Train of thought…

I catch the train for work five days a week, and have done so for spot on six months today. In some waus this is an improvement on how I previously commuted (bus) and there are many ways that it drives me crazy, so I thought I would collate a list of bugbears about trains:

Overcrowding 

For some reason Great Western Railway feel that a three or four carriage train is sufficient for the evening commuter train, meaning the 17:24 train home is generally standing room only until the third or fourth stop, on a good day. 

Doors 

I cannot deal will the responsibility of opening the train door when it reaches the station. I’m not talking about the button operated doors, but the ones where you need to stick your arm through the window and manoeuvre the handle. If I’m at the front I will muck it up to or three times and look like an idiot who can’t open the door. 

Unreliability 

The reliability of trains is a running joke and should just go without saying. My train will either be slightly late which can make me about 2 or 3 minutes late for work or what you do is be an hour late 2 hours late and completely screw with my plans. Thanks trains. 

On the flip side…


My morning train is not only spacious, I can charge my phone, I can read a book and I can just switch off and relax for an hour. And 4 out of 5 days of the week my train will be on time. 

As much as the train might drive me crazy on occasion, it still allowed me to take a chance on an amazing opportunity in Truro with a job that has really challenged me and given me with some real moment pride.

Trains I might hate you on occasion, but I’m also incredibly grateful for you.

Emily 

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I would rather be reading 

I am on a self imposed reading break, and its making me slightly sad. Instead of getting lost in the pages of a new world I’m studying for an industry certificate, and I thought my graduation heralded the end of academic exams…

If I was reading right now, I’d be flicking through one of these :

The Night Circus 
Circuses and magic, why wouldn’t I want to read this.

On the road 
A gift from my brother a few years back (is there anything better than a gifted book) that came with the dvd which we watched together. This is a reference to our mutual The O C obsession.

Elizabeth is missing 
A mystery novel that I passed to my mum the minute I got it home, after meeting her seal of approval I can’t wait to read this.

Yes please 
I love Army Poehler, and want nothing more than to spend hours with her steam of consciousness.

It 
I probably have around 300 pages left of this bad boy and really need to finish this to make some headway through my reading challenge 

Have you read any of these books, or are they on your to read list?

Emily 

Spinach and Cheese Muffins: Meal Prep

 Whenever someone asks what my hobbies are, or what I do simply because I enjoy it, my first response is always reading then baking. I’ve touched on our love of books here a lot (evidence) but beyond a reference to the brownies I made for the first blogger event I attended, my other love has been neglected.
The bake I’m introducing to you is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery, and I make a batch of these most weeks.  They freeze really well, lending  themselves perfectly to meal prepping and are, as far as I’m concerned, a fairly healthy snack. On a side note, I made these for my works bake off and they were snapped up pretty quickly!
Cheese and Spinach Muffins with a kick
Makes approximately 8 Muffins.
You will need:

  • A muffin tray. I use a 6 muffin tray and either a mini loaf tin or cupcake wrappers.
  • Muffin cases
  • A spatula
  • A big mixing bowl
  • A few smaller bowls
  • An electric mixer
  • A wooden spoon
  • Some elbow grease

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 220 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 130 g shredded baby spinach (you can use frozen if you prefer, but I prefer fresh Spinach in this recipe)
  • Optional: half teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method
Shred your Spinach, disposing of the stalks, and grate your cheddar, put both to one side.
Add the muffin cases to the muffin tray and pre heat your oven to 170 C.

Crack and beat your egg lightly into the milk.
In a separate large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper and cheese.

Using your electric mixer slowly add the wet ingredients (milk, egg) to the dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, cheese, pepper). Once all has combined put your electric mixer to one side (after scraping the beaters).
Add the Spinach to the mix and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. You will have a very elastic dough, meaning this is the most tedious aspect of the recipie as mixing takes ages.

Once well combined spoon your elastic dough into the muffin cases, aim for 2/3 full.
If you have extra dough add this to the cupcake cases or mini loaf tin. Be aware the cooking time for these will differ. (less for the cupcakes more for the mini loaf)

Bake for 30 about minutes. Once you reach 30 minutes pop a fork/cocktail stick into a muffin, if it comes out clean they’re done! Other wise give it a few more minutes and test again.

Take your muffins out of the oven, after about ten minutes carefully move them to a wire cooling rack.

Either leave to cool completely and freeze the surplus, or eat whilst they’re still hot with a bit of butter.

Nb: these will spoil after a couple days so always freeze the excess. Take a muffin out the night before, and it will be perfect for a healthy mid morning snack. 



You will also need to justify these muffins when you eat them, people often seem perplexed by these.

There you go! If you make these let me know what you think of them!


– Emily 

My Current Favourite Documentaries on Netflix.

I love documentaries. Perhaps it`s because I`m a pretty massive nerd at heart and I love to learn, or perhaps I`m just the most boring person on Earth…we`ll never know. But, if like me, you love nothing more than turning on the TV and learning something new then you need to check these movies out. All available on Netflix, which is always handy.

 

blsckfish

Blackfish. If you haven`t watched Blackfish then you must have been living under a rock, so I suggest when you leave the rock the first thing you watch is Blackfish. The documentary details the capture, treatment and lives of the Orcas at Sea World. Focus is put onto Tilikum who after being captured at age 4 has lived in captivity ever since, and has become notorious as he has been responsible for the deaths of 3 people. This film will make you seriously think about how we treat the kin we find ourselves on this planet with.

 

the hunting ground

The Hunting Ground. This film, again, has been quite a popular watch recently but if you`ve missed it you must watch it. This movie shines a light on the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes that have been occurring on American college campuses and the institution`s lack of dealing with the problem appropriately. Told from the perspective of a couple of activists who are fighting the good fight on behalf of, not just those sexual assault survivors, but all women who have felt obligated or pressured by a man because it could be any of us. Solidarity sisters!

 

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Requiem for the American Dream. Celebrated philosopher, social critic, political activist and linguistic Noam Chomsky is interviewed in this film discussing the distribution of wealth and power in modern western society. Chomsky theorises on the different ways that ensure that all the money and governance stays within an elite few and the other 99% keep their nothing.

 

capitalism a love story

Capitalism: A Love Story. Renowned documentary maker Michael Moore takes on another divisive issue: capitalism. Whatever your feelings about Moore and his style this movie really makes you think about system that is supposed to be fair for all but only seems to help the few.

 

Let me know if you watch any of these films and if you have suggestions for me.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally🙂

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Brunch in Plymouth: Boston Tea Party, Rumpus Cosy, Royal William Bakery

Boston Tea Party

I love BTP’s for two big reasons: 

1) the service is always friendly and personable. 
2) I have never felt rushed in a BTP.

They have a fairly diverse brunch menu which can cater for those avoiding gluten, dairy or meat which make for a great failsafe selection. The delicious food is highly instagramable, and comes in generous portions. The cafe has an amazing ambiance, and being on the edge of the Barbican/ Stutton Harbour is well positioned for a scenic walk afterwards.

The staff are brilliant, one of my first visits Hannah spoke to them about thier Tea selection and we were both impressed to find how wide thier range was, and how well informed everyone was. Boston Tea Party spend time training thier staff as Batistas and it really shows through.

My one fault with Boston Tea Party is with thier Mint Tea. I am a huge mint tea drinker  and always get far to excited when I can get a fresh mint tea, sadly each time I’ve opted for Boston Tea Party’s Mint Tea it’s ended up with a very bitter aftertaste, something I think may be to do with the initial water temperature as it hits the leaves. My solution is to opt for a Mocha instead, which they make perfectly.

Rumpus Cosy

This city centre venue is very unique, and for far more than thier very charming decor. Profits from the cafe go towards the Social Enterprise arm (Effervescent) of the business and its creative work with children, young people and vulnerable adults. When you eat or drink in this venue, alongside supporting local independent trade you are supporting your community.

Back in June I visited the cafe with three other bloggers, after a flick through the menu Pancakes proved the most popular order. Rumpus Cosy are very accommodating, when I couldn’t decide what to have on my pancakes they let me mix the toppings. The very banana-y pancakes were quickly polished off, and we all chatted whilst sipping from an eclectic mix of crockery.

The service here is difficult to fault, the friendly and conscientious staff make you feel very comfortable. And every aspect of your visit is photogenic, from your food order to the decor and gallery which you will find ticked around a corner.

Royal William Bakery

Im so happy I finally got to eat here. The cafe is nestled inside the stunning Royal William Yard, a stones throw from the water. Ideally, you need to brunch here with someone who has visited before as the restaurant works in a very unique way.

After choosing a table (we opted for the outdoor long Picnic style benches), you pop into the restaurant. You have the option of pastries and cakes or cooked food, if you are opting for a pastry you pop your selection on one of the wooden boards provided. Would you like a drink? Pop over to the drink station, write down on a piece of brown paper want you would like, your name, your table and sit down. The same goes for hot food, in this case I copied Alice with my order.

Now for reason i would hesitate to visit the bakery anytime soon: The wait. It took around 20 minutes for my drink to arrive, and another 20 for my food,  and it was the same for the rest of our table.  The service itself was very friendly and polite, and the food was brilliant.

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All of these were part of the blogger brunch meet ups, our next one is Sunday 28th August and we’ll be having a picnic on The Hoe. We’re meeting at The Sundial in Plymouth City Center for 11:00. Keep an eye on the blogger Facebook group for more information or drop me a Tweet @MayToOctober_🙂

– Emily 

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Little collective book review: A Man Called Ove, Me Before You, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime 

​I’ve always been an avid reader, and part of my intentions with this blog was to review a my latest reads as I discovered them. Currently i am reading a lot, I have a new extra long commute each day and I easily spend ten hours a week reading just in trains. This post is a mini review of sorts, either these books arnt obsessions or I’ve found it difficult to clearly articulate why I loved them.im finishing them with a simple keep or donate, i pick up a lot of books from charity shops and like recycling them in this way. If you wanted to see a few of the previous books I’ve shared on here this is a good place to find them.

A Man Called Ove:

Lunch break time #lunchbreak #lunch #salad #book #reading #amancalledove #bookworm #flatlay

A photo posted by May to October (@maytooctober) on

This was my last book club read, my new job makes it awkward to get to book club in time. I’m hoping, against hope, that next meeting (August 4th) will be one I can make! Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect with this book, I recognised the cover from a recent Waterstones display and had been mildly intrigued by the novel.

It took around four chapters to move from apathy for Ove to actual tears. This was  an addictive page turner of a book. I’m about to lend it to my boyfriend’s mum, but when I get it back I have a feeling I will be re-reading it.

Keep

Me Before You: JoJo Moyes 

Sam Clafin and Emila Clarke are two actors I have a soft spot for and the trailer for the upcoming film sold me on this story.

It’s a very simple love story with truly human characters. The story tragic yet bittersweet and very well written. You can truly appreciate the perspective of each charwxt, and the sheer length of the book (512 pages) means you have a good amount of time to make this story a part of your life. One parr of the story which has stayed with me even now, is Louisa’s experience with the maze.

Even with all this, I won’t be holding onto this book. As true as Louisa and Williams’ feelings are for each other, the story left a bad taste in my mouth because of how much William relies on Louisa for part of his care, that payment takes this from being a sweet uncomplicated relationship that would see Louisa in real hot water if she was a professional carer. That said I will be seeing the film, and I will be crying. Lots.

Also, now I’ve reflected on the story I might need to re read it to give it a chance…

Donate (eventually) 



The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime

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There’s not much for me to say about this one, aside from the fact I really liked the idea and uniqueness of this. I found this a very hard read I had to force myself though, I didn’t enjoy it (as much as I wanted to!) and it is in a pile for the charity shop, where it can hopefully find a new home.
Donate 

If you’re reading this and thinking I would love to read that… Im happy to lend out a out book, just promise you’ll return it! Drop me a message on Twitter if you want to chat books @Maytooctober_ 

And if you’re looking for a new blogger who also talks books check out Alice and Becca.

– Emily 

What to wear to a blogger event?

I distinctly remember attending my firstt blogger event last year and feeling nervous about a hundred different things: would the bloggers be nice, would I be treated like an outsider, would I be able to keep up with thier conversations, what the heck were you even meant to wear to a blogging event?

New situations make you uncertainty, and uncertainty can make you feel nervous. Ultimately I dressed a little more “up” than I would normally, I put a few curls in my hair and popped a pair not heeled boots.

It turns out that it was pointless to worry though everyone looked incredibly stylish they did so in a jeans and scrappy vest, or a sleeveless knit. I slipped my boots off and spent the afternoon talking to a bunch of the nicest people (post here).

If your looking for a bit of inspiration, here’s a collection of outfits from events across the seasons:

The Garden Picnic Look:

My first event, I wanted to dress a bit trendy with the 70’s style skirt, but not go against the relaxed nature of the event. 
The Afternoon Tea Look:

This was around Christmas-time I wore a belted Poncho I had made from a picnic blanket,curled my hair and popped a red peplem top and jeans on. Warm, comfortable and perfect for browsing through some shops after.
The Straight after work look:

A quick selfie with Ellie with our lovely @no7_drakecircusplymouth makeover

A photo posted by May to October (@maytooctober) on

I kept a nod to the trends in a bardot setyle off the shoulder top, which I paired with a very full midi skirt. As this was a makeup event I kept my look natural for work with a pretty braid.
The pretty summer dress/brunch look:

If you can’t dress up for brunch, when can you? This was my first time wearing this gorgeous Primark dress and will not be the last time. I paired thus with the same boots i seem to wear to every event!

The themed event look

The last blogger event was Alice Themed so I opted for a light blue headscarf in Alice style colours, a little Skirt and an oversized T Shirt with a scene for the book. Inkeeping with the theme and my style without bordering on fancy dress.

Ultimately wear whatever the heck you want. Other bloggers aren’t any different to your normal circle of friends, wear something that makes you happy. Generally when it comes to a blogger event I’ll wear something new, whether that’s a dress or lipstick. Working in an office I relish an opportunity to dress-up.

– Emily