Treasured In… September

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

Oh how my favourite month has come and gone and I feel like I missed it! The last six months have gone so ridiculously fast that I feel like I haven’t been able to keep up but another month has passed and it’s time for another instalment of my supposedly ‘original’ take on what is essentially a favourites post.

As we edge ever close to Autumn, cosy knits and hot chocolate season, my birthday has been and gone and the end of the year is drawing to a close. It’s been a busy month with trips to see family, a couple of socially distanced bowling trips and a ring on my finger to match the engagement my fiancé and I decided on in January.

So these are some of the things I treasured in September!


  • purchase

I’ve got two favourites from this month and they’re both clothes! I bought myself a new hoodie from Primark that I’ve been living in because it’s so soft and cosy and I treated myself to some new Snag tights with some birthday money! I definitely need to stop ‘treating myself’ to new things in October but for now, I’ll snuggle down in my new hoodie and comfy tights.

  • recipe

I’ve been making a roasted tomato and bay orzo dish from The Green Roasting Tin book and it’s taken me a few attempts to figure it out (it takes about twice as long to cook than the recipe suggests!) but now that I’ve got it it’s delicious! I’d never heard of orzo before making this dish but it’s like tiny rice shaped pasta and cooked in the vegetable stock makes it so flavourful and delicious. Although it negates the ‘vegan’ nature of the dish, it goes perfectly with garlic bread and a little parmesan!

  • song

The longer the pandemic goes on, the more I crave nostalgic music I already know all the words too! I’ve done a few long drives this month and I’ve listened to the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a beautiful film where Matt Damon plays a sassy horse), Starstruck (a Disney Channel Original Movie that I’m worried to rewatch in case it’s not as amazing as I remember) and I’ve curated my own playlist of songs I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs in the car (apologies to any other drivers who may have witnessed this).

  • YouTube video

As ever, I don’t watch YouTube frequently enough to keep up with my subscription feed so I’m still watching videos from months ago but I loved this SFX/beauty make-up video from Mykie (Glam and Gore) making the most wonderfully extra face mask.

This video of Hannah Witton teaching herself a dance routine to a song she loves made me think that I need to find some choreography dance lessons on YouTube because I miss dancing so much.

And this video from kickthePJ about moving house really stuck with me – I can’t say for why, but it’s beautifully sentimental, a lovely montage of memories and a little bit different for PJ but I’m always in awe of how incredibly creative his content is; massive inspiration!

  • books I’ve read

I knew this would happen but I didn’t think it would take this long – 8 months of reading 4-6 books a month and September was the month I didn’t finish anything. As I write this, I’m halfway through ‘The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne and considering I’ve seen the film and I’m aware of how it ends, it’s surprisingly not as heavy as I thought it would be.

I’m hoping to power through the last 100 pages before the end of the month and get back into it but I’ve definitely fallen off track for my little personal goal of 52 books in a year (my goodreads goal is 12 but when I hit that in March I did wonder if I could maintain one book a week!) but in my defence, these past few weeks I’ve really understood when people say they’ve been ill with their mental health because I’ve never experienced anything like it. My routine (if I ever had one), completely fell out the window and my sacred evening routine (shoutout to my 9pm bedtime crew) was replaced with not sleeping before 2am and wasting most of the morning in bed.

I’m hoping to crack down and get back into it, not just because I love reading but because I need to make the effort for the sake of my own mental health. Any tips are more than welcome!

  • snack

Other than a craving for Malted Milk biscuits, the best snack I’ve had this month is actually something I’ve baked myself! My mum used to bake these amazing cookies with smarties on and I’ve made a couple of batches this month and they’ve been amazing – the recipe makes about 12 (or about 6 big cookies) and when they’re fresh out the oven oh boy I could eat the whole batch. I’m salivating thinking about them.

They’re super easy – I’ve not done a recipe post for a really long time, would you like to see one?

  • something to watch

With my fiancé being away at work and having a friend stay for a couple of weeks until she can move into her new flat (all COVID safe, I promise) I’ve been watching more Netflix and Disney+ than usual! We watched the new Millie Bobby Brown film ‘Enola Holmes’ which I thought was surprisingly heartwarming, a very interesting 4th-wall narrative and a mildly disappointing ending but a pleasant watch all the same.

I finally got round to watching Frozen 2 – I’m not a massive Frozen fan, so I wasn’t obsessed with it (Tangled is a better film, don’t @ me) but it was fine, I guess? ‘Into The Unknown’ is a bop but wow ‘Show Yourself’ is underrated!! Definitely need to give the soundtrack a listen but it was nice to have a bit of context for my sister’s Anna cosplay (follow her tiktok, it’s adorable).

Otherwise, we’re now rewatching a bunch of Disney classics – I’ve been fancying watching Treasure Planet for a while and last night we watched Mulan and Mulan 2 and had a wonderful time!

  • wedding planning update!

Not much to update on the wedding front! We’ve negotiated a quote with the venue and we’re just figuring out our finances to pay the deposit and book the venue! Then it’s booking the registrar and hunting for a photographer/videographer – if you have any recommendations for someone in the Rutland/South Lincolnshire region, please let me know!


I still can’t believe how fast this year is going – I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, my impending dissertation deadline (less than a month now!) or if this is just adult life now but I’m sure I’ll soon be baffled by how quickly October has gone in my ‘Treasured In…’ post next month!

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… August

2020, books, lifestyle

Hello!

Another month has rolled around and I’m trying really hard not to comment on how fast the month has gone but also, pretty sure it’s still April and summer’s just around the corner?

But alas! August has been an interesting month – I’m definitely getting more stuck in to my dissertation research as the deadline for that looms ever nearer, I’ve been trying some new things with my time management to work with my fluctuating mental health and I had a couple of splurges too so here’s a little roundup of the things I enjoyed in August.


  • purchase

I may or may not have had a sad spending trip to Hobbycraft earlier this month… I needed one last colour embroidery thread for my latest cross stitch project and I found a book on meditative crocheting and I picked myself up some crochet needles last month and I loved the idea that it came with breathing and meditative exercises to follow along with in the book. Perhaps a tad pretentious but I’m excited to give it a go next month!

I also picked up a couple of cross stitch kits that I’m working on intermittently and I just find it so much fun – if you want a new hobby that isn’t particularly skilful but is offline and you get a pretty picture at the end of it, I thoroughly recommend cross stitching!

  • recipe

I’ve been experimenting more with the ‘orange lid’ spicy seasonings in my cupboard this month and whilst I’m the worst at handling spicy food, cooking up a bunch of vegetables, mixing it with some rice and using turmeric, smoked paprika and a little cumin with a bit of garlic puree is so yummy! It’s so simple but makes the meal so much more tasty and I’m trying to acquire new seasonings every time I go to the supermarket – am I brave enough to try chilli flakes? Probably not, but I’m going to try some new recipes from The Green Roasting Tin book this month so maybe I’ll find something new there!

  • song

The only thing my boyfriend and I have been singing at each other is the tune to ‘Savage Love’ by Jason Derulo because we’re late to the tiktok trend… It’s just too catchy!

I’ve also just discovered Kings and Queens by Ava Maria but the chorus is the only bit I like so I’m mostly listening to covers on tiktok… I also ‘discovered’ tiktok this month, I can’t stop.

  • YouTube video

With my boyfriend going back to work and having the house to myself, I have watched a lot  of YouTube this month! Nothing jumped out at me immediately but from scrolling through my history, I picked out my top three.

This video from Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson was very fun and picked out some of my favourite Disney songs.

I’m not a huge  fan of Dodie anymore but this arrangement of two songs was beautiful and the video is very clever and creative.

And this video from Jessica Kellgren-Fozard was very fun and I love the dynamic she has with her wife – they’re both hilarious and adorable together.

I still have over 300 videos left in my watch later, so who knows how long it’ll take me to watch videos that aren’t a couple of months old…

  • books I’ve read

I’ve been reading loads this month so here’s a quick run down (with links to my reviews on Instagram)

I only finished Checkmate last night so a few words – I was so impressed with Noughts and Crosses and the rest of the series has been such a disappointment. The beginning of Checkmate gave me hope because it was set a bit further down the line and I thought it had a different main character but it was just a new character and all the things that annoyed me about Knife Edge annoyed me about Check Mate too.

I’m about to start the fourth book in the series, Double Cross, because I bought the series and the painfully optimistic part of my brain keeps hoping that it will get better, but I don’t have a lot of hope. I definitely won’t be buying the fifth book that came out semi-recently.

  • snack

I have two very contrasting snacks for this month and I’ll start with the boring one first.

Tins of sliced peaches – I don’t know why I had these as a kid, but I recently rediscovered them and keeping them in the fridge on a hot day is glorious and relatively healthy because it’s fruit so I can enjoy it guilt free. If you gave me a normal peach would I like it? I don’t know, I’ve never tried one and I’m not very good at trying new things but tinned peaches? Gimme more!

And the second thing is a small Victoria sponge cake with Harry Potter house themed crests as decoration on the top. My partner and I went on a cake run to Asda because something popped up on Facebook memories and we decided we needed cake to celebrate… and then I ate the whole thing. Then I got another one in our weekly shop.

I’m going to stop myself buying them now but a £4 Hufflepuff themed Victoria sponge has brought me much joy this month!

  • TV/film/streaming thing

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube this month so I wasn’t sure whether I’d have anything to write about, then my boyfriend and I binged the entire of Umbrella Academy season 2 on Netflix in a day and it was glorious. 100% on par with how brilliant the first season, amazing character development, same incredible sense of humour and generally so much fun and such a huge twist of an ending! Already eagerly anticipating season 3.

  • wedding planning update

It’s mostly been a month of waiting on the wedding front – we sent an inquiry to the venue we like to discuss the quote we were given but I haven’t heard back. Though I did spend an afternoon reading about how the heck a registrar works and how to arrange a civil ceremony so I’m all prepared to ‘give notice’ within 12 months of our wedding date and then just waiting for the venue to confirm before I ‘book’ (if that’s the right word?) for the registrar to perform the ceremony. It all feels a little more real now!


I’m sure September will absolutely fly by but with a couple of trips, my birthday and drawing closer to the end of my masters it’s looking to be an exciting month.

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… June

2020, books, film

Hello!

I was so excited about June because it started on a Monday and now it’s… gone? I feel like there’s only so many posts I can count how many full months of lockdown we’ve had but June marks three complete months (plus a couple of weeks) under lockdown restrictions. It just feels so mad to think about – especially having reviewed my yearly goals and thinking about how that version of me had absolutely no idea what was coming… It gets a bit much to think about sometimes!

Regardless, the month is drawing to a close to here are the things I’ve been loving this month.


blog post:

With the rapid changes in the weather, lockdown effecting my mental health and trying to make some progress on my masters dissertation, making the effort to find new blogs to read and engage with wasn’t a priority.

I was super excited to read a post from Hannah Gale announcing her second pregnancy, but it wasn’t long after that she decided to step back from the internet and her Instagram has been closed, her blog deactivated and nothing left behind. I’m genuinely gutted to see such a wonderfully genuine creator feel bullied off their platform and hope that Hannah finds happiness in whatever comes next for her.

recipe:

With the weather getting hotter and inclination to put any effort into cooking getting less and less, my partner and I are doing everything we can to cook good food in as little time as possible.

We intended to make a bruschetta inspired pasta bake with plum tomatoes, red onion, pesto, garlic and cheese but opened our jar of pesto to see… it wasn’t okay. So instead we mixed it all together with half a tub of garlic and herb cream cheese and a generous handful of grated cheddar and mozzarella and accidentally created the most amazing pasta bake? 

The cream cheese mixed with the grated cheese made the most lovely sauce, the cream cheese mixed with the tomatoes to give it an almost passata taste, it had vegetables in it, we didn’t need to ‘bake’ it like a normal pasta bake, we just served it up with some garlic bread and it was glorious. It’s now a weekly staple and I’m hungry just thinking about it!

online course:

With working on an essay for uni, although I really wanted to start learning how to use a software called Unity to make vide games, I just didn’t have the brain space to read academic literature for an essay as well as try to teach myself complicated game mechanics. I managed to watch a few beginner videos on the Unity YouTube page but no major progress here this month.

song:

Not a new song as much as a new playlist – my boyfriend and I are driving up to see my family at the beginning of July and then driving on for a ‘social bubble’ getaway with my dad so we made our perfect road trip playlist.

We’re saving the first full listen for the journey in July but I am pumped about it, not only because it’s all our favourite tunes but because I miss driving so much and cannot wait for a road trip.

youtube video:

My boyfriend and I have very different tastes in YouTube and where in ‘normal’ life he works away about half the week, I normally keep quite on top of my ‘watch later’ playlist. But he’s been home for 15 weeks and my playlist is up to over 350 videos from the best part of two months ago, so I’m not up to date at all.

However this video from RawBeautyKristi announcing her pregnancy after 15 years of trying was absolutely heartwarming and I’m welling up just thinking about it – Kristi’s one of those creators that I’ve known about but haven’t subscribed to but I watched this and couldn’t not. So excited to see her journey through this progress and 100% recommend the video if you need to see some pure happiness or maybe have a little cry.

loved this acoustic version of my favourite song from All Time Low’s newest album Wake Up Sunshine – I suppose this technically counts as music but it’s on YouTube not Spotify so here it is.

And a little bit of self promo – June 23rd marks one year since I shaved my head and I’ve been filming a One Second Everyday video which I’ve now shared! I’ve been planning this video for a while and I’m really pleased with how it came out so if you’ve got 5 minutes and want to give it a watch, I’d really appreciate it!

books:

I genuinely thought June might be the month where I only read one book but now I’m on my fourth book so back on track!

Carry On (Rainbow Rowell) – this book is essentially the fanfiction/fake Harry Potter story described in ‘Fangirl’ (my favourite book of all time) but I was really disappointed in it. The first 200 pages were so slow that I actively avoided reading it, then the plot started to get good and it was really high paced and interested, then a romance plot came out of nowhere and felt really out of character for the characters as they’d been throughout the rest of the book. The ending felt really inconclusive with so many loose ends not tied up and I just felt really dissatisfied finishing it. It’s one for the donate pile unfortunately!

The Man Who Didn’t Call (Rosie Walsh) – I was pleasantly surprised by this book – I picked up 3 for £5 in The Works the week before lockdown hit and I thought it would be a light bit of chick lit to break up the high fantasy and sci-fi books I have. I thought it would be all about some asshole man and girl power or it would be a mystery where he was chronically ill or had a family and kids but wow the twist was one I did not see coming and it was just lovely. It had a very David Nicholls ‘One Day’ feel in it’s English romance style and I genuinely enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.

Love At First Like (Hannah Orenstein) – book 2 in the 3 for £5 and another one that I thought would be super cringey chick lit about someone who cares about social media and winds herself up in lies and breaking peoples hearts. It wasn’t anywhere near as cringey as I thought it would be, it was so much more heartfelt and the characters felt so real. The ending was the sweetest and it was so interesting to read a book so up to date on social media, interesting to think about re-reading it in a few years and whether it will feel so modern then!

Currently reading: Our Child of the Stars (Stephen Cox) – and the trilogy of 3 for £5 comes to it’s conclusion! Again one that I didn’t expect at all – I thought it would be about a couple who couldn’t have kids adopting a little boy and navigating life as a new family of three, but wow I miss the quotes on the back that described it as a sci-fi book. There’s aliens, there’s secrets, there’s conspiracies, but it has the heart and soul of family too – I’m about 70% through and hope to finish it before the end of the month so keep an eye on my Instagram for a full review!

snack:

I’ve really been trying not to snack as much at the moment to the degree that we don’t really have that much in the house!

I had a craving for microwave smores (two chocolate digestives with a marshmallow in the middle in the microwave for 10 seconds, it’s glorious) but then I needed comfort food and the digestives and marshmallows were finished.

In less ‘comfort’ food and more ‘trying to be healthy’ I bought a melon mix from Asda on one of our weekly shops and that was so nice! I want to try buying a honeydew melon and preparing it myself but so far it’s got as far as buying a melon then ignoring it in the fridge for a week and reluctantly throwing it away because I feel guilty I’ve wasted it. I’ll let you know if I make any melon progress in July!

tv/film/streaming thing:

Other than nearly finishing Kim Possible on Disney+, the only other thing I’ve watched this month is the live action Dora the Explorer movie and much like all the books I read – I was so surprised by it.

I thought it might be trying to make Dora a ‘grown up’ character and take itself to seriously but the film opens with a take on recreating the title sequence from the kids TV show and the whole thing is like a massive meta joke and it was actually really good? I’ve kind of not been able to stop thinking about it – it was super fun, surprisingly funny and Boots the Monkey was the best character.

wedding planning update:

I emailed the venue! The venue got back to me and they’re reopening in July so we’re just trying to arrange a time to go and visit to see it and then potentially booking it, which feels mad to be doing over two years in advance and it makes me feel a bit nervous that suddenly it’s all very real, but also really exciting!


This turned out to be longer than I expected but a post full of things I’ve enjoyed this month is a pretty good one to accidentally ramble about!

July is looking like it’s going to be much busier – my boyfriend is going back to work, restrictions are easing in the UK and personally I’m scared of a second wave, but trying to take each day as it comes and get used to live going back to ‘normal’ a bit more.

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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Treasured In… April

2020

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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September Goals

2019, goals, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I spent all of July wishing for August, then August flew by quicker than I could follow and now my favourite month of the year has come round. September – the month of the last dregs of summer blending into the beginning of Autumn, lots of birthdays and back to school season (I’m a nerd, it excites me).

My September has lots of fresh starts – turning 23, moving to a brand new city and starting studying at a new university. Lots of ‘new’ but whilst trying not to think about how daunting all of that is, here are the mini goals I will be focusing on this month:

  • Get a part-time job in Reading – for one, moving house is really expensive, for two, post graduate loans barely cover anything and for three, my partner isn’t going to be around a lot of the time and I don’t have any friends in Reading so I want something to fill the time, pay the bills and make some friends! I’ve applied for a job I actually kind of subtly really want but what I’ve learnt from a year of applying for jobs is not to put all your eggs in one basket! When I know more about my university course and my timetable I can throw myself head first into looking at working and (hopefully) by the end of the month I’ll have something lined up.
  • Stay on top of my finances amongst all the moving costs – did I mention that moving is really expensive? Not only am I now paying for my personal bills and insurance for two new drivers, I’m paying for utilities and WiFi and a TV license and all those things! Obviously I’m not complaining, it’s just adult life, but as we move things are going to be tight tight tight so I need to stay on top of my budgeting!
  • Finish PG Cert course, start MSc Digital Media Production – this one isn’t so much of a goal to strive for as a marker point to get to – I’m going to finish my post graduate certificate and I’m going to start my masters, but it’s about not losing momentum at the end of one qualification and making sure I’m prepared to start the other. There is literally one week of crossover but in a busy month where I’m also moving about 150 miles (ish) away, staying on top of my education is another important thing!
  • Focus on content – making four regular posts on time every week – my YouTube content in particular is massively slacking at the moment. I feel like I have nothing to film for my weekly vlogs, I’m working so hard in the office I don’t have time to film or edit other videos, blogging is something that comes very naturally to me and is less time consuming than YouTube (at least for me at this very casual level) but it’s important to me to maintain the two, especially where this month is going to be very busy. Time management is key!
  • Do something for self care every single week – and in a much less ‘productivity focused’ manor, things like taking my make-up off and brushing my teeth are the first things to fall off when I’m stressed or my mental health dips. My mum and I call my stress ‘subconscious stress’ because I feel okay about things but I feel a lot of physical symptoms of stress, so I want to make an effort to have time to look after myself – I bought a Lush face mask while I was in Reading and I want to use it! I want to look after my skin! I need to have a home routine and not rely so heavily on external routines and self-care is something I need to prioritise so much.

September is going to be a challenging month – financially, it’s so tight and it’s going to be super busy, but it’s also got numerous birthdays, a brand new city to explore and a whole new chapter to begin! I’m genuinely so excited and can’t wait to document it all.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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November Goals

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

This is the penultimate goals post of 2018! And then we get onto all that good New Years content looking back on my goals for last year and making goals for next year, but even though that’s not many ‘goals’ blog posts away, it is two months in real time away so like the forbidden ‘C’ word, I won’t mention it again!

This month I’m kind of having to make some important decisions – nothing too drastic, but I need to figure out what I want the next year of my life to look like and what I need to do to get there. But, that’s on a broader to do list – here are my goals for November.

[ N o v e m b e r   G o a l s ]

  • workout once a week (‘gym’/running) – I was in a decent routine of using the treadmill and rowing machine in my mum’s garage a few times a week and I’ve completely fallen out of that routine. I have started up a new dance class (two even, in one day!) and I think once a week on the treadmill, building up my stamina and maybe getting a bit better at running is a good routine to get into.
  • NaNoWriMo! I feel like I’ve mentioned it approximately a hundred million times, but NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a website that brings together a community of writers to scribble 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1667 words a day and quite the challenge. I think I’ve mentioned before that writing is a huge passion of mine – I started creative writing when I was 12 and before I went to uni, every single night I would sit and tap away at my computer in front of the TV in the living room. I wrote a full length novel when I was 16 in NaNoWriMo so I’m going to try and emulate that success this year. It’s going to be a challenge but I’m so determined.
  • Balance work and making content – This month I’ve been pretty rubbish at working. I’m so lucky that I can work so flexibly for my mum’s business but I haven’t been very good at actually making the time for it. I need to set myself a stricter routine and in the end I get paid more when I do more work so it’s win win all round really.
  • Shorter to do lists – one of the things I hate the most is that I write myself a huge long list of things to do, and when I do them all it feels fantastic but when at the end of the day I’m staring at a list I’ve ticked one thing off of it’s both demotivating and daunting so to combat this, I’m only letting myself write 5 point to do lists each day. Hopefully this will maximise productivity all round and maybe even give me some spare time but mostly just keep me a bit more sane.
  • Plan December and 2019 videos – in terms of my blog, I’m pretty confident that I can write two posts a week and know what I want to write about and what I want to make. My YouTube channel however, takes a little more work and planning. I’m thinking about potentially doing Vlogmas on my main channel (you heard it here first lads) and I want to think about what projects I take on in 2019. 2016 was the year of the monthly vlog, 2017 I got back into making weekly videos and 2018 I’ve been weekly vlogging and making sit down vlogs (two videos a week!) for most of the year. I need to figure out whether I want to continue weekly vlogging, whether I want to try something new or maybe change it all up completely. If you’ve got any Christmas video requests do let me know!!

I’m feeling a bit more focused at the moment, there are certain aspects I’m trying not to think about but it’s all one step at a time, that can be part of next months goals.

Hope you all had a lovely October and are enjoying the colder temperatures – I’m loving having all my jumpers and blankets out again!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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thinking of ideas when you’re uninspired

2018

Hello!

I think we can all agree, that one of the most difficult things about making content consistently online is having enough ideas of things to talk, write and post about. Everyone goes through periods of feeling incredibly inspired and having loads of posts you want to write but similarly, I’m pretty sure everyone goes through periods of having no idea what to make!

I’ve been making YouTube videos for nearly 5 years and writing blog posts for over 4 and whilst I’ve had different consistencies of how frequently I’ve posted, I’ve made 300 videos and 600 blog posts and I think I’m doing alright! I’ve been consistently publishing two blog posts and two videos a week for a fair few months now so I thought I’d share my three top tips for finding ideas when nothing is springing to mind!

1. What do you enjoy making the most? 
Sometimes if you’re feeling uninspired, the best thing is to go back to content that you enjoy making the most because that always comes through. Making what you love often makes it easier to motivate yourself to actually make it and can reignite the spark for why you love making content at all, thus getting those creative juices flowing and maybe sparking some more ideas.

2. Looking back at what you’ve already made
Scrolling back through my blog posts and YouTube videos, looking back at what I’ve published, what worked, what people engaged with and reacted well to often makes me think of something  new I want to make or something I’d like to try again. Also works if you scroll through your favourite blogs or YouTube channels!

3. Using social media
Something as simple as searching ‘blog’ or ‘video’ on twitter or instagram (or your YouTube sub feed and recommend pages!), scrolling through what other people are making, even having a read or watch and engaging with others content, you’ll be inspired by something or like an idea or think of something for sure. Even if you end up using someone’s idea (as long as you credit them obviously!) it might get you back on the creative track and inspire you back to your usual, idea brewing self! Also a bonus that it’ll keep you up to date on trends and what’s popular and what is working for other people, which is always useful!

I mean, it’s easy enough to google ‘blog ideas’, I think we’ve all done it, but I’ve never found an idea or written a post from a random list of ideas that I’ve been passionate about and lists of ideas will never beat your idea or your research and it won’t really fit what you want.

It can be tough, but if you’re prepared to put the work in and make content that you’re really passionate about and love, then your content will be fantastic.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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top 5 self care tips

2018, mental health

Hello!

I’ll be honest, this week has already been tough and it’s only Wednesday – I won’t go into details but it has made me think about what I need to do to look after myself, and I’m working on listening to my body more and making sure I was doing something that wasn’t detrimental for me in the long run.

The thing with self-care is that it’s all very personal – you can watch a hundred different self care videos and read blog posts but none of them will be a quick fix or perfect for you, not quite anyway. But they can give you ideas – something to try that maybe you hadn’t thought of, different things work for different people but sharing what works for an individual might be useful for someone else, which is why we should share!

I’ve made a video on this before – it was about a year ago and things have changed since then which is why I want to talk about it again.

(But here it is in case anyone fancies a watch!)

So this is my new list of self care practices that I’m using right now!

  1. Properly resting – not keeping myself busy, or trying to tick something off my to do list. Not necessarily sleeping but taking time to just watch TV or YouTube without doing anything else – not trying to multitask. Giving my brain a break and not trying to max out productivity at all time. And also sleeping more regularly – I go to bed about 10pm and get up between 7am and 8am and that’s working quite well for me at the moment.
  2. Spending time cooking – I find cooking really therapeutic and when I’m making something that doesn’t involve just chucking it in the oven and serving it, when I really cook and make something from scratch it’s just so satisfying. Especially where I’m really trying to focus on my diet and losing weight at the moment (which is proving quite the challenge for my mental health, I’m incredibly self aware of dark though patterns, it’s draining) so cooking with lots of vegetables and knowing exactly what’s going in to what I’m eating and it makes the diet a bit easier on the brain. But spending an hour so a night on making dinner just really helps me focus and relax.
  3. Talk to someone supportive – this is quite a personal one, as I’m aware that not everyone is lucky enough to have someone supportive in their circle that they trust to talk to when they’re feeling down, but I’m so glad that I have someone that does. But there are some people that are the opposite of supportive – they make you feel like a literal pile of poo because they don’t understand, saying things like ‘it’s fine just calm down’, ‘just cheer up’ or even ‘you don’t have depression or anxiety, stop attention seeking’ (all real life examples) and those people 1) aren’t worth your time and 2) when you’re feeling low anyway, just don’t surround yourself with these people if it’s possible. Seek support in the people that really love and care about you.
  4. Spend some time outside – a gentle walk (as opposed to an exercise walk, I’m very unfit so walking is exercise for me), just sitting in the garden or even sit near an open window if that’s what works for you but just being near fresh air, taking a deep breath and having a few moments of calm can be really beneficial, especially if you’re in a moment of panic. Maybe meditate if that’s your jam! I’d like to be at a point that exercise is my go to when I’m feeling low or anxious but I’m not there yet, because I’m very unfit but the wheels are in motion and it’s officially a work in progress.
  5. Listen to your body – sometimes, all you want to do is lie in bed and sob uncontrollably and not have dinner because you messed up a new recipe and the thought of eating is scary and makes you feel physically ill (cough cough), this probably isn’t the healthiest tip but sometimes, you need to just let yourself be sad. The important bit of this part is if you’re going to let yourself wallow, is that you don’t continue it – it’s a short term thing! Let yourself be sad and not eat (just, an example) for that one night or one day and then the following day, eat properly, get some stuff done, get back to it. Letting yourself wallow in feelings isn’t a bad thing as long as you know it’s temporary and short term. Maybe you won’t feel better the next day but the wallowing is done.

I’m not a mental health professional and I don’t recommend that anyone takes any advice from this, I know that I like engaging with content like this because talking about mental health is important and should be talked about. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m trying.

Mental health is a tricky topic – it’s incredibly individual and what works positively for one person might not have the same effect on someone else, so it’s about working on listening to your own body and figuring out what makes that ache in your chest go away.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Dear YouTube, Fix the Subscribe Button

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve been watching YouTube videos and content creators for somewhere nearing ten years now and I have a lot of thoughts about how dumb some of the site changes have been, but here’s my biggest gripe and oh boy, plug in your seatbelts boys and girls because I have some opinions.

What is the point of a subscribe button, if the subscription feed doesn’t give you a list of all the videos from the channels you’ve subscribed too?

I get the point of algorithms – how is anyone going to find new content if there aren’t algorithms to figure out what you’ll really like? But save them for the home page! Or the suggested videos around a video when you’re watching.

subscription  (səbˈskrɪpʃ(ə)n/)  noun
an arrangement to receive something, typically a publication, regularly by paying in advance.
“make sure you get a copy every month by taking out a subscription”

 

The definition of subscription – sure, YouTube is slightly different in that it’s a free platform and maybe that’s where their loophole is, but if I subscribe to a channel and then don’t ‘receive’ that video in my subscription feed, it’s not a subscription at all?

‘Subscribe’ has just become a phrase to YouTube at this point – it’s doesn’t mean that a creators videos get sent to certain people, it’s all about the numbers and YouTube only appears to be paying attention to those with tens of millions of numbers to their channel.

That must be all it is to them! Surely it’s obvious? Why would anyone subscribe to a channel if what they actually wanted was for someone to guess what they want to watch?

There’s only so accurate that YouTube can be! For one, I don’t want an algorithm to try and tell me what I want to watch when what I want to watch it what I’ve subscribed to – it’s that simple! On my channel, I’m the only one making content but my boyfriend often watches videos on my channel and what he watches it completely and utterly different to what I watch. I don’t hate it, but I’m not subscribed for a reason.

But now YouTube thinks all I want to watch is vine compilations and gaming livestreams and that’s not the case. Not even a little bit.

I’m not sure what else there is to say – I think it would be really interesting if YouTube put out a survey and asked what people actually wanted from the sub feed, because I’d be legitimately surprised if the majority came out saying people want it how it is now.

And don’t even get my started on why social media news feeds aren’t chronological.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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