family

7 Happy Things.

Before I jump into all of the brilliant positive things that happened last week, I just want to let everyone know that things are okay, I’m just about hanging in here. Last week was one of the toughest weeks I have had in a while and I also have to apologise that I didn’t get this post up on Sunday, I had an assignment due in yesterday

Things are hopefully going to improve now that I’m not so stressed and the doctor upped my medication so hopefully I’ll be able to see past the blur of pain again soon…

Anyway, moving swiftly on!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from norrfrid}

1. First of all, as I couldn’t not include this as a HUGE happy thing, the wonderfully caring and heartwarming comments I received on my last post. I was so overwhelmed to get such a kind response and I really want to thank Abigail and Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much it helped me to read them.

2. December is finally here! Anyone who knows me at all will know that I adore Christmas and everything about it, but the build up is almost the best bit of all. This weekend we had our annual tradition of making the Christmas cake at the beginning of the month, everyone has to take turns stirring the mix and when it’s your turn to mix you make a wish. I also have my little mini advent calendar set up in my bedroom and my fairy lights around my window. This time of year is so magical…

3. Mince pies. My mother and I made the first batch this weekend and they are, as happens every year, even better than I remember. The flaky pastry, the sweetness of the mincemeat. Enough said really.

4. Having my first essay of the term handed in. It may have seemed impossibly stressful trying to get it in but now that it is I feel so incredibly relieved!

5. I finally received my DBS form which means I can go ahead and start my volunteering position with the scheme for young people with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. I start on Thursday afternoon and I’m really excited (and a little nervous), I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this before so I know I am going to learn so much from it. I’m so looking forward to meeting all of the teens in the group as well as the people I’ll be working with.

6. Seeing my family at the weekend. My parents always know what I need and came to pick me up so that I could write my essay tucked up in my ridiculously comfy bed instead of my horrible (okay I may be exaggerating, but only a little!) uni bed. It was lovely to be looked after for a couple of days.

7. Christmas present shopping! I absolutely love buying presents for people, but it’s even more fun at Christmas as it means buying something for everyone. I always spend lots of time figuring out what to get people and I love finding things that are more meaningful because it’s worth the time spent when you get to give it to the recipient and see their reaction :-)

I hope you’re all having a brilliant December so far!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Ninbra tumblr}

1. It’s my gorgeous friend Ellie’s 21st today! Happy birthday Ellie, I hope you’ve had a lovely lovely day!

2. Watching Sunday night TV with my lovely housemates. Downton Abbey, followed by Homeland, followed by Was It Something I Said, makes for some seriously good viewing.

3. Going home to help my sister write her personal statement and getting to have a lovely dinner with my family. (And getting to take the leftovers back with me!) Despite being in twenties now and in my final year of uni I still love being home, I think I will always be somewhat of a home-bird.

4. Brilliant lectures which remind me why I am reading English at uni, sitting in a two-hour seminar on Jane Eyre made me remember why I fell in love with words and with reading. The magic of certain books will just never be eclipsed.

5. Getting excited about Halloween and costumes and pumpkins. I’m rubbish at carving pumpkins but my sister is really good at it and we always had beautiful pumpkins at home. We’re planning on throwing a Halloween party here at my uni house before going out afterwards so I will definitely be getting dressed up!

6. My wonderful Fireside Treats scented candle from Yankee Candle which makes my entire bedroom smell like delicious fire toasted marshmallows.

7. Feeling a strange mixture of both terrified and excited to receive my letter from NHS Blood and Transplant saying that my appointment to give blood is set for next Monday! I absolutely loathe having my blood taken but I feel like giving blood is something really important that everyone who is able should do so I just decided to bite the bullet and sign up…

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic weekend and enjoy the week ahead!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

7 has always been my favourite number. It is a magic number. It also the number of books in the Harry Potter series.

Everyone who knows me will know how much I love to find ways to be more positive. Now this term is going to be incredibly stressful for me… I have three texts to read a week (usually at least two are full novels), I have my dissertation to research and write, I have three assignments due in at Christmas, I have my PGCE application to put in at the beginning of November (which means writing another personal statement), then if I’m successful I will have tests and interviews… And breathe.

So in an attempt to not find myself snowed under and in a permanent state of panic by the end of the term I am going to start a new series of posts which will go up every Sunday titled ’7 Happy Things’ where I shall list 7 things that have made me happy during the week. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from coffeeinthemountains tumblr}

1. Wrapping up warm in autumn clothes including lots of woolly jumpers and snoods. Although I don’t much like cold weather I have a weakness for knitwear and I have a drawer full of cozy snoods to bundle myself up in. I love nothing better than coming in from the chilly weather outside and changing into my ridiculously comfy yoga trackies and my furry slippers.

2.  Getting back to the gym after some time off for freshers! Freshers week is enough to make even the fittest person feel sluggish and it felt so good to be working out again and clearing out the toxins (we all know where they come from!). My skin is clearing up again thanks to a diet heavy on the vegetables, plenty of water and a bit more activity.

3. Starting lectures again and getting back into the swing of uni. Although I have a hellish term ahead of me I am really excited to get stuck into it all, I’m doing brilliant modules which I already know I will love. Children’s literature in particular is lovely, I can’t wait to get to read some of my old favourites for it.

4. Going for cycles in the countryside under the changing colours of the autumn leaves, and stopping for a drink in a country pub with friends. There is something wonderful about the crisp air blowing against your face, turning your cheeks pink with cold and then warming up in the comforting surrounds of an English pub.

5. So many brilliant TV programmes are returning to our screens – Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off, Homeland, The Vampire Diaries… It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want to stay tucked up in bed or curled up on the sofa in a blanket watching TV.

6. Chatting with friends. Modern technology can sometimes be a pain but I have to say that I am so grateful for mobile phones, getting to send a quick text to friends that I miss and getting to hear their voices to chat always lifts my mood.

7. Being home for the weekend, getting to spend time with my lovely family whilst eating steak and chips, roast dinner, and apple crumble until I’m slightly too full. Also stealing extra cuddles with Poppy to make up for the ones missed!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying the autumn!

Sophie x

I Think I’m In Love.

Yes, you heard right. I’ve fallen in love, fallen in love hard.

Not with a person though. Oh no, I have fallen head over heels in love with the city of Nice. Set in the Côte d’Azur, in the beautiful French Riviera, Nice is a wonderfully bright, vibrant, bustling city. It has the feel of an Italian city as it only became part of France in 1860 and was a dominion of Savoy before. It is full of life and colour, the people are friendly, and the pace of life is slow and relaxed.

We spent a week in Nice soaking up the sights and the atmosphere of this beautiful city and I know that it is just one of those places I could never spend enough time in. We stayed just off Place Garibaldi which is situated just on the edge of Vieux Nice (the old town) and the town centre so it was an absolutely perfect location to explore the city to our hearts’ content. The surrounding towns and coastline are simply breathtaking, we spent many mornings and evenings on the beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer which is a stunning town settled right in an enclosed bay with the most ridiculously gorgeous views of the sea and the curving coast. The sun shines fiercely during the day and then the evenings are balmy – it has the perfect holiday climate and we definitely made the most of it with light lunches, plenty of ice creams and a few cocktails.

I haven’t had a chance to go through all of the photos we took but I really wanted to share my experience of Nice with you so here some photos from mine and my sister’s Instagrams to give you a little taste. I reckon you might well fall in love with it too…

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This view… | Alice in Place Garibaldi | To market, to market

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French breakfasts cannot be beaten | Villefranche |Afternoon wandering

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Ice cream for the day – ferrero rocher | Gelato at its finest | Nighttime churros

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Seafood on the coast | Monte Carlo | Mojito happy hour

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A view to die for | That beach photo ;-) | Can I go back now please?

Looking through all of these photos make me miss it all already, if you ever get the opportunity to visit Nice then I urge you to do so, you can’t possibly be disappointed by the sheer vibrancy of the city and the beauty all around it!

I hope you all had a lovely week whilst I was away, I’ll be catching up with blog posts and will also write a proper photo recap soon. If you want to follow me on Instagram you can find me @sophiejuliette_mh I love snapping away in my daily life.

Sophie x

p.s. Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments and tweets about my last post, I really appreciate all of the encouragement and support!

Happy Easter!

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.  

- Walter Raleigh

I love Easter, it’s a really wonderful time. It may not have the magic build up of Christmas but it is a day of celebration which is unrivaled in its uplifting spirit and its joy! I love that it is a time of renewal, it heralds in the Spring and everything feels bright and positive. It’s also a lovely time to spend with families, Easter holds so many sweet memories of being a child and being ridiculously excited to paint eggs and go on an Easter egg hunt with my sister.

My mother and I are one and the same when it comes to preparing for celebrations, we both love to decorate and bring the festivity into the house. I love that Easter is a time for beautiful flowers, everything is bright white and yellow and looks so pretty. My mother made us an Easter tree which is something we’ve done since Alice and I were little and it’s a special tradition for us :-)

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Easter breakfast is always a big deal at our house. Croissants and chocolate – you can’t beat it! I’m wearing a skater dress from ASOS which is new and I thought the floral was perfect for the occasion. Don’t all of the flowers and eggs look perfect?

Now one of the best part of celebrations from my point of view is the food. And Easter Sunday definitely calls for a roast dinner, in our case roast lamb with roast potatoes, caramelised parsnips and cabbage, along with a generous pouring of gravy. So delicious, and just what we need as although the flowers are bright, it has not been a very sunny Easter, in fact it has been rather cold… This amazing plate was just the right kind of warming and comforting:

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Not only do I love the roasts, I get especially excited about the food for celebrations if there is an opportunity for me to bake! Easter is such a lovely festival that I had to make something a little special so I decided to make Nigella Lawson’s Easter Egg Nest Cake. It’s a flourless chocolate cake decorated with mini eggs and it is just adorable.

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It is a seriously chocolatey cake and I love how it looks, it’s the perfect Easter bake. Also, spot the absurdly cute chocolate bunny that my parents gave my sister and I. Chocolate may not be much to do with the true message of Easter but it doesn’t hurt…

I hope you have all had a very happy and blessed Easter!

Sophie x

A New Decade.

So today I turn 20. No longer a teenager.

I know some people dread the turn of the decade and long to stay 19 forever but not me. I never really felt like a teenager anyway!

This new decade feels so much more exciting, so much more full of opportunity, of possibility. I can’t wait to see what comes with the next ten years, I can only imagine how much my life will change. I will (hopefully!) graduate from university, I will decide what I want to do with my life, I will move house, probably move city, meet new people, do new things…

Today was a lovely day, I started out getting my hair done, met the lovely Baiba for a very speedy lunch, and then this evening I went out with Tom and my family for a delicious meal in town.

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Tempura battered squid with chilli jam

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Grilled gilt-head bream with salsa verde, french fries, and tenderstem broccoli

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday a lovely day, especially my sister for a very special present, my parents for lovely presents and a fantastic meal, and Tom for joining us to make my day more complete!

Sophie x 

On Loss and Family.

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My family is one of the most precious things in the world to me. Although we may routinely drive each other up the wall, we have always been quite close and I know that I definitely wouldn’t have been able to come this far without their support. My parents and my sister have always been there for me and I hope I will always be there for them. Alice is definitely the best sister you could have! Despite not being as close to them, my grandparents are also incredibly important to me and they have also helped me become who I am together.

Sometimes though, we forget how lucky those of us to have family around us truly are and it takes something painful to remind us.

On Sunday evening my uncle died. He has lived in Denmark since before I was born and although I have only met him a handful of times I still feel a great deal of sadness. I feel sad for my grandfather, my aunt and my father who have lost a son and a brother, and I feel even more sadness for his children, although they are grown up the pain of losing a parent must be awful. He has been ill for many years now so I can only hope that he went peacefully and take comfort that at least now he no longer suffers.

Loss of anyone is always a terrible experience, even if they are not someone especially close to you. But I believe that we can always learn from our experiences, even those that bring us pain. Having to reconcile myself with the fact that my uncle will never come back to visit only reinforces how lucky I am to have the family I have surrounding me.

I know that I am extremely lucky.

My heart and prayers go out to anyone who has lost someone close to their heart, I hope that as time eases the pain it will be easier to remember all of the happy memories and be glad for what they had before it was ended.

Sophie x