keeping my mind calm when I’m nervous

2019, mental health

Hello!

This week is a nervous one – my driving test is this week and for some reason, I’ve been feeling the effects long term anxiety for a couple of weeks now. It’s things like not being able to sleep, being unreasonably ratty and finding it difficult to concentrate.

And to be honest, it’s exhausting – it’s the heavy weight in my chest and the racing thoughts as I’m trying to fall asleep, so here are a few of the things I’m trying to do to combat it.

1. The Alphabet Game

If I’m struggling to fall asleep, I’ll play the Alphabet Game and go through baby names or films or food. I find this helps as a way to distract my brain and slow everything down – to stop the racing thoughts, try and lift the tightness in my chest and slow the heart rate down.

Also this is a fun family restaurant activity waiting for food!

2. Give yourself a little time off to do something you enjoy

Whether it’s turning off your computer, doing a little face mask or playing Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu for a whole Sunday afternoon (guilty) – giving yourself time to do something just for you, guilt free is a surefire way to keep yourself distracted and calm you down.

3. Have a morning or two with no alarms if you can

I know I’m fortunate to be in a position where I work very flexibly part time and at the weekend I don’t have any pressure to be up at a certain time. Sometimes, it’s not even necessarily that you sleep for much longer in the morning but waking up without the sudden panic of an alarm makes mornings feel much more chilled out and peaceful I think.

4. Try Headspace!

I know it sounds like a complete gimmick but meditation really does work – I’ve been using some of the sleep programs on the Headspace app (I’m sure there are others out there but it’s the only one I really know about) and I find them so relaxing – they help me breathe more deeply, I feel physically more relaxed and I feel like I’m more in control of how I’m feeling. It proves to me that I do have the power to control what I’m feeling and that’s really reassuring.

5. Apologise when you don’t mean to be angry

I’m quite a self aware person and sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in my own head screaming ‘I don’t mean it, I’m sorry!’ but I just can’t stop snapping and acting like a grumpy teenager. The best thing I’ve found is to be honest – to apologise and say ‘look, I’m really nervous and stressed about this thing, I don’t mean it’.

If, however, the person you’re talking to is making you justifiably angry then let loose.

6. Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t

Managing concentration when you’re stressed is a pretty good way to make yourself more stressed – looking at all the things I have to do when most of them are computer based and my eyeballs feel like they’ve been replaced with cotton wool is just the worst. But, focusing on what you have done or what you can achieve is important – getting one thing ticked off a to do list is better than none. Do what you can without pushing yourself because anything is better than nothing!

At the end of the day, the thing to remember is that life has a path – I’m halfway of the mindset that everything happens for a reason and halfway that life isn’t that scheduled, but the part of me that believes everything happens for a reason is often proved right.

For example, I was absolutely devastated when I failed my first driving test but when I upgraded my car and the transition from diesel to petrol was harder to adjust to than I expected, still having my ‘L’ plates on made me feel so much more secure because I had the safety blanket of everyone around me knowing I was new to the car!

I’m hoping for the best for my driving test, but if I don’t pass, there are ways around it – it will all work out in the end! Good luck for whatever you’re nervous or stressed about – it’ll work out in the end!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

training to write a book

2019, books, goals, writing

Hello!

For four of the seven months of this year so far, I’ve set myself ‘writing challengers’ of writing a certain amount of words in so many days. It started at 20k, then 25k, 30k, 35k and in August I’m aiming to write 40,000 words.

All of this is my way of training myself to write an increasing amount of words per day to work up to the 50,000 words in 30 days that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – an online community aiming to write a novel in a month!).

My history with creative writing started all the way back in October 2008 when I was on a family holiday and I found a loose tile at the bottom of the swimming pool and I was inspired to write my own story inspired by the characters in BBC’s Merlin (what a throwback) so my journey with fanfiction began.

From there, I was writing every single night sat in front of the TV with my family – whether it be a notebook, my laptop or my iPad I was always writing from 2008 all the way through to 2015 really when I left for uni. In 2011 I gave my first attempt at NaNoWriMo but only made it to the 15/16k mark – in 2012 I won NaNoWriMo and wrote the first draft of my novel that one day I’ve vowed to publish and I’ve told my best friend Katy she can play the lead female character when it gets made into a film too so I’ve got to keep that promise.

Then I went to uni. And I spent evenings with friends rather than alone watching TV and writing fanfiction and developing my own novel – at various points over my degree I tried to get back into it but I just didn’t have the time or the motivation to properly invest myself in writing again.

And then came the year after I graduated where I couldn’t get a job to start my career and I’m back in my childhood bedroom but I’m 22 and my long term boyfriend is with me.

Either way, I had much more time to dedicate to writing! I tried NaNoWriMo again in 2018 but it really is a challenge, however it gave me the drive to rediscover what I loved about creative writing and get back into it – thus the monthly challenges training for WriMo begin!

The challenges have been a mixed bag so far – the first one went really well, the other one was a complete failure, the third one started well but I fell behind a little a caught up in the early days of the following month. The most recent challenge I didn’t really start writing until about a week in and somehow I pulled it back and finished a whopping 35,000 words in July ready to jump straight into 40,000 words in August!

What I’ve found in the last three months works really well is using fanfiction and writing prompts just to get myself writing anything – having 30 prompts to write short little excerpts with characters I’m already familiar with and haven’t had to design has really got me in the right mindset and excited about delving into my own characters again in November where I’m hoping to finish draft 2 of my original winning novel seven years down the line!

In June I used Carrie Hope Fletcher’s May, Myself and I words as prompts, in July I used Hannah Witton’s Dear June and for August my darling, hilarious boyfriend has written 31 prompts for me to follow. I’m genuinely surprised that they were so thoughtful – I’ve got a good boy that will endorse my little writing challenges and I don’t know about you, but I think I have the best boyfriend (he’s my favourite team mate).

That’s a little summary of how I’ve been training for NaNoWriMo this year – creative writing has been my biggest outlet since I was 12 years old. In my worst moments, I take my feelings and vent them out in fiction and it just make everything feel much less isolating – especially back in the days where I shared my fanfiction and I got so much positive feedback from pieces that were written from the heart and that’s always been how I write. For my blog, for my creative writing – I want everything I write to sound genuine and conversational and I think I’ve done that fairly successfully.

There’s still three months until NaNoWriMo begins but I’m already excited!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

August Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

I’ll be honest, I’m thrilled that July is over – it was too hot, my finances were stretched to the tightest they could possibly be and I have so many plans that are taking place in August that July was just in the way to be honest.

So I’m genuinely excited to set myself some new goals – this month is super exciting with lots of lovely plans. First up, I’m taking my second driving test and whilst I probably shouldn’t be shouting and screaming about it because that really bit me in the bum last time, I’m feeling good about it – I feel much more ready this time! Then after that there’s volunteering at YouTube convention Summer in the City, a summer bbq with friends and family, a trip to York to see my godmother’s gorgeous family and getting the ball rolling on moving back down to the South!

I’m so excited! These are the five things I’m going to be focusing on this month:

  1. Find somewhere to live – long story short, I’m starting an MSc in Digital Media Production in September and my boyfriend and I are relocating to Reading in early September so I really need to find a property before I accidentally spend the deposit! (I’m joking, obviously… just to clarify!)
  2. Don’t use any savings money – since I bought my car, I’ve had to borrow money from my savings right at the end of the month and pay it straight back on payday. I had the money it just all happened the wrong way round. When I bought the car I borrowed a lot and it made July a really tricky month, at the end of this month I have to borrow a little bit just to pay the last of my bills and in August I want to be clear out of my savings again and back on top of my finances. I wrote a blog post all about how I manage my finances and I stand by that – it’s working really well for me and I have faith going forwards that I can add to my savings more than I take. I’ve saved nearly £500 this year so far so I’m not doing too bad!
  3. Make creative vlogs – and with finances on my mind, I’ve been working pretty nonstop – usually 4 days a week of 9-10 hours and it means that my weekly vlogs have been pretty dull to be honest. But being creative is something I prize myself at being able to do so I need to spend some time brainstorming some creative ways to make my vlogs interesting even when I’m not really doing anything interesting! Making it a new challenge will hopefully inspire me to do something different!
  4. Read one book – one of my goals for this year was to read 12 books – either one book a month or the equivalent. In July I’ve been really struggling to sleep well and it’s a circle of I’m too tired to read but scrolling through my phone before I go to sleep is probably waking me up but with the arrival of Louise Pentland’s new book Wilde Women (thoroughly recommend the whole series, it’s a really well written women’s fiction – it’s like watching a daily vlog!) I’m determined to get back into it. I started this year reading Wilde About The Girl and I’m going to let this wonderful series be my way back into fiction. I’m sure I can manage one book!
  5. Write 40,000 words – I do love a writing challenge! I’m going to write a whole blog post about training for NaNoWriMo later this week, but from July’s 35,000 word challenge (which should be a success – still one day to go!) I’m going straight into 40,000 words in August to prep for 50,000 in November. I’m so in love with writing at the moment and I’m very excited to start redrafting my original novel in November.

At the moment I’m bossing making really effective to do lists that are making me really productive and giving me more free time to play video games and play the Harry Potter game on my phone guilt free!

I might even get time to go out in the nice sunshine if it’s not too hot! I feel like I can’t find the words to really explain my excitement for this month – I’m feeling positive, there’s lots of exciting developments and I’m genuinely excited to see where the rest of the year takes me.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

July Mixtape

2019, music

Hello!

Every time I write one of my regular monthly posts like my goals or music posts it baffles me that another month has rolled around and this month is no different! July has been a whirlwind in every respect – I’m working the most I’ve worked this year to save for going back to uni, the weather has been uncomfortably hot and I’ve spent the whole month thinking it’s August to be honest.

Now that I’m not spending as much time on buses, I don’t have as much time to listen to my discover weekly playlist but I still have a decent amount of tracks to talk about this month that are pretty varied but all perfect for your summer bbq playlists!

I’ve not seen the new Aladdin film yet but I’m obsessed with ‘Speechless‘ – it’s a beautifully composed song with gorgeous lyrics and I cannot wait to see it in context. Aladdin is already a classic in both film and music history but this song will slot right in.

SAD (Clap Your Hands)‘ (Young Rising Sons) is the kind of song that I wouldn’t know what genre to put it in – it’s pop and fun but it’s something more experimental too. Maybe I just enjoy say songs that are masked as happy songs (name: Missing You, All Time Low) but it the concept makes me laugh and the song is catchy af.

I’m always getting into new musicals, but I always have this internal battle of if I want to listen to the songs without the context and the drama of the whole musical and then I here medley’s like Newsies Medley (Peter Hollens) and suddenly I want to listen to a whole musical. Peter Hollens acapella music will always blow me away – the musicality that man possesses is just inspiring, he oozes passion with every line he sings and the variety of music he makes is so much fun. Definitely going to listen to Newsies now!

And in a completely different vain – I first listened to Get Away (feat. Rama Duke) (Breathe Carolina) on my discover weekly and I’ve listened to a bit of Breathe Carolina before and it was a really mixed bag, but I don’t need to love every song an artist makes! I really enjoy this song – it’s a fun, summer bop and I love the electronic style they bring to a classic.

I’ve realised that a lot of the music I’m loving at the moment is ‘mainstream 1975 but not by the 1975’ and One That I Want (PUBLIC) falls exactly into this category. It’s light, it’s a little bit rocky but a pop hit at heart.

Promiseland (MIKA) is something completely different – it feels different even though it’s another pop song. The vocals feel almost comical with how swiftly they alternate between pitches and then it’s got guitar lines that feel very early-2000s rock/pop and I’m excited to get to know this song more as it only appeared on my discover weekly this week.

I think I knew this was a 1975 song but I’m trying not to think about how many signs I’m getting telling me to listen to the 1975… Give Yourself a Try (The Hunna) is a song that I really support the message of and a band that I love too. I was lucky enough to film The Hunna at Reading festival when I worked there in 2017 and my boyfriend and I have been listening to their music ever since.

Overall, this playlist has a few curveballs but is fully of boppy, upbeat summer tracks for all your summer playlist needs!

As always, recommendations are greatly appreciated! Where do I start with the 1975? I feel like I really need to give them a chance but it’s a bit overwhelming.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

one month since I shaved my head

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

July 23rd marks one calendar month since I braved the shave for Macmillan Cancer Support – one month since two of my cousins and my sister took to my hair with scissors and an electric razor and I watched all of my hair (surprisingly grey) rain down around me.

A month later, I’m mostly surprised by how quickly it’s growing back – it’s very nearly at a length where it has direction and hopefully soon I’ll get to start playing around with a fringe. I’m actually really excited about playing around with a fringe – I’ve been toying with the idea of a full fringe for a couple of years now and this is the perfect time to figure it out, because if I don’t want it I just brush it to the side and carry on growing it out!

I’ve been making a list of things I’ve noticed about having a shaved head and next month I’m going to make a video for my YouTube channel with some of these observations, but mostly? I’ve been showered with love and praise – so many people have told me how brave I am and in all honesty? I don’t really think it is that brave – all I did was cut my hair off? That’s nothing compared to the people who benefit from charities like Macmillan – it’s literally nothing, hair is so unimportant and it baffles me why as a species we’re so attached to our hair and how it can define us so much.

I get it – I’ve spent five plus years dying my hair and using it as an expression of myself and I guess I don’t see it as confidence to be my own person without my hair, to not be defined by it. But I suppose some may see that as a really confident move, even though I am without a shadow of a doubt the least confident person I know!

Even though it’s been a month, I still don’t really feel used to it. Even getting in the shower I thought ‘oh I have to take my ponytail out before I get in’ and I have to remind myself fairly regularly that it’s not a ponytail, it’s just gone!

So far there’s not a lot of downsides – it’s so easy to wash and dry, I never have to think about styling or anything because it’s not long enough yet and on a windy day it’s wonderful not having my hair stick to my lipstick!

I think as it gets to that in between length it’ll be less fun because it won’t be long enough to do anything with but too long and look a bit silly. I’m genuinely excited to have the opportunity to see what my hair looks like at every possible length, even if the in between stages aren’t as flattering.

There was a few times I thought I might regret shaving my hair off and so far, I’m not feeling that at all – I’m excited for the regrowth and sometimes I will it to grow faster but between experimenting with styling and colour I’m genuinely really excited.

So far it’s not got any shape to it and my hair before I shaved it was pretty curly and I’m fascinated as to when (or if!) it’ll start curling again. There’s so much potential and possibilities and I’m genuinely so excited about it.

Maybe when I make a YouTube video about it I could do a Q&A? Do you have any questions about my decision, the process or my time since I shaved? If you do, leave a comment and I’ll answer it in my video!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

how I manage my finances without a budget

2019, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

Figuring out my finances is something I’ve had to watch very closely this month – with buying a car on finance and the end of last month and spending my wages before I got them, this month has been and will be very, very tight but in the months leading up to buying my car and this month of tight budgeting I’m so proud of how well I’ve managed them that I’ve decided to share!

I’m someone who feels inclined to spend money when they’re sad so being able to tackle that and being at a point where I know I can save reliably and buy myself a car without dipping into my savings is a big step for me.

And the biggest thing for me is not having a set budget – I’ve tried apps like Yolt and Cleo and I just found they weren’t flexible enough for real life. Saying ‘I’m only going to spend £X this month’ doesn’t allow for spontaneous plans – paying for trains for a job interview,  having to pay for more bus tickets than expected or even going for a last minute coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time can effect your budget and I just found that it didn’t work for me. So this is more about tracking your finances and making sure you can hit all your goals – whether that’s saving a certain amount, not spending over a certain amount (I guess that’s having a budget) or just making sure you can pay all your bills, these are my tips and tricks for flexible financing.

*obviously I’m not an expert and I’m not claiming to be, just sharing tips from someone who using half her savings to live last year and now has bought herself a car on finance*

1. Have somewhere to track your finances

I only mention my bullet journal in basically every blog post I write but for me I have a spread in my journal for my finances each month. On the left I have notes which I will expand on and on the right page is where I write down everything I’m spending as it comes out of my bank account. I don’t track cash spending because either I will have drawn that cash from my bank which I track or it’s cash that I’ve been given for whatever reason so it doesn’t effect my bank account. I tried tracking as I spent but then it got confusing with keeping receipts and it’s better for the environment if not so now I just track my spending as it comes out of my bank account.

Either way, I recommend writing it all down! Whether it’s a note on your phone, a notebook that you have specifically for finances or in a bullet journal like me, write it down!

Normally it’s neater than this, but having somewhere to really know how much I’m spending it important to me

2. Plan your month

I like to break it down with my income at the top of the left hand page, then a list of all my bills and when I’d expect them to come out (then I can tick them off and it’s very satisfying) and then a list of any costs I know I’m going to incur.

So this month I had to pay for a tattoo (because car and tattoo timing ended up being awful), two driving lessons, my savings challenge and bus fares and having it all written out makes it much easier to track.

My savings challenge, for anyone that’s interested, came from Facebook last year – you save a pound more every week for a whole year (so £1, then £2, then £3 etc) so it was really easy in January but now I’m saving just under £150 a month and by the end of the year it’ll be a lot per month but I’ll have over £1300 saved in a year which I’m so proud of and I haven’t done it yet, but it’s important to me and I want to complete it!

So knowing what my month is going to look like is really helpful – taking my bills and planned payments into account means I know how much money I have to play with and depending on how much I want to save and what it is I want to spend my money on I can figure out my spending from there.

3. Focus on what you need and not what you want

It’s so easy when you get an email about 20% off on ASOS or you fancy some Bourneville Buttons to just go and buy them, but if you really want to make the most of your finances you have to think about what you really want from them.

If a treat every now and then is in your budget then go for it, if you’ve had your eye on a jacket that really fills a gap in your wardrobe then go for it, but if you really need to save and you’re looking at buying a new notebook for the sake of it then you really need to think about if it can wait.

Another thing I find helps with this is having a post it note or section in your journal towards a ‘big spend’ – if there’s something that you want or need to spend slightly more money on. I have a big spend post it note that I transfer to each monthly finance spread with each month and what I would like to be my ‘big spend’ if I can afford it. It’s meant that because I could plan it out, I bought myself a Nintendo Switch in May, a new car in June and I’m hoping to be able to get prescription sunglasses and pay the deposit on a rented property in August. It really is achievable if you set your mind to it!

It’s a difficult skill to master discipline and nobody’s perfect, but trying your best is the best you can do.

So there’s my top advice for helping manage your finances in a more realistic way than most of the apps will let you. I personally find them all too fiddly and they never track my bills right, but maybe I’ve just not put the time into them.

I think I’ll always be a pen and paper gal myself, but I hope this helps in some way!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

700 blog posts later!

2019, creativity, writing

Hello!

When looking for inspiration for my blog this month, I noticed that I’m really close to having published 700 blog posts – this one makes 699 and Saturday’s post will be my 700th blog post! Isn’t that mental?

Especially when I think that in 2015 I published 365 blog posts, so almost half of my blog posts were published in 2015 and let’s just say my style has changed a lot since then!

If you’re feeling nosy – here’s a link to my first post! It’s not formatted very well because I started my blog on blogger and moved to WordPress about 3 years ago. It’s so formal and pretentious and I thought I was being really unique by having a tagline at the end instead of saying goodbye like a normal person.

It’s so strange to look back on that post and know that it was almost 5 years ago – in 5 years I’ve finished sixth form, got a degree, done a whole host of things and still love blogging. Being able to sit down and watch a blinking cursor is somehow liberating, I can just write whatever I’m thinking about and having this platform to share my thoughts, feelings and advice on has been such an incredible creative outlet for me.

I would genuinely recommend for everyone to start blogging – if you want to refine your writing and really figure out your style, if you have a message you want to put out in the world if you want to blog just for yourself and the memories like an online diary I genuinely think it’s a great skill and a wonderful outlet.

And to be able to look back on five years of my life is so special – I’ve documented the day I got my first tattoo, my variety of hair colours, advice on starting university, fashion, beauty, bullet journalling, post-grad life, a bit of travel, my relationship – so much to look back on and I love it so much.

Writing isn’t for everyone – I know that it’s a skill that a lot of people just don’t want to invest their time in. It’s easier to scroll through Instagram or watch videos on YouTube but I really don’t think there’s anything more therapeutic than getting everything out in words, whether it’s in a journal or a blog post there’s such a relief in writing something out. It’s the longest version of writing out a text and not sending it!

I mean, granted there’s a difference between sending an emotion filled text and writing a blog post on the internet for anyone to read.

Nearly 700 blog posts and nearly 5 years really have flown by – I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 5 years and 700 blog posts bring! I wonder what style I’ll be writing in then?

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

being a fat person in summer

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

Now the main reason I wanted to use a word like ‘fat’ in the title of this post is because so many people have negative associations with it when it’s actually just a description – it’s just a kind of cell that is in every single person’s body and it shouldn’t be detrimental!

I’m fat! Am I okay with being fat? Not really! Am I promoting being overweight? Of course not! But should we be afraid of the word fat? Most definitely not.

And back onto the topic of the post! Being a fat person in summer has it’s own set of challenges – the biggest is chub rub, the second I think is feeling hot and sweaty all the bloody time and then third it’s definitely how every gosh darn person will judge you whatever you’re wearing. Something with sleeves? Why are you wearing so much?! Something without sleeves? Wow, it’s so brave of you to where clothes like that! Daring to wear a crop top? ‘I don’t think that’s very flattering for someone with your figure’. There’s no winning!

There’s so much pressure on women at this time of year anyway between ‘bikini bodies’ and celebrities getting shamed on the front of magazines for having the most natural belly rolls and thighs that actually touch, but there is something about summer that is extra difficult for those of that carry a little bit more insulation.

As well as getting judged for everything we wear, it is physically uncomfortable – it’s not just chub rub when you walk, it’s becoming so much more aware of your body and everywhere skin touches. I’d offer tips and tricks but anyone who’s experienced any of these problems knows the best way to handle it, but I’d recommending watching Hannah Witton’s video trying out lots of chub rub products and not wearing clothes that are too baggy because there can be a lot going on under there.

I wanted today’s post to be an outfit post but I didn’t have time to take photos – I love wearing summer clothes and experimenting with fashion and whilst figuring out new ways to wear my snuggliest jumpers is a thrill, figuring out how to love my body in nearly cropped tees and outfits that aren’t as floaty or flattering is a challenge that I’ve willingly embraced this year rather than hiding behind the one outfit that I could bare to look at myself in.

This post was more of a ramble than a point with a conclusion and I think sometimes those are the best posts because we can all vent and unite about how crap it is being sweaty in summer! Under boob sweat is the only reason I bother with a bra anymore! Tell me about your least favourite thing about summer and how you cope with it in the comments!

Don’t get me wrong – I love when it’s warm, when you go outside and it actually feels warm on your skin. My favourite ever time of day is summer evenings when there’s a chill in the air but it’s comfortable and it’s light but it’s getting dark and you’re in the garden with an ice cold drink and good company (and preferably a fire pit) and I wouldn’t get that without a bit of heat and uncomfortable sweat.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram