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.



I’m going to be lazy this weekend. Two days’ worth of topics in one photo. This is not very original, but then it is quite Olympic. I sat here with my sister last night. We met up around the same time last month because neither of us had had a McDonald’s meal in ages. This time round, we were both in a celebratory mood. Team GB had moved up to third or fourth position on the medals chart (depending on when you were checking) and McDonald’s are giving away the traditional Olympic Coca Cola glass throughout the Olympic period (if you paid them extra).

I understand the sponsorship stuff. The business side of the Olympics. I understand those who criticise the choice of sponsors. I also understand the choice of a very very clever market player such as McDonald’s. I have nothing but admiration for the marketing strategies of the fast food giant in the UK. Over the past decade or so, it has gone through a major face lift. Engaging in community endorsements, repackaging with more environmentally friendly materials, upping its litter responsibilities, reforming the ingredients that have gone into its food. And haven’t we heard about it all.

Then to pull off the coup to end all coups. Helping with recruiting and training the Olympic volunteers successfully. (Beware of following that link, you will meet with much healthy British ranting and cynicism and comments are closed so you won’t be able to add your own retorts.) No G4S-style debacle here. Only thousands upon thousands of smiling volunteers in smart uniforms.

I am not advocating the sponsorship of the Games by fast food companies. And as for syrupy fizzy drinks, you can see that I am partial to a cup of a hot caffeinated drink with my large Cheddar Deluxe meal. However, it does not escape my attention that when a global company gets behind something, things happen with an ease that a conglomerate of local companies cannot yet achieve. We were not ready for an East London wide collaboration organised by small business. Whether that means that smaller food outlets should not have been let into the park to sell more authentic British food, I dare not say. But optimistic though we may be, I feel the truth is, it was always in the interest of McDonald’s to do a good job. That’s why the organisers could trust them to do it well. They delegated to someone who had an impressive record of delivering the goods and would not want to risk messing it all up.

I don’t want to fall into the big thorny bush of Olympic issues. I know many people have a difficult relationship with the proliferation of junk food in modern society. It’s complicated and I acknowledge that. I’m not going to enter a debate here, it’s way out of my league so please don’t start!

Last night, I just enjoyed a treat, a nice chat with my sister, and it was so lovely that I generously bought us some deep fried apple pies to enjoy with the second half of the large teas we had to buy to get our glasses. She’d swum quite a few lengths in the pool in the morning and I’d accomplished a few hauls of laundry. I feel we earned the calories! This is where I sat, and among the mess on my tray, you might spot a logo or two.



Incidentally, I noticed that all the McDonald’s I’ve ever visited around the world have apple pies, but each country has a slightly different take on them – what are the McDonald’s apple pies in your corner of the world like?

[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!]




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!]



Confession. I have been well and truly bitten by the Olympism bug (LOL I never heard that term before I heard the coaches’ oath at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony last Friday and now I just chuckle and chuck it into conversation every now and then, completely inappropriately). All the drama of watching the British athletes perform under all the pressure we’re putting on them is affecting my blogging focus…

So I have decided to take part in something fun myself. Something that requires a tiny bit of discipline: a daily photo challenge. August being a “summer” month, I think I should be a little more relaxed (yes I hear you: “More relaxed than you already have been?” I know I know). I was watching back yesterday’s gymnastics action and browsing through the blogs I follow that I haven’t had time to read for a week, when I came across Make, Do and Spend‘s photo post which led me to Fat Mum Slim’s photo a day challenge. Take a look and let me know if you are going to join in!

Here’s the first photo (future ones may not be accompanied with so much waffle). I can’t get enough of the blue sky. What great weather to welcome in our first Olympic gold medals today. Can you blame me for being a little excited? Lemonade bubbles and fizz 🙂


Photo A Day Aug | Outside

FF: Mitt Romney must be envious LOL


I present to you the loony Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. I bet Mitt Romney is wondering how Boris got away with saying all that (in fact, made everyone chuckle – even those that don’t like him very much).

I just had to post this for some comic relief. The tension is mounting as the opening ceremony is approaching and it’s all getting very exciting. I’m almost ready. Need to put the food in the oven 😛


Olympics Special : Welcome to London!

“Hallo, this is to the Olympic Village here yes?”
Olympic Village, what? Here? Uh how did you end up here for the Olympic Village?
“At Stratford?”
Duh, poor tourists encountered a sleepy commuter brain, plenty of those of a morning in London, “Yes, that’s right”, I smile, no longer baffled that there was the prospect the confines of the Olympic Village had been extended overnight. They were on the right platform to get the train to Stratford.

My first direct encounter with a visitor to London who’s here because of the Olympics. I guess it really is going to be happening after all!

It’s a lovely sunny day here at least. The major transport disruptions have already started and you get a free sauna on our poorly ventilated trains. All this for free with your Olympic Games ticket! Welcome to London 🙂



Not an easy day today, lots of lemons and not enough sugar…But hey, look at this:


Got some vitD at least! Anyone breaking out a burger on a grill outside today? I’ve been caught unawares by this weather, so unfortunately I’ll have to make do with a glass of supermarket lemonade decorated with some yummy frozen berries. Instant pink lemonade! Happy days 🙂


Olympics Special : Dear visitor…

Welcome to London! The first athletes taking part in the London 2012 Olympics arrived at the beginning of this week, and huge lorries ferrying the press packs and their paraphernalia are blocking up all the roads, all amid the security row taking place in Westminster. Who’s to blame? How did it all come to this, just a couple of weeks before the games, when there were seven years during which preparations could have been made?

But, dear friends, fret not. London is well prepared. What with regular helicopter flights under cover of darkness, missile sites dotted around the main stadia and plenty of signage designed to empower you when your coach driver doesn’t know where s/he’s driving you on the controversial Olympic superhighway, you’ll be fine. And believe me, nothing has been left to chance. We are prepared to the point of having rehearsed the one skill Londoners are all born with: the art of queuing.

OlympicsSpecial -

As Londoners, we live well in chaos, so I decided I would do my bit to help you see beyond it and reassure you about attending the Olympic Games if you are visiting our beautiful capital for the first time. Perhaps you have been reading recent press reports about four-hour queues at Heathrow and are considering whether or not to request a refund of your Games ticket or to exchange your flight for one to warmer climes. Allow me to give you a preview of our wonderful Olympic city. As you can see from the photograph above, we are a generous nation. Someone with insider knowledge of the whereabouts of a secret queue-free passage to the opening ceremony decided to give us a wink and a nod. As I am a typical, sharing Londoner, I am posting the tip in case you missed it.

Now without further ado, it is with great pride that I present to you the safest doors on the London Underground system – otherwise know as the “Tube”. In some cities, the presence of graffiti may insinuate an element of danger – the threat of unrestrained self-expression, perhaps even over-enthusiastic boredom. But never fear.

Just above the aforementioned door, is a plethora of information. At your first meeting with this noticeboard, you may find yourself in a minor state of breathlessness. But you need not panic if you made a mad dash for it and only just managed to squeeze into the Tube carriage as the doors were closing. You are in the prime position to access everything you need to know about travelling on the Tube. And you will quickly learn never to jump hastily onto a train again. Please pay attention to the following scenario, with careful reference to the above photo.

It is possible that your spontaneous and successful dive onto an overcrowded train triggered a dangerous passenger emergency during the brief instance of which, you most certainly should not be found smoking. The likelihood is that you trapped your rucksack in the doorway thereby causing the train driver to reopen the doors and make an announcement to all passengers, warning them against doing what you just did. This inevitably results in a delay, thus unleashing the combined fury of the native London commuter monster onto yourself. But fear not.

The emergency alarm is right next to the door, just above the average eye level, in case you should miss it as you become mesmerised by the beautifully worded signs around it. If you are unlucky, you may look where I just advised you to look, and find a sign taunting you and telling you that the alarm is located next to the door opposite. You may look in vain, as it will possibly be obscured behind the head of an unfortunately tall and uncomfortably contorted fellow passenger. But shall we trouble ourselves unnecessarily? Best not. In such an unlikely situation, should you become overwhelmed and thus less able to stand, you would not be able to reach up to pull an alarm anyway and there are dedicated seats available for those who find themselves in such a condition.

Do bear in mind, not to settle too comfortably in your seat however. Should it transpire that another traveller was hapless enough as to have activated the emergency alarm, s/he may need your seat more than you. Regulate your breathing as the train driver announces that “the train is being held on the platform due to a passenger alarm being activated”. A silent Londoner does not indicate a happy Londoner. Prepare yourself to witness the glares, the rolling eyes, even an involuntary hiss or a fuming grunt.

Do your utmost to avoid causing a delay during the Olympics. The likelihood is, before you considered making your small contribution, the commuters around you were already running late due to signal failures, leaves on the track, adverse weather conditions or somebody deciding that strolling along the track instead of getting onto a train might be more likely to get them to work on time. That is before throwing into the mix, the extra zillion people expected to turn up for a few weeks to watch athletes competing for speed.

Remember, nobody actually hates you.

On a side note, using the emergency alarm as a support for standing upright invokes a penalty in much the same way as travelling without a valid ticket. It is polite to avoid committing both of these offences, even if you feel safely smothered under someone’s armpit.

Of course. Should you invoke a penalty fare, you may become once again overwhelmed, and need to lower a window for ventilation. Please however, be aware that this does not constitute an emergency of the kind that requires the opening of the door, ever.

I hope that this post will reassure you that London is an extremely safe and welcoming city. If in any doubt, remember the great British maxim:

Disclaimer: The above post is not to be taken in all seriousness. Please be advised that under no circumstances should you attempt to access the secret passageway to the Olympic Games.

In all earnestness, if you are indeed a visitor, please be as warmly welcomed in my city as on my blog. London is full of people from all over the world, and I suspect that is part of the reason why nothing runs immaculately. But then I wouldn’t change anything if it meant forfeiting the city’s mixing pot of ideas and dreams that is always brimming over… If you hear someone speaking a language other than English, they are just as likely to be a Londoner as they are to be a tourist. I love living in London, for all its foibles. And hey, we paid (and will be paying indefinitely) for the Olympics so we might as well try to enjoy them (I’m saying this ahead of the ranting I will no doubt be doing in a week or so). I’ll probably catch some of it on the telly if I don’t spend most of it trying to get to and from work.

Do you have any Olympic plans? Will you watch the opening ceremony? Will you be following any of the sports or rooting for any of the athletes?