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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Rain, rain go away…

Although there has been a fair bit of rain, with the occasional accompanying thunder and lightening, I refuse to accept that summer is over quite yet. We’ve only had about three weeks of sunshine and heat!

So, in an act of defiance I have been busy eating last night’s pasta as today’s cold pasta salad lunch with a purposeful addition of cool cucumber and cheering cherry tomatoes! What better accompaniment than a recent thirst-quenching pin!

Pasta salad

Here’s another leftovers makeover

I’m glad to see some blue skies and fluffy clouds now. A bit of rain does the garden good. The yellow-brown grass is happily reviving a little. Unusual climactic activities are doing unsettling things however here and here. And in the event that you encounter the latter, further advice can be found here.

Have a happy Tuesday evening! I hope you find some space to enjoy a bit of slow time ;)

Getting to know you!

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Snickers More Nuts Limited Edition

I don’t really eat chocolate bars. I find them too sweet. I’m a dark chocolate girl, so generally speaking, the chocolate bar section in the supermarket doesn’t draw me in. But this week, I found myself vulnerable whilst grocery shopping.

I was hungry.

And the power aisle snickered at me, grabbing me with a limited edition chocolate bar. “£1 only” for a pack of four More Nuts or More Caramel? D’uh. If I wanted more caramel, I’d buy a Mars Bar and I never do that of my own free will. So something in the pit of my stomach made me raise my hand to the shelf and put a pack of the above in my shopping trolley.

It’s the end of the week. Time to let go a little, raise a glass of the bubbly stuff. I wanted to thank you all for your support and encouragement. The week has been more than manageable punctuated with some really thoughtful comments at the ends of my posts that have really lifted me.  And seeing as we’re friends now (I hope I’m not being presumptuous), I was wondering… are you nuts like me or more nice and sweet? :)


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Wotta lotta spam… or yarn?

Seeing as it’s Friday… I wanted to share what I was chuckling over at the end of last week before I stumbled across this Freshly Pressed post on the subject of spam, which demonstrated that there is more than just the Internet that connects us all. Yes, I shared the exact same spammer with Nathan Badley of not-so-fleeting Freshly Pressedom fame (it appears that he’s been efFPeed more than twice). We received the same fascinating message which left us similarly flummoxed over a reference to “brussels”.

Aaaanyway, I digress. I had read that message in my spam folder briefly, sniggered and then moved on. Because there was a more intriguing and amusing message that caught my eye. Its brevity and the tone of unmistakeable incredulity drew my attention and held it there: apparently I have a devoted fan that I have been so remiss as to have overlooked a number of times, to my detriment. I really must check my spam more often…

SpamalotI Google’d SCK and found no conclusive evidence as to the identity of this elusive person. But after some soul-searching and remorse I realised that the random combination of letters and numbers supplied by my mysterious visitor in the place of a name, was designed to put me off the scent. And in view of my recent obsessions that could only mean one thing: my blog had been graced by the presence of the  SUPER COOL KNITTER.

SCK I am truly1 sorry, please come back and share your wisdom with all of us. It is my fault alone, please don’t hold my negligence against my readers also. Winter is approaching (or has already approached, crept up by the door and started huffing and puffing through every little tiny unprotected sliver *shiver*). Those of us whose hair Winter has already ruffled and whose cheeks she has already chafed, would really love to wrap up warm in hand knitted scarves, jumpers and throws. It would be truly cool but not cold, if we could share knitting tips… you must have quite a treasure trove of them if you have made over four million attempts at catching my attention.

Ho Ho Ho (oops, sorry, too early… and fictional) hahaha. There. What a silly lot of ramblings. But these random things entered my mind when I saw that silly piece of spam.

I wish you a light-hearted weekend, perhaps accompanied by a bubbly glass of (cue drumroll) freshly pressed lemonade. For many, it may be a slightly tart and sharp glass of the stuff… but still refreshing in some way, I hope.


1 OK, perhaps my final paragraph would suggest that I am not nearly as sincere in my sentiments towards SCK as I am trying to suggest here. But I am cheered by the ingenious spam message. Direct and to the point ;)


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Monday blues and the British weather…

It is truly autumn here in London, although some would call it winter. Even though the sun really worked hard all day Friday and the skies were a beautiful gorgeous blue, it was cold.

Monday Blues

There was real drama in the colours and the clouds were truly amazing. But it was cold. In fact, it was chilly indoors. Not just out.

Monday Blues

I was thinking about my blog and some line about the weather was about to enter my head. I was wondering how often this happens to people who are not British. On our beautiful isles, the weather plays such an important role that we watch it with huge interest. We devote very artfully crafted pieces of journalism to describing the minute changes in temperature, movements of air pressure, currents of warm or cold air travelling over our little island from neighbouring land masses. Weather forecasters are household names. No one has forgotten the legendary Michael Fish have they?

From one day to the next, the weather can change drastically, affecting everyone’s mood and influencing simple decisions. My colleagues will watch the clouds as lunchtime approaches and decide whether or not to dive out early to buy food before a downpour is unleashed. While I, on the other hand, prefer to bring my lunch so I do not have to worry. The quality of the light coming through the windows changes dramatically with the weather. A peek of sunshine and the whole place feels brighter, lighter, happier… grey clouds make you feel more tired, more gloomy, lethargic. Rain makes you wish you never got out of bed in the morning at all.

Otis redding – sittin on the dock of the bay (link via Soundcloud) 

Well. It’s Monday again. After the wettest summer for a century or so apparently, in spite of the beautiful Olympic and Paralympic sunshine (lest we forget) it’s now crisp and cold. Some days we have had the beautiful sunny skies that we enjoyed this weekend, but mostly it’s been wet and miserable. I’m officially in denial and playing a different soundtrack to nature. Also, work’s been a bit weird lately. “Looks like nothing’s gonna change…” so I’m thinking of making some changes myself  - instead of stressing, I’m chillin’ today…

Does the weather have as great an influence on your part of the world? Does it affect your mood as much as it can mine I wonder?


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What are you looking forward to today?

I wasn’t brought up on McDonalds or any fast food options that are so readily available today. McDonalds was an extremely inefficient way to spend the family’s limited resources. In fact, it still is today in most European cities. A standard meal in London is definitely not cheap.

I do still treat McDonalds like a special treat now in adulthood. It always feels special to bite into their “French Fries” and I feel lazy and overindulgent if I eat there more than once in a while.

But let me not hide the fact that I am almost due another free tea…I guard my sticker cards as though they were real currency. Each time I get a cup of tea, I don’t relax until I have safely added the sticker to the collection in my purse. I’m not usually partial to fizzy drinks because they make me feel bloated (although I do always make an exception for a nice cloudy lemonade). However, eating a McDonalds meal with a cup of tea definitely feels very civilised and grown up.

McDo's

McDo's

 

McDo's

My favourite sauce. Not only do I like the taste, I love the recent update in packaging. The hot pink makes me happy!

So today, I am not sharing anything particularly creative with you (although I have something fun I can’t wait to show and tell soon). I am simply going to confess that I’m really looking forward to going window shopping and having a McDonalds meal of some sort after work tonight. And…if you see some girl standing in front of the menu for ages, unable to decide what to get, that could possibly be me. It often gets to the point where the staff behind the counter have given up calling out to me and are just looking at me funny. It is supposed to be fast food after all…except that it is never fast on my end. I am still that little girl for whom eating fast food counts as a special treat :-)

What are your simple, special treats?


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Summer!

Not an easy day today, lots of lemons and not enough sugar…But hey, look at this:

image

Got some vitD at least! Anyone breaking out a burger on a grill outside today? I’ve been caught unawares by this weather, so unfortunately I’ll have to make do with a glass of supermarket lemonade decorated with some yummy frozen berries. Instant pink lemonade! Happy days :)


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All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost…

Some of the most effective members of staff in the organisation where I work quit within the past month. They had been recruited most recently, but before they had even left, we were mentally preparing ourselves for a quieter office, less banter, lower morale – all hands have always been on deck, but now there would be fewer capable and dedicated hands to carry the ever-increasing load. Adjusting to the resulting changes since got me thinking, not just of the strength of their impact on the organisation, but of my own direction. 

I began to reflect upon my own life goals, wondering whether I still brought value to the workplace, and whether I was having as much an impact on those around me as I would like. If I left, would I be missed and would my colleagues speak well of me even in my absence as we were doing of those who had just moved on?

In light of my recent thoughts, Diana Schwenk’s post a couple of weeks ago, Who are you? was particularly apt. Diana posed a question that her boss had asked her and she in turn asked her direct reports:

What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?

I had been wondering what other people would say, but had not asked myself what I hoped that they would say. And so below are a few things I’d like my colleagues to say about me:

  • That I care and always make time to truly listen to what matters to them
  • That I help them to develop beyond what they know they are capable of
  • That I am reliable, trustworthy, proactive, passionate, creative and have a wicked sense of humour :)
Magpies

One for sorrow, two for joy…a favourite sight. I like magpies a lot! That’s something my colleagues won’t say about me, because the only birds near work are pigeons…

Diana boldly displays her personal vision and mission statement on her blog. I guess I had an indirect mission statement on my About page all along, although I think as I grow through different stages in life, my focus shifts. As I have wandered about on this blogging journey, I’m grateful that I’ve found the space to explore ideas and be more creative than I have been in a while. It’s helped me to treasure my life a little more and challenged me to be more mindful of the effects of what I do or say. And reading or seeing what is going on in your mind as we each explore our worlds, makes this journey just that bit more interesting.

Do you tend to think of yourself in the context of what you do rather than who you are? How would you answer the above question?

[The title of this post is a quote from j.r. Tolkien]


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FF: Fashion {01 Mellow Yellow}

Seeing as it’s summer in London (for the time being) and it’s a Friday, I wanted to celebrate by getting a bit frivolous…Inspired by the Poppytalk 2012 Summer Colours Week I decided to play with colours.

I don’t really wear yellow much. At all. Do I have one item of yellow? Maybe I have one scarf with teeny pale yellow accent flowers…that’s it. Lately though, I’ve been really drawn to it – perhaps because of the lack of sunshine we’ve been having. Anyway, without further ado or too many words to negate the frivolity of this post, here you go:

#01: Mellow Yellow

1) Armand Diradourian fringed shawl; 2) Wallis floral blouse; 3) True Religion polka dot jeans; 4) Lanvin shoes; 5) With Love From CA beading jewelry; 6) Givenchy handbagCold Lemonade Tin Sign | Summertime Signs | RetroPlanet.com.

Don’t I have expensive taste? I think I need some ice cold lemonade to recover from my virtual shopping trip - have a lovely weekend! :)

Door Keys


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All psyched up to go home

Last week, on my way home, I actually took a seat on the train. I was ill equipped to occupy myself in a useful way as usual, so I just sat and stared at random patterns and adverts.

About two stops into my journey, a man in his thirties or so got on. He had in-ear buds plugged in and tinny beats emanating from his head to the rest of the passengers. I suddenly realised that all the men in my section of the carriage, bar one, had their ears stopped up with various portable speakers. There were two other sets of nondescript ear buds. One young crisply suited male had a spotless almost glowing Beats by Dr. Dre halo clamping down on his ears. Another two had black-coloured headphones in a similar but less trendy style (the kind that could double up as ear-muffs). Another man slouched against one of the high seats at the end of the carriage, his head drooping as he dipped in and out of a fitful snooze.

My mind quickly referenced an article I had read recently about athletes training and psyching themselves up to motivational music. I wondered what these guys were getting ready for. The music did not seem generally to be of the kind that helps you to relax judging by the sounds from some of the headphones and the bouncing chins of the other wearers whose music I could not hear. (Notable exception could be the guy who was semi-conscious.)

(I must say I wouldn’t mind having one of these Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones for every Tube journey. I stepped foot in a Bose shop for the first time a couple of weeks ago out of curiosity, and recommend that anyone that has not tried these does so for the pure amazement value. Once you have experienced them, the attached price tag will no longer surprise you. I can imagine if I had a pair, every Tube journey in future would be like an out-of-body experience!)

That day’s observation did bring to mind the fact that there is a different story behind each person with whom I rub shoulders, literally or metaphorically, on my daily commute. We may all wear a similar uniform. We may even enjoy similar tastes in music. Each of us probably sports a familiar blank look as we meander home by various means. But we each go back to a different place and life can be very very different behind each door that we severally close behind us at the end of that journey.

Door KeysFor some, on the other side of the door is a refuge from the world. For others, to open that door is to leave a refuge behind for the night. For still others, the door opens a gaping hole of emptiness which envelops that person until he emerges again the next day. Then there are those we do not realise have no doors to journey to and live a expertly fabricated deception that we so readily believe. We can live so closely alongside one another, and yet, we can be such solitary souls.

I have no deep insights to offer on this trailing thought. I’ll try to remember to make lemonade and share it around while I know how. I am just glad that behind my closed door, I can open up this world here from time to time, and see your smiling and encouraging faces.

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