Friday 24 November 2017

Dressing Up For Roald Dahl Day 2017

My children's primary school is celebrating Roald Dahl day today, which is odd because the late author’s website says it is on his birthday on 13th September.

I liked the idea anyway, I grew up devouring his books and always think of his irreverent and very funny books with lots of affection.

Gorgeous went as Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Darling went as Matilda.

Both of the babies (as they are collectively known in our house) woke up way too early and very excited at the prospect of dressing up:

Darling is in nursery and too young to know about Roald Dahl's books, so her teacher suggested we dress her up in something from one of her favourite books.  We ended up with the butterfly from The Hungry Caterpillar.

The wings were two pieces of card we spray painted silver.  Then everyone helped to finger paint (Little Lady’s idea) and sprinkle glitter into.  I made holes with a hole-punch and wove some ribbon through as you would shoe laces.

Then ribbon pushed through holes in the middle of the wings to make two loops to go over the wearers arms.

I suspect Gorgeous' favourite part of his costume was the chocolate bar...I wonder if it will come home.

Picture of the Day 24.11.17: Butterfly Wings

 The children had to dress up as book characters this week for school.  So of course the cardboard, paints and spray paint were out.

Baby's costume is going to be the butterfly from the much loved The Hungry Caterpillar. 

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Review: MacNahl Raw Honey, Honycomb and Honey Cappings

We are a household of honey lovers with honey gracing our cupboards from both abroad (Pakistan and Czech Republic) and local (Essex and Kent honey's), some bought and some gifted to us.  We use it on toast, in green and herbal teas and as medicine for sore throats and coughs.

So when I was asked by the lovely people at MacNahl Honey if I wanted to review theirs, I agreed to give it a go.

MacNahl Honey sell honey that is organic and also raw.  That means that it is not heated or processed, i.e. blended with other honeys.

I chose the Thyme Honey and Eucalyptus Honey to try along with some Honeycomb and Honey Cappings, a by-product of honey.

All of the products came well-wrapped and packaged to avoid damage, along with some information about the two type of honey I had chosen.

The Thyme Honey is used to treat sore throats, wounds, burns and food poisoning.  It is also considered to be useful in the treatment of high cholesterol and even cancer.

Excuse me while we get carried away with the photo-shoot:

The Thyme honey was the lighter of the two in colour and the smell was what you would traditionally expect of honey, except much more intense.  The taste was almost fruity, but still light and easy to take - I expected with such a strong scent the taste would be very intense, but it was mild and pleasant.

The Eucalyptus honey was slightly darker, the website describes its benefits:

Eucalyptus honey is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, antiseptic, antibacterial, healing wounds, ulcers, burns, cuts, abrasions and sores and is often recommended to patients suffering from rheumatism, lumbago, sprained ligaments and tendons, stiff muscles, aches, fibrosis and even nerve pain.

I found the smell once again intense, but the taste was fresh and light.  I could sense a hint of eucalyptus, but I couldn't tell if it was in the taste or small, it was so subtle.

More pictures with the honey dipper (Little Man was having too much fun helping out):

The honeycomb comes in a box with a lid that you can put back after taking the amount you need.  The honeycomb and honey cappings were both sent by MacNahl to be used in the same way as a treatment for asthma and chest problems.  This is done by taking a small amount and chewing every day for half an hour, then spitting out.

The honeycomb was very fragrant and quite intriguing to look at.

The honey cappings are a thin layer of wax that bees build over the top of dried honey to seal it in and is considered by some to be the best part of the honey.  The top was quite firm in texture, but once out of the jar it was soft and quite malleable.

We enjoyed trying the honey and my husband has been using the Thyme honey in his special winter tea (lemons, honey, fennel and ginger) and has made quite a dent in it, I have been enjoying it on toast.

I have passed the Eucalyptus honey and the honey comb and honey cappings to my mum to try as she has asthma.  I am going to get her to try the chewing treatment and keep at it as it is considered to be a long term treatment (at least a year), Insha’Allah I will be monitoring its effectiveness over time.

You can find out more about MacNahl honey and the honeycomb and honey cappings at their website here, or via their social media pages (Facebook and Twitter)

Disclaimer: I received this product at no cost to me for the purpose of testing it for review. The opinions expressed here are my own and from my own honest experience of using the product.

Monday 6 November 2017

Curious About You 2: How Do You Keep Organised?

I would love to get to know more about who reads this blog, connect with them and learn from them insha’Allah.
But I know people like to maintain their privacy, or they feel shy, or they don’t think they have anything worth saying (which is simply not true).
So instead of pestering you with surveys or just going by my stats about readers, I want to pose a question every now and again and see what insight I get from people’s answers – I’ll start with my answer and look forward to hearing from reader’s insha’Allah.

How do you keep organised?

This could be at home, at work or to keep the kids organised. What are the tools, methods or approaches you use to keep your life organised?

Mine is:
Write everything down and then prioritise. I write everything down so that it is not all in my head making me feel anxious or stressed. I then either:
- Add it to my list of things to do today
- Plan into my trusty Filofax if it’s for another day
- Make a decision to discard it if it is not worth doing it.

What is your best tip for keeping organised?

See also:
Curious about You: Best Advice Ever?

Redundancy and a New Job

I got made redundant earlier this year and it was a pretty uncomfortable situation.  My service has been through four restructures in the eight years I have been here.  After the anxiety and stress of getting through each one and not losing my job, I knew that there would always be another one a year or two away.  For this, the fourth one, I was seconded (loaned) to another department for a transformation project.  I learned so much, but I was also out of the loop and an easy option to dismiss.

Of all things that you experience when you are called in to be given the news: stress, anxiety, fear for the future, the ones that were the hardest to deal with were shame and embarrassment.  At being chosen to be the one to go for the chop, at feeling like the least of the group to be dismissed, even though I know that is not the case.

It is at times like this that I am grateful for my faith.  Islam, teaches us that our rizq (sustenance and income) is written and will get to us no matter what.  We trust in Allah (SWT) to provide for every one of us.  So for all the worry and embarrassment, I was not frightened of being left in hardship.  I knew that there would be a way forward and that it would be the best course for me alhamdulillah.

After two months of moping, feeling upset and trying to find my feet again, I have secured a new job.  They say that when one door closes, another opens.  That after hardship comes ease.  I felt so bad, but when the door opened, it opened onto something that I could not have imagined.  If I had drawn up the exact job I wanted in the place I wanted, it would have looked like this job. It is a mixture of policy, strategy, community engagement and special projects that draws on my previous experience and the new skills I have gained.  It’s within walking distance from home, my mums home and my children’s schools (rather than a 15 minute drive or 50 minute commute as currently) and it is close to shops and a library (unlike my present job which has nothing but open space nearby).  It feels like a very generous answer to a dua.  I am due to hand in my notice soon (once references and documents have cleared) and I am nervous and excited and grateful beyond words alhamdulillah

I pray that I use this new role to help and serve others and that I am a source of benefit for people insha’Allah.  I also pray that I grow and develop in this new role into a better, more confident version of me and that this work is a source of enjoyment and benefits insha’Allah.