DRESSES AND FLOWERS – LOOKBOOK + VIDEO

I have really enjoyed exploring photography and videography a lot more in the last few months. I even started working as a freelance photographer – something I’ve always wanted to do but never thought I would – and added it to my Paula Melissa brand.

I am just so blessed to be surrounded by creative and supportive people who push me to keep learning. And also people I can collab and bounce ideas off.

So I went to my friend Sam with the idea of doing a dresses lookbook, as we enter the prom/ball season. He’s a talented photographer, videographer and graphic designer. One day after church we filmed some videos and took so pictures and ended up with this! I really enjoyed editing this video.

Enjoy!

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Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

 

 

Christian Feminist? Feminist Christian?

Can you be both? Are the two mutually exclusive?

As a Christian, we are often taught views about women that can come across as sexist or oppressive. Often these views are ‘legitimised’ by Bible scriptures so they aren’t questioned or opposed. On the other side of the spectrum, the media tells you that women can do whatever they want. You can see women in sectors, like tech, which were previously dubbed male-sectors.

I don’t know about you guys but sometimes it can be hard to find your balance as both a Christian and someone who believes men and women are equal. Some days I still get confused about this but this is my stance. You can be a Christian Feminist, and here’s why.

The Bible says; “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Galatians 3:28]

I believe men and women are equal and God intended them to be equal. Note: I’ve said equal and not the same. I do not think men and women were created to be the same, because if they were, God would have just made them the same. There would have been just one gender (or a non-gender). But just as our bodies are different, so are our functions. That does not mean we are not equally as important – we need each other. If for anything, to procreate and literally stopping the human race from dying out.

As sin entered the world (Genesis 1), men began to take everything a bit too far. Some men, some where along the line, took their physical strength and facial hair as a right for dominance. And begin to create the concept we now know as patriarchy.

I was reading the story of Esther in the Bible. It is a very interesting book and I would encourage all women and men to read it at least once in their lives. This book both inspires and frustrates me because there are so many things going on and just when you’ve decided that Esther is the heroine and Queen Vashti is the villain, you start to feel for Vashti.

Here’s a quick run down of the story: King Xerxes (also known as King Ahasuerus in Hebrew) was king of the Media and Persia region. He was having a banquet with his friends that had lasted for a week. They were eating and drinking merrily and the Bible says (Esther 1:8 ‘By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.‘ So basically everyone, especially the King, was very very drunk.

In his drunkness, King Xerxes called for his wife, Queen Vashti to come to the banqueting hall. Not because he wanted to discuss something very important with her. Not because she was vital to their decision making. Because she was pretty and he wanted his friends to look at her – literally sounds like some guys nowadays. (v10-11) ‘On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine,he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.’

Now I am not the type of woman to enjoy being paraded before a room full of very drunk men, so I understand her declining the offer. Here’s the problem: this bit is constantly preached as Vashti disobeying her husband. And that’s exactly what the men in the banqueting hall said to the King (v17:  For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’)

Yes she did disobey her husband, because his command was stupid and wrong. And just because he was her husband, does not mean she should obey a stupid and wrong command.

Of course we do not know Vashti’s reasons for declining – for all we know, she might have just wanted to embarrass the King. And of course it all worked out for Esther, her becoming Queen (Spoilers! Just read the book!). But I hate this idea that a woman should follow a man, whether her husband, father or brother, even if what they are saying or doing is wrong. Wrong is wrong – it does not matter who is doing it.

Until we stop hiding behind religion for the oppression of women, we cannot expect to have strong women, especially strong Christian women, in powerful places actually changing the world.

While I do believe in a structure where wives and husbands are submissive to each other, with the husband being the lead in the household (Ephesians 5:21-33), I do not believe in a oppressive structure where the woman is not allowed a voice, all in the name of being submissive. This is why I am grateful I grew up in a home that showed me that this is possible. My dad is very much the head of the household, but both him and my mum discuss and take decisions together. While they are one, through marriage, they still have their own ideas, views and thoughts that they can talk about freely, even if they ever opposing.

This is why I hate this idea of, you have to choose to be one: a Christian or a Feminist. Why do you have to choose? If you take being a Christian simply as someone who loves and follows Christ Jesus and take a Feminist simply as someone who wants equality for men and women, why can you not be both?

Of course there is more to Christianity and there is more to Feminism but in essence, they are not mutually exclusive. Until we stop hiding behind religion for the oppression of women, we cannot expect to have strong women, especially strong Christian women, in powerful places actually changing the world.

I deliberately missed out talking about the relationship between culture, Christianity and Feminism because that is a post for another day.

This post is obviously not to offend anyone, but to provoke thought. Please do comment (respectively) what you think – I’d like to hear from you!

 

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Stress is Not my Friend

As of now, I’ve handed in four out of five of my assignments due this month.  I submitted two group projects today and if that has taught me anything it’s I handle stress badly.

I am a really good team player – and that’s not me boasting! And I really do thrive under pressure. But being under pressure and being stressed are not the same things. When I am stressed, I feel like every little thing is out to annoy and frustrate me. I’ve always been like this but today reminded me, this is something I need to work on.

Since I’ve been on my fast, and spending more time with God (I know it has only been three days but honestly guys, it has been beautiful), He has exposed to me areas in my life that are far from perfect. Areas that I like to pretend don’t exist but He has shed a light on them and now I growing to be this woman He made me to be. And I am loving it (shoutout McDs!).

But today reminded me, I still have a way to go.

I started the day happy and prepared. By three o’clock, I had accepted that the five o’clock deadline would not be met. And with that acceptance, I lost all the joy I felt before. Stress drained me. I felt tired. I become a very down, very quiet and very very irritable. And in that state, I really cannot do anything.

I try and avoid being stressed. With the last few months being the busiest months of my life (second of uni is no joke!), I have done everything in my power to avoid stress and anxiety. And for the most part, I’ve been able to. But the thing wrong with that is it has been in my power. I have been reliant on my strength. As I write this I am beginning to understand, I do not have to be dependant on my own power and my own strength – especially because they can fail me. I can rely on God’s. I know it sounds super cheesy but it’s true.

As human, we all say and do things we wish we didn’t. We try to control all aspects of our lives, but we can’t. And maybe it is time to accept that because we can’t we should rely on Someone who actually can.

My friend Dan likes to remind me that I’m a control freak, and for the most part I am, but I really am starting to understand that I do not have the power, I do not have the strength to control everything. Just like how today our project was finished at 5:45 instead of 5pm and I could do nothing about it. My sulking and moodiness did not change the outcome, it did not make it finish any quicker, if anything it had the adverse effect.

Accepting this is not the same as accepting defeat or giving up – no, quite the opposite. It gives you the inspiration and motivation to work as hard as you can. But it also gives you the wisdom to realise when you’re at the end of the rope and invite God to take you the rest of the way.

The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” {1 Peter 5:7}

What else do I need??

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Drastic steps to growth

Sometimes getting to the next level, in whatever context, really requires you to do something drastic. 

Something a little different from what you would normally do. They say foolishness is doing the same thing each time and expecting a different result. I am starting to really understand that.

This year, 2017 and generally this academic year (Sept 2016- now), I have been going on and on about how I want to reach the next level with God. I want to really REALLY know Him. I want to love what He loves and hate what He hates. I want speak like Him, and act like Him. And while this is starting to sound like something out of the Jungle Book, I am deadly serious.

I have seen such growth in my life: emotionally, mentally, spiritually (and of course physically!) and that has always been something that has made me so proud of myself. But why should I be proud about reaching new levels – isn’t that exactly what life is about? A baby reaches milestones every single day. And while the parents may like to act like their baby is the smartest baby to ever set foot on the face of the Earth for taking five steps before falling, it’s not. That is just the next stage in that baby’s life.

I am at that next stage. I have almost finished my second year of university. I am about to start my year long placement (more on that in the next few posts – we thank God). And now, I am at the stage where I want to fall in love with the Lord.

I’ve been reading a Full: Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction by Asheritah Ciuciu (amazing book btw, book review is definitely pending) and learning more and more about how to find total satisfaction in God and in myself.

So I’ve now hit a crossroad where I have to be real with myself. Saying the same words and doing the same things will not create a new result. If I say I want to grow in God and grow in who He made me to be, I must take a step (in literal, practical faith) towards that.

So I made a list.

All good things start with writing a list.

I’ve written a list of practical things I can do, in a bid to shift my priorities to God and things of Him. The first thing (and the only thing on the list that I’ve done so far lool) is delete all social media. I know I speak of drastic actions and this does not sound like it is, but trust me it is. If you know me, you’ll know how much social media means to me. I means a lot. Too much. And taking a break from it (a proper break, not those silly three-day social media fasts I go on quite often that don’t do anything at all) for however long I feel led to, is one way to reconnect to God.

I am excited to share this journey with you guys. As this blog turns FIVE (How crazy is it that a quarter of my life is on this blog?!!) I will get to share with you all some grown-up truths as I learn them myself.

The site title says Paula Melissa: Here to Inspire. All I have ever wanted to do, with my blog, my YouTube channel, my life, is inspire people. But it is now time for me to find my source of Inspiration. And to hopefully to inspire you to look to Him too.

Peace&Love… and growth!

Paula Melissa xx

Motivating While Unmotivated – Guest Blogger: Leonie Mills

If you have ever been in this position, you’ll know how hard it is.

Being in a position of leadership or being responsible for other people is never easy. But what happens when the success or failure of something rests and you and your vim is in the minus region. When procrastination affects other people it can be a lot of pressure.

It has basically taken me 5 months to write this because I was struggling with this. But if I wrote it during, it would have been a page of me airing my complaints and struggles with no conclusion. Sometimes hindsight and reflection is needed in order to write something to completion.

Let me set the scene.

I over stretched myself in final year, took on too many responsibilities, too many projects, just too many things. I basically used all my energy in first semester, I was finished by December. Imagine running 1000m with hurdles and 50kg on your back, then when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it starts to rain, just for effect. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and I sprinted 100m out of a 1000m race and collapsed at the 400m mark.

When morale across the whole team is down, things are starting to slack and the tasks are piling on. How does one push through and get the job done?

Motivation is temporary

Nobody is motivated all the time, if someone says they are, they are lying…

Accepting that motivation can come and go is necessary. It is not every day we will wake up rearing to go. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we are doing something, what the end goal is. It is not everything that we are doing that we are passionate about, maybe it is a means to an end. Nonetheless you have to get through it. Focusing on the end goal can give you that extra push you need.

Me after 4 days of doing no work when I have a deadline the next week: I just have to ask myself ‘Do you want to graduate?’

DIY < Outsourcing 

When my mum asks me to look for something and I can’t find it she says, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself’.

I applied this same logic to everything I do and it is not the way forward. I am in a group/team, yet I will do most things because ‘no one can execute what I have in mind’ – false. Learning how to delegate and share responsibilities is key as it allows people to rise to the occasion. Sometimes I think no one can do what I do, but I have just never given anyone the chance to prove themselves. We all need a break to recuperate, so if you can shift a few responsibilities that are weighing you down, do so.

There is a chance that you will ask someone to do something and they won’t do it to the standard that you want and you will have to fix their mess and it may cause more stress, but that’s a chance you have to be willing to take. Let’s just be honest, let’s just be real.

Force it

You have to pray, plan then preserve.

Self-care is very important and taking the time to rest and relax will have you working at your most productive. However, sometimes we do not have that luxury, there are time constraints and deadlines in place that you just have to force it and rest later. I only say this for short periods of time. This is not a tip for life, you will die early. Like, if you have a busy weekend, but you know you can rest on Monday or even a busy week but you can chill on Sunday. Do not be forcing it for a whole month, your health is important.

Be carried

The major key.

Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Isaiah 40:31: But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

You should rely on God all of the time but the times when the road ahead is looking like a MYTH, you have to remind yourself that Jesus is there to carry you. I look back at what I have been able to overcome and achieve and I know it is only God. In my own strength I probably would have just neglected all responsibilities after December (I came to uni for a degree not ‘everything else’ soooo…) There is a divine intervention of strength at certain points that you can only attribute to God. Try and do things in your own strength and you may achieve an okay result, but with God it would have been amazing.


Being a leader is not easy and sometimes we really do put on a mask for the ‘greater good’ of the people we lead. There is a difference between putting aside your troubles in order for it not to affect the people we lead and constantly not dealing with problems while leading.

To conclude, rest but do not give up and rely on God for wisdom and strength to push through.

– Leonie Mills, Editor of thoughtsofalionessblog.wordpress.com and Founder of debonoire.com.

 

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

HOW TO: CREATE AND SUSTAIN YOUR OWN SOCIAL MEDIA BRAND

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Two of my friends asked me for some advice about starting online projects. It made me realise that over the years I have gathered some tips and tricks and I am the type of person to share my knowledge, no matter how limited.

Firstly, I’m going to blow my trumpet a little and tell you all why I am qualified to be giving out this kind of advice. This blog, this very blog you’re reading, is five years old this summer. I have been in the YouTube world for just over three years. I have been ‘online’ since 2010 and pretty much have an account on every social media network worth pursuing. I’ve worked with lots of different brands and groups, on both sponsored and non-sponsored content. And the icing on the cake is that I study Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield, so I basically get taught all this stuff too!


People, Faces, Names

People react more to people. A lot of the time, when someone is trying to use social media to promote their business or brand, they are reluctant to promote themselves. While the business or brand is the thing actually making you money, you, as a person, is the thing attracting people to that business. You are the face of your brand. People are not only investing into your products and services, they are investing in you because they believe in you.

Linking this to social media, you will need to create social media accounts for your brand/business/service but also for yourself. You need to establish a personality for yourself and a separate one for your business.

People like to see the face behind a brand but they also appreciate the differentiation between the two.


Online Personality

Continuing on from the last point, you need to create online personalities for both yourself and your brand. When we were younger on the internet, parents, teachers and the government would constantly warn us of the dangers of the internet. “Don’t use your real name!” “Don’t tell people about yourself!” “Don’t say where you live!” and to be honest, they were right. The internet was uncharted territory then and everyone was weary of it. Nowadays, we can be open, while still being careful.

Some people go down the whole pseudonym route and will create a whole persona for being online. Many of the first ‘YouTubers’ and bloggers did that – y’all didn’t think Zoella was her real name, right??

On the other side of the spectrum are people who really blossom because of how open they are about their lives. We’ve watched my girl, Patricia Bright get married, have her first baby, move into her own house, and all the while felt like we’ve been on the journey with her!

Both of these, or even a mixture of the two, can be effective and have their pros and cons. Find the balance that works for you. Using myself as an example, I am fairly open – I say where I go to Uni and share a fair amount about my life. But I go by Paula Melissa and not my actual surname and withhold a lot of details.

That’s my balance. Find yours.


Formally Known As

Continuing (my GCSE English Language and Literature teacher would be so proud of my structuring here because they’re all linking and flowing), you need to decide what tone of voice you’ll have on your social media.

  • Will you be formal and only use it for business and networking?
  • Will you be totally informal and write like you’re speaking to your friends?

Again, both have their perks but also their qualms. Here’s where I slot my opinion – a mixture of both is needed!

When I started to work on my Paula Melissa brand, I consciously decided to change the way I tweet and post. I could not be writing in slang (Lord forgive me for ever writing like this in the first place: “yo wuu2 b??xxx” *gags*) and expect brands and companies I wanted to work with to take me seriously.

But at the same time, the USP (unique selling point – GCSE Business Studies, come throughhhh) is that my brand is based around me. My bubbly, friendly personality is my brand and potential clients need to get that through my online presence. So again, it is a balancing act. You can tweet about things that interest you and retweet funny videos of cats singing all while still tweeting updates about your products/business/content professionally.

Find your voice and showcase it, unashamedly.


#TEAMFOLLOWBACK

The title of this section is paying homage to an old-school trend on Twitter – if you know, you know;)

It is important to learn who to follow/contact when starting your brand. This is obviously specific to what online project you are creating. For example; starting a YouTube channel. Subscribe to other people creating similar content to what you’d like to make. Drop some genuine comments (oh, and by the way, we can tell when a comment is genuine and when it is just there to get me to sub back. Girl bye.)

On Twitter and Instagram, follow people posting similar things to you or in the field you want to be in. In terms of using social media to networking and find jobs, I’ve done a detailed post here.

The gist of it is, do not be afraid to contact people. Message them. Tweet them. Most of the time, people want to talk to you.


Which One’s Right?

Lastly, I want to talk about which social media network is the best for you.

When I started and in the first few years, I took the ‘bull in a china shop’ approach, meaning I just made every single social media network I could. I was hilarious. I struggled to update them all often and some of them where completely pointless for a teenage girl from London to be on at the time…

Social media can be so powerful if used right. People connect with brands and opportunities, get jobs and placements and can become self-employed through it.

TWITTER – Pros: instant interaction with audience, wide demographic of people (age, gender, race, class, geographical audience), Cons: can often be hard to get a following immediately, can be hard to stand out from people doing similar things

Twitter can be used to find your audience (people who will buy your product/watch your videos/care about your brand) and promote yourself to them. I would not limit Twitter to a specific sector – it is definitely one I would say can be vital.

INSTAGRAM – Pros: Visually displays products and creates strong brand visibility, wide demographic of millennials, Cons: not very useful for people selling a service that isn’t visual, harder to reach certain demographic e.g. older generation, people in ‘developing’ countries

If you are creating something visual, like a YouTube channel, blog, product, IG is for you. Visual services e.g. hair styling and make-up artists, also work every well on IG as people like to scroll through pictures of what you’ve done before. If it is a service like consultancy or news-gathering, Insta may not be the best, although I have seen some brand making it work, so don’t quote me.

FACEBOOK – Pros: Most used social media network, wide demographic of users, especially globally, Cons: can be rigid, ineffective in sharing options, younger generations using less

The power of Facebook cannot be overlooked, as much as I (secretly) hate it. A large percentage of the world is on Facebook so you can reach such a wide audience, especially if your business is transnational. I would say be careful about privacy settings though or you will get random people adding you and seeing all your details. I made a separate Facebook page for Paula Melissa – the brand try and avoid this.

Also, Facebook and YouTube are now apparently rivals so if you are creating videos I would recommend making short versions (with subtitles as lots of Facebook videos play without sound) to upload directly to Facebook. Sharing YouTube links onto Facebook does not work as well anymore.

SNAPCHAT – Pros: Useful in creating a personal rapport with audience, effective for bloggers and vloggers who’s brands revolve around themselves, Cons: very limited demographic (only people who have actually added you so often just friends and family), mainly young people – ineffective in translating that to sales/money

Here’s my opinion again, I would avoid Snapchat as a form of social media branding. It just will not grow your brand as effectively as the others will. Of course, use it to promote your stuff to your friends and family – to let them know a new post video is out – but it is quite an inward facing platform.

Personally, I do not give out my snapchat as freely as I do Twitter and Instagram. I use it randomly vlog my day and share my spontaneous adventures etc. It is not one I’d use to find clients and brands – although it is looking like this may change too, with the addition of ads.

OTHERS: LinkedIn, YouTube, Soundcloud, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress etc

There are loads more social media platforms, all effective in some ways.

YouTube is obviously the best video platform but do not forget that all of the top four above can use video too. WordPress is the best blogging/content sharing platform (Yes I am biased but I’ve used others so whatevs) but don’t forget Facebook can take a large amount of text on its statuses. Twitter and Instagram have many blogging/content creator groups. Pinterest and Tumblr can be great for finding inspiration and designs – visuals that you can share on Instagram.

Don’t forget – Social media is powerful.

I hope this has been helpful. I am happy to help further – contact me. Make sure you connect with me!

Ya girl, Paula Melissa xx

Five Days of Tears and Restoration

I cried five days in a row. Not for anything bad, but just because I could not physically fathom how amazing God is.

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Pictures by Sam

Last week, I went to Wales for the weekend, with my friends from my fellowship RY Sheffield. This wasn’t a cheeky getaway, as much as we did have fun, it was a retreat. It was time to get off social media and the internet. Get away from uni work. And focus totally on God. I was truly blessed that weekend.

Everyone kept saying “come expectant” but I don’t think I really did. I just asked God to reveal Himself to me. He did one better – He revealed Himself to me and also revealed me to me.

I learnt so much about myself. And it was the first time, in a long long time, that I really realised how much GRACE and MERCY I have experienced from God in my life.

So why did I cry for 5 days…

Well, it starts with me finally coming to terms with the fact that I’m an emotional person. Or should I say an emotive person? Because I am not irrationally moved by emotions (most of the time!). I just mean that I usually feel emotions passionately. I’m not a passive ‘feeler’ – if that makes sense.

These five days God used my emotions to convey to me how vulnerable and transparent I need to be both with Him and myself. He’s all knowing so He knows it all already, but He WANTS me to come before Him. He wants me to release every single thing into his hand. William McDowell (sidenote; as I write this post, lots of my friends are in Birmingham at his concert. I’m super jel) has a song called Withholding Nothing and that’s the mindset I need to have. Releasing every single thing – the good and the bad.

I don’t enjoy crying, I don’t think any sane person does. But the thing about crying, you always feel lighter afterwards (and always feel like taking a nap lol). God has spoken to me through different people, each of these five days.

I have never felt so good after crying as I do now. Because the Bible literally says weeping may happen in the night but joy comes in the morning and this makes me hopeful for the super joyful morning that is coming v v soon!

And the award for the worst crying face goes to...
And the award for the worst crying face goes to…

Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa xx

CAMERAS AND COACHES

Welcome to February 2017!

We’re only a week in and I already know this is going to be a super blessed month, with lots of opportunities for us to grab!

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MLM (IG: _ManLikeMike)

On the first of Feb, I was in Birmingham filming with and interviewing Chelsea Monye, who is  the CEO and Founder of The Esquire Network. My friend, Layomi came along with me to help with filming and we had such a great day in Birmingham. A post and video will be released later this month, so look out for it! I took the opportunity to catch up with my friend Yemisi, who is the founder of Lively Stones!

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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)
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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)
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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)

The next day, Thursday 2, I went to London for the day to attend a YouTube Space London Open House event! I had so much fun, with my fellow YouTuber friend Micheal, meeting lots of other YouTubers and online content creators!

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MLM (IG: _ManLikeMike)

Misha B, former X-Factor finalist, was the special guest performer of the night. I absolutely LUV HERRR so of course I was fangirling, especially when she hugged me. I took the opportunity to do some photography, and took a few snaps of Queen Misha.

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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)
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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)
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PMP – (IG: PaulaMelissaPhotography)

Okay so this post was not her to boast that I’ve had an amazing week, which I have. It is to explain how I can afford to keep up my travel and filming habits – I am a university student without a full time job, after all!

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MLM (IG: _ManLikeMike)

Firstly, while I’m not the best at budgeting, I always make sure I have enough in my everyday-use bank account for rent, transport, uni related expenses and of course food. When that’s all sorted, I look at my ‘spare’ money.

When I first started university, I was so reluctant to spend a single pound. My mum let me know that it was unhealthy to look at money as something that is ‘too’ precious to spend, even when I needed to. Obviously spending needs to be controlled, but allow yourself to buy things that you want. Money is just a ‘thing’, and like any other things in this world, it has a purpose. It is not to be stared at and admired, it is to be spent in the exchange of products and services. That’s how it works in our capitalist society (channelling my inner Leonie tbh).

A lot of people spend their ‘spare’ money on clothes, make-up or nights out. I don’t, lol. Most of my money is spent on food, travelling around the UK and filming equipment.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve treated myself to a new vlogging camera (which is swiftly returned because it was utter rubbish, be careful when buying compact cameras because the filming quality is very close to filming on those slide up Samsung’s from 2008, you’ve been warned..), a new tripod, a flashgun and an extra battery for my camera. I’ve travelled on about 4 different coach journeys and 2 train journeys and I’m planning trips to London and Littlehampton (near Brighton) this week. I love it.

But HOW do I afford this?

Well, I’ve changed my eating habits which has changed how much I spend. I eat a lot more veggies and pasta dishes which means I rarely eat out or buy food on the go. I bring a pack lunch to work on Tuesdays and go home for lunch when I can. I meal prep (chop up veggies and meat in preparation to quickly cook later on in the week and keep them in the fridge) which means I’m less likely to be lazy and just order a pizza!

The main thing for saving money when travelling nationwide – 16-25 railcard. I travel to London all of the time (it’s home<3) so having a railcard allows train tickets to be significantly reduced in price. If you’re a student and you’re between 16-25 and you don’t own a railcard – what u doing????

The next step is taking a coach instead of trains. Coach journeys are considerably cheaper than trains, especially if you take a Megabus over National Express, however they do take almost double the time a train would. A train from Sheffield to London would be a little over 2 hours – coach took 4. Not ideal.

Megabuses are the bane of my existence – they’re usually late, packed out and either suffocatingly hot or bitterly cold. But they’re cheap and meant I went to Birmingham and back for £6.75 and to London and back for £7 so I AM NOT COMPLAINING.

Hope you’re having a blessed 2017 so far! The plan is for us to all succeed together 😉 so go out and get your own!

MLM (IG: _ManLikeMike)
MLM (IG: _ManLikeMike)

Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa xx

YOU DO TOO MUCH!!

I enjoy working.

I like starting a project with the vision of what it could become in the future.

I like feeling fulfilled doing media projects, whether that’s blogging, filming, YouTube or photography. That is where I ‘find’ myself.

My friends LOVE to tell me, “Paula, you do too much!!” to which I laugh and continue anyway. If you love something you’ll find time to do it. You might not have time, but you will FIND time.

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That has basically been what I’ve done with this blog and with my YouTube channel. It can be hard to find time, especially considering I’ve been in the education industry all my life, but I make time because I love what I do.

That thing that people tell you that you’re doing too much, that may be your passion. Keep ‘doing too much’ girl (or boy loool we an inclusive space over here!) because some people are out there looking for anything to give them a sense of purpose. No shade, no tea. 

Of course, this post is not to say, run yourself to the ground. Rest is so so so important. This is just to say, try and give the best quality products or services you can in what ever sector you find yourself in!

If there is one thing that I plan to implement this year (It’s still Jan so new years resolutions are still a thingggg, idc) is a spirit of excellence. No more half-hearted work! That’s not to say unattainable perfection, it is to say that I willlllll be proud of every single thing I produce. Every post, every video, every photo.

You should try it too 😉

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Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa xx

So this is what freedom tastes like?? I like it.

Guys, I think I manage to forget how stressful exams are every single time. Like, stress. But as I write this post, I AM EXAM FREEEEE – until the next exam period but let’s not let that ruin this moment;)

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All photography in this shoot is by my friend, Layomi

If you’re close to me, you’ll know how tiring this exam period has been for me but also you’ll know how blessed I have been feeling too. It’s kind of confusing lool but this stressful period is also the time I searched and found myself and God the most! I think I, every so slightly, enjoy stress (judge me, I’m judging myself too tbh). You know what they say though, stress creates diamonds (AND IF THE SHOE FITSSSS, WEAR IT!)

On my wall, in my room in my house at Uni, I have a pyramid of post-it notes on my wall with goals I have set for myself. They’re a mixture of long term and short term things like make my parents proud, be on TV/ have my own show and  finish reading my Bible. Having them visually on my wall has been SO motivating for me.

I can be temperate (or so I’ve been told), meaning my feelings and action fluctuate A LOT. I go from super confident to doubting every single thing I have ever believed. I used to have lots of pictures of my family and friends on my wall. Some where along the line they were taken down and replaced with an exam timetable. My wall is basically a visual representation of my mind at a time. Well… through all of that, unpredictable moods and feelings and thoughts, God and that pyramid of post it notes have been my only constants. 

I feel so so so relieved now because I feel like the next stage of my life is now beginning. Yes dramatic, but then again, what else do you expect from me. I feel like it’s new year all over again, never mind that January is coming to an end looool.

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Guys, 2017 is going to be a fun one of learning and growing for me. Let’s learn and grow together!!

Sidenote: literally loving this hat. Found it in my closet after doing a clear out and reshuffle of my room (another visual representation of my mind lol) even though I’ve had it for years. From Topshop, in case you wondered!

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Peace & Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa xx

Nice guys and girls don’t win??

I’ve always wondered why people say nice guys (and girls) don’t win. Why is that? Why do we believe that?

Forget bag for life, I am a friend for life.

I strongly value nice people. This is a post is a shoutout to you guys, keep doing you, boo! Please do not let anyone let you think that being nice is equal to being weak. It is really not! It takes the strongest person to remain nice and sweet when life can continually be incredibly bitter. Do not let people look down on you or walk all over you just because you’re a nice person. You can be gentle but firm. Nice but smart. 

The connotations of being a nice genuine person also meaning you’re a doormat is something I strongly dislike. I was brought up to always want to help people. If it is in my capacity, why not help someone out. My mum would always say this to me, and I’ve grown up with it instilled in me. Forget bag for life, I am a friend for life.

I’ll always be there for you if I can. Of course, over time, people learnt this about me and they thought they could take advantage of me. I love that I can now laugh at this, but at the time, trying to balance caring about other people but also being a little selfish about my own needs was something I struggled with. Sometimes I still do.

But one thing God has revealed to me a lot recently (GUYS, we’re only a few weeks into 2017 and I have learnt SO much already. God is so good.) is that while people may repay your positivity with negitivity, your kind words with harsh words, you will ALWAYS have the last laugh. Always. And I don’t mean that in a malicious way but in a content way.

This year already, I have seen so many opportunities (I can’t wait to share some with you guys reallllllyyyy soon) that have only come my way because people remembered me. I may not have been the smartest, most qualified for the job or whatever, but they remembered me as a nice, genuine person and chose to give it to me. And I thank God for that!

This is not to boast that I am such an amazing person, because I’m really not. This is not to say I am a super nice person ALL OF THE TIME because I’m really not (ask my housemates, they’ll tell you). This is just to say that I live a life where I constantly think, how would I like to be treated, then treat people that way. Also, it is the fact that I see everyone as Children of God. I must treat them right, especially as someone who claims to know Jesus, the ‘nicest’ guy who ever lived.

 

Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa x

KEEP SENDING THOSE EMAILS! – How to Network in this Digital Age (Tips & Tricks)

Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working hard and keep knocking on the door.

As a journalism student, who is constantly being told that our industry is ‘saturated’ and that you have to be the very best to get a job, you can be pushed either of two ways.

You can use the competition as motivation to work hard, study hard and grow to be the best. OR you can give up.

I have chosen to the first one, because I believe nothing worth getting comes easily. And if it does, abuse of it is inevitable because you do not fully understand its value.

I’ve know I want to be in the media industry for years! That’s probably why I started this blog nearly 5 years ago. But I had no contacts and was a complete novice as to how this whole media thing worked.

A few years later and I know a fair bit, thanks to hours of research, fantastic friends and amazing mentors.

So back to the reason for this post, I want to motivate you guys that are at a similar stage to where I was a few years ago or even where I am now. Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working hard and keep knocking on the door.

Find those people who inspire you in the industry and contact them. Twitter is great for this because you can literally tweet them (or even DM them) and ask for an email address. So far, most people I have asked have said yes and given me their email. Tell them to look out for an email from you and then message them again when you’ve sent the email. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel annoying and pushy, but sometimes you really have to be. These people need to remember you, so let yourself be remembered as keen!

Try to go to industry networking events! Email is great and everything but NOTHINGGGG beats speaking to people face to face. I am an extremely bubbly person. This can be very hard to bring across when I’m writing, especially when writing emails (it usually results in many many many redrafts lol) but once you meet me, you’ll get exactly what I’m like. It is a lot easier to make a lasting impression on people when you meet them at networking events. So carry yourself gracefully and do not be scared to just walk up to them and talk to them. Networking events are only places that that kind of thing is okay!!! I met my mentor at a RTS masterclass and as soon as she finished speaking on stage I ran up to her and introduced myself. She said I was the only person who had the guts to go up to her and talk to her and on the spot she gave me her email and offered to mentor me! BE FEARLESS! Put yourself out there. The worst they can do is say no.

Speaking of mentors, they are SO important. Walk in the footprints of giants. Learn from those who have done it before you and longer than you. Listen to them and learn from their mistakes so you do not have to make them. Mentors can also point you towards people you can connect with and grow from.

Speaking of connecting (wow, all these links.. someone would think I planned this lol), LinkedIn and Twitter are your best friends from this day forth. If you want to work in the media or business industries and you’re not on LinkedIn AND Twitter, what are you doing b? Get on them now (and follow me while you’re there)! It kind of works as your online CV so make sure it looks good and professional!

Let’s go on to the ole curriculum vitae! Everyone has a different way of writing CVs but here are a few tips I’ve been taught, and they seem to work so far. You either have to keep it to 1 page or 2 full pages. No 1 and a half pages. And most definitely nothing more than 2 pages, unless you’re Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or it’s an Academic CV (for postgraduate courses etc.) Keep the design simple and chic, there are loads of templates online so have a look at them. Also another cheeky lil tip I’ve picked up along the way, save your CV in pdf form as well as as a document. This keeps the formatting of it, especially if the person you email it (and tbh you will be using your CV more online than working around shops handing them out) to does not have Microsoft Word or downloads it to Google Drive (Oh gosh, have I mentioned how Google Drive, Gmail and Google Docs are your friends best friends RODs.. that’s another post for another day!).

What goes hand in hand with a CV – A Cover Letter! If you didn’t scream ‘cover letter’ at your laptop, phone, tablet or desktop because you don’t ever send cover letters, or in fact you don’t even know what a cover letter is, don’t worry, that was me literally this time last year. Ah, ignorance is bliss. But no longer. Cover letters are actually vital in saving people time. Bare in mind how long and detailed CVs are, cover letters help employers check if the CV is rubbish without having to go through it. In this lovely digital age, you usually attach this with your CV in the email or better still, type it out in the body of the email. Cover letters tend to still be in the format of a letter (especially if the company asked for it and you’re attaching it in an email). Make sure these do not go beyond 1 page. Make them short, concise and relevant to the business – they can actually tell if you just sent them a default one… they can tell. They can just sense it some how.

Lastly, I thought I’d leave you with some brilliant links that I’ve used to help me scout opportunities (from placements to volunteering to apprenticeships to networking events) –

Hope this post has helped and please do contact me if you have any questions (or even leave a comment)

Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa x

Hello, My Name is Paula and I’m Addicted to My Phone!!

Addicted. Addiction.

They are such ‘hard’ words but I’ve come to believe that in order to overcome – or at least begin to overcome – them you have to admit that they actual exist. So that’s my first step: I have a slight addiction to my phone and more specifically social media, messaging and generally scrolling.

You guys, I am not even exaggerating. The other day I caught myself scrolling through my emails, constantly refreshing my emails. Like… that’s not normal.

I always told myself that I did not have a problem with my phone, social media and all that stuff. But recently God has really been speaking to me about. More clearly that you can imagine. So clearly that the idea of it being a coincidence could not even cross my mind.

I would go on Twitter and see tweets. I would go my Bible app and see verses. I’d go on Facebook and see posts. I’d speak to someone and they’d be like, “yeah I’m just on a social media fast, you know. It can be so addictive!” and my brain would just spontaneously combust, while I smiled and nodded in agreement.

This post is not to say that social media or my phone is bad. No. It’s to say the love of those things above God is bad. For me, it’s the constant longing to know what other people are doing, where they are going, who they are with and how much fun they seem to be having. It is the constant need to look like I got my ‘stuff’ together. It is the constant need to ‘update’ people with my life, people who probably do not care that much.

So here’s to spending more time away from my phone. Here’s to ignoring the inner longing to ‘quickly’ scroll on instagram and see how many likes my pic got. Here’s to growing my relationships with God, my family and friends instead of having people online like me lol!

Oh and I’ve just released that this is my first post of the year, so Happy (ever-so-slightly belated) New Year, my loves! I hope 2017 will be a great year for you, full of lessons and blessings!

2017, looking good 😉

Peace&Love.

Ya girl, Paula Melissa x