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WELCOME

WELCOME
Hello, you! I'm Soph - a 22 year old girl currently living in Liverpool, spending most of her time writing, taking photo's, drinking coffee & trying not to eat too much cake.

You're all alright I s'pose!




Ask your Grandparents, or even some of your Parents what their views are about meeting people online, and you'll probably be greeted with a response along the lines of 'never!', 'don't be silly, it's dangerous.', or 'everyone on the internet is clearly out to get you.'. 

Now, while I by no means want to express that meeting people over the internet is completely, utterly and 100% safe, (because it sometimes isn't, and I pray that we all still have our wits about us when it comes to internet safety) what I think is safe to say, is that we've come a long way in terms of being social online. 

With the rise of social networking sites that enable you to meet new people in your local area, dating apps such as Tinder, or quite simply, starting up your own blog, getting talking to fresh new faces online has never been quicker, or easier... or normal. 

About 80% of the people in my life at the minute, I met online. Is that weird? For me, no. Not at all. After my A Levels a lot of my friends from home went off to uni, and I went to work, eventually moving into a new city, into a flat with someone who, yeah, you guessed it, I met online. SpareRoom was an absolute life saver when trying to find someone to share the rent with! I didn't know anyone here, and if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been able to move out. And I'd say it's worked out pretty well, me and N get on great, and she's almost become a big sister figure to me, and I love it and wouldn't have it any other way now!

Without the internet, I'd have probably gone a little insane on my own here!





Just thinking about this post just now has got me thinking about something else. I have learned A LOT from people I've met online in the last year or so. Some are just simple, and practical things, but there are other, bigger life lessons. I was about to write them all down, but I think there's going to be wayyyy too much to fit into this post... you know how much I like to ramble on a bit about life stuff. (Okay, a lot. Sorry!)

Most of the people I talk to daily at the moment are people I've met through this thing here. Yes, this. My blog! 

Some were directly through Twitter chats, blog comments, out of the blue DM's asking if I'd go to a fashion show with them the day after said out of the blue DM (yes Becca, I'm looking at you..), some through being super cheeky and inviting myself to a blogger trip that never happened, and others indirectly with blogging being a conversation starter. 

Okay so yes, there are a few people that I've met, I probably wish I could un-meet, but 99% of you are just lovely, and fabulous, and I feel so lucky and honoured sometimes to be talking to some of you lot!




Tell 16 year old me this, and she'd have politely told you to go away and stop being ridiculous. But, again, even in 5 years I feel that the online world has changed completely. 

Although, the first time I went to a blog event (read alllll about it here!), it was the Friday afternoon before and the usual conversation in the office of 'what's everyone doing this weekend?' came around... trying to explain to fellow colleagues that I was taking the train to London, to meet up with a bunch of girls I've never met before, to go to a bar in soho that I'd never heard of, to spend the day doing I didn't quite know what.. was a little tricky. Not gonna lie. I guess some things you just don't get unless you're part of it!



It's one of those things that the more you do it though, the easier it gets. Yes, you're always going to be nervous before you meet someone in person for the first time, no matter who they are. Like I touched on in my last post, you can sometimes be a different person behind a screen. 

But, most of the time, people are real, and the online world has never been a greater tool to expand your social and professional networks. If, you use it wisely, of course. 

Soph

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It can be easy to hide.




I think it's safe to say that we can all be different people depending on who we're with. The person you are sat at home with your family probably isn't the same person who stands in front of your boss. We hide different things from different people, and we aim to present the best version of ourselves to those who don't really know us, to those who we want to impress, or simply to those who we're not yet comfortable enough with to show the 'real' us.
The same goes for our online-selves. We're quick to un-tag ourselves from those slightly dodgy Facebook photo's, to share our good news on Twitter, or to show the world our favourite (and slightly edited) possessions, purchases, adventures and faces on Instagram. But does this represent our whole lives, all the time? No, of course it doesn’t. I never quite realised this as much as before I started blogging.  
When you start a blog, you basically put yourself on the internet, you give people, most of whom you've never met, a glimpse into your life. Whether this be directly through blog posts or vlogs on Youtube, or more often than not, regular Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram updates. But it's still just this, a glimpse.



Some bloggers are more open with their readers than others, and the one thing that has really amazed me more than anything from blogging, is just how strong minded a lot of bloggers are. I'm constantly inspired by all the mental health posts I read, people being so open about their thoughts, feelings, anxiety, depression, and not just having the strength to talk about it, but wanting to actually help others who might just be in the same position. This is something that I don't think I could ever do, and I admire every single one of you for it. You're all simply amazing.
No matter what the subject though, I think we've all probably written at least one personal post that's had us feeling a little bit sick at the thought of hitting that publish button. But, I bet they're the posts that you also get some of the best responses to, right? People love to read honest and real posts about the lives of others, and in a sense I think it brings a sort of comfort to us.
However, that still doesn't show everything, there's still a lot of things that we just don't share. You wouldn't record the stupid arguments you have with friends or family. You wouldn't tweet all the times when you suddenly feel down, when you feel completely crap about yourself and all you want to do is curl up in your bed with lots of chocolate and cry, and you probably definitely wouldn't share the reasons why. You wouldn't Instagram a photograph of your iPad screen while you start to google those symptoms you're getting, while convincing yourself you're about to pop your clogs because of some rare illness you've discovered on Wikipedia.

What I'm trying to say is that I think we sometimes forget about all the things we don't see on social media. Next time you start to think that someone seems to have it all together, and you wonder 'why can't my life be like theirs?', 'gosh, they don't seem to have a care in the world.', or 'I want to be as confident as them.', just remember that they might not actually have it all together. There's a chance they're still as confused and running around not quite sure what they're doing with their life as much as you!
Remember that we never really quite know what each other is going through either. We can all have times that are hard for us, and it's those times that we don’t broadcast to the world. It's just as easy to post happy and seemingly normal things on twitter while you're hiding under previously mentioned duvet as it is to post them when you're in the best mood you've been in all week.
Don't presume someone is just fine based on what they tweet. You can hide a lot behind social media.
Soph
 
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Oh Me Oh My...





Soooo in case you hadn't already guessed from my previous post, last weekend marked my 21st birthday! Going 'out out' really isn't my thing, and so I opted to celebrate my birthday in a slightly quieter way, taking a week and a half off work (yipeee!) and spending time with family and friends, doing lots of lovely little things I wouldn't normally get the chance to do!

First on my list was afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is my absolute favourite thing, and there's a place I'd heard about in Liverpool that I've wanted to go for months. However, it's opening hours completely clash with my working hours and so I've never been able to go... until Monday! So I dragged Emma and Mara along with me to go and have a peek inside Oh Me Oh My, and oh my goodness, I definitely wasn't disappointed. 

This place is hidden away right by the waterfront in Liverpool, it has such a chic and quirky feel to the whole place. It's got high ceilings, white-wash walls, fairy lights, and is extremely spacious... oh, and the food is just delicious as well (and extremely reasonably priced too, bonus!).




As you might be able to tell, we didn't quite make it for afternoon tea. We kinda got hungry so well, we ended up just going for lunch instead!

Service here definitely came with a smile, and we weren't waiting long for our drinks or our food, and the time in between was mostly spent just admiring this gorgeous building and chatting about all things blogging... the one great thing about days out with fellow bloggers, is that as well as being able to talk about blog stuff, that your non-blogging friends won't quite get, you also understand when each other waps out their camera to take photo's of EVERYTHING.

There were a vast selection of tea's available at Oh Me Oh My, and Emma's even came in this amazing teapot that I was lusting over, a lot, and just wanted to take right home with me!

Once we'd finished with the food, there was one other thing that we'd spotted on our way in. A roof garden.




This place was gorgeous! It had been fully decked out, there were lots of lovely flowers and they even provide blankets for days like this one when it was a little bit windy! It also gives you such a lovely view over Liverpool, the docks, waterfront and the Three Graces. Just lovely!

I literally cannot recommend this place enough, and if you ever find yourself in Liverpool, make sure you pop in here for some lunch, definitely worth the walk! I'm going to make sure I come back here, sharpish.





Soph

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Turning 21.






So today I turn 21! 

21 sounds like I have to be an actual adult now, which although in someways having gone straight into full time employment nearly 3 years ago, having bills and rent to pay, and complaining how much of a pain in the bum council tax is on a monthly basis, you could say I've been in the adult world for a while now. But still, 21 kinda makes it official, right?

But do you know what, I'm actually SO excited for the future. My life's changed massively in the last 3 years, so who even knows what my life will look like by the end of the next 3 years. Although I'm not sure how I feel about thinking about 24 year old me... that really is a scary, scary thought!

I made a promise to myself the other day that I'm going to stay positive and appreciate the most beautiful things in life each day. This is what happened the other day. Not only did I have the most fabulous and giggle-filled day with Becca, we happened to stumble across this gorgeous park in the middle of Liverpool. There was hardly anyone else around (excusing the few passers by who did give us a few strange second glances..), the sun was shining, the surroundings were just lovely and the blossom falling off the tree's was beautiful! (Oh, and I think Becca's found her new calling in life as a lifestyle photographer. What dya reckon?!)






There are still a few times when I'm around certain people, in certain places and in certain circumstances that I still feel like I'm not me. I still feel like I have to conform to people's expectations of the old me. The girl I was when I when left college and first ventured into the 'real world' at 18. This isn't me anymore. I don't get to show everyone who I am. Yes, I may still be quiet at times but I've developed an inner confidence from somewhere that not everyone gets to see. But I'm determined to make this change and (try) to be less care-free and enjoy life to the fullest! No matter where I am, or who I'm with. 

I'm also determined to stop living in the past. Forget the people who don't matter anymore and focus on the ones who do.  I have the best people in my life at the minute, and I need to stop letting things from years gone by affect me and my relationships with others in the now.

I'm just a little bit caught in the middle, life is a maze, and love is a riddle, I don't know where to go,  I can't do it alone, I've tried. And I don't know why. Slow it down, make it stop. Or else my heart is going to pop. Cause it's too much, yeah it's a lot, to be something I'm not. I'm just a little girl lost in the moment, I'm so scared, but I don't show it, I can't figure it out, it's bringing me down, I know, I've got to let it go. And just enjoy the show.  - The Show, Lenka.

I'm determined to make turning 21 the best day, and see it as a new, fresh and fabulous start. 





Soph

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Let's get some perspective





Today I realised that I've not rambled on about life for a while, so I thought it was about time I did. I love writing these kind of posts. Sat with my Mac on my bed, candles lit, a cup of tea to hand and just being able to write down some of the many things that are flying about in my head. And that's a lot of things.
If anyone's been unfortunate enough to have me vent to them recently, you'll know that I'm at a little bit of a crossroads.. in life,  with no clue which direction to take. I mention in my post, A Little Lost (here) that I feel, well, a little lost.
' I worry that I don't know where I'm going in life. That I don’t really know what I want to do, I'm not entirely sure what I want to have achieved by the time I'm too old to care.'
The fact that I wrote this over two months ago is really scary. Like, how are we in May already?! But I guess this just re-enforces to me what I want to chat about. I've probably said this way too many times already, but life really is too short.
I've had this thrown at me a few times recently, but one time in particular really made it sink in. I was casually people watching and I'd spotted a group of friends living in our 'older generation', shall we say. Listening to the conversation, their daily struggles, health problems, and actually, what they consider to be 'exciting' parts of their lives, I just thought out loud, 'I don't want to get old.' To which I received the response, 'Don't worry, you might not get there.' Thanks for that Aaron.  
Every time he goes to work, there's a chance Aaron's going to see just this. People not being able to live their lives anymore. It could happen to any of us, at any time. I'm super guilty of worrying and stressing about stupid things that really, are not worth worrying about. A lot of us now have extremely busy lifestyles; going to work, trying to study, ensuring you keep yourself fit, keeping up with hobbies, making sure you have time to spend with family, while still trying to squeeze in time to socialise with your friends to keep ourselves sane. Oh, and trying to keep everyone around you happy in the process too. It can get crazy, pretty quick.  So forgetting about what really are the important things can be easy. Especially when it's the important things that you tend to have less time for.



So, think about this. If you work full time, you're probably typically spending 5 out of your 7 days a week at work. Doing whatever it is you do to make a living, because let's face it, there's not many of us that could say we'd voluntarily do what we do, if we didn't have to, right? (If you're one of the lucky ones, love your job and would do it voluntarily.. you might wanna skip this next bit!) That's a massive part of your week, that will gradually turn into a massive part of your life over the years.
But really, is this more important than spending time with your friends or relatives? Are you going to look back, when you're approaching 90 and think, do you know what, I'm so glad I spent all that time on that work project? No. Are you going to think, actually, all that time I spent stressed was completely worth it? No. You're going to be remembering (at the risk of going all super cheesy) all the laughs you've had with your friends. The crazy and stupid things you've done that make for great stories over a few drinks. The lovely family gatherings you've had with those you haven't seen in months because of previously mentioned busy lifestyle. You're going to remember the times you were happiest and care-free.
So unless you know something's going to make you really happy at the end of it, I think we need to stop worrying about it. This is something else people try and shout at me too, what will worrying and stress actually do to help? Nothing. Zilch. Nadda.
If you get stressed, just stop, take a minute and think about what's actually going to happen if you don't quite meet that deadline, quite get the grade you wanted in an exam, or if something you want to say comes out a bit wrong. Unless someone's going to die, or get hurt, how important is it, really?
We grow up being taught how important it is to work hard to achieve what you want, but also to make sure we only do what we want. I think we forget this sometimes.
Life can be amazing, and beautiful, and crazy but it can also pass us by extremely quickly.
Do more of what makes you happy. This is definitely next on my to-do list.
Soph
 ♥
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Let's talk photographs!






I've been umming-and-ahhing over whether to write this post for a while. I realise that I haven't been blogging for long and I really don't want anyone to think I'm sticking my two-penneth in where I shouldn't by doing a sort of 'tips n tricks' post after only 5 months! I'm definitely no expert in photography, I have no qualifications in it, and I've never been on a photography course, however, I get some just lovely comments on my photo's and so I thought I'd do a quick post on what I have learned and stumbled across from each time I've reached for my camera or my phone (...because I'm a firm believer that you definitely don't need a 'proper' camera to take amazing photo's)!


Light, Light, Light

Number one on the list has to be light. Whether it be in from the window or from you being outside, natural light is an absolute dream, and I can't even explain the difference it can make to a photograph until you notice it for yourself! So if you're thinking your photo's could do with being a little brighter, try setting up next to a window, or just open the blinds a little more, trust me, you'll notice a massive difference.

Have a play 



...particularly with angles! Things don't always look best when photographed from straight on, particularly lifestyle snaps. Each time I post a photo online, whether it be on my blog or my Instagram, you can guarantee there'll be at least 15-20 similar photo's stored on my camera. That's because I always love to have a play around with different angles, different compositions and different backgrounds as well as including different items in the same shot to see what looks best styled with what. You'll notice this red rose features in a lot of my photo's... I just love it so much! It can be fun to get your creative eye out and just have a play!

Go out and explore

This is one of my favourite things to do. This one can be great if you're in need of a bit of inspiration, either for photographs themselves or even whole blog posts. Go out and explore your city, explore your village or your town and your surroundings. Go and find places you never knew existed, or just sit and watch passers by and observe life and everything going on around you. Then take a photo of it. You might be surprised at what you come back with!



Get to know your camera 

Now, if I'm completely and totally and utterly honest with you guys, I still have no flipping clue how to work my camera. All my photo's are still shot on Auto. Eeeeeep, I know, I really need to learn and invest some time into figuring out how to get myself off Auto, but it's just so easy to use! 

What I have figured out however, is that you can still adjust the brightness, clarity, how in focus you want which parts of the shot to be, and obviously that the viewing screen actually flips out. This one took me a while... I SWEAR I have common sense really.

However, once I'd figured all this out, my photo's became a whole lot better within seconds, in addition to trialling and stumbling (literally) across those different angles!

It's all about that Edit!




Just because you've now got your shot, doesn't mean that you have to stop there. You're always going to be able to make your photo's look even better.

I know a lot of fellow bloggers swear by Photoshop, and it's a great tool to enhance your photo's and get them looking just the way you envisioned. However, I found that Photoshop can be a bit overwhelming and tricky to navigate, especially if you're a complete novice on it like me! Photoshop also comes at a cost, and if you've already spent some pennies on a camera, you may not want to spend some more on editing software, and there are a lot of great, cheaper and free alternatives out there, such as PicMonkey, which is a completely free online photo editor and pretty much does what you need it to!


I, personally, actually edit all my photo's on my phone! I know, this is probably a bit random and I should really use something a bit more technical, but for me, its the easiest and quickest way of getting my photo's looking the way I want! My camera has built in Wi-Fi, and through an app available on the app store, I can quickly transfer any photo's I've taken straight to my phone (and then they're also simultaneously on my Mac via iCloud and photostream - it's an absolute dream!). Once they're on there I then just use the Afterlight (£0.79) and VSCOCam (free) apps to increase the brightness and clarity of my photo's to get them looking blog ready!


Simple!

What would your photo tips be?

Soph

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