August Verbs

I must admit, I’m utterly baffled as to how we’ve ended up at the end of August.  This month has been amazing, I’ve finished #masterslife and had a few beautiful weeks off before starting full time life shortly.  It’s been a goodun.  Here’s what’s happened:

Watching:  The Inbetweeners

These Boys

These Boys

With the dawn of the new Inbetweeners film (which apparently I won’t find that amusing seeing as I ‘did’ Australia last year) I felt it was necessary to begin the whole series from scratch.  I originally watched the first film after a year’s gap from the series and couldn’t see the humour.  I’m hoping recapping will make the newest movie even better when I get round to cinematic viewing.

Reading:  Bridget Jones, Mad About The Boy – Helen Fielding

Grated cheese, anyone?

Grated cheese, anyone?

The latest Bridget Jones book!  I still haven’t finished so pretty please don’t divulge any necessary information from the story line, but I have to say I’m loving it.  Only half way through I’ve already laughed, already cried, and already drawn a frightening amount of similarities between myself and Jonesy all these years on (bags of grated cheese anyone?!).  A must read.

Listening To: B.O.B

Style: "normal start"

Another Gossip Girl find I’m afraid (guilty!).  I previously only knew B.O.B from ‘that song with the one from Paramore’ but I’ve been trawling Spotify and I have to say I’m rather impressed.  His tunes make great kitchen choreo too.

Wearing on my Body: Denim Jacket

It looks a bit like this.

It looks a bit like this.

With this BEAUTIFUL August weather we’ve been having, the sheared denim jacket has just had to make an appearance.  A comfy classic.

Wearing on my Face:  Nothing

I'll go with that.

I’ll go with that.

Sorry to be boring, yet again!  I have however been testing out my everyday work make-up face and think I’ve pretty much got the look down, so this subsection might be more exciting next month!

Eating: Out

Nom

Nom

This month has seen countless pub trips, restaurant stops, BBQs, family friend buffets and house parties.  My social life has been off the chain this month (golly) which has meant I’ve barely cooked!  Next month, I’m looking forward to lighting candles and having longer nights in with some autumnal plate of yumminess I’ve conjured.

Drinking: Bubbles

download (1)

I think this goes hand in hand with all the social events I’ve been a part of this month – dahling.

What have you been up to this August?

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:

IMG_3522

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 …

IMG_3536

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!

IMG_3533

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!

IMG_3535

IMG_3568

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!

IMG_3542

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.

IMG_3576

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.

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?

xoxo Gossip Girl

WHAT an afternoon.  What started out as a cheeky afternoon break from work before an evening out has truly turned into a long and ranty blog post, how apt.  I remember, way back when in 2007 and/or 8, reading the Metro on a trip home from town.  In it, was this picture.  Beautiful, sexy young New Yorkers; I think exactly who and what I wanted to be.  Back then I had big dreams of stars and the stage, who knows, they might just return when I graduate.

Image

#Stunning

Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) evenings at 10pm sharp led to me booking out a sofa in my family home, and perhaps being allowed one glass of wine if I didn’t have a full day of college the next day.  I would look forward to it all week, be ever so excited, for the wonder that is, that was, Gossip Girl.

As with any great love of mine with any television show, it is undoubtedly intermittent.  I began ‘Dexter’ by myself as a frightened 16 year old, and couldn’t finish it until I met boyfriend.  Henry Cavil and his sex scenes suddenly became famous and now ‘The Tudors’ isn’t so appealing.  I’m 1 episode away from the ‘Once Upon a Time’ first season finale, but I’ve got bored.  My love of Gossip Girl nearly died when ITV 2 stopped broadcasting it, and hell hath no fury like a girl who learned Netflix didn’t store the grande finale (but that’s for another post).  But I persevered, and by golly I’m pleased.

Last year, on a wine fuelled evening in my family home, my human equivalent of Carlsberg begrudgingly informed me which of the characters, was indeed Gossip Girl.  It didn’t matter though.  As soon as I knew, it suddenly became obvious.  Yes I perhaps didn’t experience the heart pumping, mind racing finale that so many others did regarding the identity of Gossip Girl, but it did not stop my heart pumping and my mind racing.  There were even tears.

I think it was soon as they mentioned Gatsby, I let go a little.  For me, it was always the Tumblr world and the so-called ‘Skins Lifestyle’.  It was the smoke fuelled parties, the disposable cameras, the wild nights on tables; throughout college I looked to these people and felt sadness, pity, joy and want all at the same time.  But, I grew up, and realised I was one of those people already, and the happiest I’ve ever felt. 

Gossip Girl made me think.  Kind of like Harry Potter, I’ve followed age suit of the characters, experienced some of their experiences and felt some of their feelings.  So it means more than a 5 year old quoting ‘Expelliamus’ or my 40 year old sister drooling over Dan Humphrey.  No, I am part of the Gossip Girl generation.  Of smart phones, and blogging and websites, and want and lust and craving.

But, like Dan, I’ve learnt to rise above.  To be grateful for what you have.  And as I’ve got older, and somehow weirdly wiser, I’ve got happier.  And right now, I’ve never been so happy.  Gossip Girl has just helped cement that in my heart.

(Related Blog Posts:

Dexter = https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/dexter/

The Human Equivalent of Carlsberg = https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/human-equivalent-of-carlsberg/

The Sometimes Ridiculous World of Blogging = https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-sometimes-ridiculous-world-of-blogging/

Skins = https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/skins/)

 

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!)

Social Media Madness

I love social media, I absolutely love it.  I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.

In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go.  I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out.  That’s fine, I do it too.  I encourage it, I embrace it.  What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others.  Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting.  I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.

It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table.  It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification.  What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping?  Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie?  They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.

It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone.  Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish.  Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world?  No.  Not on.

I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend.  I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is.  Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!).  He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about.  This saddened me.  I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it.  But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.

Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family.  If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave.  I believe this is how it should be.  It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?

I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox.  I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me.  I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others.  What do you think?  I’d be really interested to hear another take on this.  Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of.  All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.

Image

Woops