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

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

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

My 20th Birthday/Merry Christmas/ Happy New Year x

 

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The ‘sparkle’ of being away at university, with the independence and the fun and the excitement, finally wore off.

It’s been a while and I would love to come back with a fantastically elaborate reason behind why I suddenly fell off the side of the blogging cliff, but alas I simply do not have one. I got confused and busy but mainly confused. I was confused about what I am supposed to do, both generally and specifically. I’d love to come back here and tell you all that I’ve now got it all planned out but that is simply not the case. If anything, I think I am only now accepting that it is okay to be a little confused, a little unsure about things but I just cannot stop all together.

While I’ve been on my little hiatus, I learnt a lot. I have learnt about who I am as a person. About what makes me smile and laugh and what makes me cry and irritated. Ironically, some things (and some people) make me do both.

Today, the 20th of December 2016, is my 20th birthday.

I have officially been on this earth for two decades. Mad. Thank You, God for bringing me through life to this point.

I love having my birthday so close to the end of the year because it forces me to reflect on the many many many blessings I have experienced over the year. Two of my favourite phrases (and indeed favourite Instagram captions;)) are “blessings on blessings on blessings” and “too blessed to be stressed”. They are both super cheesy but they remind me of the importance of gratitude for both the little and big things in life.

As I enter 2017, I really want to enter focusing on appreciating God. This year has been a tough one. The ‘sparkle’ of being away at university, with the independence and the fun and the excitement, finally wore off. It took me a year, but I began to feel so dreadful and ridiculously homesick.

The last month particularly, I did not want to be there. I love my uni, I love my course, I love the people around me but I did not want to be there. At all. And every day I stayed in Sheffield, was another day I grew more and more sad. I don’t think I can even fully explain what has been happening over the last few months, because I do not fully understand it myself.

I am so grateful to God for the friends that really prayed for me at this time because even I was struggling to pray for myself.

I have learnt so much about the world but also about myself.

I don’t want to make this too long, even though I have so much to say. Please do watch this video where I outline 20 things I learnt before I turned 20 (and subscribe while you’re there;)! It will be such a blessing to me if everything I went through and learnt from, could help at least one person. Believe me, it is better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than go and make them yourself.

So as I leave you now, I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas, full of love and light. I want to wish you a happy new year, full of wisdom and prosperity.

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Peace&Love.

-PM xx

GATHERING OF QUEENS – WHY WE MUST REFER TO OURSELVES AS QUEENS

There is nothing better than being surrounded by beautiful (inside and out), strong, empowered women – all supporting and motivating each other.

– This is what is known as a Gathering of Queens.

Photography by MLM Visuals (manlikemike.com)
Photography by MLM (manlikemike.com)
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Gorgeous ladies; photography by Leonie

My uni’s African Affairs Network organised a social event they called ‘the Gathering of Queens’. I was instantly hooked and promised myself I would attend, if not for the fact that my friends were on the committee, for the name!

MLM Visuals, top is IGWE by Ifeanyi
MLM, top: KWENU by Ifeanyi

I am ALL for referring to myself as a Queen (big Q, always!) not because I believe I am the best or whatever prideful connotations you may or may not associate with the word. I love referring to myself as a Queen because it promotes the idea of seeing your self-worth and self-value. Too often nowadays, it is way too common for young girls and women to search for their worth. Why? Why should you search for your worth, when you were fearfully and wonderfully made?

Queening; photo by Leonie (AAN)
Queening; Leonie (AAN)
MLM Visuals
MLM, choker: ASOS

There is something incredibly precious and profound in knowing how valuable you are. But not only knowing it, actually displaying it. You were hand-crafted, delicately constructed and inside that porcelain mind of yours is something to offer this world. It is time we start viewing ourselves this way, instead of looking to other people and other things for that validation God gave us from birth.

MLM Visuals
MLM, headband: Primark

What do you need to do to become a Queen?

1 – Realise that you ARE one! Stop looking for someone else to tell you you’re a Queen; tell yourself.

2 – A Queen does not concern herself with trivial matters. She is not bothered by what people say about her. She is much too busy ruling and slaying. This is the mindset you need to have.

3 – Work, work, work, work, work, work! You can’t be a Queen without a kingdom or legacy. You can not sit there and expect things to be handed to you – Queens go out there and get things done!

4 – Surround yourself with a squad of Queens – that’s like-minded women, goal-oriented women. Women who will help grow you not tear you down before you even start.

MLM Visuals, Shoes: River Island
MLM, Shoes: River Island

This post is just here to remind you that you’re a queen, especially if you’d previously forgotten. But also, to remind you of your responsibilities, duties if you like, as a Queen to the world.

MLM Visuals, bag:
MLM Visuals; details of this bag are coming soon

Dear young Queen, please do not forget your worth. Please do not sell yourself short. Respect yourself, respect that beautiful mind, soul and body. Enrich yourself with positivity and arm yourself with knowledge. Feed yourself with love and wisdom, and be ready to share it with everyone you meet.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

DREAM NATION – I HAVE A DREAM 2016 CONFERENCE – & VLOG

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Dream Nation are all about empowering and education young creatives and business men and women. I have known about Dream Nation for a few years and have always wanted to attend one of their events. I am so glad that I have finally been able to attend one!

I also want to say a huge thank you to Tobi, one of the founders and editor-in-chief of Dream Nation, who encouraged me to vlog the night. Please do check out the vlog at the bottom of this post.

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I have the worst writing ever lol but of course, I took notes

It was an absolute privilege to attend the annual I Have A Dream conference! The evening was full of speakers and performances from some of the most inspiring, creative people I’ve ever met. The goal of the evening was to teach the attendees how to move from being an ordinary dreamer to a practical dreamer.

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Nissy Tee and I in full blown conversation

The night was hosted brilliantly by presenter and YouTuber, Nissy Tee who is an absolute sweetheart. It was lovely meeting someone who I’m subscribed to on YouTube and watch the videos of. I also met another YouTube (who I also happened to be a Subscriber of!) Adessy, who was so so lovely too. Small world!

Lorraine Wright teaching us about how to handle our finances
Lorraine Wright teaching us about how to handle our finances

The line up of speakers and panelists was absoluely crazy this year. From Pip Jamieson, founder of the creatives networking site, the Dots to Lorraine Wright, who has basically done it all in both the corporate and creative worlds.

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As well as these words of wisdom, the night opened with a powerful spoken word piece by Jolade and were blessed with by the soulful vocals of Barbella!

Barbella enchanting us with her soothing vocals

The only downside I can think of was that the event started about 45 minutes later than it was supposed to. This was a little problematic for me, living on the other side of London. I did have to leave early just to make sure I could get home, which was heartbreaking. But I am so grateful to my friend, Leonie who completed the vlog and continued taking pictures for me. The real MVPs.

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This event was a great opportunity to catch up with some of my friends that I had not seen since the end of uni! And also, a chance to network and make new, creative friends!

Photo creds - Leonie
Photo creds – Leonie

Thank you, Dream Nation, for arming me with knowledge and inspiring me to go out and make my dreams happen!

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx