how I lost 16lbs without dieting

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I feel like I’ve been banging on about how I’m trying to lose weight in literally everything I make or post. But here we are again because losing weight is really hard so if I can contribute anything and help someone, I’m going to try!

I really dedicatedly started trying to lose weight (and started seeing results) at the beginning of October. Now, nearly 4 months later I’m 16lbs down, I’m on my way to being fitter and I really feel like I’m making sustainable life changes! All without going on any fad diet or ridiculous workout program that makes you want to vomit. So, I thought I’d just have a little chit chat about the steps I took to get to this point, where I see my progress going in the future and how I’m going to maintain a healthy weight when I get there.

Let’s give a little bit of context – when I was a teenager, I was so convinced I was huge. I felt fat, I thought everyone thought I was essentially an elephant waddling round school and alongside that my main source of exercise being dance meant I was surrounded by skinny gorgeous girls in leotards and the fact my arms wobbled and I had that little stomach pouch (that basically every woman has) was literally the end of the world. At that point I was wondering somewhere around 12 stone/13 stone. Looking at height/weight charts, I was on the heavier end of healthy, but I was healthy.

Then I went to uni, got a boyfriend and had to massively cut down the amount of dancing I was doing. And here we have a recipe for packing on the pounds.

Without going into (even more) detail, by the time I moved home from uni in July last year I was approximately 5 stone heavier than when I left. Even though I didn’t actually look that drastically different.

  • step 1cut out the snacks

My biggest problem and the first thing I wanted to address was that when I was hungry, I just found something to eat. I knew I had to get used to not snacking throughout the day so it was a couple of painful weeks of being absolutely ravenous and craving every carb under the sun, I really noticed a change in my body’s eating habits and it kind of blew me away, because I think I’d tricked myself into believed that it couldn’t change and I would always be that hungry.

It feels awful at the beginning but it does get better and it does get easier I promise.

  • step 2 – think about what you’re eating and try to make healthier choices

I know this sounds so ridiculously vague and I definitely don’t know enough about nutrition but I know that vegetables are good, pastry is a complete no go, carbs are okay in moderation – little things like that! Basically everything is okay in moderation. I plan it so during the week I’m much stricter – I have my cornflakes for breakfast, roast vegetables with cous cous for lunch, a reasonably healthy dinner and 200 calories of dessert snack – then at the weekend I’ll maybe have a toastie for lunch, a McDonalds meal and a Saturday night dessert treat. Within reason of course but doing this I’ve been losing 1-3 lbs every week.

You don’t need to eat foods like kale and avocado and spinach if you don’t like them – every healthy eating recipe I’ve ever looked at includes those kinds of foods, quinoa and seeds and things but I don’t like them. I know that the vegetables I’m eating are good for me, even if these ‘superfoods’ would be better, I’m going to work within what I like and what I can afford. It’s all about balance and learning and we all progress at our own rates.

People will try to tell you that everything is bad – I’ve had people try to tell me that I shouldn’t have sausages, cous cous makes you bloated and hot chocolate is really bad for you but I’m happy with my diet and it’s working for me and it’s sustainable which is the whole point of this, otherwise I might as well just go on a diet.

The other thing I’ve found with making healthier choices is that I really understand now when people say they feel groggy after eating unhealthily – I think it was over Christmas I really started to feel the impact that the change in my eating habits brought and it wasn’t great, but it was also really interesting because it meant that I’d been eating well enough that eating badly made an impact! I really felt it! And that motivated me to start eating well again and it was so refreshing.

Step 3 – be more active

I don’t mean go to the gym or hire a personal trainer or go mad spending lots of money on a program that ‘guarantees results in two weeks’ (I’ve already bought it, it’s not worth it) – I mean literally being more active. For me, my FitBit is a god send because keeping track of my steps and heart rate really helps me see that I’m doing enough each day. I like to change my step goal every week, so I look at the total number of steps for the previous week, then I figure out how many steps I need to do per day to beat it the following week. I think this is a good long term plan because it makes doing more steps part of your everyday life and slowly builds up how much exercise you’re doing.

And then when you feel ready you can start introducing more traditional workouts if you like – I started going to tap classes at my old dance school and I use the Nike training app to build a program that works for me and do workouts at home.

Being back at tap has shown me so much about myself – the whole reason I started this routine to be healthier was because I was noticing I couldn’t do simple things like jump, run up the stairs, I even noticed my walking pace was getting slower and I decided I didn’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be a mum that can’t jump and dance with her kids or isn’t physically fit and healthy enough to keep up with them, I don’t want to teach them bad habits so I’m making a change long before I actually have kids.

Not happening for another 7 or 8 years yet!

  • the next steps

I know that eating and exercising this way will only work to a point and then I will need to start exercising more to get the results that I want. So looking ahead to that I’m going to work out more, building on my current scheme of 1-2 workouts a week for more intense, longer and potentially more frequent workouts. I’d like to get into running and start each day with a walk or a run but that’s very much a work in progress, going to keep walking for now.

When I can drive I want to get a gym membership and actually go to a gym (currently I live just a bit too far away to walk and I can’t afford it) – one of my goals for the year was to have a personal training session. Whether it’s just one or I can afford to have consistent sessions, I want to learn more about weight training, the right kind of working out and how I can progress more in the future to continue losing weight.

In the long game, my goals are to be slim and healthy and then work on getting a bit more toned once I’ve lost the weight (I explained it more in this video) but that will probably be months if not a year or two down the line so I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So that’s everything I’ve done and learnt up to this point! I’m always looking for new recipes and new workouts – I’m going to have a go at some FitBit workouts and I might have a look at some Kayla Itsines workouts but 1) her app is expensive and 2) the workouts I’ve done from Facebook videos have been killer so definitely not ready for it yet.

Also a step I kind of forgot about – drink 2 litres a day, preferably water but I don’t like water and the juice I drink is sugar free and basically water anyway. Obviously 2 litres of cola isn’t going to help your teeth or your diet.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions for new recipes to try, workouts I should have a go at or any advice for losing weight without cutting food groups or anything drastic, please to leave a comment down below! I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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making yourself a routine

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

One of the things I consistently find myself yearning for in day to day life is a routine – when I left school I found it weird so at uni I made myself a more structured routine. Then again when I finished uni I struggled taking each day with no plans and no idea of what would happen.

When you’re freelance, self-employed, unemployed, a graduate struggling to find a job, whatever reason for being home a lot, often on your own and an expanse of uncertain future in front of you, the weight of that uncertainty can make it hard to find a reason to get out of bed. The only definite timings you have are breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s assuming you’re not sad binge eating, snacking all day and have a healthy relationship with food.

So here’s where the routine bit comes in – I’ve always been the person who thrives on structure, will pull a to do list of things I need to do out of the air and keep myself busy so I thought I’d share what works for me. This is a little disclaimer that it’s exactly that – what works for me, everyone is different; some people don’t care about routines, some people really struggle to stick to a plan they’ve made and sometimes other factors come into play, I’m just sharing what I do to structure my days.

There are some tips to how I motivate myself to get out of bed every day and give myself a purpose.

#1 – writing to do lists

Is this a shock to anyone at this point? But seriously – making my monthly goals which feeds to my weekly bullet journal spreads and daily to do post-it notes make it so much easier to make a routine that doesn’t become stale too quickly because each day is different from the tasks I set myself. I then feel more productive and feel mentally prepared to do it all again the next day.

My lists are filled with things like filming videos, writing blog posts, working on my freelance career, but also includes things like doing the laundry, selling that pile of stuff that’s building up in my room etc. Obviously I can’t write a list of things that you could put on a list because it’s so personal, but if you don’t have projects to work on or you struggle to think of things you could put on a list then even things like having a shower, making lunch, making your bed can be a place to start – it’s something to tick off (which is so satisfying) and you can build on it from there.

#2 – have set times for food

It sounds ridiculous, but if you can give yourself time markers throughout the day it just breaks the day up a bit. I aim to eat my breakfast by 9am, I let myself go for lunch at 12pm (I normally count down the minutes) and then depending on what we’re having for dinner I usually start cooking about 5pm for dinner at 6pm. That’s when I stop for the day – I come out of the office, leave my computer and have some off-screen time. Which is ironic because instead of looking at my computer screen I watch TV and scroll through my phone but it’s a work in progress, I’m cutting down my scrolling! An attempt was made!

#3 – plan stuff for the future

This isn’t so much for having a routine but for keeping yourself sane – whether it’s a diary, a bullet journal or a digital calendar on your phone, getting through every day when you have to make stuff up for yourself to do is so much easier when you’ve got days with friends or a weekend away or a job pencilled in, especially if you’re unemployed and don’t have any friends that live nearby, having something to look forward to can make finding a routine in the now much easier.

It’s a bit like #2  – rather than breaking up the day, it breaks up the future so rather than this expanse of ‘no plans’, there’s something coming up. Obviously this is based on the things that I struggle with – some people see a blank calendar as relaxing or exciting but it scares me, to be honest. What I’m saying – take these tips with a pinch of salt!

#4 – have a space to work

This one I struggle a bit to explain, because for me it meant not being in the living room, not being in the kitchen and not being in my bedroom but I know that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of turning a spare bedroom into an office – I definitely didn’t at uni! But if you can find or make a separate space to work on your tasks I find that really helpful. At the moment, I’ve got a little office space at home but when I was at uni I found going into a local cafe or into uni (not the library, it was soul destroying) really helped my productivity.

Sitting somewhere as comfortable as the sofa is probably not going to work in your favour if you’re trying to get out of the slump of binging Netflix and having an afternoon nap. Also then, the sofa is not a work environment and it can be exclusively for binging Netflix and taking an afternoon nap.

#5 – have a strict sleep schedule

I don’t mean strict in the extreme way that you can’t stay up late sometimes and adapt, but having times to wake up and wind down make a routine and structure so much easier.

Personally, I start planning to go to bed at 10pm, by the time I’ve actually got up from the sofa, changed into my PJs, brushed my teeth, read a couple of chapters of my book I’m ready to settle down for sleep between 11pm and 11.30pm. I’ve also recently started not looking at my phone after I’ve plugged into charge before I start reading (except to update my Goodreads progress) and that’s really helped too.

I am to be up between 6.30am-7am but that doesn’t always happen, I’m usually out of bed by 8am at the latest and having that structure is so helpful for my routine.

It’s all a work in progress – I’m still learning, I accidentally spent three hours watching YouTube with breakfast the other day but I mentally reviewed it and planned a way to combat it. It’s about self awareness, noticing the things that aren’t helping your routine and deciding how to work on it.

I hope this has been helpful, it’s turned into a proper long ramble but these are my favourite kinds of posts!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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why goals are so important to me

2019, goals, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Can I only write about goal setting and resolutions and pushing myself? No, I swear there’s a point to this post!

This is the time of year where everyone shuns New Year’s Resolutions – “why wait for a new year? Re-invent yourself whenever you like!” – yeah I totally get that and fully support that, but also why not be motivated by the new year? I write little goals for myself every month to check in with my progress and refocus, every month is a bit like a new year for me.

I’m someone who very much is motivated by a new week or a new month and if the new month starts on a Monday? Lads I’m a new woman, it’s a miracle.

But why do I like setting myself goals so much? Well for one, while I’m working freelance from home, it gives me some sort of structure and purpose when I wake up each morning. Perhaps this sounds a little melodramatic but I’m sure many people can empathise how difficult it is to get out of bed when you have no reason to and the whole day is just a challenge to fill.

For two – it’s a good way for me to make sure I’m still growing and progressing and developing both professionally and personally. In some aspects of my life, I’m happy to maintain them as they are – let them grow in their own way – but there’s other aspects that I don’t want to be stagnant, that I don’t want to get stuck in a rut in, so I want to make sure I can see that progress.

And for three – having goals took the productivity I was already passionate about and gave it a focus, especially after I finished uni. I’m not saying I liked the assignments or deadlines (the day I handed in my last essay was a bloody marvellous one) but I’ve always loved having a project and being able to put my focus onto something.

The other day I was sorting through my email folders (because I lead an incredibly exciting life) and I found this email from August 2016.

I’ll be honest I don’t know what this means about me – I can never remember what the letters I am are (cut to me trying to burn INFJ-T into my brain) – but hello strategy: constant improvement! I don’t know what being 95% turbulent and my role being a ‘diplomat’ means but that last categorisation of who I am just makes so much sense.

But then I did the 16personalities test again for a uni assignment in April 2018, nearly 2 years later and these were the results I got.

10% less introverted, 25% less intuitive, 28% less feeling, 2% more judging, and 1% more turbulent, but overall the same; still INFJ-T. How uni changed me!

I get it, going from talking about why I like goals to personality types might feel like a massive jump but hear me out on why they’re connected (other than explicitly labelling me as someone who strives for constant improvement).

  1. They just make me happy – I quite like putting myself in a box and sitting there, it makes me feel more defined as a person.
  2. Tests like this and finding out more about your personality in depth and what it says about you can help give you a purpose  – obviously there are 15 other personality types and even within those everyone has different percentages and aspects that make them individual, but sometimes having a test tell you a little bit more about yourself can make things a little easier.
  3. But on the other hand – just because it’s not part of your personality type doesn’t mean you can’t find something to focus on that motivates you.

Setting goals works for me, but beyond that I enjoy setting them for myself and seeing my progress. A lot of people don’t enjoy it and obviously that’s fine, but I do. I’ve read so many articles at this time of year that are definitive in “everyone should set goals“, “why new years is crap“, “setting goals won’t get you anywhere” – you know what? You do you. If you put the work in, things will work out.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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January Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

And the last of the trilogy of blog posts about New Year’s Resolutions and goals is upon us! I’m so excited to have another year of focusing, setting myself little goals and giving myself the exciting feeling of new year’s at the beginning of each month.

I’ve decided this year that each month I want to set my goals in accordance with my 2019 resolutions – last year I did them based off what I want to achieve each month and I’ll still do that this year but I really want to properly focus on my goals to make sure I’m working on achieving them every month.

Progress is a huge motivator for me and finding new ways to work on that and ensure ongoing development makes me happy! So let’s jump right in.

[ J A N U A R Y   G O A L S : ]

  • get back to healthy eating and a workout routine – the whole reason I focused on for losing weight (a family wedding) is coming up at the end of the month so I’ve decided, quite spontaneously, to go part time vegetarian – not for any moral reasons (don’t come for me pls) but just for health reasons I’m planning to eat veggie up until dinner time every day during the week. And I definitely need to get back to working out – my tap classes start again next week but I’m aiming for one at home workout each week. If I put a number on something I’m more likely to actually do it so once a week – sorted.
  • work on prioritising productivity – I have refined the way I make my to do lists so I have 5 tick box jobs, 3 additional tasks that are not quite important enough for a tick box or would be useful if I have time after I’ve finished everything else (I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me!). The next step for me is to make sure I get them all done during the day rather than working half heartedly on my laptop till 9pm – essentially I want to have business hours and unless I’m using my laptop for something like creative writing I don’t want to use it in the evenings. That’s the goal!
  • working on hobbies – start my knitting project – to go hand in hand with the productivity, making time for hobbies is something I really want to work on! I think knitting would be a great activity for me because I’m not very good at sitting watching TV and just watching, so I think a non-committal task like knitting would be a good start for me. The other half of this one is not taking my laptop into the living room so I’m not tempted just to scroll through Facebook for the sake of it. Knitting and no laptops!
  • get more freelance work – I mean, this one is kind of a necessity more than a goal but it’s got to be a real focus for me this month! I’m going to reach out to local businesses and get as much work as I can, because I miss it and I need a focus. If anyone has freelance advice that would be much appreciated thank you!
  • focus on blogging and YouTube – I’ve been really happy with the content I’ve been making and how regularly I’ve been creating and uploading in the last few months but I want to step up my game this year – I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve been a little apprehensive to make and I’m just going to bite the bullet and make them this year! I want to work on growth and read advice from other bloggers and YouTubers and think about building my platform a bit like a business. Maybe that’s pretentious, or presumptuous that I think my platforms deserve to grow (I seem to be allergic to followers anyway), it’s all a bit complicated and I feel like a proper dick about it but I want to at least give it a go!

I got proper rambly in this goals post! I think I got a bit lost in it, sorry!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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New Year’s Resolutions 2019

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

Guys and gals, a year of making myself mini goals every month (and January Goals are coming your way, don’t you worry) and I have the most organised, the most ‘me’ resolutions I ever could have made.

I’ve got two lists – one split into three categories and another which is more like a bucket list of goals for the year. I’m not going to blither on in the pre-amble because I think this post it probably going to get long!

Firstly, the categories – they’re the same as my resolutions for last year but a little more refined!

[ p e r s o n a l : ]

  • work towards my weight goal – eat well, build a workout routine

Since I’ve started seeing progress towards the end of last year, I’m more motivated than ever to see my goals through this year – over the next 12 months I definitely think I can reach my current goal but I’m leaving myself the flexibility to adapt these goals too.

  • prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

This is kind of a double edged sword – on one hand, I want to put less importance on productivity, but also I want to value what I’m doing more and get more done during the day so I’m not sat in the evening pretending to work. I’d rather leave my laptop upstairs and make a better use of my time! I’m really going to reevaluate how I make my to do lists this year so I can get more done during the day and not spend the evening ‘finishing bits off’ and I can make time for the things I want to do.

  • self esteem, I need some

Whether it’s a bit of therapy or more personal reflection, but I’d like to feel more confident in myself this year.

[ c a r e e r : ]

  • build a freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, be a superhero woman (essentially)

Having officially gone freelance in the last month of 2018, now I’ve got a whole new challenge to face in 2019 – not getting a job, but finding work. I’m both excited and terrified of it but the only way I can change my situation is to work on it so I’m going to make it work.

  • build my over media kit

I have my gorgeous little Canon EOS M10 but I want to build my own kit for events and work – on my dream wish list in a new DSLR and two lenses but I’ll develop this depending on the financial situation and what I need. Any recommendations from any media friends would be spectacular!

  • make a future plan with work goals, life goals, travel goals, aspirations etc

I love the idea of having a 3 or 5 year plan but what I’ve learnt from this time last year is that I need it to be more flexible and adaptable. So my goal is to make some sort of plan that I can adapt and change as and when, but more long term goals to focus on.

[ c r e a t i v e : ]

  • continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and YouTube channel

I had a bit of a revelation at the end of 2018 that I felt a bit fake online and I’m definitely making more of an effort to make what I really love and what I’m passionate about and I’m excited to explore that more this year.

  • write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018? maybe some freelance writing?

Months like NaNoWriMo work really well for me so I’ve planned a few more writing challenges throughout the month so maybe by the end of the year I might have something to show for it!

  • work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I love photography and I’m confident in my ability to take photos, but I think because I didn’t study photography at school, I got a little bit left behind with the real basics of photography at uni so I really want to go back and practice the basics.

[ t e n   g o a l s : ]

  1. Have a PT session – I want to know more about weight training and how to workout properly and I feel like for me I need to start with some professional advice so when I can drive and afford it, I’ll go to a gym and book a session.
  2. Get another tattoo – it’s getting towards two years since I got a tattoo and I want another one before the two year mark, so hopefully I can save for that.
  3. Read a book a month – I have so many books I haven’t read, so going to aim for 12 books this year!
  4. Do a grid drawing every month – I think it was two years ago I did a drawing challenge where I printed out a line drawing, divided it into the number of squares in the month and colour in one square every day. I think it’ll be less committed than a colour book but make me do a little something artistic every day, I’m excited about this one.
  5. Listen to more new music – I want to use my discover weekly playlists on Spotify and find some new artists to listen to. 2018 was the year of nostalgia and finding comfort in music I already loved and I think finding new music will really motivate me this year.
  6. Save for a new media kit – linked to one of my career goals, I really want to buy a new camera or at least be on my way to buying one next year.
  7. Have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month – I’m not saying I want to go on a full on holiday every month, just a little weekend, going to see friends, a little bit of European travel maybe, I definitely want to have a weekend in London for Winter Wonderland this year because I’ve never bin. Gonna change that!
  8. Take my driving test and upgrade my car – I’m so in love with driving at the moment and I’m hoping to have taken my test by April (ish) and my car, however lovely it is, I would like to get a newer car that I trust to take on longer drives across the country. 2019 is the Year of the Car, I’m so excited about it.
  9. Improve my posture – very, very different scale but being someone who’s always been tall for their age, I always compensated when I was younger by hunching over and trying not to stand out too much. Now I want to have better posture and strengthen the muscles in my back.
  10. Find somewhere to live/get our own place – my boyfriend and I had always planned to find our own place basically as soon as we finished our contract in our student house but nothing worked out as planned so going into 2019, we have a vague idea of what we’re going to do but I would so love to have our own place by the end of the year.

But who knows where the year can take us! One of the biggest things I’ve learnt since last year is that they goals can’t be set in stone – it will only lead to disappointment in the long run if I things change or what I want changes.

Either way, I’m really excited about this and working on the goals this year is really going to help me focus and make progress. Can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2018 Resolutions Review

2018, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

We’re getting to my favourite time of year where I get to write all the goals posts – today is the first with my review of the goals I set myself at the beginning of 2018.

Right now, when I think back on the year I think pretty positively – I’m just starting to pave a freelance career for myself, my mental health is getting better, I’ve had a wonderful Christmas with my gorgeous family, my relationship is something I truly treasure, things are looking good. However they’re looking very different to what 2017 Sophie was hoping for herself and it’s a little disheartening to be honest, but paths change and just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong!

I like splitting my New Year’s Resolutions into 3 categories with their own goals, so I’ll go through each one before drawing a conclusion.

[ p e r s o n a l : ]

  • find a workout/healthy eating routine – this took a lot of attempts and times but in the last quarter of the year I really settled into this and I’m really motivated going into 2019!
  • eat 3 meals a day – I now eat breakfast basically every day so that’s quite a big step I’ve made this year.
  • make long term changes to how I handle money – this was amazing at the beginning of the year, then my last student loan came in, I didn’t get a job and it all went a bit mental. Money is tight and something I’m still figuring out how to be good at but I’ve got to make it work or I can’t live so this one carries over.
  • make sure to stick to my bullet journal – I properly fell in love with my bullet journal again this year and I’m just starting my third journal, I love it so much.

[ u n i v e r s i t y / c a r e e r : ]

  • expand on my 3 year plan – I basically abandoned my 3 year plan because it wasn’t very flexible, so it didn’t work out very well at all. Admire the optimism of 2017 me though!
  • graduate with at least a 2:1 – I did this, I really wanted to set myself the goal of getting a first but I’m so glad I didn’t because it would have made being so close even more heartbreaking (this still kind of hurts to be brutally honest)
  • marketing work experience at Sky and apply for grad scheme – applied for both, got rejected from both, rejections really knocked my confidence this year to be honest
  • take every opportunity available – this was a dumb resolution to be honest because opportunities don’t just present themselves and if I wanted things to happen I needed to make them! And also, sometimes you have to say no – I was offered a chance to do paid social media work in the Netherlands earlier this year but it was so close to my final uni deadline that I didn’t want to jeopardise that and I had to say no. That doesn’t mean I wasted an opportunity, it meant I prioritised what’s important so all round – dumb resolution!

creative

  • maintain blog and YouTube channels more consistently – it took some time, but I did upload vlogs from 52 weeks, I wrote an awful lot of blog posts and I’m really proud of the routine I’ve made for myself and I’ve properly fallen in love with both platforms again.
  • read more blog posts – I really did try to find more blogs to read but I’m not a fan of the stereotypical fashion, beauty bloggers so I tried to read more, but I didn’t find a lot that stuck (always looking for recommendations!)
  • keep writing – I set myself three writing challenges this year and I’m really proud of myself! I really enjoy writing and I love that I made time for it this year.
  • keep making new things / take the most unconventional approach possible / find my flare – these three I’ve grouped because they’re just a bit passive aren’t they? They don’t mean anything? I’ve made a big effort to be more genuine in every aspect of content online recently so I guess that might count as ‘finding my flare’ but all round? 2017 me was a bit pretentious about creativity.

Overall, I didn’t achieve a lot that I set myself last year but despite how much my lack of self esteem would try to convince me otherwise, that doesn’t make me a failure – I’ve learnt a lot this year and made my own path when a ‘traditional’ approach didn’t work out for me. I’ve grown a lot as a person this year (as I think I said last year) and I’m so proud of where I am and where I’m going – so a mixed bag of resolutions, but I’m happy regardless.

Next week I’ll have my 2019 goals (which I’m really excited about) and my January goals and then we’ll be back to some more varied content! I love setting goals and checking in on myself even if it’s not always positive, it really motivates me and I hope it can be motivating to others too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a lovely family Christmas 🎄

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day filled with the best people and infinite food!

I just wanted to write a quick little post on a pleasant boxing day (with The Greatest Showman in the background, might I add) just to have a little ramble about what a lovely Christmas I had with my family.

Maybe it sounds vein or spoilt or whatever but as a kid, Christmas was all about the big Mr C and the presents but thinking back at it now? My strongest memories are of the times with family – I don’t remember the presents (other than the year I got my first laptop, that meant a lot) because it was always about having my closest family there and spending time with them.

Ever since my nan passed away last year, my family have been closer than ever – it’s the best thing that came out of 2017 for me and this Christmas was just perfect. There was laughter and chatting and games and a pub quiz and we almost entirely forgot to take pictures but we got some great family photos in between phone calls from Sri Lanka, China and just down the road from my cousin’s family!

When I went to bed last night, I’ve not felt so grateful or content for such a long time – so grateful that I had such a caring family, grateful that they gave such thoughtful gifts when they really didn’t have to and grateful to have that day to celebrate with them.

At the end of the day, my family have been there for me through everything – friends come and go but I will always have my family and valuing people and experiences over belongings and ‘stuff’.

Towards the end of 2018 I decided there was a lot of clutter in my life – mostly in my bedroom and various rooms around the house. So I decided I only wanted to keep the belongings that have a purpose or a use, except the sentimental stuff – my photo albums and scrapbook are such important memories that I want to keep forever and build on for my family, 80 years down the line.

Christmas and New Year are an incredibly sentimental time of year – I get very reflective and think a lot about what’s changed, particularly who I’ve got in my life. I’ve got wonderful friends, a supportive family and an amazing relationship and 2019 is going to be a big year.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays surrounded by people you love, looking forward to the New Year!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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eating ‘healthy’ at Christmas

2018, fitness, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

I think we all know that December and Christmas time is the hardest time of year to have control over your diet and maintain good healthy eating habits! Which is why everyone joins a gym and sets themselves New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight and eat better in January.

But it’s not impossible to keep some sort of control over what you’re eating at Christmas and I’ve made such amazing progress that I’m so proud of in the last couple of months and I don’t want to throw that all away so I’ve made myself a little plan for some ways to try my best to not blow the diet over this holiday.

So I’ve condensed into three tips, if you can call them that – maybe goals is a more suitable word! I’m not an expert in any way, shape or form and I definitely don’t think I’m qualified to give advice. These are my Christmas diet goals!

One – give yourself a break – at the end of the day, it is Christmas! I’ve decided from the 24th-26th I’m not going to worry about what I’m eating, enjoy all the chocolate, cakes, desserts and food that Christmas brings guilt free.

Two – stock up on the healthy stuff – when serving food for Christmas dinner I’m going to try to fill about half my plate with veg and then I physically won’t have room for the less healthy stuff on my plate. Whilst Christmas is filled with lots of unhealthy treats, there’s also lots of veg and cold meats and leftovers that aren’t too bad, so it’s mixing those in with the stuff that’s really tasty and not so good.

Three – everything in moderation – not really specific to Christmas but as relevant at this time of year! As long as you’re not going absolutely mad and completely binging on the things you normally try to stay away from, then it’s not so bad – moderation is key. Last Christmas I got a fair few chocolate Christmas presents and I rationed it all out and it lasted me till Easter because I just didn’t let myself gorge on it all at once. So I still got to enjoy the chocolate, it lasted me so much longer and it saved me money on buying snacks because I already had it! Moderation wins!

But the most important thing at the end of the day is not to beat yourself up about what you eat – it’s more important to eat something that nothing! It’s a time of year for happiness and love and family and in January we can all get back to proper healthy eating and exercise and set New Year’s Resolutions like everyone else.

Lots of love, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll be back with a new post on boxing day!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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just an outfit post

2018, fashion, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I really want to make an effort to talk more about fashion and outfit posts on my blog because it’s something I love and I feel so much more confident about and it’s something I’ve made huge progress on this year so I want to continue documenting that!

So I thought it would be nice if I could find somewhere cute to take the photos on a trip to London on Monday and we walked past this shrubbery outside a restaurant with fairy lights in it and I decided it was festive and cute and this would be it.

However I didn’t think to not be holding the bulging purple bag of my new NASA sweater and the hat and scarf it was too warm for, I didn’t think to shrug off my coat and actually show off my outfit, nor did I think to get any close ups of nice details. But it’s all lessons to learn for the future – can’t rush outfit photos!

This pinafore dress has become such a favourite of mine this month – I bought it in Primark and I really didn’t think it would suit me at all but it’s so flattering! I decided to wear it with a New Look shirt (similar), an old TU from Sainsburys cardigan and my men’s Primark coat.

The shirt and pinafore is something I hadn’t tried before, usually I wear knitwear jumpers with this dress but I really loved the shirt and I’ve decided I’m definitely wearing it on Christmas day.

The tights however – don’t recommend! You think chub rub is just a summer problem? Nah mate – I love how they look and they’re generally so comfy but after 15,000 steps it was a bit much and they actually broke skin, definitely learnt my lesson. They’re okay if you’re staying at home or not walking too far but long term? Don’t bother!

This might be the only cute candid photo of me ever taken. Ironic that it was taken on Monday and then on Tuesday I spent 2+ hours letting a very nice lady called Gemma change dye and cut my hair. I’ll be posting some pictures on Instagram in the next few days but for now these are the photos that I’ll be keeping for a while!

Sometimes I have a proper complex about liking a picture of myself – I don’t want people to think I’m vain or self obsessed because I love a picture of myself but y’know what? It’s so rare that I don’t hate a picture of myself that I am going to sing and shout about this picture and post it everywhere because why not make the most of a photo I actually like?

I think this is the first outfit post I’ve ever written without any particular kind of purpose or message – normally I have a statement about body confidence or my improving relationship with my body but I think my last post about finding some confidence still rings true. I’m still not 100% confident in my body or what I’m wearing, but I don’t think anybody is all of the time! I’m not scared of trying new things and I’m really working on refining my wardrobe and ruthlessly getting rid of the stuff I don’t wear even if I love it.

I’m kind of working on a long term blog post on the process of making my wardrobe into something a bit like but not quite a capsule wardrobe – if you have any tips or advice that would be very much appreciated!

So learning to write about fashion without having a huge point or a big meaningful conclusion is the next step I think! Maybe I need to write less and just let the pictures do the talking (and spend longer getting much nicer pictures that actually show the outfit) but we all know I love a ramble.

And I like reaching a conclusion! In the last week or so a few old friends from school that I knew literally years and years ago have reached out to me on Instagram and said they really like my content and my positivity online.

Being told I’m positive is news to me, I always feel like I’m super depressing and negative and I’ve been desperately trying to make more of an effort with this and I feel it’s paying off. So I like my blog posts to reach a positive conclusion, even if it’s not got a weighty point or covers a topic like body positivity.

Sure, I just wrote a couple of paragraphs about positivity but I can’t smile in an outfit photo because I’ve got a lil bit of a complex about my smile at the moment. But that’s not the point!

I really like this outfit, this pinafore and the fact it coordinates so well with my Dr Marten’s. It’s only from Primark but it’s really opened my eyes to trying things that ‘don’t stereotypically fit my body type’ and giving things a chance! Yes, I’m trying to change my body shape and this time next year I think I’ll have a whole different level of fitness and hopefully be a fairly different dress size, but coming to terms with my body and accepting it for what it is? It’s such a useful life skill to have that peace with yourself.

So no, I don’t have a ‘point’ – I wanted to write an outfit post, I thought it would be fun to take the pictures in London and it’s an outfit for the sake of an outfit. I like sharing and posts without a big conclusion are definitely a work in progress!

As always, thank you to my gorgeous boyfriend for taking the photos – we’re both getting the hang of this ‘fashion blogger’ malarky and I’m so grateful to have my number 1 cheerleader as my go to photographer.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Travel Goals

2018, travel

Hello!

It must have been nearly a month ago now when I booked trains for a trip to Paris next March with my boyfriend – I’ve not booked a hotel yet because that’s 2019 Sophie’s money problem!

However, booking the trains and a few other hotels for other little breaks next year has given me a goal for the year – in an ideal world, I’d love to do a little trip every month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean I want to go abroad every month because that’s just ridiculous. But so far in January I’m going to Newton Abbot for a wedding, in February I’m going on a Centre Parcs holiday (which I’m actually ridiculously excited about), in March I’m going to Paris, in May I’ve got a weekend in London for MCM ComicCon and in November I’m going up to Sheffield (I think?) for a friend’s wedding.

So, in between all of that I think it’s feasible to do another couple of European trips on some of the other months of the year! I just think it’ll be a really nice goal to have a couple of days away each money with my boyfriend, whether it’s visiting friends, a night in London, a new city in the UK or somewhere else completely.

I have so much ambition and next year I’m going to turn things around and really make a life for myself, so why not write blog posts about the ideal world and drive myself to work for it? Either way, I’ve got 7 more months to fill so I thought I’d do a little post on my top 3 European destinations that I’m keeping my eye on for 2019.

Amsterdam – what a stereotypical millennial! I know, but I’ve been dreaming about travelling everywhere I can since I first came back from Tanzania in 2013 and as well as being a stunning city that I’d like to see for myself, Amsterdam is a good place to go for a fairly simple ‘first trip’. I’ve never been on a plane on my own or been the lead traveller, it’s always been a trip lead by a teacher or a lecturer and I feel like Amsterdam is such a popular city to visit that it would be a good first flight trip (with Paris being my first train trip). So it’s a double sided coin – both a good trip for my boyfriend and I learning about travelling and a beautiful city to go see!

Berlin – to be honest, I’ve never been massively drawn to travelling to Germany but it’s an incredible city of culture and I want to learn more about it! It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I wasn’t fussed about it, but I think it was that I was so bad at learning the German language in school that the thought of going to a country where I just couldn’t get to grips with the language is a bit daunting. But I can’t be put off by a whole amazing country because the language intimidates me and it’s an opportunity to learn some of the language I’ve convinced myself it was impossible for me to learn!

And last but not least, Santorini – I think I mentioned it in my last travel post but I’m fascinated by Greece and I think in the summer or around my birthday maybe a week in the sun could be really lovely. Last summer I was so jealous of everyone posting pictures from sunny summer holidays and it was extra frustrating because I just couldn’t comprehend having the money for a summer holiday but this year I’m going to make sure I have a summer holiday for myself! This one is top of my list I think, maybe a birthday-off-summer-season-beach holiday please.

If nothing else it’s all really motivating me to save for travelling and maybe a bigger trip in the future and I can’t wait! If you have any recommendations or travel advice please do let me know in the comments, on twitter or on Instagram – I post on Instagram every single day so I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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