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.


WOW Wednesday: Tea leaf eggs


Chinese Tea Leaf Egg Shell

I’ve been away for so long and I’m missing this space. Doesn’t mean I’ve not been aware of beautiful things though in spite of my baby brain!

Just wanted to share a thing of beauty. A friend made me some Chinese Tea Eggs this weekend and I just love the pattern on them when you peel off the shells. They are also delicious. Enjoy!

Hope you are all well xx




There are many flags, there are many colours. But right now. There is but one. ONE FLAG. Go Team GB! 🙂 Hope you like my fun but obligatory nail art!

#2 | ONE

Photo A Day Aug | ONE

[If you take part in Fat Mum Slim’s photo a day challenge, let me know – I’d love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


FF : Fashion {03 Pretty Pink Patriot}

In case any of you may not have noticed (you most certainly will have if you have been trying to get anywhere in London recently) the Olympic opening ceremony is this evening. I’m all set for being amazed by the British talent. Hopefully the opening ceremony will not resemble the handover ceremony in Beijing a mere four years ago. I’m going to be all positive and celebratory and work myself up into a frenzy of blushful patriotism. Voilà! My frivolity knows no bounds!

FF : Fashion {03 PrettyPinkPatriot}

Laure Ring / Carolina Bucci Earrings / Jigsaw Hammered Bangle Set / Rare Opulence Rose Babydoll Dress / Alexander McQueen Skull Clutch in Pale Pink / Giuseppe Zanotti l26108 Shoes / Lancome ‘Vernis in Love’ Fade Resistant Gloss Shine Nail Polish

Happy weekend and let the games begin!


FF: Fashion {02 Lavender Love}

I hereby declare that my wardrobe looks nothing as glamourous as the sets I am creating in Polyvore. But as promised on Wednesday, here is my fantasy lavender-inspired outfit.

I had some real fun making this. I’m enjoying my growing imaginary wardrobe. I love the sandals. I’ve actually seen a variation on that bag and fallen in love with the way the zips are designed. The umbrella sports the only Cath Kidston pattern I’d ever been seen with. I’d probably never wear that ring twice but I’d put it on when I blog just to add some bling to blogging…whatever. I submitted the set to the Polyvore Designer for a Day contest anyway, just for fun. Feel free to go over and like it if you like it – all in the spirit of frivolity! 🙂

FF: Lavender Love -
1) Wildfox Couture summer sweater 2) TopShop nail polish 3) Mykita sunglasses 4) Yuh Okano summer shawl 5) Victoria Beckham skinny leg pants 6) Cath Kidston polka dot umbrella 7) River Island mini messenger bag 8) Blue Nile cushion cut amethyst ring 9) Vera Wang Lavender Label high heel sandals

I hope you like my defiant British Summer look – I’m wearing sandals, but I’ve got the obligatory scarf and brolly just in case because it doesn’t stop raining. But who knows, the sun might come out and a pair of cool shades might be in order…it’s only early-ish July, anything is still possible! Have a beautiful weekend…


Lavender Love

My first memory of lavender is of walking past a low wall bordering a neighbour’s front garden on the way to school. Lavender was planted along the top of the wall so that it spilled over the side. I fell in love from those early days. Our relationship was unequal however, I admired from a distance. Despite its accessibility even to my shorter self, I soon preferred to cross over on the other side to avoid confronting the large number of bumble bees hovering busily from bud to bud.

Lavender Love -

My kitchen has been filled with the beautiful heady scent of lavender recently. I inherited a well-tended, mature lavender bush that has bloomed in abundance this season. (I was going to say summer there but I thought I would be kidding myself…) So far I have harvested less than five percent of the stems and it barely shows. I have a lot more work to do, to make sure there will continue to be generous flower yields in future.

Lavender Love -

One of my best friends once commented that I say “wow!” a lot. Yes I do. It’s the only thing I can muster when I just can’t describe that awe and pleasure derived from something amazing: I just love lavender. Its perfume is wonderfully calming and invigorating at the same time. The colour is intense, with shades of blues, purples, greens and greys. Absolutely gorgeous – I must do a Frivolous Fashion post based on these hues on Friday – watch this space!

Lavender Love -

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! 😉

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The simple pleasures

Well… Friday. I do love Fridays. At the brink of the weekend, there is that anticipation that wonderful possibilities lie ahead …and even despite the promising sunshine this morning giving way once again to hazy blue-grey clouds, the weekend beckons, and life is a beautiful thing. Thank God for Fridays.

I promised to explain the random photograph I published earlier this week: I decided to challenge myself to a simple photographic project, the focus of which being everyday details that I enjoy. I was inspired by this post on VagueMemories where the author posted a photo of a familiar building. It made me think of my commute and how I love to gaze at random things in the train or out of the window. One thing I love is details. Beautiful details. Patterns. Forms. And sometimes the familiar is the most beautiful. The things I pass by every day, objects that are anchored in the landscape of regular routes that I take. I just love that opportunity for watching the world go by.


An old film photo from over 10 years ago. A familiar detail. A detail still firmly etched on my mind.

I remember reading an article some time ago about how we have lost the art of journeying. With all our modern technology, we tend to focus on the destination. Commuters read or stop up their ears with repetitive beats from various electronic devices. Our minds have to be continuously occupied. We fail to hear the sounds of the journey – doors opening and closing, the footsteps and shuffling of other passengers, the train rumbling over the tracks (although in London, I’m sure you can still hear that over anything else you might be listening to!) We have become unfamiliar with our travel scenes and most definitely avoid eye contact with other passengers.

I certainly am not one of those commuters. I am the one that looks like I am totally wasting time day-dreaming or staring into space. I treasure the time and space that commuting gives me, to mull over the day and migrate my focus away from work. I also love walking (although not in the recent heavy rain) and discovering beautiful things on a well-trodden path – which is how I came upon the detail in the photograph above.

Part of my this is lemonade goal is to remember and celebrate the good things. To extract out of the yucky, something that will remind me of my purpose and a reason to stay alive. In the photograph above, I didn’t just love the dandelions, I loved the harsh weathered texture of the structure behind them more. Over a decade ago, I did not know I would be writing a blog based on something yellow. In fact, I’ve never had a particular affinity with the colour, quite far from it. However, as I spend more and more time pondering on the lemonade side of things, I am finding that its vibrancy energises me.

As we know, dandelions eventually lose their intense sunshiney petals and become globes of little soft, feather-light parachutes which then carry the dandelion seeds wherever the wind may blow. What a beautifully challenging and inspiring picture to take into the weekend with me. I wonder what that image brings to your mind?


Magpies and a good reason to blog

I am writing on a rainy bank holiday. I have a yucky sore throat. I have been thinking happy thoughts about blogging!

The reason why I started blogging is not unique. I was touched by Amy’s post on her cozywalls blog last week (take a look, it’s full of treats!) in which she explains:

I started this blog at a particularly uncozy time in my life. The point was to focus on the GOOD TIMES. Of course, life is not always cozy, but I wanted to put my good memories together in one spot so as not to dwell on those things that are beyond my control.

I could not have put it any better myself. Amy is one of those precious people who are giving me that lift at the end of a difficult day, inspiring me to be bolder in what I attempt to do, reminding me of things I used to love doing but have put down because I simply forgot about them or have been told for too long that they are not “important” or “useful” things.

Many blogs are polished and pretty and there are even people out there who criticise some bloggers, accusing them of being “fake” or “staging” their blogs. However, the more I read, the more I appreciate the number of people who are using the confines of their blogs to collect the best and worst parts of their life experiences and reach out to others to encourage or find encouragement.

This morning as I was clearing away last night’s dishes, I had the privilege of seeing a magpie up close as it hopped right past the kitchen window. Magpies are my favourite birds. I love their elegant tail feathers and their backs that shimmer and delight with the flashes of rich blues and greens.


Magpie illustration from RSPB

The average lifespan of a magpie is three years, according to the RSPB, although some are known to have lived for much longer. This fact made me think. I’d never before thought about how the magpie I had just been watching might imminently cease to exist. After all there aren’t lots of dead birds lying around everywhere. I see these chattering creatures gliding about effortlessly every day in the expanse that is the sky above our heads.

As I watched the magpie this morning, I remembered this quote from DH Lawrence:

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.

I remember when I first came across these words, many moons ago as a teenager. They were inspiring, but oh so impossible to emulate. Perhaps you don’t get bogged down by the negative things in your life ever, but I’m still on the journey to try and make each day count without it being all about me and my little worries. It’s definitely worthwhile, and it’s getting ever more exciting as I add to my own hoard of beautiful memories and sparkly bright treasures!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me!


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!