‘642 Things To Write About’ (writing book recommendation)



Today’s post is a difficult one to categorise as it’s not a book review or really a book recommendation. I guess you could describe this as an inspirational activity book but that sounds pretentious, so I’m just going to talk about it and hope for the best!

I saw this collection of books in Waterstones – there’s 642 things to write about (the one I purchased), there’s a drawing one, a photography one, there’s one for young people, there’s smaller ones, bigger ones, personal ones; it’s a big range. It’s a little like ‘Wreck My Journal’ in that it gives you creative things to do on each page, however this series (or at least, the book I bought) isn’t exactly the same as WMJ (unlike some YouTube rip off books… I said nothing…). This book focuses entirely on writing – it gives you short prompts for writing creatively, it gives you prompts for writing about experiences that have happened to you or in a more non-fiction style and at most it gives you a page of lines to write it on.

Some pages are split into halves, some into quarters. Some of the prompts are only a few words long whilst others are a few lines longer and are more specific than any prompt book or website I’ve ever looked at before.

Writing has been a bit of a wall for me recently – two years ago I was at a point where I was writing fanfiction short stories every night and finishing 4 or 5 to publish online, a couple of years before that, you couldn’t stop me writing my own original stories if you tried. But it’s all kind of dried up and fizzled away and I miss it! I always say I don’t have time and I (somewhat) stand by that, as having time to fully invest in characters and setting and a story that you’ve created is difficult – I really want to rewrite my book but not only is it difficult to face this big world that I’ve not touched for three years but there’s the emotional connection of who I was when I wrote it and who I was friends with when I wrote it and it’s almost painful.

But this little book of things to write about has got me writing again – fitting with the little rant I just had, I’m obviously not ready to go back into writing my book again yet, but this book is inspiring me to write again in a way I haven’t in the past year or too.

So I recommend this inspirational activity book, even if you’re not a writer – I find it therapeutic to let myself be absorbed by creating and writing, just to get away from everything else for a bit.

I don’t often follow through with books like ‘Wreck My Journal’ and memory books and things but right now, I’m writing about what I’ve been doing every day in my Sprinkle of Glitter diary (the A5-ish page is split into 6 – I get about three sentences tops but it’s a good little memory bank) and I’m writing a lot in my ‘642 Things To Write About’ book and thoroughly enjoying it.

I realise I got way more into this recommendation than I thought I would but on a serious note – I really do recommend at least looking into this book if not getting it. Some of the little sections I’ve written about so far are ‘what can happen in a second’, ‘write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is “uh-huh,” “umm,” “urrrr,” “mm-mm.” and ‘pick a small object to be given one day to your great-grandchild. Write a letter to that child explaining why you have chosen this object’. It’s a massive mixture of stuff.

I might make a couple of blog posts throughout the year writing a few of these exercises (I don’t know what else to call them?) out. It’ll be interesting!

If any of you are interested in reading more about the book or buying it, I recommend Amazon over Waterstones because it’s cheaper! 

‘642 Things To Write About’

Thank you for reading and I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/

Photography Assignment Pictures!



I was going to write this post earlier today but it’s 2.39am and my wonderful best friend Nikki just got back from what sounded like a really good night out and I’m awake now so I thought I’d write this! At least that means I can’t forget about it tomorrow.

I’ve mentioned a lot recently that I’ve had a really big photography assignment due and whilst at first I was nervous that if I posted the photos online they might be classed as plagiarism or effect my assignment in someway, but it seems a lot of the people on my course have been posting their photos online. I’m really proud of the work I did so I wanted to share it!

The assignment was broken down into two parts – one was for more location based shoots and one was for entirely studio based shoots. In the first part, I had to do ‘stock jobs’ – which is taking photos of generic things for a photo bank, in case anyone ever needs them on news day or for an article – and a location shoot inspired by a pre-existing magazine.

I did my location shoot to go in ‘Rock Sound’ magazine (if it were a real article, of course) so I took my boyfriend and my guitar down to the docks and made him pose looking all moody and sad. I was so pleased with how the photos came out.

These are some of the final 12 photos I submitted.

This one is my favourite, particularly how I edited the silhouette.

I edited this photo twice because I love the silhouette effect I’d created on the wider shot but I wanted to show I could edit a variety of things and without writing the whole feature that these photos would accompany, I don’t know which one would be more relevant.

It was particularly fun when I edited the ‘Rock Sound’ logo onto the photo to look like the front cover.

That shoot was one of my favourites to conduct because music photography is something I’m passionately interested in – not only photographing live performances of artists on tour or at festivals but album shoots, magazine shoots; any shoot that involves musicians, sounds like an amazing career to me.

The second assessment was very different – we were given a selection of themes, told to conduct a studio shoot and off we went. This one I enjoyed more than the first assignment because there was more creative freedom and some of the shoots I did were really, really fun and inspired me to make more use of the photography studio while it’s at my disposal.

Theme 1 – ‘Life’. At first I struggled to be inspired by this theme – the other themes had ideas and prompts on the page but this one was literally four letters and it was too broad. However, after doing some research and watching the Michalak family vloggers (and Hannah’s incredible flat lays), I was inspired to try and capture my lifestyle, and arguably my life, at this moment in one picture.

So there’s make up, my phone (and Doctor Who case), pens, fairy lights, a memory stick, SD card and a camera – I absolutely adore this photo and it’s definitely my favourite of the five final ones I submitted. I’ll definitely be doing photos like this again.

Theme 2 – ‘Blue’. This one had a little more guidance than the first – there had to be an element of contrast in accordance to the colour wheel (so, yellow) and other than that there were no limitations. As soon as I saw the theme title I thought of the stuffed toy I had lying on my bed and when I was in my boyfriend’s bedroom I spotted his Pixar-esqe, yellow lamp on his desk and I borrow it for the shoot.

I gave a lot of deep, analytical evaluation in my assignment, but here I’ll just say that I really love Lilo and Stitch.

Theme 3 – ‘Still Life/Product Placement’. This theme counted as two – we had to choose still life or product placement. When being told about product placement, my teacher recommended that we’d have to photograph a product brand new, to show it off at it’s best, so we could buy a product, keep the receipt, take photos and take it back.

When he said this, I thought of my battered, eight year old pair of Converse in my room and what a wonderful comparison it would make to a new pair.

And they were 20% off the day I bought them!

Theme 4 – ‘Thirds’. I thought a photo in thirds would mean the focus of the photo was separated into three – the photo divided by three subjects but, in fact, it means that if a nine square grid was layered on top of a photo, the subject would lie either on one of the lines or on one of the cross sections (where two lines meet).

Researching this one was particularly interesting. I used my ukulele in the photo because I knew it had some more interesting features than just photographing the instrument as a whole, so I focused on the detailing around the sound hole.

Theme 5 – ‘Low Key’. The theme is actually high or low key but most of the photos I’d taken already also fell into the high key category. This one was challenging – balancing having enough light to make sure the subject is illuminated but little enough light that it’s still a low key photo was tricky. I compromised with the reflection on the bottle but I wanted to make sure all the label was in shot, so it was clear exactly what I was photographing.

And what student doesn’t have a spare bottle of cider in the fridge?

I’m still really proud of these photos and whilst those assignments broke me a little bit and from the deadline till now (over a week later!) I’ve still been recovering mentally from the stress, I’ve actually enjoyed writing about these photos.

Whilst a lot of people on my course didn’t enjoy photography, particularly the theme assignment really inspired me to do more.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/

‘Girl Online: On Tour’ – Zoe Sugg (book review)



I apparently always write my blog posts at stupid times of night, but I just finished reading ‘Girl Online: On Tour’ – Zoe Sugg’s sequel to the ever successful and controversial ‘Girl Online’. I did a review of her debut novel on my YouTube novel, to give you context on my opinions of that!

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly excited about this sequel – I know full well that I am older than the target audience of this book and whilst an easy ready for me and somewhat entertaining, I would never be as enthusiastically enthralled as some of Sugg’s younger fans and readers.

But I was looking forward to reading it – I fell in love with the male protagonist (because I’m a sucker for a romantic lead okay?) and I saw no room for a sequel after the original so I wanted to see what Sugg had done with it!

Obviously I took a selfie when the book arrived… I’d done my make-up for the one night out I’ve ever been on in my time at uni (it’s not my scene, dreading having to go to dance socials) and I felt hot so – selfie!

I tried to start reading it but I’d read 70 pages and it hadn’t really grabbed my attention – it’s not that nothing had happened, it’s just that I heard Zoe screaming ‘Penny isn’t me!’ in the back of my head every time the narrative said something that Penny loved that I’ve heard Zoe say that she loves too. But as a ‘writer’ too (I wrote one book three years ago… does that count?) I know that it’s so easy to put yourself into the main character. But I struggled to imagine Penny as anyone other than Zoe because of all these similarities.

But after my work load picked up in the last half of last term and I got super busy with uni, ‘Girl Online: On Tour’ served only as an extension of my bedside table making me feel guilty that I’d put reading to one side yet again.

Then New Years rolled around and I made a blog post about the books I want to read this year and it somewhat kicked me into reading. I wrote that post on January 6th and my last photography deadline (which I wrote almost 10,000 words for might I add! I put a lot of work into that assignment) was January 13th. On the 14th, I was alone in my room – all my friends from my flat were at uni (or in New York, in Nikki’s case!) and all my course friends are at home because we don’t start again yet. I tried playing MarioKart for a bit but the bright pink cover of ‘Girl Online: On Tour’ was still staring at me.

So I picked it up, read 200 pages in one day and found myself getting very angry with some of the characters and I had to put it down for a bit. Even if I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed reading other books, it was clearly engaging enough that I was emotionally invested in some of these characters!

Now I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m just going to say what I said to Lucas when he asked why I was making whiny noises and pouty faces.

Blake was a dick to Penny and then he lied to Noah and Noah didn’t believe Penny and Noah was being a stuck up, arrogant, teenage boy and Dean is a manipulative ass and Penny needs to go back to Elliott – Elliott is the true star of this story.

That doesn’t contain any spoilers really? Nothing major.

I emphasise again that I am not the target audience for this book – the writing style is very simplistic (which I like, because in all honesty I’m a lazy reader!) but some of the humour is definitely predictable and not really funny, quite childish, and sometimes I found the information is repeated too often. For example, Penny thinks of something and tells the narrative in her interior monologue and then explains the exact same thing to other characters which is something that I don’t like in writing, personally.

But there was a lot I did like about the book – obviously as someone who would love to be on a tour production team/music photographer, where the book is set was interesting to me and the touring side of the book was really interesting to me. Whilst the very frequent mention of anxiety as a plot developer did get on my nerves a little bit, it did give me an insight to how often Zoe’s anxiety can hinder what she’s doing and everyday life (however often she insists that her and Penny are really different). As someone who does have anxiety (and gets anxiety just writing it that plainly in a blog post… wow) it reminded me that it’s not something that I should let hinder me and I need to face it.

But that’s another issue for another day. (Tell me if you want a blog post on it? Could make an interesting Q&A style post?)

Overall, I would say I did enjoy ‘Girl Online: On Tour’ – it was a good book to ease me back into reading. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite book in the world, I did enjoy it and it started me reading again and let me write my first blog post review!

Whilst YouTubers writing books is always controversial, it makes me really happy that Zoe is one of the only ones writing fiction and probably inspiring thousands, if not millions, of young teens that creative writing is an incredible hobby!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Death of a Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco (album review)



As of about an hour and a half ago (I’m not blogging at 1.30am mum I promise), Panic! At The Disco’s new album ‘Death of a Bachelor’ was released. I’ve been a fan of Panic! for a while but since meeting Lucas and Nikki at uni, my love for them has sky rocketed – their love for Panic! has rubbed off on me and I have literally zero complaints.

Having seen them at their only UK concert (announced thus far) with Lucas on Tuesday (Nikki was in New York unfortunately so she couldn’t come) and seeing some of the songs that had been released pre-album release day live was the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve not been to a concert since I saw 5 Seconds of Summer last year and Panic! At The Disco was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to and it was definitely the best way to kick off gigs in 2016 (I plan to see a lot more shows this year, even if I didn’t get 5SOS tickets).

So I wanted to do a song-by-song album review. Here’s ‘Death of a Bachelor’, Panic! At The Disco.

1) Victorious

This track has been out since about October last year and I fell in love with it instantly – I love the riff under the melody, the lyrics are beautiful and when I went to see Panic! on Tuesday with Lucas (at their only date in the UK so far this year and the first time they’ve played most of these songs live!) I couldn’t help but scream this song at the top of my lungs. It’s such a feel good song that you can’t stand still to and before the full album release, it was one of my favourites.

2) Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
The last song to be released in preparation before the album and the first song they played live – Brendon Urie is an astounding performer; he danced, he ad-libbed and he donated all the money made from merch at that show to Cancer Research UK in honour of David Bowie. This song is darker than the first track but has another beautifully, catchy riff underneath it and some poetic lyrics.

3) Hallelujah
This song was released what feels like years ago now – it was a staple Panic! song that I thought would have been on a previous album. This song is slower but just as easy to dance now – it’s more chilled, ‘and if you can’t stop shaking, lean back let it move right through ya’, perhaps it’s a song about drugs (I wouldn’t be surprised to be honest, take Nine in the Afternoon for instance!) but it’s about relaxing and having a good time despite your past. No one’s history is relevant – just ‘stand up sing hallelujah… say your prayers’.

4) Emperor’s New Clothes
I take back what I said about Victorious – this was my favourite pre-release song. I didn’t love it at first because the sound is a little different to what I consider ‘traditional’ Panic!, but the more I listened to it the more I fell in love. ‘So close I can taste it, I see what’s mine and take it’ – I love the lyrics in this song ‘Heroes always get remembered but you know lovers never die’. Urie really shows his lyrical prowess in this album – as ‘Rock Sound’ said in their review of Death of a Bachelor, this really is Urie’s album.

This was the perfect conclusion to the live show, following ‘This Is Gospel’ in both set list and music video, it was just perfect.

The video is bloody brilliant.

5) Death of a Bachelor
‘Rock Sound’ recommended this album for fans of Fall Out Boy and Michael Buble (which is why I told my mum she should buy it) and this song fits more in the Buble genre – it’s jazzy and swingy and very chilled. It’s lyrically beautiful and show’s Urie’s brilliant diversity and talent within browsing genres at his leisure and owning every single one of them.

I can’t wait for him and Buble to duet. Think of the harmonies. There aren’t words for how much I’d love that.

6) Crazy=Genius
This follows the jazzy theme of Death of a Bachelor but sounds like it could be from Jungle Book – it’s got fast drums and deep brass instruments. I’m writing this as I listen to it for the first time so it’s difficult to listen to every aspect the first time but I love it so much. It’s smooth and charming and cheeky and everything Brendon Urie is.

Can you tell I love Brendon Urie a lot? I appreciate him as a musician, I’m still not over the back flip he did during ‘Miss Jackson’ at the concert and I also appreciate his face. Particularly in the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ video. Good job on your face Mr Urie.

7) LA Devotee
Another pre-release song – another really catchy one that definitely falls as my third favourite after ENC and Victorious (bearing in mind I love my ‘least’ favourite a lot). I love the lyrics so much – Lucas and I have listened to this song so much since it came out because it’s so catchy and it just caught both of us. Seeing it live was just so engaging – it’s such an incredible song that just makes you want to jump up and down so when you’re in a room full of people that love Panic! as much as each other and are so excited to hear this live for the first time.

We’ve said ‘ugh it’s so good’ so many times since the concert because we just keep remembering what an amazing night it was.

The key change at the end just makes me feel things. I love a good key change.

8) Golden Days
I’ll be honest, my first reaction is this sounds like a Little Mix song – it’s powerful, it’s syncopated and I wanted to clap and sing wearing a little black dress with a spotlight – this song makes me feel sexy and, right now, I’m sat in my pyjama pants in the kitchen at 1.19am making brioche out of a tin with my boyfriend. I feel sensual and powerful even when I’m doing the most domestic things right now.

This is why I want noise-cancelling headphones – I can imagine sitting on my bed, completely encompassed by this music and nothing else. That’s my favourite way to listen to music.

This album is going onto my favourite album’s list and I’ve not even listened to it all yet. 

9) The Good, The Bad and The Dirty
Now this is a step away from the big band jazz and more towards slower Panic! – this is one where I think Urie feels sensual and likes swinging his hips in front of the mirror.

I have no doubt that Brendon Urie would do this.

He’s a brilliant dancer. He proved that at the concert.

This is one to make out to at a concert.

10) House of Memories
A very electronic start to a very chill song – a sad romantic song that sounds a little bit fairy tale and sounds like it should be in a Tim Burton version of a Disney movie. Or a modern musical. God how could would Panic! The Musical be? I’m going to write it; decided.

The melody in this song is haunting and beautiful and I love it – I can’t help but listen to the lyrics so intently that I’m paying such close attention to the song.

I know I love a song and I’m really engaging with it when I can picture a music video in my head and I’ve got this one sussed. Brendon Urie – hit me up. (dream job – music video director, yes please)

11) Impossible Year
Oh this one feels slow and sad and I love it. There’s piano and strings – it’s another nod to Buble certainly. Well, probably not – it’s probably just Urie writing what he wants to write and showing off his amazing range and skill but this is a proper power ballad. Considering I’ve seen Buble live, I can really picture him singing this. God I hope they duet at some point because some of these songs are just designed for two completely spectacular voices to come together – Brendon has a very deep, musical voice but he has a very flexible voice too, he can make it pop, punk, rock and his high pitch riffs are incomparable but Buble would have the bass and core knowledge of this genre to make this duet completely indescribable.

It’s probably not going to happen. But I really want it to.

And that’s the album I’ve been waiting for since September – it’s been five months and it’s everything I wanted. It’s absolutely incredible and I give my highest praises to Brendon Urie and all that were involved in making this album because, Jesus Christ, it’s beautiful.

(I think I’ll make a proper post about the concert with pictures later this week – this doesn’t count as me breaking my ‘I’ll take photos for every blog post’ resolution – this one needs this album artwork… I promise)
This is how I wanted to bring in blogging in 2016 – bring on the music of the rest of the year!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

My Opinion on Bags (also #ootd)



Today I wanted to talk about bags, handbags and, more specifically, my relationship with them! I’m not one of those girls who is obsessed with handbags and lusts over all those big names (like my mum) but like I say about fashion and music – I am interested in them!

I don’t often buy bags – most of the bags I have are material ‘sacks’ (as I call them), that you can just throw everything in and eventually, if you dig really hard, you can find your purse. That’s my kind of bag!

I don’t often buy bags – I bought a tiny little handbag in Ecuador that says ‘Galapagos’ on it and it only just fits my purse, keys and camera (on a good day) and I use it any day that I don’t take a bigger bag into uni or town.

But I was in Paperchase what feels like months ago now (probably was months!) and I saw the gorgeous back pack featured in the header – but it was £30! And I’m a student! That didn’t stop me looking at it longingly every time I went into Paperchase.

When Christmas rolls around and my mum gives me a bit of money designated specifically to be spent on myself and told me that I was craving a ‘cheap’ bag (in her standards, it is cheap!) so I treated myself. I couldn’t be happier.

It’s such a beautiful bag.

It arrived today and Lucas just laughed at me and said ‘you really love that bag, don’t you?’ and I really do! The design and pattern make it look more feminine, a back pack is so much easier than handbags I see other girls using and it’s better for my back and shoulders! Though I might need to take a rain check on not sounding like an old lady – my hips started aching after walking to the docks for a photo shoot today, not good!

This outfit consists of the same pinafore dress I talked about in my last #ootd post (I’m obsessed), a maroon jumper from Primark that is so comfortable I own it in three colours, tights and my galaxy converse (my post-Christmas present to myself two years ago!).

Again, thank you to Lucas for taking the photos – however reluctantly! But he did stand in the cold posing with a guitar for a very long time today being my model for my location shoot as part of my photography assignment, for which I’m very grateful!

Southampton sunset (iPhone photo)

Tonight I’m in Lucas’s home town, currently sitting in the corner of a Waterstone’s cafe ‘doing my assignment work’ (blogging) whilst he plays Magic The Gathering – for those of you who don’t know (or are fortunate enough not to! Sorry Lucas), Magic is a complicated card game that can be associated with Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer for the level of nerd. But the nerds here are very nice, sociable nerds! They’re trying to convince me to learn to play and I’m considering it – but I’m yet to be sure!

At this time of year, with Christmas money and sales around, there are a lot of purchases that are very tempting! Before Christmas, an advert popped up on my Facebook offering ‘free’ Doctor Who pillows, ‘just pay delivery’ – if you wanted more than one, the delivery was extortionate but for just one it was reasonable, if you thought of it as the price of the pillow and delivery.

The Tenth Doctor now lives on my bed. Now you know who my favourite Doctor is.

There are two items that I’m very indecisive about making though – I can only have one, but I can either have this beautiful pair of over-ear noise cancelling headphones with copper detailing (so pretty) (and have dropped in price since I added them to my wish list!) or this adorable Yoshi special edition 3DS XL – very different products!

Here are my thoughts – I usually use in-ear headphones but I end up turning them up so load to block out external noise that it’s destroying my hearing and I want a good pair of noise cancelling headphones but, (big but) I’ve always used in-ear headphones. I might not like head phones that much and I don’t want to spend so much money on something I don’t know if I’m going to like! However with the 3DS – I love MarioKart and I want to get into more Mario games and Pokemon games and whilst I do go through phases with devices like that, it would be well used in the long run. But it’s currently out of stock. Difficult decisions.

Any advice in the comments would be much appreciated!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Books for 2016!



When I was a kid, I was always that one that had a book in their hand and their mind in a book – I have vivid memories of sneaking out of bed after my mum had switched the lights out to get a book and read when I should have been trying to sleep.

My bad sleeping habits started young!

As I got older, it was never that reading wasn’t ‘cool’, it was that I wasn’t given the time to read at my own pace. I’ve always read slowly – when I was young it was slowly but consistently but as I had library lessons in secondary school and they expected me to finish a book every two weeks, I became less interested. I didn’t like being rushed or told what to read – I fell out of love with reading and I miss that.

However, when I go into a book shop I still feel that same excitement and I always manage to pick up loads. I have a proper library at home with over 600 books and I’m horrified to admit I’ve probably read less than half of them.

So I went into Waterstones in Southampton and picked up a few books, photographed in the header (photos I took myself – sticking to that resolution!) and I have a bunch of other books that I got for Christmas or brought with me to uni with intent to pick up reading again so I thought perhaps blogging about them would inspire me to read them!

Maybe I could review every book I finish – blogging as an incentive to read, that sounds so painfully ‘me’!

We All Looked Up // Tommy Wallach
I love a good post-apocalyptic/dystopian/end of the world novel and when the blurb suggests humanity breaking through stereotypes with ‘two months to really live’ it makes me wonder which stereotypes the characters fit into and what they’ll become.

I like a book that I can empathise with and as I’m deciding to say ‘yes’ more this year, this kind of spontaneous, live while you can live attitude is so compelling to me. Well, I imagine that’s what’s in this book – I’ll feedback when I’ve read it!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl // Jesse Andrews
I saw an advert for the film adaptation of this book and I really wanted to see it – I don’t know why but stories about kids with cancer living out their last days always tug at my heart strings and I like that (apparently?). I never did get round to seeing the film, but when I saw the book I thought actually I’d rather read that first! Often finishing a book makes me want to compare it to the film.

I think it’ll be another motivational kind of book. Also it’s about a bunch of kids that try to keep on the outskirts of their school peers and make films in their spare time – as someone who was invisible at school and made YouTube videos, I can empathise!

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled // Ruby Wax
I don’t know what attracted me to this book – it was on a stand right by the door and I was drawn to it (so bonus points for the cover design being so appealing!). This is the first non-fiction book I’ve picked up in a long time and, to be perfectly honest, the reason I picked it up was because of one line on the back cover; ‘Five hundred years ago no one died of stress’.

I experience stress in a particularly severe way, particularly recently (as I’ve moaned about constantly!) and I picked up a couple of books about anxiety while I was home over Christmas but this one seems more me – it describes combining humour and science so I’m very looking forward to reading this one!

The Ultimate Guide To Blogging // Mike Fishbein
My mum bought me this for Christmas and whilst she may have given up all hopes of me getting a job (after my photography deadline mum, I swear!), a last resort is making money from doing something I love! I really have fallen in love with blogging having written 365 posts last year and this is another one I can’t wait to read.

Whenever I’ve googled ‘making money blogging’ it’s always been really rubbish advice about product placement and manipulating readers – I just want to have a little bit of income from writing, my true passion, so hopefully this will help!

Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales // Justin Richards
A beautiful, beautiful book that I received as a brilliant gift from my boyfriend for Christmas – not only is it a gorgeous hardback book with intricate drawings and gold, shiny Gallifreyan on the cover, but it’s going to explore the Doctor Who universe more thoroughly in the form of fairy tales.

I imagine it’s along similar lines to ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ in the Harry Potter universe and it’s another one I’m really excited to read!

Girl Online: On Tour // Zoe Sugg
On a very different note to Doctor Who – YouTube’s Zoella and the sequel to the controversial Girl Online. I’m not making comment on who wrote it, but I reviewed the original novel on my YouTube channel (if you’d like to watch it). As I said in the video – I had no intentions to read Girl Online, but it was on offer on Amazon so I gave it a go! I turned out liking it far more than I expected but I didn’t think a sequel would really happen – the book ended very well.

So I bought Girl Online: On Tour because I was intrigued – having talked to a friend who loves Zoella as much as I do, she was disappointed by it and this is the only book on the list that I have tried to read already and it didn’t grab me. But the book is essentially about music and going on tour with a band so it should be right up my street, so I’m determined to persist and finish it!

Also, hardback books are my weakness.

Love, Rosie // Cecelia Ahern
Another book I was interested in because of the film – when I saw the film advertised on TV, I knew I wanted to see it, so when I saw the book on offer in Sainsburys I picked it up. I’m still yet to read it, but watching someone watch this film on the plane back from Ecuador made me far more determined so I brought it to university with me.

This book looks very similar in style to ‘if I stay’ by Gayle Forman and I think that was the last book that I fell so in love with I finished it in three days (and with the pre-described slow reading issue, that’s quite an achievement for me!) so I’m very excited to allow myself to be submerged in probably very stereotypical chick-lit romance and absolutely adore it.

The Scorch Trials // James Dashner
I knew when I saw the trailer for The Maze Runner that it would be a series I like – it’s dystopian, it’s a ‘chosen one’; it’s action, fantasy (ish) and I knew I’d love it. Again, never got round to watching the films but I did finish ‘The Maze Runner’ when I got back from Ecuador/when I moved into uni. I’ve been meaning to read the sequel ever since because I did thoroughly enjoy the book.

Time is a thing that I keep telling myself I don’t have. Also I’m very behind on my YouTube watching so I think I’ll read more when I’m up to date on that. I’m giving excuses but I really do need to prioritise reading more this year! 2016; the year of the book.

where she went // Gayle Forman
Speaking of ‘if I stay’ – the sequel! I picked this up when it was on offer in W.H.Smith and I’ve failed to read it yet. I’m so ashamed – this blog post is really making me realise how much I love books and how I wish I had read this book already!

What did make me laugh is that when I bought ‘if I stay’, I saw the title of the sequel and I figured she must have stayed, because she ran off and went somewhere else! It’s not that funny, but that memory always makes me laugh.

One Day // David Nicholls
Apparently I have way more chick-lit to read than I thought! This book was so, so popular a few years ago and then the film came out and everyone fell in love again and I really like the concept of having a book set on one day for twenty years and revisiting the characters.

I normally don’t go for big, popular books because generally I don’t like them, but I’m intrigued by this one.

Billy and Me // Giovanna Fletcher
I’ll be the first to admit that I love Gi and the Fletcher family – I avidly follow Gi, Tom and Carrie’s YouTube channels and I love their family videos so, so much. But Gi is a writer – she’s living my dream life and I figured, I love the woman so much that I really should read one of her books! I was choosing between Billy and Me and You’re The One That I Want (because I only had enough money for one) and I will shamelessly admit that I picked Billy and Me because the focal character’s name is Sophie.

I am childish, yes, but also useless in that I haven’t read this book yet!

Now that’s a lot more books and a lot longer blog post than I was anticipating! I included links to all the books so you can read a summary if you wish, look at the pretty cover artwork or even to purchase them if you so desire! 

Another thing I’ve learnt in writing this post is that if I ever wonder round Waterstones, I should write down the name of books and by them on Amazon! They’re so much cheaper!

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, you’ll see how effective it is if I post any book reviews any time soon!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

New boohoo Clothes! (#ootd)



Today is the ‘last day’ before uni starts (for all of my friends, I don’t start again till the 25th!) and so today someone was in the residence office at long last to give us the parcels that arrived while we were away.

So I got to pick up my boohoo order at long last! I know I bought clothes from them quite recently but I really love their clothes and these two items I’ve been wanting for literally months. And as I said I’d be blogging more about beauty and clothes and things this year (and I adored this outfit) I thought I’d do a little #ootd post!

The t-shirt is from Primark – it’s got Mickey outlines and doodles all over the shirt and an embroidered Mickey Mouse on the left breast – it’s a simple t-shirt with rolled sleeves and it’s very comfortable. I buy a lot of my clothes from Primark because they’re good quality, cheap clothes – makes for a happy Sophie!

Next is the Pinafore which doesn’t picture very well here because it’s quite dark in halls and if I’d thought about taking these photos more before writing the post then I’d have gone out for proper pictures so I thought I’d add the photo from the website too.

This is the Alex Cross Back Pinafore Dress from boohoo – I’ve been searching for a skater skirt pinafore dress for so long and I was so pleased to find this one! It’s a comfortable jersey material, it’s a suitable length and it’s really flattering on my figure. I can wear it casually with a t-shirt like I did today but I could probably make it more formal with a shirt if I wanted to. I love this dress so much and it’s so reasonably priced – can’t argue with that!

And to complete the outfit I bought what are now my favourite boots in the world – my sister has boots very similar to this that I adore and I’ve been trying to find my own version for a year at least.

These are the Amy Double Buckle Platform Boots again from boohoo – they’re slightly more pricy than some of the other items I’ve bought but I love them so much they were worth every penny. I love the double buckle on the back and I love the heal – they were super comfortable to walk in too. We went for a few drinks with friends tonight and I walked all the way there and back with no issue and it was the first time wearing them out of the box – I’d opened them only half an hour before. I’m very happy with these boots!

My make-up is very simple everyday make-up – basic pink shimmer eyeshadow from the Salvation palette from Revolution (that my sister got me for Christmas) with eyeliner and mascara. I did my brows with this kit from Collection – very basic high street kit but I use a combination of the medium and light shades to shape my brows and make them slightly more visible than they are normally.

Lastly I used the Revlon Balm Stain on my lips in the shade ‘romantic’ which does literally nothing to describe the colour – it’s a bright red, borderline on the orange-y side. Personally I find the colour is not very bold but if you’re looking for a more subtle, day to day red lip I prefer it – I like to save the darker lips for a special occasion.

I’m very lucky in that I don’t use any skin make-up – I’m too pale for most foundations anyway!

I have to thank my wonderful photographer Lucas for taking the header photo for me and helping me in my New Years resolution to take my own header photos (the mirror was too short to take a photo in these heels). Maybe if I plan these outfit posts in advance I could go out on location and maybe get him to take some photos for me… maybe I’ll show him some other bloggers photos to give him an idea of what I want. Thank you Lucas!

I really liked this outfit and I’ll definitely be wearing it again soon!

So how did I do? This isn’t me saying ‘look at me! I’m a beauty blogger! Follow me I’m Zoella!’, I just like clothes and make-up on a more basic level so I like to share! And then I included all the links partially because I was googling the names of the products I used but partially in case you, the reader, are interested in the things I put on my face.

Is this beauty blogging? I think I like it!

Thank you for reading (some feedback would be lovely),

Sophie xx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Page 366… no wait! Happy New Year!


Hello and welcome to 2016!

I’ve been getting it wrong all day and I’ve realised that I can now say I’m 21 next year which is a little bit scary but it’s slowly kicking in that it’s actually 2016.

The header photo is a sight I’ve been waiting to see all year – a full year of blogging and don’t the stats look beautiful?! I was so happy to be able to get this screenshot.

But now I’m back down to zero – I’ve got to keep up my blog on my own terms and I’m looking forward to it.

I talked yesterday about my plans for this blog – how I intend to broaden my subject focus and take more photos for myself. I want to write longer and more structured posts – now that I’ve concrete settled my love for blogging I’m going to really concentrate on making my content more engaging and reflect more of what I learn at uni in my blog.

Outside of blogging but still online – I have a big YouTube project planned for next year. Inspired by Hazel Hayes’ (chewingsand) ‘Time of the Month’, I’m planning a monthly blogging series. Essentially I vlog every day or whenever I do something exciting (for example, today I only did a little vlog because Lucas and I went for a walk and had dinner with his grandparents and I’m not very vlogging confident yet – I imagine it’s something that will come with practice.

But that’s a little secret for my dedicated blog readers, I’m not going to say it on YouTube until I’ve successfully completed January because if January is a complete flop, I’ll only end up bailing out at the end of the year which I don’t want to do because I’m too stubborn – hence why I blogged every day for a year!

Outside of the internet, I have very stereotypical ‘I’m going to become healthier’ resolution – I’m going to start running, eating more healthily, looking after my skin better and generally presenting myself better (I’m very aware of my belly right now, I really want to lose some weight next year!).

And then I want to be more creative too – I want to take more photos, make more videos of different genres, write more both of my book and maybe script writing (to combine with the YouTube?) and I want to make more things physically – I have a scrapbook that’s been sat on a shelf in my uni room ever since I got there and I have so much to put in it! That’s something I need to do before I move out really otherwise it’ll be awful to transport back to my mum’s house.

2015 was the year of the most change – it was the biggest year of my life so far and I’m hoping the 2016 will be even bigger. I want to go on adventures and be spontaneous and grow as a person.

But doesn’t every teenager say that in the year they turn 20?

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I wish you the best for 2016!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

That’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Page 365 of 365: Goodbye 2015!



Welcome to the last post, the last day of 2015! Writing ‘Page 365 of 365’ felt just as satisfactory as I imagined it would and I couldn’t be happier nor more proud to be able to write it!

When I started this project I never envisioned I’d finish it – I knew I was too stubborn to stop but I never, ever thought I’d finish it. If we’re being technical, I haven’t actually blogged ‘every day’ this year – some days I forgot and posted past midnight, when I went to Ecuador for 4 weeks I pre-wrote posts alongside writing new ones (I wrote about 50 blog posts in approximately three weeks, it was an achievement for sure!) but I posted the equivalent to a post every day this year.

In that time I’ve made friends who blog, I’ve talked to people on tumblr who’ve been inspired to blog by my posts and I’ve helped friends and family start their own blogs (my mum’s thinking of starting a blog and I really hope she does!) – I’ve found a real love for blogging in that I now run a uni blog alongside this one (I’ve definitely updated it recently I promise) and I blog for UCAS! I’m hoping to take on more blogs next year because I love blogging and I think I may just have found something I’m really good at as well!

I love blogging – I’m looking to broaden what I blog about next year to perhaps talk about health and beauty, I want to write more music reviews not necessarily of ‘new’ releases but of any music I find, I want to watch films more analytically and write about those, I want to write more about my day to day life and I’d love to do more travel blogging and with a few trips planned both within England and abroad which should make for both interesting photography and writing.

Another aim that I talked about a few days ago is that I’m going to take more photos – I want to take the header photos and internal photos for my blog posts. Obviously album artwork and film posters etc I won’t have to take photos of myself but watching Hannah Maggs (brilliant blogger and vlogger, I’m a big fan of the Michelaks!) talk about flat lays and the effort she puts into her instagram has really inspired me to put more effort into my blog.

I’m hoping the quality of this blog will improve ten fold next year – I’m hoping to still post three or four times a week but because I’ve blogged so much this year, I always have ideas for blog posts. I’ll do something and think ‘I can write about that’ or I’ll see something and think ‘I can definitely include that on my blog somewhere!’ – so not forcing myself to think of something to write about every day might even make me feel more creative, because it’s not compulsory!

This year has been such a brilliant year to blog – I finished school, went on a massive expedition to South America, went to my first YouTube convention, turned 19, moved out (very big one!), started university, met some absolutely incredible people, met a boy who loves me as much as I love him and I’m on a course that I love and will hopefully get me into a job that I never thought I was capable of doing! Obviously the year has had ups and downs – I still struggle with anxiety and depression but I think I’m getting better at handling it. In this year I’ve got rid of some people that made me feel more miserable than I ever thought I was capable of feeling and I’ve replaced them with people that make me feel loved and wanted in a way I’m not used to – I have the best friends I ever could have imagined. I’m so much happier now than I was in the last days of 2014 and even the middle days of 2015.

I never imagined I’d be spending New Years with my boyfriend and his family in a place I’ve never been to before and talking to him about how we’ll be spending the summer and next Christmas – I don’t know if Lucas reads this blog, but he knows I love him a lot.

I wanted to say a few ‘thank you’s because this year has been brilliant and tough and I never would have made it without them – my family (obviously); my mum always encouraged me and helped me come up with ideas for my blog, my sister often helped me take photos of new hair or tattoos and my dad doesn’t really understand but he’s supportive none the less – they’re all incredible people and I’m so lucky to have such a strong relationship with them.

Next I want to thank my friends – my friends from home that stuck with me past the end of school (I love the Gig Crew with all my heart), Jenny who’s starting to live her own dream and I couldn’t be more proud of, and my new friends from Southampton – the Squad, for MarioKart nights and Doctor Who (I’ve written posts about Nick, Nikki and Lucas if you want more about them) and my wonderful friends on my course – James and Aimee who always work with me in photography and audio and make news days far more entertaining, alongside everyone else I’m studying with and living with in my halls – I have a lot of love for a lot of people in Southampton.

Then to the people I don’t know – Sprinkle of Glitter, Louise has always been my inspiration to start blogging. Her tweet at the end of 2014 saying she only made 90 odd blog posts in the previous year and was really disappointed was a massive motivator in getting me to start this project. Other bloggers I’ve started reading like Hannah Maggs, Anna Saccone, Zoella, and many others who’ve all given me post ideas or just helped me want to carry on. Thank you to all the people who will never know they helped me completely a project of 365 posts!

Lastly, another tiny little thank you to Lucas because he always reminds me to blog and that one day I was incapable of blogging he blogged for me just so I wouldn’t miss a day. It was very cute. I love you. I still don’t think he’ll read this.

Thank you for reading and thank you for 2015 – here’s to 2016! I love you all,

Sophie xx

That’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Page 364 of 365: Back with Lucas (penultimate day!)



On the penultimate day of the year (and this project), you’d think I’d be more inspired to blog but here we are at 11.28pm and I’m really struggling to think of anything, but it’s been a pretty long couple of days so I thought I could perhaps write about that!

The plan over the Christmas holidays was that Lucas would come stay with me until I got my hair cut so he could see it and then we’d meet up in Southampton again a week later so we could drop things off and go back to his family’s until uni starts again (for him, I have a few extra weeks off!).

He left last Wednesday, we both struggled with being apart way more than either of us anticipated and the plan was for me to get an early train down today (and by ‘early train’ I mean get on a variety of trains from 9 till about 1), sort everything out in Southampton and get a train back up to Lucas’s with him mid afternoon. But with how stressed I’ve been recently and how nervous I was about travelling with such a heavy suitcase on my own, I didn’t much like that plan.

Lucas suggested that maybe I come back on the Tuesday night, we spend the night in Southampton and take a more leisurely train up to his and everything would be so much more chilled.

He did give me this idea in the early hours of Tuesday morning and somehow it happened. To both of our parents distaste (sorry mum) but I’m so, so glad I came back early.

I never thought seeing someone could make me so happy but I’ve never felt happier than when I got to see that boy again – I was literally jumping up and down with uncontainable joy. We ordered food (I ordered two meals because I’d barely eaten all day and I’d waited till he got back at gone 9 to eat) and just had a really chilled, early night together and it was so nice. It was so lovely to have my boy back.

I’m not someone who is normally this soppy – that boy has changed me but I think it’s for the better. 

This morning we woke up very leisurely, showered, packed and then got on a very empty train to where Lucas lives, spending the afternoon with his mum and brother before going out in the pouring rain (we were soaked through when we got back, I couldn’t feel my fingers!) for take-out and then we watched Avengers: Age of Ultron and I let it get later and later before I blogged.

I have the next two day’s of blog posts planned (I’ve had January 1st’s post planned since I started the project!) and I’m so excited to actually finish this project – not because I don’t love blogging but because I can’t wait to feel that surge of pride when I get to write ‘365 of 365’.

365 is a big number. Three hundred and sixty five blog posts. So many.

Thank you for reading and supporting this project,

Sophie xx

That’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/