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Ungava Gin Tasting

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So, a couple of Thursdays ago a friend of mine invited me along to an exclusive tasting of a rather fine new gin known as Ungava.  Labelled as a premium Canadian gin, I didn’t really know anything about it till I went along but hey, I guess that’s what tastings are for, right?

Named after the region of Canada where the botanicals from which its made can be found, this gin is distinctly different.  It’s yellow in colour for a start resembling more a whisky and the aroma is herbal.  Its ingredients include Nordic juniper, wild rose hips, crowberry and also Labrador tea which gives it its unusual hue.

We started with a classic G&T (doubles no less) served with pink grapefruit and Fentiman’s tonic.  This tonic has less sugar than that of Fevertree so it contributes nicely to the drier, slightly sharper taste of this gin.

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My company for the evening tried the ‘Yellow Lady’ next which was a potent mix of just the right amount of sour and sweet.  I think this was our favourite!  We could easily have demolished a few more of these but school night and all that…

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Following on from the Yellow Lady was the Negroni Spritz which, for me, wasn’t a favourite.  As extravagant as it may look with fresh rosemary and orange peel, the overall bitter flavour did nothing to assuage my sweet tooth.  Campari and Vermouth are definitely not on my list of likes…!  Nevertheless, it was interesting to try as a completely different take on your usual gin cocktail.

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We made our way through a fair few of the doubles and another couple of the cocktails before calling it a night feeling definitely merry and pondering the possibility of what to have for breakfast in the morning to help with the sore head that would inevitably follow.  Until next time, Bar99.  More gin evenings please!

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An African Safari – Day 4 – Game Drive at Kruger National Park – Part 2

Continuing on from my last post and our game drive through Kruger, once through the gate we stopped for an hour for lunch at a camp restaurant before we hit the road again this time in search of lions…By this point in the afternoon the sun was beginning to peek through the clouds.  The temperature was pleasant, kept so by the constant breeze of our moving jeep, but when you came to a standstill the midday heat became apparent and layers had to be shed.  Near an open area next to the road we clocked two female lions in the distance lying beneath a tree snoozing.  There was a very small waterhole to the right of them to which a male impala approached.  He was downwind of them and it didn’t take him long before he was alert and conscious that a predator was nearby.  He took a few tentative steps towards the water every few minutes cautiously watching the lions.  He needn’t have worried as only one of them raised her head before she lay down again to resume her nap.  He thought better of it though and sprung off in the opposite direction.
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As we carried further along the road, we came across a large adult male giraffe striding towards a large tree.  He stopped to wrap his tongue around the fine branches and strip them of their leaves to assuage his hunger.  He then gave me a great chance to photograph him as he strode out from under the tree and crossed the road in front of us.  He manged this in about 3 strides, his gait being wide and long.  He was so tall I struggled to get him in one frame!  He ambled off into the bush in search of more food.  A short distance along the same road, with the dried up riverbed on our left, there was a large flat and smooth outcrop of rock.  Sitting out in the afternoon heat atop the rock was a lioness!  She was lying down facing us with her left paw across her body, struggling in the searing sun.  I asked myself why she would sit out in the heat like that but as we looked closer behind her we noticed her small pride resting beneath a tree in the shade taking respite from the heat.  As we looked to the right of them was a very large male made conspicuous by his sandy coloured bushy mane, sitting on all fours.  Our guide advised us that the lone lioness on the rock was keeping watch whilst the others took their rest.  He also said that they would take it in turns so at no point was the pride vulnerable. Clever lions.  We watched them for a good 20 minutes or so but with the heat now at its most intense there was no likelihood of their movement so we went back the way we came and travelled further along the sandy road.

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Over the remainder of the afternoon we saw more kudu, impala, birds of various colours and sizes including African fish-eagle, brown snake-eagle, vultures, yellow billed hornbill, magpie shrike and the African hoopoe (my personal favourite for its unusual tuft of feathers on its head and also its unique call which you can listen to here).  We also came across more lone bull elephants as well as seeing herds in the distance, slow moving grey masses amidst the camouflage-coloured landscape. We also saw more white rhino which is reassuring when you hear so many horror stories of the poaching that goes on.  It’s a lifelong dream fulfilled to see this wildlife in its natural habitat and nothing quite prepares you for the excitement at spotting these animals only metres away from you.

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As the sun moved round we made our way to Crocodile Bridge to meet up with Manda, Freddie, Matt and ‘Wasabi’ our affectionately named truck.  It was all aboard again for another hour of driving towards our next accommodation.  Freddie made us the most amazing spaghetti bolognaise of my life that evening, that boy can cook!  After dinner we chatted and relaxed in the lounge area and Kiel brought out his newly purchased guitar so, naturally, we all had a sing-song as he strummed away and played classics such as ‘A Horse with No Name’ and ‘Wonderwall’.  Hailey was on lead vocals backed up by us.  I headed to bed pretty early though as the next day was a very long drive to cross over into Mozambique…

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An African Safari – Day 1 and 2 – Arrival in Jo-Burg

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Last month I had the privilege of visiting one of my dream destinations – Africa.  I left on the 8th of October for the holiday of a lifetime to safari for 17 days across South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  Myself and my mum were to join a group of intrepid travellers all eager to see what this mighty continent had to offer and to see her wildlife that we have watched on so many nature documentaries over the years.  Now was the time for our dream to come true and see them in their natural habit unaffected, wild and free.

After a long, lazy flight spent dozing for most of the 10 hours we arrived in Jo-burg on the morning of Friday the 9th.  The warmth and sight of the sun was a welcome change from home at this time of year and made us excited for the days to come on our trip.  We quickly unpacked some items and headed straight down to the pool to make the most of the afternoon sun and bask in the haze and heat of the city centre.  The hotel’s main reception was 13 floors above ground level which gave us a sprawling panoramic view of Sandton’s nearby buildings and sandy, bustling roads.

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Being able to relax at the pool and cool off in the water really helped us to refresh after a long 24 hours of travelling.  We stayed put for the afternoon and patiently awaited food from our seemingly non-existent waiter.  My burger eventually arrived which I greedily wolfed down watching the sunset and the first lights of twilight twinkle on the horizon.  After, it was back to our hotel room to shower and get ready for bed.  The next day we were heading to Mufasa Backpacker’s in Benoni to meet the rest of our group and crew who would accompany us for the next 16 days.

Day 2

After having a long sleep at the Radisson we made our way downstairs for breakfast which can only be described as a veritable feast of sweet and savoury delights to tempt you into starting your day the right way i.e. with a full stomach.  There were cooked breakfasts, eggs of all varieties, sushi, dumplings, pakoras, cold meats, cheeses, nuts, seeds, cereals, pastries – it was all there.  The hardest part was choosing what to eat first!  I plumped for melon and yoghurt with goji berries and seeds followed by scrambled eggs, bacon and beans.  Mum had her usual toast and coffee after negotiating the mechanics of the freshly ground coffee machine.

Once breakfast was over, we got the hotel shuttle bus to the nearby Nelson Mandela Square.  The shopping complex is a myriad of escalators and levels with very few signs to guide you.  But, as Gandalf once said: “If in doubt, always follow your nose”.  With this in mind we were led outside by the fresh breeze and throngs of shoppers coming from one particular direction once I had enjoyed 2 scoops of Haagen Dazs’ finest with sprinkles, naturally.  The square outside was abuzz with varying nationalities all eager to snap a photo with the Mandela statue.  In the centre were fountains which a little girl used to cool down in the afternoon heat.  I browsed a nearby gourmet deli and butcher to pick up some spices to take home for Dad to add to his ever-expanding smorgasbord of cupboard delicacies.  Let’s see how he fares with ‘mother-in-law masala’…I’ll be guinea pig no doubt, not that I’m complaining…

Once back at the hotel we packed up our bags and had one of the hotel drivers take us to Mufasa Backpackers in Benoni after much confusion as to our destination and much reassurance from me that yes, we were in fact heading to a backpacking hostel after being at the Radisson.  Bonga, our driver, remained unconvinced but thankfully persevered with our journey. Upon arrival at the gate, various dust-covered dogs barked in greeting and ran over to us.  The place was in stark contrast to our hotel and I must admit the smile fell from my face when I saw the inside.  However, I remained open-minded and remembered we were only here for 1 night.  My trepidation waned when we got chatting to the folks who would be joining us on our tour and I cracked open a Savannah cider and sipped away in the shade of the dining area.  At 5pm our welcome meeting started where we were greeted by Manda, our guide from Zimbabwe, as well as Freddie our cook from Namibia and Matt our driver from South Africa.  All 3 are well practiced at these tours with years of experience between them.  Freddie was the youngest at 27 with a boyish bounce to him that I found endearing.  Matt is very much a seasoned traveller proclaiming his love for the road at any given opportunity asserting that he doesn’t like to stay in one place for more than a few nights.  He’s also a huge rum fan evident through his almost constant presence at the hostel bar and passionate discussion of the dark spirit. I gladly offered up my own patter of my love of gin but it seemed Matt was not a fan of the good stuff.  It’s hard to find someone that enjoys both white and dark spirits; it’s always one or the other.  Why is that I wonder?

Anyway, we chatted over a few more rum and gins along with the rest of the group before retiring to bed early in anticipation of the start of our tour the next day.  Unfortunately, both Mum and I had a very broken sleep due to lack of air conditioning and the dogs waking me at 1am.  Hey-ho, backpacker life!  In the morning it was a quick, plain breakfast before we loaded the truck up and set off for the start of our journey.  How the truck moves with so much stuff to carry I’ll never know.  We had almost an entire kitchen, chairs, all guests and all our luggage on board too.

There were 13 of us in the group from all over the world:  Hailey and Kiel from Brisbane, Melyn from Brisbane, Laura from Washington DC (friends with Melyn), Kathy and Dave from Vancouver Island, Pam and Pete from Orkney, Manuella from Brazil and Anne and Pei San from London as well as Mum and myself.  We were all relieved the group wasn’t too large, it made it more personal and easier to get to know everyone.  We would be spending every day together from now until the end of the tour after all.  Everyone seemed friendly and happy to mingle whilst being hopeful and excited for the days ahead.  Each of us was assigned to a small group who would then assist Freddie with either making meals or doing dishes on alternate days.  With safari tours it’s very much a ‘get involved’ attitude which is adopted for the entire time you are together.

A Few Photos From Life Lately…

The arrival of spring and watching the colours of nature gradually brighten and flourish…

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Nights out with friends to see Optimo

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Nights in listening to vinyl whilst sipping a G&T and reading a good book, using my Dad’s Japanese cooking knives and stocking up on healthy food stuffs…

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Walks out in the country followed by a scone, jam and cream and afternoon tea with friends (definitely a cheat day!)

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What have you been up to lately?

Lindsey xox

 

 

10 Thoughts That Go Through your Head Whilst Trying to Write an Essay

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Essays suck.  Big time.  There is no other way to describe it.  There is no enjoyment at all to be derived from this involuntary activity that seems to sap my happiness like someone said that Christmas didn’t exist any more.  I had a 3500 word essay due today for my Masters module and these are the rambling thoughts that confuzzle (yeah, that’s a word – promise!) my head whilst trying to get an essay written and complete on time for deadline.

1. Wow, that page is so blank.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a page look so blank!  So white!  So empty…eugh…

2. 3500 words?  Are you having a f*ckin’ giraffe?  I’ve written two and that includes my name.

3.  An introduction you say?  Hmmm…let’s leave that till the end shall we…

4.  Was that my phone buzzing?  I’m sure I heard my phone..I’ll just go through to the bedroom where I purposely left it so it wouldn’t distract me just to make sure…oh hello Instagram, we meet again…

5.  Jesus. H. Christ, what the eff is she wearing?  Really, you chose to put that on insta? *scoff*.

6.  I wonder what’s happening in Facebook land…pretty sure I’m meant to be doing something else though…

7.  Alright, alright, time to face my torture and actually try to write something.  But what to write?!  Where’s that lecture note on wots-its-name…must be around here somewhere *proceeds to clear entire table of notes and papers and knocks over cup of tea in the process*

8.  Ah, tea.  Peppermint tea, you are so tasty.  Let’s make more!

9. Why is writing something on this page so damn difficult, I know this.  I do.  My brain is not communicating these words to my fingers to type them.  Brain, please work.  I promise to nourish and cherish you from now on.  We’ve been through some turbulent times but right now I really need you! *sob*

10.  Holy crap this is due in a few hours and I’m nowhere near writing a conclusion yet.  93 minutes is enough time to write my last main point, conclusion, proof read and reference properly, right? right?!  FML.

Rest assured my essay was handed in on time today with 31 minutes to spare and only 2 phone calls to the module coordinator.  Go me!    Does anyone else have these ridiculous thoughts racing through their brain whilst essay writing?  Please tell me I’m not alone…

Thanks for reading, Lindsey xox

an open letter to my 15 year old self

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When times get tough it’s astonishing how it provides clarity and perspective on all those things you should appreciate most.  After attending my third funeral this year so far (for my grandfather, my best friend’s dad as well as a friend I’ve known since I was 19)  I wish I’d realised a lot of things when I was younger, particularly at the age of 15 when I really struggled and wasn’t happy…Based on that, I wrote a letter to my younger self to perpetuate how aware I feel now of all that I am grateful for:

“Things are difficult now.  You feel frustrated and alone.  Right now is one of the least easy periods in your life and you are struggling with having independence thrust upon you when you didn’t feel ready.  You are feeling hurt but know that this period in your life might just be one of the pinnacle times in making you who you are today.  This experience will make you stronger, more resilient and more determined to have a bloody good time in everything you do.

Your life so far isn’t maybe what you pictured it to be and family seems upside down. Have faith that things will turn out so much for the better.  Your parents are no longer together but, in the future, you see how happy they are with their lives now and realise that they were maybe never meant to stay together.  You gain a step-mum and your relationship with both parents is the strongest it’s ever been. Realise that many children in this world have no parents; you are lucky enough to have a support network of a mother, father, step-mum and siblings who will be only too happy to attempt to ensure you have everything you could ever need.  In return, you want to do the same for them and daydream about all the ways in which you could do this.

You are at a point now where your sisters aren’t around as much as you’d like.  Know that this won’t change in the future.  They will both live abroad but it just makes it all the more special when you do see them.  Both will have beautiful children, as will your brother, so there will be an abundance of nieces and nephews to be proud of and laugh with, laugh at, and hopefully teach the odd life lesson to.  You won’t be the baby of the family forever.

Understand that friends come and go.  As much as you want them to, the same people do not remain.  The people who are meant to be in your life will come to you and stay there.  You realise who matters, who never did and who always will.  Don’t worry about people from your past either because there is always a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.  As you grow older you don’t lose friends, you just learn who the real ones are and when the wrong people leave your life the right things start to happen.  Everyone experiences this as they grow up  -you find out who you are and what you want then you realise that people you’ve known forever don’t see things they way you do.  So, keep the wonderful memories but find yourself moving on.  Cherish those who are around you now because they make you laugh, keep you sane and tell you when you’re being a fool.  Always remember what Mr. Emerson once wrote: ‘the only way to have a friend is to be one.’

You will meet someone and you will love each other completely.  He will make you laugh.  He will also make you cry.  He will be the best friend you ever had, that one person you can be utterly yourself with and you can tell every little detail of your life to without feeling embarrassed or vulnerable.  You will share moments that no one else will ever know of and will only exist between the two of you. You will share the most awesome friends and a mutual dislike of music like Maroon 5 and U2 cos let’s face it, Bono will forever be a complete douche-bag.  But, like friendships relationships can come to an end.  As you grow up and start finding out who you really are you can also can grow apart from that other person.  Love is worth fighting for but you can’t be the only one fighting.  At times people need to fight for you.  If they don’t, you just have to  realise that what you gave them was more than they were willing to give you.  The only people you truly need in your life are those who respect you and treasure you.

There is so much time to be spent discovering yourself and it needn’t be painful or empty. Fill yourself up with love, not anyone else.  Explore what it is that makes you, you.  Now, you have adventures, are happy to dine alone,  dress for yourself, smile a lot and give to others.  You are pretty damn good at living for yourself and it is really something.

You will sit writing this in a place that feels like home.  You will have a great job that is bursting with prospects and a team of colleagues actively encouraging you to be the best and most successful that you can be.  You will surround yourself with all the little things that make you smile: clothes you bought with your own money, shoes, scented candles, beautifully soft bedding, peppermint tea (yes, you do eventually end up liking herbal tea), oh and books.  Lots of books!  Don’t I know how much you love those…They have been, and will remain, a gateway to escapism and your imagination when you need it the most.  Your thirst for learning and absorbing information about the world you live in does not wane, it does not dissipate.  It only gets stronger.  And you still the smell the pages like you always have.  Your friends will laugh at you for this, and you will laugh with them because it shows that they recognise this as one of the wonderful quirks that makes you who you are.

The reason for writing this is because things are at the best they have ever been.  You are content, happy.  You are now, more than at any time previous, at your most confident and self-assured being less concerned with trying to please others and more about looking after number 1.   Never lose this – you’d be surprised how much this rubs off on others and how hard others find it to do for themselves.

Mr. Joss Whedon, that fantastical writer of TV programmes, sums it up succinctly for you:

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments.  No one asks for their life to change.  Not really.  But it does.  So what are we, helpless?  Puppets?  No.  The big moments are gonna come.  You can’t help that.  It’s what you do afterwards that counts.  That’s when you find out who you are.”

Always look forward, rarely look back.

Sincerely,

You”

Candid Thoughts on Change

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Change: it’s inevitable.  It’s an element of living that arrives in peaks and troughs throughout your life and can creep up on you unexpected.  Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes it’s for the worse and sometimes it’s just for the downright…different.  This summer, and year in fact, has been a time of big changes for me.  As I find myself maturing and approaching my third decade in life, my mindset is changing and my circumstances are too.

I promised myself at the start of this year that I would try to eradicate the negative influences in my life and try to make positive changes as a means to overall happiness and contentment. Sometimes it’s hard to recognise when things aren’t working out whether it be in a relationship or a friendship, sometimes both.  It’s only when the cracks begin to really appear that you think ‘hold on, this wasn’t like this before’ and your head says ‘right, something needs to be done here’.  I’ve never been a particularly patient person, far from it, but the older I get the more I realise that I’m not willing to deal with situations or people who pose a negative influence in my life.  When I was younger I was keen to be friends with just about anyone but as time goes on I realise that quality over quantity is the name of the game with friendships.  A friendship, after all, isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest but more about who said ‘I’m here for you’ and proved it.  The same applies in a relationship.

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I recently ended a rather large chapter of my life; a seven year relationship.  It is by no means an easy thing to confront but sometimes you realise that things weren’t as they once were and you change, the other person perhaps doesn’t and suddenly you want different things, your goals aren’t aligned and the stress of it becomes too much.  You realise that you are better as friends than partners.  It’s not for lack of trying to make the relationship work but more about recognising that gut instinct that tells you it’s just not right. It’s hard to admit these feelings and even harder to act upon them.  Then comes the practicalities of it like moving out and into your own place and adjusting to life on your own again.  This is a positive time too though.

Along with life on your own comes new found freedom, time to branch out and try new things and the ability to focus positive energies into making your life an exciting one and one worth exploring.  As Oscar Wilde once said ‘I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone.  You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person.’ In every aspect of my life, this quote has been something I have always remembered and cherished.  It is, after all, only you who can make yourself truly happy so in 2013 I took my circumstances and changed them for the better.  It’s been a difficult few months but not content to be stymied by fear of change, I had to make a difference.  It’s been working well so far; I’ve made new friends and pushed myself to be a better version of my own person – more fearless, more confident and more carefree.  Life is just too short to spend it in something that doesn’t make you happy.  Be brave, tackle what you’re scared of and most importantly (and as selfish as it might sound) put yourself first before all else.  Self-contentment only comes from recognising what makes us happy, what makes us unhappy and having the ability to act upon it.

I was debating whether to continue with this blog over the summer but having had a good old think about it, I want to continue practicing my writing and sharing with those of you who read my little space on the internet.  For that, I am grateful and will continue to post so watch this space!

Soap Making: Homemade Lemon Herb Soap

Lemon Herb Soap

Soap making is something I’m yet to try but is high on my list of things I want to do soon.  I found this great recipe with beautiful photos from Offbeat and Inspired.  Homemade soaps are not only good for your skin (since you know exactly what’s going into them) but they make great gifts too.  You can check out a tutorial for basic soap-making here.

The recipe for this one is as follows:

Supplies:
Protective Goggles
Breathing Mask
Rubber Gloves
Measuring Pitcher
Digital Food Scale
Large Plastic Bowl
Liquid Thermometer
Stick Blender
Heat Proof Plastic Spoon
Aluminium Foil
Parchment Paper
Soap Mould
Ingredients:
4 oz. Lye
8.5 oz. Water
8 oz. Olive Oil
11 oz. Canola Oil
9 oz. Coconut Oil
1.6 oz. Lemon Essential Oil
.5 oz. Basil Essential Oil
.5 tbsp Dried Ground Basil
1 tbsp. Dried Ground Mint Leaves
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1. Put on your rubber gloves, goggles and mask. On the scale, measure 8.5 oz. of water into the measuring pitcher. Set the scale back to 0, and sprinkle 4 oz. of lye into the water. Stir the mixture for 30 seconds to 1 minute so that the lye is fully dissolved. Cover the pitcher with a lid or aluminium foil and put it in a safe place to cool. You want the solution to drop below 125 degrees F.
2. On the scale, add the Olive Oil, Canola Oil and Coconut Oil to your large bowl. Microwave the bowl of oils on high for 2 minutes. The Coconut Oil needs to melt fully. You can remove the bowl while there are still pieces of coconut oil, and stir to fully melt. Set your bowl of melted oils on a table and let the temperature drop below 125 degrees F.
3. While you’re waiting for your Lye Solution and Oils to come to temperature, line your soap mould with parchment paper and tape or clip the sides so the paper stays put. Once your Lye Solution and Oils have dropped below 125 degrees F (but are still over 100 degrees F), add the Lye Solution to the Oils and mix with your stick blender on a low setting. Make sure the stick blender stays near the bottom of the bowl to avoid splashing. You’ll be mixing for about 5 minutes and the soap mixture will be thickening. At this point, you are looking for “trace”. Trace is when the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency. If you lift the stick blender out of the mixture, it should leave light marks on the surface.
4. Once you reach trace, add your Essential Oils and Dried Herbs. Continue mixing with the stick blender until the Oils and Herbs are fully incorporated into the soap mixture.
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5. Pour your soap mixture into your mould and tap the mould on the counter a few times to let any air bubbles escape. Even out the surface of the soap with the back of a spoon like you would with brownies. Cover the mould with aluminium foil and let it sit in a cool, dry place for 24 hours.
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6. De-mould your soap loaf and cut it into whatever shapes and sizes you prefer. Once they’re cut, I like to place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet with a label specifying the date and scent so I can keep track of cure times. You should wait 4 weeks before gifting or using the soap in the shower, but after 2 days the bars should be set enough to test them out in the sink.
All photos and this recipe are from Offbeat and Inspired.

A Moment in March…

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Today has been another lazy Sunday since the weather is still not as it should be for Spring (raining, windy, freezing cold and generally bleugh).  I got as far as a carvery for lunch which just made me feel like napping afterwards!  Which I duly did.  Day time napping is such a novelty when you work full time, it feels good!  Thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been up to recently…

Reading…Keith Richard’s biography called ‘Life’.  I’m really, really ejoying this so far.  Not only because Richards is one of the main men in my favourite band, The Rolling Stones, but he writes as if he’s talking to you personally.  It’s funny & poignant with a unique style – very conversational but gaining an insight into his early life and the very beginnings of the Stones as a band has been fascinating.  He talks about his love of blues with such passion it can’t fail to be noted and, getting more into this stuff myself, it is especially relevant to me just now.

Watching…New Girl.  I can’t get enough of this show on e4.  Schmidt cracks me up, he is by far the best character.  Such a creep!  But endearing at the same time.  Shows I’m aiming to rent or buy soon are The Following and Breaking Bad.  And, of course, the new season of my favourite – Game of Thrones starts in the uk very, very soon!  I’ve finished all the books now so seeing the transition from book to TV of the latest installment is something I can’t wait for.

Eating…I am on a journey to lose the bulge at the moment so I have been watching what I eat.  My Fitness Pal has been invaluable to my efforts, I highly recommend it!  However, it’s all about balance so I haven’t really been denying myself anything much apart from bread.  I usually eat about 1200 calories a day so it’s making me think of new ways to enjoy my favourite foods but with less fattening ingredients and is also inspiring me to try new recipes like beef & apricot stew, blueberry breakfast cake and my favourite – Rachel’s low fat vanilla yoghurt with a tablespoon of granola.  Not really a recipe but is by far my favourite breakfast right now!

Listening to…a total mixture of things at the moment.  The Friendly Fires album always sneaks back on to my stereo despite my efforts to lsiten to something else.  Also, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Fleet Foxes, The Temper Trap and Kings of Convenience have all been recent listens.  None of which are new but are just ones I keep returning to.

Loving…my new iPhone (I have at last joined the millions of others with this ubiquitous piece of technology), shopping for home items –   Tommy & I recently got an amazing new mirror for our lounge from TK Maxx at a bargain price.  Quiet weekends, cinema-going, baking, relishing new opportunities and looking forward to changing times ahead.  Things are changing for me just now which I am really excited about.

Lately…

Just when I was gearing up for spring, my dreams were dashed by the arrival of snow at the weekend.  It didn’t lie much but still, I thought my winter boots had retired for the foreseeable future!  I’ve been keeping it quiet lately since I’m trying to save for driving lessons so my weekends have been spent being cosy at home, chilling with the kitties, baking and making cushions (I’ve got quite a few on order at the moment).  You can see in these photos that Jasper feels the need to get involved with cushion-making.  He feels it’s his right to inspect all that’s going on and also, by the look on his face, pilfering of thread is imminent…Meanwhile, Teeko has been driving me nuts by constantly hanging around in the kitchen sink waiting for the tap to be turned on.  Why she won’t drink water from her bowl, I have no idea…

I did see Cats the musical in the theatre on Saturday night which I have to admit was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.  I’m not usually a fan of the theatre.  I had no idea what was meant to be happening – there’s no story line.  It is literally just a series of songs about varying cats.  I would have been happy to go home by the intermission but it went on for another hour!  The dancing and singing were excellent but I felt it was too long.  Also, the set doesn’t change the entire show which seems a bit dull.

What fun things have you been doing lately?

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Doesn't exactly inspire you to go out much, does it?

Doesn’t exactly inspire you to go out much, does it?  Hooray for central heating!