| 2019 | 12 | 31 | december empties |

here we have it. the last empties post of 2019. 

| Dr Bronners | Pure Castille Soap | 946ml | £19.99 | Amazon |
| Marvis | Royal | 75ml | £8.50 | Amazon |
| Marvis | Mouthwash | 120ml | £11.99 | Amazon |
| Tresemme | Botanique Nourish and Replenish | 400ml | £4.99 | Superdrug |
| Fudge | Membrane Gas | £14.95 | Look Fantastic |

body & misc: £60.42

| Amazon | Mama Bear Baby Wipes | 150 | £0.70 | Amazon |
| The Ordinary | Coverage Foundation 1.0N | £6 | ASOS |
| Timeless | 20% C+E Ferulic Acid Serum | 30ml | £24.99 | Timeless |
| Becca | First Light Priming Filter | 30ml | £28 | Space NK |
| The Body Shop | Vitamin E Face Mist | 100ml | £10 | The Body Shop |
| L'Oreal | Infallible 24 Hour Matte Porcelain | 35ml | £7.99 | Boots |
| Soap & Glory | Thick and Fast Mascara | £10 | Boots |

face & makeup: £87.68

| Solinotes | Vanille | £10 | Urban Outfitters |
| Shay and Blue | Blood Orange | 10ml | £25 | Shay and Blue |
| Urban Outfitters | Pistachio Brulee | 30ml | £14 | Urban Outfitters |
| Bvlgari | Aqva Marine | 50ml | £46 | The Perfume Shop |
| Clean Reserve | Warm Cotton | 5ml | Space NK |
| Clean Reserve | Blonde Rose | 5ml | Space NK |

Perfume - £135

Obviously these are direct replace costs rather than the amount used over the month.

grand total: £283.10

this is a little bit better than last month - but it's a huge amount of money to be burning through each month.

the number doesn't reflect how much i've spent - that'll be something i'm going to keep an eye on next month (conveniently avoiding acknowledging the monster charlotte tilbury order this week - which btw i am in love with).


| 2019 | 12 | 30 | to summarise |

it's the end of 2019. it is time. 

i think i really approached this year with low expectations. rightfully so to be fair because 2018 wasn't my best. if i'm completely honest 2017/2018 were probably the worst. but the best thing about rock bottom? the only way is up.

2019 was another year of growth and loss, but significantly more growth. i cannot properly summarise the personal development as i am borderline unrecognisable as the person who entered january. 

for the past 5 years - for whatever reason, i haven't actually stopped moving around. living spaces, rooms in the house, houses in marlow and the surrounding areas, life goals, boyfriends(!?($*^$£), hair colours, sporting ambitions...... yada. the list goes on but this year i've managed to stop.

i've been able to take stock of where i'm at.

i'm actually kinda okay with the person who looks back at me in the mirror.

as lame as that sounds i'm not convinced many people are.


there was one year i trawled through every photograph and picked out a million favourites for a post. but i'm going to just go with the ones from this week. 

probably my greatest achievement is sticking to my new years resolution. 

i wanted to run twice a week for the year. nothing particularly challenging - minimum a mile - but the change has been insane. 

we paddled on the field the day the river started coming down (boxing day). 

the river has now completely gone so it's quite surreal. 

i've also started to study again. it's really exciting but nerve-wracking. 

the other change this year is the boy. he's nice. i like him. he likes being outside too which helps quite a bit. he's going to come to one of my races next weekend as a trial run for the dw. 

it's a strange transition being integrated into someone else's life - just as it is bringing them into yours. i'm frustratingly independent so i find this bit interesting. that's a good word. i'm trying to learn from my past mistakes and not be disastrously unbearable. we shall see.


| 2019 | 12 | 27 | almost |

i finished my 13th book of 2019 on christmas day.

at around 7 i'd gone for a run, but in reality i was craving the completion of the final thirty or so pages of touching the void - a book i'd only started because it had been so strongly recommended.

i have no interest in climbing, or mountains, or snow.


it's 0652.

i'm sitting at a glitter covered dining table with messy hair and bleary eyes.

i've read 22 pages of my new marketing textbook and thankfully it's not the drag of the one i had to know inside out at degree level.

i had the worst nights sleep - a recurring nightmare that someone had nicked my phone was interjected with being chased by some foreboding character.

go figure.


when i was 18 and a rowing coach, we had all of our possessions stolen. we were in nottingham for a rowing race (almost wrote kayak there) and during a practice on the lake everything was liberated from our minibuses. it was heartbreaking.




| 2019 | 12 | 24 | today |

a friend who continuously reminds me that we have to be in this moment and not drifting far into the-what-could-have-beens and what-we-wants rather than the what-we-haves.

this helps with my training. sit still. be quiet and engage with the task at hand. i was able to truly embrace my 12 mile training run yesterday and push aside many of the doubts and worries which had been playing on my mind.


also. the river.

3cm today is the difference that counts. an arbitrary figure. smaller than most would consider significant - but in this case it's more than enough.

when did 3cm last count? sometimes millimetres matter but in this instance it means the river has stopped rising with its previous aggression and is starting to settle down.

for me? that means training might finally get back to where i want it to be.

we've had a rough month. disagreements on direction of training, boat set up and other technical elements have left us feeling emotionally drained, coupled with having the extra pressure of re-locating our training every weekend. the irony being - we had decided this time round to not do all the travelling we had previously done and stick to our home stretch.

clearly the river gods had other plans.

as i took my first lie in of the month, i was mulling over the positives of these difficulties.

i like challenges. problems to overcome. it pushes you as a person and forces discomfort. when you're comfortable you don't learn, nor do you adapt. you stop appreciating the things you have every day and take much of it for granted.

i have never taken our home stretch of river for granted, but i have never wanted to paddle on it  more than i do now.


-- it's better the river is messing around now than easter
-- forcing adaption. quality time in the boat.
-- taking nothing for granted. make everything count


| 2019 | 12 | 17 | sometimes |

okay so i asked, isn't it weird rhinos are never more than 5 foot off the ground - or that cats never go to work. 

apparently those are the weird ones. 

everybody is just radin' around. 


waking up this morning was so odd. 

firstly i wasn't in my bed but this one was warmer. but it was more i was being pulled from a dream about the run i hadn't yet gone on - my brain couldn't engage with the fact it was still to be completed. 

the river was up. 

i was borderline tearful as i splashed through it on the towpath. 

half way up my shins is a lot of water. it won't be down by the weekend. 

i want to know who made her so mad.



| 2019 | 12 | 16 | forest fires |

i feel like i'm losing the battle to keep up with life.

so many things are happening and i feel constantly like i have no time and my to do list is growing by the second. sigh. 

friday was lovely. it was my work christmas party and everyone was particularly jovial. 

the boy came along and met the team - who despite promising to be utterly disgraceful managed to hold themselves together for the few hours he was in their presence.

feels a bit like they saved it all up for today though. wicked cool. 


saturday we walked.

we walked many miles and stopped at a few pubs.

it was so nice.

sunday was the usual paddle (bit short however). 

in fact. worryingly short. 

i don't think we're training enough. it's giving me anxiety. 

we ran to the top of winter hill. 

course. why not. 


| 2019 | 12 | 12 | goop |

so, a little honesty today.

i've had a really bad morning.

i barely slept, my run was horrendous and generally feel a bit useless.

i blew 2.5 miles away from home and had a solid sulk on the way back, hood up, head down and limping slightly. not sure why, i don't have a sore leg but it just seemed to fit the aesthetic. so i went with it.

i'm not good at moping. i don't really like to be a negative nancy so the internal conflict was just fuelling my mood.

as i reached the corner from my house still staring at my feet - a blue slip of paper caught my eye. it was my piece of paper. i'd lost it.

being reunited with the damp square pulled me straight from my low and i trotted the rest of the route, smiling triumphantly.

the word was obligatory. if you were wondering.


| 2019 | 12 | 10 | brittle |

my legs vaguely resembled jelly as i careened through the final 2 minutes of the effort, my momentum alone keeping me upright through the dodgy terrain. i was increasingly aware of how precarious each step was, but equally invested in outputting a pb, so mainly ignoring the potential for injury or pain.

I stopped moments after the beep and let out a huge exhale of breath, doubled over as i checked my watch.

inwardly celebrating, i looked around, with only cows to keep me company. they didn't really care that i'd just knocked 136 seconds off my previous best. no one did. except me.

it was at that point i was struck suddenly by how lonely running was.

i guess that's the main draw of it as an activity.

the release. the detachment from anything and anyone else.

but i also long for someone who gets it.

the closest people who i know relate are either in nottingham or cornwall and whilst we share training experiences daily, nothing beats crossing the line together.

friends and family are easily fatigued with tales of training. unless you're in the midst of it - it's not particularly of interest. i have some of my greatest successes and failures out on the water, and i realise now it's fuelling an improvement of character to experience these things alone. obviously my team mates are beside me, and we're all in it together, but when push comes to shove they're not going to do it for me.

when i'm with fellow kayakers we can dissect one race for hours, but when telling anyone else their focus wanes after two sentences. the intricacies of struggle, the highs, the lows, the memorable snippets are all lost in 'yeah it was really good thanks', or doing it a greater disfavour 'yeah. not too bad.'

the more you race and train - then the more time you spend with your internal dialogue.

the thoughts you lose along the way are sometimes the most important.

i'm almost at the end of reading one of the best books i've ever had the chance to absorb, but he neglects to talk about his training. 

he touches upon it from time to time, but doesn't delve into the process. or his mindspace. whether its hard to motivate a run, or whether he's itching to churn up some mud. 


| 2019 | 12 | 09 | zozo the demon will ruin your life |

it's not that i need a new hairdryer - it's more that dysons marketing campaign is so effective i think it's permeated my soul. 

i should be immune. but i'm not. 


saturday was a great training session followed by a great lunch, a great walk, some cake and then an evening of fuss. 

i was tired before i woke up on sunday. 

sunday kicked off with a lethargic training session, one that was an attempt to erase the week before. we ran, 5 out 5 back as hard and fast as we could (slightly different to the two miler at the jubilee). running isn't either of our strengths but for a sport in which the tactical moves are made on land - it's necessary. 

we'd agreed a manageable 10/2 format, maintaining a hr which barely touched threshold. 

it was tough in the conditions (a lively tailwind aggravating a still swirly river). but we did. and the boat felt good. 

as we were headed upstream, past the outlet, mark reminded me of how demanding i'd been all summer. 

'aren't you glad you took the time to pause?' i smiled because i'd been so adamant, even mid effort, that we should both stop and look at our surroundings. the sunset (which by the way is perfect every day), the ducks, the trees, the leaves. and it was facing into that freezing headwind, with the water battering my attempts at holding a vaguely straight line - that i was glad we had. 

sometimes it's hard to remember why you're training. 

i'm stuck in a bit of a rut at the moment, because i think i've forgotten how much i love being on the water. the weekend grind of getting up slightly earlier to drive slightly further and paddle for a little longer is wearing down my resolve. 

getting out of a warm bed to put on kit which doesn't fit me anymore is a drag. though i've ordered some small leggings so hopefully that'll change things. 

This is boy trying to work out if i'd drown if he threw me into the pond. 

turns out it wouldn't be guaranteed so he didn't bother. 

maybe next time. 

we went on a walk through the woods and i found arguably the best stick i've ever discovered. 

hide and seek was a downright success. i'm still there - in the trees. 

headed back to A's house which is decreasing by the day. actually some bits aren't. 


| 2019 | 12 | 05 | sdrawkcab si ecnetnes siht |

its weird how the backward spelling of my name has come up more than four times this week.

just. something to think about.


sometimes you just do things.
everybody dies one day.
it's not about you.

>> three life lessons. each with a little story.

the second originates from my ex-boyfriends dad as we were climbing from a not particularly high ledge on bodmin moor.

I was nervous to jump and he turned to me and shrugged, before declaring that whilst life is scary, you can't stand still. you have to jump. because 'everybody dies one day sophie'.

then they both walked off, leaving me to negotiate my fears.


it's not about you was yelled more than once. once was in a dream so i'm not sure that counts but its a phrase i refer to more in life than i thought i'd need to.


sometimes. you just do things.

because - sometimes you just do.


talk turned to mums and once again i had to bite my lip to stop 'i wouldn't know, i don't have one' tumbling out. 

but that's not strictly true. i don't have a mum in the traditional sense, but i do have so many others who have occupied that role for an amount of time in my life. potentially better. because they chose to. 



| 2019 | 12 | 02 | pears |

just in case it wasn't clear. this is my future husband. somehow. 


i'm not sure who this is meant to be. 

but it'll do. 

I'm finding it harder this year to train. it might be because i have many other areas i'd rather invest my time into. 

also coming back and covering old ground is a bit... less exciting. last year everything was new and shiny and the pain in my hands was novel and slightly unexpected. 

this year it's a waiting game for things to twinge. 

take sunday - our long paddle. 

no no actually. we need to sit down for this. 

we needed a long paddle on sunday. something to test the extremes of our fitness. we had no idea what to do with the thames being up, so had tentatively suggested 4 x bridge loops. 

bad idea when the flow is up. 

first loop flew by. quick stop for food. 

second loop. wow. the downstream was tough because i had no moment to rest. constant rudder adjustment is more exhausting than i had ever realised, as was the stabilising of the boat in the swirls. 

turning into the flow for the second time was started to feel the weight of it. 

by bourne end my head was in a terrible place. my body ached, my legs had had enough and my shoulder was starting to twinge something terrible. 

we were basically working against a treadmill. it had taken 5mph off our speed. every time we took our paddles out the water the boat was going backwards. teeth gritting. sweat was running down my back. 

i started by playing games with myself. 

i try to see how long i can avoid looking at my watch. 

then I try to see how long i can go without thinking about kayaking

then i'll put my focus onto different parts of my body. firstly i'll just fill my head with my feet, then work upwards. just spend some time with my knee caps. 

the next is counting. when i'm counting i know i've got a limited time left before a full blow out. 

it's basically counting the countdown to the countdown. 

i'll try to do 50 rights. 50 lefts. each is a negotiation. 

'50 more to the next 50'

then 20. when i'm at 10s its bad. it means my focus is so short that there's a real problem. 

my back hurt. my shoulder was barely holding in there. it crossed my mind that we could capsize and have to run back. my left hand was getting torn up by a blister. my right foot felt weird. 

every breath becomes arduous. it's ridiculous how a distance you can do so easily under other conditions can become impossible. forcing the discipline. the boat was getting heavier as the flow got stronger through the island. speed was down at 3mph. 

'sit up. breathe. left. right'

there were very real tears in my eyes. they were the tears of defeat. they were tears of frustration. 'its just the island sophie. you do this every day!!'

we kept plodding forward. the rhythm was there. the boat was still moving. but painfully. the swirls by the castle were worse the second time. 

as we pulled in to finish the lap, a quiet voice piped up behind me.

'i'm going to be honest. i can't do anymore'.

the relief washed through me. had i had to turn to a fresh k2 partner and say i was done, there would be some real shame involved. but if we were both spent, that meant we'd both given our all. 
i immediately felt guilty for feeling happy he was broken too, but sharing how low we'd both been reinforced the correct decision was to step back. 


a day later i've been able to reflect upon this particular incident. my mind could not defeat 'matter'. that's the closest i've been to the point of no return. 

it hurt. 


| 2019 | 01 | 12 | november empties review |

hey look at me writing beauty reviews... naaat. to be fair, there are around 100 products in this list and i'm not sure anyone could handle that.

this month was an extreme de-clutter. In a moment of rage I threw over thirty lipsticks away without logging them here - I am certain that would have pushed the total over £600. There were some other skincare items which befell this particular purge, but honestly I'm just writing them off and accepting this months total isn't quite all there.

i'm basically writing the below notes to stop myself from making the same mistakes over and over. when will i learn. clearly.


| Salt of the Earth | Melon and cucumber deodorant spray | 100ml | £5.99 | Amazon |
yaaaaaaaaaaaas. what a product. what a way to live.
I made the transition to 'natural deodorant' and never looked back. i mean who doesn't want to read about sweat?
if you aren't ready to try rubbing a rock in your arm pit and need a spray bottle to make yourself feel better - buy the above. thank you. you're welcome. (no seriously).

| Nivea | Antiperspirant | £1.50 | Boots |
if you read the above and are seeing this you'll be like what? well, my kayaking kit gets a lil bit stinky so i like to freshen it up with something more potent. by stinky i mean river. the thames is not nice. I basically spray myself in this before i leave the door.

| & Other Stories | Sicilian Hand Cream | 30ml | £4 | & Other Stories |
for a brand i love, this really tested my loyalty. genuinely a terrible product. a waste of money. sad.*

| & Other Stories | Fornillo | 30ml | £4 | & Other Stories |
*see above.

| & Other Stories | Perle de Coco | 30ml | £4 | & Other Stories |
*see above.

| Palmers | Cocoa Butter Body Lotion | 250ml | £3.99 | Superdrug |
you wanna smell like a bar of chocolate or what? i do. this is genuinely a go to when I don't know what else to buy.

| Colgate | Max One Whitening Toothpaste | 75ml | £3.99 | Superdrug |

| Garnier | Ambre Solaire | Self Tan Body Mist | £10.99 | Boots |
this year i'm trying to embrace how i look naturally. like i don't really have a problem with it. but often i'd spend time adjusting when really i don't need to.

body & misc: £38.46

| Origins | Refreshing Scrub Cleanser - Ginzing | 150ml | £17.50 | Boots |
made my skin sad. the end.

| Dr Jart+ | Ceramidin Gel Cream | 90ml | £21.99 | Amazon |
the product that promised so much and delivered next to nothing. 4 seconds of wonder before it was as if i hadn't even moisturised my face.

| Origins | GinZing Oil Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer | 50ml | £25 | ASOS |
i hated this. i'm sorry. it seems to be really popular online but failed to give me any of the benefits i was promised.

| The Ordinary | Granactive Retinoid 2% | £8 | ASOS |
I'm probably not quite old enough to need a retinoid (gulp) but. yeah i'm starting early. can't comment cause i don't know what i'm looking for.

| Pixi | Glow Tonic | 250ml | £18.00 | ASOS |
so i already own a replacement for this from The Ordinary and that's a much better life choice as it's basically half the price and a stronger potency.

| Paul Mitchell | Super Skinny Serum | £21.95 | Amazon |
silicones. say it with me. silicones. do we want to coat our hair in plastic? no. silicones.
smells beautiful... but silicones. bye bye.

| Weleda | Skin Food | 75ml | £12.50 | Holland & Barrett |
this has a cult following because it's incredible .

face: £124.94

| Bourjois | Volume Clubbing Mascara | £7.99 | Boots |

| Bourjois | Volume Clubbing Mascara | £7.99 | Boots |

| The Body Shop | Radiant Highlighter | £12 | The Body Shop |
do i wanna look like i lost a fight with a fairy? not particularly. do you? if you do then i'd really recommend it.

| Amazon | Mama Bear Baby Wipes | 150 | £0.70 | Amazon |
baby wipes as makeup wipes.  i normally steer clear of these but recently have been staying away from home a lot more without my go to cleansing routine. oopsie.

| The Ordinary | Serum Foundation | £6 | ASOS |
okay so this was one of the best foundations i've used in a long time and probably the most affordable. the ordinary is showing itself to be such a good brand.

| Touch in Sol | Velvet Lip Tint - Carpet Pink | £14 | ASOS |
this was the bomb. except it was too coral coloured for natural skin tone so i could only wear it for about a month each year.

| Korres | Lip butter | 6g | £8 | Look Fantastic |
this was like 17 years old - they don't even make this packaging anymore.

| Charlotte Tilbury | Legendary Lashes Volume 2 | £25 | Charlotte Tilbury |
if this was affordable it would be a big yes. but £25 for something that lasts 6 months? nope.

| Bourjois | Satin Edition 24 hour eyeshadow | mauve your body | £6.99 | Look Fantastic |
what colour is this meant to be? nobody knows. it has barely any pigment either.

| L'Oreal | Tinted Lip Oil |  Jelly Peach | £8.99 | ASOS |
Did I hope this would be as good at the Clarins one? Yes. Was it? No. No.

| L'oreal | Lip Oil in Sugar Plum | £8.99 | ASOS |
as i said. this is not clarins. clarins is nice. this is suspiciously hard to get hold of the ingredients for.

| Revlon | Super Lustrous Lipstick | Rich Raisin Frost | £7.49 | Boots |
i was going through a Claire Marshall phase (as you do) and ended up buying everything she recommended which was vaguely within financial reach. this particular lipstick outlasted most of the other bits (weirdly I'm not going to suit anything she does), but alas, its time has arrived.
formula - great.
colour - great. just not on me.

makeup: £114.14

i think it's safe to assume if i had the money i would repurchase all of the below. no more needs to be said. particular shout out to the black tulip scent and kilians *super* affordable one....

| Kilian | Princess EDP | 7.5ml | £22 | Harvey Nichols |
| Solinotes | Oranger | £10 | Urban Outfitters |
| Solinotes | The Blanc eau de parfum | £10 | Urban Outfitters |
| Solinotes | Rose | £10 | Urban Outfitters |
| Solinotes | Vanille | £10 | Urban Outfitters |
| Shay and Blue | Watermelon | 30ml | £30 | Shay and Blue |
| Shay and Blue | White Peaches | 30ml | £30 | Shay and Blue |
| Shay and Blue | Black Tulip | 30ml | £30 | Shay and Blue |

Perfume - £182

Obviously these are direct replace costs rather than the amount used over the month.

Also the terrifying part of this? Doesn't include the monster lipstick throwaway at the end of October. That would have been hundreds. I'm sort of ashamed by how many owned vs how many were used.

grand total: £459.54