should I stop counting clouds?

2019, career

Hello!

Today, I wanted to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, basically since I named my blog and YouTube channel – is it time to move on from Sophie Counts Clouds?

When I started YouTube and engaging with content online, people didn’t use their names in the same way they do now because the internet was new and a bit scary and you didn’t want to put your surname out there. Louise Pentland was Sprinkle of Glitter, Carrie Hope Fletcher was ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Dan Howell was danisnotonfire – so many creators have moved on to using their names instead of these pen names they started with.

On the blogosphere, it’s not quite the same – one of my favourite bloggers is Jemma at dorkface, I know Victoria at inthefrow is a hugely successful blogger (even if it’s not my kind of content!) and when I googled ‘biggest UK bloggers’ the top name on the first link was The Londoner by Rosie Thomas. So maybe bloggers aren’t following the same trend as YouTubers and it’s more about how you build a brand?

Either way, I feel like ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ might be coming to its end – to me it feels super childish, but I have centred a lot of my branding around it? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot so I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list to see if it helps!

  1. It would feel a bit more grown up – to be, Counts Clouds has always felt more childish than cute indie airy-fairy hipster (which is clearly what I’m going for)
  2. I’d be more comfortable promoting my blog and channel on CVs and job applications if it didn’t sound like a children’s TV channel (can someone confirm whether it sounds childish or not because I don’t know if I’m losing it a little bit)
  3. Maybe I’ll stop wondering if my name is what’s holding me back…

  1. Every single social media post I’ve ever made in over four years would have a broken link as it would still have the ‘sophiecountsclouds’ url
  2. It would cost money I don’t have to buy a new URL and transfer it all over – I am wanting at some point this year to work with a designer on pipdig to properly upgrade my blog because I know that website design is something I don’t know a lot about yet (going to make time to learn and make the most of Skillshare on this one!) but all of those social media links would be broken and I think I’d really see it take an effect on my stats
  3. Finding a URL which has an available URL and is available on both twitter and Instagram to have matching handles everywhere is so hard – with a name like ‘Sophie’, even if I thought of something that didn’t use my surname (like The Anna Edit or Lucy Moon), the fact that I have such a common name really doesn’t work in my favour. A year or so ago I considered changing my platforms to ‘sophieannwrites’ and ‘sophieannvlogs’ and ‘sophieannonthegram’ (which I’m still obsessed with) but I don’t think all of the handles were available and I don’t know if them all being different would make it more difficult and blah blah, there’s a lot of factors.

It’s so much easier to think of the cons because change is scary and but I think I’d feel so much more comfortable and at home on my blog if it was something a bit less up in the air (ironic, clouds, geddit?).

So my conclusion is that I don’t know – what I do know is that I don’t feel ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ truly represents me right now. If anyone has ever done anything like this or considered this kind of change before, any advice is welcome!

There’s lots of things to consider, maybe I start a whole new blog from scratch, who knows? I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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valentines day date ideas

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

Look at me trying to be seasonal and relevant.

I’m not massively into Valentine’s Day – my boyfriend and I aren’t massively into celebrating it at the moment because we’re both students therefore we’re both poor and I’m going to recycle that traditional ‘we don’t need a certain day to tell each other we love each other’ blah blah.

But 2017 is also the year that I’m trying to give handmade and more sentimental presents, so I thought this could also be a part of that, so here are some Valentine’s Day date ideas!

  • Leave surprise presents waiting for your partner when they wake up, particularly if you’re not there, surprise presents are always nice.
  • Go for a dinner date, but I’d recommend booking in advance on Valentine’s Day because I think a lot of people will be going for Valentine’s Dinner on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s. I said it too much.
  • On the other hand, you could prepare a meal for your partner at home – whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, whether it’s fancy or if you just got them a bowl of cornflakes, it’s the thought that counts!
  • Leave cute notes scattered around the house or living environment or at work or something – hide it in their diary or a notebook or inside their laptop or whatever, cute surprise notes are lovely.
  • Make a little care package with snacks and little presents – take a shoe box, fill it with packets of sweets and little tiny presents (I recommend Kinder Eggs because they are both treats and a present in one) and it can be a very nice little present with a little bit more sentimental.
  • To go hand in hand with that, an at home movie date! Pick a movie you both like, make a bowl of popcorn then you don’t have to spend any money (or much, depends on your kitchen popcorn stock) and you already know you’re going to like the movie.
  • Ingrid Nilsen’s video that may or may not have inspired this video:
  • A card or a note with a fond or special memory is more than enough to remind someone you love them.

Now I think I like Valentine’s Day more than I did when I started writing this post.

I’m currently at a Busted concert in Portsmouth and I’m organised enough to have written this post in advance, maybe this week I will actually upload on Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Sorry I’ve been so bad at uploading on time recently, going back to uni took me by surprise a little bit I think!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Snapchat: SophieALuckett

January Favourites

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

January has been a fairly eventful but a really slow month so I’m welcoming February with open arms. These are a few of the things I loved in the January that went on forever.

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Fitbit Flex: a new toy to help me lose weight! So far, no results but I am doing way more exercise and I love the app that goes with it, even before I had the Fitbit I used the app. I wrote about it in more detail earlier this week in my first venture into a proper health and fitness post: top 4 tips for starting a health kick.

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My bullet journal: again, I’ve written a blog post about this too but considering I couldn’t find the diary I wanted and I’m not sure if I’m doing a proper bullet journal or just making a lot of lists but it’s working for me and the more I use it the more I’ll get into the ‘bullet journalling’ part of the bullet journal. Again, fully post I wrote earlier is here: starting a bullet journal

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28 Day Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Guide – Kayla Itsines: another favourite I’ve already written about but that means I really like it, right? This book has really helped me understand my body and how I should treat it to get it the shape I want it to be. I’ll link it again in case you missed it before: top 4 tips for starting a health kick

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Attack on Titan: I know this is a picture of a game, this is not my favourite – the TV show is what I’m talking about! Lucas and I started watching it in the summer and now I’m a little bit obsessed. I’m really glad that season 2 comes out soon because I need more. It’s melodramatic and the episodes are too short but it’s just so compelling and there are some amazing female characters and I really like the music.

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Once Upon a Time: Sure, I’ve only just finished season 1 but I really do love it, I love fairy tales and Disney films and bringing it all together with brilliant actors and magic and flashbacks and Sebastian Stan and I have like five more seasons to catch up on.

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Strawberry and kiwi water: The first time I’ve ever taken a picture of an empty bottle (mostly because I’ve drunk all of the flavoured water I have). I’ve decided to quit coca cola in the past few weeks (17 days and strong) and this is a really nice and pretty healthy substitute and I’m going to buy so much of it next time I’m at Sainsburys. So much.

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Saltrock Clothing: It’s a very nice brand of clothes but it’s also a really nice place to work. But the clothes are genuinely really nice, some of the stock is 90% off right now so I thoroughly recommend going to give the website a look.

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One line a day – a five year memory book: as someone who has an intense fear of forgetting things, being able to look back on five years of memories when it gets to 2022 (now that’s a scary thought!) just makes me really happy. It’s part of my night time routine and it makes me really happy.

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Passengers: I really love films and I love writing about and discussing films and I really enjoyed this film – it was an awesome concept and brilliantly executed, the soundtrack was beautiful and it was so emotional, it was almost psychological in a way. I’m not sure if it’s still in cinemas but I thoroughly recommend seeing it.

(And not just for Christ Pratt’s lovely bottom)

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Gridtangle elephant: Right, this definitely needs some context – I follow bitsandclips on YouTube, Marie (bitsandclips) runs a crafting group called #cuppacraft and she often organises monthly challenges. This month was to do a line drawing, draw a 30-square grid over the top and colour in a square a day for the whole month (minus a day). I don’t normally do the crafting challenges because I’m no good at crafting but I thought I’d give this one a shot and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I loved how I planned out all the colours and how relaxing it was to do every day and I love how it turned out.

And those were the things I loved this month, if you liked this post give it a like and leave a comment about what you’ve been loving this month!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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top 4 tips for starting a health kick

2017, lifestyle, student

 

Hello!

This is another one from my ‘blog ideas‘ book which suggested ‘Your top 3 _ game changers’ – I’ve recently gone on a full on health kick because I’m really unhappy with my weight and I know I can talk about this topic with a little bit of knowledge behind it.

I’ve just started week 3 of a 28 day health (ish) plan and I thought I’d share the four things that really helped me get started and why I chose to do a 28 day plan.

Number 1 – I hit rock bottom

Obviously I don’t recommend this, but when I hit a certain weight it was the real kick up the bum I needed to actually started looking after my body, learn more about how to look after my body and do something about it. I used some Amazon vouchers I got for Christmas to buy a couple of weight loss books and I downloaded apps and I was ready to start.

Number 2 – Kayla Itsines’ The Bikini Body 28-Day Health Eating & Lifestyle Guide: 200 Recipes, Weekly Menus, 4-Week Workout Plan

I’ll be honest, the title is longer than I remember and the way I’m doing the plan deserves a big ‘ish’ but this book is a god send and I’ve already recommended it to a few people and my wonderful friend Nikki has actually bought it because 1) it’s brilliant and 2) I’m just so persuasive.

I love this book because it’s almost like having a personal trainer or a dietitian but without the price – it gives you guidance on how much of each food group you should be eating and what kind of exercise you should be doing, I just feel so much more informed about how I should be looking after myself.

In terms of the diet plan, I’m not following it day-to-day just because I’m quite a picky eater and I don’t want to make myself eat food I won’t enjoy and I want this diet to be sustainable, so I went through the whole book and wrote down all the recipes I was interested in or knew I’d like, then I drew out a four week plan and spaced out all the healthy recipes and filled in the rest of the days with healthy-ish recipes that I already knew and it’s not hard to follow because on some days I’m doing recipes that I know and love and on other days I get to try cooking a new thing and I love cooking so it’s a win-win.

For me, losing weight was a lot of being told what to do with my body to make it look better than it does now.

Number 3 – Nike+ training app

Again, being told how to work out works well for me. If I could afford the gym membership or the personal trainer I think I would but for now, I’m a student and that’s not going to happen. You can work out as much or as little as you like, you need no equipment and the app is completely free – I found that setting up a ‘Plan’ means that I don’t have to pick the workouts and I’m given the ones suitable for my level and my goal, which is losing weight.

There are for sure hundreds of other apps out there so if this app doesn’t work for you, there might be another that does!

Number 4 – fitbit flex (and fitbit app)

My mum offered to buy me a fitbit and at first I wasn’t sure I’d be interested – why would I care about tracking steps right? But I do now! It motivates you so much to go out and make sure you’re doing as many steps as you can and that’s not even the app, that’s just me being overly competitive with my past self.

I voluntarily walked to a Sainsburys supermarket out of the way from where I live just because it was a nearly-3-mile round walk and it was just for the steps (and to buy this amazing flavoured water that I can’t find anywhere else).

I also track what I’m eating, how much water I’m drinking, how my weight is changing and it apparently knows how much I’m sleeping too, all round useful device and app.

It’s also very useful that you can use the app without the fitbit – in terms of steps, most phones can count steps too so you don’t even need to buy a fitbit itself.

I hope this has been helpful in any way, shape or form! The last thing I will say is that working out, like revision or money management or anything else, is very personal and different things work for different people. Sometimes you have to experiment a lot before you find what works for you and that can be disheartening but it’s okay, because you will find what works for you.

If you’re struggling and feel like you need more guidance, I’d recommend going to your GP and finding a professional to talk to.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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tips for saving to travel

2017, student, travel

Hello!

Disclaimer (before we get into all this): I’m a student so I only have a part time job, I don’t have to pay taxes or pay off a loan so… bear that in mind.

When you’ve decided you want to go travelling and have picked a goal or a time you want to go, the big thing is saving the money to actually go. Personally I know I want to do some travelling in 2018 and then 2020 is going to be my proper year out and travel all over the world year, so I’ve got a good few years to save as much as I can before I go anywhere.

But I’m really bad with money – I really struggle with wanting to spoil the people I love and wanting to treat myself. However if I want to go travelling I need to pay for it, so here are some of the ways I’ve found have been helpful for me when I’m trying to save.

Close all the tabs you have open – Amazon, that January clothes haul, that new toy or game or gadget you’ve had your eye on, just close it. This doesn’t mean to say it has to be forgotten, but if you really want to go travelling, it can wait.

Make a wish list – a list of all the things that were in those tabs so you can either budget it in so you can buy them soon or just so you have a list of things you want when you get back and you can save again. By then you might realise you don’t even really need some of these things anyway! Making a list means you can evaluate what you really want and you won’t forget anything.

Have a money bank – like a physical money bank, like the ones we had when we were kids. Having something physical can 1) be really rewarding and nice decoration and 2) can be a nice way to empty your purse or wallet at the end of every week. Sure it might be filled with coppers and loose change but it’s something – spending money, a few extra drinks here and there, anything helps.

Open a savings account – sounds obvious, but the key here is to actually use it. Set yourself a weekly budget and then put what you don’t spend of that budget into the savings account at the end of the week, or maybe have a monthly budget and do the same thing. For example, if you allow yourself to spent £50 on food, a night out, maybe someone has a birthday coming up (however you want to spend it), but say you only spend £35 this week or you have a few pennies left at spending £48.27 or something – put the difference in the savings account. It may not be much but it all builds up in the long run.

My last tip would be that you need to stay very aware of your bank account – trying to save is all well and good but you need to live in the moment too and stopping yourself from doing anything to save you money means you might not enjoy your time at the moment, spend time with your friends and family but be cautious as well. You have to be strict with yourself but also be kind.

These tips aren’t even necessarily just for travelling – if you’re like me (and every other student) who got a bit trigger happy with the overdraft spending and you’re trying to see that positive bank balance again, these tips can help you too, or even if you’re just trying to save money in general – this doesn’t have to be travel money!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Happy Birthday Lucas!

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

My favourite person in the entire world turns 21 today and this blog marks the first of the little surprises I have in store for him.

My boyfriend, Lucas, has his birthday tomorrow and I apparently have a thing about writing people blog posts for their birthdays, so obviously Lucas could be no exception (side note: this isn’t his present, I have got him other presents but because his birthday is tomorrow I’ve not given them to him yet so I can’t say what they are!).

Lucas is the most kind hearted and loving person I know – yes, sometimes he comes up with some really in-depth ways to get rid of people he doesn’t like and yes, sometimes he says some very controversial and borderline offensive things but the way he treats our friends and the people he loves is beautiful. He’d give them the world if he could and god knows he wants to.

He’s so talented and (mostly) hardworking – in the last year alone he’s worked at Glastonbury festival, BBC Children in Need and been unit manager for a TedX talk which is a lot of amazing work experience (I’m definitely not jealous at all). He’s also just got a part-time job at the football stadium and I know he’s so happy with it and he’s achieved so much this year.

We’ve been through a lot – our relationship has had so many ups but it’s had it’s downs too and I’m so proud to say we got through it. Lucas is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’m so proud of everything he does. I can’t wait to see what he achieves next.

I love you Lucas, hippy bathday.

(That was deliberate, just for context – I meant to write hippy bathday)

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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a night out in Weymouth

2017, travel, Uncategorized

Hello!

When I talk about travelling on this blog, I often talk about it not having to be a ‘big foreign’ trip to write about it – I went to Weymouth for the first time over New Years and it was a gorgeous sea side town so I wanted to write about it here.

Two of my friends and their bands were playing in Weymouth (where they’re from) for New Years and my boyfriend and I joked about going… and then we did.

We arrived in the afternoon and basically went straight to the sea and I loved it – it was full of little blue and white seaside benches and the pier is gorgeous and it was just so cutesy. I definitely need to go and spend more time at Weymouth beach.

After meeting my friends at the beach, we went for lunch at McDonalds (lol) and back to my friend’s house to chill out, watch Doctor Who and have dinner. It was such a lovely area – the house was on a big hill and you could see the sea from his drive and his garden and I just loved it, I just feel like I could live there – it was a big, seaside version of my home town.

In the evening we had sparklers and we let off a few fireworks and it was so much fun – I was so excited to have my first proper New Years that wasn’t sat in front of a TV watching fireworks in London and to bring the New Year in with such amazing friends I felt so privileged, so lucky and so grateful.

After the sparklers we went to our first venue for the evening – Finns, where my friend Dan’s band Coyote were playing and then went on to The Lazy Lizard to see my friend Pete’s band Under the Carousel. There was a nice break in the middle to sit on a bench and stare at the sea and talk about the New Year and how things change.

I mean, that was after I nearly got dragged into a fight and got kicked in the leg and had a minor panic attack about being in a new place and not knowing my surroundings – things like that happen, but I’m working on it and it didn’t ruin my night. Didn’t mean to include a ‘mental health’ update in those post but there it is!

Weymouth is a gorgeous place and I’d love to go back, maybe for a little weekend seaside holiday in the summer!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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a day in the life | january photography

2017, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

When I started this series it was easy to do an ‘Autumn‘ themed post and a ‘Christmas‘ themed post but January doesn’t have the same obvious theme – I thought about doing ‘Winter’ but we don’t get those pretty, picturesque wintery weather conditions in England.

So I thought I’d do a ‘day in the life’ series – I took my camera around all day and tried to capture the aspects of what I was doing in one photo. Enjoy!

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starting the day with lots of layers and a coca cola beanie hat

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Southampton has so many pretty parks and there’s so many near my flat

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my gorgeous boyfriend then decided I needed an artsy ‘walking away from the camera’ shot

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everybody needs those sexy escalator shots in Primark

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even the high street is pretty sometimes! I’m a sucker for a blue sky

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next stop: Asda for fajita ingredients!

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then to my favourite independent cafe Mettricks for hot chocolate and lunch!

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I took this opportunity to take a few extra pictures – he wasn’t expecting this one

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figured I should probably show my face in this post, even if it’s an awkward no make-up selfie

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the food at Mettricks is gorgeous, even if they got our order a bit muddled up!

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guess what? the park is still pretty

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I’d already written my blog post for this day but I needed to take a few photos of my bullet journal just to finish it off

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this is my ‘gradtangle’ elephant – Marie (bitsandclips on YouTube) has a crafty facebook group and this month’s challenge is dividing a line drawing into 30 squares and colouring a square a day, I’m loving mine so far!

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this definitely isn’t every day but it happened to be the day I was taking these photos – I got offered work experience with the BBC!

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my amazing friend Nick offered to cook dinner for us all that night and it was my first experience of fajitas!

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games night with my friends

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having realised that our monopoly board game doesn’t have any of the money or anything, we resorted to playing a card game version that Nick picked up in Vietnam!

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and finishing the day snuggled up with my favourite one

And that was January 13th! I would have taken photos to day but I knew I wouldn’t be able to edit them all and upload the post at a reasonable hour and I literally did nothing of interest today, so I picked an exciting day!

I also thought doing a day at uni would be interesting too but I don’t go back until the 23rd so I couldn’t really, but this is a summary of what I do to keep myself busy before I go back.

February is another weird month in that there is no obvious theme other than Valentines Day, which could get very soppy and cheesy very quickly.

I’d love to do a shoot with a model but I’m not sure I know anything who is willing to model for me or what the focus of the shoot would be so that’s more difficult.

Any suggestions for my February theme would be much appreciated, please leave them in the comments! I’d love some suggestions.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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why finishing uni is terrifying

2017, student

Hello!

Next week I go back for my second semester of my second year of uni, and yesterday I said the words out loud ‘I graduate next year’ – the thought of finishing uni that soon absolutely terrifies me. But that’s not unusual.

Hundreds, if not thousands or millions, of prospective graduates are scared of graduating because employment isn’t great, a lot of people have to move home and there’s a very high chance that you’ll be even poorer whilst facing a lot of debt.

Oh yes, wow, that really is terrifying isn’t it?

But I think I’ve figured out why! Aren’t I clever (note: the sarcasm)?

Ever since I’ve started school, the rest of my journey has been pretty much planned out for me – from primary school, to secondary school and then the assumption is that you’ll go to university (though, more and more, it’s not the norm) and after that it’s completely up to me to decide my future.

From the age of about 4 to around 21 (ish) your life is entirely planned for you.

Whilst it can be really exciting to finally take control of what you do and start carving your own path, it can also be overwhelmingly daunting – I’m beginning to see the looming future of nothing and that’s why it’s really scary! There are so many options but I have to pick one and work my way up through it and start a career, which is in equal parts exciting and terrifying! Maybe not equal, maybe slightly less exciting.

But then things start to pick up – when you start to see your hard work reflected in your grades and your tutors give you such lovely comments and it all starts to feel worth it, like maybe we can take on the working world.

I’ve been given the chance to do a two week work experience placement with BBC Three in February and March this year – I’m still sorting out when I’m going with my university tutors and course leader but I’m definitely going to be documenting the whole thing and I can’t wait to share more with you!

Finishing uni is scary, but with potentially doing a masters and then getting to start the journey to making my mark on the world? It’s going to be okay in the end.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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starting a bullet journal

2017, lifestyle

Hello!

I spent so long at the beginning of the year looking for the perfect diary – having a weekly to do list is really important to me and I couldn’t find a diary where I could make the use of daily planning and having a notes page for a weekly to do list. I was willing to pay a bit more money for a personally designed diary but I just couldn’t find what I wanted.

But I knew about bullet journalling and I knew it was a very adaptable option, but I also know that it takes a lot of effort to start one up. Then I actually looked into it – it really isn’t that much work at all and you can take the aspects that work for you to basically design your own diary as you go along, so this is what I did.

Just a quick disclaimer: I’m not any good at calligraphy or typography so my bullet journal isn’t as pretty as a lot of people who are very good at drawing pretty letters. I’m working on it.

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I use a future log, which isn’t massively full yet because I haven’t gone back to uni for this semester so I don’t know what I have planned for the rest of the year, but when I get all my assignments for the next four months I think it’ll full up because I can make actual plans.

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I then wrote all of my monthly logs in one place so I can see all my deadlines and when they’re due so again, then last few logs are completely blank but I’ll definitely fill these in a lot when I go back to uni. For sure.

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Then I get on to the ‘diary’ side of the bullet journal – I basically have the date, a to do list for the day including work or any appointments I have, then random lists that I reference back to my index at the beginning.

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I’ve included my New Years Resolutions, a weekly to do list amongst the daily lists and I have a ‘wish list’ of things I want to buy but can’t afford right now.

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I also have a spread for my four weeks of fitness that I’m currently planning and I accidentally skipped a double page spread before I wrote that out so I’m doing a little doodle on that page and sticking in a cute postcard I picked up before the summer. I love that a bullet journal is so free and I can do that spread if I want to.

Already I’m learning about little things that I’d do differently when I move on to a new journal – I wouldn’t put all my monthly logs in one section, I’d use them as a marker at the beginning of the month and use the future log to look at my life as a whole, in a way.

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Instagram is a really good place to find inspiration for how to design a journal, so if you’re thinking about starting a bullet journal, I thoroughly recommend having a browse of the various tags – I just had a browse of the ‘future log‘ tag to see if I could link to a picture to show how I’d do my future log in a new journal and I saw loads of awesome spreads there.

I also thought using a journal I already had would be a good idea because I have loads of empty notebooks and it would save me spending money on a new one, but now I totally get why people buy dotted journals that lie out completely flat – I like the journal I’ve got but it’s definitely not the best for bullet journalling. I’ve already picked a dotted journal on Amazon and put it onto my Amazon Wishlist for when I finish this journal.

But that’s the point, I’m learning and figuring out what I want to do with my journal and how to do it!

I’m going to keep watching videos and scrolling through Instagram to learn about more aspects of bullet journalling.

Let me know if you have any questions about starting out, tips for a beginner and whether you’d like a review/flip through when I’ve finished my journal in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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