Monthly Favourites | February 2018

Highlights from this month – hopefully some nuggets of inspo to take away with you ❤


It’s been an incredibly busy month! From leaving work, cat hunting, celebrating Southampton and declaring my Gap Year – I’ve lost a lot of sleep but gained a lot of fans – mostly due to the City of Southampton video it seems! Read on to find out what I got up to…

Farewell!

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Photo I took of Hartley Library ages ago in spring. I am based right next to this building on Highfield Campus.

After 2.8 years at the University of Southampton, my last day was earlier this week on Tuesday. I am so sad that my wonderful time working at the University has come to an end. I absolutely loved working there and it really helped to bring my creativity and potential at work to life. I am excited to move onto my next adventure, of taking some time out from full-time work to take advantage of some new opportunities that have come my way! YES PEOPLE I AM TAKING THE GAP YEAR I HAVE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT SINCE MID-2017!! Life has thrown some lemons at me over the past few weeks – and I mean some big lemons – but miraculously, things couldn’t have worked out better for me. I feel so positive at the moment and grateful for everything that has come my way – watch this space! I’ll be uploading a blog post on my Gap Year Goals soon.

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Beautiful cake for my leaving do at work made by my manager’s incredibly talented friend! This was a honey-layered cake – something I hadn’t tried before and it was absolutely delicious!

Below is a link to the City of Southampton video that I’ve wanted to create since 2015 (when I joined) – but due to limited budget, I had to come up with a creative solution to make it. It took some time, mainly sourcing the talent to create the video the way I imagined it in my head – but I am so glad I persevered and was able to leave the University having produced this. I am super proud of it and proud to have worked with my amazing team on creating it. It’s the final video that I signed off on and my successor will get to work on the videos that I have left in the pipeline with the wonderful team I’ve left behind ❤ I believe it’s fair to say that the video has gone semi-viral and I’ve had so many people contact me to tell me that they love it and are inspired by it ❤ Thank you!!

Celebrating… Culture

The new Cultural Quarter at the heart of Southampton City Centre  – address Studio 144 – launched earlier this month, and I was fortunate enough to be given VIP access (I was doing the social media coverage for the University on the evening). I was delighted to be a part of this – the arts scene in Southampton has been a long time coming and it’s so important to me to be able to support something that I am intensely passionate about. Studio 144 is home to NST City, City Eye and John Hansard Gallery – it features everything from theatre, dance, film, music and art.

There are some great exhibitions on at the moment, including Rhona Byrne’s Huddlehood and Hetain Patel’s moving images ‘Don’t Look at Finger’ – which I absolutely loved. It is SO GOOD. If you’re in Southampton anytime soon, be sure to check it out!

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Rhonda Byrne’s Huddlehood – absolutely loved this.

Rhonda Byrne’s Huddlehood is a form of mobile interactive immersive art. Huddlewear is social clothing, and you’re supposed to try it on with others to facilitate exchange and build relationships when your sense of self and vulnerability is exposed in real-time. I tried on a cap which was joined with another cap by a piece of cloth (no longer than the length of my arm) that another man tried on and then we had to face each other/talk. It was crazy how exposed and vulnerable I felt in that moment, but also comfortable enough to talk to him about anything. The clothing and the space it reduces really helps to break down barriers between people – almost immediately. Personally I think all diplomats should wear these – it would certainly go a long way in resolving many of our world conflicts! I don’t know what it was, but in that moment we were just reduced to our humanity, and it was an incredible feeling. We both couldn’t stop smiling under our hats!

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Sam Laughlin’s ‘Untitled’ photographs line the corridors of the gallery and depict the construction process of Studio 144.
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Fireworks to mark the opening of Southampton’s new Cultural Quarter to all!

There’s a lot more going on in the city at the moment, especially with the expansion of West Quay. I managed to catch the Festival of Lights one evening on my way back home from work – which for me was really great, not just witnessing the displays on the old walls, but also seeing just how many families it brought outside to enjoy the evening. There’s a real sense of community and activity here and I am really appreciating it.

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Festival of Lights in front of West Quay.

#30daygymchallenge

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I realised at the start of this month that I went to the gym about four times in January, and the scary bit, that I was morphing back into a potato! In order to make sure I got the most out of my gym membership, and my bod ready for my sister’s wedding at the end of April (eeek, news!), I decided to set myself a challenge: that I would go to the gym everyday for 30 days ‘straight’, and remain accountable by updating my progress on Instagram – so those of you who follow me over on there will know how I have got on (pretty well if I must so say myself!). It was incredibly tough on some days when I was super tired or making time for it on days when I had incredible amounts of work to get through – but just the nature of doing a challenge really makes you stick to it! I am delighted to say that it has made me fall in love with the gym again, staying active and eating healthy. Bar a few days where I couldn’t make it due to conflicting events, I have gone to the gym everyday since I started the challenge on Feb 6th. I am enjoying it so much I have decided to extended the challenge for another 2 months – essentially till the day my sister gets married. Can’t get more motivation than that!

Favourite Purchases & Gifts

I avoided the shops in January as much as possible in a bid to stay true to my saving goals that I set myself at the start of this year – but alas, I have not managed to escape the final stretch of sales in February. I purchased lots of goodies this month – including a new coat, dress, tops, a cropped hoodie and boots (from ZARA), a gorgeous Pandora ring and lots of cute tops from the online fashion store SHEIN (although refunds are a nightmare and they are not free, so I don’t think I will be shopping with them again – although they have a lot of cute stuff – and I mean A LOT). I also gave in and bought more gym wear from Gymshark as they had an outlet sale out of the blue!

I’ve received some lovely gifts this month too – including a Pandora cat charm from my niece after she saw that I was on the hunt for a cat, a lovely book from my manager, a University of Southampton hoodie (wanted one for ages woo) and a voucher for NST! Thank you lovely people ❤

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Pandora still going strong.
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The top is from SHEIN – the jewellery is not!
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Very thoughtful gift from my manager as I embark on my freelancing adventures!

Visiting Bristol

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I visited Bristol to see my friends who live there and omg – I love the city! I’m not sure what it is about the city but it won me over pretty fast. It was a bit like London but not as stressy? I did feel like it was trying a little * too * hard to be hipster in some areas, but nonetheless, I was feeling the vibes! I had a lovely day full of fresh air (we walked around the whole city pretty much) and laughs with two of my old friends from Cambridge. I plan on revisiting again in March to explore the city further and plan to do a blog post on the places to visit/eat out at – so watch this space!

Movies & Music

I’m sure you’ve seen it all over, but Black Panther was the highlight in the movie world this month! I really enjoyed it although there have been a lot of reviews focusing on the different issues the movie highlighted – or failed to highlight – or didn’t do justice to etc. All that aside, ultimately it is a Marvel movie, and it stuck to those tropes and the movie was incredibly enjoyable to watch for me – I went with all my family based in Southampton and we all loved it! I would highly recommend – I plan on watching it again soon at some point.

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I’ve also been listening to the – don’t judge me – Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack on Spotify, to help me with my runs at the gym! It’s not too shabby.

Spotlight

  • Bloggers: I discovered this great blog earlier this month: the l8bloomers – only to find out it was run by a friend that I had made years ago when I lived in London! It caters to a lot of issues millennials can relate to so I would highly recommend. I came across the following article which I really enjoyed reading: I’m 27 And Single And That’s OK for Now…
  • Apps: I’ve been using the app Lifesum this month. To keep it short – it’s like My Fitness Pal, but slightly better in my opinion because of the interface (it has little smiley faces and stuff which I really like haha – basic I know!). I decided to lightly track what I was eating to go along with the 30 day gym challenge as I am trying to lose a few pounds. I would recommend it! I really liked being able to scan foods that I was eating – I know you can do this on My Fitness Pal – but like I said, I just like the whole interface and experience of Lifesum a lot better. Don’t worry I’m not sponsored by them or anything! Ha – I wish!
  • Podcasts: I’ve harped on about it forever, but I cannot recommend the Modern Love podcast series enough. I wrote a post about my favourites around Valentine’s Day – if you haven’t read it, you can check it out here: To Fall in Love, Do This… My former colleague also launched a podcast series which I have given a listen to this month – it’s called Self-Made Women and it’s really good. Great for tips and inspiration if you’re setting out on your own as an entrepreneur. Check it out!
  • Authors: I came across this brilliant interview with Louise O’Neill, one of my favourite writers. She talks about writing, the sanctuary of living with parents, battling an eating disorder, coming to terms with new found success and being a feminist in the spotlight – her honesty and dedication to her work and well-being never fails to inspire me. I’m such a huge fan and can’t wait for her new books to release this year, ‘Almost Love’ and ‘The Surface Breaks’ – a feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid – to come out: Louise O’Neill: ‘The hardest place to maintain my feminism is in a relationship with a straight man.’

New Book Club in Southampton

I haven’t actually had much luck with reading this month – I’ve had so much going on! I’m still reading ‘Disclaimer’ by Renee Knight which I started in Jan and as part of my Curtis Brown Creative writing course. Anyhow, the exciting thing to have come out of my frustrations is that I have decided to start a new book club in Southampton! Now that I have some time on my hands, I will actually be able to dedicate some time to my favourite past time. So if you’re interested in joining – get in touch and I can forward you the deets! There are still some spaces left.

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Penguin Random House, Canongate and several other publishers have been absolutely lovely and sent me several copies of books to review! This, and my decision to take a year out, very much played into starting a Book Club in Southampton! ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman is one that I’ve wanted to read for ages now – Obama even recommended it! Zadie Smith’sFeel Free’ is another book that I’m looking forward to – I haven’t read anything of hers before but have only ever heard good stuff! I can’t wait to start working through these. Be sure to subscribe below if you haven’t already as I will be doing reviews of all these in the coming weeks and months.

Social Media News

I finally made an Instagram account officially dedicated to this blog – check it out here!

I also officially reached 1000+ connections on LinkedIn – which means it’s my biggest social media community online. I really love LinkedIn as I am really invested in my self-development – both personal and professional – so I plan to continue to work on sharing great content and making connections with people. I think this is one of the reasons why I have been so fortunate and lucky with the opportunities that have come my way – I always aim to build my relationships with people and try and stay connected with them.

Writing Adventures

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Waterstones Cafe and writing quite a bit over the past few weeks! I shall be there for the rest of the year I imagine (some news to be announced on my future blog post regarding my Gap Year Goals), so do stop by and say hello if you’re around!

Popular posts on my blog this month:

Living:

Creativity:

Culture:


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