Monday, 22 February 2016

Christchurch - 5 years on

This is not the blog post I'd planned on writing today. Not one of my usual topics.

Early on September 4th 2010 most of Canterbury was shaken awake (but not my husband who somehow managed to sleep through) by a large earthquake - a 1-in-100 year event. There was damage,  but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Aftershocks where ongoing. Some larger than others. Everyone thought that the likelihood of another "big one" was minimal. Mother Nature had let off some steam and things would slowly get back to normal.

There was large aftershock the day after Christmas that year.

12.51pm February 22nd 2011 and another 1-in-100 year earthquake. But this time it was very different. The middle of the day. People out and about in the city centre. Workers. School children. Violent shaking that seemed to go on forever. Buildings, roads, homes, lives disintegrating in clouds of dust. Death. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Strangers helping strangers. Waiting.

By the end of the day the central city was cordoned off. People were still trapped in broken buildings.  Waiting. I don't think that many of us in Christchurch realised just how bad it was initially.

A huge dust cloud hung over the city. Help was coming from every direction.

Somehow The Press was delivered as usual the next morning. That was the only thing that was as normal. Limited phone, intermittent power and water. Still a huge dust cloud. The sounds of demolition and collapse. The army and its tanks on the street. Soldiers patrolling the edges of the red zone while work continued amongst the rubble.

Coming down off the hills one evening a few weeks on I had a view over the city. It took me several minutes to realise what was wrong with that view. There was nothing in the central city. It was just black.

Five years and many thousands of earthquakes/aftershocks have passed. 

Our daughter was 13 and three weeks into her first year at high school. What should have been an exciting time for her became frightening. Months of disruption. Aftershocks. Site-sharing. Today she is a young woman starting a new phase of her life as a university student.

Today it's five years since 185 people lost their lives. It's five years of the "new normal". Christchurch is still broken. It will never be as it was. It will still be Christchurch - just a different Christchurch.

Christchurch is still home.

Monday, 15 February 2016

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

Making your own foaming hand soap is really quite easy and it's not hard to tailor the recipe to suit.

Foaming Hand Soap

To make this you will need:

Liquid Castile Soap
Vegetable Glycerine
Essential oil (optional)
Sweet Almond Oil (optional)

Add 2-4 tablespoons of liquid castile soap, 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerine, 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil (if using) and 5-6 drops of essential oil (sweet orange, lemon, peppermint or lavender are all good options) to the bottle. Fill the bottle to about 3/4 full with water (you need to allow room for the foaming pump). Cap the bottle with the pump and shake to combine the ingredients. Done!

For a budget version you could just use liquid castile and water. 

Vegetable glycerine has moisturising benefits. Plus it improves both foaming action and consistency for a better end product. 

The sweet almond oil is a great moisturising addition, but you could easy substitute rice bran, olive or even avocado oil.

You may also like to try:

I link up here

Monday, 1 February 2016

Caramel Slice

The new school term starts this week so it seems like a good time to share this recipe. The slice is quite rich so cut it into small pieces - it' can be addictive!

Caramel Slice

For the base:

125g butter
125g sugar
250g flour
1 dessert spoon cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the caramel layer:

1/2 a tin of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g butter

Heat the oven to 160C (325F). Line a 27cm x 21cm baking dish.

To make the base cream the first measure of butter and sugar. Add the egg, then mix in the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the base is in the oven slowly melt together the condensed milk, golden syrup and the second measure of butter, stirring occasionally.

Spread the caramel over the still hot base and return to the oven for 2 minutes.

When cold ice with chocolate icing.

You may also like:

I link up here.