Where I’m At Right Now.

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Recently I’ve been feeling really fed up. Continue reading

An Announcement.


This is a post I’ve started to write many, many times. It’s been through more drafts than any other I’ve written. I dabbled with writing the word “important” in the title, but that seemed vain, and I mulled over just mentioning this in a footnote of another post, but that seemed dismissive, and I even thought about not announcing this at all, but I’ve started to feel weirdly secretive. Continue reading


Frankfurt germany myzeil christmas market shopping winter wonderlandSeptember marks the end of beds. The fall of rain. The switch to darkness when I wander home from work, the start of lights on for motorways. The end of laughter down the hall and protein shakes in the kitchen. The sunglasses are out of my bag, instead replaced with an ever-present umbrella. I remember a younger me who came to relish September, the promise of fresh starts, breakfast in coffee shops. New pencilcases, walnuts in salads, poetry readings, looking forward to winter coat weather and frosty hands on playgrounds. I do not relish those things anymore.

This September is different. Journeying halfway across the world to solve a dilemma I do not fully understand. Sifting through my belongings and photographing them in the hope that some stranger may want them in their hands instead. Confronting the cold in my heart, the grit that has not really lodged since last November. The long game of scheduling when I would rather just write songs all day, songs I can not write because nobody wishes to hear. The pain sure to be stirred by the arrival of orange on the trees. Committing my frenzied, troubled thoughts to tape and airing my hard-won work to a discerning and unwilling audience. Worrying about fronting poorly-attended gigs. I’m restless, and there seems to be little left to come. Maybe this is the danger of living constantly in the moment, or just a comedown from summer, or just spiralling thoughts on a rainy Tuesday night whilst the boys move out.

How To Be Confident


Something a bit different today! This is the first post I’ve written that has been requested. I’ve found it a bit difficult to write, because I don’t really know how to become confident, I just am. I’ve rarely felt less than confident in myself and it’s only been in recent years I’ve become aware that not everybody else feels the same. As I’ve gotten older more and more people have told me how confident I am – which I’ve always found weird because it’s like saying “you’ve got such great elbows” in that it’s not something I notice or have ever practised.

I find it hard to differentiate confidence from self-esteem from liking your appearance – for me personally, they’re all different words for what is essentially just being happy. So in trying to write this post I asked a lot of people what makes them confident, because like I say, I wasn’t sure. The answers were bewildering to me – power poses, making eye contact, tree stance, repeating a confidence mantra to yourself, etc. If that helps you then great, but I have no idea about any of that stuff, so I’m just going to tell you the things that I think make me confident.

1. Like Yourself – This sounds ridiculous but I actually think a lot of people have aspects of themselves they don’t like. That’s pretty crucial. I like my friends, I like my job, I like the way I look and I like my voice and most of the time I like the way my brain works. You can’t change yourself.

2. Be Certain – I think essentially, being confident is being certain of yourself. Know your capabilities, reactions, likes and dislikes. I never feel unconfident because I know what I’m like, and I know I’ll be ok. I’ve weathered a lot of storms so I never worry that I won’t get through something – I’m certain of my coping mechanisms and my strengths. It’s important to also be certain of your weaknesses, so you can at least be confident in what you’re bad at. For example; I’m late to every social engagement ever but I know this about myself, and I know that my friends are understanding of this, and I know I’ll never be so late that our plans are ruined. So I’m confident that I’ll be ok.

3. Know That You’re At Your Best – This is an extension of the above point. If you know you’re at your absolute best you won’t doubt yourself. Whether that means being prepared or having a good nights sleep, it’s important! For example; I never feel unconfident when I go on stage to perform my songs because I know I’ve written the absolute best song that I could. If I’m not happy with the song I won’t do it.


4. Know Your Strengths and How You Operate – I genuinely believe that if everybody knew their strengths and worked to them we’d be in a much happier society! Stick to what suits you and you’ll have no reason to feel unconfident. Be as prepared as you can be – or trust in your abilities to wing it. And if you are in a situation where you’re completely ill-equipped then…

5. Laugh At Yourself – When it all goes wrong, you have to be able to laugh at yourself and forget it. You gave a crap presentation – forget it. I mess up constantly and I always, always laugh it off. As my friends say, I’m literally laugh-a-minute. It’s one of my favourite things about my life; every stupid thing I do turns into a constant stream of comedy.

6. Have Good Friends – One of my friends went out with the most unconfident person ever and eventually became plagued with neuroses and feeling unconfident too. Nobody ever sat in a circle of friends who they loved and respected, and thought “Wow, I feel so unconfident”. Friends make everything better. Get the best ones you can and surround yourself with them.

So there you go. Pretty basic stuff but maybe it might be interesting for some of you! I think of this as an expansion of my earlier post about being happy. If there’s anything you would add to this list, or any times it’s harder to be confident, then let me know – I’ve got a follow-up to this post planned discussing certain situations!
Next post will be back in Japan ft a new dress and a garden designed in the 1400s…

On Not Feeling Part Of The Sisterhood

Laila tapeparade red skirt floral jumper feminism womanhood sisterhood feeling a part of somethingYesterday was International Women’s Day. Amongst the articles celebrating women who broke the mould there were posts all over the place about how great it is to be a woman. Feminism is a hot, trendy issue and the supposed markers of womanhood seem to be everywhere.

Certain attributes seem to crop up more often than others. Wanting to make the most of your appearance. Playing around with the way you look. Harnessing your sexuality in order to get what you want. Having long, rambling friendships with other women. Getting catcalled on a daily basis. Life-long girlfriends who “get” you. Having the upper hand over boys by being alluring and mysterious. Hating your periods. Having days where you sit around and do nothing and imagine you look gross. Knowing how to be glamorous. Being simultaneously sexy and smart.

I would categorise the above markers as being different from the traditional stereotypes associated with women because these are the kinds of things women are saying to each other in an effort to bond and connect. I’ve seen these things on countless reports and articles – and more worryingly, on the blog posts of my peers. The prevalent message is “we’re all in this together because we all know what it’s like”. Statements like ‘Hey sister, period pains? I feel you’ or, ‘Ooh look, even *blah female celebrity* has those days in a sweatshirt with no make-up, she must be a real woman like us’ or ‘I was just having one of those days where I felt shit – you know when you can’t even look in the mirror’.Laila tapeparade red skirt floral jumper feminism womanhood sisterhood feeling a part of something I’m sure lots of people can read that list and nod along in renewed camaraderie. That’s great. However, anybody not covered in that self-constructed manifesto gets shoved out. I can’t even describe the number of times I’ve read a post supposedly celebrating all the best bits about being female – or alternately, reflecting on the trials of being a woman – and been left feeling like some weird alien who doesn’t get it. The bad parts must be awful, and the good parts must be great, and I’m happy and sad and conflicted for all the women who experience these good and bad things. But I can’t correlate my own life into that mix.

I end up feeling completely invalidated as a woman because none of those things apply to me. I actually feel more comfortable when people jokingly describe me as a “lad” or an “alpha male” because at least those words have some identifiable tropes I can connect with, rather than the self-perpetuated ideas I’m offered by my own gender. It’s ridiculous. There’s not one way to be a woman. I’ve tried to talk about this to other women in the past and I am primarily met with disbelief. “But everybody has those days” or “You must feel like that sometimes” and so on.

The message is that I’m either lying or weird; NOT feeling the same as everybody else isn’t an option. Other times I’m met with anger or disregard- “Well, you must be one of THOSE girls then” or “We can’t all be like that!”, followed by an abrupt pause in the conversation. I feel like shouting, one of what girls? What are you talking about? When was this secret code of womanhood created and why didn’t I get a copy? Laila tapeparade red skirt floral jumper feminism womanhood sisterhood feeling a part of something I’m all for equality. And if you want to specify further to gender equality, then I’m still all for that. Let’s fill this town with feminists. But let’s not use shallow generalisations to inspire a feeling of community and empathy with our fellow females. In our efforts to bond and rally round each other, let’s make sure we don’t fall into crass generalisations.

It’s never a good idea to speak on behalf of everyone. It’s ridiculous to imagine every female on the planet could feel the same as every other female and it’s stupid to think we all go through the same things. Let’s not use random made-up tropes to communicate with each other. Let’s just talk. Let’s not create empathy with things women are supposed to understand. Let’s just find common ground and empathise over that, on an individual level.

Let’s get over these universal signifiers to communicate with people and just BE PEOPLE. Let’s not ostracise (even accidentally) people who don’t fit the mould – let’s welcome everyone in. That’s what equality means. The great thing about equality is that you get to be whoever you are and it’s valid. You can be a woman without an opinion on menstruation, or a girl without girlfriends, or a tomboy who has never once harnessed her appearance, or a magical solider wielding a flamethrower mohawk, or whatever the hell you want, and it’s still valid. Let’s make that the marker of our sisterhood.Laila tapeparade red skirt floral jumper feminism womanhood sisterhood feeling a part of something

Personal Post: Losing Weight

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I’ve got quite an honest and wordy post for you today! I’ve been trying to lose weight since the start of this year and I’ve been finding it very hard. I’ve never tried to lose weight before and rarely study my appearance or my shape (beyond a general knowledge that I’m curvy). I don’t weigh myself, and I’ve tended to “feel” about the same height, weight and shape since about the age of 16 – I still have a lot of clothes from then that I wear regularly. I don’t do exercise or watch my calorie intake or anything; I’ve just always been around the same size.

After my best friend died in November, I found it very difficult to eat or sleep and I stopped going out as much. When I did eat it was at random times and often accompanied by an extra beer or slice of cake. As I got into my winter clothes, I noticed a lot were tighter, and I started feeling fatter, so I decided to weigh myself. I was shocked to see I was nearly 2 and a half stone heavier than when I last weighed myself (early 2012). 2 and a half stone! Whilst I can’t be sure, I think most of that weight was gained towards the end of 2014 because up until then I’d felt the same and all of my clothes still fit.

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I felt horrible. I’m aware there are a lot of fatshion blogs out there and a lot of people are proud to be overweight, and don’t get me wrong – that’s great for them. But for me, I have a number of family members who are overweight and obese, and I’ve seen the mobility problems, knee replacements, gastric bypasses, inability to travel, insecurity and depression that comes with it. I’m not saying those things are a given for every overweight person but it’s certainly a trend in my family, and it’s not a life I want.

I then read a few inspiring blog posts about people shedding the pounds just by adopting a healthier diet or taking up a fitness class. These people were surprised and happy at what eating healthily and walking more could achieve. These posts were universally written by people who (by their own admissions) ate a lot of burgers, meat, desserts etc and did little to no exercise as part of their weekly routine. I set off into the world of weight loss feeling initially inspired by these people – for about a week.

The problem is, I’m pretty healthy already! I soon realised none of the “magic” of “a few small changes” applied to me – on the whole I eat a healthy and balanced veg diet and I drink a hell of a lot of water. The thought of willingly engaging in exercise during my precious free time makes me feel sad, but I rack up about 8,000-12,000 steps on an average day running around between work and I do a lot of cycling – so I’m not exactly “sedentary”. This wasn’t the case in those first two months after I lost my friend, but I’ve returned to my usual way of life as of January and dropped a few (7) pounds going back to my normal schedule. That’s not much of a dent in two and a half stone! I couldn’t find any blogs by people who already led a healthy active lifestyle and had randomly gained weight they were then trying to shift.

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I then downloaded an app called MyFitnessPal which I have been using for the last 2 weeks (essentially you just write down everything you eat), as well as the NHS BMI tracker (confirmation that I’m overweight!). Progress is varied! Having to remember what I’ve eaten and write it all down is a bit of a faff but it’s made me curb myself a bit I guess? I’d love to say it’s making a big difference but progress is SLOW. I’m a hugely impatient person and it’s very frustrating feeling like not much is happening, especially when I feel surrounded by these miracle cases on other blog posts.

So, I thought I’d share this post – I apologise if it sounds grumpy but I guess I’m just finding it HARD and I couldn’t see anything reflecting that. If anybody has had any similar experiences or advice you’d be willing to share I’d be so appreciative! I’m really not the fitness type – I’d never go for a quick run if it meant losing a quick nap, but I do want to get back to my old self. So please, if any of this resonates with you then let me know – sharing is caring. And thanks for reading this behemoth! X

Losing Weight Is Hard Fitness Motivation Lack Of Exercise Fat Weight

On Fear

gloucester castle cathedral full moon nighttime blue midnight purplePeople often describe being fearless in the same breath as being foolish, or being reckless, or being young and ill-fated. I don’t think being fearless is the same as any of these. 

It’s not the same as being brave. Baring your soul in front of a stranger is brave, like asking somebody to listen to your song. Accepting that they will not listen is braver still. But going into the woods is not brave. It is fearless. I like the flash of mortality that accompanies fear; the sudden look down when you reach the top of the tree, the moment of adrenaline when you hit 100mph. The intake of breath and the smile to yourself; this is where the fear lives, except I do not fear it. If you move fast enough fear cannot take root.

Delving deep into the darkest corners of your soul. Or wilfully acting on every whim, on every fleeting desire, with no caution of consequence. That is the kind of fearless that I know. Undertaking things I know nothing about. Creating plans out of thin air. Will this risk pay off? Will he kiss me back? Going into the woods, unsure if you will return. Seeking the place where the wild things are. Poking the wolves with a stick.

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I have often been described of fearless. Fearless, and confident, and reckless, and impulsive. I don’t really know if I think I am any of these things, because I don’t really care; I just am the way I am. When I was younger I was probably ignorant of the things I should have been fearful off; a lifetime of being off with fairies has served me well. I suppose my fearlessness manifests itself in a childish way – a nothing-can-scare-me competitive type of fearless. Trying to outrun the world. Trying to prove that I am the fastest, or the bravest, or the strongest.

But I think now I am mostly fearless because I have so little to fear. I curated an entire concert exploring the psychology of fear, the survival instinct behind it, the methods of dealing with it. People talk about overcoming their fears only when they are laden with them; clowns, new places, public speaking, spiders, leaving home, death, nuclear war, finding out everybody hates you. There is no “face your fears and do it anyway” when you are ignorant to disaster. You don’t need to question what you would do if you weren’t afraid, if you are already fearless. The questions and the longing and the hope for more; it’s all obsolete, you are untouchable. I’ve never felt the dread of the unknown. I cannot imagine a thing that scares me to do one of every day. Because what really can go wrong? Fear cannot reach me here – these woods are mine. Why should I live a life in fear? Why would I settle for that?

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All About Laila

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IMG_7327Hello! This is post number 100! I’ve been meaning to properly introduce myself for a while on this blog and there was also a couple of quiz posts and random fact posts that various other bloggers tagged me in which I never got round to completing. I thought this might be a good chance to sort of re-introduce myself and tell you a bit more about me!

1. It’s been two years since I left full-time education. OH MY WORD.

2. I love breakfast! Going out for breakfast is one of my favourite activities to do.

3. I have a really strange accent – it fluctuates between London, generic Southern and vaguely Wrexham/Scouse.

4. I love films! My favourite filmmakers include Todd Solondz, Damien Odoul and Akira Kurosawa. I’m a big film geek…

5. I’m late to everything! Birthdays, meetings, rehearsals I’ve organised, my own gigs, dates, parties… even when I leave early I end up late.

6. I am always being told I remind people of fictional characters and certain animals (normally bunnies or little bears).

7. I absolutely LOVE Sailor Moon and have done since I was 7.

8. I’m part Welsh and I lived in Wales between the ages of 2 and 12. I can still remember bits of the language.

9. My left side is covered in scars – my shoulder, elbow, arms, knee, stomach and ankle on my left side all have pretty bad scarring (including one scar that looks like a shark bite).

10. I’ve never eaten any red meat.

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11. I studied Classical Music at university and Advanced Musical Studies at postgraduate level, but most of my projects involve theatre and visual art as well. I actually always wanted to be an author!

12.I have a different nickname with every group. Lails, Baby, Bunny, Little Bear, Baba, Kitkat, Lilo, Achmed and The Hipster are just some of my regular nicknames – I don’t know what it is but I seem to attract them.

13. I was born in Hammersmith so I’m a real Londoner!
14. I love seeing people face to face and I really struggle with just having e-mails or facebook to keep in touch with people. I’m much more of an “in person” type of person if you know what I mean!

15. I’m very loud! I think years of teaching, directing and needing to be heard over other people have just left me with a very loud speaking voice. I also have quite a recognisable (read: annoying) laugh.

16. I am a big fan of tea. My current favourite is Kenyan tea with passion fruit!

17. I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was 14. I wouldn’t trust anybody else and it’s also quite expensive in London.

18. I had a phobia of make-up and hair products as a child. I think that’s why I don’t really bother now as I’ve still retained some dislike.

19. My two favourite places to be are on stage or in transit. I also love waking up in unfamiliar and new places.

20. I’ve kept a diary since I was 10 and I’m very good at remembering dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries and the day I met certain people.

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21. I love crunchy peanut-butter, especially with bananas or on toast.

22. The next places I’d like to visit are Japan and Mexico, and the one continent I’ve not yet explored is Australasia.

23. I’m absolutely obsessed with animals! I’ve become such a geek with learning about animals and have been slowly studying species by species since I was about 20.

24. I’m known for never finishing meals – I rarely eat meals by myself as I struggle to finish plates and hate wasting food.

25. I am a big musical theatre geek! I started training in dance and drama when I was about 7 and I was still recently performing MT on stage until earlier this year.

So there you go, I hope you found it interesting! Thank you all so much for reading the last 100 posts – I’d love to know which ones you’ve enjoyed most or would like to see more of! And don’t forget to share a few facts about yourselves, I’d love to get to know you all better!

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