CONSIDERING NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Considering New Year ResolutionsNew year resolutions have been in existence for over 4000 years and so too has been the act of breaking them by the onset of Easter mainly due to lack of perseverance, willpower and motivation.

 

If resolutions are intended to increase our personal desires and pursuit of pleasure these can be associated with hedonism.
Considering what lies ahead, some think that happiness is unattainable, elusive but in fact is not random, rather attributed to deliberate choices and activities.

 

In making good choices, the emotion of joy is stimulated increasing longevity, creativity and lowering of stress levels and
taking pride in our achievements is tantamount to counteracting negativity.

 

Losing weight and stopping smoking can only be the most mundane and boring resolutions, even an idiot knowing that these are detrimental to one’s health, whereas more inspirational ones exist.

 

Firstly getting one’s house in order financially makes darned good common sense, being aware that one’s financial habits should correspond to one’s life-style. Making a plan and sticking to it is the toughest part but the results will be rewarding.

 

In juxtaposition to the above getting in touch with one’s spiritual side pays dividends of a different nature such as the outcome of attending meditation sessions, Yoga classes or visiting a place of worship to explore and understand the beliefs of one’s religion.

 

Giving up one’s time to volunteer is a noble cause as all human beings should have some sense of social responsibility.
For example “green initiatives” encourage low impact living in preservation of the planet, “zero footprint” the buzz word these days by reducing, re-using and recycling. Learning more about organic and eco-friendly products is an excellent start.

 

Whether we are wired for “niceness” developing an attitude of kindness and giving to fellow human beings is ingrained in us from an early age causing the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Furthermore, higher consciousness can conquer so much negativity in the world.

 

In conclusion, may the year ahead bring good health, serenity and the promise of fulfilment to all readers.

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POST CHRISTMAS BLUES

christmas bluesThe week after Christmas can leave one in limbo, an awkward in-between kind of time. After all, did one not plan for the season weeks in advance for the ambience of joy and togetherness and it all comes to an abrupt halt.  No wonder many vow and swear never to get caught up with the madness again, but fortunately there are 11 months ahead to “get over it”!

 

And so one stands staring glassy-eyed at mountains of gifts, crumpled up gift paper and those ridiculous lights still blinking on the tree, not to mention the mutilated proverbial turkey essential to the Christmas fare.

 

Then comes the kids, after the excitement of Christmas morning who optimistically promise to tidy up and find it in themselves to scrape out leftover food.  Most of it, of course left to the parents !

 

Anxiety is not a pleasant emotion at this time of year exacerbated by the fact that the darned string of decorations refuse to fit back in the box, no refunds for gifts are permitted as decent friends and relatives would never insult by including a sales docket in your parcel and the final blow being the arrival of that marvellously helpfully piece of plastic called the credit card.

 

One has no choice but to accept that the hype of the season will come to an end and a deflated feeling can result but opportunities await.

 

Becoming active is a great blues buster, be it a routine visit to the gym,  clearing out cupboards and donating to the poor or revamping one’s diet after all the sweet treats.

 

Many charities accept unwanted items and even Christmas cards are recycled contributing to the environment.

 

Buying a new year diary is an excellent idea to plan events ahead arousing positive emotions. Looking ahead and making plans all contribute to a great 2018.

 

Lastly, there is no need for post-Christmas sadness, for the start of the new year is upon us.

 

Many special occasions lie ahead in the new year and the ease of choosing gifts from the Matsimela range will give enormous pleasure to young and old alike.

 

 

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WORLDWIDE CELEBRATORY TREATS

christmas foodInvariably one’s own culture dictates the types of dishes to be served over the festive season, but this article will feature typical fare from other countries and readers are asked to please forgive the writer for errors that arise, not totally au fait with many cultural traditions.

 

South Africa and many other countries were once part of the commonwealth under British rule and adopted foods familiar in England, which have lingered on with some. However with the advent of the “rainbow nation” gradual changes were of great advantage to the population.

 

Significantly three items namely the roast turkey, mince pies and Christmas pudding appear to be essential this time of year, but the making of these has changed through time.

 

Mince pies originally contained meat like lamb and were made in an oval shape to represent the manger in which Jesus slept. In one era these pies were a status symbol; wealthy people showing them off in different shapes.

 

In medieval England the Christmas pudding was created with meat, fruit, wine and spices.

 

The history of cookies dates back to 7th century Persia, one of the first countries to grow and use sugar. These  “pastry patties” were actually used to test the heat of the oven, never intended for consumption. Eventually with the growing spice trade these cookies became edible and their popularity spread to Europe and elsewhere.

 

The Americans have come up with a creative dessert with a rather strange name “Cherpumple pie” having cherry, pumpkin and apple layers.

 

Pumpkin is about American as one can get but was not always favoured. The very early settlers received pumpkins as gifts from the north eastern natives. One assumes that with time the pumpkins became acceptable and used in creative ways !

 

Some amazing desserts, delicious, but although rather foreign to some are served in countries elsewhere.

 

In the Yemen, chocolate and cheese pancakes originated as street food, becoming so popular that they became familiar across the Arab world.

 

Turkish chefs are never afraid of including chicken in a dessert, based on an almond and chicken pudding served to the sultans of the Ottoman empire.

 

An exotic ice cream with flavours that surprises the mouth is the Indian Kulfi,  flavoured with rose, mango or saffron and could contain spices, fruit and pisctachio nuts, truly mouth-watering with dense flavours.

 

We are all familiar with the saying “save the best for last” but this makes one wonder who can afford the world’s most expensive delight that being The Sultan’s gold cake taking 72 hours to prepare, the ingredients include figs, quince, apricots and pears drowned in Jamaican rum for 2 years. Once baked the “grand finale” involves a topping of caramel, black truffles and a dusting of 24 karat edible gold.

 

This magnificent creation is available in Istanbul.

 

Whether one bakes an extravagant Christmas cake or purchases one from the supermarket, some extra indulgence is acceptable. However, one should take time to reflect on the essence of the period showing tolerance, putting aside hatred and bitterness and reflecting on much goodness in mankind.

 

Sandy Harvey the writer would like to extend best wishes to all readers and their families for a safe and happy festive season!   

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THE VALUE IN GIVING

The Value of GivingUnconditional giving requires no sense of self benefit, not only at celebratory times but when ever the need arises.

Giving should be part and parcel of the human spirit, not rewarding oneself or seeing this as some grand sacrifice, but rather a noble deed.

In fact, a man’s true wealth is the good he does in this life and that no one has ever become poor by giving.

 

The dictionary describes giving as the transference of good or deeds, concrete or abstract.

The average person thinks of giving in terms of a material nature but there are many other forms as discussed below :

 

One of the obvious is giving to the poor and the needy who will always exist and because of a world dominated by materialism many may unconsciously forget those struggling to survive.

 

The environment is crying out in desperation for help due to the uncaring attitudes of man. A lifestyle of being environmentally conscious can be a gift for many generations to come.

 

“going green” is not just a phrase to be tossed around but an urgent reminder for volunteers to clean up the filth of the planet, to stop dumping trash, cut back on plastic and pesticides and eliminate the self absorbed satisfaction of carving graffiti on trees and buildings.

 

Not forgetting animals, much suffering can be avoided if mankind will donate to charities, sign petitions to stop cruelty and offer manual assistance where needed.

 

Giving is often overlooked when empathy is needed in giving comfort to others which does not require any particular level of material wealth.

 

Suffering is part of our existence and love and comfort can help to heal the wounds.

 

It is uplifting to know that many religions have special times and occasions for giving.

The followers of Hinduism buy and exchange gifts during Diwali, Muslims over the period of Eid and Jews during Purim and Hannukah.

 

As the 25th of December draws closer, many parents may still be at their wits end as to what to give to their children.

 

If all possibilities are exhausted, opening a savings account is actually a very sound idea. This in itself helps to control the “throw away” habits that exist in today’s societies, will encourage a sense of responsibility, teach the value of money and allow for the development of good saving habits when they mature.

 

Lastly, “Tech-kids” having  the ability to access their own information online will stimulate much joy !

 

Matsimela supports an environment whereby products are renewable and eco-friendly. Their philosophy is strongly geared around recycling. Don’t throw your scrub or soak tubs away, rather bring them into store & refill and receive 15% off your next purchase of the same product !

 

Matsimela has a beautiful array of gifts over the festive season. Pop into one of our stores or shop online & spoil someone special in your life !

 

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SOME TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Some Truths About ShoppingIn terms of public spending, black Friday and the month of December rival each other, both being huge money spinners.

 

Christmas surely does play a role in the economies of many nations and is an ingrained part of modern culture.

 

Around 2 billion people celebrate this holiday, many with no Christian background at all.

 

Whatever belief is followed, some will be critical and claim to be realists stating that mistletoe, holly, Santa Claus and flying reindeer have no connection to the birth of Christ and that the rampant commercialism of Christmas is shocking and the “Christmassy” spirit is not what it used to be. However, those who are enraptured with tradition will totally disagree and even miss those carollers, warbling away from door to door to unknown neighbours !

 

Christmas is just around the corner and time always brings change and so we come to the inevitable topic of technology and consider whether it has ruined Christmas.

 

Are we in danger of being controlled by gadgets and the good times of togetherness fast fading?

 

In defiance, one old-timer has made the decision to write and post 62 Christmas cards blaming the internet for ruining this tradition.

 

But a real time saver is the opportunity to shop online, not being caught up with the burly and frustrating crowds and avoiding irregular pricing by unscrupulous traders.

 

Some feel strongly that the season is an ideal time for families to be together, relatives making the effort to travel some distance to celebrate.

 

Change could alter all that as communication via Skype seems to be the way to go.

 

But even if the host and hostess insist that tradition should prevail you can “bet your bottom dollar” that fingers will be flying to check the latest tweets, whatsapp messages and text !

 

During this merry time of the year, children can be demanding and little Jo throwing a fit at the height of the festive dinner is hardly welcome, but just thrust an I-Pad his way and voila, the problem is solved ! Should this little fellow concoct a message to Santa something like : “http//www.santa/ delivery@ speed couriers.com”  one can be assured that technology is here to stay !

 

It has not been the intention that this article focus on the negatives, for many will relish time away from work and recharge batteries as a result of the year’s demands.

 

This is a season for sharing many wonderful experiences, the human spirit evolving from the joy of giving and gratitude shown for every gift received large or small.

 

Matsimela has marvellous festive gifting ideas or single items that will delight your loved ones ! 

 

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