Welcome to my blog! My name is Laura Shimili (maiden) Mears (married name). I started this blog to share my interest in photography and writing and also to talk about my life as an Albanian expat in London and a mama to two boys.

Last year I started a Freelance Writing and Journalism course at the London School of Journalism, which I have now completed with distinctions. I had an article published on the Guardian, in their housing professional network, which is my area of work – something that made me and my tutor proud! I hope to be able to keep this up. 

My interest in photography dates from my student years in Paris. When my first son was born we bought a Canon 550D camera so that we could take good photos of him. I started learning more about photography through courses, meeting with photographers and online resources. I started a local photography group in our area, in Clapham Common, London, and in my My Photography Pages I have included posts on things I have learnt so far from meeting with professional photographers and from an introductory course on digital photography. I also started a Photo a day project but I couldn’t continue it more than 28 days as it was a commitment! Hopefully I will be able to complete 365 days another time. 

I have lived in various places which are very dear to my heart: Tirana my home town where I grew up; Paris where I went to University to complete a Master’s in Philosophy of Economics and Epistemology and Bachelor’s in Economics; and London, my current home. Love brought me to London, as I met Roger in Albania and then decided to move together to London. 

This is me and Roger, at our wedding in Tirana, performing a traditional dance 'the Eagles' wearing traditional Albanian costumes. Dancing is the most important part of an Albanian wedding (even more than food) and as such my English husband-to-be and I took lessons, to perfect it ;-)

This is me and Roger, at our wedding in Tirana, performing a traditional dance ‘the Eagles’ wearing traditional Albanian costumes. Dancing is the most important part of an Albanian wedding (even more than food) and as such my English husband-to-be and I took lessons, to perfect it!

We have two little boys, our “prides and our joys” (can you use this in plural?);  the older one is 4 and the younger one is 1 weeks. They will be growing up bilingual, which is quite difficult to do but I am determined to continue; we will see how it goes. 

As to my daily work, I work in housing policy, for the Chartered Institute of Housing. My work is related to my studies in economics but also two other of my areas of interest, social and political realities. 

If you visit this blog, I would like to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or follow by email. I am on twitter too @shimili, it would be great to be in touch.

Have a lovely journey!

15 thoughts on “About

  1. Agree…..a fab photo! Looks timeless. Taking lessons was a good idea. My wife Jo is of Cypriot origin and our wedding was full of traditional dancing too……some done very badly by me. Luckily it was analogue days so evidence to post.

    Enjoying your blog…..and excited about ‘speaking’ with my first ever Albanian.


    • Hi John, thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog. The Cypriot dances must be similar to Albanians, I guess, they would have similar influences. I am pleased I’m the first Albanian you’ve met. Keep in touch.


    • I like your blog and reading your posts when I see them on wordpress reader. I started a project 365 which has slowed down at the moment as I cannot find the time to post every day. It lasted for 21 days though 🙂 But i am continuing to post photos regularly so in a way it is still going on… Lovely to meet you.


  2. How amazing! As a fellow Albanian, having lived in the US for 20 years now I am always curious about how others perceive and experience this unique country! Well done!


    • As you say, a unique country in many regards. You have lived in the US for longer than me in the UK (5 years so far) but I love to read other people’s views about Albania too, curiosity and a desire to compare thoughts and experiences I guess… Thank you for passing by and I hope to see you again


  3. Hi Laura

    Do you have an email address to get in contact with you about an exciting autumn photography feature Resident’s Journal at Run Wild Media would like to do for our November issue?


  4. Your wedding photo is gorgeous, and timeless. We’re also raising our children in 2 languages. Not easy every day, but so worth it in the end. Where did you study in Paris? I studied there too? (Sorbonne Nouvelle) Mel


    • Hi Mel, thank you so much. Our wedding was in the Albanian style, so like a big party with all our favourite people… Is it English and French you talking to you children? It can be quite frustrating doing that, right? I studied at Paris 1 (Pantheon-Sorbonne) and Paris 4 (Sorbonne). How amazing! What did you study? Laura x


  5. Hi Laura ! It’s a pleasure to read you ! Can you say a bit more about the LSJ ? I’m thinking of taking one of their journalism course. Would you recommend it ?


    • Hi Elise, thank you for your comment 🙂 I am happy to have a chat about the LSJ, they were very good, the tutor was very good and attentive. I did enjoy doing the course with them and i learnt a lot. It was the first thing i had ever done in learning about journalism and i did get a good grasp of how the industry works, how to pitch for work, the content and headlines, your sources, interviewing people, looking for stories and maintaining contacts with editors.
      I would recommend it certainly and what you’re going to do with it depends on your circumstances really. For me it was to have a first go at understanding journalism, and it was also related to my work at the time of policy work. It is still useful in my current role of business development and marketing as i have a good understanding of how press releases, writing copy etc works.
      It was also very satisfying to have had an article published in a national newspaper online, the guardian for which i also got paid. That was thanks to the course. I am happy to have a chat on the phone, if you need more detail.


      • Hello Laura, thank you for your reply ! It’s been very interesting. I wouldn’t refuse a chat on the phone or further email exchanges, if you don’t mind. I’m just starting in this journalism idea and might have further questions for you 🙂


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