Life, Love, and Passports

Archive for April, 2013

Every bit helps

There are many good causes out there. Tonight I was fortunate enough to be part of  the live recording of this track of which the proceeds will go to a worthy cause. We can all make a difference!

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German engineering

It seems like a lifetime ago that I’ve had anything to say about the beautiful game that is football. The last 24hrs have provided some interesting displays of skill, determination and of course the belief that nothing is impossible if you believe.
The sizzling Spanish have been put in their place by two very impressive German teams. Nice to see a shift in the leaders of the pack. No doubt the English are dreaming of their opportunity to turn European football on its head by taking on the might of Europe. Honestly, I don’t think that’s going to happen in my lifetime but then again nothing is impossible!

Social networks are abuzz with plans of how the English can up their game by working on development of young talent. Personally, I don’t think there’s a lack of development but rather a lack of integration into the premier league. The English premier league is filled to breaking point with foreign players who are making it the best league in the world. So it should come as no surprise when the English fail to achieve in major competitions because their team mates now become the opposition.

Unless Real Madrid and Barcelona come up with the ultimate comeback I think it pretty much looks like an all German final at Wembley. How exciting is that? Come on Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund you can do it!


What’s for dinner chef?

Once I’ve managed to drag my sorry self to the kitchen to prepare supper I can count on my girls following me to ask what’s on the menu. It gets a laugh from me every time because the tone of their little voices changes to sound like that of masterchef judges. How will you be preparing that chef? What will you be serving that with chef? Finally, they wish me good luck.

I can’t blame them for developing this quizzing attitude when it comes to meal time. After all they’ve been subjected to watching the British, South African, New Zealand, Australian and even the Indian versions of masterchef. Though I must admit the Indian version was a bridge too far for my girls perhaps it was the subtitles that left them uninspired for me it was the lack of cooking and over dramatisation of every aspect.

The girls leave me to do my own thing occasionally popping in to ask “How’s it going chef? Think you going to manage to finish in time?” Of course Charis my 7year old is the ring leader. I must admit I find it very endearing. They love that I just play along. Wish I could say that their enthusiasm inspires me unfortunately unlike the baking bug cooking is just a task that never ends. Total drudgery!

After all the preparation I’m ready to be judged by little people. I suspect this is the part they enjoy the most. “Good effort chef!” I can’t help but feel that I have some potential food critics on my hands.


Crunch time

As a baking novice I’m usually quite dogmatic about preparing ingredients and meticulously measuring to within an inch of perfection. So tonight when I decided to treat my girls to some crunchies I took my eye off the ball just because it wasn’t a complicated recipe.
Oh no! Everything is now safely in my mixing bowl, ready for baking and I realise I’ve used baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda. Why are the tins so similar? I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Fortunately it wasn’t a complete disaster.

My verdict and after consultation with my junior bakers we decided that there was something missing, not surprisingly. I had a baking brainwave and decided to convert them to chocolate crunchies. Oh no! That would mean melting chocolate and I’ve not had much luck in that department. I’m happy to report that the chocolate business worked out perfectly and I’ve smothered it over the crunchies and can’t wait to munch on them.

Here’s my recipe. It’s quick and fuss free but not free from mistakes!
Crunchies
Ingredients
2 cups oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup coconut
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1Tsp boiling water
2Tsp syrup
125g margarine

Method
Melt margarine and syrup
Add bicarbonate of soda to boiling water then add to melted ingredients
Combine all dry ingredients
Mix syrup to dry ingredients
Bake at 180 until golden brown

Enjoy!


A special kind of mum

I think it’s official and I may never have to repeat this truth again. I am a documentary junkie not just any documentary but beautiful moving ones which make me look at my life differently and just be grateful for all that I have.

So once again I was moved by the account of two very different moms. One with a rare form of dwarfism and the other with no use of her legs and limited use of her arms. As I watched them doing the most basic chores for their children I realised that no matter what ability or disability we have we’re all just moms trying to do our best.

I think it would be naive to say that they’re not different because they are different they’re just not less. Those differences have drawn criticism and ridicule from various people both in their communities and even their loved ones. Our role as citizens of the world is to treat each other with respect and hopefully be treated the same.

The goal (hopefully!) of all moms is the same and that’s to raise well adapted children by doing the best we can. I watched as one of the moms struggled to cope not because of her disability but because of her unrealistic expectations and just wanting to get things right constantly. I suspect this wouldn’t have been the case if we didn’t live in a society where moms create this false ideal of how perfectly adapted their children are.

Whatever difficulty you’re facing today no matter how big or small share it with a realistic mom who understands that things are not always perfect. Then when you’re sailing smoothly try to remember how it felt when you were going through a struggle and show the same understanding to a mom facing a difficulty.


Terror and fear

I cannot describe how heavy my heart feels as I watch footage from the explosions at the Boston marathon. Having said that I cannot imagine the fear, panic and sheer terror of all those people in the street participating and spectating. When a act so callous takes place it’s very hard not to feel overcome by crippling fear.

There are now fears over the safety at the London marathon this weekend. While the event may pass without incident no doubt people will have much trepidation. It seems rather unfair that a few cowardly, faceless individuals should hold us hostage by their erratic acts of terror.

Tonight many questions remain unanswered and that in itself further fuels the fear so many feel.
Condolences go out to the ones who didn’t and couldn’t get away and a speedy recovery to those hospitalised.

So on this Patriots’ day my hope is that the perpetrators are found swiftly and dealt with in the most severe way. Nobody should feel they have the right to use such force on any members of society. Why shouldn’t we have the right to live without fear?


The panic room

Charis my 7yr old daughter did her grade 1 violin exam today. A large part of her Easter break was spent practising exam pieces, scales, sight reading and aural tests. There were days when she’d just huff and puff from sheer frustration and others when she’d just get on with her practice. We did make sure she got to do stuff she enjoys like craft, going to the movies, baking and attending a jazz session. I still think learning a musical instrument should be fun alas it appears it’s much more than that!

Last night she said she needed a early night so she could be fresh and prepared. She slept peacefully through the night while I was having restless dreams of waking up way too late for her to do the exam. Never mind the pressure of taking an exam I felt the pressure of being a mother and wanting her to do her best and letting her know it would be good enough. She described the practice room at her exam venue as a panic room because she felt scared. I do wish there was an easier way to grade the music. She’ll wait a while for her results but in the meantime we’ll all enjoy a break from the rigorous schedule.

Tonight I’m looking forward to a peaceful sleep filled with visions of daffodils!


My baking challenge revisited

We are all still enjoying our Easter holiday break. It seems weird considering that Easter has long gone. Being on holiday is a perfect opportunity to try out new treats to bake. That’s what I’ve been doing during our break the only thing I’ve been neglecting to do is to take pictures consistently of my handiwork.

As per usual cupcakes always feature after all they are the perfect bake for showcasing mini eggs in nests. I delighted my girls with a childhood favourite crunchies much like a flap jack just crunchier. Chocolate cake was next on the agenda and it was wonderful my girls are in charge of decorating and love overdoing the toppings whether it be sprinkles, icing, eggs or cute little sugar pieces. Step in double chocolate cherry muffins occasionally I bake something so sweet that even the children complain about the sugar content though they were more than happy to help preparing what seemed like mountains of chocolate pieces. My final bake was a Victoria sponge cake and though I was initially disappointed with its appearance once it was stacked it looked presentable and tasted moreish. So far the bakes have been successful and my motivation increases with every success!

I’ve not built up the courage to attempt bread…yet! The reason for this is partly because all of my recipes start with words like ‘this easy, no fuss, family favourite’ and that’s how I’ve been choosing my baking repertoire. It is a bit safe but I’m not a massive risk taker not yet anyway.


‘He wanted to be a hero’

Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead have been found guilty of manslaughter following the death of their six children after they started a house fire and the children were overcome by smoke while they slept. I must admit I’m still trying to get my head around such an evil act. It seems it was done as a ploy to blame an ex lover who had dared to walk away with her five children from a very unnatural family set up which saw him sharing the house with his wife and his lover along with their eleven children. He planned to rescue the children and be hailed a hero then be granted custody of the other five. Sadly, that is not what happened.

I’ve long grappled with this very spiteful idea of parents who claim to love their children and then put them in harms way in an attempt to teach somebody a lesson. It is impossible to be a good parent and be selfish. Parenthood requires selflessness. As reports were made of each court appearance it became quite apparent that these parents thought only of themselves. That attitude was a recipe for disaster.

As they await sentencing along with their accomplice Paul Mosley I can’t help but feel absolute pity for these six children who lost their lives in a fatal plot which went totally wrong. Phil has been portrayed as a violent, selfish, lazy, layabout who had as many children as possible to live a comfortable life on benefits. At this point in time and following the tragic loss of innocent lives all I’d like to see is the longest prison sentence to ensure these lives were not cut short in vain.

Rest in peace Duwayne, Jade, John, Jessie, Jayden and Jack