Like a Girl

Greetings blog readers and how are you today? I stumbled across the following #LikeaGirl video a while back and I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you on this today. After all if I’m thinking about this video a month clearly later it needs discussing properly.

I love this video so much. It’s such a good idea to stop and think about what the words we use mean. I am one of the people who has used ‘Like a Girl’ in a derogatory way in the past – about myself and others – without even giving it a second thought. It’s just a phrase that I’ve heard loads and I didn’t even stop and think what I was really saying. What I’ve really been doing by using that phrase is saying that it was bad to be like a girl. When did I think that was okay to say?

Surely as a woman I should have been one of the people standing up and saying  yes I do run like a girl because I am one and I’m not going to be even slightly ashamed about that. I can also read, walk, jump, swim, shout, sing and dance like a girl. And for that I’m lucky, grateful, happy, pleased. Because that is who I am. I am a strong woman. I get to give my all to everything I do and shouldn’t be putting myself down over how I do something.

How did this become something that was okay to do and why did I ever think it would be okay to use that line as a bad thing? I hope that in the future I pause for a second before saying anything like this again as that’s not the person I want to be and I certainly don’t want anyone to ever think that running/singing/boxing/dancing/walking like they do is wrong. It’s not. It’s who they are and it’s there right to be who they are in all their awesomeness.  so well done to Always for making me stop and think. And here’s to all the hundreds and thousands of girls out there who have had their confidence knocked. Never forget that you are awesome, unique, wonderful and strong. Never be embarrassed to do things #likeagirl as being a girl embodies all of those things.

What about you, what are you proud of doing #likeagirl?

Crystal Palace Park – Travel Tuesday

Following on from last week’s plans to share more local travel tips today I wanted to talk about another new London discovery. Crystal Palace Park. Before a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace for years, it’s actually where my parents had their first house, but the only Crystal Palace I’ve been to is to watch Crystal Palace football team. But that’s in nearby Selhurst Park rather than Crystal Palace itself. Odd I know!

 

 

So first of here’s a little history on Crystal Palace Park…

It is located in Crystal Palace which is in south-east London. The area is actually named after The Crystal Palace, a steel and glass building which was built in London’s Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition in 1851. The Crystal Palace was later moved from Hyde Park and relocated to form the centerpiece of this park but was destroyed by fire in 1936.

The current Crystal Palace Park contains the National Sports Centre, a maze, lakes, full scale model dinosaurs, a children’s park, a cafe and a concert venue.

pretty flowers and the Crystal Palace tower

The Italian Terraces

In the maze

The maze dates back to 1870, but more recently is has been adopted by the UK Girl Guides, to become the Centenary maze. Apparently at a Boy’s Scout rally in the park in 1909 a group of girls approached Robert Baden Powell and demanded a similar movement for girls. The Girl Guides was created the following year. To mark the centenary of the Girl Guiding movement Bromley Council and the Girl Guides got together to restore the maze and commissioned artwork for the centre piece along with roundels to find within the maze. 

The center of the maze (and my feet)

One of the commissioned roundels

Walking through the park

The dinosaurs are my favourite thing about the park. These giant statues are surrounded by water and lush greenery and they come with information plaques and sound effects. Walking through the dinosaur are is always wonderful because the children are in utter awe of them. There’s something a little magical about their reactions.

 

Dinosaurs

So there you have it. Just a few highlights from Crystal Palace Park.

Lau xx

PS. Don’t forget to checkout the other #TravelTuesday posts.

Travel Tuesday

Hello Autumn!

Yesterday morning as I was jogging around Clapham Common I came upon the most wondrous site: conkers and fallen leaves! EEK, guys you know what this means right? Yes, the best season EVER is about to kick off. Hooray for Autumn.

There’s nothing quite like the three months that starts with September; the air is cooler and crisper and generally happy things appear. I can’t be the only one that thinks like this right? Well just in case you aren’t as in to Autumn as I am, I thought I’d share a list of things I’m most excited for autumn to bring. That can’t fail to make you get on board with this brilliant season. So here goes…

<> Crunching and stamping in the leaves

<> New boots to wear to death with skinny jeans

<> Starbucks red cups

<> Layering up all the clothes

<> The perfect excuse to sit on the sofa having a marathon with the boxsets

<> Sunday afternoons in front of an open fire

<> Thick black tights and skirts

<> Chilly and bright early starts

<> Halloween sweets

<> Muddy walks in the wood

<> Wrapping up in a woolly scarf

<> Sleeves that are long and can be pulled down to my knuckles

<> A Starbucks Spiced Pumpkin Latte

<> Bonfire night

<> Knee high socks

<> The smell of bonfires

<> Getting all the candles out

 

So have I got you excited and ready for Autumn, what’s your favourite thing about this season?

Fi xx

Life Rambles: August Favourites

This month has been epic and full of all of my favourite things.

First up on the August favourites list are the sunny days that we’ve had. They’ve allowed me to explore near and far and had me falling more in love with the UK than ever before. There have been glorious days exploring the streets of Chester, London fun times and chilled out afternoons in the park.

August-favourites-Chester

Second on the August favourites list is the rainy days that have allowed me to guiltlessly snuggle on the sofa. I’ve had time to binge watch favourite West Wing episodes, and get excited for the arrival of Autumn.

I’ve loved the car singalongs, the hours curled up with a good book and the time I’ve had to myself pounding the pavements and learning to love running again. Those last words are something I’d never thought I’d say again, so that is definitely something for the August favourites list.

August-favourites-London

Food wise August has been pretty spectacular. I rediscovered my love for roast lamb and mint all over again. Plus I created the most tasty snacks ever to exist (smores cheescake squares are coming to the blog soon I promise).

August was also responsible for lovely catch ups with old friends and cuddles with my favourite little people. And finally I discovered the wonders of polka dot trousers and the genius that is Helen Mcrory in the National’s production of Medea. Plus you brought me back the joy that is the Great British Bake Off.

August-favourites-polka-dots

Thank you August, you’ve been awesome. May September live up to the epicness you’ve set.

Today I’m linking up with Belinda at Found Love. Now what? for her Life is Good link up, so make sure you hop on over to her blog and join in or at the very least read all the other fab posts.

– Fi xx

Found Love. Now What?

Desert Island Books – Five Favourite Books

It’s no secret that Lau and I are bookworms. As children we devoured The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Horrible Histories, most of Roald Dahl, the Animal Ark series and pretty much any books we could get our hands on. Multiple times. So I wouldn’t be surprised if every other post on this new blogging home is book related! Rather than sharing what we’re currently reading with you, we thought we’d pick out our five favourite books. Of all-time.

Eek, not an easy task. In fact I deliberated over this for about two hours before I had my final five. So here are the five books we’d want if we were stranded on a desert island and kindles with never-ending batteries weren’t available…

First up, we have my five favourite books:

Fi / Book Number One / The Bedspread

A lovely story about two old ladies and the different way they view the world and remember their childhoods. This is a favourite of mine not just because it’s a wonderful story but because of who would read it to me. Everytime I stayed with my Grandma from aged four to twelve I’d climb into bed with her at the crack of dawn and we’d read this (and many others) together.

Fi / Book Number Two / Matilda

A cliche I know, but this book about a book obsessed little girl is one of my all-time favourite books. I must have read it hundreds of times, it never gets old. Reading this made me feel like it was fine to be obsessed with books!

Fi / Book Number Three / The Five-and-a-Half Club

This was inherited from my Dad and the day it went mouldy and had to be thrown out was one of the worst days ever. It’s about a group of children and the adventures they have during the summer holidays. From painting their clubhouse to catching frogs in jars their five-and-a-half club sounds so fun.

Fi / Book Number Four / Persuasion

I was late to the party with Jane Austen and so by the time I read Pride and Prejudice I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. If you ask me the characters are annoying and the story expected. Persuasion on the other hand was wonderful. I loved the characters, and found them all so likable. Anne Elliott was my favourite Austen character, and I could totally understand why she acted how she did with Wentworth. Plus the story was interesting and believable.

Fi / Book Number Five / Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

It’s no secret that I love the world of Harry Potter but book five is my favourite of the series (I think). This book marks the point in the story that you begin to find out what Voldermort is really about, and how much danger our favourite trio is in. It’s also when you properly realise what’s going on outside Hogwarts and how big this fight is. I found the story so fascinating, as well as heartbreaking and gripping. Even though it’s the longest book I can whizz through it, even now, in less than a day. That’s how good it is.

five -favourite-books

Now, over to Laura for her five favourite books:

Laura / Book Number One / Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

To be honest I wanted to add the whole series onto my list but I stopped myself. I can’t really pinpoint why this is my favourite, maybe it’s because we learn a lot more about Harry’s parents in this one. Also meeting Sirius and Remus is just wonderful, and heartbreaking all at the same time. The whole Shrieking Shack moment is brilliant and when Harry finally gets parental figures that always brings me to tears. My copy of this book is falling apart, but it still sits in pride of place on my bookshelf.

Laura / Book Number Two / Wonder

This was published quite recently and follows Auggie, a boy with a facial deformity as he starts school. I found this book absolutely fascinating and brilliant. We get to understand Auggie, and his whole family throughout the book. This books highlights the importance of who we are inside, not the outside.It’s one that I think should be compulsory reading for everyone.

Laura / Book Number Three / Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, a story

My Dad gave me this book when I was about 12. It’s a story about following your dreams and being who you want to be and it really makes you look at all of life’s possibilities. This is another book that everyone should read. The fact that my Dad thought this was something I should and needed to read is so lovely. Plus the note he included in it is also just perfect.

Laura / Book Number Four / Little Women

I have loved this story for as long as I can remember. It follows the four March sisters during the American Civil War. The tale of family life, discovering oneself and finding love is just perfect.

Laura / Book Number Five / Of Mice and Men

I studied this Steinbeck novel for GCSE English and have loved it ever since. It was utterly gripping, so much so that I speed read it during my lessons so that I would get to the end as soon as possible. I just needed to know what happened to Lenny and George. I’ve only read it once since because I still find it so heartbreaking to read. I think knowing what’s to come make the whole thing even worse!

Hopefully this has given you a good insight into our minds. I always think that seeing someone’s bookshelf is an awesome way of understanding and getting to know that person.

What about you, what are your five favourite books of all-time?

– Fi xx

PS if you want to know more about the books that we like then checkout our Goodreads accounts here and here.

Dreaming of an Autumn Wardrobe

So I don’t know about anyone else, but I for one am very pleased that the seasons seem to be changing – I am ready and raring to go with Autumn. Don’t get me wrong I love the summer sun, but autumn is the season I was made for. I love the chill in the air, snuggling up, the darker evenings and not sweltering on the tube. I’ve always preferred being cold and getting warm than being too hot – I can never cool down once I’m too warm.
So with the arrival of cooler weather my mind has of course turned to new clothes. After all it’s the perfect excuse to buy some new bits and pieces, such as these…
Autumn Wants
Clockwise from top left corner
Now there’s no way I can let myself buy all of the above – especially not four pairs of shoes (shoe fetish anyone?) but I’m certainly going to treat myself to a couple of bits to complete my wardrobe. Top of the list are the heeled brogues as they’ll go with skirts, dresses and jeans and cope with the changeable weather. As for the skinny jeans and flat boots, definitely a must with all the jumpers I have in my wardrobe. As well as a shoe fetish the above collage has shown me that I also have an obsession with animals on knitwear.
It’s times like this that make it clear that Fi and I are twins. After seeing her Autumn wishlist above I realised that I would happily own, and wear, each,and every item! Which means that if she gets any of these new wardrobe additions then I can borrow them for myself! My current Autumn picks are below – I say current as this is bound to change as soon as I click publish!
Autumn wants
Clockwise from top left corner
For me Autumn is all about comfort, which basically means a dress, tights and boots or a jumper, skirt/jeans and boots. That’s it. Nothing more is needed after that. This autumn I really don’t want to do a lot of shopping as I have other things that I need to be buying. But it would be good to get a couple more dresses and skirts to go with my already enormous collection of jumpers and cardigans.
So tell us, what are you most looking forward to adding to your wardrobe this autumn? Is there anything that’s a must have Autumn essential?
Lau & Fi xx

Out & About: Five Favourites on London’s Southbank

Happy Tuesday lovely people! Here in the UK we’ve just had a bank holiday so it’s especially hard going back to work today. Luckily there’s a Travel Tuesday link up to help us along the way. Let’s be honest, if I can’t go on a world trip then visiting places while sitting at my desk is the next best thing.

It’s funny isn’t it, but I always forget to talk about where I live. I don’t know why, but Fi and I both seem to automatically write about trips further afield instead of nearby places. Which is pretty silly as I love reading about places that people live near. You get such great advice from people that actually live in a city. So in the spirit of talking about where I live I’m going to share with you my five favourite places to visit on London’s Southbank. The Southbank is an area on the south bank of the River Thames. From Westminster Bridge all the way down to Gabriel’s Wharf. Which is filled with art, theatres, eateries and shops.

Southbank-National

Temporary space at The National Theatre

The National Theatre

The National Theatre is probably my favourite place in London. I love a trip to the theatre and this place has amazing productions all year round. They are the people behind the hit shows War Horse, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and One Man, Two Guvnors.

Trips to the National tend to be a family affair, with Fi and I joining our parents and younger sister. Most recently we’ve watched A Small Family Business and Medea. Plus we have tickets to see Ballyturk in October. Even if you’re not watching a play it’s still worth a visit. There are two restaurants, a coffee shop and an espresso bar. As well as countless numbers of photography exhibitions and musicians taking over the foyer space throughout the year. Plus a trip to the terraces and numerous balconies are always necessary. The views from here are stunning, from Parliament and the London Eye, across to St Paul’s with the city in the distance. If you can time it for sunset you are in for a serious treat.

national-theatre-southbank

National Theatre all lit up

 The Riverfront Bar and Kitchen Restaurant

This restaurant run by Benugo, is situated underneath Waterloo Bridge. It’s the perfect place to people watch and grab dinner before taking in a film at the BFI or a play at the National. Their menu is constantly changing and there have daily specials. I can highly recommend the arancini starter and the pulled pork burger.

The Southbank Shop – I’m a huge fan of the shop at the Southbank. They have brilliant window displays and lots of quirky gifts for everyone, including that tricky person who you can never please. It’s also a great place to pick up good stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts at Christmas. They stock everything from jewelery to furniture, toys to crockery, there really is something for everyone (and lots that I’d love!).

The London Eye

The Royal Festival Hall

The Royal Festival Hall is one of the three buildings that make up The Southbank Centre, along with the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery. The RFH is my favourite because of the vast variety of things going on there at any one time, from music to sculptures and knit-ins. Plus there’s a Pimm’s terrace in the summer! There’s also an excellent food market throughout the year at the back of the RFH. Brownies to die for.

People Watching

Where ever you are along the Southbank there is so much to see. The views of the river are stunning, but there’s also just the sites and people along the way. From the children playing in the water fountains and the sandy beach in the summer, to the Christmas Market, the Skylon cocktail bar, eating outside at Gabriel’s Wharf, watching the locals cycle and run along the River, people perusing the book market or the skateboarders completing tricks in the skate park under the RFH. It really is a site to behold.

used-books-market-southbank

Browsing the used book stalls

Does anyone else have a different favourite place on the Southbank, what have I missed?

And what is your favourite place near where you live?

Lau xx

 

Travel Tuesday

Delicious bites of Sweet Potato Falafel

Ooh our very first foodie post – yay for that! And what’s even more exciting is that this recipe is an update on one of my all-time favourite recipes – sweet potato falafel. I first discovered this falafel at Leon on The Strand, one of the best lunch places, around about four years ago and I was in love. These creamy sweet potato bites were amazing and as my first falafel experience it was a good ‘un. Yes my first falafel experience as back then I didn’t like chickpeas – yes I was weird. I mean really, not liking chickpeas, how is that even a thing?! Anyway I discovered this falafel and made it ALL THE TIME. It was perfect in lunches or as a quick snack dipped into perinaise.

However since that initial discovery I’ve learned to love chickpeas and I’ve had coarser-chickpea-containing falafel and so the time has come to give a new recipe a whirl – something that’s a bit coarser but still keeps the creamy taste of the sweet potatoes. So here’s what you do…

Cook three medium sweet potatoes in the over for 40 minutes until the skin is starting to peel away.

Scoop out the potato innards (should one use the word innards in a recipe post?) and pop them in a bowl with 3 tsps cumin, 3 tsps ground corriander, two cloves of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, 150g of gram or chickpea flour and two tins of chickpeas and blitz them all with a food processor until there are fewer lumps. {personally I like some of the chickpeas to stay whole, but it’s up to you}.

Put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours or the freezer for 30 minutes until the mixture firms up

Create balls of the mixture and roll it in a plate of olive oil and then a plate of sesame seeds. Repeat until you have about 30 sweet potato falafel balls.

Put all the balls on an oiled baking tray and bake for 15  minutes at 200 degrees celsius

Serve with salad, rice or simply dip into perinaise and enjoy!

*I’ve never had these straight out of the oven but I think next time I make them I’ll try eating them warm with some sort of ratatouille mixture – I think that would make the perfect combo, or even in a warmed pitta bread with salad and mayo…ooh there are just so many options.

So, tell me, have you ever made falafel? How did it go?

Fi xx

All Things Fitness: Running Buddies

So this is a blog link up based around running that Fi and I have been joining in with sporadically throughout the year. This month’s topic is your favourite person to train with or your favourite training plan. I only have one training plan – for a half marathon – so I can’t really pick my favourite one. Instead I’m going to talk about my favourite person to train with. Or as I like to call it my running buddies.

running-link-up

Selfie taken on Millennium Bridge during the last Sunday brunch run, behind my head are our Dad and sister

Personally I think running buddies is a great topic to talk about as part of this link-up. Let’s be honest who you run with has a major affect on how well you run. Now I’m always happy running by myself. I love that running alone gives me time to clear my mind and think things through. Plus I also have a pretty awesome playlist so that doesn’t hurt either. But I do find that the best runs are the Sunday brunch runs that Fi and I do with the family.

Every couple of months I’ll meet up with my parents and my sisters (depending on who’s around) on Sunday morning at London’s Southbank. Us runners leave my Mum wandering along the river and head east along the Southbank. We tend to cross over the river at the Millennium Bridge and then wind our way around St Paul’s and into the City. The route constantly changes, we may take in Leadenhall Market, The Strand, Fleet Street or Temple, but we always end up along the Northern Embankment where we cross back over the river at either Westminster or Hungerford Bridge. We meet the Mothership back at the Royal Festival Hall where we all recover before changing and heading out for brunch, we go somewhere close by, Tom’s Kitchen, Bill’s or Le Pain Quotidien which all do great eggs and coffee – what more could we want?

On these Sunday mornings we normally run between 4-6 miles meaning that we completely earn our Sunday brunch afterwards. It’s such a great run as we all push ourselves a lot more than normal. There’s something about running with my Dad, while it’s the shortest of all of us, he runs at a cracking pace. Which means I can guarantee that any of these Sunday runs will earn me a personal best in terms of speed. It also helps that the view of London are stunning, there’s really nothing like it, and at that time in the morning you’ll find the streets are mostly empty. Which makes for a winning combination.Talk about a productive Sunday morning.

running-buddies

Me with Dad and Fi after our first ever 10k race back in 2013

What about your running buddies? Who are your favourite people to run with? Do you always run with the same group, are you part of a running club? Or do you prefer to run by yourself?

Lau xx

Out and About: Exploring Chester

Our lovely friends Jo and Dan got married two weeks ago just outside Chester at the beautiful Rowton Hall Hotel. Having never been before it seemed like a genius idea to spend the weekend before the Monday wedding exploring Chester. Let’s be honest I love any excuse to have a mini break with the family!

The weekend was jam-packed with board games, amazing food and much-needed catch-ups. And of course, exploring Chester itself! It really is a beautiful city, especially in the glorious summer sunshine. If you ever visit Chester here’s my list of must dos!

Photograph the Chester Clock – make sure you get LOTS of pictures of the clock at the East Gate of the walls/ It’s beautiful. I swear everyone stopped to take pictures as they walked towards ir or under it. Completely understandable though – it’s stunning. I’m sure it’s the most photographed thing in the city!

Wander around the city walls – the walls reach about two miles around the city so it’s a great way to explore Chester. You also get a great perspective over the streets below and the surrounding countryside from up high. It’s amazing to think that the walls have survived for so many hundreds of years, isn’t it?

 

Explore the shops (and head on out to Cheshire Oaks too!) – I always have to have a little wander in and out of shops in a new city – even if I don’t buy anything and Chester didn’t disappoint. A lot of the shops are in the most stunning ancient buildings.

Also the Cheshire Oaks Outlet Mall is worth a visit if you love Gap, Paperchase and Joules as well as tons of other shops. I may have got a bargain or two whilst there… and who can resist a bargain?

Have food (or drinks) at Odd Fellows – I’m so pleased we kept ambling around the city looking at eateries before settling on this place, as it was amazing! It’s a boutique hotel with the most gorgeous outdoor and conservatory eating area. The outdoor area has a mix of tall tables and normal wooden ones and is decorated with giant peacock lampshades. Yes really! We were seated inside around a table that had a tree in the middle of it! As for the food, it was some of the best I’ve ever had without being pretentious and expensive. I can highly recommend the sharing platters and chicken club sandwich.

Have you ever been to Chester? What other things would you add to my exploring Chester list?

I’m linking up with Bonnie et al for Travel Tuesday, so if you have time make sure you read all the other brilliant travel posts too.

Fi xx

 

Travel Tuesday