A few months ago I was poking around online and came across a site for the grassroots non-profit project called Days For Girls. From the second I read their action plan, and subsequently their entire site in that first sitting, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
Days For Girls was founded in 2008 by Celeste Mergens after working in a Kenyan orphanage and noticing that the girls weren’t educated about their menstrual cycles nor equipped to deal with it (no feminine hygiene products available to them).
This feminine hygiene program’s motto is: Every Girl. Everywhere. Period. Their vision is for every girl and woman in the world to have feasible access to quality sustainable hygiene and health education by the year 2022. Like I said before, I’m on board 100%.
Days for Girls volunteers produce reusable menstrual cycle kits. The program has already sent kits to over 60,000 girls in over 60 countries worldwide. These kits last approximately three years and have literally changed the lives of many girls and young women who before had to skip school and/or work due to their menstrual cycles. This in turn has resulted in lower school drop-out rates in many areas as well as a lot less lost income for days missed at work.
Days for Girls is also very active in helping set up local sewing cooperatives and teaching the local women how to make the kit components themselves.
After writing back and forth with their International Chapter Liaison Cindy Murdock I started up one of Europe’s first Days For Girls teams. So, I’m now official and couldn’t be prouder! I’ve been busy cutting, sewing and gathering supplies for kits and luckily I have a fantastic group of friends who are happily getting involved and helping me out.
A project that helps girls and women in need and that involves sewing? A match made in heaven for me.
If you are interested in becoming involved or donating supplies contact Days for Girls here (or look here for a team or chapter near you). If you’re living in Italy or even Europe and would like to help out my team by sewing kit components or donating supplies (cotton, flannel, ribbon, miniature soaps, new cotton underpants or facecloths) contact me at VareseItaly@daysforgirls.org. I’d love to hear from you.
This past Christmas a good friend of ours brought us some dates back from his recent trip to Algeria. I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I thanked him and then proceeded to hide them away at the back of my baking cupboard. I’ve had a thing against dates that goes back to childhood. My mother and grandmother would always sneak them into various sweets and desserts or try and get me to eat them straight-up. It was torture. Just the look of those dark brown sticky LARGE looking raisins really made my stomach turn.
But I’m happy to announce that at 39 years old I’ve finally matured and realised that dates aren’t all that bad actually. I’m still not interested in eating them straight-up but can admit that added to certain dishes they can really enhance the taste and texture (including a mind-blowing Lamb and Date Tagine we ate in Morocco).
So a few weeks ago I dug in the back of my baking cupboard and got out the box of Algerian dates. I decided I wanted to try to make a fudge chocolate cake and thought the dates could be a perfect way to intensify the flavour (and make it a little bit healthier?). And the result was delicious. And keeping with family tradition I did not tell my kids the secret ingredient in the chocolate cake they were so happily enjoying.
This recipe seems quite fussy with all of the different steps and bowls that have to be used but it really is quick to make and so worth it. The addition of cinnamon with the chocolate and dates makes it a really deep and rich cake. I’ve proclaimed my love of the chocolate and cinnamon combination here in the past when I made these Chocolate and Fresh Cherry Cakes with Cinnamon.
Read on for recipe… Continue reading
We’re just back from an amazing week in Morocco. We spent time hiking in the mountains, eating the most delicious Moroccan meals, visiting ancient Kasbahs, driving through the ever-changing mountainous landscapes, speaking French, building sandcastles on the beach and even surfing. It was a full week to say the least. And even arriving back in a freezing cold and rainy Italy at midnight didn’t dampen our high spirits. Many family memories were made that will last a lifetime. And obviously for that I’m extremely grateful. As you’ll see, my grateful post is pretty Morocco inspired this week.
I’m grateful for…
…Moroccan olives. I miss them already
…this neighbourhood outside of Agadir with painted trees in bright and cheerful colours and patterns.
…Mint Tea. We drank it daily and even brought home a few bundles of fresh Moroccan mint and a new teapot to make some ourselves.
I wish you all a lovely week ahead!
Happy Friday folks. Here in Italy it’s a beautiful sunny day. The tulip bulbs are sprouting in the garden. The forsythia (say that 5 times quickly) is already in bloom. The mountains are in full view and covered in snow. My purple hyacinth has filled my living room with a lovely pungent perfume. And I’m in the midst of packing for a trip to Morocco. Life is pretty great.
This week I’m (also) grateful for……Monday morning gnocchi making lessons with my lovely friends.
…a new project of mine that I’m so excited about. It involves sewing and helping girls and young women in need. I’ll be writing all about it very soon.
…colourful cushions and quilts made for us by friends and family.
I wish you all a great week-end. I’ll most likely be offline most of next week but I’ll try my best to post photos of our Moroccan travels over on Instagram.
Gratefully Grateful *1*, *2*, *3*, *4*, *5*,*6*
My latest Traveling With Kids column is over on the creative parenting site Classic Play today. This time I write all about traveling to Venice as a family. We spent a few days there at Christmas and it was absolutely beautiful. We all loved wandering along the canals and admiring the stunning architecture as well as visiting the sites and museums. My kids have officially declared it one of their favourite cities in the world. Lucky for us it’s only a 3 hour drive away…
Click here to read more.
This has been a particularily strange week. Besides the schizophrenic weather (one day gloriously sunny and the next with torrential winds and rain) things have just been a little wonky this week. On Monday a little 6 year old girl at my kid’s tennis club kept asking me if I was her father’s girlfriend (and refused to believe me when I said no). On Wednesday I received an indecent proposal (and I mean INDECENT) from an 80 year old man who lives down the street from me. On Thursday I accidentally ate three lunches (oops). And today my pilates teacher played only Christmas music during the entire one hour lesson. Was there by chance a full moon the last few days?
But luckily in between all the weirdness there was lots of beauty and happiness.
This week I’m grateful for…
… this bounty of green vitamin K packed vegetables that I picked up at the market this week. Look how gorgeous that Romanesco Broccoli is!
… these colourful little scenes that I come across so many times a day. I didn’t even mind that her sneakers were on the bureau and not in the shoe rack like they were supposed to be.… the fact that my kids get to grow up having the kindest, calmest and most generous and loving father around (sorry for the sappiness but it is Valentine’s Day after all!).
Have a great week-end everyone!
Gratefully Grateful *1*, *2*, *3*, *4*, *5*