Posted in Uncategorized

30 Writing Prompts — Challenge —

30-writing-prompts

30 Writing prompts to choose from, the challenge is, that you have to write about all of them. Now this can be done over days, weeks or even months, there is no time frame however there is a maximum word count for each of them. (The word count will be listed in brackets next to the prompt/title)

I decided to take on the challenge and see how far I get with these myself. I’m hoping I can do at least ONE a week (hoping for the best). So let’s take a look at the prompts;

1. Outside My Window (1000)
2. Eye Contact (3000)
3. A poem that starts with the word “hello” (500)
4. The Addict (2500)
5. Dread (1500)
6. Behind Closed Doors (1000)
7. The Shadow / The Shadow Figure (2500)
8. The Sound of Silence (3000)
9. Dear Diary (1500)
10. The Photograph (1000)
11. Alarm Clock (1500)
12. Darkness (1000)
13. Handle with Care (1500)
14. Slip Up (2500)
15. Dollhouse (3000)
16. Rewrite a Fairy Tale (2000)
17. A Secret Message (3000)
18. Vacation (3000)
19. Spellbinding: Write a magic spell (1000)
20. Carnival (2000)
21. The Forgotten Staircase (1000)
22. New Neighbors (3000)
23. The Promise (1000)
24. You’ve got Mail (2500)
25. Left Out (1500)
26. Copycat (1000)
27. Tech Support (500)
28. Hotel (3000)
29. Liar, Liar (2500)
30. Night at the Casino (1000)
You can make these your own, pick one and write about anything!
You fail only if you stop writing – Ray Bradbury
Let the challenge begin!
Ps: Leave a link to the ones you’ve written so I can go and comment on them!
LC
Posted in Uncategorized

Recipe: Stroganoff with Whole Grain Mustard

If you love beef you will love this recipe, it will take you around 30 minutes max to prepare and you can even prepare this for your next dinner party!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 80ml cake flour
  • 5ml mustard powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g beef cut into strips
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 30g butter
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 250ml fresh cream
  • 45ml whole grain mustard
  • 15ml fresh thyme

  • Mix the flour, mustard powder and salt and pepper into a big mixing bowl. Add the beef strips and coat them before frying them in a pan using half the oil and half the butter. Once all the beef strips are cooked place them to the side.
  • Heat up the remaining olive oil and butter and sauté the onion and mushrooms.
  • Add the beef strips, fresh cream and thyme and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat and leave it to simmer.
  • You can serve this with tagliatelle pasta or baby potatoes. I served it with rice but it’s really up to you.

 

Disclaimer: This recipe is from Een-Twee-Drie op die tafel however I have made some adjustments.

Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s Play … Tag, You’re It!

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-10-27-26-am

“Alexa, I need you to know that if you feel uncomfortable with what you see here tonight, in this room, you have every right to walk out of here and never come back.”

She stared at him, excitement and panic flushed over her.

“Just open the damn door Aaron” she whispered.

He entered the key inside the lock, clicked it open and slowly pushed the door to reveal his obsession. He stepped aside, allowing her to enter the room first.

Her eyes lit up. This wasn’t what she was expecting. She looked around the room, he could see the excitement in her eyes.

“Say something please” he pleaded with her.

She turned around with a devilish grin; “You know, normal people don’t have a basement full of weapons”.

He felt relieved.

“I’m not normal, you of all people should know that by now” he said, picking up a M16 rifle.

She stared at him, darkness filling her eyes. “Let’s play” she whispered.

 

 

 

 

*Image used: We heart It*
Gal Gadot

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Recipe: Blueberry & Vanilla Cake with shavings of Lemon

Disclaimer: This is a recipe I found in the “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte” recipe book. To purchase a copy click HERE.

Knowing me however, I did “spice” it up a little and added a few things that will make it my own. I’m not sure about the measurements they used in this recipe as the consistency of my batter was very thick. I have added my amended recipe below. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

150g soft margarine
3 large eggs
500ml milk (this may seem a lot but this is the amount I had to use to get the consistency of my batter the way I wanted it. The orignal recipe recommends 200ml)
5ml vanilla essence
500ml cake Flour
12ml baking powder
A pinch of salt
250ml caster sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Prepare 2 baking tins with butter or margarine.
  • Place the margarine, eggs, milk and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl and mix well. add the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar and mix with an electric mixer for 1 minute.
  • Divide the batter into the 2 tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked.

For the butter icing you’ll need:

150g soft butter or margarine
900ml icing sugar
5ml vanilla essence

  • Place the butter or margarine into a mixing bowl and mix well with an electric mixer. Slowly add the icing sugar and then the vanilla essence.

Place icing on top of the cake once it has completely cooled down. I then added some blueberries and finally topped it all off with shavings of lemon.

LC

Posted in Uncategorized

Curse of Afaron

Something I wrote a while back but the story and characters never quite grew on me, thought I’d share it here.

da916ad48e5de4bcac93b50666703102

Chapter 1

It is early morning and the village has come alive with the sounds of scurrying and the sweet humming of women, preparing for the celebration of the princess’s sixteenth birthday. Small fires are burning, smoke boiling out of the chimney of the castle kitchen. The King has demanded, that nothing but the best will be good enough for his only daughter’s big day and the village-women shall not dare disappoint the King and his Lady.

Fresh bread-rolls are scooped out of the castle’s stone-build oven and placed in a basket, covered with a cloth. Wine as red as rubies are saved in jugs, ready for consumption by the village-men and boys. Steel frames filled with candles are hoisted to the roof, ready to be lit. Bowls packed with flowers from the field decorates the tables and their scent fills the castle’s celebration room.

Pots of beef stew are boiling away on the fire and the kitchen is instantly overwhelmed with the aroma of deliciousness. Roasted turkey legs, baked potatoes and freshly caught fish are also among the eateries, being prepared for the feast tonight.

Tables of fresh fruit are placed on either side of the castle hall. A one of a kind gold-plated chalice, engraved with the royal crest is placed at the princess’s seat. It’s a family tradition that the first sip of wine shall be taken from this very chalice and it is a tradition that King Cronus are determined to keep alive, even long after he’s gone.

Upstairs, in the heart of the castle, princess Elihari is staring out of her bedroom window, overlooking the gardens. On the other side of the garden, the villagers are seen preparing for her birthday tonight, an event that she is not  particularly looking forward to. It’s a special occasion for her father, therefore she will put on a brave face and endure this torturous evening.

A soft knock on the door, pulls her back to the present.

“Come in” she answers and the heavy wooden door swings open slowly with a creaking sound. The servants disappear through the extended room and her mother peeks around the door.

“Am I interrupting anything”? she asks in her soft-spoken nature.

Her mother, Lady Vairya has always been there for her. She has been the one person that always took her side, even though she knew that sometimes, her argument was off. Still, her mother would stay by her side.

“Not at all, please come in, you can help me get ready for my bath” she says and her mother smiles back at her, her kind sea-blue eyes looking at her lovingly.

Her beautiful warm brown locks hanging loosely on her shoulders, forming a perfect frame around her face.

“I have brought you something, it’s your dress, for tonight” her mother exclaims and hold the emerald green dress upright for her to see.

The soft material catches the light, glistering beautifully and the golden beading is just enough to add extra sparkle, perfect for a princess.

“Mother, it’s absolutely beautiful, thank you!” Elihari exclaims, unable to control her excitement and takes the dress from her mother.

“Princess, my apologies for interrupting, your bath is ready” a servant whispers to Elihari from behind the wall of the other room.

She smiles at the servant and walks over to the bath tub filled with heated water, scented with sweet pine nuts, rose petals and the oils of flowers.

Her mother sits on the stool provided for her and starts pouring water over her long jet-black hair. With gentle strokes she continues until every strand is soaked.

“Your father is so proud of you, you have become an impeccable young woman”

“Thank you mother” she smiles, closing her eyes as the warm water washes over her long, locks.

She wants nothing more than to make her father proud.

“You know Elihari, it will make your father very happy if you marry prince Xilonar from the West” her mother adds and Elihari feels her stomach drop. She knew that this would come up as a topic of conversation but she did not expect it to happen on the day she’s celebrating her birthday.

She turns around quickly, facing her mother, clearly startling her.

“Mother, no, I am sorry but that is something I am unable to do. Do you really expect me to marry a man I do not love?” she asks, wide-eyed. Her mother is a smart woman, she knows how she feels about arranged marriages.

“Eli, it’s not about love, it’s about you being in line to become queen-“

“I don’t want to become queen mother!” she interrupts, raising her voice. Her father would disapprove of the way she’s speaking to her mother but she can’t let this go.

“What do you mean it’s not about love? Of course it’s about love, that’s what marriage is all about, isn’t it”? she yells but already knowing the answer.

Her mother turns her shoulder and continues pouring the water over her hair but she swings around again, moving far enough for her, unable to reach.

“This is not a decision that will be made by us Elihari. Your father will have the last say. He is the King after all. And you, as his daughter, will respect that”

“Mother, you know just as well as I do that you have a say in this as well. You have the ability to talk to father and persuade him not to give me away to the pig from the West! Please mother!” her voice is filled with desperation as she looks into her mothers frosting eyes.

“You will do as your father say” is the only response she receives and she knows that this conversation has come to an end.

There is no point in arguing with her mother when she is like this. She will just have to approach her father, surely he will understand? He has to understand that she will not be sold like some kind of slave to a Kingdom destined to be ruined by a prince who doesn’t know his left from his right.

She will not stand for this nonsense. She’s princess Elihari for pete’s sake. Princess of Potami, the daughter of King Cronus and that is something no one can take away from her.

Posted in Pets, Uncategorized

PARVO: What you need to know

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-35-53-pm

I have decided to write an article about the dreaded Parvo disease. I am seeing more and more posts and questions about this topic on social media and thought I’d share some information here.

Let’s dive right into this. What is Parvo? The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The Afrikaans name for this disease is “katgriep”. Please note that this disease is not transferable from cats to dogs. It is true that cats are able to have a similar disease to the canine parvovirus but it is not transferable to dogs.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-37-14-pm

The Parvo virus mainly effects puppies because their immune system is not yet fully developed. This does not mean that an older dog can’t be diagnosed. My dogs (3 years old now) were diagnosed with Parvo when they were little over a year old. Now remember that if your dog has had Parvo once, it is highly unlikely that he/she will be infected again.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-38-31-pm

Parvo is transmitted when a dog comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces. It is extremely important to have your dog(s) vaccinated against this virus as this will most likely stop the virus from infecting your dog. The virus focusses on attacking the dog’s intestines which results in heart failure if left untreated.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-39-41-pm

  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid weight loss

Please note that your dog could die within hours of these symptoms starting to show.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-40-35-pm

 

Veterinary bills can become quite high when dealing with Parvo. You can prepare yourself for a hefty bill. Speaking from experience, our bill ended up at R10 000 for two dogs in hospital for 1 week. It is definitely not going to be cheap. Because Parvo is such a deadly disease and even with the best veterinary care it can still be fatal, home treatment is not advised. There is no drug that is able to kill the Parvo virus however your vet will be able to help your dog fight the virus. Most commonly drugs will be given to boost his/her immune system and stop the vomiting. It is important to make sure that your dog is taking in enough fluids.

Now, I know that you might not be in a situation where you are able to afford a big veterinary bill or can’t get to a vet within a specific time  but you still want to save your dog. Here are a few things you can try below; (Please note that it’s still in your dog’s best interest to get him/her to a vet as soon as possible)

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of Marmite with 1 cup of boiling water and give to your dog when cooled down.
  • ‘Naartjie’ Energade can also be given.
  • Valoid pills can also be given for nausea.
  • Half-cooked chicken livers
  • Make sure that there is fresh water nearby.

I hope that this helps someone with this awful disease. Stay calm, do research and have faith!

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-42-17-pm

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Gift

Tapping with her perfect manicured finger on the rustic-looking dining room table, Elana feels sick. It’s a different kind of feeling than what she’s ever felt before. She looks up at the wall clock, staring at it, as if it will magically go back in time and heal the pain that both she and William have been feeling for the past six and a half years.  It was one sentence from her doctor which almost cost her, her marriage.

“I’m sorry Elana, we have done everything we could, and unfortunately you are infertile”

She remembers William letting his head fall into his big hands. She could see the tears streaming down his face, his ears turning red. She wanted to scream at the doctor. She wanted to scream at the staff, scream at William that it wasn’t her fault. Instead, she sat there feeling numb. She couldn’t say or do anything. She barely knew how to react.

Without thinking, she heads to the front door and pulls the maroon coat over her shoulders. The morning air is cold against her face and she instantly feels better. A jogger and his dog pass her and he greets politely. She smiles and waves back and feels the nauseating feeling in the pit of her stomach return.

Inside the pharmacy she takes off her coat, hangs it over her arm and walks over to the aisle that she’s grown familiar with. So many tests to choose from, her eyes scan the different packaging and she decides on the digital ‘Clearblue’ brand. Elana heads over to the counter and places the test in front of Doris. Doris has been working there for the past ten years and has come to know Elana and her struggle, someone she was able to turn to every time a test came out negative. Doris looks at her with a frown but Elana chooses to ignore her reaction.

“Good morning dear, is this all for you today”? Doris asks, wiping a strand of soft grey hair from her face.

“That’s all, thank you Doris” Elana smiles and looks down at the brown package Doris hands to her.

Elana rushes home and feels the burning sensation moving its way up her throat. She reaches the neutral coloured bathroom just in time and hugs the porcelain bowl.

“What is going on with me”? She whispers to herself and searches for the brown packaging next to her.

She places the test, covered in its purple and white packaging, on the basin in front of her and sets the timer on her cell phone. Three minutes.  She stares out the bathroom window, overlooking the vineyard behind their home. So many times she’s dreamt of taking a stroller through the vineyard while singing lullaby’s to their baby. Taking afternoon walks in the winter, going to the park or even driving out to her and William’s favourite spot at the lake. Throwing out a blanket and having a picnic, just the two of them. She’s been disappointed countless times before, but there’s still a single grain of hope left in her.

The buzzer of the timer goes off; startling her and the nauseating feeling is back. Elana takes a deep breath and struggles to compose herself. She is too scared to look at the test. She rolls her eyes, what is she going to do? Wait for William to get home and look at the test for her? She straightens the scarf around her neck and takes the plastic tube holding her greatest dream in it carefully between her fingers. Elana gasps. It’s positive.

***

“Mr and Mrs Rhodes, are you ready to find out if it’s pink or blue”? The gynaecologist asks while moving the ultrasonic probe over Elana’s stomach.

Elana knows that William is secretly hoping for a boy but she doesn’t care.

“As long as it’s a healthy baby, we will be happy with whatever the gender is” Elana smiles while staring at the baby on the monitor and William takes her hand in his.

“Well, I am pretty sure that both of you will be happy with the outcome. There’s a strong and healthy little baby boy growing inside of you, congratulations”!

Elana can feel the tears rolling down her cheeks and looks over at William who is silently whispering a ‘Thank you Jesus’ to her. Teary eyed, they both head out of the doctor’s office and for the first time in six and a half years Elana feels that they are closer than ever.

***
Waking up to rumbling in the bathroom, William throws the covers to the side and slowly opens the door.

“Elana honey? What’s wrong?”

Elana is hunched over the basin and he can clearly see the pain in her expression.

“William, something is wrong” she manages to say before collapsing on the cold, hard tiles.

He grabs her head before it hits the ground and he picks her up and carries her back to the bed. Frantically searching for his phone, his fingers seem to have lost all feeling. Elana is still breathing but he knows that he needs to act fast. He runs to the baby room, grabbing the hospital bag and hooks the car keys off the hook in the kitchen. Back to the bedroom, he carefully picks her up and run to the car, praying.

The drive to the hospital is short but William can hardly see as the tears are streaming down his face. The traffic light turns a bright red and he slams on the brakes. He hits the steering wheel with his fist and the tires scream against the road when the light turns back to green.

He burst through the hospital doors with his two most precious possessions in his hands. Hospital staff scrambles to help him and Elana disappears through two white doors. He is numb. He stares at the windows but can’t see anything. Images of Elana are flashing through his mind. The first time they met, the first date they went on. Their wedding day and the time they spent away on their honeymoon touring through Indonesia. Their Sunday morning breakfast ritual at the coffee shop on the corner of Jameson Street where Elana ordered the same thing every time, a scone with strawberry jam and cheese.

A cold hand rests on his forearm and he is pulled back to reality.

“Would you like to sit down”? She asks and William frowns, feeling a sudden urge to tell this woman to buzz off and leave him alone. He is perfectly fine standing in front of the double doors that swallowed his wife and child a few minutes ago.

But he doesn’t. Tears fill his eyes and he follows the woman to the waiting area. Seconds later, someone hands him a cup of coffee but he is unable to bring himself to drink it. He looks down at the titanium ring on his left hand ring finger and thinks back to the promises he made to her.

“In sickness and in health, until death do us part” he whispers and breaks down uncontrollably.

***
After what feels like hours, a doctor knocks on the door of the room that William has been waiting in. The doctor looks drained and tired. William jumps to his feet and the doctor extends his hand.

“Mr Rhodes, I am doctor Pillay, I have some bad news about your wife. Unfortunately, she did not make it, I am so sorry for your loss”.

Time stood still. For the first time in his thirty eight years of existence he was speechless. He had nothing to say. He wanted to punch this doctor standing in front of him, hit him so hard to make him feel the pain he is feeling right now by what he just said. He just stood there. He frowned, tears streaming down his face once again.

“Mr Rhodes, we managed to save your baby boy” the doctor spoke again.

His eyes shot up and he followed the doctor to the hospital nursery. A friendly nurse in a navy and white uniform handed him the most perfect little human he has ever seen. He rubbed his thumb over the tiny hands and started sobbing.

“Everything is so perfect” he whispers and the nurse smiles at him.

“Congratulations Mr Rhodes and may I say that I am very sorry for your loss.”

He can see and feel the sincerity of what she said and he feels a sense of comfort having his son in his arms.

“Do we have a name for the little one”? She asks, still smiling at him.

William looks down at the baby boy that has dozed off.

“Daniel William Rhodes” he answers, feeling peace washing over him like a tidal wave.