Tag Archives: chocolate

Stuck For Words: Supporting A Grieving Friend

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The loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things we go through as human beings. You can’t fathom the depth of pain and sadness without experiencing it firsthand. It’s also difficult watching a friend go through a bereavement. It’s natural to feel helpless and to worry about saying the wrong thing. You can’t bring their loved one back, but you can help them through the pain.

Stay In Touch

The important thing is to stay in touch. You may not know what to say, but don’t let that stop you from being present. Your friend is likely to feel hurt if you avoid her. Be honest and explain that you have no words. Tell her that you’re so sorry and that you’re there for her in any way she needs. Take a little token of your friendship, such as flowers or chocolate. This is not to make things better. It’s to show you care.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Tears

Your friend may cry, and that may be painful to watch. But tears are important. They are a way of releasing the painful feelings. Don’t run away and don’t try to make her stop. There are few greater acts of friendship than holding someone else’s pain.

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Practical Things

When someone dies, there are lots of practical things that need to be done. People need to be notified, and funeral preparations need to be made. Often this is overwhelming. Find out if there’s anything you can do to help. It may be little things like making phone calls. Or your friend may need help with sympathy and funeral flowers.

Sometimes asking what the person needs isn’t helpful. They may be inundated with offers and not know what to say. Therefore, suggesting ways in which you could help is an option. Food is always a good place to start. Even at the most difficult times we still need to eat. People will be visiting, and food may need to be provided. Preparing some meals is likely to be welcome.

Avoid Cliches

In difficult situations, it’s easy to reach for cliches. However, where grief is concerned, they are not always well received. If you have just lost someone you care about deeply, you don’t want to hear that they are in a better place. Or, that God only sends you things you can deal with. This is likely to provoke sadness and even anger. Keep it simple. Be honest and truthful. It’s better to acknowledge you don’t know what to say, rather than reaching for a cliche.

Don’t Tell Them What To Do

Everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way of navigating bereavement. Everyone must find their own process. So don’t tell your friend she’s doing it wrong. Don’t tell her the ‘right way’ to do it. Let her experience this for herself and steer her own course.

Like grieving, there’s no right or wrong way to be there for someone. First and foremost, show up. Be honest if you don’t know what to say. Try to be helpful. And then take your cue from your friend. Listen to her and be there, in whatever way she needs you to be.

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Hobbies To Take Up As Summer Is Approaching

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The clocks have officially gone back! It’s no longer pitch-black at 6 pm. That’s right folks; spring is here. And what does that mean? Summer is just around the corner! Hurrah!

There is a still a little time, though. So how to make the most of it? Here are three hobbies to consider taking up as summer approaches.

Baking

Whether you’re slightly addicted to Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off or not, baking is a great hobby. Sure, buying all the ingredients can be quite costly at first. But actually, once you’ve built up a collection of the basics, you’ll save money on buying the products fresh. A bag of self-raising flour, for example, will be good for at least a handful of bakes.

Baking is also a great hobby for people with strict dietary requirements. It can be a real challenge to find products that are wheat-free or dairy-free. Plus, they tend to be pretty rammed with sugars and sweeteners. By making your own, you are in control of what does and doesn’t go in them. You can also make recipes just the way you like. You can make amazing brownies without pecan nuts if you don’t like them. Or make a triple chocolate cake with whipped cream in the centre; the world is your oyster. You can really let your creative juice flow.

Need some ideas? Facebook groups like Delish post different inspiring recipes every day, both for baking and cooking.

Photography

The days are getting longer, and nature is looking beautiful again. Capture the magic by taking up photography. You can focus on any genre you like, be it people, wildlife, landscape or cityscapes. Or just snap whatever takes your fancy from day to day.

Photography is one of those hobbies that can be as versatile as you like. If you like fast-paced environments, take shots of shoppers, or runners, or sunsets. Or, if you want to take it a bit steadier, go for landscape or nighttime shoots.

Don’t just use your phone either. The pixels might be high, but the quality just won’t match up. Invest in a good quality camera, and a sturdy Camera Bag to keep your purchase safe.

Getting fit

We expect way too much of ourselves when we sign up for gym memberships on New Year’s Day. Yes, the deal they’re offering is great but it is such a good price for a reason. Because hardly anybody then goes. The days are short; the nights are long and there is still loads of leftover chocolate in the cupboard…

Early spring, however, is a far more sensible time to join. Looking at summer holidays gives you some real motivation. Plus, you’ll find going to the gym after work far more appealing. Or, if you don’t want to join a gym, spring and summer weather and light lets you get fit outdoors. Go for a run in your local park. Take the dog with you. If you have one, that is. Don’t just take a random stranger’s dog…

 

London Tea Exchange Review

I have always had a strong bond with tea, but always preferred teabags over loose tea leaves just because it is so much easier to make tea.  But when I opened my mind towards loose tea leaves, I realised how many more options I have at hand, and how much I can experiment with various flavours, even making my own flavour.

During my loose tea leaves discovery, I was in London, and this is where I came across London Tea Exchange. Right next to the tea shop door, there were various teas one could sample. And so I did…

Entering the shop was like I was in heaven. Everywhere I look, it was tea and more tea… Over a hundred choices, and I couldn’t be more excited.. and confused.

It was hard to just choose just the one flavour, but since I never had chocolate or coconut flavoured tea, I thought that I should opt for a black tea… with these two flavours. May I say that…. It is magnificent?

The tea was given in a golden packaging which made it safely from London to Malta.

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The tea itself looks something like the below… Although not cheap, it is very tasty and makes me feel all warm and tingly inside….

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When in London, I’d suggest you give this shop a try, if like me, you are a massive tea lover 😉

Tea in Summer

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I think, a cuppa is my favourite non-alcoholic drink.

A side note for my foreign followers and readers:
Maltese Summer, especially August, is very hardcore; In the sense, it is very, very hot and humid. Imagine, a temperate of 35 degrees and 80+% humidity on a daily basis. That would feel like 40 to 45 degrees. Add onto that hot ‘desert’ wind to it. Although it might be nice for a week holiday, I’d say in my honest opinion is a nightmare to live in.

All the above, does not really put me off tea… I still feel the need for my morning tea with biscuits, afternoon tea and another right before I go to bed. The only issue is that is too warm for this.

I have tried bottled ice tea and home made ice tea… but this does not satisfy me as well as my tea with milk, or chocolate and coconut flavoured tea!

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So, every morning, I make my tea, and drink it right in front of the fan, while I sweat like a pig…
The sweat is not by choice…
But living without tea, is just not for me.

Chocolate Chip Rock Buns

I will share with you my winner chocolate rock buns recipe. Now, you may think that this recipe is a bit weird, in the sense that it has ground almonds in it, but I thought this adds to both the texture and the taste of the rock buns. When I was young I used to eliminate this and replace it with flour, but boy was I missing out.

So, these are the ingredients you will need:

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 90 g butter or margarine
  • 90 g sugar
  • 90 g chocolate bits *
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 table spoon of baking powder

*this can be changed to raisins or candied peels or any other fruit you might want to have in your cookies

And this is the magic, also known as the method to make these gorgeous cookies:

  1. Before you start making the dough, make sure you start heating up the oven up to 180 degrees celsius. When making sweets, it’s of utmost important that the oven has reached the desired warmth otherwise it won’t cook the cakes properly.
  2. Sieve the flour and add the salt, sugar and the ground almonds. Make sure this is mixed thoroughly before you add in the butter or margarine. Stir this first using a wooden spoon and then using the ‘rubbing in’ method.
  3. At this moment add the chocolate bits and once this is mixed thoroughly, make a hole and add the beaten eggs. Keep stirring until you get a stiff ‘not so sticky’ mixture.
  4. Split the mixture into buns and place them on your baking tray. Make sure the buns look ‘rough’ and you can achieve this by using a fork to rough in it up.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until they are light golden. Cool the rock buns on a wire wrack. You can add more sugar for extra sparkle but I usually skip this.

And the outcome should be something like this:

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I made 8 buns with these measurements; they were around 10cm each, in diameter.

3 Ingredients Brownie Cake

Tried and tested; All you need is 2 eggs, 350g nutella and 150g flour. Mix them together until it forms a rather sticky dough. Place in a dish, and put in a preheated oven, and cook at 160 degrees Celsius. It took mine 25mins to be fully cooked, but always use a toothpick to check if the cake is ready. As soon as toothpick comes out of the cake clean, switch the oven off and wait for the brownie to cool down slightly before eating it.

Below, you can find a photo of the end result. I have added almonds and chocolate chips on top of my cake:

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Bon Apetit!