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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I’m coming back knitting!

Hi everyone!

Thank you for your ongoing support whilst I strayed away into the unknown since the middle of the summer that was, has been and is no longer. The weather in London is still mild and has actually been sunny and relatively warm in the last couple of weeks. I’ve even wondered whether or not another drought is on the way, crazy, I know.

Anyway, I’m planning on bringing an end to this last hiatus in blogging. And I thought I’d give a sneak peek at what woolly things I’ve been busying myself with recently as a starter.

booties_sm

Next week is National Wool Week in the UK, and I’ve been knitting quite a lot in the last month or so. These little booties are hopefully making their way halfway across the world in a matter of days, as soon as I get some long awaited news of the arrival of their intended new owner! I’m so excited, any time now!

Well, sneak peeks should not be too long, so I’m going to rest my eyes from the screen now and pick up my needles again. I’m enjoying catching up with all of your blogs in the meantime though. Have a great week!

xx


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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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Why I love the Tube in spite of everything

LU150 – steam train run 13th Jan 2013


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Winter: brrrrrr!

Happy new week everyone. The BBC has officially reported that it is winter in the UK (see video link below). I was wearing ear muffs, cosy socks and a scarf indoors – it’s like the equivalent of a duvet day – well, I bought into that one anyway. Hope you are all wrapping up warm and staying safe. Don’t go crazy with those sledges people!

UK Snow

Still from BBC video – click through for article.

OK, I’m off to wrap my hands around a mug of hot soup now… hope the week has flurried away to a good start for you 🙂

Google doodle for LU 150 years


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Googling somewhere are we?

Happy 150th birthday to London Underground. From Google:

Google doodle for LU 150 years

I love the London Tube map with its continuous evolution based on the original by Harry Beck and many Londoners do feel strongly about it. Not that long ago, when they tried removing the river image there was outrage. What a relief therefore, that Google has done a pretty good job of it!

The doodle only appeared on the UK search page but there is now an archived version on the doodles site!


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Light relief

The weather forecast is currently inaccurate in a momentarily sunny London:

2012 weather forecast

I’m not complaining or anything. Yesterday, some of the frost from the morning did not melt all day. It’s December, the weather is reassuringly wintery. It feels somewhat seasonal unlike how it has been for much of 2012.

We’re entering the holiday period soon, approaching the end of what has been quite a momentous year for the UK I guess. Thoughts are turning to 2013.

You and I, we’ve almost been together for a year. We’ve had our ups and downs. Together. Through this year, the journey’s been made easier via this blog. I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful for the friends both old and new who have been popping by and encouraging me through 2012.

What is most on your mind right now? Christmas shopping? Whether or not to scramble together a hasty pile of Christmas cards to post? How to manage all the food preparation?

I’d just like to wish you some calm and peace in the midst of all the hustle bustle, Christmas lights and jingle jangle. Let’s sit and sip a cup of tea, and wonder at why we get so caught up in it all at this time of year.

Do you “do” Christmas? How will you be spending the coming weeks until we see in the New Year? (God-willing.)

The Real Greek


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Restaurant Review: The Real Greek

I find when many people write reviews about places to eat out, they seek out interesting cuisines and wonderful décor and presentation. I love ogling the resulting photos showing amazing things that I would never think of doing with food. When I eat out however, it’s usually because I have been terrible at planning and I’m too tired to cook. It’s often also a bit later than the average supper time, so I’m not really looking for adventure, it’s more a question of having a night off from cooking in a comfortable setting.

So with that in mind, my top priority for places to eat are where I know I can relax, and trust the restaurant staff to be generally attentive and friendly. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else find the service in restaurants has not been all that great for a while? And I’m not talking about highbrow places where I could be accused of lowering the tone of the restaurant with my half asleep look. I hope you don’t think I’m asking for much – it’s just that someone who delivers the food or gives you the bill as though they were holding a grudge against you doesn’t usually do much to aid digestion. I wonder if perhaps the recent trend for restaurants to slap the 10-15% “service charge” automatically on the end of your bill doesn’t help. I’d like to think this isn’t the only reason. Perhaps diners have also become less polite in recent years.

However, the restaurant I am about to tell you about still does it the old fashioned way. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to enter a tip on the card machine. If you have no change, you can’t tip at all – much to my disappointment, the first time I visited.

The Real GreekThis restaurant is not particularly spectacular in terms of credentials. It is not tucked away in some hidden alley, serving amazing fresh produce grown from a drainpipe. No amazing stories to tell there. In fact, it is one in a chain of six in London and I have no idea how authentic the food is because I have never been to Greece and I do not know anyone who is really clued up about real Greek food. It is in fact one of the food outlets at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, next to the now slumbering Olympic Park. Nothing at Westfield can be called a bargain, but this is one of the less expensive restaurants on that side of Stratford. I thought I would review it since it is a place I have been served well on three occasions. Incidentally, if you have a voucher for any chain store/restaurant, check before you try and use it at Westfield. You will notice that some offers are not valid there.

The Real Greek

On this occasion, we ordered the Tabouleh Salad, Loukaniko Country Sausage and Dolmades which came on a tiered sharing platter. We also had some saffron rice and Tiropitakia because I can never pass on cheese wrapped in delicate pastry. On other occasions I have tried the Greek Flatbread with Olive Oil & Dukkah, Htipiti, Gigandes Plaki, Lahanosalata and a set basket of wraps which I cannot find in the online menu. All of the offerings were very reasonable and in good sized portions. It is impossible to take good photos in the restaurant in most of the areas, because the evening lighting is not designed to aid food photography. My apologies to the restaurant as the one half-acceptable result may not look all that appetising to all, so here’s a link to the menu so that you can better imagine what I ate. I think you will agree however, that the lamp shades are rather nice and cheerful. As with all of the Westfield shops and restaurants, the design and layout is really nice. I especially like the pretty doors to the restaurant and I must also point out that they serve tap water in lovely cobalt blue enamel jugs.

The Real Greek

Bearing in mind the context of my requirements and limited experience of Greek cuisine, I have thrice been a happy customer. The staff have been cheerful and relaxed at all times (on this occasion, there was a rather rowdy lively birthday party going on) and I have been served in good time with tasty grub. This is one of the few restaurants where I can also leave after the meal without having to resort to performing a rain dance to attract somebody to take my money. And since my first experience, I have made sure that I have cash in my pocket before I sit down so as not to have to leave a few sad coppers languishing on the table after paying the bill.

I guess this is a post about one branch of a chain restaurant that seems to be doing things right on the service front. That does tend to go a long way to sending me home happy 🙂


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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} thisislemonade.wordpress.com

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!


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All patriotic about food: fish & chips

Fish & Chips

Food is a powerful thing. It is so much more than just a combination of ingredients, flavours, aromas, calories and techniques. The food we eat is literally an inseparable part of us. Food is so important to who we are, our culture, and is integral to our concept of home. It can give us a sense of belonging or adventure, it can even be iconic.

The latter can definitely be said of one of my all time favourite things to eat, fish and chips. A much-loved British tradition for Friday nights which I try not to succumb to too regularly. According to a couple of my favourite TV foodies, the Hairy Bikers, an early English cookbook seems to suggest that my favourite deep fried goodness has early influences from the Jewish community of Whitechapel in East London. Lovely stuff.

A delectable feast from my local chippy never fails to cheer me up. The one near me serves generous pieces of fish in a delightfully light and crisp batter. Finding a good local fish and chip shop is a real exercise in trial and error, but once you have one, it’s like a good doctor – you want it to stay in very good health. When I lived in Hamburg, one of my favourite treats was a North German version from Daniel Wischer consisting of fish goujons served with a lovely dollop of Remoulade sauce. A taste of home, with a delicious twist I’d say. Eaten under familiarly grey skies, it went a long way to easing any homesickness.

Fish & ChipsThese days, I’ve taken to eating fish and chips with English mustard alongside some good old malt vinegar. I’m addicted to the bright yellow stuff. I must have good chunky chips, nice and soft on the inside but crispy-ish on the outside. And, why not throw in a battered sausage from time to time too…

A note for any visitors to our shores wanting to sample this wonderful meal, beware, a higher priced fish and chips does not indicate superior quality!