those crazy Toddlers and Tiaras' mums who just want prize money at the end of the day. After school, I did A-levels (you need those in the UK to get into University) and she chose the course I should do because she knew what my strengths were and I, at that time, really had no inclination of what I wanted to do. She nudged me into Communication studies and I've never looked back.
When you fail, get back up again. She is not one to let me wallow in a pit of self-pity and loathing. She dusts me off, gives me a hug and sends me back out to conquer the world, this time, with stronger armour.
Family is always first. We're a close bunch. Impenetrable. We have dealt with some pretty rough stuff but we come on top every time. In those dark hours, what we know we can rely on is each other. Friends come and go but blood remains.
Don't settle for less. My mum has being praying since my birth that I would find the right guy and not be swept away by any losers. Okay, so there have been a few frogs along the way, maybe even a toad but never a serious relationship. Mr H is indeed the shining Prince and my mum can breathe easy knowing that there is someone out there who can tell me to shut up when I being a sulky madam. If I didn't know better, I would swear she created him in her secret laboratory.

Anyone got any Motherly wisdom?