Month: September 2012

This Week #6.

I’m not even going to bother apologising for the lack of posts as that seems to be the only way I start them, this week I have a better excuse than usual – I started my first semester at my new university! My head has been filled with books and historical periods, poems and critical analysis, timetables and notes… I’ve had little time to think of anything else. It’s been pretty good so far though, my lectures and seminars have been really interesting and everyone there seems friendly 🙂

I’ve got piles of reading to do already but the literature nerd lover in me is already rejoicing at the sight of new books to discover. This week I’m reading an American work called Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass which is about the life of Frederick Douglass (no surprises there!) and the abolition of slavery. It’s a fascinating topic and not something we learn much about in the UK so I’m finding it really interesting. I’m also working my way through some interesting literature about the Victorian period, some Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry, and an essay about Romantic literature. I’ve signed up for the uni choir and there is an introductory session for that on Wednesday, hopefully it will be fun and a nice opportunity to meet some different people.

This week has been seriously exhausting but it’s also great to get back into a routine and have a few more structured things to do. Now for the usual Instagram photo recap to share the rest of my week with you:

Chicken and mango stir-fry | Weekday lunch | Inspiration notebook

Chili con carne wintery comfort food | Cheeky Baileys nightcap | Morning flowers

Current favourite dinner | Light bedtime reading… ahem | Sushi time!

English muffins | Wonderful bircher muesli | Perfect autumn meal – homemade tomato soup

 

GĂź chocolate indulgence | Everyday breakfast | Trek bars to review!

Homemade burger | Saturday afternoon relaxation | Sunday reading

So there you have my little weekly recap, I hope you enjoy these posts, I really like putting them together 🙂

This week is pretty busy for me – I have two hospital appointments on top of my week of lectures but I will definitely make an effort to post a little more than last week! I’m looking forward to getting a bit more into my course and I will hopefully be off to London next weekend. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and have a fantastic week, I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone’s blogs.

If you have Instagram too then you call follow me @loveliveandlearn to see my photos as I post them!

What have you been doing this weekend?
Any plans for this week?
What is your ideal Sunday afternoon activity?

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A Time to Study.

Firstly I want to say hello to any new readers who have come to check my blog out because of the lovely Bee 🙂 Welcome, I hope you stay a while!

Okay, so I have been majorly absent recently and I’m sorry, it seems that recently, every time I go to write a post, all I do is apologise and explain that I am ill. This isn’t how I want my blog to be and it definitely isn’t how I want to be! As I said in my last post, I always aim to be honest on my blog (if you knew me in real life you’d know I’m always incredibly honest in reality – sometimes a little too honest!) but I don’t want that to mean that I come across as wholly negative.

I am fundamentally a positive person. I have had some difficult times in my life but I refuse to dwell on them, I have been ill for a long time but I refuse to let that take over and control my life.

For those of you that don’t know, I started my first week at my new uni, having transferred into second year. I was so so nervous but things seem to be going really well and I’ve already got heaps of work so I’m obviously settling in fast. I actually quite enjoy having the work to do, I’ve got a pile of books to read, notes to make, history to research and seminars to attend. Lectures are easy, you just go in, sit, listen and try to absorb. My seminars are two hours long and although they’re a little nerve-wracking because we are in smaller groups and they are made up of group discussions. Everyone seems really friendly though and it’s nice to be in a new environment.

I have so much reading to do already, Byron’s Prelude, plenty of Dickens, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Hamlet, lots of American literature and heaps more. I love to read and I feel like starting term again has rekindled my love of the classics.

Although, I’ll have to let you know how I feel once I’m half way through the term and snowed under! 😉

Thursday’s are my days off which is great as it means I can spend most of my day curled up reading. I might bake as well, I have an urge to make cheese straws and/or cupcakes!

Then on Friday I have two seminars which should be fun, hopefully the seminar leaders will be as good as the lecturers and professors I’ve had so far. I haven’t got any plans for the weekend yet but I’m sure I’ll find something productive to do, any suggestions?

This is a little something I made for dinner the other day that I never shared with you:

 

Salmon filo parcels with an oriental salad. It was a little trickier than I thought (has anyone got any tips for making filo pastry any easier to deal with?) but it tasted absolutely delicious! I was quite pleased with myself haha, I need to cook a little more often, I don’t know why I don’t.

How is your autumn shaping up?
What have you been reading lately?
Have you cooked anything exciting this week?

This Week #5.

I wish I could start this post sounding much positive than my last weekly Instagram recap but I have to say, I’ve still been ill, as I said in my last post. I hate to be so negative but at the same time I want to be real on my blog, I think that sometimes the blogworld, particularly healthy living and lifestyle blogs, can present such a rosy picture of life and it’s just not realistic. (However, if your life is all dandy 100% of the time then lucky you, please don’t take offence!)

Having said all of this, I did have a couple of really lovely days so I have some nice things to tell you about, thank goodness! On Wednesday and Thursday morning I had my first sessions at my new uni. I was so nervous but in the end it was causeless, I found the rooms easily, the lecture was interesting and informative, and my personal tutor was absolutely lovely plus really helpful 🙂 On Thursday I also went into town for lunch with my mother which was really pleasant, we went to my favourite cafe and had a nice long natter. Then yesterday afternoon Tom got on the train and came to stay the night here with me which was just so wonderful. It was such a treat and I seriously felt like I needed to be with him, when I’m with Tom I can forget the fact that I spent the week exhausted and in pain and we always have heaps of fun together!

 

First taste of nutella in months! | Pasta salad | Pink face just back from the gym

Spaghetti bolognese – so comforting | Minimal makeup low maintenance face | Cinnamon raisin bagel

Baking success 🙂 | Coconut and raspberry slice | More comfort

Nervous for uni | Salmon and couscous salad with my mother | Hot chocolate

Porchester Square nails | Dippy egg and soldiers | Sunday morning latte

Frangipane and fig tart | Ham, cheese and spinach pancake | Cuddles with Poppy

Tomorrow is my very first day of lectures and seminars at my new university. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty nervous! I have a 9am two-hour seminar on American literature to start so that’s a little daunting, then I have an hour lecture on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. I hope it’s a) interesting and b) not too scary. Because of course I’ve only been enrolled at the university for a few weeks I haven’t had the reading list for long, nor have I got any information on what we’re supposed to have already done, if there was any preparation to do etc. Hopefully I won’t be behind the others/completely out of my depth…

It’s meant to rain here most of this week so I’m looking forward to turning up to my first ever seminar with my hair plastered to my forehead and my makeup smudged under my eyes!

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and have a great week 🙂

What have you been up to this week?
Have you got any new things happening?

Starting Anew.

I keep disappearing from the blogworld and I’m really sorry! As I said in my last ‘This Week’ post, I’ve really not been very well at the moment, I can’t lie, I’ve been struggling to keep my head above the water and carry on going. Most days I just want to stay in my pyjamas and bury myself into my bed with a hot water bottle. I can’t explain exactly what is wrong, or understand why I feel so awful, but most days I wake up aching, feeling like I haven’t slept at all, I have a constant headache and I feel incredibly shaky and weak. It is not a pleasant feeling!

But moving on from that… Yesterday and today were somewhat exciting and nerve-wracking for me – I had my introductory lecture at my new university and I met my personal tutor. All seems well, the place was packed and the atmosphere was buzzing with the general excitement of freshers. Of course, I’m not really a fresher (freshman to any US readers!) as I’m transferring into second year but I can appreciate how they feel, I was there this time last year, plus I feel their anxieties with being in a new place.

I start lectures of Monday and I have butterflies in my stomach. I’m looking forward to studying again but I am pretty nervous!

Here’s to starting anew 🙂

I’ll leave this brief post here as I’m going to curl up in my duvet and read for a bit before I give into the exhaustion. I just have to share photos of the absolutely delicious meal we had for dinner this evening:

 

 

Chicken, plums and noodles with a soy, chilli and almond sauce – so so good!

This Saturday Tom is coming to visit me so I’m just holding out for that, we  might go for coffee in the afternoon and then we have plans to have a lovely relaxing film night at home. He knows just how to help me recuperate 🙂

What are your weekend plans?
Favourite meal of the moment?

Anything new happening in your life?

Frosted Fingers – A Sweet Reflection.

(Warning: this is a wordy, no-photos post, if you don’t like to read then this isn’t for you! :-P)

Well I can safely say if feels good to be able to eat sugar again. No surprises there! It’s been a whole week so I can finally treat myself to my favourite ultra-indulgent treat: nutella. It definitely felt all the better for having some time off the sweet stuff, it felt like more of a special food to only be had occasionally (although I did eat rather a lot of it haha). So I thought I’d write a post about my sugar-free week with my thoughts on how it affected me and what I’ve decided to do now.

First of all I have to say that giving up sugar for a week was really not that difficult. Yeah I fancied cake when I met a friend in my favourite cafe in town, yes I wanted one of my sister’s After Eights and I definitely missed baking cakes but it wasn’t hard to decide not to. Okay so I only did it for a week, which isn’t long at all, but I went from having a couple of sugary treats a day to no sugar except fruit for seven days so it wasn’t ridiculously easy.

Having almost no cravings for sweet treats made me realise that I don’t need sugar, physically or emotionally! I guess I kind of knew that anyway, but in a way it was good to have it reaffirmed by my little self experiment. This wasn’t the only realisation I had whilst abstaining from sugar, here are a few more:

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a sweet treat a couple of times a week, in fact it makes me happy, therefore there is lots that is right about it 😉 However what is important about treating yourself is making sure it is just that, a treat. I think sometimes when we eat something a little less healthy, we grab it and eat it quickly, we don’t savour it enough. So I’m going to make sure that each time I eat something sugary and indulgent I eat it on a plate, sit down,take my time and enjoy it.
  • I use some food as a type of emotional crutch. This isn’t news for me in terms of sugar often being used as an emotional prop for people going through a difficult time, but it’s a revelation for me personally. My relationship with food has been incredibly complicated for the past six years, quite a while when you consider I’m still only nineteen. When I was younger I preferred savoury treats, I don’t know exactly when I started developing a huge sweet-tooth but I now love to indulge on sugary foods. I’m fussy about which sweet foods, I don’t particularly like actual sweets, or thick chocolate bars, what I love are cakes, chocolate, ice cream… And that’s great, except that I don’t just eat these lovely goodies when I really fancy them, I also eat them when I’m feeling low or when my energy levels plummet. Not so good!
  • Although I do eat the odd sugary food each week, perhaps every other day for things like a cupcake or a cookie, I eat pretty well. I think of my diet is mostly healthy, but sometimes I worry that the 90/10 balance I strive for in life isn’t enough – I worry that the sweet treats I eat are having a negative effect on my body. But the thing is, physically I didn’t feel any different last week in comparison to the week before. Clearly my body is happy eating some sugar, here and there.

So what am I changing?

Well, mostly my outlook. I want to view treats as special things to be savoured and really enjoyed, I want to carry on aiming for a balance of 90% clean and healthy foods, and 10% less healthy, more indulgent foods. I want to try to detach myself more from the emotional response I have conditioned myself to have towards food. Other than fuel and enjoyment, there shouldn’t be any other emotions involved, no anger, no guilt, no worry…!

I’m glad I did my sugar-free week, I learnt a few interesting things about myself and the relationship I have with my food. I definitely won’t be binging or restricting anytime soon 🙂

What do you think of my realisations?
Do you consider your relationship with food to be healthy?

Have you ever used food, or the absence of food, as an emotional crutch?

 

This Week #4.

Ah, this week. It’s been a bit of an odd one. I have done some nice things but running along the entire seven days I have had a general feeling exhaustion. The mornings are the hardest, I wake up in a lot of pain and it makes starting the day pretty difficult, I just never want to move. I’m hoping that if I get to bed earlier this week, I’ll be able to wake up earlier and then if I ignore the aches and jump straight out of bed I’ll be able to get past the pain. Anyway moving on…

Despite the rubbish mornings, I have still managed to do a few lovely things like meet friends, bake and even see Tom! Plus I worked past my hatred of photos and took a couple of snaps of my face for you, to make things a bit more personal. I really like reading blogs which include photos of the blogger as you feel like you know them a little better but I rarely have photos of me on here because I don’t like having my photo taken! I’m trying to change this 🙂

Autumnal colours in the garden | Poppy | Cheer up time with Michael McIntyre

Coffee with Ellie | Lamb and aubergine moussaka | New pencil case

Hello 🙂 | Aubergine and coconut curry (apparently I like aubergines) | Apple scented candle

Working out with Jillian! | Light lunch | More pesto pasta with rocket and oven roasted cherry tomatoes

Baking in my polka dot apron | In the oven | Cheese scone round

So delicious with melted butter | Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s chicken and plums in soy sauce | Going out face

Sweet peas | A hot water bottle kind of morning | Scrabble cushions!

Fresh lunch | Poorly – cereal in my Peter Rabbit bowl | Sunday brunch with Tom 🙂

Although it was a mixed week I can still take a few positives away so I’m happy. I am actually a bit nervous about this week though, on Wednesday morning I have an induction lecture at my new uni and then a session in the afternoon to meet my personal tutor. I’m looking forward to starting the year but I’m a little anxious about things like finding my way round the place (I absolutely hate the idea of having to walk in late to a lecture!) and the fact that everyone else will have been there for a year so will know how everything works already… I’m also not an extrovert at all so the idea of having to put myself out there all over again is a bit scary! Still, it is all quite exciting at the same time and I’m sure it’s going to bring heaps of new opportunities.

What have you been doing this weekend?
Have you got anything new happening this week?

If you have Instagram too then you call follow me @loveliveandlearn to see my photos as I post them!

Currently…

Reading… 

 Still Moby Dick! It’s taking me absolutely forever to read, partially because it’s pretty long and really descriptive, partially because I’ve really not been very well since last Sunday evening which makes it really hard to read. I’m almost there though, about another 150 pages to read so hopefully it’ll be done by the end of the weekend! I am really enjoying it though, I’d definitely recommend it (as long as you’re not a really slow reader haha). My next book planned is Great Expectations and I’m also finishing off The Waves by Victoria Woolf.

Listening to… 

Ben Howard’s album Every Kingdom which is so lovely and relaxing. It’s quiet enough to not make my constant headache worse and it’s helping me to feel a little more laid back about everything.

Watching…

I don’t watch a huge about of TV but at the moment there are three programmes that I watch weekly and absolutely love. The first is the series 2 Broke Girls which is hilarious and always gives me the giggles on Thursday evenings, the second is the new series of Location, Location, Location which I love – Kirstie Allsopp is fantastic, and finally the third is my favourite of all: The Great British Bake Off! Every week it gives me the urge to get in the kitchen and bake, it’s my perfect show to snuggle up in bed and watch when I’m feeling a bit under the weather 🙂

Eating…

Nothing sweet… If you haven’t seen the post about it then you might not know that I decided to say no to sugar for the week (apart from fruit) to give my body a chance to recover from a couple of rather over-indulgent sugary weeks. I was fine for the first five days but today what with not feeling great I’ve really wanted a slice of toast with honey or a bowl of ice cream! There is currently a new pot of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream waiting in the freezer for me and I can’t wait to buy myself a pot of Nutella on Monday 😉 It’s the only thing that has kept me going today!

Loving…

The way that Poppy sits at the table with me every morning for breakfast and then comes and curls up on my bed next to me for most of the day. She’s such a little cutie. I’ve also been loving the fact that the colder weather we’ve been having means I can start wearing lovely woolly knitted jumpers! They’re possibly one of my favourite things to wear and they are so comfy for poorly days.

What are your currently-s?