Friends

Friendship.

I read a quotation once which resonated deeply within me, it felt like it had been written just then, especially for me to learn from.

‘Do not chase people. Be you, do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you and stay.’

It’s such a powerful message, particularly for someone like me who has always cared more about what others think than I should. The statement isn’t suggesting that you shouldn’t make an effort with people, of course you should. But you shouldn’t put yourself out there so much that you lose some of yourself. Sometimes we must open ourselves to rejection, we have to be brave and take a chance, because often what people regret the most in the end is the chances they didn’t take, rather than mistakes they made. However you shouldn’t open yourself up for someone else to hack away at your soul. The people who choose to hurt you simply don’t deserve you.

True friendship is a gift. There are those who will only ever be fair weather friends and then there are those that will always be there for you. They are the special ones.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that you should ‘never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.’ I think this is important for any relationship. Relationships are hard work, work for them. But never let them work away at you. You are the most important character in your own life story.

When my health was at its worst in my first year of university there were certain people who always had time to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. When I feel like I’m being sucked into a never-ending whirlpool of work stress there are always people here to pull me back out. When my self-esteem takes a beating I know I have people to turn to. When I am just feeling a bit low, there is always someone. I know I am lucky.

So if you are the eternal people-pleaser, afraid to say anything or fight back, always trying to have everyone like you, just remember that, as Dr Seuss so aptly put it: ‘be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.’

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I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, I’m off to cry my eyes out watching Romeo and Juliet in the cinema!

Sophie x

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In Which Sophie Eats: Jamie’s Italian.

So for my birthday, I wanted to celebrate with my friends from home when everyone was back for the holidays and what better way to celebrate moving away from teenager years than some delicious (and rather sophisticated) cocktails? And of course, me being me, there had to be some food involved!

The logical choice for a good mix of tasty cocktails and scrumptious food in a good atmosphere was Jamie’s Italian. I’ve been a big Jamie Oliver fan for a long time, his cookbooks are great and I love his personality on TV, it made sense that I would then love his restaurants. Plus those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know how much I adore pasta…

Jamie’s Italian has spread of restaurants of across Great Britain as well as some in Australia, Ireland, Singapore and Dubai so if you live in any of these countries and you haven’t been before I would definitely recommend trying it. There is a good choice of dishes from the pasta and risotto to fish dishes and very meaty dishes, it’s Italian food but with a typical Jamie Oliver twist.

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Florence Fizz – Limoncello, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial & Prosecco

My cocktail was a lovely fruity, lemony, fizzy blend and went down a treat. We’d also definitely recommend the Bramble and the Pear & Rosemary Martini, which some of the others had and looked delish.

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It was awkward lighting for photos of people so I haven’t many but here are some of my gorgeous friends and one of me and Tom, you can see a little of the decor which I really like, and whilst the lighting wasn’t conducive to clearly focused photos, it made for a really relaxed atmosphere.

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Prawn Linguine – Fried garlicky prawns, shaved fennel, tomatoes, chilli & rocket

After our cocktails we moved onto food, and obviously I chose a pasta dish. One of the things I really like about Jamie’s Italian is that you can have a small or a regular portion of most of the pasta dishes and if you’re like me and you a) don’t have a massive appetite, and b) like to save room for dessert, it’s a great idea! So I decided to have the prawn linguine. The tomatoes which make up the sauce of the dish were lovely and fresh, there was just the right balance of chilli and garlic and I was really impressed by the generous number of prawns on the plate. Overall it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Having mentioned the small portions allowing room for dessert, it follows that I had something sweet to finish off my meal!

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Poached Winter Fruits – With vanilla frozen yoghurt & smashed honeycomb

This had a really good flavour but I was a little disappointed with it. I guess I just expected the poached fruit to be hot and therefore be a nice contrast to the frozen yogurt, however the fruit was cold (and consequently a little hard). I was still nice though, if the fruit had been hot and there had been more honeycomb sprinkled on top it would have been a great dish.

I had a fantastic evening with my friends, the cocktails started the evening brilliantly, the food was great and the service was also really good, and I still go on being a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s!

Sophie x

Life Lately #3.

Happy Sunday and Happy St Patrick’s Day to any Irish folk out there!

I thought I’d come back with another Instagram round-up post to show you what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks. I adore my camera and I love how wonderful the photos turn out when I use it but Instagram is just fantastic for snapping quick photos throughout my week and I really like being able to share them with people straight away.

In the past few weeks I’ve been to visit Tom a couple of times, I’ve been out with my uni friends, sorted out my house for next year (so exciting!), written another essay – this time on the endings of Great Expectations and Ruth, been to the hospital, been shopping (oops), eaten a lot of delicious food, been to the theatre, baked a cake… I am developing an addiction to hot chocolates and I already have a lipstick and nail varnish addiction. It feels good to have my essay done, hopefully I’ll do well in it! Visiting Tom is always lovely, it’s the perfect time for me to relax with him and forget about all the stresses of daily life.

So here is my life in photos for the last few weeks (it’s pretty food heavy!):

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These just smell of spring | Chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding | Pancake day!

 

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Taramasalata love | Hot chocolate and almond croissant (the best kind) | Lasagna lunch

 

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Brunch in London | Film night pizza in front of The Hobbit | Snowdrops heralding the spring

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Daffodils | A spot of afternoon baking | Dressed for a neon themed birthday night out!

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Afternoon tea with Grandpa | Romeo and Juliet at the theatre | Breakfast

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Favourite speedy pasta | Pink | Orzo in a wok

 

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Feeding my addiction 😉 | Eggs for Sunday brunch | Essay writing with Poppy

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Delicious avocado on toast | Cheeky rhubarb and vanilla ice cream | Mini Revlon haul

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More… | The loveliest cafe – Notes in Covent Garden | Spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and red onions

I only have one more week of lectures before a three-week break for Easter and I have to say I absolutely can’t wait, lately I’ve been so tired that the holidays sound like a God-send! This Tuesday it’s my sister’s 17th birthday and I am baking her a triple layer chocolate cake with caramel buttercream (if all goes to plan anyway!). We’re going out for dinner too which should be fun. Then on Sunday Tom is coming back for a week’s holiday, the following Tuesday (the 26th) is my birthday 🙂 I have plans with friends for cocktails and dinner which I’m so looking forward too, I haven’t seen some of them in months. Then on the 28th Tom and I are celebrating our five year anniversary which feels amazing and somewhat astounding too!

What have you been doing in the past few weeks?
Do you have any time off at Easter? Any holiday plans?

Sophie x

 

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday No.41

Hey lovely readers!

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday in the second week of August, this summer is just flying by. I find that the older I get, the quicker time seems to pass. It’s a little scary sometimes but in many ways I’m excited about the near future so I don’t mind too much. September brings many changes and I want to embrace them all!

As we are in the middle of the week it is, of course, time for another round of WIAW thanks to the lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons. This is going to be a fairly short post as I really need to go to bed!

This morning I had my typical breakfast as nothing satisfies me and energizes me more:

Enjoyed a rather lovely bowl of weetabix soaked in milk then topped with fresh blueberries.

Because I’m working this week I have to prep my lunches the night before so that I can just pop them in my bag in the morning and be on my way. I’ve been putting together various versions of a summery salad, using couscous, bulgur wheat or pasta as a base and then adding chopped vegetables, chicken pieces and a lemony dressing.

Today was whole wheat pasta with rocket, tomato and cucumber. Filling and fresh tasting so perfect for a midday boost to help me through the afternoon. The children are full of seemingly endless energy and somehow this seems to sap my energy away. It’s hard work keeping up a bouncy and smiley countenance but I enjoy my job and working with children makes me happy!

After work today I met one of my lovely friends from my old Sixth Form, the gorgeous Ellie. Although we used to get on really well back at college I feel like we’ve bonded even more since leaving for uni and I always have so much fun when we meet up. We both have a slightly guilty love of shopping (or window shopping seeing as neither of us has much money!) and we both adore going for coffee and cake.

When I got home after several hours of chatting away and wandering around town my mum had already cooked a gnocchi dish for dinner, one of my favourites.

It’s a dish containing several of my ingredients: courgette, chorizo and Parmesan 🙂 It’s quite indulgent feeling and so delicious.

Anyway I’m off to bed now, two more full days of work before I can rest properly. I hope you are all having a great week!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Do you enjoy working with children?

Picnic.

Hey everyone 🙂

Still enjoying the weather? I know I am. It feels like a complete novelty after two months of solid rain so I am absolutely making the most of it!

As I mentioned in my last post I am working this week and so far it’s been great fun. The children are all lovely this week and with the weather this gorgeous we get to spend a great deal of time outside. It’s quite a satisfying job as I love helping the children to create things and develop their artistic ability, teaching in any capacity is such fulfilling work.

With the sunshine and the high temperatures we’ve been eating outside a lot recently. Yesterday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner outside in the garden which was so relaxing – this truly feels like a summer holiday now!

Then this evening two of my lovely friends from my old sixth form came over for a nice long catch up. We put together a delicious picnic and went for a picnic in the nearby park. It was fantastic to be able to meet up and chat for a few hours and we had some lovely food!

I made one of my favourite pasta salads and we ate it with crisps, sausage rolls, grapes, and cupcakes – the perfect picnic.

Baiba and Ellie both looking lovely 🙂 It’s so nice to be able to just pick up where we left off and chat as if no time has passed, those are definitely the best kind of friendships!

I have another physio appointment tomorrow morning before work so I will let you all know how it goes. Having now been off uni for almost two months I’m already feeling a lot better, all the walking I’ve been doing has definitely strengthened me and helped with the pain, plus the resting has really lessened my fatigue. Fingers crossed things are looking up!

Are you a fan of picnics? Favourite picnic food?
Do you have any plans for the rest of the week?

How do you like to spend hot summer evenings?

What I Ate Wednesday No.38 + a Fitness Update.

Okay so I said you would be getting lots of posts from me and then I disappeared for two days so apologies. In my defense I’ve been having a really lovely couple of days, I was too busy enjoying life to blog!

I can’t stay away from here for too long though. In the year that I’ve been blogging now I’ve come to absolutely love the blogworld, it’s such a great part of my life – so fulfilling and enjoyable. I love writing my posts, reading other people’s blogs and getting to connect with others all over the world 🙂

I owe some of this connection to the fantastic WIAW!

Go check out the lovely Jenn’s blog to find out what this is all about and to discover heaps of other foodie bloggers…

Breakfast this morning was my typical sort of start to the day:

Weetabix soaked in milk and topped with blueberries and cinnamon. As is fitting with this month’s WIAW theme of food and fitness I enjoyed breakfast with a side of this month’s Women’s Fitness. I’m not that much of a magazine person, I tend to prefer home decoration magazines to fashion but I do rather like receiving my monthly dose of glossy fitness info. It’s a little treat as I never really expect it.

Today was centred around a great trip into town to meet my friends from my old sixth form for lunch and then to see Ice Age 4 (don’t mock our film choice, it was a nice bit of light-hearted fun!). I love meeting up with my lovely girls (plus a couple of boyfriends) and I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any photos of my food! It was such a fab lunch, we chatted away for about two hours and I had a brilliant dessert – a cinnamon waffle with vanilla ice cream. I wish I could show you a photo but I was clearly a useless blogger today…

This month’s WIAW is all about the fitness as well as the food so I thought I’d update you a little on my exercise at the moment.

You may have noticed an absence of ‘Weekly Workout’ posts over the past couple of weeks and this is because at the moment the physical aspect of my life has had to change a little. Last week I had an appointment with my physiotherapist and we discussed how I have been over the past few months, looking especially at my energy, activity and pain levels. Now first of all let me tell you something, it is really really difficult to give your energy levels as a percentage or to express your level of pain as a number out of 10! We established that at the moment the thing I am struggling with the most is my energy levels on a day-to-day basis so this is what we want to target.

However, this is easier said than done. I won’t bore you with all of the details (if  you’re particularly interested drop me a message and I can explain in full!) but basically we’ve brought things right back to the basics and I am on a fairly strict regime of 15 minutes of medium cardio, 5 times a week. Those of you who know me reasonably well will know that although I often struggle to workout lots, I actually really enjoy exercising! So you can imagine it’s pretty frustrating to only be able to do a tiny 15 minute workout, especially on days when I’m raring to go. But this being said, I am willing to give almost anything a go if it will help me to have an easier life!

Anyway that is what I am currently doing and I am also keeping an hourly activity log (time-consuming and pretty dull) which should hopefully help me to be able to gradually build up my activity levels and therefore my energy levels!

Now, back to the food 😛

This evening’s meal was almost as enjoyable as the lunch with my friends.

This beautiful bowl is full of potato gnocchi, slices of delicious chorizo and shredded courgette. It is such a fantastic dish – I love the mixture of flavours and it just tastes like summer.

I’ve ended up posting this really late so I am going to say goodnight and tuck myself in to get a good night’s sleep!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten today?
Have you seen any films recently?
Do you have an exercise routine? If yes, what’s it like at the moment?

What I Ate Wednesday No.35

I can’t believe that I’m on my 35th WIAW, in fact, I can’t believe that it has almost been a year since I first started blogging.

Time certainly flies.

So as usual, you must know the drill by now, it is once again time to link up for What I Ate Wedneday thanks to the gorgeous Jenn of Peas and Crayons!

This month’s WIAW has a theme: sensible snacking. This is something I struggled with during the years of fighting negativity towards food, I either didn’t want to touch food in between meals and savoured the feeling of physical hunger in my stomach, or I caved in and ate more than I was comfortable which lead to guilt.

Needless to sat, it was not a pleasant cycle to be stuck in.

However, with the progress I have been making in leaps and bounds in recent months, snacking has become much simpler. I love to eat, we all know that, and now if I feel hungry between meals then I do just that.

When I woke up this morning the sunshine was streaming in through the open window (I have overhead windows that I leave slightly open at night to stay cool) which just made me smile. It’s amazing how much nice weather can lift your spirits. The sky was blue with a dusting of soft clouds gently drifting by.

As it was still reasonably early I stayed in bed and read for half an hour, I’m currently reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and I absolutely love it, it’s beautifully written and captivates the imagination. She is fast becoming my favourite writer…

Breakfast this morning was delicious:

Weetabix soaked in milk, and then topped with frozen raspberries and fresh blueberries, plus a sprinkling of ground flaxseed and almonds.

I spent the next half hour organising my things, sending and replying to emails and sorting out my plans for next week. After posting my weekly workout schedule on Monday I actually ended up switching a few things round, yesterday I actually cycled over 4 miles and walked around a lot so I was too sore to do the 30 Day Shred. No problem there, I decided to do it this morning!

Jillian certainly worked me hard this morning! After about a month without doing this dvd I definitely felt that familiar ache, it feels so good to be fighting to be active again though. I really want to keep up this exercise momentum…

Post-workout I filled my hungry stomach with this bowl of tastiness:

Sometimes it is the simple food that satisfies us the most, this was just a bowl of natural yogurt and sliced banana but somehow it tasted brilliant. I think I was just hungry after working out and showering…

After eating, my mum and I decided the weather was just right to go elderflower picking. Every summer for the last few years my mum has made a delicious cordial with fresh elderflowers picked from the borders of meadows near our house.

The smell of elderflower is filling our kitchen right now and is just heavenly, can’t wait to try the beautifully bottled cordial, it’s perfect for the summer months.

I met up with one of my favourite people for lunch today, one of the closest friends I made in Sixth Form, the lovely Baiba. She appreciates good food and always has heaps to talk about so she makes rather excellent lunch company!

We shared two plates of food as that means you get to try two dishes:

On the left is a potato and onion pie with salad and balsamic dressing, on the right is avocado salsa and artisanal breads. Pretty delish!

Which we both washed down with a really tasty drink of pear and elderflower. As you can see I’m on a bit of an elderflower kick at the moment.

After lunch we did a spot of window shopping – the end of the spring term invariably means that us students are all currently a bit low on cash…

Not too low for coffee though 😉

I had an iced caramel latte, it’s half gone here as I almost forget to take a photo before remembering I was sharing my snacks!

This evening, whilst dinner was cooking, I dipped into a bag of pistachio nuts which for some reason remind me of being on holiday in France. I find breaking open the shells strangely satisfying.

Dinner itself was lemon chicken with pesto coated new potatoes and green salad.

Doesn’t it look amazing? I’ve really been loving the gorgeous, fresh, summer-y meals we’ve been having as of late, my body is feeling the benefits too. My skin is looking great and I have more energy than usual, it’s brilliant.

In other news my wonderful boyfriend, Tom, got his finals results today and did really really well! I’m so proud and happy for him, I just had to mention it 🙂

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Have you ever made your own cordial?

What’s making you feel positive at the moment?