two pink balloons in the sky

What the Last Year Has Meant to Me

The last year has been an incredible journey. It brings me to think about 28th February, a date that will stay in my mind for all of the years to come. On that day one year ago, me and Danny became homeowners. From the moment we officially received the keys to our first house we knew that a new adventure was about to begin.

Many people tend to look back on accomplishments at the end of the year. However, now is the perfect time for me to have this reflection.

The good and the bad times

Becoming a homeowner plays a part in the things I’m about to tell you because in my eyes, it makes you more grown up than you could imagine. But there are also other things along the way that have happened, good and bad, that have given me the strength I needed today. It’s been the best year of my life but it hasn’t been exciting for the whole part.

The loss of uncle Dom was the hardest time; seeing him just after he lost his life to cancer literally was the biggest gulp I’ve ever had to take. But whenever there’s loss in your life, you think about the things that should be celebrated and just how much things and people mean to you. There are bound to be times of silence but there are also many moments of happiness and they are the ones that you should hold onto. They help you to move forward and value all of the great things in your life.

Talking of moments of happiness, since I moved into this house, I don’t think I’ve ever sang so much in the bath or shower. Usually I can’t even stay in the bath for more than 10 minutes because I struggle to relax. Things are so different now. I’ve learnt how to relax… a lot more than I used to anyway.

Times of worry

I don’t think anyone really knows how much I worry – it’s a great deal. I have coping mechanisms now for certain scenarios. However, the biggest lesson I’ve learn is how you react, standing your ground and keeping your head up high. Surrounding myself with the people who accept the random and craziest parts of me is the energy I need. What’s more, to say I’m lucky to have that one person who understands when I need have my own space, but to be there 24/7, is so comforting for me. Without that, I wouldn’t have shaped into the person who’s here today writing this post.

The last year has been brought me huge career progression. New and exciting things have always scared me. I don’t have a fear of commitment, it’s more the thought of failing something or someone. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t doubted myself this year. I’ve probably done it far too many times. But what’s important is keeping your focus and staying on track for the things you know you can do. Having faith in yourself is step number one. If you’ve got that then you’re onto a good start.

No disguise – just us

The best of all though, has to be the experience of living with Danny. Many people will throw things at you like, “Oh you’ll learn so much about each other…. you’ll do each other’s head in.” Guess what, learning more about each other is what it’s all about. Being there for each other and seeing each other in all kind of lights, is what should make you love them more. We’re talkers, we don’t hide our emotions. Calling each other names isn’t our thing or slamming doors, it’s about communicating when we’re in a disagreement and understanding each other’s perspective.

That’s always been us though, doing our own thing. And Danny has always told me to be proud of who I am, regardless of what anyone else sees in me/us. Having each other is what we need.

There will always be challenges

Neither of the above have passed without a challenge. But what’s life without hurdles that you pass to help you grow into the person you are today? Together, me and Danny work hard to maintain our home. We plan together and still save together to enjoy life’s biggest adventures, whether it be physically and emotionally. The last year especially has shown me that we don’t have a ‘still’ point. There’s always more to feel. And I think that’s so important and for us, acts as a big part of who we are and how our relationship is built.

It seems surreal at first, when things happen that you didn’t expect, or in a bigger way that you could’ve imagined. I never thought I’d see myself as a manager, nor have did I imagine to become a homeowner at this point in my life. But things can take time, special milestones even longer. And I’m so glad I let time play its part. I’ve never rushed into anything because, well, why? I’m a believer in having patience and seeing where life can take you. Sometimes, you can blink too fast and miss the best things that life has to offer. I like to experience and feel everything before coming to decisions that affect my future.

Then and now

I remember the days when me and Danny were just friends and he always pictured taking me on dates, watching his favourite film together, buying me flowers… so much has happened since then. I couldn’t possibly write it all in a blog post.

It’s been crazy! There’s so much more to look forward to this year. New York in June has got to be the best thing yet to come. And I’m going to see Alicia Keys in Kraków (because she’s in Manchester when we’re in New York)! On the day we return from New York, it will be uncle Dom’s anniversary and that makes me realise how scary it is to see how fast time passes you by.

If you take anything away from reading this post, remember to love the small moments, the ones that can’t be replaced, the ones that wouldn’t feel the same with anyone else. Take new situations with an open mind and give it all you’ve got. Talk to someone if you’re feeling down and most all, be happy and be kind.

girl jumping in the sky

What Makes You The Person You Are Today

I’m very much a ‘whatever will be will be’ kind of person but I think that, in terms of achieving more, it takes a lot of hard work. You might look around and think that some people get a lot of things handed to them. It could be the case but you also don’t know their backstory. It might be that at the eye, they look as though things in life come ‘easy’ to them. But you don’t always know. This post is about the person I am today through my challenges in the education and employment world.

Going back to your roots

Looking back at your roots is important and it’s something I for one, never forget. No matter the number of accomplishments, it’s your background that has a huge impact on you. You can keep it with you or look towards what could be in the future. It’s down to you to decide what you want to do when you become an adult. And as tough as it is, it’s a road you have to take. Everything you experience shapes you into the person you are today e.g. friendships, bullies, childhood, employment etc. You can be influenced from what others have done around you or you can do something different.

Education after education

Take your childhood years, what kind of kid was you at school? In primary school I was probably referred to as let’s say ‘a geek’. But I have always enjoyed learning. Writing and creativity along with numbers here and there has always been my thing.

In high school I worked even harder and my grades shown that.

College is where it became difficult. There were 1 or 2 subjects where I wasn’t performing as high as I wanted to be when it came to exams. Isn’t it funny, when you think if you sat those exams today you’d understand them a whole lot better?

Still, I made it into university. It wasn’t through clearance but through them taking a nerve-wracking 2 weeks on my side of waiting to see if they saw potential. I count my lucky stars that they got to meet me in an interview when applying and they looked over my application again and seen something in me. I didn’t love university but I didn’t hate it. Graduating though, is one of my proudest moments. Just like my school and colleges years, I wasn’t the most popular person in the room but the love from my family in the crowd and a couple of classmates did it for me.

Employment in the big wide world

As much as you think the above are going to be the biggest challenges in your life, you soon realise how wrong you was. Securing a full-time permanent position was one of my biggest struggles. It took a massive toll on me mentally and I believe it played a part of the many times of worry I had. Constant doubts in myself whilst telling myself something good would happen… a bit of an uneven field really.

After high school I went to my first ever interview and secured a casual/part-time job in a retail store for a football club.

I gained a lot of recognition there and experienced many different aspects that there was to offer. But there comes a time when you need to think about your future – where do you want to be? Even if you don’t quite know what.

I took a part-time (temporary) job working in the learning support department at a college.

Although it was only for a short period of time, I gained more professional day-to-day experience of an education environment from the other side, rather than the student perspective. Again, I was highly respected and thanked for repetitively for my contributions.

Luckily, during my time here, I submitted voluntary writing to their marketing department which led to a marketing assistant (maternity cover) role.

The problem – it was another temporary job and the environment wasn’t as it seemed. It was very patronising and I felt down most of the time.

How many interviews later?

You start to question if all of your education was worth it, if you should settle for something in the meantime? But that’s where my stubborn nature kicked in. I went against what the majority of people around me said.

I fought harder and harder. Giving up was never an option and I knew that too well. Having faith in myself to travel on my own path through all of the hurdles I faced has been one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done. Including the two roles above it took 25 interviews to land my dream role.

I found my match in the employment world

I’ve volunteered and fundraised for charities since the age of 15 years old. So the news that I was joining a charity as an employee was amazing. In the last two and half  years I’ve grown so much. My confidence and strength has massively improved. The old me who would worry and stress, way more than necessary, if even necessary at all, sees a new light. And that’s on a personal and professional level. Maybe becoming a homeowner with Danny has also helped? Whichever way I look at it, I’m much stronger than the person I used to be.

And today I’ve reached a bigger place than I ever thought I would – becoming a marketing manager. My mum melts my heart with the messages she’s been sending me since receiving the news. Danny smiles even more than ever. And out of anyone they both continue to tell me how proud they are of me.

Don’t be scared to share your journey

Whether you put pen to paper or type online in the digital world – if you have a story to tell, share it. You will honestly be amazed to see who reads it, who cheers you on and those who learn that there is more to you than they thought. It also helps you, to see how far you’ve come.

What makes you the person you are today?

colourful umbrellas open together

Living in a Positive World Starts with You

Living in a positive world can seem far from easy when there are so many negative happening. Sure, but have you ever considered all of the wonderful things that there are to live? Whenever I think something goes wrong, I tell myself that “It could be worse” or that “There are worse things going on in the world.” It’s important to steer towards positive thinking about the future. The happiness in your life starts with you.

A positive mindset, positive friendships and relationships and feeling positive about yourself are three key things to living in a positive world.

Among the high level of pressure in today’s society to achieve things by a certain age to be successful or look a certain way to be classed as attractive is ridiculous. Be whoever the hell you want to be and don’t let anybody else’s appearance determine how attractive you are. There’s beauty in everyone and behind each and every human being are backgrounds that no one could have a clue about. That’s why I think we should grow into our own person rather than what we have seen.

Start with loving yourself

You can’t make people love you so why not love yourself? One of my weaknesses is self-criticism. Whether it be my face, my figure, my hair, skin (the list goes on) there’s always something to pick out. And if it’s not physical it’s wishing I could do better. More recently though, I’ve been recognising my potential. I’ve always believed in taking footsteps on my own journey rather than a vision of somebody else’s. Making my own choices has built the foundation of my happiness today.

Don’t be like everybody else

What’s the fun in being the same as everybody else? I’m probably one of the weirdest and random people you will ever meet. I know it and so do the closest people around me. I’m quiet sometimes but I’m also the giddiest at other times. Following the crowd isn’t my kind of thing. I’m happy to say that I’ve got a handful of close friends and not a single one of them has ever asked me to be different. Every single one of my friends have something different about them that I love. Express those personality traits regardless of what anyone has to say. Being your natural self is the best and you’ll be much happier.

Always believe that something amazing can happen

Going back 5-10 years ago, do you think I imagined to be where I am today? Nope. Having ambition, working incredibly hard and finding who are along the way has helped. I entered this world 3 months early so to my parents, I’ve probably always done the unexpected. I never thought I’d have a man in life who could love me just as much as a father love his daughter or a grandad loves his granddaughter. Being a homeowner by the age of 24 was never a plan but it happened at the right time and with the right person. Heading into a media/writing skilled carer was something that I thought was never going to happen but it did.

Never back down when life gives you heartbreak, challenges, or a sense of disbelief. Always be yourself and never let anyone dull your sparkle.

close up of large pink blossom tree

Looking Towards the Future Is Such an Exciting Thing

Earlier me and Danny were talking about how we can wish the week away wishing it was Friday as soon as Monday arrives. We all wish for a longer weekend, right? It’s not so good to wish your life away but of course, it’s always nice to have things to look forward to.

We’re using small milestones to reach our goal of getting the house. The excitement is killing us inside but we want to wait until we’re further into the process so we know for sure that, without a doubt, it’s really happening.

While I’m on a positive trade of thought towards the future, there are a few things that have been on my mind recently.

I’m in one of the happiest places I’ve ever been.

You know when you’re sat there thinking “I’m really happy where I am right now?” Well, that’s how it is at the moment. And it’s only going to get better. If we both keep working hard and stay motivated, the journey we’re sharing is going to become even more incredible.

The worrier I used to be doesn’t exist as half as much as it used to. Being yourself is the best way forward and having someone who loves every inch you inside and out, is my version of perfect. The reality is, he goes above and beyond everything I’ve ever dreamt of.

Having patience really does help you.

Sometimes you want things to happen right here and now. But looking towards the future is so much better, as you can see how worthwhile it really is. If everything happened exactly when you wanted it to, surely you’d run out of things to look forward to? I think it leads to more excitement when you’re closer to such an important event in your life.

Patience helps you to be healthier mentally. You’re not stressing about what’s to come. You simply live in the moment and know that time will take its course. Good things are coming, you have to keep believing that they will.

There’s no one else on earth I want to share my future with.

I couldn’t be more sure about this one. He’s the one person I want to experience the same old things with and all of the new. Danny has taken me on the biggest journey of my life and it’s only going to get more amazing. How does he put up with my weird, random antics? We’re a right pair! Just the other day we were both in stitches in public and laughing together is one of my favourite things to do.

Count your lucky stars when you have someone and something to hold onto forever. Use each experience to go from strength to strength. Together, you can get everywhere you want to go regardless of what anybody else thinks.

What have you been feeling excited about recently as you’re looking towards the future?

macbook, paperclips and strawberry drink with straw

Would You Rather Meet Someone’s Expectations Or Go Beyond Them?

Do you ever feel like you need to meet someone’s expectations? It’s crazy how we live in a world like this. Some people are brought up having to achieve certain grades and milestones to make their parents proud.

My childhood was always about doing my best and if great results followed that was just a bonus. The main thing my parents wanted was for me to play, make friends, and learn new things in the process. But there have still been times where I feel like I disappointed them. It’s something we go through even as we get older.

The growing up stage

Growing up you learn that some friendships are forever and some drift away. And that’s okay. You’re still continuing to learn… you always are no matter no age. Facing the fear of not meeting someone’s expectations will worry you. Why? Because you’re afraid they’ll think less of you, or take away your feeling of being ‘good enough’.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve punished myself for not doing as well in something as I thought I would. Sometimes it’s about making more effort and a whole lot of hard work. But not always. At times, you’ve done all you can and it is what it is. As much of a challenge as it’s been, choosing to go on my own path had led me to the best things in life.

The 3 things that have brought out the best happiness in me are:

Sticking to my passion for media and writing

Throughout primary school (writing stories), high school (beginning a media studies qualification) and continuing with that in college and university. It led me to the job I’m in today which I wouldn’t have got with sticking to my dreams and working hard.

Doing things to remember the ones I’ve loved and lost

I’m glad that grandad has his name with granny on their plot. Having his name on there is so important to me. Completing the Great Manchester Run in memory of him was one of the most emotional rollercoasters. And it was one of my biggest accomplishments. I’ve also created my fundraising own event to raise awareness of premature babies, still births, and baby loss for Tommy’s. You might have seen my mum’s story about her experience of a still birth.

Being in a long-term relationship with my boyfriend who’s so much more than a ‘boyfriend’ – he’s my best friend.

Everything I see in my future is with him. He gets frustrated with some of my insecurities and worries because he wishes I’d see what he does. Having someone who sees nothing but the best in you regardless of your flaws releases an amazing feeling.

It goes to show that you can go beyond your own expectations of yourself.

Be proud of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in what you do. I’ve probably told you several times that life is living. Make a list of all the things you’ve ever wanted to do and plan how/when you can do them. If being happy means you need to remove yourself from environments that drown you in misery then leave. Ask for help if you’re struggling. Surround yourself with positive people and a positive mind will follow.

The key message is, everyone struggles in some way or another.

Have more faith in yourself and you’ll see that more things seem possible rather than impossible. So what do you prefer to do – meet someone’s expectations or choose your own goals and choices? I’d love to know what you think. Comment below or tell me via Tasha Lifestyle on Twitter.

woman on yoga mat

The Power of Strengths and Weaknesses

Today I’ve been thinking about what to write. What do I want to share that’s new, something I haven’t done before? That’s when strengths and weaknesses come into my mind. We all have them so it’s a topic for anyone to discuss about how they feel about theirs. Sometimes, no matter how hard you want to try to get rid of a weakness, it isn’t always possible. But you can help yourself by working on ways to overcome particular situations or doing something less.

We all have a weak side.

Take me for instance, if you didn’t know already, I’ve always been a massive worrier. That’s my biggest weakness. I’ve realised more than ever this year though just how pointless it can be to worry about things. You think you’re right to at the time then you realise it isn’t relevant or you didn’t have anything to worry about from the start.

Like I’ve said before, it can help to have someone there to show you how strong you can be.

He has given me the most amazing adventure and it’s only been a small part of the rest of our lives together. No matter how many insecurities I’ve had, no matter what weaknesses or downfalls I have, he’s there.

Other times, it’s up to you to decide how strong you can really be. Think of all of the great things you’ve accomplished. Even if it hasn’t been your day, month, or year, there’s got to be something. Earlier this year I felt like giving up. Facing unemployment or unhappiness in the workplace takes a serious toll on so many things in your life that others don’t always realise. However, once I began to believe in myself and that the right job for me would come along, it’s one of the biggest strengths I’ve ever had.

And then we have our strong side to show…

March was when it all began to crumble. I began to feel worthless but ever since May this year something changed me as a person and my attitude to everything. Seven months later, I can say that I feel like I’m moving forward. All of your past experiences and choices make you who you are today and I’m proud of where I am. Securing a new permanent position was my most-needed goal for 2017. I’m happy, I’m respected, and growing up has become a whole lot more real. And it’s probably going to become surreal when more goals for the future are accomplished.

Take moving out for example, that was my most-wanted goal for 2017. Although me and Danny haven’t yet got our own place, we understand now that we are on a better path in getting there. Saving is under way and we keep imagining what our lives will be like together in our own home. We have more of an understanding of what it takes to meet that goal and are giving ourselves as much time as it needs in order to happen. That’s another key strength of mine that I like to have – patience.

It’s all down to you, just remember that we all have strengths and weaknesses.

I think it can take a lot of persistence, patience, and believing in yourself to get through any kind of year. Remember that you can dream big but you can’t have it all. You might see that some people do ‘have it all’ but you start to realise what’s important in your life. And your life is what matters the most. No matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can make things happen.