May Monthly Mixtape!

2019, music

Hello!

I’ve got a whole 20 songs that I’ve been loving this month to share with you! Between belting Heathers at the top of my lungs and listening to School of Rock and Dear Evan Hansen on loop (it’s been a very musical month) I have actually been listening to my Discover Weekly and adding music I’ve heard in general day to day life. So here’s the sound to my May!

Brand New (Ben Rector) and Flatliner (Cole Swindell, Dierks Bentley) are both songs that my boyfriend has on his playlist but I feel like I properly listened to them this month – Brand New is a really lovely, very romantic song that is bright and indie-pop-ish.

Flatliner has more of a story – one of my boyfriend’s assessments involved picking a scene from a film, recreating all the sound and essentially recreating all the sound for the scene. They picked Cars, the film famed for the most wonderful Rascal Flats song ‘Life is a Highway’, and to find a song similar to that – they found Flatliner. I now associate that song with a film it’s not in, but it’s properly catchy and it makes me think maybe I don’t hate country music? It’s fun, a lil bit rocky and you can imagine Lightning McQueen, what more could you want?

GUM (Jule Vera) is a song I found on my discover weekly – it’s a bit of a weird song, takes some twists and turns that don’t fit the stereotypical pop mould but that’s why I like it. I’d love to see someone with a proper creative eye for dance choreograph something for this song because I definitely can’t do it justice.

ME! (Taylor Swift, Brendon Urie) and I don’t care (Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber) are songs I added because I do actually somewhat keep up with new releases and Brendon Urie and Ed Sheeran are two of my faves. I think ME! is a fun, empowering tune and I don’t care isn’t what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be about being a cool kid that doesn’t care about the #rulez but it was actually a surprisingly romantic song, Sheeran and Bieber’s voices really suit each other and it’s just a nice, gentle song. Big fan.

Mark My Words (Doll Skin) feels like a little bit of a throwback – it feels like the kind of pop-punk/rock I listened to when I was 14 or 15, a little bit Paramore esque but more rocky and I love the chorus.

Alone Sometimes (The Mowgli’s) is another one that my boyfriend likes, but it was also on my Discover Weekly spotify playlist – I thought I recognised it but I also really enjoyed it! And I keep getting the lyrics wrong and singing alive sometimes instead of alone sometimes, which I think still fits but does somewhat change the meaning of the song. This is another indie-pop track with two lead vocals that fit really well together and a lovely message.

Shoutout of the month goes to a song that isn’t new and probably isn’t a lot of people’s first choice, but I’ve been loving The Way We Are by Alesha Dixon – I heard it in a performance at a dance convention I went to at the end of last month and thought it was such a catchy bop! It makes me smile every time it comes on and I genuinely think it’s really hard not to dance to, even if it’s just nodding your head – it’s happy, it’s upbeat, it’s fun. Love it.

If you want to have a nosy around my Spotify, I’ve got a bunch of badly organised and incredibly varied playlists you can have a look at here. I’m really enjoying writing about music at the moment, so as always recommendations are always welcome, all my social media is linked below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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I don’t hate running anymore? | unfitness

2019, fitness

Hello!

I know, the title is so shocking that I don’t even need to write a post to follow it up right? But we all know I will.

I feel like every time I go on Instagram I see stories and posts all about travelling, babies and working out – lots of people are documenting their journey with running, I follow a couple of people who are basically fitness instagrammers and there’s been a whole bunch of body positivity on my feed for #mentalhealthawarenessweek which is fab.

But between Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lucie and the bump and Hannah Witton’s surgery to 5k series, I felt inspired and in quite a snap decision I decided I was going to do Couch to 5k too. I may have mentioned it a bit prematurely in my May Goals post (literally the first day I did it) but you know what? I’ve stuck with three runs a week for three weeks and I can see massive progress!

I know this is going to sound so stupid, but it’s incredibly well designed (by the NHS, so of course it is) – three runs is the perfect amount of time to adjust. When I do the first run of each week, by the end of the half an hour I’m normally doing a fast walk more than a run but I push through and by the third and last run of each week I can pretty consistently ‘run’ for the whole time I’m meant to run.

Just as a quick summary – Couch to 5k is an app, I use the NHS designed one but I’ve used other ones before which are usually the exact same program just in a different app. It coaches you and slowly builds it up over 9 weeks to be able to run roughly 5km in roughly half an hour! So in week one, it was a 5 minute warm up walk then alternating between 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking 8 times and then a 5 minute cool down walk. The week 3 I’ve just finished was a 5 minute walk, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minute run, 3 minute walk, 90 second run then walk, 3 minutes run and a 5 minute cool down walk. Just to summarise!

So when I say ‘run’, I don’t mean a full on sprint, I mean a semi decently consistent 6km/hour jog when I’m meant to run and a somewhat leisurely 4km/hour when I’m meant to walk.

And the reason I know what speeds I’m going out is actually something that I wanted to mention as working really well for me – I’m doing my couch to 5k on a treadmill rather than running outside. I’m fortunate enough that my mum has a treadmill in her garage that I can use rather than having to go to the gym (I do want to start doing that soon though!) but it makes running so much more appealing for these reasons:

  • I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to worry about ‘bumping into’ someone I know (I don’t really know anyone in my town anyway but still), I don’t have to worry about finishing my run further away from my house that I really want to. Being inside is a big plus for me.
  • I can watch YouTube which is my favourite thing to do when I’m running because I don’t like listening to music because I run in time rather than at my pace, I don’t listen to podcasts (yet?) and I don’t want to listen to the radio (see music reasons) and bonus – it means I can cover the treadmill screen, which is good because looking at times and stats just gets me too much in my head about it and then I don’t run very well.
  • It sets a pace that I can maintain because I know full well that I would go significantly slower if I didn’t have that consistent pace so it means I’m training myself even more than just couch to 5k.
  • Even if it’s not a pace I can maintain, knowing the treadmill is at 6km/hour means I know that even if I’m fast-walking rather than slow-running, I’m still going at 6km/hour which I wouldn’t be doing if I was running outside. So by the time I do start running outside I’ll be better at pacing myself without having my pace set for me.
  • Did I mention I don’t have to leave my house?

At this point in the plan, I generally run to over 2km – in week 2 I was reaching 2.5km but in week 3 even though the times I’m running for is longer, over the whole run I’m running for less time so I’m not going as far but at the moment I’m just following the program and doing whatever Sarah Millican’s lovely voice tells me to do.

All round – I’m feeling really good about the whole thing, I’m really excited about getting to week 9 and being able to run 5k! I’m already thinking about being able to run further than 5k – to me, it seems natural to progress from 5k to 10k to a half marathon (roughly 20k) and then a marathon (just over 40k!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I’ve set myself the personal goal of taking part in the ABP Southampton ‘Marathon’ (there’s lots of races but it’s generally referred to as the ‘marathon’) – it’s a fairly big event in Southampton and it was a significant part of my time there so it feels right that if I was to do a race I would start there. But for now, just going to finish my couch to 5k and keep doing what I’m doing.

One day I’ll definitely start running outside but for now, sticking with my couch to 5k program on my mum’s treadmill and loving it!

If you have any questions about starting running or using couch to 5k, leave a comment down below and I’ll answer anything! But I will say, if I can do it, anyone can do it I promise!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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going back to uni – am I a failure?

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been over a year since I handed in my Final Major Project and finished working on my degree which means I’ve been applying for jobs for over a year and I’ll be honest, it’s utterly soul destroying.

I’m sure other people in my position feel the same – it starts to feel like maybe you don’t have the skills you know you have, maybe you’re not good enough for any of these jobs, or maybe you don’t actually want to go into the industry you’ve been working towards or whether your entire life so far is a lie.

Or maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic?

Maybe I am, but those are just some of the thoughts I’ve had over the hundreds of jobs I’ve read through and not applied for because it would either just be added to the pile of ones I never hear back from or I’ll get another rejection email and that won’t help anything.

So with the help of the careers team at my old university, I’ve been given the opportunity to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – plan for my professional development (i.e. help me figure out how to get a job). And from there, depending on how the summer goes and unless I miraculously get a job, I’m hoping to start a masters degree at the end of September but I’m going to go to a couple of open days in June before I properly decide.

But is going back to uni just giving up on getting a job? Is the equivalent of saying ‘I know I can’t get a job without more training’? Obviously that’s just how I feel in my field of study – lots of courses have natural progression on to a more specified field including mine but for me there’s always that element of doubt.

So I thought I’d collate a few reasons why going back to uni definitely DOES NOT make me or you or anyone a failure and some things we can remind ourselves of whilst we’re still looking for the right job.

Getting more qualifications is never a bad thing – lots of people will do courses in the workplace, so it’s not that different to that really is it? In my unplanned year ‘off’ I’ve learnt to drive and become a qualified first aider so they’re other qualifications too, it’s just a larger scale much more expensive version of that.

It’ll make us more employable in the long run (hopefully) – having an MA to your name has to help a bit, doesn’t it?

I want to better myself and learn more and I would have done that if I got a job anyway – I love learning, developing my skills and keeping up with whatever changes in technology and I would have wanted to keep learning if I was in a career related job anyway. It’s just going about learning in a slightly different way.

I’m clutching a straws a bit I guess – it’s quite specific to be going back to uni because I can’t get a job and I’m sure most people going to do a masters are more than happy, in fact excited, to go back to studying because for them it’s not a last resort. And I suppose it’s not a ‘last resort’ – a real last resort would be giving up and deciding I’d work in retail or a job I don’t really want for the rest of my life. I probably won’t even be in this job I’m craving at the moment for the rest of my life so who knows why I’m being so dramatic about it all!

In conclusion (I’m getting back into the essay writing, can you tell?), going back to uni or studying a Masters or a PhD or whatever should never be something to consider a failure or be ashamed of. This post is as much for me as it is anyone else worrying about their future – even though it’s not quite going the way you’ve planned, it’s okay, something will happen, it’s just not our time yet.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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top tips for photo albums and scrapbooking!

2019, creativity

Hello!

Scrapbooking and photo albums are such easy ways of keeping memories – saving concert tickets, postcards from holidays and printed photos is such a nice physical representation of what’s important to you to sit and flick through with family and friends.

For some, it’s as simple as something to stick down and a bit of tape, for the more creative of us there’s patterned paper, coloured pens, washi tape, stickers, stencils, stamps and all sorts of other bits and bobs to take it from memories on a page to something that is much more of a creative outlet.

That’s what scrapbooking and making my photo albums is for me – it’s a couple of hours in an afternoon a couple of times a month saving memories for generations down the line to browse through. So I thought I’d have a little ramble of how it works for me and a few tips and tricks.

[ s c r a p b o o k i n g ]

I started my scrapbook because I wanted somewhere to put all of my photos and posters that I’d had to take down from bedroom wall before I moved to uni. I spent maybe an hour on it in first year (yes, 2015) and then didn’t really touch it till I moved home after graduating. But then I went all out! I’d build up quite the collection of memories at this point and I spent a couple of days pouring my heart and soul in these pages to get up to date.

 

Now I just update it whenever I’ve got something I want to stick in or I’ve been on a trip and collected lots of memories – like when I took my boyfriend to Paris earlier this year.

Something I’ve learnt now that I will definitely implement in my future scrapbooking is not getting too heavy with layering things on top of each other – sticking stuff onto every page is already going to make your scrapbook fat enough but you still want to be able to close it.

But otherwise, I don’t really have any tips or tricks to share – scrapbooking is an incredibly personal thing and whether you’re simply sticking things in or you’ve got stickers and magic tapes galore, it all looks good and serves the same purpose – it’s all just about what you want from your scrapbook.

[ p h o t o   a l b u m s ]

My photo albums started as a way to capture university memories – I used a website called photobox to print polaroid-ish photos with little captions and I hung them up in my room on my fairy lights. In second year, after I worked (and lost my job) at Paperchase (still bitter, ngl) I bought one of their beautiful self adhesive photo albums which were perfect for four photos per page, lovely quality, fantastic.

I did my last photobox order after I finished university as by then, my mum had found an app called Snapfish which offers 50 free 6×4 prints a month (but only on the app, not the website) and I started ordering from there.

So I went from a self adhesive album, to a more scrapbook like album, to another self-adhesive Paperchase album, to an actual scrapbook.

Yeah, this is where it all starts to crossover.

I remembered I had a scrapbook that I had given to my Nan as a Christmas present and my uncle had given it back to me after she passed away. I was keeping it for ‘something special’ and it just kind of hit me that if I kept saving it I was never going to use it. So I flicked through the pages she had used, typed up a little letter of context (for any future generations who are obviously deeply concerned about the story behind the scrapbook…) and started sticking in my 2019 photos!

Personally I really like using photo corners because I think they’re the easiest way to make sure the photos stay secure without damaging them and they can look really cute too.

My biggest tip is don’t be drawn in to all the really expensive photo albums on the market – though the self adhesive ones can have really pretty designs and be ‘so convenient’, it’s significantly cheaper to buy an A3 scrapbook and some funky photo corners. But like the scrapbooking, it’s down to personal preference.

[ t h e    p l a n ]

From here, I’m going to keep filling photo albums until I finish my scrapbook and then I’m going to combine the two. I was finding I was having to print multiples of the same photo to put in each memory book so I’m just going to keep printing photos and keep the memorabilia to work in to combine them all.

It’ll make my photo albums more creative, it’ll stop duplicates in my scrapbook and all round, it’s something I’m really excited about. It’s going to be so cute.

At the end of the day, I design all of these because I’m an incredibly sentimental person who is absolutely in love with the idea of my family, generations down the line looking back through my soppy memories of the beginning of my relationship, growing up, dumb things that make me laugh and the creativity I put into it, it’s so much fun. But all completely recyclable too so there’s always that.

If you’ve got any scrapbook or photo album tips please do let me know in the comments! I love looking at pictures of other peoples journals and albums!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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fitting into my old clothes | outfit

2019, fashion

Hello!

I’ve only mentioned it approximately six billion times but I’ve been making lifestyle changes to lose weight for over six months now and consequently (obviously) my relationship with my body and my wardrobe has changed.

For starters, I feel more like me than I’ve felt in a very long time – I feel less like the Michelin Man and more like myself, I’m working on being more comfortable in my skin both in terms of making my body somewhere I like to live and addressing my mental body confidence. Overall, I feel better in myself.

But also, I’ve been refining my wardrobe ever since I started packing to move out of Southampton – I’ve been getting rid of clothes to donate to charity shops/sell/whatever since I packed that first box, to when I had a sort out before Christmas, after Christmas and this weekend just gone. I’ve slowly been cutting down and refining my wardrobe in a sort of capsule-esque way, but thinking more about what I need from my wardrobe and detaching from sentimentality (because no one needs to keep clothes 1) because ‘I love it so much even though I never wear it’ and 2) because they were expensive and it feels like a waste).

And then I had a box of clothes on top of my wardrobe that I’ve been saving for summer/when I lost weight and I got them out during my last clear out and there’s only two or three items that I feel like I need to lose more weight to wear and that is so motivating.

So here are some clothes that I didn’t feel I could wear before!

The leather jacket isn’t one of those items – I bought that for a wedding I went to in January, but I don’t have a lot of jackets. The jeans I bought for when I went to New York last year – they fit okay, but they were a bit too big when I stood up and far too tight when I sat down and they went back into the drawer until now. Now they’re far too big when I stand up and they’re comfortable when I sit down – I’m not going to let go of them just yet because they still fit but definitely need a belt with these ones.

The yellow cropped shirt is a dodie shirt from her ‘you‘ EP release (now on sale, if you’re interested!) and this is the first time I’ve worn it – I’ve loved the design ever since I bought two whole years ago but I’ve never felt ‘skinny enough’ or confident enough to wear it. Some would probably say I’m still not skinny enough but I don’t care – I feel absolutely adorable and whilst I’m not the huge fan of dodie I was when I bought it, it’s still a cute yellow crop top and I love anything yellow.

omg cheeky bit of tummy 😱

Reclaiming the few items that I kept for a time when I could actually shift the weight I hated has actually motivated me more than ever to keep working to lose as much as I can – I’ve come a really long way in the last year, especially the last six months and I knew when I put those clothes into a box a year ago that they would be the motivator I needed, not a sad reminder of what I’d lost (or gained, depending on how you look at it…).

That’s not to say you have to lose weight to feel good about yourself or keep your old clothes as an inspiration – if you feel fab as you are? You’re rocking it, you go girl. If you need to throw the clothes that don’t fit away (or donate them) to help you accept who you are now – you do you, whatever empowers you. Everyone is on their own journey (however pretentious that sounds) – personal growth is exactly that, it’s personal.

I’ve still got a long way to go – I’m not anywhere near my goal weight or a healthy weight for my height yet and I’m still learning and developing every day to do all I can to continue losing. But I felt cute – I can comfortably wear almost everything in my wardrobe and I’m not dreading getting these wobbly arms and legs out in the summer, in fact? I can’t wait to sit out in the sun with a good book and get away from screens for a bit.

Despite the fact it’s basically winter in the UK right now and sunny summer seems a loooooong way away, I’m not dreading the summer heat and wearing more clothes than is comfortable for the sake of covering up.

I’m making progress! Summer healthy eating is so much easier and I’m actually enjoying running (and hopefully exercising more)! And I don’t feel at war with my wardrobe anymore! Yay!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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I could hear a bee in the plant behind me…

a night in Cambridge | travel

2019, travel

Hello!

I can’t believe it’s May and I’m about to start talking about New Year’s Resolutions but I had three resolutions that I wanted to complete every month – read a book, do a ‘one square every day’ drawing and go on a little trip. I never meant like a full on holiday but just seeing somewhere new every month with my boyfriend.

In January, we went to Newton Abbott in Devon for my cousin’s wedding, in February we went to Centre Parcs in the Lake District (didn’t see much of the Lake District… but I’m counting it!) and March we went to Paris.

Obviously, I’ve made a vague plan/list of ideas for each month for the rest of the year and my plan for April was to go to Cambridge – it’s just down the road from where I live on the train, it’s a beautiful city with so much history and architecture so it just made sense.

So I booked a little ‘last minute’ trip just six days in advance – booked a Premier Inn, booked the train tickets and we were ready to go! So last week, we hopped on a train and visited somewhere we’ve never been before!

The thing that was a little bit different for me on this trip, is that I didn’t really plan in advance – I had a little google of things to do and tried to get some ideas but everything cost money and we didn’t have any money to spend really.

So we hopped off the train and picked a direction to just walk in – we saw a food place called ‘Big Ass Burritos’, we passed the coolest Wetherspoons with a cinema attached, we passed botanical gardens and so many stunning churches and it was so lovely to just walk with literally no plans.

We found a shopping centre called Grand Arcade that was lovely for a browse (a Typo shop and a Disney store for me and a Raspberry Pi workshop for my boyfriend) and by then we were starting to get a bit peckish and tired so we searched on maps and started to follow the route to the hotel.

On the way we found another shopping complex, The Grafton Centre, which had CEX, Game and a Cafe Nero across the road so we did a bit of browsing (I resisted buying a Nintendo Switch), had lunch in Nero (the best cheese and tomato toastie on the market, in my opinion) and then walked towards Premier Inn to check in for the night.

We stayed in the hotel room for an hour or so just to get our energy back a little bit, then we headed to a Tesco’s superstore across the road for evening supplies, then there was a big retail park complex across the road that had the Frankie & Benny’s we wanted to go to for dinner at the end, so we had a really domestic-couple’s trip to Currys PC World to look at Magic Fridge’s and talk about what our dream vacuum cleaner is, a browse in Argos’ sale section and a stalling look around the Homebase garden centre before heading to F&B’s for food.

And wow the food didn’t disappoint – my boyfriend has an absolutely huge pizza, I had an amazing lasagne from the ‘FeelGood’ menu (so I didn’t feel too guilty about treating myself!) and we treated ourselves to two sides – garlic bread pizza (very disappointing, literally 1/10) and cheese and bacon fries (exceeded expectations, 8/10). The best bit – restaurant dining doesn’t have to break the bank, it wasn’t the most expensive restaurant anyway but it doesn’t take much to find vouchers or discounts so definitely worth looking around if you’re going on a trip and don’t have a huge budget to work with.

The most surprising thing about the whole trip is that the food from our dinner was so filling, neither of us wanted to eat any of the Tesco’s snacks we’d bought before in the evening, so packing it all to come home the next day was a bit of a challenge.

We took it really slowly the next day – we didn’t check out of the hotel till half 10, maybe nearer 11am and then we just walked again. We wanted to explore Forbidden Planet and I had a couple of bits I wanted to pick up in Primark and they were both near the Grafton Centre, so we took a slow waddle back via lots of charity shops (gotta love a charity shop!).

For lunch we headed to the Wetherspoons we’d spotted the day before and spent the best part of a couple of hours killing time – our train was 5 or 6 hours away at this point and we weren’t that far from the train station. We didn’t really have any plans, didn’t have anywhere we particularly wanted to see so we really weren’t sure how we were going to kill this time.

After we left Spoons, we wondered into the University Botanical Gardens but unless we missed something huge, there wasn’t much to see and we felt like we were actually trespassing the whole time. It was a very nice garden with actual ‘don’t walk on the grass’ signs, but other than a nice lawn and amazing buildings there wasn’t too much to see.

So after a quick wonder and getting a little bit lost, we settled in the Cafe Nero by the train station for the best part of two hours, just talking and scrolling and enjoying the atmosphere of the city.

Then we hopped on the train home already thinking about where we want to go next. In May, we’re going to London for MCM ComicCon and that’s our trip for the month – we’ve been to this area of London a few times now but I’m hoping to find some new places to explore this year then it’s all about where we’re going to go in June – there’s a few university open days I want to attend so I might tie a trip in with one of these but I think I prefer doing it all a bit more last minute and feeling a bit more spontaneous.

Any recommendations? I’m thinking Bath or Brighton but please do let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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May Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Another month, another post about goals! Although April wasn’t the best month for me, I made a really good dent in my April Goals and I’m ready to smash my May Goals too!

These one’s are themed mostly off my self-analysis from looking at my work experience and gaps in my CV so I’m going to start filling them. Let’s jump right into it!

  • write for something other than my blog – I love writing, I love creative writing and I love my blog but if I want to be a more rounded copywriter and get more work in the future I need to prove that I can write for publications other than my own! I’ve not done any research into this yet but whether it’s a local publication, a feature pitch or maybe guest writing on someone’s blog, I want to kick start building up a portfolio properly.
  • practice photography – last month I worked really hard on learning the basics of photography that I never got to grips with at uni and at the weekend I went to a dance convention at the weekend and I was really pleased with the photos I took, however I now know that I need a new lens. The kit lens has done me well but if I really want to start taking better pictures I need to update my lenses and get out there and practice!
  • develop work experience in marketing / get some more presenting experience – I’ve got lots of work experience at some amazing companies but it’s not too relevant to what I want to go into and whilst I’m in the fortunate position of having flexible work and living at home, I might as well get as much work experience as I can! I also want to see if I can get some more presenting experience – I love presenting and I really didn’t take the opportunities I should have at uni so I’m going to make my own now. Whether it’s doing my own little news projects, doing something a bit different or finding work experience elsewhere, maybe local radio or TV? Again, I’ve not looked into it much yet but I want to make a start this month.
  • finish project at work – I’ve got an ongoing project in my part-time work and I’d really lost momentum with it but I hit the realisation that if I don’t like how this project is turning out, I need to edit it to make it better and work till I don’t hate it. I need to finish it this month for sure.
  • lose 5 pounds – shock horror, I’m still trying to lose weight. I’m doing really well – I hit my last goal of being under 100kg and my next goal is to hit the 2 stone mark from my heaviest weight but 5 pounds is my goal for the month. I started the Couch to 5k this morning (probably a bit optimistic to start talking about it now!) and I’m feeling good about it all, I’m determined!

I’m really focused on making more progress this month – I don’t want to be too open and bare all but these last few weeks have been really tough and my anxiety has been a real pain in the ass and I’m trying my best to gently work through it. I can only try my best, but having these mini goals to concentrate on really helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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trying something new… | bullet journalling

2019, organisation

Hello!

It’s been a little while since I did a bullet journal update or post of any kind hasn’t it? If you’re new to my bullet journal content I’ve got lots of blog posts and YouTube videos and for a very quick catch up – I’ve been bullet journalling as my main form of diary, organisation and to do lists for over 2 years and it’s not the artsy creative kind of thing you see on Instagram, but I consider it quite minimalistic and functional.

So with that in mind, what’s so exciting and new that I wrote a semi-clickbaity title about it? Well it’s a slight change to my weekly spread that will either make me infinitely more productive or sap every last tiny bit of productivity I’ve ever had. So let’s chat about it!

But first, let’s look back on how my weekly spreads have evolved…

my first attempt at bullet journalling! I had an overall to do list for the week on one side and then would make a to do list at the beginning of each day which took another three pages

the first time I tried having my whole weekly spread on one double page spread, something that has stuck ever since

the six ‘squares’ for days of the week stuck around on the right page but this was the point I started to categorise my overarching by to do list by uni work/society stuff/other etc

 

Here’s where I started my best attempt at budgeting in early 2018! The right page has now evolved into 8 squares because at this point I’m onto my second journal (my first Leuchterm) and it’s dotted rather than lined which is SO MUCH EASIER

the format was pretty similar at this point but this is what I consider my ‘most productive’ spread – I had clear categories on the left page, a budgeting box small enough that I was encouraged not to exceed it and 8 boxes on the right hand page

 

when I finished uni I didn’t need the uber productive weekly spread anymore so this is where I started to develop what I now use as my current weekly spread

I really liked having the 8 strips on the right for each day of the week (and a spare) but this is where the left hand page starts to become more formulated and less random

here I’m really starting to settle in what I want this spread to look like

and onto my third bujo! at this point, I wanted the left hand side to take the same shape every week so I didn’t fill the space until I knew what I wanted it for

and this is last week’s spread – I’ve figured out how to use all the space on the left page and the right page has stayed the same for a while (why fix what isn’t broken?)

And here we have the new weekly spread! It’s not that different, yeah I know, but it brings back what I loved about having the overarching to do list without giving me the boundaries of putting each thing on a specific day.

I’ve still got daily breakdowns of stuff and things that are bound to a certain day (work/volunteering/content/driving lessons/other fun stuff) but everything else? I’m just going to pick and choose however many things I need to fill up my daily to do list and then if I finish it all and I feel motivated to continue then I can pick another thing from the list.

I’m probably getting a bit overexcited in blogging about it literally two days into using it but I’m excited about it – I’ve been using roughly the same spread for nearly a year and that’s what my life has become now; a new weekly spread format is exciting.

Flicking back through my old journals, a lot of my habits have stayed the same – the reason I use my bullet journal is the same, it’s just the layout and circumstances that have changed and that’s what I love about bullet journalling over having a diary. I can change how my whole life is organised from week to week if I want to, it negates the need for a diary and a separate to do list book and it just combines everything into one. It’s genuinely the core of my entire life, or at least, it feels like it sometimes!

I’m excited for the day that I get a career related job where I can start adapting again and continue making my bullet journal the most productive it can be!

As always, any tips, tricks or thoughts you have (whether it’s in your own bullet journal or how you would use a bullet journal if you don’t already have one!) then please leave them in the comments or come over for a natter on Instagram!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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monthly mixtape – April

2019, music

Hello!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post ever since my last monthly mixtape, if I’m honest!

Two things before I start chatting about the tunes – one; I haven’t had the chance to listen to my discover weekly playlists on Spotify this month because I haven’t had any time on buses or on my own at home, so I’ve not listened to a whole lot of new music in that way, but somehow this is my longest monthly playlist so far!

And two; I called the playlist Gray because I was watching the ‘Crisis on Earth X’ Arrowverse crossover (Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) and without spoiling it, something significant happens to a character called Stein who is nicknamed Gray and I was feeling sentimental about it in the moment I made this playlist so that is literally the only significance of the playlist title this month, if anyone was interested!

Let’s start at the beginning – I was only interested in Lewis Capaldi because I’d seen ads for his song Someone You Loved all over my instagram and it gripped me because Peter Capaldi, yes the 12th Doctor on Doctor Who, is the main focus of the music video and I have a big old soft spot in my heart for Peter Capaldi. Then I properly listened to the song and I think the lyrics are just beautiful, I think it’s one of the saddest love songs I’ve ever heard but it’s so mature and melodically striking, I would love to cover it on my YouTube channel one day.

Next are a couple of songs from Simple Creatures as their EP Strange Love came out in the last month. Alex Gaskarth is hands down my favourite vocalist of all time, I’ll be perfectly honest – I’m really not mad about Mark Hoppus’ vocals, but I do love the sound of the band and it really reminds me how much I do love slightly heavier music (but only slightly heavier, I’m still a pop gal at heart). Strange Love and Adrenaline are Class A bops and I thoroughly recommend.

I don’t want to talk about every single song on the playlist, otherwise this post would be about three thousand years long, but next is a new single from Bash! and I’m so here for this band – they’re music students in Southampton, they performed at my graduation ceremony and that’s how I know them at all but their music is sick, they’re so funny and I really hope they get the break they deserve because they’re so professional and the lead singer is Pop Queen, she’s so cool.

The last four songs on the playlist I literally added yesterday – I saw on Instagram that The Vamps had released a new EP and they’re one of those bands that I know I like but then I listen to their music and I’m like a subconscious fangirl. I’ve followed the Vamps since before the bassist joined the band (shoutout to Carrie Hope Fletcher for featuring them on her channel like a hundred years ago) and Waves is a really sweet song.

Niall Horan is another one that I almost didn’t realise how much I like his music – he features on Julia Michaels song What A Time and it went straight on the playlist after one listen – it’s chill, it’s catchy, I love the sound of the sincerity in Niall’s voice.

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel is a song that my dance teacher used to use as a warm up in my tap class and I really liked it but I never got round to asking her what the song was. Then it came on a radio when mum and I were at work and I wrote it down straight away because it’s been in my head for months now, I’m so pleased I found out what it’s called.

My shoutout of the month goes to leaving this (Danny Padilla) – I think this one was a discover weekly find but it’s a song that gripped me straight away. I love the fusion of pop and a more electronic sound with classical instruments but somehow it still sounds really stripped back? The melody is really catchy and I want to choreograph to it which is a sure fire sign that I instantly connect to a song (but I’m bad at choreographing so I probably won’t do that).

As always if you have any recommendations I’m all ears (literally! Geddit?) – I’d love to hear what you’ve been listening to so if you’ve got any songs or playlists drop them in the comments down below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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so no one told ya (post-grad) life was gonna be this way…

2019, career, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I thought today I’d have a little rambly chat about what’s going on re life post graduation! It’s been nearly a year since I finished my degree and 9 months since I officially graduated and if anyone wants any reassurance that you’re not the only one in the universe that still hasn’t got a career job since then this is what this post is for.

It’s that darn social media again isn’t it – you scroll through instagram and see people talking about cool projects they’re taking on or even that they’ve been promoted to another role and it’s so isolating – to feel like you’re the only person who hasn’t been able to start their career, it starts to make you’re not good enough, maybe it’s because you can’t do the job you want and all these other thoughts start floating around.

I know in my heart of hearts that isn’t true, but I start getting to this point where I’m saying things like ‘I just need someone to give me a chance’ – no I don’t! I don’t need ‘a chance’ because that makes it sound like someone’s taking a risk on hiring me and I’m not a risk.

So, this ‘introductory paragraph’ I wanted to open this post with has turned into a nice little summary about the spiral of thoughts I’m having regarding my career! I’m looking into going back to uni, I’m thinking maybe I just give up and work in retail for the rest of my life but then, I’m a very ambitious person. I have life goals, I have places I want to go and see and that doesn’t make me special or different in any way, but then the insecurity fizzles into frustration – how have so many other people I graduated with managed to find jobs in the field I want to go in but I’m sat at home sending out application after application and getting nothing back?

And then we cycle round to insecurity and how they’re all better than me and so on and so on.

To be honest, I don’t know how to fix it other than getting a job. I trawl through job sites and I look at all these jobs and I start to pick out things that I can’t do. This time last year I had the approach that no, I don’t know how to do that thing but I’m a fast learner and I really want to be good at these things so hopefully that won’t be an issue but now? Those things are still true but I’ve given up on thinking that anyone will let me try. I don’t know what to do anymore.

But let’s have a look at the positives – I’m in a very fortunate position that my mum owns a business that she can give me a part time job and I’m working so it’s not like I’m literally living off nothing. I’m gaining lots of skills in office admin, being a PA and databasing that I didn’t know before and I wouldn’t have learnt if I’d gone straight into a graduate job.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to volunteer at my old dance school and contribute to the place that kept me sane while I was a teenager – from there I’ve also learnt more about being a receptionist (and pretty much conquered my fear of talking on the phone!) and gone back to doing a couple of dance classes (always wishing I could do more) which I definitely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I’d gone straight into work.

And I definitely wouldn’t have had the time to learn to drive if I didn’t have the flexibility of part time work – I’ve been learning for 8 months now and I’m about to book my test for late June so hopefully (if I pass first time!) I will have gone from knowing literally nothing about a car to taking my test in 10 months and I’m so excited about having the freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want and not be bound by public transport for the first time in my life, I literally can’t wait.

And that’s just three things – alongside having the time to keep up with my blog and YouTube channel, working on more of my hobbies like learning to knit and playing the piano, spending so much time with my boyfriend before he starts work and getting to live at home with my mum for a little bit, these are all things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d got a job straight away.

It’s all swings and roundabouts – on the one hand, I feel like maybe this is just my path and my next step is yet to come. On the other hand, I’m still toying with the idea that maybe I’m completely useless and I just need to reevaluate my entire life. Who knows?!

Conclusion – right now, it’s tough, being rejected for so many jobs it’s disheartening and it’s taking it’s toll but letting it totally destroy any self confidence I may or may not have is not going to help anything. So I’ve got to keep truckin’ – get my driving license, work on expanding my skillset, self learning. There’s a career for me out there, somewhere (hopefully).

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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