July Goals

2020, fitness, goals, writing

Hello!

Another month, another set of mini goals to work towards! Having reviewed my goals for the year and looked back on my June goals, in July I’m really working towards stripping things back, focusing on what’s important to me right now and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound… I think).

Hopefully with the weather being a bit brighter and restrictions easing things might feel like they’re a bit closer to getting back to ‘normal’, but I’d rather be safe than shopping so taking things day by day!

Hopefully my July goals are SMART enough to make some progress! These are my goals for the month:

  • Start Couch to 5k again – it’s been over a year since I stopped the Couch to 5k program and I think I’m ready to start again. I’m going to aim for the three runs a week that the program suggests and even if I just start by doing laps around the park just to stay flat (there’s a lot of hills where I live) trying is the important bit. I’m nervous but determined!
  • Weigh less at the end of the month than at the beginning – hand in hand with the running, I’m going to try and do some at home workouts, be more mindful about what I eat, stop snacking and generally train my body into healthier habits. Lockdown has set me back almost to my heaviest weight in 2018 (which I’m trying not to beat myself up for) so I want to make some positive change.
  • Declutter my desk work space – our little house isn’t really designed for at home working but things have gotten so cluttered that I feel more stressed about it than it helps me get work done. I want to try and do a little bit every week to make the space less intimidating and more productive, even if it just means tidying it up a little bit.
  • Writing challenge – 36,000 words – every other month this year I’ve been setting myself writing challenges working towards NaNoWriMo in November (an online challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days!). Each month I do a writing challenge the goal is a little bit higher to get myself into the habit of writing a certain number of words per day. May’s challenge went really well so I’m hoping for the same kind of success in July, but simultaneously not putting too much pressure on myself. I have a Camp NaNoWriMo profile if anyone else is participating!
  • Craft goals – sew four face masks, finish knitting project, start new cross stitch project – I’ve written before about how handmade sewing related crafts, particularly cross stitch, have brought me such joy in lockdown so I thought setting myself some little goals would help keep me focused. Taking the decision element out of anything means I’m more likely to do it so rather than being faced with a box of embroidery thread and no direction, having something to work towards will definitely help me relax. At least, I hope it does…

And then my ongoing monthly tasks of have a date night and read at least one book still stand but I’ve managed six months with date nights and I’ve read 26 books so far this year so I think these two will be okay.

My motivation has been pretty bare minimum last month so I’m hoping to try and work to more of a routine in July. But with the world being so uncertain and changing so much, being adaptable and not putting too much pressure on myself is the main focus.

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

Sophie xx

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rediscovering my creativity: cross stitch – my new found love

2020, creativity

Hello!

I’ll be honest – my inspiration for blog posts is rock bottom right now so I’m stripping it back to basics; writing about something I’m enjoying in the present moment.

I went on a trip to hobbycraft at the beginning of this year to pick up supplies for my t-shirt blanket and whilst I was there I saw a cute baby elephant cross stitch kit… which promptly sat untouched for a couple of months.

But when lockdown hit and I wanted to force myself to find ways to spend time offline and off-screen, I started doing this cross stitch. A few sessions in I realised I missed the bit where it said to split the threads from six strands into two and had to fill in the rest with whatever I could find (which turned out to be purple) but the process got me hooked.

I wasn’t ready to jump straight in to designing my own patterns so I bought this ‘Positive Pants’ kit on Etsy – it was a bit more expensive, but the quality of the kit was much higher, it came with a hoop and a beautiful pattern on durable card (which I’m definitely keeping) and I enjoyed it even more than the first one. Potentially because I got the thing with separating the strands right this time but we’ll gloss over that bit.

Next step: design my own pattern. I bought some aida cloth and embroidery thread on Amazon, I used the needles I got from the two kits I’d done and I designed a pattern on Stitch Fiddle (which felt a lot like designing a logo on MarioKart DS when I was a kid) and then I was off – I assigned the colour codes from my threads to the colours on my pattern and started! I’m now maybe a couple of days away from finishing and I’m even more obsessed.

The creation process has made me feel creative in a whole new way – normally the way I express my creativity has been through words or digital media but this physical craft that I’m holding in my hands makes me feel so proud.

I’m making an ‘In the Garden’ sign for my dad for father’s day – he’s notoriously hard to get presents for but I’m not the kind to just sit back and get him another Costa voucher, I will forever strive to find the ‘wow I didn’t even know I wanted that!’ present for him. He’s never going to be blown away by any present I give him because that’s just not who he is as a person but I think he’ll really appreciate this one. Even if he doesn’t, I’ve had a whale of a time making it.

Now I’m trying to space out my cross stitching with other projects – I started knitting again in lockdown and I want to try making something new with that, but whilst I’m enjoying knitting it’s just not fired me up creatively in the same way cross stitch has. As I’m writing this I can see my nearly-finished design sitting just next to this and it’s taking all my will not to sack off my whole to do list today and just work on it because I love it so much.

It’s so therapeutic, sometimes I just put YouTube videos on in the background and it’s something to do with my hands and the final product is so rewarding.

If you’re interested in seeing my finished piece, keep an eye on my Instagram stories for progress pics and I’m sure I’ll post a grid picture when I’m done (my dad’s 72 and not the internet type, he won’t see it! Unless he’s made a sneaky instagram behind my back!).

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

Sophie xx

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February Goals | 2020

2020, goals, student

Hello!

These monthly goals posts have been a part of my blog for maybe two years now? They’re the posts I really look forward to writing every month and with that has come a lot of learning about reflection, setting goals that are actually achievable and seeing a lot more personal growth!

If I could make a whole career about coaching people to setting good goals then I’d be all over that.

Either way, February has rolled around really quickly this year – everyone seems to be talking about how long January lasted and I’m pretty sure I’m still in 2019 so I appeared to have missed that boat. I’ve always quite enjoyed January – a fresh new start where the resolutions are in full swing and everyone’s saying ‘Happy New Year’ until February! Sure, there’s horrible diet ads everywhere and it’s cold but the evenings are lighter and people start talking about Summer holidays!

And with that in mind, let’s crack on with the Feb Goals!

1. See if writing one blog post a week is better for my creativity

I’ve been posting multiple blog posts for years – in 2015 I blogged every day, in 2016 I blogged three times a week I think? Then at some point it went down to two and in this last month I’ve really struggled with figuring out what I want to write about amongst feeling like an utter fraud on the internet. So I want to see if not having the pressure to write twice a week but just once helps me feel more creative and less forced.

2. NO SPEND MONTH. (again). (no, seriously this time).

I did a ‘no spend’ month in January and generally I did okay – between some low moments and McDonalds cravings I didn’t spend too much in the first month of the year. But as my student loan dropped this week, two thirds of the money went straight to paying my course fees, some of it went to rent and I treated myself with a ticket to MCM ComicCon in May and now it’s back to no unnecessary spending.

Seriously.

3. Start Nike Training workout program at home

With a little shuffle around of our furniture and realising I really can’t afford a gym membership or classes, I’ve decided I’m really going to make an effort at home. I like the Nike training app and I’ve done the ‘Beginner Program’ a few times now so I’ve started it up again. I did a benchmark workout on Tuesday morning and I’ve got four weeks of workouts lined up if I can stick to them. I’m determined!

4. Start my t-shirt blanket!

I made a whole video about this blanket project I’ve been mentally-but-not-actually working on for years and 2020 is the year. This month I want to make a start. My goal is to lie the blanket out on the floor and pin the t-shirt cuttings where I want them to be by the end of the month, not necessarily to start sewing. That might sound like a minor goal but between university, ongoing dental struggles (I still have an infected wisdom tooth that is causing me grief) and maybe having a social life this blanket isn’t a ‘priority’, even though I really want to do it! If that makes sense. So smaller, achievable goals.

5. Plan my uni workload properly

Heading into the last eight months of my masters from this week, I’m being inundated with new assignments and deadlines and frankly it’s scary. But the only way to combat this is a lot of lists and prepared organisation! I’m in a good mindset of setting really achievable deadlines for myself, making realistic to do lists and having a calendar where I can see months ahead, hopefully meaning I can plan my assignments accordingly!

I think I’m being quite optimistic but we can but try!


As well as these five goals, I have my ongoing monthly goals of reading a book and having a date night with my boyfriend (we’re not very good and blocking out proper time together outside of playing video games together when we’re both home). In January I managed to read THREE books and we went on two dates nights so all round it was a good start to the year and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) maintaining it.

Especially with all my uni work, I think these next few months are going to fly by so I’m trying to live as much as I can in the moment and make the most of all the opportunities I have right now.

Feeling positive and motivated!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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December Favourites!

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

I know it’s not quite January yet, but with the New Year approaching I wanted to save those posts for a 2016 review and talking about New Years Resolutions, and I’ve got plenty of favourites to talk about!

Firstly, I have to thank my amazing friends Nick, Ollie and (boyfriend) Lucas for taking so much time to make me some beautiful fairy lights with coca cola cans. They’re the tiny mini ones that are in the alcohol aisle at the super market and I don’t know why I didn’t question it at the time but they’re absolutely gorgeous and I’ve put them up above my desk – I love them a lot.

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Amazon have been an absolutely blessing with all the Christmas shopping and last minute buys – this photo was original used in my last favourites post to talk about the Grand Tour but it’s an Amazon box, so it’s relevant? I did a fair bit of my shopping in person but Amazon is my favourite way to shop – one massive order that covered 90% of the people I needed to buy presents for, which made me feel really organised. Good job Amazon.

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I’ve been a fan of Busted for a really long time – fourteen years later, they do a signing in Southampton and I got to go! They were so, so lovely, it was an incredible experience (I made a news package on it if you’d like to see that!) and the album is brilliant too – I had a proper listen to it that evening and it’s actually really good. It doesn’t sound all that much like the early 2000s Busted, but their sound has developed and progressed with modern music yet still has hints of ‘Busted’. As a long term Busted fan, having a new album fourteen years later really makes me happy.

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I’m called this ‘David III’. This is a ‘make your own’ cactus pillow – I have a felt cactus called David and a succulent called David II and I’m going to make David III. I’m going to have a collection of cactus-related-David-plants and this is actually really cute. Well, I’m sure when I get round to making it, it probably won’t be as cute but the potential is there.

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Okay, not every lifestyle blogger puts a toothbrush in their favourites post but this is a vibrating brush from Oral B, it was only £8.59 for two of these brushes and I got really excited about it. My teeth are the cleanest they’ve ever been.

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A wonderfully practically Christmas present – a portable charger is very useful but when it’s got four USB ports and a torch? It’s the kind of thing someone who relies so heavily on their phone finds really exciting but isn’t really that exciting. For the price though, it’s really powerful and if you’re looking for a portable charger that will fully recharge your phone about four times I think? It’s here on Amazon, if you’re interested!

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I got quite a few new bits of kitchenware for Christmas and it made me surprisingly happy! I had a really nice set of knives when I lived in halls last year but two of three of them went missing, so kitchen knives were on my Christmas list! I also got a Doctor Who TARDIS cereal bowl, a TARDIS drinking glass and little TARDIS salt and pepper shakers. My mum is trying to give my kitchen a theme, I think. I really wanted the TARDIS salt and pepper shakers though.

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Definitely the cutest present I received by a long run – my sister made this cushion in the shape of a cloud and painted eyes and little blushed cheeks on him, then put fairy lights inside the stuffing! It’s one of my favourite things I got this Christmas, he’s just so adorable. I have another cloud pillow at home and she’s called Sora (because I googled cloud related names and it’s also the name of the main character in Kingdom Hearts) and my family and I named him Nimbus, because it’s a cloud related name and a Harry Potter reference. Perfect!

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I mean, I’ve probably mentioned it once or twice, but I’m a huge Disney fan – I love Disney animated movies because they’re so heartwarming and fun, in recent years they’ve led more towards heartbreaking and I cry at every film but I still love them. Over the summer I decided I wanted a Disney movie collection and I wrote out a list of every Disney animated film ever (over a hundred in total) and my mum got me these four for Christmas – the first three and the most recent one! I’ve got both Jungle Book films in Southampton as well so my collection is well on it’s way!

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And lastly for this months favourites – my new hair colour! On Christmas Eve, I finally got the red dye out and dyed it a dark burgundy red. Following a deep conditioning treatment last night it seems to have gone for more of a rose-gold/pinky-red colour, but I’ll top it up in the next couple of days I think. I love this colour and I’m definitely sticking with it for a few months – the past few months have been a blur of bleach, blue and mistakes!

Thank you for reading, if you have any suggestions for things I should try out next month please leave them in the comments!

Sophie xx

 

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