Treasured In… June

2020, books, film

Hello!

I was so excited about June because it started on a Monday and now it’s… gone? I feel like there’s only so many posts I can count how many full months of lockdown we’ve had but June marks three complete months (plus a couple of weeks) under lockdown restrictions. It just feels so mad to think about – especially having reviewed my yearly goals and thinking about how that version of me had absolutely no idea what was coming… It gets a bit much to think about sometimes!

Regardless, the month is drawing to a close to here are the things I’ve been loving this month.


blog post:

With the rapid changes in the weather, lockdown effecting my mental health and trying to make some progress on my masters dissertation, making the effort to find new blogs to read and engage with wasn’t a priority.

I was super excited to read a post from Hannah Gale announcing her second pregnancy, but it wasn’t long after that she decided to step back from the internet and her Instagram has been closed, her blog deactivated and nothing left behind. I’m genuinely gutted to see such a wonderfully genuine creator feel bullied off their platform and hope that Hannah finds happiness in whatever comes next for her.

recipe:

With the weather getting hotter and inclination to put any effort into cooking getting less and less, my partner and I are doing everything we can to cook good food in as little time as possible.

We intended to make a bruschetta inspired pasta bake with plum tomatoes, red onion, pesto, garlic and cheese but opened our jar of pesto to see… it wasn’t okay. So instead we mixed it all together with half a tub of garlic and herb cream cheese and a generous handful of grated cheddar and mozzarella and accidentally created the most amazing pasta bake? 

The cream cheese mixed with the grated cheese made the most lovely sauce, the cream cheese mixed with the tomatoes to give it an almost passata taste, it had vegetables in it, we didn’t need to ‘bake’ it like a normal pasta bake, we just served it up with some garlic bread and it was glorious. It’s now a weekly staple and I’m hungry just thinking about it!

online course:

With working on an essay for uni, although I really wanted to start learning how to use a software called Unity to make vide games, I just didn’t have the brain space to read academic literature for an essay as well as try to teach myself complicated game mechanics. I managed to watch a few beginner videos on the Unity YouTube page but no major progress here this month.

song:

Not a new song as much as a new playlist – my boyfriend and I are driving up to see my family at the beginning of July and then driving on for a ‘social bubble’ getaway with my dad so we made our perfect road trip playlist.

We’re saving the first full listen for the journey in July but I am pumped about it, not only because it’s all our favourite tunes but because I miss driving so much and cannot wait for a road trip.

youtube video:

My boyfriend and I have very different tastes in YouTube and where in ‘normal’ life he works away about half the week, I normally keep quite on top of my ‘watch later’ playlist. But he’s been home for 15 weeks and my playlist is up to over 350 videos from the best part of two months ago, so I’m not up to date at all.

However this video from RawBeautyKristi announcing her pregnancy after 15 years of trying was absolutely heartwarming and I’m welling up just thinking about it – Kristi’s one of those creators that I’ve known about but haven’t subscribed to but I watched this and couldn’t not. So excited to see her journey through this progress and 100% recommend the video if you need to see some pure happiness or maybe have a little cry.

loved this acoustic version of my favourite song from All Time Low’s newest album Wake Up Sunshine – I suppose this technically counts as music but it’s on YouTube not Spotify so here it is.

And a little bit of self promo – June 23rd marks one year since I shaved my head and I’ve been filming a One Second Everyday video which I’ve now shared! I’ve been planning this video for a while and I’m really pleased with how it came out so if you’ve got 5 minutes and want to give it a watch, I’d really appreciate it!

books:

I genuinely thought June might be the month where I only read one book but now I’m on my fourth book so back on track!

Carry On (Rainbow Rowell) – this book is essentially the fanfiction/fake Harry Potter story described in ‘Fangirl’ (my favourite book of all time) but I was really disappointed in it. The first 200 pages were so slow that I actively avoided reading it, then the plot started to get good and it was really high paced and interested, then a romance plot came out of nowhere and felt really out of character for the characters as they’d been throughout the rest of the book. The ending felt really inconclusive with so many loose ends not tied up and I just felt really dissatisfied finishing it. It’s one for the donate pile unfortunately!

The Man Who Didn’t Call (Rosie Walsh) – I was pleasantly surprised by this book – I picked up 3 for £5 in The Works the week before lockdown hit and I thought it would be a light bit of chick lit to break up the high fantasy and sci-fi books I have. I thought it would be all about some asshole man and girl power or it would be a mystery where he was chronically ill or had a family and kids but wow the twist was one I did not see coming and it was just lovely. It had a very David Nicholls ‘One Day’ feel in it’s English romance style and I genuinely enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.

Love At First Like (Hannah Orenstein) – book 2 in the 3 for £5 and another one that I thought would be super cringey chick lit about someone who cares about social media and winds herself up in lies and breaking peoples hearts. It wasn’t anywhere near as cringey as I thought it would be, it was so much more heartfelt and the characters felt so real. The ending was the sweetest and it was so interesting to read a book so up to date on social media, interesting to think about re-reading it in a few years and whether it will feel so modern then!

Currently reading: Our Child of the Stars (Stephen Cox) – and the trilogy of 3 for £5 comes to it’s conclusion! Again one that I didn’t expect at all – I thought it would be about a couple who couldn’t have kids adopting a little boy and navigating life as a new family of three, but wow I miss the quotes on the back that described it as a sci-fi book. There’s aliens, there’s secrets, there’s conspiracies, but it has the heart and soul of family too – I’m about 70% through and hope to finish it before the end of the month so keep an eye on my Instagram for a full review!

snack:

I’ve really been trying not to snack as much at the moment to the degree that we don’t really have that much in the house!

I had a craving for microwave smores (two chocolate digestives with a marshmallow in the middle in the microwave for 10 seconds, it’s glorious) but then I needed comfort food and the digestives and marshmallows were finished.

In less ‘comfort’ food and more ‘trying to be healthy’ I bought a melon mix from Asda on one of our weekly shops and that was so nice! I want to try buying a honeydew melon and preparing it myself but so far it’s got as far as buying a melon then ignoring it in the fridge for a week and reluctantly throwing it away because I feel guilty I’ve wasted it. I’ll let you know if I make any melon progress in July!

tv/film/streaming thing:

Other than nearly finishing Kim Possible on Disney+, the only other thing I’ve watched this month is the live action Dora the Explorer movie and much like all the books I read – I was so surprised by it.

I thought it might be trying to make Dora a ‘grown up’ character and take itself to seriously but the film opens with a take on recreating the title sequence from the kids TV show and the whole thing is like a massive meta joke and it was actually really good? I’ve kind of not been able to stop thinking about it – it was super fun, surprisingly funny and Boots the Monkey was the best character.

wedding planning update:

I emailed the venue! The venue got back to me and they’re reopening in July so we’re just trying to arrange a time to go and visit to see it and then potentially booking it, which feels mad to be doing over two years in advance and it makes me feel a bit nervous that suddenly it’s all very real, but also really exciting!


This turned out to be longer than I expected but a post full of things I’ve enjoyed this month is a pretty good one to accidentally ramble about!

July is looking like it’s going to be much busier – my boyfriend is going back to work, restrictions are easing in the UK and personally I’m scared of a second wave, but trying to take each day as it comes and get used to live going back to ‘normal’ a bit more.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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cutting myself a break

2020, creativity, mental health, writing

Hello!

I don’t know why every week in lockdown seems to be more difficult, but this week I’m really struggling and I can’t put a finger on why because nothing has changed.

Blogging is something I find really therapeutic – sitting down at my laptop with a blank page and just typing long, rambly posts that are eloquent and articulate and insightful makes me feel inspired and motivated, reminding me that words are my creative tool and I fall in love with writing all over again.

But on the other hand, when I’m not feeling that inspiration or I don’t have anything important to say, the blank page feels daunting in a way that takes me by surprise. Structure and schedule has always helped me – whether it’s productivity or consistency in content, having ‘upload days’ has always made me a better blogger.

Whenever I reach a point where I think ‘yeah, I don’t need a schedule, I’ll blog when I feel inspired to share something’ I go quiet for months. Without the plan to post a blog post on certain days, the ideas just don’t come to me! Routine and structure works for me but when I don’t feel passionate about what I’m writing then it’s stilted and forced and it just becomes another element for stress (even though I really shouldn’t let it be).

I’m going through a lull right now and I need to respond to that. Earlier this year I went through a period of only uploading once a week and I felt so creatively motivated that I increased it back up to two, but I don’t think I have enough creative or mental energy for that right now.

Did I need to write a whole blog post about why I’m going from two blog posts a week down to one a week? Absolutely not – I doubt anyone would have questioned it or noticed. But getting it out of my system is therapeutic for me and in essence; this post is as much about asking too much of ourselves as it is my personal relationship with my blogging schedule. If I’ve helped reassure one person that they’re not the only one struggling, especially creatively, as lockdown gets longer and longer, then I’ve used my platform for a purpose. If it doesn’t ‘help’ anyone in the way I see influencers talking about all the time, then it’s helped me, and that’s enough.

So I’m going to go back to one blog post a week. Because lockdown is getting to me and my creativity is shaky at best anyway.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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what makes a blogger?

2020

Hello,

I go through phases with feeling inspired in what blog posts I want to write – sometimes I’m bursting with ideas and I plan a whole month’s worth of content in one go, sometimes I end up turning to Google searching for ‘blog post ideas’ (which never works) or searching for what other people have been blogging or making videos about to try and spark some inspiration.

But the crux of it all is that I want to write about something insightful – sometimes it’s just indulgent, diary-like posts, writing about the things I’m excited about and showing my pictures from recent trips but I try not to do those too frequently. People turn to blog posts for education (in a way – stick with me!) – a new recipe, a new skincare product recommendation, tips and tricks to achieve something whether it be working for home or having a better sex life. The trouble is I don’t feel like I know enough about anything to be able to contribute anything about a particular topic.

And that’s not to say that every blogger has to be an expert in anything – finding someone who’s learning something along with you and documenting their progress can be encouraging to watch. This year I’ve been really into reading and I hit my goodreads goal for the year in March, then I noticed that a creator I already follow The Anna Edit was reading at roughly the same pace as me as documented on her Instagram page so I’ve loved comparing my progress to hers and making more book related content online.

But then I don’t want anyone who stumbles across my blog to think that I’m writing a post about the basics of cross stitching from a point of reliable information. I don’t know anything! The first cross stitch I did, I realised far too late that I was meant to separate the thread into smaller strands and that’s why I ran out of thread and had to improvise – I’m not qualified to teach anyone anything! And I’m an awful teacher.

With all that in mind – why do I blog at all? I love writing, that’s the point; I love rambling and getting my thoughts into words and sharing it, but who am I to think that it needs to be shared with other people?

The conclusion? It doesn’t – if I stopped blogging no one would really miss it, I could carry on writing my personal, diary-like, introspective posts in a journal without having to share my life on the internet, but I can’t stop? I love blogging, I love looking back on where I’ve been and what I wrote about when I was 20 and thinking about what I might write about when I’m 26 if I still have time to blog then. I’ve been doing this for almost six years – I started trying to write really formal news style pieces and reviews, then in 2015 I did a 365-day blog writing challenge (successfully, whilst being out the country and away from technology for a month, might I add).

My blog isn’t huge – it’s never going to be my career and I don’t have the energy to put in the effort to make it successful, nor do I have a specific enough niche or knowledge to write anything useful.

So I’ve managed to write a whole blog post about how I don’t know what to write, I don’t know why I write and how I’m not going to stop – success! Sometimes these ‘stream of consciousness’ posts are my favourite to write. I’m sure I’ll think of something to blog about by next week, but until then I’ve spent 9 weeks in quarantine and I’ve got a new found love for cross stitching, so I’m going to get back to that.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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February Goals | 2020

2020, goals, student

Hello!

These monthly goals posts have been a part of my blog for maybe two years now? They’re the posts I really look forward to writing every month and with that has come a lot of learning about reflection, setting goals that are actually achievable and seeing a lot more personal growth!

If I could make a whole career about coaching people to setting good goals then I’d be all over that.

Either way, February has rolled around really quickly this year – everyone seems to be talking about how long January lasted and I’m pretty sure I’m still in 2019 so I appeared to have missed that boat. I’ve always quite enjoyed January – a fresh new start where the resolutions are in full swing and everyone’s saying ‘Happy New Year’ until February! Sure, there’s horrible diet ads everywhere and it’s cold but the evenings are lighter and people start talking about Summer holidays!

And with that in mind, let’s crack on with the Feb Goals!

1. See if writing one blog post a week is better for my creativity

I’ve been posting multiple blog posts for years – in 2015 I blogged every day, in 2016 I blogged three times a week I think? Then at some point it went down to two and in this last month I’ve really struggled with figuring out what I want to write about amongst feeling like an utter fraud on the internet. So I want to see if not having the pressure to write twice a week but just once helps me feel more creative and less forced.

2. NO SPEND MONTH. (again). (no, seriously this time).

I did a ‘no spend’ month in January and generally I did okay – between some low moments and McDonalds cravings I didn’t spend too much in the first month of the year. But as my student loan dropped this week, two thirds of the money went straight to paying my course fees, some of it went to rent and I treated myself with a ticket to MCM ComicCon in May and now it’s back to no unnecessary spending.

Seriously.

3. Start Nike Training workout program at home

With a little shuffle around of our furniture and realising I really can’t afford a gym membership or classes, I’ve decided I’m really going to make an effort at home. I like the Nike training app and I’ve done the ‘Beginner Program’ a few times now so I’ve started it up again. I did a benchmark workout on Tuesday morning and I’ve got four weeks of workouts lined up if I can stick to them. I’m determined!

4. Start my t-shirt blanket!

I made a whole video about this blanket project I’ve been mentally-but-not-actually working on for years and 2020 is the year. This month I want to make a start. My goal is to lie the blanket out on the floor and pin the t-shirt cuttings where I want them to be by the end of the month, not necessarily to start sewing. That might sound like a minor goal but between university, ongoing dental struggles (I still have an infected wisdom tooth that is causing me grief) and maybe having a social life this blanket isn’t a ‘priority’, even though I really want to do it! If that makes sense. So smaller, achievable goals.

5. Plan my uni workload properly

Heading into the last eight months of my masters from this week, I’m being inundated with new assignments and deadlines and frankly it’s scary. But the only way to combat this is a lot of lists and prepared organisation! I’m in a good mindset of setting really achievable deadlines for myself, making realistic to do lists and having a calendar where I can see months ahead, hopefully meaning I can plan my assignments accordingly!

I think I’m being quite optimistic but we can but try!


As well as these five goals, I have my ongoing monthly goals of reading a book and having a date night with my boyfriend (we’re not very good and blocking out proper time together outside of playing video games together when we’re both home). In January I managed to read THREE books and we went on two dates nights so all round it was a good start to the year and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) maintaining it.

Especially with all my uni work, I think these next few months are going to fly by so I’m trying to live as much as I can in the moment and make the most of all the opportunities I have right now.

Feeling positive and motivated!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness update – still unfit?

2019, fitness, mental health

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what am I doing about it?

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

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

And anything else? That’s a bonus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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remember when I blogged every day for a year?

2019, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

My blogging journey has just passed it’s FIVE YEAR anniversary – in that time I’ve written literally hundreds of blog posts, spent hours at my keyboard and learnt a lot about my writing style and myself in the process.

Blogging is something I literally recommend to anyone – got a niche skill? Blog about it! Want to document your life to look back on with your family in the future? Start a private blog! Just got lots of opinions that you’d like to share with a community? A blog is for you! I genuinely think blogging is for everyone.

And I love blogging – knowing that I can allot maybe an hour twice a week to just spill my heart out through the tips of my fingers and then curate those words and make sure there’s at least one decent picture to go with it all and promote it over my social media channels, I find it so therapeutic. Especially in the last few months where I’ve really solidified what purpose I have my blog for and what I want from it (and that not being a career or audience growth, particularly – though that would be lovely!), my blog is my little safe space of the internet to share my thoughts and feelings and pictures and I really do love it.

But then I think back to 2015 and one of the most… interesting snap decisions I ever made.

On New Years Day 2015 one of my cousins posted a picture on instagram that said ‘page 1 of 365’ and I immediately thought that would be a fantastic series for a blog that I had just launched because every university open day I went to said I should have one… and then I was writing and I was committed to writing 365 blog posts.

This is the year where I was trying to recover my A Level grades from the disaster that was my AS results, I was fundraising to spend a month in Ecuador with Camps International, I moved almost 200 miles away to go to uni, started uni, also happened to meet my now long term boyfriend all whilst writing a blog post pretty much every single day. The more I think about it the more impressed I am with 18/19 year old me – I pre-wrote over 30 blog posts for whilst I was in South Africa and I bossed my A Levels (considering what they were), I suffered some of my lowest lows and lost some important friends whilst meeting the people that were a huge part of my transition to university.

2015 was a huge year for me which is part of the reason I decided to do the blogging series, but the fact that I managed to maintain and successfully write three hundred and sixty five blog posts is just another achievement in itself!

Looking back, a lot of the things I wrote about are things I wouldn’t write about now. I think my style is a lot less formal and more chatty, I have much more confidence in what I want to write about and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about life – not just from blogging but I was 18 when I started my blog and next week I turn 23, a lot changes in five years and I have grown up a lot.

I couldn’t do another year of daily blogging I know that for sure – I don’t think anyone’s creativity really let’s them make good, original content every single day and the quality would have to suffer to make that much content. Even if blogging was your full time job there’s still days with meetings and interviews and business stuff and social stuff that takes whole days and unless you were incredibly organised all the time I think it would be a real challenge for anyone. Now I definitely prioritise my own sanity and the quality of my writing over posting more frequently.

And to be honest? I don’t think I’d want to – having that much time to spend on my blog would be amazing but I’d rather spend all that time making really good content once or twice a week. I’m busy to be honest – I’m going back to uni, I’m going to be working part time, I have a social life and friends to catch up with, I like spending time with my family and I’ve worked so hard on my personal development this year and I’m so proud of myself. My time management and productivity has come on in leaps and bounds – I regularly get all the things on my daily to do lists done because I’ve really refined what works for me and throwing ‘publishing a blog post every single day’ into the mix isn’t something I want to commit myself to.

So what’s the purpose of this blog post? A little bit of self reflection and a delayed pat on the back – I achieved so much in 2015 and it stands as one of the best (and worst) years of my life and I’m really glad I documented it. Daily blogging definitely has it’s place, but I’ve done my time I think!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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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

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should I stop counting clouds?

2019, career

Hello!

Today, I wanted to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, basically since I named my blog and YouTube channel – is it time to move on from Sophie Counts Clouds?

When I started YouTube and engaging with content online, people didn’t use their names in the same way they do now because the internet was new and a bit scary and you didn’t want to put your surname out there. Louise Pentland was Sprinkle of Glitter, Carrie Hope Fletcher was ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Dan Howell was danisnotonfire – so many creators have moved on to using their names instead of these pen names they started with.

On the blogosphere, it’s not quite the same – one of my favourite bloggers is Jemma at dorkface, I know Victoria at inthefrow is a hugely successful blogger (even if it’s not my kind of content!) and when I googled ‘biggest UK bloggers’ the top name on the first link was The Londoner by Rosie Thomas. So maybe bloggers aren’t following the same trend as YouTubers and it’s more about how you build a brand?

Either way, I feel like ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ might be coming to its end – to me it feels super childish, but I have centred a lot of my branding around it? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot so I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list to see if it helps!

  1. It would feel a bit more grown up – to be, Counts Clouds has always felt more childish than cute indie airy-fairy hipster (which is clearly what I’m going for)
  2. I’d be more comfortable promoting my blog and channel on CVs and job applications if it didn’t sound like a children’s TV channel (can someone confirm whether it sounds childish or not because I don’t know if I’m losing it a little bit)
  3. Maybe I’ll stop wondering if my name is what’s holding me back…

  1. Every single social media post I’ve ever made in over four years would have a broken link as it would still have the ‘sophiecountsclouds’ url
  2. It would cost money I don’t have to buy a new URL and transfer it all over – I am wanting at some point this year to work with a designer on pipdig to properly upgrade my blog because I know that website design is something I don’t know a lot about yet (going to make time to learn and make the most of Skillshare on this one!) but all of those social media links would be broken and I think I’d really see it take an effect on my stats
  3. Finding a URL which has an available URL and is available on both twitter and Instagram to have matching handles everywhere is so hard – with a name like ‘Sophie’, even if I thought of something that didn’t use my surname (like The Anna Edit or Lucy Moon), the fact that I have such a common name really doesn’t work in my favour. A year or so ago I considered changing my platforms to ‘sophieannwrites’ and ‘sophieannvlogs’ and ‘sophieannonthegram’ (which I’m still obsessed with) but I don’t think all of the handles were available and I don’t know if them all being different would make it more difficult and blah blah, there’s a lot of factors.

It’s so much easier to think of the cons because change is scary and but I think I’d feel so much more comfortable and at home on my blog if it was something a bit less up in the air (ironic, clouds, geddit?).

So my conclusion is that I don’t know – what I do know is that I don’t feel ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ truly represents me right now. If anyone has ever done anything like this or considered this kind of change before, any advice is welcome!

There’s lots of things to consider, maybe I start a whole new blog from scratch, who knows? I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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thinking of ideas when you’re uninspired

2018

Hello!

I think we can all agree, that one of the most difficult things about making content consistently online is having enough ideas of things to talk, write and post about. Everyone goes through periods of feeling incredibly inspired and having loads of posts you want to write but similarly, I’m pretty sure everyone goes through periods of having no idea what to make!

I’ve been making YouTube videos for nearly 5 years and writing blog posts for over 4 and whilst I’ve had different consistencies of how frequently I’ve posted, I’ve made 300 videos and 600 blog posts and I think I’m doing alright! I’ve been consistently publishing two blog posts and two videos a week for a fair few months now so I thought I’d share my three top tips for finding ideas when nothing is springing to mind!

1. What do you enjoy making the most? 
Sometimes if you’re feeling uninspired, the best thing is to go back to content that you enjoy making the most because that always comes through. Making what you love often makes it easier to motivate yourself to actually make it and can reignite the spark for why you love making content at all, thus getting those creative juices flowing and maybe sparking some more ideas.

2. Looking back at what you’ve already made
Scrolling back through my blog posts and YouTube videos, looking back at what I’ve published, what worked, what people engaged with and reacted well to often makes me think of something  new I want to make or something I’d like to try again. Also works if you scroll through your favourite blogs or YouTube channels!

3. Using social media
Something as simple as searching ‘blog’ or ‘video’ on twitter or instagram (or your YouTube sub feed and recommend pages!), scrolling through what other people are making, even having a read or watch and engaging with others content, you’ll be inspired by something or like an idea or think of something for sure. Even if you end up using someone’s idea (as long as you credit them obviously!) it might get you back on the creative track and inspire you back to your usual, idea brewing self! Also a bonus that it’ll keep you up to date on trends and what’s popular and what is working for other people, which is always useful!

I mean, it’s easy enough to google ‘blog ideas’, I think we’ve all done it, but I’ve never found an idea or written a post from a random list of ideas that I’ve been passionate about and lists of ideas will never beat your idea or your research and it won’t really fit what you want.

It can be tough, but if you’re prepared to put the work in and make content that you’re really passionate about and love, then your content will be fantastic.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Is blogging ‘dying’?

2018

Hello!

As someone who is looking for a career in social media, I’m quite analytical of how I and others use social media and what different platforms are offering.

I read a really interesting article (or it might have been Hannah Gale’s insta stories?) about how ‘microblogging’ on instagram is becoming more popular, both with creators and getting more response from an audience, in terms of writing longer captions that have a theme and may or may not be in any way related to the picture it’s captioning.

The primary difference I find between my blog and my instagram is how much more immediate Instagram can be – stories are instant and in a way people have started using it to daily vlog, Instagram TV looks like it’s trying to rival YouTube (though I’m not sure how well that’s going…) and making posts and writing out long captions is a way of short form blogging.

A lot of people use Instagram in different ways – some people post fun pictures of good times and don’t think too much about what they post, it’s like a scrapbook or a memory. As opposed to the more ‘blogger’ or influencer approach, where photos fit with a theme and whilst making creative content is important, it’s also about reaching as many people as possible by making the photos fit well together (like having a theme), engaging with the human experience in the caption and making the most of hashtags and reaching people that don’t follow you yet as much as captivating their followers too.

That’s not to say that there will be a day where we can say ‘ah yes, blogging is officially dead, RIP blogging’ – there will always be a community of people who like to blog, in the same way that people still read newspapers and listen to the radio. New media and old media are often in competition and trends come and go, but so far it’s all somewhat balanced in their audience size.

I don’t think blogging will ‘die’ so to speak, not in the way snapchat did anyway, but it’s interesting to see how the medium develops and where the majority of an audience is. Instagram is a huge marketing tool for brands, businesses and even content creators that are just starting out. The rise of the influencer started on YouTube and Instagram (to my knowledge, anyway!) and lots of companies and ‘#ad’s are on Instagram as much if not more than they are on YouTube, because audiences are potentially more likely to engage.

Obviously I’m not a marketing expert (yet, I’m looking for courses), this is just coming from my own observations and interest in social media, but I’m really intrigued – what do you think? Are you still a big fan of blogging or would you rather scroll through Instagram’s multitude of content? I’d love to know!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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