2016: In Review

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

This year has been a really monumental year for me – it’s had it’s ups and downs, both personally and globally, but I thought now is definitely the best time and review the year month by month, looking back on a year in the life of the girl behind Sophie Counts Clouds.

Now that sounded pretentious, I’ll roll with it.

01-january

January: photography deadlines and Lucas’s birthday

Photography took up a lot of my thinking space in January and I did produce two of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken in these shoots. I also got to see Panic! At The Disco for the first time and it was my first concert with my boyfriend, Lucas.

02-february

February: Channel 4 work experience and dance competitions

My first ever Valentine’s Day in a relationship (I still love that elephant globe with all my heart), getting to spend a week in London with Channel 4 was incredible but I vividly remember the week full of really early starts in London then getting home Friday night, unpacking my suitcase and repacking for a weekend staying off in Birmingham for a dance competition. But I loved being so busy.

03-march

March: uni got busy and editing my monthly vlog was slow

March was when I fell a bit behind – editing my ‘February’ vlog was taking a really long time and assignments overwhelmed me a little bit. But I also became part of a couple who bought 70 creme eggs and I felt really good about my body – so a pretty good month all in all!

04-april

April: first year ending and Nick’s birthday

My sister turned my boyfriend into Deadpool, my best friend infinite ever turned 19 and Lucas and I went on our first proper date for a day out in Bournemouth and I wanted lots of cute photos with the beach huts. I then learnt that Lucas doesn’t like being my photographer.

05-may

May: got a job and first MCM ComicCon

A family visit with lots of pictures taken, fun trips to the pub with my friends and meeting the YouTubers I love at ComicCon – May was the start of what hoped to be a really incredible summer. I got my dream job at my favourite stationery store which I then got fired from in September. So we won’t talk too much about that.

06-june

June: first summer away from home and Nan’s birthday

I decided to stay in Southampton over the summer because coming home would be difficult for personal reasons and I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend. Each had their pros and cons and the summer was quite emotional time for me, but June was when I had my favourite galaxy hair, I surprised my Nan by being home for her birthday and I went on a Centre Parcs holiday with some of my family.

07-july

July: worked my first festival and really struggled with my money

I got to work at my first music festival! It wasn’t a festival I’d ever attend but it was the most fun work experience I’ve had this year. I also moved into a proper studio apartment with my boyfriend (which, again, had it’s pros and cons) and felt very independent and grown up… still not decided if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

08-august

August: Summer in the City and lots of creativity

I got to go to my second YouTube convention and it was so inspiring – August was when things started looking up personally and when I started feeling really uncomfortable and stressed at work. The release of Pokemon Go meant I also spent a lot of the summer outside and walking around which did help my mental health a little bit too!

09-september

September: first birthday away from home and second year

Lucas, Nick and I moved into our flat for the next academic year and I officially became old (i.e. not a teenager). September involved a lot of seeing my friends for the first time in months and feeling the stress and anxiety of summer slip away as I became happier and happier.

10-october

October: deadlines and dancing

I really started to enjoy uni at this point because I was really organised and I went to an independent cafe at 9am and did lots of work and became the most annoying hipster in the world. Unfortunately my granddad passed away in October, but it made me think about how wonderful his life was before he got ill and I was supported by my amazing friends – those I refer to as ‘my boys’ are featured on the left.

11-november

November: stress and positive feedback

A lot happened in November, from left to right; my family visited, I presented a TV bulletin, I got to see ‘The Wind in The Willows’ as press and write a review, I got to act a little bit in a friends assignment filming, I met Hazel Hayes and Jack Howard at my second Panic! At The Disco concert of the year and I did a package on the Busted signing in HMV Southampton and both Busted and HMV liked it on twitter. Assignment had ins were high (I think it was four in this month?) but I did get a couple of really great marks back, so a mixed bag.

12-december

December: busy but social, full of festivity, friends and family

With my last deadlines approaching and my organised approach to university falling to pieces, I somehow made it through the last deadlines of my first semester and from there on out it was socialising and Christmas festivities. I had the most amazing party with my Southampton friends, I got to see my friends from Ecuador for the first time in over a year (twice in one week!), everything was full of Christmas cheer at my favourite time of year, I’ve found a hair colour that I really love and I got to have a good old catch up with my oldest and dearest friend Katy.

In hindsight, 2016 has been incredible. The year ended on an incredible high and whilst it had it’s dips and my mental health has been more of a challenge this year than ever before, I’m really ready for 2017.

Please tell me all about your 2016 in the comments! Bring on the new year!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

filmstrip

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December Favourites!

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

I know it’s not quite January yet, but with the New Year approaching I wanted to save those posts for a 2016 review and talking about New Years Resolutions, and I’ve got plenty of favourites to talk about!

Firstly, I have to thank my amazing friends Nick, Ollie and (boyfriend) Lucas for taking so much time to make me some beautiful fairy lights with coca cola cans. They’re the tiny mini ones that are in the alcohol aisle at the super market and I don’t know why I didn’t question it at the time but they’re absolutely gorgeous and I’ve put them up above my desk – I love them a lot.

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Amazon have been an absolutely blessing with all the Christmas shopping and last minute buys – this photo was original used in my last favourites post to talk about the Grand Tour but it’s an Amazon box, so it’s relevant? I did a fair bit of my shopping in person but Amazon is my favourite way to shop – one massive order that covered 90% of the people I needed to buy presents for, which made me feel really organised. Good job Amazon.

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I’ve been a fan of Busted for a really long time – fourteen years later, they do a signing in Southampton and I got to go! They were so, so lovely, it was an incredible experience (I made a news package on it if you’d like to see that!) and the album is brilliant too – I had a proper listen to it that evening and it’s actually really good. It doesn’t sound all that much like the early 2000s Busted, but their sound has developed and progressed with modern music yet still has hints of ‘Busted’. As a long term Busted fan, having a new album fourteen years later really makes me happy.

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I’m called this ‘David III’. This is a ‘make your own’ cactus pillow – I have a felt cactus called David and a succulent called David II and I’m going to make David III. I’m going to have a collection of cactus-related-David-plants and this is actually really cute. Well, I’m sure when I get round to making it, it probably won’t be as cute but the potential is there.

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Okay, not every lifestyle blogger puts a toothbrush in their favourites post but this is a vibrating brush from Oral B, it was only £8.59 for two of these brushes and I got really excited about it. My teeth are the cleanest they’ve ever been.

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A wonderfully practically Christmas present – a portable charger is very useful but when it’s got four USB ports and a torch? It’s the kind of thing someone who relies so heavily on their phone finds really exciting but isn’t really that exciting. For the price though, it’s really powerful and if you’re looking for a portable charger that will fully recharge your phone about four times I think? It’s here on Amazon, if you’re interested!

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I got quite a few new bits of kitchenware for Christmas and it made me surprisingly happy! I had a really nice set of knives when I lived in halls last year but two of three of them went missing, so kitchen knives were on my Christmas list! I also got a Doctor Who TARDIS cereal bowl, a TARDIS drinking glass and little TARDIS salt and pepper shakers. My mum is trying to give my kitchen a theme, I think. I really wanted the TARDIS salt and pepper shakers though.

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Definitely the cutest present I received by a long run – my sister made this cushion in the shape of a cloud and painted eyes and little blushed cheeks on him, then put fairy lights inside the stuffing! It’s one of my favourite things I got this Christmas, he’s just so adorable. I have another cloud pillow at home and she’s called Sora (because I googled cloud related names and it’s also the name of the main character in Kingdom Hearts) and my family and I named him Nimbus, because it’s a cloud related name and a Harry Potter reference. Perfect!

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I mean, I’ve probably mentioned it once or twice, but I’m a huge Disney fan – I love Disney animated movies because they’re so heartwarming and fun, in recent years they’ve led more towards heartbreaking and I cry at every film but I still love them. Over the summer I decided I wanted a Disney movie collection and I wrote out a list of every Disney animated film ever (over a hundred in total) and my mum got me these four for Christmas – the first three and the most recent one! I’ve got both Jungle Book films in Southampton as well so my collection is well on it’s way!

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And lastly for this months favourites – my new hair colour! On Christmas Eve, I finally got the red dye out and dyed it a dark burgundy red. Following a deep conditioning treatment last night it seems to have gone for more of a rose-gold/pinky-red colour, but I’ll top it up in the next couple of days I think. I love this colour and I’m definitely sticking with it for a few months – the past few months have been a blur of bleach, blue and mistakes!

Thank you for reading, if you have any suggestions for things I should try out next month please leave them in the comments!

Sophie xx

 

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Merry (belated) Christmas!

2016

Hello!

Christmas is probably me favourite time of year – I love all the decorations and the festivities, I love giving presents and receiving presents, I love all the brilliant TV and I really love that eating unhealthy food is actively encouraged at this time of year.

For my family, it started off with just the four of us opening the presents from each other – I finally got to tell my sister that I’m taking her to see Busted next year and I got to talk about films all day but I also got lots of really practical presents such as a hard drive, a new set of kitchen knives and salt and pepper shakers that look like the TARDIS from Doctor Who. Very happy with all of my wonderful presents this year (and got lots more to come when I go to my boyfriends house next week, I’m so excited to see all his family!).

Then all the family started arriving, we exchanged more gifts before lunch and then spent the afternoon playing quiz games and Heads Up, predominantly. It was a really fun and day and no family arguments, surprisingly!

We had twelve people over for Christmas and it was so nice to have so many family around, I’m not used to such a big Christmas but it was so lovely to have it being busy and loud and my cousin brought her little chihuahua too and it was very fun having a dog running around all day. One day, I’ll have my own dog. One day.

I’m so grateful that I don’t have any uni assignments over this holiday because I can properly relax and I’m really enjoying not having to think about any more work I have to do or any work I have to prep for. I can really mentally prepare myself for finishing second year!

I’ve got some really good vibes about 2017 – I’m going to try and take real control of my mental health and be as productive as ever, I want to be making things! But the New Years Resolution post is for next week.

I think I’ve talked about this before, but there have been a lot of New Years where I’ve thought about how much I didn’t want the year to end and I didn’t want the next year to start but I’m excited for 2017 and I think that’s a good start.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Where for Christmas?

2016, travel

Hello!

I’m at home with my family for Christmas (well that answers that question doesn’t it!) but as someone who really loves travelling, the thought of Christmas in another country sounds really interesting! Here are a few places I’ve thought about spending Christmas and would like to in the future!

Somewhere sunny – as I’m from England, ‘nice’ weather over Christmas just isn’t something that happens but I think it would feel completely different. Part of me feels like I might not feel Christmassy but then I wonder how they decorate for Christmas in sunny areas like do they still have the image of snow and Santa in his big suit or is it different because they have sunny Christmas’s? The silly things I wonder about! I’d love to go to Australia or perhaps somewhere in Africa, culturally I think it would be really interesting.

Somewhere that doesn’t celebrate Christmas – I imagine if I wanted to go somewhere on my own and be a bit reclusive it would be interesting to completely separate yourself from Christmas. I know I’ve already used the word ‘interesting’ far too many times but these are the kind of things I find intriguing, this is what I think about! I’d need to do some research as to where I’d go if I was going to do this but, dare I say it, it would be interesting!

Somewhere really snowy – just like the sunny thing, England doesn’t get proper snowy, England doesn’t get ‘proper’ anything except rain but it would be so cool to spend Christmas in the snow. I feel the cold a lot anyways so I’d probably freeze but with seven layers and the biggest boots you’ve ever seen, I’d love to have a proper White Christmas. Maybe I could learn to ski too! I’ve never been skiing, don’t think I’d be very good at it, but it would be fun. Somewhere like Canada, Switzerland, maybe somewhere in Scandinavia – there are so many snowy places, especially at this time of year!

I fully intend to go everywhere, I really want to travel a lot and all these places will go on my list!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Books for 2017!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m trying my best to make it part of my routine that I read before I go to sleep at night (recently it’s been a lot of Pokemon, but that’s because it’s the Christmas holiday) but I really enjoyed the couple of book reviews I wrote last year, so I thought making a list of books I want to read next year will motivate me even more, so here are the books on my shelf that I got really excited to read and haven’t read yet!

I’m currently reading On The Other Side, by Carrie Hope Fletcher – I bought this book because it’s Carrie and I’ve been a fan of hers for so long and I love fiction, so I got really excited when a YouTuber was writing a fiction book (that wasn’t Girl Online). So far, On The Other Side is a bit more romantic and idealist than books I normally read but the concept is really exciting and I’m very intrigued as to where the story will go.

And then these are the books I really want to read next year:

Billy and Me: Giovanna Fletcher – similarly to Carrie, I watch Gi on YouTube and considering her main career is as a writer, I feel like I need to read one of her books! I’m not sure Billy and Me is for me but I need to read it to find out.

Where She Went: Gayle Forman – I read If I Stay in three days and absolutely adored it so I really want to reread the book and find out what Forman did with the sequel. I never saw this film either but it’s another one to add to the list!

Love, Rosie: Cecelia Ahern – this is another book which is a bit too ‘romantic drama’ for me and a little bit melodramatic I find but I do tend to really like the male characters, even if the female characters really irritate me. However, the film adaptation of this book is Sam Claflin and Lily Collins and I love Sam Claflin so I’ll use that as my reward system when I finish the book.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Jesse Andrews – I saw this book whenever I went into Waterstones and I wasn’t sure about it, then I saw the advert for the film and my mum asked if I’d read it and I thought I’d give it a chance – stories that cover more taboo topics, such as children dying of cancer, tend to intrigue me so I’m glad I’ve written this post to remind me why I bought these books!

We All Looked Up: Tommy Wallach – I’ll be honest, being back at home and this book is in Southampton, I can’t remember what it’s about but I remember the cover is really pretty and that’s enough for me.

Carry On: Rainbow Rowell – I loved Fangirl and it’s currently it’s got the glorified position of ‘My Favourite Book’ at the moment, so to read the fanfiction written by the protagonist Cath in a full book form based on a version of Harry Potter? Yes please!

All The Bright Places: Jennifer Niven – I saw this book around book shops and on the kindle store for ages and then I bit the bullet and actually bought it and now I need to actually read it.

I also want to read more nonfiction! This past year has really highlighted how much I used to love learning and how good (?) I was at it and how I’m really not using that now. I miss doing GCSE maths and that’s saying something, so I want to get books on aspects of history I’m interested in, space and maybe some science stuff? I don’t know, I miss learning.

I have goodreads, which is another nice motivator because it tells me what percentage through my book I am and that makes me feel accomplished. If you want to follow me there, you’re more than welcome – I’m not too sure how the website works so watch and learn with me? I don’t know, here’s my profile!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Christmas Photography!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m really excited about having this monthly photography series because I’ll learn more every time I take photos and post them and this post will hopefully make you all feel super festive, however I’ve not got the same amount of photos I had in my Autumn Photography post because December up to this point has been manic busy – with deadlines, travelling home and having a social life, getting into town to take pictures of the lights and festivities while the light was low was really difficult, so this is what I’ve captured this month!

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My nan really wanted me to get a picture of this Santa model ‘playing the piano’ – I didn’t realise there was a smudge on the right hand side of the lens but I told my nan I’d take the picture!

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There were lots of Christmassy colours and I got excited.

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I took most of these photos in the Christmas section of my local garden centre and I don’t think this was a bad decision.

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I like this photo a lot but the flare on the fairy lights is annoying, but I didn’t use my DSLR I just used my Canon M10, so the depth of field on these photos make me really happy.

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More photos of baubles with a very blurry background? My favourite kind of photo.

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This is my favourite photo – I love gingerbread men and this decoration is so cute, I nearly wish I’d bought it but I’m very pleased with this picture.

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I’ll be honest, this photo was just for reference because I really like this scent a lot.

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It’s not at the garden centre! I went to my local shopping centre today and they had some gorgeous lights and I really liked them and I knew I was writing this post. Conclusion: I like fairy lights.

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Not so obviously Christmassy (other than my dress!), but my friends and I had this Christmas party just over a week ago and I love them a lot and this party was so much fun so I thought I’d throw this photo in at the end.

I love Christmas and the Christmas season – I think it’s picturesque and cosy and comforting and that’s not something you can always catch on camera. I’m so excited for Christmas this year and I’m so excited to see what I can capture on Christmas Day itself (which I’ll definitely post here!).

January is a bit more difficult in terms of a standout theme to photograph but I think I might do a more location based shoot. I’d love to do a model based shoot but I don’t know how to find a model to work with me for free so we’ll see what happens!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Spotify vs Apple music?

2016, music, Uncategorized

Hello!

I love music and I love being subscribed to a streaming service because I get access to so much music – I’ve had a Spotify account for six or seven years but I’m considering moving to using Apple music, so I thought I’d make a pros and cons list of which service could be better for me. Thought it might be an interesting blog post!

I have many years of Spotify playlists and I don’t want to lose them and transferring them would take a very, very long time (the Jonas Brothers are on my Starred playlist, it’s been a very long time since I went through my Jonas Brothers phase). This is my main reason for wanting to stay with Spotify.

However, Apple is said to have better availability, choice, quality and radio capabilities (according to a few articles I’ve read anyways) and the ‘radio’ stuff on Spotify is brilliant because I just put a song in and it comes up with a bunch that are like it, but my flatmate has Apple music and he has some brilliant playlists.

But because I’ve had Spotify so long, consequently it knows me a little better so when it suggests music for me it usually gets it really right and Spotify is far more accessible over other devices than Apple Music is. However, I do mostly use my iPhone to listen to music where both Apple music and Spotify are very easily accessible.

I find in terms of the app Spotify is much easier to use than Apple Music but I’m sure anyone that uses Apple Music will tell me otherwise.

So anyone have any opinions on Spotify vs Apple Music?? I’m very interested to see what people think so please leave a comment!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Going to uni so far from home

2016, travel

Hello!

Writing about travel and new places for me right now is difficult because I haven’t done masses of travelling, but I want to practise travel writing so when I travel I then feel ready and that I already have some experience to write about it!

Part of going to university for me was being far enough away from home that I had to be fully independent and getting to see a part of the country I hadn’t been to before, and that involved moving 170 miles away to a new end of the country and from that, I get to visit lots of new places and towns and cities I’ve never been to all the time because it’s all so new to me.

I also get called “Northern” a lot but that’s not the point. (#DefendtheMidlands)

Travel blogging doesn’t have to be exotic (though if you want to be a ‘successful’ travel blogger you’ll probably have to leave the country, let’s be honest) – big trips to other countries are really fun to write about but it can be a new town or a pretty spot that you found on a walk. I’m hoping to do a few more of these as the summer months approach and hopefully money will be more on my side.

Going home this semester has been a no go with the amount of deadlines I’ve had and how they’ve been spaced out to every couple of weeks, meaning one weekend I’d be working on the deadline and the next weekend I’d be making sure the assignment was ready to hand in and this has been going on since October.

At one point the plan was that I was going to spend Christmas in Basingstoke with my boyfriend but we’ve decided we’re going to spend Christmas apart – I’m so excited to be going home. At this point even it’s still undecided when I’m going home or how long I’ll be home for but I’m hoping everything works out in my favour and I get to spend as much time at home as I can.

I’m so excited to be back somewhere the feels so familiar and I’m excited for the New Year and 2017, especially in terms for what I have planned with blogging and my YouTube channel.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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My last assignment deadline!

2016

Hello!

Since the beginning of October, I’ve had nine assignment deadlines at uni and today, just half an hour ago I submitted my last one of the semester. It’s been so stressful; so stressful.

I did three units this semester – Producing the Package (where I make a full news package), From Concept to Commission (where we pitch ideas and then write the features) and Who’s the Boss (doing an academic presentation and essay).

I’ve had to make two full, multimedia packages (video, audio, copy and pictures), a pitch presentation, a 40-page workbook, a PowerPoint, an academic presentation, two features and an academic essay… and it all starts again next year. I’m hoping 2017 will be a better year for my brain.

I’m so glad I get about five weeks off for Christmas.

My deadline were every two weeks at minimum so it wasn’t even like I could have a big day and chill for a day or two – I’ve been constantly working for about three months and I’m physically and mentally drained, like my chest actually hurts. Time management has been difficult this semester because making sure you prioritise the rights things while working on everything just feels insane?

My results so far have been really surprisingly good and I’m really pleased but I’m also really excited to have a month off to recover over Christmas.

I still don’t know Who the Boss is.

(Credit to Josh Stokes for his joke that I’m shamelessly recycling, it just makes me laugh a lot).

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Christmas Bedroom Tour!

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

I moved into my flat for the next academic year nearly 4 months ago now and I’ve not done any kind of room tour or anything so I thought I’d show you round my living space right now with a few little Christmassy touches!

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This is my door. To anyone who knows where I live, now you know what flat I’m in. I thought this would be a nice introduction to the post.

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This is the entry way to my room, yes my room is tidy and no, my room isn’t that messy it’s just that there are a lot of things and I can’t fit it all in, I’m still working on it four months later. It’s not a massive room at all but I do what I can to make it mine.

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This is where I keep my coats, hoodies, scarves, hats and shoes (I built the shoe rack myself, very proud) – it’s a bit messy and one day I need to ruthlessly get rid of a lot of my clothes and shoes but today is not that day. I like shoes but not like ‘pretty’ shoes like sneakers, pretty sneakers.

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This is my whiteboard that fell off the wall and my collection of musical instruments that I’m going to play so much in the time off I have this Christmas, going to teach myself a bunch of songs on guitar in preparation for some covers I’m making on my YouTube channel next year (stay tuned lol).

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My desk area is quite messy, but again that’s to do with too much stuff and not enough space – it all has it’s place and it’s purpose and I’m working on becoming a more minimalistic person so it’ll hopefully tidy up towards the end of the year.

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This is the shelf area above my bed – I’ve got my knitted dalek and my baby Groot and my mine turtle (and the TV I don’t use because we have one in the living room) but I love the more personal touches here.

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These are the shelves above my bed, they’re quite busy but again – working on it! I love my elephant bunting but I had to add tinsel somewhere! My pin board is okay but for some reason it’s too thin for the pins to go in properly? But it holds up my calendar and my dance medals and my little ‘notes to self’. I do love working at my desk area, I find it quite productive.

Hence why I’ve just edited and uploaded my Vlogmas for today and I’m writing this before 9pm. I haven’t done any uni work but it’s actually been a busy day, so I’m going to start it tonight (I’m so behind, this is quite a composed paragraph considering how freaked out I am).

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I love my poster wall and I had to Christmas-ify it! I know there’s a big gap but I’m going to get a bunch of polaroid pictures printed to put in that gap but there’s fairy lights and I love my wall a lot. I put a lot of effort into that wall. Very pleased (even if the push pins don’t go into the wall properly and they fall down all the time).

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And then there’s the piano at the end of bed because it doesn’t live in the living room anymore and it doesn’t quite fit. And those plastic bags are Christmas presents, how exciting!

And that’s my room! It’s very little but it’s quite and I love it, even if it’s not worth the rent in any way, shape or form!

I hope you liked this post, thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

 

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