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The way the Chinese know how to show love best is through food. Go to any Chinese grandma and know that when she piles your plate up with food she has put a lot of time and care into preparing, it’s because she loves you. When a Chinese grandpa stands by the fruit section tapping on watermelons and sniffing the ‘butts’ of mangoes, it’s because he wants to bring home the sweetest fruits for his nearest and dearest.

Chinese people aren’t big on affection, especially those born and bred in Asia. Ask them to say “I love you” and you might as well be asking them to pull their tooth out without anaesthetic. My family is a little bit of an anomaly in that we do give hugs and say I love you to each other. Even so, we still enjoy using food to convey just how much we love each other.

And so, after the wonderful weekend to Yangon that Flo treated me to, I couldn’t help but want to say thank you in a way that spoke louder than words. I was quite torn as to where I wanted to take him to for a nice meal and spent quite a lot of time reading up to find the right place.

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After going through countless top, fine-dining restaurants in Singapore, I suddenly recalled that while we were in London, Flo expressed that he would have liked to try a good ol’ Sunday Roast – at a good ol’ English pub. Unfortunately, not being able to spend a Sunday there meant that we had to give the Sunday Roast a miss.

I scoured the internet for a venue in Singapore that serves a mean roast. There weren’t many to be honest and the one gastropub I had my eye on initially I found to have a trail of bad reviews quite recently which turned me off. I happened to be flicking through Instagram one day though and came across Lawry’s the Prime Rib. I always thought of Lawry’s as more a steak place but further reading informed me that they specialised in the art of roasting aged USDA prime ribs of beef. And to go alongside, were the usual suspects that formed what the English would call, a Sunday Roast – yorkshire pudding, peas, creamed spinach, corn, and lashings of gravy.

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But first, we were treated to their famous spinning bowl salad. A blend of romaine lettuce, julienned beetroot, chopped eggs and croutons were tossed in a metal bowl that spun as it sat on a bed of ice. As the bowl spinned, the server added Lawry’s vintage dressing into the greens and gave everything a good mix before portioning them out and adding exactly two cherry tomatoes on top!

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When you have a spinning bowl like that, you’re bound to have a well tossed salad!

After a short wait, the chef rolled out this large silver cart where the meats all sat warm and snug. To the right of the meats were small pots containing creamed corn, buttered peas, and creamed spinach, and to the left were the mashed potatoes and gravy.

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Flo requested for his Californian cut (160g) of prime rib to be medium rare, upon which the chef picked out the medium rare slab, and carved the beef right by our table.

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Not more than 3 minutes later was Flo’s Yorkshire Pudding served sizzling hot to our table.

As for me, I couldn’t help but treat myself to the main of Atlantic Lobster Duo. Two broiled lobster tails were served with sautéed vegetables and drawn butter. Not too sure what the thick, yellow sauce was. Usually this is also served with a side of mash but I asked for more vegetables instead.

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The lobster tails were sweet and very fresh. The wedge of lemon was more than enough to season it with and perk up its natural oceanic flavour.

It was nice being able to treat Flo to a good meal, especially one that he has been curious to try for a while now. I’m also glad that I picked Lawry’s to go to because the service was attentive and warm, and the food was heartfelt and homely.

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Part of Lawry’s charm is in the little glimpses of theatrics that they put into their service although the performances of spinning salad bowls, flambé-ing crêpe suzettes and serving food table side may not appeal to some. It’s a bit like being transported back into the 1970’s. I think this gives Lawry’s more character and sets it apart from restaurants we find these days.

While the food at Lawry’s doesn’t come cheap, I quite enjoyed its quirkiness and they definitely do make a mean prime rib – I tried some of Flo’s beef and it was so tender and succulent. More than that, I relished the time I spent with Flo and seeing the contented look on his face after our meal made it all the more worthwhile!

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Friday was our last full day in London. The few days we had there just whizzed by too quickly and the evening before, I was lamenting about how sad I was the be leaving Europe this time around. Usually I’m ever the eager beaver to return back to the warmth of Singapore, but I guess the weather had treated me so well that it made me fall that little bit in love with Europe – especially Hamburg. And already I can’t wait to return again to that side of the world next year, hopefully to Italy or Switzerland or another city in Germany.

Friday morning Flo and I made our way back into London but more to the CBD where we met Leena during her lunch hour. It was really sweet of her to sacrifice her precious hour off work just to see us.

We met at To A Tea near Farringdon station, which is this cute little bistro that specialises in teas and they also do healthy lunches – think full salads with lean proteins or veggie options.

I chose a Flowering Tea just because it looked so pretty in the picture. A glass of hot water came and I was like “Whuuuuut?!” before the server dropped a blob of something into it. It took about a minute to slowly unfurl and open up.


Green Tea with Lily and Osmanthus.

Definitely rather girly to look at and perfect for Instagramming. The tea carried a lovely aroma of osmanthus but towards the bottom, it got quite bitter, naturally, as the tea has steeped quite a while by then so it was a little difficult to drink.

It was great catching up with Leena and learning about how the year ahead is going to be quite an exciting one for her, and especially Brian who’s taken over his parents’ restaurant down in Southampton. Lots of things are starting to come together but at the same time, there’re lots of issues to iron out. I hope that all goes well for them!

After tea, Flo and I walked along the River Thames to get to Borough Market.

I love love love Borough Market! Yes yes, it’s full of tourists and food prices aren’t exceptionally cheap but the buzz in the air as you walk through the market is amazing. The delicious smells of food sizzling on the grill, the wide array of pastries, the sweet scent of fresh bread. It’s a feast for the senses!

First thing Flo and I had was an oyster each from this man here.

£2.50 per oyster, with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of tabasco, downed in a mere 2.5 seconds. Faster than that in fact!

There were two girls next to us who appeared never to have seen or eaten oysters before and were both keen yet hesitant to try them. After Flo and I had swallowed our delightfully fresh oysters that tasted of the sea, they asked if they were good. I said that they were and Mr. Oyster Man complained that I wasn’t loud enough for him to hear. So I sportingly exclaimed that they were AWESOME!

Paella…

Which we skipped. 

Now Flo and I enjoy good food but we’re not the types to go around and stuff our faces with every appetising thing in sight. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that we both realise that sometimes overeating not only makes you feel sick, it also taints your memory of the food and the place. Instead, we tend to zero in on something we think we’d like and savour it. If we are still hungry after, we might get a small snack or dessert. And the next time we return, we can always try something else. In this case, it might be a while but still…

I more or less zeroed in on Big V.

They specialise in vegan burgers and I opted for the Salad Box that came with two salads and a choice of burger patty. I chose the Spicy Chickpea Sweet Potato Patty. Cost me £7. And it was quite a hefty box which left me very full after.

I loved the Spinach and Broccoli Salad but the Shredded Beetroot Carrot Salad that’s hidden below was a bit too dry and rabbit-food like. Then again, I tend to prefer my veggies on the softer side so yeah… I’m like an old woman in that respect.

I had the salads drizzled with Ume Dressing and they also scooped a generous amount of Beetroot Hummus and Tahini dressing on top as well. Those last two were really yummy. I added Sriracha for the extra kick on my burger. I enjoyed the patty so much I actually returned home and made some for myself! In fact, I made two kinds of veggie burgers so stay tuned for those recipes in a few blog posts’ time!

Flo on the other hand, stayed away from the greens since I had enough for the both of us, and went for the good ol’ British Classic – Fish&Chips from Fish!.

It was ironic because Flo was always drawing flak about how England’s doesn’t have much good food to speak of, and that Fish & Chips are often drowned in oil so why would anyone want to eat them?! I only found out the day that we were at Borough Market that he’d never actually had proper fish and chips before! Tsk! Anyway, he finally decided to give it a go to see if there was some redemption in the English food scene to be found.

And it looks like Fish!, with their £9.95 Cod Fish and Chips managed to impress him after all!

The batter of the piping hot fresh, flakey fish was thin and crisp, while the chips were fat and so very lightly salted. Great with the ketchup although salt and vinegar would have been the more traditional way to go.

Flo said that he was very pleasantly surprised that the fish was fried well and not at all oily. Same with the chips. I’m glad he enjoyed this typical English pub grub especially since this is something the English have definitely got a deft hand in cooking this speciality of theirs. It’s not easy to find Fish & Chips of that same standard in Singapore so having it in London was definitely the right choice.

Happy bellies! We did take a lot of pictures of the food and the food with ourselves. Funny because I think it was in my last post that I was laughing at people taking wefies with the swans at Hyde Park. I guess we all have our little fetishes. Flo’s, and mine, just happens to be food.

So after we filled our bellies, we walked a little more around Borough Market, soaking in the gorgeous sights of beautifully made pastries and desserts.

Giant cookies, German cakes, Dessert slices…

Tarts, Sliced cakes, Chocolate fondants…

Fudge! I’m not really a fudge fan but they’re really popular in the UK.

We skipped the cheeses and breads because we knew that we’d be tempted to buy some but there wouldn’t have been much point since we were leaving the next day – me back to Singapore, and Flo to Zurich for a week at head office.

I wanted to take him over to Bermondsey Street to this place called Fuckoffee. It’s this super quirky, hipster, coffee cafe place where the youngsters go to. It’s like an ‘alternative’ cafe that’s a little rough round the edges.

We were a mere few hundred metres off when it began to pour, so Flo and I quickly found shelter at Bermondsey Street Cafe instead which looked a world away from Fuckoffee. It took quite a big space and looked upmarket-industrial. There was a group of hot mamas with their babies there and two Japanese girls who looked to be having a late brunch of delectable looking fluffy pancakes.

Flo had his Cappuccino. I had my Piccolo.

We didn’t make it to Fuckoffee in the end and I think it was kind of a good thing because the more I think about it, the more the place seems a little dank and grungy. That’s just my opinion. 

When the rain finally cleared, the temperature dropped quite a bit and the winds turned a touch icy. Just a touch.

Flo and I continued on towards the Thames…

Where we then wefied with Tower Bridge

And The Shard

Awesome huh? We took pictures with some of the most iconic, world famous buildings in the world!!!

Then we crossed Tower Bridge, which is one of the prettiest bridges ever. I used to think it was the London Bridge just because. But one day, I found out which one was the real London Bridge and felt rather disappointed that it didn’t look as impressive as it sounded. Also, I guess because there was the song about London bridge falling down, I simply assumed it had to be an amazeballs looking bridge.

Flo and I had quite a journey home because we went to Tower Hill station where we had to make a few switches before we got onto the Met line home. Thought we’d be late for family dinner but nope! We had about a good half hour before most of the family started to pile in.

Grandma cooked the perfect amount for 16 of us – there was a bit more food kept aside in the kitchen for the latecomers.

Sambal Squid with Lady’s Fingers, Roast Pork Belly, Curry Prawns, Stir-fried Asparagus with Runner Beans and Pork Ribs. She later took out some of that Spinach Curry from the night before that I love.

T’was a great final dinner in London and it was wonderful being able to catch up with Rachael especially and find out how her wedding plans are coming along. First cousin on Mum’s side to get married!! 

And seeing Suk Gong, as well as Uncle Peter and Aunty Betty. It’s been a while and sometimes, it’s only after not seeing them for a while that I realise just how much they, and my parents too, are getting on. I’m happy though, that they are all blessed with good health and are looking lively and happy.

Saturday morning, I finished packing everything. By packing I actually mean stuffing everything into my check-in bag. I was a little worried that it might burst open while transiting from London to Singapore. Thank God it didn’t.

Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma left quite early to Southampton to catch their two-week cruise around the Baltic. Flo and I managed to say goodbye to them before catching a bit more zees. At 11am, just an hour before their ship was due to depart, Uncle David got a call to say that they’d left their tickets at home! So there was a bit of a panic where Uncle David had to drive fast and furiously to get the tickets to them, while Kor had to dash Sophie to her tuition class in Harrow.

So lunch with Kor at this Japanese place we enjoy was scrapped and Flo and I made a simple lunch at home before Kor dropped us off at the airport.

Flo’s flight to Zurich was at 4.55pm so I managed to send him all the way to his gate before I somehow managed to burn the other 3 hours until my flight was due to leave.

And so, our two week Eurotrip came to a close. Eurotrip isn’t really the right term because we were really only in two places. Hamdon trip? Lonburg? It was a great one though, one that far exceeded my expectations especially spending it with Flo. In fact, I daresay it was my favourite holiday ever. So far. Especially because it was with Flo.

 

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“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied…” – Mark 6:41-42

I like today. In fact, I don’t just like it. I love it!

When I reflect on my day, my mind keeps going back to the story of Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand. Of course, that didn’t happen but fish and bread did feature nicely into today. x)

As doubt after doubt after fear after doubt flickered through my head all the way from Monday, I kept questioning whether I wanted to join my beloved BPF for lunch today before our boulangerie practical.

The lingering remnants of my ED mind kept encouraging me to run away but another part of me craved the company of my favourite people here.

God gave me a silver lining though: After our demo yesterday, Celine and I popped by Golden Hind, well-known for their Fish and Chips (and they only do fish and chips… and a few sides and starters) to make a reservation. Upon walking in, I found that there’s the option for our choice of fish to be fried or steamed.

So after a squabble between me, myself and I, I decided to seize some of God’s strength and do as Mum reminded me to do this morning – Enjoy the company first and foremost, and let food be the supporting act – just go.

I did.

And I can’t say I regret it. Because my friends made everything wonderful. So wonderful I may even bring Dad to try their Fish and Chips when he comes. But I’ll still stick to the steamed option. =X

Kong ordered a starter of Feta Cheese Fritters. I had a little bit to try and the cheese was really stinky. Stinkier than any feta I’ve ever had. But stinky’s good in this instance.

Kong, Stef and Celine all went for the fried Haddock but Kong was the only one willing to go the whole way and have proper Fish and Chips. Took a picture of his plate for Daddy-kins to drool over. Hehe.

Stef balanced her fish off with some Greek Salad while Celine had a Gherkin which was huuuuuge but super yummy – I had a slice… or two. It had a perfect balance of tart and sweet, and had a refreshing crunch.

Sarah and I had steamed Haddock – I went for the small which really wasn’t that much smaller than Sarah’s large one. I ordered pickled onion to try but wasn’t that wow-ed by it. Had about 1/3 of it and secretly preferred the gherkin. Hehe.

Sarah had some garden peas and also ordered a portion of chips for the table to share. I didn’t have any but Celine said they weren’t the crisp, crunchy chips she prefers. Good ol’ Britain’s known for their soggy chips though! Soaked in vinegar and sprinkled generously with salt. Am I right or am I right?

I kind of knew they’d probably steam the fish with a bit of butter but figured that the butter would melt down anyway and there wouldn’t be too much left. Moreover, my choice of a small haddock is quite (and I’m ashamed to care about this even just a little)… low in calories.

Anywayyy…

With filled tummies, out came our little surprise early birthday cake for Kong (aka my best buttie!), courtesy of Celine. She’d made a small oreo cheesecake, of which most of us were too full to down but the lovely people at The Hind cut tiny portions for each of us.

I just had a taste and I have to admit, it is wonderfully rich and creamy with a lovely balance of cheesy chocolaty-ness. Celine’s kindly sent us the recipe so I may make it some time for cheesecake lovers.

All of us had practical the same time albeit in different kitchens. =( It was such a relaxing practical though and we finished everything in less than 2 hours, but had to wait another 30 minutes for our breads to come out of the oven.

So IPC spent our time happily discussing buns, especially after our rounds of Pain de Seigle (Rye Bread) came out. We were all pretty excited with our nicely shaped ‘buns’. x)))

The Baguette Viennoise also came out nicely plaited and browned. This was egg washed lightly before going into the oven but what irritated me was that S had made the egg wash and we thought it’d be for the whole group since that’s what most of us would do. Apparently not S though. It doesn’t take long to whip up but you would think that within the kitchen, amongst… friends, you can afford to be a little less self-centred.

I guess some people think differently. I should be used to it by now. Lol.

The Focaccia came out smelling lovely having used olive oil infused with rosemary and garlic. It was shared between Celine and I so we topped it with some black pepper, rock salt and freshly chopped herbs.

I’m over the moon and in love with bread right now!! It was the perfect practical to destress over after the last 3 exam practicals.

Tomorrow we have a technical early in the morning but I’m glad it’s at 8am because I’ll have the rest of the day to do whatever I want – practice most likely!

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we had a sweet wines lecture on Monday. Sweet wines refer to wines that are often paired with dessert and they should be as sweet or sweeter than the dessert you’re serving it with.

We tried air-dried wine, ice wine, botrytis wine and fortified wine. Last term, we had a wine lecture as well that was more general and I could not for the life of me appreciate any of it. I can say, however, that I quite like sweet wines although not all of them are equal.

I thank God for good friends, for baking, for family, for life. I am satisfied. =)

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I feel like I’ve been bitten by the lazy bug. Lol. Since term came to a close last week, I’ve not felt much like baking although I did make some gingersnaps the other day for Uncle D to bring to office. I also gave some to the nice lady at the photo developing shop and then I ate 3 in a go yesterday, felt like I’d binged and threw the leftovers away. =S

It’s ridiculous I know, how I often feel like eating just a bit more than usual is an act of bingeing. I did feel as though I was on the brink of doing so to be honest but by God’s grace and strength, I got through the day and managed to maintain the self-control to eat what my body needs, and not more.

I spent late morning today making another batch of gingersnaps so that I can give some to Uncle Kiat tomorrow evening when he gives me a lift to Uncle P’s place. Will also be giving some to Uncle P for offering to drive me to the airport on Tuesday morning (am staying over at their place tomorrow night). The few that couldn’t fit into the two containers I’ll be giving to #7 and #8 tomorrow most probably although I haven’t quite decided yet.

So I said I’ve been bitten by the lazy bug but more in terms of baking. It’s like, I want to practice or at least try out some of the recipes we didn’t get to do during our practicals, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it especially when I think about the mess and the washing up.

Left with little else to do today however, and feeling the urge to keep moving, I decided to make the Tarte au Chocolat – Chocolate Tart. I made 3 mini tarts and used the leftover shortcrust pastry to make Kor a chicken pie for dinner.

I’m quite pleased with how the tarts came out – dusted them with some cocoa powder and topped them with fresh raspberries! I gave two to Uncle D and kept one for Kor’s dessert…

but he managed to fill himself right up eating the entire chicken pie that he left no room for dessert.

Have finished most of my packing apart from a few bits and pieces I have to buy tomorrow, and last minute toiletries. Graduation lunch is finally happening tomorrow so we’ll see whether I manage to maintain my Mention Bien. x)

For now, it’s time to indulge in my guilty pleasure – Big Brother. I soOoOo wanted to not give a shizzaz about it but uhm… somehow have been winding up watching it as much as I think of it as mindless rubbish. Arghh!

Will be home in about 50 hours time!

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Mum, Dad and I made our way this morning to St. Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate. It’s a beautiful, old church and I enjoyed service so much so that I didn’t even feel the 80 minutes fly by. Next week, we’ll be visiting All Souls and then I’ll think about which church I’d like to worship at while I’m here. Hopefully, find a care/cell group as well!

Anyway, after church, we went over to Spitalfields Market for a look-see. They had quite a bit of interesting things to look at – mostly clothing and handicrafts although there were a few stalls hawking ethnic cuisine.

Mum was a little hungry round about 12.30pm so we started looking for places to have lunch.

After poking our noses at a few restaurants, we finally settled on a little bistro a half-hour later – Square Pie.

They had their golden flaky pies on display, along with a few other savouries that beckoned us. Or rather, they beckoned Mum who chose the place, but decided instead to settle on a baked potato with coleslaw.

Dad went for the Sunday Roast Chicken Pie with a side of baked beans. Mum had some of it as well and both were delighted at home ‘Sunday Roast’-y it tasted.

I opted for the Spinach and Feta Pie which came piping hot and well-stuffed with spinach. The bechamel sauce was none too creamy so thankfully, it wasn’t at all cloying or rich.

I did feel bad (stupid disordered eating voice!) about enjoying the pie and actually polishing it off… but that’s the point isn’t it? To eat and to enjoy it without overstuffing myself. At the very least, I do feel comforted by the fact that the pie crust was thin, hardly oily nor overly buttery.

In addition, Square Pie prides itself for using quality ingredients which means doing away with the artificials and hydrogenated fats, while leveraging instead on the good stuff – like using hand-cut meat and fresh vegetables. So really, it was ‘indulgence’ without the indulging. x)

After reading up on Square Pie online, it turns out that we missed out on trying one of their best sides – mashed potatoes. Looks like a reason for a revisit in the (near) future perhaps!

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15 June 2011 – 16 June 2011…

Dad drove us up to Lynton, Devon – one of Mum’s favourite places. After this trip, I can totally understand why! Along with the beautiful company and beautiful scenery, God blessed us with beautiful weather as well!

From London to Devon…


This sign was just about everywhere! 25 degree inclines!!!!
Paying a toll to take the scenic route…
Driving through Lynmouth…
Arriving at our B&B – Moorlands, where we were greeted by…
These handsome (or pretty) woolly sheep!
Dad booked two conjoined rooms with an attached bathroom…
Visiting Watersmeet. Super gorgeous place!!!
We had cream tea…
And even I tried some! The scones were light and fluffy, pairing perfectly with some clotted cream and strawberry jam… Yum!

Love this picture of this little bird and Dad studying each other. x)
Up in Lynton…
The Lynton-Lynmouth Cliff Railway…
Down in Lynmouth now…
 where we stopped by the Harbour Bar to order dinner to takeaway…
Mum had a veggie burger with chips, Dad’s chilli con carne came with a side of rice, while my uber huge baked potato I had with vegetarian chilli. We shared the garlic mushrooms.

The baked potato was really nice but I could only stomach a little less than half. My favourite part was the skin! I love potato skins… and sweet potato skins… and even the skin of pumpkin. =x The vegetarian chilli was good too and I came quite close to finishing it. What I liked was that it wasn’t purely beans. It had cauliflower and carrots, onions and kidney beans, tomatoes and peppers, with just a slight spicy heat at the end of each mouthful.

We pretty much lazed around in our room post-dinner, and then retired for the night…
We had morning breakfast at the B&B…
My breakfast of a poached egg (a little overcooked) which I had on 1/2 a slice of wholewheat toast – the other 1/2 I had earlier with butter and marmalade <3. Also had grilled tomatoes and super awesome grilled mushrooms with it.
Dad had the works which included a sausage, black pudding, bacon and hashbrown. Mum had to same sans the hashbrown and black pudding.
With bellies full, we packed whatever we’d brought and hopped back in the car for the journey back to London via Bicester.
The weather kept alternating between wet and cloudy, and clear and sunny… which got me wondering if we’d see any rainbows…
And although we didn’t see any on the way home…
The coolest thing was that in the evening, while I was by my desk, I had this sudden compulsion to open my curtain. Lo and behold, I saw the most gorgeous, vibrant rainbow I’d ever laid eyes on. Quickly, I got my camera out to snap a photo of it, only to notice that there wasn’t only a single rainbow, there was a second, slightly faint rainbow present as well.

God must have heard me wonder…

I love rainbows. I always associate them with hope. And with that, I believe God is showing me that no matter how unpredictable life can be – just as the weather on Thursday was, one thing is constant. And that is Him. My father in Heaven is a constant. And His strikingly beautiful creations made by His hands, made by His love, are reminders of His presence. And those creations include the double rainbow (the first I’ve ever seen!), as well as you and me!

Grateful for… God, Mum and Dad, nature, double rainbows, hope…

P.S. Today was the first time EVER since I fell ‘sick’ (not including in-patient treatment) that I had all 3 main meals prepared by someone else or eaten out. Praise the Lord! x) It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Then again, it never is, is it?

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