May Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

April really flew – between moving house, the country opening up a little bit to get to unessential shops and doing extra hours at work, I seem to have blinked and missed most of the month but I’m looking forward to things feeling a little more settled in May. Hopefully I’ll get more on top of my workload, I’m definitely going to spend lots of time with my fiancé before his five week work trip to Italy over June and maybe I’ll even figure out how to look after myself a little better.

How we’re this far into 2021 I’m really not sure, it’s going faster than I can keep track of but here are my May mini goals!

– Work on my portfolio: now that I’m in the professional working world, I want to make sure I keep my CV, portfolio and showreel up to date so that next time I apply for a job it doesn’t feel like a huge task! This month I want to spend time working on building a website that encompasses everything I would want to show off to a potential employer. I’ve been working on designing a website for a tech festival with work called Ox Tech Fest (yes, I’ll take the shameless plug) and I’m so proud of how this website has worked out and having worked with a graphic designer and a web developer, I feel like I have ideas for my own website. I’m sure I’ll share when I’m ready!

– Work on my cosplay costume: with April getting away from me and moving house and stuff, I didn’t get round to what I wanted to do for my Team Yell cosplay from Pokemon Sword and Shield – hopefully I’ll balance my time a bit better to get my sewing machine out this month!

– Wedding planning: next stage in the planning is to research music and entertainment and figure out what we want that part of our wedding to look like. I have absolutely no idea where to start with this other than my fiancé and I have started a Spotify playlist but I don’t think an aux cable is quite what most people have in mind for a wedding! Any recommendations welcome please!

– Research dance classes in the area: I may have left dancing behind after 15 years when I went to uni, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely prepared to give up! I never got the chance to find classes at the old house because out of the 18 months we lived there, approximately 13 of them were whilst the country was in a pandemic lockdown! I know things aren’t back to normal yet but I’d really like to find a dance class, meet some new people and do some exercise! I want to get my tap shoes back on!

– Go for walks three times a week: and with exercise in mind… I’ve noticed I’m starting to feel a bit agoraphobic at the moment; I’ve managed to find excuses over the last couple of months but feeling trapped in my own house is actually quite scary, so I want to push myself and get to know the new area we live in and actually get some fresh air. Even if at first it’s just walking to a park down the road and sitting with a book, it’s a start.

My recurring monthly goals haven’t been very successful – I wanted to make more effort to save money but moving house is really expensive, even if you’re only renting. I wanted to have date nights with my fiancé at least once a month but we haven’t managed it yet. And I wanted to read 2 books a month and I didn’t make it through anything in April (though I got ahead in other months so I’m still good on my 2021 goodreads challenge!). Realistically, date night’s just aren’t a priority right now and finances need to be flexible to allow for ‘real life’. I definitely want to get back into my reading habit though.

Things are feeling a little flat at the moment, so I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to feel a little brighter but it’s a work in progress – making an effort not to spend my lunch break at my desk is a good start!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured In… April

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

Another month, another round of favourites – things I bought, watched and eaten that have made me happy in the last month the share a bit of positivity on the internet!

But we all know I like categories and lists so I couldn’t just manage a list of nice things – gotta give it some structure!

Purchase

I mean, I moved into a new rental house so I didn’t buy it per say but I paid a deposit on it and spent probably more money than I should have on new things for said house… but it’s pretty, it’s got a nice garden and it’s got more than two windows! The kitchen and living room are in separate rooms and I can work from home without my boyfriend playing video games in the background! So that is top of the list.

But also shops re-opened and I accidentally bought 5 new books but I spent less than £20 which is pretty good value!

Recipe / Food

Sometimes the food you love is the old favourites – my comfort food is either a jacket potato drowning in butter and cheese or pasta drowning in butter and cheese (I’m sensing a theme and it’s carbs as a vessel for butter and cheese…) and both of these have been great this month for comfort food and easy food whilst we’ve been unpacking.

But then we really treated ourselves this weekend by buying a small leg of lamb and cooking it in the slow cooker and wow it might have been the most expensive piece of meat I’ve ever bought but it was incredible. Not going to become a common purchase by any means but it was delicious.

YouTube video

I’ve not watched loads of YouTube this month, but here are some of my faves!

Books

I actually haven’t read a single book this month – the first weekend in April was the Easter bank holidays so I spent all of it packing, the following weekend we moved and my books have all been in boxes since then.

I looked out a few to tide me over until I get proper storage for my books, but I decided I was going to read ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge, but turns out that’s a bit heavy when you’re anxiety is sky high about moving house!

So I thought I’d share the books I bought on my first trip into our new home town since the shops opened:

In a 3 for £5 deal from The Works:

The Start of Us, Hannah Emery
The Flatshare, Beth O’Leary
It’s Now or Never, Carole Matthews

And in a buy one get one half price deal from Waterstones,

Good Girl, Bad Blood, Holly Jackson
Lore, Alexandra Bracken

Did I need 5 more books when I’ve just admitted I haven’t read anything in April? Probably not but books bring me joy and I’ll make up for it in May I’m sure.

Something to watch

Other than continuing my Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon with my boyfriend (and thoroughly enjoying it), I’ve not watched too much this month because I’ve been trying to do a writing challenge so listening to music instead, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve spent about three days absolutely binging ‘The Good Doctor’ on Sky Go (thank you to my wonderful friend Beth for sharing her login with me!) and I absolutely love it.

Learning so much about autism and watching how it’s represented on the show is fascinating – autism is a spectrum, so it presents differently in every autistic person, but seeing how it manifests and how the other characters treat Dr Murphy is really clever.

And it turns out I really like medical dramas – I’ve been watching clips of House, Greys Anatomy and Chicago Med on Facebook and I’m definitely watching House after I finish The Good Doctor.


As the country starts to open up again, lockdown 3 draws to a close and Spring crawls into Summer, everything is starting to feel brighter and like there is a life beyond covid. I’m hesitant to let myself get too excited about it all, because we said the same last year and look where we are now, but I’m definitely making the most of nicer weather.

Things are still a bit scary, but they’re looking in the right direction I think!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I’ve lost my mojo

2021, career, creativity, lifestyle

Hello,

At the beginning of the month, I decided to take a week off blogging because I was moving house and I didn’t need to put that added pressure on myself.

Since then I have written three posts, none of which I’ve published because I’ve been having this whole internal debate about why I blog – why do I write, why do I share? It’s not because I think I have skills I can teach people – I’m not an expert crafter, bullet journaller or even blogger – I don’t think people can learn from my life and mental health experiences, I don’t think they’re helping anyone particularly and I don’t have enough of a journalistic flare to share interesting thoughts and opinions on films, music or fashion, let alone more significant topics like politics, current affairs or justice movements.

So why do I blog at all?

I drew this same conclusion with my YouTube channel and decided last week that I’m not going to plan to make YouTube content anymore – since starting my graduate job in January, I’ve published a total of three videos. Whilst I’ve filmed more and edited a couple, it was only those three that made it to my channel and I wouldn’t say they’re my pride and joy. Then I got to thinking about what videos I was most proud of on my channel and which ones I’d like to look back on, and I couldn’t really think of anything. I got into the cycle of thinking about the purpose of my content and drew a blank; I don’t think there’s a purpose in my sharing anything.

In part this may be due to my work – the content I’m producing there in graphic design, video and audio format is for a purpose and I can see the impact it has; good social posts mean people act on our call to action, our Reels on Instagram are getting over a thousand views in less than half an hour and I have a part in producing a podcast that is actually on Spotify! Without sounding too big for my boots, I’m doing really well in my job and I feel like a lot of my creative energy is going there.

So I’m giving YouTube a break – I’m not ‘quitting’ or deleting the channel or anything dramatic, but I’ll wait until the right idea strikes me because then it’ll be worth making.

But what about my blog?

In the most vain way possible, I like writing about myself and my life – any one who starts a blog or a YouTube channel does at least to some extent, otherwise we wouldn’t seek the attention of others online. Mentally, I have the approach now with my blog that it feels almost like a diary – one big old time capsule that I can come back to when I’m old and see who I was from the age of 18. I’m 24 now and so much has changed – then I had a tumblr blog with 25k+ followers and I loved having that community, but I went to uni and my interests changed and though that tumblr still exists, I don’t even know how many followers it has anymore.

At 24 I’ve got three degrees (which makes me sound sincerely more academic than I am), I’m planning my wedding with my fiancé, I’m living in what feels like a ‘grown up house’ in Oxfordshire (definitely didn’t see that bit coming!) – my life is entirely different. I don’t know if I am entirely different but I have a whole history on this blog and I’m not finished with it yet.

Things might take a more egocentric turn – though I’d love to have a niche and say this is about more than just me, I don’t. I can’t force myself to write about one singular topic because I’m passionate about so many more things than that. I love reading, I’ve got a lot of opinions about superhero movies, I really want to grow my own vegetables this summer, I’m going to try and make my first cosplay costume this year and learn more about sewing and knitting and material crafts. I play video games with my boyfriend when six years ago I’d never touched an Xbox controller in my life. I have a favourite Pokemon that isn’t Pikachu!

I’m human; I’m diverse and complex and I like talking about myself because I get over-excited and over-emotional and I just want to share with someone. I’ve learnt a lot about barriers and not telling the internet everything and I’m really proud of the significantly healthier relationship I have with social media now. And that’s what I want my blog to be about – all the complicated bits that make me who I am; the nerdy bits, the bits on depression meds, the bits that still kind of wish I could be a Hollywood actress and every other facet that makes me.

My mojo might have wondered off for a little bit, but putting all this in writing has made me realise one thing; all those times I said I was writing my blog for me and not an audience was a lie – I wanted to be an influencer, I wanted the #bloggermail and excuse to be creative all the time. But I’ve accepted that’s not going to happen and that’s not what I want; freelance isn’t secure enough for me, blogger mail can be incredibly wasteful and there are so many careers where I can be creative and I’ve found one.

Now this blog really is for me. If you come along for the ride then that’s great, but I’ve figured out what I’m really doing this for… and this time I honestly mean it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie

April Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

Another month, another set of mini goals – with moving house in just over a week, I don’t feel like I’m ready to start any new goals yet but after we move, I’ll be ready for a new start and some more focus. Right now half of my life is in boxes and I’m looking forward to having the amount of stuff in our one bed house in our three bed house and having some more space!

So the first goal is to do all the admin and packing for moving house, but other than that – here are my five mini goals!

  • Writing challenge – 35,000 words – it’s Camp NaNoWriMo month so it’s time for another writing challenge! This month I’m aiming to start planning and writing a new original fiction project, which I haven’t done in a long time – it’s something very different for me and I’m looking forward to pushing myself creatively.
  • Cosplay work – I planned out the steps I need to take to make my first cosplay costume (Team Yell grunt from Pokemon Sword and Shield) and this month I’m going to make a denim jacket I have into a waistcoat, experiment with making armbands and find a skirt that I can potentially adapt if I need to.
  • Wedding planning – this months task is to contact the silk flower florist I met at a wedding fair last year. I have already sent her an email and now I need to figure out what I actually want and which flowers I want to replicate but I’m so excited to not have real flowers and be able to keep them – I said from the very beginning I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on flowers that would just die but the flowers at Indigo Blooms are beautiful. I didn’t even know they were fake. April is going to be very flowery.
  • Find pattern for knitted jumper – I’m really enjoying knitting right now and I really like oversized knitwear so… why not make my own, y’know? I don’t know if the pattern I’ve found is any good but I’m aiming for a Weasley esque initial jumper so it might take a couple of attempts to make one that actually looks good but I’m excited to try it.
  • Start Couch to 5k again – it will be the third time I’ve attempted Couch to 5k, but as the weather warms up and I move to a new town that feels a little safer than where I currently live, I really want to try and make running work again.

And my recurring monthly goals are to read 2 books, have a date night with my fiancé and put some money in savings.

I’m still figuring out balancing monthly goals with full time work and I think I’ve been relatively sensible with setting achievable goals whilst pushing myself to learn new things and develop in the ways I want to. But also on the other hand, I’ve been getting better at not feeling like a failure if I don’t ‘complete’ a goal because if I’m not prepared to put the work in, now isn’t the right time and that’s okay.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Treasured In: March

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

It’s that time of month where I’m baffled about how we’ve got to this time of month and it’s nearly the next month, with a bonus helping of oh my god we’re a quarter of the way through the year already and it doesn’t even feel like 2020 ever ended.

But taking the time to think and write about the things I liked in the last month makes me feel a bit brighter and it’s nice to talk about happy things so here are the things I Treasured In March!

Purchase Other than putting the deposit down on a new rental house and having to get new glasses (which look the same but I can actually see out of them now), I actually haven’t bought a lot this month. I bought a box set of one of my new favourite book series ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass (which I’ll get to later) and I got some wool trackies from Asda that are glorious for working from home, but otherwise, I’ve actually been good at not spending this month and that is oddly satisfying.

Song – I’ve actually been listening to a lot of music this month, but nothing particularly new? I’ve made a few new discoveries and some new music has come out.

I’ve been watching a lot of Lottie Mednick on Twitch and she is currently designing an Avatar: The Last Airbender themed island in Animal Crossing New Horizon and she had Avatar music on in the background on one of her streams so… I started listening to Avatar music and ‘Kai’s Theme and Agne Kai‘ is a banger – if you’re a fan of soundtrack music, it’s fantastic and I can’t wait to listen to it whilst driving down a motorway in the summer.

All Time Low just released a new song called ‘Once in a Lifetime‘ and I’m obviously going to have it on loop for at least the next two months, it’s so catchy and I love it.

I’ve also been listening to the Georgia remix of ‘Hate Myself‘ by dodie, I just found ‘90s Kids‘ by Jax on tiktok and ‘weapon‘ and ‘that won’t save us‘ by Against The Current are also catchy af.

YouTube video – I’ve caught up on my watch later playlist! I give it approximately a week before it’s at 30 videos again but some of my favourites from the last month have been;

Books I’ve read

As I write this I’m reading my sixth book of the month, so March has been really good for reading but like I said earlier I bought ‘The Selection’ series having gotten the first book in a blind book gift my sister bought me from Etsy and demolishing it in the most ‘guilty pleasure’ way.

My first read was ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and it was a beautiful little book about one night with a stranger in a beautiful city and reckless teenage abandon – it was lovely and I definitely need to watch the film now.

Then I read ‘The Elite’, ‘The One’, ‘The Heir’ and ‘The Crown’ by Kiera Cass to complete ‘The Selection’ series in about three weeks (very fast for me) – I don’t know how I can describe it because it wasn’t good, the fact the main character is called America Singer and she’s a musician irritated me from the off but the dystopian story with an old royalty feel (I’d just finished watching Bridgerton as well) all wrapped up in what is essentially a reality TV competition for the Prince’s hand in marriage and I gobbled it up. The third book in the series ended very abruptly and I did not enjoy the sequels about America’s daughter, Eadlyn, anywhere near as much but I still read the whole series in less than a month so I must have at least somewhat enjoyed it.

And I’m currently reading ‘In at The Deep End’ by Kate Davies and so far it’s a solid 3/5 – there’s a lot of sex in it, which usually I wouldn’t read as it’s not my thing, but the way the narrative voice is written just makes it all feel so normal? It’s not trying to be scandalous or seductive – it’s just a girl with real hormones and real feelings figuring out herself and her sexuality and a lot of it is really sweet. I’ve got about 50 pages left which I think I’ll finish tonight (on the last day of the month which is really satisfying!!) so if you want to see my full review it should be on my bookstagram sophiesreading in the next few days!

Something to watch

I think it was end of February that I watched Bridgerton but my viewing habits have been pretty standard this month – I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos (as detailed above!), I watched Wandavision on Disney+ and I’ve watched the first two episodes of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ which is brilliant so far.

My fiancé and I finished watching ‘Avatar: The Legend of Korra’ which was brilliant and I’m so excited about the announcement of a continuation of the universe. But we’re looking for a new series to binge – we’ve finished Korra, Falcon and Winter Soldier is weekly episodes, so whilst we figure out what show we want to watch next we’ve started a Marvel marathon – so far we’ve watched Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (we’re watching in timeline order not release order!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying that actually!

Wedding planning update

I feel like I’ve mentioned this approximately three thousand times, but I’ve broken down everything we (I) need to plan for the wedding and put it into monthly tasks, this month was researching wedding insurance and booking the photographer and videographer and I did all of the things! We’re going to buy the wedding insurance once we’ve moved (because we’ve got to space out the funds!), the photographer and videographer are officially booked and we’ve booked a photobooth as well which is really exciting! It’s all starting to feel a little more real now.

A new habit

I wasn’t sure how else to categorise it but I definitely couldn’t not mention it – I’ve started using Duolingo to learn Italian! I have always want to be better at languages but I’ve always struggled, so I thought I’d give it a go and I love how it’s laid out and I actually feel like I’m doing quite well! I’m not having a fluent conversation anytime soon but I can tell you that the insects are in the sugar and I don’t question why duolingo has come up with this sentence (i insetti sono nel zucchero! I think?).


As the world starts to reopen again, we’re packing to move into a new house and everything feels new and different, it’s definitely a little daunting and scary. I don’t really like change, but I’m excited about the new house and the new chapter it will bring.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

a life update, but not just the highlight reel

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

I wrote a few weeks ago about going through a creative block with my blog, but I thought I’d climbed over that hurdle… and then I’ve been stumped every time I tried to write this week.

I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or if I’m just a little too close to burnout for comfort but I felt like I couldn’t read the words on my screen, let alone write anything cohesive. To throw an extra spanner in the works, WordPress has updated it’s user interface and the post writing section is completely different – as someone who doesn’t like change, I hate it.

Like, I know I’ll get used to it and then they’ll change it again and I’ll wish it was back like this but still… Give me my old editor back please!

On Tuesday I tried to write another book themed post about how I organise my ‘to be read’ books, but the answer was as simple as; I organise them in alphabetical order by author’s surname because it shuffles them enough that nothing’s too similar but I don’t have to make any decisions about what I read next because the order is already planned.

There wasn’t much of a way to extend that beyond one paragraph without it being really boring and unnecessary, so I decided to stop beating myself up and just let that one slide.

Then Friday night’s post was meant to be all about trying to move house in a pandemic, and whilst we have applied for a house and been approved to move in two weeks (hopefully), 1) We haven’t signed a contract yet so I’m still a bit dubious and 2) It’s actually been okay – we started looking at rightmove and booking viewings a few months in advance of when we wanted to move and we didn’t hand our notice in till after we’d found somewhere so we didn’t have any deadlines, the only thing I’m nervous about is the contract falling through but the national lockdown rules ease by the time our provisional moving date is so we’ve roped a couple of friends in to help (all legally).

And again, that’s the whole story in one paragraph!

So I thought I’d write a kind of diary/update post – because that’s essentially a taste of what those two other posts would have been anyway!

My whole life at the moment feels like work and trying to not be tired – my mental health is in a weird state where sometimes I spend ages staring at screen taking three times as long to do a task as I should be, and sometimes I feel really present and efficient and excited about what I’m working on. Finding a balance within all that is okay, I’m learning to work with my mental state rather than working against it and getting frustrated, but it’s annoying when the to do list just keeps being postponed to the next day and everything is building up.

Outside of work I feel a bit restless – I know I want to be doing something but I don’t know what. I’m starting a new creative writing project in April but I don’t have the words to write right now (though the stories are developing in my head), I can’t comfy enough to read (I’m too young for everything to ache this much, right?) and knitting watching my fiancé play video games is not top of my list. I’m trying to tune into what my body wants and needs but I’m exhausted a lot of the time no matter how much sleep I’m getting.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – though tired, I am really enjoying my work and I love working with creative people, feeding off their energy and ideas and feeling valued when I share ideas of my own. I’m planning to have a weekend of sewing and packing which I’m excited about – watching YouTube or turning some music up loud and having some off screen time to potter around the house.

I love mundane tasks like tidying and organising (not cleaning so much, which isn’t ideal), I love listening to music and pretending I’m the main character in a film (I know it’s weird, let me have it) and I’m excited for what feels like ‘the next step’ for my partner and I, moving into a more ‘grown up’ house.

Things are up and down, but as I recently described it to a close friend – ‘I’m alright, ups and downs, in a bit of a down at the moment but knowing it won’t last forever is a big step in itself’.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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read at your speed – comparison is the thief of joy

2021, books
Hello! Growing up, reading as a hobby was never cool – using the library was weird, reading in your own time was ‘nerdy’ and don’t get me started on fangirling over books. I was definitely the geek growing up but so were all my friends, so I actually had the opposite problem… I’m a slow reader (or at least, I was always led to believe I was!) – my friends would read a book every couple of days and I would take weeks just to finish one. No one ever made a comment about it but it always made me feel silly for not being able to read as quickly. Fast forward to today with kindles and goodreads and bookstagrams and I’m feeling the pressure to read faster from a different place – I can generally get through a book in a week, depending on the length of the book and how much I’m enjoying it, so my goal for the year is 25 books which is the equivalent of two books a month with one bonus, or roughly two books a week. Of the people I follow on Instagram and book groups I’m in on Facebook, some people have already read 50 books this year and have goodreads challenges of 200 books and that is baffling to me. I’ve read 10 books this year and I’m 5 books ahead of schedule for my goodreads goal but suddenly 10 feels like nothing compared to people who’ve read basically a book every single day. But I was surprised that it didn’t make me feel like I wasn’t reading fast enough – it inspired me to make more time to read my books at my own pace! I don’t have the time or energy to read a book every two days – I’m not someone who enjoys reading in the morning or on my lunch break (because I would never want to stop to go back to work!) and whilst I would love to spend my whole evening reading, I also like spending time with my fiancé! So I manage to read for a couple of hours a night before bed and in the past couple of nights I’ve read about 100 pages which is a lot for me! Ironically I’m not enjoying this book as much as the last couple of books I’ve read but it’s somewhat addictive and I can’t figure out how or why. It’s so easy to compare yourself and your progress to other people, whether it’s life goals, careers, holidays or even reading but here is your sign from the universe – you are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment. Reading, in particular, is meant to be a relaxing thing that is done for joy! Take your time to enjoy reading as a fun activity, whether you read 10 pages or 100 – it’s not about numbers. It’s about the way your eyes start to burn a little bit because you’re desperate to just finish one more chapter, it’s about the way you tell all your friends and family about the character drama because you’re so excited about it and the way we feel everything our protagonist feels. I’ve properly fallen back in love with reading and stories over the last couple of years – I love statistics and numbers, I love setting my goodreads goals and reading as many books as I can but it’s not about numbers; I love the stories and the amazing characters and getting lost in the words. Reading isn’t a race – read at your speed! Comparing the amount of books you’ve read is like a squirrel and fish comparing how many trees they climbed – climb your tree however you like! Was that analogy too weird?

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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easy crafts for beginners (who want to spend more time offline)

2021, crafting

Hello!

After a year of lockdown after lockdown (after lockdown), everyone’s coped in their own way – whether it’s fitness, writing quizzes or a new hobby.

I’ve seen more people learning to craft than I ever would have expected – I’ve found a collection of people who love cross stitch, I’ve seen so many Instagram profiles for new Etsy candle businesses and air dry clay earrings have become surprisingly popular (let’s not talk about the banana bread or the sour dough, okay?).

Crafting is a popular activity for a reason – it’s so broad, it’s so relaxing and it’s a relatively easy way to start a side hustle too. Whether it’s sewing face masks or digital drawings, I’d love to see the statistics on new Etsy shops that have been set up in the last year. I’ve really gotten into crafting myself – cross stitch, knitting, sewing, paper craft, anything I could get my hands on over Christmas! So I thought I’d write a ‘beginner’s guide’ of sorts (as I am still very much a beginner myself) to some of the easiest and cheapest ways to get into different crafting skills and spend less time scrolling twitter.

  • cross stitch

The entire reason I got into cross stitch was due to the little kits available to buy on Hobbycraft – I messed the first one up big time but I found it so therapeutic. Knowing how precise it all is without even trying due to the aida cloth (the one with holes in it!) and how it looks so cute and pretty but really homely – and such a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care!

I also realised cross stitch is like sewing in 8-bit which was really fun.

To start off with, I recommend these little kits from Hobbycraft – they’re really easy to follow and come with really clear instructions (if the link doesn’t work, look for the ‘mini’ cross stitch kits, less than 10cm). I then stepped up to a larger cross stitch kit from Etsy – you can pick any design you like, buying a kit means it comes with all the materials and generally very well laid out instructions, but a bigger project feels more advanced. Then, if you really fancy it you can buy your own aida cloth, a selection of embroidery threads and you can even make your own design on websites like stitchfiddle!

  • knitting

Knitting feels intimidating – the big needles and all the different kinds of stitches – but if you want a soothing, repetitive activity to do while you’re watching some background telly (that doesn’t count as screen time, does it?), then knitting can be just the ticket.

I started by knitting ear savers – my mum sent me the pattern and it was a small little project to get me into knitting. I was watching a new Youtube video for every kind of stitch in the pattern but there are so many brilliant tutorials that I could comfortably knit one ear saver from start to finish in about half an hour (not including sewing on the buttons).

From there, I tried to advance the skill but I found it was just a little bit too stressful and that’s not what I wanted! So I took my needles and a ball of wool (I like to call it a loaf) and just sat and knitted row after row. I find the repetitive motion very soothing and a great relaxing activity for me. If you did want to advance this skill, there are loads of patterns available online and buying wool is definitely something I can see becoming very addictive!

  • sewing

After making the ear savers, I figured it would make sense to try and make the masks to go with them! I lovingly cut up an old duvet into small squares (r.i.p space cats sheets) and found a pattern and I was off! The first pattern wasn’t ideal – it was too big to be an effective face mask and it was a lot of work to sew it by hand. I then bought a kit from Hobbycraft (don’t ask me how much money and time I’ve spent in Hobbycraft in the last year) and I found that pattern was better to use and included the metal nose strips that help your glasses not to fog up (in theory).

I have since found another pattern that uses a rounded shape which is easier to sew and looks better. I was very lucky to get a sewing machine for Christmas (thank you mummy <3) and it’s made the face mask sewing process both quicker and slower – quicker to sew, but slower because I’m learning how to use a sewing machine too! I’m absolutely adoring my sewing machine – I’ve taken in a skirt that was too big for me and I’m hoping to learn to make bunting this month! One day I’ll brave making my own clothes but for now that feels intimidating and fabric is expensive.

  • paper crafts

It sounds silly to include paper crafts on the list, but I made a cotton wool ball snowman at Christmas, a 2021 vision board and some spreads in my bullet journal and rediscovered a primary school-level love for cutting and sticking. It sounds silly, but it brings me joy, so I will talk about it!

This one isn’t quite as much of an offline activity, as for me it started on Pinterest – making a digital board of all the things I wanted to include; the aesthetics, the quotes, whatever you like! I then copy and pasted them into Word (which is probably more hassle than it was worth, but I couldn’t think of an easier way!) and, simple as, cut and stuck them! I have a little collection of scrapbooking bits and bobs that I could use to embellish the pictures – a bit of washi tape, some string and some patterned card to use as backgrounds (though I intend to up my sticker game when the shops reopen). But it’s such a therapeutic activity! Literally just cutting and sticking pictures.

There’s not much of a purpose to it – my 2021 mood board is going to go up in my new office when we move house (I’m getting an office!) and I make little collages at the beginning of each month in my bullet journal but I thoroughly recommend it if you’re feeling a bit fed up – find some pretty pictures, maybe line them up with any goals or resolutions or ambitions you have for yourself and give yourself an afternoon with a cosy movie!


This post is already far too long, but I thoroughly enjoy talking about crafts – I can definitely do more specific posts about cross stitch patterns, learning to use a sewing machine as an absolute beginners and recycling household items in craft projects (water bottles and cereal boxes etc!).

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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a blogging writing block

2021, creativity

Hello!

I’ve been consistently writing blog posts for somewhere upwards of two years now – when I started in 2014 I had no idea what I was doing, in 2015 I did a 365 day challenge (successfully, might I add!), in 2016-2018 I played around with 2-3 blog posts a week and generally was pretty consistent! Then from 2019 (ish) onwards, I’ve pretty religiously written two blog posts a week and rarely missed one, other than maybe posting a day late because I forgot to publish a post.

But in the last month, I’ve not felt the motivation to write – I don’t like the ideas I’ve come up with, I don’t think they add anything to my blog’s narrative and I don’t feel inspired to write anything. Maybe it’s lockdown finally catching up with me – after a whole year I’ve finally run out of stuff to say. Maybe it’s the new job – it’s been two months of being knackered by 9-5 (does anyone ever get used to it?) so by the time the evening comes I want to sit and watch TV or play games with my partner and I wasn’t excited enough about the post ideas I’d come up with to open my computer back up and stare at a screen for even longer.

And I don’t know where this lull in my blogging motivation has come from – as a craft, I love writing, I love expressing myself in words and getting lost in what I’m typing. And I miss it – I miss writing those passionate rambles and creating my own little history book on this website, but I just didn’t see the point in anything I tried to write (and believe me I’ve tried).

But it hit me the other day as I was desperately trying to expand a couple of hundred words into an actual blog post – I’m out of creative energy.

Talking about ‘energy’ at all feels more hippie than I have ever sounded before, but I think it’s fairly common within creative communities and professions that it’s not an endless source to be tapped into. It’s a pool and like any body of water and ebbs and flows in waves – I’m just at the bottom of the wave.

For some reason that thought gave me comfort, rather than immediately catastrophising that after six years my blog is finally going to crash and I’m never going to find motivation again, I knew that this is just a moment and my mojo will come back.

Whether it’s a few good nights of sleep (the fact I first tried to spell night with a ‘k’ at the beginning show’s how few of those I’ve had!), getting that one really big work task finished or moving house (fingers crossed!) to get my mojo back or it’s just riding through this funk till I can surf the wave, I will not feel like this forever.

Is the water analogy going too far now?

Either way, it’s happened before and it will undoubtedly happen again, but beating myself for not maintaining my trivial, self-set deadline of two posts a week isn’t the end of the world – giving myself the space with being okay with deleting that task from my list rather than ticking it off.

This blog is mine – it’s meant to be something fun and lighthearted and when I start to feel stressed by it, I need to listen to what my body and mind are asking for and give it some space.

So I might not be posting every Tuesday and Friday – sometimes it might go up late on Wednesday or Saturday or I might not post anything at all. If you miss me, send me a message on instagram – I’m usually scrolling!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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March mini goals

2021, goals

Hello!

Setting mini goals has been a way for me to keep myself focused and making progress for at least three years now, but in the last few months I’ve been really making sure that my monthly goals allow for consistent development from my yearly goals and already I’m seeing progress and it’s so motivating! Seeing a whole month of goals that I know I’ve solidly worked on makes me feel so good and so motivated to carry on!

To have 100% completed 3 tasks and half completed 2 tasks of my February mini goals, I know I made solid progress! I think, in part, vaguely planning my monthly goals for the year has made this easier because I can make sure I’m allotting enough time for each goal I want to achieve, but I know for a fact that I’m working really hard to make as much progress as I can too!

This is a combination of clever goal setting (knowing that I really want to achieve these goals, rather than feeling obliged to) and having the yearly/monthly/weekly goals and to do lists in place to hold myself accountable. I’m feeling so motivated right now and I can’t wait to jump right in to my March mini goals!

1. Start writing a book adaptation screenplay

I got a taste of screenplay writing for my dissertation last year and I very quickly discovered how much I enjoyed and how much more there was to learn about the art of the writing style. One of my potential dissertation topics was about book adaptations and my final dissertation was all about storytelling, so I thought writing an adaptation would be a good place to start to learn about the style without having to consider my own story as well.

This is just for personal use – I’m not claiming to be an experienced screenwriter and I’m definitely not writing any movie scripts to sell anytime soon. But this is a project I want to finish over the course of the year, so this is just the beginning.

2. Start my first cosplay costume

I’ve been banging on about cosplay for years, but this year I’m going to do it! Another goal that I want to achieve over the year rather than in just one month, but I want to spend this month planning it all – what I want to make, what I want to buy and how I can bring it all together.

I’m creating a Team Yell costume from Pokemon Sun and Moon (to go with my sister’s Marnie cosplay). I’m hoping this will really help me develop my sewing and learn about so many different kinds of crafting outside of clothes to make all the accessories. I think I’ll document some of the process on my TikTok if you’re interested!

3. March wedding tasks!

I said in my ‘how I planned my wedding planning’ post that I’d broken everything down and assigned tasks to each month and so far, it’s working relatively well!

My task for this month is to figure out what wedding insurance is and whether we need it, which I imagine will only take an afternoon really! I also need to finalise booking a photographer and videographer because I did a lot of research about it in February but it was all very overwhelming (and much more expensive than I thought it would be!) so hopefully I’ll be able to get that decision made this month.

4. Develop my 5 year plan

I don’t really like calling it a ‘plan’ because it’s definitely not certain enough to be a plan, but I have a spread in my bullet journal listing the next five years and goals and ideas for what I’d like to achieve in each of them. I’ve not looked at my 5 year plan since I last updated in 2020 (2020-2024) and I really need to start my 2021-2025 one, but that’s what this goal is for!

Rather than sticking with my 2019-2023 plan that I started in my 2019 journal, I like moving my 5 year plan through journals with me because I think it’s a much more realistic way of looking ahead for the next 5 years. In 2019 I never would have been able to predict that I would be where I am at the beginning of 2021 and it would have got really messy with crossing out and changing things, so I prefer the rolling approach.

5. Find somewhere new to live!

Although we have a lovely landlord on our one bed house, we’re ready to find something bigger and move somewhere more relevant to my work (if I ever get to work anywhere other than home). We are on a rolling contract in our current house, so we don’t have a deadline to find a new house by, but the time is right for us!

And to be clear; we’re still renting. We don’t have the savings for buying and we’re only 24 and 25 – I know people who are buying houses, but I don’t know a single one who’s saved every penny themselves and not had a rather large savings account from parents or grandparents. No shade, not judging anyone, just kind of fed up of being asked about it as someone who’s literally only just started their first career job – I have not got the income to have tens of thousands of pounds in savings!

And then my rolling monthly goals are:

  • Read 2 books
  • Put a certain amount of money in my savings account
  • Have a date night with le fiancé

I’ve had a good old ramble this month haven’t I? So I’ll keep the ending short and sweet – I love goal setting! Should I write a post about how I planned all of my monthly goals for the year?

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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