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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INSIDE + HOLE

My sincere apologies to anyone out there who will notice. Am about to fall inside the proverbial hole and hopefully emerge again in no longer than a week’s time. Was hoping at least to get one more photo in beforehand, but does not look like that’s going to happen.

Fail. 

Boohoo! Who knows, I may surprise myself. But right now I’m just hoping I’ll make it through the coming week still standing.

I regret in advance that I will fall terribly behind in reading everyone’s posts too. Ahhhh well, at least there’s something to work towards – the treat of catching up on the good stuff afterwards!

Have a good one  :-)


13 Comments

FACES

Many apologies to any sufferers of arachnophobia out there reading this. I am not a huge fan of spiders, but I usually only panic if one drops down in front of my face or onto my bed.

I feel uncomfortable finding spiders in places I feel they don’t belong – like in the bathtub – but I’m perfectly ok with them outside. A bit like how I love wildflowers in a meadow of tall grasses, but I know people will disapprove if I allow my own patch of ‘green’ to become so unkempt!

Out of all the small multiple-legged creatures on this beautiful planet, spiders are my least un-favourite – here in the UK at least, where wild mushrooms are generally more dangerous (thankfully)! Spiders are industrious and solitary (unlike ants – who are industrious, but scarily overwhelming if they bring their friends), they are clean (unlike my pet hate, the fly), they can be intricately and wondrously patterned (see below) and I actually find them quite fascinating.

At my last place of abode, I happily shared all my window sills (there were a grand total of two) with these friendly jumping spiders (you can click through if you like, but I’ll limit the visual assault to one). As long as they didn’t stray onto my bed, I tolerated them as they also didn’t seem to weave webs anywhere, they just seemed to enjoy bungee jumping.

I was struggling with today’s theme of faces until I found this beauty weaving its magic over a car side mirror in the brilliant August sunshine. In fact, the August sunshine (yes, I said it again because how often do we get to say August sunshine?) I could not see the screen of my camera as I took the photo the SUNSHINE was so bright, so I’m pretty chuffed with the result!

#17 | FACES

Photo A Day Aug | FACES thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


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FOOD

I was busy melting cheese all last week. I love cheese. Did I mention that before? But then honestly, I don’t know anyone that does not love some good oozy melted cheese. Even one of my best friends, who is lactose intolerant, will take some Piriton so that we can go out for pizza.

So I had some left over tomato salsa-like salad left over from the weekend, and decided to make a lovely snack last Monday. The tomatoes had been finely diced and dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried basil and cayenne pepper. By the time I was assembling this, they had marinated in this goodness for 24 hours.

I put the bread into the toaster for 2 minutes, then sprinkled grated cheddar on top and put the tomatoes over that. That way the toast would not get soggy, because I don’t like soggy toast. Then it was 5 more minutes under a moderate grill. And need I tell you it was delicious? Well it was!

And because I took a photo and kept going back to salivate over it, I ended up making variations on the theme all week, including cheese and coleslaw toasted bun, and toasted ham, cheese and pea shoot salad! It’s really not rocket science…which makes it all the more moorish to enjoy with a good cup of tea :)

#16 | FOOD

Photo A Day Aug | FOOD thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


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READY

This is the food of champions. Protein packed. Flavourful. Satisfying. Oh whatever. I’m not swimming any lengths today or scoring any goals or pounding any tarmac. I’m just going to eat like a champion and then strike some keys and talk to some fabulous people.

Simply scramble-fry an egg or two, smash some avocado with a crack of pepper and a splash of lime juice. Oh, throw in a pinch of cayenne for that extra kick to get you started. Pile it generously onto some Kallo Organic Rice Cakes and crunch away. Delicious!

I’m ready :)

#15 | READY

Photo A Day Aug | READY thisislemonade.wordpress.com

In an attempt to console myself for there being no gold medals to cheer for right now, I’m watching this.

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


10 Comments

ARROW

Where shall we go today. Shall we take a small step forwards or a big step backwards? Or hey, why not a strong, confident leap into the unknown?

When I was little my dad used to love taking us for an after dinner stroll along pavements, past rows and rows of houses and up a hill to the local patch of green. We didn’t have family holidays, but I have fond memories of spending precious time together, just walking nowhere in particular. I guess that’s why I was so at home when I lived in Germany, because the Germans love a good Spaziergang.

In the UK, we are fortunate enough to have a large network of generally well signposted public footpaths that direct us through thick forests and open fields, following alongside canals, fording streams and even trailing the coastline. Many footpaths give walkers right of way over private land. In recent years, I have grown to love exploring new paths. Most towns will have them, even in London. You can start off in a built up area and end up to your surprise, in a meadow of wild flowers. This is a great place to get started if you’re interested.

There isn’t much unspoilt countryside to dream of in the UK, but I enjoy how a lot of paths take you through farmland, maintained woodland, round the back of someone’s garden and along dirt tracks and bridleways. When it comes to putting on your boots, trainers or wellies to blow a few cobwebs away, it really does almost feel like we live in an equal society.

#14 | ARROW

Photo A Day Aug | ARROW thisislemonade.wordpress.com

Further links that may be of interest (more via the Visit Britain link - as above):

  • Walk 4 Life – great site where you can set up a walk challenge or get involved in one!
  • Ramblers Free Led Walks (London 2012) – walks around Olympic locations led by volunteers. I’ve also seen maps around town showing you nice green routes you can take on foot to the Olympic sites.
  • Walk England – more walking stuff.

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


2 Comments

SIMPLE

I feel something like this (see below) today. Except, possibly not as pretty. In fact, not half as pretty.

It’s got nothing to do with the party being over because, well, we’re just taking a break before the Paralympics to be honest. (Anyone else wondering why they extinguished the Olympic flame before we’ve actually finished? It does feel like a strange concept to have two flames…) And we’ll be partying well into 2013 at this rate, whether you’re joining us or not…but right now…as I said:

#13 | SIMPLE

Photo A Day Aug | SIMPLE thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


5 Comments

PURPLE + SPOON

I’m patting myself on the back. Almost halfway through the challenge, without flinching. However, it would not be wise to push it. Let’s combine for the weekend again ;)

I have been using online resources for my foodie inspiration for a long time now. One of my favourites being the user archived Food.com. I proudly say that I was a member from way back when it was still RecipeZaar. Anyway…I found that many of the recipes I loved, were uploaded by American cooks. Hence the need to use cups and spoons to measure things. I improvised with real cups and spoons, but eventually, got myself a set of measuring spoons and cups (I’m still in the market for a truly gorgeous set when I find it).

The spoon below is my favourite out of the set. I just love the roundness of it and the ergonomic curve of the handle sides. I want several just to keep in my glass jars for scooping flour or seeds or whatever.

#11+12 | PURPLE + SPOON

Photo A Day Aug | SPOON + PURPLE thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


11 Comments

RING[S]

Just two weeks ago today, we hid behind our sofas, held our hands over our eyes and peeped through our fingers at our television screens in homes all over the UK, as the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony began. We crossed our fingers and toes and hoped that Danny Boyle would enchant us with some improbable magic. Deep down inside, we feared that his enchanting film of 2008, Slumdog Millionaire was an award-winning fluke. As we looked out at our overcrowded public transport, closing down high streets, gridlocked traffic and murky grey skies, we braced ourselves for a cheesy rose-tinted view over our fabled green rolling hills.

Then, something beyond magic happened. A seemingly haphazard montage of utter mayhem exploded into a beautifully lit stadium. The stadium we still hadn’t come to terms with actually finishing on time. We are British, we don’t meet deadlines, we don’t do success, we don’t impress…look at Crossrail et al…However, Mr. Bean, a giant Voldemort, sick children dancing on hospital beds and a parachuting monarch aside (oh, and we invented the WWW what, really?) for many of us who stayed up until the end, the best bit was the finale. No, not Sir Paul silly, I mean the lighting of the Olympic flame!

If there was anything that represented Britain today for me, that was it. Yes, we are known the world over for our history, and we do spend a disproportionate amount of time contemplating the fluff in our navels. But most of us do live day-to-day as though we believe the children are our future.

We may come across as a cynical, grumbling, pessimistic nation but when challenges come, we have grit and we have hope. We try to look for the best in others and foster the potential that we seek out. And we try our best to invite everyone to the party and have fun. We don’t ask them to follow the same groove as long as everyone can dance together somehow. And our favourite national past time is doing our bit to help that person with two left feet find their rhythm.

#10 | RING[S]

Photo A Day Aug | RING[S] thisislemonade.wordpress.com

That’s why I’m glad this first gold rush only lasts about two weeks and we get a break before the paralympics kick off. I’m exhausted! We’re team GB, we don’t do medal hauls. We play fair, do our best and smile gratefully if we get a bronze. We’re the champion of the underdog and we don’t know how to cheer our team onto a win. If you want proof, just look at a few examples here, here and here!

So, there cannot be too much discussion about the legacy of these games. Where will this immensely successful Olympic Games leave us as a nation? How will we deal with all the success after the big party is over? Our Prime Minister has been attracting criticism for talking of reducing the number of hours sport should be taught per week in schools. The debate over public funding continues and the data analysis of which sports are more represented by which social groups, is happening even as the games are being played out. We are reminded that there is so much more that needs to be done.

At least we proved to ourselves that in spite of all this, the old adage continues to ring true: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Our games volunteers showed us that, our athletes demonstrated it convincingly. Crucially, we need to work as a team. Funding helps, research helps, but let us not forget, we were all team GB – all of us waving our flags, painting our faces, braving the weather, yelling at our screens, reaching for our hankies. We all have the will, it’s a question perhaps of whether or not we know what to do with success and how best to live well with it.

The motto of a school I used to know well was simply: Success through effort and determination. Seems fitting to me. Let’s not forget that Olympic flame and the much discussed legacy, that inspiring of a generation. It can be done, with a healthy dose of cynicism of course.

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


8 Comments

MESSY

Don’t we all recognise this sight…whether we own it or not? I intend to adopt one of those neat solutions I’ve been collecting on Pinterest when I have tidied up my office.

#9 | MESSY

Photo A Day Aug | MESSY thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


6 Comments

GLASSES

A while back, I left a comment below a British news article, which included the word “cuss” in it. I no longer remember the context of the article or the comment which I left. I just recall my shock at being berated by an American lady who personally disliked my choice of vocabulary. She was somewhat aggressive towards me (or came across that way from her use of words) simply because I had said “cuss” – not even because I actually cussed.

I knew straight away where the misunderstanding lay. As an East Londoner (I dare not speak for the rest of the country) the use of cuss to mean curse is quite foreign to me. Although having said that, I can hear it in a local Jamaican accent in my head. In fact, the use of the word curse here tends to have more sinister connotations than its usage common in American English. In the British English that I am familiar with, to “swear” would be the equivalent to the American “curse”.

So for the benefit of general diplomatic relations aka entertainment, I thought I would post a demonstration of an East London conversation that turned into a minor cussing match, taken from recent real life. I guess you could call it an amateur rap battle without the rhyme…

#8 | GLASSES

Photo A Day Aug | GLASSES thisislemonade.wordpress.com

A: [Holding up a cup of water from the water cooler] There’s something wrong with the water y’know.
B: Don’t say that! I’ve just drunk a whole glass.
A: [Holding up the water against the light] No really, there’s something in it. It was a small piece of something hard.
C: I’ve been drinking it all day, nothing wrong with it. It’s probably a bit of your tooth.
A: No! It must be lime scale or something. Can’t be my tooth, that’s horrible!
C: Well, the water’s completely clear. There’s no lime scale in it, that’s utter nonsense. It’s entirely probable that a bit of your tooth fell in.
D: And if it’s not your tooth. It’s probably plaque.
A: Aww that’s disgusting! I don’t have plaque. Look at my teeth!
D: Eww! Why would I want to get close to your plaque, just drink your water!
A: [Mumbling and eyeing the water suspiciously] I don’t have plaque. There’s something in it man.
E: I have plaque.

Who am I kidding, this probably comes across as a rather immature form of workplace bullying! But allow me to assure you that it is in fact an example of the bundle of laughs I have at work. (Albeit a very poorly written example!) The above exchange was all in jest and “A” can give as good as she gets when she’s not feeling slightly insecure about the office drinking water. She’s got good reason to feel that way too, believe me. But this kind of cussing squeezes a lot of lemonade out of the lemons at work and gives us all regular belly chuckles to keep us going.

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge. I'm exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It's a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know - I'd love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]

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