March Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Every time I start writing a goals post I get a little bit baffled at how time is going so fast and how this is the third post of the year?! I feel like I’ve missed most of January and February so let’s dive head first in what I want to achieve in March!

[ M A R C H   G O A L S : ]

  1. I want to book my driving test!

I’ve been learning to drive for about six months now and I’ve started practicing test routes and reaching the end of my teaching and I’d love to be at a point that I’m ready to book my test by the end of this month.

2. Work 2 full days a week

I know this seems absolutely ridiculous to set myself the goal of working two days a week, but hear me out – I’ve always had the option of working for my mum’s business and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate to be in this position HOWEVER I’m incredibly stubborn and driven. So in a way, to me it feels like if I accept working more with my mum it’s almost as if I’ve given up hope of having a career job and this is it for me. It feels like giving up or defeat and I know that’s silly and I’ve enjoyed working there last month I just need to get over it in my head.

There’s also more lenience with this one because sometimes they don’t need me for two days in the office so I’ll try my best to complete both days whether it’s from home or in the office but that might not always be the case. Lil disclaimer there!

3. 1 workout a week / start running?

The question mark is very big on the running! I think I can definitely focus on one at home workout a week, whether it’s a FitBit one, a Nike one or just one I’ve found on YouTube – doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 30 minutes, I want to get back into more of a routine because I’m determined to stick with this and I’m not giving up just yet.

Running I’m a bit reluctant about because I want to use the NHS Couch to 5k app but it means committing to running three times a week and I just don’t know if I have time for that right now, so it’s a maybe but it’s something I definitely want to try at some point.

4. Refine career skills

I know one of my goals for last month was to make more specific goals and this is the complete opposite but this one has three sub-goals (wow, I’m taking this too seriously).

  • learn more about the core skills of photography – I know how photography works and I know the terminology and equipment I just don’t think I know it well enough because it was always skimmed over in my photography teaching at uni. So I want to spend time really reading up on it and making notes so I can understand why my photos don’t always look how I want them too.
  • copywriting work – what these last few months has taught me is that I really love copywriting, whether it’s news article writing, blog writing, creative writing, I just love writing and if I can get some remote freelance work that would be an amazing thing to do in the interim between now and (hopefully) getting a career job (or going back to uni but I’ll talk about that another time).
  • have one ‘learning’ day a week – there’s so many free online courses I’ve found that can fill in the gaps in knowledge I have for the career I want so I want to set aside one day a week to read through a few classes and put what I’m reading into practice. Maybe it’s silly, maybe I’ll realise there’s no point, but I want to make time for it.

5. Make time for knitting again!

In January it was my goal to make time for hobbies and I really did make a good crack at knitting and though I didn’t even finish one square, I really enjoyed it and it was really therapeutic so this month, I want to stop taking my laptop into the living room in the evening and I want to make time for knitting again. Just to help everything slow down and relax a bit more.

And that’s what I’m focusing on this month. February was a big turning point and I need to try and improve on that in March – tell me all about your goals and focuses for this month!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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an unexpected year of progress | graduate life update

2019, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I will feel the need to write updates until the day I start a job or figure out a plan of what’s next!

It’s a weird balance because I want to document what’s going on in my life for me to look back on, but then I don’t want anyone who’s currently at uni to read and feel terrified that this is their future… but (how many times can I say ‘but’) there are other graduates in a similar position to me who feel reassured they’re not alone! This is what I think about every time I write or film on of these posts, if that gives any clarification.

So, disclaimer: this is my situation. I know a lot of grads who have jobs and many who don’t. It’s not to say that those who don’t have jobs haven’t worked hard and it doesn’t diminish the hard work those who have jobs also did. There’s no ‘luck’ in getting a job – those with employment put a lot of time and effort into getting their job, but there is being ‘unlucky’ as someone can put in the same effort and not be successful. Graduation can be so scary because it’s so uncertain and there’s no formula to certify anything, we can only do what we can. Disclaimer over!

Let’s go back to the beginning – I handed in my final assignment in May 2018, last year. I graduated in July. I started applying for jobs to start when I graduated in the February, so about a year ago now. I just kept applying for job after job. I had three interviews over the summer that were all unsuccessful. In September I started doing some part time work for my mum’s business but I didn’t properly commit because I was still hopeful something would work out. In November I had an interview for some freelance work which very quickly fell through. After the new year I went back to applying, I’m in conversation with my uni’s careers department who are trying to help me get a a job and I’m now doing two full days a week at my mum’s work.

So, I’m essentially no further along than I was a year ago except I have a degree and a part time job.

And that’s the literal update of what has factually happened.

Looking forward, /i’m going to keep working with mum, finish learning to drive, keep applying, keep researching a masters and figure out if I want to do that. I’m keeping myself busy but I can’t do this forever.

Outside of the practicalities, in myself I’m not in the best mental state. In November, things really picked up for me emotionally even though I was facing rejection after rejection. But these last few weeks where I’ve been trying to budget and pay for driving lessons and bus fares, it’s been really rough. Thinking about why I’ve been rejected for so many jobs, obviously I start thinking about how maybe I’m really not good enough, I’ve wasted my time at uni and I should just give up completely.

But what really helped was a call from my university’s careers agency (shoutout to Aaron from Solent Futures!) for reassuring me that I’m qualified, I am good enough and it will happen.

Even though I’ve been job hunting for a year, I’ve actually learnt so much and had the time to try things I wouldn’t have if I’d gone straight into a job. I’ve started learning to drive and I absolutely adore it. I’ve gone back to the dance school I spent most of my teenage years in and I volunteer on reception which has taught me a lot of really valuable skills as well as getting to go back to tap classes, I don’t know if I can find the words for how much I love them. Doing office work for my mum has taught me lots about admin and being a PA. All this time without full time commitment has meant I can continue working on my blog and YouTube channel and have time to figure out what I actually want.

I’m trying my best to think positively – giving up isn’t going to get me a job or improve my mental health. Hard work and self belief is – I’ve got to empower myself because right now, it’s all I’ve got!

So overall, I’m struggling but I think I’ll be okay in the long run. If you have any questions about post grad stuff or job hunting please do let me know!

I have a question too – I was considering writing a post about my favourite instagram accounts at the moment? I really want to share the love but not sure whether to do a post or insta stories, so please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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improving my odds

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

My notes for today’s post simply read – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. And yes, I love to believe in a higher power and there really is a path for each person to follow and not a blank open plane but I don’t know if asking the universe is going to really help.

It’s a balance – internally, I’m always thinking ‘but this’ ‘but that’ – I don’t think there’s any harm in putting it out there what you want. I’ve done this before with an ‘ask the universe’ post – and everything in that post still stands.

But nothing’s going to change if I don’t work for it.  Tweeting about how I’d love more subscribers or how I can’t think of anything better than running social media channels for a band on tour and maybe one day someone will notice and will make my dreams come true.

I don’t even know where to start doing the maths on how many billions to one those chances are though? If I really want to leave it to chance, I might as well put the work in to improve the odds.

Going back to the path analogy – feeling like there’s a path already set for us can feel restricting, like we have no free will or choice, but thinking about how there’s a huge expanse of possibilities can be incredibly daunting. I like to think that somewhere in the universe, there’s something that at least vaguely knows where we’re going, giving us multiple paths to choose from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it or I believe too much in a higher power but whilst I think there’s something that knows our future, I don’t think shouting to a void (or social media) will help or hinder anything.

So I go back to the original notes I made for this post – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. I’d love a sign – if there’s a higher power, if it could send a sign my way that would be fan-bloody-tastic! A sign, a break, all of the above please. But the world doesn’t work like that – if I spend my whole life waiting for a sign I’m going to look back having wasted it.

This is me, not waiting, not calling the universe but thanking it – thanking it for giving me the strength to carry on, the confidence to step into the unknown and the passion to make my own path when I can’t find one to follow.

Writing this has been the most ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I’ve written for a very long time – today hasn’t been my day, to be honest but even reading over my own blog plan, seeing my own past plea made me think, you know what? I have the power to stop this and I’m going to work to make my own change.

2019 hasn’t necessarily gone the way I’d hoped so far, there’s lots of milestones I thought I would have already hit but I can’t waste time thinking of what could have been – I’m going to work to hit the goals I’ve set for myself and if I don’t, I’ll readjust and keep working. Because otherwise my life is going to carry on and I won’t really be in it.

I hope you can take something away from this post. Maybe it was a self-indulgent ramble to reach a somewhat melodramatic conclusion, but maybe it wasn’t.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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planning a weekend trip in Europe | travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

When I first started blogging, my three topics of choice were lifestyle, music and travel and I really did not show that in what I was writing. I’ve made it a little personal goal of mine to write genuinely relevant travel content this year, not ‘I wish I could travel here’ and ‘one day I’ll go to these places’ but stuff that genuinely reflects where I am in terms of travel at the moment.

Long story short, my boyfriend and I have had a trip to Paris in the works since last January (yes, I mean 2018, 13 months ago) and after mishaps getting my boyfriend’s first passport, spontaneously buying EuroStar tickets in November because they were so cheap (£29 per person each way, £116 total – utter bargain, keep an eye on trainline because it’s so worth it in what you save!) and everything else – we’re going to Paris for 3 nights at the end of March.

Slowly I’ve been ticking off the things I need to do – this week I’m going to book a hotel (because gal’s gotta save) and for my boy’s birthday (one whole year after declaring I would take him to Paris in the first place) I wrote up a kind of mock itinerary and sure, he can scrap it and write a whole new one if he likes but wow, I put so much time into it.

(let’s pretend this screenshot of my laptop screen is edgy and creative and not just a bit weird or lazy, I was aiming for edgy okay)

So I’m going to have a little chat about how I made this itinerary – I got a bit hung up on hotels and stuff but a few people on Instagram said not to worry about finding somewhere too fancy because for our first trip to Paris we should spend as much time as we can in the city and where we stay is just somewhere to sleep. So at present I’m hoping to book this ibis hotel which is near the Gare du Nord train station where we’ll be getting the Eurostar too but a couple of people have told me to have a look on AirBNB as well but I’m kind of skeptical and it scares me a bit so if anyone has any AirBNB advice or where to stay in Paris recommendations please do let me know, probably on Instagram is easiest! Or a comment, whatever floats your boat.

But back to my itinerary! I put a lot of research into this but I also made the most of instagram by blocking my boyfriend from seeing my stories (it was a birthday present surprise, I was trying to be subtle!) and asking for recommendations and writing down everything that people had suggested.

And then, like the basic bitch I am, I googled ‘things to do in Paris’ – but more specifically, my sister recommended getting the Paris pass which gets free access to a bunch of attractions. I haven’t bought this (I’ll explain that in a second) but there is a free 120 page guide to the city that I downloaded and scrolled through and made notes of the things I thought Lucas (the boy) and I would be most interested in doing.

From there, I condensed the list to things I actually thought we would do and then I used Google Maps to be able to visually see where all these attractions were to try and group the things that are in similar areas and plan out our days a little bit. Most of Thursday and Sunday are taken by travel but there’s still two full days that we can fit in as much as we can!

When I grouped things I was looking for morning activities, afternoon activities and maybe one evening thing so there’s time for lots of things! Once I could see them all on the map there was a few things that I ruled out because they were so isolated but I grouped things and popped them on the itinerary.

From there I did a little more research into each potential thing and how much tickets or anything would cost and included that and I could also look around each area we’re in for breakfast/lunch/dinner and list a few options. Finding places to eat in advance I really struggled with – I think we’ll mostly just have a look at what’s around us when we’re ready for food and go where’s convenient and looks good but the one thing I have booked is Hard Rock Cafe Paris because I want to make sure we can get a table on Friday night. I’m so excited about it, ever since I went to Hard Rock Cafe in New York I’ve wanted to try as many as possible and I can’t wait.

I’m very aware that we’re not going to follow this itinerary to the letter (other than trains, we can’t miss those) and I’m so happy to go with the flow but I didn’t want to go into this trip with absolutely no plans because I definitely would have missed something amazing.

So that’s how I made our little itinerary and that’s our plans for Paris so far! I definitely want to have another look and potentially book a few bits in advance but I won’t be buying the aforementioned Paris Pass for a few reasons that I want to be explicit about – firstly, I think it’s incredibly expensive. If you’re going to do everything in the guide, then I’m sure it’s worth the money but for a two-full-days-in-city trip it is almost certainly going to be a waste of money. Secondly, developing on that – doing a quick price up of each activity that costs money that I think we’ll be doing and it costs less to buy them all individually than to buy the pass. Thirdly, I think it’s a bit gimmicky – being a tourist doesn’t have to cost that much money and if I wanted to I could definitely do this whole trip without paying for attractions or activities. The website sucks you in with ‘you’ll waste so much money if you don’t buy this pass!’ but when you add it up, it’s just not the case.

If there’s any recommendations or questions about Paris please do leave them in the comments! Although I’ve been on a few amazing trips, I’m still very new to travelling and being entirely responsible for everything we do so all tips and recommendations are welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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February Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

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

{ F E B R U A R Y   G O A L S }

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a day in Newton Abbot | diary 4

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucas and Lexie, causing trouble

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

And that was today!

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 tips for packing a weekend bag | Travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

1 – make a list!

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

2 – get everything before you start packing

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

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

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

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

4 – what toiletries do you really need?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a photography day in the life

2019, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

(the highlight is all real though)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how I lost 16lbs without dieting

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

  • step 1cut out the snacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3 – be more active

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

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

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

Not happening for another 7 or 8 years yet!

  • the next steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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making yourself a routine

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

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

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

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

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

#1 – writing to do lists

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

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

#2 – have set times for food

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

#3 – plan stuff for the future

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

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

#4 – have a space to work

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

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

#5 – have a strict sleep schedule

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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