is this confidence? | outfit

2018, fashion, lifestyle, mental health, photography

Hello!

I’m really getting into fashion at the moment – I touched on this in an outfit post before but for a long time I felt trapped in leggings and oversized t-shirts and jumpers because I’d put on a lot of weight and I didn’t feel like I could justify experimenting with anything else.

But I’m moving on – I’m broadening my mindset and telling myself I deserve to experiment with fashion too! I’m also losing weight so a win on both fronts.

And I’m so loving experimenting with new styles – funky trousers that aren’t jeans or leggings are my jam at the moment (especially if they have an elasticated waist!) (and yes I just used the word ‘funky’ unironically).

trying with all my might to be edgy… (cardigan – TU at Sainsburys, tee – dorkface etsy, trousers – Nutmeg at Morrisons, boots – Primark)

I have a lot of t-shirts, I really need to have a ruthless sort out and throw away from of the ones I know I will never wear but I’m enjoying figuring out alternatives – different shirts and jumpers, mixing smarter looking trousers with more informal sweaters and shoes that might not be the most flattering but I think they look cool and they’re comfy so why not?

The feeling of leaving the house nervous and if I’m out in town or on the bus or popping to the shops, I often felt like the world was staring at me – if I heard laughter I’d assume it was aimed at me and I’d done something wrong for one reason or another. But it’s not! I now feel like I love what I’m wearing and I love this style I’m finding and I feel more me than I ever have.

It’s all a work in progress – whilst I’m in the process of redecorating my bedroom and I’ve just finished building a new wardrobe and transferring all my clothes over, I know I definitely need to have a sort out and a clear out, maybe even sell some of my clothes on depop or one of those sites? I’m really thinking about starting a capsule wardrobe and making myself think about the longevity of what I’m wearing – I need to stop buying things for the sake of memories or because it’s got Hufflepuff on it (very guilty) but I definitely need to do some more research first.

I’m really liking sharing what I’m wearing on instagram and writing about it here – it’s not a vanity thing, I don’t think anybody should be inspired by what I wear, but does any fashion blogger? I don’t think any fashion influencer probably didn’t start out thinking ‘wow I the way I dress is so great I need to tell other people so they start dressing like me’ – it’s almost certainly that they were really passionate about what they bought and wanted to share it!

Because who doesn’t get excited when you get a really good haul of new clothes?

Maybe one day I’ll be writing outfit posts that aren’t deep rooted in body image and self esteem, but for now – I’ve done my time talking about how difficult I find it to like what I see in the mirror (and boy when I’m at my tap dance classes seeing my reflection in the mirror is still bloody difficult) but having these positive posts about improving my relationship with my body is something that I 100% want to document and promote!

If you have any tips on having a capsule wardrobe or ways to ruthlessly cut down how many clothes you have please do let me know! I’m a bit of a stranger to all this!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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friend break-ups

2018, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while and then yesterday, I uploaded my ‘things I’d tell my teenage self’ video and I touched on this subject and I wanted to make a full blog post about it, because I have a lot to say.

I want to emphasise this with obviously this is only one side of the story – there’s always a part of my brain that when I talk about friends I’ve lost that screams that maybe I’m the one in the wrong, maybe I’m just an awful friend and the problem here is me. I’m aware of this, but with that said let’s get on with it.

Losing a friend is the worst – there are songs and films and books about relationships and break ups but if you really listen to the message of those mediums you’ll find that in most cases you can empathise in a similar way about friend break-ups.

I seem to make friends with a lot people who don’t put the same effort in as I do or don’t reciprocate or value my friendship in the same way I do, maybe it’s because they just don’t like me that much and yeah that crosses my mind a lot. But it’s when someone tells you that they love having you around and then still don’t really show it is when I start to get upset.

And this is the point where I test it. So maybe ‘testing’ friendships isn’t the healthiest approach, but the way I test it is I stop being the one to reach out first – I don’t start a conversation, I’m not the one to arrange going for a coffee or whatever. And that’s when I know that testing it was worth it because I never hear from that person again. Maybe they’re just grateful that I finally stopped bugging them but in some cases, years later, they’ve messaged me again and said ‘it’s been years since we talked!’ and I’m like yeah, I wonder why that is. At that point I don’t reply.

On the other side, sometimes a ‘friend’ will message me first but it’s only when they’re sad or something bad has happened and they want someone to boost their ego and I’m happy to be a person to talk to, but in a world of mental health problems if they’re going to lean on me so heavily when they’re sad I need to be able to lean back and I couldn’t, so I was ignored and I crumpled.

(that metaphor went surprisingly well)

But this isn’t a pity party! I’m not trying to say that I’ve never had a good friend, I do have friends that are very close to my heart and I’m very grateful to call my friends. I’m not trying to evoke sympathy or portray myself like a victim or anything.

What I’m saying is if you’re the person being leaned on – stop letting them lean, don’t use your precious emotional energy, passion and love helping someone else feel better when it wouldn’t even cross their mind to do the same for you. Focusing on the people that really care about you will be so much more fulfilling and make your heart so much happier.

Letting people go is hard, really hard, especially when they turn to you in dark times and leaving them there feels like the worst thing in the world and makes you feel like an awful person but you’re not, sometimes for your own sake you have to prioritise yourself.

It hurts, and you can justify mourning a lost friendship in the same way people mourn relationships – sometimes it’s someones fault, sometimes it’s on mutual terms, sometimes for your own sake you just have to let them go but just like relationships, it does get better. You don’t spend your entire life being sad about that person, you find new people, better people and life goes on.

Just to disclaim again, I’m aware that every story has two sides and whilst on one side this is how I’ve interpreted it, I could be wrong and my brain tells me basically every day that I’m an awful human and everything’s my fault anyway ha ha #lol (covering up my sadness with sarcasm as per).

I do have a handful of incredibly close friends and I wouldn’t trade them for anything – I know I could message them whenever and I hope they feel the same about me. I don’t want them to feel invalid because of what I’ve written about other people in this post so to clarify: I don’t think this of all the people I at one point or another called friends.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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slow progress is progress! | unfitness update

2018, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I didn’t intend to write this blog post today at all, in fact I’d written out an entire blog post about relationships inspired by my three year anniversary with my boy on Monday (remember, remember the 5th of November but not for the reason you think!) but then this morning I did a new workout program thing and I felt so good and inspired and motivated that I was super inspired to do a fitness update, so here goes!

As I’ve documented here, there and everywhere I’ve been on somewhat of a health kick with my diet, I’m not ‘dieting’ but I’m making sustainable life changes that I needed to make in order to live a healthier life.

Going hand in hand with this, at the end of October I got in contact with the Principle of my old dance school and offered to help out if they needed anything. So I now work as a volunteer on reception in exchange for free dance classes and with that in mind, I’ve been going to two tap classes and dancing again!

It’s so silly, but I’d put on so much weight that stupid things like running, going up to stairs too fast and jumping were just completely out of my comfort zone because it hurt but I went to tap class and I jumped again. I tap spring toe hopped my way around the studio for 45 minutes and I had the time of my life, I love tap so much and I can’t express how much I enjoyed it.

So now that going to tap class and being a receptionist were part of my routine, I was ready to put some structure back into my life – and I was ready to try working out again.

I’d fallen out of love with the treadmill and the rowing machine, but I remembered I used to love using the Nike Training app and they could build programs based on your equipment availability, fitness level and free time. So whilst I was having my breakfast this morning I set up a new program, fit the workouts to times that suited me and then I did a 30 minute beginners low intensity floor to core workout.

It was hard, I’ll be honest it was quite challenging – it pointed out things I need to mention at the doctors next week (I’ve got lots of back/joint problems, will update if it’s relevant!) but I did it! Half an hour of mostly consistent muscle workout, the only exercises I really didn’t feel comfortable doing were the ones where I had to put body weight pressure on my wrists because apparently my wrists are really weak? Learn something new every day!

But I felt so amazing after I’d done it! I lay on my bed just to get my breath back a bit and I felt on top of the world – I felt like I wanted to look after myself more and I was more motivated to eat well today so I don’t ruin the exercise. It’s little things like I wanted to use a body scrub in the shower and moisturise because I’ve noticed my skin has been a bit dry recently and I actually found the motivation to do something about it.

It was the first time in weeks that I updated the ‘unfitness’ highlight on my Instagram and I actually really enjoyed looking back on the progress I’ve made. Since I started that highlight 14 weeks ago I’ve noticed a significant difference in my physical fitness (even if it’s not ‘good’ it’s way better than it was before), my approach to the whole thing is less ‘I have to do it so I need to get it done’ and now more working with my body and my mind to find something that works for me and that I enjoy long term and I’m seeing results for the first time in years!

I’ve been tracking my weight in my bullet journal since June and between June and September, I was floating around the same weight within 5 or 6 pounds and it was a number I hated. On my October 1st weigh in I noticed significant loss and in the month since then I’ve worked hard, both on diet, exercise and restraint and I’m now getting close to having lost almost a stone. It’s nothing revolutionary, no diet pills or crash dieting, just making healthier life choices and boy I had the weight to lose.

This isn’t the end of my journey (sorry mum, she hates that word!) but I’m so excited to discover a healthier and fitter me – I will have to continue and adapt, learn more about food and nutrition and when the weight loss starts to tail off I will have to focus more on exercise and maybe within a year I’ll have the body I want and I’ll have a positive relationship with exercise and diet, as well as it being sustainable and long term.

My advice (not that anyone asked or qualified to answer) if you feel like you’re stuck or you’re bored – listen to that part of your brain, maybe you need a few weeks off, but you’ll find inspiration in something you enjoy. Going for a walk, going to the gym, doing yoga videos, finding a class – there is a way, you just have to put effort into working with your mind and body to find it.

As always, any tips or suggestions are welcome as I still have a very long way to go and could use all the help I can get!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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NaNoWriMo 2018!

2018, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

I feel like I’ve spent the last three weeks explaining NaNoWriMo in every blog post and YouTube video but it means I’m good at summarising it quickly so here’s that – National Novel Writing Month is an online community website challenge thing where lots of writers try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Often they write novels, but some people write screenplays and poems and all sorts, it’s just a celebration of writing!

I first tried NaNoWriMo in 2011 but only managed about 15k but I do still really like the story idea and then in 2012 I was much more prepared – this was the novel that I finished and would one day like to get published but to be honest, I haven’t properly had time for NaNo since. Just because of exams and school and uni or whatever – I did give it a go last year just to try and get back into writing because I missed it but I was also drowning under millions of assignments and it was an awful time.

So here we are in 2018 trying again! I didn’t think of a novel idea and I’m not in the right mindset to work on my 2012 novel again (but I will definitely rewrite it at some point) so this year is just for writing whatever I want and getting back into the habit of writing every day.

I love writing – it’s part of the reason I went to study journalism because I couldn’t find any other courses that combined copywriting, video and photography in the same way. And since I started uni I fell out of the habit of creative writing so now that I’m home and I don’t have assignments or uni to worry about I want to get back into the habit of it because I miss having that creative outlet!

On Day 1, I only managed to write about 600 words while we were watching TV but then when I took my computer up to bed I wrote the last 1100 words to hit the target of 1667 words a day and I now know that if I don’t want to be writing till 11 o’clock at night I need to get the bulk of the word count done before I sit down to watch TV in the evening!

But also sometimes that’s just how it’s got to be – I think my goal is to be writing down notes and doing what I can on the go, whether it’s on the bus, while I’m volunteering, jotting down things on paper or whatever, so that it makes writing in the evening a little easier.

For some people, NaNoWriMo is the sole focus – I saw someone in a Facebook group talking about how they were aiming for 10k on the first day, but I think for most people it’s just squeezing it in around the everyday. Whether it’s being a student, being a parent, working full time, NaNoWriMo is an amazing community that just motivates and supports other writers and it’s so much fun!

Good luck if you’re participating! If you had no idea what it was, I hope you’ve learnt a little bit about NaNo!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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November Goals

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

This is the penultimate goals post of 2018! And then we get onto all that good New Years content looking back on my goals for last year and making goals for next year, but even though that’s not many ‘goals’ blog posts away, it is two months in real time away so like the forbidden ‘C’ word, I won’t mention it again!

This month I’m kind of having to make some important decisions – nothing too drastic, but I need to figure out what I want the next year of my life to look like and what I need to do to get there. But, that’s on a broader to do list – here are my goals for November.

[ N o v e m b e r   G o a l s ]

  • workout once a week (‘gym’/running) – I was in a decent routine of using the treadmill and rowing machine in my mum’s garage a few times a week and I’ve completely fallen out of that routine. I have started up a new dance class (two even, in one day!) and I think once a week on the treadmill, building up my stamina and maybe getting a bit better at running is a good routine to get into.
  • NaNoWriMo! I feel like I’ve mentioned it approximately a hundred million times, but NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a website that brings together a community of writers to scribble 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1667 words a day and quite the challenge. I think I’ve mentioned before that writing is a huge passion of mine – I started creative writing when I was 12 and before I went to uni, every single night I would sit and tap away at my computer in front of the TV in the living room. I wrote a full length novel when I was 16 in NaNoWriMo so I’m going to try and emulate that success this year. It’s going to be a challenge but I’m so determined.
  • Balance work and making content – This month I’ve been pretty rubbish at working. I’m so lucky that I can work so flexibly for my mum’s business but I haven’t been very good at actually making the time for it. I need to set myself a stricter routine and in the end I get paid more when I do more work so it’s win win all round really.
  • Shorter to do lists – one of the things I hate the most is that I write myself a huge long list of things to do, and when I do them all it feels fantastic but when at the end of the day I’m staring at a list I’ve ticked one thing off of it’s both demotivating and daunting so to combat this, I’m only letting myself write 5 point to do lists each day. Hopefully this will maximise productivity all round and maybe even give me some spare time but mostly just keep me a bit more sane.
  • Plan December and 2019 videos – in terms of my blog, I’m pretty confident that I can write two posts a week and know what I want to write about and what I want to make. My YouTube channel however, takes a little more work and planning. I’m thinking about potentially doing Vlogmas on my main channel (you heard it here first lads) and I want to think about what projects I take on in 2019. 2016 was the year of the monthly vlog, 2017 I got back into making weekly videos and 2018 I’ve been weekly vlogging and making sit down vlogs (two videos a week!) for most of the year. I need to figure out whether I want to continue weekly vlogging, whether I want to try something new or maybe change it all up completely. If you’ve got any Christmas video requests do let me know!!

I’m feeling a bit more focused at the moment, there are certain aspects I’m trying not to think about but it’s all one step at a time, that can be part of next months goals.

Hope you all had a lovely October and are enjoying the colder temperatures – I’m loving having all my jumpers and blankets out again!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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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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falling in love with fashion | outfit

2018, fashion, fitness, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

Today’s a day for another rambly post about clothes and body image, yay! I feel like we’ve been on a journey with outfit posts – at first it was all about body image and how much I hate myself, then I got bored of being so negative in every outfit post I wrote and I started actually writing about fashion and I’m not going to lie, I’m really into outfit photos at the moment.

I really love this outfit
Long sleeved tee (ASOS) – Pinafore (old ASOS) – Coat (Primark) – Boots (Primark)

Not really an outfit photo, but a photo of me in an outfit so… Tee (ASOS) – Pinafore – Long sleeved top (Long Tall Sally)

And even the silly ones like this when I get an ASOS delivery and I put my new favourite jumper on top of my new favourite pyjamas

So I’m both getting better and not hating myself being on camera and my boyfriend is getting very good at taking outfit photos so it’s a win win all round.

However today’s photos were taken by my sister in her uni town of Bournemouth by the stunning Bournemouth beach and I wish it wasn’t as busy and I wasn’t so flustered because they’re lovely photos and I hope we can go get some more tomorrow.

But back to clothes and fashion – I’ve kind of come to terms with my size and I feel like I’m on top of eating more healthily and exercising more (doing more steps a day). So now that I’ve come to terms with it, I feel like I can try new things and I don’t mind people looking at me, because I’m not always assuming it’s about my weight and more about what I’ve chosen to wear!

I’m really enjoyed patterned trousers at the moment and these ones from New Look are my current favourites because they’re quite slim fit without being skinny and an elasticated waist! But it’s more than just wearing some funky trousers – trousers were always the centre of my issues with my weight because it all focused on my tummy. Jeans were too uncomfortable when I sat down (which at uni, was like basically all the time) and I felt like I couldn’t wear anything but leggings. I’ve lived in leggings for over a year and I think not feeling trapped by only having one option is a huge factor.

Also funky trousers that aren’t jeans are really in at the moment which makes it all much easier to buy them.

I’m finding a new way to present myself in what I wear – new ways to express myself and show parts of my personality that I normally only felt I could really present in my unnatural hair colours and I’m really enjoying this new sense of freedom and creativity I’m finding through clothes. Resisting buying a whole new wardrobe is getting increasingly difficult, if I’m being honest.

This outfit in particular is my perfect combination of comfy but looks like I’ve put in far more effort than I actually have. These trousers are my favourite at the moment, this ASOS denim jacket has been a staple of mine since I bought it before I went to New York in March (it’s been perfect through every season – works for layering in winter, is a good transitional jacket for Spring and Autumn and nice for evenings in Summer, I’m obsessed) and it brings together a lot of my outfits.

And can we talk about the fact I’m wearing a crop top? This 1996 top from H&M was 100% stolen (in idea, not physical item) from my gorgeous friend Liane because she put a picture of it on Instagram and my brain went ‘I was born in 1996. I need it’ then I searched it on the H&M website and suddenly I was getting the long sleeved top and this cropped top (for next summer) for less than a tenner? Because student discount and free delivery is my best friend.

But I’m wearing a crop top! And I felt okay in it! I wouldn’t say confidence is tip top of my list but I wasn’t self conscious about it and I wanted to take outfit photos in a crop top? You can see my lil tum poking out in some of these pictures! This is such a huge deal for me – a year ago, I was super self conscious, I was living in leggings and massively oversized t-shirts, sweaters and jumpers but now I’m somewhat comfortable wearing a crop top or a tee that’s actually a bit tighter around my stomach and I’m really pleased with this progress.

This isn’t to say I’m going to stop trying to lose weight, because I am but I’m taking the approach of getting healthier and losing weight is a consequence and I’m sure my confidence will only grow the healthier I get. Either way, I’m really happy with the mental and physical progress and I love this outfit a lot.

The fake Timberlands are mens Primark, if anyone was wondering. Though I’m sure they’re not.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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if only my boyfriend wanted to take nice pictures

seeing #TheCircleFinal live!

2018, career, lifestyle

Hello!

A rather exciting post today – I’ve not really spoken about it on social media (for some reason I felt like I wasn’t allowed to, though I’m not sure how true that is?) but I was invited to the live studio to watch The Circle Final and it was so incredibly surreal.

So grab a cuppa lads (it’s my new buzzword, apparently I can’t stop myself) because here’s a story all about how I got to watch the live studio show of the Circle Final.

So a little summary, for anyone who has no idea what The Circle is – it was a show on Channel 4 that, essentially, was all about popularity to win £50,000! It started with 8 contestants who were all in isolated flats, they made profiles (not all being completely honest) on a social media platform called the Circle and it was the only way they could communicate with each other. They then rate each other and the most popular players had the power to block other players and new players came in and there were lots of different ways that people were blocked and I thoroughly recommend watching it on All4 if you haven’t seen it already.

And I’m sure this is the question on everyone’s minds – how in god’s name did someone like me get invited to watch the live studio final of a Channel 4 show? WELL I love a bit of live tweeting and I got very into this show, so I was tweeting about it every single night. The Circle was sponsored by giffgaff and most nights they’d tweet me and we’d chat about the show. I don’t know why they noticed my tweets over anyone else’s but they did and just three days before the final (and before I filmed my favourite TV shows video – this Sophie had no idea what would happen to her) they offered me a ticket! I was cheeky and asked for a plus one so I could bring my boyfriend with me and somehow, is wasn’t a prank?

Then I had to do some sneaky cheeky planning – they gave me a rough idea of the area and where the event would be, as Channel 4 weren’t sending out the full details until the Monday) but having a quick look at trains, we wouldn’t have been able to get home until around 3am and that’s not my jam, y’know?

So the whole reason I started watching the show is because one of my best friends from uni and housemate for basically three years, Nick, is working on it as his first project in his new job and we wanted to support him. And then from episode 1 I was hooked. But Nick working on the show meant I could ask him what train station we would be going to, where the nearest hotels were and it was very convenient. I do feel like I was cheating a little bit but being spontaneous isn’t quite in me – I like planning and knowing what’s happening and being prepared so I needed to book trains and hotels so I asked Nick.

I can be spontaneous, but it depends what the spontaneity is and how much planning would usually go into it – I can manage an unplanned pub night and a live TV final three days in advance, but people who decide they’re going to go to Europe for the weekend on a Friday morning just makes my chest ache. It’s something I want to work on because I love the idea of being someone who goes to Europe for the weekend.

The journey itself wasn’t actually great – we had to get a bus to the train station because I live in the middle of nowhere and mum was at work and I thought getting on a bus at 2 and hanging round the shopping centre near the train station for a few hours would be fine because it would be better than getting a bus around school time but it just meant we were bored af for like nearly three hours and then we gave up and went to the train station early and we watched two trains go to Kings Cross on time and nice and early and then our train was delayed.

Sod’s law.

Then we got to London, got on the underground to Paddington, Paddington was confusing af and then our third train was delayed too and this is when I started getting really anxious. We weren’t going to have time to go to the hotel and check in or even to get food (which we hadn’t had any of since lunch) and I was worried about being late and there was a lot of nervous excitement.

It was fine – we got there in plenty of time, Nick came and found us in the queue and we got to catch up with him and everything was a-okay.

The building actually has a giant circle light on it, it’s insane.

So let’s get back to the fun bit!

We were told to be there for 8, even though the episode wouldn’t start on Channel 4 until 10 and we were doing in the meantime. We soon found out. Because that’s how time works.

At first, we were checked in – we had to sign a release form that basically said we didn’t mind being on camera and then we were given wristbands. I didn’t expect to get a gold VIP wristband but I definitely felt pretty swish. At this point we were offered free drinks and cloakroom facilities and then we sat in a lecture theatre for, like, over an hour, just waiting for something to happen. It was quite confusing. About 9.15pm we were taken over to the studio set and this is where the anxiety started to dissolve and it got really exciting.

From there, it was just standing – but the studio looked amazing, it was so exciting to be in a real TV studio having been around so many people at uni (three of which were working on the show) and to actually be part of a real life studio show was actually mental, I still can’t really believe it happened but getting into the studio was just the beginning.

More and more people filed in, then all the previously blocked players came in and sat down and presenters Alice Levine and Maya Jama started doing rehearsals and it was so surreal – I felt like I somewhat understood, the roles of the people in the studio, the presenters, the floor managers, all the mics and cameras and autocue’s and the countdowns, but so far from it because it was so professional and polished and way beyond anything I was capable of or had experienced before.

We started off stood by Alex’s girlfriend Millie and apparently you could see us in the background of the shot and then we were around Sian’s family and wow, Sian’s mum is actually the nicest human I’ve ever met. Then we were moved over to the other side of the room and for like 10 minutes we could actually see and then some other guys just moved in front of us but I think they were something to do with a Radio 1 DJ but still, bit rude.

The whole show was incredibly surreal – seeing the people that I’ve been watching on TV every day for three weeks, even though they’ve been in complete isolation from the outside world for the whole time and have no idea the impact the show has made and how much they mean to people. I was in awe and I felt like the most pathetic fangirl ever but it was just so exciting.

The end of the show was somewhat anticlimactic – the show ended and there wasn’t really a conclusion, we were just told to leave. I got some photos in front of the flats, then we collected our stuff from the cloakroom, wondered over towards our Premier Inn via the 24 hour Asda for the dinner we never had and checked in just before midnight, collapsing with incredibly painful knees from standing for so long, sleeping in my favourite kind of bed of all time and waking up to go for breakfast with Nick before a day at the Natural History museum.

Our mini Asda haul

To be honest, I’m surprised Alex won, I was rooting for Sian but not disappointed with the overall winner. Excited to see what they do with a potential second season!

And to think this was only the beginning of the week! It was amazing couple of days and I’m so grateful to giffgaff and Channel 4 for inviting me to the show.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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happiness = productivity?

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like it’s a huge part of today’s society, everything is about productivity and getting stuff done – being successful is a measure of how regulated your sleep schedule is, how on top of your work out routine you are and how many things you got done that day.

It’s gotten to a point where if I’m not out of bed by 8am I struggle to feel motivated to do anything and I’m not sure how it got to this point because I’m pretty sure it used to be cool to sleep till the afternoon and not do uni or school work.

Personally I find it so much harder to be content and motivated when I know there’s a list building up of stuff that I’ve been writing down for a few days – there’s only so many times I can write ‘apply for a job’ before it becomes utterly soul destroying to actually do it.

I don’t know where the pressure is coming from, who I feel judged by or where this all began but I really hate that my productivity is directly equal to my happiness on a day to day basis and let’s be real, there’s no pressure from anyone or any kind of society, it’s just me beating myself up and I need to come up with some methods to stop… doing… that?

Step 1 – don’t be a dick. I mean, that’s generally good life advice but I need to stop telling myself I’m not good enough! Because it escalates very quickly from ‘I didn’t apply for a job today’ to ‘I have no skills and don’t deserve a job anyway’ and I’d like to think that’s not true.

But you know, step 1 is pretty difficult when it’s quite deeply ingrained in your brain. But what can I say, I’ve acknowledged the problem and I know roughly where to start. I think that’s progress?

Step 2 – figure out why I’m not productive and adapt my to do lists accordingly. But that’s not really addressing the problem of my productivity being related to my happiness.

Step 3 – it sounds too simple but just let it go. Let the list go, no pressure to do more than I’m capable of – work on relaxing even if I didn’t quite get everything done and enjoy an evening of not squeezing in more work and doing whatever it is I’m doing below average anyway.

Step 4 – I don’t even know anymore, I’m rambling for the sake of rambling.

It gets to this point in a blog post where sometimes I’ll doubt whether I really want to publish it – am I making a point or am I complaining about something that no one else really cares about? But I think it’s defying thoughts like that are important – this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I want to share!

I think there’s a lot of pressure in our generation on the internet that you’ve always got to be doing something, making something, working towards something and we all know that the internet can be a pretty toxic place. But defying these things that we’ve been conditioned to feel is the best way to combat it.

Today hasn’t been a productive day, but I had a really lovely afternoon working on my scrapbook and that doesn’t make how I spent my day any less valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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a diet and exercise update | unfitness

2018, fitness, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve done a couple of fitness posts and I’ve recently made a fairly big change in my approach to my diet and I thought I’d note it all down 1) to document it for my sake and 2) for anyone else who might have recently put on a lot of weight and had to start shopping plus sized that needs a bit of motivation.

[ e x e r c i s e ]

I’m actually kind of struggling with working out right now – my mum has a treadmill and a rowing machine in her garage and it’s kind of full of stuff waiting to go to a car boot and it’s a bit soul destroying and I didn’t want that kind of relationship with exercise. So I’m not pushing myself, but I do quite enjoy going for walks so I’ve been adapting my exercise by incorporating it into walks – taking a longer route to go do my errands, making sure to keep up with the pace of anyone I’m with rather than making them slow to me and maintain a consistent pace.

At the moment this is working for me, I’m working on upping my pace and considering maybe trying running but I think that is quite a way off yet. At the moment, with the stage of weight and fitness I’m at I think cardio exercise is enough and by the time I’m a bit fitter I might be able to afford a session or two with a personal trainer who can hopefully give me some advice on how to get that six pack.

Because obviously that’s the main goal.

(though I’d quite like a little arm muscle, just a tiny bicep y’know)

[ d i e t ]

This is where my biggest development is right now – last week I decided I needed to take a stand on it, I need to cut out snacking and train myself to feel satisfied with a smaller portion size because it’s got out of hand.

So, whilst that may all sound a bit severe it’s really not – I’m making sure I eat breakfast in the morning to get my metabolism going, I’m having a reasonably sized healthy lunch, no afternoon snacking (which is tough), a reasonably sized (mostly) healthy dinner and an evening treat less than 200 calories. And being a bit less strict at the weekends.

I tried tracking it on my FitBit app for a few days and it came in at about 1000 calories a day though I think it’s probably a bit more (but I gave up because it was really hard to input everything individually) but I’m not massively calorie counting – I’m aware of how many are in what I’m eating but I don’t really know how many I’m having in a day because I don’t want to be someone that adds them up. I’ve had a pretty unhealthy relationship with food before and I’m very aware of slipping back into those behaviours.

It’s working well for me at the moment – in the first week I lost 3 pounds and I’m hoping for the same kind of progress in the coming weeks. I think ‘dieting’ this way is going to work long term because it’s not cutting lots of things, reintroducing them and getting fat again, it’s adapting my life to be healthier and hopefully being a healthier person because of it.

But we all know what I’m like for getting over excited, blogging about something then falling off the bandwagon!

[ w h a t   n e x t ? ]

Going forward is all just a work in progress – continuing to work on my relationship with both diet and exercise, hopefully finding a fitness regime that really works for me and I enjoy it (which is something I’ve been working on for literally years) and hopefully stick with this not-diet because I really do think it’ll effect my health in the long run.

Everything is a work in progress, but that’s why we document isn’t it! To see that progress and not forget the steps we took along the way.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

previous fitness posts:
unfitness – starting a few steps back
unfitness – when the going gets tough, listen to your body

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