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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Let your dreams set sail…

I had the privilege recently, of taking a day off for no particular reason. To celebrate I whiled away a few hours eating a leisurely dim sum lunch overlooking a peaceful dock. The weather was mild and warm, despite there being no sun. It was cloudy but bright and I was in no hurry at all.

After I finished my meal, I spotted a fly a couple of metres away. Normally, a fly in a restaurant so near my table would repulse me. But this fly was not interested in food. It was pacing the floor to ceiling window between me and the water, trying to get back out.

Perhaps I was very relaxed. I was sipping my Iron Buddha tea, watching the world go by, my stomach contentedly processing the delicious delicacies I had just consumed. I must have lingered another half an hour as the poor, hapless creature paced up and down the shadowless pane of glass before me, examining nooks and crannies I could not see in the window frame.

As I sat observing, my thoughts somehow meandered vaguely into the philosophical. A fly’s lifespan is much shorter than that of the average human. This one was slowly eating away its time determinedly expecting to find freedom. Flies often look ridiculous banging their heads against glass that we put in their flight path. I imagine them saying over 100 times a day, “D’oh, ouch. Didn’t see that. Again.” I marvelled at how this fly could continue to cover the surface of the impenetrable glass and not just give up and die. If I were a fly, I would not last that long. I’m not one for banging my head against the proverbial window, let alone calmly persevering for hours and days on end at something seemingly fruitless.

That’s why I look for inspiration and encouragement at every turn. I don’t just thrive on it, I survive on it. I need it. And that’s why the latest addition to a range of monthly desktop/phone backgrounds by the lovely Clemence at Oh the lovely things touched me so much that I wanted to share it with you. Truth be told, it often does not dawn on me that another new month is upon us, until her monthly wallpapers post drops in my reader. She must be tired of my repetitive comments: “What it’s May already?” “Is it April already?” “I’m still in shock that it’s March…” (I didn’t leave one last month because I thought it was getting a bit like a broken record!)

Let your dreams set sail | Wallpaper - Oh the lovely things

Let your dreams set sail | Wallpaper – Oh the lovely things

July is the most special month of the year for me. It’s also the turning point in the year where we start dangerously dipping downwards on the roller coaster towards winter again. So the simple message for July has really picked me up and made me smile to see it. July has already proven to be full of beautiful surprises for me, not least with the current (reportedly soon-to-end) heatwave. I’ve been challenged to try and remember to dream and live like dreams can become reality, at least sometimes, for the whole month of July :) And I’d recommend you take yourself over to Clemence’s blog to grab some inspiration for yourself if you haven’t already.

I doubt the aforementioned fly has as rich a life as mine. In fact, its brief existence has more than likely expired. But it didn’t give up its tedious effort to achieve its goal for the seeming eternity during which I observed it. There’s a lesson in that.. I guess there’s also a lesson by extension, that your dreams often can’t set sail until you stop pacing about on the closed window and find the open one – it’s just that sometimes it takes a bit of time to work out which is which ;) I’m definitely not one of those people who have it all together and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Thank you for being on this journey with me. What adventures do you wish to embark on? Let’s keep on keeping on and I wish you fair winds behind the sails of your dreams!


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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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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 ;)

Sunny Side Toasties


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Sunny Fried Toasties

I’m back in a frosty but beautifully sunny London! This is my perfect, favourite kind of weather – clear, crisp and bright. You know that you can put your big coat on, wrap a scarf around right up to your nose and pull on some cosy gloves. Wispy clouds adorn the sky but there is not a whiff of rain! A good friend of mine calls it feeling alive weather, and that’s exactly what it is! Everyone walks around with rosy cheeks from the invigorating breeze.

I’ve been staying much closer to the equator for the past couple of weeks, where Kraft Singles is most people’s idea of normal, affordable cheese, and tea most certainly is not drunk with milk unless it is a sweet evaporated or condensed milk. The weather this time of year there is supposed to be cool and balmy, and mosquitoes are most definitely supposed to be scarce. However, the weather around the world has been crazy this year and I suffered at the mouths of some very lively specimens of these pesky creatures. I came away averaging one bite a day. Two weeks is not that long a time to be away from home, but I started to feel seriously homesick after my third itchy bite.

Towards the end of my stay, I was craving melted cheese, fish and chips, any cheese, give me cheese, please! – as though I had been away for years. Then I almost did not make it onto the plane in time because I got stomach flu a couple of days prior to my flight. Thankfully I was OK to fly and on the way back, they served vegetarian lentil moussaka with melted CHEESE on top. I was not confident that it would taste nice so I opted for chicken rock in rosemary jus ketchup soup, but my kindly Fellow Traveller did out of pity for me and gave me some.  (I wouldn’t recommend it – it was like a dense lentil brick with a tasteless mass of white goo on top, very unsatisfying!)

So… now I’m back, I’m in the mood for celebrating! Phew! How about this for a fun, tasty treat?

Sunny Side Toasties

I’m not sure where I first saw this idea, but I immediately liked it – can you resist a fun way to eat a delicious fried egg? I love eggs, they are like a miracle food and I tried another similar idea using avocados but decided I prefer my avocado raw.

My toastie method is so easy and tasty, go on… have a go!

  1. Cut a circle out of a piece of bread using a glass, and then butter the bread pieces on both sides. I reckon next time, I’ll butter first so that it’s not so fiddly.
  2. Toast one side of the piece of holey bread in a hot pan until it has browned and then flip it over.
  3. Crack an egg into a ramekin/small bowl to make it easier to pour it neatly into the circle.
  4. Add a drop of vegetable oil in the hole before adding the egg to the pan. Turn the heat down to low and cook uncovered until the egg whites become opaque. I find that this takes about 10 minutes. (If you want to take less time, cover the pan, however this yields a less glossy egg yolk!)
  5. (Optional step of which I am very proud!) Cut some Red Leicester cheese into short strips. About 5 minutes in, toast one side of the cut out bread until browned. Flip over and then lay the cheese strips on top and watch them melt!
  6. Grind some black pepper over the top of the egg and cheese and ENJOY! :)

Sunny Side Toasties

Do you like winter? What is your favourite kind of weather? I hope that you have a go at this fun snack. There’s nothing like a bit of brilliant amber to brighten up the longer evenings!


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TGIF!

I’m very thankful to have made it through the week. I hope your week has been alright too. Thank you for your well wishes, I’m still sneezing a lot, so you may be more at risk of becoming ill than me now, if you come anywhere near me. I‘m on the mend though! :)

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Funny how some humble Hobnobs and a hot cup of tea can bring comfort to a soul. This was tea-time today. I don’t know why, but merely looking at the oaty crumbs makes me happy!

I hope something simple makes you smile this weekend.

Super Thursday

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Apparently today is called Super Thursday in the publishing world. The highest number of books are published on this day each year, in time to be purchased for stuffing into our Christmas stockings. I just loved the idea of a super day. It’s not been that super at all today. We’ve had grey skies and drizzle all day, bit of a damp, dreary, limp and wimpish Thursday if you ask me. However, well.. the BBC news says it’s super…so, how about we take a breather, make a cuppa and make the rest of it super eh?

I thought it would be fun to share the best piece of spam I’ve received in my comments to date. Actually, I wasn’t too sure it wasn’t genuine, except for the fact that it was linked to some random website full of nonsense. I mean I am wonderful, tremendous and frankly super, although I have been finding myself to be kinda boring recently. So…technically… this could be applicable to me:

Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring! I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

LOL. Oh, and when one has a day off…one tends to over compensate by taking too much time over melting cheese and such like. Today, I ate chunky peanut butter, ham and cheese toasties with a fried egg and a side salad of tomato and sweet yellow pepper.

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I’m curious to know – will you be gifting an e-reader this Christmas or are you a traditionalist when it comes to books? Do you still read newspapers or are you more likely to frequent news sites or perhaps you read everything on an app? Have a super Thursday!

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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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