Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A quiet moment

Summertime is almost here in Jordan. My son is running about in his vest and boy pants now its warmer and his potty training is under-way. I am thankful for his presence in my life every day. Its a joy to watch his development and so he is my blessing for today. His little smile and muddled speech. His idiosyncrasies that surprise me every time and make me smile. Each developmental step he makes and  new skill he learns fills me with wonder. Especially the ones which are total surprises to me. Like for example once last week when he brought me my slippers while I was washing the dishes in the kitchen and told me 'mummy wear' . And tried to put them on me himself. It was such a lovely thing as I had forgotten them in the living room and this sign of such maturity in him bought tears to my eyes. It was even sweeter for me as he had to go into the living room twice as he could only carry one slipper at a time. Or his joining in the with theme tune of 'Wonder pets' and singing 'team work' whilst eating his breakfast. I know too well from seeing other families how fast children grow up and how soon they are too old to sit and read with their parents. So I am cherishing this time. Despite the occasional challenges that come our way which are at times very frustrating and difficult. We have however gotten over most of the hills placed in our path. So today's blessing which is a huge one for me . I was thinking of having the blessings feature and then the people I am blessed to know but thought I'd do both together today. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

final thought for the day

While sitting outside with my sister in laws watching all our children playing together in the fading light It occurred to me how lovely the sunset was. So I dashed into my house and grabbed the old digital camera and took a few shots I'd like to share with you guys.

It was a lovely time for me today , sat with one of my sister in laws showing her some music on my MP3 player ( she is learning English) And looking over at her listening to an English track made me suddenly feel a familiar  emotion of guilt. Every countries people I have encountered have had a drive to speak English. And yet I have on rarely seen a British person really making the effort to learn another language. It is so easy to communicate with English I guess we have all become quite lazy as a Nation . Which is why one of my major personal life goals has been to learn 7 languages other than my own to a good level so that I can show it is not always the person with whom I am talking who has to make the adjustments in order for communication to happen. I think the older I get the more respect I have for each nations diversity and beauty, the more I wish to know about them before I depart this life. And the more I wish to see as it is all so breathtaking.

This is one of my favorite times of the day when the world becomes quite silent as though waiting for the night to come.

Nothing better than a mug of Nescafé when watching the clouds float by .

Today's Gratitude post

By looking at this photo you can't necessarily know straight away what this is so will elaborate. Its an almost completely finished jar of my dear mum's home made chutney which I have absolutely enjoyed eating with some nice cheese , bread and a cup of tea. Today's post concerns those recipes only your mum can make that good. This jar is especially difficult to finish for me as I am living overseas and so the things I have retained from my homeland have become precious in a way I could have never thought I would whilst living in the UK. Up until recently the things which are so easy to get your hands on but like gold dust here have been one of my challenges to find. Mushrooms are one and English brands like Heinz beans and Lurpak butter and one of my all time finds which incidentally was German Hagen daz ice cream ( they really know how to make ice cream the Germans) . Each time I have some of my chutney I smile to imagine my mum cooking it in our family home on the hill in the secluded English countryside. Thanks mum x.

Add a touch of nature to freshen up your home this spring/summer

I thought I'd add this little idea for updating your decor with minimal fuss. And wanting to add a bit more green to my living room decided to go outside and bring the natural world indoors in the form of some fragrant olive branches which I arranged on the mantle and also in a vase. I also added some lovely Jasmine to my entrance table so that the room smells fantastic from the moment you come in.
Notice I have also got one of my improvised doilies there ;).
I had a bit of a furniture re-shuffle which made the whole space seem larger and lighter which was nice. Having created a fresh environment for my little family I have set to work on my life goals this month - languages , reading and hopefully add some new recipes to my  own tried and tested repertoire.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Todays gratitude post

Today's gratitude post is for all the things we regard as culinary indulgences, chocolate, cake, cream, ice-cream sweets. Because once in a while a little of what you fancy doesn't do any harm. By the way this cake in the photo was made by my incredibly talented sister in law who is an expert with all things regarding cakes and biscuits. This was made for a birth in my extended family. I try to keep as healthy as possible in my diet but have to admit a few guilty pleasures. Firstly foxes chocolate chip biscuits dipped in a good mug of tea ( Yorkshire gold) which I have to add is absolute heaven . A square of extremely dark chocolate melted slowly in the mouth over a similarly heart melting movie. I prefer to eat ice creams and more junk food whilst watching action movies, comedies, and less serious genres. I like popcorn for horror, thrillers and psychological movies as it kind of has a calming effect on me which is good when your watching something scary added to the fact that a large bowl is great for hiding behind in the really scary bits. My all time favorite dessert is Crème Brule - yup its a French dish but well they really know how to cook so I have no complaints especially as Eton mess comes at a close second. Many treats have special memories for me . Like the lemon flan which my mother used to make all during my childhood every time there was a family gathering, the Thornton's treacle toffee which I used to chew furiously on Bonfire night and in fact if I had the chance all through the winter too or the Pierogi I used to love eating whilst living and teaching English language in Poland during my 20s. I have to say I am totally in love with Italian Ice cream too. We are lucky enough to have a gourmet ice-cream restaurant in the nearby town and when we visit during the summer months I love to sit in the coolness of the evening on one of their small metal tables with a tub of creamy ice-cream and watch the world go by ( fantastic!).
I would like to end this post by making quite an attractive suggestion to all readers. And that is to go right now and give yourself a treat as once in a while its nice to have a bit of something you'd normally steer clear of health wise. Have that little piece of chocolate or scoop of deliciously creamy ice-cream. For me the fact that its not usually an every day occurrence makes it more special.  So what r you waiting for ......

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Nature spot

I saw this amazing bird on my windowsill today . It cam and sat there for about five minutes and tapped its beak against the window. It seemed to be almost wanting to be invited inside for a cup of tea. The way it paced about out there on the window ledge with its plume of vibrant hair knocking its steely beak against the transparent wall between us. It reminds me of the fact that even after three years I am still astounded by the natural world here in Jordan and its mysterious apparel. This moment stick out in my busy day of running after a nappieless son who I am trying to potty train, cleaning, cooking and organising because it was at about the same time that I managed to sit down and relax finally.

I love these little moments in time when time itself seems to slow down and stop. A silent moment sat with my cup of tea left to ponder the grand scheme of things. To consider how simply and easily the whole world could get on better just by putting differences aside, getting rid of extreme philosophies and radicalisation and focusing on the similarities between nations. To see the beauty of humanity in all its shapes- families and cultures of all kinds, , millions of people living their lives with hopes and dreams which can be shared. Maybe I am an idealist but my wishes that there be a peaceful world also regards conflicts very close to home. I still live with the hope that all the conflicts which are close to me will be resolved to the benefit of the people who live within their lands. I dream of a time in which those you are associated with and the religion by which you live does not instantly cause those you meet to either become wary of you or treat you as an inferior being. A time in which the reality is as clear as the windows of my home and the priority for all governments is to have a peaceful co-operative existence. Sos getting off my soap box ( get a bit carried away sometimes) As this blog is not only my opportunity to put projects and crafts and a view of my life here in Jordan but also to project my hopefully informed opinion on issues close to me. My opinion as always is quite neutral- I kinda have a feeling this is my innate Britishness coming out. So more gratitude posts to come  ( I have loads of them), some tutorials, some home posts, some recipes and a few pics of the countryside around my childhood home in England ( which is really beautiful).
So keep posted!!!

Adding something new to a small window

In my home we have a really small windowsill which was looking rather bare. So I sewed this nice sill cover with my friendly sewing machine and added a few ocean inspired items. A beautiful little boat I nabbed whilst on holiday in the UK. A cactus my sister in law gave me as a gift. A rustic looking oil burner and a glass vase which my lovely husband gave me on valentines. OK well the contents of the vase are not the same as when I was first given it ( it had roses in it then). But with the nautical theme in mind I put some sand in which I collected on my honeymoon in Egypt, some shells from that holiday in the UK and some dried flowers. And bingo a seaside themed  windowsill yay. I have to say this tall vase display idea can work very well for many themes. Just use your imagination , and the good thing about it is you can keep changing it every season if you like to keep your decor fresh.
Today's favourite thing about life is quiet time with my son. It can come any time of the day but sitting reading or watching TV or even drawing with my little fella is the most amazing thing for me. Especially as he is really starting to develop his language skills. And we are starting to have some really nice chats. And it reminds me of how great it is being a mum, what a gift it is to be given the chance to help a small mind develop into adulthood. To be the person who can help him develop intellectually and emotionally. And although sometimes honestly it scares the crap out of me. It is also such a precious time I am trying to save every moment of his progression in my memory so I never forget when he is grown up and no longer wants to sit on his mummy's knee.


A new sun hat for little Zak



Have almost finished my reversible hat for Zak from a wonderful clothes making book written by Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage. I did vhange a few bits though. For example the gone fishing hat was sewn so that it looked as though is was being worn inside out but as I used cotton material rather than sth with a bit more stretch plus it would have frayed a bit more than I would have liked I made the pieces a little larger and put everything together inside out. ( hope you got the gist) and made both inner hat and outer hat completely of one type of fabric. I then diverted a little away from the pattern and am finishing off the brim with some spare white ribbon. Bingo a reversible hat. This is also an Eco friendly make as The material shown in the picture above is an old pair of summer shorts which my husband had never worn and was hanging around in the back of our wardrobe. The second material was a baby sheet which was too small for my little chap now he has reached 2 and a half.
Sewing for Boys has been a real blessing for me as I have been searching about for boys clothing patterns for an age and this is perfect!. The next thing to think about will be material as I don't have a huge amount of suitable material hanging around. So I think this re-using trend will continue for a while longer. And I have quite a lot of old clothes I no longer wear I could use to make sth new for Zak. Will have to try a pair of trousers next.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

An evening thought


Having managed to stretch my Molokia dinner for two days, do some important organising work ( stuffing - clears throat lol) ,  washed and teeth cleaned my little tot and gotten him snuggled up in bed dreaming of sugar plumbs I have finally sat down at my laptop for an evening edition of my blog. Having gotten rather behind with my planned projects for this early summer I am hoping next week to finally get back on track and finally get started with some photo tutorials for my home decor and accessories ideas so hopefully they will be coming up soon. I am also going to put some photos of my most recent project which is a reversible sun hat for my son Zak. Which is really important in this hot country when he goes out playing as is also suncream. Today I discovered a really good use for old cardboard cereal boxes which is a good way to recycle them into art. I got some pens and pencils out and unfolded the boxes so they were flat sheets again  and set up an art table for my son and he drew some pictures on them. It was really quite lovely having him sat on a dinning chair leaning his art on a stool and making some nice pictures for me while I cooked. This has to be the best part about being a mother. Having those moments when your child's speech, actions or ideas surprise you. I think I just about got used to his understanding being at a certain level after he turned one and a half but now his language is developing and his perception is progressing and I am constantly amazed by the advancement of his conclusions and thought processes.
Today I made a vow to get to the end of my current novel The Ladies paradise. This is a novel which has caused me much vexation as as soon as I get to chapter two I fall into a period of my life when there is a lot of activity and I end up putting my book aside for a while and when I return I have totally forgotten the plot and have to start again. I cannot tell you how many times I have read chapter one lol. On top of which there have also been the occasions in which the tiny hand of my son have grabbed at this book on my bedside table and my bookmark has gone walk-about many times which meant I ended up , yup , starting again. So I have vowed tonight this is going to be my last attempt before I try my luck with another novel and give myself a break from this little piece of Parisian bliss lol.

life appreciation entry for today

Ok I havern't written every day but I have got more than one today to kinda catch up. So first one is Heinz baked beans on toast. Have to say this has been a favorite my whole life and its quite healthy if you keep the butter at a minimum. When I eat beans on toast as I did for a very satisfying lunch today I remember all those school evenings when I was a child that my dad was cooking lol. Beans with bread and butter and a cup of steaming tea whilst discussing world affairs and such with him over the kitchen table. Then at uni being so tired from studying ( clears throat lol) that beans was all I could be bothered to cook. Then at work later cooking it as a quick evening meal . And now with my son having it as a kitchen staple to whip up on a busy day. And lets face it nobody makes baked beans quite like heinz, or ketchup for that matter.
Floral fragranced floor cleaner is my next favorite. Ok it does sound stereotypical but I have always loved the smell of a newly cleaned home. The freshness and airyness it exudes and the feeling of relaxation I get when its all done and I can finally have some me and zak time and sometimes some me time ( mainly when I am doing my daily workout).
And lastly for today lol the small bird that wakes my son and me up every morning. It is a small tropical bird which flys to our bedroom windows and taps on them every morning. Its like our own natural alarm clock and its free and enviromentally friendly. What could be better. I have no idea why the bird taps on the window every morning as it usually only taps for  about 20 mins ( the time it takes me to get up lol) and then stops. But Its a real help for me otherwise I might overlay. Once I get my camera together I will write my first photo tutorial for you guys.
So see you soon .:)

Friday, 3 May 2013

todays gratitude post

Today's gratitude post is for the satisfaction you get when you have completed a job and have managed to get the result you wanted. I thought of this as today I pulled up my sleeves and got on with the job of cleaning my bedroom carpet. Armed with a hand brish a couple of tubs of carpet cleaner and a plastic tub of water I got to work. It was really quite exhausting work but a really good work out for my arms. And I was surprised how well the carpet looked afterwards so was well worth it.
I personally am a bit of a procrastinator at times and do tend to put things off a little ( especially jobs I really don't want to do!!!) But usually having gotten past the ( "Oh do I have to do it") part I get into the task at hand and then am quite happy after. Especially when it actually all works out and everything is as it should be thank goodness.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wow things have been soo busy this year!!!!!!!

I am proud to announce the greatly anticipated marriage of my darling sister in law this last month .She is one of the nicest women I have ever met so I wish her a happy married life. mabrujk Habibti! ( congratulations darling).
The wedding was rather different from a British or western wedding as it is heavily choreographed. It took place in an events hall and incorporated many of the traditions which are part of the western wedding - the slow dance for the wedding couple, the cutting of the cake etc. But there were a few differences too. Rather than having piles of presents the bride and groom are given envelopes of money by their families to help them along with their new life together and also gold jewelry. The bride also takes part in a traditional ritual of exchanging her costume jewelry for her wedding jewelry which is usually a rather hefty gold set which is worn for everyday and kept for an investment for a rainy day . There is usually a lot of dancing and cake eating and some traditional Arabic dancers with drums lead the newlyweds into the party. After the party the newlyweds are escorted to their home for the wedding night before the honeymoon and then go off for a rightly needed break . After all the partying and preparation they need it !!!!All throughout the party a small film crew follow the couple taking pictures and filming their big day and after the honeymoon provide a small edited DVD with all the photos and movies, and sometime a large photo to hang up. For me it was a lovely occasion and an excuse to get dressed up. It was however a little too much for little Zak who fell asleep half way through the proceedings and stayed that way till we went home ( his ability to sleep through such loud music amazes me I could never do that - must be from his daddy's family!!! lol)
So At the end of he last month I have had an army of our Palestinian family arriving en-mass. So lots of cooking food, lots of talk, lots of dancing and laughing and ooh forgot to mention a little more hubbly bubblies than I am used to normally ( They really love their hubbly bubby in Palestine lol) This next week I am going to post a new tutorial for a yo yo table mat with pictures. yay!!!! I cant wait to put more tutorials on here and adding my daily note of gratitude.

OK so today's thing I am grateful for is Peanut butter!!!!
Yup you read it right!. Its an amazing quick fix for hangar pangs. In fact today I had some brown toast with peanut butter for my lunch with my son who has devoured all his sandwich with some nice cool milk . I have always had a thing about peanut butter its kind of sweet and salty at the same time. It fills you up so a small amount makes you feel quite satisfied without feeling like  you ate an elephant or compromised your nutritional intake . As always its great in moderation. But I am a bit of a faddy eater and tend to have phases of eating certain things then get bored of them and change to something else. This is a peanut butter phase so thought I'd add this to my things I am happy about life as there is nothing like it.