Not gonna lie, I am loving my twenties. I remember being a teenager and wanting to be older to have more control over my life (standard). Yeah I've had a couple of hiccups that have been tough but I have made sure that I have surrounded myself with other twentysomethings smashing life. They don't moan about paying bills, caring for others, making sacrifices but these are all things they do whilst still being incredible. And they're women. Strong females who are providing great lives for not only themselves but also those around them, mine included. I just wanted to write a little tribute to the five twentysomething women who inspire me daily to be the best me I can be and I hope I do the same for them. Real, down to earth, genuine, talented, intelligent, gorgeous ladies:
1. Sophie Wilson
She's basically my sister, well as near as damn it. My brother is the most blessed man I know to have this woman by his side. Sophie fits into our family like she has always been there and is loved by so many. Her team at her job showered her with gifts when she became pregnant - she had THREE baby showers. And now she is an incredible mother to the gorgeous Amari. Having been a great (sort-of) step mum to the oddballs that are Jayden and Aleah for 7 years, when little man came along she had it all in the bag. The way that baby looks at her is like how I look at a pair of four inch ankle boots, wide fit with 70% off.
On top of all that she is hilarious. Staying up until 2am deciphering the difference between the words meal and mill or tentatively chopping in a fringe for me because heck I felt like it, she takes all my crazy in her stride and has her own fair share too. Her continued love and support of me and my career is essential to keeping me positive. Her daily Amari updates or messages of love are invaluable to me and I'm so glad her awkward flirting with my brother in Atlantis those many moons ago has blessed with the most fantastic friend a lady could wish for.
2. Elle Vickery
Little did I know that day I rolled up to Westfield Stratford to be Scare Actor for Christmas (yes this is genuinely how this story starts) that I would leave with such a brilliantly buzzing friend (and some messy memories). She took me straight under her wing and never let go, even after a £25 bottle of wine or two, and we filled our nights with adventures.
Even when I had my blip at the start of the year and I let her down she still pulled through for me, never giving up, her support meant everything. And she's super cool and talented too! With her own YouTube news channel she is on to big things with her banging style and unstoppable attitude. I respect anyone who works for what they want and this powerhouse is creating her own fabulous work. You Got A Minute is a weekly video news report - but not as you know it! Check out the link below and get to know this star before she blows up! Moving to London was scary but gaining this girl as a friend has made it so much more fun - I'll never eat a kebab again though
3. Shannon Smith
Even when we're in our 70's she will still be my baby cousin. When you have a brother and four cousins on your mums side (then a whole bunch more on your mums!) all a good 8+ inches taller than you, know that you're gonna have a security squad at all times. But to be honest with you this one doesn't need it - she can be feisty as hell.
Shannon is inspiring purely because every time I am in her presence this great, caring light shines out of her. Currently writing her dissertation for her nursing degree she is going to help so many. I remember when she was younger wanting to be a paramedic - few people at a young age know that they specifically want to care for others (Aleah went through a phase of wanting to be a singing hairdressing doctor but that's because she's a fruit loop) but Shannon got her head down and worked towards it from the go.
Already she has helped so many working in care homes and on her placement and I know anyone under her care in the future will get the best treatment. But don't think she's a pushover, sometimes she scares even me, that little firecracker. Soon Nanny Pat will be able to have both her granddaughters side by side in the cap and gown on the coffee table. She's already cleared a space.
4. Natalie Durkin
The newest addition of inspiring nutballs is this one. Every southern girl has gotta have a northerner in her life just to show her the other side of the tracks 😉. Having only met in February this woman has made a solid impact on my life.
She is someone who has been through some difficulties and I'm not talking your standard coming of age bumps but serious life changes that could break people but have made this woman into one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. She's a sassy one though, don't get mistaken, or on the wrong side of her - she will get you!
Like me she upped sticks moved to London and got her game together and I know her time is coming. Her zest for life and love of the little mermaid is infectious and her continued offerings to hold my hand when I feel my confidence has been knocked has been invaluable the last few months. We have got so many more adventures to be had and I am excited to have her around for them.
5. Hannah Auer
This one I could write a full book about but I will keep it as brief as possible (about 2000 words then). We met at 2 and a half years old. Can you tell me anyone you went to nursery with and now who you're gonna be a bridesmaid for over twenty years later or am I truly the only lucky one?
This woman has seen me in every possible state and never left me. Every time I changed my mind about something and quit she never told me I was wrong she just held my hand until I knew what the right thing to do was. When I was quitting uni she was flourishing and I was so proud of her doing what I couldn't at the time. Now she is doing incredible work for CLIC Sargent Cancer Charity as a regional fundraising manager ( I hope I got the job title right) scaling buildings, cooking cupcakes, jumping out of planes - seriously!
In little under a year she is getting married and I get to be part of her squad for the day. No matter what job I am doing, wherever I might be in the world, I will be there for that day because she is the most inspirational person I know and will get ever ounce of my attention because lord knows I've flounced around enough times wanting hers. And let be honest she's given us all enough notice!
She is the definition of beautiful inside and out and anyone who knows her better know how fortunate they are to call her a friend because she is like gold dust - if you're not careful the most precious thing you've touch could slip through your hands.
Blooming Nora, that's been a gushy one! But being truthfully honest these are only a small handful of women, and people, who inspire me daily that I am thankful to have in my life. We live in a time where we praise these nonsensical celebrities who are famous for putting butt pics on Instagram and we're missing the true heroes around us.
Stop today and think of five people in your day to day life that inspire you and say thank you to them for they are the people who you have absorbed from to be who you are now (that's actually science). These women, in my eyes, are not defined by their careers, houses, partners but their loving, caring, hardworking natures that have been a blessing to me and others in hard times. I will always aim to be there for them whenever they need me because they are incredible, wonderful women.
Usually I only do a post a month but as I pack up for another move I found this little gem! 16 year old me was staring back at me wearing that thinning grey jumper and prefect badge. I left school ten years ago and one thing that hasn't changed about me is my determination to have a great life (which I do :D) but I thought I would jot down 10 things I wish I could have told Lauren '05 to have achieved that happiness sooner.
1. Be Nice.
There are angry, defensive people out there, don't get sucked into their auras. Talking about others says more about you than it does about them so don't waste your time with negative words when there are so many amazing people you could be complimenting.
2. Your parents are human.
They will make mistakes and decisions you don't agree with but they love you and that is all that matters.
Buy that plane ticket, book that hotel, go to that place who's name you can't say. Every experience is worth more than anything you have paid for for it. Just remember how quickly you tan!
4. Invest in you.
Don't worry about cars, babies, houses, worry about you. If you are happy don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Make sure you are healthy with a roof over head and food in your belly, everything else will come in time. Go to classes and workshops and improve the skills you have in your possession free of charge.
5. Your hair WILL grow.
And it will be amazing. You will no longer be called Umbrella Head and you will have curls. Not frizz, CURLS! Stop cutting it, start conditioning it and let it be free.
6. Single doesn't mean alone.
Boys are great. They are fun, cute, strong, helpful, good looking and confusing but no matter what they say or do you are a good person. It is better to have a great group of both male and female friends than sacrifice your friendships for any relationship.
7. Dream bodies are overrated.
Stop drinking that cabbage soup right now! You will always have that cellulite, stretch marks and jiggly bits but you're gonna learn that it doesn't matter as your personality and good intentions will shine past that. Eat fewer crisps, get outside more and enjoy the good times. Stop counting calories you nut, its a complete waste of precious time.
8. Social media is a tricky beast.
You currently have a phone you can call and text on and you have a fun top 16 on Bebo, in 8 years time you will be hopped up on coffee, writing thousands of words about how the apps on your phone will help develop your career. HOWEVER, don't write stupid things on them and refer to point 1. Use it to stay connected with the great people you meet along the way and remove anyone or anything that you don't want to see or hear. And Valencia will be your go to filter on Instagram.
9. Make time for true friends.
You are going to meet some truly special, incredible people, make the time to keep hold of them. Lunch dates, coffee dates, late night drinks and Skype calls - build your squad and keep them close even if they're miles away. The support you can provide each other is invaluable so don't let it slip through your fingers because you're 'too busy'.
10. You are on the right path.
You will achieve what you have said you will do since you were 7. You will cry, A LOT, things will happen that you never thought would and that five year plan will be out the window in six months. But keep pushing on as it will all pay off. You'll no longer say 'I'm going to be an actress' you will say 'I am an actress'.