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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Christmas Greetings

Dear lovely readers,

Thank you for your friendly, sparkly presence around this is lemonade this year. As we approach the end of 2012, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I hope that it will be a peaceful time for you and your loved ones in the midst of all the events that have been happening around the world this year, and all the changes that will bring new challenges in the new year. Thank you for the good times that you have brought to my year and let’s raise a bubbly glass to 2013.

I finally made an effort on Saturday and hung up some merry lights, they will stay up until spring now! For those of you who believe you deserve a present from Santa, here’s a little glimpse of his progress (click through to see the actual status)… it appears some of you already know whether you have been good girls and boys – enjoy your presents 😉

Santa Tracker

Take care and don’t stuff yourself with too much turkey. Enjoy the Queen’s first 3D Christmas message tomorrow. I do think her 3D glasses look a quite spiffy… what say you?

See you in 2013!

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Strange goings on… an update

Apologies for the delay in getting to the bottom of something I meant to investigate a little while ago – I’m flummoxed. Well, it was actually less than a month ago but perhaps memories of mosquitoes and warm weather have tricked my brain into thinking I spotted the strange flying thing sometime in the summer.

Regrettably I have not discovered yet, what the creature is that I photographed, so as promised I am supplying a clearer image – anyone out there recognise this and can enlighten me?

What On Earth?

I’ve made too many clicks on thumbnails of insects only to bombard myself with large detailed photographs of too-much-larger-than-life creepy crawlies that do not match up. Sorry to do this to you (kind of) 😛 I was compelled to share the WOW moment with you – doesn’t this look like an insect in fancy dress?


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Doctor’s orders

All’s well and good on this front:

Doctor's Orders

I’m going to follow instructions carefully and enjoy reading your inspiring blog posts instead 😉


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10 More Days to Go (ish)!

Well. That depends on where you are in the world. It also depends on when you are reading this post. It might even depend on when the Big Day is to you. And whether or not I can actually count. But as it’s a Friday, we are looking at all things frivolous. Let us not get all tangled up in the intricacies of how many more days there really are until Christmas Day.

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a real gem to share: do you love the world renowned Gruffalo story, written by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler? Well, Mr Scheffler was commissioned to illustrate the Royal Mail Christmas 2012 stamps and they are absolutely lovely! A sweet little video on BBC News magazine looking at his work and the Christmas stamps themselves can be found here. Does anyone fancy sending me a few Christmas cards in different sizes and weights? You have until next Tuesday or Thursday to get them to me in time for Christmas, depending on whether or not you are sending them by second or first class post or both from the UK 😉

I am a lover of stamps, having inherited some albums from my mother and then sorted through bagfuls of them from my German landlady many years ago. It’s not just the actual designs, shapes and colours of them that I love, or even the fact that among them are many souvenirs of places I may never visit in my lifetime. I love how much I learned from them. In trying to sort them, I stumbled across nuggets of history, different languages and scripts, important personalities or things of nature and inventions. And then there are the celebratory stamps. No, I did not get the London 2012 collection (of which only the first class stamps can still be purchased until the end of the year), even though I was thinking of it. Will I get the ones of Gruffalo illustrator fame? I don’t know. Perhaps a signed souvenir cover will do!

On another note, did you know that today is… Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day? A day when you can do something good with those embarrassing jumpers your granny gave you every year (mine didn’t, poor you!) If you didn’t realise, or your granny was more like mine and you have not had time to knit your very own silly jumper with Rudolph or Santa on it, then I propose whipping up a quick jumper for your egg cup – oh yes, there are free patterns on the Save the Children website and they are seriously cute! Hopefully that will make up for my abrupt lack of woolly posts and lovely knits recently. My shoulder is still iffy, I think I need to pencil in the doc as my first appointment of 2013 😦

Whatever you are going through today and through this holiday period, take care. I’m sending you some Gruffalo awesomeness – get your shrewd, inventive mind ticking. Wrap yourself up warm and pour a cup of tea, or get out those beach shorts and wriggle your toes in the sand (depending on which of the two is more relevant, and responsible, for you). Have a good weekend!


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Light relief

The weather forecast is currently inaccurate in a momentarily sunny London:

2012 weather forecast

I’m not complaining or anything. Yesterday, some of the frost from the morning did not melt all day. It’s December, the weather is reassuringly wintery. It feels somewhat seasonal unlike how it has been for much of 2012.

We’re entering the holiday period soon, approaching the end of what has been quite a momentous year for the UK I guess. Thoughts are turning to 2013.

You and I, we’ve almost been together for a year. We’ve had our ups and downs. Together. Through this year, the journey’s been made easier via this blog. I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful for the friends both old and new who have been popping by and encouraging me through 2012.

What is most on your mind right now? Christmas shopping? Whether or not to scramble together a hasty pile of Christmas cards to post? How to manage all the food preparation?

I’d just like to wish you some calm and peace in the midst of all the hustle bustle, Christmas lights and jingle jangle. Let’s sit and sip a cup of tea, and wonder at why we get so caught up in it all at this time of year.

Do you “do” Christmas? How will you be spending the coming weeks until we see in the New Year? (God-willing.)


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FF: Fashion {04 Cosy Charcoals}

A fun fashion post is long overdue as is a clothes shopping trip! We had our first snow of winter 2012 this week in London and I’ve been craving greys again in the cold weather.

I love warming greys in winter. Black is a little too austere, but greys are soft and snuggly. Charcoal knits simply cocoon you in cosiness when the pavements are frosty and the sharp winds chafe at your cheeks.

It’s not that cold yet, so a pair of courts/pumps are still perfectly appropriate (although I’d prefer flats in this style), but I am in the market for a good pair of boots and I’m thinking of replacing my tatty boot cut jeans with a new skinny pair. I haven’t braved that style transition yet. Yes, I know I’m a few years late, but I am notoriously lazy when it comes to actually buying new clothes.

I like to browse seasonal trends, window shop, walk around feeling all the fabrics, oohing at all the colours and textures… I just keep my purse tightly closed. Ha! No, I have not been spending my share to get us out of the recession, that’s quite clear from the chancellor’s Autumn Statement this week. My bad.

(Maybe I should think like Starbucks and make a donation to the Government in compensation for my tightfistedness! Their latest “extraordinary” move is rather mind boggling. Nevermind, Costa and even Pret have sofas these days and serve rather more decent coffee. Starbucks’ tax affairs have no bearing on why I haven’t visited in a long long time, so their limping U-turn is not about to drag me back. Still, I’d love to find a favourite independent caffeine haunt in which to wrap my frozen hands around a liquid hand warmer.)

So, what are your clothes shopping habits? Does it get very cold where you are? What are your favourite colours to wear in winter? Do tell all 🙂

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!