Behind The Wheel

For some people getting a driving a license is easy. In fact, when I was in high school, I remember my mum getting her driving license without learning how to drive!

Where I live, not everyone is fortunate enough to pass their final road test for the first time. Unless you are an experienced driver, the chances of you passing the test is very slim. I had to take 40 classes because I didn’t have any experience driving as opposed to 20 classes for experienced students. If you fail, you have to take 8 classes more before you can take the test again.

When I failed the first time, I felt really sad and disappointed because I knew how to control the car and all the traffic rules, but because I was very nervous and worried that I might fail, as soon as I got out from the parking lot, I made a mistake by going into the wrong lane. You are normally allowed to make 11 mistakes, however in my case it was considered a serious enough mistake for an immediate fail.

I felt pretty bad because I thought the decision was unjust. However, on my way home the bus driver from the driving institute asked me why I failed. I told him about being nervous and he then asked me, “Why?? Are you scared of the examiner? What is she gonna do with you? Is she going to kill you?”  It made me realize that the examiner was just doing her job to keep us safe and I should be thankful. Even if I knew how to drive, if I was not a safe driver, she made the right decision to fail me and I should not feel bad about it. I realized that it would take a lot more practice before I became confident on the road, and if taking more than 40 classes is what it would take to keep myself, my loved ones and other people away from danger, so be it.

After another 8 classes I tried again. I calmed myself and thought that I should focus on driving safely than thinking about the “what ifs” and lo, and behold! I passed! ♥

What it felt like at that moment


Three Years Late

I have been away for quite a while, so let me start again by sharing with you some DIY crafts I made as gifts for my colleagues for Christmas 2013. I know it’s long overdue (my last entry was for Christmas 2012–oh no!). I’ve been away for more than 3 years, but that is because I was busy with my studies, work, completing my 30 before 30 list, playing video games and managing this page.

So enough excuses and back to the project. I had 30 colleagues at that time so I chose a budget-friendly gift that couldn’t be disliked by anyone–chocolates!

I created Christmas-themed wrappers for these chocolates using photo paper. There was Santa Claus, Snowman, The Elf, Angel and Rudolph.

I also used StarBucks bottles to put Maltesers Chocolates to serve as Rudolph’s poop, and Hershey Kisses as Santa’s kisses.

Make sure to wash the bottle properly and soak it in boiling water to sterilize it. Doing that will also help peel off the StarBucks sticker.

To remove the remaining adhesive from the sticker and get rid off the expiry date imprinted on to the bottle, rub it with a scour brush–I used a Scotch Brite dish pad.

I hid the StarBucks logo in the cap with an image I got from the web. I altered the size to fit the caps, printed and glued it.

Starbucks Bottle Gift

Unfortunately, not everyone is allowed to have sweets. So I made The Grinch Pills using a small bottle I got from Daiso and put in some green M&Ms.

Grinch Pills

As always, my husband helped me a lot with this project. I had to make wraps for thirty people in a limited time so I asked for his help. Luckily, he is always ready to assist me.

My favorite part in this project was when I needed to drop the gifts off. I remember we finished it around 1 AM (I was to fly out on vacation the next day) and went to the office to drop it off. It was so cold and quiet. We put the chocolates on everyone’s desks. I feel like I was Santa dropping gifts off so that everyone would have a good morning!

Of course, my second favorite part was that my colleagues loved it. It was nice to make 30 people smile using an inexpensive gift and letting them know that you remembered them.

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I hope this post inspires you to create more personalized gifts for your loved ones. ♥


Christmas Gift for Kids!

The cool breeze, carol-singing, Christmas tree, wreath, lights, strangers greeting you “Merry Christmas!” and above all, accepting unexpected gifts from friends and family makes Christmas my favourite holiday.

I like giving toys to kids, but I would prefer giving them books, puzzles or any other learning material that is appropriate for their age. Toys are a lot of fun for kids, for sure, but books open up their imaginations, which in my opinion is more fulfilling.

This Christmas, my husband and I thought of giving his niece an early start on the value of saving money by giving her a Savings Can.

Photo Dec 14, 13 17 04

We padded the can by putting in a 100 dirhams starter with a “Congratulations!” and a “Use it wisely!” note on it. But of course, we will not tell her what exactly we put in the can so that she’ll strive to fill it up and open it soon.

Photo Dec 14, 14 46 48

Photo Dec 14, 14 43 43

I hope she’ll like it! ♥


Mac and Cheese

There are so many versions of Macaroni and Cheese nowadays. Sometimes with vegetables, sometimes with sausages. My husband told me that his mum made it with corn. So basically, you can put anything you like in your Mac and Cheese. In fact, in one week I made two versions of this dish. One with egg and one without it. Why? Because my husband is trying to avoid egg as much as possible and I want my Mac and Cheese creamier, so there you go! Two versions of Mac and Cheese.

Ingredients:

Patience, you need patience

3 cups uncooked macaroni

7 tbsp butter

3 tbsp AP flour

1 tbsp dry mustard powder*

½ tsp paprika

½ cup chopped onions

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

3 cups whole milk

1 egg (optional), beaten

3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup bread crumbs

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*  The recipe calls for 1 tbsp of dry mustard, which works out to 3 tbsp of prepared mustard.  However, I only used 1 tbsp of prepared mustard and it worked out fine.

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Procedure:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions. Once cooked, run cold water to stop it from cooking. We want the pasta to be able to hold the cheese.
  2. Melt 3 tbsp butter in your pan and add the flour. Whisk in low heat until the colour becomes blonde.
  3. Add the dry mustard powder or prepared mustard sauce, paprika, onions, bay leaf, salt and milk.
  4. Whisk until you get impatient it becomes thick. Let me give you a heads up ― it won’t get thick until it reaches the boiling point, so you have to be patient. And no, I know what you’re thinking, you cannot just turn the heat up no matter how tempted you are.
  5. Once it is thick, remove the bay leaf and turn off the stove.
  6. Tempering the egg. After you have beaten the egg, add a tablespoon of your bechamel sauce and whisk it.
  7. Add the tempered egg to the pot whilst whisking the bechamel sauce fast. I know you only have two hands but you better do this right or your egg will get cooked. Now, you don’t want that, do you?
  8. Add the cheese. Don’t stop whisking baby! You don’t stop whisking until the sauce becomes smooth. You want to eat a good Mac and Cheese, so be patient.
  9. Add the macaroni and stir. Mmm… we’re almost done!
  10. Transfer it to your casserole dish and turn on your oven to 350°F.
  11. Melt the remaining butter and add the bread crumbs. Mix it and put on top of your Mac and Cheese.
  12.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
  13. Let it cool for a few minutes and serve!

Fucking worth it, especially with Sriracha sauce! ♥


Tuna Pasta

What to do when you’re hungry and you find out that you only have a can of tuna in your pantry? You make Tuna Pasta baby!

Ingredients:

9 oz dried spaghetti

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 romano tomatoes, diced

1 tsp capers

180 g canned tuna, drained (I used Century Tuna Hot & Spicy)

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Heat the pan and add oil. Sauté garlic, onion, tomatoes and capers.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the drained can of tuna. Stir and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Drizzle with parmesan cheese and serve! ♥


World Arthritis Day

October, popularly host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is also home to World Arthritis Day. The relative lack of awareness of this day consequently leads to lower general awareness about arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Sufferers include men and women, children and adults. Certain types of arthritis are heriditary. Infants born with arthritis suffer in constant pain which persists throughout their lives.

Emirates Arthritis Foundation is hosting the World Arthritis Day in Dubai. If you are available on the 12th and 13th of October, why not support the event by attending or volunteering?

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For more details, email info@arthritis.ae. ♥


Her Morning Elegance


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