Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Happiness





What is happiness? What lifts your heart and makes it flutter and spirit fly? In two days I turn 24 and the constant phase of reflection is kicking in. After watching the breathtakingly beautiful documentary “Human” by Yan Artus Bertrand (if you have a care in the world about the planet we live on, I highly recommend you watch and be inspired) hearing what ‘happiness’ means for people all around the world, it sparked a question, what is happiness?

“Happiness is when the kids come for a visit. That is my happiness as a mother. When your husband comes home, smiles and kisses you, after 33 years of marriage, that is my happiness as a wife. My filial happiness is over. My parents have passed away. When they were still living, and I came home, they smiled to see me. That too was happiness. Happiness is hearing my grandchildren say, “Grandma!” It’s waking up and not being sore anywhere, not being sick. There are many kinds of happiness but also only one. You are alive, so you are happy.” – Elena, Russia.

“My happiness is seeing I have at home, in my humble abode, a television, a refrigerator, a washing machine. My son is well, my daughter is well, my 15-year-old son is finishing his studies, he’s going to train and make something of his life…that is happiness to me. Immense happiness.” – Rute, Brazil.

“The defining point in my life was when I was living in a women’s refuge centre, in a supported flat. I witnessed the tragic death of a friend from a drug overdose. I had to stand up in court and tell his parents why he had lost his life. My life could have gone down two paths: I could follow him to death, or I could do something with my life. A few days later, I walked in to my local college and I asked them, “Please teach me, I want to learn”. There was an amazing tutor there, his name was Paul. Paul said to me, “come and learn with me. I do a sport course; I want you to be on that course. I remember thinking this guy is amazing. I’ve got no qualifications and he’s willing to take me on. Paul used to come to the homeless hostels and pick me up and take me to the boxing ring. I remember one day having this boxing match with Paul, and punching him in the stomach and him screaming in pain. He told me he had stomach cancer. Paul spent the last 2 years of his life engaging with me and making me believe in myself. He lost his life before I graduated college but it was that one person that believed I could make it to university. The fact he’s done this with the last 2 years of his life. What an exceptional person to be facing death and say, “I’m not giving up, I’m going to help people.” – Sophie, Ireland.

So what is happiness? Why do we speak of it as a destination? It isn’t. It is fleeting. If it wasn’t, would we appreciate it so much? See, we’re always in a hurry. A hurry to get to work, a hurry to finish work and go home, a hurry to get to the gym. A hurry to do the food shopping so you can hurry and cook dinner. A never ending cycle of hurrying along with life. When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? When I was younger and people asked me what my dream was, the answer used to be "to be happy". The older I get, the more I realise happiness is not a destination. It's a feeling. A mindset. It's gratitude. 

Happiness is seeing my parents and granddad happy. It’s going to the cinema with my brothers and escaping to the world of a genius mind. It’s being in the kitchen, cooking with my mum. Happiness is hearing the crazy tales my nephew has to tell about his day at nursery. It’s watching my niece grow demonstrating something new every time I see her. Happiness is extending a helping hand to a stranger, it’s starting a conversation with an old lady on a bus knowing you’re probably the only person she’s spoken to all day. It’s meeting and connecting with like minded souls who are on the same wavelength. It's spreading positive energy and receiving it back. Happiness is a new book, opening up a new world. Happiness is real, human connection.

Happiness is stopping and smelling the roses. It’s learning to enjoy and embrace all life throws at you without comparing yourself to others because it’s your journey and that alone. It’s embracing darkness because without it, we wouldn’t appreciate the light. It's letting go of anything that disrupts your energy. It’s coming to the realisation that all the small things are the big things. It's knowing that you are enough and everything you need, is within. 


What’s your happiness?

Friday, 18 September 2015

BARAKA



A recommended watch. 

This beautiful place we call home. 

We are one.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Reflections


There's nothing like a Sunday spent rediscovering print and a blog you've been neglecting. Some Sunday thoughts and reflections...

1) Cereal magazine is one of the most beautiful magazines...ever. So much so I want to climb inside and live in it.

2) Sometimes when life gets a little crazy we let it get the best of us...when this happens, we must remind ourselves of the magic that exists. Your very existence is a miracle. 

3) As big as your troubles may seem...there is somebody out there praying for the life you live. 

4) Nothing is ever promised. Be grateful for the present moment, it's all you have.

 5) Everything you put out into the universe comes back; your energy, your actions...e v e r y t h i n g.

6) Be, spread, and surround yourself with good energy, always. Negative energy spreads like wildfire, steer well clear.

7) Live honestly. Express yourself honestly. Stayed tuned in to who YOU are not what you think others want you to be. 

8) Making mistakes doesn't mean failure; it is an opportunity for growth. 

9) If you need an energy boost and increase your happiness levels spend more time with children; they'll remind you of the miracles and beauty of life amongst all the chaos.

10) Cultivate the habit of being grateful.

INHALE...EXHALE....B R E AT H E. 

Namaste

Friday, 2 January 2015

2015 - STAY GOLD


"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom"
                                                                                       - Anais Nin 

2014 was a beautiful whirlwind. Here are 10  things I've learned this year/continue learning.

1. Gratitude
I'm truly grateful. I'm eternally grateful for the people who love me unconditionally. Who support and push me forward. The people who took chances on me. There's no bigger compliment than a, "I haven't seen you do this but I believe you can". And that's what life is...taking chances, removing yourself from the dangerous comfort zone and leaping. How would we all progress without taking risks? I'm grateful to every single person I have encountered on this journey so far, there are lessons in every single person you meet. 

2. Learn to say yes
Learn to say yes. Say yes to opportunities that scare you. You don't have to know it all, say yes and put your all in to learning along the way. Say yes to new experiences. Say yes to anything that makes your heart flutter. Life isn't about striving for perfection, it's about constant progression.

3. ...and no.
Say yes, but also learn to say no. Do not live a life in the attempt to impress others - living to please others will drain your soul. You are not here to live up to anybody's expectations and they are not here to live up to yours. If you don't like a movie or a book you're reading, drop it. If you don't agree with something, speak up. If the answer is no....say no. 


4. Your support system is EVERYTHING
No matter how strong you think you are, you need a support system. They are the ones who are there unconditionally. They will support you through every step, every hurdle, every milestone and guide you to the light. They will tell you when they disagree but allow you to go ahead and make the mistake anyway so you can learn from it. Your support system doesn’t have to be your oldest friends or people you have known your entire life; they are the ones who wholly and truly care for your well-being, your happiness and your growth 100% of the time and only have your best interests at heart. Appreciate them. Love them. 

5. Reserve your energy
"People inspire you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely". Energy never lies. Surround yourself with people whose soul dances with yours. Be mindful of who you let in to your space...go only where you are appreciated and let go of any attachments that won't be fruitful.

6. You get what you give
Everything you put out in to the universe, comes back. Everybody you meet is fighting a battle of some form, be kind. You attract the energy you give out. Negative energy attracts negative energy. Positive energy attracts positive energy. It is that simple. Sprinkle love. Be love.

7. Learn to love yourself
Every ounce. Every crack. Every imperfection. Stop comparing yourself and looking for validation from others. You are beautiful and there is nobody out there that is YOU. Embrace all you are and be the best YOU you can be. 

8. It's not supposed to be easy
Nobody promised you your journey would be easy. At times it will be filled with with much adversity, struggle and pain and you'll ask "why me?", but we must experience all this to appreciate the good. There is no such thing as failure, only lessons learned. Keep pushing. Keep growing. Keep moving forward. 

9. Good things happen to those who hustle
Good things do not happen to those who wait. Good things happen to those who hustle and MAKE IT HAPPEN. The future can be better than the present, and you have the power to make it so. Create your own happiness. Chase what makes your heart flutter. 

10. STAY GOLD.
We will be known by the tracks we leave. Are you living the way you want to be remembered?


May 2015 be filled with authenticity. Truth. Clarity. Growth. Most importantly, may 2015 be filled with love. 

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Life isn't a race, it's a marathon without a finish line


HEY STRANGERS, GUESS WHO'S BACK?


At the beginning of this year I wrote down 4 realist goals I wanted to achieve this year and stuck it above my desk where I would see it everyday;

- Pass my theory test 
- Pass my practical driving test 
- Find a job 
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- WRITE MORE

Let's begin. When I was 17/18, like many eager teenagers at that age, I began taking driving lessons. Everything was going swimmingly well, I remember arriving at my first ever driving test armed with confidence...then failing driving in to the test centre. It knocked me back. I continued taking lessons and tests over the course of 4 years (I moved to London, stopped, started, repeat) - failing over and over on the smallest faults, the words "I'm sorry.." chipping away at my confidence each time. At times, I wondered if there would EVER be a day I heard the words, "Congratulations!" and had urges to give up completely. I pushed driving aside, made excuses as to why I couldn't take lessons again yet (too busy with uni, I don't need a car in London, too expensive...etc) Why could everybody else pass so easily and why is it taking me SO LONG? 

On top of all of this, I had recently graduated, moved back home, uncertain to which path I wanted to pursue in life and in all honesty...I was lost. I floated around aimlessly. I hunted for jobs in my hometown, uninterested in the majority advertised. I applied to a few I was interested in and either had no reply or was met with rejection. In December 2013, a friend asked me to bake cupcakes for a charity event in aid of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster; I went, I baked (60 cupcakes in the colours of the filipino flag). 

The cupcakes went down a treat; "Do you travel around and make cupcakes?" somebody asked. "Do you have your own cake business?" asked another. "Don't be silly!" I would reply laughing. "I wish!"A week later, the words still swam around in my head. I've always loved baking, what was stopping me from starting up my own mini cake business? Nothing. On the same day, I built a website on Moonfruit. I created my concept; what better way of spreading happiness than through CAKE? Not just buying cake but creating your own. I told myself this would temporarily keep me busy until I found a 'job'. Build it and they will come, right?

This year, I made a conscious decision; I was really going to sort my life out.

- At the beginning of this year, I booked another theory test. I passed. 



(Fashion Bake cake for a silver wedding anniversary)

- I unintentionally added another achievement to the list; I started up my own mini cake business; it started slow and picked up...to a point where I can't stop. I am truly grateful to every single person who has believed in Fashion Bake, who has purchased a cake (I have a loyal customer who has ordered every single week since she discovered me, that, is love). I am grateful for all the support from family and friends, without you, there is no me. I only started out knowing the basics and taught myself skills along the way and still continue to learn everyday. It makes my heart happy knowing I've created something with my own hands that brings a smile to somebody's face...even if it's for a few moments. You don't have to know it all, as long as you're willing to learn. Dive in to it and grow along the way.

- Just at the right time whilst I was keeping busy baking, a friend presented an opportunity to dive back in to the fashion industry that I took. I gave it my all. Whilst I was in Shanghai last month for two weeks exploring, travelling, discovering, and EATING my way through the city, I was offered an amazing job opportunity at the same company.

- The week after I came back from Shanghai I took my practical driving test and in the midst of having a wonderful conversation about travelling the world with the examiner, I managed to FINALLY pass with 0 faults...believe me when I say it was a truly euphoric moment. The words "Congratulations" hit me and the rest was a blur. A moment where the bricks that had been weighing you down for so long, had finally been lifted.   

8 months after writing down my goals for the year, I can happily and proudly say I ticked off 3 and years after creating this blog; the 'Fashion Bake' epiphany has finally sprung to life; I am now the Online Styling Coordinator/Stylist at Harvey Nichols, I have my own mini cake business (yes, it's a one man show and each and every cake is created by yours truly) and I FINALLY passed my freeeeeakin' practical and theory test. The beautiful thing? It's only the beginning.

So the moral of the story is...

Failure teaches success. 

Failure isn't falling down, it's not getting back up. Fail seven times, get up eight. 

Keep on keepin' on.

There is no measurement of where or who you should be at a certain moment in your life. It is YOUR life, embrace it all (every emotion, heartache, pain) as it comes and no matter how confused or lost you are; keep on keepin' on. The dots will connect later.

Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity. 

What are you afraid of? In the end, we only have a short time on this place we call Earth to write, direct and create our own story. To live. To love. To travel and see the world. To touch the hearts of strangers and shine our light on to everybody we come in contact with. 


You can be anything and e v e r y t h i n g you want to be.

Make it spectacular




Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Magic Bean Emporium

             As I step inside I am met with a giant green beanstalk and welcomed with a warm smile. The smell of hearty coffee lingers in the air. An array of vintage furniture surrounds me; a vintage chest of draws and tables, a “magic mirror”, shelves stacked with classic novels such as Harry Potter (yes, you can actually take these off the shelves and disappear in to a world of wonderful wizardry). The café is built of excerpts from different children’s stories and books; a Dumbledore quote sits on the wall, perfectly placed by a framed image of an owl that looks suspiciously like Hedwig. The ‘Cinderella’s shoe’ rests on one of the cabinets to the right, the magic mirror to my left, with little red riding hood’s basket residing in the corner.

The Magic Bean Emporium is a magical dessert parlour/café run by Michella Dos Santos that is inspired by fairytales – in particular, by ‘Flying Feathers’, a children’s book the author is currently in the process of writing; a café her characters visit often. Downstairs, the “Cinderella cellar” is in the process of being created, where storytellers will come dressed as characters from a chosen book and read to children. I sit with the mind behind The Magic Bean Emporium to discover the deeper roots.





Could you tell me more about your background?

I’m Portuguese by nationality, I was born and raised in South Africa, lived there until I was 18 and then I came over here and I’ve been here for about ten years. I came here to write and act. I did get offered some work then I realised I didn’t like modelling…or acting (laughs). I also did street dancing and was quite set on dancing. Dancing is still my love and probably will be until the day I die. I’ve always liked film, story telling, anything story/fairytale related since a kid. I thought I still like the story film side, but I realised I was more comfortable behind the camera. I made a decision tat I wanted to do more production, writing, more on the production side.

How long have you been writing? 

My first script was on 2005.



What was the main source of inspiration for The Magic Bean Emporium?

I’m a kid; I’m a Peter Pan. I just love fairytales. I think through a lot of difficulties in life books and art has always helped me through. As a kid it was an escape to get me through day to day. If I didn’t have that escape, I don’t know where I would be.

Has it always been your goal to open a café?

To be honest, it kind of happened the other way around. I aimed to write, see my book on film and then when I retired, I planned to open a coffee shop. I always wanted to do it but I thought it’d be at a much older age, but I think Northampton needed something and it also gives me the flexibility to carry on writing. When I had a 9-5, 6 days a week, I struggled to find the momentum and inspiration to write, you’re on that wheel and struggle to get off.



What is your biggest passion?

Film and writing. I love film.  I love being transported to somewhere else. If I were feeling really down, I’d go to the cinema or read a book. I think no matter who you are, whether you’re 6 or 60 and you have a good book in front of you or a good film, you can go anywhere.

What does reading and fairytales mean to you?

Hope. It gives kids hope. With life, I think people try to make it too black and white – it’s not. I think there’s a lot to this world we don’t know and don’t see.  There’s so much that’s hidden. Books give you that hope that there’s something bigger than this: waking up, being born and dying. Life itself is magic and a fairytale you just have to believe it. 





Who and what inspire you?

J.K Rowling. I think she just created a masterpiece. Not just because it’s clichéd or anything, I think she’s got an incredible mind and she’s made something that will go on for years and years. One of my happiest moments was going to the harry potter studio, when I walked in to the great hall, I thought how incredible she must feel to have years of years on paper then seeing that come to life.
Also my granddad whilst he was here. He inspired me a lot, when it comes to character and who I am; I think I take after him. In all his life not one person has heard him raise his voice or be angry. My Grandparents were in Portugal; before I came here I went to stay with them for a year or two. That was my happiest moment as a kid; waking up and watching him knead dough.




What’s the dream?

Flying feather, the book I’m writing now, which has a Harry Potter feel, I would very much like to see that on film before I die. That’s my aim, my goal.  There can’t be any greater gift. That would be my goal before I die, to see what I’ve written come to life.

Crazy? Weird? Wonderful? You decide. If Northampton was lacking something, it’s a magical café where you can indulge in sweet treats and escape to wherever your mind desires.

*Find The Magic Bean Emporium on 60 St Giles Street, Northampton.