What I learnt from posting every day for a week

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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*

Lust List: The Skin Edition

beauty, blog, face, highend, inspired, life, lifestyle, london, look, makeup, review, skin, skincare, trend, Uncategorized

So I know my posts recently have been a bit mixed in terms of content but I thought I’d get back to a bit of beauty today. Recently, I’ve been making a more conscious effort to use up my current products before buying new ones. Of course there are a few exceptions, but for the most part I’ve been pretty good at ‘shopping my stash’.

Whenever I discover a new product that I’d like to try, I add it to the notes on my phone. By doing this, I can refer back to it once I’ve used up a current favourite. So here are the skincare/makeup items I’m lusting after right now. Let me know of any others you think I should try!

Glossier Skin Tint – As a self confessed lover of full coverage, this may be somewhat of a suprise addition. Having seen Anniecherrymakeup feature this lightweight foundation regularly in her videos, I am keen to give it a go.  Perfect for evening out discolouration, this appears to be the solution to no makeup makeup. One downside to point out is the small shade range. Whilst it does appear to cater to a range of skintones, there are only 12 shades within the range, minimal compared to the likes of MAC and Fenty.

Ole Henriksen Bananna Bright Face Primer – This particular product has been raved about by a number of successful influencers over the past few months. Packed with Vitamin C, it promises a ‘dewy, healthy-looking glow’.As someone who isn’t massive on primer, this product appeals more so for the promise of radiance. This is one of many products from Ole Henriksen that I’m keen to try.

Khiels Daily Reviving Concentrate – Admittedly, I have used this serum before but at £38, I haven’t yet been able to justify a repurchase. As a massive fan of the Midnight Recovery Serum, I was hopeful that this would deliver on the same scale and it did. Definitely time to add it back into my routine!

Do you own any of these products? Anything you think I should be trying instead? Tweet me @sophieaiken.

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

The 2019 Wish List

blog, books, concealer, inspired, life, lifestyle, london, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, trend, West End

Last year was a good year for me in terms of getting to the theatre. I made the most of cheap deals and daily lotteries to see the likes of Heathers and Hamilton. This year, I’m hoping for more of the same with a few extra plays thrown in! Fifteen feels like a lot at the moment but no doubt this list will continue to grow and change.

So here is it is, my 2019 wish list…

Waitress – I don’t think I could create this list without putting Waitress on it. Currently starring Broadway superstar Katharine Mcphee, this show features music written by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.

Come From Away – I’m all for a show with an uplifting narrative and if the reviews are anything to go by, this is the show to beat for feel-good factor! One quick warning with this one, there is no intermission!

Six – The music, the lyrics, the female empowerment. I am so excited to see this show. No doubt it’ll inspire a return trip to Hampton Court Palace afterwards!

A German Life – As a self confessed history geek, this one woman show starring Maggie Smith is right up my street. Based on the testemonies of Brunhilde Pomsel, Joseph Goebbel’s secretary, this is bound to be a sell out when tickets drop on February 26th!

9 To 5 The Musical – I’m all about the Dolly tunes.

Only Fools and Horses – I have low expectations for this show but I often find that when you go in with little hope, you are pleasantly surprised.

Noughts & Crosses – I am beyong excited to watch this novel from my childhood be brought to life on stage. An important and gripping love story.

Tina – Featuring songs from her incredible back catalogue, this show follows the life of Tina Turner from Nashville to stardom.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Having seen this at The Rose Theatre a few years back, Shakespeare’s only made it onto the list because I’m keen to experience the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

& Juliet – With 5 Grammy Awards under his belt, alongside a plethora of number one singles, Max Martin has turned his hand to musical theatre. Starring Miriam-Teak Lee, this is set to be an exciting twist on Shakespeare’s famous love story.

Witness For the Prosecution – If you’ve ever completed a stint on a jury, you’ll know just how boring the reality of the entire process really is. I am confident that this show will be anything but and cannot wait to find myself watching a case unfold in London County Hall.

Les Misérables: The All-Star Staged Concert – For a limited time, the longest running show in the West End is moving down the road to the Gielgud Theatre. With a cast made up of some of the biggest names in Musical Theatre, this is sure to be a ticket for the memory box!

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – This show will always hold a special place in my heart. Having grown up listening to an *admittedly bootleg* tape recording of Joseph, I’ve always secretly held a dream of one day playing the Narrator. Having last seen Lee Mead take on the iconic role, I’m looking forward to this new production.

Small Island – Landing at the National Theatre in late April, this show is an adaptation of the prize winning novel by Andrea Levy.

Dear Evan Hansen – I am the most excited for this show to land in the UK. With a soundtrack like no other and a message that has never been more relevant, I’m certain that this show will be a phenomenon.

Panto –  I’m not sure which one yet but I haven’t been to a panto since I was a young and have forgotten just how fantastically camp they can be. Recommendations welcome!

I’d love to hear what shows you’re all looking forward to catching this year!

 

 

 

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*

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

Liquid Lipstick Love

beauty, lipstick, makeup, review, trend

Disclaimer: Prepare to see a fair amount of liquid lipstick related blog posts on sophiesnooks, they are my current addiction!

Flashback to November 2015. I was in New York and finally managed to get my hands on a couple of the notoriously brilliant Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipsticks. I bought Heathers and Vintage. These aren’t the typical colours I would normally reach for but stock was somewhat limited in Macy’s and I just couldn’t walk away empty handed!!

abhHeathersAs soon as I got back to the hotel that evening I applied Heathers and I have to say since then I’ve been a lot more comfortable wearing a more diverse range of colours. Heathers has a very 90s feel to it which is very ‘in’ at the moment. If you want an alternative to the Kylie Jenner mauve/brown lips this could be what you’re looking for. It is a dark reddish/brown shade.This lipstick will literally suit the lightest to darkest skin tones. Very opaque. Very beautiful. Lasts ages and looks perfect with a simple eye and clean skin. abhVintage

The second shade I picked up was Vintage. This is very much a statement lip colour. I cannot speak highly enough of the formulation of these lipsticks, they are so soft yet incredibly pigmented. Vintage is a bright purple and I like to make it the feature of the look when I wear it. One thing I will say is that it’s important to get the application right with these. On one hand you need to take time to make sure that the shape is perfected but on the other if you take too long you risk any mistakes drying and becoming a nuisance to remove! Once on however, they are long-lasting, non-drying and just really lovely statement lipsticks.

Sophie xoxo

 

January Shade

bargain, budget, dupe, highend, holiday, inspired, life, lifestyle, look, ootd, reflection, review, tan, trend

It is cold here in England at the moment, really cold! So the winter coat is getting a lot of use (you can read about my favourite jacket HERE). But the days are also rather sunny and for someone who gets headaches just opening the front door, that provides an issue…

DIOR GLASSES.jpgI am obsessed with sunglasses, they are just the best thing on a sunny day and recently I was seriously lusting after a beautiful Dior pair. At £295 these “Dior reflected sunglasses” had to stay in my dreams and so I pushed them to the back of my mind and somewhat forgot about them.

 

SUNGLASSES

The other day I was browsing the MissGuided website and saw THESE lovely sunglasses. At £10 they were a total bargain and I just couldn’t resist.Once again I was so impressed by the speed and ease of the delivery service provided by MissGuided, they really are so good at what they do! For the price I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of quality but these seem pretty sturdy. It’s always a good sign when the product looks like the picture on the site. I love the contrast of white and gold and can’t wait to wear them all year round! They may not be Dior but they’ll do for me!

Sophie xoxo

 

A Rather Lengthy Look Back

lookback, reflection, review, trend

I know it is such an overused phrase, but I just can’t help myself because seriously WHERE HAS THIS YEAR GONE?! I have to admit at the start of this year I was somewhat dreading 2015 but it hasn’t been half as bad as I thought. So here is a little look back at some of the highlights.

January and February were clearly slow months as I can’t think of any stand out memories so let’s skip straight to March 2015 and of course the highlight of this was my trip to Amsterdam. I went with two of my favourite ladies and we just had a right laugh. I also discovered the most heavenly Strawberry Daiquiris known to man. I really don’t think there is anything better than making fun memories with your friends so I’m hoping 2016 brings more of these trips!dam

April 2015 consisted of self imposed deadlines. With the help of my mum (a former university lecturer) I created myself a timeline in order to be able to complete my dissertation about the Blackfish documentary to a standard I could really be proud of. This might seem a bit mundane to you but for me this was a major milestone as I am terrible at focusing on work and to see something I had spent so much time and effort on printed and bound was a real achievement.

May 2015 was the month of exams and hand ins. It was the culmination of a year of hard work and the pressure was on! Once uni was done and dusted and there was no more I could do I was able to forget about it and actually enjoy myself again. What better way to do this than with a trip to Lemonfest. You can read the blogpost I wrote about it here, but basically it was just a fun weekend with friends.

And then we reach June 2015. Two life altering, majorly exciting things happened at the beginning of this month. Firstly we brought home our beautiful puppy Wilbur. He is a black and white Spanish Water Dog with eyes that could melt the coldest of hearts. He’s also a total nutcase! In terms of personality Wilbur is the polar opposite of my lovely 6 year old dog Alfie. He throws himself into, onto and at anything and anyone. He’s fearless and bold and won’t take no for an answer but we love him.

And then came June 5th 2015. One Direction. Need I say more?!?! I saw One Direction on tour in Cardiff. They were incredible. I think my heart stopped beating on several occasions after months of waiting. Oh yeah and McBusted opened for them! I am a self confessed Queen of Pop and this was a memory I will treasure forever. I did however manage to forget my phone and camera so here’s a video for your enjoyment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho32Oh6b4jc

July brought me back down to reality as I was unemployed and bored. A lot of my time was spent telling Wilbur off and hopelessly trying to train him. This month provided me with the time to dedicate to my blog which I absolutely loved (sunny days make it so much easier to take pictures and stay motivated). I also arranged to go back to my job which I must admit I do still enjoy. Screen shot 2015-12-16 at 20.50.44

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August 2015 meant only one thing in life. Boomtown. The best festival if you want to lose your mind for a few days. It is the ultimate reunion for my friends and there is no chance of ever being bored thanks to the millions of things to see and do. It was amazing and I have so many funny and amazing memories from it. Bring on Boomtown 2016!

The end of September 2015 was AMAZINGGGG!! Let’s just take a moment to remember the fact that I won free tickets to see Little Mix and One Direction at the Roundhouse in London. It is the most brilliant venue to watch big artists perform in. I was three rows back and will forever swear that Harry sang several lines of Story of My Life whilst squinting into my eyes. The dream! Both bands were incredible and seeing them in such a way was such a once in a lifetime opportunity (told you I’m a pop Queen). My phone memory was full by the end of the night but it was worth it to capture every moment possible.Screen shot 2015-12-16 at 20.48.18

Screen shot 2015-12-16 at 20.47.50.pngSeptember also saw the Rugby World Cup come to England (we’ll brush over their performance) and so myself and my dad went to Cardiff to watch Australia vs Fiji. I feel like events like these are so few and far between for most of us and I would nearly always prefer to have an amazing memory to look back on when I’m older. Most of us can barely remember the Christmas present we got last year but an event like this can stay in your mind for years. We also went to New Zealand vs Namibia at the Olympic Stadium. I am always in awe of the All Blacks and love watching them do the Haka so this was insane. It made it even more special knowing that it was the last chance I would have to watch greats like Richie McCaw on the field. Screen shot 2015-12-16 at 20.48.44

Screen shot 2015-12-16 at 20.47.00.pngIn October I finally conquered one of my biggest fears and got behind the wheel. You heard it here first, I am on the roads. I actually really love driving and according to my instructor I’m a natural (I like to tell everyone this at every possible opportunity). I’m getting pretty confident now but still have a few more lessons to go. A part of me wishes I hadn’t waited so long to do it but who cares because I’ll be out on my own before I know it. faves learner.png

In November last year I was in the midst of writing my dissertation and I just couldn’t see an end in sight. Flash forward to November 2015 and I proudly strutted across the Guildhall stage to collect my degree. From the severely delayed train to the gale-force winds that broke my umbrella in half and left me with outrageously frizzy hair the day didn’t exactly get off to the best start. The general feeling was that it was a lot of effort and hype for 10 seconds on a stage. But I was really proud of myself for finally getting my degree. It was so lovely to have my parents and granny there to share the day with as well and we did manage to hobble together a couple of decent photos. I also went on holiday to New York with my lovely family and you can see the photos here. Being in America during Thanksgiving was lush, there was just a nice atmosphere around. We did so much that we hadn’t done on our trip previously and I got to watch several decent films on the flights in spite of ignorant seat recliners in front!DSC00296

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So there was a just a few memorable moments from 2015.

Sophie xoxo