Camping

A few weeks ago for boyfriend’s birthday, we upped suburbia and drove north to a beautiful forest somewhere near Leighton Buzzard for a wonderful weekend of camping with some dear friends.  Snaps and stories:

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The forest was part owned by a few families, with one of the families being family friends of our buddies.  It was beautiful, very quiet and set back from the main road, with handmade clearings for us to pitch up.  Here’s our fire, before the rains came …

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Fortunately, when the rains did arrive, our friends were clever enough to bring a giant sheet of tarpaulin accompanied by bungee hooks, meaning we could make and sit under our own little den when the heavens opened.  We had rugs, candles, incense, lanterns – we felt like pixies of the wood!

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This beaut of a camping cooker came out of its box for the first time, specifically for this trip, and worked wonders for us!  Here’s one of our bog standard meals we whipped up – can’t go wrong with sausages and beans, especially when its chilly.  Other culinary wonders included bacon, eggs and burgers.  Oh, and soya milk, I’m now addicted to soya milk!

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Having a digital detox means you have to find other ways to entertain yourself, one of those ways being games!  Here’s our scrabble board and Haribo inspired Texas Hold’em, completed with Blondie’s Greatest Hits blaring from our speakers – the dream!

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Another highlight was a woodland walk we went on, well, through farmers lands and a golf course, but near woodland!  We found hay bales, rabbit holes, contemplated making nettle tea and hid from tractors.  So beautiful to be at one with nature.

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So there you have it, our beautiful weekend camping.  I’d really encourage you to give it a go, leave behind life for a few days and go and sit in a forest with some good friends, a wine box and a campfire.  Let the good times flow.

Summer So Sneaky

Isn’t summer sneaky?  One minute you’re sitting in your onesie with candles and a cup of tea then next minute … BAM, it’s 23 degrees, you have to shave your legs and pimms is on offer everywhere.  Sneaky eh?  To round off a beautiful and summerful weekend, we headed out for dinner at a lovely local restaurant.  Here’s what I wore:

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Necklace – Ideal Home Show

Overlay Lace Top – New Look

Underlay Boob Tube – New Look

Jeggings – Topshop

Sandals – Nine West

Bag – Topshop

Now off you pop to enjoy a beaut of a summer evening!

 

 

May Verbs

I’m seriously late in the game.  Again.  Well, crisp and clear apologies and onwards and upwards we go.  May has mostly been spent toodling around Paris followed by a swift return of the double Ds (dance and dissertation, don’t you know).  Here’s what I got up to this May:

Watching: Orange is the New Black

Another Netflix cracker.  Different though, because this series has been made and produced exclusively for Netflix (i.e. the show never has, and never will be on regular TV).  Which I like, makes it kinda exclusive.  It basically involves a lot of crazy women running around prison getting up to prison antics.  Its dark, sarcastic and very very funny.  Definitely worth a watch.  (Plus, Season 2 came out yesterday!)

#OITNB

#OITNB

Reading: Literature

Nothing too exciting kids, just about 100 journal articles and 50 books, all working towards my Literature Review for my dissertation.  #MastersLife

Life

Life

Listening To: Regina Spektor

So this is connected to my watch: Orange is the New Black.  The titles include Regina Spektor’s ‘You’ve Got Time’ and since then I’ve been hooked, all over again on her.  My 2009 phase loved Regina and the likes of Imogen Heap, and they’re well and truly back in force.

Babe

Babe

Wearing on my body: Primark PJs

It got to that point in life where you look in your pyjama draw and just think ‘its time for a clear out’.  You know the feeling.  So off I toddled to Primark and got 4 beaut colourful and comfy sets of summer PJs for just £5 each.  I work from home a lot, unashamedly in my PJs, so I was basically investing in work wear.  Sure.

Pit of hell or entrance to heaven?  You decide.

Pit of hell or entrance to heaven? You decide.

Wearing on my face: Benefit High Beam highlighter

The dance world has taught me a few of life’s great make-up lessons, one of which is contouring.  Benefit High Beam highlighter was made for this, and can really change the shape and angles of your face.  I use this highlighter just above and below bronzer to enhance my cheekbones, it also gives me a real glow.

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Eating: Clean

This month, I’ve been attempting to eat clean (as the new craze would say).  I’m not in any drastic weight loss attempts, it’s just nice to have a colourful and healthy plate full of veggies that keeps me full and does wonders for my hair and skin.  It also makes me feel better about life when I have a Camembert craving.

Fruity Word-Art.

Fruity Word-Art.

Drinking: Bootea

With my ‘eat clean’ and ‘Teatox’ it really looks like I am out on a healthkick?!  No.  Bootea is titled a ‘Teatox’ (they so clever) but has done nothing really of the sort for me.  It tastes mediocre, performs none of the detoxing effects it claims to and the teabag tab is too short.  The best thing about it is the packaging.

Not worth the hype, madness or money.

Not worth the hype, madness or money.

What did you get up to this May?

Afternoon Tea at Vertigo 42

Last week I went for afternoon tea at Vertigo 42, the champagne bar on the roof of Tower 42 in the City of London.  We received a deal via Amazon Local and being partial to the odd finger sandwich and scone, thought we’d give it a try.  We entered the lobby and were directed to a maze of lifts to take us to the 42nd floor.  It was definitely quite a dated building, which you could tell by the 1980s decor in need of repair.  The lift actually arrived on the 41st floor meaning we had to walk the final flight of stairs to get to 42.  Not great for someone afraid of heights (but then again it was called Vertigo ..!).

We entered the champagne bar and the first thing that struck me was the incredible 300 degree (not quite 360 it has to be said) views of London.  It was a typical British day on which we visited; hazy, rainy and sunny all at the same time.  We were led all the way around the bar so we were facing the North of London.  Being a south of the river girl myself, I think I would have preferred to have sat the opposite side of the bar, but it didn’t matter too much.  We had a great view of Ally Pally and the Emirates Stadium, and the rolling hills of the north of England (i.e. North of Watford).

The attentive waiters wasted no time in swiftly bringing us a chilled glass of champagne, which was absolutely delicious, followed by our towering tray of goodies.  At first sight it looked lovely, but as a savoury fan myself I would have preferred to have seen a few more sarnies.  The finger sandwiches were nice with good flavours, but I think a little bit more attention to detail could have been paid.  There were a couple of sandwiches with crusts on and the filling servings were under generous.  Call me picky but I have high expectations with fine dining!  The next trays were fruity and chocolatey tart trays and then scones, both of which were delightful.  We rounded the tea off which a lovely pot of English Breakfast.

When we had finished tea, the waiters had no problem with us sauntering round taking some photos, but I could tell were keen for us to leave so the next herd could be fed and watered.  Whilst I overall had a lovely time, I don’t believe the Afternoon Tea experience would have been worth the full price.  Having experienced Afternoon Tea elsewhere such as the Ritz and the Landau, where the service is excellent and sandwiches a-plenty, it just didn’t measure up.  I had a lovely afternoon and the views were incredible, but the food just wasn’t up to par.

Vertigo 42

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IMG_3157Next stop, The Savoy!

January Verbs

Welcome to my new feature!  I’ve decided to combine my loves and likes of style of life, beauty and fashion and create a cheeky new feature about my doing activities for every month.  Here’s hoping I stick to it, and can give you all some inspiration for stuff to do for the month ahead.

Watching: 24

24 is a series (FYI Series 1) I think boyfriend and I began in 2012, but we got very bored and neg about it.  Whilst the real time idea is genius, it’s also tedious, and quite frankly, the storylines are just ridiculous.  Nevertheless, we persevered, finally finishing Season 1 of 24 a few nights ago.  I’m pleased we did, there were definitely a few heart pumping moments in the last few episodes.  Netflix does however inform us there are a grand total of 193 (which isn’t even a multiple of 24?!?!?) episodes on Netflix, which is a frightening concept, so we’ve decided to leave 24 for now.

24

24

Reading: The Racketeer by John Grisham

This book (crime/law/whodunit genre) is completely outside my reading comfort zone.  I actually found it brand new on a train with no owner in sight, so decided to give it a loving home.  A couple of weeks ago I spotted it on my shelf, and needing a lightweight book for the commute, grabbed it and left.  It was excellent!  I really enjoyed it; it was so interesting all about the ‘justice’ system in the States and with a real twist at the end.  I’m definitely going to read some more Grisham books in the future.

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Racketeer by John Grisham

Listening To: Spotify Top Lists

This is such a great playlist, it really is.  I’m a Spotify free user (I can’t quite part with the monthly outgoings when all I have to endure is a WKD advert interrupting my Kesha flow) and quite frankly, haven’t got round to making my own playlists.  I like pop and I’m not ashamed of it, it’s like a permanent updating UK Top 40, for free!

Spotify Top Lists

Spotify Top Lists

Wearing: My new Mantaray Cardigan

I’ve been wearing a beautiful new, cream knitted cardigan I was given for Christmas (but actually picked out last June!).  Because it’s cream it goes with every outfit, and it’s big, oversized and is so good to snuggle into when it gets cold!

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Wearing on my face: No7 Bronzer

In this dull, drab weather I keep clicking through old holiday photos where the weather was warm and beautiful.  Thailand, Australia, Cyrpus, Turkey … sigh.  Since body fake tan looks utterly horrendous on me, I have to do what I can to fake it on my face.  My trusty No7 does the trick, and with some sneaky contouring tricks I learnt backstage at the dance show, my face looks slimmer (I hope!) with more colour.

No7 Bronzer

No7 Bronzer

Eating: Pickled Onions

I’ve recently come to realisation (albeit 10 years too late) that unhealthy snacks are not only really bad for you, but they’re also really expensive.  Pickled onions are a great snack and satisfy that need to crunch on things.  Drained from all their vinegar, they’re cheap and healthy.  Healthier than Pickled Onion flavoured Monster Munch anyway!

Pickled Onions

 

Drinking: Twinings Mint Humbug

My university campus is a 5 minute walk away from Twinings Tea Headquarters.  I went in there a couple of weeks ago for some free samples and couldn’t resist buying the Mint Humbug tea bags.  They’re in the style of Teapigs, with a netted pyramid shape tea bag and the flavour is just unreal.  Healthy, great in taste, and a good alternative to wine on cold evenings!

Mint Humbug

What have you been doing this January?

Home Alone – Kevin, The Fashion Icon

I had a pretty chilled Sunday afternoon.  I watched Home Alone, burnt my new Yankee Candle and wrote all my Christmas cards with a cuppa and a mince pie.  Jubbly.  It was only after I got thinking how freaking cool the character Kevin is in Home Alone!  I mean, alone all by himself, no crazy family .. every kid’s dream come true to have free reign over the house!  Not just that though, his outfits.  That kid has style!  See what I mean?

Image1)  Grey, White and Red Fairisle Beanie – Topman – £12.00

2)  Burgundy Mohair Mix Knitted Snood – New Look – £7.99

3)  Light Brown Patterned Sleeve Jacket – River Island – £85.00

4)  Loom Tartan Wool Scarf – Franco Ferrari at Harvey Nichols – £185.00

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Cheap Monday Marble Jumper – Cheap Monday at ASOS – £50.00

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1)  Bomber Jacket by Schott NYC – Topshop – £150.00

2)  Scandi Fairisle Beanie – Topshop – £14.00

3)  Classic Cabe V Neck – Crew Clothing Company – £58.00

4)  Linea 100% Wool Scarf – House of Fraser – Was £39.00 Now £29.00

Well I certainly want to dress like Kevin.  Nothing like a little fash inspo from a favourite childhood Christmas movie, ciao!

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