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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Feeling lazy but lively

I did want to publish a woolly post today. It’s long overdue. And I had an idea for a Meaningful Monday post last week… but promptly forgot what it was… I’ve been missing you guys, but am feeling increasingly tired and weighed down by a very lively creature in my belly that I can’t wait to meet. Not long to go now…

I’m not personally dancing that much these days… but I hope this video spreads a little of the joy that gorgeous blue sky, with wispy hints of cloud stretched across it, on a whole day full of sunshine has been making me feel today. And this is how I feel about my London Town too. I’ve been feeling a bit WOW today in short… hope that you enjoy what essentially is a Cadbury’s chocolate advert. Ahh well, maybe Cadbury’s will send me a few bars of Dairy Milk just to make my day unbeatable? HAha… a girl can dream big :P

I hope you are all well…Take care! xx


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Summer is here people! :)

image

If only we’d known there would be a summer at all this year, while we were stuck in the doldrums of the long winter ;)

The Great British Summer has arrived! Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Enjoy it while it lasts!

I wonder how many roundabouts will have sunbathers on them this weekend. How many sausages will be incinerated? All the supermarkets will be out of instant barbecue trays for sure (I haven’t actually noticed that many on sale yet this year). Lucky I’ve still got a couple from an end of soggy summer sale from last year or whenever ;)

Have a lovely weekend everyone. Enjoy your holiday US readers! We don’t need a holiday here, it’s like Christmas has come early but without the cold! Time to put the lemonade on ice :-D


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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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{WOW Wednesdays} Plush Perfection

I haven’t done a WOW post for a while. I’ve tried really hard to make lemonade recently, but it always turns out flat. With all this grey cloud, white cloud, dark rainy cloud business it’s hard not to succumb to SAD – even though the current season was named “summer” a long time ago, I think the UK should have a specific season simply called “grey”. I love that we have long, long days in the summer here in the UK. I love that we can see blue skies from time to time, and white fluffy clouds. But for that, we also have dull grey skies, stormy, blustery rain storms and dismal, chilly nights.

I have been filled with wonder through this year so far though. It did take a while for nature to wake from its slumber in “spring”. But when it did it was relentless. At the first ray of sunshine, green sprouted everywhere. Then there was rain and everything suddenly exploded with vigour. Butterflies flitted in and out of the shrubs, robins darted back and forth hopping excitedly about doing their thing, squirrels stopped anxiously digging up supplies and checking on their dwindling larder stock…

pink peony

At the beginning of June, I started getting excited. I have a herbaceous peony plant in my garden, and it had sprung up out of the ground again as though overnight. When we moved in a couple of years ago, I didn’t know it existed. Then, a few months afterwards, some stems and leaves appeared out of nowhere. We wondered what this mysterious plant could be. It didn’t seem to be a weed and though lush looking, was decidedly bland with its long rigid stems and waxy dark green leaves. Then one day, I went out into the garden and saw some familiar, tight balls of red fringed green with some pink peeking out. I could not believe it. We had inherited a surprise. My absolute favourite flower.

pink peony

I only discovered peonies maybe ten years ago? All I remember is that there were some curiously spherical buds for sale at the supermarket. They had lovely firm stems and waxy leaves and were marked down considerably. I put them in a vase when I got home. I was intrigued when they started opening up and revealed a most amazingly soft pink clutch of petals.

pink peony

But it was the morning when I discovered that small ball had exploded into a huge lush puff of powder pink something like eight times its original size that I was completely smitten. The peony ended up being the star of my wedding bouquet. And that’s me, who isn’t really into powder pink. But this particular pink is deceptive, those petals are seriously resilient with a lovely smooth texture. The mere idea that this small, tightly packed sphere can possibly unfurl into an amazing show of abundance with such a wonderfully calming fragrance still bowls me over.

pink peony

pink peony

So you can imagine how special it was for me to discover that, hiding beneath the cold, hard, frosty soil of winter, was this wonderful plant in my garden. Waiting to surprise me. And this year, perhaps due to the strangeness of the seasons so far, there are almost twice as many buds on the plant as last year. I couldn’t help but cut one to take inside to cheer things up. Sometimes I just find myself sitting there staring at it. I am filled with this indescribable amazement and wonder. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me just to see it.

pink peony

The sun is fighting through the clouds right now. I wouldn’t call it the height of summer, but it sure is good to get some colour outside the window. I am reminded that sometimes we may struggle, sometimes things fall apart, sometimes we fall apart, but we aren’t here alone. When I look at nature, I see that we are not designed to rely upon ourselves. Looking at this flower, in its frailty, God’s design enables it to withstand the cruelty of my secateurs and still bloom to give me such enjoyment of it. I give thanks for where I am right now, in spite of not knowing where I am heading. For what it’s worth, I am also thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers, especially if you are enduring difficulties however great or small, wherever you may be.

And below was the soundtrack for May – the wedding themes I enjoyed. They remind me of sunshine, I hope to spread some to you too (even those of you who don’t like sharing!) ;)

  1. River Flows in You – Yurima
  2. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

(Links via Soundcloud)


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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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Tasty Toasties: Variation on a duck egg

I’ve been buzzing with busy-ness. It’s been invigorating. I wish there was more of it! But right now there’s a little lull and I’m simply going to post some lovely colours.. the yolks of duck eggs I’ve been putting on crunchy things. I think I’m hooked on the colour orange. It’s just seriously invigorating.

Bacon and duck egg on toast, served with celeriac soup - recipe coming up!

A simple bacon and egg toastie, served with home made celeriac soup. Hopefully I can post a recipe soon, it’s YUM!

Duck egg and avocado on a rice cake

Duck egg centre on avocado on a rice cake. In the absence of bright sunshine, the yolk of an egg reminds me what it looks like. What things invigorate you or remind you of sunshine?

I hope to get back to your lovely comments soon!  I hope you are well? Take good care.


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Treasure Trove Thursdays : Sunshine and kisses

A little snapshot of my bank holiday weekend. Nothing unusual apart from going to the wedding of a lifetime. Full of tears and laughter, I haven’t attended a more special wedding in my life. I’m currently feeling a little bereaved because it was just the most delightful and wonderful day, but it was over all too quickly.

I was in spring cleaning (more like office organising) mode all last week:

shredding

There is still plenty of work to be done but there are some colourful and pretty side effects of sorting through paperwork. Even though this went straight into the recycling!

peeling

On Sunday, there was a big meal to be had, during the preparation of which I had the opportunity to compare three different vegetable peelers. I’ve never really used any in the style of the colourful ones. The all-metal one was mine, inherited from a previous landlord. Having more than one peeler in one’s possession makes a lot of sense if one does not want to prepare meals alone. I have in mind to acquire a new cheerful plastic one sometime soon!

kissing

…and Monday transported me to the “epic” wedding (not my usual word for a wedding, but one that’s been banded around Facebook ever since the big day!) It was truly special day for me personally, a really meaningful event that I’m not expecting to forget for a long time to come.

lilac ivy

As a real bonus, the wedding took place in the most beautiful setting, which we were able to take full advantage of  and relax in. Absolutely perfect. Only thing that could have improved it for me, was remembering to bring my sunglasses! We had some beautiful sunshine, it’s something special after the long long winter. Every ray of sun is like a sparkle of magic and makes me feel so alive.

paper bag candlelight

I’m still glowing from the beautiful day. Pity it was a work day afterwards and we could not stay on till very late as we had quite a way to go afterwards.

Did you have a bank holiday? How was your weekend? I can’t believe another week is almost over again. We’ll be half-way through the year soon and I feel like the year’s barely begun. Anyone else feel this way?


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How can I not smile, when there’s not a cloud in the blue sky? The butterflies are fluttering about in a mesmerising mating dance. A gentle breeze sways branches that were just dead and bare only a few weeks ago and are now decked with colour. There are two things that make my City irresistibly beautiful: clean, unstomped snow… and glorious sunshine. It may have been a long winter this year, but after the cold, dark days where you just want to hide under your duvet for months the sun brings a burst of energy, and if you just let go a little.. you could go a bit hyper. Better not then.

I have to say that although the UK is officially in Northern Europe according to the UN, we do have a relatively mild climate. Our winter days are tortuously short and often bitterly cold, but our summer days are beautifully long and can be wonderfully balmy. I live for those long summer nights, when you can still see a hazy blue in the sky at 9pm and sleeping feels like a waste of time.

McDonalds litter notice - love where you live

I can hardly believe that it’s already May. Today, the sun is shining. I’m looking forward to summer, although I know I’m getting ahead of myself. But I reserve the right to treat any sunshine as a sliver of summer. So today is summer. It’s pretty much as summery as it gets here anyway. I have a wedding to attend this Bank Holiday weekend. I hope that the sun saves enough energy to shine through for the happy couple.

Have any of you had the first BBQ or picnic of the year yet? I really feel like dining al fresco… I hope you get a share of the sunshine this weekend, even if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s quickly approaching winter…


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Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Greetings all! This weekend I told you I would be baking. But it almost didn’t happen. Firstly, I decided a lie-in on Saturday would be good. It was indeed. Secondly, the weather was not the same beast as depicted in the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, shared on Friday. In fact, it was quite different with not a cloud in the sky:

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayAs a direct consequence of the aforementioned lie-in, fewer hours in the day remained for me to take advantage of the weather. There was a risk that baking would not get a look in. But it did.

The ingredients and method were really quick, simple and gluten-free to boot. I followed a recipe I pinned here, but reduced the amount of sugar included because I prefer things to be less sweet.

While preheating the oven to 180°C, I mixed together one egg, half a cup of sugar (I used granulated brown cane sugar), one cup of peanut butter and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. I initially disliked the mixture a lot. It was gooey, sugary and didn’t look like it would amount to much. But as I mixed it, my biceps ached and the goo became a delicious smelling crumby golden ball:

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayThe mixture was then easily rolled into small walnut -sized balls as suggested in the original recipe. I got 23 out of these quantities. To create the cute pattern on top, I simple pressed down gently with a fork to form a criss-cross pattern. I found the peanut butter oils were sufficient to prevent the fork from sticking to the batter if done carefully.

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayThe cookies only need 12 minutes in the oven to achieve a lovely crumbly texture with a very slightly chewy middle. They are very soft when they first come out of the oven, so I transferred them immediately onto a cooling rack  by pulling the non-stick baking sheet with cookies on top and sliding it over. I then sprinkled a teaspoon’s worth of extra sugar on top for a little extra crunch.

These cookies are great if you want something easy and quick. I can imagine they’d be great on a hot summer’s day, when you don’t want to spend long in a hot kitchen. I can’t say I actually know what that feels like though. Spring sunshine with a chilly breeze blowing will have to do me for now ;) I hope you give the cookies a try and enjoy them too!

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Another great thing about these is, that they are at once salty and sweet. A great combination. Their peanutty richness also means that you don’t need to eat many with your cup of tea. I’ve still got over half left. That’s win-win-win in my book! If you made some now, we could meet for a virtual tea and cookies meet-up ;)

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