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

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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?

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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?

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.

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Woops

Book of Books

So, way back when in 2007, I decided to start writing down all the books I read.  In honesty, I can’t quite remember why.  Nevertheless, this habit has turned into quite a passionate little hobby of mine leading me to write down every book I read, and when I read it.  It has created the self-titled ‘Book of Books’ (imaginative, I know!)  I think at the back of my mind I have some idea I might give my Book of Books to my children, so they can see what books I read and at what point of my life.  A personal literary guide, if you like.

The Book of Books contains all the books I have read for pleasure.  Through education, reading was no longer a hobby but a necessity.  I would spend my 9-5 reading journal articles, books, newspapers; all in research for the next essay or exam.  Thus, snuggling up at the end of the day with a personal book of choice was just no longer an option for me.  The words just jumbled on the page and I couldn’t make sense of it.  My relaxation through A levels and Uni became TV and Films instead, and the Book of Books was thrust into a drawer, throughout term time anyway.  Christmas, Easter and Summer have always been a different story (see what I did there..?!) filled to the brim with what I’ve read.

I’m not claiming to be any sort of literary genius, nothing of the sort.  90% of the books I’ve read are absolute trash (I’m talking Katie Price ‘novels’, a book titled ‘Essex Girls’ and a Lauren Conrad trilogy).  But the point is, I needed to read those books at specific points of my life.  I needed to get lost in a stupid love story and read about vajazzles and Los Angeles, just to stay sane.  University was hard and I poured so much concentration and effort into it.  So when I had a holiday, instead of 45 page long articles with 300 references, all I wanted to read was rubbish.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I’m getting older and wiser and have more time (for now) I’m trying to read more.  I’m attempting to alternate a ‘trashy’ book with a more grownup book, and for now it’s working out quite nicely.  Reading is now back at the forefront of my life as a hobby I know and love, and hopefully the Book of Books will continue to grow for many years to come.

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Have you got a Book of Books?

Up at the O2

Soo, this weekend I went to London!  And London took me ‘Up at the o2’!  Up at the o2 is basically .. walking across the o2 which I bought boyfriend for Christmas.  We tend to buy each other experiences for birthdays/christmases/anniversaries etc.  I feel so happy right now, in terms of life and I have everything I could possibly need or want, so experiences are a perfect present.  By this I mean beautiful food, gigs, climbing over historic landmarks .. you get the idea.  So here’s how it went ..!

 

So we arrived at the o2, ready to head the heck up it, have a gorgeous dinner and see the one and only ‘Skyfall’ (which is AMAZING by the way).  It looked terrifying from the bottom.  For me, someone who is mildly nervous of heights, I was pretty freaked out.  Next we signed into ‘Base Camp’ where a mental video greeted us with lots of interesting facts and what we could expect.  We headed into a changing room to get dressed, in our totally fetching boiler suits!  I also grabbed the walking boots they had on offer, which I would definitely recommend .. so much better grip!

Next was heading up.  I was totally freaked out by the Carabina thing, and couldn’t even really work it .. sometimes boyfriend had to do it but I managed, and before I knew it .. we were up!  The actual walk way is suspended above the tent canvas and is kind of like a massive bouncy mat .. with no sides!  I thought that bit would be scary but I loved it.  Walking across it, knowing you were safe, but not completely feeling safe (sort of like a roller coaster) was really exhilarating.

At the top, gosh it was just beautiful.  I purposely timed our walk when the sun was setting (I googled it and everything, romantic huh?!)  We had a gorgeous view of Canary Wharf (which I had funnily visited the day before on a Geography field trip, so it was really interesting) and of the Emirates air line, but I must admit I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed with the lack of the view of the City.  Being a geography student, I probably should have realised that the way the Thames bends, we wouldn’t have but ah well, it was still beaut.  Complete with a cheeky plank too, of course ;)

The way down was doubly scary as the way up, the gradients just kept going up and up and up, so the way down was getting steeper and steeper and steeper, I couldn’t handle it!  I will admit I took a minute or two to have a tiny cry and compose myself, the guide was brilliant though, professional but such a lad too.  And after a wonderful hour, I touched the ground again!  It really was incredible, and only £22 on a week day.  I really would recommend doing it, so so special.

So do it guys, get out there, fall in love with life (haven’t said that in a while!) and get up the o2!

19 Date Night Ideas … you don’t have to leave the house for!

So being a relatively poor student in the grand scheme of things, date nights in with the man are in high importance, but more importantly than that they have to be cheap, cheerful and a LOT of fun.  Whilst nights out can be spent with your loved one (which may I point out doesn’t HAVE to be a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Friends/brothers/sisters/parents/pets go quite well on this too) with dinners or clubbing, there’s something really great about staying in in your jammies and having a good old chat.  So here are some budget ideas if you’re ever stuck of things to get stuck into:

1)  Movie Marathon.  Probably the most obvious, but mix it up!  Have a HIS night, a HERs night .. hell, even a theme night!

2)  Board Games.  Go mental on this one.  Pull out all the stops.  Why not have Twister, Monopoly and Game of Life going all at once?!  Go crazy.

3)  Have a picnic.  Sit somewhere you usually wouldn’t (outside, kitchen floor, dining room, bedroom floor), spread out a rug and have some treats!  Complete with Cava .. of course!

4)  Work out DVDs!  Sounds mental, but Zumba and Pilates can be quite hilarious together.  Put on some mad outfits and get a sweat on.

5)  Do the housework together.  Sometimes massive tasks seem too hard to handle.  For me, housework is a huge one.  Stick on your favourite tracks, pour yourself a glass of wine and get hoovering!  Have a race if you fancy, and have a nice dessert as a reward at the end.

6)  Recreate a perfect night.  One of my favourite nights in I’ve ever had with boyfriend was a night we watched ‘The Beach’, had a few bottles of wine, stuck some candles on, listened to Tyler Ward for far too long and chatted into the early hours.  Since then, we’ve recreated it a few times .. each time more fun than previous!  Take inspiration from what you’ve done before.

7)  TV Marathon.  Take a favourite TV show, or an entirely new one, and challenge yourselves to watch a whole season.

8)  Draw each other.  Sounds weird, but can be totally hilarious.  Get some pens/pencils/paints/paper .. and get creative!

9)  Theme night.  This could be incorporated into movie night, but why not go the whole hog.  Decorations, outfits, music, food .. the lot!  Favourites off the top of my head include Mexican, French, Spanish, American or Italian.

10)  Have a boogie.  Get some drinks flowing, stick on some clubbing tracks, lights off .. and just have a dance!

11)  Make a den.  Again, perhaps a weird one, or just very childish maybe.  With some prominent furniture and strategically placed sheets, a den can be made to cosy in/cuddle up in/do whatever you fancy in ..!

12)  Cocktail night.  As students, we’ve always got spirits bottles with just a few shots remaining.  Dress up a little, grab all the mixers you can find and go crazy!  Through Cocktail night, a Fanta Fruit Twist, Gin and Grenadine miracle was created.  Give it a go!

13)  Candlelight Crazy.  Lights off.  All the tealights you can get your hands on.  And just chat.

14)  Opposite night.  Be opposite for the night!  Yes means no, no means yes, just do everything differently!  If one of you drinks red wine and the other drinks white, swap.  You get the idea.

15)  Video game night.  Whack out the console and don’t stop til the girl has won SOMETHING!

16)  Rearrange a room.  Similar to housework; music, wine and boom.  Relax in your refreshed new room at the end.

17)  Order in crazy.  Order something you’ve never had before, and see how it goes.  I’m meaning to do this one.  On our local ‘JustEat’ page there’s Afghanistan, Lebanese and Arabian food left to try.  Dig in!

18)  Wine and cheese night.  Splash out; some crackers, your favourite dairy products, vino (of course) and see where the night leads!

19)  Just have a few.  Whack out the drinking games to film, tv, roulette, cards … and have a great night!

Just have fun!

Enjoy ;)