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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What’s News?

I wanted to celebrate the fact that Getty has made millions of images free to use and that WordPress has done some tweaks to make it easy for us to do this…but the site is probably overrun by enthusiastic bloggers because it was not available for ages!

I thought it would be interesting, on the back of International Women’s Day, to see what kind of photos would come up when I searched for “women“.

Embed from Getty Images

The images that emerged gave a far from “international” representation, and so many were of young women shopping, having coffee together, working out or partying! You can draw your own conclusions from that, I can’t claim to have trawled through all 10492 pages resulting from my search and I most certainly did not take scientific statistics based on the pages I did look at.

I can only say I did quite enjoy looking through the site, and will be enjoying it in future I believe. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Getty images exhibitions when I’ve had the chance to drop by. The debate over them making images so readily available for free use is a hot one… I’m not going to enter into any discussions or assert any opinions on anything mentioned above under the pretext that raised blood pressure would not be beneficial to me right now… any excuse to be lazy. But feel free to say your piece 😉

I’d just like to know whether anyone did this while they were pregnant (see below)? I must say, having started my antenatal classes recently, I was really relieved that the other couples don’t seem to have swotted up too much on all the available (overwhelming) information out there…

I’m preferring trying to up my R&R quota… but does that mean I’m in denial? I think today, the baby has mainly been listening to BBC News on repeat in the background whilst I’ve been continuing my attempts at organising my life doing lots of filing and tidying my desk… an ongoing losing battle perhaps…


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Feeling lazy but lively

I did want to publish a woolly post today. It’s long overdue. And I had an idea for a Meaningful Monday post last week… but promptly forgot what it was… I’ve been missing you guys, but am feeling increasingly tired and weighed down by a very lively creature in my belly that I can’t wait to meet. Not long to go now…

I’m not personally dancing that much these days… but I hope this video spreads a little of the joy that gorgeous blue sky, with wispy hints of cloud stretched across it, on a whole day full of sunshine has been making me feel today. And this is how I feel about my London Town too. I’ve been feeling a bit WOW today in short… hope that you enjoy what essentially is a Cadbury’s chocolate advert. Ahh well, maybe Cadbury’s will send me a few bars of Dairy Milk just to make my day unbeatable? HAha… a girl can dream big 😛

I hope you are all well…Take care! xx


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RIP Robin Redbreast

The robin is apparently Britain’s favourite bird. This sprightly little creature with its iconic bright, cheerful red breast is an uplifting sight particularly in our typically dreary weather.

Robin Redbreast - Lincoln Inn Fields Park - Holborn, London | Keven Law

Photography by Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The closest I’ve come to a robin before today, was really quite close. Whilst I was pulling out weeds in the garden during a past, seemingly distant summer, one hopped right up at about 2ft away. I could not believe it was so close. The robin is not a timid bird, not our urban ones anyway. I remember stopping what I was doing in wonder, and staying very still so that I could observe it.

Sometimes, on a down day, the D.H. Lawrence poem, Self-Pity, comes to mind. I am often challenged by our frail, feathered friends and how enthusiastically they go about their daily business for the short time that they are on earth.

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Last night, I found a lot of tiny feathers and dust in my bathroom. They seemed to have emanated from the extractor fan. I cleared everything up hoping that I would not find any more in the morning. I didn’t. The builder currently fixing up some bits and pieces in my home at the moment, kindly offered to take the vent cover off from the outside, to see what was in the flue. We found a beautiful, lifeless, yet peaceful-looking robin. I have never held such a delicate bird before. Despite having shed a lot of feathers, presumably in a bid to get out of the vent, it did not resemble the mangled mess we had envisaged at all. It was the most beautiful, immaculate thing – as though it had just dropped dead without having struggled at all.

Holding this near-weightless creature in my hand, a sombre feeling came over me. I was filled with a sense of awe and reverence. I felt sorry that it had somehow managed to get in and become trapped and was thankful that the bathroom fan is out of order at the moment. I was also thankful that we had found it before the flies got to it… The circle of life. A funny thing. Awe-inspiring and awful all at once.


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Happy Valentines Day!

Well just a quick post to wish you all a happy Valentines Day. I don’t really get involved in this fest but there’s no reason to avoid it. So I thought I’d share a photo of the POM bottle I keep water in at the moment, to make sure I remember to stay hydrated. I love it, it just makes me smile every time I use it.

POM bottle

And this is another photo… it shows a bit of a round belly and some knitting. It’s what I’m busy with at the moment, knitting some pretty things for a friend’s wedding next week. I still haven’t sorted out my outfit, argh! I sure hope she has some sunshine for the big day, it’s almost been chucking it down and blowing up a storm non-stop…

Knitting Belly

Now I’m going to take a break and make some silly chocolates with Google’s latest Doodle… have a lovely weekend and take care! ❤

Valentines Google Doodle

Valentines Google Doodle


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Drawing your fears

I’m posting a quick one today. Stumbled across a comic blog by animator Fran Krause that I’m really enjoying. It also made me wonder what my deepest, darkest fears are …I’d love to submit something and see what he makes of it!

One comic that made me smile is this one below. When I was younger, I often had nightmares. My dad told me that my grandma warned him not to sleep on his left side as he’d be sleeping on his heart and that it would give him nightmares. Following that innocent tale, I developed a slight obsession with sleeping on my right side until I was a teenager. It’s all come back to me since seeing this comic.. and it’s relevant because there is lots of advice suggesting pregnant women should endeavour to sleep on their left side. Please click through on the picture to see the full comic. What would your deep dark fear be?

I ALWAYS SLEEP ON MY RIGHT SIDE | FRAN KRAUSE

I ALWAYS SLEEP ON MY RIGHT SIDE | FRAN KRAUSE

On another note, I came across a great #linefebruary sketch on Twitter by Russell, whose art blog I love following. Being a bit ignorant, I asked him what the hashtag was all about. Here’s the result…

Don’t hate. It’s a scribble by an insomniac. I might just get hooked though and not want to sleep – I love the idea, and there’s lots of great sketches to discover! Let me know if you take part…

Have a great weekend x


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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.


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Not-so Frivolous Friday… and some very sparkly lemonade ;)

I’ve been promising to let you in on something for weeks.. perhaps even months. I even dropped some obscure hints…but I couldn’t find the words, or it was easier to just veg, nap or snooze rather than deal with this post. You probably haven’t even noticed… or you’ve given up on me for dithering so much. So, as you are actually reading this, thank you in advance for being here even though I’ve been so random!

My sister sent me a link to the following article and I thought it was the ideal way to break the news. For me and hubby it is BIG NEWS. For many it might just be run of the mill, for others perhaps it will be exciting and for more people than society acknowledges, it may be upsetting. I don’t know right now, what the outcome will be and for how long. This is a daunting journey that I have had no control over from the beginning, and blogging has been a real lifeline in helping me process life and keep going. For this I am truly grateful. Now that I’m anticipating the only enduring “ambition” I’ve ever had coming to fruition this Easter (God-willing), I wanted to share my news with you and also thank you for being there for me, friend.

Are You Ready

I’m going to let this article do the talking…
Please click through 😉

All hilarity aside, I’m going to need a lot of wisdom and strength for the steps ahead. I’m finding it difficult to even type the words and put them out there, the concept seems so unreal to me right now and I almost dare not say anything out loud. Sorry for this non-announcement, but it is about what you are no doubt thinking that it’s about if you clicked the link above… and I hope to be sharing the accompanying knitting projects that I’ve been doing, “soon”.

Talk about an awkward post..! Take care, and have a good weekend 🙂


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A thought for 2014

We’re on the verge of a new year. For most of us reading this, it will be yet another new year. But through the ups and downs of 2013 and recent years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I live my life. Where I invest my time and efforts. Some of these thoughts I’ve shared with you. Some of these thoughts have been inspired by you.

At the beginning of 2013, I had a go at making some resolutions. I have never made it through many weeks before I lose my resolve. I realised that I don’t like them because they are too prescriptive and restricting. I came up with some specific goals, and I would say that I have largely lived this past year in the spirit of them.. but not to the letter! A year is a long time, and I can’t even predict what will happen from one day to the next, let alone for a whole 365.

This year, I’m not going to attempt any resolutions as such, but I will continue bearing in mind lessons I have learned. I tried to live 2013 intentionally and mindfully, building on relationships that I have offline as well as online. I guess the overall idea is summed up in this thought-provoking talk by Ric Elias and also the first video I shared in another recent post:

I’m interested to know what your outlook for 2014 is. Not how you predict it will go, but what attitude you intend to have, going into the year ahead. I still intend to knit, cook and get creative as much as I can, but I’m hoping to have less time for that soon. More on that in the not too distant future I hope!

Well I wish everyone happy celebrations and einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr (I love how the Germans put it – roughly translated – a good skid into the New Year)!


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Happy Winter Solstice!

From today onwards, the days will be getting longer again! Somehow, this year more than in previous years, I’m so ready for that! Perhaps it’s the very windy and rainy weather recently.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy popping over to Google to see how those ever creative guys have been celebrating this. I think you might agree that they’ve got the right attitude to winter 😉 I’ve got some backlog on knitting reports that I owe you among other things. I hope I will get those done in the New Year:

image

The Christmas period being what it is though, I’m not even pretending that I’ll have another post out by Christmas… and unlike some very organised people out there, I have not written a few posts and scheduled them to be published in case you have time between watching the Queen’s speech and scoffing the turkey with all its glorious trimmings to sit down and click on my blog.

So! May I wish you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas. I’m especially thinking of those of you who may be spending Christmas away from home or are expecting to have a lot of quiet or lonely time this Christmas. That is how the Christ child spent Christmas too – far away from home, with a stable for a shelter. I doubt it looked anything like the ones depicted on Christmas cards with golden bales of hay and fluffy clean animals standing there respectfully gazing on. The shepherds and wise men didn’t turn up immediately either although angelic school Nativity plays have repeatedly taught us otherwise. There was most likely no stuffed turkey with roast potatoes, no hint of Brussels sprouts and certainly no Christmas pudding or crackers.

It’s not the child we sing about in Away in A Manger (“no crying he makes”) that brings me great comfort in times of despair or sorrow. It’s the homeless Christ, who started life on earth as a refugee and who went on to associate himself with beggars, lepers and sinners, whom I remember at Christmas time and put my trust in through the years’ highs and lows. It’s this gift that I hold onto for life and not just for Christmas.

So I sincerely hope your holiday time won’t be full of tension, stress, a manic last minute dash round the shops for those presents or the cranberry sauce you forgot, the racking up of debt for the new year, a mind dulling TV marathon, heartburn accompanied by a delightful hangover… all the unhappy trimmings of Christmas the sentimental ads will have us believe we need.

Take care and go easy on the mulled wine. I look forward to seeing you in 2014. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a very meaningful and lemonade-filled year together.


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Easy pasta salad

So I’ve started eating more eggs because I kept getting hungry too quickly and realised I was not eating enough protein. I’ve also been keen on pasta recently, so although it is winter, I decided to make a salad. Well, a nice and warm one 🙂 I bought this pasta on a whim when I spotted it in the supermarket. It is fusilli bucati which I much prefer to solid fusilli. I guess it just looks more fun!

Eggs and fusilli bucati

Eggs and fusilli bucati

I cooked more pasta and eggs than I needed so that I could have some leftovers for an easy lunch the next day. I didn’t combine it all together in case I wanted to tweak the ingredients a little and jazz it up. I love leftovers!

So the recipe (if you can call it one) is very simple…the quantities are up to you. In fact, the next time I intended to add in olives so that will be the first variation on this mélange – I just take a look at what is in the fridge and chuck it in!

Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
  • 3 tbs sweetcorn kernels (I used canned, it is winter after all!)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tbs grated extra mature cheddar (I used the delightfully named Tickler cheese)
  • mayonnaise to taste
  • 1/2 cup fusilli bucati, cooked and tossed in olive oil
Method

Combine the first five ingredients so that the mayonnaise coats everything well. Then mix in the pasta.

I tried following Delia’s tips on boiling eggs, which I pinned this week on a new board I started to collect cooking techniques. They worked perfectly!

Warm pasta salad with fusilli bucati, corn, egg and avocado

It’s snowing on my page again! How lovely and festive. Much nicer than the tempestuous breezes that hit our little island from the end of last week, causing flooding, damage, injury and loss of life. I hope you guys are all ok…

…and here is an update of the next day’s salad, with added olives, wholegrain mustard and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. You can probably tell I fancied more mayo in this version too. Sorry, I only thought to take a photo of it when I’d almost scoffed it all (YUM!)

Warm pasta salad with fusilli bucati, corn, egg and avocado