me Life and Times of the Fireflies: May 2014

Friday, 30 May 2014

Recipe - Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I've been a little bad with posting recipe's recently and there is a reason for that. My renewed passion in the kitchen has impacted my waistline somewhat and I've been trying to get myself back on track. Having temptation lurking in front of me while everyone else was at work and school was not helping my plight and was a cruelty beyond I decided to lay off even baking anything that was going to tempt me out of my lettuce leaves!!
But alas, the family had had enough of it! And with the weather taking a nice dip over the weekend, the kids (and husband) demanded a treat  to accompany their tea, coffee and hot chocolate...I was going to make a Carrot Cake to ease my conscience (carrots are vegetables and therefore carrot cake is healthy right? ) but that was not their idea of a treat. Ideas were flying all over the show, but little Zee won with his request for a vanilla cake. It made me scratch out a good old favourite Hot Milk Sponge Cake recipe of mine and it seems the family quite enjoyed it...'cos all that was left was a shaving of a slice that I admit, I ate while they were at school ;-)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 250 gr Castor sugar
  • 280 gr Cake Flour
  • 15 ml Baking Powder
  • 250 ml Milk
  • 100 gr Butter
  • 5 ml Vanilla Essence
  1. Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and pale in colour.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold into egg and sugar mixture.
  3. Heat milk and butter. Do not boil.
  4. Stir milk mixture and essence into batter. Spoon into two greased and lined  20cm cake tins.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 25-30 minutes. 
  6. Once cakes are cooled, sandwich together with icing or White Chocolate Ganache.
  • 150 gr butter
  • 300 gr icing sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoon milk
  • 4 (or more) Tablespoon Golden Syrup
I usually cream butter and icing sugar really well until it is a light fluffy texture and then add milk, and golden syrup. I drizzled some melted milk chocolate over the icing, but you can decorate however you wish!


The sun was at a terrible angle when I took these photo's and I was rushing through them a bit because I had a starved out troop who hadn't seen cake in a while, waiting in line for a slice!! But I do hope it does the cake some justice...
Thanks for reading today and happy baking!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Winter Wardrobe

I always love hearing from readers! As much as this blog is my space where I come to express myself; it is also a space that you come and visit too...and I really do want to make it a space that you love to frequent, so any indication of what you enjoy reading...or ideas and suggestions for posts are always welcomed :-) It's been brought to my attention that I haven't done any fashion (Which I admit, I do not write regularly about) or recipe posts in quite a while, so I decided to give my serious side a bit of a break and explore a different side of me today!!
When it comes to fashion and wardrobe, Winter is quite honestly my favourite season to dress up! Layers and coats (to hide under) and pants that stretch make it THE most comfortable season of them all!! I hardly ever feel fat and  my trousers always seem to fit (well... most days). Even modesty seems easier to attain than it is in the unbearable Summer heat.

When it comes to trends, I find that good quality winter staples last quite well from season to season, allowing one to play around with key seasonal trends and also build on a wardrobe that can survive the passing trends. When it comes to my personal style, I don't necessarily head out and buy every single "season must have". I like to purchase things that, most importantly, suits my body; incorporate a few trends in a subtle way; and also choose things that fits my lifestyle. Over the years, I have made many impulsive purchases that I never got wear out of because it simply did not suit my day to day. Ultimately, for me, comfort reigns supreme!!

Fashion is definitely an expression and extension of our personality and because I don't need a working wardrobe, I do tend to lean towards comfort and practical...with glam and girly days when I'm in the mood. As the seasons change I tend to look to magazines, fashion websites and celebs for style inspiration and I've compiled a few of my favourites that can give you a peek into what best depicts my personal style.

Jessica Alba is definitely my style icon! Effortlessly chic at it's best.
Skinny jeans or leggings in varying styles and colours, loose tops and printed scarves are my winter wardrobe staples!
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Lately I've been trying to perfect Olivia Palermo's loose waves...I've even dared to post a picture or 2 on Instagram.
But I must admit, my hair most often looks like this!

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Adding a splash of colour in the form of a coat, scarf or bag can brighten up the dreariest of days...
Imagine my excitement when I discovered I have a replica of this coat :-)

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Sometimes I get in a girly which case a shift dress or swing dress like Gwen Stefani's is more my kinda style.

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Good investment pieces never goes out of this classic trench. Still wearing the one Mom bought me several years ago.

A sprinkle of leopard print always cheers me up! I wear them mostly on hats, scarves and pumps, but these boots are ultra cute!
Lately I've been loving the winter maxi and leather jacket combo. Very ladylike and feminine.

Love it!!

 And sometimes I put in a bit of effort and venture out of my comfort zone...leather leggings, flowy blouse, blazer and heels for date night!
Not really a fashionista's guide to Winter...but thanks for reading anyway!
*I do not take credit for any of the pics in this post today...

Monday, 19 May 2014

My Truths - Done Being Angry

Nobody's life is ever perpetual sunshine and endless rainbows. At some point, we have all weathered a storm! EVERYONE has a story...We have all had setbacks. We have all fought wars. We have all climbed mountains and tried to claw our way out of holes! We might even have seen the world as our enemy...ourselves as a victim...our lives a complete dead end to sorrow. At some point, we might have found ourselves permanently enraged. Consumed with bitterness and volcanoes waiting to erupt! Filled with molten lava fumes of emotion that is ready to cascade out of us.
But at some point too, we would have to face a decision! Whether to continue spiralling out of control on this all consuming path of hatred, rage and anger...or decide to let it go. To take the steps to heal. To make a commitment to choose to be happy. To find the silver lining...

I have learnt, that even though Anger is a normal human emotion, there's a certain type of Anger that is all consuming...encompassing...and it shows it's face when our emotional furnaces are unsettled. This Anger usually takes us hostage in the moments when we feel most is a little message that whispers rather loudly...that begs us to scratch beneath the surface and deal with the real issues...
Stop fighting! Look. Listen. Observe. Our mind is only letting us know to let go of whatever is holding us back...and the longer we hold on, the harder it becomes for us to move on. So the next time you feel your body well up with insurmountable anger. The next time you feel betrayed, sad, lonely...understand that these are just obstacles put in our paths...little divine messages to teach us something about ourselves and make us stronger! It's up to each of us to unravel the message, let go of all the negativity and regain our inner peace. Our sanity. WE can only get better!!!
Contentment will only come when we release all the negative energies of the world and embrace who we are meant to be. We will never feel at ease when we are constantly fighting ourselves or those around us. Such inner turmoil only leads to further self destruction. Don't let Anger control you. Conquer it!!!! Life is so much better on the other side...

I am so done being angry at the world!
I am consumed with bitterness and resentment and it is gnawing away at my core.
I am filled to capacity and am starting to regurgitate a bitterness that is not me!
Like a python spewing venom...
I cannot stop myself.
Like a scorpion stinging in defence...
Only, I didn't start out like a scorpion...
Sometimes I feel like the victim of a vampire - Having the blood sucked out of me...
only to turn into something vile and ugly! Like them!
I need to STOP!! But how?
I need to start fighting the demons inside of me.
Cough them up, Spit them out and regain control of my body.
If I have learnt one thing; it's that anger and hatred consumes the body and mind like a vile poison.
It spreads through your veins and attacks your mind...eating at you like a scavenger!
I am so done with being angry at the world.
There are so many better things to do with my time than harbour a resentment that is bound to destroy me...
So the next time I am face to face with the luminous light that is anger...
I will turn my back and walk away,
rather than have it corrode my mind and heart...
 (An excerpt from a very old diary entry I thought I'd share)
 Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A Bond Unbroken

Another year older. Another year wiser. 365 days closer than we were before...

Birthdays are little milestones, markings...a celebration of how far we've come. Reflecting on the time that has passed. Gratitude for our blessings. Acceptance for the things unchanged...As my little sister celebrated her birthday last weekend, I wanted to write something special for her and capture the special bond we have...

There's a lot of things I didn't bargain for when you came into the world. For starters, I didn't think we'd land up being best friends. I know I hated being categorised as 'mom's babies' with you...but perhaps, that is where it all started (thank you Mom!). I don't remember the precise moment you stopped being my thumb sucking baby sister and grew up to be my friend....but whenever that was, I am deeply grateful, for I can't picture any of our many adventures, taking place without you!

We trekked together through dancing school, and primary concerts and theatre productions (and some backyard productions too)... and you made me join you for Saturday morning gymnastics lessons too! I helped you with homework and essays and analysing your  English literature...I helped you write stories, and sometimes I wrote them for you just because I had a thousand things I could say on the topic! What I liked best, was when we walked home together after, you, the clear blue sky and the secrets we would share (even though you were no good at keeping them!)...about life and crushes and everything in between.

You helped me cook (and sample) the Sunday meal...played dress up together till well past our teens...and when it was just you and I left to share a room, we painted it mint green! Half eaten burgers and trips to the mall...Movies, Comedies and must see sitcoms and series...We have been through it all. And though our paths diverged when you went to University and forged your career, there was something in our bond that was, and is, unbreakable!

You had to accompany me on my first (second, third and fourth) date...and even when we found love, you didn't stop being my number 1 friend! So many things we did, we did together and if we didn't do it together, we planned it together... after a while, I hardly even felt like the older sister!

Over the passing years, there are countless things that have strengthened  our bond and makes it special and unique. Shared moments and cherished memories have led us to today. Where conversations last for hours; about  everything, anything and nothing at all. Food, fashion, exercise regimes and fad diets. Funny quotes and inspiration...for every single thought, you are my sounding board.

I rely on you to make me laugh when all I want to do is cry; and sometimes you make me laugh so hard that tears roll out of my eyes! I can always count on you to tell the truth. Straight up. Unpolished. Just as it is. You're the one who will crawl on her knees, sit on the floor, jump around doing foolish with the kids...and when all is done, you will also entice us all to climb onto the bed next to you. You might be a little selfish with the chocolate...but you are unselfish with your love, 'cos you know all my silly little quirks...and despite it all, I know you love me still!

Our younger years have faded fast and our paths have led us on a slightly different course; but I don't think we ever saw each other less than equals. And even after all these years; with so many memories in between;  our bond remains unbroken, our bond remains the same!!
Not really a belated Happy Birthday, cos I know you celebrate the entire month of May!!!
Love Always,
  NAMU :)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Beauty Buys

I am not a make-up fundi. I shop rather impulsively and do not have an elusive list of must haves (besides my face creams and serums, which I simply MUST HAVE!!). As consumers, we are bombarded with (digitally enhanced) pictures and adverts, empty promises and clever marketing captions that lure and entice us into purchasing. My make-up bag alone (yes, I do have one) consists of products I don't quite use because they were poor choices and bad quality.

Recently, I have been paying more attention to the quality of my purchases. Partially thanks to the various beauty blogs I read...but also because I am keen to detox my make-up bag and start fresh with products that are more in tune with my needs. My daughter is a good indicator of how the youth are swayed by the media (she loves the vlog Miss Glamorazzi) and pretty pictures and packaging (courtesy of Clicks pamphlets) , which is how she makes her choices and draws up her wish list... (GIRLS!!!)

With so many broken promises and varying prices from brands, it is difficult to make informed choices. I feel that the only true reflection of product success comes from the consumer themselves and therefore decided to compile a list of my beauty purchases from time to time, so that I can be cured from my impulsive tendencies and  make more informed choices in the future...and also pass my findings on to everyone out there.

Here's a few of my recent beauty buys...

Maybelline Baby Lips

Picture courtesy of

This was a choice made by my daughter. She has had it on her wish list for months now, so when I spotted the range at Clicks, I decided it was a must buy! Baby Lips is a repairing lip balm is formulated with an SPF2O, vitamin C&E, Shea butter, aloe, camphor and Centella,  and lives up to it's name sake and does, in fact, provide baby soft lips. I feel that it was the perfect (and age appropriate) product for my daughter, who is slowly becoming enthralled in the world of make up! Extreme moisture, with a hint of colour, cute and colourful packaging and subtle fruity fragrance is perfect for my almost 12 year it comes in 5 different shades. I think I may be liking this product more than she does ;-)

Rimmel Stay Blushed Liquid Cheek Tint

This, I admit, was an impulsive purchase! My previous blusher was on the brink of extinction and I needed a new one. I was going to repurchase the Clinique brand which I was using and really love, but snatched up one of these from Clicks to use in the meantime and I'm so glad I did. I LOVE this cream blusher!!! It is extremely easy to use with a smooth, soft texture that settles into a natural looking stain. The longevity of the product comes with a promise of lasting 24hrs. I do find that the lasting power of the product is better if I wear my tinted moisturiser than when I go without it.
Clinique Chubby VS Revlon Stain

I have always been intrigued by these chubby sticks! I bought the Clinique Chubby Lip Balm first...on a rather dismal attempt at clothes shopping. I live by the motto "If nothing make-up!!" which is how I landed up making this purchase! INLOVE! Again, this product has all the essential moisture rich ingredients making it extremely moisturising with a not too overpowering colour, which makes this a winner for me. I wear mine almost everyday and will definitely invest in more shades.

My complete obsession with the Clinique chubby led me to the Revlon counter. Revlon Kissable Lip Stain has a noticeable R100 price difference!!! I didn't think twice and made the purchase and admittedly expected more or less the same features from this product....which turned out to be kind of true. You got a whole lot more colour pigment...and a little less moisturising. It's not a bad product, just don't expect it to be the same. The colour does well in staining the lip and lasts much longer than the Clinique one...but I personally prefer the Clinique brand. Revlon does have a bigger variety of colours and I do think I will invest in another purchase... perhaps colours that don't feature in the Clinique range.

Yardley Volume Lash Maximus Mascara

This was not a purchase. In fact,  it comes from my still not used up, bottomless goodie bag from the Blogger Meet up and I finally got to this mascara! I must admit, I expected a lot more volume from this product just from it's name. I didn't get the volume and definition unfortunately, but I did get zero clumping! I found the mascara easy to apply and it separates the lashes brilliantly. I don't wear lots of make up on a daily basis, so when I wear mascara it's usually for a function or something and then I like to go full out and dramatic. I find this mascara to be more suited for everyday wear and so I have started adding it as part of my very minimalistic make up routine...which I wouldn't consider to be a very bad thing :-)    
If you have any suggestions of products you can't do without and think I should try, then please do let me know. You can leave a comment at the end of this post and will try it out as I start filling up my new and improved make-up kit :-)
Thanks for reading today!

Always opting for a natural look!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Blog turns 1 !!

image courtesy of
It's officially a year since I started this blog. Started sharing my ramblings and pouring my heart out onto the screen. It really has been a labour of love for me! Combining all the things closest to my heart and forging a little space in cyber world where I can share all my moments and lessons with so many people...a slowly growing community!
 It is easy to get lost in this blogging lose your footing and move with the stream. But sometimes moving with the stream means losing your own unique voice! Sometimes we have to swim a quieter path in order to be true to who we are. This blog, though not grandiose, has allowed me to do something I love and has given me the confidence to tell my my OWN way.
After some consideration I decided to forego the customary Blog Birthday giveaway that has become quite a popular way to celebrate. This blog has never been anything but a journey of words...a love for a craft and an exploration of a passion. I have sincerely enjoyed this artistry of words and appreciate all the avenues it has led me to and doors it has opened. Mostly, I enjoy being able to share it with so many people...spanning so many countries and continents and leave behind little pieces of me for my kids to look back on some day.
 I have nothing more to offer than my words...My journey...Where it leads me and what I learn along the way. I am hoping it is enough to keep my readership. To keep you coming back to visit from time to time...and hopefully, to grow. I am hoping; asking really; that if you find yourself perusing my blog and by chance like what you read, to please give my Facebook page a like (here), subscribe via email, or follow on the hopes of allowing my audience to grow a little more and give me a chance to live out my dream.
Thanks to all of you who constantly read, like, comment and share my posts. I am beyond grateful to you all, for a blog is nothing really, without an audience that reads...
Here's to another year of blogging. Of sharing my little adventures and making new friends along the way!