The last straw!

I know we’ve had this conversation before but truthfully – plastics are taking over the world.  Or rather, they are playing a big part in messing it up!

Why is that?  Petroleum-based plastics like PET do not decompose in the same way that organic material does. Stuff like wood, food scraps and grass gets transformed into useful compounds by bacteria – but this does not happen with plastic. Plastic never really goes away. After hundreds of years it might break down if it is exposed to sunlight – but even those tiny pieces are still floating around in the place. Of course, if it gets buried in a landfill – it never sees the sunlight and so it stays… and stays.

One way that we can help – I know it seems a teensy way – but every little bit really does help, is to say “No Thank You” to straws.

Seriously! We don’t need to use a straw to drink a cool drink. By the way – if the cool drink is in an aluminium can – that also takes 500 years to break down – so make sure you recycle those too please.

The problem with straws is that they are light and even if they do get disposed in the proper way, they get picked up by the wind and carried off to places unknown. Often they land up in rivers, damns and the sea and they cause untold damage to birds and other marine life.

Yes – I know it’s very cool to pull the paper off the straw so it’s concertinaed up, and then use the straw to drop a little bit of cool drink on the paper and watch it magically unfold all by itself. This drives my mum crazy if I do it when we are out, so she’ll be glad to hear that I am giving up straws in the interests of helping to save the planet.

Of course, if you absolutely must have a straw in your drink – then take it home with you and in another blog I’ll share some cool stuff to do with straws. Sciencey stuff!

In the meantime – I’m sharing my book – Sibo Tackles Trash – on the website  for everybody to read free for a few days.

Every little bit really does help people – let’s all try. Together we can make a BIG difference.

Lots of love,

Sibo

 

Sniffy Season.

It’s that time of year when people get sick with colds and flu. Here are some rather simple ways of avoiding catching those dreaded lurgies …

Wash your hands – we are always touching things and people. Our hands are a prime spot for germs to hang out. If you wash them often, with soap, this dilutes the germs and they go scooting down the drain along with the water. While you’re about it – give up gnawing your nails too. Germs lurk under your nails and when you nibble them – you ingest the germs.

If you need to sneeze – sneeze into the crook of your elbow. It sounds funny but actually we don’t touch things with the inside of our elbow – right. So it makes a lot of sense.

Try not to touch your eyes and nose. These are common places where the germs sneak in.

The experts also say that our bags and suitcases pick up germs the same as we do. It’s a good idea to wipe them down every now and then to get rid of any little suckers that might be hanging around.

Get enough sleep – at least 8 to 10 hours a night is what the doctors prescribe.

Exercise! Working out helps our immune system function better – this is what we all need to stay healthy.  And smile – being happy boosts the immune system too.

Eat healthily. Stock up on Vitamin C naturally – this is not a cure for a common cold but it also boosts our immune system and helps prevent catching cold and flu bugs. The daily recommended dose of Vitamin C is 60mg.

We all know that oranges are full of vitamin C, but there are many other things that also have loads of the same vitamin – more in fact. A medium sized orange has around 70g. A cup of strawberries yields 85mg, 2 kiwi fruits equal 128mg and mango has 122mg per fruit. Pineapple is rich in the good stuff too. Bell peppers range from 95mg for a green pepper to a whopping great 340mg for a yellow pepper. (Plus those are low in calories so are great to snack on.)  Brussel sprouts are also rich in Vitamin C and are delicious roasted in the oven with bacon. Broccoli (raw) is another veggie that can be nibbled to get our daily intake. Don’t forget about kohlrabi – not such a pretty vegetable – but can be used instead of cabbage in salads or in stir-fries.

Stay well and be happy everybody!

Sibo

Friends are Fabulous

The 30th of June is International Day of Friendship.

I’m reminding you nice and early in case you need to make a plan to make a plan to get together and have a lunch date or something, or even just to remind yourself to call somebody.

Friends are good for a person’s heart and soul. Literally!  But friendship is very much a two-way thing.

One has to give as much as one gets – and I don’t mean “stuff” here either. I’m talking about time spent together, laughing, sharing experiences, chatting and more importantly, listening to the other person. Really listening to hear – and not listening to talk when they’ve finished speaking. Often friends just need to talk to somebody that they know really cares about them – they don’t want to hear how the same thing happened to you.

If a friend tells you a juicy secret, don’t go blab it out to the world in general afterwards. That’s not what real friends do.

Research has shown that people who have lots of friends are much more likely to survive a major illness than somebody who has no friends. This is because the loving support (both physically and mentally) of friends helps a person get better

Companionship is also known to reduce stress. People, who are married to a person that they both love and are friends with, are more likely to stay married. (Yes – it’s very possible to love somebody and not like them very much!)

In your life time, you’ll probably make around 396 friends, but according to research, only 1 in 12 friendships last and of those, only about 4 will be really close friends.

These days, with social media – it’s easy to think you have loads of friends, but this is not always the case. Next time you meet up with your friends, put your cell phones away and talk properly to each other, instead of chatting via text messages.

Amazingly enough, scientists have also discovered that there are animals – like dolphins, bats, chimps, baboons, elephants, horses and… wait for it… hyenas that have been known to form friendships for life with individuals that are not the same species. (I was quite surprised to see that they did not mention dogs and cats – specially seeing as how they have bonds with their humans.)

Remember people… in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend!

Sibo

Saving the Environment

Because the 5th of June was World Environment Day thought it might be a good idea to share some tips on saving money and the environment.

These days many people use toothpaste, facial or body scrubs with those teensy plastic micro beads in them.  Well… those little plastic toxic bombs go down the drain from your basin, shower or bath and eventually land up in rivers, lakes and seas. Very simply, the fish cannot avoid them and we eat the fish. These things are causing untold havoc in the environment.

By now we all probably know how useful bicarbonate of soda is for cleaning stuff around the house – but you can also use it instead of various beauty products. Here’s an alternative for your various scrubs. A much cheaper and more environmentally sound one.

Use an old spice jar – one of the ones with little sprinkle holes in the top and fill it up with bicarbonate of soda. Make sure the lid still seals well – you don’t want the bicarb to get wet. Keep it in your bathroom or shower where you can easily access it.

This alkaline substance has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But before you start using this – try a test patch on your skin to check that you don’t have any bad reactions to it.

In addition to being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it helps balance the skin’s pH – so if you have acne or spots you can mix a spoon of bicarb with a bit of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Do this until your skin clears up.

You can whiten your teeth by sprinkling a bit of bicarb on your regular toothpaste and brushing your teeth once a day. Only do it for a few days though – not all the time – otherwise you can hurt the enamel on your teeth.

Get rid of residue of hair products on your hair – put a blob of shampoo in your hand and sprinkle some bicarb into it. Wash your hair as normal. It removes all the yukky stuff very effectively.

Sprinkle some bicarb onto a face cloth and use it as a body scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and flaky bits. Rinse well when you are finished.

Or simply sprinkle some bicarb into your hand add warm water and gently use it as a face wash/scrub. This works especially well if you don’t wear a lot of make-up.

Take care,

Sibo

To sea or not to see

The 8th of June is World Oceans Day.

Thought to celebrate this day I’d share some cool facts.

Did you know that around 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans?

There are 5 different oceans – namely the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean , the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.

The largest is the Pacific ocean and it covers around 30% of the Earth. The name “Pacific” come from the Latin word ‘pacificus’ – meaning peaceful.

Incredibly, around 70% of the oxygen that we breathe is produced by the oceans.

Only 5% of the oceans have been explored. Not surprising really when the deepest known area of the Earth’s oceans is in the Pacific, near Guam in the Philippine Sea at the end of the Mariana Trench, and its deepest point measures nearly 11km.

The Great Barrier Reef (the largest coral reef near Australia) measures about 2,600km and it can be seen from the moon!

We all know that oil spills in the sea are terrible and kill lots of sea life, but waste matter from sewerage and agriculture gets dumped into the sea too. This sometimes had all sorts of toxins in it that can cause dangerous types of algae (sea plants) to bloom in water near the coast. When these blooms die and rot they use up all the oxygen in the water and then there’s none left for the fish. These are called “creeping dead zones”

Some people just think of the sea as a huge dumping ground. Lots of other stuff (like chemicals) are chucked into the sea – and get eaten by the fish that you and I eat, which causes illness in humans (never mind what it does to the sea life).  It’s very scary how polluted the seas have become.

312 million kilograms of sea food is consumed each year! Our ocean resources are being depleted daily. People often imagine that the sea is full of a never-ending supply of fish but this is simply not so.

Please remember you can consult the SASSI website   and find out which fish are endangered or not.

To celebrate World Ocean Day we are going to make Sibo and the Sea available on the website  for you to freely read if you want to read more about the oceans.

Please only eat from the “green list” people!

Sibo

Go Nuts!

Go nuts!

The other day I went to visit a friend and we were walking in the garden when I felt something big crunch under my sneaker. I looked at my friend… what on earth was that.

The answer was pecan nuts.

I’m a fan of nuts. All sorts of them. I grabbed one and smacked it with a small stone – a bit hard because it shattered into many pieces. I decided to donate those bits to the ants and was more careful when I cracked the next one.

The tree was tall, taller than the house and laden with nuts. I could not believe that anybody could be so lucky as to live in a house with a ready supply of pecan nuts. Of course my friend is used to them and thought I was acting nuts (hahaha).

It was hysterical to see their little worsie dog merrily chomping down nuts too. She cracked them with her teeth and delicately ate the nutty bits.

So I started wondering (a) are pecan nuts good for people and (b) are pecan nuts good for dogs?

I googled pecan nuts when I got home and according to dear old Wiki they are pretty wholesome little snacks. They contain, amongst other things, Vitamins A, B-6, C, E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Zinc. The nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and provide an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants.

Goodness! It’s almost like eating the table of elements.

Originally they came from Mexico but they do grow quite well in South Africa – specifically in the Northern Cape, although the tree I saw was in a garden in Pretoria.

I also found out that as with all tree nuts, pecans are not really nuts – they are hard-shelled fruits. Did you ever?

As far as dogs and pecan nuts go… not so healthy. In fact, according to all the stuff I read this little worsie dog should be long since dead. If not from the Aflatoxin, then from tummy upsets from not digesting the nuts or even having shells stuck in her gut.  But instead the doglet is running around healthy as can be – she’s not even fat.

I took some nuts home – Mum thought she might make some cookies with them but Dad and I ate them all straight out of the shells. Yum!

Go nuts people!

Sibo

More holidays…

Hope you are all enjoying being back at school again. If not – don’t worry – there is another long weekend coming up.

Around about this time of April there are some important days to talk about.

22nd of April is International Mother Earth Day. Actually we should make every single day Earth day because we only have on earth (duh!) and it’s not actually in very good shape anymore. Remember we can all do our bit by practising the 3R’s – reducing, reusing and recycling. Also by saving water where ever we can. Don’t forget to save electricity too – that also helps. Switch off those lights when you are not in a room and unplug your chargers when you have finished charging your appliances. How about planting a tree… a nice fruit tree. Just think how great it would be to pluck your own lemons, oranges, mulberries or whatever type of tree you want to grow (just check that it is going to grow well in your area first though).

25th April is World Malaria Day.  You might think that is a funny day to have because malaria is not an issue on the East Rand, but there are many areas in the world where it is a huge problem.  How scary is this… according to UNICEF: “Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day. Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Malaria really is an extremely nasty disease. It’s carried by a certain type of mozzie called the Anopheles mosquito and it feels a bit like getting flu – you have a fever, headache, get the chills, feel like throwing up and have achy bones. If you have been in a malaria area and experience any of these symptoms – you should go to the doctor or the clinic immediately.

Of course we all get bitten by normal mozzies every now and then. They are not dangerous but they are incredibly irritating and itchy. Here are a few innovative ways of dealing with those little bumps… tee tree oil, a dab of vanilla essence, Vicks, calamine lotion, spit, clear nail polish, aloe vera and some people swear that rubbing a peeled clove of garlic on the bite works well too!

If you want to know more about malaria – you can read my book “Sibo Fights Malaria” freely on http://www.sibo.co.za . Just click on the cover.

Enjoy the long weekend – stay safe!

Sibo

 

Magic Stuff

Did you know that vinegar really is miracle stuff?

You can use it for a number of things and it is much more environmentally friendly that using harsh detergents. It’s also something that most people readily have in their homes.

Here are a few different ways that you can use it when cooking – apart from putting it on your chips that is…

If you add a dash of vinegar to the water when you are boiling eggs it stops the white from leaking out if any of the eggs crack in the pot.

For leafy veggies that are wilted and all sad looking, try soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar and they will crisp up considerably.

You know how your hands honk when you have been chopping onions? Well… if you rub your hands with a bit of white vinegar you’ll get rid of that nasty smell.

Here’s another great tip – often eating veggies like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower can make a person a tad “farty”. They say if you add a dash of vinegar to the water when cooking, it will not only perk up the taste but also reduce gassiness. This also works when cooking beans. Bean soup is always delicious in the winter but sometimes the “fallout” takes away some of the charm. Vinegar to the rescue!

Some other great uses for vinegar in the home…

Before you wash them – spray vinegar onto shirts or dresses that have those yellow deodorant stains under the arms– it helps to remove the discolouration. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine rejuvenates bright colours. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer and a mildew-inhibitor.

Chewing gum that is stuck to car upholstery, rugs and carpeting can be loosened by rubbing gently with vinegar.

Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize and sort out just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. You can also spray it on the grout between your tiles, leave it for a few minutes, and then give it a scrub with an old tooth brush.

Wow! Who knew that sour old vinegar was such sweet stuff!

Hope these tips are useful for you.

Lots of love

Sibo

Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been reading things about kindness lately and I was thinking that we sure could use a little more of that stuff in our world to make it a better place.  It usually only takes one person to start a domino effect.

It’s not hard to be kind – but it does take a certain mind-set. You can start small. By smiling – and we all know that it takes only 26 to smile and 62 to frown!

Smile at random people for no reason at all.  Usually 9 times out of 10 (unless that person is having a really bad day) they will smile back at you. And then you both feel good.

It’s contagious. You walk along thinking about the person who smiled at you and usually you are still smiling. So you end up smiling at somebody else too … and so it goes.

Of course, remember – it’s okay to smile at random people but kids should not stop and chat. And if anybody ever gets too friendly and makes you feel uncomfortable – feel free to tell your parental agent.

If you are at home, or in a shop and somebody drops something. You can bend down and pick it up for them. It takes just a little bit of effort.

You can offer to help your mum or dad without being asked. They might fall over and faint – but try it sometime – I bet they would really appreciate it.

Or maybe if you see somebody at school sitting by themselves looking all sad and lonely you could go and sit with them – even offer them a snack out of your lunch box if you have enough to share.

This is going to sound a little crazy but engaging in acts of kindness actually acts a bit like a medicine chest in your body…

Did you know, it is said that kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This is a chemical that not only makes you feel-good but it makes you happy and calms you down.

Even better – doing acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!

They say that people who are always kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and don’t get as old as quickly as the average population.

Research has even found that being kind lowers blood pressure.

Go out people and commit random acts of kindness!

Lots of love,

Sibo

Pledge a Book Please!

We all know that South Africa has terrible road safety stats. 

The Minister of Transport Mrs Diplou Peters is always saying that children need to learn about road safety.  It’s true. They do. The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga is always saying that children must read more. That’s true too – they should.

Here we are… pleasing two ministers with one book!

Sibo Looks Right is a book that contains all the rules of the road, including cycling – in a fun, easy to read manner.

Best of all – you don’t have to take our word for it – you can click on the link and read the book for yourself. Free!

Our plan is to get as many companies and people to pledge books – once we have reached our target of 3000 books (we’d love to get more than this too) we will ask people to honour their pledges and deposit the corresponding amount so that Lets Look Publishers can print these books and we can distribute them to the children.

Science Centres in South Africa have kindly agreed to help with distributing the books.

Here’s the crunch – we’d really like to do this BEFORE Easter!

So we need you to dash off and pledge a book – or two – or as many as you want to.

Challenge other people to pledge books too.

Of course, if you pledge more than 50 books  we can put your name/logo in the back of the book. If you pledge 1000 books – we can put your logo in the front of the book. There are great advertising and marketing aspects to sponsoring books.

If you read Sibo Looks Right you will see that Nash Nissan sponsored a large quantity of money towards our initial crowdfunding campaign and so their logo was featured in the front of the book. If you look on the back cover – there are more logos and names – these are all the lovely people who helped make this book happen in the first place.

Now we need to print more books and get them out to schools and children – FREE.

Let’s make this happen. Please! Pledge now.

A million thanks

Sibo

PS – The Sibo Series is already being read in schools and libraries around the country. In fact, The North West Province Education Department has just ordered more than 500 each of 10 Sibo titles and they are being delivered as we speak!