breaking my 2019 travel plans…

2019, goals, travel

Hello!

I’m a hugely ‘goal’ orientated person – I write monthly goals to motivate myself, I frequently check in with my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and 2019 goals and sticking to them is really important to me.

But let’s talk about this travel goal – my aim was to go on a little trip with my boyfriend every month. Not a huge holiday, not going abroad every time but taking a night or two away just to see somewhere new and have a day off every month.

In January we went to Devon, in February we had a Centre Parcs holiday, in March we had a weekend in Paris, in April we went to Cambridge and in May we went to London MCM ComicCon and explored Stratford and Canning Town.

And June? I’ve got nothing booked, I’ve got no ideas and I don’t think we’re going to have time.

The biggest factor is money – I can’t afford to spend too much on picking somewhere, paying for a hotel, paying for trains and transport and food, whilst I really want to… I just can’t justify it. The second thing is location – we live in the middle of nowhere at the moment, getting anywhere by train largely involves going through London which makes journeys long and fairly expensive. And the third thing is time – we have plans this weekend, next weekend is going to be stressful for reasons I’m not going to disclose (nothing dodgy or dark, just not gonna go into it), the following weekend we have a family gathering and the weekend after that we have potential plans.

So I think I’m going to have to break the 2019 Goal for a month and I kind of hate it.

I’m someone who likes patterns – setting myself a 30 day challenge or a once-a-month challenge I’m someone who likes to tick boxes and missing a day or a month really bothers me, but on the other hand – forcing myself not to be bound by those types of things is probably good for warding off potential OCD and I don’t want to force a trip somewhere I’m not excited about a spend money for the sake of it. I’d rather take a month off and go somewhere really exciting in July (I’ve got lots of ‘last minute’ trip ideas… stay tuned).

Part of the reason I wanted to write this post is that amongst travel bloggers, travel instagrammers and feeling like every single person you know on Facebook is going somewhere sunny by the sea in the Mediterranean, sometimes it feels like being stuck at home is the worst thing in the world. There’s a whole world out there to see and right now it’s not on your path to go see any of it, for one reason or another.

So it’s a reminder to myself on two fronts – one, that I will go see the world at some stage, I will see everything it has to offer and really properly enjoy it because I won’t have rushed it. And two, that not sticking to every single letter on my 2019 goals is okay too. A year is a long time and things change and different priorities arise, everything works out for a reason and just because it doesn’t happen when you hope it will doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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what I’ve read so far this year

2019, books

Hello!

When I sat down to write this blog post I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about – I love blogging so much, so usually I can just sit at my computer and find something to ramble passionately about but today? Nothing. I’d spent all day doing uni work for my PG Cert course and nothing was coming to mind.

I even Googled ‘blog post ideas’ seeing if that would spark anything but advice to anyone thinking about starting a blog – don’t Google blog post ideas. They’re never that good and definitely not original.

So I started scrolling through instagram – my feed is a creative hub of friends and other creators and browsing through posts, it wasn’t till I thought about my own posts that I actually decided what I wanted to write about (how vain is that?).

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (or 2019 Goals, however you want to word it) was to read one book every month and I’ve already finished my book for June so I’m feeling genuinely really pleased with myself that I’ve managed to integrate reading back into my nightly routine.

Today, I’m going to do a little run down of all the books I’ve read so far this year. If you like this post and want me to do another round up at the end of the year, do let me know!

In chronological order, let’s go!

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I set myself the challenge this year of reading 12 books – one a month. I used to be the kid that snuck out of bed to keep reading and studying English at school destroyed any previous love for reading but I'm determined to get it back! ✨ My first book of the year was @louisepentland's Wilde About The Girl – I read the first in the series when I went to Louise and Carrie Fletcher's book event last summer (I know I should have read it before) and absolutely fell in love with Robin Wilde – she's sassy and funny but she's flawed, she thought she needed a man to love her and sometimes she wore her pyjamas for the school run but she was so real. I'm not the target audience for this series but I bloody loved it and somehow I loved Wilde About The Girl even more. It was raw and emotional and laugh out loud funny, there were twists and turns and love and friendship and it was all round a feel good book. It was so easy to read, difficult to put down and the perfect holiday book – I thoroughly recommend it, even if you don't think a book about a mum in her late twenties is for you, Robin will wiggle her way into your heart. Can't wait for book 3 💜 ✨ I think I want to do a little review like this after each book I finish – I never thought I'd finish my first book of the month only halfway through but I'm thoroughly enjoying reading before bed, 2019 is going to be such a good year. Up next – when the curtain falls by @carriehopefletcher 🎭 ✨ #bookreview #book #bookstagram #reader #readagram #wildeaboutthegirl #wildelikeme #robinwilde #louisepentland #writer #blogger #lifestyleblogger #shinyhappybloggers #smallblogger #discoverunder100k #vlogger #smallyoutuber #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #thatsdarling #creative #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #pa #freelancelife

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Wilde About The Girl – Louise Pentland

My second attempt at finishing this novel – I read the first in the series in the run up to meeting the author at a book event last summer and I fell in love. ‘Wilde Like Me’ was the reason I wanted to get back into reading this year and on the second attempt of ‘Wilde About The Girl’ I was on a roll!

I’ve never really been into chick lit – I love fantasy and magic and space and adventure, but there was something beautifully mundane about Robin Wilde’s story. I commented at the time that it was like reading a vlog in someone’s life and it was cosy and lovely. Genuinely I’d recommend it to everyone – an emotional but beautiful read!

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book 02 : when the curtain falls (@carriehopefletcher) 🎭🔫✨ It took me a bit longer to get into 'when the curtain falls', then I was 200 pages in and realised this wasn't early chapters set up. Then I read the last 70 pages in one night (which is a big deal for me) and everything cascaded into a defeating crescendo of a finale and I'm lying in bed nearly in tears over these characters I didn't realise I'd fallen in love with. Combining my love of theatre, magic and writing 'when the curtain falls' has decided that I /need/ to catch up on the rest of Carrie's books and I really want to publish one of my own. Next up – 'eleanor oliphant is completely fine' (gail honeyman) ✨ . #book #bookstagram #whenthecurtainfalls #carriehopefletcher #book2of12 #reading #writing #fiction #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder100k #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #socialmedia #lookingforwork #selfemployed @salportfolio

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When The Curtain Falls – Carrie Hope Fletcher

At the same book event as I met Louise, Carrie was also promoting this beautiful novel. I’ve tried one of Carrie’s books before and enjoyed it but just couldn’t get into it enough to finish it.

At the beginning, I felt similarly about When The Curtain Falls – with a history in performance and musical theatre, I was invested in the story but it wasn’t until 200 pages in that I couldn’t put it down. It was as I was nearing the end of the book that I realised ‘this isn’t the set up anymore, this is it!’ and I read the final 100 or so pages in one night.

Utterly thrilling, a beautiful telling of romance and love and unsuspecting characters. Again, would whole heartedly recommend.

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book 03 : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine (gail honeyman) 🎸🖥️🐈 Eleanor and I have had a rocky relationship – at the beginning, I thought she was a bit pretentious, I didn't think she was trying to be funny when people said she was funny and she needed to re-evaluate her relationship with strangers, but then I met Raymond and I slowly learnt more about Eleanor's story. This is one of the most cleverly written books I've read in a very long time and I'd LOVE to go for a coffee with Miss Honeyman and have a very in-depth conversation about the intricacies of Eleanor Oliphant. At its heart, it's an incredibly sad story but it's insightful, heart warming and so utterly, utterly real – I genuinely think everyone should read this book, stick with it… You start to empathise with her eventually ✨ 🥰 next up : we all looked up – tommy wallach ✨ #book #bookstagram #reading #eleanoroliphant #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder1k #newblogger #shinyhappyblogger #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #socialmedia #lookingforwork #selfemployed @salportfolio

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Oh Eleanor, we had a difficult relationship. All the things I’d seen people say about how the book was hilarious and gripping from page 1, I didn’t get. It took me over a month to finish this because I found Eleanor arrogant, rude and uninteresting as a character.

Then the story developed, the introduction to one key character kept me hooked and by the end I wanted to protect Eleanor with every fibre of my being – she’s an incredibly complex character that I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to understand.

If you’re struggling with Eleanor’s story, I highly recommend pushing through to the end because you’ll be rooting for this girl I promise.

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book 04 : we all looked up (tommy wallach) 🌌💖🔫 Sped through this wonderful coming of age novel at first because I wanted to keep up with my monthly goal but then because I was hooked on these four Mish mashed broken characters – 'we all looked up' is full of teenage angst, existential realism and a freedom of not caring anymore. I've not read a book that made me feel so alive in such a long time and boy-o do I want to work on a film adaptation! Don't be put off by YA – when it's the end of the world, we all look up 🌆 ✨ next up : hold on – alan gibbons 🌌 #book #bookstagram #reading #wealllookedup #tommywallach #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder1k #newblogger #shinyhappyblogger #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative

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We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

An existential story about four teenagers at the end of the world? Yes please.

A lot of my books are YA and young YA at that – I bought them when my family used to go on holiday in Derbyshire and there was the most incredible bookshop where I could buy 10+ books for £30-£40 and it was my heaven. I picked up hundreds of books most of which went unread because I simply never would have had time to read that much.

When I moved back from uni I sorted through all my books and donated about two-thirds to charity, most of which had never been read but the ones I did keep I really wanted to read.

And that’s where ‘We All Looked Up’ slots in! It’s a very interesting narrative told from four different perspectives about what the potential end of the universe can do to all sides of society. I don’t want to spoil it in any way, but it’s a really humbling read that really nails the key aspects of humanity.

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book 05 : hold on – alan gibbons 😢🐂🥰 this short little novel (novella?) was not a challenging read, but I don't think I enjoyed it – it's about a boy who commits suicide and his friend's journey to figuring out why and coming to terms with everyone who played a part in it. I don't know if it's maybe because I'm not feeling my best mentally at the moment but I don't think I like the representation of mental health in this story, but perhaps that might be because that's how mental health is still presented in society and I don't like that. I don't regret reading 'hold on' but it's one to go to the charity shop I think 🤷 ✨ next up : one seriously messed up week in the otherwise mundane and uneventful life of (sam taylor) Jack Samsonite – tom clempson 😢 #books #bookstagram #holdon #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawarenessweek #alangibbon #reading #bookclub #pageturner #writer #blogger #huji #photography #shinyhappybloggers

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Hold On – Alan Gibbon

The first book of the year I haven’t really rated – ‘Hold On’ is about a boy who has committed suicide and his friend’s attempt to figure out what went wrong. Told from the modern day perspective of his friend and diary entries leading up to the end of his life, it’s a very mixed tale about who’s to blame.

As someone who has suffered with mental health problems, I found it very hard to empathise and very difficult to read about so many characters who had such a trivial and incorrect understanding of how depression can manifest. I came to the conclusion that I think that was the point – I think it’s meant to be an uncomfortable read. But I didn’t enjoy it, because parts of it didn’t feel intentional, they just felt naive.

I’ll be donating my copy, that’s all I’ll say.

And last but not least!

One Seriously Messed Up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Sam Taylor Jack Samsonite – Tom Clempson

The one that hasn’t even made it to my instagram yet! This book (I’m not writing out that title again) is another very YA one about 16 year old ‘Jack’ navigating GCSEs, girls, friends, not friends and a couple much more sinister (but not too dark, it’s still YA) topics.

I feel like there’s not too much I can say without completely spoiling the book. It’s not really comparable to ‘Wilde About The Girl’ in any way but the sort of mundanity of it all is similar. There’s a few melodramatic teenage bits but as a 22 year old reader it’s about a teenager getting worked up about teenage things and it’s almost refreshing to be able to complete separate myself from all that knowing I no longer than categorise myself with teenagers.

A fun read, a solid 4/5.

And that’s what I’m reading this year – I always post little reviews on my Instagram so if you want to keep up with what I’m reading either follow me there or add me on goodreads! Sometimes I forget to update my page count for a few days but my most up to date reads are all on there!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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June Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

How is it June?? By the end of the month we’ll be halfway through this year and that really baffles me, however stupid that sounds? But it does mean there’ll be a check in on my New Year’s Resolutions and we all know how much I love tracking goals.

May was busier than I anticipated and I didn’t get the time to work on my goals as much as I’d hoped, but I’ve adapted this months goals and my time management accordingly. So this is where I’m going to focus this month!

  • take my driving test – this one isn’t much of a ‘goal’ to be honest, because my test is booked for the end of the month, but I didn’t want to set myself the challenge of definitely passing my test because if it doesn’t happen I don’t need that extra pressure. I just want to take the test, I need to make sure I’m ready and if I pass? That’s fabulous, if not? It’s not the end of the world. Just want to take the test.
  • keep up with my uni course – I started a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning last month and the first two weeks of the course have been a bit manic in juggling and balancing it with work and pre-booked commitments. I really want to do well in this and make it worth the effort so I need to put the time in!
  • run 3x a week – how many times have I mentioned it? Approximately three million times, but I’m doing this Couch to 5k app and I’ve been running for about five weeks now and that’s really huge progress for me. I’ve had to repeat Week 4 because I needed more time to adjust to it but I’m actually not hating it – it’s a challenge, in the best way. I can now run for 4, nearly 5 minutes straight and I’m running and walking for about 3k. I really want to keep it up and three times a week isn’t actually as difficult to commit to as I thought! So maintenance and progress is my goal this month.
  • find some local photography work – I loved taking dance photos the other month and I really want to do more and develop that. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet, maybe I need to just go to local sports matches and email every local dance school, competition and sports team I can think of, maybe I just need to work on networking and building up contacts. The one thing I know for sure is that I need to get my camera out more.
  • spend less and save more – May was an expensive month, but I’d worked hard and saved and bought myself a Nintendo Switch, don’t regret it at all, but want to be more mindful this month – put more into savings if I can. I’ve been using this savings plan so far this year and I love it. To be honest, I’m planning to upgrade my car this month, so I’ve not quite figured out where that fits in but I’ll figure that out at some point…

Towards the end of May, I think I was setting myself too much to do and expecting too much of myself so I want to focus on putting less value on productivity. I need to learn how to relax and spend more time doing the things I enjoy – video games, watching YouTube, cooking, family time.

Any tips? Because I don’t think I’ve really relaxed for about four years now!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how I make my monthly bullet journal spreads!

2019, creativity, organisation

Hello!

In my head, I’m still getting used to it being 2019 and somehow it’s nearly June? How did that happen? I really don’t know where the time had gone.

This year’s bullet journal might be my greatest pride and joy – it’s much more organised and structured than last year and each month has it’s own sections, whilst still being adaptable.

So I thought I’d do a little run down of how I start my monthly spreads! It’s nothing ground breaking but it’s got a colour scheme and I really enjoy it, therefore – going to share!

Where does a new month start?

Sounds like a dumb question, but it’s something I actually plan – so the last weekly spread I do before I start my monthly pages is where the new month starts. To explain more clearly, this June starts on a Saturday so the last weekly spread I’m doing before starting a new month is the week 27th May – 2nd June, so the month has already started when I do the monthly pages.

That might be the most repetitive and least cognitive paragraph I’ve ever written? But you get it, right?

First page!

I just write the name of the month on the right page and leave the left page blank to stick in my monthly colouring/drawing page from the previous month. Pretty simple.

Second page!

June content! Even though I’ve been pretty shoddy with sticking to schedule recently (work and mental stability has to come first!) I do actually plan to post four pieces of content a week.

On the left, I have a list calendar and colour coordinated highlighters to signify what days I need to post because it just makes it easier for my brain to comprehend it all. Then on the right I do a few notes or a reminder for my future self about what these random ideas were meant to mean.

Pretty simple, nice place for me to make notes for my next goals and favourites posts and videos.

Third page!

My monthly goals! Currently looking a bit bare because I haven’t had time to think about them yet but how I like to set them out is to write them on the left page and then at the end of the month I do a little review of how I’ve approached each goal I’ve set myself and how successful I’ve been.

Some months it’s quite discouraging when things don’t go to plan or I don’t have time or I don’t progress as I hope but some months it’s so motivating to know that I really focused and worked hard. Most months it’s a mix of the two, but it’s a format I’ve been working on and refining for a year now and it’s getting better.

Fourth (and final!) page!

Finances! And sometimes I write the right month I swear! (I only realised as I was writing this post that I’d written May and not June).

As with every other spread, I have a layout for each page – on the left I do more planning, this month is pretty simple because I’m trying to spend as little as possible (potentially upgrading my car this month…). On the right I document everything I’m spending as it goes out of my bank account, I find that much easier to track than basing it on when I spend the money because then things get forgotten and it’s confusing for my tiny brain to factor in all my bills and everything.

I’m not particularly strict – I don’t have an overdraft or a budget at the moment, it’s simply a case of I get paid on the first and it has to last me the whole month, but I’m trying to save as much as I can for the future and travelling etc. Monitoring my spending and putting an overall figure on how much I’m spending really helps me realise how much I’m spending and make me much more aware.

And that’s how I plan out my month! If you’d like to see more of my bullet journal let me know and I’ll write about it – I love finding new ways of organising and planning and writing all about it!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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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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