Paris

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These are pretty standard Paris photos.  The standard tourist shots.  But to me, they’re beautiful moments of a whirlwind week-before booked long weekend in the City of Love with the boyfriend.  And we certainly had a beautiful time.

We roamed the streets breaking in my new Vans, stopping for cheese and macaroons, paying 10 euros for a pint (sinful), climbing spiral staircases galore (don’t), got angry at Ipad tourists, drank cheap wine by the litre, read books by the river and even got a little sunburnt.  It was a beautiful weekend, it really was.  I’m thinking of doing a couple of niche posts about a market we visited and an incredible restaurant experience we had – interested?

Fall in love with life.

 

 

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March Verbs

A little late in the game here (well, only 9 days but you get the point!).  I’ve moved house!  March has officially been moving month, which I can safely say has completely and utterly taken over my life.  But not in a bad way, I hasten to add.  I have absolutely loved every second, sofa shopping, interiors buying, packing, life in boxes, Ikea flat pack (not so much) .. the list goes on.  It’s definitely the biggest and most exciting thing boyfriend and I have ever done, a new chapter!  And we couldn’t be happier.  Here’s what I got up to in March:

Watching: Kirstie’s Best of Both Worlds

I absolutely love Kirstie Alsopp.  I giggle at her and Phil Spencer, lust after her ladylike elegant dresses and aspire to have her home and property knowledge, which is all rather funny, because boyfriend cannot STAND her.  Anyway, she’s got this great new show on 4od which involves couples searching for the best of both worlds between urban and rural. Being a homeowner and all (squee!), property is another interest added to my list.  This show takes you all around the country, seeing different properties, prices and ideas – a great watch.

The lovely lady herself.

The lovely lady herself.

Reading: Debenhams Catalogue

Not particularly literary genius, I know.  Since beginning on my quest for my ideal home, I have found Debenhams homewares to be absolutely excellent.  I think they have the best variety of quirky and colourful designers (right up my street) at reasonably affordable prices (but make sure to wait for the sale!).  The catalogue allows me to peruse at my leisure and pin point bits and bobs I might save up for, all to make our lovely flat a little more lovely.

My March Must-Read

My March Must-Read

Listening To: Moving House Playlist

Oh yes, we made a playlist.  Since we were without the internet for a while, we reverted back to grand old reliable Itunes to make a moving playlist.  We were so lucky to have all our friends and family rallying round helping us, so it had to be something everyone would like (and not get sick of!).  It mainly included the likes of Bastille, Simon and Garfunkel and Katy Perry.

Bastille made regular appearances in our move.

Bastille made regular appearances in our move.

Wearing on my body: BDG Bad Boys – Comfort Edition

Long term readers may remember a post I did last year about my FAVOURITE ever pair of jeans (which you can read about here:https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/bdg-bad-boys/ ).  BDG has since become a favourite brand of mine in the jean stakes, and I haven’t been out of this pair this month.  They are really ill fitting Mum, Helen Hunt style jeans, but are comfy as anything.  They are 90s high rise straight leg, but look good with anything and have been a life saver in the moving house department.

They look a bit like this.

They look a bit like this.

Wearing on my face: Maybelline Baby Skin

Having big pores, the same as my Mother and my Grandmother, I have found the recent pore minimising beauty products a life saver.  After a year of shelling out £20+ for Benefit’s ‘Porefessional’ version, when Maybelline launched Baby Skin at just £7.99 I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  Whilst the quality and coverage isn’t quite as good as Benefit, Maybelline’s product still acts as a great pore minimiser and primer for foundation (just make sure you let it set!).

Baby Skin

Baby Skin

Eating: Pizza

Anyone who knows me will know how much I like (okay, love) my pizza.  Our new flat is a stone’s throw from a Pizza Hut, so pizza became a well loved, easy, cheesy comfy favourite in the dinner department.  But April is now here and I’m a year older so I’m trying to only have pizza once a month now.

Too much?!

Too much?!

Drinking: Leffe

As a thank you present to all our friends and family for helping us move, it was only fair we stocked our brand new Whirlpool fridge with ice cold beer for the hot and sticky weekends.  We go to Belgium most years, and this beer has become a firm favourite.  Leffe Blonde is the version we’ve mostly been drinking and is very light and refreshing.

Blondes are clearly the best.

Blondes are clearly the best.

What did you get up to this March?

Barcelona

I went to Barcelona last weekend.  Casual.  Just jetted off for a couple of days.

We booked a very last minute trip to celebrate boyfriend and I’s 3 years (nawww) with two nights in Barcelona.  We didn’t have that much time, so I thought Barcelona would be a great place to head as it’s quite a small city and we’d be able to do everything we needed in three days.

Arriving on the Saturday morning we checked into our hotel then trotted swiftly off to Nou Camp (the Barcelona FC football stadium).  It’s the biggest stadium in Europe and has one of the biggest capacities in the world.  Expecting this just to be a boy thing, I really enjoyed it!  It was amazing seeing the real life press rooms, the changing rooms, not to mention the pitch and the trophy room.

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Nou Camp – Barcelona

After a rest up at the hotel and a bath (cor, I do love a good hotel bath) we rambled down La Rambla (see what I did there?!).  It was so beautiful with all the Christmas lights, and a perfect temperature of about 12 degrees C.  Not so cold you had to lug a duffle around!  We checked out a market then had a wonderful meal at a traditional Catalan restaurant before heading home, drinking wine and playing cards.

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The traditional Catalan restaurant we ate in

On the Sunday we were up bright and early to visit Parc Guell, the park the architect Gaudi designed which was just absolutely incredible.  I’ve found my new kitchen tiles there!  The weather was beautiful (I even got a little bit red on my nose!) and the views stretching across Barcelona to the sea were gorgeous.

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View from Parc Guell

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My new kitchen tiles – please Mr Gaudi?!

We next headed to the Sangrada Familia, another Gaudi work of art towering over the city.  Managing to escape the crowds, we found a lovely local park where we just sat and marveled at it without the hubbub of ipads and audio guides.

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The Sangrada Familia

After a winding walk through the old town, we had a spot of lunch then a rest, before heading out on the town.  We ate at a lovely back street local tapas bar (also go on the back streets for cheaper food!) then bar hopped our way back to the hotel sampling lots of traditional Catalan delicacies …!

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Definitely considered a delicacy.

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This too.

On our last morning, we stumbled across a very new and modern flea market, that we gathered had been built due to the tradespeople’s old site being demolished.  It felt rather an odd juxtaposition, the old style flea market and the postmodern architecture.  Nevertheless, we had a great saunter round and I picked up some very cheap vintage jewellery.

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Barcelona Flea Market

I had a wonderful weekend and Barcelona is a city that I would most definitely recommend.  We did the whole thing very last minute, and very cheaply so it just goes to show you can jet off for the weekend with just a couple of hours planning – a great trip!

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La Rambla, Barcelona

Confessions of a Gym Convert

I’m sitting on the sofa, with a glass of vino and a magazine whilst boyfriend ogles at football.  All of a sudden this crazy thought runs through my head .. ‘I’d rather be at the gym.’  Shocker.  Those of you who know me well, will know that my idea of exercise is my weekly dance class (swiftly followed by a four pack of Red Stripe), busting a move past midnight or walking to and from the kitchen for a cuppa.

Since I’ve moved back to the ole’ hometown, I’ve been greeted by my fitness fanatic besties whose daily chants of ‘Join the gym’ and ‘Oh it will be SO much fun when we can go to the gym together’ got me quite mad.  So mad, I got a lift to the gym, got a tour, induction and handed over my direct debit details quite simply to shut them up.  But by golly did that one backfire.

In first year I joined the gym at University.  I went twice.  TWICE.  And one of those times I got so frightened because I didn’t know where the changing rooms were I spent the whole 45 minutes on a treadmill in a t-shirt and jeans.  Nightmare.  I frolicked by the next two years of Uni dancing thrice weekly, dancing the night away fourice (not a word really, is it?) weekly and hoping that was that in the ‘Health and Fitness’ department.

But something has happened since I’ve come home.  I’ve grown up (gosh, but that’s for a WHOLE other blog) and started taking this whole health thing a bit more seriously.

I find exercising dull.  I do!  Really, really dull.  Dancing, fine, great, y’all know that’s a hefty passion of mine but anything else?  Flipping boring to be honest.  Or so I thought.  The gym I attend has these fabulous machines with a TV on them, a fantastic circuits machine that hiss water pressure at you, these amazing swing things that look like they belong in a bondage bedroom and wait for it .. a climbing wall.  I walked in, and quite literally, excitement overload.  I had no idea what any of these things were and like a kid in a candy shop, felt ever so excited to give it all a go.  And day by day, week by week, that’s exactly what I did.

I always thought people that went to the gym were right idiots.  I mean, if you want to go on a treadmill, go on a flipping run!  If you want to lift weights, I’ve got two cans of baked beans you can borrow.  I thought that if I walked in in frayed tracksuit bottoms and a ‘Graduate 2013’ t-shirt I’d get the ‘you shouldn’t be here’ looks, like when I order a large glass of Pinot at 10.55am (it’s 5.55pm somewhere).  But there isn’t any of that.  If anything, people look at you with respect, silently applauding, ‘well done you’ looks.  It feels good.

For about two months now I’ve been experimenting with all the bits and bobs and every day I find something new.  Today, I even went on a SKIING machine, can you believe that?!  My bum feels fabulous.  From ‘gym’ being a dirty word, it’s become a word of excitement, of enjoyment.  It’s something I look forward to, a break from an essay, an evening out with my friends, or just an hour of Bella time.  I’m not on any crazy mission to lose weight, or even tone up.  I just feel good after exercise.  I feel good after finding a new machine or finding a new muscle in my body I didn’t know existed.  Going to the gym feels good!  So, I’ve somehow transformed from a girl who ate pizza 5 nights a week, to a woman who respects her body and her health, and my good old friend the gym has helped me do that.  My advice?  Find a FUN gym!  One with sex swings, trampolines and climbing walls.  You never know what else will come with it. 

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Still True

SS/13 Lust List

Hello all!  Gosh, wasn’t the weather gorgeous today?  I found myself with a spring in my step needing my sunglasses.  It really got me in the mood for Spring and all the beautiful new bits and pieces that will grace the shelves of the top shops.  After my Mother and I’s jaunt around Harrods a couple of weeks ago, I really am having champagne dreams on a beer budget.  But it doesn’t matter!  The girl can dream :)  And here’s what I’m dreaming of ..!

SS LL1) Coast Amiana Maxi Skirt, Mole (from John Lewis) – £160

2)  M Missoni Bow Embellished Fine Knit Dress (from Harvey Nichols) – £399

3)  Chloe Floral Print Top (from Harrods) – £550

4)  Delhi Paisley Wool Stole (from East) – £50

5)  Legacy D Leather Tassel Mocassin (from Dune) – £59

6)  Light Denim Cassie Ripped Boyfriend Jeans (from River Island) – £45

The items I’ve picked are VERY much ‘Day’ items.  Things I could just pop on, walk to Uni in, have a lecture, cheeky pub lunch perhaps then hit the library.  Item 1 I put in small because I’m not completely sure about it.  I love wearing skirts and dresses, with tights in the Winter then providing my legs look alright, baring brave in Spring/Summer!  I looked around quite a few websites compiling this list, and couldn’t find a single skirt (for my body shape) I liked the look of!  Other than this, I do like the colour transition and the hippy floaty feel.

I absolutely LOVE Item 2, just beautiful.  Item 3 is gorgeous too, would look great with basically any plain bottoms.  Item 4 I love because it’s not too out of my price range.  This is the kind of item I might splash out on if I needed a treat, beautiful, goes with anything and long lasting.  I remember I used to have some mocassins like this way back when as school shoes, and I loved them!  I’ve looked for some since and haven’t been able to find any, so was very chuffed when I stumbled upon these.  They are so comfy, and again, go with anything.  And a good pair of jeans for a good new season.  Can’t go wrong.

What’s on your SS13 lust list?  Bella x

 

X Factor Humble Pie?

There’s something about family and friends coming together over a glass of wine or a beer in front of the TV on a Saturday night that makes Britain think they are judges.  Despite the fact that for the most part, we know absolutely nothing about the foxtrot or the samba, tone or pitch, or if and how she’s got her fake tan wrong; we love to think that we know it all, and further to that; have our say.  Whether this is through texting our friends, facebook statuses or twitter, Britain absolutely loves to have a good old bitch about what’s popping up on our TV screen.  And I’m no different.  Here’s what went down on my Twitter feed last night regarding ITV’s The X Factor:

 

I turned into a complete cow!  Who the hell do I think I am?  That being a blogger instantly makes my opinion worthy, that I am qualified to judge the voices, the appearance, the staging of these singers, these people?  It might have been the wine, but I didn’t half go off on one.  The thing is though, it’s not just me.  My entire Twitter feed was buzzing with bitchiness and brash comments about song choices, what whoever was wearing or a Judge’s comment.  Who do we think we are?!  Unless we are show business professionals, have sung on the X Factor ourselves or a have a Top 40 single,  we simply haven’t got a clue.  How would I feel if someone tweeted this way about me and my work?  Not too great, that’s for sure.  Whilst in the comfort of my own living room, I might yell and scream what I think at the TV, I think from now I’ll keep my tweeting to a minimum.  X Factor Humble Pie much?!

Explanation Part 3

It’s happened again.  A new start, a new chapter in my life and blogging has taken a back seat.  I’m sorry blog, and readers.  Since I’ve come back from Berlin I’ve properly moved into my new student house and have begun my third year of University; the important year, the year where EVERYTHING matters.  It’s going okay so far.  Apart from a couple of bouts of being deathly ill, I’m keeping on top of all my work and making time to see and spend time with my friends; I’ve got this work life balance thing pretty down.

So I’m all good.  I’ve got a nasty deadline coming up in the next week but once i’ve finished that, I’m aiming to get back to blogging (again) in the next few days.  Watch this space.  But for now, here’s what I’ve been up to:

 

  • The drawer shows how super organised I’ve become with my nail polish, jewellry etc.  Stay tuned for a proper tour of my makeup bag and more!
  • All my pretty folders from Paperchase helping me get motivated for work.
  • Models Own Sparkly Green nail polish for Freshers Outings = party mood much?!
  • Two pints at the Uni Campus Pub.  Some things will never change!

Stay tuned kids!