Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sunday / Hollywood & Santa Barbara

Sunday / Currently enjoying

eating cinnamon toast with almonds, strawberries, banana and maple syrup in Hollywood
drinking the perfect latte
reading Purple Hibiscus
seeing beautiful tiles adorning benches, walls and pavements in Santa Barbara
hearing the unfamiliar sounds of different birds
watching pelicans dive into the ocean to catch fish in a very unelegant manner
napping on almost every car journey
driving through palm tree lined roads in Beverly Hills
finding beautiful, fascinating succulents

Monday, 30 July 2012

roadtrip diary

Yesterday afternoon while lying on East Beach in Santa Barbara, Becky wondered aloud whether by the end of our trip there would be details that we would have forgotten about the places we have visited / are visiting on our road trip. Later that afternoon while sipping on a frappucino, I wondered aloud where we were when we ate breakfast that morning. I had already forgotten that we'd been in Hollywood. With this clear evidence that we were sure to forget details by the end of our trip, I thought I'd try and write a few posts where possible to record some of the little details.

Saturday / Currently enjoying

eating dinner at Bubba Shrimp's (home of all things Forest Gump) in a very sleepy state - we'd all been awake for over 24 hours at this point.
watching the sunset over Santa Monica
seeing palm trees and blue skies everywhere
drinking lots and lots of water - so necessary after our long flight
sleeping in a huge bed 

summer smoothie / raspberry and banana

With the Summer weather I have found my appetite changing, particularly in the mornings. For years and years I have eaten good old faithful granola, but for some reason, I have craved smoothie's over granola for my morning meal. Here's a recipe for one I whipped up last week:

Raspberry and Banana
ingredients - makes 500ml / serves 2
1 banana
120g raspberries
handful of oats
good slosh of milk
4 ice cubes, crushed
80ml raspberry yoghurt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz for a few seconds until smooth.
Drink & Enjoy.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

50mm focus / lines

On Wednesday I went to Woolacoombe in North Devon for the day. My eyes were constantly drawn to all of the different natural lines that occurred everywhere on the beach, so I decided to do a 50mm photo walk. 

In line with Elise's original idea, the principle of these photo walks is that you follow a theme and take a selection of photos within a short time frame based on your theme. It's fun the way constraining your photos to a particular theme encourages you to look at things with differing perspectives. I loved the variety of lines I saw as I wandered around the beach: natural lines, man made lines, horizon lines, sharp lines, wiggly lines, sand lines, and water lines. What a lot of lines. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

We're off on a big adventure to America! For the next two weeks we'll be driving around the South West doing lots of eating, exploring, enjoying and adventuring with our holiday partners in crime, Tim & Becky. You can be sure that there will be many, many photos taken as I try to capture all of the wonderful things we see and do. I'll be back in two weeks with much to share with you all. 

Ciao for now!

Honest Burger

Do you remember my mention of an amazing burger bar in Brixton the other day? Well, I can finally share the photographic evidence with you. My mouth is watering just thinking about the deliciousness of the burger.
There's a tiny little burger joint in Brixton Market called Honest Burger which despite its small size, carries a great big reputation for amazing burgers. (And when I say tiny, it really is tiny - not much bigger than our lounge!) We arrived 15 minutes after they opened, and they were already full with a 25 minute wait for a table. So we popped our names down on the waiting list and went for a mooch around the other quirky shops of Brixton village. I loved the lanterns and hanging birds window display.
I loved the clean layout and clarity of Honest Burger's menu. The simplicity of choice made it very easy to choose what to eat.
I love this man even more than the simplicity of the menu though.
The homemade lemonade was served in these brilliant mugs that were basically a mason jar with a handle. The burger buns had an amazing glossy glaze and the rosemary salt on the chips was amazing. I can't believe it's taken me until now to discover that rosemary goes so well with chips.
If ever you find yourself in Brixton with a rumbly tummy, please go and visit Honest Burger. You will not regret it. I promise.

Friday, 20 July 2012

happy times

Well friends, I have made it to the end of my first year of teaching. Yesterday was my last day with Rose Class. We ended on a happy celebratory note (that evoked a few tears), sharing a video with parents of some of the learning that happens while their children are with me at school. As a teacher, it is a privilege to be entrusted with children. Sometimes the weight of that responsibility has felt a little too great, and I have been overwhelmed with the knowledge of the potential impact I have on these children. If you have ever worked with children, or have your own, you know that they can bring incredible amounts of joy, laughter and excitement, but they also have the ability to show up your greatest character weaknesses, your lack of patience, your response when things go wrong, and all of those other ugly things that we'd like to keep hidden. The challenging times have brought me to my knees in prayer and reminded me to stay there on my knees in the times to be thankful for too. While being aware of my weaknesses can be a painful thing, God is my sustainer and helper, and there is no better place to lay my struggles, questions, challenges, frustrations, joys, thankfulness and excitement than before Him. And in those times when I have been lost for words or so tired that I can't think straight, I have been so, so thankful for a loving husband who prays for me and with me.

The other day I came across this version of What makes you beautiful by The Piano Guys. I love that music evokes emotion, and for me, this piece of music makes me feel oh so happy. I listened to it at the start of the day yesterday, thanking God for the sunshine that greeted me, that we have been waiting so long for in England. Light and heat lift my soul just a little bit more than rain, making the day even better than it would have been if the weather carried on the way it has been. I highly recommend listening to this with good quality speakers to get maximum enjoyment.

Happy Friday one and all.

Monday, 16 July 2012

a photo hiatus

I am having to partake in a blogger-enforced photo hiatus on my blog, which I am a little sad about. I had a post prepared, all about our weekend in London, and a brilliant burger shop in Brixton that would make you drool. Then as I was uploading photos, a message appeared, telling me I am all out of photo storage space. So this blog will be temporarily photo-less while I come up with a solution. I keep trying ways of slipping in just one more photo, but blogger is having none of it. Here's to hoping I can get this sorted quickly. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

As school has picked up quite a pace over the last few weeks, things on this little space of mine have slowed. While in part this is simply the natural ebb and flow of life in action – of letting some things take greater priority – there is something more to my quietness here that I have been trying to find the words to communicate for some time.

Lately I have been thinking about what it looks like to blog with intention. I wanted to develop more of a rhythm to the things I blogged about here, so started doing regular photowalks and Foodie Fridays. While in some respects this helped me with getting posts written and sometimes scheduled ahead of time, the depth of content that I see in so many blogs felt distinctly lacking.

After reading one of Jessi’s posts where she mentions how she started to blog when it was all about writing, it got me thinking about why I blog. There are a few reasons, some I feel are far more evident in my blog content than others:

1)      I love to take photos and blogging is a wonderful way of documenting my life in photos that is far quicker than printing out physical photos
2)      I love to bake and I like to think about looking back in many years to come at the different kinds of baked goods I was baking – to see how my baking habits change and evolve.
3)      I like to write.

I feel this last reason has been the one which has been most lacking lately. There really is very little depth to the words I write. The blogs I love the most are those which encourage me in my faith, inspire me, and are written by people who clearly have a level of wisdom about living in a way that honours God and makes much of him. I recently watched this video (and wept at the power of love in action), and at the end, read these words:

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

The words hit my heart as I read them and their truth sunk in. I really believe that the deep satisfaction that there is to be found in God comes out of knowing Him. Not just knowing of God or about God, but knowing His truth in our hearts through time spent with Him in prayer and reading the Bible. I know in my own life that any frustration or dissatisfaction I have with God is to do with an attitude in my own heart that is not in line with God’s Truth, and therefore misses the reality of who God really is. And this is what I want to write more about – the love of God that I know deeply and long to know more of.

One of the Bible passages John and I chose to be read at our wedding was this:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4 v 7 – 10.

While this blog is a means of documentation for me, my desire is to bless those of you who read my words in some small way, and share what I know of God’s great love with you –whether that’s in taking photos that capture some of the beauty that I see – or sharing Scripture that it might bring you encouragement – what I know is that the greatest gift I have ever received is the love of Jesus – and that is something worth sharing. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

pretty as a peony

I know I have posted about peonies a few times before, but I honestly can't get enough of their beauty. One of my greatest losses when I moved house a few years ago was that I left my peony plant in the front garden of the house I was moving from. I never got to see it bloom. These beauties are a little expensive so I don't buy them very often, but John encouraged me to do so at the weekend, and I didn't need to be told twice. I love how they quite literally explode from tiny bud to huge flower heads. One day I'd like to do a time lapse video of it to capture the moment...

 Do you have a favourite flower? If so, what makes it your favourite?

Monday, 2 July 2012

baby shower cupcakes

Last week I had the pleasure of baking some cupcakes for an old colleagues baby shower. The soon-to-be-Mum hasn't found out the gender of the baby, so I was asked to make a mixture of classic blue and pink cupcakes. (I'd like to point out that I don't really agree with assigning colours to particular genders, but this is what I was asked to do.)
I was let loose on making the decision about flavours so I went with lemon cupcakes with raspberry buttercream and chocolate cupcakes with coloured / marbled buttercream. 

I love having a reason to get my piping bag out. It's such a satisfying process.