I won NaNoWriMo!

2022, mental health, writing

Hello!

My first attempt at the NaNoWriMo writing challenge (National Novel Writing Month – 50,000 words in the 30 days of November) was in 2011 – it was for a novel idea which I’d called ‘On The Flipside’ (which I still think is a decent idea, maybe I should come back to it at some point!) but I didn’t put anywhere near enough planning in so I struggled up to 15k and had to call it quits. I was only 15.

In 2012, I won NaNoWriMo with the first novel I finished – ‘Type 3: Hyper-Intelligent’, my zombie apocalypse story was planned in advance and completed during my GCSE mock exams and my best friend at the time had major spinal surgery. It’s one of my proudest achievements to date and whilst I don’t think the story will ever quite see the light of day, it showed me that I had what it takes to plan a full on book.

In the ten years since then (I cannot believe it’s been 10 years), I’ve tried it a few times here and there – I’ve never had the right idea to turn into a full length story, let alone the inclination and motivation to do it and take it to fifty thousand words.

This year wasn’t much different – I was intending to use it as a planning period to flesh out a bunch of ideas that I could turn to next year, but I returned to my usual tactic of finding a thirty day word prompt challenge and writing a bunch of short stories – some barely covered the 1,667 word daily word count goal, some reached three or four days worth of word count. I only ended up using 16 of the 30 word prompts I’d found.

But I did it. 10 years on from my first NaNoWriMo win, I did it again – but not only did I write fifty thousand words, I did it in a month I got married, didn’t write on my mini-moon, my new husband then left to work on the World Cup in Qatar and I sank back into the worst depression I’ve had in my life (being fired in September has actually destroyed my mental health, but that’s a different story).

I hit the word count for three days, took ten days off writing then managed to hit 50k by the 29th – I wrote fifty thousand words in 19 days.

These last couple of months have been incredibly hard – my mental health was hugely suffering at the end of the summer, I changed new meds, I had panic attacks like I’d never had before, and then I got fired which snowballed everything into being a hundred times worse. I’ve not been able to sleep properly, it takes me hours to get out of bed and my anxiety has been manifesting into physical symptoms that make me feel ill 80% of the time.

I’m not looking for pity, but all these things rolled together meant I truly believed I was never going to be able to achieve a challenge like this – with no proper storyline, most of my writing only taking place between 10pm and 2am and barely being able to look after myself like a basic human, it didn’t seem like there was any way I could really do this.

But now I’m more inspired than ever – I did it; I did it 10 years ago in the middle of my exams, I did it this year with over a week of no writing and next year I intend to do it again. Although I intend to write more consistently and frequently next year (the goal is 1000 words a week!), I definitely want to do NaNoWriMo again in some capacity. Maybe it’ll be more short stories, maybe it’ll take an idea I spend the first 10 months of the year planning, who knows! But if I can win NaNo whilst going through all of this, hopefully next year will be a different picture entirely.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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3 Weddings Ideas That REALLY Worked!

2022, wedding

Hello!

Yes, I am going to be talking about my wedding for a quite a while (we just got the pro photos back and I. Am. Obsessed) and whilst the whole day was perfect from start to finish, here are three of my favourite parts that just made the day that little bit extra special. Two of which I’ve not seen anyone else do before and one of which is a popular wedding idea that is popular for a reason!

Bookcase Gifts

For our gift list, we didn’t want to make an online registry or anything and I hate the expectation that people would spend a lot of money on us, so we decided to ask our guests for a copy of their favourite book to make a library. I honestly had no idea how much of a conversation it would start but it really got people thinking!

Getting home on Sunday evening and opening all the books, reading people’s reasonings for their choices and all the cards was truly lovely – there was such an amazing variety and it was such a perfect way to have really personal gifts that didn’t cost loads. I even bought a little stamp that marks them all as part of our library and I cannot explain how lovely it was to see what everyone had chosen.

Plus, it made a lovely opportunity for a theme – we had table confetti which was from book pages, one of our ceremony readings was an extract from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ by Phillip Pullman, and our tables for the wedding breakfast were named after books from the Horrible Histories series. It was absolutely perfect.

Photobooth

A Photo Booth is definitely not an original idea, loads of weddings have them but they are such a brilliant way of getting really fun group photos with fun props and silly faces. Especially when one of those props is a pair of glasses with a penis for a nose… and the six year old gets hold of them…

But we got some nice ones too – I managed one whole set of photos with my husband!

Photo Frame Guest Book

I spent a long time thinking about a guestbook – I didn’t think a whole book would get filled and it would be awkward if it was half empty, I saw lots of different options on Etsy for wooden jenga pieces, puzzle pieces or leaves on a tree and none of them quite fit us. I’m not sure where the idea for a frame came from, but with an A1 frame from The Range, an A1 piece of paper from Hobbycraft with the middle cut out and an A4 print from Snapfish (from a Photo Booth at my cousins wedding!) – ta da! Some squiggles from my cousin’s two year old little boy and lots of lovely messages from our closest friends and family that we’ll put on the wall in our home.

It’s the perfect way to have messages from our favourite people in a way that we can always see them, we can swap out the picture in the middle for one from our wedding day and it’s a stunning keepsake.

I could spend all day every day talking about the wedding – it was the most beautiful day, I’ve been looking at the pictures for days and I will be spending a lot of the Christmas period figuring out which ones to put in scrapbooks and photo albums and the likes. There’ll definitely be a few more blog posts, that’s for sure!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I’m back and I’m a WIFE!

2022, wedding

Hello there!

I was so optimistic about having a post scheduled for my wedding day and writing another one when we got back from our mini-moon when I should have just not bothered putting that much pressure on myself! I was in the mindset that I wasn’t too bothered anyway, but three weeks later I’m BACK and I’m a Mrs now!

(still feels surreal and simultaneously exactly the same, very odd)

The day was honestly perfect – the morning was relaxed and easy, the ceremony was absolutely perfect (the closest point I got to crying the whole day), all my favourite people were there and the reception was such a good party. It was perfect from the moment I woke up till the moment I fell asleep.

My mum was an absolute god send, taking care of things I didn’t even know needed to be taken care of throughout the day, making sure I was hydrated and fed, and looking absolutely gorgeous all the while – I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have such a wonderful mum. I didn’t have an official Maid of Honour, but mum was one anyway, not only helping me organise basically everything, attending consultations and meetings with me, but throwing me a surprise hen party when I’d come to terms with not having one. I love you so much mum (and I know you read these posts 💜).

I think my dad was really nervous bless him – I don’t think I’ve ever heard him be so quiet before, he’s normally full of stories and chatter! But he made me feel so special and his speech was so heartfelt and lovely. I was very lucky to sit between two brilliant men at our wedding breakfast (who both said such lovely things about me in their speeches).

Less sentimental, but I’m so proud of how I matched all the purples together – everything looked so good!

Then there was the ceremony – it was fantastic from beginning to end. Our registrars were incredible! They made us feel immediately at ease and spoke as if they’d known us all our lives. We had two readings from two wonderful women – my oldest friend Katy and our mad family friend Heather (who was my mum’s best friend at school) and I think we did pretty well with our personalised promises because lots of people told us they cried. It was so sweet and it’s the bit I’m most excited about reliving when we get to see our video.

And it was official – husband and wife! It was at this point I actually let myself look around the room at all the eyes staring at us and rather than feeling overwhelmed I felt like I was in that bit at the end of a movie where everyone comes together for the happy ending. People from all aspects of our lives – family and friends from all walks of life all in one room just for us. It was magical, so magical.

This was the weirdest part of the day – walking through a room while everyone claps and cheers for you was a surreal and unusual moment. If I’m being brutally honest, at this point of the day, all the adrenaline was catching up with me – I had a banging headache and I was borderline panicking. But during the meal, my mum took me outside for a bit and I had a moment and then I was fine. The strangest feeling was completely losing my appetite – throughout the whole day, I had a sausages sandwich and a croissant for lunch, I ended up having a piece of bread and a sticky toffee pudding during the breakfast and I had one slice of cake in the evening. As someone who very, very rarely looses their appetite, it was very strange!

Not that this put a dampner on the day in any way, but I just wanted to be honest! Every other woman I spoke to that day who had been a bride said they felt the exact same way and it was so reassuring that no one put any pressure on me to eat, but people kept checking in to see if I wanted anything. I have the best people 💜

Just before all the hoo-ha with the meal were the speeches – now all three of the guys were very nervous; my dad had learnt his speech by heart but later confessed he only managed about half of it (it was still wonderful), Lucas finished his the morning of but as you can see it did spill onto a second side of A4! He did a wonderful tribute to those who couldn’t be with us on the day and that was so touching. And his best man, our wonderful best friend Nick, made a fantastic speech with all the right in jokes and he brought his dummy’s guide to being a best man book, which kept him and my mum entertained for most of the breakfast!

I couldn’t not include a picture of the cake – it was so good and so ridiculously big, the entire middle layer is in our freezer and I just hope it’s as nice defrosted as it was on the day. I have no regrets having a chocolate fudge cake, regardless of how ‘untraditional’ it is.

Our first dance was simple – whilst I have been dancing since I was 3, Lucas has three left feet so we just swayed for the entire song. In that moment, I couldn’t see anyone else and I was very grateful I’d changed shoes (you can see a peak of Lucas’s converse, I had matching ones and they were so comfy). Our first dance was Never Seen Anything (Quite Like You) by the Script and it was perfect, I’m so glad we chose it.

And between dancing the night away, we got the whole party outside for sparklers – it was magical and I’m obsessed with this photo. I can’t wait to see the professional ones, but seeing the night through our guest’s perspective is just lovely.

And one last picture because it makes me giggle – we made our post box for cards look like the TARDIS from Doctor Who (because of course we did) (and when I say made, I mean used my cricut to precision cut all the lettering and the windows, which we are disgustingly proud of), so my bouquet went in the slot at the top and our cake topper balanced inside as a temporary home!

I bought a nice vase so now my flowers are in there, but I still thought this was too good not to take a photo for memory’s sake.

Even through just a few photos, I feel such a sense of joy in reliving the day – when we get the professional photos and videos I have absolutely no doubt I’ll be sharing those too.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

my wedding is next week!

2022, wedding

Hello!

From a random night in bed deciding our wedding date in January 2020… to seven days to go.

In six days I’ll be a wife. I’ll have a husband, I’ll have a new surname and I’ll be legally bound to spend the rest of my life with my best friend (and that bit I’m very excited about).

Overall, I’m way more nervous than I thought I’d be – everything’s coming together, it’s all organised, there’s a few little bits that need crafting and I need to double triple check everything’s packed but everything’s ready. My dress is hung in the spare room, I keep getting messages about how excited all our guests are and everything’s paid for (that bit was painful).

I feel like everything’s going to be different after the wedding, like it’s when everything really starts – finding a new job, getting back into weight loss, setting myself a proper routine with exercise, being a wife? What does ‘being a wife’ mean? I don’t think our married life is going to be that different to our life as a couple so far.

Our wedding day is also our seven year anniversary – seven years is a long time and I’m pretty sure people have been calling us an old married couple since just a couple of months after we started dating. We fell hard and fast – Lucas tried to tell me he loved me only a couple of weeks after we started dating, but around the one month mark we went to visit my dad for his birthday and the Christmas light switch on was happening in my home town, so we saw them flip the switch, browsed the festive market and momentarily thought the fake snow was real as he told me for the first time that he loved me.

When I first said it back, I wasn’t sure I meant it – he was my first ever relationship, I’d never been in love, I didn’t know what it felt like. But when I realised I meant it, I didn’t realise how much it could grow – I’m baffled every day but how much I can love and care about a human being and that qualifies me as the worst person to give relationship advice ever because I’m literally so lucky. Move into uni across the hall from someone else who doesn’t want to go clubbing and would rather stay in with fish and chips and watch Doctor Who? That was basically it – two months later we were dating and literally no one was surprised.

Weddings feel like such a big deal – it’s so much planning for what is essentially signing some paperwork and a party, but there isn’t much that’s really going to change for us. Eight days after the wedding, Lucas is off to Qatar for three weeks to work on the World Cup but then he’ll come back and we’ll still be the nerdy couple who will stay in to watch Doctor Who and get take out.

But we’ll share a name.

If I miss posting next week, I think you’ll know why!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

how I got out of my reading slump (this time)

2022, books

Hello!

I feel like there is no reader on the planet who is 100% consistently reading all the time – this year alone, I’ve had a couple of months where I’ve read 5 or 6 books and months where I’ve read one… or less.

(yes, some readers get through 30+ books a month and honestly, I can’t fathom reading that quickly/having that much free time – we work to our own goals! Comparison is the thief of joy, etc etc)

Though I still can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I fell into this slump, I’m 90% sure it was conveniently parallel to a severe drop in my mental health that saw me lose interest in literally everything that ever brought me joy, so rather than beat myself up about not reading enough (I was beating myself up about literally every other aspect of my life anyway), I just rode the wave. I didn’t want to read before bed – I’d play silly phone games with my partner, I’d do some creative writing or I’d just watch YouTube and fall asleep.

To then go into the following month with an unexpectedly lonely birthday, a change in mental health medication, suddenly finding myself jobless and still experiencing the worst depression I’ve ever felt, I didn’t have the energy to read!

What it took, was picking up a contemporary romance (my favourite genre) that I’ve been desperate to read for weeks and taking it to read by the sea when I highjacked my partner’s work trip for free transport to Brighton – after a long day of walking miles and miles and giving myself disgusting blisters, I sat on a bench on the sea front outside our hotel, watched the sunset, and started the book I would then become obsessed with and finish only six days later (which, for context, is fast for me).

Then I tumbled into reading the Heartstopper novella ‘Nick and Charlie’ (because my sibling loaned it to me while I was visiting them in Bournemouth, so I had a limited time to read it!) and finished it in 24 hours, all of which reignited my love for reading and I got back on track with what I’m meant to be reading.

I’m currently working through the middle-grade/YA Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and ‘Point Blanc’ was actually brilliant – I rated it 4 stars, I thought it was clever, fast paced and actually funny (not in a ‘funny if I was 14’ way). And I finished it in six days as well! Bringing my total for October so far to 3 books and I’m back on track for my yearly goal of 36 books!

So here are my three tips for getting out of a reading slump, that I will inevitably ignore myself next time I’m in a reading slump:

One take the pressure off – forcing yourself to read isn’t going to be fun and reading should be a relaxing escape. If your reading time is in the evening and you’re not feeling it, do something else. If your reading time is audiobooks while you’re driving and you want to listen to music instead, you jam away my friend. If you feel like you should be reading more than you want to read, do what you can to separate the obligation from something that should be a nice hobby.

Two – choose something that makes you excited to read again – I’ve recently started a tbr jar and whilst I was excited about it at first, it does mean I don’t always want to read what I pull out. So choosing ‘Love on the Brain’ as a book I was so excited to get stuck into, in my favourite genre, in an engaging, easy to read writing style was perfect for me because it made me excited to read again!

Three – if you do want to ‘kick-start’ your reading habit again, try and make a thing out of it (stay with me) – I carried my book round Brighton all day because I wanted to read by the beach while the sunset. This was two fold in that I was setting up the loveliest reading environment to start a new book and if I didn’t read, it would have been a waste of carrying it round all day. Not sure if it’s the healthiest way to look at it, but it works on my brain so I’m rolling with it!

The crux of it all is that life happens and it has a really great habit of getting in the way of the things that make us happy sometimes, but there is always a way back.

Happy reading!

Sophie xx

Love on the Brain – Ali Hazelwood – 5 STAR REVIEW

2022, books, review

Hello!

It’s a miracle – I’ve just finished reading an actual book for the first time in three months!

I’ve been in a slump and I knew a guaranteed win would be the way to get back into it – I absolutely adored The Love Hypothesis, Ali Hazelwood’s debut novel and hugely popular book on TikTok (that originally started as Star Wars fanfiction, I love that fact!). I loved that it had such a fantastic narrative for women in STEM, I loved the insight into the life of a pHD scientist in America and the romance storyline was just fantastic, I gobbled it up.

Not to mention the spicy scenes. But I know my mum reads my posts so I won’t go into too much detail on that front.

I’ve been on a book buying ban for the whole year so far. Don’t get me wrong, I have caused books to be bought (thank you fiancé and parents ❤️) but when I got a book voucher for my birthday I was very excited to use it and knew immediately that I was going to buy Love on the Brain, even though I knew literally nothing about it.

Neuroscientist Bee has had a pretty turbulent first 28 years of her life – from losing her parents as a toddler, to being sent all over Europe and North America to live with a variety of family members with her twin Reike, to settling in the US for college, meeting and breaking up with fiancé Tim after he slept with her best friend Annie and she gave up on a fantastic career opportunity to get away from them and work with sleazy, sexist boss Travis at the National Institute for Health.

When she’s chosen to lead a fantastic new project at NASA called BLINK, working on developing helmets for astronauts that use neural stimulation to aid concentration she’s beyond thrilled – she sees her career blossoming in glittering lights… Until she finds out she will actually be co-leading the project with Dr Levi Ward, who’d made it glaringly obvious when their pHD placements overlapped that he didn’t like her, and she’s dreading working with him again.

(I hope that doesn’t spoil anything!)

Bee has such a fun narrative – she was so realistic and her side comments had me consistently laughing out loud, aptly described by my fiancé as ‘an evil giggle’. She was instantly likeable and the way she was written made the neuroscience and STEM aspects of the plot so accessible – no, I don’t know what all the big words mean and the chapter titles were a bunch of jumbly letters (I think they were parts of the brain?), but I didn’t need to. Whenever any work related jargon would appear in the dialogue, it was written brilliantly enough to be totally comprehendible.

And don’t get me started on Levi – he’s every romance booktooker’s new fictional boyfriend; tall, gorgeous, physically fit and has a wonderful, wonderful way with words, I know I won’t be able to get him off my mind for a while. I literally told my fiancé he should read Love on the Brain to get tips from Levi (in the most loving way possible, of course).

Not only were the protagonists wonderful, but the ongoing plot was delicious and the twist at the end??? The last 50 odd pages were an absolutely whirlwind and very, very much took my by surprise. I was wholeheartedly enthralled from beginning to end, which only took me six days (which considering I’ve been in a reading slump for three months, is nothing short of overwhelming evidence that this book is bloody brilliant).

I honestly have no criticisms about Love on the Brain – I adored the characters, the plot was fun, exciting and then very dramatic and honestly I learned a lot about Marie Curie, which is always a bonus to learn something new!

A very, very enthusiastic 5 star review from me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

In 4 Weeks I’ll Be A Wife!!

2022, lifestyle, wedding

Hello!

If we flash back to January 2020, before we knew what social distancing was and knew what it was like to spend months away from our families, my boyfriend and I picked a wedding date in what was potentially the most anticlimactic (but most us) engagement ever and this moment felt a million years away.

Even now, I don’t think it’s properly settled into my brain that I’m going to be married and have a husband in just under a month. I’ll be the one wearing the gorgeous white dress, we’ll have said our vows and signed the paperwork! How mad is that??

With four weeks to go, all the planning is done, but there’s still a fair bit to do in terms of centre pieces, favours, name place cards, crafting signs and letterboxes, making sure everyone’s on the same page with where they need to be and when etc. It really is exciting and although it sounds worse than I intend it to, I’ll be so glad when the day comes so I won’t have to do anything else!

The main thing on my mind at the moment is the more exciting aspect of marrying my best friend – our wedding day is our seven year anniversary and I honestly can’t believe that 1) it’s been seven whole years we’ve been together and 2) it’s only been seven years, when I feel like I don’t really remember a time when he wasn’t there and we didn’t experience life together. I’m excited to read my vows to him (I’m really pleased with what I’ve written), I’m excited for our first dance and I can’t wait to see him in his suit and spend all day being sappy and no one rolling eyes at us!

I love our venue, I love the choices we’ve made in decor and clothing, I love the people we’ve chosen to be part of our day and although I’m still a little overwhelmed by how much there still is to do, I’m trying to focus on the part where I’m excited.

The pros of suddenly being unemployed mean I have plenty of time to get everything done (whilst the cons mean my mental health has taken a nose dive and I often don’t have the motivation to do anything… it’s a fun game). Even just glancing at my list of what still needs doing it’s predominantly really specific questions for our coordinator, lots of logistical organisation, and crafting, but I do have a habit of making my to do lists really detailed so even though it’s currently a very long list, it’s all actually very achievable.

Whilst he was at work the other day, my fiancé was given a work phone (he’s been banging on about wanting an iPhone for weeks, so it’s nice that he’s been able to scratch that itch, not that the hyper fixation has worn off!) and he was very proud to show me when he got home that he only set up one contact – he’d added me in with his surname and it was actually quite shocking, I didn’t recognise that it was me! The name thing still freaks me out a bit – it will definitely take some getting used to, but I’ve got the rest of my life to do that!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

October Goals

2022, goals

Hiya,

Well, September didn’t go to plan, at all. At first I thought I was putting off blogging because I was busy and tired, then I realised I was also burnt out, then the country went into National Mourning as the Queen died and my partner had to go into London and miss my birthday to be part of the team broadcasting the events around the funeral, then everything changed at work and I found it incredibly overwhelming, but just as I was getting to grips with it I got wiped out with a cold and had to take time off work, then when I forced myself to work from home on the last day of the week to try and catch up ahead of the following week, and I got fired.

I’m really trying not to follow up ‘I got fired’ with some sort of justification that doesn’t make me sound like the problem, because good people don’t get fired right? But I’ll be battling that one for a while I think.

So I haven’t blogged for a while. My September Goals didn’t really go to plan, I wasn’t expecting to set the October Goals I have but this is where I am. Let’s just get right to it.

  • update CV, cover letter and apply for some jobs

It’s all out of date so needs a revamp, more urgently than anticipated.

  • set up film camera and start taking photos again!

I need to start making time for hobbies that are offline – off my phone or my laptop or my Xbox. I love photography, I’m not very good at it but I can only get better by practising and there’s something beautiful about only having one chance to take a photo.

  • finish planning the wedding!

This is the last full calendar month before I get married. In just a few weeks I will be a wife. That’s still a very surreal thought. I’m so excited to marry my best friend but I am so excited to not be planning this day anymore.

  • writing challenge – 30,000 words

I was literally just thinking about how I was going to post-pone this goal to after the wedding because there was no way I was going to be able to do a full time job and plan a wedding, but then I didn’t have a full time job anymore so might as well throw myself into a writing challenge right?

I don’t have a specific project in mind for this challenge, it’s very much going to be writing whatever I feel like as a form of therapy. And I think that’s okay.

  • monthly goals

– Read 3 books (I haven’t finished a book in two months now, burnout is hitting me hard)
– Date night (we haven’t had a chance to do what my partner planned for my birthday since he got back from the funeral so at least we’ll have a lot more time now)
– Craft project (I have lots to do for the wedding, maybe this will be the first month this year I finish a project)

And that’s it! Normally I have a lot more rambling to do in these posts but as of writing I’m only four days post getting fired so I’m not on top form. But I’ll be making self-deprecating jokes about not having a job for the foreseeable.

For life moments beyond my control is part of the reason I have these goals – as a probably-autistic person, I struggle without routine and I’m not good at sudden change (particularly when it’s not my choice), so at least I have a few things to focus on here.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

September Goals 2022

2022, goals

Hello!

I love September.

Is it the childish part of me that loves the month my birthday is in? Probably. Is it the nerdy part of me that always looked forward to going back to school? Probably. Is it the maybe-autistic part of me that craved routine and structure that school and education gave me so this time of year will forever be associated with new pencil cases, a new timetable and a new start? Almost certainly.

But a culmination of all of that means that I love this time of year – it’s cooling off, my jackets and cardigans start to get some use again and we’re creeping towards Doc Martin season, I love it.

This year, things are very different – I’m two months away from getting married and starting to feel the wedding planning stress that everyone talks about, for the first time probably ever I haven’t been counting down the days till my birthday and it’s snuck up on me and my mental health is pretty shaky right now. I’m in the process of changing over to a new medication and honestly, I’m kind of terrified of how it will effect me with so much other stuff going on, but I have the support of my wonderful family and friends and some surprisingly nice doctors so I’m letting myself trust them (because if I trust my gut, then my gut is full of anxiety and it’s not very reliable).

My August goals were very mixed – I only achieved one goal fully and that was to choreograph a tiktok which I did in approximately thirty minutes. The rest were kind of half finished and in progress with fitness goals, wedding prep and a writing challenge that I absolutely wasn’t prepared for.

I didn’t even finish my reading goal! It’s been a long, stressful month.

But a new month is a fresh start, I have new goals and I’m working on being more forgiving with myself. The key part being ‘working on’.

M Y S E P T E M B E R G O A L S

Start a new morning routine
I’ve been using this weight loss programme called noom (which was a massive waste of money, but that’s for another time) and one of the psychological tricks it’s taught me is ‘habit bundling’, which is taking a habit you already have a training yourself to associate another one with it.

So I want to make time for stretching more (because although I’m not a dancer in any way, shape or form, I still want to work on my flexibility for my ballet classes) and actually doing some body skincare and moisturising my skin every day, so I’m bundling those with brushing my teeth and taking 20 minutes in the morning to do something that’s for me and off a screen! As I’m writing this it’s September 2nd and I’m 2 for 2, so a strong start!

Wardrobe update
I had a go at the 333 challenge last year some time (33 items of clothing in 3 month rotations) and 33 items just isn’t achievable, I don’t think, but I really loved having a seasonal wardrobe and I’ve found it’s been great for making me wear more of what I already have and feeling like I get a ‘new’ set of clothes every few months.

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of these horrible heatwaves, so I’m going to be going through my most summery items, donating the ones I haven’t reached for, packing away the pieces I’ve loved and getting out the warm cosies!

Research ‘producer’ role and find out more about working in TV/Film
Do I see myself working in TV or film in the future? Realistically, no, but that is where the hierarchy of job roles within video media was forged so I want to learn more about it. The thing with working for a start-up is that I’ve been given the role of ‘Media Production Executive’ and the founding member of the media team, but I think having more of a TV like structure could be beneficial for us and I want to figure out more about what the role entails and what I could go on to next in my career, as right now I’m pretty clueless.

Wedding tasks
My wedding is approximately two months away and wow the stress is hitting me really hard at the moment. Here’s the list of things I need to sort this month:

  • confirm bridesmaid’s dresses
  • confirm plans with venders and suppliers
  • go for a dress fitting and schedule alterations
  • buy guest favours
  • write ‘personalised promises’ (non-religious vows)
  • book manicure/pedicure

Alongside appointments for a make-up trial, a florist check in, a fashion show with my bridesmaids trying on options, getting our matching wedding converse embroidered (I know), getting our guest book, sorting my partners shirt, shoes and ties, booking the ushers suits, sorting their shirt, shoes and ties, having a trial manicure, a hair trial, meeting with the coordinator at the venue (twice) and lots of crafting bits and bobs for centre pieces, order of the day signs and a photo board!

I think this explains why I’m stressed.

And my monthly goals that I aim for every month are to read three books, have a date night and do a craft project (which I’ve not successfully completed once this year, but I can dream!).

It’s getting manic and I’m very much looking forward to our mini-moon in Dorset by the sea in November, but for now I’m riding the wave!

And still trying to get used to the concept of calling my silly boy my ‘husband’ and having a different surname!

Lots of big things happening, but it’s exciting too and I’m trying to savour it all.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

What I Read In August

2022, books

Hello!

This blog post could be an incredibly short one because I only managed to read one book this month – I had a lovely weekend with my mum at the end of July where I finished Five Feet Apart, Heartstopper Volume 3 and Heartstopper Volume 4, then starting Stormbreaker – the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz – finishing that relatively quickly ready to move straight on to Point Blank…

Then I spent most of the month in severe burnout so my two prime reading times – audiobooks on my drive to and from work and in bed before I go to sleep – were lost. If I listened to my book while driving it made me dangerously tired, so I had to listen to music instead then in the evenings, I would fall asleep almost scarily quickly the second I got into bed – I wouldn’t have made it through a page.

So Point Blank hasn’t been started, I’ve not finished listening to Daughter of Burning City by Amanda Foody and the amazing start I made in the last weekend of July did not follow through to August.

And you know what… that’s fine.

I think the danger with places like BookTok and Bookstagram is that the popular creators are the kind that can read a 300 page book in just a couple of hours and listen to audiobooks on three times speed (I can’t even fathom being able to listen to it that fast) so their reading goals are, like, 200 books a year and that seems a million miles away from my goal of 36 (which according to Storygraph, I’m still two books ahead of my target!).

I don’t know why I thought blogging about my reading once a month or setting up a bookstagram would make me read faster, because it absolutely doesn’t do that – I love writing reviews, sharing what I’m reading and seeing other people’s posts, but I’m really glad I haven’t starting forcing myself to read faster in order to keep up with the pace that I see others reading.

There’s a fine line between reading for enjoyment and reading to play the numbers game or post about it online, but I’m glad I’ve been able to focus on enjoying reading more than anything else.

So the one book I did finish this month was Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz. Although I’ve owned a box set of the first six books probably since the film came out in 2006 (when I was approximately 10 years old… I’m 26 next month) I’ve never read them and the only thing I had to go on was the film.

The writing style was definitely middle grade / YA, which makes sense with the protagonist being 14 years old, but it was a lovely narrative that well balanced the experience of being a teenage spy and a little bit of a sarcastic know-it-all, but set in the early 2000s so no iPhones or XBoxes! It was very easy to read whilst still being engaging and actually quite funny, which is an all round win from me.

Although I’m 16 years late to making the comparison, the film adaptation was actually very close to the book – it’s a very accurate page to screen transfer but as with every book-to-film, there was just more in the book that made it more exciting. There’s a whole scene where Alex has to swim blind in this underground cave thing to find out what’s going on in the lab with the Stormbreaker production and that would have been so tense on film, but perhaps a little much to watch a teenager nearly drown.

Considering how much I enjoyed reading Stormbreaker, I definitely had (and have) the enthusiasm to launch straight into Point Blank, the second of the six books I own and the now fourteen book series, but the amount of sleep I require to function disagrees.

I’m slowly getting my mojo back and I’m pretty sure I hit my breaking point earlier this week, so hopefully it’s all up from here and maybe I’ll actually get back to reading more consistently! Rather than reading 4-6 books in a month then only reading one, if that.

But that’s the thing about reading as a hobby – it’s not about how much you feel you ‘should’ be reading or the titles you think you ‘should’ be reading – it’s about reading what makes you happy, when you have time for it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx