feeling festive… or not?

2019, lifestyle, student

Hello!

December has rolled around! You scroll through Instagram to see trees galore, there’s pretty lights everywhere you look and I bet your feeds are choc-a-block with festivities… but do you actually feel festive?

Do you feel that cosy warmth of the twinkly lights and tinsel and dark evenings with warm drinks? Do you feel the excitement building for the one day of the year where you spend time with loved ones and you get to spoil them with special gifts you’ve chosen and amazing comfort food? Do you feel Christmassy?

However much I want to, I’m not really feeling it yet – it might be something to do with the tooth infection I’ve been diagnosed with and the potential six months on an NHS waiting list to get it removed (fingers crossed for me please!) but Christmas is the last thing on my mind.

I’ve been to my local light switch on, I’ve planned Secret Santa with my favourite gals at uni, I’ve got plans to see my boyfriends family and the tree is up (even if I haven’t bought any decorations for it yet).

The reason I’m not feeling Christmassy is probably more personal than ‘I’m just not feeling it’ – the aforementioned tooth pain, the fact this will be my first ever Christmas without seeing my family and financial worries are probably putting a negative influence on my desire to watch festive movies and wear that one Christmas jumper I have with bells on it.

But here’s how I’m trying to put a bit of festive fairy dust in my step (but not really because getting that out of the carpet would be a nightmare).

ONE – PUT THE DECORATIONS UP!

Like all mums, my mum have a spare six foot Christmas tree under her stairs so having that has really helped make my new house feel a bit more homely. I’m all for fake trees because having the same tree come out every year is so sentimental and lovely. I see the appeal of a real tree, but the upkeep and the hassle of having to go pick one isn’t for me – and I’m saving the environment lads! Hashtag Team Fake Tree over here. Don’t @ me.

Either way, I spent a couple of hours on Sunday trying to make myself feel a bit better after calling in sick again by putting up the tree (with no decorations because I only had enough for the little tree that’s gone in our room) and some tinsel on the bannister.

It’s quite exciting because this is where my boyfriend and I can start to build our little Christmas collection – our own decorations, our own bits and bobs that come out every year and our own traditions. That warms my heart just a little bit.

TWO – MAKE PLANS TO SEE FAMILY!

Not only am I missing seeing my own family this Christmas but our ‘family Christmas’ where we do see each other is on a weekend and I now have a retail job so I can’t go which I’m genuinely gutted about. But I’ve got two mid-week trips planned – one before Christmas and one over New Year where I’m hoping to see my family but I’m just waiting on my work schedule to set it in stone.

My boyfriend’s family are lovely, but I’m a very sentimental person and my family means more to me than I can put into words (I may not be a McPherson by name, but I’m a McPherson by heart) so at 23 having my first Christmas away is definitely going to be emotional.

Having that time booked in where I know that I’ll at least see my immediate family will make this new change a lot easier!

THREE – PRESENT PLANNING

I know I’m very fortunate to be able to live in a nice house and pay rent and pay for my car and go to university in a different city, but finances are something I’m struggling with at the moment. Moving is expensive and stretching my wages to cover everything has all but ruined all the good work I put into my savings this year (but at least I did the saving so I had something to fall back on!).

I’m going to write a whole blog post about doing Christmas on a budget but making a list of everyone you want to buy presents for, setting a budget and getting as creative as possible with home crafting  makes it all feel a little more achievable.

The other thing to bear in mind that all these places posting ‘shop local’ and ‘shop small businesses’ – that’s great if you can afford it, but you’ve got to do with what fits best for your budget. I’d love to do all my shopping from Etsy and Not On The High Street and independent sellers on Instagram, but it’s infinitely more convenient for me to do one big Amazon order. Maybe next year, but for now – I’m doing what works for my bank account!

FOUR – MAKE THE MOST OF TIME WITH YOUR FAVOURITE PEOPLE

Another change I’ve had to get used to that is probably another reason I don’t feel too festive is that I’m still getting used to my boyfriend not being home all that much. He works in live broadcast, mostly at sports matches, so it means he’s away all over the country for three/four nights a week and after spending a whole year living in my mum’s house together and not really being apart overnight much at all.

I think at first we were grateful for the time apart to be ourselves for a bit and now I can feel myself waiting for him to get back. This is definitely something I need to work on 1) because I’m an independent woman who thrives with or without her man and 2) because it’s not going to change for however long he decides to work in this industry.

But making the most of the time that he is home by cooking together, planning activities to do together (like buying decorations for the aforementioned naked tree) and playing video games together makes everything feel a bit more like home.

If you want to see more Christmas content this week, I will be uploading a Christmas themed vlog on my YouTube channel at the weekend, so go over there and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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December Goals 2019

2019, goals

Hello!

How mad is it that this is my last monthly goals post of the year? 12 of 12, 100%, The Closing Chapter of 2019.

The goals have been a mixed bag this year, but that’s a self analysis saved for my personal notes and/or a different post, let’s get onto the goals I’m setting myself for the home stretch of the year (and the decade but that’s a lot of pressure so not going to focus too much on it).

  1. Maintain sensible spending – for a solid 70% of November, I was doing really well with my spending – I wasn’t buying lunch at uni, I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need, no treats, nothing but paying for the park and ride to get to uni, food and bills essentially and the end of November hasn’t gone as well but I can definitely be a bit more careful next month, making allowances for Christmas.
  2. Masters semester 1 home stretch! I’m so close to finishing my first semester of my masters – I don’t have any results yet so I have no idea of my progress so far but I’m nearly there and I think it’s going moderately well so just have to maintain momentum.
  3. Start ideas for new writing project – I’ve been throwing an idea around in my head for a while and I want to get it down on virtual paper. I’ve been working on the same writing project for about two years and I’m starting to feel like I’m rehashing the same ideas without writing any of the other bits over and over again and I need something new to get excited about.
  4. Finish reading challenge – my November goal was to catch up but I was so flat out exhausted that reading was just too much. But hopefully I’ll have a bit of downtime in December and I really want to accomplish this goal this year, I’m really focused so fingers crossed for this one.
  5. Chill out – have evenings off! If I can make this work then my fourth goal will be much easier! I need to stop working before like 9pm – when I was at home and even in my third year at uni I had a really good routine where I would do all my work between about 9am and 5pm then in the evenings I could play video games guilt free and I’d like to get back to this kind of routine.

There’s nothing particularly adventurous or specific about these goals and they’re pretty similar to my goals for the last few months but I don’t see the point in ‘doing something a bit different’ when the things I need to focus on haven’t really changed. The point of these goals are to be functional, not interesting. I use them to push myself sometimes but at the moment? I’ve just found out I’ve got an infected wisdom tooth, I’ve got all my deadlines for my first semester of my masters due in about two weeks and I’m still trying to manage my retail job on top of that.

It’s getting there – 2019 has been… interesting, but let’s just say I’m excited for the fresh start that 2020 will bring.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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approaching New Year | diary 10

2019, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

Doing these little diary posts once a month really reminds me what blogging is all about and where it all began – a web log, a recount of goings-on and a log of activities. The priority on my little corner of the internet will always be having something that I can look back on and 1) be proud of and 2) serve as a little reminder of who I was when I posted, even if that’s not who I am now.

And writing rambly blog posts that all come out in one go are my favourite and I think they’re the nicest ones to look back on!

So today I wanted to talk about how the end of the year is fast approaching – it feels like my entire Instagram and Twitter feeds are either full of Christmas or ‘it’s the end of the decade, have you achieved anything, get off your ass and do something‘ and personally I feel attacked (note the sarcasm).

But for real, it’s very intense and makes me think I haven’t achieved anything but at the turn of the last decade I was 13 – I’m a completely different person to who I was at 13 and that’s definitely for the better. I’ve finished my GCSEs, finished my A Levels, finished my undergraduate degree, finished a post-graduate certificate and I’m now studying a masters that I’ll finish in September next year – I’m starting the next decade as a masters student and hopefully that’ll be the beginning of a much more exciting decade full of learning but not in an institution that racks up my debt any further than it already is.

Outside of academic achievements, I’ve been on two charity expeditions to Tanzania and Ecuador, each for a month for the most amazing, terrifying and life-changing experiences. I’ve moved across country and met people that are going to be friends for the rest of my life. I lost friends that I thought I’d have for the rest of my life (but that’s just how the world works).

I met the love of my life. I’m a proper renting adult with proper bills and a car to pay for. I learnt to drive! As soon as the list begins you realise that 10 years is a long ass time and so much can happen in that time.

With that in mind I shunned the pressures of the internet and thought about the here and now – how do I feel going into the New Year?

Generally, the signposts of the passing of time scare me – I like routine, I like consistency and whilst I consider myself someone who adapts to change quite well, I’m definitely working on being someone who embraces and enjoys change. There were several New Year’s Eve’s as a teenager where I’d silently cry in my room as Big Ben rung over to the New Year and I couldn’t stop thinking that ‘this year’s going to be worse than last year’ and ‘I won’t be any happier next New Year’ so I’m grateful that I’m no longer trapped feeling that sad and lonely. But the New Year still scares me a little bit.

So I try to focus on the things that I enjoy – as I detailed in my last post, I love organisation, goals and planning so January is going to be almost exclusively resolutions, yearly goals, goals reviews and the likes! I’m actually really excited about that because 2019 started in a very different frame of mind and my goals reflected that so I feel more prepared to make my goals for the next year.

In a typical ‘I’m a student mindset’ I can’t really focus too much on the New Year or Christmas because I have about a million deadlines (five) to hand in before that and they’re big and stressful, but after that I’ve got a few shifts at work, Christmas, New Year with my family, then three weeks of working at much as possible before it all begins again with semester 2.

Generally, the New Year is a good time for me – it’s another chance at a fresh start and new goals and resetting. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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setting short, medium and long term goals!

2019, goals, organisation

Hello!

Setting goals, planning and organisation is one of my favourite things to do – I did a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning earlier this year and the best bit was just planning ‘official’ career goals.

I find having short, medium and long term goals are such a simple thing that keep me focused and on track if I feel a bit lost then I can reevaluate my goals and update them to what I want them to be.

So let’s start with the long-term goals – my goals are five year goals. I’m still getting better at this one and I’m getting practice with, but I split them into three categories – personal, professional and home. Having the categories and thinking about what I want to achieve in each category in each year made it a little easier to set these goals.

My five year goals as more like ideas or aspirations than ‘goals’ per say, but it’s something I’ll get better at setting more realistic goals when I have more of an idea about what’s going on with my career, but having something bigger to work towards helps my brain feel a bit calmer.

Medium-term goals are my favourite to set – my medium goals are my goals for the year; my new years resolutions; my yearly goals. The New Year on my blog is all about the yearly goals/New Year’s Resolution and with December approaching I’m starting to get excited about the whole thing.

My yearly goals are broken into three categories too (because I clearly find sets of three really satisfying) with three bullet points in each category (see?) – these are personal, career and creative and then I have ten ‘bucket list’ goals for the year as well.

I refer to these goals at least once a month when setting my short-term goals – these are my monthly goals that I share on here every single month. 5 goals that I focus on throughout the month, I write them on all my weekly spreads in my bullet journal and plan my to do lists around them. These are a good way of making steady progress on my yearly goals and focusing on things that I’m finding really challenging (such as reminding myself not to spend money and making sure I’m making enough time for uni work, etc).

Sometimes when we think about goal setting it all feels very far away but having goals for each month just bring it back to reality and makes the longer-term goals more achievable.

Setting goals is actually the easy bit – it’s checking in with yourself and facing when you’re not really committed and doing something about it if you really want to make progress. When you’re setting goals in an aspect of your life that you’re not necessarily being held accountable for (like with academics or a job) it’s tough to motivate yourself but when you see progress? It’s amazing.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness update – still unfit?

2019, fitness, mental health

Hello!

I used to write updates quite regularly of how I was doing on my ‘unfitness journey’ as I was calling it (basically just trying to lose weight and get into a good exercise routine).

I was doing Couch to 5k, I was eating well, I was tracking my weight and making good progress, then mental health kicked in, it was summer, it was too hot and then there was the whole palava with moving and starting a masters and I’ve only just really settled down to be able to think about it all again and it’s nearly December, so it’s time for advent calendar’s for breakfast and hot chocolates galore just to survive!

(Obviously I’m joking, although a medium hot chocolate with marshmallows and no cream from Costa is my favourite, I can survive without it)

So where am I at with my diet and fitness? Basically? Back to square one.

Not weight wise – I did put on a bit of weight over the whole ‘let’s just get moved I’ll eat what I can phase’ but not as much as I was this time last year when this whole thing started.

My fitness however is non-existent – I can’t afford a gym membership or dance classes, I don’t have the time or energy to figure out where I can go running around my house and now that I can drive I’m not walking anywhere near as much as I used to.

So what am I doing about it?

Well I’m tracking my weight again for one – although it can be scary how quickly something like the numbers on the scales can negatively effect us, at the moment I’m in a space where it gives me something to monitor my progress with and inspires me to make positive changes.

I’m cutting out snacking on focusing on eating three (mostly two) meals a day – a good lunch and a good dinner (with evening dessert) are what I plan for.

And anything else? That’s a bonus.

In the last two months, I’ve been living in a hotel being told we can’t move into a flat and making Nutella sandwiches with a tea spoon because it was cheaper than buying a meal deal every day.

My mental health still isn’t at it’s greatest and a mantra (if you can call it that) that’s really been helping me is “something is better than nothing” – eating a Nutella sandwich isn’t the best thing to eat but it’s better than getting so worked up about it all that I either eat nothing at all or I binge everything we have in the fridge. Drinking sugar-free juice is better than not drinking water or living off coca cola. Going to uni and work every day and getting 2k-4k steps is better than running myself down to the bone trying to make my bank account afford a gym membership and working out with time I could be spending with my boyfriend playing Pokemon Shield.

It’s all about compromise – something is better than nothing, always.

It’s a bit gross and I always feel really self-conscious about talking about it but something I really struggle with when my mental health is bad are daily things like brushing my teeth and having a shower. I know, it’s awful but there’s a part of my brain that doesn’t think I deserve that self care. But with my new little phrase, I know that brushing my teeth for 30 seconds is better than nothing, putting my body under running water for a few minutes rather than a full hair-wash shower is better than nothing. It’s little compromises and in the end the swings and roundabouts will swing and roundabout like they do and it’ll get easier again.

Last year I was in a really bad place – my weight was effecting my life, I couldn’t walk up stairs without getting really exhausted and I was losing motivation to do anything. Taking control of my diet and having a healthier relationship with food did wonders for me and I’m going to take small steps to get there again.

So at the moment I generally have a breakfast bar on the go in the morning, a sandwich, crisps and a chocolate bar for lunch (because who doesn’t love a school lunch box?) and then a bigger cooked meal in the evening. When my boyfriend is away with work I eat almost exclusively veggie and dinners are a bit more of a treat when he’s around.

Exercise is something I really want to integrate back into my life but I’m not confident exercising outside, I don’t have the space inside my house and I can’t afford a gym membership. But I’ve just started a new retail job and on those days I almost always get my 10,000 steps so it’s not much but it’s a start. And it’s something on my mind for the future, when I’m a bit more settled in the uni/work/life balance.

The posts I’ve written before in this ‘category’, if you want to call it that, have inspired me to get back into it – a setback isn’t the end, slow progress is progress and when the going get’s tough, listen to your body. The one thing I’ve learnt from documenting my fitness is that I’m never going to be the girl that works out every day – I’m never going to have a flat tummy or fit into a size 6 dress, and that’s fine. My body carries me and though I’m not my biggest fan, I have to live in this body so making peace with it is just going to make it easier.

So I’m not working out right now – I’m not doing couch to 5k anymore and having Nutella for lunch most days is definitely not a weight-loss recommendation but I’m doing what I can, and that’s all any of us can do really.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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Creator Corner | My Favourite Creators right now!

2019, creativity

Hello!

Between ‘follow Friday’s, Instagram story shoutouts and #likeforlike left, right and centre sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming on social media between who you want to follow, who you feel you have to follow and who you follow to support the blogging/creator industry.

I’ve never been the ‘if you like my blog post then I’ll like your blog post’ kind of person because I think that’s really un-genuine – I’d rather someone liked my blog post because they enjoyed the content and not because they wanted more hits on their own posts.

With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to shout out my favourite creators at the moment! All three are YouTube Influencers but two are published authors and one is a twitter Queen if I do say so myself.

You’ve probably heard of them all, but I thought it’d be nice to share the people who’s content I’m really enjoying at the moment!


Anna is a Brighton based fashion, beauty and lifestyle creator and is the perfect example of someone I watch not because of what she talks about. I don’t dislike what she talks about but luxe make-up and expensive beauty technology is never going to be something I engage with on a financial level, but I just think Anna has the nicest personality and that’s more important to me regarding the creators I engage with.

She talks really genuinely, she’s funny, her relationship with her husband is just the sweetest and her videos are great to put on in the background while I scroll through Instagram (because I definitely don’t do that really regularly). Her content is also fantastic, really varied, covers a lot of basis and her style is just so on point.


I’ve followed Hannah for years and years now and watching her grow and develop her business while talking so openly about so many topics that a lot of people are afraid to talk about online (including sex, disability and how she makes money on YouTube) and all round she’s bubbly, full of opinions and got sass to boot.

I’m so excited to see more of what she does with her second channel More Hannah – whilst I find the sex education side of her channel interesting, it’s one of those things that isn’t my go to because I’m an awkward hermit, essentially. However her second channel where she talks about organisation, lifestyle and basically anything else is my jam.

Most creators I’m subscribed to I engage with because of who they are as people (or at least, how they present themselves online) more than their content – it’s like having a one-way conversation with a friend, it’s a friendly voice in the background whilst I’m doing my make-up or eating dinner or writing a blog post… (I’m actually not watching YouTube right now, lol). Hannah is constantly growing and developing and has a really strong identity of how much she shares and how much she keeps private online and I think she’s brilliant both as a viewer and I look up to her as a business woman.


If you’re here for sarcastic, self-deprecating humour from an Essex girl with fashion to boot, Fab Han is your girl.

I first found Hannah on an article of ‘if you like Zoella you’ll like these channels’ on Shout magazine’s website or something and I was drawn in by a video she made about short hairstyles and I’d just got my hair cut short so I was drawn in! I’m utterly baffled that this girl is like two years younger than me because she’s so on it and I love her style.

Her vlogs are so funny, her clothing hauls are really cute and overall, I think Fab Han is such a girl boss and she deserves so much more attention and love than she has. This girl is going to take over the world and I am here for it!


Apparently my favourite creators at the moment all have names that sound like ‘Anna’ and y’know what? I’ll go with it!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a little house update!

2019, interior homeware, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

What a whirlwind few weeks it has been! We picked up the keys to our new rented house about three and a half weeks ago and all of our belongings were delivered three weeks ago but actually, we’ve unpacked all the boxes and everything is feeling a little bit more homey!

I’ve put up fairy lights in almost every room (the bathroom doesn’t need fairy lights, the kitchen might be next though…), I’m slowly putting up pictures and finding homes for everything. Obviously we still need to ‘live’ in it to get used to it all and find homes for everything, there’s a few items of furniture that we can’t afford to buy just yet so that’ll take time but we’ve not been in for a month yet!

The kitchen is complete unpacked – the cupboards as a bit bare but we’ve got all we need, we’ve got all the ingredients for dinners and I’m making my packed lunches but as we live here we’ll build up a collection of seasonings and baking ingredients and more ‘long term’ cooking things. But the kitchen is done – after five days with no plates just having slightly fuller cupboards is really reassuring.

The living room is where I started – it was the first place I put fairy lights up, I spent a long time thinking about where I wanted the sofas and where the TV would go even though we don’t have a TV aerial downstairs (which is ideal…), trying to fit in a desk, figuring out how we’re going to store everything and deciding we need an IKEA trip soon.

That was mostly my decision but if my boyfriend doesn’t want to come then that’s fine.

We also bought a new TV for the living room… We definitely shouldn’t have, we were trying to set up finance with Currys PC World but it was going to take too long so we decided to just pay for it and suffer the consequences. We’re working it out!

Moving on! I want to get a shelving unit for the upstairs hallway because I think it would be the perfect place for my record player and other ornaments. I think I want to get a corner shelf so we can use it for storage and decorate it up a little bit (did someone say fairy lights…?).

The bedroom has so many nooks and bits to explore – starting with the main room, we’ve got the bed in the middle because I think that means we’re grown ups now (and no one has to climb over the other to get out of bed in the morning). The bed was kindly #gifted by my mum for my birthday (lol as if I would actually be gifted anything) and has ottoman storage underneath so at the moment we have spare duvets, blankets and bedding under there but there’s so much space we’re definitely going to have room for so much more down the line.

We each have a bedside table that my mum had going spare and I’m actually struggling to find enough things to put in them? I might swap my drawers out if I can buy a smaller bedside table and use the drawers under my desk downstairs that would be really convenient but for now it’s housing my current read, my phone charger and my glasses overnight!

Onto the first wardrobe (I know, the built in wardrobe and storage in this house is actually amazing) – this is my wardrobe because it’s the bigger one and my boyfriend decided that it would make more sense for me to have it.

I’ve unpacked my clothes but on the shelf side I want to get something to divide everything up a bit – I think maybe some IKEA Units and some drawers but I’m really not sure what to do to sort this out to be honest – any recommendations would be fantastic! Other than being huge, it’s a pretty average wardrobe, nothing too special.

My boyfriend’s wardrobe however it pretty cool – it’s a bit like a walk in wardrobe/changing room. It’s got a hanging rail, a little cupboard (that doesn’t have any shelves but we put an IKEA unit in there because we have a fair few…) and it even has it’s own light! With the wood panelling wallpaper I genuinely think it would make an amazing changing room. This is where basically all of my boyfriend’s belongings are and it makes me feel a little bit guilty that I have so much stuff.

The last (and potentially most exciting bit) is what we’re calling the alcove – it was a mutual decision to make it my little make-up/get ready corner. I’ve put an 8-square IKEA unit that I’ve dotted a few of my bits around but not really organised it properly yet. I shouldn’t have bought the vanity unit from B&M but I was feeling sad and I wanted to have somewhere to put my make-up and it really finishes the alcove! I don’t have to justify it but I also feel like I need to reassure my bank account. I’ve put lots of fairy lights up, I’ve set up my cloud light, I’m starting to decorate a little bit and I can’t wait till I’ve got a couple of months pay under my belt and I can start buying bits and bobs to decorate.

I’ve got so many ideas and I’m so excited to finally get everything unpacked but I’m also glad we’ve got the time to not rush it. We keep throwing ideas around and making plans and then saying ‘we just need to live in it first’.

Slowly, it’s all coming together and I love it so much.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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4 Year Anniversary 💜

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

Today is my four year anniversary with my ridiculous boyfriend Lucas – ironically I spent my day at my new job and he’s away with work so we won’t actually get to see each other until tomorrow evening but we went to a wedding last weekend and we’re going to have a night in and it’s going to be fantastic.

Sometimes when I’m thinking about what content I want to make I think maybe I should talk about relationships because I really think I’ve found the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with and we’ve worked really hard to make our relationship something we really cherish and I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made and oh-my-god-I-just-love-him-so-much-I-become-a-soppy-mess. But I don’t feel like I can really justify giving advice considering I think I’m just really lucky to have found him! I don’t think I’ve got anything else to say really.

Until I went to uni, I spent the first 18 years of my life being utterly repulsive to every male (and female, I guess) I encountered at school – I like to tell myself that it’s because all those people remember me as the nerdy, Twilight fangirl even when I actually started caring about my appearance as I get older. Then I got to uni and it felt like I was overwhelmed with attention which sounds cocky af but I wasn’t ready for it at all. I’d had one kiss when I was seventeen with an asshole that started dating someone else five days later (being a teenager is really bloody complicated!) so when I started dating Lucas I’d never dated before and I was incredibly inexperienced to say the least.

And here I am four years later at a point where I can comfortably say that I want to marry my first boyfriend. When we first started dating I was so overwhelmed by our relationship because I felt so much for him but part of me felt like I was missing out on only having dated one person (even though I didn’t want to date anyone else… it’s difficult to explain).

Sometimes people will talk to me about people they’re flirting with or their love life as a single person and I want to be able to give advice… but I have nothing to contribute! Lucas and I were put in the same flat at uni, we chatted on Facebook before we moved in together then I spent two months determined not to date anyone I was living with then I gave in and four years later we’re renting our own house together. I didn’t have to put any effort into convincing this boy to like me which is something I’ve literally just realised in writing those words right now!

So the conclusion is – I’m actually the worst person to ask for relationship advice! At least, getting into a relationship. I wish I could help but it’s significantly easier when you’ve got someone who definitely likes you. Sorry?

My best advice for a long term relationship is 1) make sure you have really open communication, 2) don’t have secrets, especially about money and 3) make time for each other, for us it’s playing video games together in the evening and sometimes going to bed a bit early and just lie together and talk and I love it.

Having a good relationship isn’t easy, but being with someone you really love makes the work feel easy.

I meant for that to be some sort of inspirational quote but I don’t think it went very well.

I’m genuinely shocked that at 23 I’ve been in a relationship for FOUR YEARS but I look forward to the day that I’ve been in this relationship for longer than I haven’t. I’m a soppy girlfriend and I’m only like 20% ashamed of it?

I could write a really heartfelt message to Lucas about how happy I am to have spent four years with him, but I don’t think I need to do that on my blog!

Should I talk about relationships more? I have lots of opinions but I really don’t feel like I have enough experience to talk about it – let me know what you think!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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November Goals ’19

2019, goals, lifestyle, organisation, writing

Hello!

How is it nearly the end of the year? My favourite month September went by in a FLASH and now it’s November and I feel like time is going by quicker than I can keep track of it! Not that I’m complaining – I’m getting better at handling the passing of time and I’m getting excited about the prospect of the future and a career again.

Rambles aside, it’s time for a new set of monthly goals – if nothing springs to mind I always refer back to my goals for the year that I set in January which helps me focus and make progress on my mid-term goals. Little top tip for you there! If you’d like a post about how I set goals then please do let me know, this is something I’d love to pursue but I feel like I haven’t achieved enough to warrant making this an aspect of my career.

I’m rambling again! Onto the goals…

One – be more productive with uni work
I don’t mean in the ‘getting more done’ sense, I mean working more consistently and achieving more in the long run if that makes sense. At the moment, I’m slowly trucking away and then I have to work just that little bit harder in the two or three days before an assignment is due to finish off. Even if I spread that work out over a week, I can work in shorter periods and get more done and work on more assignments at a time.

To implement this (another goal setting time – don’t just make goals, plan how to achieve them!) I think I need to start breaking my time down into more scheduled chunks. I’ve always been against this because I’ve taken the mindset that a task will take however long it takes but if I’m spending hours dragging my feet through one task, I’d probably be better off going and doing something else and coming back to it. SO if I set myself an hour of working on one assignment and then I’m going to spend an hour doing some reading for another unit and then an hour writing blog posts then I’ve at least made some progress in all three elements rather than taking all day to reach the point I wanted on a certain assignment.

Two – settle into my new job and the new routine
Getting a job has taken longer than I anticipated because I spent so long looking for jobs in the place where we were going to move and then we ended up moving somewhere else and then there was complications with my applications in the place we actually move to then there were complications with start dates but I’m finally due to start my new retail job next week.

I’ve made this one of my goals because my original intention was not to work in retail – I wanted an office job where I could refine my admin skills, but I just don’t really know where to look and the job I now have actually fits really well with where we live and where my boyfriend works so I just need to give myself permission to potentially enjoy it. I think I might be working in the homeware department so that’s always exciting!

Three – eat a bit more healthily and track my weight again
Now that we’ve moved and I’ve got a bit more control about what I’m eating (and I’ve rediscovered how much I love vegetables) I feel ready to start making small life changes to get back to the healthier lifestyle I had this time last year.

Being brutally hones, I’ve put on about seven pounds since my lowest weight of this year but you know what? That’s really not a massive setback and I can see lots of really obvious habits in my life that I can adapt so I’m looking forward to the challenge in a way.

Four – finish two books!
I made a good dent in catching up on my reading goal of 12 books for the year in September/October but fell off the wagon a bit with moving stress but I’d really like to be back on track by the beginning of December.

I’m currently reading ‘Our Stop’ by Laura Jane Williams and next I’ll be reading ‘The Black Book of Secrets’ by F. E. Higgins.

Five – NaNoWriMo/write every day
And last but not least – another writing challenge! This is what I’ve been training for all year and I actually don’t feel prepared at all but as with the first week of any writing challenge I do, I’m excited – the key now it’s to maintain that momentum.

Although the goal is to hit 50,000 words, I’m not too fussed about the word count because I haven’t had the time to plan the novel redraft that I wanted to write, I’ve got a masters to get and a life to deal with but my focus is making writing a habit. I will be writing a combination of my original novel, a bit of fanfiction and some creative writing exercises just to get words on paper. I did consider including blog posts and any uni writing I have to do but I feel like that’s taking the mick a little bit!

My wrimo profile is sophiecountsclouds, if anyone wants to add me!

So those are my focuses for November! Writing these posts always motivates me – I love a new start and a new month just gives me a little boost and after how hectic October was, I needed that.

Bonus question – I started drafting a blog post during the week of a ‘day in the life of a masters student’ and I started feeling very insecure about whether this would actually be interesting to anyone? So let me know if you have any thoughts on that!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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we FINALLY moved!

2019, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

I wanted to post this on the day we moved but it turns out even when you’re not doing a ‘full move’ (i.e. it’s just a couple of car loads of stuff, the rest of our things are coming at the weekend) it’s still a really busy day! Unfortunately blogging didn’t happen, but here we are a couple of days later.

It’s only been a two months round journey but here we are! My boyfriend and I have our own place – a rented, terraced, one bedroom house in High Wycombe with a fireplace in the living room, a cute little garden and incredible built-in wardrobe storage and I’m in love.

Let’s have a little recap of our journey so far – my boyfriend got a job on his graduation day in 2018 on the condition that he had to have a full driving license. Cut to a year later and he passed his test, I passed my test, I had decided to apply for a masters and we wanted to move to Reading – we went to property viewings in and around Reading, we saw a flat that we loved and we paid the security deposit that evening with a set move in date of four weeks later.

Shock horror, that did not happen.

Three days before we were due to move (and the day before my birthday, might I add) we were told that flat wasn’t safe to move into and the move in date had been pushed back two weeks. However, Lucas (the boyf) still started work and my uni course still started so we spent the best part of a week living in a hotel room then our friend Nick very kindly gave us his spare keys and we stayed in his flat in Reading until we could figure out what we were doing.

It was then that we started to think that Reading wasn’t for us – High Wycombe is where Lucas works and overall, Reading just wasn’t as convenient for my commute to uni or anything. So we went back to viewing properties – and the first viewing we arranged was for this house that we loved and I went that afternoon and it was like fate, it was perfect for us. We saw another flat that was nice but it just wasn’t the house.

The thing that really solidified the decision for us was that we knew where we wanted a Christmas tree to go. We could picture ourselves living here – we wanted to put fairy lights in the bedroom and tinsel on the stairs and if that doesn’t say to us that it’s the right place for us then I don’t know what will.

So we put our application in, paid our security deposit, then initially got rejected by the landlord who didn’t think we could afford it, we then reapplied with some more information (we begged) and we got approved! Then we sorted all the referencing, planned the move in date and everything went to plan. The letting agent was generally much more friendly and much more open about setting a realistic move in date and the work that needed doing and it was just a much more pleasant experience that didn’t feel like fighting.

And here we are! If you have any questions about renting in the UK or anything like that please do let me know! I’m sure I’ll post more updates when we’ve unpacked and started doing as much decorating as we can in a rented property – there’s going to be more shopping, I want to do an Ikea and a B&M trip, I bought a washing up bowl and a drainer and a worktop saver today. It’s all a bit grown up but I kind of love it as much as I resent how much it costs.

I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed now – everything is slowly falling into place. We’re getting there. I’m getting there.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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