If I Had a Christmas List.

Well, I don’t of course. But now that I’m permanent at work and earning a “big girl salary”, I suddenly feel like I can actually buy things I like (even though my taste seems to have gone up in price along with my salary).

Naturally, being grown up and newly married getting more money every month will include taking over payments my parents have been helping me with (yknow, big important things like medical aid and our monthly landline bill). We’re lucky that we don’t have cray expenses or a very lavish lifestyle, so there will be money left over to put into savings (because we do want to buy a home one day, or take an overseas trip. Responsible adult, right here!) and of course, do some spending when things we love come up.

And I have found a handful of things that I would really love to buy myself (aside for the usual clothing splurge, or brownie ingredient, now that my cocoa is being confiscated). So I thought I would share with you all some of the treasures available.

Kissing Couple Ring with Heart, R230

I love this ring from local online boutique Utique, which sell the wares of plenty local designers! I’ve never been much of a girly girl, and really not a jewellery person. I have those few pieces that basically don’t come off (charm braclet from Greg I got for my 21st, necklace with my name in Hebrew, and my engagement ring) There was even a point where I didnt want an engagement ring, but rather a watch. Well, I do love my ring.

I have a friend who is always wearing really cool rings though, so we have decided that when she finished exams we’re going jewellery shopping. I have a feeling that rings of this price range were never really going to be in our price bracket… But just come on and LOOK at this thing!!

Moustache & Lips Throw Pillow Cushion Cover, R390

Another item which I have been looking to buy for the longest time are these pillows from Zana. I really love the whimsical look of pillows like this, and when you’re renting a furnished flat, you really need as many little things to make it feel your own.

We currently have these ugly blue couches, with even more hideous beige African styles scatter cushions, and I really feel these would make a great addition to our lounge. Or bedroom, they match that too.

You can buy the set, or just lips, or just the ‘stache. Or even ones with “Mr” and “Mrs”, but I kinda like these ones.

Dear Photograph, R285, Exclusive Books

There’s this really cool website called Dear Photograph, you have to check it out. Basically, they also have a coffee table book, and now that I have money to spend… well, it just seems like something worth spending on.

I spent some time wandering a bookshop over the weekend and felt that books are really something I should invest in more.

(Granted, said coffee table at home doesn’t have much space to put anything on. Our F.R.I.E.N.D.S and History of Disney coffee table books sit on a stool in our bedroom. They are far too cool to be sitting there, consider this a mental note to move and display them in the lounge)

You can buy this locally at Exclusive Books, and I really don’t think the price is too hefty for such a great book.

 

Okay, so my list may not be very long, but these are some very lovely things that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on. It’s nice knowing that I actually have funds to spoil myself now. Totally proud of myself and my very first official job.

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An update on my budding baking career

If you follow my dear little blog you will be sure to have read about my brownie baking mishaps (read: fails). After finding what I thought was the problem (overmixing the batter resulting in excess gluten resulting in cakey brownies), and ultimately overcooking my brownies last Thursday… I was determined to try one last time straight after work on Friday, right before shabbos came in.

I mixed the oil, sugar and cocoa like the recipe instructed.

I mixed in each egg until incorporated, as instructed.

I ever so slowly mixed in the flour and baking powder until just combined.

I even undercooked the brownies by 10 minutes.

And they were still a cakey mess.

 

Upon more googling:

 

I decided that it can’t be me. Can it? So the next step is to test the oven (I need to sign blame to someone, and I’m getting kinda sick of i being ME all the time!). Upon further googling, I read that I needed to get hold of an oven thermometer. We’ve located one, and I’m hoping to test it this week.

Please God this will be the end of my brownie baking disasters.

Otherwise I’m switching to muffins.

Another failed brownie attempt.

My last brownie attempt really had me questioning the legitimacy of my oven. I figured it couldn’t always be me, right!? Hence, blaming the oven. A little bit of research though on Dr. Google showed me where I may have been going wrong. I love baking brownies because you just gooi it in a bowl, mix, viola! No. Wrong.

Dr Google made me realise that I could be over-mixing my brownies (something about mixing the flour too much, produces extra gluten, which makes it rise more, resulting in failed, cakey brownies). Upon closer inspection of the recipe, I actually saw I was meant to mixed everything… and only mix in the flour at the end. This would then make sense as to why my flour was “producing excess gluten” because it had been added to the mixture so much earlier. Stupid. (I really need to follow directions more closely.)

So here I was this evening, with a new spring in my step and hope in my little heart to attempt to make brownies without.over.mixing. My friend was over keeping me company, and I was every so careful when adding and mixing all my ingredients. In the oven, they smelled better than ever! Open the oven, stick in the toothpick – they feel fudgey – yay!

NO! After letting them cool I tried to slice them. I have never needed so much effort to slice a brownie. Damnit. Overcooked. And then it hit me… usually, I follow my friends advice of doubling the recipe and hence extending the baking time. This time I didn’t double it… but stupidly used the same baking time I always do.

Overcooked brownies.

My poor little heart is broken.

Halloween is coming.

So I’m really not one for Halloween, I don’t think as big a deal of it is made on this side of the earth. I know a lot of kids in High School, and I know a lot of them make a big deal about Halloween and someone usually throws a party that everyone goes to. I suppose it’s just an excuse to dress up. Maybe I’m not so into it, because us Jews already have a time of year for dress up, and I like to put in the effort into my Purim costumes.

A bee in 2008

Nerds in 2009

Pirates in 2010

That brief photographic interlude was just proof that us Jews do get to play dress up to.

Anyway, that is far from the point. The point is that Halloween is coming and there are some really awesome events going on!

On Saturday is the Cape Town Zombie walk. On the one hand, it sucks because it’s on Shabbos. The plus side is that it is on the promenade. And we live in Sea Point (practically on the promenade!). So my plans for Shabbos afternoon are to totally sit on the beach front and watch the Zombie Apocalypse take place right here in Cape Town. Sadly, there will be no photographic evidence (Shabbos and all.)

Zombie Walk Cape Town

What’s also cool, is the Horror Fest happening at the Labia. I did a Horror seminar at varsity last year for my film course and it was really fun, so I feel like I know a bit of how the mechanism behind the horror movie works. Now my chances of attending this would be slim to none anyway considering Greg’s aversion to any movies that are remotely scary. The other night I convinced him and 2 friends to watch The Others (Which is relatively unscary in the way that horrors go), but the 1 friend actually left the room she was so scared, and because we are such good friends, we changed the movie. But Greg and I finished it the next night. Now Greg just thinks I’m crazy.

Well, it’s not my fault that he’s afraid of scary things.

What are you doing over Halloween? Or dressing up as? I’m sure if you head over to pinterest, you’ll find plenty ideas 🙂

The Countdown to December

As a newly inducted working girl, this time of year naturally means counting down to your few days of leave in December… Now, because I had to take off so many for Jewish Holidays, this leave will be relatively short (especially considering most of it consists of public holidays and weekends). It’s actually forced leave, because that when the company actually shuts down for December.

This will be the first time in my life working through, or doing anything really through December. I’m used to lazing in the sun, attending a month long summer camp in Mossel Bay, and just having a good time with friends. Well, those days are over.

Which means that having leave becomes 10 times more important when you only have a limited amount of it. The sucky part is, that our landlords are moving into our flat for their summer holiday over the EXACT dates that I’m off work. Don’t worry, its part of our deal with them – we’re renting out their CT holiday flat for a good rate, and in return, they get to use it for 10 days or so around this time.

An extra sucky part is that it means possibly moving in with our parents for those 10 days. Now there is nothing wrong with either sets of our parents, but moving from beautiful, sunny, central Sea Point… to far, windy-every-second-of-the-day Milnerton isnt quite ideal for your summer holiday. To top it off, the last few days before I go back to work, Greg leaves to take a two week trip of school kids to Israel.

Which basically means – we need to go away! Where, I have no clue. I have never been away, and certainly not the two of us going away alone. We never even went on a honeymoon (ppffft, where do newlyweds find money for that!). My family kinda stopped family holidays a very long time ago, those 8hrs squished in the back of my dad’s car to PE weren’t so fun…

Yet there are so many beautiful places on this side of the world, that I’m really hoping we can find something 🙂 Any suggestions of a totally awesome, quiet, location would be greatly appreciated!

A mini (virtual) Cape Town holiday

Everyone should know how much I love Cape Town; and not just loooooove Cape Town, but I’d consder it borderline obsessed. (OK, ecept when she is moody and the weather is temperamental). I also love a good campaign. So here Cape Town Tourism has done the best thing I’ve read about in ages.

Basically you send your facebook profile on a holiday to Cape Town! You sign in using your facebook, select your interests and off you go…

Your profile goes on a 5 day holiday to Cape Town, and you get an email update every one of those days to tell you what your profile has been up to. Including photos!

Find the app here. Oh you can also win a trip to Cape Town. That’s actually kinda the point of it all.

Is it me? Or the oven?

This going to be a bit of a sad and pitiful post, because the subject of it makes me kinda sad. I have written before about my unsuccesses (totally just made up a word) with baking, as well as my search for the perfect brownie. I really like making brownies, because you practically just throw the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up with a spoon.

I got them right once. But only once (ironically, the first time). With the same damn recipe! It could be that I’m just too fussy with my brownies. I like them cripsy on the outside, but dense and chewy on the inside. And I haven’t been able to get it right since then. It really makes me sad with each unsuccessful attempt. And then I’m left with an entire container filled with brownies, and Greg and I have to find people to feed them to. Today I sent him with half the brownie tray to take to work.

I’m beginning to think it is the oven’s fault. How can a human possibly mess up mixing a set amount of ingredients in a bowl! But can it really be my oven? I mean, it cooks my food ok? But just my baking sometimes comes out a bit wonky (usually just the brownies). Every time I check them midway through baking, I go back to Greg moping that they’re “too cakey”. A friend in matric taking Consumer Studies even sent me her fail proof recipe. Oh wait – it was the same as mine!

That’s it, I’m actually going to google “oven defects”.

(and if you have any tips, advice, or a fail proof recipe – please send it over)