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February Favourites

Ahh February, didn't you sneak up on us a little faster than expected. I can't believe we are already two months into 2017! This month, it's all about Valentines Day, a few birthday's and the official one month countdown before my boyfriend is home. Yay! But, aside...
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The American Dream

  As I may have mentioned, a few times, I've spent most of January travelling America. And before you say anything, Yes, I had intended on a three-month travel trip across America that would have taken me to many amazing places. But, for my own reasons, I had to cut...
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Goodbye 2016 | Hello 2017

If you were asked to re-live 2016 all over again, would you? Everyone has a different reflection on the year 2016. In hindsight, it has been a horrible year for Celebrity deaths. Losing David Bowie at the start of January, Prince in April, George Michael on Christmas...
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Blogmas | Thank you

Blogmas | Day 24 I've been a little bit naughty. I didn't post my final blogmas post on Christmas Eve...whoops. But, the lovely people that you are, I'm sure you'll all forgive me. Like most people, I spend Christmas Eve day running around like a headless chicken,...
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Blogmas | My Gift Wrapping

Blogmas | Day 23 Wrapping is something that I actually enjoy doing and every year I like to make an effort going out and buying super cute paper with matching ribbon. I am a perfectionist at some things and wrapping is one of them. This year, I've not had a lot of...
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February Favourites

Ahh February, didn’t you sneak up on us a little faster than expected. I can’t believe we are already two months into 2017! This month, it’s all about Valentines Day, a few birthday’s and the official one month countdown before my boyfriend is home. Yay!

But, aside from that, this month, I have a few little products and items that I’ve totally fallen in love with. (A few products I did buy in January, but I’ve only started using in February) And so I’ve decided to do a February Favourites post to share with you all;

The Body Shop | Drops of Youth Liquid Peel | 145ml | £15.00

This, like many of the great things I own, was a spur of the moment purchase. I’d been invited to attend The Body Shop Bloggers Event at their Bolton Store a few weeks back, however, I couldn’t go as I had literally just got back from America that same day and travelling for a total of 27 hours meant my body just wouldn’t allow it. I was gutted about it too. I’ve wanted to go to a Body Shop event for a while now. But, I’ve been re-invited to the next one. Yay!

Last week, I popped into Bolton with my friend Steff and we decided to take a look in The Body Shop. Everyone was super friendly and I got chatting to one of the girls working there and I explained that I was supposed to attend the bloggers event a few weeks earlier. She then gave me a little overview of the night and showed me a few of the products that she had available on the night. One of them being the Drops of Youth Liquid Peel. This stuff is AMAZING!

This new Liquid Peel exfoliates and gently peels off impurities from your skin. It lifts dead skin cells and pollutants from day-to-day life. The liquid goes onto the skin as a gel and you gently rub this into the skin. Seconds later, the peel of dead skin cells and pollutants are visible. I then wipe this all away with a flannel and warm water. It leaves skin feeling fresh and smoother than ever. I literally feel like I’m styling out a new skin!

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Boohoo | Silk Dressing Gown | Size M | £12.00

I’ve wanted a little silk dressing gown for as long as I can remember. Every December I watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and like many other girls in the world, I stare in envy at their beautiful bodies rocking the little silk dressing gowns. And every year, I say, “I’ll get myself one of those”, yet I never do. In fact, I do this with a lot of things. Note to self: I really need to start doing more of what I say. Anyway, a few days ago, I came across this cute little beauty on Boohoo and for £12.00, I just couldn’t help myself.

I love it!

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The Body Shop | 100% Natural Roll On (Mint) | £1.00

I purchased this at the same time as the Drops of Youth Liquid Peel. It was sitting in a little basket at the side of the till, underneath a sign saying ‘Sale Items’, and I just couldn’t resist a little rummage through. When I came across it, I was a little unsure what it was as there was no information on the product (it was covered up by the packaging), other than the name of the product.

My lips get dry very easily and many lip balms tend to dry them out even more, until I’m left with that white dehydration line on my lips. So when I saw the 100% Natural Roll On stick, I decided to ask for more information. I was told that it was a moisturizer and hydrating lip treatment for lips. Sold.

It’s a great little product. The application is a little metal roll on ball that evenly spreads the liquid onto your lips, leaving them feeling refreshed. The liquid tastes of mint too!

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Victoria’s Secret | Scandalous Dare Fragrance Mist | 250ml | $8.50

Whilst over in New York, I visited the massive Victoria’s Secret store and was happy to see the word ‘Sale’ plastered everywhere. I’m very much the bargain hunter. If I know I can get something for less, then I will.

I absolutely love the Victoria’s Secret fragrances. I’ve had a few in the past but they’ve always been different. When I saw the fragrances available in the sale area, I began spraying everything! I came across Scandalous Dare and instantly fell in love with the smell. It’s a mixture of floral, fruity and sweet. It’s a very sexy and girly scent. Being a body mist, it doesn’t last that long on the skin, but I used it to freshen my clothes whilst travelling. Being on a coach for 16 hours means this little fragrance came in very handy. I’ve had so many compliments on it too!

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Sephora | Matte Perfection Powder Foundation | $20.00 

Again, another purchase in New York (It’s hard to go to New York and not shop!!), was this Matte Perfection Powder Foundation from an all beauty and make-up store called Sephora. I’d never heard of this store before but my god, it’s amazing! Honestly, it has everything!

I usually by MAC powder to lay on top of my foundation, but I totally forgot to buy some at the airport, despite me running low, and it was just far too over priced in New York. So, I had to hunt for something just as good, if not a tad cheaper. I don’t remember how I came across this, but I’m glad I did!

The powder is beautiful. It is slightly thick but I like an even coverage and I believe that this powder perfects that.

One other thing I loved about the store was its little black and white striped bags. So simple, yet so cute!

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Ebay | Selfie LED Ring Flash Light | £5.89 + 99p Postage

The new addition to the Selfie Game. This Selfie light attaches to your phone and creates flawless looking images on your phone via the LED Ring Flash Light. I usually like to use natural light as it creates a nice, bright finish, but I think this does just as good a job, if not better.

I love a good selfie and this product is a god send. I literally couldn’t live without it now! I have attached a few un-edited selfies below, that I have taken, using the Selfie LED Ring Flash Light;

(The dots show the settings. 3 dots is the brightest setting at 3 clicks. I also took this photos in the dark, usuin just my selfie LED light)

And there you have my February Favourites.

Whats been your favourite purchases of February so far?

Sincerely, Sophie x

The American Dream

  As I may have mentioned, a few times, I’ve spent most of January travelling America. And before you say anything, Yes, I had intended on a three-month travel trip across America that would have taken me to many amazing places. But, for my own reasons, I had to cut the trip short at 3 weeks and travel home. Don’t worry, I’m ok. I just didn’t feel quite myself out there and I’m happy to be home. I won’t go into too much detail as to why I’m home, but, however, I will share with you what I got up to whilst I was away;

New York

After a 6 hour flight to JFK from Manchester, via a stop over at London Heathrow, we arrived into New York with our heads full of anticipation at what lay ahead. After landing, we had a nice 2 hour wait at passport control due to their systems being down. We were tired, hungry and desperate to get to our hotel. Eventually, we made it out of the airport, rucksacks on our back, in search of an all american, yellow taxi cab. We were met by a few men trying to throw their taxi service at us at silly prices. We eventually gave in to a guy, dressed in a suit and sunglasses (despite it being gone 6pm, raining and practically dark outside) offering us $89 for an hours journey to our hotel. Despite him being very friendly towards us and taking an interest in our pending travels, he ended up charging us a total of $150, tax & tip included. We felt robbed. However, too tired to argue, we grabbed our bags and made our way into the hotel. The Paramount Hotel.

Our first day in New York was amazing! From our hotel, a 2 minute walk took us to the centre of Times Square. It’s hard to describe how I felt standing there. In one sense, I was truly amazing and lost for words at how big and bright it was, lights everywhere. It was just like the movies! But then on the other hand, I wasn’t prepared for the busyness of it and the noise. I couldn’t quite work out if I was in love with NYC or a little underwhelmed? We decided to spend the day exploring the City via one of the many tour buses available. After haggling with one company, we managed to purchase a 4 day ticket to ride the hop on, hop off buses for $53. This is a great choice for travelling around the City, however, I’d recommend that you buy from Big Bus Tours as they are more frequent and a little nicer looking. Something I’ll know for next time. We managed to see so much! Empire State Building, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Centre, plus the M&M Factory, a movie at a NYC Theatre and Grand Central Station too!

Our second day, we were moving from The Paramount Hotel to a little apartment in East Harlem. Wow, that was an experience! The Apartment was lovely, a typical NYC apartment. However, the location was a little scary. It reminded me as one of those places that you’re warned about and told to avoid. But, despite all this, we had no trouble and we found many of the neighbours very friendly and helpful.

Over the next few days, we did so much! I was even beginning to get used to the ‘New York Lifestyle’. We went right to the top of the Empire State Building, visited the big Victoria’s Secret store, visited Ground Zero and the 9/11 Museum, which was such a sad, yet surreal place to be. We went on the Statue of Liberty tour which was quite possibly, one of the coldest & painful moments of my life! I also saw the Staten Island Ferry which I discovered through my love of Impractical Jokers and even went to a Comedy Club, where we were picked on for being British! (Very funny though). But, the highlight of New York, for me anyway, was when we visited the Rockefeller Centre…

For those of you that don’t know what the Rockefeller Centre is, It’s where the famous New York City Christmas Tree is placed every year, along with the Ice Rink. It’s the most magical place on earth. I mean, we visited it on the 6th January, Christmas was technically over, yet, it was the most Christmassy I’ve felt in a very long time. I honestly can’t describe the feeling. You’d have to be there yourself to understand. The Tree for starters was HUGE! it was decorated in so many pretty coloured lights with the Ice Rink below. The cold didn’t seem to bother anyone as the Home Alone music played through multiple speakers. They then had a light display of a castle that lit up to the tune of the music. It was just Magical. i absolutely loved it! And if you ever get the chance to visit the Rockefeller Centre then PLEASE DO and try to go around Christmas time too. You’re Welcome!

We then headed over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Wow! The inside of the Cathedral is spectacular, out of this world! It’s impossible to put its beauty into words! I felt so happy and content being there and the photos do it nowhere near enough justice. I’m not an over religious person, I don’t go to church every Sunday and I don’t know much from the bible. But, I always feel a sense of calmness being in a Church or a Cathedral, even more so since the death of my Grandma and my Poppops. And as soon as I walked in, I found many areas within the Cathedral where you could light a candle of remembrance for a loved one. I decided to light 2 of the candles, said a few personal words in my head and asked them to keep me safe. I miss them both so much and I felt it was the right thing to do.

On our last night in NYC, we decided to head to a bar and celebrate the end of our first week in America. We asked around and were pointed in the direction of a bar named Jimmy’s Corner. We were promised a great, lively atmosphere and cheap drinks. We were not disappointed! Everyone was so lovely. We got chatting to a big American black guy who was wearing a suit and a Trilby hat. He had a big, friendly smile and I soon discovered he has worked with Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift through his line of work…however, I was slightly drunk at this point and didn’t take in all the important bits. I can’t even remember his name, but, he was a local and a super nice guy. We then got chatting to a lovely couple, who we discovered, lived a few blocks away from the apartment we were staying in. They gave us some great tips on places to visit and we’ve even become Facebook Friends!

Overall, my time in New York was pretty amazing, and despite being a little unsure about the place at the start, I’ve discovered that I do in fact love the City. However, I probably won’t come back for a long time. I feel as though I’ve done the tourist side of it and if I do come back then it’ll probably be for a well deserved shopping trip.

Washington DC

Our next stop was Washington DC, and after a 3 hour coach ride on the Greyhound, we arrived! Out of everywhere I went, Washington DC was by far the prettiest. Everything was so clean and white! My nana would have had a field day, she was known for painting everything white, we even had the saying “Stay still long enough and you’ll be painted white”.

Personally, I fell in love with the coach station. It was so big and grand, almost as amazing as Grand Central Station. After asking a few people, we were finally on our way, by foot, towards our next place. The ‘Downtown Washington Hostel’. When we arrived, I instantly became uneasy. Personally, I prefer my own space. I’ve always been quite a shy person and usually shut down a little when I’m forced to interact with people I don’t know. Eventually, I do come out of my shell a little and become more relaxed, but I like to do this in my own time.

Having to share a room with 7 other people was horrible. I felt I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t unpack and going to the bathroom proved difficult, due to them being occupied by another person most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, It wasn’t all bad and we did meet a few people, but just for me, personally, I’m not a fan of Hostels. Lucy & Kirsty, the girls I went away with, loved the Hostels and I really wish I would’ve relaxed a little and enjoyed the experience, but it just wasn’t for me. That’s ok though, they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you are a fan and wouldn’t mind staying in hostels, then I’d highly recommend it for the price.

After our first night, we had a whole day exploring in Washington. It was great! We visited a few museums, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the White House Visitor Centre and the National Museum of Natural History. All of which were interesting in their own way. My personal favourite was the Natural History Museum. I just loved learning about all the animals and evolution.

We then went in search of the White House, and might I add, it was a difficult find. But, when we did, it was pretty exciting! We only managed to get photos of the back of the White House due to everything being set up for Trump’s Inauguration and roads to the gates being fenced off. We also saw a load of police cars and police bikes with flashing lights speed past us, followed by 3 blacked out SUV’s with American flags on the front bonnet. We’re not sure who was in the car, but we’d hoped it was Obama.

We also visited the World War II Memorial. That was lovely. A very Sombre place. We just spent a little time sat there, thinking. It was hard to imagine being alive during the War and the effect that it had on not only the world, but the friends and family of the service men and women that were injured and killed. It was a beautiful and momentous place.

One thing I will say, if you’re planning on visiting Washington DC around winter time, then number 1, WRAP UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place as cold in my entire life. And number 2, prepare for A LOT of walking!

Orlando, Florida

Our next stop was supposed to be Richmond for 2 nights. But, the night before, we had discussed this with a few of the people staying at the Hostel and they told us it was a bad idea because of the snow and the fact that there was nothing to do there. We were also told it was quite a dangerous area to be too, so during our coach ride from Washington DC to Richmond, we thought about what we should do. Once in Richmond, and seeing that in fact, there was very little to do and see, we decided that we should cancel our reservation and continue on to Florida.

We had a 6 hour wait in the bus terminal, which we spent sat in the little cafe, eating and playing card games, followed by a 16 hour coach ride onto Orlando, Florida. That was a killer. What made it a little more interesting was that we were spending it with a few ex-convict’s. Yes, one had even just been released from jail just a few hours earlier! However, they were no trouble and in-fact, they came across as really friendly.

Once we arrived in Orlando, Florida, around lunch time the next day, we hired a uber and made our way to our hotel/motel, The Rodeway Inn. If you imagine a very basic motel from the movies, that’s exactly what it was like! Personally, I loved it. This, to me, was proper America. Once settle in, we headed to the iHop next door for tea.

Our first day was spent relaxing and tanning by the pool. I took the tanning a little too literally and ended up burning myself to a crisp. I was so sore! Thing is, I’ve done this before, I’ve turned down the sun cream in the hope that I’ll tan quicker but it always turns out I burn myself so bad that I can’t tan no more. And that was the case, for the next 3 days, I literally couldn’t even sit in the sun. Never again.

Throughout our time in Orlando, we visited SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. SeaWorld was pretty amazing, although I have been before , so I kinda knew what to expect. But still, it was great to visit once again and the rides were fab! I didn’t realise this until I got to the park but there has been a video made on SeaWorld and how all the Orca’s are treated badly and held captive. I didn’t realise this before, but during the show, I was very shocked at seeing how much room they do actually have. I last visited SeaWorld when I was about 10 years old and unaware of the situation. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Orca’s swimming by, splashing water in our faces and doing all these amazing tricks. I was glued. However, in recent years, it’s surfaced, just how bad the situation actually is. I do believe now, that the Orca’s and the dolphins all deserve to be in the ocean. If you’d like to watch the film documenting this, it’s called Blackfish and all about the Orca, Tilikum.

We visited Busch Gardens toward’s the end of our time in Florida and it was, by far, my most favourite park. I’ve never been before and I’ll admit, the leaflets and posters don’t do it any justice. The rides there are insane and so fun! We saw so many different animals and went on a little train safari ride around the park. I absolutely loved it! I’ll definitely be going back at some point in my life.

We also met a lovely guy named Tyler. He was from Georgia and was in Florida working at one of the Disney theme parks as an electrician. We met him at a place called ‘Logan’s Roadhouse’ which is a sports bar. He hit it off with us all quite quickly and we were soon all laughing and joking…mainly about our accents.

It was during this time that I decided to have a long think about what I wanted to do regarding carrying on travelling America. I absolutely loved my time so far with the girls and I was loving seeing America, state by state. But, I just didn’t feel like myself, I came across as happy, but I wasn’t truly happy. I was missing home, missing my family and missing being myself. It’s hard to explain exactly how I was feeling during my time there, because it’s always been a dream. But, I just know that I’m a lot happier and more myself now that I’m home.

I wish both the girls all the luck in the world, and I’m excited to hear all about their travels once they’re home!

I hope to travel Route 66 with my boyfriend at some point over the next few years and to tick it off my bucket list. It’s always been a dream of mine and I can’t wait to do it with a better frame of mind.

I learnt a little about myself too whilst away for those 3 weeks. I realised just how much of a home bird I actually am, my love of learning new things and my hatred of Hostels, haha! I’ve learnt I can do a lot more than I thought and that the world is a big and daunting place.

Until next time America,

Sincerely, Sophie x

 

 

Goodbye 2016 | Hello 2017

If you were asked to re-live 2016 all over again, would you?

Everyone has a different reflection on the year 2016. In hindsight, it has been a horrible year for Celebrity deaths. Losing David Bowie at the start of January, Prince in April, George Michael on Christmas day and both Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds, within a day of each other a few days ago. Then there was the whole Brexit ordeal and then the biggest news of 2016, Trump being made president of the USA. So, I can understand why 2016 hasn’t been the best year for many people.

However, for me, 2016 has been one of the most amazing years to date!

This time last year, I was sitting here having had one of the worst years of my life. I literally couldn’t wait to close the door on 2015 and open up 2016. I’d dealt with my first death in the family, I was in a job I hated, we’d had a little trouble with the house and family health wasn’t looking good. But, it was around the final days of December 2015, that I decided 2016 was not going to be the same. No matter what bad cards I was dealt, I wasn’t going to let it upset and depress me. I’d say that moment defined the start of my ‘Positivity Promise’.

When you’ve been kicked down more times than you can remember and you’ve experienced enough crap to last a lifetime, being positive is the last thing on your mind. You surround yourself with negative thoughts and lack the courage and strength to carry on. You feel like a failure and your emotions get the better of you more than usual. I remember hating myself, hating my life and feeling stupid for thinking I deserved a little happiness.

My job depressed me. Just the thought of having to go in and achieve silly sales targets that were impossible, or spending my time cleaning dust of shelves I’d cleaned just days before, because I had nothing else to do. You couldn’t be creative, you couldn’t use your own mind and you had to STICK TO THE PLAN! I’ve now realised that plans are stupid, a waste of time and unrealistic.

I’d also lost my Poppops in October too and that hit me like a ton of bricks. The death of a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through and your mindset at this time defines how you deal with the situation. I crumbled. I witnessed him take his final breaths and I saw the devastation it had on the family.

On top of all this, I had the worry of my dad losing his job and maybe losing the house too. My dad had an amazing job, but ageist (despite it not being a thing nowadays, they say) happened. His place of work decided, that despite his popularity, he was no longer good enough for the job. He decided to leave. This had major impact on the bills and added worry to our financial situation. Granted, this had little to do with me, but it still effected my attitude and added to the negativity I had around me already.

So, as the clock struck midnight on the 1st January 2016, I decided to not make any unrealistic new years resolutions, nor was I going to pressure myself into believing 2016 was going to be ‘My Year’. All I vowed to myself, was to deal with every problem and every situation in 2016 with ‘Positivity’.

Positivity. My best friend.

Of course, just because 2016 was a new year, didn’t mean that all my problems and my worries would disappear. I knew that the year ahead was going to be filled with choices, problems and sadness. I knew that there was going to be hard work and decisions ahead. But, I also knew that with the right mindset, I could make this year so much better than the last. And that was my New Years promise to myself.

My first hurdle was going to be my job. I knew that I couldn’t stay where I was. I had to leave. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted a change, and fast. So, one day in January, I spent the day looking for jobs online. One job caught my eye. Cabin Crew.

Now, I’d applied for Cabin Crew at a well known airline in 2015, and despite being offered a job with them, I simply didn’t have the funds needed for the training. But, at the time, I was just happy to have been offered the job. As I sat back in the chair and considered applying to the airlines in front of me, instead of telling myself “Don’t be daft, you couldn’t do that”, I asked myself, “Why wouldn’t they pick you?”. I was everything they were asking for, I had all the relevant experience and I loved flying. So, a few clicks later, I’d applied.

A few weeks later, I got a reply from two different airlines, asking me to one of their assessment days in the coming weeks. The first airline assessment day I attended, I snuck back to my old ways and became this quiet and unapproachable person. As predicted, I failed my interview and was told to “Try again next year”. So, when it came to my assessment day with the second airline a few weeks later, I changed my attitude. I made sure I came across as a confident and approachable person, as well as relaxing more and not over-thinking the little things. Two weeks later, I was offered a job as Cabin Crew. Yay!

I’ve now been a part of an amazing company for the last 7 months and it’s been great. I’m working with new people everyday, I’m a part of one awesome team and I’m proud of what I’m doing. My job has a purpose and I can now go into work with a genuine smile on my face.

One other pretty amazing thing that happened this year was passing my driving test on the 3rd February. It’s been a long time coming, and although I’m still not out on the roads, I’m so proud of myself. Just knowing that I have a licence and I’ve achieved something else off my bucket list makes me so happy!

Something else my positive mind has helped me pursue this year is a trip of a lifetime. And a lifelong dream. A three-month trip across America!! This is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember and now, at the age of 24 and with two amazing girls, I’m actually doing it! And in 2 days aswell!!! (2nd January 2017). I’m full of emotions today. Happy, nervous, excited, worried, intrigued…. so many emotions. And the reason behind booking this trip of a lifetime? A positive, can-do attitude!

But, as we all know, life can’t always be straightforward and there will be a few bumps in the road along the way.

One of the few bad things to happen in my life this year was the loss of another loved one. My beautiful Grandma. She died in august this year. It has left a massive hole in my heart and a huge loss within the family. She was the woman we all went to with our problems and the one person you could rely on for help and advice. She was inspirational and one of a kind. I’m going to miss her so much!

However, to end the year on a high and to fulfil one last thing, I’ve met the person I’m going to marry!

I met Dave in August through a friend. We started talking through Facebook and messenger, which then turned into Skype. I fell in love with him pretty quickly. He’s an amazing guy and makes me so happy. I know we will be together forever and I love him with all my heart. I wasn’t expecting it to happen and I was happy being single, but, life is so unpredictable, a beautiful journey that can change direction in a second.

When I first started talking to Dave, he told me that my positive, can-do attitude was one of the things that attracted him to me. I cheer him up when he’s feeling down and I give him pep talks when he needs them. He’s made me into the person I always wanted to be and he encourages me every day. He gives me the confidence to be myself and, despite him working away at the moment, I can always rely on him to cheer me up when I’m having a bad day. Being in love is pretty amazing.

Anyway, enough of the cheese…

So, you can see how having a positive attitude can change your entire outlook on life.

Don’t get me wrong, seeing things in a positive light isn’t always easy. But, believing everything happens for a reason helps. Positivity has to come from within. You have to want to do something like this and make a change. If you do decide to approach 2017 with this mindset, then I wish you all the luck in the world. It won’t always be easy, but believe me, you’ll be so much happier.

I have no New Year’s resolution. All I’m going to be hoping for, when the clock strikes 12 tonight, is that I continue my positive outlook on life. I’m looking forward to 2017. I have so many exciting things planned and so many amazing people in my life. I’m extremely lucky to be standing where I am today and with a positive mindset.

Whatever has happened in 2016, I wish you all the BEST 2017!

Lot’s of Love,

Sophie xxx

Blogmas | Thank you

Blogmas | Day 24

I’ve been a little bit naughty. I didn’t post my final blogmas post on Christmas Eve…whoops.

But, the lovely people that you are, I’m sure you’ll all forgive me. Like most people, I spend Christmas Eve day running around like a headless chicken, sorting out last-minute shopping, prepping the food and just generally panicking about silly things. Before I knew it, I had to go to work Christmas Eve night. I literally had no time to post and for that I’m sorry. I know many of you enjoyed reading my Blogmas Posts. Please forgive me.

However, I must say, I’m very impressed with myself that I managed to blog everyday of December, up until Christmas Eve. I won’t lie, I didn’t think I’d do it. By day 12 I was struggling. But nope, I’d set myself a challenge and I had people relying on my daily blogmas posts. It was very hard thinking up new and exciting post ideas everyday, but, at the same time, it has been very enjoyable.

I’d just like to say a really big ‘Thanks’ to everyone that kept up to date with my Blogmas posts. It’s been great to share my thoughts and traditions on Christmas, as well as hearing yours too!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you’re all enjoying the festive period.

I have one more post lined up before we close the doors on 2016, and it’s a very personal post. So, I hope you enjoy reading it. It’ll be up sometime over the next few days.

But, once again, Thank you so much for your constant support, messages & kind words.

You’re all Amazing!

Sincerely, Sophie x

Blogmas | My Gift Wrapping

Blogmas | Day 23

Wrapping is something that I actually enjoy doing and every year I like to make an effort going out and buying super cute paper with matching ribbon. I am a perfectionist at some things and wrapping is one of them.

This year, I’ve not had a lot of ‘Christmas Spirit’. Nor have I had much money, due to putting it all away for travelling. But, gift wrapping was the one aspect of Christmas that I want to continue. My gifts are anything but amazing this year, however, I feel a little better knowing they’re wrapped up in some beautiful paper.

So, and leaving the wrapping till the very last-minute, I headed out to a few supermarkets. I like to spend no more than £3 on a roll of paper, even less if possible, because at the end of the day, It is only wrapping paper. In the end, I decided to get my paper from Asda. I found it by the counter and instantly fell in love.

I’m in love with brown paper and have stuck with that theme for the past 2 years now, so I’m guessing this is what drew me in this time. The red foil christmas trees are really pretty and effective on the brown paper and give out a festive feel. At £2.00 a roll, I was sold!

I then decided to buy some red ribbon to go around the presents.

I’ve just finished wrapping them up and I’m super impressed with them. What do you think?

How’s your wrapping looking?

Sincerely Sophie x

Blogmas | My Creative Bloggers Secret Santa Gift

Blogmas | Day 22

My Creative Bloggers Secret Santa Gift finally came!!!

I was so excited when it arrived. The package was decorated with silver stars and came with the words ‘Do Not Bend’. Eek, super excited!

Now, I was going to put it under the tree with all the other presents and open it on Christmas Day, but, I just couldn’t wait. I’m not very patient, nor am I the greatest fan of surprises. If I know someone has got me a surprise, I have to know what it is then and there. It’s the surprises I don’t know and the ones that are sprung on me that I like most. So yeah, usually if I receive a present from a friend early and it’s put under the tree, it’s going to get opened before Christmas Day. Guaranteed.

As I sat there holding the parcel, my mind wondering what it could be, I felt something flat, hard and pretty much the same size as the envelope. I had a few ideas;

As I started unwrapping the parcel, my mind went into over drive.

I pulled out the contents and was met by one of the most prettiest, creative wrapping I’ve ever seen. Simple, yet very effective. Black and white squared paper, brown string and a candy cane. The wrapping also included the most beautiful, handmade card. I was so excited to unwrap the gifts.

The first gift I spotted, and the gift to buy (Minimum £3), was an Artful Organizer Vintage Camera to pop your pens, pencils and other stationary into. Made out of cardboard, you assemble the pieces to create the finished product. Easy to do and in under a minute it says. I love it! It’s so different and it will come in very handy. At the moment, my stationary is stored in a glass jam jar jug.

My second gift, and the handmade gift, was a Lino print that he had designed, carved and printed himself. It’s amazing! I absolutely adore it! Instantly, I knew the frame I’d pop it in and where I’d put it. The camera is amazing and looks identical to the one I use (Canon 6D). The bright yellow rays really brighten up the print too. Thank you so much Mike! It’s beautiful.

Finally, included was the card I mentioned earlier. Wow, I’ve never seen an envelope look so creative and pretty before. My name was put in the middle of a wreath and the detailing was beautiful. As I opened the envelope and pulled out the card, I found a stunning, handmade card. Inside the card, I found out that my Secret Santa was named Mike and he was the creative founder of The Crafty Gentleman.

The Crafty Gentleman is a craft and DIY blog aimed at both men and women. Created by Mike Aspinall, a super-talented, crafty gentleman who enjoys exploring new techniques, meeting other makers and sharing his inspirations with his readers. You can find him here;

Lastly, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to both Mike for the wonderful gifts and to Lauren, who arranged the Creative Bloggers Secret Santa. It’s been great to be a part of it all and I’m so excited for next year! Merry Christmas to you both and a Creative 2017!

Sincerely Sophie x

Blogmas | Last-Minute Gift Idea’s

Blogmas | Day 21

Christmas is four days away. FOUR DAYS! I can’t believe how fast December has gone! Now, everyone is panic buying the last of their Christmas shopping, including me. I know I say this every year, but next year I’m going to start my Christmas shopping in September!

Sometimes, you just don’t have the time, money or energy to go out and get the biggest and best presents out there. Sometimes, people don’t actually want all that stuff. I prefer to buy thoughtful presents and gifts that mean something to my friends and family.

This year, I’ll admit, I haven’t been in the ‘Christmas Spirit’. My boyfriend is away, my Grandma died in August (so I’m not really looking forward to our first Christmas without her) and I have no money.

So, what last-minute Gifts can we buy or create?

Hamper |  Hampers are a great gift to get someone. I’ve done this a few times for friends and family and it’s probably one of the most enjoyable things to do. Price wise, it can be as cheap or as expensive you want it to be. I tend to do hampers that relate to the person and buy little gifts that they’ll like, to fill the hamper with. Food hampers are also great. Especially for people with children.

Sweetie Mugs | This is a simple yet effective gift idea. Buy a cute looking mug and fill it with chocolate, sweets or beauty products that the recipient will like. You can then wrap the mug up in cellophane or pop it into a gift bag.

Photo Gifts | Photo gifts are something that people can treasure. Whether it’s a framed photograph, a photo on a mug, a photo on a phone case or a calendar. People love them. Especially parents and grandparents.

 Homemade Treats | If you can’t really afford much this Christmas or you don’t fancy leaving the house and joining in with the last-minute shoppers, then baking and creating some homemade treats at home can be a nice gift idea. Cookies, Cake Pops, Pie’s, even Mince Pies. Get yourself into the kitchen and create something amazing. You can always dress them up with some fancy wrapping or super cute boxes.

Homemade Voucher’s | Earlier this year, me and my sister didn’t have much money to buy our mum a birthday present. I was training for my new job at the time and hardly had enough money to live off for myself, so spending money on a birthday present at that time just wasn’t an option. But then not getting my mum a gift for her birthday also wasn’t an option. So, we put our heads together and came up with a ‘Homemade Voucher’. With the help of Photoshop, we created a ‘Vintage Tearoom Experience’ voucher. The voucher entitled her to afternoon tea at a vintage tea room of her choice, with her daughters. She was made up! This also gave us a little longer to get some money together too for her birthday treat.

Create Something | If you have some sort of creative talent. Use it! Whether you can make jewellery, clothes, home interior products or other crafts. Do it. People appreciate gifts that show thought and consideration. One of a kind gifts are always great!

I hope all these idea’s inspired a few of you. If you are a last-minute gift buyer or you’re just simply stuck with what to get someone. Stop and take a second to think about that person. What do they like?

Sincerely, Sophie x

Blogmas | What to Watch this Christmas

Blogmas | Day 20

Christmas TV is one of the best things about the festive season. Settling down, after stuffing your face with Turkey and Mince Pies, to watch all the TV Christmas Specials and the films. Bliss. But what’s on TV this Christmas? With the help of this years Radio Times (a Christmas tradition in our family), I have this year’s TV & Film guide;

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Friday 23rd December

Channel 4 | 12.10pm | ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ | Fantasy. When a department store Santa Clause turns up for work drunk, an elderly gentleman calling himself Kris Kringle offers to stand in.

W | 7.40pm | ‘Shakespeare in Love’ | I love love LOVE this film. I think Joseph Fiennes plays a great William Shakespeare. Very hot too I might add. Will Shakespeare’s career is in crisis: his money is running out and he’s suffering from writer’s block. But when he meets beautiful aristocrat Viola De Lesseps, his life – and the world of English literature – is destined to change for ever.

ITV2 | 9.00pm | ‘Casino Royale’ | James Bond is awarded his licence to kill and sets off in pursuit of Le Chiffre, a corrupt banker who finances terrorism. Realising that the desperate Le Chiffre needs to win big on the gaming tables of Montenegro to pay off a dangerous client, Bond formulates a plan to ruin him in a high-stakes poker game.

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Christmas Eve

ITV3 | 3.50pm | ‘The Sound of Music Live’ | A TV dramatisation of the much-loved musical, starring Kara Tointon, Alexander Armstrong and Julien Ovenden. The making of The Sound of Music Live is also on after. Behind the scenes.

BBC1 | 7.25pm | ‘Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show’ | The lively comedian puts a Christmas spin on his weekend variety entertainment show. Broadcast live from London’s Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, Michael invites festive favourites Alfie Boe and Michael Ball to perform on-stage. Catherine Tate’s foul-mouthed Nan and Harry Enfield’s Kevin the Teenager both put in appearances, and Michael seizes Aled Jones’ mobile for Send to All. Plus, the comedian stages his most ambitious stunt yet as he surprises an entire choir in Unexpected Star.

E4 | 9.00pm | ‘The Inbetweeners Movie’ | I love this film so much!!! Awkward teenagers Simon, Will, Jay and Neil plan a holiday to the Greek island of Crete after they finish their exams, hoping to experience drink, sex and debauchery beyond their wildest dreams. However, things do not quite work out as planned. Comedy based on the TV series, with Joe Thomas, Simon Bird, James Buckley and Blake Harrison.

BBC1 | 10.05pm | ‘Peter Kay’s Christmas Comedy Shuffle’ | A mix of the comedian’s best moments. Featuring clips from Carshare and Phoenix Night’s. I will be watching this for sure. My dad also played ‘Mike’ the breakfast DJ on Carshare. I absolutely adore Peter Kay. Comedy Genius.

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Christmas Day

BBC1 & ITV1 | 3.00pm – 3.10pm | ‘The Queen’ | A Christmas Day tradition the entire country share. Her Majesty’s address to the nation and the Commonwealth.

BBC1 | 5.45pm | ‘Doctor Who’ | “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” will see the Doctor team up with a super-powered vigilante called The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) and a journalist (Charity Wakefield) to save New York City from alien attack. Just another day at the office, then.

BBC1 | 6.45pm | ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ | Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host the festive special, which sees six contestants from previous series returning to the dance floor to perform routines inspired by classic Christmas movies. Olympian and presenter Denise Lewis, pop star Frankie Bridge, writer and actress Pamela Stephenson, celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, TV presenter Gethin Jones and radio and TV host Melvin Odoom will be showing off their fancy festive footwork under the watchful eye of judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, making his farewell appearance on the show.

ITV1 | 5.45pm | ‘Emmerdale‘ | An unexpected recording ruins the Dingle Christmas.

Channel 4 | 6.00pm | ‘Home Alone‘ | Comedy starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister’s wish to be free of his family is realised when they accidentally set off without him for a Christmas break in Paris. Suddenly finding himself home alone, Kevin’s efforts to cope with the household chores are hindered by two inept criminals attempting a robbery.

ITV1 | 8.00pm | ‘Coronation Street’ | Leanne is thrilled when Toyah returns to the cobbles.

BBC1 | 10.30pm | ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ | Mammy’s Forest. Agnes refuses to have a Christmas tree this year. I enjoy watching this with my family every year. We love the mistakes and sarcasm the most.

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Boxing Day

ITV1 | 11.05am | ‘Liar Liar’ | A lawyer, whose underhand ploys to win cases leave him little time to see his son, discovers he is incapable of lying after the boy’s birthday wish makes his dad tell only the truth. However, this causes a host of problems as the attorney tries to muddle his way through a high-profile divorce settlement. Comedy, with Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper, Jennifer Tilly and Cary Elwes. I absolutely LOVE this film and I love Jim Carrey even more! He’s amazing! 

E4 | 7.15pm | ‘Jingle all the way’ | A workaholic father tries to make up for his perpetual absence from home by promising to buy his son a hugely popular action figure for Christmas – little realising every other father in town has the same idea. Comedy, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Jake Lloyd, Rita Wilson, Robert Conrad and Phil Hartman.

BBC1 | 8.30pm | ‘Still open all hours’ | Oh ’eck, we return to Roy Clarke’s marshmallow-hearted sitcom and to the eternal tensions between stuffy Northern men and battle-axe Northern women. As Arkwright’s corner shop fills with Christmas tat, its clientele are agog at a new arrival, a man who supposedly possesses a remarkable power over the opposite sex. Granville (David Jason) fends off the attentions of that ruthless, snapping till and the Black Widow (Stephanie Cole), who’s being squired by an unfortunate swain (Geoffrey Whitehead). No wonder he looks worried when he hears the widow’s advice about the treatment of blokes: “They thrive better on less.” The thing about ‘Still Open All Hours’ is you know exactly where you are with it; there are no surprises, just gentle little comedy bumps, which presumably is why it’s such a huge success.

Channel 4 | 9.00pm | ‘The Big Fat Quiz of the Year’ | Richard Ayoade, Rob Delaney, Mel Giedroyc, Sarah Millican, David Mitchell and Romesh Ranganathan battle it out as Jimmy Carr hosts the annual comedy quiz to determine which of his guests has their finger firmly on the pulse of modern life. The host receives help from the likes of Jon Snow, Charles Dance, the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School, a host of celebrity question-setters and some surprise guests as they take in everything from the US presidential election to Boaty McBoatface.

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And there we have my choices for Christmas TV & Film this year. What will you be watching?

Sincerely, Sophie x

Blogmas | Creative Bloggers Secret Santa

Blogmas | Day 19

Being a small part of the blogging community is amazing. I get to meet and talk to so many new people, attend some amazing events and take part in some of the most amazing opportunities. One of these was this years ‘Creative Bloggers Secret Santa’.

A few weeks back, I saw a post on the Creative Bloggers Facebook page, asking if any bloggers wanted to take part in this years ‘Secret Santa’. I’m always looking for new content to feature on the blog and considering I’d just decided to take part in Blogmas, I thought it’d make a great post. So, I agreed.

I had to fill out a form, detailing my name, age and address. My likes and dislikes and what I like most about Christmas. This was to give ideas and help my Secret Santa with my gift.

A few day’s later, I received my recipient and was sent a detailed gift brief via email;

– Include a Handmade gift –

– Include a gift suitable for your recipient with a minimum value of £3.00 – 

– Include a Christmas Card and spread the Christmas spirit –

Soon enough, I had a few ideas in mind;

I decided that for my creative present, I’d make something that my recipient would like. Originally, I was going to make a book mark, because the girl I was buying for liked to read. I found some beautiful handmade book marks on Pinterest and was ready to get creative. However, on the day I went to pick up the materials needed to create it, the market stall was shut. I was on a timer and didn’t have time to look around for another shop. So, I moved onto Plan B. A decorative, handmade heart plaque. I know that they’re very popular to make these days, but every girl loves a plaque to hang up in their home. Plus, it’s a one-off. I think you’ll agree, it’s pretty great and I’m super impressed with it. My mum helped out massively as she’s just as, if not more, creative than me. The red adds that Christmassy touch to it as well. I hope my recipient loves it as much as me.

For my £3 minimum gift, I knew she liked beauty products and handmade soaps. I found my gift in Tesco. I wasn’t really looking at the time but I came across the beauty aisle and saw this beauty. It’s a collection of Body Butters from a brand called ‘Natural Extracts’. I was drawn in by its packaging. I love the rustic look and the string with the tag attracted me. Then I noticed the different body butters. Shea Butter, Coconut, Strawberry and Argan Oil. I thought this would be a perfect beauty gift that’ll last for a long time.

I then added a card to the parcel wishing my recipient a very Merry Christmas, a great 2017 and my blog details and social media account for her to keep in touch. Considering my budget, I’m very happy with my gifts and I really hope she likes them too. I look forward to receiving my Secret Santa gift within the next few days.

I’ll definitely be taking part in this again next year.

Sincerely, Sophie x

Blogmas | Christmas Toy Appeal

Blogmas | Day 18

This year, at the local pub I work at, we had a Christmas Toy Appeal. Apparently, it was such a success last year that they decided to do it all again this year. And to make it fun, they put the name of age of a child onto a tag and hung it on the Christmas Tree. Customers and staff were then allowed to choose a tag from the tree and buy a present suitable for that child. The Christmas Toy Appeal has been created by the charity Care for Kids.

When I went to pick my tag from the tree, I was surprised by how many tags there were. Each tag represents one child in need of a gift this Christmas, no matter how big or small. As I was choosing my tag, I came across babies, young boys and girls and teenagers. Originally, I was going to choose a baby or young child, but I thought for a moment. I know that many people will go for the young children and babies because they are a little easier to buy for. After a few seconds, I decided I’d choose a teenager.

I found a girl named Katie, aged 14. I chose Katie because that’s my sisters name and I’m one of those people who looks for ‘signs’ in everything they do. I then looked at the tag next to Katie’s and found a girl named Sophie. My name! She was 12 years old. I decided to buy Sophie a gift too.

Unfortunately, this Christmas, I haven’t been able to spend as much on people as usual because of my travels to America in less than 2 weeks. I’ve had to set myself a limit this year and this meant doing the same with Katie and Sophie’s present too. So, I set a limit of £5. Some of you might think that’s a little cheap, but believe me, if I had the money, I’d have picked more than 2 children to buy for and spent a lot more on the gifts. Yes, being on a limit sucks!

What did I decide to buy I hear you ask? Well, I decided to think back to when I was around 12 and 14. What did I like? What was I into? Thinking back, it was around the time I ditched the ‘Chav’ look I used to like, the tracksuit pants tucked into socks look. Hideous, I know. But, for some unbeknown reason, it was the style back then. Anyway, I was just beginning to get into fashion and make-up. Taking pride in my appearance. Nowadays though, I’ve noticed children ageing much faster than me and my friends did at their age. So, I decided to get them a few beauty products.

With a £5 limit, I knew I wasn’t going to be getting a lot for my money, but, I was actually very shocked with the amazing choice available on the high street.

The first item I picked up was a bath bomb from Superdrug. The brand is called Flutter and it features a very cute puppy on the front. The bath bomb is baby pink in colour and comes in cute spotty packaging, finished off with a pink ribbon. Bath bombs have become very popular recently and there’s always a little excitement watching them dissolve in the bath. £1

My second beauty product that I included was a Sweet Snuggles lip balm set. I remember loving lip balms when I was younger and these funky christmassy ones are so cute. £1

The next item was a hand cream, again by a brand called Flutter, sold in Superdrug. I remember always having hand cream in my school bag and becoming a little obsessed using it during class. The design in beautiful. £1

My final item I added was something every girl loves. A bit of chocolate. This cute little reindeer is from Iceland and priced at £2. It looks very similar to Lindt. I won’t lie, it wasn’t until I got to the till that I realised it wasn’t. But, I’m sure it’ll taste just as good.

And I got all that for under £5. I love how cute and girly all the packaging is aswell. I just hope Sophie and Katie like their gifts as much as I do and that, wherever they are, I hope they both have the most amazing Christmas.

Sincerely, Sophie x

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I'm Sophie, a Photographer from the North West, UK. Welcome to my little blog where I share my thoughts, my dreams and musings. Take a look around x
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