Saying Goodbye From Afar

Saying Goodbye From Afar

Saying Goodbye From Afar is never easy.

It’s even harder when you have known this day would come from many years-and now finally it is here.

Today I am saying goodbye to my Nana.

She died, quiet suddenly in the end, on March 30th, Mother’s Day in England, ironically. She died peacefully, after a short battle with pneumonia and years of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Today, the rest of my family are together in England at her funeral-they get to remember her life, to celebrate who she was, to rejoice at where she is now and to grieve.

I wanted to write about this on the blog-as a somewhat cathartic process of dealing with my loss but then I was asked to write something to be read at her funeral-so part of this post will be being read in England today. I get to ‘be there’ in one capacity or another.

I have many fond memories of life with Nana.

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Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

In England, Shrove Tuesday is a HUGE deal!

We love to make pancakes, we find any excuse to have them for dinner, and arguments ebb and flow as to what the ‘must-have’ topping is!

Lemon and sugar is the most traditional, my personal favorite is Nutella and banana….because you just cannot go wrong with chocolate, banana and nuts.  You can have savory ones or sweet ones…..but you HAVE to have them!

For those of you that don’t know, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent (more on that tomorrow). Shrove Tuesday is determined by Easter; its date changes annually.

The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess”. Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent.

Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs. (Source: Wikipedia)

Pancakes in the UK are more like crepes, they are very thin pancakes made with flour, eggs and milk. When cooking, tradition is that you have to flip them!

According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, a Professor from University College London has developed the Perfect Pancake Flipping Technique! Princess Katherine has it down!!

Princess Katherine Pancake Flipping

Photo: The Daily Telegraph

How to make British-style pancakes:


Makes 4-6 pancakes

4oz all-purpose flour, sifted

pinch of salt

2 eggs

200ml milk

75ml water


In a large bowl, add the sifted flour and salt.

Add the eggs and stir

Measure out the milk and add the water to it. Then gradually pour into the flour mixture, mixing continuously with an electric whisk.

The better should be runny, pourable and lump-free!

Pour the batter onto a hot, greased griddle pan (get the pan very hot then reduce the heat to medium-high when you are actually cooking). Turn the pancake over when all the liquid ingredients become solidified, cook both side until golden brown.

Serve immediately


As for toppings, as I said it’s all down to your personal preference!  I loved this extensive list of 102 Pancake Toppings from The Hungry Goddess! 

What is your ‘MUST HAVE’ pancake topping??

102 Pancake Toppings


I hope you enjoy Shrove Tuesday as much as we do!

All Natural Granola

All Natural Granola

My Mum makes delicious Granola, which got me and Captain America thinking on our recent visit!

Having both eaten it nearly every day for a month while staying at my parents house we decided we needed to make our own when we returned home!

We went to our local grocery store that had a bulk foods section and went wild with all the possible versions we could make!  This was our first attempt, after getting some tips from my Mum, and we love it!

All Natural Granola

This is just one option – there are literally hundreds of possibilities, especially if like us, you have access to a store that sells bulk foods, then you can buy a little of everything for very little cost and if you don’t like it then don’t use that next time!  If you don’t want to experiment follow this recipe and it makes a wonderful Granola.

I was a little cautious about adding coconut as it is one of of my least favorite flavors, however, even though it smells very strong while cooking you cannot taste it at all – it just adds that perfect amount of natural sweetness!

Go on give it an try……let me know which combination you make??



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Ironbridge, Shropshire

Ironbridge, Shropshire

Ironbridge in Shropshire is one of my favorite parts of the Shropshire countryside.

On Boxing Day (the national holiday the day after Christmas in the UK) we went for a wintery walk in Ironbridge and here are some of the highlights I captured on that day!

It is only a small town but it has some real gems. The highlight being the actual Iron Bridge standing proudly in the town centre. The town developed beside, and takes its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30-metre (100 ft) cast iron bridge that was built across the river in 1779.

Ironbridge, Shropshire

The Iron Bridge crosses the River Severn in Shropshire, England. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron, a material which was previously too expensive to use for large structures. However, a new blast furnace nearby lowered the cost and encouraged local engineers and architects to solve a long-standing problem of a crossing over the river.

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Mum’s Christmas Dundee Cake

Mum's Dundee Cake

When I was growing up this was the Christmas cake my parents insisted on having every year – I refused to eat fruit cake as I had decided it was horrible.  

For some reason, one day I tasted some, and I have never looked back!  Now I am the one who requests this cake for Christmas.

It is delicious!

Mum's Dundee Cake

You have to suspend anything you think you know about fruit cake – this is moist, fruity and soft – if you throw it no-one gets hurt, but I might hurt you if you waste this cake!! LOL!

My Mum makes the best version of this cake, she adapted the recipe from Delia Smith, to create this Kelly family delight that we all know and love!

Mum's Dundee Cake

This year I convinced Mum to make it to sell at a Bake Sale here as part of our Mission Team Fundraiser – it was a huge success!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Merry Christmas!

Mum's Dundee Cake


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Mission Trip Update

Mission Team Update

One of the joys of ministry is flexibility!

I have been learning this in a greater degree in the process of planning and fundraising for our Mission Trip.

It started with a plan to go to East Africa, then we added a stop in the UK as we would probably be flying through there anyway, God then spoke to us about doing ministry while in the UK, so we made the stop there a little longer and after Africa.  Then God spoke again, and we switched the trip plans, UK first in December and the beginning of January, then East Africa for the rest of January.

All the time we were fundraising, promoting the online giving, having fundraising events….the money was coming in but it was very slow.  

We kept pushing back our decision date (the date we had to decide whether we were going on the trip or not), flight prices were rising, but we knew we had to wait.  So wait we did.

Julie left for Missouri, a family visit and ministry trip.  God opened the doors for her to speak and minister at many churches and ministries…..many more than she ever thought possible.

It’s now nearly Thanksgiving….initially we had planned to leave for Africa on December 2nd…..that’s not happening! We then rescheduled and were planning to leave for the UK on December 16th….but still not enough money to buy our flights.

I’m going to be totally honest here, at this point I was really stressed! It just didn’t seem to make sense, we felt so strongly from God that we were supposed to go to the UK, for me that meant two things: 1) I get to spend Christmas with my family, IN ENGLAND, which I haven’t done for 3 years (if you don’t live in a different country from where you grew up this probably won’t make any sense to you, if you do… get it!  It’s a big deal!) and 2) I get to do ministry again in the UK, something I know God spoke to me very clearly about and I knew He was opening up opportunities for us.

It became really hard for me to separate the two things, I REALLY wanted to be home for Christmas (FYI – I only call it home at Christmas which should tell you something ;-))

And then there is Africa…..everything about our Africa trip is expensive!  There is so much that goes into a trip there, and much of the expenses cannot be calculated until you are actually in the country so we know we need a substantial amount of money accessible to us while in Africa.

It became clear to us that the fundraising just was not going to raise enough money in time for when we thought we were supposed to be in Africa…so we have decided to postpone the trip but continue to fundraise, with zeal, and hopefully go in Summer 2014.

If you would like to give to support this Mission Trip please click the link below:

Africa Mission Blog Button LARGE

Now the Mission Trip plans took on a while new dimension, we felt like we are supposed to go to the UK to build a network and grow connections there.

When you take Africa out of the mix it allows us more flexibility with the dates of the trip.  

We checked flight prices against our fundraising total…..we were just $500 away from us all booking our flights.

We had a sense of peace.  We booked two flights, one for me and one for Captain America, we prayed money would come for Julie’s ticket so she can join us in the New Year.  More money came in.  We are now $150 away from booking her ticket.  We have two additional fundraising opportunities before we leave!

The trip is booked!

Captain America and I fly to the UK on December 16th, Julie joins us early in the New Year (she will hopefully be booking her flight tomorrow!) and we all fly back to the US on January 14th.  

We are making connections and developing ministry opportunities during our stay.  We are excited and hopeful for the connections that God has in store for us.

Thank you for your support and please continue to pray for us and for all that God has for us to do in the UK!


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My Top 10 London Tourist Attractions in 36 Hours

My Top 10 London Tourist Attractions in 36 hours

We spent our last 2 days of our England visit in Central London seeing the top 10 london tourist attractions!

Captain America had visited before, and I lived inLondon for two years, but there were many things we wanted to experience together. So here is our guide to the top 10 London tourist attractions – your must have list of things to see and do when you are in London!

Here is our guide to all the Top 10 London Tourist Attractions in 36 hours or less without blowing the budget! So strap on your walking shoes, grab your camera and come hungry….this is a whirlwind tour of all the best bits!

1) Getting there and getting around

Travel by train, coach or into central London on the tube (if you are just arriving in the country!) If you want travel information or need to book tickets here are the 3 main sites you will need:

National Rail Enquiries – for anything train related

Transport For London – for ALL kinds of travel related questions, schedules and prices while in London

National Express – Bus/coach travel around the UK

Otherwise while you are in central London walking can be one of the fastest and most efficient ways to travel, even through the tube and bus network is great, distances down to the tube line versus walking at street level are often faster and if a bus is stuck in traffic you can definitely move faster.  Therefore, make sure you have comfortable shoes as you will walk miles and miles.

2) Take a ‘flight’ on The London Eye

London Eye

It’s not the cheapest thing to do, but I believe it is well worth the money.  Book in advance online and print your own tickets – this saves you money and time.  You arrive 30 minutes before your ‘flight’ time and the ‘flight’ takes around 30 minutes.

Tourists In London

Don’t forget to take pictures of yourself along the way… are a tourist after all!!!

You get to see spectacular views of London – especially on a clear day.  Even on a slightly overcast day you can see from the following pictures that we got to see so much of the city

Tourists In London

Views of The City Of London & St Paul’s Cathedral

Tourists In London

Views of The Shard and Canary Wharf (in the distance)

Tourists In London

Views of the River Thames & Houses of Parliament

Tourists In London

Tourists In London

Unbeatable views of Houses of Parliament

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London Southbank At Sunset

London Southbank At SunsetThe last couple of days in England were spent in London.

Captain America had been to London before around 20 years ago.  He had seen more touristy parts of London than I had.

I used to live in South London, and never really did any of the tourist attractions, partly because I was broke and partly because you never really take in the sights in the place that you live……until you are showing other visitors around!

However, the South Bank of the River Thames is one of my favorite parts of London.  I spent hours here walking along the river, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.  I couldn’t get enough of it!

Our time in London started with an early evening ‘flight’ on the London Eye (more on that tomorrow!) and then we strolled back along the Thames, soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the sights… are the highlights:

All the photos were taken progressively as the sun set…although the lighting seems to indicate otherwise

Sunset In London

Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

Sunset In London

Sunset In London

Waterloo Bridge

Sunset In London

A Thames Beach, St Paul’s Cathedral, Blackfriars Bridge and Oxo Tower

Sunset In London

St Paul’s Cathedral & Blackfriars Bridge

Sunset In London

River Thames

Sunset In London

Sunset In London

Millennium Bridge & Southwark Bridge

Sunset In London

Tate Modern

Sunset In London

Sunset In London

Blackfriars Rail Bridge

Sunset In London

From Millennium Bridge: Southwark Bridge, Bankside & Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

For other highlights of our trip to England check out the following posts:

Shrewsbury, England

An Evening In Aberystwyth, Wales

A Seaside Town: Aberdovey, Wales

An Afternoon In Chirk Castle, Wales

Exploring The Cotswolds

Blenheim Palace

A Photo Tour Of Oxford

A Traditional Afternoon Tea

Our British Wedding Celebration & Tasty Tuesdays

Our British Wedding Celebration 1

Photograph by: Shauna Castaner Photography

While Captain America and I were in England we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate our marriage with our British family and friends who were not able to come to California last October for our wedding.

We decided to throw a British Wedding Celebration, a marriage blessing at the church I grew up in followed by a British Afternoon Tea!

It was so much fun and we were blessed to have over 75 family and friends come and join us to celebrate, including nearly all of the British guests who had flown to California for the wedding – they got a double wedding celebration!

Our British Wedding Celebration

With my dear friend & Bridesmaid Sarah

Mum and I set to baking all the cakes (recipes coming soon!) and Mum, Dad, Todd and I made all the sandwiches and decorated the hall in a kind of British American mash-up!

Ruth & Alison

Me & Mum

I’m afraid we were having so much fun catching up with everyone I only managed to snap a few photographs…..none of me & Captain America ironically!  I did get photographs of the finished food!  Not the full traditional afternoon tea served on tiered trays I’m afraid, it was not possible catering for 75 people!! British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration British Wedding Celebration

The main picture at the beginning of this post was taken by our wedding photographer, the amazing Shauna.  She has an incredible gift so check out her work here: Shauna Castaner Photography.

Now onto the Tasty Tuesdays link party!

Thanks to all of you who have been posting links to your best recipes from the week – I have really enjoyed seeing all your wonderful creations!

Thanks to Anyonita for allowing me the priviledge of co-hosting Tasty Tuesdays for the past four weeks, it has been great to meet so many new people and share our creativity!

Link up your favorite recipe from this past week here: