A Day Out In Oxford

2022, lifestyle, review

Hello!

This weekend has been a lovely mix of a lovely date afternoon and evening with my fiancé and then him leaving for work and having the whole day to myself to do very little. The ideal weekend with some moderately social plans and a day to recover – perfect!

I thought I’d do a little wrap up of the day I spent with my partner on Saturday because we went to a few places and it was a lovely afternoon!

We booked tickets to see comedian Ed Gamble at the Oxford Playhouse months and months ago – long enough ago that we had to keep reminding each other of the date because amongst all the other life things, it could have very easily gotten lost in our inboxes. But it didn’t!

As every good Saturday should, we started with a lie in (and nine and a half hours sleep, glorious!). We then had a very relaxed morning and lunch at home before setting off for Oxford. It sounds silly, but I get really nervous about parking and public transport and getting to the right place at the right time, so going to a Park and Ride that I’d never been to before to get on a bus I’d not used to go to a venue I didn’t know was quite a lot for my anxious little brain but it was actually incredibly easy, which was a huge relief.

As soon as we got off the bus in Oxford City Centre, I spotted a ginormous Waterstones and even though I’m on a book buying ban this year (four months without breaking so far!), that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to look at the five story book shop. We had a good old mooch in the Teen section (because growing out of YA is a myth) and then went up to the general fiction where I promptly starting making a list of the romance novels I wanted to read and will probably download on Audible whilst my lovely fiancé Lucas found the graphic novel and general ‘nerd’ section, promptly finding an Overwatch and a Doctor Who book that fell into the tote bag I suggested he buy to carry his new books.

Next, in taking a slow wonder through a very busy Oxford, we found ‘The HMV Shop’, which is a very Oxford way of naming an HMV but we move. They had loads of fun t-shirts and I accidentally bought a beautiful Hogwarts shirt that I will proudly wear to work next week as well as a Stranger Things notebook with lights in it (reduced from £14.99 to £3.99, probably because the lights were pretty disappointing) and a pretty Legend of Zelda poster for my nerdy boy because I’m a very lovely fiancé (and it was £3 and would look lovely on our living room wall).

From there we went into West Gate to peruse our options for dinner – the comedy show was due to start at 7.30pm so we knew we needed to eat sooner rather than later. I’ve been talking about taking Lucas to The Breakfast Club ever since an impromptu lunch with my masters girls back in pre-covid 2020 and now was the perfect opportunity! And it was absolutely dead in there because Google reckoned it closed at 5 when it didn’t and a rather large hen party went in which was rather off putting (but they were in a separate room and we could barely hear the singing).

Honestly though, The Breakfast Club let me down – I remember being blown away by the food two years ago but for the price, it was mediocre at best and the customer service was shocking. I’m all for colleagues being friends and having a natter but when they’re doing it at the till that is less than 2 feet from our table, shouting across the restaurant to each other and leaving us without giving us the bill for longer than we’d spent eating the underwhelming food, it leads to a pretty rubbish experience. And then putting the ‘optional’ service charge on the bill without asking? Bit much. Not going to be returning there in a hurry/ever!

Mediocre dinner aside, we were still really early for the show, but we took a slow walk to the Oxford Playhouse where my partner was shouldered in the elbow by a tweenager who promptly let the entire street know he thought he was a ‘wanker’ and we laughed at how the little silly tween boy thought he looked ‘hard’.

With the Oxford Playhouse being right in the city centre, we arrived approximately an hour before the show started, but so did lots of other people so we took a seat, debated getting drinks and decided they were too expensive before being some of the first ones sat in the theatre and playing a silly colour matching game on Lucas’s phone as the theatre filled up, the volume became a bit much and I very seriously thought I might have an anxiety attack. But silly colour matching game kept me occupied until the support act came on.

Chloe Petts was absolutely fantastic – I got a little too in my head about the whole thing and was mildly concerned I’d be the weirdo in the crowd that didn’t laugh throughout the whole show, but Chloe had the most wonderful stage presence and don’t you worry reader, I laughed the night away. Chloe’s parting words were ‘don’t be pussy, follow me on twitter and Instagram’ and I did, what can I say.

Then the man himself Mr Ed Gamble – what we didn’t realise when booking these tickets is that this show would be the last night of the first leg of the tour and with that in mind, Ed had no fucks left to give. He was absolutely brilliant and I haven’t laughed so hard for so long in a very long time.

I realised about half way through that every time I laughed I kept slapping Lucas’s thigh and I did wonder at what point I would actually bruise him. If that’s not a summary of the night I’m not sure what could be.

The whole set was fantastic – the whole journey home we kept reminding each other of some of the punchlines and giggling and now we want to go to all the comedy gigs. A perfect first comedy show for us, thank you Mr Gamble sir.

Now the end of the night is the boring bit right? Wait for the bus, see a whole plethora of Oxford students and young people preparing for their nights out as we were heading home, get in the car, beep beep down the M40 and basically straight into bed, right? Well, pretty much but there was one mildly entertaining thing that happened and I’m pretty sure it won’t be as funny in writing but I want to share it anyway.

We realised about three quarter’s of the way through the show that not having a drink and laughing the night away was not a fantastic combination, so we went to a little Tesco, witnessed someone buying far too many onions for 10pm on a Saturday night (like, 10+ onions), bought ourselves a couple of painfully boring non-alcoholic drinks and waddled on back to the bus stop opposite a Wetherspoons (entertainment enough, really).

We got on the bus with a bunch of lovely people who were getting off before us and let us have the two remaining seats and settled in for the journey back to the park and ride. Only to realise the next stop, was right outside the Tesco’s we’d just bought our drinks from and we’d walked all the way to the next bus stop.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

things that make me happy – January 2022

2022, lifestyle

Hello!

I had a great idea for a blog post and had far too much faith in it being such a great idea I wouldn’t forget it, then promptly forgot it, so instead I thought I’d make a nice list of the little things that have brought me joy recently, because I’m getting better at finding them.

  • Filling out my bullet journal every night
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Making funny tiktoks at work
  • Pasta with cheese
  • Potatoes with cheese
  • Just cheese, actually
  • How I’ve already read three books this month and two of them were 4 stars
  • My fiancé got a haircut and the back of his head is all soft and fuzzy
  • Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Switch
  • The second-hand Jaeger coat my dad got me for Christmas that makes me feel bougie af
  • The fact that whenever anyone says ‘af’ at work, my colleague and I will replace it with ‘auto focus’ (iykyk)
  • Listening to a playlist called Pop Goes Classical on Spotify
  • Cheer Season 2 on Netflix
  • My new pastel felt tip pens
  • Tick, Tick… Boom on Netflix
  • Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick… Boom
  • My mum straightened my hair for me last time I went home and it was so soft
  • My mum still agrees to do things like straighten my hair even though I am 25 years old and should absolutely be able to do it myself
  • I played Monopoly on the XBox the other night with some mates and it was chaotic and ridiculous and brilliant and we put several properties to auction and only bid $1 each for ages
  • I feel genuinely valued by my colleagues at work and I’m grateful to work with such a fantastic bunch of people and also be able to call them my friends
  • I also have a group chat with two of the girls from my old job where we talk almost exclusively about Spider-Man
  • Did I mention Spider-Man: No Way Home because seriously
  • Also the Tick, Tick… Boom soundtrack. I have so many feelings about Jonathan Larson and his music
  • Watching my friend Lottie stream on twitch is so comforting (and she shouted out my blog the other day which was the cutest)
  • I’m doing a dance show in March and I feel like a teenager again except I’m not surrounded by people who make me feel shit about myself
  • I keep remembering I’m getting married this year and it’s super weird but also really exciting
  • I’m actually really excited about my goals / resolutions for the year and it’s nearly three weeks in, which bodes well
  • I don’t want to shout about it, but I got a pay rise at work and I’m actually really proud of myself (which doesn’t happen very often)
  • Going to sound very mushy, but about three years ago I remember being in Sainsburys car park and wondering how I could possibly love a human more and more every day but after six years with my now-fiancé, I still love him more and more (I know, I know)
  • There’s a lot going on at the moment, but rather than quitting and running away, I’m looking for ways to cope and make the things I want to do work, which is a big step

I know it’s super cliché, but if things are really tough at the moment I thoroughly recommend trying to think of even one good thing that’s happened in each day, a highlight, because there will be one, even if it’s that you got out of bed and you faced the day, because god know’s that can be impossible sometimes.

Hopefully one good thing will spiral into a whole list of things you’re grateful for.

And even if you’re not in that place, sometimes writing down all the bad things can be a good way to acknowledge them and let them out of your head and lighten the load on your chest.

Whatever you need, I hope you are able to find your joy, if not now then soon!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

realistic budgeting tips

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve realised I’m not as good with money as I thought I was – whenever my mental health is bad, the subconscious desire to self-sabotage and try to make myself happy with whatever I feel I can get away with buying is really not helpful to that stage of life where everything needs saving for; a house deposit, big holidays, the wedding that’s less than a year away…

But rather than set hard and fast rules that I’ll struggle to stick with, I’ve made tiny lifestyle changes that make my bank account a little less busy and my savings accounts more consistent.

The biggest thing to note is that finances are personal – I know I’m bad with money and I find it really hard to resist temptation, so I adapt based on that. Basically – take everything with a pinch of salt; I’m not an expert and by no means have I got it perfect (yet!).


1 – Have a way of tracking your finances

Not necessarily for the sake of analysing what you’re spending and where you could save (though this is probably useful!) but just so at least once a week (or however frequently you update your track) you have to face and write down everything you spent. Did popping into Superdrug end up with a £30 spend? Did you buy a couple too many coffees this week? Did you hide behind online shopping again?

All these things add up and if you’re forced to confront it, it can be all the motivation you need to knuckle down and make the effort to not spend so you don’t have to take money out of your savings account to pay for your phone bill (obviously not speaking from experience…).

Then when you have a low spend week, it’s really satisfying!

2 – Don’t take your purse to work

This one can be a bit trickier, as there’ve been a couple of occasions where I’m running low on fuel with no way to pay for it, but not having the option to nip to the cafe down the road or go to Tescos at lunch makes it so much easier not to give in to those waves of hunger that might just be boredom. This is inadvertently good if you’re on a diet or trying to cut out snacks as well because you can only eat what you’ve brought with you.

3 – Don’t have your bank details saved on your computer or phone

This was kind of an accident on my part – I got a new computer and my details weren’t saved anymore and I got a new phone and haven’t set up Google Pay (though the new phone and laptop were coincidental and we’re going to gloss over them in a budgeting blog post…). Not having these details readily available makes me think twice about what I’m considering buying – especially if I’ve got to the point in the check out where it’s asking for my card details. I am a couch potato and if I have to stand up to get my card details to buy something, that’s really going to make me reevaluate my potential purchase and almost always, I will realise it’s absolutely not something I need so I won’t buy it.

4 – set budgets for things

With Christmas coming up, it’s easy to get carried away and think ‘that’s only a pound, it’ll be a nice stocking filler!’ but all those £1-£5 purchases quickly add up!

Set yourself budgets – make a pretty Excel spreadsheet if it helps – decide on an overall budget and break it down by person if you have to. When picking birthday presents, pick a figure and rather than shopping spontaneously, plan so you stay within budget. A good way to do this if you’re not shopping online or don’t have time to plan anything, is to draw the amount of cash that is your budget and have a no-card-spend day then you can’t go over budget! I did this when I was at uni with my weekly campus food budget – whether it was a hot chocolate, a lunch sandwich or a croque monsieur (praise be to Solent University for having cheap food on campus!) I had £20 and when it was gone it was gone.


Maybe they’re very obvious things, but those are what I’m using at the moment! Sometimes all it takes is seeing it written down as a reminder that there are ways to cut down on your spending. It doesn’t necessarily help with actively saving money, but sometimes it’s just making sure the bills get paid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I got another tattoo!

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like I don’t fit the stereotype of ‘tattoo person’ at all – I feel quite uncomfortable in a tattoo parlour even though I’d desperately like for everyone there to think I’m cool (as if I even know what ‘cool’ looks like, I think it just means self-confident). I feel like my outward appearance is nerdy goody-two-shoes who jumps when the toaster pops.

Which is entirely true, I also just happen to have enough tattoos that I have to count them up each time someone asks how many (currently 10, for the record).

But yesterday was the day for the 11th!

I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time – here’s the inspiration:

My Nanny received this elephant clock as a gift and before she passed away, she wrote my name on his foot – knowing my love for elephants, she said I could have it.

I’ve wanted to get a tattoo based on this shape ever since – it’s been nearly five years now and I’ve decided now’s the time. It’s my first time working with the tattoo artist on a custom design, it’s my first time getting a tattoo with colour and it’s my first time getting a tattoo that will take longer than about half an hour.

The reason I’ve waited so long to get this tattoo is because I didn’t know what to do with it – I didn’t just want a hyper realistic wooden elephant, I didn’t love the idea of the clock because I didn’t want to pick a time (and I didn’t really want to find a relevant or significant time to a memorial tattoo…) but I didn’t want to hyper cartoonise it either.

So I got this:

The detail of the elephant is so pretty but I wanted to include lavender, as it was a scent she loved and everyone in my family now associates with her and I think it’s beautiful. With the clock face, I actually love that it doesn’t have hands – it makes it feel timeless and eternal in a way, and to me, my nan will always be eternal.

I’ve never had a custom designed tattoo before, but I had a moment of confidence at the end of my last appointment and asked about how it would work – I showed them some pictures, booked in for a consultation and the actual tattooing and then didn’t really think about it until the consultation!

I went in, spoke to the artist, showed her some inspiration pictures I liked the look of and then she drew up the design and four days later I spent two and a half hours being poked with a tiny vibrating needle.

The first hour or so I was so confident I could do it in one sitting – none of my tattoos have hurt that much and it was all detailed line and dot work, not like the block lines I’ve had in other tattoos.

I was soon proven wrong.

The delicate skin on the inside of my arm was incredibly painful and I’m pretty sure the longer I lay there, the lower my pain tolerance got. Between that and my elbow aching from being held straight for so long and the majority of my right hand going numb, it definitely wasn’t the ‘spend three hours scrolling on Insta and reading on my phone’ experience I was expecting. But I did get to lie down for nearly three hours and not really think about work or productivity or anything like that. The artist – Ash – was so sweet, always checking in and offering me breaks to sit up and stretch my arm.

For future reference, I think I’d take a fidget toy or a stress toy with me, perhaps to help with the numbness of the hand on the arm being tattooed and to give me something to do with my other hand as well – I ended up spinning the little ring connecting my necklace charm to the chain and that actually did help the pain more than I thought it would.

Afterwards, I felt more lightheaded than I anticipated and I probably should have sat down for a little bit longer before I walked back to my car, but by the time I was driving I felt fine (having some lunch when I got home definitely helped too!).

With my 11th tattoo, I’m kind of at the point where there’s nothing else that I desperately want – I know that I’ll find other designs and more sentimental pieces in the future, but right now I’m definitely ready for a little break before I spend that long paying someone to stab me with tiny needles.

I’m not someone who massively believes every tattoo must have a meaning – wanting to have beautiful art or empowering words on one’s body doesn’t have to come with sentimentality or or a sob story, but for me I have to really connect with what I’m getting to know I’ll be happy to have it on my body forever.

(That and if I got every tattoo I think is pretty, I’d have no room left)

I’m so happy to have this new addition to my collection that is both a beautiful piece of art and a sentimental tribute to a woman I still love so much, no matter what.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Hopes for 25

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Today is my 25th birthday and I’ve had the loveliest day – very lazy morning, taking time to put on make-up and my favourite dress, a little video call with my mum and sibling and opening their very generous presents, then my fiancé took me to a local reservoir for a walk and some lunch, then a trip to Hobbycraft to buy supplies for my new toy (he bought me a cricut!) and an afternoon of playing with the new toy before dinner at the highest rated restaurant in Banbury, which was actually fantastic.

If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you’ll know I’m a massive goal setter – I love New Years for setting new yearly goals, I love setting monthly mini goals and consistently evaluating my progress, adapting to fit my current desires and pushing myself to develop in the ways I care about most.

I thought about setting myself a few little goals for things I want to achieve before my 26th birthday next year, but if we’ve learnt anything from 18 months of pandemic is that life is unpredictable and sometimes we don’t have control over what we do and don’t achieve.

So rather than setting anything so rigid, I thought I’d set myself a little list of aspirations. Not 26 things I want to achieve in a year, not 3 huge life changes, just a few things I’d be pleased if they did happen!

  • Travel somewhere internationally – having worked in Italy for five weeks for the Euros, my fiancé has somewhat been bitten by the travel bug and we’d both love to go somewhere new and explore, but also to be somewhere hot near a pool and read. We went to Paris in 2019 and had so many ambitions to explore countries further afoot but that cheeky pandemic made it slightly more difficult, so it would be lovely to get away in the next year!
  • I’d love to feel more body confident – I think I’ve been at war with my body since I was about 12, always feeling too big compared to all my friends and just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve started dance classes again and it’s the closest to consistent exercise I’ve been since I was doing Couch to 5k last year. I’m hoping this can help me work towards a healthier lifestyle – losing weight would be optimal, but just feeling happier in my own skin would be lovely.
  • Go to the West End again – I love musical theatre with all my heart and soul. I took my fiancé to see ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ over the summer and I’d love to be able to go more frequently but wow theatre tickets are expensive. I’d love to see the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Cinderella’, I’ve heard amazing things about ‘Six’ and my favourite ‘Les Miserables’ is one I’d love to take my fiancé to see as I adore it so much, but there’s also ‘Frozen’, I’ve never seen ‘The Lion King’ and I really want to see ‘Come From Away’. Conclusion: more theatre required.
  • I want to be doing a job I really love – what I’ve learned from my current job is that even though I won’t always have the opportunity to work in my dream industry, I can grow to really love what I am working on, whatever that may be. I never thought I’d be so proud working on an inaugural tech festival this year but now I’m actually really disappointed to not be working on next year’s festival if it’s approved. So yeah, I’m still building up my career but to be doing something I actually enjoy is really important to me.
  • Do more little things that bring me joy – buying myself flowers, using nice products in the shower, wearing my favourite clothes even if it means I’m ‘too dressed up’ – life is short! Buying myself a bubble machine this summer to just sit and watch the bubbles in my garden was one of the best things I did because I didn’t let myself feel bound by ‘things for children’ and taking that mindset forward with me can only be good for my mental health, right?

Having had a wonderful birthday, I’m feeling incredibly content right now and I’m looking forward to continue making little tweaks to my day to day life to maintain that. Life is short, we’ve got to make what we want from it, and mine includes bubbles!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Approaching 25 / Accepting Me

2021, lifestyle

Hello,

You know how on every birthday, everyone asks you ‘do you feel old?’ and the answer is usually no because it’s just another day that just happens to mark another year around the sun, right?

When I turned 20, I actually did feel older. It felt like a big step – finally shunning the teenage years and officially entering my twenties; the decade of potentially the biggest changes of my life. Graduating university, starting my career, getting married, buying a house, having a baby? I don’t know if I’ll do all those things but it’s a pretty monumental decade!

I feel like 25 is going to have the same impact, because I’m officially halfway through.

And I could write about ’25 Things I’ve Done by 25′ or ’30 Things I Want To Do By 30′ but life is simultaneously short and long – things I’ve done are for me to celebrate with my friends and family. If I’d made a 30 by 30 list when I was 20, half the things I wanted then wouldn’t be relevant now. I’m five years older, on the brink of a neurodiversity diagnosis and I’m starting to understand that wanting a routine and to be in bed by 10pm isn’t a ‘flaw’ I need to push myself out of, but what my mind and body needs and works best with.

I wouldn’t say I’m a completely different person, but I’ve grown in the best way. I took a phone call last week where someone I’d never spoken to before described me as ‘confident’ – that whole sentence was a ride from ‘phone call’ to ‘confident’; look at any of my school reports and I don’t think a single one of them will praise my confidence because I didn’t have any. I’ve really grown and though I’m not ‘there’ yet (wherever ‘there’ is), I think I’m really starting to accept myself and I feel like that’s what, subconsciously at least, I’ve really struggled to do so far.

I’ve always thought of myself as weird or wrong; not quite fitting in, always looking like the odd one out in everything from my height and weight to my interests and the way I think and talk.

But I can’t hold myself to other people’s standards – to neurotypical standards if I’m not, to looking like a 5’7 size 8 model on tiktok when I’m not, to being a ‘night owl’ who doesn’t sleep till 3am when I love falling asleep at 11 and getting eight hours sleep.

I spent so long desperate to be something I wasn’t – naturally skinny, naturally musical, naturally social etc etc – when actually, if I can spend the rest of my life accepting myself and not sacrificing my boundaries for the sake of others; doing what I feel comfortable doing, then I think I’ll be doing okay.

Here’s to my last week of 24, and to not squeezing myself into spaces I don’t naturally fit.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

the illogical curve of progress

2021, lifestyle

Hello,

Being someone who loves setting goals, tracking progress and analysing data (except my step count, we don’t talk about that), writing challenges like NaNoWriMo suits me down to a tee with word count tracking, you’re actual average word count per day and an estimation of when you’re likely to hit your word count.

But in looking at the two graphs that monitored my progress, I noticed something that made me think.

This is the graph of my word count per day – I was aiming for 40,000 words, but more importantly I wanted to write a little bit every day, even if I didn’t meet my goal one day and I had to write extra the next, those were my two priorities.

This graph would suggest that it was a pretty steady curve up to my goal, consistent progress, falling behind on a couple of occasions but catching up, even getting ahead a couple of times towards the end, but relatively steady progress.

Then you compare it to the graph of how many words I actually wrote per day.

I wasn’t writing consistently at all – some days I wrote 2000 words, most days I wrote about a thousand, on my worst day I barely wrote 100. Although my progress appeared linear – a predominantly straight line from Step A (0 words) to Step B (40,000 words), there were 31 steps in between with good days, bad days, busy days, quiet days, sunny days, rainy days and everything in between.

And it got me thinking about the bigger picture – perhaps a bit existential, but life is just one long (short?) journey from the Beginning to the End, a supposedly linear experience from childhood, to adulthood to old age and ‘The End’, making consistent progress in growth in every aspect from education, relationships and physically growing.

But it’s never going to be a straight line from one point to the other – life has ups and downs and good points and bad points; it always feels more like the second graph than the first one.

So I have two points to make;

  1. If you feel like everyone around you is living a life like the first graph – a solid, straight line from Point A to Point B, it’s more than likely you can’t see the behind the scenes that looks like the second graph. Life is full of nuances and struggles and things people keep off their instagram profile, so the picture they paint online isn’t necessarily the full story!

(side note: I fully believe Instagram as a highlight reel is a okay, because having a space full of happy, positive memories is lovely, it’s just changing the user perspective to remember that Instagram is just a highlight and not someone’s complete story!)

2. If you feel like you’re stuck in the second graph, feeling more lows than highs and not sure whether you’re making any ‘progress’ at all (though, who decides what progress is and whether we’re making it??) – remember you’re seeing your life zoomed in, the bigger picture probably does look more like the straight line, but you have to go through the ups and downs to get to the bigger picture that is the end of the graph. The second graph with it’s wobbly line and all it’s peaks and troughs is the zoomed in detail you don’t see from the first graph and you’re doing a okay.

I don’t know if any of that really made any sense, but I found it comforting and a nice reminder to zoom out sometimes – everything’s okay really.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

little happy moments

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Over the last year or two, I’ve changed my approach to my blog – I’ve tried to make it less about ‘trying to be a blogger’ and more about what I want to write about, I’ve not put my social links at the bottom of posts, I don’t make templates to share them on my insta story and I don’t religiously check statistics or chase followers anymore (or I try not to!).

So I write about what I want – whether it’s more like a diary, just having a natter about what I’m thinking about or reviewing things (which I started doing more of in the last couple of weeks and I’m considering making it more of a focus?). If I’m not feeling like writing a post, I won’t worry too much about missing one, if I’m super inspired and want to post an extra one, I’ll do that too (but that hasn’t happened yet).

Consequently we’re here – I wasn’t feeling super inspired this week and I’m watching YouTube videos and somehow I thought it would be nice to list a few things that have made my happy recently. I’m working on feeling more present and finding joy in little things more frequently than waiting for the ‘big stuff’. I thoroughly recommend this if you’re feeling a bit spaced out!

  • a cat jumped through my kitchen window and let me pet them before they went to chill in the shade under a car
  • sitting in the sun loungers after a work day and having a catch up with my fiancé
  • sitting in front of the fan when it’s 28-32 degrees outside
  • reading my book before I go to sleep
  • going to the cinema and seeing Black Widow with my best friends
  • getting sucked into a Pokemon Go event with my fiancé
  • hitting my writing goals for maybe 80% of the month so far
  • speaking to my therapist for the first and last time in a while
  • playing video games and talking to our friends
  • I grew an actual tomato! In my garden! From nothing! Actual food!
  • laughing with my work friends because we’re so stressed that it’s funny
  • cooking my HelloFresh meals and feeling like an actual chef
  • watching George Clark’s Amazing Spaces before I go to sleep
  • singing through the entire Dear Evan Hanson soundtrack while I was cooking dinner
  • I made a Nutella sandwich for lunch and it was wonderful
  • a phone game called Pictawords which is like Scrabble meets crosswords
  • sorting my bookshelves into proper alphabetical order (by author’s surname) and adding all my ornaments to the shelves
  • making fun graphic and video content at work
  • sleeping in on the weekends
  • having a coke from the fridge in a glass with ice
  • the solar fairy lights I put up in the garden
  • buying books. I have a mild problem.
  • surprise refunds (thanks tfl)
  • the event I’m working on for my job is going to be really good, you can get a free ticket here, see the schedule here and read about the amazing speakers we have booked here – including the Chief Technology Officer of Ocado, the Senior Technical Programme Manager from Sainsburys and the Associate Site Reliability Engineer from Sky!
  • but also closing my computer after a work day. That’s very nice

Thank you for sharing my happy moments with me!

Sophie xx

a year without cinema

2021, film, lifestyle

Hello!

After a big trip to London last week, I didn’t think I’d be wanted to write another review so soon (am I just a review blog now? I could do specific book review posts!) but on the day all the regulations were relaxed, my partner and our best friend went to the cinema for the first time in the best part of two years to see the new Marvel film ‘Black Widow’ and whilst I could quite happily write about the film, but I don’t have an analytically critical mind when it comes to films – I thought it was fun, I love superheroes and Florence Pugh was fantastic.

But the experience of going to the cinema was always powerful to me, so going back after so long being closed was something else.

It was the first time going to the cinema in our area since we moved house and I hadn’t been to an Odeon before – first off, the tickets were only £5 and that’s the cheapest cinema ticket I’ve paid for ever. The popcorn was stale and none of the staff were wearing masks anymore (same at the pub we went to for dinner), but all of the people watching the film wore masks and there was only 8 of us total, so it felt nice and quiet and safe.

The novelty of seeing films on a big screen with the surround sound will always be the best way to watch movies – especially considering there was the option to watch it in the comfort of my own home on Disney+ (even though it was actually cheaper for three of us to go to the cinema to see it).

I love films and I like to think I’m a bit of a film buff, but realistically I just really like superhero movies and I know a decent amount about the films I’ve seen and literally nothing else. So I’m the worst film buff but really good on a pub quiz about films I have seen.

But with Suicide Squad, Shang Chi, and a whole host of delayed movies coming out, I think I’m going to be making many more trips to the cinema this summer. Especially if all the theatres are air conditioned.

Going back to ‘normal’ feels weird – I’m definitely not ready to stop wearing my mask yet, at least not until I’m double vaxxed and the numbers are less intimidating. Maybe it’s an introvert thing or maybe it’s just humans being dumb, but I quite like people staying 2 metres away from me and having to space out in theatres and restaurants is actually more accessible for people with mental health, neurological divergencies and many physical disabilities. A COVID world is one that’s in a way more accessible, once we eliminate the life threatening pandemic that is.

But I can’t deny that going to the pub without booking a table and going to the cinema to watch a new film was exciting – it still felt like a special treat, as it did pre-pandemic, but there was something extra nice about finally being able to see a film the way it’s designed to be seen.

At the end of the day I love storytelling and film media is a huge inspiration to me, definitely going to make more of an effort to see films at the cinema – especially if the tickets are only £5!

Thank you for watching,

Sophie xx

Treasured In… June ’21

2021, Favourites

Hello!

Another month has rolled around and wow June has been busy! My partner left for his work trip to Italy on the 2nd and I’ve kept myself fairly busy since!

Now it’s only a week till he gets back and maybe I’ll stop sad spending, but here’s a run down of my favourite things from June!

  • Purchase

I’ve been looking for a nice summer dress for probably years, and I picked up this one from SheIn and I love it! It’s such a good length for my 5’10 lanky self, the sleeves aren’t tight, it’s super comfy and not see through!

And to match the cardigan, I’m also a big fan of the sun loungers I bought from the Range – a special treat to us for sure, but if the sun even comes back to the UK they’ll be perfect.

And now, for the sake of my bank account, I will stop going to shops.

  • Food

Okay, I literally got the first delivery on the 28th so it’s barely June, but I succumbed and got Hello Fresh (5 meals for two people for £20? Bargain!) and I cooked Cheesy Oven-Baked Risotto with bacon, mushroom and rocket salad and I am blown away. It was amazing.

The perks of actually being home alone this week means I have another portion for lunch tomorrow. But even the salad dressing on the rocket! I don’t normally like rocket but I actually went back and finished it rather than leave it for tomorrow. I’m definitely making the most of trying new things and I’m really excited about it.

It absolutely doesn’t look as good as it tasted.
  • Song

You’re welcome.

  • YouTube video

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube, but I’ve recently discovered Chandler Ainsley and I’m obsessed – it’s fuelling my reading obsession and I love the way she talks about books.

I have a lot to add to my watch later, but right now I’m very much enjoying watching just book content that makes me want to quit my job and read for a living.

  • Books I’ve read

At the beginning of the month I finished Lore, by Alexandra Bracken and I really enjoyed it – it properly reignited my love for Greek mythology and proved to myself that I can read a 550 page book without getting bored!

Then I read A Nearly Normal Family, by M. T. Edvardsson and I felt like I didn’t want to read 500 page books anymore because it was actually quite bland and the ending was SO dissatisfying but I finished it and that’s the important thing.

I’ve now just started reading Flawed by Cecelia Ahern but not sure how I feel about it so far – it sounds very Nazi Germany and I’m sure that’s the point but WOW the parallels with the holocaust are insane. I’m less than a quarter through so I’m sure the first person narrative gets better but still, a fairly awkward start!

  • Snack

Kinder. Buenos.

That’s all I have to say.

  • Film

My mum has this film club with her friends and whilst I was staying with her I watched their pick of the week – in the theme of ‘based on a true story’, we watched Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts and it’s stuck in my head that it was actually based on a true story. Julia Roberts is so cool and the story was incredible, good pick film club!

  • Wedding planning update

This month’s task was to figure out what we want from our wedding cake. We’re asking our mum’s to make the cake because they’re both great bakers and whilst I was at home, mum and I were brainstorming ideas and it was brilliant.

This one is definitely my favourite because I think it’s just a lil bit nerdy without having Pikachu on it y’know?!

Probably not quite as many layers, but maybe something like this?

For July, I’m having my first week off work which I’m really excited about, my boy is coming back from a month of working abroad and hopefully the sun will come out again! I hope you’ve all had a lovely month and have nice plans for July!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx