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?

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My Nail Polish Collection

Howdy.  Today I thought I’d show you my nail polish collection.  I love nail maintenance (although I am dismal at actually painting them) and nail art (see: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/nails-101/ and https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/nails-102/ for some mild mannered tutorials!) so thought I’d share my ‘collection’ with you.

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So this is how I store my nail polish.  Not particularly exciting or glamorous, just in an Ikea box on my dressing table.  But when I went through and sorted them all, I was pretty impressed with my collection!  It’s the kind of thing that builds up without you really noticing.

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And voila!  I sorted them into 3 categories (loosely following Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain for aesthetic effect..!), plain bold block colours, effect polishes and my trusty clear top coat beauty.

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I remember buying my first ever Barry M nail polish, I think it was about £3.50 in Topshop Oxford Circus when I was about 12.  I think it lasted approximately four hours without chipping and then that was it for me, reputation tarnished!  Until a couple of years ago when the Hi-Shine Gelly range came out.  I bought a couple in a Boots offer because I adored the colours and that was it, hooked!  I also love Model’s Own and their ranges, like the pastel and neon ranges you can see here.  OPI is a personal favourite when I’m feeling like a big spender, and all the extras are just individual ones I like the colours of, or got free somewhere!

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These are my ‘specialty’ polishes if you like, for when you need to add a little glitz and glamour to your talons.  As you can see, predominantly glitter based!  Most of my nights out are pretty impromptu affairs  so what happens to be on my nails usually has to do, but when it’s a planned event like a big night out or a party, that’s when the glitter or the confetti comes out.

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And say hello to my favourite top coat!  I got this free with something at Sydney Airport and have never looked back.  It leaves a beautiful shiny and glossy look and avoids chipping for days.  A must have!

So there you have it!  My nail polish collection, what are you wearing on your talons this season?!

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!

 

 

The Ideal Home Show

So Friday took me somewhere I’ve always wanted to go … The Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court London.  It was so exciting!  Here’s some snaps and stories:

 

And Earl’s Court was such a beautiful venue.  I’d never been before.  I’ve been to the Clothes Show Live which is held at the NEC Arena in Birmingham (where Gladiators was filmed, think AWOOGA.  Just saying) but never here.  It was so close as well.  Just a quick 15 minutes up to Clapham and then another 5 minutes then BOOM, West Brompton were there.  Sometimes, I love Woking.

So I’ve wanted to go to the Ideal Home Show for about a year now.  It was this time, about a year ago, that I really got into interiors and designing and how the way an inside space can change the way you feel inside.  So I set about decorating my Uni room to a space that I absolutely love, and hence with me not shutting up about flowers, how much I dislike Scandi design, and my ever increasing love for ottomans and cushions, came a year’s subscription to the Ideal Home magazine from the boyfriend.  Result!

So here’s the inside!  Absolutely amazing.  It has three full show homes, that were actual size houses, a giant swimming pool (well actually I think it was a water feature, but it made me desperate to go for a dip nevertheless) and separate sections of Home, Woman, Gardening, Tradesman and Food (I think ..).  Ironically, seeing as I’m in love with interiors, the Food section was my favorite.  I found everything else a bit overpriced.  And as The Apprentice taught me (not gonna lie, I was half hoping to see the Junior ones filming, trying to flog me something or other), purchases from exhibitions and shows are predominantly impulse buys and myself, being the savvy scrimper I am nowadays, cannot be persuaded by salesmen.  Other than for cheese.

So these are some of my favorite bits and bobs from the show homes.  To be honest, I was a bit disappointed there were only three of them.  I think we all have a secret obsession with looking around other people’s homes (that’s why Ikea is so popular) and all the stalls were a bit dull after seeing into ‘real’ homes.  The third picture down shows a headboard painted onto a wall which I absolutely LOVED. It really irritates me not having a headboard at Uni when reading or watching TV.  I find it really upsets the state of the room as well.  A beautiful headboard can be a great feature, and makes you want to position your bed in the centre of a room, where Feng Shui says it looks best.  So basically if we were allowed paint at Uni, this is what I would paint.  Sorry for the lesson there.  Picture four shows a gorgeous bathroom full of Hollywood starlets and I just like the concept of numbered drawers in the fifth picture.

Top picture is of one of the Masterchef guys, who had a ridiculously overpriced restaurant within the show, which was only carvery.  Hmm.  Second is of some gorgeous toffee vodka.  In the food section, there was so much tasting available.  At 1pm I’d tried toffee vodka, caramel rum and vimto bacardi.  I was loving it!

And here’s what I wore.  Cardigan: Florence and Fred  Scarf: Zara  Necklace: Amsterdam market  Top: New Look  Skirt: Boohoo  Bag: Topshop

In short, it was an incredible day.  Bring on next year!

The Day I Celebrated with Beer and Meatballs

BOOM!  Exams are OVER.  At least my brain thinks they are, I actually still have one left, a multiple choice exam next week … but I’m done writing .. so yay!  To celebrate this wondrous day I headed to Ikea and drank beer and ate meatballs.  It was flipping wonderful.  Here’s what I wore:

The shirt from Urban Outfitters says ‘Under the same sky, dreaming the same dream’  At a tenner, I thought it was a goodun for dance.  The trousers are also Urban Outfitters and are perfect for work or the monochrome look.  And standard red converse, obviously.  Have a good day!