14 Things I Learned in 2014

Hey, I can’t believe I haven’t uploaded a blog post since September! The reason behind my blog name is to live life with no excuses, so that is exactly what I have been doing! Here is a list of the things I learned in 2014:

1. There is no such thing as normal

What is normal?

‘conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

Who sets these standards? I’ve been called weird more times than I can count on my fingers. I didn’t quite understand why I was put into this category. I would thoroughly think about my actions to determine what was so abnormal about them.

I’m still yet to come to a conclusion, I do not care for being ‘normal’. I only know how to be Rochelle and I will continue to do so. So the next time someone says ‘You’re so weird ‘or ‘Why are you so weird?’ I will take it as a compliment. Who wants to be normal anyway? 😛

2. I am in control of my emotions

The moment I left ‘self-doubt’ and any fears I had at the back of my mind, I was finally able to live life and experience new walks of life. One day I was so fed up of everything and made a conscious decision to make a change. It didn’t happen overnight, however it did happen so fast that I didn’t have time to think through what was going on.

I started to enjoy life at present and not over think everything or allow any negative thoughts to corrupt my mind. I started feeling happier, braver and most importantly I started to believe in myself more. 

3. My ‘problems’ are minuscule in comparison

Whilst I’m over here stressing over a little breakout or what to wear on a night out, there is someone out there going through something 100 times worse. I have seen true strength over the last few years, some of my loved ones have been through the worst and you would never even know it. Although you can’t run away from your problems, some problems aren’t really problems and it all depends how you perceive them.

4. Partying isn’t the only means of fun

I’m used to seeing people upload pictures of nights out and I sometimes think ‘Aww I’m missing out’. At one stage I thought I was in the boring category when I had no interest in going out, but you know what I’m not a boring person. I have my own idea of ‘fun’ and that’s where the party is at for me. Every once in a while I will throw on a dress, some heels and shake a leg or two, but there is only so much shaking one can do and it becomes repetitive. Quite frankly I would prefer to be snuggled in bed with a cup of green tea and a good read (haha I sound like a right adventurous one right?)

5. I am adventurous

One evening whilst I was on holiday I thought it would be cool to attempt to fly. I’ve seen superheroes do it on TV, so it was only right I put it to the test. OK- I’ll tell you the actual story. I sprained my ankle whilst of holiday last September. Just my luck right? I cannot recall how exactly it happened or how I managed to miss one step (Yes, it was one single step and it wasn’t even that steep). I can assure you that it didn’t stop me from enjoying my girly holiday. I picked myself up and continued with my evening, then I spent the most part of the following day in a Spanish hospital. Unfortunately I was unable to participate in any water activities for the remainder of my holiday. Next time I will stay clear of all stairs, I promise!

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6. Sleep is my sweet remedy

I love waking up feeling refreshed and raring to go. I’m one of those people that aims to go to bed early and it usually work out (Well 9 times out of 10 it does). I must admit the cold weather makes it almost impossible to drag myself out my bed, however once I’m up, I’m up! Gone are the days when I force myself to stay up and find some sort of entertainment. My duvet, pillow and iPod are my means of late night entertainment. By 10pm I have already planned the last few tasks before I hit the sheets.

7. There is no ‘happy’ in settling

If you have experienced waking up and having to mentally prepare yourself for a day filled with activities you dread- you will understand where I am coming from! I have spent days counting down the hours till I am finally free. The moment I’m free, I’m happy and in my element. There was a period of time where I woke up feeling excited and I looked forward to the day ahead. I loved what I was doing at this time and it was a highlight of my year. I will return here again. Always be grateful for what you have right in front of you, we have to do what we have to do to make ends meet, but do we really need to compromise our happiness for XYZ?      

8. I like my own company

I always have… I don’t get bored of my own company. I’m the kind of person that will go out and socialize from time to time, but after a while I need ME time. Not because I am depressed or in an emotional state, this is how I operate. ‘Don’t take it personally’

9. If everybody is going left and I want to go right, go right!

Just for the sake of it! It may be the wrong choice, but at the end of the day it was my choice. I don’t need to be where everyone else is.

10. Wasted time is worse than wasted money

This one speaks for itself. I can forget about the money I’ve put towards overindulging in my favourite snacks; however my time is so precious. Money can be made to replace what is lost; I can’t get back the time I’ve wasted on people or things. I often think about all the time I have invested in other people and irrelevant activities and if I could turn back the hands of time I would have thought twice about doing so. Note to self: set aside time to invest in yourself frequently. You live and you learn!

11. There is a first time for everything

It’s been a while since I could talk about any new experiences. I would avoid answering questions like ‘When was the last time you tried something new?’ because knowing me I would answer with ‘Yesterday I tried Texas BBQ flavoured pringles’ – The sad truth is that was as exciting as my life was.

As some of you know I had never been on a plane, I hadn’t even spent more than 5 days away from home. 25 years on the planet and the only place I really knew of was ‘Home’ (London). Towards the end of 2013 my friends and I discussed going on a girly holiday. At that point in the time I wasn’t sure how I would get there, but I did! I spent 7 days in Ibiza with 8 other girls which was a little out of my comfort zone (I’m not a party girl!). The holiday opened my eyes to the unforeseen and I cherished every minute of it. Now to plan where I’m off to next!

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12. I am a blogger!

Yes blogging is my thing! I have my own domain name and the freedom to write about whatever I like until my hearts content! 

In April 2014 I decided to write a blog, I had no idea what to name my blog or what I was going to write about. I’m not one to express myself in so many words to any and everyone; however blogging was a whole new world to me and there was no looking back once I started. Before I knew it I was hooked on my blog and my blog has kept me going. In the past I’ve struggled to write 500 words about myself and here I am publishing my 80th post. Whoop!

13. Turning 25 wasn’t the end of the world

To be honest I do not feel 25- I’m still young at heart and there’s no reason for me to act my age. I’m over my ‘OMG I’m not married or in my dream job role yet’ rant. My life doesn’t have to be in order at this point in time. This year was spent investing valuable time into figuring out where my interests lie and it has worked in my favour. I will make mistakes like everyone else and pick myself up and keep going.Things will fall into place when the time is right.

14. I am whatever I believe I am

If I think I’m incapable of being the best I can be, I will portray this to the world and the world will respond to this. I have been working hard to ensure I feed my body with healthy foods and control the amount of junk food I consume mentally. I was afraid to be happy due to past experiences; I was stuck in a loop where I imagined everything being taken away from me in a blink of an eye. I believe there is so much more out there for me and I am going to go and get mine! If everyone else can do it, why can’t I?

2 0 1 5 I’m ready for you!

Here’s to Living with no excuses

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You Are Whatever You Believe You Are

Lately I’ve been so wrapped in my thoughts and this time around its helped me a great deal. It’s been an odd year to say the least. I had high hopes of a lot of things and ended up with so many disappointments. I was looking forward to new ventures and ended up in horrible situations I’d rather forget.

The first part of the year is a blur; the less I think about it… The better! Many of the people I met were nothing more than a mere lesson. I attended a pity party for one and thought to myself ‘Why me?’ ‘What did I do to deserve this?’, I had to leave the party early- it wasn’t my scene!

I spent far too much time dwelling on things in the past instead of working on improving my year. I am a bit of a worrier at the worst of times, I had to turn things around and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am in fact a warrior! I’ve put on a brave face and soldiered on and I will continue to do so!

Surround yourself with those who uplift you

I posted a poem I wrote called ‘Don’t take it personally’ and although I strongly believe time away from loved ones is needed, it is also crucial to vent every once in a while. Not everyone will be able to offer you the advice you need, however it will help you feel better and vice versa. Keeping things bottled up all the time will not harm anyone but yourself. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart, it is up to you who you decide who’s shoulder to cry on and in due time you will discover who is really down for you.

you can’t help others until you help yourself

I hate seeing my friends down in the dumps and I try the hardest to lift their spirits, but I found it so difficult to do so when I wasn’t feeling 100%. I kinda thought I would be of no help since I was struggling to help myself… I was totally wrong here, it’s possible!

My friend was in a similar situation to me, we were pretty much in the same boat to be honest. Every time we spoke he would offer me encouragement and advice. The last time we spoke I discovered he had found an escape, he knew what he wanted and he got it, one of the last things he said to me that day was ‘Sometimes you just have to go out and get it Rochelle’.

I woke up the next day feeling much more motivated. I could see my friend had removed himself from somewhere he wasn’t happy and made some progress. I was happy for him. By now I knew it was my turn, I had nothing to lose after all.

One minute I was counting my misfortunes and the next I was counting my blessings

I recall feeling so angry about EVERYTHING. I walked around feeling like the world was on my shoulders. I overlooked all the good things in my life and when I read about so & so doing XYZ I felt like crap. My automatic response to ‘how are you?’ was never a simple ‘I’m fine’ it was always ‘I’m fine, but..’ but what? I had to remind myself that I am alive, healthy, I have a wonderful family, a great set of friends, a job and so much more. I stopped complaining so much and refrained from driving myself crazy with my thoughts. In no time I noticed a big difference… I started to feel a lot better about all aspects of my life, then I started to see results.

Not everyone will understand your journey, but its okay its not theirs to understand

YESSS, please read the above again. Lately people don’t seem to understand why I am so content. ‘Don’t you have any complaints?’ ‘You’re telling me everything is A-OK?’ Yup that’s exactly what I’m telling you. I keep getting questioned about what is happening in my life lately and why I don’t want to divulge. As long as I’m doing okay that is all that matters- right? I’ve never felt the need to explain the in’s and out’s of what is going on in my life to any and everyone.

Don’t be afraid to be happy

Another blogger said this to me a few months ago.  Its taken me a long time to process the last month or so. It feels so unreal and unlike the beginning of the year, this is a good thing! I’ve proved to myself that when I put my mind to it, I can achieve it! There’s no reason why I can’t live happily like everyone else!

Its all down to my thoughts at the end of the day. If I keep feeding my body with junk food how can I expect to be healthy, its the same with my thoughts.. How can I expect a positive outcome with negativity running through my veins? It doesn’t work like that!

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If Everyone Else Can Do It, Why Can’t You?

I had the strangest dream the other night, someone I would least expect to give me life advice said “If everyone else can do it, why can’t you?”. I woke up with no recollection of the rest of the dream other than this person saying this quote to me. I felt as though the person had said this to me face-to-face and knew how I was feeling.

I thought about the quote countless times throughout the following day. If everyone else can do it, why can’t you?...Well? Why can’t I? I thought to myself. There was room for a excuse to be inserted, but instead I had to remind myself that there really is no reason why I can’t do it and there’s no reason why you can’t do it either!
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Are Apprenticeships The Way Forward?

In my last year of college we were encouraged to sign up to UCAS and attend university. I hadn’t explored my other options or considered what else I could do as an alternative to university.schoolnewThis is the route we all know so well.

My ideal university learning curve

University was a big learning curve for me; however I always found it lacked something vital. It was all very well having us sit through lectures and tutorials from week to week, handing out assignments and sending us on our merry way. What about prepping us for real life situations? Granted we all followed through and gained a degree; what could we expect to happen next?

Why not teach students about what employers want and the skills they need to obtain? Why not encourage students to get as much experience as they can during university?

Lectures could openly share their own experiences and hopefully inspire their students. At the end students would gain a degree along with great cover letters, CV’s, a portfolio, interview prep and so on. Not forgetting feeling more confident as they enter the world of work.

Having completed a Multimedia degree I look back at some of the modules on my course and wonder if they were really relevant. I would have loved a bit more focus on life after university; the importance of gaining experience, a chance to explore how to approach daunting interviews, time to develop our portfolio’s and prep for our futures.

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Is experience a must-have?

Experience seems to be more important than is emphasized, I know this from experience! I’m actually quite puzzled by the concept of some of these internships.I have been lead to believe that internships were a gateway for graduates; an opportunity to gain hands on experience. I have come across companies looking for interns with experience.

So you are telling me I need experience beforehand to get experience? Intriguing! Surely I’m missing something here? If everyone is asking for experience, how will graduates get experience, if you won’t offer experience #catch22.

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I am not ruling out the companies out there who seek candidates who are passionate and show genuine interest in the area over candidates with more experience. I’m glad there is living proof you exist! It goes to show that there is hope for graduates struggling to land a job or internship.

I took matters into my own hands and found an internship programme in my 2nd year of University. I was lucky enough to spend 2 months working for a charity called bibic in Somerset. I discovered this internship through the University of East London, their programme ‘Shellstep’ was open to students from all universities.

My second internship was in partnership with the University of West London and the first 2 weeks were spent working on self development. We attended public speaking workshops, developed our CV’s/ cover letters and learned useful interview techniques. It was a wonderful experience and one I will not forget!

Why do unpaid internships still exist?

I understand there are plenty of graduates out there looking for experience, however working for free in this day and age is ludicrous! Travel alone costs an arm and a leg! I am aware that some companies contribute to travel expenses and money towards your sarnies which is better than nothing!

I do wonder if employers expect you to jump on your skateboard and travel from the outskirts of North London to Central London every day. £5 a day won’t stretch very far in terms of life outside of work. Surely unpaid internships should be called “Volunteerships” or something along those lines. Students are volunteering their services after all!

I appreciate websites that ban companies from posting unpaid internships on their job boards. Graduates need to live too! We are hungry to learn but this shouldn’t compromise money towards living/eating.

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So are apprenticeships the way forward?

I’ve asked a few youngsters their plans for life after sixth form/ college and its apparent apprenticeships are a hit! Merely out of curiosity I have asked the reason behind their decision and it’s more or less the same answers. “I don’t want to go to university” or “I want experience before I go to university”.

Fair play to those who don’t plan on going to uni; uni isn’t for everyone and it certainly doesn’t guarantee a job. Ensure you explore all your options and go with what suits you. There are tons of apprenticeships schemes appearing from left right and centre catering for college leavers. Far more than what was on offer in my day.

All I can say is grab these opportunities while you can and make the most of them.

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UPDATE: Health, Fitness and Temptation (Week 1)

All and in all things have been going OK. I have no specific diet plan, I pretty much know what I should and shouldn’t be eating.

I will brief you on my journey so far:
*I totally forgot to take note of my progress until now, I can remember as far as Sunday.

Sunday 

Sunday…Funday! My family went to the shops and asked if I had any requests. I said no without giving it any thought. I had a lot on my mind and I would usually run to my beloved junk food, however this time I didn’t.

My family soon returned with two bottles of Cider (My summer favourite), Kinder Bueno (My love) and 2 Mars Ice Cream bars (Another one of my loves). I will be honest and say I gave in to 1/4 of the Kinder Bueno and then crawled into my bed shortly after. Phew! Temptation was apparent on Sunday.
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*One day we’ll meet again

Monday 

I woke up the next day like nothing had happened…After work I headed straight to the supermarket. I picked up:

  • Beetrout
  • A pineapple
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Feta Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Aubergine

This is all I can think of at the top of my head. I have no idea why I listed everything, but hey! There was only so much my little old hands could carry. When I arrived home there was more food waiting for me (Thank you!)

I decided to prep my smoothies. I am not one to follow smoothie recipes, I literally look around my kitchen, pick up anything that looks like a fruit or vegetable and throw it in the blender. I wasn’t too fussed about having a variety at this point. I bagged up all the goodies and headed to the freezer.

I noticed there was still a Mars bar left in the freezer trying to lure me in, so I slowly pushed the freezer drawer shut and resisted temptation (yet again).
smoothie
Tuesday 

I dusted off my Jillian Micheal’s 30 day Shred DVD. My ancient DVD player failed to work, I thought it was a sign to eat breakfast instead and start my day (I kid). I did eat breakfast though and I waited another hour before I did my work out (I used my PC).

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A lot of people say they hate breakfast… I love breakfast.. I’m thinking about breakfast now! I am having huge cravings for nothing in particular just something that isn’t healthy *grabs hold of water bottle*. I felt nauseous towards the end of the workout and spent 15 mins laying on the floor.

I left a note asking for no pasta with my bolognese for dinner and I came home to white rice. I boiled some sweet potato mash instead. My mum suggested I had a little rice and I said no. Sorry white rice, I still have love for you.

Later on my sweet tooth was crying out for a little something. I stopped off and bought; a nut and raisin mix, rice cakes and peanut butter to satisfy my needs.

Wednesday 

Today… My workout was great. I have been starving after every meal.

  • Breakfast: Half a smoothie (Beetroot, kale, spinach, watermelon & celery), Porridge oats (Pumpkin seeds, banana and blueberries)
  • Snack 1: Handful of nuts and raisins
  • Lunch: Turkey rashers, Salad, avocado and 2 boiled eggs
  • Snack 2: 2 rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Dinner: Turkey pieces, Baked courgettes, kale and salad
  • Drinks: Water only and a cup of kale juice in the evening

I was offered some ice cream and I refused! Ughh! Everywhere I look I see FOOOOOOOD! Everything besides the food on my plate looks so yummy.
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*No this salad isn’t on the list of food that looks yummy, I couldn’t bear searching for something mouth-watering.

If you have any tips please share! Also let me know about your journeys and post your links below.

Reality Has Kicked In!

It feels like it was only yesterday I had it all planned out. I said I would eat well and exercise just in time for my holiday and beyond. Today I asked my colleague the date and he said “It’s the 1st of July”. I let it sink in for a couple of seconds and I started freaking out on the inside. How is it July already? I opened my countdown app to find this …
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I have 89 days to trim down, so I’m short of 3 months. I’m ready to let go of my kangaroo pouch. All my friends and family tell me I look fine. If only they knew…I’ve spent years practicing holding in my stomach, I am a pro! I want to look good and most importantly feel fabolous!

I’m not going to pretend to become a health fanatic overnight. I’ve done my research, I have pictures to inspire me on the wall. I’ve attempted living healthily in the past, then slowly slipped back into my old ways. I have no specific goals as yet, I really don’t want to stress over every little pound. If I weigh the same and my fat turns into muscle, then I have no qualms! My tummy is my main focus, however my body overall needs to be toned.

I’ve started by requesting healthier foods in my household. I’ve curbed my eating and I’ve managed to say no to most junk food. I’ve walked into my local shop over the last few days and walked right past all the goodies that were trying to get my attention. My sweet tooth has been a major issue in the past.

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*I think I should stick these all over my fridge and kitchen cabinets

It’s hard to resist food that tastes good, but I know it will help me in more ways than one. I’m looking forward to seeing the results and feeling great.

Now where’s my Jilian Michael’s 30 day shred DVD….

Happy 1st of July, Lets make this month count!

6 Reasons To Appreciate Your Job 

1. The people you meet

I’ve met some truly awesome people at work who have become friends outside work. There are days that may not be considered as good days and it’s the people I work with that make my day. You may not make any friends, however you may benefit from learning how to adapt to working with all kinds of people.

2. The experience/skills you gain

It looks better to have a job then to have a huge gap on your CV/resume. Believe it or not future employers do sympathize and understand the difficulties people go through to find a job. Your skills are transferable in one way or another.

3. The income

We live in a world where everything has a price, so do what you have to do! Your job title is irrelevant; it’s what you do when you’re there. Be proud of how far you’ve come. You see that pay check you just received? You earned it! Go you!

4. The connections 

Ok not every job you’re in will have worthwhile connections. Stay in touch with those you get along with. I’m not suggesting you force contact with everyone; Let it come naturally, check up on people every once in a while. Stay on good terms and never close doors unnecessarily. You never know what the future may bring; they do say it’s who you know that puts you at an advantage.

5. You were offered the job for a reason

Your employer likes you? Great! I’m sure they didn’t hire you for that reason alone, I can guarantee they expect you to put the work in. If this wasn’t the case they would be better off hiring someone they dislike, but does the job well. At least they would be getting their money’s worth.

I had to remind someone of this the other day. This person seemed to think that due to his employer liking them, they were sure to hold onto their job. I pointed out that their recent actions were giving their employer reasons to think otherwise.

You are being paid to do your job, at least do it well!  You could be the best computer programmer in town, but don’t think for a second that the best programmer in the next town won’t snap up your job. Don’t be the one that gets replaced. Always keep on top of your game!

6. You chose to be there

Your employer offered you the job; however you took the first step and applied for the job, you sold yourself, they offered you the job and you accepted. You didn’t have to say yes, but guess what? You did! At one point in time this was what you wanted and you got it. It is your choice to remain there. If over time things have changed rethink/reevaluate your goals and start over.
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