About Jade Scully

Jade Scully

Jade Scully is a copywriter excited about writing copy and stories, blogging about the world and editing. She currently and regularly publishes her stories on a number of blogs. Jade loves animals and hopes to begin writing copy for the animal rescue charity TEARS as her contribution to the cause.


Latest Posts by Jade Scully

RAMfest Festival: Dust, Redbull and a Whole Lotta Electro

March 16, 2011 by  

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This past weekend was the fifth RAMfest festival held at the Nekkies Resort just outside of Worcestor. My friends and I spent the three days getting down, dusty and deranged on the dance floor at one of the most popular South African music festivals around.

We arrived at the site around 2pm on Friday afternoon and after we set up our tents we headed to the main stage to check it out. There were a number of food stalls along the way catering to pretty much every taste bud around and I made a mental note of where the med tent was. There was a “hydration station” initiative on offer; you buy a RAMfest bottle for R40 and you get cool, purified drinking water for the rest of the weekend. In the blistering heat we decided it was a good idea.

There were four main sections for dancers and party-lovers alike; the main stage was an impressive construction that towered over the audience, the Mercury Live tent became a fast favourite with those just looking for a good time and some 80s hits, the metal tent was unimpressive from the outside (I didn’t go into it once over the weekend) and the electro pyramid was a triangular construction of screens in front of a dust-dance floor.

Once we knew where all of these were, including the beer tent, the river and the pool, our weekend was sorted. We split up according to our preferences with the girls headed for the electro stage and the boys hanging out where the booze ran (not so) freely. We spent most of our time alternating between submerging our hot bodies in the river water, refilling our plastic cups either from our cooler boxes or the bar, checking out the live acts or thrashing around at the pyramid.

Our campsite was pretty far away from the main stage and very dusty but we still managed to enjoy chilling around the cooler boxes. There was no way anyone got to bed before 6 or 7am because of the pounding music going until the early hours. There was also no way anyone slept later than 8am because the hot sun would instantly make the inside of our tents like an oven. So for three days there were thousands of excitable zombies arbing around Nekkies, keeping themselves awake with river missions and the music.

We all had a fantastic time; the bathrooms and portaloos were kept well stocked with loo paper, the river was a haven from the blistering heat, the dust was bearable after a drink or two and there was music for everybody. My favourite acts of the weekend included Isochronus, Mr Sakitumi, Haezer, P H Fat and Bruce Willis?

Can’t wait to see how they pull things off next year!

Image via Stock.xchng.

Veggie Recipe: Vegetables Provencal and Parsnip Fritters

March 11, 2011 by  

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I have two great vegetarian recipes for you to try out this week. Both recipes are from the book called Vegetarian: the best-ever recipe collection and are delicious, healthy and easy-to-make. For the parsnip fritters you’ll need:

2 parsnips

1 cup flour

1 separated egg

1/2 cup milk

115g washed and dried baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

oil

1 tablespoon coarsley chopped walnuts

salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

Method:

After you have peeled your parsnips place them in a pan of boiling water. Allow them to simmer for about 15 minutes (don’t let them get mushy). Once you’ve drained them cut them into diagonal slices but don’t cut them too thin.

Place your flour into a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Put your egg yolk in and mix well with a fork. Add the milk and keep mixing the liquid into the mixture. Add some salt, black and cayenne pepper to season the mixture and then use a whisk to beat the batter.

Next use the whisk to beat the egg white in a separate bowl. Fold in a little bit of the yolk batter and then fold the egg white into the batter.

Heat a pot of oil for frying. Dip the parsnip slices into the batter and then fry them until they are golden and fluffy. Arrange the fritters on top of a bed of spinach leaves dressed with oils, vinegar, salt and black pepper with the coarsely chopped walnuts.

Sounds great!

For the vegetable provencal you’ll need:

1 sliced onion

2 leeks sliced

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 red, yellow and green pepper, seeded and sliced

350 g sliced courgettes

225g sliced mushrooms

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons ruby port

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

400g can chick peas

1 cup pitted black olives

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (mixed)

salt and ground black pepper

fresh herbs to garnish

Method:

Put the mushrooms, garlic, leeks, onions, peppers and courgettes into a large saucepan and add the port, tomato puree, tomatoes and tomoato sauce. Mix it all up well.

Rinse the chickpeas and once drained add them to the mixture.

Cover the mixture and bring it to the boil. Allow it to simmer for about half an hour and stir occasionally. Once the vegetables are tender remove the lid and increase the heat for ten minutes.

Add teh herbs and olives and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy the fruits of your hard work in the kitchen.

Image by Salazar78 via Stock.xchng.

Children of India: In Search of Solutions

March 8, 2011 by  

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We have world leaders, government representatives and UN members who all supposedly work towards creating a better world, but sometimes it’s not the officials who have all the answers. Sometimes the kids can teach us a lot more than we realise.

Last weekend Cape Tonians got to enjoy the fruits of months of hard work by creatives and artists for the Design Indaba. I spent some time walking around the colourful and innovative products on Saturday and felt really inspired by the work that a lot of individuals do. Some architects designed buildings that would be eco-friendly and some craftsman created chairs and stools out of recycled goods. It’s refreshing to see so many innovative minds working towards a better planet.

And that’s exactly what the children of India are doing. Delia de Villiers reports on Design Indaba that the premise of the Design for Change (DFC)competition, “feel it, imagine it, do it and then share it” has inspired the kids to participate in the search for ways to solve the planet’s environmental and social problems.

The contest asks participants between the ages of six and 18 to acknowledge a problem in their community, come up with a solution to alleviate that problem and then implement that solution over a period of a week.

The “I can” attitude that the contest inspires in children has been adapted all over the world. There is even a project currently underway in South Africa; you can watch the YouTube video.

In India there are a number of projects that the kids are working on including the collection of plastic bags for a week, solutions for transgender discrimination, a Stop Spitting Campaign, pressurising authorities to ban child marriages and a child-friendly zebra crossing.

Design activist and educator, Kiran Bir Sethi, told de Villiers that the campaign is an attempt to fight the “don’t know, don’t care” attitude that many Indian youth adopt. The DFC movement makes use of the creativity and eagerness in kids to combat real issues that dampen a society’s sense of community. The project originated in India in 2007 at the Riverside School in Ahmedabad. De Villiers comments that the school’s approach to education is not an average curriculum system but rather it is “built around a system that employs aspects of design thinking to nurture curious, independent, competent and forward-thinking learners and citizens”.

With the pressing issues that solving around the world it’s not surprising that this project is appealing to schools and children worldwide. Projects have been implemented in Pakistan, Australia, Mexico and Thailand amongst others and the eco-design bug is spreading like wildfire. Perhaps some of our world leaders could take some notes on the way the next generation are working together to better their future.

Image by Stephen Eastop via Stock.xchng.

Diving, Hiking and Desert Exploration in the Sinai

March 7, 2011 by  

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The Sinai Desert is in Egypt and includes the Red Sea. The region is famous for two reasons: outstanding scuba divingand Mount Sinai, which is a key Christian monument.

Diving

There are a number of diving sites in the Sinai Peninsula, including:

  • Ras Mohamed is considered one of the top 10 diving sites in the world. It’s at the southern tip of the peninsula and contains not one but two reefs: Shark Reef and Jolanda Reef. In 1989 the area was designated a National Park and there are very strict rules against fishing, weighing anchor and collecting shells and coral. On your dive you are a likely to see sharks, barracudas and moray eels. If you have the time and the inclination, Sub Sinai suggests you include Anemone City in your underwater adventure. It’s about 100m to the north-east of Shark Reef and offers a colourful marine landscape you won’t find anywhere else.
  • The Thistlegorm is a famous wreck dive in the Gulf of Suez. She’s been there since October 1941. In addition to the old war wreckage, you’ll see plenty of fish (barracuda, rabbit fish and bat fish). The currents around the wreck can be strong, so only attempt the dive if you’re confident and have the appropriate experience.
  • The Straits of Tiran are near the Island of Tiran and roughly 7km north-east of Sharm el Sheikh Harbour. The site consists of four reefs:
    • Jackson Reef, which includes a wrecked freighter and a coral forest.
    • Woodhouse Reef, which is home to reef sharks and eagle rays, as well as a few reef cave dives.
    • Thomas Reef, which is only suitable for experienced divers, but rewards them with beautiful coral gardens.
    • Gordon Reef, which also boasts a wrecked freighter and lots of fish.

Desert

The Sinai Desert is awe-inspiring. It’s barren and lifeless appearance belies the diversity of fauna and flora that have adapted to its severe climate, not to mention the various Bedouin tribes that still eke out a living.

There are three ways you can explore the desert: as part of a guided tour, by hiring a private guide or by yourself. The latter option is only recommended if you have previous experience in desert exploration, are comfortable driving a heavy-duty vehicle in soft sand and are able to navigate when your GPS conks out.

The guided options are much safer. For one thing, guided tours typically include the sundry equipment that you’ll need for a 2-5 day trek, so all you need to do is pitch up. For another, Egypt is home to one quarter of the world’s landmines and a lot of those are buried in the desert. Reputable tour operators and experienced guides will have a couple of safe routes mapped out, so you don’t lose an arm or a leg.

Once you’re in the desert you’ll see sand and rock sculptured over millions of years, both bleached and dyed by the wind and sun. The colours, which range from white to yellow, red and black, are at their richest in the early morning and evening sun.

Don’t miss out on:

  • The Coloured Canyon, which is a hot, but rewarding walk that highlights the tenacity of the plant life and the beauty of the rock formations.
  • Nabq Protected Area, which is a national park in the southernmost region of Sinai and which ends at Ras Mohammed.
  • Geziret Faraun or Pharaoh’s Island in the Gulf of Aqba, from where you can see Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
  • Mount Sinai, which is where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. There are two trails up the mountain, with the option to go by camel. 

Is Your Car Green?

March 2, 2011 by  

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Is your car green? No, I’m not talking about the paint job, I’m talking about the carbon footprint you and your vehicle are imposing on the planet. Most people would struggle to get through a day without their precious ride, but the impact of thousands of vehicles on the road in every major city around the world is unfathomable. That is exactly why environmentalists and engineers have spent so much energy and focus on developing the eco-friendly car. So, if you were in the market to buy one, which make would be the best? We take a look.

According to Care2 the greenest car around is the Honda Civic GX CNG which runs on compressed natural gas. This means that the Honda Civic generates almost no emissions. It’s a nifty-looking car which will cost it’s user a substantial $750 00 (about R522 000).

In second place was the Nissan LEAF, an all-electric vehicle. Its makers state that this little number has “zero tailpipe emissions” and that there is absolutely no gas required to drive it. It’ll save you a pretty penny on fuel then but what about your electric bill? The Nissan LEAF will cost you around $33 780 (about R228 00).

Associated Content published a list of the top ten eco-friendly cars of 2010, the cheapest being the Zap Xebra. It is apparently well-suited to users who spend a great dela of time in the city and is also all-electric. It is quite a comical-looking vehicle though but will only cost you $12 500 (around R87 000). The car can only drive for about 25 miles before needing recharging though so you wouldn’t be able to use it for long trips.

Another Honda eco-car is the Honda Insight. This vehicle can get up to 43 miles per gallon and utilises the Ecological Drive Assist System technology (Eco Assist). With just the touch of a green button you can modify the way your engine and transmission operate. You can also take part in Honda’s Eco Assist reward system where you can become informed about ways to drive eco-responsibly. The Ambient Metre function allows you to monitor whether you’ve been driving too long or too inefficiently. The Insight will put you back $19 000 (about 132 000).

If you’re serious about purchasing an electric vehicle or any other eco-friendly car make an appointment with your local dealer to chat about your options. It’s a big step to take in ensuring you take care of your planet but can be a bit pricy so it’s ok to take your time and choose which vehicle is the best for you.

Image via Stock.xchng.

The Tropical Island of Praslin, Seychelles

March 2, 2011 by  

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When you stop to think about it there are very few people in the word who wouldn’t want to spend a few invigorating weeks on some tropical island. The isles of Thailand and the Bahamas are a great place to visit but if it’s true quiet and peace you’re after then the Seychelles’ secret is one place you’d better not miss out on. The island of Praslin lies off the east cost of Africa, far from the mainland, and holds some natural treasures for the avid islander.

Praslin is just off the coast of the main island in the Seychelles, Mahe. According to Just Seychelles the best way to get there is either by way of a 20-minute Twitter Otter plane or a one-hour trip on a catamaran called Cat Cocos. You really do feel like you’re getting away from it all as the sea-air rushes past your face or the Indian Oceans spreads far out beneath your plane. This is the moment where you realize you’ll only be needing the bare necessities, and a cell phone or laptop are just going to be portals to the busy world you’re trying so hard to remove yourself from (even if it’s just for a few days).

Once you hit the sands and have settled into your room take an hour or two to explore. It will be difficult to get really lost; you’re on an island, so let your thoughts go and see where you land up. If you’re keen to see a bit of the seabed then go and spend some time on Anze Lasio beach. Trip Advisor reports that this stretch of sand offers the average beachgoer anything and everything they could hope for; white, soft sands, inviting, turquoise waters, shade cover from the island trees, granite boulders to climb and even a cove for a spot of snorkeling.

There are two restaurants nearby the beach, and even though two travelers commented on the Trip Advisor site that the dining experience is somewhat pricey, you can really put a price tag on such an experience; eating a delicious meal near the shore in Seychelles. Afterwards you’d be well-pressed by the sheer beauty around you to go for a walk. The island is small, mostly uninhabited and has an amazing array of vegetation and coconut groves.

If you feel like it why not be one of 50 guests who get to explore Bird Island? The coral isle offers visitors a safe snorkeling and swimming location, but more importantly is a chance to walk amongst 70 hectares of tropical vegetation. Take along your bird book and see if you can spot some of the indigenous fowls.

Or, on the mainland, travel to one of the very few villages which house the inhabitants of this “Garden of Eden” as it’s referred to. Most of the locals either work for the hotels or resorts or rely on fishing to make a living. It will be quite a culture shock to experience what island life is really like but the indigenous people are friendly and easy-going.

There is so much more to do on the island of Praslin, but we’ll keep it a secret and allow you to find out about it all for yourself.

Image via Stock.xchng.

Bridget Jones Comes Back For Another Round

March 1, 2011 by  

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When the first instalment of Bridget Jones’s Diary hit the cinemas people around the world were quickly endeared towards the frumpy, awkward thirty-something whose sense of self-worthlessness could be easily related to. Now it seems the funny Brit is back for a third time.

Women 24 reports that the Queen of embarrassment” will be appearing on the big screens again soon, much to the excitement of many. She’s single, thirty, can’t fit into a size eight and has serious love issues, much like the larger portion of the population which might explain why the two previous films did so well. Bridget Jones’s Diary raked in more than $166 million dollars worldwide according to Renee’s Fansite, and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason took in about $40 200 000 at the Box Office.

Lead female, Renee Zellweger was apparently hesitant to sign up for the third instalment in the beloved comedy series but when she was assured she would not have to add on the extra pounds she agreed. A source revealed to Women 24 that Zellweger fervently hated getting fat for the first two movies so was only happy to come onboard for the third film once she was sure she would not have to go through that again.

While I can understand that getting fat isn’t the most fun for a Hollywood actress it makes me sad to think that the bubbly, comfy Bridget Jones won’t be her plump self again, I mean who can deny that the “granny pants” scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary was quite hilarious? Will Miss Jones still be as funny and charming if she’s drop-dead gorgeous?

And it seems we’ll all have to wait some time before we can determine that; Ace Show Biz reported that the official title or release date hadn’t been confirmed in 2009 because filming was scheduled to begin at the end of 2010. we still have heard nothing.

All the ladies will be swooning to know that both leading actors, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are also set to sign up, meaning lots of eye-candy and hopefully some kind of hilarity in Miss Jones’s life-blunders when it comes to her love-life.

The script is said to explore theme of growing older (Bridget is now in her forties), marriage and having kids, something that Firth is excited to explore within the film. So if Bridget does fall pregnant who do you think the father will be?

Image by Kolja Hub via WikiCommons.

A Night in Africa’s Paris: Senegal’s Dakar

March 1, 2011 by  

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It has been likened to France’s Paris although I’m not too sure why. Dakar is the largest city in Senegal and lies along the Cape Verde peninsula. It has developed into a major port, and the comings and goings of foreign shipments just adds to its cosmopolitan feel. But the city is also essentially African and a day and night spent exploring its streets will bear surprising meetings, soulful music and a society abuzz with culture.

Lonely Planet emphasises that Dakar is a city of drumbeats, loud markets and an inexhaustible nightlife. But before you begin exploring the city upclose you need to remember that while Africa can be exotic, refreshing and magical, there are elements of darkness and brutality. Be aware of shady characters trying to get money off of you with their “too-good-to-be-true” offers. Be street-smart and you won’t fall into the money-grabbers’ traps.

You can spend the morning browsing one of the many colourful markets in the city such as the Sandaga market. Expect to pick up a few traditional curios or some second-hand clothing. The bustle of these markets is a way to fully immerse yourself in the day-to-day lives of the locals. You will see farmers selling produce and livestock and other things as you walk amongst the stalls and will get a sense of the poignancy of a people bartering with one another in an attempt to make a living.

You will get dusty and the streets can be chaotic considering the amount of people living and working in the city centre. Go Africa suggests you use the Place d’ Independence to orientate yourself if you feel you are getting lost. The locals will generally speak French so if you have a grasp of the language you will do well.

Go Africa also suggests that a visit to the IFAN museum will yield a few hours of visual and historical stimulation. See the masks, carvings and musical instruments of an age long-past. And, after a day of walking around, you should spend some time resting in your room to ready yourself for a night out on the town.

World66 proclaims that the night-time activities of Dakar are the best of West Africa. From 11pm the clubs, bars and disco-parties are full up with patrons wanting to embrace the night-time fun. You will find locals and visitors enjoying passionate evenings filled with dancing, talking, music and cocktails on an average night out. The uncertainty of being in a foreign country just adds to the excitement and possibilities of letting loose.

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