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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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?

Oh, Hey

Howdy.  How are you all?  Sorry for my absence.  It’s 2 weeks until I start at my MA at University and I am well and truly making the most of the last of my holidays until September 2014.  I’ve been seeing a lot of friends and family, sightseeing, hanging out and just mentally preparing to start 9-5 again.  

I had a beautiful weekend in the Isle of Man.  I forget how peaceful and beautiful it is there.  When you wake up in the morning, you can’t hear car alarms, the rumbling of trains and early morning market traders, you hear .. well, nothing.  I love living urban, I do.  I’m very cosmopolitan by nature and I get a bit queasy if I don’t see concrete and a skyscraper every day.  I’m just a city girl.  But I do love the countryside, in short lengths of time!

Yesterday, I also started back at the Street Dance school I attended for 7 years before I headed off to University.  It was absolutely fantastic.  There were some old faces and new faces, classic moves and mod moves.  I’m so excited to get really stuck in and see what the new term brings.

Gosh, this has been the first time I have just sat down and wrote, in a really long time!  I’m going glamping (yes, glamping!) this weekend so I will try and get some photos there to post for you all.  Today, I’m about to experience the legend that is Costco!  I intend to purchase bottled water, tuna and wine.  Priorities!

Anyway, it’s been lovely to stop by.  In the mean time, if you fancy exploring my random ramblings and ways of life, you can follow:

Twitter: @bellasbits

Instagram: @bellasbits

Facebook:  I don’t have a Facebook page yet for my blog, what do you guys think to that?

Bloglovin:  www.bellasbits.wordpress.com

Have a lovely day!

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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 :)

The Commuting World

I used to hate all the commuters that walk too fast, on an absolute mission to get nowhere important, that could wait a couple more minutes.  Now I’m one of them.

My boyfriend commented to me recently whilst I strode around Morrisons on a Pinot Grigio mission how fast I was walking.  I’d thought nothing of it, then realised what London had done to me.  I’ve always been the girl with legs too short for my body, now I can walk faster than Andy, a 6 foot 3 rugby player.  What’s happened to me?

It’s the same with the trains, everyone sitting there grumpily, absorbed in their own little half an hour of the commuting world.  I used to always want to strike up conversation with the faces, because that’s all they seem; faces.  But then you look beyond the faces, the book the corporate stern business woman is reading, the rusty wedding ring on the sweaty chubby bloke, Rihanna quietly humming out the headphones of the geeky guy from IT.  It’s fascinating.

But now I’m one of them also.  I love my half an hour commuting, whether I’m writing, reading Oscar Wilde, playing Angry Birds; it’s time for me.  Now I wouldn’t dream of infiltrating another person’s ‘me’ time, escape from the madness of the office, the stress of the home, it really is a time for just … me.

I never thought London would change me, London was always the place to dress up for, to look forward to, to experience new and exciting things.  Now it’s just another day at the office.