Friday, 29 August 2014

Dressing up using different mirrors? Do you always look the same?

In every home, it is common to have two or more mirrors (normal and/or magnifying ones) located in different areas for quick checks, especially before going out. 

The main users of these mirrors are ladies. In addition to having different sizes in the bathroom, bedroom, hall way, sitting room and even in the kitchens, they still have small ones in their hand bags. 

Every mirror has a specific way of reflecting the face and figure. You will notice that the way you see yourself in one mirror might not be the same in another one. 

I noticed this myself and decided to use a particular mirror when getting ready to go out. Before taking this decision, I realised that I always looked different when I used the mirror in the bedroom to make up and viewed myself in any other one in the house. My face will either be smoother or rougher than what I saw when I was making up :-) 

The same thing happens with clothes: the physical appearance might change to either good or bad (elegant vs dwarfed physique, etc.)…

Do you notice this difference?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Summer time, barbecue in style!

The summer time is almost coming to an end! 

One of the greatest activities people engage in during this time is going on picnics. 

There are designated places where people from different cultures can gather together and have fun. Organisations as well as individual families go out en masse to enjoy the beautiful weather. 

During this outing, people decide and engage in different activities that give them joy. For example, the kids can play in the playground while the adults can organise some games for themselves. 

Another interesting part of this outing is, of course, the food; there are always varieties to choose from. Naturally, the most common food here is barbecue (with sausages, marinated chicken, fish, beef… you name it). My observation is that men are always happy to take charge of this type of cooking. 

I always assume that the size of the barbecue grill used in this occasion will depend on the number of people involved. Maybe there are preferences...

Talk about making choices, there was this group of people I saw on one occasion we went out on a picnic using a small grill even though they were many in number. 

I wondered: 
Did they go to the shop to buy this small size knowing that they were many in number? 
Did they have other sizes and decided to use that particular small one for the fun of it? 
Did they use that small one because it was the only one available and they didn't bother to make another purchase?

Irrespective of what I was thinking, though, they seemed to have had a great time. 

No matter the style or size of a barbecue grill, the most important thing is for one to enjoy oneself!

Do you have any experience? 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Dressing code: your clothes say a lot about you!

In our society today, people's way of dressing is determined by different factors. Every occasion and profession has a suitable outfit. 

Dressing for work can be determined by either the business professional dressing code or individual preferences. The nature of work also plays a big role; there are some obvious examples. 

Nurses and doctors as well as departmental store personnel are compelled to wear uniforms due to their profession. 
Those who work in banks and insurance companies are bound by the industry dressing code to dress in a professional (corporate) way. The reason, I believe, is because they are always in direct contact with their clients. As a result, they have to portray a professional image at all times.  
The sales and marketing professionals always dress corporately when having client meetings. This is vital to make a good impression.

One thing I realised, though, is that some people do not always feel comfortable in business corporate clothes. I noticed that these people keep changing in and out of their outfits; either in the morning before starting work or in the evening/afternoon after work. 

Irrespective of your profession, I believe that looking good is good business so dressing smart at all times makes a difference. 

What do you think?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Cooking Time: African Salad (aka abacha)

Abacha is one of my favourite African dishes. This exotic delicacy originated from the eastern part of Nigeria and can be eaten as a main or an in-between meal. 

To prepare this delicious dish, using a modern spin on the traditional method, you need the following ingredients (for 2 adults):
- 500g *dried **abacha (cassava flakes)
- 100g ukpaka / ugba (oil bean seed)
- 50g ***ogiri (fermented locust bean) 
- 1 okporoko (stock fish) / 2 ****Titus fish 
- 2 teaspoons of *****akanwu (cooking potash) 
- 1 cup of palm oil
- 1 seasoning cubes (Maggi, Knorr, etc.)
- 1 medium size onion 
- 3 tablespoons of ground crayfish
- 3 anara (garden eggs) 
- salt to taste
- chilli pepper to taste
- garden egg leaves

 How to prepare

Getting ready:
- soak the okporoko for approximately 4 hours (preferably overnight)
- soak the akanwu in water
- srepare the fish, season and ******fry
- wash the garden eggs and chop into desired sizes
- wash the onion and chop into desired sizes
- soak the abacha in cold water and leave for about 15 minutes to soften; then pour into a sieve and allow the water to drain off 
- season and cook the stock fish until tender: once cooked, separate into tiny bits

- mix the palm oil and akanwu in a bowl to form a yellow paste (ncha) - sieve and use only the watery content of the akanwu to avoid stones and other particles
- add ogiri, seasoning, pepper and crayfish
- stir and mix properly
- add salt to taste
- add abacha and ukpaka and mix properly allowing the ingredients to blend - you can add some garden egg leaves, stock fish, fish, onions and garden eggs if desired 
- warm and serve
- garnish with okporoko, fish, onions, garden eggs and garden eggs leaves

* you can also use fresh abacha
** shredded cassava
*** preferably ogiri ishi
**** Mackerel, Thomson or any other type of fish can be used depending on preference
***** palm head ash can also be used
****** you can also grill the fish 
Food is ready! Enjoy!!

Specific ingredients used and preparation can vary depending on individual preferences

How do you prepare yours?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Alarm clock! Are you a "morning" person?

We all wake up with an alarm clock at different times of the day depending on our daily activities and schedules. 

The way you feel in the morning when the alarm rings determines if you are a "morning" person or not:

  • Do you hear the alarm ring at all?
  • Do you feel like throwing the alarm clock away?
  • Do you yawn, stretch and press the snooze button as many times as possible?
  • Do you get up, say your prayers and jump out of the bed?

In my opinion, the one thing (though not a guarantee) that can help people wake up "happy" in the morning, is going to bed early in order to have enough sleep.

However, there are some people who go to bed early but still find it difficult to wake up early. 
The "morning" people can go to bed late and wake up early feeling good. For me, it seems like a tradition to go to bed late and wake up early.

During the summertime, I love watching the sunrise that early in the morning – it is such an amazing view!
If you are not a "morning" person but inspired by nature, maybe you might want to have a glimpse of the sunrise? 
Get the inspiration and feel happy when you wake up!

Using the alarm clock
There are chances that you might wake up before the alarm starts ringing, but believe it or not, you will definitely wake up late on the day that the alarm is not set. Many a time, one wakes up early without any alarm on the day one is not working, thanks to the internal alarm system in the subconscious. 

Talking about those of us who start off very early in the morning on daily basis, it is very important to ensure that the alarm is set properly to avoid the possibility of waking up very late. This might not be applicable to every one though, but I always check my bedside clock several times before going to bed because I know for sure that I will end up waking up late without it.  

I remember one day that I forgot to set the alarm. When I woke up in the morning, I felt extraordinarily good and very relaxed. I thought to myself that it was unusual for me to feel that way in the morning during the week. On checking the time, I found out that I was almost 1 hour behind schedule. By the time I jumped off the bed, said my prayers, got ready and rushed out of the house, I could not meet up with my normal travel schedule. 

Could you have been any quicker? 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Comfortable shoes? What is wrong with the toes?

 Comfortable shoes are always recommended for every occasion: home and away. Every outing (be it going to work or parties, engaging in sports or every day knock-about) has specific type of shoes that keeps one comfortable. 

In my opinion, defining a pair of shoes as "comfortable" depends greatly on the person wearing it; this varies from one individual to another. Do not be surprised that, when people wearing the same size of shoes sample and try the same pair, some might find it uncomfortable. 

I wonder: does it have to do with our skin types, the material used to manufacture the shoes or company (brand) size specifications? 

 Talking specifically about ladies, there is no category of dressing shoes (silhouettes, wedges, pumps, you name them, flat or high heeled) that one can say guarantees comfort for everybody alike. You notice that the one pair of shoes someone jumps around with might be a nightmare for another person. One lady might be running on high heels without any pain while another lady will never try it. 

For me, I usually find it very difficult to get comfortable shoes to wear. I keep wondering if the problem lies with my toes or pairs of shoes. At first, I thought that my feet were getting bigger. On one occasion, I bought a bigger size of shoes which never helped rather ended up slipping off when I walked. 
 Now to be on the safe side when going to events, I always carry my slippers or sandals along with me to use in times of emergency.

I've received recommendations from friends to try different brands which I am seriously exploring. 

Do you have any recommendation? 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Do you have “a date"? When do you think it is right to have a family introduction?

Going out on “dates” with the same person may or may not result in a lasting friendship.

Friendship has a very broad definition. People are engaged in different types of friendship, be it with childhood sweethearts or people met in the college, university or at work. 

For the purpose of this write-up, I will exclude childhood sweethearts. Let us concentrate on friendships that start as “dates” at different stages in life. People always ask: how long does it take before one can feel comfortable introducing such a friend to one's family members? The decision on when to make this bold move is very dicey and challenging. In some places, culture also plays a very important role. 

Some people say that it's good to have an introduction immediately after hooking up while others say that it is good to observe how things unfold first before introduction. Both arguments are backed with different reasons and circumstances. 

The first group of people argue that making an introduction at the early stages of a friendship will help them know their friend’s family members in order to study their characters; the family members in turn will know them. So they will feel either accepted or rejected from the onset. They say that leaving it too late for an introduction indicates that they are not interested in any serious relationship. 

The other group argue that it is better to wait in order to know if the friendship will work out on the long run before making any introduction. They say that it will give time for both parties to study each other and check compatibility. Their question is: what if they become good friends with the family members, make future plans together and the friendship fails?

One of my acquaintances supports this opinion; he is strongly against any early introduction. He will say that it is always better to wait long enough before involving the family. I do not blame him though; his advice is based on his bitter experience. When he started going out with his former girlfriend, he introduced her to his family as soon as they met. His family members were all over her, even encouraged them to do things together. During that time, one of his relatives was planning his wedding. Of course they were invited. The relative was living in a different country so they had to book a flight and make hotel and other relevant reservations together. Unfortunately for him, this relationship became shaky, things did not work out as expected and they broke up before the wedding day. 

If it were you, what would you do? 

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