a night in Cambridge | travel

2019, travel

Hello!

I can’t believe it’s May and I’m about to start talking about New Year’s Resolutions but I had three resolutions that I wanted to complete every month – read a book, do a ‘one square every day’ drawing and go on a little trip. I never meant like a full on holiday but just seeing somewhere new every month with my boyfriend.

In January, we went to Newton Abbott in Devon for my cousin’s wedding, in February we went to Centre Parcs in the Lake District (didn’t see much of the Lake District… but I’m counting it!) and March we went to Paris.

Obviously, I’ve made a vague plan/list of ideas for each month for the rest of the year and my plan for April was to go to Cambridge – it’s just down the road from where I live on the train, it’s a beautiful city with so much history and architecture so it just made sense.

So I booked a little ‘last minute’ trip just six days in advance – booked a Premier Inn, booked the train tickets and we were ready to go! So last week, we hopped on a train and visited somewhere we’ve never been before!

The thing that was a little bit different for me on this trip, is that I didn’t really plan in advance – I had a little google of things to do and tried to get some ideas but everything cost money and we didn’t have any money to spend really.

So we hopped off the train and picked a direction to just walk in – we saw a food place called ‘Big Ass Burritos’, we passed the coolest Wetherspoons with a cinema attached, we passed botanical gardens and so many stunning churches and it was so lovely to just walk with literally no plans.

We found a shopping centre called Grand Arcade that was lovely for a browse (a Typo shop and a Disney store for me and a Raspberry Pi workshop for my boyfriend) and by then we were starting to get a bit peckish and tired so we searched on maps and started to follow the route to the hotel.

On the way we found another shopping complex, The Grafton Centre, which had CEX, Game and a Cafe Nero across the road so we did a bit of browsing (I resisted buying a Nintendo Switch), had lunch in Nero (the best cheese and tomato toastie on the market, in my opinion) and then walked towards Premier Inn to check in for the night.

We stayed in the hotel room for an hour or so just to get our energy back a little bit, then we headed to a Tesco’s superstore across the road for evening supplies, then there was a big retail park complex across the road that had the Frankie & Benny’s we wanted to go to for dinner at the end, so we had a really domestic-couple’s trip to Currys PC World to look at Magic Fridge’s and talk about what our dream vacuum cleaner is, a browse in Argos’ sale section and a stalling look around the Homebase garden centre before heading to F&B’s for food.

And wow the food didn’t disappoint – my boyfriend has an absolutely huge pizza, I had an amazing lasagne from the ‘FeelGood’ menu (so I didn’t feel too guilty about treating myself!) and we treated ourselves to two sides – garlic bread pizza (very disappointing, literally 1/10) and cheese and bacon fries (exceeded expectations, 8/10). The best bit – restaurant dining doesn’t have to break the bank, it wasn’t the most expensive restaurant anyway but it doesn’t take much to find vouchers or discounts so definitely worth looking around if you’re going on a trip and don’t have a huge budget to work with.

The most surprising thing about the whole trip is that the food from our dinner was so filling, neither of us wanted to eat any of the Tesco’s snacks we’d bought before in the evening, so packing it all to come home the next day was a bit of a challenge.

We took it really slowly the next day – we didn’t check out of the hotel till half 10, maybe nearer 11am and then we just walked again. We wanted to explore Forbidden Planet and I had a couple of bits I wanted to pick up in Primark and they were both near the Grafton Centre, so we took a slow waddle back via lots of charity shops (gotta love a charity shop!).

For lunch we headed to the Wetherspoons we’d spotted the day before and spent the best part of a couple of hours killing time – our train was 5 or 6 hours away at this point and we weren’t that far from the train station. We didn’t really have any plans, didn’t have anywhere we particularly wanted to see so we really weren’t sure how we were going to kill this time.

After we left Spoons, we wondered into the University Botanical Gardens but unless we missed something huge, there wasn’t much to see and we felt like we were actually trespassing the whole time. It was a very nice garden with actual ‘don’t walk on the grass’ signs, but other than a nice lawn and amazing buildings there wasn’t too much to see.

So after a quick wonder and getting a little bit lost, we settled in the Cafe Nero by the train station for the best part of two hours, just talking and scrolling and enjoying the atmosphere of the city.

Then we hopped on the train home already thinking about where we want to go next. In May, we’re going to London for MCM ComicCon and that’s our trip for the month – we’ve been to this area of London a few times now but I’m hoping to find some new places to explore this year then it’s all about where we’re going to go in June – there’s a few university open days I want to attend so I might tie a trip in with one of these but I think I prefer doing it all a bit more last minute and feeling a bit more spontaneous.

Any recommendations? I’m thinking Bath or Brighton but please do let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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May Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Another month, another post about goals! Although April wasn’t the best month for me, I made a really good dent in my April Goals and I’m ready to smash my May Goals too!

These one’s are themed mostly off my self-analysis from looking at my work experience and gaps in my CV so I’m going to start filling them. Let’s jump right into it!

  • write for something other than my blog – I love writing, I love creative writing and I love my blog but if I want to be a more rounded copywriter and get more work in the future I need to prove that I can write for publications other than my own! I’ve not done any research into this yet but whether it’s a local publication, a feature pitch or maybe guest writing on someone’s blog, I want to kick start building up a portfolio properly.
  • practice photography – last month I worked really hard on learning the basics of photography that I never got to grips with at uni and at the weekend I went to a dance convention at the weekend and I was really pleased with the photos I took, however I now know that I need a new lens. The kit lens has done me well but if I really want to start taking better pictures I need to update my lenses and get out there and practice!
  • develop work experience in marketing / get some more presenting experience – I’ve got lots of work experience at some amazing companies but it’s not too relevant to what I want to go into and whilst I’m in the fortunate position of having flexible work and living at home, I might as well get as much work experience as I can! I also want to see if I can get some more presenting experience – I love presenting and I really didn’t take the opportunities I should have at uni so I’m going to make my own now. Whether it’s doing my own little news projects, doing something a bit different or finding work experience elsewhere, maybe local radio or TV? Again, I’ve not looked into it much yet but I want to make a start this month.
  • finish project at work – I’ve got an ongoing project in my part-time work and I’d really lost momentum with it but I hit the realisation that if I don’t like how this project is turning out, I need to edit it to make it better and work till I don’t hate it. I need to finish it this month for sure.
  • lose 5 pounds – shock horror, I’m still trying to lose weight. I’m doing really well – I hit my last goal of being under 100kg and my next goal is to hit the 2 stone mark from my heaviest weight but 5 pounds is my goal for the month. I started the Couch to 5k this morning (probably a bit optimistic to start talking about it now!) and I’m feeling good about it all, I’m determined!

I’m really focused on making more progress this month – I don’t want to be too open and bare all but these last few weeks have been really tough and my anxiety has been a real pain in the ass and I’m trying my best to gently work through it. I can only try my best, but having these mini goals to concentrate on really helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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trying something new… | bullet journalling

2019, organisation

Hello!

It’s been a little while since I did a bullet journal update or post of any kind hasn’t it? If you’re new to my bullet journal content I’ve got lots of blog posts and YouTube videos and for a very quick catch up – I’ve been bullet journalling as my main form of diary, organisation and to do lists for over 2 years and it’s not the artsy creative kind of thing you see on Instagram, but I consider it quite minimalistic and functional.

So with that in mind, what’s so exciting and new that I wrote a semi-clickbaity title about it? Well it’s a slight change to my weekly spread that will either make me infinitely more productive or sap every last tiny bit of productivity I’ve ever had. So let’s chat about it!

But first, let’s look back on how my weekly spreads have evolved…

my first attempt at bullet journalling! I had an overall to do list for the week on one side and then would make a to do list at the beginning of each day which took another three pages

the first time I tried having my whole weekly spread on one double page spread, something that has stuck ever since

the six ‘squares’ for days of the week stuck around on the right page but this was the point I started to categorise my overarching by to do list by uni work/society stuff/other etc

 

Here’s where I started my best attempt at budgeting in early 2018! The right page has now evolved into 8 squares because at this point I’m onto my second journal (my first Leuchterm) and it’s dotted rather than lined which is SO MUCH EASIER

the format was pretty similar at this point but this is what I consider my ‘most productive’ spread – I had clear categories on the left page, a budgeting box small enough that I was encouraged not to exceed it and 8 boxes on the right hand page

 

when I finished uni I didn’t need the uber productive weekly spread anymore so this is where I started to develop what I now use as my current weekly spread

I really liked having the 8 strips on the right for each day of the week (and a spare) but this is where the left hand page starts to become more formulated and less random

here I’m really starting to settle in what I want this spread to look like

and onto my third bujo! at this point, I wanted the left hand side to take the same shape every week so I didn’t fill the space until I knew what I wanted it for

and this is last week’s spread – I’ve figured out how to use all the space on the left page and the right page has stayed the same for a while (why fix what isn’t broken?)

And here we have the new weekly spread! It’s not that different, yeah I know, but it brings back what I loved about having the overarching to do list without giving me the boundaries of putting each thing on a specific day.

I’ve still got daily breakdowns of stuff and things that are bound to a certain day (work/volunteering/content/driving lessons/other fun stuff) but everything else? I’m just going to pick and choose however many things I need to fill up my daily to do list and then if I finish it all and I feel motivated to continue then I can pick another thing from the list.

I’m probably getting a bit overexcited in blogging about it literally two days into using it but I’m excited about it – I’ve been using roughly the same spread for nearly a year and that’s what my life has become now; a new weekly spread format is exciting.

Flicking back through my old journals, a lot of my habits have stayed the same – the reason I use my bullet journal is the same, it’s just the layout and circumstances that have changed and that’s what I love about bullet journalling over having a diary. I can change how my whole life is organised from week to week if I want to, it negates the need for a diary and a separate to do list book and it just combines everything into one. It’s genuinely the core of my entire life, or at least, it feels like it sometimes!

I’m excited for the day that I get a career related job where I can start adapting again and continue making my bullet journal the most productive it can be!

As always, any tips, tricks or thoughts you have (whether it’s in your own bullet journal or how you would use a bullet journal if you don’t already have one!) then please leave them in the comments or come over for a natter on Instagram!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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monthly mixtape – April

2019, music

Hello!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post ever since my last monthly mixtape, if I’m honest!

Two things before I start chatting about the tunes – one; I haven’t had the chance to listen to my discover weekly playlists on Spotify this month because I haven’t had any time on buses or on my own at home, so I’ve not listened to a whole lot of new music in that way, but somehow this is my longest monthly playlist so far!

And two; I called the playlist Gray because I was watching the ‘Crisis on Earth X’ Arrowverse crossover (Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) and without spoiling it, something significant happens to a character called Stein who is nicknamed Gray and I was feeling sentimental about it in the moment I made this playlist so that is literally the only significance of the playlist title this month, if anyone was interested!

Let’s start at the beginning – I was only interested in Lewis Capaldi because I’d seen ads for his song Someone You Loved all over my instagram and it gripped me because Peter Capaldi, yes the 12th Doctor on Doctor Who, is the main focus of the music video and I have a big old soft spot in my heart for Peter Capaldi. Then I properly listened to the song and I think the lyrics are just beautiful, I think it’s one of the saddest love songs I’ve ever heard but it’s so mature and melodically striking, I would love to cover it on my YouTube channel one day.

Next are a couple of songs from Simple Creatures as their EP Strange Love came out in the last month. Alex Gaskarth is hands down my favourite vocalist of all time, I’ll be perfectly honest – I’m really not mad about Mark Hoppus’ vocals, but I do love the sound of the band and it really reminds me how much I do love slightly heavier music (but only slightly heavier, I’m still a pop gal at heart). Strange Love and Adrenaline are Class A bops and I thoroughly recommend.

I don’t want to talk about every single song on the playlist, otherwise this post would be about three thousand years long, but next is a new single from Bash! and I’m so here for this band – they’re music students in Southampton, they performed at my graduation ceremony and that’s how I know them at all but their music is sick, they’re so funny and I really hope they get the break they deserve because they’re so professional and the lead singer is Pop Queen, she’s so cool.

The last four songs on the playlist I literally added yesterday – I saw on Instagram that The Vamps had released a new EP and they’re one of those bands that I know I like but then I listen to their music and I’m like a subconscious fangirl. I’ve followed the Vamps since before the bassist joined the band (shoutout to Carrie Hope Fletcher for featuring them on her channel like a hundred years ago) and Waves is a really sweet song.

Niall Horan is another one that I almost didn’t realise how much I like his music – he features on Julia Michaels song What A Time and it went straight on the playlist after one listen – it’s chill, it’s catchy, I love the sound of the sincerity in Niall’s voice.

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel is a song that my dance teacher used to use as a warm up in my tap class and I really liked it but I never got round to asking her what the song was. Then it came on a radio when mum and I were at work and I wrote it down straight away because it’s been in my head for months now, I’m so pleased I found out what it’s called.

My shoutout of the month goes to leaving this (Danny Padilla) – I think this one was a discover weekly find but it’s a song that gripped me straight away. I love the fusion of pop and a more electronic sound with classical instruments but somehow it still sounds really stripped back? The melody is really catchy and I want to choreograph to it which is a sure fire sign that I instantly connect to a song (but I’m bad at choreographing so I probably won’t do that).

As always if you have any recommendations I’m all ears (literally! Geddit?) – I’d love to hear what you’ve been listening to so if you’ve got any songs or playlists drop them in the comments down below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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

2019, career, lifestyle, student

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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don’t be fooled by the fashion bloggers!

2019, fashion

Hello!

I don’t mean this title to sound as accusing as it does, it’s just a realisation I had the other day and wanted to share because sometimes it’s easy to see lot’s of people online talking about how they do something and starting to think that’s what you want and forgetting that’s not actually what you want!

I watch, follow and read about quite a few fashion bloggers, YouTubers and instagrammers and in the age of sustainability and avoiding fast fashion, everyone’s talking about capsule wardrobes.

This is how it went for me – I started trying to plan a capsule wardrobe, I picked out loads of clothes that I didn’t want anymore (which I needed to do anyway) to donate or sell and I was looking at my wardrobe, still not very capsule, and I was watching videos or people talking about their capsule wardrobes and it hit me like a truck.

We don’t have the same style, so why am I trying to make my wardrobe like theirs?

There wardrobes were all plain clothes and patterns, mine is some of this but with band t-shirts and pop-culture-nerd t-shirts. Their wardrobe had eight pairs of jeans, I have one and a bunch of funky stripy trousers from New Look (side note: I love the Anna Edit but eight pairs of jeans?? Surely no one ‘needs’ eight pairs of jeans?? No judging, just genuinely intrigued).

My impression of a capsule wardrobe is that you have fewer items of clothing but they all match and coordinate more. For some reason, I kind of decided that meant that I had to have a wardrobe centred around one colour and if you have a shirt that you think goes really well with one pair of trousers but not really anything else, then that shirt isn’t wearable enough (if that makes sense?).

But that’s not the case!

The turning point for me is I was trying to figure out things to get rid of to make my wardrobe more minimalistic and capsule and I realised that Anna (from the Anna Edit) doesn’t wear hoodies, it’s just not something that is in her wardrobe and I literally own six or seven and they’re all slightly different and I actually wear them all, so why should I make myself throw them all away when I actually get a lot of use out of them?

I love hoodies, I love nerd merch, but I love pattern clothes and I’m a sucker for a plain white tee too and I’m integrating these in my own way!

So on the one hand, my wardrobe isn’t so ‘capsule’ because everything doesn’t quite go with everything else, but I am getting a lot better at refining it and being less precious about clothes I’ve owned for a long time or clothes I spent a lot of money on just because I spent a lot of money on them.

Living a more minimalist life and valuing the things I actually need more – thinking more about need than want is my new priority – but also, I’m a really sentimental person so I’ve got 4 or 5 photos alums and lots of boxes and I want to make sure I use everything so I’ve got lots of notebooks that I haven’t used, and literally about 50 biros that I will use in the long run and I don’t see the point in throwing them away and then having to buy new ones in the future!

It’s all a balance, a balance I haven’t figured out yet but what I have realised is that I need to make sure is that I don’t lose my own style and thoughts and opinions because I’m getting so invested in the creators I follow online.

I’m not saying that fashion bloggers are to blame – they’re not telling me that my wardrobe is wrong, I just didn’t see the kind of clothes I like wearing in the creators I watch.

Maybe I’m just being a moron and saying something that no one else had ever thought before but you know what? I might not be! It’s so easy to be influenced by social media and not realise you’re losing yourself a little bit but I thoroughly recommend staring at your wardrobe for a little bit just to figure out what you really love.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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first time traveller – reviewing Paris

2019, travel

Hello!

Yes, I promise, after this post I’ll stop with the Paris spam (or at least, maybe stop mentioning it as often!) but I thought I’d do a little review post talking about the city from a travellers perspective, a tourists perspective and the perspective of my first trip abroad as a lead traveller!

Going from just going on a holiday and my only responsibilities being making sure I bring enough pairs of socks, to being the one booking the train tickets, finding a suitable hotel, planning a sort of itinerary is quite a big leap and it’s daunting when someone turns to you in a foreign country!

It was a weirdly adult feeling and on the one hand, it was cool because I proved to myself that I had the freedom to go anywhere but on the other hand ew does that mean I’m an adult?

I’ve picked a few key things that I was nervous about or felt were a barrier whilst I was there and I’ll just have a little natter about each one, if you have any tips or advice for any of these let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!

t h e   m e t r o

I was worried about transport around the city – I knew there was an underground-like system but having been to New York last year and gone the wrong way on the Subway, I wasn’t too sure how I would handle the metro. But I can’t speak more highly of it – using Google maps, it told me my final destination and what direction to be going in and we didn’t go the wrong way at all!

It’s definitely nicer and easier to understand than the London underground but would probably be much more difficult if I didn’t have Google maps on my phone.

It’s really reasonably priced, surprisingly easy to use (well, if you’re only wanting to buy single tickets and have Google maps!) and the ticket machines have lots of different languages to choose from!

And with that in mind…

t h e   l a n g u a g e

Before going on this trip, I felt confident in my minimal English – if nothing else, I knew how to say “sorry, I only speak a little French, I am English!”. But we got out there and I froze – I suddenly felt like everyone was judging me and I didn’t want to get anything wrong so I didn’t feel confident enough to try.

After the first few interactions, I did get a bit braver but then in the city it only took my vague attempt at a ‘bonjour’ for anyone to start talking to me in English. What it taught me is that I really should have brushed up on some key phrases before I left, but actually – I remember more French than I thought and my biggest barrier was confidence!

The thing that really helped me was that I thought if I was working in London and someone came up to me and tried to speak English as a second language, I’d be pleased that they’d given it a go rather than them making me speak their language! I’m sure most of the people who worked in Paris felt the same, I just needed the confidence to try.

f o o d

Following the language barrier, the next thing I was more worried about after we got there, was ordering food. I’m quite a fussy eater anyway and I get a little bit anxious about the ingredients that might be used that aren’t necessarily listed on a menu or packaging (mayo in sandwiches is my worst enemy!).

On our first day, we got sandwiches from Lidl, the next day we had lunch at McDonalds and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (where the menu was in English anyway), the next day was a bakery for pastries (we were getting a bit braver), back to McDonalds (because it was easier and we knew we’d like it, we’re both a lil fussy) and another Lidl dinner. It’s something I definitely want to work on for the next time I go to a non-English speaking country because I didn’t feel immersed in the culture and I did feel a little like I was cheating.

But it’s intimidating on so many fronts – the language, worrying about having to eat something I don’t like (or going hungry) and wondering whether the places we were going were commercial enough to have English speaking staff or if it was too rural. Granted, most of this is in my head but it was something that I now know bothers me and I need to be aware of and face if I want to try more authentic food.

So in conclusion – I think in terms of first time lead traveller, I’d probably have been better off picking somewhere that is predominantly English speaking for my first trip, however I feel marginally more prepared to go to other non-English speaking countries, especially as most people we had to interact with in Paris spoke English to a service level.

I’m already looking to book a trip to Amsterdam in July so any recommendations and top tips on learning key phrases in Dutch would be welcome please!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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let me show you: Paris

2019, photography, travel

Hello!

If you haven’t seen all my Instagram posts, blog posts and YouTube videos… I went to Paris last weekend!

It was just magical – it was my boyfriend and I’s first real trip away (after over 3 years together!), it was his first time out of the country, it was my first time really taking the lead on booking a trip – it was hugely monumental for us as a couple and because it’s just such a beautiful city.

I decided when I went to New York last year that I wanted to start a travel series called ‘let me show you’ and when I first started that I intended to travel much more in 2018 – that didn’t happen! But I still want to carry on writing this series so as the title says, let me show you Paris!

Our first view of the Eiffel Tower – just breathtaking

a backlit Eiffel Tower, I have so many photos of the Eiffel Tower

but even the view opposite the Eiffel Tower was beautiful, the Seine is just stunning

see a cute avenue of trees? Clearly need an outfit photo

just LOOK at it!

It’s not often I actually like a photo with me in it, but this one is such a great summary of the trip, I’m so happy Lucas took it!

credit for this one has to go to the boyfriend – he started using my mum’s old Sumsung S7 before we went and the camera worked out really well for him, absolutely stunning picture

I’m still thinking about this nutella crepe, to be honest

This view is from the metro window!! Absolutely magical to speed past the Eiffel Tower and the Seine – not the most amazing photo but such a beautiful memory

Arc de Triumph, immediately viewable from the second you step out of the metro

the architecture in Paris is just second to none – to think about how this was built and how magnificent it all is? Just amazing

Doing a night cruise of the Seine was my sister’s suggestion – I thought it might not be dark enough and then by the time we were on the boat the sky was this beautiful navy colour and just look at the Eiffel Tower all lit up, it was just amazing

this was halfway through the night tour as we were turning round to head back – I love all the colour reflected in the water and actually? The photo from my phone was better than the one on my camera – really experimented with lots of mediums on this trip

The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour and it’s the most magical thing, it’s just stunning

on to Day 2 – next step; the Louvre! Getting a picture without anyone stood in the way was actually a mission

I don’t know what this leaf with plants on is meant to be, but I kind of love it and I took a lot more pictures of it than I really should have

Notre Dam – it was just mind blowing, we sat for a long time just looking at it, I definitely want to go inside and up next time

sneaking up on the Pantheon

I think every building in Paris is just astonishing – again, definitely one to go inside next time, just even from the outside it was just stunning

And the original Statue of Liberty in the Jardin de Luxembourg! (I might have spelt that wrong) The gardens around the statue are actually just so beautiful – we sat there for literal hours, partially because we needed our phones to charge but it gave us this time to be disconnected from technology and really talk to each other and really embrace the moment. I’m definitely making more time to be without technology on any other trips we do in the future

This trip has motivated me more than effort to actually making travelling happen this year – I’m hoping to do an overnight trip to Cambridge this month and I’m looking into going to Amsterdam in July so if anyone has any (kinda budget) recommendations for those places (or anywhere else!) please let me know!

Tell me all about your favourite places to travel in the comments, I want to share the travel love today!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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April Goals!

2019, goals

Hello!

At the beginning of every month I get so excited about a new month, a fresh start and a new focus – deciding on what goals to work on this month! It only gets better when the month starts on a Monday, now that makes my heart happy.

Last month’s goals didn’t go very well – I got a bit too in over my head and expected far too much of myself and with a lot of unexpected last minute plans, I didn’t make a lot of progress on many (if any) of last month’s goals. But rather than letting that hold me back, I’m using what I learnt from it to adapt my goals for this month.

And this is what I’ve come up with!

  1. Make driving progress – I started practising test routes in my lessons in March and I convinced myself I would be ready to book my test at the end of the month and then when I wasn’t ready it was a massive bummer to have set myself the goal of booking the test and failed! So this month I’m adapting that goal slightly – I want to make progress and be closer to booking my test. When I book the test isn’t important but making progress and being for it is what I should focus on!
  2. Focus on diet – I was at a point where I was happy with smaller portions and better food and I want to get back to that, being more aware and putting more effort in is a start (she says as she samples a selection of macarons from last months trip to Paris! It’s all about compromise!)
  3. Work on photography – At the end of this month I’m going to a dance convention and last time I went to this convention, I took a lot of photos that I was really pleased with. Four or five years later I want to have made some improvement! I want to learn more and take technically better photos, so I need to go and practice with my Canon 100D – especially if I want to justify upgrading it at the end of the year.
  4. Start job applications again – it’s a little soul destroying, especially as it’s approaching a year since I finished my degree and graduated, but I’m not going to get anyone if I don’t try. I’m working with the careers team at my old uni to see if they can help and I am working as much as I can in my current job to tide me over. Just got to keep trying, I want to carry on doing the digital marketing course with Google Digital Garage and I’m going to carry on researching going to do a masters degree and something hopefully will figure itself out for me!
  5. Camp NaNoWriMo – another writing challenge! I’m training myself every other month for November’s 50,000 word NaNoWriMo challenge – in February I wrote 20,000 words in 28 days so this month I’m aiming for 25,000 words in 30 days! I wasn’t too sure what I was going to write about and then I had a very strange dream on the last night of March that I had to write down as soon as I woke up because I felt so compelled to develop and work on so that’s my last minute project!

The way I make my goals is generally by picking one thing from each of the categories in my New Year’s Resolutions (link), having a glance at my ten ‘bucket list’ style goals for the year and see if any of those are relevant, then anything else that’s relevant! It works really well for me to have lots of lists of goals – between 2019 goals, monthly goals, weekly tasks and even a 5 year plan/goals chart I have no reason to feel like I don’t have anything to do!

That being said, I still feel a bit lost sometimes – I’m still looking for a graduate job and with it coming up to a year since I finished my degree and graduated, it gets harder and harder to motivate myself but with all these lists and personal goals, even if my life takes a different turn I’ve always got something to focus on!

If you make monthly goals, tell me what they are! Are you still working on your New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s share and motivate each other!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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pushing through procrastination

2019, organisation

Hello!

Whether it be due to anxiety, having to do school work you really don’t care about or just being tired, I can guarantee that every single person in the world procrastinates, loses motivation and puts things off.

And I say this as someone who prides herself on her organisation, colour coordinated lists and post it notes, but that doesn’t mean I’m productive and on task 100% of the time. I love to think I give the illusion of having my life together but I really don’t think that’s the case!

So I thought I would put together some of my tips for how I tackle the worst bouts of procrastination, because I’ll be brutally honest – these past couple of weeks I’ve really struggled to motivate myself to do anything and I’m motivating myself to push through it as much as motivating anyone else!

1 – pick one thing that will help you with a routine and force yourself to do it, even if you don’t want to

I know this sounds like the worst tip if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but I promise just picking one thing and making sure you do that is like rebooting your brain and reminding yourself you are in control and you can push through it! For me, when my anxiety hits and I start to feel low, it’s things like brushing my teeth than I just can’t bring myself to do. I know it sounds gross and there’s a deeper psychological reason for it but if I can push through and make myself do it, it makes other tasks on my to do list feel more achievable.

2 – focus on one task at a time

Sometimes a whole list can be incredibly overwhelming, but picking one task and working on that, and then the next task can be so much more approachable than seeing a whole list of however many things.

It can just be a case of going ‘right! I’m going to work on this task for this amount of time’ – for me, I volunteer on reception at a dance school and if I’m struggle to get on with things, I’ll set myself the task of working on one thing until the next dance class finishes. Then if I get that task done, great! If I don’t, I’ve made a start. Breaking it down works really well for me.

3 – try a change of scenery

It can be so easy to convince yourself that you can work from the sofa, or your bed, or whilst your boyfriend is playing video games in the same room (this one might be a bit niche) but sometimes that doesn’t work – whether it’s moving to a desk, a different room at home or going to a local cafe or something, a change of environment can really make the difference in altering your mindset to be more productive.

If going to a cafe isn’t financially viable and moving around at home isn’t working, I recommend either having a tidy up or switch around at home if you can! See if you can move things around, maybe move your desk closer to the window or Marie Kondo your stuff so it all feels a bit less cluttered. There are lots of ways you can change up your space without having to spend lots of money.

4 – give yourself some breathing space

I’m not saying give up, but give yourself half an hour to breathe – watch a YouTube video (but only one or two, put a deadline on it), play a few rounds of Candy Crush or something or make a new adapted to do list to help refocus your mind.

I remember at school always being told to do 20 minutes work and have a 10 minute break and the same applies outside of doing homework and revising for exams – forcing yourself to work when your mind is tense and frustrated is never going to work so take a step away, recentre, take the pressure off and then step back into it.

5 – make a new to do list!

My personal favourite – even if it means having the same things written out basically three or four times in different places, being able to adapt or switch up your to do list to help your own productivity is always a good idea!

If I’m feeling particularly frustrated, I will start my to do list again and only write out the tasks I think are genuinely achievable and I might even write out some things I’ve already done that day so I can lull myself into a false sense of productivity – because there’s nothing like a half ticked off to do list to motivate you to do the other half!

Obviously, take all of these tips with a pinch of salt – it’s so personal for everyone that it will take a lot of determination and hard work to find what works for you. I tried so many different revision techniques when I was doing exams at school, then I had to adapt that to finish assignments at uni and find other new ways to be productive now that I’m working. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so if there’s anything you do that isn’t on this list please do leave it in the comments so I can try them too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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