Why we need to start living our own lives

Back again, due to popular demand...joking, however my last post must have been better than I thought so if you're interested give it a read. In all seriousness (kind of) I wanted to write about something that has been bubbling away at me for the last few months. 

As you might know, I lost two very close family members within the space of 4 months earlier this year. Although losing these people has broken me down, quite a lot, their passing has positively affected the way I have chosen to live my life. 

We need to start living for ourselves. 

I have a lot to speak about on this subject so please bare with. The fact on my birthday 10 months ago I had both my Nonna and my step-dad Stanley both living, and I thought healthy, they both were gone so quickly and it has honestly opened my eyes to how short life is. 

Life is short. And we hear that all the time, but we never realise how short. 

We need to start living our own lives because realistically, whatever you believe, you'll only have this life once. 

One of my biggest down-falls is I'm easily led to making choices based on how it will affect others. I rarely am selfish. I don't go out to hurt people, nor do I want to so I take the easiest routes out of a situation to please others around me therefore they're benefiting and I am not. Selflessness doesn't sound like something to dislike about yourself but when you constantly feel like a push over and you're constantly putting people before yourself but never receiving the same treatment back then you need to ask yourself a question - who are you living to keep happy? 

I hear so many stories from girls and boys who choose certain decisions based on keeping your partner happy. I've spoken about toxic relationships now so much it actually bores me because it's really negative BUT if you're living in a partnership where your constantly choosing the option to please your partner, you're not exactly living a happy life. Want to dye your hair but your partner only wants you in your natural colour? Want to go to see a band but your partner doesn't? Want to get a tattoo but your partner doesn't like them? Come to a compromise that you both are happy with or do what you want. Your partner might not be with you forever. Your partner is getting the satisfaction that they want but it's at your expense so where is the happiness? You literally have one body, one life. 

Another thing that is on my mind a lot is career choices. My mum has decided to leave her job and do something for herself. At first I was like woah but now I'm truly inspired by her choice. I spend approximately 50 hours at work a week. There's 168 hours in a week. I sleep approx. 43 hours in a week. That means I am awake for 125 hours a week, meaning I am working 40% of my awake time during a week. So why would you put yourself through a career path that makes you miserable when you're spending so much of your time there? 

Don't get me wrong, I have considered changing on days where customers have been difficult, computer systems have crashed or the work load has just been too much but at the moment, I can't see myself doing anything else and I can't see myself working somewhere with sound as a pound people like the people I work with now so I'm sticking it out and I'm happy too. 

HOWEVER, I completely went off subject then. The point I was getting at is some people choose an option they haven't chosen themselves. I'll give you an example. I went to a grammar school that wasn't chosen by me, my dad wanted it more than I did and granted I am happy I got that education, it wasn't my own choice. I left high school and originally was going to stay on at sixth form because I thought this would be what my parents would want. In the end, I didn't. I got a place at a different sixth form grammar school but the day I got a phone call to say I'd got a place I just said no. I was literally only going because I thought a grammar school education would be the only way into a good job. I was literally about to dedicate myself to COMPUTING and SOCIOLOGY instead of ICT and PHOTOGRAPHY which would've been a really stupid mistake. So I decided to go to a college near me instead, and I didn't really know anyone so it was really out of my comfort zone. Anyway, this was during a stage I was with my 'strange ex' and I had a dream of going to university to study music photography and during college I realised I wasn't going to get there with that ex boyfriend so I dropped out of college. I decided to take a completely different turn in life and went on to be chosen as 1 of 9 young adults out of 500 to do a social media and digital marketing apprenticeship in Manchester. I then started working. I realised I absolutely despised that industry and now I hire out portacabins and LOVE it. 

My point is, I got to this happy place by making decisions for me. Not for my family. Not for my ex. Not for my current boyfriend. Not for my future children. I have a friend who doesn't want to take up a dream of hers because her family want her to do the same as they have and it literally baffles me. I don't understand why people set up for these hopes that their family want to continue what they do when everyone should be living an enjoyable life for themselves. 

Still awake? I'm sure you've now read my last post - if not, that's rude. I mentioned how social media is ruining my generation and that is pretty relevant right now. I took a 4 day social media break last week and it made me feel fantastic. We are missing so much when we're glued to our screens (really hypocritical as I've been glued to my laptop for an hour writing this). We miss so many conversations, so many beautiful parts of nature, so many books that could be teaching us new things, so many opportunities to be happy. We are sat envying others lives and wanting it for ourselves but we're not actually enjoying our own lives. Madness. In my 4 day break I did so much I didn't realise would make me happy. I spent more time talking to my dad after work. I went for tapas with my mum and didn't bother checking in on Facebook. I told my boyfriend more rather than tweeting about my thoughts. I sat on my balcony a lot and relaxed myself. I read some books and really escaped. That is true happiness and now I find myself less interested in social media and more interested in just enjoying my day to day life. 

Money saving is something that people discuss a lot. I'm not against people saving and if you can do it whilst being happy go for it. But, I'm 100% a memory maker and living in the present rather than someone who thinks too far in the future. I honestly don't work as hard as I do to save my money and pay my bills. If I want to do something and it's going to cost, I'll find a way to pay for it. 

Travelling has become a new-found source of my happiness and although I haven't gone very far, the idea of planning a trip and getting away whether it's for a night or a week, the fact I know I'm going somewhere is enough to make me happy. Getting out of your own habitat is an incredible source of happiness. The world is massive by the way and there's a lot to explore. 

I hope my point has been made. Life is short. We don't know when the end is so go and enjoy it for yourself.

Hopefully I've made a bit of sense. I've been up since 5am and I'm ready for bed so I'm not sure what exactly I've wrote about but that's usually when I write best. 

lots of love
Jennie x

How social media is ruining my generation

I think I forgot how to blog.

Nearly seven months without a post - I bet you thought I was gone for good- nope, here I am, I'm back. Expecting an update on my life? Not today guys, I thought I'd write about something that is really getting to me at the moment. How social media is ruining us.

Sounds mad really, writing about social media being bad for us whilst I'm on social media? Exactly.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat - most of us have it.This post is mainly aimed at people like me. I'm fully aware that the older generation have social media but they don't quite work it like us - my mum literally thought she had to like every single persons post that came up on her feed because they might get offended. 

Fake. Happy. Lives. 
How often do we post about the arguments we have with our partners? The bitching behind our "perfect" friendship group? Not very often. We capture and we write and we share and we exaggerate every little moment of our lives to point that people are wanting to be you, thriving for the relationship you have with your boyfriend just because you wrote a few nice words on social media. I'm not saying I don't do this - I have done - I still do. It's what seems natural in our technology-booming lives - we just want people to want to be like us - we want to be liked, literally.

Is anyone unique anymore? 
We post tweets that we've seen from someone else's twitter. We could be feeling down and we'll feel more down from someone else's tweet because it 'relates' to your situation. There is a certain criteria you have to meet now-a-days to be accepted by society and we all want to be like that. So where is our personality? Because I truly believe if we don't stop this we'll all be morphed into the same person - where's the fun in that?!

Who's heard of the term 'psycho girl'? Most people my age will have and most people will have been called one and most people will be one, apparently. But where did this stupid term come from? Social media. Did our parents and grandparents have the struggle of being a psycho girl or having a psycho girlfriend? Highly unlikely, because there was no social media back when they were dating. These days us girls have gained the mentality that our boyfriend speaking to another female is cheating, liking a photo is cheating - this isn't healthy, this is toxic and we need to stop it before the next generation take it further.

We're growing up too quickly
I'm seeing girls as young as 15 looking ridiculously old. Dressing like they're 25. Going out to clubs with fake ID. Being 'liked' by lads 15 years older than them and it's worrying! When I was 15 I was sneaking off to field parties with my mums bacardi in a water bottle - but these days kids are acting like adults, doing adult things and missing out on some of the most exciting years of their lives. I'd absolutely hate the idea of my nieces being 15 and going out clubbing looking 10 years older. Just enjoy your youth whilst you can - being an adult is stress, bills, long hours and more stress.

Toxic relationships
Going back to relationships. We're honestly envying online couples. How sad is it that we want a relationship that looks like an Instagram photo? Where is the love and where is the romance but most of all where is the privacy?! It's so easy these days to know whats going on in everyone's love life. A few years ago I posted SO much on my relationship and it was all a LIE. I wanted to be happy so I acted happy - I made out like I had the best relationship ever and it just wasn't. But the unhealthy thing is I had people JEALOUS of the relationship I was in and that honestly makes me sick because that just shows how powerful your online profile is over other young peoples lives.

Body envy
Instagram, the platform of beautiful, perfectly proportioned, tanned  goddesses. The amount of people I know that want to look like one of these girls is crazy (me being one of them), however 9/10 times their bodies and faces don't look like that. That stat was 100% not true, I haven't done a survey but my point is that a lot of these photos are edited. With all these apps that can make you look better - they're going to be used. Facetune wouldn't be about anymore if nobody used it. But us girls all seem to want to look the same - big bums, long legs, tanned skins and a flat tum.

We're all craving the bodies of girls that them, themselves don't have these bodies! We all know how to edit, we all know how to pose and we all seem to know the right angles.

Social media is killing the way we live. We're the generation that grew up with Furbies, Tamagotchis, Bratz dolls and Super Mario. We deserve more than being hooked to social media and damaging our mental health.

What's good? If it was all bad we wouldn't use it would we? I thought about this today and if I didn't have social media I wouldn't have met my boyfriend, I wouldn't have met my best mate Laura, I wouldn't have this blog, I wouldn't have raised a lot of money for climbing some mountains. It's a great place for discovery and it's a great place for people to discover you and what you offer - but it most certainly isn't everything you're about. It's a great place to look back at memories and it's a place to stay in touch with people from far away but don't allow it to keep you away from what's happening now. What would you see right now if you weren't looking at your screen? If I stayed on my phone the entire bus journey to work I'm sure I'd miss a few of the dogs I see - not worth it. See it as the front cover and the blurb of your book but don't let it be the full novel, save that. 

I aim to stop social media ruining my life from now on.

lots of love

p.s the image has no reference to the blog post, but I went to Croatia and I haven't wrote about it yet so it can be a teaser of what's yet to come. Ciao for now. 

Moving forward

It's currently the 19th of January and I think I'm a little late at reflecting on my past year. In fact, I haven't written a blog post since November. The last few months haven't been the best to be honest, but I'll update you on that later.

I started the 2017 starting a new job. Hiring out portakabins, chemical toilets etc. alongside my mother who is the whole reason I even had a chance of getting the job. Working in social media and digital marketing since leaving college back in 2014, I didn't really expect to enjoy this job. My dream was to have my own digital marketing business but I've completely gone off the idea as working in the industry wasn't what I thought it would be. I actually love the job I have now. Everything about it. Every single day is mental and I work with the best group of people.

When planning this post I literally had to scroll through my Facebook timeline to remember what I actually did this year (yes I'm one of those people that checks in to everywhere) and I 'remembered I took my mother to see Avenged Sevenfold. We went for tapas beforehand and ordered enough food to feed ten and then completely lost our shit to M Shadows belting out some of my favourite songs. To be honest, that was a gift to myself too seeing as I love them more than she does but having a mother that appreciates her rock music just as much as I do comes with many perks.

The first weekend of February saw me go to one of my best friend's, Ollie's, 21st! This wasn't just memorable because it was Ollie's 21st and we did Smells Like Teen Spirit on karaoke but it was incredibly memorable because I GOT MY LEGS OUT. For a girl like me who could count on her left hand how many parties/nights out I'd been to revealing my bare legs because I once got told by a lad at school that I had chicken legs and lost any confidence I ever had for 6 years, this was a massive deal. And now they're always out and I've lost any sort of self complex I had over them. Sounds tiny, but it's a massive achievement for me!

Mid-February, I attended another gig with my scouse bestie, Laura. We LOVE Deaf Havana and she'd got me a ticket to go with her to their Manchester as my 20th birthday present. It was amazing obviously. I always struggle to describe how much I enjoy gigs because they're literally one of my favourite places to go to and every single one makes me happy to a point I can't find the words to explain. The day after we'd planned to have a night out in Liverpool, my first one with Laura. I'd woken up at 6am that day (key part of the story) and we'd trekked from my flat in Bury to the Premier Inn in Aintree (we couldn't stay at Laura's because her house was being done up). So yeah, I was tired (bare that in mind for the next bit). We got dressed up, got the train into Liverpool after we'd drank two bottles of wine and headed straight to Pop World, got our stamp, had a quick drink and then  went to Baa Bar and I recall dancing to Jenny from the Block, London Bridge and Shape of You. And THEN, (Laura's fault), we had a shot called Sassy Bitch, and I'm not sure what it did to me but I don't remember anything else. So the rest is Laura's description: we went back to Pop World about midnight and then I fell asleep. I FELL ASLEEP. In Pop World. And then, I woke up and we went to the toilet. AND I FELL ASLEEP AGAIN. So then Laura made the executive decision to take me back home (to the hotel) and one minute I was up, yapping a way to her in the taxi and then the next minute I FELL ASLEEP again. And Laura thought I was dead. I mean I can understand why because once I've crashed for the night, I'm gone, there's no chance of waking me. Luckily I wasn't dead though. Still here. Just woke up the next day with a banging head ache, fixed by a Nando's though and then ruined again by a train journey home. Sorry for that story, jeez we're only on February too.

March was a pretty good month too. I mean a lot of my months were just pretty good with a bit of shit in between. Laura took me to see State Champs in Manchester, at The Ritz again. I'm actually listening to them as I'm typing, how strange. I didn't have a clue who they were when she took me. Initially I thought it was an American Football Team and I was like 'hmm why are we going' but turns out they're an American punk band and I bloody love them.

I also wrote about the truth on my last relationship and I made myself so proud. Not just because I spoke about what went on and opened up about my past but so many girls messaged me explaining that they had gone through the same or were going through the same and didn't realise how bad it was until they read what I'd wrote. So being able to help someone made me incredibly happy.

Me and Ash spent a week just living at mine and it was dead cute. We got to finally see each other at our worse and realised that even though we were living together we were capable of having our own space. I mean, he broke my TV (he didn't really but was the last one to use it therefore I'm blaming it on him) but the rest of the week was amazing and I made him do face masks with me. Best boyfriend ever.

The start of April I got to go see one of my all-time favourite bands, You Me At Six with one of my bestest friends ever, Beth. We saw them together the October before in Liverpool and so forced ourselves to go again in Manchester. I mean it didn't take much to convince us because we're fan girls. Following on from that gig, a few days later I took my incredible dad to see The Who as his 50th birthday present. The Who are one of those bands that you don't listen to regularly but when one of their songs comes on you seem to know the majority of the words, and it's usually because your dad educated you in good music growing up. Well that was the case for me anyway!

May was one of my favourite months of the year. I took a week off work just for the sake of it and tried to pack in as much as I could. On one of the days, me and Hannah climbed Snowden. We did the easiest path obviously. We're not pro-climbers yet but it was a mission. 28,000 steps later we had completed it. I was soooo proud of us. So many people said I wouldn't manage it. To be honest, a year earlier I was unhealthy and I wouldn't have even attempted it but I was determined to prove everyone wrong and I did!

The late May bank holiday, me and Laura the scouse bestie had tickets to Slam Dunk and stayed in a mint hotel in Leeds. I didn't know what to expect from Slam Dunk as I'd never done a day festival in the city, but it was a bloody brilliant day. The only negative was that it was only a few days after the terror attack on Manchester Arena, and I was petrified. Armed police were everywhere, which I suppose was good because it was safer but it just felt so odd and I was constantly on edge. Anyway, the positives were I had amazing day with my best friend, got to see one of my other besties Alex as he was there with his other pals and saw Deaf Havana, Don Broco and Enter Shikari live.

One weekend in June was very memorable. We took a family day to John Leigh park in Altrincham. The park where my mum grew up around. I found it so cute how she was just showing us round the area explaining which trees she'd climbed. I had a laugh being the fun auntie to the kids, playing on the play area with them, chasing dogs around, eating ice cream and we had an cute little picnic too.

Last day of June me and Ash went on our first little holiday together to Barcelona. I've got to say it's a beautiful place and I want to go back so badly, but we have so much more of the world to see first. I've already got a whole post dedicated to this trip, but in a nut shell it was a fun weekend, in one of the nicest cities with my bestest friend/boyfriend and we got to learn loads more about each other.

Mid-July, me and my mum started our training for our Three Yorkshire Peaks challenge by climbing Holcombe Hill. I say we started training...it was the only time we climbed anything in practice for this and it was NOTHING on the actual challenge. But it was a lovely few hours of mum and daughter time which I cherished.

I decided to apply for free tickets to be in the audience of Pitch Battle on BBC1 and got them! So I took two of my besties, Rachel and Beth to Media City. Honestly, it was awful. I thought it was going to be bloody live. I thought I'd be able to watch Rita Ora live but she sang her song THREE times because we weren't giving her a good enough reaction. I mean, I'm not really into her so pretending I enjoyed her song once was difficult enough but three times really?

The beginning of August, me and the girls went to Laura's for her 22nd birthday and had a fabulous night at Pop World. To be honest, my favourite part was the shimmery prosecco that we drank for pre-drinks. This time I didn't fall asleep in Pop World. I matured.

With it being the end of Summer, I'd seen a lot of my own body and I'd started to see the difference and how much better and healthier I looked so I decided to share my journey with you all on this post. I was scared to share it with you to be honest, I was delving into the days I was overweight and the dark truth about eating problems I'd suffered with as a teenager, but it had a lot of positive feedback, so thank you!

I finished the Summer the way I have done for EIGHT years now. Leeds Festival. Again, me and Rachel went together and stayed in the Park Plaza hotel in Leeds because I've not got the energy in me to camp anymore. I know that sounds so sad for a 21 year old, but it's true. We only got to see a few bands on the Friday because I had to WORK for the majority of the day and then we headed there about 5/6pm. We managed to see Liam Gallagher, Muse, Charli XCX and The Hunna so we were still pretty happy but I was GUTTED we missed QOTSA's secret set. The second day was my favourite. It was boiling so I was melting but I'm not too fussed at Leed's, it's better than rain. I got to see some of my favourite bands but the highlights were TDCC, Bastille and Kasabian to finish. To be honest, the whole weekend was amazing. We didn't get ourselves lost this year like we did in 2016, but we did manage to get bloody stranded there. We made friends with a geordie and a southamptoner (not sure what you call someone from southhampton to be honest?) and shared an Uber back into Leeds with them singing Taylor Swift all the way back.

Before my oldest besties, Izzy and Liv went back to Uni we met up for a lovely night playing Junkyard Golf together, drinking cocktails and then having a few G+T's back in Bury. I've grown a lot closer to these two this year and I love it!

On the 23rd September, me and the work family (my mum and a few of the lads from work) headed to Yorkshire at FOUR THIRTY AM. We started the Three Yorkshire Peaks challenge at 7.30am. Well, we didn't have a clue what we'd signed up for. We just about managed the first peak and then we gave up. Yes, I'm a quitter. Because I'd got to a point where I just couldn't do it. So me, my mum, Tom, Ben and Wellsey decided to go back and be proud of the one little peak we managed. I am actually dead proud because it's more than I'd ever climbed before and we raised some money for Macmillan who are a charity that is very close to our heart now.

Then I got my FIRST TATTOO. I've been wanted tattoos since I was like, 14, and I finally grew some balls and got my first one just before I turned 21. The tattoo I got was a Wren on my arm and I love it. It barely hurt as well! Either that or I'm just hard AF and can handle pain, but I doubt that.

The last weekend of September I got to celebrate my birthday early with some of my best girls, Laura, Lucy, Beth, Mel and Charlotte and we all went for cocktails DURING THE DAY. I know, crazy (!!!!). It was a lovely little afternoon and it was 2 for 1 cocktails so I was a happy little flower.

October was the best and also the worst month.

I turned twenty-one and had the best birthday. I went to work, by choice because I actually like work, and the transport companies got me gifts which was a cute little touch to my day *streaming eye emoji*. Then I got taken to a lovely restaurant organised by Ash, with his grandparents and my dad. It was Italian so I filled myself up on Italian meats and spaghetti, obviously. Then I got taken to Ash's where he SURPRISED me with a FOO FIGHTERS cake that Rachel my creative best friend had designed. I mean that was cute but that's not all he did. And then he just showered me in gifts. Literally loads of gifts. And they were all sentimental, he'd chosen things I'd spoken about MONTHS ago and also things I'd just liked on social media. I'm getting emosh thinking about it, how cute is that.

I spent the next few weeks planning my party which was a couple of weeks later and my god, it was stressful - but definitely worth it. I had a lovely night spent with 99% of my favourite people. I'd love to re-do the whole night again and re-live it.

Unfortunately, the next day I lost my Nonna. I don't want to speak about it again to be honest because it'll set me off, and I've just watched an incredibly emotional episode of Eastenders and I don't want to make my eyes any sore but I've written this post all about it.

One thing that did come out of my Nonna passing is my mum and dad SPOKE to each other, and pleasantly. I mean, after 14 years of nothing but hate between them this helped me so much and I don't think they realise how less stressed my life is with them actually communicating.

The last weekend of the month, me and Ash celebrated our one-year anniversary together, the same way we got together, celebrating Halloween. I dressed as a dead fairy and I looked cute, not gonna lie. I've had the best year with Ash and can only thank him really for everything he does for me and everything he continues to do. I may have had a shitty past when it comes to relationships but I've got myself someone now who truly is good for me.

November is full of birthdays. In particular, it would've been my Nonna Maria's birthday on the 1st. I'd gone to see my Nonna at the Chapel of Rest a few days earlier. It was a really strange experience to be honest. I last saw her when she was holding my hand and I watched her pass away and stroked her hair, and that's nothing you ever wish to see but it was good to know I comforted her. I wanted to say goodbye again whilst she looked more like herself. She had her nails painted in her favourite shade of pink, the perfume on that my mum had bought her a couple of Chrismas' ago and she was dressed in one of her favourite outfits which she wore the day she watched me go to prom, so that really touched me. Her funeral was the day after. I hadn't cried for days but as soon as I saw the funeral car appear I burst into tears. Without going into too much detail, her funeral was a beautiful service and she would've been so proud of my mum and aunty for the eulogy they spoke of my Nonna. It was amazing.

Onto happier memories...It was Ash's birthday and we celebrated by going to play Crazy Golf and having a TGI's. I loved the gifts I'd bought him for his birthday. He never really gets surprises because he likes just saying what he wants, but one surprise I got him was a Fitbit which he had no idea he'd be getting. His face was a picture when he opened it!

Unfortunately we got some heartbreaking news in our family. My mum's partner, who's been in my life for about eight years, is battling cancer. I despise the C word. You always know it's a terrible thing but it doesn't actually hit you how heartbreaking it is until someone you love is suffering from it. All we can do is enjoy every single moment together now and appreciate the little things. I'm still struggling to come to terms with it, it's very surreal.

I took a trip back to Liverpool too. Laura had bought me Enter Shikari tickets and also Deaf Havana tickets (within 3 days of each other). So I went down for Shikari, who of course were incredible. But the day after I went back home and didn't come back. I found it too hard to be so far away from my family at this point and so I missed out on Deaf Havana but I felt too worried to be in a different city from everyone.

I usually love Christmas and I'm usually Christmassy from the beginning of November but this year I wasn't feeling it all. Luckily I took a Friday off work and me and Ash went to the Christmas markets. We had to go on a week day during the day because I'd discovered a couple of months earlier that I mentally cannot cope with Manchester. Being in the city constantly puts me on edge and it all stems from the terror attack on the arena. And I know you'll be thinking 'that's what they want so don't let them scare you' but that's very very hard when you're at a stage when you cry on the tram to get off two stops earlier because you can't cope with it any longer. It's only Manchester though. I can go to Leeds and Liverpool and wander about on my todd and I'd feel 100% fine.

My December wasn't going so well as my dad became pretty unwell, not just physically but also mentally. I live with my dad so seeing him go from a very out-going person to staying in his room all day was heartbreaking enough, but then I began to have to care for him too and making him his tea every night, something I really wasn't used to. Following on from this, my dad's very slowly, gradually getting a bit better. It's all baby steps though.

I booked myself in for my second tattoo on the 9th. The day after a night drinking a lot of gin on our first works do. Let me tell you, it was not a good idea to get a tattoo hungover. I went GREY, had cold sweats and went incredibly light headed, Beth had to force Fanta down my throat to make me feel a little normal. Anyway, the tattoo I got was very personal and in memory of my Nonna and I absolutely love it.

I realised how bad my mental health had gone in December. In all honesty I knew it would be. I'd just lost my Nonna, I was caring for my dad, someone very close to me was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I'd started to seclude myself from my friends, I'm still damaged from my past relationship, I was in a bit of debt...my mental health was/is awful. Talking about it has helped a little. Ash is incredible when it comes to it to be honest because he understands it himself. Speaking to my mum and dad and being open about my feelings was also a good step for me, knowing now I have them to talk to about it.

Overall, Christmas wasn't great. My works do was embarrassing for me because I drank far too much and fell asleep (SHOCK) but in my defense, and my mum is actually the one who said this, I had a lot on my mind and I probably felt very sad and just wanted to block away my feelings for a few hours...with wine. Christmas day was sad for two reasons, number one my dad spent it alone because I was with my mum's side (so my sisters) and number two, Stan was really unwell on the day so him and my mum couldn't come for Christmas dinner and that broke my heart. 2018 was broken in practically the same as 2017, with two of my oldest friends and my boyfriend, as well as a few of Ash’s friends.

2017 taught me that life is incredibly short and you don't know when it's going to end so appreciate yours and appreciate the people you love. You never know what life is going to throw at you so take everyday as it comes, appreciate the good and try and let go of the bad. Enjoy the tiniest of moments, no matter how small, even if it's just a dog looking at you when you walk through a park, it could be the one thing that makes you smile that day. Make the most of your time and don't put off seeing people you care about.

I don't ask for much in 2018, just some happiness to be honest. I want to be able to enjoy things properly again. I know it won't all be sparkles and unicorns but I aim for a large chunk of it to be. My main focus is my own mentality. I've got myself a councillor who I start with in a couple of weeks and I really hope she can help. I've decided to cut down on drinking alcohol as I've realised how badly it does effect me, especially the day after. I think I need to be a little bit easier on myself and allow myself time to grieve because I don't think I've managed to do that yet. I've also set myself into doing a project where I'm creating a video every single month of snippets of certain memories throughout the month, I think it'll be a good way to look back at the good times.

So here's to 2018, we're already 3 weeks in and to be honest, I have enjoyed a lot of it so far. Have an amazing year.

Lots of love
Jennie x 

Dealing with heartbreak for the first time

Never in a million years did I expect to be writing this post now. It's scary how much your life can change in a short amount of time and you don't know how you'll handle it.

On Sunday 15th October, my life changed forever and I lost my beautiful, kind, loving Nonna Maria.

I hadn't seen my Nonna for a while, she went away on 30th August to Italy to see her family over there and she was there until the 7th October. I said I'd go and see her during the week but because I was tired after work during the week I said I'd see her at my 21st birthday party the next weekend.

Unfortunately, she didn't make it to my party as she had, what we thought was a stomach bug, and was too unwell to come so both my Nonna and Nonno stayed at home. The next morning she was taken to hospital, and we thought she was dehydrated and she'd be out probably the next day after some TLC. But about 2pm my sister rang me and said she was deteriorating and my other sister and I  should try and get to the hospital as quick as we could.

Within 20 minutes we were there. I went in to see her and tried to keep myself together to make sure she didn't realise that this was it. If she had to go I wanted her to have everyone she loved around her and I wanted a smile off her. She was surrounded by my Nonno, her daughters, all of her grandchildren, her sister and her niece and I really think she felt the love. I managed to crack a joke about my mum and dad with her and mention my boyfriend to her so she would have a memory of him before she went. My biggest regret is that she never got to meet him but I'm glad I got to tell her on so many occasions how happy I am with him and she said so many times she's so happy I've found somebody who treats me well. I managed to get that final smile off her and I can still picture it now.

In fact I can still remember every single moment of that day. Within an hour and a half of us being there my beautiful Nonna passed away. I held her hand and kept her warm for as long as I possibly could.

My life has changed so much now. Anyone who knows me knows how close I was to her and I'm so gutted that I didn't get to see her after she returned from Italy. I wanted to show her the tattoo I got whilst she was away, just so that she could tell me off and I won't ever get that moment again. Luckily for her I have a special tattoo planned in memory of her and I know she'll be looking down telling me off.

Losing someone you love is the worst pain you could possibly ever feel. It's so surreal. One minute I'll be okay and the next minute I remember I'm never going to get a phone call from her out of the blue just to ask me how I am and I'll burst into tears.

You start to remember every single memory you have of them like they happened yesterday and it's also amazing because these were memories I'd forgotten but they're so vivid now. When I was in primary school she would always pick me up from school and take me on the bus home, and then she'd watch me do my homework and she couldn't read or write in English but she'd watch over me and the smallest thing I did she'd always be like "VERY GOOD" and give me a big smile. She'd always make the best bowl of pasta I'll ever eat and then we'd spend the next few hours watching Neighbours, Home and Away, Emmerdale, Eastenders and Coronation Street.

At weekends when my mum and dad worked I'd spend full Saturday's with my Nonna. We'd go to Bury market, we'd always go and see her Italian friends and family and she'd always seem so proud of me. We would gossip so much about people who lived on her street and now I've come to realise now where I've got it from - it's her! She'd take me to church and I secretly enjoyed singing the hymns and sometimes we'd go and buy some carnations from Asda and go to the cemetery and put flowers on people's graves that looked like they could do with some love.

I remember being 9 and being dumped by my boyfriend of probably 2 weeks and I told my Nonna and I remember the advice she gave to me when I was nine was "you don't want a boyfriend, you want a job" and she continued to give me that advice right up until last year and it makes me laugh every time I think of it.

She had some of the best stories. She had so many to tell me from World War 2 and of how she met my Nonno and from when my mum was little.

One of my favourite things about my Nonna was she always wanted to see my achievements and she was always proud of me. She would come to all of my Christmas plays at school even when I only had a little part. She went to see me sing in Young Voices at Manchester Arena and said I was amazing even though I was singing with a hundreds of other kids so she probably didn't actually realise I sounded terrible. She came to wave me off when I was going to prom and I'm so happy she did. Every time I got a new job, she thought it was amazing. I spoke to her about my blog and although she literally had no idea what a blog was and she never read it, she would always listen to me and say it was really good.

I have struggled so much with coming to terms with her no longer being here. Her funeral was the most moving day of my life. The music chosen were the most perfect choices.

After she passed away my granddad gave me my birthday card. They hadn't written out my birthday card for years because they'd usually forget and my mum would write it but this year they wrote it and I was surprised with the words. They wrote "All our love forever" and I was given £100 as my gift, and my granddad said it was all her idea. It's as if she knew. She wanted me to use the money to get some jewellery, so I used it to buy another charm for the bracelet they'd got me for my 18th birthday. I chose to get the 'Forever in my heart' charm and get it engraved so I'd always have that symbolisation of her, and I absolutely love it.

I wanted to write this post so I had a memory of her on my blog. So I could put some sort of closure to it all. I will honestly treasure her for the rest of my life and I hope I continue to make her proud.

lots of love
Jennie x 

Getting fit without the gym & gaining body confidence

It makes me very happy that after years of hating my body I'm finally able to share my weight loss journey and how I gained body confidence.

I first felt "fat" when I was in my second year of high school. All of my best friends were slimmer than me and didn't look like they had any issues with their body and I unfortunately was cursed with being chubbier than the lot of them. I hadn't gained weight between the first and second year of school but I grew a bad opinion about my body from what was going on around me.

I have bad memories that I can still remember now of a lad mocking my chicken legs after school and one of my closer friends mentioning that I had thunder thighs. I think a lot of confidence of your body gets majorly lost for teenagers depending on the people around them. With people pointing out flaws I didn't even realise I had I soon began to hate my body. I wasn't actually overweight, my BMI was healthy for my age and height so I shouldn't really have been worrying but when you're young you listen to the people around you and are easily influenced into sharing the same opinion they do. I was only a size 10 and to me that felt huge when it wasn't unhealthy at all for a 14 year old girl.

I didn't do anything about it though. I hated P.E, not just because it was exercise but because I despised anybody seeing me in shorts and having to show my bare legs off in front of everybody at school. I always wore tights or pants whenever I could, you'd only ever have the opportunity to see my legs if I was made to wear shorts during P.E. I look back now and do think I had eating issues, I'd get full packets of jaffa cakes and just sit their and demolish one their 24 packs quite regularly and every other night after school I'd find myself in McDonald's before going home to eat a full meal.

It wasn't until I had a really short relationship when I was 15 and it ended badly and the guy told me I was fat that I decided I was sick to death of my weight. I went the complete wrong way about it but I did lose a lot of weight. I decided to cut down on my food intake but it got quite drastic. I'd stop myself getting hungry by constantly chewing gum and I'd keep myself out of the house a lot that Summer so my dad wouldn't question it too much. I was barely eating one meal a day and that meal I would have a few mouthfuls and then say I was full. This was stupid and the complete wrong way to go about losing weight but once I started it became a bit of an obsession to keep my weight down. It wasn't until my dad started to notice I wasn't eating properly and that I should probably go see a doctor about it that I realised I had some sort of problem. I became obsessed with the scales going from a 9 and a half stone to under 8 stone in a couple of months without 'doing anything' is actually a bit scary. Once I got below 8 stone I didn't want to go over so was always on the scales making sure I didn't ruin it for myself.

I then got into a relationship for a few years and over that time ended up gradually building up my food intake to two proper sized meals per day and with that I gained more weight but never went over 8 and a half stone.

It was only until I became single that I decided I didn't actually like the body I had again, however I wasn't going to do anything about it. After that relationship I had no confidence in my body so instead I just dressed in a way to cover up the lumps and bumps I had. I put on a few pounds over the months I was single because I was going out every weekend and drinking a lot and ending up at Dixy Chicken or McDonalds at least once a week.

It was only until I met Ash that I wanted to get fit. It took months for me to get motivated to do anything. He said not to mention him much in this post because it's all about my journey but he was a huge help in it. From the start he pointed out areas of my body that were really good and a focus point for me to gain the confidence to show off and he motivated me to start working out at home because he knew I really didn't want to join a gym. He started off by setting me days to train and which workouts to do and it was like having my own personal 24/7 PT to be honest. At this point he started training and that was enough for me to want to as well because I didn't want my boyfriend getting incredibly fit and me being the blob next to him.

I started on The Bodycoach workouts. His Youtube channel is so good and updated regularly with workouts ranging from 8 mins - 30 mins and I rate pretty much all of them.
The best one to start on I think would be the Low Impact Leg Burner. I also love the ones where he's in a nice location because it's a lot more motivating, like this one.

After training for a while I then started to prep my lunch for work which consisted of a chicken breast, roasted sweet potato and broccoli. I was not a healthy eater before but doing this has helped a lot with my journey. At work I also drink a lot of tea but sometimes swapping my tea for a cup of hot water and grapefruit helped again with blitzing my belly.

Since then I've stuck to training and try to do a workout once a day, sometimes even if it means getting up at 4am and doing a fasted workout before work to fit it in. I eat healthy still but allow myself treats as long as I commit to a brutal workout that day. I've started to use weights in my training so because of this I've added an extra meal to my diet and have a mid-morning meal of pasta (yes more food!!) because I need more apparently... I don't know all the facts and scientific side to it but it's working! I'm now again under 8 stone but this time I'm healthy and fitter. I'm gaining muscle and losing fat, and although people say I have no fat to lose, I DO. I'm just very good at hiding it and it's not a negative that I want to get rid of it. I've managed to gain a bum and my next aim is to gain some abs too.

As well as The Body Coach I've also tried some of Mr PMA's and enjoy his too. Following Instagrammer's like Krissycela not only inspires me but she has some great routines that I've liked trying. I find Pinterest a good source for fitness tips and workout routines and love using this to mix it up a bit.

My new-found body has allowed me to gain so much confidence with my body and I've started to love it. I wear clothes I never dreamed I'd be able to look good in. I get my legs out and I'm now proud too! I got myself in a bikini on my holiday and wasn't completely terrified (still a little bit though...) I must admit I take so many pictures of myself after I've trained, not only because I'm confident to do this now but because I love being able to track my progress.

It's a very long journey and it's not complete yet because I still have changes I want to make, but I'm enjoying it and finally after seven years I feel happy with my body.

lots of love
Jennie x