Sunday, 29 April 2012

The wedding of Nick & Sarah

On Friday 13th April I had the privilege of photographing the wedding of a lovely couple, Sarah and Nick. It really was an honour to be with the bride as she prepared for her wedding day, seeing the nerves and excitement, and heart felt emotion from her loving family.
The venue was the beautiful Priston Mill. Set in the Bath countryside and surrounded by fields, it was a stunning location for a wedding.


{the beautiful bouquet)

During the evening reception there was a selection of fun masks for guests to try on to transform them into film stars and masked beauties. I spent so much of the day with a smile on my face as I tried to capture the joy and delight of the celebrations. Aren't weddings wonderful?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

running around the trees

Blaise Castle is a place that John and I love. We went there on our first date, John proposed there, and our adopted hamster is buried there. 

While I was away last weekend, John went running around the Blaise Estate and found a new spot that neither of us had been to before. On Tuesday evening, he took me there on our run. It was well worth the calf-wrecking scramble required to see the vista that awaited us.
 {The only sounds we could here were bird song and babbling water}


 {the spot where John proposed is tucked away behind this little bridge}
 {view from the top}

 {pretty petal confetti}

It was refreshing to be amongst trees that towered over us, then to ascend to heights above the tops of trees and yet still feel surrounded by greatness. To discover new heights in an already familiar environment was inspiring and made me wonder what other hidden treasures there are to be found, if only I would look a little more closely.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

peppermint and pecan ice cream bar

When John goes away on business, I am pretty hopeless at cooking proper meals for myself. I think I have mentioned before that I would happily live on a diet of granola, but I know this is not the best way to nourish my body, brilliant though it is. 

So last week, when John was in Copenhagen at a conference, I decided I needed to make a meal plan to ensure I ate well. As I was flicking through the pages of the most recent issue of Delicious magazine, I saw a recipe for ice cream that looked too good to ignore. Sure, it's not a main meal, but it would make a most excellent dessert or snack. It took about 15 minutes to whip up, and the end result is essentially homemade viennetta. Scrumdidliumptious. 

There was still plenty left when John got home, so he was able to sample the creamy minty goodness. His only criticism was that the ice crystals were too big. He thought putting it in the fridge to slightly soften completely melt would be an improvement. Sadly, it was not, and ended up down the drain! 

As for the rest of my meals, they were far more nutritious than my dessert, consisting mostly of beans and lentils. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Weekend Destination: Stratford on Avon

I spent last weekend in Stratford on Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace) for a hen weekend. One of the girls I lived with during my second and third years at university is getting married in two weeks time, and it was so lovely to gather together in a stunning hotel with a group of lovely ladies who are now doctors, nurses and anaesthetists, engineers and teachers, to celebrate with Rachel, the bride to be.




On Saturday we pic-nicked in the park with homemade jammy dodgers, cupcakes and scones with clotted cream and jam.
{The house where Shakespeare was born}
We attempted an historical treasure hunt around the town, but all teams failed miserably and ended up in various coffee shops. 
In honour of the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and death, there were people everywhere dressed like this. Or at least, that's the reason we assumed they were dressed like this...


In the centre of a town, an incredible Samba band were playing, with a guy who had the longest dreads I have ever seen. The drummers made me want to join a drumming band immediately.


We returned to the hotel in the evening and donned our dresses and pearls before dining in the hotel restaurant on some most delicious food. Every guest had a bag of favours, filled with homemade treats of hot chocolate on a stick, fabric flower hair clips and homemade soap. We presented the bride to be with a beautifully bound book, with a gold embossed title, filled with recipes and words of wisdom and encouragement that each of the guests had contributed.

On Sunday we enjoyed a very leisurely morning in the spa, then said our goodbye's at lunchtime before heading our separate ways all over the country to return home. What a lovely weekend.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Saturday Smoothie

During my time in Brazil, I drank a lot of delicious drinks. They tickled my tastebuds and inspired me to make more drinks at home, rather than just sticking with my usual defaults of water or coffee.

I am trying to eat more yoghurt with bio-cultures at the moment, and found some delicious flavours on offer in the supermarket. I knew it would take me too long to get through the two pots I purchased without doing something a bit more exciting than eating the yoghurt by itself, and I realised my ample yoghurt supply provided the perfect opportunity to get making some tasty drinks.


So, for a refreshing drink and mid-afternoon snack, I made a smoothie.


Blackcurrant and Elderflower Smoothie (makes 250ml smoothie)
Ingredients:
250ml blackcurrant and elderflower yoghurt
3 ice cubes
2 strawberries
1 banana


Pop everything into a blender, whizz until smooth, and there you have your smoothie.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Brazil Part Three: Baby Benjamin's Blanket

Do you remember this blanket that I shared with you shortly before my trip to Brazil? Well, here it is, all finished, and with the baby it was intended for.
 {smiles at Mummy}


 {what is this curious thing by my ear?}
 {I'd better taste it to find out}
 {wow, that tickles! do it again!}
Does anyone else like to imagine what babies are thinking, or is it just me? 

Brazil Part Two: Baby Benjamin


It was such a joy to meet Baby Benjamin. He is a happy little chappie with his Mum's smile and his Papai's eyebrows. Newborn babies remind me of snails, the way they curl up when picked up from sleep, or when they're lying on your chest, and I love this. For those of you who are not particularly enamoured by baby photos, you might want to give this post a miss, because that's all there is to see here. Baby, baby, and more baby. If, on the other hand, you think that babies are brilliant, regardless of whether or not they are your own, then scroll on down and enjoy Benjamin's brilliance.

 {happy sleepy}

 {sleepy}
{hungry? yes.}

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Brazil Part One: The Friends

My memories of knowing Katy go back as far as my memory will take me. When we were young teenagers, one of Katy's favourite films was Now and Then. It's a film about a group of 4 girls who are good friends. As they grow up, life takes them separate ways, but when one of them has a baby, they all come to her side to support her and celebrate with her. We loved this film because we felt an affinity with the girls. There were 4 of us who grew up together, and we loved watching Now and Then, and dreaming about what might become of us. Katy was the first of our group to get married, and the first to have a baby. Naturally, I could not wait to meet the baby boy that was growing inside her belly. Katy's husband is Brazilian, and for all kinds of reasons, they felt it was right to move back there before baby Benjamin was born. I was undeterred by the now greater challenge of meeting her babe, and planned a visit there over the school Easter holidays. 

It was such a joy to see Katy embracing motherhood and adoring the wonderful son that God has blessed them with. What a fabulous family.
This trip was about spending time with a precious friend, rather than seeing some of the sights Brazil has to offer. So, Katy and I spent our days looking after Benjamin, reminiscing about our childhood, looking at condominiums and watching a brilliant series called 
Once Upon a Time. (If you live in the UK and would like to watch it, Channel 5 have just started  showing the first series.) Food also featured highly in what we did, so I will be doing a post entirely about that.

I'll be back soon with plenty more photos, especially of that delicious baby.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter.

Jesus Christ is risen today, alleluia
****************
  
I have been reading the account of Jesus' last days on Earth over the last few days. It has been humbling to remember all that went on in those last days. He washed his disciples feet and told them to do the same for one another, remembering that a servant is not greater than his master. He told his disciples,

'let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where i am you may be also.' (John 14 v 1 - 3)

Jesus spoke of heaven and love and peace, knowing that His death was iminent - death at the hands of men. He prayed for us, that we might be protected while here on Earth.

'These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.......And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.' (John 14 v 25 - 27)

Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of the men whom he had drawn alongside and called a friend. He knew that in order to return to be with His Father, He would have to endure a most hideous death, and yet he spoke of all these things, as only He could do, because He is God.

Easter is about new life that Jesus gives us through his death and resurrection. Wonderfully, we have reminders of new life all around us, year in, year out. Death is necessary, but new life always comes, and because of Jesus, we need not fear the end of life on Earth because, as his death showed us, death is not the end if we believe in Him who gives us life. No greater love has ever been shown, and no greater hope will ever be found than the love and hope we have in Jesus. Wow

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!

our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
now above the sky he's King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Blooms in Brazil

Hello friends! I had not intended on blogging while I am in Brazil, but I felt like I wanted to stop by briefly to share with you some of the beautiful blooms that I have seen this week. I love seeing how the flora differs from country to country and thinking about how life thrives differently in different places.
 This yellow flower was absolutely tiny and perfectly formed, nestled amongst a tree covered in red foliage.
I love this last flower - I think it looks like a cross between an orchid and an iris. I honestly never cease to wonder at the beauty of creation, and cannot help but praise God for the privilege of getting to enjoy the beauty He has made.