Health & Wellness

Why owning a Dog is the best decision you could make

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All my life i was never exposed to dogs really. We never had pets in our home unless a gold fish counts as one.

So after four years of marriage my husband and I decided to get two dogs when we moved to a new city. It truly was the best decision we ever made and here is why:

Best exercise partner around
Dogs need exercise and so do we. But if you are anything like me, hours spent on the treadmill is far from appealing.
The best solution to this? Get a dog! Trust me. They have so much of energy that they need to burn it off, and some how those puppy dog eyes seem to lure you in and encourage you to take them for a walk or jog.

Great companion for your children
Most Dog breeds are loving companions for your kids. They will alarm you when your baby is crying. They will run around and play with your toddler. They will even be a listening ear for your teenager to read to or tell all their secrets to. Dogs will be your children’s life long companion.

Reduces stress and depression
It has been scientifically proven that dogs help to reduce stress, depression and even cholesterol. Their constant initiation of cuddling and their sensitivity to your moods helps to wipe away the stressors of daily life.

A consistent friend with unconditional love
Your dog will leap to greet you with a wagging tail every day when you come home. It doesn’t matter how long you were gone or whether you even acknowledged him before you left. He loves you unconditionally and will be your forever companion.

Take it from me, once you own your first dog you will understand why there are such avid dog lovers in the world.

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Recipes

What’s for Dinner? – Butter Chicken

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Here is one of my favorite recipes.

It’s SO quick and easy. Takes 5 minutes to prepare and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

1 kilo chicken fillets
1 tbs ginger and garlic crushed
1/2 tbs green chili crushed / finely chopped
1/2 tbs finely cut dhania (coriander)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp aromat
1 tsp chicken spice (we use Robertsons available here in SA)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp tandoori masala
1 tsp dhania Jeeru powder
2 tbs ground almonds
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 cup fresh cream
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp oil

Method:

Cut the chicken into stips and mix all the ingredients into it, except for the fresh cream.

Cook in oil and butter on a low heat until chicken is tender. Keep the lid of the pot on. Add more buttermilk should it seem dry.

Once chicken is cooked, turn off the heat on the stove and throw in the fresh cream. Let it sit for a few minutes, then eat and ENJOY !!!
Serve with rice or bread or roti.

Happy eating everyone!

Life Lessons, Parenting

6 ADVANTAGES to being an Only Child

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So for all those who read my disadvantages to having an only child… here are the Advantages of having an only child

You get all the love and affection of your parents
People don’t realise how stabilising it is to know you have all your parents love and affection and not to feel it’s shared with others. Yes parents with more than one child don’t love one child more than the other but their time is split and I rather enjoyed having my mom’s attention all to myself.

It taught me independence
Growing up I soon learnt how to be independant. I didn’t have siblings to turn to for help or advice. Instead I learnt to fend for myself and figure life out for myself. As an adult independence has greatly benefited me in knowing I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I have a great imagination
I spent hours thinking up stories to amuse myself. It’s that imagination that helps me as a writer and helps me see life in ways others might not.

Your Parents can focus on giving you the best financially
I come from a single parent home, and was an only child. My mom did me a favor by only having me when it came to how she could financially provide for me. She chose to ensure I didn’t grow up in lack and we didn’t have financial struggles which brought financial stability.

No sibling rivalry
Although I mentioned this as a disadvantage in many ways in my last article. It also is an advantage as I witnessed the many hours my friends spent fighting with their siblings. For me my home wasn’t a war zone in that way because my teddy bear never spoke back.

I learnt to make lasting friendships
Being an only child makes you understand the value of relationships. You know that meaningful relationships give you hours of companionship and in that way you learn to work on friendships instead of throwing them away at the first sign of conflict.

For those parents who know they are giving their child their best by having only one child, know that it by no means should be interpreted by others that your child will be disfunctional in life without siblings. I turned out pretty awesome despite being an only child.

It should be noted that this is my personal experience and my no means should be interpreted that everyone will experience this. Both advantages and disadvantages are my personal opinion that I’m sharing with those who would like to hear a different perspective.

Remember Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.

Life Lessons, Parenting

6 Reasons why having an ONLY CHILD is a disadvantage to them

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In today’s society with more and more people deciding to have only one child due to financial reasons etc, parents need to realise they are putting their child at a disadvantage.

Take it from me, an only child, it’s a hard life to live and here is why:

You feel intensely lonely
Having siblings means there is someone to talk to when you are going through things. Someone to play with when your parents are busy. Unfortunately parents cannot replace the companionship of a sibling. It inevitably leaves a child feeling alone

You have no other family when your parents pass on
I stood recently at work as one of our senior managers stood and gave a speech about how our company is his family because he has no other family due to him being an only child, and I could completely relate.
This became more evident to me when my son was born and I was recording things about his family tree in his baby book. When it came to my side of the family I realised he will have no uncles, no aunts, no cousins from my side because I have no siblings. My mom is the only direct blood relative I have. Once she is gone I have no other.

You don’t learn to deal with conflict
Sibling rivalry plays a huge role in teaching people to deal with conflict when they are older. Whether it’s with friends or with colleagues in the work place. It’s a foundation that just makes life’s journey a little easier

There is no one to turn to when you need help
Somehow having a sibling gives you an advantage that there will always be someone there to help you. Even just for advice. They are almost forced to be there for you by the mere fact that they are your immediate relative, and you can find comfort in assurances like that.

You tend to become selfish
It’s so tempting as an only child to become selfish. When you have siblings you are taught to share everything, from toys to your parents love and attention. That act of sharing teaches you how to consider someone else’s feelings and to share what you have with others.

You take longer to fine tune your social skills
Having siblings teaches you early on how to socialise with people who have different personality traits than you. It exposes you to fine tune your social skills not just with your siblings but also with the friends they bring home.

I know that parents today feel it’s easier in our tough world to just raise one child. But if you have the choice, please choose to at least have another for the sake of the lifespan of your child. Take it from me, an only child, a sibling will greatly benefit them in life.

It should be noted that this is my personal experience and my no means should be interpreted that everyone will experience this. Both advantages and disadvantages are my personal opinion that I’m sharing with those who would like to hear a different perspective.

Remember Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.

Recipes

What’s for Dinner: Mutton Curry South African style

Everyday woman all across the world ask the age old question “What’s for Dinner?” so I thought l would share with you what I’m making for dinner … Mutton Curry … A South African favorite. Hope you enjoy and feel free to share with those you love.

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INGREDIENTS

1 large onion
2 cinnamon sticks
2 elaichi (cardamom) seeds
2 cloves
6 curry leaves
1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
1 tsp dhania (coriander) powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel powder
2 tbsp masala
1 kg mutton / lamb pieces
1 tomato
2 tsp crushed garlic & ginger
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
3 potatoes halved
fresh dhania (coriander)
oil

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METHOD

Finely chop the onion and fry it on a medium heat in some oil until they start to brown. Add your cinnamon sticks, elaichi, cloves and curry leaves just before it starts to brown

Once onions are slightly brown add in jeera powder, dhania powder, masala powder, fennel powder and garam masala powder to the onions and stir

Add washed mutton pieces to the mixture and put the heat of the stove on low. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for half an hour

Then add crushed garlic & ginger, salt, chopped tomato, potatoes and water and let it simmer for about an hour or until the meat and potatoes are soft

Top with fresh dhania once cooked

Serve with rice or bread

TIP: To make a thick gravy add an extra onion and an extra potatoe. Smash the extra potatoe once cooked

Remember Sharing is caring so please share with family and friends on Facebook and Twitter. Please also feel free to leave your comments.

Beauty, Health & Wellness, Parenting, Products I Love

The BEST Online Stores in South Africa

With the lack of time on our hands and so many friends and family living so far away. The easiest way to do shopping for someone’s birthday has become online shopping.

South Africa has some awesome online shopping options available where you can buy something for someone for all sorts of occasions from:

Birthdays
Baby Showers
Anniversaries
Weddings
Mothers Day
and much more.

Here are some great online stores you can use to quickly and safely purchase something for your loved one.

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A Place to shop
They sell a variety of quirky and awesome gifts that you can send for various occasions. From cookie stamps to handbags they have it all.
http://www.aplacetoshop.co.za/

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Rain Africa
Looking to spoil someone with beauty products to make them create a Spa at home? Why not check out Rain Africa’s online store. Perfect for birthday gifts, Mothers Day or Valentines Day. You can also be proud to know their products are handmade with love and are proudly South African.
http://rainafrica.com/shop-online/

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Flowers
Your friend just gave birth and they are in a different city? Why not use the Netflorist online store to send some flowers. They even do same day deliveries of flowers for those who forgot their Anniversary and need a last minute miracle.
http://m.netflorist.co.za/

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Gifts
Net Florist also has Net Gifts. Where you can get anything from jewellery to cakes and chocolates and teddy bears. These are perfect to make someone you care about feel extra special.
http://m.netflorist.co.za/

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Clothing
One of the best online stores to shop for clothing is Spree. Whether it’s to spoil yourself or to buy someone you love something to make them feel gorgeous. Go ahead and check out their easy online shopping. You won’t regret it.
http://www.spree.co.za/

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Baby Clothing
You just had a baby or need to attend a baby shower and you just don’t have time to get to a store? Try the online store Schnookypie for the cutest baby clothes ever at affordable prices. You are sure to have something unique and different for baby to wear. You can also be proud to know their clothes are handmade and sourced in South Africa.
http://www.schnookypie.co.za/

Happy Shopping!

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Marriage

MORE Ideas of things to do to celebrate HIS BIRTHDAY

So for those who are avidly following my blog, you would know in my last post I gave some ideas of things to do for your Husband / Boyfriends birthday. Those were more for the “adventure seeker.” This time I’ve got some ideas more for the “hopeless romantic.” Here they go …

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A Gourmet Picnic
A romantic picnic outdoors is the perfect way to spend a birthday with your loved one.
There are many places that create gourmet picnics for special occasions. In Gauteng one such place is Le Sel.
They have goodies traditionally found in picnic baskets beautifully laid out on tables under ancient bush willows within the nature reserve, complete with canvas chairs to sit on and ice buckets to keep drinks cold. Guests are transported to the picnic spot by open game vehicle, and served a three-course picnic menu.
http://thecradle.co.za/

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Intimate party in a wine cellar
If you are looking to have an intimate party for about 10 people, why not consider a restaurant that offers private dining in their Wine Cellar?
One such place is the Oyster Box hotel in Durban.  Their Wine Cellar, with its glass ceiling, is sunken just below the Oyster Bar and is a unique way to celebrate your loved ones birthday in a truly intimate setting.
Bespoke menus are created for every occasion and the resident Sommelier will present a selection of wines from the Diners Club Diamond award-winning wine list, which boasts the finest selection of South African and international vintages.
http://www.oysterboxhotel.com/food-and-drink/extraordinary-dining#Private

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Weekend Away
Why not plan a weekend away where you can celebrate your loved ones birthday for an entire weekend.
One place I love is called The Cavern.
The Cavern is set in a secluded valley beneath the massive sandstone cliffs of the Northern Drakensberg. The thatch accommodation and facilities blend beautifully with the natural surroundings of the area. The Cavern is home to numerous Bushman paintings, 213 species of birds, 73 species of trees and numerous wild animals. As a nature lover, this would be your ideal location.
They also have a Spa and all meals are included in the price of your stay. Each day new activities are on the list to keep you entertained. It’s an awesome way to make your significant other feel really special on their birthday.
http://www.cavern.co.za/

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Scenic Helicopter Ride
Why not try a helicopter ride to be different. Most cities in South Africa have companies that can take you on scenic helicopter rides. One such is Helivate in Gauteng. Here you get to take scenic flights and stop over at restaurants to have lunch before your flight back.
http://www.helivate.co.za/scenic.htm

Remember Sharing is Caring so please feel free to share this on facebook or twitter or with your friends and family. Thanks so much.

Marriage

Things to do for HIM on his BIRTHDAY

My Husband and I have spent our birthdays finding cool things to do all across South Africa. So I thought I would share with you some cool things you could do if you want an unforgettable birthday experience.

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Go for a race around the track
If you live in Gauteng you can take that special man in your life for a BMW or Mercedes Benz race around the track in one of their sports cars at Zwartkop. There are different priced packages to suit your pocket.
http://www.bmwdrivingexperience.co.za/
http://www.mercedes-amg.co.za/Mercedes-AMG-Driving-Academy/

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Go to a Spa retreat in the Drakensburg mountains
One of the best affordable Spa retreats in South Africa is called Indigo Fields. Tucked away in the Drakensburg you will be pampered and fed all day while being surrounded by the beauty of nature.
They currently have a midweek special R1550 per person sharing, includes lunch on arrival, a heavenly massage/treatment of choice, a romantic 3 course dinner, an overnight stay in one of our luxury suites and a country breakfast.
http://www.indigofields.co.za/

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Sandboarding and Sand Sledding
Test your boarding skills on some of South Africa’s best dunes set in stunning surroundings in Port Elizabeth and offering hours of fun for young and old!
http://www.sandboardingsundays.com/

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Shark Cage Diving
For all those adventurous types out there. View a variety of shark species in a Shark Cage Dive at uShaka Marine World in Durban
http://www.ushakamarineworld.co.za/animal-encounters/xpanda-shark-dive

Keep following my blog and I will continue with more ideas for HIM and soon some for HER birthdays.

Remember Sharing is Caring so please share this blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Parenting

Lessons learnt in the first 10 weeks of having my baby

Things I’ve learnt so far in my 10 weeks being a mom.

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Instinct really does kick in
The day my son was born I was shocked how I suddenly knew how to do things I had never been exposed to. I knew what he needed and when he needed it. I didn’t get it right 100% of the time. But for the most part my maternal instinct made the world of difference.

Accept help. But the right help
This was a big one for me. At first I felt overwhelmed and was willing to take help from anyone and everyone. But soon I realised that some people’s help was more detrimental to my baby even if their intentions were good. Go with your gut and do what’s best for your baby.

People’s opinions do not matter
Everyone will give you their expert opinion. They mean well but they aren’t always right. Don’t let their opinions get to you. Whether it’s on breastfeeding, sleeping schedules, co-sleeping or how many hours you should hold your baby a day. Go with what feels right for your baby and your family.

Friends at different life stages find it harder to relate to you
Whether it’s friends with older kids or no kids … Some of them find the sudden change in your lifestyle difficult to relate to. Know that it doesn’t make them any less of a friend. You just at different seasons. As time goes on it will get easier. For those friends who don’t want to stick around, just let them go.

The books help but your child won’t necessarily fit them perfectly
The book I read said my newborn would sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day. That never happened for me. Not every baby fits the norm for sleeping or breastfeeding or developmental changes. Give it time.

8 weeks really is a milestone
Our Pediatrician told us it will get easier from 8 weeks. And it did. He cried less. Slept more. Smiled and laughed and it made the world of difference.

It can feel lonely
Even with a supportive and hands on husband, and extended family and friends who care. I have found days where I am the only one who can attend to his needs. Days where no one understands the level of exhaustion of hormonal changes, back pain, the pain of a healing wound from a cesarean. It feels overwhelming and lonely. But you push through. Take the moment as it comes and hope that as time goes on you will start to feel human again.

So I’ve survived the first Ten Weeks. You can too.

Health & Wellness, Parenting, Products I Love

Organic Rain Baby products. BEST to use for your baby

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In light of the recent spotlight on Johnson and Johnson baby products and the harmful ingredients they contain, I would like to put all Mommies minds at rest that there is an amazing product range alternative called Rain Baby.

Rain’s Baby range is made from 100% natural, organically-certified ingredients like organic olive oil, virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and traditional African wild-harvested oils.

Its important to remember that a baby’s delicate, sensitive skin is 25% thinner than an adult’s and needs extra protection and nourishment. This is why mom’s need to use only the purest, gentlest and most natural ingredients on their babies skin.

Pregnant mom’s can also enjoy the softness and purity of Rain Baby products, knowing that everything absorbed through their skin, is safe and natural.

Rain Baby products contain:
NO petroleum
NO mineral oils
NO sulphates
NO SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
NO TEA (triethanolamine) or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients
NO parabens
NO synthetic perfumes
NO animal testing
NO child labour

Rain Baby products range include but are not limited to:

Baby Talc Powder
Baby Bum Balm
Baby Lavender Lotion
Baby Aqueous Cream
Baby Clothes
Baby Soap
Baby Hair and Body Wash

You will also be proud to know that this company’s foundation is built upon the need to serve others here in our beloved South Africa.

The reason Rain came into existence was to provide jobs, skills and hope to people living in desperate poverty, particularly women and the disabled.

Their production cycle is deliberately low-tech and labour intensive. Their products and packaging are hand-made by trained crafters. They support small local suppliers and producers. Their wild ingredients are hand-harvested by women living in remote areas of Southern Africa where economic opportunities are almost non-existent.
Rain is the only Southern African beauty and body product company which is accredited by both Fair Trade in Africa and the international Fair Trade body in Europe.

You can now purchase Rain Baby products online at http://www.rainafrica.com
Rain now also have stores in the USA and here all across our beloved South Africa.

We would like to thank Yusuf and Ryan who are the owners of the Rain Africa Store in Gateway shopping centre, Durban, South Africa, for their amazing passion in sharing with us the amazing benefits of Rain Baby products.

We love Rain