Disclaimer: have very low expectations for this goals update. My dissertation took more time, energy and sanity from me than I expected and I’m still recovering.

Anyway, here is how my third term goals translated into reality:

  • Continue to work between 20-25 hours a week: I worked just enough, but had to take off a few extra days and refuse covering shifts to have enough time for my dissertation.
  • Continue to meet with an academic adviser once every other week: Did that. She was largely useless. Good with practical advice, but a bit disappointing with project-specific questions (“this isn’t my field”… then why did you agree to mentor this project? Ugh).
  • Travel to one new U.K. city: Diego and I went to Kew Gardens and Alyssa and I visited Stonehenge, so I’m counting those.
  • Stretch for five minutes everyday: Didn’t happen.
  • Cut back on cheese, dairy chocolate and soda: Didn’t happen either.
  • Read two books a month: Just about! I think my recent favorite is This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay.
  • Listen to new music (two albums a week): Done! My recent favorites are Hellions, Orchards and The National.
  • Complete a new T.V. series: I’ve been watching a lot of Wentworth, but still a few seasons from the end. I rewatched The Good Place if that counts?
  • Apply for two jobs a week: I have been too busy with dissertation until recently, but finding a job here seems unlikely due to immigration barriers. Sigh.
  • Blog for about five hours a week: Nope.
  • Watch more films: Somewhat. My recent likes have been A Quiet Place and Million Dollar Baby

Here are my goals for the next two months:

  • Work 40 hours a week
  • Travel to one new U.K. city
  • See a musical
  • Travel to one new country
  • Read two books a month
  • Complete a new T.V. series
  • Apply for five jobs a week (until mid-November)
  • Blog for 5-10 hours a week
  • Watch more films

Photo by Laura Cros.

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There has been a post floating around on Twitter that has been getting a lot of attention asking people to name an album, any genre, that you think is 100% perfect – where you don’t skip one track.

I retweeted saying Revolutions Per Minute by Rise Against, but upon further thought, there are several albums that are “perfect” in my eyes.

Disclaimer: these are not my favorite albums. Confusing, I know. But, there are some less than amazing tracks on some of my favorite albums, but the other songs make up for it.

Additionally, there are some “perfect” albums that I could easily listen to all the way through, but don’t actively enjoy. For example, I consider By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers a perfect album, but I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking. Here is a (somewhat out of date) page of all the concerts I’ve been to.

Anyway, here we go:

Revolutions Per Minute by Rise Against (2003, punk). This was the first album that came to mind when I thought about “perfect” albums. Of course, I couldn’t not include my all-time favorite band in this list. Although it’s dangerously close to The Sufferer and the Witness, the tie breaker is probably the songs live. I would (and have) lost my mind every time they play something live from RPM. I have seen Rise Against live seven times, you can read about them all in this post. Favorite tracks: Blood Red White and Blue, Heaven Knows, Like the Angel

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Rise Against live in 2014

Menos El Oso by Minus the Bear (2005, indie rock). I’m quite sad because this band recently broke up before I got the chance to see them live. Favorite tracks: Drilling, Horray

Fluorescent Youth by Conditions (2010, rock). This album never fails to lift my spirit and bring a tear to my eye. It’s simply so powerful. I was lucky enough to see them live in 2013 before they broke up. Favorite tracks: Better Life, Comfort Far Away

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Me and Conditions in 2013

Born to Die by Lana Del Rey (2012, indie pop). Her voice is absolutely mesmerizing with such range. Favorite tracks: Video Games, Born to Die

Still Searching by Senses Fail (2006, post-hardcore). I couldn’t not include my other favorite band. My favorite album of theirs is undoubtedly Life Is Not a Waiting Room, but I feel this album is better well-rounded. I have actually seen this album in full during their anniversary tour in March 2017, where they also played my two favorite songs from Life Is Not a Waiting Room, so needless to say it was a perfect show. Favorite tracks: Cinco de Mayo, Mason’s Revenge, Calling All Cars, Bonecrusher

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Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be by We Came as Romans (2011, metalcore). This is also a sad one: this band meant a lot to me in my teen years and the lead singer, Kyle, has recently passed away. I have seen them live a handful of times and even won a bit to bowl with them for charity in 2013. This album is now especially heavy since Kyle’s passing, but still as amazing. Joshua Moore is a lyrical genius. Favorite tracks: A War Inside, Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be, What I Wish I Never Had

Beggars by Thrice (2009, rock). Although I consider The Artist and the Ambulance “peak” Thrice (their subjectively best album), there is something I can’t explain that always draws me to this album over the others. I have seen them twice. I was actually meant to see them in London a few months ago but lost my ticket… bummer. Favorite tracks: In Exile, Wood and Wire, At the Last

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Only Revolutions by Biffy Clyro (2009, alternative rock). I have been lucky enough to see this massive Scottish band in an intimate venue back home in 2017. Favorite tracks: That Golden Rule, Many of Horror, Booooom Blast and Ruin

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Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys (2007, indie rock). Although I was only first introduced to them with their mainstream success of their self titled album, this album deserves more recognition. This album is a good bridge between their rougher, primitive old sound and their more tame and sometimes, sorry about it, watered down new sound. Again, not outright calling any of their work bad, just very different, but this album is certainly their best, even if Fluorescent Adolescent is overplayed at clubs. I saw them live in 2013. Favorite tracks: Do Me a Favour, 505, Balaclava

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Everything Goes Numb by Streetlight Manifesto (2003, ska). An absolute gem of a debut album for this ska band which contains arguably their most powerful song, A Better Place A Better Time. This album is so high energy and yet thoughtful at the same time, truly one of a kind. I have seen them live twice. Favorite tracks: A Better Place A Better Time, A Moment of Silence, Here’s to Life

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About six months ago, I made a masterpost with all my tattoos and piercings and yesterday, I got my fifth tattoo!

I literally just Googled “tattoos hove” and chose the shop with the highest ratings and most reviews, Velvet Tattoo.

I went in to meet with the resident artist and owner Katja with an idea in my mind inspired by one of my favorite musical artists, Marina and the Diamonds (now simply “Marina”). She has two albums I love equally in different ways called The Family Jewels and Electra Heart. With that, I wanted to combine the titles for a jewel tattoo in the shape of a heart. I brought a few photos and told Katja what parts of others’ art/ tattoos I like and would like to see in mine.

Katja got back to me after two weeks with my design:

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I booked in an appointment and got it immortalized on my body yesterday with the moral support from Diego.

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Isn’t he the cutest?

Katja was hard at work for from about 1100 to 1320 tattooing me and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

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This is the tattoo right after the job was done (placement is under my right knee)…

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You’re meant to shave the area you get tattooed before you get inked and I took that a bit too literally, just shaving that area when I couldn’t be bothered to shave my legs, so excuse the little patch of hair.

Afterwards, Diego and I went to a tasty Mexican restaurant as my reward for being so brave.

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I have been taking care of it as required, washing it and applying cream on it every few hours. I “leaked” quite a bit last night, a delicious mixture of plasma, sweat and ink left behind in the wrap around my leg (which is normal for those of you who don’t have tattoos). I’m a bit sore today and it feels like someone took a cheese grater to my shins, but it will surely get a little worse before it gets better, so I’m soldiering through.

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Regardless, I’m glad the worst of the pain is over and am glad to have this lovely piece on me. I’m especially fond of the color illusion to make it looks like the sun in shining on the jewel to give it a 3D feel and the mint color around the frame!

Here are a few bonus pictures from my Marina and the Diamonds concerts in 2015 and 2016 in London:

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Happy autumn! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

I didn’t get a chance to make an August In Review post, but I didn’t get up to much, really. I was mostly stressing over my dissertation (and still am as my marks are released in a few weeks) which was due at the end of August. I was really depressed about my work and felt there was still a lot to be done or could have been done differently if I managed my time a little bit better earlier in the year. Hindsight is a great thing, isn’t it? Regardless of my mark, I’m certain I passed, which is something to celebrate. I’m not a Master of Research in conservation biology!

Also in August, I moved house (post still to come), surprised Diego at home in Madrid and went to Bergen, Norway with my gran and two aunties.

Anyway, back to September

At the end of the month, Diego came back! It’s been nice having him around again, even if he is on the other side of town rather than five steps away.

I went to a few gigs: Arcane Roots in Tunbridge Wells and Enter Shikari in Brighton. That was Arcane Roots’ last proper gig ever as they announced their break-up a week or so before. It was a good gig, but the one last year was a bit better. On the other hand, Enter Shikari was amazing! It was an intimate show for charity that sold out almost instantly. My friend Alex bought tickets for himself, me and Diego but was unable to make the show, so I passed his ticket on to my friend Rachel and we met up with another one of my friends Hannah for a few pre-show bevvies. I lost one of my shoes during the first song but remained remarkably unscathed throughout the show (photo credit: Jamie MacMillan).

Work has been more or less the same, but I started doing overnight visits. These are sleeping nights so I can sleep, but I have to keep my ears open for any trouble and make sure my clients are safe and attended to. Unfortunately hunt for a new job isn’t going amazing. Although I’ve been offered several interviews for other healthcare jobs, none of them can supply me with a visa. I was careful in applying within companies that are sponsors, but the positions I’ve been applying for don’t meet the salary criteria for a visa. I haven’t lost all hope and am applying for conservation jobs and hope to land something, but not woefully optimistic.

However, I’m trying to make what very well might be the last few months of my time here count by packing in all I can! So far, I’m going to Cardiff with Diego for a hockey game, some shows and gigs in West End and hope to book one final trip to mainland before I head back across the pond.

What I’m watching: Sicario, Wentworth (seasons 1-3)

What I’m reading: The Alienist by Caleb Carr, Wide Open by Gracie X, Never Let Me Go by Kazou Ishiguro, This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

What I’m listening to: Rosenrot by Rammstein, Trouble Will Find Me by The National, Ghost Note Symphonies by Rise Against, The American Dream by Trophy Eyes, Opera Oblivia by Hellions, A Deeper Understanding by War on Drugs, The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, TA13OO by Denzel Curry, Alright, Still by Lily Allen, Welcome to the Neighbourhood by Boston Manor, Palms by Thrice, Sum of all Your Parts by Fatherson, No Blues by Los Campesinos!, The Strange Case of… by Halestorm

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As I mentioned in a recent post sharing my favorite blog posts of the month, I’ve been quite busy over the last month. But finally, am happy to feature Sophie in this month’s Blogger of the Month.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

fFE4ab0mMy name is Sophie and I’m a nineteen year old blogger! I dabble in almost every style of post imaginable; vegan food, mental health, general lifestyle and fashion. My favourites to write about are mental health related ones because growing up (and still now) I have struggled with an array of mental health issues so they feel the most “me” when I’m writing them. I just finished my a levels so I’m studying history at a Birmingham university! People deem history as such a boring thing to study but I am personally such a history nerd that I read about it in my spare time hahaha!

How did you get into blogging?

I got into blogging because I wanted a platform to be creative. I used to write short stories in my spare time but I didn’t feel like that was enough so I tried writing a couple blog posts on a community blog which unfortunately isn’t a thing anymore! I enjoyed that so much so I made my own and here we are! Quite possibly my favourite hobby!

Tell us about your favorite blog post.

My favourite blog post I’ve ever written is definitely You Don’t Need to Lose Weight in 2018 which is basically about the struggles and demands around making new years resolutions to lose weight. I think that’s such an important topic to write about because I have fallen victim to thinking I NEED to lose weight after Christmas when really, you don’t need to. If you want to lose weight that’s fine, but it should only be because you want to. Also, I’m a fan of my 19th birthday post where I talked about how my life has improved since being younger!

What are you doing when you’re not blogging?

Honestly? Thinking about my next blog post. I write about mental health and my life so it’s hard to not be constantly thinking about my blog! Other than that, I frequently find myself watching Doctor Who or Sherlock! Or listening to music on my record player!

What are your favorite vegan meals or snacks?

This is a super hard question because I love food so much hahahah! Favourite vegan meal has gotta be something related to pasta with garlic bread on the side. I don’t think you can go too wrong with pasta. A nice tomato pasta with a TON of veg is normally my go to! My favourite snack, probably gotta be banana bread! I make the meanest banana bread and there’s a video over on my Youtube channel showing you the recipe I use!

What are some key similarities/ differences between blogging and vlogging? Do you have a preference?

It’s hard to say I have a preference because I do think that both blogging and vlogging are very unique in their own ways. A similarity has gotta be that they take the same amount of effort and thinking behind them. I can’t just get up one day and be like “I’ve gotta blog post/video due today, lemme just do one!” because it doesn’t work like that. On the other hand, all depending on whether I have an idea already planned for a blog post, I can quite literally wake up and write a blog post in my bed without moving, whereas with vlogging, I have to at least look a little bit presentable! It’s a lot easier to get away with not brushing my hair or putting makeup on with blogging because no one will be able to see you! So I feel like for that reason, blogging may be my favourite because I get to be somewhat lazy haha!

Where else can we find you?

Instagram || Twitter

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