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.

Sunny Side Toasties


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!




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

[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!]

Oats so nourishing


Oat so nourishing – in celebration of a British summer

Aaah the beautiful long days of the British summer….dreary, rainy, windy…I’d much rather have burrowed deep under my duvet and hibernated for the last few weeks. Does anyone remember the freak spell of hot weather a few weeks back? I do, just about, but I cheated – more about that later. But mid-week, I gave up and turned on the central heating again. Just for two hours a day, so that I wouldn’t fall over in the shower from excessive shivering! Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame is asking everyone in a poll: Is your central heating on? Good question…what’s your answer as we rapidly approach the summer solstice?

In all honesty, I do love wintry things like snuggling up in cosy pyjamas, wearing fluffy warm slippers and eating comfort food – anything with gravy and mash! And because it’s not been all that warm I’ve had the best of both worlds I guess – longer days and cosy nights. And having the heavens water my garden for me is not something I feel the need to complain about, even though as of yesterday, the hose pipe ban in my area was lifted thanks to the recent heavy rain!

So in the spirit of this year’s very temperamental British summer, I’m going to share something comforting that reminds me of cosy mornings. The smell of it awakens memories of getting up in the dark, wrapping myself in anything as akin to a blanket as possible and shuffling downstairs in thick socks to breakfast: porridge. Truly comforting, the smell of oats is indulgent and yet so familiar it warms you from the inside.

Oats so nourishingWell…not quite porridge – an oatmeal face scrub-mask. Yep, it smells like putting really yummy porridge on your face. Although I can’t say I feel like licking something off my face after I’ve used it to suck the dirt out of my pores. Because that is exactly what it does. After using it for the first time, not only had the redness around my nostrils calmed down, the blackheads (eww, sorry) that had started accumulating on my nose had been REMOVED too. Amazing!

I am going to describe the pure version and then a more glorified version that I made up by combining ingredients I like. I tried, tested and loved the second mask, and it’s personally very good for me.

  • My skin-type: quite sensitive, combination-dry.
  • Disclaimer: try them carefully on a inconspicuous patch of skin first in case you have an allergy. Always be careful to apply away from the eye area.

Oats so nourishingPure Oat Scrub-Mask

  • 1 teaspoon oats
  • 1 tablespoon water (temperature of your choosing, I prefer cold to tepid)

I first saw this on Bubzbeauty “Beautiful Skin Remedy“. I place the ingredients in a small dish and knead the oats a bit to get all the goodness out. I find these quantities are sufficient for a simple 2 minute wash but you might want to vary them according to your preference. The longer you soak the oats for beforehand, the more they swell up and make the water milky.

Make sure you don’t drain it off. The oat “milk” is lovely and nourishing! I just apply it all with my fingertips and hands. If you are using it as a mask, simply leave it to set for a few minutes before washing off, massaging your skin in circular motions.

Oats so nourishingBrightening Oat Mask

  • 1 teaspoon natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon gram flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed oats (I used a pestle and mortar)

This mask is great for brightening your skin and refining your pores. Mix ingredients into a smooth paste and apply to face. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Wash off by wetting your fingertips and massaging mask off gently in circular motions.

I like to apply this cold – using the yoghurt straight from the fridge is very soothing and refreshing on the face. Gram flour is made from chickpeas and can be found in South Asian supermarkets or the world section of your local supermarket. It has gentle exfoliating properties and is better than wheat flour if you can get it.

I collected the cold rice water from the last time I washed some rice I was about to cook. I infused it with oats and left to steep for the amount of time it took me to eat my dinner and wash up. I then pressed the oats, strained off the water into a small bottle and kept it in the fridge.

Is anyone watching Euro 2012 by the way? It’s half time in the England v Sweden match now, I think I need to dash to the loo. You have a few minutes to get a quick mask on if you’re swift! 😉