John O’Groats

I love trains.  I really really do.  So, whilst I’m in my final ‘summer’ so to speak (although still working full time, as and when) I felt it was only necessary to take the train to John O’Groats.  As you do.  Snaps and stories.

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We took the sleeper train from London Euston up to Inverness.  This was my beaut of a berth.  If you haven’t been on a sleeper train, I’d really recommend it.  It’s so much fun toddling down to the dining carriage bar for a drink and to mingle with the other passengers.  (Note my left over gin and lemonade glass.)  It can be a bit hit and miss as to how well you actually sleep, but I find the swaying and to and froing really rather comforting.  Then waking up and finding out you’re in the middle of Scotland and that the London lights are 300 miles behind you, pretty breathtaking.

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We wandered around Inverness for a bit before catching our next train, from Inverness to Wick.  This was a 4 hour pretty bumpy ride through the Highlands but was absolutely beautiful.  I saw puffins, deer, even majestic stags and of course, lots and lots of sheep.  It was gorgeous.

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From Wick, we took another very bumpy bus up to John O’Groats (the most northern part of the UK) itself.  It was crazy, literally nothing there.  I felt extremely overwhelmed about how far north we were (which is weird, cause I’ve been to Australia heaps of times LITERALLY the other side of the world) but is was beautiful and desolate at the same time.  Excuse the pretty casual get up here.  (I’d spent upwards of 12 hours on trains).  But FYI my tee is ASOS, jeans are trusty BDG at Urban Outfitters favourites, socks are Topshop and sneakers are Vans.

After a twenty minute stroll around John O’Groats we got the same very bumpy bus back to our hotel in central Wick (located on the shortest street in the world, don’t you know).  After relaxing over a bottle of cava we headed down to a gorgeous dinner and some drinks in the bar, before collapsing into bed.

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After an early start, we got the same (bumpy) train from Wick down to Inverness where we spent the day strolling the Ness and the Isles of Ness, shopping and gorging on Pizza Express.  At 8pm we boarded the sleeper train to head back to London Euston where we arrived 12 hours later.

So that was it!  It was a beautiful trip and exactly the break I needed.  The Highlands were just gorgeous and I can now say I’ve been to the most northerly point in the UK!  Next, Landsend.

 

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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?

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 ;)

What Happened In March

1)  Loughborough!  An absolutely stunning weekend.  Read the post here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/loughborough-2012/

2)  I found gin, in a hopeless place.  Well, in Aldi.  On a standard food shopping trip I stumbled across a £4 large bottle of gin and since I’m trying to be a bit healthier, and consume fewer calories, so gin was the only option; obviously.  Here’s me trying out Marks and Spencers canned gin and tonic.  See point 6.

3)  Amsterdam!  Again, just absolutely stunning.  Read the post here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/dam-madness/

4)  Here is a beautiful picnic I had on a train journey.  Unfortunately, not the nicest train journey.  I was on my way back from Gatwick Airport after spending the weekend in the Isle of Man, due to Andrew’s grandmother passing away.  It was a sad and stressful weekend, so wine cheesy bites were a must.

5)  Aha!  One evening, one of my housemates Hannah and our friend Nancy took it upon themselves to make cupcakes … of everyone’s faces.  See mine in the bottom right hand corner:  Bella, with a bottle of wine.  It’s lovely to know my friends know me so well!  Other’s included chocolate covered fairy cakes for our friends Fatima and Tashan, a housemate Jan sporting an abnormally large nose and Andrew, in the top right hand corner with his big lips and chipped teeth.  Bless.

6)  My twitter review of point 4; the M and S gin and tonic.

7)  Oh goodness!  I thought Andrew was over with scaring the life out of me.  But no, March brought two trips to the Minor Injuries Unit and one to A and E.  First was pretty minor, a potentially broken foot which turned out to only be ligament damage.  The next trip was potential spinal fluid squiring out of Andrew’s nose, which turned out to just be snot.

8)  This is a beautiful picture of my rents, which I found under my bed when I came home to Woking for the Easter holidays.  Was so happy to see it after a year or two!

9)  I sold plenty more things on Ebay, including this gorgeous Topshop Unique Peter Pan Collar dress, which sold for £8 in the end.  I was sad to see it go, but alas, with growing up and into a woman, you physically grow too.  I earned £30, score.

10)  Ideal Homes Show, again, stunning.  Read about it here:  https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-ideal-home-show/

Hope you’ve all had a glorious month :)