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

things that make me happy

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

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

In no particular order:

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

adjusting to being alone

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain!

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

So I did.

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

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

Life’s too short to deny ourselves simple pleasures.

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

September Goals

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve been doing these posts for about six months now and I find they really help me focus on specific tasks for the month, especially because I’ve integrated them into my bullet journal spreads.

However, in previous months I’ve done a review of the last months goals before setting my new goals for the month and I’ve decided not to do that this time – these reviews should be a personal reflection for me to adapt and respond to but I don’t think anyone else needs to know or cares about last months goals!

Last months goals went quite well, ironically, you can read that post here if you like!

September has always been my favourite month, whether it was because it was my birthday month, whether it was back to school I was excited for or just going into the Autumn/Winter season, September makes me happier and I’m excited for this month.

[ S E P T E M B E R   G O A L S ]

  • work 12 hours a week – I’m fortunate enough that my mum has let me work for her company as a kind of Office Assistant/PA/learning about business management person and she’s always been open to letting me help but I was so focused on graduate job hunting that I hadn’t accepted it till now. I want to dedicate specific time to working for her company and I’m starting with (minimum) 12 hours a week and I’m actually kind of excited about it.
  • write 20,000 words (667 a day) – last months writing challenge was a huge success so I wanted to up the stake a little bit – I wrote 15,000 words in August so I’m aiming for more this month! I’m basically training myself up before NaNoWriMo (50k in November) but I’m really enjoying the creative freedom that writing gives me and being in the mental position to write again, I just love it.
  • driving – guess who booked her theory test and her first lesson on a whim when she was tired one night? Yes, it was me. My theory test is towards the end of this month, my boyfriend will (hopefully) be taking his test soon and we’ve nearly got our own car too. Right now, I feel the same as I did when I was 17 – I don’t want to learn to drive, I just want to be able to drive but it’s not the simple so I’m biting the bullet and doing it. My first lesson is on the 7th so wish me luck!
  • maintain no pressure exercise – I’ve written a couple of posts now about exercise and I think it’s not a phase that I’ll get bored of? It’s been about four weeks now and I’m still integrating it into my routine? And I like it? I’m having to change it up quite a lot because I get bored or I feel like it’s not doing anything but I’m actually enjoying exercising and boy I need to lose weight so hopefully by this time next month I’ll actually be able to see some results!
  • positive job hunting – will she ever stop talking about job hunting? Probably not! Being an unemployed graduate (bar working for my mum) has really got to me mentally – I went for a job interview that I felt really good about and then I didn’t get it and I felt like giving up. So alongside feeling really mentally low, I just didn’t have the motivation to apply for anything else. However, I’m pulling myself out of it and I’m trying to get back into the habit of applying for jobs positively and not looking at it as a mindless chore that will never amount to anything because if that’s the attitude I have than it never will amount to anything! Even if it means taking it a bit slower, I want to maintain a positive relationship with applying for jobs.

I’ve tried to make these goals realistic and achievable – September is a time for new starts; going back to school, back to uni, back to work and I’m feeling that kind of motivation without having school, uni or a job to go into it but I’m making my situation right now work as best as I can.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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it’s not all about results

2018, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I’m someone who cares a lot about grades and I put a lot of pressure on myself – when I realised I wasn’t going to do as well in my A Levels as I did in my GCSEs I was heartbroken. And it’s not like I bombed – in my AS levels I got a C and 3 Ds which is a pass and I pulled that up to 2 Bs and a D which wasn’t awful but it wasn’t an A or an A* so I was proper gutted. But it got me into uni and that’s all that matters.

Then when I got to uni I was going to be a new person, I wasn’t going to care – I was just going to do the best I could possibly. Ha, that lasted about 10 minutes.

I scraped a 2:1 in first year but it didn’t contribute to the final degree so I wasn’t too fussed. Second year went really well for me and I ended up getting a first overall so my main goal for third year was to maintain that and do everything try to get a first over all.

And I tried my best, I worked so hard this year, and I didn’t do it. The salt in the wound is that I was only 0.44% away from the grade I wanted but I didn’t get it. At the end of the day, I didn’t get it. That sucks. Not going to pretend it doesn’t, it sucks a lot.

But. It’s. Not. Like. I. Failed.

I got a 2:1, I worked my ass off and I’ve got a great portfolio (check out my portfolio insta to see it in full, cheeky plug), I’ve had some incredible work experience that I got all by myself because I’m not a failure or an awful human being (shaking this mindset is a work in progress).

My life isn’t over. I’ve got a great degree. I could go do a masters if I wanted. I am still able to get a good job (hopefully, not successful on that front as of yet). So what’s the point in beating myself up about grades?

Conclusion: putting too much pressure on myself has been nothing but damaging.

I’ve picked up such awful habits from it, from beating myself up over every grade I got back, putting so much pressure on myself to work hard and make amazing stuff and everything needing to be the highest grade it can be and nothing I do is every quite good enough for that voice in the back of my mind.

And nothing good has come from abusing myself mentally like this.

It’s not an easy habit to break – I follow so many YouTubers and creators who are like ‘just stop doing that bad habit you have and be a happy person’ and that’s just not possible, not for me anyway. But it’s a habit worth trying to break because that kind of mental strain is only going to leave deeper scars in the long run.

So for me, what I’m doing to challenge this mindset are these three things:

  1. Telling myself that I am graduating with a good grade – a 2:1 is incredible and I worked really hard to get there and I’ve got a great community of people on my course, other friends and even a series of lecturers who are a great team who really helped and supported me. My university experience was incredibly positive and I need to remember that.
  2. Not pressuring myself too much about getting a job – obviously I need one and I really want to make the next steps to my career as soon as I can, but it’s not like I’m going to be unemployed forever and I’ll find my own path.
  3. I’m listening more to my body – I’m still making bullet journal spreads and doing what I can to keep myself busy and productive but sometimes, all I want is to curl up on the sofa and watch YouTube videos or I’d rather spend more time on fewer tasks and I go at my own pace. This has actually helped me be more productive in the long run!

It’s a work in progress, but I thoroughly recommend avoiding putting pressure on yourself where possible.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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