My Favourite Things #38

Happy Thursday you lovely lot. So I cheated and really wrote and scheduled this post the other day because right now I’m sitting in a car somewhere on the motorway heading North. You see I’ve taken a few days off work for an extended weekend and I’m off to celebrate my little sister’s birthday in The Peak District. I say little sister – she’s turning 20! But she’s still younger than me and I can still remember life before her existence; hence she will always be called my little sister.So this trip is clearly the highlight of my week – family fun in the middle of a National Park. What’s not to love. Just so you know what you are missing out on here are a couple of snaps of Ladybower Dam from last year’s visit.

The Peak District

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Completely stunning right?

So aside from this long weekend what else do I want to share with you this week.

Well let’s look at internet links and blog posts first.

1. I absolutely loved Fi’s post on Perception and here’s why. Obviously she makes a couple of good points, but the one that caught my eye was the second one, because this question is along the same vein as my final dissertation project for my Psychology degree. Yep things might get a bit geeky here, but I studied whether our confidence in what people said was related to how we perceived them. i.e. would you be more confident in a professor or a train driver. It was a fascinating topic and honestly I really enjoyed working on my dissertation  Yes even scoring the 100 questionnaires that were filled out. Gosh just talking about this is making me realise how much I miss Uni days.

2. I also enjoyed Betsy’s post Never Have I Ever…Been a Movie Person. I consider myself a movie person but looking at that list of 50 Greatest Movies of all time I discovered I had only watched 12 of them. This made me think that maybe I’m not really a movie fan. But then I realised that those thoughts were just silly. I mean I love films, trips to the cinema and movie trivia. A good film cheers me up, calms me down and evokes long ago memories. And that’s what makes me a film person. Honestly a greatest movies list is so subjective and just because I’ve not watched many of these doesn’t mean i’m not a film person. So yes there me go, that’s my thoughts on that – bit of a ramble – sorry!

3. I also loved Jennie’s post about the Books Are My Bag Campaign because obviously it’s an awesome cause, but also because I have become quite excited about the first book she bought – Susan Hill’s A Question of Identity, I’ve never seen anything by this author before but I love the sound of this one – crime, intrigue and mystery – just my cup of tea.

Finally today let’s talk music. I have been listening to a lot of old favourites on Spotify over the last few days. Mostly it’s all been about Halo – Bethany Joy Lenz, Drops of Jupiter – Train, I Don’t Want to Be – Gavin DeGraw and All or Nothing – O-Town.

Also I have discovered a cover of Walking on Sunshine by Wakey Wakey over here on soundcloud. Not only is this one of my favourite songs, but also one of my favourite bands too. They have managed to make the song sound so different than the original. Totally amazed.

Lau xxx

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Favourite Things #26

This week my favourite things is basically going to revolve around next week’s holibobs because let me be perfectly honest it’s the only thing I’m thinking about right now. Today (thursday) is my last day at work for over a week. Come tonight I will be all packed up and shipping out of London town – yippee yay! I realised earlier this week that I haven’t yet had more than two days off from work which is clearly why I am craving this break so much. We all know that having a full week is so much more relaxing than a measly 48 hours; you get a proper chance to unwind, relax and de-stress. So in the spirit of de-stressing here’s a list about what I will be doing next week…

  • talking, lots of talking
  • relaxing dinners with the family
  • scoffing lots of yummy food – there’s nothing better than my parent’s home cooking
  • uninterrupted reading time on the terrace, the beach, in bed, on the comfy looking sofas, in the park, anywhere and everywhere
  • ambling along the beach and possibly sunbathing – weather dependant
  • long evenings of board games. We’re taking Scrabble, Uno, Articulate, The Train Game and The Best of British. Cannot. Wait
  • laughing, lots of laughing. Laughter is guaranteed when our family get together as everyone always does silly things!
  • taking the chance to have long lazy lie ins
  • climbing Snowdon
  • running everyday – well that’s the plan anyway
  • drinking wine in the sun
  • discovering hidden parts of Wales – apparently there are nearby waterfalls
  • dancing the night away at a wedding
  • dolphin watching
  • road trips and road trip music

Sightseeing the Evans way – Part 2

Here begins the conclusion of the UK sightseeing tour for the Aussie family. Early Saturday morning we set off in two cars to Bath. We decided to head straight to the Roman Baths as this was the main thing that we all wanted to do while in Bath. The Baths is another place where you get given an audio guide to tell you all the site. As you can probably tell by know I love audio guides, it means you can see everything at your own pace, so much better, plus you don’t fight with other people over space in front of the exhibit boards. Another great thing about the Roman Baths is that you can take pictures everywhere, and we all know how much I love taking pictures! It was a bit rainy, but luckily I still managed to get some good photos of the baths. The green water is so weird isn’t it.

From the Baths we wandered around the outside of Bath Abbey and then pootled around Bath popping into shops and sampling fudge along the way. Then we stopped off at the Royal Crescent for some pictures – you sort of have to don’t you. Next stop was our hotel, a beautiful Best Western in Limpley Stoke. Fi and I had a room with a gorgeous view. Plus we had a lovely bathroom with a ginormous bath, I made the most of this and had a lovely long dip with my book while others were napping and recovering from the busy days we’d been having. We all met up again in time for dinner, we decided to walk to a nearby pub as there was a wedding going on in our hotel. On the way we found a Book Box, which I’ve heard about before but never actually seen. It’s such a lovely idea, I can’t help thinking that some of the old phone boxes in London should be converted in this way. After a lovely dinner we settled in our room for a couple of board games – yes board games. You should know by now that it’s a Evans family thing!

The next morning we set off quite early, after a hotel breakfast of course! We turned up at Stonehenge literally as soon as the heavens opened – typical. Oh well we weren’t going to let a little bit of rain stop us. So again we picked up our audio guides and set off around the monument. It’s so remarkable that these are still standing, and also so impressive that these were built without machinery – mind blowing. AFter Stonehenge we set off back to London, stopping off at Marborough, a quaint little village with old buildings and a Sunday market – we stocked up on cakes and local cheeses – perfect for an up and coming evening with friends.

Lau xxx

Sightseeing the Evans way – Part 1

As previously mentioned in my latest weekly update I spent a few days playing at being a tourist last week. My cousin and his wife were in the UK (they’ve just left) for three weeks and they needed tour guides for their London section. Of course my sisters and I were more than happy to oblige, especially as there’s lots in London that I haven’t done since I was a child. The plan was to spend two days in London and then two days in Somerset and Wiltshire, and man did we manage to cram a helluva lot in. I’ll try not to bore you with too many pictures or words (okay that one’s a lie!) but here’s what we managed to do…

London Day 1 

Once the other half of the tourist party arrived in London we headed straight to the Tower of London, stopping for lunch at Zizzi’s – they have an excellent Gluten Free menu FYI – before heading into the Tower. It’s been years since I’ve been to this London landmark, I’ve ice skated outside a couple of times but actually going inside the tower? Not for ages. In fact we worked out I was around 10 or 11 the last time when my Grampy and Nanna took the Evans sisters for a family outing there when they were over from Australia. The only thing I could remember from previous visits was the travelator at the Crown Jewels and the artist outside the tower where I got some pencil drawings of London landmarks. So basically it was all new to me to. We headed first to the Crown Jewels exhibit which were spectacular, you step onto a travelator to go past all the crowns and they are so sparkly and regal. I especially loved Queen Victoria’s mourning crown. Unfortunately there are no pics as you’re not allowed photography inside, so you’ll all have to go there to see all the sparkles! Next we headed into the White Tower to see the power house exhibit. It’s a collection of everything that can be found at the Tower of London; the Storehouse, The Mint, The Ordnance Survey, The Prison and more. Plus there’s a dragon made up of lots of things relating to these national institutions. Also around the Tower there are sculptures of various animals, all of which have been at the tower at some point in time, my favourites were the monkeys, but there was also a polar bear hiding near the raven houses. I’d completely forgotten how amazing the Tower of London is, I have to admit my inner history geek surfaced as soon as we walked through the walls! We spent a good couple of hours there before dragging ourselves away to the next stop on our magical mystery sightseeing tour.

After the Tower we hopped onto a river bus to the Tate Modern, The river buses are a great way to go on the river without having to pay out for a full cruise, plus the rocking of the waves is just so relaxing. After a stroll around the museum – my favourites there are always the Kandinsky’s – we wandered across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s tube station to make our way to Harrods. Of course no tourist trip is complete without a trip to this shopping Mecca. We made sure we travelled on the Egyptian escalators and then somehow we found ourselves in the Toy Kingdom – completely by accident of course! After loosing ourselves in Harrods for an hour or so we schooched around the corner to the nearest Pizza Express (another great GF option) for a quick bite to eat before jumping in a cab for home. All the sightseeing is utterly exhausting! Although we did manage to fit in a quick board game – The Best of British, if you were wondering.

London Day 2

Friday started bright and early we were at St Paul’s (via Starbucks) by 10am. At St Paul’s an audio guide is included in the admission price, which is totally awesome as you learn so much, plus the cathedral isn’t ruined by big signs all over the place. Once inside our first stop was the trek up the many, many stairs to the Whispering Gallery. After a few whispered conversations from across the gallery, four of our party headed up even further while Fi made her way back to the Cathedral floor – she’s not one for heights you see, so the fact that she even got to the Whispering Gallery is impressive in itself. Above the Whispering Gallery there are two outside levels to explore; the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery. Believe me it’s totally worth making the trek if you can handle the heights. To get to the very very top you have to go up five spiral staircases so I was quite dizzy by the end of it. But once we fought our way through the German school party we were enjoying a stunning 360 degrees view of the streets of London. After making our way back down we wandered around exploring all the other sights on the Cathedral floor and down in the crypt. There’s a stunning mosaic of the creation story on the ceiling near the altar which even includes kangaroos!

Our next stop was somewhere for lunch so we headed to Hyde Park and found a bench with our name on it at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen. After filling up on delicious sandwiches (and cake) we set of on a bit of a walk. Friday was lovely weather-wise so we ambled our way through Hyde Park and Green Park towards Buckingham Palace – clearly a must see for any visitor to London. Then we managed to catch the changing of the guards at Horse Guards Parade, before catching the 87 bus home past Parliament Square and Downing Street.

A quick nap and we set off for a night of theatre. As soon as we knew the Aussies were coming to see us we started thinking about theatre shows. We finally settled on a trip to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as it’s something that none of us have watched – it’s still so new so we haven’t had a chance really. It’s a fantastic show and I can’t recommend it enough. I swear the three hours flew by with smiles, faces of awe and peels of laughter. I don’t want to say too much but as a big fan of this book (and the film) I was definitely not dissapointed! In fact everyone in our party from the 19 year old up to the 58 year old simply loved the show.

Wow, this has been a lot longer post than I realised so I’m going to leave the Bath part of our sightseeing for another day. Lucky you to have something to look forward to hey?!

Lau xxx

Biscuits, failed runs and tourist fun – My weekly update

This week has seen lots of fun and exciting things, as well as old favourites too…

  • Monday’s Game of Thrones season 3 finale was a bit of a let down. I was hoping for  something similar to the week before’s episode, but was hugely disappointed. Luckily Book three, part 2 helped me get over this pretty quickly. Can’t wait until Season 4 starts – it’s going to be amazing!
  • I have reawakened my love for digestive biscuits. Forget about fancy chocolate creations, sometimes a plain biscuit is all you need. On Monday night, I was craving the humble McVitie’s Digestive. So much so that I had to nip to the corner shop and get some asap. I then proceeded to devour most of the pack. Honestly though sometimes it just has to be done!
  • It turns out I can get a tan even when it rains – next time I’m putting on sunscreen as I so almost got burnt.
  • Trying to run in shorts that are too big will not end well, I got 0.3 miles in and had to give up as having to constantly hold up the shorts was messing with my running stride!
  • Sometimes all you want for dinner is pitta breads and taramasalata. But sometimes this isn’t enough so biscuits happen…
  • Only two episodes left in the weekly WWathon, fish fingers sandwich & friends catch up – sad times, now debating what to watch next.
  • Getting to wear my new wintery dress to work as the rain has started and all my summer outfits are therefore out.
  • It turns out that getting the VLOOKUP formula to work in excel is always the highlight of my day

  • There are perks to visiting Starbucks too much – you get a goody bag after the store is closed for 1 week. Lots of vouchers, a mug, coffee and chocolate coins. Happy Monday morning to me!

  • It amazes me that £1 nail varnish from Superdrug can last longer than a £5 bottle. No chips after three whole days (and still counting) – revelation
  • Apart from the abandoned run the only exercise I’ve done this week is walking – a lot of walking. Thankfully my leopard print converse are super comfortable.
  • It turns out I absolutely love sightseeing – it’s all so much fun, but so expensive! More about all the sightseeing in a separate post soon
  • Road Trips – I love a good road trips. Good music, great people and snacks!
  • I’ve also finished A Storm of Swords, 2. Blood and Gold over the weekend. What a fantastic book, the best of the series so far in my humble opinion.
  • And finally lazy Sunday evenings – just what Sunday’s were made for right!

Lau xxx