Monday, 31 October 2011

Lessons from the weekend

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1) Sometimes, being a bit cheeky gets you places. Mr H and I went to Makro at the weekend. I know, I know, you're probably thinking we were crazy. The queue to park was horrendous and then when we got to the shop, there was a freakin' queue to get in. There was no way we were going to wait so we amused ourselves in the Liquor shop which was surprisingly empty. As I was drooling over the Moet & Chandon display case, Mr H quickly pulled me through to the loading section where he, being Mr H, turned on the charm and got a security guard to let us into the main shop. Score.
2) California wine is cheap and scrumptious. This Barefoot wine was on special, so we bought a few bottles which have subsequently all been drunk over the weekend. Damn it was good.
3) My new strict diet is working wonders. I've had 2 days of no pain. Bonus.
4) Using unripened bananas in a banana bread calls for extra sugar.
5) I'm addicted to series. (Modern Family rocks)
6) Bacon is king of the morning.
7) Mr H has an addiction to my BBQ chicken recipe. I'm beginning to believe that he needs psychiatric help.
8) I found a baby bird that had fallen out of it's nest outside a shop. Everyone was staring at it and it was close to being trampled on so I had to take it home with me. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, it died. I now feel rather useless and a bit dejected.
9) So that I don't end on a depressing note, my final revelation is that sometimes, all you need is a braai, good wine and the Kings of Leon to guarantee a great evening.
10)...also, I hate uneven numbering.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Oooh yes please!

To pass the time in our lunch breaks, it has become a customary thing for my colleage and I to oggle over Hollywood hotties and I'm telling you now, there is a huge wealth of them. As it is a Friday and not much work gets done, I've been doing some research and to help you get through your day, here is a little taster of the "talent" out there.

Our fave 15 (in no particular order):
1) Alexander Skarsgard
2) Jake Gyllenhaal
3) Zac Efron
4) Robert Downey Jnr
5) Ryan Reynolds
6) Jonathan Rhys Meyers
7) Bradley Cooper
8) Henry Cavill
9) Thomas Hardy
10) Lee Pace
12) Chris Hemsworth
12) Colin Farrell

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nudity in the Kitchen

It’s nearing the end of the month. How do I know this? Because my fridge and cupboards are so bare you could arrest them for indecent exposure. Each morning I wake up with the difficult task of trying to make a decent lunch out of packets of jelly (I hate jelly), a few dented tins of chickpeas, Quinoa which I still have no idea how to cook and a rather soft cucumber.
Note how one never ever runs out of the stuff you don’t want to eat such as smoked mussels (yuck, they belong to Mr H) and a whole basket of spices. Oh and I have a poo load of pasta which I can’t eat.

Anyway, before the great famine of Oct 2011, this is what I used to eat. (Excuse the drawings, I’m not gifted)
 
A banana That yellow object
Two Rice cakes with peanut butter on them I know they look like eggs
Half an avocado
Tuna That pink splodge on the side of the plate
Cherry tomatoes.

Though the drawing is not appetising, it is a pretty damn delish meal.

However, now I am effectively eating tumble-weed.
Ok, so it isn't that dyer but for past few days I've been living off carrots and home-made hummus which, without Tahini is pretty gross.

But tonight is the night ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to go and seduce some food aisles and make out with some fresh vegetables in Fruit n' Veg. It's going to be a pretty well-deserved date.

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hallo-Tweens

Goblins, ghouls, ghosts and GHD's.....huh? Oh right, I forgot that Halloween wasn't actually about being scary or enjoying some holiday cheer but rather about dressing like a complete skank and getting away with it (not that GHD's make you a skank). That is one of my least fondest memories of university. My first year Halloween was a tirade of pussy cats, cave women (wearing only leapard print bikinis), bad nurses and the occaisonal slutty Disney character which by the way is a sin, Snow White was not a harlot even if she did stay with 7 men. However, this sort of dressing up might just be a trend of the UK because every reference to Halloween in the US seems to be all about pumpkins, candy and decorating your front porch (although Mean Girls was an advocate for whoreish behaviour).
I'm anxious to see how Cape Town celebrates because I can seriously not be doing with trick or treaters. Call me unsocial but opening the door to kids dressed as horrific characters from creepy movies just unnerves me...do they even know that Vampires were inspired by the legend of Vlad the Impaler?

I don't ever celebrate Halloween but I do like the abundance of sweetie recipes and pumpkin artwork.

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I am particularly in love with this recipe (which I must make gluten-free).

Pumpkin Spice pull-apart Bread with Butter Rum glaze.
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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Things I have learnt from being gluten-free

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Next week sees the end of my Gluten-free existence. I have served my time well and only now, in the last week has it gotten difficult but that is mainly because I have no more rice cakes. Over these last few weeks, I have learnt a lot about my eating habits and have found a substitute for cookies....jars and jars of Nutella. But the other things I have learnt have been slightly more profound:

1) I realised that I don't, aside from cookies, eat that much gluten or wheat although....
2) ...Lunch options have become more taxing as usually I would have some Melba toast with cucumber and cheese however, rice cake are even yummier.
3) A lot of products have wheat as a filler to bulk them up which I think is unnecessary. Maizena works just fine.
4) Mr H has been incredibly supportive and patient.
5) People really don't understand what wheat or gluten actually is. For instance, being asked if I could eat a baguette was just ridiculous. Also, they all seem to think that 'a little bit won't hurt you'. My mother is extremely allergic, she is a coeliac and if she has the tiniest bit of either gluten or wheat, she is in a total mess. Also, if I was to have any then that would completely undermine this whole experiment.
6) I haven't had people over for dinner as much because making food for them is slightly harder because....
7) ....People seem to think that gluten-free automatically means meat-free. This annoys the hell outta me and hasn't served Mr H too well.
8) Gluten-free products are damn expensive but there are a huge variety of different types of flours that you can use which is great considering that "back in the day", substitutes for gluten were almost impossible to find.

Yet the main revelation is that I've found out that my problem is actually fructose malabsorption. So instead of my body breaking fructose down, it just builds up causing the acute pain I have been having. So now, my diet has to eliminate the following:

  • Apples and Pears
  • Foods rich in fructans such as artichokes, asparagus, leeks, onions and *sigh* wheat-containing products.
  • Foods containing sorbitol or xylitol...pretty much anything ending in -tol.
  • Dried fruit (I have a packet of raisins with me right now which I shall have to say goodbye to)
  • Fortified wines....*sob*
  • Corn syrups/Honey

What I can eat are:

  • Berry fruit: blueberry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, loganberry
  • Citrus fruit: kumquat, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, tangelo
  • Other fruits: ripe banana, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, pineapple, rhubarb, tamarillo.

I suppose it isn't the worse thing to happen to me. My favourite fruits are still available and at least I now know what is wrong with me. And more importantly....I still have my Nutella.

Friday, 21 October 2011

D.I.Y inspiration for your bedroom

My wonderful friend Bianca (who can be found here) has a lovely abode in which she is currently getting her D.I.Y freak on. She's a practical lass you see and when she wants to do something, she plans it and executes it to perfection...tis why I'm going to get her to make things for my house one day.

Anyway, she recently finished her bedroom and I love it. 

It's simple elegance with a crisp, clean, neutral pallate which is only broken by the inclusion of  golds and forest greens in stunning satin.

See that headboard, she made that. Out of a door. Yeah, that is pretty damn cool.

If you want to make your own headboard then click here for a pretty awesome D.I.Y tutorial to get you started.

Got any D.I.Y bedroom projects to share?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Do opposites attract?

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It's an old saying and scientific fact that opposites appeal to one another. I'm not sure when this started applying to relationships but I remember as a wee teenager reading through 17 and being told that even if he is the school's bad boy, you might have a future with him. Thanks for that worthless piece of advice. From my experience, complete and utter opposites end up causing enough friction to start a global fire. It's okay to have difference, it would be so dull if you were identical in all your tastes, but there is a limit.
Maybe it is just me, perhaps you're dating your complete opposite and it is a total success? For me, I've got two examples of my most serious past relationships whereby it wasn't enough that our only similarity was being human.

Boyfriend 1:
I was warned away from him by all my friends and was told that he was a bit of a bad ass, drank heavily, smoked and hung around with a bad crowd. He was all of the above as well as being a mummy's boy, pansy and complete abusive douchebag.

Boyfriend 2:
Posh snob from the South of England. Wearer of all things Abercrombie and Jack Wills. Highly educated and totally pretentious. Was also a utter Nancy boy and a bit of a nerd but not in the cool interesting way.

Both of these boys were my polar opposites, although, I did think that BF 2 would be a safer bet being all smart and intellectual. But you see, I needed to have something in common with them to make it work out. I love reading and am a bit of a culture fiend, bf 1 was one brain cell short of being a goldfish. I need someone who can stand up to me but who also offers me protection, bf 2 used to cry if we ever had a slight argument. We went through more tissues in that relationship than I did when watching The Green Mile.

But now, I've found the best of the best.

Mr H:
I was also warned against him by some jealous guy and was told that he was also a bit of a bad boy. After bf 2, I needed a bit of rough. The rest is history.....we differ a lot, he is a sprightly morning person (although lately I have been kicking his ass in that respect), he prefers lame comedies in the vein of American Pie, he doesn't enjoy reading and he is always too hot whilst I'm always cold. But we've got the best things in common, our sense of humour, our love of food, our morals and what we want in life. And for all of our differences, I like scoring mind points on converting Mr H to the things I like, my most reason triumph being The Office (US).

Sounds like I'm being all mushy again. Feel free to vomit a little. I just want to see if anyone has any experience of dating an opposite?? Did it work out or can I start writing stern letters to teenage magazines?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Love & Marriage (After 8 months)


Today marks 8 months of being a Mrs. I like to celebrate these days because I think it is a big achievement, so I do a little "I'm a married woman" dance and walk around with a smile on my face all day. Marriage is a funny thing, two people living together, learning each others dirty little secrets, being in each others space and finding out how intense love really is. It can make one go a little crazy, or in my case, a complete and utter loon. It also has the ability to offer some rather amusing moments.

1) Yesterday, whilst going around Woolworths, I spotted the most adorable red-haired baby being pushed around in a trolley. We locked eyes and I made those ridiculous baby faces at her and waved like a mad woman. She smiled back at me and my womb literally melted inside me. The broodiness was hitting 9 on the Richter scale and I gently stroked my stomach in anticipation for a little wee monster of my own. I awoke from my stuper to see Mr H looking at me in alarm. I quickly pretended that nothing was wrong and nonchalantly picked up a packet of sliced cheese, I hate sliced cheese, only to see Mr H smiling doe-eyed at the baby. That was it, my heart exploded and I my knees started shaking as though I was doing an Irish jig. Nice thing about being married, we can both go ga ga for babies.

2) My Blackberry is like an extra part of me, so much so that it has now become a matter of much hilarious merriment in our household. It began a week ago. Mr H woke up in the middle of the night to find me tweeting on my phone, the thing is, I was asleep. I have no idea where that message went and I apologise to the poor soul who was woken up by complete rubbish. Then, two nights ago, Mr H woke up again to find me texting, the Blackberry way (two thumbs),  whilst asleep, on his arm. I have issues people! I think I need to go into therapy.
I dread to think what will happen next perhaps I'll start pressing random parts of his anatomy trying to get speed dial to work.

3) On Saturday, after The Great Food and Wine Pairing event of 2011 Mr H, myself and a good friend went to Fairview. By this point, I was on 7 full glasses of wine and had a relatively food-free stomach. After a further 6 glasses of Fairview wine, my friend and I proceeded to stick our heads into the large metal barrels and sing "Red, Red Wine" as well as the classic, "Hello....is it me your looking for". We were then asked by a Capetonian if we were tourists and whether we would like her to take a picture of us. What did Mr H do? Smiled, waved, and waited patiently for me to remove myself from the floor.

What a swell guy I'm married to.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I can't help it but....

In every movie with Leonardo Dicaprio, I will always think of him as Jack.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Wine, Canapes and Ice Cream. Oh My!

I've literally had to roll out of bed this morning carrying with me my extra rolls from a weekend of scoffing my face. I may complain about my job, but the one perk is the social media and tourism side.

To mark the release of SylvanVale's new wines, Devon Valley Hotel asked me to put together a small gathering of people who a) love wine b) love food c) were involved in the wine industry. This gathering was going to take part in tasting the new vintages as well as having them paired with some delicious treats created by the Devon Valley chef. What transpired was a culinary dream afternoon with free-flowing wine and amazing food rounded up by an entertaining and insightful talk about each wine from SylvanVale winemaker Mark, who was incredibly witty.

The only problem was that being gluten-free, I couldn't eat much so instead, I had to make do with extra glasses of wine....*hic*

Our first wine was the Dry Cabernet Rose (2009).
It is rated as a leader in the new wave of Rose and it truly is a masterpiece. Bright and clear with hints of cherry and strawberry and a subtle touch of wood and vanilla. It was the favourite of the ladies.

Second was the eagerly anticipated Sauvignon Blanc which hasn't even been released fully yet. It was paired with Salmon and fresh dill. Delightful.

Third wine was a Cabernet with dark cherry flavours and an oaky, cedar box undertone. They paired it with a poached pair and gorgonzola wrapped in phyllo pastry and served with a cranberry reduction.


The fourth wine was their Pinotage which has been matured for 5 years and has a beautiful deep structure. This was paired with a Bobotie truffle and mango relish. It sounds strange but I promise you it is the best canapé you will ever eat in your life. I had to give mine to Mr H because they are covered in crunchy phyllo pastry, he wasn't complaining.

Our fifth and final wine was the Family Reserve. A blend of Cab Sav, Pinotage, and Shiraz. Wonderfully woody with musky yet slightly spicy undertones from the french oak, this was paired with a wild mushroom and truffle oil tortellini. The chef kindly gave me the wild mushrooms and truffle oil without the pasta. Yummy.

The wine maker, Head Chef Markus, and Hotel manager Craig.

Once all the wines had been tasted and the savoury dishes finished, we all thought the event had come to a close.....but we were so wrong. They brought out the BIG guns. Their new home-made ice creams.


Amarula & coffee baked cheese cake topped with chocolate truffle & crème Anglaise


Marmalade ice cream & créme Brûlée with brandy snap & white chocolate sauce.


Nougat ice cream and chocolate brownie with glazed cashew nuts, caramelized bananas and espresso Anglaise 



Cheese Duo & Gorgonzola ice cream. Emmental and camembert cheese with caramelized nuts and grilled pear.


I think by this point, I was a little squiffy. 

If you're feeling a little jealous, don't fret. We're planning on making this a monthly occurrence so make sure you're following me on Twitter @jhordanssister and @Devonvalley. Next one will be even more ice cream tasters. p.s, these events are free. (I know, crazy right)

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Good Life

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You know you've got a good thing going for you when:


1) Your man makes you the best finger lickin' ribs ever!
2) You pair gluten-free cookie crumbs with ice cream and warm white chocolate sauce
3) Your man turns off your alarm for extra snuggle time
4) You've been invited to a Bar Mitzvah for an incredibly funny autistic boy whose brother, who is also autistic likes to smear snot on your car window. (It may sound gross but imagine what the party will be like!)
5) Today marks the beginning of a Batman movie marathon with your fave girlys.
6) This weekend your heading to Devon Valley for a wine and food pairing event. Yum
7) You've now turned your tiny balcony into an allotment filled with tomatoes, herbs and cabbage.
8) It is the weekend and your only plans revolve around food.
9) And an added bonus, It is my Gran's birthday today and though we are miles apart (she is in the UK) I'm so grateful that she is still a full on young Grandma. She puts me to shame.

Have a good weekend ya'll. What are everyone's plans?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Outage

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I love this picture. How beautiful is that girl and how innocent and sweet she is. Reminds me of a simpler time when I was younger and you could get away with anything. People enjoyed having you around then and when you discovered new things, like the art of taking a blurred photo of the back of someone's head, everyone was equally excited as you were.
With all the commotion regarding the Blackberry outage and Bryce Lawrence's new job (haha), I am shocked at how dependent I am on my black brick. When did I stop being enthralled with the little things in life and become so wrapped up in a piece of technology that pretty much belongs in a museum now. But I wasn't just upset over the loss of BB for the social media side but also for the  fact that I haven't been able to contact my grandparents or even Mr H when he is at work. It may be time for me to invest in a pigeon or even better, an owl. 
Mr H loves the fact that I know longer wake up and tweet or check Facebook. We're almost a fully functioning couple now. 

How did you guys cope without your trusty phone?

Just in case you thought I had forgotten, it is day 4 of my gluten-free diet but both lunch and dinner are being made for me so I shall have to inform you of that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

To Be (healthy) ....or not to Be (skinny)

It may only be two days into my gluten-free diet but already I have seen how reliant I am on food. I think of food as a friend, a close personal friend, whose absence depresses me. I use food in all circumstances - when I'm bored, with friends, reading a book, watching a TV series, etc - it is a constant companion. It has the ability to instantly satisfy something within me BUT it also has a way of making me feel truly terrible about myself. 
That is a lot of pressure on food. It delights and disgusts me. Perhaps I have unearthed a rather deep and dark secret about my relationship with it.....
Last night I made my cheesy Tex Mex rice with home-made bbq sauce and it was great comfort food. However, following on from the other nights cookie torture, I made myself one gluten-free cookie which isn't even worth the washing up so you can tell how desperate I am. It tasted so good but then I felt a little guilty. Am I thinking of my gluten-free diet as a means to get thin or to fix my aching, allergic body? I think I need to dwell on this more because I started out wanting to find the source of my months of pain not to become a skinny minny. 
Anyway, day 3 begins and the menu takes a slight reshuffle. I'm looking forward to dinner.

Day 3

Breakfast:
Natural yogurt with honey and cinnamon. A rather healthy option and a good deal easier to ingest than uncooked Quinoa.

Lunch:
Left over Tex Mex rice. The flavours have had time to deepen. Scrummy.

Dinner:
Chickpea burgers with yogurt sauce and salad. Recipe from here
chickpea burgers
Serves 2
Be careful with these burgers because if you over mash the chickpeas then the burgers will fall apart....but have no fear, they still taste good.

1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 egg
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, diced (You can use raw pepper too or even chilli)
6 – 8 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1. Pulse chickpeas and cumin in a food processor for a few seconds or until roughly chopped. You don’t want a smooth puree here.
2. Crack egg into a small bowl and whisk lightly. Add egg and pulse again for a few seconds.
3. Fold capsicum into the chickpeas by hand so it keeps its shape. Season and using your hands, form into 2 burgers. Pop in the fridge for a few minutes.
4. Heat a small fry pan on a medium high heat. Add a little oil and cook burgers for around 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Being careful when turning so they don’t fall apart.
5. Meanwhile, stir yoghurt in a small bowl until smooth and season generously.
6. Serve burgers with yoghurt on top and salad on the side.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Saying no to love...

Last night was like something out of a perfectly orchestrated nightmare. We had family over. Mr H wanted a pudding. I was lovingly asked to make chocolate chip cookies that were full of gluten and then had to watch as everyone else got to eat them. I think I died a little inside.
However, waking up today, I feel like Superwoman. I have the resistance of steel baby!
I'm not going to lie to you though, I did stick my nose close to the cookies and breath in very deeply hoping that that would ease the pain in my soul. *sigh* But I'm now on to my second day and the menu is as follows:

Day 2.

Breakfast & Lunch
Unfortunately it is the same breakfast and lunch (Quinoa & Lentils) because I really hate to waste. Although I have some fresh pineapple for snacking on just in case.

Dinner:
Cheesy Tex Mex Rice. Adapted from here.
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Makes about 8 cups or 8-10 servings
4 cups cooked and cooled rice (I'm using my leftover rice from last night)
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) cheddar cheese (I'm adding Mozzarella too)
1 green pepper, diced small
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes and their juices (I like roasted tomatoes in this recipe)
1 cup of corn
1-3 teaspoons of Paprika
1-3 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
1-3 teaspoons salt, to taste
Optional Extras: 1-2 diced Chorizo Sausages, 1 cup shredded chicken.
1) Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl, starting with one teaspoon each of the chili powder and salt (you can adjust later to taste). Stir until everything is evenly mixed, squishing the tomatoes against the side of the bowl as you go.
2) Set a cast-iron or nonstick heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice mix and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Be patient. Which is a very difficult concept for me.
3) The cheese will melt and start to form a burnt-looking crust on the bottom of the pan (This is okay, don't be tempted to think that you have ruined the dish). Every time you stir, scrape up this crust and mix it back into the rice. The whole dish will gradually pick up a deep, almost chocolate-like flavor from the seared cheese. (If you actually smell or see smoke, turn down the heat a little or scrape a little more frequently.) Taste it every so often during cooking and stir in more salt or chili powder as needed.
4) Let the rice cool a little before serving. The flavors are really at their best when the dish is slightly warmer than room temperature and it's even better the second day. The rice can be reheated in a slow cooker, a low oven (covered with aluminum foil), or in the microwave for a few minutes on HIGH. Leftovers will keep for one week which makes me very happy as I can relax in the knowledge that I don't have to make any more lunch for awhile.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Life without.....

Ok, I know I've said it before but this time I mean it, I'm going to do 21 days without gluten or wheat in a vain attempt to sort out my erractic body. You may be thinking "yeah Shante, we've heard it all before" but I swore infront of my Twitter pals at the bake-off so I have to do it.
I'm a little fearful for my health in that Mr H may not be so happy with the sudden lack of baking and the loss of one of his fave puddings, Semolina. I know I can cook with gluten-free flour, my mum is a Coeliac so I've been doing it for years but to be honest, it just isn't the same. Gluten-free flour has a habit of being rather crumbly even with the inclusion of the miracle working Xantham Gum which acts as a binding agent....look at me with my great knowledge.
So thus begins my 21 day fast new eating habit and to motivate myself, I'm going to post my menus for each day. It's also a way for the gluten police to keep an eye on me.

Day 1

Breakfast:
Quinoa with apple and cinnamon. Recipe found here

Verdict:
Maybe I'm not cooking it enough but is it supposed to be hard and crunchy? It isn't a meal that I can make in the morning because it takes 25mins to cook so I had to do it the night before (get me and my organisation skills). I don't think it will ever beat porridge but if I top it with natural yogurt, it is edible.

Lunch:
Braised Lentils. Recipe found here

Verdict:
Again, I made this yesterday but it says that it will keep for weeks which makes it a star in my eyes. I like the taste and I feel pretty darn healthy eating it. You could also put anything with it.

Dinner:
Crispy honey lemon chicken. Recipe found here

Verdict:
I haven't cooked it yet but it promises to be totally scrummy. I will obviously not be using normal flour to coat the chicken but with stick to Maizena.


So, what do you think? Anyone got any good gluten-free recipes for me?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Shine a light

I love candles. They inspire magic and romance and offer something mystical to any occasion. 
During the Winter months when it is cold and dark, it's nice to add a bit of warmth and a touch of elegance with candles. 
For my wedding, I had candles on the table and ideally I would have loved to have had them placed everywhere but when you have young and slightly tipsy people moving about then it can get a bit dangerous. However, there are other events in the pipeline...



Thursday, 6 October 2011

Waste not, pretend to want not

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As I was showering yesterday I happened to glance upwards to see that Stalactites were growing from my ceiling at an alarming rate. In fact, the whole roof above the shower has become a hairy beast that is in desperate need of mould killer. When did this happen? I am now in a state of alarm when I get into the shower for fear of something falling onto me, so I move swiftly and never stand in one place which makes for great exercise and also means that I now don't spend my usual 30mins washing. Mr H is ecstatic, not about the livestock that inhabits our ceiling, but that I now don't use so much water. Seriously, our family motto should be 'Don't waste water', which I thoroughly agree with but I do like a nice hot steaming shower in the mornings.

Anyway, this whole saving the planet thing is something that I'm really big on. Back when I lived in the UK, it was a huge deal and I made sure that I tried to buy organic produce from the UK to cut out my carbon footprint and I sourced my beauty products from reputable, earth-friendly places. Oh, and I loved to recycle. But having moved over here, it is a lot trickier to do. Maybe that is just me not being so aware but recycling is harder, good food is more expensive and offices over here don't seem to care that their lights are left on overnight. Even today whilst driving, some dude threw an empty packet out of his car window. I hooted at him to show my disgust and he made a rather rude gesture. Bars Dad (see what I did there?).

So now I'm thinking of ways to cut down on my waste. One teeny tiny thing that Mr H and I are doing is that we're growing herbs on our balcony. Hahahaha.Sorry, it makes me giggle because you need to see the size of our flat. A carton of milk has more room. Anyway, we persevere and have also started planting veggies in Mr H's garden at his house in the Northern Subs. That has got to be doing some good right? I'm also going to take away my electric blanket, sniff, and resort to clinging desperately to Mr H for warmth. Not a bad swap.

Are any of you doing anything planet-saving these days?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Spring Looks

I love Spring especially in England. Flowers are blooming, the weather is pretending to get better and people start to smile. Fashion in Spring is even more exciting as it marks a new turn of ideas and inspiration. This Spring, I'm seeing a lot of the centering of clothing around softness and air. Neutrals play a big part as they always do yet I've seen some rather gorgeous splurges of colour from Mango as well as their nude offerings. Stripes are still big as well as lace and divine tailoring. Oh and what I really want to get my hands on are maxi skirts!

Mango
Mango Spring 2011 - dress
Mango

Rag & Bone

Maje

Zara




Queen of Tarts

Yesterday marked my first tweet-meet with fellow cake lovers at the Grand Daddy Hotel and it was amazing. I've put on an extra few kilos and am having to wear elasticated pants to work but it was totally worth it. What's more, I won this amazing Queen of Tarts apron for my goodies from Kareema Jamie

The location was the Versace Lounge which we had all to ourselves and it was perfect for our Bake-off. With two bottles of champage, cakes set out around us and little score cards to mark all the creations, we began to fill our tummies.


 All the entries were delicious and, barring one, were home made. I was so impressed with everyone.

We started with Spinach and Feta Samosas. (The overall winner and a very clever idea to bring savouries admist everything sweet)

Then we had Banana Cake, mini Scones and Carrot Cake. (Yes, someone did bring 3 baked goodies)

Followed by Coconut Macarons

Caramamel Shortbread which was a joint second

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

And the finale was Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake which was also a joint second.

I don't think I've eaten so much ever but it was so great to be with all these fab girlies who I've "met" over Twitter and who I can now put a face to. You girls rock!
Can't wait for our next one, home-made Pizza and wine with 30 seconds thrown in.........