Archives for the month of: July, 2011

I’ve gained 2 kilos on a no sugar, no wheat, no dairy diet. HOW??? Because I don’t like feeling deprived. So unconsciously I ate double – of everything I was allowed of course. If I was to form the 10 commandments for Women I’d put, ‘Thou shall not go on a diet. Because in the end it will just make you fat.’ I’m not the only one who says so… Geneen Roth of ‘Women, Food and God’ agrees as does Martha Beck in the 4 day win. (Which I’ve previously mentioned.)

What really bothers me is that my intuition was not to ever go on a diet again. Especially after my teenage yo-yo dieting experiences which never worked. I logically justified that I was going on a diet for ‘health’ so it wasn’t really a diet. Well it didn’t work and I should have gone with that little voice in me that said, ‘This is way too much.’ Instead I nuked it with egoistic sayings like, ‘More power to me for staying on a diet for so long. Having such self-discipline etc. etc.’ All those good qualities which were not good for me.

So another commandment for my women’s big 10 – ‘Thou shall follow your intuition.’ How many of us have listened to the bigger ‘other’ be it a doctor, an authority figure, even a mother (dare I say mother-in-law) instead of listening to our ‘little voices’. Only to end up right in the end. But it’s too late. Sometimes it can be at a big cost like the health of a child or a bad life decision (like who to marry – it has happened!!! How many brides stand under the canopy and think, ‘This is not right.’) Smaller costs can be losing out on a great employee. This happened to me when I wanted to hire a gardener. Big mistake listening to the ‘other’ voices in my life, instead of my own. We’ve gone through 3 (lazy) gardeners since. Our current one I chose and it’s been great so far. Hold thumbs.

The problem is it’s not so easy following your own voice. Sometimes it’s hard to hear it let alone listen to it.

Hearing Your Inner Voice – I did an intuition course this weekend with a spiritual healer through massage, intuit, and wonderful, generous woman, Adie Shub. I didn’t really know what I was in for to be honest. How do you teach intuition? And that’s the exact problem that Adie raised to introduce her session. She shared her journey to where she is now. How she denied her healing abilities and that life route until she was badly burnt on her face and hands (dropping roast beef on herself from a super high oven – be careful girls). The universe sends us messages and if we follow them life flows and if we don’t we get thrown major challenges which try redirect us in the direction we’re meant to go. So Adie learnt to follow her intuition and universal signs and this is what she teaches.

So after that long-winded paragraph what did I learn?  To be still, to be quiet and connect to all five senses. Once you’re connected to your five senses you can align yourself with your sixth sense – intuition. So it means being still, breathing deeply. Listening to what sounds you can hear around you, relaxing your tongue feeling it in your mouth. Seeing with your eyes even if you choose to close them. Feeling the weight of your hands, your feet, your body. Just being.

You can do it in the car in head banging traffic (instead of banging your head – much  better for your cortisol levels), in the car park waiting for kids or in those notorious bank queues. (I am forever grateful for efts) And you can even ask yourself questions. Connect to that higher self, that inner wisdom and just see what comes up. It’s using your right brain, it’s going beyond the logical left that can bend any truth into any shape except what may be good for you. It can justify anything, but it may not feel right. You know how we speak about that gut feeling.

With cellphones, computers and rushing around all day we do lose that quiet space. One way to regain it is first thing in the morning. By waking up a  bit earlier and taking that time to meditate or pray. Adie whipped out a kabbalah morning prayer book (even though she’s not orthodox) and guess what – it was the siddur. She said that these prayers are so powerful, especially the 18 morning blessings. I thought that was amazing. These words that I know like the back of my hand, that I’ve said since five years old are being taught in an intuition course. So there’s something there. We know that, feel it, but don’t always connect with it.

So morning prayers!!! I know when I’ve taken the time to wake up twenty minutes early it makes a WORLD of different. Kid free silence. To breathe.

And before we go to bed is another time to reintegrate ourselves. Connect to our day. Let go of all the negative and embrace an attitude of gratitude. When I do this I also feel so much better – and when I don’t (and a lot of times I do feel bummed out) well I don’t. It’s going to bed unprepared for the soul to reconnect. But it does anyway. (Here I should mention that we all aim for the ideal – I certainly do – but rarely reach it. Being happy with as is, is my challenge.)

So the course was a wakeup call to prayer, to meditate, to listen carefully to that inner voice that I do believe is connected to our divine source. We all have it, after all we’re all created in God’s image. And somehow I feel we women know that best. It’s in our very bones, our monthly cycles and our life-giving forces.

The only danger is – when we stop feeling, intuiting and stop being emotional. In a man’s world there’s no room for feeling, only logic. How do we like the man’s world we’re living in? It’s a scary place…. I hate reading the newspapers. So we need to try something else. After all madness is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results.

So it’s time for the feminine. Intuition, feeling, mining inner resources, rather than conquering the external. It’s about connection. Viva La Femme. And I’m not the only one who says so. This is a growing trend.

I listened to the late Rabbi Azriel Goldfein shiur about women and he agrees with this very point. He brought sources from the matriarchs, prophetesses and powerful women in the Tanach and concluded that the way forward is for the world to move into the feminine wisdom and strength. We need nurturing now as a planet, as communities and as individuals. The only problem is that we women tend to forget to nurture ourselves.

Nurturing – another topic. Feeling is this one. So the right to feel. Sad, glad, joyous and really feel it and express it and moreover be heard and validated by yourself and others around you. I went to an Eve Ensler (she wrote Vagina Monologues) play based on her book, ‘Emotional Creature’ (yes I’ve been around town – Market Theatre Laboratory to be precise!!!! It was an inspiring, uplifting production.) and one of the main themes was for women to accept themselves as they are and to be accepted as different in their own feminine power.

Now all this can sound a bit gobbledy gook as we say in Australia. (Do you say it in South Africa???) Lovely sounding concepts. We all believe in feelings and our inner voice. We don’t all do what we believe. So baby steps. Feel what you feel like for dinner. Feel what your toddler is feeling. Feel what you’re feeling is probably even the best place to start. ‘Hello sadness.’ And just feel it. Some people believe just by sitting with a feeling we let it pass through. As all does pass.

So there’s a time for war, there’s a time for peace. There’s a time for male and there’s a time for female. We women have proven we can be just as good as men. How about now being women? Mothers, nurturers, feelers and taking that into the work place, our homes, the government, the streets and see what happens. It’s worth a try.

There are so many ideas wizzing through my head. It’s hard to focus on just one for this blog post. Schools back. YAY! and NAY! Yay to free mornings. Nay to lifts and early mornings, homework, extra murals etc. etc. etc. We really need to redesign the system for us moms. And maybe this is what I should talk about the power of mothers. And I’m not even talking about actual mothers with babies. But the whole energy behind being a woman with the potential to mother. That whole nurturing, building part of ourselves. Which is so resilient, strong and persistent.

Resilient in facing the unknown – just like with pregnancy. Strong in enduring whatever has to be done for what we need to create and do – like giving birth (and boy do you have to be strong). And persistent, consistent to keep going day in day out. Even when the results aren’t clear, even when there’s no tangible reward. How else would you describe bringing up children? No wonder women are considered more spiritual. Because as I type this out I’m thinking that this is exactly what it’s like to be a soul in this world. This is the story of being human.

We don’t know what will be tomorrow,  but we live for today. We do things day in day out unsure of what the end really is. We have no idea what lies on the other side of life but we trust and we toil and we go on. There are no clear rewards for this life. There isn’t anything physical, as far as I know, on the other side. As women we brush with this every day. As mothers we live it. So we’re that much closer to existential crisis and solutions I suppose.

Do men search as much as women do? Some… But they won’t talk about it like women. For a lot of them, especially those cut off from heart wisdom it’s about the facts, rational, logical proofs. Life doesn’t work like that. Even science isn’t completely rational and logical. We need the emotional aspect, which most women have. Which is the feminine.

And so yes I’ve been thinking about the feminine a lot. No don’t sigh. (Although I myself just gave a big sigh – almost as if I’m tired of all this thinking.) And I’m not talking feminism here. In brief I love the equality I have with men, but I don’t love the legacy of having to be like a man that they’ve left. No femininity which I associate with my grandmother who had eight children. She wasn’t beaten or bowed by having eight children (as I most certainly would be). She didn’t buckle being exiled from Iraq and having to flee to Israel in 1952 in dire circumstances. She didn’t flounder moving to Australia twenty years later. She just kept cooking through it. Nurturing her eight children and her husband. And life was not easy….

How did she do it? I ask myself often. I find it so hard to keep up the nurturing. I’m striving for the feminist ideal of being a career women equal to man. But in that quest I put down my very best qualities which I’ve inherited from her. That of the matriarch. To keep a home and family together no matter what. To be that staunch lighthouse which gives food to the stomach and soul. The food of love and the food of cuba bamya (a delicious meat dumpling stew with okra).

I don’t make cuba bamya. It takes too long and in truth I don’t make it so well. But I do want to be that lighthouse. I do want to stay true to the feminine, but a little voice in me squeaks that I don’t even know what the feminine really is. The feminine has been stripped. And the word that comes to mind is rape – which is very dramatic I know. But these are thoughts. And what comes to mind too is all the depression that exists around us women. From mild to severe. If we were rejoicing in the feminine. If we were all sitting at my grandmother’s table at the light house, would it be different?

And to get back to my introduction about mothers and extra murals and getting back to the feminine. I don’t think the intuitive feminine would encourage the school system that exists for our children. That doesn’t recognise the need for individuality and hence they’re all marked together like a school of fish. (I urge you all to see Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk on, do schools kill our children’s creativity?) This isn’t any one person’s fault, it’s a structural fallacy. And it’s not designed by women. I have lots of ideas on how it could be and I’ve made a note to do a post on that. I don’t think the feminine would encourage us to try to mold the ‘perfect’ child either….and definitely get rid of the idea of being the ‘perfect mother.’

Anyhow I’m searching… I’m also by the way searching for the perfect muffin. (Any good recipes welcome.) So far I flopped the muffins last week with no sugar, but I was more successful this week with nutty carrot muffins, which I’m recording below. (Maybe because I put the brown sugar like the recipe instructed.) There’s definitely something nurturing about baking. Making salads somehow doesn’t do it for me… if only it did. These actually taste a bit like a nutty biscuit my granmother used to make. It reminded me of it as I ate it – especially because my sugar was too hard and I was biting into sugar… memories.

So here’s the recipe below.

Gluten Free Nutty Carrot Muffins with DIVINE Cream Cheese Topping

(Makes 10)

1/3 Cup Rice Flour

1/3 Cup Corn Flour (Maizena for you South Africans. I’ll never forget being at Pick n Pay when I first arrived and saying to one of the staff, ‘I don’t understand it how can you not have corn flour?’ Eventually she understood that corn was maize – which I didn’t know.)

2 Tbsn Mixed Spice

2 tspn Baking Powder

1 tspn Baking Soda

2 Cups Almond Meal (I just crushed almonds in the magimix)

1 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I used hard brown sugar and it didn’t melt it was very crunchy. You could also maybe substitute with agave nectar. I haven’t tried that though.)

2 Carrots grated

2/3 Cup Walnuts (90 grams) chopped

4 Eggs separated

Cream Cheese Frosting

250 grams Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar (I used Castor Sugar which was fine)

1 Tbsp Orange Juice

 

Method

Preheat oven 160C (325 F).

Sift rice flour, cornstarch, mixed spice, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, carrot, half the walnuts and all the egg yolks; mix well.

Using electric mixer, in a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. lightly fold into almond and carrot mixture.

Spoon evenly into cases to two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer (or toothpick) inserted in the center of a cupcake tests clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make cream cheese frosting. Beat cream cheese, sugar and orange juice, until well combined. Chill before using. Spread over cooled muffins. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts.

Why does the word soul evoke a kind of ‘huh’ reaction? At least it does for me. I feel like soul is  overused in religion so that it’s become a piece of imaginary plastic that we all know we have. Rather than a continuous life force.

I’ve been thinking about energy a lot. That energy and soul are very connected. I used to think that the measure of a soul was all the good deeds versus the bad deeds that you’ve done. But that can’t be all of it.

Louise Hay says that the most precious resource that we have is our breath. As I write this I know that I’m forgetting to breathe as I sweat out my existential ideas. And yet through breathing I’m connecting to my soul, my life force.

So why have I been thinking about my soul? Because the energy in Joburg and all around the world for that matter has been down, down, down. From getting smses about a missing 9-year-old boy (was he found?) to violent strikes beyond my Northern suburbs bubble, petrol panics and a general air of uncertainty. It’s enough to put a thousand worried frowns on anyones face and that’s without mentioning the Middle East.

So I had a worried frown this week as I asked an energy worker what to do with all the negativity. She said to breathe. Breathe into myself. Into who I am. And that’s not Sarah the mother, the blogger, the cook who makes muffins without enough sugar  (I forgot to put the sugar – that’s tonight’s cooking disaster). It’s the soul, it’s the light behind my eyes (and I sure hope there’s a lot of light), it’s what I was before I was born. It’s what we all were before any of us were born. We don’t usually think of ourselves this way do we. I, miss searching, miss spiritual, miss meditator (I have been trying to wake up a bit earlier for those bird tweeting moments of solitude – it’s heaven) don’t really manage this inner connected awareness very often.

I’m trying to do it now as I breathe in and out and in and out. Going back to that original life force and my body is flooded with energy. It works. Try it. It also puts everything into perspective. Petty fights, unreasonable expectations, the ego, all that jazz that we become addicted to and think is the end of the world. When we breathe we can reconnect to what’s really important to us. What’s really here with us. What really counts.

The energy and breath we carry with us now is the energy and breath we will carry with us when we die. It’s the energy and breath we leave behind. Scarily enough it’s the energy we breathe into our children. (How often do I look at the Princes and see myself in their struggles and issues.)

Being with my energy is quiet work, it’s small work, it’s work that no one else sees. (Although I’m a bit sorry that you have to all read about it.) And that’s very comforting, because it’s not about how big or small my life is, it’s about how connected or disconnected my soul is. And that’s doable work wherever I am. Whatever is happening. It feels like a secret treasure. Which does sound rather romantic, but I think my reading and work is tipping a minor tipping point here of awareness. And I only see how asleep I was when I awaken. And this time next year I’ll look back to now and say ‘Geez was I a zombie’ and so on and so forth… That’s the process of soul seeking. It’s quite fun really.

The nicest thing as a mother is that the more I’m connecting to myself the more I see my children through soul eyes. That is seeing that they are souls, with their journeys. It’s not helping me discipline them more (this is where I shake my head as I think of them doing a wild, crazy dance for their 2-year old cousin on the trampoline today. Their poor teachers.), but there’s a tad bit more awareness. Although realising things doesn’t mean it’s easier. I think it’s harder to see. See my shortcomings more clearly, see the pain in a situation (especially when it’s unnecessary). See how much further there is to go. It’s like learning to swim in a pond and finally getting it and now swimming in a wee lake. I’m still dog paddling.

But as long as I’m having fun.

The other tip by the way for letting go of negative energy is the 92 second rule. (Heaven knows why it’s 92 seconds.) You say, ‘In 92 seconds all energy that’s not mine is leaving me now.’ And breathe in white light and breathe out, in and out. Let all the negativity go.

I thought the tips were helpful. I hope you do too. Sometimes I think I should go back to watching Master Chef because it’s so much lighter. (Not for the person who gets kicked off though.) It’s much easier watching other people’s lives than living our own isn’t it.

Just as an aside. I’m probably delving more soul wise because I’m reading that old classic, Women Who Run With The Wolves as I mentioned in last blog. I’m loving the way she explores women’s psyches and souls and spirits. How they break and how to heal in a healthy, empowered way. It’s heavy, light, wondrous reading. Well worth it. But I must add that it’s confronting.

Anyhow onto a yummier note…. Below is a recipe for Millet Stir Fry. I’ve been cooking more – nobly using my new cookbooks (THANKYOU RONI!). And praise the Lord my Millet Stir Fry worked even though I’ve made millet before and it’s always flopped. So I thought I’d post it. It’s a great alternative to fish and meat – especially with veggie Mondays.

Millet Fried “Rice”

From Heidi Swanson’s ‘Super Natural Cooking’ – It’s a lovely book she also has a healthy food blog with amazing photos!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups millet, picked over and rinsed

4 1/2 cups water (maybe use a bit less mine were a tad bit stodgy)

2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

1 carrot

2 tablespoons clarified butter (I used coconut oil)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 eggs beaten

8 ounces firm tofu cut into 1/4-inch dice (I didn’t have any so skipped it)

3/4-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated (also didn’t have this so skipped it)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups sliced green onions

1 tablespoon shoyu sauce (no idea what it is skipped it)

Method

Combine the millet, water, and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to an active, bubbling simmer and cook, covered, until the millet is fluffy and splitting. Test it after 20 or 25 minutes, and once it’s tender but not mushy, drain off any extra water (there shouldn’t be much if any [I had heaps]) and set aside to cool.

To prepare the carrots, use a vegetable peeler to make a pile of long shavings. Then use a chef’s knife to cut into thin matchsticks. (Of course I never did any of that. I just cut into crooked thin as possible, which wasn’t very, slices.) Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When it is nice and hot, pour in the eggs and swirl the pan to create a thin layer of egg evenly distributed across the pan. Cook this thin omelet for about 45 seconds, or until it sets up. Fold the eggs over on themselves and cook for another 30 seconds or so before transferring them to a plate or cutting board. Let it cool and bit, then slice into strips. (I obviously didn’t follow these very detailed instructions. I just beat the eggs cooked it like an  omelet and cut it into strips.)

Scrape or wipe away remaining egg out of the skillet, return it to medium-high heat, and, without adding any oil, drop tofu into the pan. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, tossing from time to time. Remove the tofu from the pan, set it aside with the sliced egg, and again, scrape out any bits from the bottom of the skillet. The pan should be clean for the fast-moving succession of steps.

Arrange the remaining ingredients near the stove. Place the skillet over high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, and let the oil get hot enough that a drop of water will evaporate in a second or two when it hits the pan. Stir the ginger and garlic and cook or about 15 seconds. Stir in the green onions and carrots, giving them a good initial toss and then stirring constantly for another 30 seconds, then fold in the egg. Cook just 30 seconds longer, then taste for seasoning, I like to finish this recipe off with an extra drizzle of toasted sesame oil or a bit of shoyu.

(I didn’t follow most of the recipe to be honest as I outlined. I get a thrill though when I don’t use a lot of the ingredients and it still works out great. So healthy happy eating!!! NB. Millet when cooked tastes a bit bitter but when it’s with all these ingredients it tastes great. I didn’t tell my boys that it was millet to be honest. It’s probably the only reason they ate it.)

 

 

‘It is play, not properness, that is the central artery, the core, the brain stem of creative life. The impulse to play is an instinct. No play, no creative life. Be good, no creative life. Sit still, no creative life. Speak, think, act only demurely, little creative juice. Any group, society, institution, or organization that encourages women to revile the eccentric; to be suspicious of the new and unusual; to avoid the fervent, the vital, the innovative; to impersonalize the personal, is asking for a culture of dead women.’

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Has anyone read this book? I’ve broken my 3 month detox off self-help, spiritual books. I’m weak, I’m human. I must have my addiction fix. And it’s so worth it. Even though it shakes my boat of merrily rocking down life with blocked creative arteries.

It’s a hectic paragraph from a very hectic book. She speaks about hags and bones, death mother and all sorts of things that I’ve shied away from all my life. In fact I’ve had this book on my shelf for four years and I haven’t picked it up once. I bought it for myself on a whim in the Johannesburg airport, and now I’ve opened it and it is wise and it has a lot to offer women, mothers and even men. (There is such a thing as a wild, instinctual man.)

I’ve read a lot about the dark side, our shadow self and how important it is to integrate it as a whole in our lives. I’ve never really done it, even though I’ve tried and am still trying. I’m still very married to the ‘good girl’ persona. The ‘perfect wife’ ‘devoted mother’ persona. Everything that makes everyone else happy.

Now to discard these personas is a scary business because it can lead to destruction. And Clarissa Pinkola Estes attests to this in her book. She says that women whose instincts have long been suppressed, when they awaken to their creative selves they can be unbridled and damaging. She says, ‘Overkill through excesses, or excessive behaviours, is acted out by women who are famished for a life that has meaning and makes sense for them. When a woman has gone without her cycles or creative needs for long periods of time, she begins a rampage of – you name it – alcohol, drugs, anger, spirituality, oppression of others, promiscuity, pregnancy, study, creation, control, education, orderliness, body fitness, junk food, to name a few areas of common excess. When women do this, they are compensating for the loss of regular cycles of self-expression, soul-expression, soul-satiation.’

I never knew that spirituality, pregnancy, creation, study and education could be excessive. (Says the self-help book addict.) I’ve seen women who ‘go off the wall’. Leave their husbands, children and society in order to find themselves. I’ve heard of affairs, and I’ve judged it all. How could they? But for them it must have been how could they not? And for me it just emphasises how important it is for women to feed their souls, to investigate and find their creativity. To go back to playing and having fun. Instead of making themselves, their homes ‘perfect’. And for those who even try their kids ‘perfect’.

It’s about going back to basics, back to play. To picking up a paint brush, a pen, a pair of takkies and going for a walk. Reassessing our values and honestly seeing where are we suffocating, falling short on our lives? I’m not immune to it. I get very, very despondent sometimes. Especially on holiday with the kids. There’s no time for myself. I’m running after three pairs of muddy feet all day, and it seems like I’m the only domesticated one amongst all these brutes (very cute ones) who block toilets and smudge strawberries into the carpet whilst cooking with every utensil in the drawers (that’s what happens when mummy takes 10 minutes to herself to do yoga in her room – bad mummy). Without me they’d live on crackers and cheese until the cheese ran out. And who’s fault is it?

It’s not theirs. They are just children. I brought them into the world and I set the rules in my marriage as the ‘good wife’ when I got married (at the child bride age of 20 – but yes still my choice). It’s harder to face the fact that no ones going to give me my creative time and life on a platter. ‘Go write Sarah, it’ll do you good.’ I need to ask for it, take it, grab it selfishly. For their sake, and mine of course.

So I’ve taken the hour today to write a story. Taken another hour whilst the Princes are swimming with their dad to write a blog entry. Playing by ourselves is quite simple once we get through the PSYCHE of NO. Not an easy task which is why I need to repeat ‘yes to play’ in my own life over and over and over again. And for that matter over and over in this blog.

And I do feel better, much better after writing. Good enough to go biking on the golden mile in Durban. (Our activity for the day which is a must for anyone thinking of holidaying here.) But first I’m going to walk and get a Woolies soy coffee – another glorious thing for me…

Disclaimer – I can’t help thinking that maybe I am a bit self-indulgent over here. Going on and on about the importance of play. (Although it’s not just me it’s every freaking book I read.) I know we all live high pressured lives. But that’s exactly the point why are we all walking around so frazzled and busy and yet so unfulfilled??? I’m going to crack the code for me, and enjoy as many cappuccinos as I can whilst I’m at it. And I’m not talking pedicures and manicures ladies. Although they are lovely and please get them done (I love it when I have red nails). However I’ve discovered that beautiful toes and fingers don’t fill that emptiness, that feeling that ‘I’m missing something but what is it?’ I know that I don’t have that feeling after I write. It’s worth finding what fills you and doing it. And if it’s the nails well that’s really, really lucky because they last at least a whole week.

 

We’re in Umhlanga and sitting around our lounge watching the elimination phase of Master Chef Australia. I’m loving it. Even though Prince No. 1 isn’t. I’m loving the Australian accents. I’m loving that they’re squeamish over cooking pigeon. I’m loving watching Joanne the 37-year-old mum who cooks with her family photos above her and her husband speaking in her mind as she bawks before gutting the pigeon, ‘Just get in there.’

And they’re in London, having just been in Paris. I’d love to do that. Of course I’d never make it. Considering that I can burn my beef kebabs with the best of the char cooks. (We won’t mention the nuts again.) So Master Chef isn’t an option. Ah well. As long as my little family are happy with the cooking that’s been going on in the teeny-weeny kitchen here. You can smell the steaks I cooked in the oven yesterday down the hallway. (I forgot to bring the steak frying pan so the roasting pan had to do. I’d do well in how to improvise a kind of edible meal with the least ingredients and utensils.) The smoke still lingered this morning as we woke up.

Anyhow I’m enjoying watching a bit of mindless TV – which I never do. I was fascinated by the SA adverts because I haven’t watched adverts in years. (Bit of a sad state of TV affairs I suppose – but I usually prefer a book.) And it’s so nice to take my mind off things. Being on holiday with the kids and being on call 24 hours a day – with a three-year old boss who shouts from the bathroom, ‘Mummy come wipe my bum’ – he’s on a bum wiping strike. The problem is that it’s been for over a month now. We’re reaching a compromise.

It is quite nice sitting all around after supper (where we did sit and say our best and worst things of the day ie. talk) watching Master Chef wondering who’s going to win. I’m going for the mum.

Actually I think I’d prefer to be a judge on Master Chef – less anxiety than cooking. Can you imagine if your family sat around and judged what you cooked every night. I think I’d permanently quit from the kitchen. With comments such as ‘I think it’s a bit too salty’ and the way they eye the food as it comes…. no thank you.

Ahhh I hope the mum wins. I love the way she speaks it so reminds me of home… I can’t bear the way the judges smell each mouthful as they taste it… this is really nerve-racking. Finally they like it a lot – they love the merelles – what is merelles? I’m sure that I’ve spelt that wrong. Oh God they don’t like the onion – it throws the whole dish off…

And it’s…… IT guy or Mum??? Eyes down it’s not the mum! Ah well… We can’t all win.

At least her family gets to eat her yummy, gourmet food. More than my Princes can say… although I do give them Lindt chocolate to dip into rooibos tea after supper. I think that’s pretty cool. It could get points on Master Mum. Now that would be a fun show to watch. Although I don’t fancy mums being judged closely, with judges saying ‘That tone of voice was a bit too loud.’ ‘That game was fun but not educational enough’. On seconds thoughts no Master Mum show.