positivity

7 Happy Things.

Well apparently tonight is one of those looong nights when sleep eludes me completely so, rather than lie in the dark attempting to divert my thoughts away from slightly depressing issues, I figured I may as well get back up and write this post. Thankfully I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning so I’ll be okay!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Donna Hay}

1. Getting our Christmas tree! One of the things I have been most excited about for Christmas this year is that after many years of having an artificial tree my parents decided we could go back to having a real one. I just think real trees are just that little bit better, the smell is wonderful and there is just something a little bit magical about having a real tree in your house all lit up. Plus it’s always so much fun to go out as a family and choose our tree!

2. Spending a lovely Christmassy afternoon with my family. Family time is especially important to me around Christmas time and we had such a nice time decorating the tree, setting up the nativity (minus the Magi and baby Jesus of course) and eating mince pies.

3. Volunteering! I had my first volunteering session at the scheme for young people with Asperger’s and Autistic on Thursday and it went really well. The other people working there are really friendly and helpful and the boys attending the group seem like a really nice group of teens. I think it’s going to be such a rewarding learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back already.

4. Christmas jumpers. Definitely enough said.

5. Looking forward to many of my lovely friends coming back next weekend. I’ve already been informed by one that she has a very busy schedule (mentioning no names haha) but I’m hoping they’ll all have the time to squeeze in time to see me!

6. Sending and receiving Christmas cards. This post has become incredibly Christmas themed but then it is the second weekend of December so I think it’s allowed. But I love writing my nearest and dearest festive cards and seeing a card come through the letterbox always brightens my day.

7. I may or may not have taken the plunge and booked a hair appointment this Friday so come this time next week I might have rather different locks!

Hope you are enjoying the festivities and have a great week 🙂

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from notetosarah tumblr}

1. The memories from Rome last weekend. I keep going through my photos and reminiscing about the beauty of the city, I hope that one day I get a chance to go back and see more of it!

2. Finally feeling well enough to enjoy a great night out with some of my friends at uni. We all got dressed up (which, I can’t lie, is one of my favourite parts of the night!) and had a few drinks at our house before heading out to dance and meet some of the boys. I haven’t had a night out since Halloween so it was really good to blow off some steam and let my hair down.

3. Pasta with fresh pesto. The pesto was on special offer so I treated myself and imagined I was somewhere warm and sunny in the Med…

4. Being invited to sing in a Christmas concert with the county youth choir I used to be part of. I adore Christmas carols so it is lovely to get to go sing them in a concert and it also hopefully means I’ll get to see some of my old choir friends.

5. Popping home to have dinner with my father and my sister on Saturday evening. My mother was away for the weekend so they invited me round for steak and chips. I never really eat meat when I’m away at uni but having peppercorn sauce over a lovely medium steak is such a delicious treat.

6. Getting out my winter duvet – so comfy.

7. I have a week to finish my first assignment (definitely not a happy thing haha) but next weekend marks the beginning of December and I’m definitely going home for a couple of days to make the first batch of mince pies and light the advent candle for the first time!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

So I’ve not been feeling very well, as my last post suggested, and I’ve struggled towards the end of this week to keep my chin up and carry on with life. It is difficult to put into words how much being in pain, in such pain as this, can affect your mind and body. It is all-encompassing. It is all-consuming. My body aches and throbs all over and my mind is dulled. It is so hard to stay positive when my future feels so uncertain, will my exciting plans ever been realised? It is hard when you know that being poorly makes you less interesting as a friend, less appealing as a partner, less able as a student…

But I won’t let it pull me under completely so in an attempt to (at least metaphorically) pick myself up a little I thought of 7 happy things from this week. Enjoy!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from sacramentostreet}

1. As the picture suggests, it is most definitely hot drink weather. I don’t like tea and I rarely drink coffee but the minute the cold weather strikes I turn to one of my favourite treats – hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about a lovely chocolatey hot drink to warm you up. Of course I don’t just drink ordinary hot chocolates, oh no, I go all out! Hot chocolate just isn’t the same without whipped cream and marshmallows, and if possible chocolate sprinkles. I’m not fussy. Promise.

2. I was doing some blog reading this morning and stumbled upon this post from This Book is Reserved. How beautiful are those covers? I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz because the former is one of my favourite childhood stories and the later is so wonderfully colourful.

3. Getting the volunteering position I wanted! I had an informal interview on Thursday at a fantastic centre run by a charitable organisation and got the place so I’m over the moon about that. I’m going to be working for an after-school club run there for young people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism. It’s such a brilliant programme as it gives the young people a safe environment, it’s a place where they can just be themselves and relax. I’m so excited to start volunteering, I’ll be there once a week for two and half hours, working with a group of boys aged 13 to 17. It’s a completely new challenge for me but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning all I can!

4. Going food shopping with my mother (who was lovely and drove over to give me a lift to the supermarket so that I didn’t have to walk!) and having a fully stocked fridge again. I have a fridge full of delicious healthy foods to inspire me and get me back on my feet. Plus a couple of little treats because who can resist After Eight yoghurts?

5. Hearing the best news about my dissertation. When we were first assigned supervisors my heart sank slightly, I’d been given a lecturer who I like as a person but find really difficult to work with. I’ve been emailing her over the summer but I was really struggling to get anywhere. It’s been worrying me for ages as one of the most important things in a dissertation is who you work with so I was ecstatic when my absolutely lovely personal tutor offered to supervise me instead.

6. Having little Clive from two doors down pop in for a cuddle. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@sophiejuliette_mh) then you won’t know that Clive is the adorable little cat who comes round to say hello and hang out when her (I know, Clive is a girl) owners are out.

7. Pleasant interludes in my student life – this week it was going for coffee, or hot chocolate in my case, with my mother on Friday. I met her before my seminar and it was really nice to have a little chat as we are very close. This coming week I’m going for lunch with my friend Aimee and the following week I’m going out for dinner with the lovely Ellie as a late birthday celebration for her 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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

Summer Goals – Be More, Do More.

So this year, I didn’t set myself any new year’s resolutions. I decided that I didn’t want to make myself a list of things to achieve, a list of things that needed to be ticked off or I’d have failed. Who wants that kind of pressure? Instead, I resolved to throw myself into new opportunities and to maybe push myself a little more out of my comfort zone.  Now, almost halfway through 2013, I feel like I’m doing well. I have definitely welcomed new challenges and made the most of any opportunity given to me: I’m moving out to live with friends next year despite that not having originally been on the cards, I’ve made scary decisions about forging ahead with my plans for the future (more on that later!), and I’ve challenged myself to live more for the moment and more like a 20-year old and not an 80-year old!

Despite this talk of no lists, I now feel as though it is time to write myself some new goals. I have four months of time off university ahead of me and I have so much to do that I can’t let the time just disappear. So these are my aims for the months ahead, they are not concrete or particularly quantifiable but they will give me some focus and make everyday more motivational.

Read everyday!  The thing I miss most during term time is being able to read whatever I fancy. My weeks are consumed by the texts on my reading list, and not all of them are very enjoyable, I’m left with almost no time to read purely for pleasure. So this summer I have a huge reading list all of my own and I will be writing lots of blog posts reviewing those that I enjoy the most.

Make the most of the sunshine. Recently we have been enjoying lots of lovely sun and it’s marvellous. I’m already a little browner because I’m spending every minute that I can outside to make the absolute most of it. What this goal is really about is spending more time outside. I love being outdoors, especially when it’s a little warmer, and I really want to get all of the fresh air and sunshine that I can.

Get set for the future. I won’t go into this one too much as I’m going to write a post about it but I’m aiming to make some more finite plans for my future after graduating, I’ve never really known what I wanted to do but I’m starting to find my feet in the world and figure out what I want in life!

Research. As I am about to embark into my third, and final, year of my degree I now have my dissertation on the horizon. I want to combine two of my interests and explore the ideas about food and self-starvation in literature and this summer is the time for research, research and more research.

Look healthy, feel good, act confident. During exams I tend to eat more and gravitate towards more unhealthy food, I don’t really mind or feel guilty because I have more important things to focus on then, but now that I am finished for the year I’m back to my healthy choices and I’ve started lifting weights again. I have the most gorgeous red bikini and I want to be able to lounge by the pool run around on the beach and feel confident with my body and my own image!

Have fun. One of my closest uni friends, Sophie, is staying here to work during the summer, all of my friends from home are back, Tom is here (or I’m in London) on the weekend, and my sister and best friend, Alice, is here too. Friendships are so important and I cherish every single one of them, this summer I want to make the most of what is possibly our last shared summer holiday and do lots of fun things. Day trips, coffee dates, picnics, nights out, I want to see everyone and just enjoy the time off 🙂

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So here you have my goals or resolutions for the summer months ahead. I have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful time, I’m so blessed to have so much. I hope you are all having a really lovely week! I’d love to hear your summer plans! Are you going on holiday? Or doing anything exciting in the next few months?

Sophie x

It’s the Little Things.

So I had a couple of posts lined up but… I got sick. I’m actually pretty poorly, it’s just a bad cold but when I get ill it affects me more and the illness in turn exacerbates my fibro so I end up just feeling generally rubbish. But you know me, instead of going to bed and staying there, I was determined to go see Tom in London this weekend and then I met a couple of friends in town this week so yeah… It just meant that I did not feel at all up to posting. I’m not feeling even 60% yet but I wanted to write.

Seeing as I’m feeling so rotten, the only thing it makes sense to write about is things that make me feel just a little bit better!

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I know Easter is now over but I can’t help but miss the hot cross buns…

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Breakfast in bed. Need I say more?

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Reading by the window.

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Blankets, hot water bottles, and cuddles with my cat.

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Hot chocolates.

It really is the little things in life which make all of the difference. My days can sometimes seem a little blue when things are tough with my health but there are always little things which make a bit of difference and lift the spirits. It’s all about the positivity people, it can make a whole world of difference. As one of my closest friends tweeted this morning – ‘The best way for a person to have happy thoughts is to count their blessings, and not their cash’. Count your blessings, even the tiniest positive occurrences can make you a lot happier.

I hope you’re all really well and that you’re having a good week!

Sophie x

The End of an Era?

So I mentioned last Sunday that things have changed for me when it comes to matters of my health. People who have read my blog for a while will know that for the last six years I have had to deal with various different problems – back pain, stiffness, extreme fatigue, dizziness, headaches, trouble standing and walking etc. To put it in a simple term, I have a condition called fibromyalgia. (If you want to read about it there are several posts in my Posts Worth a Read section.)

I have been going to the hospital, the doctors, and the physio for almost six years now and on Friday afternoon something happened. I was discharged from the hospital. 

Basically the doctors can do no more for me. There is no cure and I have tried the vast majority of the treatments available so for now, I’m on my own. It feels a little odd, I’ve been going to hospital for so long that it has become a part of my life (I’m aware that’s quite sad), I can’t imagine not going. But for now, unless my condition changes, I won’t be going back.

It’s not all bad though.

I am determined that if I am going to have to live with this condition, I am just going to live with it. I want to really LIVE. So in a way, no longer having to deal with all sorts of hospital appointments means that it will be easier for me to feel like I’m leading a normal life.

Being at university and living at home this year means that life is slightly on hold, or perhaps it’s just that it’s easier. I feel a little like I’m a bubble which is cushioning me from the difficulties of adult, working life. Next year I am moving out again to live with some lovely lovely people from uni and it will be a nice in between step to help me figure out how well I’m be able to cope with my condition on my own.

I don’t know what I want from life yet, I just know that I want to do something that makes me happy, surround myself with wonderful people, and carry on finding pleasure in the simple but beautiful things in life. Who knows where I’ll end up or what I’ll end up doing but for now, I just want to move forwards in my life.

Stay positive everyone!

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(I wanted to include this lovely image of spring as it has been horrible snowy weather here and I’m trying to pretend we have sunshine and blue skies! Is it snowing where you are?)

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and enjoy the build up to Easter 🙂

Sophie x