Ascot 2014

This weekend marks the King George Weekend (A Modern British Classic) at the Ascot Racecourse near Windsor.  It also marks just over a month since I graced Ladies Day at Ascot with my beautiful girlfriends (from left to right: Georgie, Chaz, Myself, Shona and Becky).  Here’s what happened:

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After a bright and early start we all met at Georgie’s house for the 30 minute taxi journey to Ascot.  As we were in the Silver Ring, we were allowed to take 1 bottle of sparkling wine/champagne/cava per person as well as a picnic taken in a cool bag or hamper. I settled on a bottle of Prosecco and a ladylike burger from a stand inside.  Here’s a snap of us before we all went in.  I’m the short one in the middle.  Whilst I contemplated wearing heels, I also figured there would be a lot of walking involved on the day, to and from the betting stations and the bar (of course).  So I bit the bullet and went for my fancy Dune sandals of 4 summers ago, and I’m so glad I did!  Sparkly feet and no foot pain whatsoever, winning.  Whilst I can’t remember where all the girls outfits are from (but if you’re interested, comment below and I’ll find out for you :)) my #OOTD is as follows:

Fascinator – British Heart Foundation Charity Shop

Dress – Planet at Debenhams

Watch – Vintage

Clutch – Florence and Fred

Sandals – Dune

Cheers!

Cheers!

After we found ourselves a patch of grass amongst the throng, we sat down to toast the day and drink our bubbles.

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We’re all such busy ladies, so it was lovely to catch some sun, chill, chat, drink and giggle catching up.  People watching was beaut too!  (Also can we please acknowledge Georgie’s gorgeous hair?!)

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As you can see, it was utterly crowded in the Silver Ring, but it was great because it added to the atmosphere in so many ways.  It was lovely seeing everyone dressed up and having a good time.  Just before the races started the Queen popped on by in her carriage, we didn’t see her, but had this pretty good view of the big screen!

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Next the races started.  There were 6 in all, between 2.30pm and around 6pm with about 30/40 minutes between each, enough time to pop to the ladies, the bar, or make your bets.  We all got involved in the betting.  Whilst my Dad had very methodically selected 6 horses with the aid of the Racing Post, we all picked the horses we liked the names of!  I came away £25 up!  #Winning

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After an AMAZING day we got our taxi home where we descended on Yates’ in all our finery to watch the England game, and we all know how that turned out!  Nevertheless we had a fantastic time, it was a great experience, and I’d really recommend Ascot to all!

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.

 

Interiors on a Budget

So as I mentioned in ‘I’m Back!’ (https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/im-back/), I’ve only gone and got myself a flat!  I know, it’s terribly exciting.  I feel oh-so domesticated and grownup.  It was completely unfurnished so I’ve taken the whole contents of my life from University and from my Mum and Dad’s house (combined with Boyfriend’s bits and bobs) and plonked it into our open plan one bedroom apartment of loveliness.  After two weeks, it’s finally feeling  homely and I’m loving spending time here.  To jazz up the flat and furniture, we felt we needed to go interior shopping, but being fresh from Uni .. we’re pretty broke!  The whole place has been decked head to toe in the thriftiest of fashions, and I felt it would be cruel not to share.  (N.B.: I’ve made the decision not to photograph my flat in order to maintain privacy, so photos are just interior furnishings etc.)

Sofa

Say hello to our sofa!  We picked up our 2 seater couch as ‘Manager’s Special of the Week’ for £40 at our local Hospice Furniture Shop, and it was Manager’s Special for a reason!  On first glance, the cushion covers were stained, the whole thing smelt a bit musty and the brown arms were scratched up.  My instant reaction was: ‘No, Bella, you can do so much better at sofa shopping!’ Perhaps I could, but my wallet couldn’t, that was for sure.  So two washes for the cushion covers, three hoovers and 132 (or thereabouts) cans of  febreeze, the sofa feels brand new!  Plus, it feels great having supported a charity.

As our budget shopping meant we didn’t have any choice over the colour of our sofa; throws and pillows had to jazz this up.  I was eyeing up purple and leopard print, for my swish new luxury apartment.  But, nope, we had to get a fabric/colour/pattern that we both agreed on, and that turned out to be .. well, tartan.  If I’m honest, I’m still not over the moon about it.  It’s growing on me, but, well ..?  Anyway, we picked up the throw for £6 in Primark, and the three cushions came to £9 in Primark also .. so budget central!

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This chair has been in my family since before I was born.  Literally, my Mum bought it when she was pregnant with me to have something comfortable to sit on just for her and the baby (cheers Ma).  21 years on it’s followed me from bedroom to bedroom and now sits pride of place in the corner of our living area.  To match, of course, the tartan throw is again £6 from Primark, and the cushion was £4.  Honestly, my first place, who would have thought I would end up with tartan and pugs?!  NOT ME, that’s for sure.

Poof

Oh my poof, my poof, I’m so desperately in love with my poof!  I picked up this gorgeous colourful poof of wonderment at the Ideal Home Show (which you can read about here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-ideal-home-show/)  for just £12, I know, £12!  Of course, I spent the entire day carrying it around looking like a poof (see what I did there?!) but it was so worth it and I think it is beautiful.  It sits on an Argos rug we picked up for just £9 in their mega clearance.

Room of Bath

When we moved in the shower curtain was just a bit grotty and stained, so we decided to replace it, again, with a colour we both agreed on.  So, this turned out to be monochrome, a fitting look for a bathroom I feel.  The shower curtain was £5 in Primark, and the bathmat was just £3 from Primark also.

It’s all so very new and exciting still, having my own place, and because of our current financial circumstances, decorating on a budget was essential.  No £500 leather corner sofas or £20 satin pillows here, no sur-ee.  Instead, we’ve gone with colours, patterns and fabrics we’ve picked together which feels special and homely to us, because its our home.  It all comes down to personal taste (hey, it’s okay if you don’t like it, I’m still not sold on the tartan yet either!!) which as we all know is subjective.  Here’s how we’ve done it for our budget, any interiors tips or tricks you fancy sharing?

Southampton: A Fresher’s Guide

So I’ve been living and studying in Southampton for two years now and as part of going into my third year and presenting a Freshers’ radio piece on Southampton, I’ve put together this minute guide about three of my favourite areas; Nightlife, Lifestyle and Shopping.  So if you’re a fresher, a local or a stranger I hope this helps you discover the wonderful city that Southampton is :)

Nightlife

Jesters

Jesters; you know, I’m really not sure if there are any words.  Southampton hearsay tells me that its officially the worst night club in the UK.  Set underground with a dance floor the size of a kitchen and an amazing outdoor/smoking area, in the two years I’ve been there I’ve seen sex against walls, people vomit and continue dancing and people sitting in their own urine.  Rough right?!  But amazing.  To me, Jesters really is unique.  You can turn up in a bodycon and heels, skinnies and converse, fancy dress or tracksuits and be accepted, be allowed entry .. and probably even pull if you wanted to.  Its the place in Southampton you go to drink, to dance, to chat, to meet people, to play games.  It is just incredible, so much fun and you know what?  I think the saying genuinely applies: it really is so so bad, its so so good.

 

Oceana

Oceana is a chain of nightclubs around the country.  I’d never been to one before Uni before and in Freshers alone I saw Katy B, S Club 3 and 5ive (well 2wo..) perform live.  It’s huge and you go to dance, well I go to dance anyway.  They have two main dance rooms, one is a giant ‘Ice Box’ where the play slow grooves, R and B (gosh , I feel old) and the like and the other … is a Disco Room; one of the best rooms in the south of England I’m sure of it.  An illuminated dance floor, interactive DJs and a whole lot of singing it really is just a great, fun night out.  Be cafeful not to ask for a soft drink though, one barman went all Coyote on me once: Hell No, H2O!  Nightmare, but a great night.

Reflex

Do you see a pattern?  Bella’s general favourite night club spots are places she can wear jeans, boogie on down and generally have a great time.  Reflex is no different, I think its officially an 80s club but it plays old school tunes non stop, with another illuminated floor, a lush VIP area and … poles.  Yes, the wonder of poles in night clubs.  Making the most average of humans believe they are an Ibiza paid dancer gyrating, shimmying up it; flipping embarrassing, but again, a flipping lot of fun.

Lifestyle

Southampton Common

When you look at a map of Southampton, the Common is basically the giant green bit in the middle.  A wonderful recreation area, with a lake, a park, walkways, skateways, jog routes, carnivals held there; just a really great central area.  I’ve been for gorgeous evening walks there, had snow fights, played football in the scorching sun (Southampton gets great weather by the way), eaten far too many ice creams than I care to admit, and ogled at men in rugby training.  The Common, I believe as the youngsters say, is where its at.

Hamble

I’m pretty sure Hamble is a well kept secret for Southamptoners.  When I first moved there and googled ‘beach’, this is what came up.  Its about a fifteen minute drive from the centre but I’m not really sure if beach is the best way to describe it.  Its more like a pebbled shore.  But it is kinda cultural, it has ancient ruins of a sort and lots of beautiful walks and a sailing club.  A really nice afternoon out if you fancy it.

New Forest

Gosh, do I really need to tell you about the New Forest?  I’ve been going every year since I was born but it was just last year that I took the boyfriend for the first time, and since then we’ve had some great days out there.  He was just bewildered that just twenty minutes (I drive fast, okay?!) from the centre are cattle grids, hills, greenery, sunsets and wait for it … wild horses.  Nuts right?!  More like beautiful.  Just go, okay?!

Shopping

Westquay

When I say Westquay, I mean just the general Southampton City Centre shopping area.  It has all your favourites; Topshop, Urban Outfitters, an amazing Boots, New Look, Zara etc.  Other personal highlights include the gorgeous John Lewis I can get lost in for hours as well as the Waterstones/Costa which is great for a chilled cuppa and a read.  Westquay is the main centre which is connected to Above Bar Street which has the rest of the shops.  Make sure you check out Above Bar around Christmas time for the amazing German market, mulled wine and chocolate smothered loveliness galore!

Ikea

Ikea, what can I say?  I have been known to go just for dinner (meatballs, dahling) then for breakfast the next day, I love it that much.  Aside from the great tasting, great costing food, even if you can’t afford/don’t need a thing, its great for a wander around.  If you’ve never been, go!  Personal favourites are the apartments you can wander around and the marketplace for candles, fake flowers and paintings.

Portswood Charity Shops

Portswood is basically the student area of Southampton where 95% of those in private rented accommodation who are Uni students will live.  Whilst its not the most desirable area in the world, the charity shops are cracking.  I would say there are perhaps 10 or 11.  I find myself casually popping in on my way to the supermarket, or devoting entire afternoons to trawling around picking up tit bits.  The fashion is good, the home ware is good, the furniture is extrememly good and as far as charity shop pricings go .. its up there.

 

So a baby guide.  Enjoy Southampton, I most certainly do!

 

 

Sunshine Polkadots

Cheeky outfit post:

 

Waistcoat – French Connection (Charity Shop)

Boob Tube – New Look

Necklace – Thailand

Skirt – Vintage/Charity Shop

Anklet – Thailand

Dolly Shoes – Office

Watch – Swatch

Stay tuned for some nail art tips, how summer 2012 has gone and my review of Southampton!  Blog loving ;)

Edinburgh ’12

Wayay, it’s Edinburgh!  Oop no, that’s Newcastle.  Edinburgh 2012, 4 days of rain, wind, cold, wine, culture, laughing, relaxing, walking, feet hurting, shopping and dancing.  Uh-may-zing.  Snaps and stories.

 

 

So if you can keep up: beautiful Castle, lots of Fringe frolics – a Lionel Richie sticker that we found EVERYWHERE; cars, bins, buses, you name it – the Zoo = I’ve actually been to two this year but it was just gorgeous, set high on a hill, beautiful views, beautiful animals, my favorites were the zebras – the two actors at the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, cue two hours of wandering around Edinburgh drinking listening to two mad Scots bang on about books and shiz, crazy! – The Royal Mile in the rain – HMY Brittania, Royal Brittania Yacht where the Queen would live travelling around the world, we saw her bed (which was actually pretty weird!) as well as where Wills was conceived (even weirder!) – getting a sleeper train, SO much fun – seeing Lavender Brown do the Fringe === uh-may-zing.

And some Scottish Style:

 

Floral Denim Bomber Jacket – Vintage Thai Market.     Oversized Tee – Thai Market.     Leggings – Topshop.

Tee – H and M.     Skirt – Topshop.     Tights – BHS.     Boots –  New York.

Scarf – Zara.     Denim Waistcoat – French Connection (Charity Shop).     Dress – Fat Face.     Trousers – Zara.     Pumps – Office.

Laters Edinburgh!  It’s been fun.

Back to Blogging

So it’s always Summer that leaves me for lack of blogging.  Mainly because I’m either working, travelling or being lazy and this summer in particular, it’s been a combination of all three.  So I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.  I’m gonna take the things I love writing about, make a list, and over the next few weeks, try and write about as much as I can, as often as I can.  I’m heading into third year at University which will be hectic, dramatic and crazy, and I find blogging to be SUCH a great release.  So here goes:

1)  Musical Palette

2)  Party Life

3)  Southampton

4)  Urban Outfitters Obsession

5)  What I’m Wearing Week

6)  Winter Wishlist

7)  Tour Of My Handbag

8)  Tour Of My Makeup Bag

9)  Charity Shop Tour

10)  Something On My Heart

11)  Travel Hopes and Dreams

12)  A TV Show I Love

13)  Movie Mayhem

14)  The Four Hour Body

So there’s 14 topics there, 14 days of blogging?  Pfft I don’t think so.  In the next two weeks I have to support boyfriend through his exams, go to Edinburgh for a holiday (I know right, HOW unfair?!) and do some serious studying.  So I will aim to blog where and when I can.  Also guys, any readers, please email me/message me/tweet me if you have any requests of things for me to write about :)  Love!

Ooooh – Cheeky Boom Boom!