Month: May 2012

Free as a Bird.

Yep, that’s right. I am finally free. This afternoon I sat my final exam and I think it went reasonably well. I am just so relieved and excited to have finished because it means that I am finally able to relax.

Plus, tomorrow morning I jump on the train to spend two weeks with my boyfriend. SO EXCITED.

As soon as I was finished with my exam I met the beautiful Kathryn and we trotted off to my favourite local cafe to get a celebratory drink. I haven’t been drinking alcohol lately so I decided to go for an iced chocolate chip frappe which was delicious and we got a bowl of celebratory chips to celebrate being finished with exams till at least January next year!

It was in no way healthy but it was pretty damn good.

I don’t know if those of you outside of Britain know but the country is getting ready for the Diamond Jubilee weekend (which means that the Queen has been on the throne for 60 years) and almost every high street is decked in bunting. The cafe was no exception…

I have to say, I’m not the most patriotic person but I do like a chance to celebrate and ever since the Royal Wedding last year I’ve had a soft spot for royal celebrations. Not to mention that bunting is just cute.

Kathryn and I had a nice long chitchat because I won’t see her for about three weeks now. It was so brilliant to be able to chat and not have to mention exams and stress once! I’m really going to miss this girl but watch this space because we are forming plans to meetup this summer which should be fantastic!

I have an enormous to-do list of things to do before I leave for Tom’s tomorrow, I have so much to pack. But my last evening here could not go by without a visit from one of my favourite people, Chloe! She came over and we chatted away for over an hour. She’s off on a 17 day sponsored cycling trip in India in a couple of weeks which is so exciting and she’s raising money for Childreach International. It’s an amazing opportunity for a great cause and I’m slightly envious!

Well I’m off to finish my packing, my suitcase is going to be incredibly full…

What are your plans for the weekend?
If you’re in Britain are you doing anything for the Jubilee?

Are you as excited for the summer as I am? 

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What I Ate Wednesday No.33

As I am traveling back to uni today I probably won’t be able to take many photographs of my food so I thought I would cheat slightly and use Tuesday’s food to join in with the weekly WIAW party… I’m sure you won’t mind!

Thank you once more to the fabulous Jenn for creating this weekly link-up, if you’re new to the scene head on over to her blog to find out what it’s all about!

Yesterday was a much quieter day for me, if you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me having a slight moan, active days like the one I enjoyed on Monday rarely come without consequences and sure enough yesterday I was pretty exhausted. Even after over a year of dealing with these issues I still forget that I can’t be really active without their being some setbacks the following day. Oh well.

I still had a nice day because there is something much more relaxing about being home. I needed to revise lots so I spent most of the day on my bed with sheets of lecture notes and practice questions laid out around me.

After lusting over all of the lovely smoothies some of you have been enjoying I decided to whip one up for breakfast.

I blended together a banana, a handful of strawberries, milk, ice and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Enjoyed alongside a slice of toasted brioche. Delicious.

Despite spending most of the day revising, I did take a little trip into town for lunch with my mum and my sister. It was lovely to have a good old girly natter and we ate in a lovely cafe.

I went for carrot and coriander falafel, pita bread and tzatziki which was really rather tasty. Alice had granary bread with avocado salsa which I had a nibble of and can report was also really good.

They had a Jubilee treat on the menu and I just could not resist, I always have to get anything that reminds me of childhood!

Battenburg cake 🙂 So cute and so almondy. Nothing beats treats like this! Alice also went for a rather delicious dessert:

Chocolate and beetroot cake with an absolutely brilliant chocolate frosting. So tasty. (Yes I stole a spoonful of this too!)

I spent the rest of the afternoon working my way through D.H. Lawrence’s short stories and a ton of notes, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being finished with revision.

Dinner was a lovely break from the revision, this is just the sort of meal I absolutely love in the summer months.

Baked salmon with onion and dill, crushed new potatoes and fresh asparagus. Light, fresh and delicious. I know I’ve said this several times already now but I am just so excited about the exam period being over and the summer starting for real. There is just so much to look forward to!

So there you have my food for the day, I’m off to pack and get ready to take the train back to uni for my last exam…

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
What food really takes you back to your childhood?

Monday in the Sunshine.

Today has truly felt like summer. It’s been so warm and sunny, there is something incredibly magical about a completely clear blue sky stretching as far as the eye can see. Although I still have an exam left I’m starting to feel like the summer is here and knowing that I will be on holiday in just a few days is a fantastic feeling. I spent most of today with my mum and it has been lovely.

With the weather being so marvellous we just had to make the most of it and took a leisurely cycle ride through meadows and pretty villages. It was almost too hot for cycling but it felt so good to be out under the bright sunshine after spending the past few days indoors revising.

Not too far from where I live there is a little village with the prettiest tea room in an orchard. It’s an enchanting place to go and wile away a few hours lounging in deck chairs under the dappled shade of the apple trees.

The food is quite expensive so I think in the future we’ll probably just go for afternoon tea but we still enjoyed our lunch there.

We both went for a red pesto chicken salad which came with the most delicious whole grain bread. It was pretty good, the pesto had a lovely flavour and was complemented nicely by the sun-dried tomatoes, the piece of chicken was absolutely enormous though!

It was a lovely way to spend a long and peaceful lunch.

This afternoon I decided it was time to do some baking. I haven’t found the time to bake in weeks and I was really missing it so I indulged myself with a delicious recipe from my Primrose Bakery cookbook. The choice for today was their Peanut Butter Cookies.

Don’t they look amazing? The whole family loved them so they definitely did not disappoint. I ate several alongside some delicious fresh blueberries.

Although it feels somewhat indulgent to be scoffing down peanut butter cookies in the run up to ‘bikini body’ season (I loathe that phrase) they were just too good to resist. There is nothing quite like a still warm cookie which crunches as you bite into it and then has a soft and gooey centre. Plus I have to admit that I needed the energy as I by this point in the afternoon I was feeling pretty exhausted. Days like this make my aches become incessant and the fatigue really kicks in but sometimes the pain is completely worth it!

One of my favourite things about gorgeous summer weather is being able to sit outside in the evening and tonight we did just that.

Dinner in the beautiful garden.

A lovely fresh dinner of honey mustard marinated chicken, a chipolata and lots of fresh bulgur and mango salad, followed by some fresh strawberries.

Ah days like this in the sunshine are just pure bliss.

I cannot wait to have finished exams and be able to enjoy a summer of days like this one, I can tell that it’s going to be a really brilliant summer!

How was the start to your week?
Have you been enjoying fantastic weather?
What is your favourite thing about the summer?

Surprise! I’m Home Again.

Yup, I’m home again. Surprise 😛

Yesterday after my exam my mum rang me and asked if I fancied coming home for a few nights before my last exam and as I’d spent the past couple of days feeling absolutely shattered I jumped at the chance.  My dad came to pick me up mid-morning and we had a lovely journey, driving through some beautiful little sun-kissed villages and enjoying the rolling hills around us. Because of all of the rain we had a couple of weeks ago everything is just so green. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

We picked my grandfather up on the way and were home just in time for lunch.

And I had a fantastic surprise waiting for me.

It was an absolutely delicious sight.

You can’t see it that clearly but that my friends, is an absolutely beautiful homemade beef burger in a ciabatta bun served with chips (and I had a second helping). So good. Just what I needed to perk me up after a week of exam stress.

The meal didn’t finish there either. It was topped off with a lovely fresh dessert, my favourite sort.

Vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. An early summer dessert doesn’t really get much better than that. I love summer berries more than anything, I could eat them by the punnet all day long.

Although I still have an exam to go (on Thursday), today has been a restful day. I’ve been so shattered that I actually had a nap early and slept for well over an hour this afternoon. Clearly I needed to come home!

I hope you have all had a really really lovely weekend in gorgeous weather 🙂

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently? I’m planning on baking tomorrow for the first time in weeks so watch this space!
How have you been enjoying the beautiful weather? 

Three Down…

Yup, that’s right. I have sat three of my exams and I now only have one more exam before I have officially completed my first year at university.

Crazy stuff.

I know this annoys some people but I just want to apologise for being so absent lately, especially from all of your lovely blogs. When I haven’t been revising I’ve mostly been trying to build my energy back up. This means no workouts, just walking and physio, little cooking, and very little time to blog. I cannot wait for this summer as I will be able to throw myself back into this blog 🙂

My exam today went reasonably well (I think) and I can feel the stress slowly starting to ebb away… Only five days to go until complete freedom!

As I have so little energy I thought I would share some of the little eats I’ve been loving lately:

Mr Kipling’s almond bake. A little too small for me but so tasty. The perfect little snack for revision boosts.

Lots and lots of pasta. Obviously 😉

Iced frappes. Absolutely fantastic in the summer hot weather we’ve been enjoying here at the moment.

I’m still plowing through Vanity Fair, according to my Kindle I’m 39% of the way through. It’s such a long book and I just can’t figure what on earth is going to happen in the rest of the book. I’m enjoying it but it is just so lengthy and I’m wondering what strange twists will develop.

Anyway I am feeling really shattered, I cannot wait to go home tomorrow, hopefully I will be able to prepare myself well for my last exam! I’m sure I will have lots of delicious food photos for you from Sunday lunch tomorrow 🙂

What are your favourite little food treats at the moment?


Bring on the Summer.

Only one week to go.

I can’t tell you how good that feels, knowing that both my beast of a 24 hour exam and my first normal exam are finished so I can forget about theatre conventions and Old English grammar.

In just over a week’s time I will be with Tom and will have two whole weeks to unwind and be taken care of. I cannot tell you quite how much I am looking forward to it!

Now, as you all know by now, I am a list maker. I love lists and lists seem to love me too. Blame my mother 😉

I write lists for everything, for chores, for things I need to get done that week/day, for books to read, for ideas, for food shopping, for beauty items, for workouts,  for goals and for plans.

‘Plan’ Lists are one of my favourites, there is nothing more exciting (I clearly live an adrenaline-filled life) than writing a list of all of the fantastic things I want to do, places I want to visit  and things I want to create. I say nothing more exciting, obviously actually getting to do the things on the list is better!

And so was born my ‘Summer Plans’ list. Ah just the thought of being able to start implementing this list in two weeks time makes me smile. I don’t think I’ve ever needed a holiday more than this summer!

Summer Plans

  • Sew a cushion cover for my bedroom.
  • Visit the zoo. Tom and I have been several times and I love it 🙂
  • Discover new cycle routes. Part of my plan to help myself recover is to get on my bike more so I want to find new and longer routes.
  • Work my way through the Primrose Bakery Cookbook. Enough said.
  • Go for picnics.
  • Read 20+ books purely for pleasure.
  • Take day trips: London, the beach…

As I said before, I just cannot wait to be free of exams and revision! I have a feeling it’s going to be a brilliant summer 🙂

Do you have any plans for the summer?
Are you a list person like me?

Let it Shine.

Today we saw the first signs of summer with absolutely gorgeous weather all day. Despite the fact that my worst exam is tomorrow afternoon I’ve actually had a pretty good day, I think it is almost impossible to have a bad day when it is lovely and warm outside and the sun is shining!

I was up quite early, stayed in bed for half an hour watching yesterday’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show episode (yes I am secretly an old lady) and then did some simple yoga which was a fantastic way to start a day of revision. I actually felt pretty relaxed by all of this and it wasn’t even 8.30am. Get me 😉

My lovely friend Kathryn had agreed to help me go for a hunt for my exam rooms around campus. Because I get extra time my exams won’t be in the main exam hall with everyone else and I didn’t want to have to find the room at the last-minute because I have a tendency to work myself up in those situations. At least now I feel prepared. Although the walk around campus tired me out it was lovely to take the time to enjoy how beautiful campus looked in the sunshine.

(This picture completely gives away which uni I attend but I figure as I leave so soon it’s about time!)

Kathryn and I decided that we needed something to cool both our nerves and our bodies as it was so hot outside so we stopped at Costa before heading back to revise.

My first iced tea of the year, peach of course. It feels so good to have such fantastic weather, even if I do have exams, I can only hope that it stays this way in June when I’ve finished!

The rest of my day wasn’t that exciting but it was fairly productive, I found the time to go food shopping as my fridge was empty and bought a few treats to see myself through revision which I’m sure you will be seeing on the blog tomorrow. I also managed to squeeze in a workout before dinner! I did Level 1 of the trusty 30 Day Shred, I can always trust Jillian to make me sweat. I’m glad I was able to find the energy as I know I’ll feel better tomorrow for having done it. I will beat this damn fatigue!

Dinner tonight was lovely and fresh, just what I needed:

The usual bowl of stir-fried veg with quinoa. I cooked it in a little sesame oil and lots of soy sauce so it had heaps of flavour, and I just love the colours of dish.

Tomorrow is the big day, my Old English exam, i.e. the one I’ve been dreading the most. I think I’m as ready as I will be for this, it’s by far my weakest area (basically it’s nothing to do with literature) but I’m just hoping to pass it. I can get a mediocre grade in this exam and still do well overall so I’m trying not to worry too much.

Anyway I’d best say goodnight, up tomorrow to do a last spot of revision as my exam isn’t until 4.30pm!

What helps you relax when stressed?
Have you had gorgeous weather where you are today?
If you could have any treat to help you through revision/work stress what would it be?