thanksgiving london style

thanksgiving was lovely yesterday. very quiet, lots of cooking, got to talk to a few family members on the phone. i fed our favorite feathered friends earlier in the day leftover bread. {looked like george & mildred were having a few guests over} when james came home from work we popped the pheasant in {tastes like chicken} , a few christmas tunes on the stereo and shared a lovely 'mini' feast for two. to end the evenings festivities---fred clause on our movie channel with a bit of icecream pie. what more could a girl want for thanksgiving?



i am thankful for:

having james in my life & what he teaches me daily
good healthy food, clean water
a place to live with a roof over my head
what 'george & mildred' & 'kitty' {the neighborhood pets} give back

am thankful that our bills have been paid so far
that we have savings still
that we've had interviews
for the opportunity to learn patience & trust in the universe
for acupuncture & chinese herbs
for free health care
for doctors

am thankful for books
music--all the things that sustain me.
am thankful for service, charity & goodness in the world
for my country
for england--what she's taught me
for a new president coming
for inspiration & the word *hope*

am thankful for family far away
making new friends
re-connecting with old ones

i am thankful for the sun shining outside
for breath
for warm things
for love & compassion
for truth

& for a universe that creates all of this in such effortless perfection.

happy thanksgiving.


strong women

photo by jen
{esteria on the right}

wow, funny how little moments can come into your life to teach you lessons.

i've been really feeling pretty darn low about myself recently, worrying about my life at the moment , my future, money, career, relationship and just generally everything under the sun. well, today i read about 'esteria' from one of the blogs i read by a talented artist--kelly rae and boy it sure put me in my place.

esteria is from rwanda, mother of 11 children (all but 4 have died) and is one of the many genocide survivors from the 90's. one of esterias surviving children is 'odette' who now lives in the states as a refugee. you can read more about these strong women here (had to delete the link I'm afraid).

to me women like this are who i want to be. strong & brave in the midst of such trials but yet are full of such love for everyone they meet. i don't know why women like esteria and odette have to suffer, but i am grateful for their stories and what they can teach to everyone of us.

well, while i am worrying about stupid things--esteria doesn't even have a roof over her head. The roof of her house was blown off during a storm. she lives in a mud house.

so--there's a 'charity movement' online starting to help esteria to get a new roof. i don't have much money at the moment but I donated $10 (£6)---i guarantee i'll never miss this. heck, just in what its given back to me in spirits i've already tripled this amount.

anyway, if you can donate even $5 it will help esteria more than you can imagine. i promise you'll never miss the money either. as an extra bonus- kelly rae is giving away one of her amazing paintings for a prize for those who donate!

go here to help out or go to kelly's webpage {see above links}.


thankful shop

did my thanksgiving 'shop' for next week today.

have i mentioned how much i love borough market recently?

it makes the most mundane task just sheer delight.

more pics here.



so james has been away this week--off to wales to have 'man time', away from us women folk. funny cause we've talked every day on the phone-poor chap i think misses me. well, anyhoo i haven't done much since he's been gone just 'life' things like cleaning, exercise, applying for jobs, homework, more cleaning, catching up on sleep. in between all this and doing boring 'business/efforts in life improvement' on the computer i've found myself drifting into blogland & daydreaming. computer's are great for this--window shopping, reading about others lives to forget about your own--all without having to get dressed or put on makeup. so here's what's caught my eye this week in good old computerland:

an engagement photo by josh goleman

love the idea, just love the photo. wonder how the heck he thought of this?
these books are designed by coralie bickford-smith

These caught my eye cause they are available here in little old U.K., even better at my fav. shop in the whole world. thanks to black*eiffel for the heads up on the cute engagement pic and the books practically on my doorstep. funny how a u.s. based blog can give you the 411 on something in your own backyard. i may just have to pop over and get wuthering heights in greenwich this weekend. never read it yet. i know--i know, why the heck not?

picture from here

i love alex from gypsy girl guide. she's having a sale right now in her delicious shop that makes me want to pack my bags right now. i've been daydreaming recently about visiting india or nepal---oh the colors and the feast for the senses!

darling little vintage book from sweetshorn

thanks to jo for reminding me of sweet memories with my gran this week with this vintage book.

been thinking a lot about the phrase 'just be' this week and how to put it more in my life--especially when i've been getting countless rejection letters recently. maybe i should wear it around my neck so i wont forget? i love liz eatons pendants and necklaces that have done just this {see pic above}. thanks tara for the heads up.

picture from here

found a new blog, courtesy of frolic. its full of great art & doodles. did i mention i've been in a doodling mood this week??

finally a bit of thanksgiving goodness, courtesy of a fellow london expat--gwyneth and her new blog 'goop'. sign up here to get her newsletter. in the mean time here's one of her yummy recipes for the holidays:

pumpkin ice cream pie w/maple whipped cream

recipe/words below by gwyneth paltrow

if you can find pumpkin ice cream, by all means use that. if not, here’s a quick and easy way to make some using vanilla ice cream, good canned pumpkin and lots of wonderful spices. when you first make the mixture the spices might seem strong, but remember that their flavors get a bit muted when they’re ice cold. if you're doing thanksgiving for a large crowd, make two of these. one is good for a small crowd and the ice cream alone is a simple, fun desert for a party of two.

SERVES: 6, very generously
TIME: 20 minutes + at least 3 hours in the freezer
  • 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (about 1 sleeve, ground in the food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (or 1-3/4 cups fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • Maple Whipped Cream (see recipe below)
preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a pie pan (why bother washing a mixing bowl?). mix together with your fingers and then press evenly to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. it helps to press the mixture with the bottom of a small measuring cup. bake for ten minutes or until light brown. let cool while you prepare the filling.

in a large bowl, beat together the ice cream, pumpkin and spices. spread evenly into the cooled pie shell and stick in the freezer for at least three hours before serving. when ready to serve, spread the top with maple whipped cream.

maple whipped cream

maple syrup is one of the great north american ingredients and is one of the healthiest ways to sweeten things. i put it in nearly everything, including this heavenly whipped cream.

SERVES: enough for one pie
TIME: 5 minutes

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons real vermont maple syrup
whip the cream using a standing mixer, handheld mixer or whisk {a bit of a workout!} until stiff peaks form. whisk in maple syrup to taste.



click on me to see larger version

so this is what I spent all afternoon & late into the evening doing. trying to make-up this darn thing for homework for a music class i'm doing through berklee online. about 10 hours, a skipped dinner and pilates class later, it may not be perfectly artistic in every way but its done. thank goodness james hasn't been around to hear me swear at the computer cause it hasn't been pretty. i don't have photoshop and did all of the above in gimp and leave it to the online people to assume that we all know how to convert jpeg to pdf? hello you might as well be speaking japanese! i figured it out though by the grace of god--i don't know how but i figured it out.

anyway, i'm off to bed as its nearly 1 am.

i sure hope i get an A for this.

{the band is only hypothetical but the pics are of a texas group eisley}


a story for the weekend

this is so freakin' cute. everything sounds so much better in french don't you think?

{thanks jo for the heads up}


100 things in the world i love

1. dark chocolate
2. rainy days
3. black cats
4. scottish terriers
5. art supply stores
6. book stores
7. fruit smoothies
8. eurostar rides
9. pretty paper
10. street art
11. hard apples
12. old typewriters
13. mashed potatoes
14. buddha statues
15. crayons
16. jazz
17. old movies
18. anything vintage
19. outdoor markets
20. the smell of bread
21. hooded sweatshirts
22. windows in italy
23. macaroni & cheese
24. plane tickets
25. soft blankets
26. lip gloss
27. polaroids
28. apple-pie
29. kite-flying
30. the smell of farms
31. the sound of french
32. pain au chocolat
33. twinkly lights
34. old toys
35. vinyl records
36. cashmere socks
37. tiny european cars
38. christmas trees
39. incense
40. any photographs
41. tibetan beads
42. old people
43. chocolate cake
44. black gel pens
45. laundry lines
46. long walks
47. lemon verbena
48. colored leaves
49. art museums
50. road trips
51. crazy quilts
52. sunday naps
53. sparklers
54. accordians on the paris underground
55. sunlight
56. cobblestone roads
57. seashells
58. blueberries
59. george & mildred our ducks
60. old bridges
61. rainbows
62. james
63. warm swimming pools
64. lotion
65. old fountains
66. classical music
67. clarinets
68. little diaries
69. fruit cocktails
70. pumpkin pie
71. stuffing
72. snow globes
73. thanksgiving
74. polka dots
75. open fields
76. postcards
77. attic bedrooms
78. striped shirts
79. baguettes in paris
80. baggy pajamas
81. yoga
82. daisies
83. roses
84. fresh herbs
85. honey w/plain yogurt
86. yoga pants
87. breathing
88. candles
89. kids laughing
90. audrey hepburn
91. black clothes
92. ocean waves
93. bubbles
94. gelato
95. moonlight
96. oprah
97. lavender
98. trees
99. oatmeal cookies
100. summer in the city

idea from here


drama queen

i busted up laughing, when i saw these pictures today. james was quite well known in college for following a time honored english tradition of putting blokes in dresses for theatre productions. his hippy-length long hair at school made him a perfect choice for a touch of comedy.

here he is as mrs cratchett in his university production of dickens' 'a christmas carol'. doesn't he look pretty? look at what great legs he's got in the second picture? what a great sport, my guy was.



wow what a fitting way to end this week, with fireworks literally. no, they weren't for obama, they were in celebration for guy fawkes night. its a weird holiday every year in england where everyone has bonfires, bobs for apples, fireworks, drinks too much, etc to mark an unsuccessful plot guy fawkes had long long ago to blow up the houses of parliament. the poor chap was burned at the stake for this treason against the crown, and the english like to celebrate this whole predicament. don't ask me to understand their thinking.

even if it is a weird holiday, i enjoyed seeing the fireworks this year up on blackheath common. it was a perfect end to the last 6 weeks of campaigning and the post election parties. i feel like i've been in a dream and i've got to wake up now and get back to reality. reality though is that i've made some new cherished friends and i've been a part of something wonderful. for these two simple reasons, i feel so blessed for the opportunity that came into my life.


hope wins

i feel at a loss for words today. i was up all night till 6:30 a.m. watching history live. never before in my life have i taken an interest in politics as much as this season {2004 was the first time ever i voted} and i credit it to obama. i think once in a generation someone comes around like this and i feel so grateful that i've been a part of history. although i did less than many, i campaigned for nearly 12-13 hours for him here in london. i feel like this win, i somehow helped bring in a very small way and for that i'll never forget it for the rest of my life.

it really feels like a global win. people across london, europe and the world feel like its their win too. i had british friends call me very early and say they burst into tears like i did and they didn't even vote. globally-- everyone was so tired of the last 8 years and know what the win of the first african american president means to not only our nations history but how it speaks that yes america still is the land of possibilities and democracy.

i know that once the parties die down {heck, i have two to go to just this week!} and reality sets in that obama will face huge challenges. i don't envy the huge wave of expectation on his shoulders. but i feel confident that he will do only his best what he knows is right in his heart. i know also that it will take work on our part and that change will have to come from each one of us too. but i have faith that in the midst of huge obstacles that hope not fear will push us forward.

'yes we can'



image source

vote for the future of our country
vote hope
vote for 'true' change
vote because america deserves better
vote because the last 8 years have been a mess
vote because you have the right
you have a voice
your voice can change the world
vote because you want a better country
not just for small town america, but everyone
vote because you want your children
to have parks, wildlife when they get our age
vote because you want love
of everyone no matter what race, gender, religion or sexual orientation
vote because you're tired of america being hated in the world
because you want it to be the best country
vote against fear, against policies that haven't worked
against VP picks that demoralize women
against the lies spread just to get elected
vote because its about you & your future

vote for change

vote obama.