October photo diary

2018, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

I mean, we all know I’m a big fan of capturing memories, documenting things and taking photos, so is this post a surprise to anyone? Probably not!

I’ve always liked having printed photos – I’ve just finished an album of some of my uni photos and I’ve got a couple of other photo albums and scrapbooks on the go. I’ve recently started making the most of getting 50 free 6×4 from Snapfish each month and I love choosing which ones I want to print to capture my month.

So I thought I’d do a more digital scrapbook, photo album thing and make a little snapshot of my month so far! Not sure if this is something I’ll do regularly, because I’m really enjoying making physical photo albums and I don’t think a blog post of 50 photos to summarise my month will have the same long term impact (nor do I think anyone is really that interested) but for the moment, I’m sticking with it and this last week has been pretty manic so it’s a good time to share!

[ o c t o b e r ]

I actually really love Sainsburys TU clothing, but I can’t justifying buying any part of this outfit at the moment (though after payday is a different matter entirely)

the first crunchy leaves feet picture of the year!

I wasn’t joking when I said I got loads of photos printed – there’s 140+ in this batch

Sainsburys released these collectable Lego cards for children. My 22 year old boyfriend is obsessed and very disappointed that it’s now ended and he didn’t complete his collection!

Oops it fell into my basket? (I really like the sunlight in this photo)

and here, three thousand years late, the girl discovers Huji – the photo app that says you’re living in 1998

when the boy takes outfit photos and then asks you to take a photo of him

I love cooking so much – this is the stuffing mixture I make usually for putting inside roasted peppers, but recently we’ve been putting them in wraps and making enchiladas with them and it’s been a big success (would anyone care about a blog post recipe?)

a photo of my granddad 1954 (left) – he just looks like such a ladies man and this is why I love printed photos!

my boy and I on our way to London!

Nick was our housemate for two years and one of our best mates at uni for all three years, this was the first time we’d seen him since graduation in July – three months!

Huji returns 4 The Circle Final – hosts Alice Levine and Maya Jama on the right and all the contestants are on the sofa on the left but it’s not very clear in this photo

We got moved to the other side of the studio and for a while we had a much better view (until some rude boys pushed in front of us) but I love this photo of all the finalists!

the view from our hotel was actually really cute

Really felt my make-up – I often avoid looking at myself at any opportunity but I didn’t hate myself on this day lol

underground signs aesthetically make me happy

the Natural History Museum is actually stunning

my tol boy with real tol boiz

I’m now obsessed with Dinosaurs and skeletons are proper cool

I thought this photo was proper artsy when I took it but it was mostly so I could read about the dinosaurs

trying to be creative but I wasn’t quite tall enough for this cool granite stone wheel thing to be a cool background and the lighting was rubbish but STILL

Huji photos and lens flares? CUTE

weekly card game night with le fam (minus my sister, who’s at uni)

RIGHT let’s talk about this – we’re quite competitive so we’re keeping track of overarching scores and somehow I’m OVER SIX HUNDRED POINTS BEHIND? Raging m8

even more Autumn-y leafy feet photos

the amazing cupcakes I made for my sister’s birthday (I wrote an insta post all about them which you can see here!)

family squeeze themselves into a car for a long ass drive to Bournemouth

Le Birthday Girl!

my sister in her funky new coat / the outfit she would wear if she was the Doctor

family birthday dinner at TGI Fridays

the birthday hat

I FINALLY GOT THE BIRTHDAY GIRL TO WEAR THE BIRTHDAY HAT!

nobody gets left behind… (he did though, reluctantly)

the drive home was SO PRETTY and all the trees were full of Autumnal colours but I couldn’t properly pick it up on camera

and my phone is mostly full of very exciting screenshots like these! Where are my Arrowverse fans at?

‘I can’t share a post with 50 photos in, that’s too many!’ she thought, then not being able to cut her photos from 17 days to less than 30.

Ah well, who doesn’t love a long post every now and then! It’s a bit like scrolling through Instagram but it’s just me, bit vain. Maybe I take too many selfies, maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’m getting better and taking family photos and documenting the everyday and I’m really happy with my mentality towards preserving memories – I’m going to have rooms full of photo albums and scrapbooks at this rate!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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“As long as I’m playing music, I’m happy” | Sam Harding interview

2017, lifestyle, music, student

Hello!

In my last semester at uni, I got to do a couple of optional units – the two I chose were Lifestyle PR, where I wasn’t taught anything and had to use common sense to do the assignment, and Music Journalism, where the teacher kept giving us examples of why he was an awful journalist and a bit of a dick as a human.

However that didn’t deter my love and passion for writing about music and musicians – part of my assignment was to create a music journalism portfolio, including a new artist profile. I reached out to my friend Sam to ask if I could interview him and thankfully he said yes. But I’ll let the interview speak for itself.

Photo by: Dani Blakeley

Getting a foot in the door of the music industry is harder now than it ever was before – the door is infinitely bigger, leading to a huge variety of different paths that determine ‘success’ and there are millions of feet trying to make their mark.

Sam Harding is a musician from a small town in the East Midlands, now studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and working on countless projects as a freelance musician. But Sam’s work ethic hasn’t changed since he was at school in that small town.

“I’ve been performing in bands since I was 13, starting off gigging all over the place with a really heavy metal band. The last year before I moved away from home to study gave me a taste of what it would be like to be a professional musician, and taught me a lot about music and what I wanted out of it.”

Sam has always had a very clear focus, determination and drive to get where he wants to be. “I picked up the bass at the age of 11 and fell in love with it instantly. Bass and guitar are the main instruments I play but recently I’ve been trying to get my chops together on upright bass and synth bass in an effort to make myself more versatile.”

With a taste of being semi-professional in playing in pro tribute band Latino Sound before Sam left home, he knows what he wants to work on to make himself a more diverse musician and give himself an edge in the industry he has already had that taste of.

“When I was 10, I discovered My Chemical Romance. They were the first band I really listened to and followed in a serious way. The music, the aesthetic, the energy – I thought it was all so cool! I remember spending most of my time playing along to My Chemical Romance tunes in my bedroom in my early teens. After a few years of playing I just suddenly found myself in a position where there was no question about it – music was just what I needed to do.”

Sam has not let moving to a new city over a hundred miles away phase his journey: “I’m playing with a few bands including a pop-funk band called Fresco, a neo-soul band called Silcaa, a jazz quartet and with the Tom Knight Band, as well as various one-off gigs. I have also started a production company called Blue Handle with my good friend and fellow RNCM student Tom Knight. We provide studio recording, live sessions, videography and photography services to musicians in Manchester and I’m feeling really excited about that project.”

But the music industry is unpredictable – there’s no distinct method to become ‘successful’; it’s not a clear career path. “I set goals for the projects that I am a part of, as well as for my own playing. Setting yourself targets to hit is a good way to stay focused and have things progress in a more efficient way.”

“I have a rough plan. I want to finish my four years of study and then further my career as a professional musician. It could be playing for artists live or in the studio, it could be writing and performing original music, it could be a combination.”

Sam has had a long history with music but he’s still young and has a long career ahead of him. “As long as I’m playing music, I’m happy.”

Sam’s pop-funk band Fresco has a new EP ‘Muy Funky’ and it’s out now on iTunesSpotify and Bandcamp.


Being able to interview Sam and see how successful he’s already being was genuinely a pleasure and, on a slightly less heartwarming note, I got a pretty good mark for my portfolio. I thoroughly enjoyed writing up this interview and I can’t recommend Sam’s music more – his passion shows in his talent.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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difficult friendships: you’re the most important

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I thought struggling with friendships and not knowing who really cared for me was something that I had to worry about at 16, but then I was 18 and now I’m nearly 21 and I’ve had a lot of difficulty making friends and maintaining friendships and I don’t think it’s something that ever really goes away.

But just because it doesn’t go away doesn’t mean it’s okay or that you should put up with it – here are some things that I’ve learned over losing and trying to make friends that are worth your time and make you happy.

If your friends don’t make you feel happy and loved, are they really worth your time at all? If they’re pointing out your insecurities or ganging up on you (even if it starts as a joke, it can still happen too often and if it’s hurting you then it’s not okay regardless of the intent!) then something needs to be done.

You need to be surrounded by people who think of you even when you’re not present – when they message you about something that just popped into their heads or they see a picture of puppy on Facebook and they tag you in it.

If you’re always the one organising coffee or nights in or nights out even, just take a step back and stop – stop texting first, stop making plans and just see how long it takes for them to notice (but then conversely, if they do message you don’t let them always message first because then they’ll feel like you felt like… does that make sense?).

Time should feel almost as if it doesn’t pass when you’re surrounded by good people – if you’re counting down the minutes until it’s an acceptable time to leave or you’re finding yourself checking the time or scrolling endlessly through Instagram to pass the time then you’re probably not spending time with people who are engaging you on any kind of level.

Conversation shouldn’t feel forced or make you feel uncomfortable – if you’re talking about the weather for the sake of talking about the weather or telling each other about how uni or work is going just to have something to say, there’s no point.

You never deserve to be someone’s second choice – ever, you do not deserve to be shunned for anyone else. Not to say that everyone should only have one set of friends, but if you find yourself being turned away by the same person over and over again so they can spend time with someone else you don’t need that – they aren’t worth your time, effort and love.

There’s nothing more empowering than surrounding yourself with friends that make you feel like you could take on the world together – cutting people out of your life hurts like hell but when you realise how much they were holding your back and tearing you down, you’ll be grateful for your strength.

I know this blog post is a little bit different but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and still something I’m struggling to come to terms with.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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2016: In Review

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

This year has been a really monumental year for me – it’s had it’s ups and downs, both personally and globally, but I thought now is definitely the best time and review the year month by month, looking back on a year in the life of the girl behind Sophie Counts Clouds.

Now that sounded pretentious, I’ll roll with it.

01-january

January: photography deadlines and Lucas’s birthday

Photography took up a lot of my thinking space in January and I did produce two of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken in these shoots. I also got to see Panic! At The Disco for the first time and it was my first concert with my boyfriend, Lucas.

02-february

February: Channel 4 work experience and dance competitions

My first ever Valentine’s Day in a relationship (I still love that elephant globe with all my heart), getting to spend a week in London with Channel 4 was incredible but I vividly remember the week full of really early starts in London then getting home Friday night, unpacking my suitcase and repacking for a weekend staying off in Birmingham for a dance competition. But I loved being so busy.

03-march

March: uni got busy and editing my monthly vlog was slow

March was when I fell a bit behind – editing my ‘February’ vlog was taking a really long time and assignments overwhelmed me a little bit. But I also became part of a couple who bought 70 creme eggs and I felt really good about my body – so a pretty good month all in all!

04-april

April: first year ending and Nick’s birthday

My sister turned my boyfriend into Deadpool, my best friend infinite ever turned 19 and Lucas and I went on our first proper date for a day out in Bournemouth and I wanted lots of cute photos with the beach huts. I then learnt that Lucas doesn’t like being my photographer.

05-may

May: got a job and first MCM ComicCon

A family visit with lots of pictures taken, fun trips to the pub with my friends and meeting the YouTubers I love at ComicCon – May was the start of what hoped to be a really incredible summer. I got my dream job at my favourite stationery store which I then got fired from in September. So we won’t talk too much about that.

06-june

June: first summer away from home and Nan’s birthday

I decided to stay in Southampton over the summer because coming home would be difficult for personal reasons and I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend. Each had their pros and cons and the summer was quite emotional time for me, but June was when I had my favourite galaxy hair, I surprised my Nan by being home for her birthday and I went on a Centre Parcs holiday with some of my family.

07-july

July: worked my first festival and really struggled with my money

I got to work at my first music festival! It wasn’t a festival I’d ever attend but it was the most fun work experience I’ve had this year. I also moved into a proper studio apartment with my boyfriend (which, again, had it’s pros and cons) and felt very independent and grown up… still not decided if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

08-august

August: Summer in the City and lots of creativity

I got to go to my second YouTube convention and it was so inspiring – August was when things started looking up personally and when I started feeling really uncomfortable and stressed at work. The release of Pokemon Go meant I also spent a lot of the summer outside and walking around which did help my mental health a little bit too!

09-september

September: first birthday away from home and second year

Lucas, Nick and I moved into our flat for the next academic year and I officially became old (i.e. not a teenager). September involved a lot of seeing my friends for the first time in months and feeling the stress and anxiety of summer slip away as I became happier and happier.

10-october

October: deadlines and dancing

I really started to enjoy uni at this point because I was really organised and I went to an independent cafe at 9am and did lots of work and became the most annoying hipster in the world. Unfortunately my granddad passed away in October, but it made me think about how wonderful his life was before he got ill and I was supported by my amazing friends – those I refer to as ‘my boys’ are featured on the left.

11-november

November: stress and positive feedback

A lot happened in November, from left to right; my family visited, I presented a TV bulletin, I got to see ‘The Wind in The Willows’ as press and write a review, I got to act a little bit in a friends assignment filming, I met Hazel Hayes and Jack Howard at my second Panic! At The Disco concert of the year and I did a package on the Busted signing in HMV Southampton and both Busted and HMV liked it on twitter. Assignment had ins were high (I think it was four in this month?) but I did get a couple of really great marks back, so a mixed bag.

12-december

December: busy but social, full of festivity, friends and family

With my last deadlines approaching and my organised approach to university falling to pieces, I somehow made it through the last deadlines of my first semester and from there on out it was socialising and Christmas festivities. I had the most amazing party with my Southampton friends, I got to see my friends from Ecuador for the first time in over a year (twice in one week!), everything was full of Christmas cheer at my favourite time of year, I’ve found a hair colour that I really love and I got to have a good old catch up with my oldest and dearest friend Katy.

In hindsight, 2016 has been incredible. The year ended on an incredible high and whilst it had it’s dips and my mental health has been more of a challenge this year than ever before, I’m really ready for 2017.

Please tell me all about your 2016 in the comments! Bring on the new year!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Christmas Photography!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m really excited about having this monthly photography series because I’ll learn more every time I take photos and post them and this post will hopefully make you all feel super festive, however I’ve not got the same amount of photos I had in my Autumn Photography post because December up to this point has been manic busy – with deadlines, travelling home and having a social life, getting into town to take pictures of the lights and festivities while the light was low was really difficult, so this is what I’ve captured this month!

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My nan really wanted me to get a picture of this Santa model ‘playing the piano’ – I didn’t realise there was a smudge on the right hand side of the lens but I told my nan I’d take the picture!

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There were lots of Christmassy colours and I got excited.

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I took most of these photos in the Christmas section of my local garden centre and I don’t think this was a bad decision.

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I like this photo a lot but the flare on the fairy lights is annoying, but I didn’t use my DSLR I just used my Canon M10, so the depth of field on these photos make me really happy.

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More photos of baubles with a very blurry background? My favourite kind of photo.

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This is my favourite photo – I love gingerbread men and this decoration is so cute, I nearly wish I’d bought it but I’m very pleased with this picture.

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I’ll be honest, this photo was just for reference because I really like this scent a lot.

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It’s not at the garden centre! I went to my local shopping centre today and they had some gorgeous lights and I really liked them and I knew I was writing this post. Conclusion: I like fairy lights.

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Not so obviously Christmassy (other than my dress!), but my friends and I had this Christmas party just over a week ago and I love them a lot and this party was so much fun so I thought I’d throw this photo in at the end.

I love Christmas and the Christmas season – I think it’s picturesque and cosy and comforting and that’s not something you can always catch on camera. I’m so excited for Christmas this year and I’m so excited to see what I can capture on Christmas Day itself (which I’ll definitely post here!).

January is a bit more difficult in terms of a standout theme to photograph but I think I might do a more location based shoot. I’d love to do a model based shoot but I don’t know how to find a model to work with me for free so we’ll see what happens!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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2054th Birthday Gathering! | Turning 20

2016

Hello!

This weekend I went home for a little family event gathering occasion thing for my mum and my birthdays – the number in the title is our combined ages, combined in what way I shall not reveal. Though it’s not too difficult to figure out. Sorry mum?

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There are always family photos at gatherings like that, especially in my family but I really love this one. My sister’s hair looks incredible right now, my mum is actually smiling and laughing and (aside from my brown/black/green hair, I’m getting it fixed soon I promise) I’m really pleased with the shirt I got, I think it’s really cute and it was only £10 from Primark!

The thing I really love it the bread roll in my hand. If any photo really sums me up it’s this one.

It was a really lovely weekend filled with people I love and appreciate all in one place – I got to see my not-really-Aunty Heather, my aunt, uncle and cousins, my nan and another uncle and even one of my friends from uni managed to make it to my family home too, it was so nice to be surrounded by such important people for the weekend. It was a really nice way to bring my family together for one occasion with lots of cake, food and barbecue!

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Some of my most favourite people, so much love for them all right now.

Being 20 is something I’ve been thinking about for a long while – I feel like it’s a big change mentally going from 19 to 20; am I an adult now? Do I have to be responsible now? The joke that people always ask if you feel older on your birthday every year kind of resonates with me right now because I feel like I’m really starting the next chapter of my life – my 20s begin now, my second year of uni is about to start and everything just feels that little bit more serious right now.

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Of course, I’m not quite an adult yet but I am getting there in feeling more independent and self sufficient, which is something I’m aiming towards, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy birthday parties and presents and cake!

I’ll still go home to my mum and my parents still give me money to go to Asda and book dentist appointments for me but I have to remember to schedule uni, assignments and personal projects for myself, make sure I’ve got eggs in the fridge and I don’t spend all my money on random Amazon purchases and caramel doughnuts.

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Thank you, Birthday 2016.

And thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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