Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #83

First up on my favourites list this week is a work project. Yeah, sorry I’m going to talk about my day job. But this week has been the launch week of a big project, one that I’ve been working on for the best part of a year, so the fact that it’s finally reached this week is a bit of a miracle. Honestly I didn’t think it would ever happened. Anyway it’s been super crazy this week because of it, but hooray that it’s here finally.

Number two on the favourites list is baking. I spent Wednesday night whipping up some fairy cakes for a birthday. I went with my favourite chocolate cake recipe and topped them with vanilla frosting and maltesers. Simple and delicious. I may have scoffed two of these on Wednesday night, just for taste testing purposes of course!

A post shared by Laura Evans (@lau_evs) on

Next up I wanted to mention Baby Driver, a film I watched on Sunday. If I’m honest I really didn’t want to watch this film. But my sisters and I wanted to have a cake and cinema catch up and this was the only film that worked. Fi and Becca were both up for it, so I figured I’d just go along and see what it was all about. Anyway I was very pleased I did, as the film was excellent. Very stylised, with an epic soundtrack and it just gripped me in a totally unexpected way. Which is why it’s on the favourites list this week. I’d say if you’re in any doubt about watching it, then definitely go for it.

Next let’s talk about my Tuesday night, it was a pretty excellent one all round. First up I met some of my favourite people for dinner. Which consisted of a trip to Bill’s for gin and food. I went for the open club sandwich off their pre-theatre menu and it was so good. The perfect early supper treat. We then preceded to do ALL the talking before heading home as train buddies. We were definitely those annoying people in the 4 people seats, laughing loudly and talking super fast! Now this would clearly make the favourites list for this week all by itself, and it does. 

But I also want to share one more thing from that night. You see I was super early to our catch up so busied myself by pursuing the nearby shops. Well I only went and found a pair of shoes that I have been lusting after for ages. These are them. Anyway I pondered over buying them for a while and then decided that I should just bite the bullet and go for it. Because if you find the perfect shoes, they must be purchased ASAP. That’s totally the rule, right? Plus I had a voucher, so I would not be paying full price. Well do you know what, I don’t know why I worried so much, because I got to the till and it turns out my voucher covered almost all of the cost. I had to pay 55p; 50p for the shoes and 5p for a carrier bag. I don’t know why I even thought about it!

friday-favourites-list

The final thing on this week’s favourites list is ice cream. Who’s making the most of working in central London, surrounded by all of the eateries? Me, that’s who! This week I popped out at lunch for a sneaky ice cream treat and it was one of my best ideas ever. I wandered into Bloomsbury for a cone with two scoops; chocolate peanut butter and stracciatella and I am seriously happy with my life choices right now. 

How has your week been? Have you had lots of adventures, or foodie treats too?

Thought of the Day #107: Curious About Ideas

be curious

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.

Marie Curie

This quote was on my desk calendar for the month of August and as soon as I read it, I loved it. Now I don’t know what Marie Curie was trying to say, but I’m taking this to be about focusing on ideas, rather than what people are doing. Thanks to gossip magazines and social media we are constantly surrounded by news about people. We have a celebrity culture to deal with. Let’s try and ignore this and focus on thoughts, and ideas, and learning about things.

Lately I’ve taken to ignoring twitter and the free papers on my commute and instead I’m reading. I’m trying to understand other points of view and all of the ideas and theories that are out there. Just because I’m not at school or university anymore doesn’t mean I can’t learn something new now.

All Things Fitness: Fitness Update Week Three

Fitness Update Week Three - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Hello team, how are we all today? I’m utterly exhausted, that’ll teach me to have such a fun weekend! Seriously though there’s something about a monday that leaves me exhausted. Probably something to do with no longer being able to snack when I want or laze around in my pjs I suppose… Anyway let’s get down to why we’re here – it’s time for fitness update week three! Let’s go!

Fitness Update Week Three: Exercise

  • *So this week I managed to do every day of my training plan, plus an extra day of swimming – go me!
  • *And what’s better I’m really enjoying it, well apart from the second run of the week that is. I hated every moment of it. Some things never change I suppose!
  • *So my exercise week looks a bit like this:
    • *Monday: 40 minute/3.7 mile run
    • *Tuesday: 30 minute stationery cycle
    • *Thursday: 30 minute/2.4 mile run
    • *Friday: 30 minute swim (40 lengths)
    • *Sunday: 45 minute/4 mile run
  • *Step wise I still didn’t manage to do 10,000 steps on my non-training days. But I will get there soon, maybe during week four…?
  • *Total steps – 67,000

Fitness Update Week Three: Food

  • *This week I didn’t buy any breakfast or lunch items until Friday – which never happens. So thats’s a mini success, right there.
  • *And at least on my buying breakfast day I opted for porridge and not a croissant, so that’s another gold star for me.
  • *In other news, snacking news to be precise, I have only snacked on bad things a couple of days this week. Otherwise it’s been sultanas and fruit or pitta chips.

Fitness Update Week Three: Results

  • *So in big news, I’ve lost a pound, whoop! Who doesn’t love a bit of positive reinforcement?
  • *In regards to last week’s goals…I definitely did better on the snacking. Now to sustain it!
  • *In the fitness goal, that seems to be working so far. I still haven’t completed a full week of exercise or 10,000 steps every day, but it’s getting closer each week. And that’s what counts I suppose

Fitness Update Week Three: Goals for next week

  • *This week’s food goal is to up my fruit and veg intake, to a minimum of five a day. I know it’s good for me, I know it makes me feel fuller for longer and yet i still don’t do it. So that needs to change!
  • *Fitness wise I’m determined to hit seven days of at least 30 minutes exercise of 10,000 steps this week. I can do this!

So there we go, week three’s fitness update is a go. Wish me luck for the next seven days!

-Fi x

The Book Corner: Fi’s July Reads

Fi's July Reads - The Book Corner - This and That Blog

It’s that time again, my montly book update is here! I had a much slower reading month in July and read just five books. But I did manage to tick off a few books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages, like Sarah J Maas’ latest series and The Underground Railroad, so that’s pretty good. Read on to see what I read and what I thought of those five July reads…

July Reads: Book One – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I’m a huge fan of Sarah J Maas. So it’ll come as no surprise for you to discover that I adored the first book in her new series. A Court of Thorns and Roses has everything that her Throne of Glass series has – feisty heroines, intriguing love interests, dark secrets and creepy monsters all wrapped up in a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This is a must-read. You will devour it in one sitting. I guarantee it.

 July Reads: Book TwoThe Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

There’s been an awful lot of buzz about this book over the last year, in fact it was one of the biggest fiction releases of last year. Which I found surprising as I didn’t really enjoy it. It felt overly long and like you didn’t quite get to know enough about all the characters. It’s the tale of one cul-de-sac in a small town in England back in the 70s and how everyone reacts when a woman goes missing one day. We discover the secrets and lies cloaking the road and follow two young girls as they try and solve the mysterious disappearance. It’s interesting but I’m not sure the hype is warranted.

July Reads: Book ThreeOne of us is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us is Lying is a really pacy read following five kids – the jock, the geek, the misfit, the bad boy and the queen bee – who all go into detention one afternoon and one of them dies. The rest of the kids are suspected in the mysterious death as they were int he room when it happens. The story is told from the perspective of all the kids, each one taking a chapter each, and as the story unfolds secrets are revealed, alliances changed and reality questioned. The twist is perhaps a little obvious but that doesn’t stop this book being a good read.

Fi's July Reads - The Book Corner - This and That Blog

July Reads: Book FourThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This book is incredible and 100% deserves all the praise that’s being sent its way. It tells the story of one girl’s experience as a slave in the southern states of America in 19th century and what happens when she decides to flee. So far it’s won or been nominated in every major book award. So it’s fair to say I expected a lot. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. This book is sensitively told, utterly fascinating and completely enthralling. From page one I was rooting for Cora and invested in her story. It’s storytelling at its best.

July Reads: Book FiveThe Fandom by Anna Day

Imagine you were suddenly transported into your favourite book or film and became the heroine. Would you do what needed to be done to ensure the story ended how it needed. To ensure good trumps over evil? No matter what the cost? That’s the question Violet must ask herself as she’s transported into an alternate universe, that of her favourite book and film The Gallows Dance  thanks to a freak accident while at ComicCon. Can she hold it together long enough to ensure the survival of herself and her friends? And what happens when she falls for the other guy and not the main hero?
The Fandom has such an interesting premise, and understandably one that’s gone down well with me and every other bookish person I know who’s read it. As for the storytelling, it’s brilliant. The world Day has created is immersive, the characters realistic and flawed and the storytelling it page-turning. I defy you not to be hooked on chapter one!
So there we go, my five July reads. Now, tell me, how was your reading month? What books did you love, which did you hate and have you read any of the books I read this month?
-Fi x

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #82

Happy Friday team, how is everyone today? I’m sat on the sofa watching all the Netflix as I eat a delicious brownie. So life is pretty good right now. And that’s item one on my Friday favourites list for today. Having the afternoon off and completely relaxing. What a joy!

Next on the favourites list is lovely bookish events. This week included a day at YALC surrounded by fellow teen book fans and it was a delight. Yeah it was full on, working 9 – 6 at a convention will do that to you. But it was joyful to be talking all things brilliant books all day. ALso exciting this week was bookish event two, the lovely launch for The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens. For this launch, in my favourites London bookshop, there was an art gallery, pop tarts and multi coloured cupcakes. Basically the best book event ever!

Friday Favourites - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

In other exciting news, this week the Lunabean turned two! She of course could not have cared less about it but it was nice to take a moment and celebrate this gorgeous little pup. It’s hard to believe she’s so young, considering how important she is to all of us.

Monday was all about treating myself, which clearly has to be on this week’s favourite list. Sometimes a haircut, pedicure and time to yourself to read is just what you need.

Finally, rounding up the favourites list we have catching up with family. My aunt and uncle are over from Australia at the moment and on Saturday we caught up with them for lunch, nattering and cake. It was so nice to natter about all the things. Family really is the best.

So tell me, how was your week? What would make your own favourites list?

-Fi x

All Things Fitness: Fitness Update Week Two

Fitness Update Week Two - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

So it’s time to chat all things fitness, as we dive into fitness update week two. That last week has gone by far too quickly! So did I find week two easier or harder than week one…?

Fitness Update week two: Exercise

So yet again I only managed four days of exercising this week, oops. I thought I’d done better than that. This is week one of my half marathon training plan so it was always going to be a bit of a test – plus it does tend to take me time to get into the swing of things. I’m still not sure that’s a good enough excuse for not doing the big run on Sunday or for not meeting one of my goals (getting 10,000 steps in on non-training days) though. But oh well. At least I upped my total steps this week though, and by 10,000 that’s something, right? In conclusion: I must try harder.
* Monday – Swim. 40 lengths in 32 minutes
* Tuesday – Run. 2.5 miles in 31 minutes
* Thursday – Run. 2.6 miles in 33 minutes
* Sunday – 12,000 steps
* Total Steps – 69,000

Fitness Update week two: Food

* I’ve been quite good at planning and prepping food for the working week over the last week. Every evening I’ve created an epic salad and breakfast at home. Ready to take to work in one of the many Tupperware pots cluttering up the house. Four of my days were catered for in this way.
* Breakfasts consisted of this delicious peanut butter overnight oats recipe or porridge with banana. While my epic salads have included hog roast sausage rolls, houmous, roasted veg, cooked chicken and artichoke hearts. Such a delicious combination of things to chuck into one big bowl!
* As for dinners, again, they’ve mainly been homemade – chicken tarragon sweet potatoes, meatballs and a homemade tomato sauce and prawns and noodles to name a few dishes.
* Of course there have been some not so good days, like Domino’s on Monday night and thai on Friday. And over the weekend a lot of snacking as I was working at a convention. But all the fruit and the meal prep that I did manage has certainly helped balance out the bad stuff.

Fitness Update Week Two - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Fitness Update week two: Results

* I’ve stayed the same weight wise this week, which I’m pleased with considering the snacking and two takeaways!
* I’m also still enjoying the running and it was good to get back to swimming last week two.
* As for my goals from last week, well I failed at number one. I definitely did not exercise everyday. Oops. I was clearly too ambitious on that one.
* Snacking wise I was really good mostly. During the week at work I kept to good things like sultanas and malt loaf or a filter coffee and not a milky coffee. There were a couple of Percy Pigs in there, but only one or two, now and again, not twenty every day of the week. So a definite improvement.

Fitness Update week two: Goals for the next week

* The big thing this week is to make sure I stick to my half marathon training plan. After missing the big run last week on the Sunday due to work, I have to keep up the training. This is a must. I do also want to do 10,000 steps on all the days I’m not exercising too. That should be a minimum for me.
* Food wise I’m not really setting any goals other than to continue to eat good snacks and not bad ones. Fingers crossed!

Fi xxx

Thought of the Day #106: Truths

With today’s thought of the day I’m sharing a little bit of Star Wars wisdom.

thought-of-the-day

Here’s what I think this quote means; your truth, what you believe, isn’t going to be the same as everyone else’s truths. We are all different people, with different experiences of life, and therefore we are never going to agree with, or believe in, the same things. And these differences are what make us great, because imagine if we were all the same, there’d be cookie cutter robots wandering around doing everything in exactly the same way. What a boring life that would be. 

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #81

It’s Friday! Hooray that the weekend is almost upon us! Although boo that next week is August! HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN! Let’s try and glide past that before we panic about where the year is going and start buying Christmas presents….{Although yay for Christmas!}. And instead let’s take a peek at my Friday favourites list for the last week of July.
First up on this Friday favourites list is that my half marathon training has officially started now. You may think that I am crazy to include this onto my favourites list but I promise I have actually enjoyed this first week of training. I’ve managed three runs and two swims which puts me completely on track for the week. The long run this weekend is only meant to be 40 minutes, so I don’t think I’ll have any problems with ticking that one off. I am slightly worried that if I start off well it could then all go downhill. But fingers crossed that isn’t the case. I’m going to be raising money for BookTrust, you can read more about why this is such a great cause (and also sponsor me if you want) over here.
Next on the favourites list is catching up with the parents and puppy last weekend. We had an unexpected visit from them on Sunday which involved a run with Dad, dog sitting and gardening with Mum, and then lunch and a natter. Sometimes those unplanned and last minute catch ups are the best. Plus last minute puppy snuggles are everything. I managed to snap this photo of the Lunabean as she climbed onto my lap for cuddles just like some sort of cat.
Aside from running and swimming this week there has been a lot of eating! I’ve had a couple of great catch ups with friends. Firstly on Monday night, where we ate pizza and put the world to rights before falling down a YouTube rabbit hole for a good couple of hours. I honestly don’t know how I do it! Then on Wednesday lunchtime I caught up with my lovely work ladies and spent the hour laughing and talking about all the things. Considering we are in the same building for eight hours a day, five days a week we really don’t have the opportunity to get together that often, so when we do it’s always good fun.
Oh and continuing on the food theme is the fact that I had afternoon tea at the end of last week with a friend who is visiting from the US. We had such a wonderful catch up over lashings of tea and all of the scones and cakes. Bliss!
The final thing for my favourites list involves what I’ve been listening to. I’ve rediscovered the Hamilton Mixtape and I’ve been catching up on Desert Island Discs too. Both of which have helped my working day and the commute fly by. Sue Perkins’ DID was absolutely fascinating, I just love her voice and I could listen to her speak forever.
I hope you all have a good weekend planned. I for one have excellent plans to spend time with my family who are over from Australia. There will also be a run too, because this is my life now. Have a good one.
Laura xx

In the Kitchen: Aubergine Bake

What’s this? A recipe post?

Yes, it’s been a while.

In my defense, not that I need a defense as it’s my blog so I can write what I want. But anyway it’s been hot and warm, and cooking has been the last think on my mind. I’ve been all about the salads and sandwiches and stir fries instead of slaving over a hot stove. But then a couple of weeks ago I had cravings for my Dad’s aubergine parmigiana. His aubergine bake is one of my favourite meals and I suddenly decided that I NEEDED to eat it ASAP. This also coincided with a friend visiting. So I quickly decided to hunt for an aubergine bake recipe and pair that with homemade breaded chicken. These two plus a fresh salad make for a simple and easy evening meal with old friends.

What you need: 2 large aubergines / 2 garlic cloves / 2 tins of chopped tomatoes / 2 tbsp tomato puree / torn basil leaves / 100g grated parmesan

What to do:

For the sauce: Heat some oil in a pan and then fry the crushed garlic cloves. After a couple of minutes add in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Then add the tomato puree and turn to a low heat and let the sauce simmer for a little longer.

For the aubergines: Slice the aubergine into strips – I made mine quite thick as I was cooking them in the George Foreman grill, so they needed to be at least half an inch thick to reach both sides of the pan. Brush both sides of the aubergine with oil and then cook them in the griddle pan (or George Foreman). You want them to be cooked through with those fabulously dark griddle marks on them. I found this took about 5 minutes in the GF grill, so it would be twice as long if you were using a pan.

Now compile the bake: Spread tomato over the bottom of the dish and then place a layer the aubergines along the bottom. Next add sauce, some torn basil leaves and a sprinkle of cheese and then repeat starting with the aubergine. Once you’ve done your last layer of aubergine top with the remaining sauce and the sprinkle with the cheese.

I like to leave the bake to rest for a couple of hours, ideally 24 hours – if you can wait that long! And then bake in a preheated over at 200C for about 25 minutes – or until the top is bubbling and the cheese is looking all goey and golden. 

As my Dad doesn’t have a recipe written down (and because I still haven’t picked his brain for his recipe) I went online and found this aubergine bake recipe instead. So this one formed the base for my own yummy version. BBC GoodFood has all the best recipes.

-Laura xx

All Things Fitness: Fitness Update, Week One

Fitness Update, Week One - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

So here we are, it’s time for my fitness update, week one. Eek! So it’s not technically been a full week since I wrote my first post, all about creating better habits, so this won’t be a full post. Not least because I took very few photos. Oops! So please bear with me through all the text and very few pretty pictures! Anyway, let’s dive in to week one of the fitness update!

Fitness Update, Week One: Exercise

I only managed four moments of exercise this week, for some reason I had a bit of a moment mid-week. I just couldn’t get out of bed early enough to swim or run pre-work and then had plans in the evening, so it just didn’t happen. Oops, but four out of seven days isn’t bad for week one.

  • *Monday – Post-work run. 2.5m in 30 minutes
  • *Tuesday – Pre-work swim. 38 lengths in 30 minutes
  • *Friday – Walk through London. 75 minutes
  • *Sunday – Morning run. 4.5 miles in 57 minutes
  • *Total Steps – 59,000

Fitness Update, Week One - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Fitness Update, Week One: Food

Most of this week I’ve been good food wise, especially during the work week.

  • *Firstly breakfast wise I had either granola, yogurt and fruit from home or M&S’s Bircher Muesli for breakfast everyday this week. At the weekend it was cereal or toast, so not too bad at all.
  • *For lunches it’s mostly been all about the homemade salads, packed full of fresh veg, lettuce and chicken bits. I’ve also been adding M&S’s empanadas into the salads or guac or even half a mini pork pie to the lunch boxes so that it bulks it up a little bit. So yummy!
  • *Over the weekend lunches have been either fresh bread and ham and a Costco Sushi platter for lunch. Again, yummy!
  • *On Friday I had the most amazing afternoon tea for mu lunch and I’ve not stopped dreaming about it ever since. It was incredible, with the most yummy sandwiches, melt-in-the-mouth scones and cute little cakes.
  • *For dinners this week we’ve been adding extra veggies to everything and we’ve pretty much made everything from scratch. From our butternut squash and bean chilli (so delicious) and meatballs and pasta with a homemade tomato sauce to chicken and sweet potato fajitas and homemade salmon carbonara (my new fave pasta combo).
  • *There have been a couple of nights where I’ve been out, so I’d say the pulled pork burger wasn’t quite on the good side of the balance but it was on an exercise day. So there’s that balance coming in to play!

This thing that’s been my real downfall this week has been the snacks. While I’ve had two or three days of no snacks or extra coffees when at work, which is good. I’ve then not been quite so good when I’ve been at home. There’s definitely been too many biscuits or crisps, so I need to work on that big time.

Fitness Update, Week One - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Fitness Update, Week One: Results
  • *There’s been no weight loss this week, but then I’m not surprised as like I said I only really did it properly for half a week. But on the plus side – no weight gain either!
  • *One other good thing, I’ve definitely enjoyed feeling stronger on my runs so that’s something.
Fitness Update, Week One: Goals for the next week

I’m setting myself two goals for the next week, fingers crossed I can manage both things…

  • *First up I want to do exercise every day this week. I’m working over the weekend too, so that might make it extra tricky, but I’m determined to make it happen – even if it’s just 10,000 steps every day!
  • *Cut the bad snacking. This one is key as it’s so not something I’m good at. My go-to snacks are chocolate or crisps, so let’s make it all about the fruit or the treat-size chocolate bars (and stopping at one).

So there we go, that’s fitness update, week one done! Roll on week two – I’ve got this! Although, having said that, any helpful suggestions for me?

-Fi x