Share A Meal with World Vision UK

I love food, and I love sharing food. Coming into the Christmas period (let’s face it, it’s really soon) we start to think about family, getting together and sharing food and drinks. But it’s easy to forget those in other countries facing diversity.

To promote awareness, World Vision UK have launched the #shareameal appeal to raise money for the refugee children in Bidi Bidi, Uganda, along with Great British Bake Off’s star baker Selasi.

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Selasi recently visited Uganda to see how we could make a difference.

“It’s heartbreaking to see pain and hunger etched onto the faces of orphaned children and hear their harrowing stories of rape and violence. It is vital that, as a community, we come together to do what we can to help provide these kids with a better future.”

Thousands of children flood into Uganda’s refugee settlements, escaping civil war in South Sudan. Many of these having seen their parents murdered and having to walk for weeks without food or shelter. This is a dangerous and frightening trek, having to hide from fighting to avoid being killed. They are along, traumatised and hungry.

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And this of course is something we just can’t relate to. But we can help, and World Vision UK have come up with a way we can help bring aid to these children, in a way we can relate to.

World Vision UK help feed these children and find them foster families, to give them a new start. However, global funding just isn’t enough and so to raise money, they’d like you to take part in #shareameal.

World Vision UK invite you to be inspired by Selasi and host a dinner party. It can be as small or large as you wish, just as long as you’re sharing a meal. Following the meal, you and your guests donate the value of the meal to World Vision UK and that money goes to the children.

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They’ve even made it really easy for you, but putting together a pack that includes everything you need – invitations, an exclusive recipe from Selasi and thank you cards for your guests too!

Visit http://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/share-meal/ to download your pack!

Now, if this wasn’t fun enough, they’re also giving you the chance to win a meal for two, cooked by Selasi himself! To enter, simply post a picture of your Share A Meal event on Instagram using the hashtag #shareameal and tagging @WorldVisionUK! For more information visit www.worldvision.org.uk/shareameal

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So all that’s left to do is start planning your meal and who you want to invite.

With so many holidays coming up, you could host an American-style Thanksgiving, a Christmas themed meal, something for New Years or simply use some of the fantastic Autumnal ingredients that are starting to appear in supermarkets.

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It’s an excuse to show off your repertoire AND help the refugee Children in Uganda.

I’m already planning mine, so keep an eye out for my post about that in the next couple of months!

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Event photos provided by World Vision UK. All other photos are my own.

My Mini Fashionista!

A few weeks back, when the Summer had decided to make a last ditch attempt at actual sunshine and warmth, my Niece Niamh expressed a wish to show me some of the outfits she’d recently bought.

A budding Influence and Fashionista, she was excited when I told her I’d love to create a look-book type post, based on the items she’d picked, since they were very on-fashion.

With a keen eye for trends, I’m sure this isn’t the only time she’ll be featuring on this blog – and as you will see, she’s a natural in front of the camera!

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Cold-shoulder top from Primark, necklace from Claire’s Accessories.

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Her favourite necklace, from Claire’s Accessories. Niamh loves unicorns and wears this necklace every day when she can.

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Shorts from Asda, Top from Primark. Niamh loves the look of the cold-shoulder tops that are in the shops at the moment. Along with the addition of embroidery, another of this year’s hot trends, this top is perfect!

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Then for evening, parties, general social events (these kids have better social lives than me!) she’d picked this dress at Primark. It’s got mesh detailing at the top with beautiful lace at the top. So pretty and feminine!

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A girl after my own heart, these headphones (also Primark) are covered with turquoise rhinestones and had me totally mesmerised whilst they glistened in the sun! I’m such a magpie!

As you can see, my Niece has an eye for fashion and style. In a few years I’m going to be taking tips from her! Thanks for modelling for me Niamh!

When I Grow Up

I was watching Child of Our Time on the TV last week. It’s a programme that started in 2000 and each year follows a number of children who were Millennium babies. At the end of one this year’s episodes the kids, now 13, started to reel off what they wanted to be when they grew up. It got me to thinking about what I might have said when I was their age.

When I was 13 I probably still believed I could be a pop singer. I flirted with the idea of opera singer and chef too. But none of my wishes were ever really serious. To be honest I had no idea. My Mum always said I would make a good Head Mistress, but that was just because I was/am so bossy! Forget that though because I just don’t like children that much!

When I was in year 13 we had to write personal statements for our University applications. I think I was the only person in my year who had decided not to apply. I remember sitting in more than one lesson that had been set aside for this task, and asking the teacher why I had to participate when I knew I wasn’t going to apply to Uni. All I got back was that I still had to do it, because I still might apply. It wasn’t even considered that I wouldn’t apply by these people. Had they not realised that my whole school life had been a misery and that the only thing that kept me going had been my friends? Could they not tell I wasn’t academically suited to further education? No, they just wanted to up their stats I think.

One of the problems was that even if I had wanted to go to University, I honestly wouldn’t have had a clue what to study. I was fairly good at Physics and Chemistry. I had a like for English writing, but not really reading at the time. I had no skill for maths or music. I didn’t really have much that I was great at, and everyone around me seemed to have a clue. Some even seemed to already have a career path!

So I skipped Uni and still had no idea. I fell into retail and have been in retail or customer service ever since, usually involving management or training in some capacity along the way (see, I got to use my bossy-ness!) The thing is, I love my work. I thought I might be stuck in a shop job forever, but thankfully I’m not. But I’m so glad I’m not lost on a career path. By that I mean I didn’t choose to study to be a lawyer, teacher, scientist etc, and then just fall into that job. I have nothing but pride for friends who did – but this suits me. I have loyalty so I’m not the kind to flit between jobs, but I like the path I’ve chosen and the kind of freedom it allows.

I think the point I’m making is, what’s the importance of a child choosing what they want to be when they grow up? And what’s the importance in forcing someone into the kind of choice that a lot of people can’t make? I understand for some it inspires passion or aspiration but it doesn’t work for everyone. For me it inspired pressure and confusion! Who knows, I might decide years down the line that I want to go back to study – but it would definitely be to better myself rather than for career purposes.

I’m happy with the choices I made, even when it felt like I was drifting for a while. I’m glad I didn’t let anyone pressure me into making big life choices at such a young age. After all, you only have one life, but if you do it right then one life is all you need!
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Don’t ask, Don’t tell

I felt inspired to write on this subject after reading this post on Dear Ms Leigh the other day. It’s a subject I keep speaking to friends about recently and so I realise it must be bothering me.

I’m turning 30 this year and I’ve been married almost 7 years. No I do NOT have children. NO I am not planning on having children any time soon. NO my life does not feel empty and void of love.

There I said it. When people meet me and find out my age and status, most of the time I’m asked in one way or another if I have kids or why I don’t. Most of the people who ask don’t know me very well. Most of the people who ask are young and naive but some are old enough to know better. It wasn’t until recently, having lunch with a friend that I realised I ought to be offended when I’m asked this question. Her shock that people even dared to ask, surprised me. And I realised that she was right.

When I’m asked (and it is a when rather than an if) I always think about who is asking before I answer. Sometimes the person is young and doesn’t realise that this isn’t something you ask people. Sometimes they are just being nosey and I want to tell them that ‘after the doctor removed my womb they told me I couldn’t have kids, and actually it’s a really sensitive subject’ and then fake cry at them…. (n.b. none of that is true)

What I find it hard to deal with is that by asking me the question, the person is projecting their beliefs about what they expect I should do with my life, onto me. They’re probably not judging me consciously, but even by asking they are making me feel judged.

I’m not going to go into my reasons for not having any children on here. I’m not going to explain myself because I don’t feel like you expect it. Your choices are yours, and my choices are mine. But I needed to get it off my chest.

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