Day 31 – Final Thoughts

Today is the final day of this blogging challenge I embarked on 31 days ago.

It has been terrific, humbling and I discovered so much about my self and my outlook. I don’t often give my childhood and teenage years much thought, so it was lovely letting myself go there on quite a few of my posts.

I have come to the understanding that you don’t need to try so hard to be yourself. I thought about nothing other than ‘adulting’ recently. How to sort out my life and take the necessary next steps that adults should. I thought it was time to take on the responsibility of a home, rent, bills and all that adulty stuff. I decided that I was going to stay in the NHS because of the progression, the work I’m doing and the steady paycheck. I’m almost 25 for Pete’s sake, time to grow up!

I’ve decided that I’m sick of this attitude, and it was making me super stressed. Giving myself a deadline as to when this new, magical adult life needs to begin was making me ill with worry. How am I trusting the journey when I am already planning out what the destination looks like. I don’t have to be afraid of taking risks and making big decisions like going travelling or volunteering or going back to university full-time. You have the ability to start again at any point of your life. Your 20’s are for not knowing and figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life.

I am still going to be smart as I realise you need money to do anything. I am still going to work hard at my apprenticeship as this is my dream job. I am going to save up for the year that I am here so I am in a solid financial position by the end. That’s it. I have no plans to stay and no plans to leave. I am going to take as it comes and not be afraid to pursue the big risks that I have been fearful of.

I leave this challenge believing that anything is possible. With a positive attitude and a smart plan, we can achieve anything.

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I will be posting like normal again, but hopefully a lot more frequently and consistently!

If you have kept up with me throughout this month, or maybe just read or liked a post or two, thank you!

Talk soon,

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

Day 30 – The Penultimate Post

Day 30 of the 31 day challenge

SMILE – You deserve it!

So here I am on the second to last day of this 31 day blogging challenge.

This has been extremely difficult, different and a test of my ability. When I started I wanted to know if I could write everyday. And not only that, can I relate what I write to staying positive and bliss. Some days, especially lately I have wavered. I have thought there was absolutely no way I would be able to finish this. It has been time-consuming, physically and emotionally draining.

My biggest worry about creating and maintaining a blog was staying consistent. I was firm believer in not writing until I had something worthwhile to say. Sometimes I would have a solid month full of inspiration and topics I wished to discuss. Other times I just flat out refused to write. I didn’t want to write about a situation I was facing that was yet to come to its natural conclusion. I was in the midst of storm because and at that point everything I thought and said would be negative. So I held on until I had that moment of clarity. That ‘ahh ok, that’s how I will look at it’ moment.

This mindset I had been stuck has changed over this 31 day period. I realised this fully on ‘Day 22 & 23 – Dear Teenage me.” 

I reached into my psyche and really got honest with myself. I had no idea where that post was going when I started. I consciously had no idea that I even felt that way. It sounds so cliché but it literally came out on the post. My fingers typed what my mind wasn’t prepared to think about. It was from this moment I realised inspiration can come from anywhere. The world and your life doesn’t just hand you the next topic. Sometimes you have to inspire yourself.

I have been lucky enough to have so many inspirational people in my life. People who have fought their own unique battles. People with life experiences, relationship experiences, spiritual insight, the artistically minded and people who share my struggle. I was able to sit up with open ears and open mind to the tips, tricks and insights they have discovered on their journey and find ways to apply it to myself.

The biggest thing I have learnt though, is sometimes I have the answers. Sometimes I am the key, I can be the hero I have always looked and longed for. Day 24 taught me this – for the first time in a long time I wasn’t being completely self-critical. I addressed my flaws, my lessons and my triumphs. I let myself be proud because I have come a very long way from being that odd little girl I used to be.

So if there are any readers out there, I implore you to give yourself a break. You can flourish in so many different ways, not just by giving yourself a hard time. Let your mind take you somewhere you decided is off-limits. You are stronger than you let yourself believe and I promise you can handle it. In all those mistakes you made, the hiccups you have run into, there is a lesson to be learned. If you want to blog then blog! It as an amazing way to sort through your issues and you can visually see your journey from one train of thought to the next. The best way to start is to start!

Trust the journey you are on, keep your head up, keep working hard . Remember things are always difficult before they are easy. When it does become easy smile, you deserve it.

Until day 31, the final day

Stay Bliss, Laura

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Yay 1 more day to go!

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.

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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?

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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

 

 

 

Day 13 – Something I’ve been putting off

Day 13 of 31 day blogging challenge

What is something you have been putting off?

Well I haven’t completed anything on my bucket list so technically this could all count as things I’ve been putting off. Or in better terms thing’s I’m yet to do.

Going back to university and getting a degree is something I really want to do. The reason I have been putting this off is because I have already been to university. I feel I was pressured into it  because that’s what you did – you finish college and go to university. I chose the wrong degree and was completely uncommitted to it from day one. I remember sleeping and drinking my way through freshers week, missing most of the introductory/ orientation days. This was a pattern that continued throughout my 3 years at university. I half-assed did everything and can’t remember going to a full week worth of lectures. However despite all this I still earned a full degree’s worth of student debt!

Some amazing things came out of my 3 year failed university adventure. I made the most amazing friendships. The friendships I made at university have lasted until this very day and I wouldnt change them for the world. I will touch more on this in my Geneva post coming up at the end of the month 🙂
I also learnt to live independently and loved it! Paying rent and bills; cooking myself up a storm in the kitchen; taking care of my own laundry and managing the weekly grocery shop are all things I successfully learnt to do on my own. This is partially the reason why I really want to move into my own place – I know I can handle it.
I now know what kind of personality matches my own in terms of living arrangements. You can’t just move in with any friend, and that’s not to say you don’t have a meaningful friendship. It just means that you are the kind of people who can remain friends as long as you DO NOT live together!

All this being said I wish  I took away from this experience the one thing that I went to uni for, a degree. So in order to make this happen I have had to think about a few things. Money being the biggest thing. I’ve asked myself a few questions that have helped me make some big decisions.

What degree would you do?
I’ve been really enjoying writing and it’s something I have had always had a passion for. English Literature is what I’m thinking at the moment. Or even creative writing. I’d like to better my vocabulary and get more creative and experimental with my writing.

Full time education again?
No! I know it will take me twice as long to do it part-time but this way I could fit it around my work schedule. I need to earn while I study because I do not want to put my dreams of moving out on hold for another 3 years. I am really unfussed about how long it will take. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow progress is still progress.

Where?
London. I have had my fun venturing outside the capital and experienced country living. Well sort of – does Northamptonshire count as country living? I would definitely want to stay close to family, friends and job while I’m studying. Although thinking about this now, what’s stopping me from getting a job, moving away and studying in some other place?

When?
Within the next couple of years if I can figure out a way to pay for it. At the moment I’m doing an apprenticeship with the NHS so I’m currently studying. So once I’m done with this and I’m hopefully in a new, permanent position and I can go off and get my degree.

What else would you do differently?
In one word – focus. I’m going to focus on my studies and make sure I complete with the best result I am capable of. If I really am as mature as I’d like to think, I would use this new opportunity to learn from and not repeat my past mistakes. I will have to make a pact with myself that I am going to completely commit, keep myself motivated, not procrastinate with homework!

Finally getting a degree is the biggest thing I’ve been putting off. Writing this has helped me figure out exactly how much I want it and what steps I need to take to get it. As always I’ll keep you updated 🙂

I’m going to go get researching! Any London university/course suggestions?

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 12 – My Bucket List

Day 12 of 31 day blogging challenge

Share your bucket list

Honesty can be a difficult policy when it comes to getting real and sharing what you actually want from life. If you never share then no one will know if you fail. You will know though and will always wonder if the problem was that you didn’t believe in yourself. Maybe if you shared your dreams somebody out there could relate. Somebody out there could help you, the same way you could help with certain things. Somebody might quit thinking that there dreams are stupid if they hear yours are similar. So this is my bucket list / things I want to achieve. In no particular order of course…

1) Start a Stay Bliss YouTube channel

This has been on my mind for the longest time but the thought of starting my own channel terrifies me. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a YouTuber! For one thing I have no idea how to edit videos. I know with a bit of self-belief, some classes and a lot of organisation I can do this. However for now I am very happy with blogging 🙂 I’m still working out how to use wordpress…

2) Get a tattoo

I want a ying yang tattoo somewhere on my body…

3) Travel to and around Indonesia

I have always wanted to visit Bali and want to take an eating trip around Malaysia. Their cuisine looks seriously tasty.

4) Run a Stay Bliss conference

Yes it is what it sounds like. I would like to run a 2-3 day Stay Bliss conference. A place where we can all get together and encourage each other. I’d get motivational speakers, mediation experts, beauty gurus, love experts, financial advisers to come and chat to everyone. The whole thing would be completely geared around helping people live the best most positive life they can. As you can see I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I’m just in need of money, a lot of money.

5) Get my own place

If you read my blog prior to the challenge you know that for me moving out of my parents house is the next big move for me. Right now I’m looking for a house-share. Getting my own place is something I’d like to do when I have enough money to rent on my own.

6) Work in a fun start-up company

Hover boards, scooters, rum cocktails etc working at a startup company sounds like so much fun!

7) Start again somewhere like San Francisco or Seattle

They look like really pretty, carefree places to live – that speak English.

8) Find actual real love

I guess this would be nice

9) Publish a book

Something I would definitely love to do but still thinking about. A completely fictional novel about the England gangland perhaps?

10) Get a degree

I never completed university and this has always bugged me. I would love to go back one day and get a degree in English Literature.

So that’s all I can think of for right now. It feels really great to share. Now that I have it all in writing on a public forum like this it will be all the more easier to focus and achieve. I’ll be sure to keep you updated, who knows you may get an announcement about a YouTube channel or a conference soon! In the mean time I encourage you to think about your own bucket list. Write them down so you can fully enjoy the feeling of slowly checking them off.

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 10 – Old Photos

Day 10 of 31 day blogging challenge

Share old photos of yourself

I few challenges ago I spoke on the feeling of being in nursery. The pure happiness I remember from that time, the pastries I can still taste from my favourite bakery and the feeling of being a completely carefree toddler. All of this was such a long time ago that it had me thinking, was it really that great or was my mind exaggerating it? It’s easy to look back on something you don’t remember to well. When your life is far from simple at that time, it looks for a simpler time to idolize.

However in this case my mind got it completely right, nursery was awesome! Being a lil toddler was awesome! I know this because I took this challenge as a mission to find old photos of super happy nursery Laura. My mum must have packed all my childhood photos away during one of her spring cleaning days but I managed to get my hands on one! Well two but one is a Father’s Day mug.. all shall be clear.

As you can see I was totally right about the amazing feeling nursery gave me. As I said in my day 7 post, it’s okay to look back at carefree times and want that feeling for yourself now. Of course you need to understand that we will never be a toddlers again, so will never be 100% carefree. However you can look back to the mindset you had as a toddler. Remember when you lived a life for yourself. Look back to when you were in control of your happiness. Reminisce about that when it was all about you, your parents and your besties – and you were happy with that.

Happiness is an inside job, a lesson we started learning as children. Ever since refreshing the memories of Lil Laura, I’ve decided to use her as an inspiration for me now. As we get older we become fearful of being saying what we feel and doing what we say. Lil Laura has reminded me that it is okay to be the truest version of myself. It’s okay to live a life that I am happy with.

In fact it is better than okay. It’s awesome.

Stay Bliss, Laura (and Lil 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

DAY 4 – Favourite Blogs & Vlogs

Day 4 of 31 day blogging challenge

5 favourite blogs

So day 4 has had to be re-uploaded on day 5 due to many problems with the links in the description. No need to worry I will keep continuing and know for next time to plan these hyperlinked posts way ahead of time!

I have chosen interpret this challenge as ‘5 favourite blogs and vlogs’ as there a several YouTube channels that I am obsessed with. This list is no particular order, it is just my selection of online favourites.

1 – https://www.youtube.com/user/mmabutternut
I absolutely adore Mark and Ethan and fell in love with their vlogs since the day I came across them on YouTube. They are all about positivity, healthy living and adventures. Both Mark and Ethan are exceptional film makers and every vlogs is filled with cinematic shots – almost like mini life films. There energy is so infectious which is why when you start watching them you can’t stop. Yup I am defiantly a member of the Methan fan base!

2 –  https://seperateperspective.wordpress.com

So separate perspective is a blog created by my very close friend a while ago. I love reading his work as he is a beautiful and eloquent writer. If you don’t know him personally his posts invites you into his mind as he makes it his mission to get the readers to relate to his everyday struggles. He mixes real deep topics with he unique sense of humour to create this amazingly addictive blog!

3 – YouTube Mari Lil

So I have been subscribed to Mari Lil for a couple of years and just love her energy and humility. Mari Lil is a beauty, fashion and lifestyle YouTuber from the US. I take her tips on how to manage natural hair. I also love watching the little pieces of her life she shares with her audience.

4 – YouTube Anitta Black

Another beauty and fashion guru, I have been watching miss Anitta religiously since her first video. Also another friend of mine, I love her humour and her style of beauty. Nothing she uses is to expensive, yet she always ends up looking so glam!

5 – Foodie Blogs

This is one I need help with. I need some of your best foodie blogs because I’m looking for one to make my own! I have no-one at the moment I read consistently but I am looking! Any ideas?

Until later on today haha

Stay Bliss, Laura

DAY 3 – Why do I blog?

Day 3 of 31 day blogging challenge

Why do you blog?

The reasons I started blogging are different to the reasons I blog now. So let’s start with why I started to begin with.

On February 25th last year I was in a completely different place, mentally and physically. I was lacking a sense if purpose which at the time was tied into not having a job. My life was at a standstill. I wasn’t moving backwards or forwards. At the same time my friends were trudging forward with their life. I was also battling with a really bad ankle injury which made life that little bit more difficult.

However despite going through this difficult time something weird happened. I found all this motivation and positive energy from somewhere. It was immediately after I went on an employment boot camp which completely changed my outlook on the way I was choosing to live my life. I decided at the moment that I had to do something. Looking for jobs was draining but eventually I would find one and that worry would be over. In the meantime I could change the feeling of purposeless by creating a new purpose. That is when I created stay bliss.

I started to blog to help dig my way out of the hole I called home for way to long. I starting blogging to confirm to myself that I was ready to start trying again. I was ready to implement positivity into my everyday life. Things were getting better from the moment I started believing that it would.

So now I have different reason, different motivations and my purpose has shifted. I blog now because I fell in love with it. I blog now because I have seen what a difference it can make speaking good things into fruition. The feedback has been amazing and I love the idea that my words can help other people to. It is a surreal feeling being able to look back at your past posts and see how far you have come.

I haven’t reached all of my goals yet. There is still so much I want to accomplish and there is still so much life I need to live. If I am asked this question again in a year I’m sure my reasoning will have changed again. For now the there is a simple answer for this question.

I blog because it changed my life. I blog because it makes me happy. I blog because I love it.

Stay Bliss, Laura

DAY 2 – Stay Bliss – A definition

DAY 2 of 31 day blog challenge

Meaning of your blog name?

So what’s the meaning of stay bliss and where did it come from?
Like many bloggers before me I struggled with naming this blog. Once you have decided on a concept it is very important to find a name that matches it. I wanted to stay away from a blog with ‘positive’ in the title as I thought this might imply that I have been trained in human behaviour or motivational speaking.

Stay bliss for me is a concept. It is a way of living your life and dictates how you choose to deal with life on a day-to-day basis. Staying bliss is living a life for you. A life where your happiness is the most important of things. Happiness and wellbeing are like plants, they need love, care and a good environment to enable it grow and reach its full potential. So essentially we are plants!

Life can be incredibly tough especially when it feels like you are experiencing more battles than triumphs. The answer to how you stay motivated, balanced and above it all is still unknown to me. One day I think I have all the answers and do the victory dance because I  have figured out how to smash this life stuff. Alas the next day this all goes out of the window. I am forced to re-evaluate and relearn how to stay bliss. However these fundamental life nuggets to come back to really help with the journey.

There is something therapeutic about writing all your thoughts down. Stay bliss for me means giving myself the talk that I was avoiding. Hearing all those cliché sayings that are cliché for a reason. It’s visually seeing the juxtaposition between what you want to think and what you know you should think. Most of the time we know we shouldn’t give up. We know that the right career, house, love is all obtainable as long as we work hard. We may feel alone but we know our friends and family are there to support us. We just choose not to harness this support.Sometimes you need a read a sentence you have written to yourself – ‘SNAP OUT OF IT!’
It’s hard to argue with me..

One of my goals in life is to always stay bliss. And to keep encouraging others to stay bliss to. It is crazy how much your energy and outlook shape your whole life. As soon as you try to keep up your positivity and apply it to every situation things really DO start to become better. As I say time and time again, happiness is an inside job. THIS is the meaning of stay bliss.

Until day 3…
Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

 

31 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE – DAY 1

Day 1 – Intro and a recent photo

So for the next 31 days I will be trying my best to participate in a 31 day blog challenge. When stay bliss first began I had no idea how much I would enjoy it let alone be willing to do a blogging challenge!

me-recent
Most recent photo..

I chose this challenge because I love the idea of having to write about something everyday and this is a big chance for me to develop. At the moment I can only write a post when I feel like I have something worthwhile to say. This may sound good but when I am feeling uninspired for a few months (e.g. 0 posts in september) this can have real effect on me and my blog. Challenging myself to write everyday will hopefully enable me to focus and motivate myself when it comes to writing instead of always waiting on that feeling. If there are any writers or bloggers  out there reading this, I invite you to do this challenge with me! If you express yourself through a different medium you may want to try looking for a challenge that suits you. There are tons of different ones you can find on the internet and you can tailor them to suit your style.

The one I have chosen is quite mature – there’s literally a question in there about kids! But the general feel of the challenge fits quite nicely with stay bliss so I will just be substituting the challenges that don’t apply to me 🙂

31

Until day 2…

Stay Bliss, Laura