Camping

A few weeks ago for boyfriend’s birthday, we upped suburbia and drove north to a beautiful forest somewhere near Leighton Buzzard for a wonderful weekend of camping with some dear friends.  Snaps and stories:

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The forest was part owned by a few families, with one of the families being family friends of our buddies.  It was beautiful, very quiet and set back from the main road, with handmade clearings for us to pitch up.  Here’s our fire, before the rains came …

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Fortunately, when the rains did arrive, our friends were clever enough to bring a giant sheet of tarpaulin accompanied by bungee hooks, meaning we could make and sit under our own little den when the heavens opened.  We had rugs, candles, incense, lanterns – we felt like pixies of the wood!

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This beaut of a camping cooker came out of its box for the first time, specifically for this trip, and worked wonders for us!  Here’s one of our bog standard meals we whipped up – can’t go wrong with sausages and beans, especially when its chilly.  Other culinary wonders included bacon, eggs and burgers.  Oh, and soya milk, I’m now addicted to soya milk!

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Having a digital detox means you have to find other ways to entertain yourself, one of those ways being games!  Here’s our scrabble board and Haribo inspired Texas Hold’em, completed with Blondie’s Greatest Hits blaring from our speakers – the dream!

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Another highlight was a woodland walk we went on, well, through farmers lands and a golf course, but near woodland!  We found hay bales, rabbit holes, contemplated making nettle tea and hid from tractors.  So beautiful to be at one with nature.

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So there you have it, our beautiful weekend camping.  I’d really encourage you to give it a go, leave behind life for a few days and go and sit in a forest with some good friends, a wine box and a campfire.  Let the good times flow.

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That Wee Trip to Westfield

Last post, I mentioned having a cheeky trip to Westfield to spend my birthday moolah.  Here’s a sneaky peek of my purchases:

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H and M

These are my H and M beauties (or Hemmies, as it is affectionately known).  I’m a big fan of high waisted anything and this simple black body covers my arms and ensures I have no annoying t-shirt bits to tuck in.  The donut and the flowers were last minute impromptu till purchases, one of which I love, one of which I regret.  I love the flowers pins, they look great in a clipped back side parting do or even on a lapel.  On reflection, I don’t have quite enough hair for the XL donut .. my baby one will have to do!

Topshop

Topshop

Every girl should own a LDD.  A little denim dress.  I have three.  Regular readers may remember my trusty denim pinafore, both summer and winter worthy, which is what makes them so versatile.  It got to the point where I was easily wearing it 3 days out of 7 and just really needed a couple more!  The one on the left is a skater style denim dress that I recently wore with a cutesy blouse underneath whereas the one of the right is a bit more bodycon, and suitable for a night out.  Either way, they’re both lovely!  The socks were to go with my Vans, with the cute frilly bits peeking over the edge (reminding me of primary school!).  And the gold geometric necklace was £2.50 – reason enough!

Sneaky peek complete – laters!

April Verbs

My twitter bio ‘Nomad with a Heart for Home’ has never been more apt.  Beautifully settled into our gorgeous new flat, I already had itchy feet.  So what happened?  We toodled off to Paris with less than a weeks’ notice.  It’s not that I don’t LOVE my flat, I do, so much.  I love everything about it, I love being in it, I love making it a home.  I think I just love the big wide world a bit more.  Here’s what I got up to in April:

Watching: Jackass

I’m not entirely sure how this happened.  We were settled down with our dinner, cruising over Netflix without the drive or determination to watch anything serious.  ‘Jackass 3D’ on ‘Most Popular’ – meh, why not?  We were laughing and rolling and drinking and before I knew it I’d ordered a skateboard.  Fast forward two weeks and we’ve watched all 5 films back to back … twice.  Oh, and I’ve pretty much fallen in love with Bam Margera.

These Boys.

These Boys.

Reading: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ – Jeffrey Archer

Also known as Volume 4 of the Clifton Chronicles .. Archer’s latest literary (for young adults) masterpiece.  No, I love it I really do.  I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon the Clifton Chronicles.  All I know it 4 books in I’m so wrapped up in their lives, in their hearts, in their stories the characters feel like family.  Archer writes with a hunger for you to turn the next page, so you do … again and again.  Just read it.

The Clifton Chronicles.

The Clifton Chronicles.

Listening To: 4Music

I’ve ordered an Ipod.  Stupidly, said Ipod was ordered just before the crazy long Easter bank holidays leaving me with zilch music (and I must admit, I’m a little bored of Spotify Top Lists) thus resorting to 4Music.  The TV channel offers a good mix of shows, genres, battles and interviews.  It’s just a shame about the adverts.

4 Music

4 Music

Wearing on my body: Tye-Dye Vans

This April, I turned 22.  It wasn’t a particularly momentous occasion.  Not like last year’s incredible trip to the boutique Bath spa hotel.  No, this year I lay on my new sofa in my new flat, swigging champagne watching ‘The Sound of Music’ whilst boyfriend brought me bagels.  Anyway, a week after my Mum and I went on a wee shopping trip to Westfield to spend our monies (her birthday falls a week before mine).  I knew I had a £50 cheque in the bank so as we walked into Office and spotted these for bang on the money, I just knew I had to get them.  The kind of frivolous purchase that’s over in 5 minutes … but I’m oh-so in love, and they definitely caught a few eyes walking me around Paris.

Utter.  Beauties.

Utter. Beauties.

Wearing on my face: Nothing

So maybe I’m a bit late to the #nomakeupselfie party.  I did however do a pretty gnarly FB post having a rant and rave about THIS post from 4 years ago.  (https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/why-i-dont-wear-make-up/)  I think I might have ruffled a few feathers.  This month my skin has been particularly bad so I decided not to encourage it further.  I’ve been wiping off the make-up and feeling clear and free skin from the get-go.

Holly looking BEAUT make-up free.

Holly looking BEAUT make-up free.

Eating: Café Rouge

Maybe this is why we decided to go to Paris in the first place.  My family collect Café Rouge vouchers with Tesco Clubcard and its always a good place to go with a lovely atmosphere, any time of the day.  My breakfast favourite would be Oeufs Royale and you just cannot beat the Goats Cheese Salad.

Cafe Rouge.

Cafe Rouge.

Drinking: Gordon’s

Boyfriend treated me to a big bottle of this yummy gin for our growing cabinet when it was on offer in Tesco (charmer).  I forget how refreshing it is with lemonade, lots of ice and a slice of cucumber.  Lovely!

This.

This.

What did you get up to this April?

February Verbs

What a month!  I’ve been so bogged down by assignments I’ve barely had a moment to check my emails let alone blog!  How are we all?  This month I’ve mainly been working, but my load has freed up a bit now so I can sit down with a cuppa and say ‘Ahhh’.  Here’s what I’ve been up to this month:

Watching: Jonathan Creek

Or J Creek as I’ve affectionately nicknamed it.  This utter beauty appeared to me on Netflix in a moment of pure genius, and I haven’t looked back.  I’ve watched every episode since 1997, and am almost squealing with excitement at the return to our screens tomorrow night (FYI BBC1 at 9pm, Friday 28th February 2014).  Alan Davies makes me all giddy, I love the format, it makes me giggle and it’s so ridiculous it’s just excellent.

J Creek

J Creek

Reading: Ideal Home Magazine

I’m in the process of collecting different colours and patterns to create a decopauge of a very plain and boring wooden mirror.  So instead of cutting up my monthly mag and popping it into my scrapbook, the vast array of wallpaper samples, paints and cushion covers will be appearing via decopauge on my new mirror.  I’ll let you see the outcome soon!

Ideal Home Magazine

Ideal Home Magazine

Listening To: Clean Bandit

Everyone’s heard ‘Rather Be’, but not everyone has heard their full Spotify set list.  Well I encourage you to, now!  It’s no secret I love a bit of classical music, and this album combines classical with the electronic genre to create something quite wonderful.  Most definitely worth a listen.

Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit

Wearing on my body: New Henry Holland coat

I bought my new Henry Holland beauty in the Debenhams sale and absolutely love it!  It’s the perfect coat to see me through this in between weather, when it’s too warm for a winter coat, but too cold for a jacket.  I love the different detailing and its waist clinching abilities work well for my figure.

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Wearing on my face: Estee Lauder Mascara

I got this mascara as part of my Boxing Day present (an amazing box of Estee Lauder make up goodies).  It’s taken me a few months to get used to it because it’s so different to any other mascara I’ve used.  The wand is much larger than average meaning it can form clumps quicker and faster, which you have to work through with the wand.  Meaning it’s a bit of extra faf, but the finished result is amazing with long, clean and separated lashes.

Estee Lauder Mascara

Estee Lauder Mascara

Eating: Soup

I first received a ‘Soup’ recipe book for my birthday last year, but its only in the last few months I’ve really got into it.  I make it fresh with stock and any veg I’ve got, buy it fresh from the supermarket, or have tins at least once a day, every day.  Whilst some people hate pureed food, I find soup is tasty, eases digestion and is a great healthy and filling meal, perfect for lunch time.

The Soup Book

The Soup Book

Drinking: Wine

After my January stint, my favourite poison of white wine has reappeared as a firm favourite in the liquid stakes.  I’ve had some glorious ladies lunches with white wine, some beautiful food or a quiet evening in.  The perfect accompaniment to my February!

White Wine

White Wine

What have you been doing this February?

 

Happy New Year! & ‘Dry January’

 

Happy New Year, one and all!  2013 really was, perhaps my greatest year to date.  But it’s over now, yesterday is officially last year and today is the start of not only a new year, but a new month.  It’s safe to say that 2013 was very celebratory for me in many ways, I turned 21, I got a 2:1, I graduated; meaning quite a few drinks in my 365 days!  And what seems like even more over the festive period! 

 

Every year, December 7th arrives and every night appears to be booked up with soirees, meals and parties, it’s really hard not to get swept away with all the wine and sparkles!  December has left me feeling rather foggy, and with a crazy amount of university work to be tackled, I’ve decided to partake in ‘Dry January’, where one stays alcohol free for the month of January.  I’ve made the decision not to do it officially for charity, because I would feel terrible if I failed sponsors if I had one glass of wine after a stressful day.

 

No, ‘Dry January’ is just for me.  Whilst I plan to give a personal donation to Cancer Research UK because I believe alcohol and liver damage awareness is an excellent cause, I’ve made the personal decision against the sponsorship side of it. 

 

So anyway, in the light of all my work, blogging might be a bit few and far between for the next few weeks.  Whilst I’ve read so many blogs with bloggy new years resolutions, I’ve steered clear of those so far.  I hate making any form of promise I can’t keep, so here’s hoping I can keep the Dry January promise to myself!  Happy New Year to you all, talk soon.

 

2013 – An AMAZING Year.

It comes to that time of year again of reflection, reflecting about the past 12 months and what you’ve achieved, whether it’s been a good year, a great year, or whether January 1st just can’t come quick enough.  I did a similar post this time last year (https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/gonna-party-like-its-2012/), I do just find it so amazing seeing how far you come.  It’s only when you really sit and think about it, that you realise it.  Here’s what I’ve done this year:

January

  • Celebrated New Year in Bruges, Belgium, one hour ahead of London!
  • Created the term #SNOLO (Holla, snow day, anyone?!)

February

  • Appeared on national television, on the hit BBC1 show ‘Pointless’.
  • Had a lovely getaway to Portsmouth to celebrate V Day.
  • Partook in the ‘Pure Dance’ dance show in front of hundreds of people with my university street dance competition team.

March

  • Competed at one of the biggest university dance competitions in Loughborough with my street dance competition team.
  • Celebrated my birthday (ever so slightly early!) with a murder mystery party.
  • Once again, attended the amazing Ideal Home Show and at ate at Greg Wallace’s restaurant.
  • Attended my first ever baby shower for a great friend.

April

  • Celebrated my 21st birthday with a getaway to beautiful hotel in Bath.

May

  • Sat (and passed!) my university final exams.

June

  • Spent an incredible 3 and a half weeks in Sydney and the Gold Coast, Australia.

July

  • Moved into my first ever grown-up flat with Boyfriend.
  • Went to the Cricket for the first time.
  • Graduated from university with a BA Geography 2:1 (Hons)

August

  • Spent a fabulous two weeks in Cyprus.

September

  • Had a lovely few and relaxing days in the Isle of Man.
  • Learnt to like red wine (this is a big one!).
  • Went Glamping for the first time.
  • Rejoined my local dance school, that I have attended since I was 11!
  • Began a Masters course in London.
  • Joined the gym.
  • Went on my first ever London night out.

October

  • Saw Jessie J perform live at the O2.

November

  • Joined a church Gospel Choir.

December

  • Celebrated 3 years with Boyfriend with a weekend city break to Barcelona.
  • Performed with the church Gospel Choir in a Christmas carol concert.

To Do:

  • Celebrate Christmas with a wonderful few days away in the Isle of Man.

Wow, when you write it all down like that, it really does seem like a lot.  Whilst Bella’s Bits is a place for me to chat to you all about clothes and make-up, it’s also a place where I share some of the bigger, more important things in my life, like my take on political or ethical issues, for example.  It’s also my little diary like slice of the internet where I can think about what I’ve achieved, and looking at 2013, I’m proud!  I really have done so much this year and am so proud and happy with what I’ve achieved.  I feel so blessed with the life and opportunities I’ve been given.  You know, I can’t really do it justice here, there aren’t any words!

I would really encourage you to do as I have, go through your year, and really think about what you’ve achieved.  Think about your friends, your dreams, your family, your hopes, your travels, anything that inspires you to wake up the next day and keep going.

Fall in love with life in 2014, I dare you.

(FYI – I’m taking a bloggy break over the holidays, so have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2014.  Toodaloo!)

My Perfect Bedroom

Whenever I have a spare moment or five, no longer do I endlessly and hopelessly browse Topshop and Urban Outfitters online.  My interests have changed.  Now, it’s all about the interiors.  As I wrote about here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/interiors-scrapbook/, I’m getting pretty into all my homewares and furnishings.  

For my 21st birthday, we went and stayed in the most beautiful luxury B and B (quite possibly ever) and it’s well and truly got my creative cogs whirring for my dream bedroom.  Here’s my pick of what I would choose (with money being no object, obviously!)

Image1)  Epsilon Upholstered Mink Velvet Double Bed Frame – Argos – £549.99

2)  Parisian Mirrored Four Draw Chest – Dunelm Mill – Was £349.99 Now £279.99

3)  Antique Style Venetian Mirrored Grand Chest of Drawers – Nicky Cornell Furniture Boutique – £649.00

4)  Rosalind Dove Grey Dressing Table – Laura Ashley – Was £1000.00 Now £450.00

5)  Purple ‘Antoinette’ Bed Linen – Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams – Was £22.00 – £88.00 Now £22.40 – £70.40

6)  Inspire Crackle Mirror Finish Table Lamp Silver – Argos – Was £24.99 Now £18.74

7)  Designer Purple French Bulldog Cushion – Abigail Ahern at Debenhams – £25.00

8)  Natural Embroidered Heart Cushion – Debenhams – £25.00

9)  Plum ‘Miramar’ Chaise with Dark Feet – Debenhams – Was £1000.00 – £1050.00 Now £720.00 – £756.00

I’ve gone for a silver/white/purple look with the ultimate priority being texture.  Obviously these are just ideas, a mood board if you like, but if someone gave me £5000 today for a bedroom, these picks would be a definite starting point!  What’s your perfect bedroom?