Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How Time Flies

I still almost can't believe that I'm going into my fourth year of working. It feels like the time between graduating and now has gone double or triple as fast as the time between 1st and 4th year at University. 

This really hit home on Saturday when I spent the majority of my day at a workshop hosted by EWBSA (Engineers Without Borders South Africa) for the UCT Student chapter, which had the aim of exposing the students to the EWBSA Project Methodology. There were about four of us who attended as not so recently graduated, working professionals, there to observe and chat with the students about our experiences in the working world.

It was great to be able to interact with these students and find out a bit more about the projects that they had planned for the year. We also had some interesting discussions on some of the more intangible, but nevertheless important, aspects of project management, such as how one keeps their project team motivated and the importance of defining your project correctly. 

On a personal level, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on what I have learnt since entering the working world and compare what I knew straight out of varsity with what I know now. Even though it feels like just yesterday that I graduated, I've definitely learnt a bit since then and have grown in my professional capacity. It also freaked me out a bit to think that the second years that I met would have been in Grade 7 when I was in matric - too crazy for words, surely I'm not that old?!

And on that note - I hope you all have a great week. My project at work has just stepped up a notch into the stage of "crikey, we've got 3 weeks of development left before we have to start testing" phase, so I'm going to be putting in some extra hard work before I leave for Namibia on Friday and be ready to work hard again when I get back next next Monday. If I get a chance, I'll be posting some pictures on Instagram and Facebook - so follow me if you want to see what we're getting up to!

Our camping box all packed up in preparation for our
Namibia trip!



~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~

Thursday, 16 April 2015

No Comment

The other day one of my co-workers asked our office (comprising of me and another co-worker) if we'd been following the Rhodes Statue issue and whether we had read any of the comments that people leave behind on the various social media posts. Of course, being in South Africa and all 3 of us former UCT students, we'd have to be living with our heads in the sand if we hadn't heard at least a bit about this, even if it was just a passing comment from a friend. 

I often find myself going to the comments section of things and so, yes, I had read those comments. One thing that struck us both was that we couldn't believe the feelings of nastiness, venom and (dare I say it) hate that people spew forth in many of the comments that follow social media posts on this issue (and many issues like it). 

I could feel our hearts silently breaking. There we were, sitting together in their office, pondering how, in this day and age, there could still be so many people out there with absolutely no willingness to engage with others, to learn from others, the various commenters so sure that they and they alone are right. 

We chatted for a few minutes trying to put into words how unbelievable we found this. Eventually the only way that we could describe how appalled we were was to say that those comments left us speechless...


~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~

Friday, 10 April 2015

Planning for Namibia

In about 2 weeks, Frosty and I are off to Namibia for his cousins wedding. Now that things are starting to calm down a bit, we've started on our planning and things are coming along nicely. Research is being done, papers and documents are getting sorted, ideas for routes are being brainstormed, budgets are being calculated and excitement is starting to build. It's always exciting when going away, but it's even more exciting when you're going to a place that you've never been before and neither Frosty nor I have been to Namibia before!

We'll be in Windhoek and then making our way back to Cape Town over the rest of the week, meandering along and exploring some amazing places. I'm also looking forward to this trip as a chance to play around a bit more with my camera and practice taking photos in a different environment. So once I'm back, keep your eyes peeled for a few posts of pictures of Namibia and some travel tips! 

Do you have any tips for travelling Namibia that would be useful to know? Please comment below, I'd love to hear them!




~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Easter weekend was an incredibly chilled affair. Frosty and I didn't have too many plans and we were able to spend a lot of time at home just chilling and enjoying being on holiday. 

One evening, we decided to get into the Easter spirit and bake some hot cross buns. Frosty searched a recipe, we popped into the shops to get the ingredients and then we began to bake. The only problem was, Frosty we didn't read the recipe the whole way through. After mixing together the basic dough mixture, we had to let the dough rise for an hour. Not too bad, it was still light outside. Then, after adding in the yummy bits and pieces like raisins, we read that we then had to let the dough rise for another hour. Hmm, at least that way it gave us time to make supper before we started to bake the buns. However, after reading that once we had broken all the pieces up, we would have to let the dough sit for another hour, by this time it was bed time and we decided to call it a day, put the dough in the fridge and go to sleep. 

Eventually, we got around to making our hot cross buns the next morning. By this time, we were extra excited for hot cross buns and I must say, they were worth the wait! 

I have slightly changed the recipe that we originally used from the BBC Good Food website. To access their recipe, click here.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Ingredients:

300 ml full cream milk
50g butter
500g bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
75g castor sugar
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
7g instant yeast
1 egg, beaten
sultanas and raisins (a handful or two, we added more than the recommended amount)
zest of one orange
1 apple (peel it, core it and chop it finely)
1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg (again, we used a bit more than what was originally recommended)
75g normal flour (for the cross)
3 tablespoons of fruit jam (apricot is recommended, we used fig, which worked just as well)

Method:

1. Bring milk to the boil, then remove from heat and add butter. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
2. Sieve the flour into a bowl and then add in the salt, yeast and sugar. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.
3. Pour in the milk and butter mixture as well as the beaten egg.
4. Mix well until you have a doughy mixture.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (+- 5 minutes).
6. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and leave it in a warm place to rise for an hour.
7. Take the cover off the dough and add in the fruit (apple, orange zest, spices, raisins and sultanas). 
8. Knead the fruit into the dough, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for another hour.
9. Divide the dough into 15 or 16 pieces and set out on an baking tray, lined with tin foil. Don't forget to leave space for the dough to expand.
10. Leave the buns to rest for another hour
11. Turn your oven on and heat to 220 degrees C.
12. To make the cross, mix the normal flour with water. You can add some cinnamon and sugar to the cross paste, just for fun. Add the water one teaspoon at a time until you have a thick paste. Put this into a piping bag and pipe crosses onto each of the buns.
13. Bake for +- 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
14. After removing the buns from the oven, gently heat the jam, sieve out the juice (you can put the solid pieces back into your jam jar if you like) and brush this jam-juice over the buns while they're still warm, then leave the buns to cool.

Once they've cooled, we always cut the buns in half and toast our hot cross buns in the oven. Serve them with butter and cinnamon sugar and enjoy!


~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~

Friday, 3 April 2015

Some Pictures and a Sketch

Is it just me, or is the first quarter of the year really busy? Frosty and I have had a busy few weeks and weekends which have been really fun. And now, somehow 2015 is starting to actually feel like 2015 and it's almost Easter!

Between weekends away and busy work weeks, I'm really looking forward to an extra long weekend at home, without too many hectic plans other than maybe seeing some mates and some time to catch up on my online biomimicry course that I'm doing this month.

Here are some snaps I've taken over the last few weeks and a little pre-easter sketch I did, to get into the Easter Spirit!

Flower from my cousin's garden in Joburg
Flower in black and white
The same flower in black and white
Ducks next to jetty and boats
We visited Port Owen Marina a few weekends ago and had a bunch of ducks that always seemed to be right outside our place - great entertainment!
Sunset clouds while we were at Port Owen Marina
Dramatic sunset
More sunset pics
golden sunset over the marina
And another one, because they're pretty!
playing putt-putt
Playing some putt-putt
playing putt-putt
Winning!
playing putt-putt
Getting ready to putt!
video

What are you up to over this long weekend? Anything interesting?


~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~