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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

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Where Have I Been?

A good question!

For the past month I have more or less disappeared from the realms of the internet. No blogging, no emails, no tweeting… It comes down to being incredibly busy with university work. I had a 3000 word essay and another 3000 word portfolio to write and put together, then along came exams and I was just completely swamped with it all. I finished my last exam of my second year on Thursday and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have finished. I feel as free as a bird 😉

So from now on you can expect regular posts again on my blog and I will be spending tomorrow catching up with all of yours because I have missed you all!

I thought that to introduce myself back into blogging gently I’d just fill you in on what I have been doing when I wasn’t revising. Here are a few Instagram snaps from the last few weeks:

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Breakfasts recently. I have to start the day well when I have little to look forward to!

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Typical: the weather is gorgeous during exams. At least this means I get to enjoy eating outside in the sunshine.

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Poppy was my constant revision companion | Quiche | I have a lovely mother who buys me motivational treats!

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Spring flowers | Fancy dress beginning with ‘A’ for Aimee’s birthday party, I am Alice | Avatar anyone?

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Making the most of the sunshine | We took a break and cycled to a pub, my dinner was rather classy for pub grub. The main was amazing. 

Well I hope you’ve all been having some nice weather, recently between grey days we’ve enjoyed a lot of lovely sunshine and even some warm temperatures! Now that I’m free I’m spending a week resting and seeing lots of friends from home before I start reading up for next years modules and my dissertation. Stay tuned for book reviews, May’s monthly favourites, and hopefully some recaps of summer fun 🙂

Sophie x

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!

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

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

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

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

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Smile | Sunlit tulips | Healthy dips for lunch

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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

These Snowy Days.

Ah snow. It spreads its thick white blanket across the country with such speed and all of a sudden the countryside is unrecognizable.

Snow is such an inconvenience when you need to travel, I spent over an hour stood watching the announcement boards in Kings Cross station on Monday morning praying that the incredibly delayed train would eventually arrive and not get cancelled like the one before (it  finally arrived!). It causes road problems and can be super dangerous. It makes cycling a nightmare. It turns to ice on the paths…

Urgh.

But despite all of that I can turn my mind and see its beauty. The fields and trees look wonderful, and everything seems so bright with the sun reflecting off the snow.

The last week or so has mostly been spent being laaaazy. Like wake up at 10am and don’t get dressed till after lunch kind of lazy! It’s just been so nice to have some time to relax and not have to do anything. I have been doing some things mind you, just nothing taxing. I’ve been reading lots (I have a review planned for you), I’ve been organizing my things, baking and I spent the weekend in London with Tom. We had a lovely weekend meeting up with his old friends from uni and spending nights/mornings curled up watching comedy on TV. I adore spending weekends with him 🙂

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Went for Chelsea buns with a uni friend | Reading for my course in between more enjoyable reads | The epitome of my ideal lazy day

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The first snow | Comfort food – cheese, ham and pea pasta bake | Saturday night in Camden

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Snowy walk to the gym | Frozen stream | Red berry surrounding by a blanket of white

Going back to the gym today felt great, the way working out should feel, so hopefully I’ll have the energy to carry on going. I have heaps of reading to do for the new term so that’s what I’ll be busy doing for the rest of the week. I also feel like baking something cake based so watch this space…

I hope you’re all having a lovely week and if it’s snowy where you are that it isn’t too much of a hassle!

Do you like the snow or is it just a hassle?
How’s the first month of 2013 shaping up to be for you?

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

Look Who’s Back!

Well hello there!

It’s been almost three weeks since I last blogged (what?!). That is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without posting and I’ve hardly been present online at all so I want to say sorry for neglecting everyone! I have really missed everybody and I’m definitely going to be catching up with all of you. Basically the short story is that I’ve been really ill recently. As in really ill. Each day, all of my energy was taken up by cycling to uni and going to lectures, the minute I got home I was straight back in bed. It’s been months since I’ve felt that extremity of exhaustion and to be honest it’s been tough. I didn’t feel like blogging because a) I had absolutely zero energy, b) I didn’t want to be super negative to you all, and c) I was doing next to nothing so I had nothing to write about!

But, after a slightly better week, and a really lovely weekend in London with Tom, I thought it was time to say hi again 🙂

I’m going to keep it simple, I figured I’d manage another instagram round-up of the past couple of weeks. As I said, I haven’t done an awful lot but I have managed to take a few pictures here and there. Last week I had a short assignment, it wasn’t a difficult piece but I really struggled to find enough hours when I didn’t feel like the dead walking so it took me longer than planned. Now I have to start all of my research for my four main essays this semester, wish me luck!

Autumn leaves | Stewed apples and homemade langue de chat | Raspberry and apple pie

Cycling from uni | Always reading | Autumnal fuchsias

Baking | Peanut butter cookies – so good! | Brioche from France 🙂

Pink metallic nails | Pasta bake comfort | I made a new veggie stir-fry

Gu chocolate fondant… oh my gosh! | More pastaaa | Fireside

Halloween pumpkin carving | Little Alice mouse | Isn’t she a beauty?

Poppy greetings | Chinese lanterns | Gorgeous chicken satay skewers

Tuna pastry | The perfect relaxing bath | New cookbook!

Sunday lunch | Apple crumble | New haircut

More stir-fry | Delicious blueberry and raspberry smoothie | Starbucks time – toffee nut latte

The best hot chocolate flavour = honeycomb! | Panini | Leftovers

So here’s a little catch up from me, now give me all of your news! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and have a great week 🙂

What’s been happening in your life at the moment?
Favourite hot drink of the moment?

Who’s starting to get excited for Christmas? (Me!!)

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

 

Gü 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?