Have yourself a Tier 4 Christmas…

2020, christmas, current affairs


After a post about how we’re all facing a different Christmas, the British Government went ahead and put another spanner in the works with six days until Christmas!

I don’t think I can explain the whole tier system to anyone who doesn’t live in the UK, but to summarise; after announcing a relaxation of COVID restrictions for a five day period over Christmas meaning many people could at least see some of their family over the festive period then they announced that many areas in the South East and East Midlands would be going into a new Tier 4, which has the same rules as the national lockdown but on a local level. The relaxed rules now only take place on Christmas Day itself and Tier 4 zones don’t get the relaxed rules and millions of peoples Christmas plans have been completely obliterated with less than a week to go.

From my perspective, most of us that are now in Tier 4 aren’t angry or upset because we don’t think the tier is necessary (I think the lockdown is necessary), but the government’s constant reassuring that we would all be allowed a break over Christmas and then doing a complete 180 so close to the big day. I’m not good at change – we’d just finished planning spending a COVID safe Christmas with our friends and then I was going to see my mum and my sister whilst my fiancé is back at work.

Now we’re having a Christmas just the two of us – which is fine, just unexpected – I can’t go see my family and I’ll be on my own whilst my fiancé still has to go to work in Tier 4 zones because broadcasting sport is so important that my TV engineer boy is now classed as a ‘key worker’ (I feel ridiculous even typing it, it makes me so angry).

When I figured out all the news (which took me too longer of scrolling through articles that were very vague), I was gutted. It was the first time I think I’ve cried over the pandemic. And like I said, not because I don’t think it’s necessary, but just because it came after reassurance it wouldn’t happen then it got worse. The little bit of light I had at not being on my own over Christmas and now I feel extra lonely. I can’t put it into words – it’s fine, I spent time on my own last Christmas and it was quite nice to decompress and take everything, sort everything out and tidy up but for some reason this year the thought of being on my own is terrifying.

Christmas Day will be a case of video calling lots of family, playing with presents like children and probably playing video games with everyone else who can’t see family (we’re knee deep in Among Us at the moment!). It’ll be nice to have time with my partner just us and cooking our own dinner and having our own day, but he’s back at work on the 26th so I’m going to have to plan my day so I don’t get too lonely.

Even though Tier 4 and the limited relaxation over Christmas is so necessary, it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. I’m grateful for my health, my house, my partners work, but I’m still gutted I’m not going to see any of my family and friends over Christmas and give them their presents. I really hope the government can figure out what they’re actually doing and figure out whether they’re trying to save the people or the economy and stick with it.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m cautious of putting too much hope on 2021 – I saw someone tweeting about how we’ve all said 2020 is the worst because we’ve been living in this for 9 months but there’s the potential that we’ll be living through all this for 12 months in 2021. We can hope for the best but simultaneously expect the worst.

Whatever tier you’re in or whatever the rules are wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas if you celebrate it! There will be a bonus blog post on Christmas Day, but otherwise I’ll post again next week!

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

Sophie xx

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making more local travel plans

2019, travel


One of my goals for this year was to take a little trip somewhere new with my boyfriend every month – this hasn’t worked out because I prioritised life things like saving to upgrade my car and now saving to move out, but since passing my driving test this week (it still feels so surreal just to say it!) I’ve got a whole new lease of inspiration that I thought I’d share.

Now that I’m not bound by trains or being too far to walk or anywhere, the whole country feels so much more accessible. Next week, the boy and I are going to see his family in Basingstoke then going up to Reading to view some properties for moving, then a couple of weeks later we’re going up to York to see my god-mother and her kids.

I had so many elaborate (and expensive) plans for the year – I wanted to go to Amsterdam in July, Santorini in September and Berlin in December and I don’t even think if I hadn’t bought a car or moved I’d have been able to do that. But there’s still so many places I’ve never seen in the UK that I feel even more excited to see.

Being new to driving, I’m obviously not going to be doing trips right down South to Cornwall or all the way up to Scotland, but places within a couple of hours drive and not too many hundreds of miles is definitely achievable!

The first place that springs to mind is Brighton – my main experience of the city is from the YouTubers I follow that live there but it seems like such a vibrant and quirky city and I really want to go and experience it myself.

I definitely want to spend more time in Bournemouth – with my sister at uni there I really have no excuse but there’s an arcade just off the beach front that is somewhere I could spend literally hours and Bournemouth beach is the nicest beach on the South Coast (I think anyway! I’ve not been to that many).

And there are other places that aren’t beach towns on the South Coast that start with B – I want to go to the National Space Centre in Leicester, I want to visit Bath, I’d love to see places like the Stone Henge and go back to Hadrian’s Wall and learn more about it. Britain is a country steeped in history and there’s so much to learn and I genuinely can’t wait to go see more of it in my little Hyundai.

That’s not to say I don’t want to travel further afoot – I really do want to see everything this world has to offer. I still want to go to Amsterdam, Santorini and Berlin, I want to visit my friend Emma in Texas, go see my family friends and cousin in New Zealand, I want to go to the Pokemon Centre in Japan with my boyfriend and more than anything I want to go back to New York and spend more time enjoying the city rather than rushing round trying to fit in as much as we could (though that was great too).

Travelling has been something that has been one of my main life ambitions since I first decided to go to Tanzania with Camps International in 2012 – spending a month there in 2013 showed me a small glimpse of what the world looks like and I’m going to spend the rest of my life seeing more and more.

But not right now. Travelling is more than long-haul flights to countries thousands of miles away. It’s about making memories with people you love and me, my boy and my little car are going to make so many memories.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals


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

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

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

Personal Goals:

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

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

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

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

3. self esteem, I need some

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

Career Goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creative Goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

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

2. get another tattoo

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


3. read a book a month

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

4. do a grid drawing every month

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

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

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

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

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

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

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

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

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

9. improve my posture

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

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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summer travel plans!

2017, photography, student, travel


I wrote this post out on my train journeys to and from London this week and somehow it has completely evaporated without being sent anywhere, so here I am – rewriting it a couple of days late. This is all completely irrelevant information because not everyone will read this on the day it goes up but I just needed to say it; I’m very frustrated.

It’s not a surprise that I want to travel as much as I can – I’ve talked about it enough – but over the summer my boyfriend and I can’t afford to go on holiday so we’re planning to have a few days out just to break up the summer and to compensate a little, so I thought I’d write about the places we’re thinking (or I’m thinking!) of going!

London – I love London and in the past few months I’ve really been craving a trip to one of the museums. I’m a nerd, I love learning and history and science and I love taking pictures and I think I could take some really pretty pictures of everything that’s there. I want to visit the Natural History museum and I’ve love to go back to the V&A because I haven’t been there since I went on a school trip like six years ago. I just think it would be fun, I’m very excited by the thought of an educational trip to London because I’m a huge dork.

Brighton – I’ve never been to Brighton before but I’ve seen so much of it through YouTube videos and Instagram and fiction that I really would love to see it for myself – I’d love to see the Lanes and all the quirky places to see and the beach. I love seaside towns – where I live is a port town so I’m near a river that leads to the sea but it’s not like the sea, I can go sit by the docks but I can’t go to a beach and I just love them, so I want to take lots of Instagram photos.

Bournemouth – we’ve already been to Bournemouth and I really love it, for the same reason of beaches and pretty Instagrams but there’s an awesome arcade called Funzone and it’s right next to an old theatre converted into an Odeon cinema and it’s like two seconds away from Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips and I’d love to go for a sit down meal looking out to sea. I love the seaside and I love Bournemouth. I’m desperately trying not to make this post really repetitive but I really love the sea and taking photos.

Weymouth – my boyfriend and I went to Weymouth for New Years and I know I wrote a blog post about it (read it here, if you like) and again; Sophie wants to visit a seaside town wow, omg. But I don’t think Weymouth is as big as the cities of Bournemouth and Brighton but Weymouth is a bit like my hometown but like four times the size and near the sea. I just want to see more of Weymouth and with two of my closest uni friends living there it’s a pretty good excuse to see them too.

The New Forrest – an area I know very little about, to be honest, I’m imagining it’s a bit like the Peak District or the Lake District and I’ve been to both of those places. I just feel like it’ll be a fun place to go for a long walk adventure with a picnic on a pretty summer day.

Edinburgh – less of a ‘cheap day trip’ and more like a little holiday but I went on a family holiday to Edinburgh and one of my best friends lives there and I’m considering doing my masters there and I’ve seen a few YouTubers go on holiday there and everyone talks about it being such a beautiful city and I want to see it! Flights from Southampton Airport and an AirBnB could be quite reasonably priced I think, so might be something I can look into!

I know I talk about travelling a lot – it’s something I really want to do but it’s not something I can afford to do in the way I want to just yet, but travelling isn’t just about going to one city in a country and saying you’ve seen everything that country has to offer, so why don’t I spend some time exploring my own country first?

I’m sorry my content has been so disrupted this week – I didn’t realise how much commuting would take it out of me but I’m trying my best to manage my time a little bit better before doing it all again next week. I’m going to be taking my laptop on the train so hopefully I’ll be a bit more productive than last week.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx


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Going to uni so far from home

2016, travel


Writing about travel and new places for me right now is difficult because I haven’t done masses of travelling, but I want to practise travel writing so when I travel I then feel ready and that I already have some experience to write about it!

Part of going to university for me was being far enough away from home that I had to be fully independent and getting to see a part of the country I hadn’t been to before, and that involved moving 170 miles away to a new end of the country and from that, I get to visit lots of new places and towns and cities I’ve never been to all the time because it’s all so new to me.

I also get called “Northern” a lot but that’s not the point. (#DefendtheMidlands)

Travel blogging doesn’t have to be exotic (though if you want to be a ‘successful’ travel blogger you’ll probably have to leave the country, let’s be honest) – big trips to other countries are really fun to write about but it can be a new town or a pretty spot that you found on a walk. I’m hoping to do a few more of these as the summer months approach and hopefully money will be more on my side.

Going home this semester has been a no go with the amount of deadlines I’ve had and how they’ve been spaced out to every couple of weeks, meaning one weekend I’d be working on the deadline and the next weekend I’d be making sure the assignment was ready to hand in and this has been going on since October.

At one point the plan was that I was going to spend Christmas in Basingstoke with my boyfriend but we’ve decided we’re going to spend Christmas apart – I’m so excited to be going home. At this point even it’s still undecided when I’m going home or how long I’ll be home for but I’m hoping everything works out in my favour and I get to spend as much time at home as I can.

I’m so excited to be back somewhere the feels so familiar and I’m excited for the New Year and 2017, especially in terms for what I have planned with blogging and my YouTube channel.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx


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A Date Day in Bournemouth

2016, travel


Having moved to Southampton, I’ve got to explore a whole new area of the country 170 miles away from home. Bournemouth is somewhere my cousins moved to when I was younger, somewhere I went on a family holiday to once and somewhere that’s just a short train journey away from home now.


Talking to people around Southampton and at uni, a lot of people are very fond of Bournemouth and rightfully so – it’s a beautiful South-Coastal city, somewhat overshadowed by the fame of Brighton’s seaside tourist attraction.

My boyfriend took me on a date day there back in late April and I’ve been back since to visit my sister when she was there over the summer, but I love the city and I really want to go back there soon.

From the train station, it’s a really short walk to the beach and it’s really pretty – so picturesque and the pier is so much fun. This area of Bournemouth is really popular in peak season, but we went on a weekend before school was out for the summer so it wasn’t too busy (we might try a week day next time just so it’s nice and quiet!).


My favourite parts of Bournemouth were the things we did on our date day and it started with a walk on the beach, we then found a little arcade and decided we were going to find a good one. We had a look at a bunch of arcades, we got chips for lunch and then we went up to the Odeon team to buy tickets to a movie we went to see later that day.

Side note: the screen we were in at the Bournemouth Odeon when we saw Jungle Book was beautiful, essentially it was a converted theatre and it’s absolutely stunning.


But before the film we went into this amazing arcade literally right next door called Fanzone – it’s not a dingy arcade full of gamblers it’s just a friendly, fun arcade with games like Plants vs Zombies, MarioKart and Temple Run as well as all the traditional penny pushers and games like that. Winning tickets is somewhat addictive, one day I’ll get the 6000 tickets I need for the giant teddy.

We then went to the cinema and saw the beautiful theatre and watched Jungle Book, which was amazing and I wrote a blog post about it at the time if you’re interested in my thoughts! You can read it here if you’re interested.


The perfect way to end this date day was by heading back to the beach and having Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips with our feet in the sand! I love the beach and the sea and chip shop chips are my favourite things in the world. Next time we go, I think we might try sitting in the restaurant because sit down restaurant experiences are my favourite, I love eating out.

If I could afford it I’d do restaurant reviews but I’m a student so I can’t afford to eat out at all, if there are any Southampton restaurants reading, I’d love to do a review…

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx


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