My Birthday

My birthday was just about a month ago now and I felt as though I couldn’t not share it. I wanted to re-cap it as something I could look back on and remember because my 2017 B-day is not something I want to forget.

B-day 2

My good friend stayed the night before my B-day, and we ate pizza and snuggled up on the bed watching a movie, enough said. The ideal movie night in, in my opinion. I focused just on enjoying the night so I didn’t snap any pictures, but I kind of like it that way. Sometimes a memory is better in your imagination, and I wouldn’t have traded that night for the world… my heart was so happy. ❤

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12667

The next morning was so special and I was spoiled rotten by my family and friends. The gift of social media allowed me to received messages from people dear to my heart who were across the ocean. And then the fun began. We got all dolled up and headed into Durban for our special tea.

B-day 3

We decided on the Antique Cafe (93 Churchill Rd) and we were not disappointed. Not only did they have the most beautiful sitting area, but their food was amazing. 5-star rating from me. ^_^ There was an accordion player playing live atmospheric music and the whole morning couldn’t have been better.

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12657

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12668

It’s not every day an accordion player plays you Happy Birthday and you get a candle in a bee sting. In case you’re confused, a bee sting is a mini cake with honey and caramelized nuts. Divine! We also indulged in some cheesecake, and oh man it was good!

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12677

But really, I can’t think of anything more special than sitting with my friend and my parents enjoying a beautiful Durban morning celebrating another year alive

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12666

Abigail Mar 2017 (Kerry Wiens) 12684

That’s it for now

~Abby

Xx

Train Trip

train-7

So I started this post a week after New Years and it’s March already. On New Year’s Day, I went on the Umgeni Train ride which is run completely by volunteers. We managed to go on the perfect day because it wasn’t raining and there weren’t actually a lot of people on the train. There were plenty on the first ride of the day I was told, but my parents and I went on the evening ride. We were actually able to pick our own seats!

train-33

train-3

train-13

Apart from going on a train ride being so flipping cool, just check these views! The windows were all wide open so we got to breathe the fresh African air and catch some stunning shots.

train-17

train-22

train-15

train-14

train-6

train-21

Once we got there we browsed the market a little bit and sat down for some supper. Of course, we had to go for some pizza.

train-29

train-27

train-30

Me trying to be photogenic whilst eating pizza…

train-31

At least it was delicious!

train-32

train-28

The ride back was almost better than the ride there because it was just getting dark and there’s something so satisfying about trundling along in a train at dusk.

train-34

train-35

train-36

Staring out of a dark train window listening to the music that you love sounds like one of the best ways to spend your time.

She took the midnight train going anywhere…

Almost for the whole ride back, my head was out of the window (being careful about overhanging branches) and I just turned up the music on my phone and enjoyed the ride.

train-39

train-37

train-38

So I hope you enjoyed this little mid-week post about my first adventure of the year. Even though it’s March already, it’s not too late to look ahead at the year coming and make the plans that you want to make. I’m personally excited for this month because it’s my B-Day month :D, but whatever else is facing you this year, be bold enough to do the things you want to do.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy and leave comment down below. ^_^

Expect more posts coming soon!!

~Abby

Xx

Moments of 2016

Another year gone… I’m at a loss as to where 2016 went. The craziness of travelling seems to have ripped away the time. Now it’s the start of a whole new year. Every year is a chance to make memories, but what we do with that chance is up to us.

sarnia

Last year was a year of craziness, stress, and experience. I traveled the world for 5 months, visited with family I hadn’t seen in 3 years and said goodbye to my brother as he went off to uni. Looking back on this year I think that amidst the experiences I could have done a better job of making the most of the amazing things that were happening around me, instead of just going from one day to the next, but then when I really think about it, I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish in another year, and I’m content.

cousins-sep-2016-kerry-wiens-111

The year had its ups and downs as all years do.

fire

I spent some time with amazing people,

cousins-sep-2016-kerry-wiens-36

lime

I saw some incredible sights,

cape-town

penguin

table-mtn-april-2016-kerry-wiens-5291

Did lots of walking,

ottawa-jul-2016-kerry-wiens-857

sandals

Ate some incredible food,

tacos

And learned a few things about myself along the way.

ft-lang-sep-2016-kerry-wiens-21

I hope your 2016 was everything you had hoped it would be, and even if it wasn’t, that you’re content with where you’re at and striving to move forward into the new year with confidence and enthusiasm.

family-aug-2016-kerry-wiens-103

Here we go again. 😉 Bring it on, 2017

fireworks

christmas-baking

~Abby

Xx

Merry Christmas Eve

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christmas Eve, a time of excitement and anticipation. Things happen during Christmas, good things, and bad things. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean all life’s problems magically fix themselves. Christmas isn’t about what advertising companies make it, it’s not about the gift-giving and the decorations, and it’s not about pretending life’s problems aren’t there. It’s about taking time to reflect on the important things in life.

christmas-2

The lights and decorations remind us that this is a season of hope, love, and the promise of a new year. The gifts remind us that we are special and the people around us are special. The holidays are just an excuse to take a couple weeks, put your feet up, and have a bit of me-time.

christmas-12

I love the Christmas season. Nothing beats waking up on Christmas morning to open stockings, having brunch with your family and go on to have a wonderful day. Our plans as a family change every year and with the moving out of my brother, this Christmas is sure to be a strange one. But Christmas has a certain magic to it, and it’s something that always makes me sad when it’s over.

christmas-10

If nothing else, Christmas is a time to be around good people, good food, and good vibes. …and the fairy lights, don’t forget the fairy lights.

christmas-1

christmas-3

 

xmas-blog

Spelt Gingerbread // Eggnog

The Holidays were made for baking; especially around Christmas time. I’ve decided to share a couple recipes that I made this year for Christmas. I’ve always been a fan of baking but during Christmas ,there are a couple things that are holiday staples. The first being, Gingerbread.

christmas-baking-6

Now I was never really sure if I liked gingerbread, but when the holidays roll around you feel like you at least ought to make it. It’s the same with mince pies. Unfortunately, both my mom and I are cutting back on our wheat consumption so the only things I’m able to bake now have to be made with some kind of alternative flour or oats. Let me know if you’re interested in seeing what else I make work with these ingredients. This year I wanted to try spelt gingerbread. I tried making normal gingerbread one year, (the year I went absolutely crazy with Xmas baking which I will probably not repeat anytime soon) and it took me so long to do, even though I had a friend over to help me. This recipe, however, was made quickly and relatively fuss-free provided you are able to get hold of the ingredients.

Please excuse me as I rummage through my room to actually find the recipes I wanted to share with you…

christmas-baking-11

Ahem. So in looking for a recipe specifically suited for spelt flour I found two which looked particularly promising. The one was completely vegan, using applesauce and coconut oil in place of butter and eggs. Since I didn’t feel like being THAT healthy I combined it with another recipe that also used coconut sugar in conjunction with maple syrup. The reason I didn’t just use this recipe, however, was because I liked the combination of spices in the vegan recipe which included cinnamon and cloves instead of just ginger. If you want to view both of these recipes separately the vegan one was from makingthymeforhealth.com and the other one was from myfussyeater.com. However, if you’re interested in how I combined these two recipes then keep reading!

First, I started with 2 cups of spelt flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 cup coconut sugar. Combine all these dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. (You can sift it but that would have gotten rid of a major part of the flour that I was using. It will probably depend on how fine your flour is but if you want to keep the nuttiness of the spelt I would suggest just dumping it in)

Next, grab your 1/4 cup coconut sugar, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of molasses, 1 medium egg, and 50g (roughly 1/4 cup I think?) of butter. Stir all these wet ingredients together.

christmas-baking-1

Pour your wet mixture into your dry mixture, combine, and chill. Aim for an hour or more. Then all you’ve got to do is roll out your dough on a floured surface. The recipe says around 1/4 of an inch thick but since I have no idea what that means roll it out until you’re happy with the thickness. Cut out your shapes, transfer to a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. One of the recipes says 160ºC and the other says 350ºF. Since the oven I use is very cold, I just used the universal 180ºC because I couldn’t be bothered about being precise and baked them until they looked done. If you like your cookies a little crunchier you might want to bake them a little longer but it depends on what your particular oven is like. Do not make your cookies super thin, super small, bake at 180º for 10 minutes and just leave them! You’re going to want to keep an eye on any cookie you’ve got baking when you do it the first time around because if you change the portion size or your oven is slightly hotter than normal you could end up with a couple very burnt cookies. (Speaking from experience)

christmas-baking-2

christmas-baking-8

christmas-baking-9

christmas-baking-12

Just as a disclaimer I am not a recipe genius, I’ve never created a recipe myself I’m just going off of what other people did and sharing what I made from that. They turned out great for me so let me know how yours went!

Next up is eggnog. This recipe is from my trusty Christmas cookbook: Company’s Coming for Christmas so I take no credit for this. The original recipe makes an absolute ton so I halved the recipe that fit neatly into a jug around this size:

christmas-baking-14

Alternatively, I  found it made around 8 servings. 🙂 The recipe is as follows:

Beat 6 egg whites until they start to thicken. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and continue to beat until thick.

In a second bowl beath the egg yolks (6) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until thick. Add the egg whites and beat until mixed and thick.

In a third bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream until it starts to thicken. add 1 tbsp of granulated sugar and a dash of vanilla (1/2 tablespoon if you want to be precise.)

Add everything together into one bowl (pour egg into whipped cream) and stir until everything is mixed in. Finally, beat in 3 1/2 cups of milk and you’re done! Of course, if you prefer to add a bit of rum you’re welcome to do that as well. 😉

christmas-baking-16

christmas-baking-15

All that’s left to do is to garnish with a generous sprinkle of nutmeg and presto!

christmas-baking-17

I find Christmas baking is all a part of the festive experience so even if you don’t make these I hope you enjoyed looking through the pretty pictures. Christmas is almost here! What an exciting thought. I’ve finally got all of my Christmas shopping done (I left it super late as usual) and I’m excited to see everything under our tree. I hope you have a wonderful end to your Christmas run-up and I’ll talk to you soon!

Thanks for reading my latest blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, hit the follow button for regular updates and stay tuned for more.

~Abby

Xx

Christmas: Thoughts, Wrapping, & Music

Christmas. I can’t believe it’s only a week away! A time when many of us are enjoying the holidays, going christmas shopping, baking cookies and wrapping presents. I personally love all the decorations that come with Christmas time it’s just such a joy to be surrounded by pretty things in my opinion.

christmas-tree-3

wrapping

Christmas in a tropical country I have to say is not the same as in a temperate country (for obvious reasons). You lose the cozy atmosphere and it’s replaced by a much lighter, and definitely hotter one. I’m quite thankful that eggnog is cold, seeing as we hardly touch hot chocolate this time of the year. It’s funny because we always tend to go swimming in the months from December to February. It may be hard for some people to wrap their heads around but that’s the norm here. Because we don’t have cozy fires, warm drinks, cold caroling, and soft blankets to get us in the Christmas spirit I love it when I can finally play my Christmas music. This year, I was able to download one of Pentatonix’ Christmas albums and needless to say I’ve been playing it nonstop. They’re all so talented and there’s some really amazing stuff in their Christmas albums. I will certainly be going back for more. What’s your favourite Christmas music? Feel free to leave a comment letting me know. 🙂

christmas-tree-4

But seriously, how fast has this year gone? It might just be me because I’ve been halfway around the world running around airports and packing, unpacking, and repacking for 5 whole months and I’ve definitely been playing catchup (especially where school is concerned) but hey, new year, new start. I can’t wait for my 2nd semester courses. After working my butt off this semester I will not be sad to be saying goodbye. If only my Christmas break were a little longer…

christmas-tree-5

On a more festive note, wrapping presents is especially fun around this time of year. Apart from just regular birthday presents and such I’m always inspired to get creative when wrapping Christmas presents. I tend to wrap most of the presents my parents (or santa) have gotten for each other, so I’ve had a fair amount of practice over the years. 😉

wrapping-7

wrapping-6

wrapping-4

wrapping-3

wrapping-1

Things that I can stick on to presents making them look 10x better with minimal effort I epecially like. For instance, I love this white poinsetta arrangement I picked up at our local 2nd hand store. I was really surprised I was able to find such a gem like this! My mom keeps wanting to steal it from me but I think it looks beautiful on this golden present that I wrapped for her incidentally. (But it’s mine!)

wrapping-2

Anyways, that’s about it. Just a casual post with a couple pictures of me wrapping presents, and my mini Christmas tree that I put all of my personal ornaments on (thanks mom) plus a couple Christmassy comments here and there. I hope you’re enjoying the festive season and making the most of this time with family and friends.

Thanks for reading my latest blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, hit the follow button for regular updates and stay tuned for more.

~Abby

Xx

Friends & Fun

shongweni-market-1

These pictures were from a Saturday that my family and some friends went up to the morning market in Shongweni. It was such a lovely day and I got so many pretty pictures that I thought it was only right to share them. I had to get up really early in order to get ready and the sun hadn’t quite reached this part of the house yet. I liked it though, it gives a sense of cosiness when it’s slightly darker, even though it turned out to be a rather warm day.

shongweni-market-3

shongweni-market-4

shongweni-market-5

Since it was going to be a full day filled with lots of fun and people, I decided to put a little more time and effort into getting ready, i.e. doing my hair. I love having straight hair but I can never put in the time to do it properly, plus I can never get the crown of my head at the back, it’s the bit I always struggle with. But today I put that behind me and got it done. I was pretty pleased with the result. 🙂

shongweni-market-6

shongweni-market-8

Honestly, it was worth getting up that early just for the food. Because it’s quite a busy market and it’s only open until 12 we decided to set out bright and early (since it’s about an hours drive from where we are) in order to get there just in time for breakfast. Look at this amazing “full house” one of the stalls was selling. Completely blog post worthy I’d say. Needless to say, it was delicious, and the eggs were cooked perfectly.

shongweni-market-10

shongweni-market-12

It turned out to be such a lovely day, and the market atmosphere is always nice to experience, especially on the weekend.

shongweni-market-26

shongweni-market-14

shongweni-market-25

shongweni-market-16

shongweni-market-17

shongweni-market-15

shongweni-market-24

shongweni-market-19

My friend and I climbed up a hill where this tree was standing and behind us was a kid’s play station and they were making bubbles! They had the most awesome bubble maker ever. It was a rope tied into various loops between two rods and they dipped it into magic bubble solution and let the wind do its work. We had a fair amount of fun chasing after them as the wind often took them right up to our perch.

shongweni-market-20

Like I said, I would’ve woken up that early just for the food. There’s something about market/fair finger food that you just can’t replicate. My friend and I shared this back of candied nuts and it was soo amazing. Like a crunchy sugary cinnamonny goodness. I was planning on making a batch of beer nuts this year for a spot of Christmas baking but I don’t think they’ll be able to compare.

shongweni-market-21

shongweni-market-22

And that was my day at the morning market. I didn’t really have much to say because the pictures speak for themselves. It completely transports me back to that warm spring day which is the best part about photography in my opinion.

Thanks for reading my latest blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, hit the follow button for regular updates and stay tuned for more.

~Abby

Xx

 

 

What Saturdays Were Made For

For a high school student, Saturday is probably the best day of the week. As a homeschooler, my itinerary tends to include a bit of work that needs doing, but for the most part, Saturday is a day of respite and recuperation from the past week. As those who know me are aware, my favourite thing to do on a Saturday is fry up a couple of eggs and have a really chill morning with a cup of tea, doing whatever I please which generally includes a fair amount of time on Pinterest, and maybe even a bit of blogging. 😉

morning-eggs-7

morning-eggs-6

I often think to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice if there was one, just one more Saturday in the week?” I guess it would be nice, but then wouldn’t Saturday lose it’s novelty of being, well, Saturday? Since we don’t get two Saturdays in the weekend however, it’s imperative to make the most of the one that we’ve got.

morning-eggs-4

Saturdays were firstly made for tea. People have very personal preferences concerning the kind of tea (or coffee) they like to drink. I have a confession to make, I used to put milk in peppermint tea. I know, shock horror. I wasn’t aware that some tea didn’t require milk… in retrospect I don’t even know if I used to drink tea because I liked it… maybe I just thought it was cool. Anyways, I certainly love tea now specifically sweet tea – raw honey all the way! There’s probably been a study about the de-stressing effects of tea, but who’s got time to research that.. especially on a Saturday? Whether there’s been a study or not, one (who likes tea) cannot dispute the calming effect of this drink. The only problem for me is that in the summer time when it’s like 35º+ it’s not the most practical drink. People say tea is refreshing even when it’s hot, but I mean, really? I guess it makes one sweat and your sweat is supposed to cool you down but if I wasn’t warmed up by the tea I wouldn’t be sweating in the first place. Who can say which is the right logic? Maybe I’ll stick to iced tea in the summer months.

morning-eggs-5

Saturdays were also made for breakfast. As I have previously stated, I love my Saturday fried eggs and my family knows this. Rather controversially, I enjoy ketchup with my eggs. My South African friends call it tomaaato sauce but since I can’t pronounce it we’ll stick with ketchup.  Don’t knock it till you try it! Do you like baked beans with your eggs? Tomatoes. Do you like salsa with your eggs? Tomatoes. I don’t even like tomatoes that much… I won’t have a grilled one for breakfast but I’ll have ketchup with the eggs… oh the irony. Does that say that I prefer processed condiments to the real thing? Who came up with ketchup anyway? Well, I guess regular tomatoes just aren’t good enough sometimes.

morning-eggs-2

Saturdays were made for Pinterest too. Sitting down at a table or desk with your eggs and tea and just scrolling through a bunch of cool, pretty, and inspirational photos… What a great way to start a day! I love when you are on Pinterest long enough so it starts suggesting photos it thinks you’ll like and your whole feed is just filled with photos you love. And I’m so excited because I get to start pinning Christmas pics like crazy now it’s December, can you even believe it? I feel like while we were in Canada my life just got fast forwarded and I skipped over those 5 months and it’s December when it’s really supposed to be July. On the upside, the sun is finally coming out. I’ve really enjoyed the cool, rainy spell that Durban has been under lately, but sometimes you just need a bit of sun. Now if only I can  get a bit of a tan this time. I guess that involves going outside. Hmmm.. nahhh. Haha, I always promise myself I’m going to get a bit of sun, but who’s got the time? I’m working right up until Christmas weekend so I don’t even get any time off until January pretty much. Go on, South Africans, rub it in. At least I’ve got my Saturdays. ^_^

morning-eggs-1

And finally, Saturdays were made for blogging. Sorry I’ve been a bit of a stranger as of late, life happens as they say. Not to mention I’ve done my share of procrastinating. More content coming soon, I promise! I’m thinking of turning “What Saturdays Were Made For” into a bit of a series so please leave a comment if you enjoyed this little post, and stay tuned for more. 🙂

~Abby

Xx

Time to Relax

Wasaga 1

Wasaga 12

These photos are from the longest freshwater beach in the world. A. K. A. Wasaga Beach in Ontario Canada. That’s right, I’m from an awesome country. I’ve really been trying to appreciate it in the short time that we’ve been here and I feel like I’ve just been swept away by a tornado of busyness. Over the past month my family and I have been travelling all over Ontario and the longest we stayed in one place was a week at my Aunt and Uncle’s house.

Wasaga 2

Wasaga 7

Wasaga 6

However, we still got to do some cool stuff even though we were busy meeting people and going places. On one such occasion, we drove down to Wasaga for an ice cream; I had maple walnut and oh man was it ever good.

Wasaga 15

But we’ve moved on yet again from Ontario to Kelowna, BC and we actually get to stay in one place for a month. I’m still trying to get used to the feeling.

Wasaga 14

Wasaga 4

Unfortunately, travelling doesn’t agree with me, so far I’ve gotten sick pretty much every time we’ve flown. Even driving to Edmonton I had a head cold. Fun times. But this time it was almost a blessing as well as a curse because it meant I didn’t have to feel guilty about being tired, I can just blame it on being sick and I literally lied on the couch for a whole day in front of the Olympics drifting in and out of sleep. I think that day did me a world of good even though I lost my voice the next day after my cousin came to stay. (Haha it was so worth it!) But I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that now; it’s time to relax.

Wasaga 10

We’ve been away from South Africa since April (almost 4 months!) and it feels like we’ve been running every step of the way. It’s been absolutely amazing, but now, it’s time to relax.

Wasaga 9

Cayo Costa

As I write this I’m up in the air on my way to Kitchener, Ontario. After 7 weeks in Calgary, we’ve now packed up and moved on. During those 7 weeks in Calgary, I finished up my schoolwork for the summer and went to my brother’s graduation. Once I sent all of my last minute work on to my teachers, I pretty much closed my laptop for a long while. Instead, I spent a lot of time reading, as I said I would. I broke my record while reading the Harry Potter series and managed to finish all 7 books in just over a week and a half. Sheer bliss. This is the reason I haven’t been blogging as much, I didn’t want to worry about the pressure of uploading. Between my last post and the present, I’ve done a fair few things. One of the most beautiful days though was when we were in Florida and went out in a friend’s boat to Cayo Costa, which is a little island off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s paradise there with the stereotypical yet stunning white sands and turquoise waters.

Cayo Costa 30

Cayo Costa 26

Cayo Costa 32

Cayo Costa 31

The boat ride up was an experience, as the water was a little bit rough as we were attempting to reach the island. Luckily I was in the back so I didn’t get too wet, but it was quite a bit of fun trying to hold on to the pitching boat beneath us. I did get sprayed a fair few times but that was nothing compared to the people riding in the front. We went swimming on the beach anyways, so it’s not like it was a huge loss. Once we actually got to the island we got to wade ashore because since the island is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there’s not a public dock that you can get off at, but the water was marvelous

Cayo Costa 28

Cayo Costa 27

Cayo Costa 22

I so wish we could’ve made multiple trips, but the day that we did manage to go up to the island was incredible. It was a photographer’s dream and the opportunities were just endless. As soon as we arrived we began walking along the island through some intricate driftwood taking many pictures along the way. We set up camp by the boat and had a picnic lunch in and amongst many swimming trips. My goodness, I could have spent forever in that water. It wasn’t cold whatsoever, but it also didn’t feel like bathwater. It was the perfect temperature, on a perfect Florida summer’s day.

There were shells everywhere and the atmosphere was just one of peace, serenity, and joy.

Cayo Costa 20

Cayo Costa 22

Cayo Costa 14

Cayo Costa 12

The weather in and of itself was absolutely stunning because of the shining sun and the salty breeze. It was a great place just to decompress and relax in nature. Because it’s away from the city, there aren’t any distractions and you can literally just lie on the beach doing nothing. During our time in Canada I’ve begun to appreciate the blessing of just being in nature, and letting your mind wander. Doing nothing and just breathing in your surroundings is more satisfying than you may think, and something I think we often take for granted in our modernized world. Cayo Costa, I can say with full confidence, was a perfect place to get away from technology (besides your camera) and have no worries other than when you’re going to go in the water again, and whether or not you can find a sand dollar.

Cayo Costa 13

Cayo Costa 29

Cayo Costa 12

Cayo Costa 11

Cayo Costa 15

Honestly, the pictures just speak for themselves. I mean look at this!

Cayo Costa 8

Cayo Costa 5

So, I’m just going to leave these here…

Cayo Costa 19

Cayo Costa 4

Cayo Costa 17

Cayo Costa 10

Cayo Costa 1

I hope you liked reading about my day at Cayo Costa. Sorry about the lack of posts up until now, but I’ve got lots more coming!

~Abby

Xx