What I learnt from posting every day for a week

blog, celebrity, inspired, life, lifestyle, london, makeup, mindfulness, question, reflection, review, self improvement, social media, trend, Uncategorized, writing

If you’re up to date with my most recent posts, you’ll know that I set myself a goal to upload content every day for one week. I’m pretty proud of myself for managing to stick to it! Here’s how it went…

Previously I’ve been somewhat inconsistent with blogging, a wave of inspiration every few months passing quickly by. Setting this goal gave me the kick I needed to dig a little deeper for content ideas.

Going forward, my aim is to post twice a week. Whilst it was fun to focus on writing each day, I found that I was compromising on the quality of content I was putting out. Being particularly proud of this social media piece, meant I felt like other topics couldn’t compete.

Having hoped to find a little more direction in terms of the type of content I want to create, I think I’ve found this but am keen to continue to write about whatever it may be that comes to mind on that day. Essentially, I’ve settled on the concept of a lifestyle blog in order to be able to cover a broad spectrum of interests.

Mostly, I found it rewarding to have a focus each day that was soley for my own personal gain and enjoyed the sense of fulfillment that came from completion. A little bit of structure can be a great thing and I’d like to redo this challenge further down the line, perhaps with a little more planning next time though.

What do you think? Are you a Queen of procrastination like me or is your diary brimming with tasks? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for staying on track!

Sophie

Theatre Etiquette

blog, celebrity, life, lifestyle, london, Musical Theatre, reflection, review, Theatre, trend, Uncategorized, West End

As a fan of theatre, I was pretty shocked when this article landed in my inbox the other day. With reports that Ushers are being fitted with security cameras in an attempt to deter angry theatre goers, it got me thinking about general theatre etiquette. So let’s take this journey together on how to behave at the theatre…

  1. Preparation – The only thing worse than being stuck behind someone in a queue who isn’t ready, is being the person holding everyone up! Have your tickets out and your bags ready for searching so that we can all get in a little quicker. Just like at the airport, you know security is coming so be ready for it.
  2. Timings – It’s pretty common knowledge within the theatre world that most shows have a ‘latecomers point’. This means, if you arrive once the show has begun, you’ll be taken to a viewing screen until you’re able to take your seats. If this sounds a bit shit, the solution is simple, get there early! Go to the bar, explore the store or take a seat and scroll through Twitter. If timing is within your control, don’t be the one who has to awkwardly shuffle down a row to a symphony of shushing.
  3. Food & Drink – This isn’t the cinema, let’s skip the crunch of popcorn and rustle of packets for something a little less distracting. Recently, I’ve noticed just how loud a plastic water bottle can be. It’s 2019, why not try a reusable option like ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>this one?!
  4. PHONES/FILMING & PHOTOGRAPHY – I could honestly devote an entire post to this topic. Nothing is more infuriating as an audience member than being distracted by the bright lights of a phone. If it’s that important, step out of the auditorium. Not only is it a distraction for those around, you also look a total tit to the actors on stage who see your face lit up in all its Facebook obsessed glory. Turn it off and enjoy two hours of peace. And if you have the misfortune of being sat near someone on their phone, remember that you have every right to tell them where to shove it!
  5. Alcohol – I think this is the thing I found to be the biggest takeaway from The Stage article. As a country, we are particularly bad for binge drinking. Friday night comes around and everyone is ready to get on it. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but is the theatre really the place to be doing this? Personally, if I spend money on a ticket, I’d like to remember the plot. If alcohol makes you aggressive towards ushers or anyone else who is simply trying to make a living, it might be time to re-evaluate whether you should be drinking at all…
  6. Home Time –  By all means, go to the toilet, cloackroom etc on your way out. Do what you need to do. But spare a thought for those who work in the theatre and can’t go home until you do. From my supermarket days, I can tell you how frustrating it is to wait around for the last customer to leave.
  7.  Stage Door – I’ve seen so much debate surrounding this element of theatre recently. It’s a real shame when actors have to publicly ask for respectful behaviour at Stage Door. Utimately, you pay for a ticket to a show. There is no prerequisite for a meet and greet. Stage Door can be such a fantastic way for fans to connect with performers if it’s taken for what it is, an added bonus! Basic courtesy and understanding are key as is the respect for every performer who takes their time to say hello. Swings and ensemble are just as important as leads and deserve to be treated as such!!

I feel like this has been a theatrical rant of epic proportions. If you take one thing from this post, it’s this…Don’t be a dick. A night at the theatre should be a special occassion, one that leaves you with that amazing buzz. Yes the toilet queues may be long and the interval may be too short for you to smoke, drink and touch up your lipstick, but just enjoy the show for what it is and see everything else as the cherry on top.

Rant over!

Sophie

*This post contains affiliate links*

Why are we so afraid to die?

blog, celebrity, event, inspired, life, lifestyle, mindfulness, music, reflection, self improvement, Uncategorized

I won’t lie, I’ve kind of gone down the clickbait route with this blog post. After admitting to writer’s block yesterday, I felt I’d better come back with something a little more interesting.

This may sound strange to some of you but I have a funeral playlist saved to my Spotify account. Obviously I’d like to hope that this won’t be played for many years to come but it’s always good to be prepared! I’m not someone who considers death a lot, I don’t really pay much thought to what will become of me once I’m gone but it’s nice to appreciate the many different beliefs offered to us by religion, spirtualism and science. I also love seeing how much comfort the likes of heaven or reincarnation can bring to people in their moments of need.

To many this may be a morbid or upsetting topic and yet ultimately death is the one thing that we all have in common. It’s the only guarantee in life. As I don’t own a house or expensive jewellery, there’s really no need for a written will so I guess this is my one specification. Personally, I’d like to think I’ve found the perfect balance of humour, sorrow and sentiment to leave my loved ones with.

I know the suspense is killing you *if you’ll pardon the pun*. So without further a do, here is my funeral playlist as of July 2019…

What are your thoughts on creating your own funeral playlist? Have you got any of the same songs as me or am I just a morbid music maker? Tweet me @sophieaiken and let mw know!

Sophie

Boots First Feel Good Session

beauty, blog, celebrity, event, inspired, instagram, life, lifestyle, london, reflection, review, self improvement, social media, trend, Uncategorized

Last week I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the first ever Boots Feel Good Session thanks to an Instagram competition ran by the wonderful Megan Jayne Crabbe *bodyposipanda*.

Upon arrival I was greeted by some lovely ladies who pointed me in the direction of a wall of positive quotes. I grabbed one of these in exchange for a free drink at the bar and readied myself to take part in a Body & Image Workshop.

This particular workshop was hosted by Natasha Devon MBE. Natasha is a body image activist, writer, speaker, campaigner and all round genius to be honest with you. In just fifteen minutes, she gave us a run down of how our brains work and the ways in which we view ourselves. In my last post, I told you all about how I filter my social media, below is a list of body positive influencers composed by all those who attended the workshop. So if you feel like you want a bit less filtering and facetune and a lot more real life, check them out.file-2

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend thePhotography Workshop hosted by Alex Cameron. Alex is a renowned confidence photographer who focuses on the use of natural light in her work. She has a beautiful portofolio and is well worth a follow!

We then moved on to the main event in which Megan, Natasha and Alex were joined by Youtube sensations Hannah Witton and Gary Thompson as well as Scottish footballer Claire Emslie. The panel spoke all things confidence with a particular focus on social media. The discussion was open and varied and really reflected the common concerns of six prominent figures. A big take away from the day was about learning to live in the present and making the most of where you are right now. As I mentioned earlier, there was also a focus on the use of social media and the ways in which we can make our own platforms as positive a space as possible.file-4.jpeg

And now for the best bit. The goody bag. As I looked through the contents, I couldn’t help but feel like some kind of trendy influencer. Full size products from the likes of Urban Decay and The Ordinary. Absolutely over the moon with that and I cannot wait to give them all a go.

I’d really recommend taking the time to watch the full panel discussion here.

If you do watch, let me know your thoughts!

Sophie

Why You Should Filter Your Feed

blog, celebrity, contour, inspired, instagram, life, lifestyle, reflection, self improvement, social media, twitter, Uncategorized

Something I’ve become increasingly aware of over the last couple of years is the need to filter the media we expose ourselves to. For me, this began with making a connection between the television I consumed and my overall mood.

I spent years as a self-confessed Soap Queen. Eastenders was my vibe and I lived for the Christmas Day tragedies. Nowadays though, the thought of sitting through an omnibus leaves me feeling like Shirley Carter upon finding out about the murder of her beloved Hev. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a total avoidance tactic, simply a curation of content. For instance, after watching the hit series ‘You’ on Netflix, I moved on to ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ for an easier watch. It may sound bizarre to some but I find it important to seek out lighthearted content in order to maintain a balance. It’s like when you watch a horror film before bed and have to follow it up with an episode of Friends after.

What began with television and film has now evolved for me and I am working to get to a point where my social media reflects a realistic yet uplifting view of the world. So with this in mind, I figured I’d share some of my methods for achieving a better relationship with the media.

As a former journalism student, for many years Twitter was my go-to place for news. I felt like I had to know about every major event going on in the world and be prepared to discuss such in great detail. I then realised that the news very rarely consists of positive stories. It’s okay to disconnect from these stories if they are having a negative impact on you. I find it best to follow broad news accounts such as BBC News and Reuters in order to know the top headlines without being overwhelmed by the details within them. Twitter is terrible for people Retweeting sad, disturbing or offensive content. I see people complaining all the time of the level of ‘trolling’ and scrutiny on this platform. Personally, I don’t see much of this side of the app thanks to my fondness of the unfollow button.

Instagram is amazing, I’m definitely a little too invested in it right now but I’m okay with that as long as I’m following the right accounts. I am particularly partial to a dog account, @tunameltsmyheart is a firm favourite. I’m making a more conscious effort to follow accounts that represent ‘real’ people with less facetune and more desire to inform and inspire. I can love the Kardashians and at the same time be totally aware that their fame and success have given them a platform unlike any other that we as ‘normal’ people could begin to comprehend. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with every sponsorship or brand collaboration they post, I am more than happy to support them for the monumental business empire they have created as a family.

One tricky thing to tackle when filtering your social media is real life friends. Often I see things being posted by people I know in actual real life that I disagree with or find to be somewhat negative. I’m sure there are those who feel the same about my pages too and that’s okay! There are many reasons why you may still want to maintain a connection with these people and so in that respect, an unfollow is probably not the right option. Instead, mute them. They won’t know you’ve done it unless they suprise you with a random Instagram related pop quiz and you can continue to flick through instastories without seeing their billionth Brexit related post.

If you take one thing from this post, let it be this. The block, unfollow and mute buttons are your best friends. Your social media is exactly that. It’s yours. Don’t let it be dictated be the views of others. I really do believe that social media is a wonderful thing if we just learn to use it in a more positive way.

Sophie

Parting Company

blog, celebrity, event, life, lifestyle, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, trend, West End

I must admit, I’m slightly afraid to post this one.

As a Disclaimer, if you’re thinking I’m going to be bashing any specific names in the next few hundred words, I’m not. The individuals involved in this show were all extremely talented and more than worthy of their place on a West End stage.

I am however going to have to say it…I’m Sophie and I hated Company!

I hated Company so much that I left at the interval. I know this will anger some so let me explain my personal standpoint on leaving shows. I rarely do this, in fact this was only the second time I have ever done so in my entire life. Now, with theatre comes a certain set of unwritten rules. For instance, you would be well within your right to loudly tut a person bringing a burger in as a show snack. You would also be within your rights to boot the bright phone screen of the idiot in front out of their hands should they decide to whip it out at a pivotal moment! But leaving a show has always caused me a bit of conflict. So I kind of judge it by my seating i.e. if I’m front and centre, I ain’t leaving. In my opinion this would be impolite. That being said, I would agree with the viewpoint that it is my money and time and therefore I can make the decision to leave should I want to. And on this occasion, I really wanted to…

Naively, I didn’t do my research on this one. If I’m honest, I was led by the 5 star reviews and glamorous posters lining the escalators of London Vauxhall Station. Company is the show of the moment, the must have ticket and I wanted in.

It was a quick realisation of regret, a bit like when you take a risk on an online order only to discover that the trousers are see-through and it’s less of a camel toe and more like a hoof! *I’ve taken a risk there in assuming that Camels do in fact have hooves and not feet* From the opening number in which various cast members sang Bobbie over and over, I was underwhelmed.

Call me cliche, but I enjoy a musical in which I leave with at least one song stuck in my head and a feeling that I’ve learnt something or taken a message from somewhere. Company is abstract, there is no beginning middle and end (well maybe there is in the second half, you’ll have to let me know). Abstract art and I are like oil and water, we don’t mix *another fact based risk for you there*. I’m very aware that this is a trait shared by some and that others will absolutely love the lack of structure, the audience around me are proof enough that the show is a success to so many!

I suppose I wanted to share my thoughts as the overwhelming feeling I had when leaving was that I lacked culture or intellect in some way. Like I was at a dinner party with a table full of people talking politics in Russian. Like I was left waiting for the punchline when the rest were already in stitches. Company is a beautiful show visually, the staging is phenomenal and I have no doubt that the audience as a whole was feeling that special buzz, I just didn’t.

There is something to be said about the, for want of a better word, ‘snobbery’ that comes with theatre. The idea that more commercial shows are in some way lesser to the ‘classics’. I don’t like that. In my previous post, I mentioned that I believe there is a show for everyone. Theatre is there to entertain and excite. For two hours, you are transported away from your daily life with no distractions and given a story to take with you. It left me wondering, did anyone else in that audience feel the same way as I did and were they perhaps going along with the majority in order to feel accepted in some way? Perhaps not. But personally, I’ll be keeping away from Sondheim in the future and looking for something a little more uplifting.

…Oh and if you’re wondering, the other show I walked out of many years ago was the diabolical, Never Forget. *I like to think that Gary Barlow would have my back on that decision*

D.I.Y Disaster

beauty, celebrity, hair, lifestyle, look, lookback, review, Uncategorized
Excuse the hair!

The long black days – when I look at these photos now I don’t even recognise myself. It looks like a wig!

How many times have we heard the stories. Girl decides to dye her hair at home to save some money. Hair does not come out looking like the picture on the box. Girl ends up paying far more than she would have in the first place to fix self dyed hair…

Believe me, I’ve been there. Not just once, but several times throughout the past 10 years. I just never seemed to learn my lesson. I have now. In fact the events of August 2016 have put me off hair dye forever!!

Since the first box of  semi-permanent auburn hair dye, I have had every hair colour going. At University I decided to go black and at the time I loved it. However, I was the worst kind of hair offender because as the summer approached I would want to go lighter and so every few months an expensive trip to the hairdressers to desperately strip and bleach my hair would take place.

Eventually I got sick of this, cut my hair short and settled on brown. This meant I could

I loved my hair when I first went short. It was a healthy, warm brown. It would even look good when I woke up!

use semi-permanent brown dyes on my hair at home and with regular hair cuts it would look pretty good. In August, for whatever reason I decided to pick up a ‘dark brown’ shade. Well, as I dried my hair I soon realised I was back to black. In twenty minutes, my hair had transformed into the old me. And I did not appreciate it!!

In a panic, I drove straight to my local Superdrug and purchased a box of Colour B4. If you ever find yourself reaching for this on the shelf. DON’T! It is the most horrific product I have ever used! At the time though, I had seen their ambassador Katie Price swear by Colour b4 saying it was the easiest way to remove the black dye from her hair. I’m ashamed to admit that I was totally suckered in by the celebrity endorsement!

I followed the instructions on the box fully. I did everything I was supposed to do. Let me just say that I have never smelt anything like this in my life! Colour b4 honestly smells like chemicals, garbage and donkey piss all combined and set on fire. Awful. At the time I thought that this was temporary and obviously accepted that as it was stripping my hair it would have to be somewhat invasive. However, this smell lingered for over two weeks and no amount of washing could remove it!!!! The first box removed a fair amount of the black but there was still some in the ends of my hair so I went and bought another one. God only knows why! I applied this mainly to the ends and the final result was a fairly boring brown with just a hint of warmth. Perfectly acceptable.

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Frazzled and kinky despite being my natural colour – the result of too much heat!

After the first wash though, I noticed my hair get darker and after the second wash it was pretty much back to the original black. After one more box of Colour b4 (I honestly don’t know what was going through my brain) I threw in the towel and went to the hairdressers. The consultation didn’t take long. They wouldn’t touch my hair with a barge pole given the damage the product had done. The ends were frazzled, the hair felt weak and there was no way they would do anything but cut it for me. So I was left with one option…leave it alone!

Since then, I have not dyed my hair again. I have decided my colour days are behind me and it’s finally time to embrace nature. But one impact I’m still dealing with is breakage. A large amount of hair to the right of my crown and along the parting has broken off. By large I mean it is 100% noticeable and not just a few loose hairs.

To put this story into perspective, it’s now been a year and a half since I dyed my hair.

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This photo was taken 2 months after the previous one. The difference in length and condition is vast but I still have a way to go.

Yes, the dye has all grown out. No, I have not dyed it at all since. But let me be clear, the damage is still so bad that people often comment on it. It was one thing to stop dying it, but I was still mistreating my hair with heat and hair ties. So, at the start of this year, I made the decision to stop blow drying and learn how to french braid. It’s the best thing I’ve done throughout this whole ordeal! My hair has grown so much in just a month and feels so much better. There’s still a way to go, but I can now see an end in sight.

I won’t lie, I’m planning on begging my lovely hairdresser Amy to let me put a few blonde highlights in. But that’s where it stops. 2018 is the year of healthy hair!

So ladies and fellas, if you’re thinking of using Colour b4 or any other at home stripper, spare 2 years of stress and call a professional. In the end, what seems like the cheap option tends to end up costing a lot more in the long run!

xoxo

Lolita II

beauty, celebrity, lipstick, look, makeup, review, trend

I warned you in my last post about my love of liquid lipsticks so here is another one for your enjoyment…

The Kat Von D makeup range has been much hyped over the last year or so and it is no wonder. One look at Kat would tell you that galdem knows how to wing that liner!! Unfortunately her makeup range isn’t readily available in the UK so it was at the top of my list when I headed over to the states last year. I picked up the coveted Lock it foundation and concealer and love both. I aimed to grab some of her liquid lipsticks but for some reason I got side tracked and ended up coming home without any. This left me feeling like I was missing out so of course I had to get online and hunt some down.

kvdLolitaIII found Lolita II on Rose’s Beauty Store. This website is a great place to look if you want American brands that aren’t stocked in England (Anastasia Beverly Hills I’m looking at you). I will just say though that the majority of popular stock tends to be sold out and I’m not sure how often it is replenished. Also my packages took a while to be delivered, arrived on different days and I was asked to change an order despite the site showing it was available. However the team were incredibly helpful and courteous when I got in touch and the matter was sorted out super quick! I originally wanted the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Lolita but this is a well loved shade and very difficult to find in stock. I then saw Lolita II and decided to give it a go.

My thoughts? The shade is nice. A peachy/earthy tone. Nothing to scream home about. The applicator and packaging are lovely and efficient. The formula is fairly long-lasting and not particularly drying. But that’s about it. It didn’t blow me away. It’s just a nice, everyday lipstick. Do I regret buying it? Absolutely not. Has it changed my life? No.

What do you guys think? Do I need to try out any of her other shades? Perhaps there is another product in her range I need to give a go? Let me know!!

Sophie xoxo

My Current Favourites

bargain, beauty, celebrity, essentials, life, lifestyle, makeup, review, skin, skincare, trend

Everything is my favourite at the moment, even the word itself. So I thought I’d share some of my current loves with you all. From television to skincare here are just a few for you…

faves-SQScream Queens – I absolutely love this TV show! I’m watching along weekly in the UK so no spoilers please!! From the cast to the scripting this show is everything I love, but what else would you expect given that it was created by American Horror Story genius Ryan Murphy?! Despite the name it really isn’t particularly scary but it can venture into the gory zone on occasion. The show is set in a sorority house controlled by Queen bitch Chanel (Emma Roberts) and sees the cast being slowly picked off by the ‘Red Devil’. Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing as the slightly crazy, hard-faced Dean Cathy Munsch. Basically if you like pretty clothes, dark comedy and plenty of cliché rich white girl jokes then you need Scream Queens in your life!

faves-cliniqueClinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil – This stuff takes my makeup off in seconds. It’s amazing. I was using the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm but found that it often irritated my eyes, not enough to put me off using it but enough to make me want to explore other options. So I did my research and found the Clinique one to be a suitable alternative. I have found that whilst this is a great first cleanse you really do need to go in with a second one to get that fresh, clean skin feeling. For this I have been using an Elemis one (review coming soon). The Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil is perfect if you’re in a rush but want to avoid face wipes. 3 pumps for a full face of makeup, a warm flannel to remove and you’re done in seconds. Love. It.

faves-coatMissGuided Padded Faux Fur Hood Jacket– When it comes to jackets, I think I have a serious issue. I just cannot get enough! I feel like I need to have a different style for every occasion (funnily enough my mum disagrees). My justification for this most recent purchase however is that I was seriously lacking in the hood department. This jacket is sooo warm and the giant hood makes it perfect for walks in the rain (a must when you have two dogs). So that’s my reasoning, and I have donated an old one to charity in exchange which is a great idea if you want to rid yourself of a little shoppers guilt. On a side note I just have to say how impressive the MissGuided delivery service is, this arrived next day despite the fact I ordered after 8pm. They also have a great returns policy and bonus points for the 20% discount!!

Adele 25 – Despite spending hours and I mean serious hours attempting to buy tickets to her tour *to no avail* I have made the mature decision to forgive Adele. This new album might actually be my favourite of all her work. Hello is of course the ballad of the year but for me the number one song on 25 is When We Were Young (the video above), I bloody love it! I like the mix of uptempo and slow songs and basically I am just one of millions of passengers riding the Adele train right now.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – I wrote about this in a blog post which you can read here. I won’t bang on about it, but I have just been loving using this to apply my concealer recently. I cover the sponge in setting spray, wait a couple of seconds and then lightly bounce it over the concealer until it has fully blended. This is particularly great for the under eye area and once set with powder there is definitely less creasing than when using a brush. Brilliant and affordable at just £5.99, what more do you want?!

What are your current favourites? Beauty or random I would love to know so please do share them in the comments. Or you can tweet me @sophieaiken.

Sophie xoxo

Lottie Tomlinson Inspired Blue Liner

beauty, celebrity, eyeliner, inspired, look, makeup

One of my very first posts was a Lottie Tomlinson inspired look, I bloody love her hair, makeup and style and so when she posted THIS video on Instagram I had to get hold of her blue eyeliner!

I’ve always wanted to try the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencils, but at £15.50 they aren’t exactly budget friendly! That being said I simply couldn’t resist treating myself to one! The beautiful shade of blue that Lottie used is called Deep End. I will just note that the pencil appears as a baby blue matte shade in the video whereas in reality it is a slightly darker iridescent colour. This doesn’t bother me particularly as it is still a beautiful pencil but I felt that it was worth mentioning if like me you choose to buy it online. The quality of the 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil is outstanding, highly pigmented and long lasting. What more could a girl ask for?!

I wear this on my lower waterlid and keep the rest of the look pretty simple. I’m obsessed with using MAC Saddle eyeshadow as an all over eyeshadow, for a cheaper alternative you can use a matte bronzer (the Seventeen Contour Kit is amazing for this). These two products together are heavenly for green/blue/grey combination eyes! For brown eyes I would suggest trying a purple like the Maybelline Master Drama one in the shade Dark Purple which I also absolutely love!!

Basically this is just a post to say thank you Lottie Tomlinson for inspiring me to venture into the world of coloured eye pencils!! I am officially converted, when it comes to makeup bright colours really aren’t such a scary thing after all! What do you think? Is coloured liner something you would try?

Sophie xoxo