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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Is blogging ‘dying’?

2018

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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New Years Resolutions – Mid Year Review

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

Considering most of the blog posts I write and publish at the moments are goals related, whether it be monthly mini goals, summer goals, post-uni goals or anything else, it’s not a surprise that at the end of June I wanted to take a look back at my goals from the beginning of the year.

The fact we’re halfway through 2018 is still blowing my mind – I can’t believe it!

This one’s going to be a long one so get yourself a beverage and a snack, let’s just jump right in.

[ PERSONAL ]

  • Find a workout / healthy eating routine : I’d like to say it’s kind of a work in progress but I’m not sure it is. I’m trying my best but it’s something I’m really struggling with. I have lost a little bit of weight and I’m slowly figuring out the ways that work best for me but it’s not the ‘fitness journey’ I wanted. Essentially I’m nowhere near as fit as I want to be but there’s still another six months!
  • Eat three meals a day : I just don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning, I can’t bring myself to eat breakfast unless I’m really in the mood. And maybe this is just my brain being a bit dumb, but whilst I”m trying to loose weight I can’t get to grips with the notion of putting even more food in my body? Probably wrong, but part of the reason I’ve not made more of an effort to include breakfast in my routine!
  • Make a budgeting plan and stick to it : well, this went really well between January and April – my loan came in, I had a plan, it went well, good job me. April onwards however has been a different story – after I finished my degree I went a bit ‘reward spending’ mad. Then the fact that I don’t have a job and I was moving home and I didn’t know how long I’d have to make the money last freaked me out and I clearly my way of coping with that was spending money. I’m not good at money. Will be easier to budget when I have a job.
  • Make sure to stick to bullet journal : definitely going with this one right now! I literally don’t leave the house without it and everything I do gets written in this book, it’s helping me feel a bit more sane in the expanse of being an unemployed graduate.

[ UNIVERSITY / CAREER ]

  • Expand 3 year plan + research career goals : I’ve completely changed my three year plan – I realised it was just a progression that seemed to fit going into a career I didn’t actually want! All a work in progress but I just want to work at this point, so my much more short term plan is find a job.
  • Graduate with at least a 2:1 : when I made this goal I had my heart set on a first but I knew if I set the goal at a first and didn’t get one it would hurt more than not getting a first. And despite working my ass off for it, I just missed out on a first so I’m glad I had that forethought. But I am getting a very high 2:1 and I graduate in a few days!
  • Marketing work experience at Sky + grad scheme : this was part of my three year plan, I don’t really want to go into marketing – I’m creative, I need to make things, particularly making videos and taking photos which I don’t think I’d get from being in marketing (please do correct me if I’m wrong!), so kind of scrapping this goal. Though I do think Sky is a great company and I would like to work for them at some point!
  • Take every opportunity available : I kind of want to adapt this one – to making opportunities for myself. I had to turn down some amazing paid work in the Netherlands earlier this year because it would have meant sacrificing the quality of my FMP and it just wasn’t a sensible option. But I have made the opportunity to make my FMP something that’s relevant to my future and I’ve made some great contacts and friends with the people I’ve interviewed and it’s a project I’m so proud of I can’t describe it. So this year is for making opportunities.

[ CREATIVE ]

  • Maintain blog and YouTube more consistently : though I have criticised myself for not being consistent and not making the content I want to make at the right time, I’m making way more than I did in my previous year’s at university! I’ve really fallen back in love with both platforms and I spend far more time making content that I feel represents me than I have made in the past. In the case of this blog, it’s predominantly lists which I feel is a bit too representative of me!
  • Keep writing : I’ve been trying to do more creative writing this year and I wouldn’t say it’s gone particularly well. However there’s been a slight development in the first few days of July – I’m a big fan of the NaNoWriMo challenge and charity and whilst the main 30 day writing challenge is in November, they do other monthly challenges throughout the year called ‘Camp NaNoWriMo‘. I thought it would be a good idea for me to partake because it makes me dive head first into writing and I don’t have any plans for July – I don’t have a job or uni or anything, I wanted something to keep me focused and productive and so far it has! in 6 days I’ve written over 10,000 words of a silly little idea I had. It’s nothing that I’d ever try and publish or produce, it’s just a silly little personal project to get me back into it but I’m loving it so much. Maybe I’ll stop trying to get a job in social media and try and get a book deal instead but I’m way more on track with this goal than I was before.
  • Keep making new things : I’ve been a bit more experimental with my videos on YouTube than I was earlier in the year – I’m trying new things, taking more time and teaching myself more about post-production too. I’ve always loved making video content and that’s where I want to push myself creatively – blogging is more of a relaxing outlet for me, I love writing and I find writing a post comes quite easily so I’m happy with what I’m making for both platforms at the moment.
  • Take the most unconventional approach : I’m not sure what I meant by this back in January, I don’t know if I was trying to be a bit edgy or what. Either way, I’m giving it a go – it kind of worked out with my FMP video so maybe it’s something I need to incorporate in the rest of this year!

So a lot has changed in 6 months but that’s why I think it’s important to check in on long term goals! But I won’t ramble on anymore.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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5 mini goals for March

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I definitely stole this idea from Dorkface but anyway – I’m a very goals orientated person. I spend a lot of time thinking about my goals, where I want to be and whether I’m achieving what I want to achieve.

Often, this just involves me thinking about where I want to be and why I’m not there yet whilst eating copious amounts of chocolate but it’s a work in progress and progress is something I think I can fairly confidently say is somewhat getting there (but the fact I worded that so speculatively suggests otherwise).

Either way, I saw Jemma writing these ‘mini goals’ blog posts and this month I decided to give it a go – it might help me focus and I’m going to make a pretty spread in my bullet journal to incentivise me to tick things off. I’m going to start with just 5 and if it goes well I’ll reflect on them before setting April’s goals.

  1. Really focus on my FMP (my final major project, my degree’s equivalent of a dissertation) – this sounds dumb, because I’ve been thinking about and working on this project since last summer but I’ve been really struggling in these past few weeks to focus and get anything done but March is going to be the month I get shit done.
  2. Blog more regularly – again, potentially a stupid goal but every time I sit down to write I fall in love with blogging again but I just don’t make time to do it. I’ve been really enjoying my blog photography at the moment and I do want to make more time for it because to be honest I spent too many hours of an evening just playing on the xbox with my boyfriend. I don’t want to stop doing that per say, but it’s a balance isn’t it.
  3. At least three more instagram theme colours – I’ve not written about this here, but I’ve got an instagram theme! I was trying to make the yellow thing work but it wasn’t working so I was chatting to my wonderful friend Kathryn and we decided that a new colour every row could be a really nice theme without the commitment of sticking to one colour forever so I gave it a go! I had a pastel yellow, red and I’ve just finished my blue row. It’s a work in progress and I’m still figuring out the balance of what looks good and what I post just because I want to post it but I want to get at least three more rows finished this month. 9 photos doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m still getting my mind around planning and taking all the photos to fit the theme.
  4. Cook more – maybe all of these goals sound stupid, obviously I make myself dinner every night (save for a take out night every now and again) but I want to invest more time in to cooking more complex dinners. I love cooking and even setting aside an hour every night I think will both be good for my diet and my mental health, because I find cooking really therapeutic.
  5. Apply for some post-graduate jobs – I graduate in July, my final project hand in is at the beginning of May – the sooner I apply for stuff the happier my brain will be to know what’s going on after July, because right now the anxiety of not having a single ounce of a plan after I take off those graduation gowns scares me a lot and it’ll give me some peace of mind to at least know I’ve applied for stuff. I’ll tentatively set the goal of three jobs, but I know that these applications will take a lot of time so even one would be enough.

I probably could have just left it at the parts in bold but it’s nice to have a record of what I actually want to achieve this month. Maybe some of it does sound a bit silly but maybe that’s just my insecurities. I think these goals are useful, somewhat realistic and completely feasible if I stick my mind to it.

What are your goals for March? Do you have goals that you set yourself over a time period? What works for you? Let me know – I could do with all the help I can get!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Side note, can we talk about the crafting I did to make the feature photo for this post, actually thoroughly enjoyed it!

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resolutions for my graduating year (2018)

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I’m a very big ‘setting goals’ person – lists are my best friend! Just as I was starting my third year, my FMP tutor asked us to fill in a questionaire esque thing to gauge how we were feeling about FMP and third year and he asked us to write a mantra and mine was ‘write a list’.

So I’ve been thinking about my resolutions for about a month now. I really like the three categories I chose last year, so I decided to stick with them again this year.

My personal goals:

  • find a workout and healthy eating routine that works for me
  • make more of an effort to eat three meals a day
  • make long term changes to how I handle money
  • make sure to stick to my bullet journal more closely

I’m so determined to make sustainable life changes this year – I’ve put on a lot of weight and become so unfit and I’ve been trying to find different workouts and different kinds of healthier life adaptations I could make but every app or plan I find that looks like it could help costs about £20 a month, which I just don’t have and I don’t think is worth it! But I want (need) to exercise more and I need to focus more on what I’m eating and plan more, so that’s the first two.

In terms of money, I was so proud that I got out of my overdraft in 2017 but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a lot to work on – since being made redundant I need to be at lot more cautious with money as I don’t have an income at the end of the month so I’ve had to evaluate how much loan I get, the rent I have to pay, monthly payments, how many weeks there are between loan and next loan and then give myself a weekly budget. I could do a whole other post on that but it might be really boring – let me know if you’d like to read this?

And with my bullet journal – I stick by the fact that it’s completely changed my organisational life but these last couple of months I’ve been writing lists and then not really sticking to them so I think that’ll really help me in 2018.

My university/career goals:

  • graduate with a 2:1 (or higher, that would be nice)
  • expand my three year plan/research certain career goals
  • marketing work experience and apply for 2 year marketing grad scheme at Sky
  • take every opportunity available

I’ve expanded this category from last year because 2018 is the year I graduate with an undergrad degree (scary) and I want a 2:1. I’ve worked really hard this year so far and my FMP tutor things I’m on track which is really reassuring, but that’s a goal for the first half of the year whilst the second and third are more aimed at the second half.

And with graduating in mind, I actually have a three year plan! In 2018 I will begin the first part of that plan but I want to expand on that and focus it, maybe making some more refined smaller goals and extending it to a five year plan. There are certain avenues of my aspirations that I’ve been saying for years I want to research but I just haven’t and it’s something I need to do if I want to get there. I think I want to get my FMP out the way first though.

To progress my three year plan, I’m going to apply for work experience in marketing at Sky and then apply for the two year graduate scheme in marketing that opens at the end of the year for a July 2019 start I believe! I got a week of work experience at Sky Entertainment in 2017 and I loved the company and from what I could tell they were keen to bring people back, so I’m hoping to be able to go back and work with them full time. Maybe plans will change and I think I want to draw a big timeline and map out the next three to five years but I don’t know if I want to do that before or after handing in my FMP – I don’t know if it’ll be too late by then.

But on the other hand – thinking a bit closer to home, Southampton Solent University has offered me a bunch of opportunities that have taught me so much and given me so much experience and I feel ready to take on what happens after I finish my undergrad. There’s a big wide world out there and I feel a little bit more ready to take it on now – I want to have a go at everything that gets thrown my way.

My creative goals:

  • maintain my blog and YouTube channels more consistently
  • keep writing
  • take the most unconventional approach possible
  • find my flare

I made this resolution last year but I find having creative outlets outside of university act as both a distraction and a focus – it gives me something that isn’t stressful uni work and also helps me develop myself more creatively and further my time management skills – I’m so driven and loving my blog so much right and I really hope I can maintain that when I go back to uni at the end of January. I have a plan and hopefully I’ll stick to it.

Writing was one of my challenges last year and I achieved it – I’m not back to writing original fiction (yet) but I’ve been writing and writing all year and it’s been really nice to immerse myself in characters and long form story. There was a point where writing and being an author was a viable option for me whereas now I have more options and it’s more of a backseat hobby and I’m thoroughly enjoying the hobby without the pressure of ‘being a writer’ and I think that’s a summary of my approach to everything that isn’t uni work this year.

The last two points are a bit flimsy but I think that’s kind of what I need a little bit of this year – I’ve had a real crisis of creativity in 2017 and I don’t know if what I’m making is original or good or if it’s representative of who I am. I need to think about what I’m making – how I can take an approach no one else has taken and find what makes it mine. Maybe I should have thought about this earlier than 3 years after I started my blog and 4 years after I started my YouTube channel but here we are. Every creator has a crisis right?

I feel like I need to do some more work but I think there’s a difference between resolutions and a plan for the year. Currently the line is a little blurry but once I make the plan it might be easier to differentiate the two. The conclusion is there still work to be done but I’m excited to do it.

2018 is going to be a big year that might be an indication for the rest of my life, that sounds very melodramatic though. I’m interested to see how the review of this post goes in the end of the year, but let’s not rush it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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“maybe I grew as a person” – my 2017 resolutions

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello,

I was going to make a New Years Resolution post looking back on my resolutions from last year and talking about my resolutions for 2018 but I know for a fact that a post consisting of both of those things would end up with a blog post that’s about three thousand words long. I’m a very reflective person and I like checking in on my own progress so that’s what this is.

Should I publish this on the internet? Probably not, I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this. But I like being able to hold myself accountable and I don’t know if anyone else would maybe like to see if I’ve stuck to what I said I wanted to do in both my 2017 resolutions post and my mid-year check in post!

For context, I split my goals into three sections – personal, creative and university.

My personal goals:

  • being healthier
  • exercising more
  • focusing on my dental hygiene
  • becoming a morning person
  • be more careful with money

Being healthier and exercising more didn’t go well – I’m the heaviest and unfittest I’ve ever been and it makes me very sad so we won’t dwell on it, but it won’t be a surprise that this appear on my 2018 list too! Dental hygiene was a mixed bag – I’ve come to the conclusion that I just hate brushing my teeth and I will never enjoy it, it will always be a sensation that I just don’t enjoy. But I have got better and I’m still working on my dental hygiene despite hating it so much.

Becoming a morning person has been much more successful though! Having 9am starts for most of this semester at uni has really helped but I naturally wake up between 7am and 9am (depending on what my schedule has been like – during a busy week, I wake up earlier and in the holidays or a quieter week, a bit later). At the moment I’m not pressing myself to be up too early because uni has really taken it out of me, but when I’m properly back in Southampton for uni next year I’m going to get back to working on this. I feel like this is my most sustainable change I made this year.

And the money goal was really successful too – I’ve been lucky enough to come into a couple of fairly large sums of money and my family have recommended to me that I use that to get out of my overdraft and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted that money to go back into something more memorable so I put that into my travel saving fund and worked on getting out of my overdraft on my own. So when loan arrived in September and I paid rent and my bank account was still positive and I’ve never been happier than closing my overdraft and knowing that all the money I had was mine. I was so proud and I’m so glad that the only debt I’ll have leaving university (‘glad’ ish, I guess) will be my loan.

So personal goals, a big ‘ish’ but feeling positive.

My creative goals:

  • keep learning about photography
  • maintaining my blog and YouTube channel
  • make sure to keep trying out new content
  • start writing again
  • find new creative outlets

Taking advanced photography taught me a lot about thinking about photography and how good photos can be much simpler than all the daunting equipment and scary editing software. I’m excited about the prospect of continuing to learn about photography and I’m saving for a camera that I think will really enable me to explore more creatively.

Maintaining my blog and YouTube channel was a mixed bag too – they were okay for a while, I dipped in and out of both throughout the year but these last four months has just been radio silence. I’m working on getting that back – exhibit A is the blog posts and videos I’ve been making in the latter half of December and I’m really hoping to maintain this when I go back to uni but we’ll see, the biggest aim for 2018 is taking the pressure off.

In terms of trying out new content most of it for me was making sure I didn’t feel like I was churning out the same shit that every other blogger desperate for brand deals and pretty instagrams was. I didn’t necessarily ‘try out new content’ but I’ve been particularly thoughtful about what I’ve made and I’m pretty pleased with it to be honest!

In terms of writing again – I actually kind of have! Yes, it’s fanfiction but I’m 16,000 words and 50 pages into it and I’m writing. Right now, where I’m very focused on my degree and making content online, realistically working on a personal work of fiction isn’t something I have the mental capacity for so what I’m writing is 1) much more manageable, 2) keeps me writing creatively and 3) is something that I really enjoy, like a lot. And I haven’t found any new creative outlets other than perhaps interior decorating the house I moved into in July so this project works for me!

My university goals:

  • stay motivated
  • stay organised
  • keep trying new things
  • keep putting yourself out there
  • work experience

I feel like I could write a whole blog post about my university story – the long and short of it is no one in my sixth form believed I was capable of anything and I fought through the battle that was my A Levels on my own whilst being bullied by my maths teacher so to think that I finished second year with a grade I was so happy with and being treated as a ‘High Achiever’ by my university just blows my mind.

So yes – I stayed motivated, I stayed organised and I kept trying new things in the stories I covered and the roles I took on within my course and outside of it. I put myself out there in ways I never thought I was capable of, even taking on editorial roles and too many commitments outside of my course but I got through it. In the end. Ish.

And work experience might be the most successful part of 2017 – two weeks at BBC Three, a week at NASS festival, a week working at Reading festival (one of my first paid freelance jobs!) and a week at Sky Entertainment which actually helped me figure out a three year plan (let me know if you want a whole post about it?) and I feel like my university goals were the most successful part of my 2017.

Just looking back at what I asked of myself a year ago and knowing that that version of me didn’t even imagine what she would have to go through and what she achieved is genuinely making me really emotional. It’s been a huge year and this is the first year that I can remember that I look back and feel proud and I’m excited for next year, it’s a really nice feeling. I’m motivated now to get the same out of 2018!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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