Treasured In… June

2020, books, film

Hello!

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

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


blog post:

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

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

recipe:

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

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

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

online course:

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

song:

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

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

youtube video:

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

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

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

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

books:

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

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

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

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

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

snack:

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

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

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

tv/film/streaming thing:

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

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

wedding planning update:

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


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

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

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

Sophie xx

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Treasured in… May

2020, books, creativity, film, lifestyle, student

Hello!

As we come to the end of our second full calendar month in lockdown, little posts like this full of things I enjoyed and want to share are more important than ever. Everywhere I look people are complaining about the government, singing the praises of the NHS and arguing about what are appropriate social distancing activities (though how anyone could defend packed beaches I really don’t know) so having this little list of happy things will be a nice little mood boost for me as well as you!

Here are my the things I treasured in May!


blog post:

I really made more of an effort to read more this month – I’ve been on the hunt for bloggers that don’t exclusively talk about beauty, fashion or other stereotypical ‘successful blogger’ categories. I really want to find people like me who don’t necessarily blog for income, writing about the ramblings trapped in their heads and talking about all their random hobbies without limiting themselves to a ‘niche’.

I’m still hunting, but these two blog posts from YouTube influencers I follow were topical and well written.

recipe:

I don’t think I’ve tried anything that particularly blew me away this month – I made this creamy chicken chorizo pasta bake which was nice but we’re not rushing to make it again. I’m still really enjoying the bacon and pea risotto that I linked last month, I’ve somewhat rediscovered a good jacket potato and we made a really nice lasagne but it all came out of jars so it wasn’t anything to do with my ability to cook!

Top tip for ‘homemade out of jars lasagne’ – use a Mac and Cheese sauce rather than a white sauce, it worked really well for us and is making me hungry just thinking about it!

online course:

Again, this month I didn’t find anything new – I had one last big assignment to finish off my semester 2 work for my masters and with lockdown and a generally not good course, my friend and I who were working together on it (group project, not cheating I promise!) spent more time teaching ourselves than knowing what we were doing.

So I learnt a lot about the Maya animation software, modelling environments, materials, different animation types and multi-camera set ups, but I didn’t find a course online to take myself.

Next month I’ll be starting all the self-teaching I have to do for my dissertation project so I’ll be rambling all about designing a video game, making a 2D animation and writing scripts for both!

music:

The only time I really listen to music is when I’m cooking – when I’m trying to write or work, it means I can’t concentrate and if I’m knitting or doing my cross stitch I use it as an excuse to catch up on YouTube videos (I’m 300 videos deep on my watch later…).

With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been craving a bit of nostalgia so my partner has been finding playlists on Spotify along the lines of ‘year 6 disco’ and ‘the best of the 2000s’ and we’ve been listening to everything from S Club 7, Steps, Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers to Bob The Builder’s ‘Big Fish Little Fish’. Thoroughly recommend a throwback disco if you need a little boost!

YouTube video:

Most of the YouTubers I’m subscribed to are vloggers, so watching vaguely ‘normal’ home life vlogging has been most of what I’m watching and it’s been nice to feel that little bit ‘normal’ by watching the creators I’ve been following for years just living their daily lives.

So I’m going to use this section this month to talk about one of my own videos – it’s currently unlisted on my channel because it’s for a uni assignment and I always feel funny about publishing my work while it’s still being marked (so it’s a fun little secret for my blog!). But this is the animation my friend Agata and I made for our assignment – the main character is animated from motion capture data and we built pretty much everything in the environment ourselves.

I’m so ridiculously proud of this little animation and I loved working on it with one of my best friends (even if we did the majority of the work in the three days before it was due…), so here is Life After Lockdown; a little topical comedy animation for our  assignment.

books I’ve read:

loved this book – this take on life after death and the way the characters have conflict without antagonising each other (except Evie’s mum, she was actually evil). It was one of those books that made you think about what life after death really is like – I genuinely think this is a pretty good idea and worth a read in these challenging times.

I read this because my boyfriend loves the Game Grumps and recommended it but it wasn’t for me – I didn’t find it funny but it felt like they were trying way too hard to be funny, the murder mystery was a bit too Scooby Doo for me, but it was entertaining enough.

This book is taking me actual weeks to get through – I like the writing style, but it feels almost non-fiction and there are so many characters that Pomerantz clearly expects the reader to remember who they are, how they were relevant and details about their life and career. It’s about a plane crash and it’s really depressing and long and there’s not much of a story yet and I’m about 75% through? I think the main thing putting me off is that on the back it declares that this back will become a classic but… it definitely hasn’t and I just can’t vibe with someone arrogant enough to assume their work deserves to become a classic. But I’m nearly done and a review will be on my Instagram when I do!

snack: 

I never thought I particularly liked minty chocolate – I can appreciate a few After Eights at Christmas and maybe a packet of softmints every now and then but not big on mint. I thought I’d prefer plain chocolate aero bubbles to the mint aero bubbles but my boyfriend opened my eyes and I have to stop myself buying them or I will eat the entire packet.

I also picked up a packet of Tesco’s own Salted Caramel Munch Bars thinking it would be an easy breakfast option – they’re really good but they’re so not good for you in any way that I’d be better off going back to a slice of toast in the mornings. But they’re really yummy and if you’re not really a breakfast person then something is better than nothing right?

visual entertainment: 

I’ve not watched any new TV this month but my mum, my sister, my boyfriend and I have started a remote film club using a 52 Week challenge book my mum picked up on Amazon – 52 challenges, divided by 4 people means 13 categories each. This month we watched Pulp Fiction, Eighth Grade, Dumbo (the live action one) and Top Gun and I’m really enjoying the excuse to watch all the ‘classic’ films I haven’t seen but should have as well as some newer films that I want to see.

Pulp Fiction was an interesting choice and having done a unit where one of my lecturers tried to teach us artsy-fartsy film theory (when he shouldn’t have been) it did make it more interesting to think about the decisions the director made, but then I thought about if a film makes you think about the decisions the director made and takes you out of being fully immersed, is it really a well made film? Either way! Eighth Grade was fun and a really accurate portrayal of life as a 13 year old, Dumbo was alright but I prefer the original (and Colin Farrell’s character was literally useless) and Top Gun was an action for the sake of action, ‘put it on in the background’ kind of film that really proved that Tom Cruise literally only plays one character in all his films.

Other than that I’ve watched a lot of Kim Possible on Disney+…

wedding planning update: Before lockdown, I attended a couple of wedding fairs and one of them was near my old hometown. There we spoke to a lady who was representing the most beautiful venue near a lake that my boyfriend and I are very sentimental about. It was beautiful, it’s a great location and it makes me feel a little bit emosh just thinking about it! We’re 90% sure it’s the venue we want to go with but we don’t have the deposit money yet. However, with two months of lockdown, people are re-planning weddings for years to come and our date of November 2022 is looking like it’s going to get infringed on quite quickly, so I want to contact the venue and at least get our foot in the door for our date so we don’t lose it. Otherwise, there’s nothing much more I can do in lockdown other than coming up with more and more ideas on Pinterest…

So I’ve not done any wedding planning this month but we have reached this decision, so there’s a bit of progress there!


On the one hand, I hope that the country is safe enough for some restrictions to be lifted in June so we can do more things, I can visit my family etc, but I really don’t want restrictions to be lifted early just because people are getting grumpy about not having their hair cut, so I’m apprehensive.

I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… April

2020

Hello!

Whilst in isolation, I thought it would be fun to come up with a new series to work on whilst I’ve got a little bit more time to think about blogging. Essentially, I thought of a more structured ‘favourites’ that I’ve decided to call Treasured In… [insert month here]. But there’s the scope to do more – if I go travelling I could do it themed to a place, or I could do it about a year around New Years or…  other stuff…

I’ve selected a bunch of categories that I’m going to pick ONE thing I’ve loved this month and share it! I’m really excited about this and I hope you enjoy it too.

First category: blog post – though going to go with the ‘bad news’ first… I’ve not really read a blog post that I loved this month? I know I need to make more of an effort to read blog posts but it’s so much easier just to scroll through Instagram. If someone links a blog post on an Instagram story I generally read it but generally my favourite bloggers are the ones that don’t have enough followers to do swipe up. So this is a note to self to do better and read more engaging bloggers posts’!

Recipe: I’m not very good at trying new things but I love learning to cook new things. I’m really enjoying risotto at the moment and I found this recipe for a bacon and pea risotto which we tried and I loved. Granted, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be nice because anything with ‘pea’ in the title isn’t usually promising, but it’s risotto rice with bacon lardons and peas – it’s SUPER SIMPLE and it was really yummy, thoroughly recommend.

Online course: I’ve been ‘self-teaching’ for over a year now – I was working on Google Digital Garage’s Digital Marketing course for the best part of a year, then I worked through a bunch of the other free courses but this month I did the first week of An Introduction to Screenwriting course from UEA via Futurelearn. I’ve been creative writing for over a decade now but never had the facilities to learn about formal scriptwriting, so I’m teaching myself! There are so many free courses out there that I’ve found, would it be useful if I wrote a blog post on it? I’m no expert and it’s not difficult to find them but having a bunch of links all in one place might be helpful!

Music: two new albums that I’ve really enjoyed came out this both so I’m already going to cheat and give two for this one – firstly, my all time favourites All Time Low released their first album in a couple of years Wake Up, Sunshine and I’m obsessed. It’s fantastic, it’s fun, it’s beautiful; Alex Gaskarth is my favourite singer of all time and always will be.

The second album I loved was CALM by 5SOS and I still kind of hate to admit it because I’ve had such a rocky relationship with the band, but it’s a banger of an album and I had a good dance in the kitchen while I was making dinner so I had to mention it.

YouTube video: ‘The Crippled Suffragette’ // Rosa May Billinghurst // Historical Profiles [CC] – Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

I only recently subscribed to Jessica Kellgren-Fozard though I’ve been aware of her for a while (that’s a weird sentence when you don’t think of it outside the context of YouTube). I really love the variety of her content and I actually thoroughly enjoyed the way she told the story of this woman who I never would have heard of without this video. Always love a bit of unintentional learning!

Books I’ve read: My intention for this category is to list everything I’ve read in the last month and give you a couple of lines of whether I actually enjoyed it or not!

Love, Rosie (Cecelia Ahern) (previously published as Where Rainbows End) – absolutely loved this book, such an interesting writing style and just wonderfully kind and lovely characters. 10/10!

The Centauri Device (M. John Harrison) – refusing to link because I think it was awful. Overly complex unnecessary language to mask a pushover protagonist, a lack of plot and no emotional engagement between characters. Amazing potential as a concept for a sci-fi adventure but literally hated reading it.

Skarrs (Catherine Forde) – kind of stereotypical YA book ‘good kid fell in the wrong crowd’ but I was taken aback by it’s subtle way of describing how grief can effect people in such different ways.

One Day (David Nicholls) – I get the hype around this book now and I think Love, Rosie took a lot of inspiration from it. Kind of anticlimactic ending through, didn’t really see the emotional side that I’ve seen people talk about…

Currently reading: The Eve Illusion (Tom and Giovanna Fletcher) – I’ve been waiting for this book for what feels like ages but has only been a few months. I’m about halfway through and currently very intrigued about what will be left until the final book in the trilogy… keep an eye on my Instagram for a full review!

Snack: I’m all about the snacks and in lockdown, resisting them is even harder. When I finally got my hands on some self-raising flour, my boyfriend and I made dark chocolate chip banana bread muffins and they’re to die for. Far too many calories than I should have in one sitting but so good.

Visual Entertainment: this is the way I’m describing all things film, TV, Netflix, etc! With the release of Disney+ I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve barely watched it, but I have been watching a couple of episodes of Kim Possible with dinner and having a fantastic time.

The other thing I’ve started is a 52 week movie challenge – my mum sent me this little review book in the post and rather than doing it on my own, between my mum, my sister and my boyfriend we’ve all been allotted 13 categories and each week we’re having a virtual movie night. We started by watching Forrest Gump, a film which I definitely should have seen but haven’t and I really enjoyed it.

Then because we had to pay for the Now TV Cinema pass to watch it, my boyfriend and I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to make the most of the pass – considering all the negative hype I got, I thought it was pretty cool and we’re excited for the third part to see how it all ends.

Wedding Planning Update: Literally nothing. When I planned this series I thought it would be nice to see month by month progress but now that we’re in complete lockdown there’s no progress to be made, but I thought I’d introduce the category regardless!

And that’s ‘Treasured In…’! I’m really enjoying this new format to talk about things I love so I hope you enjoy it too. Let me know your favourite things in each of the categories in the comments if you like!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Netflix’s Cheer – so much more than cheerleading

2020, film, student

Hello!

So this week I binge watched all the episodes of Netflix’s docu-series ‘Cheer’. I’d seen loads of people raving about on Instagram. Firstly, it was absolutely beautifully shot – the quality, the storytelling, the individual stories bringing together a whole team, just magnificent.

But it was so much more than an insight to cheerleading.

When I was growing up, what I thought I knew cheerleading to be was pretty stereotypical – I was a dancer; ballet, tap, modern, hip hop, shows, performances, leotards, the lot. My view of cheerleaders was from Disney Channel shows and American High School movies – the blonde dumb girls who only care about popularity and dating athletes.

Then I went to uni and auditioned for the dance team – it was actually a dance and cheer team and whilst I wasn’t interested, I was impressed at what I saw at the first competitions we attended. Especially UK comps like Future Cheer showcased some truly incredible talent. (To be clear – I wasn’t a cheerleader, I did jazz and hip hop and competed just in the dance sections)

But the cheerleaders from my uni kind of fit the stereotype I knew – they were party girls and if you weren’t a party girl (hello, that’s me) they didn’t care about who you were and you didn’t have ‘team spirit’. The teams weren’t very well organised and as someone who was really passionate about dance, it was really frustrating. So that stereotype festered in my head – I appreciated that there were serious teams with incredible talent and athleticism out there but there were also a lot of stereotypical uni girls.

Three years later I’m sat watching this docu-series about Cheerleaders with tears in my eyes because of these amazing people and the progress they’ve made and I’m absolutely astounded by what they can do and the strength, skill and power they’ve worked for.

What I really took away from it was more of a personal discovery – I was driving to pick my boyfriend up from work, thinking about the show I’d just finished watching, and feeling almost jealous that I didn’t have that one thing that I’m passionate about. Everyone on the Navarro Cheer team had been cheerleading for years to learn and hone those skills and I have so many things that I love that I just can’t imagine being so driven about just one thing.

I thought maybe dance could still be my ‘thing’ even if I wasn’t a dancer. Then maybe photography/videography/cameras and stuff but I find the technical aspects of settings, hardware, software and so on really hard to retain. I’ve always loved writing, but I can’t seem to focus on rewriting my novel, I kind of want to learn to write for TV but I only really want to write for the DC superhero show ‘The Flash’. And on top of all that, regardless of what my ‘one passion’ could be I don’t know if I’m actually any good at anything to make it work.

All of these thoughts from a documentary about a cheerleading team from a community college in Corsicana, Texas.

These kids have inspired me to find a focus – to find something I’m passionate enough to dedicate my whole life to it. It might not be trusting a bunch of people to throw me in the air and be there to catch me or throwing myself across a mat pretending I can do backflips (which I definitely can’t) but it’s the drive to work hard to be talented it at the one thing I love the most.

If you haven’t seen Cheer, I wholeheartedly recommend it – it’s about so much more than a sport no one really knows about. Its discipline, facing hardships in life and finding family in the places you least expect. It’s genuinely heartwarming.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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August Mini Goals

2018, film, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

How July flew past – between trying to survive the heatwave and adjusting to life as a graduate, it’s been a bit of whirlwind. But let’s jump right in with reviewing my July goals.

[ J U L Y   G O A L S : R E V I E W ]

  1. Content – stick to the plan! I’m actually really proud of myself with this one, I’m feeling much more on top of this goal and I feel like I’m making stuff I’m actually really proud of!
  2. Portfolio – my portfolio on my blog is all done and ready for updating as and when I have something new to post (you can have a nosy here), my showreel was a much slower start but I knuckled down, made a list of everything I wanted to include, sourced all the footage and started cutting it down – so it’s not quite finished but it’s nearly there!
  3. Workout – I decided against making too much of an effort with this one because it was just too hot to workout and it wasn’t worth the hassle. But I have been making an effort to try and do lots of walking and just yesterday I started using my mum’s treadmill and I’m going to start working up from there – I did a whole rant on my Instagram stories which I saved to highlights (and I will write a full blog post on it soon!) if you want a sneak peak.
  4. Work experience – I was struggling a bit with this one because having finished my degree and in the midst of applying for career starting jobs, applying for work experience all felt a little backwards – I was unsure about what I wanted from each company I was looking into but I’ve done a bunch more research and sent a few emails off the other day.
  5. Applying for jobs – I actually, no joke, lost count of how many jobs I’ve applied for in the last couple of weeks. I lost my mojo a little bit at the end of June but by mid-July I’d pulled up my metaphorical socks and told myself I am worthy of a cool job in an industry I love, I just need to keep going to get there and that’s what I’ve done. Hopefully I’ll hear back from something soon but in the mean time, I will keep applying.

That was long, but let’s jump right into August!

[ A U G U S T   G O A L S : L O O K I N G   A H E A D ]

I wanted to shake things up a little this month – I felt like my goals had been basically the same for months I needed to adjust my focus a little bit.

  1. Write 15,000 words – in July I had a go at Camp NaNoWriMo and though I didn’t hit my target word goal, I did find the same kind of enjoyment out of writing that I used to when I was a teenager and I want to maintain that this month.
  2. Finish my passion project – I’ve had a video project for my YouTube channel on the backburner for a little while now and I’m determined to finish it this month. It’s a little out there but it’s something I really want to make and I can’t wait to share it!
  3. Focus on my Insta content / take more photos! I’ve been really enjoying Instagram at the moment and working on balancing a theme and pretty content with real life photos that match up to what I’m actually doing day in day out and I want to work on that even more. I want to take more photos and make my instagram the best it can be!
  4. Start budget tracking – I’ve not done any kind of budget tracking since I got my penultimate loan instalment in January but now I have no upcoming loans and I don’t have a lot of money, so I need to keep track of what I’m spending and where I’m spending it to make sure I have enough money to keep me going.
  5. Watch more films! I don’t necessarily mean go to the cinema more but there’s a lot of classic films that I haven’t seen, some because I know I won’t like them but a lot because I just never got round to seeing them! My mum has a pretty spectacular DVD collection (that I just databased and alphabetised) so I think we’re going to start working our way through that.

A little bit rambly this month, but I graduated in July so there’s been a fair bit of self-evaluation. I’m feeling productive and creative at the moment so hopefully that follows through!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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I did not give permission for Mamma Mia 2 to make me so emotional

2018, film, lifestyle

Hello!

So, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again came out on Friday – let’s jump in to a spoiler free, not at all critical review!

The casting was absolutely fantastic – from the trailers, we knew that the basic plot of the film was looking back on Donna (Meryl Streep) and her life when she met the three men that could be her daughter’s father. The actors who played young Donna, young Harry, young Bill and young Sam were just wonderful (and all four just drop dead gorgeous) – they all captured the fun, silly nature of the film and the likeness between them and the older versions of their characters is right on the nose.

The cast of the first Mamma Mia film was stellar and in this one it just gets better? I didn’t hold out high hopes of Cher’s part to be perfectly honest – I thought it was putting Cher in a film for the sake of Cher being in a film but she actually had a character, she had a purpose and she did play it quite well. All in all I was taken aback by this film and the performance of the cast is one of the main reasons for it.

Also, Julie Walters is one of my favourite humans of all time.

Obviously, Mamma Mia is a musical and the songs are a big part of it – I was worried they were just going to rehash some of the songs from the first film and call it a musical but I was surprised by the new numbers. It was some of Abba’s more obscure songs so the audience weren’t as happy clappy as perhaps in the first one but the songs they chose worked well, or if they did feel forced it was funny – opening with ‘When I Kissed the Teacher’ was this huge, completely unrealistic dance scene and it captured everything that Mamma Mia is. It’s ridiculous, huge dance sequences and ‘perfect vocals’ aren’t the focus, in any way shape or form, but it’s fun and silly and it makes you wish it was real.

Well, I wish I was in a dance sequence on a pier on a Greek Island, don’t know about everyone else.

I also think the inclusion of some of the songs from the first film was a really nice bridge between the ‘sequel’ part of the film and the previous instalment. It didn’t feel like recycling, it felt like a genuine connection. Yes, maybe Piers Brosnan shouldn’t be allowed to sing, but he’s trying and it’s somewhat endearing. ‘I have a dream’ and ‘The name of the game’ were really cleverly used in both films.

Can I just reiterate how wonderful Lily James and those three beautiful young men were?

And then, all of a sudden, at the end of the film, I was crying? Like a lot? It was a surprisingly emotional film! There isn’t anything that’s particularly sad and I don’t want to spoil the plot or anything but the end is very poignant and I imagine something that a lot of people will relate to – it definitely struck a chord with the people I went to see it with!

Overall, I didn’t go into this film expecting a lot – I thought it would be a jumped up sequel cashing in on the success of 10 years ago, but it was actually incredibly well done. I really enjoyed it, to the degree that I would pay to go see it again. I want to see it again, as soon as possible please!

So don’t forget your tissues if/when you see ‘Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again’ at the cinema!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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May Mini Goals

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I’m a little bit late this month but my final (ever) university hand in was on May 2nd so I took a few days to myself, I’m back home with my mum and now I’m back and more focused than ever – I’ve done a lot of work on a portfolio I’m building on a new Instagram account and I’m ready to have a few weeks to make the content I’ve been longing to make for so long.

So let’s crack on shall we.

APRIL GOALS + REVIEW:

  1. Post on Instagram 5 times a week: I mean I’m not sure in what world I was going to have the time to plan and take photos for Instagram considering the amount of work I had to do for my FMP. This lasted all of about a week and then I decided I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to dedicate to Instagram so I went radio silent for a few weeks. But it’s what my project needed and FMP was priority so I’m not to fussed about this one.
  2. Watch more films: My goal for the month was to see two films at the cinema and I did this – I saw Black Panther in the lead up to going to the midnight showing of Infinity War. My god, my Marvel fangirl heart is having a field day – I’ve since seen Infinity War twice more and I fully intend to go and see it a few more times at the cinema. I’m in love with going to the cinema at the moment and there are a couple more films I’d like to see so now that I’ve handed in, I think some solo cinema trips are in order.
  3. Book a holiday: This one is justifiable – I definitely would have booked it but my beloved boyfriend hasn’t actually ordered his passport yet and as it’s his first passport it will take considerably longer to arrive than your average passport renewal so I’ve said I’m not booking it until he has the passport in his hands. So it’s not the case that I didn’t do, but that I elected to do it once another task was completed. It just wasn’t my task to complete.
  4. Finish my FMP: NAILED IT! Not only because it was due in and I had to, but I’m so happy with what I submitted – I was pleased with the copy, the photos fit really well, the audio was really fun and I love editing video so much. When I’ve got the grades back I think I’ll do a post explaining my project and showcasing it a little bit but that won’t be for another few weeks yet.
  5. Apply for 3 more jobs: Also smashed it – I applied for three more jobs at the beginning of the month then a couple more in the middle and then decided I wouldn’t apply for anymore until after hand in, so doing pretty good on that front.

MAY GOALS:

  1. Content Focus: Now I don’t have university work, I can actually write, film, edit and post all the things I want to make – I’m going to try my best to stick to a schedule of two videos a week and at least one blog post a week. I’m genuinely excited about this.
  2. Get a job: When I say ‘get a job’, I mean apply for as many as I can and do what I can to get a job, if I end the month with a job that’ll be lush but no pressure either way.
  3. See more films: Not everything here is about professional development and making things! Last month was two films and I’ve already seen Infinity War twice more this month so I’m going to say I want to go to the cinema twice more this month. Not sure what I want to see but with my Showcase Insider card I can definitely make the most of every trip.
  4. Work on portfolio and professional presence: It helps with getting a job if I actually work on these kind of things right? So I want to add a portfolio section to my blog, I have a portfolio Instagram that I’ve just planned all the posts for (and these posts can be used on my blog as well), I need to make a showreel or figure out whether I want one showreel with different roles or a showreel for each role, I should probably update my CV – I’ve got a list that I’ll slowly tick off by the end of the month.
  5. Exercise, y’know, some: Now that I’ve finished uni, I can focus on exercising and losing weight before graduation in July – originally I planned to workout every day but that’s not always feasible so I’m just doing as much as I can. I’m giving Blogilates beginner calendar a go, trying to go for lots of walks and eating more healthily. We’ll see how it goes.

Hopefully having handed in my FMP will mean I stay as productive as I intended to be but I’ll just have to try my best and see how it goes – if I want it to work I’m the only one that can make it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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April Mini Goals

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I think I’ve written about this before, but I like checking in on my goals – I know I’ll do a Resolutions check in around June and right now, today I am going review my March mini goals and set some goals for April. I also want to have a little chat about whether these goals are useful. Let’s do that.

MARCH GOALS + REVIEW:

  1. Focus on FMP: I did do this and get a fair bit done, I’m way more on track than I was at the beginning of March but I’m not sure if it’s because I set it as a goal or because it’s due in like a month (internal screaming) but without over-analysing, I’ve organised a bunch of stuff, I have more of a personal image of what I want the final project to look like now and I’ve done two of three interviews I have booked. The next step is making a much more detailed plan to finish the project by the end of this month (external screaming).
  2. Blog more regularlyI did this! I uploaded 5 blog posts in March – my goals post, a graduation post, an outfit post, a NY photography post and a NY trip post! YouTube also went really well for me this month and I made some videos I’m really proud of.
  3. Three more instagram theme colours: Blew this one out of the water – I finished the three themes I wanted to (it was green, orange and grey) then also did a purple row and a blue row before the month was out, then two photos into a row of NY photos because I finally sorted them out. I’m very pleased with myself.
  4. Cook more: This was a mixed bag because I wasn’t home a lot but when I was home I tried my best. I’m not leaving Southampton at all in April (I don’t think) so hopefully going to eat more healthily and enjoy cooking more this month.
  5. Apply for three jobs: It may have been in the last two hours of March 31st but I did it! I applied for a six week placement which would be really useful for me and two full time jobs. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be but excited to see what comes from them.

APRIL MINI GOALS:

  1. Post on Instagram 5 times a week (or equivalent): I smashed doing three themes so if I’m on top of it, 5 times a week should be pretty manageable! There are four full weeks in April so that will be 20 posts total – will have to see!
  2. Watch more films: I want to go to the cinema more – I love films and I want to see more. I know I’m going to see Marvel Avenger’s Infinity War at the end of the month but I’d like to go to at least one more film before that. I know two cinema trips in a month doesn’t seem like a lot (or does it?) but we’re going for realistic goals here.
  3. Book a holiday: For Lucas’s birthday in January I told him I would take him to Paris in the summer and I have not booked this trip. This is partially because he needs to get a passport before we go and I don’t want to book it and him not be able to go because that ruins the entire point, but I want to book it this month!
  4. Finish my FMP: This is going to have to happen regardless of whether or not this is a goal, but I’m going to make a very specific tick list like a step by step guide to finishing my FMP. Ugh, I’m anxious just thinking about it.
  5. Apply for three more jobs: Especially with my FMP being due right at the beginning of next month, I need to really knuckle down and actually do something about my career and the future so I think three more jobs this month is a good idea.

Content is not a priority this month, but I’m hoping to continue as ‘normal’ (aiming for one blog post a week and two YouTube videos) however I don’t manage that most weeks, the point is that I won’t actually beat myself up about it. Will this happen? Probably not because I put a lot of pressure on myself but I’m trying not to and that’s the main thing.

I love having goals – I love having a focus and a deadline and I think this will work well for me in the long run, particularly in May where I won’t have uni work and I can make goals I’m more passionate about. I don’t know if anyone else enjoys these posts – they’re very personal for me but I know I love having a nosy of other peoples goals and resolutions posts so maybe someone else wants to have a nosy at mine!

I hope you all had a great March – how are we already a quarter of the way through 2018?! Either way, hopefully Spring will have sprung soon and I can share some gorgeous sunny pictures on Instagram! My feed is currently full of photos from my trip to New York at the end of last month so if you want to have a look at that my socials are always linked below!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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“a million dreams are keeping me awake” – The Greatest Showman

2018, lifestyle, music, student

Hello!

I’ve been running Sonar Film, my university’s cinema and film society since last June. One of my favourite parts of what we do is being able to look at the films coming out and picking what films we show.

I’ve had my eye on The Greatest Showman for a little while now and we started showing it on Friday. I worked opening night because I’d heard such mixed reviews and I was so excited – Hugh Jackman, Zendaya and Zac Efron in a new original musical about the first circus, it was right up my street!

There aren’t any words for how obsessed with this film I now am – I was completely absorbed from the first note to the last. I had tears in my eyes for most of the film and I felt this weight in my heart as the credits rolled because I was just so full of love for the music, the characters and the story.

I think this film is everything La La Land wanted to be without being tailored to Oscars, it’s not pretentious or trying to be nostalgic – it’s full of genuine love for musical theatre, incredibly passionate songs and a surprisingly modern soundtrack considering it’s based in the 19th century.

The rhythms and drums I think are the thing that really modernised the music for me – it was a huge part of the opening number and paired with the choreography it was really impactful and, as part of the audience, it was really gripping. I was genuinely sat watching the film bobbing along in time, resisting the urge to clap on multiple occasions. The rhythms and choreography were really poignant in ‘The Other Side’ and ‘From Now On’ – ‘The Other Side’ was really clever and the way the bar man was choreographed in was just so much fun. But while the rhythms are modern, the music doesn’t seem out of place for the time.

Side note, the dancing was so much fun – the bit where his daughters join in the dance from the audience is just so cute.

It’s such a beautifully human film – there was a quote from the critic character James Bennett at the end that said something along the lines of ‘a happier critic would describe it [the show] as touching every circle of humanity’ or something along those lines (I’ve scoured the internet, I just can’t find it anywhere) and I feel like that’s how the film should be summarised because it’s a beautiful celebration of everyone and anyone. It very delicately touches on issues like racism in a gentle and realistic way for the 1800s – it was relevant without being focal and I adored it.

The words I wrote in my initial rambly ‘omg I’m obsessed‘ plan for this post were that it was heartfelt and human and flawed – the characters weren’t perfect and where it was so easy to be stereotypical and predictable and it was so genuinely not. I’m now really interested to watch Barnham (a West End Musical about the same circus) and somewhat compare the two and how they tell the same story.

I did make a lot of jokes about Wolverine and Troy Bolton singing together though, I can’t lie. And can I just say – Zendaya is only ten days older than me, she must have been part of the High School Musical generation and omg I was fangirling on her behalf because while Zac Efron is so much more than he was in the DCOM days, he was still one of my first celebrity crushes.

I really wanted to make this more than just a review of The Greatest Showman and at this point I don’t know if it’s even a review or if it’s just me gushing about why I love it, but I think there’s a place for sharing things you love in your own words on the internet, so here’s me adding to my corner.

Also, I read at the end of another post about the film (I’ve done a lot of reading about it since seeing it two days ago) that I wanted to reiterate – my adoration for this film doesn’t mean I support the idea of the modern circus and treatment of animals as performers. It’s something I hadn’t actually thought about (partially because the animals in the film are quite clearly CGI) but it’s something I want to reiterate because supporting the film based in the 1800s doesn’t condone it now.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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we’re all (super) heroes

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

“Hello,

This one’s a little off the cuff, because I find those are the posts I love most and my friend Becca (gorgeous blog, I thoroughly recommend getting lost in it) always writes amazing posts when she’s inspired and something really drives her to write so I’m going with that.

Hear me out – I’m rolling with it (I will also acknowledge the lack of blog posts, but not today).

I love superhero movies – I’m not talking I like watching Marvel films, I mean I’m so invested in superhero films and I find it very difficult to critique superhero movies because I’m just so invested in them. I don’t know if that quite conveys what I mean, but my heart is in all of those movies and shows.

On Wednesday night, my boyfriend and I completely caught up on DC’s ‘The Flash’ and I can’t put into words how this show has buried itself in my heart and soul. We started watching the show about a year ago but got a bit lost and busy in the middle of season 3, so we recently started rewatching it and catching up on what we missed. And this week we watched Season 4, Episode 5, ‘Girls Night Out’ and I felt something.

One, the episode was really funny but, predominantly, two – catching up meant something; I feel equally content and lost.

Content because we caught up and it’s nice to not have to avoid spoilers anymore and lost because rather than watching a couple of episodes a night I now only get to watch one new episode a week.

When I say my heart is in all of these superhero films I just don’t know how else to explain it but they really are everything and they way I can express that is by writing – by writing and losing myself in these brand new stories.

The more I write of this the more pathetic it sounds.

I think part of it is because I spend so long in my head anyway – I love writing and crafting stories and that has always been my escapism and I can mentally put myself in these films and I’m gone (I’m trying not to sound like a total lunatic here).

I could talk all day (and probably have) about how I hate the stigma around FanFiction for being all 12 year olds writing about their favourite band members having sex with them and books like ’50 Shades of Grey’ becoming the phenomenon that they are, but writing FanFiction gives me a way to put myself into these situations.

And I know it’s probably not the healthiest coping mechanism, to take myself away in the words I write but Flash has been my escape for the last few weeks while my brain has been everywhere with uni. I’ve been lower in these last two months than I’ve ever been before and watching Flash has been my way out – I’m living my life through Barry Allen.

[ Side note – I’m nervous about watching Justice League because I love Ezra Miller but I /love/ Grant Gustin and I don’t want movie Flash to be better than TV Flash but also I don’t want movie Flash to be disappointing. ]

I think what makes this all more poignant is that I’m now taking part in NaNoWriMo (a month long challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days) as a way to get my passion for writing back. I used to sit every single night in the living room with my family watching TV and writing – whether it be FanFiction just because I wanted to write it or original fiction, I would write and write and write.

And I don’t. Since coming to uni I just haven’t. In part that’s because I’ve been spending more time with my friends and housemates and I don’t have the evening time I used to have but I miss writing and I want to get that back. I’m not trying to write a novel, or even 50,000 words for that matter, I only started on Day 12 – I’m just trying to write again. And that includes my blog to be honest.

Real life hasn’t been working so well in my brain right now, but having this outlet where I can write myself as a superhero – someone who isn’t held back by assignments or my sad brain (or a lack of superpowers) and I can be someone who’s the only one who can stop the bad guy.

But to be honest, that applies to real life too.

Sophie xx”

 

I wrote this whole post in one night. For some reason, making the feature picture and actually posting it meant that it was over a week later. I don’t know how to explain my brain right now but I feel like that was relevant.

Thank you for reading