A Cleaning Job Changed My Life

Thursday 23rd November, 2017.

University of Ulster, Belfast Campus.

“So, when can you start?”

It was the sentence that I had been waiting for. In fact, quite desperately. I had been looking for work since June, after my grandmother passed away. I needed money. No where else would take me on, as they all required: EXPERIENCE. I had no experience! I was willing to work anywhere.

“Monday.” I replied.

I was employed there and then, in my (former) supervisor’s office. He smiled and said, “Great, see you at 7am.”

As I woke up that morning on the 27th, I thought I made a grave mistake. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I really didn’t think this through. The thoughts of having new starts made me really anxious, as I walked to work that morning at 6:20am, I started to get nervous as I walked through the Campus doors. So far, I only knew three people.

It was dauting. It was the dark mornings, I went to see my supervisor as I didn’t have a clue where I was going. It was only 6:35am. I wanted to make a good impression. I didn’t know anybody, I knew there were lectuers and students, back then, I wish I was more excited but I realise back then, I wasn’t used to change, and it still scared me.

It actually turned out to be alright, the first couple of weeks. I met other cleaners, the one that stood out with Jackie. After chatting, she knew my mum and her best friend, so I felt comfortable. She was really easy to talk to, and I could tell her anything, but my supervisors and Jackie had rifts with her, so they came up a lot and caught us talking instead of working. I used to obey orders, and I never went out of line. In school, I was always known as the “teacher’s pet” because I always did what I was told, and I never had a detention once in school. I always was on time to classes, and even the thoughts of being late made my heart race.

The good thing was that I started to get to know everyone on my floor. I was on the graphic design, photography, Masters in Architecture, PhD students and most importantly, all the Exectuive Deans within the University. It was leading up to Christmas so I was exctiedly counting down the days to get off and have a rest. After all, my sleep pattern was wired up ever since I left school the year before, so, I was quite glad of a rest when it was time to break off for the Christmas holidays.

Problems started arising after the Christmas holidays. My supervisors were known to be quite picky and they were often referred as “OCD freaks” by my colleagues, everyone knew them on my floor, they told me they would help me out, considering it was a massive floor to do by myself. At this point, Jackie was removed with me considering all we did was sit around and giggle and chat. I had to do the toilets, empty the bins, brush the classrooms, mop and clean the floors, vacuum the carpets. Bearing in mind, I had to do this within four hours. I was truly trying my best, but I felt with the constant remarks, I was being picked on. I was the youngest there, and still was when I left. I started to dread, I started to cry and protest that I didn’t want to go back, but at that point in my life, I didn’t know what to do.

Things started to ease within the months, yet, there would be moments when my senior supervisor would be like, “Why isn’t this done yet? Why? Why? There’s been complaints on this floor. This hasn’t been done properly.” I was getting fed up. I was glad when the summer came around, and the students started to depart, but I felt sad in a way, because I got to know some of them, especially the boys, that were awful nice to me when my supervisors would storm off in a huff. In the summer, it was required that we deep cleaned, but the best thing, we weren’t on a time scale, not until late September when the students came back.

Although it was better, it was quite boring. I had no one to talk to, and I would listen to my music every day. It wasn’t until it was the week in August I kept seeing the advertistment of “Open University” everywhere. I had tried to get into Ulster University at Coleraine for a History degree, but I realised, I didn’t want to do History. So, I went home that morning after my shift, and googled courses, and Psychology intruiged me.

Although it was better, it was quite boring. I had no one to talk to, and I would listen to my music every day. It wasn’t until it was the week in August I kept seeing the advertistment of “Open University” everywhere. I had tried to get into Ulster University at Coleraine for a History degree, but I realised, I didn’t want to do History. So, I went home that morning after my shift, and googled courses, and Psychology had intrugied me.

I decided to sign up for Psychology at the Open University. This gave me the opporunity to study at Higher Education and to work at the same time. It was all online based, no seminars to go to, it was all at a pace of yourself. My books arrived promptly early September. I was ready to meet people. I often find that I meet people online more than I would in real life back then. I would go on dating apps to talk to several people at a time, getting to know them as I would on Facebook and such. I was excited to learn that the Open University had a forum, and immediately I seen a forum thread for Psychology and the author thread is Nicole. Yes, this is the same Nicole that I’ve been speaking about regularly in my blog posts. I texted her on my phone and she responded and added me into a WhatsApp groupchat with other people. As well as that, I would join Facebook groups and be added in their group chats on WhatsApp. It seemed that everything was, indeed, falling into place.

Still, I was geting up at 5:30am and not getting home till 11:30am latest, and despite being a student, I wasn’t really a student. The Open University was classified as part time study, despite I was doing two modules, having assignments and tutors. I couldn’t go out during Freshers or go out late, bcause I was so exhausted, and I was almost a year into the workplace, so a routine had been formed. I was still running a house as well, especiallywhen my mum went into hospital for an opertaion, I had to make sure the house was well kept up. I was enjoying talking to the new students Monday to Friday, and I actually felt lonely when there was no one on my floor. Thankfully though, I was starting to get friendly with the Executive Deans, I was telling them my ambitions and goals to go to Ulster University, eventually planning to go to Queens to do my Masters. I was really starting to enjoy the course, so I knew I had picked the right one to do. I was always interetsed in mental health, having experienced them myself with my anxiety and depression.

Alas, work was still up and down some days. I didn’t really have a best friend until December 2018 and I had started the year before. So, I was basically by myself. Unfortunately, I believed the school cliques would end as soon as I would leave school, but they didn’t. Despite being friendly with everyone, and the secuirty guards, they had their own little group. I believe my age was a facotr, considering I have no kids, no boyfriend and no real “life” My friends would discuss the weekends drinking binges and hangs out, while my colleagues would ask me what wallpaper would suit their living room, and discussing their own lives when they were my age, I wasn’t even thought of at that point. Still, it was nice to have their wisdom and advice, but I really wanted to make new friends my age.

During that time, I noticed a few of the people that was doing the course also wanted to go to University full time. I googled and seen cases that people could transfer. I had started my UCAS application (for the third time) and I contacted Ulster how would it work. I would have to study at first year again, which was totally fine, so I applied and awaited anxiously. I put my head down at Open Uni, studied and read my textbooks, wrote notes and completed my assignments.

2nd March 2019

I received a conditional offer from Ulster Univeristy. I was overjoyed. I had lost hope after the admissions made a comment on my A Levels. I had received DDC, which I think it pretty good considering I had nine written exams in my upper sixth year. I had to get 60% overall in my first year in Open Univeristy. Thankfully the Open Uni was British Psychological Society accredited, so it was a legit course.

I didn’t tell many people, mainly because I wanted it to be a surprise when I got in. I realise that people’s negative vibes can really affect you and your performance. I finished my course at the end of May, and I was quite grateful that I had no exams, but it was essay based with a practical report. It was finally summer, and I knew my shifts at Ulster University were limited. It was only really this summer I started to feel settled and more confident than ever, but I knew that I would be in there for life, and quite frankly, I wanted to see more and do more than clean. I am definitely a career girl, not a house wife. I love learning and advancing my learning, I get so bored after the same cleaning and routine. It wasn’t my passion.

15th August 2019

At this point, I had made more stable co worker friendships, I viewed them as friends than I would have back in 2017. I made another friendship, a woman called May. She was wonderful and still is. They were the only people I had told of my plans to going to Univeristy, as I knew if I told the others, the news would be reported back to my supervisors. I wanted to be 100% positive that I was leaving, I had dreamt of handing in my resignation and to tell them I was leaving. Admittedly, I did have a screaming match with them back in October after they accused me of not doing something right, when I knew rightly I had did it, and I had protested and protested, but I was truthfully fed up. I just snapped.

It was approxmiately 1:20pm I received the news I got into Ulster University. I couldn’t believe it. My dream had came true. All my life, my teachers would tell me I wouldn’t go far, they perusaded my mother to believe that University wasn’t for me. But it was my dream, and I wanted to go for it. And I did it.

I was over the moon. I immediately went in the next day and handed in my notice. It felt the most wonderful thing in the world, and my supervisors were happy for me. They congratulated me and my last day of work would be 13th September. So, I was content on being on the stairs, brushing them. I would finally be free.

Friday 13th September 2019

Who said that day was unlucky? It was the luckiest day in the world. I received cards and gifts which included important University essentials. I truly thought the last four weeks would drag, but to be frank, they didn’t. And as I left, and as my supervisors wished me good luck, encouraged me to go to the Belfast campus library. I felt weird, anxious and nervous, I’m not going to lie. I believe “leaving work depression” is real. It is. I was there almost two years, I had made the most wonderful friendships both with my colleagues and students, including the Exectuive Deans. Even though I had bad days, I also had good days. I laughed, I cried. But most importnalty, I dicovered what meant the most while I worked there.

I have a life in front of me, a bright, positive life. And I can’t wait to take people that are in my life into that bright future. I have so many plans and ambitious plans ahead, I cannot wait to achieve every single one of them. Perhaps I dreaded my first ever shift as a cleaner, but it turned out to be the best job I’ve had so far. It made me realise what mattered the most. It was my education.

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Blogger Awards: The Liebster Blogger Award

Big massive shoutout to my beautiful nonbiological sister Nicole for nominating me to do this blog post. I haven’t posted in quite a while since I have typed a post. Life got quite hectic with certain scenerios & hooray! First year of uni complete, I do have an offer for Ulster Uni so *fingers crossed* Nicole, you always give me the push I need to do what I need to do. I love you and Tank to the moon and the stars.

Nicole’s social media

Twitter

Blog

Nicole covers a world wide topics including mental health, funny stories, personal stories that relate to a lot of people nowadays. I always tend to ring her for a quick chat and end up on the phone to her for hours on end and she always make me smile after a bad day.

For everyone who is not accustomed to the rules of the Liebster award, here they are:

  1. Thank your nominator and provide a link to their blog
  2. Post the Award on your blog
  3. Write 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Give an answer to all 11 questions the nominator asked
  5. Nominate 11 other bloggers (this award is meant for new, upcoming bloggers)
  6. Come up with 11 new questions for your nominees

11 Facts About Me

  1. I wish to retire at the beach, at the north coast. I feel personally I’ve had a difficult childhood and growing up with my extremely complicated family, I feel like I would need inner peace.
  2. I try to be entertaining and whenever I am nervous, I crack jokes to ease my mind.
  3. I had my first kiss at 18 in Liverpool.
  4. I love baking.
  5. On the right side of my face, I have an lazy eye because a rock was thrown at me as a child and it hit me in that eye.
  6. I always go off people’s vibes before I contact them. I trust my intution a lot.
  7. I am so calm and I use logic at every opportuntiy, however, I do tend to hide things that are annoying me so whenever I am extremely annoyed, I lose my shit.
  8. I wish to become a mental health therapist.
  9. I was born the day before my mum’s birthday.
  10. I LOVE books, especially historical books.
  11. I am writing a novel based on Nazi occupied France.

Nicole’s Questions

What is your favourite scary movie? 

My favourite scary movie has to be The Conjuring. I remember that movie coming out when I was 15 and I was absolutely pumped to see my first cinema scary movie. I was terrified!

If could time travel, where would you go?

Back in the 1930s in Belfast.I would love to see my granny’s families and herself & her sister’s grow up in the midst of WW2. I am a sucker for that time period, but I would also love to back into Ancient Egypt with the Kings & Queens killing each other for power. Ancient Greece has intrigued me for a while as well, so I would definitely travel around if I had the chance to.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I am practicing my tarot skills and I do feel people’s vibes and emotions empathetically, it’s something I also grew up with. My great aunt claims she is psychic in the sense she knows what is going to happen, but my granny and my other great aunt were never keen to further the topic. However, I would love to have the power to make people feel better and see their good aspects, but also their negative, to change their mindset to realise their own flaws and to work on them in order to develop healthy friendships and relationships. There is far too many happy people miserable inside.

Which of your personality traits have gotten you in the most trouble, and why?

I have to be truthfully honest and admit it is my attitude. I also feel like my stubbornness has gotten me into more trouble. There’s been many times when there’s been an opporuntiy to make up with someone but I feel so frustrated that they may not see my point of view, so my thoughts process is questioning, “Why are you even on board with theirs when they aren’t with yours?” It had caused a lot of bother especially with the relationship of my family, but that’s a different matter and environment completely. I am working on being open minded which is what spirituality is all about, being open minded to the unknown and the possibility that there is life after death i the end. It is a progress I am working on, but I also realise sometimes with family, it can bring the worst on you.

What is the most cheesy pick up line you’ve had? Did it work?

I once received a Harry Potter pickup line from a guy saying, “Do you go to Hogwarts because you are a 9 and three quarters.” I was so impressed, like I have had other pick up lines especially on apps and in clubs, but that will forever stay with me. I always laugh and smile at it. I think it was the orginality of the pick up line. Especially with my favourite fandom.

Would you rather burp loudly every time you kiss someone (or something), or drool when you talk?

I absolutely love kissing so I would go for the burping option. I would however manage to burp quietly (thankfully) so it works in my favour. But regardless, I would burp loudly or not whoever I was kissing. I woke up this morning and my arm was covered in drool (kinda gross I know!)

If you could ask your pet (or a pet you are close to if you don’t have one) three questions other than,”Do you love me?” What would they be and why?

I have a handful of friends that have pets. I had two goldfishes Tom and Jerry when I was younger, however, I am quite close to Lucy & Nicole so I am going to go for Nicole’s tank. 1. Why does your farts smell so bad? I was on the phone with Nicole and I heard the squeals with her dog farting. I was rolling on the floor laughing. 2. If he could be a famous person in the history, who would you be? 3. Would you ever be a police dog?

What movie sequel do you wish you could erase from history and why was it so bad for you?

The worst movie sequel has to be Home Alone 3. It wasn’t the same actors…nothing! What was the point, like seriously?

What is the worst book (not a school book! Nice try, though!) you have ever read and why did you hate it so much?

The Double Life of Anna Day has to be the most boring and awful books I’ve ever read. Predictable, boring, cliche,…. NEXT!

What fictional character do you which you could meet?

I would love to meet Hermione Granger to give me some revision tips, they were needed during my a-levels. *shudder* That is also a time I do not wish to ever revisit in my life. Although I made so many friends in sixth form after being singled out for five years straight by a fellow classmate. Katniss Everdeen would be also be a strong character to meet in real life. Also a certain someone from someone’s book *winks at Nicole*

If your life was a soundtrack with 15 – 20 songs what would the songs be and what would you call the album?

Playlist Album – The Hectic Life of Lauren Moore.

  1. Lonely Together – Avicii
  2. Prayer in C. (Robin Schulz)
  3. Play – Years & Years
  4. Counting Stars – One Republic
  5. I would like – Zara Larsson.
  6. Man! I feel like a woman – Shania Twain. (eespecially when I shave EVERYWHERE, I just feel so good.)
  7. Favourite Thing – Fleur East. (*winks at someone particular*)
  8. Sweet but Psycho – Ava Max (When I fight with my family.)
  9. Loyal – Chris Brown
  10. California Dreamin’ (Dalton Harris.)
  11. I Love You – Axwell & Ingrosso
  12. Crying in the Club – Camilia Cabello
  13. Kickstarts – Example
  14. Rise – Jonas Blue
  15. Sun Does Down – Robin Schulz

Eleven blogs that I am nomiating

  1. Mary
  2. Susan
  3. Shreya
  4. I nomiate the reader of this blog to complete my questions
  5. Bomihill

I can only list 5… soz Nicole!!

My Questions to The Nominees

  1. What is your ideal date?
  2. Do you prefer a night in or the night in the town?
  3. Where would you relocate in the world and why?
  4. What is your favourite book series?
  5. If you could be an animal, what would you be?
  6. Do you have a preferred meal?
  7. What is your biggest goal in your life you wish to complete?
  8. Do you have any regrets in regards to relationships with family, friends and romantic interests?
  9. Would you rather have tea with Dorian Gray or Christian Grey?
  10. Are you a video game player, if so why? If not, why?
  11. Would you rather be stranded on an island with lions or stranded in the ocean?

Ten Important Lessons I’ve Learnt in Twenty Years

It’s almost my birthday month! I’m almost 21! How crazily fast has this year went, though? I’ve met some amazing people, including my beautiful friends online. I don’t think I’d been able to get through this year without them, their words of support and wisdom. I am soo grateful. I should really be doing my psychology essays. It’s crazy how fast that has went too, it seemed yesterday that my textbooks were posted to my house. I’m super excited to potentially start at Ulster University in September. I was convinced I wasn’t going to get the offer, but I was so overjoyed when I did in March. I told the people that cared and I went out and celebrated that weekend.

Lesson 1 – Loving yourself is the ultimate love.

Find out your likes and dislikes, what you jam with and which you don’t vibe with. Self love is the love that cannot hurt you, nor do you need to question your self love. Throughout my life, I was told I had to find a man and settle down, have kids and own a car and a house. There was never no mention of a career, if I wanted to explore the world first before I changed nappies in the middle of the night. I grew up thinking my worth was to reproduce when I started my period at age 10. Look in the mirror at yourself and express what you love about yourself. Do this daily, for a year. I’ve manifested so many good things in my life because of this. If you don’t love yourself, then who will? So, grab those gym shoes and crack on at the gym, release those endorphins and love you. You don’t need another person to “complete” you.

Lesson 2 – Laugh more

Laugh more. It’s really good for high blood pressure and for your body. Every time I go to the doctors which is extremely frequently, I always have perfect high blood pressure. My doctor once said to me, “You could be falling apart Lauren, yet your blood pressure is always perfect.” I think it’s because I laugh, I certainly don’t let things get to me as they used to. I laugh every single day, and even when I’m sad, my friends always make sure I laugh or giggle.

Lesson 3 – Simplify your friendship circle

I always grew up believing that if you had a big gang of friends, it made you popular and you were worth something. I felt like a failure at school because I only had four friends that I was really close to (until sixth year and I made more friendships) but a simple friendship circle if all you need. I am still friends with the girls I first met at my school. Even ten years on. So grateful and thankful.

Lesson 4 – Appreciate what you have instead complaining what you don’t have.

I think this is the most important lesson for myself, if anything. I started thanking the universe or ‘god’ whatever you wish to call the creator of the world. I always say 5 things I’m grateful for. (My family, my friends, the fact I have a job, the fact I’m alive, the fact I’m breathing) and it really opens your eyes. Some people in this world are fighting for survival, little young kids that should be enjoying life instead of fearing it. Be grateful for the water you have, for the pets and humans that love you, be grateful you have a warm bed. It is the little things that can make you realise that you are better off than some people in this world.

Lesson 5 – Education. Get as much education as you can. Don’t be ignorant in this world.

I have always loved school. I would still be at school right now if I was able to. I am also thankful that I have the experience of education. Observe the world more, be more open minded to things that you wouldn’t normally would. Don’t be ignorant to the world’s problems. You, as an individual can really change the world with your opinions and thoughts. My ultimate dream would be able to get a PhD in Psychology, but I would also love to open my own clinic. Never stop learning. Explore new things in education. I never studied psychology in my life until now. It’s been the most eye opening subject I have studied. It explains people’s behaviour, their attitudes, the influences around them. (I’m using some terms that is included in my essay.) Just go, and learn!

Lesson 6 – Look forward to the future

Looking forward to the future is not a scary thing. It should be exciting and thrilling what is waiting you. I am so excited for my future. I cannot wait to graduate. I can’t wait to progress my psychology career into something that I could potentially help a lot of people, especially in the area of mental health. It’s what I’ve always dream of.

Lesson 7 – Focus on Now.

Do that essay. Watch that motivational video. Do not focus on the past, nor worry about the future. Today is what is important, focus on today. Just get the work done and you won’t have to regret anything in your life when you raise your children, focus on today.

Lesson 8 – Nourish Your Body & Others.

Self care at night. Take a hot shower at night. Read your favourite book, watch your favourite film or tv series. Laugh more with friends. Spend more time with families. Learn more about yourself. Moisture your skin, get a nice tan in the sun, offer the elderly a helping hand when they are getting the bus. It will make you feel good, and you will become a better person for it.

Lesson 9 – Exercise More

Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins equals happiness. Happiness helps your blood pressure. Managed blood pressure makes your heart happy. Need I say more?

Goodbye Stomach Bloat!
1st May 2018 and 1st May 2019.
Look at my body!
2016 me during my school formal. 2019 in Quiz, Castlecourt, Belfast.
I look smoking!
My 18th and New Years Eve Dress 2018.
LOOK AT THAT WAIST!

2016 and 2019 me.

Look at that jaw line!

Lesson 10 – Redirection is not a bad thing.

If 2016 A-Level Results Day went my way, I would be graduating History from Ulster University. I don’t believe I would have been happy and I think I would have wasted three years on studying on something that it would get me nowhere that I want to be. I felt oddly calm, and even though I passed and Ulster University was going to let me in, I decided at age 18, I wasn’t ready yet. I am so glad I did wait. I went through my acne treatment, I started learning how to drive, I lost weight and truthfully I believe I would have potentially dropped out in first year towards the end, especially with my granny dying. It really does work out. I’m doing a degree, I’m working, I am so thankful the things happened the way it did, and I would never regret looking after my granny, because I would do it all over again. In a heartbeat.

Blogger Tag – The Social Media Book Tag

I have so many blog posts sitting in my drafts, I am keen to get my book review by Kathryn Croft finished. I am overwhelmed with the last of my assignments and essay dues for University. (I can’t believe how fast it has went already!) I was also nominated for the mystery blog award thanks to my non biological sister, Nicole. (I really recommend reading her blog which I will link to.) And I have decided to write the top 20 things I’ve learnt in my 20 years living on this planet, considering it’s my 21st birthday soon. I might as well dig deep before I dig deeper into my 20s ( which is an extremely terrifying thought, my brother turned 30 back in February and still has the mental age of an annoying six year old.) Anyhow, let’s get started!

Twitter

  1. What is your favourite book?

My favourite book. I have been reading since I was no age, basically. The earliest memory I have when I was reading was when I was age four in school, at the mat, reading. I have so many favourites, but my all time favourite book has to be Harry Potter. I have seen the movies about a million times, read the books a couple of hundred times, I have been to the London studio tour which is out of this world. It helped me gain confidence in my writing skills and really helped me advance in the world of literature. As in my previous blog posts, it helped me gain to the top of the level in my class pretty quickly.

Facebook

2. What is the name of a book you really enjoyed that was recommended by someone else?

The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I was recommended this book by Megan and Frankie. ( A little shoutout, girls!) They had seen my snapchat story when I bought the book and they eagerly said I would really enjoy this book. It took me a couple of days to read. It’s not a fictional novel as it’s based on the true story of Lale, the tattooist. It left my heart numb as I finished the book, as the author, Heather had actually met up with Lale and he told her this story how he met this beautiful woman in the midst of the horrors. It’s truly a good book, as I am currently writing a novel myself based on Nazi occupied France it gives me insight how many women, men and children suffered under these evil hands. I really enjoyed this book.

Pinterest

3. What is the name of a book you read before it became cool?

Game of Thrones series. I got the books back at Christmas 2014, but they are so long. Small print with small words along with 900+ pages. I believe the series had only started then, and I had finished reading the first book, I was reading the second book I believe but I’ve literally forgot where I’ve last read. I do plan to read them fully. I am too invested in the TV series at the moment, it would take me possibly a year to read them all.

Instagram #1 (My Personal Instagram)

4. What is the name of a book you don’t plan on re-reading?

The Double Life of Anna Day. I chucked that book in the bin, and I’ve decided that I am no longer going to read A Winter’s Flame. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to read it all, but I wasn’t feeling it much. At all.

Instagram #2 (My Fitness Instagram.)

5. What book do you own that has a gorgeous cover that won you over?

I have so many books and I’m trying to think quickly what has the most gorgeous cover. I have to settle with The Gypsy Madonna. Again, this was one of my favourite reads in 2018, it got me inspired and I wanted to read more and more. When my novel does eventually publish, I have this book to thank.

Snapchat ( yerawizardlau )

6. What book do you wish would be made into a movie?

One Day in December.

Oh my God. I bought this book for a £1 on iBooks. It was the most beautiful story I have ever read, it was frustrating, lovely, beautiful. I am so tempted to buy the actual book in Waterstones one day. It was a brilliant book and it definitely needs more recognition and a movie. It would be a Christmas hit.

WordPress Blog

7. What book characters that you wish you could talk to instead of just reading about?

Definitely Lale from The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I think we could all learn a lesson or two.

I would love to talk to Abi from The Night Olivia Fell. I admire her courage, her love for her daughter.

And definitely talk to Rose from While You Were Sleeping. Poor girl must have been traumatised!

Quora

8. What is the name of a book or books that you would recommend to everyone?

  • One Day in December
  • The Night of Olivia Fell
  • Harry Potter series
  • Game of Thrones
  • One Night in Italy
  • The Cry
  • City of Ghosts

I’ve ran out of ideas for social media

9. What is your favourite short story book?

Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl.

I would actually put Of Mice and Men in this list, but it was rather depressing and gloomy book. (Thank goodness I passed though!)

10. What book do you think needs more recognition?

  • One Day in December
  • The Cry
  • The Gypsy Madonna

That was super fun! (And took some time off thinking about my assignment. Cheers Nicole for the tag xx)

Embracing Your Passions

What is your passion?

Is it studying? Is it makeup? Is it going out with your mates every weekend and getting drunk, waking up on Sunday morning with a banging headache? Is it knitting, is it cleaning? A passion is something you love doing. I have had many passions over the years. My mum would always give me an art kit for Christmas and I would sit all weekend drawing, painting, sketching when I was little. I would often draw horses, I always wanted one. Every time I went to the graveyard, there would be horses on the other side. I always begged my dad to take me there and let me ride the horses.

As I got older, however, there were less painting and more books. If you can’t tell already, but I have an exquisite taste for books, again, influenced by my late grandmother. I remember so clearly we had reading activities at primary school, and since I wasn’t particularly good at anything else at this point, I would always get ahead of the books we were reading, asking my mum and granny what did this word meant, and how to pronounce it properly. I zoomed up quickly in English in primary school after that.

English will always be my favourite subject. Before I fell in love with History in my third year at secondary school, I would write these exciting stories, I would read in advance, I was an active writer back then. (I still am!) I’ve possibly read over hundreds of books. I love the worlds, you’re sucked in, and you can revisit as many times as you like. As I got older, my granny started telling me stories how she grew up during the Second World War and the celebrations when the Germans surrendered. I was quite isolated at school by my third year. I was with girls that had no interest in school, or they were bored easily by the subjects, my friends were in different form classes, so it also gave me a chance to discover what I like, and who I was as a person. This may seem lame to some, but I recall sitting by myself in History (not that I minded) and everyone else was huddled together in the opposite direction. In a way, I’m glad I wasn’t with the girls, mainly because I actually had a chance to study. It was quite pleasing when the teacher let me go first to leave the class. “Well, since Lauren is sitting by herself and has worked extremely well, she can go.” (I have to admit I was quite smug.)

“Isolation” at school was quite good. I wasn’t involved in any drama (although there was this one girl in my class that absolutely despised me that would make constant remarks about my weight or my eyebrows.) and I got on well with my teachers, I got to the point when I became friends with them and I could approach them shyly if I got stuck or if I needed help, but most of the time, I got on with the work. Plus, I always looked forward to break and lunch time, I was reunited with my friends and I was so happy there.

Dreaded talk of University started when I became upper sixth at my school. I was excited, and quite nervous. I would be the first one in the family to go to University, I was pretty much determined, although, when I look back at the seventeen year old Lauren, she misplaced her passions for a degree, instead of thinking what she really could do well in. It has took hard work, my loving passions for the subjects I loved at school, it took many hours and days out of my time to study for an exam, for every note I wrote for revision to get where I am today. Naturally, my mum was nervous for me, all her life she has protected people she has loved. A carer first for her father who had took a stroke then eventually, a carer for her mother who was terminally ill from cancer. I know she was anxious when I excitedly got offers, she was a gem during my a-level results in 2016.

“I’m really proud of you. You’ve done so well and I know you’re going to go far in life, but you need to think if History is really the path for you.”

WHAT WAS MY LIFE PASSION?

Her words really stuck with me that day when we got buns in celebrations of my results. But it was bugging me. I couldn’t figure out what that was. Many members of my family wanted me to go down the childcare route, which I didn’t want. I love babies, I love kids, I like children but I couldn’t see myself as that. I wanted to make a mark in people’s lives, I wanted to look upon when I eventually die and be remembered as a person who tried to make a difference.

Unfortunately, that thought had to be subsided. My granny’s health was going downhill, so quickly. I had to look after her, she was my priority. I couldn’t go to University and leave my mum of the responsibility of looking after an elderly woman, she had done so much for her father. It was out of love. For the both of them. Even when she had passed, I knew I wanted to back to education. After all, I didn’t go through the pain of A-Levels for nothing! It was too late to apply anywhere at that point, so I decided to do some research.

Psychology was in the midst of my subconscious. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t only a passion, but it was something I could pursue a career in. It gave me something to work hard towards to. I was working at this rate, and I knew I wasn’t quite ready to actually attend a University to sit in lectures and attend seminars. I was lost as to how I could actually do a degree, and working early mornings meant that the thoughts of a college class drained the life out of me, especially with maintaining my home and looking after my family. It was as if the universe gave me a sign, because after my question, I kept seeing ‘Open University’ everywhere. TVs, billboards, bus advertisements, so I decided to do research and I signed up. I have met the most amazing girls that I can trust with my life, especially my Northern Ireland squad.

(Little shout out to Nicole, Lucy and Lori!)

I still have my passions. Writing, reading, looking after my family, spending time with the ones I love, and going out now and again with my friends in town to make fun memories before we are all old and are in wheelchairs.

Even my mum has joined the new hobby hunt, she has recently started to knit. The death of my grandmother has hit our family incredibly hard. My mum was my granny’s carer, and when I left school at 18, I began to help as well. Passions helps you take your mind off things, and it’s expressing who you are as an individual, and as an aspiring therapist, I love to see individuality being expressed. Being yourself is quite scary and confiding in people your passions or secrets can be a scary thing. (I laugh because I remember a memory when I was 14, being laughed at by a girl in my class because I had a unicorn cover photo on my Facebook, yet unicorns are being sold every where in every shape and form.)

Sometimes passions are only passions. Even though I plan to publish a couple of books (and actually hope they become movies) I have to learnt to accept that my passion for writing isn’t going to be a secure income in the future. It’s always good to have a backup plan if you plan to be something ‘big’ in the future.

Passions are a big factor in your personality. But sometimes, it’s OK to keep your passions as passions, to not necessarily turn them into a career.

Dublin

Thursday 30th August, 2018. Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

What crosses your mind when you think of Dublin?

I know what I think. The tricolour flag, pints of Guinness, drunk Irish lads singing patriotic songs until they have lost their voice, green grass, and more importantly… a pot of gold!  I always wanted to go to the beautiful Irish capital, it’s always quite easy to get to considering I live in Belfast, a two-hour train journey. There was talk about going to the capital when I was in upper sixth in school, while I was studying A-Level history, and one of the modules was based on Irish History.

From the Easter Rising through to the War of Independence, it was a topic that I fell in love with. I didn’t appreciate the sources analysis homework that came in with the modules, however. We had planned to go as a class for a day trip with our history teachers, but that plan did not fold, unfortunately.

The Journey to Dublin 

It wasn’t until the 30th August 2018 that my really good friend Charlie invited me down for the day. He had came over from England for a trip, and I had met him through an A Level Sociology group chat back in early 2016, shortly prior until our exam and we became friends, so I was excited to meet him. I had enjoyed watching his trip on his story, but luckily enough I got paid that day and went to catch the train. It was nerve wrecking, if I’m honest. I was by myself, sitting in a seat with my book on the table while people sat beside each other, but I didn’t mind. As the train finally set off, I was amazed at the views when I eventually reached Newry, near the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The views were breath-taking. Even the weather was decent, even the houses were unbelievably beautiful. I couldn’t help but attempt to take pictures of the countryside. Eventually, I got a text from my network provider, O2 , to say that I have entered Ireland. I was so excited and a little terrified, if I’m honest. I grew up subconsciously fearing the Irish, giving the history of Northern Ireland. So naturally, when I seen Irish and English language above, I was like, “I’m in Ireland. I’m actually in Ireland!” 

Eventually, it was my stop to get off at Connolly Station. I put my book in my bag, and disposed of my snack rubbish. I had made myself a sandwich that morning and I brought a packet of crisps and a bottle of water. I was relieved that the weather was still decent, I never thought of bringing my umbrella as my hair tends to curl itself when it gets wet.

If I am honest, Dublin is similar to Belfast City Centre, it was weird. I felt at home, instantly, even though my home is in Northern Ireland. Even the Irish accents did not faze me, I continued to make my way to go to the Spar (which, by the way, are extremely fancy!) to wait on Charlie, but I spotted him and waved. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve met people from online, but it feel’s right, even though you may not see them everyday, but when you speak to them, it feels as though they are right beside you. And when you do see them again, it feels like yesterday.  

I had looked up train times for the last train, but I also wanted to make the last bus for 11pm, so I had to leave at 8pm at the latest, so I could run and get the bus. Annoyingly, Primark had burnt down a day or two ago before I went to Dublin, so the buses were diverted (and still are) and some of the areas of the city centre had been cut off, but I did not allow that to hinder my thoughts as me and Charlie made our way to catch the tram, to go to the Guinness warehouse. 

As me and Charlie talked away about my train down to Dublin and while he talked about the things he was most passionate about, I was trying to understand his accent and vice versa, we were jokingly teasing each other that we were saying ‘Primark’ wrong, and this debate lasted until we got off to walk to the Guinness Warehouse. Now, I was going to the gym religiously yet I was getting exhausted walking up hills, and I was, of course, joking about my level of fitness yet I was struggling to walk up a hill.  I can still recall the summer warmth on my skin as we made to the Guinness Storehouse, and I was impressed. I always seen it advertised on the TV, but I never expected to be actually here. 

After we paid in, I think we were looking forward on having a pint of Guinness at the end of the tour, but nevertheless, it was an enjoyable experience. It was an interesting fact that Guinness is simply coffee boiled up to 200 degrees, and we had a drink from a shot glass at one point of the tour. It reminded me of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, you could take your time and like any museum, it provided insight and history of Guinness. It was definitely worth the money, and I can only imagine my dad’s envious face as we eventually went to the bar that allowed participants of the tour (18 and over only, obviously!) to pull their own pints of Guinness for free, and drink it afterwards.

It never really crossed my mind whether or not I would like Guinness, I really enjoyed the company, the afternoon in a place that I always wanted to go to, I was having an absolute ball. Eventually, we got into the bar and we listened to the instructions and watched others have a go at pulling a pint. I didn’t expect to do mines perfectly, and we got a certificate. Like the Northern Irish would say, it was great craic. Inside wasn’t busy, so Charlie and I sat and watched the other group pull their own pints and take it away to sit at a table to drink their pint. It surprisingly tasted good, and we talked about university. I was then talking about my own goals for the rest of 2018, and now looking back, I am relieved to say that I have achieved all of them. 

I’m unsure whether or not if it was because I went to work that morning, starting at quarter to seven or the fact I did not eat much, but I felt tipsy. Now, I know I am a light-weight, but this was, admittedly, taking the mickey. Really, after one pint, I feel tipsy? I am absolutely doomed for house parties and dinner parties when I am older. I began laughing to myself at the thought of going back to the Connolly Station and not being allowed back on, and I don’t think my supervisors would appreciate me not weighing into work the next day, nor do I think my dad would be happy if he had to drive down to Dublin to come and get me. Besides, my phone battery was declining, so I couldn’t use it, as long as I got my train back to Belfast, I knew what bus to get, and if I had to walk it home, so be it. (I only live a 20 minute walk from Belfast city centre) 

After laughing about it to Charlie about being a lightweight, we decided to have another drink, so we went into the elevator but there was a couple of other people in with us, so, for some reason, I left on a wrong floor. Luckily enough, I had made it back to the elevator before I would have been lost. (Even right now, I am laughing about it.) We joked about this then we went into the top level of the Storehouse, but it was packed, and it would have been a while before we got served.

So, we decided to go somewhere to eat and to sober myself up. I could imagine the train inspector deciding I was too drunk to board (even though I was perfectly fine, even though my brain was in a bit of a buzz) I wanted to make sure I looked fine. (Honestly, I got on as if I downed a six glasses of  double vodka and redbull.) It was a comfortable looking little diner we entered,  something that Belfast definitely needs. I recall getting chips and some chicken, and some mayonnaise. At this point, Charlie and I were slowly understanding each other’s accents. I tend to talk super fast, and my accent is always deep and quick, so I had to remember that. But funnily enough, I kept forgetting. I was telling him what had been going on with me, explaining sloowwwly. sloowwwly Lauren. 

It was a shame that I couldn’t stay in Dublin any longer, but I had to make sure I got home alright. I hugged Charlie, and thanked him for inviting me down. Of course, we got a selfie. I entered the train station, but before I did, I turned around to catch another glimpse of Dublin.

Beautiful, peaceful and remarkable. 

It was the end of the summer nights, and as the train moved back to Belfast, even though I had my book on the table to read, the views were remarkable. It was shortly after 8pm by the time I got into Drogheda, the sun was setting in the horizon. Truly, the colours were amazingly beautiful. An utter of sadness washed over me, though, it was coming to the end of bright mornings and bright nights. 


Inside the Guinness Storehouse.
30th August, my journey to Dublin.
Craigavon – Moira.
Northern Ireland.
Journey to Dublin
Drogheda
Republic of Ireland
Journey to Dublin
Dublin, Donabate.
Republic of Ireland
Charlie’s and I pints.
Guinness Storehouse
Dublin
Republic of Ireland.

Book hangover – cured!

In my previous post, I was suffering a book hangover after reading two delicious, well plotted books. I realised after publishing that article which can be found here. I was trying to read my other books on my iPhone that were in my book library, but I was struggling to get into the plot. I realise I needed something to write similar both to Marian and Christine’s books.

Italy. Lucy Diamond featured this beautiful country in her book.

A book had kept popping up called One Night In Italy by Lucy Diamond. I had purchased this book on Thursday when I got paid. The book starts of with Anna, a journalist who is struggling in her industry, while her creepy and rather rude boyfriend, Pete is constantly scoring her sex performance in bed on a spreadsheet. All her life, she didn’t know who her father was or what her father was called. Until her grandmother blurbs ‘Gino’ out, who immediately thinks her father is called Gino. Immediately, she thinks her father is Italian and wants to find him. Next chapter begins with Catherine, a middle class housewife who is taking her twins Matthew and Emily to different Universities. Matthew, is off to Manchester and meanwhile, Emily is off to Liverpool. Both teenagers were keen to get rid of her mother, and Catherine, currently being emotionally dependent on them, is devastated. With plenty of spare time, she rushes home to her husband, Michael (Mike) who is a doctor at a hospital. Instead, she finds Mike and his mistress, Rebecca, in bed together. The following chapter follows Sophie, a travel enthusiasts, who refuses to settle down, is a barista in Italy, when she receives a phone call from her sister, Samantha that her father has took a heart attack, and she grabs the plane to Sheffield.

All women come together when Sophie gets a temporary teaching class, for an Italian course.

It was extremely interesting and I enjoyed how Lucy managed to rope them altogether, and the background of each character was interesting and captivating. I don’t wish to spoil what happens, but I think, truthfully, the title could have been called something else. ‘One Night In Italy’ happens towards the end of the novel with Anna travelling with her co-worker, Joe. (*wink wink*) Regardless, it was well thought out, well developed and I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially the man that captured Anna’s eyes! (All I can say to Pete: Good riddance!)

I have finished this book over two hours ago and I felt the wave of the book hangover hitting me again. I went on my Instagram and asked my friends if they had any suggestions of a good thriller / psychological book. Fortunately, I got some really good suggestions and added them onto my list. Even though I love reading romantic books and ‘chick flicks’ I do love a mystery. I recall reading Daddy’s Little Girl in a night, it was so good. Plus, I wish to discover a new genre that I’m not used to reading.

I looked through the ‘thriller / psychological’ section and tried to find a book that was within my price range, and I bought While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft. Not only did the cover capture me, but the whole vibe, and that she is apparently a best seller that drew me in. I’m currently three chapters in, already I am positive that I will suffer from a book hangover, but for now, it’s cured, and I will be sure to post an update on the book.