The past two months have seen us celebrating two special birthdays; our Dad turning 60 and the youngest sibling turning 21. Yippee for them! But before we can focus solely on Christmas there’s still one more birthday that needs celebrating in the Evans household.
Today is the 60th birthday of our lovely Mum (The Mothership/Mumbles/Mumbelita/Mums) and as is tradition (can it be a tradition if you’ve only been doing it for three months…?) we get to spend today’s blog post nattering about her awesomeness – hooray!
Mum we think you’re simply the best. You…
Are an amazing role model. You managed to look after us, get us to numerous after school clubs and teach hundreds of kids without dropping any of the balls or leaving us somewhere! If in 30 odd years time I am even half like my Mum then I’ll be happy.
Have the patience of a saint. When we were younger you would sit through hours of our Lion King re-enactments, piano recitals and you’d even let us play hairdresser with you for hours on end. Even when this meant we spent hours brushing, pinning and plaiting your hair, which would then take you hours to remove the tangles and the knots and look half human again! (Best not to mention your lack of patience when it comes to being a passenger in a car though…)!
Are endlessly kind. You will help anyone, anytime & anywhere. Nothing is too much bother or hassle.
Are tremendously good at baking and makes the best sweet stuff ever; Shortbread, Victoria Sandwich, Cake Pops, Chocolate Cake, Baked Alaska, Profiteroles. The list could go on and on, my tummy is rumbling just thinking about it!
Are hilarious (even if you don’t always mean to be…)
Are one of a kind.
Put us first. All the time.
So thank you for being amazing. We love you. Enjoy your day. xxx
I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died
Your uniform, branch of service, it matters not to me
Whether Volunteer or Conscript, or how it came to be
That politicians’ failures, or some power-mad ambition
Brought you too soon to your death, in the name of any nation
You saw, you felt, you knew full well, as friend and foe were taken
By bloody death, that your life too, was forfeit and forsaken
Yet on you went and fought and died, in your close and private hell
For Mate or Pal or Regiment and memories never to tell
It was for each other, through shot and shell, the madness you endured
Side by side, through wound and pain, and comradeship assured
No family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend
Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end
We cannot know, we were not there, it’s beyond our comprehension
To know the toll that battle brings, of resolute intention
To carry on, day by day, for all you loved and hoped for
To live in peace a happy life, away from bloody war
For far too many, no long life ahead, free of struggle and pain and the gun
And we must remember the price that was paid, by each and every one
Regardless of views, opinions aside, no matter how each of us sees it
They were there and I cannot forget, even though I did not live it
I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died.
I first heard this poem a few years ago and I think it’s worth remembering today of all days as what else can you say? On a day where we remember our fallen there’s nothing you can write or read that makes this day any easier and we’ll never be able to repay every single person who died in the defense of our nation, our rights, our lives. So let us remember and in that remembering thank all those that gave their lives so we could live in peace.
On Sunday I’ll be heading to Wembley for my second NFL London match of the year and I can’t flipping wait! It’s such a brilliant sporting event and having watched the Superbowl and other American Football matches on TV for so long it’s great to finally go to an actual proper bona fide American Football game. So three cheers for NFL London being a thing – long may it continue!
I first went to an NFL match back in the autumn of 2012, when Wembley hosted just one match. Since then NFL London has got bigger and better and this year there will be three matches hosted in the UK, one in September, one in October and the last one this Sunday. I know a lot of people who just don’t ‘get’ American Football, particularly in the UK. I’m often asked a variation on the following when I mention I’m off to a match:
What, how is that even fun? Why would you even bother to go along and watch that? Isn’t it super slow?
So I thought I’d dispel some myths and share my favourite things about the NFL, so here goes…
The atmosphere: The crowd play a huge part in the game. They are there to spur the players on, by waving the complimentary flags, cheering on the cheerleaders and getting over the top, loud and crazy when needed.
It’s at Wembley Stadium: Wembley was built for a game like this. For a sport where the players feed off the crowd. The voices, shouts and songs crowd the players and echo around the stadium.
The pre-game entertainment: Anything that has an hour-long build up including fireworks, Def Leppard or Little Mix (the last two matches), cheerleaders, multiple national anthems and giant flags is going to be awesome.
The Cheerleaders themselves: they do not stop. There’s a dance for half time, the change of ends, points scored, touchdown, it’s got a bit quiet, ooh free t-shirts are coming your way. The list goes on and on. Their stamina and energy is immense. Not to mention their ability to keep warm – I don’t even understand how they aren’t ice blocks from the start!
The food: as you’d expect from an US sporting event the food is super important and there’s a lot of it! We’re talking super sized drinks, eight chicken pieces rather than the usual four and something called a mac ‘n cheese donut, which I don’t even want to know about. What even is that, deep-fried pasta, WTF?!
The game: I know I’ve put this at the end but I really can’t stress enough how much more is going on that’s not the game itself. Don’t get me wrong I love the sport itself and seeing how the team operates in an actual game playing environment – as you miss so much just watching it on the TV. I love American Football as it’s hard to know who’s going to win and what the result will be. Take the last game at Wembley a few weeks ago. One team was leading all the way through and their opponent didn’t score once until the second half. Then on the last kick the losing team won the whole match. Amazing.
In short the NFL is all about the spectacle. It’s not just about the odd-shaped ball and scoring points. There’s a whole lot more to it and I defy you not to LOVE it!
Have you ever watched the NFL? What’s your favourite part about it?
Did anyone else do that classic Halloween thing of stocking up on loads of snack size treats this weekend and then get left with it all as they had zero trick or treaters? That can’t just have been what happened to me, can it? On Sunday I made it my task to use up all the mini Twix bars and Malteaser packs we were left with and decided to make a ‘throw-it-all-in’ kind of recipe, AKA my favourite kind of recipe! And I ended up with these gorgeous looking morsel of cakey biscuity goodness, jam-packed with all sorts of yummy things. They look delicious right?
For a while now Fi and I have both been harking on about doing more of the tourist things in and around London. We’ve both become guilty of ignoring the places closes to us. Silly I know, as we are both incredibly lucky to live where we do, so we really should make the most of it.
So when my Mum and Aunt (who has been visiting from Australia) mentioned that they’d like to see the Poppies at the Tower of London, the pair of us jumped at the chance to join them.
For anyone who hasn’t heard about the poppies at the Tower,there has been an ongoing installation; Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London since August 5th to mark the one hundred years that have passed since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in World War 1. Since August ceramic poppies have been added daily to the moat. By the time Remembrance Day arrives, on 11th November, all 888,246 ceramic poppies will be in place. That’s one poppy for every British military fatality during the First World War. Yes that’s 888,246 deaths.
Standing at the Tower and looking down into the moat is utterly mesmerising. There is just a sea of red, which looks beautiful. But at the same time there’s such a sense of loss, the fact that each flower represents a life lost is certainly a powerful reminder of the tragedy of the situation. Sometimes number are too intangible, so to have a visual reminder of the numbers of people who sacrificed their lives for our future is a good thing. As we can truly see the sacrifice and fully appreciate what was done for us. Even if it is also upsetting and sobering site and realisation.
These pictures are from October, so I can only imagine what the installation will look like on the 11th November.
Happy Monday you lovely people, how did the weekend treat you? Well, I hope! I for one made the most of the rubbish weather yesterday and planted myself on the sofa with a good book and my laptop. I was totally winning at life!
Today I thought I’d hang out in the book corner for a while and share a bookish tag with you! It’s been a while since I nattered about all things books, hooray! I know Lau waffled on about her Good Reads challenge recently but the following book tag over on The Book Journal was too good an opportunity to pass up as it allowed me to think about all my favourite books and my bookish life in general! Enjoy the below and let me know if you have a go at your own bookish survey. I’d love to read them.
Author you’ve read the most books from: There are a few options… First up is Lucy Daniels and Ann M. Martin with the Animal Ark series and Babysitters Club series as I was obsessed with both of these as a child. Then there’s James Patterson, as he’s such a prolific author and I’ve read most of his books. Finally Jodi Picoult as I’ve read all but her most recent book. (Yes I have eclectic tastes in books!)
Best sequel ever: ooh tough one, I think it’ll have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as that’s the point in the series when things started to get serious and secrets began to be revealed…
Currently reading: I’ve just started Crazy as Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde. I loved The Abortionist’s Daughter, so I’m really hopeful that this book is just as good. (I’ll keep you posted!)
Drink of choice whilst reading: Anything really, it really depends where I am… On a beach it’s all about ice-cold water, snuggled up on the sofa in winter it’s a hot chocolate with marshmallows or if I’m chilling out in Starbucks it’s a latte or a Starbucks festive drink.
E-reader or physical books: Either. Nothing beats a proper physical version of a book but for ease on my commute or when I’m on holiday, and want to read loads without breaking my back, a kindle is a must. There are of course certain books that I need in book form even if I have them on kindle too – Jane Austen, Harry Potter, etc
Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school: I’d like to think Ron Weasley!
Glad you gave this book a chance: Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I wasn’t going to bother reading this series as I’ve watched the TV show but I was convinced by Lau that the books were better than the TV show and she was right – I can’t wait to get reading book #4 in the series.
Hidden gem of a book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This book is such a glorious and charming book, which delves into the lives of the people of Guernsey during the war. Definitely a must read.
Important moment in your reading life: Discovering Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a teenager and realising that ‘kid’s’ books don’t have to be just for kids. In fact they shouldn’t be just for kids. Why should adults miss out on epic stories, loyal friends and amazing worlds?
Just finished: If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This book didn’t grab me straightaway but I’m very glad I persevered as it was a great read and I can’t stop thinking about what I would do in the situation.
Kinds of books you won’t read: Horror books. Sorry, I just don’t get them and I don’t feel the need to be scared. Also misery memoirs. Not enjoyable at all.
Longest book you’ve ever read: One of the Game of Thrones books I’d assume.
Major book hangover because of:Wonder as I can’t stop thinking about just how perfect it is and what wonderful sentiments it expresses without being too annoying about it.
Number of bookcases you own: Two and their both packed with multiple layers of books
One book you’ve read multiple times: Just one! But how to choose between all the Harry Potter series, Charlotte’s Web, Persuasion, The Hunger Games, Matilda...? Fine I’ll go for Anne Frank’s Diary if I must. Such a wonderful book and one that every child should read.
Preferred place to read: Lazing on the sofa under a patchwork quilt.
Quote that you like from a book you’ve read: there are so many quotes I could use, but I’ll stick with this one as it’s just perfect.
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
– Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
Reading regret: waiting so long to read any of Jane Austen’s work. For some reason I had it in my head that I would hate these ‘school texts’. I could not have been more wrong as I discovered when I read all six books about 10 years ago. It turns out I LOVE Persuasion and it’s now one of my favourite books.
Series you’ve started and need to finish: Vampire Academy, Game of Thrones and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Three of your all-time favourite books: Charlotte’s Webb, Persuasion and Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Unapologetic fangirl over: The Harry Potter series. I’ll always be proud to be a Potterhead. Always.
Very excited for this release more than others: The upcoming Leaving Time from Jodi Picoult which is out this week – eek!
Worst bookish habits: Buying too many books. I have about 100 books on my to be read pile…eek!
X marks the spot – start at the top of your shelf and pick the 27th book: The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Your latest book purchase: For me: Mhairi McFarlane’s It’s Not Me It’s You. For others: That would be ruining seven people’s Christmas presents as I started my Christmas shopping in Waterstones yesterday…
Zzzz-snatcher book – last book that kept you up WAY too late – Daughter by Jane Shemilt. I had to finish the last 200 pages one Sunday evening. I think I finally finished it around 1am. It was totally worth it though!
So what do you think, any cross overs with your book tag list? If you’re a bookish person do check out my Good Reads profile and my 2014 challenge and do friend me. I love seeing what others are reading, after all I really need to add to my TBR pile!
So this last month has been epic and wonderful and crazy and brilliant all at once. To try to sum it up in one post as per my usual ramblings is not an easy thing and if I’m not careful I’ll go on and on and on for four pages (A4 sized of physical paper, not never-ending like the interweb’s pages). So I will try to keep it short(ish) as I discuss the things that have been awesome over the last 31 days, so here goes…
Fully embracing Autumn – yes I might have been nattering about Autumn having started in September but let’s be honest October was the true start of Autumn and I’ve been getting stuck in big time. There’s been countryside walks, lots of warming drinks, stamping in mud, butternut squash to roast and sofa snuggling with patchwork quilts. There’s still lots of Autumnal things to do though – bake Halloween biscuits, log fires, bonfire parties and so so much more. I can’t wait!
Celebrating birthday’s (old and young – but both HUGE important ones) – Bex is now 21 and we had an amazing time celebrating in the Peaks, plus she needed embarrassing on multiple social media platforms (I love the pic on the top right below). Oh and The Hummingbird Bakery made the most epic cake. Talk about scrumptious.
The parents also celebrated their birthday in October with an awesome party, which was even better than I expected it to be. It really reminded me how epic my family and our friends are and it was great to catch up with lovely old friends, some who I hadn’t seen for 15 years or so. The night was full or nattering, good food, lovely people and A LOT of dancing. Amazing. Oh and we absolutely nailed our speech – winning!
Spotty shoes – Gap have done it again with these shoes that I nabbed in the sale. They are super comfy, look lovely and go with all the things. Well done Gap.
Playing London tour guide – It’s no secret that I adore the wonderful city I live in, so getting to play tour guide around the sites of London is one of my favourite things. Just last week I got to do just this with The Mothership and my Auntie Liz who came up for the day. We saw the London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster, Whitehall and Downing Street, went on a River Cruise and saw the beautiful poppies within the Tower of London’s moat. Have you seen them yet? They are absolutely stunning and the sentiment is absolutely wonderful. You must visit them.
Treating myself – to little things, like a £4 watch in the Asos sale, and bigger things too – my brand new Jawbone Up24. Sometimes you need to remind yourself why you do your job. To enjoy life and treat yourself to stuff you want rather than just need.
Getting excited for Christmas – yes I know it’s two months away but it’s never too soon to start planning and preparing for the greatest time of the year. I’ve started to think about the cards I’ll make this year and I’ve started a list of presents to buy other people. The Christmas jumpers are now out and the reindeer pjs are being worn. Plus I’ve got Christmas bedding from Primark which is on the bed and I love. So no, it’s never too soon for Christmas – I don’t care what the Scrooges out there say. And if Covent Garden have their GIANT Christmas balls up then it really must be Christmas – right?
Funny Family selfies – When there’s a family gathering you can bet the family selfies will occur. And this month was no different. Love them!
Running – I’ve been saying for ages that I will get back into running and this month I’ve been able to. I’ve had more willpower, mainly due to the race I had at the end of the month. I’ve also been reading a brilliant book, Running Like a Girl, which may have had me sobbing on the tube with emotion but was also a brilliant read and reminded me the joy that achieving something at running can bring. So maybe that’s helped, but whatever the reason I’ve loved getting out to pound the pavements and I’ve begun to enjoy running again. I’d forgotten how nice it is to feel yourself getting fitter and knowing you can make it to the next mile.
Lovely family – I love that I can go without seeing family members for years and then I see them and it’s like no time has passed at all. That’s what it’s been like this past few weeks with my Auntie Liz, who I’ve not seen for two years. It’s been lovely to just pick up where we left off and to be nattering away over cake like it’s something we do every week. What bliss! It was also the same last weekend when we visited my Mum’s auntie who I haven’t seen for a good six years or so. It was just the same as it’s always been and I’m reminded of how lovely and wonderful she is. I really need to ensure time doesn’t go by so fast and that I see them both more often.
So what have you been up to over the last month and what have you been truly happy and thankful for? Let me know in the comments below. Oh and make sure you hop on over to Belinda’s blog to see all the other lovely people linking up for the Life is Good link up.
I’m not sure if you know it but it’s been a while since either of us have taken part in an organised running event, we did at least 3 events last year. But this year we are only at 2. The last one we both took part in was the London BUPA 10k back in May. We’ve both been talking about signing up to a race for sometime but have both been pretty useless about getting organised. That is until I received an email into my inbox on Oct 17th from AAT Events about their next organised run – The Night Fright 8.5km. I immediately sent this onto both Fi and my Dad and they were totally up for it too. Yippee for that! The event itself was billed as a night run through the Chantries woodlands in Surrey with fancy dress and spooks on route. So head torches and Halloween accessories were found and one week later we were at the start line race.
We started off at 6pm so it was still slightly light as we headed into the woods, but dusk soon settled in and we were running in darkness. Now I run at night a lot in London, but London running and woodland running is totally different. It was quite tricky to see where I was going and I’m actually surprised I didn’t fall over. There was lots of tripping over tree roots and sinking into mud as the light from the head torches was just not bright enough. Plus I was having to move my head in different directions depending on what I wanted to see; down to see my feet and avoid roots and mud or up and ahead to see the route. It’s surprisingly tricky doing this and it actually takes a lot of concentration. And actually you may see a tree root, but you’ve got absolutely no way of knowing how far off the ground it is.
I’ve not walked or run the Chantries before which is ridiculous as they are so close to where I grew up so it was great to explore a little bit. I’m definitely going to head back again for some walks in the daylight as I’m pretty sure there’s some stunning views. At one point we climbed a mahoosive hill – 15 minutes of climbing at 1:4 (walking, not running) – which was incredibly painful but at the top we had a lovely view of (what I think was) Shere, all lit up.
In all honesty I wasn’t entirely impressed with the organisation of the event, which is surprising as the Surrey Half back in March was organised by the same group and was perfect. But in this race there were a couple of issue. To start with the electronic timing seemed non-existent – we didn’t have chips attached to us at all so I don’t know how they were able to produce our finish times. But the worst thing, in my mind, was the lack of race marshals at important points. There seemed to be plenty of people at the start and finish, but no one in the middle of the race, we we got a little lost at one point as the arrows directing us were so hard to find in the dark. They were black arrows on neon yellow backgrounds, but when you’re in the depths of the wood with only a headlight to guide you it was incredibly hard to see them. Yes, some may have had a glowstick stuck to them, but actually these weren’t entirely useful.
I think aside from these little glitches it was a fun race to do. I have my time for this 8.5k as 80 minutes. At first I thought this was incredibly slow, but once I reminded myself of the 15 minutes hill climb, the sand paths and the lack of marshals in the darkness I realise how well I did. If I had known it was going to be as tough as it was I probably wouldn’t have signed up, which would have been a shame as it was a great night and tremendous fun. And I certainly earned my Chinese food at the end of it!
It’s nearly November (how has that happened?), so I think it’s time for a life catch up. So lately I’ve been…
Reading… I gave up on Will Grayson, Will Grayson and instead I’ve immersed myself in The Hit by David Baldacci. I will go back to WG, WG but I’m just not in the mood for it right now.
Coveting… all the sweets in Hope and Greenwood (see pic above).
Learning… To run again. It’s been too long since I’ve pushed myself in terms of running. I’ve been sticking to my normal pace and distance for too long, so now I’m getting out of my comfort zone again and going that little bit further, or faster (or both).
Making… I’ve got knitting plans at the moment. I’m not sure what I’m actually going to knit, but something will be made.
Planning… Weekends away in November. Christmas meals and ice skating fun for December.
Cooking… Blondies, pasta bakes and mug cakes.
Drinking... Wine. Coffee.
Looking… For the perfect winter coat.
Playing… In the Autumn leaves in the park.
Deciding… To enjoy the little things and not stress the big things.
Wishing… Certain things would/could happen sooner.
Enjoying… Family time. Alone time. Sofa days.
Waiting… For all the things to happen. For Winter to come. For people to make up their minds.
Considering… Christmas shopping.
Watching… All the US TV; How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds.
Wearing… Jumpers and boots. Warm pajamas and fluffy socks.
Noticing… The colours of Autumn. The kindness (and rudeness) of strangers.
Admiring… The poppies at the Tower of London and remembering the sacrifices made for us.
Sorting… Out my life, my flat, my wardrobe. Life is all about the admin at the moment!
Buying… Last minute Halloween things for a running costume. A few bits (this & this) in the ASOS sale. Two Christmas presents.
Once again it’s turned to Autumn and I’m behind on my knitting. I do this every year, I have such big plans, and then suddenly it’s Autumn and that scarf or the pair of gloves are only complete in my mind, not in the actual physical sense.
Despite this I am still buying wool. What is with that? I picked up four balls of wool the other weekend just because I liked the colour. Completely crazy as I have absolutely no idea what I am going to knit them into, nor a clue of when I’m actually going to start knitting when I do make up my mind.
To help me on my decision-making way I’ve been pinning wooliness galore over on Pinterest. It’s an adiction, it can’t be helped. Anyway I thought I’d take the time to share a few creations that are on my knitting radar at the moment.
Are these mittens not the most perfectly warm things you have ever seen? It bet my fingers would be awfully toasty in these. Plus the Scandinavian pattern just screams Christmas to me – I’m so obsessed I just can’t help it!
As a self-confessed Potterhead (see this post) I have always wanted a proper scarf. So the fact that I found a pattern for a Hogwarts scarf? Totally exciting. I’m a proud Hufflepuff so I’ll be making mine in a yellow and black colourway, so that it looks more like the one above from the WB Studio Tour shop.
I’m totally in love with the scalloped bag by Katie Canavan. It’s the perfect thing to protect a laptop or iPad. I’m still debating which collars to use, do I stick with these or try something different. A gradual change of one colour maybe?
And finally how cosy does this super chunky blanket look? I actually want this wrapped around me right now please. You can buy the pattern from the shop here (ErinBlacksDesigns) and it’s only £3.49. A total bargain if you ask me. One day I want to be able to knit something so fabulous. This, Netflix and hot drinks – is what this blogger’s winter dreams are made of.
Tell me what’s everyone else knitting at the moment? Any pieces I have to knit next?
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