Life Rambles: Interesting Online Reads

Interesting Online Reads - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Today I thought I’d collate some of the most interesting interweb articles I’ve read recently into one handy little list. Reading other people’s lists of interesting online reads is always so fascinating. You get to discover awesome new sites and bloggers and to delve into interesting reads and engaging debates. And what’s better than a little bit of a Sunday morning internet peruse? It’s the ultimate in Sunday laziness.

Interesting Online Reads: The Articles

First up we have two Oscar related posts. The first is a fascinating article about how the Oscars have changed over the years. I’d never really thought of it in that way before, but agree the obsession with perfection and luxury has got a bit out of hand and the focus should be on the films themselves. Although having said that I do enjoy flicking through the pictures of the outfits.

Also in Oscar related news, there’s an interesting interview with Joi Mcmillon on Lenny Letter. Joi edited Moonlight and is the first black women to be Oscar nominated in that category. It’s so interesting to hear how she got into editing and how her career has panned out.

Is anyone else absolutely devastated about the latest turn that American politics has taken? This article about the Trump administrations banning of certain news outlets from the White House Briefings is scary. If we don’t have freedom of the press, where is the world going?

Interesting Online Reads: The Blog Posts

In lighter news, A Girl Obsessed’s tips for a smaller wardrobe is spot on. It includes all the tips and tricks that I should be following in my own wardrobe and keep forgetting once I’m at the shops!

From one tip laden post to another, we have Rosie’s post on Minimalism in the Kitchen. The perfect reminder that meal planning and freezing leftovers is the way forward. I think I made a total of three meals at home during the last work week. And by meals I’m including breakfast, lunch and dinner in this, not good at all. the dinners were hard to do any other way as I was out and about meeting friends, but there was certainly no reason why the breakfasts and lunches couldn’t have been made at home.

Granted this next post doesn’t sound that exciting, but it’s been super-helpful for me with our kitchen floor dilemma. Fifi McGee did a post all about choosing between laminate or wooden floors and it answered all the questions I had!

Recipe wise I stumbled across this Banana Chocolate Cake and I NEED to make it. But will it be as good as my go-to banana bread recipe, I mean PB, chocolate and banana cake is hard to beat…

Talking of food, avocado hummus you say? What a genius idea. That’s certainly happening soon. As is this homemade peanut butter from Katy – I eat so much it’s time I made my own.

Not sure how to be using Instagram Stories, other than to post food pics (that can’t just be me, right?)? Then you need to read Me and Orla’s post full of Instagram Story ideas.

Interesting Online Reads: From the Twittersphere

My final favourite read is actually a really good Twitter thread full of #bookmarketingtips. If you’re interested in book marketing make sure you check it out!

So what’s on your list of recent favourite online reads, care to share them with me?

-Fi x

 

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #61

Happy Saturday everyone, hooray for the weekend! This week has been hands down super fun. It’s also been crazy busy, hence why this is only being published now. I promise I have a good reason. My Thursday night plans of pasta, blogging and binge-watching Code Black were interrupted by some unexpected plans. Although they stopped this post from being written these plans also promptly jumped straight onto this Friday favourites list.

So lets dive straight in shall we? First up on the Friday favourites list is the fact that I spent last weekend out and about in London. Which I really really needed. I spent my Saturday catching up friends and walking 10 miles around London. We managed to say hello to Little Venice, Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Whitehall. Sunday started with brunch at Bronte with a uni friend. Just a quick FYI their french toast is delicious. After brunch there was more wanderings through the city, this time along my favourite river route.

Friday Favourites list. Wandering through Little Venice

On Tuesday night I finally found time to head to the cinema to watch Hidden Figures. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this film forever, or quite a few months at the very least. Anyway I was not disappointed. The film was full of wonderful acting, excellent characters and absolutely mind-blowing stories. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a true story, and not an embellishment in order to make a more watchable film. Apparently the book that this film is based on has even more detail in it, so I’m sorely tempted to pick this up soon and learn even more about this time at NASA.

Also this week I’ve managed to get another coat of MDF primer onto the living room shelves, so that means that we are even closer to finishing them. I can’t wait to get these done so that we can get everything back onto the shelves in an organised way, rather than have things piled in corners as has been the way over the last 18 months. It sounds like such a small thing but I do believe that this will make such a big difference to things in the house.

I’ve also been trying to organise a holiday, and while it’s not booked yet, the fact that it almost is, is definitely a happy moment for the Friday favourites list. Hooray for having plans and future things to look forward to.

Friday Favourites list Beauty and the Beast film

The final point on this week’s Friday favourites list is the event that I alluded to at the start of this post. On Thursday I won tickets to a gala screening of the new Beauty and the Beast film, which took place that night. This is the live action version of the Disney classic, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, which opens in cinemas in March.

It’s also the film that I have been eagerly anticipating since it was announced over 2 years ago. So when Fi happened upon a chance to win tickets to it’s London preview I promptly jumped apploed. Three hours later, after a lot of finger crossing, I received an email informing me that I had won tickets for that evening. SO. EXCITED! Not only was the film perfect, but the cast arrived on stage beforehand to introduce the film. Emma Thompson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Watson and Ian McKellen. Talk about fan moment! A super exciting and unexpected evening all round. And one that mean I didn’t get this blog post written until now! Oops!

How has your week been? What has made your Friday favourites list over the last seven days? Have a wonderful weekend.

Laura xx

In the Kitchen: Chicken and Kale Stir Fry

Chicken and Kale Stir Fry - In The Kitchen - This and That Blog

Recently Lau and I have been trying to add more vegetables to our meals as they are definitely something that isn’t an integral part of our diet. Don’t get me wrong we’re not heathens, we do eat vegetables. They’re just more an after thought for the meal and not the main part. Vegetables are generally added extras that we mix in once we’ve decided on the meat or carb that’s going to form our meal. However, we’re trying to change that and ensure that we find meals that have multiple vegetables in and that these veggies form the main part of the dish. This recently discovered chicken and kale stir fry is just one of those recipes. It’s the sort of recipe that needs to become a dinner staple in our house as the veggies are essential to the dish and in no way added extras. Oh it’s also delicious!

What else is good about this chicken and kale stir fry? It’s pretty much formed of store cupboard ingredients. It’s good served with a multitude of sides – quinoa, cous cous, rice, naan. And most excitingly on a weekday night, it takes only 25 minutes from start to finish. Winning.

It’s also the recipe that convinced me that I like kale. I know. Who’d have thought such a thing would ever happen! Not me that’s for sure, but I’m most definitely a kale convert now. As such we’re throwing it in to all sorts of recipes – just like we would with spinach. Go us. anyway, you must try it, it’s scrumptious!

Read on for the super simple recipe – you won’t regret it!

Chicken and Kale Stir Fry – Ingredients

400g mini chicken fillets / 2.5cm root ginger, peeled and grated / 2 garlic cloves, grated / grated zest and juice of a lemon / 2tbsp oil / half tsp turmeric / 2 red onions, quartered and sliced / 250g chopped kale /2tbsp miso paste / 2 carrots, peeled

Chicken and Kale Stir Fry - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

Chicken and Kale Stir Fry (serves 2)- Method

  1. Season the chicken and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with ginger, garlic, lemon juice and zest before stirring and leaving to marinate
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the chicken for three minutes without stirring to let it brown. Then sprinkle the chicken with tumeric and turn over the pieces to cook for another three minutes
  3. Add the onions and cook for three more minutes before adding the curly kale
  4. Add the miso paste to 200ml of boiling water and pour over the chicken mixture. Cover and cook for three minutes
  5. Use a potato peeler to create carrot ribbons and then add to the pan stirring into the chicken. Cook for two more minutes
  6. Serve with noodles or rice or quinoa or naan or couscous

It you give this recipe a whirl I’d love to know what you thought of it. Oh and also if it’s managed to convince you that kale is awesome!

-Fi x

On the Home Front: Home Wishlist

As you know from Fi’s many posts on the subject, we are currently in full house organising mode. We’re painting, building and planning all the things house related at the moment. Of course with that comes the almost immediate need to buy ALL the things, hence this home wishlist. I don’t know quite what my problem is, but I can’t help being distracted by all the pretty things in the shops and online at the moment.

This home wishlist contains a few things that we do need to get for the house, like the lightshade, rug and storage boxes, although there’s no firm decision has been made on what version of these we’ll go for. These are just my current favourites! And yes, okay, we do need to prioritise other items, such as the wooden floor before the rug, but that’s semantics, or at least that’s the line I’m going with!

Home Wishlist

 

blanket / lightshade / A-Z print / concrete candle holders / rug / storage baskets / vase / decanter

How much do you love those concrete candle holders and the vase? I’m a little bit obsessed with both of them. They’re so different from anything else I’ve seen anywhere and I love the different textures of both pieces. I actually found candles in concrete pots in Lidl yesterday for only £2.99. Obviously I snapped a couple up. They didn’t have the cooper effect on, but that’s okay as the plain versions look much better in my room anyway.

Both the picture and the blanket need to make their way to my house at some point. I think the ochre colour of the blanket will work really well with the teal paint in our living room, or in fact in my bedroom, while I’m tempted to add the picture to my bedroom wall, alongside my London A-Z poster once it’s framed. Is it wrong that I sort of want to start a collection of A-Z artwork. That’s totally normal right??

What are your favourite homeware pieces at the moment. Any amazing finds that I need to know about?

Let me know. Laura xx

 

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #60

Oh Friday, you’ve arrived – thank goodness! For some reason the last week has felt particularly long, and at times I feared Friday, and subsequently the weekend, wouldn’t arrive. But thankfully it has, which means it’s Friday Favourites time.

This and That Blog - Life Rambles - Friday Favourites #60

First up we have my new desk. I recently moved desks at work and after a lot of faffing around with where everything should sit it’s now looking pretty awesome. Oh and I may have treated myself to a Typo purchase or two as well – but how could I resist this mouse mat, honestly! Oh and another perk of this new seat? The view out of the window as the sun sets later each day. The sky is truly stunning from this new vantage point.

This and That Blog - Life Rambles - Friday Favourites #60

Now I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day but I’m most definitely a big fan of the offer codes that did the rounds on Tuesday. Namely the MinaLima 25% off one. If you’ve not heard of MinaLima you MUST investigate. They were the graphic designers for all the Harry Potter movies and most recently Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Their work is incredible and synonyms with J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Ever since I visited the House of MinaLima last year I’ve been wanting to own all their creations. But alas I can’t afford the £50 – £250 price tag that comes with their stunning prints. But with a 25% off code on all their posters, stationery and more, I am now the proud owner of two of their posters. The Collective Nouns Animal One and the amazing bright blue Quidditch Poster. I can’t wait to get them framed and hanging on my wall. They’re perfect.

This and That Blog - Life Rambles - Friday Favourites #60

My Friday favourites number three is all about the painting. The last weekend was the first one for a while where we had zero plans and so we got our painting clothes on! And after a very productive Saturday we now have two walls of our living room painted – one teal and one white. Plus the built-in shelves are prepped for their own coat of teal. The colour is amazing, and I’m so glad we went for such a bold one. It looks awesome. Hopefully we’ll have one more productive half day this weekend to finish off the shelves. I can’t wait to see how it’ll all look!

Also this week I made it to Pizza Union and had one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. Why did no one tell me about the deliciousness that is that place sooner? And £6.50 for pizza that good is a complete steal. Yum! You must go and experience it yourself soon.

The final thing to make it on to my Friday favourites list is family. As part of our productive weekend the parents came up to help with some tip runs. Oh the glamour! One of the bad things about being a Londoner is not needing (or being able to afford) a car most of the time and therefore being stuck when you’ve got a pile of rubble on your doorstep post operation fireplace removal!

This and That Blog - Life Rambles - Friday Favourites #60

As they were up we decided a family lunch was needed and we had the best lunch at our (gorgeous) local pub. The food was delicious, we caught up on all the important things and just generally had a lovely time. What’s more the pup was treated like royalty with her own bed next to our table. And of course lots of attention from everyone around us. She’s such a cutie!

So that’s my Friday Favourites list, what would be on yours?

-Fi x

Out and About: My 2017 UK Holiday Plans

As previously mentioned 2017 is all about finishing lots of projects in the house to make it more of a home. (Are you bored with me saying this yet?) This means every spare bit of money is going into the house fund and the travel pot has shrunk significantly. So 2017 is basically going to be the year of the UK holiday! Surely exploring the UK will be a lot cheaper without visas or flights to deal with, right? This UK holiday focus doesn’t bother me at all as there are loads of UK places on my ‘must visit asap’ list. It’s basically the best excuse ever for actually ticking some places off said list!

In the past I have ticked off a fair few places in the UK – from Inverness and the surrounding area on last year’s Scotland trip to weekends in Whitstable, Buxton, Newcastle, Bristol and Dublin. I also spent an awful lot of my childhood in Dorset, so that county is pretty much covered, as is Leeds, Manchester, the Peak District and Sheffield. But there are still a truckload of places I want to visit in the UK! For sanity sake I’ve reduced my ridiculously long list down to just five UK destinations I plan to explore this year.

2017 UK Holiday Plans - Out and About - This and That Blog

Winchester

I’ve driven through this old market town a gazillion times but never stopped. Hopefully that can change this year and I can give it a proper explore. I’d love to stop and take pictures of the glorious buildings, explore the surrounding countryside and visit the Cathedral. Also there’s a castle which has King Arthur’s round table in, I definitely need to visit that!

York

I’ve been to York before so it might seem odd to add this to my list, but it’s such a beautiful city that I feel it needs more of my time. I want to get lost wandering around the streets, and walk along the river and the ancient walls, properly visit the Minster all before having afternoon tea and browsing the shops. It’d be nice to not be rushing around to fit it all in to one afternoon so that I have time to learn the history of this stunning city.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

I’d love to spend a weekend in this town in order to immerse myself in the world of Shakespeare. I know a lot of British schoolkids did day trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon while at school, but that’s not something our school ever did and I think I definitely missed out. It looks like there’s so many historic buildings to see, a wander round the town ahead of watching one of Shakespeare’s plays sounds like the perfect day!

Edinburgh

I visited Edinburgh about five years ago and had the best time. But I really, really want to go back again. Not only to do the things we missed out on last time – like walking up to Arthur’s Seat and exploring Holyrood Park – but also just for generally wandering around the city and visiting the cute shops and the lovely cafes. Sometimes the pressures off when you’re visiting something for the second time as you don’t have to rush round like a headless chicken to see everything.

Cornwall

I mentioned Cornwall on my recent post about 2017s travel plans and I’m still determined to make it there this year. The more I read about it and browse the gorgeous Instagram photos the more I know I’ll love it there. The scenery just looks so beautiful. If we go I want to make sure we stay near the sea, as it’s always so restful. And then the trip is going to be all about wandering round the coastal towns, exploring the harbour, walking along the beach and enjoying the gorgeous views. Oh, I can’t wait!

NB. This list doesn’t include the two UK holiday destinations we’ve already scheduled in for 2017. First up is a trip to Kent in April and then in December we’re visiting Manchester. Not just for the Christmas market – promise! So yeah for having two weekends away sorted already!

Have you been to any of these places in the UK? Any suggestions on where I should head to first? And where are you headed this year, UK holiday wise that is?

-Fi x

Thought of the Day 104: Read a Thousand Books

Thought of the Day - Read a Thousand Books, Virginal Woolf

The more you read, the more words you have in your arsenal to use to tell your thoughts and your story to the world. Also the more you can understand other people’s stories and perspectives, and that’s exactly what we need in this world.

Also reading this from Virgina Woolf reminds me that I need to read more books written by her.

Laura xxx

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #59

Wow, what a week! Guys, it’s actually snowing in London right now, yep snow! It’s not settling or anything but it still looks so pretty as the tiny flakes fall from the sky. In fact in all honesty I think I prefer it when the snow doesn’t actually settle, as it causes less disruption. Oh god, listen to me, I’m such an adult! Anyway onto this week’s Friday favourite.

First up on the Friday favourites list is my trip to visit friends in Leeds last weekend. I had such a great time catching up and seeing everyone. It was a whirlwind of a weekend that included a little bit of everything; cocktails, pizza, home cooking, wine, YouTube, a trip to Haworth, some cheeky shopping, brunch at Bill’s, a lie-in and so much chatting. The best of everything basically.

Haworth, Bronte Country

This week I’ve not been in London at all, and I’ve completely missed it. However I have enjoyed the slight change to my morning routine, an extra hour in bed and coffee and breakfast at home has been lovely. I’m tempted to change my normal morning routine more often and see if I can give myself more time at home, rather than just rushing out the door as soon as I’m ready. We’ll see what happens when I go back to normal work mode, but it’s a possibility.

With the changes to my work schedule this week I have had ample time to do some reading. So much so that by lunchtime on Wednesday I had already read two books. Two great books I might add. In case you are wondering what they were, I’ll tell you now; Lion and One of Us is Lying. I can highly recommend both to you all.

Also on the list of Friday favourites this week Fi and I tried out a new dinner on Tuesday night, a chicken and kale noodle concoction and it was delicious. We’re making a conscious effort to cook more when we are both in on an evening and also to cook more new things rather than sticking to the same old recipes. While these same old recipes are firm favourites and will always remain that way I want to find some more easy and delicious week night dinners.

My final favourite thing of this week is actually about my weekend plans. Which are actually non existent. This weekend is one that I’ve made sure to keep totally clear so that I could get some odd jobs around the house done. The plan is to paint my new bedroom and living room shelves and re-organise everything on them. I’m really enjoying getting things around the house done and with each new tick on the to do list there’s definitely a sense of achievement.

How has the week treated you? What are your Friday favourites? Laura x

Out & About: Haworth, The Home of the Brontes

If you’ve been anywhere near my Instagram account recently then you know that over the weekend I was up in Leeds, visiting friends. The four of us meet up in Leeds at least once a year so we’re pretty familiar with city and everything that it has to offer. After cocktails and catching up on Friday night we decided to head out of the city on the Saturday. After much deliberation on where to go we ended up visiting Haworth.

Haworth is the home of the Bronte family. It’s where the troupe of writing sisters; Anne, Emily and Charlotte grew up a lived their lives. You can visit their local church and the parsonage which was their family home and you can still see the school-house where all the siblings taught over the years.

Visiting Haworth, The Home of the Brontes - Out and About - This and That Blog

We arrived at about 1 pm so our first stop was for lunch! Food is clearly the priority at all times! There were a lot of lovely little coffee shops and pubs all over the village, so we made our pick and sat down to jacket potatoes, soups and sandwiches. Once we’d eaten our fill and put the world to rights we set off to make the most of visiting Haworth.

We wandered through the streets and made our way to the church and then up to the parsonage, which is now a museum. We didn’t go into the museum but we did wander around the outside of the building and into the shop to take a little sneaky peek at everything on offer. I almost bought a couple of books as they had such gorgeous covers, but I stopped myself in time – there was no way that I needed to be carrying those home on the train.

Visiting Haworth, The Home of the Brontes - Out and About - This and That Blog

From the Parsonage we wandered back through the cobbled streets of Haworth where I couldn’t help but marvel at all the buildings. Each house or shop is made from the classic Yorkshire stone and it just makes the whole place look so pretty. Those northern house builders really knew what they were doing!

Visiting Haworth, The Home of the Brontes - Out and About - This and That Blog

We also happened to pop into a few of the shops. Guys let me tell you there are so many lovely shops that it made me sad that I was only visiting Haworth and not living there instead. There was a chocolate shop giving out delicious morsels of salted toffee and coconut oil – I stayed strong and didn’t buy any chocolate, I just tested out the samples! There was a lovely local art shop and so many gift shops. My favourite shop by quite a large margin was The Cabinet of Curiosities which was a veritable treasure trove of bath salts, vintage signs, locally made jams and phrenology heads (FYI: I’ve always wanted one of these). The fact that I manage to walk out without purchasing anything is a little bit of a miracle in all honesty!

Visiting Haworth, The Home of the Brontes - Out and About - This and That Blog

So there we go, that was how I spent a few hours visiting Haworth. Have you ever been? What are your favourite  places to visit in Yorkshire?

Laura xx

Clothes Rail: Three Watches I Wish I owned

Guys, I’m on the hunt for a new watch. Something classic and that will go with everything. Unsurprisingly there’s a load of awesome watches out there, but today I wanted to share the three watches I wish I owned. The watches that I would interchanges on a daily basis if money were no object (sadly I was not last week’s Euromillions winner – I wish!).

Watches I Want to Own - Clothes Rail - This and That Blog

 

But first up, let’s discuss my history with the watch – fun topics over here, always!

It might just be me, but as soon as I hit my late twenties I became obsessed with watches. It was as if a light bulb moment happened and I was all adulty and in need of a classic timepiece. Prior to that my watch thoughts were minimal. I had a lovely silver one from Fossil that I received on a significant birthday, my 18th maybe?) and I wore it for what I dubbed ‘special occassions’. Other than those special occassions my watch game was non-existence, I was all about my phone as a timepiece.

But with my late-twenties I became obsessed with getting a new watch every six months or so. It became a habit to browse the ASOS sale now and again and pick up a watch in the sale. There’s nothing with the watches, in fact I still use one of them regularly, but they just weren’t that exciting. Each watch was nice and cheap, maybe £15 maximum and had a simple face and a coloured strap. In hindsight I should have gone for a decent watch and not gone all magpie like every six months or so.Which is where I now am, I need to buy myself a new watch and I’m researching the hell out of this purchase – I will not regret it this time.

The three watches I’m choosing between.

Watches I Want to Own - Clothes Rail - This and That Blog

 

ASOS – £22 | Olivia Burton – £80 | Daniel Wellington – £110

The ‘Cheap-as-Chips’ Watch

This watch is the sort that past me, the person that’s not focused on the ‘Buy Less, Choose Well’ wardrobe philosophy, would have been all over – once it went into the sale of course. It’s classic, has a thing strap and would go with most things and work for work or everyday outfits. Asos’s watch game really is brilliant.

The ASOS Lifestyle Clean Dial Watch (in Rose Gold) – £22

The Not-So Expensive Watch

Quite a lot of people I know have Oliver Burton watches and they’re all gorgeous. They also seem to last for a long time battery wise, not quite so long strap wise, which is a bit annoying. But at least there are loads of new strap options, there’s nothing worse than not being able to replace a watch strap. I’m lusting over this grey and gold watch thanks to the gorgeous colour combo and the big dial – perfect.

The Olivia Burton Big Dial Watch (in Grey and Gold) – £80

The Expensive Watch

This one is the dream watch, and top of the list of watches I wish I owned. I love the black face and the fact that there are lines for all the minutes in an hour rather than any numbers. And that rose gold colour is just beautiful. I also like that the strap doesn’t look like it’d wear as quickly as the others would.

The Daniel Wellington Classic Black Cornwall Watch (in Rose Gold) – £110

So there we go, the watches I want to own. I’m going to continue pondering them all for a few weeks and then add one to my birthday list – April 12th if you’re asking! Which watch do you all prefer?

-Fi x