Tuesday, 28 February 2012


le boy turned 40 a couple of weeks ago. and it was a birthday extravaganza to end all others. we are blessed with numerous friends in this big city and so we started things with a big party at a local pub. it was wonderful to have so many people out to celebrate my guy and as often happens at these events, i learn a few new stories, a little insight into my husband. that night i learned just how much people care about him, and the efforts they'll make to celebrate him with me.

i wanted us to have a birthday cake for the occasion so i enquired at a local bakery, when the price tag came back at £125(!) i decided that there must be a better way - after all cake is only flour and eggs right? and it is, admittedly i might have taken on a bit much that weekend, with our saturday night celebrations but i dove in and this was the result.

hummingbird cake recipe, icing design completely ripped off  inspired by a photo i saw online...the learning from this bad boy - it's always better to go with a fluffy icing under a fondant icing...i may or may not have iced this twice.

and if that wasn't enough we had a dozen of le boy's nearest and dearest for a dinner party the following night.

it started as always with some wine and cheese and gift opening. a good friend of marvellous always starts her dinner parties with crackers and cheese and i've shamelessly stolen the idea.

and it continued with, if i do say so myself, the best roast leg of lamb of all time.

i cannot begin to describe this joy. tender and juicy and so delicious. i used jamie oliver's recipe for the 'best roast lamb' he wasn't lying.

full menu :: pinterest board with links to all recipes

caesar salad

roast leg of lamb with mint sauce 
roasted potatoes and carrots 
spicy butternut squash 
lemony green beans 

chocolate pavolova 

it went incredibly well. except the pavolva which i made three times. the directions by the lovely nigella suggest satin peaks for the meringue before adding sugar - it might have been the humidity in my kitchen, which tends to be high and can have an adverse effect on egg whites but these just became seven-minute frosting, twice. my leiths techniques bible, how i love it! suggested whipping to very stiff peaks before adding sugar and it was a success! sadly the photo in the dark kitchen just didn't come out, but suffice to say it approximates the photo online.

in all the celebrations were a success and we felt so immensely blessed to have our friends celebrate this oh so important entrance into a new decade!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


it's been a while since i've blogged, but not for lack of things to tell. i normally dread february. it's cold, and in london, particularly grey. this february has been no exception, except well, it's been much colder than usual. but i suppose that possibly the sun's shone a little more than normal? it's also been a month of baby showers (the newest little arrived safe and healthy yesterday - praise god!), of husband's turning forty - more on that later, and of trips to the mountains. i'll do a proper travel post in a bit, but for now. a few snaps from our weekend in, where else? chamonix, france! maybe this year, february wasn't so bad after all...

coffee, water, and a truffle - my kind of coffee place!

mountain chic.

crepes - i may have had these a few times...

chocolat chaud aka melted bar of chocolate in a cup.

the brilliant sunshine.

so what have i been thinking of recently? how to do lent this year. and how much i love my husband bringing me coffee in the morning. the hope for a more extended experience in the mountains at some point. my love of knitting. podcasts - oh my i'm downloading lots and lots. beth moore for free? yes please! the joys of instagr.am. and how i'm hoping for a kindle for my birthday - le boy recieved one for his, and umm, it's fantastic. and my renewed desire to relearn french (i have this every time we travel to france...) oh  and we're doing a little home improvement around our place. and march is to be characterized by my family coming to visit (in stages).

and tonight's pancakes for dinner - i love shrove tuesday. i will be making these. i even bought bacon on my lunch. it's time for a little pre-lent sugar and fat rush.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


we have a baby arriving very soon. we cannot wait for her to come. we are oh so excited to share in this joy and this miracle. today i hosted a baby shower for her mummy.

it was ladies and brunch and endless cups of tea and i was terrible and took pictures only with my phone and after they'd all left - but here's what i've got.


slow cooker gouda sausage casserole - i used regular sausage instead of turkey sausage, and well, it wasn't as successful, so out of the slow cooker, five minutes before people arrived and into the oven. it ended up as a hit!

banana muffins
fruit salad
pink rice krispies
coffee & tea galore

and although it is the coldest day of the year here, the tulips are abounding at the market. thanks to le boy who braved the winter morning to fetch them - it changed everything.

Friday, 3 February 2012

friday confessions

  • i don't always change the water cooler bottle when i know it's close to empty. i already change it about twice as much as anyone else because my office is across the hall. i know, it would be nice of me to change it every time, i'm working on it. 
  •  i bought new shoes on my way to work this morning. but they are pretty shiny gold-bronze, and they are supposed to "tone my legs" while i walk - i'm a sucker for advertising. does it make it better that they were on massively reduced?

  • i'm officially banned from the banana republic/gap website i can barely control myself - case in point: two (!) pairs of skinny jeans and a skirt - but again all reduced - shocking to think i used to buy full price! 
  •  for the second friday in a row i've started the day with a massage - it seems less luxurious when i also mention that the therapist literally digs his elbow into my thigh - none of this relaxing stuff - unless by relaxing you mean pushing yourself as hard as you can into the bed to make it hurt less :) healing is officially painful. 
  •  i had sushi for lunch, I wasn't organised enough to make my lunch today - but man the sushi was good
  •  i've missed the gym twice this week - i'm telling myself it's because the knee is sore and needs a rest - really i'm just a little bit lazy 
  •  i've become slightly obsessed with doing my nails, by which i mean, paying someone to do them for me 
  •  i'm still trying to figure out how to get to the steam room at the gym this weekend, i think of it as a poor woman's spa. 
  •  it's really cold here right now, actually really cold. i self-soothed this morning with a starbucks hot chocolate. it was yummy.

:posted on the go:

Thursday, 2 February 2012


it is cold here. bracingly. nothing like the winters of my childhood and youth, dressed and wrapped against the snow, the lake's wind, cheeks perpetually rosy-glow, and never without a hat. but it is cold nevertheless, below-zero cold, deep desires for warm food and warm beds and nights snuggled on the couch with blankets.

i am startled by it. refreshed, hopeful for the days and weeks ahead. in all honesty, i find february difficult - cold and usually grey, i am so desperately pleased to see the golden warmth of sunshine today. it is streaming through my window, warming my back, deceiving me of the truth. i will take its deception.

january was definitely a growing month for us. we're learning how to handle life with us both working and trying to fit in mundane (but important!) tasks of the gym and cooking and laundry. alongside some new opportunities that god's presented us with - namely, we're now leading a homegroup and serving on our church's prayer ministry team. both of these things are blessing us immensely and we are so grateful to be continually immersed in a community that is proclaiming christ. we are also learning that we will need to say no to very fun social things from time to time in order to have time for our marriage, which is also a very fun thing. 

january recap: 

spiritual: memorised acts 20:32 & joshua 1:9

mental: i read the meaning of marriage by tim keller (absolutely fantastic read for both married and single people, seeking to understand biblical, thoughtful, intentional marriage!), i'm still struggling with a room with a view, and if i hadn't said that i'd read it, i probably would have put it down by now. 

physical: i've been to the gym four times a week! i am TIRED. 

bitesone bite at a time has been helpful, but four bites was more than i could chew (pun intended!) and i'm happy to have settled at two - meal planning, which i'm fully in the swing of and cleaning while i cook.

::february intentions::

spiritual: memorise hebrews 4:12 & another scripture

mental: two books, as yet, not chosen, but le boy is currently reading another keller, so it's high on the list of probability

take a photo a day - i missed the first but took two today...i'll try to post all 28, i'm going to experiment with instagr.am i've not used this app very much, but it seems appropriately suited to such a task.  

physical: i'd like to lose a couple of kgs, two to be exact, so that will be the challenge this month! 

bites: establish a morning routine, establish an evening routine

poem for february

Winter Sun

By Molly Fisk

How valuable it is in these short days,
threading through empty maple branches,
the lacy-needled sugar pines.

Its glint off sheets of ice tells the story
of Death’s brightness, her bitter cold.

We can make do with so little, just the hint
of warmth, the slanted light.

The way we stand there, soaking in it,
mittened fingers reaching.

And how carefully we gather what we can
to offer later, in darkness, one body to another.

it's a.b.'s half birthday today - you heard me right, we celebrate those sorts of things...so hope you have half a cupcake today kid. love you.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


people said it would be hard. this loving another thing. and it is, i suppose. in a way. dying daily to my wants and putting his first. people said this first year would be filled with hurt and strife and angry words and wordless emotions with nowhere to go. people said i'd feel trapped. people said, it would get easier, with time and prayer and learning each other, we'd know better. people said, get through the first year and you get to start at the good stuff. 

but this thing, isn't really all that hard. it's hard work. but when your co-labourer sits next to you. when he emails in the morning to see if your journey was good. when he books an appointment with the sports massage guy because he knows you've been waking up in the night from the pain of a body knitting itself back together. when there's a delightful moment of standing in a hallway, our hallway, laughing and being close, because it's our house and we can. it's not even all that much hard work.

and i'm not all that certain why it's not hard. we've done some pretty hard things in these first six months. we've walked through joblessness and surgery. through money woes and recovery. we've started to establish our family and figure out how to do laundry and dishes and cleaning and work and friends and budgets and parties and bible studies and sharing a bed and sharing a bathroom and who gets the remote and what music to listen to and eating at the table and taking out the rubbish and ironing his shirts and sending the thank you notes and going to church and submitting faithfully day after day to each other, and to christ. that's what these first six months have been about. i wouldn't trade those months of joblessness now, we got en entire extra month of just-the-two-of-us-time. i expect i'll be grey and he'll be grey-er before that happens again.

and yes, all of it can be hard at any given point, but never have i wondered if we were right - i know, deep down that this is what love looks like. the bending down and picking up his discarded socks. the way he readies for work all quiet so that i can sleep longer. the conversations that last way too late into the night.  i know that love is saturday morning rugby for him and girls night for me. and that we do it willingly, even when we don't feel that way, when we release each other, the other wants to come back. 

this hard work, it's worth it. all of it. even the laundry. it is the good stuff.