February Goals ’22

2022, goals

Hello!

Another month, another set of mini goals – although January flew by much too quickly for my liking, but it got off to a really good start. I didn’t really get the break I wanted over Christmas so it’s been a slow, tired month, but after a couple of quiet weekends I’m ready to carry on trying to balance getting enough rest and being somewhat productive.

February being a month that is exactly four weeks and short enough that pay day will roll around again in no time is exciting. I’m slowly building habits that I want to develop into my daily life and it nearly feels like I’m not drowning in to do lists, so I want to work on that ‘not drowning’ feeling this month.

So, without further ado – my February Goals:

  1. Sort out the bookshelves in the library – sounds like a silly little task right? It’s one I’ve been ignoring for months so if I put it in writing maybe I’ll actually do it. I may have officially run out of room on my current bookshelves too so might need to rearrange the furniture as well.
  2. Plan cosplay lists – last month I figured out what cosplay I wanted to work on this year (because last year’s projects went so well…) this month I want to figure out exactly what steps I need to actually make them happen. I happen to have a sibling who is very talented at this sort of thing, so I’m hoping to rope in their help at some point (but I haven’t asked them yet haha).
  3. Wedding tasks – pay next part of venue costs, go to menu tasting and coordinate decor with the wedding planner: we have a meeting to tour the renovated facilities and I already have a list of questions. It’s all starting to come together now!
  4. Craft project – I didn’t finish my project for last month, so I want to finish that and finish another project as my ‘February’ crafts,
  5. Recurring monthly goals
    • Read 3 books
    • Be sensible with money
    • Plan a date night

My reading goal for this year is already going well – I’ve just finished my 6th book of the year and I think sorting out the shelves in the spare room I call ‘The Library’ will definitely help with my motivation for reading.

In hindsight, I’ve set myself a lot of daily tasks this year – including learning French on Duolingo, using my bullet journal every single day and filling in my Noom weight loss app – balancing that with everything else I want to achieve was never going to be easy, but it will get easier. At least I hope it does!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

January Reads 2022

2022, books

Hello!

I know I say this every month, but how the heck is it already the end of January? Is this adult life? Time just keeps going faster and faster and you’re not entirely sure how it happened? I’m not a fan, but it’s an excuse for me to talk about all the books I’ve read this month.

And 2022 is off to a flying start – I’ve finished 5 books this month so far and I think I’ll finish my current audiobook on Monday before February joins us on Tuesday, but as of yet, not quite at 6.

Here are the ones I finished:

Get a Life Chloe Brown (Talia Hibbert) – 4 stars
The Brown Sisters books have had so much hype on bookstagram and booktok that I decided to use my audible credit on it, in hindsight I think I would have enjoyed the paperback more because the voice actor and the accents she chose were really irritating and made me think I wasn’t enjoying the story. Once I realised the story itself was very sweet, I decided it was definitely a 4 star book. Next year when I’m off my book buying ban I think I’ll buy the trilogy and give the characters my own voices.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Sáenz) – 5 stars
Narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda? Yes please! A lovely YA tale of a young boy’s discovery of himself, through friendship, family and a dog called Legs. Although short, I really enjoyed listening to this story – it was a really lovely take on a coming of age story with the perfect mix of naïvety, self-discovery and a nice reminder of what it was like to be a teenager in the late 80s without the internet, phones or binge watching TV. Definitely putting the sequel on my tbr.

Talk Bookish To Me (Kate Bromley) – 4 stars
A book about being obsessed with books? Count me in! Especially having just reviewed every book I read in 2021 I know I particularly enjoy books about people who work as writers or in publishing in some way. This was a nice easy read about a complicated college relationship that neither participant expected to ever have to revisit. Don’t get me wrong, the attitude of the two protagonists was a bit off sometimes and some of the behaviours threw a few red flags but at it’s heart, it was a nice easy contemporary romance.

Albion: The Legend of Arthur (Robert Valentine) – 1 star
Absolutely the worst Audible plus book I’ve listened to – I was drawn in by the Arthurian legend and the full cast (which theoretically was very exciting), but it was generally just not a good story. All that happened was battle after battle after battle, then Arthur died and the remaining characters went off to do their own thing and nothing appeared to be resolved at all. The full cast recording was cool in principle, but absolutely didn’t work because there was no narrator so the story was harder to follow, and as 95% of the cast was generic man, they were incredibly difficult to identify by voice alone (which is where a narrator would have really aided the story). All in all, it was a slog to listen to and it was just bad.

Billy and Me (Giovanna Fletcher) – 3 stars
Contemporary romance is my go to ‘easy reading’ genre for sure – in all honesty, I chose this book because I’ve seen lots of people on tiktok doing ‘Alphabet Challenges’ and I’d already read an ‘A’ so I thought I’d pick a ‘B’ book! Billy and Me started as a really lovely tale of a village girl who meets her very own Mr Darcy who is in fact an actor playing Mr Darcy in a remaking of Pride and Prejudice being filmed in the village. As the story develops and Sophie leaves her job in the café she’s worked in for her entire adult life, it becomes a bit less ‘cute romance’ and more melodramatic soap opera and some of the dialogue and actions read a bit like fanfiction, but it was an easy enough read and I’ll be reading the sequel before I decide whether they’re going to the charity shop or not.

Which leads me to, what I’m currently reading:

  • Audiobook – Grand Theft Astro (Scott Meyer)
  • Paperback – Always with Love – Billy and Me #2 (Giovanna Fletcher)

Balancing blogging and work and general life stuff has been a real challenge for me recently, but getting to write about things I really love like books and goal setting makes it much easier to write.

So thank you for reading what I love to write!

Sophie xx

things that make me happy – January 2022

2022, lifestyle

Hello!

I had a great idea for a blog post and had far too much faith in it being such a great idea I wouldn’t forget it, then promptly forgot it, so instead I thought I’d make a nice list of the little things that have brought me joy recently, because I’m getting better at finding them.

  • Filling out my bullet journal every night
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Making funny tiktoks at work
  • Pasta with cheese
  • Potatoes with cheese
  • Just cheese, actually
  • How I’ve already read three books this month and two of them were 4 stars
  • My fiancé got a haircut and the back of his head is all soft and fuzzy
  • Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Switch
  • The second-hand Jaeger coat my dad got me for Christmas that makes me feel bougie af
  • The fact that whenever anyone says ‘af’ at work, my colleague and I will replace it with ‘auto focus’ (iykyk)
  • Listening to a playlist called Pop Goes Classical on Spotify
  • Cheer Season 2 on Netflix
  • My new pastel felt tip pens
  • Tick, Tick… Boom on Netflix
  • Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick… Boom
  • My mum straightened my hair for me last time I went home and it was so soft
  • My mum still agrees to do things like straighten my hair even though I am 25 years old and should absolutely be able to do it myself
  • I played Monopoly on the XBox the other night with some mates and it was chaotic and ridiculous and brilliant and we put several properties to auction and only bid $1 each for ages
  • I feel genuinely valued by my colleagues at work and I’m grateful to work with such a fantastic bunch of people and also be able to call them my friends
  • I also have a group chat with two of the girls from my old job where we talk almost exclusively about Spider-Man
  • Did I mention Spider-Man: No Way Home because seriously
  • Also the Tick, Tick… Boom soundtrack. I have so many feelings about Jonathan Larson and his music
  • Watching my friend Lottie stream on twitch is so comforting (and she shouted out my blog the other day which was the cutest)
  • I’m doing a dance show in March and I feel like a teenager again except I’m not surrounded by people who make me feel shit about myself
  • I keep remembering I’m getting married this year and it’s super weird but also really exciting
  • I’m actually really excited about my goals / resolutions for the year and it’s nearly three weeks in, which bodes well
  • I don’t want to shout about it, but I got a pay rise at work and I’m actually really proud of myself (which doesn’t happen very often)
  • Going to sound very mushy, but about three years ago I remember being in Sainsburys car park and wondering how I could possibly love a human more and more every day but after six years with my now-fiancé, I still love him more and more (I know, I know)
  • There’s a lot going on at the moment, but rather than quitting and running away, I’m looking for ways to cope and make the things I want to do work, which is a big step

I know it’s super cliché, but if things are really tough at the moment I thoroughly recommend trying to think of even one good thing that’s happened in each day, a highlight, because there will be one, even if it’s that you got out of bed and you faced the day, because god know’s that can be impossible sometimes.

Hopefully one good thing will spiral into a whole list of things you’re grateful for.

And even if you’re not in that place, sometimes writing down all the bad things can be a good way to acknowledge them and let them out of your head and lighten the load on your chest.

Whatever you need, I hope you are able to find your joy, if not now then soon!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

every book I read in 2021

2022, books

Hello!

There’s every chance this blog post could get very long very quickly so I’ll keep it as brief as I can – here is a rundown of every book I finished in 2021, my star rating and a few words (though let’s be real, I’ll probably get carried away).

Just to give you an idea if you might be interested in similar books to me, here is the data on the moods of books I read in 2021, the pace and the genres, all in beautifully colour coded graphs courtesy of StoryGraph (the fantastic alternative to GoodReads that isn’t owned by Amazon).

(add me here)

Without further ado – my 2021 reads:

  1. Worlds Away From You (Charlotte Mednick) – 4 stars
    A self published novel by a friend actually, but a lovely gentle YA romance to start the year with and a very proud moment to see a friend publish an actual book!
  2. Suspicious Minds: Stranger Things Novel #1 (Gwenda Bond) – 5 stars
    I picked this book up almost exclusively because it was £2 in a charity shop but boy oh boy if you’re a fan of Stranger Things, this is a fantastic expansion of the universe which I’ve thought about rereading at least once a month since I finished it in January.
  3. A Quiet Kind of Thunder (Sara Barnard) – 5 stars
    Been on my tbr for a long time, I was very intrigued to read a story about a girl with selective mutism and a deaf boy and I’ve not been so moved by fiction in a very long time. I really need to learn sign language because the power of communication is just huge.
  4. See Through Me (Kevin Brooks) – 1 star
    Really disappointing – a massively out-there, sci-fi concept that doesn’t come to anything – there was no story, no plot, nothing happened and it was a slog to read.
  5. The Time of the Reaper (Andrew Butcher) – 3 stars
    A book about a pandemic during my country’s third national lockdown? Not great timing. But also below average storytelling about a group of very bland teenagers in an apocalyptic pandemic. This one quickly went in the charity shop pile.
  6. The Selection #1 (Kiera Cass) – 4 stars
    A ‘blind date with a book’ gift my sibling got me for Christmas that I wasn’t sure about – Royal romances have never really appealed to me before but wow I dove in head first. Somehow I didn’t love the characters but I immediately ordered the box set simultaneously? The concept and the male protagonists were so interesting, I will probably reread the first three books in this series at some point in 2022.
  7. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Rachel Cohn with David Levithan) – 5 stars
    I really loved this book but it’s been overshadowed in my memory as ‘the book I read whilst I waited for my The Selection box set to arrive’. I loved how whistfully Nick and Norah’s story was told over one night and I still really need to watch the film because the source material had a lot of potential.
  8. The Elite – Selection #2 (Kiera Cass) – 4 stars
    Just obsessed with this series. Protagonist America Singer (yes, that’s actually what the main character is called and yes, she’s a musician… you can practically hear me rolling my eyes) becomes more bearable in this one and there’s much more of a sense of purpose and community. Adored it.
  9. The One – Selection #3 (Kiera Cass) – 5 stars
    And the conclusion? Wow, just top notch. America and Maxon’s story is emotionally and dramatically told and I think it was at this point that I was describing the series as ‘reality TV in a book’ – it’s trashy in the best way and I adored it. Now I desperately want to reread it.
  10. The Heir – Selection #4 (Kiera Cass) – 2 stars
    The duology that follows was much more disappointing – America and Maxon’s daughter (who’s name I can’t even remember) is significantly less interesting. Plus the characterisation of King Maxon and Queen America all grown up is nothing like who they were described to be in the original trilogy. I think 2 stars is generous to be honest.
  11. The Crown – Selection #5 (Kiera Cass) – 3 stars
    Although I have no recollection as to why, apparently the second part of this storyline picked up and earned an extra star. I remember the climax being surprisingly refreshing but then rushing into a very abrupt ending. If the box set didn’t look so pretty together I would absolutely only keep the first three.
  12. In At The Deep End (Kate Davies) – 3 stars
    After falling so deeply in love with The Selection, anything I read afterwards was going to struggle, but In At The Deep End was an interesting saphic story about someone just figuring out their relationship and seeing emotional abuse from the inside. However it was quite slow paced and felt a bit repetitive towards the end.
  13. It’s Now or Never (Carole Matthews) – 4 stars
    A really lovely contemporary story about twins approaching 40 deciding to do something about their lives. A little strange in that it was told from three narrative perspectives – one told in first person, the other two in third – and it was a bit annoying to follow. But otherwise, I’m excited to read more from Carole Matthews.
  14. Ketchup Clouds (Annabel Pitcher) – 3.5 stars
    This book I picked up in a charity shop because it had the most beautiful pattern sprayed on the edges. The story itself had potential, but the protagonist was written quite inconsistently and I can’t remember the main event of the book, so not that memorable in hindsight.
  15. Lore (Alexandra Bracken) – 4 stars
    Adored this one – any story about Greek mythology I’m all over. My only slight thing with this one is that there are a lot of names from the mythology that the reader is just expected to know, especially when some characters are referred to by many titles, so it got a little confusing, but I can’t wait to reread this one with more clarity.
  16. A Nearly Normal Family (M. T. Edvardsson) – 2.75 stars
    Potentially my most disappointing read of the year – really slow paced, really anticlimactic and really repetitive where basically the same story is told from three perspectives. The father character was an absolute wet wipe, the daughter was actually really interesting but her segment was really short and the mother didn’t really have a character, it was like she was just a vessel to conclude the plot. Very odd.
  17. Flawed (Cecelia Ahern) – 2 stars
    I don’t know how to describe this book because I hated the protagonist – I thought she was whiny and entitled and painfully irritating, but I somehow became so attached to the book that I immediately ordered the sequel and deliberately chose a short book to read in the interim so I could start reading it quickly. Still haven’t figured that one out.
  18. The Mayflower Project: Remnants #1 (Katherine Applegate) – 1 star
    One of those books that I kept from my childhood because it sounded interesting, but actually it was awfully written, the characters were so weird and apparently it’s one of those series that has about a million books, but they’re out of print and really hard to find. Not that I think I’m missing much.
  19. Perfect – Flawed #2 (Cecelia Ahern) – 3.5 stars
    The sequel to Flawed picked up a bit judging by my rating, but I really have very little recollection of what happened other than the dystopian ‘Hunger Games’ revolution thing. Mixed reviews for Cecelia Ahern.
  20. Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie) – 3 stars
    I felt weird rating this one because it’s such a classic, but it was further from the Disney film than I thought it would be, but interesting none the less to read the source material.
  21. Adrenaline – Sam Capra #1 (Jeff Abbott) – 3.5 stars
    I’ve had the sequel to this book for years so was glad to buy the prequel and actually get to reading it in 2021! Sam Capra as a character was superbly written and wonderfully emotional and I was fascinated to read the kind of mindless-action-adventure story that my mum loves watching in films and I found it far more engaging!
  22. The Last Minute – Sam Capra #2 (Jeff Abbott) – 4 stars
    I don’t remember enough about this series to differentiate the first and second book, but I remember the second one taking me ages to read and I have no recollection as to why I ranked it higher. My greatest apologies.
  23. The 39 Steps (John Buchan) – 1.25 stars
    A classic I picked up because my dad and I watched a film adaptation once. Was incredibly difficult to read, I could barely keep track of what was happening and I had absolutely zero emotional connection to any of the characters and consequently couldn’t have cared less.
  24. The Shelf (Helly Acton) – 4.5 stars
    At this point, I really needed something to pick me up get me excited about reading again and ‘The Shelf’ was exactly the one – the same kind of ‘reality TV’ easy viewing as The Selection but in a contemporary rather than a dystopian style. I adored it, I devoured it, it was so much fun and I loved it so much – feel good, girl power sassiness!
  25. The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow (Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch) – 2 stars
    My first ever audiobook… and I kind of hated it. The narrator of the Texan character was incredibly evening and even the English character had a snooty, know-it-all tone. The story was poorly written and the plot was frankly boring. No intention of reading the sequel this year.
  26. Beach Reach (Emily Henry) – 5 stars
    My second audio book was the polar opposite and one of my favourite books of the year – a book about writers gradually falling in love? It was like it was written for me. This was the book that really solidified that I really enjoy romance as a genre, when I’d never considered it to be one of my primary favourites before.
  27. MumLife (Louise Pentland) – 4 stars
    My one and only non-fiction read of the year. I only listened to this one because I used to be a big fan of Louise Pentland so I’ve read all of her books an even though I’m absolutely not the target market for this one as I’m not a mum and I’m not really anywhere close to being there yet. But it was an insightful listen.
  28. Tarzan of the Apes (Edgar Rice Burroughs) – 2 stars
    Comparing this classic literature to the Disney movie was incredibly interesting – the book is way more savage but the ending was much sweeter I think. It took me a bit longer to read because I’m not very good at understanding older English and I don’t really enjoy reading it. Will probably opt for watching the film next time.
  29. The Cove (L. J. Ross) – 4.5 stars
    Although the protagonist was a little irritating, this story was really fun to listen to and it was a perfect blend of crime/murder mystery and romance. It was the kind of audiobook that got me excited to get in the car and drive so I could listen to it again.
  30. Good Girl, Bad Blood – A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2 (Holly Jackson) – 4.75 stars
    I loved ‘A Good Girls Guide to Murder’ and I was so excited for the sequel – the way Pip’s story developed and the direction the story went was amazing and I was all over it. I was glad I’d already got the third in the trilogy so I could read it straight away…
  31. As Good As Dead – A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3 (Holly Jackson) – 2 stars
    Then came the most disappointing book I read this year. Pip’s character was completely different and I know a big part of that was because of what she experienced at the end of the previous book, but it was just too extreme, it went way too far and it stressed me out reading it. So I’m going to pretend it’s a duology and ‘As Good As Dead’ doesn’t exist.
  32. Red, White & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston) – 5 stars
    With the end of the year and everyone talking about their favourite book of the year, this is the one that always sprung to mind. Listening to this audio book was the most engaging reading experience I’ve ever had – I gasped, I laughed, I felt everything and I actually said it out loud, to myself in my car. It was beautiful, it was funny and it was so romantic. It’s worth every bit of hype and I thoroughly recommend listening to the audiobook because the narrators are perfect and I don’t think I’d have had the same experience in reading it in my own voice. 6 stars. 7 stars. All the stars.
  33. The Switch (Beth O’Leary) – 4.5 stars
    One of my most highly anticipated books of the year – everyone was going off about the Flatshare but the concept of the Switch sounded fantastic to me. And it was – the characters were wonderful, it was so realistic, I could have stepped right into the story. Lovely reading experience.
  34. Every Other Weekend (Abigail Johnson) – 4.5 stars
    I’m so much more detached from YA than I used to be but occasionally I dip back in and I always have a good time. This was a really sweet stories about broken families and finding solace where you can. It was so heartwarming to see a story about teenagers handling difficult situations and growing and learning to be better. Another top notch audiobook from Audible’s plus selection.
  35. In The Time We Lost (Carrie Hope Fletcher) – 2 stars
    I love Carrie Hope Fletcher and I’ve read two of her other books and adored them so I was excited to use one of my Audible credits on her latest work, but I actually hated it. The protagonist was insufferably stubborn, the groundhog day concept is so unoriginal and the narrator was overacting so much.
  36. The Source (Sarah Sultoon) – 3.5 stars
    I love a dual narrative story so a story that was dual perspective, set in two different time periods and describes a journalistic investigation into the events of the past narrative was so clever. There was a lot of names and characters to follow which was a bit complicated, but otherwise it was very well written and fantastically performed.
  37. Bookish and the Beast – Once Upon a Con #3 (Ashley Poston) – 5 stars
    I own the physical version of ‘Geekerella’ so I didn’t want to listen to it, but another in the series would be fine right? Oh my goodness I fell in love – I loved Vance’s character, Rosie was so organically brilliant and it was just so sweet, I’m obsessed – nerdy fangirl contemporary is my new favourite genre.
  38. Geekerella – Once Upon a Con #1 (Ashley Poston) – 5 stars
    So of course I had to go back to the beginning of the series – which all made significantly more sense now that I had more context. Nerdy fangirl contemporary – new favourite genre.
  39. The Princess and the Fangirl – Once Upon a Con #2 (Ashley Poston) – 4.5 stars
    I still loved this one, but I just didn’t quite connect to the characters in the same way as I did in the first and the third.
  40. Bookish and the Beast (again)
    I truly believed the ‘Once Upon a Con’ series didn’t need to be read in order. They don’t really but it made so much more sense the second time round. I had to finish the trilogy properly after listening to the first two, right?
  41. The Plus One Pact (Portia MacIntosh) – 1 star
    This is where the Audible Plus catalogue let me down – I thought it would be a nice easy listening romance, but it was badly written, really unrealistic characters and so cringey. I’m too stubborn to not finish a book, but I’m so glad this one was short.
  42. Sunrise on the Coast (Lilac Mills) – 3.75 stars
    This one took me a while to finish because I spent the last 12 weeks of the year absolutely exhausted and reading before bed either didn’t happen or I only managed 10 pages at a time. This was the nice easy reading romance I was hoping for though – a relatively light story of a girl making a life for herself after being a carer for her mother, falling in love with the island of Tenerife and, inadvertently, one of it’s inhabitants.
  43. The Thursday Murder Club (Richard Osman) – 4 stars
    It took me a while to jump on the hype of this book that been at the top of the Sunday Times Best Sellers list for months and months, but it was so worth it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a group of elderly people living in a residential home, let alone read a book about a group of elderly people solving crimes in weekly meetings – it was funny and every bit an interesting murder mystery in equal measure. Very enjoyable.
  44. When Harry Met Harry (Sydney Smith) – 4 stars
    This had so much of the vibes of ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’, but that might be because it’s a gay love story set predominantly in the US, but it was brilliant regardless. It was funny, it was heartwarming and the actors were fantastic. I wanted to turn this one into a film or a Netflix series and when a story inspires me to create something I know it’s really good.
  45. A Perfect Paris Christmas (Mandy Baggot) – 3 stars
    I bought this book at the end of 2020 and have been saving it as my Christmas read ever since. It was lovely – a wonderful description of Paris that made me want to hop on a plane immediately. A somewhat predictable but still romantic love story that took some characters that could have been really stereotypical and absolutely weren’t, which was really refreshing. Nice, easy festive reading.

So my favourite books of the year were:

  • The Selection
  • Beach Read
  • Red, White and Royal Blue
  • Bookish and the Beast

I refuse to pick a favourite any further than this because Red, White and Royal Blue is so good but after finishing Bookish and the Beast for the second time (my only reread of the year) I planned an entire sequel novel (hit me up Ashley Poston) so they both had their impact on me in their own ways and it’s my blog post so I can choose what I want lol.

If you’ve made it to the end of this mammoth 3000 word blog post, congratulations and thank you! I hope you found some books that you’d like to try!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

2022 Goals

2022, goals

Hello and Happy New Year!

Usually the Christmas holidays feel slow and almost drag, but they’ve gone so fast that I can barely comprehend that we’re in 2022! How mad is that? I’m getting married this year?

Outside of the astonishment at the passing of time (and still processing March 2020), a New Year means new goals and a time to refocus, figuring out what’s most important to me and how I want to spend my time this year and I love it.

I spent my Boxing Day looking within myself (read: staring absentmindedly out the window) to figure out what I want to spend my precious free time on this year, knowing that there isn’t that much of it around a full time job, dancing three times a week and getting enough sleep!

So here’s a basic summary of how I ‘design’ my goals, for want of a better word – I have three categories; Professional, Personal and Home; and in each of those categories I have three goals (I like the number three). Then, I have a list of 10 goals that either don’t necessarily fit into any of those categories or just make more sense in a ‘bucket list’ style (but I feel weird calling it a bucket list because it’s not a bucket list).

Is it perfect? Probably not. But it works for me and I’ve been doing it for three or four years now so I’ll stick with it!

Professional:

  1. Stay in the same job (if that’s what’s right for me) – the fact I got a job so quickly after my previous contract ended still baffles me, but I’d like to stay here for the whole year if I can. With the caveat that if it isn’t right for me anymore, for whatever reason, I don’t have to make myself stay for the sake of a goal. I know it sounds like a silly stipulation, but it’s what works for my brain!
  2. Learn to use AfterEffects – an Adobe software I’ve never been taught how to use before. I need to find a course or an online class or something, but I’m trying to do a lot of AfterEffects style editing in quite obscure ways and I think it would make everything simpler and streamline my editing process.
  3. Update my Portfolio Instagram page once a week – maintaining a portfolio has been a bigger challenge than I should probably admit, but rather than doing ‘update’ posts every six months, a little round up each week seems much more manageable. I’ve included this weekly goal in my new bullet journal set up so I get to colour in a square every time I do it, which is incentive enough for me.

Personal:

  1. Use DuoLingo every day – with the way DuoLingo works with it’s ‘streak’ feature to encourage you to come back every day, it’s almost difficult to forget. I started trying to learn Italian last year but fell off the bandwagon after a month, so I thought I’d go back to a language I’m semi-familiar with (to a very basic level), so I’m now learning French. I really like how DuoLingo teaches and how the app is laid out and I’ve really enjoyed spending 10 minutes a day learning.
  2. Blog once a week – I covered this in my last blog post but I accidentally stopped blogging for the last month of 2021 and I missed it! A lot of my goals this year are focused on adjusting doing what I love to make sure I don’t overbook myself and burn out. Going from 2 blog posts to 1 a week should be a good way to maintain doing something I love but not getting stressed about it. So far so good, if you’re reading this!
  3. Cosplay – no, I never finished my 2021 cosplay goals but (pandemic allowing), hopefully I’ll be able to go to MCM ComicCon again this year and I’d love to get a costume together. I’m thinking along the lines of a female Doctor Strange (mostly for the cape), the 13th Doctor and/or Luna Lovegood. All of these I think would be relatively easy as they’re more about buying pieces than making something from scratch, but we’ll see if I actually get round to it!

Home:

  1. Wedding – not just planning, but the actual wedding! I’m getting married this year and there’s still a fair bit to do, including buying my dress (I tried some on before Christmas!), getting my partners suit and all sorts of finer details. I don’t know if I’m excited or nervous, but it’s going to be a big year for sure.
  2. Weekly saving challenge – I had a go at this 52 Week Saving Challenge in 2019 and made it to approximately week 40 before I had to stop to be able to pay for things like bills (boring). But it was really satisfying and I saved more than I ever have before so I wanted to try it again this year to have some money in my personal savings as well as the wedding savings and my Help to Buy ISA. Not being a student and having a full time job should really help with this and I’m looking forward to the challenge that the latter weeks of the year will bring!
  3. Go on a budget summer holiday – I just want to go somewhere and lie in the sun and read, preferably with the sound of the sea in the background. I haven’t done enough research on this yet and with the wedding I’m not sure whether it’s financially viable, but we’ll see!

10 aims (that aren’t a bucket list because it’s not a bucket list):

  1. Read 36 Books – this is my StoryGraph reading goal for the year! As part of my update to my blogging schedule, I’ll also be doing a monthly round up of what I’m reading. 36 books in a year is 3 a month, so if I can review roughly three books a month till the end of the year then that’s my goal met!
  2. Book buying ban – I have over 200 books on my shelves at home that I haven’t read. There’s absolutely no way I’ll finish reading them all this year but I’d like to make a good dent!
  3. Go to a museum – my partner and I use to have date days in London and go to the museum pre-pandemic, but I’d love to be able to do this again this year.
  4. Go to a concert – I love live music and I feel like one concert this year is a good aim. Minimum.
  5. Go to a new place – I wanted to include some more ‘one off’ goals on my list this year, can you tell? After the wedding, my partner and I want to go on a UK break to have some time off together before we can afford a proper Honeymoon in 2023. I always feel drawn to places I’ve been before so I want to use this opportunity to see somewhere new and scratch that travelling itch! I’m thinking maybe Scotland?
  6. Continue updating my wardrobe seasonally – this was something I started in 2021 that worked really well for me – it helped me figure out what I actually enjoy wearing, what I look forward to getting out again and it saved so much space in my drawers! I need to start being properly ruthless with the clothes I don’t wear. Right now, I’m thinking I need to throw out some hoodies because I very rarely wear them (but they’re so cosy…)
  7. Writing challenges – I’ve been banging on about it forever, but I love creative writing and every other month (ish) I like to set myself a challenge of writing a certain amount in a month. I find if I don’t do this, I don’t write at all so doing it this way helps it become something I prioritise and actually work on!
  8. Monthly date nights – a way to make sure that my partner and I spend some dedicated time together at least once a month!
  9. Do one craft project a month – I have enough craft kits, materials and gadgets to fill up a whole room in our house, except they’re currently gathering dust and I hate it. So I figure if I can finish one project a month then it clears the room a little bit and gives me a creative project to work on!
  10. 1 Second Everyday 2022 – this will be my third 1SE video and I love making these. Here’s 2021 if you missed it!

And that’s it!

I’m really pleased with my goals for this year and I’ve started developing a routine to maintain those daily habits and trackers for the weekly and monthly habits so nothing is forgotten and I can make consistent progress!

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, a wonderful New Year and I wish you the best for 2022!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

why I took a month off / 2022 plans

2021, writing

Hello! It’s been a while!

My last post was December 5th – not even a month ago – but it’s the longest I’ve gone without posting in what feels like a very long time!

I’d love to give a long old reason as to why I haven’t written anything, but it’s just a case that work got on top of me, everything got a bit much and I had to prioritise getting through each day – I was out of ideas and absolutely couldn’t bring myself to write. I did not look at my computer when I wasn’t working.

But on Boxing Day I spent literally hours working on my new goals for 2022 and my bullet journal (it sounds tedious, but I had a fantastic time with all my pens – so relaxing!) and I feel so ready to get into some new routines and working on the things I’ve really decided to prioritise this year. I’m really excited about my goals for this year and I can’t wait for January 1st!

One of the things I wanted to make room to prioritise was this little blog of mine – I maintained two posts a week for much longer than I anticipated, but I think it just makes sense to go back down to one because I do have a full time job and I don’t have a lot of mental space for anything else so I needed to figure out how I was going to complete the goals I want to complete without filling up all my time and not having enough time to relax.

Another thing that I think will help is having more structure in what I blog about – my favourite posts to write are my monthly goals and my book related posts, so my first post of the month will always be my goals and my last post of the month will be a round up of the books I’ve read and listened to. Who knows what I’ll write in between but with a wedding coming up and lots of thoughts about finances, savings and house deposits maybe I’ll write more about that, but who knows? My blog has always been somewhere that I write about whatever I want to, almost more like a diary – whether it’s film reviews, some fun photos, a favourites list; anything. And I intend to keep it that way!

And that’s what I have to say – I didn’t mean to take so long off, I didn’t mean to have a break but I’m coming back and I’m coming back strong!

I’m going to much more mindful in 2022 not about what I ‘should’ be doing and how much I can squeeze in to every waking moment, but how much I am actually capable of doing and giving myself the space to recover without burning out quite so much.

2021 has been a rollercoaster and I know I’m incredibly fortunate to come out of it relatively unscathed, but I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year and I want to continue that journey of growth in 2022.

(and that might be the most pretentious thing I’ve ever said!)

Happy New Year everyone! 2022 feels like it’s going to be big – I feel like I have room to grow in my career, I’m excited about some personal projects I have planned and I’m getting married!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx