things that make me happy

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Life is a lot at the moment isn’t it? I know lockdown has been lifting for a while but it feels like I’ve spent six months in restrictions, the weather’s been nice but I live quite far away from any friends or family now so haven’t been able to see many people and my work life has been very hectic… So spending a little bit of time making a list of things that make me happy is going to be a good therapeutic exercise and a nice thing to look back on!

In no particular order:

  • the smell of grass after it rains in the summer
  • reading in the garden on my new sun lounger
  • lighting a candle I’ve been saving for special occasions
  • dance parties to Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with my boy
  • my house plants
  • the light in our living room first thing in the morning
  • redesigning my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • binging all the YouTube videos on my Watch Later playlist
  • picnics with friends on sunny days
  • game nights with friends on rainy nights
  • knitting my ‘scarf’ which is just lots of rows of the same stitch over and over again
  • watching tiktoks and not minding losing 1-3 hours of my life
  • reading in bed while the sun is still up
  • playing ‘ready, steady, cook’ with whatever food we have and accidentally making something really delicious
  • keeping my bullet journal up to date
  • when I’m in such a good writing flow that I feel like the story is writing itself
  • sewing a cross stitch kit
  • talking to my mum
  • reading whilst cuddling with my boy
  • bubbles
  • ordering spontaneous take out
  • trips to The Range, B&M and/or Wilkos
  • 2am giggles with the person I want to spend forever with
  • music by All Time Low
  • buttered toast
  • rewatching every film in the MCU… again
  • rewatching the entire Harry Potter franchise
  • live music
  • going for long walks (and playing Pokemon Go… I know)
  • an empty laundry basket
  • reading a book so good that you can’t put it down
  • having at home spa nights with face masks, foot masks and properly moisturising
  • using my sewing machines to make face masks
  • buying myself flowers
  • chocolate
  • fidget toys
  • my bear factory bear (yeah, pre-Build a Bear)
  • coloured pens
  • stickers!
  • lying on my bed and listening to music
  • giving my loved ones surprises
  • picking pictures for my photo wall
  • scrapbooking
  • decluttering the house
  • fairy lights
  • Lucas, my fiancé person
  • the music in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • space and galaxy themed things
  • a Tescos meal deal (chicken salad sandwich, a kinder bueno and Ribena)
  • tap dancing
  • sitting down after a busy day having ticked off everything on my to do list
  • the opening notes of Les Miserables in the theatre
  • doing paper crafts in my bullet journal at the start of each month
  • potatoes
  • summer evenings – the cooler air, the colours of the sky when the sun sets, BBQs and fire pits with friends – just the best

Many of these things are summer themed because that’s what’s making me happy right now, but I’m sure I could do a cosy winter version too!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

adjusting to being alone

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

My fiancé works in Outside Broadcast, which means he sets up all the camera equipment for live sports matches; football, rugby, he’s done boxing, his colleagues have done golf and tennis – it’s a huge thing and it’s a very exciting industry, even for someone who has zero interest in sport.

He’s currently working out in Rome, Italy on the Euros – he just worked on the Opening Ceremony and the first game and he’s out there living the Italian life for nearly 5 weeks.

Several people – both his colleagues and mine – have question why we as a couple are okay with this, but we always said career comes first. It’s an amazing opportunity to work on such a huge event and in the scale of it all, five weeks is nothing. With video calls and WhatsApps and silly voice notes there’s plenty of ways for us to keep in touch and alongside being an amazing experience, it’s a good financial opportunity for us and we have a wedding to save for!

But whilst he has an amazing opportunity and extra money, I have an empty house and a lot of alone time for five weeks. It’s definitely a tough trade off but I never want to be the one holding him back from amazing opportunities. He’s been flown to Rome to work on one of the first major sporting events since the pandemic cancelled everything and whilst we’re relatively unattached (no pets or children or anyone under our care), now’s the perfect time to go. If I worked in an industry that had similar opportunities, I would have done the same.

Being home alone has been a big adjustment – many of my friends and family live alone and I’ve had a few comments from one family member saying ‘now you understand’ but, whilst it may be easy for me to say; I don’t think it’s the simple. It’s all about what is considered our ‘normal’ – my normal is living with someone else, so suddenly being on my own isn’t really equivalent to living alone because it’s not my normal. Sure, it’s an insight into what your life is like but it’s not my normal.

However, today I wanted to talk about all the nice things I’m experiencing in being on my own for a little bit – it’s not all highs and it’s not all lows but there’s a place for talking about the tough times and a place to concentrate on the best bits – today is a best bits day.

Firstly, the weather has massively picked up in the UK and it’s been lovely to have the back door open and feel a warm breeze, the sun on my skin and the smell of barbecues at the weekend (despite how hungry it makes me!). I’m normally very much an inside person and last year our garden was essentially shared so I didn’t love spending time outside, but now I have my own private garden, I’ve picked up some garishly yellow sun loungers and I have a plan to douse myself in SPF and spend the afternoon making a good dent in my book!

Which leads me on to my current greatest passion – reading. I really got back into reading in 2020 and although it’s ebbed and flowed and a bad book can put me off for a few weeks, as the weather’s got better the only thing I want to do is sit outside with my prescription sunglasses and a book. Maybe a snack but I’m working on not snacking.

At the moment, most of my evenings are finishing work, having half an hour to mentally check out of ‘work mode’, making dinner then sitting on the sofa watching YouTube until 10pm when I go up to bed and read until I fall asleep and although it sounds a bit boring, I’m enjoying giving myself a little bit of structure. I’m still figuring out what the best routine is to get the best nights sleep but just blitzing through my watch later playlist and catching up on all my YouTube videos is really satisfying to me.

This might be the silliest thing that brings me joy… but I bought a bubble machine.

Let me explain!

Last year when we had an essentially-shared-garden, our neighbours kid had a bubble machine and the joy I felt watching all the bubbles float passed our window was so pure and wholesome. I realised a few weeks ago that I am a whole grown ass adult and if I want a bubble machine I can buy myself a bubble machine.

So I did.

I am posed with my tongue out and bubbles floating all around me.

And I was 100% correct about the level of joy it brings me – £6 well spent.

Life’s too short to deny ourselves simple pleasures.

A project I’m doing which perfectly coincides with my fiancé being away is Hannah Witton‘s #DearJune Instagram challenge – I’ve totally re-evaluated my relationship with posting on Instagram and for the last six or seven months or so I’ve only posted the photos I really like and want to share, rather than posting every single day because I felt obligated as a ‘blogger’, ‘wannabe influencer’ person and I was a little worried with Dear June interfering with that, but it’s pushed me creatively to take more interesting photos and write more meaningful captions and I’m really proud of what I’ve shared so far! It’s been a fantastic creative exercise so far and it’s been surprisingly self-reflective too, making me look me deeply within myself and giving me lots more to discuss with my therapist (which is a good thing).

Changing living situation is always hard, whether it’s moving house, being in a long distance relationship for a little bit or simple trying a new routine. But I suppose it’s mentally reframing change as an opportunity to be a good thing and not immediately react negatively (but this is hard and takes practice!).

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

trying to feel more present

2021, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Something I’m finding a bit difficult at the moment is feeling present in the moment – I appear to have blinked and it’s May! I sometimes genuinely forget it’s 2021.

But it’s things like being thrilled it’s the weekend and then suddenly it’s Monday and I feel like I haven’t made the most of my time off at all, I don’t feel refreshed and I’m dreading running on empty for another week. I’m struggling with feeling present and it’s a mix of constantly feeling like I’m waiting for the future or reminiscing about the past and I really want to spend more time focusing on living in the now.

Some of the things I’m going to try and do to work on it is by having shorter to do lists and not trying to cram as much into my precious time off, spending time at home because that’s where I find it easiest to recharge and getting away from the screens – not having my laptop over for the sake of it, listening to music instead of watching TV in the background and trying not to lose hours scrolling on tiktok!

Especially with the weather getting nicer, I’m trying to get out in the garden more, but then also spending time doing crafts, writing in my bullet journal and reading! I hit a reading slump in April and didn’t read more than one chapter in the whole month, but I’ve already read two books in May and I’m so excited to spend the summer outside with my books. My mum’s given us a sofa bed which we’ve put in the extension downstairs and sitting under the skylight and looking out in the garden with a book or with my knitting is so lovely.

It sounds silly, but I hope I can feel more present in my life to make the days feel longer! Thinking about how many weekends I’ve spent in bed till midday because it was the only way I could recover from a week of work just feels like such a waste. Hopefully being able to relax more and slow down will help me sleep better and it all be a nice positive circle of feeling less exhausted and more relaxed in my day to day.

Before work yesterday, I managed to wake up and get out of bed, go to the post box, get pastries from Sainsbury’s, journal and meditate before work and it felt great! I’d love to feel that refreshed and productive before I even start work, but the day before I turned off my 8am alarm, fell back to sleep because I was so tired and woke up again at 8.45am to start work at 9am. It’s a habit I’d love to break!

I’d love it if I could maintain a routine, but I always go through cycles of sleeping well, feeling more present and productive and then there’s times were I sleep for 8 hours and feel like I could sleep for 8 more and I feel like that’s normal? Anyone who maintains a daily routine forever is a robot I swear!

Once you count out work and sleeping, there’s approximately six hours an evening during the week and fourteen hours in the weekend days – but then there’s cooking and cleaning and tidying and doing a weekly shop and other boring grown up things there’s not a whole lot of time left in the week! A lot of our working lives are lost to the boring adult stuff so the time we have left over is precious, so being more intentional but how I spend that time will hopefully make me feel much more present.

But as lockdown lifts and there’s discussions about hybrid working and going back to the office, it’s hard to remember that working from home is actually exhausting mental and physically – I’ve spoken a lot about productivity culture being really toxic and taking that work mentality and bringing it into the home that’s meant to be our place of relaxation is tough!

If you need a sign to prioritise yourself and have a self care weekend, this is it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I’ve lost my mojo

2021, career, creativity, lifestyle

Hello,

At the beginning of the month, I decided to take a week off blogging because I was moving house and I didn’t need to put that added pressure on myself.

Since then I have written three posts, none of which I’ve published because I’ve been having this whole internal debate about why I blog – why do I write, why do I share? It’s not because I think I have skills I can teach people – I’m not an expert crafter, bullet journaller or even blogger – I don’t think people can learn from my life and mental health experiences, I don’t think they’re helping anyone particularly and I don’t have enough of a journalistic flare to share interesting thoughts and opinions on films, music or fashion, let alone more significant topics like politics, current affairs or justice movements.

So why do I blog at all?

I drew this same conclusion with my YouTube channel and decided last week that I’m not going to plan to make YouTube content anymore – since starting my graduate job in January, I’ve published a total of three videos. Whilst I’ve filmed more and edited a couple, it was only those three that made it to my channel and I wouldn’t say they’re my pride and joy. Then I got to thinking about what videos I was most proud of on my channel and which ones I’d like to look back on, and I couldn’t really think of anything. I got into the cycle of thinking about the purpose of my content and drew a blank; I don’t think there’s a purpose in my sharing anything.

In part this may be due to my work – the content I’m producing there in graphic design, video and audio format is for a purpose and I can see the impact it has; good social posts mean people act on our call to action, our Reels on Instagram are getting over a thousand views in less than half an hour and I have a part in producing a podcast that is actually on Spotify! Without sounding too big for my boots, I’m doing really well in my job and I feel like a lot of my creative energy is going there.

So I’m giving YouTube a break – I’m not ‘quitting’ or deleting the channel or anything dramatic, but I’ll wait until the right idea strikes me because then it’ll be worth making.

But what about my blog?

In the most vain way possible, I like writing about myself and my life – any one who starts a blog or a YouTube channel does at least to some extent, otherwise we wouldn’t seek the attention of others online. Mentally, I have the approach now with my blog that it feels almost like a diary – one big old time capsule that I can come back to when I’m old and see who I was from the age of 18. I’m 24 now and so much has changed – then I had a tumblr blog with 25k+ followers and I loved having that community, but I went to uni and my interests changed and though that tumblr still exists, I don’t even know how many followers it has anymore.

At 24 I’ve got three degrees (which makes me sound sincerely more academic than I am), I’m planning my wedding with my fiancé, I’m living in what feels like a ‘grown up house’ in Oxfordshire (definitely didn’t see that bit coming!) – my life is entirely different. I don’t know if I am entirely different but I have a whole history on this blog and I’m not finished with it yet.

Things might take a more egocentric turn – though I’d love to have a niche and say this is about more than just me, I don’t. I can’t force myself to write about one singular topic because I’m passionate about so many more things than that. I love reading, I’ve got a lot of opinions about superhero movies, I really want to grow my own vegetables this summer, I’m going to try and make my first cosplay costume this year and learn more about sewing and knitting and material crafts. I play video games with my boyfriend when six years ago I’d never touched an Xbox controller in my life. I have a favourite Pokemon that isn’t Pikachu!

I’m human; I’m diverse and complex and I like talking about myself because I get over-excited and over-emotional and I just want to share with someone. I’ve learnt a lot about barriers and not telling the internet everything and I’m really proud of the significantly healthier relationship I have with social media now. And that’s what I want my blog to be about – all the complicated bits that make me who I am; the nerdy bits, the bits on depression meds, the bits that still kind of wish I could be a Hollywood actress and every other facet that makes me.

My mojo might have wondered off for a little bit, but putting all this in writing has made me realise one thing; all those times I said I was writing my blog for me and not an audience was a lie – I wanted to be an influencer, I wanted the #bloggermail and excuse to be creative all the time. But I’ve accepted that’s not going to happen and that’s not what I want; freelance isn’t secure enough for me, blogger mail can be incredibly wasteful and there are so many careers where I can be creative and I’ve found one.

Now this blog really is for me. If you come along for the ride then that’s great, but I’ve figured out what I’m really doing this for… and this time I honestly mean it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie

a life update, but not just the highlight reel

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

I wrote a few weeks ago about going through a creative block with my blog, but I thought I’d climbed over that hurdle… and then I’ve been stumped every time I tried to write this week.

I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or if I’m just a little too close to burnout for comfort but I felt like I couldn’t read the words on my screen, let alone write anything cohesive. To throw an extra spanner in the works, WordPress has updated it’s user interface and the post writing section is completely different – as someone who doesn’t like change, I hate it.

Like, I know I’ll get used to it and then they’ll change it again and I’ll wish it was back like this but still… Give me my old editor back please!

On Tuesday I tried to write another book themed post about how I organise my ‘to be read’ books, but the answer was as simple as; I organise them in alphabetical order by author’s surname because it shuffles them enough that nothing’s too similar but I don’t have to make any decisions about what I read next because the order is already planned.

There wasn’t much of a way to extend that beyond one paragraph without it being really boring and unnecessary, so I decided to stop beating myself up and just let that one slide.

Then Friday night’s post was meant to be all about trying to move house in a pandemic, and whilst we have applied for a house and been approved to move in two weeks (hopefully), 1) We haven’t signed a contract yet so I’m still a bit dubious and 2) It’s actually been okay – we started looking at rightmove and booking viewings a few months in advance of when we wanted to move and we didn’t hand our notice in till after we’d found somewhere so we didn’t have any deadlines, the only thing I’m nervous about is the contract falling through but the national lockdown rules ease by the time our provisional moving date is so we’ve roped a couple of friends in to help (all legally).

And again, that’s the whole story in one paragraph!

So I thought I’d write a kind of diary/update post – because that’s essentially a taste of what those two other posts would have been anyway!

My whole life at the moment feels like work and trying to not be tired – my mental health is in a weird state where sometimes I spend ages staring at screen taking three times as long to do a task as I should be, and sometimes I feel really present and efficient and excited about what I’m working on. Finding a balance within all that is okay, I’m learning to work with my mental state rather than working against it and getting frustrated, but it’s annoying when the to do list just keeps being postponed to the next day and everything is building up.

Outside of work I feel a bit restless – I know I want to be doing something but I don’t know what. I’m starting a new creative writing project in April but I don’t have the words to write right now (though the stories are developing in my head), I can’t comfy enough to read (I’m too young for everything to ache this much, right?) and knitting watching my fiancé play video games is not top of my list. I’m trying to tune into what my body wants and needs but I’m exhausted a lot of the time no matter how much sleep I’m getting.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – though tired, I am really enjoying my work and I love working with creative people, feeding off their energy and ideas and feeling valued when I share ideas of my own. I’m planning to have a weekend of sewing and packing which I’m excited about – watching YouTube or turning some music up loud and having some off screen time to potter around the house.

I love mundane tasks like tidying and organising (not cleaning so much, which isn’t ideal), I love listening to music and pretending I’m the main character in a film (I know it’s weird, let me have it) and I’m excited for what feels like ‘the next step’ for my partner and I, moving into a more ‘grown up’ house.

Things are up and down, but as I recently described it to a close friend – ‘I’m alright, ups and downs, in a bit of a down at the moment but knowing it won’t last forever is a big step in itself’.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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how am I? | life update

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

My favourite blog posts to write are the long, stream-of-consciousness ones that I don’t have to think too hard about writing, I just pick a topic and see what happens.

Generally these fall into the category of a ‘life update’ – documenting what’s going on in my life and generally making some sort of statement about mental health and/or body image. But I always feel they are the most genuine of posts because they come from the heart (however cringy that sounds). I love writing more than anything else; I like figuring out the best ways to use my words to say something meaningful, whether that’s a blog post or a story, but I also think connecting with someone else’s words is so much easier when you feel they’re genuine.

I also find writing about myself and my experiences really easy, but let’s not look too far into what that says about my vanity.

Trying to figure out ‘how I am’ is an ongoing question – every day I have video meetings on Google and everyone opens by asking how everyone else is and I always say ‘I’m good! How’re you?’ with a fake enthusiasm that I hate even as it’s coming out of my own mouth. But it’s what everyone says, regardless of how true it is and whenever I think about being more honest, it feels like I’d just be attention seeking because I’m not fitting the ‘social norms’ or saying I’m okay.

To some extent I am good – I’m so lucky to have a job right now so quickly after finishing my masters, I feel incredibly privileged to be in a job where I believe in what I’m doing, everyone is super friendly and I feel like I’m challenging and developing my skills after only a month in the position. I’m so grateful that my line managers trust me and are giving me valuable work where I can see my contribution rather than being treated as ‘the new guy’ and being given little tasks just to keep me busy.

But I am struggling to adapt to full time work – I’m exhausted, I’m still figuring out how to track all the tasks I need to do and whilst everyone I work with is so kind and friendly, I find it harder to engage with them over video calls and I hate trying to make my home space a suitable work environment.

The UK’s Lockdown 3 is definitely having a huge impact on national motivation; everyone is feeling drained, everyone’s tired of the same four walls and ‘daily walk’ has become almost a joke whilst being so many people’s saviours. Even the introverts miss contact, real conversations and physical presence, though I’m sure we’ll go back to craving our alone time as soon as society returns to ‘normal’. If there’s even a normal to return to, but that could be a blog post of its own.

The main way I judge my own ‘mood’ is generally productivity – whenever my mum messages and asks how I’m doing, a good day will usually be a list of everything I’ve achieved whilst a bad day is a day of feeling like I have cotton wool in my head and I stared at a screen without seeing a thing on it.

My time management of still achieving what I want with eight less hours to play with in the day has been challenging, but I’ve recently started a sleep course to help with (shock horror) my sleep and I’m currently in the sleep restriction cycle, so I’m not ‘allowed’ to go to bed before midnight and I have to wake up at 7.15am. Although this is almost certainly contributing to the near-constant feeling of exhaustion, I’ve got far more hours in the day than when I rolled out of bed at 8.50am for my 9am start!

I’m playing Animal Crossing with breakfast and watching Bridgerton whilst I spend my evenings knitting! On the other hand, I feel a lot of pressure to ‘make the most’ of my weekends and often feel so overwhelmed by not wasting the weekend that I don’t do anything. But in a way, that’s not a bad thing.

So in conclusion, I feel the exact same as everyone else – generally I’m okay; I’m grateful for my health and my job and my partner, but lockdown is hard; my mental health isn’t great, I feel physically and emotionally drained and I’m craving ‘normal’ times.

The main thing is I’m reminding myself that it’s okay; I’m okay – my feelings are okay and they’re valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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new social media plans

2021, creativity, lifestyle

Hello!

My relationship with social media has been through what feels like a large change over the last two years or so – as a teenager I put all of my feelings online because I desperately wanted sympathy and attention (heads up: it didn’t work and just made me look whiny) and it definitely took someone telling me that they deliberately don’t put all their feelings online to start reevaluating my own relationship with the internet.

Cut to two years later and psychologically retraining myself not to turn to Twitter every time I get sad/stroppy and to actually communicate with the people around me, my social media platforms are infinitely less depressing than they used to be!

Pair this with no longer pretending to be an influencer with my blog, YouTube and Instagram content and just posting for fun and we’ve got a brand new SophieCountsClouds (still kind of hate the name, but the brand’s the brand y’know). I don’t feel like I have to post on Instagram every day, I don’t try to ‘promote engagement’ (that I never got anyway) and the content I do make I make for fun; because I love writing, I like coming up with new and fun videos ideas and I love watching social media evolve and develop (hence the beginnings of a career in marketing).

But there are two new profiles that I want to develop in 2021 – having really reinvested in social media as a personal hobby and not a ‘professional portfolio’ (that’s separate) I’ve got two new projects that I want to work on and I’ve definitely mentioned them both already.

My new book Instagram account and tiktok! I’ve kind of fallen headfirst down the tiktok rabbit hole as lockdown and pandemic has persisted, both from an entertainment and a marketing point of view (how someone can gain 99 million followers in a year is astounding) and now I just want to make fun, silly little videos.

The book account has been one of my new years goals for a little while now – 2020 may have been shit but it was the year I full on fell in love with reading again and I wanted somewhere to connect with people who love books and stories as much as I do and somewhere for me to write about the books I’m reading and my thoughts on other things (important discussions like hardback vs paperback and whether the spine of a book should be cracked).

It sounds silly to keep using the word ‘fun’ but doing Vlogmas and watching so much tiktok, making content is fun again for me now! While I was at uni I spent a lot of time thinking that to be a ‘proper blogger’ I needed to be scheduling tweets for every hour of the day and writing really stagey, fake sounding captions with a million hashtags to ‘reach the right people’ but it felt wrong when I did it and it feels stupid looking back on it now. If my blog or YouTube was ever going to be successful then 1) it would have been already and 2) I’d rather people found my content organically and subscribed because they liked it, not because I tweeted three billions times asking if they’d remembered to subscribe.

I’ve had so much fun finding people to follow on my book account and making that tiktok the other day made me feel creative in a way I never expected to!

In between new social medias and setting up my new sewing machine, knitting and sitting with a blanket over my knees 24/7, I think I’m finely balancing on the line between millenial/gen z ‘keeping up with the trends’ and ‘Grandma’.

I still don’t understand tiktok dances, how do you know which are the trendy ones and which ones are people just boogying in their living room? Did I really use the words ‘trendy’ and ‘boogying’ in the same sentence?

Conclusion? I’m having fun with social media and content creation again and I think that might be one of the best things that came out of 2020.

If you’re interested in books or, like me, can’t get off tiktok I’d love it if you followed me! If that’s not what you’re into, I hope you love the creators you are watching and you have content that makes you smile.

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

Sophie xx

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2021 Goals

2021, goals, organisation

Hello!

It’s my favourite time of year – goal setting time!

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I love all things organisation, goals and planning (even if I am also a Queen Procrastinator and spend more time making lists than doing the things on them… it’s a work in progress) – every month I make mini goals that help keep me focused and working on my yearly goals, every week I make a spread in my bullet journal that helps me work on the tasks in my monthly goals and I’ve been setting yearly goals ‘properly’ (as in, actually tracking them) for probably three or four years now? So I’m getting better at figuring out what I actually want and what’s achievable.

And if we’re learnt anything from 2020 is that something can always throw a massive spanner in the works no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so I learnt a lot about being okay with not ‘achieving’ my goals and knowing that it’s not always a personal failure if I don’t do something. As well as knowing that goals and priorities change – last year I wanted to learn website design and photography, but actually, that’s not a priority for me right now so I didn’t make the time for it.

It’s all about balance and making ‘SMART’ goals. I know I sound like a University Careers officer, but making Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound goals takes practice and breaking bigger tasks into smaller (smart) goals will make them more achievable in the long run. Sometimes waiting for the long run or seeing ‘the bigger picture’ is the real challenge. Whether it’s your career, health and fitness, personal hobbies or anything else, a year isn’t going to perform miracles – I’m not going to reach my goal weight healthily in a year no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to reach my long-term career goals and I’m not going to be able to grow my hair down to my butt – they’re not achievable and that’s fine. But I can set a smaller healthy weight goal that aligns with long term weight loss, I can work towards certain career aspirations that are steps towards my long term aspirations and I can promise myself I’m not going to drastically cut my hair.

The key for me is writing everything down – whether it’s the big life-time goals or the little tasks to do next week, having a note of it makes it much easier to remember.

With all that said; here are my 2021 goals. Because I’m a little bit of an organisation nerd, I have three categories each with three goals (I also like the number three) and then a list of ‘bucket list’ goals that aren’t category specific.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS:

  • Start my new job!
  • Make a proper portfolio – on my blog, on Instagram and an up-to-date Showreel
  • Adapt a book into a screenplay (to learn about screenwriting from experience)

PERSONAL GOALS:

  • Start a bookstagram and get involved in the book community online
  • Make a cosplay costume – a mix of buying and making things
  • Find a therapist

HOME GOALS:

  • Savings goals – wedding, house and personal
  • Organise wedding – complete 2021 tasks list
  • Travel (pandemic allowing):
    • International Holiday with fiancé (if safe)
    • Centre Parcs with family (if safe)
    • MCM Comic Con London (if the con is even on)

‘BUCKET LIST’ GOALS:

  • Read 25 books
  • Writing challenges – January 30k, April 35k, July 40k, September 45k, November 50k
  • Monthly date nights!
  • Find a dance class (COVID allowing)
  • Knit myself a Weasley inspired jumper
  • 1 Second Everyday 2021 video
  • Limited spending; less personal spending
  • Actually go to the dentist/doctors when necessary
  • Sew more – finish t-shirt blanket, fix clothes, make new things, learn about making clothes!
  • Get another tattoo (COVID and finances allowing… but please I really want one)

To make my goals more specific, I do have savings goals and spending limits on the finance related goals but finances are so personal and these are what are (hopefully) achievable for me and I don’t want to give the impression that my savings goals are ‘normal’, so I’ll keep them private.

But other specific goals like my wedding organisation list – I know exactly what tasks I have to achieve this year to be on track and I have a 2022 list for all the final planning, my writing challenges are assigned to months with word goals, rather than ‘more’ date nights it’s ‘monthly’ date nights – I’m not by any means suggesting I’m an expert on goal setting, but having specific and time-bound tasks make it all feel more achievable to me at least.

Regardless of whether you’re setting goals or not, I hope there are at least some positive aspects of 2020 you can look back on and I wish you the best for 2021, in your goals and aspirations but primarily your health and happiness – Happy New Year!

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… December

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

With the last month of the year drawing to a close, now might just be the best time to reflect on the things that have brought me joy this month in the hope that perhaps they can bring you joy too!

We all know 2020 has been crap, I don’t need to reel off my personal experiences because it’s been rubbish for everyone in so many different ways. But there has been moments of positivity and joy and though focusing on them doesn’t necessarily make it easier, remembering them can bring little pockets of happiness!

So here’s a few of my favourites from the month!

  • Purchase

Not particularly exciting, but I bought a coffee table on Facebook marketplace and it’s made my living room much more cluttered but given me somewhere comfy to work whilst my desk is in parts in the shed so I have somewhere for the Christmas tree! Only £20, picked it up the same day and it’s been home to lots of crafts, most of my Christmas wrapping and some festive Lego building!

new coffee table with cotton wool snowman whilst we watched ‘The Wheel’ with dinner!

And my second favourite purchase was a boxing day sales one – a bit strange, but I bought a nappy bag… I don’t have a baby, I’m not expecting a baby, I’m just a big fan of pockets. There are so many compartments, so many extra little inside pockets and pouches! I’m sure it would be a wonderful nappy bag, but I’m going to use it as a work bag and I’m so excited about it.

  • Recipe

I’ve not been cooking much this month because I’ve not had the energy to actually prepare food, but I treated myself to a gammon joint for Christmas and cooked it in the slow cooker. I was aiming for a honey roasted ham but I did it on Christmas Day and I forgot how long it had been in for and I think I should have finished it off in the oven, so it didn’t taste very honey roasted at all, but it does taste lovely, it’s not too chewy and it was so easy to just chuck in the slow cooker.

It was the most expensive cut of meat I’ve ever bought (because I’m cheap af and try not to buy meat too often) so I’m not going to be rushing to try it again any time soon, but I would like to try it again and actually pay more attention!

  • Song

There’s one song I’ve literally not stopped listening to but it’s not on Spotify so I’ve made a YouTube playlist and just listened to it on loop about a hundred times. The lyrics are stunning, the melodies are beautiful and it’s perfect for a sing song when I’m home alone.

  • YouTube video

I’ve watched a lot of YouTube this month – I’m sick of having hundreds of videos on my watch later and I don’t want to be watching Vlogmas content in February (and it kind of feels like I have company when my partner’s at work!) so here’s some of my favourites!

It’s my 30th Birthday – KickThePJ

The /W/orst Letter – vlogbrothers (Hank Green)

Among Us with Proximity Chat is Terrifying & Hilarious – KickThePJ

How We Organise Our Joint Finances as a Millennial Couple | More Hannah

It’s Finally Happening!!! RawBeautyKristi x Colourpop Collection Reveal – RawBeautyKristi

  • Books I’ve read

I’ve finally got back into reading! After a three month slump of nothing, I finished The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne last month and I started reading A Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson at the beginning of the month and stayed up to finish it on Christmas day because wow it was incredible.

A full 5/5 for amazing characters (my favourite thing), a suspenseful plot that just kept twisting and the most natural romantic subplot that was so subtle and so not important to the main plot, just beautifully integrated without being focal, it was lovely. I’m trying not to buy more books until I’ve cut down my ‘to be read’ pile, but wow I want to read the sequel ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ so badly.

But I am resisting! I’m now reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion because my friend lent it to me and I don’t want to leave it too long to give it back. I’m not sure whether it’ll be my last book of 2020 or my first book of 2021, but the 30 pages I read the other night were written in a really fun style and I’m enjoying it so far.

  • Something to watch…

With watching so much more YouTube in trying to catch up, I’ve not watched a lot of TV, Film or streaming services. But my partner and I have been watching one particular quiz show with dinner because our friend worked on it and it’s exciting and nice to support what our friends are doing (other than live sport, I just can’t bring myself to watch that) – so we’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Wheel’. It’s a Michael McIntyre hosted socially distanced quiz show that is just really fun (despite how annoying the theme song is). I love a quiz show, I love learning new things and I like how impatient my fiancé is that he has to google all the answers before they’re revealed.

This year has been bloody weird, so finding favourites isn’t always the easiest, but even if it’s hard to remember, there are always good moments. Whether it’s a book, a quiz show or a good find in the Boxing Day sales, there’s always something good to be found.

This is my last post for this year but I’ll be back on New Year’s Day with my 2021 goals!

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

Sophie xx

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self care tips for when getting out of bed is hard

2021, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’m not qualified to give advice on mental health, but I have been living with a mental health condition that has been somewhat deteriorating as the pandemic goes on, so I thought I’d collate a list of tips and tricks I’ve been putting into practice over the past few months that can make day to day life a little bit easier, when life is already hard enough.

  • if you need to shower, have a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner so you only really need to use one product and it feels less intimidating. It’ll only take a few minutes (depending on how efficient your shower is) and hopefully you’ll feel better for being all fresh and clean (clean, new pyjamas are always wonderful after a shower too).
  • sticking with the theme of washing, doing dishes is one of the things I find so hard when I’m feeling low but the longer you leave it, the more it piles up and the worse it feels. If you do feel up to do anything (no judgement from me if you don’t), fill one washing up bowl, fill it with hot water and some bubbles and make your way through that one bowl. Put on some boppy music, get the washing up gloves on and just get through the one bowl. I find having a definitive end makes something much easier. If you’d rather, set a ten minute timer and do whatever you can in ten minutes – even doing a little bit is better than nothing.
  • You’ve got to eat even if you don’t feel like it, but this one is worth a bit of preparation on a good day in advance – either, batch cook and freeze a portion of something easy that you can defrost and microwave or have some microwave meals or easy frozen food like chicken nuggets in the freezer, that way you know you can feed yourself without it becoming a big hurdle to climb over. If it’s got vegetables in, that’s a bonus, if you just need some oven chip potato-y goodness, you do you.
  • Download a habit app for the basic things – not only will it serve as a physical reminder to do them every day, but ticking it off can be a great hit of endorphins when you really need them! I have reminders every day for brushing my teeth, moisturising and taking my medication and it’s useful not only to remind me to do those things, but it lets me know when I’ve stayed up too late as well.
  • Little tasks like watering any house plants, painting your nails or writing a new to do list are smaller things (at least for me) that feel more achievable and avoid doing the ‘big scary tasks’ for a little bit. If you’re feeling a bit more motivated (or want to do another one of those productive procrastination tasks like making lists) maybe you can take the ‘big scary’ task and break it down into smaller ones to make it feel more manageable. Then if you want, set a timer for an hour or so to work on whatever it is you need to do, but know that end he end of that hour you’ve achieved something and that’s enough!
  • Change your clothes – even if it’s from pyjamas you’ve slept in to clean pyjamas and taking your hair down, brushing it and putting it back up again can make you feel so much fresher.

These are only little things, but on days where you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed till the late afternoon, little things like this can make all the difference. The psychological impact of feeling like we need to be on it 16 hours a day is so damaging and so hard to get out of.

When I drafted this post I wasn’t working a 9 to 5 job from home and now that I am, this kind of self care on bad days is much more difficult to implement. But I think taking it slow, communicating with your managers or whoever when you need to, and just doing what you can is enough to get through it.

Being gentle with yourself is the only way anyone can get through a pandemic – take it one day at a time, do what you can and advocate for yourself when you need to. You can to this – this will end.

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

Sophie xx

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