Monday, 23 July 2018

How to get rid of the winter blues - Nestle scalloped potatoes

Nestlé Winter Warming package
The winter has us slumped and hibernating. I definitely suffer from the winter blues. I know there's things I should be doing better. But all I can do is sit under a blanket or hide under my covers. I am in awe of people continuing with their exercise programs and eating salad. Who are you? How do you do it?

Nestlé sent us the Winter Warming package, with tips on how to shake the winter blues. All the things that helps cope with the cold of the winter. Thanks, Nestlé! From now on I will make sure to have the Nestlé Evaporated Milk on my monthly shopping list. It gives so much flavour to a dish.

Nestlé's 7 point plan to shake off the winter blues

Naazneen Sali-Ameen, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager at Nestlé South Africa, has drawn up the following great solutions to help keep you on track when it comes to winter eating and exercise habits. (By now we know these things. Or we should.) But it helps to hear it again.

1.    Create simple ‘one pot’ meals. 

Remember that for each main meal you should aim to have ½ plate veg, ¼ plate protein and ¼ plate starch/grains.

A recipe for Indian Butter Chicken, using the Nestlé Ideal Evaporated Milk, was included. As I am vegetarian, and it is Meatless Monday, I searched for a vegetarian meal. I used our Nestlé Evaporated Milk with a Scalloped Potato Dish. Great for winter warmth. See recipe below.

2.    Don’t overindulge. 

The cold weather often brings out the craving for comforting, starchy foods. You can still enjoy these nutritious dishes by being mindful of your eating habits and appropriate serving sizes. Eat slowly and make mealtimes an occasion, eating in front of a TV or while sitting in front of your computer can easily distract you and cause you to overeat.

3.    Create alternatives to your favourite take-outs. 

The budget also does not allow take-outs, so we dó make our own. Vegetarian hamburgers with mushrooms, and home-made burger patties from mince is much more tasty in any case. Pizza making at home is also a great idea.

4.    Keep hydrated. 

We just had an issue with Miss Fine who does not drink enough fluids in winter. We were at the doctor on Friday with severe stomach ache which turned out to be constipation. Now we have to remind her to keep up the fluids. Herbal teas, Milo or Hot Chocolate and fresh juices helps. A lot!

5.    Enjoy the outdoors. 

The days are very mild here in winter. We should be out more to enjoy the sunshine, get more Vitamin D, and be more active.

6.    Move more to keep warm. 

Move what makes you happy! Miss Fine loves to play with a ball. We also love walking the dog. (We should just do it more often!)

Recipe to follow:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Oscar Gutierrez - ICONIC #MandelaDay

Upstairs @ Bamboo exterior
Upstairs @ Bamboo - ICONIC exhibition
Oscar Gutierrez, a southern African photographer, hold his ICONIC exhibition recently. It was supposed to run until today to coincide with the birthday month of Nelson Mandela. (Not sure if it did?) Gutierrez, who has captured the history and the moments of this region, has delved into his extensive archives. I am definitely not qualified to share photos of photos, but for an archivist like me, it is solid gold to see the legacy of history and icons captured here.

It's Nelson Mandela Day today. We are all trying to live his legacy by donating 67 minutes of our time to a good deed. The 67 minutes is the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent for the greater good. 27 of those years were spent in jail.

George Bizos was the keynote speaker at the opening reception of ICONIC. 5% of the proceeds are donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Oscar Gutierrez and George Bizos, with nelson Mandela portrait in back
Oscar Gutierrez on the left with George Bizos in the middle 

The following is the Artist Statement: Oscar Gutierrez:

As a photographer, I live the tension of capturing movement and depth with an image, while working with the limitations of the situation I reflect. For example, flash was not possible when photographic Mandela. I do appreciate portraits, but I generally want to bring in context. I want to give viewers a glimpse into a time and place; show them the moment, but also the pasts and futures of my subjects. Capturing these iconic moments was a way of keeping alive the memories of those leaders who are no longer with us. Madiba's centenary month seemed to be the right time to recollect those moments. 

Photographs of Mandela - ICONIC exhibit at Upstairs @ Bamboo
ICONIC exhibit at Upstairs @ Bamboo

Oscar Gutierrez photograph of Nelson Mandela with reflections of people
A true ICON - Nelson Mandela

George Bizos at ICONIC exhibition
Bridget van Oerle walking with George Bizos at ICONIC
 Mokgadi Molebatsi curated the ICONIC exhibition.
George Bizos with Mokgadi Molebatsi
George Bizos with Mokgadi Molebatsi at ICONIC (sorry, bad light)
It was truly an experience to see this photographic exhibition. Upstairs @ Bamboo is a great space to give a magical reflection to the Icon. I understand that some of these photos will be used in a book being written by George Bizos.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the opening, but not asked/paid to write this.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Kitchen Tea at Urban Angel Café

Kitchen Tea celebrations at Urban Angel Café
Kitchen Tea - Urban Angel Café
The Eldest who is getting married in less than a month, had her Kitchen Tea this past weekend. She was able to guess that her Kitchen Tea would be on the same day her soon-to-be-husband had his bachelors'. It wasn't a surprise, but it also was. She had great bridesmaids who sorted everything, and made the day very special to her. The future mother-in-law also had a hand. She is very lucky to have these people in her life. She enjoyed it so much, and she got everything she wants for her future home. A Mr Price gift registry worked it's charm.

Urban Angel Café is a firm favourite with their quality food, good vibes and great service. That was a great choice for the venue. Their cake was divine! See below! Everybody also ordered their own food, from breakfasts to sandwiches to nachos. We all loved it!

Here's some random photos from the day.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Our Top 3 Toys Now - Prima Top Toys Season 2018 range

Prima Top Toys poster
We have rounded the corner of 2018, and the Festive Season is upon us! Yes, really! (It's exciting) Prima Toys had their best toys reveal last week already. It's great to know what's happening in 2018, and what toys are going to be hits this year. It's not only nostalgia toys for everybody, but also collectibles that are super cute. The toys that incorporate robotics and technology are also big hits, and we are sure it is only going to increase in popularity.

The theme for 2018 is Let them explore. Children should be encouraged to enjoy and explore their world through play. To let them discover new things, new play patterns, new technology and a new ways of looking at life through play. Play has become a super important buzz word in parenting and education. Children should get MORE of it!
The three Prima Top Toys that immediately caught our attention this year...

Friday, 13 July 2018

Plans for the weekend in a cold Jozi

Coffee with a view
This is a short update post. Life is changing so fast, and I want to come back here to see how it was ... The Eldest is busy starting to move her things. She is still most of the times at home. The wedding is less than a month away. We are excited!

Last night we were following her on our phones via Live location while she came back from the airport at 11 pm. With an Uber, and we had the Uber guy's name stored as well. That's cool, but also seriously testing our nerves. If the Uber stands still for too long, or the signal picks her up in a random suburb next to the highway.... We begin to worry!!! (I'm sure we will never stop worrying.) Technology makes it easy, but also makes us worry about every little detail. Because, if there really happens something to her, how will we find her when we have to start driving? Screen print the last place on the map? Race to there? Just some of the thoughts that goes through my head at 11 to 11:30pm at night. Luckily she was safe, and her Uber driver delivered her safe and on time.

There's a Kitchen Tea and a Bachelorette's Party coming up this weekend. The Eldest knows about it, but no details. She's got great bridesmaids that sorted everything. Will be reporting back about the Kitchen Tea. We are looking forward to it. I am sure after this the wedding vibes will kick in seriously.

Miss Fine has been on holiday forever. She has been at work with me for three days, and then at Vacation School for two days this week. It has been challenging, but better than when she was younger. I love the fact that she can keep herself busy for longer. She used up my data in record time at the office, but she was reading as well, and enjoyed going to the library here at work. She exchanged a book that she was not feeling for another book the next day. She also helped me with my work, writing on DVD's and pulling up a roster of my daily work which I now have on my door. That was so sweet of her. (No sarcasm here.) Thanks, Miss Fine. I enjoyed our conversations while you kept me company. We don't always get so much time together.

Tonight we will be "chilling" (it's cold here in Johannesburg) at home, and hopefully the weekend will not go by in a blink.

What's your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

READ Word Warrior Competition - Keep them busy

Word Warrior Competition 2018 logo
Word Warrior Competition logo
The school holidays are long, especially if it's only the kids who are on holiday. The working mom guilt is more pronounced during this time. What do we do with her, and how do we keep her busy? Miss Fine has been in my office at work for threeeeeee days now. That's why I get excited when I get an email in my inbox about READ Educational Trust's Word Warrior Competition. Something to do that's creative, but also has a prize to aspire to. Miss Fine loves writing, and she loves winning something.

READ Educational Trust logo
READ Education Trust
The READ Educational Trust is a platform used to promote literacy, reading and the art of creative writing among young South Africans.

How does the competition work?

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

School holiday coding camps - Think Ahead

FutureSpace tech camp participants
Successful FutureSpace participants #SwiftWeek
A great way to keep the children busy during the holidays. Take them to coding camps at  iStore at 1 Sandton Drive. Miss Fine went on her first #GirlCodeFriday coding camp on Friday. She enjoyed it so much, and wants to go to all the days of tech camps.

Swift is Apple's coding language, which is used in over 250 000 apps on the App store. There are FutureSpace experiences for Grade 1-3, Grade 4-7 and Grade 8-10. The coding workshops are from 9:00-13:00 each day. We have a distance and working parents issue, or else we would have been there every day. Next holiday I will definitely make better plans to get her there.

The #GirlCodeFriday course that Miss attended and the next dates it is going to be available:
#GirlCodeFriday:   13 July | 17 August  |  31 August

Beginner - Learn to code your own game
Discover what coding is and how you can bring your ideas to life with simple coding apps and robotic toys.  Code your own game in Hopscotch and explore how code can control robots.
This workshop repeats Cost: R350

Children with painted hands
Sphero painted hands (Nick's photo)

Girl showing painted Spheros
The Spheros that was used at GirlCodeFriday

Children at FutureSpace Coding class, with Nick (facilitator)  in background

Girls in workshop

Girl with certificate #GirlCodeFriday
Miss Fine with her certificate of #GirlCodeFriday
More information here about upcoming FutureSpace Workshops:

Think Ahead Events

Disclaimer: Miss Fine got a complimentary ticket to attend #GirlCodeFriday

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Hasbro introduces My Little Pony Equestria Dolls

We got a Sunset Shimmer, a My Little Pony Equestria Girls. She is sooo gourgeous! The MLP Sunset Shimmer is one of the transformations to teenage humans, walking the halls of Canterlot High. It is worth following the adventures of friends and seeing what the power of friendship does. 

My Little Pony Sunset Shimmer doll
Work buddy - MLP Sunset Shimmer
The My Little Pony Equestria Girls each have their own stylish look, colourful hair and sculpted outfits. They are fashionistas par excellence! Your daughters would love to follow their MLP fashion trends on Youtube.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls dolls
Equestria Girls

Friendship Day is coming up on 30 July. To celebrate Hasbro and Toys R Us are offering Johannesburg based pony fans an awesome opportunity to take your bestie on a magical day out for High Tea with the Equestria Girls Dolls.  If you buy any two My Little Pony Equestria Girls Dolls, until 23 July, from any Toys R Us South Africa in JHB, you and your bestie could experience a day out you’ll never forget. Hurry though, because invites are limited to 150 tickets.

Exclusive to JHB only – T&Cs apply. The ticket is for admission of 2 children who will need to be accompanied by one adult.

Follow @MyLittlePonySouthAfrica on Facebook for more details.

Disclaimer: We Miss Fine Mom got a MLP Sunset Shimmer.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Sprout Café gets a shout-out for health and great taste - Review

Exterior Sprout Café and Salad Bar
Sprout Café and Salad Bar
Sprout Café re-launched this past weekend. When I hear healthy and vegan, I usually don't need an extra prompt to get me there. It is very difficult to find restaurants that cater for vegetarians, and I love to try out interesting food. The whole family enjoyed our outing to Sprout in the Stoneridge Centre in Edenvale on Saturday. I grew up in the East Rand, and love seeing how my previous Valley is expanding. (How beautiful is Stoneridge Centre? You have to go!)

As I usually do a Wordless Wednesday, this is a perfect opportunity to share some of my photos of Saturday's outing.
Sprout Café customers seated outside under sun and ample shade
Sprout Café customers all soaked up the sun on Saturday
Sprout Café entrance at Stoneridge Centre
Sprout Café entrance with herbs

Monday, 2 July 2018

Products that deserve a mention for winter

 Revlon Colorstay Foundation, TheraNaka Eye Gel, Optiphi Facial Cleanser, Avon Nail Enamel Majestic Mauve and Matsimela Home Spa Baobab Seed Kalahari Sugar Scrub
Products that's great for winter
The products that I am loving right now that's great for Winter: Revlon Colorstay Foundation, TheraNaka Eye Gel, Optiphi Facial Cleanser, Avon Nail Enamel Majestic Mauve and Matsimela Home Spa Baobab Seed Kalahari Sugar Scrub.

As much as I hate winter, and the dryness that comes with it, I am enjoying the following five products at the moment. There is something about a good product which makes you feel extra special for the day. This is my favourites at the moment.

Five Products for Winter

1. Revlon Colorstay Foundation 24hrs

I bought this foundation a month ago, when my trusted brand was finished. I used a gift voucher from a friend, and it is just over 300 ZAR at Edgars. I must say that I am seriously considering staying with this one. It is exactly the colour and the finishing I need right now. It also covers the winter red (broken blood vessels, and winter flashes) on the cheeks. Loving this so much! (It hides many sins!)

2. TheraNaka Protective Eye Gel

This South African brand eye gel has been part of my skin routine since I got it in November last year. Sometimes I forget the eye gel, but I really can't anymore. This is such a soothing gel. Apparently it helps to prevent wrinkles whilst moisturizing the eye area with an advanced molecular film. I have been using it around my lip area as well.  It believe it helps with the lines. This 20 ml has been lasting forever, and I am using it royally.

3. Optiphi Facial Cleaner

I got this at a brand meet about three weeks back. This is a wonderful cleanser, make-up remover, pH balanced toner and mild exfoliator. It changed my beauty routine somewhat, as I only use this, leave it one for a few minutes while a brush my teeth, and wash it off again. It is soft and nourishing, while taking care of dead skin cells. I can also skip the toner part.  WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN. It is 4 products in one. 

4. Matsimela Home Spa Baobab Seed Kalahari Sugar Scrub

I haven't found a Matsimela product that I don't like. This natural oily sugar scrub is divine for winter skin. I was skeptical about using a scrub on my skin as it is so dry. But this a moisture bomb for the skin. I got it at a Matsimela Blogger Meet last week. I use it at night with my bath, and my body is wonderfully hydrated, even the next day. The smell is of course divine. This is such a pamper in winter. Now I also know that it is not only the smells that are divine, but that each product has unique actives that targets specific issues. Guess what is everybody getting for presents this winter? Because it is also very budget-friendly.

5. Avon True Colour Nailwear Pro+ Nail Enamel

As upcoming M.O.B. (mother of the bride) I am busy searching for the perfect nail enamel for the wedding. The Majestic Mauve colour of the Avon True Colour range seems to be THE one. I also love that I only had to put on one layer to have the desired effect. It's a stunning colour for winter, and makes my hands look BOSS. I buy monthly from an Avon representative, and there is always a special that's worth the while. (Check my Insta for a close-up of my nails.

What are the winter products that you love? Please share?

Disclaimer: I got the TheraNaka, Optiphi and Matsimela as blogging gifts. I am so glad I did, as I would not have known about it. I was not paid to write this.

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