Monday, 18 August 2014

So long, farewell.

It's announcement time here on The Adventures of Fi, hooray! Today I'm very excited to announce my brand new blogging venture: This and That Blog

So yes that's why I've been a bit rubbish at blogging here recently, it's been quite a busy time getting a new blog set up and designed and finalising plans! But I think we're finally there - doesn't it look pretty? 

The new blog is something I've been thinking about for a while as Lau and I realised that there was a LOT of overlap on the three blogs that we had between us. So it only seemed sensible to amalgamate (I LOVE that word) them all into one pretty spot! So if you like my brand of natterings about books, films, London life, food, fitness, crafty stuff and holiday plans why not head on over to This and That. You'll even get the additional brilliance that is Lau!

See you over there and thanks for being awesome whilst The Adventures of Fi existed! xxx

Saturday, 9 August 2014

July's super brilliant reads!

Hello friends and happy August! As we're now well in to a new month it's time to look back on what I read in July, which just happened to be a bumper month for reading. I think it's all the time in the park and chilling in the sunshine that made this possible!

So let's start at the beginning and go straight into my thoughts on book one: Eva Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea, which I'd never even heard of until a couple of months ago. In classic marketeer style I fell totally for the gorgeous underground posters featuring this book and a strap line about it being an absolute classic. A kid's classic I hadn't read? This needed rectifying asap. My verdict? This is most certainly a children's classic, one I wish I'd have read as a child as it's glorious. Through the brilliant descriptions of the flora, fauna, sites and smells I was transported to the Amazon as I read this tale of a little orphan and her evil family. It was fascinating to read about the Amazon tribes as well as the European settlers and I grew to loath Maia's cousins as much as she did. As for Maia, she's one of my new favourite people with her bravery, curiosity and resourcefulness. I was so pleased that she finally got what she wanted and a place to call home. I cannot recommend this book enough it really was a five star read and one that I can't wait to press in to the hands of my (hopefully) future kids. Now I need to get my hands on another of Eva's wonderful books. Which would you suggest I read next?

The second five star read of the month belongs to Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers which was absolutely marvellous. It's a beautifully written story, full of charm, imagination and characters you want as friends. You're pulled into the story instantly and straight away you're rooting for Sophie to find what she's searching for. Coupled with such personable characters the author paints the most beautiful scenes on the rooftops of Paris and you feel like you're actually there, seeing what Sophie's seeing. This Parisian set tale is most definitely a must read, it's stunning and sure to be a future classic.

So another month and there's another Roald Dahl book to be discovered, this time it's Danny the Champion of the World, which has possibly the best father character ever, in any book. Seriously isn't he amazing? Never mind that he's technically a thief, he's just such a good Dad. I loved this book and I'm ashamed that I've not read it before - what a mistake!

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the brand new David Nicholls (of One Day fame) book Us on Twitter and obviously had to get reading straight away. I was super concerned it wouldn't live up to my high expectations but I needn't have worried as it's an absolute gem. I now want to go on my own European road trip and read more about this fabulous cast of characters. I can't wait for more people to read it - I need to discuss things!

The final three books for July were: Right ho, Jeeves by P.G.Woodhouse, Charlotte's Web by E.B.White and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, all of which I read as part of the August edition of a Blogging Good Read. So check out Alex's post from a few days ago to see what I thought about these three. Hint: I LOVED one of the books and wasn't so keen on the others. I wonder which was which?? 

So, tell me, what gems have you read this month? What do I NEED to add to my TBR list? 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Lest we forget

Last night I was one of the many you took part in #lightsout. I know for a lot of people it didn't make sense to turn off the lights and commemorate the start of World War One in that way, but for me it felt like a small way of showing my appreciation to all those that fought 100 years ago. I know my actions last night won't have been worth anything in monetary terms but it was a nice way to show support.

With all the commemorations happening at this time it got me thinking about the fact that in just a few years there won't be anyone at our First World War memorials who was actually there, who actually experienced the horrors. We won't be able to show our appreciation and thanks to any of the soldiers who fought for us. Likewise there won't be anyone who worked in the munitions factories, who treated the wounded, who made the decisions or who followed the orders.  No one to say thank you to for giving us the freedom and way of life that we now take for granted. I think that's incredibly sad and also puts us in a position where we have to show them now how we feel before it's too late.

I wonder if these memorials will have less significance in ten, fifty, one hundred years from now? Will we forget about what our families suffered and what they went through without the living reminder at these events. Will we feel differently and forget that we should care when we don't see the old men proudly sporting their uniforms and a chestful of medals. I really really hope that's never the case as what they did for us is far too important for us to just cast off and forget about as the time passes. We must ensure we continue to remember their sacrifices.

Do they sit there and look at what is happening in the world and question what was it for? Why didn't the world learn from the First World War. From all that loss, devastation and senseless death. Do they ask why are we still allowing wars and senseless deaths to continue? And when is enough, enough? What have we really learnt from World War One if it's not stopping such atrocities today.

So that's why I took part in #lightsout yesterday and while I'll endeavour to show up at as many commemorations as possible over the next few months. After all it's not something that's hard to do, I'm not risking my life and it's a small way to honour their sacrifice.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Life Lately (Part 2)

Hello and happy Wednesday! I hope life's treating you well and that the week is an awesome one! I just thought I'd stop by for part two of last week's life update. Things have been busy and great round here and right now I'm...

Listening to
The soundtrack for The Prince of Egypt, the latest Rebecca Ferguson album, Taylor Swift (Always Taylor) and the new Ed Sheeran and Wakey Wakey albums.

An upcoming trip to Chester, I'm off up there next Friday for a long weekend and wedding celebrations. Having never been to the city before I'm open for suggestions - what's a must see or do (apart from the shopping obviously!)?

Cuddles with babies, hanging out with both sisterlings as the littlest is up doing work experience in London, exploring the wonders of south London

As part of my attempt to be healthier it's been all about the overnight oats or fruit and yogurt for breakfast and protein and salad for lunch right now. I've been loving it and have yet to be bored by (the addition of roasted veg to every salad really helps)! Also I discovered moussaka the other day. OMG that's one hell of an amazing dish, why has no one introduced it to me before! Also Leon, I love your food.

All those people currently on holiday. Hurry up September!

Has anyone else been sat on the sofa recently sobbing over Long Lost Family? That show kills me every time and yet I can't help but watch it as it's just so heartwarming and lovely. The people on there are so wonderful and have such heartbreaking stories and I find it impossible not to go all warm and fluffy when watching it. You must watch it, you won't be disappointed (don't forget the tissues thought!).

All of the amazing things. Like this dress and this bag and these shoes (I mean OMG poka dot brogues, amazing right?!). I want.

Dreaming about
A holiday, roll on September 19th I need sun and space and peace and cocktails and a rest and the beach. Pretty please move faster. 

Nak'd bars and nak'd bites. I can't seem to get enough of these right now. They are so good. My current favourites are the cocoa mint and the cocoa orange - so good and amazing that I don't have any guilt after eating one. Excellent!

Complaining about
The heat. I'm rubbish in the heat, what's the point of it when I'm in an air conditioned office all day and then have to struggle with the tube. Eurgh winter hurry up. Oh and estate agents. I really dislike estate agents right now.

Putting off
So much life admin stuff. I really must get on that soon. I just need to finish my book first...

So what about you, what have you been up to? 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Present decisions

On Sunday I went to the christening of one of my favourite people, baby Bella. When it comes to a christening I'm never sure what I should bring as a present - I mean it seems to me that its tradition to give something Peter Rabbit themed (I got a bowl and plate set and a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle money box) or small person sized jewelry (I got a beautiful charm bracelet and a lovely locket). But in reality how helpful is that for a small baby (and said baby's parents)? Don't get me wrong all of the presents outlined are lovely and I definitely appreciated being given them but the reality is that after two years you've smashed the bowl (or your too 'cool' for it), the bracelet no longer fits and twenty years later the money box is lost and the locket and charm bracelets are so tarnished they are unsalvageable.

So ahead of the christening I thought a lot about what I wanted to gift to Bella. I wanted the gift to mean something and be personal as well as useful. Also a christening is about celebrating a baby and the people who are going to help guide her so I wanted to think about that too. I also knew that I didn't want her to look back at the gifts in ten or twenty years and think I never knew I had that, I've never used it or what is this? So I haven't put any pressure on myself for this present, have I?

I finally settled on a set of some of my favourite books from childhood, so basically the essential bookcase for a baby. I figured that ticked all the boxes I was aiming for and Bella would get so much use out of them in the years to come. To be honest it was a bit tricky to narrow them all down as there are loads that I loved as a child, but after a lot of deliberating I settled on Where's Spot?, Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum, The Alfie Treasury, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Five Minute's Peace. Pretty much an essential bookcase for a child, right?!

So tell me, what would you give as a christening present? 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Life update (part one)

Hi lovely blog readers, how ARE you? I hope you’re not sweltering too much in this heat? I really am not a fan of this weather and I'm allowed to complain about it as I never asked for it to appear. Give me a chilly day where I have to wrap up warm and I'm happy - unless I'm on a beach in which case I want all the sunshine please.

I've been a busy bee over the last few weeks so  for today’s post I thought I’d give you a bit of a life update but then when I started writing one and my ‘what I've read recently’ section was huge and I couldn't inflict the whole thing on you. So here’s part one of my what I've been doing lately post! {These posts are some of my favourite to read as I’m fundamentally a super nosey person so I’m hopeful this works for you too…}

Firstly I'm making my way through savouring the brand new David Nicholls book, Us. I won a proof copy of this book via Twitter and I cannot tell you how much I'm enjoying it. It’s a really lovely tale about one family who are struggling as a family and it flicks back and forth between the present and various moments in their past. So far it’s totally living up to the wonder of a book that One Day was. 

I'm crazy behind on blog reading at the moment, but I have a few recent highlights I wanted to share with you.
Browned butter toffee chocolate chip cookies from Handle the Heat. These are an actual real baked thing. OMG! How do people think of these things and who is going to make them for me? Anyone?

How Sweet it is’s pregnancy essay which had me laughing VERY loudly numerous times. I love Jessica's writing style and also how she told her parents and her husband that she was expecting. So cute.

News of Being Erica’s new job – how excellent to have found your dream job!

Details on how to rebrand your blog from Kate – pertinent to goings on in my life right now as there are changes acoming to this here blogging space. Exciting!

Lau's weekend update as it saves me the job of typing it all up. It was lovely to be back home although I do think I managed to eat enough for a family of four...

Info on how to update your smoothies from Rosie. I really want to better at smoothies as part of my healthy lifestyle drive so this post is super-helpful. Now I just need to go shopping for all the awesome ingredients!

A recipe for one bowl carrot and apple muffins. I do love a healthy recipe and one that requires the minimum number of utensils so I'm all over this one. Plus I've never made a carrot based cake before. A travesty right?!

So what about you, what have you been reading (book and blogs) recently - I'd love some more blogger suggestions particularly! 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Judging a book by its cover

So I know that it's wrong to be superficial and only buy books that look really pretty, but sometimes I'm shallow and it happens. At the weekend the above lovely collection of books became mine. I didn't need any of them, I just saw them and fell head over heels in love with them and couldn't say no to them. 

These two poetry collections from Faber were a must buy. Not only are the covers absolutely beautiful, heartbreaking and perfect, they also feature some of my favourite poems. If you did an English GCSE circa. 2001 you'll be familiar with these two wartime poets too. It's been such a long time since I've delved into their writings and I've been wanting to rediscover them for a while. So when I stumbled across these beautiful hardback editions I couldn't not pick them up. I think Dulce Et Decorum est was my favourite poem by Wilfred Owen.

I've not yet read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell but it's on my MUST READ ASAP list so when I saw this special collector's edition I had to grab it. It's got a poster, sprayed edges and a pink and mint cover, what's not to love? Plus it's about fan fiction, um hello perfect book alert! 

I've been lusting over these beautiful Famous Five 70th anniversary editions for ages. The five books all have new covers illustrated by a famous illustrator, people like Oliver Jeffers, Chris Riddell and, in the case of the two I bought, Helen Oxenbury and Quentin Blake. I love how the books look like they are older editions as the illustrations are so classic and old school. Just beautiful. Can you believe I've never read the Famous Five books, considering how much I loved Enid Blyton's books as a child that seems absurd the more I think about it! Clearly I missed out big time.

Another Enid Blyton series I've not yet read? The adventure series. Book one in that series it The Island of Adventure which I had to nab at the weekend as it also has a gorgeous new cover. This time by Rebecca Cobb. There are another five in the series with Rebecca's gorgeous illustrations. Something tells me I'll be buying them in the not too distant future too... 

So what about you, what books have you picked up on a whim as the covers are so beautiful?