Monthly menu: April

If the record is anything to go by, I clearly haven’t eaten anything this year Smile with tongue out

Harissa lentils with cauliflower and rice

Sweet and sour stir fried fish with ginger and grilled foil potatoes

Mushroom stir-fry noodles with grilled french beans

Bulgur wheat, mixed peppers, mint and goat cheese (but I will probably replace goat cheese for feta)

My afternoon indulgence

If I was a stay-at-home mom or wife, at three o’clock each afternoon I would make myself a hot cuppa tea. In this case it’s rooibos with lemon and a little sugar.

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Rooibos tea w/ lemon

13 Obvious Interview Tips You Should’ve Learned in College … SMH

gnovember:

You would think it is obvious but so many leave school NOT knowing and NOT getting it.

Originally posted on Black Millennial Musings:

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The Nation

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Today, I read a troubling article about how millennials are having difficulties securing employment due to our own immaturity. Of course, the job market is far from perfect, but employers are reporting that they refuse to hire recent college graduates due to their lack of professionalism.

I am fortunate enough to have went to a university in which professionalism was integral to our course of study. We were required to take a 1 credit class that taught us how to write resumes, dress for an interview, etcetcetc. I took my education for granted. I found that 1 credit class a futile exercise in common sense. However, it’s clear that such a course is actually valuable, and not the complete waste of time that I thought it was.

Hiring managers reported that a number of millennials showed up to job interviews in casual clothing, used unprofessional email language…

View original 1,006 more words

Book review: Happiness like water

Happiness like WaterChinelo Okparanta

As promised here are my thoughts on this book.

      • For some reason, it is ridiculously priced at Exclusive Books and that’s if you can get it. I ended up getting it from Amazon at half price.
      • A part of me wanted not to compare her to that other famous Nigerian Writer and I tried most of the time.
      • The stories are divided into two parts – stories in the first half are based in Nigeria and the latter in America.
      • The predominant themes to her stories are religion, migration or identity, family dynamics and unexpectedly lesbianism, which begs the question, how many lesbians are there in Nigeria? (This scares me because of the traffic that will be lead to this blog ala this.) But in light of the recent anti-homosexuality bills in Nigeria and Uganda, it does raise the question of how difficult it is to be gay/lesbian in Africa. Culture notwithstanding.
      • She writes very simply but poignantly. A lot of the time, I had such strong feelings after most stories. Which to me is not necessarily a bad thing because I have to react to my stories to truly enjoy them otherwise it’s just not worth it.
      • I loved “On Ohaeto Street” because the description of where they lived reminded me so much of the estate I grew up in back in Nairobi. Very beautiful intro to the book. As with any short story, I was left wondering whether they got back together again?
      • The second story very touching as the wife had to go through the VERY public and then an equally private shame. Interesting also that it had to be the wife with a problem conceiving and not the guy. Like no one ever considered it could be him.
      • I also loved “America”. Quite a lot. I felt of all of them, this had the most potential to be drawn out further but maybe if it was, it wouldn’t have that same feel to it. Possibly. But reading this story, I did ponder on the issue of brain drain and how it was/is to some extent today that you haven’t quite made it in Africauntil you have gone overseas and studied/lived/worked. You can be great BUT and that’s a huge BUT.
      • As an eternal foreigner “Shelter” made me so sad. To be in a bad way and stuck in a foreign country without help or family. Worst nightmare.
      • Tumours and Butterflies” almost made me wail like a sick kid. I was probably quite emotional on the day I read it but it gutted me. Parts of you feel sorry for the mom that she is a battered lady, then you wanna feel sorry for the dad because he has Cancer and then you see him treat his daughter like that and you wanna get in there and beat him up. I thank God I am not a battered wife but her decision to side with her husband over her daughter I cannot even contemplate!
      • The title of the book comes from the story “Grace”. I felt like this story dragged on unnecessarily. However, is Happiness always fleeting … “maybe it is all about being on the verge of joy and similar small moments.” To me happiness is fleeting and joy is perpetual.

I loved this book, which is rare because I cannot be paid enough to read short stories. But this one, I would certainly give a proud 4.5 out of 5.

Happy reading!!

Story of the wedding … general advice

Following the first update, I would like to pop in with some general advice and then another update of where things currently stand.

  1. Pick vendors you like and whose style you innately like or admire. You have to click on some level.
  2. Take the time to put in the ground work and compare as many quotes as possible. See how the  prospective vendor deals with all the different questions you would have, do they respond readily and to all the questions you raised.
  3. Agree as a couple what’s the most important thing to the two of you and make sure to remember that always and ensure it shows through in your planning.
  4. Consult with the family but learn to place the boundaries on where their input is valid and where it is not. Support each other – publicly and privately.
  5. Take the time to enjoy the process of planning and this special season of your life. Work also on developing other segments of your relationship too.
  6. Schedule some pre-marital counselling with an impartial and trained third-party.
  7. Consult the budget and amend it as necessary.
  8. Include your fiancé as much as you can and let him really own a few things on the to-do list.
  9. In-laws.
  10. Remember it’s just one day. It will all pass away – also ask for a lot of help, people are generally happy and willing to offer some support.

What advice did you live by during your own planning? Or what did you wish you knew then?

 

Some links to start off the weekend

When I am a lazy blogger, I always come back with a myriad of links for people to enjoy. This time is no different either, so enjoy!!

  • My new love, mussels and here is a recipe to try it out.
  • This article made me wish I had a job that allowed for more flexi working in terms of location.
  • If/When I get a daughter, I pray I teach her some of these lessons, particularly 6,12, 15,24, 25, 31 combined with 32, 36, 37, 71, 87, 91, 92 and 93.
  • Heard a week where I just wanted to listen some inspiring TEDTalks and this blog post nicely summarises some of the Top 20 talks of the last year.
  • Since I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, this critic of the 10,000 hour rule sounds fitting.
  • Brilliant article on how to get the most from your employees while giving them the opportunity or the necessary leg up. 
  • I definitely feel upset by the President saying, in response to Nkandla-gate, that I did not ask for the R250m renovations on my house. EPIC FAIL!!!
  • I am totally overdosing on food porn and these are some of my best blogs at the moment: Naturally Ella, Food52, Serious Eats, Love and Lemons and Smitten Kitchen.
  • As I am currently looking at stationery, it was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon Google Fonts.

Hope I have made sufficient amends for my absence on the posting front.

 

In the kitchen lately …

One of the things I wanted to do before I turn 30 was to get a few dessert dishes that I include to my repertoire of dishes.

Poached pear (with a dollop of ice cream – NOT home made :( )

Red wine poached pears

Made using this recipe. As I don’t like mine too sweet, I always adjust the amount of sugar.

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Sweet potato casserole

Made using this recipe. Again, I also reduce the amount of sugar in both recipes.

Enjoy!!

Throwback Music: Kenyan style

Loved this song and then in 2011, rediscovered this song while on a trip with friends!

Gidi Gidi Maji Atoti

E-Sir Kamata (Saw on Facebook that yesterday was 11 years since he died)

 

 

 

A beautiful end to a difficult week

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King Ta! and her female band ..

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Simphiwe Dana in her regal splendour :)

Simphiwe and Thandiswa lent their voices to demonstrate against the human rights injustices being leveled against the Palestinians in the Middle East. This was a free concert and at some point I knew I was too old to be pushing and shoving with Students (concert was held at the Great Hall at the Wits University) – so fun but so unnecessary!!

My to-read book list looks like ..

I have so many books on my to-read/ currently being read list!

  1. Happiness like Water - Chinelo Okparanta. This is our read for  this months book club. For short stories, I am quite enjoying them. Will do a review on it later.
  2. 491 Days: Prisoner number 1323/69 – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Motivated to read it after watching the Mandela movie last December. Just really want to make up my own mind about this lady.
  3. We need new names – NoViolet Bulawayo. This novel is doing so well all in the press and I honestly haven’t been this excited to read any book in a while.
  4. Winter of the World – Ken Follet. I won this on an on-line competition and I feared that I would forget the books’ plot after almost two years. FEAR. NOT!! It is just as riveting I hope he is writing book three already.
  5. And the mountains echoed – Khalid Hosseini. So last Wednesday I took some overdue books to the library and stumbled upon a book sale. Being unable to resist it, I looked through and found this book and since it was “quite new” I got it for R15. What a steal!!
  6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell. I really enjoy his reading although in other quarters he has been criticised for not being rigorous enough :(
  7. Salt, Sugar and Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us – Michael Moss. This book got me to reconsider my dislike for digging and reconsider starting my own garden and avoiding processed foods. Simply written and very educative, also very heavily reliant on research and other facts, which is a great read.
  8. The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver. Everytime I see this lady’s writing I want to shout, “Tata Jesus is bangala!” From her novel, The Poisonwood Bible.
  9. The Sculptor of Mapungubwe – Zakes Mda. I have grown to love and respect this guy and his writing so much. CANNOT wait to read his latest offering.
  10. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink. This was on Oprah’s list of books so I also wanted to check it out. I also wanna check out the movie thereafter and compare.

What are you reading now? Or do you plan to read?

PS: Mega shout out to Lupita Nyongo! Kenya Oyeeeee!!!

Story of the wedding …. The Venue

I have started to blog about the wedding preparations so many times and stopped because the process of it all is so exhausting, like even typing that sentence is enough of a killer.

In the last two weeks of Jan/early Feb we viewed a total of ten venues.

  1. Ingaadi - if I wanted to get married on the lawns, it would have been perfect. They don’t have a chapel!
  2. Chez Charlene – went to a wedding three years before and I wasn’t wowed – loved it so much this time round.  I loved the attention to detail and the finishing,the chapel and the grounds and the little ritual that the coordinator spoke about.But it did not have on-site accomodation :(
  3. Diamond 4 Venue - they had the best space for the bride to get married in and a beautiful reception venue. The chapel, just average. The outside area looks like a construction site and I felt that for how much I was paying, the outside should look good.
  4. Usambara – they had the best chapels of all the places I went to. Beautiful lawns and a place to have cocktails, BUT, the smaller venue was dark and the lady making the sell talked my year off, even I was exhausted!
  5. Everwood - have you ever felt nothing for a venue and then had to go through the motions of whatever you felt? This was that place – they call it country/rustic and in my head I kept thinking incomplete and underwhelmed.
  6. En-Gedi - I really loved this place. Loved the bridal suite, the chapel (before I saw the seats they use) and the grounds. I wasn’t sold on the reception venue though – it had these weird corners to take and it felt a bit dark. But I felt it could be redeemed.
  7. Oakfield - this was my number two venue by far. The venue had a horse and carriage, beautifully manicured lawns and grounds, they looked like THIS is what they do and it showed!!
  8. Tres Jolie - I initially really loved the venue because of the chapel. It totally rocked then we got to the venue and it looked so busy with so many little nooks and crannies and the venue just looked, OK at best.
  9. Hoyo Hoyo - So I thought Everwood underwhelmed me? Nah, not so for this place. I had no energy to even try or pretend to like the place. Thank God for the Mr who rose beautifully to the occasion and asked all that we needed to know. I definitely left the place knowing its a NO.
  10. Zulu Nyala - So beautiful place right in the heart of Joburg. I mean they even had a place with wild animals and stuff and the most beautiful lake and lighting fixtures in the chapel and reception. So beautiful white and red stuff all over. Loved it too.

Just before I went to view all these places, I read this article about questions to ask at your venue. A very nice read, basically, make sure to ask about:

  • Decoration that are allowed and what’s not. For example certain places won’t allow Chinese lanterns, or certain types of candles ..
  • How long have you got the venue for? How much does it cost after that stipulated time?
  • Number of stalls in the gents and ladies – nothing like having so many guests wait in the toilet because there is only one.
  • Might be obvious, but what is included in the venue hire and what is not, down to the number of drinks and the starter or not.
  • Does the venue have an allocated wedding coordinator or will you need to hire another?
  • Who are their approved vendors and what do they like about them?
  • Any discounts or variable costs that the venue can give that point or at a particular season?
  • Number of waiters and serving stations. Are the waiters included in the venue hire or are they an additional cost?

A big thing for us is the fact that the wedding will be in August and it might get cold, we wanted somewhere people could stay late at the wedding but be indoors. Particularly for the older folk.

We settled on Joburg because the next day we have a traditional ceremony at the Mr’s place in the East.

I wanted a beautiful chapel and the venue we selected definitely has. We also wanted a dance floor to boogie the evening away …

So what venue did we select? Number 2!! Close runner up was definitely Oakfield and at Number 3 was Zulu Nyala and En-Gedi.

What would you have selected? What questions did you ask your venue supplier?

On body hang-ups and insecurities

No one is perfect. Not a supermodel or that lady or gentleman next to you whose arms  or beautiful high cheekbones you wish you had. I suppose that’s why God made us, to appreciate the variety around. But generally, I think the following about people’s observable insecurities.

We all have that “thing” that makes us hang back and treat other peoples” body issue with some respect.
Some guys can laugh at theirs and they expect others to be able to. And thats not good or bad, it’s good to read your audience too and see where they fall on the like or hate their “thing”.
PS: This conversation was inspired by a thirty minute conversation with a friend with me threatening to pinch her cheeks for something she had said to me. Turns out she isn’t so big on people doing that ( my question though is, who would pinch a 26 year old’s cheeks? Why?) and we stumbled into those things we all don’t like and wanna avoid drawing attention to.

I suppose I am no different from all the other bloggers, huh?

If I did not primarily blog to make myself happy and to try and chronicle my thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes, it would get awful boring and lonesome. Must say there is nothing like spending time agonising over a post, mulling it over and then returning to it, editing until the final product is good and then hitting post only for no comment or interaction, and sometimes, even a “Like” would do.

So there, I said it, it would feel nice to have that public acknowledgement from time to time.

Must say though, the best feeling, more than a “Like” is notification of a subscriber and the ensuing debate in my head as to what in my writing must have pulled them in and for me to try and write better/ differently to draw in even more.

Or nothing like having a comment from a blog that I love and admire and it feels so good to have them come along here to my space and also comment.

I also do understand the people that read and move along, I do stalk other bloggers from the sidelines and comment in my head or feel with them when “real life” happens to them but never comment in person. I too “feel” as I’m sure all my loyal reader and subscribers do as well and for that I am grateful to keep doing this and keep sharing of myself.

Up to a challenge? Like a Woolies Challenge?

I wish I was being paid to promote this challenge below but it’s just something that is close to my heart – nutrition and particularly, what kids eat. Oh,  and I also love the brand!

Competition runs from 27 January to 16 February 2014.

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Enter the lunch box challenge by sending a photo of your healthy lunch box idea (contact details at the bottom of this post). To stand a chance to win, use at least 3 food items currently on WRewards and make sure you include all 6 food groups. Entrants stand to win weekly great prizes and an overall grand prize where five entrants stand to win R10,000 for their school fees and a further R10,000 for their school.

The 6 Food Groups to be included are: Protein, Starch carbohydrates, dairy, fruits and vegetables, fats and fluids

Competition summary

  • Name and Surname
  • Age (if you’re younger than 18 years of age)
  • Contact number
  • Woolworths or MySchool card number (if you’re younger than 18, please send us the card number of your parent or guardian).
  • Name of school (if you’re younger than 18 years of age)
  • A photograph of your healthy lunch box
  • Your signature lunch box name

Send pics via email to cs@myschool.co.za or lunchbox@woolworths.co.za or via post to Lunchbox Challenge, PO Box 3880, Cape Town, 8000

Good luck and remember you can enter as many times as you wish to before the 16th of February!!

What would I have? I thought I could do it off the top of my head but I might need additional time to figure this out!

Monday Link love

Anything you have read this week that tickled your fancy?

Nothing like a conversation on race to start your morning …

Please watch this video by Lupita (Nyongo).

All I want to talk about is the bit where she didn’t know she was Black until she moved to the United States, similar to my experience when I moved to South Africa.

In this week following the announcement that Dr. Mamphela Ramphele would be running as the Democratic Alliance (DA) Presidential candidate, there have been a few frank racial conversations doing the rounds (and some not so objective). Due to this country’s history, it does tend to take on a racial slant and this morning my colleagues and I spent some time considering how we move past that history to a non-racial, inclusive society. Now while I don’t know the answer two things did hit me, POOF!!

  1. Due to its’ terrorised past, South Africa needs many safe spaces for people to talk about the past, their current situation and be empowered to face their future. Until then, you find many people crippled by their past, their current stereotypes and too fearful of the future to participate fully in the society. You also do hear of denialism and white guilt because some White folk do also need that space to, frankly deal with the emotions that they might not want to or have never acknowledged to themselves.
  2. Conversations need to begin moving from black/white, them/us to better understanding that the value of people comes from that core thing inside them that makes them human. When we look at it at the racial level, we stick to single identifiers only and don’t consider the whole of what makes individuals people. An individual is made of a sum of parts and race or gender or interests make up the constituent parts and not the whole. For some its spirituality or religion that helps helps them transcend this and that’s important for us to consider – how do I get there? For me, it’s an understanding of the Creation story in Genesis – God made us all, male and female, in His image and likeness.

A bit simplistic, perhaps but what do you think?

Happy birthday to me

I got a diary that asked me to write a letter to myself on the 1st of January and read it at the end of the year. Well, as I am twenty five days too late. Happy 29th birthday and all the best for this year and always.

I wish for myself this year to keep my sanity and maintain all my close friendships at the same time. Regarding friendships, I wish to have few and dear friends that I can share with and be open to laughter, criticism and everything else in between.

I pray for financial stability. Boy how I do!! I am embarrassed to bring this up again, but I totally need a side-hustle because I really want to travel and I am willing to sacrifice something to do this. I want to use my skills set and the time in the evening I have to make this work. Definitely not those online data entry jobs, nah, something more legit and visible.

I want to work with women this year and empower them in a meaningful and tangible way. I want to grow closer in my walk with God and indeed, this is finally the year that I shall read through the book from Genesis – Revelation!

As usual I want to read great books, eat good food and have a merry old time.

Cheers to a great year and happy birthday to me …

Little thing Wednesday: Link love

Via

See below a list of stuff I have read and enjoyed this week

See why I love Ramsay? 

How to reduce staff turnover 

Cute-ish wedding pic

It’s obviously review time ..

South Africa 1 – Nigeria 3

Theme for the New Year

Last year I spent much of the year trusting and waiting for the Lord that it is only fitting for my verse this year to be a continuation of that and of the lessons picked or learnt.

Isaiah 43:19

 

  • This verse speaks to me because it urges me to forget the past things and look at the new things that God promises to do for me and mine.
  • While He will do that, I need to look out and be ready to receive and recognise it or it will pass me by and I will chalk it down to luck, goodwill or something I could have done.
  • Also, that the new stuff will be exceedingly abundantly above what I can imagine or think of.
  • The new and exciting thing are not limited to one area of my life only and will traverse every part of it. And I think its fitting for me in this year!!

So I am just going to hold on, learn, look and wait to receive.

What about you? Have you got a word, a theme verse or some guiding principle for this year?

Daily Prompt: Teachers’ Pet

This is a belated Daily Post from the 8th of January titled:

Jan 8

Teacher’s pet

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life,
either for the better or the worse. How is your life different
today because of him or her?

I encountered the teacher that had the most impact in my life in my first year at University. She taught me a course titled “Communication and Culture” over two semesters and her name was Rebecca Ng’ang’a. Not only did she teach the course content but she was inspirational as well and imparted various life lessons. As a first year course predominantly, and for many, our first time in University these lessons were important as University tends to come with a lot of freedom and spare time.

I remember about her course that we had to write a “Reflection”, an essay on some part of her class and we had to write a minimum of ten of each per semester. They could not be superficial as what she cared most about was how the course content was changing your world-view or previous perceptions of a particular topic. I recently came across some of them and it’s amazing how much I have grown up or how in some areas I have developed. Case in point was in the area of marriage, in my younger days I might have been a bit cynical and even dubious of the fact that people could commit to each other in that way. Obviously, that has changed.

I  also liked her approach to teaching because she taught us to really interact with the information imparted and to continually question our assumptions – something I don’t always do but I have recently been challenged to start doing once again.

On a less inspirational note, I did particularly like her because she was comfortable in her skin and would often poke fun at herself and make endearing self-deprecating comments of herself which made her human in my eyes unlike some of my earlier teachers that always felt the need to be super heroes. That and the fact that she took pains to dress up to class and would often colour coordinate her outfit, from the hat on her head to the little shoes on her feet and her bag. If it was a red day, she was dressed in red throughout and boy would she rock the monochromatic look!!

More importantly, she had a passion and a zeal for Christ and she often talked of her relationship with Christ and that inspired me to want to get to that point in my life and/or in my walk with Christ. And this is what I most fondly remember about Mrs. Ng’ang’a. My sister recently met her and I only wish I had gotten the chance to say to her how much she had inspired me all those years back and at that particular stage of my Christian life.