Day 24 to 29 – My Thoughts on blogging

Day 24 to 29 of 31 day blogging challenge

Blogging

I’ve recently had yet another conversation with a friend about how much I love blogging. I have now come to understand that as many bloggers as there are out there, there is even more people who wish to blog but don’t know how to start. So far I have had quite a few friends tell me how much they love my blog and how much they would love to blog to.

So what is stopping you?

Probably the same thing that stopped me for the longest time. Does anyone really care about what I have to say? Is my life and my point of view interesting enough to the point where I can continuously engage readers? There are so many bloggers out there, as I good enough to part of them?

The answer is there is no answer. You will never know if you are good enough or if you can be a content writer until you give it a shot. The good thing about blogging is that it is completely free. The bigger your site grows is when you contemplate investing some of your own money. You can pay for your own website, plan photo shoots etc. The initial creation however is completely free. So the best way to start is to start.

As well as most things in life the key is self-belief. You need to believe that you do have something important to say and you have to trust in what you write. When I first started I had only a couple of views on each post, but I was blogging for me so it didn’t deter me. By no means am I saying that I’ve made it as super blogger, the more I continue the more people begin to notice me.

There are 101 tips out there about building your blog, gaining more traffic and all those things you’d love to experience as a blogger. For me the biggest thing is to stay real. Stay true to yourself and what you believe. Don’t let anyone make you water down your content. The more honest you are the bigger connection you make with your readers. It makes me happy when people tell me that they can relate to my words as they have once in their life found themselves in a similar situation.

I am able to reach new depths and find out things about myself I was consciously unaware of through writing all out on a post like this. Do it for you and for what you can gain by using a medium such as this one.

success means different things for different people. For me it means to do something you love; something that makes you happy; something that quickly becomes your passion.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 22 & 23 – Dear teenage me

Day 22 & 23 of 31 day blogging challenge

Dear Teenage Laura

Dear Laura,

You had the right idea when you were young. You wanted to stay true to yourself, you just hoped that the real you was super cool. The way you went about being you was by trying to be different. You purposely would swim against the current and strategically insert yourself into a friendship group that best reflected who you wanted to become. You thought a lot. Maybe a lot more than other kids. How can I be seen as beautiful? How can I be seen as popular? How can I get all the boys to notice me?

After a while you figured this incredibly vain fantasy wasn’t going to happen for you at school. So you recalculated. You figured I may not be the head girl but I can become the girl who everyone knows. So that’s what you did. You were a part of everybody’s friendship group and loved having the opportunity in many conversations to say ‘oh yeah I know him, he’s a friend of mine.’ This was your way to be cool. This was how you would stay relevant. You never looked deep into yourself and asked why are you like this? In fact this is the first time you are letting yourself acknowledge this at all.

So why? And when did you grow out of this incredibly mysterious and strategic behaviour. Because it just didn’t matter. You realised as many friends that you have, you only had a few true friends. Ironically most of which you met during the first couple years at school. You began to understood that people saw you the way they wanted to and all the strategy in the world wouldn’t change that. On the last day of year 11 when you went around signing each others shirts the crashing realisation that you were never going to win this popularity race was finally known to you. Your shirt and your book was bare, signatures of only the closest friends who were there from the get go. You weren’t even invited to the race let alone in it.

That was okay, you had some of the best years of your life in secondary. You left armed with only a few friends who you knew were going to be in your life forever. You realised that your social life is supposed to be carefree. You now strategise your next steps at work. You know where you want to be when your 30 and you have the detailed plan as to how you going to get there.

Above all you are now 100% yourself, all the time. You realised you don’t need to try to be different. Just be who you are. That’s what you do. I don’t blame you for any of your short comings you had when you were a teenager. You were incredibly insecure, you hadn’t realised the need for self-love and positivity. I thank you for the lesson I’ve learnt. I thank you for your inquisitive nature, rebellious spirit and finding people who are now my family. You were fearless but careful. You couldn’t be pushed into doing anything you didn’t want to do. Whenever you were asked that question that sends shivers down my spine now – ‘what do you want to be when your older?’ , you’d smile and say ‘I just want to do something that I love, whilst wearing some nice shoes.’

That’s still the dream. I will one day save up enough to get my own flat and Loubitons  and toast to accomplishing little Laura’s dreams.

You still have a few insecurities, nobody is perfect right. You are working on it. Your motto now is trust the journey. You believe in yourself now as much as you believed you could be a lead singer of a rock band, which you were! As I said – fearless, you’d never do that now!

You sometimes used to let your insecurity and thirst for beauty and popularity guide you. You dropped this and just began believing in yourself. You made some life time friends and are equipped with a Mary Poppins style bag full of lesson you learnt.

I am proud of who you were and hope you would be proud of who I am.

me teen
How cool was I?

 

 

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 21 – Remembering My Travels

Day 21 of 31 day blogging challenge

Where have you travelled?

I travel solo for the first time ever in 2 days! I’m super excited and nervous about it although I’m also freaking out because I’m not prepared at all! I will definitely being writing a post about my time in Geneva, maybe I’ll even try putting together a vlog..  and make that YouTube dream into a reality?

Last summer I had the pleasure of going to Spain with a few of my girls. Getting there was horrific as we managed to miss our flight13 and had to travel miles away to a different airport to catch the next one. I spent  money that I didn’t have (I’m literally still paying my friend back to this day) and we had a what felt like a never-ending wait for our next flight. My ankle was still really injured so the girls had to wheel me around everywhere. Oh and we had no english money so spent the day at the airport starving! It was such a nightmare.

However the hell-ish journey there was totally worth the wonderful trip that it became. Sometimes as close as we are to each other, we don’t get real-time together which is why a holiday is the best place to reconnect. We had a lush time lounging around sunbathing, drinking slushy tequila sunrises and mimosas. We had great times dancing the night away, pounding tequila’s and taking late night excursions down to the beach. We sat around gossiping, telling each other our problems and making the most magnificent meals. We shared opinions, made 7plans, exchanged jewelery and sang(screamed) Blu Cantrell’s greatest hits.

It was abundance of love, booze, laughter, cigarettes, food and a few tears. One day we decided to take a day trip to Morocco, which wasn’t the best day to say the least. We were put in quite uncomfortable situations that day and were thrilled to get out of there. I’m not knocking Morocco though, the place and the culture itself was quite remarkable. When you are with your friends in a foreign place, you never feel unsafe or in danger because you know what ever happens they will have your back. So as much as we were all in agreement to leave Morocco and get back to a little temporary home in Malaga, it was lovely being able to leave arm in arm with smiles on our faces.

As much as I had holiday blues when I had to come back home and face my new reality, I left Spain completey content. I left with an even deeper love for my sisters, with a new plan for that section of my life and with some amazing memories.

There’s lots of reasons to travel. When I travel with my girls it’s for the purpose of finally having a chance to all let our hair down and enjoy each others company, with no distractions!

See below for evidence of good times had 🙂

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18, 19 & 20 – Figuring out this life stuff

Day 18, 19 & 20 of 31 day blogging challenge

Something you are trying to figure out?

I am now more than half way through this challenge and have a whole new respect for content writers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but this is a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Challenging in an awesome way though, nothing is more satisfying than writing a post I am proud of.

After a particularly heavy weekend I was in no frame of mind to write, being so hung over and all. So today I will put 3 days of posts together and answer this simple question – what are somethings you are trying to figure out?

life

I am trying to figure how to be true to myself and how to be 100% authentic. Sometimes I get caught up in my own thoughts and over think the littlest things. Of late I have realised that I am my own biggest obstacle. I let people and situations dictate how I act or what I can do. As much as this can be seen as an unsettling revelation it is also a blessing in disguise. It means that if I learn to trust myself and my instincts, if I spend time trying to make myself happy and not listening to others, I will begin to get out of my own way. If you are your own biggest obstacle, with hard work and a positive mindset, you can become your biggest cheerleader.

I am trying to figure out how to have patience. There is still so much I want to accomplish, at a certain point you wonder if your head is in the clouds. Will I ever have enough money to move out of my parents house? Will I ever find love? Will I ever have the booming career I always wanted? I know I’m still young and all things take time.

‘Have patience. Everything is difficult before it is easy.’

20sI KNOW I have to trust the journey and keep doing what I’m doing. Things don’t come into existence over night, it takes what feels like years of hard work to get that pay off one day. If there’s any place you are falling short, try filling in those gaps in these quiet years. Understand that one day you will be older. The probability is that within 10 years you would have settled down. So rather than being impatient do what you can only do now.. now! Move in with friends, quit your job to go travelling, or work a ridiculous amount of hours in your current job. Now is the time to do those crazy things you may not be able to do in a few years.

I am trying to figure out how to truly believe I’m beautiful.love This is a hard one isn’t it? We know beauty is the eye of the beholder. We know beauty isn’t skin deep. We know beautiful comes in different races, and sizes. We know there needs to be more to a person then just there looks. That doesn’t stop us looking in the mirror and not being happy with what we see sometimes. That doesn’t stop us having that friend we are the slightest bit envious because they are drop dead gorgeous, or have your dream body.
For me it comes in waves. Sometimes I’d get all doled up for a party and look in the mirror and think ‘damn girl, you lookin’ fine!’ Most of the time I look in the mirror and get that uggggh feeling. I guess this is one of those things that’s a work in progress. When I catch myself being down on my appearance I stop myself. I either find a way to fix those flaws that my mind won’t let me forget or drop it. How’s me obsessing going to make me feel better?

So there is lots I’m trying to figure out. With a lot of these I suspect it’s something you figure out over time. With age and experience comes wisdom. There is lots I know now that I didn’t when I was 18. There is lots I will know when I’m 30 that I don’t know now. 

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 17 – Work Life

Day 17 of 31 day blogging challenge

Where do you work?

I work for the NHS! If you live or have ever been to the UK, you may also agree that our healthcare service is by far one of the best things about our country. What you don’t understand as a patient or a loved one of a patient,NHS is just how much work goes into the NHS behind the scenes. There are services and departments you wouldn’t even imagine could be part of the NHS. People make the mistake of presuming the that NHS is just about doctors and nurses but the truth is in 2015-16 they added a further 1.6 million employees to the roster.

I was born with Sickle Cell Anaemia which is the second most common genetic blood disorder in the UK. This means I spend most of my life in and out of hospitals and doctor’s surgeries. I’ve spent more Christmas’s and new year’s in hospital than anyone should. However the wonderful and diligent help of all the staff meant that I didn’t let this get me down. When I did they were all there with smiles, laughs and one time a Bailey’s on ice to cheer me up! 🙂

My mother worked for the department of health for most of working life. So I was always in and out of fancy office and got to sit and watch first hand the amazing work I did. Whenever I had to skip school because I was sick my mum would take me to work with her. I’d sit on her swivel chair for hours with her label maker and was completely content. Her colleagues would stop by her office with little games, treats and tasks for me, I felt like a proper member of the department of health. When I was on holidays from school she would check me into the DOH summer school. I mingled and played with all the other NHS children while our parents were in different parts of the building working hard.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted an office job, an NHS office job. This would baffle people when they received this as an answer to what do you want to do with your life. However what I’ve always wanted is to feel valued. I want the work I’m doing to have a positive impact on someone’s life. The NHS is the perfect place to accomplish this. I can climb the ladder, be given more and more responsibility and have a direct impact on the patient and staff experience.

This being said the NHS is notoriously hard to get into if you are not clinical. Before joining I pretty much had little to no office experience so I wasn’t even being offered any interviews for the hundreds of jobs I applied for. Then I started looking for apprenticeships because I figured this was the best way in. At the time I just really needed work, and applied for as many random apprenticeships as I could. This went on for a good 8/9 months, I was slowly losing the plot! Then suddenly out of the blue I was offered two different apprenticeships.. both NHS and the only NHS apprenticeships I’d applied for.

Was this fate? No. It was an absolute disaster which I covered in Let’s take it back and From Spain with love.

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Note to self – literally

However much of disaster it was it showed me that the NHS was where I was meant to be. I just had to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep onwards. I needed to find another apprenticeship within the NHS, one that worked for me. I had to set myself new goals and make sure I hit them and celebrate when I did. Week 8, that was my target, I had to make it to week 8. I had to prove to myself that I am smart and capable and I really can make something of myself.

So where do you work Laura? That was the question.

I am 4 months into an apprenticeship at one of the biggest hospitals in the UK. I am a liabusiness apprentice for one of the NHS’s many Education Centres. I support with collating the finances of the department, keeping a track of our income and expenses. I help and volunteer for as much after work activity as I can. Just yesterday I was a helper at our celebrating excellence awards, an evening where members of staff are celebrated and praised for their hard work.

I am in an incredible position at the moment, my world is my oyster. For the first time ever I have a purpose, I have a goal. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt over the past 4 months is – trust the journey.

No matter what happens, whether I’m kept on permanently or whether I start looking for a job again but with 12 months experience, I know I have worked the hardest I ever have.

And that’s something I’m proud of.

ttjStay Bliss, Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 16 – Ma & Pa

Day 16 of 31 day blogging challenge

How are you like your ma & pa?

If I had to answer this question anytime during those awkward teenage years the anwser would be – IM NOT!
However the older  I become the more I recognise some personality traits that have come directly from them. I have picked up some other stuff from them to. For instance, I can not remember a time when I wasn’t IT literate. My dad is an IT teacher, a very good one at that and made sure I was able to use a computer from a very young age. He pushed me into starting my ECDL (European Computer Driver’s Licence) when I was 14 and I am so grateful he did. Now I am a big girl working with spreadsheets and databases which comes so naturally to me, I have him to thank for this. My mother on the other hand was always great at writing and knowing how to use the English language impeccably. I think I inherited my knack for writing from her, she helped me so much when with my English A-level.

My mum is an incredible kind, rational and subdued woman. She is not the

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Ma

confrontational type although she is very strong in her own quiet way. I learnt how to process my feelings and emotions without blowing up and I learnt that this doesn’t mean I am being a pushover. Its 100% more effective if you calmly talk about what is in your mind. Screaming, hollering and acting aggressive will not always get what you want, fear and respect are very different things. My mum is a very honest person, to the point where she won’t even let me use her oyster photo card! She prides herself on being a hardworking, honest, good woman and that she is.

 

Me and my dad have had a lot of friction in the past, I realise now it is because we are so alike. My dad is the most gracious person I have ever met. He will help anyone if he can, whether he gives you a lift, lets you stay at our house or just gets you some dinner. I am like this to, I will bend over backwards for my friends and family. He went to university quite late on his life, I remember being at his graduation. Well I remember a second of it because I was 2 or 3. He went from immigrant, to student, to a hardworking British citizen. As much as I know he wants the very best for me which means he wants me to live a life better than his, I see myself treading in his footsteps. Taking my time to figure out what I want, and then going for it! My dad can be hot-tempered at times… so can I. I’d be out with my friends and they’d take way to long deciding how to split the bill and I’d feel my temperature rise. Just tell  me what I have to pay so I can go! That’s definitely my dad coming through in me.

How could I forget! They are both great cooks, in our house we had a mix of African and Caribbean culture. Christmas was, is and always will be my favourite time of year, the time of year I eat like a queen. We have a typical English christmas roast setup with the turkey, gammon, lamb, stuffing, roast potatoes etc. But my dad’s side would chuck some jellof rice, stew, plantain and all the good stuff. My mum’s Caribbean side would throw in rice & peas, curry goat and stew chicken. It was a rave for my senses, the aromatic smells, the sight of the fluffy rice and all the colourful food – and the sweet & spicy taste of all my favourite foods. Dinner time at my house was always wonderful.

 

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Christmas dinner – well half of it 🙂

 

 

So that is me all around. Sometimes calm and rational, sometimes

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Pa

heated and passionate. Gracious, kind, with a knack for computers. These are all things I inherited from them. There is nothing like the feeling of finally being able to give back. I took my mum out for brunch for her birthday and we had a blast. I love buying my dad stuff for christmas because I have his sense of style down to a T and he always loves what I get him. So the next step for me is leaving the warm, comfy nest. Hopefully within sometime I’ll be having them round to my new digs, cooking them dinner, doing up their room all nice – that’s the dream!

 

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 14 & 15 – 5 weaknesses and 5 strengths 

Day 14 & 15 of 31 day blogging challenge

Describe 5 weaknesses you have and 5 strengths you have.

As you may have noticed I swapped out the questions for todays challenge because ‘tell me about the last concert you attended’ just didn’t do it for me. I chose describing my weaknesses and strengths because in the traditional format you can never be completely honest. You will mostly get asked this in job interviews so the answer ‘well I am incredibly lazy’ however true that may be, will not suffice.
Also I was feeling totally down and uninspired yesterday, so I’ve decided to put day 14 and 15 days together. Sometimes a step back and a deep breath is all you need.

Do we ever really ask ourselves this question? It is needed in order to grow and develop in the areas we believe we are weak in.

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5 Weaknesses

Lazy / procrastination
This is going to be a forever a battle for me! I am the ‘I’ll do it later’ kind of person. From my dreadful experience at university I’ve come to realise that this attitude can be very damaging if I let it. I’m slowly getting myself out of that habit or finding ways around it. I literally have to put my alarm for 2 hours before I have to be up, just so I can be lazy and sleep for a couple more hours. I also have to say to myself, ‘later is great but why not now?’ The reason will mostly be because I want to lay around watching funny videos on YouTube. If that’s the case then it’s ‘GET ON WITH IT!’

Stubborn
I will not do something I really want to or should do if I am told to do it. I like doing things because I choose to and not because I’m made to. I may be completely geared up and motivated to do something (cleaning my room for example) but as soon as somebody comments or asks me to do it,  I just wont! Obviously I recognise that this mentality isn’t the best, I’m a work in progress.

Self-doubt
Growing up in a world where society’s definition of beautiful is constantly shoved down my throat often makes me (and a lot of people) doubt myself. I often ask myself if I’m pretty enough, I worry about my body, the thought of one day being fat, often buy into the newest beauty trends. You have to reach a point in your life where you actively set out to change this mindset and remind yourself that you ARE beautiful every single day.

To Helpful
I know this seems like of those sneaky not flaw flaws, but this can be a real problem for me. Sometimes I have such a need to fix things that I end up inserting myself into the drama. Not only have made things worse and actually not helped at all, now there is a whole new party involved in an ever escalating situation.

Impatient!
I have been doing my 12 month apprenticeship for just under 4 months and I can already feel myself getting impatient. I want to be at the point where everybody knows me and completely trusts me and I’m given more responsiblity. I want to know exactly what’s going to happen in the next 8 months and where I will end up. Am I staying or am I going? I need to be prepared! As much as thoughts like this whizz through my mind throughout the day, I have learnt to trust the journey. Embrace the journey and eventually it’ll lead to bigger and better!

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5 Strengths

Staying Bliss
Stay bliss represents the incredible decison I made just over a year to always stay positive. To keep dreaming, to keep working hard and to keep encouraging others. I can truly say I have become a MUCH better person since I started this journey.

Persistent
I never give up! As much as life has a way of testing me sometimes, I always keep going. I may take some time to wallow and throw myself a little pity party, but eventually I’ll pick myself, recalculate and continue moving forwards. Sometime it is a different path then I expected but still it is progress.

Loyalty
How many times will I bring up the sisterhood I hear you ask? Having some of the same friends since I was a little girl and some newer friends who mean just as much to me – I can’t help but talk about them. I’ve recently learnt that not all friendships last forever, as much as you think it will. However I am incredible loyal and supportive of mine as much as they are of me. It’s empowering having a group of people always in your corner, I will always be in their’s.

Ambition
Success is infectious and the more I succeed, the more I want to keep succeeding. I’ve always had a plan for my life and I;m at a point now where things are starting to come together. This all might just work out for me if I keep positive and keep pushing to reach my goals.

Relatable
One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received about this blog – my words are relatable. I talk about my feelings about situations we all have. Every person is different and unique but there is so much connecting us. We all love, we all hurt and we all dream.

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Stay Bliss, Laura