Thursday, 30 June 2011


it can be so hard to give ourselves time can't it? i'm struggling with that a little as the (all good) commitments of life and relationship and wedding planning hover closely overhead.

july is my last month as a single girl - and while i'm so so so looking forward to marrying my love and going on honeymoon and creating a home and continuing to invest in the relationships that mean so much to me i'm also feeling a little overwhelmed.

so I've set some goals for July. i want to finish my single years feeling the best i possibly can about who i am. i want to carry that confidence into marriage.

to this end i've tried to make my life a little easier this month. i meal planned next week's meals and bought the groceries online. and i took myself for a payday treat and had a pedicure over lunch - definitely the best thing i've done for myself this week!

:goals for july 2011:

- read one novel
- daily quiet time and prayer (i'm usually good about this until i get busy and then it falls away when i need it most!)
- stick to my healthy eating plan and cook - it's way too easy to grab comfort food on-the-go when really those moments of preparing food and nourishing yourself are so important.
- complete the jillian michaels 30-day shred - exercise literally is my sanity!
- memorise proverbs 31:10-18 - i figure going to the SOURCE for wisdom on my new role as wife might be a good way to start marriage.

in reality, with a little planning this won't add any extra time to my days and will probably make me more productive. regardless, i'm pretty sure it's the only way i'll get through the last month before our wedding, tying up loose ends at work, taking a month off, moving house, attending various social engagements (including wedding II of the 2011 season!!) and keep my fiance still wanting to say 'i will' at the end of it all...

:posted on the go:

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


 le boy and i were watching a dave ramsey FPU lesson last night (btw, hands down the best thing we've done to prepare for marriage, financially and otherwise). and there was a section of the lesson where the speaker (dave) lists off his personal qualifications in real estate, they are numerous. i turned to le boy and said, that right there is the difference between a british person and a north american. there is, in the uk, a sense that one must always be 'humble,' over here we don't shout too loudly about what we've accomplished, we don't usually wave our hands (or our flags) in the air 'oh oh oh pick me, i know the answer' over here english reserve still reigns. across the pond things are all together different. i was raised in a culture that insisted we should be proud of what we accomplished, and that telling others about it is how you get yourself noticed.

i was thinking about both ways, and i'm not sure that either way is actually 'right.' in the uk this humility can be undermined very quickly in conversation - what school and university you attended, where your regional accent sounds of, if you love football or rugby or cricket, and what you do for a living, all betray a person in mere minutes. i've seen it, and it's astonishing to watch a conversation turn from friendly to not-so-friendly in a moment, and i, as the perpetual foreigner, missed the entire reason why...

in north america, being out there absolutely has it's benefits, usually people know who they're dealing with quickly and when people openly discuss their accomplishments it can be massively encouraging. it can also be intimidating. and it can sometimes sound like bragging.

and yet, regardless of which side of the atlantic you come from, or live on, there is an area wherei believe we are not confident enough. i don't think we're confident enough in jesus. yes, we are to be humble in his sight and we are to humble ourselves to each other out of reverence for him, but humble does not mean lacking in confidence.

this morning, while reading 1 Corinthians, i was so encouraged by this:

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor 1:4-9
 i am not lacking. and that is something to praise god for. i am not lacking the gifts i need to be hospitable or charitable, or lead, or minister, or be compassionate, or teach....the KJV says it like this: so that ye come behind in no gift. we have been given EVERYTHING we need as we wait for christ. we have been enriched. we are being sustained. and that is something to be confident about. something to rejoice over. something to brag on.

Monday, 27 June 2011


summer arrived in london this weekend! it's duly leaving tomorrow, but for now, i'm enjoying it. this weekend was filled with great things - a wonderful bridal shower that i'll blog about just as soon as i've got the pictures (suffice it to say, my honeymoon suitcase is well stocked!) and....

an evening picnic in a relatively deserted park eating absolutely delicious fish & chips with our hands while watching the most stunning sunset.

observing those queuing for wimbledon tickets in wimbledon park.

 laying in the grass, enjoying the sunday paper, a good book, the sunshine and napping.

it was a perfect weekend.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


what's that you ask?

welsh rarebit to be exact. i know, you're still confused. so was i. welsh rarebit is the name of a UK dish, specific to, obviously, wales. essentially it's a fancy name for a cheese toastie, or an open-faced grilled cheese. and i know you're thinking, so who cares? except, i'm here to tell you that you should!

on saturday we had an impromptu lunch with a good friend. the weather was, if anything, variable and going out to eat seemed to be much too much of a bother. so i dispatched le boy to the store and set to creating a cheese toastie that was raised above all earthly expectations. the combination of sour dough bread and good-quality cheddar (white, 'aged' cheddar for those of you outside the UK), with chutney and worcestershire sauce was really something delightful to eat and exploded with flavour.

this is adapted from jamie oliver's cookbook, jamie at home - a truly excellent book, from which i've not yet had a bad meal! i heartily recommend it.

welsh rarebit (adapted from jamie at home

this recipe calls for use of another recipe in his book - chili pepper jam, i substituted the green tomato chutney i made last september and it worked brilliantly. i also used regular dijon mustard instead of mustard powder...
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, 1-inch thick
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream by weight
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 4 teaspoons chili pepper jam
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

  1. preheat grill/broiler on high to warm oven
  2. toast bread on each side, at the same time, mix creme fraiche, egg yolks, cheese, salt and pepper and mustard
  3. place toasted bread on baking sheet, spread jam or chutney on toast, making sure to go right to the edge, top with cheese mixture, again, going right to the edge to ensure the bread does not burn 
  4. place under broiler/grill for 5 min or until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown slightly 
  5. remove and allow to cool for about 1 minute, cheese gently with a sharp (non-serrated) knife in a large cross-hatch pattern, sprinkle liberally with worcestershire sauce (the cross hatch pattern ensure the worcestershire sauce does not slid right off!)
  6. enjoy with a green salad
    this was enjoyed by two very hungry guys and myself. we didn't talk for the first five minutes, and the guys raved afterward - such an easy and tasty lunch or light dinner!

    dessert was courtesy of mr. d. hines:

    Monday, 20 June 2011


    the phrase - it's like riding a bike - it always strikes a little bit of fear in me. and when i've not sat on a bike for a while, i always wonder, is it true? will i just remember? 

    i recently bought a new for me bicycle from a friend. but this wasn't any old bike, this is a road cycle, a *real* bike. with drop handles and gears in the brakes (i didn't even know that's how they were made!) le boy, is a keen cyclist. he's so keen, he's a spin instructor. i'm the kid who rode my bike everyday of the summer, and who rode in uni because i didn't have a car. since then i've ridden here or there, but most often as part of tour of a foreign city. or if i'm honest, on a spin bike at the gym. but spin bikes don't topple over and bike tours are generally made for anyone who's ever been on a bike.

    le boy was exceedingly patient. i was worried i'd come off and ruin my image of the reasonably fit, up for anything fiance. luckily that didn't happen. he adjusted my seat to just the right height and showed me how to take off the front tire. most importantly he taught me how to use those funny gears in the brakes. and then, he let me loose on richmond park. and it was decidedly FUN!

    road cycles sure do go fast! and while i'm not really sure about those drop handles, i did enjoy the gears in the brakes. and feeling like i was going a million miles an hour when it was probably only 20...i may have just found a new sport to enjoy, and le boy is hoping that he's now got a new cycling partner. and while he had to say this, apparently, i'm pretty alright on the bike...which is big praise indeed!

    so, yes, it turns out that riding a bike, is just like, well, riding a bike. i just need to get some more comfortable shorts now...

    Wednesday, 15 June 2011


    it's that time of year. work is full on. the summer is arriving (slowly) in london and the days stretch into night and before you realise it - hours have passed and it's too late, again. and we're getting married. less than two months from now, i will promise to be another's helper. to be a companion. to be a wife. gulp.

    my initial reaction is panic - so much to do, not enough time! so much to learn, and i know so little! so much to think about and no space to slow down!

    i've started making my quiet time a priority - first thing in the morning. before coffee or breakfast. before showering or getting dressed. before anything else, i spend some time in god's word. i meditate on his words and consider how they can impact my day, my life.

    over lent le boy and i started texting each other every weekday morning (we usually end up seeing each other on weekend mornings), praying for each other. the texts aren't long. but it's a great way to remember that we submit our lives and our relationship to jesus in prayer, daily.

    i cannot wait to live with my husband, to share coffee in the morning, and pray together before we start our days, but i'll miss the texts, the very visible reminders that we have been gifted to each other.

    Monday, 13 June 2011


    home decorating. le boy is wondering what he's gotten himself into i believe! and yet, while i'm sure the rooms will take priority once we're inside and able to think about paint and wall decor, mirrors and bookcases, at the moment, my attention has been diverted to the 'curb appeal.' we're fortunate to have a ground floor flat, with a very traditional london edwardian construction. basically, we have a front bay window with deep windowsills - perfect for windowboxes. i'm imagining lavender. and fuchsia cyclamen. maybe white cyclamen for winter? a bonus of the slightly more temperate british climate is the hope for flowers year-long. when i first moved here and saw flowers being planted in november, i thought it ridiculous, but those flowers lasted all winter! i cannot wait.

    i'm also dreaming of this:

    portable garden from: not on the high street
     i'm really curious about square foot gardening. and while this is a little pricey (gasp) perhaps a great birthday gift??? (hint, hint) it does take all the guess work out of building/creating.

    and while i checked this out of the library years ago, i cannot wait to get a copy for myself...

    home decor is about so much more than just the inside right?

    Thursday, 9 June 2011


    if there is one thing i hate in terms of housework it's dishes. i am the girl for whom the dishwasher was invented. and i am overjoyed that our new flat comes with a dishwasher! but it's a small dishwasher, a plates and glasses kind of dishwasher. so we'll have handwashing. we'd have handwashing anyway, i know, but i don't like it one bit.

    i'm hoping to improve my attitude toward dishwashing. i thought i'd start by making some long-lasting, hard-wearing, pretty-looking dishcloths. my grandmother made dozens of these every year and dutifully supplied her daughters with a new set for christmas. i grew up with homemade dishcloths and was utterly surprised as a child to realise that not everyone had such things hanging from their kitchen taps. in my humble opinion handmade dishcloths are superior to all other cloths, they don't fall apart, they've got great nubby bits to scrub with you can make them in bright and fun colours...and they are SIMPLE to make. plus their fairly inexpensive, seeing as they last for years and cost less than $2. oh and they make great gifts - people get genuinely excited about them!

    i'm working with a new pattern this time. called 'chinese waves' it's making a denser cloth than i'm used to, but i think it will be built to last.

    the pattern is from maggie's rags. i'm going to try out many different patterns and decide which ones i like...

    Wednesday, 8 June 2011

    writing straight.

    it seems we are in a season of being surrounded by people who are struggling. for me the absolute most incredible thing about jesus is that he desperately desires to enter into our struggles with us. but we have to invite him into that place - he will not come where he is not asked. but if we let him, he can redeem our brokenness.

    i've been praying this recently for so many people. it has personally brought me great comfort in moments of deep need.

    a prayer in brokenness

    o god,
    i cannot undo the past,
    or make it never have happened!
    - neither can you. there are some things
    that are not possible even for you
    - but not many!

    i ask you,
    and from the bottom of my heart:
    please, god,
    would you write straight
    with my crooked lines?
    out of the serious mistakes of my life
    will you make something beautiful for you?

    teach me to live at peace with you,
    to make peace with others,
    even myself.

    give me fresh vision. let me
    experience your love so deeply
    that i am free to
    face the future with a steady eye,
    and strong in hope.


    - celtic daily prayer -

    Monday, 6 June 2011

    sailing along.

    a few weekends ago le boy and i were invited to go sailing with some friends. it was to be my first time on a yacht. i was a little worried i'd be a disappointment, spend the entire time eating saltines and hanging over the side of the boat. luckily, that did not happen.

    what did happen was a fantastically sunny day with a nice breeze (good for actually sailing). a really fun weekend of spending time with old and new friends. reading magazines, finding extremely cute b&b's, and lying in the sun.

    we went to cowes on the isle of wight - yes, there's a place named cowes, the first time i heard it i thought it was one of those british town names that sounds like one thing, but is actually spelled completely differently...nope, just cowes, like the animal, with an e.

    we had the most wonderful hosts - and yes, the sea dog, wee hamish, has his own lifevest!

    in all, it turns out that i don't get seasick, can spend time below deck making sandwiches without getting sick (apparently noteworthy) and really enjoy sailing - even the rough bits we had on the return trip. it was lovely.

    and if you ever need a b&b recommendation for cowes, oakhill was absolutely fabulous!

    Friday, 3 June 2011


    well, we've found a flat! it is without a doubt, the biggest stressor that was on the pre-wedding list...getting married, eh - a piece of cake. finding a suitable flat, in the right area, for the right price, in a renter's city like london? the potential for tears was enormous.

    the process actually began months ago - what was our vision for how we'd use the space? and then what kind of space would we need to achieve that? ultimately le boy and i wanted a place where we could be hospitable - dinners and lunches (breakfasts even?), a place large enough to host a bible study group and parties - gotta be able to throw a party - a place with the space to host overnight guests or short term visitors.

    and then we asked - if we hope to do all of this, what will we need to feel able to do this? two bedrooms, a large dining area, a lounge, a functional kitchen, a garden with space for a dining table and some gardening (!?). and then for being really picky - a particular part of the city, close to our good friends, near a park, within 10 minutes of public transport, easy on the street parking, a dishwasher, a washer (AND DRYER), a ground floor flat, a place we could see ourselves renting for the longer-ish term, a terraced house. yep, we were PICKY. but the picky-ness was initially driven by our desire to be hospitable. and so we took these requests in prayer to god - and we've been praying for a flat with our 'dream' list for months. and wouldn't you know - we found a place with  every. last. thing. !!!

    so what we'd anticipated to be a nightmare, was actually, a very simple, very blessed process (did i mention that we only looked at ONE flat?).

    in our excitement we scheduled a trip to IKEA for a scouting mission. we sat on couches, laid on beds, discussed bookcases and shelving and decided that 930 pm is too late for a family of six with four children under four to be traipsing through the kitchen section (i think it's reasonable to say that babies might be a ways off...). but we've made some decisions about what we'd like to start off with and we've passed the all important IKEA test: can you make it through without fighting? apparently yes - which is basically enough confirmation that i've found my lobster...

    for the first time ever i left ikea without actually buying a thing - which must be some kind of record! this is what the sky looked like as we left. we are very blessed indeed.