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 


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