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Malaika Charity

A non-profit that operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the mission of empowering girls and their communities through education.

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By Cheranne Hack 16 Aug, 2017
8.30am - Partner's alarm goes off. Wakes me from a strange dream where I'm working in an office in a city, and keep doing things wrong, like unplugging a hard drive and losing lots of information, meeting Cliff Richard and we are all showing off attempts at gymnastics but none of us are very good apart from Cliff who can jump really high onto bannisters.

8.45am - Get in the bath. Check social media replies and emails for work. Discover that a friend has been scammed for 2 grand by a villa website. Share it on Facebook (and here) to make others aware of this nasty affair. 'Holiday makers looking at Italy beware. I have been scammed by a very professional villa website on the Amalfi coast called I am £2k poorer now due to being so stupid as are a lot of people. Thankfully I was alerted about it from someone who'd already been out there to discover their holiday villa didn't exist, nor did the company. I have time to sort something else out but a lot of very unhappy people cannot afford to. Its so disgusting and sickening. Apparently the Italian police are uninterested and I suspect this is a mafia run organisation on a grand scale from what I can gather. The website is still up and running. I have reported it but please share to stop this happening to anyone else. Feeling really crap right now.' - Helen from Tewkesbury

Apply eczema remedy to various parts of my skin. I think I might be intolerant of eggs, because I cut them out for a while and then I had some for a weekend breakfast and got big red itchy marks on my chin.

9.15am - Eat granola with cashew milk (topped with fresh banana and honey) that I bought from posh supermarket (which will remain nameless) even though I live nearer to a cost effective one. Like many other people I know, we get most of our shopping from the no-frills one and then pop over to the expensive one for a few bits and bobs that we love. Talking of food and shopping - I have a tip for you. For a few months I had discomfort in my stomach and it was big and bloated to proportions I'd not experienced before apart from when 'with child'. I didn't get round to visiting a nutritionist; the doctor couldn't find anything wrong, and I still haven't taken the York test that I ordered online. So I gave up gluten. Not absolutely and strictly, but mainly. Anyway my stomach went back to its old size and lost the bloatiness and discomfort within about 3 weeks. Much as I love bread and wheat products, it seems to have done the trick. So if you're struggling with similar, obviously see a doctor in the first instance, but you can also help yourself by cutting out certain food items. A couple of weeks later, re-introduce them and see if you notice any effects. I'm not qualified to give this advice, of course, but I'm speaking from experience and my own results. When I crave bread I either have oat cakes or rice cakes instead, or get some gluten free bread. There are plenty of alternatives when you start looking in to it. It may not be wheat you are intolerant of, so see what works and doesn't work for you. It's worth it when you eventually feel much better for doing it.

9.30am - Squeeze in an hour's work and some admin. Have just moved house and mostly still haven't unpacked from that (as well as the holiday), or changed my address over on paperwork and bank accounts. This must happen soon, but doesn't time fly?

10.30am - Meet lovely client at quiet venue in town that allows dogs. Interview client for social media and catch up on each other's lives.

11am - Back to the office for full focus on work.

1.30am - Drop aunt to hospital appointment about one of her eyes. She's seriously injured it in a rusty washing line incident and currently has no sight in it. It's extremely painful and they are doing everything they can to save her sight. Thank you Cheltenham & Gloucester Hospitals for your wonderful care of her. She has an operation coming up soon.

3.30pm - Fit in more work

6pm - Partner returns from work and we cook a curry, drink red wine, play Bananagrams and then watch some mutually agreed series on TV. I fall asleep on the sofa; he watches a couple more episodes. Since moving in together we've been trying new recipes from my collection of cookery books that I had never used. We've done fish pie, Thai curries and Melanzane alla Parmigiana so far, as well as a Greek salad I copied from when I went to Zante. Folks treated my sister and me, our children and themselves to a chilled out, memorable holiday this summer where we lazed around, explored a bit and ate and drank loads. As you do in these scenarios. I am so grateful as I came back feeling refreshed and soaked in sun. I travelled light, and while I was away I read 'The Peaceful Warrior' - a good read if you are interested in self development.

Tomorrow night I'm going out for chips and wine with some girlfriends. We want to get together and not spend much money doing so. Chips and wine seems like the perfect solution. What is your favourite place to go in Cheltenham when you meet up with friends?

This has been a different kind of column than I normally write, but I needed to do one that can be written in 30 minutes and here it is. Wishing you a great month and hope to catch you again next time! x

By Cheranne Hack 14 Aug, 2017

A weekly blog discussing contemporary food and nutrition topics, by the Owner and Head Chef of Poco Culina, Andy Tibbs.

In a week that has once again seen contaminated eggs become headline news, it’s an opportunity for everyone to reflect on just exactly what they are eating. Like many people, you may well be very particular about your eggs, ensuring that you buy only free-range eggs from UK farms or even purchasing eggs from local producers at Farmers’ Markets or Farm Shops. Also, many supermarkets highlight the fact that they sell only fresh eggs bearing the British Red Lion stamp of quality. Here comes the BUT though…

Supermarkets including Asda, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have been hastily removing products containing contaminated eggs from the Netherlands from their shelves. These are mostly fresh sandwiches and salads, filled with cheap, non free-range eggs mass produced outside of the UK. And let’s not get started on the sheer volume of eggs incorporated into a huge range of mass produced products on the same supermarkets’ shelves. It is simply not possible for you, the shopper, to make any value judgement on the integrity of those products. Double standards? Hypocrisy?

Well, here’s what Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion Egg Processors, said: “We believe shoppers are growing increasingly concerned about the ingredients used in manufactured food and now more than ever want and deserve transparency on food packaging. The British Egg Industry Council believes that this is a great opportunity for retailers to listen to the concerns of their customers and reassure them by specifying the use of British eggs and using the ‘Made with British Lion eggs’ logo on packs.”

My catering business, Poco Culina , is entirely plant-based. Whilst I have no intention of this blog being just a platform to advocate veganism, it is however my belief that we all need to consider more deeply what we are eating, where it comes from and how it was made. The damage being to done to health and the environment by irresponsible food producers cannot continue unabated. We all need to take far more care in what is being sold to us, irrespective of our individual dietary choices.

My approach, as a Chef, is to research ingredients and cooking techniques that use fresh, single origin ingredients cooked to traditional, mainly Eastern methods. Indian cooking is particularly exciting to me. Take fairly familiar Indian foods such as onion bhaji or vegetable pakora, they are bound together with seasoned batters made very simply with gram (chickpea) flour and water – no eggs or butter required. Similarly, dosa – Indian pancakes – are made from batters made with soaked pulses – urad dal, moong dal, chana dal, red dal and so on, all of which are split peas or varieties of lentil. The ever popular Middle Eastern falafel too is made from soaked and puréed chickpeas. Made properly, there should never be any need for eggs to bind them together. Not only are these products deeply nutritious but they taste amazing too. But then you know that, you will all no doubt have eaten and enjoyed them.

That’s all for this week, see you next time.

Watch what you eat!


By Cheranne Hack 20 Jul, 2017
I've been going to my therapist for over a year now - maybe 2. At first we did a course of about 6 or 8 sessions. It was during session 2 when I had the light-bulb moment that I could learn to be in control of my thoughts, to a greater extent than I had ever been, rather than letting my thoughts be in control of me. I won't bore you with the details of the years of problems I had, all stemming from anxiety and a precarious mindset. Anyway now I see Lorna for a top-up session about twice a year and she also provides support over email when needed. I have to say, I've never been in such a good place mentally, and I'm not sure I would have reached that place without her help.

Today I went to Lorna The Mindset Coach for hypnotherapy for the first time - normally our consultations have involved psychotherapy but for one particular issue we decided that hypno would be best. It was a great session; I reclined on the comfortable couch while she talked me into a deeper and deeper state of relaxation and then put strong positive suggestions into my subconscious mind to replace the negative, fearful ones. She's helped several of my friends too. So I can recommend Lorna's method of therapy from a personal perspective and also from seeing the progress those friends have made / are making.

Lorna specialises in managing anxiety, panic, depression, low self-confidence and phobias.

As Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now, 'To recognise one's own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.' He believes we are all part of a collective insanity. We can't change anyone else's behaviour but we can start to improve things by taking responsibility and changing our own.
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