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This year has been an eventful one. So much has happened. As I sat and reflected I realised there are so many things I have learnt that I need to take into the new year.

Grab a tea and a snack – this is going to be a long one!

No rushing, no skipping

The biggest thing I’ve learnt this year is that life can’t be rushed. There are so many times this year that I wished to skip to the good part. The part where I’m making good money. The part where I had finally left the nest. The part where I was in a happy, healthy relationship.

All things take time. And now looking at it from the other-side, there were things I had to go through in order to get to this point. I had to go through my really low period. The point where I spent everyday in bed thinking nothing was ever going to change. This very low point of my life was actually beneficial to me in more ways than one.

  • It inspired a great friendship. One of my closest friends found herself in a similar situation. This meant we became really close and most of our unemployed days were spent together. zi and iWe did many different things to keep our mind off our current problems and to keep the hope alive. It’s crazy because when we look back at those days, it’s amazing how far we have come. I truly don’t think I would have had any upbeat moments if it wasn’t for her. 
  • It made me seek help in making myself employable. I often talk about the 2 week employability boot campboot camp that completely change my outlook on life. In these 2 weeks I went from being a victim that blamed everyone else for my circumstances to someone who was beginning to think – maybe it’s me? This is when I decided that I was having trouble finding employment so the apprenticeship route was my best chance. Future LDN (the people who ran the course) taught me lots of practical things that I still use to this day. 
  • It made me set realistic goals for myself. Maybe applying for marketing manager positions wasn’t what I should have been aiming for at that time. It would be less deflating to set achievable goals and build up to that dream position. That’s what I did. I’m still very much on my way, but 1 step at a time.

You just can’t skip over the sucky parts and I’m glad. How will I know when things are amazing if nothing ever sucks. This is something I have to be sure to bare in mind as life goes on. It really is a roller-coaster, I can handle when it sucks because I know sooner or later it’ll turn amazing again. When I actually work hard and build towards something, it will happen when it is meant to. 

Friendships

Friendships are so important. The older I have gotten the smaller and tighter my circle has become. Back when I was younger the ‘cool’ thing was to have as many friends as possible. The bigger your circle equalled how popular you were, you were the social butterfly that all cliques welcomed.

Things have changed so much since then, now there is more emphasis on solid friendships that can stand the test of time.

Over time I have had to get rid toxic friendships but for the most part I am very fortunate to have friends that remain. My best friends are the most positive, talented, aware, beautiful and ambitious people. You can tell who are your actual friends when going through a bad patch. It is easy to be there for someone who is on top of the world. The people who are there to pick you up when you are down and out, who sit with you while you cry, who you lean on for financial support when you are struggling are the ones you can always rely on.

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Christmas ’16 with my sisters ❤

As important as it is to have good friends in your life, it’s equally as important to be a good friend. Just because they will always be there for you don’t take advantage. It is not okay to make them an afterthought. If you have a busy schedule, you HAVE to make sure that they are part of it and given as much time as everything else.

Letting go of my ego is something that I have not mastered but I’m learning to do. One of my best friends messaged me a while ago quite upset because she thought I was leaving her out. Although I had my reasons, I could see why she felt this way as I would have felt the exact same. I called her up immediately, explained why I was acting the way I was and apologised profusely. I had to let her vent her frustrations to me and apologise as much as I could. I thought nothing of doing this, the friendship is way to important to me to let my pride get in the way. In the end she was grateful for the call and apology and I was just happy that everything was easily resolved. I tell this story because so many times we let silly things mess up our friendships. Things that are minor in the grand scheme of things. I also tell this story to demonstrate that just like all the other ships, friendships take work. Work mending any fences that have been damaged, and work making sure to make time for everyone. Having a sisterhood as tight as mine is totally worth all the effort!

Family

I haven’t learnt much about family this year that I didn’t already know. The only new thing for me is learning to live independently.The need for balance becomes more and more vital. I have never met anyone who balances life perfectly, I don’t think that person exists. However you can tell by the different ways people juggle, where their priorities are.

My parents are my backbone and my biggest supporters.

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25th birthday meal with my beautiful family

Moving out has put a slight strain on our relationship because things aren’t as organic anymore. I have never  been in the position where I had to make an effort to see my parents because I was either at university or living at home.

Now I have to set aside quality time with them. No one likes to feel neglected or like second best. I definitely don’t. 

2018 will be about spending quality time with them and demonstrating why me moving out is a great thing. In theory space is the best way to remember all the good things about someone. In practice you need to make sure that the ‘space’ you are taking is only for a minute and not a decade.  

Work

I have been quite deflated at work recently. I am not enjoying my job the same way I used to and have experienced a many financial hiccups. It doesn’t help that I constantly compare myself to other people who have achieved more by a younger age and come down hard on myself for where I am. This isn’t a competition, there is plenty of time to achieve what I want.

Taking the time to save money and plan my next steps is NOT settling. There is no need to jump into something I am not ready for yet. Money is a necessity for most things so taking the time to make sure you are in a decent financial position before jumping into the next venture is not a bad idea.

The biggest thing I need to remember going forward is not to get comfortable. I am by nature a lazy person, who loves stability and knowing exactly what’s going to happen next. Sometimes this is a great way if thinking, but other times this can really hold me back. I second guess every new move, and think critically about every way it effect life as I know. Knowing change is a good thing and actually being accepting of change is not the same thing. 

Change is great, staying the same is impossible. I must learn to seek change and accept it when it comes. 

 

work
Team Christmas dinner ’17

Grudges

Letting go of grudges is a difficult one. I am not the most stubborn girl in the world but when I know I am right and you were way wrong, my automatic instinct is to separate myself from you. This is hard one because I don’t want to hold on to unnecessary negative feelings. It’s like dragging around dead weight. 

However I do acknowledge that this behaviour is not beneficial for anybody. Communication is key and in some ways I feel that distancing myself can be quite unfair. How can issues be resolved when the other party are not even aware there is an issue?

I am drawing a blank on this one. I had no actual solution to how to get over these feelings. Grudges come from a place of deep hurt and rage, tied up in 101 reasons of why.

There is one difficult conversation I must have before I know how I feel in the issue. Sometimes you find the answer by actively seeking it. Hopefully this is one of those times. 

People

No matter what positive effect you think you have on someone, you can not change them. Change comes from within, and it comes from a deep wanting of change. As I have said before – I am no-one’s mother. If you are having a problem, it is your duty to resolve it. In the past I have driven myself insane trying to change people. Trying to inspire them to do better and be better. I failed sometimes because this is not my job. Where I have succeeded was ultimately not my doing. People change because they want to. All the massive changes I have made to myself are because I wanted to.

The only life I have control over is mine. I decide whats next for me. My physical and emotional health is my main priority.

That’s not to say there is no room in my heart for anyone else. I can still be a good, positive person by jodie and mehelping where I can. I can continue to encourage, advise and support the people around me. The decisions that they make comes from them. 

 I have also learnt not to allow anyone to hold me back. And to not be held back by myself. When you are at the end of your days and you look back on all the choices you have made, the worst thing will be not pursuing what you wanted to because of someone else. The people in your life should be encouraging you to go after all your dreams.  

 You hear of people giving up on their ambitions to accommodate someone else without the person even knowing! Have faith, and trust in your loved ones. They are there to help you get over your fears. They are there to scream over that voice in your head saying ‘you can’t do it.’ 

 Most importantly be the hero to your own story. Encouragement from others is great, but how much does it mean if you don’t believe in yourself. Be your own cheerleader and biggest fan. The only thing holding you back is your own imagination! 2018 can be an amazing year if you want it to be. Will it be perfect? No. Nothing is. But it can be a year filled with more highs than lows if you want it to be. If you work hard for it to be.   

Quitting your job and moving to the other side of the world isn’t as easy as people make out it is. However if it’s what you want it can be done. Tomorrow you may decide that you want to be a doctor. Yes it’s takes years of studying and super hard work. However the decision to do it is that easy. As long as you are prepared to follow through. 

As for me

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Photo Credit – Alisha Dandy http://instagram.com/alishadandy

this year overall has been a good one. However I do get complacent easily. I need to take my own advise and make that next bold move. I have an idea of where I want to go, now for the following through..

So goodbye 2017, bring on the Christmas dinners, gallons of mulled wine and epic NYE celebrations.  

2018 I’m ready for ya 😉 

Also a big shout to Ineffabless UK for this beautiful silver bangle they sent me!


Click the picture which will link you to this bracelet. If you want to have a deeper look at their website – http://www.ineffabless.co.uk. Everything is affordable and so pretty!

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

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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 11 – My 10 Favourite Songs

Day 11 of 31 day blogging challenge

10 Favourite Songs

Yesterday I stuck to my regular getting home from work routine. I get home, chuck my many layered coat on my floor, hang up my scarf and place my beenie hat on top of my draws. I tie up my hair and throw my big headphones on and spend the next hour dancing around my room like a lunatic. It’s the best stress reliever ever and by the time I go to bed I am truly drained.

I went on a bit of a binge yesterday – I listened to all my old favourite songs. I thought it’d be fun to list these as my favourite songs of the moment – so here we go. In no particular order…

1) Pixies – Hey

2) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

3) Erykah Badu – On & On

4) D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does It Feel)

5) Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

6) Magic System – Premier Gaou

7) Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddamn

8) Jojo – Save my soul

9) Beyoncé – Dangerously in love

10) Raury – God’s Whisper

Challenges like this are so annoying because in an hour I’ll go ‘damn why didn’t I include that!’

Yesterday I also went to the cinema, can’t even remember the last time I went. I saw the most beautiful film called moonlight. I really do recommend it, it was so beautifully shot. The chemistry between characters was amazing, they didn’t need to say very much. Every look and touch spoke a thousand words. It was understated which made it so beautiful. It was about a boy growing up in hard circumstances and how he survives. It was money well spent, and a trip to the movies that was well worth it! I’ll definitely be buying the DVD when it comes out 🙂

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 9 – Purse Tales

Day 9 of 31 day blogging challenge

What is in your purse?
What is in your office desk?

There are 2 questions to answer for the challenge today, the first being for women, the second for men.

On my birthday last September I had a pretty wild night, one where I ended up at several locations. At the very end of the night the people who were still awake and didn’t wish for the night to end made our way across London to hang out at a a friend of mine’s flat. It was 7am by this point, I think I managed to last a couple more hours before taking myself off to bed. The reason for this story is because it was on this night I lost my fabulous, gigantic, cluttered purse. My friend got in contact with me a few months later to say that he had found my purse whilst cleaning his room. It was too late, I had replaced the most important contents of my purse and had bought a new mini one that would have to suffice. I have hope that one day I will get it back, and when I do I’ll be sure to share the contents with you.

For now I can describe in detail the contents of my new purse, I can even share photos.purse It’s really not interesting though, so I’ll be letting you know what is in my desk to! Thanks to this challenge, I’ve just this second realised that I’ve lost my debit card  so there’s that… Minus my much-loved and much-needed debit card there isn’t much else in my purse. I have a lot of old, screwed up receipts that I just cannot bring myself to throw away. They are mainly from the cafeteria at work that does pretty okay coffee. I also just gasped at how much I spent at the pub at my colleagues leaving do. This is why receipts are supposed to screwed up and flung in your pocket never to be looked at again.
My purse also features my provisional drivers licence and my NUS extra card. I also have a little folded up post-it note which has my NI number scribbled on it. It’s a homemade NI card as that’s the most necessary thing I missed most from my other purse.
I have 3 McDonald’s coffee loyalty cards and 1 Café Nero one. Collect 6 stamps/stickers and get your 7th coffee free, doesn’t sound like much of a deal but it’s something right?

The most funky items I have in my purse is my Body Shop love to shop card, and a business card from The Black Penny. The Black Penny is the cool, quirky restaurant I took my mother to yesterday for brunch on her birthday. Maybe I should do a post about my experience there because it was really was fantastic. The food, service, price and decor were all amazing!

 

I also have 61p in change.

So I’ve reached the end of my purse contents, I really had a lot more to say then I first thought! I actually won’t go into what’s in my office desk as it literally just contains food and sanitary products. (LOL)

I guess this is a lesson for me in selling myself short. At the beginning of this posts I thought there was no way I could write an interesting post about what is in my tiny little purse. There was also no way I could relate it to staying bliss. Here I am now, having done it! Try not tell yourself you can’t before you have even given it a go. If you don’t believe in you, who will?

You don’t always know what you are capable of..

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 8 – What am I currently reading?

Day 8 of 31 day blogging challenge

What are you currently reading?

I am going to interpret this question as what books and magazines are you currently reading. The reason for this because I haven’t started a new book or bought a magazine in the longest time. Yesterday on my way home from work however I discovered a iBook on my phone which I had purchased ages ago.

The book is The Ladykiller by Martina Cole.

“George Markham has a nastymartina cole.jpg little hobby, one that erupts into an orgy of vicious sexual depravity.
Patrick Kelly is a hard man. His one soft spot is his daughter, and when she falls victim to the Grantley Ripper, Kelly wants revenge.
The DI in charge of the case is Kate Burrows. She feels for Kelly but her growing involvement with a known villain is putting her career at risk . . . As the forces of law and order and London’s underworld converge in a huge manhunt, Kate fears she’ll lose everything she’s ever cared about . . . to the ladykiller.”

So far I am only 33 pages in and Martina is doing a great job of painting a picture of very depraved individual with sexually violent urges. I have been totally engrossed by this book – I almost missed my stop! I decided on this novel as I am a fan of Martina Cole and crime novels. The first book of hers I read was Dangerous Lady and it was a page turner from beginning to end. It was about a woman called Maura who ended becoming the unlikely queen of England’s gangland. I think the concept speaks to most woman’s fantasy of being a badass chick. The woman who men and women fear but are also are in love with. The woman that commands respect wherever she goes.

I do not have much to say about The Ladykiller at the moment as I am so early in. I can sense that it is going to get very twisted and intense. I’ll be sure to do a review post about it once I am done to update you on my thoughts.

So onto the magazines. A massive sign that my life is doing ok is when I indulge in a magazine. You know my life is doing great when I treat myself to a subscription! The magazine that I will always go back to is Psychologies. It is like a grown up, mature and collected paper version of Stay Bliss. It has tips on staying positive, dealing with toxic relationships and shows you how to take care of your mind, body, spirit and gut. There motto is ‘be stronger, wiser, happier.’ It is one of the few women’s magazines that isn’t just trying to sell us yoghurt.. or concealer.

So that is all for today. Can I just say that I am loving this challenge. Writing a piece everyday has been more rewarding than I could ever imagine. It’s going to get tough over the next couple of weeks as my life is going to get super hectic. I will continue to write though. Stay Bliss is the small moment of calm for me, always.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 7 – Earliest Memories

Day 7 of 31 day blogging challenge

What is your earliest memory?

Eeek! Every since my first read through of these challenges I’ve been trying to recollect my first solid memory. Maybe this is too hard?

Since the day I was born my mother has always worked as PA / secretary in big swanky offices in London. This meant it was so much easier for her to send me to a nursery around her workplace so she could drop me off and pick me up on her way to and from work. I ended going to this wonderful nursery called St ‘insert name here’ in Waterloo. So I have totally forgotten what it was called but I remember my journey there with my mum and the warm feeling I had once being there.

There is so many images that come to mind when I think of being a carefree toddler in what felt like the most amazing place in the world. I remember making chocolate krispy treats with all my little friends, and singing my favourite tunes at circle time. I remember sharing a blanket with my best friend at nap time. I remember being so full of energy once waking up and ready to start all over again with my buddies.

It’s a shame that I don’t remember who they are anymore but I hope they look back on the memories as fondly as I do.

I initially started writing about my nursery times because of one key memory. All the other memories came flowing out. The memory is off the pastry shop down the road where my mum used to take me when I was good. Or when she was hungry. The smell of the freshly baked bread and cakes always invited me in. The colour of the different pastries and cake toppings completely engrossed me. There were multicoloured sprinkle topped cupcakes, the biggest most sugary fresh doughnuts, coconut and jam layered sponge-cakes and so much more. My mum used to lift me up on to one of the high tables so I could see the pastry masters at work. It was so busy, I think everybody in the city used to love that place. My absolute favourite used to be the iced finger buns. They were so sweet and buttery and were iced in lots of different colours. Whenever I am in the area I have a look for my favourite pastry shop. I believe the last time I had a look it had been shut down but I can’t be sure of that.

It is so funny how we archive memories such as these. It has been an amazing experience re-living this memory. I think about the lovely friends I made, the nursery workers who looked after me so well, the chefs who fed me the most delicious iced buns as my first delve into a blissful existence. I know there is no way I can be absolutely care-free as an adult. I have certain responsibilities now. However I can remember how it felt to live in a world full of positivity, light and freshly baked pastry.

I can aspire to feel that feeling again.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 5 & 6 – The BEST advice I have ever received

Day 5 and 6 of blogging challenge

What is the best advice you have received?

So due to the nature of day 5 and 6’s challenges I decided to mesh them into one post. Also something I discovered that I really need to work on, is making time to write on the weekend. When I have spare time at work, writing a post comes very naturally for me. However when it comes to the weekend I’d rather lay in bed nursing a hangover and catching up on Nashville then dedicate time to my much-loved blog. This week I am ready for day 11 and 12! I won’t let my blog or this challenge suffer because I’m procrastinating, I shall be super prepared 🙂

So on with the challenge..

Wow this is a very difficult question, especially as I am young woman trying to figure out how to live my life. I get advice from my elders, my friends and my colleagues on a daily basis as I recognise that I do need constant reassurance that I’m doing okay. Sometimes I know what the best decision is or I know that I’m on the right track but I need to hear someone else say it to me! With all this being said, I believe the best piece advice I’ve received is also the first advice I have a recollection of. Know your self-worth.

My life completely changed the moment I started to value myself. With all the growth and the self-improvement I have been doing lately it can all be traced back to the moment I began to value myself. Everyday I tell myself that I am important, beautiful and a good person. I tell myself that I can do whatever my mind can conceive if I work hard.

Okay this all sounds very cliché and cheesy, and our brains try to block out those cheesy sayings you hear all to often. But as I’ve grown up and come into contact with different people the first thing you notice is how much someone values themself. How much they stand strong in their opinions and beliefs, and how little they let the opinions of others – be it their peers or the media affect the image the have of themself. You also really notice if someone self-worth is tied to another person. If someone only values themself as much as they are valued by a loved one.

Do not get me wrong, I am all about the love. Seeing a loving couple so connected to each other is a beautiful thing. Of course your partner’s opinion will be very important to you. But you notice when after a bad relationship your self-worth was shattered that your ex’s opinion was the be all and end all for you.

Valuing one’s self is a lifelong journey. Things like heartbreak and rejection play a big part in a wobble in of self-confidence and value. But with all things you keep moving forward. You keep remembering everything good about yourself, and find a shoulder to cry on when you are having a wobble. You also remember how this feel and make sure you shoulder is extended to your loved one when their self-value is on shaky grounds.

Stay Bliss, Laura