I’ve lost my mojo

2021, career, creativity, lifestyle

Hello,

At the beginning of the month, I decided to take a week off blogging because I was moving house and I didn’t need to put that added pressure on myself.

Since then I have written three posts, none of which I’ve published because I’ve been having this whole internal debate about why I blog – why do I write, why do I share? It’s not because I think I have skills I can teach people – I’m not an expert crafter, bullet journaller or even blogger – I don’t think people can learn from my life and mental health experiences, I don’t think they’re helping anyone particularly and I don’t have enough of a journalistic flare to share interesting thoughts and opinions on films, music or fashion, let alone more significant topics like politics, current affairs or justice movements.

So why do I blog at all?

I drew this same conclusion with my YouTube channel and decided last week that I’m not going to plan to make YouTube content anymore – since starting my graduate job in January, I’ve published a total of three videos. Whilst I’ve filmed more and edited a couple, it was only those three that made it to my channel and I wouldn’t say they’re my pride and joy. Then I got to thinking about what videos I was most proud of on my channel and which ones I’d like to look back on, and I couldn’t really think of anything. I got into the cycle of thinking about the purpose of my content and drew a blank; I don’t think there’s a purpose in my sharing anything.

In part this may be due to my work – the content I’m producing there in graphic design, video and audio format is for a purpose and I can see the impact it has; good social posts mean people act on our call to action, our Reels on Instagram are getting over a thousand views in less than half an hour and I have a part in producing a podcast that is actually on Spotify! Without sounding too big for my boots, I’m doing really well in my job and I feel like a lot of my creative energy is going there.

So I’m giving YouTube a break – I’m not ‘quitting’ or deleting the channel or anything dramatic, but I’ll wait until the right idea strikes me because then it’ll be worth making.

But what about my blog?

In the most vain way possible, I like writing about myself and my life – any one who starts a blog or a YouTube channel does at least to some extent, otherwise we wouldn’t seek the attention of others online. Mentally, I have the approach now with my blog that it feels almost like a diary – one big old time capsule that I can come back to when I’m old and see who I was from the age of 18. I’m 24 now and so much has changed – then I had a tumblr blog with 25k+ followers and I loved having that community, but I went to uni and my interests changed and though that tumblr still exists, I don’t even know how many followers it has anymore.

At 24 I’ve got three degrees (which makes me sound sincerely more academic than I am), I’m planning my wedding with my fiancé, I’m living in what feels like a ‘grown up house’ in Oxfordshire (definitely didn’t see that bit coming!) – my life is entirely different. I don’t know if I am entirely different but I have a whole history on this blog and I’m not finished with it yet.

Things might take a more egocentric turn – though I’d love to have a niche and say this is about more than just me, I don’t. I can’t force myself to write about one singular topic because I’m passionate about so many more things than that. I love reading, I’ve got a lot of opinions about superhero movies, I really want to grow my own vegetables this summer, I’m going to try and make my first cosplay costume this year and learn more about sewing and knitting and material crafts. I play video games with my boyfriend when six years ago I’d never touched an Xbox controller in my life. I have a favourite Pokemon that isn’t Pikachu!

I’m human; I’m diverse and complex and I like talking about myself because I get over-excited and over-emotional and I just want to share with someone. I’ve learnt a lot about barriers and not telling the internet everything and I’m really proud of the significantly healthier relationship I have with social media now. And that’s what I want my blog to be about – all the complicated bits that make me who I am; the nerdy bits, the bits on depression meds, the bits that still kind of wish I could be a Hollywood actress and every other facet that makes me.

My mojo might have wondered off for a little bit, but putting all this in writing has made me realise one thing; all those times I said I was writing my blog for me and not an audience was a lie – I wanted to be an influencer, I wanted the #bloggermail and excuse to be creative all the time. But I’ve accepted that’s not going to happen and that’s not what I want; freelance isn’t secure enough for me, blogger mail can be incredibly wasteful and there are so many careers where I can be creative and I’ve found one.

Now this blog really is for me. If you come along for the ride then that’s great, but I’ve figured out what I’m really doing this for… and this time I honestly mean it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie

a life update, but not just the highlight reel

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

I wrote a few weeks ago about going through a creative block with my blog, but I thought I’d climbed over that hurdle… and then I’ve been stumped every time I tried to write this week.

I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or if I’m just a little too close to burnout for comfort but I felt like I couldn’t read the words on my screen, let alone write anything cohesive. To throw an extra spanner in the works, WordPress has updated it’s user interface and the post writing section is completely different – as someone who doesn’t like change, I hate it.

Like, I know I’ll get used to it and then they’ll change it again and I’ll wish it was back like this but still… Give me my old editor back please!

On Tuesday I tried to write another book themed post about how I organise my ‘to be read’ books, but the answer was as simple as; I organise them in alphabetical order by author’s surname because it shuffles them enough that nothing’s too similar but I don’t have to make any decisions about what I read next because the order is already planned.

There wasn’t much of a way to extend that beyond one paragraph without it being really boring and unnecessary, so I decided to stop beating myself up and just let that one slide.

Then Friday night’s post was meant to be all about trying to move house in a pandemic, and whilst we have applied for a house and been approved to move in two weeks (hopefully), 1) We haven’t signed a contract yet so I’m still a bit dubious and 2) It’s actually been okay – we started looking at rightmove and booking viewings a few months in advance of when we wanted to move and we didn’t hand our notice in till after we’d found somewhere so we didn’t have any deadlines, the only thing I’m nervous about is the contract falling through but the national lockdown rules ease by the time our provisional moving date is so we’ve roped a couple of friends in to help (all legally).

And again, that’s the whole story in one paragraph!

So I thought I’d write a kind of diary/update post – because that’s essentially a taste of what those two other posts would have been anyway!

My whole life at the moment feels like work and trying to not be tired – my mental health is in a weird state where sometimes I spend ages staring at screen taking three times as long to do a task as I should be, and sometimes I feel really present and efficient and excited about what I’m working on. Finding a balance within all that is okay, I’m learning to work with my mental state rather than working against it and getting frustrated, but it’s annoying when the to do list just keeps being postponed to the next day and everything is building up.

Outside of work I feel a bit restless – I know I want to be doing something but I don’t know what. I’m starting a new creative writing project in April but I don’t have the words to write right now (though the stories are developing in my head), I can’t comfy enough to read (I’m too young for everything to ache this much, right?) and knitting watching my fiancé play video games is not top of my list. I’m trying to tune into what my body wants and needs but I’m exhausted a lot of the time no matter how much sleep I’m getting.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – though tired, I am really enjoying my work and I love working with creative people, feeding off their energy and ideas and feeling valued when I share ideas of my own. I’m planning to have a weekend of sewing and packing which I’m excited about – watching YouTube or turning some music up loud and having some off screen time to potter around the house.

I love mundane tasks like tidying and organising (not cleaning so much, which isn’t ideal), I love listening to music and pretending I’m the main character in a film (I know it’s weird, let me have it) and I’m excited for what feels like ‘the next step’ for my partner and I, moving into a more ‘grown up’ house.

Things are up and down, but as I recently described it to a close friend – ‘I’m alright, ups and downs, in a bit of a down at the moment but knowing it won’t last forever is a big step in itself’.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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how am I? | life update

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

My favourite blog posts to write are the long, stream-of-consciousness ones that I don’t have to think too hard about writing, I just pick a topic and see what happens.

Generally these fall into the category of a ‘life update’ – documenting what’s going on in my life and generally making some sort of statement about mental health and/or body image. But I always feel they are the most genuine of posts because they come from the heart (however cringy that sounds). I love writing more than anything else; I like figuring out the best ways to use my words to say something meaningful, whether that’s a blog post or a story, but I also think connecting with someone else’s words is so much easier when you feel they’re genuine.

I also find writing about myself and my experiences really easy, but let’s not look too far into what that says about my vanity.

Trying to figure out ‘how I am’ is an ongoing question – every day I have video meetings on Google and everyone opens by asking how everyone else is and I always say ‘I’m good! How’re you?’ with a fake enthusiasm that I hate even as it’s coming out of my own mouth. But it’s what everyone says, regardless of how true it is and whenever I think about being more honest, it feels like I’d just be attention seeking because I’m not fitting the ‘social norms’ or saying I’m okay.

To some extent I am good – I’m so lucky to have a job right now so quickly after finishing my masters, I feel incredibly privileged to be in a job where I believe in what I’m doing, everyone is super friendly and I feel like I’m challenging and developing my skills after only a month in the position. I’m so grateful that my line managers trust me and are giving me valuable work where I can see my contribution rather than being treated as ‘the new guy’ and being given little tasks just to keep me busy.

But I am struggling to adapt to full time work – I’m exhausted, I’m still figuring out how to track all the tasks I need to do and whilst everyone I work with is so kind and friendly, I find it harder to engage with them over video calls and I hate trying to make my home space a suitable work environment.

The UK’s Lockdown 3 is definitely having a huge impact on national motivation; everyone is feeling drained, everyone’s tired of the same four walls and ‘daily walk’ has become almost a joke whilst being so many people’s saviours. Even the introverts miss contact, real conversations and physical presence, though I’m sure we’ll go back to craving our alone time as soon as society returns to ‘normal’. If there’s even a normal to return to, but that could be a blog post of its own.

The main way I judge my own ‘mood’ is generally productivity – whenever my mum messages and asks how I’m doing, a good day will usually be a list of everything I’ve achieved whilst a bad day is a day of feeling like I have cotton wool in my head and I stared at a screen without seeing a thing on it.

My time management of still achieving what I want with eight less hours to play with in the day has been challenging, but I’ve recently started a sleep course to help with (shock horror) my sleep and I’m currently in the sleep restriction cycle, so I’m not ‘allowed’ to go to bed before midnight and I have to wake up at 7.15am. Although this is almost certainly contributing to the near-constant feeling of exhaustion, I’ve got far more hours in the day than when I rolled out of bed at 8.50am for my 9am start!

I’m playing Animal Crossing with breakfast and watching Bridgerton whilst I spend my evenings knitting! On the other hand, I feel a lot of pressure to ‘make the most’ of my weekends and often feel so overwhelmed by not wasting the weekend that I don’t do anything. But in a way, that’s not a bad thing.

So in conclusion, I feel the exact same as everyone else – generally I’m okay; I’m grateful for my health and my job and my partner, but lockdown is hard; my mental health isn’t great, I feel physically and emotionally drained and I’m craving ‘normal’ times.

The main thing is I’m reminding myself that it’s okay; I’m okay – my feelings are okay and they’re valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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new social media plans

2021, creativity, lifestyle

Hello!

My relationship with social media has been through what feels like a large change over the last two years or so – as a teenager I put all of my feelings online because I desperately wanted sympathy and attention (heads up: it didn’t work and just made me look whiny) and it definitely took someone telling me that they deliberately don’t put all their feelings online to start reevaluating my own relationship with the internet.

Cut to two years later and psychologically retraining myself not to turn to Twitter every time I get sad/stroppy and to actually communicate with the people around me, my social media platforms are infinitely less depressing than they used to be!

Pair this with no longer pretending to be an influencer with my blog, YouTube and Instagram content and just posting for fun and we’ve got a brand new SophieCountsClouds (still kind of hate the name, but the brand’s the brand y’know). I don’t feel like I have to post on Instagram every day, I don’t try to ‘promote engagement’ (that I never got anyway) and the content I do make I make for fun; because I love writing, I like coming up with new and fun videos ideas and I love watching social media evolve and develop (hence the beginnings of a career in marketing).

But there are two new profiles that I want to develop in 2021 – having really reinvested in social media as a personal hobby and not a ‘professional portfolio’ (that’s separate) I’ve got two new projects that I want to work on and I’ve definitely mentioned them both already.

My new book Instagram account and tiktok! I’ve kind of fallen headfirst down the tiktok rabbit hole as lockdown and pandemic has persisted, both from an entertainment and a marketing point of view (how someone can gain 99 million followers in a year is astounding) and now I just want to make fun, silly little videos.

The book account has been one of my new years goals for a little while now – 2020 may have been shit but it was the year I full on fell in love with reading again and I wanted somewhere to connect with people who love books and stories as much as I do and somewhere for me to write about the books I’m reading and my thoughts on other things (important discussions like hardback vs paperback and whether the spine of a book should be cracked).

It sounds silly to keep using the word ‘fun’ but doing Vlogmas and watching so much tiktok, making content is fun again for me now! While I was at uni I spent a lot of time thinking that to be a ‘proper blogger’ I needed to be scheduling tweets for every hour of the day and writing really stagey, fake sounding captions with a million hashtags to ‘reach the right people’ but it felt wrong when I did it and it feels stupid looking back on it now. If my blog or YouTube was ever going to be successful then 1) it would have been already and 2) I’d rather people found my content organically and subscribed because they liked it, not because I tweeted three billions times asking if they’d remembered to subscribe.

I’ve had so much fun finding people to follow on my book account and making that tiktok the other day made me feel creative in a way I never expected to!

In between new social medias and setting up my new sewing machine, knitting and sitting with a blanket over my knees 24/7, I think I’m finely balancing on the line between millenial/gen z ‘keeping up with the trends’ and ‘Grandma’.

I still don’t understand tiktok dances, how do you know which are the trendy ones and which ones are people just boogying in their living room? Did I really use the words ‘trendy’ and ‘boogying’ in the same sentence?

Conclusion? I’m having fun with social media and content creation again and I think that might be one of the best things that came out of 2020.

If you’re interested in books or, like me, can’t get off tiktok I’d love it if you followed me! If that’s not what you’re into, I hope you love the creators you are watching and you have content that makes you smile.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… December

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

With the last month of the year drawing to a close, now might just be the best time to reflect on the things that have brought me joy this month in the hope that perhaps they can bring you joy too!

We all know 2020 has been crap, I don’t need to reel off my personal experiences because it’s been rubbish for everyone in so many different ways. But there has been moments of positivity and joy and though focusing on them doesn’t necessarily make it easier, remembering them can bring little pockets of happiness!

So here’s a few of my favourites from the month!

  • Purchase

Not particularly exciting, but I bought a coffee table on Facebook marketplace and it’s made my living room much more cluttered but given me somewhere comfy to work whilst my desk is in parts in the shed so I have somewhere for the Christmas tree! Only £20, picked it up the same day and it’s been home to lots of crafts, most of my Christmas wrapping and some festive Lego building!

new coffee table with cotton wool snowman whilst we watched ‘The Wheel’ with dinner!

And my second favourite purchase was a boxing day sales one – a bit strange, but I bought a nappy bag… I don’t have a baby, I’m not expecting a baby, I’m just a big fan of pockets. There are so many compartments, so many extra little inside pockets and pouches! I’m sure it would be a wonderful nappy bag, but I’m going to use it as a work bag and I’m so excited about it.

  • Recipe

I’ve not been cooking much this month because I’ve not had the energy to actually prepare food, but I treated myself to a gammon joint for Christmas and cooked it in the slow cooker. I was aiming for a honey roasted ham but I did it on Christmas Day and I forgot how long it had been in for and I think I should have finished it off in the oven, so it didn’t taste very honey roasted at all, but it does taste lovely, it’s not too chewy and it was so easy to just chuck in the slow cooker.

It was the most expensive cut of meat I’ve ever bought (because I’m cheap af and try not to buy meat too often) so I’m not going to be rushing to try it again any time soon, but I would like to try it again and actually pay more attention!

  • Song

There’s one song I’ve literally not stopped listening to but it’s not on Spotify so I’ve made a YouTube playlist and just listened to it on loop about a hundred times. The lyrics are stunning, the melodies are beautiful and it’s perfect for a sing song when I’m home alone.

  • YouTube video

I’ve watched a lot of YouTube this month – I’m sick of having hundreds of videos on my watch later and I don’t want to be watching Vlogmas content in February (and it kind of feels like I have company when my partner’s at work!) so here’s some of my favourites!

It’s my 30th Birthday – KickThePJ

The /W/orst Letter – vlogbrothers (Hank Green)

Among Us with Proximity Chat is Terrifying & Hilarious – KickThePJ

How We Organise Our Joint Finances as a Millennial Couple | More Hannah

It’s Finally Happening!!! RawBeautyKristi x Colourpop Collection Reveal – RawBeautyKristi

  • Books I’ve read

I’ve finally got back into reading! After a three month slump of nothing, I finished The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne last month and I started reading A Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson at the beginning of the month and stayed up to finish it on Christmas day because wow it was incredible.

A full 5/5 for amazing characters (my favourite thing), a suspenseful plot that just kept twisting and the most natural romantic subplot that was so subtle and so not important to the main plot, just beautifully integrated without being focal, it was lovely. I’m trying not to buy more books until I’ve cut down my ‘to be read’ pile, but wow I want to read the sequel ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ so badly.

But I am resisting! I’m now reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion because my friend lent it to me and I don’t want to leave it too long to give it back. I’m not sure whether it’ll be my last book of 2020 or my first book of 2021, but the 30 pages I read the other night were written in a really fun style and I’m enjoying it so far.

  • Something to watch…

With watching so much more YouTube in trying to catch up, I’ve not watched a lot of TV, Film or streaming services. But my partner and I have been watching one particular quiz show with dinner because our friend worked on it and it’s exciting and nice to support what our friends are doing (other than live sport, I just can’t bring myself to watch that) – so we’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Wheel’. It’s a Michael McIntyre hosted socially distanced quiz show that is just really fun (despite how annoying the theme song is). I love a quiz show, I love learning new things and I like how impatient my fiancé is that he has to google all the answers before they’re revealed.

This year has been bloody weird, so finding favourites isn’t always the easiest, but even if it’s hard to remember, there are always good moments. Whether it’s a book, a quiz show or a good find in the Boxing Day sales, there’s always something good to be found.

This is my last post for this year but I’ll be back on New Year’s Day with my 2021 goals!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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self care tips for when getting out of bed is hard

2021, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’m not qualified to give advice on mental health, but I have been living with a mental health condition that has been somewhat deteriorating as the pandemic goes on, so I thought I’d collate a list of tips and tricks I’ve been putting into practice over the past few months that can make day to day life a little bit easier, when life is already hard enough.

  • if you need to shower, have a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner so you only really need to use one product and it feels less intimidating. It’ll only take a few minutes (depending on how efficient your shower is) and hopefully you’ll feel better for being all fresh and clean (clean, new pyjamas are always wonderful after a shower too).
  • sticking with the theme of washing, doing dishes is one of the things I find so hard when I’m feeling low but the longer you leave it, the more it piles up and the worse it feels. If you do feel up to do anything (no judgement from me if you don’t), fill one washing up bowl, fill it with hot water and some bubbles and make your way through that one bowl. Put on some boppy music, get the washing up gloves on and just get through the one bowl. I find having a definitive end makes something much easier. If you’d rather, set a ten minute timer and do whatever you can in ten minutes – even doing a little bit is better than nothing.
  • You’ve got to eat even if you don’t feel like it, but this one is worth a bit of preparation on a good day in advance – either, batch cook and freeze a portion of something easy that you can defrost and microwave or have some microwave meals or easy frozen food like chicken nuggets in the freezer, that way you know you can feed yourself without it becoming a big hurdle to climb over. If it’s got vegetables in, that’s a bonus, if you just need some oven chip potato-y goodness, you do you.
  • Download a habit app for the basic things – not only will it serve as a physical reminder to do them every day, but ticking it off can be a great hit of endorphins when you really need them! I have reminders every day for brushing my teeth, moisturising and taking my medication and it’s useful not only to remind me to do those things, but it lets me know when I’ve stayed up too late as well.
  • Little tasks like watering any house plants, painting your nails or writing a new to do list are smaller things (at least for me) that feel more achievable and avoid doing the ‘big scary tasks’ for a little bit. If you’re feeling a bit more motivated (or want to do another one of those productive procrastination tasks like making lists) maybe you can take the ‘big scary’ task and break it down into smaller ones to make it feel more manageable. Then if you want, set a timer for an hour or so to work on whatever it is you need to do, but know that end he end of that hour you’ve achieved something and that’s enough!
  • Change your clothes – even if it’s from pyjamas you’ve slept in to clean pyjamas and taking your hair down, brushing it and putting it back up again can make you feel so much fresher.

These are only little things, but on days where you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed till the late afternoon, little things like this can make all the difference. The psychological impact of feeling like we need to be on it 16 hours a day is so damaging and so hard to get out of.

When I drafted this post I wasn’t working a 9 to 5 job from home and now that I am, this kind of self care on bad days is much more difficult to implement. But I think taking it slow, communicating with your managers or whoever when you need to, and just doing what you can is enough to get through it.

Being gentle with yourself is the only way anyone can get through a pandemic – take it one day at a time, do what you can and advocate for yourself when you need to. You can to this – this will end.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… November 2020

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like I haven’t done a ‘favourites’ post for a while – I’ve been trying to reevaluate my relationship with feeling the need to buy new things to show and talk about in these posts but I think the format I’ve built for myself works quite well and with ongoing lockdown announcements and all the other stuff going on in a pandemic world, I think we can all use a post about nice things that make us happy! Especially with the festive season right around the corner!

  • purchase

Just talked about not feeling the need to buy new things and first category is my favourite purchase; I see the irony! I haven’t actually really bought anything for myself recently, but I’ve been doing all my Christmas shopping online as everything’s closed at the moment and I’ve made an effort not to use Amazon and to shop small and I’ve bought so many cute bits from Etsy! I’m not going to link anything specific for obvious reasons, but being able to search for literally everything, specify my price range and that I want to shop in the UK has been great. So far delivery has been mixed but I think it’s COVID making everything slower. And the one Amazon order I did make one of the items isn’t going to arrive until December 23rd, so it’s definitely not that much more convenient than shopping from independent creatives!

  • social media

A slightly strange category, but with applying for jobs in marketing and digital media, I’ve been thinking a lot more professionally about social media in preparation for potential interviews – I’ve been looking at view to subscriber averages on YouTube, trying to understand Instagram’s new layout prioritising shopping and forever pretending I’m young enough to use tiktok like I get how the app works. There are so many hashtags that I don’t get! I’d love to start making tiktoks but I’m a little overwhelmed with where to start… I mostly watch Harry Potter cosplayers and I’m loving just spectating too.

  • music

I drew the conclusion earlier this year that I’m not as into music as I thought I was, but as I’ve been needing sounds to distract me from my overthinking brain, I’ve been watching a lot more YouTube and listening to way more music!

I’m really enjoying working to instrumental music (I can’t concentrate when there are lyrics, I get distracted) so I’ve been listening to a pianist called Ludivico Einaudi who I loved when I was 16 but his album Islands is beautiful and you’d recognise some of the songs from TV adverts! I’ve also loved listening to the Avengers: Endgame soundtrack and a playlist called Cinematic Chillout.

And I’ve found a love for acoustic music as well? Hearing the raw instruments and stripped back vocals chills me out at the moment so my favourite playlist is Easy Acoustic, but I also love Calming Instrumental Covers and I’m looking forward to listening to Autumn Acoustic too.

  • YouTube video

I feel like I’ve been a broken record about how I’m behind on watching YouTube videos and have been for about five years now – I’m currently up to just over 200 videos on my watch later playlist and the videos are from about six weeks ago, but I only really watch YouTube when my partner is away with work because when he’s home I want to make the most of him.

So I don’t have specific videos, because they would be from months ago, but I’m really loving The Anna Edit‘s videos even though I’m 100% a different class to her and don’t have the money to and wouldn’t spend as much as she does on high end skin care, fashion or anything, but I just love how chatty and friendly she is. I’ve always said, I subscribe to channels based on the people, not the content.

The other channel I’ve loved for so long now is Fabulous Hannah – the same principle of liking the person not the content, but I also love the content. Hannah and I would get on so well – she has my same sarcastic, self deprecating humour, we’re kind of at similar points in life, and watching her videos just feels like I’m having a one way video call catch up with a friend and that’s the kind of cosy vibes I love on YouTube.

  • books

I finally finished The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas! I had eight months of an amazing reading habit that has now completely gone out the window, but I managed to finish the one book I had started. I liked it – I was apprehensive of the ending because I’ve seen the film, but I thought it really captured the perspective of a 9 year old boy. Apparently it’s a controversial book, but I thought it was interesting to express the naïvity of children in Germany, though I’m not sure how historically accurate it is.

I’m yet to start another book, but I definitely need to get back into the habit because I miss it.

  • snacks

I may have built up an unjustified anxiety about eating, but recently I’ve started getting my appetite back and with Christmas treats and the Great British Bake Off as inspiration for the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed a few treats.

Cadbury Snow Balls are my favourite seasonal treat (though a special shout out to creme eggs), I’ve been very much enjoying Victoria sponge cupcakes and malted milk biscuits were all my anxious stomach could handle for a while.

I’m definitely a sweet snack kind of girl.

  • TV/film/streaming/stuff to watch

Speaking off The Great British Bake Off… it’s the only thing I’ve been religiously watching every week since it all began. Lottie was my favourite, I very nearly stopped watching when she went out, I think Dave was robbed in that final but the whole series was the light relief we needed amongst a new tier system and a second lockdown.

I’ve not really watched anything else to be honest – with catching up on 200 YouTube videos and Bake Off on a Tuesday night, I’ve not made time for anything else. I did start rewatching Harry Potter and a few Marvel movies of an afternoon though, which has been nice.

  • wedding planning update

We paid the first half of the venue deposit! There’s been a lot of back and forth since we viewed the venue in July, but with the pandemic they agreed to let us pay half the deposit and the other half in January, so the ball really is rolling! My plan before the New Year is to make a detailed list of everything that needs doing and when I need to start thinking about it over the next two years so I keep up with planning and we save enough money for the right times.

I think with all the new lockdown rules, it hasn’t really sunk in yet – part of my mind wonders if the pandemic will effect us by the end of 2022, but I have to stay optimistic and hope for the best!


I wasn’t sure about writing this post, because it all feels incredibly self indulgent, but talking about nice things that make us happy is what we all need at the moment. Do we need to share them all on the internet? Probably not, but I’m part of a generation that has an issue with oversharing online so here we are.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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why I’m obsessed with animal crossing: new horizons…

2020, lifestyle

Hi!

I’m not one of those people that’s been into video games since they were a kid – I played Wii Sports, MarioKart, a bit of Harry Potter on my PC, occasional Sims and I loved Nintendogs, but I’ve never been an avid gamer.

Then I met my boyfriend. After a year and a half I bought my own X-Box to play Overwatch. Now I’ve had a Nintendo Switch for over a year, I’ve played enough Pokemon Sword to justify having numerous Pokemon plush toys in our living room and I’ve played Animal Crossing: New Horizons every day since my birthday weekend (over two months).

But how did we get here?

When my fiancé (still have to force myself to call him that, it feels weird) first got excited about New Horizons, I didn’t get it – it looked like a weird Sims with these animals villagers and doing menial tasks to pay back debts to a raccoon who really does have financial leverage over everyone on the island. I didn’t get it – there was a turnip stock market, the animals have weird catch phrases and some Dodos run the airport.

But it did come out at the perfect time – just as the world started to lockdown, Animal Crossing: New Horizons released and made it almost impossible to buy a Switch anywhere, selling out all over the place. My fiancé bought a digital copy and started to build his island – as I was pretending to do uni work I would watch him play and I felt like we were building the island together; I knew who all his villagers were, we’d decide when was the best time to get a profit on those turnips (I realise if you don’t know animal crossing this sounds insane) and I was really invested in this kids game.

But I decided I wasn’t going to get my own copy until I’d finished my dissertation because I didn’t need that kind of distraction, but then my lovely fiancé bought me a copy for my birthday and I started my island a couple of days later. Since then I have checked in on my little island every day, chatted to all my villagers, decorated my island, planted flowers and crafted my little hearts content to make an island I adore.

Especially in another lockdown, having something to tune in to every day and tasks to achieve is the closest thing to a routine I had for a long time – I’d go and tidy the weeds and talk to my villagers and expand my little community. It’s a bit like Sims but with more direction and definitely for a younger audience, but it’s addicting and just so cute!

Having something to focus on that in the long run really doesn’t matter makes everything feel a bit lighter – it’s nice to have something insignificant to focus on outside of the world of pandemic, politics and adulting. Having a space where I can pick up twigs and collect materials to make furniture for my house and live outside the real world for a bit makes it all a little easier to process.

So I’ve been playing a dumb game every day for two months and it’s got me through two of the most emotionally difficult months of my life. It’s so dumb, but I’ve got to check in with all my animal villager friends, I’ve got to check my turnip prices to try and sell them at the best price, I’ve got to clean up all the weeds and finish decorating my islands; it’s so good for my brain, I feel creative and I feel like I’m accomplishing something, even if it’s in an inconsequential video game.

Where my dissertation is finished and I’m currently applying for jobs, there isn’t a lot that I ‘need’ to be doing every day and I’m trying to give myself the freedom to relax and spend time on things that aren’t ‘productive’ like playing on my Switch, doing a bunch of craft activities and watching films! In the last week I’ve watched the first two Harry Potter films and Avengers: Age of Ultron because I could and it felt great!

Conclusion: Animal Crossing is really great. If the fact that its release meant that Switch’s sold out all over the country didn’t convince you, this blog post will definitely do it.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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life after my masters degree (in a pandemic…)

2020, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I think this might be the first time I’ve intentionally taken a month off blogging since I started in 2014! With my masters degree dissertation deadline looming and the dire state of my mental health (that I feel like I’ve mentioned too many times) I decided to take the pressure off just a little bit by not making myself feel I had to upload for a little bit.

I thought it would be a more difficult habit to break but in all honesty, it was nice to have a break! I’ve come back now excited to write again because I love blogging so much and I’m so ready to get back to what ‘normal life’ feels like for me.

So I finished my masters! I took a one week extension on my deadline because my stress levels were making me physically ill (lol) and it ended up that everything fell on November 5th – my dissertation deadline, a second national lockdown in the UK and my fiancé and I celebrated out 5th anniversary! I cannot believe it’s been five years but it also started the countdown of 2 years till we get married which is exciting. Our wedding contract confirmation from our venue came through the letterbox on that day too which felt very significant!

I spent most of the day formatting and double checking my essay and waiting for massive media files to upload so we didn’t get to celebrate too much, but we ordered Chinese just like we did on our first date and the next day we spent two hours together building Lego Hedwig which he’d picked up for 99p in Game a few weeks ago (it retails at £35!) which had mechanical flapping wings!

It may have come with a very simple instruction book that was over 100 pages long but we felt much cleverer than we are to have made something out of Lego that moves!

It was a great way to start life after masters. In the few days it’s been I’ve mostly been playing the new Pokemon Sword DLC The Crown Tundra with my Pokemon obsessed fiancé and doing all the little bits and bobs round the house I’ve been ignoring to give my little mental energy to my degree. The house is tidier than it’s been for months, everything is clean and I feel refreshed despite it being grey and rainy outside (though I’m loving snuggling up with my blankets inside).

Looking ahead, I don’t know what’s next. If the world wasn’t in a pandemic, I’d definitely be looking to get a job as soon as possible but 1) I imagine a lot of companies that would usually hire graduates aren’t hiring because they have to prioritise paying the staff they have and 2) I’m exhausted from this year. Finishing a dissertation in any situation is a huge mental and emotional toll but doing it when the world is upside down, the US election was taking days and my fiancé is still driving all around the country in high risk zones for work, I’m absolutely shattered and need to take this time to be gentle with myself.

Whilst I’m still recovering and trying to figure my body out, I don’t know what the future holds, which probably doesn’t help my mental health but I need to rest – this year has had a toll on everyone and everyone is handling it in their own way, I just need to find mine.

I am still looking for jobs, because I can’t rely on my fiancé’s income to pay for everything, we have a wedding to save for and I want to start my career! Most of the people I finished my undergrad degree with are two years into their careers and I feel like I’m a little late to finding my footing in the professional world (not that I am, there’s no one timeline). But I’m not going to spend all day every day looking for jobs when I know what a negative toll so many rejection emails had on me two years ago.

So right now? Life is very slow, I’m focusing on making myself a routine and taking care of myself because I’ve been ill for nearly three months now and I have to change something, because I never want to feel like this again.

I don’t know when I’ll get my degree results, I don’t even know if I’ll still be able to attend graduation in 2021 with the state of the pandemic, but I’m grateful to have finished my degree, I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and a partner who makes me feel like a million bucks, I’m grateful to have friends and family to turn to when I feel lonely and I’m grateful to have my health, whatever state it’s in, in a world where nothing is certain anymore.

Things are scary and uncertain, but the year is almost up, I’m seeing Christmas joy everywhere I look and there is hope for the future with the new President-Elect of the US – things will get better, just one step at a time, no matter how small.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… September

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

Oh how my favourite month has come and gone and I feel like I missed it! The last six months have gone so ridiculously fast that I feel like I haven’t been able to keep up but another month has passed and it’s time for another instalment of my supposedly ‘original’ take on what is essentially a favourites post.

As we edge ever close to Autumn, cosy knits and hot chocolate season, my birthday has been and gone and the end of the year is drawing to a close. It’s been a busy month with trips to see family, a couple of socially distanced bowling trips and a ring on my finger to match the engagement my fiancé and I decided on in January.

So these are some of the things I treasured in September!


  • purchase

I’ve got two favourites from this month and they’re both clothes! I bought myself a new hoodie from Primark that I’ve been living in because it’s so soft and cosy and I treated myself to some new Snag tights with some birthday money! I definitely need to stop ‘treating myself’ to new things in October but for now, I’ll snuggle down in my new hoodie and comfy tights.

  • recipe

I’ve been making a roasted tomato and bay orzo dish from The Green Roasting Tin book and it’s taken me a few attempts to figure it out (it takes about twice as long to cook than the recipe suggests!) but now that I’ve got it it’s delicious! I’d never heard of orzo before making this dish but it’s like tiny rice shaped pasta and cooked in the vegetable stock makes it so flavourful and delicious. Although it negates the ‘vegan’ nature of the dish, it goes perfectly with garlic bread and a little parmesan!

  • song

The longer the pandemic goes on, the more I crave nostalgic music I already know all the words too! I’ve done a few long drives this month and I’ve listened to the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a beautiful film where Matt Damon plays a sassy horse), Starstruck (a Disney Channel Original Movie that I’m worried to rewatch in case it’s not as amazing as I remember) and I’ve curated my own playlist of songs I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs in the car (apologies to any other drivers who may have witnessed this).

  • YouTube video

As ever, I don’t watch YouTube frequently enough to keep up with my subscription feed so I’m still watching videos from months ago but I loved this SFX/beauty make-up video from Mykie (Glam and Gore) making the most wonderfully extra face mask.

This video of Hannah Witton teaching herself a dance routine to a song she loves made me think that I need to find some choreography dance lessons on YouTube because I miss dancing so much.

And this video from kickthePJ about moving house really stuck with me – I can’t say for why, but it’s beautifully sentimental, a lovely montage of memories and a little bit different for PJ but I’m always in awe of how incredibly creative his content is; massive inspiration!

  • books I’ve read

I knew this would happen but I didn’t think it would take this long – 8 months of reading 4-6 books a month and September was the month I didn’t finish anything. As I write this, I’m halfway through ‘The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne and considering I’ve seen the film and I’m aware of how it ends, it’s surprisingly not as heavy as I thought it would be.

I’m hoping to power through the last 100 pages before the end of the month and get back into it but I’ve definitely fallen off track for my little personal goal of 52 books in a year (my goodreads goal is 12 but when I hit that in March I did wonder if I could maintain one book a week!) but in my defence, these past few weeks I’ve really understood when people say they’ve been ill with their mental health because I’ve never experienced anything like it. My routine (if I ever had one), completely fell out the window and my sacred evening routine (shoutout to my 9pm bedtime crew) was replaced with not sleeping before 2am and wasting most of the morning in bed.

I’m hoping to crack down and get back into it, not just because I love reading but because I need to make the effort for the sake of my own mental health. Any tips are more than welcome!

  • snack

Other than a craving for Malted Milk biscuits, the best snack I’ve had this month is actually something I’ve baked myself! My mum used to bake these amazing cookies with smarties on and I’ve made a couple of batches this month and they’ve been amazing – the recipe makes about 12 (or about 6 big cookies) and when they’re fresh out the oven oh boy I could eat the whole batch. I’m salivating thinking about them.

They’re super easy – I’ve not done a recipe post for a really long time, would you like to see one?

  • something to watch

With my fiancé being away at work and having a friend stay for a couple of weeks until she can move into her new flat (all COVID safe, I promise) I’ve been watching more Netflix and Disney+ than usual! We watched the new Millie Bobby Brown film ‘Enola Holmes’ which I thought was surprisingly heartwarming, a very interesting 4th-wall narrative and a mildly disappointing ending but a pleasant watch all the same.

I finally got round to watching Frozen 2 – I’m not a massive Frozen fan, so I wasn’t obsessed with it (Tangled is a better film, don’t @ me) but it was fine, I guess? ‘Into The Unknown’ is a bop but wow ‘Show Yourself’ is underrated!! Definitely need to give the soundtrack a listen but it was nice to have a bit of context for my sister’s Anna cosplay (follow her tiktok, it’s adorable).

Otherwise, we’re now rewatching a bunch of Disney classics – I’ve been fancying watching Treasure Planet for a while and last night we watched Mulan and Mulan 2 and had a wonderful time!

  • wedding planning update!

Not much to update on the wedding front! We’ve negotiated a quote with the venue and we’re just figuring out our finances to pay the deposit and book the venue! Then it’s booking the registrar and hunting for a photographer/videographer – if you have any recommendations for someone in the Rutland/South Lincolnshire region, please let me know!


I still can’t believe how fast this year is going – I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, my impending dissertation deadline (less than a month now!) or if this is just adult life now but I’m sure I’ll soon be baffled by how quickly October has gone in my ‘Treasured In…’ post next month!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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