Fortnightly Favourites #7

Hello my lovely little Lunas (aka the most magical nickname you will ever receive). Long time, no Fortnightly Favourites... which seems to be my standard opening these days! Nevertheless, it's all a positive sign for recovery, as I grow in confidence and organisation. Not only do I have posts scheduled for the first time in my life, but I've come up with a few staples to keep me on track. 

Along with my Monthly Wonderlists, I'm starting a Teacher Tuesday for Miss Honey musings and Crafturdays to coincide with my Etsy launch (keep your eyes peeled!). Essentially, I'm celebrating all things 'Sophie', from crochet and cruelty free, to those ever-important cups of coffee and bumbling bees. Never forget the bumblebees! Nevertheless, I wouldn't be a proper return to blogging, without my personal favourite...
Fortnightly favourites! This was a 'regular' feature on my blog last year; a chance for me to share highlights from the blogosphere and beyond - aka Buzzfeed. With a gazillion and one bloggers on social media each day, you can miss some real gems. The posts below are all examples of this, ft. Harry Potter tattoos, Khaleesi hair, princess castles and a puppy island! Yes, dear reader, you read correctly... A PUPPY ISLAND.

 LIVING*
      GOING VEGETARIAN      

I always enjoy reading "vegetarian stories" and Emily's is no exception. At the outset, our journeys sounded very similar; could definitely empathise with considering meat "quite a natural thing" growing up, which I discussed in my own post on vegetarianism. I also loved the little shoutout to veggie collin sweets from M&S. They are my new go-to for low blood sugar remedies! 
Yet her post is also a prime example of how wide-ranging our motivations can be. Her primary focus was sustainability, which looking back I hardly mentioned! Emily's examples of the rainforest, water and climate change are all so important, so I am definitely motivated to research this more. Earthlings is top of my to-watch list, but does anyone have other documentaries they would recommend? 


Honesty hour: I'm a clutter culprit. I have clothes on my bed, socks underneath my bed, balls of yarn on my bookshelf and books in my yarn basket... and yes, I'm also a craft and book hoarder. What if I never EVER saw that ball of yarn/limited edition hardback again?! I'd be left in a real stitch.....
That being said, I am in need of some strategies for a little detox (minus the nutribullet, because I prefer to chew my food, thank-you very much.) Luckily, The Private Life of a Girl has some brilliant suggestions, my favourites being:
1. The One In, One Out Rule:  especially true for magazines, books, makeup and, yes, underwear; my poor (and primary odd) sock collection has had to be re-homed! And on that note...
2. Don't Overthink the Process: As much as I idolise Dobby, I rarely plan to wear odd socks outside the house. Nevertheless, I cling onto them like they're signed copies of Harry Potter, forever waiting for the Muggle equivalent of an Accio charm. Sophie it's not coming, so listen to Idina Menzel and LET IT GO! Perhaps there's a House Elf Liberation Front I could donate to?


In case my instagram/blog and twitter aren't enough of a sign, this list makes it official - I am an undisputed crochet addict! I can relate to every single one of these, although my personal favourites have to be:
1. You Wake up Thinking about  Crochet Patterns: 2dc, dc x 3. 2dc, dc x 3. 3dc... counting crochet sheep is stressful! Count your lucky stars if you only round up the imaginary type.
2. You Packed Yarn for your Vacation, but not Socks: or a camera charger, or shampoo... I packed myself, and that's all you need for crochet away! I genuinely did pack my crochet for our last two holidays abroad, although dad drew the line at taking it in my hand luggage *sobs*. Given the #diabetesproblems bag search, he may have had a point... Nevertheless, once we landed it was all about Niffler crocheting by the pool! 
The only thing that the list doesn't cover is "Finding an amigurumi eye in the lid of your mascara"  , but perhaps this takes me to a new level of #crochetcrazy. And there I was wondering why the mascara brush was bent...

STYLING    

The idea of my first tattoo has been on the radar for some time, yet that inner "good girl" has  never dared to consider the reality.... Until now! After many Pret dates with my tea twin, many more dates with Pinterest and an infinite amount of self-debating, I'm almost ready to ink think out loud. The one part I'm still unsure of is WHERE - after all, it's not like you get a "return in 28 days" option - so I've turned to the ever-faithful blogosphere for inspiration... 
Spotted: the ever-wonderful Salt and Chic (Shoutout if you read this in the Gossip Girl voice). I was almost 100% fixed on my design (a bumblebee), but after seeing Amy's deathly hallows symbol I'm starting to question my priorities... where's Ron when you need him!? In terms of location, Amy's final tattoo of the world map has got be back to the idea of my neck/top back. My other options are wrist/ankle, but it is definitely the final conundrum for me! What are your thoughts?

Continuing on the Harry Potter theme (no apologies), Tania (Tea Bee) has caught the Golden Snitch of beauty products. I'm still a bit spellbound that they exists, to be honest! I've seen magic wand pens, hair grips and even a crochet hook, but these Storybook Cosmetics brushes take it to a whole new level. And for £5.99?! I'd never heard of Wowcher before, but with offers like this I'm very intrigued! 
What's more, they are 100% SPEW-friendly (aka cruelty-free), so there's no risk to the Fantastic Beasts of our world. For the avoidance of doubt, this is not a sponsored post; just a very enchanted Muggle who is still waiting for her Hogwarts letter.... and, based on my twitter feed last September,  I'm not the only one! 

     THE EASIEST FLOWER BRAIDS EVER      

In the world of Pinterest, I've stumbled upon and saved a gazillion "hair tutorials". In the world of Planet Earth, I stumbled upon a hairbrush, searched for hair pins and prepared to look like Daenerys Targaryen. Hair tutorials completed? 0.5 - the Dany dream ended in a bad case of Bellatrix Estrange!
Nevertheless, after stumbling upon this flower-braid tutorial on A Beautiful MessI may be tempted to put that jinxed experience behind me. Surely even I can master a tutorial with "easiest" in the title? My only hesitation is the age-old, "what will people think?" But perhaps I need to take my own advice and divorce NOA (Negative Over-Analysis). After all, life is much merrier when you channel you inner Luna, who I'm pretty certain would love this post too!

TRAVELLING  

I often see Lake Bled pop up on my Instagram feed; along with Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Disney ("imagination has no age"), it seems to be a 'place of the moment' and is definitely on my bucket list. That being said, after reading this post on Jasmin Charlotte, it may have manoeuvred its way to the top! 
Her photography is breathtaking - true to the "fairytale" description - and was especially intrigued by the comparison of different areas. Anywhere that can transport you from "Italian Village" to the "Swiss Alps" in a heartbeat sounds magical to me! I was also sold on the idea of rowing your own boat around the lake. I've seen the obligatory #instashots  of Lakeside bike rides, but never knew you could get a boat... bare with me while I go and book my next holiday!

     THE REAL KING'S LANDING      

As if the return of #GOT7 wasn't enough, I've now discovered that King's Landing is an ACTUAL PLACE.... Kind of! To the non-Westerosi tongue, it's simply known as Dubrovnik, Croatia. Luckily for us, Melissa (aka The Incogneatist) is a fellow GOTer, so she captured all of the fandom in her photos - including a CATleesi! 
Perhaps I've taken it too far on this last one... that's what GOT life does to you! Which also includes a bit of allegiance-switching, in the style of House Lannister. I know that I said Lake Bled was next my bucket list, it turns out I know nothing. Just like poor old House of Cards, Slovenia may also have been dethroned by Dragons. Oh, and on that note, I think I've found the perfect opportunity for those Khaleesi-ready flower braids!


Okay, I may be developing a bit of a theme here... fantasy lover and not ashamed to say it! As if King's Landing wasn't enough, my go-to travel blog - Hand Luggage Only - has created this crown jewel of a post on European castles. 
The ones that  jump out for me are Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, which could make all my Disney dreams come true, along with Semur en Auxois in France - If I had been a location scout for Beauty and the Beast, this has all the makings of a time-old tale. And if your inner Princess isn't as excited as I am by this, perhaps your #blogginggal eyes can be persuaded: just look at the water reflection of Chateau de Chenonceau. Taj Mahal has competition... 


There is a PUPPY ISLAND. I repeat there is a PUPPY ISLAND! And no, before you panic, it's not a puppy farm on steroids. Quite the opposite, as cruelty-free me was very relieved to hear (I was apprehensive at the start!) Potcake Place is a dog rescue charity, which responded to the growing number of homeless puppies on a Caribbean Island.  
The "job" of locals and tourists is to help the puppies socialise; in other words, run around with them on white sands and snuggle to your hearts content. Trust me, this post will turn you into the real-life version of the love-eyes emoji. It's definitely made me reconsider my relationship status with Dubrovnik. That's PUPPY POWER for you!

 WELLBEING
    WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE KIND          

It wouldn't be a fortnightly favourites without a post from A Beautiful Chaos - the harder question is always which one! Nevertheless, this one in particular jumped out. 
"Who do you remember in your life fondly with the most undefinable feelings of warmth?" I think this should be a question at the top of any Graduation programme, whether it be from Primary, Secondary or University Education. I'm no stranger to talking about values, as it's a subject I've encountered lots during CBT.  As we grow up, we adopt many beliefs through what we hear; as Nicole says, "success, fame, money and power are engrained within our minds".
Through CBT, I've learnt that these 'beliefs' are NOT Values! For example, when I think of the character traits I admire most in Harry Potter, it isn't Dumbledore's Power, Hermione's intellect or even Harry's bravery. Of course, they're all hugely admirable traits; nevertheless, the moments I value most are  acts of kindness. When Hermione creates SPEW and defends the rights of Magical Creatures; when Dumbledore trusts the voice of childhood over  'superior' adults. As for Harry, it isn't bravery that sends him into that forest; it's love for the friends he leaves behind.
For this and so many reasons, the world is a better place with people like Nicole. The advice, courage and compassion she shows through her blog, are exactly the values we need. 

I'm like a duck to water on this subject, so this post on Dizzy Brunette was both a comfort and a huge motivator. The part where she talks about "having to justify myself all the time" particularly resonated. Even as a child, during the Summer Holiday, I would never 'admit' to spending the entire day on Sims 3... I always had to 'sanitise' it with something more productive. It was hardly the catalyst for a mental breakdown; nevertheless, it's symptomatic  perfectionism, which can ultimately leave you "feeling unsuccessful, or a failure." 
I was really thankful to see Corrie share her realisations from CBT, as they sound very familiar to mine! For example, it was "feeling guilty for doing things I enjoy" that prompted my weekly homework of "exposure response prevention." This can be anything from reading a book, buying myself a flat white... or playing on Sims 3! (I may just have to do this now.) As Corrie realises, "it's no wonder I was suffering from low moods" - self-care is not an indulgence, it's a prescription!
In a society that has never been more "go-go-go", we have never needed the doing vs being debate  as much; after all, "you can't perform 100% if you're running on 10%." Before you decide what to do,  learn how to be. 

Rebecca (From Roses) is one of the first bloggers I ever 'followed' and, to this day, leads back with her relatable, eloquent and meaningful content; amidst a wave of eyeliner reviews and and "how to gain 1000000000 follower" posts, she has always stood out, yet never is this more true than her recent post on loneliness.
It is feeling I can understand all-too-well, particularly since leaving University and the social sphere it brings. Though I'm making steps to change this, it's never easy and I admit to days where I feel utterly lost. I read Rebecca's post on one of those days, and her advice genuinely rescued me from hours of rumination. My personal favourite: 
2. Podcasts: I've tried to get in the habit of popping the radio on over breakfast, as an alternative to Victoria Derbyshire (who I still adore, don't get me wrong!) Nevertheless, I've started to feel the emotional drain of both News and the UK Charts (what happened to real music?!), so podcasts could be the answer I need. I've heard brilliant things about Emma Gannon and also want to try Ted Talks. The next step? Commit! Do you have any podcasts recommendations? 

This post by Hannah is the virtual answer to an arm around your shoulder, or that heart on your coffee when you're having a rough day. If there's one message we could all benefit from hearing more, it's this: "I have the ability to change a situation". Hannah's post resonated a lot with my work in CBT, which focuses on how I life my life. On reflection, it's quite a self-centred approach... but for GOOD REASON!  
When your own wellbeing is dependant on others, it is far more likely to be disrupted. It is the reason you'll force yourself to a social event, when your mind is crying out for rest. It may try to lock you in toxic friendships, because the alternative is too risky. Yet, as Hannah says, maybe it's time to be brave: "do I have the courage to remove myself from this situation? I did, and you do, too."
Conversely, my lack of confidence has led me to become quite isolated. Recently, I've challenged this by starting my school placement and, more simply, replying to texts! These were both steps only I had the power to take. They were my feet that walked through those school gates; my hands that  type  those responses. So as I get ready for my final day in school, and sense my hands get a little shakier as I press "send", Hannah's post came at exactly the right moment: "Whatever it is you want to do, you do." Thank-you!

What blogs have you been loving lately? 

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