planning for moving

2019, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

It’s only been a week since I found out I’ve been accepted onto a masters course at Oxford Brooke’s and I’ve already gone head first into planning to move because I’ve only got 2 months to figure it all out! Renting is all quite a quick progress so I don’t know when I’m actually going to find a property with the right time span

But regardless of the fact I don’t have anywhere to live yet, there’s lots of things I’m planning to do different than when I lived alone as an undergrad student so I thought I’d make a list for two reasons – 1) I love planning and thinking all these things through and 2) it holds me accountable so when I do move, I stick with the plan!

1. Having a cleaning/laundry day every week

I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at cleaning where I live – it’s something I never got round to teaching myself when I moved out but in the era of Mrs Hinch it’s not hard to learn! I just know what I’m like so setting a day aside to do the bathroom, the kitchen, hoover everything, do all our laundry will make sure I definitely do it and I think it’ll be a nice relief from uni work. Get some music on the Alexa, comfies on, sounds like a pretty good day actually!

2. Making proper meal plans

Doing one bulk shop at the beginning of the month then using stuff out the freezer to make it last (especially because I’ll probably be cooking for one most nights when my boyfriend’s away working!). Something I really want to focus on is making an effort not to buy as much food on the go – the occasional McDonalds as a treat is okay but popping into Tescos or Costa every day is expensive and not that healthy, so it’ll be good for my healthy eating and for my bank account to plan ahead!

3. Move in parts – not all at once

I have a lot of stuff – ornaments, books, personal stuff and I’m definitely not going to be able to move it all in one go. Being in the Oxford area (rather than in Southampton where I was for uni!) and being able to drive (hopefully) between there and home means I can go pick up more of my stuff whenever I want, rather than having to lug it all on trains. My plan is to take the bare minimum and then as we unpack and figure out storage we can take more belongings or buy new things (I’m hoping for a new TV at some point!). Doing it more gradually will just be easier for everyone, luckily my mum’s happy for us to leave stuff at home!

In terms of actually starting uni – I’ve got my conditional offer, I’ve sent off my references and proof of my degree and applied for student finance. Once my boyfriend and I have taken our next driving tests (lol) we’ll figure out more in terms of logistics and then my mum reckons renting property is a quick process so we’re not really going to start looking until nearer September and then it’s all packing and actually moving, which is stressful enough!

I’m excited though – this is the most progress I’ve made in the year since I graduated (which is exactly a year ago tomorrow, 10th July!). I’m so ready to live independently and go back to uni and hopefully make a start on the rest of my life. Any advice is more than welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals

Hello!

love goal setting and the end of June is always somewhat momentous for me because I know it marks the halfway point to the year, so it’s the best time to check in on my goals, adapt if necessary and see how much progress I’m making!

Quick context – I have three categories that I set goals in (personal, career, creative) and each of those categories has three goals and then I tried something new this year in setting some ‘bucket list’ style goals.

I’ll try to keep this brief but I do love a ramble about goals and progress so tuck yourself in lads! Grab a cuppa and tell me all about your goals in the comments please!

Personal Goals:

1. work towards my weight goals – eat well, build workout routine

I feel like I mention it in every blog post, YouTube video and Instagram caption but I’ve been trying to lose weird basically forever now. Progress has been slow over the last three months or so but I’m trying to eat much more intuitively and I’ve been running three times a week (or thereabout) for nearly 10 weeks now and I feel like it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something and I’m really proud of myself!

2. prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

I’ve been refining how I make my to do lists and generally I am finding ways to make the most of every day as much as I can. I definitely haven’t been making time for hobbies but I have been more efficient with my productivity. I still care about productivity much more than I want to, but with how the rest of the year is going to go I think the time for hobbies will come. But in a way writing blog posts and YouTube videos are my hobbies so I guess that counts?

3. self esteem, I need some

This was a way of wording ‘fix my mental health’ whilst being a bit kinder to myself about it. I’ve tried my best to get to know each other and build better habits and I’m much better at recognising the triggers of when I’m not doing so good. I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments, I’m on anti-depressants now and I’m on a waiting list for computerised CBT, which I’m hesitant about but know it’ll probably be for the best. This is the most progress I’ve made with my mental health in the ten years I’ve been internally battling with myself so whilst I don’t really have any self-esteem yet, the whole process is a work in progress.

Career Goals:

1. build freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, superhero woman (essentially)

I set this goal in the beginning of the year when I had freelance work and that fell through within a few weeks (which was horrible, ngl) so now this goal is just about working hard for me. How this year has gone so far hasn’t been to plan for me, but I’ve gotten over myself and made my situation work and I’ve earned enough many to make a big purchase recently so it’s going okay! I’m making it all work.

2. build my own media kit (save for a camera/refine my skills)

This one is something I know exactly what I want but I’ve justified that I’m not going to spend the money on something as big as a camera and lenses etc when I’m not certain I’m going to use them or they’re going to be a cost-effective purchase. If I spend the second half of the year glued to a camera, then I can justify it, if I don’t then I’m not going to spend that much money on a camera. All justified!

3. make a future plan with work goals, house/relationship aspirations etc

I’ve done this! Not set in stone kind of 5 year plan because that just doesn’t work for me but I have the framework in my bullet journal and that I add to a change and adapt occasionally. It’s all flexible because I think life is too unpredictable to really make a solid 5 year plan.

Creative Goals:

1. continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and youtube channel

Actually really pleased with this one – I’m really happy with the attitude I have towards my blog and my channel at the moment and cutting myself some slack when I don’t upload exactly at the right time or anything. I feel more genuine than I’ve felt in a long time and I’m really happy with it.

2. write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018 (may be some freelance writing?)

I’ve been planning little writing challenges all through this year in the build up to writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo and it’s been going semi-decently! I’ve not always hit word counts but I’ve been writing consistently for the first time since before I went to uni. This month I’m hoping to write 35,000 words but I’m significantly behind and it’s day 6 so I’m hoping to get a couple of really good catch up days in before the month is out.

3. work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year teaching myself the basics of photography – what all the settings really mean, getting to know my camera, figuring out how the core skills of photography really work. It’s something I want to develop further with more experience when I go back to uni in September but for now I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

This one is centred around driving for me – I can’t walk to a gym locally and I’m moving soon so getting professional help with working out will come when either I can drive or I move. Another work in progress!

2. get another tattoo

Done! Got a series of tattoos to start my travel sleeve this week and I love them so much.

(photos)

3. read a book a month

I’m currently on 7 out of 12 books for the year! I haven’t read for a few weeks but because I was a little bit ahead it was a bit of pressure off and I’m going to get back to it soon, when I’ve fixed my sleeping pattern (lol).

4. do a grid drawing every month

For context – the premise of this is this is that I print off a line drawing, draw a 30 square grid over the top and colour in one square each day of the month. This is something I’m really enjoying – sometimes I find colouring books a bit daunting because I don’t know where to start or they’re so intricate but this one has been really good for my mental health and for my creativity.

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

I’ve been writing my monthly mixtape posts for a few months now and I listen to my discover weekly playlist every week!

6. save for a canon 80d, 50mm lens and a 75-300mm lens

See previous photography goals – if I don’t do this one it’s a financial choice.

7. have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month

I wrote a blog post about how I’ve already broken this one for the year but finances and work have disrupted this one a little, but that’s alright – it was pretty ambitious anyway.

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

I have taken my driving test once and failed but next one is booked and I feel so much better about it. And I bought a new car at the weekend! I’m genuinely so excited about it all, I can’t wait to see where my little H R Wheels and I will go in the latter half of this year.

9. improve my posture

A silly one, but one I’m trying to integrate into my day to day life.

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

And following the brief mention of going back to uni, my boyfriend and I will be moving somewhere close to Oxford (probably Aylesbury because there doesn’t seem to property available anywhere else). We’ll be moving in the next couple of months!

And that’s a check in with all of my goals for 2019! I think checking in on goals like this is really important because if you’re on track and making progress it inspires you to keep going and if you feel like you’ve not made as much progress as you’d like it gives you the kick up the bum to focus!! Here’s to the home straight of 2019!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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July Goals

2019, fitness, goals, lifestyle, student, writing

Hello!

It’s that time again! We’re officially over halfway through 2019 and I’m not entirely sure how it’s gone that fast actually. It’ll be Christmas before we know it!

But with a new month, it means new goals! My June goals actually went relatively well – I made good progress on lots of things and I’m going to maintain that this month. So here are my achievable personal goals for July!

  1. Practice driving petrol – may sound dumb, but long story short I upgraded my car! I’ve been driving diesel since I started learning last September and this is the first time I’ve ever driven petrol and boy-o it’s different and difficult to get used to. I say ‘difficult’ – it’s only been two days and when it’s flat I’m mostly okay but I want to get lots of practice in so that when I pass my driving test (eventually) I’ll be ready to zip off here there and everywhere in my gorgeous new car! Aptly named H.R.Wheels by my creative boyfriend, plus points to anyone who watches the Flash and gets that reason.
  2. Confirm my place at uni and research where to move – literally yesterday as I was brainstorming what I wanted my goals for this month to be, I got a conditional offer email from Oxford Brookes University to study MSc Digital Media Production and I’m simultaneously nervous and excited. But what goes with that is moving – finding somewhere to live around Oxford (because I definitely can’t afford Oxford) and figuring out the finances of it all! July is a month of figuring out.
  3. Write 35,000 words – I’ve been setting myself lots of monthly writing challenges to train up for 50,000 words NaNoWriMo in November and this month is Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s just to maintain my habit for writing every day and making time for creative hobbies around work and other commitments!
  4. Run 3x a week and stop snacking – a little development on my goals for last months. In this last week is when I fell off my couch to 5k bandwagon and I needed a bit of motivation, so this morning I did the run from week 1 and I’m going to do a condensed version of the first 4 weeks, then build up on week 5 and 6 again because that’s where I started to struggle. It’s going to take me considerably longer than 9 weeks but I’m going to get there! This is the most committed to exercise I’ve been since I was dancing four times a week at school. And I need to get a hold of my eating habits again – it’s getting out of hand so step 1 for me is cutting out snacking. It’ll be tough but I want to feel better again so I’ve got to work for it!
  5. Make sure I can pay all my bills – having bought a car at the very end of June, July is going to be incredibly tight (because I may or may not have spent the majority of my wages before I got paid… haha?). It’s manageable as long as I don’t waste money on things I don’t need and am really careful with what I do spend. I’m not worried about it but I need to focus and having it as part of my monthly goals helps keep me on track!

A couple of days ago, I noticed in myself that I was feeling a bit spaced out – that I was stopping doing things that are good for me and feeling a total lack of motivation for everything but writing this post has really perked me up! If you feel a bit lost I thoroughly recommend setting a short list of achievable goals, it makes it so much easier to be productive!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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Couch to 5k update! | unfitness

2019, fitness

Hello!

I thought it was time for a little update on my Couch to 5k progress – if you’ve never heard of Couch to 5k, it’s a (supposedly) 9 week program to get you from no running, to 30 minutes of running, here’s a breakdown of the 9 weeks if you’d like to have a nosy!

I started my journey with Couch to 5k 9 weeks ago, which should mean I’ve finished the program and can comfortably run for 30 minutes right?

NO! NOT AT ALL!

The whole point of the program (to my understanding), is that you take it at your pace – repeat as many runs as you need to until you feel comfortable and ready to move on. Currently, I’m still working on week 6 – my life has been a bit hectic and I’ve missed a couple of runs, so to maintain my ‘no pressure’ approach, I’m not going to push myself over the weekend and I’ll get back to it on Monday.

And that’s okay! Personally, I think the Couch to 5k should have different levels – that splits at week 3, or maybe have different options to split depending how you feel at the end of each week, giving options with longer progressions as well as the one that jumps from 8 minutes of running to 20 minutes of running (wasn’t a fan).

Where I’m at currently is I’m not loving it, I like seeing the progress but it has massively slowed and it’s really demotivating to see that the program makes such giant leaps and I’m being left behind. But I’m trying my best not to focus on any of that and just take it in my own time – the fact that I’ve maintained running (just about) three times a week for nine weeks is a huge step for me! If you’ve been following my unfitness updates for a while you’ll know that normally I get really hyped about something for usually about three weeks and then I fall off the bandwagon and I’m back to square one.

The most important thing for me has been being able to fit it into a routine – the thing with at home workouts is you need equipment and space and you have to follow a video, but with this I just hop on the treadmill, have my phone with the podcast playing and I watch YouTube on my iPad so it’s much simpler for me to get my head around fitting it all in.

So as always – it’s a work in progress. I’m not seeing the progress I want at the moment, I’m having a real mental battle with food and all round I’m feeling pretty tired about the whole thing. But I’m still trying. I feel more like I’m closer to the ‘couch’ end than the ‘5k’ end, but I’m trying and at the end of the day? That’s all we can do.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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work work work work work | diary 6

2019, career, lifestyle

Hello!

If you watch my YouTube videos, you may have noticed I didn’t upload a weekly vlog for a couple of weeks (they’re coming I promise, I have a plan!).

And whilst I will be uploading something, my vlogs have been pretty bland recently because my ‘part-time’ job is hovering somewhere between part-time and full-time now and I want all the hours I can get – between upgrading my car and knowing I want to go back to university in September and I need to save as much money as possible, I don’t have much of a choice in terms how much I need to work.

So when I planned to write a diary post this week, I didn’t anticipate it would be in a week where I’m literally working every day and I don’t have anything particularly ‘fun’ to document.

I work for my mum’s business, we leave at 7.50am most mornings, we join commuter traffic into the city near where we live, we sit in an office until maybe 4.30 and then we join commuter traffic again to drive home for about 5.30pm and have dinner. It’s not a bland day – it’s busy, it’s always different and the people in the office are so lovely, but it’s not something I can really blog about and I definitely can’t vlog it.

So maybe the natural step would be to stop doing weekly vlogs or not to write a ‘diary’ post but my channels are for me – I don’t have a ‘niche’, I’m not something to slot into a market, this content is primarily for me to look back on and this is what I’m doing. When I was a student I blogged about student things and whatever industry I end up in I’ll probably end up blogging about that one day too, so this is just a toned down version of that really.

But I don’t need to justify why I’m blogging about it – it’s just nice to document work times as much as it is to document travel or adventures or shaving my head

I’m still trying to figure out where my blog fits into the blogosphere – I don’t feel like I have the authority to write any kind of ‘how to’ posts because I don’t know enough about anything, I love sharing my opinions on music, books and travel and that’s why my blog is just a little bit of me. The girl that sets herself too many goals and dreams as big as she can.

I don’t know if this really constitutes a ‘diary’ post but it’s what I’m doing at the moment so I’ll roll with it. I hope you enjoy this style of writing! My favourite are the rambly posts that write themselves, like a stream of consciousness.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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braving the shave for Macmillan

2019, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Well the title says it all doesn’t it! Tomorrow (Sunday 23rd May) I will be shaving my hair off for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Let’s take it back to the beginning – one whole week ago when I decided I was going to do this (because don’t we all love a spontaneous decision).

I was scrolling through Instagram stories, just relaxing as I do, when I see an ad for Macmillan’s Brave the Shave – I did a double take, scrolling back to watch the ad again and something in the back of my mind said: “I could do that…”

So I put a poll on my own Instagram stories – do I or don’t I? The results were surprisingly positive, so I turned to Twitter with another poll – do I or don’t I? And again, the results were swinging towards shaving my head…

Then I was chatting to my mum – she reminded me that cancer was one of the contributing factors when my nanny passed away two years ago and her birthday would have been June 24th. Since we lost her we’ve had a family gathering around her birthday so we would have everyone here as well.

And everything seemed to slot into place…

Before I could change my mind or regret it, I made a donation page on the Brave to Shave site and I got the first couple of donations that night and that meant I was fully committed – I have to shave my head now.

I feel so grateful to my friends and family who have donated – I reached my donation goal of £100 in just TWO days and the night before the shave I’ve managed to double that goal!

I’ll be honest – this is as much for me as it is to raise money for charity. It’s been roughly a year since I moved home before graduation and a year that hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to at all. It’s been tough but I’ve learnt a lot and things are just starting to look like they’re going in a more positive direction, so why not do something drastic and spontaneous to mark the occasion right?

I won’t be donating my hair to charity, mostly because it wouldn’t be accepted – it’s far too short, it’s been bleached and dyed to no end and no one’s going to want a wig made out of my hair I’ll tell you that for nothing! But now that it’s settled in that I’m really going to do it and I’m really going to have short fuzzy hair for a few weeks, I’m really excited. I’ve been describing it as ‘factory resetting’ my hair – I’ve not seen my natural hair colour since I was 17 and in that time I’ve bleached, dyed, damaged and cut my own hair so many times and my beloved hairdresser has done wonders for my hair in this last year… and now I’m about to shave it all off and start again!

This decision has come around very spontaneously and I’m so grateful for all of the support – from Instagram messages, friends and family, the women at my tap class, my driving instructor – I’ve had support from so many people that I’m genuinely so appreciative of and I can only imagine the amount of good this money will do for Macmillan Cancer Support.

If you’d like to donate to my shave, you can find my donation page here, otherwise I will be streaming live on Instagram (not sure what time yet, keep an eye on stories!) and I will be posting a vlog with the full story on my YouTube channel this weekend!

Here’s to braving the shave!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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June Monthly Mixtape

2019, music

Hello!

This months mixtape feels really short – my discovery weekly playlists have been mostly rubbish, there’s been lots of new releases and there’s one song I’ve had on repeat for most of this month (that we’ll get to later) but I don’t feel like I’ve listened to a lot of music.

I do still have a few songs to talk about, so here’s some of my highlights from my June music playlist!

Easier (5 Seconds of Summer) surprised me to be honest – I have such a weird relationship with what I think about the band and my favourite 5SOS era was ‘Sounds Good Feels Good’, but I really like how experimental this song is. They’re trying something new again within the pop-electric realm and I actually really enjoyed it. Some of the lyrics are a bit forced but it’s fun!

Forfeit (Arrows in Action) is a band and a song I never would have heard if it wasn’t for my discover weekly playlist but it gives me major Alex Gaskarth/old All Time Low vibes and I’m 100% here for it. Definitely going to be looking into the bands other songs!

I’m Not Okay (I Promise) (Robyn Adele Anderson) is a refreshing take on the classic teenage emo song – I love jazz/swing remixes of pop chart songs and this one really took me by surprise. The vocals are astonishing, the arrangement is true to the genre and the original song simultaneously and it made me smile on the bus, which is the best kind of song really!

Outside Looking In (Jordan Pruitt) – this song is on the playlist exclusively because I remembered it existed and it was a banger when I was 12. It got me through tough times of no friends and difficult friendships and boy-o I would belt it at the top of my lungs and rediscovering it has been a blast.

End Of The World (Plain White T’s) was a song I literally added this afternoon – I was giving this week’s discover weekly a listen on the bus and this is the only song I liked enough to engage with at all. It was a cute, catchy bop – nothing ground breaking, but a fun listen.

My shoutout of the month goes to the song I’ve had on loop – the song that at first I was very ‘eh’ about, then the melody kept cropping up in my head and then I started really listening to the lyrics and really fell in love with Guiltless (dodie).

It’s been a mixed month for music, to be fair to Spotify I didn’t have as much time for listening to music as I usually do and with a new routine settling into place I need to figure out how to integrate music into the time I have but as always, I love writing these posts – if you have any recommendations let me know in the comments! This months challenge is listening to my Release Radar playlist as well as my Discover Weekly on Spotify!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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curating a practical wardrobe

2019, fashion

Hello!

Between fashion bloggers, YouTubers and the sustainability movement, everywhere I turn it seems there’s talk about capsule wardrobe, minimalist lifestyles and anti-fast-fashion.

It’s really opened my eyes to how I adopt these approaches into my own lifestyle – I love shopping but I also don’t like spending money and I hate not making use of what I’ve got so if I find something in my wardrobe that I don’t wear I’ll donate it to a charity shop.

It’s been over a year now that I’ve been slowly refining my wardrobe – cutting it down to be somewhere between a capsule wardrobe and a minimalist wardrobe which is really practical for me.

I’ve had three big clear outs – the first time was when I was in Southampton and I had so many clothes I literally didn’t have enough space for them all, I think I got rid of 6 bin bags worth of clothes in a charity bin (which is mind blowing, really) and I just about had enough room for my remaining clothes!

I did another clear out after I’d moved home and we got everything back out of storage – as I was unpacking all my clothes I did another big sort out and made another pile of a couple of bags of stuff I didn’t wear.

And the third one was fairly recently – I was ruthless, I got rid of things that were too small for me and things that were too big for me and I started being a lot more honest with myself about what I actually wear. When I finished that one my wardrobe looked so neat and tidy, it was beautiful.

But I still don’t think I’m done – I have too many t-shirts that I don’t really wear, too many pairs of trousers and I can’t see them on the shelf they’re on so I need to display them so I can actually see them all.

I’m not a big fan of the capsule wardrobe though – for me, I just don’t like the idea of only having a couple of colours so that everything matches, because I just don’t think that’s very sustainable. Having a shirt or a pair of trousers that go with a few options but not every option is far more realistic than making sure every top goes with every bottom option I have!

The main thing I don’t like about capsule wardrobes is swapping out parts of my wardrobe every season – I’m a big fan of layers and I’m also incredibly lazy so having to change up my whole wardrobe four times a year sounds like a lot more effort than I’m prepared to put in. And I think that having one wardrobe that works all year round is probably smaller and more environmentally conscious than a bigger wardrobe where you swap items out seasonally? It means I get more wear out of my clothes because I wear a lot of them all year round.

But then my wardrobe isn’t quite minimalist because I think it’s too big – I feel like a proper minimalist wardrobe should all fit on one rail or only have 5 shirts, 2 bottoms and a pair of shoes or something! Maybe I’m thinking a bit extreme, but whilst I want to be sustainable and get lots of wear out of my clothes I also like having choice and mixing and matching my clothes into lots of different outfits.

I love the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle but I’m too sentimental – between clothes, photo albums, ornaments and even plush toys, I really do struggle to get rid of things but it’s all about balance isn’t it! It’s learning to let go of the things I don’t actually have a sentimental attachment to and keeping the things that mean something to me.

The last thing I’ve found that has helped me curate my wardrobe has been shopping more consciously – the amount of times I’ve been in New Look or Primark and really liked the look of something, but most of the time I realise it’s because:

  1. It looks like something I already own
  2. It’s trendy and ‘everyone has one’ so I’ve convinced myself that I need and I don’t
  3. I want it

But what I’ve found has worked particularly well for me is thinking about what I need rather than what I want – thinking about how an item will compliment the rest of my wardrobe or potentially thinking of something it could replace. Thinking a lot more consciously about what I’m buying makes such a difference when I’ve got an armful of clothes in Primark!

I like having a smaller wardrobe because I feel like I’m getting lots of wear out of what I’ve got and at the end of the day, I’m not good at making decisions so if I’ve got less clothes to choose from it’s much easier for me!

It’s all about balance – having enough clothes to get through day to day but focusing as much on what you need as what you want.

Everyone is different and different things work for different people – but I think it’s worth talking about because when someone shouts ‘sustainability’ you think about plastic bottles and single-use straws, but fast fashion is something we can do something about! People complain about Primark but anything is fast fashion if you treat it poorly – Primark isn’t the problem if you make the clothes last.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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breaking my 2019 travel plans…

2019, goals, travel

Hello!

I’m a hugely ‘goal’ orientated person – I write monthly goals to motivate myself, I frequently check in with my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and 2019 goals and sticking to them is really important to me.

But let’s talk about this travel goal – my aim was to go on a little trip with my boyfriend every month. Not a huge holiday, not going abroad every time but taking a night or two away just to see somewhere new and have a day off every month.

In January we went to Devon, in February we had a Centre Parcs holiday, in March we had a weekend in Paris, in April we went to Cambridge and in May we went to London MCM ComicCon and explored Stratford and Canning Town.

And June? I’ve got nothing booked, I’ve got no ideas and I don’t think we’re going to have time.

The biggest factor is money – I can’t afford to spend too much on picking somewhere, paying for a hotel, paying for trains and transport and food, whilst I really want to… I just can’t justify it. The second thing is location – we live in the middle of nowhere at the moment, getting anywhere by train largely involves going through London which makes journeys long and fairly expensive. And the third thing is time – we have plans this weekend, next weekend is going to be stressful for reasons I’m not going to disclose (nothing dodgy or dark, just not gonna go into it), the following weekend we have a family gathering and the weekend after that we have potential plans.

So I think I’m going to have to break the 2019 Goal for a month and I kind of hate it.

I’m someone who likes patterns – setting myself a 30 day challenge or a once-a-month challenge I’m someone who likes to tick boxes and missing a day or a month really bothers me, but on the other hand – forcing myself not to be bound by those types of things is probably good for warding off potential OCD and I don’t want to force a trip somewhere I’m not excited about a spend money for the sake of it. I’d rather take a month off and go somewhere really exciting in July (I’ve got lots of ‘last minute’ trip ideas… stay tuned).

Part of the reason I wanted to write this post is that amongst travel bloggers, travel instagrammers and feeling like every single person you know on Facebook is going somewhere sunny by the sea in the Mediterranean, sometimes it feels like being stuck at home is the worst thing in the world. There’s a whole world out there to see and right now it’s not on your path to go see any of it, for one reason or another.

So it’s a reminder to myself on two fronts – one, that I will go see the world at some stage, I will see everything it has to offer and really properly enjoy it because I won’t have rushed it. And two, that not sticking to every single letter on my 2019 goals is okay too. A year is a long time and things change and different priorities arise, everything works out for a reason and just because it doesn’t happen when you hope it will doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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what I’ve read so far this year

2019, books

Hello!

When I sat down to write this blog post I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about – I love blogging so much, so usually I can just sit at my computer and find something to ramble passionately about but today? Nothing. I’d spent all day doing uni work for my PG Cert course and nothing was coming to mind.

I even Googled ‘blog post ideas’ seeing if that would spark anything but advice to anyone thinking about starting a blog – don’t Google blog post ideas. They’re never that good and definitely not original.

So I started scrolling through instagram – my feed is a creative hub of friends and other creators and browsing through posts, it wasn’t till I thought about my own posts that I actually decided what I wanted to write about (how vain is that?).

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (or 2019 Goals, however you want to word it) was to read one book every month and I’ve already finished my book for June so I’m feeling genuinely really pleased with myself that I’ve managed to integrate reading back into my nightly routine.

Today, I’m going to do a little run down of all the books I’ve read so far this year. If you like this post and want me to do another round up at the end of the year, do let me know!

In chronological order, let’s go!

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I set myself the challenge this year of reading 12 books – one a month. I used to be the kid that snuck out of bed to keep reading and studying English at school destroyed any previous love for reading but I'm determined to get it back! ✨ My first book of the year was @louisepentland's Wilde About The Girl – I read the first in the series when I went to Louise and Carrie Fletcher's book event last summer (I know I should have read it before) and absolutely fell in love with Robin Wilde – she's sassy and funny but she's flawed, she thought she needed a man to love her and sometimes she wore her pyjamas for the school run but she was so real. I'm not the target audience for this series but I bloody loved it and somehow I loved Wilde About The Girl even more. It was raw and emotional and laugh out loud funny, there were twists and turns and love and friendship and it was all round a feel good book. It was so easy to read, difficult to put down and the perfect holiday book – I thoroughly recommend it, even if you don't think a book about a mum in her late twenties is for you, Robin will wiggle her way into your heart. Can't wait for book 3 💜 ✨ I think I want to do a little review like this after each book I finish – I never thought I'd finish my first book of the month only halfway through but I'm thoroughly enjoying reading before bed, 2019 is going to be such a good year. Up next – when the curtain falls by @carriehopefletcher 🎭 ✨ #bookreview #book #bookstagram #reader #readagram #wildeaboutthegirl #wildelikeme #robinwilde #louisepentland #writer #blogger #lifestyleblogger #shinyhappybloggers #smallblogger #discoverunder100k #vlogger #smallyoutuber #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #thatsdarling #creative #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #pa #freelancelife

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Wilde About The Girl – Louise Pentland

My second attempt at finishing this novel – I read the first in the series in the run up to meeting the author at a book event last summer and I fell in love. ‘Wilde Like Me’ was the reason I wanted to get back into reading this year and on the second attempt of ‘Wilde About The Girl’ I was on a roll!

I’ve never really been into chick lit – I love fantasy and magic and space and adventure, but there was something beautifully mundane about Robin Wilde’s story. I commented at the time that it was like reading a vlog in someone’s life and it was cosy and lovely. Genuinely I’d recommend it to everyone – an emotional but beautiful read!

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book 02 : when the curtain falls (@carriehopefletcher) 🎭🔫✨ It took me a bit longer to get into 'when the curtain falls', then I was 200 pages in and realised this wasn't early chapters set up. Then I read the last 70 pages in one night (which is a big deal for me) and everything cascaded into a defeating crescendo of a finale and I'm lying in bed nearly in tears over these characters I didn't realise I'd fallen in love with. Combining my love of theatre, magic and writing 'when the curtain falls' has decided that I /need/ to catch up on the rest of Carrie's books and I really want to publish one of my own. Next up – 'eleanor oliphant is completely fine' (gail honeyman) ✨ . #book #bookstagram #whenthecurtainfalls #carriehopefletcher #book2of12 #reading #writing #fiction #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder100k #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #socialmedia #lookingforwork #selfemployed @salportfolio

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When The Curtain Falls – Carrie Hope Fletcher

At the same book event as I met Louise, Carrie was also promoting this beautiful novel. I’ve tried one of Carrie’s books before and enjoyed it but just couldn’t get into it enough to finish it.

At the beginning, I felt similarly about When The Curtain Falls – with a history in performance and musical theatre, I was invested in the story but it wasn’t until 200 pages in that I couldn’t put it down. It was as I was nearing the end of the book that I realised ‘this isn’t the set up anymore, this is it!’ and I read the final 100 or so pages in one night.

Utterly thrilling, a beautiful telling of romance and love and unsuspecting characters. Again, would whole heartedly recommend.

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book 03 : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine (gail honeyman) 🎸🖥️🐈 Eleanor and I have had a rocky relationship – at the beginning, I thought she was a bit pretentious, I didn't think she was trying to be funny when people said she was funny and she needed to re-evaluate her relationship with strangers, but then I met Raymond and I slowly learnt more about Eleanor's story. This is one of the most cleverly written books I've read in a very long time and I'd LOVE to go for a coffee with Miss Honeyman and have a very in-depth conversation about the intricacies of Eleanor Oliphant. At its heart, it's an incredibly sad story but it's insightful, heart warming and so utterly, utterly real – I genuinely think everyone should read this book, stick with it… You start to empathise with her eventually ✨ 🥰 next up : we all looked up – tommy wallach ✨ #book #bookstagram #reading #eleanoroliphant #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder1k #newblogger #shinyhappyblogger #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative #contentcreator #copywriter #socialmedia #lookingforwork #selfemployed @salportfolio

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Oh Eleanor, we had a difficult relationship. All the things I’d seen people say about how the book was hilarious and gripping from page 1, I didn’t get. It took me over a month to finish this because I found Eleanor arrogant, rude and uninteresting as a character.

Then the story developed, the introduction to one key character kept me hooked and by the end I wanted to protect Eleanor with every fibre of my being – she’s an incredibly complex character that I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to understand.

If you’re struggling with Eleanor’s story, I highly recommend pushing through to the end because you’ll be rooting for this girl I promise.

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book 04 : we all looked up (tommy wallach) 🌌💖🔫 Sped through this wonderful coming of age novel at first because I wanted to keep up with my monthly goal but then because I was hooked on these four Mish mashed broken characters – 'we all looked up' is full of teenage angst, existential realism and a freedom of not caring anymore. I've not read a book that made me feel so alive in such a long time and boy-o do I want to work on a film adaptation! Don't be put off by YA – when it's the end of the world, we all look up 🌆 ✨ next up : hold on – alan gibbons 🌌 #book #bookstagram #reading #wealllookedup #tommywallach #blogger #lifestyleblogger #smallblogger #travelblogger #discoverunder1k #newblogger #shinyhappyblogger #vlogger #smallyoutuber #weeklyvlogger #travelvlogger #linkinbio #throughthelens #canoneosm10 #photography #freelance #digitalcreative

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We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

An existential story about four teenagers at the end of the world? Yes please.

A lot of my books are YA and young YA at that – I bought them when my family used to go on holiday in Derbyshire and there was the most incredible bookshop where I could buy 10+ books for £30-£40 and it was my heaven. I picked up hundreds of books most of which went unread because I simply never would have had time to read that much.

When I moved back from uni I sorted through all my books and donated about two-thirds to charity, most of which had never been read but the ones I did keep I really wanted to read.

And that’s where ‘We All Looked Up’ slots in! It’s a very interesting narrative told from four different perspectives about what the potential end of the universe can do to all sides of society. I don’t want to spoil it in any way, but it’s a really humbling read that really nails the key aspects of humanity.

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book 05 : hold on – alan gibbons 😢🐂🥰 this short little novel (novella?) was not a challenging read, but I don't think I enjoyed it – it's about a boy who commits suicide and his friend's journey to figuring out why and coming to terms with everyone who played a part in it. I don't know if it's maybe because I'm not feeling my best mentally at the moment but I don't think I like the representation of mental health in this story, but perhaps that might be because that's how mental health is still presented in society and I don't like that. I don't regret reading 'hold on' but it's one to go to the charity shop I think 🤷 ✨ next up : one seriously messed up week in the otherwise mundane and uneventful life of (sam taylor) Jack Samsonite – tom clempson 😢 #books #bookstagram #holdon #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawarenessweek #alangibbon #reading #bookclub #pageturner #writer #blogger #huji #photography #shinyhappybloggers

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Hold On – Alan Gibbon

The first book of the year I haven’t really rated – ‘Hold On’ is about a boy who has committed suicide and his friend’s attempt to figure out what went wrong. Told from the modern day perspective of his friend and diary entries leading up to the end of his life, it’s a very mixed tale about who’s to blame.

As someone who has suffered with mental health problems, I found it very hard to empathise and very difficult to read about so many characters who had such a trivial and incorrect understanding of how depression can manifest. I came to the conclusion that I think that was the point – I think it’s meant to be an uncomfortable read. But I didn’t enjoy it, because parts of it didn’t feel intentional, they just felt naive.

I’ll be donating my copy, that’s all I’ll say.

And last but not least!

One Seriously Messed Up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Sam Taylor Jack Samsonite – Tom Clempson

The one that hasn’t even made it to my instagram yet! This book (I’m not writing out that title again) is another very YA one about 16 year old ‘Jack’ navigating GCSEs, girls, friends, not friends and a couple much more sinister (but not too dark, it’s still YA) topics.

I feel like there’s not too much I can say without completely spoiling the book. It’s not really comparable to ‘Wilde About The Girl’ in any way but the sort of mundanity of it all is similar. There’s a few melodramatic teenage bits but as a 22 year old reader it’s about a teenager getting worked up about teenage things and it’s almost refreshing to be able to complete separate myself from all that knowing I no longer than categorise myself with teenagers.

A fun read, a solid 4/5.

And that’s what I’m reading this year – I always post little reviews on my Instagram so if you want to keep up with what I’m reading either follow me there or add me on goodreads! Sometimes I forget to update my page count for a few days but my most up to date reads are all on there!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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