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

September Syndrome

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It’s currently 8.38am.  So far today I have had two mugs of coffee, washed up and have done a load of laundry.  Now I’m sitting watching Lorraine contemplating my day, and it’s not even 9am.

On Monday, I started my Masters course at University and Boyfriend started a new job.  We are well and truly in the swing of September Syndrome.  Granted, we’re a few weeks behind everyone else.  All the children ran back to school the first few days of September, us Uni students are just catching up.  But nevertheless, the stationary shops continue to plug ‘Back to College’ gear, everyone decides they need new commuting shoes and a new bag is just, well, essential.  I also find September the time of year where people, young or old, assess changes in their lives.  Maybe it’s the combination of coming home from a summer holiday, the evenings getting drastically shorter and the need to find your scarf but something changes and people become more ambitious, driven and contemplative about the future.  I know friends who are years from education who use September as a time to address that diet, consider that savings plan or change their hair.  I don’t know why it is, or what it is, but with the going back to education season, people seem to want to become brighter, want to become better.  Myself included.  It’s almost a mid-year revolution feeling if you like.

Are you suffering from September Syndrome?  Don’t feel bad, it’s a good thing!  Perhaps you’ll fall in love with life..?  I dare you.

Insta an Hour

Well hey there!  I’m back!  Now the double Ds are over, I am slowly starting to feel like my old self again and with that comes the rise from the ashes of Bella and her Bits.  I’d seen a few features on other blogs back in January on ‘A Photo an Hour’, but wasn’t sure if it would look funny or not dragging my camera around campus all day, so I settled for Insta an Hour!  I thought that it was a great way for me to get back into blogging, and to show you what I’m doing all day!  I set my phone alarm every hour, on the hour, then wherever I was whacked out my phone and took a snap.  It’s not particularly exciting and luxurious, but it’s studentdom, it’s my life!  Enjoy .. :)

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This is what a standard morning looks like for me.  Porridge and coffee, complete with our oh-so-clean hob.  I did say studentdom!

9am

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So it was ever so slightly awkward when my alarm went off on the bus, and I was forced to take this snap, giggling on the inside pretending to be texting.  The guy opposite was NOT amused.

10am

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This shows me well and truly camped out in the library, story of my life right now.  Complete with my beautiful Moleskine diary, coffee and my snazzy new laptop!

11am

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I do love libraries.  Since working in one when I was 16, I just love them.  The smell, the colors of the books, the quiet .. I love it.  So I was secretly pleased when I popped to get a book out and the 11am alarm rang in my back pocket; perfection.

12pm

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Midday came and I popped out for an appointment into the most beautiful sunshine of the year!  I enjoyed my lunch sat on a bench, soaking up some Vitamin D on campus.  

1pm and 2pm

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Back to the Library I headed, and didn’t move for a couple of hours.  Since finishing my Diss, I’ve started work on a new essay.  Just some light reading to accompany that, of course.

3pm and 4pm

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Lecture time!  I actually had to disable my alarm for this one, and found it really awkward trying to take a pic with low lighting and a cautious lecturer, but here’s the snap anyway; trusty pukka pad in tow.

5pm

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After a glorious stroll home in the sunshine, I was feeling pretty tired so laid down to watch a TV show.  Right now, I’m loving ‘Hotel Babylon’, a BBC series from a few years ago; I would recommend.  Here’s my gorgeous bedroom!

6pm

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6pm came when I was just getting ready to head out, and boyfriend couldn’t resist popping into the background of the ‘Selfie’ shot.  I’m trying a new look here, of slightly slicked hair; still unsure if I like it or not.  I’m wearing 17 Coral lipstick and Barry M Jelly affect nail polish.  My jacket is from a market in Bangkok, Thailand.

7pm and 8pm

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Pub time!  There’s a great local about 2 minutes from my house that serves 2 meals for £10 Mondays to Wednesdays when I can’t be bothered to cook.  Scrum-diddly-umptious.

9pm

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Home and snuggled up on the sofa to watch ’16 Kids and Counting’, I’m utterly fascinated by it!  After a busy day – off to bed.

So that was my Insta an Hour day!  Hope you enjoyed ;)  Love, Bella x

 

 

 

 

Hair Story

Ever since the lovely Louise over at Sprinkle of Glitter (I blogged about her beauty challenge here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/bedroom-beauty-challenge-january-vivacious-vixen/ – check it out!) did a post about her Hair History, I thought what a great idea!  Though mine isn’t really a history, it’s more of a story.  So here goes:

Even since I was little I’ve had blonde, fluffy, frizzy wavy hair and to be perfectly honest, it’s only in the last year or two I’ve learnt how to manage it!  It’s always been about boob length, with no layers making it quite heavy, but I’ve learnt how to roll with that, and I like it, so why change it?!  

ImageHere’s me way back when in 2007, at a Wedding I believe.  As you can see, no product, no accessories (apart from the John Lewis red peacock thing going on..!), no nothing really.  I think I just spritzed it with some hair spray and off I went.  How wrong of me!  I mean, it’s fine because I was only 15, but looking back it looks awful!  It was around about this time my hair started to go darker and my Mum sat me down and we had the highlights talk .. and I’ve never looked back!

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Gosh, how terribly natural!  Aha!  This is me in Kenya, Africa in 2009 whilst I was out there at a school teaching street dance to kids.  Apologies for the dazed look, I discovered my love of coffee on this trip and think I was off on a caffeine high somewhere above.  This is pretty much my hair, completely natural!  This is what I have to work with everyday, and NOW, I think I do okay.  But here’s what happened next …

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Oh hey there cheeky.  This is one of my MANY dance looks I’ve had over the years.  I’ve had braids, the tightest plaits in the world, up dos, down dos and lots and lots of hairspray.  All the hairspray from dance was seriously starting to damage my hair around this point (2009) as well, until I discovered deep conditioning hair treatments.  L’Oreal do a great one for highlighted hair.  You have a shower normally, shampoo your hair normally, then whack on the treatment and leave it for as long as you like really!  My hair dresser told me if I wear a plastic shower cap over the treatment it works more effectively so I do that as well, cling film works just fine also.  I tend to do that about once a month when I feel like my hair needs some loving.

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And the girl discovered straighteners!  I don’t tend to straighten my hair very much at all really, only ever usually for nights out clubbing.  Every time I have a special event, it’s always curls r us over at Bella Land.  I love this picture because my hair looks so shiny!  As it tends to when it’s straight.  I always prep it with a heat protection serum or spray, that really helps with the shine factor!

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This was taken in 2010, and probably when my hair was the longest it’s ever been.  It also shows my pretty signature style: curls (created with tongs) and my side parting kirby gripped to the side/up.  I discovered my side parting when I was about 11, and it only ever heads central when I forget to brush it after it’s washed (usually being when I have a lot of work on).  The side parting is my saviour.  It makes my face look slimmer and I love all the styles you can do with it, without looking like a 5 year old: braids, plaits, even bunches!

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When I discovered dip dying!  I had this done in 2012 and I remember it only happened a day or two before Jessie J went public with her purple tips.  Annoyed?  Me?!  I love dip dying with random colours because it allows you to have the freedom of a different colour without going too drastic, and it usually washes out in about 6 weeks anyway.  My hair style here is literally just braided in plaits when wet the night before, then spruced with some hairspray.  If in doubt, that’s what I usually go for.

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And here’s me just a few weeks ago!  My hair dresser persuaded me to move away from the dip dye because he thought it was a bit too blocky (and to some extent, I agree with him) and allow him to just brush casual streaks of this deep red through my hair from about half way down.  And I have to say, I loved it!  Definitely my favourite so far :)

So there’s my sort of hair story!  The red has almost gone now and my hair is still about the same length because it grows at snails pace but I can’t wait to try some more colours!  I don’t have a hair appointment til around March time now, but I’m thinking some copper streaks?  What do we think guys?  

What’s your Hair Story?

Love Bella x

 

 

A Day in the Life of … Bella!

Hey guys!  So I’m SO sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  Third year pressures mounting up and up, assignments, exams etc .. not to mention POINTLESS which we’re filming tomorrow, AH!  (The BBC show with Alexander Armstrong, gonna be AWESOME).  This post is basically ‘A Day in the Life of ME’ to show you guys just how busy I am right now.  I have a few deadlines coming up over the next week or two so will hopefully be able to post a bit more then.  Anyway.  Here goes:

8.24am – roll out of bed still SO full from Frankie and Benny’s meal (NOM) the night before and hit the shower

8.40am – moisturise.  beauty routine must be priority now kids!

8.44am – make an incredibly large cup of coffee and drink it in front of Lorraine.

9.06am – get dressed and sort out my hair/face.

9.24am – have another coffee and ring my Mum.

9.39am- – sort out my bag for the day and print out all my lecture slides.

9.59am – leave for Uni.

10.12am – arrive Uni and head to the shop.  FYI, I purchased a new notepad, some dairylea dunkers and some salt and vinegar french fries.

10.16am – return my library books and issue my new ones I had waiting for me.

10.21am – sit down in the library and begin work.

11.55am – cheeky break to read some bloglovin.

12.27pm – leave libes, sit down in cafe and have my lunch of sushi and snacks.

12.52pm – meet boyfriend.  wait for him as he has a meeting and read my Lauren Conrad book.

1.35pm – sit down with another coffee with boyfriend and make some phone calls, including a 30 minute conversation with Pointless man.

2.45pm – sit down in lecture.

4.49pm – leave lecture and meet parents who have come down for the evening.

5.25pm – arrive Trago Lounge restaurant and eat delicious food catching up with rents.

7.16pm – arrive home and resort out my face, putting makeup on and getting dressed for a night out.

8.05pm – pre drinks start including Ring of Fire, the Post It note game, Smiles game and Obstacle game (don’t ask)

10.54pm – head off and out to Jesters

2.22pm – arrive back home and hit the hay.

So just a standard Thursday in the life of Bella, hence why I am REALLY busy right now.  I’ll try and get back to regular posts soon.  In the meantime .. POINTLESS!  Laters kids.

How We Make It Work

Now, I know I’m no expert.  I haven’t been married for thirty years and I don’t have any children and I certainly don’t have any kind of ring on any kind of finger.  But I like to think the boyfriend and I make it work.  As were approaching the 18 month mark I can see all those people from Halls who thought it was never going to work and I want to throw my head back and chortle.  Cause you know what, it has worked and fingers crossed, it will continue to work for a very long time.  Here’s how.

1) Date Night.  Now whether this comes in the form of an afternoon gobbling pizza in front of Shrek or a romantic table for two in a posh restaurant, date night is stupidly important to make a relationship work.  Despite the fact that man and I do the same course, we’re forever running here, there and everyone with me rushing off to dance or to present a radio show or him to rugby and the pub, so believe it or not, we don’t get to spend that much quality time together.  Note the buzz word there, quality.  Yes he can be in my room all day but that will be it.  I’ll be working, reading journals, writing notes and organising my life whilst he’s doing the same (or playing on Football Manager), so I don’t really notice him.  He’s just a comforting presence in the corner.  Date Night gives us time to exhale and say ‘How are you?’ and really want to know the answer.

2)  The Best Friend Role.  Now, I’m a sucker for a cliché, I always have been and I certainly hope I always will be.  It makes life much more dreamy and romantic.  The boyfriend is my best friend, my best best friend, and I would actually be lost without him.  Not in a lovey dovey way, but in the way I wouldn’t have anyone to play computer games with, play Simon Says on rainy afternoons, run around the room tickling or have impromptu midnight feasts with.  Well I would, just not in the same way.  Another buzz word there, play.  Playing brings about feelings of youth, happiness and laughter.  Relationships don’t have to be boring and serious.  They can be fun, so so much fun.  Just enjoy being with your best friend.

3)  Don’t Get Comfortable.  I may not have chosen the correct words there.  When I say ‘Don’t Get Comfortable’, I mean don’t settle for less than what you deserve.  As Samantha from SATC so notoriously says in her break up ‘I’ve been in a relationship with me for 50 years, and that’s the one I need to work on’.  If myself or boyfriend are unhappy about a comment or an action, we won’t let it fester and bottle it up, we will sit down and talk about it, work it out.  We push the boundaries of discussion, debate and sometimes argument, so we know that we are both being the best we can be for both ourselves, and for each other.  Because let’s face it, if there comes the time that the other person isn’t the best thing for you anymore, then it might be time for a rethink.

4)  You Time.  Now this can be a tricky one.  If you’re exhausted and just want to cuddle up and the boyfriend says ‘Sorry I’m going out with the boys’, it can be a little down heartening.  But it’s so so important.  There have been many a night when he’s rung up and wanted to pop by and I’ve said, no, sorry, I’m downing wine and watching SATC.  Whether it’s with your boys, your girls, your housemates or your family, time with you and your friends is incredibly precious.  Because if it all goes belly up, who will be there?    I blow boyfriend off for Bella time all the time.  ‘What are we doing now then?’ he’ll often say.  And I’ll say ‘I don’t know about you but I’m buying myself a magazine and a coffee and sitting on that bench for an hour’.  For me, you time is crucial to not only a relationship, but also general wellbeing.

Just a few tips.  Yes I’m loved up, and I love it.  And what?

<3

Dam Madness

So last week I casually went to Amsterdam.  Yeah, no biggie.  Ya know, just thought ‘d fly over for a few days, test the water.  AND IT WAS INSANE!  It was actually for a University Geography Field Trip so we did lots of work, but fun work.  No standing in rivers measuring flow or anything juvenile like that (I take it back, river flow is VERY important …), total human geography madness, interviews, observations, the works.  Pretty awesome.  So whilst we worked all day, we partied all night.  The evenings were our own and by jove did we make the most of them.  Here’s some snaps and stories:

Ah Amsterdam, the Venice of the North.  Except the boyfriend didn’t even know it had canals!  We were lucky enough that the weather was beautiful while we there (yes, weather, it WAS a geography trip guys) which I feel made it SO much better.  Oh and on the right, standard Netherlands.  You know, I think I might try make clogs cool.

Right, so despite what I’ve given up for Lent (Oh my goodness, it’s SHOPPING.  But I’ve just realised you probably don’t know that, stay tuned for a blog), I felt that being international (i.e. not in England), it was alright to purchase a couple of small things.  Tiny.  Absolutely miniscule (not like three maxi dresses, a crop top and four necklaces … NOTHING like that).  So I rallied the troups and we headed to a gorgeous flea market down by one of the canals.  It was amazing.  Antiques, trinkets, vintage galore.  Stunning.  Oh, and the middle picture is just a really cute Dutch house.

Naw, thought I’d put at least one cute couply picture in there.  Yes, Andrew came too!  Being a fellow geographer and all that.  It was really weird actually, being on holiday with him but not being with him if you see what I mean.  We had 68 other geographers, 3 lecturers and 3 postgrads to keep us company.  It didn’t work out too bad though.  He was in my working group meaning I actually spent all day with him and we hung out in the evenings together in a big group.  So yeah, it worked well.  Oop, middle picture is my stunning new swatch watch.  BUT, I purchased it Duty Free so it doesn’t even count.  The picture on the left is my absolutely revolutionised idea of hot chocolate!  Warm milk, and actual chocolate.  Why did I not think of this before?!  Dutch, you are dreamboats.

Yes, we went to the sex museum.  Picture on the left is be sitting on a giant willy, standard.  (For anyone that cares I’m wearing blouse and denim jacket, both Dorothy Perkins, scarf from Zara, Urban Outfitters jeans and Converse.  I was a TOURIST, okay?!)  The middle picture is Josh, Bec, myself and Andrew on a night out.  But Amsterdam nights out are very different to Southampton nights out.  Coffee Shops.  That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.  And the left was just a cool sign.

Picture on the left is my STUNNING working group.  I’d never met the two girls Emma and Louise before, but we got on SO well!  There’s something about working together and being together for long periods of time in a new environment that just makes everybody bond.  I can’t wait to catch up with them both over some vino after Easter.  Yes, I went to McDonalds in Amsterdam, sue me.  But they officially did the best burger I have ever tasted.  A McKroket.  Exclusive to the Netherlands.  Which is short, is a cheese croquette in a burger.  It was so amazing that on the last night I had three at once.  And on the right, shows one of the most famous coffee shops in Amsterdam, right in the middle of the Red Light District (which we did visit, but I didn’t manage to get any pictures of for fear of being shot).  It’s called Bulldog and it was incredible, inside it’s got heaps of pictures and autographs of all the famous people that have been there.  I’m talking Rihanna, Eminem, Shaggy, Andre 3000, The Black Eyed Peas … and Atomic Kitten!  I squealed a little bit when I saw their picture.

So that was Amsterdam.  The final picture shows my fab working group on the new I AMsterdam sign, and we cleverly just went in the DAM bit, I know right.  So smart.  So I had a great time.  Friends, fun and frolics.  All I could ask for.  When can I go again?!