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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.

I have a secret.



I have a secret. Don't we all?

We all have secrets. We all have things that we'd rather not have anyone else know, things that we feel are best just kept to ourselves or between a few. Or it could be that no one else can know, because it means that less people will get hurt if you keep it to yourself. Or, simply, it could be a surprise. Something amazing has just happened that you can't tell anyone else just yet. 

Growing up, I think we're all taught that secrets are bad, that you should always be 100% honest with everyone around you. But I think when you do grow up, it's just not that simple anymore. Does keeping something from someone because you think it's for the best mean that you're not being honest? Does it make you a bad person? I don't think so. (I mean, obviously if this secret is that you've just killed someone or that you've just stolen something, then the answer's probably yes... but you get what I mean.)

Life gets complicated sometimes, and the pressures from society and social media to be 'perfect', and to create this ideal that we're all meant to live in can mean that we're too afraid to say things, admit things that we secretly love, or confide in our friends because of the fear of what they would think.

I was thinking the other day, about different things that some of my closest friends have confided in me with, and that I know that there are things that they have confided in other friends that I don't know. And the same goes for me too. There's little bits of my life that different friends know about, because I went to them for advice on different topics because I knew that they would be great at it. But, does this mean that any of us will ever have one person that knows everything about us?

Maybe this is me just being young and naive, but I'm curious to know, do you guys have one person that truly knows everything about you? Or do you keep little things from even your closest of friends? 

Soph







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Working from home: 5 ways to stay productive.



How to stay productive & motivated when working from home.

Ahh. Working from home. The second I mention to anyone that I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work from home a couple of days a week, I normally get a 'yeah, but you don't really work though at home, do you?' and this really bugs the hell out of me. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people that is always up and working at 6am because that's the normal time I have to get up for work if I'm in the office. In fact, the other day, I accidentally woke up at 8.55am and was still half dressed and tucking into a bowl of Shreddies while dialling into a 9am conference call with my boss and a client. #glamorous

But, in over 4 years of remote working, I've picked up a few little tricks and hacks to keep my productivity up whilst completing my 9-5 from my bed. Because yes, the temptation to just whack your out of office on  and grab Netflix instead is HUGE, somedays. 

D o n' t  w o r k  f r o m  y o u r  b e d.  

Okay, first up, don't actually work from your bed. No matter how tempting it is to stay snuggled up under your duvet and just grab your laptop whilst lying down, this never works. I always have to get up and get myself dressed, and at least get myself to the dining room table. A lot of time, I try and find myself a coffee shop to work in for the morning, I find still getting myself up and out first thing, really helps.

P u t  y o u r  s h o e s  o n.  

Put your shoes on, even if you're staying inside all day and have no intention of going anywhere. I think I read this on someone else's blog once, and OMG this was a total game changer. I don't even know why this makes me feel more motivated and productive but it totally does. If you haven't tried this yet, do it!

F o c u s  o n  o n e  t a s k  a t  a  t i m e.

And don't switch until you've completed it. This was something I learned from my previous job - trying to juggle multiple tasks and jobs at once, particularly if you work for more than one manager, is normally just counter productive. For me, I get bored and distracted easily, so it's natural for me to want to try and do different things every so often, but I started to find that I was simply just getting 90% of things 90% completed. Now, I take my to-do list one thing at a time, and I don't move onto something else until the previous item is fully done!

A l l o c a t e  s e t  t i m e s  f o r  e m a i l s.

I work in radio, and while I'm not actually on air, the nature of my job still means that things could need attention at any time of the day, so I can't ever completely switch off my emails and not keep my eye on them. However, what I can do, is set aside 10 minutes every hour to go in and respond and deal with any that are non-urgent, rather than interrupting my work flow every time an email lands in my inbox.

I used to do the latter, and i'm sure you guys know what it's like if you do this, you basically never get anything else done because as soon as you send an email out, another one just comes right back at you!

W o r k  w h e n  y o u 'r e  a t  y o u r  m o s t  p r o d u c t i v e.

One of the benefits to working from home is being able to manage your own time a little more. Despite my little anecdote before, the morning is most definitely when I'm at most productive, so I try and make the most of this by being up and working by at least 8am. This means that I don't feel all too guilty when I take a little extra break when I hit that 3pm wall that's impossible to get past. Trying to accomplish tasks when your head isn't in it, is again generally counter productive!


I use a lot of these when I'm blogging too, because lets face it, blogging is pretty much a 2nd full time job for most of us!

Do you have any little tips for working at home?

Soph

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Life lately | Can I just chat to you guys for a little while?



Grab a cuppa, I feel like I just need to chat, and this might be a long one. 


A couple of weekends ago, I grabbed a few friends and dragged them over to New Brighton. The weather was just perfect and I guess I needed a walk to clear my head, whilst also feeling the need for some company. The sun was out, but it was still cold enough to get wrapped up in a scarf and cosy jacket, to grab a coffee and then enjoy the fresh air, the perfect blue hues of the sky, and the beautiful smell of the sea air.

And now, now I'm grabbing you guys and hoping that you'll just let me chat for a little while. I have no idea where this post is going to go, or what the overall subject matter is going to be. But I haven't just sat down and written something in a while, and I guess I kinda miss that. So, here goes.

There's a lot going on in this little head of mine at the minute. I'm excited and happy. But I'm confused, feeling fragile and a little scared. I'm enjoying the little things in life but I'm longing to satisfy an inner craving of something bigger. I'm aware that I'm lucky and in a fabulous position right now, but that doesn't mean that I feel complete.

I feel like there's something missing, and while part of me can't quite explain it exactly, there's a part of me that knows exactly what I want. I have countless posts sat in my drafts, each one trying to explain exactly how I'm feeling; open letters to people in my life who I care about, attempting to explain where I'm at and why I may have been acting a little distant or different, lately. I doubt any of these will see the light of day, but writing is my outlet and sometimes it just helps, right?


This same weekend, I'd spent the Saturday wandering around the city and taking all of the photo's of everything. And there was a moment when I was looking up at The Royal Liver Building on Liverpool docks, there was hardly anyone else around and I just felt this overwhelming sense of pure joy. I just started smiling and laughing to myself because I realised that actually, life was good. I was happy. 

And then that evening I returned to an empty flat, and I felt suddenly alone again. And it's this constant conflict and emotional battle that gets me down, sometimes. In the same way that some days, I'm the most independent girl you'll ever meet. I'm more than happy to spend days by myself, getting things done, keeping myself occupied and feeling a little like a girl boss accomplishing everything on my to-do list. And then other days, I find myself curled up under my duvet feeling lost, down and like I really just need a good old hug.

If there's one thing that I'd say about myself, it's that I'm fiercely loyal. If we're friends, if we're close, if we chat all the time then there's probably nothing that I wouldn't do for you. If you needed me in the middle of the night then I'd find a way to get to you. If you suddenly found yourself upset, then I'd absolutely do anything to try and comfort you. Or if you confide in me that you're feeling a little down, I'll go out of my way to bring you a little surprise to cheer you up.

But, sometimes I forget that not everyone feels and thinks in the same way I do, and this... loyalty is probably the wrong word... but this, showing that you're cared about, I guess, isn't always reciprocated as much or in the same way, and I think it's this that's been getting to me a little recently. Now, the people that I have in mind when writing this, they don't do it on purpose. Because I know that they do actually care - they just have different ways of showing it to me. But as a girl who needs a lot of reassurance from everyone in her life, it gets hard, sometimes.


I know that life always has a way of working things out, and that this feeling is just a little blip, and to be honest, I think I know how I can fix it. But it's that age old problem of knowing that things are going to have to get harder before they get better, and thats scary sometimes, right?

Anyway, normal and more upbeat posts will resume as of tomorrow. Promise! :)

Soph

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On being brave.




Sometimes, you've just got to be brave.

Okay, so don't worry, I'm not going to throw the whole 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone' quote down your throat throughout the whole of this post, because lets face it, it's most probably become one of those terribly overused and cheesy quotes that we're all fed up of hearing, right? But the actual message is something that I've come to realise is pretty true.

Taking those first steps, or just generally throwing yourself in some cases, out of your comfort zone can be terrifyingly exhilarating. I've never really classed myself as a 'brave' kinda girl, but recently, I've found myself trying and enjoying things that have previously terrified me, and to be quite honest it feels pretty fabulous.


They say that 'fear is temporary, regret is forever.' and I couldn't agree more with this. There are so many opportunities and experiences that I feel like I've missed out on because I've been too scared. But then there have been other times when I've thrown myself into them anyway and had the best time. And I always can't help but think how this would have probably been the case if I could've beaten my own mind all of those times before.

Someone said 'I need you to be brave for me.' recently, and jesus I've never felt the need to make sure I overcome a fear of mine so much before. Because, for me, there's nothing that motivates me to try and push myself further than having someone else telling me that they believe that I can. Maybe this shouldn't be the case, maybe I should be strong enough to motivate myself all the time, but sometimes the fear of letting someone else down, and letting them see that they were wrong about me, places more fear into my head than the fear of the thing itself.


But, I think that one of the most important things to remember is that my 'brave', is probably a lot different to yours, but that doesn't mean that overcoming something that someone else considers to be 'nothing', should be belittled or you should think that it's not an achievement. 

The feeling you get after doing something that scares you, is pretty addictive. It's a natural high that always leaves me wanting to feel it again and again, but getting to that point is always pretty mentally exhausting. But I think that we should always strive to be better, shouldn't we? And sometimes, telling yourself that you need to do something that scares you is simply part of this, don't you think?

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling a little now, so I'm just going to leave you guys with this quote;

'When life gives you something that makes you feel afraid, that's when life gives you a chance to be brave.'

Soph


F E A T U R E D  I N  T H I S  P O S T


b.tempt'd lace kiss lingerie set  - you probably all know that I love pretty underwear by know, so when the lovely ladies from b.tempt'd emailed me and asked if I wanted to work with them, I mentally went 'OMG YES.' as soon as I visited their website. Their pieces are so, so pretty and feminine and I absolutely love this lace kiss set that they sent out to me. I basically live in bralette's now, in fact, I can't remember the last time I wore an actual bra. And this set fits and suits me just perfectly.

For my full disclaimer, please click here.
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2 things to get you through anything: Hope & Faith.



Having hope & faith that things will be just fine, is sometimes everything you need to keep you going.


There's a street in The Georgian Quarter of Liverpool called Hope Street. And a lot of people say that it got it's name because there are 2 Cathedrals that sit at either end; The Metropolitan Cathedral (pictured above), and The Liverpool/Anglican Cathedral (just about pictured below) - and so Hope Street is the street that connects the two. 

I've actually recently learned that it was, in fact, named after a chap called William Hope who had a house on the corner. But I like the first story better, don't you?

Hope is a funny thing; because like dreams and faith and anything else that involves some sort of belief, you can't see it. But boy, is it necessary sometimes, right? 

From taking risks that you're not entirely sure how they're going to pan out, to trying to deal with situations and past events, hoping and believing that you're going to get through it all, that you're strong enough to cope, and having to just have faith that everything will be okay, is something that can really stop us all from giving up. I know it's proved essential for me in the last few years or so.



They say that letting go of things is often the way forward and the way to move on, but sometimes hope & faith are two things that you just need to hold on to for the sake of your own sanity. And, I guess it's similar to the belief that changing the way you think can change your attitude and outlook on life.

Think positively and you'll feel much better. Your mind will always believe everything that you tell it. So, feed it with hope, and provide yourself with a constant reminder. For me, it's my tattoo. I have the tiniest tattoo of a little cross on the inside of my right wrist. It's somewhere that I can see this little symbol of faith and belief every day, and you have no idea how much this little self-reminder has helped me through, some days.

And I don't think that it always has to be anything huge that you feel like you're fighting to turn to hope. It could just be little things like 'I hope this bad day gets better for me.', or 'I really hope that I still have that emergency chocolate in the cupboard' - because lets face it, chocolate can turn any bad day into a good one, right?

Soph

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How to not feel so tired all of the time.




How to not feel so tired all of the time.


Whenever I seem to ask any of my friends how they are at the minute, the general response is 'yeah I'm fine, I'm just TIRED.' Everyone seems to be super tired, all of the time, myself included. And to be honest, it's not really much of a surprise considering how busy our lives get. Sometimes, I find myself wondering whether feeling constantly worn out is just another part of our modern-day lives that we're somehow supposed to get used to. 

But, as I read somewhere once, if our minds and our bodies are healthy, then we should feel amazing no matter how full our daily schedules are. So, I decided to start doing some research, and I found that there are some relatively simple lifestyle changes out there that will hopefully help us all not feel so terribly exhausted every day!

S L E E P  

Okay, don't look at me like that. Hear me out. We all may tell ourselves that of course we're getting enough sleep, but are you really? I don't know about you, but I'll take myself off to bed at 10.30pm, with the intention of sleeping and getting those all important 7-8 hours sleep. But then I sit scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and before I know it, I'm down to 6 hours or less. 

My aim for the next week or so is to create a nighttime routine, and then try and stick to it!

K E E P  H Y D R A T E D

If I'm not drinking enough water, I get all moody and I definitely feel less energised than when I keep my hydration levels up. I also find that I get really bad headaches if I haven't been drinking enough water, making me feel even more tired than I already am.

I always try and keep a huge glass of water topped up while I'm at desk at work - this way I can just keep sipping on it throughout the day, and I was surprised by how quickly this became a habit when I first started!

E A T  W E L L

In my case, this is quite often eating too little, but eating the wrong food can also be a bit of an issue in draining your energy levels. Making sure you're getting enough fruit & veg, protein and healthy fats (which yes, includes avocado!), can really make all the difference to how you feel throughout the day.

E X E R C I S E  R E G U L A R L Y

I have currently fallen so far off the exercise band wagon, it's terrible and I genuinely feel awful for it. I know from personal experience, and experience which I've written about on this blog before, how genuinely amazing those endorphins can make you feel. When I manage to drag my bum to the gym before work, I have so much more energy and I'm always so much more productive!


Do you guys have any tips on how to not feel so tired? 

Soph

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Tips for life admin & getting yourself organised.



Life admin & getting yourself organised.

Otherwise known as; getting your sh*t together.

If there's any kind of admin that I detest and put off the most, it's the 'life' kind. Work admin tasks - well, it's my job and I'm paid to do those. Blog admin, I can just about cope with because I love my blog. But life admin really makes me sigh.

It's the remembering to pay your bills, sort out car insurance and bank accounts, as well as doing your finances, your washing, cleaning the flat and attempting to keep some sort of food stocked up in the fridge. Why is life so hectic all of the time and why do I actually have to do adult stuff?

So, here is a little list of things that I've found helpful, or that I'm going to attempt to do going forward, in a bid to make all of the life admin stuff a little less troublesome.



Automate paying your bills, if you can. | I think we can all agree that paying bills is one of our least favourite things to do. And I'm pretty sure that I suffer from a selective memory - only seemingly being able to remember to do things that I want to do. So, setting up standing orders and direct debits to pay our bills was the best thing I ever did! It means everything is paid on time and we get no angry reminders through the post!


Use your phone. | I often feel like I don't make enough use of my phone. Even simple things like using the calendar to keep track of meetings and events, and setting myself reminders to remember to do those little tasks while I'm out and about, that I know I'm going to forget about unless I have something to remind me. With all of the apps available now, we practically have a personal assistant at our finger tips, so I'm determined to make sure I use this more!


Spend less time on social media. | I have a talent for spending hours aimlessly scrolling through social media. Valuable time that could be spent doing a lot more, *ahem*, productive stuff. As a blogger, I tell myself that this time is simply me carrying out my hobby, but then other times it literally gets ridiculous and I even get mad at myself for how much time I've just wasted. Cutting back this time means that I'll have more than enough time to do more of other stuff, like replying to blog emails and getting a little more creative.


Declutter & have a clear out. | Quite often, my flatmate will ask me what my plans are or the for the weekend, and quite often, my reply consists of - 'sorting my life out' - which basically means I'm gonna have a declutter of my room and try and have a clear out. I find that if my surroundings are organised, I feel a lot more organised. It's also a task that makes me feel super productive, and like I've really achieved something by the end of it.


Set aside a certain amount of time each week, and stick to it. | For me, this seems to be a Sunday evening. It's like my brain kicks into gear and likes to get ready for the new week ahead a little early, ticking off everything that's left on my to-do list, so that I can start Monday morning with a clean slate. And I think that this is the key for me, having time to completely clear my to-do list, as there's nothing more that gets me a little on edge than knowing I have stuff I haven't done yet.

Let me know how you tackle your life admin!

Soph

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How I proved that you don't need a huge Instagram following for good engagement.




Think you need thousands of Instagram followers for better Instagram engagement? Well, I think I've just proved that you don't.

I've decided to create a second Instagram account. I've always wanted to share more architectural shots on my Instagram, however, I've never felt that they would quite 'fit' with my main blog account (yes, I'm one of those people. Sorry not sorry.)

So, last weekend, I took the plunge and created a second account, which you can follow here, so that I have the freedom to post all of the buildings and shots of the city that I love. 

Now, as you can imagine, starting all over again with an Instagram account seems like taking on a little bit of a big and bonkers task, particularly with the new algorithm and how hard it is to grow a following on that platform. However, I've noticed that something unexpected has started to happen.

If an engagement vs followers ratio is a thing, I'm actually doing better on my second account. As you can see from these screenshots, one of my photo's has managed to reach 106 likes, with just 107 followers at the time of writing this. I never expected this kind of engagement on such a 'little' account, in comparison to what's out there.


S o,  w h a t  h a v e  I  l e a r n e d?


G o o d  q u a l i t y  p h o t o's  m a t t e r. | I've dedicated my second account to being strictly iPhone photo's only, as when I'm out and about in the city, they're always generally shot on my phone. But, that doesn't mean that if you only take photographs on your phone, that they're going to be bad quality. Mobile phone camera's are getting better, and I can only speak as an iPhone user, but I actually prefer my iPhone camera when taking shots like this. 

As long as you can get good lighting, don't have to zoom too much and have a good way of editing, good quality photo's, even on a phone, is most definitely possible and a must!


R e l e v e n t  h a s h t a g s  m a t t e r. | Hashtag the hell out of your photo's. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each photo you post, and if engagement is what you're after, these are most definitely your golden tool. You wouldn't believe the difference in engagement in a photo with hashtags vs a photo without them. 

But, the key here is to also make sure they're relevant! On my blog account, I use hashtags such as #fbloggers and #lbloggers. Not quite sure these would fit in here. So, instead I've looked at other successful architectural accounts and found hashtags such as #archilovers - this is then a good way of finding new accounts to follow! 

Because my feed is mainly Liverpool based, I also use hashtags such as #itsliverpool and #igersmersey - this also helps to find local Instagrammers like yourself!


E n g a g i n g  w i t h  s i m i l a r  a c c o u n t s  m a t t e r s. | This nicely links with my point above. Engaging with similar accounts is a lot better than leaving random comments on accounts that are no where near the same vibe as yours, because they just won't be interested in your account. 

I've found that local Instagrammers around Liverpool, who take similar shots of similar things, are a lot more likely to engage with me than other accounts. So, use this to your advantage!


H a v i n g  a  c o n s i s t e n t  't h e m e'  m a t t e r s. | And by this I mean, have your 'thing'. Whether it be a certain way of editing your photo's or using similar compositions or subjects, creating an aesthetic for your account helps people to identify your account. And this means that your feed will look a lot more 'put together' when another user first clicks on your account - and I know from personal experience, that I'm more likely to follow another Instagrammer if their feed kinda 'flows' - if that makes sense!




But the number of followers you have? DOES NOT necessarily matter. I mean, it's always going to help. If you have more followers, the chances are your post is going to be seen by more people, therefore resulting in better engagement. But, creating my second account and starting from scratch has definitely made me realise that you can get good engagement, without needing a huge following.

What are your thoughts on engagement vs followers on Instagram?

Soph


You can follow me on Instagram here, and now here too!
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