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.

 

Bella Evening

For the last 3 to 4 years, I’ve been partaking in an event named ‘Bella Evening’.  Or my full and real name evening if you know me well.  Prerequisites require a free house (boyfriend being out and about), wine, cheese and a girlish drama of sorts.  I’ve loved, even craved these evenings for the past few years.  A chance to let down my Bridget Jones, sing youtube karaoke to my webcam in my pyjamas and collapse into the MIDDLE of the bed, without fear of retribution.  So why is it tonight, I’m questioning my company?

I think it’s because generally, these days, I’m alone more.  So the question is, how to be alone?  Whilst one could take inspiration from this incredible youtube video, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs) how does one enjoy being alone when it happens so frequently, yet so seldom?  Excuse the melodrama.

I’m alone most days.  These days in #masterslife, I generally work from home.  I look forward to boyfriend returning home at 7pm, dinner and drinks, or a night in front of The Hunger Games.  So when boyfriend heads out of an evening, alone time turns into … lonely.  Yet I do oh-so hesitate to use that word.  I have beautiful and amazing friends, whatsapp and texts could provide me with a cinema or bar buddy in half an hour, yet I choose to stay alone.  Why?  When did my own company, which I love and crave so much, become questionable?

I believe it’s important to be alone.  I’ve always been around people, always.  My family home was full of people coming and going.  One year, I remember 16 souls in a 3 bed semi for a month over Christmas.  At university, I lived in a house of 9.  I’ve always been around people.  And don’t get me wrong, I love people.  And because I love people, I believe in the importance of being alone.  Whilst sociability is an exquisite trait, so is aloneness.  I just need to remember that.

I used to cherish being alone.  And in 6 months, when I have a full time job and am struggling with running a household, seeing friends and family and looking after a boyfriend (ladies, y’all know what I mean), I’m going to cherish it even more.  These evenings are few and far between these days, and will become even more so in the future.  My own company isn’t questionable, its essential.  Not just now, but always, and I will love and enjoy me, myself and I for years and years to come.  So should you.

Thank you for letting me vent, excuse me whilst I go bathe, watch Orange is the New Black and belt out ‘Titanium’.  I believe it keeps me sane.

February Verbs

What a month!  I’ve been so bogged down by assignments I’ve barely had a moment to check my emails let alone blog!  How are we all?  This month I’ve mainly been working, but my load has freed up a bit now so I can sit down with a cuppa and say ‘Ahhh’.  Here’s what I’ve been up to this month:

Watching: Jonathan Creek

Or J Creek as I’ve affectionately nicknamed it.  This utter beauty appeared to me on Netflix in a moment of pure genius, and I haven’t looked back.  I’ve watched every episode since 1997, and am almost squealing with excitement at the return to our screens tomorrow night (FYI BBC1 at 9pm, Friday 28th February 2014).  Alan Davies makes me all giddy, I love the format, it makes me giggle and it’s so ridiculous it’s just excellent.

J Creek

J Creek

Reading: Ideal Home Magazine

I’m in the process of collecting different colours and patterns to create a decopauge of a very plain and boring wooden mirror.  So instead of cutting up my monthly mag and popping it into my scrapbook, the vast array of wallpaper samples, paints and cushion covers will be appearing via decopauge on my new mirror.  I’ll let you see the outcome soon!

Ideal Home Magazine

Ideal Home Magazine

Listening To: Clean Bandit

Everyone’s heard ‘Rather Be’, but not everyone has heard their full Spotify set list.  Well I encourage you to, now!  It’s no secret I love a bit of classical music, and this album combines classical with the electronic genre to create something quite wonderful.  Most definitely worth a listen.

Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit

Wearing on my body: New Henry Holland coat

I bought my new Henry Holland beauty in the Debenhams sale and absolutely love it!  It’s the perfect coat to see me through this in between weather, when it’s too warm for a winter coat, but too cold for a jacket.  I love the different detailing and its waist clinching abilities work well for my figure.

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Wearing on my face: Estee Lauder Mascara

I got this mascara as part of my Boxing Day present (an amazing box of Estee Lauder make up goodies).  It’s taken me a few months to get used to it because it’s so different to any other mascara I’ve used.  The wand is much larger than average meaning it can form clumps quicker and faster, which you have to work through with the wand.  Meaning it’s a bit of extra faf, but the finished result is amazing with long, clean and separated lashes.

Estee Lauder Mascara

Estee Lauder Mascara

Eating: Soup

I first received a ‘Soup’ recipe book for my birthday last year, but its only in the last few months I’ve really got into it.  I make it fresh with stock and any veg I’ve got, buy it fresh from the supermarket, or have tins at least once a day, every day.  Whilst some people hate pureed food, I find soup is tasty, eases digestion and is a great healthy and filling meal, perfect for lunch time.

The Soup Book

The Soup Book

Drinking: Wine

After my January stint, my favourite poison of white wine has reappeared as a firm favourite in the liquid stakes.  I’ve had some glorious ladies lunches with white wine, some beautiful food or a quiet evening in.  The perfect accompaniment to my February!

White Wine

White Wine

What have you been doing this February?

 

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!

IMG_3133

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?

Happy New Year! & ‘Dry January’

 

Happy New Year, one and all!  2013 really was, perhaps my greatest year to date.  But it’s over now, yesterday is officially last year and today is the start of not only a new year, but a new month.  It’s safe to say that 2013 was very celebratory for me in many ways, I turned 21, I got a 2:1, I graduated; meaning quite a few drinks in my 365 days!  And what seems like even more over the festive period! 

 

Every year, December 7th arrives and every night appears to be booked up with soirees, meals and parties, it’s really hard not to get swept away with all the wine and sparkles!  December has left me feeling rather foggy, and with a crazy amount of university work to be tackled, I’ve decided to partake in ‘Dry January’, where one stays alcohol free for the month of January.  I’ve made the decision not to do it officially for charity, because I would feel terrible if I failed sponsors if I had one glass of wine after a stressful day.

 

No, ‘Dry January’ is just for me.  Whilst I plan to give a personal donation to Cancer Research UK because I believe alcohol and liver damage awareness is an excellent cause, I’ve made the personal decision against the sponsorship side of it. 

 

So anyway, in the light of all my work, blogging might be a bit few and far between for the next few weeks.  Whilst I’ve read so many blogs with bloggy new years resolutions, I’ve steered clear of those so far.  I hate making any form of promise I can’t keep, so here’s hoping I can keep the Dry January promise to myself!  Happy New Year to you all, talk soon.

 

2013 – An AMAZING Year.

It comes to that time of year again of reflection, reflecting about the past 12 months and what you’ve achieved, whether it’s been a good year, a great year, or whether January 1st just can’t come quick enough.  I did a similar post this time last year (https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/gonna-party-like-its-2012/), I do just find it so amazing seeing how far you come.  It’s only when you really sit and think about it, that you realise it.  Here’s what I’ve done this year:

January

  • Celebrated New Year in Bruges, Belgium, one hour ahead of London!
  • Created the term #SNOLO (Holla, snow day, anyone?!)

February

  • Appeared on national television, on the hit BBC1 show ‘Pointless’.
  • Had a lovely getaway to Portsmouth to celebrate V Day.
  • Partook in the ‘Pure Dance’ dance show in front of hundreds of people with my university street dance competition team.

March

  • Competed at one of the biggest university dance competitions in Loughborough with my street dance competition team.
  • Celebrated my birthday (ever so slightly early!) with a murder mystery party.
  • Once again, attended the amazing Ideal Home Show and at ate at Greg Wallace’s restaurant.
  • Attended my first ever baby shower for a great friend.

April

  • Celebrated my 21st birthday with a getaway to beautiful hotel in Bath.

May

  • Sat (and passed!) my university final exams.

June

  • Spent an incredible 3 and a half weeks in Sydney and the Gold Coast, Australia.

July

  • Moved into my first ever grown-up flat with Boyfriend.
  • Went to the Cricket for the first time.
  • Graduated from university with a BA Geography 2:1 (Hons)

August

  • Spent a fabulous two weeks in Cyprus.

September

  • Had a lovely few and relaxing days in the Isle of Man.
  • Learnt to like red wine (this is a big one!).
  • Went Glamping for the first time.
  • Rejoined my local dance school, that I have attended since I was 11!
  • Began a Masters course in London.
  • Joined the gym.
  • Went on my first ever London night out.

October

  • Saw Jessie J perform live at the O2.

November

  • Joined a church Gospel Choir.

December

  • Celebrated 3 years with Boyfriend with a weekend city break to Barcelona.
  • Performed with the church Gospel Choir in a Christmas carol concert.

To Do:

  • Celebrate Christmas with a wonderful few days away in the Isle of Man.

Wow, when you write it all down like that, it really does seem like a lot.  Whilst Bella’s Bits is a place for me to chat to you all about clothes and make-up, it’s also a place where I share some of the bigger, more important things in my life, like my take on political or ethical issues, for example.  It’s also my little diary like slice of the internet where I can think about what I’ve achieved, and looking at 2013, I’m proud!  I really have done so much this year and am so proud and happy with what I’ve achieved.  I feel so blessed with the life and opportunities I’ve been given.  You know, I can’t really do it justice here, there aren’t any words!

I would really encourage you to do as I have, go through your year, and really think about what you’ve achieved.  Think about your friends, your dreams, your family, your hopes, your travels, anything that inspires you to wake up the next day and keep going.

Fall in love with life in 2014, I dare you.

(FYI – I’m taking a bloggy break over the holidays, so have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2014.  Toodaloo!)

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