How to Make the Most of Family Vacations During School Breaks

Whether you work outside your house or you’re a stay-at-home parent, you need ideas to keep your kids busy during school breaks. This will prevent them from getting too much screen time, which might not be good for their mental and physical health. Being creative about the things your kids can do during school breaks can fight off boredom and could help them develop important skills. You can join in on the fun to make things more engaging.

Check out these fun ideas for kids that you can do every week during school breaks, presented below by Anya Willis of Fit Kids.

Enjoy Nature

Take advantage of the school break to explore the natural world. First, you can go bird watching, which offers you the opportunity to take great photos and keep track of sightings. You can use a guidebook or an app to identify your feathered friends. The kids will love this. The beautiful photos can be a conversation starter later in the day.

You could also explore growing fresh herbs in containers. For this, you need milk jugs, old coffee cans, plastic cups, mason jars, or anything you have in your house that you can use to plant. Keep the herb garden on a windowsill or a patio.

Another idea for outdoor fun includes picking your own plants. Find a farm with strawberries, blueberries, veggies, raspberries, and flowers, and then get picking. If you have birds, you can make a bird feeder, or offer one for birds that visit your yard, which adds to your list of bird sightings.

For play, you can make fairy houses using moss, leaves, and bark, which help you create a dwelling ideal for Thumbelina. Alternatively, you can introduce the kids to wildlife conservation by creating a hummingbird or butterfly garden, which offers a good habitat.

Make the Most of Rainy Days

Sometimes, the weather will prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities. You need to be creative and find indoor activities you can enjoy with your kids. When it’s raining, the moment is perfect for games. You can build a fort with pillows in the living room, or you can use cardboard boxes in your yard for the game. Also, the kids will love creating a Lego castle. Just clear off your table and make this a family project, which you can work on all summer.

Another way to keep the kids engaged indoors is through a marble race. For this, you can use an old pool noodle as your track. You can cut it in half to make two tracks. Race the marbles down to see who gets the first spot. Paper airplanes are also an idea that could keep the kids busy for some time.

Explore Local Sites

School breaks also offer opportunities for staycation experiences. If you have friends nearby, you can bring them along to explore local sites. Some ideas to consider include finding a free concert near you, where you can kick back and enjoy great tunes. Also, visit a flea market to see if your kids are good negotiators. You could also take your kids to watch a dramatic performance, which could be a puppet show or a Broadway show.

While away from home, you need to ensure everything is secured. One way to secure the home is having a sturdy fence around it, which you can hire a local contractor to construct. Check reviews to make sure they’re reliable. The cost often depends on the size of the fence, materials, and where you want to install it. Only work with licensed professionals. Oh, and good news: certain upgrades can also dramatically improve your home’s appraisal value!

You have many ways to keep your kids busy during school breaks. These include indoor and outdoor ideas you can explore together. Find ways to integrate play into tasks to make everything fun and interesting. Explore things your kids can keep for the future as memories for the good moments. 

Girl On the Bus is your best resource for blogs on health, fashion, society, and more! Got something to tell us? Please email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com.

Watching the Stars, Beneath the Stars

The Galileo Open Air Cinema is the perfect spot for a variety of experiences.

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The Galileo Open Air Cinema is the perfect spot to: catch up with friends, tell your crush you ‘wanna be more than friends’ or in our case – a classic girls’ night out. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the South African economy like never before and The Galileo (unfortunately) was no different.

Just like other businesses, they’ve had to adapt – and they have!

If you’ve been sleeping on this once in a lifetime experience, please get your mask on, apply some hand sanitiser and get in your car – because this place is everything!

Founded by Huenu Solsona, The Galileo Open Air Cinema provides the coziness of cuddling under a blanket of stars (and a literal blanket) whilst watching a wholesome movie, with a steaming hot shawarma and buttery popcorn. As you might have gathered from the name, the cinema is outside, situated at some of Cape Town’s most stunning nature-inspired venues.

However, in this manner, they were unable to ensure that Covid-19 health regulations could be met. Thus, they introduced The Galileo Open Air Cinema 2.0… Drive-In Cinema!

If you’ve been to a traditional drive-in cinema, this is really no different. But if you’re like me, and had only ever heard of them – then this is a definite must!

I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking to Huenu numerous times about her passion for movies and creating great experiences, and you feel that as soon as you drive in to the venue.

At the entrance, you’re greeted by some of the friendliest staff members ever – I love those guys! You’re then handed an informational sheet that includes rules and guidelines, and the radio frequency you need to flood your car with crisp movie audio.

With the original Galileo Picnic, patrons could walk from one food vendor to another – socializing with the vendors and fellow movie goers. In the case of the Drive-In, you pre-order your food online and collect it all wrapped up just for you (their are Halaal foods available). And if you’re into bringing some tangy lemon cheesecake or sushi, bring your own food from home. However, no alcohol is allowed on the premises.

They have since reopened their Picnic version after South Africa lessened its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing for more people to attend public spaces and gatherings. But this was not all! The Galileo aims to constantly impress and they plan to do just that with their latest addition to the stunning family – The Galileo Royale!

The Galileo Royale is an exclusive screening experience with welcome drinks, a private concert, mouth-watering foods, intimate viewing spaces and a night of luxury! This version is perfect if you’re in the mood to treat that very special someone. Although, I would gladly take myself for this (minus the welcome drinks LOL).

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The general genre of movies available is wholesome family-friendly movies – with a few exceptions here and there, like Pretty Woman or Dirty Dancing. However, even movies that I didn’t know the name of happened to make me laugh, cry and feel good!

My absolute favourite was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding with my sisters. It was amazing: the weather was cold and lightly raining, but we huddled inside my mom’s car!

I genuinely have only good reviews of The Galileo Open Air Cinema. The staff are attentive, friendly and warm, and the atmosphere is sweet, fun and comfortable. Plus, the movies make you feel all the things!

Now what about price? Or location? Well, all that can be found on their website https://thegalileo.co.za/ or check out their Instagram page for updates on weekly screenings and venues.

This post was not sponsored by The Galileo Open Air Cinema, but darn it they are so frikkin cool I just needed to write a post about them!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#COLLAB: First impressions last forever, or do they?

I always imagined visiting Paris and having my freshly baked croissant with coffee, wearing my red beret sitting in a café and experiencing it all. But driving from the outskirts into Paris was not what I expected to see at all!

Written by Waseema from Our French Adventure

focus photography of gray and black pigeons behind Eiffel Tower
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia

In February 2019, we decided to drive from Strasbourg to Paris for our flight home to Cape Town. The kids were looking forward to the road trip, and we managed to squeeze in a few hours to see the Eiffel Tower before leaving. 

I was so excited to see the Eiffel Tower; hubby visited Paris twice before, so he’d seen it before me, but I wanted to experience it all for myself – the city of love; the people, the atmosphere, the food, and just immerse in the ambiance of it all.

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I always imagined visiting Paris and having my freshly baked croissant with coffee, wearing my red beret sitting in a café and experiencing it all, watching the locals — exactly how it is portrayed in the movies: all fancy schmancy.

The morning we left for Paris, it was dark, freezing cold, wet, and raining, but I was hopeful to see the Eiffel Tower. I had high expectations of how the next few hours in Paris would be, but for starters, the weather wasn’t playing along with my plans! 

After four hours of driving and sightseeing along the way, we finally arrived in Paris. I was all excited, like a small child walking into a candy store.

But driving from the outskirts into Paris was not what I expected to see at all! It was nothing like I imagined it to be and not what I saw and pictured in the movies and on the internet!

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The area we drove through looked like the slums and really not what I pictured in my mind!

We followed the GPS, and it led us straight to the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing; so big and beautiful, and I couldn’t believe that I was seeing it with my own two eyes, for real!

We managed to find underground parking (as it started to rain), so my idea of having a coffee in a café on the road fell through the cracks! When we got outside, we all got this horrible stench, which was utterly gross and not what we expected.

The month before we left for Paris, I told my friend that we were going home via Paris, and she said to me that her husband (a German guy) couldn’t stand the place because it smells and it was dirty, but that didn’t deter me from going because I wanted to experience it for myself.

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We finally managed to find our way to the Eiffel Tower. We were all cold and soaked in the rain, but we managed to get a few photos.

We drove to the airport in shock at how dirty the place was compared to Strasbourg – where we are currently living – and then with a massive disappointment in my heart, we left for Cape Town. 

Fast-forward to December 2019 when we went home via Paris again; we decided to spend two days in Paris as a DO-OVER! I firmly believe in second chances and boy oh boy were we so pleasantly surprised the second time around! *smiling from cheek to cheek*

We decided to be a bit more adventurous this time around as we travelled by train from Strasbourg to Paris.

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We got to see beautiful green landscapes, which took us about 2 hours, so no hassle of my husband having to drive and me having to stay awake as co-driver, haha.

The only downside was that we traveled with our four children, three big suitcases, with backpacks on everyone’s back!

We hopped off the TGV train, onto the Metro train in Paris and then a tram to get to our hotel – all with the help of Google Maps (thank goodness for Google Maps and Google Translate, especially in a country where they don’t speak English)!

The hotel was beautiful; exactly what we needed after a hectic day of adventure, and we took the rest of the day to just rest and recuperate. 

The following day we got up early, went down for breakfast (my children LOVED the buffet breakfast with croissants, crepes with Nutella, yogurts, and so much more) and then decided to go explore Paris on foot.

We walked from the hotel to the major tourist sights like the Arc de Triomphe, then down Champs-Élysées Avenue to the Louvre Museum and lastly to the Notre Dame Cathedral (or what’s left of it).

We slowly walked down Champs-Élysées Avenue – a shopper’s paradise! This Avenue is home to luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and so much more. We also saw other brands like Gap, Zara, Adidas, and Sephora, etc.

We got to experience an authentic Parisian vibe and ambiance by walking down these amazingly beautiful cobblestone streets, passing through beautiful walkways and parks, and seeing stunning architectural buildings from every period – going back to the Middle Ages to the 21st Century!

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The best way to explore and see Paris like a real Parisian is by foot, cycling, and jumping on and off the Metro: which I timed – it takes about 20 seconds from one station to the next with the Metro! How cool is that?!

Taking your car to explore really won’t do it any justice as you need to be able to go where the cars can’t go — that’s the secret!

On every road, you will find a flower shop, bakery, or a café. The smell of freshly baked baguettes, croissants, crêpes, and strong espressos, is everything!

Just thinking about it is making my mouth water, and by closing my eyes, it’s taking me back to the fantastic smells straight out of bakeries and into the streets.

Near Note Damn Cathedral, we found a halal Lebanese café, and I tasted Laban drink for the first time — it was different, and I don’t think I’ll try it again!

After a day filled with lots of walking (16 km’s to be exact!), eating crêpes, ice-cream, Doner Kebab, drinking espressos, window shopping, and just taking it all in, we made our way back to the hotel.

I left Paris with my heart gleaming with happiness and gratitude for being able to experience it all properly for a second time!

I can honestly say, I’m happy that my first impression of Paris didn’t last forever, and I replaced it with the good memories we made! 

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Remember, any city you visit in the world has two sides to it. The images you see on the internet and in the media is not necessarily what you would see in real life as these images are curated to make a place look perfect to attract tourists!

If you are planning on traveling post-COVID, then go visit a country or city you’ve never seen before.

Take it all in, make the most of it, let go of your expectations, take chances and experience the place for yourself, take every opportunity, day or experience as an adventure and treasure all the good memories! 

Be sure to check out Waseema’s blog Our French Adventure, as well as her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more of her adventures!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

Summer Must-haves🌺 Bye Bye Sweat Patches!

A new blog series with all that you need for the Summer season. We’re talking skincare, glamour and ideal headscarf materials to keep you looking fab, collected and (most importantly) cool during this, or any summer for that matter!

Summer will always find us. If you’re a Winter-baby like me, then the warmer months are definitely something you dread.

If it’s not a shiny upper lip then it’s sweaty underarm patches!

And that’s why – ladies, gentlemen and non-binary compatriots – we’ve made a list of all the fabrics you need to spruce up your summer wardrobe!

🐞Cotton

A breathable fashion favourite, cotton is a total must-have! While this fabric allows air to circulate between your body and the clothing, it’s all very absorbent. So, it may start feeling a bit heavy and damp in those sweaty areas, like under the arms and under the bust area.

Cotton creases really easily, so pack in your cotton-polyester blends for travelling. It has a softer texture and doesn’t crease as easily as a pure cotton shirt.

🐞Linen

It’s no secret that here at GirlOnTheBus, we love linen! Loosely woven fabric means an airy-fairy feeling during the heatwaves ahead. Linen clothing hardly clings to the body and absorbs sweat really well, leading to a cool-feel all day long.

Also it isn’t as stiff as cotton may feel, but linen tends to crease just as easily. So again, opt for a linen-polyester blend if having to hit the ironing board is not your forte.

🐞Silk

Soft, thin-feeling and super luxurious – silk offers a summer statement worth the price tag. Tightly woven silk will prove a challenge to wear, so be sure to wear a garment with a light or plain weave. It absorbs sweat really well and will keep your bits feeling cool and breezy all night long.

Just remember that these delicate fibres tend to break down easily in full sunlight and after regular wearing – so reserve that silk palazzo for a really special event.

🌞Chambray

Think your denim shorts look cute? Well, they do – but don’t tell me that you love the feeling of sweat dripping down your leg. News flash – you don’t! Instead, opt for chambray, which is a breathable version of thick, hardy denim. It looks like denim, but feels way lighter and will look good in the full summer sun!

I scream , you scream: CHAMBRAY! CHAMBRAY!

🌞rayon

A man-made material from chemically treated, natural materials like wood pulp, cellulose and cotton. Rayon is a lightweight fabric perfect for humid summer days. It won’t absorb sweat (which is the key to keeping you cool), but this fabric is great for drapey, flowy clothes.

 Don’t be quick to throw it into the washing machine with your cotton shirt – the fibres are really delicate! So either dry-clean or “delicate wash” your rayon clothes.

🎩Fresco

Tough, breatheable and lightweight – fresco is a must for the gentle-man-and-woman! It’s made of a high twist wool, which allows for insanely good air circulation. For my suit lovers out there, this high twisted wool and plain weave won’t just make you look cool, but definitely feel cool too! Think, “built-in air-conditioning“!

Because of the high twist, it has a course feel to it – but that’s what makes this fabric also really durable. It’s perfect for the travelling professional!

🎩Seersucker

No ironing needed, lightweight and very comfortable to wear – seersucker is what you need for your summer party wardrobe! Typically worn to fancy boat and garden parties, this lightly puckered material has been used exclusively to create formal wear for the summer and spring seasons.

It’s part of the cotton family which means that it will absorb all your hard-partying sweat and allow the evening breeze to cool you down. Plus, seersucker comes in a variety of colours but is often sold with a trademark striped or checked print. Super preppy!

If you have any other preferences or know of any other materials perfect for the warm weather let me know in the comments down below ❤

Simple Student: Crispy Roast Potatoes

It’s cold out here chickpeas! And that means oven-roasts and low-slow cooking…And what is a warm winter without some potatoes?! I mean I didn’t even need to write an introduction – I could’ve just written the word “potato” and it would’ve been enough. Okay enough-‘ve words and more crispy, fluffly, steamy, warm, toasty-roasty, absolutely delicious POTATOES! Do you love potatoes this much, or is it just me while recovering from my third mug of dark coffee?

Yes, those are my short fat fingers. Also – POTATO!

I first came across this recipe on the Food and Home website and when I made it for my fams – I. Was. In. Heaven. Potato Heaven! And it brings us to the new venture of: Cooking for Others. Yes, my chickpeas it’s hosting time. And if all your other dishes fail, then at least you have potatoes…and who can be mad at you for that?

That’s right – no one.

Honestly, someone is going to equate this potato passion to that of Sasha Braus and to be honest I am okay being called Potato Girl.

Now, you may not be a fan of rosemary. Or perhaps garlic gives you the Four Winds. It doesn’t matter – you can switch and swap various flavour combos to suit your palate. But the basis for creating the perfect roast potato remains the same. The steps of boiling, salting, drying and tossing are all important steps. So regardless of whether you sprinkle them with kosher salt or include spices to set your face ablaze, the prep work done beforehand is the Old Testament of this recipe.

Besides total deliciousness – this recipe is simple to prepare, affordable and can be whacked in the oven and forgotten about for an hour. So while you’re making yourself look pretty for your guests, your potatoes can sing and sizzle in the oven!

Cut into cubes to shorten cooking time!

When you boil your potatoes, make sure that the water is cold. Add the potatoes to the cold water in the pot, then turn the heat on. This will allow for the potatoes to cook evenly through, resulting in awesome fluffiness in the centre.

Don’t have an oven or money to pay for electricity for the oven? No problem! You can fry these guys up on a gas stove in a pan of hot oil.

Now I know the METHOD seems like it’s gonna take forever – trust me it won’t! I just like to be extra detailed and include every possible scenario to ensure that you guys create something magical for your fams and yourselves!

Look..

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Potatoes (but tbh, however many your heart desires)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 5 cups of water
  • Spices and herbs of your choice

METHOD

  • Wash, peel and quarter your potatoes.
  • Put them in a pot and add the water to the pot. The water level needs to be about and inch about the potatoes. Add more water if necessary.
  • Add 5 tablespoons of salt.
  • Turn on the stove and put your pot on a high flame – bringing the water to a boil.
  • Put the lid on the pot to trap heat and speed up the boiling process.
  • Once it boils over once, turn the heat down to a medium flame and let it cook for 6-7 minutes. Set a timer on your phone (boil your potatoes for a total of 10 minutes)!
  • Set your oven to 200 C or see “FRYING OPTION”
  • Prepare a baking tray/sheet.
  • Place 2tbs of oil on the tray. (I added small cubes of butter for super crunchy edges)
  • Test the doneness by poking a fork through one potato cube. If it glides in smoothly, turn off the stove and drain. If still hard in the centre, let it boil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer drained potatoes back into the pot and add baking powder. NOT BAKING SODA.
  • Put the lid on the pot and using your thumbs to hold the lid down, shake the potatoes around in the pot. This will break them into smaller pieces and rough them up for crispier edges. Give them two hard shakes. Not more than two or less than two!
  • Transfer poatatoes onto baking sheet/tray.
  • Toss them around and make sure to coat them in that oil.
  • Scatter spices and herbs and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Put in oven for 45mins-hour. Turn them around at the halfway mark.
  • Taken them out and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve as a side dish or as a spectacularly simple main!
  • Enjoy 🙂

Spice and herb suggestions

  • lemon and rosemary and garlic
  • garlic and chilli
  • cumin and paprika
  • thyme and butter
  • onion and cheese and mushrooms
  • mustard and bay leaf and curry powder (fry these in the sheet pan first)

FRYING OPTION

  • Test the doneness by poking a fork through one potato cube. If it glides in smoothly, turn off the stove and drain. If still hard in the centre, let it boil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer your potatoes to a colander or seperate bowl and add 1tsp of baking powder. Yes it will fizzle – that’s totally normal.
  • Toss to make sure potatoes are well coated and that some cubes have been broken. This adds to the crispiness.
  • Heat 3 cups of vegetable oil on the stove in a dry and clean pot.
  • Heat on med-high heat.
  • To see if the oil is ready, you can use a kitchen thermometer (162°C) or put a wooden spoon or skewer in. If lots of bubbles form around it, you’re ready to go!
  • Add your potatoes and fry in small batches of 6 cubes.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes. Or until golden in colour and floating around in the oil.
  • Make sure to turn the heat down if things get too crazy or turn it up if it takes longer than 5 minutes to fry.
  • Remove from oil into a colander lined with paper towel or some of those takeout napkins.
  • Sprinkle them with salt as soon as they come out.
  • Wait for them to cool down…
  • Serve…
  • And enjoy!

If you make this please share your end results with on Instagram: @girlonthebus_za ! And leave a comment on what cooking favourites you’d like me to simplify for you.

Til next time chickpeas!

Simple Student: Creamy Chicken Pasta

Hello my chickpeas! I’ve decide to start this new series where I help you find fun in the kitchen and graduate to Lvl.1 cooks!

I’ve called it Simple Student because these recipes are simple, economic for student life and even if you’re a simpleton – these recipes will surely have you cooking yummy foods for yourself in no time!

👆To start this series off is my go-to recipe for classic comfort that can be made ahead of time, in large batches for the week or in large batches to help you cope for the rest of the week.

We’ve all had some type of chicken alfredo pasta. And I dare not call this recipe that in fear of being lynched by some shook Italians and because of that it’s fondly called Creamy Chicken Pasta. ‘Cos that’s all this recipe literally needs: cream, chicken and pasta. Boom! You’re a chef!🍳

✌Now, I know that looks like a lot. But I have been making this recipe for two years now, so I know what it needs to suit my tastes and what it needs to suit my mommy’s needs.

👌Don’t start out fancy with this. The basic flavours of this dish speak for itself. Once you become comfortable with adding enough salt and pepper – feel free to get creative. I prefer adding some paprika for slight colour and smoke, and dried chilli flakes for spicy-ness!

👉Once browned, remove chicken cubes from the pan. The bottom of the pan will have some brown sticky bits, don’t worry, you haven’t burnt anything. That’s what chefs call fond. It’s browned bits that stick to the pan, typically after browning meat. It adds wonderful flavour without you having done a lot!

👇I added some spinach to mine. Feel free to add whatever you have in the fridge or cupboard. Or whatever you’re craving – except chocolate. I doubt that’ll be a lekker (nice) flavour combo.

All I can say about the spaghetti is: heavily salted water and follow the cooking instructions! Please, please, please!

This recipe is one of my favourites to make for myself when I’m feeling a bit miserable or for my family on a Winter’s day.

CREAMY CHICKEN PASTA

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 3

INGREDIENTS

2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Spaghetti

1/2 medium onion

1 clove of garlic or 2 teaspoons of dried garlic

2 cups of cream

1 cup of milk

Salt & Pepper

2 tablespoons of canola/olive oil

Optional Additions

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Use tofu instead of chicken

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cut chicken breasts into inch-sized cubes

2. Marinate your chicken in the dry spices: salt, pepper and any additional spices. Not the garlic!

3. Make sure that each cube is nicely spiced, and leave in the fridge (warm day) or at room temperature (cold day).

4. Chop your onion into a rough dice, it doesnt have to be super small, bite sized. Put onto a board or o a plate for now.

5. Peel, slice and dice your garlic and other additional veg. Put these all on a board or plate for now.

6. Pour oil into a skillet (pan) and turn on the heat. Medium heat to bring the oil up to temperature.

7. Test to see if the oil is hot by placing the end of a wooden sopon in the oil. If it begins to bubble around the bit in the oil, you’re all good to go!

8. Carefully place your chicken cubes in. Don’t throw them in! Ask for help if this freaks you out, or place them in the pan using a tongs.

9. Let your chicken brown for 2-3 minutes each side. We’re not aiming to fully cook the chicken here yet, if we do, adding it to the pasta and hot creamy sauce will cause it to overcook. We want it to be brown on the outside, pink and raw in the middle. Trust me, it will cook in time!

If you’d like to use stiff veg like broccoli or carrots, now would be a great time to add them. If you use bell peppers, leafy veg or asparagus, add them in later.

10. Onced browned and delicious, remove from the pan.

11. Lower the heat and add in your onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft and almost transluscent. Stir every now and then, season with salt and pepper.

12. Pour water into a pot and turn it up onto high heat to bring to a boil. Remeber add lots of salt! More than you think you need 😉

13. Once your water comes to a boil, add in your pasta and set a timer on your phone so you don’t overcook it. Simple psaghetti typically takes 8-10 minutes depending on your brand – so read the packet instructions.

14. Once your pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and drain some of the pasta water. Keep a bit in the pot with the pasta to prevent them from sticking.

15. Add your cream to your onions and garlic mixture. Keep the heat of your stove medium-low. Add your milk too and wait for it to come up to a boil. You’ll start to see a few bubbles in the sauce, don’t be tempted to stir!

16. Season your cream sauce with salt and pepper and any additonal spices.

17. After 2 minutes, stir it gently to prevent if from burning. Add in your chicken, pasta. And a few tablespoons of your pasta water. AND MIX, TOSS AND COAT 😉

Add your vegetables in here if you didn’t in the beginning.

18. It will still look runny and watery, don’t panic, give the chicken a chance to cook in the sauce and the pasta, to suck up those flavours. Put a lid on to help excess moisture evaporate quicker.

19. Once it has thickened, turn off the heat and serve yourself a huge helping!

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite pasta dish is? And don't forget to follow GirlOnTheBus for more fabulous student life stuff!

XXX

Winter in a farm cottage

I don’t know about you, but Winter is my favourite time of the year! You can wear so many cute hijabi-appropriate outfits, snuggle with hot chocolate as rain drips down the windows and most importantly – it’s my birthday! Given you live in the Southern hemisphere, Winter is experienced during the middle of the of the year. Usually June is the month where it’s really cold and wet.

Here in the Western Province we don’t get much snow, except on the peaks of the mountaneous range that enclose the area. So for a truly magical winter expereince, my family and I decided to go away for the Winter holidays and head towards the mountains. Onward!

We’ve never really spent our holidays up in the clouds before, regardless of the season we always vacation near the beach. We’re those crazy people you see putting their feet in the icy Atlantic Ocean and picnicing on the sand even though the wind is howling. We kind of really enjoy Winter.

I looked to LekkerSlaap.co.za for some holiday inspiration. At first, the dorpie (small town) of Ceres caught my eye. Beautiful mountain backdrops, lush nature. Quiet surroundings and cold cold weather. It was the perfect accompaniment to our Winter adventures. But! Just as we were attracted to it, so was everyone else and every accomodation read ‘fully booked’. However, my good friends at LekkerSlaap offered a few suggestions, one of them being…Wolseley.

Now I’d never heard of this place and if there’s one thing I love more than cold vacation spots, it’s definitely cold remote vacation spots!

Sold!

Early Friday morning we packed up the car, got comfortable and headed out with the sun still rising through the back window. Now, can I just go off on a tangent here, I’m not sure why the rest of my family don’t do this, but I just about take my whole room with me. And I don’t mean to brag…but that’s what I’m gonna do anyway – I’m a good packer. I’ll never outshine Marie Kondo, she’s on a level of her own and maybe one day I’l be like her, but for now I’m happy being a level 10-ish suitcase packer. Plus, the one thing about travelling bright and early is getting to steal those ‘five extra minutes’ in the car. It’s not your mattress back home, but the car sear can be magical. Armed with my pillows and blanket, the backseat goes from grouchy early morning drive to first class improvised luxury.

We stopped along the way at the Langebaan Mosque. Which is so beautiful! On the outskirts of the Leentjiesklip area, the mosque finds itself literally in the middle of small township houses. With no high rise walls, where kids play ball in the streets and dogs roam the area. The type of neighbourhood I was not raised in, but the type we all wish to live in. As a suburban girl, being in these townships make my mind run with stereotypical ideas – gangsterism, stray bullets, theft. The list goes on, but by actually going into these areas due to my work, I’ve learned that those who are ruining the reputation of these towns are not the majority. Mothers stand strongly against this, teens just want to go to school and not every girl on the street is resorting to prostitution. The media can paint a bad picture, one that I’ll admit, I fell prey to.

And that is why I love going to these uncommon places. Because you’re away from home and your familiarities, you are forced to interact with the people who know the place like the back of their hands. It removes the class barriers we have put in place, restricting our country from fully growing.

Now, enough socio-economical ranting and more holiday reviewing!

We stopped at the Langebaan Masjied to attend the Jumuah programme. Jumuah is observed on Fridays and typically, mosques run programmes from the late morning til the early afternoon. Similar to a Sunday service. A sermon is given by the sheikh or a guest will offer one. One is done in English and another is done in Arabic. We then pray Jumuah salaah and then bas galas all is done!

It was interesting spending Jumuah at a different mosque, the feeling is just…different.

We travelled on down this really long road and for a second a sliver of doubt crept into our minds and we though we were lost. So we ultimately started driving in circles, with my dad silently going where he thought we should, my mom shouting directions from behind a map and me chiming in from the back. Because, it’s not a party til there’s an instigator. And in our family unit that instigator is usually me. (And now that I say that I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry…)

And after some classic family feuding we found the farmstead!

Driving up to the guest house was truly a scenic route. Let me paint you a picture…

‘The crunch of clay dirt beneath the tyres accompanies the songs of birds in the trees. Rustling of newly-yellowed leaves drown out the distant chatter of farm workers. I tilt my head out the window to be greeted by waves of fresh valley scents. The crisp cold air fills my nose and bekonds me to the wonderful weekend we are about to have. The snow capped mountains stare back at our car, their blue majesty a small gift of Allah’s grace.’

Me and my mama

‘We pull up at the cottage which was a bit of a challenge as there were no designated parking areas or any signs showing where the guest houses were. But after pulling up at what we thought was the guest house, but turned out to be the farmer’s house and rudely interrupting their tea time, we were shown the house and met with the homeowners – Pieter Crous and his lovely wife (whose name I have forgotten. Sorry love!)’

The house we booked had three bedrooms. One main bedroom which my parents naturally occupied with its en suite bathroom. Which, I will admit was relatively tiny, but my parents didn’t complain so it couldn’t have been all that bad. And the other two rooms had two single beds in each of them, the room that my mama and I shared had the main bathroom in it. So everytime my sisters needed the bathrom during the night they had to walk through our room to get to it – if you have a really light sleeper in your family – do not put them in this room!

The main entrance opens to a cozy living room with plush sofas and chairs adorned with pillows and patterns my granny adored. Then taking a short right you enter the dining room which was so beautiful. A hefty wooden table ran the length of the room and with matching wooden chairs for our family of six. It made me feel like a Z-list royal. Were these the types of dining rooms the settlers of way back when had? It was not only grand but very homely. But no house is a home without a little soul, next door is the kitchen! It was what any person would think a typical plaaskombuis would look like. Teacups hanging from the cabinet. Large windows overlooking the fields, tiny ovens and ornate shelves lined with pink flower-pattered china. And lots of dogs.

Now, most of my family members are not dog people. We don’t hate dogs, we just prefer the lazy and catty personality of our feline friend. The farm owners naturally had dogs, besides as pets, I do believe dogs can serve a multitude of purposes on a farm – protect animals and people, herd livestock even catch rats. So I don’t hold it against the owners for having dogs, I just wish their dogs weren’t constantly at our windows trying to get breakfast from our table. LOL!

The following day we left the house and went out for a bit of exploring. And came across this quaint coffee in the middle of goddamn nowhere who made the yummiest scones and hot chocolate! It was just what we needed for our bruncheon. And after a bit more driving, we came to the outskirts of Ceres. And more importantly – a Ceres shopping mall. So naturally my family and I spent the day (and my mom’s credit card) at the mall. And naturally to most coloured and slamse families we ended up leaving the place with more stuff than to begin with. Heck, we got so fed up with trying to fit everything in that we eventually got to the point where just shoved and tossed everything in. Except the food items, oh no! Those get special treatment – they either get put on top of laps or take up leg room.

Overall, the Welgelee Cottage was an outstanding choice. It was peaceful, the beds we so comfy and warm and there was never a problem with electricity or running hot water. The only sad thing was that it was too cold and wet for a lekker braai. But hey, what do you expect when you go to experience Winter on a mountain!? The journey to the place was a scenic one with the mountain passes creating a sense of mystical wonder and the open landscapes making you feel like you’re on a Narnian journey.

Overall rating: 3/5 buses, because I’m not a professional.

It was truly a wonderful weekend and hopefully, it won’t be the last. Thank you to the very wonderful and helpful people at LekkerSlaap and the Crous family from Welgelee Cottage. Bless yah🌸

Sun, spring & C-breeze

Sometimes a spntaneous weekend getaway is all you need to make you feel alive again. 
It was the beginning of October; the air is still chilly with the final remnants of Winter and the Summer sun blooms, steadily growing in warmth as the hot season approaches – more commonly known as the season of Spring. And what better way to enjoy this confusing weather than to go on holiday !?


Well it’s not exactly easy finding last minute accommodation spots for six adults! So, where do you go – Montague? Fully booked. Langebaan? Double booked. Worcester? So fully booked, I can’t even! How about… Paternoster?
Where!? Pater-what-now!?


Exactly, where better to find the perfect accommodation than in a small, unpopular fishing town? It’s simply perfect! And perfect it was.
Perfect-Paternoster housed us in a charming and simply cosy, beachfront cottage – C-breeze.

As the name states, the open-plan kitchen and living room and dining area adds a breezy, beachy feel to everything. An added bonus to the whole theme of the house, is the sound of the rumbling, rolling, crashing waves that can be heard from the beach a few meters away. 

More information on this beautiful place can be found on  https://www.lekkeslaap.co.za/akkommodasie/c-breeze


But besides how simply gah-mazing this cottage was, can we please talk about how the beach was literally visible from any window (well, not so literally, but you get what I mean!) The beach was so close, I had the urge to file for a restraining order against it. But its close proximity meant bright outdoor breakfasts and breathtaking sunset walks.

Paternoster is a town as big as its name. In about an hour we explored the entire town, which consists of; a few quaint hotales and rental houses, a market and curro shop and a restuarant. So if you’ve ever wanted to opt for an off-the-grid kind of living but you’re too scared to go fully commando, this adorable little fishing town is perfect! 

This place is simply fantastic for kids, if going to the beach everyday is what they’re into. The novelty soon wore off for me and my siblings. We’re an adventurous crew, new sights, sounds and smells are needed everyday and unfortunately, Paternoster is little bit too laid back for our liking.

My parents and gran found it simply enticing and were blown-away by the simplicity and easy-going vibe of the place. In short, it’s not a place for adventure or adrenaline, rather a cosy environment to chillax and reflect.

But not even the lack of spunk and bustle was enough to ruin to overall charm Paternoster offers. Even my beach-hating sister loved the symphony of crashing waves and c-breeze. 
So this summer, please do yourself a favour and book your next holiday in the charming town of Paternoster.