To the older generations, from a Millennial

The other day I over heard a comment, 'the younger generation are too sensitive'. This comment made me think about how oblivious the older generation are to us and why they really ought to just stop being so in denial about our mental health.

We are told and told to speak about our problems, to let out how we're feeling and not keep ourselves locked away, however when we do speak about it we are told 'you have nothing to worry about', 'you're too young to feel stressed', 'don't be so sensitive' or 'if you're that bad why have you not seen a doctor for it', causing us to want to keep our thoughts and feelings locked up.

I don't think it is 'normal' to feel awful all the time, and if it is, why is it normal? We weren't put on this planet and given a life to feel depressed, we should be able to live a life.

I feel like the older generation are so closed up on these ideas, especially some parents, because they feel if their child does suffer from something within their mind they think they've failed at raising them when it could have actually stemmed from absolutely anything.

I think they're so old-fashioned and were raised to just be strong that they think that our generation can be the same, but there's so many factors now that impact our lives.

I broke down on Friday night and truly felt at my lowest point, so this could get a little deep but I find writing my blogs helps me feel better and I feel I'm myself here. It saddens me that our thoughts are only taken seriously when we reach this point and people finally realise that maybe it isn't so normal after all that we're feeling this way and maybe we do need a little help and maybe we're not too young to feel this way and shit really does happen in our lives.

So, I'm 22 now and I just feel low. Like really really low. And I'm exhausted of feeling so low. But this is what has happened in my 22 years that I think have triggered how I am now.

When I was 7, my mum and dad split up and my mum and sister moved out. What had been my family home for my childhood was now my 'dads' house. I no longer had my mum or my sister around me all the time (my other sister had already left home) and for the next 14 years I felt like the messenger between my mum and dad and felt like I was always treading on egg shells. I know this is so common now that parents do separate and people do cope more than others and others just don't but I believe this affected me a lot more now that I'm older than I initially thought.

I started to get bullied when I was 11 by a couple of people in primary school, and then I moved to high school and got bullied some more for most of my five years there due to a really small inperfection that I still feel insecure about today. The thing is though, bullying has happened for generations but when you got bullied when my mum and dad were kids you could go home, in your room and feel safe. Not me. Social media had just really took off when I was getting bullied and so I was coming home to abuse online. Facebook statuses written about me, MSN chats victimizing me and there was this awful website called Formspring where people could send you anonymous messages and a lot of mine called me fat, called the imperfection I have and told me to die on a few occasions. Then when my dad contacted my school about it, my head of year said 'girls will be girls' - the thing is schools don't really do anything unless someone dies and that's the sad truth.

During high school I did have a few friends and I was part of a friendship group that were a lot prettier than me and a lot more fun. I was pretty much the fat, ugly, small friend. Boys didn't like me. I never took risks and so I got called boring and annoying a lot and that kind of stuck in my head. Now whenever someone calls me boring or annoying, even as a laugh it hurts me and I genuinely start to believe that’s how I am. Sounds so stupid.

In my fourth year of high school I got to quite a low point, but again, it was 'normal' apparently. I developed problems with eating after being so chubby for years I lost a lot of weight because I was barely eating. I've already written about this and so I won't go into it but yeah it wasn't a very good time for me.

I then got into a really toxic relationship, which really broke me as a person and I forgot what being free was like.

After getting out of that relationship, I finally saw the light. I made friends, I fell in love, I started to love myself, I started to live.

Unfortunately, like a lot of girls my age, I became majorly obsessed with social media. With keeping up my appearance and how many likes I got on my photos. It sounds incredibly stupid doesn't it? But unfortunately this is the pressures of society these days.

Then about a year ago the world crashed on me. I lost my Nonna Maria and my world really did make possibly the worst turn. I saw her die and I still cannot get that out of my head. I saw her last laugh, her last smile. Losing my Nonna was one of the most difficult moments of my whole life. I didn't really take any time out of work after that I just kept going and pretended I was okay but really I was hurting a lot.

The month after she passed, my step dad Stanley got diagnosed with lung cancer and was given months to live. Watching someone I cared about go from this strong, big bloke to this weak, frail man was heartbreaking. My whole families life changed. My mum was always running around taking him for chemotherapy and not being able to work normally. My sister spent a lot of her time being his carer and seeing him in his worst states. And I really felt for my sisters because they had the constant worry of how my nieces and nephews were going to cope with losing their granddad Stan.

That day came on the 27th February. It was one of the snowiest days of the year and I had almost reached work when my mum rang me and told me Stan had took a turn for the worse and the hospital had asked to gather his loved ones to be there. I didn't know what to do but I got into work and broke down straight away when one of the lads asked me if I was okay. I was driven to the hospital and it brought back the awful memories of seeing my Nonna pass away.

We spent the whole day there. I just watched him and felt so sad. We didn’t want him to pass in hospital, we wanted it to be at home where he was comfortable but that wasn’t possible so we tried to make it as peaceful for him as possible. He loved the band Elbow so I created a playlist full of Elbow songs on my phone and as we all held his hand we played Elbow to him as he peacefully passed away.

I didn't take any time away from work then either. I just continued on.

I didn't ever give myself time to mourn and I think now I've realised that I should have done and I'm not at all okay.

During Stan being unwell, my dad got really unwell too and I saw him at his lowest and instead of my dad looking after me and suddenly I saw myself looking after him. He developed photosensitivity and so he’s been wearing sunglasses everyday since last December. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but I haven’t seen my dads eyes since last December. 

I bet some of you are thinking why am I posting this all over the internet? Well I think some people need a reality check and I think they need to know that to be honest I might only be 22 but a lot has happened in my life and my mind is pretty damaged. Maybe nobody is thinking that and it's just my over-thinking mind going off on one again.

I really am lucky though. I'm lucky I have my boyfriend who lets me cancel Nando's and let's me cry to him for 3 hours straight. I'm lucky for my dad who brings me hot water bottles and a cup of tea. I'm lucky for my mum who meets me for coffee so I can let out all my problems. I'm lucky for my sisters who protected me from those people who bullied me in high school. I'm lucky for my best friend who messages me every single day and helps me feel better. 

Some people don't have anyone. Some people are battling inside their own head with not a single soul to confide in.

So my message to the older generation who say I'm too sensitive and tell me how I should feel, my mind doesn't listen to me so it most definitely will not listen to you. We don't just wake up everyday and want to be sad. We may not have battled through wars, or beaten at school by our teachers but we have fought our own battles and we continue to fight battles in our heads everyday. Life can be really hard whether you’re 22 or 62.

Next time you see someone get a little 'touchy' over something you said, why don't you just take the time to ask them how they are instead of pushing them to feel worse.

The people I see sharing mental health awareness posts are some of the same people I hear telling people to man up. The sad reality is a lot of you only begin to care when it’s too late. Be kind. 

Lots of love


p.s I'll be okay :-) 

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 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 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