Thursday, 29 October 2015

About me... Tag

Just Ella Bella (who is awesome- check out her blog here)  tagged me to answer a few questions about myself. So here goes.  

1. Are you named after someone?

Well you all know Jozi Wahm is not my real name (Jozi= Johannesburg and WAHM= work at home mom). I am not named after someone but my real name is an Arabic one chosen by my late grandmother.

2.     When was the last time you cried?

My kids have me in tears most days, mostly from physical pain (sometimes emotional, hahaha). A hard kick in the shin did it this morning.

3. Do you have kids?
Yes, Noodle (almost 5) and Squish (almost 2).

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
I would like to think so. In all honesty, I do not always find time to physically spend time with my friends or go out with them frequently (and a few have dwindled for that reason) but the ones that have stuck around know that we will be friends for life and there for each other when needed.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Oh and lemon meringue, cheesecake... and now I am hungry.

6. Do you like handwriting?
Yes. I have finally overcome my stationary addiction though.

7. What is your favorite cereal? 
Those sachets of flavoured instant jungle oats, I am totally addicted.
8. What is the first thing you notice about people?
I am not sure, probably their body language and facial expressions and whether or not they come across as approachable.

9. What color are your eyes?
Boring brown. My extended family has every skin and hair colour imaginable but  I think everyone in my family has brown eyes. Anyway, some of my favourite things are brown.

10. Scary movies or happy endings?

Without a doubt happy endings. I can't even do scary movies anymore. 

11. Favorite TV show?
Greys Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, New Girl. (See question above... stuff with happy endings, usually).
12. Summer or winter? 
13. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs and kisses. Especially from kids and hubby.

14. What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?
Probably Dubai.

15. Do you have special talents?
I have many but I take multi-tasking to a new level. Like writing this blog post while cooking, doing a load of laundry, removing unknown food substance from tiny human head and breastfeeding. 

16. Where were you born.

Jozi, born and bred.

17. What are your hobbies?
Blogging, reading and arty stuff. 
18. Do you have any pets?
No, but Noodle is trying very her very best to talk us into one- I am not sure if we will be giving in or not. 

19. Favorite movie? 

Hmmm, can't think right now but see question 10... I like comedies... stuff with happy endings.

20. What color is your car?
Charcoal grey.

21. What did you want to be when you grow up?
If I grow up. Let's see, I have qualified and practiced in my dream career and then gave it all up to work from home part time and blog on the side. Maybe one day I will go back to the 'dream career' (there have been offers lately), maybe not. 

EDIT: I posted this yesterday and then needed to run off to a meeting and forgot to tag people.

Melanie Blignaut, Luchae Williams and Faziela Carrim, tag, you're it!!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Messy Fun with Marshmallow Dough

I was cleaning out the cupboards when I found a tin of (very) expired custard powder. I hate wasting food and as custard powder is essentially just flavoured, coloured cornstarch (maizena) and you will know by now that I use cornstarch for many things, from dry shampoo (see this post for directions), to nappy rash cream (make a paste with a little water) to goo (see this post for instructions). Today, I decided we would just have fun with it.

I found a recipe online using cornflour and shaving foam a while back. I do not remember what they called it but I will dub it marshmallow dough as it has that super soft, fluffy, powdery texture of marshmallows, but is just more stretchy and pliable. You have to feel the texture for yourself to understand just how soft and fluffy it is (but be warned- you will want to play with it too). 

Mine happened to have a sweet marshmallow-like smell thanks to the lovely vanilla fragrance of the custard powder. If you are using cornstarch and not custard powder, you could add a few drops of marshmallow essence (or any other fragrance).

So here is what you do.

First you add some shaving foam to a bowl (about the amount that a man would use to shave his face, if that makes any sense). The kids loved this part!!!

You can add a few drops of food colouring if desired. Noodle wanted pink and I added some pink gel colouring, but thanks to the yellow colour in the custard powder mine turned out more of a peachy-orange colour. Alternatively, you could leave it white (if using normal cornflour and not custard) and use it to create faux snow.

Now add the custard powder (or cornflour) a little at a time until you get the desired texture (I probably used about half the amount of the shaving foam) and mix. 

Then it is play time! Let the kids mould, stretch, pull, squeeze or poke to their hearts desire.

(WARNING: This might smell delicious but it is not edible). 

This gets messy as the dough is very sticky, so protect surfaces or play with it outside (like we did) and have a bowl of soapy water close by. You will be glad to know that it washes out very easily (due to the soapiness of the shaving foam I suppose).

Squish was covered in it by the time we were done and I literally needed to hose him off outside before coming back on the house. 

The bad news is that it loses its texture after about an hour one all the air inside the shaving foam has been squeezed out (well that was our experience anyway). It is fun while it lasts though!

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Secret To Getting Kids to Tidy Up Revealed!

I have invented a new game to play with my kids. I call it a treasure hunt but what they do not know is that it is a secret ploy to get them to tidy up. Sneaky, huh? 

So it is a bit like 'I spy'. I give instructions like 'The first one to spot a clock is the winner', 'the first to run to the wall is the winner' or 'the first one to touch a cushion is the winner'. A few other random instructions will follow.

Then I will throw in one like 'the first person to find three toys that are lying around and put it in the toy box is the winner'.

In between a few more silly instructions, there will be one to throw laundry into the laundry basket or to pack books onto a bookshelf. 

It works great for locating missing cellphones and remote controls too, they suddenly get found in an instant. 

So far, this tactic is working very well in my household but it was just introduced a few days ago.

Do you have any cunning clean up tactics? Please share.

Friday, 23 October 2015

My Big Boy Goes to School: Week 2

So this was the second week of Squish attending nursery school three days a week. Lets just say that the last week was a lot harder than the first. 

This week, the novelty of being sent off with a backpack and lunchbox has worn off and each day, he was acutely aware that I was going to leave without him and each morning, his grip on me was tighter than the strongest superglue. His teachers would coax him with an array of fun activities but he would not budge and I would find myself playing with him at school for at least half an hour before he loosened his grip so that I could quickly sneak out. Each day, I was able to observe him carrying out various activities and I must say I am impressed by how quickly he figures the various Montessori activities out, even though he has not been exposed to them before.

There were tears and howling screams each day as I left but his teachers assured me that he is settled five minutes later (they even send photo's of a calm, playing toddler as evidence of this). Apparently, poor Noodle gets sent to the toddler class to keep Squish company when he is unsettled (which seems to do the trick, but I get the feeling that Noodle is less than impressed by this arrangement).

I hope next week is a bit easier (for all of us).

Incidentally, it has been a fairly quiet work week for me (this will not be the case next week), leaving me with some extra time on my hands. The logical think to do after being detached from my son for the first time after almost two years would have been to book hair appointments, coffee dates and spa treatments, but some evil demonic force possessed me to spend the extra time clean cupboards, defrost freezers and file documents instead. I probably need my head checked.

Viewer question: Tell us about your little ones first days at school? How did you get them to settle into their new routines?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Easy DIY Beauty Fixes

I will be the first to admit that I am no beauty blogger. I do not wear more than eyeliner and lipgloss most days and quite frankly, I am bored stiff by most blog posts about the best mascara or newest nail art trends.

  However, over the years I have picked up some DIY tricks that I think are shareworthy.


You know those annoying bits of lipstick stuck at the bottom of the tube? I have never figured out why lipstick tubes are designed in such a wasteful manner. So here is my solution: once I have a few lipstick stumps, I dig it all out with a toothpick and then place them all in a small lipgloss type jar. Then I add a little bit of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and microwave for a few seconds before stirring it all together with the toothpick. Ta da- tinted lipgloss. Chances are that if you have used the lipsticks till the end- the colour is a combination of colours that you like and that suit you, however, you may need to put a bit less of any colour that is particularly overpowering. 


I mix just three ingredients- extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and cocoa powder. Apparently you can add in beeswax for a more solid texture but I like to stick to ingredients that I already have lying around. The cocoa powder will give it a brown tint so go easy on it of this does not suit your complexion. For variety, you can add a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit of very fine edible glitter or add some peppermint essence for a delicious choc-mint flavour.


Store bought dry shampoos are expensive and leave an unsightly white residue on dark hair. I have discovered that a mixture of cornstarch and cocoa powder does the same job without that nasty 'I have dandruff' vibe afterwards.


I know women who have truckloads of make-up in their handbags. That just will not work for me since my handbag already doubles up as a nappy bag, so any extra dead weight is a killer. I like to keep items that can be used for more than one purpose, like a warm coloured lipstick that can be smudged as a blusher, or a brown gel eyeliner that can double up as smokey eye-shadow if smudged. 


You know how everybody has that one thing that is a cure for everything? Well tea- tree oil is mine. Smelly feet, deodorizing nappy bins and even infections in places you would rather not talk about, this miracle oil does it all. It also works well for pimples and bites.

What are your favourite tricks? Please share.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

On My Bookshelf

I promised myself I would make more time for reading, so this past couple of weeks I read two really inspirational and thought-provoking books. 


saadia faruqi

While this is an anthology of fictional short stories set in modern  day Pakistan, the characters feel so real ad have such depth that it is almost difficult to believe that these are not actual biographical accounts. The seven stories revolve around very different individuals from all walks of life, ranging from a ten year old budding feminist who dreams of playing cricket, a grumpy but purposeful old lady, a falsely convicted prison inmate, a wealthy college student who discovers what the other half live like to a would-be suicide bomber. 

While the various protagonists differ in age, gender, socio-economic status and in their political and religious outlooks, what all these characters share is an exceptional display of courage and bravery in the face of extremely trying circumstances and a sense of hope that they will overcome their varying challenges. The Pakistani American author does not shy away from controversial subjects and her characters provide some insight into a country facing unique challenges and challenges preconceived notions of the people of this country. Despite depicting characters in the harshest of circumstances, she is able to paint a picture of the beauty of humanity in even the most trying of times.

I could not put this one down once I started it and I hope that the author considers extending some of these stories into full stand-alone novels as the stories are so compelling that they deserve to be showcased individually.  


sheima salam sumer

I had never before come across a self-help book written from a Muslim perspective, so I thought this one would be interesting, especially given that the author is a professional counselor with a Master's degree in Counselor Education.

Happiness is of course something we all strive towards and a manual to attaining happiness is something that most people could use.

This is a short, easy read with many pearls of wisdom, most of which apply universally to people of all religions. Indeed, the recommendations at the beginning of the book come from people of all faiths, including an Anglican priest and various medical professionals.

The suggestions for attaining happiness in this book seem sensible to me and are set out in a simple and easy to follow fashion. There are little 'Happiness Hints' along the way, almost like little takeaway nuggets of wisdom for quick absorption. While the main ideas involve prayer and teaching yourself to be a calm and positive thinker, other interesting topics covered include physical health (with the author setting out her journey to weight loss) and even a chapter on Islam and the Law of Attraction (as set out in the Rhonda Byrne book that we all know and love).

Simple and to the point, I am sure this book will provide answers to many seeking to make a positive difference in their lives.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Supporting a Great Cause- The Little Toys That Aren't

Some of the things my little ones love playing with the most are not real toys at all. Squish's favourite thing to play with is keys (any old keys will do), while Noodle is super attached to a magic wand made out of an old black clothes hanger with the tip painted silver and to a bunch of toilet paper roll creatures that we once created together. 

However, my little ones are extremely fortunate to have far more actual toys than they really need. For many children in this country, where just putting food on the table is a challenge, makeshift toys are  all they have.

Yes, providing basic resources like food to these underprivileged kids is important but so is giving them an opportunity to enjoy their childhood and also develop vital skills needed later in life which are developed through play. 

The Topsy Foundation is helping children in rural Mpumalanga, including physically disabled children, to gain access to specialised educational toys and access to better trained teachers.

The makeshift toys that these children currently play with inspired Topsy Foundation's  own range of toys – The Little Toys that Aren’t, which are being sold online. From makeshift fairy wands to rockets and jewellery, a lot of creative thought has been put into this one.

You can  “buy” one of ten different toys on the Spree website (which is one of my favourite online stores incidentally) for a mere  R20, with the full amount going straight to Topsy to stock their Toy Library. 

For more information on this great cause you can go to

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Big Boy Starts School

This week marked a huge milestone for Squish, my big boy's first day at little school.

I was extremely nervous and had flashbacks of that day four years ago when we first sent Noodle to creche. My maternity leave was up and it was time for my fragile six month old to start creche. It took a few months before we both stopped crying every day. Over all it was not a pleasant experience.

This time was different. Squish is bigger and stronger. He can walk and talk well enough to communicate his needs clearly. He will be going for three mornings a week and not full day like Noodle did as a baby. I am familiar with the school (since it is the one Noodle has been attending since last year) and my mind is at ease that for those few hours he will be in good hands in a fun, caring and stimulating environment. The icing on the cake is that he has big sister right there with him. Nevertheless, leaving him behind for the first time was like leaving a tiny piece of my heart behind. He is still very young and is the smallest in his class, so there was still some apprehension.

Day one went surprisingly well. We dropped Noodle off in her class next door and then proceeded to his class, where his teacher let him chose from a couple of Montessori style activities trays and he quickly settled down at one of the tiny wooden tables and engaged in an activity. Once he looked settled, I asked him if I could go. He gave me a big smile, waved happily and said 'Bye bye mommy.' 

His teacher sent me updates and happy photo's throughout the morning. He was alone in all the pictures (socialising with other children besides big sister is a skill he has not yet learnt and this is one of a few reasons we are sending him) but looked calm and settled. Noodle told me that he cried a bit during the day but that is of course to be expected in the first few days.

Day two was a bit more of a challenge. He told us he liked creche but said he said he did not want to go back. With a bit of coaxing, we got him to school. He gave his teacher a big smile and settled happily into an activity. When I asked him if I could leave though, he started crying a little and held on to me for dear life. This only lasted about a minute though before his teacher asked him if she could take him for a walk to the other class. He then waved at me, smiling again and off he went. Apparently there were a few tears but he was okay.

I don't know what to expect in the next few weeks but this time it is on our terms.