Love

Happy Day.

On the 19th March seventeen years ago, one of the best, most special people in my life, was born. My little sister Alice.

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Alice, you’re one of the funniest people I know, you always make everyone laugh, you’re also one of the most passionate people I know, and you are one of my best friends.

I have loved watching you grow up and each year I’m amazed at how much you’ve grown as a person. (And physically too, I can’t believe that you are now taller than me!) One of the absolute best things about transferring home this year has been being able to spend another year living with you. I just hope we’re as close for the rest of our lives 🙂

I love you so so much lovely girl, I hope you’ve had a fantastic birthday and I hope you have another great year!

Sophie x

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A New Year.

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The 1st of January. 2013.

It feels crazy to be writing that down. The last year has truly been a year like no other and I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it all happened in one year.

I have always liked the start of the year. I like the sense of a fresh start, of moving forwards, of new experiences ahead. I enjoy the new sense of motivation and inspiration it brings and the way it allows us to begin new projects and create new goals. It is a time to look back at all that has passed, but equally to look forward to all that may happen. For me this year will mark my 20th birthday, my 5 year anniversary with Tom, the movement from the second year of my degree to the last year…

What always astounds me is how much can change in the space of just a single year. In 2012 I went from being at university away from home like most undergraduate students,  to making the decision to transfer to a university closer to home and then moving back in with my family. It wasn’t an easy decision but I believe now that it was the right one to make. 2012 is the year in which Tom graduated from university after 4 years and moved to London to start work in the real world. It is also the year in which I started to move away from my eating hang ups and body issues. The year in which I gained confidence in my ability to be independent. The year which made me realise how important the people I love are in my life.

Reading back my resolutions from last year I actually think that while perhaps I did not fulfill all 12 of them to the last degree, the overall impression is of success. I have become healthier both physically and mentally, I worked hard and got a good mark at the end of my first year, I looked after myself better, spent more time doing the things I enjoy, spent more time on the people I love, read lots, wrote, reflected, developed… become happier

This year, I don’t want to make new year’s resolutions in the way I have in the past.

I’m not that person anymore. I like lists, but my lists are not of endless tasks the way they used to be; my lists are of wishes, of future dreams, of ideas.

This year, I am not resolving anything. To resolve means to find a solution, effectively to fix something. But I cannot fix what is not broken and as the new year begins, I honestly don’t feel as though there is anything to fix in my life. I am incredibly blessed in life, and so because I am so thankful for all that is good in my life, this year, my aim and my wish is to do more.

I want to do more of what I love, try harder in everything I do, throw myself into new opportunities, push myself to be a better person.

Doing more of everything means being healthier, means being more active and more proactive. I am so lucky to have a caring and supportive family so I want to do more with them. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to get a degree so I want to work more and try even harder to achieve the best I can. I have lovely friends, people I adore spending time with so I want to do that more often. I am lucky to have my health, I may be exhausted 80% of the time and constantly sore but it could be so much worse, so I want to make the most of doing the most that I am able to do. And I am more than lucky to have a wonderful boyfriend with whom I am so happy, so I want to fill my life with memories of the things with experience together.

This year may be the year my health improves, and it may not. But it will be the year in which I continue to grow as a person, and it will also be the year in which I continue to find happiness.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2012, and I wish you all the best in everything that you wish to do this new year!

Sophie x

A Cheery Catch-Up!

Hello lovely lovely people,

First of all, I hope you all had an absolutely fantastic Christmas! Hopefully you’ve all had a wonderful holiday, enjoyed time with your loved ones and had the chance to relax and have fun. I have definitely adored the past couple of weeks full of their celebrations, it was a truly lovely time with my family and we all had a great time.

Now that all the festive happenings are over, I thought it would be nice to make a little photo recap post for you all to share my family’s Christmas celebrations and traditions with you. The time between the morning of the 24th of December to the evening of the 25th of December all make up the Christmas festivities for us. We start getting everything ready, we have a delicious meal together on Christmas Eve, we jump onto my parents’ bed together on Christmas morning for our stockings…

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Despite being home again this year, Christmas still manages to make me feel incredibly lucky to have such a loving, supportive family surrounding me. It makes me look around at everything that I have been blessed with in my life and be so thankful for all the wonderful things I have. I can’t imagine how difficult this time of year can be for those who are not so lucky and I know that I need to treasure all of the amazing people and the many positive aspects of my life.

I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous new year and I wish everyone a brilliant year in 2013!

Sophie x

A New Kind of Long Distance – Advice on Making Things Work.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for several months or even from the very beginning will know that firstly: this person is incredibly important to me, and that secondly: we have been living with a long distance relationship for over four years now.

Four years.

We had only been together for six months before we ended up being over 200 miles apart for about two-thirds of the year.

It sounds a little worse than it was, although for eight to twelve week periods three times a year we’d only get to see each other once or maybe twice, we did have long holidays at Christmas and Easter and then several months in the summer in which we only lived a few miles apart and could see each other for lovely long periods of time!

Although the terms could sometimes seem to stretch out for an incredibly long time, we always had the holidays to look forward to. After weeks of not seeing each other, the time we had seemed extra special and we could forget being apart for several weeks.

The thing is, things have changed this autumn. Tom has moved to the capital and has started a full-time job (scary!). This means that now there are no lengthy student holidays in which we can see each other several times a week for a month at a time. But it does also mean that we are geographically closer and thus only a reasonably short train ride apart. Weekends have become incredibly precious, roughly every other weekend one of us hops on the train to visit the other and stay the night. These nights are already my favourite time, waking up besides Tom just feels like such a wonderful treat, it’s the only time I wake up with a smile!

Long distance definitely is not easy but there are definitely things you can do to make life a little bit easier for both people and make the relationship stay special…

1. Communication. Seriously. Everyone who’s ever been in a long distance relationship will tell you this but it is just so true. You need to talk, you need to tell the other person how you’re feeling, you need them to know when things are a little tough. Skype will become your new best friend – you can talk to each other for free and you can actually see each other which really really helps when you’re missing each other! Send little texts in the middle of the day; write long emails; maybe even send the occasional letter, imagine how happy your partner will be to open it up and read it.

2. Have some kind of clear relationship parameters  Because you are not together as often as couples in more conventional relationships it is especially important that you both know where the other stands on important relationship issues. Be open about what you want from the relationship and what you see for it in the future. This might sound a little stilted but being clear about what you want is really helpful and avoids any problems of this sort.

3. Make your time together special. When you only have a little time together make sure you don’t waste it. Do something fun together, go on dates, spend time doing each other’s favourite things, discover new places together, maybe even take the occasional mini break. Create wonderful memories to cherish and relive in the time you are apart.

4. Trust each other. I cannot stress how important this is. Depending on how long you have to be apart, sometimes emotions like jealousy or lack of confidence can begin to surface and this can be toxic to your relationship. You need to trust your partner, of course they will have a social life with the people around them whom you have never met, this is normal and healthy, that doesn’t mean they’re forgetting about you. Equally by being open about what you are both doing means that there can be no damaging suspicion and you can both feel safe in your relationship.

5. Stay positive! Although it may seem really horrible to be apart, there are some positives, for example the time you do have together will feel extra special, you also have more space to do your own things and develop as your own person. It’s incredibly important to make sure you do not dwell on any negatives, if you have an argument deal with it and then let it go – holding on to it will only breed unhappiness and further arguments. Enjoy your relationship and on the plus side, you will definitely appreciate your relationship that extra little bit 🙂

I hope my advice is helpful to anyone out there about to start, or already dealing with, a long distance relationship. Sometimes they do fail and people decide to separate but I can promise you that they can also be hugely rewarding and worth everyday of feeling lonely!

Are you in/have you ever been in a long distance relationship?
Do you have any advice of your own?

This Week #3.

Firstly I have to say that I’m sorry I haven’t been posting very much this week, it’s not from being super busy but more that I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted most of the time and just haven’t had much to write about for you! I tried writing one post but it all sounded like such a pointless ramble that I ended up hitting the delete button. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers for whom blogging is about numbers (views, readers, comments…) and therefore just post rubbish everyday for the sake of posting. I only want to write you quality posts worth reading!

If you follow me on Twitter (@I_LoveLiveLearn) or on Instagram (@loveliveandlearn) then you may have seen that I took a day trip to London yesterday to visit my wonderful boyfriend, Tom. We had a really lovely day wandering around in the sunshine and eating delicious food 🙂 The rest of the week also involved some baking, the hospital, the gym and coffee.

Beautiful sunny morning | New Chelsea boots ❤ | Fresh pasta for lunch

Sleepy Poppy | Delicious chorizo and gnocci | The perks of having a sister who works in a cafe!

More perks | Pink accent nails | Love how my hair is at the moment 🙂

Caramel latte addiction | Almond croissant | Pesto pasta comfort food

Printed photos | Starting my scrapbook | Tom’s graduation page

Baking time | Blueberry muffins | Love getting to the gym again!

Off to the hospital again 😦 | Cheer-up chicken salad pitta takeaway | Starbucks treat

Picnic in Hyde Park with Tom! | First ever frozen yogurt = love | Noodles and prawns for dinner

Sunday street party | Lovely food plate | Dessert time!

As usual my week seems to have been focused around food which doesn’t surprise me. Lately things have been rather indulgent and as I start uni again pretty soon (two weeks!) I want to use the time before to eat a little more simply and cleanly. I will still be baking once a week though don’t worry 😉 With things changing so much around the place – my sister starting at Sixth Form, my mum starting a new teaching job and me changing uni – I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. The house is a bit crazy and busy with people going in and out but it’s nice to have a new term starting. I have lots to do before I start, including heaps of reading, buying new stationary which I love, as well as organising my desk and folders in preparation… Here’s to hoping I don’t relapse as term begins!

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

London Town.

Hey hey lovelies!

For those of you in the UK isn’t it nice to finally have some sunshine?

The last couple of days have been just lovely, I’ve spent the entire time with Tom and I couldn’t be happier 🙂 Who knew I could love spending so much time with just one person!

On Friday I was up bright and early to get ready for a day trip to London. It was absolutely pouring with rain so by the time I’d cycled to the train station I no longer looked fresh and well groomed, I resembled a drowned rat puppy. It hardly mattered though, clothes dry, as does hair!

I love train journeys when I’m headed to something I’m looking forward to. Watching the countryside zip past is always fun and it’s the perfect time to read my current book (Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea).

Arriving at Kings Cross it wasn’t actually raining (hooray) so I snapped a quick picture of a building that has always intrigued me, does anyone know why it is decorated like that?

The main plan for the day was to visit the Science Museum in South Kensington. I’ve never been before so it was a new experience for me. It’s a great museum, there is heaps to see and to do with lots of interactive displays to discover. I particularly enjoyed the exhibition on space discoveries and travel, it was really well set up and I actually learnt a fair bit. The room titled ‘Who Am I?’ is fantastic too, it is full of various machines on which you can do quizzes and play games such as taking a test to see whether you have a male or female brain (mine leans ever so slightly female, no surprises there!).

One of the (non-scientific) highlights of the visit was a trip to the Shake bar…

I went for a scoop of blueberry ice cream and it was just divine. It tasted so creamy and decadent, I’ve never had an ice cream like it, so delicious!

Definitely go check it out if you’re ever in London and you enjoy that sort of thing, I think it’s a brilliant place to take children too as there is a lot to keep them entertained and it’s very educational.

After spending a couple of hours wandering around the museum we hopped on the tube to Leicester Square for lunch at Leon’s.

My lunch consisted of their chilli chicken salad and it was fantastic. I love Leon as it serves purely fresh, healthy food made that day in the restaurant. It’s definitely my kind of fast food!

For the remainder of the day we just wandered around various parts of London before going for coffee and then getting on the train home.

The day didn’t finish there though, we were then off to watch The Dark Knight Rises. I know action films often get slated for poor plots and things like that, and I can imagine some critics probably had negative things to say about this but I had a brilliant time. The cinema was absolutely packed and they had two showings on at the same time, the crowds gave the place such a great atmosphere. It’s a fast paced film and I just love some of the characters (Michael Cain will always be a favourite with me, ditto Morgan Freeman) so it’s a fab bit of entertainment.

All in all a really lovely day 🙂

Yesterday after a lazy morning we decided that, as we were finally having some fairly nice weather, it was a good day to go for a walk. We drove to a National Trust estate called Wimple Hall which has a lovely park (as well as an adorable farm which we didn’t visit). It was sunny and it felt so so nice to be out in the warmth, actually being able to enjoy the summer for once.

It’s been such a relaxing and enjoyable weekend!

Tomorrow I start work, if you’ve been reading my little blog for a year now then you may remember that I worked a children’s holiday scheme which focuses on arts and crafts. I’m going back there for the week and then a further three weeks in August and I’m quite looking forward to it. I like to feel like I’m doing something productive and it will give me a schedule (you know how I like things to be scheduled and planned!) .

Anyway I’m off to enjoy an evening of relaxing and an early night 😉

Have you been on any day trips recently?
Do you enjoy visiting museums and galleries?
How have you been enjoying the summer weather?

Celebrations!

Hello there!!

I am so so sorry for my disappearing act over the last week, I never meant to be quite so absent from the blogworld.

Firstly my laptop broke and had to be sent off to be fixed, then I was up in Durham for three days for Tom’s graduation and on top of all of that the house has been completely chaotic since I got back from uni as we are currently swapping round three of the rooms (my bedroom, Alice’s room and the study) so there are boxes everywhere!

I practically never disappear from my blog and twitter for so long and it actually feels a little odd… I think I am slightly addicted to using the internet. Oh well.

Because I haven’t had complete access to a computer I’ve also been mainly absent from your blogs for which I apologise profusely! I have so much to catch up on so if you have any really important blog posts make sure you point me in their direction!

Basically today I just want to share a few updates with you, namely the fantastic event which took place on Wednesday:

Doesn’t Tom look handsome in his robes?

I now have a graduate boyfriend with a fantastic Masters in Civil Engineering and I couldn’t be any prouder!

It was a really lovely day, the ceremony was wonderful – it took place in the cathedral and it was brilliant to watch Tom walk up the aisle and shake hands with the Chancellor. I can’t wait to see the official photographs from the day 🙂

I’m a lucky girl to have such an amazing person as my boyfriend 🙂

We enjoyed a really lovely meal in the evening with Tom’s family and a couple of his friends and their families. I decided not to take photos of the food as I just wanted to relax and enjoy the night with Tom and his family but I promise it was all delicious!

So there we are, that is what I have been doing all week. I will now be back to blogging daily as always! And the next post probably won’t be as soppy either 😉

Have you ever been to a graduation ceremony? (Maybe your own!)
What have you been upto this week?