Treasured in… May

2020, books, creativity, film, lifestyle, student

Hello!

As we come to the end of our second full calendar month in lockdown, little posts like this full of things I enjoyed and want to share are more important than ever. Everywhere I look people are complaining about the government, singing the praises of the NHS and arguing about what are appropriate social distancing activities (though how anyone could defend packed beaches I really don’t know) so having this little list of happy things will be a nice little mood boost for me as well as you!

Here are my the things I treasured in May!


blog post:

I really made more of an effort to read more this month – I’ve been on the hunt for bloggers that don’t exclusively talk about beauty, fashion or other stereotypical ‘successful blogger’ categories. I really want to find people like me who don’t necessarily blog for income, writing about the ramblings trapped in their heads and talking about all their random hobbies without limiting themselves to a ‘niche’.

I’m still hunting, but these two blog posts from YouTube influencers I follow were topical and well written.

recipe:

I don’t think I’ve tried anything that particularly blew me away this month – I made this creamy chicken chorizo pasta bake which was nice but we’re not rushing to make it again. I’m still really enjoying the bacon and pea risotto that I linked last month, I’ve somewhat rediscovered a good jacket potato and we made a really nice lasagne but it all came out of jars so it wasn’t anything to do with my ability to cook!

Top tip for ‘homemade out of jars lasagne’ – use a Mac and Cheese sauce rather than a white sauce, it worked really well for us and is making me hungry just thinking about it!

online course:

Again, this month I didn’t find anything new – I had one last big assignment to finish off my semester 2 work for my masters and with lockdown and a generally not good course, my friend and I who were working together on it (group project, not cheating I promise!) spent more time teaching ourselves than knowing what we were doing.

So I learnt a lot about the Maya animation software, modelling environments, materials, different animation types and multi-camera set ups, but I didn’t find a course online to take myself.

Next month I’ll be starting all the self-teaching I have to do for my dissertation project so I’ll be rambling all about designing a video game, making a 2D animation and writing scripts for both!

music:

The only time I really listen to music is when I’m cooking – when I’m trying to write or work, it means I can’t concentrate and if I’m knitting or doing my cross stitch I use it as an excuse to catch up on YouTube videos (I’m 300 videos deep on my watch later…).

With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been craving a bit of nostalgia so my partner has been finding playlists on Spotify along the lines of ‘year 6 disco’ and ‘the best of the 2000s’ and we’ve been listening to everything from S Club 7, Steps, Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers to Bob The Builder’s ‘Big Fish Little Fish’. Thoroughly recommend a throwback disco if you need a little boost!

YouTube video:

Most of the YouTubers I’m subscribed to are vloggers, so watching vaguely ‘normal’ home life vlogging has been most of what I’m watching and it’s been nice to feel that little bit ‘normal’ by watching the creators I’ve been following for years just living their daily lives.

So I’m going to use this section this month to talk about one of my own videos – it’s currently unlisted on my channel because it’s for a uni assignment and I always feel funny about publishing my work while it’s still being marked (so it’s a fun little secret for my blog!). But this is the animation my friend Agata and I made for our assignment – the main character is animated from motion capture data and we built pretty much everything in the environment ourselves.

I’m so ridiculously proud of this little animation and I loved working on it with one of my best friends (even if we did the majority of the work in the three days before it was due…), so here is Life After Lockdown; a little topical comedy animation for our  assignment.

books I’ve read:

loved this book – this take on life after death and the way the characters have conflict without antagonising each other (except Evie’s mum, she was actually evil). It was one of those books that made you think about what life after death really is like – I genuinely think this is a pretty good idea and worth a read in these challenging times.

I read this because my boyfriend loves the Game Grumps and recommended it but it wasn’t for me – I didn’t find it funny but it felt like they were trying way too hard to be funny, the murder mystery was a bit too Scooby Doo for me, but it was entertaining enough.

This book is taking me actual weeks to get through – I like the writing style, but it feels almost non-fiction and there are so many characters that Pomerantz clearly expects the reader to remember who they are, how they were relevant and details about their life and career. It’s about a plane crash and it’s really depressing and long and there’s not much of a story yet and I’m about 75% through? I think the main thing putting me off is that on the back it declares that this back will become a classic but… it definitely hasn’t and I just can’t vibe with someone arrogant enough to assume their work deserves to become a classic. But I’m nearly done and a review will be on my Instagram when I do!

snack: 

I never thought I particularly liked minty chocolate – I can appreciate a few After Eights at Christmas and maybe a packet of softmints every now and then but not big on mint. I thought I’d prefer plain chocolate aero bubbles to the mint aero bubbles but my boyfriend opened my eyes and I have to stop myself buying them or I will eat the entire packet.

I also picked up a packet of Tesco’s own Salted Caramel Munch Bars thinking it would be an easy breakfast option – they’re really good but they’re so not good for you in any way that I’d be better off going back to a slice of toast in the mornings. But they’re really yummy and if you’re not really a breakfast person then something is better than nothing right?

visual entertainment: 

I’ve not watched any new TV this month but my mum, my sister, my boyfriend and I have started a remote film club using a 52 Week challenge book my mum picked up on Amazon – 52 challenges, divided by 4 people means 13 categories each. This month we watched Pulp Fiction, Eighth Grade, Dumbo (the live action one) and Top Gun and I’m really enjoying the excuse to watch all the ‘classic’ films I haven’t seen but should have as well as some newer films that I want to see.

Pulp Fiction was an interesting choice and having done a unit where one of my lecturers tried to teach us artsy-fartsy film theory (when he shouldn’t have been) it did make it more interesting to think about the decisions the director made, but then I thought about if a film makes you think about the decisions the director made and takes you out of being fully immersed, is it really a well made film? Either way! Eighth Grade was fun and a really accurate portrayal of life as a 13 year old, Dumbo was alright but I prefer the original (and Colin Farrell’s character was literally useless) and Top Gun was an action for the sake of action, ‘put it on in the background’ kind of film that really proved that Tom Cruise literally only plays one character in all his films.

Other than that I’ve watched a lot of Kim Possible on Disney+…

wedding planning update: Before lockdown, I attended a couple of wedding fairs and one of them was near my old hometown. There we spoke to a lady who was representing the most beautiful venue near a lake that my boyfriend and I are very sentimental about. It was beautiful, it’s a great location and it makes me feel a little bit emosh just thinking about it! We’re 90% sure it’s the venue we want to go with but we don’t have the deposit money yet. However, with two months of lockdown, people are re-planning weddings for years to come and our date of November 2022 is looking like it’s going to get infringed on quite quickly, so I want to contact the venue and at least get our foot in the door for our date so we don’t lose it. Otherwise, there’s nothing much more I can do in lockdown other than coming up with more and more ideas on Pinterest…

So I’ve not done any wedding planning this month but we have reached this decision, so there’s a bit of progress there!


On the one hand, I hope that the country is safe enough for some restrictions to be lifted in June so we can do more things, I can visit my family etc, but I really don’t want restrictions to be lifted early just because people are getting grumpy about not having their hair cut, so I’m apprehensive.

I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… April

2020

Hello!

Whilst in isolation, I thought it would be fun to come up with a new series to work on whilst I’ve got a little bit more time to think about blogging. Essentially, I thought of a more structured ‘favourites’ that I’ve decided to call Treasured In… [insert month here]. But there’s the scope to do more – if I go travelling I could do it themed to a place, or I could do it about a year around New Years or…  other stuff…

I’ve selected a bunch of categories that I’m going to pick ONE thing I’ve loved this month and share it! I’m really excited about this and I hope you enjoy it too.

First category: blog post – though going to go with the ‘bad news’ first… I’ve not really read a blog post that I loved this month? I know I need to make more of an effort to read blog posts but it’s so much easier just to scroll through Instagram. If someone links a blog post on an Instagram story I generally read it but generally my favourite bloggers are the ones that don’t have enough followers to do swipe up. So this is a note to self to do better and read more engaging bloggers posts’!

Recipe: I’m not very good at trying new things but I love learning to cook new things. I’m really enjoying risotto at the moment and I found this recipe for a bacon and pea risotto which we tried and I loved. Granted, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be nice because anything with ‘pea’ in the title isn’t usually promising, but it’s risotto rice with bacon lardons and peas – it’s SUPER SIMPLE and it was really yummy, thoroughly recommend.

Online course: I’ve been ‘self-teaching’ for over a year now – I was working on Google Digital Garage’s Digital Marketing course for the best part of a year, then I worked through a bunch of the other free courses but this month I did the first week of An Introduction to Screenwriting course from UEA via Futurelearn. I’ve been creative writing for over a decade now but never had the facilities to learn about formal scriptwriting, so I’m teaching myself! There are so many free courses out there that I’ve found, would it be useful if I wrote a blog post on it? I’m no expert and it’s not difficult to find them but having a bunch of links all in one place might be helpful!

Music: two new albums that I’ve really enjoyed came out this both so I’m already going to cheat and give two for this one – firstly, my all time favourites All Time Low released their first album in a couple of years Wake Up, Sunshine and I’m obsessed. It’s fantastic, it’s fun, it’s beautiful; Alex Gaskarth is my favourite singer of all time and always will be.

The second album I loved was CALM by 5SOS and I still kind of hate to admit it because I’ve had such a rocky relationship with the band, but it’s a banger of an album and I had a good dance in the kitchen while I was making dinner so I had to mention it.

YouTube video: ‘The Crippled Suffragette’ // Rosa May Billinghurst // Historical Profiles [CC] – Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

I only recently subscribed to Jessica Kellgren-Fozard though I’ve been aware of her for a while (that’s a weird sentence when you don’t think of it outside the context of YouTube). I really love the variety of her content and I actually thoroughly enjoyed the way she told the story of this woman who I never would have heard of without this video. Always love a bit of unintentional learning!

Books I’ve read: My intention for this category is to list everything I’ve read in the last month and give you a couple of lines of whether I actually enjoyed it or not!

Love, Rosie (Cecelia Ahern) (previously published as Where Rainbows End) – absolutely loved this book, such an interesting writing style and just wonderfully kind and lovely characters. 10/10!

The Centauri Device (M. John Harrison) – refusing to link because I think it was awful. Overly complex unnecessary language to mask a pushover protagonist, a lack of plot and no emotional engagement between characters. Amazing potential as a concept for a sci-fi adventure but literally hated reading it.

Skarrs (Catherine Forde) – kind of stereotypical YA book ‘good kid fell in the wrong crowd’ but I was taken aback by it’s subtle way of describing how grief can effect people in such different ways.

One Day (David Nicholls) – I get the hype around this book now and I think Love, Rosie took a lot of inspiration from it. Kind of anticlimactic ending through, didn’t really see the emotional side that I’ve seen people talk about…

Currently reading: The Eve Illusion (Tom and Giovanna Fletcher) – I’ve been waiting for this book for what feels like ages but has only been a few months. I’m about halfway through and currently very intrigued about what will be left until the final book in the trilogy… keep an eye on my Instagram for a full review!

Snack: I’m all about the snacks and in lockdown, resisting them is even harder. When I finally got my hands on some self-raising flour, my boyfriend and I made dark chocolate chip banana bread muffins and they’re to die for. Far too many calories than I should have in one sitting but so good.

Visual Entertainment: this is the way I’m describing all things film, TV, Netflix, etc! With the release of Disney+ I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve barely watched it, but I have been watching a couple of episodes of Kim Possible with dinner and having a fantastic time.

The other thing I’ve started is a 52 week movie challenge – my mum sent me this little review book in the post and rather than doing it on my own, between my mum, my sister and my boyfriend we’ve all been allotted 13 categories and each week we’re having a virtual movie night. We started by watching Forrest Gump, a film which I definitely should have seen but haven’t and I really enjoyed it.

Then because we had to pay for the Now TV Cinema pass to watch it, my boyfriend and I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to make the most of the pass – considering all the negative hype I got, I thought it was pretty cool and we’re excited for the third part to see how it all ends.

Wedding Planning Update: Literally nothing. When I planned this series I thought it would be nice to see month by month progress but now that we’re in complete lockdown there’s no progress to be made, but I thought I’d introduce the category regardless!

And that’s ‘Treasured In…’! I’m really enjoying this new format to talk about things I love so I hope you enjoy it too. Let me know your favourite things in each of the categories in the comments if you like!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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August mixtape

2019, music

Hello!

This month in music has been pretty slow – I’ve spent 90% of my ‘music listening’ time in someone else’s car not listening to music and long car journeys listening to Disney songs and good singalong tracks so new music hasn’t been the top of my list. But I’ve still got a few songs that I really like this month so let’s share!

Glimmer – Marianas Trench is one of those songs that I’m not sure how I missed. I’m a huge fan of Marianas Trench and I thought I’d listened to every song that I could but I fell in love with Glimmer as soon as I heard it.

House Key – Scott Helman –  this one I found through my discover weekly playlist on Spotify. It’s the second time it’s appeared on my discover and on a second listen I was sold on it – the lyrics are so simple and a lovely summary of what happy life with your favourite person should be and it really hit home. The acoustic tones make it a really gentle song and it’s genuinely a really lovely experience to listen to!

Teeth – 5 Seconds of Summer – my history with 5 Seconds of Summer has been very mixed and highly varied! I kind of hate that I’m really into their music but I can’t help but really love what they’re making. I was watching a video on YouTube and the video came up as an ad (wasn’t thrilled – I was watching Charles and Allie’s baby name announcement video!) and I ended up sitting and watching the entire song. The video is weird, but the song is a proper tune – I’ve not stopped thinking about the bass line, it gives me such Stranger Things vibes and I’m just not acknowledging that it’s for 13 Reasons Why season 3 (not here for it lads). I think the lyrics are so beautiful and the whole song has just been stuck in my head, so it’s kind of my resentful guilty pleasure.

And my shoutout of the month has to go to Karma – Grayson DeWolfe – I was listening to my discover weekly on my drive into work the other week. I had just passed my driving test, it was my first time driving on my own, I was in my element and this song came on as I was cruising down a dual carriageway and by the second chorus I was singing along and I spent the rest of my journey to work repeating the title to myself so I didn’t forget to add it to my monthly playlist. It’s an official bop – wholeheartedly recommend turning this one up loud in the car.

My playlist is a bit shorter this month – up till July, I spent a fair amount of time on buses and that was my prime time listening to music but having spent most of this month getting a lift into work with my mum, I’m not listening to music as much but as I spend more time in my own car and find more time for music at home I’m definitely getting back into it, so September’s playlist should be much more diverse!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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July Mixtape

2019, music

Hello!

Every time I write one of my regular monthly posts like my goals or music posts it baffles me that another month has rolled around and this month is no different! July has been a whirlwind in every respect – I’m working the most I’ve worked this year to save for going back to uni, the weather has been uncomfortably hot and I’ve spent the whole month thinking it’s August to be honest.

Now that I’m not spending as much time on buses, I don’t have as much time to listen to my discover weekly playlist but I still have a decent amount of tracks to talk about this month that are pretty varied but all perfect for your summer bbq playlists!

I’ve not seen the new Aladdin film yet but I’m obsessed with ‘Speechless‘ – it’s a beautifully composed song with gorgeous lyrics and I cannot wait to see it in context. Aladdin is already a classic in both film and music history but this song will slot right in.

SAD (Clap Your Hands)‘ (Young Rising Sons) is the kind of song that I wouldn’t know what genre to put it in – it’s pop and fun but it’s something more experimental too. Maybe I just enjoy say songs that are masked as happy songs (name: Missing You, All Time Low) but it the concept makes me laugh and the song is catchy af.

I’m always getting into new musicals, but I always have this internal battle of if I want to listen to the songs without the context and the drama of the whole musical and then I here medley’s like Newsies Medley (Peter Hollens) and suddenly I want to listen to a whole musical. Peter Hollens acapella music will always blow me away – the musicality that man possesses is just inspiring, he oozes passion with every line he sings and the variety of music he makes is so much fun. Definitely going to listen to Newsies now!

And in a completely different vain – I first listened to Get Away (feat. Rama Duke) (Breathe Carolina) on my discover weekly and I’ve listened to a bit of Breathe Carolina before and it was a really mixed bag, but I don’t need to love every song an artist makes! I really enjoy this song – it’s a fun, summer bop and I love the electronic style they bring to a classic.

I’ve realised that a lot of the music I’m loving at the moment is ‘mainstream 1975 but not by the 1975’ and One That I Want (PUBLIC) falls exactly into this category. It’s light, it’s a little bit rocky but a pop hit at heart.

Promiseland (MIKA) is something completely different – it feels different even though it’s another pop song. The vocals feel almost comical with how swiftly they alternate between pitches and then it’s got guitar lines that feel very early-2000s rock/pop and I’m excited to get to know this song more as it only appeared on my discover weekly this week.

I think I knew this was a 1975 song but I’m trying not to think about how many signs I’m getting telling me to listen to the 1975… Give Yourself a Try (The Hunna) is a song that I really support the message of and a band that I love too. I was lucky enough to film The Hunna at Reading festival when I worked there in 2017 and my boyfriend and I have been listening to their music ever since.

Overall, this playlist has a few curveballs but is fully of boppy, upbeat summer tracks for all your summer playlist needs!

As always, recommendations are greatly appreciated! Where do I start with the 1975? I feel like I really need to give them a chance but it’s a bit overwhelming.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals

Hello!

love goal setting and the end of June is always somewhat momentous for me because I know it marks the halfway point to the year, so it’s the best time to check in on my goals, adapt if necessary and see how much progress I’m making!

Quick context – I have three categories that I set goals in (personal, career, creative) and each of those categories has three goals and then I tried something new this year in setting some ‘bucket list’ style goals.

I’ll try to keep this brief but I do love a ramble about goals and progress so tuck yourself in lads! Grab a cuppa and tell me all about your goals in the comments please!

Personal Goals:

1. work towards my weight goals – eat well, build workout routine

I feel like I mention it in every blog post, YouTube video and Instagram caption but I’ve been trying to lose weird basically forever now. Progress has been slow over the last three months or so but I’m trying to eat much more intuitively and I’ve been running three times a week (or thereabout) for nearly 10 weeks now and I feel like it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something and I’m really proud of myself!

2. prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

I’ve been refining how I make my to do lists and generally I am finding ways to make the most of every day as much as I can. I definitely haven’t been making time for hobbies but I have been more efficient with my productivity. I still care about productivity much more than I want to, but with how the rest of the year is going to go I think the time for hobbies will come. But in a way writing blog posts and YouTube videos are my hobbies so I guess that counts?

3. self esteem, I need some

This was a way of wording ‘fix my mental health’ whilst being a bit kinder to myself about it. I’ve tried my best to get to know each other and build better habits and I’m much better at recognising the triggers of when I’m not doing so good. I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments, I’m on anti-depressants now and I’m on a waiting list for computerised CBT, which I’m hesitant about but know it’ll probably be for the best. This is the most progress I’ve made with my mental health in the ten years I’ve been internally battling with myself so whilst I don’t really have any self-esteem yet, the whole process is a work in progress.

Career Goals:

1. build freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, superhero woman (essentially)

I set this goal in the beginning of the year when I had freelance work and that fell through within a few weeks (which was horrible, ngl) so now this goal is just about working hard for me. How this year has gone so far hasn’t been to plan for me, but I’ve gotten over myself and made my situation work and I’ve earned enough many to make a big purchase recently so it’s going okay! I’m making it all work.

2. build my own media kit (save for a camera/refine my skills)

This one is something I know exactly what I want but I’ve justified that I’m not going to spend the money on something as big as a camera and lenses etc when I’m not certain I’m going to use them or they’re going to be a cost-effective purchase. If I spend the second half of the year glued to a camera, then I can justify it, if I don’t then I’m not going to spend that much money on a camera. All justified!

3. make a future plan with work goals, house/relationship aspirations etc

I’ve done this! Not set in stone kind of 5 year plan because that just doesn’t work for me but I have the framework in my bullet journal and that I add to a change and adapt occasionally. It’s all flexible because I think life is too unpredictable to really make a solid 5 year plan.

Creative Goals:

1. continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and youtube channel

Actually really pleased with this one – I’m really happy with the attitude I have towards my blog and my channel at the moment and cutting myself some slack when I don’t upload exactly at the right time or anything. I feel more genuine than I’ve felt in a long time and I’m really happy with it.

2. write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018 (may be some freelance writing?)

I’ve been planning little writing challenges all through this year in the build up to writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo and it’s been going semi-decently! I’ve not always hit word counts but I’ve been writing consistently for the first time since before I went to uni. This month I’m hoping to write 35,000 words but I’m significantly behind and it’s day 6 so I’m hoping to get a couple of really good catch up days in before the month is out.

3. work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year teaching myself the basics of photography – what all the settings really mean, getting to know my camera, figuring out how the core skills of photography really work. It’s something I want to develop further with more experience when I go back to uni in September but for now I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

This one is centred around driving for me – I can’t walk to a gym locally and I’m moving soon so getting professional help with working out will come when either I can drive or I move. Another work in progress!

2. get another tattoo

Done! Got a series of tattoos to start my travel sleeve this week and I love them so much.

(photos)

3. read a book a month

I’m currently on 7 out of 12 books for the year! I haven’t read for a few weeks but because I was a little bit ahead it was a bit of pressure off and I’m going to get back to it soon, when I’ve fixed my sleeping pattern (lol).

4. do a grid drawing every month

For context – the premise of this is this is that I print off a line drawing, draw a 30 square grid over the top and colour in one square each day of the month. This is something I’m really enjoying – sometimes I find colouring books a bit daunting because I don’t know where to start or they’re so intricate but this one has been really good for my mental health and for my creativity.

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

I’ve been writing my monthly mixtape posts for a few months now and I listen to my discover weekly playlist every week!

6. save for a canon 80d, 50mm lens and a 75-300mm lens

See previous photography goals – if I don’t do this one it’s a financial choice.

7. have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month

I wrote a blog post about how I’ve already broken this one for the year but finances and work have disrupted this one a little, but that’s alright – it was pretty ambitious anyway.

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

I have taken my driving test once and failed but next one is booked and I feel so much better about it. And I bought a new car at the weekend! I’m genuinely so excited about it all, I can’t wait to see where my little H R Wheels and I will go in the latter half of this year.

9. improve my posture

A silly one, but one I’m trying to integrate into my day to day life.

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

And following the brief mention of going back to uni, my boyfriend and I will be moving somewhere close to Oxford (probably Aylesbury because there doesn’t seem to property available anywhere else). We’ll be moving in the next couple of months!

And that’s a check in with all of my goals for 2019! I think checking in on goals like this is really important because if you’re on track and making progress it inspires you to keep going and if you feel like you’ve not made as much progress as you’d like it gives you the kick up the bum to focus!! Here’s to the home straight of 2019!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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June Monthly Mixtape

2019, music

Hello!

This months mixtape feels really short – my discovery weekly playlists have been mostly rubbish, there’s been lots of new releases and there’s one song I’ve had on repeat for most of this month (that we’ll get to later) but I don’t feel like I’ve listened to a lot of music.

I do still have a few songs to talk about, so here’s some of my highlights from my June music playlist!

Easier (5 Seconds of Summer) surprised me to be honest – I have such a weird relationship with what I think about the band and my favourite 5SOS era was ‘Sounds Good Feels Good’, but I really like how experimental this song is. They’re trying something new again within the pop-electric realm and I actually really enjoyed it. Some of the lyrics are a bit forced but it’s fun!

Forfeit (Arrows in Action) is a band and a song I never would have heard if it wasn’t for my discover weekly playlist but it gives me major Alex Gaskarth/old All Time Low vibes and I’m 100% here for it. Definitely going to be looking into the bands other songs!

I’m Not Okay (I Promise) (Robyn Adele Anderson) is a refreshing take on the classic teenage emo song – I love jazz/swing remixes of pop chart songs and this one really took me by surprise. The vocals are astonishing, the arrangement is true to the genre and the original song simultaneously and it made me smile on the bus, which is the best kind of song really!

Outside Looking In (Jordan Pruitt) – this song is on the playlist exclusively because I remembered it existed and it was a banger when I was 12. It got me through tough times of no friends and difficult friendships and boy-o I would belt it at the top of my lungs and rediscovering it has been a blast.

End Of The World (Plain White T’s) was a song I literally added this afternoon – I was giving this week’s discover weekly a listen on the bus and this is the only song I liked enough to engage with at all. It was a cute, catchy bop – nothing ground breaking, but a fun listen.

My shoutout of the month goes to the song I’ve had on loop – the song that at first I was very ‘eh’ about, then the melody kept cropping up in my head and then I started really listening to the lyrics and really fell in love with Guiltless (dodie).

It’s been a mixed month for music, to be fair to Spotify I didn’t have as much time for listening to music as I usually do and with a new routine settling into place I need to figure out how to integrate music into the time I have but as always, I love writing these posts – if you have any recommendations let me know in the comments! This months challenge is listening to my Release Radar playlist as well as my Discover Weekly on Spotify!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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May Monthly Mixtape!

2019, music

Hello!

I’ve got a whole 20 songs that I’ve been loving this month to share with you! Between belting Heathers at the top of my lungs and listening to School of Rock and Dear Evan Hansen on loop (it’s been a very musical month) I have actually been listening to my Discover Weekly and adding music I’ve heard in general day to day life. So here’s the sound to my May!

Brand New (Ben Rector) and Flatliner (Cole Swindell, Dierks Bentley) are both songs that my boyfriend has on his playlist but I feel like I properly listened to them this month – Brand New is a really lovely, very romantic song that is bright and indie-pop-ish.

Flatliner has more of a story – one of my boyfriend’s assessments involved picking a scene from a film, recreating all the sound and essentially recreating all the sound for the scene. They picked Cars, the film famed for the most wonderful Rascal Flats song ‘Life is a Highway’, and to find a song similar to that – they found Flatliner. I now associate that song with a film it’s not in, but it’s properly catchy and it makes me think maybe I don’t hate country music? It’s fun, a lil bit rocky and you can imagine Lightning McQueen, what more could you want?

GUM (Jule Vera) is a song I found on my discover weekly – it’s a bit of a weird song, takes some twists and turns that don’t fit the stereotypical pop mould but that’s why I like it. I’d love to see someone with a proper creative eye for dance choreograph something for this song because I definitely can’t do it justice.

ME! (Taylor Swift, Brendon Urie) and I don’t care (Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber) are songs I added because I do actually somewhat keep up with new releases and Brendon Urie and Ed Sheeran are two of my faves. I think ME! is a fun, empowering tune and I don’t care isn’t what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be about being a cool kid that doesn’t care about the #rulez but it was actually a surprisingly romantic song, Sheeran and Bieber’s voices really suit each other and it’s just a nice, gentle song. Big fan.

Mark My Words (Doll Skin) feels like a little bit of a throwback – it feels like the kind of pop-punk/rock I listened to when I was 14 or 15, a little bit Paramore esque but more rocky and I love the chorus.

Alone Sometimes (The Mowgli’s) is another one that my boyfriend likes, but it was also on my Discover Weekly spotify playlist – I thought I recognised it but I also really enjoyed it! And I keep getting the lyrics wrong and singing alive sometimes instead of alone sometimes, which I think still fits but does somewhat change the meaning of the song. This is another indie-pop track with two lead vocals that fit really well together and a lovely message.

Shoutout of the month goes to a song that isn’t new and probably isn’t a lot of people’s first choice, but I’ve been loving The Way We Are by Alesha Dixon – I heard it in a performance at a dance convention I went to at the end of last month and thought it was such a catchy bop! It makes me smile every time it comes on and I genuinely think it’s really hard not to dance to, even if it’s just nodding your head – it’s happy, it’s upbeat, it’s fun. Love it.

If you want to have a nosy around my Spotify, I’ve got a bunch of badly organised and incredibly varied playlists you can have a look at here. I’m really enjoying writing about music at the moment, so as always recommendations are always welcome, all my social media is linked below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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fitting into my old clothes | outfit

2019, fashion

Hello!

I’ve only mentioned it approximately six billion times but I’ve been making lifestyle changes to lose weight for over six months now and consequently (obviously) my relationship with my body and my wardrobe has changed.

For starters, I feel more like me than I’ve felt in a very long time – I feel less like the Michelin Man and more like myself, I’m working on being more comfortable in my skin both in terms of making my body somewhere I like to live and addressing my mental body confidence. Overall, I feel better in myself.

But also, I’ve been refining my wardrobe ever since I started packing to move out of Southampton – I’ve been getting rid of clothes to donate to charity shops/sell/whatever since I packed that first box, to when I had a sort out before Christmas, after Christmas and this weekend just gone. I’ve slowly been cutting down and refining my wardrobe in a sort of capsule-esque way, but thinking more about what I need from my wardrobe and detaching from sentimentality (because no one needs to keep clothes 1) because ‘I love it so much even though I never wear it’ and 2) because they were expensive and it feels like a waste).

And then I had a box of clothes on top of my wardrobe that I’ve been saving for summer/when I lost weight and I got them out during my last clear out and there’s only two or three items that I feel like I need to lose more weight to wear and that is so motivating.

So here are some clothes that I didn’t feel I could wear before!

The leather jacket isn’t one of those items – I bought that for a wedding I went to in January, but I don’t have a lot of jackets. The jeans I bought for when I went to New York last year – they fit okay, but they were a bit too big when I stood up and far too tight when I sat down and they went back into the drawer until now. Now they’re far too big when I stand up and they’re comfortable when I sit down – I’m not going to let go of them just yet because they still fit but definitely need a belt with these ones.

The yellow cropped shirt is a dodie shirt from her ‘you‘ EP release (now on sale, if you’re interested!) and this is the first time I’ve worn it – I’ve loved the design ever since I bought two whole years ago but I’ve never felt ‘skinny enough’ or confident enough to wear it. Some would probably say I’m still not skinny enough but I don’t care – I feel absolutely adorable and whilst I’m not the huge fan of dodie I was when I bought it, it’s still a cute yellow crop top and I love anything yellow.

omg cheeky bit of tummy 😱

Reclaiming the few items that I kept for a time when I could actually shift the weight I hated has actually motivated me more than ever to keep working to lose as much as I can – I’ve come a really long way in the last year, especially the last six months and I knew when I put those clothes into a box a year ago that they would be the motivator I needed, not a sad reminder of what I’d lost (or gained, depending on how you look at it…).

That’s not to say you have to lose weight to feel good about yourself or keep your old clothes as an inspiration – if you feel fab as you are? You’re rocking it, you go girl. If you need to throw the clothes that don’t fit away (or donate them) to help you accept who you are now – you do you, whatever empowers you. Everyone is on their own journey (however pretentious that sounds) – personal growth is exactly that, it’s personal.

I’ve still got a long way to go – I’m not anywhere near my goal weight or a healthy weight for my height yet and I’m still learning and developing every day to do all I can to continue losing. But I felt cute – I can comfortably wear almost everything in my wardrobe and I’m not dreading getting these wobbly arms and legs out in the summer, in fact? I can’t wait to sit out in the sun with a good book and get away from screens for a bit.

Despite the fact it’s basically winter in the UK right now and sunny summer seems a loooooong way away, I’m not dreading the summer heat and wearing more clothes than is comfortable for the sake of covering up.

I’m making progress! Summer healthy eating is so much easier and I’m actually enjoying running (and hopefully exercising more)! And I don’t feel at war with my wardrobe anymore! Yay!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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I could hear a bee in the plant behind me…

monthly mixtape – April

2019, music

Hello!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post ever since my last monthly mixtape, if I’m honest!

Two things before I start chatting about the tunes – one; I haven’t had the chance to listen to my discover weekly playlists on Spotify this month because I haven’t had any time on buses or on my own at home, so I’ve not listened to a whole lot of new music in that way, but somehow this is my longest monthly playlist so far!

And two; I called the playlist Gray because I was watching the ‘Crisis on Earth X’ Arrowverse crossover (Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) and without spoiling it, something significant happens to a character called Stein who is nicknamed Gray and I was feeling sentimental about it in the moment I made this playlist so that is literally the only significance of the playlist title this month, if anyone was interested!

Let’s start at the beginning – I was only interested in Lewis Capaldi because I’d seen ads for his song Someone You Loved all over my instagram and it gripped me because Peter Capaldi, yes the 12th Doctor on Doctor Who, is the main focus of the music video and I have a big old soft spot in my heart for Peter Capaldi. Then I properly listened to the song and I think the lyrics are just beautiful, I think it’s one of the saddest love songs I’ve ever heard but it’s so mature and melodically striking, I would love to cover it on my YouTube channel one day.

Next are a couple of songs from Simple Creatures as their EP Strange Love came out in the last month. Alex Gaskarth is hands down my favourite vocalist of all time, I’ll be perfectly honest – I’m really not mad about Mark Hoppus’ vocals, but I do love the sound of the band and it really reminds me how much I do love slightly heavier music (but only slightly heavier, I’m still a pop gal at heart). Strange Love and Adrenaline are Class A bops and I thoroughly recommend.

I don’t want to talk about every single song on the playlist, otherwise this post would be about three thousand years long, but next is a new single from Bash! and I’m so here for this band – they’re music students in Southampton, they performed at my graduation ceremony and that’s how I know them at all but their music is sick, they’re so funny and I really hope they get the break they deserve because they’re so professional and the lead singer is Pop Queen, she’s so cool.

The last four songs on the playlist I literally added yesterday – I saw on Instagram that The Vamps had released a new EP and they’re one of those bands that I know I like but then I listen to their music and I’m like a subconscious fangirl. I’ve followed the Vamps since before the bassist joined the band (shoutout to Carrie Hope Fletcher for featuring them on her channel like a hundred years ago) and Waves is a really sweet song.

Niall Horan is another one that I almost didn’t realise how much I like his music – he features on Julia Michaels song What A Time and it went straight on the playlist after one listen – it’s chill, it’s catchy, I love the sound of the sincerity in Niall’s voice.

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel is a song that my dance teacher used to use as a warm up in my tap class and I really liked it but I never got round to asking her what the song was. Then it came on a radio when mum and I were at work and I wrote it down straight away because it’s been in my head for months now, I’m so pleased I found out what it’s called.

My shoutout of the month goes to leaving this (Danny Padilla) – I think this one was a discover weekly find but it’s a song that gripped me straight away. I love the fusion of pop and a more electronic sound with classical instruments but somehow it still sounds really stripped back? The melody is really catchy and I want to choreograph to it which is a sure fire sign that I instantly connect to a song (but I’m bad at choreographing so I probably won’t do that).

As always if you have any recommendations I’m all ears (literally! Geddit?) – I’d love to hear what you’ve been listening to so if you’ve got any songs or playlists drop them in the comments down below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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little | monthly mixtapes

2019, music

Hello!

So far I’m doing well at sticking to my New Year’s Resolution of listening to lots of new music – I’ve been religiously listening to my ‘discover weekly’ playlist and making another playlist of the songs I like plus an additional playlist of the songs I like the most that are my go to.

And because the playlist was originally just three songs it’s called ‘Little’. It’s no representation of the songs that I’ve been listening to recently, but the playlist is a little shorter than last month. But we’ll get to that!

If you want to listen to the playlist (or just nosy at what songs I’m listening to) you can find it here!

I’m pretty sure I’ve been listening to Monster (dodie) for a couple of months now but I’ve recently just really identified with it. She’s said that the song is about watching someone’s opinion of her slowly deteriorate until they saw her as a monster and I love the lyrics. It’s catchy and it’s a full on bop.

Second Star To The Right (The Devil Music Co.) has a special place in my heart – it’s a reference to Peter Pan which I have recently decided is my favourite Disney movie and it’s a proper pop-guitar-heavy song that I would class as the definition of my genre. This one might make it onto next months playlist too.

The harmonies in Jealous (The After School Specials) are absolutely mind blowing – I think it’s a cover, I should really look into it but I just love the acapella voices together, it’s just beautiful.

Two of Us (Louis Tomlinson) and Ribcage (Plested) are songs I only added in the last day or two so I’m not fluent in every lyric yet, but they’re both lovely songs lyrically and I’m going to have a few days more days to really appreciate them before I start next months playlist, for sure.

I have to mention Seventeen (Heather’s OCR) because this song and the entire soundtrack has been a proper anthem for me this month. I posted my first cover in a very long time because I was so inspired by this song and this musical. I just can’t stop listening to it and it’s properly reignited my passion for the West End and I’m seriously considering ways I can get into musicals as a career because my desire to perform and sing at the top of my lungs is getting incredibly strong. And with that in mind…

This months favourite is actually an album that doesn’t feature on my monthly playlist at all but I can’t not mention it – I went to see School of Rock on the West End this month and I’m obsessed with most of the soundtrack, notably Stick It To The Man. It’s such an empowering song and I find myself jumping round the kitchen and wishing I was 12 again so I could beg my mum to let me audition for this show. I thoroughly recommend entering the lottery for £15 tickets because it’s genuinely amazing!

I love writing about music and I love finding new music but at heart I will always be a girl who loves a song so much she leaves it on repeat for at least 100 listens. As always, if you have any suggestions please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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