me Life and Times of the Fireflies: March 2016

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Recipe - Banana Choc Chip Cake

I've had no urge to bake these past few months.The Summer heat, coupled with trying to be a bit more healthy is really not a conducive environment for baking experiments. And so I lay down the baking tools for a while...If only just to find my feet in this new world I'm navigating in. But the kids (and husband) have had enough of this baking sabbatical I've been on!
With the dip in temperatures as we embrace the cooler seasons, and the more relaxed ambiance of the school holiday; I decided to give in to (their) temptation and give them the treat they've been longing for, for so long....Plus there was also a big bowl of ripe bananas that needed to be used up, so I guess all the elements were lined up in their favour for a treat day!
For me, this cake embodies all the elements for a cold Autumn/Winter's day indulgence. It's one of those kinds of cakes that fills your house with much needed warmth on a cold day,  entices you as its aroma fills the air and wafts through the stairways and corridors, the type of cake you want to slice into as soon as it comes out  of the oven! It's one of those companions you want by your side while nestled under the covers with a hot cuppa, lost in the pages of a novel! It's pure comfort - luxurious and  indulgent...and oh so delicious! 
I've opted out of smothering this cake in cream cheese icing as the original recipe recommends. I feel like one loses out on the flavours of the banana and chocolate by lathering on the icing (plus, it's really unnecessary calories). I also used dark choc chips on this occasion and feel like it was a nice contrast against the sweetness provided by the ripe bananas. But those options are entirely up to you to decide upon. For me, a sprinkling of icing sugar and cinnamon, and some drizzling of chocolate seemed more than enough. And when the fear of over indulging became too much to bear, I promptly shared some with the any good sister will do ;-)

  • 185 gr Butter

  • 270 gr Castor Sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 230 gr Self-Raising Flour

  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

  • 3 Tblsp milk

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana ( the more ripe, the better)

  • 1/4 cup pecan nuts, chopped

  • 3/4 cup choc chips (dark or milk, depending on preference)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a Bundt tin/Ring mould.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add eggs, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  3. Using a metal spoon, fold in sifted flour and soda alternately with milk. Stir through banana, pecans and choc bits until just combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  5. Leave cake in tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool. I dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon and drizzled with melted chocolate, but you could try out cream cheese icing below.

  • Beat 125gr cream cheese in a bowl until light and creamy. Add 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence and 2 Tblsp cream and beat thoroughly until combined. Spread over cake and sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon before serving.

    Thanks for reading!
    NAMU :)


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Battle of the Bulge - Fear of the Festive Season

Just as I'm starting to settle into my new lifestyle adjustments and make some progress, I spot a potential setback! FESTIVE SEASON!! SCHOOL HOLIDAY!!! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid...but I am. I'm petrified! It's been easy staying committed to a fixed schedule during the school period, but without the safety net of routine, I fear that I will fall off the wagon and boomerang back into old habits, only to struggle to regain momentum and rhythm once the school starts.

If failure has taught me anything, then it's given me an idea of what I've been doing wrong! I have started and failed at this journey so many times before and that failure has led me this point; and if anything, it has given me a strong platform to learn and grow from. We are creatures of habit, and  now that I have a clearer understanding of what my weaknesses are, I have a better chance of combatting it!

I know that in order to succeed, I will need to have some sort of plan. I will need to be mentally prepared! So my approach to this two week hiatus  is to :

Stay Active :  School holiday usually marks a more sedentary lifestyle for me. Sleeping late, no pick ups and drop offs, no rush to go anywhere and a generally more relaxed vibe; means that I'm a lot less active than I am during school times. My aim is to try and maintain some sort of discipline with my gym routine and get the kids to join in and be my gym buddies. Incorporating activities such as hiking and cycling will also help in keeping us active and moving!

Eating Clean... Or as clean as possible! This is a huge battle during the holidays!! There's just no eating plan at all during the holiday period. Meals are either spur of the moment or on the go! Nothing is prepared or planned and holiday treats are frequent and calorie dense! And before you know it, you have sabotaged your own progress and back at the starting block! So I want to be more conscious of what I put into my mouth this time round (no burgers, fries and sugary drinks). I want to be kinder to my body and make better choices (more water, fruit and healthy snacks). I want to put thought behind my excursions (pack a healthy option if possible to avoid impulse junk food shopping), plan ahead (always leave home with water and an apple as a filler between meals), and avoid the pitfalls and indulgences that's part and parcel of the festive season (For me, this means knowing where I'm heading and planning what to order from the menu before coming face to face with temptation).

Planning Ahead : With failure, comes lessons... and one of the most valuable lessons on this journey is that the mind is the key to success. I know that if I want to come out of this holiday period unscathed, I have to put my mind into gear! In many ways, this feels like a new start. A shift in mind set and a shift in routine! Just because there's a change in my routine, doesn't mean there's a change in my goal...I just have to find a way to shift gears and mind to accommodate this brief change in my daily routine!
With these tools, I'm marching full throttle into the Easter break. Wish me luck!!!

If you've missed my previous Battle of the Bulge posts, you can catch up by reading here and here
Thanks for reading!
NAMU :) 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

For all the stories I never get to Write...This one is for You, Nash

I know your birthday has passed...but the feeling in my heart hasn't. That's why I'm taking some time out to release all these thoughts and feelings that I don't often enough have a chance to speak. I've never written a birthday story for you, not because I don't love you...only because I've always been so deeply engrossed in my day to day, and before I know it, the day has passed; and it seems to have done the same this year too!

But I don't want time to rob me of the things I want to say. I don't want to wait till next year or the year after that. I don't want to wait a lifetime for the perfect moment, only to miss out on the millions of semi-perfect moments in between. And so this message may be late, but it's been lingering in my heart for a very long time...

It's wonderful the bond that gets created when you are part of the very beginning... First breathes and first movements. How the heart beats when you are part of someone's every day! It's rare to be a part of so many children's journey's, to have each one of them capture your heart in a different way. And today I want to celebrate OUR bond. Today I want to celebrate you.

I want to celebrate your loving nature and your silly sense of humour. I want to celebrate soft heart and strong will. I want to celebrate your firmness in your beliefs...that nothing can waver you when you believe something is right. Your strong sense of justice and your equally strong sense of mischief! But mostly your strong embrace...your unashamed hugs for your miniature aunty in the middle of the school parking lot! You are free with your love and that is one of the many, many reasons that I love you (that, and your honesty when you tell me I need to schedule a hair colour at the salon ! )

We have always had a strong bond. The special kind of love that Aunties and nephews share. From scolding you as a mischievous little toddler, to laughing our way into your teens; I have always been present through it all. But this past year has made our bond even stronger! And I want you to know that whatever else may come your way, as an Aunt, I will always be a part of that too. Together, we will make many more memories, and though I don't always get to write about it, my dear child... for all the stories I never got to write,  today I want to celebrate you!

Birthday memories with the cousins at RUSH <3

Handsome Nash...front and centre <3
Rather late than never...
Happy Birthday Nash!
Love Always,

Friday, 4 March 2016

New Oxygen Skin Technology Treatment from Biodermal

Some of you might be familiar with my skin journey with the Biodermal Aesthetics Clinic. I've written about it previously ( here ), and continue to reap the rewards of on going treatments, so I was extremely excited when I heard that they were introducing a new line of treatments to help even further in my fight against the ageing process! The bt Accent AIR system is the latest in the revolutionary technology based facials treatments which uses the innovative break through oxygen machine!
How it works...
The bt-Accent AIR system revitalises the skin by inducing break-through, age defying skin care products containing powerful ingredients to target signs of ageing, fine lines and wrinkles. It works by purifying the air, removing nitrogen and other harmful elements; which is then used to apply the revolutionary skin care to problematic areas!
Some of the benefits include
  • Complete product penetration
  • Hydrates and revitalises skin
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces Acne
  • Plumps sunken and deflated skin
  • Removes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces pigmentation
The system uses three methods of delivering oxygen to the skin

First, product is sprayed on with the oxygen system and delivered directly to the problem areas
Next, Jet is used to ensure further penetration of product. It is typically used on areas to reduce wrinkles and ageing
Then the dome is used to pump oxygen into the skin, and at the same time, one is breathing in pure oxygen, resulting in an amazing feeling of rejuvenation. 
The result is instantly radiant and hydrated skin! Fine lines gone...any signs of early ageing - completely  BANISHED!! Although I don't have problematic skin, the early signs of ageing is definitely starting to surface, and I left the treatment feeling youthful and completely rejuvenated! But what had me really convinced, was when others noticed the change too. Without knowing that I had been for a treatment, different people stopped me on various occasions the week after my treatment to comment on my skin. Proof that this treatment not only works, but that the effects last!

Do take advantage of the special currently running at the Biodermal Aesthetic Clinic.
If you book one of these revolutionary new treatments, you receive a 10% discount on this bt-cocktail
products...what I like to refer as my little anti-ageing potion ;-)
You can book your appointment by contacting
Nadhiya on
076 680 1199 (WHATSAPP ONLY)
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

What Sports Day has Taught Us

Call it instinct - Call it what you want, but the last thing we want is for our children to stumble and get hurt. Whether they stumble as they start to take their first steps, or as they stumble along in life, or when their ego's get bruised when they under achieve; our instinct is to protect, and if we could, we would probably clear every obstacle out of their path. We want the best for our kids and so we set the bar of expectation high...
It's true, we live in a society where there is no reward for defeat, and so we groom our kids for victory and success. We don't merely want them to try something...we want them to WIN at it.  And though it's important to always strive to do our best, to aim for the accolades that society so readily dishes out for excellence; losing is as important to human growth as winning!  
Every single year I sit tirelessly in the stands on the side lines of the sports field (with my sister always faithfully by my side) as I cheer my children on for their sporting events. Win or lose, I'm there, waving the flag, shouting till my voice is gone, ready with a hug when that few seconds of effort is complete. It's an important event on our calendar, not only because of their achievements, but  mostly because of the valuable lessons we have gotten out of it.  Each of my children have different strengths, so the lesson has been different for each child...
Society has a funny way of putting people with different strengths to bat together on the same field. Sometimes this can have a negative impact on young, developing beings, if they can never measure up to societies expectations. For my eldest child, the sports field is where she comes alive. For me, the sports field is where I celebrate her strengths!! We have learnt to accept and acknowledge that everyone has a different talent, and everyone's talent is worthy of celebrating!


My middle child has a tendency to not try something unless he is sure he will make a success of it. While I'm not quite sure if this is a good thing, I'm not going to promote my kids to cheat themselves out of effort! He is not a bad athlete, even though he might not be the best. And YOUR best is always good enough for me. One of the greatest gifts I could have given him in particular, is that winning isn't everything! That he shouldn't be afraid to try, no matter what the outcome!!


You know the saying "sore loser" ? Well I have  had one of those! A great lesson to learn at an early age is that winning isn't everything. Sure, it feels great! Sure, we should always strive to do our best...but we simply cannot win at everything, and that's ok! Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we feel disappointed in ourselves when we don't quite reach our own expectations, but I always want my kids to know, that my only expectation is that they try at all. Without life's disappointments, we simply cannot grow. (I am proud to announce that said child has become a pro at not winning...but what's even better is when he realised that by taking himself out of the equation, he was also missing out on the fun...and that's what sports day is all about -FUN!)


Know your worth...but also know the worth of your opponent! Part of participating is knowing that everyone on the field has worked hard. Everyone deserves to win. And when you don't, it's not the end of the world. I love how my daughter and her friends don't compete as oppositions, but as peers. And never mind who crossed the finish line first, they celebrate each others victories together! How we accept defeat is a good reflection of character.


I admit, I feel sorry for my kids when they experience disappointments; but one positive contribution my husband has made to parenting our kids (yes...I am giving him credit for something!) is to find the humour in serious situations. He has it down to a fine art and sport disasters does not escape a joke or two. Laughter is the best medicine. It is not a is the truth.


Society teaches us that shallowness equals success. Smart car, fancy house, great career...these are the things we define as success. But if we really pause to think, I'm sure most moms would agree that all they really want is for their kids to be happy! I think it's important to raise our kids to never lose sight of the bigger picture. When we teach our children to deal with disappointments, we are in fact building  their character...and that will lead them to the ultimate success!!


So as the bigger kids roll on to High School where they require less of mommy's presence and encouraging cheers; I started the cycle again with my baby with his first sporting event. Where exactly he fits into the dynamics of things (athlete or not) I am yet to discover, but rest assured I will be on the side lines, as I've always been, guiding and encouraging in whichever way he needs. For his first go at it, I was quite chuffed that my little champion was oblivious to his competitors or whether he won or lost. He was just happy to be on the field and part of his team!

 As for my nephew Shakeel, having always shied away from sport, he made me super proud to set his fears aside and participate this year. Onward an upward...we will always be your biggest cheerleaders no matter what!

Thanks for reading!