Thursday, 3 December 2015

I Made Cake!

The gluten-free flour mix stuff.
A while ago, I bought some gluten-free flour mix, because it was cheapish and I planned to make pizza bases with it. I then promptly forgot about it, and it's been standing in my cupboard ever since.

Then, yesterday, Francois and I went over to Bergen (my grandparents' home) to meet Dad and Carol for a creative day of decorating stuff to do with the wedding (which is just over a month away now!), and while we were there, everybody had some cupcakes except for me. No, don't feel sorry for me! I've gotten very used to not having wheaty goodies, and I barely felt any cake-envy at all. I swear.

When we left, Carol gave me some of the leftover icing that she had with her, thinking that I could use it for something. Well, that reminded me of the flour sitting in my cupboard, and so today I Googled how to make sponge cake. And I didn't just Google it. I DID it.

I followed the recipe for Basic Sponge Cake from Huletts, and improvised a little bit because I didn't have white sugar, or enough butter (I halved the recipe below), or normal cake flour. Here's what I did:

Gluten-Free Sponge Cake

  • 125g Butter (Meant to be room temperature, but it's HOT today and room temperature meant melted butter in my case. Oops!)
  • 200g White Sugar (I didn't have white sugar, I only had brown. And I think my cake turned out alright, so it doesn't seem to matter TOO much.)
  • 5ml Vanilla Essence (1tsp)
  • 3 Extra Large Eggs (With my halved recipe, I used two average boring normal size eggs from Pick 'n Pay, and as I just mentioned, my cake seemed to work!)
  • 280g Flour (Huletts says cake flour, but I say gluten-free flour mix! I used this stuff from Health Connection. I think I bought it at Dischem.)
  • 15ml Baking Powder (1Tbs)
  • 3ml Salt (1/2tsp)
  • 150ml Milk (I just realised I made a hilarious mistake and only used 1Tbs of milk! THAT explains why it wasn't quite runny enough... And why it had difficulty rising. Haha! It's still yummy though.)
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 x 20 cm cake tins. (I had one square glass baking dish.)
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. 
  • Add the vanilla essence.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. 
  • Fold into the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk.
  • Spoon mixture into the prepared cake tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour and a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  • Leave in pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

After following those instructions (albeit hilariously incorrectly), I then quartered my cake to ice in three different ways. 

On one quarter, I poured some glaze icing (water, icing sugar and vanilla essence) that Carol had given to me. 

Voila! Vanilla sponge cake with vanilla icing!
On another quarter, I poured very thin orange glaze icing (Carol's glaze icing mixed with orange juice) which soaked into the cake - yummy!

Voila! Orange-soaked cake!
On the other two quarters, I smeared the delicious chocolate icing that Carol made. 

Voila! Chocolate-coated vanilla sponge cake!
Well. My goodness. How tasty all of this cake is. It may not be perfect, but I no longer have cake-envy! For that matter, I think Francois is envious of MY cake! :D 

There's only one problem... 

I haven't eaten doughy delights in so long, that I can hardly eat any before I feel overcome by rich, sweet, cakey goodness. I can't eat all of it while it's fresh. I'm going to have to put some of it into the fridge for later. Woe is me. :(

Anyway, have a lovely day, all!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Making Mango Smoothies!

As you may have read in my last post, I managed to melt my little blender recently. This made me very sad. My Grammy read the post, and offered to give me her big blender. Very sad turned to very glad, very quickly!

Francois and I picked it up yesterday, and I've already gotten very busy with it. I made strawberry ice-cream and chocolate ice-cream last night, and mango smoothies this morning!

We didn't have much mango juice left, so it was a gently flavoured smoothie.
What you see in the picture is everything I used for the yummy drinks.

  • One amazing blender 
  • Three frozen, chopped bananas 
  • That amount of mango juice 
  • A bit more than that amount of milk - maybe double the juice amount? 

I put it all in the blender, pulsed it a few times, and then blended on the gentler ridiculous speed setting. 

It churned out two very full glasses of very filling mango smoothie. 

A very big, very happy thank you to my Grammy. I'll post ice-cream pictures soon. :) 

By the way, for anybody interested in the latest Carrie Lion news, I've set up an account with Payhip and you can now buy the ebook through my blog

I'm waiting for printers to get back to me with a quote, and then I'll set up crowd-funding for getting started with actual printing of actual real-life copies of 'Carrie the Limping Lion'! Eep! :D 

I'm also offering everybody the opportunity to earn money by being an affiliate seller of my ebook. If you'd like to sign up, just click here

After I approve you, I'll send you a coupon for one free download of the book, so that you know exactly what you're promoting, and can write a pretty review or something. 

Well, that's all, folks! 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Everything is Breaking!

Three things are refusing to act as they should, at the moment. All of them make me sad. And all of them will cost / are costing me money.

Broken Thing #1: Smashwords 

Carrie the Limping Lion was meant to be released on Monday, and while you can now buy the ebook directly from Smashwords, Kobo has cancelled all of the pre-orders (NOOO!), and neither Kobo nor Barnes and Noble are selling it. Kobo still lists it as a pre-order; and I've just checked on B&N, and they've completely removed the listing, now. Aaaaaah! Time to look at a different distributor, methinks. (UPDATE: You can now buy 'Carrie the Limping Lion' through my blog, thanks to Payhip!) 

Broken Thing #2: My Piano :(

When I started playing a little while ago, Francois pointed out that the sound was wavering. It improved when we plugged an external amp in (or used headphones), so we assumed it was a finicky connection to the built-in speakers, and we set it up permanently with Francois' small amp.

But yesterday, while practising, it started wavering BADLY. And I could hear it through the headphones, too. And it isn't a gentle waver. It's very, very distracting. Which means getting somebody to try to fix it for me. Which costs money.

So much of sad and tears and NOOOOOOO! :(
I'd MUCH rather buy a new keyboard, with USB out, and new speakers that sound lovely on their own, and optional portability... Like this Yamaha (so pretty!!), or this one. But as you can see if you follow those links, they come with a bit of a price tag. Just thinking about it makes my chest hurt.

Broken Thing #3: The Blender 

I've been seeing this one coming. It's very, very hot today. Again. Candle-melting hot. So I decided to make ice-cold smoothies for breakfast. Now, as you might be able to imagine, the frozen bananas that I use to make the smoothies so cold are kind of hard... And today, my little hand-held blender just couldn't take it any more, and promptly melted.

Insert optional profanities here.
It's so disgustingly warm today, that I was more disappointed about the smoothies not being made properly, than I was about the broken blender! This is something that needs urgent replacement, because I won't be able to survive summer without those smoothies. I'll invest in a tougher machine this time.

Well, many visits to our cool shower are in order until we go shopping. At least that isn't broken! (I hope I didn't just jinx it.)

Monday, 2 November 2015

Dangerous Bargains

Important Notice:

Darn it! We're having technical difficulties getting Carrie the Limping Lion to release properly to the retailers. I've contacted Smashwords about the problem, and will let you all know when it's been fixed. (Kobo is canceling the pre-orders which SUCKS! I'll let you know when you can buy it again, and will organise coupons wherever it's necessary.) 

And now for today's blog post. 

Do you remember that post I wrote about making ice-cold smoothies because of how bloody HOT it was? Francois suggested I share this photo with you, to demonstrate just how hot it got:

Yeah. Now you understand. Those smoothies were entirely necessary for our survival. 

Anyway, here's what I really want to tell you about in this here post:

On Friday, Francois and I saw an advert for a marble chess set, in excellent condition, for R80. It was being sold at a garage sale, and we WANTED it. We were going through to his mom's house anyway, so we decided to stop at the sale on our way. 

Guess what? The people who advertised it couldn't find it. Sob. :( They didn't realise they'd already sold it, and apologized profusely. 

BUT, they did have some other really cool stuff, so we decided to look around anyway, and see if we wanted anything. 

And yes, we found some really cool stuff. Here's what I found:

Look at all of the pretty things!
I love garage sales for this reason, in particular: All of these pretty glass plates and bowls cost me R70. That's it. Score!! 

I also bought a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I last read a long time ago, and can barely remember now. Francois bought an old Canon film camera for R50, and an almost-new tripod for R30. He may or may not blog about that. He wanted to buy a battery for the camera, so we stopped at the next shop along the way, which happened to be a Checkers.

And THAT'S where we found THIS beauty! 

The price tag was R150. Francois and I looked at each other, and started walking away... And then walked back to the shelf. 

I said: "I think we have to have it. We have to have it right now." Francois grinned and picked one up. 

I think that's the first time we've both been as excited about buying a mostly decorative item together. 

Actually, it's the first time we've bought a mostly decorative item together, regardless of the mutual silly excitement. 

Isn't it lovely? Isn't it nice? 

We're planning to use it during our wedding, to serve the mead from! We'll stand a tall bottle of ice in the middle to keep the tasty beverage nice and cold. 

Anyway, after our fun shopping trip, we headed through to Glentana. We spent the night at Francois' mom's house, and after four hours of sleep (with Francois kicking me in those few short hours), we got up at three in the morning to head over to a mountain biking and trail running event. (Francois stayed home and played with his new tripod during the sunrise.) 

No, I didn't cycle or run. I did timekeeping and a little bit of MC'ing. And then I wrote a media release for the whole thing, which you can read on Trisport's website, if you like. 

Right! I was playing piano before I started writing this, and I don't think I played enough... Time to carry on practising. I might upload a recording of myself playing, if I get good enough! 


Friday, 30 October 2015

Make Your Own Ice Cap

So I completely stole this recipe from the internet in general. So many people have posted it. BUT. They all posted it as a recipe for Magic Shell. And as we all know, it's actually called Ice Cap.

Here's how it's done...

Make Your Own Ice Cap 

This recipe makes about 1 ¼ cups of Ice Cap. You can double it or triple it if you have a lot of kids... Or a sweet tooth.

  • ½ cup cocoa powder 
  • ½ cup coconut oil 
  • ¼ cup honey (or double if you like it very sweet. I don't.)

  1. Put a little bit of water in a small pot. 
  2. Put all of the ingredients into a small jug with a spout. 
  3. Put the jug in the pot. Voila! A double boiler that will be easy to pour out of later. 
  4. Put the pot on the heat. High, in case you were wondering. 
  5. Once it starts melting, stir continously until everything is nicely mixed together. 
  6. Once it's very smooth and super runny, turn the heat off. It should be ready before the water in the pot even starts boiling. If not, and the water starts simmering, turn the heat down. No need to get splashed with boiling water unnecessarily. 
  7. Pour the sauce out into a pretty bottle. 
A Pretty Bottle!
I used an old olive oil bottle. The little pouring thing in the top is really useful for carefully pouring runny chocolate sauce... 

Anyway, you can keep this in the cupboard for a while, or in the fridge for longer. Just heat it up over some warm water if it solidifies in the bottle. 

And I bet you can't guess what I tested mine on. (Because this is the first time I've made it, by the way. Hence the required testing.) 

No, that funny little brown thing isn't what you're sniggering about.
Yes, you figured it out! Half of a frozen banana! AND IT WORKED! :D 
And, better than that, it tasted good. The sauce is quite bitter on its own, but when it's covering a sweet, frozen banana, it tastes great. So I'm quite chuffed. 

Now go and try it yourself. It's much cheaper than buying the normal Ice Cap, and probably healthier, too, if you care about that. 

Goodnight! (Good morning?) 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Banana Smoothie Milkshakes and MUSIC!

Yesterday was hot. And I mean HOT. It was at least 32°c and I was suffering to the point of intense grumpiness. Before I thought of taking a cool shower outside (which fixed my mood problem), I decided to make frozen smoothies.

It was quick and easy to put them together, because clever girl that I am, I had already frozen a bunch of bananas a few days before.

Before I get to the recipe, here's some back-story about the 'nanas:

Francois and I have REALLY been enjoying banana smoothies for the last little while. So much so, that we keep running out of bananas. I remembered reading about how well bananas freeze, so when we went to the shop on Monday, I bought eleven kilograms of almost-ripe narnars. Yes. Eleven.

This is what I haven't dealt with yet.

When we got home, I chopped up all of the mostly ripe ones and popped them in the freezer. I've been chopping some every day, as they ripen. All of this chopping resulted in a very full container of banana bits.

I've used a lot already, this was full to the brim!

Today, I realised that there's no way that all of the banana will fit in the containers that I have, so I also froze a few whole bananas on a tray.

I'll probably dip those in chocolate and freeze them for lollipop-like treats.

Anyway, the chopped, frozen banana slices were used to make scrummy-liscious fruitshake smoothies!

  • 3 Chopped frozen bananas 
  • 4 tablespoons rolled oats 
  • 1 heaped tablespoon honey 
  • 3 big tablespoons plain yoghurt 
  • ½ cup milk 
  • 2 shakes of cinnamon 

  1. Put oats, cinnamon, milk and yoghurt into a blender. 
  2. Blend until the oats become fairly fine. This shouldn't take more than a few seconds. 
  3. Add the honey and blend again. 
  4. Add the banana bits, half a banana at a time, blending before adding more. If you have a powerful blender, you can just chuck it all in at once. 
  5. Blend until smooth. Add more milk if it's too thick for your taste. (I like it thick, I eat it with a spoon!) 
  6. Pour into glasses. This recipe is for two big smoothies, but you can adjust it quite easily to stretch it, if you like. 

I don't have a picture of them, but I'll try to remember to take one tomorrow when I make more. :P

In other news: I've started playing piano again!

I used to play when I was in primary school. That's a while ago, as I'm sure you can imagine, so my skills are rather lacking at the moment.

Francois brought my keyboard downstairs a few days ago after our landlord came to fetch his piano. Then Francois had a song stuck in his head from The Legend of Zelda (Saria's Song, to be specific) and he tried to work it out on the keyboard...

Monkey see, monkey do, and now I'm playing every day, working out tunes that play in my head, practicing scales and reminding myself of how to read sheet music.

It's bloody fun!

We've reorganized the furniture a bit so that I feel comfortable at my keyboard, and Francois has a better layout for playing games at his PC as a pleasant extra result.

This is my spot!

Now I don't play piano RIGHT next to the toilet! Yay!

And for any of you who may be interested to know, this is my keyboard:

It's a Technics KN 1200, just in case you can't read what's in the photo.

Anyway, that's it from me, for today.

Oh! I want to try to make banana ice-cream. But I need a stronger blender to do that. I think it'd be cool to make and sell dairy-free ice-cream to the locals.

Oh oh! And Carrie the Limping Lion gets released on Monday! How exciting! :D

Oh and one more thing. I've turned over a new leaf. My house is neat and tidy almost all the time, and I do dishes just about every day. It's pleasant to be home! Well. Downstairs, anyway. I still need to tackle upstairs...

Okay. Bye now!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Gluten-free Pizza!

I wanted to write a short post about this a while ago, and I completely forgot to do it. Last week (I think it was last week), Francois and I went to his mom's house to make pizza for supper. As you all know, I can't eat wheat. But I know a great wheat-full pizza base recipe, so I decided to try to adapt it.

The original recipe calls for a one-to-one ratio of self-raising flour and double thick plain yoghurt. You just mix it together and knead it until it's nice and puffy, adding lots of extra flour along the way. Then you roll it out super thin, add toppings and bake at a really high temperature. Tada!

Last time that we did it, they were super amazing and looked like this:

We also made an onion pizza.
This time, I did this:

  • 1/2 litre Double-thick Full-cream Plain Yogurt 
  • 1/2 litre Potato Flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder 
  • Fine coconut flour (not desiccated coconut - I can't remember how much. A cup or two? 
  1. Preheat your oven to 230°c. (or 250, whatever, really.) 
  2. Mix the yoghurt, potato flour and baking powder very well. 
  3. Knead it well while adding coconut flour as needed to dry it out, until you have a dough that resembles bread dough. Unfortunately, it won't spring back when you push it lightly with your finger, so don't knead it forever wondering when it'll happen. It won't. 
  4. Butter or spray a baking tray, and dust lightly with coconut flour. 
  5. Press the dough down onto the tray, making thin pizza bases. 
  6. Pop the plain base into the oven on a low shelf, and let it cook for about five minutes. 
  7. Pull it back out, cover with toppings, allow to cook for another ten minutes or longer... But keep an eye on things just in case it starts to burn. 
  8. You can grill it for a few minutes if you want crispy cheese. 
  9. Gently ease the crispy base off the tray with a butter knife. 
  10. Tada! 

Yes, it was actually tastier than the original recipe. Super crunchy, but not too tough or chewey. We loved them! And we had loads of toppings so we made a few variations... 

What class, what style... 

And the best thing? Unlike other gluten-free nonsense, potato flour is very affordable. It was R30 for the bag, and we made five 20cm bases and were too full to make more, so I still have some dough wrapped in cling wrap in the fridge.

I lied. The best thing was the cheese.

'S' is also for Stupid... And Success!

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been having some trouble getting the right image to display when I share a link on facebook.

As you read in the above image, and hopefully will see when this post is shared, I think I figured out how to fix it...

Doing code things. 'S' for Success! If anybody wants details, I'll be happy to share my method.

Okay. Goodnight, world!

Monday, 12 October 2015

'S' is for Silly

This morning after having tea, while Francois was designing a poster for his mum, I wandered out into the garden to enjoy the sunshine. That's when I noticed that these weed-like flowers were growing particularly abundantly on the lawn.

Very, very abundant flowers.
So ridiculously abundant!
As I stood there, staring at the many, many yellow flowers, I realized that I'd never made a daisy-chain before. Of course, these aren't daisies, but they were plentiful enough to fulfill the same purpose. So I went over to sit in the grass and I got to work.

Francois noticed that I'd been outside for quite a while, and peeked out at me twice, but didn't know what I was doing hunched over in the grass, until I excitedly came over to him, with a very silly smile on my face, and said: "Take a picture of me!" So he did.

First he took this one...
... And then this prettier one.

Plaiting flowers together is actually quite tricky. I had to be careful not to break the stems as I bent them, and they hurt my fingers every now and again because the stems are rather prickly, kind of thistle-ey. But it was worth it! Because pretty!

I posted those pictures up there on facebook, and Ben pointed out that they're dead. Cute, but dead. So when Francois and I decided to do a (very) short hike, I brought my death-chain with me. This is what they looked like before we left:

Look! They're mostly alive!
That's different to mostly dead, by the way.
They were starting to wilt, but still looked pretty. I wrapped them around my wrist, and we headed off in search of a waterfall. It wouldn't be a very difficult search, because we already knew exactly where to find the waterfall.

We crossed streams, and climbed hills, and strolled along pretty paths... And I did all of this with some flowery death around my wrist.

If you would direct your attention to the picture on the right, you'll notice the yellow wreath of death. It's small, I know... But that doesn't make it any less full of death.

During our easy search, I managed to slip on a wobbly rock while crossing the stream. My boot got all filled up with water, which I'm sure you all know isn't particularly pleasant.

Anyway, I'll wrap up this silly post with these three pictures:

We found the waterfall! So 'S' is for Success! 

Notice the much darker left boot...
'S' is for Soaked?

While sitting on a rock, looking at the waterfall and eating peanuts and raisins, my death wreath fell apart... So I decided to give it a water burial.

But these flowers don't sink, and they landed like this.
So 'S' is for Silly!

P. S. Francois took all of the photos that actually look decent. Thank you, Francois! 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

I want to throw a book launch party!

For Carrie Lion! (Not that I've written another book to have a party for... Yet.)

I've been thinking about having a book launch party on the day that 'Carrie the Limping Lion' is released, November 2nd. But I've never hosted that kind of party before. I have a few ideas though:

1. I could actually sell my book at the party, by selling bookmarks that give you 100% off through smashwords.

2. Since I want to start funding for printing at roughly the same time, I could have order forms available at the launch.

3. There could be an interview or Q&A session or something...

4. Snacks! Or cooldrinks. Or something.

5. Oh, and I'll do a reading, obviously.

What do you guys think?

It would also be nice to have the party somewhere that links in with the story, but I'm not sure about where I would want to have it... Maybe at a primary school, since it's a kids book? I'd appreciate any suggestions. :P

Help! I need more ideas!

Oh, and it'll be somewhere in Wilderness, George or Hoekwil, since that's where I live... So if you live around here, please come to my party and bring all of your friends! Thank you!

Friday, 18 September 2015

But you're so young!

I'm twenty four years old, and when I tell people that I have arthritis, the most common reaction is: "But you're so young! What?!" Then I go on to explain that I've had it ever since I can remember. I think a lot of people don't quite know how to process that information, because thinking about a six year old hobbling around like a granny isn't exactly a pleasant thought. Hell, it makes MY inside sad feelings squirm every time I think about it, and my inside sad feelings don't squirm very often.
A foundation that I just found out about!  
Anyway, the point of this post is to say, yes, kids can get arthritis, too... And it sucks. But it isn't the end of the world. Kids with arthritis can learn certain things a lot faster than other kids. When I was still very young, I learnt how to be patient, both with others and with myself. I learnt that it's important to push yourself to do things, especially when it's tough, but not to push yourself too hard, because that's just being mean to yourself.

Probably the most important thing that arthritis taught me, is that everybody has a struggle that you can't see from the outside. It may not be a physical struggle, but rather an emotional or mental one. A normal 'invisible' struggle that I have is one of laziness and procrastination. Other people also battle to overcome their flaws, other people also have days when they give in to them. That's human. And I got to learn that very early on.

I'm quite lucky, actually. I don't have bad arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is usually very mean to the people who have it, but mine, for some reason, decided to take a chill pill before I even hit puberty. It still roars its ugly head once in a while, and I get flares if I get stressed out, if I work on my feet for too long, or if it gets too cold. But generally, if I relax, so do my joints, which is really amazing.

Back to kids with arthritis. Once in a while, I remember what it was like to be kid-me. Yes, I was often very, very sore. But that wasn't all the time, and it wasn't all of me. I still had hobbies that I loved doing, friends who I laughed and played with, siblings who I got into trouble with, and all of that normal kid-stuff.

Okay,  this has gotten too long for a boring post that's all depressey and stuff, so I'm going to end it off by shamelessly promoting my book that's supposed to help people (read 'normal children') to understand kids like me. You know which book it is. It's the only book I've written. (In case you don't know, and this is the first post you've read on my blog and the first you've heard of my book, it's called 'Carrie the Limping Lion'.) So... Please like the facebook page and pre-order a copy at Kobo or Barnes and Noble. :P Thank you!

Okay bye now!
Have a really non-depressing day!

(UPDATE: You can now buy 'Carrie the Limping Lion' through my blog, thanks to Payhip!) 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Carrie the Limping Lion is available for pre-order!

Yes, you read that right! I'm so excited!

I've set the release date for Monday, November 2nd. I'm self-publishing through smashwords, and I've discounted my book during the pre-order period.

(UPDATE: You can now buy 'Carrie the Limping Lion' through my blog, thanks to Payhip!) 

Two months away from the finish line!

The discount means that you'll get $1 off my $3 book. That's 33.3 recurring percent off, how exciting! This discount will end on November 2nd, the date of release, so be sure to reserve your copy before then to take advantage of it. ;)

So far, you can pre-order Carrie the Limping Lion through Barnes and Noble and Kobo, and soon it will be in the Apple iBooks store, too!

How does pre-ordering work?

When you pre-order a copy of Carrie the Limping Lion, you are basically pledging to buy the book the moment that it's released. Your money won't leave your account until the release date (so if something terrible happens and I can't finish and upload the book, you won't be charged), but you'll be guaranteed the discounted price, and you'll be one of the first people in the world to read the finished book.

A bit about my book:

Aimed at children ages 3 to 8, Carrie the Limping Lion is a short children's poem about a lion cub who has chronic knee pain. I've also written an information section after the poem, explaining more about chronic pain and hidden illnesses in a kid-friendly way. While children with chronic pain will be able to relate to Carrie, the aim of the book is actually to educate 'normal' kids about the conditions. Hopefully, that will encourage acceptance and friendships, making the lives of the affected children a little happier.

Francois is busy beautifully illustrating each of the eight stanzas, and we'll be working on the cover soon.

If you'd like a sneak preview of some of the illustrations, Francois has uploaded a few unfinished versions to his Coroflot portfolio. And if you'd like to read the (probably) finished poem, I've got it right here on my blog. Just remember, you'll be looking at the process, not the finished book, which will be so much prettier.

Will it be available in print? 

Not yet. Once the ebook has been published, though, I plan to start a crowd funding campaign to make printing a possibility.

What are you waiting for? 

Help a sister out! Go on, pre-order a copy now. You know you wanna. ;)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

An Interesting Conversation with a Presumptuous Customer

For a long time now, I've known what I want to do with my life. It's not anything fancy, or different, or special. I know that I want to be a mom, and that's about it for now. That's kind of tricky, because I'm marrying an artist and can't just stay at home and look after children... I need to earn money. Anyway, the money-making aspect is not what I was going to talk about.

At work a few days ago, I was serving a friendly couple. They were easy customers, and I enjoyed serving them. However, while I was taking their money from them (with the card machine), the woman asked me what I do when I'm not waitressing. At first, I told her that I like to write, and that I spend time on that when I'm at home. But then I decided to tell her that, to be honest, I'd really like to be a stay at home mom. What followed was a very long, passionate rant about why having children would ruin my life.

This lady told me that having children would take away my control. I wouldn't be able to control the future anymore (as if I can control it now!). My life, as a young woman, would be ruined. Humanity is a disease, and furthering it is a bad idea. Bringing children into the world is a horrible plan, because they don't want to be here, and there's no future for them. And, she told me, sterilisation is an option. Because if you get sterilised, you can control your future. Hah!

After her husband managed to convince her to leave the poor waitress alone (after about five minutes of ranting about how the above mentioned waitress shouldn't have children), I walked away and laughed it off. I couldn't stop laughing, for a little while. The ridiculousness of how somebody could have the nerve to tell me how to live my life! I had a goofy grin on my face for a long time, accompanied by eyebrows that I couldn't force down into their natural position. But there's one problem...

It's bothering me.

I know that I want children. I'll be a good mom. I'm a good teacher, and patient, and have a lot of love waiting for a little person that I can give it to. But... Her rants have been sitting in the back of my mind for a while now, and it's difficult not to feel that somehow, having children is pointless. Not worth it. Or even a bad idea. It's difficult to laugh it off and not feel depressed about the thoughts that she's put into my head.

I suppose at the end of the day, I should pay more attention to what I noticed right when I first met her. She looks worn and hard at the same time. She looks sad, but she looks like she's denying it. This woman doesn't have children. She chose to sterilise herself and deny herself the opportunity to ever feel the love that a mother feels. When she meets somebody who's happy about the decision to have children, she probably feels envious about the opportunities that she pushed away. Maybe she isn't conscious about it, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's jealous of every mother, and of every mother-to-be, because she can never be one of those, ever again.

Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's what I'm going to choose to believe... Because I'm sick and tired of being affected by her bullshit attitude and presumptuous behaviour. It's time to feel good about myself again - to feel good about my decisions and my plans. And nobody else is going to dictate how I feel about my life for a long time to come.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

I miss pancakes.

Being unable to eat wheat is such a pain. What? I feel like pancakes? Google a wheat free pancake recipe, read comments praising said recipe, cook it up myself, watch it flop. Miserably. Add more egg. Flop. Add more almond flour. Flop. Throw it in a mug, add cocoa and more sugar, put it in the microwave and enjoy an adequate mug cake. Sigh.

The adequate mug cake.
Well, Francois ate the flops and mug cake alike, so there's that, at least! And because of that, there are no flop pictures, which I'm only mildly sorry about.

Anyway, something that I feel like writing about is my imminent wedding. For those of you who are still in the dark, we're planning to tie the knot on the 8th of January, which is our next anniversary. That way, we won't have any extra dates to remember. :P Francois and I are not hugely fond of extravagant celebrations and crowded gatherings, so we'll only be inviting the immediate family, for the most part. If you don't get an invitation, don't be offended... It's nothing personal. Well. Probably not, anyway. We just feel like keeping things small.

By the way, it feels very funny planning a wedding, when all I can think about is all of the "wedding things" that I don't want... Like fancy cutlery, and white tablecloths. But I'm sure we'll figure it all out in the nick of time. (And if anybody knows of a small area in a forest in Wilderness that would fit about twenty people, please tell me about it! A forest would be nice.)

This mug cake is very rich. (I've been slowly making my way through it while writing this.) Note to self: Almond flour in cookies gooood. Almond flour in pancakes baaaaad. Almond flour in mug cakes? Okay, but use less and mix with banana, next time.

Okay, bye for now! Sorry for the haphazard post. :P

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Daisy, Daisy, why do you cook weird food?

Well I certainly have been quiet for a very long time. And the best way to break the silence is with a lot of noise, right? With that in mind...

We're engaged!
(Cue hysterical high-pitched giggly voices, courtesy of my sister, mostly.)

Yup, Francois and I have decided to get married. We've been together for a long time (over three years) and don't plan on changing anything. So there's a (small, please, very small) wedding on the horizon!

Hey look, there's my fiancé in the background!

Soon, this finger will have a ring on it. As soon as we can afford to go and buy one, that is. Which should be fairly soon, because Francois is making a decent amount of money over the next few days. Good timing!

It looks REALLY weird.
But it's surprisingly tasty, I promise!
By the way, this is the food that I'm eating while typing this post. As Francois likes to say, [I] make weird food. It's the guts of four tomatoes (left over from this stuff that I made this morning... Well, I made something similar, anyway - there was cheese involved!), fried in some garlic, with soy sauce, mustard and pepper. Then I fried/poached/something'd two eggs in it and threw a bunch of cheese over the top and let it all cook and melt and stuff. It's very nice. But it sure is strange.

Anyway, I'm hoping to end this silence for a while. I'm going to be very busy soon, visiting family, hiking up the Drakensberg, studying two short courses that Grammy bought for me (which I'll finally be able to download!) and all sorts of things like that, but I'm going to make the time to write posts, because it's important and fun and it feels good.

Right, have a lovely Tuesday, everybody! I'm going to finish eating my weird food and then do the dishes before going to work.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Rambling about Beauty

Good morning, world! Or, by the time I upload this, good afternoon.

Looking in the mirror this morning, I noticed my eyebrows. They're not as attention-seeking as my great-grandfather's were, by a long shot, but I somehow managed to notice them anyway. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to my eyebrows, mostly because I don't need to, but also because I really don't care about my eyebrow thickness anymore. I used to, when I was younger.

I took a picture of my eyebrows this morning. The sun was in my eyes...

I think it's interesting how people are affected by beauty standards without realizing it. And everybody is affected, whether they like it or not. The poppie cheerleading teenager who wakes up an hour early for school to do her hair and make-up is an obvious example of a person affected by beauty standards, but tomboys and care-free hippies are just as affected... Especially those who try, intentionally, to fight those standards. Psychologically, your ideas of beauty and your awareness of other people's ideals can build you up or wear you down emotionally, and it doesn't just wear down the people who think they aren't beautiful, those who KNOW that they're beautiful can be bothered by it, too...

Okay, enough. I don't feel like going too much into the psychology of beauty right now. Not that I know enough about it to write an educated post about it, anyway. What I felt like saying about this is that at the end of the day, what matters less is whether you know you're beautiful or not, according to society's standards. What matters more is knowing what to care about. Don't care about what strangers think about your looks. Don't even worry too much about what your loved ones care about your looks. (Mostly because they care more about you than about what you look like... Or at least they should.) And don't worry about what your partner thinks, either - because the chances are pretty big that having chosen to be with you, they think you're beautiful - so you don't need to question that.

My hair is usually a lot messier
than this in the morning...
Care about what YOU think about yourself. If you think that you're beautiful, that's what counts. If you like yourself more with plucked eyebrows, then pluck them. If you like the way that you look in skinny jeans, then wear them. Stop caring about whether you're following a trend or not, and just listen to what makes you feel good.

To wrap up this post, I feel beautiful this morning. I like my long hair that gets in the way when I sleep, I like my eyebrows in their scraggly state (sometimes I pluck those hairs in the middle, but most of the time I just don't care about them), and I like the way that my skin gets all weird and lined in the night from lying on the creases on my pillow. Everything is a part of me and what makes me who I am, and I think it's all beautiful.

I sure did get up on the right side of the bed this morning... So yes: a Good Morning, indeed!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why I've Been So Quiet

Good grief, I haven't written anything for my blog in quite a while. I do have a valid excuse though - promise! And it's a pretty great one, at that.

I've been writing for money again! I'm getting paid R20 for 100 words, and I'm writing articles about cars. Exciting, isn't it? (By the way, that wasn't a sarcastic rhetorical question, just a rhetorical question. Making money while not waitressing is very exciting!) Francois and I have been doing this job together. He does the majority of the research, and I write the articles. We make a great team. We've just finished the first batch of articles, and are eagerly awaiting our next task.

Since the Easter holiday is over, things are getting pretty quiet at work again. And since I'll be taking two weeks off next month, this extra work couldn't have come at a better time.

On to the next line of thought: It seems that Francois and I have started a trend. We moved to Wilderness at the end of 2013, because hey, have you seen the place? There's a reason why somebody started calling this area Eden... We love it here, it's beautiful, it's natural, it suits us perfectly. Anyway, Francois' mom is moving here shortly as well (in about a week or two), having found an awesome job in the area. And a friend has found work right in George at a game development studio! So he'll be moving here next month. Chances are that Francois' brother will move down eventually, too. Everybody is coming to the Garden Route!

Just a reminder that this is our garden.

The Garden Route, where you get awesome animals visiting you in your garden, out of the blue. I like where we live.

Speaking of gaming studios... That same studio is looking to hire artists. Francois has sent them his portfolio, and now we are holding thumbs and crossing fingers so tight that we're getting pins and needles. It would be AMAZING for him to get hired by them. So hold your thumbs, too!

Well, I'm not in a very energetic writing mood tonight. Load shedding had us powerless today, so we went off to the mall in search of food and coffee (with shopping happening along the way, unfortunately) and we ended up spending way too much time there.

Malls exhaust me, physically, but mostly mentally... So creative writing is not exactly high on my list of priorities right now. However, making soup is VERY high on that list, so that is what I plan to do next - chicken soup. With some pumpkin (which we still have a quarter of) and some carrots that aren't tasty enough to eat on their own.

Okay. We're all out of data already, so I'm going to head over to the Hoekwil Café now. They're closed already, but their Wi-Fi stays on 24/7, so I'm going to sit outside in the car while I upload this post.

Goodnight, all!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

How To Make a Toasted Sandwich

I know that most people think that they know how to make toasted sandwiches, but there are often very important steps that get left out, and today I plan to set things right, for the sake of toasted sandwiches everywhere.

So without further ado, here's how to make the bestest toasted sarmie everrrr!

Step One: Get Yourself a Beverage 

Thanks for the cool drinks, Janine!
This step is the first and most important step. It's useful for psychological reasons, moral support, something like that... Especially when the refreshment of your choice contains a small amount of alcohol. Mine contains gin and dry lemon.

Step Two: Quickly Tidy Up

Squeaky clean, like it always is.
This is another vitally important step. Especially if you plan to take pictures of the process of making toasted sammiches, and then upload them onto the internet, where everybody can then see what your stove looks like. Lots of Handy Andy was involved.

Step Three: Equip Thine Self

Pan, check. Cheese, check. Eggs, check. Bacon, CHECK!
To make excellent toasted sandwiches, you need certain tools. These include a pan with a wobbly handle, a spatula, and your ingredients.

Step Four: Heat Things Up

There it is, getting hot and steamy in the microwave.
I like to heat a bowl up so the bacon stays warm while the eggs fry. So I put a tiny bit of water in a bowl in the microwave for about two minutes on high.

Step Five: Makin' Bacon! 

Put butter in the pan. Make bacon. Be sad that it always shrinks as it cooks. But be happy that it will stay warm in your bowl, because you thought ahead. What a clever girl you are! Ahem. I mean, yes, thank me for that tip in the comments, if you like.

Step Six: Get the Eggs Going 

I didn't break any yolks! I deserve a medal for that.
I only eat one egg on each of my sandwiches, but Francois likes two on each one. (He's a growing boy, you know.) I do them sunny side up with soft yolks, letting them cook slowly while I move onto other preparations. I grated the cheese earlier, but there's still other stuff to do...

Step Seven: Do the Other Stuff 

Other stuff like spreading the bestest jam everrr onto the bestest sandwiches everrrr. Grammy and I made this apricot jam together. I'd never made jam before, and Grammy showed me how it's done.

I put a little bit of mayonnaise on the other side, because mayonnaise.

The next step is so important, that if you ignore it, the world just may come to an end. (I'm kidding. I just wanted to fill up the space before the next picture, because huge blank spaces make me feel weird.)

Step Eight: Other Stuff Like Salt and Pepper

Tardis shakers!
Kathryn (my little sister) gave me these shakers for Christmas, and I felt the need to include a picture of them here.

Anyway, put salt and pepper on your sandwich, to your preference. But not too much salt... Because bacon.

Step Nine: Pile it On 

Pile on the cheese.
Pile on the bacon.
Don't be shy.
Use aaaaall of the bacon!
Mmmmmmm. Bacon.

Step Ten: Egg Time 

Four for Francois, two for me!
I broke a yolk a little bit while sectioning them up... :(

But I didn't overcook any of them. They were all perfectly gooey.

These get piled onto the sandwiches as well, in the next exciting step...

Step Eleven: Pile On the Rest 

As mentioned in step ten, pile the eggs onto the sandwiches.

Then pile on more cheese... And maybe some more.

And then close up the sarmies by adding the other slice to the tower.

Step Twelve: More Butter! 

Hey, look, here's a picture of that heat in the form of a flame.
Because butter makes everything better.

Carefully place your sandwich tower into the buttery pan, and then turn the heat way up for toasty goodness.

Add butter to the other side before flipping them.

Step Thirteen: Make Francois a Happy Man 

This is easy to do. Just don't burn the sandwiches. And be me serving them to him.
And don't take random pictures of him while he cuts his sandwiches in half.

He's happy, really! The knife in my face is a friendly gesture of love and affection. No, really. In all seriousness though, he's super pleased about his supper. :P

Step Fourteen: Make Some for Me 

Oh my goodness. LOOK AT IT. I get rye bread 'cause I'm special.
In this final step, I made the sandwiches that I would be eating. When you do this step, you'll need to call me afterwards, so that I can come and fetch the yummy goodness that you make for me. It's only fair, since I gave you all this useful information about how to make these tasty toasties.

Well, there you have it. A very long, wonderfully descriptive, instructional post.
Do I get to go viral now? That's how it works, right? Right?