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

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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

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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August Goals!

2020, goals

Hello!

July has been absolutely mad – every week I thought there’d be a ‘quiet week’ where I could catch up on some sleep and chill, I’ve been here there and everywhere! With my fiancé (I have to force myself to call him that because it still feels weird) going back to work and having the house to myself I’m having to get used to a whole new normal all over again (and it’s still not helping me make any progress with my masters dissertation project).

But a new month brings a new chance to achieve new goals! Do I need the start of a month to decide I want to try and achieve something new? Absolutely not, but it’s what works for me so I suppose what I’m saying is you do you fam.

Alongside my ongoing monthly goals of having a date night with my fiancé (though it’s mostly been ordering food and watching trash TV recently!) and reading at least one book, these are the five things I’m going to focus on this month.

  • plan 5 chapters of my novel

I’ve been worked on this book on and off since I finished the first draft eight years ago, but I’m planning for this next draft to be my last so I want to plan five more chapters ahead of the 50,000 word writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo in November.

  • make a new, more gentle dissertation project plan and make some progress

With everything that’s going on in the world and the complete disruption of the end of my masters, my diss project (the media bit, not the essay!) has been something that I’ve kept putting off and now it feels like this massive physical barrier that makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I’ve considered asking my course leader if I can defer and start the module again in September to finish next May, but this whole course has been an emotional and financial mess and I just want to get it done and over with. So I need to balance my anxious feelings about it with my Organisation Queen side that can get shit done and find a happy medium of ‘little and often’ (and not be scared of opening software).

  • exercise – three runs and one home workout a week

In July, I wanted to do the Couch to 5k program and I’ve managed three runs a week every week. Although I’m on my 5th week of running and I’m still on week 2 of the program, the fact I’m going out and trying and doing some exercise for half an hour three times a week is a big achievement. So I want to gently build on that – I designed a little home workout routine a couple of months ago and I want to use it. It’s a two sets of seven exercises focusing on different goals (full bodyweight and flexibility) and I tested it this morning and it went well – I set a timer for half an hour and just made my way through the number of reps in each exercise and both sets until the timer went off and it went well. I think having a set time to exercise for meant I knew that there was a definitive end point so I’m going to try and maintain this in August – we’ll see how it goes!

  • meditate every morning

Whenever I’ve set myself a task to do every day it doesn’t usually go very well, but there was a point where I was meditating every morning and I felt so much better for it so I want to try and do that again! I think it’ll help my anxiety levels, particularly in regard to my dissertation project, so hopefully I can start to see some benefits by the end of the month.

  • t-shirt sewing project

I’ve been banging on about my t-shirt blanket for absolutely ages but whilst I filled up one side of the blanket I do have more t-shirts left so I want to take a different approach this time and sew them together before I attach them to the blanket so I want to make a start on that this month. I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it because there’s 10-15 shirts and after the first few it might get a bit more difficult to sit and sew it by hand as it gets bulkier but we’ll see how it goes!

I’ve been feeling really low and demotivated recently but having written out all my goals for the month I think they’re achievable if I put my mind to it, but remembering to be gentle with myself is important too, so will be interesting to see if I can strike that balance!

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

Sophie xx

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August Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals

Hello!

love goal setting and the end of June is always somewhat momentous for me because I know it marks the halfway point to the year, so it’s the best time to check in on my goals, adapt if necessary and see how much progress I’m making!

Quick context – I have three categories that I set goals in (personal, career, creative) and each of those categories has three goals and then I tried something new this year in setting some ‘bucket list’ style goals.

I’ll try to keep this brief but I do love a ramble about goals and progress so tuck yourself in lads! Grab a cuppa and tell me all about your goals in the comments please!

Personal Goals:

1. work towards my weight goals – eat well, build workout routine

I feel like I mention it in every blog post, YouTube video and Instagram caption but I’ve been trying to lose weird basically forever now. Progress has been slow over the last three months or so but I’m trying to eat much more intuitively and I’ve been running three times a week (or thereabout) for nearly 10 weeks now and I feel like it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something and I’m really proud of myself!

2. prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

I’ve been refining how I make my to do lists and generally I am finding ways to make the most of every day as much as I can. I definitely haven’t been making time for hobbies but I have been more efficient with my productivity. I still care about productivity much more than I want to, but with how the rest of the year is going to go I think the time for hobbies will come. But in a way writing blog posts and YouTube videos are my hobbies so I guess that counts?

3. self esteem, I need some

This was a way of wording ‘fix my mental health’ whilst being a bit kinder to myself about it. I’ve tried my best to get to know each other and build better habits and I’m much better at recognising the triggers of when I’m not doing so good. I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments, I’m on anti-depressants now and I’m on a waiting list for computerised CBT, which I’m hesitant about but know it’ll probably be for the best. This is the most progress I’ve made with my mental health in the ten years I’ve been internally battling with myself so whilst I don’t really have any self-esteem yet, the whole process is a work in progress.

Career Goals:

1. build freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, superhero woman (essentially)

I set this goal in the beginning of the year when I had freelance work and that fell through within a few weeks (which was horrible, ngl) so now this goal is just about working hard for me. How this year has gone so far hasn’t been to plan for me, but I’ve gotten over myself and made my situation work and I’ve earned enough many to make a big purchase recently so it’s going okay! I’m making it all work.

2. build my own media kit (save for a camera/refine my skills)

This one is something I know exactly what I want but I’ve justified that I’m not going to spend the money on something as big as a camera and lenses etc when I’m not certain I’m going to use them or they’re going to be a cost-effective purchase. If I spend the second half of the year glued to a camera, then I can justify it, if I don’t then I’m not going to spend that much money on a camera. All justified!

3. make a future plan with work goals, house/relationship aspirations etc

I’ve done this! Not set in stone kind of 5 year plan because that just doesn’t work for me but I have the framework in my bullet journal and that I add to a change and adapt occasionally. It’s all flexible because I think life is too unpredictable to really make a solid 5 year plan.

Creative Goals:

1. continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and youtube channel

Actually really pleased with this one – I’m really happy with the attitude I have towards my blog and my channel at the moment and cutting myself some slack when I don’t upload exactly at the right time or anything. I feel more genuine than I’ve felt in a long time and I’m really happy with it.

2. write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018 (may be some freelance writing?)

I’ve been planning little writing challenges all through this year in the build up to writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo and it’s been going semi-decently! I’ve not always hit word counts but I’ve been writing consistently for the first time since before I went to uni. This month I’m hoping to write 35,000 words but I’m significantly behind and it’s day 6 so I’m hoping to get a couple of really good catch up days in before the month is out.

3. work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year teaching myself the basics of photography – what all the settings really mean, getting to know my camera, figuring out how the core skills of photography really work. It’s something I want to develop further with more experience when I go back to uni in September but for now I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

This one is centred around driving for me – I can’t walk to a gym locally and I’m moving soon so getting professional help with working out will come when either I can drive or I move. Another work in progress!

2. get another tattoo

Done! Got a series of tattoos to start my travel sleeve this week and I love them so much.

(photos)

3. read a book a month

I’m currently on 7 out of 12 books for the year! I haven’t read for a few weeks but because I was a little bit ahead it was a bit of pressure off and I’m going to get back to it soon, when I’ve fixed my sleeping pattern (lol).

4. do a grid drawing every month

For context – the premise of this is this is that I print off a line drawing, draw a 30 square grid over the top and colour in one square each day of the month. This is something I’m really enjoying – sometimes I find colouring books a bit daunting because I don’t know where to start or they’re so intricate but this one has been really good for my mental health and for my creativity.

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

I’ve been writing my monthly mixtape posts for a few months now and I listen to my discover weekly playlist every week!

6. save for a canon 80d, 50mm lens and a 75-300mm lens

See previous photography goals – if I don’t do this one it’s a financial choice.

7. have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month

I wrote a blog post about how I’ve already broken this one for the year but finances and work have disrupted this one a little, but that’s alright – it was pretty ambitious anyway.

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

I have taken my driving test once and failed but next one is booked and I feel so much better about it. And I bought a new car at the weekend! I’m genuinely so excited about it all, I can’t wait to see where my little H R Wheels and I will go in the latter half of this year.

9. improve my posture

A silly one, but one I’m trying to integrate into my day to day life.

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

And following the brief mention of going back to uni, my boyfriend and I will be moving somewhere close to Oxford (probably Aylesbury because there doesn’t seem to property available anywhere else). We’ll be moving in the next couple of months!

And that’s a check in with all of my goals for 2019! I think checking in on goals like this is really important because if you’re on track and making progress it inspires you to keep going and if you feel like you’ve not made as much progress as you’d like it gives you the kick up the bum to focus!! Here’s to the home straight of 2019!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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top tips for photo albums and scrapbooking!

2019, creativity

Hello!

Scrapbooking and photo albums are such easy ways of keeping memories – saving concert tickets, postcards from holidays and printed photos is such a nice physical representation of what’s important to you to sit and flick through with family and friends.

For some, it’s as simple as something to stick down and a bit of tape, for the more creative of us there’s patterned paper, coloured pens, washi tape, stickers, stencils, stamps and all sorts of other bits and bobs to take it from memories on a page to something that is much more of a creative outlet.

That’s what scrapbooking and making my photo albums is for me – it’s a couple of hours in an afternoon a couple of times a month saving memories for generations down the line to browse through. So I thought I’d have a little ramble of how it works for me and a few tips and tricks.

[ s c r a p b o o k i n g ]

I started my scrapbook because I wanted somewhere to put all of my photos and posters that I’d had to take down from bedroom wall before I moved to uni. I spent maybe an hour on it in first year (yes, 2015) and then didn’t really touch it till I moved home after graduating. But then I went all out! I’d build up quite the collection of memories at this point and I spent a couple of days pouring my heart and soul in these pages to get up to date.

 

Now I just update it whenever I’ve got something I want to stick in or I’ve been on a trip and collected lots of memories – like when I took my boyfriend to Paris earlier this year.

Something I’ve learnt now that I will definitely implement in my future scrapbooking is not getting too heavy with layering things on top of each other – sticking stuff onto every page is already going to make your scrapbook fat enough but you still want to be able to close it.

But otherwise, I don’t really have any tips or tricks to share – scrapbooking is an incredibly personal thing and whether you’re simply sticking things in or you’ve got stickers and magic tapes galore, it all looks good and serves the same purpose – it’s all just about what you want from your scrapbook.

[ p h o t o   a l b u m s ]

My photo albums started as a way to capture university memories – I used a website called photobox to print polaroid-ish photos with little captions and I hung them up in my room on my fairy lights. In second year, after I worked (and lost my job) at Paperchase (still bitter, ngl) I bought one of their beautiful self adhesive photo albums which were perfect for four photos per page, lovely quality, fantastic.

I did my last photobox order after I finished university as by then, my mum had found an app called Snapfish which offers 50 free 6×4 prints a month (but only on the app, not the website) and I started ordering from there.

So I went from a self adhesive album, to a more scrapbook like album, to another self-adhesive Paperchase album, to an actual scrapbook.

Yeah, this is where it all starts to crossover.

I remembered I had a scrapbook that I had given to my Nan as a Christmas present and my uncle had given it back to me after she passed away. I was keeping it for ‘something special’ and it just kind of hit me that if I kept saving it I was never going to use it. So I flicked through the pages she had used, typed up a little letter of context (for any future generations who are obviously deeply concerned about the story behind the scrapbook…) and started sticking in my 2019 photos!

Personally I really like using photo corners because I think they’re the easiest way to make sure the photos stay secure without damaging them and they can look really cute too.

My biggest tip is don’t be drawn in to all the really expensive photo albums on the market – though the self adhesive ones can have really pretty designs and be ‘so convenient’, it’s significantly cheaper to buy an A3 scrapbook and some funky photo corners. But like the scrapbooking, it’s down to personal preference.

[ t h e    p l a n ]

From here, I’m going to keep filling photo albums until I finish my scrapbook and then I’m going to combine the two. I was finding I was having to print multiples of the same photo to put in each memory book so I’m just going to keep printing photos and keep the memorabilia to work in to combine them all.

It’ll make my photo albums more creative, it’ll stop duplicates in my scrapbook and all round, it’s something I’m really excited about. It’s going to be so cute.

At the end of the day, I design all of these because I’m an incredibly sentimental person who is absolutely in love with the idea of my family, generations down the line looking back through my soppy memories of the beginning of my relationship, growing up, dumb things that make me laugh and the creativity I put into it, it’s so much fun. But all completely recyclable too so there’s always that.

If you’ve got any scrapbook or photo album tips please do let me know in the comments! I love looking at pictures of other peoples journals and albums!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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February Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

I’m sure everyone will disagree, but oh how this month has flown! I feel like January got away from me a bit and I’m not sure how it’s February  already but here we are! Therefore, it’s time to reevaluate and refocus – it’s goals time.

{ F E B R U A R Y   G O A L S }

  1. Make specific goals and stick to them – this one will almost certainly extend past February but I don’t want to give myself any more vague tasks like ‘get a job’ or ‘eat healthier’. I’m going to be more focused and therefore (hopefully) more achievable and trackable!
  2. Hit my next weight loss goal – I’ve been saying for a while that I want to start talking more specifically about numbers because I think part of the stigma around being plus sized and overweight is being afraid of talking about numbers so I’ve had these mental goals for a few weeks but here’s my moment of being brave. In February I’d like to hit my next goals of being under 16 stone and under 100kg. I think I’ll hit these goals about the same time but I’ve been hovering quite close to it for a few weeks now so it’s time to knuckle down and get back into good habits!
  3. Make some money – it sounds weird, but it’s been a goal of mine to ‘get a job’ for the last 8 or 9 months I think but this month I really need to or I don’t know what I’m going to do next month. To make this happen, I want to apply for a jobs locally in my town, continue applying for career related jobs and research more about doing a Masters because it’s an option I think I’m going to have to take at this point. I’d like to have a concrete plan or at least an idea of what I want the rest of the year to look like by the end of February.
  4. Rejig my content posting schedule – the schedule I’ve got seems to work in theory but every Friday night when I’m meant to upload my second YouTube video of the week something comes up and I can’t get it up on time but I always have it filmed and edited so I think I need to experiment with what day I upload. No one puts any pressure for me to upload at a certain time except me so I need to give myself the freedom to play around with it.
  5. Write 20,000 words of my project – I’ve decided this year is the year for me to get back to writing and I want to build up to NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words more gradually so this is my first step – 20k is 715 words a day and I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed but I really want to make sure it’s something I get done because 20,000 words is a lot and I think it’ll put me in a good mindset for the rest of the year.

Last month was tough – post-graduate life, not having a job and feeling like I have literally zero life prospects really caught up with me and I’ve started February with mixed feelings about it all. But I know I’m the only person who can change it so I need to buckle down and get on with it! Or at least try!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a day in Newton Abbot | diary 4

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

I wouldn’t say the ‘diary’ posts on my blog are a series per say, but every now and then I like to take a step back and think about blogging at it’s roots – a web log, an online journal, a “Dear Diary” of sorts and I want to get back to that a bit! I properly love the content I’m making at the moment and focusing on being the most genuine me has really helped me nail what I want to do so I thought I would tell you about my day. Why not, right?

My alarm went off at 6.30am as normal, except I woke up in a Premier Inn in Newton Abbott and not my bed at home, so I’m on a different side to usual and my phone was where my boyfriend usually is, so in all that confusion my first alarm properly woke me up in a way that the second two alarms normally do.

But as we’re away and not in our usual home setting, I didn’t rush out of bed – I saw Louise Pentland posted in her ‘Wilde Readers’ Facebook group (which I absolutely adore might I add, thoroughly recommend joining if you love reading!) and accidentally made her day, which was a pretty perfect start to the morning.

When I did roll out of bed about 7am, I went to the bathroom and used one of the Garnier Moisture Bomb eye masks because I’m kind of a little bit on holiday and I had one so I wanted to use it to treat myself this morning.

Eye mask on, I set myself up at the little desk in our hotel room, plugged my hard drive and SD card in because I might not be at home but I still want to keep up with my blog/YouTube schedule so I sat down to edit and schedule my video for this week where I talked about how everyone wants subscribers – because it was for YouTube I made it about subscribers but it applies to anyone who makes content online really. Bloggers want followers and views, artists want people to like their art on Instagram, heck I’m sure even people on tiktok want an audience and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while! If you’ve got 8 minutes to give it a watch and leave a comment that would mean the world!

And at 8.30am I started the ball rolling on this blog post, because I’ve actually made the sensible decision to add to this post as I go along today rather than trying to remember it all tonight!

Once I finished my YouTube edit and starting drafting this blog post (it all suddenly feels very meta), I got dressed and did my hair and make-up. I’m in Newton Abbott for a wedding but that’s not till tomorrow and I’m not involved in any of the rehearsals or anything so today is just a day to explore somewhere new!

I had an appointment at a nail salon at 10.15am but I didn’t exactly know where I was going so my boyfriend and I took a stroll towards the town leaving at 9.30am to give ourselves plenty of time to get there.

After a little bit of confusion and calling the salon because Google Maps was wrong, I went for my appointment, nails were done (kind of average but I booked last minute so it wasn’t awful and it was available!), then I found Lucas again and we went to a Wetherspoons for lunch (always had a soft spot for a Spoons) which was lovely.

Then our walk home from town was really casual and chilled and we were back in the hotel room by quarter to one. This afternoon we don’t really have any plans – the rest of my family were arriving for the wedding, I wanted to upload my video and add to this blog post and get on with some other bits so I don’t have to think about them tomorrow.

I spent most of the afternoon starting February’s spreads in my bullet journal (and having a minor freak out about how I’m going to survive financially, but whatever) and desperately trying to upload this YouTube video.

When one of my cousin’s arrived at the hotel we went down to help him bring all the babies stuff up to his room and spent some time chatting to him and his girlfriend, then my sister arrived so we helped her check in and then we decided we would all go to dinner together at 6pm before going over to the hotel where the wedding is to see the rest of the family in the evening!

Lucas and Lexie, causing trouble

After an hour or so seeing all the family (which was just so lovely, I love it when we have the whole family together) my boyfriend and I got a taxi back (one of the most expensive taxi’s I’ve ever had) and then I had a quick shower before settling down for bed watching Taskmaster.

And that was today!

I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing this so much – I’ve made it a real focus of mine to make the most genuine content I can because there was a point last year where I started to feel so disingenuous and fake and I wanted to strip it back. Long rambly posts are so much more ‘me’ than trying to be concise because someone says blog posts should be 300-400 words. Some people like the long posts and I’m one of them!

What have you done this weekend? Have you got any plans? I’d love to hear all about them!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 tips for packing a weekend bag | Travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

Remember when I used to write about travel on this blog? Well she’s bringing it back lads – between having a few trips planned this year and wanting to travel more, I want to write about it more too!

Already confirmed this year I’ve got a little holiday to Centre Parcs with a close family friend, a trip to Paris with my boyfriend and lots of ideas for the rest of the weekend but the purpose of this blog post is packing for a family wedding down in Devon this weekend.

Now though I’m going to be talking about packing as light as possible, I am going for 5 days (kind of by accident, it’s a very long story!) so bare that in mind!

Whenever I’m packing, I want to make sure that I use every single thing I take but, on the flipside, don’t leave myself short – if I’m going for one night and I’m only taking a backpack that I’m going to be carrying the whole time I need to make sure I’m only taking the bare minimum. Whereas if I’m going for a few days, staying in a hotel and driving there and back I know I can take a suitcase and not worry too much about it being heavy.

With all that in mind, here are a few of my top tips for packing efficiently for short trips!

1 – make a list!

Shock horror, isn’t my first suggestion always a list? I know, but what I mean is make something visual – whether it’s putting pen to paper and planning outfits for the trip, making a note on your phone of how many items of clothing or any essentials you need to remember or even if it’s laying everything out on the floor so you can see it all! Personally, I find it so much easier to think about what could be missing or what I’ve over packed when I can see it all.

2 – get everything before you start packing

Again, going to sound incredibly obvious but lay out everything you need (and I mean everything) before you start folding it all up and putting it in your suitcase or pack. Just so you know exactly what you’re working with and can figure out whether your bag is too big or too small. So much easier than rushing around everywhere collecting the bits you’ve forgotten!

3 – using packing cubes / freezer bags to separate things if it helps!

Whether it’s separating each outfit by day, separating items of clothing or even just putting all your toiletries and beauty bits in different freezer bags (or whatever your bag of choice is!) having some organisation within your travel bag can make finding what you want while you’re away so much easier.

Packing cubes can be a great long term investment but if you’re not sure if they’ll work for you yet, either use bags you already own or freezer bags, carrier bags, anything really! Whatever you can think of to separate out what you’re taking in whatever way suits you best.

4 – what toiletries do you really need?

It’s so easy to take every dry shampoo, moisturiser and face mask under the sun but realistically, what are you actually going to use? It’s so easy to feel like you’ll suddenly need everything but on some shorter trips you might not even need to do a hair wash, so why lug bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel when you don’t need them.

If you’re wanting to bring lots but don’t want to bring full size bottles, either buy travel versions or alternatively (cheaper but more effort) buy those little empty bottles you can get at Boots or Superdrug (or the like) and bring a little bit of each product rather than the full bottles.

5 – don’t bring entertainment you don’t need

A weekend away can mean such a variety of things – using public transport for a one night stay, driving somewhere for a 4 night stay or flying somewhere short haul for a three night stay (or any amalgamation of the three!) and consequently, different forms of entertainment may be necessary.

For a train journey, I tend to bring my laptop or use my phone to pass the time, in the car I can’t do anything but listen to music and sleep and if you’re flying anywhere you’re probably going to spend hours in an airport so it might even be worth bringing a back of cards or Uno!

But on the other hand, you don’t want to take your laptop, three hard drives and a full set of coloured pens (for bullet journal stuff, or colouring, whatever floats your boat) if you’re not going to have time to use them! Really think about what you’re going to be doing while you’re away, whether you’re going to have time to use them or if you’ll need them (for work or, let’s say, writing blog posts!) so you don’t have to carry anything you’re not using!

With all of that in mind, I’m off to pack! I hope this has helped, if there are any travel related blog posts (or anything related blog posts!) you’d like to see please do let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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