Life Rambles: Recently in the World of Fi

I always thing Friday is a nice day to remind yourself of what you’ve been up to, so without further ado here’s what I’ve been up to through the medium of ‘ing’ words. Enjoy! And do share what you’ve been up to too!

Recently - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Listening – now that spring has sprung it only seems right that I’m all about listening to Taylor Swift at top volume. 1989 really is the perfect album for a sunshiny day. Am I right, or am I right?
Wishing – that the perfect house would just appear on the market ready for me to move into. Is it really too much to ask?
Watching – an awful lot of stuff thanks to Sky Go. One of the better things about a 50 minute commute twice a day. Also I’m in love with the new series of Game of Thrones. It’s been pretty awesome so far hasn’t it, the end scene in the first episode was so very good. Gosh I do love Jon Snow.

Recently - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Reading – Brideshead Revisited for the first time ever. I’ve not quite made up my mind about it yet. It doesn’t help that I really can’t get into it.
Buying – all the things. It’s like I’ve decided to spend all the money I’d been saving for house stuff. This week alone I’ve had to replace my purse, so I’m now the proud owner of this one here, and my bag as it finally broke. So I also now own this genius reversible bag.

Oh and then there was the day I was being a good daughter and helping my mum buy a new laptop (as you know parents have no idea what technology is) and ended up with an iPad mini. In my defence I’ve been thinking about buying it for about 6 months but I honestly had no intention to do so as I walked in the shop. This is why one should not head to PC World on a Sunday morning.

Recently - Life Rambles - This and That Blog
Eating – all the things. Being in Deal and on holiday last week meant that restraint went out the window. There was cake and fish and chips and crisps and cake and multiple coffees each day. So good. It’s okay though as it was my birthday week after all. Since being back from holiday I’ve been having a lot more fruit and vegetables. So that’s one good thing at least. Let’s not mention the M&S mini bites though…

Feeling – guilty for the lack of exercise I’ve been doing recently and for being annoyed at having no house to buy as I know in the grand scheme of things it’s a good problem to have.
Wanting – another holiday. Yes I may have been in Deal last week, but I also commuted to work for a few of the days so it wasn’t a proper week off. So a full week off is sounding pretty good right now!

Drinking – iced coffees. Hooray for sunshine.
Cooking – after a month of living with the parents and letting them cook for me (aka reverting back to being ten years old) I decided this week that I missed cooking and needed to get back in the kitchen. So this week we’ve been sharing the cooking, so far this week I’ve made a delicious spinach and chickpea curry and Lau’s been making pizzas again. So good! There really is nothing better than creating yummy food is there?
Wondering – when I’ll stop spending money on all the things and actually find a new house to buy. Just the small things.
Stressing – About finding a new house to buy! Don’t get me wrong I have no real issue being back at my parents’ house, after all they’re not too bad at the nagging, have a full fridge and I’m saving money. But at the same time I miss having my own space and being on my own time. Plus not knowing when we’re moving out is a bit of a nightmare. I just want to know how long I’m looking at for this commute and living out of one room malarkey.

Recently - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Loving – My awesome family and friends for spoiling me rotten on my birthday. They’re just the best of the best.
Wearing – Stripes, rolled up skinny jeans (showing off the thinnest part of my legs – the ankles) and pumps day after day after day. And it’s so nice to be able to say that. Also my sunglasses have made a reappearance – hooray!
Needing – more sleep. getting up at 6.30 every morning is most certainly not working for me.

Out and About : The Top 10 of Deal

Last week Fi and I were in Deal for birthday celebrations with the parents and youngest sister and it was so perfect. I don’t think I’ve been this relaxed for quite some time. While that doesn’t bode well with the start of what I’m sure will be a manic week back at work, it was thoroughly fabulous while it lasted. Plus at least batteries were recharged and lie ins were done – I can’t really complain about that!

Today I thought I’d share my Top 10 of my week in Deal so that you could all have a peak into our week in Kent.

 

The Top 10 of Deal - Out and About - This and That Blog

Colourful houses / coffee time / red pandas / Deal Castle shadows

Seaside Views. Being by the sea is so relaxing. Wandering along the beach, skimming pebbles and watching the seagulls fly by just makes my heart sign with happiness.

Wingham Wildlife Park. We spent a very sunny morning at this wildlife park situated between Deal and Canterbury. Yes, it was slightly manic with children on their Easter break but the plethora of animals certainly helped us get over that. The park even had a pair of lions who had been rescued from a circus in 2011 and who both spent the morning dozing in the sunshine looking completely chilled out. It’s a tough call but if I had to choose I think my favourite species at the park were the Red Pandas and the Snowy Owl.

Canterbury. I’d not been to Canterbury since I went with school when I was 12, so we had to drop by. We strolled through the city, visited historic sites from the days of the pilgrims, found a delicious lunch spot and managed to do some shopping too.

Deal Castle. When the place your staying has it’s own castle you have to stop by for a visit. We strolled up here on our actual birthday to get a bit of culture. It’s an amazing place, shaped like a Tudor rose which only took six months to build – yes you read that correctly, months, not years. It was commissioned by Henry VIII and his bride to be Anne of Cleaves stayed here on her arrival into England. That’s today’s history lesson all sorted!

Mid-week brunch and coffee. Obviously brunch is a must. Especially when one can enjoy a mid-week lie in beforehand! The fact that The Royal Hotel was only 2 minutes walk from our cottage, overlooked the sea and had a brunch menu, of course meant that we had to sample it all. So we did. Twice. Plus we stopped for coffee, tea and cake regularly too. Although you favourite coffee haunt was definitely Hope & Lane on the high street. Again there’s something so decadent about stopping for coffee at 11 am or 3 pm when you are normally working.

 

The Top 10 of Deal - Out and About - This and That Blog

Deal Castle & blue skies / picture perfect houses / birthday cake / Deal beach and Pier

Gorgeous houses. Deal town is full of narrow streets, winding lanes and gorgeous terraced houses. Many of which are painted different colours. It’s lovely to wander around the town and exclaim over bay windows, slanted roofs or painted shutters.

Blue Skies. The weather for our week away was gorgeous, completely not necessary, but gratefully received. Blue skies and sunshine just makes everyone so much happier.

Unplanned shopping trips (and purchases). Some days it just has to happen. I’m not sure if it was the aforementioned sunshine and the need for a summer wardrobe or what, but the shops in Deal and the surrounding areas had so many lovely things that I was just unable to resist. Both my Mum and I bought new shoes and some Joules goodies while we were away. Plus everyone managed to buy books galore in the charity shops of Deal.

Birthday cake. Birthdays would not be the same without cake made by the Mothership. It’s the only thing I really wanted for my birthday – I even had a whole conversation about her superior baking skills with a work friend! Luckily for me she made her famous chocolate cake as well as her Victoria Sponge (half strawberry and half raspberry jam). Getting two cakes on your birthday is definitely one perk of being a twin!

Games of Cluedo. The Evans family rediscovered this game recently and have taken to having games quite often. So of course this made it down to Deal with us for a couple of games nights. And I even managed to win one game. Finally!

 

Laura xx

Life Rambles: Things I Forgot About Living at Home

As I mentioned the other week (over here) I am currently commuting to London from my parents’ house. While it’s not where I planned to be at this point in my life, I do truly believe that things happen for a reason and therefore this is what needs to happen right now. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself every time I get frustrated or wish I was further along in this whole house buying process than I actually am. Anyway, enough of this depressing talk, let’s get on to the actual point of today’s blog post. Living at home. I haven’t lived at home full time for over 5 years. Yes obviously I’ve been back for Christmas or for weekend visits, but I don’t normally live at home 24/7. Being back home for the past month has reminded me of a few things I forgot about living at home.

 

Things I Forgot About Living at Home - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Image Source: Dave Robinson, Unsplash

 

A Kitchen Table. For the last 5 plus years I’ve lived in a flat which had a small table pushed into a corner. For the majority of the time this table was piled high with a sewing machine, a laptop, papers and books. So it wasn’t really used as it should be. Back at my parents house there is a huge wooden kitchen table that is always the focus at mealtimes. I had no idea how much I was missing sitting at a table with a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal and the weekend papers, until I had the opportunity to do it! This is definitely top of my list for ‘must haves’ in the new house.

A Full Fridge. This speaks for itself surely? Opening the fridge at home always puts a smile on my face and the main reason for this is because there is always so much choice! Making packed lunch salads to take to work has never been so easy. There’s bound to be at least three different types of salad leaves, heritage tomatoes, prawns, chicken, roasted vegetables and leftovers too.

A Garden. Now that it’s spring the garden is in full swing; flowers are in bloom, the grass is green and the pheasants are back. Which means sitting on the patio is the perfect way to de-stress.

Running in the Countryside. As above, there’s something so relaxing about running out of the city. My favourite running route is through my parents village and into the woods. So now that I’ve returned home indefinitely and we are experiencing these lighter evenings there are plenty of opportunities to run the route and stay calm.

So Many Laughs. My family is brilliant so living at home with them is full of fun times. There’s always something going on. Something to plan, someone to make fun of or to giggle over. Plus Beccabean will be back from university soon, which means the Evans family fun levels will be increasing by another 20%.

Sky Sports. No matter how much both Fi and I love watching sport we have always refused to pay extra to watch what’s available on Sky (unless it’s the Ryder Cup of course) so being in a house where I can watch the football, cricket, or golf at any time of day is definitely a plus point.

People to drink wine with. Hopefully this point doesn’t make me sound like an alcoholic, at least let me explain before any judging happens! Fi doesn’t really drink so if I ever opened a bottle of wine in our flat it was all mine. The perk of living with my parents means that there is normally a bottle of wine on the go and therefore I don’t have to finish it all by myself in a matter of days. Genius!

So there we go, just a few things that is making living at home not just bearable, but pretty darn fun.

Laura xx

In the Kitchen: Rainbow Spiral Biscuits

As soon as I spotted these Rainbow Spiral Biscuits over on the Sprinkle Bakes blog I knew they had to be baked for the big 21st/30th birthday party. I mean just look at them, yummy! Sadly I couldn’t get them as bright as I wanted to, but I still they look pretty awesome. They’re super simple to make, all you do is…

1) Make you usual easy biscuit recipe

2) Split into six bowls and add the whole tube of food colouring and mix until the dough has full coverage

3) Roll out each colour of dough individually between greaseproof paper

4) Use the greaseproof paper to pile the lengths of dough on top of one another (make sure you remove the greaseproof paper)

5) Roll out the whole stack of six colours until the dough is packed tightly together

6) Use the greaseproof paper on the very bottom to roll the pile up into one tight sausage shape. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.

7) Wrap the sausage of dough in cling film and pop in the freezer

8) Leave for 24 hours and then use a sharp knife dunked in hot water to slice the dough

9) Bake as usual

Rainbow Spiral Biscuits - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

All layered up!

Rainbow Spiral Biscuits - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

The frozen dough just before the cutting commenced.

Rainbow Spiral Biscuits - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

Ready to eat – yummy!

These biscuits really are a talking point and for something so visually stunning they are super easy to make. Go on, give them a go – I dare you!

– Fi x

Thought of the Day: Everything Happens

Everything Happens - Thought of the Day - This and That Blog

It’s all well and good believing that everything happens for a reason but that doesn’t really help when things aren’t going quite to plan. Sometimes I just wish things were clearer.

In the Kitchen: Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

What to do with the Easter chocolate? Now there’s a question that I don’t often hear from anyone I know. At least not normally. This year however we may have overstocked on the mini eggs. This is partly to do with the addition of a pick and mix table and also partly due to Fi being completely obsessed with them. Either way we ended up having way too many in the house – and wanting to do something with them all.

Our first though was to make up a batch (or two) of our favourite mini egg blondies but then we thought no, let’s do something different. Cue a search on the web and Pinterest and the decision to make Easter bark. Would you not do the same if you’d discovered this marvellous recipe by What Jessica Baked Next. For our version we made a few amends and it was AMAZING!

Ingredients –

Dairy Milk – 4 medium sized bars
Mini eggs – 2 small bags, some crushed, some not
Crunchie – 2 bars
Milybar buttons – 1/3 of a share bag

Method –
Melt the chocolate. We used the microwave, stopping every 30 seconds to stir.
Pour the chocolate out onto parchment paper – use a shallow brownie pan, the sides will give it shape.
Sprinkle, throw or place the toppings across the chocolate. Push the toppings into the melted chocolate slightly so that the chocolate hardens around it.
Leave in the fridge overnight before eating it all in one sitting…!

– Lau xxx

 

Life Rambles: Party Recap

Today we’re thirty years old – eek, how did that happen?! Hopefully the weather is on our side and we’re currently paddling in the sea and wandering along the promenade in Deal, where we’ll be spending the next week in bliss with family. Whilst we enjoy the glorious sunshine (perhaps if I say it enough it’ll happen?!) let’s go back in time by two weeks to reminisce about the 30th birthday celebrations with a little party recap.

The idea was to have a joint celebration with the littlest Evans sister who turned 21 in October last year. That way we could invite all the family and family friends to just one event as well as our other friends, from uni, work, etc. It was to be one day of fun times involving bubbles, BBQ and cake – basically the perfect day! And it really really was the perfect day, we all had so much fun. Granted the day sped by and we barely saw each other but on the plus side we got to natter away to our favourite people (some of who came as far as Cardiff, Newcastle and Leeds – awesome people) and thankfully there was no rain. There was no sun either but hey ho, what can you do! I won’t bore you with a play by play, but here are some of my highlights in photo form!

^^Because every party needs washi tape cake labels!^^

^^ special rainbow biscuits – recipe and instructions coming soon ^^

^^photo booth props^^

Cakes, cakes and more cakes…

Embarrassing pictures – of course!

^^ Music station, don’t worry the neighbours were invited! ^^

Inside the tent: bunting, cushions, fairy lights, fire pit, comfy chairs. Check.

Practising for the photo booth (note: Mum and Dad can’t ever be serious!)

Paper chains, cake and good friends. What more could we need?

Alcohol had nothing to do with these two pictures, I don’t know what you mean…

 

The pick ‘n’ mix station – best. thing. ever.

21 today well 6 months ago!

Party Recap - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Classic Dad!

Party Recap - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Chevron paper straws obviously had to make an appearance!

Life Rambles: The Truth About Commuting

For the past few weeks I have been unexpectedly commuting from the Surrey countryside into Central London. It’s something I did for over two years when I was first out of university, so to be back doing this journey again has me reminiscing. It’s funny how much I had forgotten about commuting.

Charles Forerunner, Unsplash

Me Time. I get 50 minutes twice a day for uninterrupted me time. Yes I have to first zone out the crowded carriage around me, but once that’s done it’s all about me. I can read. I can sleep. Or catch up on tv that I’ve missed – seriously one episode of Scandal or Blue Bloods fits perfectly into my daily commute.

People Watching. My total guilty pleasure. Remarkably the time goes by very quickly on the train. I’m pretty sure the main reason for this is because I’m so busy watching all the other passengers.

The Scenery. Along with watching people on the train there’s also the opportunity to look out the window. Until you’re on a train you don’t realise what a great view of other people’s gardens you have. And being naturally nosy I am all over that!

Routines. Isn’t it funny how people stand at the same place on the platform, sit on the same seat and get grumpy if anyone gets in their way? Never mind how they react if the train stops for slightly too long at a station!

The Rudeness of Strangers. Purposely ignoring a pregnant lady and making her stand up. Not cool people. This is exactly why we have ‘baby of board’ badges, yet my fellow commuters seem to be happy to keep their eyes lowered and hide away, letting someone else be the considerate stranger.

I think that’s it. Have I missed anything do you think?

Laura xxx

Thought of the Day: Today I will

 

Whether it’s aiming for something big or small, let’s aim to make something magical happen everyday. Maybe it won’t always end up working, but going into the day aiming to create magical things has to be a step in the right direction, yes? Positivity breeds positivity so believing awesome things will happen has to work. Magic can appear in the form of a task completed, plans started, a belly laugh or a simple smile, so let’s remember that magical things can be anything and everything and aim to make magic everyday.