My New Favourite Things!

On the hunt for blog fodder I remembered there are a few things I’ve been telling people about, and raving about, and if that’s not blog fodder -what is!?

I am loving the new Colgate Plax for sensitive teeth! Its fantastic! It doesn’t feel like it burns in my mouth like regular plax, and its alcohol free.

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Annique Resque Zeroache+ and Annique Resque Crème.
The Zeroache+ provides temporary relief for everything from muscular aches and stiff joints to headaches and a sore throat! My sister discovered it after her spinal fusion surgery and now we’re all using it!
The Crème is the only thing that has so far soothed my itchy and cracked knuckles! Its made to helps to effectively relieve irritated and itchy skin and its safe for children and babies.
In winter, when I am doing sugar work for cake decorating, I wash my hands a lot. Between colours, between finished pieces… I wash my hands so much that my knuckles and the sides of my hands are raw, itchy and sore. So much so that it keeps me awake at night, and in the morning my hands are swollen from scratching in my sleep! This Crème actually soothes it like nothing else I’ve tried does!

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~~     As per my Ladybloggers pledge, and in case you were wondering – nobody at Annique, Colgate,
their advertising or PR companies had anything to do with this blog post.     
~~

I Do Love The Cold…

And I think I fell in love with a fridge last weekend…

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It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it.
Every now and then I see something that I just have to have, usually an appliance of some sort, and this is the first time I’ve seen a fridge that caught my eye!

Its a 510L French Door Samsung Refrigerator.
The fridge door shelves are deep, the shelves in the fridge are adjustable, it has two veggie drawers inside that have their own temperature controls, the fridge door has a water dispenser and you can dispense ice too – crushed or cubed!!! In case you didn’t know – I have ice in ALL my cold drinks!

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The freezer section at the bottom is a drawer, so you can pull it out and see whats in your freezer to pack or unpack groceries, without having to sit on the floor!

Between the fridge and the freezer is another drawer – with adjustable compartments and its own temperature controls!

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We had gone out for a bit of a brunch because of loadshedding, and were window shopping in Dion Wired before heading home. I opened and examined every single fridge in that shop – and I kept going back to this one!
There’s not much chance I’ll ever own such a sexy fridge… At over R30,000 its well out of my price range, but its nice to dream, right?

😀

~~     As per my Ladybloggers pledge, and in case you were wondering – nobody at Samsung, Dion Wired,
their advertising or PR companies had anything to do with this blog post.     
~~

Shopping For One

No, don’t panic, I’m talking about shopping for my knucklehead!

Its been quite an adjustment not having him at home, and we’ve had to work out how to shop for him so he eats properly, and enough. He has a fridge with a small freezer, a microwave, two-plate stove, kettle, toaster and snackwhich so I have to shop with that in mind. I also know that if its raw, he’s probably not going to make the time to cook it.

I started teaching him to cook when he was about 12 as a solution to his “I’m bored…” moments, so even though most of his meals are heat-n-eat, he knows how to mix things up a bit and he likes making flapjacks for himself too.

Anything that doesn’t need refrigeration is good – tuna, bully beef, two-minute noodles, bread (which he freezes if he has space), long-life milk, muesli, baked beans and and tinned meals like spaghetti and meatballs. He doesn’t have an oven so frozen pies and pizzas aren’t an option. I do buy him paninis which I freeze individually for him as they are already cooked and they make awesome sarnies.
PnP and Makro both have a nice range of frozen meals for the micro that aren’t too expensive – cottage pie, beef lasagne and mac-n-cheese, and I&J has an awesome “mealbox” that he loves – chicken curry, red curry, sweet & sour chicken and a tika masala curry, but I can only get those if I find them on a special offer as they can be pricey.
I also buy big packs of vienna sausages which I split up and freeze in portions, when I make supper I serve a portion for him and freeze it in a ziploc bag, and I pre-cook a whole lot of chicken breasts which I buy in bulk, then freeze in portions for us and for him so he can heat them up and stick them on a sandwich or eat them with noodles.
I try to make sure he has some fresh items like eggs, apples, tomatoes and onions, but if he doesn’t eat them they will go off, and I’ve taught him how to check if the eggs are off before cracking them.
And he gets coffee, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, mayo, tomato sauce, chutney, cheese, pickles and bread spreads, and if I can I pack in a couple of packets of crisps, cookies, gumballs and cool drinks.
Ooh, and this weekend we discovered this – cooked chicken in single portions, ready for a sarnie or pasta, or just on its own, in four flavour varieties. It doesn’t need refrigeration and its not ridiculously overpriced either so its definitely going on the shopping list!

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I try to get out to see him every two weeks, and take his groceries with me. He has Mondays off so I try and go then, sometimes we’ll head out to a mall nearby and we’ll do his shopping together, thats always fun.
He even sends me a shopping list now when he runs out of things, and he had to wrap his head around thinking about things like toilet paper, washing powder, razors, toilet duck and dishtowels.

He’s so grown up. He’s so independent.

My heart wants to burst with pride and happiness when I see him and talk to him.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to meals-for-one?

And as per my Ladybloggers pledge, just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t asked, paid or given anything to mention the brands I’ve included in the blog post.

Support #SAB18Plus for Your Child’s Sake

You’re too strict!
Its just a beer…
But its a special occasion!
My mom used to let me have a drink with her before I was 18.
If you never let him have anything he’ll go overboard one day…

I heard these and other arguments many times when my son was growing up, because I did not allow him to have any booze before he was legally allowed to drink at age 18. Not even a sip of my drink.
To put it very simply, it was a case of it being against the law so he wasn’t allowed to do it. I grew up with the same rule.
But there’s more to it than that.

Lets face it, alcohol is unnatural and unhealthy. Its an artificially created substance accidentally discovered thousands of years ago thats been modified and changed and developed to become a part of almost every culture around the world.
That doesn’t make it okay for a child’s brain and body, which is still growing and developing.
I know there are studies that say a glass of wine with your meal aids digestion and prevents heart disease, and-and-and, and if you search the internet long enough you’ll find studies that refute those exact findings, but there’s no disputing that its bad for children.

Alcohol in moderation for adults?
No problem!
If you’re a grownup you can choose how much you want to drink and when and where. Heaven knows I’ve played my share of drinking games and I’ve had hangovers and I enjoy champagne very much.
Make no mistake – I did some drinking when I was underage, and I experienced a tequila hangover that pretty much put me off it for life. I also know my son did so as well. I don’t go around with blinkers on, and growing up he always knew – and still knows – that if he needs a ride or he’s stuck somewhere he can call me. His safety is whats important, we can deal with the fallout later.
I’m not denying that children will try their hand at all kinds of things, but that doesn’t make it okay.

What about drinking in front of your children?
Provided you don’t go overboard, thats also okay in my mind.
Children should never witness drunken shenanigans of ANY sort, and I don’t believe children belong in bars AT ALL. Feel like a drink while you watch the rugby? Get a sitter, or do it at home. I feel it builds a healthy attitude towards alcohol if children can see their parents enjoying a beer at a braai or a cocktail at a party – whatever it may be – and doing so without behaving like an idiot or driving drunk.
If you hide it from your children it becomes a taboo, and that will make them nosy.

If you’ve had to live with alcoholism in any form you may well be doubly aware of the dangers.
Our family has always had a mantra of sorts – that you never drink alone. Having alcoholics in the family makes you more aware of the risks of drinking, and whilst I know there are MANY people who are able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer after work, especially after a particularly shitty day, I’ve never been able to get that caution out of my head.
My Oupa was an alcoholic, and whilst he was thankfully never particularly mean to his grandchildren when he was drunk, we were aware of his drinking. He was a spiteful drunk to his wife and children but he was amazingly intelligent and sweet and generous when he was sober, and I try to remember those moments.
I also have a sister celebrating her 10th sober-versary this year. I am so proud of her and I admire her so much because fighting an addiction like alcohol is a daily battle, and I have only a vague inkling of what she goes through.

And now my son is a grownup.
He is not an alcoholic. Nor does he drink like a lunatic even when he’s partying. I believe he has a perfectly healthy attitude towards booze, even though I never allowed him to have anything when he was growing up! The choice to imbibe is his – he knows about alcoholism and he has experienced plenty hangovers, a couple of those when he was underage and as punishment I took him grocery shopping with his throbbing head…
But I believe I did right by my son.

SAB has a campaign to prevent underage drinking, a fast growing problem in South Africa. There are a number of PDF’s on the website as well, to aid you in speaking to minors about drinking and behaviour to look out for in preventing underage drinking.
You can find the campaign on Facebook too.

Whats your policy for your children?

Do you have tips for the #SAB18Plus conversation?

Have you spoken to your children about healthy drinking habits?

So The @FordSouthAfrica EcoSport Has Gone Back…

The Ford EcoSport has gone back… And I am going to miss it.

I got to drive the Kinetic Blue Ford Ecosport 1.0 GTDi Titanium Manual for a week, courtesy of Ford South Africa.

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Check out the pictures on Ford’s website to see detailed shots of the interior of the EcoSport.

What I Like

Fully adjustable driver seat and steering wheel.
I can fold up the backseats and put them back down ON MY OWN.
A cup holder for every seat.

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What I Don’t Like

No lights or air vents for the back seat.
No overhead grab handles on any doors.
The silver panel on the centre console catches the sun sometimes.

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What About Driving It?

I like a powerful car, and I found the EcoSport actually appeases my love of power by being responsive under foot, even though this model only has a 1L engine under the hood. And there’s a little bit of a rumble when you accelerate that sounds like a much bigger engine.
For me it handled like a dream. Parking it was a breeze, aided by power steering of course.

I can sit comfortably while I drive and I can get into and out of it with ease even with the higher ride, and the height of the foot pedals off the floor is just right – I’m not driving with my toes or having to lift my feet to reach the pedals.
The air conditioner works like a bomb, which is a must have for me, and the sun visor is actually long enough to keep the sun out of my eyes – I often find them to be too short to be any good. And both visors have mirrors on, the passenger visor mirror including a little light.
And having very light-sensitive eyes I really like that the rear view mirror dims automatically at night, there’s no need to flick it back and forth.
And I didn’t actually find a blind spot in the EcoSport, which I have in a lot of other cars.

Cruise control makes for very comfortable driving on the highway, and it aids in keeping your fuel consumption down of course. I did not see a huge difference in fuel use while I was driving it BUT I didn’t take any really long trips. I did my usual trips with my Glugs to the station in the morning and fetching him and going to Guide-dogs. The furthest we went was to JHB South to visit family and the boot is deceptively spacious – we fitted 3 cooler boxes and some luggage in it with ease!

The seats are comfortable, I could even use the headrest which for me us unusual – its usually too high for me. The driver’s seat is adjustable up and down and backwards and forwards, and it has some lumbar support you can adjust. I really prefer fabric seats to leather… I loathe burning my bum when I sit down and whilst the leather is easier to clean, its hot for my dogs too.
The back seat is made for three… but definitely not three big bums. 😛 Coming home from my sister there were three of us in the back seat and whilst we had ample legroom, we were a little bit squished sitting next to each other.
Carting my dogs around is no problem. My three Labs could happily sit together on the back seat, and folding the seats flat meant they could comfortably lie down and even spread out a bit without squishing each other.

The freedom of hands free phone calls using SYNC is fantastic – answering and hanging up using the buttons on the steering wheel means I don’t let go of the wheel. I tend to make phone calls when I drive, its just how I roll, so SYNC is ideal.
And I can control the radio volume the same way and cruise control the same way.

And an added bonus – the cubbyhole is chilled! I can keep my water cold while I drive!

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A Bit About Safety…

Driver and passenger airbags with side and curtain airbags, traction control and ABS with Electronic Stability Control.
Five 3-point seatbelts as well as ISOFIX kiddy carseat anchors in the back.
Automatic headlights – you can switch them on and off yourself or you set it to auto and they come on when its dark and go off when its light, or when you switch the car off.
It also has rain sensing windscreen wipers, though I can’t imagine anyone forgetting to turn those on in the rain!
And it has a sensor built into the bumper so when you’re reversing it will warn you if you’re heading for a pole or a wall. And I love this reverse sensor alarm because I have nightmares about accidentally running over one of my dogs!

Spec

Pricing starts at R256,900 for this model
1.0L Turbo-charged 3 cylinder EcoBoost engine
5-speed manual transmission
Leather seats
ISOFIX child seat anchors
Auto headlights
Ford SYNC® with Bluetooth and Voice Control
2 x 12V power socket (front and rear)
Steering wheel mounted audio controls
Cruise control with steering mounted controls
Rain sensing wipers
Cooled glovebox capable of holding 6 x 330ml cans
Rake & Reach adjustable steering
Auto dimming rearview mirror
Reclining, 60/40 split rear seats
Driver seat height adjustment and lumbar support

~~As per my Ladybloggers pledge, I state clearly that whilst I was loaned a Ford EcoSport to drive for a week,
I signed an indemnity form and I was not paid nor asked to write this blog post
~~