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!

photo 4

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

My most recent Smiley Happy Things

Smiley_Happy_Things

Hello lovely people and how are you this monday morning, did you have a pleasant weekend and are you ready and raring to go with this week? I’ve only got three days of work this week as I leave my current job (after five and a half years!) on Wednesday – eek! I’m equal parts exccited and nervous! Anyway back to today, the ten things making me smile this week, here we go…

1) Lovely long natterings with friends
2) Brilliant books – In the last week I’ve read Catching Fire and I’ve started Mockingjay and I’m really enjoying rereading these YA gems. I’d forgotten so much of what happens and they are really brilliant reads

20131026-211301.jpg
3) Lazy mornings doing nothing but reading and coffee drinking, oh if only that was my life
4) Exploring new areas whilst we search for a potential new home – exciting times indeed!
5) Excellent Twitter responses, I’m looking at you @jamesblunt. What a great response to negative comments: showing you have a sense of humour and not taking yourself too seriously

source

6) Watching live music – Tyler Hilton was superb live on Wednesday night and I’ve been listening to his music ever since. I love Loaded Gun the most I think (at least right at this minute)

20131026-211313.jpg
7) Five Guys –  I finally made it there this week and it was even better than I expected. There’s something in those fries that make them moreish, I’m telling you I could have eaten five or six helpings. As for the free monkey nuts, scrumptious

20131026-211325.jpg
8) Pretending I am able to buy whatever clothes I want with no budget constraints as part of the M&S Style Board competition for bonfire night. My entry is here, why not check it out?

9) Quality times with my sisterlings – whether it’s eating, chatting or just sitting doing nothing together I love them so much
10) Watching American Football at Wembley – wow!

Image 1 of ASOS Jumper With Star Elbow Patch

11) Treating myself to this simply gorgeous jumper. I’m sorry but I can’t say no to a snuggly jumper with star elbow pads. I mean wow love it!

What about you? What were your favourite things this week? Have you been loving all the autumnal weather and have you been making the most of snuggling up inside with hot chocolate and a good book. Surely that can’t just be me?

Why was last week so brilliantly good?

Over the weekend I came across The Musing Blonde’s ‘High Five Fridays’ post and I really loved the sentiment behind it, it’s such a good point that we tend to focus on the bad things rather than the good. No matter what our day/week/month has been like there’s always something to be grateful for, happy about or thankful for. That was the original concept behind my ‘Smiley Happy Things’ posts, but I’ve been a bit lax at posting them recently so I had a rethink and I’ve come up with a solution. From now on I’m going to post about my recent ‘Smiley Happy Things’ every Monday as a way of reflecting on the good things that have happened over the past week – so a replacement to my ‘Lately’ posts. I like the idea of doing this on a Monday to remind me on the worst morning of the week that things aren’t always bad and that they will most definitely get better as the week goes on!

So here’s the first of the new look Smiley Happy Things posts. What about you, what are your favourite things about the last seven days?

Sitting on the beach enjoying this view

20130914-171100.jpg

The first coffee after a week of no caffeine

20130914-171116.jpg

Pulling on a snuggly jumper and winter boots to combat the rain outside

Curling up on the sofa with coffee and my patchwork quilt

20130914-171134.jpg

A Law and Order marathon

Bright summer flowers

20130914-171107.jpg

Reliving wonderful Rome through my little sis’ Instagram pics

Treating myself to new magazines for the flight

20130914-171046.jpg

Reminding myself how delicious a simple snack of yogurt and banana can be

New nail varnish

20130914-171123.jpg

Arriving back from holiday to a delivery of essential items for my upcoming Christmas card project

20130914-171129.jpg

The joy of your own bed after a week away

Pretty flowers to brighten up the flat

20130914-171139.jpg

Visiting favourite holiday spots

A Wednesday night treat

Morning my little porcupines, how the devil are you?!  Sorry for interrupting your Thursday morning, but I just wanted to share one small thing. Last night this happened…oops!

20130821-204714.jpg

Yep that’s right brownies that contain Oreo biscuits. Bloody genius if you ask me! Plus they taste absolutely sensational too. The recipe will be on this here blog soonish, I promise! Have a fabulous Thursday peeps. xx

A tale of DIY, Wembley and food!!

This week has been all about the food! It started off with me being very conscientious and taking in a fleet of snacks to last me all day. As Monday is always a very heavy snack day for me as after the weekend I find it hard to get back into my normal food routine, plus when I get bored I tend to reach for the sugar based snacks – is that the case for anyone else? Then on Monday night I went out to dinner with work peeps to The Yard in Shoreditch, which is an old converted fire station. Man is that place amazing or what!? We ended up sharing a yard of pizza with four different toppings, each topping seemed to be better than the first. I honestly can’t recommend this place enough for food goodness! Wednesday was another night of good food as I was at Wembley for the England match and we had burgers beforehand in the stadium. I opted for the halloumi and mushroom one which was delicious – the addition of a smidge of pesto to the burger made such a difference and was a lovely change to sweet chilli.

Saturday saw me back at the parentals so of course we had to go out for dinner, duh! We went to The Seahorse, which I’ve mentioned before, see here. The food is lovely and the atmosphere is always so relaxed too. Plus I love the decor – please can I have the table below next time? I’d love to eat in my own little wooden area whilst sat on a sofa – so cute!  As for the food it was scrumptious, of course! Lau and I shared camembert and focaccia to start with, then I had the cheese burger and mushroom with brilliantly skinny chips followed by the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream – ah-maze-ing. I honestly can’t recommend that place enough. I love it and I think it might become our go=to restaurant when we’re back at home.

As for other things I’ve been up to, well I decided to start the week with a two-mile run at 6am on Monday morning, the logic being I wouldn’t feel guilty about the pizza – it totally worked! Although I’m not sure I’ll be doing the same every week (this week definitely not). I then was rubbish with exercise until Sunday when I went for a 4.3 mile run in the countryside. Painful and hard but rewarding! There was also a trip to Primark, where I was meant to return stuff and actually ended up buying more…oops! Then there was the trip to Wembley where thankfully England beat Scotland, let’s be honest it was seeming like we wouldn’t for a while there. Whilst the England team weren’t the most convincing it was an amazing atmosphere, possibly the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at Wembley.

Friday was a bit of a write off as I felt really ill – I had the headache of all headaches from about 5pm on Thursday until mid Friday – painful and knackering. I hate how rubbish I am when I get no sleep or have a headache – I just can’t handle anything. As for the weekend Lau and I had such a productive time, we did lots of crafty stuff (frosting jars and vases as well as something involving glitter and glue) – I’ll share that with you for Pinterest Corner on Wednesday and finally decided on a colour scheme and some DIY projects for our new look living room. I’m so excited about it I can barely wait to get started! I also managed to find lots of bits and bobs to pop in my Christmas gift  box (there’s nothing wrong with being prepared) AND super excitingly I managed to find my new blog planner which I’ve been needing/wanting/searching for for ages – hooray to me. This blog planner has already worked wonders, not only am I super organised I’ve also been having loads of ideas, hooray!

Shenanigans in Leeds and being back at work!

This week I’ve…

  • Somehow managed to survive five days of work and man was it HARD. Eurgh there’s a reason people bring sweets back from holidays, you need something to keep you going when you’re stuck in the office for hours and not sat on a beach! Thankfully I made it through the work week, due to lovely people and lovely coffee.
  • Not run at all, oops. I kept finding excuses to go for a long walk instead of a decent run. Oops, but the thought was there – hopefully that means next week I’ll be better…
  • Finally finished watching The West Wing with my friends. It’s taken us eighteen months but we’ve finally done it, we’ve got through seven series’ of epic episodes. Thankfully I still love it as much as I ever did and I can’t wait to start watching it again.
  • Had some really productive and useful work meetings – I’m rather excited about the next few months if the things we’re planning come to fruition!
  • Eaten lots of Pringles and had a lot of biscuits – sometimes you have to embrace it, or at least that’s been my plan this week!
  • wished so many times that I was still on a beach or in the middle of nowhere, seriously Wales seems so long ago.
  • Finished the first book in Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series, and it was brilliant. I’ll write a review of it soon – promise.
  • Enjoyed a lovely weekend in Leeds with awesome friends
  • Had two train journeys: one was ridiculously unpleasant (overcrowded, smelly and loud) and the second was nice (first class, good food, lots of space and quiet time)
  • Bought the most amazing new pj bottoms (circus patterned) new bag and new shoes!
  • spend a bit too much on baby clothes in Gap, it’s good preparation for Christmas and all the new babies that seem to be appearing in my friends’ and families lives
  • Had a lovely walk around Roundhay Lake in Leeds before a scrumptious lunch in the park. It was only slightly chilly.
  • Ate scrumptious Thai food in Chapel Allerton – such a cute village and such delicious food
  • Made turkey burgers for the first time ever and they were actually super-easy and delicious. I will definitely be making them again, although next time I think I’ll try this recipe to make them a little more interesting, as let’s be honest BBQ is a welcome addition to any form of meat!
  • Watched some epic cheesy films – Music and Lyrics and The Prince and Me. Is there anything better than watching some of your favourite films with good friends and chocolate?!
  • Discovered a new magazine (Mollie Makes) it’s really interesting and has some really great crafty tutorials and ideas. I could feel my creative juices flowing as I read it on the train
  • Made myself happy by trying a new belt tying thing – it’s something simple but it’s really cheered me up! Small things.

This weekend I will mostly be…

Cooing over cute animals at London Zoo (source)

photo 2

Eating BBQ food back in leafy wondrous Surrey

Scoffing American food at The Diner and gossiping with the cousins (source)

photo 1

Possibly baking a cake…or two

What will you be up to on this gloriously sunny weekend?

Last week of June shenanigans

I fear that every time I start a post that discusses the start of a new month I say something along the lines of: ‘How is it [insert any month name here] already? This year is going so fast!’. So for a change today I’m not going to say that, I’ve instead settled on: ‘Hooray July is here. Let the summer begin!’. Before I can fully welcome July though I need to take a moment and digest whatIi got up to during the final week of June. I’m feeling lazy again today so we’ll go for bullets and pictures (for a change!).

  • More than one morning walk to work – it’s almost becoming a habit!
  • A failed gym trip – definitely a new habit!
  • Baking: freezer cookies and a two tier version of these peanut butter and chocolate chip cupcakes. One word: EPIC!
  • Lunchtime trips to Leon. The new meatball lunchbox is lovely FYI.
  • A picnic on the Southbank on one of the colourful concrete blocks.
  • Othello at The National Theatre starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear. It was phenomenal. I’d never read this play and I’m glad because that just makes the performances and staging all the more impressive as I had no prior expectations.
  • A mad dash to Oxford Street on a lunchtime, horrific.
  • Leaving laughs and tears for a departing colleague – not to mention scrumptious cake!
  • Lovely works drinks before a family trip to Westfield.
  • Spending too much money in the Zara sale.
  • Finding a dead fly in my half eaten bowl of salad from Tossed. That’ll teach me to be healthy and ignore the Chinese outlet!
  • The Nashville finale. OMG. I can’t even. I need more time to work through my thoughts and deal properly.
  • Brunch with the lovely work girls at The Cellarium at Westminster Anbey. This place is amazing and a must visit. It’s in the old crypt of the abbey and everything is yummy – the apple juice, the mochas and the scrambled eggs. Yum.
  • Friday afternoon off. Cue sofa time and cereal for dinner. Rock and roll.
  • Oxford street and Forever 21 meant I spent far too much again!
  • Park time with an iced latte, a Dublin guide-book, good music and the sis.
  • A very short run – I blame the heat.
  • A How I Met Your Mother marathon, I may have watched the entirety of series seven in a weekend.
  • A morning spent in Starbucks catching up on life admin and work stuff.
  • A DVD night featuring 10 Things I Hate About You accompanied by Pringles and mochas. A winning combo.
  • Wanders around Clapham Common.
  • Burning my hand whilst making popcorn. Sad face.
  • Not tidying my room for yet another week.
  • An epic pile of books to get through.
  • Buying new baby and new big sister gifts for my god-daughter and her new sister. So cute!

This week I’ve….

  • Enjoyed a lovely family dinner at Carluccio’s. Not only did I eat a ridiculous amount of food – chicken liver pate, gnocchi and lemon and almond loaf cake – but I also drank the most amazingly chocolatey mocha. It was such a thick drink that I almost felt like I was drinking melted chocolate. It was incredibly naughty yet totally blissful too!
  • Been treated to some delicious TimTam’s – thanks lovely cousins. Who knew there were vanilla cream ones now – they are amazing!
  • Enjoyed spending a small fortune on books from eBay.
  • Rediscovered The Big Bang Theory and as a result I’ve been laughing all weekend!
  • Enjoyed some marvelous books – Vampire Academy and some brilliant James Patterson books – sometimes you just need to treat yourself to some guilty pleasures and easy reads.
  • Stressing about the amount I have on my credit card and yet buying things left, right and centre too. Like these shoes – perfect for my Dublin trip in a couple of weeks – and this DVD.
  • Munching on Milka, bought back by the parentals from Portugal – thanks very much!
  • Baking Lorraine Pascal’s Lemon, Lime and Poppy-seed cake – totally delicious FYI.
  • Been at the gym at 7am – yes I am a freak. But it was actually a really good way to start the day and I managed to complete another couple of miles running and even some weights – although my arms have been suffering ever since!
  • Having a brilliant time with friends at our ‘Guilty Pleasures’ night. This involved classic films like Jerry Maguire and Step Up, delicious food – Eton Mess, Pesto Pinwheels, the aforementioned cake, Dutch Apple Cake, a Charcuterie board, party rings, Scotch Eggs, Sausage Rolls and a quiz. Fun times indeed!
  • Run along the river for four miles – whoop to me!
  • Watched Man of Steel. As for my thoughts on this, well I did enjoy it and it wasn’t as bad as everyone said BUT it did seem to be missing an emotional heart and good characterisation. I mean it was so focused on the fights and the CGI and it really would have benefited from more time spent developing the characters a little bit. Plus with all the toing and froing to his childhood it got a little bit annoying. But it did entertain me and it was enjoyable. Just not to my super-high expectations.I really shouldn’t have expected another Batman Begins should I.
  • Fallen in love with a star t-shirt from Gap, if I don’t wear it with my star jeans it’s okay to buy it right? Also have you seen these gorgeous Gap shoes – I need them in my life!
  • Finally visited Del’ Aziz in Clapham Old Town. It totally lived up to my expectations and the food was scrumptious. I must go back again soon to try all the other items on the menu, as if they taste even half as good as my portobello scrambled eggs did I will be very happy!
  • Treated myself to multiple Starbucks mochas. Although I failed to do so on Friday and the day was dreadful – what was I thinking, have I not learned anything in my life!
  • Celebrated friends birthdays with Ben’s Cookies, lovely pressies and M&S treats – did you know they now do Lemon Meringue cookies. Um wow, they are delicious!
  • Been traumatised by the most recent episode of Nashville and the trailer for next week’s – OMG. I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle it. Somebody help me!

Touristy times. Take one.

After very little deliberation I have come to the conclusion that I would be quite happy to spend my entire life being a tourist. There really is something wonderfully enjoyable about wandering around and ticking sights off of a list, and I don’t even need to go far away to enjoy it, being a tourist in my own city is good enough for me. I reached this conclusion after last weeks four days of touristy shenanigans with the Aussie cousins. Having them over for the first time in forever was the perfect excuse for some time off and a lovely four-day weekend. So what did we get up to, I hear you ask?

Well, Thursday started with a riverside walk from London Bridge to The Tower of London and then a rest stop at Zizzi’s – it’s a well-known fact that you can’t get fully into touristy fun without a full stomach!!! The next stop on the tour was the wonderful Tower of London, that place really is amazing. It’s been years since I’ve been there and I’d forgotten how fantastic it is. I could have spent hours there looking at the impressive buildings, gorgeous crown jewels, brilliantly shiny armour, searching for the animal sculptures and learning all about the history of the Tower and the original mint. It really was fascinating. The jewels are absolutely stunning, imagine wearing them! The other artifacts were impressive too, I particularly loved the massive punch bowl, which can hold something ridiculous like 50 bottles of wine – wow! Although it was sad that the King who commissioned it was unlikely to have ever used it as he died before it was completed.

After the Tower (and the obligatory photo of Tower Bridge) we headed on the river boat – my favourite form of transport – across to the Globe. I always love seeing that building, as it’s such a contrast to the surrounding buildings – it’s like being transported back in time. Sadly we didn’t have time to pop in and do the tour or museum, but one day I definitely will do it! From the Globe we went along to the Tate Modern and ambled around the different exhibitions. Whilst there were some interesting displays and paintings, a lot of it I just didn’t get – I’m sorry I just don’t see how it’s art. The view from the cafe at the top on the other hand, that is definitely art. It’s just amazing – you’ve got half of London laid out in front of you, beautiful! After the Tate we hopped across London to Harrods and explored the shop, saying hello to the giant bears and Playmobil people along the way – how cute.

Day two on the London sightseeing tour started at St. Paul’s Cathedral where we spent three hours exploring and learnign about this fascinating building. I honestly could visit that place every day and still find it interestingk. Now I’m not the best with heights, but I managed to make it up to the Whispering Gallery, but I couldn’t make it any further up as I started to feel a bit wobbly – apparently the views from the top are stunning. One of the great things about the Cathedral is that you get a free audio guide as part of your ticket, so needless to say I listened to every single bit of information on offer. I did a history degree – would you expect anything else? It really is amazing to see what was achieved with the building of the cathedral, especially considering the time – it’s amazing. Also, interesting fact alert, did you know that Wren’s design was built so fast that he was alive to see it finished, the first architect of such a cathedral. What a feat. From St Paul’s Cathedral we headed to Hyde Park, another must see site, where we ate lunch at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, one of my favourite eateries. Read more about my love for that eating place here. As the weather was so lovely – I know unbelievable right! – we walked through Hyde Park and Green Park to Buckingham Palace, before heading along the Mall, to Horse Guards Parade where we were in time for the changing of the guards. Then we wandered down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster, always a bit of a pinch yourself moment I find. In the evening we went to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was amazing, you HAVE to see it as soon as possible. My favourite bit? The Squirrels!!

So there we have it, that’s what we got up to on the first two days of our touristy fun. Check back soon for days three and four, where we ventured west to a very rainy Wiltshire!

%d bloggers like this: