A letter to me… things I wish I knew this time last year

Dear Me,

I know you better than anyone. I have been there through all of the tears, tantrums and the trauma. I have listened to all of your fears, helped fix your anxieties and encouraged you to stay positive. We have been partners in crime through all the good times and I have been both the angel and the devil on your shoulders. Entering the ‘real’ world outside of school may seem scary now but, as always, everything will work itself out. Trust me you’re about to have a ball.

You have just finished your A-Levels and finally, although incredibly untimely, sent off your UCAS application for University. Sixth Form prom is around the corner and before you know it you will be off on your first girls holiday to Benidorm!

I know the prospect of Uni scares you. I have witnessed the incessant internal battle asking yourself if you’re ready to leave home and commit to a life in Reading or Southampton, maybe even Kent, but I am pleased you have decided to fulfill your childhood dream and have chosen a London university. You can stay at home and commute but be prepared for countless train journeys carrying your sleeping bag and going out clothes! By the end of first year you will have mastered the art of falling asleep on the train and waking up at your stop on the way home the day after the night before. Ignore all of those teachers who question your decision, only you know what is best for you (apart from your Mum, as proven she is always right).

The prospect of leaving the cocoon of school that has shielded you from the real world for 18 years is one that fills you with undeniable fear. You have finally found your feet by Year 13 and now you are going to have to do it again without the comfort of the familiar faces you have grown to love, some of them at least. This struggle for your feet would not have been complete without battles with mean girls, arguments and the discovery of a world with boys. Despite mixing with new people throughout school you have inevitably gravitated back to the same group of friends, give or take few, that you had been with since Primary.

Now you have never been very good with dealing with failure. Throughout school you have had a tricky relationship with failure, your undeniable hate towards it is unhelpful. Always try your best, that is all you can ask, and sometimes you might just miss the mark but that is okay. Failure is essential in order for you to grow. I have learnt that now, don’t get me wrong we still get frustrated if we miss a first by 1 mark or get the occasional 2:2 but we dont dwell on what could have been we just try and fix what is.

Your comfort within current friendships is the prospect of leaving school that scares you the most. The contrast from seeing your friends everyday to making time to have frequent catch ups is evident and it is will be a struggle to keep up with everyones busy schedules. You frequently hear stories about how friendships change, you will soon learn that some friendships grow with you but some grow in opposite directions. Just remember the ones who matter most are the ones who will stay close and when you meet up it will be as if you have never been apart. Change is scary but it is necessary to help us find our place. You are about to meet some amazing people whilst really appreciating what you already have, just embrace it.

So just be excited, I know you are already but let it grow. Just get ready to be yourself, shine and sparkle.

Lots of love,

Sophialafelle Xx

I have Isle of Wight Festival Blues :(

Last weekend I lost my Isle of Wight festival virginity and it is safe to say it was an experience I am eager to relive. Regardless of the endlessly moody sky and the perserevant rain everyone there, no matter how young or old, was determined to sing, dance and lets face it get drunk. Being a festival junkie I am excited to share my experience, all things from music legends, bugs in my tent and communal showers to old men peeing down my leg (hence the use of communal showers)! And yes, having an old mad pee down your leg is as bad as it sounds…

Last Wednesday, after spending all day in bed suffering with some form of germ that ensured I was full of snot, had a chesty cough, watery eyes and was endlessly sweaty, I got on the train at 16.43 pm heading towards Southampton in preparation for my Ferry on Thursday to the Isle of Wight. It was the most tedious journey I have ever been on, feeling like it took a total of 70 million hours. Bearing in mind I was incredibly excited and it was rush hour whilst travelling through London to Clapham Junction we were toppling left right and centre with our tortoiseshells on our backs. I was impatient with anticipation and even landed with a thud into an old mans lap with his walking stick between my legs! Luckily when we finally did arrive in the Isle of Wight on the Thursday we managed to put our tents up before the rain hammered down. We spent our first night there meeting our neighbours and dancing the night away in the electrolove tent that plays remixes of popular bangers old and new.

I would usually categorise my music taste as indie and rock and whilst this thirst was satisfied by acts such as DMA’s (whom I have been waiting to see since year 9), Noel Gallagher, Biffy Clyro, Miles Kane, Richard Ashcroft and Sundara Karma, it was almost impossible to suppress my inner pop princess (courtesy of listening to capital 24/7 at work) when Anne Marie came on stage. My excitement was incredibly out of character but I think I’m a secret fangirl!

Friday

The first act on Friday was the DMA’s playing the main stage at 4.30pm. Despite the Tornado that reportedly swept silently through the Isle of Wight on Thursday we dressed for the theme Summer of 69′ (regardless of the lack of Summer) and spent the morning eating sausage baps and starting to work through the 18 packs of quavers we hauled along with us, whilst drinking vodka and huddling under umbrellas with our new friends. Conveniently we were camping next to some sisters from Brighton and three girls from Southampton University who were all bubbly, extremely chatty and shared our love for flavoured vodka. I have been waiting to see the DMA’s forever so we ensured we fought our way to the front just in time to hear the 3 Aussies play, probably their slowest but, my favourite song ‘Delete’. They are incredibly reminiscent of Oasis especially with their aesthetic, soulful tunes and layering within their songs but I urge you to immediately check them out. They are one of those bands it is imperative you see at a small venue before they make it big time. We essentially stayed at the main stage all day apart from quick toilet breaks and enjoyed the likes of the unapologetic Lily Allen who although had a shakey start to her set threw some massive middle fingers to both crowd members and current politicians, the Courteeners and Mr Liam Gallagher himself. As always he was arrogant, moody and lets face it a man of very few words but there is nothing better that being at the barrier to hear Oasis classics like Wonderwall. The only thing that could have made this day better is if I didn’t feel the warm trickle of an old mans pee down my leg during said Oasis classic, the highlight of the evening was that when confronted by the lady next to me he just stood there chuckling, like I said being at the front has it’s perks!

Saturday

Saturday was filled with a contrast of popular music that infiltrates the charts and classics like Never gonna give you up (sung as if Rick Astley), there was something for everyone. Our day started with a surprisingly reserved set form Sundara Karma who mainly played tracks off their newer album. Then Anne Marie came on stage who’s positivity lifted spirits and truly got everyone dancing. We took a break from the Main stage missing Rick Astley and Bastille to go and top up on our alcohol to ensure we maintained our slightly fuzzy glow throughout George Ezra and Fat Boy Slim. I was pleasantly surprised by Fat Boy Slims set, it was a blur of colour that ethralled all kinds of ravers to non-stop dancing throughout the entire set. The vibrant screens with swirling images lit up the crowd whilst his classic DJing ensured everyone left with achey feet. By the end of his set we were addicted to dancing and continued our night in the Strongbow tent before retiring to our sleeping bags filled with bugs.

Sunday

Sunday was the day I was least bothered by which acts I saw. Of course I wanted to see Madness, Sigrid and Biffy Clyro but inbetween I was unphased by how I spent my time. Madness had retained their charm and gift of the gab chatting away inbetween songs and warmed the crowd by bringing on 3 children to end their set. They triumphantly celebrated their 40 years since appearing on Top of the Pops with Baggy Trousers and House of Fun. Richard Ashcroft, although not as engaging, bravely played 3/4 of his set on accoustic guitar. He played some emotional verve classics like Drugs don’t work, of which everyone in the crowd knew the words before being supported by a band . Then Biffy ‘fucking’ Clyro came on early, due to Jess Glynne failing to appear, and played a longer set lasting nearly 2 hours. They’re set was insane. In true rock ‘n’ roll style Simon came out with a bloody nose and battled through the set like a true soldier.

This is why, as you can probably guess, I have been feeling as grey as the sky looks. Regardless of my incessent moaning at the weather, it wasn’t as bad as I make it out I’m just whiney! It is finally Thursday and my cold is starting to go, the clouds are lifting and I am excited to see what my next festival holds. Latitude in two weeks. See you next year Isle of Wight!

Lots of love,

Sophialafelle Xx

Isle of Wight Preparation… Here we come!

By the time you will be reading this post I will be in the Isle of Wight setting up my tent in the freezing cold and sopping wet… or so I hope!

Three weeks ago, on a whim, we booked our tickets to the Isle of Wight festival. My first festival of ‘summer’ 2019 has got me bursting with excitement and I have spent the past three weeks, since we booked the tickets, internet shopping and collaging my outfits.

Later in the Summer I will be taking on Latitude and Reading volunteering with Hotbox Events. I thought I would show you the outfits I will be taking with me at the weekend and where I got them from. Stay tuned to my instagram to see these outfits in action!

There will be two staples in my outfits this weekend; leopard print silk scardf and patent black biker boots. Unfortunately, I do not trust myself to take my new sparkly Birkenstocks, especially since looking at the weather forecast to see rain, rain, rain and oh more rain!

Look 1:

Leopard Print Dress- H&M £8

Look 2:

Tie Dye Dress- Misguided £18

Look 3:

Daisy print cycling shorts- New Look WAS £8.99 NOW £4

Daisy Print matching Bandeau Crop Top- New Look £5.99

Look 4:

Multi Tie Dye O-Ring Crop Top- Pretty Little Thing £15

Lots of Love,

Sophia Xx

A day in the life at Brighton beach: An impertinent seagull and some sparkly Birkenstocks.

After impulsively booking train tickets to Brighton midweek we anticipated the arrival of Summer, to Britains standards at least. Undoubtedly our expectations were exceeded by a typically British trip to the seaside consisting of hangovers, wind, arcades, gritty fish and chips and oh more booze. But you can’t forget the brave seagull and my new sparkly Birkenstocks.

Our alarms went off bright and early at 8.00am on Saturday morning. We awoke with slightly foggy heads after a night out at the pub. Consequently, we ended up going to sleep at 3.00 am, regardless of the promise to ourselves not to take it too far in attempts to avoid ruining our sunny trip to the seaside.

We finally arrived in Brighton at around 12.45 pm after having slept the whole train journey there. Once again my head was foggy, my hair was slightly resemblent of a wild porcepine and I was transparently bewildered by my whereabouts. Dishevelled and sleep-drunk, we joined the current of people and slowly began our downhill trek to the sea.

Although we began our trek at approximately 1.00pm we appeared to get lost on our travels in a sea of shops and did not make it to the real seafront until 2.30 pm. £145 later (between us, I am not that much of a shopaholic, at least not on that day) we were eating fish and chips on the beach surrounded by a swarm of seagulls. You can guess what happened next.

We were eating peacefully until one landed on our table. He greeted us with a nod like an old friend and stared at us awaiting approval to steal a chip. He squawked, and before we had time to protest, he stole not only ONE chip but the WHOLE polestyrene tray of chips off our table. It’s a good job I was hungover, it would have been in my right mind to chase him otherwise.

Obviously after this heartbreaking event we did all of the typical beachy stuff, walked along the pier, went to the pub, spent millions on the 2p machines blah, blah, blah. But before I round this up and let you continue to read more useful blog posts I feel inclined to inform you of my new Birkenstocks every person EVER must purchase immediately. This purchase contributed to the £145 mentioned earlier.

They were definitely the best £60 I have ever spent. It was one of those purchases you just have to make, you connect with them and know that if you did not have them you would spend the rest of the Summer wishing you had those white and silver sparkly Birkenstocks to pair with that brand new white dress you bought in the Topshop sale.

Lots of love,

Sophia Xx

A funny story: The half eaten carrot cake and the broke student.

Disclosure: Both the carrot cake and the student were consulted in the writing of this story, neither have been harmed, except the carrot cake… of Course.

One sunny day at the start of my University experience in September 2018 I was sat in Costa Coffee with my new friends, of approximately 2 days, Miley and Leah. I got my usual, this being orange juice and a cheese panini (before you ask no I do not like hot drinks, it’s outragous I know). Leah also got her usual, we are creatures of habit, a Coffee and a tuna and cheese melt. The exception is Miley…

Miley didn’t get anything. She sat wistfully unaware that we were amused by her lack of purchase after incessantly moaning about her extreme hunger (slight exaggeration). She was evidently distracted by the middle-aged man sat opposite us, clearly a lecturer at our uni, who was wistfully eating his carrot cake and absent-mindedly drinking his hot chocolate.

We began to tease her about her current infatuation with this stranger, oblivious to the fact the stranger is beginning to leave. As he scrapes his chair back and slowly rises the half eaten carrot cake continues to rest next to the now lukewarm hot chocolate.

Miley turns to us,”Thinking about it I am hungry still”, Leah and I raise our eyebrows. “Oh my goodness, how has that man actually left half of that carrot cake… I love carrot cake thats my favourite. Oooh I wonder what he was drinking.” Miley continued.

I think you all know what is coming next.

“Is it awful if I go and finish it?”, we look at her in disbelief conscious of what the Costa barrista’s might think of my interesting new friend eating a strangers leftovers. Before we had a chance to answer she had bought the carrot cake, his fork AND his hot chocolate to the table and dug in as if she had purchased them herself.

I knew student life would be tight, but this brought my expectations to a new height. Since then we have budgeted and stuck to the cheap stuff however, we have not yet stooped as low as this. The key word being yet. I can’t wait to see what adventures I have volunteering with Miley at festivals this summer… que scrounging in bins and taking sips of strangers Aldi beers. Only joking, I think.

Kindess never killed anyone…Just keep dancing like nobody’s watching

Spending Friday night at the pub celebrating a friends birthday should be exactly what it says on the packet, especially when a third of them are people you have grown up with…

Truth is whilst sitting there observing the celebrations it is like a scene out of mean girls (Whilst this may be slightly dramatic I think we can all agree it is not too far flung, I promise).

Situated on one side of the room are the overprotective girlfriends who give daggers, gnarling their gnashers at you chatting to their boyfriend at the bar. Bearing in mind you have been friends since you were 11 and you are here with your own boyfriend whom you are very much in love with! Therefore, you are not out to steal their man it’s quite simply a kind exchange of pleasantries… doughnuts.

On the other side there are the girls, who like you, do not know everyone. Visibly a little anxious, drinking a little quicker than they should, they spend the night chatting away as if they were the old friends. It’s always enjoyable when girls unite, get a bit too drunk and have a fun night promising to do it again soon… knowing full well they will probably never see eachother again.

Finally, there are the boys who are on a completely different planet. Oblivious to the fact they are fuelling fires sauntering around the pub schmoozing the girls they think they have a chance with. It is times like these when you are grateful that the bell for last orders has just been rung and the end of the night is in sight.

The truth is a night like this would be so much better if everyone could just be kind to eachother. If you genuinely like my top, tell me, if not you don’t have to pretend. I really won’t mind, compliments with an undertone of bitchiness really do not help anybody.

At least amongst all of this commotion there are still the good times. We all had a good night, especially the birthday girl. You can still laugh with everyone and enjoy their company, it just makes it a little harder but lets face it you can’t be besties with everyone. Moral of the story rise above the bitchiness and gnarling nashers, just keep dancing like nobody’s watching. And people just be kind! Like we said, kindness never killed anyone.

The sun is shining and so are we, off to a picnic with two wonderful girlies. Let the appreciation posts commence.

Lots of love,

Sophialafelle Xx

Confessions of a fun-seeking overthinker…

Here it is… that dreaded first blog post that took me almost a year to write.

Starting my first year at university, where everyone is outgoing and self-assured, I felt like a fish out of water. I had decided to apply last minute to what everyone describes as an ‘arty’ University filled with edgy and opinionated creatives.

Throughout secondary school I was ridiculed for my conscientious nature (that’s putting it nicely) . I was a people pleaser determined not to fail or let anyone down. I was kind and tried to be everyones friend, even if they didn’t deserve it. In my new adventure I was desparate to out-grow my anxious dispoistion and prove I was as curious and adventurous as my peers. I was determined to fit in.

Living at home during my first year meant I spent a lot of time crashing at friends and sleeping on floors, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I was like Hannah Montanna living a double life; I literally had the best of both worlds. I would spend my weekdays in lectures, the library and at pubs with my brand spanking new uni pals; then my weekends at work and at pubs with the same friends I have been with since Primary school.

Whilst trying to slot into my new life I have learnt fitting in is not important, conformity is boring and pleasing everyone is impossible. It is time consuming and takes away from who you really are.

This Summer I will be living by the rules:

  1. Have faith in yourself. You are enough and anyone that thinks differently does not matter.
  2. Be yourself. Live freely and unapologetically, anyone that disapproves will do one soon anyway.

Why don’t you come and explore it with me?

Lots of Love,

Sophialafelle Xx