Friday, 25 November 2011

singing in my ears

Hello Friends,

Happy Friday! I love the weekends, although Mr King is leaving me this weekend to go on a stag weekend. But, my sister is coming to stay, so I won't be on my lonesome.

I wanted to share with you a few songs that I have been playing on repeat lately. John will testify to this, and I am sure the neighbours will too - I always hear our neighbour yawning at the same time every day - so I am pretty sure they will hear my music. 

The Paper Kites :: I only came across this song yesterday but I have already lost count of the number of times I have played it. I love it. 



Benjamin Francis Leftwich :: He has beautiful dulcet tones. Enough said.



Christina Perri :: I heard this lady's wonderful voice on the radio the other day & loved it. It was one of those moments when you are driving and hear a song that you don't want to forget, so you have to frantically try and remember the lyrics to google later.



This song also happens to be featured on the new Twilight film, so I am pretty sure I am not the only person to love this song.

Happy listening!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

netball.

Last night I played in a netball match. This is the first match I have played in about 10 years. I was trying to remember the last time I played, and I honestly can't remember if I stopped playing team sports during sixth form, or once I'd finished GCSE. Either way, ten years is a looooong time, but I love that my body remembers how to play. 


I have really missed the opportunity to play team sports since leaving school. At university, sports teams were only accessible to people who had hundreds of pounds to spare, which I did not. It's funny to think that running became my exercise companion in the absence of people, and has remained an almost constant companion in the last seven years. 


At school, I always played the position of wing attack, or wing defence, but when the staff at school started netball training at the start of this academic year, I ended up getting the chance to be goal shooter. Much to my surprise, I can actually score goals! 


The team we played against last night are league players, and have played countless games together as a team, so we knew we didn't really stand a chance of winning, but our spirits were still running high, in light of almost definite defeat. It all felt very serious when the captain of the opposite team (who used to play for England) came round to check we had removed all rings and earrings, and that our nails were an appropriate length. 


By the fourth quarter the score was 22-5 to the other team. We made it our aim to get to 10 goals by the end of the match. With three seconds to go, I had one final chance to shoot, and BAM, I got it in, scoring my 4th goal of the match! So we ended up scoring 11 goals as a team, beating our 10 goal aim. Hooray! 
I cannot wait for the next match.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Martin & Helen's wedding

 {slightly mad, speedy confetti shot, but I like it}

I love weddings, especially when they are the weddings of friends who I have known since childhood. I love how some friendships endure regardless of changes in life as we transition from childhood to adulthood, move away from home, and make new friends. I have known Martin for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of playing at his house & can remember the first time I held his baby sister, who was born a few months after my sister, when I was 7. I was so excited that finally there were some girls around (between our two families, I was the only girl, alongside 5 boys, until our sisters came along).

Although I have known Martin for most of my life, it wasn't until our teenage years that we discovered that we didn't need to hate each other, but could actually be friends. He's the friend who gave me my first (and last) drum kit, who I started university in the same city with, and the friend who played the piano as I walked up the aisle on my wedding day. 
It was such a wonderful day, celebrating Martin & Helen's marriage with old friends (who I haven't seen for such a long time that they didn't actually recognise me), and new friends.


 {the very lovely favours - poppy seeds picked from the (former) monastery  where Helen's parents live}

{the incredible cake, and Helen's second dress of the day - more practical for dancing!}

{The Abbey where the reception was held}

Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you have created joy and gladness, pleasure and delight, love, peace and fellowship. Pour out the abundance of your blessing upon Martin & Helen in their new life together. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts and a crown upon their heads. Bless them in their works and companionship, awake and asleep, in joy and sorrow, in life and in death.'
{excerpt from the marriage blessing}

Sunday, 20 November 2011

wedding of the weekend / part 1

On Friday, I gave you a little peek at what was keeping me occupied, so it is only fair that I show you the finished products. A friend who I have known for as long as I can remember got married yesterday to his beautiful bride, and they asked me to bake some cupcakes to serve as refreshments at their wedding.

I settled on three different varieties:

chocolate fondant cupcakes {Hummingbird Bakery recipe}
carrot cake cupcakes {James Martin recipe}
black bottomed cupcakes {Hummingbird Bakery recipe}

I used our church kitchen for the baking, as it allows me to bake far more cupcakes than I could fit into our oven, and it gives me a lovely amount of working surface to spread out on. The only drawback to baking somewhere other than my own kitchen is that I need to take everything with me, and this tends to mean that for all of the dozens of ingredients & pieces of equipment that I remember, there is always something I forget. This time round, it was oil for the black bottomed cupcakes. So I went to buy some, and it wasn't until I got back to the church that I realised I had been running around Bristol (quite literally) with my cardigan on inside out. How embarrasing. 

Thankfully, my inability to dress properly did not affect the cakes in any way.

thick chocolate leaves, dusted with gold lustre dust

The wedding was an hour and twenty minutes drive away, and I was quite worried that the cupcakes might bump around a bit, but amazingly, none of them sustained any damage. I didn't manage to find time to have lunch before the wedding, but I did eat two of these cupcakes before dinner was served at 5.30pm, and they filled me up perfectly. I'll be sharing some photos from the wedding tomorrow, so be sure to pop by to see the lovely bride & groom.

p.s sorry for the poor photo quality - it always seems to be that when I do a big bake, I finish in the evening, and end up with no opportunity to photograph my creations in good old natural light - hence the flash shadows.  

Friday, 18 November 2011

a little peek

Here's a little insight into what I have spent yesterday afternoon doing, and what I will be doing this afternoon.

Dear mircroplane zester, I dreamed about you for nearly two years - ever since John & I attended a workshop at Bordeaux Quay cookery school. Now, you are mine, thanks to Ma&Pa gifting you to me for my birthday. Love, Hannah

Dear Hummingbird Bakery, I love your recipes. Whipped ganache? That sounds perfect. I look forward to tasting you. Love, Hannah

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

muffin magic

On Sunday as we prepared lunch with my Mum, we came to the decision that making muffins would be a great idea. I can't remember how we got to that decision, but I'm not surprised that we did, as so many of my conversations and thoughts eventually come back to cake. 


So as John and my Mum put the finishing touches to our lunch (which included Mum's roast potatoes - no one does them like her) I set about making chocolate muffins. John offered to help so I gave him the task of chopping up chocolate. He asked in an ever so slightly quizzical way whether or not they should be added to the muffin mix. Funny question, seeing as we're making chocolate muffins, and chocolate doesn't go so well with roast potatoes and chicken pie, I thought. 


I continued on my merry way, stirring up a storm in the mixing bowl. Then as I started distributing the mixture amongst the muffin cases, John exclaimed, 'oooh, I thought we were having English Muffins! I didn't know why you would want to put chocolate in English muffins, but thought maybe these would just be a bit different!' I love the way he thinks. 


If you make these muffins, I would highly recommend chopping up the chocolate into good sized chunks rather than using chocolate chips - it's such a treat to have a mouthful of chocolate chunks. 


Mum's Muffins
ingredients
1lb / 450g self raising flour
8oz / 225g chocolate (we used milk & dark choc)
16 fl oz / 450ml milk 
8 fl oz / 225ml sunflower oil
7 oz / 200g caster sugar
4 oz / 110g cocoa
1 tsp bi carbonate of soda


method
1. preheat oven to gas mark 5 / 190C
2. line 2 muffin tins with cases
3. mix dry ingredients together in a bowl (no need to sieve)
4. combine oil & milk in a jug
5. chop up chocolate and add to dry ingredients
6. stir in wet ingredients with dry, using a wooden spoon - stir as little as possible
7. spoon very generous portions into cases
8. bake for approx 20 minutes or until they look ready!
9. make a cup of tea & coffee, and drink with a warm muffin



beachy blues

Remember yesterday when I said about speaking to myself with the knowledge of tomorrow, I could provide assurance of blue skies?


Well, here's the evidence (along with a whole lot of beach huts and a little bit of sun flare).











As you can see, I had great fun photographing beach huts. I loved the clean lines, the contrasts of neatly painted huts & cracked, crumbling paintwork, and the complimentary shades of blue everywhere I looked - from the sea to the sky to the beach huts. A wonderfully inspiring colour palette.



Monday, 14 November 2011

Saturday celebrations

This weekend we headed back to Herne Bay for all kinds of friends & family fun.


Our first stop was Grove Ferry, where we went for a lovely long walk for a friend's birthday. We did up walking in complete darkness, which was a little interesting. I am just very thankful that I was not in charge of getting everyone back to the car park safely, otherwise we would have been spending the night in a field.


John kindly carted my camera along on the walk, and consequently, we got better photos of cows than of me:


Exhibit a)


I think the camera may well have been on auto focus for this shot, and as a result, was far more excited by Becky's impressive walking with her head facing backwards & wild arm gesticulations than by my face.


Exhibit b)


 I'm going to call this one he cow and she cow, don't ask why, I just think it works

Now, with this next photo, if you look at it and think, 'wow, that is a little bit....grey, isn't it?' you would be very justified in having that thought. It was a well and truly grey day. If I could speak to myself on this day with knowledge of tomorrow I would say, 'don't worry, the sun will most definitely come out tomorrow.'


 The fun of someone else taking charge of my camera was that when I looked through, there were lots of little surprises. When I saw this photo, I wondered if Tim was about to attempt to climb this taller-than-him tree stump, or if he'd just triumphantly climbed down. The next photo resolved my wondering.




Triumphant Tim with only half a left leg!

We finished up our walk with a scrumdidliuptious meal in the Grove Ferry Inn. If you are ever in this part of the world, I would highly recommend having a meal here.

Our evening was filled with more friends, where we attended the leaving party of my oldest friend & her fabulous husband. They are about to embark on their biggest adventure yet, as they move to Brazil to have a baby and plant a church. They will be sorely missed by many in England, but greatly appreciated by many more in Brazil, I am sure.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

giveaway winner

Hello friends,


When I posted about the little giveaway I was hosting here, my Nanny was still with us. As I am sure you will understand, the reason why I failed to announce the winner on Friday as I had promised, was because of my Nanny passing away.


So, a little later than anticipated, I am excited to announce the winner of Bill's Basics & a packet of delicious little hearts...


and the winner is....


mash and gravy said...
I love to read your blog! It's so exciting with all the baking and sewing and general creativity! I promise to comment more often :)

My favourite food is mashed potato (as you know) because you, well, I can eat it with anything; I've even eaten it with lasagne!! Although I'm not sure anyone else would..

It is simple to make, delicious to eat and when covered with gravy it looks like vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce!! YUM.

congratulations!

E-mail me your home address and your treats will be winging their way to you very soon!
{hannah ruth king {at} gmail {dot} com)




Thursday, 10 November 2011

in memoriam :: Hazel Page



It is with sadness that I write this post to share with you that last night, my wonderful grandmother died. 

We knew the end was in sight for her, as her health has been gradually deteriorating over quite some time now, but even when you know that grief is approaching, the loss is no smaller when that moment arrives. I am so thankful that over the last few months I have been able to see quite a lot of my Nanny, and while it was often sad to see how frail her body was becoming, it was a gift to see that her spirit was still strong.


When I first heard the song 10,000 reasons a few months ago, it struck a chord with me in light of my Nanny's ill health. For the last couple of days on my journey to work, it has played on my current car playlist & the weight of the words have felt that much greater and closer as it looked like her final days on earth were here.

and on that day when my strength is failing, 
the end draws near and my time has come,
still my soul will sing your praise unending,
ten thousand years and then forever more.

My Nanny loved Jesus, and I have always known this about her. After my Dad called last night to say that she has gone to be with the Lord, I was thinking about how the reason I grieve the loss is because of her. Without her, I would not be here. Over the last couple of years I have thought often about my heritage in the Lord, and the influence that the prayers and life lived by my Nanny & Grandad have influenced my faith in God.

Early last year, I had written to my Nanny, and thanked her for raising her four daughters in the knowledge of Jesus, that they might share that faith with their children. I shared with her my hope that through her suffering with poor health, she still knew the joy of the Lord in her life. I was so thrilled to receive a letter in reply - arthritis had run its course in her hands which made writing incredibly difficuly. In that letter she was honest that her health did get her down, but 'my faith never waivers.'

As the grief settled in last night, I was reminded of what my wise uncle had said to me at the age of 16 as tears rolled down my face at the death of my Grandad (Nanny's beloved, amazing husband). 'The sadness we feel is selfish - we grieve because of our loss, not his. He gets to spend an eternity with Jesus - we have to carry on life without him, and
that is what's painful.' My first reaction was to think that for my uncle to say I was selfish was unkind, but the Lord quickly taught me exactly what he meant. There is a verse in the Bible that says,

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 
Ecclesiastes 3: 11.

God can set the hope of eternity in our hearts which is quite an incredible thought, when for so much of the time, our eyes & hearts are fixed on the here and now on earth. Before my Nanny moved into a nursing home, she said to my Mum, 'the next place I want to go is heaven.' Her heart was set on her eternal destination, and her hope was in the promise of eternal life that came through Jesus dying on the cross, and thankfully, she didn't have too much longer to wait when she spoke of her desire to go to heaven.

Nanny with her four daughters :: 28th October 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011



Dear Readers,

Hello, how are you today?

I have been thinking about this post for quite some time now. This is my 500th blog post (since starting runningforgrace), and that number feels like a little landmark. I thought it would be nice to celebrate in some small way and the first thing that came to mind was that I would like to do a giveaway to say a big thankyou to those of you who come & visit my little space. 

I started blogging when I first moved away from home as a means of keeping in touch with my family in a way slightly more interesting than e-mail. Back then, those who knew me were my only audience. I wrote for them, and quite honestly, I was a bit embarassed to tell people that I had a blog. I suppose I thought people would wonder what on earth did I have that was interesting enough to share with the world & anyone who cared to visit my tiny spot in cyberspace. 

But then I got a digital camera, and this blog became something more of what I wanted it to be. I love the way a photo can silently speak a thousand words, shedding light in a way that my words cannot. I have always loved photography as a form of documentary, and before I had a digital camera, I always felt my blog posts lacked the colour they needed to make them complete. 

Little by little, I feel I have found my feet in the way I write & share on my blog. Last week I was talking with my dad about blogging and he said, 'the photos you take and post are just so you.' This was a big compliment - I often wonder if people really want to see yet another photo of a bowl of soup or the latest cake to be born out of my oven, but baking is what I love to do, and that's want I want blogging to be about - sharing the things in life that I love.

Every now & then I wonder if I should stop blogging. In all honesty, it can feel a little disheartening and vulnerable to put my voice out there in the enormous ether of the internet, and feel like I often only hear my words echoing back . I have been asking myself the question, 'do you blog because you want people to read your words, or do you blog because you love it?'  The answer to these questions is a bit of both really. I suppose at the heart of every writer is the desire to be heard, and that is ok. But writing because you hope deep down that someone will listen is not enough. You have to do it because you love it; because there is something in you that finds a simple yet great satisfaction in allowing the words to flow onto the (proverbial) page, and to get that satisfaction alone is enough, without the feedback from readers. And I am realising more and more that I do love it, and I hope that my desire to keep documenting and writing will continue for a good long while.

So, to say thank you to you for coming to my blog - whether it is your first time or you have been kindly reading my words for a long time - I am going to give away a couple of treats - as a small way of saying thank you. 

Seeing as I love to talk about food so much, I'm going to give away a brand new copy of Bill Granger's fabulous book, Bill's Basics. It is full of wonderful ideas for breakfast, desserts, and almost everything in between. 



(This brown sugar shortbread is seriously yummy - the shortbread photo on my sidebar was made using this recipe)

I'd also like to give away a packet of my favourite sweet treats - almost completely natural & made from real fruit juice.

(I may or may not have eaten 3 packets of these while waiting for dinner to cook last night...sorry John!)

If you would like to win these treats, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favourite food is and why you love it. It doesn't matter if you have never commented before, or where you live in the world - I would love to hear from you and I will happily ship these goodies anywhere - I love to send post and the prospect of it going abroad is even more exciting. The giveaway will close on Friday 11th November at 6pm GMT, and one winner will be selected at random. I'll announce the winner on Monday. Oooh, I am excited!

Monday, 7 November 2011

a sunday afternoon.

The Autumn afternoon beckoned us for a walk, so we went to our new favourite spot in Bristol. It's a little haven that is tucked away, it has taken a long time for us to discover it. Now we have, it feels like our secret, and we love to go running there. As the dusk descended, we ascended a gentle hill towards the woodland, enjoying the peace & quiet of the day, and just being together.



I am very thankful for having a kind & patient husband who always waits for me as I stop to take yet another photo, every time the sky changes.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

remember, remember the 5th of November

 
As I write this post, there is the sound of fireworks right outside my window, which is so familiar at this time of year in England. For those of you who read this blog who are not British, every year on the 5th November, we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night - on this very day in 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested, trying to blow up the House of Lords with a whole lot of gunpowder. The King of England survived, thanks to the arrest of Mr. Fawkes, and ever since, the 5th November has marked the celebration of thanksgiving that his plot failed. 

Although in all honesty, the occasion is now focused on having a whole lot of fun with fireworks, lighting up the sky in all their prettyness (and scaring all of the cats & dogs in England). Our church held its first ever bonfire party in Long Ashton (the village where we held our wedding reception). My husband had the official role of firer, in other words, he was responsible for setting off all the fireworks, along with our good friend Ben (photographer extraordinaire, by the way). 


We arrived while the sky was still brilliantly blue, and the moon had started shining, to set up the fireworks & candles to light the way.


It was so fun to spend the evening with good friends, old and new, celebrating in the beauty of the fireworks, enjoying the warmth of the great big bonfire, and playing with sparklers (what a brilliant invention!), oh, and eating hot dogs & mini marshmallows. Yummy yum yum.


 John looks on intently at his babies  fireworks that he took such good care of.
 light cirles (also known as bokeh) make me very happy


Mrs. Hannah Poulson thought the sparklers were just a little bit awesome (just like she is)
The night ended with some fire breathing by Ben and his housemate Dave. The children thought they were astounding, calling out, 'do it again! do it again!' over and over. (The adults thought they were pretty good too!)