Monday, 26 September 2016

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard

A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.


Getting to spend some time with my mother on the telephone on Sunday afternoon.  It would be lovelier if we could spend this time together in person, but this is the next best thing.  I love to hear her voice and to hear how happy she is.   To know that my mother is safe and happy and cared for means the world to me.  I am ever grateful to my sister for this gift she has given the whole family.  I hope she knows this.   My mom has always been a great talker.  She loves to talk.   The hour flys by and I am always disappointed when we get to the end of it.  Sure enough we often talk about things we have talked about already as her memory is not the greatest at times, but that's okay.  I just love to hear her voice and to laugh together and to share this time with each other.  I love my mother very much.

The sound and the pattern of wild geese flying overhead on an autumn afternoon.  They are flying South for the winter.  It is haunting and yet comforting at the same time.   To me a bit miraculous.  That same God who set the stars in the heavens and who knows me by name has instilled this instinct in them, this inner knowledge to know when to do it and how to do it, and where to go.   It makes me wonder at the inner knowledge He has instilled in me.  I do believe that inside each of us is a God shaped hole that only He can fill . . .  call it what you will.  A Higher Power, Allah, God . . . there is a part of the Divine woven into each of our DNA.


From where we live we can see the Clwydian Hills in the North West of Wales.  It is a view which changes with the seasons . . .  clear and green on a summer's day . . .  with a purple flush in the autumn from the heather, snow covered in the winter . . . tender green in the spring.  Driving through them is even more beautiful, no matter the time of the year.   Some days we cannot see them at all . . . if it is misty or raining, and other's they are as clear as a bell.


"The Bridge of Sighs" in Cambridge.   Just one of the many beautiful things in this wonderful country I get to live in.  When I was a child I would never have believed that one day I would find myself here, but . . .  here I am.   It is a miracle to me!   This country ooozes history and secret places . . .

Its time to break out the woolen throws . . . the beginning of the season of cosy is upon us . . .

Apple pies and apple cakes and apple sauce  . . .  nom nom!

“Once in a golden hour, I cast to earth a seed, 
and up there grew a flower, that others called a weed.”

I love knowing that within all of the dried seed pods that I see wherever I look at this time of year lays the promise of the next year  . . . 

It is an eternal round . . . 


Acorns . . . with their little fairy caps . . .


Homemade jam, even if I cannot indulge.  I am going to make pear butter and pear jelly this year.   I love pears, don't you?


Its time to dry the hydrangea blooms   . . . .  they make lovely floral arrangements that stick through the winter.


Peek-a-boo . . .  I see you . . .

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

Morning is God's way of saying
one more time, go make a difference,
touch a heart, encourage a mind,
inspire a soul and enjoy the day.

Spiritual Enlightenment

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Lamb and Damson Stew with herby dumplings.  Delicious!  Todd loves his dumplings.

I hope the week ahead of you is filled with many small and wonderful things. May you be truly blessed. Along the way don't forget . . .

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and I do too!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Thoughts on a Sunday . . .

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. -Judy Garland

What a beautiful world we live in, filled to overflowing with variation.  No two snowflakes which are the same . . .  an enormous variety of flowers, plants and animals, each one special and beautiful in their own right . . . landscapes and seascapes . . . and people, each one a unique and beautiful version of its own being.

I think that as women, the world is always trying to tell us that we need to be prettier, smarter, thinner, younger, etc.  that somehow who we are now is not quite good enough.  We are constantly being programmed by the media and the world to be other women and not ourselves.


I think that probably one of the greatest gifts of old age or older age is finally realising that life is far too short to try to be somebody else, or to reach for goals that aren't really your own, or to try to rise to somebody else's standards.   I will never be a Judy Garland.  I just don't have the voice.   I might admire the art of Susan B, or Mary E, but all I could ever be is a second rate copy of them.   Instead, I have to strive to be a first rate copy of ME.

I don't have Betty Davis eyes, or a figure like Marilyn . . .  my hair isn't Cindy Crawford's hair, neither is my skin . . .


I will  never be able to sing like a nightingale, or dance like Jennier Lopez, keep a house like Martha Stewart, write like Jane Austin . . . the list goes on and on of all the things I could never be, do, accomplish.

Far better however to focus on all of the wonderful things that I am, can do, have accomplished . . . .

We all have a tendancy to be very hard on ourselves and in doing so we really sell ourselves short.  It is a good thing to want to better yourself, but only in ways that are worthy of bettering.  Education.  Knowledge.  Health.  Character.   Some of the most beautiful women I know are not the most beautiful to look at on the outside, but boy oh boy, they have inner qualities that would blow the most physically beautiful women out of the water!


Malala Yousafzai . . .  a woman worth looking up to . . .

Another beautiful and strong woman . . .

But even to try to emulate examples of these women is doing ourselves a great disservice.  I could never give as Mother Teresa gave, or stand up to tyranny like Malala did . . . but I can do a pretty darned good job of being the best me that I can be.

And that is plenty good enough.  If all you can give is your best, then that has to be enough.


Appreciating what we have and who we are is the best gift we could ever give to ourselves, and when it comes right down to it . . . to others as well.

Be kind to others.  That is a good thing.  Be kind to yourself.  That is also a very good thing.


Instead of focusing on all the things you can't do, be, achieve . . . think about all that you are, have done, will do, can do  . . .


Be who you are.  It's okay.  Yes, it's really okay.  To.  Just.  Be.  YOU.

Have a great Sunday!

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In The English Kitchen today . . .  Peanut Butter Cake for one.  Quick, easy, delicious and diabetic friendly.  Its also gluten free and sugar free.  Manna from heaven for the diabetic.

I hope you have a beautiful day.  Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Saturday this and that . . .


Like a bazillion other people I was really saddened this week to learn that Mary Berry wouldn't be moving to Channel 4 with the Great British Bake Off when it moves over there next season.   I could handle Sue and Mel not going, but when an icon like Mary begs off it kind of makes me think that an era has ended.  Paul Hollywood is moving with the show, but methinks it will never be the same.

I am a late comer to the GBBO.  I only started watching it in earnest last year, and I am not sure why that is . . . I just never thought it was a show that would appeal to me I guess, but I was so wrong.  I started watching it last season and I was hooked and wondering why I hadn't watched it before.  I really hope that Channel 4 is able to do it justice, but . . . in my opinion . . . they will have to go a very long way to be able to replace Mary.  She is iconic and the type of cook/person/baker I would trust with all of my baking tools, ingredients, recipes, kitchen, life . . .

Did you know that you can buy some of her desserts ready-made??  You can!


Earlier this week I spied her Mother's Bread and Butter Pudding in the grocery shop and it looked to good and I trusted her so much that I knew it would be fabulous and I just couldn't resist buying it.  Todd and I enjoyed some of it last night, warm from the oven, along with the leftover peaches and custard from having had the Zone Leaders over from tea the night before.  We sat there munching it while we were watching "The Time Traveler's Wife."  And IT WAS THE BEST BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING I HAVE EVER EATEN!  No kidding.  I don't think I could make one that good myself.  Well . . .  maybe I could, but this was literally the best store bought bread and butter pudding I have ever tried.

 And no wonder  . . .  1/5 of the box has 306 calories in it.  DUH.  Why did I not notice this before we ate it.  We each had a third of the box.  Plus custard.  Plus tinned peaches.

Its a good thing that was our whole supper!  On top of the Big Mac I had in town for our lunch, I think I am doomed . . . woe is me . . .


I treated myself to a new bag yesterday.  I got it at Accessorize.   Its a mini back pack/bag/purse.  I have had a Cath Kidston handbag  for several years now and while I have loved it, I have always bemoaned the fact that it is just too small for what I want to lug about.  I can fit my wallet in it and that's about it.  As cute as it is, it just isn't practical.  I am not entirely sure this bag is the answer either, but we will see . . .

I will be able to sling it across my back if I want.  The Cath Kidston one makes my lower back hurt when I am out and about.  (I have a lot of lower back problems going way, way back.)  Or I can just carry it by the handle if I want.  Mine is a dark grey.   It just might end up being a dark abyss for things to get lost in, but time will tell.


I also treated myself to a pompom key fob/ring.  That shouldn't be too hard to find in a larger bag I don't think!

Besides . . .  its cute.  And I can't resist cute.

I quite liked Accessorize.   I will have to go back sometime and have a boo around the shop when Todd isn't with me.   He's a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to window shopping.  I think that when I say ohh, I like this, he automatically goes into terror mode and things that because I like something I will want to buy it.  Now.  He doesn't quite understand the idea of browsing and liking things without wanting to buy them.

Perhaps its a man thing.  I don't know.

Another thing I have been enjoying lately is The Polish Bakery Chef Polski, Sunflower Seed Bread.  Its a natural sour dough bread, without any preservatives and its really very, very good.  it has a lovely rye bread flavour and is just stogged full of sunflower seeds.  You can hear them crackling when its in the toaster.   I like it toasted with a thin layer of peanut butter spread over it.  Or cheese spread.  Its a bit heavy for sandwiches I would think, but in every other way, its perfect.  I love it.


Something else I tried this week is these  . . .  and me no like-ee.  Uh Uh.  Bacon I would like.  Ketchup I would like.  Together they just don't work for me.  I wanted to like them, but I didn't.   I miss ketchup potato chips from home, not to mention the Dill Pickle ones and don't get me started on All Dressed.   I thought these might be similar, but they just don't taste the same, close, or even good.  They are kind of vinegary and it just doesn't work.  You can't taste bacon, or at least I can't.  Probably a good thing because I shouldn't be eating them anyways.  Look at that red high fat icon on the bag.  The only thing they are low in is sugar . . . with the green light.

Likewise these  . . .  You can't taste the cheese.  The worcester sauce is far too overwhelming.


The Ham and Mustard however  . . .  not too bad, although I don't think they will ever replace my love for the plain old salted ones.

Yes, I am just an old fashioned girl at heart.

They also have Sausage and Brown Sauce (HP sauce), Cheese Cucumber and Salad Cream, and Roast Chicken and Mayonnaise.  They call them their Sarnie (sandwich) flavours.  These three appeal to me in NO way whatsoever.

What else is new this week . . . . hmmm . . .  oh, the most EXCITING news ever is that on the 15th October we will be travelling up to Manchester and spending time with an Apostle of the church.  Elder Russell M Nelson.   We are both really pumped for that.   He is 92 years old and is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve.  I have always enjoyed his talks.  I am really looking forward to meeting him.  Bishop Gerald Causse, the presiding Bishop of the church will also be there.  (I have seen him speak before when we lived down South) Also Elder Dale G Renlund, one of the newest Apostles and Elder Paul V Johnson, a member of the 70, whom I have also heard speak in person on several occasions.   It promises to be a very exciting morning.  We will have to be leaving here by 7 am in order to get to the Temple to be seated on time.  I guess we will have to try to get the Sisters to come and stay here overnight the night before because it would mean a far too early start otherwise if we have to backtrack to Buckley to pick them up.

Good times!

Oh, and I sold one of my calendars and the recipient was very happy with it.  That made me very happy.  I guess I am far too critical of my own work.  But then, I think we all are super critical of the things we do ourselves.  Its what keeps us humble.  In any case I was so pleased that she was pleased.  I am trying to decide if I want to order more.   I am thinking about it . . . by the time I give one to my mom and my dad, and to a couple of friends and a couple of kids,  I have no more, in fact I would have to order a few more to do just that.   We will see.

So  . . .  between wrecking my computer, two fish dying,   (well we think two died.  We could only find one, the other one completely disappeared like the shrimp the other week.  Maybe we have a cannibal in the tank.), having the zone leaders for supper on Thursday (ham and cheese sliders), going to the Dentist for a check-up/clean (Look ma, no cavities) having my flu shot (and my arm is still sore and has a hard hot knot in it), Todd's cholesterol check, and all of our Missionary duties and visits, we have had a super busy week.  AND its not over because we have a Baptism today and I must finish writing the talk I am giving at it.

So I will now love you and leave you with a thought for the day . . .


Today its a picture one  . . .

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Cherry Kuchen, with a from scratch cherry filling.  Delicious!

I hope you have a great Saturday. Whatever you get up to,  please know that . . .

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And I do too!

Friday, 23 September 2016

My Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the things I find each week which pique my curiosity or inspire me to want to do something, create something, cook something, or become a better person! I hope they will pique your curiosity or inspire you in some way as well!


A sweet little yarn wreath Christmas Decoration from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs.  So simple! 


A DIY How to make Brownies in a Cup Mug.  What a great gift for the brownie afficionado this would be! I cannot find the source.  But a sharpie and a large white mug is all you need.


Personalized clear Christmas ornaments.  What a super idea.  From  Time with Thea.

Beaded Holiday Necklace, from The 36th Avenue.  So sweet.  I Love it.  As a gift or even just for me!


MY DIY Tips.  A pretty fall leaf monochrome leaf print. 

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Journal with a free printable from The Polka Dot Chair. 


Mmmm . . . Savoury Pumpkin Dinner Rools that look like little pumpkins. How wonderful!  From BonBon Break.


Jar of Love anyone???  Fill a jar with your intended's favourite treats and then decorate with this sweet label, that is also a jar, filled with sprinkles, etc.  From Inking Idaho.

What did we do before Pinterest???  I get all of my best ideas from there! ☺


A very pretty crochet bag.  I love the ribbon.   From Knots and Loops.  A free pattern. 


A Mermaid Lapghan.   Free pattern.  Adult sized.  A girl from my church just got one of these for her birthday.  What a sweet way to keep warm in the winter.   From DIY and Crafts.  I would love one of these. 


Oh, now this is very pretty.  I couldn't wear it because I am too large, but I know a few people that could wear it.   Maybe a bit longer.   From  Drops Design.


Lace Infinity Scarf.  Free pattern from Ravelry.  You could do several of these in different colours.  A good scarf hides a multitude of sins at a certain age!


Homemade Plant Food.  From Chemistry Cachet.


Now here is a project for someone who is really keen.   Two needle felted slippers.   Wow.  From Ravelry.  Not free.   You knit them in one piece.  I am sorely tempted.


Now that's a tidy bathroom drawer.  The law of averages says that it won't stay like that for long, but I say it is nice if you can manage it.   From  Chasing Foxes.


From Good Housekeeping.  The ultimate guide to great skin. 

And just for fun  . . .


The proper order of makeup application.

Golly, if I used that many products, it would take me all day.  (Yes, I did just say Golly, lol)

And with that I better leave you with a thought to carry through the day . . .

Even to your old age and grey hairs,
I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you.
I will sustain you and 
I will rescue you.
~Isaiah 46:4

Spiritual Enlightenment

In the English Kitchen today . . .

Cauliflower & Cheese Fritters and

Chicken Salad Pie.

Have a fabulous Friday! Whatever you get up to today, don't forget . . .

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And I do too!!