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Hello, you.

Welcome to my blog. I'm currently trying to brunch & blog my way through life, friendships, love, a career and everything else in between.

Soph

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2018: A year in review.

2018: A year in review.

 

2018: A Year in Review.

Writing this post has been complete therapy for me. In my head, I'd been associating 2018 with anxiety, sadness and heartbreak, and couldn't wait for the year to be over. However, looking back through all of my photos and reflecting on what I've been up to, I've realised that the dominating things this year have been flourishing friendships, laughter, travel, and new ventures.

Albeit, the first four months of this year were a write-off, as I stupidly spent this time struggling in a bad relationship and thinking that I could fix it if I gave them everything. But, I'm so happy to say that I've still managed to achieve so much this year and I'm certainly heading into 2019 a much stronger, confident and happier girl than I started out in 2018, and for that, I couldn't be more grateful.

So, what have I been up to this year?


GIRLS IN WORK

I founded Girls in Work in March 2018. I wanted to create a space and an online resource for all career women everywhere. A space to discuss the challenges that we face every day, and a space to inspire, motivate and empower women in the workplace to break through social, personal and professional barriers to achieve success.

I now work alongside a team of incredibly hard working women who assist me in running the site, and I really hope we can continue to work to inspire women with their careers.

There is no doubt that this was one of the best things I did this year, and it's also one of my favourite achievements.


The Theatre

2018 has certainly been the year of the theatre - I've seen so many shows and it's something that just makes me so happy. While I was in London, I worked in Leicester Square, which means I was just around the corner from Shaftesbury Avenue and all of the theatres in London. I could book cheap, last minutes tickets at 5pm while I was still in the office, and be sat in the theatre for 7pm ready to watch a show and it was one of my favourite things to do.

This year has included:

  • 42nd Street
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • Mamma Mia
  • Book of Mormon
  • Dream Girls
  • Chicago
  • Kinky Boots
  • Everybody's talking about Jamie

...and I'm not even sure that's all of them! I would love to carry on seeing more shows next year, and if you're after any recommendations, Book of Mormon and Everybody's talking about Jamie were both absolutely incredible!


Travel & Exploring the UK

Paris

I think I've visited more places in 2018 than I have in the last 5 years put together. As a girl who's terrified of flying, there's always been so many places that I've wanted to visit, but always put off till 'next year' because airports scare me to death. This year though, I said 'f*ck it', and managed to tick off a few places from my list!

It's given me the kick I needed to plan so much more travel for 2019; whether it's a city break abroad or a staycation somewhere here in the UK, I most definitely want to do lots more next year.

Milan

Most of my trips this year have been pretty spontaneous, and Milan was no exception. It was at a time when I was feeling particularly upset, and I'd called a friend to talk to when he suggested we - quite literally - run away from everything for a few a days. And so we did! 2 weeks later, we were sat on the plane from Gatwick to Milan, and we genuinely had the best time.

We managed to find the most gorgeous Air BnB not too far from the city, and well... we walked, and walked and walked. We didn't really have a plan, but we just explored all of the gorgeous side streets and cute little coffee shops where no-one spoke English, as well as the main touristy bits.

We're both into photography and architecture, so it was nice to turn around and find my friend trying to get 'the shot' as much as I was. I also had a little moment as we were wandering around on the last day, when I just felt at home. Do you know how you just get a good vibe from some cities? Milan was definitely one of those and I could totally see myself living there one day (a girl can dream)!


Paris

And then there was Paris... for the day. This idea came about as Em and I were joking that we could jump on the Eurostar to Paris, grab a coffee and a criossant and be back in time for Love Island at 9pm. We laughed about it until we looked on the Eurostar website to find there was a day in August with riducously cheap same-day returns from St Pancreas to Paris. So we did it! We were on the 7am train going out, and the 9pm train coming back and it was one of the best days ever. Even if it did torentially pour down for most of it...

We went to The Panthรฉon, Sainte Chappelle, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe as well as multiple coffee stops and cake at Angelina's Tea Room!

If you can find cheap enough tickets on the Eurostar, I can't recommend it enough. It was so much fun and one of my favourite days from 2018.

Cambridge

Cambridge has always been one of those UK cities that I've wanted to visit forever, and after Em and I had visited Oxford back in 2016, we decided to make the most of the spectacular summer that we had this year and head off for a little daytrip one Saturday to it's university rival, Cambridge. Again, we walked and walked and had coffee and ice cream and had the loveliest time.

We went punting on the River Cam which was so much fun! We learned so much about the history of Cambridge and it's colleges, and then we decided to head into one of them to have a little look around.

The archicture and buildings here are just some of the most beautiful. I, of course, took hundreds of photos - every corner we turned there was just something more beautiful!

If you're looking for a little daytrip somewhere here in the UK, I would 100% recommend visiting Cambridge.


Brighton & Portsmouth

Brighton and Portsmouth were just two of the places I visited all by myself this year. I went to Portsmouth for the beach! It was one of the days that it was meant to be 37 degrees in London, and so I escaped out of the city and to the beach instead. I spent all day utterly baffled by the fact that I was wandering along the beach, just in my swimming costume, and even swimming in the English sea! I never ever thought it would be warm enough to get me in the sea in the UK, but there you have it. I spent hours just doing this and reading my book in the sunshine and it was complete bliss.

I also headed to Brighton one weekend in July. I booked myself into a cute Air BnB not too far from the beach, and essentially spent the weekend reading my book on the pebbles, walking along the waterfront, and taking myself for breakfast and coffee and I can't even tell you how happy it made me.

It was at a time when I really just needed to escape again, and it did wonders for me having a little 'me' time by the sea.

London

I'm not sure if London counts, considering I lived here for 7 months of this year, but I can certainly say that I made the most of it! When I moved there in 2017, I had a list (I do love a good list) of places that I wanted to see, and I managed to tick off most of them. My highlights this year were visiting Sky Gardens with Katy and Kew Gardens with Em in Summer. Kew Gardens in particular were beautiful, and there's so much to explore too.

If there's anything I miss about London, it is the endless list of possible things to do. I even miss how towards the end of my time there, I'd fully embraced the social scene and had plans with friends most evenings. We never went to the same coffee shop or brunch place twice.

Heading back last weekend for the first time since I moved away, was a little weird! Everything was so familiar but was a world away at the same time. I'm glad that I moved out of London - for a number of reasons, but if anything, I hope that it means I can really enjoy my time there now and appreciate London when I visit friends, instead of it being a place that makes me sad.

The Lake District

My Mum and I headed to The Lakes for a few days in May for my birthday, and it made us realise that we definitely need to go more often! My parents only live about an hour away from this beautiful part of the UK, and as someone who loves boats and being near water, it was perfect!

We explored the little villages, went on a boat ride, had lots of coffee and cake and even hiked up a hill to get the most fabulous views.

Going from the hustle and bustle of London to the complete quitness and peacefulness of the Lake District was magical. It was so calm and serene and was just what I needed.

Benidorm

I still can't quite believe this, but this year I was invited on my first ever press trip abroad! Jet2 invited me along with a bunch of other gorgeous girls to visit Benidorm for four days and experience a side to the city that not many people know about. We went on bike rides through nature parks and jeep tours in the hills, ate the most gorgeous food and stayed in a beautiful hotel that you didn't have to leave if you didn't want to. We even got treated to an afternoon in the spa!

I loved this trip. It was last minute and I made some lovely friends. It was nice to go away and have the whole itinerary already planned!

Belfast

Belfast

Belfast... now Belfast was a little different as it was technically a work trip for our work Christmas do, but I loved it all the same!

We spent a little time at the radio station that we have over there, swiftly followed by a quick bag drop at the hotel, and then a guided tour of HM Prison Crumlin Road. Now, I know that that doesn't sound like the most festive activity, but it was genuienly fascinating. A little eery and sobering in places, but completely fascinating.

It was then followed by drinks and food in the evening, and then a trip to the Titanic museum in the morning before we headed home! I think it was my favourite work Christmas do ever. I loved it.


The rest of Summer

This summer was one of the best ever, and not just because of the travel! I was put on gardening leave in July, having handed my notice in to move to a competitor, I wasn't allowed back in the office and worked my notice... well, not at work! I felt lucky to be in a situation whereby I had two months of complete freedom to do whatever I wanted with, and if it hadn't have landed in the middle of the summer holidays when every flight was ridiculously expensive, you can bet I'd have taken myself off to more places!

However, the flights to everywhere where expensive, and so I had to find other ways to fill my time.

Luckily, we had one of the best summers so it wasn't too difficult! I went to Paris, Cambridge, Brighton and Portsmouth as before, explored more of London before I moved back north, and just made sure that I spent plenty of time with my friends. I split my two months completely down the middle, spending a month in London and then a month in Liverpool. Working for a national radio station also has it's perks, as I was able to head to a few music gigs too.


Blog achievements

My personal blog has taken a little bit of a back seat this year as I focused on building Girls in Work and well... living my life a little more! However, I've still managed to achieve so many things that I'm super proud of. I've worked with brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Desenio (again!), Always (twice!), and of course Jet2.

My two absolute favourite blog achievements this year though, have got to be being shortlisted as Lifestyle Blogger of the Year at the Blogosphere Awards, and being invited to talk on a panel for an event here in Liverpool.

Being shortlisted for that award came as a huge shock. I remember being stood in the queue in a coffee shop when the notification popped up on my phone, and my first thought was that they'd just tagged the wrong Sophie! And then I went on the website, and sure enough, my little blog was listed. I loved the awards night, not least because I got to dress up and finally meet the beautiful Sade, too.

And then there was the panel. I was super honoured to be asked to speak, but also super proud of myself for doing it. There'd be no way that the Soph of a few years ago would've had the confidence to speak on a panel in front of a group of people, but sure enough - I did it!


Moving back to Liverpool

Have I... have I mentioned that I moved back to Liverpool this summer? ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you've read this blog or followed my Instagram at all in the last few months, you probably couldn't have gotten away from me telling the world that I moved back to Liverpool in August, and I couldn't be more thankful to be back in my favourite city.

Looking back, London was good for me. It made me stronger and more confident in so many ways, but it also made me anxious, depressed and angry, and it was only when I hit rock bottom that I knew I needed to get out. Thankfully, the stars aligned just when I needed them to, and I was offered a job back north. It took me all of 2 seconds to accept.

I couldn't be happier to be back, to be back with my friends and family that I have up here and to be in my new flat that I love a lot! It's amazing what a difference your surroundings can make.


My Career

I thought 2017 had been good for my career after I made the move to London to take up a management role, but 2018 has somehow managed to top it. I'm now commercially managing a bigger team, and I may have only been in the role for a few months, but I've learned so much. I have big goals and ambitions for my career for the next few years (my director already knows I'm after his job ๐Ÿ˜‰), and I can't wait to start working on these in the new year.

Reflecting on work over the last 12 months has also made me super grateful to have found a job and industry that I love and that I'm passionate about. It's a huge contrast to my accountancy career that I was utterly miserable in!


More new ventures

 

A few months ago, my old flatmate moved back to Liverpool after a few years travelling and living in Bali and Australia, and I couldn't be happier that she's back!

We just get each other and are totally on the same wavelength. Nat is one of those people that I just feel so positive and good about myself after I've spent time with her and I know she's been a factor in why I feel so happy and positive at the moment.

And, to top it all off, I get to join her on her journey with Barre Balance - if you're in Liverpool and are interested in Barre classes, keep your eyes peeled or drop us a message! 2019 is going to be fabulous. I just know it.

Barre Balance

Finding my happy again

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Yes, I am ending this post with an Instagram filtered photo from 2am... but I kinda love it because I look so happy in it.

This year has been quite the rollercoaster. I've cried a lot and then laughed a lot, but I think the most important thing is that I've learned a lot.

I've learned that you can't love someone into loving you the same. I've learned to spot the signs of when to walk away from a bad relationship and I just hope to god that I'm strong enough to leave earlier if it ever happens again.

I've learned that there's always, always so much to be grateful for, and how important it is to be grateful. I've learned the importance of female friendships and those that lift you up, inspire you and make you feel good are the ones to nurture and focus your time and energy in.

I feel like I'm finally filling my life with all of the things that I'm passionate about and that make me happy, and I can honestly say that this is the best place I've been in in a long time.

Here's to a magical Christmas and a wonderful 2019.

Soph

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