That Wee Trip to Westfield

Last post, I mentioned having a cheeky trip to Westfield to spend my birthday moolah.  Here’s a sneaky peek of my purchases:

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H and M

These are my H and M beauties (or Hemmies, as it is affectionately known).  I’m a big fan of high waisted anything and this simple black body covers my arms and ensures I have no annoying t-shirt bits to tuck in.  The donut and the flowers were last minute impromptu till purchases, one of which I love, one of which I regret.  I love the flowers pins, they look great in a clipped back side parting do or even on a lapel.  On reflection, I don’t have quite enough hair for the XL donut .. my baby one will have to do!

Topshop

Topshop

Every girl should own a LDD.  A little denim dress.  I have three.  Regular readers may remember my trusty denim pinafore, both summer and winter worthy, which is what makes them so versatile.  It got to the point where I was easily wearing it 3 days out of 7 and just really needed a couple more!  The one on the left is a skater style denim dress that I recently wore with a cutesy blouse underneath whereas the one of the right is a bit more bodycon, and suitable for a night out.  Either way, they’re both lovely!  The socks were to go with my Vans, with the cute frilly bits peeking over the edge (reminding me of primary school!).  And the gold geometric necklace was £2.50 – reason enough!

Sneaky peek complete – laters!

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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

My Perfect Bedroom

Whenever I have a spare moment or five, no longer do I endlessly and hopelessly browse Topshop and Urban Outfitters online.  My interests have changed.  Now, it’s all about the interiors.  As I wrote about here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/interiors-scrapbook/, I’m getting pretty into all my homewares and furnishings.  

For my 21st birthday, we went and stayed in the most beautiful luxury B and B (quite possibly ever) and it’s well and truly got my creative cogs whirring for my dream bedroom.  Here’s my pick of what I would choose (with money being no object, obviously!)

Image1)  Epsilon Upholstered Mink Velvet Double Bed Frame – Argos – £549.99

2)  Parisian Mirrored Four Draw Chest – Dunelm Mill – Was £349.99 Now £279.99

3)  Antique Style Venetian Mirrored Grand Chest of Drawers – Nicky Cornell Furniture Boutique – £649.00

4)  Rosalind Dove Grey Dressing Table – Laura Ashley – Was £1000.00 Now £450.00

5)  Purple ‘Antoinette’ Bed Linen – Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams – Was £22.00 – £88.00 Now £22.40 – £70.40

6)  Inspire Crackle Mirror Finish Table Lamp Silver – Argos – Was £24.99 Now £18.74

7)  Designer Purple French Bulldog Cushion – Abigail Ahern at Debenhams – £25.00

8)  Natural Embroidered Heart Cushion – Debenhams – £25.00

9)  Plum ‘Miramar’ Chaise with Dark Feet – Debenhams – Was £1000.00 – £1050.00 Now £720.00 – £756.00

I’ve gone for a silver/white/purple look with the ultimate priority being texture.  Obviously these are just ideas, a mood board if you like, but if someone gave me £5000 today for a bedroom, these picks would be a definite starting point!  What’s your perfect bedroom?

 

Interiors on a Budget

So as I mentioned in ‘I’m Back!’ (https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/im-back/), I’ve only gone and got myself a flat!  I know, it’s terribly exciting.  I feel oh-so domesticated and grownup.  It was completely unfurnished so I’ve taken the whole contents of my life from University and from my Mum and Dad’s house (combined with Boyfriend’s bits and bobs) and plonked it into our open plan one bedroom apartment of loveliness.  After two weeks, it’s finally feeling  homely and I’m loving spending time here.  To jazz up the flat and furniture, we felt we needed to go interior shopping, but being fresh from Uni .. we’re pretty broke!  The whole place has been decked head to toe in the thriftiest of fashions, and I felt it would be cruel not to share.  (N.B.: I’ve made the decision not to photograph my flat in order to maintain privacy, so photos are just interior furnishings etc.)

Sofa

Say hello to our sofa!  We picked up our 2 seater couch as ‘Manager’s Special of the Week’ for £40 at our local Hospice Furniture Shop, and it was Manager’s Special for a reason!  On first glance, the cushion covers were stained, the whole thing smelt a bit musty and the brown arms were scratched up.  My instant reaction was: ‘No, Bella, you can do so much better at sofa shopping!’ Perhaps I could, but my wallet couldn’t, that was for sure.  So two washes for the cushion covers, three hoovers and 132 (or thereabouts) cans of  febreeze, the sofa feels brand new!  Plus, it feels great having supported a charity.

As our budget shopping meant we didn’t have any choice over the colour of our sofa; throws and pillows had to jazz this up.  I was eyeing up purple and leopard print, for my swish new luxury apartment.  But, nope, we had to get a fabric/colour/pattern that we both agreed on, and that turned out to be .. well, tartan.  If I’m honest, I’m still not over the moon about it.  It’s growing on me, but, well ..?  Anyway, we picked up the throw for £6 in Primark, and the three cushions came to £9 in Primark also .. so budget central!

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This chair has been in my family since before I was born.  Literally, my Mum bought it when she was pregnant with me to have something comfortable to sit on just for her and the baby (cheers Ma).  21 years on it’s followed me from bedroom to bedroom and now sits pride of place in the corner of our living area.  To match, of course, the tartan throw is again £6 from Primark, and the cushion was £4.  Honestly, my first place, who would have thought I would end up with tartan and pugs?!  NOT ME, that’s for sure.

Poof

Oh my poof, my poof, I’m so desperately in love with my poof!  I picked up this gorgeous colourful poof of wonderment at the Ideal Home Show (which you can read about here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-ideal-home-show/)  for just £12, I know, £12!  Of course, I spent the entire day carrying it around looking like a poof (see what I did there?!) but it was so worth it and I think it is beautiful.  It sits on an Argos rug we picked up for just £9 in their mega clearance.

Room of Bath

When we moved in the shower curtain was just a bit grotty and stained, so we decided to replace it, again, with a colour we both agreed on.  So, this turned out to be monochrome, a fitting look for a bathroom I feel.  The shower curtain was £5 in Primark, and the bathmat was just £3 from Primark also.

It’s all so very new and exciting still, having my own place, and because of our current financial circumstances, decorating on a budget was essential.  No £500 leather corner sofas or £20 satin pillows here, no sur-ee.  Instead, we’ve gone with colours, patterns and fabrics we’ve picked together which feels special and homely to us, because its our home.  It all comes down to personal taste (hey, it’s okay if you don’t like it, I’m still not sold on the tartan yet either!!) which as we all know is subjective.  Here’s how we’ve done it for our budget, any interiors tips or tricks you fancy sharing?

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 ;)

Ebay Selling: Bits and Bobs Central

So I’ve only actually been selling my bits and bobs on Ebay for a few months now, but I’m doing pretty well and have so far made a turnover of about £50 from all my clothes, old paintings and nick nacks.  It’s definitely worth doing.  You’re only allowed to sell 10 items every month so at the end of each month (or whenever really) I’ll dig through my wardrobe and scout around my room for things I don’t wear anymore, don’t need and don’t use.  Pop them on Ebay and boom!  So far there’s only been one thing that hasn’t sold.  So here’s a tutorial on selling things on Ebay:

Step 1)  Take a Photo (or a few)

 

This is your chance to showcase your item.  I’ve heard that products that are displayed on mannequins sell faster and for more money but alas I do not have one.  So hangers on a plain background like a door or a wall I find are best.  Make sure you take a full photo of the item, plus a photo of any impurities (stains, holes etc), a picture of any defining features (for example the rouched sleeves) and then the label.  I think the label is quite an important one because so often people can claim a dress is Topshop when its not.  Make sure you check for labels!

Step 2) Details

Once you’ve uploaded all your photos and filled out the simple questions like what category your item comes into and the size of it (if it’s clothing) you’ll have to write a short description.  Just highlighting any cool bits about it and whether its new or used will do really.

3)  Submit and voila!

In terms of things like postage price, there’s a link to a Royal Mail calculator which is helpful.  I often find that 1 week is the best time to list your items for, any longer you as the seller can lose interest in selling them (cause it is quite a lot of work once they’ve sold, chasing payments and heading to the post office etc, especially for busy people).  So it’s pretty simple really, and you reap the rewards in cold hard cash.  Lovely :)

 

What Happened In February

1)  I began selling things on Ebay!  Since being a student, money has become an increasingly important issue … for my lack of it!  The real conundrum is, I genuinely don’t know where it goes.  So enough was enough.  I had to start selling things.  Everything that was in good condition that I could maybe get £3 or £4 (every little helps) for was going on sale.  And voila!  In my first week of doing it I’ve earned £20.  Boom!

2)  Here’s just a cheeky picture of all my housemates and myself at one of our favorite hang outs … Jesters.  Officially deemed ‘The worst night club in Britain’ but we love it.  You get on your glad rags and your shoes that you don’t mind being covered in urine, snakebite and other bodily fluids, do a strawpedo and you’re away.  Seriously, you should come.

3)  Here are some beautiful flowers that the boyfriend got me!  Yellow roses are my all time favorite flowers and for him to waltz in with them one afternoon was beyond cute.  All the love in the world.

4)  Here is a stunning mural I found of a Geisha girl outside a club called ‘Tokyo’.  I just thought it was incredible and decided to take a snap!

5)  From left, Ben, Eimear myself and Jamie on a night out.  Eimear is our new housemate from Ireland whose over on the Erasmus scheme for the semester.  She’s absolutely lovely!  I think living with someone you get to know them pretty quick.  For instance, Eimear sings a lot, puts on a Cockney accent a lot, absolutely loves football and eats very very healthily.  The perfect woman.

6)  Here is myself and Hannah on a night out on two orange vespas!  Please can I have one God of motorcycles?!

7)  Here is a close up of Eimear and myself on a night out.  Absolute dreamboat.

8)  Now.  This is a picture of the boyfriend’s head.  Being the silly man that he is, he fell over on a night out and cracked his head open.  Drama!

9)  Here is a picture of my absolutely terrible nail art!  But I AM trying!  I put these hearts on for Valentines Day, but they look more like blobs.  Hmm.

10)  Lectures.  Standard.

So that’s what happened in February!  What happened in yours?