New Year’s Eve Games Ideas

New Year’s Eve Games Ideas

So with New Year’s Eve literally around the corner everybody is buzzing with what great plans they have to bring in the New Year. Although a tad overrated, I always love New Year because I see it as an opportunity to have quality time with whoever I spend it with. It’s become something of a tradition that I spend it with my best friends (in my opinion nothing could be better); and among the alcohol and laughter, gossip and good food, we LOVE a board game. So this year is no different. I’m spending the evening with my best pals and we’ve all been instructed to bring a board game along with everything else!

Speaking to a few of my friends both offline and online this seems to be a common occurrence this year, with people opting to stay inside with friends rather than face the extortionate prices and possible regret a night out may bring. I can safely say that long gone are the days where I would sacrifice food for a very expensive night out, to then spend HOURS queuing to get into the same place I would go every weekend, and to top it all off to then have to queue to get to the bar. And of course not forgetting the impossible task of finding a taxi home. Nope.

 

So I thought I would list some of the best board games I have experienced, and feel free to add to this, what are your favourite board games?

 

5 Second Rule

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Nope, not a game developed from dropping your food on the floor and deeming it safe to eat; this game is a fast talking fast thinking game where you have five seconds to answer questions such as naming 3 breeds of dog, or four countries beginning with the letter b. Seems easy but under pressure it’s comical what people come out with! Add alcohol to the mix and this game is seriously hilarious.

 

Pie Face

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A game of nerves, players load the throwing arm with squirty cream or whatever you want, maybe a wet sponge or even mashed potato depending on how brave you are! Somebody then places their head in the frame and turn the handle hoping not to be splatted in the face! It’s not the most complicated game in the world, but is definitely guaranteed to bring in some laugh. I have seen so many people playing this over Christmas, it must be a top buy this year!

 

Articulate

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One of my favourite games, and one I am happy to admit I am rubbish at ha! This is another fast talking game where players try to describe as many card entries as possible to their team mates in 30 seconds. This needs a little bit of skill in terms of knowledge, but there are topics everyone can have a go at, it’s a cracking game.

 

Cranium

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A firm favourite of mine. Introduced to me by one of my university friends, we still all play this as a group when we get together and it never gets old. Played in teams, you have until the egg timer runs out to complete tasks, which if won get you further round the board to eventually get into the Cranium Central area and complete the activities there. The activities are split into four groups: “Creative Cat”, which asks, amongst other things, that you sculpt a contact lense out of clay–or draw a picture of baked beans on toast (with your eyes closed, of course). Then there is “Data Head”–do you know where the saying “back to square one” originates? Did Thomas Crapper really invent the flushing toilet? Another activity is the “Word Worm”–can you spell words backwards or solve puzzles with a cryptic clue such as “nervous neckwear”? Finally, there is the “Star Performer” activity (all families have one or two in this category.) Get them to emulate a John Cleese sketch or act “a back seat driver”. When a team reaches Cranium Central, they have to complete one activity from each activity category to win. A sure favourite for whoever plays it.

 

Cards Against Humanity

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Not one for the easily offended, but this game guarantees a good old cry-laugh. I’m chuckling even as I write this. The game is pretty simple really. Players each have a number of white cards with various awkward/disgusting answers. They take turns choosing a question on a black card, and players then try to answer it with their funniest card. All I can say is play this game! You can even get expansion packs of this game so the fun never ends, and if you were feeling really creative, go ahead and make up some of your own answers!

 

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite games. What are your favourite games to play?

Have a wonderful New Year whatever you are doing, I hope you spend it with loved ones and have lots of food, drink, laughter and love.

 

Love Sophie xxx

 

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Planning a Little Tea Party

Planning a Little Tea Party

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Hey guys!

So in celebration of me completing my Early Years Teacher Status I thought what better way to celebrate than to have a Tea Party with my closest friends. I wanted to post some ideas and create a little mood board including some cute ideas for a party, such as colour themes and décor. I love to look at other blogger’s party ideas so if you have any links to cute decorations feel free to comment and share!

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I love the whole idea of an outdoor tea party theme, with lots of bunting and lots of flowers to create a bright and pretty area that’s relaxed and laid back. It needs a vintage/floral/bright theme running through it and a lot of summery colours and shades, as well as vintage tea cups and teapots! I’m inviting about ten to fifteen people, so something quirky and also relaxed is what I’m thinking of, it will have some lovely personal touches as well.

Here are some ideas for my party:

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Now that I’d found a great theme for my party I need to get some invites out, otherwise said friends wouldn’t be coming. I need something fast and preferably something easy, and that’s how I came across paperless post. The idea of online invites is genius to me, a lot of my friends are online as well so it makes sense. I can’t believe the range of invites they have, and I have found myself browsing the website looking through all their beautiful designs. Check them out here!

Here are some examples of some of the wonderful designs:

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The website is so cute and a good resource to inspire my party ideas too! It has some more quirky ideas rather than the bog standard ones you normally find, you can personalise your cards or invites and they even have the option of buying them or they have a range of free ones too if you have a budget for your party. I love them!

So if you have a party coming up let me know about it, and share your ideas I would love to see them. And check out https://www.paperlesspost.com/cards/section/invitations for some cute and quirky invites!

I look forward to hearing all about your party 🙂

Love Sophie x

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Gran’s Rock Cakes

Gran’s Rock Cakes

Hey guys.

So on Saturday my beautiful and wonderful Gran passed away.

It’s all very raw still and it’s early days but I feel I need to keep busy and fill my time with small happy moments amongst all of the sadness.

I want to dedicate this post to one of her very favourite recipes The Rock Cake. My earliest memories are (I must have been about five years old) standing in her kitchen licking the spoon covered in rock cake mixture. I remember them being HUGE and can even imagine the smell now! She absolutely loved baking, and made the best cakes. So I feel like it is my job now to bake and preserve her memory.

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Ingredients

8oz Self raising flour
pinch of salt
4oz margarine/butter
3oz raisins or dried fruit
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
A little milk to mix
Demerara sugar to sprinkle

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C, grease/line two baking trays.
  2. Mix the flour and salt, rub in margarine,
  3. Stir in raisins/dried fruit.
  4. Stir in sugar.
  5. Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and a little milk.
  6. Roughly place on tray and sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top of each cake.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes

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If you happen to make some rock cakes, I would love to see your links and photographs so feel free to paste them in the comments. Make some happy memories with your loved ones that you can always look back on.

Enjoy a cake with a lovely cup of tea, and think of all the great times you’ve had and have yet to come.

Love you Granny xx

Ways to Manage Stress

Ways to Manage Stress

Hello everybody!

Firstly I must apologise for my loooong absence. I am so close to the end of my Postgrad and will soon be an Early Years Teacher! Juggling that and a full time job as well as a bloody long commute has absolutely fried me, and any spare time I have is used to sleep. Amongst the chaos and stress of this time in my life I was hugley privileged to watch one of my best friends marry the love of her life. So congrats to you two Beth and Kev, it was a truly amazing day and night 🙂 Here are a few lovely photos:

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So aside from a few wonderful moments in the last few months I have probably been the most stressed out I have ever been in my life. At times I have felt very overwhelmed and felt like I have been almost at breaking point over the amount of things I am juggling. And then it happened. The panic attack. Now there are people who may read this who have had panic attacks and know what I mean, or they may experience something different, but I’ll explain a little about my experience.

Driving to work I had managed to do the entire hour long journey, and when I was around the corner from work I started to feel dizzy, fuzzy headed. I have been known to faint in the past and it felt a little like that so I tried not to focus on it and sang very loudly to the radio. I managed to pull into the work carpark and run inside the building where I sat in the office. Suddenly my chest felt tight and I could’t get my breath. Panicking, I started to struggle to breathe, and in my head I kept thinking ‘I’m going to die.’ From talking to other people who have suffered from panic attacks, this seems quite common. I ran to get a colleague and shouted for help, all while sobbing uncontrollably. She said afterwards my face went blue, then red, then white as the blood drained from my face. I sat down and started to get my breath back as she talked to me and calmed me down. Then it was over.

I hope I never suffer from a panic attack ever again, but to me it was a much needed reality check that I was putting way too much pressure on myself, and I needed to do something to try and manage the stress I was under.

Rather than talk about my work load, I’ll tell you about some strategies I’ve been working on to help me manage the stressed out, overwhelmed feeling.

1. Get enough sleep.
I try to get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, exhaustion never works for anybody.

2. Exercise.
In my small amounts of spare time I go for walks with my sister in the countryside, as a way to clear my head. I force myself to switch off from work and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of the beautiful landscape around me.
I also try to do yoga. Don’t take me for a yoga expert, I watch youtube videos, which are amazing. If you’re curious, try Yoga with Adrienne, she is so calming and really knows her stuff.

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3. Drink lots of water
Water detoxes the system, and when you’re stressed, you need a clear mind and body, free of toxins. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times, I like to put a bit of squash in mine, then I drink more!

4. Cut down on caffeine
I am a HUGE tea fan as you all know, and so now I switch to decaf tea when I’m at home. In our house the kettle is always boiled or boiling so I was drinking a lot of caffeine which sends the heart crazy and can cause palpitations!

5. Have a healthy diet
Eat lots of greens, and try to cut out high sugary fatty foods, as well as alcohol. I feel so much better when I’ve had lots of fruit and veg.

6. Do what makes you happy
I like to sing, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it, but a 75 mile commute means I have lots of time to belt out my favourite tunes. Just call me Beyonce 🙂

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7. Meditate
I downloaded an app called Calm, it’s a meditation app and has lots of natural sounds while a lovely lady helps you to relax and find your centre. Give it a go if you’re into that kind of thing!

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If you have any other strategies or ideas to manage stress and keep calm, I would love to hear from you! Just comment below or email me on sophie_deacon@hotmail.co.uk and I will make a compilation post with all of your contributions.

Stay happy,

Love Sophie xxx

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Welcome To My Workspace.

Welcome To My Workspace.

I love my workspace.

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It’s completely personal to me, a bit quirky, full of little interesting artefacts that remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. Depending on my mood, I might sit at my desk and write up an essay for my postgrad degree, or if I’m feeling relaxed, I’ll sit on my bed and think up some blog ideas. Whatever it is I choose to do, I love that my room makes me feel comfortable and creative. It’s home.

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I love light, so my workspace is airy, bright and full of lighter colours such as creams and whites, and you can see there are little pops of colour here and there. I keep my deskspace fairly minimal, like they say; tidy desk, tidy mind. The books I keep on my desk include notebooks (love a notebook, who doesn’t?), my Filofax, and my happy book. I also have a few postcards from various people and places. Looking at them just makes me ooze with nostalgia, and a smile always pops up on my face. For that split second I can look back and reminisce on those happy memories, then focus back on my work.

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As I write about all kinds of stuff, I change up my space according to what I’m writing about. I have a lot of beauty and make up trinkets and treasures in my drawers, but the things I use most I keep out for ease of access. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a magpie, in that small sparkly things really attract my eye and I love to see them on display! One thing I’m definitely working on is how to create a bit more storage for my beauty products, so any suggestions feel free to send them my way! How do you store you makeup?

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I love that my bookshelf is overflowing with different recipe books, children’s books, romantic novels and photo albums. I love to look at things that bring back amazing memories and inspire me to make more. I’m so lucky to have travelled so far in my life so my little tourist books are always on display!

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Another thing in my space is a lot of interior design magazines. I am always dabbling with different ideas and themes to create my dream environment, especially innovative ways to use the tiny amount of space I have. Through my mini interior design journey I came across WeWork who are a coworking  company that specialise in creating shared workspaces. On their site you can see some of their amazing spaces, all designed for people like us bloggers and beyond! They really motivated me to have a think about my space, and how I can make it unique and personal to me, and get my creative juices flowing. Check out their Twitter page here.

Check my Pinterest to see some of the workspace ideas I’ve pinned, and feel free to send me any links to your Pinterest boards in the comments! Follow me on twitter, my name is @sophie_d247

I’d love to see some of your spaces, send me your blog links 😀

Love,

Sophie xx

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In need of a little motivation…

In need of a little motivation…

Hello everyone, and happy Sunday. Sunday again! Why does it seem that Friday evening comes around so slowly and then all fo a sudden it’s Sunday evening? Time just goes way too fast. I wish I had more time to post blog posts, I really want to but I have a huuuuge amount of uni work to do. After a long day at uni on Friday I came home with a very heavy head full of lists of things to do, stuff I’m in the middle of and a billion deadlines. But I love it. I can’t complain, I am so glad to be doing what I’m doing even if at times I feel like there is no time for anything else.

One thing I have learned is to give yourself regular proper breaks. So get outside, meet up with friends, get your hair done. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to take a break from work.

I thought I’d post some motivational quotes I keep looking at to get me motivated and remind me why I’m working my bum off!

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I always look on my Pinterest for motivational quotes so have a little gander there for some more motivational pins. And if you want to follow me that’d be awesome!

Do you have any motivational quotes you live by?

Love Soph xx

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Advice From One Girl With Problem Skin To Another

Advice From One Girl With Problem Skin To Another

For as long as I can remember, I have had ‘problem’ skin. The doctor tells me it’s hormonal, and is in the typical areas of my face; particularly my cheeks and chin area as well as around my jaw line. Some days are better than others and I have the occasional flare up. And like most sometimes I am lured into a false sense of security to then wake up the next morning with the worst skin ever! Although I think I will continue to have problem skin throughout my life, I have definitely gained more control of it, and thought I would share my advice. These things work for me, and while they may not work for all, I think it’s best to share any good tips with my fellow girls!

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Drink water

Pretty self-explanatory. Water keeps us hydrated and our skin relies on this to repair itself and work correctly. Admittedly I find it very difficult to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, so I carry a litre bottle with me during the day and my target is to drink it all by the time I have to get home from work. I also drink a pint of water every night before bed. Since introducing this little routine my skin feels much softer and looks brighter.

Buy products that are suited to your skin type

My skin type is a combination of oily/dry. So I search for products for this. Whether it is a moisturiser that is a lotion rather than a cream, or a foundation that is matte rather than dewy, the product should be suited to your skin. Otherwise, hello breakout. Do your research; there are lots of pieces of advice on skin types online, and if you are unsure, you can visit a dermatologist or see a beautician.

Wash your face

Ok so when I say wash your face, don’t fall into the trap I and many girls have before, which is washing it too often. If you wash it too often you will encourage your skin to create more oil to make up for the fact it keeps getting washed away and this could cause breakouts. A good time to wash your face could be when you wake up and before you go to bed. I’ll talk about certain products later but one I would recommend is the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleansing Polish, and the Instant Boost Skin Tonic. Alcohol free, it contains aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber which soothes and refreshes skin.

Moisturise

My friend is a beauty therapist, and I once asked her if there was one piece of beauty advice she could tell everyone what would it be, and her answer? Moisturise. For those with oily skin, a common misconception is you don’t need to moisturise, but that simply isn’t true. We all need to. For my combination skin I am more suited to a lotion, whereas oily skin needs a serum. Again, do your research and find what is best for you. Even just moisturising before bed will hydrate your skin, and while I moisturise when I go to bed and when I wake up, some people need to do this more or less. Introduce it into your routine, wash your face and then moisturise. Your skin will thank you for it!

Research facial cleansers

I am the first to say I have tried many facial cleansers. The best advice I could give is to avoid harsh cleansers and opt for the gentle ones. Avoid alcohol based cleansers and keep this in your mind: ‘you are what your skin eats’.  Everybody has different skin, but for me, Neutrogena products made my skin break out, and Clearasil felt like it burned all the goodness out of my face. Obviously these may work for some, this is just from my own experience. My Mum actually washes her face with baby lotion on a cotton wool pad, and has done this for her entire life. Her skin is flawless, and this may be down to the gentle cleanser.

Have make-up free days

At least once a week, I like to have a day with absolutely no make-up on my face. This allows my skin to breathe, and repair itself. It also removes toxins and is said to prevent premature ageing.  Bonus! A barrier I had to overcome was people seeing my bad skin, but since I started having a day a week make-up free, I have seen a definite improvement in my skin. I have also become more confident; this is my skin, and I am proud. And if anybody has a negative thing to say about the fact I am confident enough to show my natural beauty, I would say that’s a self-esteem issue on their part, not mine.

Chill and de-stress

During stressful times in your life, your skin may release more sebum. This is the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog the hair follicles. So for people with acne prone skin or problem skin this could cause a breakout. I am in that category and have seen my skin breakout when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. So a few things that may help you de-stress that have worked for me: Sleep – make sure you get at least 7-8 hours a night Exercise – release those endorphins Have me time – take a break, read a book, paint your nails Go for a walk Meditate – there are lots of apps that play relaxing sounds/music. Light some candles, lie down, close your eyes and relax Call a friend – have a chinwag, laugh till your belly hurts!

I really hope this advice helps, although it’s from my own experience, I think a lot of it relates to anyone with bad skin. I can totally relate to those feelings of despair, sadness and frustration when you have a breakout, and while I still have those days sometimes, it’s up to us all to share our advice and understand that you aren’t alone and there are ways to make it better.

I would love to hear any tips for problem skin, so link me your blog posts so I can have a read, and use the hashtag  #lovemyskin

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Love Soph x