Body Image: Weighing in on the Kendal Jenner ‘Scandal’

CW: May be triggering for those with body dysmorphia, eating disorders and low self esteem.

Traditionally I am not one to way in on drama that surrounds the internet but the one that popped up over the weekend really got me thinking. So, if you didn’t know Kendall Jenner posted photos of her at a shoot for Skims (Kim Kardashians brand), in what looks like set of underwear (I say ‘looks’ because that thong is pretty much made of nothing). Now you might be thinking ‘why is this scandalous, she’s a model’, well it took the internet by storm when eagle eyed viewers believed the shots were photoshopped. To add to this several people added their opinions to the mix, and by several I mean a lot (including Piers Morgan).

Now, before I start digging into this I must add that I don’t condone photoshopping, in a world where self esteem is at an all time low, the least people can do, especially supermodels, is present their authentic self so people looking up to them don’t gain bad attitudes towards their body. More people in positions of ‘power’, in other words those with a large following and those who are impressionable on the ‘masses’, should openly refuse photoshop rather than presenting fake ideals. I’d like to also note that when writing this I have no idea if these images are photoshopped, and if I’m honest that’s not what I am trying to get at.

The above photos are what sparked the outrage alongside a video of Kendall on the pink podium posing. I want to address my own personal opinion before I get into that of others. Like many people I have a troubled relationship with my body, details I’ll go into another time, so when looking at Kendall it’s hard not to have pangs of jealousy or self reflection. However, I have started to learn, especially when looking at models, that they live in a world where they can spend every hour working out, getting tanned, preening their bodies, eating extremely healthy (especially before big shoots), whereas ‘normal’ people do not have the time. This is their job, of course they will do everything they possibly can to make themselves look the absolute best, wouldn’t you if millions of people were going to examine your body? In fact the whole scandal makes it even more obvious how our culture is built on examining and finding jealousy in women.

When looking at the remarks made about Kendall, and once I got over the whole ‘how the hell does someone look that good?, Look how flat her stomach is’ remarks, I remembered that the person everyone is attacking for having a body is a human being. I think we can all agree that money and fame does not buy you the ability to switch off your emotions. Has anyone considered that maybe Kendall herself has insecurities and if the images are photoshopped maybe its because she doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself? Maybe because her job requires her to look ‘perfect’. I purposely don’t want to put words into her mouth because that would be adding to the problem, however I do want people to appreciate the fact she is a human and looking at these photos in a different light might create a society which is more understanding.

You also have to appreciate the fact that her body is probably covered in foundation, oil, highlighter and contour powder to accentuate her figure. To add to this she is the curator of her Instagram feed, like everyone else she is going to put out the best photo of herself, I don’t think we can vilify someone for doing what everyone else does. Yes transparency and promoting a body which is highly unattainable isn’t necessarily a good thing, however Kendall has every right to share herself on social media how she wants. Therefore, I think its her industry and the culture we have created that is to blame.

Nevertheless, we’ve seen numerous celebrities die because of the pressures of the media yet we still can’t use the words we preach to treat the next ‘victim’. Piers Morgan for example at the weekend tweeted ‘If I were Kim & Kylie, I’d stop being photographed with Kendal.’ This is the man who just interviewed Gemma Collins about the pressures of fame, especially surrounding body image. He also slams journalism and twitter a lot of the time for ‘cancel culture’ and berating people. So why is it suddenly okay to comment on women’s figures and pit them against each other?

If anything Kendall, Kylie and Kim are examples of different body types, all extremely ‘fit’ because of their jobs. To pit one against the other is enforcing this stereotype that everyone should look like Kendall. Haven’t we come to a point where we recognise that everyone is different? Aren’t we supposed to be celebrating difference, or has Piers also missed this on his scroll through Twitter?

I shared a post regarding this on my Instagram stories (@sophieseditblog) at the weekend from @Johnsmithhosts if you want another take on this.

When typing up ‘Kendall Jenner’ on google, 8 out of the 9 top stories were about her body, the other was a post about her going horse riding, which is just as bad considering the reputation of paparazzi. Can we just agree that commenting on peoples image and their bodies is unsolicited. I don’t see men getting harassed for the way they look. For example when you type up ‘The Rock’ on google, not one news story is about the way he looks. This argument has been happening for as long as I can remember, whether it is about Britney Spears, Caroline Flack, J-Lo, Beyonce or any other female in the limelight. Yet we never seem to understand that their bodies are for them to do what they wish, it shouldn’t warrant conversation or sparks of outrage.

Body image is a construct which so many of us share the burden of because the way society, especially social media, enforces stereotypes and moulds expectations. We’ve come to a point where we are believing that we need to look a certain way to be loved. I recognise that it is a daily struggle and these pictures are never going to help anyone feel better. However, it is also important that we recognise these thoughts are coming from a place of being uncomfortable within ourselves, it’s not Kendalls fault that she looks the way she does, and its not our fault that we don’t look like her. No one should be pointing the blame at anyone but the expectations we have created.

I’d love to have children, specifically women, growing up and living in a world where they can do what they want and feel empowered by the way the look, no matter the shape or size. I’d also love to see the end of the media comparing women, addressing their bodies like they are objects and most importantly leaving the conversation at the door; if someone wants to have that conversation it should be from the human being themselves.

I hope you understand that I am not trying to pick apart the image for photoshopping or address the negatives of that because I am not a trained professional and if I did that, it would be going against what I believe in.

This is a conversation I will continue to address and come back to, I want to have this conversation as openly as possible and hopefully instil a different outlook onto my readers. The concept of body image is a constantly changing one and my relationship with my own body is always evolving. If this helps the narrative and encourages more people to be open to new ideas and have a better relationship with themselves, then I’d say it’s doing a small part in changing the picture.

Are you willing to be a part of this narrative? Do you agree with the comments I’ve made? Let me know below, as always this is a safe and respectful space, I’m sure we can all learn from each others points of view.

Sending you all the love in the world,

Sophie x

5 TV Shows Which Will Want to Make You Stay In.

Background image from Pinterest, Overall image created by

I mean we are in a pandemic, a state that requires optimum Netflix/TV watching, right? Who doesn’t love shows filled with drama, competition, beautifully designed homes and a nod to the 80’s?

Looking at this list I think fully describes my headspace right now; wanting to escape, decorate every angle in my house and, well, if I’m honest I really just want to meet Kevin.

So, if you’re looking for some shows to add to your watch list then this is the one.

Grand Designs

Personally, I am a lover of architecture, design and interiors so to go on the painstaking journey of building your own home without the loss of money or constant emotions sounds ideal. Plus Kevin Macleod is the holy grail of presenters when it comes to home shows, although in this series I must admit I severely questioned that *one episode* and its ending.

I’ve watched Grand Designs for as long as I can remember, it almost feels like I’ve grown up with it. Yes, it might be a running joke that I get far too annoyed when they don’t finish a project (I LIVE for the final result) but that comes with the process.

You can catch up with this series on All4 here.

Firefly Lane

I’ve just about finished watching Firefly Lane and I’ve been hooked since day 1. It’s only just been released on Netflix, based on the book by Kristin Hannah. If you’re looking for something with drama, 80’s music and the relationship of two women and their coming of age (alongside their traumatic love life; one getting divorced and one who refuses to ever get married) then I’d say this is for you. It does contain flashbacks which usually really annoys me but the attention to detail and the connection of the present day and the past means its actually bearable, I promise.

I’ve always loved Katherine Heigl and I’m delighted to see her grace our screens again. Firefly Lane is available on Netflix now.

Interior Design Masters

I used to watch Interior Design Masters when Fearne Cotton presented it, now in a surprise turn of events, it’s back but Alan Carr is the presenter. You can catch all previous episodes on Netflix and the new season has just started on BBC Two.

I love the show because you get to see numerous wannabe designers spread their wings amongst a multitude of challenges while critiquing them at the same time. They design spaces from show homes, hotels, offices and store fronts, which are made to challenge them and force them to push their creative boundaries. On top of this they are judged by highly celebrated interior designers. To me its like I’m living my dream through their reality. Watch the new series here.

The Masked Singer

In a shocking turn of events in my own personal taste *no shade*, I am officially a Masked Singer Lover. Now I HATED this show last year, I thought it was too Americanised and made me cringe from the get go. However, with the inclusion of Mo Gilligan I think its taken a turn for the better. Plus I actually recognise the majority of the singers and I am hooked on figuring out ‘who is behind the mask’.

It’s the final this weekend so if you want to catch up I’d be quick. If not taking a good scroll on TikTok or any news site will quickly tell you who’s already been discovered.

You can watch The Masked Singer on STV/ITV.

The Serpent

Completely different from the aforementioned programmes, The Serpent is both dark and mysterious. It tells the story of how Charles Sobhraj was caught and imprisoned after he managed to kill several travellers. Dutch diplomat Herman leads an investigation into finding Charles while the Gem dealer, which Charles poses as, continues his killing spree.

A fantastic show, brilliantly shot, with an amazing wardrobe, it fully immerses you into the story of the thrilling killer, which I must add is based on a real story.

The 8 part series can be found on BBC.

Embarrassingly, my mix of TV at the moment kind of suggests I am a 70 year old women in the body of a 21 year old but I am totally okay with that.

I promise I don’t spend all my time watching TV, but it does make life that bit more enjoyable, especially when you’re stuck indoors. Certainly with this eclectic mix of TV you’ll have something to watch for every occasion.

If you’re looking for more recommendations you can visit my ‘review’ page where I look at film, books, TV and more. Likewise if you want to keep updated with my posts you can subscribe (available on my homepage or dropdown pages) to my website where you will receive emails with direct links to every blog post as they go up.

Let me know your favourite TV show below!

Much love,

Sophie x

Let’s Talk: Sustainable Fashion

Image created by Sophie’s Edit

Hello everyone! Welcome to my non judgemental and open space for discussion. I didn’t originally preface this (in the hope that you would feel this way anyway) and largely I refuse to do this to my thoughts however I want people to be comfortable with contributing to the ‘argument’ whether you agree or disagree.

I think with addressing any topic of this nature it is important to stress that change and evolution is only natural. Something I think ‘cancel culture’ tends to forget.

I did two post at the start of my blogging journey that spanned across my Website, Facebook and Instagram called ‘A Student’s Perspective on Sustainable Fashion‘ and ‘10 Affordable Sustainable Fashion Brands‘. The latter being more of a campaign, which I still get comments on today. I put A LOT of work into them both and it was greatly received, however I think like anything, my mindset has progressed and changed, an outlook I’d love to share.

My first post mentioned above is one I still highly relate to, whether it is the misconceptions of my generation or the easy steps I mention to make your lifestyle a better one, however I wish I went into the feeling of guilt I still get when considering where I shop. After posting the above posts I felt a pressure to represent the words I had written, to become some sort of poster girl for sustainability, and to zone in on my purchases. Yet this did more harm than it did good.

I suddenly felt watched and guilty. Whether that was by the people who follow me, the media or this image I had created in my head. When in matter of fact I was doing my best, I stopped shopping at the likes of Boohoo, PLT etc., I bought once last year from Primark, I rarely purchased clothes and made more of an effort at wearing my already purchased clothing in different ways.

In retrospect I probably should be proud of myself but instead I concentrated on the fact I bought once from Primark and hated myself for it. Who am I? What have I done to my head!? I must mention that yes, shopping at Primark is not great, they disregard their workers and pay them a fee way below their needs, however if those few items I bought from Primark are handled with care and used as part of my staples then I should not hound myself for it. Instead I appreciate the fact that I shouldn’t buy from there and I never will in an excessive manner, it comes to a point where you should acknowledge that as long as you are not adding to the waste and assess your needs, rather than judging anyone else’s, then you aren’t necessarily adding to the problem. One step at a time you know?

The only person that was expecting anything from me, was me. I think the joy of wearing your wardrobe differently and looking at fashion in a better, more ethical way is taking pride in your clothing and yourself. Something which I was never doing.

We can’t all be poster girls for Sustainability. In fact the more I say that the more it gets turned into a fad or a trend, a sentiment which is not productive to the bigger picture.

I recently read a quote from Aja Barber (who promotes sustainable practices and highlights inequality in the industry);

‘One thing that no one can really make an argument against with fast fashion is that we’ve turned our back on the various copyright infringements that happen to independent designers. And that has created a market where indie designers cannot compete or survive.’

Aja Barber, Saturday 30th January via Twitter (@AjaSaysHello)

This in its entirety sums up for me why brands such as Shein and Misguided are not worth the money (of course not including the fact that they pay their garment workers next to nothing). I would never, ever want a small business owner to see a large company reap the benefits of their hard work. As an argument we zone in on the poor quality and standards of the clothes and the unethical standards they produce while not thinking about these smaller brands and the pain they have to endure. As a repetitive cycle, none of these factors should make you want to shop at these brands, at least not in a manner which is harmful to the environment (excessive shopping), encouraging copyright (harming small businesses), or promoting these brands (to family members, friends or on social media).

Image from article, evidence from Tuesday Bassen Instagram

I’ve linked numerous articles here for you to check out, they all highlight a vast amount of copyright claims or show evidence of copying; The Independent. HuffPost. Euronews.

The fact I could link this many articles discussing copyright claims from a quick look is disgusting.

Like many people pointed out on Aja’s thread, these small brands have families to feed, bills to pay and certainly can’t afford giant AD campaigns like the larger companies. Thus, they are ruined before they even get the chance to get off their feet. Many of them in fact spend their entire lifesavings on trying to pay fees for a lawyer/court case.

On the other hand we also have to consider if liking or sharing these disastrous events on social media achieves anything? Instead understanding and appreciating how this affects business owners and actually doing something is much more valuable. Whether that is not buying the select items (from those that copied the designs), not buying from the stores or helping the independent retailers with their costs.

However, that’s not to say you should feel guilty for your choices, they are yours to make at the end of the day. Personally, I have a lot of respect for people who are even doing the smallest part in combatting the issue. Something small is better than nothing at all.

I also wanted to mention my inclusion of H&M in my guide last year, a brand which is obviously more main stream and have far to go in their efforts. Yet I wanted to include them because they are getting better. No one is perfect and I would love to see a better wage payed to their garment workers and an all around better approach to their clothing. My reason for including them was because they were one of the first brands to take a large step in the right direction and I would prefer you to buy from them than PLT if you had to.

Greenpeace released an article on the detrimental affects of Covid-19 and fast fashion alongside highlighting the terrible attitude of Britain compared to the rest of Europe;

We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any country in Europe. Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothes are burned or buried in landfill each year. Even worse – loads of this incinerated clothing has never even been sold or worn. It’s retailers or manufacturers disposing of unsold stock in the most ‘cost-effective’ way possible.

‘The Uk’s fast fashion habit is getting worse – and it’s destroying the planet’, Helle Abelvik-Lawson, Greenpeace

It’s important to note that facts like this aren’t there to make you feel guilty, they are there to shed light on the truth and the fact it’s becoming a huge issue. The more we support these brands the worse it gets. Thats why I highlight the importance of making the best decisions possible in your predicament. For example, if you have the time to source out sustainable brands do that, if you have the money to invest in one off pieces then buy them, but if you can’t, find other ways of creating a better lifestyle; buy less, leave certain brands alone, look at your clothes differently, help local environmental causes out, support your local small businesses. There is an abundance of ways to do better, what’s not difficult is choosing at least one of them.

I think the more you do it and the more you look kindly upon yourself and your decisions the better we will all become at shopping sustainably. It’s not a competition and you’re not going to be berated for slipping up every so often. But you will be apart of the issue if you do nothing, and why do that when it is so easy to do the right thing.

Becoming more sustainable with my fashion choices hasn’t been easy and I still grapple with shopping and the feeling of guilt. However my task for the year is becoming kinder to myself and appreciating the effort I do make.

If you’ve got any tips on being more ethical or you want to share your own opinion on the topic let me know below!

Much love,

Sophie x

Wonder Woman 1984: A Massive Let Down?

I had the privilege to watch Wonder Woman 1984 just before Christmas and the second lockdown. Personally I went in with a lot of expectations and anticipation after the highly successful first instalment. I was sure this one would be the same. For a start Gal Gadot has proved herself as perfect for the role and I was intrigued to see how Kirsten Wiig would play out as a villain. Yet I was disappointed and so was the rest of my family.

I’m not sure if it just hit the wrong tone with all of us or I just didn’t understand the comical and cringey undertones. At no point did I think the film stood firmly in the reality of the 80’s and instead it presented a much more unrealistic and farfetched perspective. In fact the whole way through it I was questioning far too many plot points and thought, why are they doing this?, far too much.

I do understand that the whole storyline would be hard to grasp realistically with it having references to Aladdin’s Genie in its ‘make a wish’ plot. But compared to DC’s other films there was no point where I felt truly immersed in their reality. At no point did it come across as remotely believable. I think in some ways I wished they continued the historical aspects of the previous film, where the 80’s culture was highlighted and appreciated rather than viewed as a setting for the events in a more stylised way.

Kirsten Wiig as ‘Cheetah’
Wonder Woman Trailer

Kirsten Wiig, in my opinion, was not served anything that could showcase her talent and her place within DC’s wall of fame. I do not mean this in the sense of acting, I think she did the best with what she was given. However, having a character wanting to change her life based on surface level vanity while reinforcing stereotypes of glasses equaling unattractiveness, wearing heels and being the upmost popular to look and be beautiful just hit the wrong note. Whether it was meant satirically or not. In that sense the storyline hindered the whole positive reinforcement of Wonder Woman. Yes it may suggest that she did not need to change her surface because in doing so she lost her personality but it did leave you questioning whether the whole thing was necessary to begin with?

Furthermore her costume department let her down. The grungy look did not do her character justice and instead it looked chucked together quickly to make do. I had so much hope and faith in this film, Kirsten is a beautiful woman as it is, was there any need to add these ‘frills’ to suggest she wasn’t?

To top all of this off, isn’t Wonder Woman about building women up and empowering them? As a woman I did not leave thinking that in the slightest.

Of course the visuals exceeded themselves again, especially in the beginning. The journey through Diana’s childhood was the best part of the film. It was this sense of nostalgia and action that I felt was severely missing through the rest of the storyline.

To reference the other villain in the film, Maxwell Lord. Well I just don’t have words. It was just silly. I know the 80’s have deep roots in this style of acting and maybe they wanted to stick to this. But when Diana moves through centuries and at no point appreciates or calls out the eccentric nature of his attitude it leaves you feeling deflated. I don’t think this was necessarily helped by the fact they went from dealing with Nazis and the World War period to the overly lively and colourful 80’s. It’s hard to gage what tone they want to take.

When you go watch a film that is highly anticipated it’s hard not to be slightly disappointed. So usually I try to look at it as a standalone picture; whether it would be successful in its own right and interest the audience with its storyline. Unfortunately I don’t think I can say Wonder Woman 1984 achieved that. Of course this is just my opinion, I’d love to hear your perspective on it!

Like anything at the moment I’m trying to look positively and I hope that the next part of the series will be better. For Wonder Woman holds such an important place in many peoples lives.

You can watch Wonder Woman 1984 at home now, check out where here.

Leave me your thoughts below!

Much love,

Sophie x

Going Into a New Term with a Productive Mindset | Productivity Tips

Now I am very much they type of person who loves new stationary, especially when it comes to starting a new term. However, being away from all my usual bits and pieces (I’m studying from home rather than at my flat this term) meant I had to find new ways of finding productivity rather than being wasteful and buying everything new.

I might add that yes I am that person who finds motivation through the likes of a new notebook, don’t judge me okay?

So because I know a lot of people are in this predicament and it’s just been generally difficult to find productivity when stuck in lockdown at the start of a new year, I thought it would be useful to share some of my tips. I am by no means an expert but if it can help one person then why not, right?

Taking in Information

Retaining information when you’re not in the mood can be difficult at the best of times but for me, when I am reading a lot of books every week, I tend to forget very quickly what any of them are about. So this year I bought a small notebook to write little synopses and any questions out as soon as I finish it. This way I am writing my thoughts as they occur rather than dwelling on them.

Now don’t think this is purely useful just for me, moulding this for your own tasks/reading etc. can be important in giving you more headspace and a better long term memory.

Another good tip is to step away, just like with sleeping, if you can’t do it then don’t force it. Take a break; go have a dance, a walk or a snack. Most likely you’ll come back in a better mindset.

Create a Routine

You are probably sick and tired of hearing this but genuinely creating yourself a routine will help everything else come into place. Whether that is a routine for your day or a routine in the long term for tasks that need to be done. I set out to work 9-5 each day so I can have the weekend off (this sometimes changes depending on how I am feeling or how much work I have) but I also create a routine for my reading. I know what books need to be read when so I usually set out a plan for when I should read them by or if I need to start exceptionally early.

Routine effectively alleviates unwanted stress while getting your week off to the best possible start. It may sound repetitive but I promise it helps.

Online Planning

You may have heard a lot of people using an app called Notion lately and I promise it is worth it. I’ve only recently downloaded it after my laptop was decreasing in storage very quickly. So I use Notion to write notes for uni, journal online, write out plans for my website and Instagram and do write ups on my books. I’m hoping it will turn around my way of studying and since everything is well organised and in one place it is really easy to use.

Clearly you can use it for all aspects of life, it also gives you templates so you can personalise your pages to how you will best use them. The combination of my little black notebook and my Notion has decreased the amount of paper I use and my storage. I highly recommend checking it out whether you are self employed, a student or are in need of more headspace.

Setting yourself Manageable Tasks

Now I know we all think we are superhuman and at the start of the day we love to think we can get everything under the sun done. However, we all know that this isn’t always the case so creating a to do list with manageable aims and outcomes will help you achieve even more than you think because you’ll actually have the time and headspace to do it.

Rather than setting yourself a goal of reading a whole book in a day for example why not set yourself little goals of reading so much before lunch and so much before dinner. Or you can divide the total pages into 7 days and read the set amount over that time. That way you aren’t over exerting yourself or having high expectations of yourself and your brain.

Likewise if you don’t want to split your tasks into parts give yourself a maximum amount of things to do in a day, three for example.

Now productivity doesn’t always come natural to everyone, it definitely ebbs and flows for me, so I think the key thing to remember is to not be too harsh on yourself. I am my own worst critic and I am definitely a perfectionist so it’s hard sometimes to know when to step back or to recognise that I can’t do it all.

However, I also know that the work I have to do won’t go away on its own. So hopefully these suggestions will be useful, they’ve definitely helped me in the past few weeks.

If you have any productivity suggestions leave them below! I’d love to hear them and I am sure there are some lovely readers who would be grateful for some extra tips!

Much love,

Sophie x

My Top 5 books of 2020

I’ve read a lot in the past year and to be honest I probably can’t remember every single book but I do want to share some of my favourites, ones I have reviewed and ones I have kept in the corner of my brain (in the hope I will write about them and never do).

Reading has proved ever so useful in the midst of numerous lockdowns and worrisome times. It brings a sense of escapism and adventure, an experience we all crave but can’t experience in person. Plus if you’re in the same position as me and read as part of your education then you also get exposed to a wide range of literature at the same time.

Luckily for you I can share a bit of both, I usually try and avoid writing on texts I study because my brain is full of my education anyway and I don’t always want it leaking into my hobbies. Plus I don’t want to give away all my secrets to my course-mates (not that they probably read this anyway).

Anyway, if you have a New Years resolution to read more, you want to start reading or you’re just looking for something to escape in then I have you covered. Here are my favourites;

Book 1: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other

I have banged on about this book to no end and probably am boring you at this rate however it really did stand out to me as both interesting in form and content. Proven in its award winning status, if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you doing?

Steeped in black culture and experience it highlights the lives of 12 women and their sexuality, insecurities and womanhood.

A book we can all relate to in some degree.

If you have read this wonderful book and want some thoughts on it or if you want to hear some more before buying it then you can read the review I did here.

Book 2: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I read this not long after reading the aforementioned novel. Both were reaching a wide audience and sense of acclaim at the time, both highly deserving of it. Queenie is one of those novels I was supposed to look further into and write a post on…. and then life happened. However, even then I have not forgotten it.

Queenie is a 25 year old Black woman who has just split up with her white boyfriend Tom. The novel explores her mental struggles with this period in her life, her struggles to embrace her culture and understand that of others, and her battling feeling displaced in all corners of her life.

Queenie is filled with sorrow and laughter. It truly feels real. A factor which majorly attracted me to its narrative. I highly recommend you read it.

Book 3: Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners

This was assigned to me as part of my reading for a module I was doing. Modernist in style it depicts the story of Moses who goes to collect a fellow ‘Jamaican’ (I quote this because a lot of those coming to Britain were labelled Jamaican when they weren’t all from there) coming into London after the Great War. It’s one of the first stories where poor, black immigrants were depicted in fiction and made a name for itself because of how deep and real the narrative is.

Selvon effectively highlights how such a city in London, steeped in promise and wealth, was in fact shadowing a life filled with misery and struggle, especially for those of the Windrush.

Selvon’s novel is one I thoroughly enjoyed and I implore you to read it, not only for its fantastic narrative but for its relevance to todays wrongdoings. Please look into #jamaica50 and the sad reality that those of the wind rush generation are still facing.

Book 4: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare was a novel I read during lockdown, a cozy read with a particularly inviting narrative, it sucked me into the reality of Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey rather quickly.

The story had all the charm of a classic rom com while keeping you interested with the comical idea that both characters had never actually met.

This novel leaves you itching for more and, while reading, an urge to shake both characters into realising what they are missing. If you want an easy read that goes perfect with a cup of tea then this is the one for you!

Book 5: Affinity by Sarah Waters

This is another book that I read on my course this year, it is filled with superstition, history and apprehension. Not necessarily a genre I usually read, Affinity certainly took me by surprise.

I mentioned it in this blog post if you would like more recommendations from my studies.

Incorporating mystery, magic and plot twists, the tale of two women from different parts of society takes you on a journey steeped in history and spiritualism.

A must read if you want to broaden your horizons and are in need of a bit of escapism.

I was going to make this list longer but with my academic year being cut short in second year my reading list was abruptly stopped. Plus, if I am honest, my want to read after being pushed into a lockdown faltered and it took me a while to pick up literature for pleasure.

It’s something I’m going into this year trying to look at differently, I want to appreciate the books I read and take more time to understand them and importantly, remember them. I’ve started a Good Reads account so if you want to look at what I’ve already read and what I am currently reading, whether that is for my course or for leisure, you can stay updated there.

If you’re interested I might share a post on how I’m keeping updated with my reading and remembering them. Let me know below if you like the sound of this!

Much love,

Sophie x

Looking at 2021

I wasn’t planning writing any sort of post that looked back at 2020 to any degree and I suppose this post doesn’t exactly do that either. However it didn’t feel right to start back up again and not acknowledge my feelings towards 2021.

I am definitely ready to move forward and hopefully go into a year that looks a bit more positive and I don’t mean that just with coronavirus. My education, personal health and surroundings definitely took a hit last year and I’m willing to fast forward to something kinder and happier (to some degree, after the fast changing world we live in I can’t exactly be wanting miracles).

Over the past few weeks during my break from posting I noticed hundreds of posts from people ecstatic about 2021 thinking it would be a new start or they were looking back on 2020 picking out all the positives. But I can’t sit here and gloss over a worldwide pandemic and not consider the affect that has had, possibly to numerous of my readers. I definitely couldn’t shove positivity onto a page and think it would make absolutely everyone feel better. So, instead I posted nothing.

Which could sound rather pessimistic but I’d rather use the term realist.

Instead, I am going into 2021 a bit more prepared mentally for the stress that could arise from online learning and an extended pandemic. I am purposely not being too hopeful because I don’t want to disappoint myself (this was written literally just before lockdown was announced so I was probably right in not being too optimistic). I turn 21 in February and I am slowly coming to terms with the fact this will probably be a very different birthday for me. Yet you have to make the most out of what is given to you and I am determined to carry a smile on my face for as long as possible.

If 2020 taught us all anything it is that we are strong, capable individuals who are prepared to make sacrifices for long term health and positivity. It might not seem like it but this will pass. At least that is what I am reminding myself daily (if we can do it for a whole year I am sure we can continue to do it for a bitty longer, right?).

I was never a goal setter or a New Years resolution type of girl however I have set some mental goals for myself that are completely manageable and lenient. I think I have realised there are things I can do to make myself feel a lot better, rather than any physical changes, I want to do what’s right for me.

I want to have a better relationship with exercise, which is something I plan to write on in the near future because it definitely is a can of worms which bothers me on the daily, I want to work hard at being creative and looking after my creative self, I also need to get a part time job (please send me all the positive vibes with this one because in an economic crisis I’m kind of scared about this one) and I want to take more time to be in touch with my emotions rather than chucking them to the back of my head.

I guess I look at these things as goals I can work towards and keep in the back of my head, I don’t actually strive towards them everyday, I understand that it will be a gradual journey which I am more than happy to be on.

For now going into 2021 looks more like an extended version of 2020. Which, surprisingly, I’m just rolling with. I’ve become a lot more easy-going with my emotions towards the constant changes because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Does it suck that my time at uni, which only happens once, has been a fraction of what I’ve been promised? Of course it does. Is it frustrating that my future career prospects could be damaged because I can’t get any relevant work experience? Yes. Am I scared that I am losing out on opportunities to meet new people and experience new things? Yes. But can I change any of these things? No. I just have to deal with it and do as much as I can in the environment I am in.

I’m going into 2021 with my friends and family close, realising what matters to me most and hopefully getting a clearer idea of what/who is good for me and what I should let go of.

Let me know your thoughts towards the new year below, remember we are all in this together!

Sending you lots of love and positivity,

Sophie xx

Signing off for Christmas.

Happy Wednesday! It’s not long until the big day so before I sign off for a bit I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! This year has been difficult and certainly different, something which I might look back on in the new year but for now I want to try and be as positive as possible.

Thank you all so much for joining me in my first year creating content in the many places I inhabit on the internet. I’ve loved seeing all your support and lovely comments. It’s made the short few months I’ve been here so much better!

For the next few days I am on Instagram doing some festive illustrations and a Christmas challenge if you fancy checking it out, lookout for the hashtag #se5daysofchristmas on @sophieseditblog.

^recent instagram posts

My print store will always be open but the delivery of prints will only be put out in January. A restock will be estimated to be ordered in that time as well.

So for now I am going to take a much deserved break until some point in January where I’ll be eating far too much food and cuddling up with my dog. I hope you have a safe and healthy break.

Sending you lots of love,

Sophie x

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Looking Back at Online Learning

Image belongs to Sophie’s Edit

It’s weird to say that my first term of third year is already done. From having so long off because of Covid I was very hesitant in starting back again. Would I know how to write an essay? (I’m an English Lit. Student if you didn’t know), would I be able to keep up with the enormous work load? And to top it all off I also had doubts as to whether the quality of my learning would be the same when done online. I held an enormous amount of pressure upon myself and the uni to give me the best experience possible for my first year as an honours student (my first year which actually counts).

But was this pressure actually useful and proactive when there was so much more to contend with? Did my experience get hindered because all I was trying to do was plough through everything as it was so new? Well, yes.

Honestly, I could probably write a whole blog post on the pressure of being a student, particularly a student whose course is based on personal opinion. This very idea deeply effected my learning when done online because discussion was extremely hard to navigate and instigate. When you have teachers telling you ‘you can put your camera on if you want‘ or ‘use your microphone if you want‘, caused the majority of the class to not actually be ‘there’. Let’s just say the chat function on every tutorial was a lot more full than the conversation happening through microphone.

So in that sense my learning was very much done independently, I had to generate discussions between friends rather than in classrooms just to make sure my points were valid. In fact the majority of those conversations were majorly fuelled by angst and frustration at the system as a whole. I think every emotion possible was felt through my first few months in third year.

To further this I was given group work for the first time in my 2 and a bit years at university. When I say it is nearly impossible to achieve this when places to meet up are extremely limited, I am telling the truth. Which is not helped when you are not sure what is expected of you in such work.

Now that’s not to say the teachers didn’t put in a lot of work, because understandably there was a lot they had to adapt to. Trying to navigate technology while making sure your students were getting the best possible experience is a tough job to take on. However, I think a lot of people forget that the students taking in this coursework have quite a bit more to adapt to (please hear me out). I found it extremely difficult to take on the pressures of third year, whether personally inflicted or through the workload, I also had to navigate a timetable that was largely empty (I had one tutorial a week and 2 other tutorials every second week) and thus had to arrange my own time and learn a lot more independently than what I was used to, I also, of course, had to adapt to online learning and the rigorous amount of work that came with supposedly having ‘more time’.

So one thought kept coming up; when do I stop adapting and when do I start learning?

Then there was the great reception to me feeling overwhelmed. The constant hammering of ‘you have more time’ or ‘it’s just third year’ made me feel even more alone, when the majority of my time was spent at my desk staring at a screen or a book. Do you get where I am going? Largely I felt like nobody would listen. I felt well and truly voiceless.

I don’t want to come across as ungrateful because of course having an education is extremely important to me and I am very lucky to be at uni. However, online learning did take an enormous strain on my mental health when trying to deal with copious amounts of stress from different areas in my education. I had countless thoughts of dropping out because I felt like nobody was listening to us as students. However, I also had many days when I was frustrated at my own student cohort for being insensitive to the teachers trying to do their best. In every-sense of the word I felt like there was a deep lack of communication. Whether that was through the lack of conversation in the ‘classrooms’ or the copious amounts of angry emails from both teachers and students ‘attacking’ each other for lack of support or lack of understanding. This then led to a lack of care and empathy for both sides of the education system, where the people who sat in the middle were left with very little idea as to what to do or where to go (hello, yes, that is me).

So for the majority of my time in third year, the year where I was supposed to be doing my absolute best because my grades count, I felt completely alone and snowed under. This then fills with me with anticipation and dread to go into my next term. A great start right?

However, I don’t want this to be filled with me hammering into you the emotional and physical drama of the start of my third year. There were some positives, mainly me being proud for getting through it all. I built stronger relationships with some people on my course, I gained the ability to find a way of learning that worked for me (although it did come with sleepless nights, a near panic attach in the shower and a week of me not being able to breathe properly), and yes this sometimes meant letting some things slide because I had to prioritise, but mainly it gave me the ability to understand my limits. And the sad thing is, the start of my third year was very close to being it.

I didn’t want to come on here and write a rosy picture of studying because I have talked to numerous students about their frustrations and they all seem to have similar feelings. Yes, I know everyone is trying their best and I understand the situation is very much unprecedented. But I shouldn’t have to feel constantly at burnout and left completely in the dark doing something I am supposed to love and feel passionate about.

It’s a mixed bag and I very much feel like I have been on a rollercoaster.

Whether you are a student or a teacher I send you a lot of love and gratitude. You’re all doing great but I think there are things we can all do to make the rest of uni online a bit more manageable and understandable. Certainly in my experience anyway.

I’m going into my next term probably just as apprehensive and scared. However, I am hoping that the same experience I’ve just lived out won’t happen again. I can’t imagine it’s very fun for the teachers or for my fellow students.

So, here I am again using my platform as therapy and to make a point. A great mix right? But if you have a platform you may as well use it! If anyone wants to reach out to share their experience or you just want a chat feel free to send me a message on instagram (@sophieseditblog). I know that this year has felt particularly lonely.

Much love,

A burnt out student in much need of a break,

Sophie x

My Top 10 Films/TV Shows to Watch this Christmas.

If there is one great thing about the Christmas holidays it is the chance to binge watch your favourite films and TV shows, guilt free.

Yes, I haven’t watched the likes of Home Alone or Arthur’s Christmas but I feel like that’s how you keep a bit of the Christmas magic in the air. I do actually want to watch a new film each year that doesn’t involve Vanessa Hudgens playing 3 characters in one film (sorry Netflix).

Thus, I have accumulated 10 of my favourite shows/films and placed them all into one blog post. I hope I have managed to provide a good mix of Christmas fun and genuinely good entertainment (not all being centred around Christmas).

Each show/film includes a star rating, category (kids, romance, comedy etc.) and my general thoughts. Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to hunker down under a blanket with a large cup of tea (or wine) and watch several films in a row. Enjoy!

The Santa Clause

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Kids/Comedy

Thoughts: When I think of a Christmas film which defined my childhood this one majorly sticks out. Full of nostalgia and crazy reindeer this one brings me back to sitting on the couch in my Christmas pjs. Plus Tim Allen is now an iconic Santa figure and he has done three Santa Clause films so you can now fill your boots (and your day) with these iconic films.

Love Actually

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Category: Romance/Comedy

Thoughts: Yes I am probably your cliche 20 year old but you can’t have Christmas without Love Actually. The stellar cast provides copious amounts of entertainment to make you feel all warm and cozy. Plus you just can’t beat Hugh Grant’s fantastic dance moves!

The Holiday

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romance

Thoughts: Now I only actually watched The Holiday a few years ago and it has swiftly overtaken my love for Love Actually. Jude Law and Cameron Diaz are my absolute favourites and it is the perfect film to make you feel cozy (and fill your head with unrealistic expectations of holiday romances). More importantly I desperately want the cozy little cottage that features in the film, if it doesn’t showcase the ideal Christmas location then I don’t know what does.

Frozen 2

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Frozen kept me highly entertained with Olaf in the first one and to be honest I didn’t think they could top that one. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the second instalment. The music is just as good, Olaf is just as cute and the storyline is just as entertaining. If you want a film to watch with the kids (and not get bored) then I recommend you give this a watch.

The Muppets Christmas Carol

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Now it’s not my absolute favourite Christmas film however in my opinion, it is not really the festive season if this doesn’t turn up in your watch list at some point. Usually popping up on TV this brings me straight back to primary school. The muppets are a nostalgic staple and a great way to introduce kids to Dickens’ tale.

Last Christmas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: Romance/Comedy

Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this film. Largely I’ve been disappointed with the offering of Christmas films recently (if you couldn’t tell by my love for Vanessa Hudgens) but this one didn’t disappoint. The charm of both Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding shines through in this production while providing a wholesome yet light hearted storyline.

Nanny Mcphee

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Now before you say anything, I know this is not a Christmas film. However, I know Christmas films aren’t for everyone and Nanny McPhee has always been a staple in my household. Great to bring a bit of magic into your home while possibly teaching your kids how to behave.

Dash + Lily

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: TV show, Teen Romance

Description: Recently added to Netflix, this TV show is perfect for getting your hit of Christmas in a short amount of time. Each episode is roughly 30mins and follows a red notebook around New York with Lily who loves Christmas and Dash who despises it. Cheesy but wholesome, a perfect mix right?

Modern Love

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romantic Comedy

Description: Now this is another show which doesn’t revolve around Christmas but just like the traditional films it provides you with copious amounts of romance, laughter and unrealistic expectations. The show is highly acclaimed and I adored watching it. The way it has been produced and shot is brilliant, for Christmas or not, I highly recommend you watch it.

Notting Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romance, Comedy

Thoughts: Another film which always gets watched early December and like every other rom-com features Hugh Grant. Not the most christmassy I must admit but when you don’t have a lot of time throughout the year to watch films, classic ones like this always get watched in December. Spike will always be my favourite character and after only watching it last year I couldn’t get over how many times I laughed out loud at this. Notting Hill is very much a ‘cheer you up’ film.

So what’s your thoughts? Are you annoyed that the likes of Elf or the Grinch haven’t been featured. If I am honest I hold the probably very unpopular opinion that Jim Carey and Will Ferrell are particularly annoying. I know, I AM SORRY. However, if you hold the same opinion and want to watch the Grinch I do recommend watching the animated version with Benedict Cumberbatch.

If you want some more recommendations of films, TV shows or books to read then check out the Review section of my site.

Do you have any other recommendations? I could have had tripled the length of this blog post but for now I thought I would leave it here. If you want more recommendations then let me know!

Much love.

Sophie x