Tag Archives: chocolate

Fresh eyes in dusty London

16 Aug

As I meandered through Picadilly Circus at lunchtime yesterday I came to a large group of people blocking my path. After 3 years of living in London and working in tourist-laden Covent Garden, I have learnt to walk like a Londoner. This usually takes on the guise of walking at a speed most people would label ‘an awkward-looking-run’, and adopting a face that tries desperately to say “I live here, I’m in a rush, and don’t you dare approach me with that clipboard”.

So, used to darting through tourists (I haven’t knocked over any small children that I know of), I am usually unfazed by huddles of people, or men stood for hours on end covered in gold paint. But this crowd yesterday intrigued me. Instead of rushing on, I had a little nosey look and quickly realised that I had stumbled across the new M&M store.As a big fan of those little chocolate dots of heaven (as you may know from another one of my blogs), I just had to see what the fuss was about.

For the next fifteen minutes I became a tourist. I browsed the store, excited at the tall rainbow arrangement of M&M tubes that reached the ceiling. I huddled around the man, with a group of children, finding out how to fill our cellophane bags with colours of our choice. After laughing at some ridiculous M&M memorabilia (M&M spatula or toothbrush holder anyone?) I dispensed a few pink M&M’s and headed to the till to pay my 53p (the cashier laughed at my paltry portion)

The thing is, yesterday I saw London with fresh eyes. It reminded of my first visits when everything was so exciting; it reminded me of why people love to visit its vibrancy and multiculturalism. But most importantly, it reminded me that we need to see things with fresh eyes sometimes.

I love helping on Alpha, and I love leading a Post-Alpha home group. Not only because it’s so wonderful getting to know people and being a part of their journey – but because its amazing to be around people who see God with fresh eyes. Their passion and excitement is infectious and can reawaken our desire to spend time with God.

Sometimes our faith can get tired. Maybe you can find yourself resenting the fact that it’s hard work. You might have lost that spark, that amazement and desire to spend time with your God. Perhaps you are moving out of duty rather than passion.

So – just as I have found a new, re-appreciation for where I live, let’s pray for fresh revelations of Jesus. Fresh passion for our faith, fresh desire to read the bible. Fresh eyes. Not just reminders of what captured us enough to devote our lives to following Jesus, but to re-experience that in a whole new way.

Isiah 43v19 says ‘I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland’.

Pray that for a fresh outpouring of God on your life. Pray with others, join together and make this your prayer for your life, campus, church, family and workplace– to see streams begin to flow, new springs, new dreams, new zest for your relationship with God and with life.



A fist full of M&M’s

17 May

I like it when my colleagues go on holiday. They might not be pleased to hear this, but I do. Why? Because when they return – they bring sweets.

As a result I have just eaten so many M&M’s I feel a little sick. Not to mention the number of Hershey’s kisses I ‘had’ to consume to make a firm decision on whether they A-taste delicious or B-taste like horse manure (answers on a postcard).

But, on finishing my fist-full of chocolate I was met with a not-so-sweet challenge. And the challenge is greed. Amidst my sugar high, it struck me that if greed didn’t exist, much of the sin in this world wouldn’t either. Think about it – no thieving, no adultery, no materialism, no poverty, no gossiping… the list goes on. Remove greed and you will see of our false Gods blown out the water.

So you haven’t coveted your neighbors donkey recently, or cheated on your girlfriend but have you daydreamed about a new car, felt a pang of jealousy, looked lustfully at someone or stashed away teabags from the hall canteen? Greed can be subtle and seemingly innocent, it can devastate lives, ruin friendships and pull apart families. It’s tempting to devise a ‘greed scale’ and feel smug that we haven’t committed many extreme acts, but greed is greed, and greed is a serious problem. It’s our problem.

If you aren’t shuffling in your chair you are either one special human being, live in a cave, or haven’t yet felt a little nudge of conviction.

We life in a materialistic and indulgent culture and need to actively guard ourself against greed because as Paul says – we can’t call ourselves brothers of Christ and be greedy. We need put up defenses, pick up our swords and fight. Where greed exists, there can be no fruits, it finds us blending right into the vacuous crowd of those trying to fill a never-ending deep hole – chasing the wind.We need to be investing into consistently realigning our perspective – It’s all about God, itall belongs to God.

But don’t shuffle too much – there is hope, we have an amazing, powerful and gentle God who jumps at the chance to lovingly work with us on our character – in order that we may reflect his Son more.

It’s amazing what challenges lie in a handful of American sweeties!

Damn you Mr Fry. The murder of the sweet tooth

15 Sep

I had a sweet tooth. Nope, an entire set of sweet teeth. Main meals were a mere step to a pudding and my eyes would devour the dessert menu before even considering drinks. I would substitute bread for sweets, and chocolate would be the essential full stop to every meal. Except maybe breakfast. Sometimes.

Damn that Mr Fry. No, not the twitter-holic, but the man who bought the good stuff to the UK.

‘Sharesize’ were banned as they were far too ‘mesize’. Instead everything had to be in poxy lunchbox portions – safely wrapped and packed. This tactic, plus a well loved pair of running shoes are the only reasons I am not obese.


I gave up chocolate for a month. Yup, a whole month. That’s 30 days and a potential 60 pieces, bars, slabs, packets of tasty chocolate.  And instead of yielding to the advice of the thousands of articles online on ‘how to cure your sweet addiction’, I didn’t hunt for a therapist, a hypnotist or take a trip to the doc for some magic patches. I didn’t even buy one of those newfangled Le Whif chocolate inhalers (what!). I just stopped.

Let me tell you- stopping is easier than ‘having just one piece’. That one piece is like taking the plug out the dam. Like the alcoholic version of ‘one drink to drunk’, one piece is the chocoholics ‘one piece to…’ i’m not sure that works so well.

Unlike giving up caffeine, I didn’t get the shakes, the headaches, the sick-day worthy flu-like symptoms (another story all together)… nope. I just really, really, really wanted it. I had to battle temptations to find a new muse – digestive  biscuits, gingernuts, percy pigs, percy pals, percy tails, percy and friends…

For a week perhaps.

And then something happened. I stopped dreaming of chocolate, wanting chocolate, desiring to pounce on anyone who was holding the stuff. In fact, all things  saccharine sweet began to lose their sparkle.

And, timely as ever – headlines announce that our sweet treats and junk are as addictive as cocaine. Well if that’s true…

Then I just went cold turkey.

So now, fruit is sweet enough for me. Chocolate has returned – no, for the first time holds ‘treat’ status rather than an end to every meal. The ultimate test is a humongous, open bar of toblerone sitting in the fridge. I have had one chunk.

My husband however….

Is now hooked.


So, although I can go a day without chocolate, I wouldn’t dare give it up all together. I owe it to my body to continue with the odd indulgence here and there (see below). And whilst I half-heartedly attempt to wean my husband off it, I love him too much to deny him the positive health benefits that a step into chocolate heaven offers.

So do yourself a favour, grab a square and read about all the lovely things you are doing for that body of yours

•It’s a natural stress reducer as it releases the brain chemical serotonin.
•It’s high in magnesium which helps stabilise moods & emotions.
•It helps keep arteries clean, may well be as effective as red wine.
•It contains antioxidants.
•It’s a natural mood elevator – it releases ‘feel good’ endorphins.
•It helps prevent tooth decay – it contains an anti-bacterial agent.

PS: These lovely list of course, is increasingly overridden by not so nice things as you continue to chow your way through the entire bar. Here’s a free supermarket mantra, as you walk down the choc aisle mutter to yourself – snacksize, not sharesize. snacksize not sharesize….