A Look Ahead – 2016 & Beyond

Aloha pals! Merry belated Christmas! I hope all of your Christmases were merry and bright, and that your gifts exceeded all of your hopes.

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I was genuinely so pleased with all the presents I got from my siblings and my mum — er, I mean Santa — and despite the craziness of the festive season and the family feud that is still ongoing, Christmas was alright.


AN UPDATE



Alright. SO 2016 is going to be a big, big year for me – and this blog.  I’m looking at moving countries for university (fingers crossed), and I’m looking at moving content – with regards to scooton.wordpress.com.

This sounds really dramatic, but all that’s happening is that I’m making a bit of a shift. I made this blog after two other blogs that I closed because “ohmyGOD Shalom why did you write like that were you like twelve???” (Yes, Shalom.You were exactly twelve, actually.) In the two years that I’ve blogged under scooton, I’ve used this blog as a space for me to document my new interests & lifestyle crazies. I don’t intend to stop – I just think that I need a fresh start (blegh, how cliche) and that my little cubby hole on the internet deserves a little more love.

What does this all mean? It means that I’m doing a little rebranding. I’m going to  do some major upgrades. It means that I’ll probably become more of a lifestyle-beauty blogger like I’ve wanted to for a while – there’s a saying that all lifestyle bloggers eventually get bitten by the beauty bug. It happened! It means that I’ll get to work on myself as a brand, and my brand as a brand – without freaking out about things that I never had time to fix. (I’ve got the time now, by some miracle!)

A massive thank you must go out to all of you who have read my inane ramblings for the two years that I’ve been sporadically posting on scooton.wordpress.com. Here’s to more years of my bitchy, ranty posts that you couldn’t get rid of if you tried. To  more pride, more winged eyeliner, more hauls-because-I-can, more music, more photographs, more black nail polish, and more of what I want my little corner of internet to be.

Thanks for sticking with me since 2013, y’all. See you in 2016 as okayshalom.com– I’m so excited to share the new site with you all.

Happy new year for next week, and have a gorgeous day! I’m feeling a lot better having wrote this post. Special thanks must go to Tash from GlitterfulThoughts for encouraging me & talking me through some big decisions last night.

I’ll see (?) you all in the new year!

Love and light,
shalom

 

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Merry Cringemas! | Blogmas Day 24!

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF BLOGMAS!

I spent yesterday watching Christmas movies and getting proper festive, and today I’ve said “merry Christmas” at least 30 times. My Love Actually count is currently at 3. Hot chocolate and The Polar Express has happened. There has been the slightest bit of a massive family crisis, but it was (is) mostly massive.

On the topic of Christmas movies, have you seen this video? Hazel Hayes, with the help of the FieldDay channel managed to recreate 12 iconic movie scenes in one take. WATCH IT.

The man in the fat suit comes tonight, and I have left no cookies for him. Simply because I ate them — definitely not because I don’t believe. I refuse to be called a doubter.

This year, I discovered a near-first-edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Despite the pdf form of it, it was a gorgeous read, and I thoroughly adored the illustrations. Thank you archive.org!

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I’m really keen to get under the tree this year. Not me – I’m not a present, but the presents are, well, present, and I’m excited to see what’s in the shoebox that doesn’t have shoes.

In my family, we open presents on Christmas morning. In that of my gorgeous friend, Christmas Eve is Christmas – her grandmother used to be an army nurse and didn’t get Christmas off to spend with the family. Christmas is all around, and you know what else is? LOVE ACTUALLY IS ALL AROUND.

I couldn’t resist. I’m going to watch Love Actually again.

Merry Christmas (eve?) everyone! I’m quite proud of myself for mostly making it through blogmas. If you’re feeling particularly reminiscent, you can find the entire season’s posts right here. I never thought I’d do nearly as well as I did! I’ve found some extraordinary blogs and bloggers because of my Christmas craziness, and I’m so thankful for them – and excited to read more of their stuff! To everyone who I’ve met along the way – Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas Day and 2016 be merry and bright! To all of my lovely readers – I treasure you all endlessly. I hope to reach new heights with you all next year – thank you for sticking around.

Happy Christmas!

Love and light,
shalom xo

ps: somebody just started up their fireworks and it is 9:07 pm on christmas eve – can you say READY

A Christmas Miracle | Blogmas Day 22?

featured image from boldcupofcoffee.com

I’ve been out of action for a while, but I take zero responsibility for it. Zeus threw a hissy fit of epic proportions, resulting in an electric storm that shocked our home PC, several power stations, and a major reservoir. Not your average second sentence.

We’ve been without power for a while, and our friendly neighbouring suburbs (jk i have no clue if they are friendly) have been without water. It’s been a fun lead up to Christmas!

It really hasn’t.

The Christmas tree is, according to my brother, “loaded”, and everyone’s gifts are -haha- present. [insert picture I 100% did take because I did not lose my camera AGAIN]

I received an email from one of my prospective unis today, and pretended to work on the scholarship essays that I really need to be working on. I feel like these posts have had a similar theme?

What’s in store for me is a massive anxiety attack concerning the fact that THE FUTURE is in a little over a week. When 2015 is over, my schooling career will officially be as well? I don’t know, it’s just a strange set of circumstances for me to come to terms with. I also don’t yet have a planner for next year, and I am that planner person. UGH.

In any case, I have a friendioni coming over tomorrow (i don’t know what friendioni means) and I plan to get my Love Actually fix before the festive period is up. I need a tea in a Christmas mug ASAP,because Lord knows my festivity is wearing thin.

Please note: SUPER festive. (also, that poor tiny dog!)

Love and light,
shalom xo

none of the photos used in this blog post are mine – all credit goes to the official owners!

Dashing Through The Snow Tag | Blogmas Day 19!

DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW TO GET THIS POST DONE BECAUSE I HAVE THIRTY MINUTES UNTIL IT IS TOMORROW GO GO GO

Rules:

  • Thank the curator
  • Tag 5 other people to spread the Christmas joy
  • Have fun!

Thank you to the magical Sydney who tagged me in this except not really! I’m tagging Maxine, Em, Guilia, Maddy and Kaila!

Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree

To be perfectly honest with you all, I haven’t done nearly enough reading as I wanted to this year.I think my foreshadowing was correct. Eugh. I would however love to see Emma by Jane Austen? Also, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir?

 A book you’ll be reading during the holiday season!

BEING AND NOTHINGNESS BY JEAN PAUL SARTRE BECAUSE I AM A PHILOSOPHY NERD. I’ve also got my hands on a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with some of the original illustrations, and I love it.

Favorite Christmas movie?

I actually don’t watch that many Christmas films! (Do I get my festivity card revoked now?) I do, however, watch Love Actually almost every year, without fail (and giggle at the “massage them” part. I was seven when I first saw it, okay? I blame it on nostalgia.).

Do you like snow?

I’ve never seen snow (that I can actively recall)! It snowed in 2007 in South Africa, but I was in Nigeria at the time, so I missed it. I did see snow when I was a tiny tot in America, but I can’t remember that. I do like snow, though. I love the cold more than anything else (I’m looking at you summer, you awful season you) and I hope that when I do see snow, I will like it.

Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with

MMMM tough one. I’m going to break this up into a character from a show and one from a book – TV Show Webseries wise, I’d say the gang from Carmilla (without the crazy demon time and all that), and in terms of books, I’d say The Golden Trio from Harry Potter in the Great Hall. I just feel like nothing really says Christmas like MAGIGALLY APPEARING FOOD does.

To give or receive?

Can I say both? Giving, for me. I like wrapping gifts and making people excited and hearing “oh this is exactly what I wanted!”. I really like giving. I wish I wasn’t so broke all the time.

What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

Hogwarts. Hogwarts, or The Burrow, or a snowy version of London. A snowy somewhere.

Fondest Christmas memory?

I haven’t really got one! But last year, my family and I did a secret santa gift exchange for the first time, and everyone got really festive, and the asshole bit of my family wasn’t present (haha, present) and it was really a lovely time.

Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast, while pronouncing it correctly?

No. I said “shitmas free” twice. I’m not trying this again.

MERRY SIX DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS AJEUKFDSJGFJDSHFIYGHKGTHDG

love and light,
shalom

Two Weeks ‘Til 2016 | Blogmas Day 18

I’m coming to you today from an anxious – and dare I say, excited? – standpoint.

First off, I finished ALL of my Christmas shopping for my family yesterday, and managed to get some super cheap SUPER CUTE Christmas cards for the friends.

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Secondly; I spent a lot of yesterday thinking about how 2016 is two weeks away, and what that means for me. For me, the year that I may have already screwed up by almost entirely banking on going overseas for university is 2016. 2016 is waiting for admissions decisions and comprehending the fact that 18 will be real. (If you haven’t been around for the previous birthday existential crises, you are in for one heck of a ride.)

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this blog to be, how I want to grow…professionally (?) and about myself as a brand. I’m my own brand? It’s a weird way of thinking.

I’m kind of excited though. Between getting my results and admissions decisions and employment (we HOPE) and anniversaries (we HOPE), I’m looking forward to what could happen.

2016 will be more thank yous rather than I’m sorrys. Confused? Here’s this:

Less apologising for my existence; more thanking, appreciating and progressing. More progress.

What’re you looking forward to?

Love and light,
shalom

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe | Blogmas Day 16

Today has been trying to tire myself out so that I’ll manage to get some rest. Apart from an hour’s long economics course, I didn’t succeed.

That aside, the lovely Miki from jumpingintothefog asked me ever so kindly for the recipe I used for yesterday’s gingerbread cookies. Does this make me a food blogger? Baking makes me obnoxiously happy, even though I’m usually such rubbish at it.  Hence, this my post for this week’s The Happiness Project, created by the lovely Sydney from Love, Sydney.

image courtesy of roseandlea.com

Gingerbread Cookies

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup golden syrup/ maple syrup / honey/ molasses (we never have molasses, so I used syrup)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

NB: the measures of the spices can be altered to your taste. You can also just as easily use, say a tablespoon and a bit of allspice?

  • 3/4 cup of softened butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons of milk (of your choice, just for binding etc)

How to do it:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
  • Sieve flour, spices, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, cream butter, milk, and sugar.
  • Mix molasses/syrup into the butter-sugar mix.
  • Gradually combine the flour mix into the butter mix until a dough is formed.

NB: If the dough is still hard at this time, add a little more milk until your desired consistency is reached. If the dough is too soft, consider adding a little bit of flour to the dough and then letting it chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

  • Roll out dough onto baking paper / parchment sheet (or onto a flour dusted surface) , and cut shapes. Make sure not to roll the dough out too thinly, or the cookies will be quite hard.
  • Place cookies onto baking trays and bake at 180°C or 350°F for anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes, or until the cookies are browned to your liking. Keep an eye on these as the edges can burn quite quickly!
  • Once done, allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.

Now, the thing about these cookies is that they can be lacto-vegetarian or  vegan (for my sake). They don’t have any egg, which may contribute to their snappy-ness: the longer these are left out, the become progressively more snappy and less soft on the inside. If you want to try to avoid this, I’d suggest adding an egg to the butter mix before mixing in the flour.

The number of cookies that this recipe makes really depends on the size of your cutters.

In terms of icing, it’s just coloured royal icing which can be made in several ways, but the easiest being the following:

  • Combine a cup of icing sugar (powdered sugar? confectioner’s sugar? ring a bell?) with 1/3 cup of water.
  • Mix until the consistency is smooth, then use your own judgement to decide whether more water, or icing sugar is needed.
  • Separate the icing into [as many different colours as you want] parts, and add the required food colouring.
  • Pipe the icing onto the gingerbread cookies once they are cool!

Other recipes call for an egg, lemon juice, milk and confectioners sugar.

You should be left with some delicious cookies that probably won’t last longer than a day. I ate six today. I have no shame.

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Good luck with these! Be sure to let me know if you try them, and how they turn out!

Merry almost Christmas! 9 days left!

This is one of my favourite creepy-Christmasesque songs. It sounds a little like something out of a Tim Burton movie and I LOVE IT. Props to The Bird and The Bee!

Love and light,
shalom x

Christmas Cookies | Blogmas Day 15

As you may or may not have picked up from my last two posts, I’m fairly shit at anything cooking wise. Not really, but my misadventures aren’t usually enjoyably edible. However, I can do eggless gingerbread cookies. That I can do.

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With help from the Christmas spices and Dean Martin on repeat, I managed to not cause a complete disaster in the kitchen! There were a lot of “nonononoNO a TEASPOON” and “ohmYGOD that’s not butter” moments, but I got through them. And all on three hours of sleep! [NB NB NB DON’T ROMANTICISE UNHEALTHY BEHAVIOUR PLEASE GET THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF SLEEP I.E A BARE MINIMUM OF 5 HOURS]

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Despite being a little crumbly initially, the dough worked itself out and I managed to take zero pictures of the cookies before they were baked. At this stage I should note that we have not a single cookie cutter in our house. Not even one. So, my humble butter knife and I did what we could.

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The icing was a bit of a process, and I got the help from my little sister who was more keen on spreading intermittent fear rather than the joy that comes with the festive season.

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“hey shalom, we should call this one the child of lilith.”

 

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All is well. Merry almost Christmas from me, and the chamomile tea that’s supposed to put me to bed tonight. 10 days til Christmas!

this is one of my favourite christmas-goes-punk versions of a christmas song. it’s also, in my opinion, ridiculously random.

Love and light,
shalom

4 a.m. sunrise

Being up for the sunrise is different to getting up to see the sunrise. See, it’s 5:11 A.M where I live, and I’m yet to find sleep. This is a usual occurrence for me. It’s a pity; the sunrise seems to lose its brilliance when the only thing you have to offer to the awakening earth is your exhausted, eye-bagged self.SAM_2241.JPG

The sunrise is always changing. It starts as it does: a little dark and highlighted by the little lights and houses that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, but everything to those that dwell in them. The orange gives this crazy kind of hope – dare I say misconception? – that the sun will come up, and the brilliant blue sky will present itself, and the day to come will unfold with the same kind of magic.

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The early bird catches the worm, and somebody zooms past the house front in an attempt to get to the train station before it’s crowded, or to get away from everything else that is crowded. The sky starts to brighten, and more people stir. The joggers come out, and the birds make more noise than they were making ten minutes ago.

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It’s an every day thing, the sunrise. I suppose our tininess is too. Every day, all of us – inconsequential people – wake up in our inconsequential houses to run our inconsequential errands until we die. Inconsequentially.

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I didn’t get to see the sunrise. There was no sunrise today. More than a sunrise, there was an overwhelming period of cloud cover with a dormant sun threatening ever so slightly to peek through. The cloud cover seemed to almost exactly mirror my mental state. 2015 has been a lot of grey.

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I feel quite strange today. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep over the last six months, maybe it’s the lack of medication, the weather, the hyper-awareness – I don’t know what this is. I know that I have three very distinct lines of feeling, though. One: I am terrified of everything and I want it all to stop, I want to stop being afraid, I want to be alone and at the same time, not. Two: I am more powerful than anyone could ever imagine. If you’re not scared of me, you should be. There is nothing that the world could throw at me that my brain hasn’t already. Not even death. Three: Nothing. I feel nothing. I am apathetic under a stained white shirt and jeans that used to make me feel something.

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I am not the teenage girl who gets up at 4 AM to see the sunrise. I am the girl who stands on a rooftop at 4 AM after being awake for longer than she can remember and sifts through the surrounding sounds while wrapped in her friend’s blanket.

It is not ideal. But, there have been, and will continue to be worse things that can and will happen at 4 A.M.

there are worse things than being awake at 4 am. another day will come, and the sunrise will come. eventually.

And all the kids cried out,
“Please stop, you’re scaring me”
I can’t help this awful energy
Goddamn right, you should be scared of me
Who is in control?

Control – HALSEY

Love and light,
shalom

 

TV Break | Blogmas Day 14

To be quite honest, I don’t know what it is. I’m not sure in the slightest why I find myself watching Nigella Lawson after midnight. I don’t know why she tells people to whisk ferociously or calls mayo “gorgeously voluminous” or olive oil “rounded”. I have no clue what any of this means. I don’t know why she wants to excommunicate people over green peppers. I have no clue why she calls leeks “slave workers”.

What I do know is that I haven’t yet been back to the doctor to get my meds for December, so I haven’t managed to get much sleep or be in the best mental state. Also that the Food Network is the only quality thing on TV.

Why does she keep peppering in bad jokes and Italian words? (Possibly because the show is called Nigellissima. Idk.) What is the difference between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and regular olive oil? Why do “the purists hate garlic oil”? Maybe it’s a cooking thing, but either way, I don’t get it.

I also don’t know why I turned to the TV for a Christmas recipe that I will never make as opposed to the internet. Why is Nigella making an hour’s cake in a 40 minute episode? WHY DID SHE JUST CALL THE CHICKEN A BIRDISH BIRD AND WHY DID SHE JUST SAY I WILL HACK THIS TO PIECES? My poor vegetarian heart.

I have found no recipes I can make, but I have sat through a terrible, terrible lot of shows on MTV. Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and Are You The One – I’m looking at you.

I JUST SAW AN ADVERT FOR THE DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL OH MY DJAKLDKFJSBHDFJGBSJFBG. Engie LOOK. So that’s why people still watch telly.

How do TV Chefs have net worths of £32 million? I suppose it’s a job like any other job, and people work just as hard to become five star chefs as they do to become Doctors? Perhaps that’s an insult – to the doctors or the Chefs? Ooh, Eastenders is coming back!

I have only been awake for 14 hours today, so getting to sleep now won’t be easy. But I do have an interview, and as they say in the land of capitalism, cash is king.

To better days, and better TV!

Love and light,
shalom x

Christmas Party | Blogmas Day 13

This post is a day late because there was a party and I woke up at 1:13 PM.


Today, we had people over. A lot of them. My sister is a med student, and we had the pleasure of hosting her entire crew from her hospital elective.  All 25-ish of them plus our seven person family made for an interesting night.

We started the day off by relaxing at the Rosebank Sunday Market. I managed to find more presents and got our tree to look significantly less miserable by taking some time off to wrap gifts.

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Then, the cooking began. I was in charge of the braai (barbecue for you non-South Africans) and the bruschetta. Both turned out really well, and the bruschetta was SUCH a hit. I felt a lot like Nigella the entire time I was making it. In any case, it was a great start to a night that could have gone entirely worse than it did.

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The atmosphere was super relaxed and vibey, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day out. The sun, thankfully, was not trying to roast us all (for the first time this summer) and everyone was really kind to each other! Until we started playing 30 Seconds. Then…we were just kind. Or, at least, tried to be.

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The view from our roof is probably my favourite thing about our house, and the super cute but also KICK ASS AND SAVE LIVES med students made it all the more beautiful.

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Most of the med students were so lovely! Apart from the fact that they kept talking about med student stuff, the conversation was good, and the laughs under the starry sky were 100% all I could ask for. After most people left, we had a fat chat with The Internationals about sex ed, giraffes, clubbing, the price of parking in Sydney and the Aurora Borealis. We watched lightning crack and managed to catch the Geminids meteor shower at its peak, and I saw so many shooting stars and made so many wishes and IT WAS JUST SO GREAT. 

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imagine that you can see the stars. just imagine.

I’ve had a good day. I’m happy with the beers in the fridge and the chipping nail polish and the mess that is my room. I’m skyping with my person soon and I’m all round happy with Blue Neighbourhood blasting in the background.

To shooting stars – die sternschnuppen – and the wishes we made on them. To more nights like the last.

Love and light,
Shalom