Tag Archives: One word photo challenge

Love: going the distance.

Call me sentimental, but I am really enjoying the feel-good vibe of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges at the moment!  For me, the day our son met his Uncle (my brother) and Aunty for the first time is a very personal embodiment of the ‘one love‘ theme this week.DSC_0039-1

Here is my Muslim English brother, who lives in Qatar, with his Libyan wife.  They are gazing adoringly at my baby son, who is English and lives in South East Asia. At the time these photos were taken, Dania was also very heavily pregnant, so my son and his cousin-to-be were separated only by a bump.

Love and life in our modern world is colourful, and complex, and complicated.  Family life is no exception.  In our family we are collectively blending different cultures, religions and values all the time, whilst we carry on our daily lives, scattered across the globe.  It isn’t always easy; in fact sometimes it has been incredibly fraught. But you do what you have to do to keep the love flowing.  Because in the end, family is everything.


About three weeks after this photo was taken, my son and daughter gained a beautiful healthy baby boy cousin.  But by that time we had already returned to Brunei, so sadly missed the opportunity to meet him.

Our expat existence brings enormous benefits for us as a family.  But the cost – and it is a significant one – is that we don’t get to see the people we love as much as we would like.  I don’t think our situation is particularly unusual – it is a hard reality that in our global society, families are very often fragmented.  Will my children ever meet their cousin?  I really hope so, but I honestly don’t know. They live in the Middle East, we live in South East Asia right now, but will soon live in South America.  We all return to England intermittently, but not always at the same time.  It is complicated.

Despite the complications, instilling my children with a sense of their familial bonds is vital to me.  We FaceTime, we have their photos all over the house, we talk constantly about them.  And of course when we can, we make the absolute most of opportunities to be with them.  Watching our little girl hugging and kissing the iPad when she is chatting across the miles with her grandparents, we know that for her, for now, it is enough.  The love she feels for, and from, her family is absolute.  The distance isn’t there.  We will make sure that our son feels the same way, as he grows.  That is the best we can do.



The alphabet song, and finding inspiration in unlikely places.

When you are two years old, establishing patterns and connections is everything.  See words anywhere other than a book? Sing the alphabet song! Our little girl loves to sing and dance, and I must hear the alphabet song three or four times a day at the moment!

The funniest times are usually when she spots writing on food.  Obvious things like spaghetti hoops and alphabet potato bites, naturally.  But also some more surprising choices too.  Those sponge finger biscuits you use for classic trifles?  ‘Boudoir’ biscuits.  They got sung to the other day when she clocked the lettering.  Very sincerely and with great gusto, I might add.  It really made me smile.

And of course, any time her little brother is wearing any clothing with lettering across it, that inspires her to sing to him too.  Not that she needs much encouragement.  Our girly loves her baby brother utterly beyond anything we could have ever imagined.  She just wants to cuddle him, sing to him, and play with him all day long.  It makes my heart melt.

This photo was taken when he was just weeks old.  He couldn’t smile then, but now, at five months, he most definitely can. That smile just lights up the room.  And of course that makes his big sister want to dash over to share his joy and sing him a quick song.  In between important ‘tent’ building work and tea party organising for her ‘babies’, of course.

Smiles all round.



Geometry and jam pans.

When is a lemon not a lemon? Well, when it’s a pineapple.  Of course!  Just look at that sumptuously rich, lemony colour.  It is making my mouth water just looking at it.

This particular pineapple didn’t hang around long as I had big Christmassy plans for it.  Specifically, this incredible pineapple chutney from BBC Good Food.  It was so easy to make and so moreish to eat, that this is the second batch I’ve made now in the space of weeks, having never made chutney before.

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I am part of a monthly Supper Club night with a bunch of girlfriends.  It is always a fun evening.  We are a group of seriously frustrated foodies in Brunei, so we make a lot from scratch, in an effort to bridge the gap!  Homemade bread, pasta and gnocchi, ice cream, dips, pesto and hummus, cakes, pastries and confectionery, pate, fruit curds and cordials to name just a few of our collective endeavours.  And now chutney.  We don’t always get it right, but part of the fun is learning from our mistakes.  And there is always so much delicious food at the table that the occasional fail is easily overlooked.

We all agreed at our Supper Club night a couple of months ago that we’d have a little Christmas gathering.  Lots of great food, the company of good friends, and a little Christmas spirit.  One of the bring along items was jars of chutney, either to give as gifts or add to the cheese board accompaniments on the night.

As I said, this is the second batch I’ve made, as the first batch was so tasty I’ve not got enough jars left now to give as gifts!  I know pineapple isn’t a conventional Christmas flavour, but the chutney is sublime, and really easy if you fancy giving chutney making a go.  Plus, out here exotic fruit chutney like pineapple or mango feels altogether more in keeping with the location and climate!  And if you live somewhere you can buy them, it would go amazingly well with English regional crumbly sharp cheeses like Wensleydale, Lancashire and Cheshire.  We’re not so blessed here, but it is still very good even with a pretty average imported cheddar!

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Is your tummy rumbling yet?  Mine is!  But really, I had to go with food for Jennifer’s ‘lemon‘ one word photo challenge didn’t I?  Isn’t the skin just amazing too, when you really look at it?  Wonderful colours, and nature in all it’s geometric, hexagonal glory.  Which made this post seem an obvious entry for this week’s ‘angular‘ photo challenge from WordPress as well.