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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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.

 

 

Bella Evening

For the last 3 to 4 years, I’ve been partaking in an event named ‘Bella Evening’.  Or my full and real name evening if you know me well.  Prerequisites require a free house (boyfriend being out and about), wine, cheese and a girlish drama of sorts.  I’ve loved, even craved these evenings for the past few years.  A chance to let down my Bridget Jones, sing youtube karaoke to my webcam in my pyjamas and collapse into the MIDDLE of the bed, without fear of retribution.  So why is it tonight, I’m questioning my company?

I think it’s because generally, these days, I’m alone more.  So the question is, how to be alone?  Whilst one could take inspiration from this incredible youtube video, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs) how does one enjoy being alone when it happens so frequently, yet so seldom?  Excuse the melodrama.

I’m alone most days.  These days in #masterslife, I generally work from home.  I look forward to boyfriend returning home at 7pm, dinner and drinks, or a night in front of The Hunger Games.  So when boyfriend heads out of an evening, alone time turns into … lonely.  Yet I do oh-so hesitate to use that word.  I have beautiful and amazing friends, whatsapp and texts could provide me with a cinema or bar buddy in half an hour, yet I choose to stay alone.  Why?  When did my own company, which I love and crave so much, become questionable?

I believe it’s important to be alone.  I’ve always been around people, always.  My family home was full of people coming and going.  One year, I remember 16 souls in a 3 bed semi for a month over Christmas.  At university, I lived in a house of 9.  I’ve always been around people.  And don’t get me wrong, I love people.  And because I love people, I believe in the importance of being alone.  Whilst sociability is an exquisite trait, so is aloneness.  I just need to remember that.

I used to cherish being alone.  And in 6 months, when I have a full time job and am struggling with running a household, seeing friends and family and looking after a boyfriend (ladies, y’all know what I mean), I’m going to cherish it even more.  These evenings are few and far between these days, and will become even more so in the future.  My own company isn’t questionable, its essential.  Not just now, but always, and I will love and enjoy me, myself and I for years and years to come.  So should you.

Thank you for letting me vent, excuse me whilst I go bathe, watch Orange is the New Black and belt out ‘Titanium’.  I believe it keeps me sane.

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?

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?

Moving House and The Ideal Home Show 2014

Its that time of year again!  Where I drop everything, take the day off and saunter off to Earls Court to take in a whirlwind day of interiors, food, drink, make-up and nick nacks.  You’ve guessed it, it’s the Ideal Home Show.  One of the reasons it was so important for me to head to the Ideal Home this year is because I’m moving house!  Therefore, it was absolutely essential to pick up some great interior ideas.  (And now – I’ve lived with boyfriend for 10 months and he’s finally come round to my taste!  No more tartan!)

Being quite the regular (you can see a post on a previous visit here:

https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-ideal-home-show/)

I know what I like, where to go and most importantly when to go.  I.e., you must lightly jog to the show homes at 10.02am to avoid 3 hour queues.  Here’s some snaps of the day:

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The amazing entrance!

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I absolutely loved this two tone wallpaper, almost dip-dye style.  I think its a design that would like great on a feature wall (I’m maybe thinking of this for my bathroom in a red), because it gives you that colour without being too bold or overpowering.

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We’ve got a lovely little alcove wall like these in our new living room, so we’ve decided to fill it with some feature wallpaper to make it really stand out.  I love this library look, but not the entire ensemble of the pictured room.  Whilst I like some elements of Scandi design, the whole wood, burning fire place and off greys is a bit much for me.  But hey, that’s my taste!

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I really like the idea of having that shelving above the bed.  I’ve invested in an incredible 5 foot head board that will really draw the eye to the bed, which is of course, the main focus of the bedroom.  We’ve expecting storage to be a slight issue in our new abode, so a shelf across the top of the bed could really help.  You can display treasured items like in this picture (which I’m sure I’ll have a few of!) or have it as more functional storage, with pretty and colourful boxes perhaps.  A great idea.

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This is just incredible, I love it.  Its by an artist called JJ Adams, and I’m seriously considering purchasing it.  We’ve got a great wall space in our kitchen where we could really do with some amazing art.  And well this, this pretty much fits that bill!

So there you have it!  I’m moving house (so apologies in advance if I’m a bit AWOL with internet problems etc.) and the Ideal Home Show!  Ta-ta.

 

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?