Treasured In… July

2020, books, fashion, lifestyle, wedding

Hello!

Another month has passed, though I’m not entirely sure how because I’m pretty sure it was May yesterday but time has passed me by! More stuff has happened, I’ve bought things, reads things, watched things and I’m going to share it all!

Let’s jump right in, because otherwise another month will come and go without me noticing!


purchase:

Having had a couple of ‘no spend’ months, this isn’t a category I’ve included so far but I actually let myself by some things this month so I wanted to share. I wrote a whole blog post about the books I bought/acquired this month – I’d run out of physical books I hadn’t read in our house since we moved last year so I definitely made up for it at the beginning of the month. I’ve now had to stop letting myself by books because I’m never going to read them all at this rate!

Then there’s two items of clothing that I adore this month – what I’m calling my Explorer Shorts from Primark, they’re a khaki green stretchy denim short that give me Lara Croft vibes but they’re elasticated; big fan!

And then I picked up a lovely navy cardigan from M&Co in the sale that is super cosy, I’m almost disappointed when it’s really warm because I can’t wear it.

blog post:

Someone I went to school with shared this article about Lockdown Weight Gain and I found it really interesting reading about the emotional impact of weight gain, particularly in a pandemic that is encouraging discussion about the impact of lockdown on mental health (though I’m not sure how much is being done?).

recipe:

I’m not big on trying new things at the moment – eating food that I’m familiar with and recipes I already know how to do has been the only cooking I’ve really done, but last week I made brownies for the first time in years and it was so good.

I definitely undercooked it, but it means I’ve got a super gooey fudgey brownie so I wasn’t gutted about it. Whilst putting a whole pound of brown sugar into a bowl was something that made me consider not making brownie anymore, it’s really good and the recipe I used was the one my mum gave me when I moved to uni so I can’t link it but I could make a blog post about it if there’s interest?

music:

I’m about two months behind on watching my YouTube subscriptions, but I watched Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones from McFly, Olly Murrs, Niall Horan and James Arthur covering Shine a Light, an older McFly song, and I was blown away by how amazing the cover was. I’m a pretty big McFly fan, hence why I’m subscribed to Tom’s YouTube channel, but I’ve never paid too much attention to the other three artists, though I know most of their ‘super popular’ songs. I’m obsessed with Niall’s voice and I need to listen to his most recent album.

Seeing how musicians are adapting to not being able to continue working as usual and making the most of remotely collaborating is very exciting.

YouTube video:

As I mentioned, I’m about two months behind on watching YouTube videos but my favourite video this month was from Mykie / Glam and Gore doing Halloween costume hacks from a 5 minute craft video considering my boyfriend is currently going through a phase of watching 5 minute crafts in secret (to the degree that he was watching them after I’d fallen asleep one night and I woke up at 6am to strange voices in our bedroom because he’d fallen asleep with them on). Either way! The video Mykie made was really fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

books I’ve read:

Where She Went (Gayle Forman) – after re-reading ‘if I stay’, ‘where she went’ was a pleasant enough unnecessary sequel. The first half was a whiney young man who couldn’t communicate his feelings and had an unhealthy relationship with medication and substances, then it actually starts to explore the relationship between the two main characters from the first book and the heart and poetic nature of the narrative returned.

The Memory Cage (Ruth Eatham) – I downloaded this book for free from Amazon with Prime Reading on my Kindle because I ran out of physical books and it was definitely meant for a more middle grade audience, but it was a nice heartfelt story about adoption, family and loss. I actually really enjoyed reading on my kindle so I’m definitely going to buy more books on there in the future.

Masha Regina (Vadim Leventhal) – I picked up this book for 50p and I was really excited about getting such a bargain, but it turned out to be 50p for a reason. There just wasn’t much of a story at all. I wrote a full review on instagram, but I wouldn’t recommend – the review is potentially more entertaining than the book.

Currently reading: Blame (Jeff Abbott) – I don’t often read crime and whilst this book was in the grown up fiction second, it feels very YA to me because it’s about a girl in college and I think that’s part of the reason I’m enjoying it more than I expected. When you’re reading a book you expect to be able to trust everything the protagonist experiences to be true, but the more that I read the more I’m not sure who is trustworthy and it’s really interesting. Keep an eye on my instagram for a full review when I finish it!

snack:

When visiting my boyfriend’s family earlier this month, we went to Tescos for a meal deal and spotted these ‘French style’ Madeleine cakes and whilst we were in Paris last year, we became obsessed with these cakes called ‘Quatre Quart’ (or something) and we think we’ve found it! We think it’s the same cake! So we’ve eaten a disproportionate amount of them (they’re so good).

tv / film / streaming / something to watch:

As with eating food I already know how to cook, I’m not really in the mood for watching anything new and not knowing how it’s going to play with my emoTIoNs but whilst we were on a little holiday at the beginning of the month we watched quite a bit of Escape to the Country and now I’m thinking about property a lot and I want to watch more trashy daytime TV.

wedding planning update:

We viewed a venue! The only placed we’ve viewed and I’m obsessed, it’s beautiful, it’s got everything we want, amazing accommodation and we could really see ourselves getting married there. The quote we received after the viewing was much higher than we thought it would be but for the venue that we love so much, we think we’re going to do some negotiations and work more to pay for it. There’s actually some wedding progress! Over two years in advance maybe a little premature but there’s still actual progress!


July has been mad and August is set to be much quieter, but who knows at this point!

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

Sophie xx

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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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attending my first wedding show!

2020, lifestyle, wedding

Hello!

In my head, I’ve not stopped talking about how my partner and I have decided to get married and we picked a wedding date and we’re kind of engaged but there wasn’t a proposal (yet?) and there’s not ring, but every time I post about it someone new comments saying ‘how did I miss this?!’ so here it is: my boyfriend Lucas and I are engaged. I’m going to make a video talking about ‘how it happened’ and answering any questions about the whole thing this weekend so if you have any questions let me know!

My mum has been super excited about it all ever since I told her and last weekend we went to our first wedding show together – we attended the National Wedding Show in Birmingham and I thought I’d collate a few thoughts on the whole thing because… it was a lot.

The reason we decided to go to a wedding show was because the whole ‘planning a wedding’ thing is very overwhelming – the date we’ve picked isn’t until the end of 2022, but everyone keeps telling me it will fly by but it still feels a very long way away. So going and speaking to lots of exhibitors, seeing what I’d need to be thinking about and getting some inspiration was a really great way to start.

We went into it all with a very open mind – with nothing booked and over two and a half years to go I’m in the very early stages of planning. Most of the venders I spoke to were venues because that’s the first thing that needs to be decided (I think?). Most of the venues we spoke to were surprisingly local for a National wedding event, so they were all based around Birmingham – this isn’t an ‘issue’ per say, as neither of us are dead set on a location, but it did surprise me a little whilst also making a lot of sense. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but after speaking to 10-15 venues and picking up loads of brochures, there are a couple that I really liked the sound of that I would like to consider in the long run.

The most annoying thing about the whole show was that there were loads of music venders that were super loud – they were dotted all around the stalls and it made it really difficult to hear anyone you were trying to talk to. Personally, we thought it would make more sense to have a stage that cycled through all the musical performances as the day went on (like the catwalk show that was going on in the middle of the event) and would have been fairer on the other venders who must have really struggled to get as much business when no one can hear or wants to shout to have a conversation with them.

It might make me sound like a grandma, but it didn’t make me want to work with or hire any of the performers that’s for sure.

On the brighter side, there were so many freebies – from loads of cans of lemon flavoured drinks, make-up and skincare samples, sweets, vouchers and even a bottle of rosé, we definitely made the cost of the ticket back in the free things that were handed out.

Overall, the event was busy, really crammed into an unnecessarily small space (there was another half of the hall that was completely empty at the back?) and I feel like it may have been too early to really make the most of the deal and offers for a 2022 wedding, even though the venders said it wasn’t (though that might have been because they wanted my money).

But we had a lovely day out none the less! Though, in most of this wedding planning process I’ve not decided if ‘we’ is my and my boyfriend (fiancé?) or me and my mum? In this situation is was me and my mum!

I’m actually going to another wedding fair this weekend so hopefully I’ll continue to get more ideas and really figure out all the steps I need to take to plan ‘the big day’.

I don’t plan on going to wedding fairs every weekend between now and 2022, just to clarify, if just happens that these two were consecutive weekends!

I’d love to make lots of wedding planning based content around here, particularly when it gets a bit closer to the day but let me know – do you want to see that kind of content? What planning I’m doing, spreadsheets and lists etc? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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4 Year Anniversary 💜

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

Today is my four year anniversary with my ridiculous boyfriend Lucas – ironically I spent my day at my new job and he’s away with work so we won’t actually get to see each other until tomorrow evening but we went to a wedding last weekend and we’re going to have a night in and it’s going to be fantastic.

Sometimes when I’m thinking about what content I want to make I think maybe I should talk about relationships because I really think I’ve found the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with and we’ve worked really hard to make our relationship something we really cherish and I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made and oh-my-god-I-just-love-him-so-much-I-become-a-soppy-mess. But I don’t feel like I can really justify giving advice considering I think I’m just really lucky to have found him! I don’t think I’ve got anything else to say really.

Until I went to uni, I spent the first 18 years of my life being utterly repulsive to every male (and female, I guess) I encountered at school – I like to tell myself that it’s because all those people remember me as the nerdy, Twilight fangirl even when I actually started caring about my appearance as I get older. Then I got to uni and it felt like I was overwhelmed with attention which sounds cocky af but I wasn’t ready for it at all. I’d had one kiss when I was seventeen with an asshole that started dating someone else five days later (being a teenager is really bloody complicated!) so when I started dating Lucas I’d never dated before and I was incredibly inexperienced to say the least.

And here I am four years later at a point where I can comfortably say that I want to marry my first boyfriend. When we first started dating I was so overwhelmed by our relationship because I felt so much for him but part of me felt like I was missing out on only having dated one person (even though I didn’t want to date anyone else… it’s difficult to explain).

Sometimes people will talk to me about people they’re flirting with or their love life as a single person and I want to be able to give advice… but I have nothing to contribute! Lucas and I were put in the same flat at uni, we chatted on Facebook before we moved in together then I spent two months determined not to date anyone I was living with then I gave in and four years later we’re renting our own house together. I didn’t have to put any effort into convincing this boy to like me which is something I’ve literally just realised in writing those words right now!

So the conclusion is – I’m actually the worst person to ask for relationship advice! At least, getting into a relationship. I wish I could help but it’s significantly easier when you’ve got someone who definitely likes you. Sorry?

My best advice for a long term relationship is 1) make sure you have really open communication, 2) don’t have secrets, especially about money and 3) make time for each other, for us it’s playing video games together in the evening and sometimes going to bed a bit early and just lie together and talk and I love it.

Having a good relationship isn’t easy, but being with someone you really love makes the work feel easy.

I meant for that to be some sort of inspirational quote but I don’t think it went very well.

I’m genuinely shocked that at 23 I’ve been in a relationship for FOUR YEARS but I look forward to the day that I’ve been in this relationship for longer than I haven’t. I’m a soppy girlfriend and I’m only like 20% ashamed of it?

I could write a really heartfelt message to Lucas about how happy I am to have spent four years with him, but I don’t think I need to do that on my blog!

Should I talk about relationships more? I have lots of opinions but I really don’t feel like I have enough experience to talk about it – let me know what you think!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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A Winter Wedding Guest | outfit

2019, fashion, lifestyle

Hello!

The wedding I attend this weekend just gone has been a long time coming – my cousin and her fiancé gave us the ‘Save the Date’ cards in Summer 2017 and a year and a half later the day was finally here!

It seems like my side of the family have been fretting over what to wear for the last couple of months, but it was only really in January that mum and I really started to think there might not be anything to where.

And then I found this.

The Bright Read Jumpsuit of Dreams (it deserves the capitalisation) – a New Look number that was incredibly high quality, so comfortably easy to wear and was just absolutely stunning. I was so surprised by the length of the legs as I was properly expecting it to only come to my ankle as I’m pushing it a bit at 5’10” but it was just perfect.

And I found it in the sale – this only cost me £6! I’m so unbelievably proud  of this find – it retailed at over £30 full price so it was a proper bargain!

I knew I wanted the kind of look that was quite girly and feminine paired with a leather jacket and black heels to make it a bit edgier and show off my inner tomboy but this wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I think those are the best outfits – it all comes together, whether it’s what you thought it would be or not!

This leather jacket is from New Look on ASOS from the tall section which means it’s actually long enough for my arms and I’m utterly obsessed – it’ll definitely get more wear than just this wedding and I’m so excited for when it warms up a bit and I don’t have to wear a coat and this jacket will be just perfect.

The shoes are also New look but I now can’t find anything like them – they’re simple suede, black, chunky heels, traditionally uncomfortable and I soon opted for walking around the hotel barefoot and then I danced the night away.

But they look nice and that’s the important bit!

I also had my nails done, my sister helped me do my hair, I wore some earrings that my boyfriend’s mum generously gave me for Christmas and a necklace that my mum gave me for Christmas too. I don’t often feel like I’ve got all the details that tie together an outfit but I felt like I was owning it a little bit with this one.

I even convinced a nice boy to take pictures with me! Just joking, this is my gorgeous boyfriend Lucas – we didn’t try to coordinate outfits at all, but he’s cute and he wasn’t too reluctant when I pulled him up to the dance floor on maybe four separate occasions over the course of the night (or when I asked him to take outfit photos).

At the end of the day, even though I’d been losing weight and tried on so many dresses for this wedding, it wasn’t about any of that at all – as cheesy as it sounds it was about love, the love of a couple who we were privileged to witness join in matrimony (or however it goes!). It did make me feel incredibly romantic and really made me appreciate my boy and how lucky I am to have him in my life. It also really got me thinking about planning a wedding of our own but that’s for another day entirely.

Did I make the most of the wall of fairy lights? Of course I did! We may have struggled to find outfits but I think my sister, my mum and I scrubbed up pretty well – the belt on my jumpsuit definitely needed tightening a bit but I wanted to include this photo to show off the beautiful sleeves on this outfit!

The floaty lace gives it a gorgeous detail and standout feature but it’s also incredibly flattering – I’m so insecure about my upper arms and having something that wasn’t tight but didn’t hide them outright was just perfect and everything I was looking for. And of course I didn’t take my FitBit off!

Can we talk about how incredible my mum looks? She even looks like she’s taller than me which is a rare sight (she’s wearing heels and I’m not!). Her dress was from Dorothy Perkins I believe!

This little outdoor bandstand was the perfect backdrop – at night they had fairy lights and it was beautifully lit, but it was raining and dark so I stuck with the grey daylight photos this time round!

Picking an outfit for this wedding was tough – I had to come to the conclusion that I was never going to find the ‘perfect’ outfit for two reasons. 1) Being my height, any dress that’s gathered at the waist (which is most flattering on my figure) is not quite in the right place and 2) I wasn’t the size I wanted to be so nothing fit the way I hoped it would.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this outfit and I’m so glad I found it because it’s just stunning, but I was a bit worried about showing off my little tummy pouch and people thinking my dress was caught between my legs. I’ve made a lot of progress with a body positive mental attitude but I’ve still got a really long way to go.

But like I said – the wedding wasn’t about how I looked or what I wore, it was about the happy couple. It was such a beautiful ceremony and the whole day was just filled with love, family and fun – exactly the way a wedding should be! Having this boy by my side really was the cherry on top.

And with this gem I think I’ll leave it for today!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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