Small, happy and wanting to cook ALL THE THINGS

I must admit, teaching part time is pretty great in many ways.  There are downsides sure, like not knowing where I'll be teaching that day, or even who or what (!) but it does mean I have more free time.

I have used that time the best way possible, by cooking, A LOT.  Boyfriend and I have been cooking up a storm and whats more he's been so up for trying anything I feel like cooking (even when those dishes have a distinct lack of meat...)  

While neither of us are vegetarians I do think it's great for your body, your palate and your budget to branch out and see what amazing dishes you can create when you step away from the 'must have meat mindset'.  So here are a few little things I have pinned recently that I'm dyyyyyying to make!

The original link for all of these delicious pins are on my pinterest board Health Nut follow on if you love a bit of sometimes meaty, quite fishy and extremely veggieful food porn!

What about you?  Do you choose to go meat free sometimes?  What have you been rustling up at home recently?

Tell me pleeeeease, I am beyond nosy when it comes to people's eating habits (and most things really....)


Small, happy and getting motivated #1

Today as it's a Monday (and who doesn't need a little boost on a Monday?!) I thought I'd share one of my favourite motivational quotes that I've pinned on my Pinterest board 'Inspiring'. I find doing this really therapeutic, if I'm ever feeling a little..meh, it really helps me calm and refocus and gets me out of my funk. This quote below really, really struck a chord with me.

So true.

This is so so true, and I have never felt that this quote is more applicable than when you're in your 20s.  All the way through school it's the same, you and everyone your age goes to school and you do GCSEs.  You might do an after school club or a sport at the weekend  but by and large, you are doing the same as everyone your age.  Then it slowly starts to change.  For me a couple of people went the college route after 16 but most of my class went onto A Levels, uni and then boom we were 21, we had a degree yes, but a clue? Not so much.  All through education I was told, go to uni then you'll be set.  Set on the path to career, marriage, babies, whatever you choose, with a degree behind you you're sure not to lose.  Just felt like rhyming, it's all getting a little Dr Seuss up in here.

But everyone I know since then have all taken very different paths.  One friend went straight into work and then tried to utilise her law degree by doing her LPC (solicitor training) and then decided against it.  Another friend went straight into working in the theatre which her degree trained her for (she's a stage manager for operas la de dah!) while my friend and I went into further study after a year doing various work.  I went into teacher training and she chose another three year course to become a speech therapist.

These paths are all very different and no course is 'right'.  It's hard when you're used to looking to your friends to know what the 'norm' is.  We were always able to do that like how many hours should we study for this exam you both have, what AS levels should we drop, when are you allowed by your parents to go out or stay at a boyfriend's etc and then suddenly you all leave uni and everyone's playing a different game to you, a different life.

It's difficult because it's human nature to compare ourselves, and it really is the thief of joy comparison.  I've been lucky enough to move in with my boyfriend into a wonderful flat in a beautiful area of the UK, but all I can think is that I'm doing supply while friends from my PGCE are working full time in their placement schools because they stayed in the same area.  Instead of comparing my position in my career to theirs, I should be thinking how grateful I am that this choice that I've made has moved me along greatly in terms of where I want to be living my life and ultimately that will help me in my career because I am in a fantastic catchment area with some great, great schools.

What I (and this quote) are trying to say is that wherever you are and whatever you're doing in your life, that's okay, that's 'right'.  As long as you are happy and healthy that is all that matters.  Just because your friend might be married or be having a baby or be in the exact career they want to be in that does not mean you need to have all that sorted out yet.  Nor does it mean that you are any less 'ahead'.  In some ways you'll have progressed more in some areas of your life and in some ways you might need longer to sort somethings out, and that's fine.  Once we get through school life becomes a bit murkier and while people may comment and say things like 'isn't it time you got a real job?' or 'aren't you ready to quit travelling and settle down?' they do not have to live your life, YOU DO, and you are the one who needs to be happy with it.  After they've made their comment they go back to their lives and get on with their own things and their own comparisons, they're not worrying about you and what you're doing, trust me.  If you live your life because of what you think others think you should be doing at that stage you won't be happy.  I don't know much, but I know that, I have learnt that.  I am trying to make sure that I'm happy with what I'm doing and that's working for me right now.   All we can do is try and be kind to our selves, stop comparing and start celebrating what you are doing right, which is probably a hell of a lot!

If you have any inspiring quotes or any great boards that you follow (quotes or just general, I'm Pinsessed! Does that work? I'm not sure...) please share, I'm all ears!

Small, happy and believing in fairies and magic...THE DISNEY TAG

1. Favourite Disney Film?
Ugh, well this is too hard, for an all rounder favourite I feel like I have to say Aladdin however Little Mermaid, Tangled, Frozen, Lion King are all up there too!

2. Favourite Disney Character?
Trying to stick with the original classics, Daisy Duck is my fave.  She's so glam and she rocks a bow.  In terms of the movies, I love the Genie, a lot.

3. Favourite Disney Princess?
Jasmine, 100%, easy question.  She is beyond gorgeous, has a strong mind, pretty amazing hair (although what princess doesn't?) but to top it all off her palace is pretty perfect and she has Aladdin and a PET TIGER.  I feel like the last reason tops it all.

4. Rather be Aurora or Cinderella?
I would definitely rather be Aurora.  Who wouldn't want three beautiful fairies looking after them?  Also I love me a bit of Prince Phillip!

5. Rather be Hercules or Tarzan?
I'd rather be Hercules, because hello?  He's a Greek god!  I love anything to do with Greek mythology so definitely a Hercules fan.

6. Rather be Lizzie McGuire or Raven Baxter?
Lizzie McGuire!  I related to her so much growing up (the episode where she gets her first bra?  Totally was my life!)  but I want Raven Baxter as my BFF because she was just too cool and she had her head screwed on right so she'd give good advice too.

7. Favourite Disney song?
Pretty much the whole Lion King soundtrack.

8. Which Disney character would be your best friend?
I'd love to have Flynn Rider ;)  just friends, honest.

9. Which Disney character would be your pet?
I want Rajah please, a mini Raja, I love tiger cubs, so cute.

10. Have you ever been to Disneyland?
 I have been lucky enough to go to Disneyland Florida, Paris and Hong Kong.  The next dream?  Disney Tokyo! 

I could talk and talk about Disney all day, and read it about it too having said that so if you've done this tag please comment so I can read!


Small, happy and obsessing over instagram! #1

 I love instagram, completely, utterly in every way.  If instragram was a guy, I have fallen hard.  It's a love that is long lasting and continues to grow.  I love gaining these little windows into people's lives.  I love that I can see pictures from my own friends interspersed with celebrities and bloggers everywhere.  As a travel lover I use it to seek out new places (and the restaurants in them!) as a healthy foodie I follow food blogs and read their recipes and as a  general nosy lady I follow as many lifestyle blogs as I can.

So I thought I'd do a series about my favourite instagrams, in the hopes that you'll discover some new ones maybe and that you'll give me ideas of who else to follow too (as if I need more!)

To kick off, my first post is my favourite bloggers' instagrams.  These five lovely ladies all run very successful and beautiful blogs and these instagrams are a wonderful extension and addition of those, an extra slice while we're waiting for the next delicious blog post morsel.


I think we all know Carrie, her beautiful jet setting lifestyle, lovely fashion posts and cute little trinkets that she posts blow me away.  If you read her blog you'll know how gorgeous her photos are, so if you read her blog but you don't follow her, change that now!


Nicole's blog and the photography has some of the most beautiful photos I have EVER seen.  Her outfits are lovely but I'm more of a wanderluster than a fashionista and the backdrops of her outfit posts are absolutely breathtaking.  She's in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, you name it, she's been there and posted some exquisite pictures of it.  I can't use anymore amazing adjectives to inspire you to follow her.  Simply stunning.  Instagram was made for accounts like this.


Or in other words, the instagram of the world's best looking family and yes I'm including the Pitt-Jolie clan when I say this.  Cara posts the most stunning outfit posts that even I stop and take notice and she also includes the fashion of her husband and their two beautiful boys.  Everything about her photos and her blog posts are perfection and I'm sorry but surely her HAIR is reason in itself to follow her?  I mean seriously, I have never seen more princess worthy, beautiful hair.  #inlove


I love Olivia.  I love her blog, her bakes, her fashion posts, her gorgeous Paris posts and I love seeing even more of that on her instagram.  I love seeing her lifestyle posts ,I'm a sucker for any cute stationery, macarons, flowers or food photos you see and Olivia's instagram has plenty!


Aaaah Lauren Conrad.  I've lover her since her "I want to forgive you and I want to forgot you!" dramatic day on The Hills but she is quite a different woman nowadays.  Her blog is fantastic with fitness, wedding, lifestyle, bookclub, beauty, DIY posts and her photography is simply some of the best on instagram.  She is a very smart but fun and girly business woman and her instagram gives a more personal side to the blog and Lauren's life herself.  Gorgeous photos and she famously denies which instagram filter she uses, which really only makes me stalk her photos more!

There will be more posts like this to come, my instagram following rises daily but if you'd like to have a snoop at my photos or simply see who else I'm following here's my account: @sophiacristina

Who do you love to follow?  Tell me please please please!


The Autumn Tag

Source: Pinterest

So, as much as I love summer and desperately cling onto it for dear life, I can't bury my head in the (warm, wonderful) sand any longer, Autumn is here!  But on a more positive note as I try to live as positively as possible sans moaning about the cold, the wet, the dark etc, there are

1. Okay, we're talking coffee. What is your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero?
Hmm, probably my usual favourite from Costa, a skinny cappuccino with sugar free caramel syrup.  Guilt free and DELICIOUS.  In terms of Starbucks, I think my sister summed it up best this weekend when she said "go to Costa for hot drinks and Starbucks for cold." I pretty much agree and since it's waaaay to cold for frappuccinos, it looks Costa will be getting the majority of my business for the next few months.

2. Accessories - What do you opt for - boots, scarf, gloves?
I am always freezing.  Always.  So for me it's all three, pretty much all year round for me!  Wish I terms of a scarf, I have just bought the most beautiful one from Zara.  When I was in Chester this last weekend a man actually stopped and asked me where I got it.  This NEVER happens to me, I am not exactly a fashion afficianado. 

3. Music - What do you love to listen to during the Autumn?
My music tastes don't really change over the seasons, I'm kind of a pop princess all year round, I usually listen to summer like music to keep my spirits up when the nights draw in and I need to boogy in my room to keep warm!  Although I will say I enjoy more acoustic music in the winter, especially when I'm curled up in bed reading.

4. Perfume - what's your favourite scent at this time of the year?
My usual go to, Chanel Chance eau tendre.

5. Candles - which scents will you be burning this season?
Anything with cinnamon.  I am actually on the lookout for a coffee candle, I love that smell!

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
The fact that because it is getting colder and darker you can't be judged for getting all cosy in your pjs and

7. Favourite make up look?
I love dark, berry lips and sparkly eyes (although not at the same time!)

8. What are you looking forward to most during this season?
I love Halloween: dressing up, pumpkins, trick or treating, the decorations, the scary films all of it.  I also love being able to get into my pjs, get cosy and sit down in front of the fabulous tv that's on over winter, The X Factor, The Apprentice, Homeland and all of the other wonderful American shows that I stream.  I also love warm comforting stews and soups and long nights in knowing you have nowhere you need to go.  Blissful and calming.  I guess Autumn's not so bad after all!

I saw this post on the wonderful Jennie's blog so thank you for the inspiration!

Small, happy and what I've been reading. #1

I always seem to spend summer the same way, no matter where I am, I am usually lost in a book.  I love reading, but with working/studying life I always seem to end up just slouching in front of the tv or reading blogs.  I'm not saying this is right and when I come back from holiday I always feel refreshed and good for not being so techno addicted, so the following usually happens...I come back with great intentions and lots of books on the to read list.

However, September, always a busy time, comes around, I get behind on my books and yet can't resist buying more and starting them too!  However, through my work as a supply primary teacher while settling into being a Cheshire dweller and looking for a permanent post I have actually had time to read. 

So here's what I've been reading and pretty much loving recently:

A Tale For The Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

'Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.'

Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.

This book fascinated me and intrigued me on so many levels.  I am extremely interested in Asian culture (in case the books in the list didn't make that clear enough!) and it was fascinating learning about Nao's life as a teenager and also her great grandmother's life as a nun.  Moreover, Nao's use of Japanese words and the little footnote translations pleased the ever yearning for knowledge teacher in me!

I would urge anyone to read this, both narrators Ruth and Nao are brilliant and so well developed and you become completely enthralled in finding out what's going to happen at the end of Nao's entries. I won't say anymore on that...

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

It's 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them.

Most people have heard of Rainbow Rowell as she seems to be having a bit of a moment right now.  I've seen her books Fangirl and Eleanor and Park everywhere and after looking her up I was surprised to see that she's actually written other books too, including Attachments, for a more adult audience.

The premise is pretty unique and interested me straight away being set just before Y2K and in a time where the internet was still this new and exciting concept.  It was funny reading about the girls getting used to emailing and the company panicking about what was going to happen come the new year.  The characters were all funny and likeable and it was pretty much a sweet love story and an easy read.  I feel tempted to pick up more of her books now.

Crazy, Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars and that she is about to encounter the strangest, craziest group of people in existence. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian jet set; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money - and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

This book was a guilty pleasure read, no doubts about it.  I read a lot of classics and other challenging reads so I feel like I am entitled to read some juicy, salacious scandal when I feel like it!  To be fair, I'm hoping to travel to Singapore in the near future so I also feel like this was for research purposes.  Although, there's no way I'd be able to afford to go anywhere they went, except the airport!

I did enjoy this book, it was full of scandal, controlling families, rich people with as many problems as credit cards and I loved it.  The wealth in that part of the world is astounding and getting a peek in to how the other half live was so interesting.  The mix of the old fashioned cultural values which prevail alongside the new money and expensive luxury lifestyles is very typical of that part of the world and was something I was really intrigued to read about.  The main character of Rachel who is more 'like us' helped the reader see the world through her eyes and made me think about how I would feel if that world was suddenly thrust upon me.  The answer?  Not good!  Be grateful for what you have, that kind of money brings nothing but pain.  Deep thoughts coming from perhaps a not so deep, but incredibly fun, book!

What have you been reading?  I love adding to my to read list, constantly!


Small, happy and currently... #1

It's Friday, how fantastic!

It's also my sister's birthday today so that has given me an extra wave of excitement, what can I say, I just love birthdays!  So here's a round up of things I've been reading, loving, thinking about currently.

Reading: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I love a good period drama and this book has been on my to read list for a while.  It follows the Hale family, in particular the daughter, strong willed Margaret (think Elizabeth Bennett and you're not far off!) as they up sticks and move from their comfortable Southern life to a working class industrial town up North.  See where the title comes in?  Anyway, Margaret has her own ideas about the people who live in Milton town and in particular John Thornton, the factory boss who has hired her father to work as a tutor.  Sparks are going to fly and I'm very excited to see where this one goes.  Also, there's a BBC adaption on Netflix and I've promised myself I won't watch it until I finish!

Eating: some amazing food (if I do say so myself). I've been cooking up a bit of a comfort food storm (healthy though as always) these have included a red lentil dahl, some delicious stir fries and some immense stuffed squash.  I am literally in food heaven right not and I am really appreciating the looser working schedule as it is allowing me to (attempt to) morph into the domestic goddess I have always yearned to be!

Dreaming: about New York.  I had a dream I was back there the other day and it has made me miss the place so much. I never thought you could miss somewhere in such a strong, heart wrenching way but I guess NYC can do that to you.  I can't wait to go back someday but until then I just feel grateful that I have had the chance to go and will keep myself satisfied with looking back at memories and photos.

 Looking forward to: going to Chester tomorrow.  This is another place that very quickly stole my heart.  My sister goes there for university and it's just so beyond pretty that it still makes me just stop and stare (much to the annoyance of the locals I am sure).  The consistency of the beautiful Tudor architecture really makes me feel like I'm in another time.  There's so many lovely shops, restaurants and quirky small streets and I know I have so much more to discover here which is very exciting!

Thinking: about Halloween costumes!  It's my best friend's birthday on Halloween and I need to think of a good costume.  We usually steer away from the typical ghosts, zombies and other such like scary fare.  Although, I have been known to dress up as a cat on several other occasions with other friends (it's just so easy!)  But anyway, my lovely friend is very unique and as such, all our costumes should be too.  I'm thinking either Mary Poppins, Britney in her Baby one more time video or Wednesday Adams.  If you're wondering about how on Earth the first two ideas came into being I have two words for you - Lauren Conrad.

What about you?  What are your current obsessions?  What are you reading/watching?  Do you have any unusual and different Halloween costume ideas?  Let me know!

Sophia x

Small, happy and celebrating all things BRITISH.

Seeing as the amount of people who are aware of this blog is still in the miniscule minority I have tagged myself for #TheBritishtag purely because I saw it floating around several blogs and I am always going to jump at a chance to wax lyrical about my home country. Yes, I am half Portuguese, but I was born here and feel pretty British, except when I'm in Portgual or when I'm getting overly passionate and Mediterranean about things! So here goes, time to celebrate tea, corgis, Kate Middleton, Harry Potter, Richard Curtis movies and cottages, and the Vicar of Dibley! I shall stop now and get to the point, although rambling on is quite a British trait in itself...

1) How many cups of tea do you have a day?
 Probably about four or five and this is one of Emma Bridgewater's pint mugs so that is a pretty mean feat. However, less British about this is the fact that I drink green tea. I was converted a couple of years ago and I will happily drone on to anyone who will listen about how good it makes me feel and how I think everyone should try it!

2) Favourite part of a roast?
Seeing as I'm a bit of a flexitarian I'm going to say the vegetables. I am veg obsessed, for real. I know it's weird. Also, I'm a northerner so how could I not love the gravy too!

3) Favourite dunking biscuit?
Not a biscuit dunker really, but digestive biscuits, rich tea and hob nobs are all fine by me, I just don't eat them!

4) Favourite quintessential British past time?
 Got to be just sitting and catching up over a cup of tea, also I love walking around Chatsworth and other typically British places.

5) Favourite word?
 I use a lot of lovely, wonderful, marvellous other Englishy sounding words like that. I love the phrase 'pissing it down' and 'holiday' if only because the Americans don't ever say them! Crumpet is also a pretty nice British word so I like that too.

6) Cockney rhyming slang?
 Dog and Bone, learnt it from that Amanda Bynes (and Colin Firth!) movie 'What a Girl Wants' about an American girl in London, go figure!

7) Favourite sweet?
 Anything that exists in Charlie and the chocolate factory!

8) What would your pub be called?
Something like 'The Cunning Fox'.  Anything to do with foxes basically, very British and they're cute.

9) No 1 British person?
 The Queen. David Beckham. J.K. Rowling. Yes, I'm ignoring the 'number one' part.

10) Favourite shop/restaurant?
Got to be Topshop!

11) What British pop song pops into your head?
 ANYTHING by Spice Girls, always and forever I will love you. Girl power etc etc.

12) Marmite?
 Genuinely I think it's okay, partial to a bit of Bovril too.

Other British things I love are the Royal family, the beautiful countryside, our wonderful capital city, our British ways and mannerisms, the NHS (how lucky are we?!), GBBO, Shakespeare, James Bond and our fantastically interesting history. We have many things to be grateful for in Britain and I think it's quite typically British that we don't stop and appreciate it enough.
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