little | monthly mixtapes

2019, music

Hello!

So far I’m doing well at sticking to my New Year’s Resolution of listening to lots of new music – I’ve been religiously listening to my ‘discover weekly’ playlist and making another playlist of the songs I like plus an additional playlist of the songs I like the most that are my go to.

And because the playlist was originally just three songs it’s called ‘Little’. It’s no representation of the songs that I’ve been listening to recently, but the playlist is a little shorter than last month. But we’ll get to that!

If you want to listen to the playlist (or just nosy at what songs I’m listening to) you can find it here!

I’m pretty sure I’ve been listening to Monster (dodie) for a couple of months now but I’ve recently just really identified with it. She’s said that the song is about watching someone’s opinion of her slowly deteriorate until they saw her as a monster and I love the lyrics. It’s catchy and it’s a full on bop.

Second Star To The Right (The Devil Music Co.) has a special place in my heart – it’s a reference to Peter Pan which I have recently decided is my favourite Disney movie and it’s a proper pop-guitar-heavy song that I would class as the definition of my genre. This one might make it onto next months playlist too.

The harmonies in Jealous (The After School Specials) are absolutely mind blowing – I think it’s a cover, I should really look into it but I just love the acapella voices together, it’s just beautiful.

Two of Us (Louis Tomlinson) and Ribcage (Plested) are songs I only added in the last day or two so I’m not fluent in every lyric yet, but they’re both lovely songs lyrically and I’m going to have a few days more days to really appreciate them before I start next months playlist, for sure.

I have to mention Seventeen (Heather’s OCR) because this song and the entire soundtrack has been a proper anthem for me this month. I posted my first cover in a very long time because I was so inspired by this song and this musical. I just can’t stop listening to it and it’s properly reignited my passion for the West End and I’m seriously considering ways I can get into musicals as a career because my desire to perform and sing at the top of my lungs is getting incredibly strong. And with that in mind…

This months favourite is actually an album that doesn’t feature on my monthly playlist at all but I can’t not mention it – I went to see School of Rock on the West End this month and I’m obsessed with most of the soundtrack, notably Stick It To The Man. It’s such an empowering song and I find myself jumping round the kitchen and wishing I was 12 again so I could beg my mum to let me audition for this show. I thoroughly recommend entering the lottery for £15 tickets because it’s genuinely amazing!

I love writing about music and I love finding new music but at heart I will always be a girl who loves a song so much she leaves it on repeat for at least 100 listens. As always, if you have any suggestions please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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there IS more to life than job hunting, I promise | diary 5

2019, career

Hello!

My favourite kinds of blog posts to write are long, rambly chatty ones – the kind of thing that I would say to a friend over a coffee when I’ve gone off on one a little bit and then reaching a nice, conclusive positive note at the end.

And these last fews week have been very heavy in job applications, thinking about my career and actually working to make progress on it so I thought I’d do a little update both to document my own progress (that’s the ‘diary’ aspect of this post!) BUT ALSO I’ve been applying for career related jobs for over a year now and to be honest? It’s soul destroying – I reckon I’ve applied for over a hundred jobs at this point and getting rejection email after rejection email makes you start to think not only that you might not ever get a job, but that you don’t deserve one. HOWEVER I want to remind anyone who might be feeling like this (or is feeling nervous approaching their final university years!) that there is a positive ending and progress will happen.

Everyone’s on their own journey!

So I did a pretty detailed explanation of my last year of job hunting in my latest graduate life update but I’d say I took a pretty significant break from applying for jobs between November and January and when I came back to it in February? I felt so much better.

I had a more solid idea of what I really want, I had time to reevaluate and feel passionate about jobs again rather than just throwing my CV at any vaguely relevant job and consequently my applications have been more genuine and I’ve started to see results. Most of that is down to applying for significantly less jobs but spending much more time on them – working on a cover letter that was genuine, relevant and emphasised the most useful experience on my CV.

For example, I recently applied for a New Journalism Traineeship with ITV and I really made the most of the ‘save draft’ feature in their application process. I wrote down the questions and spend the best part of two weeks working intermittently on the questions, really paying attention to how their shows are produced and doing what I could do maximise my chances. By the time I submitted the application (admittedly, on deadline day) I was so proud of it and I was in a position where I felt like I had genuinely done my best and the rest was out of my hands.

As well as ITV, I’ve found a number of jobs recently that I got really properly excited about and that’s really what I needed – I was so much more personally ready to apply for those jobs.

What really helped was a call from my university’s career office – I’m not sure what prompted the call but the first action point from it all was to rejig my CV. He went through and gave me lots of detailed feedback which I then went through and implemented whilst also redesigning my CV. It didn’t need a new design but I thought if I was going to have to change so much of it I may as well enjoy the design element too!

And, I mean, look how cute it is!

obviously some bits I’ve had to make sure are obscured, I don’t have lines and a giant mouse pointer on my CV 😂

I spent a solid few weeks working on this between work and working on my own projects (i.e. blogging, youtube, volunteering) but I’m genuinely so pleased with the final product.

And all of the waiting, the time reevaluating and the hard work is beginning to pay off – yesterday I had a really positive job interview (I should hear back today…!), got a rejection email from the ITV application and then got an exciting email about a BBC Journalism Traineeship development which I will work on later this week! So yesterday was a very full day for job related news and it was the most positive job related day I’ve had in a very long day!

Even if it ends up that I don’t get any of the jobs, it’s all been such amazing experience and I feel so much better about it all now. I know that I do deserve a job and I’m more than capable of doing a job in the field I want to work in.

So here it is – I spent so long being so unsuccessful and it really did start to have a negative effect on me but I stepped back, took some time to do some research and figure out what I want, pave out a few options for myself and I’m just now starting to see the next stage of my journey in the distance. It’s looking good lads.

If you’re feeling lost of hopeless, I thoroughly recommend taking some time for yourself and reflecting because it might just reignite your passion. Everything will work out with hard work and perseverance.

“Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” (John Lennon)

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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should I stop counting clouds?

2019, career

Hello!

Today, I wanted to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, basically since I named my blog and YouTube channel – is it time to move on from Sophie Counts Clouds?

When I started YouTube and engaging with content online, people didn’t use their names in the same way they do now because the internet was new and a bit scary and you didn’t want to put your surname out there. Louise Pentland was Sprinkle of Glitter, Carrie Hope Fletcher was ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Dan Howell was danisnotonfire – so many creators have moved on to using their names instead of these pen names they started with.

On the blogosphere, it’s not quite the same – one of my favourite bloggers is Jemma at dorkface, I know Victoria at inthefrow is a hugely successful blogger (even if it’s not my kind of content!) and when I googled ‘biggest UK bloggers’ the top name on the first link was The Londoner by Rosie Thomas. So maybe bloggers aren’t following the same trend as YouTubers and it’s more about how you build a brand?

Either way, I feel like ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ might be coming to its end – to me it feels super childish, but I have centred a lot of my branding around it? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot so I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list to see if it helps!

  1. It would feel a bit more grown up – to be, Counts Clouds has always felt more childish than cute indie airy-fairy hipster (which is clearly what I’m going for)
  2. I’d be more comfortable promoting my blog and channel on CVs and job applications if it didn’t sound like a children’s TV channel (can someone confirm whether it sounds childish or not because I don’t know if I’m losing it a little bit)
  3. Maybe I’ll stop wondering if my name is what’s holding me back…

  1. Every single social media post I’ve ever made in over four years would have a broken link as it would still have the ‘sophiecountsclouds’ url
  2. It would cost money I don’t have to buy a new URL and transfer it all over – I am wanting at some point this year to work with a designer on pipdig to properly upgrade my blog because I know that website design is something I don’t know a lot about yet (going to make time to learn and make the most of Skillshare on this one!) but all of those social media links would be broken and I think I’d really see it take an effect on my stats
  3. Finding a URL which has an available URL and is available on both twitter and Instagram to have matching handles everywhere is so hard – with a name like ‘Sophie’, even if I thought of something that didn’t use my surname (like The Anna Edit or Lucy Moon), the fact that I have such a common name really doesn’t work in my favour. A year or so ago I considered changing my platforms to ‘sophieannwrites’ and ‘sophieannvlogs’ and ‘sophieannonthegram’ (which I’m still obsessed with) but I don’t think all of the handles were available and I don’t know if them all being different would make it more difficult and blah blah, there’s a lot of factors.

It’s so much easier to think of the cons because change is scary and but I think I’d feel so much more comfortable and at home on my blog if it was something a bit less up in the air (ironic, clouds, geddit?).

So my conclusion is that I don’t know – what I do know is that I don’t feel ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ truly represents me right now. If anyone has ever done anything like this or considered this kind of change before, any advice is welcome!

There’s lots of things to consider, maybe I start a whole new blog from scratch, who knows? I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a setback isn’t the end | unfitness

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

It’s been a hot minute since I did a little update on my ‘unfitness’ and for anyone else on a similar journey to me, I thought it was time for a little run down!

So far this year it’s been difficult – after Christmas and into February, my mental health took a nose dive and consequently any motivation or desire to look after myself (tasks like taking off my make-up and brushing my teeth were basically Everest to me). But overall, my step count was still on target and I was doing okay with food so my progress was much slower but still progress.

Now I’m ready to tackle it all head on and build it up again!

[ f o o d   /   d i e t ]

I’ve found what works the best for me is simple repetition – I really don’t mind having the same thing 5 times a week and then I can allow myself the freedom to be a bit more lenient at the weekends (usually with some sort of cheese and bread meal). This is working really well for me! I’ve always noticed the most progress is when I’m focused on diet and don’t put any pressure on myself for exercise.

For dinners it’s always a compromise – at the moment everything seems to be super busy  so there’s a fair bit of eating out and having meals beyond my control, but when I’m home I make sure I eat as many vegetables as I can and try to be sensible with portion size.

Overall, I’m still training myself back down to smaller portion sizes but I feel like I know how to tackle this and I feel okay about it!

[ f i t n e s s   /   e x e r c i s e ]

Half term has been and gone, I’ve had a week away at Centre Parcs doing 10,000+ steps a day and swimming 5 times in a week and now I’m back to normal life and self motivating exercise!

Tap classes have started up again (I’m sat waiting for my second one of the day as I write this!), I’m aiming to hit my step goal 4 days a week and do one additional workout. I’m not particularly enjoying workout out at home because most of the rooms in my house are quite small and there’s just not enough space (nor is it warm enough for me to go out and use the garden yet!). This one I’m still figuring out – I’m trying some other free apps and mostly being guided by letting the rest of my life fall into more of a routine and then fitting in workouts around that.

My best tip – if you want to follow fitness people on social media, don’t follow the ones who make you compare yourself and feel bad or the ones who make it seem like a massive chore. Someone I went to school with has committed to working out seven days a week to train for climbing Mont Blanc and watching her share and talk about her training has really motivated me to workout! Not quite to the same extreme but seeing her so happy and her progress is really inspiring.

[ w h a t   n e x t ? ]

As a said – finding a routine, getting to a point where my appetite is smaller and figuring out where at home workouts fit in to my life at the moment. I’m hoping to have taken and passed my driving test by April/May time and I think when I’m at a point where I can drive myself to the gym and maybe afford a session with a personal trainer I’ll be more motivated to get out the house and workout. Getting out the house is normally the solution for me!

But as always – all tips, tricks and hacks welcome! If you have any advice please do leave it in the comments down below.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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March Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Every time I start writing a goals post I get a little bit baffled at how time is going so fast and how this is the third post of the year?! I feel like I’ve missed most of January and February so let’s dive head first in what I want to achieve in March!

[ M A R C H   G O A L S : ]

  1. I want to book my driving test!

I’ve been learning to drive for about six months now and I’ve started practicing test routes and reaching the end of my teaching and I’d love to be at a point that I’m ready to book my test by the end of this month.

2. Work 2 full days a week

I know this seems absolutely ridiculous to set myself the goal of working two days a week, but hear me out – I’ve always had the option of working for my mum’s business and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate to be in this position HOWEVER I’m incredibly stubborn and driven. So in a way, to me it feels like if I accept working more with my mum it’s almost as if I’ve given up hope of having a career job and this is it for me. It feels like giving up or defeat and I know that’s silly and I’ve enjoyed working there last month I just need to get over it in my head.

There’s also more lenience with this one because sometimes they don’t need me for two days in the office so I’ll try my best to complete both days whether it’s from home or in the office but that might not always be the case. Lil disclaimer there!

3. 1 workout a week / start running?

The question mark is very big on the running! I think I can definitely focus on one at home workout a week, whether it’s a FitBit one, a Nike one or just one I’ve found on YouTube – doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 30 minutes, I want to get back into more of a routine because I’m determined to stick with this and I’m not giving up just yet.

Running I’m a bit reluctant about because I want to use the NHS Couch to 5k app but it means committing to running three times a week and I just don’t know if I have time for that right now, so it’s a maybe but it’s something I definitely want to try at some point.

4. Refine career skills

I know one of my goals for last month was to make more specific goals and this is the complete opposite but this one has three sub-goals (wow, I’m taking this too seriously).

  • learn more about the core skills of photography – I know how photography works and I know the terminology and equipment I just don’t think I know it well enough because it was always skimmed over in my photography teaching at uni. So I want to spend time really reading up on it and making notes so I can understand why my photos don’t always look how I want them too.
  • copywriting work – what these last few months has taught me is that I really love copywriting, whether it’s news article writing, blog writing, creative writing, I just love writing and if I can get some remote freelance work that would be an amazing thing to do in the interim between now and (hopefully) getting a career job (or going back to uni but I’ll talk about that another time).
  • have one ‘learning’ day a week – there’s so many free online courses I’ve found that can fill in the gaps in knowledge I have for the career I want so I want to set aside one day a week to read through a few classes and put what I’m reading into practice. Maybe it’s silly, maybe I’ll realise there’s no point, but I want to make time for it.

5. Make time for knitting again!

In January it was my goal to make time for hobbies and I really did make a good crack at knitting and though I didn’t even finish one square, I really enjoyed it and it was really therapeutic so this month, I want to stop taking my laptop into the living room in the evening and I want to make time for knitting again. Just to help everything slow down and relax a bit more.

And that’s what I’m focusing on this month. February was a big turning point and I need to try and improve on that in March – tell me all about your goals and focuses for this month!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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an unexpected year of progress | graduate life update

2019, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I will feel the need to write updates until the day I start a job or figure out a plan of what’s next!

It’s a weird balance because I want to document what’s going on in my life for me to look back on, but then I don’t want anyone who’s currently at uni to read and feel terrified that this is their future… but (how many times can I say ‘but’) there are other graduates in a similar position to me who feel reassured they’re not alone! This is what I think about every time I write or film on of these posts, if that gives any clarification.

So, disclaimer: this is my situation. I know a lot of grads who have jobs and many who don’t. It’s not to say that those who don’t have jobs haven’t worked hard and it doesn’t diminish the hard work those who have jobs also did. There’s no ‘luck’ in getting a job – those with employment put a lot of time and effort into getting their job, but there is being ‘unlucky’ as someone can put in the same effort and not be successful. Graduation can be so scary because it’s so uncertain and there’s no formula to certify anything, we can only do what we can. Disclaimer over!

Let’s go back to the beginning – I handed in my final assignment in May 2018, last year. I graduated in July. I started applying for jobs to start when I graduated in the February, so about a year ago now. I just kept applying for job after job. I had three interviews over the summer that were all unsuccessful. In September I started doing some part time work for my mum’s business but I didn’t properly commit because I was still hopeful something would work out. In November I had an interview for some freelance work which very quickly fell through. After the new year I went back to applying, I’m in conversation with my uni’s careers department who are trying to help me get a a job and I’m now doing two full days a week at my mum’s work.

So, I’m essentially no further along than I was a year ago except I have a degree and a part time job.

And that’s the literal update of what has factually happened.

Looking forward, /i’m going to keep working with mum, finish learning to drive, keep applying, keep researching a masters and figure out if I want to do that. I’m keeping myself busy but I can’t do this forever.

Outside of the practicalities, in myself I’m not in the best mental state. In November, things really picked up for me emotionally even though I was facing rejection after rejection. But these last few weeks where I’ve been trying to budget and pay for driving lessons and bus fares, it’s been really rough. Thinking about why I’ve been rejected for so many jobs, obviously I start thinking about how maybe I’m really not good enough, I’ve wasted my time at uni and I should just give up completely.

But what really helped was a call from my university’s careers agency (shoutout to Aaron from Solent Futures!) for reassuring me that I’m qualified, I am good enough and it will happen.

Even though I’ve been job hunting for a year, I’ve actually learnt so much and had the time to try things I wouldn’t have if I’d gone straight into a job. I’ve started learning to drive and I absolutely adore it. I’ve gone back to the dance school I spent most of my teenage years in and I volunteer on reception which has taught me a lot of really valuable skills as well as getting to go back to tap classes, I don’t know if I can find the words for how much I love them. Doing office work for my mum has taught me lots about admin and being a PA. All this time without full time commitment has meant I can continue working on my blog and YouTube channel and have time to figure out what I actually want.

I’m trying my best to think positively – giving up isn’t going to get me a job or improve my mental health. Hard work and self belief is – I’ve got to empower myself because right now, it’s all I’ve got!

So overall, I’m struggling but I think I’ll be okay in the long run. If you have any questions about post grad stuff or job hunting please do let me know!

I have a question too – I was considering writing a post about my favourite instagram accounts at the moment? I really want to share the love but not sure whether to do a post or insta stories, so please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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improving my odds

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

My notes for today’s post simply read – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. And yes, I love to believe in a higher power and there really is a path for each person to follow and not a blank open plane but I don’t know if asking the universe is going to really help.

It’s a balance – internally, I’m always thinking ‘but this’ ‘but that’ – I don’t think there’s any harm in putting it out there what you want. I’ve done this before with an ‘ask the universe’ post – and everything in that post still stands.

But nothing’s going to change if I don’t work for it.  Tweeting about how I’d love more subscribers or how I can’t think of anything better than running social media channels for a band on tour and maybe one day someone will notice and will make my dreams come true.

I don’t even know where to start doing the maths on how many billions to one those chances are though? If I really want to leave it to chance, I might as well put the work in to improve the odds.

Going back to the path analogy – feeling like there’s a path already set for us can feel restricting, like we have no free will or choice, but thinking about how there’s a huge expanse of possibilities can be incredibly daunting. I like to think that somewhere in the universe, there’s something that at least vaguely knows where we’re going, giving us multiple paths to choose from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it or I believe too much in a higher power but whilst I think there’s something that knows our future, I don’t think shouting to a void (or social media) will help or hinder anything.

So I go back to the original notes I made for this post – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. I’d love a sign – if there’s a higher power, if it could send a sign my way that would be fan-bloody-tastic! A sign, a break, all of the above please. But the world doesn’t work like that – if I spend my whole life waiting for a sign I’m going to look back having wasted it.

This is me, not waiting, not calling the universe but thanking it – thanking it for giving me the strength to carry on, the confidence to step into the unknown and the passion to make my own path when I can’t find one to follow.

Writing this has been the most ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I’ve written for a very long time – today hasn’t been my day, to be honest but even reading over my own blog plan, seeing my own past plea made me think, you know what? I have the power to stop this and I’m going to work to make my own change.

2019 hasn’t necessarily gone the way I’d hoped so far, there’s lots of milestones I thought I would have already hit but I can’t waste time thinking of what could have been – I’m going to work to hit the goals I’ve set for myself and if I don’t, I’ll readjust and keep working. Because otherwise my life is going to carry on and I won’t really be in it.

I hope you can take something away from this post. Maybe it was a self-indulgent ramble to reach a somewhat melodramatic conclusion, but maybe it wasn’t.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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February Music Favourites!

2019, music

Hello!

Today, I wanted to try something new – I love music and one of my goals for this year was to listen to more new music rather than listening to the same music I always listen to. The way I’m doing this is not by going searching for new music but letting Spotify algorithms do it for me and picking songs from my discover weekly playlist!

I then add songs I like to ‘Liked from Radio‘ playlist and when I’m done listening to my Discover Weekly for the week I generally put this playlist on shuffle in the background when I’m cooking or travelling or whatever!

If I’m wanting to listen to anything more specific I add it to my ‘Current jams‘ playlist and if I want slightly more familiar music that’s the playlist I go for and that’s the playlist I’m going to be talking about today!

Rather than doing a song by song review I thought I’d just have a chat about the playlist as a whole. None of these songs actually came from my Discover Weekly this time around – ‘On My Way’ is a new song from Sheppard that was their bid for Australia’s Eurovision entry that’s I’m obsessed with, Burned Out is my favourite song from dodie’s new EP ‘Human’ and the rest of the songs are mostly inspired by what I’ve been watching on music channels on the TV!

‘Come Along’ by Cosmo Sheldrake is the song used in the new iPhone advert and I think it’s really catchy and boppy – not enough for me to buy an iPhone but a good song regardless!

‘Exits’ (Foals), ‘Sweet but Psycho’ (Ava Max) and all three Billie Eilish songs on this playlist I first heard from one of those nights when mum and I just shoved on MTV music and tried to get on with some work.

‘Drug’ is the debut song from technically new band Simple Creatures, which is made up of blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and my all time favourite band All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth who is my favourite vocalist of all time. If I could describe my perfect voice to listen to it would be Alex Gaskarth. His voice is the entire reason I like this song but it is also an incredible song. Excited for more of Alex Gaskarth’s voice this year.

‘Blue Tacoma’ by Russel Dickerson actually came from a radio on my boyfriend’s Spotify and I thought it was a Busted song – it has a lot of original Busted vibes and I really liked it so it went immediately onto my jams playlist.

I’d love to make this music post a monthly series and I want to give it more of a structured format which includes having a shoutout of the month – this month it has to go to ‘Sweet but Psycho’ by Ava Max  because gosh darn I’m obsessed with this song, I have it on loop most of the time and it makes me want to try covering it, I’ve got ideas so 100% no shadow of a doubt this is my favourite song this month.

So that’s my first music favourites! I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be and I’ve seen so many ads on instagram and facebook about making my blog profitable and growing it but they all focus on such a specific niche that I just don’t think I want to put myself in. But I am making an effort to write about more of what I love – travel, organisation/bullet journalling, fitness/body positivity, outfits/fashion and music! If there’s anything you really like seeing on my blog please do let me know in a comment down below – I’d love to know what you like reading from me!

Also if you have any ideas for a series title for these posts any recommendations would be fab, something musical but maybe a little bit funny.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a REAL everyday outfit post

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

I love writing outfit posts – I like talking about fashion and experimenting with fashion and pretending I can blend in with the instagram models with outfit pictures (even though we all know I can’t).

But with this in mind, if we believed Instagram it can be hard to believe that some of these influencers and bloggers wear the most amazing clothes everyday and they always flounce about in heels and find scenic places to take edgy photos and they always have a willing partner/friend/top notch photographer.

I think we all know this is not the case. Or at least, sometimes we need reminding of it.

So this is a genuine everyday outfit – I thoroughly recommend it. Primark cosy leggings (the only leggings I’ve found that are warm and not see through), an Overwatch Lunar Ops t-shirt that you can’t actually see, my Solent graduation hoodie (because I’m feeling very nostalgic for uni, it’s incredibly comfy and it was clean, what more can you ask for?), my Dr Martens and my Primark mens coat – this is my most likely everyday uniform.

I’ve got my hair tied up in french plaits because it was a bit greasy, I’m wearing a bit of make-up but not enough to stop my face looking like the actual moon and you know what? That’s fine! This is what I actually look like most of the time.

If I had my way I’d be wearing pyjamas, no make-up and scraping my hair back everyday to live on the sofa doing nothing but scrolling through Instagram and watching CW superhero shows but that doesn’t look too good on Instagram or the blog, nor does it pay very well.

Sometimes my ‘everyday’ changes – sometimes it’s a pair of jeans and a sweater, sometimes it’s a knitwear jumper, I often wear my Primark fake-vans instead of my Docs, but there are so many aspects of everyday that aren’t as full on as my usual outfit posts. It’s nice to make an effort and share a new outfit or something new I’ve put together and that’s pretty normal too.

Social media, particularly Instagram, is an interesting place – a lot of influencers at the moment have been criticised for not showing ‘real life’ online and not being explicit that their feed is a highlight reel of their lives. Personally, I think if anyone really believes that anyone really shares the ups, downs and realities of life and not just the best bits needs to properly reevaluate how they use Instagram.

But on the other hand, here’s my bit of reality. Here’s my everyday.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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