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

2019, career, lifestyle, student

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a setback isn’t the end | unfitness

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

It’s been a hot minute since I did a little update on my ‘unfitness’ and for anyone else on a similar journey to me, I thought it was time for a little run down!

So far this year it’s been difficult – after Christmas and into February, my mental health took a nose dive and consequently any motivation or desire to look after myself (tasks like taking off my make-up and brushing my teeth were basically Everest to me). But overall, my step count was still on target and I was doing okay with food so my progress was much slower but still progress.

Now I’m ready to tackle it all head on and build it up again!

[ f o o d   /   d i e t ]

I’ve found what works the best for me is simple repetition – I really don’t mind having the same thing 5 times a week and then I can allow myself the freedom to be a bit more lenient at the weekends (usually with some sort of cheese and bread meal). This is working really well for me! I’ve always noticed the most progress is when I’m focused on diet and don’t put any pressure on myself for exercise.

For dinners it’s always a compromise – at the moment everything seems to be super busy  so there’s a fair bit of eating out and having meals beyond my control, but when I’m home I make sure I eat as many vegetables as I can and try to be sensible with portion size.

Overall, I’m still training myself back down to smaller portion sizes but I feel like I know how to tackle this and I feel okay about it!

[ f i t n e s s   /   e x e r c i s e ]

Half term has been and gone, I’ve had a week away at Centre Parcs doing 10,000+ steps a day and swimming 5 times in a week and now I’m back to normal life and self motivating exercise!

Tap classes have started up again (I’m sat waiting for my second one of the day as I write this!), I’m aiming to hit my step goal 4 days a week and do one additional workout. I’m not particularly enjoying workout out at home because most of the rooms in my house are quite small and there’s just not enough space (nor is it warm enough for me to go out and use the garden yet!). This one I’m still figuring out – I’m trying some other free apps and mostly being guided by letting the rest of my life fall into more of a routine and then fitting in workouts around that.

My best tip – if you want to follow fitness people on social media, don’t follow the ones who make you compare yourself and feel bad or the ones who make it seem like a massive chore. Someone I went to school with has committed to working out seven days a week to train for climbing Mont Blanc and watching her share and talk about her training has really motivated me to workout! Not quite to the same extreme but seeing her so happy and her progress is really inspiring.

[ w h a t   n e x t ? ]

As a said – finding a routine, getting to a point where my appetite is smaller and figuring out where at home workouts fit in to my life at the moment. I’m hoping to have taken and passed my driving test by April/May time and I think when I’m at a point where I can drive myself to the gym and maybe afford a session with a personal trainer I’ll be more motivated to get out the house and workout. Getting out the house is normally the solution for me!

But as always – all tips, tricks and hacks welcome! If you have any advice please do leave it in the comments down below.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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improving my odds

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

My notes for today’s post simply read – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. And yes, I love to believe in a higher power and there really is a path for each person to follow and not a blank open plane but I don’t know if asking the universe is going to really help.

It’s a balance – internally, I’m always thinking ‘but this’ ‘but that’ – I don’t think there’s any harm in putting it out there what you want. I’ve done this before with an ‘ask the universe’ post – and everything in that post still stands.

But nothing’s going to change if I don’t work for it.  Tweeting about how I’d love more subscribers or how I can’t think of anything better than running social media channels for a band on tour and maybe one day someone will notice and will make my dreams come true.

I don’t even know where to start doing the maths on how many billions to one those chances are though? If I really want to leave it to chance, I might as well put the work in to improve the odds.

Going back to the path analogy – feeling like there’s a path already set for us can feel restricting, like we have no free will or choice, but thinking about how there’s a huge expanse of possibilities can be incredibly daunting. I like to think that somewhere in the universe, there’s something that at least vaguely knows where we’re going, giving us multiple paths to choose from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it or I believe too much in a higher power but whilst I think there’s something that knows our future, I don’t think shouting to a void (or social media) will help or hinder anything.

So I go back to the original notes I made for this post – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. I’d love a sign – if there’s a higher power, if it could send a sign my way that would be fan-bloody-tastic! A sign, a break, all of the above please. But the world doesn’t work like that – if I spend my whole life waiting for a sign I’m going to look back having wasted it.

This is me, not waiting, not calling the universe but thanking it – thanking it for giving me the strength to carry on, the confidence to step into the unknown and the passion to make my own path when I can’t find one to follow.

Writing this has been the most ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I’ve written for a very long time – today hasn’t been my day, to be honest but even reading over my own blog plan, seeing my own past plea made me think, you know what? I have the power to stop this and I’m going to work to make my own change.

2019 hasn’t necessarily gone the way I’d hoped so far, there’s lots of milestones I thought I would have already hit but I can’t waste time thinking of what could have been – I’m going to work to hit the goals I’ve set for myself and if I don’t, I’ll readjust and keep working. Because otherwise my life is going to carry on and I won’t really be in it.

I hope you can take something away from this post. Maybe it was a self-indulgent ramble to reach a somewhat melodramatic conclusion, but maybe it wasn’t.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a REAL everyday outfit post

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

I love writing outfit posts – I like talking about fashion and experimenting with fashion and pretending I can blend in with the instagram models with outfit pictures (even though we all know I can’t).

But with this in mind, if we believed Instagram it can be hard to believe that some of these influencers and bloggers wear the most amazing clothes everyday and they always flounce about in heels and find scenic places to take edgy photos and they always have a willing partner/friend/top notch photographer.

I think we all know this is not the case. Or at least, sometimes we need reminding of it.

So this is a genuine everyday outfit – I thoroughly recommend it. Primark cosy leggings (the only leggings I’ve found that are warm and not see through), an Overwatch Lunar Ops t-shirt that you can’t actually see, my Solent graduation hoodie (because I’m feeling very nostalgic for uni, it’s incredibly comfy and it was clean, what more can you ask for?), my Dr Martens and my Primark mens coat – this is my most likely everyday uniform.

I’ve got my hair tied up in french plaits because it was a bit greasy, I’m wearing a bit of make-up but not enough to stop my face looking like the actual moon and you know what? That’s fine! This is what I actually look like most of the time.

If I had my way I’d be wearing pyjamas, no make-up and scraping my hair back everyday to live on the sofa doing nothing but scrolling through Instagram and watching CW superhero shows but that doesn’t look too good on Instagram or the blog, nor does it pay very well.

Sometimes my ‘everyday’ changes – sometimes it’s a pair of jeans and a sweater, sometimes it’s a knitwear jumper, I often wear my Primark fake-vans instead of my Docs, but there are so many aspects of everyday that aren’t as full on as my usual outfit posts. It’s nice to make an effort and share a new outfit or something new I’ve put together and that’s pretty normal too.

Social media, particularly Instagram, is an interesting place – a lot of influencers at the moment have been criticised for not showing ‘real life’ online and not being explicit that their feed is a highlight reel of their lives. Personally, I think if anyone really believes that anyone really shares the ups, downs and realities of life and not just the best bits needs to properly reevaluate how they use Instagram.

But on the other hand, here’s my bit of reality. Here’s my everyday.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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planning a weekend trip in Europe | travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

When I first started blogging, my three topics of choice were lifestyle, music and travel and I really did not show that in what I was writing. I’ve made it a little personal goal of mine to write genuinely relevant travel content this year, not ‘I wish I could travel here’ and ‘one day I’ll go to these places’ but stuff that genuinely reflects where I am in terms of travel at the moment.

Long story short, my boyfriend and I have had a trip to Paris in the works since last January (yes, I mean 2018, 13 months ago) and after mishaps getting my boyfriend’s first passport, spontaneously buying EuroStar tickets in November because they were so cheap (£29 per person each way, £116 total – utter bargain, keep an eye on trainline because it’s so worth it in what you save!) and everything else – we’re going to Paris for 3 nights at the end of March.

Slowly I’ve been ticking off the things I need to do – this week I’m going to book a hotel (because gal’s gotta save) and for my boy’s birthday (one whole year after declaring I would take him to Paris in the first place) I wrote up a kind of mock itinerary and sure, he can scrap it and write a whole new one if he likes but wow, I put so much time into it.

(let’s pretend this screenshot of my laptop screen is edgy and creative and not just a bit weird or lazy, I was aiming for edgy okay)

So I’m going to have a little chat about how I made this itinerary – I got a bit hung up on hotels and stuff but a few people on Instagram said not to worry about finding somewhere too fancy because for our first trip to Paris we should spend as much time as we can in the city and where we stay is just somewhere to sleep. So at present I’m hoping to book this ibis hotel which is near the Gare du Nord train station where we’ll be getting the Eurostar too but a couple of people have told me to have a look on AirBNB as well but I’m kind of skeptical and it scares me a bit so if anyone has any AirBNB advice or where to stay in Paris recommendations please do let me know, probably on Instagram is easiest! Or a comment, whatever floats your boat.

But back to my itinerary! I put a lot of research into this but I also made the most of instagram by blocking my boyfriend from seeing my stories (it was a birthday present surprise, I was trying to be subtle!) and asking for recommendations and writing down everything that people had suggested.

And then, like the basic bitch I am, I googled ‘things to do in Paris’ – but more specifically, my sister recommended getting the Paris pass which gets free access to a bunch of attractions. I haven’t bought this (I’ll explain that in a second) but there is a free 120 page guide to the city that I downloaded and scrolled through and made notes of the things I thought Lucas (the boy) and I would be most interested in doing.

From there, I condensed the list to things I actually thought we would do and then I used Google Maps to be able to visually see where all these attractions were to try and group the things that are in similar areas and plan out our days a little bit. Most of Thursday and Sunday are taken by travel but there’s still two full days that we can fit in as much as we can!

When I grouped things I was looking for morning activities, afternoon activities and maybe one evening thing so there’s time for lots of things! Once I could see them all on the map there was a few things that I ruled out because they were so isolated but I grouped things and popped them on the itinerary.

From there I did a little more research into each potential thing and how much tickets or anything would cost and included that and I could also look around each area we’re in for breakfast/lunch/dinner and list a few options. Finding places to eat in advance I really struggled with – I think we’ll mostly just have a look at what’s around us when we’re ready for food and go where’s convenient and looks good but the one thing I have booked is Hard Rock Cafe Paris because I want to make sure we can get a table on Friday night. I’m so excited about it, ever since I went to Hard Rock Cafe in New York I’ve wanted to try as many as possible and I can’t wait.

I’m very aware that we’re not going to follow this itinerary to the letter (other than trains, we can’t miss those) and I’m so happy to go with the flow but I didn’t want to go into this trip with absolutely no plans because I definitely would have missed something amazing.

So that’s how I made our little itinerary and that’s our plans for Paris so far! I definitely want to have another look and potentially book a few bits in advance but I won’t be buying the aforementioned Paris Pass for a few reasons that I want to be explicit about – firstly, I think it’s incredibly expensive. If you’re going to do everything in the guide, then I’m sure it’s worth the money but for a two-full-days-in-city trip it is almost certainly going to be a waste of money. Secondly, developing on that – doing a quick price up of each activity that costs money that I think we’ll be doing and it costs less to buy them all individually than to buy the pass. Thirdly, I think it’s a bit gimmicky – being a tourist doesn’t have to cost that much money and if I wanted to I could definitely do this whole trip without paying for attractions or activities. The website sucks you in with ‘you’ll waste so much money if you don’t buy this pass!’ but when you add it up, it’s just not the case.

If there’s any recommendations or questions about Paris please do leave them in the comments! Although I’ve been on a few amazing trips, I’m still very new to travelling and being entirely responsible for everything we do so all tips and recommendations are welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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A Winter Wedding Guest | outfit

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

The wedding I attend this weekend just gone has been a long time coming – my cousin and her fiancé gave us the ‘Save the Date’ cards in Summer 2017 and a year and a half later the day was finally here!

It seems like my side of the family have been fretting over what to wear for the last couple of months, but it was only really in January that mum and I really started to think there might not be anything to where.

And then I found this.

The Bright Read Jumpsuit of Dreams (it deserves the capitalisation) – a New Look number that was incredibly high quality, so comfortably easy to wear and was just absolutely stunning. I was so surprised by the length of the legs as I was properly expecting it to only come to my ankle as I’m pushing it a bit at 5’10” but it was just perfect.

And I found it in the sale – this only cost me £6! I’m so unbelievably proud  of this find – it retailed at over £30 full price so it was a proper bargain!

I knew I wanted the kind of look that was quite girly and feminine paired with a leather jacket and black heels to make it a bit edgier and show off my inner tomboy but this wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I think those are the best outfits – it all comes together, whether it’s what you thought it would be or not!

This leather jacket is from New Look on ASOS from the tall section which means it’s actually long enough for my arms and I’m utterly obsessed – it’ll definitely get more wear than just this wedding and I’m so excited for when it warms up a bit and I don’t have to wear a coat and this jacket will be just perfect.

The shoes are also New look but I now can’t find anything like them – they’re simple suede, black, chunky heels, traditionally uncomfortable and I soon opted for walking around the hotel barefoot and then I danced the night away.

But they look nice and that’s the important bit!

I also had my nails done, my sister helped me do my hair, I wore some earrings that my boyfriend’s mum generously gave me for Christmas and a necklace that my mum gave me for Christmas too. I don’t often feel like I’ve got all the details that tie together an outfit but I felt like I was owning it a little bit with this one.

I even convinced a nice boy to take pictures with me! Just joking, this is my gorgeous boyfriend Lucas – we didn’t try to coordinate outfits at all, but he’s cute and he wasn’t too reluctant when I pulled him up to the dance floor on maybe four separate occasions over the course of the night (or when I asked him to take outfit photos).

At the end of the day, even though I’d been losing weight and tried on so many dresses for this wedding, it wasn’t about any of that at all – as cheesy as it sounds it was about love, the love of a couple who we were privileged to witness join in matrimony (or however it goes!). It did make me feel incredibly romantic and really made me appreciate my boy and how lucky I am to have him in my life. It also really got me thinking about planning a wedding of our own but that’s for another day entirely.

Did I make the most of the wall of fairy lights? Of course I did! We may have struggled to find outfits but I think my sister, my mum and I scrubbed up pretty well – the belt on my jumpsuit definitely needed tightening a bit but I wanted to include this photo to show off the beautiful sleeves on this outfit!

The floaty lace gives it a gorgeous detail and standout feature but it’s also incredibly flattering – I’m so insecure about my upper arms and having something that wasn’t tight but didn’t hide them outright was just perfect and everything I was looking for. And of course I didn’t take my FitBit off!

Can we talk about how incredible my mum looks? She even looks like she’s taller than me which is a rare sight (she’s wearing heels and I’m not!). Her dress was from Dorothy Perkins I believe!

This little outdoor bandstand was the perfect backdrop – at night they had fairy lights and it was beautifully lit, but it was raining and dark so I stuck with the grey daylight photos this time round!

Picking an outfit for this wedding was tough – I had to come to the conclusion that I was never going to find the ‘perfect’ outfit for two reasons. 1) Being my height, any dress that’s gathered at the waist (which is most flattering on my figure) is not quite in the right place and 2) I wasn’t the size I wanted to be so nothing fit the way I hoped it would.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this outfit and I’m so glad I found it because it’s just stunning, but I was a bit worried about showing off my little tummy pouch and people thinking my dress was caught between my legs. I’ve made a lot of progress with a body positive mental attitude but I’ve still got a really long way to go.

But like I said – the wedding wasn’t about how I looked or what I wore, it was about the happy couple. It was such a beautiful ceremony and the whole day was just filled with love, family and fun – exactly the way a wedding should be! Having this boy by my side really was the cherry on top.

And with this gem I think I’ll leave it for today!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a day in Newton Abbot | diary 4

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

I wouldn’t say the ‘diary’ posts on my blog are a series per say, but every now and then I like to take a step back and think about blogging at it’s roots – a web log, an online journal, a “Dear Diary” of sorts and I want to get back to that a bit! I properly love the content I’m making at the moment and focusing on being the most genuine me has really helped me nail what I want to do so I thought I would tell you about my day. Why not, right?

My alarm went off at 6.30am as normal, except I woke up in a Premier Inn in Newton Abbott and not my bed at home, so I’m on a different side to usual and my phone was where my boyfriend usually is, so in all that confusion my first alarm properly woke me up in a way that the second two alarms normally do.

But as we’re away and not in our usual home setting, I didn’t rush out of bed – I saw Louise Pentland posted in her ‘Wilde Readers’ Facebook group (which I absolutely adore might I add, thoroughly recommend joining if you love reading!) and accidentally made her day, which was a pretty perfect start to the morning.

When I did roll out of bed about 7am, I went to the bathroom and used one of the Garnier Moisture Bomb eye masks because I’m kind of a little bit on holiday and I had one so I wanted to use it to treat myself this morning.

Eye mask on, I set myself up at the little desk in our hotel room, plugged my hard drive and SD card in because I might not be at home but I still want to keep up with my blog/YouTube schedule so I sat down to edit and schedule my video for this week where I talked about how everyone wants subscribers – because it was for YouTube I made it about subscribers but it applies to anyone who makes content online really. Bloggers want followers and views, artists want people to like their art on Instagram, heck I’m sure even people on tiktok want an audience and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while! If you’ve got 8 minutes to give it a watch and leave a comment that would mean the world!

And at 8.30am I started the ball rolling on this blog post, because I’ve actually made the sensible decision to add to this post as I go along today rather than trying to remember it all tonight!

Once I finished my YouTube edit and starting drafting this blog post (it all suddenly feels very meta), I got dressed and did my hair and make-up. I’m in Newton Abbott for a wedding but that’s not till tomorrow and I’m not involved in any of the rehearsals or anything so today is just a day to explore somewhere new!

I had an appointment at a nail salon at 10.15am but I didn’t exactly know where I was going so my boyfriend and I took a stroll towards the town leaving at 9.30am to give ourselves plenty of time to get there.

After a little bit of confusion and calling the salon because Google Maps was wrong, I went for my appointment, nails were done (kind of average but I booked last minute so it wasn’t awful and it was available!), then I found Lucas again and we went to a Wetherspoons for lunch (always had a soft spot for a Spoons) which was lovely.

Then our walk home from town was really casual and chilled and we were back in the hotel room by quarter to one. This afternoon we don’t really have any plans – the rest of my family were arriving for the wedding, I wanted to upload my video and add to this blog post and get on with some other bits so I don’t have to think about them tomorrow.

I spent most of the afternoon starting February’s spreads in my bullet journal (and having a minor freak out about how I’m going to survive financially, but whatever) and desperately trying to upload this YouTube video.

When one of my cousin’s arrived at the hotel we went down to help him bring all the babies stuff up to his room and spent some time chatting to him and his girlfriend, then my sister arrived so we helped her check in and then we decided we would all go to dinner together at 6pm before going over to the hotel where the wedding is to see the rest of the family in the evening!

Lucas and Lexie, causing trouble

After an hour or so seeing all the family (which was just so lovely, I love it when we have the whole family together) my boyfriend and I got a taxi back (one of the most expensive taxi’s I’ve ever had) and then I had a quick shower before settling down for bed watching Taskmaster.

And that was today!

I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing this so much – I’ve made it a real focus of mine to make the most genuine content I can because there was a point last year where I started to feel so disingenuous and fake and I wanted to strip it back. Long rambly posts are so much more ‘me’ than trying to be concise because someone says blog posts should be 300-400 words. Some people like the long posts and I’m one of them!

What have you done this weekend? Have you got any plans? I’d love to hear all about them!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 tips for packing a weekend bag | Travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

Remember when I used to write about travel on this blog? Well she’s bringing it back lads – between having a few trips planned this year and wanting to travel more, I want to write about it more too!

Already confirmed this year I’ve got a little holiday to Centre Parcs with a close family friend, a trip to Paris with my boyfriend and lots of ideas for the rest of the weekend but the purpose of this blog post is packing for a family wedding down in Devon this weekend.

Now though I’m going to be talking about packing as light as possible, I am going for 5 days (kind of by accident, it’s a very long story!) so bare that in mind!

Whenever I’m packing, I want to make sure that I use every single thing I take but, on the flipside, don’t leave myself short – if I’m going for one night and I’m only taking a backpack that I’m going to be carrying the whole time I need to make sure I’m only taking the bare minimum. Whereas if I’m going for a few days, staying in a hotel and driving there and back I know I can take a suitcase and not worry too much about it being heavy.

With all that in mind, here are a few of my top tips for packing efficiently for short trips!

1 – make a list!

Shock horror, isn’t my first suggestion always a list? I know, but what I mean is make something visual – whether it’s putting pen to paper and planning outfits for the trip, making a note on your phone of how many items of clothing or any essentials you need to remember or even if it’s laying everything out on the floor so you can see it all! Personally, I find it so much easier to think about what could be missing or what I’ve over packed when I can see it all.

2 – get everything before you start packing

Again, going to sound incredibly obvious but lay out everything you need (and I mean everything) before you start folding it all up and putting it in your suitcase or pack. Just so you know exactly what you’re working with and can figure out whether your bag is too big or too small. So much easier than rushing around everywhere collecting the bits you’ve forgotten!

3 – using packing cubes / freezer bags to separate things if it helps!

Whether it’s separating each outfit by day, separating items of clothing or even just putting all your toiletries and beauty bits in different freezer bags (or whatever your bag of choice is!) having some organisation within your travel bag can make finding what you want while you’re away so much easier.

Packing cubes can be a great long term investment but if you’re not sure if they’ll work for you yet, either use bags you already own or freezer bags, carrier bags, anything really! Whatever you can think of to separate out what you’re taking in whatever way suits you best.

4 – what toiletries do you really need?

It’s so easy to take every dry shampoo, moisturiser and face mask under the sun but realistically, what are you actually going to use? It’s so easy to feel like you’ll suddenly need everything but on some shorter trips you might not even need to do a hair wash, so why lug bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel when you don’t need them.

If you’re wanting to bring lots but don’t want to bring full size bottles, either buy travel versions or alternatively (cheaper but more effort) buy those little empty bottles you can get at Boots or Superdrug (or the like) and bring a little bit of each product rather than the full bottles.

5 – don’t bring entertainment you don’t need

A weekend away can mean such a variety of things – using public transport for a one night stay, driving somewhere for a 4 night stay or flying somewhere short haul for a three night stay (or any amalgamation of the three!) and consequently, different forms of entertainment may be necessary.

For a train journey, I tend to bring my laptop or use my phone to pass the time, in the car I can’t do anything but listen to music and sleep and if you’re flying anywhere you’re probably going to spend hours in an airport so it might even be worth bringing a back of cards or Uno!

But on the other hand, you don’t want to take your laptop, three hard drives and a full set of coloured pens (for bullet journal stuff, or colouring, whatever floats your boat) if you’re not going to have time to use them! Really think about what you’re going to be doing while you’re away, whether you’re going to have time to use them or if you’ll need them (for work or, let’s say, writing blog posts!) so you don’t have to carry anything you’re not using!

With all of that in mind, I’m off to pack! I hope this has helped, if there are any travel related blog posts (or anything related blog posts!) you’d like to see please do let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a photography day in the life

2019, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

I love doing these photography posts and with posting weekly vlogs on my YouTube channel, sometimes I forget to include some more of these ‘diary’ like and more of an insight into my daily life over here on my blog! So that’s what I wanted to do today.

This day started as most of my days do – with a 30g bowl of off-brand Corn Flakes. I wanted to try and take photos that are a bit different so I tried to get an action shot of pouring the cereal (it didn’t go very well but I tried and that’s the important bit).

I then take my cereal up to my little office that I share with my boyfriend and watch some YouTube whilst eating breakfast. I used to try to multitask and post on instagram or start my to do list at the same time but I’ve found focusing on one thing at a time is so much more useful – so I start with just breakfast and YouTube before the day really begins.

When I’ve finished, I take my bowl back downstairs (otherwise I will stay sat on my sofa for hours), brush my teeth and go to get dressed before I start on that days to do’s.

This day was a day for a cosy chunky knit jumper with a pinafore, blue eyeliner and some glowy highlight. Just for the sake of transparency, I’ve photoshopped the colour of my hair and eyes because I fancied playing around and editing stuff like that is fun, even if it’s not real. Just a disclaimer!

(the highlight is all real though)

Then my boyfriend and I went on a little walk to Sainsburys (to play Pokemon Go) – he had his second driving test that afternoon so he was feeling very nervous and I was trying to keep him distracted.

(unfortunately he didn’t pass but it was one very minor mistake so he and his instructor are hoping he’ll pass by the end of next month, fingers crossed!)

I meant to take a picture in Sainsburys to prove we went but I forgot so here’s a picture of Lucas (the boyf) carrying the bag out the shop, as proof. I haven’t bought a new carrier bag for a long time and I’m actually so proud of myself – I’m not one of those horribly pushy people that will tell you you’re destroying the planet, but I’m really trying hard to not use unnecessary plastic in day to day life and I’m actually enjoying it.

Haul from our walk – juice from Tescos (it’s the best juice), pizza for dinner from Sainsburys and a lemon tart for Lucas because he had a craving and I said I’d buy it for him as congratulations or commiserations after his test.

He ate nearly the whole thing in one sitting last night, it was actually a bit gross. How that boy can eat so much and still be so thin absolutely baffles me.

For lunch, I had some leftover roast vegetables and cous cous (so yummy) and played some Overwatch on the X-Box because ‘mission: keep Lucas distracted’ was not yet complete.

Then he went off for his test. This boy has been on a real difficult journey with learning to drive and no, it wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for but he did bloody well and I’m still so proud.

Whilst he was gone, I filmed my own video about driving and did a little update about how my driving lessons are going and what I’m up to. I also took some posy photos because I can link my camera to my phone and take photos remotely and I’m still so impressed by it.

And I feel adorable in this jumper so I took more photos. Maybe it’s vain, but I’ve hated my reflection for a long old time so when I’m feeling a bit vain, I’ll indulge. Why not, eh? A selfie never hurt anyone!

That afternoon I was at my dance school volunteering on reception – this is something I do twice a week. Usually I’ll have some emails to send, some things to sort, calls to make or queries to answer but today there was nothing to do so I did some work on my own laptop.

At this point in the day I was starting to get tired (because no matter how much sleep I get I just can’t shake it at the moment!) and this photo was a bit boring so I played with it and y’know what? This is a pretty good visual representation of what my brain has felt like for most of this week – muted and blurry.

In the same congratulatory/commemoratory vain as the lemon tart, we had pizza for dinner – I’ve really been enjoying this veggie pizza from Sainsburys and ended up having a whole veggie day on this day. I’m not deliberately going vegetarian but I like to notice that sometimes I am eating this way. It’s all about being conscious isn’t it and I’m making an effort!

One of the goals I’ve been working on this month actually covers two of my New Year’s Resolutions – not being on my computer in the evenings and doing a ‘grid drawing’ every month. I do love art, I’m not very good at it and haven’t really done it properly since I was maybe 14, but this year I’m doing a grid drawing every month.

I print off a line drawing, split it into however many even days are in the month (so this is 30, even though there’s 31 days in January) and do one square a day. It’s really relaxing, it’s colouring without the commitment and I think it’ll look somewhere between a bit cool and really silly by the end of the month.

Yes this is a Lego Spider-Man car, because my mum suggested I like Spider-Man and I like cars (I’m not, really) so I combined the two and found this wonder on the internet. I’m having a great time.

If I have time, I like to do a bit of knitting in the evening – it’s something I only picked up in the last couple of weeks because over Christmas my sister did loads of knitting and I thought it would be a great TV watching activity because it’s not staring at a screen but it’s doing something mildly productive whilst relaxing in the evening and I’m really enjoying it!

Then at about 10 I headed upstairs to start the bedtime routine – step 1, brush teeth and wash face. This photo was has been layered and blurred in an attempt to make a slightly more interesting edit – my eyes are definitely struggling to focus at this time of night.

I’m going to do a full morning/evening routine video or blog post soon so I’ll go into more detail about products etc in that if you’re interested!

Next it’s back to my room to tone and moisturise my face, get changed into my pyjamas and get ready to read a chapter or two before I go to sleep.

I wanted to get one last photo to round off this little series and then Lucas wanted to join in so this happened (I kind of hate it but he’s too cute not to include).

And this is generally the last thing I see before I go to sleep – I’m in a pretty good routine of being in bed and falling asleep between 11-11.30 and getting out of bed between 6.30-7 which I’m so proud of because boy I’ve been working on this sleep schedule for years.

And that was my day! It was a mixed one with the sad news of Lucas not passing his test and being out of the house but I really enjoy these posts and I definitely enjoyed experimenting in photoshop a little bit!

If you like these kinds of posts or have any photography recommendations for me please do leave a comment down below! This isn’t my best photography by any means but it was meant to be a snapshot of my day and a little more instant and I really enjoyed making it, so I hope you enjoyed reading it too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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