Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Chin-chin originated from Nigeria. It is a deep-fried snack which can be used for a light refreshment.

Ingredients and measurement:
Different measurements of ingredients can be used, depending on the quantity of chin-chin to be prepared. 

For an occasion (for example, a christmas party with many kids), I used the following ingredients (for a soft chin-chin):
2 kg flour
250 ml condensed milk
300 g margarine 
350 g caster sugar (granulated)
2 tbsp ground nutmeg
6 eggs
5 tbsp baking powder
250 ml water
Oil to fry

How to prepare:

Mix the sugar and milk and leave to soak

Sieve the flour into another bowl
Add baking powder and nut meg, and mix
Add Margarine and mix well (preferable, with the hand) making sure that there are no lumps
Add eggs (one after another) and mix well
Add the sugar and milk mixture gradually while mixing
Add water and continue mixing to form a soft dough
Sprinkle a small quantity of flour on a flat surface, place the dough on the surface and knead gently
Once you knead the dough properly, cover and leave it while you get ready to start frying


Heat the oil
Cut a small portion of the dough and knead with a dough roller
When the dough is flat, cut into desired shapes and sizes
Deep-fry in hot oil
Continue the process until you finish frying the dough


Allow the chin-chin to cool down quietly
Store in a dry, air-tight container


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Grilled Turkey

This turkey was prepared for more than 10 people

Below are the ingredients used

5 kg Turkey

For turkey spicing:
4 Maggie cubes
Olive oil
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (chopped)
3 sprigs of parsley (chopped)
2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste

For the stuffing:
225 g bread crumbs
Few sprigs of fresh sage leaves (chopped)
300 g mince meat
2 onions (chopped)
2 Maggie cubes
2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp ground nutmeg (preferential)
Olive oil
Salt to taste

3 Carrots
1 kg Brussels sprout

How to prepare

Wash the turkey thoroughly and dry with a kitchen towel making sure that any water in the cavity is soaked up.
Rub the olive oil on the turkey.
Mix the Maggie cubes, thyme, parsley, ground pepper and salt.
Rub the mixture all over the bird; ensure that all corners and crevices are covered. Cover the turkey and leave it for a couple of hours to absorb the ingredients.
Depending on preference, let the spiced turkey stay overnight to give enough time for the ingredients to soak into the bird. 

For the stuffing, warm the olive oil and add the chopped onions.
Cook the onions until it is soft.
Add the seasoning - Maggie cubes, chopped sage leaves, ground pepper, nutmeg and salt.
Cook for another few minute until the ingredients are well mixed.
Allow the mixture to cool, then add the mince meat and bread crumbs.
Mix well and roll the mixture into a ball. 

Wash the Brussels sprouts and carrots; chop the carrots.

When you are ready to cook the turkey, stuff the cavity with the prepared stuffing. Make sure that you allow a little space in the cavity. If you completely stuff the cavity, it might slow down the cooking time.

Place the Brussels sprouts and chopped carrots on a roasting pan and place the prepared turkey on top.
Cover the turkey with a tin foil.

Heat the oven and cook for 4 hours or more (at 180C / Gas level 6/ 350F) until the turkey is brown and well cooked.

When the turkey is cooked, carve and serve (with gravy or any preferred source).


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

All set for Christmas? Do you know why?

The Christmas day is here again! This is the day Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the time for giving and receiving (presents and kindness in different forms); a time people rejoice in the good things of life.

The efforts involved in preparing for the Christmas celebration is really huge. 

On a general level, one thinks about presents / cards to buy for loved ones. One also thinks about decorations (the Christmas tree & accessories, etc.) to buy for the home. The women (and some men) will think about special meals to prepare (for example, turkey and ham, rice, cake, chin-chin, etc.). 

On a personal level, ladies (especially) will think about things to buy for the family members and themselves (clothes, shoes, jewellery, etc.). That does not mean that men and kids do not buy gifts.

Do you make your secret wish and think about the likely gifts you might receive from your loved ones? I do :-)

As you celebrate, always remember one thing: It is not just about being merry, drinking & eating too much (and everything), and receiving presents. It is all about being reconnected to God and His love for mankind. It is a time to reflect on God's purpose for sending His only begotten Son to this world - for the salvation of mankind. A time meant for believing & trusting God, and forgiving others. 

As you celebrate during this festive period, do take care not to exceed any expected limits... 

I wish you all merry Christmas! I hope that your days be merry and bright always!!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Motivated to exercise?

You want to loose weight and remain healthy. No problem, but are you interested in exercising? It is true that exercise alone does not do the whole job of shedding all extra kilos / fat, but it goes a long way to help. In addition, it keeps you fit. 

People always give many reasons to justify their decisions not to exercise at any point in time. I will say that I am a witness to that because I once had so many reasons.

At the initial stage when people start, some of the reasons could be related to time - there is never any time to exercise. We always have things to do. If you are determined to keep fit by exercising, you will definitely be able to plan your daily activities well and have few hours to spare. 

After a couple of weeks, other challenges do crop up. The major challenge at this stage will be trying to overcome the initial nasty pain (in the ribs, knee joints, thighs, back, etc.) associated with an exercise. One starts being lazy and reluctant to go out, finding every reason not to. It needs determination, great will-power and strength to carry on.You notice that once you are able to drag yourself out, you will feel lighter and be glad when you return. 

Once you are able to get through these two main stages successfully, you will hardly let a day go by without exercising, even if it is just for few minutes.

I dealt with these issues at one time and was able to overcome the challenge! You can do it!!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Feeling happy and refreshed all day long?

Questions to you lovely lady out there:
  • Do you always have the kit with you? 
  • How many times do you check daily to confirm that you look refreshed with no oily face (if you have an oily face)? 

At the start of the day, everyone feels energetic and refreshed. After some hours, we gradually start feeling worn out and hungry (especially by lunch time). This tiredness shows instantly on the face as it is the most affected part of the body. That is when it starts getting dull and oily. 

I usually ask ladies, to what extent do you freshen up (check and update your facial outlook) during the day?
Some people may have a complete makeover (facial cleansing and makeup) once or twice daily. Others may have some top-ups every now and again. The number of times one freshen up during the day depends entirely on the person involved. 

For me, I do some checks, at least, twice a day. I think that the most crucial times to check are before lunch time and at the end of the working day before going home. 

My reasons:
  • Since we sit glued to our desks / work in the morning time, it makes sense to check oneself at lunch time before going out to meet and chat with others. 
  • Before going home, check yourself to avoid looking like something the cat dragged in on your way home. Some ladies have their boyfriends or husbands come to pick them up. Nobody wants to embarrass her partner by being in a messed-up state. Even if your partner is at home, you want to look good when you meet him. For all single ladies, you never know who will meet you on your way.

Therefore, look your best and very attractive at all times!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Anxious to see your weight drop while on diet?

While on diet, some people get into the habit of checking their weight every day to see if their diet plans are effective. Sometimes, this can be frustrating!

First of all, check what you are eating. Are you strictly keeping to the eating instructions or are you giving yourself more junk treats than required?

Once the rules are being followed, then we can talk about the different types of scales and how they function. I recommend that you ensure that your scale functions properly. If you have more than 1 scale at home, make sure to use just one of them at all times.

From my experience, different scales tend to show slightly different figures when used at any particular point in time. I am not sure what the reason might be but I noticed it myself.
I have 2 scales at home; I usually use one of them. One morning as I was tidying up the bedroom, I came across the other one and decided to see if there had been any change from the last time I weighed myself. To my greatest surprise, my weight was 5-4 kg higher.
You cannot imagine how shocked I was! I did not believe the number so I went downstairs to check myself on that one I usually use. To my relief, the figure was still the same as the last time I checked the previous day.

Once I noticed this difference, I simply decided to stick with my usual one and save myself unnecessary shock and worries :-) 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Managing your Household chores!

How do you manage your household chores? Whether you are married with or without kids, a single parent, spinster or bachelor, there is always need to manage chores in every household. 

As a bachelor or spinster, managing household activities seems to be somewhat straight forward. The lazy ones wash their dishes when they have time or feel like. They have the liberty of washing their clothes and leaving them hanging on the hanger until when they need them or they can fold the clothes away and iron them later. But I bet that they will always be active and tidy up when expecting visitors :-). 
Not everybody is this lazy. Some spinsters and bachelors like tidying and cleaning up as they go, leaving everything squeaky clean. 

Division of labour comes in when two adults are involved. Depending on the individuals involved and their attitudes towards household chores, there might be little or no grudges. 

Partners without kids can easily share the chores among themselves or leave the respective tasks open to be completed by any one of them disposed at any point in time. 

For couples with children, it is always good to have the kids involved one way or another in keeping the house clean. Depending on their ages, the kids might be involved in washing up, cleaning/dusting, vacuum cleaning, etc.
It is true that some parents might want their children to enjoy life by giving them no tasks at home, but such parents should beware not to spoil their kids and make them public nuisance. 

The same idea of having kids involved in doing household chores applies to single parents as well, with the exception of those who do not want their kids to do anything. 

For me, I always believe in having every member of the family perform one task or another. It creates unity and gives everyone a sense of belonging. Working together encourages this  intimacy and closeness that keeps a family together.  

It does not matter how we share and manage the chores (who does what and when it is done), the main goal should be to keep the house clean and functional, with everybody having a part to play. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Healthy eating options! Do you have a diet plan?

We read a lot about the advantages of eating healthy diets. A strict diet plan includes a long list of "DOs" and "DO NOTs". Sometimes, the effort needed to keep track of healthy eating options (for example, what to eat or avoid; what to eat more, little or in moderation, etc.) is unimaginable.

I do not know about you but I find these instructions and suggestions very exhausting. Another thing that might be very tiring is checking to ensure that the right quantity of food is consumed at all times; one has to count or weight almost everything. Of course, we do not have to overfeed, but our daily consumption must be right if we want things to work. 
One might think that one is eating right but the quantity might just be too much!

The question is: how can a specific diet plan be made more effective?
A strict plan can be a problem for someone with certain health issues that warrant eating one thing and not the other. 
There is no excuse for those who give in to their craving for junk food, though. 

I will say that the answer to the question above depends on the person involved. There are some strict diet plans that have proved to be very effective. For example, one of my friends commended the Atkins diet plan to me. She went on and on to explain how it helped her to shed off fat (many kilos) but warned that the plan has to be strictly followed for it to work.
I believe that there are others out there that I do not know. 

There is a saying that "what you eat defines you". For me, I make an effort to eat the right food, not really following a strict diet plan which I must confess is sometimes an issue for me. I chose what I eat and try to make right choices. I eat in moderation; one can only eat a certain quantity of food in a day, of course.

There are so many distractions if you want to eat right, for example, eating out with friends, giving oneself a "treat" (in excess!), being too lazy to prepare the right dishes at all times...the list goes on and on and on...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bad habits in public. Watch out for top answers!

I conducted a survey of "bad habits" people exhibit in public. This survey focused on simple things people do, for example, in public transport, shops, waiting areas, etc. 

I asked men and women of different age groups who work / study in different areas. The result showed a long list of what irritate people, but below are the top 10 answers. 

In public, many people do not like it when, sitting or standing close to them, you do the following:
  1. Eat apple loudly 
  2. Chew gum loudly
  3. Comb your hair 
  4. Pick your nose without using a handkerchief or tissue
  5. Cough loudly without shielding your mouth
  6. Sneeze without shielding your mouth/nose
  7. Yawn without shielding the mouth 
  8. Spit right in front of them
  9. Blow your nose right in front of them without using a handkerchief or tissue
  10. Pick your teeth with a toothpick

It is interesting to note that there are certain things we do, unconsciously of course, without realising that they really irritate those standing or sitting close to us. 

It is true that we should not allow others to dictate how we live our lives, but we have to be cautious of what we do and take other people into consideration at all times.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Make-up for different occasions?

Thinking of the different places we go to on daily basis (work, school, business, church, visits to close or distant relatives/friends, etc.), I wonder if make-up users apply the same layers of make-up for these different occasions. 

Looking good is good business but really, do you apply the whole package (that is, foundation, powder, blushes, mascara, eye/lip liner, lip stick, etc.) alike when going to visit a friend, work, school, church, etc.? Or do you use some items and leave the others, depending on the  occasion? 

For me, I do not really fancy applying the whole package whenever I am going out. I do select where to go full blast and where to go easy and simple. 

I know that some of you are always on track, that is, you make up heavily for every occasion. Well, keep it up if you can! If you are not confident in this area, you might want to seek professional help for any big occasion. 
I do not spend the same length of time in front of a mirror making up for work as I do for church or parties.

There are no set out rules on how and when to apply make-up and answers to the questions above depend entirely on the people involved. 

Remember that some people do not use make-up at all and still look great. 

Do not be surprised that you might also look great without it!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Do you Prepare "Party Packs" for Kiddies?

If we check children's expectations while going to parties (birthday, first holy communion, etc.), we find out that every kid wants to go home with something. In addition to meeting, playing and catching up with friends, children love collecting gifts to take home. 

These gifts, widely known as "Party Packs", preferably wrapped in a portable and fanciful way, may contain assorted types of goodies (candies, chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cake, etc.). Children love the pleasant surprise of discovering the contents of the pack. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with kids of different ages concerning their feeling towards these gifts and realised that they all feel the same way. No matter how enjoyable parties might be, kids will go home either happy or sad. They will go home very happy if they receive their presents, and very sad if not. 

It is worthwhile for parents to note that they can make their children's parties memorable ones by packing and giving presents, no matter the size or contents, to young guests. 

Some parents make sure to include presents in the party planning while other do not.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Do you keep to your promises? (check Ecclesiastes 5:4; Deuteronomy 23:23)

We human beings make different promises to both God and man. If we are true to ourselves, we will be able to count how many of these promises we eventually fulfilled.

Sometimes, people make unrealistic promises to others in order to either give an impression that they are able to do everything or maybe just get people off their necks. They forget that they hurt and disappoint these people. 

It is better to promise what we can afford to do, keep to our words and be at peace with ourselves, God and mankind.

Do you know that some people make vows to God, even when they know that they cannot fulfil them? 
It is better to say nothing than to make vain promises thereby going contrary to God's words. 
It is written in the book of Ecclesiastes 5:4 (NIV) "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vows." 

The book of Deuteronomy 23:23 (NIV) says "Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to The Lord your God with your own mouth."

A glimpse of the last sunset!

The weather is getting darker, colder, cloudy and rainy with sunny spells here and there.  

As a result of the change of weather (it is now Winter), one scarcely sees the sun shining in its fullest for a long time. 

Even though the sunset time is now early as a result of the daylight saving time, there is usually little or no sunshine during this time. 

The weather was exceptionally warm and sunny the other evening I went for a walk so I decided to take a snap. The view was lovely and captivating! 

It will take months before one enjoys this type of warm and sunny weather again!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Does language (Ibo, German, French...) matter to you?

Are you interested in working together with volunteers to translate non-profit projects into foreign languages?

Using the platform "trommons.org" (http://trommons.org/), Rosetta Foundation, a non-profit organisation, offers an avenue for organisations and volunteers to work together in other to translate non-profit projects. Because language matters to this organisation, effort has been made to ensure that everybody has access to information on the site in their own languages.

In collaboration with Rosetta Foundation, I was involved in creating a video highlighting the aims and objectives of this organisation. The video has been presented for the contest "Better Together Video Competition" which involves non-profit organisations.

Better Together is a nationwide campaign which aims to build support for hundreds of charities, community groups, clubs and associations across the country by encouraging the public to support these good causes and make a difference in their communities.

The Rosetta project coordinator gathered people from different countries to say one sentence in their respective languages (French, Simplified Chinese, Gaelic, German, English, Basque, Polish, Spanish, Catalan, Telugu, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Ibo and Persian).

If you support the objectives of this organisation, please vote for our video. The voting closes on the 21st of November.

You can view the video and vote here: http://www.bettertogether.ie/video/because-language-matters

Friday, 24 October 2014

Facts about Halloween!

Are you wondering what Halloween is all about? I also wondered what is being celebrated and made some research on the topic. 

According to history, it is believed that Halloween originated from Ireland. 

Do you know what the traditional Halloween dish is? I like this part of the story!
A traditional Irish Halloween dinner comprises of boiled potatoes, cabbage and raw onions. Coins are cleaned, wrapped in baking paper and hidden in the potatoes. While eating, children who find these coins keep them. 
The barnbrack cake, a fruitcake that has a rag, ring and coin hidden within it, is served for dessert. It is believed that the rag represents a financial future, the ring impending romance and happiness, and the coin prosperity. Whoever finds the hidden treasure while eating will also find the respective faith. 

The legend of the Jack O'Lantern, which dates back to the 18th century, refers to the story of an Irish blacksmith called Jack who was denied entry to heaven because he conspired with the devil. He was condemned to wander the earth. His only light was a burning coal inside a hallowed turnip. People believed that placing a Jack O'Lantern on their windows during Halloween time will keep the damned soul of the wandering blacksmith away from them. When the Irish immigrants arrived in the US, they found out that there was not enough turnips to carry out this tradition so they decided to use pumpkins instead. 

This year, the Halloween date is the 31st of October which is on a Friday. In accordance with an ancient history, the official Halloween bank holiday is celebrated on the last Monday of October which is the 27th. Many cultural and sporting events are held in Dublin to commemorate this occasion. These events include, but not limited to the following: the Dublin marathon; theatre, arts and fashion festivals; music performances by Irish musicians or inspired by Ireland's history; celebrations of traditional and modern Irish food and drink; Halloween themed events. 

People dress up in scary costumes (ghost and goblin costumes) to confuse the spirits that wandered the earth on Halloween night, to avoid being taken away by them. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Is the weekend long enough?

Weekends are great! The time to take a break and switch off from the daily hustle and bustle of life (work, school, business, etc.). The time to relax and spend quality time with loved ones and family.

Fridays are exciting! Mostly because Friday is the last day of a working week. On a Friday, one feels like the break will be for an eternity.

Usually when I ask people on Monday how their weekend was, I always get similar responses like "it was good/busy/quiet/great, etc. - but too short!" :-)

It makes me think:
What can be done about this?

Is there a way of squeezing a day or two in-between Saturday and Sunday?

Maybe we should request 3 days for the weekend and 4 working days?

Or, even better, ask for 2 long-hours working days and 5 days for the weekend?

Which option would you prefer?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Better shopping online or in the shop?

With the evolution of technology and internet, some people now prefer online shopping to the traditional way of going to the shop to buy things.

While some people shop online for convenience sake, others are just keen to try out the evolving technology. Personally, I enjoy the convenience of shopping online and do avail of this option where necessary (let us say, when I have no other option). But to be honest, I prefer to go to the shop, and I do go whenever I can. 

There are lots of good things I like when buying personally in the shop. One can see the quality of what one wants to buy, test it and have person contact with the sales personal if required. For grocery, I can see, touch and compare items. I can check the "use by" dates and select the exact product I want. When buying shoes and clothes, I always like to try them to ensure that they fit properly. As you know, different designs of the same size do not always fit. The shoes might be too tight, the clothes too small or too big.

I am reluctant to buy online because there is no way of seeing and feeling the quality of items you want to buy and no sales personal to ask questions.

When buying grocery, you can indicate your choice when placing an order but there is no absolute guarantee that the requested item will be delivered because the shop will supply a different product if the requested brand is out of stock.

For clothes and shoes, there is no possibility of trying what you want to buy. You buy on the assumption that the selected design will fit and there is the risk of returning some items.

What is your preference and why?


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