Life Lately.

Wow. Things have been so busy for me for the past couple of weeks. I have an insanely long pile of reading to do, I have a presentation to write and give next week (ahh!) and I have an essay to write for next month. Oh dear…

Luckily I have lots of great stuff going on too so I’m just about managing to keep my head above the water. Tom is coming to visit this weekend and we haven’t seen each other in three weeks so it’ll be lovely to be reunited and be able to spend some time together. I went to see Les Mis (again) last night with a friend and we both cried (again), it’s such a moving film, each song is so rousing that you can’t help but get emotionally involved with the story. If you haven’t seen it yet I definitely recommend it, even if musicals aren’t really your thing, my mother isn’t keen on musicals and she loved it. My most exciting piece of news is that I am going to be moving out in September! For those of you that don’t know, I transferred to a uni closer to home this year so that I could live at home to make life easier for me because of my condition. However I’m going to get the best of both worlds in my final year, I’ll be in my hometown which I find easier to get around, I’ll be close to home, but I’ll get to live with friends and experience the typical student life. I’m really excited to make the move and get on with my life with my uni friends 🙂

I thought I’d do a photo recap of life lately, with everything going on I’ve not had much time to stop and blog or take proper photos so here is an Instagram summary of the past week or so!


My current addiction: hot chocolate | Roast chicken Sunday dinner | Starting the morning well


Pasta, my saviour | Floral beauty | More chocolatey goodness of the drinkable sort


Last week’s baking fun | Homemade pizza | Fresh lunch


Sunday lunch – chicken and mushroom pie | Heavy reading | A fruity start to the day


Smile | Sunlit tulips | Healthy dips for lunch


Cooking dinner for the family | Quinoa, courgettes, red peppers and onions | Sleepyheads

What have you been doing lately?
How is 2013 shaping up for you now that we’re in February?

Sophie x


Homemade is Best.

Being an English literature student means that I do not have a very heavy timetable in terms of contact hours. I am actually in uni for classes for around a dozen hours a week so the rest of the time I decide how I space out my work. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of work to do on top of my reasonably light timetable – reading, note taking, essays… My timetable has its pros and cons: I have an awful day on Friday starting at 9am and finishing at 6pm, but I do get Wednesdays off!

So today I thought it would be fun to make the most of having the day and create something. And create I did. I’m not really a crafts kind of person, not unless they are for Christmas. I am, however, a baking kind of person, and my father being away and my mother quite busy I decided to make dinner. What kind of dinner can you bake?


I haven’t made pizza since I was a child and I made it with my mother and sister in the holidays as a fun activity. I used a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and it was so simple and easy to follow. This isn’t the exact same recipe but the section for the dough is the same so follow this and then just choose your own toppings. To make the sauce I just fried two finely chopped cloves of garlic in a glug of olive oil and then added a tin of chopped tomatoes. Then I spread the tomato sauce on the bases, then I sliced some mozzarella and arranged it over the top of it. Personally I love to add fresh rocket on top once the pizza is out of the oven, in the summer fresh basil is equally good.







Have you ever made your own pizza?
What are your favourite pizza toppings?

Sophie x

It’s the Most Wonderful Time!

Hey hey everyone 🙂

Okay so it has been ages since I last blogged and I am sorry for the disappearing act (again!). Basically I still have about 7000 words to write in two and a half weeks so you can imagine things are crazy busy. However I just had to post because it is now December and therefore I am allowed to get properly excited about Christmas!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now then you will know just how much I adore the Christmas period. I’ve waxed lyrical about it many many times, I just can’t get enough of it all. And it’s 23 days till Christmas… The house is starting to feel a lot more festive, as I type this all I can smell is the delicious scent of the first batch of mince pies which have just come out of the oven and are cooling in the kitchen, and I’m listening to my new Christmas playlist!

Making the mince pies is something my mother and I do together. Her recipe is amazing, I have never eaten nicer mince pies. The pastry is perfectly crumbly and buttery, the stars just so festive and the smell of the warm mince meat is wonderful. I love making them with her, we always share out the jobs, she cuts, I mould and fill, she cuts the stars, I place them…




One of my favourite parts of the countdown to Christmas is the advent calendar. We all share one which my mother buys and surprises us with on the 1st of December. I love the house shaped ones and the glittery snow on this one makes me happy.


Another part of the countdown that is special for us is the advent candle. I love burning it at dinner every evening with carols playing in the background, and slowly watching the days melt away until all that is left is the number 24 and you know that Christmas is about to start for real…


And the final Christmassy detail today is a rather special one. If you remember the letter I wrote to my grandmother a few months ago, you’ll know that we all miss the wonderful woman whom I got to call grandma, even if only for a few years. My father’s favourite tradition from when he was a little boy is when he used to make the Christmas cake each year with his mother. So in my house, he makes the cake and we each take turns mixing the batter and making a wish. It’s just another little way of remembering her.


I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are enjoying the festive period!

Do you like the start of December as much as I do?
What are your favourite Christmas countdown traditions?

Do you have an advent calendar/candle?

Sophie x

Recent Goings-On.

The last month has been so busy with the start of uni that I’ve found myself rarely reaching for my proper camera to spend time capturing photos. I take quick snaps daily with my phone and Instagram them but I just can’t lug my big camera around everyday. I have taken a few photos here and there though and I thought I’d share those that haven’t made it onto the blog so far. My life has been up and down with health and work and resting these past few weeks (read more about the health situation here) so blogging has been a little sporadic, I still love this community of wonderful people and your support is amazing!

On Saturday my mother and I took a little trip to a nearby farm which is both a working farm and a lovely little set of shops – clothes, toys, food, flowers, homeware and a little cafe. It’s so cute, especially around Christmas, we go every year so it is full of childhood memories. Aren’t these little piglets adorable?

Although I don’t like that it’s starting to get chillier and it’s dark in the mornings, I do love the beautiful colour of the autumn leaves. The changes in season are always my favourite times of the year, autumn brings with it rather gorgeous scenes. I love the trees that still have some green but then have a gradient of colour from the green to red.

If you follow me on Instagram (loveliveandlearn) then you may have seen that I did some extra special baking this weekend. As I mentioned the other day, my next door neighbour has just had a baby so I offered to give her some time with the baby and I had five-year-old Ellen round to do some baking! We had so much fun as she is just the sweetest little girl and we made some rather pretty biscuits. She especially liked adding the sprinkles 😛

My lunches have often looked like this for the past couple of weeks – eaten on a tray whilst I read or work. This particular lunch was lovely, pumpkin and apple soup, with crackers and cheese. Such a comforting autumn meal 🙂

Lastly this little ball of fur has been my companion everyday since I started at uni. Because I’ve been feeling exhausted and very weak recently I do most of my work on my bed so that I can rest at the same time. Poppy always comes and curls up nearby which is somehow really comforting!

So, a bit of a random, mixed post. I hope you enjoyed reading anyway!

What have you been doing recently?
What do you love about autumn?

Do you have a favourite comforting, autumnal meal?

This Week #9.

I’m going to keep this post brief because I have developed a cold and combined with my fatigue it has left me feeling awful. I have an early start tomorrow and I need to get some sleep! I’ve had an okay week, I had a lovely day yesterday – I went shopping with my mother in the morning to buy presents for my next-door neighbours as they have just had a little baby boy. He’s so precious, I held him for such a long time and he is just a lovely baby. Then to give the mother some time to herself with the new baby I offered to look after their little girl, Ellen, who is five. She came round and we had heaps of fun baking and decorating biscuits 🙂 Unfortunately by the time I went to bed I wasn’t feeling very well and this morning was even worse. I only get a couple of colds a year but I’m hoping it won’t last long, I don’t need this on top of everything else!

A childhood favourite – mashed banana with yogurt | Roman holiday surprise (no idea why it’s called that!) | Monday seminar

Spaghetti with courgettes | Legs & Bum Pyramid workout | Spicy hula hoops

More pasta 😉 | Poppy’s sleep spot | Fish and chips – so moreish

Sweet baked potato for lunch | Breakfast reading | Honey toast comforts

I received a fantastic package from the lovely people at Total! I will be reviewing these next week – they’re delicious 🙂

Reading up on evolution for Victorian lit | Cheeky veg chow mein takeout | Raspberry and pomegranate yogurt from Total

My breakfast companion as always | The cutest babygrow for baby Arthur| Ellen’s decorating skills, they’re so cute!

Jamie Oliver’s 30 min meals Rogan Josh | Late night hot chocolate for poorly Sophie | Sunday afternoon studies

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

I hope you all enjoyed this post and had a lovely weekend 🙂

I also want to say that I am so overwhelmed and touched by all of the wonderful, supportive comments you left on my last post. Reading through them gave me a lot of comfort and I will be taking the time to reply to them all properly. I’m so lucky to have such amazing readers and blog friends!

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?

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!