me Life and Times of the Fireflies: June 2013

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tribute to Madiba

As South Africa, and indeed the world, awaits news on Mandela's now critical condition, I think it is apt to pay homage to a man who has changed the Nation and impacted the world! Madiba's contribution to the lives of all South Africans can never be denied. It's what makes him a national icon, whose mortality seems to evoke widespread heartache, whose mere presence continues to give the country hope.

"If there are dreams of a beautiful South Africa, there also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness." Nelson Mandela

I would be doing Madiba a great injustice to even attempt to put in words the length of his journey, to highlight the pain he's endured, to fragment together the great injustices he's incurred....As important as those moments are to history, the greatness that is Madiba, is that having faced all these difficulties, he has still managed to face the world with forgiveness.

I might not have been part of the struggle, not been a part of the protests against the Sharpeville massacre, the boycotts, tear gas and fight for equal rights; being too young to understand the politics of apartheid. I am proud to say today though, that I've been part of witnessing our history, part of the change. I remember watching as a family, watching as a nation, Mandela's release from prison 23yrs ago. I don't think I understood the full extent of what was happening that day, but I know that that was a decisive moment of change...a moment that has changed the outcome of our lives, the outcome of our country, the outcome of our destinies. For in that moment, it wasn't just Madiba that was free, it was all South Africans!!

"Sport has the power to change the world, to inspire, to unite people in a way that little else can" Nelson Mandela

Part of the change he created, was in securing South Africa their re-introduction into world sport. The 1992 Cricket World Cup, hosting and winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the nail biting semi-finals between England and South Africa in 1996, Olympics, and more recently,  hosting the Soccer World Cup....these were the moments that made us forget about race, colour and creed, and stand together as a nation. Moments made possible by unimaginable sacrifice and struggle. Moments that made us all begin to heal and move forward. Moments I can share with my children as they learn about their country's extraordinary heroes!

At 94 years old, Nelson Mandela will be revered for his battles, accomplishments and exceptionally high moral standard throughout his lifetime, having succumbed to arrests, being banned and imprisoned as part of the freedom struggle. He will always be remembered endearingly for his humility, empathy and unwavering efforts toward South African liberation. He will remain our beacon of hope, the Father of our nation, for through his actions and struggles, lies a better way forward for us all.

Nelson Mandela has fought social injustice for 67 years... I think the best way to pay tribute to Madiba and honour his memory, is by continuing to strive to achieve what he has given his life for. Nelson Mandela day was started internationally in honour of his sacrifices, in the hopes to bring together people all around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation. The time has come for us to let go, for us to move on, for us to move forward, for us to instil these values in our youth, so that they can grow to be the heroes of tomorrow...

Long walk to freedom!!

Who can forget this momentous occasion when Madiba stepped out in the number 6  green and gold jersey and made us all proud to be South African.

Proudly South African

Monday, 24 June 2013

Happy Holidays!

School is out, and the first thing I've done is deactivate my morning alarm!!! Holidays are here, and I gladly welcome the escape from the early mornings, homework madness, extra murals, and carpooling crazy rush. School holidays are a great time to loosen the restraints that are part and parcel of a busy schedule.

In my house, holidays symbolise lazing around a little bit longer in our pj's, lounging in front of the TV, a little more of a thought out breakfast menu, enjoying the outdoors with the kids on Cape Towns' charming, sunny, winter days; maybe catching a movie on one of the stormy days, bonding with family, and include the kids in some household chores as well!

Of course having the kids at home comes with its own set of challenges, especially with the chilly winter days keeping us house bound. Extra squabbles, extra dishes, extra noise, extra mess and 24/7 kitchen duty for extra and constantly hungry kids! One almost needs to approach the holidays with a game plan to keep our sanity!

I'm definitely looking forward to the more relaxed 3 weeks that lay ahead....where I hope to be able to maintain my gym routine, get active with the kids outdoors, involve them in some baking, do some preparation for Ramadaan, squeeze in some writing for the blog, and perhaps even, get to read a book. As I write these last few words, I already hear the start of a squabble in the other room and the kids are fast approaching with a high pitched "MOM!!!!". Someone has done something to someone, a look... a touch perhaps? Aaah, my holidays have begun!! Happy Holidays to the rest of you too...


I thought this one was just classic, and I'm sure other Moms will agree!

Seriously considering using this line....
Enjoy the holidays

Friday, 21 June 2013

Chocolate and Spice Layered Cake

Before the time of internet, blogs, food websites and Google; people connected through food on a much more personal level. Recipes were either handed down from mother to daughter, or they formed a topic of discussion at social gatherings and were shared. Strangely enough, as I discover new recipes and new resources, I love to page through my (very) old handwritten recipe book. Some of my favourite recipes are recipes shared the old fashioned way; handwritten and treasured.
This deliciously soft and spongy Chocolate and Spice tea cake was shared by a very dear family friend, who I fondly hold in my heart for her endearing smile, kind heart and culinary skills of course! So, though times have changed, our method of sharing has changed too, and I have decide to share this old favourite recipe, the new way!
· 1 cup milk
·  ½ of a ¼ pound of butter (+- 63g)
· 1 ¼cup sugar
· 3 large eggs
· 1 ½ cup cake flour
· 2 tblsp cocoa
· 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
· 3 ½ tsp baking powder
· ½ tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg ( I sometimes use store bought mixed spice as well)
1.      Pre-Heat oven to 180ÂșC
2.      Beat sugar and eggs well until thick and pale. Add vanilla essence and a pinch of salt.
3.      Bring milk and butter to a boil.
4.      Meanwhile, sift dry ingredients but not cocoa and spices
5.      Fold in flour, then add milk mixture
6.      Divide mixture evenly.
7.      In one half add sifted cocoa and in the other add cinnamon and nutmeg. 
8.      Place in 2 well-greased round baking tins and bake for 20min
1 ¼ cup icing sugar
63gr butter
1 ½ tblsp cocoa
1 tblsp coffee dissolved in a little water
1 tblsp milk
(I usually double the quantities of butter, icing sugar and milk for this cake)


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Welcome to 4!!

Zaydaan; language, Arabic; Meaning, Abundance (of all that is good)

Just before my 30th birthday, on a rather cold and rainy Friday evening and with an eagerly awaiting queue of guests, at precisely 6pm; I welcomed my third child into the world! My baby boy made his debut weighing in at 3.4 kilos, with a strong set of lungs and a head full of hair. If I was feeling anxious, nervous, and pretty much petrified before the delivery, I certainly wasn't feeling any of it as this new being lay bundled up in blankets on my chest. I had a new man in my life and I was totally in love!!

It's hard to believe that 4yrs has passed so quickly, for my baby has now grown into quite an independent young boy. Already at school, he loves Toy Story and cuddles; has an obsession with dirt trucks and tractors; his favourite indulgences are hot dog doughnuts (Custard filled doughnuts) and ice-cream sandwiches (ice cream wafers) and his favourite word is WHY! He has inherited his brother’s love for numbers and puzzles, his sister’s love for drawing and tea, his mother’s love for talking and his dad’s love of the ipad. If there was any doubt as to where exactly he would fit into the dynamics of our family, he has certainly put it to rest...he has made a giant leap into my heart, often crawls into his sisters bed, bullies his brother, rolls on the ground fighting his dad and managed to wrap granddad around his little finger in the process too! He is a little piece of magic that melts our hearts with his smile.

And the magic doesn't end there. Being last in the family (in Cape Town at least) comes with its own set of benefits. There's a whole string of family members that readily and happily share in the magical moments, especially the Aunts who are always ready to take on various sets of duties....from playtime and McD's drive through with Moon, cuddle and TV time with Deed, lunchtime rendezvous with Mom; to a good dose of discipline from Naani, even the older cousins eagerly play their part in taking care of him and protecting him. He is extremely lucky to be embraced with so much love....

They say having a child changes you, transforms you, strengthens you. Having 3 then, has metamorphosed me from a timid, young 23yr old at the birth of my first child, to a strong independent 33 yr old I am today. With each child I have learnt more about myself, and with the third I have found my voice! I don't think a mother ever forgets the day her child is born, whether they turn 4 or 40; whether she has 3 or 5 children. The memory of the struggles will be as fresh as yesterday....

Here is something I wrote during those last, struggling days being pregnant with Zaydaan...

Though feet are swollen and back is aching...

Though breathes are but fast paced heaves...

Though every movement a strain, a force...

Aching limbs and swollen belly, I thank the Lord for this burden so heavy.

For every movement, kick and shudder,

A reflection of the miracle deep under...

Deep beneath the skin of my belly; tucked away, concealed, growing,

Lies a miracle, a gift of God.

Every sharp pain, every movement, a sign of the miracle within!

What started as a clot of blood,

Bonded from a piece of me, a piece of you,

Now growing, connected to me,

But very soon you too shall be set free!

Nine months I carried and nurtured, my body a slave to your needs.

A lifetime more I shall walk in your shadow, trying to protect you, shelter you.

Nine months you shape shifted inside of me,

Nine months I evolved to accommodate YOU.

Nine months I alone besotted over every miraculous movement,

Silently relishing in the joy of your existence

I am your carrier, and through life, though you may learn to carry yourself and your burdens,

Always remember that I am your mother!!



Friday, 14 June 2013

Movie Review - Hangover 3

With the kids exams finally drawing to an end, and the winter holidays in clear sight, I feel I can finally let out a sigh of relief! I must admit that I take the kids exams a bit too seriously, and get totally submerged into study mode. So this past Saturday, my husband whisked me away from the books, for dinner and a movie.

My husband has a slight addiction to movies, and I don't think I'm much help in discouraging him as I join him in his endeavours to watch every movie on circuit. We do have different taste in movies though...where he likes action and fast cars; I like romantic comedies and period dramas. We have an agreement to take turns choosing, but mostly land up watching comedies; which is something we both enjoy. This week we watched Hangover 3.

Hangover 1 is an all-time comedy classic! It was always going to be difficult to capture the magic of the first movie in a sequel, never mind a third instalment. Having already watched the first two movies in the trilogy, we were both eager to watch the much anticipated third instalment, and we weren't disappointed. Bradley Cooper might have Hollywood at his feet, but the real star of this movie is definitely Zach Galifianakis; playing the 42 yr old Alan who refuses to grow up; and manages to spark laughter just by his facial expressions. The "wolf pack" reunite, and manage to get themselves in trouble yet again, as they get hijacked by drug dealer Marshall en route to Arizona where Alan is expected to undergo treatment. The movie sees Phil, Stu and Alan run after Mr Chow; who provides plenty of laughs himself; in order to save their friend who is held hostage. Hilarious Melissa McCarthy (Identity Thief) makes a brief and noteworthy appearance in the movie too, as the trashy sales assistant that steals Alan's heart!

Sure enough there were some missing links in the movie, and I'm sure there are sceptics that could tear the movie to pieces, but we were out to have a good time and have a good laugh, and there were plenty of moments that had us and the entire movie house in stitches. Although a comedy at heart, there's an underlying sentimental message about friendship that lingers throughout the movie...even from the outrageous Mr Chow, who, despite his crazy antics, only seeks the sincerity and value of a friend.

Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. I'm not sure it's an antidote for everything, but it sure cures a bad case of exam anxiety and stress...well, the mom version anyway ;-).


singing at his fathers funeral...

                                                    Eye candy in the form of Bradley Cooper


                                              My favourite scene of the entire movie!!! Zach is so much fun to watch on screen


Thursday, 13 June 2013

My Truths - We See Things As We Are

If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then your soul will determine how you see the world... When we see ourselves as better than others, then all we will find is faults in the rest of creation. When we realise that we are all sinners ourselves, we will always see the best in people and constantly strive to better ourselves...Some people will never see who you are, because what they are in search of is something entirely different.

One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn is that who I am, is not always how I am perceived. It is merely an interpretation depending on the person’s state of mind. Despite my best intentions at the best of times, the world may not always see it as it was meant.

It is easy to get hurt when you are not seen for who you are. It is easy to judge and measure people against your own achievements and failures, but we are all individuals, on our own paths, finding our own way, overcoming our own obstacles, experiencing our own experiences. It is quite impossible then, for us all to be at the exact same point...

As I grow, I learn that as much I am an observer, I am also being observed. That for as long as there are eyes in the world to see, there are those who will see us as sinners, and those who see us as a saints. If I measured my worth by what others think of me then I'm sure I'd be failing. I measure myself instead against my yesterdays and see how much I've grown... for a crooked mind will always see the world through crooked eyes.

For those of you who don't really know me, this is who I am. I'm sure you'll see that I'm no different to you.

I am but a traveller, a human, trying to make my way through a fickle world...
I am but a traveller, a human, often making mistakes, constantly stumbling, falling, and finding my way through a fickle world...
I am but a human, often lost, somewhat small, sometimes blinded by this fickle world...
I am but a human, getting up, dusting myself off, moving along, finding myself, finding my voice, finding a place in this fickle world...
I am a human, learning the ropes, finding the truths, learning the laws that rule this fickle world...
I am but a human, housing a soul, making it grow, making it wise, and helping it move along in this fickle world...
I am but a human, far from perfect, trying my best, passing, failing, moving swiftly along...until the day I leave this fickle world behind....




Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Simple Treasures

We are living such a fast paced lifestyle, stuck in a superficial rat race. From beeping phones to flickering red lights reminding us of a string of unread messages, to a host of other modern day diversions....we tend to get easily distracted and lose out on the small things. Whether it's a conversation with an almost 4 year old, reading a book or making a birthday countdown chart; or encouraging words offered to a pre-teen, coupled with a coffee date, milkshakes and shopping; or a hilarious story told by a 9 year old while curled up in bed just before bedtime, and getting equally soaked into a video game together....I know I'm sometimes guilty of telling them to hold. Although I'm a hands on mom, sometimes I get distracted and lose out on life's biggest treasures, that are often found in the smallest of things...

There are some days we get lost in the world, where we chase things that are meaningless...where our smiles are brought about by fickle things. There are times when we lose out on life's biggest treasures, because we are blinded by the mirages of the world. Mirages built by human hands, sold to us by human souls. There are times we lose out to the countless treasures, because we become distracted....lured by the charms of a shallow existence...

But there are moments too, when we are reminded of our gifts. Reminded by a smile; reminded by a tear; reminded by the cheerful banter from the backseat of the car; reminded by the roaring laughter at the dinner table. These are the moments that the smile starts from the depths of your heart, and gets tattooed in your mind as a warm memory. These are life's biggest treasures, found in the smallest of things, sometimes lost because our heads are clouded and we are distracted by the charms of the world....







Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Vintage for Charity

While most of Cape Town was cuddled up in warm woollies as one of the worst ever Cape Ice Storms hit us, my sisters and I braved the winter chills, drenched in vintage apparel, in aid of charity. Even before Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I've always had a love for all things vintage. From my wedding dress to home decor...everything has a touch of vintage inspiration....and as the world embraces flapper dresses, red lips and Mary Jane's; and Hollywood stars incorporate aspects of the trend to their red carpet wardrobe; I got a chance to live out my Great Gatsby fantasy...for The Sunflower Fund's Vintage Fever charity event. Whimsical lace, feathers and boa's, red lips, printed stockings and plenty of bling, was the order of the day!!

The Sunflower Fund is a non-profit organisation that creates awareness for the need of bone marrow donors from all ethnic and mixed ethnic groups. Its main objective is to educate and raise funds to build and sustain an effective South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), and improve the chance of life saving transplants for serious blood disorder sufferers. They also help raise funds for those who would otherwise not be able to afford these expensive procedures. It is an organisation that provides hope where hope was lost, and offers a chance of survival to the kids suffering with leukaemia and other rare and serious blood disorders. In this effort to create awareness, The Sunflower Fund hosts various charity events, one of which I attended on Sunday.

With my cousin Sameera Parker at the helm of organising this event, my sisters and I had an opportunity to host a table and got our creative juices flowing, with the offer of awesome prizes awarded to the best dressed and best table centre piece!!! Vintage teapots and tea sets, vintage themed cupcakes in vintage teacups, feathers, pearls and chocolaty goodness in between, our table was short listed as a contender for best table and centre piece, which we unfortunately didn't win. All was not lost though. Lace dress, Mary-Jane's, feather headpiece and feather boa draped around her shoulders, my little sister made her way to take her spot as one of the top 10 best dressed at the event!! Seeing her stand up there, broad smile, obviously quite chuffed with herself, she resembled her 10 year old self standing in line to receive her school prize.

While the event itself was very entertaining, more importantly, I am glad I had an opportunity to have been involved in this fund. I was especially touched by a mom’s very emotional account of her child's battle with the disease. As a mother, I am always sensitive to the needs of kids. My emotions become heightened to the suffering of children around the globe. Every book, TV programme or news report about children always strikes a chord with me. My children are my life, and the children that are suffering, have mothers whose lives are falling apart too... Although I haven't plucked up enough courage to become a donor myself, I did go out and get a My School card in the name of The Sunflower Fund. At least in that way they will always have my continued support...



Our beautifully decorated table

Moon pretending to assemble the centrepice that I had already completed lol!

The Centrepiece

Setting the scene for the perfect vintage tea party


I'm quite proud of these gorgeous (and tasty) Vintage inspired cupcakes with my mother in law's Vintage Tea cups the perfect accessory, making them look even more appetising!

Aaaah let's not forget a bit of feathers....Love it!

Home made chocolate brownies

There was no competing with Moon on this day.  Even her cake got more attention than my cupcakes and she bought hers at Woolworths! Haha!

The finer details

These may not be vintage but in today's day and age no tea party is complete without yummy savouries!


Abdur and Deed

 Samhita Govender, Me, Moon, Ayesha Royker

(Seated from left:  Joemyma, Tohiera and Wajeah)
It was so great to see so many people put in the effort to stick to the theme in such horrible weather all in the name of the Suflower Fund.

Moon, Ayesha Royker and Me

Samhita Govender was one of the Lucky Draw Winners!

My gorgeous Mum and her sisters

Pretending to be a '20s flapper girl for the day was so much fun!

PHOTOBOOTH FUN courtesy of Blaksheep Photography

This gorgeous fur coat I'm wearing belonged to my mother and she spent the entire afternoon telling anyone who would listen how much i resembled her in her heyday.....such a compliment!


My initial inspiration came from all things'20s  a la The Great Gatsby.

Moon decided to channel the modern day queen of vintage, the charachter Blair Waldorf in    Gossip Girl

I think she nailed it!



Singing in the Rain

Best Dressed Nominee

Always one who knows how to accessorise any outfit!

Up on stage eagerly awaiting the announcement

So I may not have made it to the overall top 10 but im pretty sure i was top 2 at our table ;)