Another late post! But better late than never, right? I went to see Philomena yesterday with my best friend and afterwards we ended up gossiping the evening away over pizza, tea and the free salad bar (if you've seen the film, you should get this reference! It was croutons galore...) so unfortunately poor old BEDN got abandoned again! As it's such a festive prompt I can't bear to skip it though, and so there'll be two lovely posts on soti today - check back this evening for a round up of the month! 

As for now, if you follow me on twitter or pinterest you'll have noticed that I've been extremely shop-happy over the past couple of weeks, exclaiming about a variety of gift/home decoration ideas related to the Christmas season. Sarah and Char have encouraged most of the clothing lust with their constant linking on twitter, and as a result my Christmas wishlist has grown tenfold in the past few days alone! From thinking I didn't really want much, I've suddenly realised that there are indeed quite a lot of things I'd love to own, regardless of how practical they are and whether I actually NEED them. Of course, I don't expect to get all (or even any!) of the things on my list; I hate the idea of buying gifts 'for the sake of it' and know that I'll be absolutely thrilled with whatever I unwrap on Christmas morning - but wishlists aren't meant to be entirely serious, that's kind of the point of them; they're fun to make and good to dream about! I've split mine into categories so they can also act as a gift guide for you guys, I know that I've spied a couple of items on other peoples posts that have helped enormously with my own shopping!

All I Want For Christmas



I laughed when I just looked at this prompt, it couldn't have been more accurate for today! As I said in my last post, I've had quite a bit of admin work slung my way this week, which I'm incredibly grateful for but which does mean I've started to get cabin fever with regards staring at my laptop screen. This morning I managed to get all of the work needed done by midday, so decided to go for a 'little 20 minute walk' around my local village, to clear my head and get some much needed fresh air. Add in a couple of daydreams, a couple of soundtracks played through my ipod, and some beautiful frosty scenery, and...well. A little 20 minute walk turned into a two hour wander all the way to the next town, leaving me with eversoslightly pink cheeks and very achey knees! After plodding back home I settled down with a cup of tea and cursed myself for not taking more photos along the way - the area around me is incredibly beautiful in winter, but the only snap I did get managed to come out blue! So, sadly I won't be able to share any evidence of my rather unplanned and accidental power circuit round the Pennines, but I can assure you my muscle burn is evidence enough!

Instead, I'm going to post some of the pictures I took when I went to Tenerife with my family last Easter, as it truly was a beautiful area - we trekked up Mt Tiede and hiked around the National Park, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it felt like we'd been transported to another planet, the sand dunes near the summit could so easily have been the surface of Mars! I could have stayed up there all week, had the lure of the brilliant blue sea, vibrant coloured streets and glittering black beaches not also caught my heart....



Once again, I'm fairly busy today - I've had an influx of admin work (I'm taking on freelance writing/editing now I'm feeling better until after Christmas, when I can start looking for a full time job again!) and have a few family commitments this week which means I'm out of the house quite a bit - so, today's post is an unusually short one for me! However, it's one I've really enjoyed putting together, however rushed it may have been. I love all things homeware/home decor and am itching to get into some longer and more detailed/personal posts along this line, so was pretty pleased to see 'home sweet home' as today's BEDN prompt. These two moodboards show my current favourite design styles and are lifted directly from my pinterest, which at the moment is dominated by a rather eclectic mix of Scandinavian loft images, cosy old converted barns, 'bachelor pad' inspiration and quirky/girly 'book nooks' - I'm clearly going to need four houses in future! 



Only one more month until Christmas! I say this every year, but honestly, I have NO idea where the weeks have gone this time. It doesn't seem like two minutes since it was summer, and even though I'm overjoyed it's now winter again, time is going far too fast for my liking! I want to savor my favourite time of year, not grin and wave as it flashes by...

Photo Credit: My Little Box



As you can probably guess, the actual prompt for today's BEDN was not 'Scandiphile Dreams' but rather 'Leaving On A Jet Plane'. However, as the first place I'd steer said jet plane towards is Scandinavia (big surprise!) it seemed more fitting to alter it. Especially as I'm shoehorning yesterday's topic into this post as well, as I missed blogging due to being out all day and then stuck on a very delayed train for most of the evening! The prompt for that was 'TV', which I have to say I barely watch a lot of. My days and evenings are spent either pottering around outside, curled up on the sofa reading or pulled up at my desk writing or sketching, and if I do watch something it's generally a film or boxset that I've either downloaded or got on DVD. 

However, for the next month or so you will find me uncharacteristically glued to BBC4 on a Saturday night for Series 3 of Borgen, which has just been released to the UK after boradcasting in it's native Denmark a few months ago. Borgen is one of my favourite shows in the whole world, and definitely helped spark off my obsession with Copenhagen, where it's set. It's filmed in Danish and then subtitled for the English market, which I LOVE because I have a definite fixation with the Danish language/accent! Sometimes I forget I can't understand it and just get lost listening to the sounds, suddenly realising I haven't read the subtitles so have no idea what's going on! Which is bad, as you really need to pay attention - Borgen is a political drama focusing on the power struggles between Danish politicians and their personal background lives; and is fast paced, complex, twisty and rather witty, with a diverse and brilliant mix of characters and some excellent speech script writing. I won't go too far into plot/story arcs as it's into it's third series now and I still have a load of photos to include in the post, but you can find out more about it here, and get hold of the previous series here. Tweet me if you're also a fan, I tend to talk about nothing else on Saturday nights and would love to get into a meaty post-episode discussion!

And now, Copenhagen! As I mentioned above I kind of fell in love with the city after seeing it on Borgen and then doing a bit of research on Trip Advisor/Lonely Planet; as well as pinning some stunning local photography on my Pinterest. I really, really wanted to go, but it didn't appear to be the cheapest place in the world, and I simply couldn't afford it on my student loan. So, when my Mum and Dad VERY kindly offered to club together and give me and Charlie some money towards a short break away for my 21st birthday, I nearly exploded with happiness!

My spiritual home, Copenhagen... 



I am no longer merely a girl with a princess dress.

I am now a girl with a princess dress AND A TIARA.



I got behind again, and I'm blaming pizza. Yesterday, me and my mum picked my sister up from school at lunchtime as she'd had an exam and so didn't have to stay for afternoon lessons, and we popped into town to get a few bits and bobs. (Mum also got me an AMAZING little present, which will be revealed in full glory in this afternoon's post!) After trudging round in the wintery frost we whiled away a good hour in Costa, sipping their new hot spiced apple drink with cinnamon and star anise (seriously, that stuff is like Christmas crack), regaining feeling in our toes and making December plans - we've so far got a panto and an ice skating trip sorted! - and so by the time we'd done it was all dark and cold and the shops were shut and home seemed far away and Pizza Hut was just...there. Consequently, by the time we actually did make it home I was too full and relaxed and sleepy to blog, and instead read half a book before getting an early night. Sleeping it off is definitely the best way to treat a food and drink coma!

Anyway, the prompt for yesterday was 'Newsflash', and I've decided to go a little bit left-hand-lane with it by featuring an alternative editorial I read on a regular basis. As a rule I don't tend to buy a newspaper (except on Sundays) and I don't read any of the gossip/celebrity/high street mags, favouring a morning/evening perusal of the BBC News website to keep me up to date on the world! I've always preferred reading fiction to 'real life' but this has started to change since getting into blogs and discovering that there are lifestyle magazines other than the standard fashion/beauty clones adorning the shelves. I like something a little bit different, a little bit prettier, a little bit meatier and a little bit more 'genuine', and so was thrilled to discover this little gem hiding away in WHSmiths one cold winter day last year. I've been a loyal reader ever since, and even have a subscription on my Christmas List...

Oh Comely. 



Today marks the beginning of Anti-Bullying Week 2013, with a focus on cyber-bullying. Obviously this is a cause that deserves as much support, recognition and promotion as possible, as to be bullied either online or in real life is utterly unacceptable and devastating for the individuals involved. I'm lucky in that I can say I've never personally being subjected to bullying, but I have been aware of it in my surroundings and I do know of people close to me who have experienced it themselves. The main thing to be aware of about bullying is that it can occur to anyone, at any point in life - it's most definitely not merely a playground occurrence, and indeed as we get older it sadly means that the nature of the bullying and the acts of the bullies get even worse and potentially more damaging and serious.

Image Credit: Stephanie Sterjovski via Pinterest


It seems I accidentally missed blogging about relaxing yesterday, because, in an embarrassingly ironic way, I was too busy just relaxing! We spent the day with my grandparents, and went out for a bite to eat and a lovely walk which was followed by more than a few steaming mugs of tea, a bit of reading and a lot of chatting curled up on the sofa. By the time we made dinner it was getting late, and I afterwards couldn't resist plonking myself down in my armchair and getting stuck back into my book; and then before I knew it it was bedtime. Time does fly when you're having fun, even when that fun consists of a very lazy day doing very little at all except eat, laugh and read!



We're over the halfway point with BEDN, guys! Hasn't it gone quick? And hasn't it been GREAT so far? There's not one topic that I haven't enjoyed either writing or reading, and I'm so grateful for all the lovely comments and links I've personally received - I've also loved discovering new blogs that I might not otherwise have come across, so all in all, I'm really, really glad I signed up to do this! Kudos to everyone who has made it this far, and good luck to all for the rest of the month; I look forward to reading your updates!

Today's topic is hobbies, and as my longest standing and most favourite hobby is reading, I am going to feature a few titles that I've dived into recently and absolutely LOVED. I tend to read mostly crime/mystery/thriller novels, with quite a bit of contemporary fiction mixed in; not forgetting a few chick-lit/romance titles for when I want a cosy, snuggly pick-me-up - there's nothing better than a triple bill of Bridget Jones books enjoyed over a lazy weekend! I've organised my recommendations into genres, but these are just an incredibly small sample selection of my favourite reads - for more in the same vein, and additional genres, feel free to check out my Goodreads profile; and even leave me some recommendations yourself if you feel like it! 



This post was such fun to write - I trawled back through hundreds and hundreds of photos taken over the past few years and spent a wonderful hour or so getting incredibly nostalgic for all the amazing places and adventures that have happened up to now, with some absolutely fabulous people! Instead of getting too wordy and soppy and gushing over how much I love all the special humans in my life, I'm just going to share a collection of my favourite images that I came across and just say that I love all of these people to absolute pieces, and I'm thankful every day for having such utterly brilliant family and friends. They're just the best.



As you'll probably all know, I'm back living with my mum and sister for a few months at the moment (until after Christmas, at any rate!) and so that means that whilst I do have a desk, it's purely functional and not very pretty or photo-worthy - I haven't really bothered unpacking *all* my little trinkets, and my walls only really have the silly pictures and photos on from before I moved out, which no-one's yet got round to removing! They're nice to look at in a nostalgic way, but aren't really images I'd want on this blog - not for any bad reasons, just that they're not all that interesting to anyone except me and a few friends! Also, my bedroom here is absolutely freezing in the daytime and on the lowest floor out of three. Everyone else is on the top floor, so unless I want to be anti-social I spend most of my time up there anyway, meaning I work/blog/read/sketch in the living room rather than actually at my desk! Which is lucky really, as the living room is a lot prettier than my temporary room, even if it's not altogether to my personal dream taste.

So, below I've included a few images from my interiors pinterest board that are more of my dream style - when I get my own place again, I'll redo this post and show you all my new creative hub! I'd love somewhere that is suited both to sketching/painting and laptop/blogging work, with lots of storage space, colour, light and clutter.



As with National Stress Awareness Day last week, I had no idea today was National Kindness Day until my BEDN-tracking Google calendar informed me so! Nevertheless, it's a lovely idea and I'm all for celebrating something that encourages positive thought and behaviour. There are so many potential topics and ideas to write about in relation to National Kindness Day, and I've really enjoyed reading everyone else's blogs so far - I especially like Chloe's, which talks about the importance of making sure we are kind to ourselves and don't use our generosity to put others down or enter into 'point-scoring'. Kindness is a trait that is well respected and admired amongst our peers, but also one which it is sadly all too easy to turn into something negative; either when we don't value ourselves enough to treat our bodies and/or our minds as we would other people's, or when we partake in perceived acts of kindness for the sole purpose of 'reaping the karma'. 

However, I'm generally a happy and positive soul and like to believe that for the majority of people, being kind and acts of kindness are completed from the heart and are one hundred percent genuine and selfless! I've certainly been lucky enough to find and meet many such people myself; both in real life and through social media - I've mentioned a few times now how much I love the blogging community, and can say with no hesitation that some of my favourite people in the world astound me day after day with how kind and thoughtful and funny and generous they all are.



I love these type of prompts - trawling through the tag you can have a really good nosy glance into everyone's 'real lives' when they're talking about personal places and spaces! Today's topic is 'hometown'; and as I've lived in five different towns over the years, I've chosen to feature where I grew up and the town my family come from - as it's the place I spent (and still spend) most of my time in, even though I now live in a smaller village a little down the road. However, Charlie's parents house is there, as is my grandparents, all three of my uncles and my two cousins. It's where I spend every single Christmas and where I used to go out when I was in college, and as such it holds a certain place in my heart.

SOTI readers, welcome to BARNSLEY! 

Barnsley is an old mining town in South Yorkshire, kind of directly in-between Leeds and Sheffield. You might know it from the film Kes; and whilst admittedly not the prettiest, most exciting or culturally buzzing town in the world, it's definitely got it's own 'charm'! Barnsley dialect is, in my opinion, awesome (seriously, watch that video) and there are some beautiful areas in the surrounding countryside - Cannon Hall, Newmillerdam, Locke Park, and Langsett Reservoir, to name but a few. 

Town Hall



Today, I'm sharing with you all a poem that I believe speaks better than I ever could about the emotions and history associated with this day. A lot of war time and remembrance poetry is well know - Flanders Fields and Dulce Et Decorum Est obviously come to mind - and whilst I think they are obviously incredibly beautiful, sad, moving and poignant, this particular verse is my 'favourite' and always sends a chill down my spine whenever I read it. It's by Wilfred Owen and in my humble opinion is one of his best works; I first came across it many years ago in a wartime poetry book by Grandad owns, and I make sure to read it every Remembrance Day.

Art Credit: Watercolours With Life 



Today's prompt is basically to do a 180' turn with your blog... if you're a jewelry blogger, post a foodie review, if you're a beauty addict, test out a piece of tech, if you like writing stories, take photos, etc etc. As SOTI hasn't fully developed yet, and is intended to be a 'lifestyle' blog, it will hopefully have any and all of these things included in it in time! So, for my something different I've decided to do a post that challenges my comfort zone, which I kind of hinted at last week - I'm doing an outfit post! A proper one this time! Including poses and everything!

I've heard that many fashion bloggers feel silly and/or awkward sometimes doing outfit photos (Sarah wrote a little about this the other day, actually) and I definitely understand why - it's kind of weird to stand around and prance about in front of the camera, especially if you do it outside in full view of curious passers by! Luckily I live in a pretty secluded street and so didn't get too many funny looks, but I couldn't stop myself laughing for most of the photos and couldn't quite bring myself to look directly at the camera!



Tonight we have family round so I'm stealing a few spare minutes to blog, even though it's going to be the teeniest/most rushed post I'll probably ever do! Which is kind of fitting, though, as the subject is 'Blog Chat' - I haven't been blogging long and so this post, like SOTI, will be short and sweet!

I made SOTI because I've been a long time reader and lurker of blogs, and really, really love the 'blogger community' on twitter - such a friendly, lovely, funny, intelligent, fabulous and strong group of people I ever did 'meet'. After a while, I realised I was missing out by not having my own blog - more than anything, it just looked so much FUN. And so far, it has been. And I'm full of determination to keep up with posting here, because I love my little space I'm carving out, and I'm thrilled that other people seem to like it too. And so, tonight, instead of chatting ABOUT my blog, I'm directing this post TO my blog, and making a little promise whilst I'm at it!

Dear SOTI,

I promise I will keep updating you, and spend time thinking of, researching and writing posts that I am happy with and enthusiastic to share, and that are hopefully original, pretty, interesting, thought provoking and honest. I want you to be something I'm proud to have in my CV/Portfolio, and I want you to be the blog I don't abandon. I'd love to learn more HTML and CSS so I can change you around when things get a little dusty, and I'd also really like to get better at photography so you can showcase beautiful things to the best of your ability. I'm grateful to you for always giving me some structure to my day, and for providing a platform for all my silly and whimsical thoughts and ideas. You're a project I'm really glad I started, and I really hope we go far.

Love, Sarah Elizabeth xx

And now, I am required to go and make another round of tea for the family - give me a shout if you want one! ;)



Hello again! I've just spend a cosy half hour catching up on the BEDN blogger tag, and have really enjoyed reading all your 'day in the lives'. It's really interesting seeing the work/activities/hobbies everyone has got up to today, and nosing into your everyday lives - but I'm sorry to confess that personally I haven't actually done anything very exciting in return! It's been cold and rainy, and as I'm back at my mum's house now, she's been at work and my sister has been at school for most of the day, so I've had a pretty lonely/lazy time padding around doing nothing in particular! Not that this is necessarily a bad thing - I genuinely enjoy time spent faffing around on the internet, wrapped up in my dressing gown, downing endless cups of tea and buying a few (read: quite a fair few) sneaky books from the Kindle Daily Deal list...

Image Credit: Kendra Yee


Can we just all pretend it's yesterday for as long as it takes you to read this post? I did fully intend on it going live last night, but by the time I'd got back to my Mum's house, eaten dinner and unpacked my stuff I was ready for a few episodes of Southpark and bed! /Bad blogger/. However, this does mean all you lucky readers get TWO posts today, so check back later for Day 8's topic - A Day In The Life! Which is actually kind of fitting that it gets posted at night, after I've actually (hopefully) done a day's worth of things worth sharing...

Anyway, for now, here is Day 7: 10 Things. I ummed and ahhed for a while on my many trains yesterday about what the 10 things could be (see, I didn't abandon BEDN entirely!) and eventually decided to share with you all 10 of my favourite illustrators and a few examples of their work. As well as writing and reading, I really, really enjoy sketching and making mixed media art; and actually studied design full time until going off to Uni and making an about-turn to do a degree in Literature! As much as I enjoyed my course, I do sometimes wish I'd stuck with art and do wonder where I would be now if I had! I still sketch and doodle in my spare time, of course, and I absolutely love going to shows and exhibitions, and discovering new artists online -Pinterest, Tumblr, Etsy and blogs/zines like Oh Comely, Wrap, Flamingo and Now Then are great sources of inspiration and wonder.

Of course, I adore so many more illustrators than the 10 I've chosen to include here, it was a tough choice narrowing them down! I'd really like to include art and art related topics regularly here on SOTI, and as always, I'd love to hear your opinions and recommendations - who is your favourite artist? Do you collect graphic prints? What about typography? Tell me about ALL the art things! And for now, without any further waffling, I'll tell you about 10 artists that have caught my eye.....

1. Katt Frank.
Katt takes her inspiration from everyday homely objects; mainly involving food/drink and recipes. She also designs wedding invites and menus; and works with integrated photography. Find her blog here and her etsy shop here.She can also be reached on Cargo Collective.



Day 6 already! That's almost a week of BEDN gone, and I'm really enjoying it so far... and am so happy to have found so many wonderful and exciting new blogs to follow! I love keeping up with all the posts, and especially enjoyed seeing everyone's fireworks pictures yesterday - we didn't go to a bonfire in the end as we couldn't find one near enough, so instead popped into Windsor for a bite to eat and a drink at The Alma before taking a walk through the town and down by the river (and nearly getting chased by swans, but that's another story....). We caught a glimpse of a few solitary fireworks on the way, but nothing spectacular - I think everyone must have already celebrated last weekend!

Anyway, the topic of today's post is stress, as it happens to be National Stress Awareness Day. I didn't know this was a thing until this morning, but it's safe to say we all know what stress is! Life by definition is never plain sailing, and stress can crop up as a response to big or small matters - from an exam, to moving house, to an argument with a friend, or simply for running out of tea/coffee at 6am in the morning. Stress also affects everyone differently, with everyone responding to it differently. In this post I'm going to try and cheer things up a bit by suggesting a few small ways of overcoming stress - I'm a firm believer in noticing and appreciating 'the little things' in life, and have an internal list of 'happy things' and 'happy places' that help when I'm feeling a bit down.



Remember, remember, the fifth of November....Happy Bonfire Night, everyone! Are you going to a display tonight, or having some sparkling fun in your garden? Or did you celebrate last weekend? Me and Charlie are trying to find an event to go to in or around Slough/Windsor/West London, so if anyone knows of anything happening please let me know!

 Although, it is currently raining and a fair bit chilly, so whether we'll actually leave the house or not is yet to be decided...I'll need to wear ALL the woollen things!



Maybe I should have saved my cheesecake recipe, given the topic of today's #BEDN! Ah well.....two food posts in as many days is OK, isn't it? Food is awesome. Everyone likes food.

And as much as I like baking and cooking (or to be more accurate, baking and eating whatever Charlie or someone else cooks for me - one can't live on cake alone!) I must admit I LOVE going out to restaurants and cafes/bistros/bars. Eating out is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and I'd do it a lot more if my unemployed status allowed! Luckily, this week I am visiting Charlie down in Slough, where he now works, and on Saturday after spending a busy afternoon shopping in Westfields, we decided to stick around and eat out instead of coming straight home. Westfields has some amazing looking food haunts, and even a Champagne and canape bar with live piano music - which was predictably a bit beyond budget, especially given that I don't actually like Champagne!

However, Westfields boasts ample alternative choice, from Bills to Byron, Jamie's Italian to Nando's, The Real Greek to Wagamama, and pretty much everything in between. There is also a whole host of additional resturants outside on the Southern Terrace, which is where we decided to go, and after a quick browse of the cuisines on offer plumped for Wahaca; self proclaimed 'Mexican Market Eating' with a fun and funky twist.



Happy Diwali! It's the Hindu Festival of Light today, and whilst not a personal subscriber to any world religion, I do admire the celebrations involved with them and partake in many myself (Christmas, Easter etc!)
I also remember making paper lanterns for Diwali whilst at primary school, and love seeing the beautiful street decorations put up around my town every year at this time. According to what I could find online when I researched Diwali further, the spiritual significance behind the festival is 'the awareness of the inner light'; the belief that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is completely pure and brilliant - the light of all higher knowledge. This light displaces all ignorance and brings forth joy and peace, and for Hindu's represents a real awakening. Because I don't celebrate Diwali per se, I'm going to branch out a bit on the 'light' theme and talk about a company that I've recently come across and absolutely adore, that produces it's own little sources of 'light'!



I'd been reading my friend Amy's food blog last night for some wintery meal inspiration and so as soon as I saw the #BEDN topic for today I knew I wanted to do a recipe post of something I'd made myself! This super yummy, super pretty and super easy strawberries and cream cheesecake isn't wintery at all, but it's one of the things I'm most proud of because IT ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE THE PICTURE. People who cook/bake a lot will know how rarely this happens (unless you're amazing, in which case, kudos!) and so for something to turn out so well on my first go made me very happy indeed.



Even though S.O.T.I has only just got up and running, I've signed up to take part in the lovely Rosalilium (Elizabeth)'s Blog Every Day in November (BEDN) challenge; talk about jumping in at the deep end?! But I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth's posts during her Blog Every Day in May challenge this year, and figured the winter rehash of it was a brilliant way of kicking things off and providing inspiration to really get S.O.T.I off the ground. The topics look really interesting, fun and varied, and I'm looking forward to both writing and reading all the posts! I'm going to try and get every topic done, even if I don't/can't post chronologically every single day, so if I miss a day here and there I'll make sure to do a double post to make up for it when I do get back on my laptop. You can find a list of other participants on Rosalilium here, and while you're scanning it, why not join up yourself? It's not too late!

Today being Day 1, the topic is Introduction, which is a pretty good starting point for me, being a new blogger and all! So.... what to reveal! First things first, as you'll all already know: I'm Sarah Elizabeth, I'm 22, I live with my Mum and sister in a lovely little village in Yorkshire and I'm currently unemployed whilst I recover from complications surrounding my diagnosis with Crohn's Disease earlier this year. I have ginger hair, ghostly pale skin, tiny feet and odd eyes (one's bright green, one's brown....) I like sparkly things, googly eyes, nostalgic smells and things that remind me of winter.