uni

7 Happy Things.

So I’ve not been feeling very well, as my last post suggested, and I’ve struggled towards the end of this week to keep my chin up and carry on with life. It is difficult to put into words how much being in pain, in such pain as this, can affect your mind and body. It is all-encompassing. It is all-consuming. My body aches and throbs all over and my mind is dulled. It is so hard to stay positive when my future feels so uncertain, will my exciting plans ever been realised? It is hard when you know that being poorly makes you less interesting as a friend, less appealing as a partner, less able as a student…

But I won’t let it pull me under completely so in an attempt to (at least metaphorically) pick myself up a little I thought of 7 happy things from this week. Enjoy!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from sacramentostreet}

1. As the picture suggests, it is most definitely hot drink weather. I don’t like tea and I rarely drink coffee but the minute the cold weather strikes I turn to one of my favourite treats – hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about a lovely chocolatey hot drink to warm you up. Of course I don’t just drink ordinary hot chocolates, oh no, I go all out! Hot chocolate just isn’t the same without whipped cream and marshmallows, and if possible chocolate sprinkles. I’m not fussy. Promise.

2. I was doing some blog reading this morning and stumbled upon this post from This Book is Reserved. How beautiful are those covers? I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz because the former is one of my favourite childhood stories and the later is so wonderfully colourful.

3. Getting the volunteering position I wanted! I had an informal interview on Thursday at a fantastic centre run by a charitable organisation and got the place so I’m over the moon about that. I’m going to be working for an after-school club run there for young people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism. It’s such a brilliant programme as it gives the young people a safe environment, it’s a place where they can just be themselves and relax. I’m so excited to start volunteering, I’ll be there once a week for two and half hours, working with a group of boys aged 13 to 17. It’s a completely new challenge for me but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning all I can!

4. Going food shopping with my mother (who was lovely and drove over to give me a lift to the supermarket so that I didn’t have to walk!) and having a fully stocked fridge again. I have a fridge full of delicious healthy foods to inspire me and get me back on my feet. Plus a couple of little treats because who can resist After Eight yoghurts?

5. Hearing the best news about my dissertation. When we were first assigned supervisors my heart sank slightly, I’d been given a lecturer who I like as a person but find really difficult to work with. I’ve been emailing her over the summer but I was really struggling to get anywhere. It’s been worrying me for ages as one of the most important things in a dissertation is who you work with so I was ecstatic when my absolutely lovely personal tutor offered to supervise me instead.

6. Having little Clive from two doors down pop in for a cuddle. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@sophiejuliette_mh) then you won’t know that Clive is the adorable little cat who comes round to say hello and hang out when her (I know, Clive is a girl) owners are out.

7. Pleasant interludes in my student life – this week it was going for coffee, or hot chocolate in my case, with my mother on Friday. I met her before my seminar and it was really nice to have a little chat as we are very close. This coming week I’m going for lunch with my friend Aimee and the following week I’m going out for dinner with the lovely Ellie as a late birthday celebration for her 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sophie x

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The Sun Has Got His Hat Off.

Well last weekend the English weather was somewhat blissful. The sun was shining and the temperatures even soared up to 20°C (which is rather impressive for May in England!). As a result everyone’s mood lifted, people in the streets were smilier, and the general mood was brighter. The trees have suddenly burst into life with tiny leaves and gorgeous blossom, and everything is greener.

Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse this week and the sky outside my window is currently very grey. But seeing how I’m writing my final essay whilst still wearing my dressing gown at 4pm on a Sunday, I suppose the weather doesn’t matter a great deal. My hand-in date is this coming Wednesday so I’m pretty much counting down the hours till then when I’ll actually have time to leave the house again and do something to my appearance other than pulling my hair up! I have two exams in the two weeks following from my deadline but with a week in between them they’re not worrying me too much.

I’m hoping that the sunshine will make another appearance once my deadline passes but in the meantime I’m going to stare wistfully at the photos I took of the lovely flowers in the garden last weekend and imagine the warmth against my skin…

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Is the sun shining where you are? Have you been able to enjoy any good weather recently? Favourite thing to do out in the sun?

Sophie x

The Countdown Excitement.

Hey lovelies!

I hope you all had a great weekend and that your week has started well. I had a rather pleasant weekend despite feeling completely without energy. Tom and I went to stay with his parents and had a comfortable Saturday afternoon spent baking (and eating!) cookies before settling down to watch Strictly Come Dancing with some slices of pizza. Sunday morning we drove to church and then went for a little walk and a coffee (hot chocolate with cream for me) in town. After going home to get some work done as assessment deadlines are looming ever closer I was off out again. This time to meet my parents and sister at the cafe she works at to grab a drink before going to see the switching on of the Christmas lights! It feels like the official countdown period to Christmas has now begun 🙂

Seeing the Christmas lights strung across the streets has made the excitement really start to kick in. Now I’m making mental lists of all the lovely seasonal holiday things I want to do. You have probably all realised by now how much I adore this time of the year and all of the wonderful elements of Christmas. I’m excited to start all of the preparations and truly get into the spirit of it all!

I love all of it… shopping for Christmas presents; baking and eating mince pies; listening to Christmas music and carols; putting up decorations; advent calendars and candles; writing Christmas cards; going caroling; decorating the Christmas tree; wrapping presents; curling up in front of the fire to watch Christmas films; Christmas eve dinner; midnight mass; stockings; unwrapping presents…

This weekend I got an invitation to sing in a Christmas concert in a few weeks time so I’m excited to sing some carols again. With it now being 35 days till Christmas I feel that it is okay to declare my love for it and start the preparations in earnest. As soon as we enter the month of December you can be sure I will  be decorating the house and baking mince pies 😉

Having said that I have four weeks to write my assessments for this semester (I have four to write) so from now until the 19th December I’m probably going to be rather busy and increasingly stressed!

Are you excited for Christmas?
What are you looking forward to most about Christmas?
Any special plans this week?

What I Ate Wednesday No.44 – Busy Day.

As I am exhausted today, I thought it would be fun to join in with this week’s WIAW with the fabulous Jenn and recap my day so that I don’t have to think too hard 😉

Today was a reasonably early start so that I could bounce into uni for my seminar on the Romantics at 9am. I started off the day with my typical breakfast, snapped quickly on my phone:

Weetabix soaked in milk and then topped with blueberries, lots of cinnamon and a little drizzle of honey. Delicious.

My seminar was pretty interesting, the professor is a lovely guy but a little difficult to judge sometimes – he can be a little difficult when you are trying to give him the answer he wants, he’ll keep trying to coax it out of us even when heaps of people have tried to answer!

I had to leave my seminar 5 minutes early because I had to dash off and cycle across town to my physio appointment. Lottie, my physiotherapist, is absolutely lovely and despite being about 7 months pregnant she still got onto her hands and knees to show me some stretches. We went through some core exercises to help my lower back too and it was very helpful.

Back home for lunch, leftover over time:

Spicy aubergine and tomato with noodles. It was really fiery and a lovely lunch to re-energise me after my busy morning. I ate lunch whilst watching one of my favourites – River Cottage 🙂

After lunch it was time for some work, I’m currently reading Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II and finding it really interesting. I’m also working my way through heaps of essays from the Romantic and Victorian periods, some make for long reading but I’m learning so much, it’s great to be back at uni. Speaking of uni, this afternoon I was off out (again!) to attend the first session of the university’s choir. It was fun but… I’m not sure, it’s not the kind of singing I’m used to! I’m going to try it for a couple of weeks and see how i feel.

The final part to my busy day was an evening trip to the gym. I’m pleased with myself for dragging myself out of the comfort of my bedroom and I just got a 12 month membership so I’m committing myself to going regularly!

Dinner was full of fantastic protein:

Chicken stir-fry sugar snaps and chilli 🙂

Now I’m off to watch the Great British Bake Off so I shall say goodnight, hope you all had a lovely day!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?
Are you busy at the moment? Do you like being busy?

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?

A Time to Study.

Firstly I want to say hello to any new readers who have come to check my blog out because of the lovely Bee 🙂 Welcome, I hope you stay a while!

Okay, so I have been majorly absent recently and I’m sorry, it seems that recently, every time I go to write a post, all I do is apologise and explain that I am ill. This isn’t how I want my blog to be and it definitely isn’t how I want to be! As I said in my last post, I always aim to be honest on my blog (if you knew me in real life you’d know I’m always incredibly honest in reality – sometimes a little too honest!) but I don’t want that to mean that I come across as wholly negative.

I am fundamentally a positive person. I have had some difficult times in my life but I refuse to dwell on them, I have been ill for a long time but I refuse to let that take over and control my life.

For those of you that don’t know, I started my first week at my new uni, having transferred into second year. I was so so nervous but things seem to be going really well and I’ve already got heaps of work so I’m obviously settling in fast. I actually quite enjoy having the work to do, I’ve got a pile of books to read, notes to make, history to research and seminars to attend. Lectures are easy, you just go in, sit, listen and try to absorb. My seminars are two hours long and although they’re a little nerve-wracking because we are in smaller groups and they are made up of group discussions. Everyone seems really friendly though and it’s nice to be in a new environment.

I have so much reading to do already, Byron’s Prelude, plenty of Dickens, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Hamlet, lots of American literature and heaps more. I love to read and I feel like starting term again has rekindled my love of the classics.

Although, I’ll have to let you know how I feel once I’m half way through the term and snowed under! 😉

Thursday’s are my days off which is great as it means I can spend most of my day curled up reading. I might bake as well, I have an urge to make cheese straws and/or cupcakes!

Then on Friday I have two seminars which should be fun, hopefully the seminar leaders will be as good as the lecturers and professors I’ve had so far. I haven’t got any plans for the weekend yet but I’m sure I’ll find something productive to do, any suggestions?

This is a little something I made for dinner the other day that I never shared with you:

 

Salmon filo parcels with an oriental salad. It was a little trickier than I thought (has anyone got any tips for making filo pastry any easier to deal with?) but it tasted absolutely delicious! I was quite pleased with myself haha, I need to cook a little more often, I don’t know why I don’t.

How is your autumn shaping up?
What have you been reading lately?
Have you cooked anything exciting this week?

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?