this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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What’s News?

I wanted to celebrate the fact that Getty has made millions of images free to use and that WordPress has done some tweaks to make it easy for us to do this…but the site is probably overrun by enthusiastic bloggers because it was not available for ages!

I thought it would be interesting, on the back of International Women’s Day, to see what kind of photos would come up when I searched for “women“.

The images that emerged gave a far from “international” representation, and so many were of young women shopping, having coffee together, working out or partying! You can draw your own conclusions from that, I can’t claim to have trawled through all 10492 pages resulting from my search and I most certainly did not take scientific statistics based on the pages I did look at.

I can only say I did quite enjoy looking through the site, and will be enjoying it in future I believe. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Getty images exhibitions when I’ve had the chance to drop by. The debate over them making images so readily available for free use is a hot one… I’m not going to enter into any discussions or assert any opinions on anything mentioned above under the pretext that raised blood pressure would not be beneficial to me right now… any excuse to be lazy. But feel free to say your piece ;)

I’d just like to know whether anyone did this while they were pregnant (see below)? I must say, having started my antenatal classes recently, I was really relieved that the other couples don’t seem to have swotted up too much on all the available (overwhelming) information out there…

I’m preferring trying to up my R&R quota… but does that mean I’m in denial? I think today, the baby has mainly been listening to BBC News on repeat in the background whilst I’ve been continuing my attempts at organising my life doing lots of filing and tidying my desk… an ongoing losing battle perhaps…


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The Battle We Didn’t Choose

I haven’t done a Treasure Trove Thursday for a long time. It’s not because there aren’t plenty of treasures in my life. It’s just that I have found the deeper thoughts often escaping me recently – the time and space to sit and reflect and write what I have reflected upon, in such a way that is appropriate – they’ve been scarce lately. But I wanted to share with you this website and talk that I stumbled upon today, and to thank you for your friendship.

We all go through battles we didn’t choose. Photographer Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer chose to share their battle with the world through some beautifully simple and honest images. The story of Jennifer’s journey with breast cancer is a very intimate one. Angelo does not make his wife out to be a heroine of pedestal status. I was touched by how theirs was ultimately a simple love story, a story of family and friendship, a story of the need of human beings for each other. Yes, ultimately it is a story of a very personal loss, but also a story that has already been an inspiration to many.

Today is not a day too late, to tell those around you that they matter to you. That you love them. That you need them. That you treasure them.


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Not-so Frivolous Friday… and some very sparkly lemonade ;)

I’ve been promising to let you in on something for weeks.. perhaps even months. I even dropped some obscure hints…but I couldn’t find the words, or it was easier to just veg, nap or snooze rather than deal with this post. You probably haven’t even noticed… or you’ve given up on me for dithering so much. So, as you are actually reading this, thank you in advance for being here even though I’ve been so random!

My sister sent me a link to the following article and I thought it was the ideal way to break the news. For me and hubby it is BIG NEWS. For many it might just be run of the mill, for others perhaps it will be exciting and for more people than society acknowledges, it may be upsetting. I don’t know right now, what the outcome will be and for how long. This is a daunting journey that I have had no control over from the beginning, and blogging has been a real lifeline in helping me process life and keep going. For this I am truly grateful. Now that I’m anticipating the only enduring “ambition” I’ve ever had coming to fruition this Easter (God-willing), I wanted to share my news with you and also thank you for being there for me, friend.

Are You Ready

I’m going to let this article do the talking…
Please click through ;)

All hilarity aside, I’m going to need a lot of wisdom and strength for the steps ahead. I’m finding it difficult to even type the words and put them out there, the concept seems so unreal to me right now and I almost dare not say anything out loud. Sorry for this non-announcement, but it is about what you are no doubt thinking that it’s about if you clicked the link above… and I hope to be sharing the accompanying knitting projects that I’ve been doing, “soon”.

Talk about an awkward post..! Take care, and have a good weekend :)


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I’m coming back knitting!

Hi everyone!

Thank you for your ongoing support whilst I strayed away into the unknown since the middle of the summer that was, has been and is no longer. The weather in London is still mild and has actually been sunny and relatively warm in the last couple of weeks. I’ve even wondered whether or not another drought is on the way, crazy, I know.

Anyway, I’m planning on bringing an end to this last hiatus in blogging. And I thought I’d give a sneak peek at what woolly things I’ve been busying myself with recently as a starter.

booties_sm

Next week is National Wool Week in the UK, and I’ve been knitting quite a lot in the last month or so. These little booties are hopefully making their way halfway across the world in a matter of days, as soon as I get some long awaited news of the arrival of their intended new owner! I’m so excited, any time now!

Well, sneak peeks should not be too long, so I’m going to rest my eyes from the screen now and pick up my needles again. I’m enjoying catching up with all of your blogs in the meantime though. Have a great week!

xx


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Having a last minute break

Sorry for dropping off the edge of the blog in an unexplained manner again. ‘Busy‘ taking an unexpected breather. Feeling on top of the world and honoured to be in one of my favourite places in the world. It’s not just a WOW Wednesday, it’s been a WOW Week!♡

I wish you all a beautiful week dear friends. Summer is well and truly in Western Europe right now. Every day of sunshine is like a new surprise. If you don’t have sun where you are, we definitely have some to spare.. I hope this greeting sends some cheering rays your way! :)


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Make mine a sparkling lemonade please…

Happy July! We had a relatively scorching hot, sunny day in London yesterday. It was glorious, if a little bit of a shock to the system ;) “Change” is threatened, with a glimmer of hope for next weekend, but we won’t be holding our breath too much. Anyone for tennis? The tournament has so far been full of surprises, I wish I were there in the sun today – have any of you watched Wimbledon in person?

Talking about surprises, I have been the grateful beneficiary of a few very pleasant ones over the past half a year or so – a few awards that I have regrettably been remiss to acknowledge properly. My sincere apologies to five lovely bloggers who have dropped such thoughtful gifts of encouragement on my blog along the way and made me smile. They were especially meaningful as I was struggling to get words out and not actually writing a lot at the times when I received them! As I have said in the past, I am so touched by the generous kindness out there from all of you. My heartfelt thanks for reading and holding conversations here!

This time I’m going to break all the rules of awards there ever were, and do my own thing!

First of all, I hope you will forgive me for not nominating any other bloggers for the awards below. I wanted to acknowledge the people who gave them to me, but I will not be writing any more award posts after this one. I’ve recently started using my Facebook page to share blog posts that have inspired and challenged me. That way I have a focus for Facebook and a focus for the blog – I can share posts I’ve enjoyed easily as I read, rather than dawdling half a year to write something like this! I hope you’ll check my page out, click like to subscribe if you do indeed like it and please visit the links from posts I’ve enjoyed and share the love!

this is lemonade on Facebook

Secondly, one of the good friends of this blog, Diana, shared a post about personality colours not so long ago and I went and googled it and found this file. It’s a short version of the real thing I’m guessing, but a whole lot of fun! I wonder what colour you are – do have a go and let me know in the comments below what you think and what colour you are… I’m BLUE :) Exactly what I would actually have expected!

Thirdly, just because I’d love to find out some random things about you dear readers, feel free to answer the following questions on your blogs and link back in the comments to let me know you’ve done it!

  1. Do you take sugar in your tea or coffee? I used to take sugar in my tea because my dad did. Then I tried it without and haven’t looked back since. My dad no longer does either. With coffee, if it’s rich and aromatic… white but no sugar for me thank you! Sometimes I do fancy a bit of sweet to make it taste something like the coffee creme chocolates that started me off on coffee in the first place though…
  2. Are you happy with where you live? I was shocked to read this report. I hope the views of my neighbours were taken on a miserable, grey and rainy day when everyone was simply grumpy and would rather not have been answering a lot of questions. I personally feel privileged to be living in London in spite of all the slightly smelly and grimy things about it. I like to call the not-so-nice bits “culture” whilst keeping my personal belongings with me at all times :P
  3. Sun or snow? Definitely sun. But not hot and humid if I get a say – I actually love sunny winter days when everything feels crisp and fresh, hot with breezy shade is herrrrrlich too. Love snow too, preferably not in London though!
  4. Do you listen to music while you are working on something? Only if I don’t need to focus very intensely. If I’m writing (e.g. blogging) it’s got to be instrumental music,  I get very distracted if there is singing or talking in the background, especially if I like the song or find the conversation interesting. But if I’m doing chores, cooking or painting for example, music helps to motivate and focus me and beats are great!
  5. Evenings in or out? I prefer no more than one or two nights out a week if it’s with a group of people. Coffee with one or two friends at a time don’t count as I love to sit back, people watch and have a lazy natter! I love a bustling house too and prefer entertaining at home simply, without fuss. 
  6. What do you wish you were doing right now? Having a barbecue or a picnic, wiling away a lazy afternoon :)

And finally and very importantly…

Blog of 2012 Award

Thank you to the wonderful Mags, one of my oldest blogging friends, a colourful ball of energy, creativity and optimism; and to Rabbit, an undaunted adventurer in all things edible (she has just started baking as well as cooking) for the award from last year! Do check out their inventive blogs if you want to be inspired! (Please click on the image to take you through to the rules and info on the origins of this award.)

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Liebster Award - a nerdy crocheter

Thank you to A Nerdy Crocheter for the Liebster Blog award. Her beautifully crocheted projects are an inspiration and pleasure to read about, do go on over and get ready to admire her work!

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Beautiful Blogger Award - licking the plate again

Thank you to a Licking the plate again for the Beautiful Blogger award. Click through for a very tasty, travelling view of the world, and another view of the UK from a slightly more northerly perspective.

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Shine On Award - Alicia Benton

And last but not least, thank you to Alicia for the Shine On award (I’m not soo late in writing about this award ;)) She has been taking part in a challenge to write every day for a month, so go and check it out!

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To see previous award posts and visit some blogs I’ve nominated in the past, simply click on the award icon in the menu bar on the right. (You may need to maximise your browser window as this menu bar is set to be hidden on a smaller window.)


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Are we standing on the verge of change?

The online world gasped when Google announced that it was phasing out Google Reader. Everyone asked why? and some are still wondering. As often with relationships though, sometimes there is no good answer. Google Reader is walking out the door and we’d just best get on with our lives and move on.

I know some of you have dealt with it by doing it the new hairstyle, image change way, and have switched to shiny, fresh-looking Feedly. Others have gone for stability and familiarity and have jumped into the arms of Bloglovin’. Others have stubbornly refused to upgrade, and The Old Reader has got you. These three seem to be the favourites among bloggers that I follow.

For now, I’m simply adding everything to the distinctly function-light WordPress Reader that I didn’t really use in the past. I’m still a bit bewildered that Google wants to deprive me of a feature that just did what it says on the tin. No frills, no sparkly buttons or chirpy graphics. I loved Google Reader because it let me see your posts clearly and independently. It didn’t try to airbrush a brand over the top of them so that they look like they are all in the same magazine or frame them in a community of blogs which is kind of what WordPress does as well (not that community isn’t a good thing).

Life goes on. It’s funny how easily we get used to things though, and take it for granted that they will stick around.

Dear Google Reader, I’m glad we met, and I’ll remember all those comfortable times we shared, cosily reading through blogs together. Now the time has come to say goodbye, I don’t know where you’re going, but I’m glad to be able to keep reading those blogs. I hope their writers stick around and keep doing what they do so well…

Happy weekend everyone!


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Leftovers and a little hello

Hello everyone! I’ve missed this space so much! I’ve been really busy though and in the bid to stay focused, am currently not writing very often as you may have noticed. I was busy in May relaxing at one wedding and then playing wedding planner/organiser for another. Things haven’t stopped since (except the sunshine)!

Even – or rather especially – when one is a little overwhelmed, it is very important to eat properly. I must concede that that’s easier said than done. I prefer a weekly (or even bi-weekly) shop when I’m busy. This has been a bit awkward lately, as my shoulder niggles have also resurfaced, making it unsafe for me to drive and unwise for me to carry heavy loads.

Back to eating well though – my favourite way to achieve this whether or not I’m busy, is with leftovers. Making the effort you’ve made, last that little bit longer. I’ve never thrown food away easily, and eating leftovers is in my blood. I do love changing things up a little though, so here are three recent variations on supper!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

Roast chicken dinner turned into cold chicken with potato cake. One of the foods that make me feel cosy, is simple roast chicken eaten straight from the fridge the next day. It’s always so delicious! For the potato cake, I added some wheat germ to the crushed roast potatoes for extra fibre that I can’t do without, diced all the veg and mixed it up. Then I cracked in an egg to bind it all together and squashed it into a cake and fried it in a little oil! Try adding some cumin or curry powder for a new flavour to your roast potatoes!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

I always cook too many potatoes when I make a roast dinner. It’s always accidental, but I do love my potatoes, I just can’t help it! I made another more hash-like potato cake when I’d run out of the roast veg, but needed a little something before I cooked supper again. I don’t know about you, but I can’t cook on an empty stomach. I end up eating junk and overfilling my stomach before the main meal!

This is a simple little amalgamation of crushed roast potatoes, with some grated cheese mixed in and an egg cooked in pretty much the same way as above. It turned out crispier as I flattened it out more. I served this indulgent little pre-dinner feast with some nuts. When you know dinner is going to be late, having some proper food early evening means you don’t need to eat too much too late at night. I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep well on a full stomach.

chicken avocado salad sandwich

And finally (I thought this post was going to be photo-heavy and light on words, but no, I’ve obviously been missing this bloggy lark too much!): the ever versatile sandwich. I’m a Brit after all! :)

This sandwich is delicious. It’s based on my favourite chicken salad that I shared with you some time ago. Did I mention I love cold roast chicken? Make that any cold chicken :) And add avocado? Match made in heaven! And yes, in trying this combination, I discovered that coriander can go well with avocado :) And squirt in a smidgen of mayonnaise just to bring the flavours together :)

I hope you enjoy these ideas. They are simple, but magical – making them doesn’t take much longer than it would to pierce the lid of a ready meal and stick it in the microwave. They are also satisfying, not just for the taste buds, but for the mind too. A rewarding way to exercise your creative muscles briefly and get near instant yummy results! And you will notice there aren’t that many veggies here. When I’m busy, I try to make sure I’m well stocked on fruit – now that’s real instant food!

What do you do with left overs? I’d be really interested to know :)


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Breaking on Facebook :)

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to thank you for popping by even though I’ve gone awol here. I’m slipping in and out of Facebook while I’m sorting out my life. It’s been one thing after another, but right now, it’s as good as the sunshine we’re having. I’m hoping things will settle down soon.

Right now I’m trying to stay focused on things I need to get done offline, but I’m still reading your blogs to keep me sane! Do pop by over to Facebook in the meantime if it takes your fancy, and like if y’like! :) I’ve decided I’ll be sharing stuff that tickles me or makes me think over there, while I’m having a quieter spell here.

I’m finding that the warmer weather, and the to-ing and fro-ing around here right now, is well suited to plenty of tasty toasties ;) There’s no better way to keep some creativity going in my life, than incorporating it into a quick bite to keep me going! I’ve also stolen some moments to knit, and finished my projects, which I want to blog about soon. What do you do to balance things when things get a bit hectic?

Sending you lots of sparkly, bubbly sunshine for the week ahead! xx

blue clouds insect

Another unidentified flying object :)


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WOW Wednesday: the creative spirit

I’ve given myself a little bit of a break from the blog over the past week or so. I just needed to think about other things in life other than blogging, although I’ve missed it. Thank you for dropping by even though I haven’t posted any fresh content. I really appreciate that you have used your precious time to stop by and read. Welcome to all new visitors!

I’ve given the WOW Wednesdays series an even longer break I must admit.. but I haven’t stopped saying “wow!” In fact, it’s those little wow moments that inspire me to keep moving onwards and upwards, even on those days when I feel like I’ve tripped over and slid on my backside down the slippery slope I’ve been trying to scale and ended up at the bottom again. So I thought it would be a nice way to get back to the blog this week:

I recently stumbled across some videos that made for fascinating watching. They each show different kinds of creative projects I found inspiring. Instead of just pinning them, I wanted to share them here. I’m simply going link them up below. I hope they bring some inspiration to you midweek. My favourite is the last, because it is a story of a great collaboration. You might want to watch the finished music video first (linked below) and then watch the one of the making of it which is the one I’ve included here. Up to you!

Which is your favourite and why?

(Oh go on, this advert is cool too.)

(The HQ version is here but I’d recommend watching the above first for a great performance – if you don’t mind whooping students!)

(The finished music video is here.)

Take care and have a peaceful and productive remainder of the week. Just one more weekend until Easter! Do you get Easter holidays where you are? If you gave up something for Lent, how is it going?

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