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Its Time To Make A Change…….

1 Oct

They say that changes are hard to do, but I think this is going to be a good one. I’ve long since tired of the limited design capabilities in WordPress, and so after 4 years, have made the move over to Squarespace, where I hope you will join me. I’ve got a fun new look but that’s the only thing thats changed, and I have vowed to post more regularly too!

The transition should be smooth, the URL stays the same (www.laughteriscatching.com) but the difference is that you won’t see me pop up in your feed on WordPress, so please take the time to bookmark my new page or sign up for email updates there.

Thanks for all the support you have given me on WordPress, now head over and check out my new design, I would love to hear what you think!

Laura x

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Progress With Purpose – Living Life Intentionally

15 Jul

A year or so ago I wrote a post about “Living Life Intentionally”, which you can read here. It was inspired by other people’s passion and need to live their lives with purpose, and something that I wholeheartedly embraced.

Then, in November last year, I lost my Granddad. A beloved man, he had an opinion on everything and was the encyclopaedia of life that I consulted daily. I miss him horribly, but it was only then that I felt I had to commit to the life of living my life with purpose, and not letting one day fade gracelessly into the next.

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And 2014 has delivered on my living of life. I have travelled, visiting San Diego, California in February and Bergen and the UNESCO protected Bryggen Harbour, Norway, in March. May saw me in Vancouver, Canada, and during the month of June I lived in the West Village of Manhattan, New York and spent a month working in my company’s office there.

But it’s not just limited to travelling. I have embraced new classes at the gym, visited new restaurants and sampled things from the menu that I have never tasted before, said “yes” to strangers reaching out the hand of friendship and moving me out of my comfort zone and gone on new experiences such as walking tours of the city and macaroon making classes. And I’ve loved every second.

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Still to come, I have booked a trip to Paris, a city I have always wanted to but never visited, booked a pork pie making class, planned a tour of London’s tea rooms, and am currently planning a trip to Iceland for the northern lights in November and a Christmas in (possibly) Bali. Last weekend I dined in a restaurant called Archipelago (review to follow) which is said to be the most unusual restaurant in London, boasting python carpaccio, zebra jerky and crocodile, and I’m constantly working new experiences into the mix.

www.pinterest.com

Do one thing every day that scares you, and live life with purpose. Its fleeting and you might just find it has slipped from your fingertips.

What’s your favourite example of living life intentionally?

Road Trippin

25 Jan

So I’ve been gone a while. And even when I was present for a bit, I kind of wasn’t, if you know what I mean. The kid in the corner with the vacant look and the wandering soul. That’s been me for a while.

Losing my grandfather was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, but I feel like he would be so cross should he think that we were all moping around, mourning his life and chasing his shadow. So its time to pull my socks up, put clothes on other than pjs or joggers, and remember that there is a big world that hasn’t gone anywhere, and is waiting for me to explore it.

I suddenly realised that I have been hibernating and licking my wounds last week when my friend commented that we had to make some plans that involved leaving the house. It was true, and it dawned on me that I have been hiding from the world for far too long.

Behind the scenes, I have got back to living life with intention, a concept introduced to me last year that changed my outlook and caused me to think differently about the way I live my life.

So I have some things planned.

1) Road tripping round California.images

In 22 days (and counting) I leave for the other side of the world with the boy. We are, of course, headed for the place I love the most, San Diego, to visit my family. BUT, we have some fun plans. We intend to take a car and drive up the Route 101 to San Francisco, stopping all the way at fun little eateries and cool viewing points. We will spend a couple of days being tourists in San Fran (Return to Alcatraz and cycling the Golden Gate Bridge are on the list) and then take the south road inland down to Yosemite. I’m truly excited to be visiting such a natural wonder, and hoping that it will trip my mind more into thinking about what we are lucky to experience in this life, rather than the things that bring us down and try us.

2) Bergen, Norway.5767474-scenery-of-bryggen-in-bergen-norway

2 firsts for me. Norway has always seemed a little magical, so for a weekend in the end of March is dedicated to a trip to the gateway to the fjords, and a boat trip around them. It’s also the first time I will be using Air BnB (heard good things and bad) so I’ll keep you posted.

What do you have planned for 2014?

Dream a Little Dream

21 Oct

As the fingers of darkness wind around the houses and eyes become heavy and tired, I am normally not sleeping. I can be found staring at the ceiling or gazing at the stars, wondering what everyone else under the blanket of darkness is dreaming, and who else is seeing the same sky as me. I’m a bad sleeper, yet I am happy to lay I the silence and listen to the breeze whispering its hushes so the rest of the world falls asleep. When I do I never remember my dreams, more a catatonic state of things I thought about during my repose.

Recently I’ve been dreaming. And it’s not very pleasant.

dreams-and-reality

I keep having the same recurring dream, and waking trying to catch my breath. Fear grips me and my heart is a moth fluttering against a lightbulb; pounding over and over again as it tries to right itself.

It’s not even particularly scary, but it rips me back into consciousness time and time again. I’m in Cornwall (don’t ask why, I don’t have a clue!) and I’m with a girl I don’t recognise. Interestingly, my sister informs me that your brain doesn’t have the capacity to see new faces, so I must have seen the face before, maybe in passing – on the tube or in an airport. She is someone my mind has taken a still of.

I stand in her garden, which is the garden of a house I used to live in, and I am crying. My hands are cupped, and when I unfurl my fingers all my teeth are there. There is no blood; they are clean and pearly, but they are no longer where they should be. All that’s left is gums. And I can’t get back from Cornwall. The dream culminates with me holding my teeth and worrying that my Mum will wonder where I am (she doesn’t even live in London), and then I wake up trying to catch my breath and furiously chasing my tongue across my teeth to check they are all still present and correct.

I’ve mentioned it to a few people, and they all say it means I’m going to come into money. I Googled a dream finder and it said I was conscious of a secret I was keeping. I liked the sound of that; it evoked memories of being read The Secret Garden as a child, of an old key and a secret that I was never to tell. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I don’t have a secret I am keeping. That I know of.

You can take negatives and positives out of everything, and teeth falling out seems to have different suggestions in different cultures. Some say a dream about teeth falling out symbolises a fear of becoming older, or a life change or compromise that might become costly, whereas some see teeth dreams as positive, and indicative of a want to explore feelings of loss, or a need to nurture yourself and those closely around you.

I don’t believe that a dream can have the same meaning for everyone. The human mind is such a complex and intelligent system that there is no way a theme in a dream can mean the same thing in different people, regardless of age, sex, location and upbringing. It’s simply not feasible.

But I do agree that a dream is the subconscious trying to tell you something. I am a firm believer in ‘funny feelings’ and as I have got older I have learnt to trust them, like faithful old friends turning up to whisper quietly and influence which path I take.

My kindred spirit in South Africa also posted about unusual dreams today, have a read.

Tell me about your dreams.

A Word To The Wise: To Bloggers, PR’s and SEO’s

17 Sep

I have something I want to get off my chest. It’s something that has been bothering me for a while, and I’ve got to the point where I am sick of people being so rude, and want to weigh in with my opinion.

Bloggers and PRs //SEOs.

As my loyal readers know, I have been blogging since I got with the times and ditched my lovely Paperchase notebook. My blog has evolved over the years from a place that my Mum catches up on what I am doing in the big city to a place where I have made friends scattered across the world, get recognition for what I do and get some great opportunities in the process.

And yes, I get a lot of requests from PRs and SEO agencies. And yes, I work for a big global, digital agency myself. So I can see it from both points of view, but being in either camp absolutely does not negate the need to be rude.

I read a lot of blog posts from bloggers who are bitching and whinging about PRs and SEOs, and I read one today about an email she had received from a PR, and it really made me see red.

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As a blogger, I get 2 types of emails. The first is a generic email, often addressed to Mr Tinkler (ta guys, I know I look a bit scary sans makeup but MR?! and also, NOT MY NAME) and is generally asking me to write about their casino // men’s pants range // caravan holiday, or even worse, post some generic content. None of these people have taken 5 minutes reading my blog to understand a) my passions and interests b) my readership and what they are interested in reading (clue, the answer is not how to tie knots) and c) don’t even know my name.

But I always stay friendly. As far as I am concerned, the blogs are extensions of me, and therefore I shouldn’t be rude. These sorts of emails receive a polite response stating how I am not interested and if they wouldn’t mind removing me from their database I would appreciate it, thank you, have a nice day.

Then there are the other kind. The PR people (or even SEO people, however much some bloggers think they eat evil for breakfast, the majority are sticking to cornflakes like the rest of the world).  These people have taken the time to either read this blog, or my beauty blog, and are contacting me to see if they can send me something to review, often for free. I don’t have a problem with this. If it is beneficial for me, for example if it is something I might be interested in trying, or I might get paid, then I will see what they have to say. If they do send me something and I have agreed with them I will write about it, then I stick to the professional attitude of maintaining my word, and write about it. I tell the truth (this isn’t a dictatorship) but I do what I said I would do, in the time frame I promised. Because that way I stay true to the professional respect I have come to command, and don’t unnecessarily upset anyone.

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I’m not ashamed to work for a digital agency, in fact, I am proud. My job is working with people like me, and on the whole, bloggers are happy to discuss and work together on something that benefits them and me. Sure, I work with an SEO team within the agency, but I also work with PR too. Some bloggers seem to have a bee in their bonnet about the amount newspapers get paid to write articles, but a word to the wise – you might get high traffic but the chances are that you aren’t commanding the same levels of readership as the Daily Mail, and for that reason you won’t be getting paid the same either. .

I love bloggers. we are a community of (on the whole) polite and respectful individuals who are professional and act with dignity. And there are some that just give the rest of us a bad name. My advice would be to always think about the person on the receiving end of your email; would you like to receive or read something so nasty? I like to treat people how I wish to be treated, and my opinion is that people who hide behind the faceless anonymity of an email are pathetic.

So to the people who send nasty emails and have delusions of grandeur, I have just one question for you.

What would your Mother say?

Smile and the World Smiles With You

4 Jul

When you are a teenager, you think that life is against you and that it’s your divine right to be rude to everyone. Everyone annoys you and you think that it is perfectly acceptable to tut and fuss and drive like a maniac and toot your horn at people who you see as inconsiderate drivers. You are a stroppy teenager, and if you are a girl, you are by far the rudest to your mother. It just goes with the territory. You think she has been put in your vision to drive you insane, and for that reason you must gun her down with cutting comments and pointless retorts. And you MUST ALWAYS have the last word. You stamp your feet and cry, and people secretly think that you are a horrible child, and hope for your mother that you come out of that phase as soon as possible. You make rude comments here there and everywhere, and you don’t worry about the consequences of how you make another person feel, whether it be a family member, a person in the street or someone that you don’t even know.

Or I did.

And then I grew up.

And now you know what? My biggest bugbear is people who are rude. I try to smile at people on the tube or say “have a good day” to the people on the till at the supermarket, and I can honestly say that it makes me feel better. I might not fall into that uber bitch category; skinny minnies covered in fake tan and giving withering glares to anyone who comes within ten feet of them, but I don’t feel horrible for glaring out some guy on the tube who accidentally stomped on my toe when the train stopped suddenly, because I just smiled and said “no worries”.

I think being mean gives you heart attacks. I have no solid clinical evidence to back this up, but being horrible to people for no reason has to have some sort of weird chemical reaction that makes your guts burn out and your organs ache. Or maybe it has the opposite effect. Maybe it hardens your heart, toughens your arteries and protects your organs, so that eventually you are old and alone with everyone you love having left you, and all you have to do all day is sit by yourself and think about how mean you were.

You can’t ever be happy if you are going around making other people unhappy, and for that reason I think it’s significant to be that one person who smiled on someone’s terrible day, the one girl who the checkout staff remember because you actually asked how they were, or the lady who you helped get their buggy off the bus because they looked like they were struggling. It might slow you down a bit, make your journey a little longer, but you know what, it will make you a better person.

And that’s my happy clappy thought today. Normal service will resume soon!

I’ve Kinda Got That Feeling….

13 Apr

Animals are known for their instincts. A wolf can smell a predator from miles away, and knows to assume either fight or flight positioning. The whole pack gathers together and after the alpha males makes a decision, they follow orders, sometimes to the death.

When the tsunami hit in Asia, animals flocked to higher ground and dogs were heard making low-pitched moans, as if they were foretelling the future. Their strange behaviour wasn’t remarked upon till after the tragedy when they were seen as being saved due to their high instinct and reliance on their senses.

But with evolution and the advent of different types of technology, this seems to have died out in humans. We are more reliant on the sounds of the roads and the smells of burning rather than simply sensing that something dangerous is afoot, and this is worrying. Without our senses we are walking targets, as is proved with the amount of people who get hit by cars due to listening to loud music on their headphones, and even common sense seems to be something that is dying out.

But do you ever get that feeling, a foreboding that something is wrong? It might be when you are walking home in the dark, or when you wake up in the middle of the night and simply cannot put your finger on what the problem is? That’s the sense playing havoc with your present and causing you doubt.

I am slightly (read totally) obsessed with the Titanic. Ever since i was a little girl I have had a fascination with documentaries on the building, sailing and sinking of the ship, and the lives of those who survived, and how the titanic was entwined with their futures until the day they died. Sunday marks the one hundred year anniversary of the day the ‘unsinkable’ ship went down, losing the lives of 1514 people to the icy waters. After reading the biography of a lady that was on the ship, the feeling of foreboding stuck with me. She told of being eight years old and crying as they boarded, telling her Dad and the ship felt too heavy. When it sank four days later, she lost her father.

Funny feelings are our bodies’ way of protecting us, a safeguarding against situations that we feel uncomfortable in. They make us think twice about taking that step, and sometimes protect us from situations that we would have been in danger in otherwise.

And then sometimes you get a funny feeling when you really aren’t expecting it. You might feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up when you are in the house on your own for no reason, or run past an open door in the middle of the night because you are scared, for some unknown reason.

Have you ever had a funny feeling that has helped you out, or even saved your life?

The Universal Language

15 Feb

Unless you had your head buried in the sand you will know that yesterday was Valentine’s Day (or as the boys in my office call it, Singles Awareness Day). You couldn’t move for flowers and cards in the shops, and there were some really sweet gestures seen across the capital. Dinners, dates, even text messages to just make that person that they were thinking of feel special. It kinda gives you the fuzzies, doesn’t it?

Some days make me think that the world has truly gone mad and yesterday did feature highly as of them when an infographic was circulated round the office from a guy who had designed it to propose to his girlfriend. It talked about the idea of meeting a soulmate and that statistics of finding someone and settling down, and the qualities he loved about her.
Read here…

Aaaaah, said a few. But most people thought it was cheesy, and the world of social media going a bit mad. Whatever would have happened if she had said no? The idea of asking someone such a big question must be nerve wracking at the best of times, let alone having an audience of the whole world with the heads swiveled to watch you and see how this one pans out. I personally think that although a bit mental, it was a really sweet gesture and the sort of thing that must have been very personal to her. And by the way, she said yes.

They say romance is dead and chivalry is long gone, and down in London underground you see a microcosm of society that often makes you feel like this is the truth. People are horribly rude to each other and men shove you out-of-the-way to get on the packed train while women roll their enormous suitcases over your feet without care, but then you see the good side of humanity. Yesterday I practically had a five-minute cuddle with a perfect stranger who jumped on the tube right at the last-minute and was pressed up against me for the duration of the journey. It made me think of how people on the tube never make eye contact let alone smile, and how uncomfortable people would be if someone in a bear suit got on and started dishing out free hugs. It kept me amused for the whole journey, while my face was pressed into someone’s unwashed hair.

Last night there was a really old man sitting in a seat on the train, and you couldn’t see his face because he had such a big bunch of roses placed on his lap. Whoever was getting those would have a smile on their face, and it made me think that actually, despite the fact that it is designed to boost business (in Japan there is a tradition where women give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day. This was started by one of the big confectionary companies there, and caught on) it is a nice reminder to tell those you love that you love them. Even if you do it every other day of the year, sometimes we forget to say what we really think.

My sister and I always get each other a Valentine’s card. I can’t remember how long ago this started, but we have done it year in year out to make the other one feel good. Last year when she was living in San Diego I made sure I sent her one, and this year we exchanged them as normal. I always write it with my right hand so she ‘doesnt know’ who it’s from. It makes the whole thing more fun.

Some facts about Valentine’s Day, and love:

The Italian city of Verona, where Romeo and Juliet was set, gets over 1000 love letters to Juliet a year. it just goes to show that we still believe in love, however jaded some people might have become.

see the full infographic at visual.ly

Nothing is known about the saint who gives the day its name other than he was buried north of Rome on this date.

The oldest surviving love poem to date was written in clay around 3500 BC.

Happy Wednesday 🙂

I Saw The Signs…

9 Feb

Something really weird happened to me yesterday. I woke up, and it was like a fog had lifted. Suddenly I could see how rich my life was again, how lucky I was and how much I had to look forward to. And it hasn’t gone away. The snow might have hampered my travels a little, making it harder for me to get to and from work and making my nose a little colder as I waited at the platform, but generally, life is OK.

As I was standing on the escalator on my way up to the over ground at Waterloo, the strangest thing happened. A man, in the fast lane (the side of the escalator that the non lazy people use) came hammering up and hit my bag as he went to pass. He turned, looked a bit confused and said “HI Laura!” I obviously looked a little confused, and he muttered “got the wrong person” and carried on going. I didn’t have a clue who he was or have the time to tell him before he dashed off that actually he probably didn’t have the wrong person, as it was unlikely he would have got my name right in any case. This is really odd for me as I have a remarkable memory for faces. I might not be so good at the names, but if I see you once I won’t forget in a hurry. I didn’t even have that awkward thing where you know that you know a face but you can’t place it; I swear I have never seen him before in my life. But he knew me. Not in a way where it was like he had seen me before, but he actually greeted me by name, and I find this pretty disconcerting!

Then, when I got to the train station at home I decided to get a taxi. It was like 28 Days Later; there were no cars, people or noise at the station. There had been a car crash somewhere, and as the station is that little bit out-of-town, nothing was getting in or out. It was bitterly cold and I waited for a taxi for half an hour with a load of grumpy men. When it got to my turn I turned, smiled and asked if anyone was going my way, as the wait was pretty long. One guy was, and we shared a cab back to pretty much the same place. The strange thing was, I recognised him and we got chatting. He gave me his card and I might end up doing some freelance work for him. When we emailed, I said it was strange that I thought I knew him, and he said I probably didn’t know him, but he knew me, but wouldn’t tell me where from.

I am starting to think I am the star of my very own Truman Show and I don’t like it!

I have peppered this post with some quotes that I find pretty inspirational, things that people have sent me or said to me through my life that have helped me when I needed it.

When you are struggling, when life feels like its too hard and when you can’t see the wood for the trees, use them. A frank conversation last night resulted in me saying that I finally thought that all the things that were broken last year were fixing, and the wise voice returned “no, there was nothing broken. You are just focussing your attentions on the good things now” which is a good point. As Ace of Base once said “I saw the signs, and they opened up my eyes, I saw the signs”.

Ace of Base WILL be my playlist for the rest of the week!

I am now on Pinterest too, which is pretty cool. I love how you can visualise everything so easily, and get inspiration from people all across the world. Fi who I sit next to at work has ordered all the ingredients to make soap, and we are going to have a bash at our own little crafty world. Exciting!

 Follow Me on Pinterest

As Carrie Would Say…

3 Jan

“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.” Carrie Bradshaw.

As an independent woo-mayn making her way through her twenties (YES, still twenties) one car crash at a time, I like to take some inspiration from unlikely sources. Sure, the Dalai Lama and Gandhi made some good points, but so have John Mayer (guitar God) and Carrie Bradshaw (totally fictional). I like to think that these two are the King and Queen of modern-day problemos, and for this reason I arm myself with their words in the stickiest of situations.

So today I am talking about the veritable minefield that is modern-day dating, and how at certain crossroads in your life you ever so slightly long to be your grandparents so you don’t have to worry about the are they/ aren’t they discomfort that people refer to as relationships.

I love to read posts by The Redneck Princess and Brooke and McKenzie about dating, nutters and loonies, and the ones that we sometimes happen upon that are actually worth the bother.

“After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breath and reboot.” Carrie Bradshaw.

My friends have a metric to measure my interest in a man. They ask me “How is your boyfriend?” If I reply through gritted teeth that the particular individual that they are referring to is not my boyfriend then they know that I’m not particularly bothered, or will most likely lose interest pretty soon. If I seem a little more happy when I utter these words then it is assumed I actually don’t mind spending time with that person.

This was however, disputed, when I carried on saying “He is NOT MY BOYFRIEND!” until the week before I moved in with ex-boyfriend, when I had to concede he actually might be. And we all know how that worked out.

In olden days, dating was an easy subject. There was no awkward questions of exclusivity of how soon is too soon to introduce to friends, as you were only ‘courting’ one individual, if they were courting anyone else they were seen as a veritable cad, and the key to your chastity belt was released from the safe on the day of your nuptials, as you were passed from one man to the other. Thank goodness that’s over! And in times before that, you were clubbed over the head with a stone age baseball bat and dragged off to sweep the cave and arrange the pebbles so that the neighbours were jealous.

I recently read about a recognised dating technique adopted by the women of New York city. I’m not entirely sure how true it is, but it was called the Hob Theory, and the mentality behind it was that girls would have four different guys on the go. They would ‘move them about’ so that if one was a bit full on they would move him to the ‘back burner’, cooling things off and giving them time for someone else. I don’t know about you, but i find it hard enough to juggle my time to fit one lucky lad in, let alone have the energy, effort or bother to find FOUR eligible bachelors and fling them about the days of the week like a juggler. But then again, those girls have to cope with a lot in the city that never sleeps.

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” Carrie Bradshaw.

So people. here’s to 2012 – another year of walking down the streets that are all leading in the same direction, to Mr or Mrs Right. As I tell one of my friends, they might not be round the next bend or even within the next few miles, but one day you’ll be in the same postcode. And maybe you already are! Mr Right might currently be watching the football in your flat or Mrs Right might have cooked you dinner; wherever you are in your life, don’t take it for granted. Happy New Year!