Working From Home

Technically, spending the last 6 years of my life as a student, all my academic work has been from home.  But this year, that’s stepped up a notch.  Throughout my undergrad, I lived with friends who were other students; my biggest house was 9.  Days were filled with dozy lectures followed by naps and a wild night out.  However this year I’ve been enduring #masterslife living with just the boyfriend, who works full time.  Lectures have dwindled, instead being replaced with relentless coursework and of course the dissertation (remember the double Ds?!).  This means my life has changed, and I’ve entered into the realm of ‘working from home’ …

And I love it.  I absolutely love it.  Other than the disturbed half an hour when boyfriend wakes up and departs for work, my time is my own, I can use it as I please.  I can sleep in, go to the gym, work wherever I please, eat what I want, watch Netflix galore, go shopping, go eating, go drinking … as long as I get my work done.

I’m a hugely organised human.  I meticulously plan my work for every day of the week on a Monday morning and make sure I see it through.  So as long as I write X amount of words or revise for X amount of hours, I’m cool.  I can do whatever I want.

I live in my Pjamas, I make soup every day for lunch, I have 2pm karaoke concerts, binge on Made in Chelsea and make up tap dances.  I clean a lot, lounge around with Heat magazine, paint my nails and have 4pm glasses of wine.  And when I go out, I go lunching with pals in London, go interiors shopping, saunter around Marks and Spencers or pop to the pub.  My time is MINE.  As long as I get my work done, the rest I can do with as a I please.  It really is wonderful.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I work A LOT.  And I work HARD.  Doing well at my degree means everything to me and if that means I have to have 16 hour working days or nighttime stints in the library, I’ll do it.  But I do attempt to plan my days which means I can hang out and have breaks as and when.  And it works pretty darn well.

However, my working from home life is coming to a timely end.  And at a good time really.  I begin fully fledged adult working full time life in a few weeks and working from home life will be a distant memory.  I do think that it will make me appreciate home a lot more though.  Whilst I love it, I can sometimes take advantage of my beautiful home.  It will be wonderful to arrive home at the end of the working day, collapse onto my sofa, look around and say ‘Ahhhh’.

When I look back at this academic year of #masterslife, I think I’ll remember working from home the most fondly.  Oh, all the fun I’ve had with me, myself and I.  However this chapter is drawing to its close, so for these last few weeks I’m going to milk it for all that its worth.  Lie ins, Jeremy Kyle on +1, Netflix galore and inappropriate wine time come at me.  My time as a student and from working from home is drawing to a close, but my goodness am I going to make these last few weeks count!

Excuse me, inappropriate wine time is calling.

 

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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.

 

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?

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?

 

Christmas Gifts for Him – Under £10

Now, it has to be said that I found the task of finding good quality, nice gifts for men much harder than I did for the ladies.  But anyway, I’ve done my best and here are a few of my favourites.

Image1)  Exspect Leather Kindle Touch Hard Back Shell Case – Argos – £9.99

2)  The Only Recipes You’ll Ever Need: 4 Ways to Cook Almost Everything – Amazon – £9.17

3)  Wheelie Bin Desk Tidy – I Want One of Those – £5.99

4)  BBC London Olympic Games 2012 DVD – John Lewis – £9.99

5)  Linea Wool Nepp Flatcap – House of Fraser – £10.00

6)  Sesame Street Cookie Monster Apron – MenKind – £9.99

7)  Jasper Conran Tan Card Holder – Debenhams – £9.00

8)  Woodspice for Men Giftset – Marks and Spencers – £9.50

My top Christmas gifts for men for under a tenner.  Get shopping to save those pennies!

 

Christmas Gifts for Her – Under £10

I’m not bonkers, just organised.  I love to plan, and I also love a good bargain.  So, despite it being August and still sunny, I’ve started to plan my Christmas Gift ideas, for Her, all under £10.  Here’s my pick off the bunch whilst the summer sales are still hot.

Image1) Bead Strand Necklace – East – £9.00

2)  Christmas Cookie Small Jar Candle – Yankee Candle – £8.39

3)  Cocktails for a Crowd Book – Urban Outfitters – £8.00

4)  Make Up Brush Set – Topshop – £7.00

5)  Mojito Cocktail Chocolate Truffles – Hotel Chocolat – £10.00

6)  Personalised Typewriter Notebook – Not on the High Street – £9.00

7)  Red Herring Pink Contrast Fringed Scarf – Debenhams – £7.50

8)  Inspire Love and Home Photo Frames – Argos – £9.99

So there you have it!  My top picks of Christmas Gifts for Her for Under £10.  Stay tuned for ‘For Him’ in the next few days.

 

Cyprus Swimwear

Hello from Cyprus!  I do hope the weather is as glorious wherever you are as it is here (35 degrees).  If so, well done.  I’m away with Boyfriend and his family in a beautiful hotel in the Coral Bay area, near Paphos of Southern Cyprus, and it is just gorgeous.  I’ve had a spa treatment, done a Pilates class, eaten caviar and drunk champagne.  Enough said.

I haven’t been on a proper beach holiday in a good couple of years, since Boyfriend and I headed to Turkey in 2011.  I’ve of course, worn swimwear whilst travelling, but I didn’t really care the same way about misshapen swimsuits and mismatching bikinis.  I think there’s just something about travelling and living out of a backpack that means you let yourself go.  But on holiday?  Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and rightly so!    Thus, a couple of weeks ago, it was necessary to pop to Westfield at Shepherd’s Bush to purchase a few key items.  After three hours trawling the shops, and an hour in a Debenhams cubicle I finally found some beautiful pieces, that I feel really suit me and my body shape, and I thought I’d share.  Here’s what I’m wearing this holiday:

Gorgeous Bikini

This bikini is from the ‘Gorgeous’ range at Debenhams.   I showed Boyfriend and he instantly called me Wilma, from the Flintstones, but no matter!  I like it anyway.  I think the leopard print pattern is poolside daring which I love, but is given a ‘glam’ factor by the gold clasps.  I also love that the bikini top gives sufficent boob support and that the bottoms come up a bit higher.  This is a great bikini for swimming lengths or playing volleyball.

Floozie Swimsuit

This bikini is from the ‘Floozie’ by Frost French range at Debenhams – a fast growing favourite brand of mine!  I absolutely love this swimsuit, first and foremost because it’s so comfortable.  It’s also incredibly flattering, for any bodyshape.  The fifties style hipster peplum covers a multitude of sins and the colour and pattern is so eyecatching by the pool.

Floozie Bikini Top

Floozie Bikini Bottoms

The second bikini is again from the ‘Floozie’ by Frost French range at Debenhams.  This is more of a sunbathey bikini as opposed to a watersports bikini.  The strap detaches for even tanlines and the skirt style bottoms add protection for the tops of the legs (where I seem to burn so badly!).  This fifties style bikini is another flattering item for my curvy shape, and another comfy one too!

Are you having any holidays this summer?  What items are you wearing?  Take care!

(N.B. All items can be found on the Debenhams website – this is NOT a sponsored post)