Life Rambles: October’s Smiley Happy Things

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!

Embracing Autumn big time today and making an epic butternut squash pasta. All sorts of delicious!

A photo posted by Fi Evans (@fievans) on

 

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.

Fi xx

Found Love. Now What?

All Things Fitness: Night Fright Run

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!

Laura xx

Life Rambles: Lately

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.

Needing… Sleep.

Wearing… Jumpers and boots. Warm pajamas and fluffy socks.

Noticing… The colours of Autumn. The kindness (and rudeness) of strangers.

Feeling… Impatient.

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.

Bookmarking… Design Love Fest – I’m loving their Dress Your Tech blog posts. I have the best looking desktop background right now.

Snacking… M&Ms.

Hearing… Ed Sheeran’s latest album is on repeat right now. Also I heard my first Christmas song when I was out shopping the other day.

Laura xxxx

Getting Crafty: Knit and Natter

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?

Laura xxx

Life Rambles: Raised Differently

The above is something that I do on a regular basis when going about my day. Whether it’s when being bumped into on the tube, when in meetings with obnoxious and arrogant people or just browsing through my Twitter feed. People can be rude. People can be judgemental. People can be horrible. People can think that your business is their business. People can think that they are always right.

And all of these things stress me out and make me angry. So angry that I could be rude, I could be judgemental and I could be horrible. But I wasn’t raised to act that way, so I try to rise above these moments of stupidity. But to be honest sometimes it’s so damn hard and all I want to do is to snap at the horrid person, this person who thinks their needs/space/day is more important than mine. But I don’t. I try to remember that they aren’t me and they have different priorities and maybe they wouldn’t even care what I had to say. Maybe they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Saying something back won’t get me anywhere. So I rise above, like I was raised to do, and I hope that karma will kick in for both of us.

What about you, how do you handle rude, angry, nasty people?

***Sorry for the moan but this week has involved far too many inconsiderate idiots on the tube who believe their journey is more important than mine.***

 

The Book Corner: The Harry Potter Tag

Earlier in the year I read about this tag over here on The Book Journal – I love Jennie’s book blog fyi. Ever since then I’ve had the questions in a draft post, ready to be answered. Well I’ve finally been productive and completed the post, so here it is…

Which book is your favourite?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s always been this book and it always will be. I think it’s probably because we get introduced to some many important people in this book – Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew.

Which film is your favourite?

Deathly Hallows, both parts. I think the film version of book 7 was really well done. It’s just a fantastic way to end an epic series.

Which book is your least favourite?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Although I now know how important this book is, I’m still not really a fan.

Which film is your least favourite?

Probably films one and two. They were just too safe, too magical and too Hollywood for the story they were telling.

Which part of the books or films made you cry?

Sirius falling through the veil. It’s so well done in the book, but the film? That’s a whole new level, the acting by Daniel Radcliffe and David Thewlis is unbelievable.

When Harry trashes Dumbledore’s office.

Cedric’s death.

Dobby’s death.

Arthur getting injured.

Molly’s reaction to the boggart in Grimmauld Place

The list goes on and on.

If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?

Ronald. Obviously.

Who is your favourite character?

Hermione Granger. Smart, Loyal, Just, Brave. I want to be her when I grow up.

Who is your least favourite character?

Dolores Umbridge. I despise that woman.

What is your favourite line?

I’m a girl that loves quotes so this is an extremely tough question. Right now it’s the one below, but this will change again soon.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore

What would your patronus be?

Ooh good question, I always thing it should have some sort of meaning, but I’m not sure what mine would be. so I’m going to say some sort of bird.

If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or Elder Wand, which would you choose?

Invisibility Cloak. I think that’s the less dangerous of them all. Plus the invisibility bit of it sounds fun!

Which house would you be in?

According to Pottermore I’m a Hufflepuff.

If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

 Maggie Smith. I think she’s amazing, a living legend.

If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?

I think a beater. I’m always very aware of everything that’s going on around me so I think it’s perfect. Plus it would be the perfect way to work off some rage!

Were you happy with the ending?

Yes, and no. I think every time you read a book you like to plan the ending – or at least I do. And that’s exactly how I was here, so yes there are things that I would change, but that’s not for me to do.

How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

This series is epic, it formed such a huge part of my childhood and it taught me so much. People who think this is just another kid’s book are so wrong. It’s so so much more than this.

Has anyone else done this tag yet? Send me your links if you have as I’m always always happy to chat Potter.

– Laura

p.s. I borrowed Fi’s Gryffindor scarf for the background in these pictures. I’m planning to purchase a Hufflepuff scarf for myself when I next visit the Happy Potter studio tour(in November!).

Out and About: The Peak District

For the past three years the youngest Evans sibling has been studying in Sheffield. This means that every October the rest of the Evans family have made the trip up to visit for birthday adventures, because any birthday must involve family. It’s the law. At least in our family anyway!

In previous years we have explored Sheffield and Bakewell so this time we opted to go a little further south and stay near Matlock. We found a holiday cottage in the middle of nowhere and we were set.

There were no big plans for the weekend, it was a take it as it comes moment. The only thing we got slightly organised about was the presents and the Hummingbird Bakery cake – after all you’re only 21 once.

The rest of the weekend involved long walks, bananagrams, champagne, a lovely dinner out, lie ins, cooked breakfast, walks around the reservoir, cake, arcade games, Chatsworth House, vintage furniture shops and road trips.

 

The awesome cottage decor included this saddle!

 

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Birthday celebrations are happening today. That cake needs to be in my tummy now.

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– Laura xx

Travel Tuesday

Clothes Rail: What we wore to party like it was 1954

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The most prefect of venues for last night’s 60th birthday celebrations. #nationaltrust #partytime

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As we nattered about over here it was recently the parental units 60th birthday and they decided to celebrate in style with an amazing party at Clandon Park, a beautiful National Trust property. As you can see from the below they did a brilliant job organising the party, with lots of little details and personal touches, all within the purple theme – there were old pictures of everyone on the walls, beautiful planters filled with purple flowers and old school songs on the disco [there’s a chance I squealed when Ain’t No Mountain High Enough came on!] and a brilliant magician on hand to dazzle and amaze us all. It was truly brilliant to be surrounded by so many lovely friends and family as we munched on yummy food, made the parental units (well Mum) cry in our speech and danced the night away.

 

But enough of what the party was like, what did we wear I hear you cry!? Well after much deliberation we settled on the below…

Fi – shoes / Asos // dress / Coast // cardigan / Primark // earrings / Accessorize

Lau – shoes / from Primark // skirt / Oasis // grey camisole / Oasis (similar) // cardigan / Monsoon (although Lau picked it up for £4 in a charity shop!) //necklace / Accessorize // earrings / Accessorize

We were pretty pleased with our outfits and both got lots of compliments, which is always nice (as did Becca – the tall skinny one next to us!). Also we were able to dance all night without being uncomfortable, a sign of a good outfit don’t you think? What about you, what would you wear for such an event?

– Fi xx

In the Kitchen: An Unbeatable Mac and Cheese

I’m  just going to put it out there and say that this recipe for Mac and Cheese is the best recipe you will find. It would be impossible to beat it. And no I’m not even slightly kidding. It’s PHENOMENALLY good and just perfect for the upcoming cooler evenings and lazy Sundays on the sofa (that’s not just me right?).

pre-oven mac & cheese

Growing up we weren’t a big Mac and Cheese family – in face I don’t think I really ate it. I had images of it being all gloopy and rubbery so wasn’t really that fussed. The one experience related to Mac and Cheese that I remember was when I was travelling and for an entire week in San Francisco those little pots of microwaveable Mac and Cheese was all I ate. That sort of put me off it, unsurprisingly. However a few years ago my Dad discovered a recipe for Mac and Cheese that added mushrooms and artichoke hearts and a layer of tomatoes on top. Ever since that day we’ve never looked back. When the need for a comforting dish arises, this is the one. It’s the perfect item for hangovers, lazy Sundays, evenings with friends or big dinner parties – never underestimate the power of adding unusual items to a pasta bake to make people think you’ve made something extraordinary!

  • Cook your macaroni so it’s a little al dente
  • Make a big old vat of cheese sauce (don’t forget lots of ground pepper needs to be added)
  • Fry your mushrooms and cook your broccoli
  • Drain the artichoke hearts
  • Add a third of the macaroni to an ovenproof dish and throw in some of the veggies
  • Add a quarter of the sauce and mix it all together in the dish
  • Repeat twice and then pour the remainder of the sauce over the top
  • Layer the top with a sprinkle of grated cheese and sliced tomatoes
  • Bake for 45 minutes on a medium heat
  • Devour it ALL in one sitting

So tell me, what are your best autumnal comfort foods? What must I try next? Also do you ever add extra things to your mac & cheese – have I missed anything that tastes amazing? Please send me your combo suggestions!

– Fi x

Life Rambles: The Autumn Tag

The other day I spotted the Autumn tag over on Jennie’s lovely blog and knew I’d have to give it a whirl asap. After all I love Autumn and I love a tag post. So let’s dive into all things autumnal and discuss the best season ever!

1 – Okay, we’re talking coffee. What is your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero? Ooh this is a tricky one as I generally love all the red cup drinks from Starbucks. You can keep all the Costa and Cafe Nero ones – yucky coffee alert! I do love a Starbucks mint hot chocolate but I suppose that’s not really seasonal as you can get that all year. So I’ll go with my most recent Starbucks red cup favourite: The Praline Mocha. It was like drinking melted Guylian (or Gillian if you’re an Evans) chocolates. Bliss.

2 – Accessories – What do you opt for – boots, scarf, gloves? I always have everything I can possibly have, although I like to slowly introduce each item so that I can stay warm as it gets colder. So right now I’m in boots and I’ve got a thin scarf with my leather jacket and I guess in a month or so I’ll switch the jacket and scarf for wool versions of each and then throw the gloves on too. By December the bright pink woolly bobble hat will have made an appearance ready to take me through the end of Autumn and in to Winter. You can’t beat a few woolly accessories.

image from Unsplash

3 – Music – What do you love to listen to during the Autumn? To be honest my music doesn’t differ due to the season, although of course by mid October (so this week) it’s okay to get the Christmas songs on. But apart from that it’s a year round soundtrack of Taylor Swift, Aretha Franklin, One Republic, Ed Sheeran, Paramore, Lady Antebellum, 30 Seconds to Mars and a whole lot more.

4 – Perfume – what’s your favourite scent at this time of the year? I love the Daisy set of perfumes, so I’ll start wearing the black and gold bottle one soon (I have no idea what it’s called that’s how little I care about perfume).

5 – Candles – which scents will you be burning this season? We’ve just got a new Apple Blossom scented candle which is delicious and I’m really enjoying burning – although of course it’s not very autumnal! It just smells like the outdoors which is amazing right now with the dark sky outside. I’ve also got a bright orange autumn scented one that’s just begging to be started, but I’m holding off on that for a little bit as I know it’ll go so quickly as soon as I smell the gorgeous scent.

6 – What do you love most about Autumn? Ooh so many things, which are perfectly summed up in Sunny Sweet Pea’s recent post Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile. I love the fresh crisp air, buying a new coat and boots, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, the bonfire parties, the beautiful frosty mornings, bundling up in layers, the excuse of snuggling on the sofa with a good book, log fires, warming stews, jumping in muddy puddles, being chilly, stomping in the woods, the sound of the rain on the windows, adding marshmallows to hot drinks and so much more.

7 – Favourite make up look? I’m not a big make up person, in fact I don’t even wear it every day. So I don’t have a fave Autumn make up look to share with you all. Just lots and lots of lip balm and moisturiser.

8 – What are you looking forward to most during this season? Doing all the things mentioned in question 6 multiple times. Plus I also want to stomp round and explore more London parks than I have before – I’m hoping to find time to explore Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath properly this Autumn.

image from Unsplash

So tell me, what are your favourite things about Autumn? If you do the Autumn tag do share your links below, I love a nose at other people’s answers in these things! Have a great day.

Fi xx