Where as August seems to be bolting by without warning, July feels like it was a lifetime ago. The last couple of months have been a real turnaround in my general happiness, in fact I’ve never been so happy. I’ve discovered this unrevealed fragment of my life that I never knew I needed until now and stumbled upon a part of me that just fits with the rest. It’s been an overwhelming time in my usually average life which means in return I get to spread my positive vibes across my blog in usual pattern of my pensive monthly moments and I think this is the most excited I’ve ever been about getting my thoughts down in writing!
Holidays | the first eleven days of July were spent in beloved Spain and I guess if I wasn’t happy surrounded by my family, my distant yearly accompaniments, fun in the sun, amazing food and a guarantee of waking up to hot temperatures in an open space apartment with the escapism and the fresh, salubrious air on my doorstep, then there must definitely be something wrong. Life is better abroad and life is certainly better with a tan; in those two weeks you can really forget about the harsh reality of home, have a brief relief from the pain and soak in the opportunity of unwinding in a different environment whilst strutting the streets with your brand new summer wardrobe. It was lovely to just put a halt to my regular activity and to not have the over ridden burden of creating blog posts, scheduling tweets, replying to a ton of emails and everything else that comes with being a blogger because as much as I’m dedicated, it’s good to enjoy a break (word is you can see my holiday photo diary in my recent post, here).
Feeling like I belong | if you follow me over on twitter, you’ll probably know with my obsessive wittering that July brought me the meeting of my best friends. People, who, at the beginning of the year I didn’t even know existed. If you’d have told me a few months back that I’d be sat here embracing the radiating butterflies about our emotional reunion leading to days of joys, laughter and cosy hotel stays on Wednesday through to Friday, then I’d have looked at you squint eyed with disbelief. I’ve never been so grateful for the power of the internet, group chats, personal interests and in sync feelings bringing us together, connecting us and showing me real friends do exist. I’ve always had a problem with ‘fitting in’, I’ve always been the one to be shoved to the back of the line, struggled with inclusion and experienced bitterness and targeted oppressing throughout my youth so once I hit my twenties I just gave up on the idea of spreading my loyalty with people who genuinely appreciated it. I was content with relishing in my own company and I put it to the back of my mind whilst still wishing I had what everybody else had. That was until I found these guys, these amazingly strong, unique and dynamic girls and boys of all ages with whom I now share every minute of my day with, who I trust more than anything, who I receive so much love, faith and amusement from, and who I can be my complete self around. To find people who are actually interested in me, who accept me for who I am, who care and who want me to be part of their inner circle and for me to be able to just put myself out there without fear of having to pretend to be someone I’m not is just the best cure for my outlook and my general health; both physical and mental. I’ve honestly never felt as cherished and as comfortable and it’s such a surreal, unfamiliar feeling that it knocks me for six as I smile to myself in unaware occasions. Okay, so maybe we aren’t together in person for months on end but that’s why I’m so thankful social media has the same power and it makes it even more special when we do see each other to embrace into a vigorously squeezed hug because the countdown to those awaited moments are the ones that get me through each day. I can’t wait for our future as newfound friends, I have absolutely no doubt it’s going to be a bright one.
Supporting charities | not only have I been thinking about sharing my own voice within the community of giving and raising awareness (something that I’m determined to work on, on my own accord) but the above heartfelt statement is all down to one thing, and that’s pooling together as a team to support a charity that helps and improves lives for the better. Once Upon A Smile, a charity founded by the very selfless and kind hearted Danny Miller (who I’ll talk about further down the line) and Daniel Jillings, is a charity making a difference for bereaved families and children; giving them hope, support, comfort, healing strength, and a chance at happiness through difficult times. For a focus that’s so close to my heart it means the world for me to be able to give a little that means a lot and the fact my contribution leads on to this groundbreaking, influential and inspiring work is a thought to make me sleep better at night. But not only that, the meeting of my best friends happened because of this. I’ve always wanted to attend the football matches in the name of OUAS and that momentous day happened on the 16th July, the day we naturally joined forces as though we’d known each other for years, the day we unearthed how much of a small world it is, acknowledged our crossed paths and dealt with a whole load of excitement, entertainment, drunken mishaps and fits of giggles.
Creating memories | everyone has their obsessive fixations, mine just so happens to be on tv every weekday at 7pm and is followed along with a rollercoaster of emotions, amazing people and the foundation of delightfully untroubled memories to keep beside me and reflect on at every passing day. The past month or so has really shaped me into a completely different person and to think that’s down to my very own favourite Yorkshire soap is just bizarre. It started with the gathering of fellow Emmerdale fans, developed into the adaptation of d squad, and moved on to a wider selection. To be able to share these unforgettable euphoric times with a bunch of flipping wonderful people who understand you, who you have so much in common with and who you can be a complete idiot around is so blissful. You wouldn’t think a simple involvement of a muddy football ground, a metal prison impersonated fence, a grassy hill and ITV studios along with lots of loudness, secret vodka stashes, junk food picnics, giant dragonflies and just an all round great catch up could bring so much space to build precious memories but oh, it so does.
Danny miller and Ryan Hawley | who are they, you ask? I often question that myself, how can two of the greatest soap actors brought together in this phenomenally gripping on screen fictional relationship be the sole reason for all this expressive, intense warmth I feel. Although I’ve always been a fan of Danny and his incredible talent and characterisation of Aaron and I’ve been an admirer of the pair since Emmerdale made the gracious decision to pair them together to make gold, I don’t think I realised how much I bloody loved the handsome chaps until I met them in the flesh and they provided so much reciprocated love, appreciation and interaction. You won’t find a dull moment in their presence and you certainly won’t be let down by the sunshine that radiates from them both. From the swooning of an overly attractive photo, to a heightened reaction during shared scenes, to all the tweets and interviews and hilarious footage from mr impersonator himself – my fan girl mode is well and truly switched on and I’m feeling alive! (Danny, as I know you’ve totally got into reading blog posts and if somehow this ends up in your eye view, I’m totally dedicating it to you because I owe it all to you).
More stalking | I’m such trash for celeb stalking, it seems as I get older the more I crave it and the more enjoyment I get out of it. Weird to some, yes, but pretty basic to me. I suppose it’s just a hobby, it plays zero part in my maturity or my journey to adulthood but it’s just a laugh, a way to communicate past your ordinary person and move on up into the showbiz world. I don’t know what it is but the buzzing effect it leaves is such a booster to my mood and I swear it becomes addictive. It’s rare for celebrities to recognize Leeds as a city and aside from my pure luck of the fabulous Emmerdale cast filming ten minutes away from me, I’ve gotta take every opportunity with an impulsive stride. That’s why, the day after late night travelling home from a foreign country, unpacking my suitcase and getting approximately four hours sleep, I dashed off to the local radio station early morning to meet Olly Murs and by god it was worth it just to see his cheeky smile, his humble ways and to get a quick snap of a selfie. Yippee.
New attitudes | with everything I’ve learned over the past month or so, one cliche sentiment that sticks with me is life is too short to be anything but happy, so go out there and do what makes you grin from ear to ear, and I’ve done exactly that. My ‘just say yes’ approach has pulled off so far and as the bad news just keeps trailing in, it only broadens my eagerness to keep going. My brother sadly lost a casual friend so suddenly in July and it really got me thinking: you have no idea when your ticking time bomb is going to stop and explode from earth without warning. As the saying goes; those who died yesterday had plans for this morning and those who died this morning had plans for tonight. Don’t take life for granted, you only get one chance so just take it.
Planning the year ahead | with new friends and a refreshing overall initiative comes the yearning desire to just go all out and spend what little money I do have on adding to the list of important memories. To think there’s only four months left of 2016 is insane but formatting all these plans and putting ideas into action is allowing me to keep my feet firmly on the ground. There’s so much potential to just have an absolute blast with my favourite people, booking events left right and centre and that just ups my happiness even further. So far we have gigs, Manchester staycations, waking up and plodding off to breakfast together, an eventual holiday abroad, a trip to the zoo, a day out to spooky world, both the village and studio Emmerdale tours (me, Emmerdale, who would’ve thought it??), and then – dare I say the word – Christmas, and all the hype, the prettiness, the markets and the bonding time. Bring it on!
Feeling good in a bikini | shock horror, even to my own surprise I was able to rock my swimwear with my head held high this year. I struggle with self esteem, I really, really do. It’s not an attempt at sympathy or the desperate need for “but you’re beautiful as you are” comments, it’s just a fact. I’ve never been at ease with my body, I avoid mirrors when I’m unclothed and I hate it when I have no choice but to appear down at myself. It’s stressful going through the stages of obsessive loathing, of comparing myself to others, of the envy and always being in competition meaning there’s no exit but my holiday, my ability to stick to a healthy eating and exercise routine and my golden glow gave me that courage to strip off with assurance. I was able to look at a photo taken of me beside the pool are on the beach and actually think “you know what, I’m content with my reflection” and it’s a peak point for me, something I acquire to hold on to. Albeit it’s all gone downhill since and I’ve probably gained a stone in weight and doubled the flabbiness but the rarity happened and I will always be proud of myself for that.
Instagram | I definitely had a love/hate relationship with instagram in July through to August (who am I kidding, I still do). Although I’m becoming more accustomed to my online persona (I even downloaded snapchat just as instagram decided to make a carbon copy), I don’t deal well with changes, especially when it impacts on my progression – but it’s still a platform I love to share the glamourised parts of my life on. It can be off putting but I relish in insta purely for my own satisfaction, the aesthetic perspective and the comments that follow. Whilst I was away I displayed my holiday shenanigans over on instagram and with every uploaded outfit came the elevating comments to not only up my confidence but to spur me on and hold up my motivation. So thank you, you lovely, lovely lot, even you automated accounts with your one emoji addition!
As I publish this post and as you read it, today will mark one month since that charity match and it will be just 24 hours until I see my darlings again – and that one sentence sums up this entire notion. I’m happy, I’m confident, I’m living with optimism, and that’s all that matters.
What made you happy last month?