In the Kitchen: An Easy Winter Salad

I’m here today to share one of my all-time favourite (not to mention easiest) dinners. It’s the perfect thing to have when you’re in a ‘I should be healthier’ phase, want something quick and easy or just want something full of flavour. Honestly this meal ticks quite a few boxes, plus it’s one that can be easy adapted to what you like/have in the fridge. There’s just one condition, you have to add the smelliest cheese you can find in the world. That’s an essential!

This salad came about when we were trying to be good in the winter and eat more healthy. So limited cards, loads more veggies and protein galore. Salad was the obvious choice, but after a long day at work and with the wind and rain hammering on the windows it’s not always enough to prevent you reaching for the chocolate is it? Enter the winter salad of joy and problem solved. I defy you not to love it!

 

As with most salads its super easy to make:

* Chop up your veggies and salad. My go-to is avocado (always avocado), raw mushrooms, red pepper, spinach and tonnes of lettuce

* Next chop up 30g of really smelly stilton

* Cut a wrap into long thin strips and grill until crispy (a couple of minutes on each side)

* Cook some chicken. I use the George Foreman grill as it’s super fast and you don’t have to add any extra oil

* Bung it all into a bowl and eat.

* You can add salad dressing if you want but I don’t think it’s necessary with the strong cheese in there.

So there you go, my favourite winter salad. A scrumptious bowl of healthy food that’s just perfect for busy, cold or just lazy nights.  Enjoy.

– Fi x

All Things Fitness: Exploring Where I Live

 

 

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

When it comes to running I can get a little bit bored if I’m not running an interesting route. I need distractions. I need something to stop me from looking at the miles as they clock up. Without something interesting to look at I’m likely to run only a mile or two. So mixing up the running route is essential to me, especially when I’m half marathon training and need to up the miles each week. That’s where exploring where I live comes in.

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Recently I was back at home and we decided to mix up the running route on a crisp Sunday morning exactly for the reasons mentioned above. And what a brilliant run it was. Two hours later I’d run across the common, alongside a field of bright veggies, past the Wisley greenhouse, through Wisley itself, through muddy woods, alongside an icy river, along the canal and passed (and nosed at) many a gorgeous house. And the best part, I definitely did not feel like I’d been out and about for two hours – maybe an hour max.

 

 

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

So it’s definitely worth remembering this and breaking out of your comfort zone on a run. You never know what you might discover as you explore your surroundings. After all I had no idea John Donne had lived near where I grew up, let alone that his house (top photo) was still there. Just think what you might discover as you distract yourself and clock up the miles. Do it!

– Fi x

Life Lately: Recent Learnings

Recent Learnings - Life Lately - This and That Blog

Here are a few recent learnings from the last few days that I thought I’d share. You might find them intriguing too!

* 10 stripy jumpers/long-sleeved tops is enough for any one person to own

* Some people get confused by the words emancipated and emaciated. Yes really!

 

* New shoes, with added sparkly bits, and new (sale) jeans automatically give you more confidence. Sorry credit card

* An hour in the office before anyone else gets in is the equivalent to three hours in the afternoon. You can literally get all the things done

* Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup does work as a combination, despite my long-held reservations

 

* It’s perfectly possible to forget you’ve bought a coat if you did so right at the end of Winter and hid it away somewhere sensible

* Kale grows on a stalk. Who knew?!

 

* A swimming pool on Saturday morning is like hell. There are small people everywhere and slow swimmers in the fast lane. You need coffee to recover

* Turquoise, grey and white is a winning combination and might have to appear in any and all future homes I own

 

* I am very happy to spend 72 hours in a cottage with the sisters and I won’t get bored – the crazy sisters in question ^^^

* It’s impossible not to salivate over the recipes on How Sweet Eats. One day I will make something off the site.

* South West Trains have a sense of humour. On Valentine’s Day the signs looked a little something like the below. I also spotted Darling Dorking, Wonderful Woking, Rich (in love) mond and London Water-Love. Genius.

 

Have you made any discoveries or learnt anything new recently? Do share!

Out and About: The Everyman Cinema

There’s nothing I like more than a night at the cinema. Comfy seats, good food and becoming completely engrossed in the latest offerings from the film world. Living in London there’s plenty of cinemas to choose from; Cineworld, Odeon, Empire and Vue but they are all so boring and similar.

When I travelled in New Zealand one of the things that struck me the most was the number of independent cinemas. They are everywhere out there. There’s those with comfy sofas and late night films, others that only show old classics and we even stumbled on one that sold warm homemade cookies during the interval and where seats include an old beetle car. They are charming and fun and cheap! So so much better than what you can find in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong there are obviously some other options aside from the bog standard cinema chains. Take the Picturehouse chain for example. It’s the first cinema I’ve found that offers something different from the usual out of the box option of all those others; there’s a bar, good events and there’s one just down the road from me. Plus you can take an actual glass of wine into the screen with you! Winning at life right there! So Picturehouse easily wins best cinema in my book. Or at least it did until last month. You see that’s when I was introduced to the Everyman Cinemas and now I’m spoilt for choice!

Everyman Cinema - Out and About - This and That Blog

There are 12 different Everymans around the country, one of which is located not too far from my parents’ house. One Saturday night back in January I was visiting home for the weekend and we made the last minute decision to watch a film. With the 9 pm showing of Whiplash all booked up off we headed. The Everyman in Walton on Thames has an upstairs bar with quirky decorations; old film posters plastered on the wall, books stored in alcoves and a comfortable blue sofa hidden in a corner with it’s own typewriter. It was here that we killed time before the film started. Instead of bar food or wine we settled on coffee and cookies for a post dinner pudding and chatted away before heading back downstairs to Screen 1.

Everyman Cinema - Out and About - This and That Blog

The screen had around 10 rows of sofas and armchairs in a sumptuous red velvet. Each chair had it’s own table and even ice buckets for the wine – it’s these genius touches that give a whole new level to film watching. While waiting for the film to start we were treated to a whole host of foodie delights arriving in the room. Other viewers had ordered food to have while watching the film and the staff we delivering them straight to their seats – amazing! The pizzas looked absolutely delicious and while I’m not a fan of hot dogs, I have to admit they looked pretty darn good too. I definitely want to sample the hot food next time I go. Can you think of anything better than curling up on a sofa with some wine and pizza? Followed by a delicious ginger and chocolate cookie? Nope me neither.

Everyman Cinema - Out and About - This and That Blog

So that’s it, I am now pretty enamored with the Everyman cinema. It’s just the perfect combination of being at a cinema and being in your own living room.  I’m hoping I can persuade the powers that be that they need to open one near my new house. Would someone please put a good word in for me? Great. Thanks!

Laura xxx

 

In the Kitchen: Rice Krispy Treats (with a Twist)

Rice Krispy Treats - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

My love for rice krispy treats is fairly self-explanatory. After all what’s not to love about a food item made of caramel, marshmallow and rice krispies and that involves zero baking? You’d have to be stupid not to love them wouldn’t you? I must have eaten hundreds of these things in my life as they were always the go-to treat as a child purely because we’d always have the ingredients in the cupboard and they’re so simple to make. Well just to up the ante on these awesome snacks I recently added a twist on the recipe and I think they might be even better now. Blasphemy I know. But seriously I think it’s true!

Rice Krispy Treats - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

 

So how do you make these awesome rice krispy treats even better? Well you add a layer of marshmallow fluff and then a sprinkling of melted chocolate. Genius right?! Literally the best thing ever once everything’s set in the fridge. Insanely good if you ask me!

Rice Krispy Treats - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

  1. Weigh out 4oz of caramels, marshmallows and butter
  2. Melt in a saucepan until smooth and shiny
  3. Mix in 4oz of rice krispies until everything’s covered completely and perfectly sticky
  4. Press into a greaseproof paper lined tray
  5. Add a layer of marshmallow fluff and drizzle over melted chocolate into a pretty pattern
  6. Leave to set in the fridge for four hours
  7. EAT three in one sitting. Or one, you know it totally depends on your willpower…!

 

So tell me, have you ever pimped up a favourite snack? Tell me all about it. I love a new recipe!

– Fi x

The Book Corner: The Book Amnesty (that wasn’t)

At the start of the year I told myself that I was not allowed to buy any more books until we’ve moved house. For the simple reason that considering packing all of my current books gives me chills. To add any more books to the pile just seems absurd. I figured, how hard can it be? At the time I had no idea when the move would be happening (and still don’t) but I didn’t realise quite how hard I’d find this self-imposed book amnesty.

Not only had I spectacularly failed to notice the sheer number of amazing books that were coming out at the start of the year that I would need.{I say need because it really is one. There’s something about the way my brain is wired that means I have to get certain books as soon as they’re published}. I’d also not considered how long January is  and how much I love browsing a book shop. Do you know how hard it is to not buy books when in a bookshop? Almost impossible I tell you.

I did quite well for a while. In fact for the first three weeks I resisted all bookish temptation. And then I started noticing lovely books I needed. Like the new Jill Mansell book, Three Amazing things About You, and book two in the  Wells and Wong Mystery series by Robin Stephens, Arsenic for TeaThis series is amazing and is one that I would have loved as a nine-year old. You have to read it. It’s an Agatha Christie novel wrapped up in an Enid Blyton tale – pure bliss and the perfect Sunday read. And then there’s The Girl on a Train, Elizabeth is Missing and Deliciously Ella’s new cookbook.  Oh and Five Children on the Western Front. Seriously guys I need these books in my life. Amazingly I’ve been good and not bought any books, but as soon as the house move happens {touch wood} then all bets are most definitely off.

I have however bought some books – not physical books mind you – Kindle books are different right? I don’t have to move those so they definitely don’t need to be included in the book amnesty. Hooray for blurred lines! So what books have I bought on Kindle. Well my current read is one, Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm, which is brilliant. Then there’s two books from Harriet Evans, one of my favourite authors – A Place for Us and Not Without You. I love Harriet’s books and I can’t believe I’d forgotten to read her last book. What is wrong with me.

So whilst the book amnesty didn’t work as I still bought books, even if they’re not physical books. I did do better than I thought and definitely reduced my book consumption by a lot. Normally I’d say I buy around ten books a month, so definitely an improvement!

 

Oh and then February happened and I spied the new look Harry Potter gift edition of The Philosophers Stone and it was available for preorder… so that happened. {and I bought one for Lau too, because hello fellow Potterhead!}. So yes four books bought in one month and only one which needs to be packed? I’d call that a pretty good attempt.

Book Amnesty - Book Corner - This and That Blog

Tell me, what books have you bought so far this year. Anything I need to add to the post-amnesty book buying list?

– Fi x

Out and About: Ripley Common

A couple of weeks ago both Fi and I were at the parental abode for the weekend. As we were in the middle of half marathon training (eek!) we decided to head out on a run early Sunday morning with our Dad. The plan was to head out to Ripley and then run along the canal. Nothing like having a great running plan. Except come Sunday morning I awoke with a horrible horrible cold and sore throat thing, and the last thing I wanted to do was run for 90 minutes. Also I was pretty sure that if I tried to run for even five minutes then breathing was going to be a problem! Best laid plans of mice and men hey! Instead I opted to head with the running pair to Ripley and have a wander around Ripley common and through the woods. Thereby getting some fresh air and exercise without actually doing myself any damage.

During my little wander I took a few snaps to share with you all.
Ripley Common - Out and About - This and That Blog

 

the runners running

Ripley Common - Out and About - This and That Blog

this sign made me giggle!

Ripley Common - Out and About - This and That Blog

silver birches

Ripley Common - Out and About - This and That Blog

dream house

 

I’d forgotten just how lovely Ripley is. I remember playing here all the time when I was younger, but I just don’t get back that much anymore. They also have a fantastic bonfire and fireworks display in November – or at least they used to. I’m definitely going to try and catch that again this year.

I can highly recommend getting out and having a wander through undiscovered areas around where you live. Especially early on a Sunday. Yes, a lazy day is great, but there’s something special about being up early before other people and trampling around in the cold. Plus it makes the cooked breakfast afterwards even better!

Laura xx

Smiley Happy Things: My Top 10 of Now

My Top 10 of Now…

– Organising and clearing out my wardrobe. After a very productive Saturday morning I have a completely reorganised wardrobe. I’ve found clothing I forgot I owned and I’ve finally found my Coca Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ t-shirt – it’s a month late, but at least I’ve rediscovered it before next Christmas! Also there are now two bin bags full or clothes and bags ready to go to the local charity shop. Next on my list of things to tackle is the shoes.

smiley happy things - top 10 of now - This and That Blog

– How cute is this little owl notecard? It’s the glasses that make it for me. I found it when I was back at my parent’s house over the weekend. I was half tempted to bring it back to London with me and frame it, but then I remembered that I shouldn’t be filling my house with extra things right now, what with the impending house move {fingers crossed}.

– Rachel’s Divine Rice Pudding. This stuff is delicious. Nothing like the lumpy rice pudding from my school days.

– I’ve been listening to the Original Soundtrack of Wicked almost continuously for the past few days. I absolutely love it. I went to see the musical in January with some friends and it’s reignited my obsession with it. The musical is definitely one of my favourites.

– Right now I can’t seem to be able to stop myself from looking at clothes online. There’s so many lovely spring colours out and about right now. It’s nice to dream about colours for even a little bit. So far I’ve restrained myself and not bought anything, but considering I’ve found so many lovely things – This flamingo jumper, this spot jumper, this skirt and this dress – I’m not sure how much longer I can keep myself under control!

– Finally deciding to give Amazon Prime a try. I’m still a huge Netflix fan, but the fact that I have been able to watch the third series of Ripper Street and also have the complete series of One Tree Hill at my fingertips is hugely exciting. The perfect escape on these dark and wintry nights.

smiley happy things - top 10 of now - This and That Blog

– I’ve discovered the Everyman Cinema in Walton on Thames and I am officially in love with it. Great decor, comfy chairs and delicious coffee. Next time I will be sampling their pizza. Some of the other cinema goers had then and they looked so good. Also they have a typewriter in their bar. Enough said.

– Whiplash. Has anyone else seen this film yet? I have and I was impressed. I didn’t really have any thoughts beforehand and I probably wouldn’t have watched it if other people didn’t suggest it. Maybe that’s one of the reason I liked it, because I didn’t have any preconceived ideas.

– I’ve finally started reading Wolf Hall. Yes, I’m completely behind the time here, I know. But better late than never! It’s quite a hefty book so I’m being quite slow with it. Plus with the historical content I’m finding that I have to be in the right frame of mind to read it.

– Finally I am completely in love with this t-shirt. It just warms my Potter obsessed bones. It was a Christmas present from Fi and wearing it makes me smile. It also makes me wonder what my patronus would be. Why isn’t there a buzzfeed quiz for that?

smiley happy things - top 10 of now - This and That Blog

Laura xxx

All Things Fitness: Thoughts on the Jawbone Up

Since mid-October  I’ve been a Jawbone Up 24 advocate. Before I get into the many reasons why I love this piece of equipment let me first rewind to why I made the move to the Jawbone Up 24…

For a large part of 2014 I was being super indecisive and deliberating about getting a fitness tracker like the Fitbit or Jawbone Up. I’ve been a huge fan of fitness apps since Jan 2012 when I went on my health kick and thanks largely to the My Fitness Pal app I managed to kick bad habits and shed almost three stone in two years. But after over two years of just using My Fitness Pal I was losing my motivation and wanted to track even more of my habits, hence the desire for a new fitness tracker. The thought of focusing on my sleep, my exercise and my food really hit home and I knew it would be the extra motivation that I needed to refocus and step back on the healthier habits band wagon.

 

And boy was I right. The Up 24 is amazing and it’s made me all super geeky and focused on odd things. Thinks like the number of steps I do each day, the number of calories I eat, when I go to sleep, how deep a sleep I get each night and how long I sit stationary for each day. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s just so fascinating to have all this information at your finger tips and my sister, Dad and I spend a fair amount of time discussing our progress and trying to beat one another – yeah for the Evans family competitive streak!

I could spend hours going on and on about how awesome the Jawbone Up 24 is, but I don’t want you to be bored to death, so instead here are my favourite things about the app:

1) The app is super easy to use and the arm band sync directly with it, so whenever you check your progress on the app you know it’s as up to date as possible. As for seeing your progress it could not be easier. There are three bars, of different colours, each symbolising a different thing and they show how your day is going compared to your targets.

2) The arm band is not annoying to wear at all, in fact I’ve got to the point where I barely notice it on my wrist. Plus it can get wet so you don’t need to remove it for a shower, which is a bonus as who can remember much of anything early in the morning?

3) You can synchronise the app with other health related apps. So I can continue to log my food and drink consumption on My Fitness Pal and it’ll automatically appear on the Up24 app and on the green bar symobolising food.

The Jawbone Up - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

4) The step tracker is so fascinating! I love seeing how far I walk each day and if I’ve not hit my target my the early evening I’ll make myself pop out for a short walk or move around a lot in the flat. Just so I can hit that target, as not hitting those steps is so annoying!

5) You can set an alarm each day that works by causing the band to vibrate once, so no ridiculously lord blaring alarm early in the morning. There’s also an option that allows for the band to wake you up to 30 minutes before the alarm is due to go off as long as you’re only lightly sleeping. Which I know sounds odd, why would you want that? But when you’re woken from a lighter sleep you’re so much more awake for the rest of the day, so it’s something I’d definitely recommend!

6) You can set alerts that trigger the band to vibrate if you’ve been sat down for longer than an hour without moving – you know what it’s like when you get caught up in work. Sometimes you barely notice the time and need to move around more – that’s definitely me during the work week. So now I get an alert if I’m sat still for an hour between 8 and 4.

The Jawbone Up - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

 

The tracking screen – you can only imagine how great it feels to hit all the targets each day!

Do you have a fitness tracker, which one did you go for and why and has it met your expectations?

– Fi x

Life Rambles: Recently Pinned

I love putting together these posts as I find it interesting to see what I’ve been pinning lately.

I guess like most people I go through different pinterest phases, times when I seem to be pinning certain things more than others. Before Christmas it was all about Christmas with recipes, decorations and last minute festive DIYs (see previous posts here and here), but right now it’s all about home interiors, quotes and pretty things for me. There are pretty obvious reasons for this – or at least obvious reasons in my mind anyway. To start with I’m hoping to move house soon and therefore home interiors are bound to feature. Also it’s the beginning of the year, and the weather is miserable. Both of these things mean that I want to treat myself to new things. It’s that post Christmas slump, a time when shopping for both myself and others is always going to be a great way to perk myself up!

Recently Pinned - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

 

chalkboard globe / flipbelt / copper boxes

Harry Potter quote / sea green kitchen / square ring

DIY glasses / cushion cover / sitting room

wooden floors & white

What have you all been pinning lately? Send me your links to pinterest please, I need some new boards to follow.

Laura xxx

p.s. I’ve tried to link to the original location of the images, be it a blog or shop, rather than the versions on my Pinterest boards. Apologies if I’ve linked things incorrectly. Please contact me and I can rectify any errors.