Let’s talk about bus etiquette.

Public transport is just that, public. This means that I get to travel with the (literal) unwashed masses. It also means you should have a little bit of respect for the strangers in or near your personal space.

Personal Hygiene

Yesterday, my afternoon bus was almost completely full when I got on. I was one of the last people to get a seat. The driver can allow up to 10 people on the bus standing. So the next few stops we picked up a bunch of people.

Naturally when standing on a bus, you reach out to hold something to steady yourself. Now I’ve had to stand on a long journey home before. I grab the conveniently located handles on the sides of the seat. Not Smelly Armpit Man, oh no, he had to stand reaching up, holding onto the baggage rack above me.

I get it, its summer, we sweat. But please for love of all human beings, spray or roll on some deodorant when you leave work. I do. Its the last thing I do before leaving my air conditioned office where I don’t even really sweat. I roll on my deo so no one has to catch even the faintest whiff of me. Its just polite.

Space

(Wo)man spreading. The seats are not big, not small either, but we are not riding a 1st class ticket with extra leg room and champagne to work.

So when you sit down, try not to rub thighs with the person sitting next to you. Don’t try to mash your handbag into the tiny gap between you and me. Put it on your lap. If you are sitting in the window seat, try not lean across the person in the isle seat to greet your long lost friend who is walking past. 

Oh, and if you are in the isle seat and the person in the window seat needs to get off the bus before you, stand the F up and move into the isle. Don’t just swivel your legs to the side and force me to practically sit on your lap to get past. I’m so tempted to fart on the next person that does that.

Noise

There are these amazing newfangled inventions. They are called headphones. You can get them in comfortable, over ear models or even in discreet, in ear models. You even get ones that have a built in microphone in them. The common feature though is that no one needs to listen to your crappy music, horrible canned laugh track sitcom, your grandchild screeching at the top of their lungs or your Very Important work call.

Or your loud, repetitive games. Those especially annoy me. No one wants to hear your rat a tat tat 1st person shooter game or your ching ching ching Candy Crush. If you don’t have headphones then put your phone on silent. You do not need sound to play a game.

Smells (unrelated to personal hygiene)

Hard boiled eggs, tuna, garlic. These are all yummy and delicious foods. But not on a closed bus. Certainly not at 06:45 before people have had their coffee and even worse, at 17:30 after being in your bag for the entire hot, sweaty, summer day.

Just don’t. You can eat before you leave home, or while you wait for the bus to arrive or wait until you get off the bus. But please, I beg you, do not eat your stinky food on a bus where all the windows are closed. Especially if you are practically sitting on my lap or standing over me.

Before getting on the bus

While waiting for your bus, allow older people, pregnant women or women with small babies to sit on the bench under cover. Especially when its raining.

If you really need to have a cigarette, could you maybe walk a few metres left or right of the stop and light up there? You know, away from the elderly people, pregnant women, and the children. If you are really nice, you could even see which way the wind is blowing and smoke down wind. That would be really pleasant.

Oh, yes, last thing. Get your money or your bus pass ready. Seriously, we all need to get to work or home. No one wants to stand around waiting to get on the bus because you insisted on getting on first and now cant pay. Either stand at the back of the line or be ready.

So, yeah, some of my pet peeves that really should just be common courtesy. And now, I’m going to shut down my computer, roll on my deo and I’m going to catch my bus. Wish me luck!

SPIRE – A Book Review

Fiona first published SPIRE as a daily serial on her blog. One chapter a day. There were days I loved her for it and days I wanted to shake her and tell her to just post more chapters. By the end of the serial the book had been picked up by Clockwork Books and has now been released as an eBook on Amazon and will soon be published in print too.

I gave SPIRE a full five stars. Here is my original review.

How do I describe this book?

Gripping, edge of your seat, hold your breath at the end of each chapter.

This is a fast paced, thriller that made me gasp out loud, snort laugh and even cry.

A must have for your bookshelf.

I didn’t know at the time that it was the 2nd book in a series (and it doesn’t have to be read in order), but after reading SPIRE I will definitely be reading the first book in the Burchell Sisters series, Now Following You.

You can follow Fiona on Twitter here.

Her website can be found here.

And you can buy your own copy of SPIRE on Amazon here.

Book Smash

I have a Goodreads account and this year I decided to take part in the reading challenge.

I set myself what I thought was a decent challenge of 100 books to read in 2017. And then promptly smashed through it at the end of April, so I increased it to 250 books.

Some info on my reading habits:

  • I read mostly romance, fantasy and sci-fi with some chic-lit and comedy thrown in.
  • My average book in 2016 was 232 pages.
  • My average reading time per book is 2-3 days.
  • Although on the weekend I can read 2-4 books in 2 days.
  • I read on the Kindle app on my phone (and now on my iPad since I had the screen replaced).
  • I read pretty much everywhere, at the bus stop, waiting for the rice to cook, waiting for the bath to run, in the line at the grocery store, at the park while the kids play, if I have a minute here or there I am reading.
  • I do NOT read on the bus (major motion sickness) or in the bath (major klutz).
  • I’ve been known to read right through the night and go to work without sleeping.
  • Because of my voracious reading habits I tend to use BookBub to find free or really cheap books from Amazon.
  • Even though most of my books come free, I am more than happy to purchase an entire series or other books by an author (at full price) if I enjoy the freebie.
  • I also try and leave reviews wherever I can.
  • I am part of a 7000+ member secret (or not so secret) book club on Facebook.
  • I also review books for the member authors of the above book club.

All that being said, I am going to go back to putting up book reviews on my blog so keep your eyes peeled for some interesting reads.

I’m still here. I promise.

I haven’t even opened my blog since the end of March and even then I only posted two catch up posts about Aaron and Faith.

I guess I sort of lost my writing mojo. I was happier just to read other peoples words than create my own. But the last few days I’ve found myself opening up a fresh post, getting ready to write and then closing the post.

Today, I figured that in order to get back on the horse I should just write a few words, something to get me going again.

So, hi. Here I am. Writing some words. 

Hopefully there will be some more tomorrow.

Your Favourite Things – Faith

TV programme:  You love She-Ra and He-Man.
iPhone App: You have a music app that you use to create songs on Abba’s iPad.
Meal:  As long as it involves chocolate its your favourite.
Fruit:  Apples and bananas.
Vegetable:  You love eating trees (broccoli) and clouds (cauliflower).
Breakfast:  Chocolate cereal. Duh!
Drink:  Strawberry juice.
Toy:  You love the new headphones we bought you. Now you can listen to the music you make without driving us nuts.
You love: Chocolate, your taggies and swimming (You cant wait for the pool to open for the summer).

 

Something that happened yesterday: We went to see the new Beauty and the Beast, you loved it but every time there was a scary part you grabbed my hand and put it over your eyes. You also have such a sensitive soul, you cried when the bad guy dies.

Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  We recently finished watching the White Rabbit Project and you keep asking when the new season will be starting.
iPhone App: Clash Royale
Meal:  Pizza. I don’t think this will ever change.
Fruit:  You don’t really like fruit. Apples at a push.
Vegetable:  Fresh carrots and cucumbers.
Breakfast:  Pretty much anything, oats, cereal, toast.
Drink:  Water. My healthy child.
Toy:  When Nana was here in December she brought you a VR headset, unfortunately its not compatible with your current phone, but we will work on that.
You love: Making YouTube videos about games you are playing.

Something that happened yesterday: We went on a tiyul in the Ben Shemen Forest and you picked pine cones for me to add the my pine cone vase, you made sure every one was perfect. 

Gobble gobble gobble

Last night, while scavenging the freezer for something to make for dinner, I found a turkey breast tucked away in the back of a draw.

I forgot I had it and we haven’t had turkey in a while so there was all kinds of excitement.

Except… I always make turkey breast in a tomato and red wine sauce and that sounded boring. So I created a new recipe.

 

Sweet Chili Turkey
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 large turkey breast. Mine was skinless and boneless but it would work with skin too.
  2. 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon sweet chili flakes
  5. Olive oil
  6. Lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. In a pirex dish or oven proof dish with a lid, place the turkey breast skin side up if you are using one with skin.
  3. layer the onion around and on top of the turkey.
  4. Sprinkle the garlic and sweet chili over the top of the breast.
  5. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice to taste over the breast.
  6. Cover and bake for 50 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you use a breast with skin, remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes so the skin gets crispy.
  2. The turkey came out moist and delicious and the lemon juice and olive oil made a nice sauce to pour over rice or couscous.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Mrs Balls, eat your heart out!

So a while back I mentioned that one of the things I missed from South Africa was Mrs Balls Chutney

While you can get Mrs Balls in Israel it comes at a premium since it’s a specialty import. 

So I decided to make my own. And it’s delicious!

For some reason my recipe card add on isnt working so please excuse the ugly recipe below…

Fruit Chutney Recipe

A traditional South African fruit chutney.

**The recipe requires that you leave the fruit soaking in water over night, the times below do not include the soak time*

Prep time: 20 minutes                                 Cook time:  2 hours

Yield: 6-8 small jars

Ingredients

  • 500g dried pears
  • 500g dried peach
  • 500g dried apples (I didnt have apple but I did have mango so I substituted)
  • 500g dates
  • 500g sultanas 
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili mix

Method

  • Roughly (or finely) chop all the fruit. 
  • Place in a bowl and cover with the water. 
  • Leave over night. 
  • The next day place the fruit in a large heavy bottomed pot. 
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot and mix well. 
  • Bring to the boil. 
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. 
  • Bottle the mixture into clean glass jars while still hot. 
  • You can eat the chutney straight away but it’s better to let it mature for a few weeks (6-8 is recommended). 

Notes

  • This time I couldn’t find any dried apple in the store so I left it out. Basically you can add or leave out any of the fruits depending on availability or the taste you are looking for.
  • If you don’t have rubber sealed lids on your jars, then place some wax paper between the jar and the lid before sealing.
  • You can eat the chutney straight away but it’s better to let it mature for a few weeks (6-8 is recommended).

Winter Wonder… when it will end

Its no secret I don’t like winter. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like the icy wind. I don’t like the sideways rain.

I’m constantly cold and my neck is always sore from tensing my muscles. I haven’t been able to feel my nose or my toes for months.

I also realised a few days ago that I am looking decidedly ill. I’m pale and pasty and meh. My skin alternates between extreme dryness and over oiliness.

I’m tired of my winter clothes, wearing socks (yuck) and being bundled up in layers all the time. I feel frumpy and uninspired and just generally gross.

And just when I thought we were on our way to spring, seeing almond trees in blossom and the gorgeous wild Red Poppy Anemone in the fields, with the weather getting warmer, it all came crashing down this week.

Anemone-coronaria-2016-Zachi-Evenor

Its currently 11ºC and raining and not looking any better for the rest of the week either. This morning I not only stepped in a giant puddle when I got off the bus but an idiot driver drove past and splashed me from head to toe.

Can spring hurry the frack up? Please!

Its not just banana bread

So I mentioned that I bought a stand mixer the other day. Well, it arrived and so far I have made 2 batches of challah using the dough hook (NEVER kneading dough again!) as well as a batch of cinnamon muffins and on Friday I made an apple and banana bread/muffin recipe.

I have absolutely no idea what prompted me to add apples into the mix but I’m glad I did. They were amazing!

Apple Banana Bread
Yummy fresh apple and banana bread.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 large grated or finely chopped apples (I used 2 green and 1 red and left the skin on)
  2. 3 large ripe or overripe bananas, mashed
  3. 2 cups sugar (I used sugar replacement)
  4. 3 cups flour
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 2/3 cup of oil
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla (I didn't have so didn't add and it was absolutely fine)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease 2 loaf pans or like I did, 1 loaf pan and 2-3 muffin trays (12-18 muffins).
  2. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Mix well, ensuring all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Separate batter into the desired pans and place in the oven.
  5. For loafs, bake for about 1 hour.
  6. For muffins bake for between 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
Notes
  1. The original recipe called for half a cup chopped nuts and half a cup raisins. I had neither on hand so didn't add them and the recipe came out fine. You could also add craisins or even chocolate chips to this recipe and it would be delicious.
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/