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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a photography day in the life

2019, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

I love doing these photography posts and with posting weekly vlogs on my YouTube channel, sometimes I forget to include some more of these ‘diary’ like and more of an insight into my daily life over here on my blog! So that’s what I wanted to do today.

This day started as most of my days do – with a 30g bowl of off-brand Corn Flakes. I wanted to try and take photos that are a bit different so I tried to get an action shot of pouring the cereal (it didn’t go very well but I tried and that’s the important bit).

I then take my cereal up to my little office that I share with my boyfriend and watch some YouTube whilst eating breakfast. I used to try to multitask and post on instagram or start my to do list at the same time but I’ve found focusing on one thing at a time is so much more useful – so I start with just breakfast and YouTube before the day really begins.

When I’ve finished, I take my bowl back downstairs (otherwise I will stay sat on my sofa for hours), brush my teeth and go to get dressed before I start on that days to do’s.

This day was a day for a cosy chunky knit jumper with a pinafore, blue eyeliner and some glowy highlight. Just for the sake of transparency, I’ve photoshopped the colour of my hair and eyes because I fancied playing around and editing stuff like that is fun, even if it’s not real. Just a disclaimer!

(the highlight is all real though)

Then my boyfriend and I went on a little walk to Sainsburys (to play Pokemon Go) – he had his second driving test that afternoon so he was feeling very nervous and I was trying to keep him distracted.

(unfortunately he didn’t pass but it was one very minor mistake so he and his instructor are hoping he’ll pass by the end of next month, fingers crossed!)

I meant to take a picture in Sainsburys to prove we went but I forgot so here’s a picture of Lucas (the boyf) carrying the bag out the shop, as proof. I haven’t bought a new carrier bag for a long time and I’m actually so proud of myself – I’m not one of those horribly pushy people that will tell you you’re destroying the planet, but I’m really trying hard to not use unnecessary plastic in day to day life and I’m actually enjoying it.

Haul from our walk – juice from Tescos (it’s the best juice), pizza for dinner from Sainsburys and a lemon tart for Lucas because he had a craving and I said I’d buy it for him as congratulations or commiserations after his test.

He ate nearly the whole thing in one sitting last night, it was actually a bit gross. How that boy can eat so much and still be so thin absolutely baffles me.

For lunch, I had some leftover roast vegetables and cous cous (so yummy) and played some Overwatch on the X-Box because ‘mission: keep Lucas distracted’ was not yet complete.

Then he went off for his test. This boy has been on a real difficult journey with learning to drive and no, it wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for but he did bloody well and I’m still so proud.

Whilst he was gone, I filmed my own video about driving and did a little update about how my driving lessons are going and what I’m up to. I also took some posy photos because I can link my camera to my phone and take photos remotely and I’m still so impressed by it.

And I feel adorable in this jumper so I took more photos. Maybe it’s vain, but I’ve hated my reflection for a long old time so when I’m feeling a bit vain, I’ll indulge. Why not, eh? A selfie never hurt anyone!

That afternoon I was at my dance school volunteering on reception – this is something I do twice a week. Usually I’ll have some emails to send, some things to sort, calls to make or queries to answer but today there was nothing to do so I did some work on my own laptop.

At this point in the day I was starting to get tired (because no matter how much sleep I get I just can’t shake it at the moment!) and this photo was a bit boring so I played with it and y’know what? This is a pretty good visual representation of what my brain has felt like for most of this week – muted and blurry.

In the same congratulatory/commemoratory vain as the lemon tart, we had pizza for dinner – I’ve really been enjoying this veggie pizza from Sainsburys and ended up having a whole veggie day on this day. I’m not deliberately going vegetarian but I like to notice that sometimes I am eating this way. It’s all about being conscious isn’t it and I’m making an effort!

One of the goals I’ve been working on this month actually covers two of my New Year’s Resolutions – not being on my computer in the evenings and doing a ‘grid drawing’ every month. I do love art, I’m not very good at it and haven’t really done it properly since I was maybe 14, but this year I’m doing a grid drawing every month.

I print off a line drawing, split it into however many even days are in the month (so this is 30, even though there’s 31 days in January) and do one square a day. It’s really relaxing, it’s colouring without the commitment and I think it’ll look somewhere between a bit cool and really silly by the end of the month.

Yes this is a Lego Spider-Man car, because my mum suggested I like Spider-Man and I like cars (I’m not, really) so I combined the two and found this wonder on the internet. I’m having a great time.

If I have time, I like to do a bit of knitting in the evening – it’s something I only picked up in the last couple of weeks because over Christmas my sister did loads of knitting and I thought it would be a great TV watching activity because it’s not staring at a screen but it’s doing something mildly productive whilst relaxing in the evening and I’m really enjoying it!

Then at about 10 I headed upstairs to start the bedtime routine – step 1, brush teeth and wash face. This photo was has been layered and blurred in an attempt to make a slightly more interesting edit – my eyes are definitely struggling to focus at this time of night.

I’m going to do a full morning/evening routine video or blog post soon so I’ll go into more detail about products etc in that if you’re interested!

Next it’s back to my room to tone and moisturise my face, get changed into my pyjamas and get ready to read a chapter or two before I go to sleep.

I wanted to get one last photo to round off this little series and then Lucas wanted to join in so this happened (I kind of hate it but he’s too cute not to include).

And this is generally the last thing I see before I go to sleep – I’m in a pretty good routine of being in bed and falling asleep between 11-11.30 and getting out of bed between 6.30-7 which I’m so proud of because boy I’ve been working on this sleep schedule for years.

And that was my day! It was a mixed one with the sad news of Lucas not passing his test and being out of the house but I really enjoy these posts and I definitely enjoyed experimenting in photoshop a little bit!

If you like these kinds of posts or have any photography recommendations for me please do leave a comment down below! This isn’t my best photography by any means but it was meant to be a snapshot of my day and a little more instant and I really enjoyed making it, so I hope you enjoyed reading it too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how I lost 16lbs without dieting

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I feel like I’ve been banging on about how I’m trying to lose weight in literally everything I make or post. But here we are again because losing weight is really hard so if I can contribute anything and help someone, I’m going to try!

I really dedicatedly started trying to lose weight (and started seeing results) at the beginning of October. Now, nearly 4 months later I’m 16lbs down, I’m on my way to being fitter and I really feel like I’m making sustainable life changes! All without going on any fad diet or ridiculous workout program that makes you want to vomit. So, I thought I’d just have a little chit chat about the steps I took to get to this point, where I see my progress going in the future and how I’m going to maintain a healthy weight when I get there.

Let’s give a little bit of context – when I was a teenager, I was so convinced I was huge. I felt fat, I thought everyone thought I was essentially an elephant waddling round school and alongside that my main source of exercise being dance meant I was surrounded by skinny gorgeous girls in leotards and the fact my arms wobbled and I had that little stomach pouch (that basically every woman has) was literally the end of the world. At that point I was wondering somewhere around 12 stone/13 stone. Looking at height/weight charts, I was on the heavier end of healthy, but I was healthy.

Then I went to uni, got a boyfriend and had to massively cut down the amount of dancing I was doing. And here we have a recipe for packing on the pounds.

Without going into (even more) detail, by the time I moved home from uni in July last year I was approximately 5 stone heavier than when I left. Even though I didn’t actually look that drastically different.

  • step 1cut out the snacks

My biggest problem and the first thing I wanted to address was that when I was hungry, I just found something to eat. I knew I had to get used to not snacking throughout the day so it was a couple of painful weeks of being absolutely ravenous and craving every carb under the sun, I really noticed a change in my body’s eating habits and it kind of blew me away, because I think I’d tricked myself into believed that it couldn’t change and I would always be that hungry.

It feels awful at the beginning but it does get better and it does get easier I promise.

  • step 2 – think about what you’re eating and try to make healthier choices

I know this sounds so ridiculously vague and I definitely don’t know enough about nutrition but I know that vegetables are good, pastry is a complete no go, carbs are okay in moderation – little things like that! Basically everything is okay in moderation. I plan it so during the week I’m much stricter – I have my cornflakes for breakfast, roast vegetables with cous cous for lunch, a reasonably healthy dinner and 200 calories of dessert snack – then at the weekend I’ll maybe have a toastie for lunch, a McDonalds meal and a Saturday night dessert treat. Within reason of course but doing this I’ve been losing 1-3 lbs every week.

You don’t need to eat foods like kale and avocado and spinach if you don’t like them – every healthy eating recipe I’ve ever looked at includes those kinds of foods, quinoa and seeds and things but I don’t like them. I know that the vegetables I’m eating are good for me, even if these ‘superfoods’ would be better, I’m going to work within what I like and what I can afford. It’s all about balance and learning and we all progress at our own rates.

People will try to tell you that everything is bad – I’ve had people try to tell me that I shouldn’t have sausages, cous cous makes you bloated and hot chocolate is really bad for you but I’m happy with my diet and it’s working for me and it’s sustainable which is the whole point of this, otherwise I might as well just go on a diet.

The other thing I’ve found with making healthier choices is that I really understand now when people say they feel groggy after eating unhealthily – I think it was over Christmas I really started to feel the impact that the change in my eating habits brought and it wasn’t great, but it was also really interesting because it meant that I’d been eating well enough that eating badly made an impact! I really felt it! And that motivated me to start eating well again and it was so refreshing.

Step 3 – be more active

I don’t mean go to the gym or hire a personal trainer or go mad spending lots of money on a program that ‘guarantees results in two weeks’ (I’ve already bought it, it’s not worth it) – I mean literally being more active. For me, my FitBit is a god send because keeping track of my steps and heart rate really helps me see that I’m doing enough each day. I like to change my step goal every week, so I look at the total number of steps for the previous week, then I figure out how many steps I need to do per day to beat it the following week. I think this is a good long term plan because it makes doing more steps part of your everyday life and slowly builds up how much exercise you’re doing.

And then when you feel ready you can start introducing more traditional workouts if you like – I started going to tap classes at my old dance school and I use the Nike training app to build a program that works for me and do workouts at home.

Being back at tap has shown me so much about myself – the whole reason I started this routine to be healthier was because I was noticing I couldn’t do simple things like jump, run up the stairs, I even noticed my walking pace was getting slower and I decided I didn’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be a mum that can’t jump and dance with her kids or isn’t physically fit and healthy enough to keep up with them, I don’t want to teach them bad habits so I’m making a change long before I actually have kids.

Not happening for another 7 or 8 years yet!

  • the next steps

I know that eating and exercising this way will only work to a point and then I will need to start exercising more to get the results that I want. So looking ahead to that I’m going to work out more, building on my current scheme of 1-2 workouts a week for more intense, longer and potentially more frequent workouts. I’d like to get into running and start each day with a walk or a run but that’s very much a work in progress, going to keep walking for now.

When I can drive I want to get a gym membership and actually go to a gym (currently I live just a bit too far away to walk and I can’t afford it) – one of my goals for the year was to have a personal training session. Whether it’s just one or I can afford to have consistent sessions, I want to learn more about weight training, the right kind of working out and how I can progress more in the future to continue losing weight.

In the long game, my goals are to be slim and healthy and then work on getting a bit more toned once I’ve lost the weight (I explained it more in this video) but that will probably be months if not a year or two down the line so I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So that’s everything I’ve done and learnt up to this point! I’m always looking for new recipes and new workouts – I’m going to have a go at some FitBit workouts and I might have a look at some Kayla Itsines workouts but 1) her app is expensive and 2) the workouts I’ve done from Facebook videos have been killer so definitely not ready for it yet.

Also a step I kind of forgot about – drink 2 litres a day, preferably water but I don’t like water and the juice I drink is sugar free and basically water anyway. Obviously 2 litres of cola isn’t going to help your teeth or your diet.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions for new recipes to try, workouts I should have a go at or any advice for losing weight without cutting food groups or anything drastic, please to leave a comment down below! I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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making yourself a routine

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

One of the things I consistently find myself yearning for in day to day life is a routine – when I left school I found it weird so at uni I made myself a more structured routine. Then again when I finished uni I struggled taking each day with no plans and no idea of what would happen.

When you’re freelance, self-employed, unemployed, a graduate struggling to find a job, whatever reason for being home a lot, often on your own and an expanse of uncertain future in front of you, the weight of that uncertainty can make it hard to find a reason to get out of bed. The only definite timings you have are breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s assuming you’re not sad binge eating, snacking all day and have a healthy relationship with food.

So here’s where the routine bit comes in – I’ve always been the person who thrives on structure, will pull a to do list of things I need to do out of the air and keep myself busy so I thought I’d share what works for me. This is a little disclaimer that it’s exactly that – what works for me, everyone is different; some people don’t care about routines, some people really struggle to stick to a plan they’ve made and sometimes other factors come into play, I’m just sharing what I do to structure my days.

There are some tips to how I motivate myself to get out of bed every day and give myself a purpose.

#1 – writing to do lists

Is this a shock to anyone at this point? But seriously – making my monthly goals which feeds to my weekly bullet journal spreads and daily to do post-it notes make it so much easier to make a routine that doesn’t become stale too quickly because each day is different from the tasks I set myself. I then feel more productive and feel mentally prepared to do it all again the next day.

My lists are filled with things like filming videos, writing blog posts, working on my freelance career, but also includes things like doing the laundry, selling that pile of stuff that’s building up in my room etc. Obviously I can’t write a list of things that you could put on a list because it’s so personal, but if you don’t have projects to work on or you struggle to think of things you could put on a list then even things like having a shower, making lunch, making your bed can be a place to start – it’s something to tick off (which is so satisfying) and you can build on it from there.

#2 – have set times for food

It sounds ridiculous, but if you can give yourself time markers throughout the day it just breaks the day up a bit. I aim to eat my breakfast by 9am, I let myself go for lunch at 12pm (I normally count down the minutes) and then depending on what we’re having for dinner I usually start cooking about 5pm for dinner at 6pm. That’s when I stop for the day – I come out of the office, leave my computer and have some off-screen time. Which is ironic because instead of looking at my computer screen I watch TV and scroll through my phone but it’s a work in progress, I’m cutting down my scrolling! An attempt was made!

#3 – plan stuff for the future

This isn’t so much for having a routine but for keeping yourself sane – whether it’s a diary, a bullet journal or a digital calendar on your phone, getting through every day when you have to make stuff up for yourself to do is so much easier when you’ve got days with friends or a weekend away or a job pencilled in, especially if you’re unemployed and don’t have any friends that live nearby, having something to look forward to can make finding a routine in the now much easier.

It’s a bit like #2  – rather than breaking up the day, it breaks up the future so rather than this expanse of ‘no plans’, there’s something coming up. Obviously this is based on the things that I struggle with – some people see a blank calendar as relaxing or exciting but it scares me, to be honest. What I’m saying – take these tips with a pinch of salt!

#4 – have a space to work

This one I struggle a bit to explain, because for me it meant not being in the living room, not being in the kitchen and not being in my bedroom but I know that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of turning a spare bedroom into an office – I definitely didn’t at uni! But if you can find or make a separate space to work on your tasks I find that really helpful. At the moment, I’ve got a little office space at home but when I was at uni I found going into a local cafe or into uni (not the library, it was soul destroying) really helped my productivity.

Sitting somewhere as comfortable as the sofa is probably not going to work in your favour if you’re trying to get out of the slump of binging Netflix and having an afternoon nap. Also then, the sofa is not a work environment and it can be exclusively for binging Netflix and taking an afternoon nap.

#5 – have a strict sleep schedule

I don’t mean strict in the extreme way that you can’t stay up late sometimes and adapt, but having times to wake up and wind down make a routine and structure so much easier.

Personally, I start planning to go to bed at 10pm, by the time I’ve actually got up from the sofa, changed into my PJs, brushed my teeth, read a couple of chapters of my book I’m ready to settle down for sleep between 11pm and 11.30pm. I’ve also recently started not looking at my phone after I’ve plugged into charge before I start reading (except to update my Goodreads progress) and that’s really helped too.

I am to be up between 6.30am-7am but that doesn’t always happen, I’m usually out of bed by 8am at the latest and having that structure is so helpful for my routine.

It’s all a work in progress – I’m still learning, I accidentally spent three hours watching YouTube with breakfast the other day but I mentally reviewed it and planned a way to combat it. It’s about self awareness, noticing the things that aren’t helping your routine and deciding how to work on it.

I hope this has been helpful, it’s turned into a proper long ramble but these are my favourite kinds of posts!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2018 Resolutions Review

2018, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

We’re getting to my favourite time of year where I get to write all the goals posts – today is the first with my review of the goals I set myself at the beginning of 2018.

Right now, when I think back on the year I think pretty positively – I’m just starting to pave a freelance career for myself, my mental health is getting better, I’ve had a wonderful Christmas with my gorgeous family, my relationship is something I truly treasure, things are looking good. However they’re looking very different to what 2017 Sophie was hoping for herself and it’s a little disheartening to be honest, but paths change and just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong!

I like splitting my New Year’s Resolutions into 3 categories with their own goals, so I’ll go through each one before drawing a conclusion.

[ p e r s o n a l : ]

  • find a workout/healthy eating routine – this took a lot of attempts and times but in the last quarter of the year I really settled into this and I’m really motivated going into 2019!
  • eat 3 meals a day – I now eat breakfast basically every day so that’s quite a big step I’ve made this year.
  • make long term changes to how I handle money – this was amazing at the beginning of the year, then my last student loan came in, I didn’t get a job and it all went a bit mental. Money is tight and something I’m still figuring out how to be good at but I’ve got to make it work or I can’t live so this one carries over.
  • make sure to stick to my bullet journal – I properly fell in love with my bullet journal again this year and I’m just starting my third journal, I love it so much.

[ u n i v e r s i t y / c a r e e r : ]

  • expand on my 3 year plan – I basically abandoned my 3 year plan because it wasn’t very flexible, so it didn’t work out very well at all. Admire the optimism of 2017 me though!
  • graduate with at least a 2:1 – I did this, I really wanted to set myself the goal of getting a first but I’m so glad I didn’t because it would have made being so close even more heartbreaking (this still kind of hurts to be brutally honest)
  • marketing work experience at Sky and apply for grad scheme – applied for both, got rejected from both, rejections really knocked my confidence this year to be honest
  • take every opportunity available – this was a dumb resolution to be honest because opportunities don’t just present themselves and if I wanted things to happen I needed to make them! And also, sometimes you have to say no – I was offered a chance to do paid social media work in the Netherlands earlier this year but it was so close to my final uni deadline that I didn’t want to jeopardise that and I had to say no. That doesn’t mean I wasted an opportunity, it meant I prioritised what’s important so all round – dumb resolution!

creative

  • maintain blog and YouTube channels more consistently – it took some time, but I did upload vlogs from 52 weeks, I wrote an awful lot of blog posts and I’m really proud of the routine I’ve made for myself and I’ve properly fallen in love with both platforms again.
  • read more blog posts – I really did try to find more blogs to read but I’m not a fan of the stereotypical fashion, beauty bloggers so I tried to read more, but I didn’t find a lot that stuck (always looking for recommendations!)
  • keep writing – I set myself three writing challenges this year and I’m really proud of myself! I really enjoy writing and I love that I made time for it this year.
  • keep making new things / take the most unconventional approach possible / find my flare – these three I’ve grouped because they’re just a bit passive aren’t they? They don’t mean anything? I’ve made a big effort to be more genuine in every aspect of content online recently so I guess that might count as ‘finding my flare’ but all round? 2017 me was a bit pretentious about creativity.

Overall, I didn’t achieve a lot that I set myself last year but despite how much my lack of self esteem would try to convince me otherwise, that doesn’t make me a failure – I’ve learnt a lot this year and made my own path when a ‘traditional’ approach didn’t work out for me. I’ve grown a lot as a person this year (as I think I said last year) and I’m so proud of where I am and where I’m going – so a mixed bag of resolutions, but I’m happy regardless.

Next week I’ll have my 2019 goals (which I’m really excited about) and my January goals and then we’ll be back to some more varied content! I love setting goals and checking in on myself even if it’s not always positive, it really motivates me and I hope it can be motivating to others too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Travel Goals

2018, travel

Hello!

It must have been nearly a month ago now when I booked trains for a trip to Paris next March with my boyfriend – I’ve not booked a hotel yet because that’s 2019 Sophie’s money problem!

However, booking the trains and a few other hotels for other little breaks next year has given me a goal for the year – in an ideal world, I’d love to do a little trip every month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean I want to go abroad every month because that’s just ridiculous. But so far in January I’m going to Newton Abbot for a wedding, in February I’m going on a Centre Parcs holiday (which I’m actually ridiculously excited about), in March I’m going to Paris, in May I’ve got a weekend in London for MCM ComicCon and in November I’m going up to Sheffield (I think?) for a friend’s wedding.

So, in between all of that I think it’s feasible to do another couple of European trips on some of the other months of the year! I just think it’ll be a really nice goal to have a couple of days away each money with my boyfriend, whether it’s visiting friends, a night in London, a new city in the UK or somewhere else completely.

I have so much ambition and next year I’m going to turn things around and really make a life for myself, so why not write blog posts about the ideal world and drive myself to work for it? Either way, I’ve got 7 more months to fill so I thought I’d do a little post on my top 3 European destinations that I’m keeping my eye on for 2019.

Amsterdam – what a stereotypical millennial! I know, but I’ve been dreaming about travelling everywhere I can since I first came back from Tanzania in 2013 and as well as being a stunning city that I’d like to see for myself, Amsterdam is a good place to go for a fairly simple ‘first trip’. I’ve never been on a plane on my own or been the lead traveller, it’s always been a trip lead by a teacher or a lecturer and I feel like Amsterdam is such a popular city to visit that it would be a good first flight trip (with Paris being my first train trip). So it’s a double sided coin – both a good trip for my boyfriend and I learning about travelling and a beautiful city to go see!

Berlin – to be honest, I’ve never been massively drawn to travelling to Germany but it’s an incredible city of culture and I want to learn more about it! It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I wasn’t fussed about it, but I think it was that I was so bad at learning the German language in school that the thought of going to a country where I just couldn’t get to grips with the language is a bit daunting. But I can’t be put off by a whole amazing country because the language intimidates me and it’s an opportunity to learn some of the language I’ve convinced myself it was impossible for me to learn!

And last but not least, Santorini – I think I mentioned it in my last travel post but I’m fascinated by Greece and I think in the summer or around my birthday maybe a week in the sun could be really lovely. Last summer I was so jealous of everyone posting pictures from sunny summer holidays and it was extra frustrating because I just couldn’t comprehend having the money for a summer holiday but this year I’m going to make sure I have a summer holiday for myself! This one is top of my list I think, maybe a birthday-off-summer-season-beach holiday please.

If nothing else it’s all really motivating me to save for travelling and maybe a bigger trip in the future and I can’t wait! If you have any recommendations or travel advice please do let me know in the comments, on twitter or on Instagram – I post on Instagram every single day so I’d love to hear from you!

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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