things you might not think are anxiety

2021, mental health

Hello,

I’ve not written a post for a week or two and for someone who attempts to maintain a two-post-a-week schedule, it’s not what I was hoping for.

I thought I was run down from work, a bit uninspired and prioritising playing video games with my fiancé but after a little reflection, I’m recognising that my anxiety is worse at the moment and I have less energy and most of that is going on work – work, eat and sleep is pretty much all I’ve been doing at the moment and I’m slowly learning that this is okay; it’s all I’ve got energy for and I have to reserve the energy I have for what’s most important, which right now is getting through my last few weeks in my current job.

Taking this time to self reflect and realise how my anxiety is impacting me in ways I didn’t consciously realise, I thought I’d collate a list of a few symptoms of anxiety that aren’t always super obvious, even to the person suffering them. I always try to disclaim when I write about mental health – I’m not a medical professional and I can only describe my own experiences, so read with a pinch of salt I suppose.

Not being able to shower

Sounds gross, but it genuinely isn’t a choice. Lying in bed before another day of working from home and trying to find the energy to get out of bed early enough to have a shower feels ridiculous – I lie there thinking about how there are no physical limitations of me going for a shower; I can get out of bed, turn on the shower and do it, but then the mental barrier becomes a physical barrier and it’s impossible. It’s hard to describe but it’s like my body and mind are too heavy to get out of bed until I absolutely have to (i.e. something with consequences, like not going to work). That’s another thing…

Not getting out of bed or not moving off the sofa

It’s not about laziness or comfort, often it isn’t comfortable at all – when I’m lying in bed or on the sofa it feels like I’m physically trapped; the thought of moving and doing something productive or useful (like showering) makes my chest ache and sometimes I feel like I could burst into tears because it’s just so much.

But then there’s the cycle of feeling so ridiculous – for something as simple as standing up and doing something else makes it hard to breathe? Rationally, it sounds so stupid but it’s not – anxiety makes mental barriers become physical and the choice or intent of the person is another thing to fight.

Being tired all the time

A phrase (metaphor?) in the disability community is not having enough spoons – in it’s simplest terms, say everyone has a set number of spoons to get through the day, for someone without anxiety or a disability etc, it’s one spoon to get out of bed, one spoon to shower, one spoon to make breakfast and so on, but for some it takes three spoons to get out of bed, five spoons to shower, and then all the spoons are gone. So we have to choose how we spend our spoons wisely because we don’t have many.

So you can either look at it that we have less spoons to work with or everything takes more spoons, hence very little energy and being careful about what we use our precious spoons for.

Not having the energy to cook

Cooking a full on meal can take be a source of relaxing, winding down at the end of the day, but it can also be a massive chore and require more brain power than I have. This can either look like ordering too many take outs, only ever eating frozen food or something simple like pasta with cheese that takes minimal effort.

This is a really nice one to help with if you notice a friend in need – whether it’s getting some nice easy ready meals that might be a bit healthier or going round (if they want company) and cooking for them, having a nice experience of cooking together and a bit of social interaction and love may really help!

Stomach aches, acid reflux, dietary problems

One thing that is barely talked about with anxiety is the physical symptoms – the anxiety stomach pain, the headaches, the way your food just doesn’t seem to agree with you in any way, the nausea – it’s a lot. It can increase anxiety around food which it a never ending cycle of making it worse.

As anxiety ebbs and waves, these symptoms often get better or worse with no pattern or cause, but if you know someone who’s suffered from anxiety and ‘appears fine’ but mentions stomach pain, needs to go to the toilet more frequently or is hesitant around food, be mindful of them.

Not being able to sit still, feeling achy and restless

More physical symptoms, though I’m not 100% sure this one is anxiety or just my grandma joints. My fiancé calls me the Fidget Queen because I can’t lie the same way in bed for more than about 10 minutes, I’m always having to change how I’m sitting on the sofa and more recently with working from home, I have to get up and move just to stop my knees from aching under my desk all day.

I don’t know if it is anxiety, but the restlessness seems to match feelings of uncertainty and I wouldn’t be surprised if not being able to sit still was a part of that.

But it might just be my creaky knees. The point still stands I guess?

There is a lot of stereotyping around anxiety – which on the one hand isn’t a bad thing because it means a lot more people are aware of the biggest symptoms, can look out for their friends and be mindful and knowledgable about how to help if they can. But there’s so much that isn’t talked about.

Anxiety is mental illness, but that doesn’t mean all it’s symptoms are emotional – I think generally if someone thinks of a person with anxiety they think panic attacks, struggling in social situations and trembling hands, but I think those are more representative of a person in anxiety crisis than day to day living with anxiety.

The thing with anxiety, as it was anything, is to just be mindful – check in on the ones you love when you have the mental capacity, share your spoons where you can and be considerate; being human is hard, but we’re all doing it together.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

the illogical curve of progress

2021, lifestyle

Hello,

Being someone who loves setting goals, tracking progress and analysing data (except my step count, we don’t talk about that), writing challenges like NaNoWriMo suits me down to a tee with word count tracking, you’re actual average word count per day and an estimation of when you’re likely to hit your word count.

But in looking at the two graphs that monitored my progress, I noticed something that made me think.

This is the graph of my word count per day – I was aiming for 40,000 words, but more importantly I wanted to write a little bit every day, even if I didn’t meet my goal one day and I had to write extra the next, those were my two priorities.

This graph would suggest that it was a pretty steady curve up to my goal, consistent progress, falling behind on a couple of occasions but catching up, even getting ahead a couple of times towards the end, but relatively steady progress.

Then you compare it to the graph of how many words I actually wrote per day.

I wasn’t writing consistently at all – some days I wrote 2000 words, most days I wrote about a thousand, on my worst day I barely wrote 100. Although my progress appeared linear – a predominantly straight line from Step A (0 words) to Step B (40,000 words), there were 31 steps in between with good days, bad days, busy days, quiet days, sunny days, rainy days and everything in between.

And it got me thinking about the bigger picture – perhaps a bit existential, but life is just one long (short?) journey from the Beginning to the End, a supposedly linear experience from childhood, to adulthood to old age and ‘The End’, making consistent progress in growth in every aspect from education, relationships and physically growing.

But it’s never going to be a straight line from one point to the other – life has ups and downs and good points and bad points; it always feels more like the second graph than the first one.

So I have two points to make;

  1. If you feel like everyone around you is living a life like the first graph – a solid, straight line from Point A to Point B, it’s more than likely you can’t see the behind the scenes that looks like the second graph. Life is full of nuances and struggles and things people keep off their instagram profile, so the picture they paint online isn’t necessarily the full story!

(side note: I fully believe Instagram as a highlight reel is a okay, because having a space full of happy, positive memories is lovely, it’s just changing the user perspective to remember that Instagram is just a highlight and not someone’s complete story!)

2. If you feel like you’re stuck in the second graph, feeling more lows than highs and not sure whether you’re making any ‘progress’ at all (though, who decides what progress is and whether we’re making it??) – remember you’re seeing your life zoomed in, the bigger picture probably does look more like the straight line, but you have to go through the ups and downs to get to the bigger picture that is the end of the graph. The second graph with it’s wobbly line and all it’s peaks and troughs is the zoomed in detail you don’t see from the first graph and you’re doing a okay.

I don’t know if any of that really made any sense, but I found it comforting and a nice reminder to zoom out sometimes – everything’s okay really.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

August Goals 2021

2021, goals

Hello!

I can’t believe it’s nearly August – my mind is basically blocked and doesn’t see passed July 31st and to be honest, I don’t think I’m ready in any way. But, with so little of the month left and no mental capacity to consider the next month, I think it’s forcing me to feel more present? Just taking one day at a time, and I can handle that right now.

But with a new month comes new goals – I love having projects and long term goals to work towards and making progress, so these are my focuses for August!

  1. Work on my online portfolio – I started making a website a little while ago and I need to actually finish it! I want to have a central place to post and update about all the things I’m doing in my professional life, so I need to work on some of those admin tasks.
  2. Cosplay costume work – this month, I’m going to make a jacket. I’ve got a jacket that I can adapt to fit the style I need and I’m going to get my craft on. I’m going to buy another part of my costume and I’ve got a plan to actually finish this in 2021, rather than the wishy washy goals I set earlier this year. Always learning!
  3. Wedding planning – my tasks for this month are to research and book any extra event specialists – as our wedding is on bonfire night we definitely need some fireworks! But I also need to figure out decorating the venue, any extra bits we need to hire, buy or make and little details like that!
  4. Find a dance class for September – as the schools have now broken up for the summer holidays, most dance schools in my area won’t be starting up again until the new academic year so I thought it would be a good window for me to figure out my finances and my schedule to actually be able to go! Having a class once or twice a week I think will be really good for me to actually do some exercise, maybe meet some people in the area and get back into dancing! I can’t wait.
  5. Get back into the job hunt – I’ve been given the end date for my current contract so I need to find another job! I’m hoping to start doing it all early so finishing my new website, revamping my CV and cover letters and things like that. I don’t want it to be a big panic when my contract actually ends, so hopefully being prepared can work in my favour!

Then my usual monthly goals of reading 2 books, putting money in my savings accounts and hopefully having a date night with my boy!

I’m feeling ready for summer, but then I remember I don’t get a ‘summer holiday’ and extra time to see friends or travel or anything, but the event I’m working on in my job is in September and it’s busy, but hopefully rewarding!

But for now, I have a weekend off and I’m going to make the most of it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured in: July 2021

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

The time has come to once again wrap up the month with a list of things I’ve enjoyed or have made me happy! Is this a glorified favourites post? Absolutely, but I’d be lying about who I really am if I didn’t come up with pretentious names for things!

(I’m knackered and I’m losing it a bit, can you tell?)

Without further ado – the things I treasured in July:

What I Bought

I really struggled to think of something I bought in July (except books, I can’t stop buying books…) but I actually jumped on the Glossier hype a little bit – I’d seen the Anna Edit talking about the beauty bag which was marketed as the bag that fit everything in it. It has pockets, it actually holds all my make-up (like all of it, I don’t have a lot) and I’m really pleased with it.

And that order came with a free sample of their perfume ‘You’ – I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Glossier perfume but I wasn’t going to spent £45 on something I hadn’t even smelled. But then I got the free sample and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it. I can’t describe it, but it smells grown up without smelling floral or fake – it just smells really good and it’s probably the most I’ve spent on a beauty product ever but I don’t regret a single penny. It’s actually amazing.

What I Cooked

Last month I mentioned that I’d just got my first box of HelloFresh meals and I can’t lie, I continue to be moderately obsessed – we’re on our third or fourth box now and the meals are just brilliant and I love not having to think too hard about what we’re eating, buying the ingredients or finding recipes – the recipe cards are really easy to follow, the food is always good and then I just chuck everything in the dishwasher and it’s all ready for the next day.

Some of my personal favourites are the mushroom risotto, chicken korma style curry and cheesy oven baked risotto.

What I Ate

I’m really craving cake at the moment and Sainsburys do these wonderful little Victoria Sponge cupcakes and they’re delicious. That’s all I have to say.

What I listened to

I’m still listening to Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’. This is the one I probably listened to the most:

What I Watched Online

I’ve not watched much YouTube this month either, but here are a selection from my history that I enjoyed:

What I Watched on TV

This month, I could have watched Loki on Disney+ with my partner once he returned from a long work trip to Italy.

What we did was start watching Pokémon Journeys on Netflix because sure it’s a kids TV show but it’s only 20 minutes long, it’s easy to watch and it’s not emotionally taxing so it’s perfect to watch with dinner and it makes my nerdy Pokémon boi very happy when we confidently shout the wrong Pokémon in the ‘who’s that Pokémon’ section.

It’s the little things.

What I Read

I have absolutely adored reading this month. I’ve finished three books and I reckon I’ll finish my current read before August too! I’ve read:

  • Remnants: The Mayflower Project, K. A. Applegate a book from my teenage years that I couldn’t remember much about, so I kept it to reread to figure out if it was worth pursuing and reading the 14 sequels (I’m not exaggerating). It was an okay concept but it was all a bit disjointed and I didn’t love it so it’s going to the charity shop.
  • Perfect, Cecelia Ahern – I didn’t love Flawed, but it had such a non-ending that I had to buy the sequel to find out what happened. It was a very stereotypical political riot Hunger Games Mockingjay ‘I’m the girl that’s different that can save the world’ YA that was 3 stars at best? It all felt very holocaust but not done very respectfully, it was weird.
  • Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie – I don’t have many classics on my shelf because I prefer the modern style of writing, but Peter Pan is my favourite Disney movie and it was short so one step closer to my GoodReads goal for the year. Wow the book is quite different to the film! Peter is a cocky little so and so, the Lost Boys are all murderers and I kid you not, there was a line about fairy orgies.

And I’m currently reading ‘Adrenaline’ by Jeff Abbott – I’ve had the sequel book on my shelf, ‘The Last Minute’, for literally years so last payday I bought a couple of prequels I was needing. It’s a 500 page book about spies and espionage and it’s not YA! I’ve read one Jeff Abbott book before and I really enjoyed it and I’m approximately 83% through and this one is brilliant too. I’ll be posting the review on my bookstagram when I’ve finished reading it.

Bonus shoutout for StoryGraph – it’s an alternative reading tracking app to goodreads and it does everything that goodreads does as well as more interesting statistics on what you’re reading (including genre, pages and pace which consequently gives you better recommendations) and it’s not affiliated with Amazon, so win win all round!

What I Planned for the Wedding!

This month was a sort of catch up month – I finally got wedding insurance, I spoke to the flower lady who makes silk flowers and I’ve got a consultation with her next month and I even found a sash and some Bride Squad pins on Facebook Marketplace for free so thought that would be a good one to pick up!

It still doesn’t quite feel real yet – I feel like I’m too calm about it but also there’s so much to do and it’s going to cost so much money, but I’m focusing on the short term for the moment, tackling my to do list one task at a time.


Every month I think these posts might be a bit too old school but then I write them and every month I feel positive and excited about the month ahead! Especially with what I’m reading. My bookshelves are looking really pretty and my database is looking really… unbalanced, so hopefully lots of reading in the sunshine in August!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

little happy moments

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Over the last year or two, I’ve changed my approach to my blog – I’ve tried to make it less about ‘trying to be a blogger’ and more about what I want to write about, I’ve not put my social links at the bottom of posts, I don’t make templates to share them on my insta story and I don’t religiously check statistics or chase followers anymore (or I try not to!).

So I write about what I want – whether it’s more like a diary, just having a natter about what I’m thinking about or reviewing things (which I started doing more of in the last couple of weeks and I’m considering making it more of a focus?). If I’m not feeling like writing a post, I won’t worry too much about missing one, if I’m super inspired and want to post an extra one, I’ll do that too (but that hasn’t happened yet).

Consequently we’re here – I wasn’t feeling super inspired this week and I’m watching YouTube videos and somehow I thought it would be nice to list a few things that have made my happy recently. I’m working on feeling more present and finding joy in little things more frequently than waiting for the ‘big stuff’. I thoroughly recommend this if you’re feeling a bit spaced out!

  • a cat jumped through my kitchen window and let me pet them before they went to chill in the shade under a car
  • sitting in the sun loungers after a work day and having a catch up with my fiancé
  • sitting in front of the fan when it’s 28-32 degrees outside
  • reading my book before I go to sleep
  • going to the cinema and seeing Black Widow with my best friends
  • getting sucked into a Pokemon Go event with my fiancé
  • hitting my writing goals for maybe 80% of the month so far
  • speaking to my therapist for the first and last time in a while
  • playing video games and talking to our friends
  • I grew an actual tomato! In my garden! From nothing! Actual food!
  • laughing with my work friends because we’re so stressed that it’s funny
  • cooking my HelloFresh meals and feeling like an actual chef
  • watching George Clark’s Amazing Spaces before I go to sleep
  • singing through the entire Dear Evan Hanson soundtrack while I was cooking dinner
  • I made a Nutella sandwich for lunch and it was wonderful
  • a phone game called Pictawords which is like Scrabble meets crosswords
  • sorting my bookshelves into proper alphabetical order (by author’s surname) and adding all my ornaments to the shelves
  • making fun graphic and video content at work
  • sleeping in on the weekends
  • having a coke from the fridge in a glass with ice
  • the solar fairy lights I put up in the garden
  • buying books. I have a mild problem.
  • surprise refunds (thanks tfl)
  • the event I’m working on for my job is going to be really good, you can get a free ticket here, see the schedule here and read about the amazing speakers we have booked here – including the Chief Technology Officer of Ocado, the Senior Technical Programme Manager from Sainsburys and the Associate Site Reliability Engineer from Sky!
  • but also closing my computer after a work day. That’s very nice

Thank you for sharing my happy moments with me!

Sophie xx

a year without cinema

2021, film, lifestyle

Hello!

After a big trip to London last week, I didn’t think I’d be wanted to write another review so soon (am I just a review blog now? I could do specific book review posts!) but on the day all the regulations were relaxed, my partner and our best friend went to the cinema for the first time in the best part of two years to see the new Marvel film ‘Black Widow’ and whilst I could quite happily write about the film, but I don’t have an analytically critical mind when it comes to films – I thought it was fun, I love superheroes and Florence Pugh was fantastic.

But the experience of going to the cinema was always powerful to me, so going back after so long being closed was something else.

It was the first time going to the cinema in our area since we moved house and I hadn’t been to an Odeon before – first off, the tickets were only £5 and that’s the cheapest cinema ticket I’ve paid for ever. The popcorn was stale and none of the staff were wearing masks anymore (same at the pub we went to for dinner), but all of the people watching the film wore masks and there was only 8 of us total, so it felt nice and quiet and safe.

The novelty of seeing films on a big screen with the surround sound will always be the best way to watch movies – especially considering there was the option to watch it in the comfort of my own home on Disney+ (even though it was actually cheaper for three of us to go to the cinema to see it).

I love films and I like to think I’m a bit of a film buff, but realistically I just really like superhero movies and I know a decent amount about the films I’ve seen and literally nothing else. So I’m the worst film buff but really good on a pub quiz about films I have seen.

But with Suicide Squad, Shang Chi, and a whole host of delayed movies coming out, I think I’m going to be making many more trips to the cinema this summer. Especially if all the theatres are air conditioned.

Going back to ‘normal’ feels weird – I’m definitely not ready to stop wearing my mask yet, at least not until I’m double vaxxed and the numbers are less intimidating. Maybe it’s an introvert thing or maybe it’s just humans being dumb, but I quite like people staying 2 metres away from me and having to space out in theatres and restaurants is actually more accessible for people with mental health, neurological divergencies and many physical disabilities. A COVID world is one that’s in a way more accessible, once we eliminate the life threatening pandemic that is.

But I can’t deny that going to the pub without booking a table and going to the cinema to watch a new film was exciting – it still felt like a special treat, as it did pre-pandemic, but there was something extra nice about finally being able to see a film the way it’s designed to be seen.

At the end of the day I love storytelling and film media is a huge inspiration to me, definitely going to make more of an effort to see films at the cinema – especially if the tickets are only £5!

Thank you for watching,

Sophie xx

Van Gogh Alive: The Experience, London [review]

2021, review

Hello!

At the beginning of the week, I took my partner for a surprise trip to London – after seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, we had another day of experiences and exploring to make the most of!

On our second day, I’d booked tickets for the Van Gogh Alive Experience in Kensington Gardens – I’m not particularly into art, I find it hard to engage with pictures and words and my neurodivergent brain doesn’t see any of the deeper meaning; at face value, I can appreciate a talented artist but I don’t need to spend ages looking at it.

So seeing how interactive and immersive this exhibit was, I was very excited to go (and to get some lovely pictures for Instagram). Plus that one episode of Doctor Who with Vincent Van Gogh in has given both my partner and I a really soft spot for him.

From start to finish it was fantastic – I bought a Starry Night face mask which I’ve very much enjoyed wearing, then we stood at the entrance watching a video of a robot using AI to recreate Van Gogh’s paintings which was very clever.

The next part of the exhibit was an area with pictures and descriptions of some of his most famous artworks, where he was at in his life and how they reflected his personal journey. This part I found a little confusing, as the whole point is that art is meant to be subjective so surely the perspective of one person who wrote the copy for this part of the exhibit can’t definitively decide the ‘meaning’ of the piece? But otherwise, once most people had cleared, it was lovely to just wonder round and learn more about his life (and more than what they teach you in school).

From there, there’s a recreation of the bedroom captured in several of his paintings which looks significantly more plain than the artwork. But that lead to a corridor to the main event…

A huge open space with big blocks with projections all over, in different sizes, all showing slightly different things, even projections on the floor. Here is where the real experience is – the sequence loops with five different pieces of music matched with five different artistic movements in his life. There was meant to be a smell with different bass notes and top notes or something but personally I didn’t smell anything… cool concept though!

We arrived just at the end of the last cycle, but we took a seat on the floor, socially distanced from other groups sat on the benches provided or on the floor around us and we watched this beautiful expression of a tortured man’s talents. With a few captions to give context and teach more about the artist, different artworks moved and appeared in time with the music. If all art exhibits were like this I’d probably be more interested in art!

It was such a unique way to not just learn about and appreciate art but to feel almost part of it; to be truly immersed in a story from 150 years ago. The projections felt almost 3D – all the brush strokes and colours felt alive somehow and it was a beautiful way to appreciate the vision of someone who’s no longer around to share it.

After the sequence finished, we went to a little sunflower room (which in all honesty was really dark and a little anticlimactic) and out into the gift shop (if I’d had £35 I’d have bought a paint by numbers I swear). Then we were back out to the Prince Albert memorial and the heart of London!

Personally, I think the tickets were a little expensive for what the exhibit actually is and how long we spent in there, but the exhibition is partnered with a number of mental health charities and it made me engage with art in a way I never have before, so i don’t regret spending the money!

I wholeheartedly recommend this exhibit – it moved me in a way I’ve never been moved by art and I really hope more exhibitions like this about other artists pop up because I’d love to experience them in the same way.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, London Palladium [review]

2021, review, theatre

Hello!

On Monday, I surprised my partner with a trip to London – we spent the afternoon browsing shops (spending too much money in Forbidden Planet), getting absolutely drenched in a random thunderstorm and ended the evening with a trip to what accidentally became the opening night for the West End show Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium.

When I booked the tickets, it was anticipated that June 21st would be when everything opened up again and theatres were generally reopening on July 1st… then it all got pushed back, so July 12th – the night of the tickets I’d booked – was opening night! The theatre was at half capacity (but full volume), all refreshments were ordered and served to the seats and my partner and I with our silly long legs (at 5’10” and 6’7″) could spread out a little without feeling squashed by other people – personally I prefer the socially distanced theatre experience but that’s not the point.

Joseph is my fiancé and I’s joint favourite musical (my personal favourite is Les Misérables) and we’ve been talking about going for ages, so I saw a great deal on TodayTix and decided to go for it! And with a stellar cast like Alexandra Burke as the Narrator and Jason Donovan (the original Joseph!) as The Pharoah, it was one I wasn’t prepared to miss!

From the opening notes I was (literally) jumping up and down in my seat – live music and being in a real theatre felt like such a luxury after such a long time away and being able to bring my partner to our first West End show together was incredibly exciting.

The whole atmosphere of the show was one of fun – Alexandra Burke’s Narrator had lots of funny little side lines and comments and she carried the role fantastically. When she first appeared in all black with glittery shoes I was a bit dubious – the show is one of the brightest there is, with ‘Technicolour’ literally being in the title! – but having her costume as such a stark contract meant she was always easy to spy on stage and… what can I say, the shoes were glittery!

For a show that is so brilliantly random – with pop songs, country songs, an Elvis tribute, a Parisian ballad and a Jamaican steel drum number – it’s one that would feel pretentious if taken too seriously, but the whole production understood that Joseph is a wonderfully ridiculous musical and they leant into it, with the children stepping into key roles such as Potiphar, the Cook and the Butler was a really sweet touch and really funny, they all had such wonderful comedic timing.

And musical timing! The dance sequences in this show were actually so good, my marketing brain thought about putting them on tiktok because they were relatively simple but looked really effective when everyone was doing them so in sync. However, I have to shoutout the tap dance break in the middle of ‘One More Angel’ because they did tap dancing! I’m a sucker for tap and seeing it used in a commercial musical alongside lots of different styles was amazing (can someone get me a pair of tap sandals please?).

I also have to mention the Can Can sequence in Those Canaan Days – I won’t spoil it, but yes, I mean the Can Can sequence in Those Canaan Days.

To go with fantastic dance sequences, the set design was incredibly clever – from using lights to make the stage look like sand, the centre circles that raised in parts above the stage and dropped below the stage too, camels that were moved by pedal bikes and, the true highlight; the set for Pharoah’s scenes.

Jason Donovan, the man himself, is carried onto stage on a wonderful throne – the stage is lit in gold, there’s pillars of an Egyptian temple on the back wall of the stage, the centre circle is fully raised and statues of Anubis (the dog man) and Ra (the hawk man) are mid stage left and right (with electric guitars that slide in and out from side of stage and rotating heads with puppet mouths that sing along as backing to the Pharoah) and best of all… A Vegas esque sign that read something along the lines of ‘Welcome to Fabulous Egypt’ – flashing lights and all! The whole thing was so over the top in the most brilliantly tongue in cheek way and it was fantastic.

What more can I say? I need to give a special mention to the 10 amazing children that performed on opening night – I always have a weakness for children singing (the performance in the Nativity movie always makes me well up), children singing harmonies always blows me away but the girls in Close Every Door were just fantastic, as was Jac Yarrow as Joseph – he has such a perfectly pure tone and the passion he put in to the end of the song was just magical, I got goosebumps.

The whole experience was fantastic – to be in a theatre after 16 months of COVID-19 restrictions feeling safe and welcomed, in a show where the cast was having just as much fun as the audience and to only pay £6 for a programme?! All round, it was a fantastic evening. I can’t wait to spend as much time as possible at the theatre this year – the atmosphere of live musical performance is just second to none.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

July Goals ’21

2021, goals

Hello!

Another month, another set of goals for me to focus on.

June didn’t go particularly well – I need to stop setting myself fitness goals because it doesn’t work, crafts shouldn’t be goals they should just be fun, and if I’m going to set craft or project goals, they need to be specific or I just won’t do them.

So with that in mind, here are my July goals:

People train for marathons, right? So I’m training for a writing project in November! I’m trying to come up with a new idea and my partner came up with a daily prompt list for me and I’m really excited about this project.

  • Cosplay work

So this was the project I was referring to! I haven’t done anything about this project really this year so in July I want to spend time planning it all out – figuring out how I’m going to make or buy each part of the costume and figuring out a path to actually finishing it!

  • Wedding planning

This month I don’t have a particular task to work on for the wedding, so it’ll be a little bit of browsing Pinterest for inspiration, wrapping up some loose ends on other tasks and looking ahead to what I need to go between now and the wedding in like 15 months. I feel like I’m too relaxed about it all to be honest.

  • Knit Weasley jumper

I’m not expecting to be able to knit a whole jumper in a month, but I can find a pattern and buy the wool I need and make a start but no way am I making a whole jumper in July. I just want to knit a jumper with an S in it and pretend that Julie Walter’s knitted it for me, okay?

I saw this on Hannah Witton‘s YouTube channel a couple of months ago and I really like the idea – the principle is having 33 items in your wardrobe for three month cycles. I’m going to try doing this for two months at first because I think July/August makes sense, then September-November, December-February then March-May. In moving house, I have much less space than I did before and I want to make the most of our space and see more value in my clothes so I’m going to at least try! If it doesn’t work, that’s fine too.

Then my recurring monthly goals of saving (which I’ve got into a good habit of doing on pay day, props to me), having a date night with my boy and reading 2 books!

The only thing I can think about right now is my partner coming back after being away for a month and that’s going to be the best part of July. But I’m excited for the weather to brighten up and spend more time outside, hopefully!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured In… June ’21

2021, Favourites

Hello!

Another month has rolled around and wow June has been busy! My partner left for his work trip to Italy on the 2nd and I’ve kept myself fairly busy since!

Now it’s only a week till he gets back and maybe I’ll stop sad spending, but here’s a run down of my favourite things from June!

  • Purchase

I’ve been looking for a nice summer dress for probably years, and I picked up this one from SheIn and I love it! It’s such a good length for my 5’10 lanky self, the sleeves aren’t tight, it’s super comfy and not see through!

And to match the cardigan, I’m also a big fan of the sun loungers I bought from the Range – a special treat to us for sure, but if the sun even comes back to the UK they’ll be perfect.

And now, for the sake of my bank account, I will stop going to shops.

  • Food

Okay, I literally got the first delivery on the 28th so it’s barely June, but I succumbed and got Hello Fresh (5 meals for two people for £20? Bargain!) and I cooked Cheesy Oven-Baked Risotto with bacon, mushroom and rocket salad and I am blown away. It was amazing.

The perks of actually being home alone this week means I have another portion for lunch tomorrow. But even the salad dressing on the rocket! I don’t normally like rocket but I actually went back and finished it rather than leave it for tomorrow. I’m definitely making the most of trying new things and I’m really excited about it.

It absolutely doesn’t look as good as it tasted.
  • Song

You’re welcome.

  • YouTube video

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube, but I’ve recently discovered Chandler Ainsley and I’m obsessed – it’s fuelling my reading obsession and I love the way she talks about books.

I have a lot to add to my watch later, but right now I’m very much enjoying watching just book content that makes me want to quit my job and read for a living.

  • Books I’ve read

At the beginning of the month I finished Lore, by Alexandra Bracken and I really enjoyed it – it properly reignited my love for Greek mythology and proved to myself that I can read a 550 page book without getting bored!

Then I read A Nearly Normal Family, by M. T. Edvardsson and I felt like I didn’t want to read 500 page books anymore because it was actually quite bland and the ending was SO dissatisfying but I finished it and that’s the important thing.

I’ve now just started reading Flawed by Cecelia Ahern but not sure how I feel about it so far – it sounds very Nazi Germany and I’m sure that’s the point but WOW the parallels with the holocaust are insane. I’m less than a quarter through so I’m sure the first person narrative gets better but still, a fairly awkward start!

  • Snack

Kinder. Buenos.

That’s all I have to say.

  • Film

My mum has this film club with her friends and whilst I was staying with her I watched their pick of the week – in the theme of ‘based on a true story’, we watched Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts and it’s stuck in my head that it was actually based on a true story. Julia Roberts is so cool and the story was incredible, good pick film club!

  • Wedding planning update

This month’s task was to figure out what we want from our wedding cake. We’re asking our mum’s to make the cake because they’re both great bakers and whilst I was at home, mum and I were brainstorming ideas and it was brilliant.

This one is definitely my favourite because I think it’s just a lil bit nerdy without having Pikachu on it y’know?!

Probably not quite as many layers, but maybe something like this?

For July, I’m having my first week off work which I’m really excited about, my boy is coming back from a month of working abroad and hopefully the sun will come out again! I hope you’ve all had a lovely month and have nice plans for July!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx