A new blogging home

Greetings readers, how are you on this marvellous Thursday afternoon? Fingers crossed you’re all doing swimmingly! I just wanted to pop on over and remind you that I’ve moved from this little blogging world, to the brand new and GREEN theadventuresoffi.com, so why not pop on over and say hi? As you’ll see there’s still the same brand of inane chatter over there as there was here and my latest post includes Christmas markets and Christmas lights, basically I’I’m just all about Christmas at the moment over there! I do hope you approve!

Things you might have missed if you’ve not yet visited my new blogging abode are posts where I reminisce about 4th July celebrations in Chicago, why it’s bad to plan to make presents when you’re as disorganised as me and my recent stationery obsessions. Oh and you can also join in with my new weekly link up of Smiley Happy Things!

Hopefully see you over there soon and why not also follow me on Bloglovin’? Come on you know you want to! xxx

Christmas is coming (and here’s the proof)!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things festive and Christmas-y. It’s my all-time favourite time of the year and I love making the most of it, after all we’re only allowed to celebrate this joyous festive occasion for a short period of time. So it seems crazy to me that we don’t start the celebrations until October at the earliest – madness I tell you! Anyway less ranting from me and let’s get back to this post! As a fan of this amazing event you can imagine that I would be massively excited about any sign that it’s time to get celebrating Christmas and so far I’ve spotted the following signs that Christmas is on its way. Hip hip hooray!

Costa have launched their Christmas cups (they’ve never done that before, have they?) and they are absolutely awesome – look at them! So far I’ve only tried the Snowman and gingerbread man cup but I’m pretty sure the other options of an elf and Santa himself will be just as awesome when I finally do. And of course the Starbucks red cups are back too, they basically epitomise Christmas don’t they? Also have you seen Starbucks’ new biscuits, red and white candy canes that taste scrumptious. I can’t recommend them enough!

The Christmas adverts have started to launch. Now I don’t know when it became a sign of Christmas, but over the last few years, particularly thanks to John Lewis there has most definitely been a week where Christmas ads are heralded like new signings for Manchester United. The build up and buzz they create is almost epic, and I admit I quite like it. We all know John Lewis have done some awesome ones over the years, (my favourite was this little boys excitement at giving a gift), but their Bear and Hare one for this year isn’t my favourite. Don’t get me wrong it’s cute and it’s definitely an improvement on last years awful snowman one, but it’s not quite festive enough for me I’m afraid. I think my favourite of all on the round-up here, is the Boots one (below). Isn’t it a lovely one? Not only is there snow and presents, there’s a lovely sentiment there and I like how it turns stereotypes on there head, unlike some of the big supermarkets last year with their stressed out Mum focussed ads last year.

Although it also feels remiss for me not to mention Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, which is actually a 50 minute film. How awesome is that! They’ve essentially asked people to film their Christmas and then spliced bits together. I’ve only seen the first trailer for it so far, but it’s absolutely brilliant. It captures the spirit of Christmas brilliantly and the end brought a tear to my eye.

So yet another sign that Christmas is coming? The fact that the Christmas sandwiches are here, hooray to that! I’ve not yet treated myself to one, but I know it’s only going to be a matter of time. After all Christmas sandwiches are epic as it’s like having a Christmas dinner in one bit – genius!

Finally the Spirit of Christmas happened last week and it was full of festive cheer. Not only did I have hours (literally) of fun looking for gift ideas, but there was also a load of yummy treats to try and finally lots of super-duper decorations to buy – I may have got a little carried away on one particular stall, oops!

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Have you spotted any other signs that tell you Christmas is imminent? What have I missed?

Also one other thing, this will be the very last post on this here blog. Sad I know but I’ve been contemplating changing the design of this bloglet for a while and that’s just not possible using WordPress without an awful lot of faffing. So after much consideration I’ve decided to take the leap over to Blogger and from now on you can find me at The Adventures of Fi. So when you need your fix of nattering about coffee, brownies, Christmas (of course), clothes and my inability to run, I will look forward to seeing you over there! See you soon, you lovely peeps – it’s been ace nattering with you over here. xxx

A bookity book survey answered

Recently I saw this post on Sailboat. and I loved it! As I’m such a book fiend and I’m essentially a crazily nosey person it was really interesting to find out someone else’s booky habits! So anyway following on from reading this post I thought I’d answer the questions for myself. Sometimes I get so bogged down with reading things that I forget where my obsession with reading comes from or what I enjoy about it, so it was good to think about all these questions. I hope you enjoy my answers and do let me know if you take the survey yourself. I’d love to have a read of your answers too!

Do you remember how you developed a love of reading? Honestly no, from as far back as I can remember I’ve been a reader and always had a book in my hand. Whilst I don’t remember having a book in my hand when I was a toddler I know from stories I’ve heard that I was a big fan. I apparently wouldn’t allow my sister either of our two Spot toys as I loved Where’s Spot? so much that I refused to share. I was also a big Topsy and Tim fan when I was younger, proven by the fact that my five pet fish were called Topsy 1, Topsy 2, Topsy 3 and Topsy 4. es I was that cool! I can also remember vividly that when I was younger I’d read as I walked round the house as even pausing to get a drink from the kitchen was too much when I was engrossed in a book!

Where do you usually read? There is no usually as I’ll read whenever I am. But I suppose I’m most likely to be found reading on my commute to work or last thing at night as I lie in bed. No matter what time I get in to bed I have to read for at least ten minutes or so – it seems to calm my brain down and ready me for sleep!

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once? I always read one book at a time, I like to be 100% engrossed in my book. So trying to remember two books, or more, at once would be far too much for me to handle. I’ve never understand how someone can manage that?!

What is your favourite genre? Oh that’s a tricky one as I really really do love most genres – romance, crime, historical fiction, biography, YA, kids. I’m really not that fussy. But I suppose what I read really depends on my mood. Sometimes I just need something that’s easy to read so a firm favourite, like Dahl or a Jill Mansell would be my first pick. Other times I fancy something that makes me question stuff so that’s when a Jodi Picoult book would come in.

Is there a genre you will not read? I’ve never really read horror books as being scared doesn’t interest me at all. So I tend to steer clear of books by Stephen King et al. That’s not to say I’d never try one, but not for the time being!

Do you have a favourite book? Gosh another hard one as I have too many to choose from. It goes without saying that Matilda is an all-time favourite as that was the first book that truly ‘spoke’ to me, but then there is a whole plethora of books that I just adore and I could read every day for the rest of my life and not be bored. Books like Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, My Sister’s Keeper, The Hunger Games, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Little Women, One Day, Gone Girl and of course my favourite Austen book: Persuasion. So a favourite is almost impossible – sorry! I’d be so impressed if anyone could pinpoint a favourite book as I would most definitely find it impossible!

What is your least favourite book? There are a few books that I’ve never finished so I suppose those would be my least favourite books, but the only one I can think of is The Great Gatsby, which I only recently read. I just couldn’t enjoy that book, maybe that’s because I had been expecting so much more from it as everyone I know had given it rave reviews, Sadly it fell short for me.

What is the longest book you have ever read? Oh I honestly don’t know the answer to this one. Surely Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix has to be up there other than that I’m not really sure.

20131103-192115.jpgWhich was the last book you bought? I recently bought some books for other people’s Christmas presents – yes I’m that organised but for myself it was <<<< this gorgeous version of The Secret Garden. Isn’t it stunning? I’ve been coveting it for ages and finally treated myself. So stunning!

Do you prefer library books or buying books? I do love the library but for me there’s nothing like owning a favourite or beautiful book and having it on my bookshelves to read again and again. It may be an expensive habit but I don’t care. I know that I’ll never regret owning these books as every time I see them I remember why I loved each book and where those pages transported me to.

What are you currently reading? My current read is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a book I’ve had on my kindle for AGES and just not got round to starting it. Now that I have I’m quite into it already, even after just a few short pages. Like most paranormal YA titles it’s really easy to follow and well written.

So what about you are you going to give the book survey a whirl yourself? I’d love to see your answers! Happy reading x

Current favourite things!

Today on the blog I thought, you know what, lets share some favourite things. I love reading about the things that have caught other people’s eye, so why not share some of my own? So here we go – ten of the things that I’m loving right now!

  1. The sound of this ice cream. I mean Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Pumpkin Marshmallow Ice Cream AMAZING, right? I can’t even explain all the thoughts swirling around my brain at the thought of this concoction!
  2. The brownies I made recently, yes I mentioned them here but they were so good they needed mentioning again! They were just that good. As for the recipe, it was just good old Betty Crockers Chocolate Fudge Brownies mix, which is amazing in itself. But then I decided to add raspberries and digestive biscuits – um hell yeah I did. Talk about dream combination!
  3. My new Paperchase coloured fine line pens – so much colour, so much choice, so much fun is now involved in writing my to do list!
  4. The new Costa coffee cups, have you seen them? They have Christmas drawings all over them – bloody lovely. You can’t beat anything that’s christmass-y at this time of year.
  5. The collaboration between Rob Ryan and Tatty Devine, I basically want all the things from this collaboaration, but most of all I want the necklace below, so beautiful.
  6. Fairy lights. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this about a gazillion times in my life but they just make any room or area so much better, they’re just so pretty. I currently have four sets of lights in our living room and they make me smile every time I see them.
  7. Thor: The Dark World – I saw this film recently and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much and loved the ending. I also seem to have developed a bit of a thing for Loki and Tom Hiddleston, and this video hasn’t helped this obsession much!
  8. The 2D christmas tree below. I am most definitely going to be instigating one of these on my kitchen blackboard in a week or two (yes I do mean that soon – why not?!). Also I love all these cards (again below), I would be sending these if I wasn’t making my own cards this year.
  9. Have you started following @CuteEmergency on Twitter yet? If not you really should. As it contains the MOST adorable pictures of animals, just the thing to cheer you up after a stressful day. Definitely worth a gander when you have a chance.
  10. Finally I am super-duper excited about the return of Spooks. Not only because it’s Spooks and it’ll feature Harry, but also because Kit Harrington (John Snow in Game of Thrones) will be in it. OH. EM. GEE. Day made right there.

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Dealing with a thirty item to-do list

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Source: Diaries of an Essex Girl

A few weeks back Kate at Diaries of an Essex Girl wrote a post about tackling your blogging schedule and included the above inspirational image about stress. This image really struck a chord with me, not about blogging per se but just generally how I react to having too much to do, whether at work or in my personal life. My initial reaction when things are getting too much is to have an internal freak out and panic which means I’m unable to do anything productive for ages. Then I’m left with only one option – to do everything at the last-minute after making myself feel stupidly sick with worry. This is such a ridiculous reaction and most importantly an unproductive one! Especially when I’m inevitably freaking out because I have far too much to do. So I’ve decided that I need to remember this quote and maybe even print it out and carry it with me so that when I next have a freak out I’ll stop and think. After all stress is most definitely not a good idea when I need my brain to work and get something done, be it a creative idea or just one of the two hundred things on my current to-do list.

Another brain wave I’ve had recently is to sit down and calmly with a cup of coffee and write a to do list when I’m having a mini meltdown. By breaking a big scary task into a load of smaller tasks it’s far more manageable plus ticking each bit off one – no matter how small the task is really does help. I feel like I’ve instantly achieved something and I can achieve things much faster. Clearly something to do with actually getting my brain together and back to the task at hand! What about you what do you do to calm your crazy brain down when things get a bit too overwhelming?

Travel Tuesday – A Trip to Bolsover Castle

Happy Tuesday everyone and how’s your day going so far? For today’s Travel Tuesday post with Bonnie et al I’m rewinding time by a few weeks and popping up north to reminisce about a recent afternoon jaunt to the beautiful Bolsover Castle. It was during our weekend in the Peak District and my sisters, Mum and I found ourselves with a spare few hours so we thought we’d make the most of Mum’s English Heritage membership as Bolsover Castle was so close by. I’m so glad we decided to do this on the spur of the moment as it was such a great building to explore. the castle sits perched on a hill overlooking it’s surroundings and we saw it from the motorway and all exclaimed at how amazing the building looked. It was only later as we pulled up to the castle that we realised it was Bolsover Castle that we’d seen from afar, so I think we definitely got a sense of what invaders and guests back in the 1600s would have felt!

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What’s interesting about this castle compared to the usual historical sites I visit (mainly National Trust) is that it’s just the shell of the property. But I think there’s something magical about this. The English Heritage haven’t spent masses doing it up and putting in the relevant furniture they’ve just restored it so that you can wander around and get a sense of the building and the opulence that would have existed thanks to the beautiful ceilings or ornate fireplaces. This is preferable I think to some of the National Trust places which can feel a bit stuffy and out-of-bounds. What’s wonderful about Bolsover is that you can wander through it and touch everything and properly see the rooms and amazing proportions. I can imagine children would love visiting the castle as they could run around the rooms playing princess or knights and dragons, there’s something fairytale like about not being constrained and just wandering and imagining what those empty rooms have seen.

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There was a variety of work going on when we were there but that didn’t matter for us, you still got to appreciate the wonderful buildings that make up Bolsover Castle, from the Little Castle to the Riding School. I think my favourite part (apart from wandering the beautiful buildings) was looking out at the wonderful views of Scarsdale with the castle ruins behind me. Absolutely beautiful.

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A new job, more brownies and another 10k done!

Hello friends, how are you this fine Monday? I had such a brilliant weekend – I spent time with lovely friends and family, ran a 10k (whoop!) and then had some festive fun. So brilliant all round! How was yours? And how’s your week been? I’ve had lots of fun stuff going on in the last few days, so let’s get down to the smiley happy things from the last week. Don’t forget to share yours if you fancy, I’d love to have a read!

So last Wednesday I started my new job, hooray to me! It’s so exciting to start a new job isn’t it – well if you ignore all the butterflies!? I’d forgotten that because it’s been over five years since I started a job, but I have to say I kinda enjoyed it! Thankfully everyone’s been so lovely to me in the three days I’ve been there – there’s lots of nattering and coffee breaks and no one’s had a go at me for asking too many questions, phew! Plus my lovely new colleagues took me out for lunch on my first day – so very kind of them! I’m also really enjoying finding out about what I’ll be working on and starting to develop some ideas for these lovely new books. I’ve also had loads of new books to read, which is one of my favourite things! The other thing about my new job? A new desk that needs personalising with lots of lovely new stationery, my Disney Pixar desk calendar and a new mug – hooray to that! So far I’ve added: colourful pens, an owl mug for said pens, pink post it notes, my new badger mug, photos and of course a new notebook and weekly planner . So far I’m loving my new desk, especially as there’s a window and everything!

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Another things that’s made my week is that I did another 10k! Whilst I didn’t beat my PB I did at least complete the distance, which is most definitely a positive as it was freezing on Saturday. I’ve also done for so few runs recently that I wouldn’t have been surprised if I hadn’t managed it. Another good thing about the 10k was that it was through the Nottingham Forest, which was absolutely stunningly beautiful. I really wish I lived closer to it so I could go for walks there every week, it’s just amazing.

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To balance out the exercise from the weekend I made sure to treat myself this week too! First up with multiple coffees in my new Starbucks mug – yes I know it’s Christmass-y but I couldn’t say no to something featuring ice skates or that was free, come on now! The second big treat of the week? Homemade chocolate, raspberry and biscuit brownies, which were absolutely diving. I can’t believe I’ve not mixed those three things before. I will most definitely be mixing them in the future, that’s for sure!

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My final smiley happy thing from the past seven days was having a couple of days off of work with nothing planned. Why was this good? Well it meant that I got to spend two days doing nothing other than drink coffee and read new books, talk about bliss. Plus the weather seemed to be on my side as I was able to sit outside in the sunshine for three hours on Monday and read my book and watch the world go by. Another reason why I wish I could win the lottery, I would thoroughly enjoy spending my life doing that let me tell you!

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Willpower schmillpower

I’ve been thinking a lot about willpower recently as at the moment  I seem unable to say no to Starbucks every morning, yes to running more than 3km every weekend or no to bright coloured nail varnish. So whilst there are many many stories that I could tell you that would prove to you just how rubbish my willpower is at the moment I thought I’d focus on just the one story. After all a post about all incidences of my rubbish willpower would take about ten hours for you to read, let alone me to write! So here’s an example of my inability to say no to new books!

Recently I reorganised all the books on my shelves and got rid of those I no longer wanted, etc, whilst I was doing this I realised that I have a lot of books on my shelf that I still haven’t got round to reading. When I say a lot what I actually mean is 64 books (plus a good 20 on my kindle), um yeah I seem to have gotten carried away there. These are books I’ve accumulated over the last few years so it’s not like I bought them all in the last month and also a lot of these are charity shop purchases and not brand new ones. But still that’s a fair amount of books to be getting on with. You’d think, that seeing as I have this many books still to read, that I wouldn’t need to buy anymore at least for a few months, until say the pile is only about 40 tall. Right?

Um well no, you see this is where my lack of willpower comes in. As since I last counted I’ve gained the following books:

  • On Kindle: Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Gifted: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • For my bookshelf: Wonder by R. J. Palacio, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, Heroes of Olympus: The House of Hades, Rick Riordan and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Yes so another seven books, plus the eleven I was sent by my new boss to read up on before I start my new job. And that’s in the last three weeks alone – what is actually wrong with me. I mean that’s obscene isn’t it? If I don’t stop this book buying obsessive route I appear to be on right this second then I’m going to have well over a hundred books to read really soon. And that’s going to take a hell of a long time to get through – I meant I probably average one book a week so that’s over two years. So yes as you can see my willpower is officially kaput, any suggestions on how I can kick my willpower back in to place? All and any suggestions welcome, I really need to get my willpower to start working again as my bookcases really can’t take it!

I want all the Oasis bags in the world

Have you seen the awesome bags that are in Oasis at the moment? They are all ridiculously gorgeous don’t you think? I was on the site just the other day having a nosey round and I was amazed at all the lovely bags I found. It’s days like that when I really wish I had could win the lottery as I would buy and happily wear to death all of these bags – I mean just look at them. Totally bag envy is definitely something I’m feeling at the moment. Also they aren’t ridiculously expensive, which is great considering they’ll be of a very good quality like all Oasis products are.

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So the big question is, can I justify buying myself a new bag at this very moment in time, or is that absolutely ridiculous? Come on guys convince me, please!

The English Countryside – Travel Tuesday

Greeting chums, how are you all? I’ve suddenly realised that today is my last day off before my new job – eek how has that happened – so needless to say I’m slightly panicking! But anywho enough about me, what have you all been up to? Thanks for stopping by for another installment of Travel Tuesday, I can’t wait to see what travels everyone else has shared this week! In this weeks installment we’re off only a short distance, to the wonderful English countryside and bonus it fits into today’s theme of relationships!

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Over the weekend I went back to my parents house for 36 hours for a good old catch up, we’ve all been busy bees recently so it was lovely to chatter about everything. It’s always really lovely being back in Surrey as it’s 100% relaxed and you’re guaranteed gorgeous food, but this weekend I also wanted to make the most of being in the countryside. With the gorgeous autumnal weather we’ve been having recently it was the perfect excuse to get outside and see all the beautiful autumnal sights. Sights that you don’t often get to see in the heart of London town! So that’s what we did! We pulled on our wellies, our scarves and our coats and drove ten minutes to Ranmore Common and went for a tramp in the woods. We wandered around for about 45 minutes and it was so lovely to be out in the fresh air with four of my favourite people (tick on the theme)! We were all very excited when we came across a load of chestnuts and couldn’t resit picking up a fair amount of those for roasting later on (we did leave some for the squirrels – don’t worry!). There’s something amazing about the crisp autumn air that just makes me warm and snuggley inside and isn’t it wondrous when all you can hear is the rustling of the leaves or the snap of twigs as you go a little off piste. Oh it was such a lovely afternoon and I realised I really must pop back down to the countryside more often, even if just for a quick walk int he leaves. It really is so blissful.

I won’t bore you with more waffling, instead have a gander at the images below to see the glorious autumnal colours, what we got up to, how stunningly beautiful everything was and how much mud I found!

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