May Mini Goals

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I’m a little bit late this month but my final (ever) university hand in was on May 2nd so I took a few days to myself, I’m back home with my mum and now I’m back and more focused than ever – I’ve done a lot of work on a portfolio I’m building on a new Instagram account and I’m ready to have a few weeks to make the content I’ve been longing to make for so long.

So let’s crack on shall we.

APRIL GOALS + REVIEW:

  1. Post on Instagram 5 times a week: I mean I’m not sure in what world I was going to have the time to plan and take photos for Instagram considering the amount of work I had to do for my FMP. This lasted all of about a week and then I decided I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to dedicate to Instagram so I went radio silent for a few weeks. But it’s what my project needed and FMP was priority so I’m not to fussed about this one.
  2. Watch more films: My goal for the month was to see two films at the cinema and I did this – I saw Black Panther in the lead up to going to the midnight showing of Infinity War. My god, my Marvel fangirl heart is having a field day – I’ve since seen Infinity War twice more and I fully intend to go and see it a few more times at the cinema. I’m in love with going to the cinema at the moment and there are a couple more films I’d like to see so now that I’ve handed in, I think some solo cinema trips are in order.
  3. Book a holiday: This one is justifiable – I definitely would have booked it but my beloved boyfriend hasn’t actually ordered his passport yet and as it’s his first passport it will take considerably longer to arrive than your average passport renewal so I’ve said I’m not booking it until he has the passport in his hands. So it’s not the case that I didn’t do, but that I elected to do it once another task was completed. It just wasn’t my task to complete.
  4. Finish my FMP: NAILED IT! Not only because it was due in and I had to, but I’m so happy with what I submitted – I was pleased with the copy, the photos fit really well, the audio was really fun and I love editing video so much. When I’ve got the grades back I think I’ll do a post explaining my project and showcasing it a little bit but that won’t be for another few weeks yet.
  5. Apply for 3 more jobs: Also smashed it – I applied for three more jobs at the beginning of the month then a couple more in the middle and then decided I wouldn’t apply for anymore until after hand in, so doing pretty good on that front.

MAY GOALS:

  1. Content Focus: Now I don’t have university work, I can actually write, film, edit and post all the things I want to make – I’m going to try my best to stick to a schedule of two videos a week and at least one blog post a week. I’m genuinely excited about this.
  2. Get a job: When I say ‘get a job’, I mean apply for as many as I can and do what I can to get a job, if I end the month with a job that’ll be lush but no pressure either way.
  3. See more films: Not everything here is about professional development and making things! Last month was two films and I’ve already seen Infinity War twice more this month so I’m going to say I want to go to the cinema twice more this month. Not sure what I want to see but with my Showcase Insider card I can definitely make the most of every trip.
  4. Work on portfolio and professional presence: It helps with getting a job if I actually work on these kind of things right? So I want to add a portfolio section to my blog, I have a portfolio Instagram that I’ve just planned all the posts for (and these posts can be used on my blog as well), I need to make a showreel or figure out whether I want one showreel with different roles or a showreel for each role, I should probably update my CV – I’ve got a list that I’ll slowly tick off by the end of the month.
  5. Exercise, y’know, some: Now that I’ve finished uni, I can focus on exercising and losing weight before graduation in July – originally I planned to workout every day but that’s not always feasible so I’m just doing as much as I can. I’m giving Blogilates beginner calendar a go, trying to go for lots of walks and eating more healthily. We’ll see how it goes.

Hopefully having handed in my FMP will mean I stay as productive as I intended to be but I’ll just have to try my best and see how it goes – if I want it to work I’m the only one that can make it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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April Mini Goals

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I think I’ve written about this before, but I like checking in on my goals – I know I’ll do a Resolutions check in around June and right now, today I am going review my March mini goals and set some goals for April. I also want to have a little chat about whether these goals are useful. Let’s do that.

MARCH GOALS + REVIEW:

  1. Focus on FMP: I did do this and get a fair bit done, I’m way more on track than I was at the beginning of March but I’m not sure if it’s because I set it as a goal or because it’s due in like a month (internal screaming) but without over-analysing, I’ve organised a bunch of stuff, I have more of a personal image of what I want the final project to look like now and I’ve done two of three interviews I have booked. The next step is making a much more detailed plan to finish the project by the end of this month (external screaming).
  2. Blog more regularlyI did this! I uploaded 5 blog posts in March – my goals post, a graduation post, an outfit post, a NY photography post and a NY trip post! YouTube also went really well for me this month and I made some videos I’m really proud of.
  3. Three more instagram theme colours: Blew this one out of the water – I finished the three themes I wanted to (it was green, orange and grey) then also did a purple row and a blue row before the month was out, then two photos into a row of NY photos because I finally sorted them out. I’m very pleased with myself.
  4. Cook more: This was a mixed bag because I wasn’t home a lot but when I was home I tried my best. I’m not leaving Southampton at all in April (I don’t think) so hopefully going to eat more healthily and enjoy cooking more this month.
  5. Apply for three jobs: It may have been in the last two hours of March 31st but I did it! I applied for a six week placement which would be really useful for me and two full time jobs. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be but excited to see what comes from them.

APRIL MINI GOALS:

  1. Post on Instagram 5 times a week (or equivalent): I smashed doing three themes so if I’m on top of it, 5 times a week should be pretty manageable! There are four full weeks in April so that will be 20 posts total – will have to see!
  2. Watch more films: I want to go to the cinema more – I love films and I want to see more. I know I’m going to see Marvel Avenger’s Infinity War at the end of the month but I’d like to go to at least one more film before that. I know two cinema trips in a month doesn’t seem like a lot (or does it?) but we’re going for realistic goals here.
  3. Book a holiday: For Lucas’s birthday in January I told him I would take him to Paris in the summer and I have not booked this trip. This is partially because he needs to get a passport before we go and I don’t want to book it and him not be able to go because that ruins the entire point, but I want to book it this month!
  4. Finish my FMP: This is going to have to happen regardless of whether or not this is a goal, but I’m going to make a very specific tick list like a step by step guide to finishing my FMP. Ugh, I’m anxious just thinking about it.
  5. Apply for three more jobs: Especially with my FMP being due right at the beginning of next month, I need to really knuckle down and actually do something about my career and the future so I think three more jobs this month is a good idea.

Content is not a priority this month, but I’m hoping to continue as ‘normal’ (aiming for one blog post a week and two YouTube videos) however I don’t manage that most weeks, the point is that I won’t actually beat myself up about it. Will this happen? Probably not because I put a lot of pressure on myself but I’m trying not to and that’s the main thing.

I love having goals – I love having a focus and a deadline and I think this will work well for me in the long run, particularly in May where I won’t have uni work and I can make goals I’m more passionate about. I don’t know if anyone else enjoys these posts – they’re very personal for me but I know I love having a nosy of other peoples goals and resolutions posts so maybe someone else wants to have a nosy at mine!

I hope you all had a great March – how are we already a quarter of the way through 2018?! Either way, hopefully Spring will have sprung soon and I can share some gorgeous sunny pictures on Instagram! My feed is currently full of photos from my trip to New York at the end of last month so if you want to have a look at that my socials are always linked below!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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a whirlwind trip to New York

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I don’t know if you’ve seen from all over my social media but I’ve recently returned from a trip to New York! I went with my university so there was a couple of journalism related activities but it was mostly three and a half days of manically rushing around trying to fit in as many as stereotypically touristy stops as we could.

I just wanted to give a little summary of what we did.

On Monday we got to the West Side YMCA hostel that we were staying in by about 4pm after 14 hours of travelling, we had a couple of hours to sort ourselves out and freshen up before we headed to Times Square! On the way there we’d passed Hard Rock Cafe and on a whim we decided to go for dinner there. We got our photo taken and suddenly we were looking at a menu and eating the biggest meals we’ve ever had and taking far too long trying to figure out the bill.

I 100% look completely washed out and like I travelled over 3000 miles that morning but I just love it – what a great group of humans in a really cool place!

 

We walked to Target after Dinner and bought a few snacks then tried to figure out the subway. We went in the wrong direction at first but we got back eventually.

The next day was the biggest day we had – we went to The Smiths round the corner from the hostel for breakfast and then we ticked off a lot of things we wanted to do:

  1. The 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial
  2. Got a large drink from Wendys (it was a bucket)
  3. Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty
  4. Rockefeller Centre ‘Top of the Rock’
  5. Nintendo Store
  6. Hershey Store
  7. Disney Store
  8. A variety of New York tack gift stores
  9. Shake Shack for dinner
  10. More tack shops on the way back to the hostel

The 9/11 museum is not a happy place and it’s not really enjoyable, at all, just because of the subject but the memorial itself is stunning and I think it’s something anyone that goes to New York should do – it’s so powerful and you really don’t get a sense of the scale until you go, so I thoroughly recommend it.

Shake Shack has also changed my life – the burger was so good I nearly cried it was just incredible. I’ve been to the London one in Covent Garden before but I’ve got to go back and soon because oh my god I need more Shake Shack burgers in my life.

It was a super busy day but I loved it, New York is such a beautiful city and I’m so astounded by it, all those tall building and skylines – it really is the concrete jungle that never sleeps. When we were looking for the Rockefeller Centre we were a bit lost and an absolutely gorgeous old lady wearing florescent pink hat asked us if we needed any help and she could tell we were disorientated because we were standing still – “people don’t stop in New York”. She was incredible.

Wednesday was a much calmer, more university orientated day – we went to Starbucks for breakfast (oh my god there are a million Starbucks in NY) and then went to a digital marketing company called Search Labs which were based in this really cool communal office environment called wework. It was really interesting to talk to them and learn more about PR and marketing and especially to see it as an international company based in a country that isn’t the one I’ve grown up in.

After that we headed to the United Nations, where we were meeting with a journalist for a chat and doing a tour. We travelled via Grand Central Station (which was stunning but surprisingly dark) and then went through the really intense security at the UN. We went on a tour of the UN and it was super interesting – I didn’t know much before we went and it was just so inspiring to see this massive corporation trying to bring peace, development and basic human kindness to the world in a somewhat realistic way. The tour guide was incredibly knowledgable and it was a good afternoon. That evening, everyone else went to a basketball game in Brooklyn but sport isn’t my thing, so I went back to the hostel, sorted everything out and did most of my packing.

Thursday was our last day – I got up super early to have a shower and finish packing, then a group of 17 of us headed to IHOP which was genuinely wonderful. I had the dark chocolate and something pancakes (I probably should have made note) and again, I think I could have cried with how much I loved those pancakes. They were incredible.

From there, Thursday was the day of ticking off the last things we wanted to do before we flew home – so we took a lot of photos from Brooklyn Bridge, headed back to the Empire State Building just to see it in person, walked round to Macy’s where Liane and I sat in the sunshine just chatting for an hour and it was genuinely lush, wondered round Sephora, had one last look in Target (where they had a really good deal on Instax cameras so I may have picked one up…) and then went to Umpire Rock in Central Park.

And we were back at uni by midday on Friday. It was a whirlwind trip and felt more like a recce for a longer trip to be done in the future but it was incredible. I’ve already been looking into other trips and cities I can visit because the travelling bug has been caught – I want to go everywhere.

My advice for anyone who’s going on a shorter trip to New York is to know what you want to do before you go and then have some additional ideas if you find yourself with extra time – my friends and I had an itinerary provided by the university to work with and then we put our own ideas in amongst what was already scheduled. It was really helpful to have a vague sort of plan before we even left the UK.

For packing tips, I just uploaded a video to my YouTube channel about how I packed for this trip so if you’re interested you can watch that here!

Hopefully this year, I’ll be able to do a couple of other city breaks – I should be going to Paris with my boyfriend in the early summer, I’d love to go up to Edinburgh and explore properly, there’s lots of places on my list (I can write a whole blog post about it if people want that?) but I’m just taking it a trip at a time.

For more pictures, I did a NY photography post while I was there so you can read that here! If you want to know any more about specific stuff I did on the trip (or any recommendations for when I go back!) then let me know, all my socials are linked below!

Thank you for reading (even though this post is super long),

Sophie xx

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let me show you: New York

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

As you read this and as I write this, I’m in New York City! It’s my first time in the USA, I think this is the start of a lot of trips and travelling and seeing new places and I can’t wait.

So while I’m out here I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself to have to write a blog post, because I’m only here for four days and I want to make the most of it. But I’ve taken a whole bunch of photos I want to share and I thought this would be the best place to share them all!

I’ve tried to do a photography series before and it was a bit forced so I’m hoping this will be a bit more relaxed but I like this little series title – so, let me show you New York.

Day 1 was an awful lot of ‘omg look how tall these buildings are’ and I’m still not over it and it’s the end of Day 3! I’m not sure what buildings these are to be quite honest, but the weather was SO NICE on the first day! Day 2 was foggy and wow, we’ll get to Day 3

 

I still don’t know what buildings these are but the plane was flying over and it made me think of that photography competition where someone photoshopped a plane into a picture and won like thousands of dollars worth of equipment. This isn’t photoshopped I promise but the association makes me laugh and I actually really like this picture lol

Times Square was absolutely beautiful, I could have quite happily sat on the stairs and watched it get dark. But we’ve only got three and a half days here so no time to loose!

After Times Square, we went to Hard Rock Cafe NYC and it was incredible – the food was great, I bought myself a very expensive hoodie (because I fell in love) and and took this photo I’m really pleased with even though it’s portrait

On Day 2, we went to the 9/11 Ground Zero Museum. This was very surreal with me because the day the planes flew into the Twin Towers was my 5th birthday. The memorial of both towers are absolutely stunning but my friends found someone with my surname and it hit harder than I thought. The staff at the museum put a white rose around each name on their birthday. I don’t know how old Christian H. Maltby would have been on March 20th, but I hope he’s at peace.

The 9/11 museum isn’t somewhere I wanted to take photos – I watched and listened and read and engaged and thought very deeply on the trip and it wasn’t enjoyable, per say, but I recommend anyone who visits New York to go because I don’t think you can truly grasp the scale till you see it. It’s just astonishing how much was salvaged and collected to form this remembrance memorial and I think it’s really important that we remember events like this so we can do as much as we can to prevent them in the future. That got deep. 9/11 Museum was intense.

Right so we went to Staten Island but the Island itself was actually not great because we couldn’t see the Statue so this was taken on the ferry ride back. She was further away than expected so the photos aren’t what I had in mind but she was pretty incredible. If (when) I come back to New York I definitely want to go to Ellis Island to get a bit closer.

Tried to get a selfie with Lady Liberty, this is the best I could get – it was either you could see my face or see her so, we can all see what I picked.

Portrait mode is my favourite thing, I actually adore this photo other than for the fact that I look so uncomfortable it’s laughable (it was to the bone freezing, to be fair)

I am actually in love with this skyline photo – I want to play around with it on photoshop just to brighten it up and make it a little less grey but I’m genuinely obsessed with this

A little story: basically I’m really dumb and I didn’t realise I was taking a photo of the Empire State building because we thought another building was the Empire State but then I found this. This view from the top of the Rockerfella Centre was absolutely stunning – this was meant to be sunset time and I hope next time I come to New York it’s less foggy and I can actually see it all at sunset!

I just found this funny that I tried to take a picture with the backdrop of New York but the depth of field on my camera was too good and it looks rubbish

The photo on my phone was slightly better!

Next stop was the Nintendo NY store and this lil Pikachu was so cute I just had to take a picture of it

I didn’t take many pictures at the UN because I was quite wrapped up in listening to the tour but I saw this view out the window and had to capture it. And yes, it may look like it’s raining but no that is heavy snow and it was snowing heavily literally all day long. Fingers crossed the predicted sun tomorrow means we can still get our flight tomorrow evening.

I couldn’t resist this picture as we were leaving the UN – I think it captures the snow better. After this I went back to the hostel to chill out for an evening and pack everything up.

Some of these were taken on my Canon EOS M10 and others on my phone, which is a OnePlus 5T. Interestingly, not all the best photos came from my camera. I hope you enjoyed the photos and little descriptions!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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know how good you are – working @ Reading Festival 2017

2017, lifestyle, music, photography, student, travel

Hello!

Getting the chance to work at Reading Festival  as a Camera Operator was something I was never going to turn down – if I had to apply in any other way I wouldn’t have got it because I haven’t done any camera opping before, but my housemate was recruiting and he took a chance on me (hopefully he thinks it paid off).

When I went to Channel 4 and BBC Three (and Sky next week) I always say there was no luck – I spent a lot of time and effort getting those placements and there was no luck involved. Reading however – it’s all because I happen to live with the guy that needed camera ops. Obviously there was a bit of skill involved – if he didn’t think I’d be good at it he’d have said no but Reading was all chance, and I’m very, very grateful for it.

Watching every act from the side or right in front of the stage is something I’ve dreamed of for so long

I was so unbelievably anxious before we left I can’t even put it into words – I felt ill, I was overanalysing everything and I contemplated not going because I was so scared of getting things wrong or being bad. But I knew I couldn’t turn down Reading.

And I went. And I did well. And I loved it.

Camera 2 – my favourite Camera

I learnt a lot about how to work the cameras but I also realised how much I already knew – I know what a good shot looks like, I knew to keep an eye on what was happening on stage, what the other ops were filming and the crowd (filming someone holding a Lightning McQueen balloon was a highlight of the weekend).

I felt comfortable doing the job – it was like I’d found something that I should have been doing all along – filming live music, surrounded by artists, techies and heavy bass. I don’t think I would camera op for the rest of my life, but working with bands in environments like this is what I want to do. Now I have more of a focus to get to that.

The crowd for ‘The Hunna’ were absolutely mental, favourite crowd of the whole weekend

No one really expected me to excel at this festival, and I don’t think I’m the kind of person to make the assumption that I did, but I did learn this – have faith in your own skills, don’t be afraid to say you’re capable and you’re good enough. I’m definitely the sort of person who puts themselves down (to no end), assumes that I will never be good enough and I’m afraid to apply for jobs or work experience opportunities in roles that I could do but I haven’t done before but I know what I’m good at.

The last sunset of Reading 2017

I’m a good writer, I know how to film and edit good videos, I know how to take a good photo, I’m a good presenter and I’m really good at research and organisation. And there’s nothing wrong with knowing your skills or talking about them.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go to Reading and prove this to myself. I am capable of it even if there are people who would quite happily tell me I’m not.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

The sunrise at Basingstoke station on 6.30am on Monday morning was worth the all nighter

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childhood heroes in fiction

2017, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

What we watch as a child can hugely affect who we are today – in a millennial generation that longs to go back to when things were easier, Disney movies both old and new are more popular than ever before I reckon.

Personally I have always been a huge daydreamer – I have very, very vivid memories of perching on the edge of my bed when I was about six with my head in my hands desperately wishing that Peter Pan would come and sprinkle some pixie dust over me and take me away on an adventure to Neverland.

Just for clarification – I was waiting for the animated character, not a ‘real life’ version of him, the actual cartoon.

But from a more psychological point of view, the way the story of Peter Pan has influenced me is by making me always look for adventure and fun, to not let my youth limit my attitude and goals and an insatiable desire to fly.

I also periodically get ‘We’re following the leader’ stuck in my head for three hours on loop. You’re welcome.

I started watching Doctor Who in 2007 with Series 3 of ‘New Who’ – 10th Doctor David Tennant and new assistant Martha Jones. And I still watch Doctor Who to this day – I think the current series (10) with Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie is one of the best series there’s been and I think there’s more parallel’s between Peter Pan and Doctor Who than anyone would think at face value.

It inspires that sense of adventure, not letting time or age stop you from exploring and causing a little bit of trouble, except it’s time travel rather than flying and The Master and Daleks rather than Captain Hook and the crocodile.

Doctor Who has a phenomenally big fanbase because so many people grew up with it and let’s them relive that little taste of childhood once a week for 45 minutes – at this point, I wouldn’t even call Doctor Who a kids show but it’s still got that sense of wonder that no one ever really loses.

My boyfriend and I quite often browse through Netflix or his dad’s old DVDs to watch an old episode of Doctor Who because it’s just so much fun, it’s so easy to watch and it’s almost comforting, in a way, to be able to come back to the same characters.

From a creative point of view, I love the way Doctor Who is written and produced – recently I have a growing interest in how TV works and how programs are created but that might be because so many of my friends study in a TV related field and I don’t want to be left out. But I’ve always loved how Doctor Who is written – I used to want to be a screen writer purely so I could write episodes of Doctor Who for a living, Steven Moffat was my idol.

Things change, times pass and people change too; I’ve changed – I don’t want to be a screenwriter anymore, I think I want to be in Doctor Who as much as I’d love to write for it and I’m ten years older than I was when I watched David Tennant and Freema Agyeman on the Moon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about childhood recently – I spent the weekend with my family scattering my Nan’s ashes and we managed to turn it into such a positive, happy gathering and I have so much love for my family. But there were a lot of old photos being passed around – my Granddad had written up a sort of memoire and I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every detail the other night and finding out so much about the man I’ve grown up with.

There’s so much that I miss about being a kid, but rather than let myself get down about it, I think I’m just going to carry on as if I still am – because who grows up really?

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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progress is a step | new year’s resolutions check in

2017, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I’m a big fan of Hannah Witton – she’s a YouTuber who talks so openly about things that a lot of people don’t and I love the way she presents her ideas and promotes such positivity in a way that isn’t all airy fairy and unrealistic. She wrote a blog post over a month ago looking back on her New Years Resolutions 5 months on and at that point I immediately wrote down that I want to do the same.

I’m someone who relies heavily on goals and focus – 2017 has thrown me some amazing opportunities but also some huge, huge challenges. I’ve been and worked at BBC Three and had to balance my entire family coming together to console each other at the passing of my beloved Nanny, I’ve started a new job and had to handle a lot of difficulty in people quitting and having to do basically full time work whilst still being at uni, I’ve got through my second year at uni! Considering we’re only in the sixth month of the year, it’s been pretty jam packed so far and I know there’s so much more to come.

I split my 2017 resolutions into three categories: personalcreative and university.

My personal goals were:

  • Being healthier
  • Exercising more
  • Focusing on my dental hygiene
  • Becoming a morning person
  • Be more careful with money

Being healthier is a work in progress – I bought diet books and I started doing workouts and I fell of it a little as time went on but I’m trying to focus more now. I made a new Instagram so I could focus more on what I’m eating and document my progress and whilst it hasn’t become particularly apparent yet, I am working on it and that’s what a resolution is – a step, not a conclusion.

My dental hygiene and general hygiene, actually, is something I’ve thought about a lot recently. When I go through moments of bad mental health, my brain’s instinct is to stop looking after itself – to stop looking after my body, not to shower regularly and not to eat or do anything that I would be thankful for later. It’s a little victory but today I showered and washed my hair only three days after I last showered, whereas in my worst moments (i.e. the past couple of months) I’ve left it five or six days, even a week and it’s the little victories we have to celebrate.

I was on track with becoming a morning person – I really fixed my sleep pattern, but then my wonderful boyfriend decided to get a bar job so him coming back at 3am a few nights a week means that I can’t sleep until he gets back safe and then we compensate and sleep late the next day. It’s hard to keep up a routine when his work is so sporadic and unusual and I find it really hard to get out of bed and start my day without him (which sounds really lame and I’m aware of that).

And being more careful with money is going really well too – as described in my ‘no spend’ month blog post, I’m actually getting really close to being out of my overdraft and it’s looking like my payday at the end of June will see me into the positive! I’ll be very glad to close this resolution off soon.

My creative goals were:

  • Keep learning about photography
  • Maintain my blog and YouTube channel
  • Make sure to keep trying out new content
  • Start writing again
  • Find new creative outlets

Photography is something I’m learning to appreciate more – I’ve started less and less to use my phone for blog photos and using my little Canon EOS M10, I care more about my Instagram (I even have a colour theme now!) and I think more about what I take photos of. I’m enjoying photography and I’m excited for the chance to take more photography opportunities in the coming months.

Maintaining my blog and YouTube channel has been mostly consistent, but I’ve been better at not beating myself up if I’m not up to editing a video or I don’t have faith in my idea for a blog post. Making new and creative content is what is currently stopping me from maintaining my blog and YouTube channel but I’m working on balancing the two and making more of what I want and exploring what I want to create, whether that be on the platforms I already use or finding new ways to express myself, which was another resolution anyway.

But that hasn’t led me to start writing again. I planned out a couple of fanfiction story arcs but I can’t bring myself to write them – I’ve not written anything properly for years and that still disappoints me but I have other things I have to prioritise right now and I think that’s okay, or at least coming to terms with it will suffice.

My university goals:

  • Stay motivated
  • Stay organised
  • Keep trying new things
  • Keep putting yourself out there
  • Work experience

Whilst second year has drawn to a close, 2017 wouldn’t be complete without the first half of my third and final year as a multimedia journalism student in Southampton. So far I’ve stayed motivated, organised, I was experimental and tried new things, I put myself out there and how was I do know that a mere few weeks after I wrote these resolutions I was to be offered a two week placement with BBC Three. My university goals are without a shadow of a doubt the most successful of my goals so far (my end of second year mark will be confirmed on Saturday, though if my maths is correct it’s going to be really close).

I’m so proud of myself for what I’ve achieved at university this year and what I’ve achieved in the first five months of the year. Hopefully the following seven will be as promising.

It’s nice to be able to check in on goals and make sure you’re making progress – I wasn’t expecting to find anything completely ticked off but I’ve made a start or am working on pretty much everything on the list. I’m almost excited to check in again later in the year or at the beginning of 2018, though that feels an awfully long way away yet.

Something I’ve struggled a lot with a lot is being able to acknowledge the steps I’ve made and stop looking at the top of the mountain. A goal can’t be reached in one step and each step is worth praising.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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my ‘no spend’ month

2017, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello,

Like every other student in the country, if not the world, the second independence was thrust into my naive hands I went mental with spending and it was quickly highlighted that I’m not very good with money. Resisting the temptation to spend all that free money in my overdraft, believing at all that my overdraft was ‘free money’ and then reaching the horrible point last summer that I was so close to the end I was really struggling really hit home that I needed to make some changes.

I’m also an organisational freak and I wanted to be in control of my financial stability, so almost a year of struggling with nearly nothing later, I’ve nearly got a handle on it.

PLANNING

I made a plan – a lot of lists and a lot of colours involved, but I made a plan so I could really figure out what was going on and put some dates and real figures on paper, rather than just plucking numbers from the air and guessing when I might be out of my overdraft.

After my student loan came in at the end of April, I knew I needed to make a more solid plan and actually decide how I was going to spend my money and when. So I decided to spend all of my loan instalment in one go on the last of the rent for my flat, the last of the deposit for the house I’m moving into in the summer and paying three months of rent on the house in one go (so I don’t owe anymore rent until the end of September when the next instalment of loan comes in).

And that was loan gone, but probably in the most sensible way I could of used it all, right?

Then April pay day rolled around – I used some of that to pay off the last of the money I owed my mum (for rent payments I couldn’t afford and a deposit I didn’t have money for, felt nice to get that finally paid off!) and from there I decided I would spend nothing except on food shopping and my two monthly direct debits (for Adobe Creative Cloud and Spotify) because I really want to get out of my overdraft.

I’ve been close to hitting the end of my overdraft too many times and last summer was a real, real strain when I was trying to pay my mum back what I owed her and supporting my unemployed boyfriend at the time, but this year is set to be very different. I’m already nearly halfway out of it and I have a plan.

‘NO SPEND’ MONTH

My three points that I wanted to hit in this no spend month were:

  1. Don’t buy anything other than food, try to make weekly shops as cheap as possible but maybe buy yourself a drink at the pub every now and then.
  2. Reward at the end of the month: allowed to buy one £20 item.
  3. Use the wish list in my bullet journal to make a note of things I want to buy – it’s a good way to prioritise what I really want when I get to a point that I can afford these things again.

And how well did that go? Not as bad as I thought.

Update: after this photo was taken I spent £6.50 in Tiger but it was a gift for my mum and some glow in the dark space stickers so, money well spent really.

 

There was a couple of expensive Asda shops, I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in the cinema at the beginning of the month (which I ended up counting as my £20 reward)  and a couple of social things (but no pub) and I did okay.

There are a couple of things I feel the need to justify – the trainline purchases: I nearly had to spend over £70 just to go home and see my family so I bought the cheaper £50 ticket and looked ahead to my next trip home and saw I could get the tickets for £37 so didn’t want to miss out on this and bought them in advance, so that’ll be something I don’t have to buy in June.

Then that last £31 Asda shop – I intended to treat myself a little bit in making a homemade chocolate fondue with fruit and snacks and deliciousness but then, I saw Asda were doing a 3 for 2 sale on a lot of hygiene products, so I bought three packets of tampons, a new toothbrush, some toothpaste and a face scrub for my boyfriend which came to a total of about £15 and about half of the shop, but it will save me money in the long run, so I’m trying not to feel too guilty about it. I also stocked up on Ribena while it was on rollback and bought some ice cream that I’m going to mix into smoothies too.

So that last shop of the month didn’t do much for ‘no spending’ but it will save me money in the long run. I felt very sad and guilty about it, if it helps.

LOOKING AHEAD

On this last day in May and looking ahead to June, I’m going to try and have another ‘no spend’ month which should get me out of if not close to the end of my overdraft, then July I’ll probably be a bit more lenient but by August and September I should be stable. I’m so excited to be in positive and to be able to go into the bank and say I want to close my overdraft.

When I actually sat down and planned at the end of April, I realised that I could get back into the positives by the end of June. But obviously plans change – I spent more than I was anticipating this month and I also got more hours and pay from work, so the end of June might still be my ‘date’ but I’m not going to freak out if it’s not.

I am really proud of myself for how this month has gone – sure, I spent a total of over £250 but it just makes me think about how much I would have spent if I wasn’t being conscious of my spending and it makes me wonder how much my friends and other people at uni spent in May. It’s an interesting decision to make.

My main tips would be:

  1. Write everything down, because it makes you more aware of everything.
  2. Think about if there are cheaper ways to socialise – i.e. going to the pub vs having a few drinks at home with friends.
  3. Don’t monitor incoming money, just what you’re spending.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up if you accidentally spend more money than you were anticipating – it’s all a step and a learning curve.
  5. If you know you can’t resist temptation – don’t let yourself have the temptation, because ‘teaching yourself to resist’ is just not worth the hassle or stress.

So point 5 is why I want to close my overdraft – I can’t resist when I see that there’s £1500 that I’m not meant to touch in my account and I’m getting out of it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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adventure | photography

2017, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I’ve missed a couple of months of photography posts and for one reason or another, this idea just kept being pushed back.

Creative is something I like to pride myself in being – doing things in a different way or a new way of approaching things is what I like to bring to my work and making a post centred around photography every month really does help to challenge me to approach things more creatively.

So this month I’ve started a sub-series within a series – ‘adventure’ – what I did this month was go on a walk, from my flat down to the docks by Mayflower Park in Southampton and I took a picture every 20 paces and edited it all together in a little video.

By no means am I saying I’m the only one who’s ever taken photos of a journey they’ve done and pieced it all together in a stop-motion-esqe video but it’s a bit different to what I normally post when I do a photography post.

But there’s a reason I want to make it a series – one, I think it’s a lovely way to show off different places I’m going, so I could do one from home or from different places I visit and two, I don’t think this video turned out the best it could be. I know I could do it better and I want to do it again and do it differently and more it more creative and interesting.

I was going to write a post a couple of days ago about how I’ve submitted my last deadline of second year and how happy I am with how this year has gone. I’ve worked so hard through even harder personal situations and my results have really shown off the work I put in and I’m so proud of myself. I’ve found a really intense focus and ways of organisation that really work for me and I’m just so happy – I feel like I’m really ready for third year.

But that’s not for another five months. Well, I’ve got just over 4 full months of no university commitments, I’m working and hoping to go work at a few festivals over the summer but I want to focus a lot more on creativity in everything I make – on my blog, on my YouTube channel, I want to write my book and finish it, I want to start reading again because dear god I miss it, I’ve got a list of creative skills I want to work on and things I want to learn and this summer I’m going to make the most of the time I have, because I know there’s no way I’m going to have it in October when third year kicks off.

I love photography and I love finding a different approach to things, I hope you like this video I’ve put together – leave me a comment with any other ideas!

Thank you for reading (watching),

Sophie xx

 

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preparing for a long haul flight | travel tips

2017, lifestyle, music, student, travel

Hello!

Whenever I write about travel I’m painfully aware that the only ‘big’ trips I’ve done were project work trips to Tanzania in 2013 and Ecuador in 2015 and I’ve not been abroad since but being able to write about travel doesn’t mean you have to fly regularly or have been recently or make me any less valid.

A little bit of good old self justification to start a blog post never hurt anyone, right?

So, I don’t think anyone enjoys a long haul flight – even if you are a seasoned traveller going all over the world, long haul flights are bring.

When I went to Tanzania it was two six-hour flights and Ecuador was a ten-hour and a six-hour flight. Here are six tips for how to keep yourself entertained on long flights assuming you don’t plan to sleep for nine hours and fifty-eight minutes.

1) Bring a notebook and pens – personally, I’m someone who likes writing things down on paper, I always start my journal for the trip on the plane, but even if you’re not planning on documenting the trip, you can write, draw or play silly games if you’re flying with friends. Nothing wrong with paper and pens!

2) Handheld gaming – if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a new Nintendo Switch, then you can bring big screen games to the sky, however anyone else who has a 3DS or 2DS or a gameboy or, I don’t know, a PSP maybe, I know I can get lost playing games from an altitude of two feet let alone fifty thousand – if you’ve got some good music and lots to do in game (I love seeing that full 100% completion on a game) you’ll find you’re a good few hours closer to your destination.

3) Music – always music – if you’re fully prepared with an up to date iTunes library or some good Spotify playlists downloaded, music can make hours feel like seconds. Music’s a good one for if you’re travelling with friends too because a headphone splitter and new music is a great way to find the song or make the playlist of the trip.

4) Games – word games, card games or even travel board games – there’s so many easy little games that you can squeeze in your hand luggage. Uni is a fun, sometimes friendship destroying, card game, or there’s the alphabet game that my family always liked to play. You pick a topic (i.e. films) then go through the alphabet letter by letter and thinks of something for each letter, for example – Avengers Assemble, Baywatch, Chronicles of Narnia, Deadpool etc. The Alphabet Game gets more exciting more and more family-destroying the more you narrow the topic.

5) Organisation – this might be more of a me thing, but I’d take the time to organise my life – sort out my bullet journal, plan ahead on my calendars, make a lot of lists that would make me very happy and would take a good chunk of my flight. I love coloured pens a lot.

6) Mindless iPhone games – I guess it counts as handheld gaming, but there are enough mind numbing basic phone games (you don’t have to have an iPhone, it’s just a phrase, there are lots of very nice Android phones) that are much cheaper than a handhold gaming console and have a habit of passing time just as quickly. I’ve been playing a game called Riddle Stones recently and I’m thoroughly enjoying that.

Obviously there’s always films to watch and perhaps talking to the people you’re travelling with, lots of snacking, y’know – there’s plenty of things to do! If I was travelling now I’d probably take my laptop and blog or write or edit videos, but depends entirely what you’re travelling for and what you’re interests are. Let me know what you’d do on a long haul flight in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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