food

All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 2.

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‘When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls – the World.’

– Lord Byron, Childe Harold

I feel like going to Rome without  ever getting to see the Colosseum is a little like going to Paris and not ever seeing the Eiffel Tower so I was really excited to get a chance to spend a morning there. You may wonder what else there is to do other than walk around and admire the brilliance of the Roman architecture but you’d be wrong. Around the inside of the Colosseum they have heaps of display cases filled with all sorts of fascinating items; from sculptures of the Colosseum as it was when first built, to items excavated from the site.

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It’s hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring the Colosseum really is, the scale of the stands, the magnitude of the amount of work the whole building would have taken to design and then construct. It’s difficult to envisage something of this size and intricacy being built now but to know that it was built almost 2000 years ago is mind-blowing. As you walk around the walls you can’t help but imagine not only the huge number of people who have sat here over the many years – the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 70,000 people but also the somewhat sobering number of people and animals who fought and died in the arena below. There is a buzz as there are so many people all excited to see the great building but there is also a sense of hush as people contemplate exactly what it means to be standing in the Colosseum.

It’s amazing to be able to stand in a building almost two millenniums old which despite its age is still greatly intact!

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We spent a long morning in the Colosseum before returning to the area around our hotel for a late lunch. As you can imagine the food options in Rome are incredibly plentiful, and it’s difficult to know which of the many restaurants to stop at for food. After a few minutes of wandering we came across a really traditional, authentic looking Italian trattoria which served great pastas and some of the most fantastic desserts I’ve ever seen on the same menu. After much deliberation Aimee and I decided to pick two and share them, a classic tiramisu and a delicious truffle ice cream bomb. I wish that my camera hadn’t already been packed for the flight because I think the photo alone would be enough to make you hungry!

Then suddenly, the weekend was over far too soon and with heavy hearts we had to haul our suitcases onto the coach, head off to the airport and leave behind this amazing city. Italy is just simply stunning  and I cannot wait to return as soon as I can and discover more of its wonders, there is still so much of Rome to visit, let alone the rest of the country…

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

Sorry I’ve been rubbish at posting this week, I have spent two days in bed and my pain levels have been extremely elevated. Things are difficult but I don’t want to dwell so here are this week’s 7 happy things and hopefully a promise that you will get a second blog post this week!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from j-siddhartha tumblr}

1. Having a lovely dinner at Wagamama with the beautiful Ellie. It was her birthday a few weeks ago and we hadn’t had a chance to meet up and celebrate but we found the time this evening and I got to give her her present.

2. Finally getting my hands on the NARS creamy concealer (in vanilla for anyone who’s interested), it’s really difficult to find and Ellie got it for me in Bath so I’m excited to use it!

3. Spending the weekend at home with the family. As I’d been feeling so rough all week I thought it would help and I have to admit my motivation to come home was partly down to how ridiculously comfortable my double bed is, you just sink into it, it’s such a luxury compared to student living.

4. Eating the traditional Swiss dish called Raclette, what can beat melted cheese, potatoes and charcuterie (cooked meats like ham and salami)?

5. Doing a morning in a Year 2 class in a primary school. Helping the class to learn about directions and right angles was so fun and I just adore the children so I’m really pleased that I get to go back there this week.

6. My dad’s toffee apples. I may not have been able to go to Bonfire night because of my pain but I did get to munch on one of the best toffee covered apples.

7. Looking forward to next weekend with bated breath – I’m going to Rome and I can hardly contain my excitement! I have a deep love for Italy ever since I visited Florence for the first time when I was 14, I love the country, the scenery, the culture, the food, the classical music, (although perhaps not so much the politics). I’ve never been to Rome and I can’t wait to discover the city, we’re visiting the Vatican and many celebrated monuments. We might only be there for what seems like a couple of hours but it’s going to be amazing!

Hope you all have a good week, after a bit of a right-off week I’m looking forward to hopefully having a much better one 🙂

Sophie x

Life Lately #4.

Well my first week back at uni has definitely been crazy busy. I have an unbelievable amount of work to do with two 3000 word essays to write and a whole lot of revision to do, plus obviously I wanted to catch up with all of my lovely friends. Being students this of course means a night out on the town dancing the night away! So yeah, as you can imagine I am pretty tired. However, the week isn’t over yet by far. Tomorrow I’m off to London to have afternoon tea in a hotel with Tom, his mother, and his younger sister for her 18th birthday. Unsurprisingly, I’m super excited. I’ve only ever had proper afternoon tea once, at Betty’s (amazing – people in the UK you should all go!), and it’s definitely my cup of tea haha…

Exams are coming soon so stress levels will be mounting, hopefully my blog won’t fall completely by the wayside. In the mean time, I thought I would make up a little Instagram filled post with my life recently in photos. Enjoy!

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My favourite spring flowers | Intellectual breakfast 😉 | Tuna Parcel

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Calamari | Delicious goujons, chips, and tartar | Alice’s quadruple layer caramel chocolate cake!

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Lasagna – so good | These smell amazing | More calamari…

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Time to get my hair done | It’s a good look for me huh? | Highlights!

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My beautiful anniversary present from Tom | Anniversary brunch at Bill’s | Fabulous hot chocolate

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Easter | Family breakfast | Nigella’s Easter Egg Nest Cake

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Blue | Buttery hot cross buns | Fish is fast becoming my favourite thing to eat 🙂

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Watercolour with the children | More daffs | Name badges (the best part of my job!)

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Lunch with Baiba | Beautiful hot chocolate art | Poppycat ❤

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An amazing cupcake from the market! | St. John’s, Cambridge | Spring florals

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Getting excited about Barcelona this summer | Ready, set, go | Classy photo in the club bathroom!

Highlights of the past few weeks definitely included my birthday, my anniversary with Tom, getting my hair dyed for the first time, Easter, and a great talk on Jane Austen. It’s been a good few weeks, if you ignore the week I spent in bed anyway! As you can see from the last breakfast photo, this summer my family and I are off to Barcelona for a week and I already can’t wait. I’ve been to the city once before and adored the experience so we’ve been planning all of the fantastic things we want to do whilst there. My second year at university is almost over (which is terrifying) but it has been an amazing year. I’ve made some really wonderful friends and I’m having the time of my life. Who says being ill has to dominate and ruin your life!

I hope you’ve all been having a great week, I’m sure you’re all as glad as I am that it’s the weekend 🙂

Do you have any fun plans?
Any trips planned this summer? 
What’s your favourite thing to do on a night out?

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

Sophie x

Currently…

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Reading…

I’ve been stuck with my reading lately. I’ve just started an essay on amatory verse (in simple terms: love poetry) and as such I’ve had very little time to read actual books in between my research and poetry reading! Studying literature at uni can have its major downsides and having little to no time to read outside of the course is definitely one of them! So I’ve only just managed to finish This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor despite starting it several weeks ago(!) but I really enjoyed it. I will be reviewing it in the next few weeks so watch out for that. I’m now starting George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession which we’re studying next week in my Victorian module.

Listening to… 

As I have been so poorly lately, I’ve needed something to help lift my spirits. There’s only really one song that can do it for me: Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way. It’s just so happy and uplifting, plus there’s the nostalgia – it just takes me back to watching Matilda as a child! I’ve also been really enjoying Daughter’s EP His Young Heart which is just beautiful.

Watching…

In my illness I’ve ended up watching quite a lot of TV and films, I have to admit Mamma Mia was definitely watched (I adore that film), as were Sense and Sensibility, Runaway Bride, and When Harry Met Sally… I’ve also caught up with Paul Hollywood’s Breads which always makes me want to go down to the kitchen and get kneading. If you have any fun, lighthearted films to recommend then I’m all ears.

Eating…

I had the most beautiful cupcake earlier today (I instagramed it – @loveliveandlearn)  that my mother kindly brought me back from the farmers’ market this morning. It was just so lovely to look at that I almost didn’t want to eat it… It was really tasty too so obviously I did end up eating it! Today the weather was actually springlike for the first time so after a brilliant talk on Jane Austen in St John’s College in Cambridge, my lovely friend Sophie and I decided to have a picnic nearby in the sunshine so I ate an avocado sandwich and a strawberry and vanilla smoothie – delicious.

Wishing for…

The summer! Having a taste of warmer weather has made me seriously pine for the sunshine and the months of long days with time off and holidays away. This summer my family is off to Barcelona for a week and I am so so excited, I’ve been once before and fell in love with the vibrancy of the city along with its stunning architecture and delicious seafood.

What are your currently-s?

Sophie x

Happy Easter!

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.  

Walter Raleigh

I love Easter, it’s a really wonderful time. It may not have the magic build up of Christmas but it is a day of celebration which is unrivaled in its uplifting spirit and its joy! I love that it is a time of renewal, it heralds in the Spring and everything feels bright and positive. It’s also a lovely time to spend with families, Easter holds so many sweet memories of being a child and being ridiculously excited to paint eggs and go on an Easter egg hunt with my sister.

My mother and I are one and the same when it comes to preparing for celebrations, we both love to decorate and bring the festivity into the house. I love that Easter is a time for beautiful flowers, everything is bright white and yellow and looks so pretty. My mother made us an Easter tree which is something we’ve done since Alice and I were little and it’s a special tradition for us 🙂

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Easter breakfast is always a big deal at our house. Croissants and chocolate – you can’t beat it! I’m wearing a skater dress from ASOS which is new and I thought the floral was perfect for the occasion. Don’t all of the flowers and eggs look perfect?

Now one of the best part of celebrations from my point of view is the food. And Easter Sunday definitely calls for a roast dinner, in our case roast lamb with roast potatoes, caramelised parsnips and cabbage, along with a generous pouring of gravy. So delicious, and just what we need as although the flowers are bright, it has not been a very sunny Easter, in fact it has been rather cold… This amazing plate was just the right kind of warming and comforting:

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Not only do I love the roasts, I get especially excited about the food for celebrations if there is an opportunity for me to bake! Easter is such a lovely festival that I had to make something a little special so I decided to make Nigella Lawson’s Easter Egg Nest Cake. It’s a flourless chocolate cake decorated with mini eggs and it is just adorable.

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It is a seriously chocolatey cake and I love how it looks, it’s the perfect Easter bake. Also, spot the absurdly cute chocolate bunny that my parents gave my sister and I. Chocolate may not be much to do with the true message of Easter but it doesn’t hurt…

I hope you have all had a very happy and blessed Easter!

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

 

 

 

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?

Pizza.

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.

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

Sophie x