A letter to my 18 year old self as I turn 29.

29 huh? That seemed so old and yet here we are. Entering the final year of our twenties. It is going to fly by.

Life isn't exactly how you imagined it 11 years ago. But then in a way, I think it's better than you could ever have imagined.

That boy you plucked up the courage to ask out at Sixth Form? Well he's still around despite the fact you were so sure you were going to go your separate ways once you went off to Uni. You never did move away to Greenwich, instead you choose to stay at home and go to a local university. Now you own a house with that lanky, blond boy who used to make your heart flutter in his skinny jeans. You picked a good egg all those years ago. He's kind, thoughtful, ages like a fine wine and makes one heck of a spreadsheet which helps to keep your spending in check and allowed you to get on the property ladder.

There's a few dreams you still haven't ticked off your wishlist. All those dreams of travelling the world with only a backpack, two pairs of knickers and a pair of flips flops never materialised. And you've still never made it to Thailand. But you have been lucky enough to see some places other people only dream of. That travel bug has well and truly bitten you. I don't really think you were ever cut out to slum it if I'm honest.  New York was every bit as incredible as you imagined. In fact, you're taking mum to see it later this year. So you'll have been twice!

You never made it out of your home Essex town despite it being the thing you wanted most in the world. You haven't lived in London but there's still time yet. One thing you'll realise is that dreams don't always happen overnight.

You'll finally work in London on a newspaper! Not quite the Kate Adie you wanted but you've found your passion. It took a long time to get there but you found a job you don't dread going into every day. Just keep slogging away. Interiors make you happy and you get to see your name online. Believe me when I say you'll never tire of that.

You'll never quite shake that crippling self doubt over how you look. You'll grow more confident in time but there'll still be that little voice in your head that tells you your hips are too wide and your thighs are too thick. It's hard. And you'll feel like you're in a constant battle with yourself. But make the most of how you look now. You are hot! That three and a half stone you lose will all come back on when you hit 28. Enjoy it now. It's going to be a lot harder to lose weight when you get older. Trust me, I'm struggling.

Remember that time when you voted for the first time? You come from a Conservative background but at the moment in the voting booth you went for Labour at the last minute. You had no reason why other than thinking it was the right thing to do. It will take you ten years and a certain man to make you realise exactly why you voted Labour. Would you believe you even joined the Labour Party and went leafleting in the General Election?

Life is good. You're surrounded by family and friend who love you fiercely and unconditionally despite your faults. Despite your quick temper that always lands you in hot water, your strong opinions that seem to get you in to trouble and your sheer stubbornness that causes you no end of aggro. Trust me when I say you totally lucked out when they handed out families. You have a great group of girl friends who give you the strength and courage to make your voice heard. Because no matter how much people may belittle and mock you, your voice does matter. You should always be proud of your passionate beliefs. Sometimes this passion can make you come across as not listening to other people's opinions. You'll need to work on this. But don't ever be afraid of standing up or fighting for what you believe in.

But, you're doing alright girl.

My goals for 2018

Redo our bathroom
To put it bluntly, we have run out of money for our house. We ran out of money about three weeks into this two year project! Thankfully we managed to completely revamp and finish our kitchen and living room. So our goal for the upcoming year is to rip out our bathroom and start from scratch. I hate it. The shower is so weak, the bath never looks clean, it has a weird wooden dropped ceiling  and we lack any type of floor. We're giving us until the summer/early autumn to save - and pay off the house credit card -  and then hopefully the refit will be completed by Christmas! We've got someone coming round to give us a cost this week so we know exactly how much we need to save.

Get my savings mojo back
I saved for a house and then in rebellion, turned into the worst person ever when it came to keeping money in my bank account. 2019 sees my friendship group all turn 30 as we have had a plan for the past five years to go to Las Vegas. This will obviously not be cheap! Connor and I also want to visit our friends who have moved to Malaysia to teach. We missed them this year but hopefully they're staying for a second year. Then why not try and tag Singapore onto the end of the trip as it's only an hour plane journey away? I would also like to continue our anniversary tradition and go away for a few days to celebrate. 2019 has the potential to be an epic year for travel - as long as 2018 Sophie gets her savings mojo back.

Get a hold on my finances again
My finances are atrocious. Considering 2017 was suppose to be the year that I became sensible, they seem to have gotten worse. My credit card bill makes me slightly nervous and I run out of money about one week into my wage packet. I need to get my finances in gear if I'm going to have a cracking 30th birthday year. I'm going to start selling much more on eBay, start bringing my lunch into work every day religiously  and only buy things I truly love.

Start using my cookbooks
I have a ridiculous number of cookbooks. Over 130 to be exact. Sickening I know. I love to flick through them, turn the pages over of things I want to make and make a mental list that I'll try it out at the weekend. Then I never do... Now I'm living in my own house and in charge of my weekly shop, I want to try out new recipes and become much more adventurous. I get in pretty late each nights at around 7.45 so I want to prefect those quick, simple yet delicious recipes so I don't just eat Spag Bol and Fajitas every single night. 

Read 15 books
I managed to read eight books in 2017 which to some isn't much at all but it was a great improvement to the three in 2016. This year I want to hit 15 books. I've got a beach holiday coming up which I'm hoping will provide the perfect opportunity to relax with my nose in a book. I'm also hoping to get back in the habit of reading during my commute, I kinda fell off the wagon in December thanks to feeling slightly hungover most mornings...

Stay in more
Finally 2018 will be the year of hermit Sophie. I really want to enjoy our house this year and I can't if  I'm never at home. We entertained friends and family from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and although at time I wanted to pull my hair out, I absolutely loved it. I've always wanted a house that people feel at home in and pop in without a second thought. I'd like to organise a few more soirées instead of going to the pub on a Saturday night.

2017 goals: how did I get on?

That's it. We're now in 2018. As I do every year, I set myself some goals for 2017. Here's how I got on...

1. Read more books
I set myself a goal of reading ten books in order to get back into regular reading. I didn't hit this but I did manage to read eight books which I didn't think was too bad going. I've got a blog post coming up articulating my thoughts on the books I managed to read.

2. See the world
I knew that I wouldn't be able to venture outside Europe this year due to buying a house but I had some amazing trips. I know I harp on about this all the time, but we really are so much to have a diverse, vibrant and bloody great continent on our doorstep. I managed to take a trip over to Ireland to see family, visited the South of France on a girls trip to see Elodie, take an incredible two week trip touring Poland, show Paris to my mum and travel to Cardiff for Gem's wedding. Not bad for a year I was supposed to 'take it easy'.

3. Look after myself from the inside out
This didn't really get started. I started off with good intentions and now? I feel like I'm two steps away from a burn out. December was ridiculously busy and I'm suffering now. I've mentioned that I'm looking to take a step back and with this,  I'm hoping I can start putting self-care at the top of my list. It's a work in progress right?

4. Pay of my credit card.
LOL. This did not happen in the slightest. If anything, it's gotten worse. But it is still manageable and I've got every intention to start reducing it as soon as possible. I'm hoping to stay in more this year, so the money I usually use to go out will hopefully be used to pay it off. I'm off to New York in March and want to have cleared a big chunk off it by then. Just in case I see anything I like!

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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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