Posts Tagged ‘british’

I went out grudgingly.

Would have rather stayed in to clean the bathrooms.

Do some scrapbooking.

Get a batch of muffins in the oven.

All the important things I wanted to do today.

But the fractiousness of little boys after a week of April showers forced me out.




Out into the garden.

Warmth and sunshine washing over.

The almost green of our snow-flattened grass.

And birdsong.

Birdsong, and I’m Mary Lennox, chasing a robin over a garden gate.

Birdsong, and I’m Jane Eyre with her rooks, exploring Thornfield Hall on her very first morn.

Birdsong, and time is lost,

and I’m myself fifteen years past, discovering a walled garden of my very own.


Pussy willows and crocuses.

Blackbirds and brick.


Birdsong today, and the magic of viewing the world


from a swing.

And it’s springtime,

and doesn’t your heart ache with the glory of it?

Of life,

new beginnings,

winter’s end?

And I’m thankful,

wildly thankful in a way I could never express,

for the possibility of all things,

me included,

being turned upside down,

made new.

And I wonder at the sun’s warmth,

and that He calls Himself that,

our Sun and our Shield.

Our Shield,

for don’t we need protecting

from many things,

even ourselves?

Our Sun,

for don’t we revel in the light and the heat?

Don’t we thrive?

Get life?

Doesn’t He give us life



It has come upon us.

Find a tree stump.

A picnic table.

A bench.

Wait for birdsong.

And just breathe.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10


Avonlea xo

Find me on Instagram @happylittlesigh orFacebook @happylittlesigh

MONTHLY Newsletter, Morning Cuppa Tea at happylittlesigh@gmail.com 


Finding beauty in the everyday 

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There’s music in the air here. 

You didn’t think it was all imagination, 



did you now? 

It’s in the wind as it batters rugged coastlines, 

whispers over green pastures, 

whistles through winding streets.

It’s in the waves as they crash against the rocky shore, 

against the ancient harbors of this land of fisher folk. 

It’s in the breath of livestock as they plod their verdant pastures.

It’s in the seagulls’ cries. 

And somehow through the ages this land, 

as every land, 

created its own music. 

A wealth of hymns, folk, Celtic, pop and bag pipe songs that get your feet tapping

and also give your heart

a delicious little ache. 

I’ll share one with you now. 

From a collection of Scottish tunes given to me by John in the months leading up to our marriage. 

He knew the power of music in winning a girl’s heart. 

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I wouldn’t be surprised if the dictionary definition of the word cozy (or cosy, as it’s spelled in the UK) read “of or relating to all things British.” During the years I spent in Great Britain, I came to recognize, appreciate, and love Britain’s penchant for the simple, the ordered, and the beautiful things in this world. Those uncomplicated, quiet routines, which have the ability to add much richness and comfort to life. Pulling on a worn pair of wellies and a wooly jumper to take the dog for a walk through the woods, the continued popularity of a real, open fire, and that wonderful, ongoing routine of a mid-morning tea break, known as elevenses.

Over the sweltering hot summer months we experienced this year in America, I was disappointed to find that the last thing I wanted to partake of was a hot drink (although my husband continued to brew himself a cuppa several times a day). And so I’ve been thankful for the recent dip in temperatures, which sent me searching for the cozier items in my wardrobe, and once again found me reveling in the slow sipping of a hot cup of tea from my favorite mug.

Yes, elevenses continue at our house. It falls conveniently just before naptime for my youngest, and is a chance for us to break away from whatever has occupied our morning and come together for a little company and refreshment. Even our six-year-old enjoys a cup of tea, “with loads of milk and sugar,” and we all enjoy a piece of shortbread or two. Routine adds a sense of comfort and stability to our days, and I believe that any routine that involves tea, and gives us the opportunity to speak and laugh together, is a good one. So hurrah for elevenses. Long may they live!

What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?

~ Pippin, Lord of the Rings

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I suppose my first piece of British literature was the hardcover copy of Mother Goose Nursery rhymes that I received as a young child. I still remember my fascination with the strange words and illustrations–tumbling bridges, broken eggs, blind mice, and ashes. Not always the cheeriest, these nursery rhymes, though there are a few with a more positive theme. Hot Cross Buns, for example. Do you recall? 

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

One a penny

Two a penny

Hot cross buns

I always longed to taste a real hot cross bun, along with fish and chips, crumpets, Turkish delight, and all the other mysterious British foods that I’d read about over the years. But I never got the chance to sink my teeth into one of these sweet, spiced, raison-dotted Easter treats until I moved to Scotland. Now, they’re one of my own favourite accompaniments to an afternoon cup of tea. They can be eaten lightly toasted or cold, and spread with generous lashings of butter (I never said they were particularly healthy, just tasty, although the ones pictured are whole grain!).


If you live someplace where hot cross buns can’t be got (it’s worth having a look in your local grocery store just to be sure), you could have a go at making your own. Try this recipe from the BBC– 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hotcrossbuns_397 .

The recipe does involve kneading and yeast, and if that sounds just a wee bit too scary, you could try buying some plain or sweet buns or rolls and making crosses with white icing.

Or, if like me, you live in the UK and perhaps feel that you’ve already consumed enough hot cross buns for the season, well, go on a have a few more, but in a different form, perhaps? The following dessert would make a lovely end to your Easter dinner.


Cut some hot cross buns in half, add a thin layer butter, and then put them back together. Place into a baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Beat 2 eggs with 1 cup of milk and a tablespoon of sugar and pour the mixture over the buns. Then sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top. Bake at gas 3, 170 C, fan 150 C, 325 F for about 30-35 minutes, or until just set.  


To make your hot cross buns more than just a delicious treat, read about the very first Easter in the Bible, in Mark chapters 14 to 16. Or, if you have children, use the crosses as an opportunity to speak about the real meaning of Easter with the precious little ones in your care. You could talk about the shape of the buns, too, which can remind us of the stone that the angels rolled away from Jesus’ tomb. For the real wonder, of course, is not that Jesus died for us, but that he rose again.

For other ideas on how to make your Easter special, see my previous post on making easy, dainty Victorian Easter cards.


~ Avonlea


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