August Verbs

I must admit, I’m utterly baffled as to how we’ve ended up at the end of August.  This month has been amazing, I’ve finished #masterslife and had a few beautiful weeks off before starting full time life shortly.  It’s been a goodun.  Here’s what’s happened:

Watching:  The Inbetweeners

These Boys

These Boys

With the dawn of the new Inbetweeners film (which apparently I won’t find that amusing seeing as I ‘did’ Australia last year) I felt it was necessary to begin the whole series from scratch.  I originally watched the first film after a year’s gap from the series and couldn’t see the humour.  I’m hoping recapping will make the newest movie even better when I get round to cinematic viewing.

Reading:  Bridget Jones, Mad About The Boy – Helen Fielding

Grated cheese, anyone?

Grated cheese, anyone?

The latest Bridget Jones book!  I still haven’t finished so pretty please don’t divulge any necessary information from the story line, but I have to say I’m loving it.  Only half way through I’ve already laughed, already cried, and already drawn a frightening amount of similarities between myself and Jonesy all these years on (bags of grated cheese anyone?!).  A must read.

Listening To: B.O.B

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Another Gossip Girl find I’m afraid (guilty!).  I previously only knew B.O.B from ‘that song with the one from Paramore’ but I’ve been trawling Spotify and I have to say I’m rather impressed.  His tunes make great kitchen choreo too.

Wearing on my Body: Denim Jacket

It looks a bit like this.

It looks a bit like this.

With this BEAUTIFUL August weather we’ve been having, the sheared denim jacket has just had to make an appearance.  A comfy classic.

Wearing on my Face:  Nothing

I'll go with that.

I’ll go with that.

Sorry to be boring, yet again!  I have however been testing out my everyday work make-up face and think I’ve pretty much got the look down, so this subsection might be more exciting next month!

Eating: Out

Nom

Nom

This month has seen countless pub trips, restaurant stops, BBQs, family friend buffets and house parties.  My social life has been off the chain this month (golly) which has meant I’ve barely cooked!  Next month, I’m looking forward to lighting candles and having longer nights in with some autumnal plate of yumminess I’ve conjured.

Drinking: Bubbles

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I think this goes hand in hand with all the social events I’ve been a part of this month – dahling.

What have you been up to this August?

July Verbs

Well look at us.  We’ve made it to the second half of the beautiful year 2014.  Part 1 flew by, but writing monthly updates like this really help me see what I’ve been up to.  Here’s July:

Watching: Hemlock Grove

Another Netflix original here, with a creepy storyline and a stunning cast.  I’m about 6 episodes in and I have to be honest, am still not quite sure what it’s about, but I’m loving every minute of it.  It’s absolutely captivating TV and Bill Skarsgard is beaut.

Hemlock Grove

Hemlock Grove

Reading: The Wedding Girl – Madeleine Wickham

Madeleine Wickham is an excellent author, also writing under the name Sophie Kinsella, who brought us the Shopaholic series.  She writes small and easy novels that are girly, gossipy and make you giggle.  They’re light fun reads that fit nicely in a handbag for the train and that you think about all day.  Would definitely recommend.

The Wedding Girl - Madeleine Wickham

The Wedding Girl – Madeleine Wickham

Listening To: Embers – Just Jack

I heard this beaut in the back of a Gossip Girl episode (yep, that’s still happening) and immediately whipped out my Soundhound app to hear what it was.  I was pleased to know this stunning track is on Spotify and it’s been on replay pretty much ever since.  A gorgeous song.

Tune.

Tune.

Wearing on my Body: Havaianas

I bought my black bejewelled Havis in Australia last year, after I fell in love with the same pair which my cousin owned.  In this gorgeous weather, they haven’t been off my feet.  Being black they go with anything, are super comfy and make whatever nail polish I’m rocking pop.

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Beaut.

Wearing on my Face: Instablur

My love affair with Benefit’s Porefessional has come to an end.  I’d read a lot about this Body Shop product Instablur on beauty blogs, so thought I’d give it a go, and we’ve embarked on a fully fledged fling.  It’s a very odd consistency I must admit, but really does minimise pores and act as a great priming base for both foundation and powder.  Again, would definitely recommend.

Instablur

Instablur

Eating: Leeks

Leeks are one of my all-time favourite vegetables and are currently in season, meaning they’re much cheaper and better for the environment than if you bought them at another time of year.  Leeks feature at least daily in my diet this time of year, being great on a roasting tray of vegetables, fried up with some peas and bacon for a side dish, or an ingredient in a healthy vegetable packed soup.  Beaut of a veg.

Yum

Yum

Drinking: Coconut Water

I remember in Thailand we’d drink fresh coconut water every single day.  Back in England however, I was greeted with unattractive cartons and even more unattractive prices.  So I was absolutely thrilled to see M and S have launched a coconut water in a great sized bottle (currently on offer too!).  It’s light, refreshing and almost tastes as good as the real thing!

Yes Please!

Yes Please!

What have you been up to this July?

200

Welcome to the 200th post of Bella’s Bits!  I quite like milestones like this, little as they may be.  It gives one a chance to quietly reflect on achievements.  For this, I’ll do as I did for 100 posts in the making and share with you some of my favourite pieces of writing and posts from the last couple of years.

Way back when in 2012, I wrote a couple of letters to my camera, which got an amazing response (view by clicking here).  One reader even told me I made them cry!  This was a piece of writing that was very much just me sitting down by myself and pouring out all my thoughts and emotions, albeit about a camera!  Fortunately, I found said camera a few days later and welcomed it back into my life with open arms here.

These last 100 posts have also seen my documents of various travels, along with #OOTDs to match.  You can read about Thailand, Australia, Cyprus and Paris by clicking.

Another post which had a good response was this one titled X Factor Humble Pie.  It involved my tipsy twitter ramblings whilst watching The X Factor a couple of years back, followed by sober reflections.  It speaks for itself really.

A couple of posts that I feel really showcase my style of writing include Social Media Madness and Bella Evening, the latter of which I almost titled ‘The Importance of Being Alone’.  I love this style of post, but I have to be in a certain kind of mood to write like this.  These just go to show how much life influences writing, and vice versa almost and how living and loving your life is the most important thing of all, and if that inspires writing, well it’s just a bonus really.

And finally, a post I’m most proud of is rather personal to me, 2013 an amazing year.  This was a rundown of all the accomplishments I’d achieved that year and even reading it now makes me swell with pride and emotion.  I believe that reflection is such a key part to progression and moving forward.  Sometimes, when you’re stuck in a rut or unsure of where life is headed, looking back can provide you with the motivation you need.  Being proud and happy of what you’ve achieved in the past can refocus your direction in life and remind yourself that you can do anything.  And that’s what this post did for me.

So a very happy 200 posts to Bella’s Bits, here’s to the next 200!

 

John O’Groats

I love trains.  I really really do.  So, whilst I’m in my final ‘summer’ so to speak (although still working full time, as and when) I felt it was only necessary to take the train to John O’Groats.  As you do.  Snaps and stories.

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We took the sleeper train from London Euston up to Inverness.  This was my beaut of a berth.  If you haven’t been on a sleeper train, I’d really recommend it.  It’s so much fun toddling down to the dining carriage bar for a drink and to mingle with the other passengers.  (Note my left over gin and lemonade glass.)  It can be a bit hit and miss as to how well you actually sleep, but I find the swaying and to and froing really rather comforting.  Then waking up and finding out you’re in the middle of Scotland and that the London lights are 300 miles behind you, pretty breathtaking.

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We wandered around Inverness for a bit before catching our next train, from Inverness to Wick.  This was a 4 hour pretty bumpy ride through the Highlands but was absolutely beautiful.  I saw puffins, deer, even majestic stags and of course, lots and lots of sheep.  It was gorgeous.

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From Wick, we took another very bumpy bus up to John O’Groats (the most northern part of the UK) itself.  It was crazy, literally nothing there.  I felt extremely overwhelmed about how far north we were (which is weird, cause I’ve been to Australia heaps of times LITERALLY the other side of the world) but is was beautiful and desolate at the same time.  Excuse the pretty casual get up here.  (I’d spent upwards of 12 hours on trains).  But FYI my tee is ASOS, jeans are trusty BDG at Urban Outfitters favourites, socks are Topshop and sneakers are Vans.

After a twenty minute stroll around John O’Groats we got the same very bumpy bus back to our hotel in central Wick (located on the shortest street in the world, don’t you know).  After relaxing over a bottle of cava we headed down to a gorgeous dinner and some drinks in the bar, before collapsing into bed.

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After an early start, we got the same (bumpy) train from Wick down to Inverness where we spent the day strolling the Ness and the Isles of Ness, shopping and gorging on Pizza Express.  At 8pm we boarded the sleeper train to head back to London Euston where we arrived 12 hours later.

So that was it!  It was a beautiful trip and exactly the break I needed.  The Highlands were just gorgeous and I can now say I’ve been to the most northerly point in the UK!  Next, Landsend.

 

What I Wore in Paris

I’m really bad at this #OOTD thing.  Well at least this time I got a pretty awesome backdrop (FYI – The Louvre).  I wore some beaut outfits in Paris, and the only full-length one I’ve really captured is … well let’s call it ‘Skater Girl Chic’.

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This was very much a travel comfort based outfit option, and the clothes aren’t really from anywhere exciting.  Ah well, here you go anyway!

Sunglasses – Espirit at TK Maxx

Shirt – Lowes (Australia)

Black Vest – Primark

Geometric Necklace – Topshop

Jeans – BDG at Urban Outfitters

Trainers – Vans

So there you have it!  What I wore in Paris.  Aurevoir!

January Verbs

Welcome to my new feature!  I’ve decided to combine my loves and likes of style of life, beauty and fashion and create a cheeky new feature about my doing activities for every month.  Here’s hoping I stick to it, and can give you all some inspiration for stuff to do for the month ahead.

Watching: 24

24 is a series (FYI Series 1) I think boyfriend and I began in 2012, but we got very bored and neg about it.  Whilst the real time idea is genius, it’s also tedious, and quite frankly, the storylines are just ridiculous.  Nevertheless, we persevered, finally finishing Season 1 of 24 a few nights ago.  I’m pleased we did, there were definitely a few heart pumping moments in the last few episodes.  Netflix does however inform us there are a grand total of 193 (which isn’t even a multiple of 24?!?!?) episodes on Netflix, which is a frightening concept, so we’ve decided to leave 24 for now.

24

24

Reading: The Racketeer by John Grisham

This book (crime/law/whodunit genre) is completely outside my reading comfort zone.  I actually found it brand new on a train with no owner in sight, so decided to give it a loving home.  A couple of weeks ago I spotted it on my shelf, and needing a lightweight book for the commute, grabbed it and left.  It was excellent!  I really enjoyed it; it was so interesting all about the ‘justice’ system in the States and with a real twist at the end.  I’m definitely going to read some more Grisham books in the future.

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Racketeer by John Grisham

Listening To: Spotify Top Lists

This is such a great playlist, it really is.  I’m a Spotify free user (I can’t quite part with the monthly outgoings when all I have to endure is a WKD advert interrupting my Kesha flow) and quite frankly, haven’t got round to making my own playlists.  I like pop and I’m not ashamed of it, it’s like a permanent updating UK Top 40, for free!

Spotify Top Lists

Spotify Top Lists

Wearing: My new Mantaray Cardigan

I’ve been wearing a beautiful new, cream knitted cardigan I was given for Christmas (but actually picked out last June!).  Because it’s cream it goes with every outfit, and it’s big, oversized and is so good to snuggle into when it gets cold!

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Wearing on my face: No7 Bronzer

In this dull, drab weather I keep clicking through old holiday photos where the weather was warm and beautiful.  Thailand, Australia, Cyrpus, Turkey … sigh.  Since body fake tan looks utterly horrendous on me, I have to do what I can to fake it on my face.  My trusty No7 does the trick, and with some sneaky contouring tricks I learnt backstage at the dance show, my face looks slimmer (I hope!) with more colour.

No7 Bronzer

No7 Bronzer

Eating: Pickled Onions

I’ve recently come to realisation (albeit 10 years too late) that unhealthy snacks are not only really bad for you, but they’re also really expensive.  Pickled onions are a great snack and satisfy that need to crunch on things.  Drained from all their vinegar, they’re cheap and healthy.  Healthier than Pickled Onion flavoured Monster Munch anyway!

Pickled Onions

 

Drinking: Twinings Mint Humbug

My university campus is a 5 minute walk away from Twinings Tea Headquarters.  I went in there a couple of weeks ago for some free samples and couldn’t resist buying the Mint Humbug tea bags.  They’re in the style of Teapigs, with a netted pyramid shape tea bag and the flavour is just unreal.  Healthy, great in taste, and a good alternative to wine on cold evenings!

Mint Humbug

What have you been doing this January?

My Nail Polish Collection

Howdy.  Today I thought I’d show you my nail polish collection.  I love nail maintenance (although I am dismal at actually painting them) and nail art (see: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/nails-101/ and https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/nails-102/ for some mild mannered tutorials!) so thought I’d share my ‘collection’ with you.

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So this is how I store my nail polish.  Not particularly exciting or glamorous, just in an Ikea box on my dressing table.  But when I went through and sorted them all, I was pretty impressed with my collection!  It’s the kind of thing that builds up without you really noticing.

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And voila!  I sorted them into 3 categories (loosely following Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain for aesthetic effect..!), plain bold block colours, effect polishes and my trusty clear top coat beauty.

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I remember buying my first ever Barry M nail polish, I think it was about £3.50 in Topshop Oxford Circus when I was about 12.  I think it lasted approximately four hours without chipping and then that was it for me, reputation tarnished!  Until a couple of years ago when the Hi-Shine Gelly range came out.  I bought a couple in a Boots offer because I adored the colours and that was it, hooked!  I also love Model’s Own and their ranges, like the pastel and neon ranges you can see here.  OPI is a personal favourite when I’m feeling like a big spender, and all the extras are just individual ones I like the colours of, or got free somewhere!

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These are my ‘specialty’ polishes if you like, for when you need to add a little glitz and glamour to your talons.  As you can see, predominantly glitter based!  Most of my nights out are pretty impromptu affairs  so what happens to be on my nails usually has to do, but when it’s a planned event like a big night out or a party, that’s when the glitter or the confetti comes out.

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And say hello to my favourite top coat!  I got this free with something at Sydney Airport and have never looked back.  It leaves a beautiful shiny and glossy look and avoids chipping for days.  A must have!

So there you have it!  My nail polish collection, what are you wearing on your talons this season?!