In the Kitchen: Five Minute Ginger Chicken

Five Minute Ginger Chicken - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

I feel that quick and easy are fast becoming my go-tos when it comes to cooking. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy or maybe it’s just that after a long day at work I don’t want to be faffing around too much in the kitchen. Especially when I’m also prepping lunch and breakfast for the next day at the same time. What can I say trying to save money by prepping meals from scratch is really quite a faff. But what’re you gonna do, hey?! Anyway, onto the point of today’s post – my current super easy go to recipe: a simple five minute ginger chicken!

Five Minute Ginger Chicken: The Ingredients

230g egg noodles | 2 tbsp oil | 2 chicken breasts cut into thin strips | an inch of ginger, peeled and chopped | 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced | 2tsp five spice | 3 spring onions | 2 dashes soy sauce | 2tbsp runny honey | handful fresh coriander |  1/2 a lemon | salt and pepper

Five Minute Ginger Chicken: The Method

Cook the noodles in boiling water as per the instructions | Fry the chicken strips, the ginger and the chilli in the hot oil | Add the five spice and toss in the pan | Once the chicken is cooked add the spring onions, soy sauce and honey | Drain the noodles and add to the chicken, tossing everything together | Sprinkle with coriander and lemon |Serve and enjoy!

This recipe for five minute ginger chicken is from Jamie’s Dinners: The Essential Cookbook and makes enough for two people. I’m so pleased I rediscovered it recently. After all it ticks all the boxes: healthy, yummy, simple, delicious and easy to make. Who doesn’t love a recipe that takes less than five minutes, plus a bit of prep? Tell me, what’s your favourite quick and easy recipe, do share it with me below.

-Fi x

Life Rambles: Top Tips For Getting Stuff Done

Top Tips For Getting Stuff Done - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Today’s post is full of my top tips for getting stuff done when things get busy. Well not just busy, but next level busy. Our next month is going to be next level busy. So far in the mix we’ve got: me getting to grips with a new job, Lau being slammed with work, two weekends away (Paris and Manchester here we come) and a weekend full of plans with friends. On top of that I’m hoping to do most of my Christmas shopping in November, plus making a few pressies, see lots of friends before the Christmas craziness begins and you know also have time for some relaxing too.

Knowing me this busy time will mean that I don’t get round to doing all the normal life stuff that’s essential. For my life running smoothly but also for my well being. You know like the life admin and the exercise. When things get busy I become a ridiculous procrastinator and can’t do anything but veg on the sofa. But I’ve got too much to do over the coming weeks to let that happen so here are my top tips for getting stuff done. These top tips will be key to me over the coming weeks – I just have to use them!

Schedule Everything In

This one is key! At the start of each week I’m going to schedule in time for exercise, for chores and for various life admin tasks. Sometimes I’ll be able to block in a three hour session for getting stuff done and other times it’ll just be 30 minutes over my lunch break but I know that scheduling the time in is the only way that these things will get done. Plus if I schedule the time in then it’s an event that I’ve signed up to and have to actively not do. So it’ll be harder to forego doing it. Or at least that’s the hope.

Meal Planning

While I won’t be in much over the coming weeks, when I am I really need to make food and not give in to Just Eat or microwaveable means from the new M&S in Stretham. So therefore meal planning is going to be integral. I’ll do it on a weekly basis and keep it simple recipe wise. I’m thinking jackets and chilli or soup and toasties rather than anything more extravagant. If you have any easy, fail-safe recipes then send them my way.

Make a List

The only way I’ll get anything done is if I know what needs to be done. So tonight I’ll be making my list of life admin and other things that needs doing over the coming month. So far I’ve got the following things on my list: pay my credit card, transfer to my savings, find a hotel for Manchester, write my Christmas list, send my friend’s birthday present, write some blog posts, schedule in tweets, sign up for the new work pension plan. Oh. My. God. I’ve got all the things to do. Send help!


Once my list is written I’m going to be numbering them all in order of priority. That way I won’t be tempted to leave the harder/longer tasks until the end of the month. I know myself too well. Hence the need for these top tips after all!

Say no

By this I mean I need to say no to things that I either don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. I’m so bad at this normally but I think I need to embrace it this month. Not only because of my stupidly long to do list but also for my sanity!

So there we go, my top tips for getting stuff done. Fingers crossed these top tips help me over the following weeks! Oh and if you have any of your own top tips for getting stuff done then please do send them my way. I think I’m going to need all the help I can get!

-Fi x

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #92

Happy Friday team and how are you all doing? I’m not going to lie I’m exhausted this week, I put that down to the fact that I started my new job this week. Who knew that going back to fully concentrating after a week off would be *quite* so exhausting. Spoiler: not me! I’m sure exhaustion wasn’t helped by a week of fun things – but you know life is for living after all! Anyway, let’s dive into today’ Friday Favourites list…

<> So that’s number one on today’s favourites list – starting my new job! Like I said it’s been super busy and exhausting, but it’s also been interesting, inspiring and fun. Plus everyone’s lovely, which makes the wrench from my old team easier to deal with.

<> Over the weekend I filled our fireplace with all the candles and pumpkins and it’s giving me life right now. It’s so lovely how something so simple can make you so happy. Yeah for warm snuggly things.

Friday Favourites - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

<> In other exciting news I’ve been on a really good reading run recently – helped in no small part by the fact that I recently had a week off. I tried to stick to more autumnal reads and really enjoyed matching my read to the season. So if you’re interested in doing something similar I can highly recommend both The Bear and the Nightingale, The Dollmaker of Krakow and Witch Wood.

<> This autumn I’m determined to be outside and enjoying this gorgeous season as much as possible. So of course that means puppy walks, because the addition of a puppy is the only thing that could make autumn better. We had a family puppy walk at the weekend in Morden Hall Park and it was as glorious as I hoped.

Friday Favourites - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

<> Item five on today’s favourites list is some recent new additions to my wardrobe. Basically a result of my week 0ff – I couldn’t stop myself from buying some lovely things I’ve had my eye on since my autumn wishlist post. After much deliberation I went with the ‘you’re smashing it!’ striped top and book shelf dress, both from Joanie. They are basically the dream in terms of fit, style and comfort. I cannot recommend them enough!

<> We ended up at the new Duck and Waffle location this week and it’s possibly my new favourite restaurant. The food was delicious, the location ideal and it also had space for a walk in on a Wednesday. You can’t ask for more than that! Having never had the legendary Duck and Waffle dish of confit duck leg, fried egg, waffle and maple syrup I of course had to go for that. It’s legendary for a reason FYI. I followed a waffle main up with a waffle pudding topped with caramelised banana and hazelnuts, chocolate sauce and ice cream. It was the dream. Duck and Waffle Local it’s just off Piccadilly if you’re tempted to give it a whirl!

Friday Favourites - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

<> I’ve decided I’d quite like it if I had me as a godmother. The reason for this? The Halloween treats that I’ve just sent off to my goddaughter and her siblings. I bundled up a Halloween themed read, stickers and chocolates for the older two and a Halloween book for the eight month old. Fingers crossed they like them!

Friday Favourites - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

<> Rounding off the list is an early night and Netflix in bed. Is there anything better when you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed with life? I think not. I’m making my way through Code Black at the moment and it’s just the perfect mix of mindless and engrossing. Just what you need when you’re exhausted!

So there we go, my favourites list for the week. Tell me, what would be on yours?

-Fi x


The Book Corner: Recent Reads 2017, Part 5

Today’s recent reads post marks the reading of fifty books in my GoodReads challenge. I’ve been doing the GoodReads challenge for a few years now and I really enjoy it. Yes I like the achievement but I also like the record of what I’m reading, and the way that I think about books now. I used to always finish whatever book I was reading, I would never stop halfway through. But with this challenge I’ve realised that life is too short to continue read something that you’re not enjoying. There are so many wonderful books out there, books that will take you on an adventure and challenge the way you think. Those are the books that I want to be reading. So now if I come across a book that I’m not into then, as long as I’ve given it a chance, I’ll give up on it. This has happened to me a few times this year and I’ve embraced it. Who knows I may one day go back to those books and finish them, but for now they can sit on my couldn’t finish shelf.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

I had very high expectations for this book, as I remember it being a highly talked about book a couple of months ago. And I think that is probably the issue here, I was expecting too much, and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s a psychological thriller, but it really didn’t work for me, it was a little too much I think. That being said do give it a go if that’s your sort of thing.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Next up on my recent reads list is the first in a series of seven(!) by Lucinda Riley. This one has been on my Kindle for a while and it seemed like the perfect gentle read after the events of Behind Closed Doors. Seven Sisters focuses on Maia D’Apliese as she gathers with her five sisters at their family home after the death of their adopted father. From there we follow Maia on her hunt for her biological family. We visit Paris and Rio de Janiero in the late 1920s to learn the story of her heritage. It’s a great read and a wonderful tale that weaves through history. The remaining books in the series follow the other sisters in their own journeys to discover who they are.


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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

This is book three in the Red Queen series and a grieving Mare is being kept prisoner by Maven. Meanwhile the red rebellion is regrouping and preparing to fight. This is another epic tale from Aveyard and it had me wishing to have book four in my possession. If you’re looking for a YA novel with adventure, superpowers and war then this is the series for you.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz

I spotted the next book in The Millennium series in the airport on my way to Faro, so of course I had to purchase. I’m a huge fan of this series and Lisabeth Salander as a character. We need more characters like her with an unshakeable search for truth and justice, and without a need to please people. As with the other books I raced through this one in no time at all. It’s my favourite kind of beach read. I don’t want to say too much more here, as I don’t want to ruin anything if you haven’t read The Hornet’s Nest. But basically go read that and then this and then we can talk about what happened and why I’m a little heartbroken….

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Following along on the YA theme of King’s Cage is another epic YA series with a powerful female lead. With this book we are well into the series now and I can’t explain how excellent this series is. I would absolutely love them to create a TV series of this as I think it would work so well on screen. I firmly believe that if the main protagonist in this book was male, instead of female, then the series would be far more lauded than it is. Honestly the level of storytelling puts it way above something like Game of Thrones, and we all know how obsessed everyone is by that book series and show.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Before this book I’d only read Matt Haig’s Christmas books, because I’m a Christmas book person! That’s not to say that I haven’t wanted to read others, I’ve just not gotten around to it.

Anyway, How to Stop Time was another airport purchase. Yes, I took my Kindle and two other books with me and I then bought two more at the airport. That’s just how I roll! How to Stop Time follows history teacher Tom who seems to be your average 41 year old. Except he’s actually been alive for centuries, from witch hunts to befriending Shakespeare and playing the piano in 1920s Paris. Tom tries not to fall in love and tries to keep his secret, all while searching for someone he lost a long time ago. I thought this was a beautiful book, and I implore you to read it. I’m definitely planning to read more from Matt Haig, so look out for his other books in future recent reads posts.


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Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

This book completely deserves the hype that it’s getting. It’s a children’s book about Morrigan Crow, a cursed girl who is set to die on her eleventh birthday. But then just before her birthday Morrigan meets the mysterious Jasper North who whisks her away to Nevermoor. Adventure awaits as she competes to enter the mysterious Wundrous Society. This book is chocked full of magic, mystery, suspense and adventure. Jessica Townsend has created an enchanting world of magic and I cannot wait to read the rest of this series.

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris

Anotine Leiris’s wife died at the terror attack on the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. This book is how he coped with that tragedy, it’s really a long essay that takes us through that time and shares how he coped. It’s an unforgettable memoir that shows one man’s response to hate.

The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

So this is book two of The Seven Sisters series that I mentioned near the beginning of this very long recent reads post! The Storm Sister follows the same timeline as book one but follows Ally, Maia’s younger sister. Ally’s search for her family takes her to Norway and to the history of one of Norway’s most famous composers. Just like The Seven Sisters this one weaves wonderfully through history to create a fascinating story and a gripping read.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This is a classic who dunnit set on the Orient Express. A murder takes place overnight while the train is in the middle of a snowdrift. This is possibly/probably my favourite Poirot book of all time. The characters, the story, the setting, the big reveal, I loved it all. It’s so clever! There’s a film version of this one coming soon so I’m excited to see how this works on the big screen. Plus the cast list is amazing. As always I am reminded just how much I love Christie’s writing, I will read all of her stories one day.


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Nomad by James Swallow

This is book one in what I know is going to become one of my favourite series. It’s a dark twisty thriller set in the world of government agencies and counter intelligence. Marc Dane is a MI6 field agent who survives an attack during an operation. Suddenly he’s on the run, trying to prove his innocence and attempting to stop an attack on a major city. He gets help from Lucy, a member of the mysterious Rubicon Group, and it becomes a fast-paced hunt to find the truth. This is exactly the kind of thriller I love. It reminded me a little of I am Pilgrim with all the different paths, and people that the book encounters. If you are a fan of those sorts of books then you must add it to your TBR pile.

If You Tell Me to Come, I’ll Drop Everything, Just Tell Me to Come by Albert Espinosa

This book had been sat on my desk for a few weeks, when I finished Nomad and needed something thin to take with me on my commute one evening. Basically I was meeting people for dinner and I knew I’d be early, so a new book was needed. But I didn’t want anything too big. One because I’d have to carry it! But also because I wanted to get started on The Midnight Peacock as soon as possible!

Anyway, cue this one from Albert Espinosa making its way onto my recent reads list. It opens with Dani’s girlfriend leaving him, and him receiving a phone call about a missing child. Dani has spent his life searching for missing children so is soon on his way to Capri to help the distraught father. The trip to Capri also starts to stir up memories from Dani’s own childhood. This book is very different to anything else I read. And I think that’s why I liked it. The way the story weaves from the present day to Dani’s past is really well done, and each chapter seems to move seamlessly into the next. I also like the chapter names as it gives a glimpse into what’s to come in that section.

The Midnight Peacock (Book Four in The Sinclair’s Mysteries series) by Katherine Woodfine

So my final recent reads for this post is The Midnight Peacock which is the final book in The Sinclair’s Mysteries. Set in Georgian London we follow detectives Sophie and Lil as they solve mysteries surrounding their workplace; Sinclair’s department store. I mentioned this in my last Friday Favourites post, which tells you how much I love it. This series is just wonderful. It’s the sort of thing I would have absolutely loved to read when I was younger. I mean I love it now, but it would have been magical to read it as an eight or nine year old! Anyway the way this book wrapped up the mystery of the midnight peacock and the overarching mystery of the four books is perfect. I really can’t sing its praises enough. My only issue is that it’s now all over!


Phew! That’s a lot of recent reads for me over the last two months. I guess that’s what happens when you have a week in Portugal. Followed by Autumn hitting and suddenly snuggly sofa evenings are the best way to pass the time. Tell me about your recent reads. Do you have any recommendations for me? As always you can keep up to date with my what I’m reading over at GoodReads here. Also catch up on previous 2017 recent reads posts at the following links (post one, post two, post three and post four).

Laura xx

Life Rambles: Current Favourites on Netflix

I think we can all agree that Autumn is here in full force. I checked by looking out of the window and all the trees are orange or red, there are leaves everywhere and it’s incredibly overcast at only 1pm. So yeah, hi Autumn. About time you arrived! Oh my previous Autumn bucket list post I talked about all the things I had planned for Autumn – one of which was sofa time, and a lot of it! After all Autumn is the perfect time to snuggle on the sofa with a blanket and hot chocolate for a few hours. And while I still want to tick off my Harry Potter rewatch, as discussed, I also want to use Autumn to power through some of my current favourites on Netflix. And hopefully develop a few more favourites.

Current Favourites on Netflix - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

So if you’ve got the same plans here are a few current favourites on Netflix to inspire you. I swear these shows really can’t be beaten and will be perfect for some lovely Autumn sofa snuggle time.


The besties were down at the weekend and we watched three episodes in a twelve hour period. Since then I’ve watched another five. So I think it’s safe to say I’m so on board with this show! Here’s the premise: A time machine has been stolen and a mysterious criminal is going back in time to change history. So our three heroes – a historian, a scientist and a soldier – are tasked with following him back in time to stop historical events from being changed. As even the smallest change in history can have catastrophic results.

So far the team have visited the Alamo, the Apollo landing and the day of Lincoln’s assassination. I can’t comment on much of the historical accuracy as I don’t have the knowledge. But the show is fascinating and has the perfect mix of peril, intrigue and comedy. The dynamic between the trio is perfect and the unanswered questions about which side is really the evil one adds a good level of second guessing and has you needing to watch the next episode!


I admit I was sceptical about this one, after all I’m in my 30s should I really be interesting in a comic book adaptation set in a high school with a jock, a bad boy, the preppy perfect girl and the new rich kid? Well I’m glad I gave it a chance as Riverdale is way more than a teen show. It’s a brilliant written mystery show with a real dark side. I genuinely care about what’s going on and I’m intrigued to see what’s going to happen next. Series two opened really well and just when you thought things were going one way they’re not. So if you’re looking for a show about real friendship but set in a dark and twisty town where you can’t trust any of the adults, then this is the show for you.

North and South

I’m a huge fan of this BBC adaptation of one of my favourite books. In fact it’s one of my favourite BBC adaptations ever. Everything about it is perfect. So it’s no surprise that it’s defintiely a Netflix favourite and one I think has to be watched at this time of year! It’s so true to the book, the casting is perfect and the story is wonderful. Plus the four episodes are perfectly weighted – there’s enough time for the story to develop and for each episode to be good in and of itself. No episode is a set up for the next one. They’re all full of meaty story, great characterisation and the most wonderful, and realistic, love story. If you’ve not watched it, do.

Designated Survivor

So yes this is a show about Kiefer Sutherland becoming president when the Capitol is blown up during the President’s State of the Union speech. On paper it sounds weird right, Kiefer Sutherland AKA Jack Bauer as president? But it totally works having him saving the world behind a desk rather than out in the world with a gun and with the clock against him. The show has a great cast, including the magnificent Maggie Q as the lead investigater on who bombed the Capitol. The show is full of twists and turns. But perhaps my favourite part is that it focuses on the idea of becoming President without seeking it. So how do you deal with the power and does it actually make you the best person for the job? So worth a watch!

The Good Place

A recent discovery for me, despite it being a few series’ in. The premise for this show is that Kristen Bell’s character, Eleanor, wakes up in the afterlife to find that she’s arrived in the ‘Good Place’ the part of the after life when the most morally and the best humans end up. The only problem is she wasn’t so morally good in her own life and her existence in the good place keeps ruining things for everyone. Cue giraffes destroying things, a tornado, and much worse. The show is about her learning to be ‘good’ while also investigating why things are going wrong. All without anyone finding out she’s in the wrong place. It’s really good fun and hilarious. Plus with only 2o minute episodes it’s the perfect no-brainer after a busy day at work or a sleepless night. I highly recommend it!

There we go, my five current favourites on Netflix. I do also want to give Mindhunter a whirl as that looks super intriguing. We’ve also watched a couple of episodes of Power, which I’m enjoying. I do need to watch a few more before it’s a definite favourite. I think it’s got potential though!

What are your current favourites on Netflix, anything I need to add to the list for this Autumn? Send me your suggestions!

-Fi x

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #91

Greetings one and all. Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a good week? I for one feel like I have finally recovered from my half marathon race. It no longer hurts when I move and I don’t cry at the sight of stairs anymore. So that’s good! As for this week there have been a whole host of wonderful things worth talking about. So grab a coffee and settle down to read about my highlights from this week.

<>Brunch at The Railway Tea Rooms is always a favourite and Saturday’s visit was no exception. Fi and I had visitors for the weekend and they all arrived in time for brunch o’clock. I went for my ‘usual’; flat white and a vegetarian breakfast bap with added bacon (I like the veggie patty, but also BACON). We sat outside and did all the talking. Plus we wanted the tiny toddlers practice their french and waddle around the courtyard.


<>I finished The Midnight Peacock this week. It’s the fourth and final book in the Sinclair’s Mysteries series and it’s a wonderful end to the collection.

<> On Wednesday night Fi and I made salmon faijtas for dinner. So good! We even remembered to pick up soured cream so we were totally winning that night. It’s been a highlight of my week since!


<>The next highlight to talk about is a night at the theatre on Saturday. After feasting at Wahaca my friends and I he headed into the National Theatre to Jane Eyre. Yes, this is the second time that I have watched this, and yes it’s just as good as I remember. Unfortunately we had irritating people sitting behind us who talked through practically the whole thing. But even that couldn’t dampen our glee at the brilliance of the play.

<> I read the following quote in Homegoing (which is my current read) earlier this week and I wanted to share it here. The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position. 

<> Food again! I discovered a new favourite eatery near my office. On the Bab is a Korean street food place and the food is absolutely delicious. I opted for fried chicken on the buns and apart from a bit too much kimchi it was so good. I’m already thinking about heading there again soon.

<> And finally I started a new Netflix series this week and I am utterly hooked. Has anyone else watched Timeless? Not only is there time travel, but it’s stuffed full of mystery, lots of laughs and also all the interesting history to learn (and understand).

So there we have it. A list of highlights from my week. Looking back it’s been quite a good one I think. Who knew!

Laura xx

Life Rambles: Making the Most of Autumn


Now that we are officially in autumn I am trying to make the most of it, basically I’m attempting to reach peak levels of autumn each day. You see I’m a fan of all four of the seasons we get to experience in the UK. To me each have their own special moments. From the balmy long days of summer, to the new life that spring brings. The dark winter nights that are made for curling up under a blanket with a good book or the cooler bright days of autumn. Every season has its own uniqueness that is totally necessary.

I always discuss the different seasons with family and friends in Australia – it’s what I know I would miss if I didn’t live here. As each new season arrives I like to embrace it and experiencing it fully. Each one seems so fleeting, I swear you blink and suddenly you’re in the following season. Anyway, I’ll stop waxing lyrical about my love for all four seasons and jump into sharing how I go about embracing autumn fully.

#1 – Candles

It’s become a habit of mine to get home from work, grab my current read, find a blanket and a sofa and light a candle. It’s a ritual of sorts, one that allows me to relax and chill-out a little before making dinner and getting on with the rest of the evening. Often I find myself casting the book aside and just watching the flickering candle for a few minutes. And just breathing in the delightful flavours of course. My current favourites are a maple syrup one from the US last year and a fresh apple one that I picked up in T K Maxx eons ago.

#2 – Pumpkin

For some reason pumpkins have become synonymous with autumn. I blame America! Anyway, I love all things pumpkin so I’m happy with this and of course am fully embracing it, all in the name of peak autumn obviously! I’ve got pumpkins decorating my house – I have to say they look pretty awesome in the living room, and are making my unfinished fireplace look pretty amazing. I’m also currently limiting the number of slices of Starbucks pumpkin spiced loaf that I am allowed to eat each week. It’s my absolute favourite – those crunchy pumpkin seeds are delicious – but I’m only allowing myself one a week. I probably could eat it every day but my bank and my waistline will not allow it.




#3 – Autumn Walks

I love a good weekend walk. When I was a child my family would spend Sundays during autumn and winter walking in the woods. We’d traipse through the forest looking for the muddiest puddles and finding the perfect climbing tree or strewn branches to build the best hideout. Now while my activities during these walks have changed, the actually act of going for a walk has stayed the same. Now there’s a dog that bounds along with us/me too, and it’s just as fun. Walks in autumn are particularly special with the leaves changing colour and blanketing the forest floor like a carpet. Plus it’s conker season and it’s also quite mild so there’s no need to wrap up too warmly.

#4 – Recipes

Now in a list about making the most of Autumn there was always going to be a point that involved food. I’m an Evans after all! From apple crumbles to warming soup, crusty homemade bread and pastry topped pies, the food of autumn is what dreams are made of. Over the last couple of weeks I have reignited my love of autumn meals by whipping up some quick pasta bakes, feasting on filling pies and investigating all the new soup flavours that the supermarket has to offer. Plus I have roast dinner plans in the works too. If you want to know some of my favourite warming recipes then check out my top five autumn recipes here.

#5 – Autumn Clothes

New season, new outfits is definitely a thing that everyone should do. Now while I can’t go out on a massive shopping spree until I win the lottery I do switch around the clothes in my wardrobe. You see I used to keep everything in my wardrobe all year round, but it’s all a bit of a squash so now I store clothes in the loft that aren’t weather appropriate. Right now I’m in the process of packing away all my summer clothes and shoes and replacing them with my autumn/winter staples. From winter boots, to thick tights, padded gilets and ginormous scarves, now is the time for all of the best clothing options.

Of course it’s also now that jumpers come into their own. By now everyone knows how much I love a good jumper. So is it really a surprise that autumn is my favourite time of year? And once I’m outfitted in jeans, boots, one of my favourite jumpers and a giant scarf autumn suddenly feels more real. And I, of course, am one happy bunny.

So there you have it. My five top tips for making the most of Autumn. What about you? Do you embrace each season? Or would you rather hide away until certain ones have passed? What are you must dos to ensure that you appreciate the time?

Laura x

In the Kitchen: Making a Pinata Cake

Making a Pinata Cake - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

Let’s talk about cake! I’m a big fan of cake. Firstly because it’s delicious and secondly because there are so many cake variations out there. There’s marble cake, chocolate cake, battenberg, banana bread, cupcakes, lemon drizzle cake and so much more. All of which I could eat right now! Oh to live next to a bakery, but alas I don’t. But when it comes to cake, sometimes a standard yummy one won’t do and you need a showstopper of a cake. Something that will wow people. That was the case a few weeks back when I had a charity cake sale, when in an attempt to make people part with more money I made a glorious pinata cake.

I’ve been wanting to make a pinata cake for ages so this seemed like the perfect excuse. Pinata cakes are such a great idea – so simple but such fun too. I would have loved one as a child – the hidden surprise (just look below!) would have been too exciting for words. Whoever came up with the idea of a pinata cake is clearly a genius.

Making a Pinata Cake - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

I made a pink extravaganza and it went down a treat, and helped me raise a lot of money! Next time I’m going to fill it with fizzy sweets and Haribo, plus make the icing rainbow coloured. That would look pretty cool, don’t you think? Anyway, if you want to make your own, read on for the pinata cake recipe. I promise you won’t regret it!

Making a Pinata Cake - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

Pinata Cake Ingredients:

  • *350g unsalted butter
  • *350g caster sugar
  • *6 large eggs
  • *350g self raising flour
  • *sweets – I went for Smarties and m&m’s

For the icing: 450g unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 900g icing sugar and food colouring

Pinata Cake Method:

  • *Soften the butter and cream together with the sugar until light and creamy
  • *Beat in the eggs one at a time. For the last two eggs add a spoonful of flour before beating
  • *Fold in the rest of the flour
  • *Divide evenly between three greased and lined tins (20cm circular ones)
  • *Bake on 180C for 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed with your finger. Leave to cool
  • *Meanwhile make your icing by combining the icing ingredients.
  • *Once the three cakes have cooled cut a 10cm circle through two of the cakes, so you have two donut layers
  • *Place one of the donut layers on the bottom of the serving plate and spread with icing
  • *Place the second donut layer on top and spread with icing before filling the hole with the sweets
  • *Add the final layer of cake on top and cover with the rest of the icing
  • *EAT!

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #90

Happy Friday team! I hope you’re having a fabulous day and haven’t been struck by any Friday 13th strangeness! I’ve had a perfectly lovely day of life admin, tidying and snuggling on the sofa. Oh the joys of a week off with nothing to do but what you want to! So that’s number one on today’s Friday favourites post – having time off. I’ve got a week off before I start my new job – eek! and I’m determined to make the most of it. In that I’m going to use the time to see friends, sort my life out and just do nothing. So far I’m only two days in and it’s been delightful – I could so get used to this! Roll on next week and another three days of fun stuff.

The fact that I’ve currently appreciating doing nothing is all down to the fact that this week I finished at my old job and that brings me to item two on today’s list – saying goodbye to the lovely team at Scholastic. The first three days of the week were dedicated to this and were packed full of lovely lunches, leaving drinks with lots of the team, plus some old faces, the nicest of speeches, the best card and such thoughtful presents. All of which really reminded me of how awesome my work colleagues, and now friends, are. They really do know how to make a girl feel loved.

Friday Favourites #90 - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Also making it on to the Friday favourites list this week we have the littlest sisters’ birthday celebrations, which have involved homemade cake, with copious amounts of icing, delicious food and lovely family time. I think perhaps celebrating someone else’s birthday is preferable to celebrating my own. Does that make me weird?

Talking of weird things, or what others think is weird, I did my fourth half marathon over the weekend and loved it. Granted I was full of cold and not feeling great and as such I had to walk every two miles or so but I think that actually helped. I didn’t feel any pressure to get a super-speedy time, I could just enjoy the course and the atmosphere. Both of which were great. There were so many people cheering us on that you couldn’t help but be buoyed on and the course was a mix of glorious green and brown parks and amazing London sites like Trafalgar and Buckingham Palace. So while it wasn’t my speediest half marathon at 2.41 it was definitely not my worst one.

Friday Favourites #90 - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

One of the delightful things about the half marathon was running through the stunning parks, which were full of autumn leaves. The colours really were stunning. Oh how I love autumn. So that’s something else on today’s Friday favourites list – making the most of all the Autumn stuff. So far I’ve ticked off the consumption of Pumpkin Spice Loaf, taking pictures of my feet surrounded by the autumn leaves and decorating the house with pumpkins. Yes really, I’m that person! But just look – so pretty!

Friday Favourites #90 - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

Rounding out the Friday favourites list this week we have one of my favourite past times – book shopping! Last weekend saw the annual celebration of the UK’s independent bookshops and so I had no choice but to go book browsing, and of course, buying! I bought these four beauties. A mix of kids and adult, crime and magic and some decidedly autumnal reads. I’m so excited to get stuck in to them all. I’m half way through The Dollmaker of Krakow and so far it’s glorious. It’s full of magical, fairytales, friendship and hope all wrapped up in a tale set in Poland during World War Two. It really is lovely.

Friday Favourites #90 - Life Rambles - This and That Blog

So there we go, my five Friday favourites for this week! Tell me, what things have brightened your week?

-Fi x

Out and About: Swingers – London’s Best Crazy Golf Experience

London's Best Crazy Golf Experience - Out and About - This and That Blog

If you’d been in London a couple of weeks ago you would have found me wandering aimlessly around the deserted streets on a sunday morning looking for something called ‘Swingers’. And yes, I’m aware this sounds like the start of a ridiculous tale. It is in fact the start of a post all about my latest obsession – London’s best crazy golf experience. Also known as Swingers. I’m a bit of a crazy golf fan, in fact the whole of the Evans family is thanks to multiple games as children. I don’t know why we are particularly obsessed with this game. Perhaps it’s a way of enjoying Dad’s favourite hobby as a family, without having to trek a full 18 holes on a proper golf course. Or maybe it’s just that it works for our super competitive nature. (Let’s be honest it’s point two, clearly).

As a rule I’m not that fussed about where I play crazy golf – any course will do. I’m just as happy playing on a grey and windy Sandbanks beach, in the sunshine of Vale do Lobo or in underground junkyards in London. Or at least that was the case before I was introduced to Swingers. We’d heard about Swingers from a friend and it seemed like the ideal venue for Dad’s (very late) Father’s Day present. I was sceptical, because I’ve been to the other London crazy golf venue, Junkyard Golf, and I found it a bit too cool for it’s own good. It’s in Shoreditch, the music was too loud and it’s quite dark – so not where I wanted for a Father/Daughters day.

London's Best Crazy Golf Experience - Out and About - This and That Blog

Thankfully I needn’t have worried. Swingers could not have been a better option for our morning of fun. The venue is just the perfect mix of quirky and cool, chilled and welcoming. And bonus I didn’t feel like I was too old to be enjoying a morning there! There are two nine-hole courses at Swingers, the Windmill and the Lighthouse and we decided on the Lighthouse course. It probably takes about 40 minutes to get round the course and each hole gets progressively harder thanks to the hazards on each hole. From bridges and slanting floors to holes in the middle of the hills – nightmare! And just to make it a little trickier – the staff will bring drinks to you as you play. Because there’s nothing like a G&T at 12.30pm to ensure you make the best golf shots!

London's Best Crazy Golf Experience - Out and About - This and That Blog

It’s not that expensive either, just £13 each for a slot. Timing wise you get a 90 minute window and then your specific tee off time is allocated once you arrive. If you’re unlucky enough to have to wait a while for your specific slot it’s not a bad thing. This is thanks to the bar and the delicious food options! The bar is filled with booths, sofas and a giant fireplace and across two floors. And bonus, if you get a seat on the upper floor you can spy on others while you drink. Ideal if you’re hoping to pick up some tips. As for the food – it’s so good. There are three street food vendors in Swingers including a Patty and Bun. What more could you want?
So there we go, I can highly recommend spending time at London’s best crazy golf experience – it’s so fun. Even if you come last, like me!