Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 in a nutshell

I've sat down to write this post a couple of times but have ended up deleting it because it didn't feel 'glossy' enough to be on my blog - but hey; it's my blog, it has been my year and I want to document it. That sounds a lot more passive aggressive that was intended (truth be told I'm snuggled up in my new dressing gown from The White Company (thank you Selfridges Boxing Day Sales!) post-night shift so I'm not in a position to be coming across as passive aggressive!). 

Anyway onto the actual reflective part of this post.

2015 was an odd year for me. If I could choose one word to describe it I would have to say '"me". I started off the year coming out of a seven year relationship so inadvertently I spent 2015 almost re-discovering who I am (well, that sounds lame!). It's inevitable when you're in a relationship that you lose some of "you" and gain some of "us". You subconsciously always find yourself doing things that you both want to do (not begrudgingly, but because you love the other person) and along the way "you" seems to get a little lost and perhaps becomes a little less shiny. So when my relationship ended I was left at a little bit of a loss as to who I was without the label of "X's girlfriend". Don't get me wrong, I don't regret my relationship at all - it has just been a big change going from Belle in a long-term relationship since I was teenager to single Belle. I didn't even know who single Belle was! 

Looking back, I spent 2015 figuring out who single Belle is. Turns out she's a little bit of a workaholic. My career has been my main focus this year - after the breakup I sort of threw myself into my work - and it paid off! I've managed to get almost completely signed off as competent in all sections of my job which meant I did a 3 month rotation on the late shift rota and then joined the proper shift rota (night shifts - eek!) as of this past week! I feel a real sense of accomplishment and pride in this fact - it may seem menial and just 'doing my job' but looking back on how little experience I had in the lab at the start of the year - I've come so far and gained so much more confidence in my abilities!

2015 Belle had some amazing adventures when I wasn't working - I took a trip to London with Ma. We love taking a city break in London and this year was my favourite yet (shameless plug, read all about what we got up to here!)! Plus I was really proud of myself because I managed to put my social anxiety (anxiety is banded around a lot but hey, there's no other word for it so I'll have to stick with it!) to one side and meet my bestest blogger buddy Aftab (pretty sure that you're all already reading his awesome blog but if not - go check it out!) for a lovely afternoon tea (he's the blogger professional so go read his post about our experience!). Our summer holiday this years was an amazing 10 days of pure luxury and relaxation in Tenerife - just what was needed to charge the batteries!

I also discovered a new hobby in 2015 - planning. Yes, this is a legit hobby - it has it's own community on YT and everything. Using stickers (yes I am 22 and not 2 - I'm aware! They're stickers for adults - it's amazing!) to plan out my days allows me to have a smidgen of creativity in my life - a much welcomed break from science sometimes! I think of it as scrapbooking for those who, like me, are somewhat creatively challenged! You either understand this hobby or you're completely underwhelmed and confused by it all - and that's okay! I for one am loving it!

It seems like this year has been dominated by 'the breakup'. But this hasn't been in a negative way - I've not been spending every night crying into a pint of ice cream whilst binge watching netflix (well, binge watching netflix obviously happened - Gilmore Girls and NCIS were my obsessions!)! I just mean that "the breakup" has been the catalyst to help me to spend some time on being me - spending time doing what I want, and doing this for me. 2015 was a big learning curve in terms of my work life and my personal life, but ultimately I'm ending the year a completely different (not better, not worse, just different) person. It's quite refreshing. 

So that was my 2015 in a nutshell. Snaps to you if you've made it all the way to the end of this horrifically ramble-y post!

Cheers to the New Year and see you in 2016 everyone!

2015 on The Life & Times of Belle

Compared to years past (I've just realised that I've been blogging on here for five whole years now - woah!) this year has been pretty quiet on the blogging front - it was quite the difficult year for me personally. When you separate from the person you've been with for almost seven years it's tough trying to 'find yourself' afterwards - so it's been a year of almost self-rediscovery - it's quite hard to explain without just churning out all of the cliche quotes because it has been odd trying to get used to being just me and only having to consider my wants/needs. 

Despite how quiet I've been on the ol' blog in 2015, I thought I'd round up this year by smushing together all of my posts from this past year into one post chock full of the life & times of Belle musings!













Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

[I kind of love how that almost rhymes - just me?]

And just like that it's Christmas Eve (only just, I'm writing this post at 23:50 so I'd better type fast!)

The halls are decked, the presents are wrapped, the table is set and the bubbles have been popped open!

I'm beyond ready to spend tomorrow with my family - presents need to be given (my favourite part), festive treats need to be eaten (mint m&m's anyone?) and all of the good Christmas telly needs to be watched (I'm definitely not ready to watch the finale of Downton!).

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with (or thinking about) your nearest and dearest.

Much love x

(phew, it's 23:59 - I made it! Merry Christmas!)

Sunday, 20 December 2015

My Christmas 2015 Bucket List

  1. Light a Christmas-y candle
  2. Watch at least one Christmas movie each week
  3. Decorate each week of my planner with a different festive theme
  4. Trim the tree - and my room!
  5. Read festive novels all month
  6. Indulge in hot chocolate and marshmallows in a festive mug
  7. Embrace wearing cheesy festive jumpers
  8. Visit a shop that's full of Christmas decorations
  9. Make peppermint bark
  10. Rock a red lip at any opportunity
  11. Visit a Christmas market
  12. Sip on a festive beverage (#redcups)
  13. Listen to a Christmas playlist
  14. Go Christmas present shopping - in person, not just online!
  15. Buy (and live in) fesitve pjs

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Insta-Lately // November 2015

I'm back today with this post - sharing my favourite insta-snaps from last month!

Catching Little Prin snuggling up in my scarf was just too cute!

Capturing the sun setting over the lakes is one of my things to photograph at this time of the year

We went on our annual trip to the most festively decorated boutique - we love seeing their creativity ever year!

I took my first trip to the German Christmas Markets in Birmingham - banana nutella crepes? I was sold straightaway!

Is there anything better than lazy sunday mornings, complete with breakfast in bed?

Spending time with my Nam is always the best, but when brunch is involved - perfection!

boots // scarf // hat (currently out of stock, but here's the black version)

All of the winter woollies are now a permanent fixture in my outfits - it's too cold not to try to be chic!

Right at the end of November we started to put up all of our Christmas decorations - the perfect way to get over my first night shift (!!)

I completely treated myself during the Black Friday sales by splurging on an Erin Condren Life Planner - I'm in love!

Chilly winter evenings just call for warm baths, extra points if a Lush bath bomb is in the mix too!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

November Favourites

Did I blink and miss November?! 

I swear that November went by the quickest any month has done this year! I'm blaming how darn fast the month went by on why I've been ever so quiet on the ol' blog this past month - but fear not I've spent my week of annual leave prepping some fun festive posts to make things a bit more chatty on here in the next few weeks!

November 2015 featured lots of car trouble (the worst part of owning a car!), a trip to the German Christmas Markets in Birmingham and breaking out all of the scarves/hats/gloves because it is suddenly turned very wintery when November rolled in!

Work-wise I had a bit of a meltdown over joining the grown-up shift rota - I was doubting my abilities big time! But I decided to just suck it up and attack it - I went into my first practise night shift with a positive can-do attitude and it was actual pretty good. I walked out of work at 6 am (after walking in at 6 pm the night before) with a smile on my face and new found confidence that I can do my job and I am ready to join the shift rota. Quite the turning point compared to the start of the month!

Looking back it really was a quiet month - here's hoping that December will be a bit more eventful!

Anyway, onto my favourites for this past month - 

The lovey ladies of Shop Memento seriously spoiled me with their #mementomysterybox - they sent me a fab selection of monogrammed items, I love them all - it was fab! This 1/4 zip fleece has been what I've been living in for the past few weeks!

I finally got around to watching Inside Out - I'm a huge Disney movie fan (especially Disney Pixar!) and this film didn't disappoint! I think it's my new fave Disney film - not gonna lie there was tears at one point! It was such a cute film, and such an interesting take on the impact of feelings on our actions.

Pretty much every evening of November saw me snuggled in bed binge watching NCIS with a cup of tea and a couple of plain chocolate digestive biscuits - the perfect combination!

The Vamps released their second album in November and I'm slightly ashamed to admit just how much I've been listening to it! It makes me feel like a little bit of a teeny bopper but I just really enjoy their style of music! My most played songs are Wake Up, I Found A Girl and Stay Here.

Beauty-wise there are a couple of products that have seriously changed my beauty-life this past month. One of my favourite foundations is the Urban Decay Naked Skin one (the best colour match and most lightweight I've ever found!) and I finally picked up the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer to match and oh wow - it's just as awesome - a new favourite for sure! With the change to chillier weather comes the standard chapped lips syndrome that I always suffer with. Luckily I had a new lip balm to try that I received as part of one of the Space NK beauty boxes earlier in the year - Dr Lipp Nipple Balm (ewwwww!) is seriously a game changer when it comes to chapped lips. Over-looking the questionable name and original purpose of the cream, this is hands down the best lip balm I've ever tried (it has even overtaken my beloved Nuxe Reve De Miel obsession!) - it sorted out my mess of chapped lips in just a couple of days - magic!

So that was November in a nutshell!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Top Oxblood Nail Polishes

I've recently become slightly obsessed with the whole oxblood nail polish trend - whenever I'm not at work I've found myself reaching for a deep red to adorn my nails with! I've become quite the oxblood polish hoarder so I thought I'd share my top picks with y'all...

THE CHEAPY CHAPPY - Barry M is always fab for a quick nail polish trend fix - for just £2.99 Red Black is a great way to experiment with the oxblood nail polish trend without breaking the bank. Love it.

THE DRUGSTORE DEPENDABLE - Essie is my go to for any nail polish colour - their formula and brush make the application just so easy if you ask me. I know that I can buy any of their polishes and am guaranteed that they will paint on well and look nice for a good few days. Their Bordeaux oxblood offering is such a solid staple in my nail polish stash that I can't imagine being without it - I find myself reaching for it far too often!

THE LUXURY SPLURGE - Chanel, oh Chanel. Painting my nails with one of these bad boys always makes me feel so special and fancy! Rouge Noir, is one of the most iconic Chanel shades - it is a lovely shade but it's not too far removed from any of my other picks! Plus the chipping of Chanel nail polishes seriously upsets me - especially for the price tag! But if you're a Chanel fan, you need Rouge Noir in your stash!

THE LONGEWEAR WONDER - My latest obsession has been these Maybelline gel polishes. Every brand and their mother has brought out a gel polish but these are the ones I've found that actually do last longer than normal polishes do! For whenever I'm not with patients at work and I can wear nail polish I've been painting my nails with Rouge Couture - and loving how one coat is opaque and then it lasts the whole working week!

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