weekend

7 Happy Things

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Ninbra tumblr}

1. It’s my gorgeous friend Ellie’s 21st today! Happy birthday Ellie, I hope you’ve had a lovely lovely day!

2. Watching Sunday night TV with my lovely housemates. Downton Abbey, followed by Homeland, followed by Was It Something I Said, makes for some seriously good viewing.

3. Going home to help my sister write her personal statement and getting to have a lovely dinner with my family. (And getting to take the leftovers back with me!) Despite being in twenties now and in my final year of uni I still love being home, I think I will always be somewhat of a home-bird.

4. Brilliant lectures which remind me why I am reading English at uni, sitting in a two-hour seminar on Jane Eyre made me remember why I fell in love with words and with reading. The magic of certain books will just never be eclipsed.

5. Getting excited about Halloween and costumes and pumpkins. I’m rubbish at carving pumpkins but my sister is really good at it and we always had beautiful pumpkins at home. We’re planning on throwing a Halloween party here at my uni house before going out afterwards so I will definitely be getting dressed up!

6. My wonderful Fireside Treats scented candle from Yankee Candle which makes my entire bedroom smell like delicious fire toasted marshmallows.

7. Feeling a strange mixture of both terrified and excited to receive my letter from NHS Blood and Transplant saying that my appointment to give blood is set for next Monday! I absolutely loathe having my blood taken but I feel like giving blood is something really important that everyone who is able should do so I just decided to bite the bullet and sign up…

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic weekend and enjoy the week ahead!

Sophie x

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7 Happy Things.

7 has always been my favourite number. It is a magic number. It also the number of books in the Harry Potter series.

Everyone who knows me will know how much I love to find ways to be more positive. Now this term is going to be incredibly stressful for me… I have three texts to read a week (usually at least two are full novels), I have my dissertation to research and write, I have three assignments due in at Christmas, I have my PGCE application to put in at the beginning of November (which means writing another personal statement), then if I’m successful I will have tests and interviews… And breathe.

So in an attempt to not find myself snowed under and in a permanent state of panic by the end of the term I am going to start a new series of posts which will go up every Sunday titled ‘7 Happy Things’ where I shall list 7 things that have made me happy during the week. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from coffeeinthemountains tumblr}

1. Wrapping up warm in autumn clothes including lots of woolly jumpers and snoods. Although I don’t much like cold weather I have a weakness for knitwear and I have a drawer full of cozy snoods to bundle myself up in. I love nothing better than coming in from the chilly weather outside and changing into my ridiculously comfy yoga trackies and my furry slippers.

2.  Getting back to the gym after some time off for freshers! Freshers week is enough to make even the fittest person feel sluggish and it felt so good to be working out again and clearing out the toxins (we all know where they come from!). My skin is clearing up again thanks to a diet heavy on the vegetables, plenty of water and a bit more activity.

3. Starting lectures again and getting back into the swing of uni. Although I have a hellish term ahead of me I am really excited to get stuck into it all, I’m doing brilliant modules which I already know I will love. Children’s literature in particular is lovely, I can’t wait to get to read some of my old favourites for it.

4. Going for cycles in the countryside under the changing colours of the autumn leaves, and stopping for a drink in a country pub with friends. There is something wonderful about the crisp air blowing against your face, turning your cheeks pink with cold and then warming up in the comforting surrounds of an English pub.

5. So many brilliant TV programmes are returning to our screens – Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off, Homeland, The Vampire Diaries… It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want to stay tucked up in bed or curled up on the sofa in a blanket watching TV.

6. Chatting with friends. Modern technology can sometimes be a pain but I have to say that I am so grateful for mobile phones, getting to send a quick text to friends that I miss and getting to hear their voices to chat always lifts my mood.

7. Being home for the weekend, getting to spend time with my lovely family whilst eating steak and chips, roast dinner, and apple crumble until I’m slightly too full. Also stealing extra cuddles with Poppy to make up for the ones missed!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying the autumn!

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

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?

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!

Sunday Pub Grub.

Yesterday evening my Granddad came over and we drove to a lovely pub in the countryside called The Plough. The premise of the meal was mainly to celebrate my sister’s results with him, as well as my end of year results from earlier in the summer and it was really nice to see him. The pub is really light and open, with a stylish and comfortable decor, it’s definitely the ideal place for a nice relaxing informal meal.

 

My Granddad, my dad, me and my sister, Alice, (my mum took the photo). It’s always really nice to get the family together and spend a few hours chatting and enjoying each others’ company.

As none of us fancied a full three-course meal on a Sunday evening, we went for a sharing platter to start with:

 

This is the Mediterranean Mezze which was made up of beetroot & walnut houmous, tzatziki, fregola, salted lemon & feta salad, dukkah, and stone baked pitta bread. We all loved it so much, especially the houmous, that we asked the waiter for another plate of pitta so that we could finish it all off!

 

For my main I chose the Linguini which included crab, chorizo, chilli, spring onion, and tomato. It was absolutely delicious and one thing that was excellent is that you could choose to have a smaller portion which is great for me as I always find restaurant portions enormous.

Lastly, dessert…

 

By this point I was pretty full but as I’m not often one to turn down a sweet treat my dad and I opted to share. We went for three different flavours of ice cream: coconut and chocolate, tiramisu and amaretto. So so tasty.

The pub atmosphere was relaxing, the company was lovely and the food was pretty good; all in all we had a great evening and it was a really pleasant way to end the weekend.

What did you get up to this weekend?
Have you got anything planned for this week?