Hit Me With Your Girl Boss.

We're constantly taught that "if life throws you lemons, make lemonade" but what if I don't want lemonade? When the crap hits the fan, what if I just don't have time to make a refreshing beverage? What if I'm ill prepared for lemonade making, I barely own cutlery but now you're expecting me to own a juicer? Are you kidding me? What if my lemons are off, feeling a bit mushy, way out of their sell by date? And who exactly is throwing these annoying pieces of fruit at me?! Why aren't we resolving this right at the source of the problem and asking life "what kind of sane being throws fruit around? Have some decorum, please!"... Nope I'm sorry but telling me to "make lemonade" just doesn't cut it. It's all a little too vague for my liking. I need more details than that. When life is being a first class bitch and hits me with its best shot, I'd like to skip the citrus fruit pep talk, get some real guidance and throw my best punch right back at it. I'd like some reassurance that everything is going to work out because one way or another I'm going to MAKE it work out. 

Cue the new to Netflix series, Girl Boss. From money problems to career building. From cheating boyfriends to hernia, Girl Boss has you covered on showing you just how to sort out a problem. OK so its guidance is sometimes a little rough around the edges but such is life... Girl Boss has undoubtedly had mixed opinions and just like the old faithful Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. I hate Marmite but I love Girl Boss, that said I completely appreciate that some of the criticism received is more than justified. Do not fear, I get it. It's possibly a touch romanticised and the lead character is full on to say this least. But before you disregard this series as eye roll inducing fluff and type cast the main character as just another painful portrayal of "young girl against the world", let's first look at why exactly we dislike Sophia and then, why we most definitely should not.

To some of us- mentioning know names- it's a little too easy to draw parallels with both Girl Boss and our own lives. The lead characters name is Sophia (oh damn it!), she has a penchant for vintage fashion and her boyfriend is a drummer. Where've I heard that storyline before? But for others finding Sophia's character relatable is a little more inconceivable. But this is the thing, there is something to be learnt from Girl Boss which every girl should take note of and adhere to. Scratch away at the cutesy, borderline rom-com, "oh but no one would seriously act that way in real life" surface of Girl Boss and ironically you have your average Joe's/Girl's real life, everyday struggle. Ok so let's address the biggest gripe most people have with Girl Boss, Sophia has way too much sass going on and maybe it's a little unrealistic. But don't you just wish you could muster together a come back half as quick and half as witty as Sophia's? Maybe the real problem isn't her attitude but that we're lacking the courage to be just as cutting as her. Maybe a bit of a bad attitude, can take you a long way. Maybe it cuts through the crap and gets you want you really want in life. No bullshit. No niceties. Just straight to the point.

If I told you I was a real go getter kind of girl who never asked for help from anybody but myself, you'd applaud me and say how inspiring I was. So how come when we see an over exaggerated version of this in Sophia, we find it annoying? We are precondition by film/TV into thinking the character of a "go getter" woman is often a bitch, only out for herself, scary and intimidating when the fact of the matter is Sophia is exactly what we are all striving to be on- albeit- maybe a slightly more extreme level. Shouldn't we find Sophia's selfishness, even a touch liberating? Everything around her is falling to pieces so what does she do? She put's herself first and gets her shit together. Inevitably she continues to care more about her career than her own boyfriend and in the end aren't you so very relieved she did? The generic story line would normally go like; girl's life goes wrong, girl mets boy, boy saves girl and we all live happily ever after. At not one point throughout the whole thirteen episodes do you ever consider it to be the man to save her, not her boyfriend nor her dad. Good! If Sophia had waited for eternal happiness from her boyfriend, I think it's safe to say she'd have been waiting a reeeeeally long time. She chose her career and although it'a not the most romantic option, she chose right. But she's a bitch? Who cares, she's a bitch with her priorities in order.

Sometimes life doesn't want to play fair. Sometimes it feels like everything is against you, you can't get a thing right and your own little world is literally hell on earth. We've all been there and we all power along, it's just we never give ourselves enough credit for actually getting through to the other side. Winston Churchill was a tough guy and you know what he said? he said "If you feel like you're going through hell, keep on going" because that's all we can do and Sophia is the perfect embodiment of this notion. Credit where credit's due; her plate is more of a buffet spread of problems, she's got a heck of a lot on it. But whatever obstacle she's faced with, she faces it head on. She takes control over an otherwise out of control lifestyle. Got Hernia but no healthcare? Get a shitty job. Hate your shitty job? Start a business. Even in the most "out of your hands" situation such as cheating she manages to pull it together. Even on her ridiculously successful launch night when she's having a secret cry about her boyfriend, there's not a single doubt in your mind that this girl is going to be ok. You for once in a TV series don't root for her to get back with that guy, you root for her to have a happily ever after all on her own. Now isn't that a little refreshing?

The biggest lesson you can draw from Sophia is that how ever competent or incompetent you are at handling your life, you are unfortunately/luckily the boss of it. Every decision, every mistake, every new venture, it all boils down to your say and no one else's. The power is in our- questionably- capable hands. We're all guilty of forgetting that, it's easily done but why not see Girl Boss as simply a gentle reminder that you're in fact in control? Provided you want to, you can and you WILL boss at life. Maybe we all need to head out and hunt down our dream vintage jacket. The kind that says "get the fuck out of my way world" along with the right attitude to boot.

Forget lemons. When life gives you hell, give 'em hell back.

Sophia x
(Aspiring girl boss)

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Embroidered Slogan Tee- Topshop, Midi Frill Skirt- ASOS,
Suede Lace Up Espadrilles- & Other Stories

Photography by the lovely Rosie Butcher

I've Got All My Sisters And Me

I thought about an eloquent introduction for this post but then I decided to just go straight in for the kill... All my life I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, strong women. Come to think of it, there isn't actually a more eloquent and accurate way to write that. I've been brought up by women who have inspired, influenced and shaped me into the stubborn, head strong little thing I've come to be. I was raised solely by my single mother, along with my three older sisters. I didn't know it at the time but I was truly blessed to have four automatic best friends in my life. As we grow older it blows my mind how similar our personalities have become. I see my opinions, traits and mannerisms shine through so obviously borrowed/stolen from my wonderful older sisters. I remember being a little girl and being completely in awe of everything little thing they did. From them listening to Stone Roses full blast in their room and having arguments with my mum about not being allowed to go to the Hacienda. To wearing ridiculously short mini skirts, cropped Oasis tees, a shiny silver bubble jacket and practising dance routines to East 17 in the living room. To letting me sneak in their room when they had their cool, older friends come round. To showing me how to do my make up and introducing me to GHDs and Mac Studio Fix. To dressing me for my first ever gig (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, if you must know) in a Ramones tee and making me feel like I was one step closer to becoming Karen O. To giving me the cast offs from their wardrobe and as times progressed, me giving them mine. They are and always will be my heroes and the opinions I value above any other.

Throughout childhood our circles of sisterhood expand rapidly. You figure out who you are and who you want to be through the friends you keep, it's as simple as that. Music, films, personal style, you'd be lying if you said your biggest influencers weren't your circle of killer girlfriends. You grow to love them like you would your own blood and they become you rock through whatever drama (mainly boy troubles, let's be honest) you may encounter. I feel like in my teens to early twenties, I was so obliviously "needy" to my friend's companionship. I would talk to them 24/7 and see them practically every day. I look back to 22 years old when I was living with one of my best friends, three more of them lived one floor down and two more lived just down the road. How lucky I was to have my circle in such close proximity, always near by to make me laugh, to wipe away my tears and help me forget my problems. I look back at this time in my life with such affection. You take it for granted when it's happening and you really never think such an amazing set up could possibly ever change, but it does.

As you grew older each and every one of your priorities change. Your career, boyfriends, mortgages, babies, marriage... Yep all that grown up stuff really creeps up on you when you least expect it and as time goes by your network of incredible women starts to break down and move away. It's not a personal thing, it honestly does just happen and you don't even realise it at the time because inevitably you're too busy with your own new found, oh so serious adult stuff too. Excluding two of my dearest friends, all of my beloved extended family of girls have moved out of Manchester. Dotted around various locations from London and Sunderland, to half way round the world in Australia. I remember each and every time one of those girls left Manchester I cried like someone had died. Seriously, I waved them off into the big wide world and wondered how I'd live my life without them. But you do.

This weekend just gone one of my best friends came back to Manchester for a few days all the way from Australia, we hadn't seen each other in two years. TWO YEARS! You're life can have a complete transformation in that amount of time and ours had. I genuinely felt nervous on my way to meet her because I was so terrified that as our lives had changed and in turn maybe we had too. What if this one girl who had been there for me through thick and thin didn't exist anymore? What if we have nothing to say to one another? But that didn't happen because that's a completely ridiculous notion. I guess it takes a while to catch on, but you're close circle of incredible women never really changes. No matter where they are in the world, you will always hold them as that wonderful network which know you inside out. You don't have to hear from them once a day, once a week or even once a month but they will forever stand by you. They will continually hold no judgement for whatever stupid mistakes you make and will be there at a drop off a hat if you called them and said "I'm not ok". Distance doesn't make the friendship and it's true that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I know they will forever root for me as I will for them and that's surely the barebones to any true friendship.

I recently became obsessed with a book called The Girls (if you haven't read this book, why not?) and there was one particular quote in it which really resonated with me; "Girls are the only ones who can really give each other close attention, the kind we equate with being loved. They always notice what we want noticing". Never has there been a more perfect way to summarise exactly how and why your circle of girlfriends are so amazing and so important. They will tell you when you look great, but I mean those times when YOU truly feel great and they will say so for the most obscure reasons only you and they can see (my friend Jess will forever point out every summer when my freckles reappear and be as excited about it as me.... And that makes me smile). They can tell when something's wrong from the slightest change in wording, in the smallest text possible. They will agree with you on the trivial instances your angry or upset and be able to know the EXACT reasons why without you even mentioning it. They will scrutinise and put the world to rights with you over a coffee date, no judgement held because no judgement is ever needed.

My circle of amazing ladies continues to change and grow. One of my biggest perks to blogging is the absolutely incredible girls I've had the pleasure to meet along the way, some I know will be life long friends. Whether oldest and dearest or new and equally amazing, just down the road or half way around the world, I watch us support one another everyday through whatever life throws at us and I've never felt as lucky as I do right now to have such an amazing set of friends surround me. I guess you could take this as thanks or praise to all the surreal women in my life. I definitely don't tell them enough how bloody amazing I think each and everyone of them is but then again I just don't need to...

I know, they know.

May girls continue to support girls.

Sophia x

Photography by the super, amazing Rosie Butcher

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Handbags And Gladrags

A bag, a bag, what's in a bag? A bag is pretty important and in my eyes they're worth investing serious dollar into, should you find your dream one. They're most definitely a high priority on my accessories list BUT more importantly it's what's in the bag that counts right? I mean that's effectively why we carry them around in the first place, is it not? To harbour all the items we just can't bare to be apart from, the kind of items that you just can't live without. The kind of bits and bobs that should you forget, you'd suddenly realise in a panic half way on your journey to work, immediately feel completely ill equipped for the day ahead and contemplate doing a U-turn all the way back home...  We all have them and I decided I'd let you in on my little collection of "please never leave my side" items. Some old, some new, some practical, some...not so much... So without further a-do, lets delve into my beloved Orla Kiely bag of dreams and have a right good rummage at my top 10!

1. Bastiste Travel Sized Dry Shampoo
Ok so first on my list is a really boring, obvious choice. It's something every girl should and will have in her bag, especially those of you with fringes (the struggle is real, I know). I didn't want to patronise you with a bottle of dry shampers BUT it is a product I can't live without and therefore it deserves a place on my bag list. My only issue with this stuff is I'm 100% certain it's addictive to use... I'm pretty sure my hair is 60% hair and 40% dry shampoo most of the time. Stay classy.

2. Paw Paw Moisturising Balm
Initially attracted by the name alone- cue various images of cute kitten paws- I'd struck lucky, as this stuff is in fact so much more than a super cute name! Paw Paw is less gloopy and "industrial strength" than Vaseline but more effective than EOS in my humble opinion. Made with papaya and manuka honey, it's 100% natural and keeps your lips oh so soft. Plus as nice as flavoured lip balm can be, they can also be a tad sickly and so with Paw Paw being scent free, it's great for layering up as much as you need to without flavour overload. At £6 a pop, it's definitely worth the investment and one tub will last you a far few months. 

3. And Other Stories Fig Fiction Hand Cream
I have annoyingly sensitive skin on my hands which means I can't be in a one metre radius without hand cream to...well...funnily enough hand! Which is exactly way I carry this dinky little tube of hand cream around with me however, there is an ulterior motive. I hold my perfectly moisturised hands up and admit, I'm completely addicted to And Other Stories' Fig Fiction scent. But like seriously addicted. I have the body Lotion, the body spray. Tubs at work, tubs by my bed. I can't get enough of this yummy scent! Plus if you haven't ever tried And Other Stories beauty and body care products before, I strongly urge you do. They're easy on the purse and amazing quality. I tend to buy in a lot of their nail varnishes because I found they last the longest without chipping and their colour selection is second to none. So there you have it... I'm a Fig Fiction/hand cream addict, feels so good to get that off my chest...

4. Hello Kitty Tangle Teezer
Oh my, I feel like you're really getting to know me through the tell tales contents of my little bag! Ok so I have a little thing for Japanese culture. You may have noticed this before from photo's taken in my room. There's Japanese trinkets all over the show! Cat stickers on laptops, geisha figurines and Hello Kitty everything. I have a real affinity to Japanese culture and how fascinating it truly is but unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to go! However my lovely boyfriend has many a time and with his return, he brings bags full of merchandise home for me. Hooray! Including my little Hello Kitty Tangle Teezer, now FYI this is actually available in the UK and how cute is it? A Tangle Teezer is, like the dry shampoo, a bag necessity but adorned with Hello Kitty? Well you've just raised the Teezer bar...

5. Oh K Kitten Pocket Mirror
I thought we might as well get all Japanese/cat related items out the way in one go... Next on my list is this adorable Oh K Pocket Mirror. I absolutely love this brand and if like me, you like covering your stationary/beauty essentials with cute animals (I would just like to take this moments to remind you all I am 28 years old) than this is the brand for you too! Available in Paperchase and ASOS, they have a knack of turning all your handbag essentials into a much more fun, adorable version of their former selves. From tissues, to mirrors, to hand creams... Sweet little add on's to any handbag's must have list!

6. Charlotte Tilbury "Tell Laura" Hot Lips Lip Stick
Time to be a little more refined again now! My favourite lipstick of the moment "Tell Laura"! I've recently started a love affair with the colour red and this lipstick provides me with my daily fix. I've always loved red lips but have never been able to find the right shade/product for me. I was recommended Charlotte Tilbury and I've got to say, I'd never look back. It's a miracle lipstick; it doesn't bleed or smudge, it doesn't dry out on your lips and it stays put! To give you a rough idea of how amazing it is, I could probably apply it in the morning at say 8am and by 5pm it would still look perfectly acceptable, with no need for a top up and not a smudge in sight! Hallelujah!

7. Whistles Mock Croc Coin Purse
I used to carry around a great, big chunky brick of a purse, I found it took up unnecessary space in my bag and ended up filled with old receipted/ train tickets dating as far back as 2011. I recently bought a new day bag which is a touch smaller than my average and so the purse had to go. I absolutely love this little coin purse from Whistles, it's been bashed around in my bag and has managed to stay looking as good as new. Plus I'm no longer able to accidentally start at 10 year collection of Northern rail train tickets... Little purse, big investment!

8. Clarin's Beauty Balm
During the week I try to avoid as much make up on my face as possible. As spoken about previously on my blog, I do suffer from bad skin and I'd rather avoid adding unnecessary make up to the mix! Instead when my skin needs a little pick me up I use Beauty Balm, this is such a great product to keep in your make up bag. It acts as a moisturiser and a primer all in one and leaves your skins feeling a little more full of life. I tend to use this just before I start to apply my make up as an alternative to moisturiser or primer and it leaves your make up looking pretty damn fresh through out the day!

9. Boots Tea Tree Blemish Wand
My little miracle stick! I carry this around with me for when I feel a unwelcome spot appearing on my face. Simply apply the clear liquid to the affected area and it will get straight to work getting rid of it. I swear by this wand, so much so that I've mentioned it before to you! At the risk of repeating myself, it deserved a second mention!

10. Tuppence Pressed Flower Phone Case
Last but by no means least, my phone cover! I'm obsessed with press flower cases at the moment and in particular I love this design from Tuppence. They're subtle, sweet and never look to garish. Plus they add a touch of summer to the inside of your bag and that surely can't be a bad thing.

So there you have my top 10 items that I love so much I take them with me wherever I go! My little "life survival kit"! Click on the icons below to shop them all.

Sophia x

Topshop Trend- All Your Dresses Are Made Of Strawberry Lemonade

As SS17 collections have started to hit down in the stores over the passed couple of weeks, there is no denying we are in for a pretty fashion spectacular summer! My selection of favourite trends so far to name a few are; gingham, gingham and oh...more gingham, statement T-shirts still coming through loud and proud, and of course in true Sophia (who am I kidding... Birkin) style basket bags. However there's one trend in particular which Topshop is channeling oh so perfectly at the moment and I, for one just can't get enough of... Think Pink! Yes that's right simply pink! No complicate concepts, no avant grade ideas or ultra contemporary clothing hybrids... Just pink. They're brought this colour to the forefront in various patterns, materials and shaped dresses, and I adore it. It's pink to make the boys wink this season and than some. Pink can often be given a bad reputation, conjuring images of a stereotype "tween" girly girl who's just GOT to have everything in bubblegum pink. Sickly shades of fascia and magenta relegated to bad swimwear and vivid hot pink for your typical hen do in Blackpool. This is NOT the pink we're talking about it. Instead Topshop has opted for subtle pastel shading such as blush, rose and dusky. And oh my, they are just so easy on both your eyes and your wardrobe. Think the summer freshness of pink lemonade and you're on the right track.

The beauty of dusky/blush pink shades is this; they suit everyone. Whether your blonde, brunette, tanned or pale as pale can be, dusky pink will suit you. In fact (not to rub it in to all you pale and interesting beauties' faces) but in my humble opinion it's one of the best colours to accommodate a tan, thus making it a no brainer for summer. Nothing says a sunny day out and about, like throwing on your favourite pretty tea dress and sandals. So care free and heading out the door without another moments thought. It's just that this year Topshop have made finding that perfect pink tea dress just that little bit easier. 

To make life even more easy for you, I've taken the liberty of picking out a couple of my personal favourites for you... I know, I'm so kind aren't I? Shopping Topshop for you! It's a tough job but I was willing to take one for the team. The first on my list is the pink slip photographed above. I picked this one because the slip keeps coming back season, after season and it's earned its place as a firm wardrobe staple. The button down detailing and tie straps make it a great piece to be worn solo, however I've teamed mine with a pretty knitted crochet T-shirt layered underneath. I'm a huge fan of a white tee under a slip (as you guys have probably seen a million times on my Instagram) but I felt like the crochet (of which I'm also a huge fan of) gives the look a more high summer, "floaty" and "feminine" vibe. As per usual I've added my trusty Converse because a floaty slip and sneakers (ok, sorry, trainers to us Brits) reminded me of a kind of Virgin Suicides aesthetic and I'm more than happy to channel that look.

The second pick is the pink tea dress photographed below. I absolutely love this shape and it's one which Topshop have championed for years, making it a timeless piece you can pull out over and over again, decades later (see Kate Moss Tea dresses as proof)! It's the kind of dress which can style you for a multitude of occasions; from brunch dates, to a night on the tiles, to festivals. All you need to do is switch your footwear and you've hit the nail on the head. I normally opt for a espadrille or a dainty sandal with mine, but with the below I've gone for a Mary-Jane style shoe from the Molly Goddard Topshop range. Favoured by myself because they look like they came straight out of Marianne Faithfull's wardrobe circa 1965. I don't need to tell you guys how much I love silver footwear as I've been preaching this to you for years. But what I will say is metallic silver and dusky pink are a picture perfect combination, giving the age old girly shade a contemporary twist. Both, I'd be so bold as to say are definite investment pieces.

Whether you've been a long standing advocate of pink or you're a new recruit, dresses are the way to go with this typically feminine trend. I promise they will make for an easy, accessible high summer outfit, keeping you light and breezy in the hottest of heat. On Fridays we wear pink... And throughout the whole of May, June and July.

Sophia x

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If You're Leaving Will You Take Me With You?

Hi my name's Sophia (pictured below), I'm from Manchester, I'm a blogger, I have a dog called Bluebell and a cat called Evie. I have a boyfriend called Joseph (also pictures below) and he's a drummer in a real life band on the run i.e. they've travelled to more countries in the past year alone than you and I have had hot dinners. That last little detail mentioned about my life is always met without fail, by either one of two reactions; "Oh wow, that must be so exciting for you?" or- and this one's the more popular choice- "Oh wow, that must be so hard for you?". Seriously, I kid you not, those two reactions are as regular as clockwork. If I had a pound for every time I'd been asked one of those two questions, well let's just say I'd be the very proud owner of a Chanel 2.55 bag. I've still not quite figured out what the right, socially acceptable response to either reaction is supposed to be. I guess the fact of the matter is, people have no idea but they've unknowingly asked a loaded question with a complicated answer and I'm not about to turn a fleeting conversation with a stranger or a quick catch up with an old friend into my very own therapy session. Just for the record, I normally smile and for an easier life simply reply, "sometimes".

I guess I should explain the reason why I wanted to write this post for starters. I've always been a little cautious about penning down too much about my relationship, maybe it felt a little too close to home to want to share. Instead I've always opted on the subject of relationships to talk in hindsight, mainly because you learn far better lessons from events you can reflect back on, rather than those happening right in front of you. Like they say "hindsight is a wonderful thing". And after all I'm a firm believer in my personal life being just that, personal. But truth be told, I've always felt a twinge of hypocrisy when I try to write about real or honest subjects in order to help or inspire and yet I never really mention what's going on in my "now". I feel like it would be totally disingenuous of me to talk about "everything being ok", when half of the time that's true and the other half I really struggle. Right now felt like a better time than any to come clean and be a little more truthful because right now I'm feeling the burn.

To give you a brief idea, my boyfriend is away more than he's home. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's a 80/20 split. And at the moment he's been away for two weeks, with another two weeks to go. Doesn't sound that bad? Before he'd left on this four week stint, I had him home for approximately 17 hours. Nap and you could have missed him. From the start of our relationship, this has always pretty much been the set up, with the days apart only growing wider and wider. In all honesty, you only know what you know. We've been lucky enough to never have had it any other way or to really grasp what we're missing, but I'd certainly be lying if I said it was a breeze. It's not, it's tough.

When most couples start out, they spend a long time trying to figure out how the other one works, how they can adapt and compromise to fit, swap and jig saw together their two lives. For myself and Joe this simply isn't possible and you're often burdened with this feeling of being left behind. The fear of missing out, is a horrible feeling to have about the one person you want to feel 100% connected to and for a long time I thought this was completely one sided for my part, which made it even more difficult to bear. I would watch Joe go to all these amazing places, experience all these incredible opportunities and I would be in the distance, detached from it all. I felt worlds apart from understanding what he was going through, but with time I learned this just wasn't the case. It sounds so simple and obvious to type back but as Joe was leaving, it never occurred to me that maybe he felt the same. He was leaving behind his home, his friends and his family. He was missing out on just as much as I was and I guess- comforting is the wrong word- but realising I wasn't in this alone made the pill a little easier to swallow.

It wasn't just a sense of being left behind from his world, it was everything that was happening around me. You feel like your whole life is a waiting game revolving around someone else and your needs are forced to take a backseat. Everyone else carries on around you like normal and you're left filling the gaps, counting down the days. Instances like your birthday or a party, a wedding or a seasonal holiday are spent alone and there's nothing wrong with that unless you've got someone, somewhere in the world you'd prefer to be spending it with. We all know the feeling, it's just for me it's a constant. As mentioned above, for the best part of our relationship I only know what I know and therefore the majority of the time it never phases me. Other times, say like when you're fed up, you've had a bad day or you feel isolated and all you want to do is bury you head in your boyfriends chest so he can tell you everything going to be ok, saying goodbye is not so easy. I sound so whiney and that's completely not the point of this post but I guess you can't explain a long distance relationship (can I call it that?) without explaining both sides. With the rough comes the smooth...

If it wasn't for Joe and the relationship we have, I would without a doubt not even come close to being the person I am today. Time apart allows you the chance to become sure of yourself, learn who you are and put your priorities in gear. I've been there before where by you're so reliant on someone else for your happiness and it's such a toxic place to be. Having Joe away as much as he is, has forced me to well and truly break out of that habit and learnt to make me happy for me. I often wonder, if Joe gave it all up tomorrow and started your standard Monday to Friday job, would it work? I've become so self reliant and I've learned to monopolise my time alone, would I even have the room to see him more than I do? I quickly learnt our relationship didn't mean I had to consume my life waiting around, instead I had the ability to be completely selfish where necessary. I had a clear opportunity to work on other aspects of my life I just wasn't quite satisfied in. I want to make in abundantly clear that this rule doesn't just apply to "Long distance" relationships (more that, being in one is how I've discovered the rule), it's applicable to everyone. Your own sense of "me" time, is so incredibly important. Learn to be self-sufficient.

Moreover I found that not only am I now more sure of myself, our absence from each other's day to day life subsequently meant we had absolutely no choice but to be sure in one another. A long distance relationship can simply not work if you have any form of doubt in the other person. It's kind of ironic but being away from Joe as much as I am, has only shown just how much faith and trust we hold in one another. Why wouldn't we trust one another? What would be the point in any of this if we couldn't? Being apart gives you a serious appreciation of the other person. What others take for granted, is a complete novelty for you. Over Christmas we had a whole week together, yup that's right, ONE WHOLE WEEK and it actually felt like we had to adjust. Don't get me wrong, I adored every minute of us being together but we're so used to our time being limited, normality felt abnormal.

I guess you quickly weed out the trivialities when you're pressed for time. When you haven't seen each other in four weeks and you've got two days together, the last thing you want to do is argue. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. You find yourself questioning the little things, that ordinarily- if over thought- could turn into the big things. There simply just isn't time for that. I've done it before, we've argued, he's gone and I'm left to sit back, think about it and regret. The little things which matter so much in the present, really don't matter at all when in the past. You have to learn to let them pass by that's all. Don't get me wrong, myself and Joe bicker with the best of them. The boy knows exactly how to wind me up. I'll argue with him over the phone for the most ridiculous reasons. Then I'll sit and stew over it. I'll think to myself, "God, I can't stand that little shit. I'm not backing down"... I'll think this up until the very second I'm about to see him for the first time in forever... Do you know what actually happens? I spot him and whatever trivial problem was on my mind will instantly disappear and we laugh. Because time is extremely valuable so why waste it sweating on the minor stuff?

Long distance isn't for everyone and I'm not going to argue it is, but what I will say is that absolutely anything is possible if you're doing it with the right person. I wouldn't change my relationship for the world because it's the person I'm sharing it with, not the set up. Another popular reaction I receive goes along the lines of, "you're so good to put up with him being away"... Am I putting up? That makes my relationship sound like a sacrifice and what am I sacrificing? I share my life with my best friend, my number one biggest fan and never ending support. I'm proud to be witness to everything he has achieved and equally I know he is proud of me. There is absolutely zero sacrifice in my life and zero reasons to ever truly feel alone. I'm not a bloody martyr let's be real, I'm kind of lucky.

True love is alive and well and it's located in Stockport, Greater Manchester or half way across the world (tour bus dependent).

Sophia x

Photographs by Joseph Donovan.

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