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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Summer is here people! :)

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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 😀


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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 😛
  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)

Happy summer solstice!

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Am I the only one who blinked and missed summer?

Well, we’re on the downward slippery slide to winter now. We’re just peeking over the edge of the longest day in the year today… soon we’ll be getting out of bed in the dark and crawling back home in the dark, wondering what daylight is. What happened to those balmy summer days that became the norm following the scorching 90’s?

So far this year, I’ve missed the bursts of sunshine that brought everyone rushing out to Tesco to buy a tray of coal and incinerate a few sausages. I think my neighbour is hilarious (I’m obviously easily amused). He keeps a big half deconstructed barbecue stand thing in the garden all summer. If there is sun of an evening, he’ll be out there with a handful of coal and a couple of burgers. Five, maybe ten minutes later, he’ll have zipped back in the house with his culinary masterpiece. I’m still waiting for a window of opportunity to do my bit to help burn up the earth’s coal reserves – incidentally, that made me wonder, are there any truly environmentally friendly ways to have a BBQ?

With the sky some 100 shades of grey this week, I stumbled on a link via Facebook to the video below. I don’t know why I found it so addictive – normally I’d find this kind of video irritating, and I actually kind of do. But I think I was also in disbelief at how good they are, especially the younger sister. And those tubs, they are just hypnotising. I’m going to call up my sister and see if she’ll have a go at this with me sometime this “summer“. A spot of sunshine and some fun music to cheer up this weekend from Lennon and Maisy:

Oh, apparently Wills was born 31 years ago today. Does anyone know if he has an official birthday too, like the Queen? Apparently, according to official sources, the monarch often celebrates her or his birthday when there is a higher chance of there being sunshine, hence the official birthday. So, I’m guessing that maybe he won’t have the need to move his birthday – even consulting the Met Office won’t help.

Have a sunny weekend everyone (literally and metaphorically, if not literally, then metaphorically!) 😉


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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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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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Not quite a ball…

It’s been a bit of a tough old time since I last posted. Still not out of the woods yet, but consoling myself with some knitting and learning yet again to trust in God’s plan and grace. In the past Sunday, a friend shared a song that I missed. I received news of it just when I needed reminding most. I’m feeling very thankful and at peace.

As I posted on Facebook last week, I’ve started another mini project. I promised to update you today so I’m posting photos below. But I’ve been winding yarn all day today because

  1. I’m currently convalescing and have nothing better to do and
  2. my mini project has run out of yarn and I need to get some more and
  3. my mammoth cable project does my shoulder (and head) in if I do too much at a time (although it has more than doubled since I last posted that photo)

So, today I took apart a project I finished previously that I did not like so much once I finished it. I think I should have used a softer, simpler and consistently coloured yarn for it. But I’m not going to make it again. I love the yarn and the mottled greys in it though, so I did some searches for ideas on balling yarn with a centre pull. What I’ve ended up with is the equivalent of two balls of yarn into a elongated rugby ball shape. Still a ball of sorts I guess, but not what you’d normally call a ball.

Balling yarn by hand

As for my lovely mini project, I could never bring myself to bother with knitting up anything but scarves and phone holders or random not so useful things. I would look at the yarn needed to knit up a cardigan and baulk at the idea. But then, after enjoying knitting up the booties so much, my mum encouraged me to try some mini jumpers etc. saying that they knit up really swiftly and it’s a great way to learn the skills. So I’m currently working up a mini hoodie with the view that it can be for a girl or a boy because I’m not yet sure who’s will eventually end up wearing it. I’d really recommend trying baby knitting if you are just starting out, because my mum was right – it’s addictive!

Corey Cardigan

I’m quite frustrated that I’ve done the back, front sides and just over one sleeve but have just run out of yarn! I can’t wait to get some more! How many yarn lovers do we have reading today? Please say hello and let me know if you have some ongoing projects!

In the meantime, with the yarn I’ve balled today, I’m going to make up a quick snood using inspiration I’ve pinned here and here. Hopefully it’ll be nice and quick and will turn out well. It’s definitely spring though, there is not a cloud in the sky and when I open the back door an unmistakeable fragrance of life wafts in. Hopefully the resulting snood will not be needed until the end of the year!

Thank you all for reading and leaving your comments. I’ve still to respond to some of them. I’m getting quite bad at this – sincere apologies! Trying to get into a good blogging rhythm. Missing some of your blogs too – I can see many friends of this blog have also been busy – thanks for popping by and leaving messages, even when you’ve obviously not had time to post yourselves. It always does me no end of good to hear from you ❤


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#waitingforspring

Today I woke up around 7. I remember hearing a car pass by and thinking, sounds like the tyres are on a wet road but it’s not rain, sounds sludgy. Yes, that is how I wake myself up early on a Saturday morning.

When I peeked out of the window, sure enough, a winter scene greeted my bleary eyes. It was snowy, in fact there was a mild blizzard blowing.

I’m following the #waitingforspring hash tag today after clicking on it and finding some humorous and positive takes on this unyielding wintry weather.

Spring has sprung – the daffodils have been out for over a week now – but it is really struggling to kick winter out! What’s the weather like where you are?

I wish you a safe, sheltered and warm weekend indoors unless you actually like trudging around in the cold…


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Frivolous Fridays: Get your groove on!

OK. If you have not thought of what to do this weekend, here’s a suggestion. How about making some music. This Incredibox webby app is great. You can’t beat box? Well, let me introduce to you some dudes that can:

Squeeze some lemons by this is lemonade on Incredibox

Screenshot of my dudes: click through to groove to my composition!

It’s really fun, I was hooked. And if you are really proud of yourself, you can pay €0.69 to download your masterpiece. Here’s mine.

Happy weekend! 🙂