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.


The Battle We Didn’t Choose

I haven’t done a Treasure Trove Thursday for a long time. It’s not because there aren’t plenty of treasures in my life. It’s just that I have found the deeper thoughts often escaping me recently – the time and space to sit and reflect and write what I have reflected upon, in such a way that is appropriate – they’ve been scarce lately. But I wanted to share with you this website and talk that I stumbled upon today, and to thank you for your friendship.

We all go through battles we didn’t choose. Photographer Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer chose to share their battle with the world through some beautifully simple and honest images. The story of Jennifer’s journey with breast cancer is a very intimate one. Angelo does not make his wife out to be a heroine of pedestal status. I was touched by how theirs was ultimately a simple love story, a story of family and friendship, a story of the need of human beings for each other. Yes, ultimately it is a story of a very personal loss, but also a story that has already been an inspiration to many.

Today is not a day too late, to tell those around you that they matter to you. That you love them. That you need them. That you treasure them.



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:


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!


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!


…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?

Scarf Update


Wrapped up and warm…almost

Just a little photo of my 97% completed scarf #2. The colour has greyed out a little in the lighting at home.

I’ve hurt my shoulder and have been forbidden to knit until I’ve completely recovered. I need some time to decide how to finish off the ends of the scarf anyway, so I’m not complaining. I don’t like tassels too much and I’m not sure about pompoms. I’ve used a simple moss stitch along the entire scarf and it’s knitted in felted tweed, so a nice chunky wool. I’m thinking more along the lines of some sort of lacey crocheted edging. Any ideas?

Scarf Update

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Sneak peak : getting crafty

Finally I’m getting down to something I’ve been meaning to do for months. Something to be shared soon 🙂


Hope your week is going well. We’re almost at the weekend! Take care.


Rain, rain go away…

I’m sitting at a window, looking out at a blue sky with puffy clouds in it. For two days running, the weather forecast for London has been somewhat incorrect. The heavy rains they threatened yesterday did not materialise. Thankfully. There was a bit of drizzle. That’s all. Today, there were supposed to be white clouds with some sunny spells…it’s mostly been nice bright blue skies decorated with puffy clouds and sunshine.

Am I complaining? No. In some parts of the country, there has been enough surface water for some to take to jet-skiing. Not good. Summer is definitely over. For now. The sunshine does not bring warmth, and we’ve had chilly winds all week. Monday was absolutely freezing. The rain was like ice. Sort of.

Ode To Summer

So I just wanted to brighten things up a bit. Thoughts of summer are definitely in order. Just reminiscing about some of the colours of sunshine. And I’m hoping some of you who read this from up north are ok, in the midst of all the devastating flooding 😦


I won’t let bygones be bygones

In my heart of hearts, I believe that each of us lives according to our capacity in life. However relatively rosy our lives may appear to the next person or however privileged and elevated our position in society is perceived to be, when we as individuals are in the midst of it, we know when we have met our limit. Even if we have fame and fortune, when something breaks us, it breaks us. We are stripped down to our bare human frailty. The rest are peripherals. Mere stabilisers on a bike we never quite learn to ride perfectly. Sometimes, those wheels come off. Oops-a-daisy…

Words. Such potent things. And for that, I am truly grateful. Lemonade is not easy to make from lemons as we all know, and tonight, I met my match. It’s been getting progressively more difficult recently, to make that lemonade sweet enough to swallow. But then I remembered some words I had written over a decade ago. I searched for them in some old folders. A sample of twenty-two poems I had written during some of the darkest times in my life. Through those words I revisited my younger self. I was reminded of some of the reasons why I made a decision then, to keep trying to live. I felt as though I was fingering tiny precious gems I had rediscovered in a well worn silken pouch. I wrote those words a long time ago in my pain. I never dreamt that they would speak to me again through these mists of time…

And then the simple image below appeared in my malfunctioning WordPress reader. It was so poignant and apt. It was exactly how I envisaged my feelings to be. I felt so small in an overwhelming emptiness that was keeping me awake but wanted to be in a deep restful sleep in a beautiful peaceful nothingness all at once.

Life is still wobbly. But I think I can now catch forty winks to the soundtrack of birdsong at dawn. Thank you for reading and for being out there for me 🙂

Reblogged from Christophe Gowans:

26 July 2012

Click to visit the original post

Today I took a picture of sleep.


Making Lemonade Together

Paeonia 'Eden's Perfume'

Paeonia ‘Eden’s Perfume’

I started this blog to help me make lemonade from life’s lemons. I did not imagine I would have other people joining me in my endeavours along the way. This really is becoming the haven that I had hoped it would be, with friends dropping by too! Thank you for being here.

To make this blogging thing even more special, I was nominated for two blog awards! Whatever you think of blog awards, I have to admit that when I was told I’d been nominated, it made my week. It’s really heart warming to have another person appreciate this little project of mine. So I am gladly accepting these from two bloggers who have been kindly encouraging me along the way. I hope you’re prepared to browse the treasure trove of blogs I am hauling in below!

My heartfelt thanks to Ziggy of ziggyshortcrust, for the Liebster Award. I have featured Ziggy’s magical blog here. It is full of her characterful drawings – there is no limit to her imagination! Please sit yourself down with a good cup of something comforting and get yourself over for a good read.

And thank you so much to Mags of Modgam’s Playground, for the Sunshine Award. Mags is someone with indomitable style and a vivaciousness that cheers me up every time I hear from her. If you would love “fashion, food, fun” Mags has it in bucket loads!

And to pay it forward I would like to nominate the following blogs for the awards:

Three bloggers who inspire meLiebster Award: Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.
Sunshine Award: Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog. Answer 10 questions about yourself. Nominate 10 other bloggers. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they have been nominated. Share the love and link the person who nominated you.Three bloggers who bring sunshine to my day
  • Mister G – a 100% true comic about stuff kids say in elementary school
  • hungry for home – a photographic project to collect recipes and stories that bring nostalgic memories of home
  • Vague Memories – a simple but charming photojournal

My apologies that I haven’t followed the rules 100%. As my punishment, I’m going to allow myself to only answer six of the sunshine award questions about me me me:

  1. Favourite colour: Grey paired with white – it still feels like winter here.
  2. Favourite animal: Horse, although I’m not really an “animal person”.
  3. Favourite drink: Tea – a strong Earl Grey please 😉
  4. My passion: People, eating together and beautiful things.
  5. Favourite day of the week: Friday – the weekend is still ahead of me
  6. Favourite flower: Peonies – the first time I met one, it was a soft-pink ping pong ball… when I got home from work the next day, it had exploded into this mass of powder pink petals. I have been in love ever since.


Beautiful things….

I love beautiful things. I’m very selective, but once I’ve fallen for something, I will enthuse about it forever.

At random times. In unexpected ways. Suddenly a passing word, a fleeting flash of colour, a sound, a particular level of humidity in the air, the frosty wind….something will trigger a memory of whatever I fell in love with and it will bring a smile to my day. I get really excited about texture, colour, form, a shape or line, a voice, music, reflection, a small discovered detail…a print…which is what brought me to write this post:

Printed skirt : Wendy's Lookbook

Printed skirt : Wendy’s Lookbook
(Clicking on the image will take you to the source.)
I love the ink-drawn lace-like quality of this pattern as well as the purple-grey shades that remind me of what you get with blotting paper and fountain pens…

Because the dearly beloved gathered around me don’t usually get it, they will only perceive my over-excitement for a tiny bit too long. Their blank expressions usually prevent me from oohing and aahing too much. But I will continue to glow inside from the beauty of whatever it was that captured my imagination, and every time I remember what I loved about that thing, it will flood me with intense happiness and give me that elusive warm and fuzzy feeling.

In my mind, are countless memories of beautiful things I have seen, touched, tasted, heard and internalised. The unspeakable grandeur of a Norwegian fjord, the crisp pure air on a Swiss mountain, the enchantment of walking up a Roman fort in heavy snowfall, the expansive calm of the Lake District in temperate spring, the moodiness of the heather-cushioned Yorkshire Moors underfoot. The feel of the wood on a gently crafted chair, the intense flavour of a ripe avocado and the different shades of its buttery green flesh, the sound of birds singing after rainfall, the magic of a double rainbow…a bright ray of sunshine in a land that is prone to cloudy skies…

Many moons later, I will have forgotten the exact detail of the beautiful silk dress I handled or the simple form of a piece of porcelain that caught my eye, but I will remember the feeling that I wanted to hold on to for a little bit longer. I may even have whipped out my camera at that brief moment in time in an attempt to encapsulate the senses that came to life as I took in the hue, texture and weight of the object before me. In vain. Dissatisfied, I probably deleted the crisp digital image and walked away with just a slight skip in my step and an arguably disproportionate sense of euphoria. I very rarely buy things I love. Sometimes they are simply not for sale (like the breathtaking views from the Minack Theatre in Cornwall) but mostly, I just don’t have enough room in my life for that much stuff!

Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre panorama
Click on the image to view the panorama file

I love thoughtful design because it connects you to the creative process someone else went through; those moments of inspiration enjoyed by another human being. There are eureka moments but, largely speaking, truly beautiful objects are the product of someone else’s hours of labour, frustration, experiences and collated ideas of what is beautiful to them.

So I propose to dedicate Thursdays to compiling a treasure trove of beautiful things, places and experiences. Things that I have loved in the past, things that I am still discovering, things that I would love to share with you.

I don’t know if, like me, you also find that things of a particular kind of beauty give you a certain added buoyancy on those dark heavy days. Perhaps there are things of significance to you that no one else quite understands. I’d love to hear from you below. Hopefully you will share gems that I’ll not be able to resist adding to my own treasure trove. Happy rummaging!