Developing myself in 2016

Year round-up posts usually come at the end of December so it's a little odd that I'm posting mine mid-way through November. I think I'm just at the right stage where I want to draw a line under 2016 and I want to share everything I learnt on here. Everything I achieved. Everything that changed me, because it's no secret that this was probably the biggest roller-coaster year of my life so far.

I entered 2016 with more confidence than usual. My blog had just been re-designed so I started getting more opportunities and my job was going great, I'd been given a pay rise. But that was it. That's all I had going for me and looking back I think I knew that wasn't enough for me to be happy.

I was lonely even though I wasn't alone and I was miserable. Everything was the same. The same routine. The same people. The same places. There was no excitement in my life and I had nothing going for me. I think this was when I first started to develop myself.

As a Christmas reward from work I got given driving lessons and even though I'm still learning now I'm proud that I'm actually getting the hang of it. None of my parents have ever driven so driving to me was completely new and to be honest I thought that I would never get the hang of it, but now I'm practically ready to do my test. As it was my biggest new years resolution to learn how to drive I'm glad (and shocked) that I've stuck to it.

I started to get fit at the beginning of the year. Working for a fitness brand and having to post inspirational fitness quotes to motivate other people when you're the laziest of shits is difficult. So I started doing the T25 and actually lost a bit of weight for my holiday in May. It was after that that I became lazy again and just stopped. I'm disappointed with myself in a way because I was doing well and I just let myself go again, but I've started to feel the motivation to get back into it recently and if I book myself a holiday for next year then that'll make me want to sort my body out.

In February I started to see more bands live. Everyone who knows me knows I have a bit of an addiction to live music but in 2016 I went to so many gigs. In 2015 I wasn't able to see a lot of bands play because I was unemployed for half the year so I made it my mission to go to as many as I could afford. I saw Foals/Everything!Everything! and Enter Shikari in February and they were both amazing gigs to start the year with. I could look at them both negatively for several reasons but that doesn't overpower how happy their music made me on those nights. Then in April, me and my mum made a last minute decision to go and see Muse and honestly, even though I was so poor after that show, it's a memory with my mum that I'm glad I got to make. Me and Rach went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that was probably the biggest highlight of my year. Not only was the music incredible but it was just a memorable weekend. Falling into mud a dozen times, walking ten miles for a shuttle bus after falling in a ditch and then queuing for 2 hours to get onto the bus with nothing but some tin foil to keep me warm was worth it because I still cry laughing at the memories we made. I've ended the year seeing The Sherlocks, You Me At Six and one of my favourite bands, Bring Me The Horizon live and they were all incredible. BMTH was actually the best gig I've ever been to, and I've seen Foo Fighters 3 times so it says a lot doesn't it.

I'm really bored of mentioning the toxic relationship I was in but it's got to be mentioned because leaving it was the best thing I did in 2016. It's a big thing when everyone around you tells you they're proud of you. Even my mum didn't think I could do it and to be honest I didn't even know I could do it. The thing is, you've got to leave when you're ready to. You could have a thousand people telling you to leave but you won't be able to until you yourself can do it. Nobody knows your mind and nobody knows your heart like you do.

That's when the real change began. Before May I didn't really have anyone. I had one friend that I didn't get to see very often and I was terrified of being alone. I'm so lucky to have a close family but at this point I think what I needed was people a bit like me around me, to help me find myself. I got so close to my best friend Rachel after this and honestly she changed my life. She welcomed me into her group of friends and I feel like I'm part of a second family now. I made my own friends too. I genuinely have never felt so comfortable around people like I do around the people I'm with now. It's mad to think about who I have in my life compared to this time last year. I've rekindled old friendships and made new amazing friends. I don't go a day without laughing and somebody is always there for me whenever I need a cry and they always let me know when they're proud of me. That sort of friendship is priceless. I'm going to shout out the best girl friends I could have because I know they're going to read this and will want a mention - Rachel, Beth, Laura, Hannah and Mollie. 

There was a few people I re-kindled with and it didn't work out but that's okay. I said in my last post, not everybody is compatible and so just because I got on really well with somebody at one point doesn't mean I will now. People change drastically and personalities clash and you shouldn't feel bad for cutting people out because they might not be right for you.

I went downhill too for a while. I went out every single weekend for weeks and thought I was "happy" when all I was actually doing was jagerbombing my emotions away. It's all fun and games until you throw up on your mates and wake up on your mum's sofa with no idea how you got there. Going out and drinking is fun but not remembering any of the night is not and that was a big lesson I learnt the hard way this year.

I did a lot of travelling. I only left the UK once, when I went to Lanzarote, but I've been all over England and Wales. I went to York for the day to review York Dungeons with Izzy. That was an experience and a half, we were both still drunk from the night before and had to get on four coaches that day. It was tragic but hilarious. I took a trip to Brighton with my dad at the end of July. That was a really good weekend because Brighton has always been the place me and my dad went to when I was growing up so going back now and spending quality time with him was a lot of fun. I also ate so much Italian food for three days which was probably the best part. Obviously I went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that meant going to Leeds because we stayed in a hotel in the centre. We actually saw quite a bit of Leeds, mostly on the final day when we went for food and did a bit of shopping before getting our train home but I think I'd like to re-visit for the day to see it properly. Two of my best friends live in Cardiff so for my 20th birthday I went to stay at Rachel's uni house for the weekend and had a night out with Laura and Mollie too. That weekend was so much fun and I can see myself seeing a lot more of Cardiff seeing as I've always got somewhere to stay now. Mid-October I went to see You Me At Six with Beth in Liverpool so we made a night of it and had one of the best nights out I've ever had. Our plan was to spend the day after looking around Liverpool but we just went back home instead because we were rough as hell. I'll be back though because Laura lives there and I want to try her mum's scouse (it's like a stew apparently).

I'll never regret going to new places, or re-visiting places. I think sometimes you just need to leave everything for a while and be somewhere new, away from everything that's bothering you. I have so many travelling plans for next year. I was speaking to one of my friend's about travelling the other day and what he said was so relevant - "we can literally do whatever we want. I just thought about like the idiocy of booking random flights to see someone I've never met in a  brand new country but you know what fuck it. I'm not gonna sit around and be a boring bastard that's just set in the way of life. I have plenty of time to start life properly so fuck it, let's wing it." And although that doesn't completely work for me it makes a lot of sense. Going out into the world and actually experiencing it will never be a regret.

And now the year is coming to the end and I'm in a good place. My sister had another baby at the beginning of the month so I now have another nephew. I've got the best people around me. I'm in a happy relationship with someone that genuinely cares and supports me and even though I found trusting somebody incredibly hard, I'm glad I didn't let the past stop me from being happy.

I moved into my new flat with my dad and although it doesn't quite feel like a home yet, it's getting there. I was really worried about leaving the home I'd grown up in but you've got to get out of your comfort zone and change stuff, especially to keep your life exciting. I wasn't happy in my old house, I was hanging on to old memories and that's all I was staying for but I've left now and I still have those memories and I'm happier being somewhere new starting a new chapter. I'm on the look out for a new job at the moment and although I don't have much in the pipeline, I'm not worried because it'll work out.

So that's my closure for 2016. There's still a month left to go but I'm ready to focus on attempting to make 2017 extra special. I have so much planned that I'll let you know about by the end of the year.

lots of love
Jennie x 

Turning 20

When I was 17 I wrote this post listing all the things I want to do before I'm 20. Back then I thought I had plenty of time to do all those things but in reality they've flown by. I've scanned over the post and to be honest I haven't achieved a lot of them and I don't really care. My life has changed a lot, particularly in the last year, and a lot of those things would've been impossible for me to achieve anyway so it's nothing I'll dwell on. Instead I wanted to put together the lessons I've learnt in my teens, the important ones anyway, because my teenage years were a whirlwind and I've learnt a lot.

Don't rely on someone else's happiness to make you happy

When you're close with someone, whether it's a partner, friend or relative, I think because you care about that person so much you feel like you have no right to be happy if they're not, like if they're going through a hard time. It's definitely hard to be happy anyway but relying on them to be in a good mood to be in a good mood yourself isn't fair on anyone. At the end of the day you're not the person going through it and you have no reason to be unhappy too unless it's happening to you as well. For a long time I relied on someone else's mood to determine my mood and in all honesty it's draining. You can't predict how someone's going to feel or when something shit will happen to that person. They might be having a bad day but it doesn't mean you are. If they got sacked from their job and you got promoted why should you feel bad? You shouldn't. Show some sympathy, give them some encouragement and get on with your day.

GCSE's, A-Levels and University isn't the be all and end all

At school I was practically told that if I don't go to university then I'm not going to get far. It's not true. I did okay in my GCSE's - 2 A's, 4 B's and 3 C's (bare in mind I went to a school that made you feel stupid with a C when in reality it's actually pretty good especially when they're in subjects that you don't understand). Throughout high school I'd been convinced that staying on at my school's sixth form and going to university would be the right thing for me but it wasn't. The summer after my GCSE's I was worried throughout it all because I realised I really didn't want to go to the sixth form I'd chosen. I'd been told going to the college in my town wouldn't get me into university and going to a grammar school sixth form would definitely get me in. But the subjects I'd chosen at this sixth form weren't the ones I wanted to do. Originally I wanted to do Media, Photography, English Language and ICT and they'd decided they didn't want to do the ICT or Photography courses anymore so I had to pick Sociology and Computing instead. Computing would've definitely baffled my head so I'm glad I decided just before getting my GCSE results that I'd try and get myself a last minute place at my local college where they did all the subjects I wanted to do. I got in and spent a year doing my AS Levels before realising they weren't for me either and I really didn't want to go to university. I struggled in college because I wasn't great at making friends. I'm so shy when I meet new people so I just felt awkward all the time. I'm glad I went because I made two good friends there that I'm still close with now so it wasn't all negative. I really wanted to make some money and had seen a friend get a place at The Juice Academy. A job in social media never ever crossed my mind. You don't really get taught about social media in school unless it's about cyber bullying and getting told off for posting pictures in your school uniform online so I never ever would've thought I could work in it. I've always been someone who uses a lot of social media, I'd been on Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Instagram all through my teens (like pretty much everyone now) but I was one of those annoying people who wrote EVERYTHING on there (I still kind of do) so I thought I'd give it ago. I got a place in the 6th Cohort and started doing a social media and digital marketing apprenticeship for a recruitment company. This didn't go as I expect it but it was another lesson that I'm glad I learnt. The course wasn't for me and the company was based far away, I also got ill around this time which affected everything and so I decided to quit. Being unemployed wasn't fun but it gave me time to focus on my blog and during that time my blog actually started doing well - getting paid opportunities and working with brands was exciting and motivated me into continuing working in social media. I then got lucky and a local job came up to do their social media and digital marketing and I've been here a year now and learnt so much. My jobs good, my blogs going good and I didn't need university for any of it. Jeez that was a lot to write about, hope you're not asleep yet.

You don't need to keep somebody in your life if they add nothing

I think when you're growing up you feel like you have to have someone in your life because they're in your "circle" or because you've known them so long etc. You shouldn't feel like you have to keep someone in your life because of this. Cutting out the toxic people from my life was one of the best things I've ever done. If someone makes you feel worse or doesn't better your life in any way then you don't need them.

Some people become incompatible 

I think between 16 - 20 my character changed a lot and a lot of people's does. I was compatible with so many people when I was 16 that I'm definitely not with now. If you're in a relationship from school a lot can change when you leave because there's a lot happening and there's a lot you want to do. During this time I changed so much because so much was going on. Your life whilst you're at school is so different from the time after it where you start having responsibilities and maturing. People mature at different speeds too and I definitely think this is a big reason why a lot of teenage relationships don't last forever. Just because you care about someone or once loved them and share a lot with that person shouldn't be a reason to stay together. Don't be scared that they'll be alone or you'll be alone because you're cutting them out of your life - just because you're incompatible with each other doesn't stop you from being compatible with someone else.

Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone won't hurt you

For a long time I was someone that didn't like change. The thought of moving on from high school and having to make new friends was scary enough. Making new friends is actually one of my biggest fears if I'm honest. I'm always worried I'll say the wrong thing or annoy someone. Recently I was put in a situation where I needed friends because I didn't really have any and it honestly hasn't been that hard. Like I just said you'll be compatible with someone and I've found a few people that I'm really compatible with and I didn't have to act a certain way with them I've just been myself. There's been a lot of things recently that I've had to step out of my comfort zone for - moving house, travelling alone across the country, letting people in, potentially changing my career. All of these are so scary for me to do but have ended up working out well for me and even if they didn't there's always a way to fix it. I'd never regret taking a risk but I'd regret not taking it and always thinking "what if?".

The quality of the friends you have is more important than the quantity

In school especially I think it's people's priority to have as many friends as possible and being popular was a good thing. The last few months I've finally realised the quality of my friends is much more important than having loads of them. I like having friends that will tell me when I'm wrong but also praise me when I've done well. Having supportive friends is so important to someone insecure like me and I think I've finally got a good handful of those sort of people in my life. I'm not part of a "group" and I don't want to be. My best friends are actually scattered around the country and only a couple of them are close with each other. I've been part of a group before and it doesn't work well for me, they turn really bitchy and one-sided.

Life is like a book, when it goes wrong start a new chapter 

Turning 20 was definitely a new chapter in my life. I'm moving out of my childhood home next week and it's scary as shit but it's also exciting because it's a fresh start. There's no reason to dwell on anything. So much has gone wrong for me but I've just picked myself up and started again and having this new approach has helped my mind so much.

You notice your imperfections before anyone else does. Remember that

When I was in school I got picked on for a few things about my appearance. Since then they've been the things I'm most insecure about and when I've met new people I've always been scared that they notice them straight away and I'll be picked on all over again. It's sad really because these things I wasn't bothered about until I was told they made me ugly and I was reminded pretty much everyday. Realistically people do notice them but as you grow up you realise nobody you want in your life is cruel enough to tease you about your insecurities. Remember, everybody has flaws not just you. Everyone will have something that they're insecure about too.

Having a good balance of being busy and chilling out is key

This was an important one for me. I used to have too much time on my hands and nothing to do and then suddenly I decided to start doing a lot and that lifestyle drained me. I've got to a point now where I do enough during the week but also take some time for myself - having baths, listening to music, going on walks and getting that balance right has been key for my mind to be happy.

You can always improve yourself

Have no shame in admitting your flaws. I'm still building my character, every single day. I have a goal of what sort of person I want to be and I'm definitely still getting there. If there's part of your character that you don't like then change it. I used to be so bad at taking criticism and would get easily offended if someone pointed out something they didn't like about my personality, when really they're just trying to help me out. Now I've started taking their advice and bettering myself.

You can't make someone better who doesn't want to get better

This is probably the biggest lesson I learnt. Automatically when you care about someone you want to do everything you can to make them better but when they don't want to get better and don't want to help themselves you're not going to be able to fix them. You're not a magician and you won't get anywhere. It's sad because you hate seeing that person be that way but at the end of the day it's their choice if they want to fix themselves and if they don't you won't be able to make them.

So now I'm starting my next chapter, moving house, new people in my life, potentially a career change and I can't wait to see what else my twenties have to offer.

lots of love 
Jennie x 

Finding Jennie

I don't think anyone will understand how difficult I've found trying to blog again. It got to the point I had to have a lil' cry to my mum about it because I just felt so lost. I want to be personal again, like I've always been but I don't want to get too personal because I know who's reading this or who could read this and I'm not ready to let so much out for them to see it. So it's put me in a bit of a difficult position of wondering what the hell I'm meant to write about. It's called Jennie Wren 3 for a reason and that's because it's about me, my thoughts, my life.

My mum's words were just to write about finding yourself so I guess that's what I'll do.

I deleted my original post about the big change I went through because I was worried I let way too much out and I wasn't ready for too many people to read about it and I'm still not ready to let too much out. So in short, mid-May I ended a 3 and a half year relationship that I wasn't happy in.

Now it's September and a lot has happened and I finally feel happy again. Obviously I still have some negative moments, it would be weird not to, but overall I'm genuinely so happy with everything that's going on in my life.

One of my biggest fears was to be alone but I can't even express how stupid that was to think. My whole Summer has been literally full of my friends, both new and old.

On a walk to work this morning, when I forgot to bring my earphones I spent the whole walk just thinking about every single thing that's happening in my life right now and how much I've changed as a person since May.

I have actually blossomed and that doesn't mean I'm blowing my own trumpet because I'm definitely not, I'm still full of flaws, but like Laura said I'm character building. She mentioned that once and it stuck with me for weeks because she's right. If you're not happy with yourself then sort yourself out and be the best you you can be.

My biggest flaw this Summer is the amount of drinking I've done. I didn't go to uni and I barely drank whilst I was in a relationship so I've completely taken advantage of this amount of freedom I have and I've practically gone out every weekend since May. I actually got put on a ban for a week because of how stupid it had got. It's all fun and games until you literally can't remember your night but you're £40 down and you've done stuff you'll definitely regret in the future.

Since one particular night in August I haven't had a jagerbomb because I know they mess me up badly. I also realised I was drinking because I wanted to block out any sad thoughts and that should definitely not be a reason to drink. I'm over that now anyway, I'm back in a happy place because I've had chance to process my thoughts and care about myself.

My friends have been my rock this Summer. As much as I'm close to my family, my friends see things in a completely different perspective and that's exactly what I've needed. I won't drop names because I don't want to accidentally forget anybody but I'll just describe things that I appreciate from certain people.

So I have a best friend that I've had for a few years now, ever since college we were very close, but this Summer we got so close and she is an incredible person. I've needed someone who's just brutally honest with me. I can't stand people that don't tell me how they really feel and don't tell me when I'm wrong. This girl does. She put me on a drinking ban because of the way I was becoming, she told me when I was being a dick because I couldn't see it myself but she also made me feel really good about myself and I love that. I've made so many memories with her and she's the reason I had any sort of Summer so I'm very grateful of this person.

Two others are my friends from miles away. I've known them for 7 years but never met them, well I met one at a gig but it was brief. They both came to Manchester to see me and it was honestly one of the best memories of my whole Summer. They've both been my support system and I can definitely see us being best friends forever and that's a rare thing for me to think so they must be mint, right?

Another girl I've got really close to is like the blue-haired version of me. Except she's like 10x more crazy. She's the girl I go to when I'm feeling pretty low with my love life because we both get ourselves in similar situations and feel the same things about certain stuff so that's how we connect well. You'll probably see loads more of her because we're gigging it up next month for You Me At Six.

I rekindled like five friendships this Summer and it was the best decision I made. One of them being my male best friend of like 7 years. We didn't speak for 3 of them so it was nice that I was welcomed back into his life with open arms. I know if I'm ever in need of just a chat or a male perspective on things then he'll be there. Another friendship was with a girl that I was best friends with when I was 15. We helped each other through difficult times back then and just drifted but we got back in touch and become so close recently, it's like nothing has changed and that's the best kind of love. Another friend I was close to in school and we've made so many memories this Summer. A lot has happened to us both in this time and we don't agree on everything but we're still going strong and that's good. I also got pretty close to one of my college friends this Summer. We talk a lot about lad drama and she came on my pre-birthday night out and that was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to creating a shit-load more memories with this one. Last but not least, I became close to one of oldest friends (friends since we were 4) and we've spent loads of time together (mostly drunk) and loads of memories. She was the friend that got me home safe when I was paralytic a month ago and held her hand over my mouth incase I threw up. True pal that is.

I've become good friends with a few guys too, one in particular I would definitely class as my best friend. He's a good person to talk to about anything because he's just full of wisdom and I need some of that in my life to be honest.

Now moving on to myself, seeing as this is called Finding Jennie, I definitely think I'm still finding her but I've found a lot out about her recently. I feel a lot more confident now about myself in general, my personality, my looks, my body. There's a lot that needs to be improved but it'll happen in time. Rome wasn't built in a day so I'm not going to rush myself into being this person that I want to be, small changes are happening every single day though and I'm happy with that.

What's happening now? I'm definitely living for the moment. Sometimes that means being skint but I'd rather be rich in memories than rich in money (lol, quite cheesy that). A lot of my friends have gone back to uni now but I'm not worried because I've got some other close people that can occupy my time. I have a few gigs lined up for the rest of the year - The Sherlocks, You Me At Six and Bring Me The Horizon and potentially a few more. I want to focus more on my family now. This time of year is full of a lot of their birthday's so I want to make them feel special. I've also got a nephew or niece due in November so I'm really excited for that, he/she will be the perfect end to a crazy year. I've also started seeing someone and it's going good but I'm taking it slow. I just thought he deserved a little mention.

So, I promise now this won't be the last you hear from me for months. I have a few posts planned including a Brighton post, Leeds Fest post and a few more to keep it busy on here. I've missed blogging but I hope you can understand why I've found it so difficult to blog. I'm hoping now that I'm back to writing again it'll sort my mind out a little bit, because that keeps going all over the place - but that's another story.

love Jennie x  

A Day Out To York

Just over a week ago myself and Izzy embarked on a little adventure to York for the day to visit The York Dungeon. What could've been a very easy and exciting trip for me and my friend actually turned out to be pretty difficult because we made the bad choice to go out the night before. Bad humans. 

So the first disaster happened when I woke up at 9:15am and looked at my phone. I was definitely still drunk, quickly wrote a message to my mates to let them know I'm alive and then realised after a good 30 seconds that I was meant to be going to York. 

After a very quick shower, a bite of a bacon butty and a quick be-sick-down the loo because of too many jagerbombs...we got in a taxi. By this point it was around 10:40am and our coach left Manchester at 11:15am and we still had to get to Manchester from where we live. I still had hope though!

When we got on the tram I definitely knew I was still a little bit drunk because I was singing Vengaboys with an audience. Sorry about that. We got into Victoria Station at about 11:09am and realised we were definitely not making that coach so we headed to McDonalds to try and make ourselves feel human again and then I booked us some new tickets for 12:15pm. 

We got on the coach and my first thought was 'yay, plug sockets, I can Snapchat to my heart's content". Izzy gets travel sick so I was pretty worried on our first coach to Leeds because it was extremely rocky and even I kept thinking I would spew. 

When we got to Leeds we were both extremely grateful to not be on the road anymore and took this time to go and sit outside on a bench, pigeon-watching whilst we waited for our next coach to York. We also bought some crisps because we felt rough and needed to sort ourselves out. 

After arriving in York we had about a 10 minute walk to get to York Dungeons. It's really simple if you have maps on your phone to follow but otherwise you may need directions as we didn't see any signs pointing to where it is unfortunately! 

When we got there the first thing we got to do was be given a sword/axe and turn ourselves into a Viking by standing in front of a green screen and getting our picture taken. The first thing I realised is the staff there are so much fun and get into character straight away. You then went over to a guy in a lit up box where you can buy your tickets as well as sweets and drinks. 

You're then directed to go through to a very dark waiting area where you wait for a period of time for a group of people to form and then eventually it begins.

I don't want to spoil the dungeons too much because it's better to experience it but you basically get led through the dungeons and be part of a story and you really get yourselves involved. I learnt so much about that period of time during that day! 

When it's all finished you get led into the souvenir shop where you get the opportunity to buy the photos you took earlier and also a large selection of goodies. 

After this we had about 20 minutes to get back to the coach stop so we practically ran through York. We were actually early so paid an extortionate price of £3.95 for a cheese and onion pasty. I know, you're right, that is bloody expensive. But there wasn't a Greggs. It started to rain so I couldn't eat it whilst we waited for the coach. So I was sad. Then we got on our "coach" which was actually a double decker bus and me and Izzy couldn't sit together so I still couldn't eat the pasty, otherwise I would've annoyed the girl next to me. Eventually though people got off and we were reunited so we ate our pasties together so I was happy again. 

When we got back into Leeds we had to wait like 30 minutes for another coach so we just spent this time chatting away in Leeds Station. The final coach was pretty easy and the time flew by. 

When we got to Manchester we were hungry so we made a pit stop to McDonald's and got a few things to nibble on (I'm talking fries and cheese burger) whilst getting on the tram home. That Mcdonalds was actually crazy. There are bars on the windows, they have security and when we went in some guy was kicking off. I mean I love me a cheese burger but I didn't realise people were that mad for a maccies. 

Finally we got home around 9pm (ish) and I was still hungry so I devoured the most amazing cheesy beans on onion bagels. This meal has always been one of my favourites because it's so simple and quick to make and as I was tired it seemed like it was definitely the best option for me. 

The moral of this story is don't drink jagerbombs or make plans on days that you're meant to stay in bed. 

lots of love
Jennie x 

**A special thanks to Branston Baked Beans and their partnership with Merlin Entertainments for this amazing opportunity! It was such a fun day out, I got to visit a new place in the UK and it cured my hangover. I would definitely recommend York Dungeons to anybody looking for a good day out.