Monday, 6 August 2012

Being Human

So, over the weekend I managed to bash the fender and wing mirror of our car on a pillar, while reversing out of a parking bay - and my very first thought was 'Ohhhh, the Rooster is going to be SOOO angry with me'.

Coward that I am, I Whatsapp'ed him the bad news before actually arriving home, and his response was pretty much 'As long as you and Chicken little are fine, then that's all that matters and we deal with the rest later'. Needless to say, this was not the response I was expecting. When I got home he didn't even have a look at the car. I spent all evening in a state of nervous anticipation, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and it just didn't. Granted, when he did finally look at the car the next day he wasn't thrilled, but still not to the extent I was expecting. 

This got me thinking....was my fear all in my head? completely unfounded in reality? I felt like this was the fact I had to accept, that somehow I had turned my fairly mild-mannered man into some sort of monster in my head. Until this afternoon....

The Rooster and I had a very interesting conversation, in which he shared something he had been keeping from me - and why was he keeping things from me, you might ask? Because he was afraid I would be angry!  In fact, he told me the only reason he felt he could share was because I was kinda in the dog box over the car and in no position to get to upset about any misdemeanours on his part. 

Ridiculous! Here we both are, thinking that the other one expects some sort of other-worldly perfection from us, when really it's our own expectations of ourselves that has backed us into these corners. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that we are human, that we make mistakes, both intentional and accidental, and that's ok. Even if that reminder costs a few grand!

Today I am glad to be loved by, and be in love with, a human.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Product Review: Body Thrill's Face Butter

So, yesterday I gave you a brief introduction to Body Thrills, and I thought I would follow it up with a few short reviews of my favourite Body Thrills products.

First up, is the Chamomile, Lime and Almond Face Butter. Hear me when I say, THIS MOISTURISER IS AMAZING. It smells delicious, absorbs instantly, lasts forever and is perfect for sensitive skin. Both the Rooster and I love this product, and yes, my man is a metrosexual, thank you for asking.

My favourite thing about this moisturiser is the inclusion of almond oil. Almond oil is a lightweight oil, easily absorbed by your skin and, unlike synthetic moisturisers in most commercial face creams, it is more similar to the oils naturally produced by your skin. 

NOTE: If you're allergic to nuts, this is not for you, but don't worry, there are plently of other lovely products to choose from!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Body Thrills: 100% homegrown & handmade

I am a hippy.

I don't generally like labels, but this one is hard to get away from. I recycle, have a worm farm, gave birth at home, still breastfeed my 3 yr old, use a moon cup, no poo my hair and use bicarbonate of soda as deodorant. So, while I don't have dreads and I do wear shoes, I accept that I'm a hippy. However, that doesn't mean I have to be deprived!

I have written about Body Thrills before, and their products undoubtedly account for at least half of the bottles in my bathroom - the Rooster, Chicken Little and I are all huge fans! These products are all natural, preservative-free and locally hand-made. Not only that, but they have something for everyone - pregnant thrills, manly thrills, child-friendly thrills (Chicken Little loves these bath crystals) and lots and LOTS of womanly thrills!

This week Body Thrills is running some amazing winter specials (just in time for Father's Day ladies), so check it out - you will be glad you did!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A fishy experience

Ever since seeing that episode of Ugly Betty, where Wilhelmina gets a fish 'pedicure', I have wanted to try it. So I was pretty thrilled when my mum bought us a couple of groupons for a little fish therapy. 

We went to Le Fish Spa in Blouberg and I have to say, while the pedicure and fish therapy were great, the service was not. The spa was being used by a film crew, delaying our appointment by 45 minutes, for which the spa was not particularly apologetic! Also, as an aside - I am a busy working mom on a fairly tight budget, I don't often get to do pampering things, so when I do I want the full experience, so offer me a cup of tea, for crying in a bucket, or at least a glass of water! I hate looking forward to a spa experience, and then sitting there for an hour dehydrating. After all, isn't hydration the cardinal beauty rule? but I digress...

Back to the pedicure. It started with us putting our feet in a foot spa, after which our nails were filed and buffed and cuticles trimmed, followed by a foot scrub. I REALLY enjoyed the citrusy foot scrub, which both smelt and felt invigorating. Then it was into the fish tanks - eeek! Even though I was really keen to try this it still took me a couple of attempts to work up the courage to put my feet in. The tank had about 6 fish in it and they were pretty big! I'd say about 15 to 20 cm each - not exactly the little nibblers I had imagined. Once you get over the initial 'eek!' though, it's actually fine. Their little mouths feel like soft sandpaper suctions. The only time it borders on painful is if they nibble on your ankles or legs, which they do occasionally, but its not bad. Actually, worse is when they get the ticklish spots under your feet! Trying to sit still so they can do their job when your instictive reaction is to pull your foot away is actually quite challenging! So, after 20 minutes of fish time we dried off our feet and then had a short foot massage, about five minutes a foot. Again I REALLY enjoyed this part, but then my feet are very sensitive and I LOVE foot massages :)

Garra Rufa aka the Dr Fish

Overall, my verdict is that the experience was fun, but to get the most out of this therapy you probably have to do it at least bi-weekly, which can get pricey fast. I don't think I will bother to do it again, but if you get the chance to give it a try, then I say jump in with both feet :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wild Flour

As you may or may not know, I am fairly obsessed with baking, and my current focus is all about ridding our lives of processed food. This has been an exciting and fascinating journey thus far, including much discussion about goats...

...but more on that another time.

At first my quest, to produce better than I could buy, began with bread. I buy bread, so why not just make it myself? However, once you pull the thread it all begins to unravel, and then you start asking questions about what you are making it with...

Today lets talk about flour. White powdery stuff, simple right? actually not so....

I, like most people I imagine, have been in the habit of just buying which ever brand is cheapest. I was aware of a brand of flour produced by Eureka Mills, and I knew that it was stone ground (because it said so on the bag) but I actually had no real understanding of what that meant, or how significantly different the end product can be.

Allow me to break it down for you. Modern mills generally use a large number of steel rollers to grind their flour, this results in a huge amount of heat being generated. This heat basically destroys the beneficial enzymes within the wheat. Stone grinding flour is essentially the 'old-fashioned' way of doing it - with large stone grinders. However, fewer grinders made of stone, produce far less heat than many, made of steel. Thus, the protein in the wheat is not damaged before your body can use it, making this flour much better for you.

Modern flour processing also generally contains a bleaching step. While this has been purported to produce better baked goods, it is certainly not better for the health of your body! Happily, Eureka Mills does not bleach their flour and I, quite frankly, have never noticed a significant difference in my baked goods.

unbleached flour
Eureka Mills also source all of their wheat locally, with most being grown in the Southern Cape by farmers using sustainable farming practices. These include crop rotation with legumes, so that nitrogen fertilizers need to be used much less than they would on commercial wheat farms. Therefore, better soil = better wheat.

If you care about what you eat, and are going to go to the trouble of making baked goods yourself, then you are at liberty to control what you put in your food. As such, choosing good quality products makes the best sense, both in terms of your health and your purse! It is still cheaper to buy good quality flour and make your own bread, than to buy commercially-produced bread. And honestly, there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house.....

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Whenever God Closes a Door.....

Remember the scene from The Sound of Music where the reverend mother tells Maria that 'Whenever God closes a door, He opens a window."? Yes, it has become quite the cliche, but as is so often the case with cliches, it is also true.

Well, recently my favourite blog, Bonzai Aphrodite, came to an end. I know at this point you must be thinking that invoking cliches, God and The Sound of Music is a bit extreme if all I'm going to talk about is a blog....but oh what a blog it was! Is, actually, since the remarkable woman behind it has left it up as is, which is great because I constantly refer back to it. But I digress...

Anyway, when I read the farewell post I was literally in tears at my computer, I felt like I was loosing a best friend (don't judge me, good blogs can be like that!). I was bleak for days afterwards......

But now, a window has been opened (no internet related pun intended)

Wow! what an amazing blog about whole foods, prepared in interesting, mindful ways. For the last year and half I have been really focused on diet with regards to weight loss. Now, as that phase (slowly) draws to a close, I am becoming really interested in nutrition, as opposed to just calories. What I love about the way the recipes are presented, is that Sarah (the author of the blog) introduces each of the major ingredients to you, almost like friends at a cocktail party, with interesting and complimentary details.

"Hi Natashia, have you met Amaranth? Amaranth is is often lumped into the “grains” category, but it is in fact the seed of a cereal-like herb. The Aztecs greatly valued amaranth, and used it not only as a dietary staple, but also in their worship rituals." - love it :)

Also, her recipes are INTERESTING.

White Velvet Soup - hello delicious!
Parsley Root Fries with Roasted Tomato Sauce - a revelation  
 Black bean chocolate chili cherry cookies - I cannot wait to make these 

I feel revived, refreshed and inspired when I read this blog (like I did with Bonzai), and I think that these are the true marks of a great blog. I hope that one day too, this may become a great blog, but for now, go check out My New Roots - you will be glad you did :)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

made of words

Today, as part of our annual training at the UCT Writing Center, I did a free-writing exercise that lead me to a surprising revelation about myself.

The theme of the free-write was our earliest memory of writing, and this is what I wrote:

The first time I ever remember writing was when I was in sub A. We were living on a small-holding at the time, and I don't know if that influenced my choice of subject, but I was writing about cows. Actually we didn't have any cows on the farm and perhaps we had to choose a magazine article or picture, and I chose pictures of cows? I'm not sure, anyway it was on a small page, an A5 and on the top of the page I stuck a cut out colour picture of a friesland cow and at the bottom a picture of a jersey cow. My text was in the middle and consisted of just 2 or 3 sentences. I said something about how jersey cows produces thick creamy milk. I must have paraphrased the text from the article in the magazine. Thinking back I suppose my mother must have helped me, or at least read the article to me.The pictures were stuck down with cellotape. I still have this 'first writing assignment' somewhere. I remember my teacher, Mrs I have forgotten her name suddenly, was really pleased with it. I remember a great sense of pride over this project.

And then I jotted down a few more thoughts that came to me while we were discussing the exercise after we had finished.

Tartan book and ABC book - very excited about writing. The only other thing I remember academically was joining the WWW society.
annie is an apple
my dad - creative writing stories

What I realised while writing this, and through our discussion afterwards, was that even though now I'm a scientist, ALL my early academic memories revolve around literacy. This surprised me because I have a great memory, but honestly I don't remember learning anything in school besides reading and writing until about the age of ten or eleven. This seems to suggest how powerful the written word was during my formative years, and why I keep finding myself being drawn back to writing over and over again, in increasingly meaningful ways. First recreationally, then competitively, and now in a more professional capacity at the Writing Centre. Even this blog, the point really was to give myself another place to write, to experiment with different genres. 

I remember while doing English A-levels that my teacher, who generally didn't like me and knew I was planning on pursuing a career in science, told me that writing would become a late-onset career for me. Now, more and more, I'm wondering if she will be right?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Getting out 'enough'

The other day I was accused of not getting out enough, while out enjoying a beautiful lunch at DeliCATessen - the irony was not lost on me. Yet, at the time, I really couldn't think of a good way to respond to this, except to say 'Of course I do!', shrug it off and change the subject. However, after the perspective of a good nights sleep and a little mental percolation, I find myself becoming increasingly indignant at this accusation, in fact I'm actually rather cross about it.

The accusation came from someone only 3 years my junior, a mother like myself. Yet here she is still measuring the quality of my life, and probably her own, based on how many nights out she has sans child. Really? REALLY? When are we going to grow up?

The more I think about it, the more I realise that my life is so full of so many more enriching and wonderful things (and I am NOT simply referring to my child) that a night out in a club kind of pales in comparison. I went out plenty before I had a child, most of the time I was out more than I was in. I loved it, and missed it for a long time after it stopped being a realistic pursuit. However, I also know that at that time, in comparison to now, my life was pretty empty - I studied and I socialised, prefect when your 25, less than fulfilling in your 30's. Now I grow vegetables, I belong to a book club, I belly dance, I still study full time, I have a part-time job, I am involved with organisations that I am passionate about such as Le Leche League and the Community Exchange System , I have started a small market-based business with a friend and obviously still spend as much time as I can with my family and friends - I'm a busy girl, and I get out plenty! Sure, the hours between 9pm and midnight are no longer the most happening (thank God!), but from 6:30am to 9pm I'm your girl!

Now, if you will excuse me I have to get ready, I'm off to a club tonight.